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Debating the Trinity

  

Presented by Brant Bosserman and Sean Finnegan at the One God Conference, Seattle WA June 1st 2008, commentary by Sean Finnegan. Listen or watch the entire 2 hour debate or click on one of the parts below.

The debate was over whether God is a single individual (the Father of Jesus) or if he is a Trinity (three persons in one essence). The debate followed this format:

Introduction by Ken Westby and Tom Bosserman [10 min] listen or download

Sean’s Opening Statement [20 min] listen or download
Brant’s Opening Statement [20 min] listen or download

Sean’s Rebuttal [15 min] listen or download
Brant’s Rebuttal [15 min] listen or download

Sean Cross-Examine Brant [10 min] listen or download
Brant Cross-Examine Sean [10 min] listen or download

Sean’s Closing Statement [5 min] listen or download
Brant’s Closing Statement [5 min] listen or download

The discussion was lively and considerate and I thank Brant for his willingness to engage us on this issue. Unfortunately the recording has some microphone interference during the concluding statements but most of what was said can be understood. Sorry for the inconvenience.

612 Responses to “Debating the Trinity”

  1. on 02 Jun 2008 at 3:28 pmFrank D

    Just finished listening and found the debate thought provoking.

    I’m not sure what Mr. Bosserman was implying in his closing comments. Is he hypothesising that Unitarians are elevating man equal to God because I believe Christ Jesus (as a man) is now seated at the right hand of God? How is that likened to Adam’s sin in the garden? I am not trying to be equal to God. I am worshiping God in his true position and bowing down to his son Christ Jesus as God’s representative at his right hand. Was he quietly towing the line that a belief in the triune god is true Christianity? I thought he was going to try and convert the whole conference but decided to end with a prayer.

    On the subject of Jesus’ death: Jesus died. All of Jesus died! How else then can he say in John 20:17

    Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.

    If Jesus had not yet ascended, then where was his second essence waiting to re-animate the dead body? If it was the ‘god’ part of Jesus, then why wasn’t it already in the presence of the other ‘god’ parts? Is Jesus conscious of both his ‘parts’? Do these two ‘parts’ communicate?Doesn’t equate to me. Has anyone ever evaluated John 20:17 under trinitarian dogma?

    According to trinitarians, Jesus is eternal. How many times has he phsically changed and still remained god? Was he god for nine months in Mary’s womb? Was he god as he was growing up? Did he come into realization that he was god at 12 years old? Did he stop being god for three days and three nights in the tomb? Or did he receive power from the one true God after being baptized by John the Baptist?

    More questions to follow…

  2. on 02 Jun 2008 at 4:17 pmFrank D

    Progressive revelation, a slippery slope.

    I’m un-informed here so please explain to me where Christians can apply progresive revelation to the understanding of the Bible and where we can’t.

    Mr. Bosserman’s stand is: the theology of the triune-god has been revealed after the Old Testement and troughout the New Testement (my paraphrase). If this is true, then how does he know the count stops at 3? How many more ‘persons’ are yet to be revealed in their ‘god-head’? What else has God yet to reveal? Where in history (which he never answered) was the progressive revelation of trinity theology complete?
    Mr. Bosserman would like all to believe that the trinity theology rose up by the power of God and was established unapposed. But, that is not the historical case. Alex does a gret job debunking that at http://www.godfellas.org in his article “A Close Run Thing”.

    Also, How can progressive revelation be accepted for the trinity theology but Joseph Smith is labeled a heratic? Who has the right to label changing bible interpretation as ‘progressive theology’ and who can claim it is swayed by platonic influence? Who can stand up and say “I have a new word of God” and who cannot? A slippery slope!

  3. on 02 Jun 2008 at 6:17 pmSean

    Thanks for the comments Frank, and for taking the time to listen. Regarding what you have said about progressive revelation, I would refer you to the fine job that Gary Fakhoury did (at the same conference) demonstrating that just because we are under the New Covenant (i.e. the Old has been fulfilled), we do not need to change our God.

    click here to listen to Gary’s talk or click here for JohnO’s summary.

  4. on 02 Jun 2008 at 8:48 pmJohn Paul

    Hey Sean,
    I listened to it to day and just wanted to say you did an excellent Job. You were very diplomatic and was glad to hear you keep your cool so well. Your opponent, while very intelligent failed to follow a lot the the frame that you had set up in the debate, one important thing was the getting the trinity out of Scripture rather than finding it in scripture. I loved your statement in the end regarding the trinity being the answer to a question that isn’t really there.

  5. on 03 Jun 2008 at 11:54 amErica

    Progressive revelation??? I can think of one example of this being so in the case with the gentiles being part of the promises- but the catch there is that it was always in the old testament. The trinity is not there, there is nothing to be revealed about it. God never says I am three. Why would God have to clearly state the same statement that he has said since the beginning. If it had changed “progressed” then it would need to be stated otherwise.

    To say that we are using terms that are from another time and that it is foolish to ask for them to be in scripture, is the actual foolishness. The only word in the question of “Is God one or three essences?” is essence and that can be taken out of the question and clearly answered. There are plenty of scriptures that state God is one- and none that state that God is three.

    What is this about God “acting?”

    I have always wondered about God changing his mind- but I didn’t understand the relevance to the argument.

    I have definitely thought about Jesus’ ability to sin now… he must still have free will, therefore he can sin- and yes that is scary, although not so much because he is not God therefore God is greater than him and will always win, as well as those who love God.

    So many times the point behind his argument is only good if Jesus was really God. If he is not God then Sean’s points stand firm. There are questions that we have to be content with not knowing until the end, but why settle for that when we can see clear statements in scripture? I definitely do not see this as a mystery and nice comment about reasoning Sean!

    It is funny how his point in the end was that he is scared that we are making it all about man just like others who have fallen in the scriptures, when our whole point is that Jesus- a man- is not God! To worship Jesus as God is to do the very thing that he is scared will condemn us.

  6. on 03 Jun 2008 at 1:14 pmScott

    Frank D.,
    Good questions. Christians can apply the biblical doctrine of “progressive revelation” and avoid the pitfalls of post-biblical progressive revelation by having a clear understanding that the Canon was closed when the book of Revelation was complete. Joseph Smith, Islam and other post-biblical heresies are not allowed because they assume that other holy texts have come down after the New Testament was closed. This puts an end to the slippery slope problem. Even Sean agreed during the debate that with the notion of biblical progressive revelation when he agreed that Old Testament saints did not know that Jesus’ body would some day replace the Jewish Temple.

    It is impossible to answer your question about where in history was the revelation of the Trinity complete. I cannot give you an exact date any more than anyone else can give me an exact day of when the Shema was first recited. However, this does not mean that it is not clear that the Trinity was not fully revealed at some point. I believe that when God became incarnate in human flesh and walked among his creation the doctrine was fully revealed- though to date it has not been fully comprehended or accepted. There is difference between the truth of a doctrine, the widespread acceptance of that doctrine and the existence of a comprehensive detailed explanation of a doctrine. Ultimately, the Trinity is not some mere fact that exists in history- it is behind all of history and is actually the foundation of all reality. For this reason alone we cannot reason about it or question it in the same way we might question other non-foundational facts. Thanks.

  7. on 03 Jun 2008 at 2:50 pmScott

    By the way- as Trinitarians we fully expect that God would refer to Himself as one God. Only Tri Theists and other heretics would expect God to call Himself anything other than one. Please keep this in mind as we discuss our differences- it’s simply not helpful to try and defeat our position by implying that we believe in three gods.

  8. on 03 Jun 2008 at 4:07 pmMark

    Frank wrote:
    “According to trinitarians, Jesus is eternal. How many times has he phsically changed and still remained god? Was he god for nine months in Mary’s womb? Was he god as he was growing up? Did he come into realization that he was god at 12 years old? Did he stop being god for three days and three nights in the tomb? Or did he receive power from the one true God after being baptized by John the Baptist?”

    Trinitarians would answer, as Mr. Bosserman did, that he was God at all of those times, but also man. They explain away all of the important differences between God and His Son by saying that Jesus had two natures. And this is a mystery which can’t be explained. My answer to that would be, “Show me that in Scripture.” The whole notion of two natures is post-Biblical and not found anywhere in the New Testament, much less the Old.

    And as Frank also said, this “new revelation” did not arise unopposed, but caused great turmoil and bloodshed. Compare that to the real revelation that Gentiles could now be partakers of the promises, as Erica mentioned. There was some opposition which was dealt with in a godly fashion, but no one was forced to accept it under threat of excommunication, torture or death.

  9. on 03 Jun 2008 at 4:21 pmSean

    It is interesting to note that the dual natures of Jesus was the last thing to be worked out (not coming to its fullest expression until the Creed of Chalcedon in a.d. 451). Yet, this last development is the first answer to any criticism of the much repeated assertion that Jesus is deity.

  10. on 03 Jun 2008 at 6:49 pmFortigurn

    Good points about the ‘two natures’ of Christ. It’s useful to note that not only does this violate the law of non-contradiction (X cannot be p and not-p simultaneously), but also that most trinitarians present the ‘two natures’ of Christ as constituting two separate persons.

    This has historically been condemned as heretical, even by trinitarians.

  11. on 03 Jun 2008 at 8:28 pmScott

    If Trinitarians held that Christ is both God and not God (or man and not man) at the same time and in the same way that would violate the law of non-contradiction. However, we have asserted nothing of the sort. In fact we assert the opposite- Jesus was (and is) both fully man and fully God. The negation of both is never asserted. Please let me know when a Trinitarian has ever said that Jesus was God and not God at the same time and place or when they said Jesus was man and not man at the same time and place.

    Finally, I do not believe Brant ever asserted that Jesus was anything but one person. Don’t confuse two natures with two persons. Thanks.

  12. on 03 Jun 2008 at 10:10 pmPat

    I was really surprised while at the conference and how the “debate” took on two different spirits. One seemed interested in truth the other seemed interested in trickery and accusation. There are ways where “professional” people do things in the “debate play game”. Politicians (hm ploy?) do it all the time. It soon becomes a rash of rushing mixed match flying meaning and terms… leaving virtually all integrity and logic aside. Thus the tricky verbal statue and idol appears to be a winner though … I think, only in his own mind/eyes. Truth is truth weather you, me or anyone else knows it or is aware of it. It’s just the way it is.

    True science examines evidence and stands fairly true with the facts, … debates over biblical truth should be similar in nature. David told Solomon to worship Yehowah with a pure heart and a willing mind. Doubtful disputation is quite different than calling a spade a spade or calling hot cold, light dark or bitter sweet. Debate for debate sake makes it a game. Exchanges and discourse with yielding to truth as it occurs is where a real man stands. To side step and badger is just a childish prank. It took out from a real intellectual debate. I grew up with a witty writing brother and to this day he thinks his mental and verbal skills is “god like”. Truth has no room in his path.

    I think the trinitarian speaker at the seminar lost because it virtually was presenting argument and a bickering type of spirit. It even claimed things not true about the monotheistic view and because of the tone and mastery presentation; it looked like a show …. stupendous at that … but the context was dismal.

    There are sheep people and snake people in scripture, both of their ways with people and truth are deeply shown in biblical context.

  13. on 03 Jun 2008 at 10:10 pmSean

    Scott,

    Are you the Scott I met on Sunday–the pastor? Thanks for jumping in, it is absolutely pointless to argue against a straw man, so I’m glad you came on to defend the orthodox position. May I engage you in a couple of points?

    It is impossible to answer your question about where in history was the revelation of the Trinity complete. I cannot give you an exact date any more than anyone else can give me an exact day of when the Shema was first recited. However, this does not mean that it is not clear that the Trinity was not fully revealed at some point. I believe that when God became incarnate in human flesh and walked among his creation the doctrine was fully revealed- though to date it has not been fully comprehended or accepted. There is difference between the truth of a doctrine, the widespread acceptance of that doctrine and the existence of a comprehensive detailed explanation of a doctrine.

    You said that the Trinity was revealed when God became incarnate in human flesh. Two problems here. (1) The incarnation and the Trinity are two distinct doctrines. JWs believe in the incarnation and are not trinitarian. So, to say the Trinity was revealed at Jesus’ birth is simply false. (2) Secondly, there is no Scripture that says God became flesh. In John 1.1. it is the word (God’s mind, intent, plan, etc.) that became flesh. The word “word” was never a person in all of the 42 preceding books of the Bible. To assume that the word is a person when we arrive at John 1.1 is a special pleading, based on later theology not on pure exegesis.

    Furthermore, if Jesus or the apostles were the first trinitarians, as Brant said, where do you find Jesus or the apostles ever teaching the Trinity. Jesus explicitly confessed faith in the Jewish understanding of God when he agreed with the non-trinitarian scribe in Mark 12.29 on who God is. This amounts to a denial of the Trinity, which in turn, makes Jesus a non-trinitarian. Furthermore, the apostles never spell out anything close to the Trinity. Even if we take John 20.28 as a proof-text for the deity of Jesus, this is still not the Trinity (naturally we take it as another instance of representational deity). The Trinity if fearfully complex and no one articulates it until after the biblical cannon is closed. Even as late as a.d. 380, Gregory of Nazianzus said that Christians were divided on the question of whether or not the holy spirit was in fact a distinct member of the Godhead (Orations, 31.12).

    Ultimately, the Trinity is not some mere fact that exists in history- it is behind all of history and is actually the foundation of all reality. For this reason alone we cannot reason about it or question it in the same way we might question other non-foundational facts.

    This is a very assumptive approach to asserting the Trinitarian model of understanding God. I could just as well say that the unity of God is behind all of history and is the foundation of all reality, etc., and that we should not question it. But, you would immediately reply, that’s not fair, we have to be able to question whether or not the unitarian model of theology is correct. If we cannot use our God-given reason to understand how many God is, then how can we even have this discussion?

    By the way- as Trinitarians we fully expect that God would refer to Himself as one God. Only Tri Theists and other heretics would expect God to call Himself anything other than one. Please keep this in mind as we discuss our differences- it’s simply not helpful to try and defeat our position by implying that we believe in three gods.

    Ok, let’s just take a step back here…you said “only tritheists and other heretics…” Let’s not call people heretics because of their difference in understanding who God is. They may be wrong, but calling someone a heretic is to dehumanize them and has been used for centuries as the basis for executing them. The trinitarians have a poor track record when it comes to “heretics.” After all, heresy is merely the view that the majority does not hold. Even so, thank you for pointing out that trinitarians do not believe in three Gods. This is an accurate statement, and it does not do justice to the intricacies of the Trinity. Our issue with the trinitarian model of understanding God is that it is unbiblical and contra-reason.

  14. on 04 Jun 2008 at 12:36 amFortigurn

    Scott,

    ‘If Trinitarians held that Christ is both God and not God (or man and not man) at the same time and in the same way that would violate the law of non-contradiction. However, we have asserted nothing of the sort. In fact we assert the opposite- Jesus was (and is) both fully man and fully God. The negation of both is never asserted.’

    I think you misunderstand the law of non-contradiction. It states that X cannot be P and not-P simultaneously, where not-P means anything other than P.

    Let God be P. The moment you assert that Jesus is God, then you assert that he is P. This means that the moment you try to assert that Jesus is ALSO anything other than God, you assert that Jesus is simultaneously P and not-P.

    The moment you assert that ‘Jesus was (and is) both fully man and fully God’, you assert that he is P (God), and not-P (man). The terms ‘God’ and ‘man’ are not synonyms. They are not interchangeable. They are not speaking of the same entity. They are mutually exclusive.

    ‘Please let me know when a Trinitarian has ever said that Jesus was God and not God at the same time and place or when they said Jesus was man and not man at the same time and place.’

    That’s not what I actually said. If you need a primer on the law of non-contradiction, you can go here:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Law_of_contradiction

    ‘Finally, I do not believe Brant ever asserted that Jesus was anything but one person. Don’t confuse two natures with two persons. Thanks.’

    I am certain that Brant never asserted that Jesus was anything but one person. However, the moment trinitarians attribute THOUGHTS and ACTIONS of Jesus to one nature or the other, they are treating the natures as two persons. Many trinitarians do this all the time.

    The Lutheran and Reformed churches have historically been divided over this issue. The Reformed explanation of the ‘two natures’ of Christ is defined as Nestorianism by Lutherans, and that’s basically what it is.

    For a modern Lutheran paper on this issue, see here:

    http://www.wlstheologia.net/node/33

  15. on 04 Jun 2008 at 1:09 amScott

    Scott,
    Are you the Scott I met on Sunday–the pastor? Thanks for jumping in, it is absolutely pointless to argue against a straw man, so I’m glad you came on to defend the orthodox position. May I engage you in a couple of points?

    Sean- yes we did meet on Sunday but no I am not the pastor. I was the guy who brought up infant baptism. I am glad to defend the trinity and engage on some points. Thanks for responding.

    It is impossible to answer your question about where in history was the revelation of the Trinity complete. I cannot give you an exact date any more than anyone else can give me an exact day of when the Shema was first recited. However, this does not mean that it is not clear that the Trinity was not fully revealed at some point. I believe that when God became incarnate in human flesh and walked among his creation the doctrine was fully revealed- though to date it has not been fully comprehended or accepted. There is difference between the truth of a doctrine, the widespread acceptance of that doctrine and the existence of a comprehensive detailed explanation of a doctrine.

    You said that the Trinity was revealed when God became incarnate in human flesh. Two problems here. (1) The incarnation and the Trinity are two distinct doctrines. JWs believe in the incarnation and are not trinitarian. So, to say the Trinity was revealed at Jesus’ birth is simply false. (2) Secondly, there is no Scripture that says God became flesh. In John 1.1. it is the word (God’s mind, intent, plan, etc.) that became flesh. The word “word” was never a person in all of the 42 preceding books of the Bible. To assume that the word is a person when we arrive at John 1.1 is a special pleading, based on later theology not on pure exegesis.

    I agree that they are two separate doctrines and my point was never to conflate them. However, they are related but here we see our fundamental disagreement over the exegesis of the Greek. As the NIV Study Bible states (I remember you like this version) in John 1:1 the Word is identified as God. Later that Word becomes flesh so here is God becoming flesh. Once God incarnated in the person of Jesus Christ the revelation of the Trinity was well under way (as was the plan of salvation of which the specifics would not have been known before that time). The Word is never identified in this text as God’s mind, intent, or plan either so I fail to see how you are relying on “pure exegesis”. I do not really want to argue about when the Trinity was fully revealed- the issue of when does not determine whether or not it is true. In logical terms I might call this the chronological fallacy.

    Furthermore, if Jesus or the apostles were the first trinitarians, as Brant said, where do you find Jesus or the apostles ever teaching the Trinity. Jesus explicitly confessed faith in the Jewish understanding of God when he agreed with the non-trinitarian scribe in Mark 12.29 on who God is.

    If Brant said that they apostles were the first Trinitarians then I would disagree with him. The Father, Son and Holy Spirit were the first Trinitarians. The scribe did not say anything that Jesus the Trinitarian disagreed with- as a Trinitarian He agreed that there was only one God. Again only tri theists and other polytheists would have disagreed with the scribe’s statement.

    This amounts to a denial of the Trinity, which in turn, makes Jesus a non-trinitarian. Furthermore, the apostles never spell out anything close to the Trinity. Even if we take John 20.28 as a proof-text for the deity of Jesus, this is still not the Trinity (naturally we take it as another instance of representational deity). The Trinity if fearfully complex and no one articulates it until after the biblical cannon is closed. Even as late as a.d. 380, Gregory of Nazianzus said that Christians were divided on the question of whether or not the holy spirit was in fact a distinct member of the Godhead (Orations, 31.12).

    The strength of the Trinitarian argument does not rely on the fact that the apostles spelled out a clearly organized, succinctly stated formulaic paragraph on the doctrine. It is true because the Bible affirms at least 4 things- there is one eternal God, the Holy Spirit is God, Jesus is God and the Father is God.

    By the way, your Unitarianism cannot even meet your standard. Where does the Bible ever state that God is one and He is one is such a way that He has not eternally existed as three persons?

    Ultimately, the Trinity is not some mere fact that exists in history- it is behind all of history and is actually the foundation of all reality. For this reason alone we cannot reason about it or question it in the same way we might question other non-foundational facts.
    This is a very assumptive approach to asserting the Trinitarian model of understanding God. I could just as well say that the unity of God is behind all of history and is the foundation of all reality, etc., and that we should not question it. But, you would immediately reply, that’s not fair, we have to be able to question whether or not the unitarian model of theology is correct. If we cannot use our God-given reason to understand how many God is, then how can we even have this discussion?

    I agree that a presuppositional defense of the Trinitarian worldview does appear to be a very assumptive assertion. However, I believe this can be backed up and I believe Brant began to explain this in the debate. I will have to review the debate to point out when he made that argument. I also know that you can say that the unit of God is behind all of history and the foundation of all reality and I would love to hear you defend it. Please tell me how reality as we know cannot exist if God is anything but a Unitarian God. I am willing to hear how you would work this out.

    Also I do not recall saying that we can’t use our God given reason to have this discussion. Clearly we are. My point is that the only explanation of our reason is that we are created in the image of the Trinitarian God and to deny Him is to deny the foundation for reason itself. It comes down to one of two options- our reason submits to God or we submit God to our reason.

    By the way- as Trinitarians we fully expect that God would refer to Himself as one God. Only Tri Theists and other heretics would expect God to call Himself anything other than one. Please keep this in mind as we discuss our differences- it’s simply not helpful to try and defeat our position by implying that we believe in three gods.
    Ok, let’s just take a step back here…you said “only tritheists and other heretics…” Let’s not call people heretics because of their difference in understanding who God is. They may be wrong, but calling someone a heretic is to dehumanize them and has been used for centuries as the basis for executing them. The trinitarians have a poor track record when it comes to “heretics.” After all, heresy is merely the view that the majority does not hold. Even so, thank you for pointing out that trinitarians do not believe in three Gods. This is an accurate statement, and it does not do justice to the intricacies of the Trinity. Our issue with the trinitarian model of understanding God is that it is unbiblical and contra-reason.

    I am fine with not using the “H” word and apologize for any offense. Though, to be fair I know hundreds of Trinitarians and not one of them has ever killed a person over heresy. Also please note- I was calling tri theists and other polytheists heretics- I was not calling you one. However, I will not use that word since it clearly is a distraction. I am glad you grant that Trinitarians are not tri theists- not to be rude but in the debate it did seem that you assumed that we were. I understand that you believe that our understanding of God is unbiblical but of course I disagree. 🙂

    Finally, in order to know if the trinity is against reason I need to know the standard of reason it violates- can you tell me the standard? Thanks.

  16. on 04 Jun 2008 at 1:26 amScott

    Sean,
    I am having problems formatting my response so I know my last one is very hard to follow- if you have time and don’t mind it would be great if you could clean it up so people can follow who is saying what. Thanks.

  17. on 04 Jun 2008 at 1:48 amFortigurn

    Scott,

    ‘The strength of the Trinitarian argument does not rely on the fact that the apostles spelled out a clearly organized, succinctly stated formulaic paragraph on the doctrine. It is true because the Bible affirms at least 4 things- there is one eternal God, the Holy Spirit is God, Jesus is God and the Father is God.’

    This is not a strength but a weakness. It is an acknowledgment that the central premise of the trinity is nowhere taught in Scripture. Rather, the entire doctrine is derived syllogistically from a number of different statements.

    This makes it an implied doctrine at best, somewhat strange if it is supposed to be the foundation of Biblical theology. Furthermore, the syllogism which trinitarians use to derive the doctrine is logically flawed, as previously demonstrated.

    In contrast, the Unitarian position is declared and taught explicitly in Scripture, time and time again.

    ‘By the way, your Unitarianism cannot even meet your standard. Where does the Bible ever state that God is one and He is one is such a way that He has not eternally existed as three persons?’

    Every time God uses a singular pronoun to describe Himself. Note, this is not simply ‘the Father’ referring to Himself as one person, but GOD being referred to as one person. Yahweh is referred to as one person, so Yahweh cannot be three persons. A trinitarian has the option of designating either the Father, son or Holy Spirit ‘Yahweh’, but Yahweh cannot be all three.

    ‘Finally, in order to know if the trinity is against reason I need to know the standard of reason it violates- can you tell me the standard? Thanks.’

    The law of non-contradiction for a start. You have three meaning one, and one meaning three in one. You also have X being P and not-P simultaneously.

  18. on 04 Jun 2008 at 7:16 amSean

    Scott,

    I hope to respond to you when I get some time (Wed. is a busy day for me). Anyhow, I fixed your post by indenting the parts you quoted.

    To all who may be interested, this blog allows most html commands, which is how we do indentations. If you would like to denote a block of text as quoting someone else, please follow this convention.

    at the beginning of the quotation put this <blockquote> and at the end of the quotation put this </blockquote>

    to bold text put this at the beginning <strong> and this at the end </strong>

    to italicize text put this at the beginning <em> and this at the end </em>

    etc.

  19. on 04 Jun 2008 at 9:37 amFortigurn

    Sean, I’ve been having difficulty downloading talks from the site, such as yours and JohnO’s. I usually get about 2-6MB, and then the download stops.

    Would it be possible for you to burn me a CD of the talks you have on file and send it to me? I’d be very grateful.

  20. on 04 Jun 2008 at 9:55 amScott

    Sean,
    Thanks- I look forward to your thoughts.

    Fortigurn,
    You bring up several points that I need to respond to but since I am on limited time today I will only respond to one:

    Regarding the law of non-contradiction I would like to first say that while this law clearly applies to the created reality I do not see any reason why it must necessarily apply to the Creator. It seems that if we are to insist that it must apply also to God then we are making something else (this law) ultimate along with God. I believe the law of non-contradiction is the creation of God- not something that stands over Him dictating what He can and cannot be and do. God alone is self existent and eternal yet given my understanding of the logical laws God created I see no reason why those laws are above Him.

    Finally, the debate should not be over whether I maintain that there are three Gods vs. one God. Clearly I believe in one God. The debate is what type of oneness is that God- is he a radically singular one like Allah or is He one that encompasses three divine eternal persons. Appeals to pronouns will not settle this debate as I am a Non-Tritheistic Trinitarian. Since I believe that God is a covenental being in which all three persons are capable of representing the fullness of that Trinity individually (and corporately) I fully expect that God would refer to Himself in the singular. All that those pronouns prove is that there is one God- on this point we happily agree. It is getting really boring to repeat myself on this point so please try to respect my monotheism- even if you don’t fully like or understand it. Thanks.

  21. on 04 Jun 2008 at 10:53 amSean

    Fortigurn,

    I was already sending out those 4 DVDs to you today. In fact, the package was already sealed and ready to go, but we can slip in one more disc. We’ll be sending it out today.

  22. on 04 Jun 2008 at 11:24 amAnthony Buzzard

    Sean, I thought you did wonderfully well, in a trying situation. I am left thinking about this after listening to various debates on the Trinity, and doing some myself (at our site, with Prof Sanders): The real issue can be reduced to one point: What creed, ie view of God, was Jesus affirming in Mark 12:29?
    We never got a straight answer from your opponent. A trinitarian must logically claim that Jesus believed in the Trinity, and if that is so then the Jewish scribe with whom Jesus agreed and Jesus himself were affirming the Shema as a Trinitarian creed!
    But every scholar knows and many have written to the effect that the Shema was never a Trinitarian creed. If so, then Jesus in Mark 12:20 was affirming a non-Trinitarian, unitarian creed, and the debate is over…. Unless of course– and this is where the issue becomes so fascinating– Christians don’t really believe in Christ!!
    I think that your opponent argues valiantly for a position which makes him disregard Jesus! In other words it is pointless to say “I am a Christian, but I reject my lord’s teaching about who God is.”
    I think that your opponent was implying, without realizing of course, that he rejects the Jesus who affirmed the unitarian creed of Israel, a creed which is utterly incompatible with the Trinity.
    Is there anything that could be said against my point here?
    I think in debate Mark 12:29 ought to not be allowed to slip for one second from first position— after all it involves the most important command of all.
    The awful issue is summed up by the amazing statement in the Word Biblical Comm on our passage: “There is nothing remarkable or particularly Christian about Jesus’ quotation of the Shema” (see the relevant section in the commentary)
    So then Jesus was not really a Christian!!! Better, Christians today are forgetting about following Jesus as lord in the most important issue of all. They have substituted his creed with another one about which he knew nothing.
    Anthony

  23. on 04 Jun 2008 at 11:30 amFortigurn

    Ah, Sean you champion, thanks for that.

    Scott,

    Regarding the law of non-contradiction I would like to first say that while this law clearly applies to the created reality I do not see any reason why it must necessarily apply to the Creator.

    What you have to do is demonstrate that it doesn’t apply. The Bible clearly indicates that God reveals Himself in such a way as does not involve logical contradiction, and the Bible also clearly teaches that God is constrained logically (He cannot deny himself, for example).

    Appeals to pronouns will not settle this debate as I am a Non-Tritheistic Trinitarian.

    No one is raising pronouns as if they have anything to do with tritheism. The issue is that they are a complete obstacle to trinitarianism.

    Since I believe that God is a covenental being in which all three persons are capable of representing the fullness of that Trinity individually (and corporately) I fully expect that God would refer to Himself in the singular.

    But that’s not logical at all. It’s not even good grammar. There’s a perfectly good pronoun to use when more than one person is being referred to, and it’s the plural pronoun. You’re confusing references to a BEING with references to PERSONS.

    All that those pronouns prove is that there is one God- on this point we happily agree.

    No they don’t, they prove that God is one person. Pronouns count PERSONS, not beings. This is where trinitarianism violates basic rules of grammar. Pronouns count persons. If God is more than one person then God should be referred to as ‘them’.

    You can still say there is one God, but if God consists of more than one person then when you refer to the PERSONS of God you MUST use plural pronouns.

    This is acknowledged by trinitarians who appeal to the ‘we’ passages (such as Genesis 1:26), to argue that they speak of the trinity. They are perfectly correct to argue that if one God with a plurality of persons is speaking then the plural pronoun should be used. That is exactly right. But they then turn around and say the complete opposite when it is pointed out that singular pronouns only refer to one person.

    These are the facts. Plural pronouns refer to more than one person, and are used whenever more than one person is referred to. Singular pronouns refer to only one person, and are used when only one person is referred to.

  24. on 04 Jun 2008 at 11:56 amFrank D

    I also would like to welcome Scott. I pray you find the sisters and brothers in Christ here are honestly seeking the truth.

    “Finally, the debate should not be over whether I maintain that there are three Gods vs. one God. Clearly I believe in one God. The debate is what type of oneness is that God- is he a radically singular one like Allah or is He one that encompasses three divine eternal persons. “

    Scott, If God is “one that encompasses three divine eternal persons” is there anywhere in the scripture (either Hebrew or Greek) a word that means “one that encompasses three divine eternal persons”? I propose there is not.

    I disagree with the likeninig the belief in a unitarian God to a ‘radically singular one like Allah’. But as the discussion developes, maybe you can expound on why you seperate your ‘type of oneness’ from the Muslim faith. As a former trinitarian, I assume you are taking this position in order to indicate you worship a different God than the Muslims. The Jewish faith also worships a singular (unitiarian) God. If God is a not a singular one and is “one that encompasses three divine eternal persons” , did the Jews get it wrong? Did God not reveal himself fully to Abraham, Issac, Jacob, Moses, David, …etc? Do you worship the same God the Jews worship?

  25. on 04 Jun 2008 at 1:33 pmCameron

    Erica, you said I have definitely thought about Jesus’ ability to sin now… he must still have free will, therefore he can sin- and yes that is scary, although not so much because he is not God therefore God is greater than him and will always win, as well as those who love God.

    In your view, does God have free will? Yet God cannot sin, 1 John 1:5. How then can the ability to sin or not sin be a tell tale sign of free will? Scripture teaches that human wills are without sin with the potential to sin (Adam and Eve), are slaves to sin (Adam and Eve after sin and all their offspring), are both slaves to sin and slaves to righteousness (those in their sin natures and new natures by the Spirit), and 100% slaves to righteousness (those who will be glorified after death with Christ and forever preserved). In all of these natures or combination of natures, all have free will. Yet free will in accordance to their respected natures.

    Secondly, I do not see Scripture teaching that Christ could have potentially sinned. Heb 4:15 says “but we have one [High Priest] who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin.

    Yet, the greek word for ‘tempted’ is ‘peradzo’ and is a word which carries the connotation of being tempted by an outside force, not being tempted by an inner urge, craving, or desire. If I hold a cupcake in front of a statue, I am tempting the statue, yet the statue will never take the cupcake. When Jesus was asked by the Pharisees in Mark 10:2 if it’s lawful for a married man to divorce, Jesus was being tempted, or peradzo.

    They didn’t approach Jesus with a porn magazine, thus tempt Him, but challenged the quality of His intellect and character. It is in this way that Jesus can perfectly identify with humans, as He suffered emotionally and physically as we do for He faced many testing and trying times.

    Jeffrey Dahmer had certain urges and cravings due to his continual sin over time. Yet, Christ would not have shared such urges with Dahmer. To think Jesus dealt with, in some way shape or form, all experienced sinful cravings by mankind, in order to be a sufficient High Priest is to misinterpret the Scripture.

  26. on 04 Jun 2008 at 1:33 pmScott

    Here is the point on pronouns- singular pronouns CAN be used to speak of multiple persons. Brant proved this in the debate in his extensive quotations of examples of just that (i.e. Israel is referred to with a singular pronouns when it clearly refers to the entire nation) this is because of the concept of covenental relationships. So far the unitarians have not dealt with this concept.

    Additionally, plural pronouns can be used of God as well such as in the book of Genesis. The assertion that God is speaking to Himself and the angels is a great case of eisegesis and the fact that some trinitarians agree with such eisegesis doesn’t make the error any truer. In summary the Trinitarian God is referred to properly using both singular and plural pronouns. This makes sense in light of a trinitarian covenental view of God but the unitarian cannot account for it.

    What the Bible does not teach is the unitarian position on God. You can assume every time God is referred to in the singular this proves unitarianism but it does not- it affirms monotheism. Since both trinitarians and unitarians are monotheists the debate should not be about the pronouns as I have now stated several times. The nature of that monotheistic God is not examined as being either trinitarian or unitarian in those passages. Later in the New Testament when monotheism is reaffirmed (Mark 12:29), Jesus is called God, the Holy Spirit is called God and the Father is called God the doctrine of the triune nature of God is finally perfectly revealed.

    Until someone interacts with these points I am done talking about pronouns. 🙂

    To state that the unity of God was believed by Christ and all Jews before him is unprovable. Unless you can provide an argument based on scripture that affirms both monotheism and the fact that the one God is radically one and has not eternally existed as Father, Son and Holy Spirit you cannot meet your own standard. Though they clearly affirm montheism the question of unitarianism vs. trinitarianism is not discussed just as the doctrine of Jesus’ body being the future temple of God is not discussed but is none the less true. It is clear from the text that before God came into human history and revealed himself as God the whole question about His nature being unitarian vs. trinitarian was not addressed. The fact that it is not addressed does not prove either side. As God works in human history new questions arise- i.e. how could the Messsiah be a carpenter named Jesus from Galilee that would be crucified for the sins of His people when the Old Testament doesn’t succinctly state that in a formula? How can the second coming of Christ be true if the Old Testament saints had no idea that the Messiah would work in that manner? How could Lazarus be raised from the dead before everyone else when the Jews of the day believed that God’s plan was to raise everyone on the last day? As these questions are answered new revelations about God become apparent and we grow in our knowledge of God.

    Finally, on the point of which God I worship let me answer by asking a question- have Muslims ever worshiped the Trinitarian God? Do modern “Jews” worship the Trinity? The answer to this should tell you who worships which God. When it comes to the Old Testament saints I believe we do worship the same God. I believe it is the modern “Jews” and Muslims who departed from the God of the Old Testament in rejecting His Son (who is identified as God and received worship as God).

  27. on 04 Jun 2008 at 1:49 pmBrant Bosserman

    On progressive revelation:

    First, as we saw in the debate Unitarians and Trinitarians are entirely agreed that progressive revelation occurs, notably with regard to the fact that a Temple of sheets and stone is replaced with a body of human flesh without any specific prophecy foretelling the end of the former. Also, for Erica, who notes that the inclusion of the Gentiles into the New Covenant was anticipated in the Old Testament (e.g. Amos 9:11, 12), it nevertheless remains clear that something flatly unexpected occurs in the New Testament when Gentile are allowed to become members of the Covenant without becoming Jewish proselytes through circumcision (Acts 15:5, 24-29). Any Jew reading Amos 9:11-12 would have read it in light of Genesis 17:11-13 and Exodus 12:48, but God revealed in the New Testament something entirely new, namely that Gentiles could be a part of the covenant as Gentiles. By the same right the Trinity is anticipated in the Old Testament in the teachings, among other things regarding God’s Spirit and his Word (e.g. Gen. 1:2; Ps. 33:6; 55:11), but the full revelation of the doctrine in the New involves ideas that would have been profoundly surprising to the Jewish people. But then we do serve the God who says, “Behold I will do something new” (Is. 43:19).

    Second, when properly understood, progressive revelation allows for both exciting new truths and for continuity between the Scriptures, disallowing for a 5-person God as Frank D. fears. The kind of continuity in Scripture is better compared to the growth of a child to manhood, than to the steady assent of a diagonal line driven by a mathematical function, as I sometimes find Unitarians presupposing. There are some features in a grown man which are downright unrecognizable in an infant—his facial hair, his ability to walk, etc. But, nevertheless there is clear continuity between a grown man and child, so that when we see the grown man we may understand that certain features of the child were always intended to be accented, others to be outgrown, and others to remain unto the end. Importantly, when it comes to the Trinity it is not God who has come to manhood, but our knowledge of him. In the Trinity we see realities about God which have always been present, as Scott notes, but which have been emphasized in a new way by the fullness of the work of Christ, who propitiates the Father’s wrath and sends the Spirit. We know that there is no need for any further revelation because Jesus is expressly identified as the fullness of the revelation of God (Col. 2:9; Heb. 1:1-2), and the one who has finished the work of reconciliation (Col. 1:20; Heb. 10:14). Mohamed and Joseph Smith could not let us know more about God, salvation, or another member of the Godhead—our salvation has been fully accomplished by the Father, the Son, and the Spirit. Any additional member would thus be ancillary to the work of salvation, and not the God who is our Savior (Is. 43:11).

  28. on 04 Jun 2008 at 1:50 pmBrant Bosserman

    On a “clear” statement of the Trinity:

    First, there is no clear statement of the Unitarian position in the Scriptures along the lines that the Unitarian demands of the Trinitarian. Fortigurn has well noted that the Trinitarian view is birthed out of the compilation of four truths, but argues that the Unitarian position is succinctly stated every time God is called “he.” Yet, upon scrutiny this is not the case. First when (1) God is called “he” the Unitarian does not conclude that God is “male” as it means with regard to most subjects (I note this in the debate). Thus, the Unitarian adds an addition piece of information to his systematic theology that (2) God is not a man (Num. 23:19). Yet, still further the Unitarian adds an assumption that is not found in Scripture that (3) the single God, who is radically different than man as noted in point (2), cannot be identical with three distinct persons. And here the Unitarian adds another extra-Biblical assumption to his theology, namely that (4) God’s manner of being must submit to our rational demands, and because we cannot understand or envisage a Triune God it simply cannot be possible. Rather than follow Augustine in believing so that we may have greater understanding, the Unitarian seems to demand that we be able to understand before we believe. Thus, it is the Unitarian who reasons syllogistically by pulling together multiple points of theology some Biblical and some non, and demands that they measure up to Aristotle’s logic (as opposed to Hegel’s or any other philosopher’s). By contrast the Trinitarian makes his sole presupposition the Word of God itself, and submits to the teaching that there is one God, that the Father, the Son, and the Spirit are God, and that they are distinct persons.

    Second, I have heard from several Unitarians that the Chalcedonian view of Christ, were it true, should have been stated in succinctly in Scripture, and that because it was not agreed on by a council until 451 A.D. it could not have been part of the Apostolic teaching. These contentions have been echoed on this forum. But of course Biblical doctrines are rarely if ever granted to mankind in the “doctrinal statement” format demanded by the Unitarian. Instead, they are drawn from reflection on the powerful acts of God revealed in covenantal history. But, let’s apply the Unitarian’s reasoning to another aspect of our theology, namely our beliefs regarding the Canon of Scripture. The New Testament does not contain a succinct list of books defining the parameters of the Canon, as the Mormon Scriptures do in the Pearl of Great Price. And there is no list of the books of New Testament Canon until after several Church councils (Laodecia—366; Hippo Regius—393; and Carthage—397. Importantly, not even these councils provided a complete list of the New Testament books, the first “council” to do this was the council of Trent in 1563, with which most of us disagree. Of course, none of this means that the early church lacked Scriptures. Rather our understanding of the parameters of Scripture grew up through our common usage of them in a covenantal history with God. Controversy caused us on many occasions to scrutinize the question of the parameters of the canon in a way that we had not in the beginning, and even helped us to clarify our view. But certainly these developments do not undermine the fact that we had had Scriptures from the beginning. All of the same may be said for the Trinity and the Chalcedonian view of Christ. The councils regarding them are clarifications of what had long been believed and implied by our practices.

    Third, should the Unitarian reject this view because there is not a verbatim statement of the Chalcedonian definition in the first century A.D., they must also reject the current parameters of the Canon for which there is no identical list corresponding to our current one in the first three centuries of the church. Instead, we see the earliest church fathers using all the parts of our current canon giving us confidence that they are genuine, despite the fact that that individuals sometimes erred by failing to honor genuine Scriptures (2 Peter, 3 John, etc.), and identifying other non-canonical texts as Scripture (The Shepherd of Hermas). By the same right, we see the earliest Church Fathers teaching all the truths of Chalcedon—Jesus is perfectly God, perfectly man, and one person—although certain individuals underemphasize or overemphasize certain elements of this teaching. But ultimately both our view of Scripture and of Christ are vindicated by virtue of the fact that when we zoom out and look at the broad teaching of the Church from the beginning, 2 Peter was held to be canonical and the Shepherd of Hermas was not, and Jesus was held to be perfectly God and perfectly man, and not an admixture between them. Thus, the councils affirm what the church had broadly been teaching since the beginning, and consolidated those teachings in summary statements, despite the fact that certain individuals before then had failed to represent the position in full.

  29. on 04 Jun 2008 at 1:56 pmMark

    Trinitarians keep saying that it doesn’t matter if the doctrine is illogical by our standard of reason, because it is God’s higher standard pf reason which we can’t understand. If that were the case, then SOMEWHERE in His written revelation to us it would have to be spelled out clearly. If it is not based on human reason, then you cannot reason it out from any of the supposed “implications” in the Scriptures. God would have to make an explicit, though seemingly illogical, statement that he was “three persons, yet one God.” He would have to make such a statement, and perhaps include the statement that it does not fit with our reason, we must simply accept it on faith. But of course He made no such statement anywhere in Scripture. Nor did He ever say that our eternal life depended on believing such an illogical doctrine. He only said we must believe that Jesus is “the Christ, the Son of God.”

    And I still don’t understand why Trinitarians have no problem with the fact that the idea of the Trinity didn’t even exist until hundreds of years after the Scriptures were completed. How can it be divine revelation? Such an important doctrine would surely need to have been included in the Canon of Scripture, wouldn’t it? The Scriptures give us knowledge of EVERYTHING that pertains to life and godliness (II Peter 1:3). Yet they make no explicit statement regarding the Trinity, or the two natures of Jesus which supposedly explain the very clear distinctions between the Father and His Son.

  30. on 04 Jun 2008 at 2:00 pmMark

    The fact that it is not addressed does not prove either side. As God works in human history new questions arise- i.e. how could the Messsiah be a carpenter named Jesus from Galilee that would be crucified for the sins of His people when the Old Testament doesn’t succinctly state that in a formula? How can the second coming of Christ be true if the Old Testament saints had no idea that the Messiah would work in that manner? How could Lazarus be raised from the dead before everyone else when the Jews of the day believed that God’s plan was to raise everyone on the last day? As these questions are answered new revelations about God become apparent and we grow in our knowledge of God.

    But these questions were dealt with in the New Testament. The Trinity was not. As I said, it didn’t exist as a doctrine till hundreds of years later.

  31. on 04 Jun 2008 at 2:09 pmScott

    Mark,
    I disagree with your post above. Though the current formulaic discussion of the Trinity may have been developed only after the closing of the Canon the Bible does affirm teach at least 4 things that only make sense in light of the Trinitarian view of God. I am not jealous of categories/terms such as essence, person and being since these are concepts that may changed much over time or not even existed at other times. However, I believe the Bible is clear that- there is only One God (Mark 12:29), that Jesus is God (John 20:28), that the Father is God (no proof needed) and that the Holy Spirit is God (Acts 5:3-4). These truths are explicitly stated in scripture and can only make sense if a Trinitarian view is taken. To do otherwise is to engage in horrible eisegesis or make the Bible contradict itself. I know the assumption of unitarianism will not allow many to accept these teachings but lack or persuasion is not necessarily a lack of proof.

  32. on 04 Jun 2008 at 2:09 pmFrank D

    Scott, What is your definition of “radically one”?

    By providing amplifing information, we can better understand what scriptural evidence you seek. I believe the scripture does clearly “affirms both monotheism and the fact that the one God is radically one”. God chose the words for the authors of the books to write.
    {2Tim 3:16 “All scripture is given by inspirtion of God…”} God is a

    Also, If God is “one that encompasses three divine eternal persons” is there anywhere in the scripture (either Hebrew or Greek) a word that means “one that encompasses three divine eternal persons”?

  33. on 04 Jun 2008 at 2:22 pmJohnO

    Here is the point on pronouns- singular pronouns CAN be used to speak of multiple persons… So far the unitarians have not dealt with this concept.

    Scott,

    I think you’ve misrepresented the point about singular pronouns, as well as Brant did during the debate. The singular ‘he’ is in reference to Israel. Israel is the name of an individual. Israel is the name of a family. The name “Israel” scripturally has come to denote the individual and his family (since that is the basis of the covenantal promise). Therefore, in this case, Israel is being used as a collective noun. It entirely remains to be proven whether or not “God”/”Elohim”/”YHWH” is a collective noun. That was not in any way proven in the debate.

    Therefore, just because a singular CAN be used to represent a group when used in reference to a collective noun, it is no way proven that the singular references to God SHOULD be read in this manner. And of course we maintain there is not one single instance in which any use of “God”/”Elohim”/”YHWH” to mean triune – and trinitarian scholars largely agree with us, or state they don’t without any evidence whatsoever.

  34. on 04 Jun 2008 at 2:39 pmFrank D

    Sorry, Let me try this again (darn fat fingers!)

    God chose the words for the authors of the books to write.
    {2Tim 3:16 “All scripture is given by inspirtion of God…”} God told Moses to write Deut 6:4
    Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD:

    Here the word God chose (‘echod) means exactly one.

    Do you have any Old Testement scriptural evidence where God revealed Himself as “one that encompasses three divine eternal persons” ?

  35. on 04 Jun 2008 at 2:40 pmBrant Bosserman

    On Logic

    First, Mark your statement that we cannot use logic to speak about implications in Scripture unless we hold to a belief in an unbounded logic which dictates possibility for man and God along the lines of Greek philosophy does not follow. We use logic in submission to God’s word, and allow that the teachings of his word are beyond what we are capable of understanding. And Scripture does teach that we ought to be prepared to encounter such teachings—Deut. 29:29; Is. 40:28; 55:8-9; Rom. 11:36; etc.

    Second, you seem to assume that the parameters and demands of Logic are certain and without variation, which of course is contradicted by a long history of philosophy in which the demands and the reach of logic is highly debated. You appear to have chosen Aristotle’s Logic as the ultimate standard, capable of judging God’s revelation itself. One must wonder why Kant’s logic, or Hegel’s, etc. is not favored.

    Third, you claim that in order for God to reveal himself as Triune he would have had to (1) reveal it explicitly, and (2) succinctly in one passage and (3) note it was paradoxical in that passage. Where do these demands come from? Are they revealed explicitly and succinctly anywhere in Scripture, as you demand of the Trinitarian doctrine? Why should we regard these as anything more than rationalistic demands that God reveal himself in “doctrinal statements” as opposed to the manner that he has so chosen in covenantal history.

    Fourth, there are a multitude of doctrines in Scripture which provide us with mysteries and paradoxes which are neither stated succinctly in one passage, expressly declared to be a mystery, and yet must be accepted as true—Predestination and human responsibility; the fact that God is good, all-powerful, and perfectly sovereign and the reality of evil (Is. 45:7-8); the perfectly divine and perfectly human authorship of Scripture; the fact that God may be glorified and is already perfect in glory, etc. Are you seriously claiming that we must resolve every mystery in Scripture before believing them (1 Cor. 13:2)?

  36. on 04 Jun 2008 at 2:55 pmBrant Bosserman

    On the Assumption of Unitarianism

    First, Frank D., God does reveal himself to be “one” in Deut. 6:4 but he does not expressly say “one person” as the Unitarian would have it. It is assumed that this divine oneness must be the same as the oneness of an individual man. And as we all know Israel understood that God was personal, one, loving, powerful, etc. in a radically different way than men are. He is the Creator and we are the creature.

    Second, John O., my argument was not limited to the fact that Israel is the name for an individual and for a tribe, it also encompassed the fact that singular pronouns—I, you, he—are often used for collective groups of people (Judges 1, Isaiah 41, Jeremiah 3), and therefore cannot preclude the possibility that God is Triune, especially when this human race which is one and many is made in God’s image. As for positively proving that God is Triune, I have stated time and again that God expressly reveals that he is Triune in the New Testament. And naturally, I do believe that the point that God is Triune was proven in the debate by the multitude of references to Jesus as God and his capacity to take on the prerogatives of God, and my denial that these can be explained by any concept of representative deity.

    On What Must be Revealed in Scripture.

    Frank D., the claim that something as important as God’s Triune nature needs to be stated in “doctrinal statement” format in Scripture, is undermined by the fact that the our doctrine of Scripture itself, including its very parameters is not itself stated in Scripture.

  37. on 04 Jun 2008 at 2:57 pmSean

    Scott,

    Regarding the point on pronouns…Brant pointed out a case in which singular personal pronouns referred to a group of people. This is a rare usage of the concept and is readily understandable in the context. However, when it comes to God, we are not talking about a few places, we are talking about 20,000 or so singular pronouns and verbs used in reference to him. Just read these verses and tell me that God really means something other than that he is a singular individual:

    Deuteronomy 4:35
    “To you it was shown that you might know that Yahweh, He is God; there is no other besides Him.

    Deuteronomy 4:39
    “Know therefore today, and take it to your heart, that Yahweh, He is God in heaven above and on the earth below; there is no other.

    2 Samuel 7:22
    “For this reason You are great, O Lord Yahweh; for there is none like You, and there is no God besides You, according to all that we have heard with our ears.

    2 Kings 19:19
    “Now, O Yahweh our God, I pray, deliver us from his hand that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that You alone, O Yahweh, are God.”

    Isaiah 45:5-7
    5 “I am Yahweh, and there is no other; Besides Me there is no God. I will gird you, though you have not known Me; 6 That men may know from the rising to the setting of the sun That there is no one besides Me. I am the Yahweh, and there is no other, 7 The One forming light and creating darkness, Causing well-being and creating calamity; I am Yahweh who does all these.

    Are we to believe that all of these “I” statement really mean “we?” The whole point Yahweh is making is that he is the only one who is God.

  38. on 04 Jun 2008 at 3:10 pmFrank D

    Brant, Thank you for your response. I am not looking for a dotrinal statement, I’m looking for any scripture that alludes to, hints at, or could be interpreted to say God is “one that encompasses three divine eternal persons”! God states many times and many ways that he is a unitary being as Sean has listed above.

    So, as Scott has stated that the Old Testement believer believed in a “one that encompasses three divine eternal persons” god, I do not see that true anywhere in the Old Testement scriptures. If it is formulated throughout the old testement, please provide as many scriptures as necessary to clearly depict such. I contest that it is not in the Old Testement and therefore Abraham, Issac, Jacob, Moses, David and , yes, Jesus were not trinitarians.

  39. on 04 Jun 2008 at 3:49 pmMark

    Mark,
    I disagree with your post above. Though the current formulaic discussion of the Trinity may have been developed only after the closing of the Canon the Bible does affirm teach at least 4 things that only make sense in light of the Trinitarian view of God. I am not jealous of categories/terms such as essence, person and being since these are concepts that may changed much over time or not even existed at other times. However, I believe the Bible is clear that- there is only One God (Mark 12:29), that Jesus is God (John 20:28), that the Father is God (no proof needed) and that the Holy Spirit is God (Acts 5:3-4). These truths are explicitly stated in scripture and can only make sense if a Trinitarian view is taken. To do otherwise is to engage in horrible eisegesis or make the Bible contradict itself. I know the assumption of unitarianism will not allow many to accept these teachings but lack or persuasion is not necessarily a lack of proof.

    While you are correct in saying that the Bible makes those three statements (Father is God, Jesus is God, Holy Spirit is God), the place where the logic fails is in the statement that these truths “can only make sense if a Trinitarian view is taken.” Sean demonstrated how the (rare) statement that Jesus is God can be understood in a representational sense (which reflects the Hebrew mindset). And he didn’t make that up – it’s a view that has been around for centuries, and was in fact held by Jesus as demonstrated in John 10:31-36. Likewise the Holy Spirit as representing God, being His presence and power operating in the world. Even if you disagree with the Unitarian view, you can’t say that the Trinitarian view is the only way to make these Scriptures fit.

    In order for the Scriptures to fit, we have to examine all of the relevant passages. There are several which quite clearly demonstrate that Jesus could NOT be God, and the only explanation offered by Trinitarians is the extra-Biblical concept of Jesus having two natures. There is no Scripture that explicitly states such a thing, nor is there any that explicitly state that there is one God who exists in three persons.

  40. on 04 Jun 2008 at 3:50 pmJohnO

    Brant,

    Second, John O., my argument was not limited to the fact that Israel is the name for an individual and for a tribe, it also encompassed the fact that singular pronouns—I, you, he—are often used for collective groups of people (Judges 1, Isaiah 41, Jeremiah 3), and therefore cannot preclude the possibility that God is Triune, especially when this human race which is one and many is made in God’s image.

    I say inasmuch as we’re talking about collective nouns – it does preclude the possibility that God is triune. If “God” is not a collective noun – then your argument falls flat, and there is no possibility for the OT to support your assertion. Which is why I feel you’ve come up very short of your intended point and thrust.

    As for positively proving that God is Triune, I have stated time and again that God expressly reveals that he is Triune in the New Testament. And naturally, I do believe that the point that God is Triune was proven in the debate by the multitude of references to Jesus as God and his capacity to take on the prerogatives of God, and my denial that these can be explained by any concept of representative deity.

    If I may say, Sean pointed out clearly in his opening that taking on the perogatives of God present nothing towards claiming he is God. The prophets before Jesus and the apostles after him also took upon the perogatives of God. All God’s messengers do that. And, “Multitude of references’ = 2, as most 9, as Sean again stated.

  41. on 04 Jun 2008 at 3:54 pmScott

    Sean,
    Clearly the point of all of these statements is that there is only one true God. Whoever He is and whatever His nature is composed of is not discussed in any of those passages. The passages are declaring His superiority not His metaphysical make up. Your assumption of Unitarianism is the only thing that makes it seem to you that God is commenting on His nature. The only aspect of God’s nature that is displayed in all of those texts is that He alone is God- on this point we agree. You tell me which of those passages has a Trinitarian ever denied? Which one of them have we ever dismissed?

    Frank,
    All I mean by “radically one” is the Unitarian view of oneness. I consider it a view in which God is completely singular in much the same way that Allah is both one and singular. I don’t mean this as an insult- I am just trying to distinguish this type of oneness from the Trinitarian view of the oneness of God. Do you have a different term that I can use the is more helpful to you? That is a genuine question and I not trying to be a smart alec with it. Thanks. 🙂

  42. on 04 Jun 2008 at 4:07 pmScott

    A note on respresentational deity-
    Thomas calls Jesus “my God” and worships Him as such and Jesus accepts it (not a very nice thing for a good monotheist to do if Jesus wasn’t God). All of the times Sean points out that other people are called gods or that they will be “as god” the context is completely different. I can agree that Jesus in a sense does represent God- since He is in covenental relationship with God. I just do not limit Jesus to being a mere human representative of God. Regarding those people are clearly just human representatives of God no one ever worships these people as God, they are never called God by another human and they never accept worship as God’s representative. This is why the New Testament teaches that Jesus is God in a way that is only intelligible in light of the doctrine of the Trinity.

    Finally, Acts 5:3-4 no where states that the “Holy Spirit as representing God, being His presence and power operating in the world.” or anything close to this. In fact such a formulation is not found anywhere in scripture. Instead Acts 5:3-4 clearly identifies the Holy Spirit as being God.

  43. on 04 Jun 2008 at 4:26 pmMark

    Are you seriously claiming that we must resolve every mystery in Scripture before believing them (1 Cor. 13:2)?

    No, I’m claiming that while there are mysteries about God which we don’t understand, the question of how many He is, is not one of them. He explicitly claims to be one God, and clearly identifies Jesus as His Son. Anything that would otherwise cause confusion must be clarified in God’s revelation of Himself, or else He has not succeeded in communicating Himself to us.

    The only aspect of God’s nature that is displayed in all of those texts is that He alone is God- on this point we agree.

    But you don’t agree. You say that there are THREE persons that are God, while those texts say there is only ONE. “He ALONE is God and there is NO OTHER.” That means there is only ONE who is God.

  44. on 04 Jun 2008 at 4:38 pmMark

    Scott,
    I think you know we are not talking about a “mere human” or “just a man” when we are talking about Jesus. He is the most exalted creature in all creation, save the Father Himself.

    As for Acts 5:3-4, yes, to lie to the Holy Spirit is to lie to God. But that is because God’s spirit is an extension of God in the same way that my spirit is an extension of me.

    I Cor 2:11 – “For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.”

    Is the spirit of man a different person than the man? Is the spirit of Elijah a separate person from Elijah in II Kings 2:15? The spirit of God is seen as His presence and power throughout the Bible.

  45. on 04 Jun 2008 at 4:43 pmScott

    Mark,
    Right- God affirms that He alone is God. But beyond this He does not dive into a metaphysical discussion of His own nature. The subject of how many persons God exists as is not the subject of these passages.

    For the last time please note- we are not Tri-Theists! We do not believe that there is ANOTHER God. We do not believe in more than one God. We believe in ONE God has has eternally existed as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Thus we completely agree with the passage above in affirming that no one but Yahweh (not Daigon, not Molech, not Allah, not Krishna) is God.

    Do you not understand our position or do you really not get what we are saying? How can I clarify my position for you?

  46. on 04 Jun 2008 at 4:48 pmScott

    Mark,
    This is a good question- Is the spirit of man a different person than the man? Frankly, I do not know the answer. Thankfully, we are talking about God and not man so whether or not the Spirit of a man is a different person than the man doesn’t matter to me as a Trinitarian. To compare God to man and assume that whatever is true of the man is also true of God is like assuming whatever is true of pottery must also be true of the potter. Every man I know has (or at one time had) male reproductive organs- are we to assume that therefore the Father does as well? Clearly the answer is no. So I don’t see how one’s opinion about the nature of man and his spirit helps us know how the Holy Spirit is rightly called God.

  47. on 04 Jun 2008 at 4:51 pmMark

    How can I clarify my position for you?

    By providing, as Frank said, any scripture that alludes to, hints at, or could be interpreted to say God is “one that encompasses three divine eternal persons”!

  48. on 04 Jun 2008 at 4:51 pmScott

    Mark,
    Further where does the Bible ever explicitly state that “God’s spirit is an extension of God in the same way that my spirit is an extension of me.” Does the Shema state this? Does the Old Testament state this? Did Moses know this? Did David? Did 2nd Temple Jews believe this? If not how can you know this is any more true than the Trinity?

  49. on 04 Jun 2008 at 4:55 pmMark

    Further where does the Bible ever explicitly state that “God’s spirit is an extension of God in the same way that my spirit is an extension of me.” Does the Shema state this? Does the Old Testament state this? Did Moses know this? Did David? Did 2nd Temple Jews believe this? If not how can you know this is any more true than the Trinity?

    The verse I referred to in that post, I Cor 2:11, compares the relationship between man and the spirit of man with that between God and the spirit of God.

  50. on 04 Jun 2008 at 5:01 pmScott

    Mark,
    I have to disagree about I Corinthians 2:11- this passage is discussing an epistemic analogy of man’s spirit and God’s Spirit not the metaphysical relationships that would be involved in answering the question you raised about persons.

  51. on 04 Jun 2008 at 5:04 pmScott

    Mark,
    Does it have to be ONE scripture that states what Frank asks for? If the answer is yes- then why? Does the Bible demand this level of proof?

  52. on 04 Jun 2008 at 5:10 pmFrank D

    Scott, No insult taken.

  53. on 04 Jun 2008 at 5:11 pmSal

    Scott,

    just curious…how would you explain the fact that Jesus was tempted in the wilderness, yet James 1.13 says that “God cannot be tempted.”

    clearly there’s a contradiction in that belief. I know there’s a doctrine of dual natures; the problem is that there’s no scriptural support for that line of reasoning.

  54. on 04 Jun 2008 at 5:29 pmFrank D

    Scott,
    So, as Scott has stated that the Old Testement believer believed in a “one that encompasses three divine eternal persons” god, I do not see that true anywhere in the Old Testement scriptures. If it is formulated throughout the old testement, please provide as many scriptures as necessary to clearly depict such. I contest that it is not in the Old Testement and therefore Abraham, Issac, Jacob, Moses, David and , yes, Jesus were not trinitarians.

  55. on 04 Jun 2008 at 5:46 pmScott

    Scott,
    So, as Scott has stated that the Old Testement believer believed in a “one that encompasses three divine eternal persons”

    Frank,
    I stated that we worship the same God- I did not however state that we would have understood God’s nature in the same way. In the same way we both believe in the same Messiah. I know that His name was Jesus, that his mother was named Mary, that He had brothers, that He turned water into wine, the He instituted communion at the last supper, died on a cross for the sins of His people, was buried in a rich man’s tomb and rose again on the third day. Clearly the Old Testament saints did not know these things about Jesus yet it is still proper to say we believe in the same Messiah.

  56. on 04 Jun 2008 at 7:04 pmBrant Bosserman

    John O, your claim that “If “God” is not a collective noun – then your argument falls flat, and there is no possibility for the OT to support your assertion” is not only an overstatement but not to the point.

    First, to state my case again it is the New Testament that reveals clearly that God is Triune, and there is no reason why the New Testament cannot provide such a revelation. Israel did not begin as a collective noun, it originally referred to a single individual but it came to refer to a tribe. By the same right “God” may reveal himself to be Triune, and the argument that singular pronouns do not preclude the possibility that God is Triune stands. Ultimately, both the reality of God’s Trinity and man’s covenantal nature come together in the work of Christ who may say “I in them and you in me” (John 17:23) because he shares both the nature of God and man.

    Second, the idea that there is “no possibility for the OT to support the assertion” is itself an unsubstantiated assertion. The plurality of God’s title and the fact that man is his image both ready the waters for the New Testament revelation.

    Third, your point that mere men spoke on behalf of God does not change the fact that men do not bear the divine name, title, or divine prerogatives (e.g. creation) in the Old Testament. In each instance that they said “Thus says the Lord” there is no ambiguity that they are speaking on behalf of God in the first person. On the other hand, Jesus immediately intertwines his self-designation as “the first and the last,” a strict divine title (Rev. 1:17; cf. Is. 41:4; 44:6; 48:12), with designations referring to his historical existence “I was dead and behold I am alive” (Rev. 1:18) and this none of the prophets could do.

  57. on 04 Jun 2008 at 7:16 pmBrant Bosserman

    Sean, on your question in regard to the many “one God” passages in the O.T. (Deut. 4:35, 39; 2 Sam. 7:22; 2 Kings 19:19; Is. 45:5-7), “Are we to believe that all of these “I” statement really mean “we?”

    Lets take another matter of special revelation, like the Old Testament teaching that Gentiles will be included in the New Covenant (e.g. Amos 9:11-12). When Israelites read this passage they no doubt foresaw a time when all the Gentiles would become proselytes. And a contemporary Jew might well say to us, “Are we to believe that all these statements about Gentile conversion have nothing to do with them becoming circumcised? Well, there’s no way the original audience would have thought that.” And to this Jew we must respond, of course you are correct we needed special progressive revelation to know that. But once we have this revelation it becomes clear that God was never primarily interested in cutting off flesh, he was really preparing the waters for the revelation that he would cut off his Son (Col. 2:11ff). In the same way, we are happy to acknowledge that it is a new and profound revelation that the “I” statements of God do encompass the whole of the Triune Lord, but this reality is by no means a contradiction—“I” was always capable of doing that.

  58. on 04 Jun 2008 at 7:37 pmFrank D

    Scott, I find it interesting that you would say “I did not however state that we would have understood God’s nature in the same way.” What is God’s nature in the Old Testement? Is it stated as “one that encompasses three divine eternal persons” or is it “radically one”?

    What did the Old Testement patriarchs believe about God’s nature?

    Quite honestly, I don’t think the trinity theology can be constructed from the Old Testement.

  59. on 04 Jun 2008 at 7:56 pmBrant Bosserman

    Frank, if your point in saying “I don’t think the Trinity theology can be constructed from the Old Testament” is that we need the fullness of the Biblical revelation in order to know the fullness of Biblical theology, then of course what you are saying is true. But its true of every Biblical doctrine. We cannot construct “Christological Theology” strictly from the Old Testament either, because the Old Testament itself looks forward to fuller revelation. It appears that you are committed to a Platonic epistemology which will not allow for the communication of new truths in history, but it is precisely this that the Biblical worldview presupposes.

    As for the question, “What did the Old Testament Patriarchs believe about God’s nature?” It is clear that they believed the moral qualities which defined Israelite relationships to one another—love, righteousness, fidelity, honor, etc.—were embodied by God in himself (Lev. 19:2; Ps. 36:5-6; 51:1) and not qualities which were temporarily manifest in his relationship to creation. This was no doubt mysterious, because they did not believe in abstract attributes along Platonistic lines which awaited instantiation in history. And the New Testament thus represents the culmination of the Old Testament teaching in revealing the relationship between the Father the Son and the Spirit.

  60. on 04 Jun 2008 at 8:37 pmMark

    Mark,
    Does it have to be ONE scripture that states what Frank asks for? If the answer is yes- then why? Does the Bible demand this level of proof?

    No, you could bring up as many as you like. Frank asked for “any scripture that alludes to, hints at, or could be interpreted to say God is ‘one that encompasses three divine eternal persons.'” No Trinitarian has ever been able to do so, because “one” means “one.”

  61. on 04 Jun 2008 at 8:38 pmScott

    Frank,
    I believe that God has always existed as Trinity so in that aspect of His nature He was a trinity in the Old Testament. I am not here saying that this was revealed in the Old Testament as I cannot find any passages that deal with God’s metaphysical make up- thus the Old Testament takes neither a unitarian nor trinitarian position regarding God’s nature.

    As far as what the Old Testament saints believed about God’s nature I agree with Brant.

  62. on 04 Jun 2008 at 10:18 pmCameron

    Sal, if I may respond to your question to Scott,

    just curious…how would you explain the fact that Jesus was tempted in the wilderness, yet James 1.13 says that “God cannot be tempted.”

    clearly there’s a contradiction in that belief. I know there’s a doctrine of dual natures; the problem is that there’s no scriptural support for that line of reasoning.

    Clearly there’s a contradiction for you as well for verse 13 also states “nor does he (God) tempt anyone”. As I stated earlier, the Greek word ‘peradzo’ carries with it the connotation of being tested, challenged, or proved from the outside, not an inner craving from within. There is a better Greek word for that, such as ‘epithoumia’ I believe.

    This point alone illustrates how reading the Bible in English is like seeing its truths in black and white while reading it in its original languages is like seeing its truths in color.

    Like most words, context dictates how they are meant. ‘Peradzo’ is no exception. For instance, one can be tested unto sin or unto Godly character. God never does the former but certainly does the latter. Thus, James 1:13-15 is not contradictory once we see that word’s meanings do not stand alone but are also guided by their given context.

    Heb 11:17 By faith Abraham, when God tested (peradzomenos) him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had received the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son

    We even see Christ testing others in John 6:6: Philip, “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?” 6He asked this only to test (peradzon) him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do.

    Again, God tests unto Godly character, not to sin – like Satan does.

  63. on 04 Jun 2008 at 10:25 pmCameron

    Also, Satan tested Christ in hopes He would sin, while God used such tests to all the more prove His inability to sin.

  64. on 04 Jun 2008 at 11:23 pmSean

    Again, I don’t see what is so complicated about the simple exclusive statements that Yahweh makes of himself that he is the only God. The shema is clear that there is only one Yahweh, not two, not three. This is so simple, it could only take the confusion of men like Athanasius and the Cappadocians to confuse it into poly-mono-theism. Can I urge you just to read these simple verses?

    Deuteronomy 4:35
    “To you it was shown that you might know that Yahweh, He is God; there is no other besides Him.

    Deuteronomy 4:39
    “Know therefore today, and take it to your heart, that Yahweh, He is God in heaven above and on the earth below; there is no other.

    Yahweh is the only God (period). If you want to add Jesus or the Holy Spirit to this it is not compatible–not if there is only one Yahweh. Remember, Jesus explicitly denied the Trinity when he agreed with the non-trinitarian scribe on who God is.

    Mark 12:29-34 29 Jesus answered, “The foremost is, ‘HEAR, O ISRAEL! THE LORD OUR GOD IS ONE LORD; 30 AND YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND, AND WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH.’ 31 “The second is this, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” 32 The scribe said to Him, “Right, Teacher; You have truly stated that HE IS ONE, AND THERE IS NO ONE ELSE BESIDES HIM; 33 AND TO LOVE HIM WITH ALL THE HEART AND WITH ALL THE UNDERSTANDING AND WITH ALL THE STRENGTH, AND TO LOVE ONE’S NEIGHBOR AS HIMSELF, is much more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.” 34 When Jesus saw that he had answered intelligently, He said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” After that, no one would venture to ask Him any more questions.

    The way Jesus understood the shema was the same as this scribe who said, “he is one, and there is no one else besides him.” This is clearly a confession of strict monotheism. If Jesus is a co-equal (which of course he denied John 10.30; 14.28) then there is one besides Yahweh who is also God. Furthermore, if the nameless holy spirit is God then there are two besides Yahweh. That Yahweh is not Jesus is clear from Psalm 110.1 when Yahweh addresses David’s lord.

    Why not listen to our beloved brother Paul?

    1 Corinthians 8:5-6 5 For even if there are so-called gods whether in heaven or on earth, as indeed there are many gods and many lords, 6 yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom are all things and we exist for Him; and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things, and we exist through Him.

    Simple right? “for us there is but one God, the Father.” Can you agree with this statement? No! The trinity says, “there is but one God, the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit!”

    Again, we come back to the same problem we have over and again with the Trinity–it is not derived from Scripture. It is a theory that is so clever that it is not able to be proven nor disproved (i.e. it is not falsifiable). Show me where the Bible teaches the Trinity–not merely the deity of Christ or the incarnation, etc. etc., but where does it say that God is one in three persons? Where is Jesus equal with the Father. The theory is superimposed on the text anachronistically. The words of Hans Kung are instructive:

    Had people kept to the New Testament, they would have spared themselves the notorious difficulties which now arose over the relationship of the three persons ‘in’ God, all the speculations over the numbers one and three.

    If we take the New Testament as a criterion, we cannot deny that the Council of Nicaea certainly maintained the New Testament message and did not Hellenize it totally. But it is equally beyond dispute that the council remained utterly imprisoned in Hellenistic concepts, notions and thought-models which would have been completely alien to the Jew Jesus of Nazareth and the earliest community. Here in particular the shift from the Jewish Christians apocalyptic paradigm to the early church Hellenistic paradigm had a massive effect.

  65. on 04 Jun 2008 at 11:24 pmGene

    Hello everyone,

    Brant has agreed to come on my radio program to discuss the debate this Saturday at 9AM PST. You can call into the show and talk to Brant in person at 1-800-466-1873 (that is if you are as bold on the phone as you are on your PC)

    Check out unchainedradio.com for more info.

    It should be educational,

    Gene
    “Jesus didn’t tap out”

  66. on 04 Jun 2008 at 11:26 pmSean

    The Trinity is a traceable doctrine which developed after New Testament times. We find a clear evolution between the Apostle’s Creed (which is clearly biblical) and the Binitarian Creed of Nicea in a.d. 325. Remember the church was unsure as to whether the Father and Son were the same substance, similar substances, or different substances (hence the need for the council). Are we prepared to say that Christianity had always believed in the Trinity since Jesus secretly taught it to his apostles but as late as a.d. 380 there is still a question as to whether the holy spirit is a person?

    It is preposterous to think that Jesus or his apostles redefined the concept of God from a unipersonal, monotheistic belief of “Yahweh alone is God” to some tripartite or triune God of three persons when we see not one New Testament book, not one chapter, not one paragraph describing the change. There is no explanation of how the clear statements of radical monotheism found in the Old Testament could be reread in light of this new understanding of plurality. If the Trinity were part of what the apostles taught, then we should find at least one community in either Palestine or the Diaspora that struggled to accept this new doctrine of God. To think that the early Church debated over accepting the Gentiles, keeping the Law, how to keep communion, the role of women in the Church, yet never once had any trouble at all accepting that God is now three instead of one is absurd.

  67. on 05 Jun 2008 at 12:17 amScott

    Sean,
    I have already spoken to the issue of the supposed radical monotheism you refer to. It seems at this point my ideas are not being interacted with and instead you simply continue to assume that the “one God” texts are all some metaphysical discourse about the ontology of God. Apart from you assuming that monotheism= unitarianism I have heard no real discussion of the texts. This is pretty frustrating and makes for a bad conversation.

  68. on 05 Jun 2008 at 7:26 amSean

    No, Scott, that is not at all what I assumed. My point is that it is the trinitarian who is bring metaphysics and ontological demands to the text. I’m just asking you to read it and believe it. It is so simple I think that we need not even have this discussion. If I say that I alone am Sean and there is no other human besides me. How is that confusing or metaphysical or whatever? This is really not difficult. There is no assumption here.

  69. on 05 Jun 2008 at 9:32 amScott

    Sean,
    Respectfully- that is why you are Sean and not God. It’s interesting how many times the unitarian argument comes back to reasoning from man’s nature to God’s nature. To be consistent you would have to say that since God is called He and every he we know has (or at one time had) male genitals then God must have them.

    I am not importing anything to those texts- I am not arguing that they reveal trinitarian, unitarian or any other metsphysical statement about God than the ones actually referred to- His superiority over all and unique standing as the only true God. The issue of His metaphysical make up is simply not at hand in these texts. From this text we know that God is one but this text alone does not tell us in which way He is one. Radical oneness is not the only option for those that are presented as being one. This is why we trinitarians happily say amen and submit to the texts where He reveals Himself to be the only true God.

  70. on 05 Jun 2008 at 11:03 amFrank D

    Scott, Brant, Thank you for your patience with me.

    Scott wrote:

    I am not here saying that this was revealed in the Old Testament as I cannot find any passages that deal with God’s metaphysical make up- thus the Old Testament takes neither a unitarian nor trinitarian position regarding God’s nature.

    Brant wrote:

    As for the question, “What did the Old Testament Patriarchs believe about God’s nature?” It is clear that they believed the moral qualities which defined Israelite relationships to one another—love, righteousness, fidelity, honor, etc.—were embodied by God in himself (Lev. 19:2; Ps. 36:5-6; 51:1) and not qualities which were temporarily manifest in his relationship to creation. This was no doubt mysterious, because they did not believe in abstract attributes along Platonistic lines which awaited instantiation in history. And the New Testament thus represents the culmination of the Old Testament teaching in revealing the relationship between the Father the Son and the Spirit.

    Scott also wrote:

    I am not importing anything to those texts- I am not arguing that they reveal trinitarian, unitarian or any other metsphysical statement about God than the ones actually referred to- His superiority over all and unique standing as the only true God. The issue of His metaphysical make up is simply not at hand in these texts. From this text we know that God is one but this text alone does not tell us in which way He is one.

    I understand your position to be that since there are no “metaphysical make-up” statements in the Old Testement defining God, then he is neither unitarian or trinitarian. God uses the word ‘echod to describe Himself as ONE and I think we all agree. We disagree if this is a metaphysical ONE. But, there are numerous uses of ONE to describe God. There are no words used by God in the Old Testement that means ‘one that encompasses three divine eternal persons’ . True?

    Can you please provide any scripture that alludes to, hints at, or could be interpreted to say God is ‘one that encompasses three divine eternal persons’ in the New Testement?

    Is there any Greek word that means ‘one that encompasses three divine eternal persons’ and is this word used anywhere in the New Testement to describe God?

    Sean, I know this is going to get to be a very long blog. THANKS!

  71. on 05 Jun 2008 at 12:10 pmFortigurn

    Scott.

    ‘Here is the point on pronouns- singular pronouns CAN be used to speak of multiple persons. Brant proved this in the debate in his extensive quotations of examples of just that (i.e. Israel is referred to with a singular pronouns when it clearly refers to the entire nation) this is because of the concept of covenental relationships. So far the unitarians have not dealt with this concept.’

    This has already been dealt with. In this case the subject of the singular pronoun is known by context to be plural. So what you have to demonstrate is that in every place where a singular pronoun is used of God, the context indicates that more than one person is referred to.

    But once again this only proves the Unitarian position. In all of these cases the singular pronoun is being used to refer to ONE person, the corporate body Israel.

    ‘Additionally, plural pronouns can be used of God as well such as in the book of Genesis.’

    You’re begging the question.

    ‘The assertion that God is speaking to Himself and the angels is a great case of eisegesis and the fact that some trinitarians agree with such eisegesis doesn’t make the error any truer.’

    It isn’t eisegesis, it’s correct grammar. In Genesis 1:27 the verb/noun agreement proves that only ONE person created all things, and that ONE person is called ‘God’ in the same verse. So once again the noun, pronoun, and verb all agree. God is one person.

    ‘In summary the Trinitarian God is referred to properly using both singular and plural pronouns.’

    You haven’t explained how God is ‘referred to properly using both singular and plural pronouns’, especially since your examples require throwing out Hebrew grammar.

    ‘What the Bible does not teach is the unitarian position on God. You can assume every time God is referred to in the singular this proves unitarianism but it does not- it affirms monotheism.’

    No Scott, I’ve been through this before. Pronouns count persons, not beings. This is not an assumption, it’s a fact.

  72. on 05 Jun 2008 at 12:12 pmFortigurn

    Brant,

    ‘First, Frank D., God does reveal himself to be “one” in Deut. 6:4 but he does not expressly say “one person” as the Unitarian would have it.’

    He does say ‘one person’, the moment He says ‘I’. Let me ask you, how many people are referred to in each of the following dot points:

    * I
    * Me
    * My
    * Mine
    * Him
    * His

  73. on 05 Jun 2008 at 12:20 pmFortigurn

    Brant,

    ‘First, there is no clear statement of the Unitarian position in the Scriptures along the lines that the Unitarian demands of the Trinitarian.’

    Sure there is. We have plenty of passages which say God is one, and plenty of passages in which God is described as one person (using standard noun/pronoun/verb agreement). You have no passages which say God is three in one.

    ‘Fortigurn has well noted that the Trinitarian view is birthed out of the compilation of four truths, but argues that the Unitarian position is succinctly stated every time God is called “he.” Yet, upon scrutiny this is not the case. First when (1) God is called “he” the Unitarian does not conclude that God is “male” as it means with regard to most subjects (I note this in the debate).’

    No Brant, whether or not God is male is not under discussion here. Whether or not God is one person is what is under discussion. When God is called ‘He’, Unitarians understand that God is one person. That’s it. Whatever else we make of the use of the MALE pronoun is irrelevant to the fundamental difference between Unitarian and trinitarian theology which is under discussion here.

    ‘Thus, the Unitarian adds an addition piece of information to his systematic theology that (2) God is not a man (Num. 23:19).’

    Again, this has nothing to do with the issue under discussion, which is that God is one person. That is found in the Bible countless times, and requires no systematic theology.

    ‘Yet, still further the Unitarian adds an assumption that is not found in Scripture that (3) the single God, who is radically different than man as noted in point (2), cannot be identical with three distinct persons.’

    No Brant, we make no such assumption. We simply not that God has repeatedly revealed Himself as one person. We don’t assume He CANNOT be identical with three distinct persons, we simply note that He has revealed Himself as only one person. This being the case, there is no evidence compelling us to believe otherwise.

    ‘And here the Unitarian adds another extra-Biblical assumption to his theology, namely that (4) God’s manner of being must submit to our rational demands, and because we cannot understand or envisage a Triune God it simply cannot be possible.’

    No Brant, we simply understand that when God communicated to us in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek He knew what He was doing. We understand that God communicates to us intelligibly and within our frame of reference. When He communicates using a human language, we understand that He uses it the same way we do, and you do the same. We trust God to be able to communicate intelligently and intelligibly in whatever language He chooses, without making glaring grammatical blunders.

    This has nothing to do with Aristotle, Augustine, or Hegel.

    Again I repeat, no systematic theology is required for Unitarians to assert that the Bible describes God as one person. Pick up a Bible and start counting singular prounouns. It’s a simple as that.

  74. on 05 Jun 2008 at 12:22 pmkevin lewis

    hi, can someone please tell me were the word trinity came from , thanks

  75. on 05 Jun 2008 at 12:24 pmFortigurn

    For me, it’s utterly conclusive that the apostles baptized thousands of people with the knowledge that Jesus is a MAN who was sent by GOD, to whom GOD gave power, and who was attested by GOD through miracles and signs that GOD did THROUGH him, and that GOD has appointed a day on which He will judge the world THROUGH THAT MAN whom GOD has appointed.

