The nature of the God from the Bible is considered in this article. This involves first considering what a God actually is in the general case. The common definition, or defining characteristics, of what a God is can be misleading as it is often dependent on human knowledge. The issue becomes more complicated when multiple gods are considered. When there are many different religions across the world, there is the question of which ones are worshipping the same gods. In particular, the Bible only allows for one true God. In the light of the use of models, the way the God of the Bible is viewed is considered. In this context, the application of the popular Trinity model is questioned.
2. The Identity of God
It is perhaps worth considering what a “God” actually is in the linguistic sense. Some dictionary definitions are (Concise Oxford):
- Superhuman being worshipped as having power over nature and human fortunes
- Image, animal, or other object, worshipped as symbolizing, being the visible habitation of, or itself possessing, divine power; an idol.
- Supreme being, creator and ruler of universe.
From these definitions, the essential attribute of a god is that it has a superhuman or supernatural power. The precise definition is difficult, as words that may describe a god are generally ill-defined in their usage. For example, there are many things that would be considered superhuman, like the effect of the weather, but would not be considered to be gods.
Supernatural is an even more difficult word to use, as it is more an expression of what we know about something rather than the thing itself. Something is only considered supernatural if it is not understood. Many years ago, lightning may have been considered a supernatural occurrence, but now we can say that it is an electrical discharge across two differing potentials. We may still not fundamentally understand electricity, but we have an explanation that allows it to be considered natural. If some supernatural event were to be found to be caused by the presence of aliens, or a previously unknown life-form, it would no longer be supernatural. It would then be a normal, understood event.
The Paradox in Proving God
This has important ramifications on the understanding of the presence of a God. If the uniquely identifying feature of a god is that it has supernatural capabilities, there is a receding horizon problem. As soon as evidence for the god is found, the value of the evidence is reduced simply because it exists. Although the word “supernatural” may not be used, people expect the actions of a God to be something that is not understood by humans.
Acts of God
As an example, for many years, the various actions of the weather have been considered an “act of God”. While now it is mainly useful as a classification label by insurance companies (a subset of the “bad risk” classification), it has its origins in the belief that these weather events were related to the actions of a God. In the past, the weather was very poorly understood. It basically followed a seasonal pattern, but sometimes it would do completely unexpected things. A cyclone, hurricane or tornado would be greatly devastating, but poorly understood. In a similar category are earthquakes, volcanos and tidal waves.
Because the general definition of a God's power relates to the things that are not understood, these events were closely associated with the actions of a God, or of gods. Consider the record in the Bible of the man Jonah:
Jonah 1:1.: Now the word of the LORD came to Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, 2. "Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry out against it; for their wickedness has come up before Me." 3. But Jonah arose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the LORD. He went down to Joppa, and found a ship going to Tarshish; so he paid the fare, and went down into it, to go with them to Tarshish from the presence of the LORD. 4. But the LORD sent out a great wind on the sea, and there was a mighty tempest on the sea, so that the ship was about to be broken up. 5. Then the mariners were afraid; and every man cried out to his god, and threw the cargo that was in the ship into the sea, to lighten the load. But Jonah had gone down into the lowest parts of the ship, had lain down, and was fast asleep. 6. So the captain came to him, and said to him, "What do you mean, sleeper? Arise, call on your God; perhaps your God will consider us, so that we may not perish." NKJV
When faced with a severe storm, the men on the boat prayed to their gods, and they asked Jonah to pray to his god as well. You don't have to believe a word of the Bible to accept this point. It is only to establish the ideas of humans. Whether the Bible is from a God, or a grand deception written by humans, this event still portrays the understanding and ideas of people. If you accept the record about Jonah it shows that God does control the weather, otherwise it just shows that people thought that a God controlled the weather. For the skeptic, the important point is the actions of the other passengers in the record --- They saw the weather as something that was controlled by the gods.
In recent years, the perception has changed. Things like the weather, earthquakes and volcanos are better understood. This understanding is perhaps only superficial in reality as these events still cannot be controlled, and the prediction is poor. But the understanding is sufficient to have these things seen as natural events. There is now a scientific viewpoint on them, which separates it from the supernatural, and ultimately from the association with a god. With the scientific ideas of complexity, infinite sensitivity and chaos, people basically now claim to understand it. It is unfortunate, perhaps, that they know all about it only to the extent that they can classify it into a class of “things” that are too complex to understand. In other words to say that something is scientifically understood, often only means that it has been found to be like something else. It can then be classified as a particular type of system which has a name --- And if it has a name then it is obviously understood.
