Verses Evangelicals Ignore or Explain Away: 1 Cor. 8:6

Verse 3 (goal is 100)

1 Corinthians 8:6

For us there is but one God, the Father, out of whom are all things, and we in him, and one Lord, Jesus the King, through whom are all things, and we through him.


Ignored (under the radar, not clearly explained or looked at)

By Whom:

With rare exceptions, all western Christians, including even the Roman Catholics

“Jesus only” believers (“modalists“) don’t ignore this verse, but they have a bizarre interpretation of it. Modalism is so easy to refute that I won’t bother here. If you ever run across it, you’ll be astonished at their bizarre ideas.

Why Ignored:

In western Christianity, the definition of the Trinity changed during the fourth and fifth century. Even though western Christians give lip service to the Apostles and Nicene Creeds, they ignore the exact same wording that is found in 1 Cor. 8:6. “We believe in one God, the Father … and one Lord, Jesus the King.”

We prefer, most of us unknowingly, the Athanasian Creed. It says, “So the Father is God, the Son is  God, and the Holy Spirit is  God, and yet there are not three Gods, but one God.”

This tradition does not come from the apostles. It is new from the fourth or fifth century. There is no terminology in the Bible to match it. However, the definition of the Trinity found in the Athanasian Creed has taken such hold in the west that it is never questioned, and is, in fact, often held up as <em>the</em> standard of orthodoxy. What is ironic is that the Nicene Creed is often cited in defense of our modern definition, when in fact the Nicene Creed uses scriptural terminology: “We believe in one God, the Father Almighty … and in one Lord, Jesus the King.”

1 Cor. 8:6 is ignored because we’re so stuck on the definition that came from the Athanasian Creed that no one even notices our terminology is not scriptural.



About Paul Pavao

I am married, the father of six, and currently the grandfather of two. I run a business, live in a Christian community, teach, and I am learning to disciple others better than I have ever been able to before. I believe God has gifted me to restore proper foundations to the Christian faith. In order to ensure that I do not become a heretic, I read the early church fathers from the second and third centuries. They were around when all the churches founded by the apostles were in unity. I also try to stay honest and open. I argue and discuss these foundational doctrines with others to make sure my teaching really lines up with Scripture. I am encouraged by the fact that the several missionaries and pastors that I know well and admire as holy men love the things I teach. I hope you will be encouraged too. I am indeed tearing up old foundations created by tradition in order to re-establish the foundations found in Scripture and lived on by the churches during their 300 years of unity.
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4 Responses to Verses Evangelicals Ignore or Explain Away: 1 Cor. 8:6

  1. “Still, you acknowledge an eternal begetting outside of Jesus’ birth on earth. Most Christians don’t believe that, or have never given thought to it. ” that is incredible.

    as for the rest, I am not talking about things like who sends who. There is a list to answer JWs in a round design, that shows all the places where the same titles and general kinds of activities like creating and saving are ascribed to the various Persons of The Trinity.

    Now, sure, The Father is called “God,” but do you recognize that Jesus Christ in His preincarnate begottenness is the same substance and nature as The Father and is therefore also God and also YHWH? That we can pray to Him as God? That The Holy Spirit is the same substance and nature as The Father, and is therefore also God and also YHWH? Which is not about Divine Names Movement or anything, but about the meaning approximately “The Self Existent Eternal Creator” ?

    These are distinct but united or never fully separated from each other, like conjoined triplets, one of which spawned the other two, but sharing the same body like the two headed girl only with a third head, if that will help you understand.

    The Trinity may not have been formally stated before the third century, but that was because of the Arian heresy, which held that Jesus was not fully divine but a created being, and that “there was a time when He was not.” The recognition of The Father, Son and Holy Spirit as divine was present, but had to be formulated in response to Arianism. The baptismal formula Christ taught was this phrasing also.

    The Nicene Creed in the west is said with the filioque, that The Holy Spirit proceeds from The Father and The Son, which was added by Rome in the west not long before it went into schism from the undivided Orthodox Church. the term Orthodox was developed meaning right belief, right praise, the former shaping the latter, in response to Arianism and to distinguish ourselves from arian churches.