    The apostles teach this explicitly, all the way through the Acts. Thousands of people were baptized into Christ with this understanding. Whatever else might be said for the trinity, it’s clear that the apostles never taught it as a salvic doctrine, or a precursor to baptism. The Unitarian faith sufficed.

  76. on 05 Jun 2008 at 12:38 pmJohnO

    To go off what Fortigurn closed with – if the apostles never taught this as a salvific donctrine, we biblical Unitarians should be declared outside Christ, heretics, or in need of salvation. This has been done in the debate, in this thread, over email, and in the public world for centuries now.

  77. on 05 Jun 2008 at 12:39 pmScott

    Frank,
    Thanks for hashing this out with me-

    You said,
    “I understand your position to be that since there are no “metaphysical make-up” statements in the Old Testement defining God, then he is neither unitarian or trinitarian. God uses the word ‘echod to describe Himself as ONE and I think we all agree. We disagree if this is a metaphysical ONE. But, there are numerous uses of ONE to describe God. There are no words used by God in the Old Testement that means ‘one that encompasses three divine eternal persons’ . True?”

    You are pretty close on my position here but I want to clarify a few things:
    1. I am not saying that there are NO statements in the Old Testament that detail God’s metaphysical make up. I am saying that I believe all of the “one God” passages that have been refferred to in this blog and the debate to this point are not in context dealing with the metaphysical make up of God’s oneness. (I know that was a mouthful).
    2. I am not saying that in the Old Testament God was neither unitarian or trinitarian. My point was that the texts we have been discussing do not reveal His metaphysical make up- not that He didn’t have one. Maybe you already got this but I just want to be clear. As a side note I want to make it clear that I believe that the one God has always existed as Father, Son and Holy Spirit- though I admit the full revelation of this was not seen until the New Testament.

    Frank- again I appreciate you working through this with me and I think we are getting to the nature of my point. We agree that God is one and now we need to hash out in which way He is one. As an analogy the Bible speaks of my wife and and I as being “one flesh” and we both agree that this is true. Now since we know that my wife and and I are “ONE flesh” we need to work out what that means metaphysically (if anything). I am not trying to compare God with His creation here rather I am pointing out that the same type of discussion of what does “ONE” in the case of my wife and I should also take place about how God is “ONE” in light of the New Testament identifying the Father as God, Jesus as God and the Holy Spirit as God.

    I will post later on these specific scriptures as you asked.

    Fortigent-
    Please see my comments to Frank above about the “One God” passages. As I said earlier I am done with the pronoun thing. Brant I have both covered our position numerous times. Thanks.

  78. on 05 Jun 2008 at 1:19 pmMark

    Frank- again I appreciate you working through this with me and I think we are getting to the nature of my point. We agree that God is one and now we need to hash out in which way He is one. As an analogy the Bible speaks of my wife and and I as being “one flesh” and we both agree that this is true. Now since we know that my wife and and I are “ONE flesh” we need to work out what that means metaphysically (if anything). I am not trying to compare God with His creation here rather I am pointing out that the same type of discussion of what does “ONE” in the case of my wife and I should also take place about how God is “ONE” in light of the New Testament identifying the Father as God, Jesus as God and the Holy Spirit as God.

    Thank you. You are making our point for us! The relationship of a husband and wife is EXACTLY what Jesus and Paul say regarding in what sense the Father and the Son are one. A husband and wife are not “one essence existing in two persons.” They are two distinct beings who are in agreement, one in purpose, one in heart.

    We agree that the Old Testament does not reveal God’s nature as Trinity. So sticking to the New Testament, I still maintain that there are NO Scriptures that present three persons in one God, or even two. Nowhere is the word “one” ever defined as “one that encompasses three persons.” The doctrine did not come about until many years later. The New Testament is quite clear:

    John 8:
    17 It is also written in your law, that the testimony of two men is true.
    18 I am one that bear witness of myself, and the Father that sent me beareth witness of me.

    John 17:
    3 This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.

    I Corinthians 8:
    6 But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.

    I Timothy 2:
    5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;

    And this isn’t even touching on the distinct differences between Father and Son, such as whether they know all things, whether they can be tempted, and whether they can die. I know that is explained away with the “two natures” concept, but I again maintain that such a concept is NOWHERE presented in the New Testament.

  79. on 05 Jun 2008 at 2:02 pmScott

    Mark,
    You totally disregarded my comment about not comparing God with his creation. The relationship of the Father to the Son is never compared to the relationship of husband and wife. Your assertion that they are only one in so far that they are one in “purpose, heart and agreement” is Mormon theology- not Biblical theology. I used that illustration to point out what is obvious- unless you assume unitarianism there is no good reason to assume that every reference to one in the Bible means “radically one”.

    As for your points about the distinctions between the Father and the Son we Trinitarians agree- there are distinctions between them. Just as we agree that they are one, we also agree that there is distinction between them. At this point you are not defeating trinitarianism- you are simply defining it.

  80. on 05 Jun 2008 at 3:04 pmMark

    You totally disregarded my comment about not comparing God with his creation. The relationship of the Father to the Son is never compared to the relationship of husband and wife. Your assertion that they are only one in so far that they are one in “purpose, heart and agreement” is Mormon theology- not Biblical theology. I used that illustration to point out what is obvious- unless you assume unitarianism there is no good reason to assume that every reference to one in the Bible means “radically one”.

    I don’t disregard your comment. I just don’t agree that there is anything wrong with comparing God with His creation. He has given us many examples from creation that help us to understand Him. That’s why He made His creation the way He did. Father begetting son, and seed producing a growing plant are just two examples.

    And the belief that they are one in heart and purpose is not uniquely Mormon. All Unitarians see this as the way in which Jesus and God are “one”. The same word for one is used in Jesus’ saying, “I and the Father are one” and in his prayer, “that all may be one AS YOU, FATHER, AND I ARE ONE.” How could Jesus pray for all people to be “one essence existing in three (or more) persons.” You have yet to show ANY Scripture that defines one as “one that consists of three.”

    There is nothing “radical” about one. It is a basic concept that anyone can understand. One is this many: * . Two is this many: ** . Three is this many: *** . If you insist that one means something else according to God’s viewpoint, then I want to see Scriptural proof. Show me where one means one-in-three or three-in-one.

    As for your points about the distinctions between the Father and the Son we Trinitarians agree- there are distinctions between them. Just as we agree that they are one, we also agree that there is distinction between them. At this point you are not defeating trinitarianism- you are simply defining it.

    And in defining it I am pointing out that there is, again NO SCRIPTURE that presents either “one consisting of three” or “two natures of Jesus.” You (and others) have used the examples of things that the Jews did not understand, which were later revealed, such as the body of Christ replacing the Temple, Gentiles being members of the Body, and spiritual sacrifices replacing the physical ones of the Old Covenant. But all of those issues are described and discussed and defined in the New Testament, especially in Paul’s letters. But the Trinity is not. You may be content to base your doctrine on extra-Biblical writings but I am not.

  81. on 05 Jun 2008 at 3:54 pmScott

    I am not saying that we cannot learn about God from his creation and vice versa but I am saying that it is wrong for you to make God subject to the same rules as His creation. As though logic and natural law are something that exist above Him that He is forced to submit to.

    As long as we are talking numbers I should also point out that husband and wife means this many- ** yet are called this many *. From this it appears we need to have a robust discussion of the metaphysical nature of whatever is called ** and * before we can say that when God referred to as * it means He cannot possibly have existed as Father, Son and Holy Spirit for all of eternity. Simply pointing out that God is referred to as * is not anymore helpful than pointing out that husband an wife cannot be called ** because the Bible calls them *. This is what I am trying to get at and you keep missing it. Can you really not see my point or are you just busting my chops?

    Finally, when Jesus prays that believers all be one as the Son and the Father are one He is making an analogy and not speaking in strict terms. This is clear because your assertion that their union is exactly like ours cannot even stand on its own terms. This stems from the fact that according to you the Father and Son are ** individuals while believers are more than ** individuals. Thus the unity of ** is by definition different than the unity of

  82. on 05 Jun 2008 at 4:03 pmScott

    the post above finished out by saying:
    ….Thus the unity of ** is by definition different than the unity of more than **.

    Finally, we agree that Jesus and the Father would have perfect unity and purpose- we just don’t limit them to that type of unity. This make sense in light of a Trinitarian view for what better basis would God have for unity in purpose than having existed eternally as Father, Son and Holy Spirit?

  83. on 05 Jun 2008 at 6:10 pmFortigurn

    Scott,

    ‘Please see my comments to Frank above about the “One God” passages. As I said earlier I am done with the pronoun thing. Brant I have both covered our position numerous times. Thanks.’

    I’ve read what you wrote. But the problem is that neither you nor Brant have a valid argument on this point. Pronouns count persons, end of story.

    The trinitarian doctrine requires that we throw out the rules of grammar and practices special pleading for an interpretation of the text which is completely ungrammatical.

    I gave a list of personal pronouns, and I asked a very simple question. It wasn’t answered. That didn’t surprise me. I’ve found trinitarians don’t like to answer that question.

  84. on 05 Jun 2008 at 6:24 pmFrank D

    Maybe I can just cut to the chase here.

    Scott said:

    As a side note I want to make it clear that I believe that the one God has always existed as Father, Son and Holy Spirit- though I admit the full revelation of this was not seen until the New Testament.

    Scott, Is belief in God as ‘one that encompasses three divine eternal persons’ necessary for life in the kingdom of God? (I don’t think it is necessary to get into a discussion about the kingdom of God but it may end up that way.)

    As you have stated above, it was not revealed until the New Testement, so what did Abraham, Issac and Jacob believe? What did all of the prophets believe? Jesus said they will be in the kingdom of God:

    Luke 13:28:
    There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out.

    If you submit that they all believe in God as ‘one that encompasses three divine eternal persons’ when was it revealed to them?

  85. on 05 Jun 2008 at 6:54 pmFrank D

    kevin, In an attempt to post a bipartisan link:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trinity

    and a quote from the Catholic Encyclopedia (a trinitarian source):

    In Scripture there is as yet no single term by which the Three Divine Persons are denoted together. The word [tri’as] (of which the Latin trinitas is a translation) is first found in Theophilus of Antioch about A. D. 180. He speaks of “the Trinity of God [the Father], His Word and His Wisdom” (“Ad. Autol.”, 11, 15, P. G., VI, 1078). The term may, of course, have been in use before his time. Shortly afterwards it appears in its Latin form of trinitas in Tertullian. ..

  86. on 05 Jun 2008 at 7:34 pmScott

    Frank,
    Since you asked here is what I believe:
    I believe that all the saints of God through out all time are saved by Christ and Him alone. I believe this salvation is by grace through faith and that those who are saved should worship the God that saves them. The true worship of God includes (but is not limited to) accepting all the things He has revealed about Himself.

    I believe that God’s elect people today will accept the scriptural teaching that there is one God, that Jesus is God, the Holy Spirit is God and that the Father is God. I believe that people who reject this worship and serve a different God and must repent of their unbelief if they are to enter the kingdom of God.

    I believe that the Old Testament saints were also saved by grace through faith though I feel no need to say that they believed in the Trinity as this revelation had not been made clear at that time. However, they did accept God at His word and believed all that He had revealed about Himself at that time. The Bible does not say when this doctrine was revealed to the OT saints but it is my opinion that the Trinity was revealed to them after death- when they stood before Him and saw God revealed in His full glory.

    The same quesion can be put back to the unitarians. Is belief in Christ necessary to enter the Kingdom of God? If so did Abraham, Isaac and Jacob believe in Christ?

    I am not trying to flame anyone in these points- but you did ask the question and I wish to be honest, even if that honesty sounds harsh.

    One last point- as a Trinitarian do you believe I will be saved or do I need to repent of what must be considered as heresy to the unitarians?

  87. on 05 Jun 2008 at 7:39 pmScott

    Fortigen,
    On pronouns-

    That question has been answered both in the debate and on this blog. As I said before I am done on the pronoun thing- unless there is some point that I made that you wish to interact with specifically.

    You can take that as me chickening out if you like. But I intend it as a statement that your point has been dealt with and there is no need to rehash it.

  88. on 05 Jun 2008 at 9:31 pmFrank D

    It doesn’t sound harsh at all, Scott. This, I think, is the meat of the debate.

    The same quesion can be put back to the unitarians. Is belief in Christ necessary to enter the Kingdom of God? If so did Abraham, Isaac and Jacob believe in Christ? /

    As Luke 13:28 said:
    There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out.

    and I would never second guess Messiah Jesus!

    Also Romans 4:3
    3For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.

    So what are we told in the scriptures that Abraham believed? (The following quote is taken from Wesley Bible Notes:)

    Abraham believed God – That promise of God concerning the numerousness of his seed, Gen 15:5,7; but especially the promise concerning Christ, Gen 12:3, through whom all nations should be blessed. And it was imputed to him for righteousness – God accepted him as if he had been altogether righteous. Gen 15:6.

    Gen 15:5-7 5And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be. 6And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness.

    Gen 12:1-3 1Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee: 2And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: 3And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.

    Gal 3:6-9 6Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness. 7Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham. 8And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed. 9So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham.

    Heb 23 And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.

    So, yes, Abraham (and I can dig up Issac and Jacob or just lean on Luke 13:28 and Matt 8:11) did believe in the coming Messiah. Also, Paul uses Abraham’s faith as an example in Romans, Galatians, and Hebrews so I have no problem at all following the Abrahamic faith in his understanding of God and the Messiah.

    One last point- as a Trinitarian do you believe I will be saved or do I need to repent of what must be considered as heresy to the unitarians?

    Scott, we all are going to stand before God and God will judge, not me.

    Rev 20: 12-15 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. 13And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. 14And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 15And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

    Acts 2:21 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.

    and of course Romans 10:9-13

    9That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 10For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. 12For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. 13For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

    Now, there may be some debate as to who or what you are believing in when you call on the name of the Lord. But, again, I choose to follow the example of Abraham and leave the rest up to God.

  89. on 05 Jun 2008 at 9:56 pmFrank D

    I feel as if I should make one more case here. The Apsotle Peter (master debator) gives a beautiful discourse in Acts Ch 2 that I think is worth a read.

    16But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; 17And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: 18And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy: 19And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke: 20The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come: 21And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved. 22Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know: 23Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: 24Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it. 25For David speaketh concerning him, I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved: 26Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope: 27Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. 28Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance. 29Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day. 30Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne; 31He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption. 32This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses. 33Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear. 34For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, 35Until I make thy foes thy footstool. 36Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ. 37Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? 38Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. 39For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call. 40And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation. 41Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. …. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.

    And the example of faith in this passage is David who received his understanding of God and the Messiah from the Old Testement scriptures.

  90. on 05 Jun 2008 at 10:36 pmFortigurn

    Scott,

    ‘On pronouns-

    That question has been answered both in the debate and on this blog. As I said before I am done on the pronoun thing- unless there is some point that I made that you wish to interact with specifically.’

    No answer was actually given to that question on this blog. It’s not a matter of me disagreeing with the answer, it’s a matter of the answer simply not being given. If it was given in the debate, please refer me to the relevant section.

    This is one of the reasons why trinitarian scholarship is now on the back foot these days. Honest trinitarian scholars acknowledge that many (if not most ), of the old arguments simply aren’t defensible, either exegetically or grammatically.

    It’s enlightening to see how each generation of recognized trinitarian scholars continues to concede more to the Unitarian position. Pick up the New English Translation and prepare to be amazed at how many traditional trinitarian ‘proof texts’ are debunked in the footnotes.

    I predict that the next generation of trinitarian scholars will abandon almost completely the concept of Biblical support for the trinity, in preference for a ‘trajectory theology’ approach which appeals to the authority of post-apostolic church councils to develop doctrines which the apostles never taught.

    And mark that, it’s already acknowledged by standard trinitarian scholarship that the apostles never taught this doctrine. Hence the power of my post on the peaching of the apostles in Acts. The entire debate starts and finishes there.

  91. on 05 Jun 2008 at 10:38 pmFortigurn

    Frank,

    ‘and a quote from the Catholic Encyclopedia (a trinitarian source):

    In Scripture there is as yet no single term by which the Three Divine Persons are denoted together. The word [tri’as] (of which the Latin trinitas is a translation) is first found in Theophilus of Antioch about A. D. 180. He speaks of “the Trinity of God [the Father], His Word and His Wisdom” (”Ad. Autol.”, 11, 15, P. G., VI, 1078). The term may, of course, have been in use before his time. Shortly afterwards it appears in its Latin form of trinitas in Tertullian. ..’

    Actually the Greek word ‘trias’ simply means ‘a group of three’, which is not very useful for the trinitarian (and of course, Theophilus wasn’t a trinitarian). We have to enter the 3rd century before we start finding genuine trinitarian language, and even then it’s obscure.

  92. on 06 Jun 2008 at 3:12 amMark

    I am not saying that we cannot learn about God from his creation and vice versa but I am saying that it is wrong for you to make God subject to the same rules as His creation. As though logic and natural law are something that exist above Him that He is forced to submit to.

    I’m not saying that logic and natural law exist above God and He must submit to them. But I am saying that for Him to communicate successfully with us, He has to do so in terms we can understand. One of the most basic concepts for a person to understand is how many one is.

    I like how Fortigurn put it, above:

    The trinitarian doctrine requires that we throw out the rules of grammar and practices special pleading for an interpretation of the text which is completely ungrammatical.

    Under normal usage of language (which God would need to use in order to communicate with us) the word one means one, not three-in-one or one-in-three. In order for God to communicate something that was against all of our logic, and violates ordinary rules of language, as well as contradicting what was formerly believed by His chosen people for centuries, He would have to say so IN HIS WORD, in a way that communicates to us, even if it is in a way that declares we can’t understand it and must accept it on faith. Otherwise language ceases to function and words have no meaning. But as I have said repeatedly, there is NO Scripture that presents one as meaning “one consisting of three” nor is there any Scripture that presents Jesus as having “two natures.”

    As long as we are talking numbers I should also point out that husband and wife means this many- ** yet are called this many *. From this it appears we need to have a robust discussion of the metaphysical nature of whatever is called ** and * before we can say that when God referred to as * it means He cannot possibly have existed as Father, Son and Holy Spirit for all of eternity.

    I’m not saying he cannot possibly have existed as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. I agree that God would be capable of doing or being things which we can’t understand. I would be more than happy to submit to such a doctrine if it were taught in the Bible, but it is not.

    Simply pointing out that God is referred to as * is not anymore helpful than pointing out that husband an wife cannot be called ** because the Bible calls them *. This is what I am trying to get at and you keep missing it. Can you really not see my point or are you just busting my chops?

    I didn’t say a husband and wife cannot be called two. Obviously they are called two at times. I just said that when they are called one, it doesn’t mean “two persons in one essence.” I don’t know why you keep saying I am missing your point. I can see it, I just don’t agree with it. I can understand that you believe that God revealed in His Word that He was one God but existing in three persons. I just don’t see any such thing in the Scriptures. All I see is “Father is God, Jesus is God, Holy Spirit is God” and we have been over how those three statements can be understood in a way that does not demand the Trinity.

    Finally, when Jesus prays that believers all be one as the Son and the Father are one He is making an analogy and not speaking in strict terms. This is clear because your assertion that their union is exactly like ours cannot even stand on its own terms. This stems from the fact that according to you the Father and Son are ** individuals while believers are more than ** individuals. Thus the unity of ** is by definition different than the unity of more than **.

    I didn’t say that it is “exactly” like their unity. But when he uses the word “as” that means there is some similarity. But if Jesus and the Father are “one essence, co-equal, co-eternal” it is not even close, and there would be no basis for comparison at all.

    Finally, we agree that Jesus and the Father would have perfect unity and purpose- we just don’t limit them to that type of unity.

    But there is no basis to go beyond the limit of what God has revealed in His Word.

    This make sense in light of a Trinitarian view for what better basis would God have for unity in purpose than having existed eternally as Father, Son and Holy Spirit?

    How about the fact that Jesus always did the Father’s will? How about the fact that he was (and is) the perfect representation of God? All the things that the New Testament declares about him would be a basis for their being one in purpose. But for them to be two persons in one God, or in one essence, is simply not stated in the Scriptures. You have yet to show us any Scripture that declares such a thing. That’s because there is none.

  93. on 06 Jun 2008 at 7:14 amSean

    Scott,

    I said, “No, Scott, that is not at all what I assumed. My point is that it is the trinitarian who is bring metaphysics and ontological demands to the text. I’m just asking you to read it and believe it. It is so simple I think that we need not even have this discussion. If I say that I alone am Sean and there is no other human besides me. How is that confusing or metaphysical or whatever? This is really not difficult. There is no assumption here.”

    You said, “Respectfully- that is why you are Sean and not God. It’s interesting how many times the unitarian argument comes back to reasoning from man’s nature to God’s nature.”

    This came up a few times in the debate and needs to be answered. Typically, any time logic begins to impinge on the beloved doctrine of the Trinity the trinitarian retreats into mystery language. Scott, you said, “that is why you are Sean and not God” because I said, “If I say that I alone am Sean and there no other human besides me, how is that difficult to understand?” Scott, this is a real concern of mine, that we create new rules of language for God. If Yahweh says that he alone is God and there is no other, then it is our duty to respect the language he chose to use. What Brant and you have repeatedly done is to say, well, that’s God and we cannot apply logic to him. Again, this is a subtle and dangerous way to think because the end result is that language is twisted to mean bizzarre things. God chose to communicate himself to us in a certain way, if we do not accept that because it doesn’t fit with our theory–the Trinity–then we are disrespecting God!

    The trinitarian is guilty of redefining several words in order to even have a theory:

    person is redefined to be a mind not a being
    begotten is redefined from the act of bringing into existence by a father to merely a relationship of dependence
    personal pronouns are stripped of their number and gender
    one gets redefined to be more than one (compound unity)
    etc. etc.

    Once we destroy language we destroy God’s revelation of himself. You are sitting at the end of the branch supported by logic and language and you are sawing off both thinking that the branch will mysteriously continue to bear your weight. We are not reasoning from man’s nature to God’s, we are just taking God’s special revelation of himself (not themselves) seriously. Because we do this is does not mean we are bringing God down to our level or any such thing.

    To be consistent you would have to say that since God is called He and every he we know has (or at one time had) male genitals then God must have them.

    Ah, yes, the male genital argument. Brant mentioned this in the debate as well. Ok. God is a he not a she not an it not a we not a them, etc. In grammar two things need to be understood that are relevant to this conversation: number & gender. The number of “he” is singular rather than plural (much to the chagrin of trinitarians). The gender of “he” is masculine rather than feminine. Our trinitarian opponents would have us evacuate the personal pronoun of all meaning but this is not at all necessary. God is masculine, he is not feminine–he is a “he” not a “she”, he is our “Father” not our “Mother.” This does not mean that he has genitalia of any sort (after all according to John 4, God is Spirit). However, it does mean that he is masculine. This is how he chose to reveal himself.

    I am not importing anything to those texts- I am not arguing that they reveal trinitarian, unitarian or any other metaphysical statement about God than the ones actually referred to- His superiority over all and unique standing as the only true God. The issue of His metaphysical make up is simply not at hand in these texts. From this text we know that God is one but this text alone does not tell us in which way He is one. Radical oneness is not the only option for those that are presented as being one. This is why we trinitarians happily say amen and submit to the texts where He reveals Himself to be the only true God.

    Agreed the texts which speak of God’s exclusivity (a. Exodus 8.10; 19.16-20; 20.1-6; Deuteronomy 4.35-39; 5.1-7; 6.4-5; 7.9-10; 10.17-21; 32.12, 39; 1 Samuel 2.2; 2 Samuel 7.22-24; 1 Kings 8.60; 2 Kings 19.15, 19; 1 Chronicles 17.20; Nehemiah 9.6; Psalm 83.18; 86.9-10; 135.5; Isaiah 37.16, 20; 41.4; 42.5-8; 43.10-13; 44.6-8, 24; 45.5-7, 12, 18, 21-22; 46.9; Jeremiah 10.7-10; Joel 2.27; Zechariah 14.9; a. Matthew 19.17; Mark 10.17-18; 12.28-33; John 5.44; 8.41; 17.3; 1 Corinthians 8.4-6; Galatians 3.20; Ephesians 4.6; 1 Timothy 2.5; James 2.19; Jude 25) are not trying to be metaphysical. The metaphysical/ontological language is purely a trinitarian problem which cropped up the moment they began to work out having two Gods while at the same time having only one. The theory was foisted upon the Bible and the philosophical language and distinction between person and being was the mechanism they used to do it. The unitarian repeatedly, asks people to simply read these exclusivity texts and allow the reader to make up her or his mind. The trinitarian gives a course in trinitarian theology which in the end cannot be understood or even articulated cohesively and then the text is scoured for verses that support the dogma.

    I would suggest that there is nothing radical about oneness. I am one single being/person. I am sitting on one chair. If it is the only chair in the room then I hope no one would be confused to think that two identical chairs also were in the room! Again we can see how dangerous it is to fiddle with language to reinterpret the Bible to fit with our theory of God.

  94. on 06 Jun 2008 at 7:48 amFortigurn

    Sean,

    ‘This came up a few times in the debate and needs to be answered. Typically, any time logic begins to impinge on the beloved doctrine of the Trinity the trinitarian retreats into mystery language. Scott, you said, “that is why you are Sean and not God” because I said, “If I say that I alone am Sean and there no other human besides me, how is that difficult to understand?” Scott, this is a real concern of mine, that we create new rules of language for God.’

    Well done. This is nothing about ‘reasoning from man’s nature to God’s nature’, it’s simply about whether or not we believe God used the Hebrew language the way the grammar requires it to be used.

    The fact that trinitarians have to indulge in special pleading whenever singular personal pronouns are used of God (though they are perfectly happy with correct grammar everywhere else in the Bible), proves that this is a contrived argument which has been constructed for the purpose of supporting a preconception.

  95. on 06 Jun 2008 at 8:04 amFortigurn

    Listening to the debate it’s remarkable how many times Brant appeals to Nestorianism. Every time you asked if Jesus died, or if Jesus was omniscient, he couldn’t answer the question with a ‘Yes, Jesus died’ or ‘Yes, Jesus was omniscient’, he simply argued that Jesus’ HUMAN NATURE died, but Jesus didn’t, and that Jesus’ DIVINE NATURE was omniscient.

    This is classic Nestorianism, from way back. It’s textbook Nestorianism. The two natures are CALLED two natures, but are TREATED as two persons.

    Not only that, but when it came to the death of Christ, Brant pulled out the standard Docetist response. Only THE BODY OF JESUS died, not the person Jesus. Apparently the ‘divine logos’ somehow ‘experienced death’, without actually dying. This was not explained, but what was made abundantly clear was that Jesus didn’t die.

    Sean, you made an excellent point that Brant’s view of the atonement requires the death of God, but that in fact Brant’s God didn’t die.

  96. on 06 Jun 2008 at 8:35 amSean

    Fortigurn,

    Thank you for your kind remarks. The death issue is really a serious one for the trinitarian camp. Regardless of how they define death, if Jesus is God then Jesus cannot “experience death.” (period). Otherwise he is not immortal and therefore excluded from being God on the basis of 1 Tim 1.17; 6.16. The unitarian view of atonement is infinitely more costly than the trinitarian one. Though trinitarians often say that Jesus’ death was infinitely valuable because he is God, the fact of the matter is that what supposedly made Jesus God (his divine nature/person) is exactly what did not die on the cross, only impersonal human nature. Thus, on trinitarianism, the only thing that dies is human nature–this is not at all costly. However, on unitarianism, Jesus really died–all of him. Part of him did not continue living in some mysterious undead manner. Since Jesus was a human being his death–the death of someone who was divinely begotten, sinless, and voluntarily representative of the human race–was extremely valuable.

  97. on 06 Jun 2008 at 9:27 amJeff Downs

    I actually thought Brant did a great job and believe that it was Sean who could not give answers to the questions. Amazing how people hear these things so radically different.

    It was a great exchange though.

    It was interesting to hear the man who introduced the speakers (I’m assuming that was Ken Westby) state the Brant and his family seem to believe in God, etc, etc. Sounded a bit postmodern to me.

    It would be my position, and I can only at this point assume Brant’s as well, that Sean does not believe in, love, worship or serve God; which is why he called Sean to repentance.

    Mr. Westby seem to use God in such generic term. Kind of like Oprah Winfrey would. But the Bible is very specific about who God is and that any other god is an idol.

    Again, I enjoyed the debate very much.

  98. on 06 Jun 2008 at 10:08 amScott

    All,
    Thanks for interacting with my points this last “round”. I will try to respond to you later today- after work.

    I would also like to invite all of you to call into the web cast that Brant is doing tomorrow regarding the debate. It would be great to have some interaction/questions on these issues with some of you as I hate arguing against straw men. The web cast is called “The Narrow Mind” and is hosted by my friends Gene Cook, Jr. and Jonathan Goundrey.

    The website is http://www.unchainedradio.com and the call in number is 1-800-466-1873. The program will start at 9am pst and I plan on calling in to talk about some of the points as I see them. Thanks again.

  99. on 06 Jun 2008 at 11:12 amFortigurn

    Thanks Scot, that will be interesting to hear.

  100. on 06 Jun 2008 at 2:47 pmMark

    Sean and Fortigurn,

    Well worded answers here. It is not “reasoning from man’s nature to God’s nature” to expect God’s communication to follow the rules of language. If He didn’t, then language would cease to function and words would have have no meaning, as I said in my last post. And the genitals argument – who ever said that any word that is gramatically masculine means it has to have genitals. Yes, male humans and animals do, but houses, bells, robes, and pomegranites (to name only a few) do not, yet they are all masculine nouns in Hebrew.

  101. on 06 Jun 2008 at 2:58 pmMark

    Jeff,

    Ken is not a post modernist. He believes in the God of the Bible, not some vague “concept” the way Oprah and others define “god.” While his christology may differ from yours, we all agree that we worship the same God. If he used generic-sounding terms, it was probably to encompass both Trinitarian and Unitarian viewpoints. Brant mentioned that the Trinity issue has literally divided his family. If I heard correctly, about half of his family are Trinitarians, and half Unitarian.

    Just curious, exactly what questions did you feel Sean did not answer?

  102. on 06 Jun 2008 at 3:27 pmSean

    Jeff,

    you said,

    “It would be my position…that Sean does not believe in, love, worship or serve God”

    Jeff, I most certainly do believe in God. I love him with all of my heart and worship him daily. I don’t know why you said I didn’t or how you would even know?

  103. on 06 Jun 2008 at 3:35 pmScott

    Mark,
    How can it be said that we “worship the same God” when you believe that only the Father is truly God yet we Trinitarians believe that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are all equally the only true God?

    As for the gender of words argument it is not our contention that something which is grammatically masculine must have genitals. That comment was a ciritque of the “if x is reffered to as he then x must be singular” argument that seems to keep getting put forward (even though it has been defeated). The critique lies in the fact that as you now clearly agree with us that everything that is true of one thing referred to as “he” is not necessarily true of something else referred to as “he”. Just as not everything called “he” has genitals so it is that not everything called “he” is a singular in the sense that you believe God must be. Brant brought this point up in the debate during his opening statement (about 15 minutes into it). I don’t recall Sean ever answering these points.

    In the end this phenomena is just an illustration of the elasticity of the “rules of grammar”. Though the rules of grammar are important they do not ultimately determine the meaning of texts in isolation from the surrounding context. Ultimate meaning is determined by the context of sentences, paragraphs, chapters and finally by the entirety of the Bible. You can’t pick out one or two words and force the entirety of God’s revelation about Himself to be dictated by modern 21st century rules of grammar- especially in light of Brant’s points in the debate which directly contradict your argument about the rules of grammar.

  104. on 06 Jun 2008 at 4:45 pmFrank D

    Scott wrote:

    Ultimate meaning is determined by the context of sentences, paragraphs, chapters and finally by the entirety of the Bible.

    So now I don’t understand ‘he’ unless I understand the whole Bible the way you do? This argument will never be proven/disproven because your understanding of the whole scripture and my understanding of the whole scripture concerning God are vastly different. You can’t stake a position and then bend the scripture to meet your definition. If there is no common ground on the meaning of ‘he’ then you are attempting to put yourself on some unasailable theological position. You would actually have us believe that since only trinitarians believe in your god that only trinitarians can understand your meaning of ‘he’?

    This is not something that can be taken with “faith like a child”!

  105. on 06 Jun 2008 at 5:33 pmScott

    Frank,
    That is not my position at all. I was saying that point (about “he” ONLY being able to refer to a singular individual) is incorrect both based on the points Brant made in the debate (again about 15 minutes into his opening statement), because of the elasticity of language and because of the importance of context. I bring up the need for the several levels of context because they limit that elasticity and help us to learn the POSSIBLE meanings of words like “he”. If we didn’t know that words can have multiple meanings and applications then I would have to agree with you and be a unitarian. Further, if the broader context of the Bible did not teach that Jesus was God (and God in such a way that He was ontologically equal to the Father) or that the Holy Spirit is called God then I would have no reason to think that “he” when it is applied to could mean anything but what you assume it means. This is what I mean by the necessity of context.

    However, I do know all of these things so I can say that the broader context of the Bible allows me to rightfully say that the word “he” being applied to God does not disprove the Trinity any more than the fact that Adam (singular) is called “him” disproves that he is the convenant head of all fallen men (plural).

  106. on 06 Jun 2008 at 5:42 pmMark

    The critique lies in the fact that as you now clearly agree with us that everything that is true of one thing referred to as “he” is not necessarily true of something else referred to as “he”. Just as not everything called “he” has genitals so it is that not everything called “he” is a singular in the sense that you believe God must be. Brant brought this point up in the debate during his opening statement (about 15 minutes into it). I don’t recall Sean ever answering these points.

    It is true that not everything that is called “he” has genitals. It is NOT true, however, that “not eveything that is called ‘he’ is a singular.” This is because masculine and singular are inherent in the meaning of the pronoun. Words mean things; that’s how communication works. This was answered in the debate and has been repeatedly pointed out here, but you simply disagree. That is your choice. I still hold to my challenge that you provide ANY Scriptural proof that “one” means one composed of three. No one has done so yet.

  107. on 06 Jun 2008 at 5:54 pmScott

    When was this answered in the debate? How is Brant’s point that not everything called he (or him) is only singular? What about when man is called “him” in Genesis 1:27? Surely you don’t believe that this use of him just means Adam- do you?

    Let me ask you a question about communication- have you ever heard of Michael Jackson’s song “Bad”? Is he really meaning there that he is evil? Or is language elastic enough that he might be referring to something else? We should at least give God the same freedom of expression that Michael Jackson has. 🙂

  108. on 06 Jun 2008 at 5:56 pmMark

    If we didn’t know that words can have multiple meanings and applications then I would have to agree with you and be a unitarian. Further, if the broader context of the Bible did not teach that Jesus was God (and God in such a way that He was ontologically equal to the Father) or that the Holy Spirit is called God then I would have no reason to think that “he” when it is applied to could mean anything but what you assume it means. This is what I mean by the necessity of context.

    Once again I must insist that you SHOW ME where IN THE SCRIPTURES one means one composed of three. You can’t just prove it from the fact that three (supposed) “persons” are called God, as we have dealt with that. Show me where one means one-in-three or three-in-one. Can you do that?

    However, I do know all of these things so I can say that the broader context of the Bible allows me to rightfully say that the word “he” being applied to God does not disprove the Trinity any more than the fact that Adam (singular) is called “him” disproves that he is the convenant head of all fallen men (plural).

    I agree that the Word “he” being applied to God does not disprove the Trinity, since it is subject to our definitions. What disproves the Trinity is the fact that there is no Scripture that tells us that the singular words applied to God do not mean singular in its normal sense but one-in-three. Again, I must insist that you SHOW ME FROM THE SCRIPTURES.

  109. on 06 Jun 2008 at 6:03 pmMark

    How is Brant’s point that not everything called he (or him) is only singular?

    Was this not the point you made in the post that I quoted?

    Just as not everything called “he” has genitals so it is that not everything called “he” is a singular in the sense that you believe God must be. Brant brought this point up in the debate during his opening statement (about 15 minutes into it).

  110. on 06 Jun 2008 at 6:13 pmMark

    Let me ask you a question about communication- have you ever heard of Michael Jackson’s song “Bad”? Is he really meaning there that he is evil? Or is language elastic enough that he might be referring to something else? We should at least give God the same freedom of expression that Michael Jackson has.

    Michael Jackson was using a coloquialism that is typical of how language can be twisted to an ungodly end. In the current culture (and to some extent today still, I believe) ‘bad’ did not mean evil. Do you seriously want to suggest that God in His Word used such distorted language to communicate Himself? Language is elastic UP TO A POINT. But NOT so much that the meaning of words and the rules of grammar can be ignored without language ceasing to have meaning.

    Once again, SHOW ME IN THE BIBLE WHERE ONE MEANS THREE-IN-ONE.

  111. on 06 Jun 2008 at 6:14 pmScott

    Mark,
    I will gladly walk through all of the scriptures that show that there is only one eternal God, that Jesus is God, that the Holy Spirit is God and that the Father is God. However, I know that even after I do this you will once again ASSUME unitarianism in all of the “one God” passages. This unchecked, controlling assumption (which has been dealt with at length both in the debate and on the blog) will not allow you to consider the rest of the teachings of scripture. You have your unitarian filter up and it will cause you to insist that whatever way God (or the Holy Spirit) is called God it cannot mean that they are “truly God” because you know that the words “he” and “one” can only refer to singular persons. This is why I have to bring in the context of all of scripture and deal with the nature of God’s oneness and the “he” statements. All of these words need to be understood along with the teaching that Jesus, the Holy Spirit and the Father are all God.

  112. on 06 Jun 2008 at 6:17 pmScott

    My point was only to communicate the obvious elasticity of language. I was also attempting to do it with a somewhat ridiculous person toward the end of humor. 🙂

    On a more serious note- I do not believe God twisted language- I believe He clarified it and when we consider the whole counsel of scripture that becomes obvious.

  113. on 06 Jun 2008 at 6:20 pmScott

    This part of post 111 should have read:

    that whatever way JESUS (or the Holy Spirit) is called God it cannot mean that they are “truly God”

    not:
    that whatever way GOD(or the Holy Spirit) is called God it cannot mean that they are “truly God”

    Sorry for the slip up.

  114. on 06 Jun 2008 at 6:23 pmFrank D

    Further, if the broader context of the Bible did not teach that Jesus was God (and God in such a way that He was ontologically equal to the Father) or that the Holy Spirit is called God then I would have no reason to think that “he” when it is applied to could mean anything but what you assume it means.

    …and that is your unasailable theological position. You won’t even agree to a simple definition of the word ‘he’ without cycling it through the trinitarian manufacturing process.

    I have shown that Abraham held an Old Testement belief in God and the Messiah. You agreed that the trinity is not ‘revealed’ in the Old Testement therefore Abraham’s Old Testement understanding of God and the Messiah is sufficient for enterance into the kingdom of God. In Luke 13:28 and Matt 8:11 Jesus said Abraham will be in the kingdom of God. Paul used Abraham as an example of faith for all to follow. This is something a child can believe.

    Now, I am not a minister, priest, or in any course of theological study. I am a simple man who for over 20 years has been “studying to show myself approved before God. A workman who needs not be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” So answer me one simple question:

    Was Abraham a trinitarian?

    A faith like Abraham’s guarantees the same blessing as Abraham: to be in the kingdom of God. What and where in any scripture is Abraham a trinitarian? And remember, Abraham didn’t have to rely on “the broader context of the Bible.”

  115. on 06 Jun 2008 at 8:21 pmScott

    Frank,
    You are right- I am taking a theological position that includes ALL that the Bible teaches. At the same time I have shown how my trinitarian belief is based on a legitimate, acceptable use of words like “one” and “he” being applied to God. What I won’t do is assume that God must be unitarian and then dismiss the rest of what the Bible teaches.

    Regarding Abraham’s faith I will say this- Abraham trusted God and it was credited to Him as righteousness. Abraham even trusted God when He was told to do and believe incredible things. In this Abraham’s faith was such that he believed what God had revealed about Himself. We should do the same and imitate Abraham and take God at His word. I believe that His word teaches that there is one God, that Jesus is God, that the Holy Spirit is God and that the Father is God.

  116. on 06 Jun 2008 at 9:19 pmMark

    You have your unitarian filter up and it will cause you to insist that whatever way God (or the Holy Spirit) is called God it cannot mean that they are “truly God” because you know that the words “he” and “one” can only refer to singular persons. This is why I have to bring in the context of all of scripture and deal with the nature of God’s oneness and the “he” statements. All of these words need to be understood along with the teaching that Jesus, the Holy Spirit and the Father are all God.

    As I have said before, I do not believe that when Jesus or the Holy Spirit is called God, it CANNOT mean they are all three persons in one God, if God had said they were. I am simply saying that there is NO SCRIPTURE that says such a thing. Yes, you could go over and over the verses that say that each of the three is God, but we each have a different understanding for that, so one could say we are both looking at it through filters.

    The thing that will determine which filter is right is if you could show me ANYWHERE in the Scriptures that God is presented as “three persons in one essence” or even that the word “one” means “one consisting of three.” I have repeatedly challenged you on this, and you have yet to present any. I understand this, because there aren’t any so you won’t be able to. Therefore, without any Scriptural evidence to demonstrate “three-in-one,” sound exegesis would require us to understand “one” as “one” like it means to anyone else.

    We’re going in circles here. There’s not much else we haven’t said already. Bottom line: Show me “three-in-one” in the Scriptures or admit that it is an extra-Biblical doctrine.

  117. on 07 Jun 2008 at 2:30 amPatty

    Not for anything, but if it is so essential for one to believe in the trinity ,many are going to be in a very seriously sad place, for who can truly say they understand such difficult concepts and ideas. True belief must come from understanding and may I dare say that many will be excluded on that basis. God is not a respector of persons, or abilities to think in such strange ways. God has made the way to salvation acessable to all, a child should be able to understand it. Just a couple of questions; Was Jesus born with these two natures? Was the man nature apart of GOD? If yes when Jesus died did a part of the essence die also/?Why did Jesus say that he always did the fathers will and not his own will? Did he have his own will? WAs he not telling the truth?In the resurrection will we be like GOD {if Jesus is God} We dont know what we shall be,,,,, Thanks for your patience

  118. on 07 Jun 2008 at 2:40 amFortigurn

    Scott,

    ‘The critique lies in the fact that as you now clearly agree with us that everything that is true of one thing referred to as “he” is not necessarily true of something else referred to as “he”. Just as not everything called “he” has genitals so it is that not everything called “he” is a singular in the sense that you believe God must be. Brant brought this point up in the debate during his opening statement (about 15 minutes into it). I don’t recall Sean ever answering these points.’

    That point has been answered. The fact is that grammatically speaking the gender of a noun in Hebrew does not always indicate the gender of the entity the noun describes. However, grammatically speaking the number of a noun or verb indicates the number of persons. It’s simple.

    What you have to do is to prove that the Bible consistently uses Hebrew grammar for everyone but God, and then does something completely ungrammatical when describing God. You can’t. You know that singular pronouns refer to singular persons.

    ‘In the end this phenomena is just an illustration of the elasticity of the “rules of grammar”.’

    The rules in this case are not elastic.

    ‘Though the rules of grammar are important they do not ultimately determine the meaning of texts in isolation from the surrounding context.’

    They don’t determine the meaning of TEXTS in isolation from the surrounding context, but they do determine the meaning of NUMBER AND CASE.

    ‘Ultimate meaning is determined by the context of sentences, paragraphs, chapters and finally by the entirety of the Bible. You can’t pick out one or two words and force the entirety of God’s revelation about Himself to be dictated by modern 21st century rules of grammar- especially in light of Brant’s points in the debate which directly contradict your argument about the rules of grammar.’

    We would agree with this. But of course this discussion has nothing to do with ‘modern 21st century rules of grammar’. It has to do with standard ancient Hebrew grammar, and rules which trinitarians follow RIGIDLY, everywhere in the Bible except for SOME passages which speak of God.

    And let’s not forget that trinitarians SOMETIMES follow standard grammatical rules when it comes to God, and sometimes they do not. Why the inconsistency? To support the preconception that God consists of more than one person.

  119. on 07 Jun 2008 at 2:46 amFortigurn

    Scott,

    ‘All of these words need to be understood along with the teaching that Jesus, the Holy Spirit and the Father are all God.’

    The trinitarian preconception could not have been expressed more clearly than this. You are telling us that we have to interpret all passages and grammar with the PRECONCEPTION that ‘Jesus, the Holy Spirit and the Father are all God’. I’ve rarely seen a trinitarian state this so directly.

    You are telling us that when we read ‘one’ we have to read it as if it says ‘three in one’, when we read ‘he’ we have to read it as if it says ‘they’, and when we read ‘I only’ we have to read it as if it says ‘We only’.

    Apparently we have to change what was written in order to make it conform to the trinitarian preconception. You couldn’t have made it more clear.

  120. on 07 Jun 2008 at 7:25 amJeff Downs

    Sean,

    Sean, you mentioned more than once in the debate that modern trinitarian authors are claiming the text which have always been used to support the deity of Christ are no longer used. Would you please list the sources for your claim (expecially giving the recent books on Christology; the Trinity New Testament Theology, etc.)?

    You asked I most certainly do believe in God. I love him with all of my heart and worship him daily. I don’t know why you said I didn’t or how you would even know?

    I would know by what you teach Sean.

    Mark said:

    While his christology may differ from yours, we all agree that we worship the same God. If he used generic-sounding terms, it was probably to encompass both Trinitarian and Unitarian viewpoints.

    How can you say that Trinitarians and Unitarians worship the same God?

  121. on 07 Jun 2008 at 8:34 amSean

    Jeff,

    I have listed commentary from various scholars on these texts: John 1.18; Romans 9.5; Titus 2.13; 2 Peter 1.1; 1 John 5.20; Acts 20.28; 2 Thessalonians 1.12 in my recent paper called Jesus is God: Exploring the Notion of Representational Deity. Click here to access it (these verses are covered in Appendix 2).

  122. on 07 Jun 2008 at 10:11 amFrank D

    Ok, Scott, I guess it’s an impass.

    I made the point clear though that Abraham’s belief in God was based only on what Moses was told (by God) to write about God and Abraham’s relationship. No “progressive revelation” required by Abraham so that is the faith I choose to emulate.

  123. on 07 Jun 2008 at 10:15 amFrank D

    Thank you, Sean and Brant. This has been a very invigorating discussion. If nothing else it has blessed me by the extra time I have spent in studying God’s word this week.

    God Bless and keep pressing on!

  124. on 07 Jun 2008 at 10:51 amScott

    Frank (and others),
    Thank you for interacting with me as well. I too have gained from this important dialogue and have spent extra time in the word of God which is always a blessing. I wish you all the best in your future studies.

  125. on 07 Jun 2008 at 10:53 amFortigurn

    I’ll quote Daniel B Wallace here:

    ‘FEW TODAY would take issue with Rudolf Bultmann’s oft-quoted line that “In describing Christ as ‘God’ the New Testament still exercises great restraint.”

    The list of passages which SEEM explicitly to identify Christ with God varies from scholar to scholar, but the number is ALMOST NEVER MORE THAN A HALF DOZEN OR SO.

    As is well known, ALMOST ALL of the texts are disputed as to their affirmation—due to textual or grammatical glitches—John 1:1 and 20:28 being THE ONLY TWO which are usually conceded without discussion.’

    Daniel Wallace, ‘Sharp Redivivus? A Reexamination of the Granville Sharp Rule’

    He goes on in the article to review Acts 20:28, Romans 9:5, Ephesians 5:5, 2 Thessalonians 1:12, 2 Timothy 4:1, Titus 2:13, 2 Peter 1:1, and Jude 4. He concludes that of all these texts, ONLY Titus 2:13 and 2 Peter 1:1 substantiate the trinitarian claim that Jesus is God (with the meaning of Romans 9:5 being disputable on grammatical grounds).

    That means he writes off SIX out of EIGHT traditional trinitarian ‘proof texts’. This is not an isolated phenomenon (his paper makes reference of other trinitarian scholars who have moved to the view he describes in the opening paragraph of his paper).

  126. on 07 Jun 2008 at 11:18 amScott

    Fortigurn,
    You said,

    The trinitarian preconception could not have been expressed more clearly than this. You are telling us that we have to interpret all passages and grammar with the PRECONCEPTION that ‘Jesus, the Holy Spirit and the Father are all God’. I’ve rarely seen a trinitarian state this so directly.

    I do not believe it is a preconception. It is a progressive revelation that we must either say contradicts former revelation or can be harmonized with that former revelation. I believe that it can be harmonized because of the obvious elasticity of grammar. This elasticity has been shown both in modern english as well ancient hebrew.

    You are telling us that when we read ‘one’ we have to read it as if it says ‘three in one’, when we read ‘he’ we have to read it as if it says ‘they’, and when we read ‘I only’ we have to read it as if it says ‘We only’.

    When did I ever say any of the above? My point was simply to refute the point that the words “one” and “he” demand a unitarian view of God to the exclusion of the teachings that Jesus was ontologically equal to the Father.

  127. on 07 Jun 2008 at 11:58 amDustin

    I was just on the radio show with obo.

    I asked him to not define my belief, which he continually did to me and Obo. My arguments were not given due weight. Nor were Obos.

    They ignored all I said about the Greek of Matt 1:18, 20, Luke 1:35, the commentators I provided, and didnt even let me respond to the last statement.

    I was called a heretic for not believing that Gen 1:26 makes Jesus a creator. And…… I was told to go read the bible!!!!

    What a joke.

    Dustin

  128. on 07 Jun 2008 at 12:04 pmJohnO

    My position was absolutely mis-represented on Colossians 1. Granted there are unitarians which would have argued based on ‘en’ – I am not one of them. I just use the context of the passage.

    Polemic and rhetoric are not useful in a debate or attempts to find the truth. They are only useful when one group seeks to lord over another, which is clearly what is happening. I’m just sorry that it is done in the name of God. It only makes me more joyful that my salvation rests in God and not man’s changing winds of orthodoxy.

  129. on 07 Jun 2008 at 12:06 pmMark

    Jeff Wrote,

    How can you say that Trinitarians and Unitarians worship the same God?

    How can you say we don’t?

    I don’t believe even Brant or Scott are implying that we worship a different God, just that we disagree about His nature.

  130. on 07 Jun 2008 at 12:14 pmMark

    I do not belieIve it is a preconception. It is a progressive revelation that we must either say contradicts former revelation or can be harmonized with that former revelation. I believe that it can be harmonized because of the obvious elasticity of grammar. This elasticity has been shown both in modern english as well ancient hebrew.

    But where does this progressive revelation make the turning point into “one means three essences in one God”? I believe in progressive revelation, too, WITHIN THE CONFINES OF SCRIPTURE. We agree on most of the other examples in which the New Testament clarifies, changes, or in some way adapts what came before. But once again, SHOW ME WHERE ONE MEANS THREE IN THE BIBLE. You can’t do it. That’s because it is doctrine of men that came about after the fact, and has been reread INTO the Scriptures. Sorry, but I still hold to what I said before: Show me “three-in-one” in the Scriptures or admit that it is an extra-Biblical doctrine.

  131. on 07 Jun 2008 at 12:53 pmScott

    Mark,
    Again here is my answer on the “three and one” issue. Maybe this isn’t the formulaic expression you are looking for but I do think the following affirms a view of God that can only be consistently explained in light of the trinity. I believe that the Bible teaches that there is one God (mark 12:29), that Jesus is God (Romans 9:5, John 5:18, Col. 1:15-19, John 1, Titus 2:13 and 1 Peter 1:1), that the Holy Spirit is God (Acts 5:3-4) and that the Father is God. Further I believe that these persons have always been the One Eternal God and thus I embrace the doctrine of the trinity as the best explanation of these texts.

    Patty,
    You said:
    “Just a couple of questions; Was Jesus born with these two natures? Was the man nature apart of GOD? If yes when Jesus died did a part of the essence die also/?Why did Jesus say that he always did the fathers will and not his own will? Did he have his own will? WAs he not telling the truth?In the resurrection will we be like GOD {if Jesus is God} We dont know what we shall be,,,,, Thanks for your patience”

    Here are my answers to your questions:
    Jesus was born with two natures. No the man nature was not a part of God. Jesus did the will of Father because He was His Son and was only interested in serving the will of His Father because in the economic working of the trinity the Father was greater than the Son. I believe Jesus did have his own will and He submitted it to the will of His Father. Jesus never lied. At the resurrection we will be glorified humans. I suppose this makes us more like the image of God but there will always be the distinction between the Creator and His creation.

    All,
    I appreciate the discussion we have had and appreciate your willingness to engage in a spirited yet respectful discussion. That being said I think that I have said all of the points I need to say. I am sure that they are not satisfying to some of you or just point out how much we disagree. I think that it is time for me to post for the last time and move on. Obviously these issues will not be settled here and I need to focus more time on my studies. If there is some pressing issue that you really want to discuss with me please feel free to email me at presuppositional@yahoo.com and I will respond as time allows. Thanks again.

    -Scott

  132. on 07 Jun 2008 at 6:51 pmFortigurn

    Scott,

    ‘I do not believe it is a preconception.’

    I know, you believe it’s a revelation. But my point was that you claim it’s an idea with which the pronouns and other evidence must be interpreted. So you approach those pronouns and that other evidence with the preconception of the trinity. You’ve just told me that.

    ‘It is a progressive revelation that we must either say contradicts former revelation or can be harmonized with that former revelation.’

    But it was never revealed, as trinitarians acknowledge. That’s why you have to construct it syllogistically.

    ‘I believe that it can be harmonized because of the obvious elasticity of grammar. This elasticity has been shown both in modern english as well ancient hebrew.’

    No, it has never yet been proved that singular pronouns really refer to plural persons.

    ‘When did I ever say any of the above?’

    When you said we have to interpret the pronouns with the preconception that the trinity is true.

    ‘My point was simply to refute the point that the words “one” and “he” demand a unitarian view of God to the exclusion of the teachings that Jesus was ontologically equal to the Father.’

    That’s not the issue under discussion. The issue under discussion is whether or not the pronouns refer to one person or more than one person. We’ve already seen that trinitarians SOMETIMES interpret singular pronouns referring to God as a reference to ONE person, and SOMETIMES interpret singular pronouns referring to God as a reference to MORE THAN ONE person, so you’re clearly picking and choosing according to what your theology requires. That’s the logical fallacy of special pleading.

    We’ve also seen trinitarians appeal directly to Hebrew grammar in Genesis 1:26, so you can’t tell us that the Hebrew grammar isn’t decisive. You rely on it yourselves.

  133. on 07 Jun 2008 at 8:09 pmJohnO

    Scott, Brant, et al.

    I think you would do well to disregard using Gen 1.26 as your own popular materials (NIV study bible) even declares it is unsuitable to be used in proving the Trinity. God is not talking to Jesus, he is talking to the heavenly court – your Trinitarian scholars have know and published this for decades now, let alone all the secular scholars who have known it for a much much longer time because they don’t share your bias.

    In the call-in today, Brant agreed that he has a bias. I have a bias. This is all true. It is not necessarily bad to have a bias. The only problem comes when your bias does not match the bias of the author and audience of a text. Then you will certainly misunderstand the text. And its been my course of study over the last three years to actually understand the culture and setting in which the NT was written, and a little bit about the OT as well. Because Brant’s bias is that of western 21st century Trinitarian – he will surely misunderstand the Hebrew writers of the ancient near east and second temple period.

  134. on 07 Jun 2008 at 8:12 pmRick

    If Bosserman thinks that because Jesus was a man, that he must still be able to sin now, then I guess we will all still be able to sin after our resurrection and sin and death never really get defeated. How silly.

  135. on 08 Jun 2008 at 3:36 amMark

    I agree with JohnO, we all have a bias. Both sides interpret those Scriptures that they list in light of their theology. (I think it’s interesting that Scott’s email ID is “presuppositional”.) 🙂

    The difference is, where does that theology come from? If it comes from other sections of Scripture, and it fits, then we have sound exegesis. But we have seen that the concept of three persons in one God is not found anywhere in the Bible, but developed over a number of years AFTER the NewTestament.

    At least the Roman Catholic Church admits that their doctrines are based on Church Tradition at least as much as (if not more than) the Bible. Protestant Trinitarians don’t seem to be so honest. Or perhaps many of them don’t know. But anyone who takes the time to honestly look at this subject can see that the Trinity cannot be proven from the Bible. If they want to believe it anyway based on what the Church has taught for hundreds of years, so be it. But they should stop saying it can be proved from the Scriptures.

    I too have enjoyed this exchange. It has solidified even more than ever for me, that the Trinity is a man-made doctrine with no Scriptural foundation.

  136. on 08 Jun 2008 at 5:12 amFortigurn

    Rick,

    ‘If Bosserman thinks that because Jesus was a man, that he must still be able to sin now, then I guess we will all still be able to sin after our resurrection and sin and death never really get defeated. How silly.’

    I think Sean’s position could do with a nuanced reading. I believe it’s Sean’s understanding that the Bible insists Christ had to be A HUMAN IDENTICAL TO THOSE HE CAME TO SAVE. This meant he had to be capable of temptation and sin.

    However, I am also certain that it is also Sean’s understanding that by virtue of his obedience and glorification, Jesus is now A HUMAN WHO IS NO LONGER IDENTICAL to those he came to save, insofar as he is free from sin and death.

    I know Sean was finding it difficult on the spot to articulate precisely the difference between the pre-glorified Christ who was IDENTICAL to us (and thus NECESSARILY a human), and the post-glorified Christ who is NOT identical to us (yet STILL a human), but I think that was the trajectory of his thoughts.

    That’s certainly what I understand the Bible to say.

  137. on 08 Jun 2008 at 9:42 amJohnO

    Fortigurn,

    Correct, Jesus post-resurrection is a perfected human. God has done a miraculous thing by doing away with sin in perfection – that is the climax of the whole biblical story, no more sin, pain, tears, or death.

  138. on 08 Jun 2008 at 10:31 amFortigurn

    Makes sense to me. That’s why he’s still called a man even after his resurrection, and still distinguished FROM God as the agent of God.

  139. on 08 Jun 2008 at 1:44 pmRick

    Oh, don’t get me wrong. I agree 100%. It’s just that Bosserman was trying to trap him by saying that if he was a man (and capable of sin), then he must still be a man (and capable of sin). That’s simply not the case. You are right. He’s still a man, but he has been perfected – I think Hebrews says he was made perfect by his sufferings (which would include his crucifixion).

    I’m in total agreement with Sean. This guy was a speed talker and very defensive. Sometimes the brotherly love seemed to be lacking (not from Sean).

  140. on 08 Jun 2008 at 6:57 pmFortigurn

    Thanks for the clarification Rick, I agree with you entirely.

  141. on 08 Jun 2008 at 11:02 pmSean

    JohnO,

    Great job on the show. You repeatedly asked them to describe what they meant by saying man is in the image of God on trinitarianism. None of the three gentlemen had any answer to this whatsoever. This exposed the fact that what they required of unitarians could not be supplied by their own position. This is why they left Gen 1 and ventured over to Col 1 because they couldn’t make their case on Gen 1 alone. Unfortunately, they cut you off and did not allow you to respond to Brant’s statements.

    Your point about bias is right on as well. The best course is not read our modern bias into the text, nor is it to read 5th century christology into it, nor is it even to read the text without bias (which is impossible), but rather, to do the work to reconstruct the bias of the 1st century people who wrote and read the inspired New Testament.

  142. on 09 Jun 2008 at 12:36 amMark

    I believe it’s Sean’s understanding that the Bible insists Christ had to be A HUMAN IDENTICAL TO THOSE HE CAME TO SAVE. This meant he had to be capable of temptation and sin.

    I understand that Jesus could have sinned but did not. But is it correct to say that he is “A HUMAN IDENTICAL TO THOSE HE CAME TO SAVE” if he was supernaturally conceived by God in Mary? I have thought that because he was begotten by God and not man, he was not subject to the sin nature that everyone else gets from Adam. Is this correct?

  143. on 09 Jun 2008 at 9:12 amJeff Downs

    Mark said: I don’t believe even Brant or Scott are implying that we worship a different God, just that we disagree about His nature.

    I can not and certainly do not want to speak for Brant, but I can tell you that a Unitarian concept of God is different from a Trinitarian concept, and therefore two different Gods. These issue are too important to say that we simply disagree about God’s nature (as if these things do not have eternal consequences) which you seem to imply in your comment above.

    Sean said You repeatedly asked them to describe what they meant by saying man is in the image of God on trinitarianism. None of the three gentlemen had any answer to this whatsoever. This exposed the fact that what they required of unitarians could not be supplied by their own position. This is why they left Gen 1 and ventured over to Col 1 because they couldn’t make their case on Gen 1 alone. Unfortunately, they cut you off and did not allow you to respond to Brant’s statements.

    I have not listened to the audio yet, but very much look forward to it. Not sure why the image of God would be a problem to answer, although I would certainly take more then 10 minutes to address. At this point I do not know what specifically JohnO was looking for, but since Gen. 1 doesn’t tell us much regarding what the image of God means (I certainly believe you can infer things), but there is nothing wrong with going to another text that addresses image and coming up with a biblical theology on image.

    For example, the Gen. account tells us very little regarding Adam’s epistemology, so in order to address these issue, we need to look at what the next testament says regarding believers and how we are to take every thought captive, love God with all of our mind, etc. and what all this mean in relation to the fact that we are being made into the image of the second Adam.

    Again, simply on that particular point alone, the discussion could go on for hours, or many pages could been written. In fact, they have.

  144. on 09 Jun 2008 at 9:18 amJeff Downs

    The best course is not read our modern bias into the text, nor is it to read 5th century christology into it, nor is it even to read the text without bias (which is impossible), but rather, to do the work to reconstruct the bias of the 1st century people who wrote and read the inspired New Testament.

    No Trinitarian would disagree with the above statement, but at the same time, you nor I are the only Christians (writing) on the planet. God has graced us with centuries of great men who have insights on the text, think of things in different way, etc. that we can learn from. We are not lone ranger Christians. Therefore, the 5th, 15, 20th centuries to have things to say to us…while no doubt, all of this is to be sifted through the lens of the scriptures.

  145. on 09 Jun 2008 at 9:24 amFortigurn

    Mark,

    ‘But is it correct to say that he is “A HUMAN IDENTICAL TO THOSE HE CAME TO SAVE” if he was supernaturally conceived by God in Mary? I have thought that because he was begotten by God and not man, he was not subject to the sin nature that everyone else gets from Adam. Is this correct?’

    If he was not identical to those he came to save, he couldn’t have saved us. If he was not identical to those he came to save, he couldn’t have sinned. If he was not identical to those he came to save, the Bible wouldn’t repeatedly insist that he was.

    But that aside, I actually see no evidence that Jesus being born of God ensured that he did not have the same ‘sin nature everyone else gets from Adam’. On the contrary, I see Scripture saying that he had the same nature as ourselves.

    If this wasn’t the case, he certainly would never have been tempted to sin, which we know he was.

    Jeff,

    ‘God has graced us with centuries of great men who have insights on the text, think of things in different way, etc. that we can learn from. We are not lone ranger Christians. Therefore, the 5th, 15, 20th centuries to have things to say to us…while no doubt, all of this is to be sifted through the lens of the scriptures.’

    The last sentence is the most important. Why would we think that Christians of the 1st century didn’t have a true knowledge of God and Christ, and that this had to be worked out in the next few centuries through countless squabbles, disagreements, fights, and bloodshed?

  146. on 09 Jun 2008 at 9:39 amJeff Downs

    Fortigurn stated:

    Why would we think that Christians of the 1st century didn’t have a true knowledge of God and Christ, and that this had to be worked out in the next few centuries through countless squabbles, disagreements, fights, and bloodshed?

    Who said/says that they did not have a true knowledge of God and Christ. For it is the scriptures (the apostles of the 1st century) where we today, get this true knowledge of God.

    The fact of the matter is though, that when at certain times, certain individuals begin teaching certain things on what ever doctrine that may be, the body of Christ states and clarifies its theology. This is what has happen throughout Church history and we continue this practice today.

  147. on 09 Jun 2008 at 9:58 amJeff Downs

    BTW: I wonder if any of you have looked a Daniel I. Block’s article

    “How Many Is God? An Investigation into the Meaning of Deuteronomy 6:4-5,” Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 47:2 (June 2004)?

  148. on 09 Jun 2008 at 10:05 amDustin

    Jeff, we arent concerned how Dr. Block explains the Shema. We need to pay very close attention to how JESUS expounds it in Mark 12:29f. The Creed of Jesus has yet to be given due weight from the Trinitarian camp.

    Dustin

  149. on 09 Jun 2008 at 10:11 amJeff Downs

    The Creed of Jesus has yet to be given due weight from the Trinitarian camp.

    Interesting you say such a thing, when you seem to have not “concern” with what a Trinitarian says. Oh well.

  150. on 09 Jun 2008 at 10:29 amFortigurn

    Jeff,

    ‘Who said/says that they did not have a true knowledge of God and Christ. For it is the scriptures (the apostles of the 1st century) where we today, get this true knowledge of God.’

    Well you see Jeff, they simply didn’t teach what you do. That’s why you can’t find any passages in which they teach what you do. Instead you have to take a handful of verses from John, a couple from Paul, one or two from Mark and Luke, and come up with a doctrine they never taught. You wouldn’t need to resort to syllogism if they taught what you taught.

    ‘The fact of the matter is though, that when at certain times, certain individuals begin teaching certain things on what ever doctrine that may be, the body of Christ states and clarifies its theology. This is what has happen throughout Church history and we continue this practice today.’

    But Jeff, there were plenty of options running around before the trinity was developed, and yet the trinity wasn’t evoked even once in opposition to them:

    * Ebionism: late 1st to early 2nd century, never opposed with the trinity
    * Docetism: late 1st to early 2nd century, never opposed with the trinity
    * Gnosticism: late 1st to late 2nd century, never opposed with the trinity
    * Binitarianism: Mid 2nd to late 3rd century, never opposed with the trinity
    * Sabellianism: Mid 2nd to late 3rd century, never opposed with the trinity
    * Modalism: Mid 2nd to late 3rd century, never opposed with the trinity
    * Arianism: 3rd to 5th century, opposed by the Subordinationist Binitarians first, and only later by the trinitarians (who came after)

    So this is the thing Jeff, while all these heresies were going on and getting plenty of support, we don’t find ANY trinitarians standing up and saying ‘Hey this is all rubbish, we all know the trinity is the truth, let’s have away with this’. We don’t find any trinitarians until about the 4th century, and that’s being generous.

    NONE of the earliest creeds (1st to 4th century), said anything about the trinity, despite the fact that they were opposing all manner of false doctrines and defining truth. This is all well accepted by standard ecclesiastical historians.

  151. on 09 Jun 2008 at 11:06 amtrinitarian

    Fortigum,

    How can you sleep at night given your willfull distorition of facts, or your car salseman tactics?

    One example might be your complaint that the doctrine of the trinity wasn’t invoked to deal with heresies that denied Jesus’ humanity! One would think that, well, um, arguments for Jesus’ humanity and not his deity would be used to show his, well, um, humanity.

    Now, you’re either playing dumb or your are dumb.

    The above is just an example, one of many I have seen from you in this thread, and since I have zero evidence that you are an honest debater, I have no desire to interact more fully with your lines of argument. I simply said what I did to substantiate my charge.

  152. on 09 Jun 2008 at 11:32 amSean

    Oh, and for those who are interested, here is a short paper on the “us texts,” most importantly Gen 1.26. Both the NIV study Bible and the NET say that God is talking to his divine council (i.e. angels). If you prefer the audio version, click here

  153. on 09 Jun 2008 at 11:42 amFortigurn

    trinitarian,

    ‘One example might be your complaint that the doctrine of the trinity wasn’t invoked to deal with heresies that denied Jesus’ humanity!’

    That was not my complaint. Please read Jeff’s post:

    ‘The fact of the matter is though, that when at certain times, certain individuals begin teaching certain things on what ever doctrine that may be, the body of Christ states and clarifies its theology. This is what has happen throughout Church history and we continue this practice today.’

    Please read my objection in the context of Jeff’s remarks, which had nothing to do with heresies that denied the humanity of Jesus. By the way, neither Sabellianism, Nestorianism, Binitarianism, Modalism, nor Arianism denied Jesus’ humanity.

    I’m afraid the rest of your post is sadly typical of my experiences with trinitarians. They find a straw man to attack, then claim that there’s no point in attempting to address my arguments.

    Sean, great post, thanks.

  154. on 09 Jun 2008 at 12:18 pmUnitarian (Christian)

    Jesus is a man.

    Matt 1:1-20

    Gen 3:15

    Deut 18:15-18

    2 Sam 7:12-14

    Acts 17:31

    Romans 5

    1 Tim 2:5

    1 John 4:2

    2 John 7

    The gospel of John calls Jesus a man (aner/anthropos) more than Matt, Mark, and Luke combined!

    Dustin

  155. on 09 Jun 2008 at 12:28 pmJeff Downs

    Well, at this point, already, I’m confused. You originally stated Why would we think that Christians of the 1st century didn’t have a true knowledge of God and Christ, and that this had to be worked out in the next few centuries through countless squabbles, disagreements, fights, and bloodshed?

    No trinitarian would say otherwise. All trinitarian would deny that 1st century didn’t have a true knowledge of God and Christ. Which certainly leads into my next comment…

    The other point, which is simply a historical point, was that systematics (on certain doctrines) were, in large meaure, hammered out because (various) heresy was being dealt with.

    Again, we do the same thing today, and this criticism (i.e. your criticism above), from my perspective, is simply a not handling of the historical account with any accuracy.

  156. on 09 Jun 2008 at 1:48 pmJosh Walker

    How can I download the WHOLE debate in one file? I tried right clicking the whole audio feed but it did not download.

  157. on 09 Jun 2008 at 2:04 pmtrinitarian

    Fortigurn,

    I did read Jeff’s post. I furthermore did not specify which heresies I was referring to. Obviously not all hersies the church dealt with concerned the nature of Jesus’ humanity. But, some of the ones you listed did. And I find it ridiculous that you would point out that the “Trinity” was not invoked to refute, say, docetism and gnosticism. It is simply dishonest of you to include them. Proving a real human Jesus, with a real material body, was the point of those debates.

    I’d furthermore disagree with your overall analysis of the historical situation, but you have shown no indication that you can debate honestly, or that you can read my posts and respond to them in a relevant way – rather than perpetrating your dishonesty by naming hersies that did not err about Christ’s human nature. I obviously did not mean, say, Arianism, when I spoke of heresies that denied Christ’s humanity! To read me as saying that is to impute ignorance to me. That’s another reason there’ll be no discussion. I just thank you for giving me yet another opportunity to point out your dishonest debating tactics, of whcih this thread is chalk-full of.

  158. on 09 Jun 2008 at 2:19 pmMark

    Jeff,

    Actually, many Trinitarian scholars do in fact say that the first century Church did not have a fully developed knowledge of God and of Christ. They say that it was part of the “progressive revelation” which has been referred to in this thread several times. This “progressive revelation” did not reach its full end until the fourth century when the Trinity was completely formulated. This is why Trinitarian theologians have no problem with the fact that the Synoptic Gospels clearly teach that Jesus was a man, the Son of God, and without John and a few hints in Paul (they say) you could not see the Trinity in the New Testament.

  159. on 09 Jun 2008 at 2:38 pmMark

    Since the poster known as “trinitarian” doesn’t want discussion, I will simply mention the fact that his/her accusation of “dishonesty” stems from having completely missed Fortigurn’s point. Jeff had said that the first century Christians had an understanding of the Trinity. When Fortigurn listed those other heresies and mentioned that the Trinity was not invoked, the point was to demonstrate that the Trinity was not the “standard” by which other doctrines were judged. He concluded by saying:

    So this is the thing Jeff, while all these heresies were going on and getting plenty of support, we don’t find ANY trinitarians standing up and saying ‘Hey this is all rubbish, we all know the trinity is the truth, let’s have away with this’. We don’t find any trinitarians until about the 4th century, and that’s being generous.

    NONE of the earliest creeds (1st to 4th century), said anything about the trinity, despite the fact that they were opposing all manner of false doctrines and defining truth. This is all well accepted by standard ecclesiastical historians.

  160. on 09 Jun 2008 at 4:09 pmSean

    I’m also curious regarding who the first trinitarian was. Brant had suggested that Jesus and the apostles were the first trinitarians but then produced absolutely no evidence to back up his assertion (not to mention the fact that Jesus agreed with a non-trinitarian scribe on how many God is). However, if we define the trinity as believing in the following statements, where do we find any of them teaching these things?

    — the Father is God, the Son is God, the Holy Spirit is God but there are not three Gods but one God and each is fully God not merely a part of God
    — the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are co-equal
    — the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are co-eternal
    — the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are co-essential

  161. on 09 Jun 2008 at 5:01 pmmanuel culwell

    This is the very reason I was upset with James White, For calling me a “Unitarian” on his dividing line program, He very well knew what he was doing by using a term that we reject, as he lumped us in with the Jw’s and every other non-trinitarain group, We are Oneness and that is what we should be called, he then kicked me off of his program when I was going to call him on his dishonesty.I am sure he would not like me calling him a polytheist.

    Manuel Culwell

  162. on 09 Jun 2008 at 5:31 pmFortigurn

    Jeff,

    ‘No trinitarian would say otherwise. All trinitarian would deny that 1st century didn’t have a true knowledge of God and Christ. Which certainly leads into my next comment…’

    Well no, not all trinitarians would say this. In fact it is the position of many trinitarians that the 1st century believers didn’t have a true knowledge of God and Christ, that this had to wait for later revelation given to the church.

    ‘The other point, which is simply a historical point, was that systematics (on certain doctrines) were, in large meaure, hammered out because (various) heresy was being dealt with.’

    There’s no doubt about this. But look at what you’re saying. The result of this was the formulation of doctrines which had NEVER BEEN TAUGHT BEFORE. So it wasn’t simply a matter of re-interpreting established doctrines, it was a matter of inventing new doctrines which were completely unknown to the 1st century believers, and the trinity is one. It’s in the same category as infant sprinkling, ‘original sin’, the ‘immaculate conception’, and the ‘assumption’ of Mary.

    That’s the point here.

    ‘Again, we do the same thing today, and this criticism (i.e. your criticism above), from my perspective, is simply a not handling of the historical account with any accuracy.’

    If by this you mean we systematize the doctrines originally taught by the apostles, that’s true (though the apostles had already systematized it, so we have to follow their lead).

    But if in the process of our systematizing we invent new doctrines, then we’re wrong to do so. The apostles already established all Biblical doctrine. There’s no value in us making things up.

  163. on 09 Jun 2008 at 5:36 pmFortigurn

    trinitarian,

    ‘I furthermore did not specify which heresies I was referring to.’

    Yes you did. You specified those heresies that denied Jesus’ humanity. These are your words:

    ‘One example might be your complaint that the doctrine of the trinity wasn’t invoked to deal with heresies that denied Jesus’ humanity!’

    I note you didn’t address the remainder of my post.

    ‘And I find it ridiculous that you would point out that the “Trinity” was not invoked to refute, say, docetism and gnosticism. It is simply dishonest of you to include them. Proving a real human Jesus, with a real material body, was the point of those debates.’

    It is not dishonest to include them. They were errors, so if the trinity was the truth it would make sense for the trinity to be invoked to disprove them. This is especially the case since they taught that Jesus wasn’t a real man, whereas the trinity teaches that he was. Proving a real human Jesus, with a real material body, is one of the foundations of the trinity.

    ‘I obviously did not mean, say, Arianism, when I spoke of heresies that denied Christ’s humanity!’

    I know you didn’t. I never said you did.

    ‘I just thank you for giving me yet another opportunity to point out your dishonest debating tactics, of whcih this thread is chalk-full of.’

    The correct phrase is ‘chock full of’, not ‘chalk full of’. The error is the result of poor pronunciation corrupting written communication. There are several common errors of this type. They typically occur within North America as a product of the regional pronunciation.

  164. on 09 Jun 2008 at 5:39 pmFortigurn

    Mark, thanks for your explanation of the context and intent of my comments. That’s exactly right.

  165. on 09 Jun 2008 at 6:26 pmJohnO

    Manuel,

    When you say Oneness, do you mean Oneness Pentacostal? Most of here are not (some of us here have been in the past). We mean it when we say we are biblical Unitarians (not Unitarian Universalists)

  166. on 09 Jun 2008 at 6:30 pmFrank D

    The Narrow Mind radio interview w/ Brant is up on i-Tunes if anyone is interested.

  167. on 09 Jun 2008 at 7:16 pmmanuel culwell

    I do not like being lumped with any Unitarain!There is no such thing as a”Biblical Unitarain”Do you believe Jesus is God? If you don’t you are an un-biblical unitarain! It is the same pompousness the trinitarians employ by saying “the christian doctrine of the trinity. “I don’t care how much you tell yourself a doctrine is biblical or christian but in my book you better be able prove with your doctrine according(Not to so called Church history)but with scripture.Jesus said thy word is truth(John 17:17) he did not say ;”thy church history: is the standard in which we measure the true church. that is what false prophets say. you might as well be a unitarain universalist or a trinitarian as you are all the same to me.

  168. on 09 Jun 2008 at 7:25 pmmanuel culwell

    I would like to invite the unitarains to discussion along with anyone else.
    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Trinity_vs_Oneness_Debate/

  169. on 09 Jun 2008 at 9:09 pmDustin

    I wonder if this ever-growing thread has actually converted anyone…..

    Dustin

  170. on 09 Jun 2008 at 9:09 pmSean

    Manuel,

    If your beliefs are founded on the Bible then maybe it would interest you that a oneness pastor, J. Dan Gill, found his “Jesus only” faith in contradiction with the Scriptures and so converted from the belief that “Jesus is the only true God” to the belief that “the Father is the only true God” (John 17.3).

    If you wouldn’t mind putting your beliefs to the test, I highly recommend to his talk on the subject. Click here to listen to the mp3 called From Oneness to One

    Also, famed gospel oneness singer Joel Hemphill has also recently come to see that the oneness position is not the biblical one, but that Jesus was right after all in claiming that he had a God–the Father (John 20.17). To listen to Joel’s testimony can be listened to by clicking here.

  171. on 09 Jun 2008 at 9:27 pmSean

    Josh Walker,

    I just sent you an email with a direct link to the entire debate. If that doesn’t work let me know.

  172. on 09 Jun 2008 at 9:45 pmmanuel culwell

    I don’t Listen, I debate!I will not listen to someone who did not know what he believed in the first place. I assure you I know what I believe. Give me the best you got and send him to my debate group.

  173. on 09 Jun 2008 at 9:52 pmSean

    Manuel…I told you that this gentleman was a oneness pastor. He did and still does know the oneness position. He probably does not have the time nor desire to debate someone who won’t even listen to a brief audio file.

  174. on 09 Jun 2008 at 9:55 pmmanuel culwell

    I don’t want to debate him! I want the best you got, If you think your side has the truth then you will not mind getting me someone who has the fortitude to do so. Sorry I will listen in a personal debate on my group to anyone who wants to have a one on one.

  175. on 09 Jun 2008 at 10:45 pmmanuel culwell

    I want the exchange to be informal, and public,for all to witness, to see who has the truth, and who contradicts scripture.

  176. on 10 Jun 2008 at 1:35 amCameron

    Sean, you said

    Thus, on trinitarianism, the only thing that dies is human nature–this is not at all costly. However, on unitarianism, Jesus really died–all of him. Part of him did not continue living in some mysterious undead manner. Since Jesus was a human being his death–the death of someone who was divinely begotten, sinless, and voluntarily representative of the human race–was extremely valuable.

    In the Unitarian view, what is significant about Jesus, even as a lesser deity in your view, which all the more makes for a better atonement? In my understanding, Jesus’ God nature enables His human nature to be sinless. Other natures do not hold water as sin substitutes. Animal natures do not suffice nor angels. Only a perfect human sacrifice in place of imperfect ones. I am not a demi-god like the Jesus of your view, thus I do not need this being with a singular demi-god nature dying in my place. It should die for other demi-gods that are imperfect.

    Further, 1. you have no biblical grounds implying that 100% of Jesus Christ died (encompassing all of His nature/s without exception). 2. How do you handle verses which teach that Christ raised Himself from the dead? If all which encompasses Christ’s being were dead, He could not raise His dead self. That would be more like incarnation.

    Biblically there seems to be a Trinitarian work in Christ’s resurrection. The Spirit – Rom 8:11, The Father – Gal 1:1, The Son – John 2:19-21 “Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” The Jews then said, “It took forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days?” But He was speaking of the temple of His body.” (NASB)

    If per chance you believe Christ had no ability to raise Himself but strictly “authority”, then I would ask what good is authority without ability?

    John 10:18 “No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.”

    Of course these verses are highly debated, yet they are definitely worth mentinoing in light of your remarks.

  177. on 10 Jun 2008 at 1:47 amWolfgang

    @Manuel,
    you wrote above

    Do you believe Jesus is God? If you don’t you are an un-biblical unitarain!

    I am sure, that would be true “according to Manuel Culwell”.
    But then, saying and believing that Jesus is God seems to me to be clearly twistign Jesus’ very own words recorded in Joh 17:3 where Jesus said that HIS FATHER (and not Jesus himself) was alone the true God.
    So then, why do you want to accuse others of being “un-biblical” when you yourself in the very statement you make are “un-biblical”?
    Cheers,
    Wolfgang

  178. on 10 Jun 2008 at 1:53 amWolfgang

    @Manuel
    you stated above

    I don’t Listen, I debate!I will not listen to someone who did not know what he believed in the first place. I assure you I know what I believe. Give me the best you got and send him to my debate group.

    Now, what you most likely meant was that you don’t listen, but like to “hit people over their head” with your personal conviction (which you deem to be the biblical truth), and in addition you only want to do so on your turf (perhaps because you actually feel quite unsure when in someone else’s territory where you can’t control what gets published should something not quite go your way)?
    Cheers,
    Wolfgang

  179. on 10 Jun 2008 at 2:02 amWolfgang

    @Manuel,
    you continued above:

    I want the exchange to be informal, and public,for all to witness, to see who has the truth, and who contradicts scripture.

