Scepticism on the Trinity
Salvation over Existence

In the Bible the doctrine of the Trinity is only a possibility for the future, and not the only outcome. It can only be seen, looking from the future, and that is a bad way of assessing anyone's intentions.

As well as elevating Christ, it further requires the co-equality etc. of the Holy Spirit, and this is not established either. Spirit was simply a way of expressing God, the freedom of divine nature. It is nothing else, to be co-equal with something else, and at the same time in one.

Even the word Trinity is not in the New Testament, and the 1 John 5:7 nearness in the KJV is omitted in later translations. There is God's spirit, the spirit of Christ, and the Holy Spirit, without any systematic presentation. There is human spirit, divine spirit and spirit. It is just expression for God, and often for Christ too.

Expressions of God and the work of Christ do appear alongside each other, and two main ones are Matthew 28:19 and 2 Corinthians 13:14. In the first case regarding baptism, earliest baptisms were carried out using Jesus' name only. The phraseology suggests a church already underway, a case there of future speak reading back. Nevertheless, as this church established itself, as we go to the future speak at its time, there was a threefold expression towards salvation expressed at baptism. So it is a working list for salvation, and not a description of God. It is about a person of God (being baptised) received by God actively (Spirit) as identified through the work of Christ. So it is dynamic. The second case is also dynamic, and is the development of prayer, again related to maintaining ones place in salvation

Of course when you get to the actual three persons - Father as Creator, Son as redeemer and Spirit as sanctifier - you immediately have to say no to such a division. Functions are not so divided. So the Trinity as a doctrine is a nonsense even when it is credal.

It is useful as an expression of collegiality in life, as an affirmation of personality, and all sorts of creative metaphors. But as in its first primitive appearances, it was about doing a job and not a description of God. It was not the credal logical anti-logic and muddle. It was still clearly about monotheism and not heretical to the one God.

The Trinity is not only about God as monotheism. This is wholly undermined by Christ being fully human and fully God. Though of two natures, there is not a godless human and a humanless God at work wandering about in Palestine, according to this doctrine. Therefore the Christian Trinity includes, in its muddle, incarnation and humanity, and a full humanity at that.


Adrian Worsfold

Pluralist - Liberal and Thoughtful

Adapted from a posting sent to on 2 October 2004

Use of: Cupitt, D. (1978), The Debate about Christ, London, SCM Press

On the Trinity in the Hebrew Bible
On the Trinity in the Christian New Testament
On Christ's Divinity in the Christian New Testament