In his May 2014 essay “Jesus: Flesh and Spirit,” spiritual philosopher Leroy Garrett has written such provocative statements as these:
I am not a traditional Trinitarian. I do not believe that Jesus was God, who according to James 1:13 cannot be tempted. . . .
The Logos was “equal with God” but he emptied himself and became human. In doing so he became Son of God, but not God. This is why our Lord resisted being called God: . . .
But there remains abundant mystery to the relationship between Jesus and God, . . .
I have for a couple dozen years questioned the Trinity idea. It appears to be a humanly devised concept. As Garrett has said, roughly, noting that “Trinity” is not a scripture term, “I don’t claim something that the scriptures themselves don’t claim.” For my part, I have never found a scripture passage that says “God is made of up of precisely three parts, and their names are ____, _____, and _____.” Since I haven’t unearthed such an assertion in scripture, I resist asserting threeness myself.
Back to the particular essay referred to above. In dealing with Jesus’ nature, Garrett doesn’t feel the need to differentiate overtly between “Christ” and “Jesus,” yet he does do that if one reads closely. On this point, I also track with Garrett.
My own suspicion — and it is only a suspicion — is that there is a “part” (whatever that means) of God (mystery that He is) that has always existed (whatever that means) and became a “Son” (in some sense). “The Word” (whatever that signifies) is identified with “the Son” in John’s gospel, and Jesus is clearly “the only Son” there. The divine mystery includes some sense the binary nature of Jesus/Word/Son/Christ. It seems to me that “Jesus” — and probably “Son of Man,” too — might fairly be used to designate the time-bound, mortal existence of the divine “Son.”
In that the nature of God defies numbering and naming, it appears to be a mystery.