    Is this exchange not sufficiently informal? is it not sufficiently public and others can witness/have witnessed what has been written?
    As for contradicting scripture, I have pointed out in my reply (#177 above) that the claim “Jesus is the true God” (which you appeared to hold) in in plain contradiction to Jesus’ very own words as recorded in Scripture (Joh 17:3).
    So then, who has the truth and who contradicts scripture when one believes what Jesus said (that Jesus’ Father alone is true God … in accordance with the testimony of scripture in Joh 17:3), and another believes what he/she twists into the text, twists out of the text, or arrives at by ignoring the text in Joh 17:3 (that Jesus is the true God) ?

    Cheers,
    Wolfgang

  180. on 10 Jun 2008 at 5:33 ammanuel culwell

    Of Course “God the father is the true God” but you cast off other passages ignoring Jesus claim…. Jesus was made God.(John 3:34) He was given the spirit w/o measure. he was made the Lord(Acts 2:36) He was made the Spirit the Life giving spirit(1st. Cor. 15:45) his humanity had a beggining therefor he could not already be God. Get out of your comfort zone and debate your cause.

  181. on 10 Jun 2008 at 5:39 ammanuel culwell

    Wolfy wrote:
    “Now, what you most likely meant was that you don’t listen, but like to “hit people over their head” with your personal conviction”

    mlculwell: No, I said what I meant ,apperantly you did not listen. I said;” I don’t listen to peole who did not know thier own doctrine in the first place.” (I don’t care they were once oneness.) they must have been defective in their understanding to fall into such a sham.I have debated you guys before, you have nothing.

    Wolfgang
    (which you deem to be the biblical truth), and in addition you only want to do so on your turf (perhaps because you actually feel quite unsure when in someone else’s territory where you can’t control what gets published should something not quite go your way)?
    Cheers,
    Wolfgang

    mlculwell: I am perfectly fine anywhere this blog is not for that but okay.

  182. on 10 Jun 2008 at 7:26 amWolfgang

    @Manuel
    you say

    Of Course “God the father is the true God” but you cast off other passages ignoring Jesus claim….

    I don’t do that at all …. what I do is this: I do NOT use other passages to support an idea which flat out contradicts Jesus’ very own words … which is what you are doing … 🙂
    Such contradiction comes about because of your incorrect understanding of the other passages of Scripture to which you point … if understood correctly, there are no such contradictions to Jesus’ own words as is the case with YOUR interpretation.

    Cheers,
    Wolfgang
    PS: It seemed that my initial reply did not format the quote from your note correctly, thus a new try here

  183. on 10 Jun 2008 at 9:39 amkevin

    hi, can someone tell me at what point in time the word trinity appeared. thanks

  184. on 10 Jun 2008 at 10:19 amWolfgang

    @ Kevin
    you requested

    can someone tell me at what point in time the word trinity appeared

    The entry on the word “trinity” as a Christian doctrine in the Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trinity#The_Origin_of_the_Formula ) has the following paragraph with information addressing your question:

    “The first recorded use of the word “Trinity” in Christian theology was in about AD 180 by Theophilus of Antioch who used the corresponding word in Greek (Τριάς) to refer to “the Trinity, of God, and His Word, and His wisdom”, of which he considered the first three days of creation to be types.[8][9] He did not apply the word to the Trinity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit.”

    I hope this helps …at least a little bit

    Cheers
    Wolfgang

  185. on 10 Jun 2008 at 10:49 amJohn tancock

    Hi all
    Never been here before!!

    I’ve tried to read as much of this long thread as possible, I would like to make a comment which may help.

    The ‘trinity’ is not a ‘frontline’ or ‘core’ teaching, it is an explanation of the totality of what Christians have believed the Bible teaches.

    The bible teaches that there is ONE God, but that the father, Son and Spirit are also called ‘GOD’ or YHWH.

    One practical upshot of the biblical teaching is that Jesus is to be worshipped (as he is of course in the scriptures), if he is n ot in some way ‘GOD’ then to do so would indeed be blasphemous.

    So my simple ‘offering’ as a first time contributor is that TRINITY is an explanation of totality of what the bible teaches about GOD. To look at one verse and say ‘the trinity isnt there’ is to miss the point ‘epically’!!

  186. on 10 Jun 2008 at 10:55 amtrinitarian

    Unfortunately Mark is just as dishonest, or ignorant, as Fortigurn is. I never said I didn’t want a discussion. My claim was qualified, viz., I didn’t want to discuss anything with a dishonest person. See the difference.

    I’d also point out that you can’t seem to follow the argument. Here’s your claim:

    I will simply mention the fact that his/her accusation of “dishonesty” stems from having completely missed Fortigurn’s point. Jeff had said that the first century Christians had an understanding of the Trinity. When Fortigurn listed those other heresies and mentioned that the Trinity was not invoked, the point was to demonstrate that the Trinity was not the “standard” by which other doctrines were judged. He concluded by saying:

    That was rather obvious. I fully understand both points. Both Jeff and Fortigurn’s claim.

    Here’s what you seem to be missing: YOU WOULDN’T INVOKE THE ONTOLOGICAL TRINITY TO SHOW THAT JESUS WAS HUMAN!

    The ontological Trinity refers to the divine persons in the Godhead. So, why on earth you you invoke a truth about the divine nature of Christ if you were trying to show the human nature of Christ?

    Fortigurn,

    Yes you did. You specified those heresies that denied Jesus’ humanity. These are your words:

    ‘One example might be your complaint that the doctrine of the trinity wasn’t invoked to deal with heresies that denied Jesus’ humanity!’

    Oh, so you knew which heresies I was referring to but you came back in response with heresies that didn’t deny Jesus humanity, viz., Arianism et al.? As I said, you’re a dishonest debater.

    It is not dishonest to include them. They were errors, so if the trinity was the truth it would make sense for the trinity to be invoked to disprove them.

    Yes, it is dishonest to include them. I refer you to my above argument against Mark.

    This is especially the case since they taught that Jesus wasn’t a real man, whereas the trinity teaches that he was.

    No, the “Trinity” doesn’t. If you were unaware, let me enlighten you. We believe that there never was a time when God wasn’t a Trinity. We believe that there was a time when the second person was not incarnated.

    One place you might want to look is my confession of faith:

    http://www.reformed.org/documents/wcf_with_proofs/

    See, no mention of “Jesus’ humanity.”

    Or, perhaps you might be interested in the Athanasian creed:

    http://www.reformed.org/documents/index.html

    See, the Trinity deals with deity and then the creed discussion the Incarnation which deals with Jesus’ humanity.

    So, you’ve dishonestly tried to mix the doctrine of the Trinity with the doctrine of the Incarnation.

    I wouldn’t expect anything less from a heretic. Heretics always resort to dishonest debate tactics.

    You could have admitted your dishonest and so avoided this repeated embarrassment, but now you’ve been caught lying before God and have dragged your friend down with you. Mark now has the honor of being labeled a liar.

    I’d love to move on, but until you can admit your dishonest tactics, I’m afraid a discussion would be unprofitable.

    I’ll say it again: The Trinity wouldn’t have been invoked to deal with arguments concerning whether Jesus was human.

    Repeat that 20 times.

    Learn it, live it, love it.

  187. on 10 Jun 2008 at 12:28 pmFortigurn

    Cameron,

    ‘In the Unitarian view, what is significant about Jesus, even as a lesser deity in your view, which all the more makes for a better atonement?’

    He wasn’t ‘a lesser deity’. What makes him a better atonement is the fact that he was identical to those he came to save.

    Hebrews 2:
    14 Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, HE LIKEWISE TOOK PART OF THE SAME, SO THAT through death he could destroy the one who holds the power of death (that is, the devil),
    15 and set free those who were held in slavery all their lives by their fear of death.
    16 For surely his concern is not for angels, but he is concerned for Abraham’s descendants.
    17 THEREFORE HE HAD TO BE MADE LIKE HIS BROTHERS AND SISTERS IN EVERY RESPECT, SO THAT HE COULD BECOME a merciful and faithful high priest in things relating to God, TO MAKE ATONEMENT FOR THE SINS OF THE PEOPLE. 1
    8 FOR SINCE HE HIMSELF SUFFERED WHEN HE WAS TEMPTED, he is able to help those who are tempted.

    Hebrews 4:
    15 For we do not have a high priest incapable of sympathizing with our weaknesses, BUT ONE WHO HAD BEEN TEMPTED IN EVERY WAY JUST AS WE ARE, YET WITHOUT SIN.
    16 THEREFORE LET US CONFIDENTLY APPROACH THE THRONE OF GRACE to receive mercy and find grace whenever we need help.

  188. on 10 Jun 2008 at 12:44 pmJohnO

    Cameron, you can read my paper Incarnation and Atonement given at this very conference to answer your exact question. You can find it here: http://kingdomready.org/blog/2008/06/01/incarnation-and-atonement/

  189. on 10 Jun 2008 at 12:45 pmFortigurn

    trinitarian,

    ‘Here’s what you seem to be missing: YOU WOULDN’T INVOKE THE ONTOLOGICAL TRINITY TO SHOW THAT JESUS WAS HUMAN!’

    This has never been disputed. Once more it’s clear you’ve missed the point. Incidentally the trinity is supposed to teach that Jesus was human, but in reality it doesn’t. So you’re correct, you can’t honestly invoke the trinity to teach that Jesus was human.

    ‘Oh, so you knew which heresies I was referring to but you came back in response with heresies that didn’t deny Jesus humanity, viz., Arianism et al.?’

    Wrong. I didn’t ‘come back’ to you at all. I didn’t address that list to you, I addressed it to Jeff (check the post), whose reference to heresies was completely unqualified. So all the heresies in my list were completely relevant.

    ‘No, the “Trinity” doesn’t. IWe believe that there never was a time when God wasn’t a Trinity. We believe that there was a time when the second person was not incarnated.’

    Er, you’re just claiming that the trinity doesn’t teach that Jesus was a real man. Are you sure you want to go there? I know that you believe ‘there never was a time when God wasn’t a Trinity’ and that ‘ there was a time when the second person was not incarnated’. This has no relevance to what I wrote. I didn’t contradict that.

    ‘See, the Trinity deals with deity and then the creed discussion the Incarnation which deals with Jesus’ humanity. So, you’ve dishonestly tried to mix the doctrine of the Trinity with the doctrine of the Incarnation.’

    Ooops, someone forgot to read Chalcedon. I’m not in the least confused. I’m not trying to mix the two.

  190. on 10 Jun 2008 at 12:57 pmtrinitarian

    Fortigurn,

    So you refuse to admit your dishonest tactics? You used heresies over the humanity of Christ as fodder to point out to Jeff that if the Trinity was believed, they would have invoked the Trinity to refute debates about Christ’s humanity. If you can’t see how dishonest and ridiculous this was, then there’s really no point to continue with you.

    All you needed to do was swallow your pride and admit that you went a little overboard in your zeal to show that the Trinity wasn’t invoked.

    I’d love to point out the errors in your reasoning with the other heresies you listed, but you seem unable to follow a simple argument and your seem bent on defending your dishonesty.

    And, btw, I should point out when I said “mixing” I wasn’t referring to “mixing” the natures, per Chalcedon, I was talking about “mixing” the doctrines. Your ability to follow an argument and engage your interlocutor is embarrassing. Is that what happens to one’s mind when they embrace heresy?

  191. on 10 Jun 2008 at 1:52 pmSean

    trinitarian,

    We will not continue tolerating your mean-spirited comments. If you continue to speak to others in this way we will revoke your privilege to dialog on this site.

  192. on 10 Jun 2008 at 2:02 pmMark

    trinitarian,

    When you say “The Trinity wouldn’t have been invoked to deal with arguments concerning whether Jesus was human” you are once again missing the point of the whole exchange. Jeff originally said that a Trinitarian understanding of God was known and accepted by the first century Christians. The various heresies mentioned by Fortigurn consisted of different beliefs about who/what Jesus was and his relationship with God, which are different from the Trinitarian model.

    The following definitions are from Wikipedia:

    The Ebionites rejected many of the central Christian views of Jesus such as the pre-existence, divinity, virgin birth, atoning death, and physical resurrection of Jesus.[1] The Ebionites are described as emphasizing the oneness of God and the humanity of Jesus as the biological son of both Mary and Joseph, who by virtue of his righteousness, was chosen by God to be the messianic “prophet like Moses”

    Docetism (from the Greek dokeo, “to seem”) is the belief that Jesus’ physical body was an illusion, as was his crucifixion; that is, Jesus only seemed to have a physical body and to physically die, but in reality he was incorporeal, a pure spirit, and hence could not physically die.

    Gnostic systems are typically marked by:
    The notion of a remote, supreme monadic divinity – this figure is known under a variety of names, including ‘Pleroma’ and ‘Bythos’ (Greek ‘deep’);
    The introduction by emanation of further divine beings, which are nevertheless identifiable as aspects of the God from which they proceeded; the progressive emanations are often conceived metaphorically as a gradual and progressive distancing from the ultimate source, which brings about an instability in the fabric of the divine nature;

    Binitarianism is a theology of two in one God, as opposed to one (unitarianism) or three (trinitarianism).

    In Christianity, Sabellianism (also known as modalism, modalistic monarchianism, or modal monarchism) is the nontrinitarian belief that the Heavenly Father, Resurrected Son and Holy Spirit are different modes or aspects of one God, as perceived by the believer, rather than three distinct persons in God Himself.

    Arianism is the teachings of the Christian theologian Arius (c. AD 250-336), who lived and taught in Alexandria, Egypt, in the early 4th century. The most controversial of his teachings, considered contrary to the Nicene creed and heretical by the Council of Nicaea, dealt with the relationship between God the Father and the person of Jesus, saying that Jesus was not one with the father, and that he was not fully, although almost, divine in nature.

    Each of these belief systems holds a different view of the nature of Jesus and his relationship with God. Therefore, if Trinitarianism were the prevailing standard doctrine in Christianity at the time, it would have been invoked in response to the heresies as being the “true view” of who Jesus was and the relationship between him and God. That was and is the point of what was said to Jeff.

    And by the way…

    If you are going to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ, please remember that we are commanded to do so in love (Eph. 4:15). If we disagree or don’t understand each other’s points, that is one thing. But there is no call to be rude and accuse us of being dishonest and calling us “dumb” and “liars” just because you missed the point. If you want to debate in a civilized, loving Christian manner, that is welcome. If you cannot do that, then please keep your word and have no discussion.

  193. on 10 Jun 2008 at 3:06 pmJeff Downs

    Mark said:

    Actually, many Trinitarian scholars do in fact say that the first century Church did not have a fully developed knowledge of God and of Christ. They say that it was part of the “progressive revelation” which has been referred to in this thread several times. This “progressive revelation” did not reach its full end until the fourth century when the Trinity was completely formulated. This is why Trinitarian theologians have no problem with the fact that the Synoptic Gospels clearly teach that Jesus was a man, the Son of God, and without John and a few hints in Paul (they say) you could not see the Trinity in the New Testament.

    Well, this Trinitarian and others that I know would not agree with your comments. But, I certainly do not have the time to correct each bit of information you state. It does appear that you don’t get out (read) much regarding in reference to Christological studies.

    Sean keeps asking this question:
    I’m also curious regarding who the first trinitarian was.

    I woud say, since they were in a unique relationship with God, that Adam and Eve were the first Trinitarians.

    Sean, you also kept making reference to the Shema in the debate. Have you looked at Block’s article (that reference in a previous post)?

  194. on 10 Jun 2008 at 4:57 pmMark

    Well, this Trinitarian and others that I know would not agree with your comments. But, I certainly do not have the time to correct each bit of information you state. It does appear that you don’t get out (read) much regarding in reference to Christological studies.

    Because I have read opinions that differ from yours, then I “don’t read much”? I don’t have the time to dig up the exact quotes and sources any more than you have time to “correct” what I said.

    So let’s make this quick and simple. Once again, show me “three persons in one God” or any other way in which “one” means “one consisting of three” FROM THE BIBLE. It can’t be done.

  195. on 10 Jun 2008 at 5:10 pmmanuel culwell

    @Manuel
    you say

    “Of Course “God the father is the true God” but you cast off other passages ignoring Jesus claim”….

    Wolfy:
    I don’t do that at all …. what I do is this: I do NOT use other passages to support an idea which flat out contradicts Jesus’ very own words …

    mlculwell: How weak of you. You set up one passage excluding any others: I submitted Jesus was “made God” because his humanity had a beggining, Just as I knew you would,You did not deal with the passages I presented . (John 3:34) God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him.(Jesus) No christian was ever given the Spirit w/o measure.(Eph.4:7)ALL power in heaven and earth was given unto Jesus.If Jesus had it all then ther eis none left! and then (1st. Cor. 15:45)Jesus was made the Life giving Spirit(How many are those according to you?)Eph.4:4-6Then Jesus was made Both Lord and Christ.

    Wolfy:
    which is what you are doing …
    Such contradiction comes about because of your incorrect understanding of the other passages of Scripture to which you point …

    mlculwell: Actually that would be you and your doctrine that excludes these very revealing passages Like I said I have debated you guys before and your threats as hollow as your weak doctrine.

    Wolfy
    if understood correctly, there are no such contradictions to Jesus’ own words as is the case with YOUR interpretation.

    Cheers,
    Wolfgang
    PS: It seemed that my initial reply did not format the quote from your note correctly, thus a new try here

    mlculwell:There are no contradictions period you simply focus on Jesus real humanity and pay no attention to other passages that proclain Jeus is the One God becausde he was made God.

  196. on 10 Jun 2008 at 6:00 pmScott

    I know I said I was done posting so please forgive me for going back on my word. I have to ask a question- in Isaiah 44:6 how many persons are called Yahweh?

  197. on 10 Jun 2008 at 6:30 pmMark

    I know I said I was done posting so please forgive me for going back on my word. I have to ask a question- in Isaiah 44:6 how many persons are called Yahweh?

    One: “…beside me there is no God.” What is the difficulty here?

    Isaiah 44:
    6 “Thus says the LORD, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the LORD of hosts: ‘I am the first and I am the last, And there is no God besides Me.
    7 ‘Who is like Me? Let him proclaim and declare it; Yes, let him recount it to Me in order, From the time that I established the ancient nation. And let them declare to them the things that are coming And the events that are going to take place.
    8 ‘Do not tremble and do not be afraid; Have I not long since announced it to you and declared it? And you are My witnesses. Is there any God besides Me, Or is there any other Rock? I know of none.’”

  198. on 10 Jun 2008 at 6:34 pmFortigurn

    trinitarian, you’re contradicting yourself and not reading either my posts or even your own.

    First you said:

    * ‘you came back in response with heresies that didn’t deny Jesus humanity’

    Now you say:

    * ‘You used heresies over the humanity of Christ’

    So first you try to tell me that I referred to heresies that DIDN’T deny Jesus’ humanity, and then you try to tell me that I referred to heresies which DID deny Jesus’ humanity. It’s clear you’re confused not only over what I’ve written, but over what you’ve written also.

    I never once said ‘if the Trinity was believed, they would have invoked the Trinity to refute debates about Christ’s humanity’. My point was that if the trinity was believed, they would have used it to counter ALL Christological heresies, as they certainly did later when it finally was invented.

    ‘And, btw, I should point out when I said “mixing” I wasn’t referring to “mixing” the natures, per Chalcedon, I was talking about “mixing” the doctrines.’

    I know you were. I didn’t say you were talking about mixing the natures. I pointed you to Chalcedon because you were ignorant of the fact that the human nature of Christ was defined as an essential element of the trinitarian doctrine.

  199. on 10 Jun 2008 at 7:27 pmDoug

    Thanks to both participants for a civil debate.

    I think that Sean did a fine job.

    Maybe Sean would consider a debate with Dr. James White of aomin.org

  200. on 10 Jun 2008 at 9:07 pmJohnO

    Scott,

    Clearly Is 44.6 is talking to one YHWH

    “This is what the Lord, Israel’s King and Redeemer, the Lord Almighty, says: I am the First and the Last; there is no other God.” – NLT

    “Thus says the LORD, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the LORD of hosts: ‘I am the first and I am the last, And there is no God besides Me.” – NASB

    “This is what the Lord says—
    Israel’s King and Redeemer, the Lord Almighty:
    I am the first and I am the last;
    apart from me there is no God.” – NIV

    And YHWH is clearly the Father, an essence does not have a name – only a person. Therefore only the Father, the God of Abraham Isaac and Jacob, is truly God. Simple.

  201. on 10 Jun 2008 at 9:15 pmSean

    Doug,

    Thanks for the suggestion, but I have a lot of studying to do before I would even consider debating someone of Dr. White’s caliber. I’m still at a beginning level of Greek.

  202. on 10 Jun 2008 at 10:17 pmDustin

    Hmmmm.

    White vs Buzzard

    Dustin

  203. on 10 Jun 2008 at 11:35 pmWolfgang

    @ Manuel,
    you wrote aboe

    mlculwell:There are no contradictions period you simply focus on Jesus real humanity and pay no attention to other passages that proclain Jeus is the One God becausde he was made God.

    An understanding of other passages which makes Jesus to be “the One God” contradicts Jesus’ very own words as recorded in Joh 17:3 …. it’s rather simple!

    By the way, all “screaming and jumping and claiming” that “there are no contradictions, period ” becomes empty words when one then goes on and takes any other passage and makes it to contradict what Jesus himself stated.

    Cheers,
    Wolfgang

  204. on 11 Jun 2008 at 1:04 amScott

    I am understanding you guys rightly to say that only Yahweh is referred to as the “first and the last”?

  205. on 11 Jun 2008 at 3:23 amFortigurn

    Not necessarily. Yahweh’s titles can be borne by His representatives (agents). The principle of agency is one which the trinitarian has to leave behind in order to uphold the trinity.

  206. on 11 Jun 2008 at 3:39 amWolfgang

    @Scott,
    you had written:

    I have to ask a question- in Isaiah 44:6 how many persons are called Yahweh?

    I would say that only one person is called Yahweh in Isa 44:6 (as well as throughout the Scriptures), and this One is the Father of our lord Jesus Christ.

    You then asked

    I am understanding you guys rightly to say that only Yahweh is referred to as the “first and the last”?

    This question seems to indicate that you believe the term “first and last” to refer only to Yahweh, and since “first and last” is used in other contexts of Jesus, you then conclude that Jesus must be Yahweh.

    I would say that the premise of such a conclusion is incorrect …. “first and last” is NOT only used of Yahweh … it is used in some contexts of Yahweh, in other contexts of Jesus. The term “first and last” by itself means in such usage basically “the only one”, and the context determines the exact detail and aspect of how the person spoken of is that “only one”.

    In other words, the fact that terms such as “first and last”, “lord”, “saviour” etc. are used of more than one person, does NOT make those persons to be identical or the same being.

    Cheers,
    Wolfgang

  207. on 11 Jun 2008 at 5:24 ammanuel culwell

    Jesus as the first and last the same name attributed to “Yahweh” so called (Which there is no such thing in scripture actually the tetragrammaton is (YHWH) It is an uneducated guess) Jesus was made (YHWH) becauss his humnaity had a beggining.

  208. on 11 Jun 2008 at 5:29 ammanuel culwell

    @ Manuel,
    you wrote aboe

    mlculwell:There are no contradictions period you simply focus on Jesus real humanity and pay no attention to other passages that proclain Jeus is the One God becausde he was made God.

    An understanding of other passages which makes Jesus to be “the One God” contradicts Jesus’ very own words as recorded in Joh 17:3 …. it’s rather simple!

    Deal with the passages Wolfgang You cannot submit One passage to the exclusion of all other passaages.It contradicts nothing,it only does for you as your hermenuetical interpretation is the same as the Calvinist Reformed who vacuum Isolate passages, Yes sir you are guilty of the same thing as they.

    By the way, all “screaming and jumping and claiming” that “there are no contradictions, period ” becomes empty words when one then goes on and takes any other passage and makes it to contradict what Jesus himself stated.

    Cheers,
    Wolfgang

    mlculwell: There was no screaming or jumping and an exclamaition point being used does not indicate I am screaming. But you sir need to deal with the passages I submitted jesus was made the One true God. You think the prince reamins a prince and that the son never inherits his fathers throne.LOL! Silly.

  209. on 11 Jun 2008 at 1:16 pmWolfgang

    @Manuel,

    you wrote

    here was no screaming or jumping and an exclamaition point being used does not indicate I am screaming. But you sir need to deal with the passages I submitted jesus was made the One true God. You think the prince reamins a prince and that the son never inherits his fathers throne.LOL! Silly.

    First problem is that NONE of the passages you submitted even says that Jesus “was made the One true God” !!! YOU are the one who interprets these passages in a way that contradicts Jesus’ own words concerning the one true God (Joh 17:3)

    And then, you are making a rather silly comment about “son never inherits his fathers throne” …. are you telling us that the father has died in the meantime and the son has inherited the father’s throne? Do you actually have 2 true Gods (the father for a while, and after his death, the son has taken his place)?

    As I have pointed out before, YOU are the one who interprets other passages in a manner which makes them to be contradictory to the very words of Jesus as recorded in Joh 18:3 ….

    Cheers,
    Wolfgang

  210. on 11 Jun 2008 at 2:33 pmCameron

    Fortigurn, I say “amen” to the passages you quoted in Hebrews. As a Trinitarian I fully believe what you believe, in that Jesus was fully human, but I also believe more than that, that He was fully God by virtue of claiming to be God and the Messiah.

    Going back to what Sean previously stated: “However, on unitarianism, Jesus really died–all of him. Part of him did not continue living in some mysterious undead manner.”

    This is one of the first Unitarian statements I’ve heard which makes Jesus more un-human that the human (sounds like a Rob Zombie song). Even humans, created in the image of God, continue to live after death. Not their physical flesh but their meta-physical soul, which technically is still the truest part of their live flesh.

    Additionally, as I stated earlier, to say that Jesus fully died, having no iota of life in any way shape or form after His death, is contrary to the biblical understanding that Jesus took part in raising Himself unto a new glorified body.

    Further,

    JohnO, the only answer I derive from your written response is “what makes Jesus death so valuable is that God accepts it on behalf of humanity”

    Yet, this seems to beg the overarching question. You say that God accepts Jesus death, but “why” does He do so? Penal substitutionary atonement is plainly taught in Scripture. The OT carries the same idea with the mercy seat or ‘the place of purging through death’. Pen sub is a compound concept. Justice unto justification. In the OT an animal was not only slain but had it’s blood sprinkled on the mercy seat to appease God. All of which never appeased God but pointed to Christ, the true sacrifice unto appeasement. The greek word ‘hilastarion’ carries with it this same compound meaning.

    Rom 3:25-36 “God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement (the greek word here is hilastarion), through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished— he did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.”

    Lastly,

    Jesus did not only die to save us from Satan, darkness, and lies. He saved us ultimately from Himself to show His mercy and grace towards us. Rom 5:9 “Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him!”

  211. on 11 Jun 2008 at 3:05 pmSean

    Cameron,

    Even humans, created in the image of God, continue to live after death. Not their physical flesh but their meta-physical soul, which technically is still the truest part of their live flesh.

    Are you quoting Plato here? He is the one who said that death was no more than the separation of the body from the soul. The Bible (in both Old and New Testaments) teaches that dead people are asleep (i.e. not alive, but unconscious and awaiting the resurrection).

    But, it doesn’t even matter what your view of death is because if Jesus is God (1 Tim 1.17; 6.16) then he is immortal and he cannot experience death. That’s what immortality means. If Jesus died then he is not immortal and thus not fully God. In other words…

    1. Jesus is 100% God
    2. God is immortal
    —————————-
    Jesus is 100% immortal

    But Jesus died which proves he was mortal. So we have to deny premise #1 or #2. I chose to deny #1. What do you pick?

    This line of thinking works for his knowledge as well:

    1. Jesus is 100% God
    2. God is omniscient
    —————————–
    Jesus is 100% omniscient

    But Jesus did not know when he was to return (Mk 13.32) which proves that he is not all-knowing so again we must deny either #1 or #2.

  212. on 11 Jun 2008 at 3:51 pmJohnO

    Cameron,

    I agree for the most part with what you said about penal substitution. I implore you to read the paper. Note, that nothing you said about God’s acceptance of the sacrifice has anything to do with Jesus being God. God accepted the lamb and other offerings of the law, not because of any inherent worth, but because that is what God decided to do and accept. Just as with Jesus.

  213. on 11 Jun 2008 at 4:24 pmScott

    Sean,

    So when Jesus told the dying thief on the cross that he would be with Him in paradise that day was what did he mean? Is paradise a synonym for unconciousness? When Jesus was about to expire and He said, “Father into your hands I commit my spirit” was that another allusion to being unconcious at death? Are the martyrded saints seen in heaven in the book of Revelation worshipping at the throne of God singing and praising Him unconciously? How can Paul say that be absent from the body is to be present with Christ if he really means that being present with Christ is being unconcious? Doesn’t “being present” have to include conciousness? If I went to the symphony yet was in a coma the whole time is it sensible to say I went?

    I don’t think Cameron is quoting Plato- he has good reason from the Bible to believe that the soul of man is seperated from the body at death and exists in that unnatural state until the resurrection.

    Jonathan Edwards writes well on this subject in his article called “True Saints, when Absent from the Body, Are Present with the Lord”

    http://www.biblebb.com/files/edwards/je-absent.htm

    Finally, in what sense do I have eternal life if at death all of me dies? Is there such a thing as “temporary” eternal life?

    JohnO-
    Do you have any examples of when Yahweh’s titles being borne by His representatives (agents)? Is anyone else ever called Yahweh? Is anyone else ever called the first and the last? Is anyone else ever called saviour? If someone is bearing the title as a mere representative are they allowed to receive worship in that capacity?

  214. on 11 Jun 2008 at 5:44 pmMark

    Fortigurn, I say “amen” to the passages you quoted in Hebrews. As a Trinitarian I fully believe what you believe, in that Jesus was fully human, but I also believe more than that, that He was fully God by virtue of claiming to be God and the Messiah.

    But Jesus never claimed to be God. (Please don’t quote “I and my Father are one” – we’ve been through that before.) He was called God twice for sure, which we have discussed already too. The phrase “God the Son” appears nowhere in the Scripture, just as there is no occurrence of “three persons in one God.” Once again we are faced with the resounding lack of Scriptural evidence for Jesus being “fully God” and “fully man” at the same time.

  215. on 11 Jun 2008 at 5:48 pmMark

    If we are going to get into a debate about the state of the dead, perhaps we should start a new thread. That is a subject with as much controversy and misunderstanding as the Trinity. (Please refer to the resources on the “death is not sleep” page of this site:
    http://kingdomready.org/topics/death.php)

  216. on 11 Jun 2008 at 5:48 pmmanuel culwell

    mlculwell:
    There was no screaming or jumping and an exclamaition point being used does not indicate I am screaming. But you sir need to deal with the passages I submitted jesus was made the One true God. You think the prince reamins a prince and that the son never inherits his fathers throne.LOL! Silly.

    Wolfgang:
    First problem is that NONE of the passages you submitted even says that Jesus “was made the One true God” !!! YOU are the one who interprets these passages in a way that contradicts Jesus’ own words concerning the one true God (Joh 17:3)

    mlculwell:
    First Off, God is Spirit(John 4:24) God gave that spirit w/o Measure to the Human son(Who was not already God, But was made God)God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him. What does that mean? No other human or christian was given the spirit w/o measure. You are measuring the spirit.

    I gave the Passages from (1st. Cor. 15:45) Where that last man Adam was *MADE* the Life giving spirit(How many of those are there?)

    (Matthew 28:18) Jesus was given ALL power in heaven and earth. So if he has it ALL, nobody else has any!

    (Acts 2:36) Jesus was Made Both Lord and christ.there are not two Lord’s(Eph.4:4-6)

    Wolfgang:
    And then, you are making a rather silly comment about “son never inherits his fathers throne” …. are you telling us that the father has died in the meantime and the son has inherited the father’s throne?

    mlculwell: No, I am telling God took himself a glorified body permently.

    Wolfgang:
    Do you actually have 2 true Gods (the father for a while, and after his death, the son has taken his place)?

    mlculwell:No Wolfgang, because One glorified man and One true God make One true God.

    Wolfgang:
    As I have pointed out before, YOU are the one who interprets other passages in a manner which makes them to be contradictory to the very words of Jesus as recorded in Joh 18:3 ….

    Cheers,
    Wolfgang

    mlculwell: Absolutely Not.

  217. on 11 Jun 2008 at 6:16 pmScott

    Mark,
    Even if I were to accept your proposition that Jesus never claimed to be God (which I do not accept) how does that prove your point? Is Jesus was just a man the default position that we all should inherently know? If you never positively prove your view it only show how heavily you rely on the assumption of unitarianism. It seems that you further assume that Jesus was only a man yet you never justify it in any way that is close to what you demand of the trinitrain view. So let me ask you- where does Jesus in the Bible ever claim that he is ONLY A MAN and is not God? When does He turn down worship as God? When does He reject the divine titles? Just as you seem to want the words to come out of His mouth directly stating that He is God I want the same statements from Him that He is not God. Please don’t offer syllogisms, deductions or inferences because they are not sufficient in your mind when we offer them.

    The default position in this discussion should not be that God is unitarian and Jesus is only a man. This is especially true in light of the very strange and miraculous events that took place in Jesus’ life- i.e. the virgin birth, turning water to wine, walking on water, rising from the dead, equality with the Father being ascribed to Him and many other wonderous issues. I do not claim that any one or collection of these things in and of themselves prove that He is God but they should at least cause us to start from a position of questioning whether or not the scriptures could teach that He is.

    You seem to do the opposite and instead assume that He is just a man- though you will build Him up from there in some ways. You then set your own standard for what the teaching of the contrary must look like and then after you have dismissed all of the evidence because it doesn’t appear to meet the standard you made up you assert your assumptive position that Jesus was only a man. Yet you never provide the type of positive evidence for your case that you demand of the trinitarian.

  218. on 11 Jun 2008 at 11:11 pmSean

    Scott,

    So when Jesus told the dying thief on the cross that he would be with Him in paradise that day was what did he mean? Is paradise a synonym for unconciousness? When Jesus was about to expire and He said, “Father into your hands I commit my spirit” was that another allusion to being unconcious at death? Are the martyrded saints seen in heaven in the book of Revelation worshipping at the throne of God singing and praising Him unconciously? How can Paul say that be absent from the body is to be present with Christ if he really means that being present with Christ is being unconcious? Doesn’t “being present” have to include conciousness? If I went to the symphony yet was in a coma the whole time is it sensible to say I went?

    The issue of conditional immortality is something worthy of discussion, but unfortunately right now my time is very limited. I am a full time husband, father of two, and pastor….I only have the resources to talk about one thing right now on the blog and often I don’t have the time to even respond to many of your fine points. Even so, may I offer some resources to you to consider if you are at all open on the question of the sleep of the dead?

    As Mark has already mentioned we have a resource page dedicated to understanding the biblical definition of what happens at death (just click on “Death is Sleep” on the top right of this blog). I would also refer you to this list of verses that Dustin and I put together which clearly teach that dead people are not alive and disembodied. Lastly, I’d like to refer you to Anthony’s fine booklet, What Happens When We Die? A Biblical View of Death and Resurrection, available for free in pdf format here..

    We have ample answers to the 5 or so typical proof texts that proponents of Natural Immortality use to demonstrate their case. But, at the same time, I don’t think this doctrine is completely necessary in order to understand my argument against the immortality of Jesus. What I said before still stands. If Jesus experienced death (whatever we define that as) then he is not immortal and thus not God. Brant answered this by saying that Jesus was immortal even though he “experienced” death. It seemed like he was uncomfortable with saying, “Jesus died” or “God died.” But, of course, this is just a mere language trick. Anyone who experiences death dies and thus is mortal. One who is mortal is not at the same time immortal (this is a clear violation of the law of non-contradiction). Jesus cannot be x and ~x at the same time and in the same sense. He cannot be immortal and die. It just is impossible.

    The same goes for my other argument–Jesus was not all knowing because he did not know when he would return (Mark 13.32). God is all-knowing and Jesus did not know something. Even if Jesus knew everything but that one thing he is still not omniscient and therefore not fully God.

    The mid-fifth century development of the hypostatic union (dual natures) is not a biblical doctrine but a brilliant attempt to prop up the trinity in the face of clear contradictions like these.

  219. on 11 Jun 2008 at 11:26 pmSean

    On the subject of whether or not Jesus was worshiped in a religious sense in the New Testament, please see my article on the subject. Furthermore, Jason David BeDuhn’s Truth in Translation explains this issue beautifully. Jesus was worshiped in the sense that was completely normal in the context of the 1st century world when a King or noble entered the room, if you were from a lower social stratification, you would bow as a sign of respect. Furthermore, Esau (Gen 33.3), Judah (Gen 49.8), David (1 Sam 25.23; 2 Sam 14.4; 1 Kings 1.31), Elisha (2 Kings 4.32); Ahasuerus (Esther 8.3) were worshiped in the Old Testament and so are the saints in Rev. 3.19. Does that make them all gods?

  220. on 12 Jun 2008 at 12:42 amMark

    Even if I were to accept your proposition that Jesus never claimed to be God (which I do not accept) how does that prove your point? Is Jesus was just a man the default position that we all should inherently know?

    You know better than that, if you’ve read these posts at all. We don’t say he was JUST a man. He is the uniquely begotten Son of God, the promised Messiah, the ultimate communication of God, who shares many of the Father’s attributes and characteristics.
    My point was that Jesus never claimed to be God, as you claimed he did. You can refuse to accept it all you want, but can you show Scriptural proof? Where in the Bible did Jesus ever claim to be God?

    As for claiming not to be God, we’ve referred before to several things. When the Jews accused him of claiming to be God, he responded by saying, “If he called them gods, to whom the word of God came (and the Scripture cannot be broken), do you say of Him, whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’?” (John 10:35-36). And how about the one I cited above: John 8:17-18, “It is also written in your law, that the testimony of two men is true. I am one that bear witness of myself, and the Father that sent me beareth witness of me.” If that doesn’t show two distinct entities I don’t know what does.

    And of course there are several instances when Jesus said his Father was greater than he was, he did nothing of his own will but always did the Father’s will, etc. Plus he said, “Why call me good? There is none good but God.”

    But You will say that they are indeed two persons, but one God. I’m still waiting for proof of that from the Bible. Not to mention the insermountable problem of how God could be tempted in all points, how He could not know something, and how he could die. Your only explanation is “two natures” which I have pointed out is not in the Bible.

  221. on 12 Jun 2008 at 1:06 pmCameron

    JohnO, you said God accepted the lamb and other offerings of the law, not because of any inherent worth, but because that is what God decided to do and accept. Just as with Jesus.

    God did not accept them as full payment of sin, Heb 10:2-4; 8-10.

    Sean, you said
    1. Jesus is 100% God
    2. God is immortal
    —————————-
    Jesus is 100% immortal

    But Jesus died which proves he was mortal. So we have to deny premise #1 or #2. I chose to deny #1. What do you pick?

    Again, Scripture teaches that humans remain in existence after death. That is our spirits, if you will, remain in existence. Are we then ontologically superior to Jesus? No. Part of our nature still remains after death and part of it does not. The same with the God-Man who’s human nature dies but who’s God nature does not and never will. Remember, as the Second Adam, Jesus’ human nature is to die as a substitute, not His God nature.

    And again, Jesus does not go completely out of existence because Jesus also participates in raising Himself unto a new glorified body after His death. Your premises cader to your assumptions about Jesus’ nature, yet it is His full nature which needs to be argued from Scripture, not biased premises.

    Phil 2:6-8, to paraphrase says Jesus, being God’s very nature, limited Himself. With having human limitations, in order to be like us in every way, Jesus’ human nature would not have known the hour of His return. Yet, His God nature would have, Job 21:22. This is no different then arguing, how can Jesus be in a house if He is God since God is omni-present. Again, His human nature can be in a house (as it existed in time, space, and matter as we know it), yet His God nature was eternally outside of time space and matter as we know it holding it all together. Hence, the Logos became sarx.

    That is the Logos as defined in John 1. The Logos John describes is ‘en(imperfect verb-continual past action) arche’, a beginning-less beginning. Further, this logos was with God, and was “qualitatively” God-in very nature God. All of which is juxtaposed with all that has came into existence. John 1:3 “Through him all things were made (egeneto-aorist verb, having a starting point); without him nothing was made that has been made.”

    Lastly, in the Unitarian view, God forgives sins on arbitrary grounds. It’s simply because God “says so”. God very well could have told Jesus to eat ice cream instead of go to the cross. There is no demand of human justice.

    However, it isn’t simply Jesus physically dying which makes atonement, specifically the part of atonement known as propitiation-the demand of justice for human God-haters. Rather, more then mere physical death, Jesus undergoes spiritual death, then gives upHis own life. Isaiah 53:5, “by His wound (singular) we are healed.” v.10, “It pleased Yahweh to crush Him”. 1 Pet 2:24 “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wound (molopi-singular) you have been healed.” It does not say, by Jesus going out of existence we are healed, but by the singular appeasement of God’s death blow to Himself (Christ)-the actualizing of innocent lamb’s blood being sprinkled on top of the ark.

  222. on 12 Jun 2008 at 1:21 pmSean

    Cameron,

    I feel like you missed my argument. I have repeatedly said that if Jesus is immortal then he cannot experience death. To experience death is to be mortal (the opposite of immortal). If you define death, as Plato did, as the separation of the soul from the body then this is precisely what Jesus cannot do if he is God (i.e. he is immortal). Immortal beings cannot die. This is a matter of definition.

  223. on 12 Jun 2008 at 1:47 pmCameron

    The problem here is that you have no amount of definitions to even define what it means to have a human nature, let alone for the Logos to become sarx. You are starting and ending with human definitions, rather than coming to conclusions revealed in Scripture. Again, God is immortal, but human natures are not. The Logos is eternal, but sarx is not. Yet, the Logos, or God, took on sarx.

  224. on 12 Jun 2008 at 1:53 pmCameron

    Also, just because I define morality as Aquinas did, that it is relative to given absolutes, does not mean I derive it from him ultimately. Nor with Plato.

  225. on 12 Jun 2008 at 2:27 pmSean

    Cameron,

    God is the one who said he is immortal. This is not human reasoning. The issue comes to a head with the traditional dual natures doctrine (hypostatic union). The doctrine itself is self contradictory and unbiblical. There are no verses that teach this idea. Furthermore, every time the divine and human natures conflict there is a problem. One cannot both immortal and mortal at the same time nor can he be both omniscient and limited in knowledge at the same time. This is the death blow to the much beloved dual natures doctrine.

  226. on 12 Jun 2008 at 2:59 pmCameron

    Sean, I don’t use human reasoning to make the most sense of my nature nor God’s nature, but God’s reasoning because His knowlege is exhaustive and mine is not. If the Logos takes on sarx by way of a virgin birth, then the Logos can put off sarx by way of death. For some reason this is impossible simply because a guy named Sean says so.

  227. on 12 Jun 2008 at 3:47 pmScott

    Cameron,

    Good points. I especially like the point about Jesus raising Himself to life:

    John 2:19-21
    Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days? But he spake of the temple of his body.

    It is also interesting to note that the Bible also teaches that God raised Him from the dead:

    Acts 2:32
    This Jesus hath God raised up….

    Acts 4:10
    Jesus Christ … whom God raised from the dead….

    Acts 13:30
    But God raised him from the dead.

    Colossians 2:12
    Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.

    Does the Bible just contradict itself? How do the unitarians deal with this?

    Cameron,
    Also, you said, “This is no different then arguing, how can Jesus be in a house if He is God since God is omni-present. Again, His human nature can be in a house (as it existed in time, space, and matter as we know it), yet His God nature was eternally outside of time space and matter as we know it holding it all together”

    As another example Brant brought up in the debate (during his rebuttal at about 2.5 minutes into it) that Yahweh Himself is omnipresent yet His followers would have agreed with the statement that He lived in their Temple and not in Marduk’s Temple. Does this mean that He wasn’t God? No- it simply points out that God can at the same both be imminent and transcendent. I have yet to hear a unitarian deal with these points.

    Sean,
    Does the Bible teach that I am immortal? Do I have eternal life (assuming that I know the Father)? Will I some day die despite my immortality (if you agree I possess it)?

  228. on 12 Jun 2008 at 3:58 pmScott

    Sean,
    Can God change His mind (Exodus 32:14, Psalm 106:45) or not (Numbers 23:19)? As Brant challenged you if we lose the Deity of Christ because of the apparent contradictions between His imminent nature and his transcendent nature then how do we not also lose the Deity of Yahweh?

    Mark,
    You said, “And of course there are several instances when Jesus said his Father was greater than he was, he did nothing of his own will but always did the Father’s will, etc.”

    So how do you deal with the Biblical claim that Jesus was equal to God (John 5:18) in light of the statement of inequality that you point out in John 14:28?

  229. on 12 Jun 2008 at 5:45 pmScott

    Not to pile on but I also should note that the Holy Spirit is also said to have raised Christ from the dead:

    “But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.” (Romans 8:11)

    “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit…” (1 Peter 3:18)

    I wonder if my unitarian friends can tell me who is the “ONE” who raised Christ from the dead? It would be good to know who “HE” is. I wonder how many of “HIM” there are?

  230. on 12 Jun 2008 at 7:25 pmPerry Robinson

    On the representational line, I agree that non-divine figures can represent or act in a functional role on deity’s behalf, but why think that this is true of Christ? Paul in Col 1:15ff seems to rule this out.

    Further, if “God” can funcitonal representationally, why think that this is not true of the Father also? At root here is the philosophical issue of whether terms denote an essential/intrinsic or accidential/extrinsic relationship. Why import the notion of an essence into Unitarianism? Where does the Bible explicitlysay God is one “being” “essence” etc where such terms denote an intrinsic relationship?

    It seems to me that the Unitarians here consistently conflate the categories of who-ness with what-ness (person and nature). One being = one person. This depends on and historically is derived from Platonism, since the Platonists didn’t have a concept of personhood.

    This is why the attempt to argue that Christ can’t be deity because opposite properties are attributed to him and this violates the law of contradiction falls flat, for this is true of essences, but persons aren’t essences. Consequently Trinitarianism is anti-platonic, which is why its technical terminology is apophatic, lacking any any philosophical content.

    So I don’t see why Jesus can’t die or be ignorant since the person that is Jesus is not a simple platonic form or essence. Furthermore, it was exactly Chalcedonian teaching that Christologycut against Greek philosophical thinking that took the world to be composed of opposing powers and properties-God and man are not therefore opposites but reconciled in Christ-Cyril and Athanasius before him for example is explicit in saying so for example, following Paul.

    It is true that the OT, ISTM refers to God as one person often, and that one person is Christ since Christ says that the Jews NEVER heard the Father’s voice nor ever saw his form (Jn 5:37) So unitarians ISTM have the option of designating the OT God as Father or Son, but not both.

    As Sean made reference to a comment by Gregory of Nazienzus on the deity of the Spirit being in doubt in the fourth century, this is an error. What Gregory refers to is what is going on in his locale, and not something universally true. See my 80 page refutation of a JW who made the same claim ten or so years ago. http://www.forananswer.org/Mars_Jw/Robinson.Stamp.htm

  231. on 12 Jun 2008 at 10:43 pmCameron

    If one presses the question “how can the immortal die?”, it must equally be asked, “how can the unborn be born?” The same answer is given for both. God is neither born nor can He die. however the sarx (human nature) which He willfully limits Himself to can be born and die. Just as John’s gospel plainly teaches, the Logos became flesh. If the Logos, being God’s very nature, can take on flesh through birth, why can the Logos not also put away such flesh through death? Further, how does the timeless and space-less enter time and space? Again, John’s gospel declares it to be so.

  232. on 12 Jun 2008 at 11:07 pmPerry Robinson

    Sean,

    As to the death of God, what you are proposing is that death and God are opposites so that God cannot be in any contact with or touched by death. This is a very platonic way of looking at things. Scripture though seems to speak as if God is even greater than death, which is the point of Christ’s victory, he goes into it and reconciles even death to God. (Rev 1:18) On your view I can’t see how that is possible.

    Moreover, I think there are plenty of verses that teach two sets of properties that are both true of Christ so I suppose we just disagree. I don’t think the divine and human natures conflict, for this would assume Manicheanism, that human nature is intrinsically evil and opposed to God. Lastly, simply asserting over and over again how two sets of properties can’t be true of the same thing doesn’t prove it. How can Scripture b both human and divine if these two things are opposite. It seems to me that your Unitarianism, isn’t Unitarianism at all, but Binitarianism, that there are two gods. One high God who is so far removed from the world as to be untouched by it and who works through created intermediaries. It just looks like old (platonic) Arianism.

  233. on 12 Jun 2008 at 11:56 pmMark

    Mark,
    You said, “And of course there are several instances when Jesus said his Father was greater than he was, he did nothing of his own will but always did the Father’s will, etc.”

    So how do you deal with the Biblical claim that Jesus was equal to God (John 5:18) in light of the statement of inequality that you point out in John 14:28?

    The Greek word for “equal” in John 5:18 is isos. It does not mean “one and the same.” It means equal like the two angles of an isosceles triangle are equal. It is used elsewhere and translated “agree” and “like” as well as “equal.”

    One verse where it is also translated “equal” is Matt. 20:12, speaking of the hired laborers who complain that the ones hired late in the day got the same pay. “…These last have wrought but one hour, and thou hast made them equal (isos) unto us, which have borne the burden and heat of the day.” They were complaining that the men who didn’t work as long were made “like” them in terms of what they were paid. This doesn’t mean they were identical, certainly, and it doesn’t mean they were alike in every detail. The word is to be understood in light of the context.

    When it says that Jesus “called God his Father, making himself equal with God,” they did not think he was claiming to be God, because such a claim would have been dismissed as being nonsense. They knew he claimed to be the Son of God, a title for the Messiah, making himself like God, or on a par with God as His representative. They knew that this was a possibility, yet they considered it blasphemy for him to make that claim, since they didn’t believe he was the Messiah. Yet the very next verses clearly define the relationship the Son has with the Father.

    John 5:
    19 Therefore Jesus answered and was saying to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner.
    20 “For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself is doing; and the Father will show Him greater works than these, so that you will marvel.
    21 “For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son also gives life to whom He wishes.
    22 “For not even the Father judges anyone, but He has given all judgment to the Son,
    23 so that all will honor the Son even as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him.”

    One God, the Father. One Son, Jesus Christ. The Father gives his Son authority. It’s so simple. I for one am glad our salvation doesn’t depend on trying to understand all that complex Greek philosophical mumbo-jumbo.

  234. on 13 Jun 2008 at 12:50 amPerry Robinson

    Mark,

    While it is true that isos does not necessarily carry the semantic content of ontological identity, that isn’t a reason for thinking that in John 5 it doesn’t. You’d need to give not just other usages in other contexts but semantical and synatical reasons for thinking that it doesn’t in John 5, which you didn’t do.

    Furthermore, you seem to contradict yourself when write that isos can mean “agree” and “like” and then you say “as well as equal.” I thought your argument was that it doesn’t mean equal. If it can mean equal, then what is the reason for thinking that in Jn 5 it doesn’t mean that but only like or similar?

    Matt 20:12 is irrelevant since the context is an extrinsic relation, that of monetary value. The question is, is Jesus talking about an extrinsic relation to the Father, like that of one agent being willed into existence by the other, or a relationship much closer in Jn 5? It is akin to the ancient philosophical outlook of the distinguishing of different signs. Heat was always associated with fire but so was dryness, but dryness could be associated with other things and so it was not essential or necessarily associated with fire and therefore only “like” fire. Heat was a reliable sign of fire but dryness is not. Does Jesus reveal God or just what God is like and other people could just as easily be “like” God or not? (This is why your view entails the view that Jesus could have sinned.)

    John 14, Jesus says that the Father is greater, but he doesn’t say that the Father is better since the former denotes status and the latter denotes quality. The Father is greater since the Father is the source, (arche) of the Son who is begotten prior to creation (Jn 17) and is therefore “of” the Father (Eph 1:17) and the Spirit who proceeds from the Father (Jn 15:26), also prior to creation. This is perfectly consistent with Trinitarian theology and strongly implies that the Son and the Spirit aren’t temporal agents but share the divine glory (Jn 17:5)

    Furthermore, in Jn 5 it seems that the implication is that Jesus has authority over the Law which is what pissess off the Jewish leadership since in their mind created agents can’t have such power. Humans can’t alter the Law. That is the point of the preceeding passage, a unity of activity implies a unity of existence. This is why the “working” is active and not past tense.

    If the surrounding people did not understand Jesus to be claiming ontological equality with God, please show us what they thought from the text, because the text doesn’t say what you claim. If Jesus was a created human like them, then calling God his Father would not be a big deal, which directly implies that there is more in Jesus’ claim than they were prepared to accept for any human agent. This is the whole point on identifying the activity and power of Jesus with and derived from and continuously coming from the Father. The relation is direct and not instrumental. If they thought that he was not Messiah, his claim would not have been of itself blasphemous, just wrong, as they had lots of false Messianic candidates.

    I also notice that you leave out v. 26. “For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself”

    If the Father by virtue of being God has this property, then it is a property and not a role or function that the Son has also, and this implies that the activity isn’t a mere conjoining of performances but a unity of being. Jesus’ activity isn’t contiguous with the Father’s, it is one and the same with it. Otherwise there would be two sources of life. This is why worship/honor given to the Father is also given to the Son, which would be blasphemy if the Son were only creature. Revelation forbids honoring angels the same way we honor God for example. Jesus simply denotes the Father as the source and this doesn’t imply an extrinsic relationship as you seem to want to imply, but in fact its opposite.

    I notice that you don’t say “One Lord.” And this is because the NT writers use Kurios (lord) as a substitute for Yaweh, clearly identifying Jesus with Yaweh in say Philip 2 for example. One God and one Lord, that seems quite Trinitarian.

    You lament Greek philosophy, but as I pointed out above, your view actually depends on Greek philosophy, whereas Trinitarianism doesn’t. Greek philosophy can’t distinguish between person and nature since it doesn’t have a concept of personhood. (This is why Unitarians are platonic since person=being in their thinking. You can see this in the historical literature for example in Dixion’s work on post Reformation Unitarianism in, “Nice Hot Disputes”) And this was the source of terminological confusion during the Sabellian and Arian controversies. The Nicene’s were actually reforming and stripping Greek philosophical terms of their dialectical content and this is why at Nicea the Arians had Greek philosophers testify in their own defense. It is just the case that you are influenced by philosophical systems of which you are unaware.

    I’d just ask you to consider someone like Ignatius of Antioch. The guy is personally ordained bishop of Antioch by the Apostles Peter and Paul, and dies a martyrs death in Rome in 107 A.D. Now, if you read him, he is quite Trinitarian. And there isn’t any Greek speculative apparatus in his writings either. Which is more probable that 17th century Unitarians are correct in their reading of the bible or someone like Ignatius?

  235. on 13 Jun 2008 at 1:16 amPerry Robinson

    Sean, you wrote

    “Thus, on trinitarianism, the only thing that dies is human nature–this is not at all costly. However, on unitarianism, Jesus really died–all of him. Part of him did not continue living in some mysterious undead manner. Since Jesus was a human being his death–the death of someone who was divinely begotten, sinless, and voluntarily representative of the human race–was extremely valuable.”

    Actually this doesn’t follow and isn’t historic Trinitarian teaching. The Fathers, say John Chrysostom, Cyril, Maximus, et al, teach that the divine person experiences a human death in that he actively lays hold of death. It is like Neo in the Matrix, he goes into Smith to defeat him from the inside out. So historically it is false to say that on Trinitarianism, only the human nature dies, since natures don’t DO anything, persons do. And it is costly, for while he is a divine person, he contends with human weakenesses, which is how he can be tempted, human nature is disposed away from death which is why he has genuine human fear of death in his passion. On the contrary, if Jesus is a human representative, that is hardly costly to God. God could just as easily pick any representative he liked, especially given the fact that God can impute moral standing and value irrespective of actual standing.

    Furthermore, taking Chrysostom as an example, Christ’s death not only transforms death by uniting it to himself and thereby stripping the devil of his weapon (jn 8:44, heb 2:14ff, Rev 1:18) but his death involves real suffering. The point of the death of Christ is that if the devil can sever the union in Christ between humanity and divinity, God’s will, will be frustrated and thus the devil by doing so will have shown himself via death more powerful than God. But Jesus via his divine power by virtue of being a divine person, while his soul and body are divided from each other in death are never divided from his divine person. Consequently the power of death is overcome so that all die now, will be raised in Christ, both the wicked and just. (1 Cor 15:21-22, 2 Pet 2:1, 1 Tim 4:10) This is the Christus Victor view of the atonement, which is the earliest view of the atonement which held sway for the first thousand years of Christianity and is still maintained by the Orthodox.
    Death in the bible doesn’t imply unconciousness as for example in Rev 6:9ff the dead saints under the altar cry out to God, and they aren’t sleep walkers either. Cooper’s, Body, Soul and Life Everlasting, is helpful in this regard.

  236. on 13 Jun 2008 at 1:26 amPerry Robinson

    Fortigurn,
    In #150 you listed a number of views not opposed by Trinitarianism to imply that Trinitarianism came later and they came earlier. Here I think you are mistaken.

    Docetism didn’t deny the divinity of Christ, but his humanity and the Ebionites were Adoptionists, which did affirm Jesus’ divinity, they thought it just came later in his life. Both were opposed by Trinitarians like Ignatius of Antioch (107d.)

    Ireneaus for example was a Trinitarian who opposed Gnosticism.
    As for Binitarianism, I haven’t the foggiest who you think this was.

    And Sabellianism was opposed by a number of Trinitarians, not the least of which was Tertullian and a few bishops of Rome. And just FYI, Sabellianism is Modalism.

    And Alexander of Alexandria was quite Trinitarian and was the first opponent of Arianism as he was Arius’ chief bishop who censured him.

  237. on 13 Jun 2008 at 2:04 amFortigurn

    Scott,

    Neither passage you gave says that the Holy Spirit raised Christ, nor does either passage personalize the Holy Spirit.

    Romans 8:11 speaks of the Spirit OF Him who raised Jesus from the dead, identifying the Spirit as POSSESSED by the one who raised Jesus from the dead.

    1 Peter 3:18 says Christ was made alive by the Spirit. Well, we agree! Christ was made alive by the Spirit, the Spirit OF GOD, not ‘The Spirit WHO IS GOD’.

  238. on 13 Jun 2008 at 2:08 amFortigurn

    Cameron,

    ‘Fortigurn, I say “amen” to the passages you quoted in Hebrews. As a Trinitarian I fully believe what you believe, in that Jesus was fully human, but I also believe more than that, that He was fully God by virtue of claiming to be God and the Messiah.’

    But the problem is Cameron that’s not actually what passages from Hebrews say. They say that in order to effect the atonement, Christ had to be a human being, and not only that but a human being identical to those he came to save.

    You don’t believe the atonement was predicated on Jesus being a human being like those he came to save (you believe it was predicated on him being God), you don’t believe Jesus was a human being (you believe he is the ‘God-man’), and you certainly don’t believe that he was a human being identical to those he came to save (you don’t believe he could be tempted or sin as we can).

    So in fact you don’t agree with what these passages from Hebrews say.

  239. on 13 Jun 2008 at 2:13 amMark

    Mark,

    While it is true that isos does not necessarily carry the semantic content of ontological identity, that isn’t a reason for thinking that in John 5 it doesn’t. You’d need to give not just other usages in other contexts but semantical and synatical reasons for thinking that it doesn’t in John 5, which you didn’t do.

    The whole context of John 5 is what tells me that isos does not imply ontological identity. The verse started off saying he called God his Father. It didn’t say he claimed to be God. The verses following all talk about the relationship between the Father and the Son. The context defines the meaning.

    Furthermore, you seem to contradict yourself when write that isos can mean “agree” and “like” and then you say “as well as equal.” I thought your argument was that it doesn’t mean equal. If it can mean equal, then what is the reason for thinking that in Jn 5 it doesn’t mean that but only like or similar?

    What I said was, it is translated as “agree” and “like” as well as “equal.” And where it is translated “equal” it does not mean “ontological identity.”

    Matt 20:12 is irrelevant since the context is an extrinsic relation, that of monetary value. The question is, is Jesus talking about an extrinsic relation to the Father, like that of one agent being willed into existence by the other, or a relationship much closer in Jn 5?

    He is talking about exactly what he said. God is his Father. He is God’s son. He does what the Father tells him to do. Why make it more complicated?

    It is akin to the ancient philosophical outlook of the distinguishing of different signs. Heat was always associated with fire but so was dryness, but dryness could be associated with other things and so it was not essential or necessarily associated with fire and therefore only “like” fire. Heat was a reliable sign of fire but dryness is not. Does Jesus reveal God or just what God is like and other people could just as easily be “like” God or not? (This is why your view entails the view that Jesus could have sinned.)

    Jesus reveals God, and what God is like. He can do both as God’s son.

    John 14, Jesus says that the Father is greater, but he doesn’t say that the Father is better since the former denotes status and the latter denotes quality. The Father is greater since the Father is the source, (arche) of the Son who is begotten prior to creation (Jn 17) and is therefore “of” the Father (Eph 1:17) and the Spirit who proceeds from the Father (Jn 15:26), also prior to creation. This is perfectly consistent with Trinitarian theology and strongly implies that the Son and the Spirit aren’t temporal agents but share the divine glory (Jn 17:5)

    Yes, the Father is greater, denoting status. He is the source of the Son (I would argue about being begotten “prior to creation” but that’s another issue). I didn’t say the Son was a “temporal” agent. I am not sure what that would mean or imply. All I said was that Jesus was the whole reason for creation, and the center of God’s plan. That is why he had glory with God before creation. That doesn’t make him God any more than God’s choosing us before the foundation of the world (Eph. 1:4) makes us God.

    Furthermore, in Jn 5 it seems that the implication is that Jesus has authority over the Law which is what pissess off the Jewish leadership since in their mind created agents can’t have such power. Humans can’t alter the Law. That is the point of the preceeding passage, a unity of activity implies a unity of existence. This is why the “working” is active and not past tense.

    Where does it say that “a unity of activity implies a unity of existence?” A unity of activity implies obedience, and one person always doing the will of the other.

    If the surrounding people did not understand Jesus to be claiming ontological equality with God, please show us what they thought from the text, because the text doesn’t say what you claim.

    He did not claim “ontological identity” with God anywhere in the book! He said “My Father is working until now, and I Myself am working” (that’s two!) and they “were seeking all the more to kill Him, because he…was calling God His own Father, making Himself equal with God.” They knew what the words “Father” and “Son” meant, especially with regard to the promised Messiah. The “Son of God” was one of the things the Messiah was described as in the Hebrew Scriptures. “God the Son” or “God in the flesh” was not.

    If Jesus was a created human like them, then calling God his Father would not be a big deal, which directly implies that there is more in Jesus’ claim than they were prepared to accept for any human agent. This is the whole point on identifying the activity and power of Jesus with and derived from and continuously coming from the Father. The relation is direct and not instrumental. If they thought that he was not Messiah, his claim would not have been of itself blasphemous, just wrong, as they had lots of false Messianic candidates.

    He was not a created human like them. Calling God his Father, as I said, was part of his claim to be the Messiah. I’m not sure what you mean by “The relation is direct and not instrumental.” He was “directly” God’s son, and was empowered by God to do the things he did. I don’t want to quibble about whether they claimed it to be “blasphemous.” I probably shouldn’t have used that word, as it is not in the context of John 5. It simply says, ” the Jews were seeking all the more to kill Him.”

    I also notice that you leave out v. 26. “For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself”

    If the Father by virtue of being God has this property, then it is a property and not a role or function that the Son has also, and this implies that the activity isn’t a mere conjoining of performances but a unity of being.

    I’m not sure what you mean by “conjoining of performances.” It’s simple. The Father gave life to the Son, and he has given him authority to judge, because he is the Son of Man. (v. 27). What part of that is difficult?

    Jesus’ activity isn’t contiguous with the Father’s, it is one and the same with it. Otherwise there would be two sources of life.

    Jesus said, “I can do nothing on My own initiative. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is just, because I do not seek My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.” I find this much easier to understand than the convoluted terminology that is necessary to explain the Trinity.

    This is why worship/honor given to the Father is also given to the Son, which would be blasphemy if the Son were only creature. Revelation forbids honoring angels the same way we honor God for example. Jesus simply denotes the Father as the source and this doesn’t imply an extrinsic relationship as you seem to want to imply, but in fact its opposite.

    Sean did a good paper on whether or not Jesus should be worshipped. He has a link to it above.

    I notice that you don’t say “One Lord.” And this is because the NT writers use Kurios (lord) as a substitute for Yaweh, clearly identifying Jesus with Yaweh in say Philip 2 for example. One God and one Lord, that seems quite Trinitarian.

    The wordkurios is not used exclusively as a substitute for YHVH. Look at Matt. 18:25, to name but one. Both Jesus and God are called Lord, but so are other people. It must be considered in the context. And Phil. 2:11 says “that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” That’s because it was and is God’s plan.

    You lament Greek philosophy, but as I pointed out above, your view actually depends on Greek philosophy, whereas Trinitarianism doesn’t. Greek philosophy can’t distinguish between person and nature since it doesn’t have a concept of personhood. (This is why Unitarians are platonic since person=being in their thinking. You can see this in the historical literature for example in Dixion’s work on post Reformation Unitarianism in, “Nice Hot Disputes”) And this was the source of terminological confusion during the Sabellian and Arian controversies. The Nicene’s were actually reforming and stripping Greek philosophical terms of their dialectical content and this is why at Nicea the Arians had Greek philosophers testify in their own defense. It is just the case that you are influenced by philosophical systems of which you are unaware.

    My view depends on Hebrew thinking, not Greek. The Hebrews did not make a distinction between person and being. And they never gave any other meaning to the word “one” in the Shema.

    I’d just ask you to consider someone like Ignatius of Antioch. The guy is personally ordained bishop of Antioch by the Apostles Peter and Paul, and dies a martyrs death in Rome in 107 A.D. Now, if you read him, he is quite Trinitarian. And there isn’t any Greek speculative apparatus in his writings either.

    Thanks, but I’d rather stick with Jesus and Paul.

    Which is more probable that 17th century Unitarians are correct in their reading of the bible or someone like Ignatius?

    We’re not talking about 17th century Unitarians. We’re talking about 1st century unitarians: Jesus, Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Peter, Paul, etc. Once again I challenge you (I feel like a broken record here) show me FROM THE SCRIPTURES anywhere that the word “one” means “one consisting of three.” Show me anywhere IN THE SCRIPTURES that Jesus had two natures, “fully God and fully man.” Show me anywhere IN THE SCRIPTURES where Jesus is called “God the Son.”

  240. on 13 Jun 2008 at 2:13 amFortigurn

    Scott,

    ‘So when Jesus told the dying thief on the cross that he would be with Him in paradise that day was what did he mean? Is paradise a synonym for unconciousness?’

    It’s a synonym for the Kingdom of God. Note that the thief asked Jesus to ‘REMEMBER ME WHEN YOU COME IN YOUR KINGDOM’. It’s clear that the thief had no illusions about being wafted off to the Spirit In The Sky.

  241. on 13 Jun 2008 at 2:16 amFortigurn

    Cameron,

    ‘Remember, as the Second Adam, Jesus’ human nature is to die as a substitute, not His God nature.’

    Well hey, I could have died then and saved you all. Jesus wasn’t necessary.

  242. on 13 Jun 2008 at 2:30 amFortigurn

    Scott,

    ‘It is also interesting to note that the Bible also teaches that God raised Him from the dead:’

    No Scott, it’s interesting to note that the Bible ONLY teaches that God raised Jesus from the dead, distinguishes God from Jesus, and further identifies the God who raised Jesus from the dead as one person, the Father:

    * Acts 2:24
    Whom GOD raised up

    * Acts 2:32
    This Jesus has been raised up BY GOD

    * Acts 3:15
    whom GOD has raised from the dead

    * Acts 3:26
    To you first GOD having raised up HIS SON JESUS

    * Acts 4:10
    Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom GOD raised from the dead

    * Acts 5:30
    The GOD OF OUR FATHERS raised up Jesus

    * Acts 10:40
    Him GOD raised up

    * Acts 13:30
    But GOD raised him up from the dead

    * Acts 13:33
    GOD has fulfilled this unto us their children, in that HE has raised up Jesus again

    * Acts 13:34
    HE [context indicates God] raised him up from the dead

    * Acts 13:37
    But he, whom GOD raised again

    * Romans 4:24
    HIM [context indicates God] that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead

    * Romans 6:4
    Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of THE FATHER

    * Romans 10:9
    GOD has raised him from the dead

    * I Corinthians 6:14
    GOD has raised up the Lord

    * Galatians 1:1
    GOD, THE FATHER, who raised him from the dead

    * Colossians 2:12
    GOD, who has raised him from the dead

    Not once did they say Christ raised himself. For the apostles, ‘God’ meant ‘the Father’, not Jesus.

  243. on 13 Jun 2008 at 2:36 amFortigurn

    Perry,

    ‘On the representational line, I agree that non-divine figures can represent or act in a functional role on deity’s behalf, but why think that this is true of Christ? Paul in Col 1:15ff seems to rule this out.’

    We think this is true of Christ, because it is taught repeatedly by the apostles. Is Jesus is described as an agent of God? Is he described as sent by God? Is God described as doing things in, by, or through Christ, the language of agency?

    The apostles taught explicitly that Christ is the agent by which God saves and judges (in, by, through):

    * Acts 10:42, ‘he is the one appointed by God as judge of the living and the dead’

    * Acts 17:32, ‘he [God] has set a day on which he is going to judge the world in righteousness, BY A MAN WHOM HE DESIGNATED whom he designated’

    * Romans 6:23 ‘the gift of God is eternal life IN Christ Jesus’

    * Titus 3:5-6 ‘renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He [God] poured out on us in full measure IN Jesus Christ our Savior’

    * Galatians 3:15 ‘IN Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham would come to the Gentiles’

    * Hebrews 13:20-21 ‘God… working in us what is pleasing before him THROUGH Jesus Christ’)

    * Hebrews 10:10 ‘we have been made holy [‘sanctified’] THROUGH the offering of the body of Jesus’

    An agent is subordinate to the one for whom he acts, and by whom he is sent. We find this subordination described clearly by Scripture:

    * John 14:28 ‘My Father is greater than I’

    * Acts 3:13, ‘his [God’s] servant Jesus’

    * Acts 3:26, ‘God raised up his servant’

    * Acts 4:27, 30 ‘your [God’s] holy servant Jesus’

    * Acts 4:30 ‘your [God’s] holy servant Jesus’

    An agent receives power and authority from one who is greater than he:

    * Matthew 9:6, ‘When the crowd saw this, [Jesus healing] they were afraid and honored God who had given such authority to men’

    * Matthew 28:18, ‘Jesus came up and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth HAS BEEN GIVEN TO ME”‘

    * John 5:19, ‘the Son can do NOTHING FROM HIMSELF’

    * John 5:22, ‘[God] HAS ASSIGNED all judgment to the Son’

    * John 5:26, ‘For just as the Father has life in himself, thus HE HAS GRANTED the Son to have life in himself’

    * John 5:27, ‘he [God] HAS GRANTED THE SON AUTHORITY to execute judgment, because he is the Son of Man’

    * John 5:30, ‘I can do nothing OF MYSELF’

    * John 17:2, ‘you [God] HAVE GIVEN HIM AUTHORITY over all humanity’

    * Acts 10:42, ‘he is the one APPOINTED BY GOD as judge of the living and the dead’

    * Acts 17:32, ‘he [God] has set a day on which he is going to judge the world in righteousness, BY A MAN WHO HE HAS DESIGNATED’

    Note that time and time again ‘God’ and ‘Jesus’ are differentiated from each other. Not ‘God the Father’ and ‘God the Son’, not even ‘God the Father’ and ‘Jesus’, but ‘God’ and Jesus’.

    According to the repeated teachings of these verses, God is one person, and a person who is not Jesus.

  244. on 13 Jun 2008 at 2:48 amFortigurn

    Perry,

    ‘In #150 you listed a number of views not opposed by Trinitarianism to imply that Trinitarianism came later and they came earlier. Here I think you are mistaken.

    Docetism didn’t deny the divinity of Christ, but his humanity and the Ebionites were Adoptionists, which did affirm Jesus’ divinity, they thought it just came later in his life. Both were opposed by Trinitarians like Ignatius of Antioch (107d.)’

    You’re missing my point Perry. My point was that if the trinity was known and believed from the 1st century onwards, why wasn’t it invoked to correct all these heresies? You can find men writing against these heresies, but you won’t find men invoking the trinity to do so until very late.

    By the way, Ignatius was not a trinitarian, and you would do well to be aware of how his letters were interpolated (and even forged), by later trinitarians attempting to make it look as if he was one. The original letters of Ignatius are of no use to the trinitarian.

    ‘Ireneaus for example was a Trinitarian who opposed Gnosticism.’

    Surely you’re not going to claim Irenaeus was a trinitarian? What evidence do you have? And don’t say it was because he believed Jesus was God or divine. That’s not the trinity.

    ‘As for Binitarianism, I haven’t the foggiest who you think this was.’

    The history of Binitarianism is very well documented. Justin Martyr was an early Binitarian for example. This view wasn’t held by only one individual, and nor does it seem to have originated from one individual.

    ‘And Sabellianism was opposed by a number of Trinitarians, not the least of which was Tertullian and a few bishops of Rome.’

    Perry, you’re confusing trinitarians opposing these heresies with the trinity being invoked to oppose them. I’m talking about the latter. You’re just mentioning the names of those who opposed them and claiming that they were trinitarians. Whether they were or not isn’t the issue under discussion (though no names you’ve mentioned yet were trinitarians), the issue is whether or not the trinity was invoked to correct them.

    FYI Sabellianism was not originally Modalism, it was originally Dynamic Monarchianism. The change to Modalism came later.

    ‘And Alexander of Alexandria was quite Trinitarian and was the first opponent of Arianism as he was Arius’ chief bishop who censured him.’

    No surprise, we’re into the 4th century by now.

    Look at the creeds. See the gradual development and change of doctrine from the ‘Apostles’ Creed’ to the Nicene, then the radical change from the Nicene to the Athanasian. The changes are undeniable, and standard trinitarian theologians acknowledge them.

    The doctrine of the trinity was not taught from the 1st century onwards. It was the product of considerable doctrinal drift from the 2nd century to the 5th.

  245. on 13 Jun 2008 at 2:54 amFortigurn

    Perry,

    ‘As to the death of God, what you are proposing is that death and God are opposites so that God cannot be in any contact with or touched by death.’

    No Sean is not saying that. He is simply repeating the plain truth of Scripture, that God is immortal and that which is immortal cannot die. Simple. No fuss, no metaphysics, no Platonism, no Gnosticism, nothing. Just the facts.

    And you acknowledge the facts when you say that ONLY THE HUMAN NATURE of Jesus died. So God didn’t die. The most you can bring yourselves to say is that God somehow experienced death in an inexplicable way. Of course the Bible never says that God experienced death in any way at all.

  246. on 13 Jun 2008 at 2:56 amFortigurn

    Cameron,

    ‘If one presses the question “how can the immortal die?”, it must equally be asked, “how can the unborn be born?” The same answer is given for both.’

    That’s exactly correct. The answer is ‘It can’t happen’.

  247. on 13 Jun 2008 at 3:20 amFortigurn

    Perry,

    ‘So historically it is false to say that on Trinitarianism, only the human nature dies, since natures don’t DO anything, persons do.’

    Well this is the thing Perry, trinitarians want to have it both ways when it comes to the two natures. You want to treat them as natures one moment, and persons another moment (classic Nestorianism, as the Lutherans themselves note).

    Apparently Jesus’ human nature could grow weak, learn, grow, be tired, be tempted, and die (this, according to common trinitarian teaching).

    Apparently Jesus could even pray ‘from his human nature’ (whatever that means), and his human nature could be ignorant of facts of which his omniscient divine nature was fully cognisant (!).

    As a matter of fact, dying is not an action carried out by a nature, it’s what happens to a nature. So yes, as many trinitarians have said, only the human nature of Jesus died according to the standard trinitarian explanation of the atonement.

    Of course you would have a lot less problems if you disengaged 5th century trinitarian doctrine from 11th century penal substitution. Just a suggestion.

  248. on 13 Jun 2008 at 5:26 ammanuel culwell

    Wholfgang, where are you ? Why not answer to the passges and what I have presented, it shows the so called biblical unitarain actually ignoring passages, much as the trinitarains do, to vacuum Isolate passages, simply to force and unscriptual one sided doctrine.

    John 3:34 God giveth not the spirit by measure unto him(to take anything away is measuring) Christians do not recieve the Spirit hithout measure(Eph. 4:7)

    Matth. 28:18 All power in heaven and earth is given unto me.

    1st. Cor. 15:45 The last (Man) Adam was made the quickening spirit.

    Acts 2:36 This same jesus whom ye have crucified was made both Lord and christ.

    You keep submitting a passage from John 17:3 that focuses in on one area, a great truth that iIuse myself on the trinitarains. you are being dishonest your whole doctrine is based on vacuum isolation dishonesty and How a Oneness person could fall for it there surely be as much defect with that person as there is with your faulty doctrine .

  249. on 13 Jun 2008 at 7:15 amSal

    Manuel…………..

    you used Matthew 28.18 and Acts 2.36

    First of all, for Jesus to say that all power has been “given” to me, is clearly him saying that he is not equal to God. My God, never had to have power given to him, he always had it.

    Jesus “who was crucified was made both lord and Christ” also does not support trinitarian theology. “lord” does not mean the LORD from the old testament, its simply putting Jesus above us; he is our lord and master, Sarah called Abraham “lord” but surely she didn’t think he was God. And clearly the meaning of “christ” is not understood if one thinks that, that has something with him being a God. The unique role of the Christ was come into Jerusalem and take over and reign on behalf of God. “And he will rule in the strength of the LORD his God.” Micah 5.4 is part of a messianic prophecy and clearly this messiah would rule in the strength of HIS GOD. He has a God to, just like you and me!

  250. on 13 Jun 2008 at 7:28 amSal

    “You keep submitting a passage from John 17:3 that focuses in on one area, a great truth that iIuse myself on the trinitarains. you are being dishonest your whole doctrine is based on vacuum isolation dishonesty and How a Oneness person could fall for it there surely be as much defect with that person as there is with your faulty doctrine”

    I also disagree with you there. John 17.3 is a superb verse that captures in essence the theology of Jesus. (In case you didn’t catch it – ‘This is eternal life, that they may you (talking to the father see verse 1), the only true God AND Jesus Christ whom you have sent’). I know the only way to combat that is to throw around insults and such. And lets face it, that totally hypocritical for you to say that, we have passages in a plethora of places that say “one God” how many Original verses do you have that say talk about God being three in one? Before you start calling it a faulty doctrine, let’s return to the truth of scripture.

    Jesus agreed with the Jewish scribes (also, in case you didn’t know they were monotheists) In mark 12 the scribe says, “Teacher, what is the foremost commandment of all?” Jesus replies “The foremost is Hear O Israel, the LORD is our God, the LORD is One.”

    There are many verses that make a distinction between God and Jesus;

    1 timothy 2.5 “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, The MAN Christ Jesus.”

  251. on 13 Jun 2008 at 7:31 amSal

    Manuel, I apologize

    I now just realized that you weren’t arguing the trinitarian view point. Are you arguing the Binity? Modal ism? If so, the same principal applies.

  252. on 13 Jun 2008 at 9:46 amSean

    Manuel,

    you said to Wolfgang
    you are being dishonest your whole doctrine is based on vacuum isolation dishonesty and How a Oneness person could fall for it there surely be as much defect with that person as there is with your faulty doctrine .

    Please keep your communication focused on the argument at hand. Accusing Wolfgang, a life long Christian servant, of being dishonest because he interprets Scripture different than you is inappropriate. Please tone down your caustic remarks. I’m all for arguing forcefully but there is a line and once it’s crossed we cease to be a witness to Christ and instead defame him by our rudeness.

  253. on 13 Jun 2008 at 10:06 amPerry Robinson

    Mark,

    Asserting that the entire context of Mark 5 tells you that isos doesn’t imply ontological identity isn’t an argument showing that it is so. You have yet to give a reason for why it doesn’t. As I noted simply noting how a word is used in other contexts doesn’t tell us how it is used in this context. That is fallacious.

    I agree that the passage indicates Jesus calling God his Father, but that could be seen as claiming to be God. There isn’t anything in the language that rules that out per se, at least not that I can see. So you need to argue, rather than assume that the surface grammar means what you claim that it does. I gave an argument from the text as to why it means what I think it does. The relation between the Son and the Father seems there to be direct, rather than instrumental, which is why the Son has “life in himself” just as the Father does. How does the Father have life “in himself?” As God. Moreover, the dispute turns on Jesus’ relation to the Law. Could any of the prophets alter or loose the Law’s requirement? Or is that the prerogative of the Lawgiver alone?

    To reiterate my point that context defines meaning is just to capitulate that your citations of other usages is fallacious or at best irrelevant.

    If it is translated as, doesn’t the translation aim to capture its semantic content? So if it is translated as “equal” why else translate it that way unless one thought it meant equal? Moreover, your argument was that it doesn’t necessarily mean ontological identity, but not that it did not based on other usages mean that. You need to show that it doesn’t mean that and examples from other contexts are inadequate to do so. Again, there is no argument here showing that it can’t mean and doesn’t in fact mean ontological identity.

    I agree that Jesus is talking about what he said as God as Father and He is the Son, but that leaves untouched the nature of the Father/Son relationship. Is it an extrinsic or an intrinsic one? Jn 5 seems to imply the latter and not the kind of accidental relationship in say Matt 20:12. I am not making it more complicated, but rather asking you to support your claim that the relationship is an extrinsic one like the one in Matt 20.

