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FYI . . . over at Parchment and Pen, Rob Bowman just announced that he will be having a “debate” with Christadelphian Dave Burke concerning the doctrine of the trinity.  The date is a ways off (April). Notice that Kingdom Ready is represented in the resource section of the post. They are limiting themselves to 5,000 words per post–that’s probably less than some of the recent posts on this site. I’m not familiar with Dave Burke.  Any one know about him?

613 Responses to “Another Trinity/Monotheism “Debate””

  1. on 02 Feb 2010 at 10:08 pmDave Burke

    Hi Brian,

    I guess I’m qualified to answer your question. 🙂

    I am the co-founder and administrator of an online Christadelphian forum (www.thechristadelphians.org/forums). I’m 37 years old (in a couple of weeks) and I’ve been a Christadelphian all my life.

    My role in our community is equivalent to what mainstream Christians call a “pastor.” I’ve studied and debated the Trinity (both formally and informally) for about 17 years now. I’ve also studied early Christian history at university. I possess no professional theological qualifications, but consider myself well read for a layman.

    I have debated the Trinity online with Robert Turkel and enjoyed some informal exchanges with Edgar Foster on JW Christology and the history of Arianism. For a couple of years I was also a regular at Matt Slick’s forums (www.carm.org) where I debated his evangelical staff and members alike. I am fairly well known in the British and Australian Christadelphian communities. I believe Sean Finnegan knows my twin brother, Jonathan.

    Rob Bowman had originally proposed a word limit of 10,000 each, but I considered that far too lengthy for the average reader. It’s difficult to maintain the focus and force of an argument in a debate context when you have that much material sloshing around on a blog. 5,000 words is long enough to be detailed but short enough to be accessible; this probably works out at 4,000 for argument and 1,000 for rebuttal.

    At the end of the sixth week, the word limit will be lifted and we’ll respond to questions and arguments from the audience, so we’ll have a chance to deal with anything which hasn’t been covered by that stage.

    I really like what you guys are doing at Kingdom Ready. It’s an excellent site with good quality material. May God bless your work.

    In Christ,

    Dave

  2. on 03 Feb 2010 at 8:21 amSean

    Dave,

    Glad to have you here. I have the utmost respect and admiration for your brother. I didn’t know he had a twin!

    grace & peace

  3. on 03 Feb 2010 at 8:33 amXavier

    Sean,

    FYI, Anthony Buzzard will be debating Michael Brown and James White this month:

    I will be “debating” (discussing is a kinder word) the prominent apologist for the Trinity Michael Brown, who is a Messianic Jew, on February 8th at 3 pm EST (show will be archived at lineoffireradio.askdrbrown.org).

    Then there is popular debater James White, author of a small and very readable paperback The Forgotten Trinity. The site for the discussion is premier.org.uk/unbelievable. Focus on the Kingdom, Feb. issue.

    Check out White’s flippant comments on his blog, his kept tabs on Anthony for some time now:

    http://www.aomin.org/aoblog/index.php?itemid=3739

    http://www.aomin.org/aoblog/index.php?itemid=3744

  4. on 03 Feb 2010 at 10:26 amDave Burke

    Thanks Sean, it’s great to have your support.

    🙂

  5. on 03 Feb 2010 at 11:52 amBrian

    Dave,

    Thanks for your reply. Look forward to the debate.

    Brian

  6. on 03 Feb 2010 at 8:55 pmDave Burke

    Cheers Brian. Feel free to visit our forums if you ever feel like discussing some fresh Unitarian material!

  7. on 09 Feb 2010 at 2:30 amXavier

    Well, the Buzzard v. Brown debate is over, who won?

    http://lineoffireradio.askdrbrown.org/2010/02/08/february-8-2010/

  8. on 09 Feb 2010 at 8:20 amMatthew Janzen

    I am very thankful to Anthony for discussing with people like Brown and White. Anthony is extremely knowledgable in these areas and I believe very capable of articulating the unitarian position with clarity and grace.

    I just listened to the exchange he had with Dr. Brown and I must say that Dr. Brown’s method of interaction with others is unsettling to me. For example, he acted as though he could not see the point about the superiority of Christ in a text like John 1:15, 30. Astonishing to say the least.

    Anthony, in my opinion, did a much better job here at presenting a position. He was very focused and to the point. Dr. Brown often likes to jump from text to text without really exegeting any text. He did this a few shows ago with James White as well.

    Anyhow, I look so forward to the discussion between White and Buzzard!

  9. on 09 Feb 2010 at 9:51 amXavier

    Just to bring you up to date on the White debate, it will hopefully be later this month [tentative Feb. 28 date] and aired the following week [1st week of March].

  10. on 09 Feb 2010 at 10:34 amTim

    Matthew,

    I have observed this behavior almost without exception among evangelical or conservative scholars. I guess when you invest many years and money in getting an advanced degree (sometimes many degrees), I can see how it is difficult to admit that you might be wrong, or that there are other legitimate ways to look at a passage.

    I am tending to think that the more “liberal” scholars are really closer to the truth than the evangelical types. It is these so-called liberal types that will admit that the trinity is no where found in the Bible and “evolved” over hundreds of years. I have more respect for a liberal that believes in the trinity and that will admit this, than someone like Dr. Brown who is supremely confident in his interpretation, yet is considered conservative or evangelical in his outlook.

    I have recently (within the last couple of years) started to really study the scriptures at a deeper level. It can be unsettling at first to see how ambiguous the original text is in a lot of cases. I read a commentary on the book of Job recently and the author admitted that there is a lot in there that people have no idea how to translate or what it means, so they kind of make stuff up.

    Many “conservative” interpretations of John 1 are along the same lines. We should take the prologue as axiomatic and not try to fit it into a grid or theological system. But I digress …

  11. on 09 Feb 2010 at 1:01 pmJaco

    Oh, brother, what a debate!

    I think that Mr Buzzard by far won this debate! His demeanor, his elegance, his solid presentation of Scripture without using vague language just made a rock-solid case!

    Blessed be our God for that!

    Jaco

  12. on 09 Feb 2010 at 10:02 pmJoseph

    Someone should make a separate thread for the Sir Anthony debate with Dr. Brown so that we can discuss the details of the debate.

  13. on 09 Feb 2010 at 10:08 pmXavier

    Joseph,

    Sean has known of the debate for some time now, perhaps he [and the other posters] are busy.

    Don’t see why you cannot post your comments here though, would love to know what you thought.

  14. on 09 Feb 2010 at 10:42 pmJoseph

    Thanks Xavier for the heads up,

    I thought Brown’s “pleading the case”argument was basically a cope-out because of his lack of MSS evidence to prove the contrary. Buzzard, I thought did a great job at bringing up the MSS evidence to support his case, when I don’t believe at one time did Brown cite a specific MSS to support his position. Rather, Brown relied on the Church’s historical majority for his proof of the Trinity, or as he called it, “complex unity.”

    On a personal note, I get a feeling that Brown uses his being a Jew as though this gives him more understanding of the Tanakh than someone who is not Jewish. I live in Israel, also have Jewish blood, and speak Hebrew, would disagree with Brown’s apparent demeanor. I also consider myself to be Messianic. I never think that because I can speak Hebrew, and that because I have Jewish blood this somehow makes me more of an expert on Biblical texts.

    Overall, I think Buzzard handled himself very well being in a radio format where Dr. Brown controls the format, and has the louder mic. 🙂

    Thoughts?

  15. on 23 Feb 2010 at 9:13 amLori Carlile

    Anthony won that debate, hands down. The trinitarians are confusing and make no sense. I am a former trinitarian.

  16. on 23 Feb 2010 at 9:48 amXavier

    Lori

    How did you come to the sound doctrine?

    BTW: Anthony will be debating James White today over at premier.org.uk/unbelievable. Taping will be done today and hopefully will be made available on March 6. Look out for it.

  17. on 23 Feb 2010 at 7:54 pmXavier

    Well, the James White v. Anthony Buzzard debate is “in the can” [as they say]. Check out White’s [albeit] brief comments on his blog and follow for it for future posting of the program.

    This was a very different discussion, since Sir Anthony is very genteel, and would normally respond with “thank you” even after I had said something akin to “Sir Anthony’s position is rank heresy.” So it was a very different exchange.

    Yeah, “different encounter” because as amazing as it might sound for most of us who hold to a Socinian Christology, people like White or Dr. Michael Brown seem never to have met one.

    The feedback I got from “the Buzzard camp” was that White was beffudled by some of Anthony’s responses regarding the readings of Ps 110.1; Heb 1.10.

