Why Jews Don’t Believe in the Trinity
The Jewish people as a distinct historic community do not believe in the trinity. Throughout history many Jews have chosen to die rather than accept a doctrine that deifies a human being.
Trinitarian Christians take offense at this Jewish position. These Christians do not consider themselves idolaters. They believe that Jesus is somehow “one and the same” as the God of Israel who the Jewish people worship. These Christians point to various passages in the Jewish Bible where God Himself appears in a limited manifestation. The presence of God in the Tabernacle and in the Temple, the presence of God in the burning bush seen by Moses, and the image that Ezekiel saw are all examples of manifestations of the Divine that took place in the limits of this world. These Christians argue that their belief in Jesus is just another example of a divine manifestation in a limited format.
This Christian argument is invalid. There are several ways of demonstrating that this Christian argument is without merit, but for the sake of brevity I will limit myself to one.
Worship is something that takes place in the human heart. Worship means submission. Submitting and surrendering oneself to the object of devotion. Something must serve to motivate the submission. What is it?
Now the human heart can be motivated into submission by a wide variety of factors. The beauty of a physical object, (real or imagined), can motivate a person into submission. The power of a natural force, (real or imagined), can generate feelings of worship and submission in a person’s heart. Various qualities that humans may possess, such as holiness, righteousness, self-sacrifice, wisdom, (real or imagined), can motivate submission towards the one who possesses these qualities.
All of these submissions would be idolatrous (I certainly recognize the distinction between respect, reverence and honor that is appropriate to be directed towards a human being – what I refer to here is that total and complete surrender of self that is only appropriate towards God).
The only submission that is not idolatrous is the submission of the created being towards its Creator – because He is my Creator.
When God appeared in the Tabernacle – the worship that ensued was motivated by the understanding that I now stand in the presence of the One who created me together with all of my fellow creations. The root of that worship in the human heart was the recognition that I owe everything to the One who created all.
The Christians read about Jesus as a human character in a book. The feelings that are generated towards this human character are motivated by qualities that this character seems to possess. The perceived righteousness of Jesus, his charisma, the aura of mystery he generates, his wisdom and his self-sacrifice motivate Christians to submit themselves in worship towards him.
This is not worship of the Creator.
The feelings in the Christian’s heart are not generated by the recognition that everything, including myself, belongs to the One Creator of all. All of the feelings of submission towards Jesus are entirely possible without believing in the Christian claims for the divinity of Jesus. If a Christian were to discover that Jesus is in fact not divine, would the feelings of submission towards Jesus immediately disappear? Of-course not!
The missionary argument that compares the Christian worship of Jesus with Israel’s worship of the One Creator of all is invalid.
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Yisroel C. Blumenthal