The important point here is that with this increase in understanding, however shallow it is, the elements of the “supernatural” class decreases. If the definition or perception of a god is linked with this supernatural class, the definition has also been changing. This is particularly important if we are to consider the visible evidence of the presence of a god.
I will pose the question: “If there was an event that showed the existence of a god, what would it be like?” If it were a one-off but very spectacular event, what would people think? If it only happened once, it would be in danger of being placed in the supernatural type classification. Basically it couldn't prove anything, as it only happened once and couldn't be understood.
As an alternative, what about an event that continued or was repetitive? An example of this could be like the pillar of file that is recorded in the biblical book of Exodus. It tells of signals that were given to the ancient nation of Israel when they were migrating through the desert.
Exodus 13:21.: And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so as to go by day and night. NKJV
Would this prove the existence or character of God? It could be very spectacular, and would certainly provoke extensive scientific investigation. There would be many excited people trying to work out how it occurred, whether it demonstrated a useful source of alternative energy, whether an enemy country put it there, and if it was (or could be) related to espionage.
After a while, however, knowledge about the pillar of fire would be gained. At that point its mechanism could be classified and its behaviour modelled. It would then be a natural event and part of our scientific knowledge. It would not serve the purpose of proving the existence of God, as it would now be considered a natural occurrence, just like the weather, the sun, and life on earth. It might be necessary to rethink existing theories to accommodate the findings, but that is not new, as there is a long history of changes in our understanding of physics.
Newton proved that the the classical philosophers were wrong, Einstein proved that Newton was wrong, Heisenberg proved that Einstein was wrong --- and no-one understands why Heisenberg should be right. It might be then that $<$the guy who understood the pillar of fire$>$ would show that Heisenberg was wrong.
To some extent this must have been what happened to the Israelites who were recorded to have seen the pillar of cloud and fire. In a matter of only a very short period of time they had doubts about the power of their God. In the very next chapter, they expressed their concerns and lack of faith to their leader Moses,
Exodus 14:11.: Then they said to Moses, "Because there were no graves in Egypt, have you taken us away to die in the wilderness? Why have you so dealt with us, to bring us up out of Egypt? NKJV
Later they worshipped idols and rebelled against their God on many occasions, all in the presence of the pillar of fire and other miracles.
There is a paradox here. If something is not understood, it will not be accepted as a sign of God's existence because it is not understood. If it is understood however, it is understood and hence natural. As it is a natural part of our world, it does not show the existence of God. There are essentially two adaptive systems which act together to lessen the impact on perception that would result from a true “act of God”. So using this philosophy, it is difficult to construct an event that would show the existence and power of a god.
The paradox is even greater if the God knows, or can predict, the future. In this case there will possibly have been a mechanism in place specifically for the act in question. Knowing the future need, God could provide what we think of as the physical principles to enable this event to occur. It is likely that these physical principles would be observed before the event, and so a scientific explanation could be provided all the more easily.
The more beautiful and neat the design of the world -- at the fundamental level -- the better it fits in with the scientific model of the earth. So the the very same things that show the existence of God, support the validity of science. For example, God could have developed an amazingly good object-oriented design technique in populating the earth with animals. This would allow a coherent design method and re-use of successful anatomy modules. The response from scientists would be that the similarity between species obviously proves that creation was through evolution --- and so in their minds, God does not have to exist.
3. Belief in Gods
People across the world, and at different times in history have had different ideas of the concept of a god. In modern times, there are basically three recognised views of God in the western Judao-Christian society:
- Believer: Where the person believes there is a God - and may or may not actually worship that God.
- Agnostic: An Agnostic will essentially claim that is does not matter whether there is a God or not.
- Atheist: A person who believes that there is no God.
These are only broad classifications, and many people embrace ideologies that span more than one of these categories. There are people who nominally believe in a God, but do not place any importance in it. It could also be argued that there are atheists who essentially worship a god of their own creation. By turning the supernatural into the science, the science has filled the role that a god might have done previously in a person's life.