    Can’t wait to listen to this one.

    PS: As regards Michael Brown, he has asked Anthony back for a second go around. Can’t wait for this one either:

    For the sake of closure, then, let’s do this (my time also being limited on this blog here): Come back on my radio show, and we will agree to focus on some of these crucial texts in depth (e.g., John 1; 8:58 20:28; Philippians 2:5-11; Hebrews 1). While I promise to be gracious to you on a personal level, I promise also to clearly and sharply expose your erroneous viewpoints. I expect the same posture from you.

    Regrettably, the phone lines problems we had the first time around distracted from our conversation (at least on my side, where my studio was in upheaval with the construction crisis outside), not to mention that I wanted to be sure that I went out of my way to give you space to state your views before gently differing with them. Since we have established our personal civility towards one another, let’s “take the gloves off,” so to say, in terms of the issues, as we have here.

    http://lineoffireradio.askdrbrown.org/2010/02/08/february-8-2010/comment-page-9/#comment-15572

  18. on 24 Feb 2010 at 1:06 amJaco

    Xavier,

    I have not visited the Line of Fire website lately. It doesn’t surprise me. Brown is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Civility doesn’t feel good for the savage. Taking off the gloves is the kind of street fighter style we expect from spiritual terrorists. I have extremely little regard for this charlatan.

    Jaco

  19. on 24 Feb 2010 at 9:57 amXavier

    Jaco

    Gently instruct those who oppose the truth. Perhaps God will change those people’s hearts, and they will learn the truth. 2Tim 2.25

  20. on 24 Feb 2010 at 11:06 amJaco

    Ok, brother,

    I’ll accept your counsel.

  21. on 24 Feb 2010 at 4:12 pmJoseph

    Where can I find the recent White vs. Buzzard debate?

  22. on 27 Feb 2010 at 8:47 pmMark C.

    Anthony’s discussion with James White on the British radio show “Unbelievable” is scheduled to air March 6. They post the programs on their website after they air.  See http://www.premier.org.uk/unbelievable.

  23. on 27 Feb 2010 at 9:23 pmXavier

    Joseph

    For any future news, updates etc., check out his website:

    http://focusonthekingdom.org/index.html

  24. on 13 Mar 2010 at 8:48 pmXavier

    The James White v. Anthony Buzzard debate finally online:

    http://www.premierradio.org.uk/listen/ondemand.aspx?mediaid={8D308942-5CE3-4BB8-9039-B8653F819D33}

    Who won?

  25. on 15 Mar 2010 at 8:34 amMargaret Collier

    Who won?

    I think both (in different areas). John 17 is an example of both.

    Anthony: Verse 2 shows that the Father (not Jesus Christ) is the only true God.

    White: Verse 5 shows that Jesus existed with the only true God before his incarnation.

    The two are not contradictory. Jesus is the God of the universe, having been given that authority by the Father. But he himself is subject to the only true God who SENT him.

    The only true God, on the other hand, is subject to no one.

  26. on 16 Mar 2010 at 1:18 amXavier

    Margaret Collier

    So your binitarian? Believe in 2 gods?

    How can “the Father” be in anyway “the only true God” if there is another “God” hanging around? Especially one who is as eternal as that “only true God and Father”? As your interpretation of John 17.5 suggests.

  27. on 16 Mar 2010 at 4:20 amJaco

    Margaret Collier, welcome

    I agree with Anthony. The one which is supposed to be God Almighty, according to a teaching which became orthodoxy (Trinity), identifies another One as God Almighty, also using anthropomorphic language to denote their inequality, as well as functional and ontological inequality by requesting that One to give Jesus the glory He intended him to have. I feel that, to harmonise these with the Trinity doctrine, extra-biblical concepts, completely alien to Hebraic thought, as well as linguistic acrobatics have to be superimposed upon Scripture which does not allow for it at all.

    Even after receiving “all power,” Jesus remained in subjection with God, thus proving their inequality:

    1 Cor. 15:27 “But when he says that ‘all things have been subjected,’ it is evident that it is with the exception of the one who subjected all things to him.”

    1 Cor. 11:3 “…the head of every man is the Christ; in thurn the head of a woman is the man; in turn the head of the Christ is God.”

    Even at his ultimate exaltation, Christ is still subject, thus unequal to God, whom he calls his Father.

    Since Jesus is the sent-out one, or Apostle, (Heb. 3:1) the Hebrew connection is immediately that of sh’liach (Heb. for sent-out one, or representative, or ambassador). To extrapolate this beautiful and perfect Hebrew setting into a doctrine of biblically alien concepts and logical contradictions, would not do the Bible or its message any justice.

    Looking forward to discuss this with you further,

    In Christ,

    Jaco

  28. on 16 Mar 2010 at 6:04 pmMargaret Collier

    Thank you so much, Xavier and Jaco.

    First: I do not believe in two Gods. I believe in ONE God, the same God that Paul believed in – Yahweh, God Almighty.

    I agree with Anthony that the doctrine of Tri-unity (that one God = three persons) a) is contrived b) is unscriptural and c) has done an enormous amount of harm.

    The fact is – in all of the trinitarian passages (I think there are about 60 of them) God is always ONE person, not three. He is one of three, not three in one.

    I am familiar with the quotations from 1 Corinthians and agree with you: they mean what they say. In fact, 1 Corinthians 15:24:28 tells me that he will be subject to his God FOR EVER, just as he has been in the past

    I have just finished a discussion with Trinitarians on another site, and learned a lot. I expect to learn something from ANY discussion that is based on the Bible, so I expect to learn from you, and I am grateful for the chance to interact.

  29. on 16 Mar 2010 at 6:31 pmMargaret Collier

    “How can “the Father” be in anyway “the only true God” if there is another “God” hanging around?” (Xavier)

    Good question. I hope I can answer it.

    The word “god” refers to someone who has total control in some area. For example: there are people whose god is their belly (Philippians 3:19). Satan is the god of this world (2 Corinthians 4:4). Dagon was the god of the Philistines. And so on. The spheres of all of them were limited.

    But Christ has been given dominion over ALL THINGS, and I can say, as Thomas did in John 20:28, that he is “my God”.

    But I say that, knowing that his authority was GIVEN to him by the only true God, who is subject to NOBODY. Yahweh is the only true, the only ABSOLUTE God. And Jesus always treated him as that.

    That, to my thinking, is where the inequality comes in. It’s like Joseph and Pharaoh. Pharaoh MADE Joseph lord of all Egypt; but in doing so he said, “only in the throne shall I be greater than thou”.

    Greater – not better.

    I’ll quit, because I hate long posts. But I appreciate criticism. That’s where the learning comes in.

  30. on 16 Mar 2010 at 8:22 pmXavier

    Margaret Collier

    Jesus himself defines what the bible means when it refers to others as “gods” in John 10.22f.

    Is it not written in your Law, ‘I have said you are “gods”‘? If he called them ‘gods,’ to whom the word of God came—and Scripture cannot be broken—what about the one whom the Father set apart as his very own and sent into the world? Why then do you accuse me of blasphemy because I said, ‘I am the Son of God‘?

    Note that ultimately Jesus is to be identified as “the Son of God” and not “god”, even though we may mean it in a secondary sense. Scripture doesn’t explicitly call him “god” [i.e. the god Jesus Christ; Jesus who was god, etc.], so why should we?

  31. on 16 Mar 2010 at 9:48 pmMargaret Collier

    Two of the unscriptural titles that trinitarians use are “God the Son” and “God the Spirit”. Those terms are not in the Bible. The scriptural titles are “God the Father,” “Son OF GOD,” and “Spirit OF GOD”. And those three titles are used consistently, about 100 times, so it isn’t just an accident.

    On the other hand, Thomas called him, “My God,” and Jesus did not rebuke him for it. That sounds explicit enough for me.

    He is called “God” in Hebrews 1:8, too. But it was HIS God who called him that (v. 9).

    Actually, the word has a lot of different connotations, and it is just as well to be aware of them.

  32. on 16 Mar 2010 at 11:15 pmXavier

    Margaret

    You are correct. Jesus is explicitly [without grammatical or textual contradictions] referred to as “god” [in an obvious secondary sense] at John 20.28; Heb 1.8.

    But note, that Heb 1.8 cites Ps 45.6 where the Davidic king [or his throne, as some LXX variants suggest] is also called “god”.

    Either way, 2 or 3 verses cannot do away with the thousands of times the Father is referred to or explicitly called “the God” [“only true God” etc.].