    How can Jesus reveal God if he is not God? How then is Jesus superior to the angels and the prophets, (Heb 1)? Jesus as a creature would only know God’s behavior, which may not guarantee knowledge of God. Knowing the behavior of an actor doesn’t imply knowing the actor. At best on your view Jesus sees through dark glass like the rest of us since given the Psalms, God is enshrined in darkness.

    As to being prior to creation, the Son seems very clearly to say that he pre-existed with the Father prior to the incarnation. John 17:5 “And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.”

    How can the Son have glory with the Father prior to the creation of the world if he didn’t exist? To say that the Son is a temporal agent would be to say that the Son is a created being and isn’t that what you are claiming? If Jesus is the center of God’s plan that doesn’t imply that he HAD, possessed the divine glory since he didn’t exist. Non-existing things have nothing for the very simple reason that they don’t exist. Moreover, since God shares his glory with Jesus, how does that fit in your view with Is 48:11? Furthermore, I don’t see why yourview wouldn’t imply that anything else that was part of God’s plan would “have” glory prior to creation as well, which seems a little absurd on its face. God’s predestinating activity in Eph 1:4 doesn’t say we had glory with God prior to our existence, but only says that God has plans with respect to potential, yet unactual agents. Jn 17 though says Jesus was not part of the plan of God, but that he actually had the glory, so this is a false analogy.
    The text doesn’t say that a unity of activity implies a unity of existence. My claim was that this was a common belief between Jews and non-Jews at the time and that this helps to understand why there is a problem for Jesus’ hearers. One activity, one power, one existence is a very common implication in the ancient world, even in the Bible at places. Again, how can a human have authority over the Law?

    Simply asserting that he didn’t claim ontological identity isn’t anywhere in the book isn’t a demonstration that it is so. When you write “He said “My Father is working until now, and I Myself am working” (that’s two!)” I don’t disagree that it is two agents or persons, but the question is, does it denote two different powers (human and divine) or one divine power? How does Jesus have this power, this life, “in himself” as the Father has it “in himself” if the Father has it by virtue of being God? That seems to directly imply that the Son is deity. Can any prophet have life in himself? If God can’t die, can any human have intrinsic divine properties since by definition, humans can’t have life in themselves by virtue of being contingent and created agents. If Jesus can’t be God because by definition, God can’t die as Sean argues, then Jesus can’t have life in himself since that by definition is a property of God.

    If his hearers knew what the words Father and Son meant especially in regard to the promised Messiah, why did they not seem to understand Messiah and make so many mistakes? It was exactly their claim to “see” and understand that rendered them blameworthy. “Seeing” they were blind.

    “Jesus said unto them, If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth.” Jn 9:41
    “God the Son” is a technical term that carries with it a formal definition. The Bible gives no formal definitions and doesn’t use technical theological terminology so noting that the term isn’t present is irrelevant since the Bible doesn’t give a formal definition of what constitutes “Son of God” either. The Jews had different ideas as to what “Son of God” meant, so appealing to what they “knew” or what was described is fallacious since they took those descriptions to mean lots of different things.

    If Jesus was not a created human like them, in what way is this not so? Could he have sinned? Did he exist prior to the virgin’s womb? Sean doesn’t think so, but perhaps you do? If Jesus is created, then the relation between God and Jesus is indirect, mediate and instrumental since there is a relation of will between them and God uses Jesus to achieve purposes.

    And the blasphemy charge is hardly quibbling. For what could someone be accused of blasphemy? For what could you execute someone for regarding blasphemy under the Law? Did that include making a false, even if sincere claim to be Messiah? I don’t think so. While John 5 doesn’t use the term, John 10 does and it isn’t for mere Messianic authorship. Did the Jews understand what he meant there too?

    If the Father’s giving life to the Son is contingent property, then it is also a contingent property in the Father, which means that the Father might fail to exist. The text does not say, as you write, “The Father gave life to the Son”, but rather that the Father gave to the Son to have life in himself, just as the Father does. What does it mean to have life “in himself” with respect to the Father? Because whatever it means, it means the same thing with respect to Jesus. Does having life in himself mean that Jesus was simply made to live? If so, then the Father was also made to live, which is absurd.
    As for conjoining performances, the point was that Jn 5 doesn’t seem to indicate just two agents working side by side, but that there is one power and not two powers.

    I agree that the Father is the source of the Son and that the Son does nothing apart from the Father, but that doesn’t imply two powers of life, which is why Jesus has life in himself, just as the Father does, implying one power of life and not two. What you find easier to understand isn’t necessarily a hallmark of truth. People find Newtonian physics easier to understand, but it is falsified by Quantum Mechanics. Does the sophistication and the inability of most to understand it of the latter imply it is false? No. Perhaps rather than convoluted terminology, you are simply confused by clear thinking and conceptual precision-as a teacher of logic, most people are.

    Sean’s paper on worship is irrelevant unless you can cite something specific that explains how we can honor the Father by worship but also not honor the Son by worship when the Son says to honor him just as we honor the Father.

    It is true that kurios is not exclusively used as a substitute for Yaweh, but that is irrelevant. The question is when is it so used and if it is so used. If it is used of Jesus, then the NT identifies Jesus as Yaweh, which it does in Philipp 2 as well as 1 Cor 8. Following the Shema, there is only ONE Lord, otherwhise you violate the Shema saying that the Father is one Lord and Jesus is another Lord, so who is Lord?

    Actually I already demonstrated how your view depends on Greek philosophy. I am quite familiar with it as I teach it every semester. Furthermore, as James Barr pointed out a century ago, there is no monolithic idea of Hebrew thinking. Added to this is the fact that the Hebrews became Hellenized long before Jesus was conceived, which is why they put the OT into Greek, believing that this was done by divine inspiration, making it equal to the Hebrew text. Furthermore, the Hebrews had no distinct concept of personhood or being so to say that they didn’t make a distinction doesn’t imply that they took them to be identical. That doesn’t logically follow.
    I think you mean you’d rather stick with what you judge Jesus and Paul meant rather than someone like Igantius who was directly aquainted with them. Again, which is more probable, that you or he is correct in their understanding of what Jesus and Paul meant? Why is Trinitarianism so early and closely tied to the Apostles in the case of Ignatius?

    Since the debate was by Unitarians, Unitarianism historically popped out of the 17th century and so did the vast majority of Sean’s arguments. If Jesus and Paul and so forth were Unitarians, where do they say they “Unitarians?” They don’t. Why do demand of me that I used only biblical terms but you don’t? That’s the fallacy of special pleading. (double standard)

  254. on 13 Jun 2008 at 10:32 amScott

    Fortigurn,
    You said:
    “Not once did they say Christ raised himself. For the apostles, ‘God’ meant ‘the Father’, not Jesus.”

    So were the Apostles making Christ a false prophet in light of John 2:19-21 which states:
    “Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days? But he spake of the temple of his body.”

    You also said:
    “Neither passage you gave says that the Holy Spirit raised Christ, nor does either passage personalize the Holy Spirit.

    Romans 8:11 speaks of the Spirit OF Him who raised Jesus from the dead, identifying the Spirit as POSSESSED by the one who raised Jesus from the dead.

    1 Peter 3:18 says Christ was made alive by the Spirit. Well, we agree! Christ was made alive by the Spirit, the Spirit OF GOD, not ‘The Spirit WHO IS GOD’.”

    I am confused by your statements above. You state that neither passage says that the Holy Spirit raised Christ yet then you agree that 1 Peter 3:18 says that Christ was made alive by the Spirit. Is it your contention that the Spirit that made Christ alive in 1 Peter 3:18 is not the Holy Spirit? If it is not the Holy Spirit making Christ alive (after having been put to death IN THE FLESH) then which Spirit is it?

    Finally, your point about the Holy Spirit not being personalized in those texts I would point out that though it may not say in those lines of text (where this is not the topic being addressed) it does clearly say so just a few lines later. Thankfully Paul did not leave us with just Romans 8:11 but was also kind enough to leave us the following text that do indicate the personhood of the Holy Spirit:

    Romans 8:16 “The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.” Only persons bear witness- I have never heard of a force being called to testify at trial.

    Romans 8:26-27 “Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For(AU) we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but(AV) the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. 27And(AW) he who searches hearts knows what is(AX) the mind of the Spirit, because[f] the Spirit(AY) intercedes for the saints(AZ) according to the will of God.” According to Paul the Spirit intercedes, has a mind and “groans”. These are clearly personal attributes not those of a force.

  255. on 13 Jun 2008 at 11:17 amFortigurn

    Scott,

    ‘So were the Apostles making Christ a false prophet in light of John 2:19-21 which states:’

    No they weren’t. They just understood he was speaking in parables. It’s very simple.

    So we have a statement of Christ. You say it means Christ raised himself. I say it’s a parable, and that God raised Christ. Whatever they thought this verse meant, the apostles ONLY taught that God raised Christ, and they did so repeatedly.

    Here’s where the rubber meets the road. The trinitarian interpretation of passages such as Christ’s words regarding the temple of his body are flatly contradicted by explicit apostolic teaching. And did you note that the apostles said that GOD raised Christ, and repeatedly distinguished Jesus FROM God?

    ‘I am confused by your statements above. You state that neither passage says that the Holy Spirit raised Christ yet then you agree that 1 Peter 3:18 says that Christ was made alive by the Spirit. Is it your contention that the Spirit that made Christ alive in 1 Peter 3:18 is not the Holy Spirit?’

    It was God who raised Christ, BY HIS SPIRIT, just as it was God who inspired the prophets BY HIS SPIRIT. That’s why Christ can be said to have been made alive BY THE SPIRIT.

    ‘Romans 8:16 “The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.” Only persons bear witness- I have never heard of a force being called to testify at trial.’

    This verse does not say anything about the Spirit being called to testify at trial. It does not require the Spirit to be a person. The heavens bear witness to the glory of God, but they aren’t people.

    In Hebrews 2:4 we find that ‘God confirmed their witness WITH SIGNS AND WONDERS AND VARIOUS MIRACLES AND GIFTS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT distributed according to his will’. But God wasn’t put on trial, was He? He didn’t even speak in this case. The witness is the ACTIONS which God performed through the Spirit. That’s the same sense as is used here.

    And I will point out yet again that no trinitarian here has ever been able to demonstrate that their doctrine was taught by the apostles.

    That’s why you’re reduced to putting it together yourselves through syllogistic reasoning, and that’s why when confronted by a list of explicit statements made by the apostles which say X, you actually attempt to break Scripture with Scripture by saying that since Jesus appears to have said Y, then to agree with what the apostles say would make a liar out of Jesus.

    Scripture is simply never in harmony once the trinity is introduced.

  256. on 13 Jun 2008 at 11:39 amFortigurn

    Perry,

    ‘Asserting that the entire context of Mark 5 tells you that isos doesn’t imply ontological identity isn’t an argument showing that it is so. You have yet to give a reason for why it doesn’t.’

    It’s a host of other passages which are the reason why it doesn’t, such as all the instances in which the apostles CLEARLY DISTINGUISH JESUS FROM GOD. I posted a number of them.

    ‘he relation between the Son and the Father seems there to be direct, rather than instrumental, which is why the Son has “life in himself” just as the Father does. How does the Father have life “in himself?” As God. Moreover, the dispute turns on Jesus’ relation to the Law. Could any of the prophets alter or loose the Law’s requirement? Or is that the prerogative of the Lawgiver alone?’

    All answered by my post on agency. Anyone could alter or loose the Law’s requirements IF AUTHORIZED TO DO SO BY THE LAWGIVER. Did you note that Nathan was authorized to forgive David, instead of stoning him for his murder and adultery? I provided a long list of passages in which Christ is specifically identified as the agent of God.

    ‘How can Jesus reveal God if he is not God? How then is Jesus superior to the angels and the prophets, (Heb 1)?’

    Because God revealed Himself to Christ.

    ‘How does Jesus have this power, this life, “in himself” as the Father has it “in himself” if the Father has it by virtue of being God? That seems to directly imply that the Son is deity.’

    Perry, please just read the verse. The verse tells you that Jesus has this life in himself because God HAS GRANTED IT TO HIM. That specifically rules out the identification of Jesus as deity. God has life in himself by virtue of being God, but Christ has life in himself by virtue of BEING GRANTED IT BY GOD. The verse states this explicitly.

    These long lists of rhetorical questions just don’t ever seem to address what the verses actually say. It’s just a long list of fallacious arguments from incredulity and false dichotomy.

    ‘The text does not say, as you write, “The Father gave life to the Son”, but rather that the Father gave to the Son to have life in himself, just as the Father does.’

    Er Perry, you just said it doesn’t mean X, then quoted the passage where it explicitly says X.

    ‘How can the Son have glory with the Father prior to the creation of the world if he didn’t exist?’

    That depends entirely on what you believe that glory is. Remember that Jesus was glorified with this glory at his crucifixion. I’ll leave you to define it.

    Once again I note that you’re simply relying on your interpretation of a range of disparate passages, rather than providing the apostles’ own teaching of the trinity. When they preached the trinity, to which passages did they turn? Did they make the same arguments as you when they allegedly taught people that Jesus is God? Can you find any instances at all in which the baptized anyone with the knowledge that Jesus is God?

    ‘If the Father’s giving life to the Son is contingent property, then it is also a contingent property in the Father’

    No it doesn’t. It’s contingent in the case of the son because it was given to him. He didn’t have it before. No one gave it to God, so it’s not contingent.

    ‘For what could someone be accused of blasphemy? For what could you execute someone for regarding blasphemy under the Law? Did that include making a false, even if sincere claim to be Messiah?’

    Even trinitarian theologians acknowledge that the Jews had at this time extended the crime of blasphemy so that it covered more than the Law originally intended.

    ‘Sean’s paper on worship is irrelevant unless you can cite something specific that explains how we can honor the Father by worship but also not honor the Son by worship when the Son says to honor him just as we honor the Father.’

    Hey, I honor the son, just as I honor the Father. I honor the son, just as I honor the government. What’s the issue?

    ‘Why is Trinitarianism so early and closely tied to the Apostles in the case of Ignatius?’

    It wasn’t. As I have noted previously, there’s no evidence that Ignatius was a trinitarian. In fact this is made even more obvious by the fact that later trinitarians took his letters and deliberately corrupted them, inserting trinitarian sounding material. They also forged some letters in his name.

    When people have to make things up like this, and resort to forgery, it’s clear they know full well that the available evidence doesn’t support them. That’s why trinitarians inserted 1 John 5:7, and played around with some of the other texts. When you don’t have any evidence for your case, you just make it up.

  257. on 13 Jun 2008 at 12:01 pmScott

    Fortigurn,
    First of all, there are places where Christ speaks in parables and they are clearly different than John 2:19-20. What in the passage indicates that Jesus is telling a parable that should be understood that the “I” (Jesus) should be replaced with “He” (God)? Especially when the author takes time to explain that the temple is not the literal Temple of God but it the body of Christ? How does “I” become “He’ simply because it is a parable?

    So I am still confused was Christ raised by the Holy Spirit or not? Sorry if I am slow on the uptake but I am confused by the words you used above.

    Certainly the idea of God raising Jesus from the dead by the Father granting authority to the Son and doing it by the power of the Holy Spirit is a Trinitarian idea that is in complete harmony with scripture (John 2:19-21, Romans 8:11, 1 Peter 3:18, John 10:17-18 and Romans 10:9).

    Finally, you said:
    “‘Romans 8:16 “The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.” Only persons bear witness- I have never heard of a force being called to testify at trial.’

    This verse does not say anything about the Spirit being called to testify at trial. It does not require the Spirit to be a person. The heavens bear witness to the glory of God, but they aren’t people.”

    Good point about the heavens. Since I haven’t looked into the greek or hebrew behind these passages I will have to assume that yu are correct in pointing out that impersonal things can be said to bear witness in the same way that the Spirit does. Thank you for pointing this out.

    However, I wonder why you failed to interact with the following:
    Romans 8:26-27 “Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For(AU) we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but(AV) the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. 27And(AW) he who searches hearts knows what is(AX) the mind of the Spirit, because[f] the Spirit(AY) intercedes for the saints(AZ) according to the will of God.” According to Paul the Spirit intercedes, has a mind and “groans”. These are clearly personal attributes not those of a force. Add on to this that the Holy Spirit can be grieved (Ephesians 4:30) and I further fail to see how your point can be maintained.

  258. on 13 Jun 2008 at 12:03 pmPerry Robinson

    Fortigurn,

    As for representation, there are many concept of representation, so just using that word doesn’t do the work you want it to. Second, it isn’t clear to me that Col 1:15ff has the notion of an extrinsic representation that you have in mind. The relation seems much closer. This grounds well Jesus’ superiority to any of the prophets or angels. You can honor an angel, but you can’t worship one. (Heb 1:6) So the languages of agency of itself doesn’t imply an extrinsic kind of representation.

    So I grant that Jesus is the primary agent at work in salvation, sent by the Father, but that doesn’t imply that Jesus is created. And spoof-texting a bunch of texts in scattershot fashion isn’t an argument that it does. The question is, is the representation extrinsically and intrsumentally related to God or intrinsically related to God? Is Jesus’ life in himself per Jn 5 a different life than the Father or the same power of life? So that citing for example Romans 6 about life IN Christ doesn’t prove that Jesus is related to God as a workman is to a hammer, extrinsically and a mere instrumental cause. Furthermore, how can Jesus make us partakers of the DIVINE nature if Jesus doesn’t have the divine nature himself? (2 Pet 1:4) You can’t give what you don’t have.

    An agent isn’t necessarily subordinate to the one for whom he acts. It only follows that he is subject to him. The former is a product of Platonism, where objects are subordinated via opposing properties. Further, I agree that Jesus is always subject to the Father qua person and Trinitarianism has always affirmed this is so. So the passages you spoof-text aren’t inconsistent with my view. This is why the Father and Son both have life in themselves, which is only true of God, and hence the Son is deity.

    It may be true that a representative receives power and authority from one who is greater, but greater does not imply better, and therefore it doesn’t imply any essential inequality between Father and Son. Furthermore, the reception of power/authority doesn’t imply essential inequality for if it did, women would be unequal essentially to men, and ministers of a preceding generation who passed it on to others via the laying on of hands would be essentially different than the later ministers, which is absurd. And the reception doesn’t imply that the receiving is temporal and contingent.

    I agree that Jesus is a man, so Matt 9:6 leaves my view untouched. I don’t think Jesus is ONLY a man. I agree that the Father is the source of the Son’s life and authority, which is why he called Father. As an Eastern Orthodox Christian I fully affirm the Patriarchy of the Father and that the Father alone is autotheos. So I agree again that the God, the Father gives authority to the Son. So I agree that the Son can do nothing from HIMSELF. But self denotes person and not nature. If the Father is the eternal source OF the Son (Eph 1:17) then the Son does nothing from himself and that is just traditional Nicene and pre-Nicene teaching. Jn 5:22 isn’t a problem either since it is true that assigned relationships can exist between the members of the Trinity in the economy or outworking of salvation. You are assuming that the relationships in the economy are isomorphic with those of eternity, which is obviously false since the Son sends the Spirit in the economy of salvation but the Spirit is only proceding from the Father in eternity. (Jn 15:26)
    Much the same could be said of all of the other passages you cite. There are reams of arguments dealing with these texts in the church Fathers so just throwing them out does no argumentative work. You need to answer the arguments on the books already. The fact that you keep assuming that personal or hypostatic subjection implies inequality of essence or that person and nature are identical shows I think that you have not grasped the issues or Trinitarianism. In any case, if hypostatic or personal subjection implied inequality of essence, then women would be inferior to men by essence.

    I do note that the God and Jesus are differentiated and Trinitarians affirm that they are so. What is at issue is the nature of that differentiation. Further, they are so differentiated so as to protect the patriarchy of the Father as the source of the other two persons which is why Scripture most often refers to the Father as “the” God whereas the Son is denoted as deity via theos rather than ho theos.

    None of those passages denote that deity qua deity is one person. It only identifies a primary of one person who is God rather than implying that God is only one person. In fact ,Scripture never speaks of “persons” explicitly anyhow, so I don’t know how you can say that it denotes God as one person. Where does Scripture either speak of “persons” or delineate as what constitutes personhood for you to know what you claim to be true? It doesn’t.

    I think you are missing my answer to your point. The Trinity wouldn’t have been invoked to answer heresies like Doketism which did not directly attack the Trinity but the humanity of Christ. Secondly, Trinitarians did answer Doketism for example as I noted above.

    Assuming that everything we know from Ignatius is falsified it wouldn’t logically follow from this supposed fact that he was not a Trinitarian, only that we can’t know on that basis that he was so or not. So your claim is too strong and is a fallacy of ignorance.

    Further, while some of his writings contain interpolations, so does Scripture. Second, since Pearson’s answer to the Presbyterians, the authenticity of the Ignatian corpus has not been in serious doubt. And the shorter texts are sufficiently Trinitarian as is witnessed by the fact that plenty of non-Trinitarians object to their content as being false.

    Yes I am going to claim that Ireneaus was Trinitarian and I’d claim his writings as evidence as I have read them cover to cover. Ireneaus not only thinks that Jesus is deity, he thinks there is only one deity, that the relation between the members is intrinsic and not merely functional and extrinsic and that the relationship is eternal. That’s quite Trinitarian. Further, while thinking Jesus is deity is not a sufficient condition for Trinitarianism, it is a necessary condition and it is sufficient to falsify traditional Unitarian claims.

    Justin wasn’t a Binitarian any more than Origen was. I know some scholars think so because of his subordinationalist outlook but the views of scholars are only as good as the arguments they give. If their arguments are bad then their judgments are bad too. I take the arguments that Justin was a Binitarian to be bad aguments since they ignore the core of Justin’s synthetic project, that of cashing out Christian Triadological views in terms of platonic metaphysics. Justin’s problem is that he can’t consistently distinguish person and nature using Platonism for Platonism doesn’t distinguish them. And this is why, he like Origen often talks out of both sides of his mouth since the Platonic terminology won’t permit him to consistently maintain both. And this is why the same Platonism lead to Arianism via Origen to Lucian to Arius. Inconsistency on Justin’s part doesn’t imply Binitarianism, but just that Justin’s project of cashing out Christian Triadology in terms of Platonism was a failure. But that’s a problem for Platonism, not Christian Triadology.

    Trinitarianism was invoked when relevant as was the case with Tertullian for example. Furthermore, one can believe in and witness to a belief without invoking it and plenty of authors do at least the latter. It seems awefully strange to claim that Tertullian isn’t a Trinitarian, the man who first invokes the terminology of trinitas.

    FYI, actually Sabellianism was originally modalism. You are confusing Sabellianism with Monarchianism, which had two historical forms, Dynamic and Modalistic-Sabellius was of the latter whereas Theodore of Mopsuestia was of the former. Dynamic Monarchianism posited an Adoptionistic Christology where Jesus was divinely empowered whereas Sabellius conceived of God following Stoicism as one power with multiple temporary manifestations-Father, Son and Spirit. Consequnetly your taxonoimic relation gets the genus species relation wrong. Sabellianism was a species of the genus of Monarchianism.

    It maybe no surprise that with Alexander we are into the fourth century since your claim extended to the fourth century with Arianism. To that extent your claim is false. Further, who invokes Unitarianism to answer those heresies? No one that I know of. So even if some of my examples are controversial, some support is far better than absolutely nothing.

    I don’t think the creeds imply development of doctrine. Lots of people throw that term around without knowing what it means, academics included. It does not mean that vocabulary became more technical or that expressions became clearer over time. It is a distinct thesis where via dialectic, hidden semantic content that was either unknown or not explicitly expressed is garnered to a fuller expression. I don’t believe that which is why I am not Protestant or Catholic, since Protestants and Catholics both endorse such a notion-Protestants to justify doctrines like Sola Fide and Catholics for the Papacy and the Filioque. In fact, Unitarians historically have invoked doctrinal development for their claims as well. So if development of doctrine implies error, then Unitarianism is just as erroneous as the views it attacks.

    Furthermore, your argument is specious on its face for the following reason. If we go with the majority of scholars on Gospel composition we could make the same claim about the Gospels, that the later Gospels “develop” and mythologize more, which implies that their content is not genuine. The same argument used to be employed in textual criticism where more complicated readings were thought to be later developments and simpler readings were thought to be primitive, but textual discoveries proved this to be false. So, more sophisticated later expressions do not imply that they are on that basis not representative of the earlier semantic content.

    I don’t hold to the Athanasian Creed as it was not composed by Athanasius or anyone holding to Athanasius’ Trinitarianism. It is a later Frankish Creed and no Eastern Christian accepts it or ever has to my knowledge.

    I agree that theologians recognize textual expansion, but that is hardly a sufficient basis to argue that there is semantic expansion as well or change of belief. Furthermore, what experts claim is only as good as their arguments and the arguments for development of doctrine are bad ones. Further, no Eastern Christian “standard” Trinitarian acknowledges this. So I see your fallacious appeal to authority and raise you one.

    If Trinitarianism was the product of considerable doctrinal drift, why not also think that Unitarianism wasn’t also the product of considerable doctrinal drift? Assuming that the NT authors were Unitarian won’t help either since it is exactly the Jewish claim that they were subject to “considerable doctrinal drift.” Moreover, if Trinitarianism was the product of “considerable doctrinal drift” what does this say about the canon and textual preservation by Trinitarians. If they aren’t reliable witnesses about God, why think that they are so with respect to the canon of Scripture and its textual preservation? The Bible we have today is largely the product of those nasty fourth-fifth century Trinitarian Church fathers.

    The doctrine of the trinity was not taught from the 1st century onwards. It was the product of considerable doctrinal drift from the 2nd century to the 5th.

    As to the death of God, yes that is what Sean is saying, which is why he argues Platonically by the very definition of immortality. Opposite properties cannot be true of the same thing and so immortality is opposite to mortal. God is immortal and therefore God can’t be mortal. That in sum has been his argument. The problem is that it confuses persons with essences. Sure, perhaps opposite properties (mortality and immortality) can’t be true of the same object, but persons aren’t “things.” If Sean were giving “just the facts” he would not have attempted to give a syllogism above. Arguments use facts, but they are not the same so no, Sean isn’t just “giving the facts” rather he is making an argument.Furthermore, his “facts” are hardly undisputed as I pointed out that his understanding of them depends on certain philosophical commitments.

    I do not acknowledge what you claim as facts. I affirm that a divine person (God) experienced death and so died. As I stated before, natures don’t DO anything so natures can’t “die.” Persons die. Even if I said that God dies in an inexplicable way, why is that any more problematic than saying that God creates, as Sean does, in an inexepliable way? It won’t do to claim that one is controversial and the other isn’t since people also, both historically and now claim that God did not create ex nihilo. Further, take for example Acts 20:28. When did God have blood to shed for the church? Notice the text says “his own blood.” When did God have blood? And if he did and shed it, this implies that God died.

    Trinitarians wish to explain what they see as all the data and this doesn’t imply that they are inconsistent in trying to have it “both ways.” I don’t wish to treat one thing as a nature at one point and then a person at another point, but rather consistently distinguish this is hypostatic and this is essential. So no, I am not Nestorianizing, far from it in fact, even further than the Lutherans since as Orthodox, the Lutherans in fact share the same problematic assumptions with the Nestorians, which is why the Nestorians and Eutychians were opposite since they both identified person with nature so either one person implied one nature or two natures implied two persons. I reject the platonic assumptions that both assume to be true.
    Actually Jesus grew weak in and via his humanity. Jesus didn’t pray from his human nature as if his humanity were a hypostasis. Rather Jesus prays with the human capacity or power of prayer, which makes this activity performed by a divine person genuinely human. Furthermore, it recapitulates humanity so as to set it aright from the inside out. I don’t think the human nature was ignorant since natures don’t do anything. Persons use their natures to perform acts, which is the difference between fire and me. Fire necessarily manifests its powers whereas I do not. I have the power to sleep or debate or whatever, but I can choose not to. Jesus’s weakeness via his humanity is a divinely empowered weakeness, which is why Paul says that the weakness of God is stronger than the strength of men, since Jesus overcame what other men could not, even with divine aid because their personal use of divine power was imperfect and unhabituated.

    Furthermore, if Jesus is both human and divine and intellect is a power of the nature used by the person, then Jesus has two intellects, one which is limited and the other which is not and the one divine person can speak using either or both of them and this is how it is possible for one and the same person to be both ignorant and omniscient.

    Dying can be an act, especially in the case of Jesus since he lays down his life and no one takes it from him, which incidentally wouldn’t be true if he were a mere prophet or man.

    And I don’t subscribe to the penal modal as I am Orthodox. I hold to the Christus Victor model, which I outlined above. So you could just engage some reading comprehension skills and note what I say about my own views. Just a suggestion.

  259. on 13 Jun 2008 at 12:58 pmPerry Robinson

    Fortigurn,

    Appealing to lots of other passages isn’t an argument nor sufficient to show that in John 5 isos doesn’t or can’t mean ontological identity so other passages are irrelevant. This is a common exegetical fallacy.

    Second, distinguishing God from Jesus doesn’t imply that isos doesn’t mean ontological identity since the NT denotes “the God” as the Father, while using theos of the Son. Distinction doesn’t imply inequality of essence as I demonstrated in my last post in which I addressed your seeming misunderstanding of what Trinitarianism implies regarding the derivative hypostasis of the Son.

    Furthermore, your argument is fallacious since even if true, this would be an extra textual, extra exegetical and philosophical principle brought to the text. What I asked for was an exegetical reason for thinking that isos didn’t/can’t mean ontological identity. So far, I haven’t gotten one from you or Mark.

    Where does Scripture say that prophets or anyone else can or has been authorized by God to alter or loose the Law’s prohibitions?

    Second, Nathan didn’t forgive David. 2 Sam 12:13 indicates that Nathan announces God’s forgiveness, but Nathan doesn’t forgive David on God’s behalf. Further, the analogy is a bad one since I have given a case where a prohibition has been loosed and the case you gave was one where the sentence while possible was not necessary. In OT Law, judges had the prerogative to impose the full extent of what the law allowed or a lesser punishment since the choice of penalty was decided by the victim. There is no case of a just judge that I know of in the OT who relieves someone of a direct prohibition concerning one of the ten commandments and claims divine authorization to do so. Can you give me an example of where adultery, idolotry, dishonoring parents, etc. are authorized?

    Further, it seems odd that the Jewish leadership didn’t know this when they exclaim, “And the scribes and the Pharisees began to reason, saying, Who is this which speaketh blasphemies? Who can forgive sins, but God alone?” Luke 5:21. If they knew divinely appointed representatives could do this (if you supposedly know it from reading the bible in translation,they most probably would too) then it seems awedully stupid for the Gospel writers to write this or for the JEwish leadership to be so confounded and disquieted.

    Actually your post on agency depended on a number of fallacies and controversial philosophical assumptions, which I pointed out. See above.

    If God is infinite and Jesus is finite, then a full revelation is impossible. All Jesus would know was how God acted up till then, in which case he wouldn’t be in any superior position qua knowledge than prophets or angels. But he is, so therefore he isn’t a creature and has a full revelation. If P, then Q, ~Q, therefore ~P. QED.

    I have “just read the verse.” The granting of having life in himself does not rule out Christ as deity, it only implies that his hypostatic existence is derivative. You conflate intrinsic properties with underived properties, but this is logically specious. I have the intrinsic property of being human, but it is derived from my parents. So intrinsic properties can be derived-they are compossible and not impossible as you imply. So I’ll just “read the verse” again if you just stop arguing using textbook fallacies.

    My questions were designed to motivate thinking, clarify and make points to try and show what I think the verses MEAN. If you think I have committed any fallacies, then name then and demonstrate the fallacy. So far all I see on my screen is a bald claim and fist pounding. I on the other hand have named and demonstrated the fallacies you commit.

    I didn’t just contradict myself as you claim when you wrote “Er Perry, you just said it doesn’t mean X, then quoted the passage where it explicitly says X.” Why not? Because the idea of granting life and granting to have life *in oneself* are not the same ideas. My parents grant life to me but they do not grant me to have life OF MYSELF. Mark conflated the two ideas and hence mangled the text, and your accusation depends on confusing with what is not actually written there. So I didn’t just deny what the text explicitlysays because the text explicitly says something different than what Mark claimed.

    Oh how about a few biblical examples of Glory such as Moses face or Christ on Mt Tabor? You mean THAT eternal glory that Jesus had with the Father? So I repeat, how did Jesus have that if he didn’t exist? And yes Jesus is glorified with that glory on the cross since it is by divine power that he dies, otherwise it would be an ordinary death and not one that permitted him to go down into death and defeat it. Just because you don’t see it doesn’t mean it isn’t there.

    It doesn’t matter if I use the same arguments as the apostles to prove the Trinity (at points I do) since the same truth can be logically defended by multiple and different arguments. All roads lead to Rome as it were. The road may be different but as long as the the destination is the same,there isn’t a problem. By the same token I don’t see the Apostles or any of their disciples teaching Unitarianism nor using any of the traditional arguments Unitarians used since their rise in the 17th century.

    Having life in himself would be contingent for the Father whether it was given to him or not since Jesus denotes that he has it “just as” the Father does. A property can be contingent without being derived so your claim doesn’t logically follow. Again more conceptual confusion.

    Perhaps it is so that blasphemy was extended but it wouldn’t follow from that that merely claiming to be Messiah fell under that extension, which is what you have to prove. So you haven’t met your own burden of proof.

    Do you honor the Father by NOT worshipping him?

    Asserting that Ignatius wasn’t a Trinitarian isn’t proof that he wasn’t one. And the fact that there were later forgeries doesn’t imply that the agreed upon texts are forged or aren’t Trinitarian. Further, Christians also produced forged documents of the NT too, does that imply that the NT is false? IN fact, no Gospel text has a named attached to till 200 A.D. and those names are ascribed by tradition via Papias, Ireneaus, et al. All Gospel texts prior to that prior are anonymous.

    Actually 1 Jn 5:7 does exist in a few Greek manuscripts going back before the 16th century. I believe the oldest is 9th century. In any case, Church Fathers cite it by about 200-250 Ad, which means it was in the manuscript tradition long before the Arian controversy and long before the canon was decided in the later part of the fourth century.

  260. on 13 Jun 2008 at 1:41 pmAnthony Buzzard

    I have been reading the first 100 comments, and it is not difficult to see where Trinitarianism is shy of giving an answer. Was Abraham a Trinitarian? Perhaps the Trinitarian camp answers plainly beyond where I have read, but on the evidence given in the early posts, Abraham could not possibly have been a Trinitarian since as Trins admit, that Three in One God is not revealed as such in the OT. That really concedes the whole case!
    May I therefore ask the Trinitarians to tell us whether the new revelation about the threefold metaphsical God had been given at the time when Jesus and the Scribe agreed about how many God is? (Mark 12:29)
    Or did the historical Jesus not declare the Triune God? Is there a clear answer to this? If one is going to plead deveopment and progress (which is certainly valid for some teachings) where precissely in the NT is that progres in terms of the Godhead?
    Are all those scholars wrong when they say that Judaism was never Trinitarian? Our Trin. friends appear to agree with scholarship on that point. If so what is the state of revelation about God precisely at Mark 12:29? Is Jesus affirming a Triune God and agreeing with a unitarian scribe? Is the scribe a Trinitarian already in that conversation? or what? Are both Jesus and the scribe agreeing on a unitarian creed? Please, some specific answers, so that I can understand how you are thinking.
    [On a separate point, I think that evangelicalism is evidently not reading the Gospel of salvation from the teaching of Jesus, ie not proclaiming the Gospel about the Kingdom as Jesus did, and so we might anticipate trouble in other fields of understanding like the Godhead. But that might lead to another discussion definint the Gospel.]
    Anthony Buzzard

  261. on 13 Jun 2008 at 2:22 pmScott

    Anthony,
    See my embedded comments (in italics) which can also be found in many of the previous 259 posts as well as Brant’s presentation in the debate he has with Sean:

    I have been reading the first 100 comments, and it is not difficult to see where Trinitarianism is shy of giving an answer. Was Abraham a Trinitarian?

    Perhaps the Trinitarian camp answers plainly beyond where I have read, but on the evidence given in the early posts, Abraham could not possibly have been a Trinitarian since as Trins admit, that Three in One God is not revealed as such in the OT. That really concedes the whole case!

    May I therefore ask the Trinitarians to tell us whether the new revelation about the threefold metaphsical God had been given at the time when Jesus and the Scribe agreed about how many God is? (Mark 12:29)

    Or did the historical Jesus not declare the Triune God? Is there a clear answer to this? If one is going to plead deveopment and progress (which is certainly valid for some teachings) where precissely in the NT is that progres in terms of the Godhead?

    Are all those scholars wrong when they say that Judaism was never Trinitarian? Our Trin. friends appear to agree with scholarship on that point. If so what is the state of revelation about God precisely at Mark 12:29? Is Jesus affirming a Triune God and agreeing with a unitarian scribe? Is the scribe a Trinitarian already in that conversation? or what? Are both Jesus and the scribe agreeing on a unitarian creed? Please, some specific answers, so that I can understand how you are thinking.

    [On a separate point, I think that evangelicalism is evidently not reading the Gospel of salvation from the teaching of Jesus, ie not proclaiming the Gospel about the Kingdom as Jesus did, and so we might anticipate trouble in other fields of understanding like the Godhead. But that might lead to another discussion definint the Gospel.]

    Abraham worshiped the Trinitarian God though I do not know how exaclty he would have he would have articulated it. In the same way, he knew that God would send a messiah though he did not know the specifics of what the nature and name of the Messiah would be. You see here you unitarians really beg the question we can’t know what Abraham believed about the nature of God until we know the full revelation of who Jesus is. Abraham believed God and trusted Him so if it is true what Jesus taught (that Abraham saw him and rejoiced) then we can know what Abraham believed by knowing who Christ revealed Himself to be (John 8:56-59). Once we know who Christ is then we can know what Abraham beleived about the nature and oneness of God. Clearly Abaraham believed that there was only one God (which Trinitarians agree with) but we do not see what this meant to Abraham- i.e. was God a monopersonal “one” or a not a monopersonal “one”. If he saw Christ and rejoiced (which he did per John *:56-59) and Christ is established as God (which He is in- John 1:1,14, 5:18, 8:58, 9:38, 10:30-33, 20:28; Romans 9:5; Hebrews 1:8-9 and many more.) then we know that Abraham did not see a monopersonal God when he saw the reality of Christ and rejoiced. You seek to do theology backwards reasoning from an older and less complete revelation and letting that control the possible meaning of God’s new and final revelation. In reality, it is Christ’s ontological revelation of Himself that determines the reality of what Abraham believed about God’s nature and it is not the case that what Abraham believed about the nature of God determines the ontological nature of Christ. Brant made this point in the debate when he pointed out the fact that the Jews would not have believed that the Messiah’s body would replace the temple. Please note that Sean never dealt with this problem in the unitarian reasoning- and I doubt anyone else will either.

    Anthony Buzzard

  262. on 13 Jun 2008 at 3:01 pmScott

    Two corrections-

    First this part should read:

    If he saw Christ and rejoiced (which he did per John 8:56-59) and Christ is established as God (which He is in- John 1:1,14, 5:18, 8:58, 9:38, 10:30-33, 20:28; Romans 9:5; Hebrews 1:8-9 and many more.)

    Second:
    You seek to do theology backwards reasoning from an older and less complete revelation and letting that control the possible meaning of God’s new and final revelation.

    I want to add to this that this does not give us the ability to import contradictory revelation though we may illuminate old apparent realities (i.e. we can learn that the One God is triune but we could not learn that the One God is actually not the only one in fact there are an infinite number of Gods per Joseph Smith).

  263. on 13 Jun 2008 at 3:21 pmPerry Robinson

    Anthony,

    Was Abraham a monotheist? Most scholars say no, so the same scholarship that denies he was a Trinitarian, denies that he was a Unitarian and a monotheist.

    Was Moses a monotheist for example? Most scholars say no. That monotheism doesn’t come about until the later major prophets and the Davidic Kingdom. I suppose then that those prophets were false prophets by parity of reasoning since they introduced a belief that could not be found in Abraham and Moses. The question is what is justifiable based on the teaching of the entire bible and not the contents of any one persons head at a given historical period.

  264. on 13 Jun 2008 at 5:05 pmmanuel culwell

    Manuel, I apologize

    I now just realized that you weren’t arguing the trinitarian view point. Are you arguing the Binity? Modal ism? If so, the same principal applies.

    mlculwell:No for I am not arguing for “binity” I am arguing for Oneness.

  265. on 13 Jun 2008 at 6:34 pmJeff Downs

    Anthony:

    Regarding the Shema, would you say that this is referring to God’s nature (i.e. that this is the point of the Shema)?

  266. on 13 Jun 2008 at 6:46 pmFortigurn

    Scott,

    ‘What in the passage indicates that Jesus is telling a parable that should be understood that the “I” (Jesus) should be replaced with “He” (God)?’

    I am not saying it should.

    ‘So I am still confused was Christ raised by the Holy Spirit or not?’

    I said very plainly that God raised up Christ BY the Holy Spirit.

    ‘Certainly the idea of God raising Jesus from the dead by the Father granting authority to the Son and doing it by the power of the Holy Spirit is a Trinitarian idea that is in complete harmony with scripture (John 2:19-21, Romans 8:11, 1 Peter 3:18, John 10:17-18 and Romans 10:9).’

    I’m glad you agree. So why did the apostles ALWAYS teach that Christ was raised up by GOD, whom they distinguished FROM Christ?

    ‘According to Paul the Spirit intercedes, has a mind and “groans”. These are clearly personal attributes not those of a force. Add on to this that the Holy Spirit can be grieved (Ephesians 4:30) and I further fail to see how your point can be maintained.’

    It’s called personification (see Proverbs 8). The fact that the Holy Spirit is called the Spirit OF God proves that the Holy Spirit is not God.

  267. on 13 Jun 2008 at 6:46 pmmanuel culwell

    sal writes:

    “Manuel, I apologize

    I now just realized that you weren’t arguing the trinitarian view point. Are you arguing the Binity? Modal ism? If so, the same principal applies.”

    mlculwell:No for I am not arguing for “binity” I am arguing for Oneness.

    Yes , the same prinicipal applies. I have already admitted ; ” God the father was the true God”. Jesus is also not another person of God.
    I notice you did not mention (John 3:34) because Both you and the trinitarians really do not know what to do with the passage. To take any part away from Jesus is measuring. I also submitted (1st. Cor. 15:45) where Jesus as the last man Adam was made the life giving spirit. not much said from you though… You mentioned in passing (Matth. 28:18) where Jesus was given A-L-L POWER in heaven and earth. If he has it all nobody else has any. I have no arguemnt about Jesus being *Given it* as that was my point. His humanity was Made God(The Life giving Spirit.)

  268. on 13 Jun 2008 at 7:06 pmFortigurn

    Perry,

    ‘As for representation, there are many concept of representation, so just using that word doesn’t do the work you want it to.’

    I haven’t just used the word. I have demonstrated that the concept is applied repeatedly to Christ. By definition, an agent of X is not X, a representative of X is not X.

    ‘Second, it isn’t clear to me that Col 1:15ff has the notion of an extrinsic representation that you have in mind.’

    I’m less interested in what is or isn’t clear to you than I am in what the apostles wrote.

    ‘This grounds well Jesus’ superiority to any of the prophets or angels. You can honor an angel, but you can’t worship one. (Heb 1:6)’

    I agree. And?

    ‘So the languages of agency of itself doesn’t imply an extrinsic kind of representation.’

    It explicitly implies an extrinsic kind of representation. You can’t be an agent of yourself. God cannot be the agent of God. And furthermore CHRIST is said to be the agent of GOD, as I said. The apostle does not say that GOD THE SON was the agent of GOD THE FATHER.

    ‘So I grant that Jesus is the primary agent at work in salvation, sent by the Father, but that doesn’t imply that Jesus is created.’

    What it does prove is that Jesus isn’t God.

    ‘And spoof-texting a bunch of texts in scattershot fashion isn’t an argument that it does.’

    I didn’t do that. I provided quote after quote in which the apostles explicitly teach that Jesus is the agent of God. Not God the son as the agent of God the Father. They not only describe Jesus as the agent of God, they distinguish Jesus FROM God. I have demonstrated that this is their consistent teaching. You have not addressed this.

    ‘The question is, is the representation extrinsically and intrsumentally related to God or intrinsically related to God?’

    That was settled by the quotes I provided.

    ‘Furthermore, how can Jesus make us partakers of the DIVINE nature if Jesus doesn’t have the divine nature himself? (2 Pet 1:4) You can’t give what you don’t have.’

    Of course Jesus has the divine nature now. God gave it to him.

    ‘An agent isn’t necessarily subordinate to the one for whom he acts. It only follows that he is subject to him.’

    Subject but not subordinate? I’ve already demonstrated that the apostles repeatedly state that Jesus is subject to the father, and subordinate (what does ‘servant’ mean to you?).

    ‘It may be true that a representative receives power and authority from one who is greater, but greater does not imply better, and therefore it doesn’t imply any essential inequality between Father and Son.’

    When a representative receives power they did not have from the one they are representing, there is a clear essential inequality.

    ‘Furthermore, the reception of power/authority doesn’t imply essential inequality for if it did, women would be unequal essentially to men, and ministers of a preceding generation who passed it on to others via the laying on of hands would be essentially different than the later ministers, which is absurd.’

    Authority and power are not the same. I agree with you in the case of authority, but no human being grants power to another as God granted power to Christ. It’s simply not possible.

    ‘I agree that Jesus is a man, so Matt 9:6 leaves my view untouched. I don’t think Jesus is ONLY a man.’

    I know you don’t think Jesus is only a man, that’s why Matthew 9:6 and other passages assault your theology. You don’t believe what the apostles taught.

    ‘So I agree again that the God, the Father gives authority to the Son. So I agree that the Son can do nothing from HIMSELF. But self denotes person and not nature.’

    But ‘person’ includes nature. You keep trying to differentiate them. You can’t have a person without a nature. WHY can the son do nothing from himself? Because of his nature, not because of his person.

    ‘If the Father is the eternal source OF the Son (Eph 1:17) then the Son does nothing from himself and that is just traditional Nicene and pre-Nicene teaching.’

    Ephesians 1:17 does not say that the Father is the eternal source of the son. And even your point here only gets you as far as Nicea, no further.

    ‘Jn 5:22 isn’t a problem either since it is true that assigned relationships can exist between the members of the Trinity in the economy or outworking of salvation. You are assuming that the relationships in the economy are isomorphic with those of eternity, which is obviously false since the Son sends the Spirit in the economy of salvation but the Spirit is only proceding from the Father in eternity. (Jn 15:26)’

    No, I am not assuming anything. I’m simply telling you what the verses say. In response you resort to all kinds of arguments in order to claim they say something else, but what you never do is provide evidence that they say what you think. You’re projecting your own mindset onto the Scriptures.

    Do you think John really meant to say ‘Assigned relationships can exist between the members of the Trinity in the economy or outworking of salvation, but the relationships within the economy are not isomorphic with those of eternity, since the son sends the Spirit in the economy of salvation, but the Spirit is only proceeding from the Father in eternity’? Or did he mean to say what he actually wrote?

  269. on 13 Jun 2008 at 9:54 pmPerry Robinson

    Fortigurn,

    I haven’t seen any demonstration that the particular concept of representations you have in mind are derived from he text. I just keep seeing repeated assertions and spoof texting. Moreover, when you write “An agent of X is not X, a representative of X is not X.” well that isn’t just THE concept of representation since it is compatible with multiple concepts of representation. Second, it is compatible as you state with Trinitarianism since Trinitarians don’t take the Son to be the person of the Father and this is so because your gloss only requires a distinction of agency. So at best you have only demonstrated the falsity of Modalism so this is a strawman since I am not a modalist.

    If you aren’t interested in what I think or explaining your views to me such that I understand them then you aren’t really interested in communicating with people. Further, it was a polite way of saying that you haven’t given a demonstration that is compatible with the material in Col 1:15ff since that seems to be direct counter evidence.

    If you agree that Jesus is superior to the prophets and the apostles, what is the difference between the honor given to Jesus, which can’t be given to angels?

    I don’t think you grasp what extrinsic means. As I pointed out, a distinction in agency doesn’t imply an extrinsic, non-constitutive relation. I grant that one can’t be an agent of oneself, but that only excludes modalism yet again. Trinitarians don’t think that Jesus being deity and the agent of the Father excludes him from being of the same nature as the Father, but only excludes that he is the same person as the Father. So the language of agency simply implies that Jesus is not the same person of the Father, to which Trinitarians happily agree, but this does not mean that the Father and Son do not share a constitutive and intrinsic relationship as to what they are, so your evidence fails to support your point.

    Jesus being the primary agent in salvation would only exclude Jesus from being deity if the relation is an extrinsic one. But you have given no proof or argument that it is so. Providing quotes that Jesus is the agent of God isn’t sufficient to prove your specific concept of agency as Trinitarians agree that Jesus is the agent of the God and hence agree with those texts. I agree that the texts distinguish Jesus from the God, but other texts call Jesus theos as well and then link them through theos and kurios like 1 cor 8 does or Philip 2 which substitutes Kurious for Yaweh.

    As to the question of whether the representation is extrinsic and instrumental or intrinsic and constitutive, the passages you cite on their face could go either way. You’d need to prove exegetically that the passages MEAN an extrinsic relation. So far all I have seen is sloppy philosophical thinking being tossed around as proof by invoking your ideas of what is or isn’t implied by distinguishing this agent from that. I have demonstrated logically how this doesn’t follow through logical counter examples, to which you have yet to address. So at best the quotations you provide are idle.

    Where does scripture indicate that the Father gave Jesus the divine nature? And is Jesus now a deity on your view?

    Yes, being subject to doesn’t imply subordination, as I noted, otherwise women would be of a different and lesser essence than men since scripturally women are to be subject to their husbands, but last I checked, women were essentially equal with men. The passages you cite show that Jesus is subject to the Father, to which Trinitarians agree, but I didn’t see any passages that say “Jesus is subordinate to the Father.” Do you have one?

    ‘It may be true that a representative receives power and authority from one who is greater, but greater does not imply better, and therefore it doesn’t imply any essential inequality between Father and Son.’

    It doesn’t logically follow that a representative receives power from the one they are representing that there is essential inequality since children receive various powers from their parents and yet aren’t unequal essentially to them. What you are saying would only be true if the relationship between Father and Son is extrinsic and contingent, but you can’t get that simply from the idea of representations. Ambassadors get powers from kings or governments but this does not imply that they are essentially unequal to the king.

    I gave clear examples of how humans can give powers to another human so yes, it is possible. Furthermore, Jesus sends the apostles and the apostles send out ministers as they were sent by conveying to them thru he laying on of hands divine power so it is quite possible. Bishops and presbyters have different conveyed powers but they are not essentially unequal. (2 Tim 1: 6)

    As for Matt 9:6, where does it say “Jesus who is only a man?” The words simply aren’t there so you are simply importing into the text what isn’t stated nor can be derived from it exegetically. So no, it doesn’t cut against my theological views.

    Person may entail nature, but nature doesn’t determine or exhaust personhood so it is fallacious to argue from a difference in agency to a difference in essence. When Hebrews 1 or Col 1 speak of the Son as the express image of the Father, does the Son refer to the Son’s nature or person? What does “he” refer to? Why do you assume that the reason why the Son can do nothing of himself that it is because of his nature? That seems arbitrary.

    Eph 1:17 for example denotes the Father a source, this is the point of referring to the God OF Jesus Christ as the Father since Father denotes source. And I think it is referring to eternally since he Father of GLORY is included. God’s glory is eternal. And if the passages only gets me to Nicea then that is sufficient to refute your position which means that one passage packs a whallop.

    I know what the verses say, since any competent reader of English can know as much. What you are claiming is what the passages mean. You seem not to grasp the difference between saying and meaning. I do provide arguments for what I think some passages mean, but at this point it is sufficient to show that your arguments don’t imply your conclusion and rest on non-facts and non-truth preserving inferences, aka fallacies. Simply attacking your arguments doesn’t constitute imposing my views onto the Scriptures. In fact, I am not the one claiming imaginary words in Matt 9 for example. The eisegetical shoe is on the other foot I am afraid.

    I don’t think meant to say those words about assigned relationships, but I do think h wished to express concepts compatible with the ideas. You seem not to be able to grasp the fact that the same ideas can be expressed in different words so that it isn’t necessary to show syntactical isomorphism but only conceptual identity. And yes, in John 15 I think indicating the sending of the Son is economical but not in the theologia I think that is the idea John has in mind. Consequently when you ask or did he mean to say what he actually wrote is therefore a classic example of the fallacy of a false dichotomy.

    Btw, why think that John wrote John since that designation wasn’t added till 200 years after the fact by Trinitarians?

  270. on 14 Jun 2008 at 1:35 amFortigurn

    Perry,

    * No, trinitarians do not affirm that God and Christ are differentiated, they affirm that the PERSONS of GOD THE FATHER and GOD THE SON are differentiated

    * With regard to Scripture speaking of persons, I refer you once again to the use of personal pronouns (when God speaks in the first person it indicates He is one person)

    * First you say that ‘The Trinity wouldn’t have been invoked to answer heresies like Doketism’, then you say ‘Trinitarians did answer Doketism’. I think you need to decide what you believe about the history

    * I have not said that assuming that everythign we know from Ignatius is falsified it would logically follow that he was not a trinitarian. Please read what I write. I have said that the only passages which SEEM to indicate that he is a trinitarian are later interpolations, so that there is in fact NO evidence that he was a trinitarian

    * Please tell me what you mean by ‘the authenticity of the Ignatian corpus has not been in serious doubt’. That’s true for a given value of ‘the Ignatian corpus’, but you don’t explain what that corpus is. Surely you’re not telling me that all of the Ignatian letters are now considered genuine, without any interpolations?

    * Yes some texts of Scripture contain interpolations (typically trinitarian), as I already noted. So what?

    * If you’re going to go against standard academia and claim that Justin Martyr and Irenaeus were trinitarians then that’s not my problem, I’ll simply dismiss your personal opinion. By the way, I am not affirming that either were Unitarians, so the fact that they thought Jesus was a deity isn’t relevant to me

    * Tertullian’s use of the term ‘trinitas’ doesn’t help you because he clearly wasn’t a trinitarian. His was simply one of the developmental steps along the way (see standard commentaries)

    * With regard to Sabellianism you want to say it wasn’t Modalism, yet you acknowledge it was ‘Modalistic Monarchianism’. That’s what I’ve been saying, so there’s no real argument here.

    * Sure Unitarianism wasn’t appealed to in order to settle these disputes. I don’t have a problem with that, because I have the 1st century writings to go on, in which Unitarianism was frequently invoked to establish the identity of God.

    * Of course my claim extended into the 4th century. What’s your point? I already said that the trinity wasn’t invoked to settle doctrinal disagreement until the 4th century

    * If you don’t think the creeds are indicative of the development of doctrine then you have placed yourself completely outside the recognized scholarship on the subject, well beyond even the fringe. To argue that these doctrines did not develop is to retreat to a position which so archaic it predates even the 19th century (which is when it was generally rejected, even by the Catholic Church)

    * I don’t claim any doctrinal development to support my beliefs, so you can’t attack them on those grounds

    * It’s not simply my claim that the trinity was the product of doctrinal development, this is a standard claim of current trinitarian scholarship. And it’s not based on increasing complexity or ‘more sophisticated later expressions’, it’s based on clear evidence of concepts not even being hinted at in previous writings, then invented by specific individuals and only creedalized much later after heated dispute. You’re not drawing a valid analogy.

    * I haven’t made any fallacious appeals to authority. I haven’t named any specific authorities. I’ve simply pointed out that this concept of doctrinal development is not an ad hoc claim I’ve invented to support my argument, it’s well recognized by standard scholarship. The fact that you dismiss it because it’s incompatible with your theology is an example of bias

    * You ask, ‘If Trinitarianism was the product of considerable doctrinal drift, why not also think that Unitarianism wasn’t also the product of considerable doctrinal drift?’ Easy, because there’s absolutely no evidence for it. The Jews were always Unitarians (and still are), and so were the 1st century Christians. There’s no evidence for doctrinal drift from polytheism (or anything else), to Unitarianism

    * You ask, ‘Moreover, if Trinitarianism was the product of “considerable doctrinal drift” what does this say about the canon and textual preservation by Trinitarians’. Well it doesn’t say much. It does say that we have to be very careful in our historical investigations of the canon, since the trinitarians weren’t very good at determining what was and what wasn’t Scripture. In fact the closer we get to the trinity, and the further we go along from the date that the trinity was formalized, the more disagreement appears among trintiarians as to what constitutes the canon. So certainly we can’t rely on trinitarians for this information, they were increasingly confused and couldn’t agree among themselves

    * You say, ‘God is immortal and therefore God can’t be mortal. That in sum has been his argument’. That is in fact the statement of Scripture. This has nothing to do with Platonism. Persons aren’t essences (despite your attempt to use Christ’s nature as a person), but their essence or nature is an essential part of them. Remove the nature, and there is no person. When the body dies, the person dies. This is all Scripture. There’s no room here for your philosophizing. You’re simply inventing ad hoc arguments as a retrofit of your belief to Scripture

    * You say, ‘ I affirm that a divine person (God) experienced death and so died’, but that’s not what the Bible says, so I can safely ignore this

    * You commit the fallacy of equivocation by repeating your argument ‘natures can’t die’, where you interpret ‘can’t die’ as an act of volition. But that’s not how ‘die’ is commonly used. When we say that a plant died we don’t mean that it performed an act of volition. Likewise, to say that a nature died is to say that it underwent the experience of death. The fact that you deny that any nature can die puts you at odds not only with Scripture but even with standard trinitarian teaching (but I’m sure you’re aware of this)

    * You ask, ‘Even if I said that God dies in an inexplicable way, why is that any more problematic than saying that God creates, as Sean does, in an inexepliable way’. It’s problematic because Scripture tells us that God is immortal, so He cannot die. It doesn’t say ‘God cannot die except in an inexplicable way’. But it does say that God can and does create, so for Sean to say that the MEANS by which he does so is inexplicable is completely different to your claim. Once more you draw a false analogy

    * Sorry, but your appeal to Acts 20:28 (a well known textual corruption), is invalid. God doesn’t have blood, didn’t have blood, never had had blood, and doesn’t shed blood

    * You say, ‘I don’t wish to treat one thing as a nature at one point and then a person at another point’, but that’s exactly what you do (though you call it ‘consistently distinguish this is hypostatic and this is essential’)

    * You say, ‘Actually Jesus grew weak in and via his humanity’, but Scripture never says this. It says JESUS wept, JESUS was weary, JESUS slept, JESUS died. It never makes the distinctions you do. You’re not using Biblical language, because you don’t believe what the apostles wrote.

    Just look at this:

    ‘Rather Jesus prays with the human capacity or power of prayer, which makes this activity performed by a divine person genuinely human. Furthermore, it recapitulates humanity so as to set it aright from the inside out’

    The Bible says nothing about any of this. This is all ad hoc philosophizing which attempts to retrofit your doctrines onto Scripture. You have to show me where THE BIBLE gives this explanation. It doesn’t. You’re simply assuming your conclusion and then attempting to rationalize it.

    * You say, ‘Dying can be an act’, yes it can be an act of a person, but when the person dies the nature likewise dies

    * If you don’t subscribe to the penal model of the atonement, then I suggest you stop appealing to its arguments and language. You haven’t previously identified yourself as holding to the Christus Victor model, so it’s wrong to suggest that you have and I just haven’t read you correctly

  271. on 14 Jun 2008 at 2:06 amMark

    I don’t have time to address every single point in the above torrent of words. Most of them are of the “straw man” variety, arguing against points which none of us have made. So I will pick a few of the more pertinent ones.

    “God the Son” is a technical term that carries with it a formal definition. The Bible gives no formal definitions and doesn’t use technical theological terminology so noting that the term isn’t present is irrelevant since the Bible doesn’t give a formal definition of what constitutes “Son of God” either.

    With all due respect, this is patently false. The Bible gives a very clear definition of what “Son of God” means.
    Luke 1:
    30 And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God.
    31 And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS.
    32 He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David:
    33 And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.
    34 Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?
    35 And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.

    This is in addition to the prophecy from Psalm 2:7, “I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee.

    If Trinitarianism was the product of considerable doctrinal drift, why not also think that Unitarianism wasn’t also the product of considerable doctrinal drift? Assuming that the NT authors were Unitarian won’t help either since it is exactly the Jewish claim that they were subject to “considerable doctrinal drift.”

    Because the “drift” started from the clear, simple belief that God is one person, and Jesus Christ is His Son. It “drifted” to the Trinitarian model after the canon of the Bible was complete. This is historically verified, it is not just a Jewish claim.

    Further, it seems odd that the Jewish leadership didn’t know this when they exclaim, “And the scribes and the Pharisees began to reason, saying, Who is this which speaketh blasphemies? Who can forgive sins, but God alone?”

    Remember, that in response to that accusation, Jesus pointed out that the Son was given that power.
    Mark 2:
    7 Why doth this man thus speak blasphemies? who can forgive sins but God only?
    8 And immediately when Jesus perceived in his spirit that they so reasoned within themselves, he said unto them, Why reason ye these things in your hearts?
    9 Whether is it easier to say to the sick of the palsy, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and take up thy bed, and walk?
    10 But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (he saith to the sick of the palsy,)
    11 I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy bed, and go thy way into thine house.

    I didn’t just contradict myself as you claim when you wrote “Er Perry, you just said it doesn’t mean X, then quoted the passage where it explicitly says X.” Why not? Because the idea of granting life and granting to have life *in oneself* are not the same ideas. My parents grant life to me but they do not grant me to have life OF MYSELF. Mark conflated the two ideas and hence mangled the text, and your accusation depends on confusing with what is not actually written there. So I didn’t just deny what the text explicitlysays because the text explicitly says something different than what Mark claimed.

    I didn’t conflate anything. The text doesn’t say anything about having life *OF* themselves. It says “in himself” in both places.
    John 5:26 – “For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself.”

    It doesn’t matter if I use the same arguments as the apostles to prove the Trinity (at points I do) since the same truth can be logically defended by multiple and different arguments. All roads lead to Rome as it were. The road may be different but as long as the the destination is the same,there isn’t a problem. By the same token I don’t see the Apostles or any of their disciples teaching Unitarianism nor using any of the traditional arguments Unitarians used since their rise in the 17th century.

    The arguments that the 17th century unitarians made were in order to refute the by-then-established doctrine of the Trinity. But as you say, the word “unitarian” isn’t in the Bible, just like the word “trinity,” so we are both faced with the task of proving from the Scriptures what the apostles and Jesus taught and believed. The definition of “Son of God” above is pretty clear. In addition, Jesus is called “God” only twice for sure, and we have argued back and forth about the representational sense in which he is so called. But compare those two verses with the hundreds of times he is called “the Son of God” and NOT ONCE called “God the Son.” The apostles also referred many times to the differences between God and Jesus, not just between the Father and the Son as two persons in one God. I contend that it DOES matter if you use the same arguments as the apostles, because if you don’t you may not be saying or believing the same things as they and Jesus did.

    In reality, it is Christ’s ontological revelation of Himself that determines the reality of what Abraham believed about God’s nature and it is not the case that what Abraham believed about the nature of God determines the ontological nature of Christ.

    But if you contend that the ontological nature of God was revealed to be different from what Abraham and/or the Jews believed, I ask you to demonstrate where that revelation was given. You refer to Christ’s ontological nature of himself. I still challenge you to show FROM THE SCRIPTURES where Jesus believed in one God in three persons, or where he is believed by anyone else to be such.

    Brant made this point in the debate when he pointed out the fact that the Jews would not have believed that the Messiah’s body would replace the temple. Please note that Sean never dealt with this problem in the unitarian reasoning- and I doubt anyone else will either.

    Actually, he did deal with it, and so did several posters on this thread. The Jews did not believe that Messiah’s body would replace the temple, but this was revealed in the Scriptures, especially Paul’s Epistles. Likewise the change from Old Covenant observances to New, and the fact that Gentiles would be part of the Body of Christ. Also the fact that Messiah would have to die for our sins before setting up the Kingdom (this is why many Jews did not believe he was the Messiah). All these things were revealed and expounded on in the New Testament Scriptures. But there is NOWHERE in the NT where the ontological nature of God is revealed to be three-in-one, or where Jesus is said to have two natures. It’s simply not there. The best you can do is quote post Biblical writings, and read it into the Scriptures that you quote, using (questionable) logical syllogisms to show how those Scriptures fit with your presuppositional doctrine.

    You may be comfortable basing your doctrine on extra-Biblical writings, but I am not. And it may not be as much of a stretch for you to do so if you believe, with the scholars that you mention, that ancient Israel was not monotheistic until much later in their history, or that the Gospel of John was not written by John, or the various other theological ideas which weaken the integrity of the Scriptures. This is a dangerous, slippery slope. Once you go there, what standard to you have for truth?

    Again I say, show me three-in-one from the Scriptures!

  272. on 14 Jun 2008 at 9:21 amFortigurn

    Perry, at the end of the day you have to remember that those here holding to the Unitarian position only follow the Bible. Repeated appeals to church tradition, creeds, ad hoc philosophical formulas retrofitted onto Scripture, just won’t convince.

    You need to show us where the apostles taught the trinity. You need to show us all the places in which they baptized people with the knowledge of the trinity, not just the knowledge that Jesus was a man sent by God, a man authorized by God, a man approved of God, a man raised by God, a man appointed by God, a man through whom God performed miracles.

    At present you’re not doing this. You’re not even trying. You’re telling us that the trinity is true and that we therefore have to interpret the apostolic writings in harmony with it. This is the fallacy of question begging.

    To date you’ve written pages almost without appealing to any Scripture at all. This sets of warning bells for most of us here.

  273. on 14 Jun 2008 at 10:15 amFortigurn

    Perry,

    * ISOS: When ISOS is used in a passage, we have to determine which part of the semantic domain of the word is being applied, and what it means in context. To do this we examine the context (the surrounding verses), and the co-texts (the verses which inform us on the same subject as this verse). That’s standard exegetical methodology. If the context and co-text indicate that it doesn’t or can’t refer to ontological identity, then that’s how we interpret it.

    Yes, distinguishing God from Jesus does mean that ISOS cannot mean ontological identity. If God is distinguished FROM Jesus, and Jesus is distinguished FROM Jesus, then God is P and Jesus is not-P. This means they cannot be ontologically identical. This has nothing to do with ‘inequality of essence’, it has everything to do with the fact that God and Jesus are distinguished repeatedly as P and not-P.

    So this is not ‘an extra textual, extra exegetical and philosophical principle brought to the text’. It’s standard exegetical methodology. This is an exegetical reason for thinking that ISOS does not mean ‘ontological identity’ in the passage under discussion. When no other statements in the Bible identify God and Christ as sharing the same ontological identity, and when many other passages distinguish them as P and not-P, then it is not possible that ISOS here refers to ontological identity unless it contradicts all the other passages.

    * Forgiveness: First of all I didn’t give Nathan as an example of a man authorized to forgiven on God’s behalf. I pointed out that Nathan was permitted to forgive David because God had already forgiven David. Nor did I use Nathan as an example of where a prohibition had been loosed. Naaman being permitted by Elijah to bow in the house of Rimmon is a closer example.

    But as for prohibitions, the apostles were permitted to lift the entire Law of Moses from the Gentiles (who previously had to proselytize and keep the Law), as you can see from Acts 15.

    You say, ‘Can you give me an example of where adultery, idolotry, dishonoring parents, etc. are authorized?’. I don’t need to. I haven’t argued this. I only need to demonstrate that Christ was given authorization from God. I’ve already provided abundant evidence that Christ was authorized from God. Christ was even authorized by God to forgive sins. The apostles were likewise authorized to forgive sins (so ‘Who can forgiven sins but God alone?’ is completely untrue).

    * Blasphemy: Yes, the Jewish leaders didn’t realise a lot of things. Sometimes they did realise them, but they said the complete opposite anyway. They weren’t exactly reliable (yes they were both misinformed at times and awfully stupid at times). So let’s have Christ and the apostle speak instead:

    Matthew 9:
    6 But so that you may know that the Son of Man HAS AUTHORITY on earth to forgive sins” – then he said to the paralytic – “Stand up, take your stretcher, and go home.”
    7 And he stood up and went home.
    8 When the crowd saw this, they were afraid and HONORED GOD who had GIVEN SUCH AUTHORITY TO MEN.

    Textbook Unitarian argument, Jesus had authority to forgive sins, which he received from God. Note once again that God (P), is distinguished from Jesus, and that Jesus is identified as a man (not-P).

    * Revelation: No one is claiming that Jesus revealed all there is to know about God. Your argument here is a strawman. What Jesus revealed was what God revealed to him. So Jesus revealed God. It’s simple, just trust what the Bible says. Don’t fight it.

    * Distinguishing God from Jesus: You’re making the common trinitarian mistake of claiming the Bible only distinguishes the persons of the trinity (God the Father from God the Son, etc). But as I have shown repeatedly, that’s not what the Bible does. It distinguishes GOD from JESUS, it distinguishes CHRIST from GOD. It distinguishes them as P and not-P.

    You say, ‘distinguishing God from Jesus doesn’t imply that isos doesn’t mean ontological identity since the NT denotes “the God” as the Father, while using theos of the Son’, but you don’t actually explain how this solves anything for you. The fact is that God is identified as P, and Jesus is identified as not-P, as you’ve helpfully identified. As you note only the Father is HO THEOS. Thus HO THEOS is one person, the Father, as the apostles tell us repeatedly. Simple.

    * Life in himself: Yes, the granting of having life in himself rules out Christ as deity. He DIDN’T have life in himself (as God does), until GOD (note that, GOD), GRANTED HIM to have life in himself. Your claim that Jesus really meant ‘God the Father has granted God the son to derive his hypostatic existence without contradicting his intrinsic properties’ is simply retrofitting your beliefs to the text.

    This is why I keep asking you to read what the text says. I do this because you keep trying to tell us that what it SAYS is not what it MEANS. But your only reason for doing this is because you believe the trinity is true, and since what the text SAYS contradicts the trinity, you have to try and convince us that we have to interpret the text as MEANING something other than what it says.

    I’m not using any fallacies here. I’m simply pointing out that Jesus says that he was given life in himself, just as God has life in himself. Note that ‘just as’ does not mean ‘in the same way as’, since this life was granted to Christ by God, whereas it was not granted to God by God.

    So you have indeed contradicted yourself. You said it doesn’t mean that Christ was granted life in himself, and then quoted the passage in which it says Christ was granted life in himself. This is part of your campaign to convince us that what the text says is misleading and we have to interpret what it means by first accepting the truth of the trinity. This is classic question begging.

    Your point about the difference between ‘granting life’ and ‘granting life in oneself’ is irrelevant because Scripture tells us that God granted Christ both ‘life’ and ‘life in himself’. Mark has explained himself well, and made it clear that you didn’t really understand him. The text says that God granted Christ to have life in himself. This means that Christ did not previously have life in himself. But God has always had life in himself. Christ is not God, or he would already have had life in himself.

    * Glory: You didn’t actually answer my question here, but you implied that the glory in question was the external glory which Moses saw. I need you to provide the passages which say this, and provide also the passages which say that people saw this external glory when Jesus was on the cross. Thanks.

    * The arguments of the apostles: Yes it does matter if you don’t use the arguments of the apostles. It matters because if you can’t teach us the trinity the way they did, then you’re not going to get far. I don’t think anyone here recognizes the extra-Biblical teachers as having the same authority as the apostles (remember, we’re not Orthodox). I have never found a trinitarian who can teach me the trinity the way the apostles did. I have never found a trinitarian who can show me that the apostles baptized anyone with the knowledge of the trinity.

    On the other hand, I can find plenty of examples that the apostles and Christ used the same arguments as Unitarians:

    * Both distinguish GOD from JESUS

    * Both identify God as THE FATHER, and identify Christ as A MAN, the SON of God

    * Both identify Christ as the AGENT of God

    * Christ specifically counters the claim that he was calling himself God by using a stock verse used by Unitarians, pointing out that God Himself referred to the judges of Israel as ‘elohim’ and this didn’t mean they were God

    * Both Christ and the apostles point out that Christ really died (not ‘the person Christ but not his nature’, not ‘His divine nature’, not ‘Only his mortal nature’, not ‘One of his hypostases’, and not ‘God experienced death in an inexplicable way’), and the apostles identify God as incapable of death (immortal)

    * Both identify Christ as a MAN who was APPROVED, APPOINTED, AUTHORIZED, and RAISED by GOD

    In fact I’ve been using nothing but apostolic arguments in this entire discussion. Do you note that they always refer to God using the singular personal pronoun, just like Unitarians?

    * Honoring the Father: Yes I honor the Father by worshipping (PROSKUNEW), him. I also PROSKUNEW the son.

    * Ignatius: I know that asserting Ignatius wasn’t a trinitarian doesn’t prove he isn’t one. I didn’t merely raise an assertion. And I agree, ‘the fact that there were later forgeries doesn’t imply that the agreed upon texts are forged or aren’t Trinitarian’. I didn’t say that either. You’re still not addressing my point. Please read my post and address my point.

    You say, ‘Further, Christians also produced forged documents of the NT too, does that imply that the NT is false’. No it doesn’t. This is a false analogy since I didn’t say anything like this. I suspect you don’t know as much about logical fallacies as you think.

    The anonymity of the gospel texts doesn’t concern me either. This is a complete red herring. Do find me all the evidence for the Church Fathers citing 1 John 5:7. The overwhelming academic consensus is that they don’t do any such thing.

    Even trinitarian and Greek scholar Daniel Wallace is among those who argue that the earliest supposed reference to 1 John 5:7 (Cyprian, around 258 AD), is in fact evidence against it, and that he isn’t citing the text. It isn’t found until a 4th century Latin text. I suggest you look this up (Metzger is excellent on this).

  274. on 14 Jun 2008 at 12:50 pmCameron

    Fortigurn, in 241 you said Well hey, I could have died then and saved you all. Jesus wasn’t necessary.

    Would you have been a sinless sacrifice? Heb 9:14 “How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death”

    Further, you were born into the Adam’s family (one of death), not born of the Spirit. Those born of Adam die, those born of the Spirit (only due to the perfect Second Adam) live. Rom 5:12 “Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned”

  275. on 14 Jun 2008 at 12:53 pmCameron

    Fortigurn, were you born to a virgin and conceived of by the Holy Spirit? If not, you cannot die for sin for you yourself need a Savior. Yet if you were, then you are a heretic sucking oxygen on planet earth.

  276. on 14 Jun 2008 at 1:25 pmmanuel culwell

    Youtube video I posted against a unitarain and a nice little refutation for the trinitarain also Something for everyone.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RaQxb1OQE58#

  277. on 14 Jun 2008 at 1:36 pmJeff Downs

    I have not observed any response from the Unitarians regarding the Shema and Jesus’ quotation of it. If I remember correctly, this was frequently brought up in the debate and continues to be mentioned in this (LONG) thread.

    Mr. Buzzard stated May I therefore ask the Trinitarians to tell us whether the new revelation about the threefold metaphsical God had been given at the time when Jesus and the Scribe agreed about how many God is? (Mark 12:29)

    Mr. Buzzard comments indicate that he does take the Shema, and subsequently Jesus quotation of it, as addressing the nature of this God.

    I believe Daniel Block does a good job refuting Sean’s and Mr. Buzzard’s understanding of the Shema in How Many is God: An Investigation into the Meaning of Deuteronomy 6:4-5, JETS, 47/2 (June 2004) 193-212.

    Block states “However, the arguments for the unitary interpretation are weak. Moving centrifugally from the word, to the syntax of the sentence, the immediate context, the broader literary context, and finally to the canonical context, at each level we observe features that raise questions about the traditional interpretation.”

    Read his reasons for stating so by clicking the above link

  278. on 14 Jun 2008 at 2:32 pmmanuel culwell

    Jeff Downs writes:

    “I have not observed any response from the Unitarians regarding the Shema and Jesus’ quotation of it.”

    Jeff , Of course you would have to change the meaning of the word God. Your claim of One God is a sham. Your arguments have always been for a plurality of persons within God, not for a plurality of Gods. the shema states; hear O Israel, the LORD our God, is One LORD.(Mark 12:29,Deut.6:4) you can make all the plural calims you wish but it is in never in regards to persons of God. So are we to assume 1/3 person of God, Plus 1/3 person of God, plus 1/3 person of God, equals one full God?

  279. on 14 Jun 2008 at 3:22 pmmanuel culwell

    (Isa. 44:24 KJB) the trinitarain Interpretation: thus saith the LORD, thy redeemer and he(them) that formed thee from the womb,I am the LORD that maketh all things; that stretcheth forth the heavens ALONE;(but with someone) That spreadeth abroad the earth by Myself(You mean themselves)

    There is absolutely no langauge that would satisfy the trinitarain that they could not figure a way to twist nthe scriptures into thier interpretation.

    The Only time the plural pronouns or singular pronouns mean anything are in (Gen. 1:26). Go figure…..

  280. on 14 Jun 2008 at 7:23 pmFortigurn

    Cameron,

    No I wouldn’t have been a sinless sacrifice. But that wasn’t the context of the statement made. The statement claimed that a mortal dying was sufficient to effect the atonement. On those grounds I am more than capable of effecting the atonement.

    By the way, I don’t see anything in the Bible which tells me that Jesus had to be born of a virgin and conceived of the Holy Spirit in order to effect the atonement.

    Christ’s efficacy of the atonement was predicated on his sinless life and his being a human identical to those he came to save. The apostles tell us this repeatedly. Attempts to retrofit the trinity onto the atonement by appealing to an 11th century doctrine (penal substitution), are completely invalid.

    Jeff, anyone who needs to write 20 pages in order to try and explain how six words don’t contradict the trinity is trying too hard. I don’t see any evidence that Block’s understanding of the Shema has been accepted by the scholarly consensus.

  281. on 15 Jun 2008 at 12:35 amCameron

    Fortigurn, nevertheless, your statement is incomplete as to what is needed for atonement, thus it is still inaccurate. Even by your own admission you would not be a perfect Savior, and on that ground alone, not a sufficient one. I think a better argument would be, “If I were perfect, then I could suffice as a Savior because I am human.” This is still only assuming too much. Even with Scripture, we have only peaked at why Christ, as the God-Man, offers a sufficient atonement. Yet, the atonement seems to be as cut and dry as a laundry list to you.

    In addition, Christ also raises Himself from the dead, proving us to be without sin (Rom 4:25, 1 Cor 15:17), and forever lives to intercede on our behalf, all of which secures His salvific work to us. Would you do those things to?

    The statement claimed that a mortal dying was sufficient to effect the atonement. On those grounds I am more than capable of effecting the atonement. No, you are not “more than capable” on those grounds. You only fulfill one of multiple aspects. And, Yes, it is precisely on “those grounds” that Jesus Himself can effect the atonement since He was fully man. Again, being fully man is only one requirement. So you agree Jesus was as much human as you. Congratulations. So do trinitarians. They only believe more than that.

  282. on 15 Jun 2008 at 1:12 amRon S.

    Greetings everyone!

    It has taken me several days to listen to the original audio debates and read through the nearly 300 COMMENTS here in this LONG, LONG thread. And my first thought is WOW! This has to be setting some kind of record for the kingdomready blog in attendance/site traffic!

    In starting out I’d like to post just a few comments and personal thoughts regarding everything I’ve heard and read so far.

    First I think Sean did an excellent job during the debate itself. He presented excellent, intelligent, common sense points and handled himself with politeness and a respectful attitude towards his debate opponent. However I did not perceive a reciprocal attitude coming from his opposition. I thought Brant came across as haughty and bombastic with an overall attitude that was overly pompous. Pat’s comments back in post #12 regarding this are spot on. And while I don’t believe this is common with all knowledgeable trinitarians, that kind of pretentiousness has certainly transferred itself in many of the comments I’ve read here.

    Speaking of the comments posted here, I must congratulate Fortigurn on the immensely impressive job he’s done here in these debates. Well, WELL done sir! Also kudos to Mark, Frank D, & JohnO among others. Keep up the good fight! For the opposition, I have to give some praise to “Scott” for his tenacity and ability to present his points without being overly snide or grandiose. And certainly without the typical name calling and derision. Thank you sir for your level of decorum.

    Additionally I do find it interesting that a “Oneness” believer found his way into this thread and has been looking to mix it up with both trinitarian and unitarian camps. Though it seems he’s been getting a deaf ear from any trinitarian so far. 🙂

    Ron S.

  283. on 15 Jun 2008 at 1:51 amRon S.

    Here’s the first question I would like to ask of our trinitarian visitors.

    If a real human “Son of God” (Adam) brought about sin (and death through sin) from his disobedience, then why was it necessary for God to put on human nature in the “person” of God the Son and come down and rescue us from that problem?

    Wouldn’t it be more logical for a second “Son of God” that was on par with the first (before his disobedience) to be all that would be required to succeed the failure of the first? Especially in light of the promise of Gen 3:15 and Deut 18:15?

    Thanks.

  284. on 15 Jun 2008 at 4:51 amBing Reyes

    Hi Sean, I heard it all and I would like to congratulate you for keeping your cool during the process. The SHEMA which Jesus recited was the most solid proof that our Lord is like us, very human, was tempted at all fronts, yet without sin, the second ADAM who disciplined and trained His mind to obey the WORD of His Father.

    My question before to Trinitarians was . . . what happened to God when Jesus died? When He was on the cross, calling for God to whom was He talking? And my trinitarian friends could not give me a good accetable response.

    Can I give my thoughts . . . Moses said that God would raise up a man like he was. The Jews to this day were and are still waiting for their human king, of the seed of David. The Lord is my brother according to the Word, the first among many brethren. God can not be my brother. One more thing, the believers of today were also, like Jesus was in the foreknowledge of God (Ephesians).

