How Many Persons Created the Heavens and the Earth?

It is commonly believed that the One who speaks as the Creator of all things in Isaiah chapters 44 and 45 is the triune God consisting of three Persons. The language of Isaiah 44:24 cannot possibly be reconciled with the popular idea:

“Thus says the Lord (Yahweh) your Redeemer who formed you from the womb: ‘I am the Lord who made all things, who stretched out the heavens alone, who spread out the earth. Who was with me?’” (RV)

The implied answer is, of course, that no one was present with the one Lord in the act of creation. Yahweh stretched out the heavens alone. The Hebrew word rendered “alone” means “in a state of separation, by one’s self” (Brown, Driver and Briggs, Lexicon of the Old Testament, p. 94). No one assisted God, the Father at the creation. Moreover, the Creator is one Person, not three:

“Have we not all one Father? Has not one God created us?” (Malachi 2:10).

Nowhere does the Old Testament speak of a Trinity of Persons in the Godhead.

Elsewhere in the Old Testament it is said:

“You, God, even You alone, You have made the heaven…the earth and all things” (2 Kings 19:15).

“You are the Lord, even You alone; You have made the heaven, the earth and all things” (Nehemia 9:6).

The Lord God is always distinguished from the promised Messiah. They are never said to be members of one Godhead.

English: a Venn diagram-like symbol for the Ch...
Venn diagram-like symbol for the Christian Trinity (God the Father, God the Son, and the Holy Spirit) a so called monotheism but having a triune god (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This simple information should prevent us from ever believing that Jesus, the Messiah, the Son of God, was present with the Father when the latter created the heavens and the earth. The idea that Jesus actually created the heavens and earth of Genesis 1:1 has been promoted by the Worldwide Church of God. Their teaching was that there are two members in the one “God-family.” Isaiah 44:24 (cited above) clearly states that ONE person alone created the heavens and the earth. Language has no way of expressing this more distinctly.

Trinitarians hold that the second member of the triune God was instrumental in the creation of Genesis 1:1. This, however, contradicts the statement that the one Creator was the Father (Malachi 2:10, cited above).

When Jesus came into being at his birth he enjoyed a unique communion with his Father. Thus he says,

“I am not alone, because the Father is with me” (John 16:32).

Jesus always speaks as a person distinct from his Father, exactly as every son is an individual separate from his father. The personal “I” of the New Testament never refers to the Father and Son together. So also in the Old Testament the personal “I” refers to one Person, not three.

Jesus prays that the disciples may be

“one even as we [the Father and I] are one” (John 17:11).

This is a unity of purpose and will. Jesus prays also:

“May they [the disciples] all be one as You, Father, are in me and I in You, so that they may also be in us” (John 17:21).

It is obvious from these texts that the Father and Son use the ordinary personal pronouns to distinguish themselves as any father and son would. It is thus beyond question that Jesus was not with the Father when the latter described His act of creation:

“Thus says the Lord [Yahweh], your Redeemer…I am the Lord who made all things, who stretched out the heavens by myself…Who was with me?” (Isaiah 44:24).

Jesus did not exist as a person when the Lord God created all things. God, the Father, was alone responsible for the creation of the universe. (The “us” of Genesis 1:26, in connection with the creation of man, probably refers to attendant angels, cp. Job 38:7.) Most believers in the Trinity no longer use Genesis 1:26 as a proof of the triune God.

Jesus came into being as the Son of God when Mary conceived him supernaturally. Luke is careful to tell us that it was because of the miraculous conception in Mary’s womb, not because of any so-called “eternal generation,” that Jesus was the Son of God:

“Holy Spirit will come upon you [Mary] and the power of the Most High will overshadow you, and for that reason the child conceived will be holy, the Son of God” (Luke 1:35).

If God, the Father (the Lord, Yahweh of the Old Testament) was alone the author of the creation, why does the belief that Jesus was an active agent in the creation persist?

The answer is that two creations have become confused in the minds of Bible readers. Jesus is indeed the mediator of the New Creation (Colossians 1:15-18). But he is not the creator of the universe. That creation is the work of the One God, the Father who acted alone when He stretched forth the heavens and the earth (Isaiah 44:24).

Unfortunately, one or two verses in the New Testament have been translated to give the impression that all things were made “by” Jesus. In fact the original states that all things were made “through” Jesus (see the margin of Colossians 1:16: “in him,” “through him” and “for him,” not “by him”).