  33. on 18 Mar 2010 at 8:01 amMargaret Collier

    We agree, Xavier. In my opinion, 1 Corinthians 8:6 and John 17:3 are clear enough to dispel any doubt. And there can’t be any question about the text, because those two verses are translated essentially the same way in every translation.

    So I wouldn’t put down the value of “two or three verses”. And maybe “thousands of times” might be a bit of an exaggeration.

    The point is, “proof texts” are a valuable way to learn what some one else is saying. And looking into them carefully can EITHER make us change our understanding of the verse, OR ELSE strengthen our own convictions about it. But we need constantly to remember that although God’s Word is infallible, our understanding of it isn’t.

    I hope to get back with some questions re the two debates later, but I will be away for a week. In the meantime, I will watch this thread (from another computer) for any other debates which include either Sir Anthony or Dave Burke.

  34. on 18 Mar 2010 at 3:53 pmJaco

    Margaret,

    It’s good to discuss these exciting truths.

    I do want to mention something – a point the trinitarians often use to sabotage any proper discussion of a matter – and that is regarding John 14:28, where Jesus says that his ‘Father is greater than he is.’

    One reply is that Jesus’ Father was greater than he was, since Jesus was a man, and divested himself from his divinity. Well, then trinitarians can unfortunately not have their cake and eat it. See, if Jesus was man, and thus inferior to God, and that is prove for his statement, then they cannot use any of his other “claims” for divinity while he was on earth. Either he was God or he wasn’t.

    Another point is that “the Father was greater, but not better.” You see, this is an example of “special pleading.” That is, introducing a factor unrelated to the matter, and argue for that. I’m not concerned over what it doesn’t say – I’m concerned over what it does say. To have someone greater than another person introduces inequality, period. Every argument has to be falsifiable. So, what do trinitarians expect when someone IS better? Whatever they say, if it’s valid, you’ll find something somewhere of the Father being, not only greater, but also better than Jesus.

    Then, ultimately, IF (and that is just to give them the benefit of the doubt) these above arguments were indeed valid, we still do not see Jesus reclaiming equality with YHWH when he ascends to heaven and receive his ultimate exaltation, as the 1 Corinthians passages show.

    Just a little formal logic for those interested…

    Regards,

    Jaco

  35. on 18 Mar 2010 at 6:18 pmXavier

    Jaco

    Is it true that “nominal” trinis do not accept the kenosis theory?

    If so, why do we still hear people like James White and others argue for it?

  36. on 18 Mar 2010 at 7:01 pmJaco

    Xavier,

    That’s such a good question. Why on earth? That is the ultimate contradiction! Either Jesus had full kenosis, and he was not God on earth, with no “proof” or “allusion” to divinity, or he had all the “proof” of divinity, but then he could not have had full kenosis. The “fully God fully man” enigma is a logical and scriptural contradiction par excellence. These concepts are mutually exclusive.

    That’s when the trinis, as you call them, have to resort to linguistic and logical acrobatics. Vague language (such as “divine,” “nature,” “essence,” etc.) as well as awkward terms fluid in meaning are what ultimately terminate proper dialogue, and the trini escapes through the cracks.

    I’m actually looking forward to Robert Bowman and Dave Burke’s debate. Now, Bowman is a different fellow. He creates novel and ad hoc grammatical rules that would make the alchemists blush! He makes classical lexicographical giants look pewney, and he does it in no time! I hope Dave is prepared for Bob’s innovative grammatical manoeuvres, as that creative streak is usually Bob’s trump card…we’ll just have to wait and see.

    I’ve not listened to Sir Anthony and James White’s debate yet. I’m planning to do so this weekend.

    Cheers, bro.

    Jaco

  37. on 18 Mar 2010 at 7:38 pmRay

    How does one defend the Trinity perspective?

    I suppose one could find scriptures that support something about God in Christ, Christ in God, The Holy Spirit being of God, Christ being in the Spirit, The Spirit of God being in Christ, God being present with the Holy Spirit, The Holy Spirit being with God, Jesus being with God, the Holy Spirit being with Jesus, and such like, but will we ever find the terms, “God the Son”, “The Second Person of The Trinity”, “God the Holy Spirit” (as distinct from God the Father)
    or some other Trinitary ways in the scriptures themselves?

    I suppose we could make a case about Trinitarians being Christians as they practice these customs, or manners of speech, for those who partake of the Lord’s flesh and blood (John 6:56)
    find a connection with him, and have entered into the new covenant.

    I see no law written that prohibits a person from entering into Trinitary ways or manners of speech. I believe there is liberty in
    the spirit of God. This does not mean that all such speaking is pleasing to the Lord. It does mean that the Lord will be the judge of how we speak and communicate the gospel to others.

    If men are presently partaking of the Lord’s flesh and blood, will they argue their own case about such things? This is an interesting
    question to consider isn’t it?

    We certainly do not have the right to impose our paradigm or worldview on others do we? Nor do we have the authority given by God to coerse anyone into being as we ourselves are in such matters, do we?

    We may defend the truth when the truth is being undermined, attacked, twisted, perverted, or distorted, for we ought to be concerned for both the souls of people, and the name of God.

    We should also realize that the words uttered by Thomas to Jesus,
    “My Lord and my God.” have never appeared in scripture and yet it seemed to be acceptable to Jesus. Let’s keep in mind the liberty we have in Christ, especially in our worship of him and God the Father. It wasn’t robbery for Thomas to put Jesus on the same level spiritually as God is, in my opinion.

    If the truth is under assault, I might defend it, but if a certain way of men are under assault, I myself might not go to it’s defence.

    The way of God, we may defend if we are in good standing with him. If we can do so legaly, God may permit it. He might also require it of us. These things we will learn of him as we learn to be led by his spirit.

  38. on 18 Mar 2010 at 7:42 pmRay

    Xavier, Thank you for posting the information about this debate between James White and Anthony Buzzard. (post 24).

    I clicked on it and was able to receive some U.K. radio, but I did not get to the debate. Is there something I need to click on to?

    Anyone?

  39. on 18 Mar 2010 at 9:01 pmDoubting Thomas

    Ray
    Click on the link Mark C. sent in post 22. That’s how I found it.

  40. on 18 Mar 2010 at 9:19 pmXavier

    Jaco

    Some interesting comments from the New Bible Dictionary, 3rd ed.

    The essence of the original kenotic view is stated clearly by J. M. Creed. ‘The Divine Logos by His Incarnation divested Himself of His divine attributes of omniscience and omnipotence, so that in His incarnate life the Divine Person is revealed and solely revealed through a human consciousness’ (art. ‘Recent Tendencies in English Christology’ in Mysterium Christi, ed. Bell and Deissmann, 1930, p. 133). This Christological statement is open to damaging theological objections; and, on exegetical grounds too, there is little support for it.

    The verb kenoun means simply ‘to empty’. In the literal sense it is used, for example, of Rebekah’s emptying the water from her pitcher into the trough (Gn. 24:20, lxx: the verb is exekenōsen). In Je. 14:2; 15:9 the lxx uses the verb kenoun to render the pu‘al of ’amal, which the rv translates as ‘languish’; and this translation points to a metaphorical usage which prepares the way for the interpretation of the Philippians text. The use of kenoun there in the active voice is unique in the NT, and the whole phrase with the reflexive is not only un-Pauline but un-Greek too. This fact supports the suggestion that the phrase is a rendering into Gk. of a Sem. original, the linguistic solecism being explained by the literal translation from one language into another.

    Recent scholars (H. W. Robinson, J. Jeremias) have found this original in Is. 53:12: ‘He poured out his soul to death’. On this reading of Phil. 2:7, the ‘kenosis’ is not that of his incarnation but the final surrender of his life, in utter self-giving and sacrifice, on the cross. Even if this novel interpretation is regarded as somewhat forced (for a critique, see R. P. Martin, Carmen Christi, 1967, ch. 7) it puts us on the right track.

    The words ‘he emptied himself’ in the Pauline context say nothing about the abandonment of the divine attributes, and to that extent the kenotic theory is an entire misunderstanding of the scriptural words.

    Sounds good for us right? But the article finishes with this [perhaps someone else could also help me understand what it says] 🙂

    Linguistically the self-emptying is to be interpreted in the light of the words which immediately follow. It refers to the ‘pre-incarnate renunciation coincident with the act of ‘taking the form of a servant’’ (V. Taylor, The Person of Christ in New Testament Teaching, 1958, p. 77). His taking of the servant’s form involved the necessary limitation of the glory which he laid aside that he might be born ‘in the likeness of men’. That glory of his pre-existent oneness with the Father (see Jn. 17:5, 24) was his because from all eternity he existed ‘in the form of God’ (Phil. 2:6). It was concealed in the ‘form of a servant’ which he took when he assumed our nature and appeared in our likeness; and with the acceptance of our humanity he took also his destiny as the Servant of the Lord who humbled himself to the sacrifice of himself at Calvary.

