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February 28, 2008 / Nick

“Let us make man”: a short note on Genesis 1:26


And God said let us make man in our image, after our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. And God created man in His own image, in the image of God created He them. Genesis 1:26-27

One of the responses to my post on the Oneness of God pointed me to Genesis 1:26 using the statement ‘let us make man’ as a proof text for the Trinity doctrine of God-in-Three-Persons.

The trinity leads to a belief in 3 gods

I wanted to point out that this verse is not and shouldn’t be used as a proof text for the Trinity. Far from it, this verse is a strong supporting argument to the fact that God is One, as the bible confirms in Deuteronomy 6:4 ‘Hear O Israel the LORD our God is One’ – the rallying cry of Israel, the monotheistic seed of Abraham.

Here’s what Rabbi J H Hertz, says on the verse:

“The use of the plural, ‘let us make man’ is the Hebrew idiomatic way of expressing deliberation, as in Genesis 11:7; or it is the plural of Majesty, royal commands being conveyed in the first person plural, as in Ezra 4:18.” (Hertz, p. 5)

Evidence within the text to support God as One

The Jews have never understood there to be a plurality of Persons within the Godhead, neither did the early Christians. However, the argument that Gen. 1:26 supports God as three persons loses its shine when we read on to Gen 1:27. For Gen. 1:27 concludes “And God made man in His own image, in the image of God created He them”.

Were God three persons we would expect the text to say: “And God made man in THEIR own image(s), in the image(s) of God created THEY them”.

Further, even if Gen. 1:26 was suggesting plurality the most we could learn from it would be that God is more than One, nowhere does it explicitly say that God is Three Persons (while being One God).

Truth be told, God is not just in Three persons, he is in millions of persons – for He has given His Holy Spirit to multitudes of believers!

;o)

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11 Comments

  1. craig b / Feb 28 2008 11:59 pm

    I think for there to be true dialog between Christians there has to be a better understanding of the position that each is coming from and just as you you don’t like being falsely characterized in what you believe by others it is important you don’t do the same likewise.

    Apart from the Mormons who do believe the Trinity is 3 Gods and who are not considered a part of mainstream Christianity, those who do believe in the Trinity do not consider the Trinity as being 3 Gods.

    What is meant by 3 persons is that each member of the Godhead has the attributes as a person…and its important to note that we are made in the image of God and not God made in our image and therefore its important to note that personage does not have to mean physical flesh and blood – though indeed Christ did have flesh and blood. What it means is that the Bible speaks of Father, son and Holy Spirit speaks, hears, has emotions and has all the attributes associated with God, all knowing, all being, all eternal.

    We have a passage in the Gospels where Jesus is being baptized, the witnesses around him are being spoken to by God the Father and the Holy Spirit is descending upon him at the same time.

    Jesus in speaking of his ascension says that he will sit on the ride hand of the Father, not take his throne…

    Its easy to dismiss the creeds and the councils until you understand the history behind what it was they were defending and up till those times those things didn’t need defending..such as the Deity of Christ, that Christ was both fully man and God, that the Holy Spirit was not just an inert power like what powers your washing machine…that He is God etc etc.

    What was taken to be a given by the early church was suddenly under question and so those things had to be sorted out as to what the Bible really said.

    Getting back to the Trinity unless one ignores the Scriptures, they clearly speak of defining roles for the Father, Son, Spirit. Such as I asked before in my previous post about what do you make of the Scripture in John where Jesus in speaking of the Holy Spirit says, “He will not speak on his own authority, but only on what he hears the Father say…and will make that known to you…

    Elsewhere the Scriptures say that the Father, the Son and Holy Spirit speaks, listens, grieves, comforts, encourages, and convicts which are all traits of a personage and so when a Trinitarian believer speaks of person – thats what we mean.

    Blessings craig b

  2. jesusblogger / Mar 1 2008 9:18 am

    Hi Craig,

    I know that the Trinity does not teach tritheism. However, taken to an extreme it can become trithiesim. For example, F Dake’s Bible commentary speaks of God in terms that are very tritheistic.

    Also, the art depictions of the ‘Old Man’, Young Man and ‘Dove’ have led some to err, in thinking that God is like 2 men in Heaven.

    At Jesus’ baptism, we see the man Christ Jesus – fully human and divine – standing in the water. The voice of the Father speaks to affirm His son and the Spirit of God (the Father) manifests as a Dove. Does this mean God is 3 persons? No, for it is the same One God speaking and manifesting, the same One who is IN His Son. The fullness of the godhead was in Christ bodily (Col 2.9).

    ‘Right Hand’. If God is a Spirit, not ‘the old man’ which side could be His right, or His left? He is Omnipresent Spirit (Jhn 4.24). Therefore, right hand speaks of authority and power. Jesus has the authority and power of God (Matt 28:17-19) – “all power is given unto me”.

    Finally, in response to your question re: John. Jesus speaks of ‘another Comforter’ being sent from the Father (Jhn. 14:16)

    “I will pray the Father and he shall give you another Comforter that he may abide with you forever” (Jhn 14:16).