    John 14:12 . . . who can do greater greater works than God? Did Jesus really said this? . . . And will we be God in our changed bodies as our bodies wil be fashined like His glorious body and with a perfect mind, never sinning again . . . when He appears? I don’t think so. God is GOD and He is only one. I thank God for helping me accept the true doctrine. And I would like to thank your father as he inspired me to read (he taught us to ask God for understading whenever we read the Bible) and understand the Word of God. We have a great God. Praise Him.

  285. on 15 Jun 2008 at 5:30 amFortigurn

    Cameron,

    Of course my statement as it stands was inaccurate. That’s because it was predicated on an inaccurate basis suggested by a trinitarian. I’ve made it clear I don’t believe that.

    So when you say, ‘No, you are not “more than capable” on those grounds’, the answer is ‘Yes I am more than capable, on those grounds’, where ‘those grounds’ are ‘a mortal human’.

    Yes, I believe the atonement is a very cut and dry issue. Why? Because the apostles were utterly explicit about it, and express exactly the same teaching on it time after time after time. There’s simply no room for speculation, and there’s no need to add to what they wrote. What’s wrong with what they wrote? Why not just accept what they wrote?

    And no, Christ did not raise himself from the dead. The apostles ONLY taught that GOD raised Jesus from the dead, distinguished God from Jesus, and further identified the God who raised Jesus from the dead as one person, the Father:

    * Acts 2:24
    Whom GOD raised up

    * Acts 2:32
    This Jesus has been raised up BY GOD

    * Acts 3:15
    whom GOD has raised from the dead

    * Acts 3:26
    To you first GOD having raised up HIS SON JESUS

    * Acts 4:10
    Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom GOD raised from the dead

    * Acts 5:30
    The GOD OF OUR FATHERS raised up Jesus

    * Acts 10:40
    Him GOD raised up

    * Acts 13:30
    But GOD raised him up from the dead

    * Acts 13:33
    GOD has fulfilled this unto us their children, in that HE has raised up Jesus again

    * Acts 13:34
    HE [context indicates God] raised him up from the dead

    * Acts 13:37
    But he, whom GOD raised again

    * Romans 4:24
    HIM [context indicates God] that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead

    * Romans 6:4
    Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of THE FATHER

    * Romans 10:9
    GOD has raised him from the dead

    * I Corinthians 6:14
    GOD has raised up the Lord

    * Galatians 1:1
    GOD, THE FATHER, who raised him from the dead

    * Colossians 2:12
    GOD, who has raised him from the dead

    Not once did they say Christ raised himself. For the apostles, ‘God’ meant ‘the Father’, not Jesus.

    You say:

    ‘So you agree Jesus was as much human as you. Congratulations. So do trinitarians. They only believe more than that.’

    Well no you don’t believe that Jesus was as much human as I. You don’t even believe he could die, be tempted, or sin. You don’t believe he was a human being, you believe he was God who added mortal nature to himself. That’s not a human being by anyone’s definition.

  286. on 16 Jun 2008 at 5:52 amTim Locke

    I’ve only gotten to post 42 so far, but I want to posit a couple of ideas now because it may take me a week to get through the rest and I may lose track of this by then.

    Regarding the nature of God, Romans 1:20 states that, “God’s invisible qualities, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly observed in what he made.”

    If God’s divine nature has been clearly observed in the universe, where do we clearly observe anything modelling the Trinity? Not in mathematics, physics, chemistry or biology. Analogies between things existing in nature and the Trinity, such as water having three states, are only superficial and do not work in depth.

    I will describe my other idea in the next post.

  287. on 16 Jun 2008 at 6:29 amTim Locke

    My second idea:

    Sean pointed out Isaiah 45:5-6 in post 37:

    5 “I am Yahweh, and there is no other; Besides Me there is no God. I will gird you, though you have not known Me; 6 That men may know from the rising to the setting of the sun That there is no one besides Me. I am the Yahweh, and there is no other,

    This passage states (paraphrasing) that Yahweh is the only God.

    2 Kings19:19 states:

    19 Now therefore, Yahweh our God, save us, I beg you, out of his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you, Yahweh, are God alone.

    This verse states (paraphrasing) that Yahweh alone is God. (See also 2 Kings 19:15, Isa. 37:16)

    I thought this was interesting because I had always assumed that Yahweh is the name of Jesus’ Father. I think Unitarians would say that Yahweh is God’s name. I think Trinitarians also take Yahweh as being God’s name but presumably not the name of ‘God the Father’ because the Father could not Himself say, “I am the only God” or “I am God alone”.

    Next, in John 8:54 (right before the ‘I AM’ statement), Jesus says, “… It is my Father who glorifies me, of whom you say, ‘He is our God.'”.

    If the God of the Jews is Yahweh (Isa. 45:5-7) and Jesus is stating here (John 8:54) that his Father is He whom the Jews say is their God, does this not show that his Father is Yahweh, and therefore his Father’s name is Yahweh?

    Does this not cause a problem for Trinitarians to have one of their persons of the Trinity, ‘God the Father’, directly linked to Yahweh who alone is the only God? How can ‘God the Son’ or ‘God the Holy Spirit’ fit into this?

    Another question to Trinitarians is, “What is the Father’s name?”.

    I hope I was able to explain my idea clearly enough.

  288. on 16 Jun 2008 at 7:23 amJeff Downs

    Fortigurn states:

    Jeff, anyone who needs to write 20 pages in order to try and explain how six words don’t contradict the trinity is trying too hard.

    First, with all your comments in this thread, you are simply trying too hard to support your position (so what you’ve said, simply must not be true). Second, is this really what Block was trying to accomplish with his article? I did read it that way. Third, with your comment above, I assume that you do not read scholarly literature, since this is what a lot of scholarly literature (i.e. journals) are about (getting at the details, putting ideas to the test (peer review).

    “…I don’t see any evidence that Block’s understanding of the Shema has been accepted by the scholarly consensus.”

    First, your statement strikes as though scholarly consensus is a requirement for a proper Biblical exegesis? Second, I can only assume (from your comment above) that you have not read the scholarly literature on this issue (since all scholarly literature that is this specified, would be trying too hard and therefore not legitimate). If you have read critiques of Block position, can you please direct us to them, and how do you come to the conclusion that what you’ve read is the “scholarly consensus.”

    From my reading of Block, he makes a good case for his position and he does it “from the word, to the syntax of the sentence, the immediate context, the broader literary context, and finally to the canonical context.”

    Sean, Anthony and other Unitarians continue to make comments such as “Jesus explicitly confessed faith in the Jewish understanding of God when he agreed with the non-trinitarian scribe in Mark 12.29 on who God is” (Sean in post #13, emphasis mine) “…when Jesus and the Scribe agreed about how many God is? (Mark 12:29)” (Anthony in post # 260, emphasis mine) These are simply a false statements as Block clearly points out in his article when he states “we should not make more of Jesus’ statement than the present context demands…his debate with the scribe does not concern the nature of God or his unity/multiplicity [as the Unitarians suppose he is]. The issue is which commandment is the most important of all (v. 28, (emphasis mine).”

    Since, you, nor anyone else have actually said anything in response to Block’s article, I believe his position is well made and stands!

  289. on 16 Jun 2008 at 7:36 amJeff Downs

    I can not get into every particular discussion on this thread, but this comment seemed interesting to me:

    Well no you don’t believe that Jesus was as much human as I. You don’t even believe he could die, be tempted, or sin. You don’t believe he was a human being, you believe he was God who added mortal nature to himself. That’s not a human being by anyone’s definition (Fortigurn, post # 284).

    You are obviously giving us (certainly not a full one) a definition of humanity in you comment above (i.e. the ability to die, sin, be tempted).

    So, in heaven, are changed into something different (i.e. other than human) since these things will not be part of our eternal home?

    I would simply disagree with you, that to be human includes the ability to do and experience such things. This of course would transfer over into Christology as it has yours. And it was mentioned in the debate that, if the above is essential to being human, Jesus now, has the ability to sin, ability to be tempted, ability to die). Which we know is certainly not the case.

    It appear to me that you will, in the least, have to adjust you definition of “human.”

  290. on 16 Jun 2008 at 9:38 amJeff Downs

    If God’s divine nature has been clearly observed in the universe, where do we clearly observe anything modelling the Trinity? Not in mathematics, physics, chemistry or biology. Analogies between things existing in nature and the Trinity, such as water having three states, are only superficial and do not work in depth.

    I can only assume that Mr. Locke has not done much reading on the subject. Tim, let me recommend you take a look at an old book The Trinity in the Universe, by Nathan Wood. Also take a look at John Frame book The Doctrine of God and Frame’s Trinitarian Analogies.

    This is a good start. I don’t know what you mean by “work in depth” because all analogies break down, this is the nature of an anology. By the way most Trinitarian thinkers do not use the water analogy because it does not address Trinitarianism. But this again seems to me, an indication you haven’t read much on the subject.

  291. on 16 Jun 2008 at 9:47 amJeff Downs

    Mr. Locke, I would also recommend you take a look at this article “The Irrationality of Unbelief: An Exegetical Study,” by Scott Oliphint in Revelation and Reason New Essays in Reformed Apologetics, Ed. K. Scott Oliphint & Lane G. Tipton (P&R, May 2007; ISBN#: 9-78087-55259-69). This is an exegetical look at Roman 1:18-23.

  292. on 16 Jun 2008 at 10:40 amFrank D

    Jeff wrote:

    I can only assume that Mr. Locke has not done much reading on the subject.

    What has bothered me the most about this debate is the insistance that one needs a certain level of education or study to accend the heights of understanding the trinity. Maybe the trinity just doesn’t pass the common sense test of the common man.

  293. on 16 Jun 2008 at 1:28 pmJeff Downs

    What has bothered me the most about this debate is the insistance that one needs a certain level of education or study to accend the heights of understanding the trinity.

    Frank, I’ve said nothing of the sort. If that is what you’ve walked away with from my comments, you did not read me right. So, I guess you are correct in one sense; you do need to be able to follow what one is saying to make sense out of it.

    I’m certainly not going to repeat what I’ve said above to Mr. Locke and others. He was clear, and my response was clear.

    By the way, are you going to make the same criticism of the Unitarians here and their claim(s) that the majority of scholarhip is on their side (as if, if you disagree with the majority of scholarship you are just wrong. Implication is, you need to keep up with scholarship).

    Maybe the trinity just doesn’t pass the common sense test of the common man.

    I don’t know who the “common man” is, but most atheist I talk to would say the existence of God goes against common sense. They need a heart change, as do those who teach a different god (which is no god at all).

    But you state this as if it is a criticism. As if, simply because the common man does not understand the trinity, it must not make (common) sense, and therefore the doctrine is wrong.

    This to was addressed in the debate Frank. Scripture is our authority not our own common sense. We (try) to take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. So our epistemology is not grounded in our own selves, it is grounded God’s revelation.

  294. on 16 Jun 2008 at 3:12 pmMark

    This to was addressed in the debate Frank. Scripture is our authority not our own common sense. We (try) to take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. So our epistemology is not grounded in our own selves, it is grounded God’s revelation.

    Then show me where in God’s revelation the word one ever means one consisting of three. I’m still waiting.

  295. on 16 Jun 2008 at 5:05 pmScott

    Mark,
    I found the paragraph below instructive on the use of echad and it’s elasticity as a word. As the author concludes echad can at time mean a singularity and at other times a unity:

    “Defining Echad As Plurality
    Deuteronomy[1][1] 6:4, the watchword of the faith, tells us “YHVH, Eloheinu[2][2] [our Elohim[3][3]], YHVH is one.” The Hebrew word used for one is echad. People love to quote teachers who tell us echad means a unity. However, it does not always mean a unity; nor, it does not always mean a singularity either. We must carefully address the context of the passage or sentence in order to determine if echad is declaring a unity or a singularity. Genesis[4][4] 1:5, 2:24, and 11:6 provide three examples where echad is a unity, as opposed to a singularity. For instance, in Genesis 1:5, one morning and one evening constitutes one day. In Genesis 2:24, a woman and one man create one flesh; meanwhile in Genesis 11:6, the whole of humanity is considered one people. As shown, in all three examples given, the idea of completion or the coming-together can be easily seen.”

    Clearly when it is said that one man and one woman (2 individuals) become echad it is not the point that they become a singularity (1 and only 1 individual). It would be foolish to argue against the ontological reality of this union because of a POSSIBLE grammatical meaning- especially when other grammatical meanings exist. This is what unitarians do when they insist that they know the ontological nature of God as a singularity because they grab on to one of the POSSIBLE meanings of echad. Both Trinitarians and Unitarians agree that God is one or echad. Trinitarians read the whole of scripture and let the broader theological and textual realities clarify the grammatical ambiguity of what it means for God to be one. Besides appeals to ambiguous grammar what theological and textual realities spell out that God is a singularity and not a trinity? If we must spell out our position please spell out your own first- then you have some real credibility beyond the ability to count up the number of verses that say that God is one- a concept we heartily agree with.

  296. on 16 Jun 2008 at 7:32 pmFrank D

    Jeff said:

    Scripture is our authority not our own common sense. We (try) to take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. So our epistemology is not grounded in our own selves, it is grounded God’s revelation.

    Excellent, lets put aside the extracurricular reading assignments then and address God’s scripture. Here is a train of thought that has always bugged me. I would greatly appreciate the thoughts of Unitarians, Trinitarians, and Oneness believers on this subject: Jesus is not referred to as “God himself shall be with them” in Rev 21 but, at this point in Revelation, Jesus has been living and reigning with the believers for over a thousand years. Please allow me to present this through scripture:

    1. 1 Thess 4: 13But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. 14For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. 15For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. 16For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 17Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

    Jesus the Messiah is coming back! I think we all can agree on that. Notice that after that event, “so shall we ever be with the Lord”

    2. Rev 5: 9And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; 10And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.

    Notice that the song being sung is about every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation. Those kindred, tongue, people and nations will be kings and priests on the Earth. (So shall we ever be with the Lord!)

    3. Rev 20: 1And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. 2And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, 3And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season. 4And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.

    Here we have scripture with believers living and reigning with Christ. Rev 5:10 says the reigning will occur on Earth. So, up to Rev 20:4, Christ is on Earth for a thousand years reigning with the resurrected saints.

    Rev 20:7-15 describes what occurs on Earth after the thousand year reign (on Earth) of Christ is over. Skip ahead now to…

    4. Rev 21: 1And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. 2And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.

    Christ has been reigning on the Earth for a thousand years plus a short time. But, the revelation given to John says after death and Satan are thrown into the lake of fire and new Jerusalem comes down from God out of heaven, THEN “God himself shall be with them”.

    If Jesus is god, or a triune member of the godhead, why isn’t the period where he is reigning on Earth a time when “God himself shall be with them”? Why is it only after the last enemy is destroyed and everything is under Jesus’ feet that Jesus can now offer it up to God so YHWH can now be “all in all”?

    Am I out to lunch on this? And please, don’t refer me to my public library, Barnes and Noble or online links. Lets put the scripture where our mouth is and develop whatever arguments you have out of God’s word.

  297. on 16 Jun 2008 at 8:13 pmmanuel culwell

    Frank wrote:
    “Jesus the Messiah is coming back! I think we all can agree on that. Notice that after that event, “so shall we ever be with the Lord”

    mlculwell: No, we cannot all agree on that, as I am a* preterist, * you need to look that up before you start asking questions like the ones you just asked, and then you asked if you were Out to lunch on this? Yes, I would say you are out to lunch everything described are metaphors. Jesus rules and reigns in the hearts and Lives of the believer(John 14:16-18) Jesu was the first in the flesh and woulod be the other comforter in the spirit.

    I (Jesus)will not leave you comfortless,(as fatherless orphans) I(Jesus) will come to you.(as the holy ghost, the father Math:1:18-20)Verse 26The comforter which is the Holy ghost.(1st. cor. 3:17) the Lord is that Spirit. jesu was made the Lord. Jesus was given the spirit without measure to take that away is measuring the spirit.(John 3:34)

    “a thousand years” is a metaphor for a long period of time. The scriptures also teaches God owns the Cattle on a thousand hills are you telling me the other thousands hills he does not own those cattle?

    Frank asks:
    Why is it only after the last enemy is destroyed and everything is under Jesus’ feet that Jesus can now offer it up to God so YHWH can now be “all in all”?

    Eph. 5:27 SO THAT HE MIGHT PRESENT IT TO HIMSELF A GLORIOUS EKKlisia WITHOUT SPOT OR WRINKLE.

  298. on 16 Jun 2008 at 8:25 pmmanuel culwell

    Jesus was made God Because his humanity had a beggining. The passages that say so.

    (Matth. 28: 18) All power in heaven earth is given unto me. yes, He was *given the power* because he had none(John 5;30) But, if he had it all, nobody else has any.

    (1st. Cor. 15:45) the last (man) Adam was made the life giving Spirit. There are not two of those.

    (John 3:34) God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him. To take any part is measuring.

    (Acts 2:36 ) he was made both Lord and christ.(1st. Cor. 3:17 now the Lord is that spirit.

  299. on 16 Jun 2008 at 10:32 pmCameron

    Fortigurn, you remind me of Jw’s who are just bible readers, not bible students. Jw’s usually want to be proven that the Holy Spirit is a person. Yet, God, nor the Father, is never even referred to as a person in Scripture. Not once. Yet, God, the Father God, and the Spirit are inferred to have person-hood by consulting the same criterion, for the same biblical reasons.

    you said, ‘Yes I am more than capable, on those grounds’, where ‘those grounds’ are ‘a mortal human’.
    Again, Scripture does not teach that atonement is satisfied by a mere mortal death, but furthermore a perfect one. I believe there is way more to the atonement, but that alone demonstrates that your previous statement was incomplete, thus not accurate. Remember, you specifically stated I could have died and saved you all. Are there any conditions to this statement that would now like to back up on and re-state, or are you perfect Fortigurn?

    You yourself prove the dangers of taking sentences for what they are, negating the deeper meaning, such as with your heretical and confusing statements that only seem to work in your mind such as the one above.

    You say the Apostles only taught that God raised Christ yet Scripture teaches that the Apostles believed what Jesus said! You say John 2:19-20 is a mere parable, but here’s 2 things worth pointing out. 1. Parables have literal meanings conjoined with figurative language. The images used are figurative, but the truths such images convey are literal. Thus, all parables are figuratively literal, same with OT prophecies. 2. Was John’s commentary on Jesus’ words a parable? No! Of course not! In v.21 he interprets Jesus parable! But the temple he had spoken of was his body. 22After he was raised from the dead, his disciples recalled what he had said. Then they believed the Scripture and the words that Jesus had spoken.

    You are going through the lunch line of Scripture and picking which verses you want to use to bolster your Unitarian beliefs. That doesn’t seem very faithful to God’s word.

    you also said, 1.You don’t even believe he could die, 2.be tempted, or sin. 3.You don’t believe he was a human being, you believe he was God who added mortal nature to himself. That’s not a human being by anyone’s definition.

    1.No, Jesus could not die, He gave up His life freely. Part of Jesus’ nature lived after His human nature died, just as with us.

    2.’Tempted’ is a loose translation for the greek word ‘peradzo’, which carries the intonation of being tested from the outside, not a sinful craving from within. So I do believe Jesus could be put in circumstances that usually cause us to sin, while nevertheless sinning. Scripture is not explicit on either view though. Yet, I see more basis to believe He could not sin then could.

    3.You presume to understand the fullness of what it means to be human. Please explain every aspect of it to me in full detail. Explain in full detail what separates humans from animals leaving out no details. Email it to me when you get around to it.

    Scripture teaches that the Logos was God’s nature and became sarx. I did not make these things up. So according to God’s special revelation to us, He became what we are, sarx (human nature and flesh).

  300. on 16 Jun 2008 at 11:52 pmFrank D

    Manuel wrote:

    Jesus rules and reigns in the hearts and Lives of the believer(John 14:16-18)

    How then or when will Jesus rule over the house of Jacob and be given the throne of David if he only rules in the hearts and lives ?

    Luke 1: 30And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. 31And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. 32He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: 33And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.

    manuel wrote: blockquote>(1st. Cor. 15:45) the last (man) Adam was made the life giving Spirit. There are not two of those.

    Let’s read the whole passage. It is obviously talking about receiving a new body at ressurection. It then goes on to use Jesus as an example of what we will receive.

    1 COR 15: 35But some man will say, How are the dead raised up? and with what body do they come? 36Thou fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die: 37And that which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body that shall be, but bare grain, it may chance of wheat, or of some other grain: 38But God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him, and to every seed his own body. 39All flesh is not the same flesh: but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fishes, and another of birds. 40There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. 41There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory. 42So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: 43It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: 44It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. 45And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. 46Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. 47The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven. 48As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. 49And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly. 50Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. 51Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. 55O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? 56The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. 57But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 58Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.

    We all shall be changed and have a body just like his glorious body:

    Phil 3: 20For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: 21Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.

    And when he appears, we shall be like him: Sons (and daughters) of God not the one true God.
    I John 3:2:
    Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.

  301. on 17 Jun 2008 at 5:21 ammanuel culwell

    You have got nothing correct that you wrote, when I have more time I will fix it all. But I can tell you. Jesus was raised By the father as has been written on the is group with many passages as to his powerless humnaity but he was given the Spirit(AKA the Holy ghost, God’s title in action, and was made the Holy Ghost by God giving the Spirit without measure to the glorified man. John 3:34)

    Jesus being made the life giving Spirit, is not him being ressurected, but rather ,he is now the ressurection, and the Life as the Spirit of God(Acts 2:36,1st Cor. 3:`7) he was made Both Lord and christ Now the Lord is that spirit.) You did not touch top side or Bottom of the passages I have given, I really don’t like hearing unproven theories on the sripture second Coming that contradicts scripture.

  302. on 17 Jun 2008 at 8:50 amFortigurn

    Scott,

    ‘I found the paragraph below instructive on the use of echad and it’s elasticity as a word. As the author concludes echad can at time mean a singularity and at other times a unity:

    “Defining Echad As Plurality”‘

    Sorry Scott, but that article commits the all too common fallacy of assuming that just because echad is sometimes used to describe ONE thing which is composed of many things, that echad itself can mean ‘one thing which is composed of many things’. It doesn’t. It doesn’t mean ‘a compound unity’.

    Look at this:

    * ‘For instance, in Genesis 1:5, one morning and one evening constitutes one day’

    In other words, in this passage echad always means ONE. One morning, one evening, one day. ONE. Not ‘a compound unity’ or ‘a plurality’.

    * ‘In Genesis 2:24, a woman and one man create one flesh;’

    In other words, in this passage echad always means ONE. One flesh. ONE. Not ‘a compound unity’ ‘a plurality’.

    * ‘meanwhile in Genesis 11:6, the whole of humanity is considered one people’

    In other words, in this passage echad means ONE. One people. ONE. Not ‘a compound unity’ ‘a plurality’.

    ‘As shown, in all three examples given, the idea of completion or the coming-together can be easily seen.’

    The problem is Scott that ‘the idea of completion or the coming-together’ is NOT indicated by the use of the word echad. It’s indicated by the broader context. This is a very common lexical error.

    Have you ever wondered why no Bible translation ever renders echad as ‘a compound unity’ or ‘a plurality’? The reason is that it doesn’t mean either.

    I suggest you take this to a professional Bible translation and/or Biblical Greek list. The two premier lists are B-Greek (http://www.ibiblio.org/bgreek), and B-Trans (http://www.geocities.com/bible_translation/list). I have been a member of these lists for some years, though I’m not a professional.

    I suggest you post your theory on echad to these lists, and see if it stands up to professional scrutiny. When you have done so, get back to me.

  303. on 17 Jun 2008 at 9:02 amFortigurn

    Jeff,

    * Trying too hard: No Jeff I’m not trying too hard. I’m not the one writing 20 pages on six words in a single verse. I’ve posted dozens of passages of Scripture which say exactly what I believe.

    * Block: If you don’t think that Block was trying to prove that the shema doesn’t contradict the trinity, what do you think he was trying to prove?

    * Scholarly literature: I actually own a collection of over 20 scholarly journals, covering over 100 years (Bibliotheca Sacra among the most important of them).

    * Bibliotheca Sacra, 1934-2005
    * Grace Journal, 1960-1972
    * Grace Theological Journal, 1980-1991
    * Trinity Journal, 1980-2004
    * Master’s Seminary Journal, 1990-2003
    * Journal for Biblical Manhood and Womanhoood, 1995-2005
    * Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society, 1966-2005
    * Westminster Theological Journal, 1950-2005
    * Emmaus Journal, 1991-2004
    * Michigan Theological Journal, 1990-1994
    * Journal of Christian Apologetics, 1997-1998
    * Journal of the Grace Evangelical Society, 1998-2005
    * Chafer Theological Seminary Journal, 1995-2003
    * Conservative Theological Journal, 2000-2004
    * Reformation and Revival, 1992-2003
    * Journal of Ministry and Theology, 1997-2005
    * Detroit Baptist Seminary Journal, 1996-2005
    * Bible and Spade, 1972-2000
    * Christian Apologetics Journal, 1998-2000, 2005
    * Reformed Baptist Theological Review, 2003, 2005
    * Review and Expositor, 1982-2005
    * Global Journal, 1998-1999
    * Ashland Theological Journal, 1991-2005
    * Faith and Mission, 1984-2005
    * Southern Baptist Journal of Theology, 1997-2005

    That doesn’t count the journals I read on JSTOR. I read the relevant scholarly literature regularly, typically once or twice a week.

    No, scholarly consensus is not a requirement for a proper Biblical exegesis. That wasn’t my point. My point was that if Block can’t convince the scholarly consensus (which consists overwhelmingly of other trinitarians), then you’ll understand why it’s reasonable for me to remain unconvinced myself.

    I didn’t say that I had read critiques of Block’s article, and as far as I’m concerned I don’t need to. I don’t find it convincing myself, and there’s an end to it. It’s typical of trinitarian efforts, attempting to explain away 6 words in a single verse with a 20 page explanation, whilst the entire bulk of explicit apostolic preaching goes completely ignored.

    Finally:

    ‘Since, you, nor anyone else have actually said anything in response to Block’s article, I believe his position is well made and stands!’

    Well of course that’s a logical fallacy, isn’t it?

  304. on 17 Jun 2008 at 9:07 amFortigurn

    Jeff,

    ‘You are obviously giving us (certainly not a full one) a definition of humanity in you comment above (i.e. the ability to die, sin, be tempted).’

    ‘So, in heaven, are changed into something different (i.e. other than human) since these things will not be part of our eternal home?’

    Well of course I don’t believe we go to heaven (the earth is our eternal home according to the Bible), but as I’ve already said you’ve misunderstood my point. I didn’t post that as the definition of HUMANITY, but three necessary characteristics of what it means to be a human identical to myself.

    ‘I would simply disagree with you, that to be human includes the ability to do and experience such things.’

    To be a human IDENTICAL TO MYSELF, yes it does. To be a human IDENTICAL TO THOSE HE CAME TO SAVE, Jesus had to be like this. And Scripture tells us repeatedly that he was, and had to be, a human identical to those he came to save. That meant he had to be able to die, be tempted, and sin.

    Hebrews 2:
    14 Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, HE LIKEWISE TOOK PART OF THE SAME, SO THAT through death he could destroy the one who holds the power of death (that is, the devil),
    15 and set free those who were held in slavery all their lives by their fear of death.
    16 For surely his concern is not for angels, but he is concerned for Abraham’s descendants.
    17 THEREFORE HE HAD TO BE MADE LIKE HIS BROTHERS AND SISTERS IN EVERY RESPECT, SO THAT HE COULD BECOME a merciful and faithful high priest in things relating to God, TO MAKE ATONEMENT FOR THE SINS OF THE PEOPLE. 1
    8 FOR SINCE HE HIMSELF SUFFERED WHEN HE WAS TEMPTED, he is able to help those who are tempted.

    Hebrews 4:
    15 For we do not have a high priest incapable of sympathizing with our weaknesses, BUT ONE WHO HAD BEEN TEMPTED IN EVERY WAY JUST AS WE ARE, YET WITHOUT SIN.
    16 THEREFORE LET US CONFIDENTLY APPROACH THE THRONE OF GRACE to receive mercy and find grace whenever we need help.

  305. on 17 Jun 2008 at 9:39 amJeff Downs

    Mark asks

    Then show me where in God’s revelation the word one ever means one consisting of three.

    Apart from the points made by Scott; Mark, where have trinitarians ever said that “one means one consisting of three” or anything like this. This is simply a strawman of the trinitarian position.

  306. on 17 Jun 2008 at 9:46 amSean

    It is true that the word “one” can be used to talk about something that has multiple parts/constituents but this seems to be a distraction from the facts of the matter.

    When Jesus quoted the shema he said, “HEAR, O ISRAEL! THE LORD OUR GOD IS ONE LORD” (Mark 12.29). Thus the point of the shema is that Yahweh is our God and there is only one Yahweh (not two, not three, not four, etc.).

  307. on 17 Jun 2008 at 9:50 amJeff Downs

    I believe, so far, you have posted 57 times.
    Trying too hard: No Jeff I’m not trying too hard. I’m not the one writing 20 pages on six words in a single verse. I’ve posted dozens of passages of Scripture which say exactly what I believe.

    You have simply quoted passages and left it at that, you stated in your own words and interact with others. The point you made above regarding the 20 pages of Block’s article is simply a dumb point, as you well know; now that you acknowledge that you read journals, you know this is exactly what takes place in these publications.

    Block: If you don’t think that Block was trying to prove that the shema doesn’t contradict the trinity… That is not what I said, you have not begun to add to my comments, and I do not have time for these silly games. I thought were wanted to have a serious discussion.

    Block can’t convince the scholarly consensus (which consists overwhelmingly of other trinitarians), then you’ll understand why it’s reasonable for me to remain unconvinced myself

    How do you know he hasn’t convinced the scholarly community?

    didn’t say that I had read critiques of Block’s article, and as far as I’m concerned I don’t need to. I don’t find it convincing myself, and there’s an end to it. It’s typical of trinitarian efforts, attempting to explain away 6 words in a single verse with a 20 page explanation, whilst the entire bulk of explicit apostolic preaching goes completely ignored.

    Well, again, we see no interaction with the article. From my perspective, as I’ve said above, Block makes a convincing case, and I certainly haven’t seen anything from the unitarian side to convince me otherwise.

  308. on 17 Jun 2008 at 9:54 amJeff Downs

    I didn’t post that as the definition of HUMANITY, but three necessary characteristics of what it means to be a human identical to myself.

    Which is exactly what a definition is.

    But, again, you haven’t dealt with my thought, so I guess this is coming to a close. Which is fine with me.

  309. on 17 Jun 2008 at 10:12 amFortigurn

    Jeff,

    * Yes, I have posted at least 57 times. I’m not sure what point you’re trying to make

    * Yes, I read the scholarly literature. No, what Block did is not typical of the scholarly literature except where people are trying to hard. People do not usually write 20 pages attempting to reconcile 6 words with their theology, unless they’re finding it extremely difficult

    * No, I haven’t simply quoted passages and left it at that (and that’s not what I said). I’ve made it clear why they were being posted, I’ve identified their relevance to the points under discussion, and I’ve made the point that I’ve been able to post many passages of Scripture which say exactly what I believe.

    * When I said Block tried to ‘explain how six words don’t contradict the trinity’, you said ‘is this really what Block was trying to accomplish with his article?’. This indicates disagreement with me, that you DIDN’T believe that’s what he was trying to accomplish with his article. So yes, it does indeed seem that you don’t think that Block was trying to prove that the shema doesn’t contradict the trinity.

    If that’s not what you think, then what DO you think Block was trying to achieve with his article?

    * I know he hasn’t convinced the scholarly consensus because his article appeared years ago, and I haven’t seen any acknowledgment of his case reflected in the literature reflecting the current scholarly consensus. And I have the volumes of JETS from 1966-2005 for a start, as you can see.

    From what I can see, out of the 20+ journals I own Block’s article appears in only one (JETS). Nor does any reference to Block’s article appear in any of them (other than JETS). This is significant since most of my journals date to at least the end of 2005. If you have any evidence that Block HAS persuaded the scholarly consensus, I’d be interested in seeing it.

    ‘Apart from the points made by Scott; Mark, where have trinitarians ever said that “one means one consisting of three” or anything like this. This is simply a strawman of the trinitarian position.’

    No Jeff, it’s not. It happens every time trinitarians try to claim that echad means ‘a compound unity’, or ‘a plurality’. There are examples of both in this very discussion.

    Finally:

    ‘Well, again, we see no interaction with the article.’

    There’s no need for me to interact with the article in this place Jeff. You’re not going to be remotely convinced by anything I have to say about it. That’s why I’m directing you to the current scholarly consensus and literature. You can ignore my opinions, but you can’t ignore the scholarly literature.

  310. on 17 Jun 2008 at 10:15 amFortigurn

    Jeff,

    ‘Which is exactly what a definition is.’

    Yes that’s right. In this case I was giving a definition of what it means to be A HUMAN IDENTICAL TO MYSELF. You misread me, and thought I was giving a general definition of what it means to be human. I wasn’t. We have already been through this misunderstanding with other trinitarians in this very page.

    ‘But, again, you haven’t dealt with my thought…’

    Yes I did deal with your thought Jeff. I pointed out that it was irrelevant since you’d misunderstood me.

    I note those passages of Scripture I quoted are still being ignored.

  311. on 17 Jun 2008 at 10:19 amRon S.

    manuel,

    You are a “Oneness” believer are you not?

    If so, can you please clarify how you perceive the “Oneness” position in who are God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit?

    I’ve always understood that the Oneness belief views God as one God presenting himself either as Yahweh/the Father, Jesus, or the Holy Spirit. That there are not three “persons” that are all God in the Godhead, but just one person – God himself, revealing himself in each of those three ways.

    Is that not correct?

    I ask because I’ve been confused by some of your comments like:

    But I can tell you. Jesus was raised By the father as has been written on the is group with many passages as to his powerless humnaity but he was given the Spirit(AKA the Holy ghost, God’s title in action, and was made the Holy Ghost by God giving the Spirit without measure to the glorified man. John 3:34)

    Here you are saying that Jesus was raised by the Father and was “given” the Holy Ghost. And this is where my confusion comes in – if Jesus is Yahweh, then why is he having to give himself anything? Wouldn’t he already have it? Please explain.

    Thanks!

  312. on 17 Jun 2008 at 10:54 amSean

    Manuel,

    Could you also explain if you believe that Jesus is the same person as the Father (not sure if you believe this) how Jesus had a separate will from the Father which was at odds with God’s will?

    Luke 22:42 saying, “Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done.”

  313. on 17 Jun 2008 at 11:55 amCameron

    Fortigurn, you are assuming that the ability to ‘peradzo’ or tempted (more accurately trans. tested) is equal to the ability to sin. Yet, there is no biblical warrant for it. You can’t just throw out proof texts like Heb 4:15 and say “ah ha! Jesus had the ability to sin!” That is like saying ‘Sleepless In Seattle’ is a horror film. http://youtube.com/watch?v=frUPnZMxr08

    Trinitarians say “amen” to Heb 2:14-18, but also say “amen” to passages which teach that Jesus was the uncreated God and creator of all who took on sarx and limited His attributes to become like us.

    I still don’t understand why Jesus cannot die yet have another nature remain alive, while it is the same for human natures. We are ontologically superior to Jesus in your view.

  314. on 17 Jun 2008 at 12:41 pmMark

    Mark asks

    Then show me where in God’s revelation the word one ever means one consisting of three.

    Apart from the points made by Scott; Mark, where have trinitarians ever said that “one means one consisting of three” or anything like this. This is simply a strawman of the trinitarian position.

    Why do you say, “apart the points made by Scott”? What he said is what I’ve heard most Trinitarians claim to be the proof from the Scripture that one God could consist of three persons. Do you have a different definition? Do you not define the Trinity as One God in three persons, or three persons in one God? I have simply challenged you and the others to provide documentation of this concept from the Bible.

  315. on 17 Jun 2008 at 12:51 pmMark

    I still don’t understand why Jesus cannot die yet have another nature remain alive, while it is the same for human natures. We are ontologically superior to Jesus in your view.

    As was pointed out before, this contradicts the true Biblical teaching about death. But this gets into another whole area of theology and this thread is way too long already.

    But briefly, the Bible does not teach that there is a part of man that lives on after death. This idea came from paganism and especially Greek philosophy, not Scripture. The Bible teaches that the whole man dies, and is dead and unconscious in sheol/hades until the resurrection.

    Before we get into another 200-post debate about it, I urge you to read the resources on Sean’s “death is sleep” page, the link for which you will find at the top of this page.

  316. on 17 Jun 2008 at 4:42 pmScott

    Fortigurn,
    You said,

    “Sorry Scott, but that article commits the all too common fallacy of assuming that just because echad is sometimes used to describe ONE thing which is composed of many things, that echad itself can mean ‘one thing which is composed of many things’. It doesn’t. It doesn’t mean ‘a compound unity’.”

    First, I never said that I believed that echad BY ITSELF meant a compound unity. I also never said it should be translated as a compound unity. I do not recall ever even mentioning that God is appropriately called a “compound unity” so why would I care IF echad did mean this? Echad should be translated as it is- one. And as I have now said many times as a Trinitarian I am perfectly comfortable with the fact that God is one. This is definitional to Trinitarian theology- not in opposition to it.

    I referred to this article to point out the fallacy of those untarians that demand that because echad is used of God he must be singular (non-trinatarian) in his nature. Clearly, from the uses of echad that have already been provided we can see that while it can mean one this does not address the issue of the nature of the oneness it is describing. This can be seen in that it is used in different contexts to refer to different things as one- sometimes these things are clearly a singular one and other times they are not.
    Here is another example of this:

    Exd 24:3 ¶ And Moses came and told the people all the words of the LORD, and all the judgments: and all the people answered with one (echad) voice, and said, All the words which the LORD hath said will we do.

    Clearly, here echad indicates unity- not numerical values. Beyond this echad can mean even other things besides one- it can also mean: each, every, only, an, any, a certain, the one and first. As I have now stated many times- an individual words by themselves have a great degree of elasticity and the ultimate meaning must be determined by the broader context.

    My point is not to positively prove that echad indicates a one of unity or one of singularity- my point is that echad by ITSELF does not necessarily reveal the ontological nature of anything that it is describing. This defeats the unitarian position which rests on the unfounded grammatical argument that the use of echad must mean that God is ontologically one and singular. In this it is the unitarian that has committed the lexical error.

    Sean,
    You said,
    “It is true that the word “one” can be used to talk about something that has multiple parts/constituents but this seems to be a distraction from the facts of the matter.”

    Thank you for admitting what Fortigurn seems reluctant to do.

    You also said,
    “When Jesus quoted the shema he said, “HEAR, O ISRAEL! THE LORD OUR GOD IS ONE LORD” (Mark 12.29). Thus the point of the shema is that Yahweh is our God and there is only one Yahweh (not two, not three, not four, etc.).”

    You are right on here. This is a devastating argument against tri-theism that all Trinitarians will say a hearty amen to.

  317. on 17 Jun 2008 at 5:08 pmmanuel culwell

    Sean writes:

    “Manuel,

    Could you also explain if you believe that Jesus is the same person as the Father (not sure if you believe this) how Jesus had a separate will from the Father which was at odds with God’s will?

    Luke 22:42 saying, “Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done.”

    mlculwell: Sean, Would love to, thank you for asking…. This gives me the opportunity to clear up all the false apologetic works that have been written about us.
    The Fathers will, is the will of God,( the spirit, AKA the Holy Ghost.) the weaker will that submits, or is in subjection as all men should be in subjection, is that of the real human man, or son,(Not *god the son*) But the spirit was given to the son without measure ,that can never be accomplished on the earth as the human man cannot contain such. The fullness of that promise(John 3:34) is accomplished after his passion(1st. Cor.15:28) God is then all in all.

  318. on 17 Jun 2008 at 5:20 pmmanuel culwell

    Sean also writes:
    “Manuel,

    Could you also explain if you believe that Jesus is the same person as the Father (not sure if you believe this)”

    mlculwell: We refer to Jesus as the father Because of his deity, but let’s be clear, as Oneness we do not believe the son had any pre-existence so that the father existed before the sonthe passages which refer to Jesus creator are because of the spirit given to the son without measure what trinitarains refer to as the Incarnation Jesus was the fullness of man in which God dwelt and did the works(John 14:10) Jesus could do nothing,or no miracles in and of himself(John 5:30)
    Do I believe Jesus is the same person?

    Yes. we believe Jesus is the only person of God, in that I mean; that which could die, which is human, and later glorified and no longer could die(Glorified humanity,) and when we see the invisible God, Jesus is all we will see of God as the visible manifestation. persons die, God does not, Jesus as a person died and now no longer dies.

  319. on 17 Jun 2008 at 5:39 pmmanuel culwell

    manuel,

    You are a “Oneness” believer are you not?

    If so, can you please clarify how you perceive the “Oneness” position in who are God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit?

    mlculwell: Jesus was the son of *God*(AKA the Holy Ghost) according to the flesh(Matth.1:18-20, Gal. 4:4)His son, was not pre-existent, but made of a woman, this is a big contradiction for the trinitarian in two ways, first, the Holy Ghost is the father of the Child, and his son was made of a woman, made under the law in time, he did not come from eternity.(I have debated this many times and there is absolutely no way to prove a pre-existence of the son as another person of god/God.

    Ron S:
    I’ve always understood that the Oneness belief views God as one God presenting himself either as Yahweh/the Father, Jesus, or the Holy Spirit. That there are not three “persons” that are all God in the Godhead, but just one person – God himself, revealing himself in each of those three ways.

    Is that not correct?

    mlculwell: You must understand most misrepresent our view, much as you have also done in that you somehow think it is our belief:”God was successive in time.”Meaning I am now the father ,and will be the spirit, or son, and only one; so called *mode* exists at a time. This of course is not true at all. the son was a real human man just like all other men, except with no sin but he was given all power and the spirit without measure.

    Ron S:
    I ask because I’ve been confused by some of your comments like:

    But I can tell you. Jesus was raised By the father as has been written on the is group with many passages as to his powerless humanity but he was given the Spirit(AKA the Holy Ghost, God’s title in action, and was made the Holy Ghost by God giving the Spirit without measure to the glorified man. John 3:34)

    Here you are saying that Jesus was raised by the Father and was “given” the Holy Ghost. And this is where my confusion comes in – if Jesus is Yahweh, then why is he having to give himself anything? Wouldn’t he already have it? Please explain.

    Thanks!

    mlculwell:Jesus is not capable of giving himself anything(John 5:30) as a real human man, his humanity was glorified and made YHWH and was given the spirit w/o measure and he was given all power in both heaven and earth if he has all in both places then nobody else can have anymore…He was not already God because his flesh had a beggining.

  320. on 17 Jun 2008 at 8:01 pmSean

    Scott,

    I had said,

    It is true that the word “one” can be used to talk about something that has multiple parts/constituents but this seems to be a distraction from the facts of the matter.

    When Jesus quoted the shema he said, “HEAR, O ISRAEL! THE LORD OUR GOD IS ONE LORD” (Mark 12.29). Thus the point of the shema is that Yahweh is our God and there is only one Yahweh (not two, not three, not four, etc.).

    My point is that there is only one Yahweh. Sure this one Yahweh may have a multitude of attributes or parts or whatever, but there is only one Yahweh. Are you in agreement that there is only one Yahweh? I think I remember Brant saying he believed in three Yahwehs. Maybe I misheard him (he spoke really fast). Either way, if there are three Yahwehs then the shema would not be compatible with this. However, if there is only one Yahweh, then it is clear that God is a single individual, for Yahweh is a personal name. (not to mention the many “Yahweh alone is God, there is no other” texts which we have already quoted).

    In other words, if you say that there is only one Sean then there is clearly only one person in view (to use a human example).

  321. on 17 Jun 2008 at 8:44 pmmanuel culwell

    EXTRA! EXTRA! Read All about It. The Day of Salvation Will Come to an End on May 21, 2011!

    Here we have it, folks. The final word on salvation from the man who barely beat out Fred Phelps as the face of modern Calvinism.

    **–Harold Camping declares . . . that all salvations will end on May 21, 2011!–**

    taken From Liver and onions

  322. on 18 Jun 2008 at 1:02 amFortigurn

    Cameron,

    * The ability to be tempted to sin demonstrates the ability to sin. You can’t be tempted to do something you aren’t able to do. And remember that Jesus was tempted in EXACTLY the way we are. Did you read the passages I quoted? Twice?

    * I have never yet seen any trinitarian say ‘amen’ to Hebrews 2:14-18. Like you, they say Jesus couldn’t be tempted, and certainly couldn’t be tempted as we are. They also insist that Jesus was not a man identical to those he came to save. Of course the Bible never says ‘ Jesus was the uncreated God and creator of all who took on sarx and limited His attributes to become like us’. That’s ad hoc retrofitting

    * Leaving the logical fallacy aside, I can for the sake of the argument grant entirely that Jesus cannot die yet have another nature remain alive. Of course this does mean that Jesus never died, while the Scriptures tell us he did die. Naturally, the Bible never tells us anything about humans having two natures, one of which dies and the other of which doesn’t

    My view does not make us ontologically superior to Jesus. We can die, and we do. Jesus could die, and he did. Simple.

  323. on 18 Jun 2008 at 1:19 amFortigurn

    Cameron,

    * Persons: Like many trinitarians, you appeal to an invalid method of determining what is a person. When we read ordinary texts in English we don’t attempt to determine whether entities in the text are persons through some complicated syllogistic process. As in every other language we identify persons primarily through the nouns used to describe them. God is called ‘elohim’. An ‘elohim’ is BY DEFINITION a person. Simple. The Holy Spirit on the other hand is called the spirit OF God. By definition, it cannot be God, and the Hebrew and Greek words for ‘spirit’ DO NOT mean ‘person’. Simple

    * Atonement: Again you are misreading what I wrote. The suggestion that ‘atonement is satisfied by a mere mortal death’ was made by a TRINITARIAN here, not by me. I was pointing out that it was a FALSE statement by identifying that if this were true then even I could have died and atoned for sins. Of course this is impossible, and I don’t believe it. I simply used it as an example to identify the flawed reasoning

    * Who raised Jesus: Yes, the Bible tells us that the apostles believed Jesus. And what did the apostles teach about who raised Jesus? Well Cameron, we’ve seen overwhelming evidence that they ONLY taught that God, the Father, raised Jesus. That, and nothing else. This is entirely consistent with my beliefs. It is not consistent with yours

    * Parables: We don’t disagree over what constitutes a parable. Where we disagree is over how this one should be interpreted. I’ve already given you the apostles’ interpretation. I see no reason to depart from their understanding. Can you provide any reason why I should?

    * Jesus, death, and temptation: The moment you say ‘Part of Jesus’ nature lived after His human nature died’, then you’re saying Jesus didn’t die. You’re saying that only one of his natures died (you actually said ‘part of Jesus’ nature, but of course that’s heretical). The Bible doesn’t say this. The Bible says Jesus died.

    The word ‘tempt’ is not a ‘loose translation’ for the Greek PEIRAZW. It is an entirely accurate translation, according to context. That’s exactly why so many Bible translations render it ‘tempt’ in the Hebrews passages I quoted. They’re absolutely indisputable. Jesus was tempted in exactly the same way as those he came to save. Note also that ‘satan’ tempted Jesus, and standard translations say exactly that. That’s what the word means in these contexts. The moment you say that Jesus couldn’t be tempted as we are, you contradict what is taught explicitly in Scripture. If you’re not convinced by standard modern translations that PEIRAZW is accurately translated ‘tempted’ in the passages given, I have half a dozen Greek lexicons here, all of which are standard authorities. I’ll quote them, and you can argue the point with the authors

    * Humans: I never said I understand the fullness of what it means to be human. I have no idea where that came from or what its relevance is to the discussion

    * LOGOS: I don’t know who told you that LOGS means ‘God’s nature’, but I can assure you it doesn’t. Again, I only have to quote from half a dozen Greek lexicons which I have here to demonstrate that it means fundamentally ‘word’ or ‘idea’ (sometimes ‘discourse’, ‘speech’, or even ‘law’, etc), but it never means ‘nature’, still less God’s nature

  324. on 18 Jun 2008 at 1:32 amFortigurn

    Scott:

    * Echad: I didn’t actually say that YOU had claimed ‘echad’ by itself is a compound unity, or should be translated as a compound unity. I pointed out that this was a claim made frequently by trinitarians, and has been made in this discussion by trinitarians

    * God as one: You say you’re comfortable with God being one, but in reality what you mean is you’re comfortable with God being three in one. These sleights of hand don’t advance the discussion

    * The article: Yes I know why you referred to this article. Yes I know that echad does not necessarily address the issue of the nature of the one that it is describing. Yes I know that it can refer in different contexts to different things as one, whether they are a singular one or not. I said this myself, ‘echad is sometimes used to describe ONE thing which is composed of many things’. Please read my posts.

    But acknowledging this does not, as you claim, defeat the Unitarian position that the use of echad here means that God is one person, or ontologically one as opposed to three in one. That is a case which has to be decided on other grounds. The Unitarian does not commit any lexical error, since the unitarian reads the word ‘echad’ here as meaning ‘one’, and that’s what it means. Simple.

    I didn’t find Block’s argument that echad here means ‘alone’ very convincing, especially as he could only appeal to about half a dozen such uses of echad, most of which are disputed.

  325. on 18 Jun 2008 at 2:56 amFortigurn

    Sean, you make an excellent point. The Bible says there is one Yahweh, and identifies that one Yahweh as one person, the Father. The trinitarian position is that there are at least two Yahwehs. So the Shema just doesn’t get any easier for them.

  326. on 18 Jun 2008 at 3:01 amMark

    I referred to this article to point out the fallacy of those untarians that demand that because echad is used of God he must be singular (non-trinatarian) in his nature. Clearly, from the uses of echad that have already been provided we can see that while it can mean one this does not address the issue of the nature of the oneness it is describing. This can be seen in that it is used in different contexts to refer to different things as one- sometimes these things are clearly a singular one and other times they are not.

    My point is not to positively prove that echad indicates a one of unity or one of singularity- my point is that echad by ITSELF does not necessarily reveal the ontological nature of anything that it is describing. This defeats the unitarian position which rests on the unfounded grammatical argument that the use of echad must mean that God is ontologically one and singular. In this it is the unitarian that has committed the lexical error.

    Unitarians don’t insist that God must be one because echad can only mean a singularity and not a unity. There have been Trinitarians who have tried to assert that the fact that echad sometimes defines a unity that it must be that way when applied to God. I am glad we agree that the word echad in and of itself does not imply either, and must be defined by its context (especially by the nature of the word that it is defining.)

    The author of the writing you quoted says, “If we must spell out our position please spell out your own first- then you have some real credibility beyond the ability to count up the number of verses that say that God is one.”

    The unitarian position WAS spelled out first in the Scriptures, as well as many Unitarian writings. It has also been spelled out in this debate. God is addressed as a person with a name, and makes statements like “I alone am God, there is none besides Me.” The Messiah was never prophesied as being God in human flesh, but rather a man, a prophet from among his brethren, and the only-begotten SON of God. The passage in Luke that I quoted before gives a clear and simple definition of what it means to be God’s Son. Jesus prayed to His Father, saying, “You are the only true God.” NOWHERE do the phrases “God the Son” or “God the Holy Spirit” occur in the Bible.

    In addition there are all the statements that define clear distinctions between God and His Son (not just between the Father and the Son within the one Godhead). And nowhere does the Bible say that Jesus has two natures, “fully God and fully man.” All of these points and more (which you must be familiar with if you have debated this seriously) demonstrate the simple truth that there is one God and He has one Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Add to this the fact that no one ever SUGGESTED that God was three persons till more than two hundred years after Christ.

    We have quoted many Scriptures that present this view. You have yet to provide even one that demonstrates that God is three persons in one God, or that Jesus has two natures.

    I’m still waiting!

  327. on 18 Jun 2008 at 3:28 amFortigurn

    Perry,

    * Agency: The concept of agency/representation I’m using is the same one which everyone uses. It’s the standard definition of agency. It applies in all situations. I’m not aware that there are ‘different concepts of representaiton’ which do not involve X representing Y. That is the definition of agency/representation, that X represents Y.

    I note that once again you’re appealing to a differentiation between PERSONS (God the Father and God the Son), when the texts under discussion make a differentation between GOD and CHRIST, not the Father and Son. These passages are not merely a problem for Modalism, they are a problem for trinitarianism, because they differentiate GOD from CHRIST, not merely the Father from the Son. The apostles identify God as P and Christ as not-P.

    * Colossians 1:15: I have no idea why you keep going here, when as I have already pointed out this passage ALSO differentiates God from Christ, saying that Christ is the IMAGE of the invisible GOD. Remember when Christ asked whose image and superscription was on the coin? Now was that image of Caesar ontologically Caesar, or was it an image, a REPRESENTATION of Caesar? The same applies to Christ. The image OF X is not X. It’s an image of X (wow, just like it says)

    * Honoring Christ: Christ has been given a name above every name, so that at the name of Christ every knee should bow, to the glory of GOD (not Christ), who is THE FATHER. The honor given to him is as the uniquely begotten son of God, and unique agent of the Father (both Christ and the apostles made this clear more than once)

    * Extrinsic: Yes I understand what extrinsic means. What I pointed out is that your appeal to it didn’t achieve anything for your argument. If X is the agent of Y, then X is not ontologically Y and Y is not ontologically X. X is P and Y is not-P. Simple. I’m glad you acknowledge that oen cannot be an agent of oneself. Well God is one. Not only that, but God and Christ are differentiated from each other, not simply as Father and Son (which defeats Modalism), but as God and Christ (which defeats trinitarianism). I’ll keep repeating this as often as necessary.

    Jesus being the SALVIC AGENT of GOD proves that Jeus is not God. If Jesus were God, he could NOT be the agent of God. X cannot be the agent of X. So proving that Jesus is the agent of GOD proves exactly what I believe about Christ. You don’t believe that Jesus is the agent of God, you believe that God the Son is the agent of God the Father, as you keeep saying. You say that the person ‘Jesus’ is the agent of the person ‘the Father’, but Scripture says that the person Jesus is the agent of the BEING, God

    * Divine nature: We know Jesus has the divine nature because he is now immortal and he has been given power to have life in himself. No, this does not mean that he is now a deity. Of course, 2 Peter 1:4 tells us that we also will be partakers of the divine nature

    * Subject/subordination: Last time I looked, ‘subject’ and ‘subordinate’ meant the same thing in English. Do let me know if the definitions have changed in the last week. Yet you want ‘subject’ to refer to rank and ‘subordinate’ to refer to ‘essence’. I just don’t find that distinction in a standard dictionary. The passages I provided say that Jesus is subject to the Father, so claimng that I need to find one which says he is SUBORDINATE to the Father is an invalid request. To be subject is to be subordinate. And look at the number of ways in which Jesus is described as subject/subordinate:

    * Matthew 9:6, ‘When the crowd saw this, [Jesus healing] they were afraid and honored God who had given such authority to men’

    * Matthew 28:18, ‘Jesus came up and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth HAS BEEN GIVEN TO ME”‘

    * John 5:19, ‘the Son can do NOTHING FROM HIMSELF’

    * John 5:22, ‘[God] HAS ASSIGNED all judgment to the Son’

    * John 5:26, ‘For just as the Father has life in himself, thus HE HAS GRANTED the Son to have life in himself’

    * John 5:27, ‘he [God] HAS GRANTED THE SON AUTHORITY to execute judgment, because he is the Son of Man’

    * John 5:30, ‘I can do nothing OF MYSELF’

    * John 14:28 ‘My Father IS GREATER than I’

    * John 17:2, ‘you [God] HAVE GIVEN HIM AUTHORITY over all humanity’

    * Acts 3:13, ‘his [God’s] SERVANT Jesus’

    * Acts 3:26, ‘God raised up his SERVANT’

    * Acts 4:27, 30 ‘your [God’s] holy SERVANT Jesus’

    * Acts 4:30 ‘your [God’s] holy SERVANT Jesus’

    * Acts 10:42, ‘he is the one APPOINTED BY GOD as judge of the living and the dead’

    * Acts 17:32, ‘he [God] has set a day on which he is going to judge the world in righteousness, BY A MAN WHO HE HAS DESIGNATED’

    It couldn’t be any clearer. Jesus is described as subject/subordinate in terms of his role, his authority, his power, and in absolute terms (‘GREATER than I’). And note the repeated use of the language of agency.

    * Power: Last time I looked, no human being was able to give power to any other human being. When the apostles ‘passed on’ the Holy Spirit, all they really did was lay hands on people, and God granted the Holy Spirit.

    * Matthew 9:6: I don’t need to show you that this says ‘Jesus who is only a man’, the onus is on YOU to show that we’re supposed to interpret it as saying anything OTHER than what it says. It says the son of man has authority on earth to forgive sins. We know from Scripture that authority was GIVEN TO Christ, by God. That means he didn’t originally have it. Note also verse 8 (‘When the crowd saw this, they were afraid and honored GOD WHO HAD GIVEN SUCH AUTHORITY TO MEN’).

    * Nature: You say, ‘so it is fallacious to argue from a difference in agency to a difference in essence’. Well no it isn’t. When X is defined as the AGENT of GOD, then we know that X cannot be, ontologically, God. If Cameron is the agent of Perry, then Cameron cannot be Perry and Perry cannot be Cameron. They cannot ontologically be the same being (or the same person). When Hebrews 1 or Colossians 1 refer to ‘the son as the express image of the Father’, they refer to the person of the son.

    You ask, ‘Why do you assume that the reason why the Son can do nothing of himself that it is because of his nature?’. The answer is that it’s not an assumption. Scripture differentiates Christ as OTHER THAN GOD, and the apostles repeatedly taught that Jesus is a MAN, and Christ himself identified the fact that God GAVE him power which he did not have, and life in himself which he did not have previously, so the difference in nature is utterly explicit and expressed in several different ways.

    * Passages and meaning: You object to me believing that the passages MEAN what they SAY. That’s the real issue here. I read the passages and accept that what they SAY is what they MEAN. You want to tell me that what they say is NOT what they mean. Well that could be, but the onus is on you to provide evidence for this.

    Take the ‘destroy this temple’ passage for example. You believe it means Jesus raised himself, I don’t. You take it literally, I read it as a parable. How can we settle this? Well we turn to the apostolic statements on who raised Christ, and we find that OVERWHELMINGLY AND WITHOUT FAIL they inform us that GOD raised Christ (and they identify that God as one person, the Father). This being the apostolic teaching, I know that my understanding of the ‘destroy this temple’ verse is correct. You on the other hand have no evidence whatever that your interpretation is correct, and you cannot explain why the apostles all contradict you repeatedly

    You say, ‘You seem not to be able to grasp the fact that the same ideas can be expressed in different words so that it isn’t necessary to show syntactical isomorphism but only conceptual identity’. I do grasp that fact, but you have provided no evidence that it is at all relevant. Fooling around with metaphysical terms won’t make the apostolic teaching suddenly go away. You have to explain why it is that 3,000 were baptized with the knowledge that Jesus is a man, for example.

    You say, ‘in John 15 I think indicating the sending of the Son is economical but not in the theologia I think that is the idea John has in mind’, but again this is classic retrofitting. Where does THE BIBLE say that’s what John means? It doesn’t. You’re imposing your own ideas back onto the text. I don’t have to do that. I just believe what was written.

    By the way, I don’t think that John’s gospel was necessarily written by John (and the same goes for the other gospels). But it’s a convenient way to refer to the fourth, non-synoptic, gospel.

  328. on 18 Jun 2008 at 3:29 amFortigurn

    Well said Mark.

  329. on 18 Jun 2008 at 7:49 amJeff Downs

    New book that would be of interest for those on this thread:

    Father, Son, and Spirit: The Trinity and John’s Gospel. Andreas Köstenberger and Scott Swain ( IVP, 2008). The book is available as I noticed it in our bookstore yesterday. Here is the author’s description. Here is the IVP site. Here are futher publication on the Gospel of John from Köstenberger.

  330. on 18 Jun 2008 at 1:13 pmMark

    I’ve always found it interesting that while Trinitarians always point to the Gospel of John as the strongest proof of their doctrine, the writer of that gospel says that the reason it was written was, “that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.” (John 202:31)

  331. on 18 Jun 2008 at 1:27 pmCameron

    Fortigurn, I’m glad you at least believe that a sinless human substitute is a requirement of God for atonement. You should have clarified way way way earlier if that’s what you in fact believe to save us both the typing.

    You said “As in every other language we identify persons primarily through the nouns used to describe them. God is called ‘elohim’. An ‘elohim’ is BY DEFINITION a person. Simple. The Holy Spirit on the other hand is called the spirit OF God. By definition, it cannot be God, and the Hebrew and Greek words for ’spirit’ DO NOT mean ‘person’.

    Are pronouns OK with you too? John 16:7 refers to the Spirit with the masculine pronoun ‘auton’-“if I go, I will send ‘him’ to you.”

    The Holy Spirit frequently speaks in scripture, such as in Acts 21:10. Can an impersonal force be lied to in such a way to be held morally accountable?

    In Acts 5:3, the Holy Spirit is lied to, and in verse 4 ‘tw theo’ (God) is lied to.

    Jesus was tempted in exactly the same way as those he came to save. Note also that ’satan’ tempted Jesus, and standard translations say exactly that.

    No, Fortigurn, if Jesus was ‘peradzo’ that does not mean he was tempted with every possible inner urge as we are. We haven’t even gone to the possible depths of our inner cravings, let alone Jesus!

    Have you actually read the lexicons on this word!? ‘Perazo’ mostly carries the intonation of being tested from the OUTSIDE, NOT inner cravings. Apart from the lexicon, I’ve talked to people who actually speak Greek and they’ve told me the same thing. ‘Epithoumia’ can refer to inner urges unto sin, or deep joy. Your desire to find 100% Greek-English equivalents is hindering the integrity of your exegesis.

    I don’t know who told you that LOGS means ‘God’s nature’, but I can assure you it doesn’t. kai theos en o logos, and God was the Logos. Most scholars will say ‘theos’ is either definite, indefinite, or qualatative. I do not believe it is exegetically definite. Further, I have better reasons for believing it is qualitative (addressing nature) rather then indefinite (a class). Just like John says about God in 1 John 4:8, “God is love”, ‘o theos agape estin’. God is not the love, or a love, but is love qualatatively. God’s nature is love.

    Further, so you believe impersonal things like thoughts, ideas, logic, etc can become flesh? v.14 ‘and the logos became flesh’.

    When I say a part of my nature dies after death, I mean one nature dies (one part), and another continues in existance (another part). Just like with Jesus because scripture teaches he died, yet was in paradise right after.

    You say the Apostles only taught that God raised Jesus from the dead. Was John not an Apostle to you? He interpreted Jesus’ parable to clear up the confusion. That’s a lot of what Apostles did. John wrote the Book of John after Christ died, not during. John 2:21-22 “But the temple he had spoken of was his body (the temple he has spoken of which Jesus said HE would raise). 22After he was raised from the dead, his disciples recalled what he had said. Then they believed the Scripture and the words that Jesus had spoken.”

  332. on 18 Jun 2008 at 2:18 pmCameron

    Mark, the OT teaches that the Christ is Jehovah. Further, the name ‘Son of God’ is in reference to title, not birth order. It is a title in reference to Jesus Christ having supremacy over everything.

  333. on 18 Jun 2008 at 2:24 pmMark

    Are pronouns OK with you too? John 16:7 refers to the Spirit with the masculine pronoun ‘auton’-”if I go, I will send ‘him’ to you.”

    As we have discussed, the understanding of pronouns depends on the context, and especially the nouns which they refer to. The Greek pronoun is translated “him” in John 16:7 because it refers back to the word “comforter” which is masculine. The same pronoun, however, is translated “itself” in Romans 8:16, because it refers back to the word “spirit” which is neuter. The grammatical gender of a word BY ITSELF does not prove personhood or non-personhood.

    Grammar aside, the Bible nowhere presents the holy spirit as a person. For one thing, it is never given a proper name. God’s proper name is given as Yahweh, and His Son’s name is Jesus. But the holy spirit is simply called the holy spirit. The epistles frequently include greetings from the Father and the Son. However, never do they give greetings “from the Holy Spirit.” Why would this be so if the holy spirit were a co-equal, co-eternal person?

    Furthermore, Matthew 11:27 says that no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son. Matthew 24:36 says that no man knows the hour of Christ’s return, not even the Son, but only the Father. John wrote in his first epistle that a person is antichrist if he denies the Father and the Son (I John 2:22-23). In his second epistle he wrote, “He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son” (II John 9). If the holy spirit is a third co-equal person, why is there no mention of him in verses like these? And why was the holy spirit never considered a co-equal person until many years after the deity of Jesus was agreed on?

    The Holy Spirit frequently speaks in scripture, such as in Acts 21:10. Can an impersonal force be lied to in such a way to be held morally accountable?

    In Acts 5:3, the Holy Spirit is lied to, and in verse 4 ‘tw theo’ (God) is lied to.

    I don’t know that I would call it an impersonal force. Since the holy spirit is an extension of God, being His power and presence in operation in a situation or in a person, it can be said that the holy spirit speaks, and it simply means that God speaks through His spirit. Likewise, to grieve the holy spirit is to grieve God, to lie to the holy spirit is to lie to God, etc. It is simply another way of saying it. It does not mean that the holy spirit is a distinct person from God or the Father. It is no different than when the Bible speaks of a person’s spirit, referring figuratively to the person himself, as in places like Job 7:11, Psalm 77:6, Pslam 143:4 and many others.

    Alan Richardson, in his Introduction to the Theology of the New Testament (London: SCM Press, 1958, p. 120), desribes the holy spirit like this:

    To ask whether in the New Testament the spirit is a person in the modern sense of the word would be like asking whether the spirit of Elijah is a person. The Spirit of God is of course personal; it is God’s dunamis [power] in action. But the Holy Spirit is not a person, existing independently of God; it is a way of speaking about God’s personally acting in history, or of the Risen Christ’s personally acting in the life and witness of the Church. The New Testament (and indeed patristic thought generally) nowhere represents the Spirit, any more than the wisdom of God, as having independent personality.

  334. on 18 Jun 2008 at 2:29 pmSean

    Could John 2 be referring to the spiritual temple–Christ’s body–the church which he would raise up?

  335. on 18 Jun 2008 at 2:29 pmMark

    Mark, the OT teaches that the Christ is Jehovah.

    Chapter and verse, please.

    Further, the name ‘Son of God’ is in reference to title, not birth order. It is a title in reference to Jesus Christ having supremacy over everything.

    “Son of God” is certainly a Messianic title, but it is defined in Luke 1:35, “And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.”

  336. on 18 Jun 2008 at 3:16 pmMark

    Could John 2 be referring to the spiritual temple–Christ’s body–the church which he would raise up?

    Interesting thought. I’m not sure it would fit with the context though.

    John 2:
    18 Then answered the Jews and said unto him, What sign shewest thou unto us, seeing that thou doest these things?
    19 Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.
    20 Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days?
    21 But he spake of the temple of his body.
    22 When therefore he was risen from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this unto them; and they believed the scripture, and the word which Jesus had said.

    He certainly seems to be talking about his physical body, and about the resurrection beign a sign. (He didn’t raise up the church in three days.)

    Interestingly, the word for “raise up” can be either active or passive. It is used as a passive verb in the sense of rousing from sleep. But Jesus wouldn’t say “I will raise myself up” in this case, even if that was what he meant, because he is referring to his body figuratively in the third person as the temple. This would call for the figurative language, “I will raise it up.”

    In any case, since this verse uses figurative language and the meaning isn’t 100% clear, we must let the rest of Scripture define it. (John clarified that Jesus spoke of his body, but didn’t clarify whether it was active or passive, figurative or literal.) There are many, many Scriptures that have been presented that very clearly and unambiguously state that God raised Jesus from the dead.

  337. on 18 Jun 2008 at 4:32 pmScott

    Mark,
    So in according to John 2:22 what did the disciples remember Jesus telling them? Did they remember Him saying that He would raise up the temple of His body? If so this creates a problem for unitarians. If instead they remember him saying that God would raise Him up where does any text indicate this?

    It is clear what the honest answer should be- if we are willing to leave aside false theories about about parables. Along those lines- if He were speaking in parables (which is clearly not the case when compared with the style of actual parables He told) why is the part about the symbolism of the temple referring to His body explained but the part about Him raising Himself is never explained?

  338. on 18 Jun 2008 at 4:37 pmScott

    At 330 Mark wrote:
    “I’ve always found it interesting that while Trinitarians always point to the Gospel of John as the strongest proof of their doctrine, the writer of that gospel says that the reason it was written was, “that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.” (John 202:31)”

    What makes this point even more interesting for us Trinitarians is that we like to read all of John’s gospel. We understand the original was written as one long letter without chapter and verse divisions. This causes us to consider all that John teaches and because of this John 20:31 is especially foundational for our belief in the Trinity because we know that earlier in John 5:18 John had clued us in that when Jesus called God His Father (which clearly flows from his title ‘Son of God’) He makes Himself equal with God (in an ontological sense).

  339. on 18 Jun 2008 at 5:01 pmScott

    All,
    I’m getting confused here. I the unitarians need some time to work out their view of pronouns because now they are contradicting one another. Not that trinitarians have ever done that. 🙂

    Here is the issue-
    At post 23 Fortigurn wrote:
    “Pronouns count PERSONS, not beings. This is where trinitarianism violates basic rules of grammar. Pronouns count persons.”
    He made this claim in order to argue against the idea that God is anything more than one person.

    Later Mark wrote on post 333:
    “As we have discussed, the understanding of pronouns depends on the context, and especially the nouns which they refer to. The Greek pronoun is translated “him” in John 16:7 because it refers back to the word “comforter” which is masculine. The same pronoun, however, is translated “itself” in Romans 8:16, because it refers back to the word “spirit” which is neuter. The grammatical gender of a word BY ITSELF does not prove personhood or non-personhood.”
    He made this claim in order to maintain that the Holy Spirit is not a person.

    Yet here we have a clear conflict. If Fortigurn’s unitarian position that pronouns count persons is correct then God cannot be anything other than a singular person. It would also follow from his position that the Holy Spirit must also be a singular person. At the same time if Mark’s position is true then Holy Spirit may not be a person and the pronouns used of God do not dictate that He must be a singular person. Which one is it guys? Which part of your unitarian system are you going to abandon first?

    Finally,
    In the debate (during his rebuttal at about 13 minutes) Brant brings up the same point as Mark about “pronouns needing to be understood by their context”. Brant discussed the antecedents and successors of autos in John 1 and demonstrated that the Logos was not the impersonal plan of God but was indeed the eternal person of Jesus Christ. I don’t recall Sean ever responding to this (not that I blame him) and now that pronouns have come up again I would be interested to hear a response.

  340. on 18 Jun 2008 at 5:12 pmFortigurn

    Scott,

    ‘So in according to John 2:22 what did the disciples remember Jesus telling them? Did they remember Him saying that He would raise up the temple of His body?’

    They remembered him saying ‘Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up again’.

    ‘If so this creates a problem for unitarians. If instead they remember him saying that God would raise Him up where does any text indicate this?’

    No one is saying that they remembered him saying that God would raise him up. But you are still avoiding the issue. It doesn’t matter what ideas you make up, the fact remains that the apostles NEVER taught that Jesus had raised himself, and ONLY taught that he had been raised by God.

    I know for a fact that the apostles understood Jesus to be speaking in a parable, partly because John says he was, and partly because of the apostles’ own teaching on who raised Christ.

    Not once did they say Christ raised himself. They say that GOD raised CHRIST, distinguishing Christ FROM God. For the apostles, ‘God’ meant ‘the Father’, not Jesus.

    The apostolic support for the Unitarian position is utterly overwhelming:

    * Acts 2:24
    Whom GOD raised up

    * Acts 2:32
    This Jesus has been raised up BY GOD

    * Acts 3:15
    whom GOD has raised from the dead

    * Acts 3:26
    To you first GOD having raised up HIS SON JESUS

    * Acts 4:10
    Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom GOD raised from the dead

    * Acts 5:30
    The GOD OF OUR FATHERS raised up Jesus

    * Acts 10:40
    Him GOD raised up

    * Acts 13:30
    But GOD raised him up from the dead

    * Acts 13:33
    GOD has fulfilled this unto us their children, in that HE has raised up Jesus again

    * Acts 13:34
    HE [context indicates God] raised him up from the dead

    * Acts 13:37
    But he, whom GOD raised again

    * Romans 4:24
    HIM [context indicates God] that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead

    * Romans 6:4
    Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of THE FATHER

    * Romans 10:9
    GOD has raised him from the dead

    * I Corinthians 6:14
    GOD has raised up the Lord

    * Galatians 1:1
    GOD, THE FATHER, who raised him from the dead

    * Colossians 2:12
    GOD, who has raised him from the dead

  341. on 18 Jun 2008 at 5:23 pmmanuel culwell

    Scott wrote:
    “Brant discussed the antecedents and successors of autos in John 1 and demonstrated that the Logos was not the impersonal plan of God but was indeed the eternal person of Jesus Christ. I don’t recall Sean ever responding to this (not that I blame him) and now that pronouns have come up again I would be interested to hear a response. ”

    mlculwell: the LXX(Septuagint Greek of the OT) reads In( Psalm 33:6) By the word/Logos of the LORD(Jehovah) were the heavens made, and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth.

    Absolutely was the word not just an “impersonal plan” but also the word was not “a pre-existent person ” either, as the day you or anyone else can make the word by the breath of God’s mouth a pre-exsistent person with God, is the day you will have an argument.

    Now concerning the word as *Impersonal.* If you are talking about his powerful way in which he
    creates and relates to himself God, could you please explain to me
    How that God’s spoken word (his creative Power) is another person in
    the text?There is no way to fit your view into the text except to
    contradict scripture. the trinitarains add a new meaning to the term already known by the Apostles…. You do Believe in One God don’t you? I believe you say the passage In John 1:1 is teaching us about a distinction between God persons(Which I say it does not)The word is God’s all pwerfull way in which he creates and yes it was his plan for future redemption.The word by the breath of god’s mouth(Not that god breathes or has to draw a breath) but it is used in way to explain in human terms How God creates.

  342. on 18 Jun 2008 at 5:28 pmFortigurn

    Scott,

    You need to understand how the word ‘person’ is used in grammar. You’re committing the fallacy of equivocation. Let me talk you through it.

    The word ‘person’ usually refers to a personal identity/personal being. But the word ‘person’ in grammar refers to the NUMBER of an entity or entities referred to. This does not necessarily mean that they are personal identities/personal beings.

    For example, I can say ‘The rock is over there’. In this sentence I have referred to the rock grammatically in the THIRD PERSON SINGULAR. But when I say I have referred to the rock in the third PERSON singular I am not saying that the rock is a personal identity/personal being. I am identifying the rock grammatically. This may help:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grammatical_person

    Let’s see how this affects the issue at hand.

    ‘If Fortigurn’s unitarian position that pronouns count persons is correct then God cannot be anything other than a singular person.’

    That’s correct. Bear in mind that ‘pronouns count persons’ does not mean ‘pronouns only count personal identities/personal beings’. Pronouns count rocks in terms of person (one rock is ‘it’, third PERSON singular, two rocks is ‘they’, third PERSON plural), but rocks are not personal identities/personal beings.

    Of course pronouns DO ALSO count persons in the sense of personal identities/personal beings, but this does not mean that just because a PERSONAL PRONOUN is used, the entity referred to is NECESSARILY a person. So the rock is referred to using the third PERSON, even though a rock is not a personal identity/personal being.

    ‘It would also follow from his position that the Holy Spirit must also be a singular person.’

    Yes, that’s ‘person’ in the grammatical sense, not ‘person’ in the sense of a personal identity/personal being.

    ‘At the same time if Mark’s position is true then Holy Spirit may not be a person and the pronouns used of God do not dictate that He must be a singular person.’

    No, here you confuse the issue. Mark’s position is true. So the Holy Spirit is not a personal identity/personal being, but it TAKES the third person in the grammatical sense. Just like a rock.

  343. on 18 Jun 2008 at 5:32 pmFortigurn

    Scott, Psalm 33:6 is really bedrock Unitarian teaching. The Spirit OF God necessarily cannot be God, and Psalm 33:6 refers to it as the ‘breath of His mouth’.

    So Psalm 33:6 tells us that all things were made by the ‘breath of His mouth’. Clearly this is figurative, so we return to Genesis 1 to see what it means. There we find that God spoke, and it was so. It couldn’t be simpler. The Spirit is described as entirely impersonal, the ‘breath of His mouth’.

    What’s another way to describe the creation? Well, since Genesis 1 tells us that God spoke, and it was so, another way to describe the creation is that all things were made by the WORD (LOGOS), of God. And what do you know, that’s exactly what Psalm 33:6 says. Why would we arrive at John 1:1 and abandon the Biblical definition of the concept of ‘the word of God’?

  344. on 18 Jun 2008 at 5:34 pmFortigurn

    Mark,

    Do I understand you to be saying that when Christ referred to his body as a temple, he WASN’T speaking in parables? Yet you say yourself that this was symbolic. Either it’s symbolic (a parable), or it’s literal, in which case Jesus was talking about a physical building (NOT his body), and there was no need for John to clarify that he was really talking about his body.

    Which way do you want it?

  345. on 18 Jun 2008 at 5:45 pmmanuel culwell

    Wrong Fortigurn, the word is said to be both with and was God, I submitted the passage of Psalm 33:6 not you or the trinitarains. So don’t take my arguemnt and try and run with it.

  346. on 18 Jun 2008 at 5:47 pmFortigurn

    manuel, the LOGOS is said to be qualitatively divine. That’s it. Even standard trinitarian scholarship acknowledges this. The LOGOS is not said to be ‘a god’ or ‘the god’. And Unitarians have been using Psalm 33:6 to identify the word of God for centuries, so I’m not hijacking your point.

  347. on 18 Jun 2008 at 5:54 pmmanuel culwell

    I brought the point up!The word is simply the spoken word of god you cannot seperate God from his word…To take it away, there would be no God.Thus the word was both with god and was God,The God. (Not as a person period)

  348. on 18 Jun 2008 at 6:03 pmMark

    Mark,

    Do I understand you to be saying that when Christ referred to his body as a temple, he WASN’T speaking in parables? Yet you say yourself that this was symbolic. Either it’s symbolic (a parable), or it’s literal, in which case Jesus was talking about a physical building (NOT his body), and there was no need for John to clarify that he was really talking about his body.

    Which way do you want it?

    I think you misunderstood me. I was indeed saying that Jesus was speaking symbolically or figuratively, calling his body the temple. When I said he was referring to his physical body, I meant that rather than speaking of the church, it seems like he was talking about the resurrection of his physical body, from the context. Of course that could be foreshadowing of the church being his body, but the main point in that passage seems to be the resurrection. And on the point that the figurative language makes it unclear and we have to define who raised Jesus by the other passages you quoted, we are in agreement.

  349. on 18 Jun 2008 at 6:07 pmScott

    Fortigurn,
    Thanks for clarifying things for me. I understand the difference between grammatical persons and persons in terms of identity. It wasn’t clear to me originally in which way you and Mark were using the terms. Sorry for missing that earlier and thank you for graciously pointing this out for me.

    So is it your contention that pronouns that are singular grammatically can only apply to things which are singular in identity? Is your point that because God is referred to in the singular grammatically His person/identity must also be ontologically singular?

    Bear in mind I am a Trinitarian and thus I agree that there is only one God and would fully expect that He would be referred to as ‘him’ and not ‘them’. Thus the grammar is exactly what I would expect it to be if Trinitarianism is true. I would only expect the ‘them’ pronoun to be used of God if I were a tri or poly theist.

    Regarding post 334 when you said:
    “Why would we arrive at John 1:1 and abandon the Biblical definition of the concept of ‘the word of God’?”

    As Brant stated in the debate we would because the context of John 1 demands it. As Mark pointed out pronouns are determined by their context and as Brant stated the antecedents and successors of autos in John 1 clearly tell us that the Word is God and that the Word is Jesus. Brant also made the point that John applies many terms to Jesus that were never applied to persons in the OT words like Him being The Way, The Truth, The Bread and The Life.

  350. on 18 Jun 2008 at 6:24 pmScott

    Fortigurn you wrote:
    “I know for a fact that the apostles understood Jesus to be speaking in a parable, partly because John says he was, and partly because of the apostles’ own teaching on who raised Christ.

    Not once did they say Christ raised himself. They say that GOD raised CHRIST, distinguishing Christ FROM God. For the apostles, ‘God’ meant ‘the Father’, not Jesus.”

    Interesting how you know something that is never stated in the text. If the distance between the Father and the Son is so clear how could His closest followers not have understood the simple distinction made in Jesus’ teaching? You assert that Jesus taught in a parable in this section and offer no support. You also do not deal with John 10:17:18 where Jesus again talks about the agent who is involved in His resurrection when He said that He had the power to lay down His life so that He might take it up again. He clearly states that He does this. Can you produce any evidence how this fact can be harmonized the unitarian teaching that instead it was the Father who raised Him from the dead?

    As a Trinitarian I have no problem with this but I fail to see how both Jesus’ teaching and the Apostles’ teaching could be true from the unitarian perspective.

  351. on 18 Jun 2008 at 7:24 pmMark

    Just a few points of clarification regarding grammar:

    Nouns and pronouns have three characteristics: person, number and gender.

    Person refers to who is speaking, spoken to, or spoken about. (First person is the speaker, second person is the one spoken to, third person is the person or thing spoken about).

    Another characteristic nouns and pronouns have is number: they are either singular or plural.

    A third characteristic they have is gender. In English we have masculine and feminine pronouns, but impersonal NOUNS do not have gender. However, in other languages all nouns have gender. (If you ever took French or Spanish in school you know this.) Some languages have only masculine and feminine, others have a third gender called neuter. But the use of the grammatical gender has nothing to do with whether that noun is actually male or female physically, or whether they are a person or a thing. Some nouns that we would think were neuter are given masculine or feminine gender, grammatically.

    When these characteristics (person, number, and gender) are combined, we have the various declensions of the pronouns (see the chart on the Wikipedia page that Fortigurn linked to.