    The ‘kenosis’ then began in his Father’s presence with his preincarnate choice to assume our nature; it led inevitably to the final obedience of the cross when he did, to the fullest extent, pour out his soul unto death (see Rom. 8:3; 2 Cor. 8:9; Gal. 4:4–5; Heb. 2:14–16; 10:5ff.).
    Wood, D. R. W.: New Bible Dictionary. InterVarsity Press, 1996, c1982, c1962, S. 643

  41. on 18 Mar 2010 at 9:20 pmXavier

    Jaco

    Some interesting comments from the New Bible Dictionary, 3rd ed.

    The essence of the original kenotic view is stated clearly by J. M. Creed. ‘The Divine Logos by His Incarnation divested Himself of His divine attributes of omniscience and omnipotence, so that in His incarnate life the Divine Person is revealed and solely revealed through a human consciousness’ (art. ‘Recent Tendencies in English Christology’ in Mysterium Christi, ed. Bell and Deissmann, 1930, p. 133). This Christological statement is open to damaging theological objections; and, on exegetical grounds too, there is little support for it.

    The verb kenoun means simply ‘to empty’. In the literal sense it is used, for example, of Rebekah’s emptying the water from her pitcher into the trough (Gn. 24:20, lxx: the verb is exekenōsen). In Je. 14:2; 15:9 the lxx uses the verb kenoun to render the pu‘al of ’amal, which the rv translates as ‘languish’; and this translation points to a metaphorical usage which prepares the way for the interpretation of the Philippians text. The use of kenoun there in the active voice is unique in the NT, and the whole phrase with the reflexive is not only un-Pauline but un-Greek too. This fact supports the suggestion that the phrase is a rendering into Gk. of a Sem. original, the linguistic solecism being explained by the literal translation from one language into another.

    Recent scholars (H. W. Robinson, J. Jeremias) have found this original in Is. 53:12: ‘He poured out his soul to death’. On this reading of Phil. 2:7, the ‘kenosis’ is not that of his incarnation but the final surrender of his life, in utter self-giving and sacrifice, on the cross. Even if this novel interpretation is regarded as somewhat forced (for a critique, see R. P. Martin, Carmen Christi, 1967, ch. 7) it puts us on the right track.

    The words ‘he emptied himself’ in the Pauline context say nothing about the abandonment of the divine attributes, and to that extent the kenotic theory is an entire misunderstanding of the scriptural words.

    Sounds good for us right? But the article finishes with this [perhaps someone else could also help me understand what it says] 🙂

    Linguistically the self-emptying is to be interpreted in the light of the words which immediately follow. It refers to the ‘pre-incarnate renunciation coincident with the act of ‘taking the form of a servant’’ (V. Taylor, The Person of Christ in New Testament Teaching, 1958, p. 77). His taking of the servant’s form involved the necessary limitation of the glory which he laid aside that he might be born ‘in the likeness of men’. That glory of his pre-existent oneness with the Father (see Jn. 17:5, 24) was his because from all eternity he existed ‘in the form of God’ (Phil. 2:6). It was concealed in the ‘form of a servant’ which he took when he assumed our nature and appeared in our likeness; and with the acceptance of our humanity he took also his destiny as the Servant of the Lord who humbled himself to the sacrifice of himself at Calvary.

    The ‘kenosis’ then began in his Father’s presence with his preincarnate choice to assume our nature; it led inevitably to the final obedience of the cross when he did, to the fullest extent, pour out his soul unto death (see Rom. 8:3; 2 Cor. 8:9; Gal. 4:4–5; Heb. 2:14–16; 10:5ff.).
    Wood, D. R. W.: New Bible Dictionary. InterVarsity Press, 1996, c1982, c1962, S. 643

    Ray

    Try their home page link: http://www.premier.org.uk/unbelievable

    Scroll down to:

    Find out more: For James White, click here. For Anthony Buzzard, click here.

  42. on 18 Mar 2010 at 9:25 pmXavier

    You can download James White v. Buzzard here:

    http://ondemand.premier.org.uk/unbelievable/AudioFeed.aspx

  43. on 19 Mar 2010 at 12:21 amRay

    I was able to listen to about 30 minutes of the debate. I left off where the talk was beyond my understanding of Hebrew words and such.

    One thing I took notice of was the fact that some external source
    (something other than the scripture and the interpretation of it by the holy spirit) if given authority, may shape one’s world view
    which would then result in a view that is likely not that of God’s perspective. This would result in something that God would not necessarily agree with.

    It seems to me that through the knowledge of the gospel, the Church of old came to receiving words of the Holy Spirit as they spoke the message of the gospel, wrote of it, and sang their hymns and spiritual songs. But though the words be right, sound, and good, if we “hear” in a manner that is not according to the interpretation of the holy spirit, we likely would not be receiving the truth as it was given to us, but rather would be receiving something slightly (or greatly) different.

    And so it’s the interpetation of the words that is many times of great importance, and often is the cause of misunderstanding.

    Have you ever been in worship and been found to be placing Jesus
    in a place of equality with God the Father? Now by the letter, if the
    words were written down, and someone other than you came to judge it by the letter, they might conclude that you determined all kinds of things that you do not necessarily agree with.

    Isn’t it because of the lens or filter we look through? And so we desire the proper lens (given to us by the Holy Spirit) so that we may see more clearly the kingdom and the glory of it.

  44. on 19 Mar 2010 at 2:32 amJaco

    Xavier,

    I wonder why they present the contradictory interpretations. Initially they appear to agree with the first, but then they present as truth the exact opposite interpretation.

    I think, to properly understand this section, we have to determine:

    ‘Have the mental attitude which Christ also had’ – when?

    ‘who, being in the form of God’ – when?

    ‘did not regard equality with God something to be grasped’ – how? when?

    ‘but he emptied himself’ – how? when?

    ‘and took a slave’s form’ – how? when?

    ‘and came to be in the likeness of men’ – how? when?

    ‘while in that fashion, he humbled himself and became obedient as far as death by crucifixion’ – this seems additional to the previous statements of emptying himself. Or, in Hebrew parallelism, this could also be an elaborated restatement of a previous point made.

    ‘Fashion’ and ‘likeness’ – morphe and eikon also appear to be used synonymously. The meaning of these has to be derived, not from classical literature, but from then-current and biblical usage.

    Jaco

  45. on 19 Mar 2010 at 8:46 amXavier

    Jaco

    You keep asking “when” all these statements took place. Would you say “on earth” and not in some “time before time”?

    Regarding the greek words for “form” [morphe] and “image” [eikon], are synonymous and representative of one another right? As in, they both describe Jesus as “the image of the invisible God” [as per Col 1.15]?

    Note Kuschel in his excellent [yet dense] “Born Before all Time”:

    There is a great controversy among exegetes as to precisely how ‘form of God’ is to be defined. Arguments and counter-arguments balance each other out. Anyone who decides, say, for ‘appearance’ (thus O. Knoch…) runs the risk of reading into the text a contrast between changing ‘external appearance’ and a permanent ‘inner being’. But there can be no question here of any kind of role-play on the part of Christ (thus, above all, Bornkamm, ‘Understanding’, 115). Anyone arguing that this is a statement about Jesus ‘can be misunderstood in physical-real terms, as though the person of “Jesus Christ”, pre-existent before the world, had a human or human-like form’…Anyone who argues for status, position (thus Schweizer, Lordship and Discipleship, 113f.), will hardly find a parallel in other New Testament writings (thus rightly Gnilka, Philipper-Kommentar, 113f.). And anyone who argues for the ‘dignity of a divine ruler’ or the ‘status of divine glory’ (thus Schnackenburg…) overlooks the fact that according to the hymn the obedient one only received this status after the humbling and not before. The most convincing interpretation still seems to me to be that of E. Kassemann: the en morphe ‘denotes the sphere in which one stands and which determines one like a field of force. That is the way in which Hellenism sees existence: on each occasion it is put in a field of force and qualified by it’ (33). Thus Kasemann defines en morphe less as a statement about personal nature and more as a statement about origin. So, too, G. Eichholz, Die Theologie de Paulus im Umriss [The theology of Paul in outline], Neukirchen-Vluyn 1972, 131…

    However, precisely because of the different nuances in meaning, we would do well not to press the text, whether linguistically, theologically or in terms of the history of religion. It is striking how succinct the basic theological statement of the text is, how it builds up theological tensions without resolving them. Any interpreter has to remain aware that: ‘What needs to be noted in theological interpretation is that the hymn itself speaks in the unguarded language of praise, not in the diction of an exact dogmatics which has been safeguarded on all sides.’ So this hymn knows nothing of questions about two ‘natures’ of Christ. The phrases ‘emptying himself’ and ‘being in the likeness of men’ are not to be understood as referring to the assumption of human nature by an abidingly divine person, nor is the text interested in clarifying the following problems.

