Volume. XXV, No. 45
Sunday, 08 May 2011

Questions for the Anti-Trinitarians ( Part 2)

7. Did God create all things?
If your answer is yes (Isa 44:24), why is it that the Bible asserts that Jesus Christ is the Creator of all things, in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible? Colossians 1:16,17:  “16  For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: 17 And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.” If Jesus is the Creator of all things, could Jesus have created Himself? This is, of course, absurd. Interestingly, the non-tritarian cult like Jehovah\'s Witnesses use the same passage to ‘disprove’ Jesus’ deity by ‘adding’ words which is not found in any Greek manuscript like “other” and conveniently changing the meaning of the Greek preposition like “through” or “by” (dia). Their translation, the New World Translation, reads: “By means of him all [other] things were created in the heavens and upon the earth, the things visible and the things invisible, no matter whether they are thrones or lordships or governments or authorities.  All [other] things have been created THROUGH him and for him.  Also, he is before all [other] things and by means of him all [other] things were made to exist". (Colossians 1:16,17, New World Translation of Jehovah’s Witnesses Watchtower Society) 

The purpose of inserting the word “other” 4 times in Colossians 1:16,17 is that Jehovah’s Witnesses don\'t want it to appear that Christ was uncreated and that He existed before all things. Now, the problem is none of the New Testament manuscripts support this reading. Is it right to add or subtract words to the Bible which change Bible doctrines out of convenience? God forbid! (Rev 22:19)

The Jehovah\'s Witnesses also argue that, according to their own translation, Jesus played a secondary role in making the universe because God created the universe only “through” (διa) him (John 1:3) not “by” him, therefore Jesus Christ is not the Creator. By translating the word dia as “through” in John 1:3, the Jehovah\'s Witnesses change the meaning of the verse to an impossible translation. If what Jehovah’s Witenesses claimed was true, then what are we to conclude about God when Romans 11:36 says the universe was created “through” God, not “by” God? The problem with this argument is that the Greek word dia (διa) can be translated either as “by” or “through” depending on the context. Obviously, whether the word dia (διa) is translated as “through” or “by,” it means the same thing. By the way, the word dia (διa) is translated as “by” in Colossians 1:16 (second ‘by’) and John 1:3 and the same preposition is translated as “through” in Romans 11:36 in our King James.

Further, if the world was created “through” Christ and Christ only acted as a junior partner as the Jehovah’s Witnesses claimed, then it would only contradict other parts of the Scriptures with regard to how God Created all things. For prophet Isaiah says in Isaiah 44:24: "…I am the LORD that maketh all things; that stretcheth forth the heavens alone; that spreadeth abroad the earth by myself."  Clearly, this verse makes it impossible to argue that Christ was created first by God and then created all other things “through” Christ as a ‘junior partner’. The Scripture is very clear to point to the fact that Jesus is the Creator of all things (John 44:24) and He is God Almighty!

8. Is God eternally the “Father”?
If your answer is yes, why do you say that Jesus has a beginning or became the Son of God “in time”? If Jesus was not the eternal Son of God, (John 1:1,2) God could not be the eternal Father because He only became the Father “in time”.

9. Does the word “firstborn” used in Colossians 1:15,18 mean that Jesus was created “in time”?
If your answer is yes, then how do you explain Jeremiah 31:9 where God declares that Ephraim is His firstborn? It is clear from the Scriptures (Gen. 41:51-52) that Manasseh, not Ephraim, was the firstborn “in time”. The term “firstborn” signifies the pre-eminence of someone like our Lord Jesus Christ; it does not denote that he was created.

10. Was Thomas speaking both to Jesus and God when he said, “My Lord and my God” in John 20:28?
The golden rule to interpretation is: “When the plain sense of Scripture makes common sense, seek no other sense .” This is also called the “common Sense” approach to Bible interpretation. The same principle applies to verbal communication as well. When Thomas said to Jesus: “ὁ Κύριός μου καὶ ὁ Θεός μου,” this can literally be translated as “the Lord of me and the God of me. The Scripture clearly says “Thomas answered and said unto ‘him’ (εἶπεν αὐτῷ) not unto ‘them’ (εἶπεν αὐτοῖς): My Lord and my God!” Why would non-Trinitarians explain that Thomas was speaking both to Jesus and God? No New Testament Greek scholars would agree with Jehovah’s Witnesses interpretation. Even non-Christian Greek Scholars and liberal theologians would admit that the Apostle Thomas was speaking and making his confession to Jesus Christ alone.

11. Was the Apostle Paul referring to two different persons when he wrote: “Looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus" in Titus 2:13?
If your answer is yes, you are challenging the authority of New Testament Greek Scholars who have spent their life time studying biblical Greek. According to Granville-Sharp rule, the readers who attempt to separate God from Saviour break one of the most important Greek grammar rules. What is the Granville-Sharp rule?
“Basically, Granville Sharp\'s rule states that when you have two nouns, which are not proper names (such as Cephas, or Paul, or Timothy), which are describing a person, and the two nouns are connected by the word "and," and the first noun has the article ("the") while the second does not, *both nouns are referring to the same person*. In our texts, this is demonstrated by the words "God" and "Savior" at Titus 2:13 and 2 Peter 1:1. "God" has the article, it is followed by the word for "and," and the word "Savior" does not have the article. Hence, both nouns are being applied to the same person, Jesus Christ. This rule is exceptionless. One must argue solely on theological grounds against these passages. There is truly no real grammatical objection that can be raised. Not that many have not attempted to do so, and are still trying. However, the evidence is overwhelming in favor of the above interpretation.” (http://vintage.aomin.org/GRANVILL.html)