    • paulfpavao says:

      After I recovered my breath from your siamese triplet caricature of God, I read you first comment again. In your first comment you mentioned “The Trinity position you are questioning.” I responded because I thought you understood the Trinity position I was questioning. Now I don’t think so.

      In this second comment of yours, you seem to be taking an Orthodox stance. I am not questioning the Orthodox description of the Trinity. I am question the western (Catholic/Protestant) one. You say it’s incredible that most Christians don’t acknowledge a begetting of the Son prior to creation, whether eternal and ongoing or not. Nonetheless, in the west, that is true, and the Catholic/Protestant definition is much different than the Orthodox in far more than the issue of the filioque.

      So my answer to you is that “the Trinity I am questioning” is not the Orthodox one, and if you are defending the Orthodox explanation of the Trinity, I have no beef with you. Overall, never having lost the Nicene definition of the Trinity, like the west has, the Orthodox “terminology” is probably going to be better than mine.

      On the other hand, you have got to replace that Siamese Trinity illustration with one more historic. For example, the most common description by the early Fathers is that the Trinity is like a spring (the Source/Father), which flows forth as a stream (the Product/Power/Son), or like the Sun and a sunbeam. Another illustration that includes all three persons is the Root, trunk, and branches of a tree. There is a flow from source outward, but no division, no separation of essence.

  2. The Trinity position you are questioning as later, is simply a way of answering objections that ignore some verses and focus on others. Unless you take the One God in Three Persons position, The Bible self contradicts on the subject. Since YHWH is compound and all Three Persons are called YHWH at one point or another, and given identical descriptions, status, functions in creation (king, shepherd, etc.) in OT and NT it follows they are all one God, but within that One God there is a monarchy, The Father is the ORIGIN and SOURCE of the other Two, but they did not have a beginning, because although The Father is the ground of Their being The Son is ETERNALLY BEGOTTEN (ongoing) and The Holy Spirit is ETERNALLY PROCEEDING (ongoing) from The Father Who is Himself unbegotten and without origin or source.

    • paulfpavao says:

      The Trinity position I am questioning ignores several verses and does not deal properly with others. For example, exactly how does John 17:3 (“that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent”) in any way fit into the modern description of the Trinity. Sure, all the “apologists” offer weak explanations and are satisfied, but their hearers are not satisfied, and the Jehovah’s Witnesses have a field day with that verse.

      You brought up one other thing that is a problem. “All Three Persons are called YHWH at one point or another, and given identical descriptions, status, functions in creation (king, shepherd, etc.) in OT and NT.”

      Really? Am I reading a different Bible than you? The Holy Spirit is talked about identically with the Father? Identically with the Son?

      I don’t think that is even almost true. The Father always sends the Son. The Son never sends the Father. The Son is said to sit at the right hand of God. The Father is never said to be seated at the left hand of God. The Holy Spirit is never said to be seated anywhere. Only the Son has ever been seen. “God” has never been seen, and of course, the Holy Spirit has never been seen. The Holy Spirit speaks only the words of the Son. The Son does only the deeds of the Father.

      One “eternally begotten” you would at least be following the Alexandrian fathers if you hadn’t added “(ongoing).” I think Clement and Origen were being weird in their description of “eternally begotten,” though they did not teach an ongoing begetting. They taught that the Son had always been begotten because he was begotten before time. Earlier writers universally say that there was a time when God was alone, and his Word was inside him. He then begat the Word before the creation of the universe.

      Still, you acknowledge an eternal begetting outside of Jesus’ birth on earth. Most Christians don’t believe that, or have never given thought to it. I think everything changes in a Christian’s mind once he realizes the Bible teaches that Jesus was not just begotten in Bethlehem, but begotten before the foundation of the world. Just that realization brings all the Scriptures into harmony.

      “Eternally proceeding” regarding the Holy Spirit is later theology, too, but I don’t object to it.

      “The Father Who is Himself unbegotten and without origin or source.” This is early Christian terminology. It’s great.

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