It is worth considering how the difference in belief patterns impacts on the ideology of a person. This is perhaps well illustrated in the origin of the person's moral code. Every person has a form of moral code that determines what they feel is a reasonable thing to do and what is not acceptable. Even if it is to say that everything is admissible, then the code of that person is that there are no restrictions.
Traditionally, nations have feared a god or gods, and the moral code was directed at pleasing that god. In modern times this is still largely the case for the major world religions. Christians and Jews, for example, see the Bible as the word of God. The commandments and directions in the Bible then form the code of conduct for these people. Even if they knowingly or unknowingly deviate from some of the principles, there is an accepted source for a lifestyle code.
Atheists, in principle, do not have an equivalent source of standards. With no higher power to be responsible to, there is no inherent restriction on what people should do. There is no fundamental code, for example, to prevent even things such as murder and cannibalism from being considered “acceptable”. There would be nothing fundamental to say that these things would be a bad thing. With there being no perceived difference between humans and other animals, there would be no reason why people should have any more rights than a cow, sheep or ant.
In practice, however, atheists are inclined to obey a set of humanist principles. In western societies these principles stem from the Christian type principles which have had a widespread influence over the last few centuries. These principles form a type of truce, with the implicit assumption that “you can do anything you want, as long as you don't hurt anyone else”. There are, however, some perceived principles to be observed. These come from issues such as the restrictions imposed by the environment. In this case, their conduct is determined by the word of scientists instead of the word of their God.
Consider the words to the nation of Israel recorded in Deuteronomy:
Deut 11:26.: " Behold, I set before you today a blessing and a curse: 27. "the blessing, if you obey the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you today; 28. "and the curse, if you do not obey the commandments of the LORD your God, but turn aside from the way which I command you today, to go after other gods which you have not known. NKJV
Here they are promised to be blessed if they follow the commandments of God, or cursed if they failed to obey them. In comparison, the world is busy reducing carbon dioxide emissions because scientists have said that they will be cursed by climate change if they do not do so. The motivation is very similar to that given in the Bible. This suggests that atheists still worship a form of god. It may not be so in name, but it is in principle.
The worship of science can be very similar in nature to the worship of a God, as can be seen by this comparison:
- Worship God because he is their creator.
- Obey and study God to obtain a blessing rather than curse.
- Seek the truth of their origin.
- Obey and study science to obtain a blessing rather than a curse.
Having established that everyone believes in a god, or a god-substitute, it is worth considering the implications that different people are worshipping different gods. In some cases this represents no logical problem. Some religions, such as Agnosticism, accept the possibility that others can be correct. In contrast many are exclusive. For example, by definition, Atheism is exclusive. Its very identity claims that there is no god. Therefore it is not possible for both Atheism and a religion with a god to be correct. At least one must be false. It is useful to determine whether exclusivity is required, as this simplifies the inter-relationships between the religions. A common view is that different religions and the worship of different gods are just different ways to the same thing. Some people will also say that is a naive pipe-dream. If there exists a religion which is both exclusive and correct, then it shows all of the incompatible ones to be incorrect.
Christianity, as described by both the old and new testaments of the Bible, claims an exclusivity. The book of Acts states this directly,
Acts 4:10.: "let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole. 11. "This is the 'stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone.' 12. "Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved." NKJV
So assuming that the God of the Bible is true, it shows others are false.
The Same God
During the times of the Greek and Roman empires, polytheistic worship was common. Most of the civilisations prior to these also worshipped multiple gods. There were gods for agriculture, fertility and the weather, and many other aspects of life. In addition different nations and tribes would worship different gods. These were often not exclusive, as one nation would believe in the existence of the gods of another nation, but choose instead to worship their own. This is consistent with the above record about Jonah, where the captain wanted each passenger to pray to his own god. The assumption was that any one of a number of gods could have brought on the storm, or have the capability to save the ship.
Since the time of the dominance of the Roman Catholic Church, this concept of polytheism is much less common. Of the ancient nations, Israel was one of the few that believed that there was a single God. Christianity was based on Judaism, and catholicism was based on Christianity, and so inherited the monotheistic component. The importance of this is that now many of the world's religions worship a single, exclusive God. This raises the question of whether they are attempting to worship the same god in different ways, or whether they are worshipping different gods. For example: is the god of the Catholics the same god as that of the Church of England? and of the Baptists? and of the Jews? and of the Moslems?