  46. on 19 Mar 2010 at 12:22 pmJoseph

    I listened to the Buzzard vs. White debate.

    My first thoughts are that I think Anthony did a job well done being in a format where the Trinitarian side gets the last word. I do think that Anthony needs to take a more offensive position rather than waiting to defend. For example, he did a great job at defending the difference of Lords in Psalm 110, but he could have taken it a step forward and asked Mr. White to explain how a resurrected bodily Messiah can sit down to the right of a Spirit God and how that can make one God? Another point I saw that was missed is that Psalm 110 does not say Adonai in the Hebrew, it says YHVH, which is replaced with Adonai to keep from saying YHVH…

    I have bolded the parts where YHVH and adoni are in the Hebrew…

    אדניליהוהלדוד מזמור נאם

    It also seems that the book of Hebrews 1 and the OT parallels to Christ have become a popular debating point among Trinitarians, as Dr. Brown also brought this up as his main argument in a previous Buzzard debate.

  47. on 19 Mar 2010 at 12:25 pmJoseph

    Seems as though the blog is not compatible with copy and past for Hebrew. Just pay attention to the bolded words, one is YHVH and one is adoni.

  48. on 19 Mar 2010 at 4:23 pmMark C.

    Joseph,

    So the Hebrew reads “Adonai said to my adoni…”? Is that correct? And was YHVH in older versions? It was my understanding that the avoidance of writing YHVH was a later development.

  49. on 19 Mar 2010 at 4:44 pmJoseph

    Mark,

    The Hebrew reads, “YHVH said to my adoni.” But when I hear people debating the verse (such as Buzzard with White) they say Adonai in place of YHVH. This only creates confusion between what the text says about who is Adonai and who is Adoni. There is confusion because we know that Adonai and Adoni share the same Hebrew letters (aleph, delet, vav, nun, yud), so this creates a false sense that the two are saying the same thing. But really the only debate is about the word adoni (my lord) which clearly is not a reference to YHVH.

  50. on 19 Mar 2010 at 5:32 pmMark C.

    Joseph,

    I think you may have misunderstood Anthony. He says it reads “YHVH said to my adoni” but most people wrongly say that it is “YHVH said to my Adonai” and that calling the one who is addressed “Adonai” proves that Messiah is God.

  51. on 19 Mar 2010 at 7:16 pmRay

    It seems to me that Jesus can be spoken of as being” in the form of God”, and the interpretation of it’s meaning can be mulitple things, depending on what the speaker or writer is attempting to convey.

    This leaves us with the knowledge of our need for the holy spirit’s guidance.

    I suppose this is why some ask, “When?” as time pertains to a certain verse.

    I myself trust that Jesus was in the form of God from everlasting,
    having been dwelling in God from eternity. In this condition, he was in the form of God. He was a spirit being. I think of him at such a time as being similar to an angel of God but being more than any angel of God.

    This reminds me of Paul’s (I trust he is the writer) comparison of him with Melchisedec in the book of Hebrews. There some similarites are made so that we may receive a view of Christ that is a bit more than we previously held.

    Paul was known as a man that would come to visions and revelations of the Lord. He also knew other men who also experienced those things as well.

    When God gives a vision, dream, or other revelation, the result is often that the scriptures are made more clear to us as our vision is improved through what we have received.

    When such men share their vision, dream, or revelation, and tell it
    correctly we should gain more understanding of spiritual things and the scriptures themselves. The revelation and the scripture should work together.

    That’s one reason why I am interested in such things. I want to have an accurate perception of the kingdom of heaven, one that
    is both accurate in what I now have received, and one that will grow into something greater.

    As a man Jesus was “in God’s form”, in a sense. I believe we may speak of him in such manner.

    Have you ever heard someone say about another, “He’s not in his best form today.” , or something similar?

    So a thing said may have different interpretations and communicate
    different ideas. The same sentence or phraze can have multiple meanings. I’ve seen this before and I’ve remarked about how “Full
    Filling it is” (as if I can not presently eat any more)

  52. on 19 Mar 2010 at 7:49 pmXavier

    Joseph

    Psalm 110 does not say Adonai in the Hebrew, it says YHVH, which is replaced with Adonai to keep from saying YHVH…

    A number of commentaries misstate the facts about Ps 110:1. They assert that the second lord is Adonai and not the first “LORD”.

    Even Calvin seems to have misread the verse as “YHWH said to Adonai”:

    Calvin, 3:43, raises the honest historical question: ‘Might not God have raised up someone of the human race as Redeemer to be David’s Lord and Son at the same time? For it is not God’s most essential name that is used [here], but only Adonai [Adoni] (Lord), which [name] in fact is often applied to men’… Matthew: The Churchbook, Matthew 13-28, Frederick Dale Bruner, Eerdmans, p 243-244, 2007.

    Note that the author actually corrects Adonai with .

    It also seems that the book of Hebrews 1 and the OT parallels to Christ have become a popular debating point among Trinitarians…

    Too true. John 20.28 and Heb 1.10 really are the only texts trinis can resort to when debating the age old topic of whether Jesus is called “god” in the bible or not. Even though Jesus himself defines the meaning at f.

  53. on 20 Mar 2010 at 8:12 amJoseph

    Mark,

    I think you may have misunderstood Anthony. He says it reads “YHVH said to my adoni” but most people wrongly say that it is “YHVH said to my Adonai” and that calling the one who is addressed “Adonai” proves that Messiah is God.

    I wasn’t sure exactly what Anthony said, I just remember the debating of Psalm 110. The main point I was making is that YHVH in Psalm 110 is read out by many with the traditional replacement of the name as ‘Adonai.’ I have been in debates where Trinitarians have been mistaken of the Hebrew texts, and actually thought that the passage said, “Adonai… to my adoni.” So, they actually thought that the Hebrew had two occurrences of the the same Hebrew letters, aleph, delet, vav, nun, yud. There argument was that there was two people called Adonai.

  54. on 20 Mar 2010 at 10:40 amToady

    Both Peter (Acts 2:34) and Jesus (Matthew 22:44) quoted it as “THE LORD (adonai) said to MY LORD (adoni)”.

    Sir Anthony made that point in his debate with Brown, but he used the Greek translation, which didn’t seem to register.

    I think if Jesus understood it to be “adoni,” that should settle the matter.

  55. on 20 Mar 2010 at 10:59 amJoseph

    Toady,

    Good point. Anthony knew that White would not accept the masoretic text vowel pointing, so he pointed to the Greek texts which show that “my lord” and not “LORD” is used in place of adoni.

    I did also notice that White seemed to concur by silence on that subject, as he had no defense. Either way, both the Hebrew and the Greek point in favor of ‘adoni’ in reference to the second Lord.

  56. on 21 Mar 2010 at 12:34 amXavier

    Toady

    The Septuagint version (LXX) supports the Hebrew MT, from which the NT writers based most of their OT citations.

    Psalm 110:1 is quoted by Jesus: Matt. 22:44; Matt. 26:64; Mark 12:36; Mark 14:62; Mark 16:19; Luke 20:42, 43; Luke 22:69; Rev 3:21; by Peter: Acts 2:33-34, Acts 5:31. I Pet. 3:22; by Stephen: Acts 7:55-56; and by Paul: Rom 8:34; I Cor. 15:25; Eph 1:20; Eph 2:6 Col 3:1; Heb 1:3; Heb 1:13 Heb 8:1; Heb. 10:12-13; Heb. 12:2.

    Following are comments from Anthony Buzzard in his “The LORD said to my lord” study:

    In the Greek of the LXX, LADONI becomes:
    “to kurio mou” (= to my lord)

    If the text had read:
    LADONAI (= to the Divine Lord) the Greek would have read simply “to kurio.”

    Thus the LXX confirms for us that the original Hebrew is ADONI, and that the Massoretes got it right.