Jesus was indeed the reason for God’s creation. The Father “foreknew” him from the beginning (1 Peter 1:20). In God’s great purpose Jesus was “slain from the foundation of the world” (Revelation 13:8). But he came into existence as the Son of God at his conception (Luke 1:35). There is no biblical text to support the idea that the Son of God was alive before his conception (though a few verses in John’s gospel have been used to support the idea).

When Jesus prayed to receive the glory which he had with the Father before the foundation of the world, he was asking for the glory which had been reserved for him and which he would receive after his resurrection (John 17:5). Peter speaks of an inheritance which is “reserved in heaven for you” (1 Peter 1:4). That inheritance is, of course, the earth which Jesus has promised to the meek (Matthew 5:5) and which he will give them when he returns to establish the Kingdom of God. The same glory which was planned for Jesus from the beginning had also been given already (John 17:22) to the disciples, even those not yet born! (John 17:20). This glory is a glory which all disciples “have” even though they have not yet received it. Similarly Jesus “had” glory laid up for him with the Father long before his birth. In John 17 he prays to receive it.

Isaiah 44:24 should settle forever the question about who created the universe, and Hebrews 1:10 should be read with careful attention to the fact that the writer says he is speaking there of the inhabited earth to come (i.e., of the future):

“God did not subject to angels the world to come of which we are speaking” (Hebrews 2:5).

There is no contradiction between the two Testaments on this issue. Jesus will indeed be instrumental in laying the foundations of the coming new heavens and earth (Isiah 51:16). But the original creation is the work of the One God, the Father, alone (Isaiah 44:24).

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Preceding articles:

The very very beginning 1 Creating Gods

Genesis 1:26 God said “Let us make”

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Additional reading:

  1. Pluralis Majestatis in the Holy Scriptures
  2. The Trinity – The truth (Video)
  3. God of gods
  4. Only One God
  5. God is one
  6. Sayings around God
  7. Attributes to God
  8. Use of /Gebruik van Jehovah or/of Yahweh in Bible Translations/Bijbel vertalingen
  9. The Divine name of the Creator
  10. The NIV and the Name of God
  11. 2001 Translation an American English Bible
  12. Reasons that Jesus was not God
  13. Jesus begotten Son of God #9 Two millennia ago conceived or begotten

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  • For once, AmChurchSpeak makes an important point: Lent is a journey to Calvary… (denvercatholic.org)
    For two weeks, the Letter to the Hebrews draws on images from the Old Testament to introduce us to that “great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God:” a mediator between God and humanity who “has been tempted as we are” and with whom we can “with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” [Heb 4: 14-16]. Here, the biblical author writes, we find that “great cloud of witnesses” in whose company we are enabled to “run with perseverance the race that is set before us” [Heb 12: 1] Here is “Mt. Zion … the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem” to which we are brought through the mediation of Jesus, and where we join “innumerable angels in festive gathering” [Heb 12: 22].
  • The Liberation of the Triune God (derekzrishmawy.com)
    One of the helpful emphases of the Reformed tradition is its acknowledgment of the continuity as well as discontinuity of Old and New Testaments. This comes through very strongly in Turretin’s Institutes and even makes an appearance in his doctrine of the Trinity. After a couple of clarifying questions, as well as a lengthy question devoted to proving the doctrine of the Trinity from New Testament Scripture, he moves on to try and demonstrate the revelation of the Trinity in the Old Testament. For while it is admittedly true that God reveals himself as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit with greater clarity in New Testament, that does not at all mean that we cannot see him revealed as such in the Old as well.
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    There are a number of features worth noting in this treatment. The first is Turretin’s view of the Angel of the LORD, or the Angel of YHWH. As he makes clear in a number of places, Turretin views this as an appearance of the pre-incarnate Son. It is an appearance in angelic/human form that is, nonetheless, distinct from his incarnation in that there is no hypostatic union, but only concrete manifestation. Still, this is a thesis that Christian theologians have long appealed to in order to explain the way the Angel is both identified as a distinct agent who nonetheless is identified as the LORD somehow.
  • Learn From Christ (birdchirp.wordpress.com)
    To prove that He was the Son of God by turning stones to bread was not necessary for Jesus or for Satan. Satan already knows all about Jesus Christ.
  • The Beauty of John’s Prologue (christianity201.wordpress.com)
    The first 18 verses of John’s gospel (commonly known as the Prologue) represent a literary masterpiece of inspired Scripture. On the one hand, John’s introduction is so simple a child can understand it, yet it is also so theologically deep, the most intellectual scholars could never mine every detail held within its verses.

    incarnationThere have been many debates regarding the structure of John’s prologue. The most convincing in my opinion is that the first 18 verses are a narrative which summarize not only the entirety of John’s gospel but make a broad sweep of salvation history. The prologue begins in eternity before creation, declaring that in the beginning the Word already existed. It proceeds through the creation (all things were made by Him) and He is the source of all life and light. Then John skips over the majority of Israel’s salvation history and shows that a final prophet, John the Baptist, came to testify to the light. This light is the revelation of God Himself. He came into the world and was rejected by the world. Yet, those who received Him became the sons of God.

