On Not Two Gods: A Response to WMSCOG

by Gjergji Evangjeli

 

At the height of the Trinitarian controversy in the 4th century, St. Gregory of Nyssa explained his theology on a delightfully short and surprisingly deep work. Written in response to Ablabius, it is known alternatively as Ad Ablabium and On Not Three Gods. For anyone looking for a short work on the Trinity which does not oversimplify or shortchange the doctrine, there are few works more worth reading than this one. Nyssa—who was called “Father of Fathers” by the Seventh Ecumenical Council—rejects the opposite extremes of polytheism and Unitarianism to provide an authentic Christian explication of the Trinity.

In humble imitation of St. Gregory, I will attempt to summarize his arguments to counter the doctrine of the World Mission Society Church of God (WMSCOG), which has been attempting to gain followers on campus. I will admit that I do not have great insights into their doctrines beyond what has been reported to me on the matter. To remedy this, I attempted twice to get in touch with someone from WMSCOG in order to learn from them. Sadly, these attempts came to naught. On my last exchange, I asked whether—in their opinion—the Bible revealed “God the Mother” to be a separate God alongside the God of the Bible (YHWH), or whether “God the Mother” shared the one same being of God with YHWH. At the time of this printing, I have not gotten a response.

 

That said, I will argue against both positions. The first—that the supposed God the Mother is a separate God from the Lord—is quite easy to argue against. One need only quote the Shema. Shema Yisrael is the central prayer of the Jewish faith, taken from Deuteronomy 6:4-5 (cf. Mk. 12:29), which says, “Hear, oh Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is One. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might.” St. Gregory begins his account on these same words, arguing that anything that falls short of them falls short of Biblical monotheism.

 

One could quote extensively from Isaiah and many more Old and New Testament books which state time after time that there is only one God, but the Shema suffices to show that this avenue is not open to the adherent of the WMSCOG.

 

Could one, however, argue that God the Mother shares in the one being of YHWH? Possibly, but only through an argument from silence. The aim of the New Testament is to clearly communicate the Divinity and saving work of the Son, who took flesh for our sake. Read any five pages of the New Testament in any direction and you will find more than one instance of Jesus claiming for Himself Divine prerogatives or otherwise either Himself or one of the Apostles offering arguments for His Divinity. He even claims that the Old Testament prophesies of His Divinity. For example, when discussing who the Messiah is, He quotes Psalm 110:1 “The Lord [YHWH] says to my Lord ‘Sit at My right hand until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet,” and asks, “If David then calls Him ‘Lord,’ how is He his son?”

 

More than the rest of the writers of the New Testament, the Gospel of Matthew, the Book of Hebrews, and a number of Paul’s letters highlight the fact that the Old and New Testaments are united in teaching the Divinity of the Son, the first implicitly and the second explicitly. Once this is accepted, the Divinity of the Holy Spirit follows. Christ commands His followers to baptize “in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit” (Mt. 28:19), thus pointing out the common Divinity of the Father, Son, and Spirit by applying the same name to each. Further, He teaches that the Spirit proceeds from the Father (Jn. 15:26) and that He will indwell Christ’s followers and be with them wherever they go (Jn. 14:25-26). St. Peter, when speaking about God’s inspiration, says, “no prophecy was ever made by any act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God” (2 Pt. 1:21).

 

Faced with this chain, the proponent of the WMSCOG must ask why Jesus seems to have forgotten to speak about God the Mother, forcing them to blasphemously argue that since humans bear the imago Dei, there must be a God the Mother, as if God were a male. Otherwise, they appeal to verses such as Galatians 4:26, discounting that Paul explicitly states above that he is appealing to an allegory (cf. Gal. 4:24). Further, if they wish to argue that the Heavenly Jerusalem is God the Mother, does that mean that at the end of history the Lamb (i.e. Christ) will marry God the Mother, as prophesied in Revelation 21:9-27? Will the nations step on God the Mother when they “bring the glory and honor of the nations into it [i.e. the New Jerusalem]” (Rev. 21:26)? From this method of interpretation, absurdity follows.

 

This, then, is a quick response as to why we must say no to this supposed God the Mother. I still remain open to speaking with anyone from WMSCOG and look forward to their answering any of the questions I have outlined above.


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