    Full article here: http://www.focusonthekingdom.org/articles/BD86.htm

  57. on 23 Mar 2010 at 7:35 pmXavier

    Dr. Brown Continues His Debate with Sir Anthony Buzzard on the Deity of Jesus and the Trinity:

    http://lineoffireradio.askdrbrown.org/2010/03/23/march-23-2010/

    Don’t forget to leave your comments. Support the faith once received and you proclaimed in public!!

  58. on 08 Apr 2010 at 7:10 amDave Burke

    The debate begins this Sunday (11th). Details will be announced at Bowman’s blog: http://tinyurl.com/yz9etoz

  59. on 10 Apr 2010 at 7:46 amDave Burke

    Updated link for Trinity debate: http://tinyurl.com/y25akpo

  60. on 10 Apr 2010 at 12:34 pmJoseph

    I posted a few responses to the Anthony Buzzard – Dr. Brown debate on Dr. Brown’s website. They are currently awaiting moderation.

    Anthony did much much better this time around. He didn’t let Dr. Brown use his position as radio host to his advantage. I noticed that Dr. Brown likes to get the last word in before a commercial break and then change the subject after returning back to the show to give the illusion that the point of debate is over. Anthony was more on the offensive this time around and handled the issues at hand. He made sure to speak up immediately when Dr. Brown would sneak in a misrepresentation of the points being made.

    The pace of the debate eventually ended in Dr. Brown having to explain his own contradictions and special pleading.

    Well done Anthony!

  61. on 11 Apr 2010 at 7:11 amDave Burke

    That’s the problem with radio debates: they favour the host, particularly if he’s unscrupulous.

  62. on 12 Apr 2010 at 11:37 pmDoubting Thomas

    I listened to the debate and I didn’t get the impression that Dr. Brown was unscrupulous. I thought he was respectful toward Sir Anthony who presented the Unitarian position quite well. Dr. Brown just honestly disagrees with the Unitarian position and was obviously speaking from his heart (what he believed).

    My opinion is of course not neutral, but I thought Sir Anthony sounded like the more convincing of the two. But your preconceptions do effect your judgment in these kind of debates…

  63. on 13 Apr 2010 at 6:21 amXavier

    Doubting

    But your preconceptions do effect your judgment in these kind of debates…

    Agreed. Same goes for when we read the scriptures, preconceptions should not be brought into the text [eisegesis]. As my good friend Greg Deuble says, we should strive to read “the Bible with new eyes”.

    I often hear that these types of debates do not serve any purpose, since each camp is stuck to their own theological views.

    Anyone want to comment?

  64. on 13 Apr 2010 at 8:46 amDave Burke

    Xavier, never underestimate the power of a compelling argument in the minds of the uncertain and/or undecided. I have personal experience of Trinitarians rejecting Trinitarianism after witnessing a debate between a Trinitarian and a Biblical Unitarian.

    Remember Nicodemus, who came to Jesus by night!

  65. on 14 Apr 2010 at 5:54 pmDoubting Thomas

    Xavier
    You said, “Agreed. Same goes for when we read the scriptures, preconceptions should not be brought into the text (eisegesis). As my good friend Greg Deuble says, we should strive to read “the Bible with new eyes”.

    The problem is that preconceptions are (more often than not) subconscious in nature. If ever since you were a young child your heard that something was true (example – the bible is infallible) than it becomes ingrained in your subconscious and will effect how you read and interpret scripture.

    It’s the same with the Trinitarians who have their ideas ingrained in their subconscious causing them to interpret scriptures in a certain way.

    You also said, “I often hear these type of debates do not serve any purpose, since each camp is stuck to their own theological views.”

    I believe the search for truth is a noble endeavor. We must however realize it is impossible to reach the ultimate goal of knowing all there is to know. Some people are close minded others are open minded. Debating what you believe with others very often leads to a stronger understanding of exactly what it is that you actually believe.

    I can’t see these type of debates being harmful as long as people are gentle and reverent of the other person’s beliefs…

  66. on 14 Apr 2010 at 8:02 pmXavier

    Dave Burke

    First time I hear someone say that such debates has swayed some of the listening audience. How about convincing your opponent as such? Ever happened in your experience?

    Doubting

    The problem is that preconceptions are (more often than not) subconscious in nature.

    I don’t know if our worldview comes via “nature” as you suggest. I think its a combination of nurture and nature. Then again, this is why it is so important to come to the scriptures “with new eyes”.

    For example in my case, being an agnostic, the first thing I heard regarding life after death was that your soul escaped your body. When I finally came to search and examine the scriptures I slowly came to realise that was not the biblical view at all.

  67. on 14 Apr 2010 at 8:25 pmDave Burke

    Xavier,

    If you look in the book of Acts you’ll find the apostles preaching and debting throughout the cities of Asia Minor, with great success. The Jewish Christian Apollos also convinced his audience through the power of debate:

    Acts 18:27-28
    When Apollos wanted to cross over to Achaia, the brothers encouraged him and wrote to the disciples to welcome him. When he arrived, he assisted greatly those who had believed by grace,
    for he refuted the Jews vigorously in public debate, demonstrating from the scriptures that the Christ was Jesus.

    Yes, I have had experience of my opponent being convinced by my arguments. I run an online discussion forum (www.thechristadelphians.org/forums) where a number of people have been turned from Trinitarianism to Biblical Unitarianism through courteous, well-reasoned discussion and debate. It’s not a method that works for everyone, but it does work.

  68. on 14 Apr 2010 at 9:03 pmDoubting Thomas

    Xavier
    You said, “Then again, this is why it is so important to come to the scriptures ‘with new eyes’.”

    I agree. I try to keep an open mind (as best I can).

    You also said, “When I finally came to search and examine the scriptures I slowly came to realize that was not the biblical view at all.”

    I also use to believe that your soul immediately went to heaven immediately after death (exposed to this since childhood). But since coming to this website I’ve come to understand the true message about the Kingdom of Heaven and how it will be here on earth.

    I didn’t get this realization on my own. It came from reading articles and posts here on this blog and going back and re-examining what the bible actually says on the subject.

    I find parts of the bible hard to understand that’s why I like to read a few pages and then stop and contemplate what it is I read and try to digest it. I find the Synoptics and some of the letters are the easiest to understand. I find the Old Testament the hardest to understand…

  69. on 14 Apr 2010 at 9:23 pmXavier

    Dave

    Clearly we are not in the “power of the spirit” Apostolic days as recounted in the Book of Acts where thousands were converted by simply preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom and the things concerning the name of Messiah Jesus.

    But I am glad your site and technique has found great success. Keep it up!

    Doubting

    I find the Synoptics and some of the letters are the easiest to understand.

    I agree, their pretty straight forward in their account.

  70. on 15 Apr 2010 at 1:28 pmMargaret Collier

    Hello, Dave Burke.

    I’m glad you are following this thread. I have been trying to find your introductory post in the debate with Bowman – without success. Would you please give me a link to it?

    I confess that I am a dunce when it comes to finding things on the internet. I’m inclined to agree with somebody’s explanation that in order to use modern technology, you have to be able to find the right wrench to pound in the correct screw. I seldom find it.

    In the meantime – and now my request goes to anybody who has the time to respond – I have been listening, carefully, to Sir Anthony Buzzard’s debates referred to earlier. I am impressed with his knowledge of the Bible.

    I rejected tri-unism some years ago as being unscriptural; but I have some trouble following the argument that the Son did not exist until the Word became flesh. Maybe someone who has time could give me a link to an explanation of this. I understand the Word and the Son to be identical.

  71. on 15 Apr 2010 at 1:51 pmrobert

    “I understand the Word and the Son to be identical.”

    Margaret
    They are the same. What most people do not understand is in 2nd temple judaism the Word of God was refered to as the Son of God.
    So You see the Word-Son did prexist before coming Flesh in the Person Jesus at his baptism through the Holy Spirit. Jesus was annointed with the title of the Word because of His perfection in God’s ways. This Word was manifested in Jesus by God’s Spirit and Spoke through Jesus as it was done through many prophets before Him.

  72. on 15 Apr 2010 at 2:37 pmBrian Keating

    Hi Margaret,

    The following link takes you to a very informative article by Anthony Buzzard, which describes the meaning of God’s “word”.

    http://focusonthekingdom.org/articles/john1.htm

    Basically, the Biblical Unitarian doctrine holds that God’s word is actually his “will”, or “plan”. As a result, Jesus “existed” in God’s plan, before the creation of the world – just like we existed in his plan before the creation of the world. (Eph 1:3-5).