    Now, we have two different arguments going on here. One is regarding number, specifically whether God is a singular person or an entity that consists of three persons. The other is whether the gender of the pronouns referring to the holy spirit makes it a person.

    When God speaks in the first person, singular pronouns are used: He says “I”, “Me”, “My” and “Mine” rather than “We”, “Us”, “Our”, and “Ours” (except for two or three verses where He is talking to angels). When God is spoken to in the second person, it uses singular pronouns as well, “You”, “Your”, and “Yours”. (We don’t have a distinction between singular and plural “You” in modern English, but other languages do).

    When God is spoken about in the third person, we have both number and gender to deal with. Regarding number, it is singular pronouns, i.e., “He”, “Him”, and “His” rather than “They”, “Them”, “Their”, and “Theirs”. Regarding gender, it is masculine singular pronouns, i.e., “He”, “Him”, and “His” rather than “She”, “Her”, and “Hers” or “it” and “its”. (This goes against the commonly quoted description of the Trinity as being “three who’s in one what.” God is not an “entity” that consists of three persons. He is One Person.)

    And as I have said, the use of pronouns ALONE may not prove anything, but combined with the fact that God has a name, relates to others and is related to as a person, and is nowhere presented as a being that consists of three persons, we conclude that He is one person.

    With regard to the holy spirit then, the only issue about the pronouns is gender. Holy spirit is called both “it” and “he” because of the gender of the different words which the pronouns refer to. But those pronouns do not ALONE prove whether or not the holy spirit is a person. I listed a number of reasons why the Scriptures do not present the holy spirit as a person, but rather an extension of God’s power and presence. When the holy spirit “speaks” it is another way of saying that God spoke, but it doesn’t make the holy spirit a separate person.

    I hope this has clarified the questions.

  352. on 18 Jun 2008 at 8:57 pmScott

    Mark,
    Indeed it has clarified your points. Thank you for being gracious and explaining yourself.

  353. on 18 Jun 2008 at 9:08 pmmanuel culwell

    manuel, the LOGOS is said to be qualitatively divine. That’s it. Even standard trinitarian scholarship acknowledges this. The LOGOS is not said to be ‘a god’ or ‘the god’. And Unitarians have been using Psalm 33:6 to identify the word of God for centuries, so I’m not hijacking your point.

    manuel culwell
    I brought the point up!The word is simply the spoken word of god you cannot seperate God from his word…To take it away, there would be no God.Thus the word was both with god and was God,The God. (Not as a person period)

    You disregard our view because it does not represent either of your views.But iI can tell you it most certainly is more scriptual than either of your views.

  354. on 19 Jun 2008 at 11:47 amFortigurn

    Mark, thanks for your clarification regarding Christ’s words. I’m sorry I misunderstood you completely. I would like to attribute it to the fact that I was posting early in the morning very shortly after I had arisen, but that’s really no excuse. I should have been more careful for that reason. Thanks also for your excellent post on grammar.

    Scott, thanks for your two posts. I especially appreciate your spirit. I’m going to hold them over to tomorrow (along with one I owe someone else), because right now I really need to get to bed, and your posts deserve a clear mind and thoughtful consideration.

    But to start things of, I need you to explain to me how many persons are referred to when these words are used:

    * I
    * Me
    * My
    * Mine
    * He
    * Him
    * His

    How many persons do these words indicate? One. or more than one?

    I’ll also address this, though I’ve addressed it several times in this discussion when it has been raised by various people:

    ‘Bear in mind I am a Trinitarian and thus I agree that there is only one God and would fully expect that He would be referred to as ‘him’ and not ‘them’.’

    But as a trinitarian you believe that God is THREE PERSONS, so you should expect that when ONE person is referred to, SINGULAR pronouns are used, and when MORE THAN ONE person (or all the persons), is referred to, then PLURAL pronouns are used.

    Not only does the grammar demand it, but trinitarians are the first to make this argument when they turn to Genesis 1:26, insisting that ‘us’ and ‘our’ are demonstrative of the three PERSONS (plural), in the one GOD (singular).

    Remember, personal pronouns count PERSONS. So you can hypothesize one being with millions of persons, but the grammar still requires that when you refer to the PERSONS you use singular pronouns to refer to ONE of them, and plural pronouns to refer to MORE THAN ONE (or all), of them.

    ‘Thus the grammar is exactly what I would expect it to be if Trinitarianism is true. I would only expect the ‘them’ pronoun to be used of God if I were a tri or poly theist.’

    As I’ve shown, that’s not actually what is required by trinitarianism. Nor is it what’s required by tri-theism or polytheism. What would be required by polytheism or tri-theism is the exclusive use of PLURAL pronouns with PLURAL pronouns, and PLURAL verbs.

    You don’t have to argue this with me. You can argue it with professionals in grammar. I suggest you take this to a professional Bible translation and/or Biblical Greek list. The two premier lists are

    * B-Greek: http://www.ibiblio.org/bgreek

    * B-Trans: http://www.geocities.com/bible_translation/list%5D

    I suggest you post your theory to these lists, and see if it stands up to professional scrutiny. When you have done so, get back to me.

  355. on 19 Jun 2008 at 12:10 pmCameron

    Mark, ‘Comfortor’ in John 16:7 is masculine (perakletos) rather then neuter (perakleton). The pronoun ‘auton’ is masculine because it points back to a masculine noun, as you said. But John chose to use ‘perakletos’ in the masculine rather than ‘perakleton’, the neuter form.

    In addition, Most bible translaters probably translate the neuter pronouns, in reference to the Holy Spirit, as ‘he’, rather than it, because the Holy Spirit is refered to as the ‘living spirit’, not a mere force. Rom 8:11 And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you.

    Further, the Holy Spirit speaks of himself in the 1st person. Acts 10:19-20 says, “While Peter was still thinking about the vision, the Spirit said to him, “Simon, three men are looking for you. 20So get up and go downstairs. Do not hesitate to go with them, for I (ego) have sent them.”

    The Holy Spirit identifies himself as ‘ego’, in the 1st person.

    Moving on, I believe the Christ is Jehovah. One primary reason is because Jehovah identifies Himself as the Holy One of Israel in Isaiah over 20 times. It appears three times in the Psalms (Ps. 71: 22; Ps. 78: 41; Ps. 89: 18), twice in Jeremiah (Jer. 50: 29; Jer. 51: 5), and once in Ezekiel (Ezek. 39: 7). Some references in Isaiah are Isa. 1: 4; Isa. 5: 19; Isa. 12: 6; Isa. 30: 11, 12, 15; Isa. 43:3; 48: 17; Isa. 60: 14.

    These points are way to exhaustive though. There needs to be another thread to tackle them. There is way too much substance to discuss on the Trinity. It’s a topic that branches off into so many other directions.

  356. on 19 Jun 2008 at 12:24 pmCameron

    Also, as a Trinitarian, I prefer to explain the Trinity not in the manner, ““three who’s in one what”, but rather “three who’s while simultaneously one who.”

    No one disagrees that the Father is God. Yet, I also consult Scritpure to know if Jesus is God. One of many examples is Acts 20:28. “Be shepherds of the church of God (tou Theou), which he bought with his own blood.”

    As I’m sure you’re all aware, in the Greek, ‘tou Theou’ is not a divine being but the one true God, hence the definite article. Yet, this verse clearly says that God bought the church with his blood.

  357. on 19 Jun 2008 at 1:19 pmMark

    Mark, ‘Comfortor’ in John 16:7 is masculine (perakletos) rather then neuter (perakleton). The pronoun ‘auton’ is masculine because it points back to a masculine noun, as you said. But John chose to use ‘perakletos’ in the masculine rather than ‘perakleton’, the neuter form.

    So what? As I said, the gramatical gender of the word does not in and of itself prove personhood or non-personhood. You haven’t dealt with my reasons for saying the Bible does not present the holy spirit as a person.

    In addition, Most bible translaters probably translate the neuter pronouns, in reference to the Holy Spirit, as ‘he’, rather than it, because the Holy Spirit is refered to as the ‘living spirit’, not a mere force. Rom 8:11 And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you.

    Further, the Holy Spirit speaks of himself in the 1st person. Acts 10:19-20 says, “While Peter was still thinking about the vision, the Spirit said to him, “Simon, three men are looking for you. 20So get up and go downstairs. Do not hesitate to go with them, for I (ego) have sent them.”

    The Holy Spirit identifies himself as ‘ego’, in the 1st person.

    Bible translators don’t translate the pronoouns as “he” exclusively. Sometimes it’s translated “it”. As I said that proves nothing. And Romans 8:11 does not say it is a “living spirit,” it says the spirit lives, or dwells, in you. And since we’re talking about the spirit of God, this makes sense. As I said, it is not a “mere force” any more than Jesus is a “mere man.” It is an extension of God’s being and thus any attributes of God may be said to be of His spirit as well. The spirit speaking is the same as God speaking. When God speaks through His spirit, He refers to Himself as “I.” None of this proves that it is a separate person, and I have shown why it isn’t.

    Moving on, I believe the Christ is Jehovah. One primary reason is because Jehovah identifies Himself as the Holy One of Israel in Isaiah over 20 times. It appears three times in the Psalms (Ps. 71: 22; Ps. 78: 41; Ps. 89: 18), twice in Jeremiah (Jer. 50: 29; Jer. 51: 5), and once in Ezekiel (Ezek. 39: 7). Some references in Isaiah are Isa. 1: 4; Isa. 5: 19; Isa. 12: 6; Isa. 30: 11, 12, 15; Isa. 43:3; 48: 17; Isa. 60: 14.

    As you said, “Jehovah identifies Himself as the Holy One of Israel in Isaiah over 20 times,” but not one of those verses mentions Christ.

    These points are way to exhaustive though. There needs to be another thread to tackle them. There is way too much substance to discuss on the Trinity. It’s a topic that branches off into so many other directions.

    I think we have hit on most of the main points, but we end up going in circles, because the logic of the Trinity demands that you read it back into the Scriptures (retrofitting as Fortigurn puts it) something that was not taught or believed until two hundred years after Christ. I’m still waiting to be shown something in the Bible on which to base the idea of one God in three persons.

  358. on 19 Jun 2008 at 1:33 pmMark

    Also, as a Trinitarian, I prefer to explain the Trinity not in the manner, “three who’s in one what”, but rather “three who’s while simultaneously one who.”

    But that contradicts the definition of the Trinity that has been repeatedly stated here, that God is one God, yet not one person, but three. What you’re saying is more like the definition that I have heard Trinitarians call a “straw man” when we accuse them of saying “three is one and one is three.” And if you are now indeed saying “three is one and one is three” then I once again ask you to provide a Scriptural basis for such a concept.

    No one disagrees that the Father is God. Yet, I also consult Scritpure to know if Jesus is God. One of many examples is Acts 20:28. “Be shepherds of the church of God (tou Theou), which he bought with his own blood.”

    As I’m sure you’re all aware, in the Greek, ‘tou Theou’ is not a divine being but the one true God, hence the definite article. Yet, this verse clearly says that God bought the church with his blood.

    This verse has long been disputed, even by Trinitarians. The NRSV renders it, “to shepherd the church of God that he obtained with the blood of his own Son.” The Greek phrase “his own” could be understood either way, gramatically.

  359. on 19 Jun 2008 at 6:04 pmDustin

    Cameron,

    Acts 20:28 has quite a few textual variants, as the Greek New Testament/TCGNT explains for us quite well. The better reading (according to F. F. Bruce, NET Bible, NT Wright, etc) is “the Church of God, which He bought with the blood of His own dear one [Jesus].”

    The point being: if Acts 20:28 were a solid text, we would accept it as a reasonable piece of evidence. But since even trinitarians admit that “His own blood” is not the best reading, we should lay it aside for better pieces of argument.

    Its interesting to speculate why the text was changed from “blood of His own dear one” to “His own blood”. What could have possibly motivated that change…..?

    Dustin

  360. on 19 Jun 2008 at 10:22 pmCameron

    Mark, but not one of those verses mentions Christ

    Only Christ is referred to as the Holy One in the NT. Acts 2:27, and even the demons refer to him that way, Luke 4:34. Further, I believe Christ is referred to, given context, in passages such as Zech 12:10/John19:34-37 and Isa 8:13-14/1 Pet 2:7-8 just to name a few for now.

    I’m glad to know that Acts 20:28 is not as clear as one might think. Yet, how about John 20:28. Peter says “o kurios mou kai o theos mou”, “the Lord of me and the God of me”.

    Mark, I believe “three is one and one is three” because 1. I believe Jesus and the HS are God, all 3 persons are distinct, distinguishable yet inseparable, and 3. there is one God (I would use the same Unitarian passages to prove this). To say God is one what and 3 whos is not what I believe Scripture teaches. That’s more like a baseball team where the team is an abstract idea made up of many individuals. This is the same thing I explain when JW’s come-a-knockin’.

    So what? As I said, the gramatical gender of the word does not in and of itself prove personhood or non-personhood. You haven’t dealt with my reasons for saying the Bible does not present the holy spirit as a person. Mark, what constitutes person-hood to you from those whom you accept to be persons in Scripture? What is contextual and grammatical proof to you that something is a person? Why is Jesus as person but the HS is not?

    It is an extension of God’s being and thus any attributes of God may be said to be of His spirit as well. The spirit speaking is the same as God speaking. When God speaks through His spirit, He refers to Himself as “I.”
    So an extension of God’s being determines (dokeo-Acts 15:28) and has a will (boulomi-1 Cor 12:11)?

  361. on 20 Jun 2008 at 2:24 amMark

    Only Christ is referred to as the Holy One in the NT. Acts 2:27, and even the demons refer to him that way, Luke 4:34. Further, I believe Christ is referred to, given context, in passages such as Zech 12:10/John19:34-37 and Isa 8:13-14/1 Pet 2:7-8 just to name a few for now.

    First of all, your original post claimed that “the OT teaches that the Christ is Jehovah,” not “the holy one.” Secondly, Christ is not the only one called “the holy one” in the Bible. Just because two people are called “the holy one” does not mean they are both God. Aaron is also called the holy one in Psalm 106:16 – “When they became envious of Moses in the camp, And of Aaron, the holy one of the LORD…” An angel is called “a holy one” in Dan. 4:13 “I was looking in the visions in my mind as I lay on my bed, and behold, an angelic watcher, a holy one, descended from heaven.” And there are two “holy ones” talking to each other in Dan. 8:13 – “Then I heard a holy one speaking, and another holy one said to that particular one who was speaking, ‘How long will the vision about the regular sacrifice apply…'”

    I’m glad to know that Acts 20:28 is not as clear as one might think. Yet, how about John 20:28. Peter says “o kurios mou kai o theos mou”, “the Lord of me and the God of me”.

    That verse has been dealt with several times in the debate and on this thread.

    Mark, I believe “three is one and one is three” because 1. I believe Jesus and the HS are God, all 3 persons are distinct, distinguishable yet inseparable, and 3. there is one God (I would use the same Unitarian passages to prove this). To say God is one what and 3 whos is not what I believe Scripture teaches. That’s more like a baseball team where the team is an abstract idea made up of many individuals. This is the same thing I explain when JW’s come-a-knockin’.

    Then first of all, you’re in disagreement with many other Trinitarians. And secondly, you said you believe three is one and one is three, but neglected to do what I asked – provide Scriptural backup for such a thing. You’re starting with your belief and reading it into the Scripture.

    Mark, what constitutes person-hood to you from those whom you accept to be persons in Scripture? What is contextual and grammatical proof to you that something is a person? Why is Jesus as person but the HS is not?

    I answered that in post #333.

    It is an extension of God’s being and thus any attributes of God may be said to be of His spirit as well. The spirit speaking is the same as God speaking. When God speaks through His spirit, He refers to Himself as “I.”
    So an extension of God’s being determines (dokeo-Acts 15:28) and has a will (boulomi-1 Cor 12:11)?

    No, God determines and has a will. The holy spirit is an extension of God’s presence and power, and so to say that the holy spirit determined or worked or energized, is another way of saying that God determined or worked or energized, through His spirit.

  362. on 20 Jun 2008 at 10:58 amCameron

    Mark, you said so to say that the holy spirit determined or worked or energized, is another way of saying that God determined or worked or energized, through His spirit. chapter and verse please.

    In 333, the only thing I gather is that a person is identified by having a proper name. So nothing can have person-hood unless it is given a proper name? And ‘parakletos’ is not a proper name? Is ‘Christos’ a proper name to you? Is ‘pater’ a proper name to you?

    First of all, your original post claimed that “the OT teaches that the Christ is Jehovah,” not “the holy one.” That’s correct. I believe that Christ was the one pierced and is the stumbling block for the Jews, such as in these NT/OT parallels (which are just a few out of many). I believe Christ is referred to, given context, in passages such as Zech 12:10/John19:34-37 and Isa 8:13-14/1 Pet 2:7-8 just to name a few for now. Further, which “holy one” in the OT was Israel’s savior? Isaiah 43:3 “For I am Jehovah, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior”

    Then first of all, you’re in disagreement with many other Trinitarians. That’s fine.

    And secondly, you said you believe three is one and one is three, but neglected to do what I asked – provide Scriptural backup for such a thing. I believe Jesus is not only representative of God, but represents Him the best as he is God. In John 10:33 the Jews understood Jesus to be claiming to be God, not god-like. Jesus does NOT denounce their claim! Carefully read John 10:35-39. Jesus is showing how His representation of God is far superior to those who were previously appointed by God, by alluding to being appointed by the Father by virtue of having being sent from the Father and does miracles in the name of the Father.

    You must take this context as it stands and not add conclusions to it that are not there, such as Jesus is likening himself to be god-like. This is absolutely not taught by Jesus in this passage, but rather his superior representation. This only raises a greater point to be debated. Is Jesus representing God as God or not. This passage is only a platform into this discussion, not the answer to it.

  363. on 20 Jun 2008 at 12:23 pmMark

    Mark, you said so to say that the holy spirit determined or worked or energized, is another way of saying that God determined or worked or energized, through His spirit. chapter and verse please.

    How about every verse where the spirit of God is mentioned? Also, understanding Hebrew thinking, which is the mindset that the Scriptures are written with.

    In 333, the only thing I gather is that a person is identified by having a proper name.

    Then you need to read it again. There are other points made there.

    So nothing can have person-hood unless it is given a proper name? And ‘parakletos’ is not a proper name? Is ‘Christos’ a proper name to you? Is ‘pater’ a proper name to you?

    No, those are titles, not proper names.

    First of all, your original post claimed that “the OT teaches that the Christ is Jehovah,” not “the holy one.” That’s correct. I believe that Christ was the one pierced and is the stumbling block for the Jews, such as in these NT/OT parallels (which are just a few out of many). I believe Christ is referred to, given context, in passages such as Zech 12:10/John19:34-37 and Isa 8:13-14/1 Pet 2:7-8 just to name a few for now.

    Sure, he’s called the holy one, a stumbling block, etc. But none of the verses you’re referencing say that Christ is Jehovah, which was your original claim. You’re merely assserting that you believe he is.

    Further, which “holy one” in the OT was Israel’s savior? Isaiah 43:3 “For I am Jehovah, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior”

    God is called the holy one of Israel, but He’s not the only one who is called that. He is called their savior because He devised the plan of salvation. Jesus is also called their savior (and ours) because he carried out God’s plan, and always did the Father’s will. But calling two people the same thing does not make them the same person (or the same “essence” or “being”).

    Then first of all, you’re in disagreement with many other Trinitarians. That’s fine.

    How do you know which version of the Trinity is correct then?

    And secondly, you said you believe three is one and one is three, but neglected to do what I asked – provide Scriptural backup for such a thing. I believe Jesus is not only representative of God, but represents Him the best as he is God. In John 10:33 the Jews understood Jesus to be claiming to be God, not god-like. Jesus does NOT denounce their claim! Carefully read John 10:35-39. Jesus is showing how His representation of God is far superior to those who were previously appointed by God, by alluding to being appointed by the Father by virtue of having being sent from the Father and does miracles in the name of the Father.

    You must take this context as it stands and not add conclusions to it that are not there, such as Jesus is likening himself to be god-like. This is absolutely not taught by Jesus in this passage, but rather his superior representation. This only raises a greater point to be debated. Is Jesus representing God as God or not. This passage is only a platform into this discussion, not the answer to it.

    I agree, we must take the context as it stands. And in the context he quotes the verse in which God called the judges gods, and then says, that he is not calling himself God, but the son of God (v. 36). I never said he was “likening himself to be god-like.”

    Once again you are stating what you believe, and then retrofitting it onto Scriptures that do not say what you claim they do. And besides, what I asked you to do was not quote Scriptures that you believe say Jesus is God. I am familiar with all the verses Trinitarians use to say that. What I asked is for you to show from the Scriptures where God is ever described as three-in-one. You can’t do it because it’s not there. The concept of three persons in one God was devised hundreds of years after Christ to try to explain how Jesus and the Father could both be called God and yet not be two Gods. This was necessary because they failed to understand the Hebrew concept of agency.

  364. on 21 Jun 2008 at 11:50 pmBing Reyes

    Hi Sean, I have read several notes. They were great.

    Thanks to God for revealing us the truth and for giving us the eyes to see, the ears to hear and the heart to understand.

    Bing from the Philippines

  365. on 22 Jun 2008 at 9:24 ammanuel culwell

    Bing half the truth is not the truth at all and that is waht unitarains have ignoring most scriptures that tell us Jesus is God.

    John 3:34, Matth. 28:18, 1st.Cor.15:45

  366. on 22 Jun 2008 at 9:57 amMark

    John 3:34 For He whom God has sent speaks the words of God; for
    He gives the Spirit without measure.

    Matt. 28:18 And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.

    I Cor. 15:45 So also it is written, “The first MAN, Adam, BECAME A LIVING SOUL.” The last Adam became a life-giving spirit.

    Where do you see “Jesus is God” in these verses? We need to read what’s written and not impose preconceived ideas onto them.

  367. on 22 Jun 2008 at 10:25 ammanuel culwell

    So please tell me then mark who gives glossary readings to passages that are clear? To Whom does God give the Spirit w/o measure and why? please don’t tell me every christian as I will give the passaage that says he does not….. If jesus has all power in heaven and earth, then Nobody else can have any, having it all does mean he has it all, and it was given him

  368. on 22 Jun 2008 at 4:48 pmCameron

    Mark, your post in 333 does not explain the criterion which makes up a person in your view. You are simply avoiding things. You explain that something is merely not a person by the presence of pronouns. Great. This does not explain what a person IS to you.

    I believe the OT teaches Christ is Jehovah because I further said:
    “That’s correct. I believe that Christ was the one pierced and is the stumbling block for the Jews” Interesting how you ignore these parallels and want to focus on my “wording”. Please look at all that I am saying. I don’t blame you for doing this however. It is similar to Unitarians approach to the the Bible.

    The reason I don’t need the Bible to literally say “God is three in one and one in three” is because inferences can be made from Scripture. For instance, you have an inference that the Holy Spirit is shorthand for God the Father. There is no explicit text equating the two as being entirely the same person. Secondly, you believe God is only one being made up of one person. Your proof text for this is the Shema (among others) yet does not exhaustively define God’s nature.

    In John 10:36 you believe Jesus to mean something that the Jews didn’t think He meant. Son of God to them meant to be equal to God.

    Further, how do you deal with John 20:28? Thomas calls Jesus ‘o theos’, not a god, but the God.

  369. on 22 Jun 2008 at 5:58 pmMark

    Manuel,

    I really don’t see what the problem here is. The verse says “He whom God has sent” which from the context is Jesus. God has sent him and given him the spirit without measure. That doesn’t mean he is God. And since it says all power is GIVEN to Jesus, if Jesus IS God, then who gave him the power? It’s really simple except when we complicate it with man-made doctrines.

  370. on 22 Jun 2008 at 6:02 pmMark

    Please read it again. Here it is:

    Grammar aside, the Bible nowhere presents the holy spirit as a person. For one thing, it is never given a proper name. God’s proper name is given as Yahweh, and His Son’s name is Jesus. But the holy spirit is simply called the holy spirit. The epistles frequently include greetings from the Father and the Son. However, never do they give greetings “from the Holy Spirit.” Why would this be so if the holy spirit were a co-equal, co-eternal person?

    Furthermore, Matthew 11:27 says that no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son. Matthew 24:36 says that no man knows the hour of Christ’s return, not even the Son, but only the Father. John wrote in his first epistle that a person is antichrist if he denies the Father and the Son (I John 2:22-23). In his second epistle he wrote, “He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son” (II John 9). If the holy spirit is a third co-equal person, why is there no mention of him in verses like these? And why was the holy spirit never considered a co-equal person until many years after the deity of Jesus was agreed on?

  371. on 22 Jun 2008 at 6:59 pmMark

    Cameron,

    I’m not ignoring anything or focusing on your wording. You said that the OT teaches that Christ is Jehovah, but none of the verses you have quoted say anything like that. You keep referring to Scriptures that speak of attributes that God and Jesus have in common. This does not mean that Jesus IS God. We’ve been over all that.

    By the way, you said, “you have an inference that the Holy Spirit is shorthand for God the Father.” I didn’t say that. What I said was that the holy spirit is God’s operational presence and power, and so to say that the spirit did or said things is another way of saying that God did or said them THROUGH His spirit. This can be seen if you examine Hebrew culture and idioms. Please reread my other posts to see why I don’t believe the holy spirit is a separate person.

    You also said, “The reason I don’t need the Bible to literally say ‘God is three in one and one in three’ is because inferences can be made from Scripture.” I believe this is the crux of the problem. You aren’t inferring it from the Scriptures, you are starting with your preconceived doctrine and retrofitting it onto the Scriptures. There is no scripture that you have pointed to that cannot be understood in a way other than the Trinitarian view, but you choose not to accept any other explanation. That’s your choice. (BTW, those verses you referred to have been dealt with repeatedly on this thread.)

    You claim that progressive revelation has revealed to us God’s triune nature. But since it goes against what Jesus and all OT Jews believed, not to mention that it goes against common sense, somewhere the new revelation must have been spelled out. And it is: two hundred years after Christ. This in itself makes it highly suspicious in my mind. Evidently it’s not a problem to you, which is why we will most likely never be on the same page. Furthermore, it raises many more logical inconsistancies (which have been dealt with here) for which the only explanation is the even later non-Biblical doctrine of Jesus having two natures.

    So as I have said before, if you are comfortable with embracing a post-Biblical doctrine, then fine. You have a right to believe anything you want to. At least you are honest enough to say that you don’t need the Bible to spell it out explicitly. This is the thing I hope to get across to anyone reading these threads. I don’t expect to convince you or Scott or any of the other Trinitarians posting here, but perhaps if someone happens to read this and begins to realize that the Trinity is not a Biblical doctrine, it will have been worth it. Otherwise we seem to be at an impasse.

  372. on 22 Jun 2008 at 9:27 pmmanuel culwell

    Manuel,

    I really don’t see what the problem here is. The verse says “He whom God has sent” which from the context is Jesus. God has sent him and given him the spirit without measure. That doesn’t mean he is God. And since it says all power is GIVEN to Jesus, if Jesus IS God, then who gave him the power? It’s really simple except when we complicate it with man-made doctrines.

    mlculwell:Not only does the passage say:” whom God has sent” but it also says: *God giveth not the spirit by measure unto him* YOU ARE MEASURING THE SPIRIT. You want to cut it there so you don’t have to deal with a passage that is not as Cut and dry as you say it is.

    the you do the same to other passages. God Gave the power to the man by God giving all to his son he does not remain a prince but is the King. You are the One minimizing passages because it does not fit your doctrine.

  373. on 22 Jun 2008 at 10:05 pmO.J.

    This has been a very interesting debate. As a trinitarian for over 50 years, I was shocked by my first exposure to unitarianism. But after a year and a half of intense research, I can see no way for anyone who has a notion that the Bible writers were inspired by God to come to any conclusion other than God is one. On this blog it has been my observation that the unitarians believe that the Bible says what it means, and means what it says. They, and I, do not need the ‘guidance’ of some Catholic church fathers who lived 1700 years ago, and 300 years after Jesus, to tell us what the scriptures “really meant”. Yes, I believe that the writers of both OT and NT were inspired, but this did not give them the “right” to define words differently than they ever had been. On the contrary, it gave them the guidance to use the proper words that could be understood by anyone reading them, to say exactly what they were trying to say. A few days ago, I became very disheartened by reading the posts here. The trinitarians seemed to be more swayed by traditional doctrine than be actual Bible scripture, and no amount of pointing this out seemed to have any impact on them. But I finally came to the same conclusion stated in Mark’s last post, that those READING these comments will most likely be able to easily see the difference between the trinitarian and the unitarian position. The trinitarian position does not rely on the Bible as its primary source, and it does not mind changing the DEFINITIONS of words used whenever it suits their purpose. I am not condemning or being condescending when I say that, for it is merely a necessary thing to do to support the trinitarian position. In order for me to have a MUCH better understanding of what the Bible had to say about almost anything, I had to learn to do two things differently than I had been. First, I had to learn to read the Bible from the Hebrew perspective, and not my own modern perspective. This made sense, since all the OT writers were Hebrew, and the OT was written to Hebrews. Jesus was a Jew, and most of the time he was speaking to Jews. Once I learned to do this, I could start to see that often times we today interpret things said in the Bible in a completely different way than what was meant at the time they were written.
    Secondly, I had to learn to start actually looking up the definitons of the words used in scriptures. This one thing has made such a tremendous difference in my understanding. And the more I do this, the more it continuously amazes me at how much more clear the passages become. And you don’t have to be a theologean with a huge library at your disposal. Just a good concordance and an English dictionary can make a tremendous difference. I believe that doing this one thing, looking up the definitions for ALL the words in most of these disputed verses, would remove the confusion. I don’t, however, think it will help most of the trinitarians posting on this site, because I think their minds are already made up, and definitions of words used in scripture won’t change them.
    If I am blasted for this post, so be it. But I will not post again trying to get through to those who don’t wish to be reached. I think Fortigurn, Wolfgang, Sean, and Mark have done a fine job, and have shown great strength, knowledge, and humility, in presenting solid arguments that the Bible says EXACTLY what it means, (because when God spoke, He knew every word there was to say and He was entirely intelligent enough to use the right words to get His point across), and that the Bible means EXACTLY what it says. I believe that if more people would take the time to start looking up definitions for themselves, they would soon realize that they don’t need someone else to interpret the Bible for them. Before signing off, I would like to leave just one quick example. Moses said in De 6:4,5; “Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD is one!” Jesus also quoted this exact verse to the scribe in Mark 12. The word translated as ‘LORD’ in the OT verse is Strong’s # 3068,YHWH, God’s personal name. The word ‘God’ in that same verse is #430 in Strong’s Concordance, which means “the Supreme being”. By replacing those two words with their definitions, perhaps the verse sounds a little different. “Hear, O Israel! YHWH is our Supreme Being. YHWH is one!” Now, if you want to read that verse for what it says, where can you interject another name, or where will you place plurality? Is 45:5 says, “I am the LORD, (YHWH), and there is no other; there is no other God (‘Supreme being’) besides Me.” The word “I” in Webster’s dictionary is defined as, “the one speaking”. Please read that verse again for ‘what it says’, and you will come to the same conclusion ANYONE would come to, if they had not been TAUGHT to read it some other way

  374. on 23 Jun 2008 at 12:13 amMark

    mlculwell:Not only does the passage say:” whom God has sent” but it also says: *God giveth not the spirit by measure unto him* YOU ARE MEASURING THE SPIRIT. You want to cut it there so you don’t have to deal with a passage that is not as Cut and dry as you say it is.

    the you do the same to other passages. God Gave the power to the man by God giving all to his son he does not remain a prince but is the King. You are the One minimizing passages because it does not fit your doctrine.

    Seriously, I don’t know what you mean by “YOU ARE MEASURING THE SPIRIT.” I’m just asking, how do you interpret anything in this context, not just the one verse, as saying Jesus is God. It says plainly that Jesus is the one whom God sent and gave the spirit to. How can he be God unless he sent himself and gave the spirit to himself? That doesn’t minimize anything; we both agree, Jesus is the King.

  375. on 23 Jun 2008 at 12:47 amCameron

    Mark, you said “What I said was that the holy spirit is God’s operational presence and power, and so to say that the spirit did or said things is another way of saying that God did or said them THROUGH His spirit.”

    This is still YOUR inference. It’s not a matter if one has inferences, but which inference is the most Biblical and consistent? We both believe we ours is.

    “You said that the OT teaches that Christ is Jehovah, but none of the verses you have quoted say anything like that.”

    I never said it explicitly said this word for word, if that’s what you assumed I said, but I believe it does teach this. I do not believe that God the Father was a stumbling block for the Jews, but that Jesus Christ was.

    Regardless, may the Holy Spirit lead us into all truth, John 16:13. I’m just going to agree to disagree with you at this point. I’ve truly enjoyed our dialogue. I leave you all with the doxology from Romans 11 after the great mystery of salvation was proclaimed and explained to include all the world.

    “Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!
    How unsearchable his judgments,
    and his paths beyond tracing out!
    “Who has known the mind of the Lord?
    Or who has been his counselor?”
    “Who has ever given to God,
    that God should repay him?”
    For from him and through him and to him are all things.
    To him be the glory forever! Amen.”

  376. on 23 Jun 2008 at 4:15 amMark

    “Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!
    How unsearchable his judgments,
    and his paths beyond tracing out!
    “Who has known the mind of the Lord?
    Or who has been his counselor?”
    “Who has ever given to God,
    that God should repay him?”
    For from him and through him and to him are all things.
    To him be the glory forever! Amen.”

    Amen!

  377. on 23 Jun 2008 at 5:31 ammanuel culwell

    Mark:

    “Seriously, I don’t know what you mean by “YOU ARE MEASURING THE SPIRIT.”

    mlculwell: By taking it away and saying Jesus is not God because it was given to the human only begotten son you are measuring the spirit to take any part and to deminish as you have done is measuring the spirit that was given it was given w/o measure.

    mark:
    I’m just asking, how do you interpret anything in this context, not just the one verse, as saying Jesus is God. It says plainly that Jesus is the one whom God sent and gave the spirit to.

    mlculwell: In my opinion you are not being honest with text,the only thing you see is that he was sent and given the spirit but he was given the spirit w/o measure so that means if you demish what was given by saying he was not god then you measure the spirit that was given w/o measure remeber he was given A-L-L power in heaven and earth (ALL means ALL) You continue to measure and take away all power two cannot have all power nor the spirit with no measure.

    Mark:
    How can he be God unless he sent himself and gave the spirit to himself?

    mlculwell: You miss the point he could do niether But he was the Only Beggotten son of the father and he was Given all power and the spirit which is what God is the spirit w/o measure who hass power in heavn and earth Jesus was given this and made God God did not become a man.

    That doesn’t minimize anything; we both agree, Jesus is the King. “

  378. on 23 Jun 2008 at 12:39 pmMark

    Manuel,

    I really don’t see how saying Jesus is not God it is measuring the spirit. I agree that God gave him the spirit without measure. I don’t see where that makes him God. It clearly says God SENT His Son. How can they be the same person?

    Are you suggesting that since the Father gave His Son “All Power” that He no longer has it? I’m not sure if that’s what you’re saying or not. If it is, I don’t think it’s a valid conclusion from what the Bible says.

  379. on 23 Jun 2008 at 3:59 pmJohn Ha

    Hi O.J.

    Thanks for the post. I was a Trinitarian merely based on grouping to an organization, but never fully understood it. When I married, my wife is Catholic, I decided to investigate all aspects of my religious upbringing vs. hers. This was done to try and see where the truth lied. I searched the scriptures on several different topics and the trinity was one. In short what I finally asked myself was where would be the best place to find the definition of Jesus? That to me was the New Testament in that Jesus should define to us who he is better than any other place in the Bible. I never found him declaring himself as God. Secondly, I looked for any place where Jesus calls himself as the same as God. Third, I looked for how the Messiah is defined. Through that search I drew the conclusion of a single God and His son. Only later did I find a classification that stated this as a Unitarian code of beliefs and thus was enamored with their views. Your comments are hopefully encouraging to both sides of this discussion. I pray that God will open our hearts to His truth.
    May God continue to bless you, John Ha

  380. on 23 Jun 2008 at 4:11 pmMark

    John Ha,

    I believe this is what most people would come away with if they just read the Bible without any preconceived ideas.

  381. on 23 Jun 2008 at 4:24 pmSean

    O.J.

    What you said was profound. Thanks for sharing.

  382. on 23 Jun 2008 at 5:52 pmmanuel culwell

    Mark writes:

    “Manuel,

    I really don’t see how saying Jesus is not God it is measuring the spirit. I agree that God gave him the spirit without measure. I don’t see where that makes him God. It clearly says God SENT His Son. How can they be the same person? ”

    mlculwell:
    I don’t use the limiting term person in the manner you and the trinitarains use it much to everyones confusion, God is not a person outside the person of the son as God is spirit. I have claimed all along the same claim towards the real humanity of the son as the so called Unitarains, I do not deny God sent his son, it does not disprove my claim either that Jesus was made God. You have not refuted it ,you simply deny it, and use the same passages I would use in proving jesus was sent and that everything he had he was given and that he had no power in and of himself ,as he was not another person of God nor was he “God the son.”

    Mark:
    Are you suggesting that since the Father gave His Son “All Power” that He no longer has it?

    mlculwell: I am suggesting God gave his spirit to the son without measure, I am not suggesting the father no longer exists or that he no longer has all power, he has it through Jesus who was given the spirit w/o measure, by you taking it away and giving it back to the father alone , you are measuring the spirit that was given to the son, there is no argument you can submit to take it away, it is inherint….

    mark:
    I’m not sure if that’s what you’re saying or not. If it is, I don’t think it’s a valid conclusion from what the Bible says.”

    mlculwell: well Mark, I would not think you would, as it would contradict your view but it sure does not contradict the scriptures.

  383. on 24 Jun 2008 at 1:45 amMark

    Manuel,

    I never said I was giving power back to God ALONE. Jesus still has the power God gave him. I am simply saying that God giving His Son all power does not mean that Jesus became God. He was born as God’s Son, and is still God’s Son. “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (I Tim. 2:5). There is no place in the Bible that says he was “made God.” Rather, he was made both Lord and Christ (Acts 2:36). Please don’t say that “Lord” means “God” because it is used other ways besides that, as any good concordance will show you.

    You say, “I don’t use the limiting term person in the manner you and the trinitarains use it much to everyones confusion.” First of all, the Trinitarians don’t use the word the same way we do. Secondly, the confusion only comes about when a man-made, post-Biblical doctrine makes it necessary to redefine words. This is again the crux of the problem. As O.J. so astutely pointed out, “The Bible says EXACTLY what it means, (because when God spoke, He knew every word there was to say and He was entirely intelligent enough to use the right words to get His point across), and that the Bible means EXACTLY what it says.”

    If Jesus was made God, how is he now sitting on God’s right hand? He’d have to be “beside himself.” (Sorry… couldn’t resist.) Seriously, we have got to read what’s written and not inject our own ideas into it. Words mean things and God knew what words to use. We need to stop complicating things with man-made traditions.

  384. on 24 Jun 2008 at 5:52 pmmanuel culwell

    Mark:

    I never said I was giving power back to God ALONE. Jesus still has the power God gave him. I am simply saying that God giving His Son all power does not mean that Jesus became God. He was born as God’s Son, and is still God’s Son. “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (I Tim. 2:5).

    mlculwell:
    Mark, I am sure you meant to use the passage from (1st. Tim 2:5) to show that Jesus mediates before God the father as still being a man but that is impossible, his mediatorship was his humanity and his passion that it is ever before the throne of God but it does not mean that Jesus remains a human man albeit he has been glorified, I understand where you are coming from but do not agree with you.

    mark:
    There is no place in the Bible that says he was “made God.” Rather, he was made both Lord and Christ (Acts 2:36). Please don’t say that “Lord” means “God” because it is used other ways besides that, as any good concordance will show you.

    mlculwell: That is the reason I used the passage, but it is not the only passage I used. But I will contentrate on that one since you seem to want to deminish the passage toward your view. The scriptures teach there is only One Lord(Eph. 4:4-6) and Jesus is the Lord of lords(1st. Tim.6:15) it also teaches; there are Lords many.(1st. Cor.8:5) so which is the Lord Jesus? He was made both Lord and Christ(Acts 2:36) and the Lord is the Spirit(2nd. Cor. 3:17) That is the Lord Jesus Christ he was made Lord because his humnaity had a beggining. You have not submitted a concrete argument by stating:
    “Please don’t say that “Lord” means “God” because it is used other ways besides that, as any good concordance will show you.”

    All that says to me is that you don’t have a sure fire argument but that you will take the opposing view since it contradicts your belief.

    I also the other passages from (John 3:34) where Jesus was given the spirit w/o measure that you continue to deny, along (1st Cor. 15;45 and Matth.28:18)where Jesus was made the Life giving spirit someone mentioned that simply meant he was ressurected I must say that the passage said no such thing as he was made the life giving spirit. ( and I continue to submit and will resubmit untill I get and argument or answer opposing the view instead of a protest.

    Mark
    You say, “I don’t use the limiting term person in the manner you and the trinitarains use it much to everyones confusion.” First of all, the Trinitarians don’t use the word the same way we do. Secondly, the confusion only comes about when a man-made, post-Biblical doctrine makes it necessary to redefine words. This is again the crux of the problem. As O.J. so astutely pointed out, “The Bible says EXACTLY what it means, (because when God spoke, He knew every word there was to say and He was entirely intelligent enough to use the right words to get His point across), and that the Bible means EXACTLY what it says.”

    mlculwell: You making these statements does not mean I disagree with scripture and thus disagreeing with God’s word. I do however disagree with your view as unscriptual. You do focus on one side of the coin, that being Jesus real limited humanity, that part I would be in agreement with you, I also would agree that Jesus is not another person of God, pre-existent or otherwise, if that is in fact what you are saying. But i think you are making a big mistake in disregarding the passages I have submitted.

    Mark:
    If Jesus was made God, how is he now sitting on God’s right hand? He’d have to be “beside himself.” (Sorry… couldn’t resist.)

    mlculwell: Mark, that argument does not hold water and as a Oneness believer I have that arguemnt used many times and I am afraid it does not in my opinion make the user of the argument look like he or she understands scripture properly. *The right hand of God* is not a geographic location, it is a place of both* power* and *acceptance* (A metaphor)and Jesus being seen as standing and sitting on *the right hand of God* means that h is humanity glorified or otherwise was accepted to recieve both as he was given all power in heaven and earth.(Sorry could not resist either.) King David was also on the Right hand of God, And in the judgement sheep are seen going to Jesus right hand (A place of acceptance. Would love to give a multitude more if you care to continue.)

    Mark:
    Seriously, we have got to read what’s written and not inject our own ideas into it.

    mlculwell: Ther is nothing I have injected into any passage but simply use common sense and do not gloss over the passage because it does not fit my view or preconcieved understanding.

    Mark:
    Words mean things and God knew what words to use. We need to stop complicating things with man-made traditions.

    mlculwell: Absolutey words mean things and especially when the passage reads he was given the spirit w/o measure and he was given all power in heaven and earth. How you cannot see that, is beyond me.

  385. on 24 Jun 2008 at 9:16 pmMark

    Manuel,

    You continue to quote verses and claim they say things which they do not say. I am not ignoring or denying the Scriptures that you bring up. I am simply pointing out that they do not say what you claim they say.

    I didn’t say, “Please don’t tell me that Lord means God” because I didn’t have a concrete argument. I said it because it is something that is said quite a lot, and is not true. Calling Jesus “Lord” does not mean he is God. Any good concordance will show you that the word Lord has other meanings and is used in other ways.

    So you have demonstrated that Jesus was made Lord and Christ, that he was given all power in heaven and earth, and that he was given the spirit without measure. You seem to want to accuse me of not seeing these things, but I do see them. However, none of those things mean that he was made God. How you see that in those Scriptures, is beyond me.

    I guess, like the Trinitarians on this thread, we will just have to agree to disagree.

  386. on 24 Jun 2008 at 9:28 pmmanuel culwell

    Mark, Being given the Spirit of God w/o any limits or measure put upon what was given, says a lot to me. Being Given A-L-L power in heavn and earth says Even more, you put limitations upon both passages, where there are none, to deminish either in any way shape or form is limiting the spirit and power that was given. Yes, we will agree to disagree. I will continue to use the forceful passages wherever I go.

  387. on 29 Jun 2008 at 6:32 amDave Zizert

    The Christian world tells us through the history books that gnosticism was confronted and repulsed by the Christian church through the influence of other Christian leaders following the death of the apostles. It is very clear from Mr. Grosserman’s comments that gnosticism is alive and well today in the Christian church. His explanation of Jesus’ death on the cross was truly a gnostic viewpoint as he tried to explain which part of Jesus died. What verse did he use for the explanation concerning Jesus body having two natures on the cross? NOT ONE! He seemed to be more interested in impressing people with his monologue than his reasoning from scriptures. It is sad to see people who have so much to give and yet fail miserably in understanding God and His revealed truth!

  388. on 29 Jun 2008 at 9:23 ammanuel culwell

    Not concerned with “The Gnostic view” we should be concerned with the unscriptural view where you deny passages such as (Math. 28:18) where Jesus was given all power in heaven and earth, to take that away in any amount would *not be all power* and then the passage in (John 3:34) where Jesus was given the spirit without measure, you measure with your view.

    I agree, it is wrong for the trinitarian to say one of two natures died, when they in fact say God became a man(Which is a contradiction that cannot be reconciled) and it brings about too many contradictions. D.Zizert,It Is your view where You deny the passages I submitted as does every other Unitarian(So called) to focus on area of great truth that being Jesus humanity all the while diminishing his deity given and focusing in on the humanity only , you are just as guilty as the trinitarains.

  389. on 29 Jun 2008 at 1:58 pmMark

    Manuel,

    Please stop saying we deny Scriptures. We do not deny them, we simply disagree with your interpretation of them. Once again, God giving all power to Jesus and giving him the spirit without measure does not mean that Jesus became God.

  390. on 29 Jun 2008 at 3:22 pmRon S.

    Manuel,

    Since you are a Oneness believer, can you explain who died on the cross for our sins?

    I don’t understand how the Oneness view explains this. At least the trinitarians have an out (illogical as it is) in that it was Jesus’ “human nature” that died.

    Thanks,

    Ron S.

  391. on 29 Jun 2008 at 4:18 pmmanuel culwell

    Jesus as a real human man died, we believe God indwelt a man, we do not believe God became a man, otherwise God would have died .

  392. on 29 Jun 2008 at 4:18 pmmanuel culwell

    Human natures, and God don’t die, People Die!

  393. on 29 Jun 2008 at 5:25 pmRon S.

    Manuel,

    So are you saying that God just took over a real human being (kind of a Godly “possession” or something like that)?

    Maybe I don’t understand what your saying, but it seems you are directly contradicting yourself by saying:

    “Jesus as a real human man died, we believe God indwelt a man, we do not believe God became a man, otherwise God would have died . “

    And how is this really any different than the trinity belief – Jesus is God, but died as a human, not God??

    Thanks,

    Ron S.

  394. on 29 Jun 2008 at 6:28 pmmanuel culwell

    The scriptures teach God Indwelt the man* Not became a man*That is the difference they say he became a man if God became a man then God died when the man died it impossible for natures to die people die natures and God do not die!I already explained for you but you simply look past that and say it is the same thing. I use the same passages you use to prove his real humanity, only I do not ignore all the other passages The father that dwelleth in me he doeth the works(Miracles)… Jesus could do nothing(Or no miracles) in and of himself.(John 5:30)

    I am absolutely not contradicting myself but you for sure contradict scripture in only focusing in on his real humanity and Ignore (Math. 28:18.)which is after his passion and teaches that all power in both heaven and earth is given unto me. If he has it nobody else can have any you so called Unitarians do nothing with the passage but ignore and hope it goes away so somebody might buy into your false doctrine…(John 3:34) Is another passage you would have to ignore as jesus was gievn the spirit w/o measure. To take it away in any amount is measuring the spirit and that is just waht you do with your doctrine.

  395. on 30 Jun 2008 at 12:51 amDave Zizert

    Manuel, I do not remember denying Matthew 28:18 or John 3:34 in my initial statements. I think if you go back and read my statements, you will find I said nothing of the sort. It appears to me that you have already labeled me according to what you think I believe without even hearing me on these verses. That seems very presumptuous of you. You say you are not concerned about the “gnostic view” but you should be because you seem to be echoing a similar view to me.

    The Christian world today condemns the gnostics in the history books if you read them. But at the same time, Christians today seem to share a similar belief as the gnostics did when it comes to Jesus’ death. The Gnostics in the first and second centuries believed that the human body of Jesus died on the cross but the spirit body (deity part if you will) left the body on the cross to die. This sounds very similar to what I heard Mr Gosserman speak of and it seems like it is your understanding as well. I would encourage you to go back and read some of this in history(Christianity Through the Centuries by Earle E. Cairns pg. 98-99).

    As to your verses that you mentioned that I denied without me saying so, let me comment. I do believe Jesus has complete authority that has been given to him by the Father. I do not deny that at all. In both the verses that you mentioned, the words used are “has been given” or “has given all into his hand” which implies to me that Jesus at one time did not have this. If he had this authority and power through his own nature, his Father would not have to give it to him. In light of this, I do not believe that Jesus would try and usurp the power of God by abusing this power and authority given to him by his Father.

    Jesus always yielded his will to the Father as he stated in the Garden, “Not my will, but thine, be done” (Luke 22:42). He died on the cross to show his obedience to the Father. I believe Jesus had the power to stop this but didn’t because his desire was to fulfill the will and plan of his Father in heaven. That’s also why Jesus said in John 5:30, I can do nothing on my own authority…because I seek not my will but the will of Him (God) who sent me. In John 5:36, Jesus went on to say that “the works which the Father has GRANTED me to do bear witness that the Father has sent me.” In all these verses, Jesus is quoted as yielding his will to the will of his heavenly Father (submission) or being granted the right of power from his Father. The works that he performed were done by the power GIVEN or GRANTED to him by the Father. It was not the godhead (Father) actually in his body doing the work but it was God’s power working through Christ as a witness to the world that Jesus was God’s chosen one (Messiah).

    Luke 4:18 says, The Spirit of the Lord is upon me (Jesus), for He (God)has annointed me to preach Good News to the poor.” Romans 8:11 says something similar by saying, “But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells IN YOU, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His spirit who DWELLS IN YOU.” It was God’s spirit working in Christ that performed the miracles. It was not the person or being of God the Father. God’s spirit is in US as well. That doesn’t mean we are “gods in the flesh.” That kind of thinking comes from Greek myths. Greeks believed that the gods above would come down to earth in human form from time to time to mingle with people on earth. It is this kind of thinking that has turned Christian teaching into Greek mythology and has ruined the purity of the gospel message. That message is that Jesus really DID DIE on the cross for our sins otherwise we are still LOST! I would encourage Manuel to check out some Greek Mythology to see how these “gods in human form” beliefs sound very similar to what we hear being taught today about Jesus. When our Christian beliefs sound similar to pagan beliefs, it should be sounding some alarms to us!! I will pray for you Manuel that God will open your heart!

  396. on 30 Jun 2008 at 2:00 amRon S.

    Manuel,

    You keep bringing up Matt 28:18 even though I believe Mark already answered that here. So it appears that either you’re not getting what he explained, or you’re choosing to ignore the answers because you don’t agree with them.

    But let me see if I can get to the crux of your arguement here so we all understand it fully.

    In your interpretation of Matt 28:18 and John 3:34, you seem to be implying that since Jesus is given ALL authority and the Spirit WITHOUT MEASURE, this means that Jesus is God since there is nothing left remaining. So if Jesus has it all, then Jesus is ALL God. Jesus is the Father, Yahweh. Would that be right? Please let me know as I do not wish to misrepresent your view.

    In response I would like to start by simply asking you one question.

    Why would Scripture say that Jesus is GIVEN all authority and GIVEN the Spirit without measure?

    It would be an illogical absurdity to say that God gives himself something that he ALREADY HAS. God already has ALL Authority. He is God after all. God already has the Spirit without measure. Everything that God has is without measure since he is God and is an infinite being.

    Therefore logic and common sense dicates that if Jesus is GIVEN all authority and is GIVEN the Spirit without measure, then he is someone OTHER THAN GOD. It really is that simple.

    BTW, you did not answer my two questions to you in #392 above.

    Thanks,

    Ron S.

  397. on 30 Jun 2008 at 2:05 amRon S.

    Whoops, got the post # wrong. My two questions to Manuel were in # 393.

  398. on 30 Jun 2008 at 5:21 ammanuel culwell

    Ron:

    Why would Scripture say that Jesus is GIVEN all authority and GIVEN the Spirit without measure?

    mlculwell: Because jesus as real humna could do nothing of himself he had no power as reqal human man to give himself anything he had to have it given the same passages to show he had no power he had a begginign and was a real human are the same passages I use.

    Ron:
    It would be an illogical absurdity to say that God gives himself something that he ALREADY HAS. God already has ALL Authority. He is God after all. God already has the Spirit without measure. Everything that God has is without measure since he is God and is an infinite being.

    mlculwell: God did not give himself something as he was not God untill he received and he sure did not already have it you are not arguing with a trinitarain so can mjust stop these are the same arguments i use it makes you look dishonest for looking past my arguments and putting an argument on me that is not my view. He gave all power(Not just authority) to his limited human son and made him God as He did not remain a prince but the King of kings and Lord of lords.

    Ron:
    Therefore logic and common sense dicates that if Jesus is GIVEN all authority and is GIVEN the Spirit without measure, then he is someone OTHER THAN GOD. It really is that simple.

    mlculwell: he was someone other than God before hwe was given the Power and spirit w/o measure your arguemnts are absurd and ddefioes logic as you simply bypass that jesu was given A-L-L of the power Of God making the glorified man, God and the Spirit with no limits or measure

    BTW, you did not answer my two questions to you in #392 above.

    Thanks,

    Ron S.

    mlculwell: No it was now his posssesion as he wass given all of the spirit and power you are not possesed by something you are given. without limits or measure you deny and ignore scripture and How Oneness person could have fell for it is beyond me.

    Your other question asks how is it any differant than the trinity as I said before and you ignored my answer we do not teach God became a man therefor it was not god who died but rather a real sinless man the only begotten(Miraculously sired and born son) of God.

  399. on 30 Jun 2008 at 8:26 amMark

    Manuel,

    Once again, we are not bypassing or ignoring Scriptures. It is simply an unfounded leap to go from “God gave Jesus all power and gave him the spirit without measure” (with which we agree) to “Jesus was made God.” One does not require or necessitate the other, and there is no other Scriptural evidence that Jesus was “made God.” Made lord, yes. Made God, no.

    We both agree that he was born a man and at that time came into existance (contrary to the Trinitarian belief). He is the only begotten Son of the Father. But there is nothing anywhere in the Bible that says that when he was given all power and given the spirit without measure by the Father, he then ceased to be the Son of the Father and became God. He is still the Son to whom every knee will bow, to the glory of the Father. They are still two different beings or persons.

  400. on 30 Jun 2008 at 4:36 pmmanuel culwell

    Mark, I feel for you to say ;” that you agree with those passages” and then you limit what was given, is not agreeing at all with the passages, you limit where there is no limit. How can I bring myself to agree with you on this, when you clearly do not believe either was given limitlessly? if it is shared power then he does not have it all if God holds back just a smidgen then it is not all power the same with the spirit being given without measure or limits ….that is the way in which I see it, you cannot hold any of it back or it is measuring and limiting the power and spirit where there are none.

    Yes, we both agree concerning his real humanity but Jesus humanity as the only begotten sinless son was made God91st. Cor. 15:45)

  401. on 30 Jun 2008 at 5:21 pmMark

    Manuel,

    I think you’re reading an awful lot into those passages that they do not say. Power, authority, and spirit are not like tangible elements which when given to someone are no longer in the possession of the one giving. There is nothing in the Bible that indicates that God no longer has all power after He gave it to Jesus. In fact the phrase “all power” is not only used of that which Jesus has. II Thess. 2:9 says that the Antichrist’s coming will be “…after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders.” It simply can’t be assumed that if Jesus was given “all power” then nobody else, including God, has any power any more. The words are not used that way in the Bible. Again, I am not ignoring or denying the Scriptures, I just disagree with your interpretation.

    BTW, I know that the “right hand of God” is not a geographical location that can be pinpointed (post #384). But even as a position of power and acceptance, the very fact that Jesus is said to be on God’s right hand implies that he is not himself God. When you said David was at God’s right hand, I assume you’re referring to Mark 12:36, “For David himself said by the Holy Ghost, The LORD said to my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool.” This is not saying that David was on God’s right hand. It is saying that The LORD (YHVH) “said to my lord.” If David is referring to his lord then he obviously isn’t talking about himself. The verse is quoting Psalm 110:1, in which God is addressing His Messiah and saying, “Sit at My right hand Until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet.” This verse is quoted and referred to more times in the NT than any other OT passage. And it quite clearly is talking about two seperate individuals.

    (Or perhaps you were referring to Psalm 16:8, “I have set the LORD always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.” Of course this is not the same as Messiah being on God’s right hand, but the point is still that if A is on the right hand of B, then A cannot itself be B.)

  402. on 30 Jun 2008 at 6:28 pmmanuel culwell

    mlculwell:
    I have never said; “God no longer has all power or no power” this is the mistake you make in your interpretation of what I am saying, God still has power through his son as God,God does not change as God. God is simply no longer an invisible as spirit, the only way you will see God is through the image of the invisible God(Col. 1:15) Jesus was made God…God does not stop being God.

    Mark I think you are not reading enough into the passages and I am talking about reading something that is not there as you are accusing me of, *All* means All and *not by measure* means limitless as to the power and spirit that was Given. God is Spirit(John 4:24) and giving it all to his son not by measure cannot be stressed enough as words do mean something as i have heard many of you in this forum say.

    Mark, I don’t care to hear about your futurist interpretations about a bogus “coming Antichrist” I am a preterist and the scriptures do not at all teach your futurist interpretation. The (so called) Antichrist and there were/ are many, was not given power by God who has *all power*, but was given power by an evil spirit who is allowed a little limited power.( which is the all power spoken in the passage you used )So* all *in this instance it is limited power.

    Mark writes:
    BTW, I know that the “right hand of God” is not a geographical location that can be pinpointed (post #384).

    mlculwell: If you know then why does the rest of your post betray that fact? You try and make it look like as though it is a “geographic location”.. No I was not referring to either( Mark 12:36) nor the psalm 110 passage. Yes, I was referring (Psalm 16:8) David was at God’s right hand(a PLACE OF ACCEPTANCE)” Right hand of God”means both power and acceptance, it means nothing more than this than the metaphor usage and you are now reading to much into and going beyond scripture to try teach Jesus was actually and literally on the right hand of a God who is omnipresent(Psalm 139:7) where the heavens are his throne and the earth his footstool.So maybe he is sitting on Jesus or has his feet propped up on him since you take these things to be literal.

    The right hand of God passages:

    (Exodus 15:6-8,12-13) right hand of God dashed enemies to pieces. By the blast of God’s nostrils he stood up the Red sea (So now God is a giant nose)

    (Psalm 20:6,21:8) saving strength of the Right hand of God.(Power) the right hand of God shall find enemies.

    (Habakkuk 2:16) Cup of Lord’s Right hand speaks of the powerful wrath of God.

    (Isaiah 48:13) Right hand (power of God) spanned the heavens.

    Sheep go To Jesus right hand who sits on the throne Goats go to his left(acceptance and rejection Mat. 25:31)

    Mark:
    But even as a position of power and acceptance, the very fact that Jesus is said to be on God’s right hand implies that he is not himself God.

    mlculwell: No mark, the passage is actually saying completely opposite of what you have stated as you take the right hand of God to be literally *the right hand of God* (a geographic location) when the passage is saying his humanity was accepted to receive both power and acceptance without limits.

    Mark:
    When you said David was at God’s right hand, I assume you’re referring to Mark 12:36, “For David himself said by the Holy Ghost, The LORD said to my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool.” This is not saying that David was on God’s right hand. It is saying that The LORD (YHVH) “said to my lord.” If David is referring to his lord then he obviously isn’t talking about himself. The verse is quoting Psalm 110:1, in which God is addressing His Messiah and saying, “Sit at My right hand Until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet.” This verse is quoted and referred to more times in the NT than any other OT passage. And it quite clearly is talking about two seperate individuals.

    Mlculwell:
    Mark , The passage is a prophecy of the coming messiah, Jesus is both Davids son, and Davids Lord, even when he did not exist ,as I have already stated, I was not referring to these passages.

    Mark:
    (Or perhaps you were referring to Psalm 16:8, “I have set the LORD always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.” Of course this is not the same as Messiah being on God’s right hand, but the point is still that if A is on the right hand of B, then A cannot itself be B.)

    Mlculwell: Mark, again you are blatantly showing what you have tried to deny, and that is you do have a literal view of the *right hand of God* when there is no such thing being taught from scripture.

  403. on 30 Jun 2008 at 9:18 pmMark

    mlculwell:
    I have never said; “God no longer has all power or no power”

    On the contrary, that is exactly what you said in post #367:

    If jesus has all power in heaven and earth, then Nobody else can have any, having it all does mean he has it all, and it was given him

    Since making that point you kept repreating “ALL means ALL” and “Jesus was made God.” So the logical conclusion one would draw is that you were saying God gave all power to Jesus at which time Jesus was God, and the Father no longer had power.

    If that is not what you are saying, then there is even less on whicih to base your claim that Jesus became, or was made, God. You keep repeating that he was given all power and given spirit without measure. Where does the Bible ANYWHERE say that means he was made God?

    I don’t want to get into a futurist vs preterist debate (that’s been done on this site before). That was not the point of my argument. My point was simply to illustrate that “all power” does not automatically mean “all power without exception.” Therefore, when you keep repeating Jesus was given all power, and “all means all,” you cannot conclude that it means he was made God.

    I suggest you read Psalm 16:8 again. It does not say David was at God’s right hand. It says, “I have set the LORD continually before me; Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.” But either way, the point is that it is referring to David’s relationship with God, and it is obvious that David is not God

    I did not say that Jesus was “actually and literally on the right hand of a God who is omnipresent.” The point is that being on the right hand of someone indicates a relationship with that someone, and not that you ARE that someone. That has nothing to do with geographical location, it has to do with relationship.

    The statement that Jesus is at God’s right hand is referring to his relationship with God, including power and acceptance if you want to put it that way, but also including the fact that he himself is not God. If Jesus were God, there is no way “sitting at God’s right hand” could be used to describe him, either figuratively or literally. Simply put, the Bible does not anywhere say “Jesus was made God” as you keep repeating.

  404. on 01 Jul 2008 at 1:39 ammanuel culwell

    Mark submits what was written by me:
    mlculwell:
    I have never said; “God no longer has all power or no power”

    Then writes:
    On the contrary, that is exactly what you said in post #367:

    “If Jesus has all power in heaven and earth, then Nobody else can have any, having it all does mean he has it all, and it was given him ”

    mlculwell:
    This does not say “God no longer has power”, God is still God, and it is not exactley what I said, it is exactley what you misunderstood me to say.God is Spirit, God gave all of his spirirt to the glorified human son that does not mean God no longer is spirit. God is only one person in the son you see two, there is no two.i will again continue to repeat God gave all power and all means all. wher does it say he wass Made God well you tell me then what does being made the Life giving Spirit Mean?(1st. Cor.15:45) it does not mean he was resurrected as someone on this group had stated the life giving spirit is God and he was made that One spirit.

    I also will continue to conclude to your protest that *all* means* all *especially when God gives all power and his spirit w/o measure even him whose coming is after the working of satan with All power is not even the same comparison because his power is is after the working of satan with all power, not that he was given all power, nor that Satan even has all power to give you are comparing apples and oranges.

    You then talk about the right hand of God again and miss completely or refuse to even consider what I submitted through the passages concerning the subject, you even bring up the passage of David again, of course there was a relationship, it was between humanity(David) and divinity(The spirit of God.) David being on *the right hand of God* was acceptance from God toward David and of course it does not mean David was God, as David was not given the spirit w/o measure, nor was he given all power in heaven and earth, The right hand of God would have meant more if that were so. Jesus was given all power so the right hand of god and jesus seen both sitting and standing there meant his humnaity was accepted to recieve all power in heavn and earth(Math. 28:18) there is nothing you have said with all of your misunderstandings and outright misuse of these passages that makes me change my view.

    Manuel

  405. on 01 Jul 2008 at 4:38 amMark

    Mark submits what was written by me:
    mlculwell:
    I have never said; “God no longer has all power or no power”

    Then writes:
    On the contrary, that is exactly what you said in post #367:

    “If Jesus has all power in heaven and earth, then Nobody else can have any, having it all does mean he has it all, and it was given him ”

    mlculwell:
    This does not say “God no longer has power”

    Well, it does according to the normal use of words. When you say “Nobody else can have any” and then continually repeat “all means all” what else is one to conclude? But you missed the main point of what I was saying, which is that if you are indeed saying that God has not changed after giving His Son power and spirit, you have even less on which to base your claim that Jesus was made God.

    The problem here is that you are used to interpreting words and phrases according to your preconceived view, and not what they actually say and mean. You seem to miss the simple meaning of words even in what other posters, including myself, have said.

    You said, “God is only one person in the son you see two, there is no two.” I’m not sure what you mean by this. If you’re saying that I consider the Father and the Son to be two persons in one God, that is the Trinitarian position, not what I believe. If you’re saying I believe the Father and the Son are two separate persons, then yes, I believe that is what the Bible clearly teaches. It is, in fact, the very meaning of the words “father” and “son”. One begets the other, and they are two separate people. Nowhere does a son become his own father. That is a meaningless idea. A simple reading of the Bible produces a simple understanding of a simple truth: There is one God, the Father, and He has one Son, Jesus Christ. You have yet to provide any Biblical evidence that “Jesus became God” but rather turned around and answered my question with another question.

    As for “life-giving spirit” I believe the context (I Cor. 15) defines it. God made Jesus a “life-giving spirit” which is also called the holy spirit of God. It is a life-giving spirit because, as the context indicates, those who die are sown as a natural body, but will be raised as a spiritual body, by the power of God. None of this says that Jesus is God, however.

    The rest of your post demonstrates that you continue to miss my points. We are at the point where we are both using the same words and phrases, but meaning completely different things. We’ve been back and forth about the meaning of words, and you declare that nothing I say convinces you and you will continue to interpret the Scriptures as you have been doing. That is your privilege, but the normal usage of words as used in the Bible does not support your claims. We are once again at an impasse.

  406. on 01 Jul 2008 at 6:02 ammanuel culwell

    Mark, I understood perfectly what you had said about the *right
    hand of God*.It is you that did not understand, otherwise, you would not have resubmitted the point you tried to make. I had already stated; Jesus could do nothing in and of himself in his limited humanity John 5:30 (Do I need state every single point over and over? It seems you have a short memory.) If so, then Jesus would be standing on *the right hand of God* in his limited humanity, this is a metaphoric picture of his humanity again receiving from God both power and acceptance and yes you would be correct he would not be the God as yet giving to himself that comes after he receives.

    Mark writes:As for “life-giving spirit” I believe the context (I Cor. 15) defines it. God made Jesus a “life-giving spirit” which is also called the holy spirit of God.”

    Thank you for admitting Jesus was made *the Holy Spirit.* I have been saying that all along.

    God is Spirit(John 4:24)

    God is holy (Psalm 99:9, 1st. Peter 1:15)

    There is One Spirit(Eph. 4:4-6)

    Thus *the holy Spirit of God,* Not God’s possession like a dog on a leash.

    “Holy Spirit” is God’s title in action as he deals with mankind in regeneration and creation.

    Jesus said in John 14:16-18) I (Jesus)will not leave you comfortless,(as fatherless Orphans) I (Jesus) will come to you(as the comforter which is the Holy Ghost(verse 26) Which is God the father.(Matth.1:18-20)That which is conceived(In Mary) is of the Holy Ghost. the Holy Ghost is not some intangible breath force although *pneuma*(Has to do with life beyond breath.) thus:*Life giving spirit.*

    I abhor your view of the limiting term; *person* as you would hold to the same view as the trinitarian, persons Die, God, does not!
    thus i say God is only a person in the person of the glorified son, he was a person who died but now no longer dies forever more. Oh yes you bet I have “preconceived notions” same as you, but they come from scripture that I believe you simply deny and I am speaking of the same three passages (Math. 28:18, John 3:34,1st. Cor.15:45)

  407. on 01 Jul 2008 at 12:56 pmMark

    We’re going in circles here and neither of us is going to convince the other. As before, we must simply agree to disagree.

  408. on 03 Jul 2008 at 10:20 amUri Marcus

    Unbelievable!

    When it comes to the Gospel, the arrogance of some American Christians, is second to none. Brant Bosserman really needs to learn Hebrew, and perhaps then, he can instruct us on the meaning of the Hebrew texts, onto which he forces the pagan ideas his non-Jewish fathers taught him.

    One might assume that most Christians share one thing in common: The belief that the Good News of HaShem’s kingdom upon the earth is near, and that the Mashiach (Yeshua) will sit upon his throne on Har HaBayit (Temple Mount) in Jerusalem and in that day, HaShem’s name shall be ONE, and He shall be ONE (unlike today), and this message should be announced and made relevant to the Jew first.

    How can it be, that after 17 long centuries, during which the Gentile world forced us, without success, to bend the knee (upon pain of death) to their three-in-one god, that this Bosserman can assume that in the end of days, we are going to change our minds, and listen to him?

    Has he never read the words of our Holy Prophet who tells us that in the end of days, 10 gentiles from the nations shall search out a single Jew, grab his TziTzit, and ask him if they him can go with him, for they have heard that the G-d of Israel is with him? Where is it written that ten Jews shall search for Mr. Bosserman, saying, “Teach us your trinity, because it is clear to us that god is with you.”?

    On the contrary, our Holy Torah teaches us that if your brother or your son, or your daughter, or your wife whom you love, or your friend secretly tries to entice you to go and serve other gods, which you haven’t known, neither you nor your ancestors — gods of the peoples surrounding you, whether near or far away from you, anywhere in the world — you are not to consent, and you are not to listen to him; and you must not pity him or spare him; and you may not conceal him. Rather, you must kill him! Your own hand must be the first one on him in putting him to death, and afterwards the hands of all the people, because he has tried to draw you away from HaShem your G-d, who brought you out of the land of Mitzrai’im (Egypt). Then all Israel will hear about it and be afraid, so that they will stop doing such wickedness as this among themselves.

    Does this clever Mr. Bosserman fail to understand that no Jew will ever accept his pagan ideas, and that if he ever hopes to bring the Mashiach to our people, he must erase his hard disk and go back and reinstall the Torah in his heart, and learn of the G-d of Israel that WE met at Sinai, and delivered to the rest of the world thereafter?

    But, instead… he simply debates from the vacuum of his own Torah-less world. And then at the end, in order to justify his arrogance, and remove all doubt as to his honesty, he feels the need to invoke the following PRAYER, in an attempt to entice even Heaven itself to put a Kosher stamp of approval upon his idolatry and insincere spirituality:

    “…and G-d, I pray that you will grant to everyone is this room, the capacity to submit to your son, G-D IN THE FLESH… and that by your Spirit and your son, that You will remove the veil that sits on many of our eyes, so that we can see the truth in your Word clearly…”

    For this reason HaShem, the G-d of Israel, has chosen Jerusalem. Not Nicea, not Chalcedon, not Rome, not Tulsa, not Toronto, not Dallas, and not Seattle — Baruch HaShem!

    Uri Marcus
    Jerusalem
    uri@ntcf.org

  409. on 03 Jul 2008 at 3:14 pmScott

    Uri,
    Are you going to make some Biblical points that can be interacted with or just rely on your boldness to “persuade” us?

    It’s interesting that you said, “For this reason HaShem, the G-d of Israel, has chosen Jerusalem. Not Nicea, not Chalcedon, not Rome, not Tulsa, not Toronto, not Dallas, and not Seattle — Baruch HaShem!”

    However, Jesus said:
    John 4:21-23
    “21Jesus said to her, (V) “Woman, believe me,(W) the hour is coming when(X) neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. 22(Y) You worship what you do not know;(Z) we worship what we know, for(AA) salvation is from the Jews. 23But(AB) the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father(AC) in spirit and(AD) truth, for the Father(AE) is seeking such people to worship him.”

    Clearly God has not chosen Jerusalem- He has chosen to His Spirit.

    Finally, not only does Brant Bosserman know Hebrew- he teaches classes on it.

    -Scott

  410. on 03 Jul 2008 at 5:06 pmTim

    I am new to this blog, but not this debate (I’ve been at it for over 25 years).

    It is fairly easy to predict where one comes down on this issue (I will try to make this as innocuous as possible), and it has little to do with the Bible:

    If you respect the opinion and teachings of Bible scholars (you cite what scholars say about the Bible, not what the Bible says) – you are most likely a trinitarian.
    If you are a free thinker and do not care what others think, but like to discover things on your own (scholars, schmolars … who needs them!) – you are most likely not a trinitarian.

    If you believe that formal logic can be applied to Bible study (i.e., X and not X cannot both be true) – you are most likely no a trinitarian.
    If you believe that formal logic can be selectively applied to Bible study (i.e., sometimes X and not X can both be true) – you are most likely a trinitarian.

    If you believe that all languages except ancient Greek and Hebrew are ambiguous (the Bible is written by the hand of God himself; it is His PhD thesis, as it were) – you are most likely a trinitarian.
    If you believe that all languages, especially ancient Greek and Hebrew, translated and transcribed many times over (scribes sometimes make errors, not all Bible writers got As in grammar class, some things are just difficult to put into words) – you are most likely not a trinitarian.

    I am interested to see if there is agreement on this. These are my opinions, which are subject to change.

  411. on 03 Jul 2008 at 9:08 pmPatrick

    Uri,

    You stated, among other things: “For this reason HaShem, the G-d of Israel, has chosen Jerusalem.”

    Galatians 4:25,26 (NASB) Now this Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia and corresponds to the present Jerusalem, for she is in slavery with her children. But the Jerusalem above is free; she is our* mother.

    *(all those of faith in Christ/’Mashiach’ according to the context)

    I hope you can see from the context, here in Galatians, the apostle contrasts the present Jerusalem and its association with the Mosaic covenant, stemming from Sinai, resulting in bondage, with the heavenly Jerusalem, the mother of all in Christ/Mashiach. It’s the heavenly Jerusalem that has association with the new covenant, justification and freedom. The Jerusalem above is the true city of God and the place of his throne, where Mashiach is seated. Clearly the city of His choosing.

    Hebrews 13:14 (NASB) For here we do not have a lasting city, but we are seeking the city which is to come.

    Moreover, the writer to the Hebrews says “we”, again believers in Christ/Mashiach, have no lasting city in this world including the present Jerusalem. Key to a true understanding of the present time and the present Jerusalem, for one, is what the apostles taught.

  412. on 04 Jul 2008 at 9:55 amUri Marcus

    Patrick & Scott;

    I would suggest that if you wish to talk about the validity and future of Jerusalem, that you open a new debate somewhere. Why can’t you just stick to topic, instead of searching for a new controversy to involve yourselves with?

    And I’m not trying to persuade you of anything, boldly or otherwise. You can read the text just as I can, albeit, probably not in Hebrew. My purpose was not to produce more commentary, but simply to point out that the Trinity will only succeed to keep Jews out of the Kingdom, rather than draw them in. We should be satisfied to allow Yeshua alone to be the scandal, rather than inventing a new religion with new doctrines, which only end up obscuring the Mashiach, which our people gave to you, 2000 years ago.

    But perhaps you cannot see this yet. In this case, I can do no better than direct you to Rom 11:17-19.

    Shabbat Shalom,

    Uri Marcus
    Jerusalem

  413. on 04 Jul 2008 at 10:54 amJohnO

    Tim,

    Very astute point. I find that there are even more scholars who would deny finding an Orthodox definition of the trinity in the Scriptures than who would uphold it. And that includes both believing and non-believing scholars. Granted it is a very vocal minority. I do not believe in the Trinity, yet find the scholarly support for positions I hold is vast and very well argued.

  414. on 04 Jul 2008 at 12:29 pmTim

    JohnO,

    I agree that there is a scholarly support for the non-trinitarian view. However, these scholars are often called “liberal” or some other pejorative (I’m not liberal, for what it’s worth). When you bring scholars into the mix, you get into an elementary playground style argument about whose scholar is “better” (i.e., “my daddy is better than your daddy”).

    I think that one of the big secrets in modern Christianity is that there is valid scholarly disagreement on the original texts (all you need to do is look at sampling of commentaries), about not only the trinity but other Christian “orthodoxy.” Whether keeping these secrets is intentional or not is something I cannot say. I’m amazed that the average layperson is shocked, shocked, I say that there is scholarly debate about some of their cherished doctrines.

    I am making my way through this comment thread and will provide more input later.

  415. on 04 Jul 2008 at 2:08 pmO.J.

    Tim,

    As you look at the comments of the participants in this thread, and also other threads about the trinity on this blog, it is obvious that your observations are spot on. Trinitarians cherish their belief system so much, that they will seek out any means of justification for it. If no known definitions for words used in scripture exist, at the time of their writing, then new definitions must, and will be invented as necessary to help ‘prove’ the trinity.

    It’s also been stated by a trinitarian here that applying lexicons (dictionarys) to determine the meaning of passages is not reliable, but instead we must study the context of entire passages before determining the accurate usage of words. By defining NO WORDS whatsoever, you could not understand anything written, so there would be no context. This method works well only to bolster your own position, whatever that position is, because it allows you to decide what a passage means BEFORE you define the words used, (at least the ones whose normal definitions don’t fit your doctrines), intead of letting the words actually used determine the context.

    ‘Logos’, as used in John 1, is an excellent example of this point. Trinitarians don’t like any of the definitions used in Strong’s concordance, def. 1., and don’t mind telling you so. One has even gone so far as to say here that John had a “right” to apply a new defintion to the word, even though it had never had that new meaning before, and John didn’t tell you that was what he was doing when he wrote it. They instead like def.2:’ “The Personal Word”, a title of the Son of God; this identification is substantiated by the statements of doctrine in Jn 1:1-18…’

    Yes, this is eisegesis. It is a prime example of projecting your own ideas back onto scripture. Context was used here to determine the meaning of the words used. Trinitarians believe that their perception of the meaning of verse 14 can then be used to re-define the words used in verse 1 in order to give the desired context to the passage. I expect them to deny this on this thread, and then want to debate on it. but it won’t change the facts. It’s also interesting to note that whenever this term is used by Peter, or anyone else, in the NT, it is never capitalized in our modern translations, (which is another statement of doctrine), nor is it assumed to mean anything other than the terms used in def. 1 of Strong’s. It is usually only asserted to have def. 2 when used by John.

    Tim, you said:

    “If you believe that formal logic can be applied to Bible study (i.e., X and not X cannot both be true) – you are most likely no a trinitarian.
    If you believe that formal logic can be selectively applied to Bible study (i.e., sometimes X and not X can both be true) – you are most likely a trinitarian.”

    Another argument for the trinity used by one of the debaters here, is that if logic must be abandoned in order to believe the trinity doctrine, then that is proof that God is not “bound” by logic, and we cannot apply it to scripture. We have seen that very argument by one of the debaters here. But as you said, Tim, this is using ‘selective’ logic. Just “un-select” the logic you don’t like.

    I’ll say it again, I was a trinitarian for over 50 years. I was quite capable of understanding the commentaries used to ‘prove’ the trinity by interpreting the Bible in just the right way. When I finally learned to start trying to read it from the perspective of the ones who wrote it, and checking the actual definitions of the words they used, I learned that the Bible is not so complicated as I had been told. I’ve decided that it’s much better to let the Bible speak for itself than to spend all my time studying the ‘findings’ of others, whether they are considered scholars or not.

  416. on 04 Jul 2008 at 3:03 pmPatrick

    Uri,

    Well, wasn’t it you, after all, who made some strong assertions that were off the topic of this thread? I endeavor to help, anyway I can, by pointing out what is plainly inconsistent with the apostolic teaching; like your zeal for the earthly Jerusalem as opposed to the apostles’ words addressing the subject.

    It is evident you are rather proud of your ability to read Hebrew and your condescending comments toward myself or anyone, for that matter, who cannot likewise read Hebrew, is uncalled for. Many generations of godly men and women who read Hebrew quite well have given us fine translations of the language and I have benefitted greatly from their efforts.

    “but simply to point out that the Trinity will only succeed to keep Jews out of the Kingdom, rather than draw them in.”

    Uri, do you speak to and of Yeshua as your Lord and God? Would you agree that part of the scandal of Jesus Christ is the revelation of his Deity, after all, isn’t that what the Jews cited as the principle charge against him per John 5:18? And if, as some here assert, “equal” means something other than equal why were they seeking to kill him?

    “We should be satisfied to allow Yeshua alone to be the scandal, rather than inventing a new religion with new doctrines, which only end up obscuring the Mashiach, which our people gave to you, 2000 years ago.”

    Jesus/Yeshua is precisely the cause for concluding the Trinity. I’ve read what many have said in the many comments here and it is amazing how so many resort to rewording the passages to get around their meaning instead of dealing with something we all may readily conclude; the apostles had no qualms with ascribing full Deity to Jesus, personally and actually, while simultaneously maintaining that God is indeed one. It is telling that this continues to stumble Jews and Gentiles alike. Christ is not obscured but set forth in inimitable glory as the fullness of Deity bodily. Before whom shall every knee bow in that great day to come? Isa. 45:23, Romans 14:11, Phil. 2:10,11, Matt. 25:31-33.

    “But perhaps you cannot see this yet. In this case, I can do no better than direct you to Rom 11:17-19.”

    Above, you seem to think along with others, the Trinity, among others, not sure what other doctrines you mean, is a Gentile invention. Among the first to articulate and give to the world the glory of God in the face of Christ were men in Christ, from the Jews. So yes, we all indeed owe an enormous debt of gratitude to them. There is a wide divide between articulation of a thing, in progressively more precise fashion and what you call invention. Trinity was not invented over centuries but was more precisely articulated of necessity against contrary notions concerning the nature of God and Christ.

