If we think that Jesus Christ believed and
taught that he was equal to God, something is rather puzzling:
Why do we not read in the "New Testament" about
the effects that would necessarily have resulted from such a
teaching? What effects?
First, trinitarians might well benefit in considering how such a teaching would have affected Jesus disciples. In the beginning, they must have considered Jesus to be a mere man. (Compare Mark 6:3.) Then, at some point, Jesus supposedly revealed to them that he was God himself. How would they have reacted? How would you react if you suddenly found yourself standing next to God?
Considering such a prospect, Andrews Norton, one of the first professors at Harvard Divinity School in the 19th century, exclaimed: "With what unspeakable astonishment should we be overwhelmed!" And if a person really learned that he had been in the physical presence of God, "how continually would it be expressed in the most forcible language, whenever we had occasion to speak of him!
But, in all honesty, as you read through the Gospels do you see this astonished reaction in Jesus disciples? That is why the truth of it was gradually revealed to them by Jesus, a trinitarian may say. Why, then, is there no trace of such astonishment even in the letters of the "New Testament," which were written years after Jesus death and resurrection? Puzzling, is it not?
Besides this, there are other consequences that would necessarily have resulted had Jesus taught that he was God. For the Jews, who believed that "the LORD . . . is one LORD, it would have been blasphemous to suggest that Christ was equal to God as the second person of the Trinity. (Deuteronomy 6:4) This raises two questions.
(1) Why do we not find the writers of the "New Testament" explaining, clarifying, illustrating and defending this unbelievable doctrine over and over again for the benefit of believing Jews? No teaching would have required more explanation!
(2) And why do we not find unbelieving Jews, who bitterly and passionately opposed Christianity, attacking the doctrine that to them would have been abhorrent? No doctrine would have been surrounded by more controversy!
Thus, Professor Norton observed:
"It appears, then, that while other questions of far less difficulty (for instance, the circumcision of the Gentile converts) were subjects of such doubt and controversy that even the authority of the Apostles was barely sufficient to establish the truth, this doctrine [the Trinity], so extraordinary, so obnoxious, and so hard to be understood, was introduced in silence, and received without hesitation, dislike, opposition, or misapprehension."
Puzzling, to say the least!
So why was there no clarifying by the "New Testament" writers? No attacks by Jewish opposers? Because neither Jesus nor his apostles taught what is commonly believed in Christendomthe Trinity!
(WT 1984, 2/1)
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