Genesis 1:26 and Barnabas 5:5

Barnabas 5:5
There is yet this also, my brethren; if the Lord endured to suffer for our souls, though He was Lord of the whole world, unto whom God said from the foundation of the world, Let us make man after our image and likeness, how then did He endure to suffer at the hand of men? — Lightfoot translation.

This verse from the Letter of Barnabas is sometimes quoted as showing that Barnabas believed in the trinity. The date given for the writing of the “epistle” is often in the latter part of the first century, sometime after destruction of Jerusalem. This may be deceptive, however, since the oldest manuscripts of this letter date only to the fourth century A.D.

“The Letter of Barnabas”, more than likely, was not written by Barnabas spoken of in Acts 4:36, and it is highly unlikely that it was originally written until sometime in the early second century. We do not, however, have any copy of this letter dating from the second century; the oldest edited copy we have dates from the fourth century. Much of what is stated in this letter is obviously not in accord with the Bible, nor with facts. For instance, the author foretold that the Romans would help rebuilt the temple in Jerusalem. Nothing in the Bible speaks of the Romans as helping to rebuild the temple; they certainly did not do this in the second century, and it is very doubtful that the Romans will do this in the age to come. Indeed, once the temple made of living stones is completed, there will actually be no need for any physical temple to be rebuilt, for there is to be no more sacrifice for sin.

Regardless, the epistle attributed to Barnabas says nothing to the effect that Jesus is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, nothing to the effect that Jesus is a person of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and definitely never mentions a triune God. Barnabas 5:5 only confirms that it was Jesus that God spoke to in Genesis 1:26, which agrees with our studies. At most, if Barnabas did write this letter, it woud affirm that it was Jesus to whom God spoke, saying “let us”. While this may not agree with those who deny that Jesus had a personal prehuman existence, it does not, however, offer any proof of a triune God.

At any rate, allowing that in several instances, “the Lord” has replaced the Holy Name, there is nothing in the letter that would give on any reason to think that the writer of this letter thought that Jesus is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Barnabas 5:5, quoted above, certainly does NOT offer any proof of such; indeed, “God” is presented as being one person, and the “the Lord” to whom “God” speaks is not presented as being “God”. The Bible itself tells us that it was the only true God, Jehovah, who anointed Jesus, and who made Jesus to be “Lord” (master, ruler). (Psalm 2:26; 45:7; Isaiah 61:1; Ezekiel 34:23,24; John 10:29; 17:1,3; Acts 2:23,36; 4:27; 10:38; Hebrews 1:9) “Whole world” or “all the world” in the Bible refers to the world of mankind; it does not include the angels (Matthew 24:14; 26:13; Mark 16:15; Luke 2:1; Acts 11:28; Romans 1:8; 3:19; 1 John 2:2; 5:19; Revelation 12:9), although the Bible shows that God has exalted Jesus even over the angels. – Acts 2:33,36; 5:31; Philippians 2:9; Ephesians 1:3,17-23; 1 Corinthians 15:27; Hebrews 1:4; 1 Peter 3:22.

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Genesis 1:26

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1 comment to Genesis 1:26 and Barnabas 5:5

  • Tom Adams

    Thanks Br. Day: Well said! When a believer gets out of one false belief, the Adversary get them into another false but similar belief, Dualism, where they contend that Christ and the Almighty are and have been the same person. I don’t know why they feel it is important to assert that idea, when there is plenty Scriptures referring to two separate individuals – God the Father and Christ the Son of God, whom God raised from the dead, and GAVE him all power in heaven and earth. In becoming another Gospel Paul warned against, Dualism takes away from the Ransom-sacrifice of our Lord, effectively denying the Ransom. Plus, one can only wonder how the Apostle’s could be so confused as to write about two separate spirit beings, if they were one and the same? Even in the O.T., two separate beings are referred to, Psa. 2:7, & Gen. 1:26, e.g. And then the portrayals of Abraham to his son, and Joseph raised up by Pharaoh, etc.