The Trinity is not a teaching of Jesus or of the early Christians. In fact it is “a teaching of the church.” In its 1999 issue on the Trinity, The Living Pulpit observed: “Sometimes, it seems that everyone assumes that the doctrine of the trinity is standard Christian theological fare,” but it added that it is not “a biblical idea.”
The New Catholic Encyclopedia (1967) discusses the Trinity at length and admits: “The Trinitarian dogma is in the last analysis a late 4th-century invention. . . . The formulation ‘one God in three Persons’ was not solidly established, certainly not fully assimilated into Christian life and its profession of faith, prior to the end of the 4th century.”
Martin Werner, as professor at the University of Bern, Switzerland, observed: “Wherever in the New Testament the relationship of Jesus to God, the Father, is brought into consideration, whether with reference to his appearance as a man or to his Messianic status, it is conceived of and represented categorically as subordination.” Clearly, what Jesus and the early Christians believed is far different from the Trinity teaching of churches today. From where, then, did this teaching come?
The Bible tells of many gods and goddesses that people worshiped, including Ashtoreth, Milcom, Chemosh, and Molech. (1 Kings 11:1, 2, 5, 7) Even many people in the ancient nation of Israel once believed that Baal was the true God. So Jehovah’s prophet Elijah presented the challenge: “If Jehovah is the true God, go following him; but if Baal is, go following him.”—1 Kings 18:21
The worship of pagan gods grouped in threes, or triads, was also common before Jesus was born. “From Egypt came the ideas of a divine trinity,” observed historian Will Durant. In the Encyclopædia of Religion and Ethics, James Hastings wrote: “In Indian religion, e.g., we meet with the trinitarian group of Brahmā, Siva, and Viṣṇu; and in Egyptian religion with the trinitarian group of Osiris, Isis, and Horus.”
So there are many gods. Did early Christians acknowledge this? And did they view Jesus as Almighty God? The study and reasoning about this matter can show the divine truth that leads to eternal life!