Anthony Buzzard Multimedia • About Anthony Buzzard
The Crunch Point
How Many Yahwehs are There??
by Anthony Buzzard
At one of Ken Westby’s “One God” conferences, several days of discussion ended with an exchange between a member of the audience who believed God to be the Father only, and a guest speaker who had been invited to defend his view that God and Jesus are both eternally God.
The questioner, Mr. F, began:
Mr. F: “I listened to your entire tape series on the Deity of Jesus and I still don't know the answer to two basic questions," Was Jesus the incarnation of Yahweh, and how many God beings are there?”
Dr. A: “I do not know whether Jesus was the incarnation of Yahweh. Because I don't think the New Testament says that. However, there are many, many, many New Testament passages that transfer statements about Yahweh to Jesus.”
Mr. F: “So what do you conclude?”
Dr. A: “I conclude this, that the New Testament writers must have thought that statements about Yahweh were good enough to transfer to the risen Christ.”
Dr. A: “The risen Christ, said is ‘different’ from the human Jesus. He is the glorified Christ, the one that appears in the book of Revelation, whose hair is white as snow and [who emits] flames of fire. I don't know all the mysteries, no.”
Mr. F: “How many God beings are there?”
Dr. A: “Well, I don't know. If you say God is the Father's first name, then there's only one God being. If you say God is the last name, I don't know. I think Jesus is deity. I think Jesus is equal with God.”
Mr. F: “Was Jesus eternally uncreated?"
Dr. A: “Yeah, I believe that, because it says 'in the beginning.'”
Mr. F: “So there are two eternal God beings, then?”
Dr. A: “I don't know.”
[Editors comment: The conversation began to disintegrate at this point. Compare this imaginary exchange: “This is a chair; that is also a chair” “You just said that there are two chairs.” “No, I did not say that.”]
Dr. A: That's your conclusion. I did not say that. You're asking the questions that I think get people off [or should it be On! ed.] track. When John wrote that, he didn't say two God beings. He said in the beginning the logos was God and the logos was not God.
"I don't propose to make statements like that, because they are mysteries to me . . . I believe in one God, the Father, and the Lord."
“If a Bible reader determines to ‘get real strict’ with the word one and therefore cannot call Jesus God, then you can't call the Father Lord. You can't be strict on one thing, then loose on the other.”
[Editor: Unless of course there are two lords! -- Luke 2:11 (lord Messiah), 2:26, LORD’s Messiah) and as exactly explained by Ps. 110:1, “the LORD said to my lord”-- the most popular OT verse in the New. Two lords, but only one of them is God. The other is the man Messiah]
We invite some prolonged reflection on this interchange. It reveals the inherent non-logical contradiction involved in the proposition “Jesus is God/Yahweh.”
Once that is declared, one is committed automatically, since the Father is obviously God, to two who are God, and thus to two Gods! This puts one in direct collision with Jesus who stated that “the Lord our God is ONE Lord” (Mark 12:29, “the one and only Lord,” NLT). One may try to cover up what sounds so strange — that two are God — by quickly trying to change the meaning of God to one Triune Essence (one “What”). But the singular masculine pronouns for God, countless times and constantly in the whole Bible, ought to signal the fact that one’s argument has gone badly wrong. One may assemble texts, mostly from John and a few from Paul, but none from the beginning of Matt and Luke. But having put together various verses, a Trinitarian believer arrives at a conclusion which forces him to say “the Father is God (Yahweh). The Son is God (Yahweh), but there is only one Yahweh.”
At this point one has not made any sense, according to the rules of simple language we all agree on and use without difficulty in any other setting (but theology!). The proposition “Jesus is God and the Father is God, but that is not two Gods” sounds exactly like the Athanasian Creed above. It involves a blatant contradiction and one ends up making a non-intelligible statement about God. If your friends invite you to discuss the Trinity, by all means ask them politely to state how many YAHWEHs they are proposing. If they hesitate or run away from the question, ask “Do you believe Jesus is Yahweh?” The answer will typically be “Yes.” “Do you believe the Father is Yahweh?” The answer will be “Yes.”
Your conversation partner has just revealed to him/herself and you that he/she believes in TWO Yahwehs. This violates the first commandment and Jesus’ assertion of the greatest of all truths that “the Lord our God is One Yahweh” (Mark 12:29).
It is fascinating how enthusiastically supportive of Jesus’ monotheism the Jewish scribe was. Jesus began by reciting the Jewish creed (therefore also Christian creed because Jesus affirmed it). The Jewish scribe reacts to Jesus by saying: “Bravo, Master, He is One and there is no other besides Him.” Notice now the impressive accumulation of singular grammatical forms, describing of course a single Person. “He (=singular personal pronoun) is (=singular verb) one (=the numeral one, meaning one and not more than one) and there is (=singular verb) no one (=singular person) other (=singular adjective) than HE (=singular personal pronoun meaning one single Person.).
Is anyone still convinced that Jesus or the scribe believed that God was THREE persons? If so, then pronouns have ceased to carry meaning for you. Yet in ordinary conversation you have not the slightest doubt about them!
Think about this. The Trinity is a sort of moving target It often does not let you know what it proposes. Various explanations of the Trinity are offered. Some say God is “one WHAT.” Others claim He is “one Person, in three modes.” But once someone identifies Jesus, the Son of God, as Yahweh, he is committed to two Yawhehs.. That cannot be right, because it interferes with the first commandment of all that the Lord God is a single Person, and we are to imagine no other Gods but HE.
When Christianity, soon after Bible times began to cut ties with its parent faith, the ancient faith of Judaism and the Jew Jesus, it rebelled against its mother. The results of a rebellion against parents are always disastrous. The church needs to reconnect with Jesus the Jew and his very Jewish and unitarian belief that God is a single Divine Father. After all, in the Bible Jesus is never once called “the Lord God,” and never once called “the Almighty” (pantokrator). The Father is jealous of His own unique position as the ultimate and only One God.
Reprinted with permission from Focus on the Kingdom Volume 13 No. 1, October, 2010
Focus on the Kingdom is a magazine dedicated to spreading the Gospel of the Kingdom throughout the world (Matt. 24:14).
To subscribe for free:Restoration Fellowship