Does the Trinitarian God Exist?
I was born into a Catholic family, and for as long as I can remember, my mother would tell me, “We must honor the Lord. Before we read the Bible, we should first cross ourselves saying ‘In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.’ The Father is the God in heaven who created the heavens, the earth and all things, the Son is the, and the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are the God of the Trinity.” What my mother said left a deep impression on my heart as if they had been branded there. Every night my parents and I would kneel down devoutly before the picture of the Lord, chanting scriptures and worshiping the Lord. After I grew up, I saw the Bible saying, “and he saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove, and coming upon him. And behold a voice from heaven, saying: This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:16–17). In these verses it mentions that when the Lord Jesus was baptized, the Father personally bore witness that the Lord Jesus was His beloved Son. Since the Lord is the beloved Son, doesn’t this mean that He is the Son of the Father? Therefore, I was even more convinced that God is a Triune God.
One day in July, 2012, I went to the home of Wang Mei, a friend from church, where I met her cousin, and I was very happy to learn that he was also a Catholic. After exchanging pleasantries, he shared with me the good news of the Lord’s return and told me that the Lord was speaking new words and performing new work and that He had revealed all mysteries, which completely fulfilled the prophecies in the Book of Revelation. At first, I was very surprised by what he said, but through listening to his detailed fellowship, I felt what he said was reasonable and was in line with the prophecies in the Lord’s. I then decided to investigate the way because I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to welcome the Lord. As I was leaving, he gave me a book which contains the new words expressed by the Lord. I gladly accepted it, feeling as though I’d found some precious treasure.
When I got back home, I impatiently opened that book and began to read: “The Work in the Age of Law,” “The True Story Behind the Work of the Age of Redemption,” “The Age of Kingdom Is the Age of Word,” “All Is Achieved by the Word of God,” “Knowing the Three Stages of God’s Work Is the Path to Knowing God” … I saw that this book revealed all the mysteries of God’s past work as well as those in the Book of Revelation. Although I had believed in the Lord since childhood, I didn’t really understand the work that God did in the Old Testament and the New Testament. Today through reading these words, I came to understand that in the time of the Old Testament, the God Yahweh issued the law to lead the Israelites in their life on earth, allowing people to know what sin was, how to make offerings after committing sins, and how to worship God. In the late Age of Law, people were unable to conquer their sins, facing the danger of being executed by the law, and they needed an eternal sin offering. In order to save mankind, the Lord Jesus offered Himself up to the cross and redeemed humanity from sin, and so the work of the Age of Grace began. Although those who believed in the Lord had gained an eternal sin offering, their sinful nature had not been eliminated, and they were still living a life where they committed sins during the day but then confessed them at night. Therefore, according to the needs of us mankind, God has carried out in the last days the work of judging and cleansing people through His word to save us utterly from sin and to finally lead us into our beautiful destination. The three stages of work complement one another and are closely linked together, and if any of them were omitted, then the result of saving man would not be achieved. I had never heard the priest or any believer in the church say such things, and neither our prayer book nor the Bible contains them. I was so deeply drawn by these words that I read them every day after breakfast and sometimes would even forget to make lunch. At night, I would read the book and didn’t put it down until midnight. In order to deepen my impression and memorize God’s words, I would write down the essential parts on a notebook.
