Thursday, 3 May 2018

The royal we, or the royal three?

I have recently had a few discussions with "Jehovah's Witnesses". Over the next wee while I will report on how these conversations went.

One of the ladies I was speaking with told me that there was just no evidence for the idea of a trinity. I pointed out to her that the very first page of the Bible provides evidence:
Then God said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness...So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them."
Genesis 1:26-27

The text presents a plurality within the unity of God's nature - "Let Us make...He created"; "in Our His own image".

The responses to this were fairly weak. It cannot be the case that God was speaking to angels, because angels weren't involved in creation - whether of the entire universe (Isaiah 44:24) or of the first man and woman (Genesis 2:7, 18-22). Creation is a work of God alone. And besides, man isn't made in the image of angels. Being made in the image of God involves the idea of representation, and we aren't created to represent angels.

The JW lady suggested it was an example of the "Royal We". This certainly cannot be true either, for a couple of reasons. First, while there is evidence of plural nouns communicating the majesty of a person, there is absolutely no evidence of plural pronouns being used in this way. No one in the Bible ever addressed God using a plural pronoun, and no king ever referred to himself using a plural pronoun. But the second reason is even more conclusive: in Genesis 3:5 the devil tempted Eve by telling her if she ate the fruit of the tree she would be like God, knowing (i.e. determining). She gave in to the temptation, and Adam followed suit. In verse 22 God says, "Behold, the man has become like one of Us, to know good and evil." The Lord was using a plural of majesty He certainly wouldn't have said "one of Us" any more than Queen Victoria would have said, "One of us is not amused."

So the earliest chapters of the Bible present an outline of God that can only be filled by the Trinity. There was plenty more said, but I'll tell you about that later.