    So far you are proving to be an opponent of Christ’s if you cannot say along with the believing Jews of the past, my Lord and my God to Jesus. It is squaring such statements as this by Thomas, for one, with all the biblical revelation that leads us to the conclusion of compound unity for the nature of God as no one can be called God who isn’t, in fact, God. (Jesus is in a category all his own, FYI; arguments to the effect that since some men in the Bible were called God means that they and Jesus are on par, in some representational sense, leaves out that, of no man, has it ever been said, he created the heavens and the earth like at Heb. 1:10-13 and is called YHWH).

    All the best to you,
    Patrick

  417. on 04 Jul 2008 at 11:25 pmRon S.

    Scott,

    In reading your post #409, I think you may have possibly missed Uri’s point. In fact, I would say that he had a very valid “Biblical” point. He rightly stated the fact that in the Hebrew Scriptures God told the Israelites that they should put to death anyone who tried to get them to follow “other gods” – gods “whom you have not known” (Deuteronomy 13).

    It seems to me that Uri’s point there is that God’s instructions to the Hebrew people would be totally opposite to what Brant was promoting with a three-persons-in-one God that would be “progressively revealed” later on in time. The idea of the trinity’s progressive revelation just doesn’t pass the “whom you have not known” test. Sure you can say that in the trinity view all three “persons” are that one God, so they did know Him. But if one is honest with themselves and especially with history in the least, then it must be seen that such a view is absolutely antithetical to the way the Hebrew people have viewed God for the last 4000 years. Their historical view of God is that He is one and only one in totality – not the later gentile invented gimmick of multiple “persons” within a “Godhead”.

    BTW, for those that haven’t heard of Uri Marcus – Uri is very fluent in Hebrew as he is a Jewish believer in Jesus as the Messiah and lives in Israel just outside of Jerusalem. He has been a leader and an influential force in Messianic Judaism for 35+ years. Yet unlike many Messianics today in the US that are mainstream Christian missionary programs that act Jewish in order to convert Jews, Uri really is Jewish and desires to remain as such – albeit that Jesus/Yeshua is the Messiah. But like any true Jew, Uri is unitarian in his conception of God and knows that the Messiah is a man – not God in the flesh.

    Ron S.

  418. on 04 Jul 2008 at 11:32 pmRon S.

    O.J.,

    You continue to post excellent, well thought out arguments that employ logic, common sense, and reason.

    Too bad there are no place for those within the trinitarian world.

    I look forward to your next round of insightful comments.

    Ron S.

  419. on 06 Jul 2008 at 4:19 pmUri Marcus

    Patrick;

    I apologize for my zeal for the earthly Jerusalem. My eyes must have been playing tricks on me when I read the Prophet at Yishaiyahu 2:3. How silly of me to forget that the apostles routinely addressed prophetic subjects and superseded them with their own contrary views.

    I also apologize for being proud of my ability to read Hebrew. I now realize, thanks to you, that there can be no benefit, merely because we were appointed the guardians of the Oracles of G-d for the past 4000 years, which were written ONLY in this language. In the future, I shall endeavor to pine instead after your “fine translations”.

    Perhaps you could explain, however, how being “equal” with another person, makes both persons one-in-the-same essence. Never mind… I think I know the answer to this problem of physics. Its a mystery right?

    And could you just remind me from your impressive list of Bible references, which of the Apostles had no qualms with ascribing full deity to Yeshua? Was it Apostle Yishaiyahu, Apostle Sha’ul, or Apostle Matatiyahu? Or perhaps all three?

    I see your point about Trinity not being invented, but merely more precisely articulated over the centuries, in the same way that airplanes were not invented. They too must have been merely more precisely articulated of necessity against contrary notions concerning mans nature and his ability to fly. Same thing, I suppose, with the Loch Ness Monster. It wasn’t invented. It was just articulated.

    Oh, and thank you for pointing out that warning about becoming an opponent of Mashiach. But could you just remind me… how do we say that “my lord and my G-d” business, in Hebrew? Is it “Adoni (Adonee), v’Elohai!”? Or was is “Ata Hu Adonai, v’Ata Hu Elohai!”? Never mind. It is probably not important.

    Finally, thanks for correcting my earlier errant view that Mashiach is an Angel. I didn’t know that! Uh, except one thing though… Are you sure this Angel is called “Yud-Heh-Vav-Heh”? You might want to check that out again at Mizmor (Psalm) 102:25-27, and Mizmor 110. Yud-Heh-Vav-Heh seems to have done a vanishing act there. Either that, or your “fine translations” are getting a bit rough on the edges.

    Rom 1:22

    All the best to you!

    Uri

  420. on 08 Jul 2008 at 11:41 amScott

    Uri,
    Your sarcastic comments aren’t very helpful and seem to be a conversation stopper rather than continue the dialogue. Is this your intention? Do you wish to stop the discussion or should it continue in a manner worthy of Christ?

  421. on 08 Jul 2008 at 4:28 pmPatrick

    Uri,

    I haven’t forgotten about your comments; I intend to address some of the things you said at least those things worth responding to. I’ve just been a bit busy.

    – Patrick

  422. on 08 Jul 2008 at 6:01 pmScott

    Uri,
    Does it really matter what Thomas said in Hebrew when John wrote it in Greek? Whatever Thomas said (whehter that be in Hebrew, Aramaic, or Greek) John relayed it to us in the following Greek: “o kurios mou kai o theos mou”. Very clearly, Thomas called Jesus his Lord and his God. This does not make much sense as something a unitarian monotheist would do. However, if Thomas were a trinitarian monotheist this makes total sense.

  423. on 08 Jul 2008 at 7:39 pmTim

    Scott,

    Here is how it makes sense to one unitarian monotheist: when Jesus was raised from the dead, and seated at the right hand of God, he was given all authority, the name above every name, all titles, etc. The resurrection in my view, is the most important event in the history of the world. Right now, Jesus is second only to God Himself.

  424. on 08 Jul 2008 at 10:50 pmScott

    Tim,
    Sounds like a good theory. Unfortunately for the unitarian position that is not what Thomas said. He worshiped Jesus and called Him his God- not second to God but God.

  425. on 09 Jul 2008 at 1:20 amRon S.

    Scott,

    I have to grin a little and think that Jesus’ statement to the Samaritan woman at the well would just as easily apply to you and other trinitarians – “You worship what you do not know: we worship that which we know: for salvation is from the Jews.” (John 4:22) – seemingly what Uri Marcus was trying to communicate earlier.

    I say this now myself because you obviously wish to apply the term God here to mean THE one and only SUPREME God. Yet for Jews – especially 1st century Jews this wasn’t the only way being called “God” could be interpreted. Others could and were called God without literally being THE God of all the universe.

    No here Thomas’ statement when taken in its proper Hebraic perspective is better seen as his affirmation of what he and Phillip didn’t fully grasp earlier (John 14:6-9). But now after the resurrection, the literal reality is staring him in the face and the light bulb went off in Thomas’ head. He instantly believed that Jesus was in fact the Messiah and IN HIM, he saw God – which Jesus as God’s Messiah perfectly represents. John the author himself reminds us of this crucial fact just three verses later in 20:31 where he presents THE primary purpose, his “reason d’etre” for writing his gospel – “…that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ (Messiah), the Son of God“.

    Ron S.

  426. on 09 Jul 2008 at 3:23 amUri Marcus

    Scott, and others who accept the trinitarian world-view;

    It matters not if I engage polemics, or if I argue from a grammatical or linguistic approach, or if I become sarcastic. None of you are going to listen, and none of you are going to be open or teachable on this subject. You have already demonstrated your disrespect for the Jewish People and your propensities for anti-semitism. You must be honest with yourselves.

    I initially posted only with the goal of insuring that the view from Jews who are chasidei-Yeshua would be presented. Nothing more.

    You defend the trinity, because it is there to defend, and because you have been taught that it is necessary for your faith to survive. I defend the core credo of AM Israel, “Adonai Echad,” for the honor of our Torah, and for the honor of HaShem, the one G-d of Israel, who was revealed only to AM Israel.

    We are not the first to debate, and the debate will not end with this forum. However, the Jewish people will have the last word on this subject in the end of days, whether you agree or not.

    Keep your trinity, if it serves you well. Only leave us alone. Let those who published salvation to the world, and published G-d to the world, first in Hebrew, determine salvation for themselves. You have no standing to instruct us about what we wrote and delivered to you. You didn’t even know there was a G-d in the world before we came along to tell you about it. You didn’t understand, or even contemplate the need for redemption, the Mashiach, or the existence of ethical monotheism, before we came to explain these ideas to you. Please… your arrogance is showing. You do not support the root, but rather the root does in fact support you.

    If you cannot listen to a voice from Jerusalem, then who will you listen to? Who will you learn from? Your pastor in Kentucky? From HaRu’ach Kodsho (the Spirit of the Holy One, blessed be He)? If you insist that it matters not what Toma said in Hebrew when Yochanan (allegedly) wrote it in Greek, then on what basis shall we engage in further discussion?

    Are you willing to purchase a round-trip ticket to Tel Aviv, and stick around for the next terror attack, and listen to the cry of our people when they see and experience these shocking events, and each of them saying at that moment “Adoni, v’Elohai.” What will it take to convince you that this expression has been around long before you were in diapers. We learned this expression about 3,500 years ago, at the foot on Sinai. Where were you? Taking Christianity 101 at the Baptist Seminary? Who are you to tell us with such unyielding arrogance and unsupportable surety, based on nothing more than the thin air of Constantinian dogma and your own admittedly Torah-(Law)-less feelings, that Jewish Toma was giving way to idolatry and suddenly asserting that a resurrected man had become his god. Not with Greek grammar, and not with Hebrew grammar can such a conclusion ever be reached, unless the need to accept a lie, outweighs the need to acquiesce to truth. When Jews see shocking events, like a man who was dead, appearing alive in front of them, they exclaim, “Adoni, v’Elohai,” or some variant thereof. Period. Full stop.

    Your opinions in Cincinnati, or in Portland or in Chicago, don’t impress us. Why would they? If you didn’t speak French, would you instruct Paris about how to understand their idiomatic expressions? If you didn’t natively speak German, would you instruct Stuttgart about the finer points of the German language? Then why do you seek to instruct us, on something you know nothing about?

    Take another lap around our Mountain, and learn the meaning of the words, “In this house and in Yerushalay’im, which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel, I will put My Name forever.” Which part of “forever” don’t you understand?

    Nevertheless, until you do, I find no good reason to continue these discussions. They are a stench, just as is your spirit of hatred and disrespect for all that is Jewish. I would just assume avoid foolish and ignorant disputes, knowing that they can only generate strife.

    Shabbat Shalom,

    Uri

  427. on 09 Jul 2008 at 4:06 amMark

    Ron S.,

    That was a great point! It fits more with the context and with the overall message of John’s Gospel. After all, Thomas didn’t say to Jesus, “YOU are my Lord and my God!” He just said “My Lord and my God.” If we are to assume that he meant Jesus was THE God, the Creator, then where did he get this revelation? It would have contradicted what Jesus said about himself, and what everyone else including God Himself said about him, namely that he was the Son of God.

  428. on 09 Jul 2008 at 4:30 amMark

    Uri wrote:

    Oh, and thank you for pointing out that warning about becoming an opponent of Mashiach. But could you just remind me… how do we say that “my lord and my G-d” business, in Hebrew? Is it “Adoni (Adonee), v’Elohai!”? Or was is “Ata Hu Adonai, v’Ata Hu Elohai!”? Never mind. It is probably not important.

    I don’t know Hebrew very well, so could you clarify? Does “Adoni v’Elohai” mean “My Lord and My God” as Thomas would have said? And what does “Ata Hu Adonai, v’Ata Hu Elohai” mean?

    For that matter, what does HaShem mean? I recognize Yeshuah and Meshiach, but I’m not familiar with HaShem.

    So, are you saying that when Thomas said “My Lord and My God” it was an expression of awe that is/was common among Jews? I hadn’t heard that explanation before, but it makes sense, particularly in light of the point Ron S. made above.

  429. on 09 Jul 2008 at 6:55 amTim

    Scott,

    “Sounds like a good theory. Unfortunately for the unitarian position that is not what Thomas said. He worshiped Jesus and called Him his God- not second to God but God.”

    You completely missed my point. The point was that post-resurrection, it is completely natural for Jesus to be called God, as he has every title in the universe.

    Your comment (and most others) is why I find these forums so frustrating. You look for the one nit that you can use to win debate points or as a “gotcha”, completely missing, whether or intentional or not, the main point. (BTW, it is clear from 1 Cor 15 and the many instances of the phrase “at the right hand of” that Jesus is in a position of non-primary rank with respect to God).

    By implication, you seem to be saying that this verse supports the trinitarian theory. Where does Thomas say that Jesus is the same “essence” as the Father? That he was “co-equal” with the Father and Spirit? That he was “co-eternal” with the Father and Spirit? All it says is that there is a relationship between Thomas and Jesus at this point in time. And yes, to me this is a statement of real relationship (like Father, Lord, Savior, etc.), not a metaphysical statement of essence or substance.

    The most you can say, is that this verse is consistent with either position. It is one piece of data that both sides use in support of their positions.

  430. on 09 Jul 2008 at 9:45 amScott

    Uri,
    My comments about sarcasm were trying to appeal to you to continue the discussion in a way that was inviting and not mean spirited. I believe that attitude does matter- maybe we just disagree. Clearly I have offended you and for that I apologize. I also apologize for any arrogance you see in me and I will ask the Lord to reveal it to me and change my heart. I do not understand the Jewish culture much more than I understand Mexican culture. I have studied the language of both but have never spent much time in either. However, I am not an anti-semite as I believe that all people are made by God and are deserving of love and respect.

    Finally, I believe anti-semitism is a sin and I am very offended that you would accuse me publicly of this sin without the witnesses or due process called for in the law of God.

    Now that we have gotten past the name calling and arrogant boasting can we discuss the Word of God or as a lowly gentile am I too far beneath you? If you wish to end with illogical ad hominen argumentation and if Sean wants that to be how things conclude on his blog that I also am willing to leave it there.

  431. on 09 Jul 2008 at 9:49 amScott

    Tim,
    My point was simply that Thomas called Jesus his God and not second to God. We obviously disagree on this point but I wanted to point it out anyway.

  432. on 09 Jul 2008 at 10:03 amRon S.

    Mark,

    Thanks for the comment.

    And as for Uri’s use of “Ha Shem”, it is Hebrew for the name of God. Literally it means “The Name”. It comes from Jewish reverence to protect and honor the name of God, so many simply refer to Him using the term “Ha Shem”.

    Here’s an interesting article from Judaism 101 about their views on the name(s) for God: http://www.jewfaq.org/name.htm

    Ron S.

  433. on 09 Jul 2008 at 10:23 amTim

    Scott,

    Fair enough. Have you ever heard the phrase “second person of the trinity?” Do you use this phrase? Do you interpret in the same way that I used “second to God” (you might want to include in your response how you took my phrase “second to God”?

    -Thanks-

  434. on 09 Jul 2008 at 12:44 pmScott

    Tim,
    I have both heard the phrase and use it. Obviously as a Trinitarian I am not the one who has a problem with using language to describe God which is not explicity stated in that Bible. I am more than willing to grant the possibility that other passages may reveal that Jesus is “second to God” just as I am willing to admit that other passages may reveal the Trinity.

    I believe thoughout this entire debate I have been advocating the ability to do theology in terms of the WHOLE context of scripture and that the unitarians are the ones saying I can only go with the explicit statements of the text. If I was wrong on that I apologize for my assumption but the constant references to the words “One God” and singular pronouns made me think that it was ok to latch on to one statement in the Bible and make that the controlling statement for the rest of the text. By pointing out what Thomas said and limiting his meaning to the lexical meaning of his exact words I am merely trying to apply what I see as the basic unitarian hermeneutic.

    Regarding your phrase “second to God” I would rather not assume anything. Please let me know what you mean by this phrase and I will run with that definition instead of putting words in your mouth. Thanks.

  435. on 09 Jul 2008 at 6:49 pmMark

    To all,

    Rather than debating about in what sense Thomas called Jesus his God, perhaps we should consider Uri’s point (if I’m understanding it correctly) that Thomas wasn’t calling JESUS his God, but was simply saying “My Lord and My God” as an expression of awe and amazement upon seeing the resurrected Christ. Also Ron’s point, that Thomas was seeing God IN or THROUGH Jesus more clearly in light of the resurrection, makes sense too. It would fit with why Thomas expressed his awe by invoking his Lord and his God. In any case, Thomas did not say to Jesus, “YOU are my Lord and My God” which is how many have interpreted it.

    Contrast that with the centurion who, upon seeing the events surrounding the crucifixion, said, “Truly this was the Son of God.” Contrast it also with Paul’s words in the beginning of Romans:

    Romans 1:
    1 Paul, a bond-servant of Christ Jesus, called as an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God,
    2 which He promised beforehand through His prophets in the holy Scriptures,
    3 concerning His Son, who was born of a descendant of David according to the flesh,
    4 who was declared the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead, according to the Spirit of holiness, Jesus Christ our Lord…

  436. on 10 Jul 2008 at 8:42 amSean

    Rather than debating about in what sense Thomas called Jesus his God, perhaps we should consider Uri’s point (if I’m understanding it correctly) that Thomas wasn’t calling JESUS his God, but was simply saying “My Lord and My God” as an expression of awe and amazement upon seeing the resurrected Christ.

    I think the only way this argument has a chance to stand is if one can find other Jews of the time using that phrase (my Lord and my God) as an expression of surprise. Otherwise it is merely anachronistic.

    My thoughts on the Thomas incident:

    First, some background information may be helpful to set the scene. Eight days earlier, the disciples had all seen the resurrected Jesus, except for Thomas, and told him about it. However, Thomas, the skeptic, replied, “Unless I see the wounds from the nails in his hands, and put my finger into the wounds from the nails, and put my hand into his side, I will never believe it!” (John 20.25). Shockingly, Jesus appeared in their midst again, this time with Thomas present, and following his greeting, turns his attention to our doubter and says, “Put your finger here, and examine my hands. Extend your hand and put it into my side. Do not continue in your unbelief, but believe” (John 20.27). To this Thomas replied, “my lord and my God” (John 20.28).

    Calling Jesus, “my lord” is completely non-controversial and was the typical address one would have made to a whole range of human superiors in their culture. However, the second phrase, “my God,” brings up a critical question about what exactly Thomas meant. So far as I can tell, this phrase can be understood in at least six senses (or a combination of them): as polytheistic, modalistic, ontological, figurative, politically subversive, or representational. I will take each of these options in turn, but first, we need to lay some theological groundwork to understand Thomas’ presuppositions. Since he was a first century, Palestinian Jew, he was no doubt reared to confess the central creed of Israel: the Shema. “Hear O Israel, Yahweh our God, Yahweh is one” (Deu. 6.4). Thomas was trained by his Jewish parents to be a strict monotheist who believed that Yahweh alone was God (2 Kin. 19.19). This was understood universally by Jews to mean that no other gods existed other than Yahweh, who himself was a singular individual (a “he” not a “we”). It is fair to assume that Thomas was a biblical unitarian (as were all 2nd temple-period Jews), at least up until we come across the phrase in question.

    Polytheism: Was Thomas saying that in addition to the Father, the God of his childhood, he was now encountering another God? If the conversation had taken place in Rome or Ephesus and the participants were not Jews but Gentiles, this would be highly likely. However, as we noted above, Thomas was not a Gentile who grew up worshiping the household deity along with the city, country, and imperial gods. No, he grew up in a culture that had been cured of idolatry through the Babylonian exile, and which took great pains to never return to the idolatrous practices of first temple Judaism. Polytheism was not on Thomas’ mind here, nor should it been in ours.

    Modalism: Was Thomas saying that now he had come to understand, by virtue of the resurrection, that Jesus was in fact the God of his Bible (the Old Testament)? Is Thomas the first “Jesus Only” believer? This possibility is possible based on just this context, but again we would have major difficulties working this idea together with the typical Jewish notions about God that were around at the time. For example, the same Gospel, John, states, “No one has seen God at any time” (John 1.18), a thought that Paul echoes in his letter to Timothy when he says that the only God is invisible (1 Tim 1.17). In addition we find frequent statements throughout the New Testament that God was the Father of Jesus. So, if we take the rest of the New Testament as the orthodox view, and Thomas meant that Jesus was the Father, the only true God, then he was mistaken.

    Ontological: Did Thomas believe that Jesus was a co-equal, co-eternal member of the tripersonal God? Was he confessing that now he saw Jesus as an ontologically divine person of God? Since the notion of consubstantiality (the idea that multiple persons all share the substance or essence of God) was completely foreign to the Hebrew thought world of the first century, it is not plausible that this is what Thomas had in mind. No, the notion of multiple persons in God had to wait for the highly trained Greek/Christian philosophers of the following centuries. To read later trinitarian theology from the fourth century into this simple confession is anachronistic and mischievous.

    Figurative: Nearly two weeks before, at the last supper, in response to a question that Thomas had asked, Jesus replied, “If you had known me, you would have known my Father also; from now on you know him, and have seen him” (John 14.7). Then, after Philip requested further clarification, Jesus said the following:

    John 14.9-11
    Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how can you say, ‘Show us the Father ‘? 10 “Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works. 11 “Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me; otherwise believe because of the works themselves.

    Jesus was telling them that God was at work within him. By seeing Jesus this whole time, they were really seeing God in and through him both in word and in deed. Did they really believe this? To what degree did the disciples grasp this concept? Could it be that Thomas, the doubter, was skeptical even at this early moment, and that finally when he encountered the risen Jesus, he confessed that Jesus was his lord and now he knew that his God was in Christ? This possibility depends on breaking the phrase “my lord and my God” into two parts and applying the first to Jesus and the second to the God who was at work in Jesus. If this were the case, I imagine that Thomas would have looked Jesus in the eye while saying “my lord” and then changed his tone a bit and shifted his eyes to say “and my God” in a way that would be clear to all that he was not actually calling Jesus his God. This option, though plausible, lacks a certain convincing power due to the lack, in the text, of any indication that Thomas was not addressing both “my lord” and “my God” to Jesus. Surely John would have inserted a parenthetical for explanation if this was the case as he does in other instances in his Gospel when the text may be read in multiple different ways (i.e. John 2.21-22)

    Political Subversion: According to Raymond Brown, Domitian, the Roman emperor at the time of the writing of John’s Gospel was called “Lord and God.” Could it be that Thomas was juxtaposing Jesus for Caesar by calling Jesus his Lord and his God? Much research has been done, in particular on Paul’s writings, which has detected a good deal of anti-imperial subversion in them. There is not yet a consensus among scholars that early first century Christianity actively opposed the imperial cult by applying Caesar titles to Jesus. Even so, what has made much of this research plausible is the fact that Paul was writing to several major cities, not the least of which was Rome, in which the imperial cult was known to have been active. However, our question concerns Thomas, not Paul, in Jerusalem, not Rome, in private conversation, not in a public letter. Could it be that Thomas was making an anti-imperial political confession here? Our answer is probably not—unless we take a more liberal approach to the Gospel of John. For example, if we believed that John was not actually trying to record the words of Thomas, but rather place words on Thomas’ lips, in order to communicate some religious truth to his community. Since John was probably living in Ephesus at the time of the writing of this Gospel it is at least plausible to suggest that he would want to subvert the growing Caesar cult through the Thomas confession. Even still, if this were John’s agenda, would we not expect to find anti-imperial, subversive statements throughout his Gospel?

    Representational: Was Thomas confessing that Jesus was not only his lord but also the authorized representative of God on earth—the one destined to rule the world on God’s behalf? Jesus had been crucified for claiming to be God’s Messiah. His death proved to everyone that he was a false Messiah. One can scarcely imagine the depths of despair to which the disciples were driven during the days immediately following Jesus’ crucifixion. One can just imagine the sorts of thoughts that were clashing within their minds. On the one hand they would be trying to come to terms with the fact that he was dead. They might have thought, “Somehow, we have been deceived…Jesus is not the Messiah…he is dead…not only is he dead but he was publicly executed by the state for claiming to be the Messiah…he was publicly discredited in the most humiliating way imaginable…and to make everything worse, the Torah says that he is under God’s curse because ‘cursed is everyone that hangs on a tree.’” But then another whole set of thoughts would rush in: “but he healed the sick…he cast out demon after demon…he was righteous…to think that he was pulling off a great deception is impossible…he was attested by God with miracles…he told the storm to be quiet…he raised Lazarus from the dead…he must be the Messiah.” We can imagine how these two groups of thoughts would wage war in the minds of the disciples. They were confused; they were at a loss to understand how this could have happened–how Jesus could have been crucified. This experience of cognitive dissonance was extenuated for Thomas because he was the last one to see Jesus. He would not allow himself to believe that Jesus was resurrected even though the women, Peter, the two who were on their way to Emmaus, and even the other eleven had all told him that they had seen him alive. Thomas probably felt that he needed to protect himself by not getting his hopes up (like he had done before) so they wouldn’t be dashed to pieces. But, what must it have been like when Thomas finally saw Jesus? Suddenly, in his astonishment, the one last obstacle to faith removed, Thomas came to believe that Jesus was indeed resurrected. But what did that mean to him? What we encounter in John 20.28 is not careful, theological reflection on the event, but a knee-jerk response. Thomas was confessing something he had been denying for the last dozen or so days. Jesus was in fact who he claimed to be: the Davidic king, the Messiah, the holy one of God, God’s Son, and the supreme representative of God. The sign that had been hung above his head on the cross which was meant to be a sarcastic absurdity, was now doubly ironic because in that gruesome event the people really were witnessing the crucifixion of God’s Messiah! Now at last, all doubts were assuaged and Thomas saw and came to believe exactly what John’s intended purpose was for writing his Gospel—that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God—and that is what is conveyed when Thomas said, “my Lord and my God.”

    Even though we are advocating the representational view for John 20.28, we are the first to admit that the verse, when taken by itself, in the modern context of trinitarian Christianity, can easily be claimed as a supporting pillar of the dogma. Nevertheless, it is better to take the verse in the context of the historical situation (i.e. Thomas suddenly came to see and believe that Jesus was alive). Even so, the trinitarian (or modalist) surely would respond, “That is precisely what we are doing. Jesus was resurrected from the dead, which proves that he is God.” To this our response is twofold. (1) Resurrection proves the exact opposite. Since God cannot die (1 Tim. 1.17), and only dead people are resurrected, the resurrection actually proves that Jesus is not God. Our opponent may retort, “You are assuming that death means his whole being died and not just his body.” Not at all, we make no such assumption. In 1 Tim. 1.17 God is “immortal” which literally means “not can die.” One’s definition of death is not at all the issue here. Let’s say for a moment, that Plato was right, that death really is no more than the separation of the soul from the body (i.e. just the body dies). If this is one’s definition for death, then this is precisely the thing Jesus cannot do if he is God. In other words, if death means the death of the body, then Jesus certainly died on the cross, which in turn means that he was not immortal, and thus not God. (2) Our second response to the claim that resurrection proves that Jesus is God is that it lacks biblical support outside of this incident. How did the earliest Christians interpret Jesus resurrection? What do we find in the sermons contained in Acts? Do we ever find them saying, “Jesus was resurrected, a fact to which we are witnesses, which shows that he is really God?” In order to peer into the minds of the earliest Christians and see how they interpreted Jesus’ resurrection, consider these texts:

    Acts 2.32, 36 32 “This Jesus God raised up again, to which we are all witnesses…36 Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ– this Jesus whom you crucified.”

    Acts 10:40-42 40 “God raised Him up on the third day and granted that He become visible, 41 not to all the people, but to witnesses who were chosen beforehand by God, that is, to us who ate and drank with Him after He arose from the dead. 42 “And He ordered us to preach to the people, and solemnly to testify that this is the One who has been appointed by God as Judge of the living and the dead.

    Acts 17:2-3 2 And according to Paul’s custom, he went to them, and for three Sabbaths reasoned with them from the Scriptures, 3 explaining and giving evidence that the Christ had to suffer and rise again from the dead, and saying, “This Jesus whom I am proclaiming to you is the Christ.”

    Acts 17:31 because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead.”

    The Christians saw the resurrection as proof that Jesus really was who he claimed to be—the human Messiah. This is not the same as saying that he is God nor is there the slightest justification for mutating “Son of God” into “God the Son.” The message was not, “Jesus did all these miracles and last of all he raised himself from the dead, showing to everyone that he really is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.” No, the message was focused on what God had done in Christ (not as Christ). Jesus is “a man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through him” (Acts 2.22). He was crucified, not by accident, but “by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God” (Acts 2.23). They killed him but “God raised him up” from the dead (Acts 2.24). He has been exalted to the right hand of God and the holy spirit is the indication of this. Therefore, let everyone know, that “God has made him both Lord and Christ” (Acts 2.36). Jesus is the eschatological judge of the whole world—the Messiah—and we know this is the case because God raised him from the dead.

  437. on 10 Jul 2008 at 11:52 amRon S.

    Sean,

    That was excellent! Well done sir! BTW, I think you should work that into a paper for posting to the articles here on the site.

    To me your last point about the fact that the apostles did not write to convince everyone that Jesus was literally God in human form, is immense and critical. That fact alone is the 800lb. gorilla in the room that trinitarians wish to pretend is not there. Just look at all the time and effort that was spent in New Testament writing after New Testament writing to show that Jesus WAS/IS the Jewish Messiah (along with the fact that the Gentiles were now “grafted in” as part of Israel). If Paul or John or any of the Apostles had believed that Jesus was literally God himself, they would have had to spend tremendous amounts of time and written a mountain of text explaining and arguing this new revelation to their fellow Jews. But as everyone can plainly see, that is simply not there.

    Add to this the fact that Paul would have had a ripe audience with the Gentile world outside of Judea where their pagan beliefs had them ready to easily accept gods in human form. Yet the evidence shows that Paul never used that to his advantage. In fact he preached against it (as any true Jew steeped in the Jewish Scriptures where God is said to not be a man would do). Just look at what happens with Paul and Barnabas when preaching to the citizens of Lystra in Acts Chapter 11. After healing a man in verse 10, the people (in verse 11) say that Paul and Barnabas are gods in human form (just what the Trinity promotes with Jesus). Yet instead of them simply explaining that it was Jesus and not them who was God in human form, Paul and Barnabas freak out and rip their clothes at the notion and call such an idea “vanity” – note the Greek word there means also “worthless”, “profitless”, “useless”, “futile”, “to no purpose”, etc. So here we have Paul and Barnabas saying that such a “god in the flesh” idea was a useless and futile belief instead of pointing them to the correct “God in the flesh”! The fact of this again shows that the Apostles were NOT binitarians or trinitarians.

    Ron S.

  438. on 10 Jul 2008 at 11:59 amSean

    Ron,

    My comments were excerpted from the paper I presented at the One God conference the day before the debate. If you would like to read the entire paper, click here.

  439. on 12 Jul 2008 at 8:47 ammanuel

    Ron wrote:

    “If Paul or John or any of the Apostles had believed that Jesus was literally God himself, they would have had to spend tremendous amounts of time and written a mountain of text explaining and arguing this new revelation to their fellow Jews. But as everyone can plainly see, that is simply not there.”

    mlculwell: I think you are as blind in part as the Jews Paul wrote of, if you believe this you simply focus on one area; Jesus humanity and him being the Christ and you choose to ignore other passages.

    Ist. Cor. 15:45,John 3:34,Isa.9:6,Math.28:18.there is no way for you to reconcile these passages w/o hijacking your supposed points to the exclusion of this real deity given him, You guys can talk each other up but the facts remains and I will not defend the trinitarian view as it is totally wrong concerning Jesus being “God the son” pre-existent with God the father and you are only half right which is not being right at all.

  440. on 13 Jul 2008 at 1:37 amRon S.

    Manuel,

    You said:

    “I think you are as blind in part as the Jews Paul wrote of, if you believe this you simply focus on one area; Jesus humanity and him being the Christ and you choose to ignore other passages.”

    No Manuel, we Unitarians really do look to the entire range of Scripture from Genesis to Revelation and it is beyond obvious to us that Jesus is NOT literally God. You can accuse us of being blind all you want. But I assure you (at least on my end) I look at the big picture of the entirety of the Bible and see the overwhelming evidence that Jesus is the Son OF God, not God the Son, not God appearing literally in the form of a man, and not even him as a pre-existent angelic being.

    Though if anyone is focusing on ONE area and is ignoring other passages, I feel that you are the guilty one here as all you continue to do is quote the same verses over and over again (John 3:34, Matt 28:18, 1 Cor. 15:45) that you feel prove your case. Yet as Mark has repeatedly covered these with you in many previous posts here, these verses simply do not prove that Jesus is Yahweh.

    How about something new? Scripture says that Jesus has a God. So if Jesus is God, then how can it say that he has a God? At least the trinitarian can argue that the “person” of the Father is Jesus’ God (somehow), but that defense isn’t available to you. So my question for you is: Who is the God of Jesus? Who is Jesus praying to in Scripture – himself?

    Thanks,

    Ron S.

  441. on 13 Jul 2008 at 11:30 amPatty

    Ron S, excellant clarification

  442. on 14 Jul 2008 at 10:03 pmmanuel

    mlculwell: No it was not an excellent reply it was a weak reply.

    Ron:
    overwhelming evidence that Jesus is the Son OF God, not God the Son, not God appearing literally in the form of a man, and not even him as a pre-existent angelic being.

    mlculwell: i do not believe Jesus is “God the son” There is no such animal in scripture. Yes, Jesus is the *son of God* but you ignore the passages I submit to again not give anything new,9The same thing you accuse me of) I have heard your explainations and I aint buying!

    Ron:
    Though if anyone is focusing on ONE area and is ignoring other passages, I feel that you are the guilty one here as all you continue to do is quote the same verses over and over again (John 3:34, Matt 28:18, 1 Cor. 15:45) that you feel prove your case.

    mlculwell: Then stop submitting your weak answers for the passages and give me anactual argument as to why they don’t work. You have submitted nothing.

    Ron:
    Yet as Mark has repeatedly covered these with you in many previous posts here, these verses simply do not prove that Jesus is Yahweh.

    mlculwell: jesus was made God the reason i submitted the passage you mark or anyone else has refuted those facts you simply don’t like it because it contradicts what you believe.I am not here to care what you like.

    Ron:
    How about something new? Scripture says that Jesus has a God.

    mlculwell: Yes it does! But you don’t read it in context, you read it from a standpoint of over two thousand years ago while Jesus walked this earth and actually had a God as a real man.What you think I am blind to the scripture ? I think those oneness who turned to your religion are the biggest dummies that ever walked the face of the earth for accepting your religion.(Just my opinion, they were scammed, but even the elect can be duped by false doctrine.)

    Ron:
    So if Jesus is God, then how can it say that he has a God?

    mlculwell: Real easy there Ron, Just Like I say he had a God as a real man, and just like the scriptures said so.

    Ron:
    At least the trinitarian can argue that the “person” of the Father is Jesus’ God (somehow),

    mlculwell: This shows how ignorant you are Ron, and I don’t mind telling you so, and I hope you debate a Oneness with this kind of ignorance towards oneness doctrine as you have displayed here.We do argure Jesus had a real God in his real humanity that existed before the son and was given the spirit w/o measure (That you measure what was given) I love giving you a regular whoopin with this fact.

    Ron:
    but that defense isn’t available to you.

    mlculwell: Because you again display your ignornace toward our doctrine, I would suspect because of your lying apologists the same way the trinitarains lie to thier folks about us but when we meet you folks we get the oppurtunity to clear it all up and show you just how little you know.

    Ron:
    So my question for you is: Who is the God of Jesus? Who is Jesus praying to in Scripture – himself?

    Thanks,

    Ron S.

    mlculwell: Jesus no longer has a God!He is the only God, as he was made God! Jesus when hye wass a real man prayed in the days of his flesh(His rela humnaity that was in subjection to his real God. You don’t know anything about anything!I would stick to my day job if I were you Ron as you are not very good at this.

  443. on 14 Jul 2008 at 11:28 pmRon S.

    manuel,

    If you have to resort to name-calling and mean-spirited remarks then you’re showing a spirit of anti-Christ instead of Christ-like patience and love. No to mention that calling others “dummies”, “ignorant” and accusing them of “lying” is quite arrogant and divisive. What ever happened to “let your speech always be with grace” (Col. 4:6)?

    manuel I’m willing to continue an open discussion with you, but only if you’ll tone down the rudeness and be a little more polite.

    First, once again though this has been covered by Mark and myself before, let’s discuss what you keep bringing up and think we’re ignoring with John 3:34 and Matt 28:18. And we’ll get into 1 Cor. 15:45 as well.

    But please allow me to start by summarizing what you’ve said before. And then before continuing I’ll ask for your clarification to ensure I’m not misrepresenting you.

    You say John 3:34 tells us that Jesus was given the Spirit “without measure” which means that ALL of God’s Spirit went to Jesus, thereby making him the one & only God.

    And Matt 28:18 shows Jesus being given ALL authority, so if he has it all, then he must be THE God because nobody else is left to have any. Am I right so far?

    And you say above that “Jesus walked this earth and actually had a God as a real man” and that “Jesus had a real God in his real humanity” and that “Jesus no longer has a God!He is the only God, as he was made God! Jesus when hye wass a real man prayed in the days of his flesh(His rela humnaity that was in subjection to his real God.”. So from this it seems that you are saying that Jesus was a real man that had a God but actually became that God at some point in time. Is that right? If so, can you tell me when it was that Jesus changed from being man to being God? Was it at his baptism or his resurrection? Or was it when he ascended into heaven?

    If you’ll answer these for me, I’ll do my best to give you full answers back.

    Thanks.

    Ron S.

  444. on 15 Jul 2008 at 3:08 amMark

    I’d like to add a question to that, if I may. If Jesus became that God which he worshipped and prayed to, what happened to that God?

  445. on 15 Jul 2008 at 5:47 ammanuel

    How many times are you people going to ask this question? Nothing happened to the God jesus became. think about your question and then try again.

    “Anti christ” has nothing to do with it. Ron ,You need to check your definition of “anti christ” I suspect it has something to do with your view of futurism though.I don’t like false doctrine and i have to, I don’t like false teachers who drag the gospel through the mud so your group is any enemy to the Gospel. . Now for Rons question,Jesus was made God after his death, burial, ressurection ,and ascension. But he was always known as God manifest in the flesh, I know where you are going (Rev. 1:1-2) This supossed arguemnt is as weak as your entire doctrine is weak. Jesus displayed on the earth what he was to be, which was not that he remains a prince as you make him, but rather the King of all kings.

  446. on 15 Jul 2008 at 11:04 amMark

    We haven’t asked this question before. You’re the one that said that Jesus had a God when he was on earth as a man, but then he became God and no longer has a God. So are you saying one God turned into another? And if he was “always known as God manifested in the flesh,” then how could he have had a God before?

    And before you call us names again, have you considered that maybe we don’t understand what you’re saying because you aren’t communicating very well? Many of the statements you have made here are confusing and self-contradictory. Do you want to share ideas or do you just want to declare you’re right and have everyone submit to your belief?

  447. on 15 Jul 2008 at 11:18 amRon S.

    manuel,

    Thanks for your answers.

    By “antichrist” I didn’t mean THE Antichrist, I meant more of the “spirit of anitchrist” because “anti” can mean “against”. And your mean-spirited attitude would certainly be “against” Christ’s instructions to how we are to act. Remember in the Sermon on the Mount? Jesus said “Blessed are the gentle, Blessed are the peacemakers”, and to “love your enemies”. And what about Matt 5:22? Are you not doing the exact type of things Jesus said would make you guilty? Please think about those and try to dial down the attitude. You can certainly believe that we are wrong and you are right in your theology, but you can present your arguments without being insulting toward others.

    BTW, saying that we are “false teachers” and have “false doctrine” is simply an opinion assertion based on your own personal views. In turn of course, we would say the same about your beliefs based on our views.

    So let’s now get down to business and discuss those views and the merits of them based on Scripture, while leaving out the ad hominem attacks.

    You said:
    “Jesus was made God after his death, burial, ressurection ,and ascension.”

    So which one is it? Was Jesus made God the moment he died, the moment he was buried, or moment he was resurrected? Or was it 40 days later after Jesus ascended into heaven? When exactly do you believe that Jesus changed from being a real man who had a God to then being that one God of the universe?

    Please know that I’m not trying to be difficult here, I’m just trying to clearly understand where you’re coming from and exactly what you believe. It would help us (me for sure) a great deal to see how your views could be true or not if you would explain them in greater detail. OK?

    Thanks,

    Ron S.

  448. on 15 Jul 2008 at 11:54 amFrank D

    Gal 5

    22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

  449. on 15 Jul 2008 at 4:46 pmmanuel

    Ron:
    So let’s now get down to business and discuss those views and the merits of them based on Scripture, while leaving out the ad hominem attacks.

    You said:
    “Jesus was made God after his death, burial, ressurection ,and ascension.”

    So which one is it?

    mlculwell: It is the culmination of everything when then cometh the end when he shall have delivered up( or in my view he already) delivered up the kingdom to God even the father( when he shall have put down all rule and authority and power( as son.1st Cor. 15:24-28) this is in reference to his human sonship and fullfilling what he had to do and did fullfill which futurists do not believe they believe that is somethime in the future.

    But you say see, he delivers up the kingdom to God even the father. No! Because as (Eph. 5:27) states; so that he might present it to himself a glorious ekklisia without spot or wrinkle or any such thing.

    Ron:
    Was Jesus made God the moment he died, the moment he was buried, or moment he was resurrected? Or was it 40 days later after Jesus ascended into heaven? When exactly do you believe that Jesus changed from being a real man who had a God to then being that one God of the universe?

    mlculwell:I have a Very detailed debate on this very subject with the Jehovah’s witnesses on the (John 1:1) yahoogroup who ask the very same questions, you can go there and read the discussions for yourself. Jesus had the promise from the beggining but one little man could not contain it it all, (70A.D.) at the destruction of Jerusalem and his *parousia* is when he delivered up the kingdom and God is all in all. He is no longer known as son, But the one God of the universe.

    Ron:
    Please know that I’m not trying to be difficult here, I’m just trying to clearly understand where you’re coming from and exactly what you believe. It would help us (me for sure) a great deal to see how your views could be true or not if you would explain them in greater detail. OK?

    Thanks,

    Ron S.

    mlculwell: Okay.

  450. on 16 Jul 2008 at 1:07 amRon S.

    manuel,

    Can you clarify what you mean by “Jesus had the promise from the beggining…”?

    And though I get that you believe God the Father existed before and while Jesus the man was on earth and continued to exist as God afterwards (the God “all in all” part). But can you tell me what happened to Jesus the man, the Son? Did the Son cease to exist when he became God? Did God basically take him over and got rid of Jesus’ humanity?

    Also you said: “I have a Very detailed debate on this very subject with the Jehovah’s witnesses on the (John 1:1) yahoogroup who ask the very same questions, you can go there and read the discussions for yourself.”. Can you provide a link to this discussion group so that anybody reading this can get to it too?

    Thanks,

    Ron S.

  451. on 16 Jul 2008 at 5:24 ammanuel

    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/JohnOneOne/?yguid=105899369

    The above is the link to the group, you will more than likely have to join to read the discussions from some time ago. The questions you raise are the some ones the JW’s raise, your doctrine is similar accept you believe like the Oneness in that Jesus had no prior or pre- existence and that the word/Logos is not a person. simply do a search on the group for the questions you raise.

  452. on 16 Jul 2008 at 8:47 amMark

    I don’t wish to get into a futurist vs preterist debate, but you bring up I Cor. 15:24-28, saying that Jesus became God when he delivered up the kingdom to God. It says that at that time he will (or will have) “put down all rule and authority and power.” Do you believe that all rule, authority and power have been put down at this time?

    Secondly, you sweep away the statement in I Cor. 15 by quoting the verse from Ephesians. You can’t quote one verse and pretend the other doesn’t exist. Yes, Eph. says he presents the church to himself, but it doesn’t say that he presents everything to himself and NOT to God as well. To read it that way would be to ignore the clear statements of I Cor. 15:
    24 then comes the end, when He delivers up the kingdom to the God and Father, when He has abolished all rule and all authority and power.
    25 For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet.
    26 The last enemy that will be abolished is death.
    27 For HE HAS PUT ALL THINGS IN SUBJECTION UNDER HIS FEET. But when He says, “All things are put in subjection,” it is evident that He is excepted who put all things in subjection to Him.
    28 And when all things are subjected to Him, then the Son Himself also will be subjected to the One who subjected all things to Him, that God may be all in all.

    Notice that verse 27 tells us that God has put all things in subjection under Jesus’s feet, with the exception of God Himself. Then verse 28 says that the Son himself will be subjected to God. It does not say that the Son BECOMES God. All things are under the Son’s feet except God, and the Son is in subjection to God, so God may be all in all. It’s simple.

  453. on 16 Jul 2008 at 12:19 pmRon S.

    Manuel,

    Thanks for the link!

    I joined the group and am starting to read through many of the posts. But I’m having a hard time finding posts where you say that you answer the questions I’ve asked.

    Can you point me in the right direction, or better yet answer them here?

    Thanks.

    Ron S.

  454. on 16 Jul 2008 at 6:01 pmmanuel

    I can’t find them either there are too many posts now…. But nothing happened to either, it is that (the invisible spirit) God Now has a glorified Body(Visible) For mark yes I do believe that all rule power and authority has been put down by the “son” Because he is no longer known as the son but as God, as he is all in all *it is the son* that puts down all no the passage does not say that he becaomes god there are other passages in which you ignore the same ones i have submitted over and over If jesus is tgiven the spirit w/o meassure and his humnaity is really not able to recieve it it is obvious it is at another time to take any of it away is to limit it and that is what you do. I submit (Gen. 1:26) where god says Let us make man in our image after our Likeness. the *us* and *our* refers to Jesus promise that i spoke of previously the proof of that is found in(Romans 5:14)… (Adam)Who was the figure(Image or likeness) of him that was to come. adam was before Jesus and Adam who was created in the image of god was created in jesus image. this was the promise.(God is an invisble spirit(John 1:18) Jesus is the image of the invisible God(Col.1:15) that Adam was created.

  455. on 16 Jul 2008 at 6:42 pmRon S.

    manuel,

    OK, if God now has Jesus’ glorified body, what happened to the MAN, Jesus of Nazareth that existed on earth before his death and resurrection in that body?

    Did he cease to exist when he became God?

    Or was Jesus the man, his personality, his consciousness “abosorbed” into God?

    Thanks,

    Ron S.

  456. on 16 Jul 2008 at 7:41 pmmanuel

    No of course he did not cease to exist, what you really want to know is if there are two centers of conscience? Like when Jesus prayed on earth as a real man:Not my will, but thine be done? Now why would God have an opposing will and always be where he puts himself in conflict, He is no longer a human being on earth but a glorified man, Invisible God visible with no conflicting will or conscienceness, 1 person of God, after all persons die, God does not. God is Spirit(Not a person) and only a person in the person of the son.

  457. on 16 Jul 2008 at 9:15 pmMark

    mark yes I do believe that all rule power and authority has been put down by the “son” Because he is no longer known as the son but as God…

    Then why are we not living in paradise, on a perfect, restored earth? There are still powers and authorities around who are not subject to God or His Son – just look around.

    I noticed you neglected to comment on what I said about I Cor. 15 referring to the Son being in subjection to God. (Your claim that he is no longer known as the Son is simply false. Do a search for “the Son” in any concordance.)

    Yet you again accuse me of ignoring the verses you cite. Once again I will say that I am not ignoring them. It’s just that “being given the spirit without measure” does not equal “being made God” anywhere in the Bible. I have said this repeatedly, almost as often as you have repeated your proof texts and your claim that we’re ignoring them.

    Also, Adam being “a type of Jesus” does not equal being “made in the image of Jesus” in the same sense that he was “made in the image of God.” And Jesus being the image of the invisible God in Col. 1:15 has been dealt with before on this thread and others. To be the image of God does not mean that he is God, in fact it means that he is not God.

    We’re again going in circles, and I’m getting dizzy!

  458. on 17 Jul 2008 at 5:19 ammanuel

    To Mark
    For One, this idea of a “paradise on earth” is a false doctrine, i will deal with this question as well others later on today and more when I have time to go into a little more detail , I would love nothing more than to go around in circles with you on Jesus being the Image of the Invisble God and Adam being created in the image of Jesus because I am not arguing from a trinitarain standpoint(Where they believe Jesus somehow pre-existed as Jehovah. We can go anywhere you wanna go.

  459. on 17 Jul 2008 at 8:32 amMark

    To Mark
    For One, this idea of a “paradise on earth” is a false doctrine, i will deal with this question as well others later on today and more when I have time to go into a little more detail , I would love nothing more than to go around in circles with you on Jesus being the Image of the Invisble God and Adam being created in the image of Jesus because I am not arguing from a trinitarain standpoint(Where they believe Jesus somehow pre-existed as Jehovah. We can go anywhere you wanna go.

    The question of a (future) paradise on earth is the theme of the entire Bible. But it is an entirely different subject from the Trinity debate, which is the subject of this thread. You can ask Sean about starting a new thread if you like.
    You say you would “love nothing more than to go around in circles with you on Jesus being the Image of the Invisble God and Adam being created in the image of Jesus.” Why? What purpose would it serve to go around in circles?
    In case you misunderstood, the circles to which I refer are the way we keep saying the same things over and over again and neither side convincing the other. I know you are not arguing from a Trinitarian viewpoint, and neither am I, but we have vastly different views as to how to interpret the Bible, and we will evidently never agree.

  460. on 18 Jul 2008 at 5:22 ammanuel

    Mark wrote:

    The question of a (future) paradise on earth is the theme of the entire Bible. But it is an entirely different subject from the Trinity debate, which is the subject of this thread.

    mlculwell:
    Mark you are the One that brought up the “Paradise on earth,” The scriptures do not teach such a thing. Yes I understand it is a popular Idea much like the trinity but it as wrong as the trinity.

    You wrote:
    “Then why are we not living in paradise, on a perfect, restored earth? There are still powers and authorities around who are not subject to God or His Son – just look around.”

  461. on 18 Jul 2008 at 9:56 amMark

    I brought up earthly paradise in response to your statement:

    It is the culmination of everything when then cometh the end when he shall have delivered up( or in my view he already) delivered up the kingdom to God even the father( when he shall have put down all rule and authority and power( as son.1st Cor. 15:24-28)

    As I said, it is a separate issue which should be discussed in a different thread if you want to discuss it. In the mean time, you still haven’t answered or responded to the comments I made about your original remarks dealing with I Cor 15. You don’t seem to want to actually discuss, but simply make sweeping statements, and continue to go in circles.

  462. on 18 Jul 2008 at 5:12 pmmanuel

    mark wrote:In the mean time, you still haven’t answered or responded to the comments I made about your original remarks dealing with I Cor 15. You don’t seem to want to actually discuss, but simply make sweeping statements, and continue to go in circles.

    mlculwell: I submitted below what I think you are refering to and there is nothing really to deal with But I will indulge you.

    Mark writes:

    I noticed you neglected to comment on what I said about I Cor. 15 referring to the Son being in subjection to God. (Your claim that he is no longer known as the Son is simply false. Do a search for “the Son” in any concordance.)

    mlculwell: i don’t have to do a search in concordance why you do a search in the concordnace for the term “trinity” in reference to God? Would somehow believe it was teaching the truhbt on the subject? You and I both know it is not so the concordnace suggestion menas absolutley nothing to me it is thus says the word. He is known as the son in refernece to our redememption for the purpose of the same and he was sacrificed once for all it is not a contuall thing that pupose has beeen fullfilled and Jesus does not stand before god pleading our case his sacrifice in his real humanity pleads our case that was done once for all for that that pupose.

    Mark:
    Yet you again accuse me of ignoring the verses you cite. Once again I will say that I am not ignoring them. It’s just that “being given the spirit without measure” does not equal “being made God” anywhere in the Bible.

    mlculwell: This is the promise I have beeen speaking of your are measuring the spirit you simply allude to the passage in passaing but do not at all deall with it I have not met a trinitarain or Arian type(Meaning you) that is able to do so without highjacking yourself.Again you measure the spirit to take away in any amount is measuring that which cannot be measured and that did not happen nor was it able to happen while Jesu walked the earth as a fleshly man.I hardly see how i have ignored you it has been you ignoring me all along.

    Mark:
    I have said this repeatedly, almost as often as you have repeated your proof texts and your claim that we’re ignoring them.

    mlculwell: Again, it is very clear to me you do not deal with anything I ahve submitted.

    Mark:
    Also, Adam being “a type of Jesus” does not equal being “made in the image of Jesus” in the same sense that he was “made in the image of God.” And Jesus being the image of the invisible God in Col. 1:15 has been dealt with before on this thread and others.

    mlculwell: Again I am no trinitrain your dealing with a differnat subject all together dealing with me so please indulge my ignornace of your doctrine? Adam was made inj the Image of God .Jesus is the image of the Invisible God , Adam was created in the image of God Adam is not and was not invisible he was created in the image of Jesus as that God.

    Mark:
    To be the image of God does not mean that he is God, in fact it means that he is not God.

    mlculwell: No, it means no such thing, you are ignoring the dscriptures this is not cut and dry like you think you have not even begun to deal with anything but to simply wave your hand and dismiss it.

    Mark
    We’re again going in circles, and I’m getting dizzy!

    mlculwell: No Mark, you are going in circles by yourself, and I again would like to engage you on these isssues.

  463. on 19 Jul 2008 at 4:21 amMark

    Manuel,

    Amazing! In all that, you STILL missed the point I made about I Cor. 15. It says all things are in subjection under the Son, except for the Father Himself, who PUT all things under the Son’s feet. There are two inividuals there. It does NOT say the Son became the Father, any more than your other proof texts do.

    You said before:

    I do believe that all rule power and authority has been put down by the “son” Because he is no longer known as the son but as God, as he is all in all *it is the son* that puts down all

    My suggestion about using a concordance was to show that Jesus is called the Son several other places in the New Testament, even after the ascension. Your comment about looking up the Trinity is pointless because the word Trinity is not in the Bible. We both know that, and both agree that the Trinity is a man-made doctrine, yet you keep accusing me of having trinitarian beliefs and now even call me an Arian. Do you even remember what we are supposed to be discussing?

    You again refer to your proof texts and claim I have ignored them. In several of my recent posts I have repeated what I have been saying about them all along, which is this: You have no basis for claiming that giving Jesus the spirit without measure means that he became God. You have offered no proof of it other than simply claiming it to be so. And when I have pointed out other Scriptures that further prove that Jesus did not “become” God, you completely miss the point, repeatedly.

    When I spoke of “the image of God,” you stated:

    No, it means no such thing, you are ignoring the dscriptures this is not cut and dry like you think you have not even begun to deal with anything but to simply wave your hand and dismiss it.

    Amazing again! In one paragraph you have done the very thing you’re accusing me of doing in that same paragraph! To be the image of something logically means you are not that thing. That’s what “image” means. Do you offer any Scriptural basis for saying that it doesn’t mean that? No you simply “wave your hand and dismiss it.”

    This is why I said we are going in circles. We are quoting the same things over and over again, and you continue to miss nearly every point I have made, and don’t even seem to understand what position I am arguing from. Then you said you would be happy to go in circles (which I would not be), and yet you turn around and say it is me and not you going in circles.

    All you are doing is repeating yourself, adding no explanation or foundation for your interpretation, and then accusing me of ignoring your points, while at the same time ignoring (or completely missing) mine. As I said over in the Creationist thread, it reminds me of the famous Monty Python sketch: “This isn’t an argument, it’s just contradiction.” (“No it isn’t!” “Yes it is!” “No it isn’t!”)

    I suggest you reread this thread (or at least the pertinent parts of it), and if you have nothing else to say to back up your case besides continuing to repeat your proof texts, then there is nothing more to say.

  464. on 19 Jul 2008 at 4:31 amMark

    Sorry about the bold text – I missed one of the tags. The above post should have been as follows:

    Manuel,

    Amazing! In all that, you STILL missed the point I made about I Cor. 15. It says all things are in subjection under the Son, except for the Father Himself, who PUT all things under the Son’s feet. There are two individuals there. It does NOT say the Son became the Father, any more than your other proof texts do.

    You said before:

    I do believe that all rule power and authority has been put down by the “son” Because he is no longer known as the son but as God, as he is all in all *it is the son* that puts down all

    My suggestion about using a concordance was to show that Jesus is called the Son several other places in the New Testament, even after the ascension. Your comment about looking up the Trinity is pointless because the word Trinity is not in the Bible. We both know that, and both agree that the Trinity is a man-made doctrine, yet you keep accusing me of having trinitarian beliefs and now even call me an Arian. Do you even remember what we are supposed to be discussing?

    You again refer to your proof texts and claim I have ignored them. In several of my recent posts I have repeated what I have been saying about them all along, which is this: You have no basis for claiming that giving Jesus the spirit without measure means that he became God. You have offered no proof of it other than simply claiming it to be so. And when I have pointed out other Scriptures that further prove that Jesus did not “become” God, you completely miss the point, repeatedly.

    When I spoke of “the image of God,” you stated:

    No, it means no such thing, you are ignoring the dscriptures this is not cut and dry like you think you have not even begun to deal with anything but to simply wave your hand and dismiss it.

    Amazing again! In one paragraph you have done the very thing you’re accusing me of doing in that same paragraph! To be the image of something logically means you are not that thing. That’s what “image” means. Do you offer any Scriptural basis for saying that it doesn’t mean that? No you simply “wave your hand and dismiss it.”

    This is why I said we are going in circles. We are quoting the same things over and over again, and you continue to miss nearly every point I have made, and don’t even seem to understand what position I am arguing from. Then you said you would be happy to go in circles (which I would not be), and yet you turn around and say it is me and not you going in circles.

    All you are doing is repeating yourself, adding no explanation or foundation for your interpretation, and then accusing me of ignoring your points, while at the same time ignoring (or completely missing) mine. As I said over in the Creationist thread, it reminds me of the famous Monty Python sketch: “This isn’t an argument, it’s just contradiction!” (”No it isn’t!” “Yes it is!” “No it isn’t!”)

    I suggest you reread this thread (or at least the pertinent parts of it), and if you have nothing else to say to back up your case besides continuing to repeat your proof texts, then there is nothing more to say.

  465. on 19 Jul 2008 at 8:36 ammanuel

    Manuel,

    Amazing! In all that, you STILL missed the point I made about I Cor. 15. It says all things are in subjection under the Son, except for the Father Himself, who PUT all things under the Son’s feet.

    mlculwell: I know what the passage says Mark and I missed nothing. You did not even deal with what was said, your blinded by your own doctrine. Do you somehow think this is the first time I have argued these points? You shrugged off (John 3:34)

    Mark:
    There are two individuals there. It does NOT say the Son became the Father, any more than your other proof texts do.

    mlculwell: What does this passage mean to you (1st. Cor. 15:45,47) He was made the life giving spirit and the second man Adam was the Lord from Heaven. He was not already the Lord from heaven he was made the Lord from heaven because his humanity had a beggining and there was not “two Lords from heaven”.

    mark:
    You said before:

    “I do believe that all rule power and authority has been put down by the “son” Because he is no longer known as the son but as God, as he is all in all *it is the son* that puts down all ”

    My suggestion about using a concordance was to show that Jesus is called the Son several other places in the New Testament, even after the ascension.

    mlculwell: LOL! Wow Mark, I did not know that? Do you remember me writing this?

    “He is known as the son in reference to our redemption for the purpose of the same and he was sacrificed once for all, it is not a contaul thing, that purpose has been fulfilled and Jesus does not stand before God pleading our case, his sacrifice in his real humanity pleads our case, that was done once for all for that that purpose.”

    Mark:
    Your comment about looking up the Trinity is pointless because the word Trinity is not in the Bible. We both know that, and both agree that the Trinity is a man-made doctrine, yet you keep accusing me of having trinitarian beliefs and now even call me an Arian. Do you even remember what we are supposed to be discussing?

    mlculwell: Absolutely, we are discussing a number of things we are supposed to be discussing whether or not Jesus was standing By God the father in heaven and whether or not he remains a prince who never inherits the throne according to your doctrine and why you have sluffed off the passages I submitted and ignore them(, ,1st. Cor.15:45-47)

    (John 3:34)God giveth not the spirit by measure unto him.

    (Math. 28:18) A-L-L power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.

    (1st. Cor. 15:45,47) He was made the Life giving spirit. (Verse 47 )the second man is the Lord from heaven

    Mark:
    You again refer to your proof texts and claim I have ignored them. In several of my recent posts I have repeated what I have been saying about them all along, which is this: You have no basis for claiming that giving Jesus the spirit without measure means that he became God.

    mlculwell: Sure I do! Because of the passages I put together Tell me Mark, How are you measuring the spirit given? Which Lord from heaven was Jesus? Does the passage say Jesus was made the Life giving spirit in (1st Cor. 15:45-47) Does it say he was the Lord from heaven? We both believe Jesus was not a “pre-existent person.” I have plenty of Basis.

    Mark:
    You have offered no proof of it other than simply claiming it to be so. And when I have pointed out other Scriptures that further prove that Jesus did not “become” God, you completely miss the point, repeatedly.

    mlculwell: You have submitted nothing, you ignore the passages because you see two persons in the passage, One who was in subjection and the one who subjects and then ignore the passages that are relevant(John 3:34, Math. 28:18, 1st. Cor. 15:45-47) You have not dealt with one passage but continually point me back to the subjection passage, I have said; and it is Oneness doctrine that The son has fulfilled that which God intended from the foundation of the world as son(Revelation 13:8, John 17:5 John 7:38-39) that is what the passage deals with in (1st. Cor. 15:24-28) and God is all in all Tell me about Jesus being the Lord from heaven not Just lord(But the Jehovah from heaven) because he was made such.

    Mark:
    When I spoke of “the image of God,” you stated:

    No, it means no such thing, you are ignoring the scriptures this is not cut and dry like you think you have not even begun to deal with anything but to simply wave your hand and dismiss it.

    Amazing again! In one paragraph you have done the very thing you’re accusing me of doing in that same paragraph!

    mlculwell: LOL! We did not get down to a detailed debate on this subject you simply denied Jesus as the Image of the invisible God as that which Adam was created I affirmed that position, there is no dismissal.

    Mark:
    To be the image of something logically means you are not that thing.

    mlculwell:Again I have to laugh, you are not getting it! Let’s see? Mark you affirm: “Adam was created in the image and *Likeness* of God”. Do you not? Adam was not that image he was created, correct? Well that would be my position also but you missed the passage I submitted in (Roman 5:14)

    (Adam) who was(Created in) the figure(Likeness) of him that was to come.(Jesus)

    God when he said: *Let us make man in our image after our likeness.* included the coming son who was not back there. Jesus was the Image of the invisible God. It was more than Just an image projected that claim was not God’s image because the image was not God Adam was created in the image of God because that was God’s invisible image in the future. All that we will ever see of god will be beaming through the face of the Lord Jesus Christ. You just sluff off passages with no debate.

    Mark:
    That’s what “image” means. Do you offer any Scriptural basis for saying that it doesn’t mean that? No you simply “wave your hand and dismiss it.”

    mlculwell; We are going around in circles because we have not debated these issues yet.

    Mark:
    This is why I said we are going in circles. We are quoting the same things over and over again, and you continue to miss nearly every point I have made, and don’t even seem to understand what position I am arguing from.

    mlculwell: I know your position very well as I have argued with your side for years.

    Mark:
    Then you said you would be happy to go in circles (which I would not be), and yet you turn around and say it is me and not you going in circles.

    mlculwell: It is you going in circles because you do not realise we have not touched on any one single subject, you think there is no debate so you don’t debate(to you it is cut dry, the issues settled) that is how you are going in circles.

    Mark
    All you are doing is repeating yourself, adding no explanation or foundation for your interpretation, and then accusing me of ignoring your points, while at the same time ignoring (or completely missing) mine. As I said over in the Creationist thread, it reminds me of the famous Monty Python sketch: “This isn’t an argument, it’s just contradiction!” (”No it isn’t!” “Yes it is!” “No it isn’t!”)

    mlculwell: Yep, that is what we are doing, you have offered nothing as yet for me to debate because you dismiss the passages you say you have dealt with and have not(John 3:34, Math. 28:18. 1st cor. 15:45,47)

    Mark:
    I suggest you reread this thread (or at least the pertinent parts of it), and if you have nothing else to say to back up your case besides continuing to repeat your proof texts, then there is nothing more to say.

    mlculwell: If I have nothing then why engage me at all? I suggest you reread this thread and deal with the passages. I do not see with the heavenly metaphors that we have two persons, we have God as spirit not the same as a glorified man who was made God and he put down all his earthly power and kingdom as the only begotten son on the earth so and was given all power in heaven and earth as God not at all how you see it because you have to totally ignore all the relevant passages I submitted to do so.

  466. on 19 Jul 2008 at 4:14 pmMark

    mlculwell: If I have nothing then why engage me at all?

    I agree.

  467. on 19 Jul 2008 at 5:57 pmManuel Culwell

    I will take this to mean you have nothing just as I suspected

  468. on 19 Jul 2008 at 6:53 pmMark

    Geeze! You even missed that point!

  469. on 20 Jul 2008 at 7:12 ammanuel

    LOL! I missed nothing. You should have engaged but instead you made a snide remark so I took that to mean you were done so I would go away.

  470. on 17 Aug 2008 at 2:57 amArlene

    I’ve read quite a few of these posts, but by no means all of them. So if someone discussed Acts 17: 16-32, please refer me to the correct post. Anyway, in this passage Paul is asked to explain his “foreign gods” to the Athenians. Paul does not refer to Hebrew Scriptures, since the Gentiles were not acquainted with them.

    Neither does he teach the Greeks anything about a Trinity. Paul explains to the Greeks that there is one God, “the” God, who created the world (v. 24). This same God is the Father of all men (v. 28).

    Then Paul ends his discourse by saying that “The God” has appointed a man to judge the world with justice. The proof of this is that he, God, raised this man from the dead (v. 31).

    That’s it. Paul tells the Athenians that there is one God, the Father and Creator, who has appointed a man to die, be resurrected and judge the world. If Paul were trying to teach the Greeks that Jesus is God, or that God is a Trinity, he surely dropped the ball here. He does not even tell them Jesus’ name at this point in time.

    Am I off-base here?

  471. on 17 Aug 2008 at 5:56 amSean

    Excellent points, Arlene. I think if someone did a study of Acts and analyzed each of the speeches from this perspective, the evidence would be overwhelming . Either the Trinity was completely unknown to the Apostles or they simply did not preach it as gospel. For such an important doctrine it sure does get ignored a lot!

  472. on 26 Aug 2008 at 6:48 amPaul FH

    Hi truth seekers in the USA!

    I have listened to the debate between Sean and Brant Bosserman several times over the last few days and hope that I find the time to respond in some depth in the future. For now I would like to add just a couple of points that, in reading most of the blog here, I don’t think have been fully raised.

    Firstly, I must say I think that Brant excel’s as one of the best proponents I have heard or read of such an incredibly contradictory doctrine that is the Trinity. He is clearly learned, bright, articulate and sounds gracious and considerate as well. He was certainly a worthy debating opponent for Sean who is also impressive, but for whom it is much easier as Sean doesn’t need to try to read his beliefs back into the Biblical text.

    My two points for now.

    [Note: I will use HaShem (the Name) in many places for God the Father, to avoid confusion as Trinitarians think of the ‘Son of God’ as God; and even call Yeshua Yahweh, etc.]

    Brant in his opening speech said that the ‘dual nature’ of Christ was “the hinge on which the Gospel swings”. To me, this passage explains a lot. It explains how someone can be so misguided. When a student of the Holy Scriptures doesn’t even know what the Gospel is; how can we expect him to understand who HaShem or the Messiah are. The Gospel is the Good News of the Kingdom of God. When this is probably understood as both the foundation of the Biblical narrative and therefore the ultimate purpose of the Messiah’s life, death and resurrection, it should become abundantly clear that second and last ‘Adam’, as the firstfruits (the wavesheaf offering) of a new humanity has to be human; because HaShem had sworn to his chosen people through Moses (Deut 18:15-19) and the prophets of old that he would be their brother, from amongst their people, not some alien interloper, some mythical ‘God-Man’.

    To be the Last Adam, the kinsman redeemer (Leviticus 25:25,28, 48-49; Ruth 3:9,12) our Messiah Yeshua needs to be human. To be the first of a new humanity he needs to be human. The whole foundational story of our Bible in fact ‘hinges’ on a man that achieves what the first Adam was unable to, that is, he resists temptation and thus restores the relationship with his Father that the first Adam lost. Thus the foundational story of this universe says nothing and needs in no way to have some strange 3 in 1 God, but instead required that a man be found worthy as John reveals to us in Revelation.

    The second quick point for now is Brant’s position on temptation. Brant acknowledged that the Messiah was tempted, but denied that he could have fallen for the temptation! This is to totally misunderstand the language. To be tempted requires that something is found attractive and considered reaching for. To suggest that Yeshua could not have fallen for the temptation is to suggest that he was not really tempted in the first place. Only HaShem can not be tempted because only God has everything already. Even if it were possible for a man to be both infinite and finite (a logical impossibility) as Brant argues, he can not be God if the finite part is tempted because no part of God can be tempted by definition. Add to this that if Satan knew that Yeshua was God he would not have even tried to tempt him!

    I must thank Brant though for opening my eyes to some new perspectives or angles on the whole debate. For example, his challenge to the Unitarians that Yeshua could sin at some time in the future. I had never previously been challenged to find scriptural evidence on this point and would welcome some thoughts on it.

    Some points I would make in rebuttal though: Ps 110:1 tells us that our Messiah sits at the right hand of the Father until the Kingdom of God is inaugurated. Clearly then, he can’t sin during this time. As the firstfruits he must clearly enter and become King of the Coming Age. He must also remain sinless until he hands all authority back to the Father (1 Cor 15:24). But there’s more!

    As our Messiah destroyed death (1 Cor 26) through his obedience to death (‘it is finished’ Jn 19:30) , he must by implication also destroy sin as ‘the wages of sin is death’ (Rom 6:23) and ‘scripture cannot be broken’. (Jn 10:35).

    Paul FH
    Brisbane

  473. on 26 Aug 2008 at 3:09 pmTim

    Is it possible that there will be no temptation in the kingdom; therefore no possibility of sin?

    In the garden, it was not until the tree of knowledge of good and evil appeared, with the associated restrictions, that the possibility of temptation and therefore sin, appeared.

    I don’t know that there is any scripture to support this, but it may be a possible way to address this.

    This is really not an issue for just the unitarian position. For those who hold contrary views about the final destiny of man, I would ask, “How do you know we will not be able to sin when you ‘get to heaven'”?

    I think that Brant’s point was a complete red herring.

    -Tim

  474. on 03 Oct 2008 at 7:46 pmCameron

    When I was on here a few months ago, it was stated that John 2:19 was in the “passive” voice, thus it is not concrete that Jesus was the one raising Himself from the dead when stating “destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it.”

    The word ‘answered’ (apekrethe) in “Jesus answered” is indeed passive. Passive = the one being acted upon, active = the doer of the verb. But so what! Why are we looking at the verb tense of “answered” to determine whether or not Jesus raised Himself from the dead? This word is commonly used in the passive tense.

    Let’s look at whether or not Jesus own words “I will raise it” are passive or active. The Greek word is ‘egero’ and yes it is active! In fact it is a 1st person active indicative singular. It is the exact word and tense used in Acts 2:32, “God has raised (egero) this Jesus to life…”

    Jesus is actively carrying out the action and God is as well.

    Tim,

    Can God sin? If you don’t think so, then why? Might I suggest because it’s not His nature and can’t be. If the glorified saints then have completely new natures kept by the Spirit, why should they be any different? After all, God “gave to us the Spirit as a pledge (Greek word meaning promise for what’s to come). 2 Cor 1:22, 5:5; Eph 1:13-14,

  475. on 03 Oct 2008 at 7:57 pmCameron

    Paul FH,

    If the gospel is the good news of the Kingdom, I’m just curious, what is the bad news then?

    Further, in regards to the argument that Jesus Christ was God and could not be tempted unto sin, it has been addressed a ton on this forum, especially by me. In passing I will say, are you looking at the Greek and making an argument from it? Or are you just going to look at the English word “tempted” and give your opinions about what it should or shouldn’t imply?

    As I’ve discussed with others on this blog months ago is that the Greek word tempted is ‘perazo’ and carries the connotation of being tempted from an outside force. In addition, it does not commonly refer to inner urges (as epithoumia would) but rather to have the quality of one’s character tested. In Mark 10 and 12 the Pharisees tempt Jesus or ‘perazo’ Him, the same word used in Heb 4:15. Did they approach Jesus with porn magazines? No, they only challenged Him with trick questions.

  476. on 15 Dec 2008 at 2:31 amXavier

    At 1:33:35-41

    Sean: “Is Jesus YHWH?”

    Brant: “Jesus is YHWH absolutely that is clearly the implication of Rom 10-9-13.”

    This dude is a ‘Jesus Only’ freak and not a Trinitarian!!

  477. on 15 Dec 2008 at 5:17 pmMark C.

    The claim that Jesus is YHWH is not unique to the Oneness, or Jesus Only position. Trinitarians believe that Jesus is YHWH but also say that the Father and the Holy Ghost are YHWH. To them, YHWH is the name for the one God who exists in three persons.

  478. on 16 Feb 2009 at 7:26 pmJoseph

    I can’t believe that I missed this thread, great job Sean!

    Brant is a well spoken man for the Trinitarian side, but I must say in his first few words of his opening statement, he already blew the debate.

    Brant said, in the importance of bringing about definitions, “as a Trinitarian, I believe in one true God…”

    He is defining scripture by his doctrine (Trinitarian), rather than letting the words in scripture define his position. It is obvious as to why he jumped around the simple creeds of the Bible.

    Christ brought up in defining God a very different answer to that of Brant’s. Christ defined God as (when speaking to the Father)…

    “This is eternal life, that they may know You (Father), the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.

    And now Brant defined God as so….

    “One true God who may be identified with three particular persons…”

    It is obvious to even a child that Brant’s view on God is very much different than Jesus’ view on God. I ask Brant this simple question, do you know something that Jesus did not know?

  479. on 16 Feb 2009 at 8:00 pmJoseph

    Sean,

    I think you do a great job in explaining why Christ was called god (elohim) in the NT. I want to add a couple of important points that I don’t hear getting brought in this manner.

    It would also be beneficial for the spectator to know that the word god used in accordance to Jesus in the NT is translated as “theos” in the Greek, and “elohim” in the Hebrew. The Greek “theos” doesn’t differentiate between the Hebrew “YHVH” and “elohim.” So, it is important that the reader know that “elohim” is not the name of God (YHVH). “elohim” is simply a title. The contextual language always defines how “elohim” should be used. For example…

    In Genesis 1:26, the “us” and “our” is irrelevant to whom is doing the creating. In the very next verse, Gen 1:27, we read…

    “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.”

    “God created.” The Hebrew word used for created is “bara” (masculine-singular). If there was more than one, or a “collective one” doing the creating we should be able to read “elohim baroo” (masculine-plural). The language defines “elohim.” Remember, elohim is not a name, it is a title, therefore the language must define what the title implies. In the case of Gen 1:27, only one God created (bara). Anything said on the Trinitarian side as to elohim being a compound or collective noun contradicts the language. If one wants to say that elohim is the name of God, then they must also believe that Satan, Moses, Angels, and Human rulers are all God too.

    Now, if the text said that “YHVH baroo”, then we Unitarians have a problem, because now a singular name (not title) is being defined as plural. Furthermore, Christ affirms that it was God that created man in the beginning in Mark 10:6, signifying that there was only one creating, and further proving the context of elohim incompatible to a Triune God…

    “But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female.”

    Now we have the biblical language and Christ defining whom did the Creating in the beginning. An irrefutable argument my friends.

  480. on 16 Feb 2009 at 10:58 pmJoseph

    Brant,

    First, to state my case again it is the New Testament that reveals clearly that God is Triune, and there is no reason why the New Testament cannot provide such a revelation. Israel did not begin as a collective noun, it originally referred to a single individual but it came to refer to a tribe. By the same right “God” may reveal himself to be Triune, and the argument that singular pronouns do not preclude the possibility that God is Triune stands.

    Where do I begin?

    Firstly, what really defies your analogy is that Israel is neither God nor the Creator. Israel the man and nation were created by God. God was not created nor sent by anyone. Christ was SENT by the ONLY true God (John 17:3) that created him in the womb of Mary. Christ is as human as the man Israel, and as part of Israel the nation as any other Jewish man. God is the creator of the man and nation Israel. Nice try, but you need a new analogy, one that doesn’t compare the creator God to his creation.

    Secondly, you are denying God’s word, the Bible, by saying that singularities don’t really mean a singularity. You seem to be having trouble understanding the Hebrew. I suggest you read my previous response (above) on the language used for “elohim” and how it never implies a Trinity in Scripture. The main point being here is, the burden of proof is on you being able to show that the Trinity was the creed that was followed in the NT as you claim was part of progressive revelation. God may do anything that he pleases, but for sure he never revealed himself in Scripture as a Trinity. You keep claiming this is so, but I have yet to see any Scriptural answer that this is what God intended to do or did.

    Ultimately, both the reality of God’s Trinity and man’s covenantal nature come together in the work of Christ who may say “I in them and you in me” (John 17:23) because he shares both the nature of God and man.

    Thirdly, it helps to quote in context instead of using a couple one liners to prove your point. What is really said in this passage defies the Trinity…

    13 “But now I come to You; and these things I speak in the world so that they may have My joy made full in themselves. 14 “I have given them Your word; [THE WORD MADE FLESH!!!!!] and the world has hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. 15 “I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one. 16 “They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. 17 “Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth. 18 “As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. 19 “For their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they themselves also may be sanctified in truth.
    20 “I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; 21 that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me.

    Their Future Glory

    22 “The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; 23 I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me. 24 “Father, I desire that they also, whom You have given Me, be with Me where I am, so that they may see My glory which You have given Me, for You loved Me before the foundation of the world.
    25 “O righteous Father, although the world has not known You, yet I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me; 26 and I have made Your name known to them, and will make it known, so that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.”

    Christ was revealing God and truth unto the world so that we may be one in purpose in the truth from God. This came through the one who is not God, but was SENT by God so that we may know God as much as the one whom was sent by God. Clearly this has nothing to do with a Trinity, and shame on you for diluting this passage to support your claim that discredits Christ from his obedience to the one true God. This is the whole point of Messiah, to be our (man’s) mediator to God, not because he is God, but because God has SENT him and EXALTED him. We are to follow Christ to God, not follow God to Christ. And we do this through God’s commandment to obey Christ as his appointed Messiah.

    Every time you imply that “Christ is ignorant (didn’t know)” because you believe that he is “God bound by flesh”, you take away from the suffering that Messiah took upon the cross and dilute the achievements that the Messiah had accomplished for his God and the world.

  481. on 16 Feb 2009 at 11:49 pmJoseph

    Brant,

    You claimed that, “if Jesus had the ability to sin then that could jeopardize our salvation.”

    No, this just proves what the scripture tells us, that the Messiah was tempted and overcame. He cried out on the cross “my God my God, why have thou forsaken me.” Christ put his faith in God not in himself as God. In the book of Matthew (27:46) is the phrase “Eli eli lema sabachthani”. In the Hebrew, “אלי אלי למה שבקתני” (eli eli lama shabaqtani) meaning, “my God my God why have you left me.”

    Christ was on the cross because he did what pleased his God and was obedient till death. He was the sacrifice for our sins as man brought sin into the world, by man would sin be conquered. This is not because God became a man, but rather God allowed our Messiah to be a sufficient means to our salvation. How many more times must Jesus cry to God for you to believe that it was him, not God, on the cross?

    You also believe that “God had to come to earth so that he could redeem our ultimate salvation.” Correct me if I got your view wrong.

    I would like to point out that God hinged on the faith of Noah to build the ark so that you, I, AND MESSIAH could have lived to salvation. God relies on many representatives to deliver his saving message to the human race. It so happens that the one who would deliver this message of Ultimate salvation is the one who is talked about throughout the Scripture. The man, Messiah Jesus. God redeems his creation through his creation, it’s a fact, and was already demonstrated in the past with Noah.

  482. on 17 Feb 2009 at 1:15 amJoseph

    Uri,

    Unbelievable!

    When it comes to the Gospel, the arrogance of some American Christians, is second to none. Brant Bosserman really needs to learn Hebrew, and perhaps then, he can instruct us on the meaning of the Hebrew texts, onto which he forces the pagan ideas his non-Jewish fathers taught him.

    אורי מרקוס, כל הכבוד! מה נישמע? ורד ואני אנחנו רוצים לחזור לארץ ישראל בשנה הבאה. ואולי לגור ליד ירושלים. הרבה זמן אני לא דברתי איתך. מה שלום המשפחה שלך? ורד מוסרת ד”ש לשרון.

    – אחיך, יוסף

  483. on 17 Feb 2009 at 6:50 amJohnO

    Hey Joseph… we’d appreciate it if you could use just a single comment for each of these last comments. We have the ‘Last 7 Comments’ on the home page to help people know which topics are being updated and foster discussion. It is unhelpful for people to see five concurrent updates by one person in a row. Thanks for all that you have to say. Perhaps you want to write a review of this debate we can post or something?

  484. on 17 Feb 2009 at 5:30 pmJoseph

    John O,

    I appreciate your “kind words” as to my rebuttals, one might consider this is a debate thread with well over 400 posts. Perhaps the ‘last 7 comments’ should be the issue. I too have had threads I was following fall from the cliff of the ‘last 7.’ Might I suggest upgrading to a ‘last 14 comments’ rather than dispute the number of rebuttals that one makes. This would resolve my being “unhelpful” and give everyone more freedom to post more while seeing the history of what has been posted. 🙂

    I would write a review but that may be treading rough water as I’m not personally affiliated with any of the webmasters.

