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Tuesday, December 29, 2015

1 Thessalonians 5:23 - Is Man a Trinity?

1 Thessalonians 5:23, along with Genesis 1:26,27, is often presented by trinitarians as an alleged proof of their trinity dogma. Evidently, the thought is that man is presented as a trinity in 1 Thessalonians 5:23 and that since man is God's image (Genesis 1:26,27), then God also is a trinity.
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1 Thessalonians 5:23 speaks of the spirit, soul and body of the Christian church as a whole; it is certainly not describing man as a trinity. If it was, then we would have to say that the human soul is a separate and distinct person of each man, and yet at the same that the human soul is all of what each man is. Additionally, we would have to say that the spirit of a man is another separate and distinct person of each man, and yet the spirit of a man is also fully the man. Furthermore, the same would have to be true of the body; the body of each man would have to be a person separate and distinct from the other two persons, and yet that body would have to be fully the man himself. On the other hand, however, Paul was not praying that the bodies of the believers be preserved until Christ returned. In Acts 4:32, we read that “The multitude of them that believed were of one heart and one soul,” and in Ephesians 4:4, the Apostle points out that there is one BODY AND ONE SPIRIT. In Philippians 1:27, he prays that Christians may “stand firm in one spirit, with one soul striving for the faith of the gospel.” The true spirit has been preserved in the faithful called-out ones. Please see our study: 1 Thessalonians 5:23 – The Spirit, Soul and Body of the Church Spirit, Soul and Body Genesis 1:26,27 God said, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the sky, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth." God created man in his own image. In God's image he created him; male and female he created them. What is evidently being imagined, assumed and added to what is written in Genesis 1:26,27, is that man's being made in the image of God means that man is likewise a trinity, as man is alleged to be presented in 1 Thessalonians 5:23. In reality, "God (ELOHIM)" in Genesis 1:26 is presented as being one person who speaks to at least another person. We provide an excerpt from our study: Genesis 1:26 - In the Image of God
In what way, then, was man created in the image of God? We know that man is separate from other animals due to his ability to reason, speak languages, etc. We can also reason that man was created in God’s image in that he was endowed with moral qualities like that of his Creator, but with the ability to choose to do what is right, or to do what is wrong. In this sense man was “crowned with the glory of God”, but after disobeying, he became short of the glory of God. (Psalm 8:5; Romans 3:23) However, the scripture itself points to the fact that to man was given a dominion. That is, that just as God rules over all the universe, so he appointed to man a dominion, to have all things on earth put under his feet. (Psalm 8:6-8) At present, due to man’s fallen condition, all things are not now under man’s feet. (Hebrews 2:8) But in the age to come this dominion will again be restored to mankind.
There is nothing in either Genesis 1:26,27 or 1 Thessalonians 5:23 that says that man's being made in the image of his Creator means that man is a trinity of three person, each separate and distinct from each, but each of which is fully the man. We find nothing about a trinity at all in either Genesis 1:26,27 or 1 Thessalonians 5:23. See also our study: Genesis 1:26 - God Speaks to His Son