What do other Greek scholars say? Greek scholars argue that Titus 2:13 also refers to one person. Greek scholars, based on detailed studies of identical sentence constructions in the Greek New Testament, have a guiding principle or rule for interpreting such constructions: “When two nouns in the same case are connected by the Greek word \'and,\' and the first noun is preceded by the article \'the,\' and the second noun is not preceded by the article, the second noun refers to the same person or thing to which the first noun refers, and is a further description of it".  (Word Studies in the Greek New Testament, Volume III, Book II, by K.S Wuest, Eerdmans, Michigan, page 31) In Titus 2:13, two nouns-"God" (Θεοῦ) and "Saviour" (σωτῆρος) are joined together with the Greek word for "and," (καὶ) and a definite article "the" (τοῦ) is placed only in front of the first noun "God" (τοῦ μεγάλου Θεοῦ).  So, the sentence literally reads:  "the great God and Savior of us" (τοῦ μεγάλου Θεοῦ καὶ σωτῆρος ἡμῶν). A study of Greek sentence structure proves the New World Translation of Jehovah’s Witnesses is not justified in their interpretation of this verse.

Pastor Weng

(Part - 3 will be published next week)

More Lively Hope



*Kitchen Roster: Team Leader: Dn Colin Gan. Next Lord’s Day: Bro Phil Surman.
*Ladies’ Fellowship Mothers’ Day lunch at Golden Dragon Palace, 242 Hutt St, Adelaide. Sign up sheet in foyer.
*Wishing all grandmothers and mothers a very Blessed Mother’s Day.
*Rev George van Buuren - warded in A6, RAH
*Hope Bookstore: Opening hours 12:30 pm - 1:45 pm. New books available.
*Looking for an opportunity to serve? Then consider serving God in the Church Library. If interested, please put your name on the sign up list on the notice board or talk to Dn Colin Gan for more details.
*Bro Pete & Sis Jessica Blake, Ingham, Qld, expressed their appreciation to Hopefuls for prayers, encouragement & love gifts.
*Reminder: The YAF/Sparks4Christ dinner will now be held at The Stone Mansion.

Looking Ahead
*25th Anniversary Thanksgiving, 29 May.
*Vacation Bible School, July 2011
*Christmas Concert, Sat, 3 Dec.

Praise and Thanksgiving
Journey mercies: Ps Ki (Lond); Dn Tony & Sis Sally Law (Qld); Dn Wai Kin & Sis Mavis Wong & family; Dn David & Sis Giok Yeo & Audrey (Adl); Bro Mark & Sis Hui Min Chen & family (S’pore); Bro Chilton & Sis Emily Chong & family; Bro Gabriel & Sis Grace Lee & family (Adl); Bro Lucas Yiew (Tas); Sisters Xandrea Cai, Cyndi Chan, Lydia Fan (Melb), Sooi Chin Gong (Adl) & Gillian Ong (Bris); & others who arrived safely.
Grandmothers & mothers - for their love, faithfulness & contribution.
Other Church activities - over the past week.
God’s daily mercy, guidance & blessings.

Prayer items
Health & God’s healing - Dr Gary Cohen (USA), Dr SH Tow (S’pore); Rev George van Buuren; Rev & Mrs James White; Preacher Zhang, Dn Yaw Chiew Tan; Bros Colin Creaser;  Elton Law, & Len Pearson; Mr Swee Liang Ng; Grandpa Ki (S’pore); Auntie Oei; Sisters Lynette Booth, Mabella Booth, Myung Ki, Choon Fong Lee (KL), Gillian Ong, Lehia Paauwe (Per), Margaret Pearson, Irena Kurek-Braden & Susan Varadi; & others in affliction.
Cambodia Missions - Rev Stephen Choi & ministry (Phnom Penh).
Laos Missions - Bro Surish Dharmalingam & Ministry
Batam Missions - Sis Ang Liang Phoa (Filadelfia Church).
iSketch&Tell Studio - Pr H S Lim & ministry.
IBPFM (USA) - Rev K Coleman, Board & Missionaries around the world.
Ministry in London - Ps & Sis Ki.
Presbyterian Missionary Union - Missionaries.
Ps & Sis  Weng - ministry in Hope BPC.
Hopefuls in S’pore; In Kuching: Teo family.
Journey mercies: Dn Tony & Sis Sally Law; Dn Yaw Chiew Tan (Adl); Bro Chilton & Sis Emily Chong & family (Melb); Bro Gabriel & Sis Grace Lee & family (Per); Sisters Xandrea Cai, Cyndi Chan & Lydia Fan (Adl); & others who are travelling.
Job - Sisters Clara Sim & Corinne Teng.
Interpreters of sermon into Mandarin & Korean.
God’s comfort - Dn Wai Kin & Sis Mavis Wong & family; & those in grief.
 Street-Evangelism - Protection of participants & Salvation of those who received Gospel tracts.  
Disasters in Auckland (3 May), USA (29 April), Japan (11 Mar) & Christchurch (22 Feb) - victims & families.
God’s guidance & Job provision in S’pore: Bro Raymond Ang.



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