    Here Jesus is praying from His humanity, fulfilling Ps. 65:2 “Oh thou that hearest prayer, unto thee shall all flesh call”.

    Humanity prays to Divinity – Son to Father. After all, why would 1 personality of God need to pray to another personality of God?

    The Comforter spoken of is ‘another’. But when we read on we learn that the ‘Comforter’ is also ‘the Spirit of truth’ (Jn. 14:17)

    The Spirit of Truth “dwelleth with you, and shall be in you”. Who is this? This is Jesus Christ, who is dwelling on earth with the disciples and shall soon be in them as the Spirit of Christ.

    Jesus concludes: “I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you” (Jhn 14:18).

    While He was on earth as the Son of God redeeming man, He could not come and indwell us as the Comforter “Nevertheless, I tell you the truth; it is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you” (Jn. 16.7).

    Why did Jesus speak about the Father-Son relationship as he did in John? Why is it so hard to understand what is meant?

    “These things have I spoken unto you in proverbs: but the time cometh, when I shall no more speak unto you in proverbs, but I shall show you plainly of the Father” (Jn. 16.25).

    Thomas got the revelation after the resurrection when he identified Jesus as: “My Lord and my God” (Jn. 20:28).

    The Apostles knew it when they understood the Name of The Father, Son and Holy Ghost that they were to baptise in was Jesus (Matt. 28:19, Acts 2:38)

    John saw Him in Heaven as the One sitting on the Throne, notice it is not ‘thrones” plural but just One throne on which Jesus Christ is sitting (Rev 4:2).

    Happy to discuss further with you. I am sorry for labelling you as ‘3 god’ that was a stereotype.

    JB x

  3. cs / Apr 2 2008 4:23 pm

    David Bernard asked the question in a debate with Gene Cook. He asked something to this affect: Gen 1:26 God said let us make man. It didn’t say Father said or Son said but it said God said. If God is a trinity then the trinity spoke to a fourth being. What was that forth being?

    A very good point and excellent question. Also Gene Cook never answered.

    • jackeline vega / Sep 23 2009 12:31 am

      God is speking to wisdom the proof Prov. 8

      • Gabriel Mendez / Feb 1 2011 5:43 am

        Very good question of David Bernard.He did not received an answer
        because his opponent saw “their quartform Trinity ” there! Actually it is the Three plus One and no the Three in One.

  4. Steve McCalip / May 1 2008 3:36 pm

    Thought you might like to see quite a few insightful articles on the oneness of God and against the Trinity. Though I am not a UPC or Apostolic, I think you will find some extremely helpful, in-depth articles on the oneness of God and how Jesus Christ is the Father,Son, and Holy Ghost. All articles and books are free. Also, I have many instructive videos on the oneness of God that are available free. Thanks and hope to hear from you.

    Steve McCalip
    http://www.kingjamesman.com

  5. bozz / May 1 2008 7:16 pm

    Elohim is plural only due to the attributes of God & not the substance of God so Gen 1:26 points to the plurality to His kingdom & not to the substance of God’s being. Trinity has no point of reference. All has speculations that cannot be held in court. In 1 Kings God stated He asked angels for counsel… much like He did at the time of creation. There’s no trinity but only in manifestations. Isa 9:6; Col 1 & etc all relatre that HE (the one) was manesfested in flesh not that “one of them”? All that relates to God the Father is placed to His Son. Not that the second person of the trinity placed authority to the Son. God is uno & thats that! Be blessed my brother & I enjoy your blog. It’s fantastic. I’m from Los Angeles Cali.. peace from Christ Jesus- Bozz

  6. Gabriel Mendez / May 11 2008 3:39 pm

    Once for all!!
    Since the INVENTION OF THE TRINITY, 200-400 A.D. God, the God of Genesis 1:1;He would no longer be taught or proclaimed as The Almighty One, The I AM, Yahweh, God in Christ,and The Holy One. Instead He became spoken as: The Triune God, The Holy Trinity, The Three Divine Persons and The Three in One. “They” began to disply pictures of “Three WHAT? two persons and one birth!”
    Yet, “they” called it Three Persons with understandings and wills, in a eternally coordinated triplicity, separate and distinct “the Father not the Son, The Son not the Spirit, The Spirit not the Father, but the Three persons are One Being”.
    To that kind of Being, I am an Atheist!

    Of that Being, Father Victorinus explain the Trinity in this way: “The Three are One and the One Three and the Three are thrice One, and the One is the same and sole”
    At the baptism of Jesus, I am asking, to Trinitarians, it was the birth that spoke …this is my beloved Son… or it was the voice of that old man?.

  7. Gabriel Mendez / May 11 2008 4:07 pm

    Sorry that I wrote “birth” instead of “bird” on above comment; also I wish to say that today it is “Mothers Day” I am attending a church that proclaims that The Lord Jesus Christ now in heaven, He is the perfect enbodiment of the God who’s essense is a Spirit.
    Also it is becamen well know that the two verses of the Bible that are used most to present the Trinity: Matthew 28:19 and 1st.John 5:7. NEVER WERE PART OF THE ORIGINAL WITINGS! Interpolated words at the time of the Latin translation!

