Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
October 11, 1951

The Unitarian Question

Thomas Allen Robertson, Ontario, California

Unitarians deny the deity of Christ. They believe in "the strict humanity of Christ, as contrasted with his deity." But if Christ was not of God, the Son of God, it must be obvious that he and his followers perpetrated the greatest fraud and foisted the greatest lie upon humanity that the world has yet know. For he not only claimed to be God, but sent men forth to die in support of that claim.

Unitarians are not the first to deny Christ's divinity; both the scribes and the Pharisees of his own day made a similar denial. After Christ had healed the man at the pool of Bethesda, the Jews sought to slay him because the miracle had been wrought on the Sabbath; "But Jesus answered them, My Father worketh hitherto, and I work. Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he had not only broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God. Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise. For the Father loveth the Son and sheweth him all things that himself doeth; and he will shew him greater works than these, that ye may marvel. For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them; even so the Son quickeneth whom be will." (John 5:17-21) Thus Christ's own claim for himself is that of divinity.

This claim was also made for him by others. John said that he was God. (John 1:1-3) Paul said that before Christ came to earth he was in the form of God. (Phil. 2:6-7) Repeatedly throughout the New Testament there are unmistakable references to Christ as God. (John 20:28; Rom. 9:5; Heb. 1:8; 1 John 5:20) When Christ laid down his life for us, it was God dying for us—(1 John 3:16) Christ was not created, he is eternal. (John 1:1-3; 8:58; Rev. 1:8; 21:6; 22:13) God's name is I AM; but Christ said, "Before Abraham was, I am." (John 8:58)

The final and conclusive proof of Christ's divinity was his resurrection from the dead. This resurrection was witnessed by more than 513 people. (1 Cor. 16:4-8) Paul said that Christ "was declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead." This coming forth from the tomb is as amply established as any fact in all history.

Of course Unitarians deny the virgin birth of Christ as well as his resurrection. This would go almost without saying. But if one believes in God's power to make the world, and to place in the male and female bodies the power to reproduce themselves in kind, it is not difficult to believe that the same God could put into one body for a special purpose these same powers that he ordinarily places in two bodies.

Heaven And Hell — Eternal Punishment

Unitarians deny the facts of heaven and hell as recorded in the Bible. Their attitude toward heaven and hell is pretty clearly set forth in two advertisements which appeared recently in the Daily Oklahoman, a newspaper of Oklahoma City. The ads said, "For the church that terrifies with cosmic fears or verbal threats of punishment, the religious liberal holds no brief." And again, "We cannot sell tickets to heaven, because we aren't sure the tram is going there; neither can we sell fire insurance for hell, because we don't believe in it." The idea of a literal heaven for the righteous and a literal hell for the wicked is found through all the Bible; but this idea is repugnant to the Unitarian, and he summarily dismisses it.

No fact is more clearly set forth in inspired literature than the existence of hell. "The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God." (Psalm 1:17) "Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beat him with the rod, he shall not die. Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell." (Prov. 23:13, 14) Does this mean that by beating a child one can keep the child from dying and going down into the grave? Assuredly not; it means that he shall be kept from an eternal state of reprobation.

When Christ was asked, concerning the seven times married woman, "in the resurrection whose wife of them is she? for seven had her to wife," he answered, "The children of this world marry, and are given in marriage; But they which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage: Neither can they die any more: for they are equal unto the angels; and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection." (Luke 20:33-36) And Peter said, "For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment." (2 Peter 2:4) To which Jude added, "And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day." (Jude 6)

Adding these passages together we see that: (1) Angels are greater in power than we; (2) Angels cannot die; (3) God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell; (4) After the resurrection the dead shall be equal to the angels and cannot die; (6) But they can go away into everlasting punishment. Hence, everlasting punishment is more than just death or destruction. Jude said that Sodom and Gomorrah suffered the vengeance of eternal fire. And Peter declared that these same cities were made an ensample unto those that after them should live ungodly. So both Jude and Peter state that eternal punishment is fire, and that Sodom and Gomorrah furnish an example of the same. Add to that the teaching of John the Baptist and of Christ, and the evidence of what hell is complete. Speaking of those rejected at the final judgment, Jesus said, "And these shall go away into everlasting punishment." (Matt. 25:46) Add to this the word of the apostle John, "And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night forever and ever ... And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire." (Rev. 20:10-15)

As hell is a reality for the wicked, so is heaven a reality for the righteous. Christ said that the righteous should go away into "life eternal." Paul declares that those who love the appearing of the Lord had a crown of righteousness laid up for them. (2 Tim. 4:8) And Peter taught that there is "an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time." (1 Peter 1:4, 5)