  485. on 17 Feb 2009 at 6:53 pmJohnO

    Joseph,

    Sean and I are the webmasters. We’ll gladly put up an article 🙂 I have nothing to rebut from what I have scanned. Please don’t take my comment in the wrong way.

  486. on 17 Feb 2009 at 8:11 pmJoseph

    John O,

    No harm done. I’ll would like to leave my posts as they are in this thread, but I would like to take you up on the offer for an article that expands on the topic of “elohim” and how it ties in with the words of Christ and John 1. That is very kind of you and Sean to allow me to be part of your blog. How would I send you the article?

  487. […] http://kingdomready.org/blog/2008/06/01/debating-the-trinity-2/ […]

  488. on 16 Dec 2009 at 7:56 pmRay

    It looks like if I want to see a triune God then that’s what I will see.
    I will see whatever I want to see if that is what I want to find. If I ignore what others find and see, I will still see what I want. As long
    as I keep my eyes focused on what I want to see, I will not be distracted. If I love what I see so much I may become enthralled by it. Others might not understand my fascination by what I have involved myself in, but that need not bother me as I am captivated
    by it. Some might see this as some kind of slavery, but I think it’s my freedom. I work to lead others captive to it. I’ve lived here so long it’s become my prison. I even learned to like the system.

  489. on 16 Dec 2009 at 11:32 pmJoseph

    The Trinity doctrine falls apart in the Kingdom texts.

  490. on 17 Dec 2009 at 11:40 amstacey

    Sean,

    Hi I haven’t listened to the debate yet, I have some questions…In the old testement where many times God stresses that He is One and one of the commandments is to worship only HIM to not have any other gods before HIM, could this commandment that God gave us be detrimental to the trinity belief of God as three when YAHWEH stresses HE is ONE? In other scriptures YAHWEH stresses many times that HE does not change and will not change so if HE is ONE in the old testement why is HE three in the new testement? Also in Revelations when it talks about judging the 7 churches and how some were faithful however there were some mistakes they made would this trinity vs unitarian beliefs be a part of what the church will be judged on? I do want to add I have heard many debates on this issue and I am definitly a unitarian I believe YAHWEH is ONE and Jesus is a man and HIS Son, and the only way to our Father YAHWEH is through Jesus (the Son of God)! Which scriptures stress this also and make it preaty obvious the difference between God and Jesus!…One more question, I know that the new testement after Jesus was born set a knew standard of commandments however the commandments Jesus said were the same as the commandments of Moses aplified, is this correct to say? Meaning they didnt really change God added a little extra to the ones that were made with Moses???

    Thank you and God bless 🙂
    Stacey

  491. on 17 Dec 2009 at 4:20 pmMark C.

    Stacey,

    If I may put in my two cents…

    One would think that the repeated statements that God is one would be detrimental to the Trinity doctrine, but that is not the case in their view. They don’t see it as having three gods in the NT – they claim that there is and has always been only one God, but that He exists as three persons – the Father the Son and the Holy Spirit. Of course this doesn’t make a lot of sense, but that is how they respond to the charge that they worship three gods. So any argument that refers to “one god and not three” doesn’t work with them.

    As for whether the trinity is one of the mistakes in the judgments of the 7 churches in Revelation, I haven’t considered that before, but I suppose it could be.

    As for the commandments, I wouldn’t say God added a little extra to those of Moses. There are a few basics that are covered by both, like stealing, murder, adultery, etc. But the big difference is that Jesus taught that it was about the heart more than actions. And that established that we cannot attain God’s standard of righteousness by ourselves, it has to be by God’s grace.

    Of course there are some who post on this site that would disagree, but that’s my take on it. For more details, check out my web site: http://godskingdomfirst.org/righteousness.htm

  492. on 17 Dec 2009 at 4:51 pmstacey

    Thanks Mark, and yes I welcome any comments to my questions I only put Sean’s name because I know him lol!!!! God bless 🙂

  493. on 18 Dec 2009 at 4:55 pmstacey

    I am getting close to the end of these post’s I am at 97 Jeff,
    I am actually very offended at your remark about Sean you said
    “It would be my position, and I can only at this point assume Brant’s as well, that Sean does not believe in, love, worship or serve God; which is why he called Sean to repentance.”
    I am assuming you do not know him, well I do I also know his family and they are the most loving people I ever met, and as far as loving God they helped me tremendously to finally devote myself to God, that was a very jugemental, harsh assumption to make about someone…especially when God is the ONLY judge…I will read on but I needed to say that, God Bless and I pray for YAHWEH to reveil His love to you!

  494. on 18 Dec 2009 at 11:38 pmRay

    It seems to me that the worship of any doctrine, philosophy, or theology before God will cause the judgment of God to come upon a soul if it is not repented of and if the behavior doesn’t change.

    I’ve heard that we will be judged according to our obedience to God.

    If our perspective of God causes us to sin against him, what does it profit us? If it causes division where will be our reward? If it is the cause of a brother stumbling, what then?

    Should we do anything that would cause a brother to stumble in the gospel? I think not. Can we help them get out of their system
    of thought or belief when it becomes a prison to them? I hope so.
    Jesus wants the captives free doesn’t he?

    If people want to perceive God in some way that’s up to them. Should we try to spring someone out of prison if they want to stay there? What good would it do? It’s a lot to think about.

  495. on 23 Jan 2010 at 2:49 amCameron

    I love how no one has responded to my argument on post 474. If I were a Unitarian who were truley submissive to Scripture, then I would change my view that Jesus didn’t raise Himself from the dead, since John 1:19 teaches He in fact did.

    And one reason I’m a Trinitarian is because I believe that Scripture clearly teaches that Jesus is God. You probably know that a definite article refers to someone being a specific person or the only one of the kind. So if the Father is “o theos” He is “the God”, not “a god”, just like we see in John 17:3 (or “ton theon”).

    Yet, since I do what the Unitarian claims he also does and want to reconcile all of Scripture’s teachings with all of Scripture’s teachings, then I need to reconcile verses like Mat 1:13 with John 17:3 in regards to Jesus’ nature. There we also see a definite article referring to Jesus. He is called “o theos”, making Him “the God” not “a god”.

    My reconciling these two Biblical truths is what is called Trinitarianism. I don’t need to impose a “system” to come to the conclusion that Jesus is also “the God”. The “system” is simply the result of Biblical truths being reconciled.

    However, the problem with Unitarianism is that it doesn’t reconcile these verses. That means Unitarianism needs to do this, yet if it did, it would no longer be Unitarianism.

    Here are some more that would need to be reconciled. In John 1:49 Jesus is called “The Son of God” and “The King of Israel”. Yet, Zeph 3:15 shows us that YHWH is the King of Israel. Amazing! Not only is the title “the Son of God” shown to be equated with the one who is the King of Israel, but the OT shows us that the King of Israel is also YHWH. I have reconciled truths such as these for example. The Unitarian has not.

  496. on 23 Jan 2010 at 2:49 amCameron

    I love how no one has responded to my argument on post 474. If I were a Unitarian who were truley submissive to Scripture, then I would change my view that Jesus didn’t raise Himself from the dead, since John 1:19 teaches He in fact did.

    And one reason I’m a Trinitarian is because I believe that Scripture clearly teaches that Jesus is God. You probably know that a definite article refers to someone being a specific person or the only one of the kind. So if the Father is “o theos” He is “the God”, not “a god”, just like we see in John 17:3 (or “ton theon”).

    Yet, since I do what the Unitarian claims he also does and want to reconcile all of Scripture’s teachings with all of Scripture’s teachings, then I need to reconcile verses like Mat 1:23 with John 17:3 in regards to Jesus’ nature. There we also see a definite article referring to Jesus. He is called “o theos”, making Him “the God” not “a god”.

    My reconciling these two Biblical truths is what is called Trinitarianism. I don’t need to impose a “system” to come to the conclusion that Jesus is also “the God”. The “system” is simply the result of Biblical truths being reconciled.

    However, the problem with Unitarianism is that it doesn’t reconcile these verses. That means Unitarianism needs to do this, yet if it did, it would no longer be Unitarianism.

    Here are some more that would need to be reconciled. In John 1:49 Jesus is called “The Son of God” and “The King of Israel”. Yet, Zeph 3:15 shows us that YHWH is the King of Israel. Amazing! Not only is the title “the Son of God” shown to be equated with the one who is the King of Israel, but the OT shows us that the King of Israel is also YHWH. I have reconciled truths such as these for example. The Unitarian has not.

  497. on 23 Jan 2010 at 3:05 amCameron

    stacey,

    The OT word “echad” is used when it refers to God’s oneness, such as in the Shammah for example in Deut 6:4. However, this word does NOT strictly mean one in number, but can also mean one as a whole. Someone or something can be “echad” yet still have multiple parts or possess clear distinction from something else.

    For example, Adam and Eve are said to be echad. Did they morph into one flesh?! No! They are still two parts, yet are one spiritually. Also in Gen 1 night and day are echad. Yet day is comprised of two distinguishable parts, day time and night time. There is daytime and nightime, one day, or “echad yom”.

    For some strange reason the Unitarian gets to pick their own interpretation of “echad” (lucky them!) and enforce that inerpretation in all instances of the word, rather than letting context help us interpret the use of the word. Also, their own interpretation of this word gives them special glasses which lets them peer into the entire ontological nature of God thereby knowing for sure that God can’t have multiplicity within Himself, which the word can at times describe for other things… wait?

    But the Trinitarian isn’t allowed to come to Biblical conclusions that Jesus is God, even when the NT calls Him “o theos”, or the God, in 6 places (Mat 1:23, John 20:28, Titus 2:13, 2 Pet 1:1, Heb 1:8, Rev 22:6,16).

  498. on 23 Jan 2010 at 4:08 amRay

    Cameron, are you saying that Jesus can be God, as people who believe in him may be salt and light?

  499. on 23 Jan 2010 at 4:22 amCameron

    Ray,

    What? I assume you’re on the East coast by the time you replied to me. If so, go jump in the Atlantic and then come back to the Scripture I quoted about the nature of Jesus. You’ll have to get your conclusions about Jesus from IT, NOT me. Scripture doesn’t compare Jesus’ being God to believers being salt and light so I’m not going to come to conclusions based on that. It does teach that Jesus is “o theos” in 6 places in the NT though. 🙂

  500. on 23 Jan 2010 at 4:40 amXavier

    Cameron,

    Even if Jesus were called “god” in the NT, he explains the biblical sense in which this is to be understood in John 10.30f. I do not see why Moses [Ex 4.16; 7.1] or the Davidic king [Ps 45.6] are not attributed Deity status by trinis in the same way they do with Jesus.

    But I digress, if we are dealing with a triune God [Father, Son, Holy Spirit], where is the Holy Spirit in the visions of the New Heavens and Earth?

    Behold, the dwelling place of God [one person] is with man. He [singular pronoun] will dwell with them, and they will be his [singular pronoun] people, and God himself [singular pronoun] will be with them as their God. Rev 21.3

    And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God [one person] gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb [one person]. Rev 21.23

    No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God [one person] and of the Lamb [one person] will be in it, and his [God, one person] servants will worship him [singular pronoun]. They will see his [singular pronoun] face, and his [singular pronoun] name will be on their foreheads. And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God [one person] will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever. Rev 22.3-5

  501. on 23 Jan 2010 at 11:01 amDoubting Thomas

    Cameron
    Instead of arguing about pronouns why don’t the Trinitarians just look at what Jesus himself plainly said.

    Mark 9:36
    He took a little child and stood among them. Taking him into his arms he said to them, “Whoever welcomes one of these little children in his arms welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me DOESN’T welcome me but the ONE who sent me.”

    It is clear even to a child that Jesus is clearly distinguishing himself from his father and saying that they are not the same (or one).

    Mark 10:40
    “but to sit at my right or my left is not for ME to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared.”

    Jesus is clearly saying that who is to sit at his right or left is not HIS decision to make. It is clear that the authority to make this decision rests with God and God alone.

    Mark 14:62
    “and you will see the son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.”

    How can Jesus be sitting at the right hand of God if as you claim God and Jesus are one and the same person?

    Mark 13:32
    “No one knows that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the son, But ONLY the father.”

    If Jesus is actually God why doesn’t he know the day or the hour of the second coming? It is obvious that Jesus in this statement is making a clear distinction between himself and the father as two separate individuals who are not one and the same person.

    Mark 10:18
    “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God ALONE.”

    Is Jesus lying in the above statement? You Trinitarians have to completely twist what Jesus plainly says into knots to try to explain your beliefs that Jesus and God are actually one and the same person.

    I think it is obvious to anyone who studies the scriptures with an OPEN MIND as to what it ACTUALLY says, that Jesus is not and can not be the same or equal to God. Jesus repeatedly says so himself…

  502. on 23 Jan 2010 at 11:56 amRay

    Cameron, It seems to me that when Jesus comes with ten thousands of his saints, then people will be seen as salt and light
    and Jesus will also be seen as God.

    One interesting thing about all this is that though there is a distinction between Jesus and the Father, Jesus is equal to God and he is the same as God. It’s not robbery for him to say that he is God, for in no way is he short of being all that God is. It’s a wonderful mystery.

  503. on 23 Jan 2010 at 12:10 pmDoubting Thomas

    Ray
    I agree with everything you said, but it must be remembered that all the power and authority that Jesus has comes to him through the father (his father and ours).

  504. on 23 Jan 2010 at 12:48 pmRay

    God is above all and Jesus is seated with him. His glory is truly the glory of God.

  505. on 23 Jan 2010 at 12:54 pmDoubting Thomas

    Ray
    Now that was beautifully said…

  506. on 23 Jan 2010 at 12:58 pmMark C.

    I love how no one has responded to my argument on post 474. If I were a Unitarian who were truley submissive to Scripture, then I would change my view that Jesus didn’t raise Himself from the dead, since John 1:19 teaches He in fact did.

    This was dealt with in a separate thread:
    http://kingdomready.org/blog/2009/06/26/who-raised-jesus/

    And one reason I’m a Trinitarian is because I believe that Scripture clearly teaches that Jesus is God. You probably know that a definite article refers to someone being a specific person or the only one of the kind. So if the Father is “o theos” He is “the God”, not “a god”, just like we see in John 17:3 (or “ton theon”).

    Interesting that you mention this verse, which clearly tells us that the Father is the only true God. Only a few verses even seem to call Jesus “God” and many of them are either mistranslations or misunderstandings. The two or three that do unequivocally call Jesus “God” do so in a representative sense, as Xavier pointed out in post #500. (See the link below.)

    Yet, since I do what the Unitarian claims he also does and want to reconcile all of Scripture’s teachings with all of Scripture’s teachings, then I need to reconcile verses like Mat 1:23 with John 17:3 in regards to Jesus’ nature. There we also see a definite article referring to Jesus. He is called “o theos”, making Him “the God” not “a god”.

    As I said, John 17:3 says that the Father is the only true God. Matt. 1:23 says that the meaning of the name Emmanuel is “God with us.” There are many Hebrew names that include the name of God and/or some attribute of Him. It does not mean that that person is God. There is no contradiction and nothing to reconcile.

    My reconciling these two Biblical truths is what is called Trinitarianism. I don’t need to impose a “system” to come to the conclusion that Jesus is also “the God”. The “system” is simply the result of Biblical truths being reconciled.

    However, the problem with Unitarianism is that it doesn’t reconcile these verses. That means Unitarianism needs to do this, yet if it did, it would no longer be Unitarianism.

    Apparently you haven’t done much research into what Unitarians teach. All of the supposed contradictions are dealt with in one writing or another. You may not agree with the explanations, but to say that Unitarians don’t reconcile such verses is simply not true.

    Here are some more that would need to be reconciled. In John 1:49 Jesus is called “The Son of God” and “The King of Israel”. Yet, Zeph 3:15 shows us that YHWH is the King of Israel. Amazing! Not only is the title “the Son of God” shown to be equated with the one who is the King of Israel, but the OT shows us that the King of Israel is also YHWH. I have reconciled truths such as these for example. The Unitarian has not.

    As the only begotten Son and ultimate representative of God, there are many attributes and titles that Jesus and God have in common. God is the King over all, and his plan has from the beginning been to have an anointed man rule over his creation on His behalf. This is what Messiah means. And as has been pointed out, Jesus is called God in a representative sense a few times, compared with many, many times he is called the Son of God.

    But there are also a number of specific distinctions made, not just between the Father and the Son, but between GOD and Jesus.

    * God cannot die (I Timothy 6:16), but Jesus died.
    * God cannot be tempted (James 1:13), but Jesus was tempted in all things, yet without sin (Hebrews 4:15).
    * God is omniscient, i.e. He knows all things (I John 3:20), but Jesus said there were things that he did not know, including when he would return (Mark 13:32).
    * God is omnipotent, i.e. all powerful, but Jesus said he could do nothing of himself without the Father (John 5:30).
    * Jesus said that his doctrine was not his own, but His that sent him, and then differentiated between God and himself, emphasizing that he sought God’s glory and not his own (John 7:16-18).
    * Jesus made a distinction between himself and God, saying there is none good but one, that is, God (Mark 10:17-18).
    * Jesus prayed to God (Luke 6:12). If he were God, he would have been talking to himself.
    * Jesus was the Lamb of God (John 1:29,36), the perfect sacrifice to God. How could he sacrifice himself to himself? Jesus was the perfect sacrifice to God on behalf of mankind.
    * Jesus is now seated at the right hand of God (Mark 16:19; Romans 8:34; Colossians 3:1; Hebrews 10:12; I Peter 3:22). If he were God, how could he sit on his own right hand?

    The OT word “echad” is used when it refers to God’s oneness, such as in the Shammah for example in Deut 6:4. However, this word does NOT strictly mean one in number, but can also mean one as a whole. Someone or something can be “echad” yet still have multiple parts or possess clear distinction from something else.

    For example, Adam and Eve are said to be echad. Did they morph into one flesh?! No! They are still two parts, yet are one spiritually. Also in Gen 1 night and day are echad. Yet day is comprised of two distinguishable parts, day time and night time. There is daytime and nightime, one day, or “echad yom”.

    For some strange reason the Unitarian gets to pick their own interpretation of “echad” (lucky them!) and enforce that inerpretation in all instances of the word, rather than letting context help us interpret the use of the word. Also, their own interpretation of this word gives them special glasses which lets them peer into the entire ontological nature of God thereby knowing for sure that God can’t have multiplicity within Himself, which the word can at times describe for other things… wait?

    It is not a special Unitarian meaning for echad. Any Hebrew scholar will tell you that one means one. When it refers to something that is compound or has subdivisions, it is the word that echad defines, and not echad itself, that gives it that meaning. As you say, the context determines the meaning of the whole phrase, but the meaning of the word echad does not change. One still means one. There are even Trinitarian scholars who recognize this and advise against using a supposed compound meaning of echad to prove the Trinity.

    But the Trinitarian isn’t allowed to come to Biblical conclusions that Jesus is God, even when the NT calls Him “o theos”, or the God, in 6 places (Mat 1:23, John 20:28, Titus 2:13, 2 Pet 1:1, Heb 1:8, Rev 22:6,16).

    No one said the Trinitarian isn’t allowed to come to Biblical conclusions. But these verses have all been dealt with, possibly even in this very thread. Consider the following:
    http://godskingdomfirst.org/WhoIsMessiah.htm#calledgod

  507. on 23 Jan 2010 at 12:59 pmMark C.

    Thomas,

    We have to be careful not to use verses that point out differences between the Father and Jesus in our arguments against the Trinity. Trinitarians will tell you there are differences between the Father and the Son because they are two different persons in one God. But there are verses which point out specific distinctions, not just between the Father and the Son, but between Jesus and GOD (as a whole).

    John 17:
    1 These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee:
    2 As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him.
    3 This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.

    Paul likewise declared that there was one God, the Father; and one lord, Jesus Christ, the man who is the mediator between God and man.

    I Corinthians 8:
    6 But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.

    Ephesians 4:
    6 One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.

    I Timothy 2:
    5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;

  508. on 23 Jan 2010 at 1:17 pmDoubting Thomas

    Mark C
    Thanks for telling me this. I could never understand how people could turn logic on it’s head and say that two different people (or individuals) could actually in reality be one person (or individual).

    I remember a story I read about our old Prime Minister from the 1970’s, his name was Pierre Trudeau. When he was a boy he came home from his confirmation class (he was Roman Catholic) and told his friend about how God was actually three different people all wrapped up into one and his friend told him that this was a silly idea. Pierre couldn’t convince him because his friend just kept saying it was silly and the argument ended with our young Prime Minister punching his friend in the nose…

  509. on 23 Jan 2010 at 2:09 pmCameron

    xavier,

    What do you mean if Jesus were called “god”? In John 10 the Jews say He is making Himself out ot be a god. There is no definite article there. They do NOT called Jesus “the God” in John 10, thus when Jesus quotes back to the Psalms He’s not distinguishing Himself from being “the God” simply because the Jews in that passage never even call Him that! Their meaning is that He is given privelages mere humans wouldn’t have, hence His miracles. Jesus’ argument is that since this is seen in the OT with judges how much more with Him since He and the Father are one.

    It’s in John 5 where the Jews say He is making Himself equal with God, and Jesus never backs down from this claim. In fact He pushes them further by explaining that He does things even the Father doesn’t do, hence judge everyone.

    Doubting Thomas,

    I’ve reconciled all those passages you’ve hashed out about Jesus. You’ll have to reconcile those passages with what else Scripture teaches about Jesus being God. I’ve done that, you haven’t. You only stick to the passages which “appear” to say that Jesus isn’t God and refuse to reconcile them with the passages that plainly teach He is. Sorry.

    Mark C,

    That thread does not deal with the argument I’ve laid out about John 1:19! Jesus uses the 1st person pronoun “egero” or “I will” when He says “I will raise it”. What is Jesus speaking about raising? His body. Oops! Nice gymnastics on that thread though but it doesn’t deal with that fact.

    I realize that John 17:3 says the Father is the only true God, and I was anxious for you to bring it up! Nevertheless, the definite article in the Greek demonstrates that someone is the only one of that kind, so when Jesus is called “o theos” He is being called “the God” which makes Him the one true God as well. You want to say that Mat 1:23 “only calls Him that name”. That’s not an argument. You only call the God “the God”. That’s the poing from the Greek! And again the NT does that in 6 places!

    Further, John 17:3 calls Jesus the “Christ” and I’ve already shown in John 1:49 how Jesus is called “The King of Israel” while Zeph 3:15 shows that it is YHWH who is the King of Israel.

    Nice Biblical gymnastics everyone to try and believe heresy!

  510. on 23 Jan 2010 at 2:32 pmCameron

    And I also meant to show that John 17:3 says Jesus is the Christ, and Mat 16:16, and 26:63 shows that the Christ is also equal to the title “Son of God” (a Messianic title). And then again John 1:49 shows that “The Son of God” is “The King of Israel”, while Zeph 3:15 shows that the King of Israel is YHWH. So John fully acknowledges that Jesus is YHWH, or God, even when writing John 17:3.

    John acknowledges this when writing Rev 22:6,16 when Jesus is the one sending the angel, and the one sending the angel is “o theos”, the God.

    Again, I have reconciled passages about Jesus submitting to the Father and holding back His devine rights as well as passages that clearly teach Him to be YHWH and God. The Unitarian has not reconcile these.

  511. on 23 Jan 2010 at 2:37 pmMark C.

    That thread does not deal with the argument I’ve laid out about John 1:19! Jesus uses the 1st person pronoun “egero” or “I will” when He says “I will raise it”. What is Jesus speaking about raising? His body. Oops! Nice gymnastics on that thread though but it doesn’t deal with that fact.

    You seem to have missed the point of the article. John 1:19 is clearly figurative language and so cannot be used to prove that Jesus raised himself when no other Scripture says that, and many others unequivocally say that God raised him.

    I realize that John 17:3 says the Father is the only true God, and I was anxious for you to bring it up! Nevertheless, the definite article in the Greek demonstrates that someone is the only one of that kind, so when Jesus is called “o theos” He is being called “the God” which makes Him the one true God as well. You want to say that Mat 1:23 “only calls Him that name”. That’s not an argument. You only call the God “the God”. That’s the poing from the Greek! And again the NT does that in 6 places!

    Jesus is not called “the God” in Matt. 1:23. He is called Emmanuel, which is then interpreted as, “(the) God with us.” God was with us in Christ, which is what the name Emmanuel means, but that doesn’t make Jesus God.

    Further, John 17:3 calls Jesus the “Christ” and I’ve already shown in John 1:49 how Jesus is called “The King of Israel” while Zeph 3:15 shows that it is YHWH who is the King of Israel.

    I explained that. Jesus and God have many names and attributes in common. I noticed you didn’t deal with any of the clear distinctions between God and His Son.

  512. on 23 Jan 2010 at 2:40 pmMark C.

    Again, I have reconciled passages about Jesus submitting to the Father and holding back His devine rights as well as passages that clearly teach Him to be YHWH and God. The Unitarian has not reconcile these.

    Do some research. As I said before, Unitarians have reconciled these verses, although you might disagree with their explanation. That’s your privilege. But don’t say they haven’t addressed the issues.

  513. on 23 Jan 2010 at 2:43 pmrobert

    The last six verses of Revelation may not be original. They can not be established by the Greek. Revelation 1:1 a scribal entry was obviously influenced by Revelation 22:16. The belief Jesus sent an angel to reveal the revelation to John is in question. The last six verses of revelation can only be established by the Latin Vulgate, the Catholic text which was widely held corrupt by the reformists. In the modern day the Latin Vulgate is being accepted more and more by protestants explicitly because the Greek does not support their views on the nature of Christ

  514. on 23 Jan 2010 at 3:22 pmCameron

    Mark C.

    So you have no arguement against the fact that Jesus is personally and actively the one raising His body. Thanks! And its already been stated on here that the apostle interprets the figurative language in that Jesus is refering to His body. Sure the “temple” is figurative but “His own body” is NOT! Nice try.

    I’ve reconciled the fact that Scripture teaches both Jesus and the Father raise His body, YOU however are ignoring these two points, and refuse to reconcile them. You’ll have to take that up with Scripture NOT me.

    Jesus is not called “the God” in Matt 1:23? So “o theos” doesn’t mean “the God”? No the passage says that Jesus, Jesus, Jesus is called “o theos”, not “the God who was with Jesus”. Again, nice try! You’ll have to take it up with the text NOT me. And stop importing words that aren’t there! It doesn’t look like you’re after the truth when you have to interpret things that way.

    I explained that. Jesus and God have many names and attributes in common. I noticed you didn’t deal with any of the clear distinctions between God and His Son.

    No, Trinitarians have reconciled these for centuries! You just need to read more books or something. Again, I have reconciled passages that make distinction between the Father the the Son, BUT ALSO ones that clearly show that Jesus is YHWH and God. You have only focused on the former, and not at all on the latter. My theology reconciles these, YOURS does not. That’s the problem.

    No, you haven’t reconciled the verses that teach that Jesus is God. You say I may disagree with their explanation, but of course I do when you’re importing words into Mat 1:23 for example that aren’t even there! I would NEVER hang my hat on that kind of poor argumentation. Why do you?

    The last 6 verses of Revelation may be original. Nice assertion. Do you like mine? So you’re also telling me that if I look at modern critical texts such as Neslte-Aland and UBS that the Greek wont support the claims I’ve made already? Prove it! Don’t just assert it!

  515. on 23 Jan 2010 at 3:45 pmCameron

    Robert,

    This was for your:

    The last 6 verses of Revelation may be original. Nice assertion. Do you like mine? So you’re also telling me that if I look at modern critical texts such as Neslte-Aland and UBS that the Greek wont support the claims I’ve made already? Prove it! Don’t just assert it!

  516. on 23 Jan 2010 at 3:48 pmrobert

    It was up to you to prove your claim, i just showed it is not supported by the greek text of revelations. It is only support by a catholic translation (who fathers were the Council of Nicea) and are the ones who invented the trinity.
    They were very sucessful in bringing about this false doctrine because all that opposed it publicly were cruely executed.
    History on this is very clear.
    Many other NT writtings have been corrupted by these same antichrist who claim the man Jesus wasnt come in the flesh

  517. on 23 Jan 2010 at 4:19 pmRay

    About Jesus raising his body after they killed him on the cross, it seems to me that upon his death the Father carried him into the holiest of all places, heaven which is in the presence of the Father,
    to the center of heaven, the holiest part of heaven, the innermost
    court or whatever it’s called, and when the time was come for his resurrection, since he was given power to raise up his body as well as to lay it down, and he never lost that power for he never fell into sin, he used that power which he had received, and instead of letting his body lay still and lifeless upon that cold hard ground, he
    began to take a breath, flex a muscle or two, and began to raise himself up again, and us along with him in a spiritual and very real sense. And I’m glad the interpretation of his name Emmanuel isn’t
    “God with him”, though such a thing would be a good name and seem properly fitting to him, for God certainly was with him. I say I’m glad it isn’t that on account of, I might have, sort of, kind of felt left out.

    I heard it said that the name Ichabod means “the glory of God is departed”. I’ve head it contrasted with the name of Jesus, Emmanuel, which means “God with us.” Since God is with Jesus and Jesus is with God, always to be dwelling in him and he with God, and finding that Jesus will be with those that are his, that have come to God by him, and has said that he will never leave them, we have therefore a confidence in God by Jesus Christ.

    I have found a greater confidence in God by this means than by a preacher looking over the crowd, and after reading Matthew 1:23, and
    asking for a show of hands of those that believe therefore that Jesus is God (because he already knows what they believe), and then saying, “Jesus is God. Amen?”

    If anyone has a list of people that don’t feel built up in Christ by having the trinity doctrine preached to them, put me on it. Keep me
    at the top of that list.

    In John’s gospel, some of the people acted as if they were going to stone Jesus, taking up rocks, and for what reason? Because in their mind, he being a man, was representing to the public that he
    is God, and Jesus’ response to them was that he said he is the Son of God.

    I conclude that whatever Jesus said, as represented by John 8:58 in my KJV Bible, should mean to me that Jesus is the Son of God regardless of what he said as represented by that verse in my Bible
    in order for me to be right with him about that which he did say. If I do not come to that conclusion by whatever it was that he said, it seems to me that I would be wrong according to him who is Lord over me and Lord over all the words that both he and the scriptures have said as he knows the meaning and interpretation of these things.

    If we have never focused on how many times he rebuked people (in the context of John 8:58) maybe we should. Didn’t he tell them so many times that they could not hear his words, that they were not of his flock, that they do the works of their father, that God was not their father, and so forth?

    How then should we find any confidence in finding that men of such
    condition found him to be saying that he is God?

  518. on 23 Jan 2010 at 4:28 pmDoubting Thomas

    Cameron
    You said you’ve reconciled all the passages that I mention and that I should just go off by myself and do the same thing you did.

    Why don’t you just explain the one last passage I mentioned than since it’s too much trouble to deal with the rest.

    Mark 10:18
    “Why do you call me good? NO ONE is good EXCEPT GOD ALONE.”

    Like I asked you in my message, “Was Jesus lying?”

    Obviously Jesus is humbling his perceived goodness in comparison to the source of all that is good and that is his father (God).

  519. on 23 Jan 2010 at 4:47 pmMark C.

    So you have no arguement against the fact that Jesus is personally and actively the one raising His body. Thanks!

    That’s not what the article says. Read it again.

    I’ve reconciled the fact that Scripture teaches both Jesus and the Father raise His body, YOU however are ignoring these two points, and refuse to reconcile them.

    No other Scripture says that Jesus raised himself.

    Jesus is not called “the God” in Matt 1:23? So “o theos” doesn’t mean “the God”?

    That’s not what my post said. Read it again.

    And stop importing words that aren’t there!

    What words am I importing? The verse doesn’t say that Jesus would be called ho Theos. It says, “…they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.”

    No, Trinitarians have reconciled these for centuries! You just need to read more books or something.

    I have read many presentations on the Trinity, and am familiar with your arguments. They are nothing new, but they don’t hold together with Scripture, and many are based on extra-Biblical ideas.

    Again, I have reconciled passages that make distinction between the Father the the Son, BUT ALSO ones that clearly show that Jesus is YHWH and God.

    Neither of which deals with what I said. I pointed out that while differences between the Father and the Son do not contradict the Trinity, those which specifically state that THE FATHER is the ONLY TRUE GOD do. Yes there are (a few) verses that refer to Jesus as God, but none that can’t be understood in a representational sense. Combine that with the verses I pointed out that illustrate specific distinctions between God and His Son, as well as the many other arguments against the Trinity, and there is a unified picture. You keep claiming that Unitarians don’t handle the issues, but I keep telling you we do.

    You have only focused on the former, and not at all on the latter.

    I briefly mentioned the verses that you claim teach Jesus is God, and I have dealt with them at length in the article I linked to. Have you read it?

    My theology reconciles these, YOURS does not. That’s the problem…
    No, you haven’t reconciled the verses that teach that Jesus is God.

    No, the problem is you haven’t really looked at what Unitarians teach. If you had you would deal with the issues even if you disagreed with them. But you don’t; you just keep claiming that we don’t reconcile the verses. Read up on what we teach and then present an informed rebuttal, if you want. But stop claiming we don’t reconcile the issues.

  520. on 23 Jan 2010 at 4:53 pmRay

    Cameron, Why is it that I so often hear trinitarians try to justify their belief system (B.S.) by misrepresenting the great majority
    (if not all) of Unitarians?

    I don’t remember hearing one (a Unitarian) yet that made the claim or taught that Jesus was just a mere man, though I’ve often heard this accusation against them.

    This reminds me of Romans 3:8 where the apostle Paul addressed some false accusation against him and those of his kind.

    Who is it that uses condemnation? How do you reconcile this?

    Is it that though their belief system is without fault, that they simply need to go higher in their walk? If so then, should they first
    seek to remove the mote out of their own eye? And who will help them do that?

  521. on 23 Jan 2010 at 5:03 pmRay

    Robert, you of all men seem to have come the closest to saying that Jesus was just a mere man (of those that I have come in contact with)
    for you seem to be saying that Jesus came through Mary by Joseph
    her husband.

    Is it your belief that Jesus was simply another man as the rest of us, or is he something better than the rest of mankind?

  522. on 23 Jan 2010 at 5:09 pmTim

    Cameron,

    How do you reconcile your interpretation of “echad” with the fact that God (not the Father, not the Son, not the Holy Spirit) is referred to many thousands of times in the OT and NT with personal pronouns?

    I would remind you that a personal pronoun (he, him, she, her) refers to a single person, and not a “compound unity” …

    If your answer is more than a sentence or two, it will be clear to all that you are trying to explain away the obvious to fit your theological grid …

    -Regards-

  523. on 23 Jan 2010 at 5:27 pmrobert

    We did start our life equal to Jesus’ start

    Luke 2
    23 (As it is written in the law of the Lord, Every male that openeth the womb shall be called holy to the Lord;)

    But through his perfect obidience to God he rose above his brethern to give us an example of true righteousness.
    this perfect obidience is why God chose him For the Lamb,High Priest and to be the First born of God at the begotten of the dead(his resurrection).
    what great feat would that be for a Godman.
    Yes he was better than the rest of his brethern and was rewarded above all God creatures.

  524. on 23 Jan 2010 at 6:21 pmRay

    Robert, didn’t they do such things as dedicating the firstborn to the Lord, not because they considered them to have been born without sin or without the sin nature, but rather because one of the uses of the word “holy” has the meaning of dedication, of belonging to God for his use?

    Jesus was the only man dedicated to God of all the firstborn that was truly holy. (see the other uses of the word “holy” in a dictionary)

    Though many other men, who were the firstborn were dedicated to God and consecrated for his use and were called to be holy, Jesus was the only one who truly fit the full condition of being holy.

    To consecrate means to set apart as holy, to make or declare sacred for religious use. This does not mean anyone who was consecrated to God by the commandment of God was truly born
    without sin, or without the sin nature. Jesus was the only one that
    fit that bill in the full sense of being holy to God. His condition made him truly unique among men, different than all the rest.

    Jesus was chosen of God as his Lamb that would take away the sins of the world long
    before he gave us his example of perfect obedience to God.

    Jesus, having been born into this world as all of us, living in this world as one of us, and yet without sin is a true accomplishment
    worthy of his being our high priest of God and redeemer.

  525. on 23 Jan 2010 at 6:38 pmrobert

    where do you read that Jesus was born without a sinful nature.
    He could of sinned but didnt, his love for God is what kept him obidient.
    we are all born sinless but become sinfull thru disobedience to God Laws.
    But we have gone over this way to many times to count and i know you will believe whatever you want.
    now get back to the subject at hand in this thread

  526. on 23 Jan 2010 at 8:08 pmXavier

    Cameron,

    In John 17 Jesus tells us how he and His Father are “one” [cp. Jn 10.30]:

    I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one

    My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you.vv.11, 20-21

    The Apostle Paul recognizes this “oneness” shared not only by the Father with His Son, but by those who “may continue to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God” [Jn 20.31] and not God the Son or a “person” of the triune Godhead:

    There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call [since] whoever is united with the Lord is one with him in the spirit. Eph 4.4; 1Cor 6.17

    I know your getting bombarded by others, but you didn’t address the question regarding the odd disappearance of the 3rd person of the Trinity [God the Holy Spirit] in the book of Revelation.

  527. on 23 Jan 2010 at 8:55 pmXavier

    SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT

    Sir Anthony Buzzard [The Doctrine of the Trinity, Jesus was Not a Trinitarian] will debate noted trinitarian-Messianic Jew Dr. Michael Brown [Jewish Objexctions to Jesus]. Feb 8, 3-4 pm EST.

    For live streaming go here: http://lineoffireradio.askdrbrown.org/

    Anthony will also debate James White on Feb. 23.

    For further info, air dates check this link:
    http://www.premier.org.uk/unbelievable

  528. on 23 Jan 2010 at 9:53 pmRay

    Robert, show me where you see in scripture that Jesus had a nature that was prone to sin just as all other men since Adam.

    We’ve shown you scripture that shows us that Jesus was not born by conception of man, but rather by the Holy Spirit. How is it that you believe that Jesus was conceived by Joseph the husband of Mary?

    If you do intend to follow Christ, will you not be required to follow
    scripture? If so, what exemption have you found that will still allow you to enter into eternal life?

  529. on 23 Jan 2010 at 10:11 pmrobert

    “We’ve shown you scripture that shows us that Jesus was not born by conception of man, but rather by the Holy Spirit.”

    Ray
    no one has ever shown scriptures that says the conception was by the holy spirit or wasnt born by the conception of man.
    AND NO ONE CAN BECAUSE IT DOESNT EXIST.

    If you scriptures doesnt say he didnt have a sinless nature then we must invent it .
    Jesus is stated as a man and all men have a sinfull nature, but that doesnt mean we have to act on it.
    JESUS DIDNT ACT ON IT

    I follow scripture using scriptures to back it up not imagination as you and many do.

    “If you do intend to follow Christ, will you not be required to follow
    scripture? If so, what exemption have you found that will still allow you to enter into eternal life?”

    You should be trying to answer this yourself

  530. on 23 Jan 2010 at 10:25 pmXavier

    Ray,

    I would suggest that according to Hebrews 4.15 Jesus was “prone to sin”, that is, it was a possiblity since he was a human being, albeit “generated” by the Holy Spirit [as you suggest].

    For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin.

  531. on 23 Jan 2010 at 10:36 pmDoubting Thomas

    Ray
    In msg. (494) you said, “It seems to me that the worship of any doctrine, philosophy or theology before God will cause the judgment of God to come upon a soul if it is not repented of and if the behavior does not change.”

    I agree. We should remember that we are all God’s children and therefore brothers in Christ even if we do disagree on doctrine.

    It is clear that everyone is just seeking the truth in their own way.

    I just find it very frustrating that Jesus’ words seem to be so clear to me and yet I have such a difficult time to get other people to see what I see…

  532. on 23 Jan 2010 at 11:00 pmXavier

    Doubting Thomas,

    I just find it very frustrating that Jesus’ words seem to be so clear to me and yet I have such a difficult time to get other people to see what I see…

    Join the club bro… 🙂

    Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.”

    Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me?

    The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves.

    Very truly I tell you, all who have faith in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. John 14.8-13

  533. on 23 Jan 2010 at 11:20 pmRay

    Robert, I have decided that I must conform to the teaching of scripture if I am to follow Christ.

    Are you not denying the truth when you say that no man has shown that Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit? Have you read the scriputure that has been given on this blog concerning his conception by God? If so what do you make of it?

    Genesis 8: 21 says that the imaginations of man’s heart is evil from his youth. I believe this is true of every man but Jesus.

    Here is a scripture that speaks of his being conceived by the Holy Spirit. It’s a doctrine of God that you can find nearly everywhere in
    Christianity.

    Matthew 1:…….but wait, didn’t you say you do not accept Matthew’s gospel?

    Luke 1:26-35. Do you accept Luke’s gospel? Here he writes of the conception of Jesus by the Holy Spirit and it is in contrast with conception of children by man which is usually the case.

    Here we see that the conception of Jesus was not of man, but of God. This made his conception different than any other man that was ever born, and it’s not an evil imagination of the heart of man from his youth, rather it is a revelation of God received by Mary through the angel Gabriel.

  534. on 23 Jan 2010 at 11:42 pmrobert

    Matthews birth narrative was added by someone who used the greek OT. Matthew would of never done that. there is references to the first 2 chapters as not being there in the original hebrew text and it starting with John the baptist.

    Luke has been altered by pagan trinitarian translators and original destroyed .

    But even still using the corrupted text there can be shown that the holy spirit concieved Jesus and if you dont believe in the trinity how can you say it says that. Elizabeths conception was caused by the holy spirit and so were many others through out the OT.

    so as i said no one has proved this and CANT.

    Your imagination is not the truth

  535. on 23 Jan 2010 at 11:45 pmrobert

    correction

    But even still using the corrupted text there can(CANT) be shown that the holy spirit concieved Jesus and if you dont believe in the trinity how can you say it says that. Elizabeths conception was caused by the holy spirit and so were many others through out the OT

  536. on 24 Jan 2010 at 12:49 amRay

    So Robert, are you saying that though Elizabeth’s conception of John the baptist was caused by the Holy Spirit, Jesus’ was not?

    Elizabeth’s conception was caused by her husband Zacharias who was blessed by God with the prophetic word of her pregnancy which would come by him, but in Jesus’ case his conception did not come by Joseph who had not known her till after she had brought forth her firstborn son, Jesus by name. (See Matthew 1:25)

    In saying that Jesus is the biological son of Joseph, are you following a corrupted text or imagination? What is your basis for
    this belief?

  537. on 24 Jan 2010 at 1:00 amRay

    Xavier, I consider “prone” to mean having a natural bent; disposed or inclined to. That’s the manner in which I considered not Jesus to have been toward sin, though he was tempted to commit it as we all have been.

    We all have committed sin and having sinned became the servants of sin for a time or season, but this did not happen to Jesus. He never served sin, though all other men born of women have.

    It’s through the act of sin that men become in bondage to it. Jesus however was never in bondage to sin. By the grace of God he can impart something to us which we need for salvation, his righteousness as our covering, through faith in him, our repentance being a part of that process which is of faith, for we all have fallen short. Jesus however did not fall short of God’s glory.

  538. on 24 Jan 2010 at 1:20 amXavier

    Ray,

    The initial question was regarding whether or not Jesus’ had a disposition [bent, prone] to sin, not whether he sinned or not. Two similar yet different aspects of the “sinful nature” [sarx].

    According to the NT, the answer is yes, Jesus was “prone” or predisposed to sinning yet did not! Otherwise, the temptations, trials etc., described would not have served any purpose.

    Heb. 4:15: sympathize. Jesus is able to identify with his people (cf. 10:34) because of his human experience and the sufferings he endured while being tempted (2:10–18, esp. vv. 17–18).

    tempted. The Greek (peirazō) can refer either to temptation intended to bring one down or to testing designed to build one up; both connotations probably apply here (cf. Matt. 4:1–11; Luke 22:28).

    without sin. Though Jesus was tempted in every respect, that is, in every area of personal life, he (unlike every other human) remained sinless, and thus he is truly the holy high priest (Heb. 7:26–28; cf. 5:2–3). In their temptations, Christians can be comforted with the truth that nothing that entices them is foreign to their Lord. He too has felt the tug of sin, and yet he never gave in to such temptations. ESV Study Bible

  539. on 24 Jan 2010 at 2:08 amCameron

    robert,

    It was up to you to prove your claim, i just showed it is not supported by the greek text of revelations.

    I have supported my claims that Jesus is God and YHWH with many Scripture passages which NO one here has yet dealt with! I’m getting philosophical conjecture instead. It was your assertion that the last 6 verses were only derived from the Vulgate. Actually, since you don’t want to provide any sources and just want to make assertions, I found one for you. http://www.laparola.net/greco/manoscritti.php (look under the Minuscules section). Actually, Erasmus had everything from a Byzantine manuscript, all but the LAST 5 verses of Rev. So your argument fails b/c he still had verse 16. Also we now have access to many Alexandrian and Byzantine manuscripts which have all of Revelation let alone the entire last chapter. I know many Protestants who have Bibles which consult these texts, and do not look to just the Textus Receptus (unless your a KJVonlyist). Your assertions are completely bogus! And Revelation is singular by the way robert, not plural because it’s about the singular revelation of Christ, the greatest revelation in Scripture!

    Doubting Thomas,

    Mark 10:18
    “Why do you call me good? NO ONE is good EXCEPT GOD ALONE.”

    I don’t want to go through and show you how I reconcile every single verse because I don’t feel like spoon feeding. I’m happy to deal with one verse at a time however. The onus here actually lies on you Doubting Thomas (if that is your real name) to show me from the text how you get from “no one is good except God alone” to “I Jesus am not God”. That is the unwarranted leap. There is not even a necessary inference to be made here between these two conclusions. Thus, there’s no need to reconcile Jesus being God with Mark 10:18 because it doesn’t teach that Jesus isn’t God!

    Now I’d like for you to reconcile for me how John 17:3 shows that Jesus is Christ, Mat 16 and 26 shows that the Christ is also the Son of God, John 1:49 shows that the Son of God is the King of Israel, and Zeph 3:15 shows that the King of Israel is YHWH. How reconcile this with you’re belief that Jesus is not YHWH.

    Xavier,

    I have already laid out on this thread multiple times that Heb 4:15 says the Jesus was “perazo” in every way we are. Perazo means to be tested or challenged, not prone to sin! Just like in Mark 10 the Jews challenge Him with trick questions, they perazo Him. They challenge the integrity of His character. For some reason there is a groove in the Unitarian’s brain that will not allow them to understand this.

    Tim,

    How do you reconcile your interpretation of “echad” with the fact that God (not the Father, not the Son, not the Holy Spirit) is referred to many thousands of times in the OT and NT with personal pronouns?

    Because God in His oneness is personal. And you’re also conceding that “echad” can have multiplicity as I’ve already shown with “day” and “adam and eve’s flesh”. Further, I’ve already shows with Scripture which no one has dealt with yet how Jesus is “o theos” the God. But you get to have some weird personal pronoun argument trump “o theos”.

    Ray,

    I don’t remember hearing one (a Unitarian) yet that made the claim or taught that Jesus was just a mere man, though I’ve often heard this accusation against them.

    Pull your wedgy out. I never made that statement! So why are you arguing something I never said?!

  540. on 24 Jan 2010 at 2:21 amCameron

    Xavier,

    Heb 4:15 does not teach, nor anywhere else in Scripture, that Jesus could have had “epithoumia” unto sin, or cravings, desire, or an inner lust to sin. It is your unwarranted leap to go from “perazo” to “epithoumia”, especially in Heb 4:15. There is no Scriptural teaching which shows that Jesus could ever get to “epithoumia” (so as to sin), let alone somewhere in between “perazo” and “epithoumia”. Yet this is the assertion you are making, which Scripture does not give us.

    It is only taught in Scripture that Jesus is “perazo” or tested. This does not necessitate in and of itself the potential to sin. Sorry.

  541. on 24 Jan 2010 at 3:43 amCameron

    Mark C.

    No other Scripture says that Jesus raised himself.

    With regards to John 2:19, how many verses have to show that Jesus is actively and literally the one raising Himself before a bell rings and your theology is reconciled with those verses? For me it’s one, but for you it takes a certain number. And where did you get this number anyways?

    With regards to Mat 1:23,

    they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.”

    So fill in “Emmanuel” with the interpretation and it reads “they shall call his name the God (not a god) with us.” So to you this somehow means that Jesus isn’t “the God” even though it painfully and clearly says they call his name “the God”? Again, I would personally NEVER accept exegesis like that and be able to sleep in confidence!

    I pointed out that while differences between the Father and the Son do not contradict the Trinity, those which specifically state that THE FATHER is the ONLY TRUE GOD do. Yes there are (a few) verses that refer to Jesus as God, but none that can’t be understood in a representational sense.

    So when Jesus “IS” God He is only representing God? 1. That’s not honest exegesis and 2. then Satan is not the ruler of this world but only represents him. Wow. Does that really work?! 3. Prove from the texts that Jesus is only representing God in these passages, don’t just make the assertion! Leave assertions up to robert!

    In regards to John 17:3 I’ve already shown why the Christ is YHWH according to John in 1:49 (cf. Rev 22:6,16), and “o theos” implies the one true God, because of the definite article. Again, Jesus is called “o theos” 6 places in the NT. But I guess I’m supposed to blindly interpret all that as “Jesus represents God” when that is not even an option in those texts themselves!

  542. on 24 Jan 2010 at 3:51 amCameron

    Mark C.

    You can’t have your cake and eat it too. You can’t say that some verses teach that Jesus is God, while other say He only represents God, therefore don’t interpret the verses that say He is God as He is really God but only as He represents God.

    One can easily argue the complete opposite! Such as, don’t just believe that Jesus represents God but also that He is God since Scripture also teaches that He is God. Your method of interpretation forces things into the text that aren’t there such as in Mat 1:23 that the Father is being referred to when the pronouns before, during, and after all about Christ. Thus you are absolutely NOT reconciling these verses with each other because of these reasons. You’re argument is with Scripture however, NOT me.

  543. on 24 Jan 2010 at 5:10 amJaco

    Hi, guys,

    Sorry for only joining in now.

    Cameron, first of all, can we get a respectful demeanor from you? I know we’re all very zealous for what we believe, but, could you keep the snide facetiousness out of here?

    I have a few points I’d like to highlight here. Firstly, and you tell me, if we were to determine whether echad of something is the sum of its parts or singular, what do we have to look for? Please give Scriptural examples for these.

    You said:

    I don’t want to go through and show you how I reconcile every single verse because I don’t feel like spoon feeding. I’m happy to deal with one verse at a time however. The onus here actually lies on you Doubting Thomas (if that is your real name) to show me from the text how you get from “no one is good except God alone” to “I Jesus am not God”. That is the unwarranted leap. There is not even a necessary inference to be made here between these two conclusions. Thus, there’s no need to reconcile Jesus being God with Mark 10:18 because it doesn’t teach that Jesus isn’t God!

    No, I don’t think this is a valid way of reasoning. You want us to reply to your texts, but you don’t want to reply to ours. These kinds of pompous remarks benefit no one. The text here proves without any doubt, not only Jesus separateness from God, Yahweh, but also their inequality and non-identity in at least one area, and that is goodness. Jesus was called “good,” which he denied, pointing the one, other than himself (since he denies it) as the One who is good. This is exactly the kind of expressions one does NOT expect from someone who is wholly and fully God.

    It is only taught in Scripture that Jesus is “perazo” or tested. This does not necessitate in and of itself the potential to sin. Sorry.

    No, sorry, it shows that Jesus is not God (Jas. 1:13), and it shows that he had to have the ability to sin, else the purposelessness of temptation itself.

    So fill in “Emmanuel” with the interpretation and it reads “they shall call his name the God (not a god) with us.” So to you this somehow means that Jesus isn’t “the God” even though it painfully and clearly says they call his name “the God”? Again, I would personally NEVER accept exegesis like that and be able to sleep in confidence!

    I pointed out that while differences between the Father and the Son do not contradict the Trinity, those which specifically state that THE FATHER is the ONLY TRUE GOD do. Yes there are (a few) verses that refer to Jesus as God, but none that can’t be understood in a representational sense.

    These can most definitely be understood in representational sense. Even the angels visiting Sodom were understood to be God going down to Sodom. They were still angels, representative of Yahweh. During Jesus; earthly ministry and even after his exaltation, he was still different and subject to God (1 Cor. 11:2)

    Jaco

  544. on 24 Jan 2010 at 6:35 amXavier

    Cameron,

    Compare Hebrews 4.15 with what James says regarding His God and Father:

    Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted [peirazō] with evil… Jam 1.13

    Where the word translated “tempted” (Gk. peirazō) is the verb form of the noun translated “trial” (Gk. peirasmos).

    Peirázō is predominantly used to try someone in order to show he is not approved of God but reprobate, in the hope that he will break down under the proof.

    Peirázō is also used for Satan’s solicitations (Mat 4:1; 1Co 7:5; Rev 2:10). The Complete Wordstudy Dictionary

    Similarly, Jesus tells Satan “you shall not tempt [ekpeirázō; fut. ekpeirásō, from ek, an intens., and peirázō]” the LORD God [Mat 4.7].

    So how is it possible that Jesus was not a full human being in every sense, as Hebrews attests, who could have been susceptible to sin?

    Why bother “testing, trying or tempting him”?

    Most of all, how can anyone believe Jesus is God?

  545. on 24 Jan 2010 at 7:35 amMark C.

    With regards to John 2:19, how many verses have to show that Jesus is actively and literally the one raising Himself before a bell rings and your theology is reconciled with those verses? For me it’s one, but for you it takes a certain number. And where did you get this number anyways?

    For me it would be at least one, also. But since John 2:19 is the verse in question, and we disagree as to whether it says Jesus raised himself, then you can’t use it to prove your argument, as that would be begging the question. I have pointed out MANY verses that clearly teach that GOD raised Jesus from the dead (a couple of them specifying THE FATHER). Can you point to even ONE other verse besides John 2:19 that says Jesus raised himself?

    As for Emmanuel, I pointed out that just because the name means “God with us,” it no more proves that he IS God than the name Israel (which means “God prevails”) or Isaiah (which means “Jah has saved”) mean that those persons are God. It was common to have the name of God and/or some statement about God as part of Hebrew names.

    Regarding the representational sense in which Jesus is called God, several passages of Scripture have been presented, as well as the link to my website, and there is also the recent blog article about Divine Agency in Scripture. Read up on what you’re arguing about before you call it dishonest exegesis.

    You can’t have your cake and eat it too. You can’t say that some verses teach that Jesus is God, while other say He only represents God

    I never said that. I said that there are very few verses (only two or three for sure) that in any way refer to Jesus as God, and they are clearly demonstrated to be referring to the representational sense. In contrast there are MANY verses that plainly refer to Jesus as the SON of God, as well as many that indicate distinct differences between Jesus and God (not just the Father and the Son) — which, by the way, you haven’t dealt with yet.

    Your method of interpretation forces things into the text that aren’t there such as in Mat 1:23 that the Father is being referred to when the pronouns before, during, and after all about Christ.

    I never said that, either. Mat. 1:23 is the verse about calling his name Emmanuel. I said nothing about the Father being referred to. All I said was that the name means “God with us” which fits with the fact that God was in Christ. Did you mean to refer to John 17:1-3? That was the one where Jesus clearly states that THE FATHER is the ONLY TRUE GOD.

  546. on 24 Jan 2010 at 8:13 amJaco

    Xavier and Mark,

    Good points, and excellent logic reasoning.

    In all confessional statements in the Acts of the Apostles it is shown that Yahweh raised Jesus (Acts 3:13). Jesus’ own words showed him to be separate and different from Yahweh (Joh. 8:54). All these prove the “Jesus is Yahweh” idea not only nonsensical, but also unscriptural. Of course obedience to God was required from Christ in order to be eligible for resurrection. Thus his post-resurrection approval of him being God’s designated Son (Rom 1:4).

    Yes, Mark, a name in itself does not prove identity to the One referenced in that name. This simply doesn’t prove anything. Of all the texts in Scripture, faithful ones called Jesus ho Theos only twice (Joh. 20:28, Heb. 1:8). The ambiguity in these Scriptures, not only grammatically but also exegetically, shows undeniably that Jesus is still inferior and subject to the Almighty God, his God, Yahweh. What trinitarians have to prove is the impossibility of agency. Even if, and this is by a far cry, Jesus were called Yahweh, it would still not prove anything except agency. (Ge. 18:3, 22, Judg. 13:21, 22) Jesus isn’t even called Yahweh, ever in Scripture, weakening the trinitarian stance even more.

    We don’t need exegetical, even fallacious, leaps in proving what Scripture teaches. Nor do we need to comb Scripture and prooftext in order to prove the 4th century trinity-development. We have Scripture and Scripture proves Yahweh’s singular unity. Thank God and His Christ, our Lord, who show us exactly that!

    Jaco

  547. on 24 Jan 2010 at 10:45 amrobert

    Cameron

    On Erasmus and the Greek New Testament.
    For the book of Revelation he had to borrow a manuscript from his friend the German humanist Johannes Reuchlin; unfortunately, this manuscript was almost impossible to read in places, and it had lost its last page, which contained the final six verses of the book. In his haste to have the job done, in those places Erasmus simply took the Latin Vulgate and translated its text back into Greek, thereby creating some textual readings found today in no surviving Greek manuscript.
    ~Misquoting Jesus, By: Ehrman pg. 78-79~

    seems that you read a false account or just changed it to the last 5 verses on your own.

    Mark,Jaco and Xavier
    your doing a great job presenting the facts

    Cameron
    Your doing a great job of twisting the facts

  548. on 24 Jan 2010 at 11:34 amrobert

    here is another source

    Erasmus’s first edition was based on six Greek manuscripts, and he relied mainly on a tenth- and a twelfth-century manuscript for the Gospels, a thirteenth-century one for Acts and Paul’s letters, and a twelfth-century manuscript for Revelation. Since his Revelation manuscript was defective, he confessed to translating the last six verses of the Latin Vulgate into Greek.

    http://www.bibleviews.com/authority-6.html

    I dont know if the original Revelation was written first in hebrew like most of the Nt writtings than translated to greek but i do know it wasnt written first in latin than translated to greek.

  549. on 24 Jan 2010 at 12:34 pmDoubting Thomas

    Cameron (msg. 538)
    You said, “The onus here actually lies on you Doubting Thomas (if that is your real name) to show me from the text how you get from “No one is good except God alone” to “I Jesus am not God.” This is an unwarranted leap.”

    I get this from the line he says just before he says, “No one is good except God alone.” Which you conveniently omitted which says, “Why do you call ME good.” I don’t think it is an unwarranted leap to include the first part of the sentence with the last part of the sentence. I think it is an unwarranted omission to leave it out.

    Since you don’t want to spoon feed me and can only answer one question at a time. Why don’t you answer the question I asked that said, “Why did Jesus pray passionately three different times not to drink the cup? When in reality he was actually God and in reality he wanted to drink the cup and be beaten and crucified. How can God’s will be different from his son Jesus’ will if they are indeed one and the same person?”

    I hope these aren’t too many questions for you to answer…

    As for my name Doubting Thomas my real name is Tom but all my Christian friends call me Doubting Thomas because I doubt all church traditions that don’t come from scripture and I have serious doubts about most of the New Testament Cannon.

    I will answer your question about what I think about the book of John in another message.

  550. on 24 Jan 2010 at 1:31 pmJaco

    Cameron,

    1. That’s not honest exegesis and 2. then Satan is not the ruler of this world but only represents him. Wow. Does that really work?! 3. Prove from the texts that Jesus is only representing God in these passages, don’t just make the assertion! Leave assertions up to robert!

    Jesus imitates God – Joh. 5:19

    Jesus was given authority to judge – Joh. 5:22, 27

    Jesus was sent out (emissary) by God – Joh. 5:24, 36, 38

    Jesus was given the ability and authority to raise the dead – Joh. 5:26

    Jesus has no power, (Gr., ou dynamai ego) unless it has been given him – Joh. 5:30

    Jesus’ own testimony means nothing, save God’s testimony about him – Joh. 5:31, 32, 37

    Jesus came in God’s name – Joh. 5:43

    Clearer sections are hard to find indicating without any doubt that Jesus is the “Sent-out one.” These are such excellent proofs of agency!

    Being called god or God in themselves does not prove agency. Context and usage indicate what it means. It generally means “ruler” (Ps. 82). Jesus is not only the designated ruler of a New future Age, he is also the perfect and best representative of the Sovereign of the Universe, his Father, Yahweh. (Ps. 110:1, 1 Cor. 15:27, 28)

    In regards to John 17:3 I’ve already shown why the Christ is YHWH according to John in 1:49 (cf. Rev 22:6,16), and “o theos” implies the one true God, because of the definite article. Again, Jesus is called “o theos” 6 places in the NT. But I guess I’m supposed to blindly interpret all that as “Jesus represents God” when that is not even an option in those texts themselves!

    Joh. 1:49 does not prove that Jesus is God. Nor does Rev. 22:6, 16. That requires fallacious leaps where similar designations somehow imply identity. It does not. Satan is also called ho theos (1 Cor 4:4). Reductionistic reasoning (reductio ad absurdum) would have us conclude that he is God (God forgive me.) No such thing. Unless there is inambiguous, irrefutable and clear identification in Scripture, similarity in designation does not prove identity between two entities.

    What 6 instances (among the hundreds referring to the Father, Yahweh) are Jesus undeniably called ho theos? No blind interpretation needed, Cameron, only truthful and uncontaminated Biblical exegesis.

    In hope,

    Jaco

  551. on 24 Jan 2010 at 5:10 pmDoubting Thomas

    Cameron
    The book of John says that Jesus is the only way (or path) to get to God. If this were true it would be one of Jesus’ most important teachings since you can’t attain salvation except through Jesus and Jesus’ main purpose was to show us how to attain salvation. Yet this teaching is found nowhere else in the bible. Why would what is obviously a core teaching essential to salvation only be found in the Book of John and nowhere else?

    This teaching also contradicts what Jesus said about the many people from the south and east that will be reclining at the table with Isaak and Jacob in heaven before the children of Abraham. These people that Jesus talks about from the south and the east obviously didn’t come to God through Jesus. Then there is the question of all the saints of the old Testament who are obviously going to heaven. They of course didn’t go through Jesus either.

    The synoptics say that Jesus raised three people from the dead and that they were all dead for just a short time. The book of John says that Jesus raised four people from the dead and that the fourth one (Lazarus) was the greatest miracle that Jesus had performed because he was dead and buried for three days.

    Why would all three writers of the synoptics just happen to forget to mention what is clearly the greatest miracle that Jesus had performed during his ministry?

    The synoptics say that Jesus found Peter and his brother fishing and called them to follow him. And that Peter wasn’t called Peter until near the end of Jesus’ ministry when Simon said that Jesus was the Messiah and Jesus said blessed are you Simon for no one on earth revealed this to you but it was revealed to you by my father in heaven and from now on I will call you Peter.

    According to the book of John, Peter was a follower of John the Baptist and his brother came running to him saying that he had found the Messiah (or the chosen one) and Jesus started calling Simon Peter right from the very first day they met and right from the very beginning all of Jesus’ followers knew he was the Messiah (or the chosen one).

    According to the synoptics Jesus said that John the Baptist was Elijah but in the book of John you have John the Baptist himself saying that, “No I am not Elijah.”

    The synoptics say that Jesus constantly spoke in parables and that he didn’t open his mouth unless it was in parables. The book of John although claiming to tell the story of Jesus’ life and teachings doesn’t even mention the word parable. How can you tell the story of Jesus’ life and teachings and not even use the word parable once?

    I could go on and on with the contradictions but I’ll just let you use your concordance and you can see for yourself that whenever the book of John talks about the same subject as the synoptics the book of John says something completely different often the exact opposite of what the synoptics are saying.

    From what I understand at the end of the first century there were about a dozen or so collections of books (or bibles as they were called) and most of them contained at least two of three synoptics in them showing that the synoptics were clearly the central core writings of the early Christians.

    There wasn’t one collection (or bible) that had the writings of Paul together with the synoptics in the same collection. From what I understand the followers of Paul rejected the synoptics as gospels because they had there own gospel the book of John. If you look in your concordance you will see that about 75% of the book of John matches perfectly with the letters of Paul where only about 2 or 3% of the synoptics match with the letters of Paul.

    There is also all kinds of historical evidence that the followers of Paul called the other Christians heretics and all the other Christians in return referred to the followers of Paul as heretics.

    Any historian will tell you that if 75% of someones writings match perfectly with an earlier person’s writings than it is obvious that person based his writings on the earlier person’s writings. Religious historians try to ignore this and claim that John was a follower of Jesus and an eyewitness to the events he writes about.

    Why would an eyewitness to the events depend almost entirely on the writings of a person like Paul who never met Jesus and who was not an eyewitness? Paul himself had to depend on 2nd. hand knowledge for everything that he knew about Jesus and Jesus’ life and teachings?

    As you can see I have a lot of doubts about the writings of John. Because of the above mentioned doubts I do not study any of John’s writings and therefore I do not have to reconcile what Jesus said clearly over and over again in the synoptics like Mark 10:18 which is also found in Luke with what is found in John.

    If you want to believe that the writings of John are worth studying than I’ll leave it up to you to reconcile the contradictions with the synoptics. If you don’t want to agree with me that it’s not even worth studying than you’d be wise to at least realize that the book of John is obviously much less reliable than the synoptics. Of course the ultimate choice is up to you.

    Now you can clearly see why my Christian friends call me Doubting Thomas….. 🙂

  552. on 24 Jan 2010 at 5:35 pmDoubting Thomas

    Cameron
    I hope your not going to use my unorthodox beliefs as an excuse not to answer my question which is, “Why did Jesus pray earnestly three different times not to drink the cup when in reality he was actually God and in reality he wanted to drink the cup and be beaten and crucified? How can God’s will be different from his son Jesus’ will if they are indeed one and the same person?”

  553. on 24 Jan 2010 at 6:30 pmMark C.

    Thomas,

    I want to take some time to respond to your points, so I will look into it and reply in the near future. In the meantime I want to ask you one question. Since you are not the first person to point out these apparent contradictions, have you ever read what other theologians offer as an explanation? Before completely rejecting the bulk of the NT, would it not be prudent to at least see what other theologians have to say about it? This would seem necessary in order to make an informed choice. Far too many people look at things like this and just conclude that the Bible, or at least part of it, is unreliable, without bothering to dig a little deeper. Answering a matter before hearing the whole story is a folly and a shame, according to Proverbs 18:13.

  554. on 24 Jan 2010 at 6:45 pmRay

    Xavier,

    Jesus did not have a natural bent to sin as the rest of mankind, for he was not born in sin. The fall of Adam was not passed on to Jesus the same way it was to the rest of us.

    Just as Adam had a leaning toward sin after he first had sinned, he received a natural bent toward it after the fall. Before the fall, he
    had life without that bent, for he lived before sin was in the world at that time.

    Before Adam sinned, evil was contained in the Tree Of Knowledge Of Good And Evil. That was the limitations of sin. Before the fall
    the corruption of sin had not entered the human race.

    The natural bent toward sin that I was speaking of is of sin itself.
    Sin is something Adam had not experienced till he sinned.

    Jesus did not sin and so he did not receive the bent toward sin that sinners have.

    Sinners have a bent toward sin that one who has not sinned does not have, even though one who has not sinned can still be tempted into it.

    It’s a matter of character rather than temptation. The temptations that came upon Jesus were just as strong as the temptations of any man who did have any particular bent or leaning toward sin.

    The temptation of a habitual sinner was overcome by Jesus who knew no sin. He therefore is able to strengthen the habitual sinner who has been in bondage to his particular weakness.

    The temptation is spiritual. When a man sins, devils have authority
    to enter into the soul of a man and this brings him into captivity.
    Though Jesus had no such captivity, he was allowed by God to go through the greatest of temptations in order that he might be tried and come forth as gold out of the firy trials that he might be our redeemer.

    When a man sins and gets free of it, if he falls into it again, he is in a worse condition than he was in before because sin strengthened it’s bent or leaning against his own soul which was meant to be for
    the service of God. Though Jesus never experienced this in his life,
    he did experience the strength of the temptation of such a man.

    Jesus did not have the behaveioral bent that men who sinned have experienced, just as Adam did not have it until after he sinned. This in no way means he was not tempted in all points as we are, for the temptation is one in the spiritual realm and that is where our Lord did his battle and won.

    It seems to me that all the fallen angels,(the devils, evil spirits)were a part of that tree which was in the garden and was the one God told man not to eat of, for it’s fruit was evil and would be the instrument of man’s death.

    See Romans 5:12-19.

  555. on 24 Jan 2010 at 6:53 pmRay

    Cameron,

    The name Emmanuel doesn’t mean “The God”, it means “God with us.”

    I’ve seen trinitarians try to change the meaning of the name of Jesus before. Maybe they only want to see part of the word, as if they will be righteous as long as they only have a part of it. If a man only has a part of something right, does that mean that he has the whole thing right?

  556. on 24 Jan 2010 at 7:11 pmRay

    Thomas, about people who came to God without knowing the name of Jesus, or having heard the gospel about him, I believe they
    too heard his voice, for he was in the world (and the world was made by him) through the wisdom of God which they received.

    Take Job for example. Did he hear of Abraham, Moses, the law, the
    history of Israel, or did he have a Bible? Yet Christ was his Rock that poured him out rivers of oil (see chapter 29). He did confess his Redeemer. (chapter 19:25. He did get his request, for his words are established in the scriptures even more established than if they were graven in a rock and it’s engravings filled with melted metal. Though he was not right in all he said, and he did therefore have to repent, he did confess his Redeemer and that he lived. This Redeemer, it seems to me did mediate for him, and would be coming to the earth on account of man and the sins of mankind.)

    Now nowhere in the book of Job do we read about Moses or the Law, or God’s dealing with Israel, so it seems to me that Job and his friends were living before these things happened, or were living in a place where this part of the gospel of Christ was not heard. Yet they heard the voice of wisdom through God fearing men
    who did worship God and found communion with him, so they were not without some word of God. All of this came to them through Christ.

    So let’s not think that people who have not heard of Christ will not be saved, or that at some time in their life they did not hear or receive information from the realm of heaven. They just didn’t know him by the name of Jesus.

    Once we hear of Jesus, we must receive him in order to be saved.
    Though a man might think he came to God without him, he really did not, if indeed he did come to God. Jesus is a great mystery,
    the subject of the entire Bible.

  557. on 24 Jan 2010 at 7:28 pmDoubting Thomas

    Mark C. (msg. 553)
    I have never studied what other theologians have said. I have a very analytical mind and I don’t trust authority figures. I have only read the bible and about 4 history books some of which I must admit I didn’t even completely read.

    If I relied on theologians or experts to tell me what to believe I would probably still be a Trinitarian. When I was a young man before I became an athiest I just believed the Trinitarian doctrine that they taught me without even giving it a second thought. I thought that all Christians believed the same thing.

    When I came back to God I decided to forget everything that I was taught and just study the bible and be open minded as to whatever it might say. I became very frustrated at all the red flags or contradictions that I saw and almost came to the point of concluding that there was no way to actually know what Jesus really said and did.

    I didn’t want to believe this so I prayed earnestly to God (as a last resort of course) to help me so that I could understand what Jesus actually said and did and taught. I immediately went to the public library and started reading history books about Christianity. These books help guide me into looking at the bible in a certain way.

    The end result of all is that I am now a Socinian (at least that’s what I’ve been told is the correct term for my beliefs). Before this I was referring to myself as an Aryan than Anthony Buzzard told me that they believed in a pre-existing Jesus which is something that I do not believe. He than told me the proper name for my beliefs was Socinian.

  558. on 24 Jan 2010 at 7:48 pmXavier

    Ray,

    Scripture does not say Jesus was “born in sin”, but thanks for reminding us of Adam. Percfect example of what the bible seems to be arguing for and what my point is.

    If Adam did not have a “natural bent toward sin”, why did he sin at all? Why do “holy angels” for that matter [see Jude 6; 2Pe 2.4].

    It seems “the bent toward sin” is not limited to the “flesh” [sarx] since its a matter of the heart [one’s free will].

    Before the fall, he had life without that bent, for he lived before sin was in the world at that time.

    How do you explain the snake in the garden then if there was no sin “in the world at that time”?

    Before Adam sinned, evil was contained in the Tree Of Knowledge Of Good And Evil.

    Where does it say all “evil was contained in the Tree”? Again, how do you explain the serpent then if “all evil” was “contained” in a specific place?

  559. on 24 Jan 2010 at 7:52 pmrobert

    Thomas
    here is a great history of unitarianism

    http://www.ccg.org/English/S/p170.html

  560. on 24 Jan 2010 at 9:26 pmDoubting Thomas

    Robert
    Thanks for the link about the Church of God. I can only read so much on the computer and it bothers my eyes and gives me a headache eventually. I only read for about 10 or 15 minutes.

  561. on 24 Jan 2010 at 11:41 pmDoubting Thomas

    Ray (msg. 556)
    Sorry I took so long to get back to you. I just noticed your message way back there.

    You said, “About people who have came to God without knowing the name of Jesus, or having heard the gospel about him, I believe they too heard his voice, for he was in the world (and the world was made by him) through the wisdom of God that they received.”

    I sort of agree with you. I believe that God wrote his law on their hearts and they can live their whole life without being aware of the writings that exist concerning God’s law but yet keep God’s law because it just comes naturally to them.

    Like I said in a earlier message none of the books I study talk about Jesus being involved in the creation of the world or even existing before his birth. I know that you and Robert have been having a ongoing discussion about this. Unfortunately I agree with Robert on this one.

    But as Oscar Wilde said, “I am not young enough to (think I) know everything.” …… 🙂

  562. on 24 Jan 2010 at 11:53 pmDoubting Thomas

    Ray (msg. 556)
    You said, “Though a man may think that he came to God without him, he really did not.”

    Now that I can completely agree with!

    I believe God is constantly trying to nudge us in the right direction (toward him) but he never forces us. Like Jesus says, All the angels in heaven celebrate when a lost sheep returns to God. (or words similar to that).

  563. on 25 Jan 2010 at 12:26 amRay

    Xavier, when I said that there was no sin in the world before Adam sinned I was referring to the sins of man, not the evil that resided in The Tree Of Knowledge Of Good And Evil which was Satan.

    Romans 5:12
    Wherefore , as by one man sin entered the world….

    Other than Satan and the fallen angels that fell along with him,
    there was no evil. All evil was contained within that tree until the sin of Adam and Eve. It was then that sin entered the world.

    Jesus was not born in sin as he is the Son of God which came into the world. Had he been the son of Joseph the husband of Mary, or the son of any other man (male) he would have been born in sin.
    This is what the scripture teaches.

    Being not born in sin gave him a clean start in this world as Adam had. Adam being a man existing without sin for a time, having not
    a propensity for it until he was corrupted by it, did so in disobedience to God. Why did he sin if he was not yet given over to it? I suppose it was because he was tempted by it through Eve.

    There’s really no good reason as to why. There’s nothing that can justify sin. Maybe it was because he was made a creature that is subject to vanity. It’s not easy for me to understand why it is that God would make a man subject to such a thing, but I think it has something to do with his instruction in living, God having prepared something better for later. For some reason it seems that it was necessary for man to learn about God in that manner.

    Thomas, I tried to look up “Socinian” in a dictionary. It’s something I have never heard about. I found “Socinianism”, and it spoke of
    the teachings of a man called Socinian.

    I don’t think there will be Socinians in heaven. It seems to me that as big as it is (and expanding) that there is only room for Christians there. I was told once that there are no “isms” of God,
    so beware of isms.

  564. on 25 Jan 2010 at 12:55 amCameron

    robert,

    Just because you quote Ehrman, a man with an ax to grind (who’s ax would completely undermind even the foundation for Unitarianism, the very position your arguing for robert) does not mean that his facts are 100% accurate. Or do you think that just because someone who publishes a book has all thier facts 100% straight? Show me the source Ehrman used for that fact. Further, like I’ve already pointed out, we have modern critical texts today which DO have all of Revelation. Robert, I’m NOT a KJV-onlyist! I don’t merely consult the Textus Receptus! That alone settles the matter.

    Jaco,

    Sounds like a neo-Michael Jackson name. My “snide” remarks aren’t that snide. Come on man. This is an impersonal forum, don’t worry about that too much.

    No, I don’t think this is a valid way of reasoning. You want us to reply to your texts, but you don’t want to reply to ours. These kinds of pompous remarks benefit no one. The text here proves without any doubt, not only Jesus separateness from God, Yahweh, but also their inequality and non-identity in at least one area, and that is goodness. Jesus was called “good,” which he denied, pointing the one, other than himself (since he denies it) as the One who is good. This is exactly the kind of expressions one does NOT expect from someone who is wholly and fully God.

    I’m not going to interpret every verse and show how I reconcile it with Trinitarianism for a couple reasons. 1. I don’t want to waste my time, 2. I don’t want to waste your time because you can study this elsewhere, and 3. NONE of those verses you try to use to say Jesus is not God NO WHERE says “Jesus isn’t God”. It’s precisely because of THAT fact that YOU need to reconcile verses which say He is God. That’s my point with why I responsed with how I responded.

    For example, you just added words to Scripture when you say Jesus “denied” being good. Show me where in the text it says that! If you’re Donald Trump and someone else doesn’t know it and they ask you “how can I own these properties” and you say “why do you ask me? No one can own these except Donald Trump”. So if Trump’s whole point in asking this is to get them to think about something they’ve never thought about before, we must ignore all that context and assume that you can’t be Donald Trump? That’s why I’ve been saying you Unitarians are making an unwarranted leap in your interpretation with that passage and coming to conclusions which are no where found in the text! That’s exegesis I would never except because it isn’t consistent nor sound.

    Satan is also called ho theos (1 Cor 4:4).

    Actually, it’s 2 Cor 4:4 and I was waiting for someone to quote this verse. You note how important context is, but I would also say context determines what they are the god of (or God of) when there is a possessive. Satan is “the god” of this age or world. There is only one “god of this world” thus it should make sense to use a definite article. In the Greek, if you want to say someone is God, and the context doesn’t clarify otherwise (hence showing what they are specificaly the god of), then it would be refering ot the one true God. That’s what a definite article does. It’s not my fault that’s what it does, even though I know it blows holes in your heresy.

    It generally means “ruler” (Ps. 82).

    Umm, no. Sorry. “o theos” does not generally mean “ruler”. It means “the God”, or “the god” if that god is specifically being referred to and if there is a possessive (as with 2 Cor 4:4). You might have an argument if you say it means “the ruler” (remember we’re dealing with a definite article NOT an indefinite), but “o theos” does not mean ruler. Again, this is your unwarranted leap in interpretation.

    Doubting Thomas,

    “Why did Jesus pray earnestly three different times not to drink the cup when in reality he was actually God and in reality he wanted to drink the cup and be beaten and crucified? How can God’s will be different from his son Jesus’ will if they are indeed one and the same person?”

    All the verses which Unitarians emphasize about Jesus being human-like will answer this. The real problem, again, is that the Unitarian doesn’t reconcile these verses with what else Scripture clearly teaches about Christ. That’s the problem.

    As far as all the reasons you stated as to why your friends call you doubting Thomas, you’ll have to start another thread for that. This one is for those whom assume the authority of Scripture, otherwise, there is not real bases to have such a discussion and in the end opinion would be the standard. Anyone should be able to be a judge and see who is really dealing with the text faithfully. I have seen multiple times here things being interpreted as “John 1:19 was figurative” when only the “temple” was figurative and “body” was literal, or words being imported into Mat 1:49 and Mark 10:18.

    Ray,

    The name Emmanuel doesn’t mean “The God”, it means “God with us.”

    Well… close. It means “the God with us”, and because there is a definite article present that means the one true God, not “a god”. I’m still waiting for you to just let the text say what it says…

    Xavier,

    Looking at James 1:13 and perazo, the context and the greek words used, hence “kakos” and “apeirastos” (or being able to be tempted unto sin or destruction), shows that it’s more then just being tempted or “perazo” but tempted unto sin. That’s the major clarification between the contexts of James 1:13-14 and Heb 4:15.

    So how is it possible that Jesus was not a full human being in every sense, as Hebrews attests, who could have been susceptible to sin?

    Scripture doesn’t teach he was susceptible to sin. You can perazo or tempt a statue. That doesn’t mean the statue could potentially sin. This is where the Unitarian doesn’t look at the text (like always) and looks at what “makes sense” in their pee brain minds. That’s what doesn’t make sense in my mind.

    Why bother “testing, trying or tempting him”?

    You’ll have to take this up with what Scripture gives us, NOT what you think makes more sense, because that doesn’t make any sense.

    Most of all, how can anyone believe Jesus is God?

    Again, as one small example, John 1:49 shows that Jesus is “The Son of God” and “The King of Israel” while Zeph 3:15 shows that “The King of Israel” is YHWH. Take it up with Scripture, NOT me.

  565. on 25 Jan 2010 at 2:06 amXavier

    Cameron,

    Can God be “tempted unto sin”? If this is the view how do we reconcile it with James 1.13-14? Furthermore, why do beings in the spiritual realm [i.e. Satan, demons] call Jesus “the Son of God” and not God [Mat 4.3, 6; 8.29]?

    You can perazo or tempt a statue.

    Are you kidding me?! Now whose the one with a “pee brain mind[set]” friend? I guess perhaps somewhere in your mind God can somehow be tempted or tried by His own creation? Let alone somehow not be recognized as “God” by Satan and his hordes?

    If your arguments weren’t enough, your condescending attitude is not helping your cause friend.

  566. on 25 Jan 2010 at 7:41 amTim

    Cameron,

    Because God in His oneness is personal

    I don’t even know how to parse that sentence. What grammatical reason do you take to make that conclusion? We are talking about the use of proper rules of grammar here, aren’t we?

    -Regards-

  567. on 25 Jan 2010 at 9:05 am