Biblical Unitarianism is the idea that “Jesus Christ is the fully human Son of God, and not God the Son, and the Bible does not teach the doctrine of the Trinity.”
Essentially unitarianism is a diminishment of the true biblical Jesus. The terms and definition of unitarianism use doublespeak to try and redefine who Jesus is. In examination of the assertions made by unitarianism, it is quite easy to impeach these false ideas by simply restating what the Bible has already said.
In the following published assertions by unitarians, you will see how inept they are in their knowledge of the biblical texts. This is exactly what Jesus said to those who were before Him while He was here on earth: “Jesus answered and said to them, “You are mistaken, not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God.” ~Matthew 22:29
The following are statements from a unitarianism website. In examination of these texts, you will see how quickly their false ideas about Jesus can be fully impeached:
1. God is all wise, but Jesus grew in wisdom.
And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.
Hebrews 5:8 and 9
(8) Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered
(9) and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him.
The central problem with the unitarians reinterpretation of these well known biblical texts, is their misuse in redefining who Jesus is.
The misuse of the terms, “God is all wise, but Jesus grew in wisdom,” is a deliberate distortion of the facts concerning Jesus in the New Testament.
First, Jesus existed as God from Eternity. This is the clear thrust of John’s Gospel and his Epistle. In the beginning, Jesus the Word, existed as God. John says that everything that exists was created by Jesus, therefore He is God.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.” ~John 1:1-3
“We proclaim to you the one who existed from the beginning, whom we have heard and seen. We saw him with our own eyes and touched him with our own hands. He is the Word of life. This one who is life itself was revealed to us, and we have seen him. And now we testify and proclaim to you that he is the one who is eternal life.” ~1 John 1:1-2
Paul wrote that all wisdom and knowledge are contained in Jesus:
“In Jesus lie hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” ~Colossians 2:3
This distortion arises because unitarians ignore both the Old Testament Messianic Prophecies which say that the Messiah will be God and Man, and when He arrives on earth, He will chose to enter the world we live as a baby, who must grow as all humans, and experience all of the same trials that normal humans experience.
Can God Choose To Come To Earth As A Man?
Isaiah the prophet wrote that when the Messiah comes, He will be Elohim, who will open the eyes of the blind, make the deaf hear, and those unable to speak, wil speak, and He will cause the crippled to walk.”
Isaiah 35:4-6 “For your God (אֱלֹהִים ’elôhîym) is coming to save you.” And when he comes, he will open the eyes of the blind and unplug the ears of the deaf. The lame will leap like a deer, and those who cannot speak will sing for joy!”
When John the Baptist sent two messengers to ask Jesus if He was the Messiah that God promised, Jesus told these messengers to ask John what he had seen Jesus doing?
Matthew 11:4-6 “Jesus answered and said to them, “Go and tell John the things which you hear and see: The blind see and the lame walk; the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear; the dead are raised up and the poor have the gospel preached to them. 6 And blessed is he who is not offended because of Me.”
In other words, all the things that Isaiah said the Messiah—who is also Elohim, will do—Jesus was doing. This proves that Jesus is both Elohim from the Old Testament, and the Messiah promised by all the Old Testament prophets.
This decision by Jesus, as God, to enter our world in this manner, does not deprive Him of His rightful status as God. The unitarian does not understand that God chose to come to us in fulfillment of the Messianic texts, and become fully human.
It is impossible for Jesus to be fully human, without experiencing everything that all humans go through in their life—with the exception of sin. When we study the life of Jesus we see that He went through everything we all go through, but He never sinned. At no time and in no place, does the Bible every state that becoming fully human, deprived Jesus of His exclusive rights as God.
Can God Humble Himself?
In Philippians chapter 2, Hebrew scholar, Paul, makes it clear that although Jesus was God from eternity, He set aside and refused to retain some of His rights as God, in order to become human and a servant to the Father, and pay the debt for sin incurred by all humans.
Philippians 2:5-11 “You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross.
