Arius argued that the divine Triad was composed of three separate and distinct
realities, and that Jesus Christ was of created, finite nature. In other words, a man. Arius’
major work, Thalia (meaning “banquet”), was first publicized in 323 CE and created such
a stir that the Council of Nicaea was convened in 325 to address the Arian challenges.
For example, the Arian syllogism proposed that if Jesus was a man, then we shouldn’t
say he was God, and if Jesus was God, we shouldn’t say he died. Arius proposed that the
Godman concept doesn’t stand up to critical analysis, and defies explanation.
Arian challenges to Trinitarian theology would swamp and sink below the
surface of history if anyone could explain the Godman concept. But 1,700 years of
sifting the sand of apologetics have failed to yield a jewel of Trinitarian reason
sufficiently brilliant to satisfy the skeptics. Challenging questions periodically resurface
and echo Arian arguments. For example, we can well ask, “When God reportedly became
man, did He give up His divine powers?” For if He did, then He wasn’t God anymore,
and if He didn’t, He wasn’t man. “If the Godman died on the cross, does this mean God
died?” No, of course not. So who died? Just the “man” part? But in that case, the sacrifice
wasn’t good enough, for the claim is that only a divine sacrifice could atone for the sins
of mankind. The problem is, the manportion of the proposed triunity dying would
contribute no more to the atonement of sins than would the death of a sinless man. Which
leaves little option for explanation other than to revert to the claim that some element of divinity died. Strictly monotheistic Jews, Unitarian Christias and Muslims would no
doubt contend that, as for those who say it was God who died, well, they can just go to
hell. (The expectation is that God, who is living and eternal, will agree.)
But to continue the thought, Trinitarian doctrine claims that God not only became
man, but remained God—a concept Unitarians consider the literary equivalent of an
Escher “impossible construction” sketch. The statement satisfies the grammatical
requirements of the English language for a sentence, but the impossible contortions can
never a reality make. A tree can no more be converted to furniture and still be a tree than
a cooked pot roast can be a cow. Once transformed, the qualities of the original are lost.
And yet Catholicism made a religion out of transubstantiation, which claims the exact
opposite—that two different substances are one.
The Unitarian declaration is that God is God and man is man. Those who confuse
the two fail to recognize that God cannot give up His Godliness, because His entity is
defined by His divine attributes. Neither does God need to experience human existence in
order to understand the suffering of mankind. Nobody knows the plight of mankind better
than the Creator, since He created mankind with knowledge of everything from
thermoreceptors to thoughts, from cilia to subconscious. God knows the problems, plight,
and suffering of mankind—He created a universe whose complexities transcend such
superficial dimensions of human existence.
The “But God can do anything” defense prompts the question, “Well, if God can
do anything, then why didn’t He make sense of Trinitarian doctrine—assuming it’s valid,
that is?” If God can do anything, He could have provided a sensible explanation which
would not require resorting to “nonbiblical categories.” But He didn’t. Why? Did God leave mankind to figure it out for themselves, or can a person safely assume there’s no
basis in religious reality for something God didn’t reveal?