    Brian

  73. on 15 Apr 2010 at 8:01 pmXavier

    Margaret

    …I have some trouble following the argument that the Son did not exist until the Word became flesh. Maybe someone who has time could give me a link to an explanation of this. I understand the Word and the Son to be identical.

    Let me give you my impression. First of all note that the prologue to the Gospel of John is written in what most call a poetic/prose style. It is figurative/metaphorical speech not to be taken wholly literal.

    The other thing that many err on is the misappropiation of the “word” [Greek logos, lower case and not capital “W”, as if we were talking about a person] as one to one equal with the Son, Jesus. The “word” is not some preexistent person who “took on flesh” [as the Catholic/Protestant dogma states] and “became” [transformed itself] into the man Jesus. Buzzard and others make an excellent observation when they point out that prior to the biased KJV version of the Bible, all previous English version from the Greek and not the Lantin Vulgate render the first 3 verses as follows:

    In the beginning was the Word…The same [and not “He”] was in the beginning with God. All things were made by it [not “him”], and without it[not “Him], was made nothing that was made. In it[not “Him”] was life, and the life was the light of men…

    This means that the subject in question, the “word”, is God’s self-expression of Himself, the creating force by which He brought everything into being. As the Bible tells us in many other places:

    In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth…God said, ‘Let there be light’, and there was light… Gen 1.1, 3

    By the word of YHWH [the LORD God] the heavens were made, their starry host by the breath of his mouth…For he spoke, and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood firm. Ps 33.6, 9

    By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible…who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist. Heb 11.3; Rom 4.17

    So what I think the writer is trying to communicate to the reader, in poetic prose if you will, is how His creative word [which itself is synonymous with “light” and “light”, cp. 1Jn 1.1-5] was coming into the world and “pitching its tent” [tabernacling, dwelling, v.14] in a unique human creation. The man Jesus of Nazareth.

    A failure to grasp the nuance of John’s thought can be seen in how several translations inappropriately introduce the male pronoun ‘he’ into John 1.1-2. In John 1.1 the TEV and LB use the pronoun ‘he’ for ‘the Word’ at some point to reduce the redundancy of John saying ‘the Word’ three times. A similar substitution of ‘he’ can be seen in John 1.2 in the NASB, NIV, NRSV, NAB, AND the AB. In this case ‘he’ replaces houtos, ‘this one’…

    …all this translations suggest that ‘the Word’ is a male of some sort…

    …the Word is not Christ in the Gospel according to John. The Word is a divine being [God Himself] or agency that transcends human qualities. Truth in Translation, J. BeDuhn.

    I would add that the translator’s insistence on keeping the logos as somehow a preexistent male due to a logos having a masculine grammatical gender in the Greek, extends to vv.9-12. The subject of these verses remains the “word” which is now synonymous with the “light” by which the world and its inhabitants exist and which was coming into the world. Again, the writer seems to be talking about an “it” and not a “he”. Then again, it is acceptable within the anthromorphic biblical precedent of personifying God’s invisible attributes [qualities] to call them “he” or “she” as in the case of Wisdom in Pro 8. This point is best seen in the way other languages translate the prologue, for example in Spanish, where the “word” and “light” are femenine gender nouns, it is translated thus:

    In the beginning was the word [“la palabra”]…she was in the beginning…everything was made through her and without her nothing was made…In her was life…The word [“la palabra”] was the light [“la luz”]…it was in the world and the world was made through herJerusalem Bible 1976

    In either case we are talking not about preexistent beings, for in that case Wisdom, Prudence, Glory etc., would have to be identified as such. But within the Hebreaic worldview and expressions, it is a way to describe God Himeelf.

    Hope this helps…

  74. on 15 Apr 2010 at 10:06 pmDave Burke

    Margaret:

    Hello, Dave Burke.

    I’m glad you are following this thread. I have been trying to find your introductory post in the debate with Bowman – without success. Would you please give me a link to it?

    Thanks for your interest in the debate. I can help you with the links:

    My opening statement to Bowman is here: http://tinyurl.com/y69wc6d
    Bowman’s opening statement to me is here: http://tinyurl.com/y5expt5

    Those are the two introductory arguments.

  75. on 15 Apr 2010 at 10:07 pmDave Burke

    Margaret, see below for links to the rebuttals and counter-rebuttals:

    Bowman’s rebuttal to my opening statement is here: http://www.reclaimingthemind.org/blog/2010/04/the-great-trinity-debate-part-1-david-burke-on-god-and-scripture/#comment-30351

    My response to Bowman’s rebuttal is here: http://www.reclaimingthemind.org/blog/2010/04/the-great-trinity-debate-part-1-david-burke-on-god-and-scripture/#comment-30402

    My rebuttal to Bowman’s opening statement is here: http://www.reclaimingthemind.org/blog/2010/04/the-great-trinity-debate-part-1-rob-bowman-on-god-and-scripture/#comment-30403

  76. on 15 Apr 2010 at 10:08 pmDave Burke

    You will find our rebuttals and counter-rebuttals in the “Comments” section at the bottom of each opening statement.

  77. on 15 Apr 2010 at 10:17 pmXavier

    Brian

    …the Biblical Unitarian doctrine holds that God’s word is actually his “will”, or “plan”. As a result, Jesus “existed” in God’s plan, before the creation of the world – just like we existed in his plan before the creation of the world. (Eph 1:3-5).

    In this instance [John 1.1-14] it makes more sense to think of logos as “God’s self-expression” not so much as His “plan”. Although I do agree with the second part of your statement above.

    Bias has shaped most of these translations much more than has accurate attention to the wording of the Bible…No translation of John 1.1 that I can imagine is going to be perfectly clear and obvious in its meaning. John is subtle, and we do him no service by reducing his subtlety to crude simplicities. Truth in Translation, BeDuhn, p 113-134.

  78. on 15 Apr 2010 at 10:53 pmDave Burke

    Good point Xavier.

  79. on 16 Apr 2010 at 5:05 amJaco

    Hi, everyone

    I think the first week of the Great Trinity Debate on Robert Bowman’s blog, Parchment and Pen, has gone down on a good start. I’d like to share with you a few observations from both sides of the debate. Obviously there will be many more crucial points that could be highlighted, and these should definitely be shared.

    I’ll start with David Burke’s turn first. He says:

    Scripture the interpreter of Scripture

    This is an essential point I hope David will lean on heavily. Scripture will determine what the meaning and interpretation of other texts will be. No philosophical, extra-biblical superimposition of concepts and meanings to defend a stance; no, Scripture will determine meanings to a text (cp. Gal. 1:8, 9)

    Arguments from silence are inadmissible…We know that Jesus sometimes concealed his identity…so it could be argued (albeit unconvincingly) that he concealed his deity in a similar way. Thus it is not enough to conclude that Jesus is not God simply because he never claimed to be.

    In Critical Reasoning one has to remember that, not only content, but also context determine whether an argument ex silentio is indeed such. Granted, if Alexander the Great never claimed to have conquered Pasargadae in Persia that would not prove that he didn’t, would it? Hardly! But – and this is where the context tips the log – if Alexander were known to boast over his conquests, especially ones that had him deified, having scribes write down in detail what he said and did, with lists of cities he conquered, complete with dates and heavenly phenomena…and his great conquest of Pasargadae was lacking in every one of those accounts then the argument from silence is admissible. It either implies that Pasargadae was not conquered, or that someone else conquered it.

    Now, in this debate, Bowman claims that Jesus is Yahweh. It is only fair to expect that the Yahweh in the OT will be identical to the Yahweh in the NT (one of Whom or Which (philosophical confusion, see?) is Jesus). We should expect the same bold expressions of sovereignty and deity as we see from Him in the OT. We should expect to see “Almighty” in all that Jesus did and said. Its absence would attest to incongruence, precisely because the claim is that the two characters are said to be identical. Granted, Jesus never boldly claimed to be the Messiah, but this is a different matter altogether. The expectation of what the Messiah would do and say did not include bold expressions of his being that (cp. Isa. 53:7). Jesus fulfilled all the Messianic prophecies perfectly. The Gospel accounts and the testimonies in Acts point to Jesus as the Messiah. To say that we expect Jesus to be identified as Yahweh is an understatement…to see it would be a requirement. With all we have in the OT regarding Yahweh, His Sovereignty and expressions thereof, His omnipotence and bold claims to be the Almighty of the Universe, it is devastating to see that the one asserted to be identical to the Yahweh of the OT says nothing thereof. Not only that, but to be preached as being the Messiah exclusively and never directly as God Almighty or Yahweh where one would expect exactly that, are all matters of serious concern. Whatever reason we can put forth for Jesus’ silence as regards his Messiahship, cannot be advanced for the reasons regarding the silence of his “Yahwehship” since he was never silent about the identity and glory of the One who is truly Yahweh, namely, his Father.

