A dialogue between me an a unitarian took place on YouTube and I wish to share it with you guys but also make a number of comments.
This was the conversation that had transpired on this video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YjKI77-40jY
Let us begin with the Trinity once again what it teaches and what it entails: It teaches that in the very being or essence of God, there exist Three Distinct persons, Not three beings in one being or three persons in one person (like Ahmed Deedat falsely claimed). There are not three seperate Gods, but one Eternal God which the TANAKH and the NT make very clear.
Being is WHAT you are and Person is WHO you are. Three Whos, in One What. James White has made an excellent point which he highlighted in an article:
"It is here to distinguish between the terms "being" and "person." It would be a contradiction, obviously, to say that there are three beings within one being, or three persons within one person. So what is the difference? We clearly the difference between being and person every day. We recognizewhat something is, yet we also recognize individuals within a classification. For example, we speak of the "being" of man---human being. A rock has "being"---the being of a rock, as does a cat, a , etc. Yet, we also know that there are personal as well. That is, we recognize both "what" and "who" when we talk about a person." (James White, A Brief Definition of the Trinity http://vintage.aomin.org/trinitydef.html).
I have often said the Shema is a commonly abused text and have made it clear in a previous article that it doesn't talk about God's nature, but rather tells you how many Gods there are, namely ONE.
Does Jesus quoting the Shema refute the Trinity, just because he said "Here O Israel the Lord OUR God is one" instead of "Here O Israel the Lord YOUR God is one"? The answer is a no.
The Unitarians miss the entire thrust of Jesus point, let's read the text:
Mark 12:28 One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”
29 “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.[e] 30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’[f] 31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[g] There is no commandment greater than these.”
32 “Well said, teacher,” the man replied. “You are right in saying that God is one and there is no other but him. 33 To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.”
34 When Jesus saw that he had answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And from then on no one dared ask him any more questions.
What is the thrust of Jesus' statement? The scribe is enquiring as to what the greatest commandment is and Jesus goes to Deuteronomy 6:4 and Leviticus 19:18 as a summary of what the righteous man should do. The scribe agrees with Jesus' statement that there is NO other God besides YHWH, and only he is God.
But does the statement from Jesus refute him being YHWH, of course not. Jesus whole point is not to emphasise his deity, what he is doing answering the man's question with quotations from the Torah. He does emphasise his deity in OTHER contexts, but not this specific context. Furthermore, you need to take into consideration that the scribe who approached Jesus never acknowledged his deity for the reason of not having such knowledge.
Also, Remember in the LORD's prayer Jesus tells us to prayer "Our Father", not "Your Father", is this a denial too? No. Jesus is simply telling the people how to pray, and in Mark 12:28-34, he is simply responding to the man's question. That is all the contexts teach.
As for the other contexts about his deity, read my materials here:
(The point about Isaiah 9:6 I need to rethink on).
Another point to consider is this, Considering the belief in the Trinity, that by definition makes Jesus YHWH, although he is not the Father in heaven. Jesus is a member of the Trinity of YHWH, the God spoken of in Deuteronomy 6:4. In light of this, it is safe to say that YHWH is still a one what in Mark 12:28-34.
Also, Deuteronomy 32, I have read carefully verse 6 but let's read a few more verses to get the context shall we?
Deuteronomy 32:1 Listen, you heavens, and I will speak;
hear, you earth, the words of my mouth.
2 Let my teaching fall like rain
and my words descend like dew,
like showers on new grass,
like abundant rain on tender plants.
3 I will proclaim the name of the Lord.
Oh, praise the greatness of our God!
4 He is the Rock, his works are perfect,
and all his ways are just.
A faithful God who does no wrong,
upright and just is he.
5 They are corrupt and not his children;
to their shame they are a warped and crooked generation.
6 Is this the way you repay the Lord,
you foolish and unwise people?
Is he not your Father, your Creator,[a]
who made you and formed you?