Therefore, God elevated him (after crucifixion and resurrection) to the place of highest honor and gave him the name above all other names, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue declare that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
This first assertion made by unitarians, fails because it does not consider that God can choose to give up his rights, take the position of a servant as a human being, and die for the sins of the world. The unitarian believes that for Jesus to do this, defines Him as not God. This might be the opinion of the unitarian as they want to diminish who Jesus is, but the Bible is the final authority and the biblical texts make it clear that when Messiah comes He will be fully human, and fully God.
Biblical Unitarianism seeks to deny God His sovereignty. God can do whatever He wants. Our task is to try and understand what He has chosen to do, and why He chose to do these things. The facts of the Bible reveal that God often does things that are difficult for us humans to understand.
“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the LORD. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.” ~Isaiah 55:8-9
When Job and his friends tried to determine the plans and purpose of God, they failed miserably. God does not live inside a box. He does as He pleases. Very often people do not understand what the Lord has done. To come to earth as a Man, while still being the Eternal God, is God’s sovereign prerogative. This is what the biblical texts reveal He has done in Jesus.
“Then the LORD answered Job from the whirlwind: “Who is this that questions my wisdom with such ignorant words? Brace yourself like a man, because I have some questions for you, and you must answer them. “Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell me, if you know so much. Who determined its dimensions and stretched out the surveying line? What supports its foundations, and who laid its cornerstone as the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy?” ~Job 38:1-7
2. God has limitless knowledge, but Jesus had limited knowledge.
Mark 13:32 (RVS)
“But of that day or that hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.
The balance of the arguments placed here by unitarians are a effort to falsely define Jesus as not God, because God has the qualities that the New Testament says Jesus gave up or did not have.
The example given in Mark 13:32, where Jesus, acting as a Servant to the Father in order to die for the sins of the world, not knowing the day or hour of His return, is asserted by unitarians, as evidence God is not Jesus. This is exactly what Paul said in Philippians 2, above, where Jesus willingly gave up some of His rights as God, to become a servant. Jesus gave up this knowledge of His return, while acting as a Servant, but Paul says, in Philippians 2, that Jesus had this knowledge restored after His crucifixion and resurrection.
3. God is, and always has been, perfect, but Jesus needed to attain perfection through his suffering.
In bringing many sons to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the author of their salvation perfect through suffering.
The text from Hebrews 2:10 does not say or assert that Jesus gained perfection by being tempted as a human, or by experiencing the same trials we humans go through. It says that Jesus became a perfect author of our salvation, by going through all that we go through. Jesus is the perfect Savior for us because He understands what it is like to be us. Jesus was always perfect and without sin, and He never sinned during His entire time on earth.
All of the men who walked with Jesus for three and one-half years said that He never sinned; Jesus said that no one can accuse Him of sin, because He never sinned.
(Paul) For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.” ~Hebrews 4:15
(Peter) but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.” ~1 Peter 1:19
The Messianic Prophecies record that Messiah will never sin; Jesus never sinned
4. Jesus received holy spirit at his baptism. If Jesus were God and the holy spirit were God, then God would have been anointed with God by God. What purpose would this have served? We know why people are anointed, but what power could God give to Himself? Jesus was given the gift of holy spirit, the same gift he now gives to believers today.
(9) At that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan.
(10) As Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove.
(11) And a voice came from heaven: “You are my son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”
When John the Baptist saw Jesus coming to Him so that He might be baptized, John objected because he knew that Jesus was God. John understood that His baptism for sins was not applicable to Jesus as God. Jesus said that in order to become the author of our salvation and complete the 400 Messianic Prophecies written for Him, he must, “fulfill all righteousness.” In other words, Jesus didn’t need to be baptized and receive the Holy Spirit, because He was already God, but He did these things anyway because all those He will save, will do these very same things, themselves. Jesus is teaching us by example.
“Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him. 14 And John tried to prevent Him, saying, “I need to be baptized by You, and are You coming to me?” But Jesus answered and said to him, “Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he allowed Him.” ~Matthew 3:13-15
The baptism of the Holy Spirit is a subsequent experience that every person born again can obtain, simply by asking God for this gift. When any person is born again by the Spirit of God, as Jesus described in John 3:3, they receive the Holy Spirit who never leaves them, John 14.”
