Refuting the Socinian Unitarian Heresy
“And without controversy, great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen by angels, preached to the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.” 1 Timothy 3:16 - Webster’s Translation
Even if we go with the translation, “He was manifested in the flesh” in 1 Timothy 3:16, the Unitarian Socinian view is still untenable. For who is the “HE” who pre-existed to manifest Himself in the flesh? Someone clearly had to exist as a “He” before “he was manifested in the flesh.”
And again Heb. 2:14 says, “Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity” to be made “fully human in every way (Heb. 2:17 - NIV).”
Who then is the HE who SHARED IN OUR HUMANITY to be made “fully human in every way” (Heb. 2:17 - NIV)? Someone clearly had to exist as a “he” before being made “fully human in every way.” When we carefully read all of the words of inspired scripture we find that Jesus Christ had to have existed before his virgin conception and birth.
Jesus himself clearly stated that he existed both before and during the time of Abraham as recorded in John 8:57-59.
“57Then the Jews said to Him, ‘You are not yet fifty years old, and You have seen Abraham?’ 58 Truly, truly, I tell you, Jesus declared, ‘before Abraham was born, I am!’ 59At this, they picked up stones to throw at Him. But Jesus hid Himself and slipped away from the temple area.…”
When Jesus was asked, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have you SEEN ABRAHAM?” Jesus replied, “Before Abraham was born, I AM.” Jesus did not say, “Before Abraham was born, I was” as if he was created before Abraham. By saying, “before Abraham was born, I am” in the context of John 8, Jesus affirmed that he always pre-existed as the timeless God of Exodus 3:14. For if Jesus meant the same thing as saying, “I am Jesus the Messiah,” then why would the Jewish Pharisees have “picked up stones to throw at him?”
The Pharisees knew that Jesus had used “I AM” in the same manner that God the Father used “I AM” in Exodus 3:14. That is why they picked up stones to kill him.
“God said to Moses, ‘I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: I AM has sent me to you.’” Exodus 3:14
Benson’s Bible Commentary gives an accurate and thorough rendering of Exodus 3:14,
“The Septuagint renders the words ειμι ο ων, I AM the existing Being, or HE WHO IS; and the Chaldee, I AM HE WHO IS, and WHO WILL BE. That is, I am He that enjoys an essential, independent, immutable, and necessary existence, He that IS, and WAS, and IS TO COME. It explains his name Jehovah, and signifies, 1st, That he is self- existent: he has his being of himself, and has no dependence on any other. And being self-existent, he cannot but be self-sufficient, and therefore all-sufficient, and the inexhaustible fountain of being and blessedness. 2d, That he is eternal and unchangeable: the same yesterday, to-day, and forever. For the words are with equal propriety rendered, I WILL BE WHAT I AM, or, I AM WHAT I WILL BE, or, I WILL BE WHAT I WILL BE.”
God did not tell Moses to say, “I AM GOD Almighty” which would have been grammatically accurate. God told Moses to say to the Israelites, “I AM has sent me to you” which implies a timeless existence. This is the equivalent of Jesus saying, “Before Abraham was born I AM” in John 8:58. For Jesus is the timeless great “I AM” of Abraham, Moses, and the prophets.
“I AM” in Greek is “ego eimi.” Just as the English words, “I AM” can be used for individual people, so the Greek New Testament uses “ego eimi” for people saying “I AM” in the normal context of those words.
For example, John 18:4-6 says, “4Jesus, knowing all that was coming upon Him, stepped forward and asked them, ‘Who are you looking for?’ 5 ‘Jesus of Nazareth,’ they answered. Jesus said, ‘I am (ego eimi).’ And Judas His betrayer was standing there with them. 6When Jesus said, ‘I am,’ they drew back and fell to the ground.…”
Even though Jesus said, “I AM” in the normative context of being the man who was raised in Nazareth, the soldiers “fell to the ground.” However, John 8:58 proves that Jesus did not use “ego eimi” in the normative context of a created human being. He used these words in the same context that God used in Exodus 3:14, “I AM that I AM … I AM has sent me to you.”
Jesus never responded by saying that he did not see Abraham. Jesus’ response proves that he not only pre-existed to SEE ABRAHAM, he also pre-exited as the great "I AM" of eternity past (Exodus 3:14). This is why Heb. 1:8-12 proves that Jesus is the One who created the heavens and the earth as Yahweh God the Father before becoming a human son (see Heb. 1:10, Psalm 102:25, Heb. 3:3-4).
At 7:20 into Dan Gill and Joel Hemphill’s “Great is the mystery of godliness” video, Joel Hemphill (a Socinian Unitarian) said that Jesus is "the exact likeness of the Father" when commenting on Hebrews 1:3. How can Jesus be “the EXACTLY LIKE THE FATHER” and not be that Father with us reproduced as a true man through the virgin? For the only true God the Father said in Isaiah 46:9, “I am God and there is none else, I AM GOD AND THERE IS NONE LIKE ME?” Since Jesus Christ is like God, He must be that “God with us” as a true man.