The text in question is not a proof text for Unitarianism either, what it speaks on is the One God who gave his people life and created them. Does this mean that Jesus is the Father as in the first person of the Trinity, no, neither me not droptozro believe that. Jesus is called Father in Isaiah 9:6, but not in the sense of being God the Father, but rather being co-father and co-creator of the human race. In light of this, Deuteronomy 32 speaks on the Godhead generally and the quote from James White further demonstrates my point: "Every single time, that the context does not demand that we see a particular individual operating differently than the others, would be a reference to the Triune God. So any time where God's general activities, God's general attributes or in reference, can be referred to the entire Godhead acting in unity."
In light of this, it is safe to say that this is not a unitarian proof text contrary to droptozro's position. Even if Isaiah 9:6 was not a proof of Christ's Deity, droptozro needs to get another argument.
Lastly, I will quote Revelation 2:8-11, as this was a text I had brought up to him:
Revelation 2:8 “To the angel of the church in Smyrna write:
These are the words of him who is the First and the Last, who died and came to life again. 9 I know your afflictions and your poverty—yet you are rich! I know about the slander of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. 10 Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you life as your victor’s crown.
11 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. The one who is victorious will not be hurt at all by the second death.
The Alpha and Omega, or First and Last, or Aleph and Tav, are a title belonging to GOD ALONE and no one else is called such. Here are the logical premises of the passage
1. Only YHWH is the Alpha and Omega.
2. Jesus is proclaimed as the Alpha and Omega by an angel sent to the church.
3. Therefore, Jesus is YHWH the Alpha and Omega.
Yes I know what Revelation 1:1 says, as well as other texts in Revelation have Jesus calling the Father his God, read the articles I posted above and I deal with most of those texts. I'll deal with Revelation 1:1 here briefly:
Revelation 1:1 The revelation from Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John, 2 who testifies to everything he saw—that is, the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ. 3 Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near.
To the seven churches in the province of Asia:
Grace and peace to you from him who is, and who was, and who is to come, and from the seven spirits[a] before his throne, 5 and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth.
To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, 6 and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father—to him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen.
7 “Look, he is coming with the clouds,”[b]
and “every eye will see him,
even those who pierced him”;
and all peoples on earth “will mourn because of him.”[c]
So shall it be! Amen.
8 “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.”
9 I, John, your brother and companion in the suffering and kingdom and patient endurance that are ours in Jesus, was on the island of Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus. 10 On the Lord’s Day I was in the Spirit, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet, 11 which said: “Write on a scroll what you see and send it to the seven churches: to Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea.”
12 I turned around to see the voice that was speaking to me. And when I turned I saw seven golden lampstands, 13 and among the lampstands was someone like a son of man,[d] dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest. 14 The hair on his head was white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire. 15 His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters. 16 In his right hand he held seven stars, and coming out of his mouth was a sharp, double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance.
17 When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. 18 I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.
19 “Write, therefore, what you have seen, what is now and what will take place later. 20 The mystery of the seven stars that you saw in my right hand and of the seven golden lampstands is this: The seven stars are the angels[e] of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.
Notice both the Father and the Son, are distinct persons in the context, yet both claim the title of the Alpha and Omega. We know the Father didn't die, we know the Son did and we also know Jesus is still a flesh and blood man evident by Revelation 22:16. Jesus not only has a God to worship, he himself is God. Is this three Gods? No, these are two persons who make up the one God. Two members of the Trinity are seen together in these passages. The Holy Spirit's deity already covered in the articles posted above.
As we can clearly see here, Jesus is indeed YHWH, though he is not the Father, according the the NT witness as well as the Old.
If Revelation 2:8-11 shows Christ's deity, Unitarianism is falsified.
Hope this article has been a blessing.
Addendum: Other comments from droptozro can be found on the video I posted.
Also the mistake where I said YHWH was one who has been corrected.