Jesus said: “If you love me, obey my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you. He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world cannot receive him, because it isn’t looking for him and doesn’t recognize him. But you know him, because he lives with you now and later will be in you.” ~John 14:15-17
The words of John the Baptist state that he did not know that Jesus was the Messiah until he saw the Spirit descend upon Jesus. This is because the sign that God had given to John so that He would know that Jesus is the Messiah was the One whom he saw receive the Spirit.
“And John bore witness, saying, “I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and He remained upon Him. I did not know Him, but He who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘Upon whom you see the Spirit descending, and remaining on Him, this is He who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ And I have seen and testified that this is the Son of God.” ~John 1:32-34
The Messianic Prophecy of Isaiah 11:2a, describes the Messiah with the Fulness of the Spirit:
Isaiah 11:2a … “The Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon Him, The Spirit of wisdom and understanding, The Spirit of counsel and might, The Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD.”
(1) The Spirit of the Lord (2) wisdom (3) understanding (4) counsel (5) might (6) knowledge, and (7) the fear of the Lord
New Testament Fulfillment:
Matthew 3:16 “When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him.”
See these seven gifts of the Spirit that were only resident in Jesus, and imparted to Him alone, during His baptism at the Jordan river, at this LINK
5. God cannot be tempted, but Jesus was tempted in every way just as we are.
James 1:13 (RSV)
Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted with evil and He himself tempts no one;
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin.
This assertion is a misapplication of the texts regarding God. The Hebrew text does not say that God cannot be tempted, but that temptation has no effect upon God. God can be tempted, but God never gives in to temptation. God does not possess the weakness that man has in his flesh, where he feels temptation to sin. As God living in the body of a man, when Jesus was tempted, He felt no compulsion to sin, as mere humans do.
See the essay: Jesus was tested in all things
Presenting a temptation to Jesus, does not mean that He felt weakness to sin, as we humans do. When we examine Jesus’ response to satan in tempting Jesus, His answer was always, what the Word of God has already said.
Unitarians always claim that because a text say that Jesus did or did not do something, and God does not or cannot do these things, this proves God is not Jesus. If you study these texts it becomes clear that when Jesus was presented every situation asserted by unitarians, He always acted as God would have responded.
The mere presentation of these events to Jesus, does not prove He is not God, or that God is not Jesus. Being tempted is not a sin, nor does it render Jesus as not God.
6. God does not need to be strengthened, but Jesus did.
Luke 22:43 and 44
(43) An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him.
(44) And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.
It is true that God does not need to be strengthened, but acting as God the Servant, in the body of a man, Jesus experienced the strength and encouragement realized by prayer and fellowship with the Father and the Spirit. We see an example of this in Jesus’ prayer to the Father in John 17:21 “I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one—as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me.”
Once again the unitarian does not understand the dual nature of Jesus as fully God and fully man. Jesus is God, He is also man. As man Jesus felt and experienced all of the same difficulties we experience as mere humans. In all these trials of life, Jesus never sinned. This is evidence that Jesus is God, though He is also man. No human has ever been tempted in all things, yet never sinned. Only Jesus accomplished this, because He is God, and God is Jesus.
See the evidence that Jesus often claimed He is Elohim/Yahweh-God
7. God cannot die. Scripture tells us that God is “immortal,” which means “not subject to death,” but Jesus died.
Romans 1:22 and 23
(22) Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools
(23) and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.
God cannot die, because His Spirit is eternal, but Jesus as a man, His body could die if He commanded it to be so. When Jesus’ human body died, He as God, did not die.
See the essay: “Impossibilities”
It is true that God cannot die because He is eternal. What is not often considered is that God will be dwelling in the body of a man as He comes to earth as the Messiah. When the Messiah dies, it will be the body of a man that will perish, not the eternal Spirit of God. When the Messiah is raised from the dead on the third day, He will live in the resurrected body of a man forever. It was the power of the Eternal Spirit of God, which had been dwelling within the body of Jesus, that raised His human body back to life and gave Him the right to defeat death forever.