    The prologue finishes by showing the culmination of Israel’s salvation in Jesus. The law (which was itself a grace given to men) came through Moses but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. Jesus has completely explained the Father. Jesus is the Father’s final word to man. – This culminates salvation history. So, we see that the prologue begins in eternity past and concludes with God’s final word of salvation and redemption.

  • The Day Son of God Jesus Preaches (brentkuhlman.wordpress.com)
    Now is the perfect time for Jesus to flex His Son of God muscles. Pull out all His divine Son of God stops. Unload the whole enchilada of His almighty Son of God power to break the bonds of systemic oppression, bust Locusts and Wild Honey out of jail, overthrow the wicked Roman oppressors and establish a Son of God millennial utopian reign that would make all community organizers of the world jealous!
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    You’re in charge of your own life. You’re in full control. The master of your universe.

    That’s precisely why Son of God Jesus preaches. With Him the promised and long awaited kingdom of God has come! God reigns on the earth in Jesus. God is at hand! It’s Messiah Time!  And it’s perfectly obvious then that you need a preacher – Against Your Wishes! Against Your Desires! Against Your Idolatry! Otherwise, … well, let’s just say it will all end hellaciously for you. You’d be held captive eternally – kept under lock and key — in Satan’s gloomy prison!

  • Names, Titles, and Characters of Jesus Christ (goodnewsnow.wordpress.com)
    The Blue Letter Bible has published a page with information taken from the whole Bible about the God we worship, Jesus Christ.   Seeing all the names, titles and other attributes with which he is labeled in both the Old and New Testaments and contemplating those titles and their meaning to me personally is a wonderful way to worship Him.  Worshiping Him is what we are made for.  Worshiping Him is what those who know Him will do for all eternity.  These Name, Titles and Attributes allow practice in this life.
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14 thoughts on “How Many Persons Created the Heavens and the Earth?

  1. papapound February 23, 2015 / 6:39 pm

    Thanks for the link and summary. Yes, that is what I desire: worship of Jesus because of what he did for me. It is really simple and not an academic exercise. I have been there. Thanks again.

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  2. Lots of Christians seem to forget that in the Bible we are told that there is no other True God than Jehovah, who can not be seen by man (or they would die), and who is God alone (2 Kings 19:19).

    It is He alone who made everything from the beginning of times:

    Isaiah 37:16: 16 “O Jehovah of armies, the God of Israel,+ sitting upon the cherubs, you alone are the [true] God of all the kingdoms of the earth.+ You yourself have made the heavens and the earth.+

    which means there was nobody with Him or helping Him (no angels, no Jesus), just God, the Eternal who made everything.

    He was the first and always be the last as well, not to be born and not able to die.

    Isaiah 44:6: 6 “This is what Jehovah has said, the King of Israel+ and the Repurchaser of him,+ Jehovah of armies, ‘I am the first and I am the last,+ and besides me there is no God.*+

    It is Him Who should be feared more than people, because people can do Him nothing, but He can do everything to people. He also warned His creation not to have other gods besides Him.

    Isaiah 44:8: 8 Do not be in dread, YOU people, and do not become stupefied.+ Have I not from that time on caused you individually to hear and told [it] out?+ And YOU are my witnesses.+ Does there exist a God* besides me?+ No, there is no Rock.*+ I have recognized none.’”

    Isaiah 45:5:5 I am Jehovah, and there is no one else.+ With the exception of me there is no God.+ I shall closely gird you, although you have not known me,

    Jeremiah 25:6: 6 And do not walk after other gods* in order to serve them and to bow down to them, that YOU may not offend me with the work of YOUR hands, and that I may not cause calamity to YOU.’+

    1 Corinthians 8:6:6 there is actually to us one God*+ the Father,+ out of whom all things are, and we for him;+ and there is one Lord,+ Jesus Christ,+ through whom all things are,+ and we through him.

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