One day, I came across a piece entitled “Does the Trinity Exist?” Shocked, I answered in my heart with certainty, “Of course it does! This is without doubt.” But then a question arose in my mind: Why does this book ask that? So I continued reading to find out. I then came upon these words: “For the triune God simply does not exist. That is, the Trinity of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit simply does not exist. These are all conventional notions of man, and the fallacious beliefs of man.” These words made me feel really uncomfortable and I thought: “I’ve believed in the Trinitarian God for almost my entire life. Every time before and after reading the Scriptures, I would make the sign of the cross and say ‘In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.’ And we have conducted our faith in this way for generations. So how come this says that the Trinity does not exist? If that’s the case, then won’t my faith in the Lord all my life be in vain? Could it be that I have believed in something incorrectly?” I felt really puzzled about this and was in no mood to do anything, nor did I want to read that book anymore. In distress, I hurriedly kneeled down in front of the picture of the Lord and prayed in tears, “O God! Am I right to accept this stage of work? I’ve always believed that God is the Triune God, but this book says the Trinity does not exist. I cannot accept this. But the words in this book sound authoritative and tell me Your will as well as all the mysteries of the Bible that I didn’t understand, and they’ve also solved many of my difficulties that I failed to resolve in the past, making my heart feel very enlightened. Now I don’t know what I should do. If this is really Your new work, I ask You to enlighten and guide me and show me the right path.” After pondering it over and over, I wasn’t willing to give up, so I again picked up the book to read. When I still felt confused, I would go to read the Bible or pray in tears before the picture of the Lord, afraid that I would start believing in something that wasn’t true. That night, I tossed and turned, unable to sleep, and I kept reflecting about whether or not the Trinitarian God really existed. But no matter how I thought about this, I couldn’t come up with any answers, so I expected that my church friend would come so that I could ask him what exactly was going on.
A few days later, Ms. Zhang came to visit me commissioned by Wang Mei’s cousin, and she asked me with concern: “Ms. Liu, how do you feel about the book that we gave you?” I said, “I feel the words within it are very good. But it says that the Trinitarian God doesn’t exist, which is different from what I believe in. It is clearly recorded in the Bible: ‘And Jesus being baptized, forthwith came out of the water: and lo, the heavens were opened to him: and he saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove, and coming upon him. And behold a voice from heaven, saying: This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased’ (Matthew 3:16–17). And in Matthew 28:19 it says: ‘Going therefore, teach ye all nations; baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.’ These scriptures all mention the idea of the Father and the Son, so doesn’t this demonstrate that God is the Trinity of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit? Besides, we have prayed and crossed ourselves in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit for generations, and have never doubted it. So why does this book say that the God of the Trinity does not exist? I just couldn’t understand it. If the Trinitarian God really doesn’t exist, then won’t my faith in the Lord all these years be in vain?”
Smiling, Ms. Zhang said, “To figure out whether the term the Trinity is valid or not, we must first know when it came to be. In fact, the Old Testament never mentioned that God is the Triune God. It was after the Lord Jesus became flesh on earth that the idea of the Father and the Son was created. Especially when they saw the Lord Jesus call God in heaven Father as He prayed, people then believed that there was a God the Father in heaven. After the Lord Jesus was resurrected and returned to heaven, people later extrapolated from what was written in a number of places in the Scriptures that there was a Trinity, and there then appeared different views on whether God is the one and only true God or the God of the Trinity: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Based on what is written, in the more than three hundred years after the Lord, in the First Council of Nicaea, religious leaders from every nation had a debate over the oneness of God versus the multiplicity of God, and in the end they came up with the term for God of the Trinity, assuming that aside from Jesus the Son, there also existed a Father and Holy Spirit in heaven. This term has continued on since that day. This is how the idea of the Trinity we often talk about came to be.”
Ms. Zhang went on to say, “It can be seen that the theory of the Trinity is something that humans extrapolated based on their notions and imaginations and that it is simply incorrect. Actually the Lord Jesus’ words told us long ago that the saying of Triune God didn’t stand up to scrutiny. It is recorded in the Bible that because Philip didn’t know the essence of the incarnate God, he believed there was a Father in heaven while Jesus was the Son on earth and that God the Father and Jesus were two Gods, so he asked the Lord Jesus to show him the Father. The Lord Jesus, however, corrected his mistake, saying that the Father was in Him and He in the Father. From this we can see that the Father is the Son and the Son is the Father and that They are one and are inseparable. If we think Jesus is the Son and that there is a God the Father in heaven, then isn’t that making the same mistake as Philip?”
Ms. Zhang’s fellowship had me utterly convinced. I nodded in agreement, saying: “After hearing what you said today, I now understand that God and Jesus are actually one God and that Jesus didn’t acknowledge there was a God the Father in heaven at all. But there is still something I don’t understand: Since the Father and the Son are one God, why did the Lord Jesus call God in heaven Father when He prayed in the garden of Gethsemane?”