Several of the Prophecies of the Messiah predict that Messiah will be God in human flesh, and die for the sins of the world. Three days later, He will be raised again. Jesus gave His body that was prepared for Him to offer as a sacrifice, but as God, He is the Eternal Spirit who can never die.
See the essay: “A Body Prepared”
8. Jesus is not ashamed to call us his “brothers,” because we have the same Father he does. The Bible teaches that we are “brothers” of Jesus and “sons of God.” Scripture never says or even infers that we are “brothers of God.”
Hebrews 2:10 and 11
(10) In bringing many sons to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the author of their salvation perfect through suffering.
(11) Both the one who makes men holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers.
The unitarian does not understand the humanity of Jesus, though He is God. Jesus can be both God, and a Son, a brother, and the author of salvation, All of these qualities are possible at the same time for Jesus as the Eternal God.
The texts of the New Testament are filled with instances where God sees those who are in a new relationship with Him by the death and resurrection of Jesus, as members of His family.
The idea that God does not have brothers is a fabrication created by unitarians. The scriptures of the Bible state clearly that Jesus is God and God is Jesus, and that all who place their trust in Jesus, become brothers of God.
Our family relationship to Jesus as His brothers is by adoption as we are born again by the Holy Spirit, when He makes us a completely New Creation.
Romans 8:15-17 “So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.” For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children. And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering.”
2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”
The unitarian considers this unthinkable, but this is the very reason Jesus came into the world: to draw out a family of people who believe God and become sons, daughters— brothers and sisters of God.
9. We are commissioned to do “greater works” than Jesus. This would be absurd if Jesus were God, because then we disciples would be commissioned to do greater works than God does.
John 14:12 (KJV)
Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.
The “greater works” that we can do as believers in Jesus, are the millions of people that we can lead to a saving knowledge of Jesus, by telling them what Jesus has done. Jesus said that leading millions to salvation, is greater than healing people who will die again, as He had done during His ministry here on earth.
The greater works of salvation are all done through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, but He has commissioned us to do these things in His name.
10. Scripture says that God is spirit; yet even after his resurrection Jesus said of himself that he was not a spirit, but flesh and bone.
God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.
Luke 24:39 (KJV)
Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have.
Jesus said to the Samaritan woman at the well that “God is Spirit and those who worship Him must do so in spirit and in truth.” As God living in the body of a man, the Eternal Spirit of God was in Jesus.
The event where Jesus said that His disciples should touch Him and see that He is a physical being after His crucifixion and resurrection, was to prove that He rose bodily from the dead.
Luke 24:38-40 “Why are you frightened?” he asked. “Why are your hearts filled with doubt? Look at my hands. Look at my feet. You can see that it’s really me. Touch me and make sure that I am not a ghost, because ghosts don’t have bodies, as you see that I do.” As he spoke, he showed them his hands and his feet.”
There is no place in the Bible where it states that before or after Jesus died and rose again, He ceased being the Eternal God. God is Spirit but He can choose to live in any form He desires. We find this in the Old Testament as He comes as, “The Angel of the Lord, The Captain of the Lord’s Army, The voice in a burning bush, and a physical Being who destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis 19:24.
Genesis 19:24 “Then the LORD rained brimstone and fire on Sodom and Gomorrah, from the LORD out of the heavens.”
11. The Bible says that God is not a man, but Jesus is very plainly called a man many times in Scripture.
God is not a man, that he should lie, nor a son of man, that he should change his mind….
John 8:39 and 40
(39) “…If you were Abraham’s children,” said Jesus, “then you would do the things Abraham did.
(40) As it is, you are determined to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God….
“Men of Israel, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know.
For He has set a day when He will judge the world with justice by the man He has appointed. He has given proof of this to all men by raising him from the dead.”
1 Timothy 2:5
For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,
The text in Numbers 23: 19, does not say that God cannot take the form of a man, only that like a man, God cannot lie. This is a simple criticism to answer, because the assertion unitarians make in using Numbers 23:19, is out of context with what the verse is actually saying.