  8. Ashe / Jul 11 2009 9:24 am

    The “us” included God the creator and the other spirit guides,ascended masters,archangels- Oshun is one of them I look like her as I am african therefore I was made in her image.Asians made in Buddha’s image etc

  9. steve / Sep 8 2009 4:49 am

    The Oneness of God could never be disputed except if a person was blind. Both spiritually and physically. By the things we see we know the Godhead Romans 1. Further more without quoting a scripture, I can prove this. If something causes confusion is it of God? Common sense says no. Trinity was brought in by Greeks to justify their beliefs in the father and Logos. Tertullian A lawyer, explained through Pagan’s Plato’s work of Timaeus (The work on the mind of God in three various ways.) that God was a triad. He was inspired by Justin’s baptismal change from Jesus name solely into a trinity though Jesus still at it’s center. This theory is simply double talk. Both Justin and tertullian only believed in two. But to get himself out of hock or trouble, he used the three parts God idea to do so. If not he would sounded as he believed in only the father and son.Here is a article strictly on the one to two and finally three belief. Remember the word of God only mentions one God. To change the word to fit your view or way of thinking is called Apostasy. The Post-Apostolic Fathers [Clement of Rome, Ignatius, Polycarp, Papias, and the document called The Shepherd of Hermas] – The post-apostolic fathers were committed to both monotheism and the deity of Christ, but made no effort at reconciling the two. As J. N. D. Kelly notes, the post-apostolic fathers appear “as witnesses to the traditional faith rather than interpreters striving to understand it” (Early Christian Doctrines [New York: Harper & Row, 1960], 90). Generally speaking, these men repeated the biblical assertions concerning both Father and Son but declined to speculate or theorize on the relation of the two in the Godhead. For them, monotheism was viewed as “the dividing line between the Church and paganism” Now to the two! The Apologists [Justin Martyr, Quadratus, Aristides, Tatian, Athenagoras, Theophilus] – The principal contribution of the apologists was the doctrine called Logos Christology. Justin Martyr proposed that the pre-existent Christ was the reason or intelligence of God. This relationship between Christ and God was not personal, as if Son to Father. Rather, Christ was to the Father what rational thought is to the mind. Thus, as a thought is expressed verbally, the Logos (Word) of God assumed a physical form and became a man in Christ Jesus. In a sense, then, the Son was “derived” from the Father, yet without a diminishing of the latter. As a single torch serves to light several fires yet without lessening the light of the original flame, so the Word issued forth from the Father without depriving the latter of His Word Whereas the apologists did not conceive of God as a Trinity of persons (indeed, the Word was not truly and personally the “Son” until he was put forth by God for the purpose of creation and redemption), they did affirm an eternal and essential union of God and Logos. Says Kelly, “Justin spoke of Him [the Logos] as a ‘second God’ worshipped ‘in a secondary rank’.. And the double talk begins to muddle the truth. So here is the three. Economic Trinitarianism – Tertullian (d. 225) and Hippolytus (d. 236) conceived of God from two perspectives:
    First, as He is in Himself, intrinsically, without regard or relation to anything external to His own self-sufficient being; and Second, as He is in relation to the world, extrinsically, through the divine activities of creation, redemption, revelation. With respect to the former, God is one, yet contains within himself his Word or Reason and Wisdom (on the analogy, again, of the mental functions in a human). As to the latter, his Word and Wisdom manifest themselves, respectively, as Son and Spirit. Thus in the economy of God, that is to say, in the implementation of his eternal purpose in creation and redemption, God is three, revealing himself in an “order” (taxis) as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The Contribution of Origen (a.d. 185-254) – Origen affirmed an eternal trinity of persons in the Godhead. But to avoid tri-theism (three gods) he insisted that the Father was the fountain-head of deity from whom the Son was in some sense derived. The Son, argued Origen, is a secondary God (deuteros theos; Contra Celsus, 5.39). The Son is God, but not in and of himself. He is God by participation in and derivation from the foundational deity of the Father. Thus Origen introduced a strong note of subordination of the second and third persons of the Trinity.
    Alright, stop the madness! There is only one or the word of god has lied to countless Hebrews, Jews, and christian since the dawn of time. Either the word is right or your church. if the trinity is so true why …Did all the Apostles only baptize into the name of Jesus? Instead of the trinity formula that was suddenly made to appear. Eusebius wrote from the original manuscripts of the sayings of Matthew. They were called that! He wrote at least seventeen times of…In My Name only, Jesus speaking. So now the Apostles did not trinitize anyone at anytime. They must of be lost according to your theory on the trinity.It is just a theory remember that. As once men believed the world flat by theory. Is that theory wrong? So the conclusion without a scripture qoute is simply this. Either the Church walked away from the faith once given. Or they were ignorant of the truth and lost. You decide. I would rather believe God and his word than a crazy mixed up doctrine that only leads to confusion and disbelief. Have a great day.

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