I will consider this aspect though an Old Testament example:
The Golden Calf
Shortly after leaving their captivity in Egypt, the Israelites came to Mt. Sinai. It was at that time that Moses was to appear before God on the mountain to receive a series of commandments and laws. The beginning of these commandments is recorded in Exodus 20:
Exodus 20:2.: " I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. 3. " You shall have no other gods before Me. 4. " You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; NKJV
Although it is the so-called “ten commandments” that receive the greatest attention during this episode, the very first commandments and precepts were very much related to God himself. In this passage, God says a few things:
- Who his is
- What he has done. At the time, the delivery from Egypt would have been one of the greatest things in the life of the Israelites, and was visibly granted through a higher power.
- Then there was the commandment to neither have or to worship other gods. God wanted the recognition of being the only God. In particular, there was the commandment to not create any idol, even if it was intended to be an image for the true God.
After receiving the commandments and instructions from God, the Israelites agreed to the terms. They did not consider these terms to be unreasonable, but instead agreed to obey them,
Exodus 24:3.: So Moses came and told the people all the words of the LORD and all the judgments. And all the people answered with one voice and said, "All the words which the LORD has said we will do." NKJV
After this event, Moses was instructed to go up into Mt. Sinai to receive further commandments and the tables of stone,
Exodus 24:18.: So Moses went into the midst of the cloud and went up into the mountain. And Moses was on the mountain forty days and forty nights. NKJV
So immediately after the acceptance of the commandments, Moses was drawn away for an extended period of time. The people in the camp were left under the charge of two men, named Aaron and Hur. Over this six-week period, the people started to become nervous, and were worried that Moses had not returned. This is perhaps understandable, as Moses had been such a strong and prominent leader through all of the successes of the escape. In their anxiety, however, they disobeyed the very first of the commandments that they had agreed to.
Exodus 32:1.: Now when the people saw that Moses delayed coming down from the mountain, the people gathered together to Aaron, and said to him, "Come, make us gods that shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him." NKJV
After losing contact with Moses, the people very quickly chose to make their own gods. In the modern context it is difficult to understand what useful purpose could be achieved through the creation of gods, but in the culture of the people of the time, it must have appeared useful. In any case, they wanted a figure-head of leadership. As leader, Aaron then agreed to their requests, and organised the construction of an idol.
Exodus 32:2.: And Aaron said to them, "Break off the golden earrings which are in the ears of your wives, your sons, and your daughters, and bring them to me." 3. "So all the people broke off the golden earrings which were in their ears, and brought them to Aaron. NKJV
It is interesting to then see the perceived role of the calf in the Israelites' worship:
Exodus 32:4.: And he received the gold from their hand, and he fashioned it with an engraving tool, and made a molded calf. Then they said, "This is your god, O Israel, that brought you out of the land of Egypt!" 5. So when Aaron saw it, he built an altar before it. And Aaron made a proclamation and said, "Tomorrow is a feast to the LORD." 6. Then they rose early on the next day, offered burnt offerings, and brought peace offerings; and the people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play. NKJV
The claim was that the calf was the god that brought them out of Egypt. In a way, they felt that they were worshipping the same god, but in a different form. This is confirmed by Aaron proclaiming a feast to Yahweh, the name of the true God in the Bible, as if He were the calf. They thought that they were worshipping the same God, but the true God did not think so. The following passage reveals the response of God to these actions,
Exodus 32:7.: And the LORD said to Moses, "Go, get down! For your people whom you brought out of the land of Egypt have corrupted themselves. 8. "They have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them. They have made themselves a molded calf, and worshiped it and sacrificed to it, and said, 'This is your god, O Israel, that brought you out of the land of Egypt!' " NKJV
God saw that the people had corrupted themselves, and that it was an outright breach of the commandments that they had been given. Perhaps even greater than the breaking of the commandments was that they were worshipping an idol --- another god --- and attributing the actions of the true God to being actions of the idol.