12. Jesus is called the “son of God” more than 50 times in the Bible. Not once is he called “God the Son.”
This is a play on words used by unitarians to try and refute the term, “Son of God.” In the context and original language of the Koine-Greek, there is no difference between Son of God and God the Son. The translators of Koine-Greek to English, understood that Jesus was both the Son of God, and God the Son.
13. God and Jesus have two separate and distinct wills. If Jesus were God, then his will would always be the same as God’s. Scripture tells us that it wasn’t.
(39) Jesus went out as usual to the Mount of Olives, and his disciples followed him.
(40) On reaching the place, he said to them, “Pray that you will not fall into temptation.”
(41) He withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed,
(42) “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.”
There is no place in the New Testament where we find that the will of Jesus is distinct from the will of the Father or the Spirit. We see this demonstrated in Jesus’ prayer to the Father in John 17. In every instance, Jesus was in complete agreement with the Father and the Spirit.
“After saying all these things, Jesus looked up to heaven and said, “Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son so he can give glory back to you. For you have given him authority over everyone. He gives eternal life to each one you have given him. And this is the way to have eternal life—to know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, the one you sent to earth. I brought glory to you here on earth by completing the work you gave me to do. Now, Father, bring me into the glory we shared before the world began.” ~John 17:1-5
When Jesus expressed His desire to have the cup of suffering pass from Him, this showed us that in His human nature, He was like us. Jesus was abhorred at the idea of suffering and death; while acting as God the Son, Jesus came to accomplish this very thing. We also learn from this prayer that there was no other way that God could save us, except by Jesus’ suffering the wrath of God for all sins, at the cross.
14. It is important to Jesus for us to know who he is, just as it was important for him to know who his disciples thought he was almost 2,000 years ago.
(13) When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?”
(14) They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”
(15) “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”
(16) Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the son of the living God.”
(17) Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven.
Peter was asked this question by Jesus so that he, the disciples, and everyone who read their testimony, would understand that we must each decide who Jesus is. It is the eyewitness testimony about Jesus in fulfilling every one of the 400 Messianic Prophecies of the Bible, that prove He is God the Son, living in the body of a man, dying to pay for all sins.
15. God has no mother. Jesus did have a mother.
And the Levites-Jeshua, Kadmiel, Bani, Hashabneiah, Sherebiah, Hodiah, Shebaniah and Pethahiah-said: “Stand up and praise the LORD your God, who is from everlasting to everlasting.”
(1) On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there,
(2) and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding.
(3) When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no more wine.”
Who do you say he is?
According to the Old Testament Prophecies of the Messiah, God the Son, taking the body of a man at Bethlehem, will have a mother. The very first prophecy in the Bible predicts this in Genesis 3:15. A future women who will have both the Seed and the egg necessary to conceive the Messiah, will be in one woman, a virgin. This is exactly what we find as fulfilled in the four Gospels.
The errors made by the unitarian result from two places:
- They do not understand the full context of the scriptures they cite.
- They distort the clear meaning of the scriptures they cite.
In my books, “The Prophecies of the Messiah,” The Messianic Prophecy Bible,” and “These Things Were Written: An Expositional Treatise of the Life, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus,” all of the arguments and difficulties of the unitarian, are solved by the actual scriptures of the Bible.
- Evidence That Jesus Claimed To Be God
- Evidence That Jesus Is Yahweh/Elohim
- Did Jesus Really Claim To Be God?
Categories: Contradictions in the Bible, Empirical Evidence for God, Exegesis and Hermeneutics, God is Eternal, Jesus born to die, Jesus Cross and Wisdom, Jesus is God, Jesus is the Messiah, Messianic Prophecies, Messianic Prophecy Bible, New Testament Apologetics, New Testament Criticism, Principles of Biblical Interpretation, Resolving Conflicts, Robert Clifton Robinson, The Claims of Jesus, The Holy Spirit, The Nature of God, The Sovereignty of God, Three Persons One God, Unitarianism, Why Jesus had to die
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