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How do Trinitarian Christians understand the description of Deity in Isaiah 46:9?

Who is speaking in this verse?

Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me (Isaiah 46:9 KJV)

Since this is a question about theology, not translation philosophy, for reference I've added below the text of this verse with transliterations of the Hebrew words for God employed here:

Remember the former things of old: for I am God (El), and there is none else; I am God (Elohim), and there is none like me



Related: How do non-Trinitarian Christians understand the description of Deity in Isaiah 46:9?

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As I am a catholic, I am a “Trinitarian Christian” and I can answer your question from my personal point of view. I do not know what my church exactly teaches, if anything, about this particular verse, so please do not take my answer further than what it is, my “Trinitarian Christian” understanding you ask for:

We believe one God in three Persons, not three Gods, as the Athanasian creed says:

So the Father is God; the Son is God; and the Holy Ghost is God. And yet they are not three Gods; but one God

So who is speaking in this verse? God. What Person? I do not know and it doesn’t matter. But shouldn’t we need to know the Person speaking? Obviously not, as Scripture doesn’t tell us.

You could compare it to yourself: if you would write “I am Hold To The Rod”, who is speaking? Is it your mind, your soul, your vocal cords, who is it? Well, it is you. And I know that there is a distinct difference between elements of you who are not entirely you versus Persons of God who are each completely God. But maybe it helps a bit.

Another thing that might help, as soon as you think you understand the Trinity, there is one thing certain: you do not understand.

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  • The verse explicitly states that God is speaking. In logic your question is "an argument from silence." You are arguing from silence any time you point to specific data that is not present. A rational inquiry would seek to understand the data (the words) that ARE present. For example at Isaiah 44;24, Thus says the Lord your Redeemer, and the one who formed you from the womb, I, the Lord, am the maker of all things, Stretching out the heavens BY MYSELF, And spreading out the earth ALL ALONE." God is speaking, so now reconcile this with John 1:3. What person is identified as the creator?
    – Mr. Bond
    Jan 1 at 23:58
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'El' means 'mighty one' according to Young's Analytical Concordance, with Isaiah 46:9 listed as one of many verses with that Hebrew word. The far more often used word, 'Elohim,' means 'God, gods, objects of worship', and Isaiah 46:9 is also listed under it.

I consulted two Christian books on this, both written by trinitarians, and they both based their understanding of verse 9 on the context of the whole chapter. Chapter 46 starts with mentioning the false gods Bel and Nebo, with their man-made idols. They are ridiculed, with the lavish amounts of gold and silver used to make those idols made a mockery of by the God of Israel, for those idols cannot walk or speak or save their worshippers from trouble. The Israelites are told by God to show themselves men by remembering the former things of old, where the one, true God delivered them, and told them the end from the beginning; his counsel standing and being done.

That verse (9) has the one, true God declare to them that there is no other; there is none like him. Clearly, this is a warning for the Israelites not to turn to the man-made idols of the nations around them. That is the context, and that is the meaning.

Trinitarians do not try to use verse 9 as any kind of proof of the Trinity doctrine. That would be to resort to proof-texting, even if that verse was capable of such an interpretation. No, they do not force any kind of interpretation upon verse 9. They take it in context, and believe that all other deities are false: no-gods - would-be-gods - usurper gods trying to rival the one, true God. That is the warning the God of Israel gave to his people in Isaiah's time, which warning holds as good today as it did back then. There is the only one, true God, the speaker of that verse. He is not just one of many deities, for all other deities are false gods.

I would venture to suggest that the understanding of who this non-pagan Deity in verse 9 is, should be the same with trinitarians as with non-trinitarians. The only difference might be if non-trinitarians then launched into other parts of the Bible to try to disprove the trinity doctrine, which really would be a waste of time, given that Isaiah 46:9 is not about the one, true God of Israel's nature, or 'being': it is purely about all other would-be-deities being false.

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  • Up-voted +1. Deity (El/Elohim/Jehovah/Adonai/Theos) reveals himself and speaks. He is one Deity. Only when comes the Son is the Father revealed, personally.
    – Nigel J
    May 13, 2023 at 15:34

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