The people thought that they had been doing the right thing in worshipping the god that had released them from Egypt --- So what had gone wrong? They identified their god by what they claimed it had done. They labelled it to be the god that brought them out of Egypt. This god would surely be worth worshipping, but it is just that the God that really did bring them out of Egypt did not consider himself to either be a golden calf, or to be sufficiently represented by one.
In a modern context, one could equivalently worship “the god who created the Bible”. Just as the Israelites worshipped the calf as the god who brought them out of Egypt, this need not be pleasing to the true God.
There were two fundamental problems in worshipping their God as a calf:
- They were disobeying the specific commandments of the very God that they were pretending to worship. One of the very first commandments was that they should not create any image or idol. In modern times, this would be like worshipping the God of the Bible, but disobeying its moral standards, such as condoning homosexuality --- which is something that some so-called Christian churches to.
- The image of the calf was not the image that God had given of himself. In short, he was not a calf, and did not want to be a calf. They were worshipping a god of a different nature and form to the real God. To humans, the true nature and image of God may not be important. As such, they then feel free to create an image and model that is convenient to them. This event, however, shows that the true God does not accept this.
Throughout the old testament, and in places in the new, people are continually warned against worshipping and trusting in idols. There is a constant distinction between the one true God, and the false idols.
Idols taught the wrong thing about God. By creating an idol, they created something which was supposed to represent the true God, but in practice the only thing it added was a visual appearance. This visual appearance was wrong, because God is not made of wood or stone. So in short, the only contribution of an idol was a false one. They were convenient for focusing people's attention and allowing them to visualise a god, but in fact this was a bad thing.
4. God's Relationship With Jesus
I would now like to investigate the properties of models. The term model means different things to different people, but the modern scientific method makes extensive use of them. As a result, it is not surprising that the study and analysis of the Bible and God has included the use of models in an attempt to gain further understanding.
Do you think that people believe in a flat earth today? Apart from the flat-earth society, consider the drawing of maps and plans. When you look at a street map, do you consider it to be flat or to be spherical? - most people with consider it to be flat. You might argue that it is a projection of a spherical surface onto a flat plane, but for all practical purposes, that section of the world could be considered to be flat. If you were drawing a map of the local sporting field, for example, the best assumption you could make about the earth is that it is flat, not spherical. What you would be using would be a flat-earth model. You assume that the earth is flat - and it is a convenient thing to do. In this case, the earth is modelled as a flat plane, and that is the most appropriate model for the particular job. Anything else would be unjustifiably complex. In contrast, an alternate model would be a sphere. This is the one that most people would think of if asked directly. This is much more appropriate when considering larger areas of the Earth's surface. The flat-earth model would be an over-simplification if you were attempting to draw a map of all countries. Instead, you have to assume a spherical earth, and make the appropriate projection onto a flat surface for the map.
The point of this example is to show that we generate and use models that are appropriate for given situations. While on the global scale, the flat earth model is not appropriate, it is very convenient for many applications. You cannot rationally explain someone circumnavigating the world under this model, but when you look out the window, you see a flat earth, not a spherical one. Unless it is necessary to do so, you do not want to add the additional complications of the spherical geometry.
The Trinity Model
The Trinity is a model of the relationship between God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. This is not a formal structure that is explained in the Bible by that name. In fact the concept itself is not directly taught in the Bible.
The theological treatment of the trinity in The New Bible Dictionary opens with the following statement, “ The term `Trinity' is not itself found in the Bible. It was first used by Tertullian at the close of the 2nd century, but received wide currency and formal elucidation only in the 4th and 5th centuries. Three affirmations are central to the historic doctrine of the Trinity: 1. there is but one God; 2. the Father, the Son and the Spirit is each fully and eternally God; 3. the Father, the Son, and the Spirit is each a distinct person. Nowhere does the Bible explicitly teach this combination of assertions. It may, nevertheless be claimed that the doctrine of the Trinity is a profoundly appropriate interpretation of the biblical witness to God in the light of the ministry, death and resurrection-exaltation of Jesus - the `Christ event'.”
In essence this description admits and claims that the trinity is indeed a model of God that has been developed to “appropriately” describe the nature of God. The concern is that just like the flat-earth model, it may not always be a valid model, and some versions may be quite inappropriate. In fact, most models of scientific significance only have a limited region of applicability.