Ms. Zhang then replied, “We can find the answer to your question in the words of God. Let’s see what God’s word says, ‘When Jesus called God in heaven by the name of Father as He prayed, this was done only from the perspective of a created man, only because the Spirit of God had put on an ordinary and normal flesh and had the exterior cover of a created being. Even if within Him was the Spirit of God, His exterior appearance was still that of a normal man; in other words, He had become the “Son of man” of which all men, including Jesus Himself, spoke. Given that He is called, He is a person (whether man or woman, in any case one with the exterior shell of a human being) born into a normal family of ordinary people. Therefore, Jesus calling God in heaven by the name of Father was the same as how you at first called Him Father; He did so from the perspective of a created man. Do you still remember the Lord’s Prayer that Jesus taught you to memorize? “Our Father in heaven….” He asked all men to call God in heaven by the name of Father. And since He too called Him Father, He did so from the perspective of one who stands on an equal footing with you all. … His addressing God (that is, the Spirit in heaven) in such a manner, however, does not prove that He was the Son of the Spirit of God in heaven. Rather, it was simply that His perspective was different, not that He was a different person. The existence of distinct persons is a fallacy! Prior to His crucifixion, Jesus was a Son of man bound by the limitations of the flesh, and He did not fully possess the authority of the Spirit. That is why He could only seek the will of God the Father from the perspective of a created being. It is as He thrice prayed in Gethsemane: “Not as I will, but as You will.” Before He was laid on the cross, He was but the King of the Jews; He was , the Son of man, and not a body of glory. That is why, from the standpoint of a created being, He called God Father.’ From God’s words we can understand that when the Lord Jesus called God in heaven by the name of Father, He was doing this from the perspective of a created man, but it does not prove that He was the in heaven. Before the Lord Jesus was crucified, He was the Son of man, the Christ, not the embodiment of glory. So, when He called God in heaven Father from the perspective of a created being, or to put it another way, when the incarnate God called the Spirit in heaven His Father from the perspective of the flesh, this demonstrates the Lord Jesus’ humbleness and obedience.”
After listening to Ms. Zhang’s fellowship, my heart was brightened, and I said, “Turns out that when the Lord Jesus prayed to God in heaven as the Father, He was doing this from the perspective of the flesh, which is to say, from the perspective of one who stands on an equal footing with us. The Lord Jesus is too humble. Yet His praying this way does not prove that He is the Son of God. But there is something I still don’t quite understand: Why did God in heaven call the Lord Jesus His beloved Son?”
Ms. Zhang then explained with patience, “As for this question, God’s words have made it very clear. Let’s read another passage of God’s words together. God says: ‘There are still those who say, “Did not God expressly state that Jesus was His beloved Son?” Jesus is the beloved Son of God, in whom He is well pleased—this was certainly spoken by God Himself. That was God bearing witness to Himself, but merely from a different perspective, that of the Spirit in heaven bearing witness to His own incarnation. Jesus is His incarnation, not His Son in heaven. Do you understand? Do not the words of Jesus, “I am in the Father, and the Father in Me,” indicate that They are one Spirit? And is it not because of the incarnation that They were separated between heaven and earth? In reality, They are still one; no matter what, it is simply God bearing witness to Himself’ (“Does the Trinity Exist?”).
“Before, when we saw in the Bible that when the Lord Jesus was baptized, a voice from heaven said, ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased,’ we thought God was saying that Jesus was His Son. Only through reading God’s words did we realize that this is simply our notions and imaginations. Back then, when the Lord Jesus was doing His work on earth, what people at that time saw was the flesh of God. If the Holy Spirit had directly testified that the incarnate Lord Jesus was God, it would have been difficult for people to accept, because people at that time had no concept of God becoming flesh, nor did they know that such an average-seeming Son of man was actually the embodiment of God’s Spirit, the appearance of the God Yahweh in the flesh. Even though the Lord Jesus said the kingdom of heaven was at hand, brought people the way of repentance and manifested many miracles, fully revealing God’s authority and power, people still failed to recognize from the Lord Jesus’ word and work that the Lord Jesus was God Himself; they only acknowledged that the Lord Jesus was one of the prophets or called Him Master. Therefore, according to the stature and understanding of people at that time, God testified that the Lord Jesus was His beloved Son from the position of the Spirit, allowing people to see that the Lord Jesus was indeed from God—that way fit in better with people’s conceptions, and made it easier for people to accept the Lord’s salvation. But the idea of the Father and the Son was only appropriate for the years when the Lord Jesus became flesh. After He left, there was no longer any Father and Son.”
