Does Genesis 18 & 19 Support the Trinity?

This is a fairly common claim in Christian apologetics. Genesis 18 & 19 show the Trinity at work in the life of Abraham, and the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. But is this really what the passage is trying to suggest? In the below video, I break down the specifics of the argument presented by Sam Shamoun. In this article, I will merely present the rebuttal.

The who, what, when, where, and how of this passage make it susceptible to use by proponents of the Trinity. However, what they never address is the “why?” In the New Testament (according to Trinitarian theology), God takes on human flesh. But why? So that God in human flesh can offer himself as the perfect sacrifice for our sins. This was necessary to accomplish the salvation of all who would trust in him.

Why does God take on human flesh in Genesis 18 and 19?

In Genesis 18 we are told explicitly why God takes on human flesh, presuming that is what happened here.

20 Then the Lord said, “Because the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is great and their sin is very grave, 21 I will go down to see whether they have done altogether according to the outcry that has come to me. And if not, I will know.”

Genesis 18:20–21 (ESV):

An outcry against Sodom has caught the attention of God. He has come down to earth to see if things are as bad as he has heard. Thus, he is traveling to Sodom to observe the situation for himself. If things aren’t as bad as the outcry has suggested, he will know this after making his own observations.

Obviously, this doesn’t fit well with the Trinitarian understanding of God. YHWH isn’t composed of three parts that, once combined, become an omniscient, omnipresent, and omnipotent God. However, this is what the text suggests. Follow along.

God is not omnipresent.

Genesis 18:21 (ESV): I will go down

God is not omniscient.

Genesis 18:21 (ESV): And if not, I will know.”

God is not omnipotent.

Genesis 19:24 (ESV): 24 Then the Lord rained on Sodom and Gomorrah sulfur and fire from the Lord out of heaven.

God must travel, gather intelligence on the target, and coordinate an attack with other persons of the Trinity. Hence, as a unit God possesses the three omni traits. However, as individual persons, these traits are not inherent.

Now at this point we should note that Christians do believe that when Jesus takes on human flesh, he surrenders some of his divine powers. This could explain things, and this is where the “why” becomes of crucial importance.

God needs his omniscience, omnipresence, and omnipotence for this mission. He must know all that is happening, this knowledge must be exercised in multiple places, and he must rain down destructive fire. So presuming God simply continues to exist in heaven, he is well suited for this mission. However, he decides to lay down these necessary traits and do things the hard way. For what purpose?

The source of confusion.

In Sam’s video, the confusion is centered around the first two verses of chapter 18.

And the Lord appeared to him by the oaks of Mamre, as he sat at the door of his tent in the heat of the day. 2 He lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, three men were standing in front of him.

Genesis 18:1–2 (ESV):

Sam reads these two verses as saying that YHWH visited Abraham as one of the three men he looked up and saw. His Jewish counterpart reads these verses as saying YHWH appeared to Abraham, and then three men approached. I’m here to offer a third possibility for your consideration.

What if all of these visitors are YHWH?

Don’t worry, I haven’t gone LDS on you. But the fact of the matter is this. Sometimes those who are representatives of God are called God, or even YHWH in the Bible. Consider the case of Moses.

So the Lord said to Moses, “See, I have made you like God to Pharaoh, and your brother Aaron will be your prophet.

Exodus 7:1 (NET):

Here I have used the NET translation so I can reference their note on the translation. It reads “The word ‘like’ is added for clarity, making explicit the implied comparison in ‘I have made you God to Pharaoh’.” In other words, this verse explicitly refers to Moses as God. Moreover, it is not the only one. In Deuteronomy 7, Moses warns the Israelites against marrying Canaanite women. In verse 4, he says the following.

for they would turn away your sons from following me, to serve other gods. Then the anger of the Lord would be kindled against you, and he would destroy you quickly.

Deuteronomy 7:4 (ESV):

Did you catch that? You either follow Moses, or you serve other gods. Furthermore, not following Moses angers YHWH. But all of this pales in comparison to how Moses usurps the divine name for himself in Deuteronomy 29.

And Moses summoned all Israel and said to them: “You have seen all that the Lord did before your eyes in the land of Egypt, to Pharaoh and to all his servants and to all his land, 3 the great trials that your eyes saw, the signs, and those great wonders. 4 But to this day the Lord has not given you a heart to understand or eyes to see or ears to hear. 5 I have led you forty years in the wilderness. Your clothes have not worn out on you, and your sandals have not worn off your feet. 6 You have not eaten bread, and you have not drunk wine or strong drink, that you may know that I am the Lord your God.

Deuteronomy 29:2–6 (ESV):

Mind blowing, is it not? “You have seen all the YHWH did… …that you may know that I am YHWH your God.” Here Moses, a mere man representing YHWH, takes the name YHWH for himself. Now, let’s take this information back to Genesis 18 & 19.

Are there any other clues that this is the correct interpretation?

In his video, Sam Shamoun makes hay of the fact that YHWH tells Abraham he is going to Sodom, then he departs. However, nowhere in these two chapters do we see the arrival of YHWH in Sodom. Why not? Unless, of course, we read it through the interpretive lens that I have suggested here. In that case, when the two men/angels arrive in Sodom, YHWH is in fact there. And this is precisely what we see in Ezekiel 16.

48 As I live, declares the Lord God, your sister Sodom and her daughters have not done as you and your daughters have done. 49 Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, excess of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy. 50 They were haughty and did an abomination before me. So I removed them, when I saw it.

Ezekiel 16:48–50 (ESV):

Without ever being explicitly placed in Sodom, YHWH declares that the sin in Sodom was committed before YHWH. Why? Because the 2 men who visited Sodom were YHWH, just as the one man who stayed behind with Abraham was likewise YHWH.


The author of Genesis 18 doesn’t have a solid theological lexicon with which to present the omniscience, omnipresence, and omnipotence of God. Hence, he creates his own framework which gets him to that end. God ultimately knows everything, because he has an intelligence network. He is everywhere, because he can travel. Moreover his is omnipotent, because his task force can call in a military strike against Sodom from the ground. And this grants the 3 omnis to YHWH, because all of these beings are YHWH.

Genesis 18 and 19 are not even remotely Trinitarian. If we attempt to apply that framework, it opens so many more questions about God. However, if we read it through the lens I’ve presented here, it actually solves problems. How can humans be called not just God but YHWH? Because they are acting as agents of YHWH. This is how Moses can say that if you’re not following him, you’re following other Gods. It’s also how Jesus can say no man comes to the father except through him. They aren’t claiming to be YHWH, they are claiming to be his agents.

Sam’s original video:


I was raised a Christian, turned atheist as a teenager, and became a Noahide in my 40's. Here I will share what I have learned, and look forward to what you can teach me. Thank you for stopping by Biblical Anarchy. Feel free to leave a comment.

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