Most people recognise that there is no rigorous basis for the Trinity doctrine in the Old Testament. The few passages that are cited have only circumstantial support and fall a long way short of being proof. The lack of Trinity symbolism in the Old Testament lends support to the contrary, and suggests it may not be an appropriate model. The Jewish belief in a single God consisting of a single being testifies to this.
The New Testament, however, offers more support for the Trinity model. This is not surprising, as it was developed to explain sections of the New Testament.
The basic foundation of the Trinity is to explain the divinity of Jesus. Indeed, according to the source quoted above, the best support for, and hence the main need for, the Trinity arises in John 15. In this passage, Jesus revels how the Holy Spirit was to appear after he ascended into heaven,
John 15:26.: " But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me. NKJV
The important aspect of this passage is that it is Jesus who sends the Spirit from the Father. The concern here is that Jesus is somehow Lord over the Father. As a result of this, it is convenient to say that Jesus is part of God, and so it would make sense to say that he would have power over the Father. The Trinity provides a model that allows Jesus to be considered equal with the Father without saying that there is more than one God.
However, in this very aspect where the Trinity shows the best fit to the record in the Bible, it can be shown to be potentially a poor model and misleading.
In John 14, Jesus was preparing his disciples for his death, resurrection and ascention into heaven. At the start of the chapter, he talks of leaving for a time of preparation
John 14:1.: Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. 2. In My Father's house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. 3. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also. NASB
So Jesus was to prepare this dweling place, and then come back again where they could be together. Further down, he assured them of his return
John 14:18. : I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19. After a little while the world will no longer see Me, but you will see Me; because I live, you will live also. 20. In that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you.
It would be a hard time for his disciples, after his departure, so Jesus was anxious to assure them of his return, and the reunion at that time.
In verse 28, Jesus goes a step further to reveal his purpose and destination,
John 14:28.: You heard that I said to you, "I go away, and I will come to you.' If you loved Me, you would have rejoiced because I go to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. NASB
They were to rejoice at the news of him going to the Father and the reason for the rejoicing was that the Father was greater than Jesus himself. This is, of course, is opposed to the intent of the Trinity model in this issue. The need for the trinity was established based on the need for explaining how Jesus could be greater than the Father. But this passage shows that the Father is unquestionably greater. This not only makes the Trinity model unnecessary as an understanding tool, but also misleading.
Clearer Evidence of the Relationship
During the course of his ministry, people often marvelled at the teachings of Jesus, especially given that he was only a carpenter by trade. One occasion is described in John 7,
John 7:14.: Now about the middle of the feast Jesus went up into the temple and taught. 15. And the Jews marveled, saying, "How does this Man know letters, having never studied?" 16. Jesus answered them and said, "My doctrine is not Mine, but His who sent Me. NKJV
Again this is inconsistent with some common views of the Trinity model. Far from exerting lordship over the Father, Jesus did not even claim his doctrine to be his own. If Jesus does not have ownership of his teachings, then it is no longer appropriate to say that Jesus is God. In the analogy above, some aspects of the nature of Jesus don't fit the Trinity model, just as the international date-line doesn't fit the flat-earth model.
In John 5, Jesus says more on the relationship between himself and the Father.
John 5:26.: "For as the Father has life in Himself, so He has granted the Son to have life in Himself, 27. "and has given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of Man. 28. "Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice 29. "and come forth -- those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation. 30. "I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me. NKJV
This shows that the Trinity can create more problems in fitting scriptual coherency than it solves. In this passage Jesus claims that he always seeks the will of the Father, rather than his own. So there is quite clearly a God and an ambassador, not two entities within the same God.
The common perception of a God can be misleading, as it can be defined based on what is unknown. As a result a paradox is formed when evidence for the existence of a God is sought. This is likely to put God in opposition to science, wheras from the Bible God is the creator of science. The Bible makes the claim that there is only the one true God, and further to this it shows that that God is specific about how he is to be worshipped. In particular, the golden calf episode from Exodus is condemned as idolatry even though the people thought they were worshipping the true God that had brought them out of Egypt. This brings into question the use of models to describe the nature of God. The widely used Trinity model fits well with some parts of scripture, but can fail to be coherent with the whole of the Bible. As a result, there is the danger that the God of the Bible would consider some Trinity-style models to be an idol, and in the same class as a golden calf.