I said happily, “I understand more clearly through you fellowshiping this way. It was actually according to the stature of people at that time and to make it easier for them to accept the Lord Jesus’ salvation that God testified the Lord Jesus as His beloved Son. My previous understanding was too absurd. If God hadn’t come back and expressed the words to remedy my mistake, I wouldn’t be able to understand the truth even if I spent a lifetime of faith.”
“That’s true,” said Ms. Zhang. “How about we fellowship more about the truth regarding whether the Triune God exists?” “OK,” I nodded and said. “I have believed in the Triune God for many years, so it’s hard for me to completely understand this aspect of truth all at once. Please share more fellowship with me.”
Ms. Zhang then opened the book and handed it to me, saying, “Please read this passage of Almighty God’s words.” I took the book and read, “What is the Holy Father? What is the Son? What is the Holy Spirit? Is Jehovah the Holy Father? Is Jesus the Son? Then what of the Holy Spirit? Is not the Father a Spirit? Is not the essence of the Son also a Spirit? Was not the work of Jesus the work of the Holy Spirit? Was not the work of Jehovah at the time carried out by a Spirit the same as Jesus’? How many Spirits can God have? According to your explanation, the three persons of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are one; if this be so, then there are three Spirits, but to have three Spirits means there are three Gods. This means that there is no one true God; how can this kind of God still have the inherent essence of God? If you accept that there is only one God, then how can He have a son and be a father? Are these not all simply your notions? There is only one God, only one person in this God, and only one Spirit of God, much as it is written down in the Bible that ‘There is only one Holy Spirit and only one God.’ Regardless of whether the Father and the Son of which you speak exist, there is only one God after all, and the essence of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit you believe in is the essence of the Holy Spirit. In other words, God is a Spirit, but He is able to become flesh and live among men, as well as to be above all things. His Spirit is all-inclusive and omnipresent. He can simultaneously be in the flesh and in and above the universe. Since all people say that God is the only one true God, then there is a single God, divisible at will by none!” (“Does the Trinity Exist?”).
Ms. Zhang went on fellowshiping, “Through these words of Almighty God, we understand that there is only one God, only one Spirit of God and that God is the one true God and is not divided between different persons. If it is as we used to say, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are the Trinity of one God, then there are three persons, which means there are three Gods and that there is no one true God. We should know that from the time of creation until now, regardless of whether it is God working through the Spirit, rescuing the Israelites out of Egypt and proclaiming laws to guide the people’s lives, or the Spirit of God being realized in the flesh and nailed to the cross as the eternal sin offering for our sins, or God being incarnated in the flesh again in the last days, coming into the world to express the words and do a stage of work of judging, purifying and saving us mankind, allowing us to thoroughly break free from the binds of sin, these three stages of work are all done by one God. From this we can see that God is able to create the world, to lead mankind, to redeem the entire humanity, and moreover, to completely save all mankind. He is in the heavens and also on the earth; He is on high above the universes and among the multitude. There is only one God in heaven and on earth and, at all times, God can only be called the almighty and one true God. Therefore, the idea of the Trinity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit that we used to hold is simply untenable.”
Hearing this, I was so excited and said, “Almighty God’s words explain it very clearly. Now I finally understand the idea of the Triune God I have believed in for all my years is simply out of my conceptions and imaginings. God is the one and only God. Thinking about it now, we can see that, from the Age of Law to the Age of Grace, there was no ancient prophet or disciple of the Lord who once mentioned God was the Triune God, and neither did I ever see such a saying in the Bible all these years. But I actually held this idea for so many years based on my logic and imagination. I was so foolish and ignorant!”
Ms. Zhang said, “If it were not for the words expressed by Almighty God, how could we humans understand it?”
“Yes, thanks be to God!” we all said with one accord.
Afterward, through a period of reading the words of Almighty God and leading the church life, I became certain about God’s work of the last days.