21st Century Reformation Unitarians affirm that the indwelling Holy Spirit is Jesus Christ while claiming that Jesus is only a mere man. Yet how can a mere man be omnipresent like God and not be that God? No verse of scripture ever says that a created angelic being or created human being can be in more than one location at a time? Only the Most High God Himself “fills heaven and earth” (Jer. 23:24). Yet scripture proves that Jesus now “fills all things” according to Ephesians 4:10.
“He who descended is Himself also He who ascended far above all the heavens, so that HE MIGHT FILL ALL THINGS.” Ephesians 4:10 NASB
Only God is the omnipresent Spirit who can hear and answer prayer, but Jesus said in John 14:13, “If you shall ask anything in my name I WILL DO IT.” How can Jesus hear and answer prayers as God if he is not the omnipresent Spirit who fills all things?
Jesus said, “My sheep hear My voice and another they will not follow.” How can all of God's elect worldwide hear Jesus' voice if He is not the omnipresent God who became a man to save us?
The apostles believed that Christ was in them. “Christ in you the hope of glory (Col. 1:27).” Paul wrote “Christ lives in me” in Galatians 2:20. How can Christ live in His Church if He is not the Spirit of God?
“You are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be THE SPIRIT OF GOD dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have THE SPIRIT OF CHRIST he is not His.” Romans 8:9
“For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst.” Matthew 18:20
Wherefore, the scriptures prove that “the Spirit of Christ” is “the Spirit of God” as the omnipresent Spirit who indwells true New Testament believers. If Jesus is only a mere man, then how can Socinian Unitarians explain how Jesus can be in the midst of multiple congregations around the world all at once as the indwelling Spirit if he is only a man?
Furthermore, how can God's true Church be called "the bride of Christ" when the scriptures say we have only “One Husband?”
“For your husband is your Maker, Whose name is the LORD (YHWH) of hosts (Isaiah 54:5).”
“I betrothed you to ONE HUSBAND, to present you as a pure virgin to Christ (2 Cor. 11:2).”
If Christ is not the only true “God manifested in the flesh, justified in the Spirit” (1 Tim. 3:16) then we have two Spirit Husbands. Yet Paul wrote that we have "ONE HUSBAND" as we will be presented “as a pure virgin to Christ.” That makes Jesus Yahweh God who came to save us as a man through the Hebrew virgin.
“For your husband is your Maker, Whose name is the LORD (YHWH) of hosts (Isaiah 54:5).”
Hosea 2:19 and Jer. 31:32 also state that the only true God is our spiritual Husband. Arians (Jesus is an angel), Socinians (Jesus is just a man), and Trinitarians (Jesus is one of 3 Divine Persons) cannot explain how the church is presented to “ONE HUSBAND” who is Jesus Christ because inspired scripture calls the only true God the Father our husband (“the LORD YHWH” is “your husband” - Isaiah 54:5).
Can two or three divine persons be “one husband?” “I betrothed you to ONE HUSBAND, to present you as a pure virgin to Christ (2 Cor. 11:2).” Can a mere man replace God as our “ONE HUSBAND” while our Heavenly Father expressly said that He is our husband?
Hebrews 1:3 and Hebrews 2:17 prove that the Spirit of God also became a true man by the Holy Spirit of the only true God descending upon the virgin (Luke 1:35; Matthew 1:18-23).
1 Corinthians 10:1-4 (NASB) says, “... our fathers WERE all under the CLOUD and all passed through the SEA; 2and all WERE BAPTIZED into Moses in the cloud and in the sea; 3and all ATE the same SPIRITUAL FOOD; 4and all DRANK the same SPIRITUAL DRINK, for they WERE DRINKING from A SPIRITUAL ROCK WHICH FOLLOWED THEM, and the ROCK WAS CHRIST.”
Paul clearly stated by inspiration that the Israelite fathers “WERE under the cloud” (the Spirit of God) “and all ATE the same SPIRITUAL FOOD.” And they all “WERE BAPTIZED in the cloud and in the sea” (they experienced a type of water and Spirit baptism), “and all DRANK” from the Spirit of God. “For they WERE DRINKING from a Spiritual Rock which FOLLOWED THEM, and the ROCK WAS CHRIST.” Notice that the text says that “they were drinking from a Spiritual Rock which FOLLOWED THEM.” Could the Israelites have not ate and drank from the same spiritual food and drink while the scriptures say that they did? Since inspired scripture says that “they were drinking from a Spiritual Rock which FOLLOWED them,” we know that the “spiritual rock” is not talking about the literal rock at Horeb. Could the literal rock at Horeb have “FOLLOWED THEM” in the wilderness? Do literal rocks follow people?
We know that “the cloud by day and fire by night” followed the Israelites which clearly speaks of the Spirit of God which “WAS CHRIST” before his birth at Bethlehem. Thus the Holy Spirit of the only true God the Father also became a man within the Hebrew virgin. For 2 Peter 1:21 says the Holy Spirit was in the prophets but 1 Peter 1:11 identifies that Spirit as “the Spirit of Christ” “in them” (in the prophets).