    I contend, thus, from a logical point of view, that the absence of Jesus’ claim to be God is a valid concern and not an argument ex silentio.

    Burke goes on:

    . If we find several dozen verses saying one thing and one verse which appears to say something different, we have either discovered an apparent contradiction which must be resolved, or an solitary exception to a pre-established principle.

    This is a good point – one which Bowman agrees with. Bowman says, “In general, I agree with what you wrote about exegetical method, with the qualifications I expressed in my opening statement about being open to possible paradoxes or apparent contradictions in Scripture.” I hope Dave will call Bowman to task if he dares to use John 2:19 as final proof that Jesus (and not Yahweh his Father) literally and actively raised Jesus from the dead, while ignoring all other proofs to the contrary.

    I’m glad David referenced the issue regarding Sam Shamoun’s misuse of the Shema. Dave is perfectly correct when he says that echad is occasionally used to modify a collective noun, but its actual meaning never changes (e.g, one bunch, one pair, one herd). One is still one. It is troubling to see that Shamoun, a Jewish Christian, would site the “one flesh” of Genesis 2:24 as proof of echad’s “plurality.” It is troubling because, of all, Shamoun should know that the very same “one flesh” were said to have “made loin coverings” from fig-leaves. The verb for “make” is not asah’ (singular) but asoh’ (plural). So, even though they were one flesh, they were still consistently depicted as plural (in grammar and concord). By the way, they were one flesh and not one being. Yahweh, on the other hand, is always described in singular pronouns confirming Him to be singular or one, the true meaning of echad. This “one flesh” argument is such a fallacious analogy which, in my mind, calls to question the honesty of otherwise knowledgeable Hebrew speakers.

    It will be good to see how Dave will use the listed attributes ascribed to God alone as proof of Yahweh’s distinctness from and sovereignty over even Jesus.

    Bowman’s reply was no surprise to me. He states nothing new which other trinitarians have not attempted to explain (away) themselves. I also think that Dave handles the syllogistic and logical aspects of Bowman exceptionally well. Especially Bowman’s objection to Dave’s bold statement where Dave said:

    …the Christian God is the Jewish God and everything that we know about Him through the Christian message was already known to the Jews through Judaism. Christianity added nothing to the nature or identity of God, but took for granted the definitions and principles already present in Judaism.

    See, Bowman and the other trinitarians cannot afford having nothing added to the concept of God form outside the Jewish paradigm. I have a problem with the vagueness with which Bowman handles the issue. He has not given an explicit definition and conceptual boundaries of “God.” His reference to “adding” is very arbitrary, and he misrepresents the issues somewhat, in that adding (to Bowman) means adding anything. Not only that, but Bowman calls the Jewish concept of God – the concept within which Jesus and the apostles preached the Gospel – unqualified monotheism! Wow, that borders on blasphemy in my books. But Dave clarified it perfectly by quoting Albert Barnes:

    Salvation is of the Jews – They have the true religion and the true form of worship; and the Messiah, who will bring salvation, is to proceed from them. See Luke 2:30; Luke 3:6. Jesus thus affirms that the Jews had the true form of the worship of God. At the same time he was sensible how much they had corrupted it, and on various occasions reproved them for it.

    Interestingly enough, it is Bowman who finally resorts to evasive arguments ex silentio and from ignorance where Dave asks him the following questions:

    (a) What would you consider valid evidence of a Unitarian God?
    (b) If God is one person how would you expect Scripture to say so?

    Not only that, but Bowman creates a false dilemma, in that plural suggestions or references to others as being “god” can only mean literal plurality. We’re all waiting in high anticipation for the positive statements by Bowman regarding the above questions. It will be good to work with explicit and clear falsifiable statements and not evasive rhetorical remarks.

    Something Dave did not reply to was Bowman’s familiar analogy to light’s dualistic nature (particle/wave).

    I have a few qualms with this. Firstly, and I hope Bowman will not make this rather amateurish mistake, this analogy sounds like “proof by illustration.” If, indeed, he is not trying to prove the validity of different “natures” in one “being” by using this example, it still does not do much for Bowman’s argument, and it brings me to my next qualm: Why use an illustration in which different natures of light has been confirmed, to prove the plurality of another (God), when this is exactly what has to be determined? The analogy is also false in that, (and I hope Dave will point this out) God, Elohim, ho Theos, Yahweh, are all proper names. These nouns are never presented as abstract or qualitative attributes but as identities. How Bowman can see a correlation between inanimate light (noun) having different attributes or behaviors (particle/wave) and the personal Yahweh (proper name) subsisting of different persons is more an allusion to Modalism than trinitarianism. Syllogistically, Bowman’s reasoning goes like this:

    Premise 1: The Bible presents Yahweh to be one
    Premise 2: As with light, being one does not deny having plurality
    Conclusion: The Bible presents Yahweh to be a plurality.

    Not only does it smack in the face of logic (structural fallacy of affirmative conclusion from negative premise(s)) and exegesis (conceptual range of Yahweh, Elohim, ho Theos), but, to me, is rather demeaning. The quantum physicists he referenced would easily tell us what we could expect if light were a particle alone or a wave alone and they would be honoured for their openhearted honesty. We see, however, that Bowman evades the question of what to expect if the Bible presented Yahweh to be a Unitarian God, or God being one person and one being.

    Finally, I’d like to see explicit proof, presented within the cognitive range of ancient Judaism, that the faithful Jews clearly distinguished between the concepts of “being” and “person.” Hebrew words confirming these meanings and concepts would be much appreciated. Sola Scriptura, remember?

    I will give my take on Bowman’s presentation a little later.

    Dave, super job!

    Your brother,

    Jaco

  80. on 16 Apr 2010 at 6:44 amDave Burke

    Jaco,

    Thanks for your detailed analysis. I am grateful for the support.

    Bowman’s “light” analogy seemed hasty and confused, as if he was still trying to iron out the wrinkles even as he posted it. I left it alone because it was not particularly well structured and added nothing to his position.

    Syllogistic reasoning is a hallmark of Trinitarian exegesis, particularly among those who profess Sola Scriptura. In Week 2 I predict that he’ll roll out some variation of the “here’s-a-list-of-attributes-unique-to-God that-are-clearly-shared-by-Jesus” argument.

    “My dog has four legs; my cat has four legs; ergo, my cat is a dog!” 😛

  81. on 16 Apr 2010 at 9:41 amXavier

    Dave & Jaco

    Could I get your views on John 1.10-12:

    He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God…

    Who are the personal pronouns referring to here?

    What translation would you give to the Greek autos as used throughout vv.1-12?

  82. on 16 Apr 2010 at 11:19 amDave Burke

    Xavier:

    Who are the personal pronouns referring to here?

    Jesus. I have no problem reading autos as “he” throughout this passage and agreeing that Christ is referred to.

    What translation would you give to the Greek autos as used throughout vv.1-12?

    My interpretation looks like this:

    John 1:1-12
    In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was divine.
    The Word was with God in the beginning.
    All things were created through it, and apart from it not one thing was created that has been created.
    In it was life, and the life was the light of mankind.
    And the light shines on in the darkness, but the darkness has not mastered it.

    A man came, sent from God, whose name was John.
    He came as a witness to testify about the light, so that everyone might believe through him.
    He himself was not the light, but he came to testify about the light.
    The true light, who gives light to everyone, was coming into the world.

    He was in the world, and the world was divided through him, but the world did not recognize him.
    He came to what was his own, but his own people did not receive him.
    But to all who have received him — those who believe in his name — he has given the right to become God’s children

    My interpretation of “egeneto” in verse 10 as “divided” is still a work in progress, and I’m not entirely sure that it’s valid. But it does make sense to me and seems to fit the context.

    I’m consulting a couple of friends who are fluent in Koine Greek, and will see what they have to say.

  83. on 16 Apr 2010 at 11:21 amDave Burke

    Sorry, verse 10 should be:

    He was in the world, and the world was divided through him, and the world did not recognize him.

  84. on 16 Apr 2010 at 11:42 amXavier

    Dave

    You seem to agree with most BUs when they interpret the autos at vv.1-3 as “it” instead of the traditional [trini induced] “he/him”.

    Wouldn’t it make sense to keep this translational standard throughout the rest of the prologue to v.12, since the subject remains the logos which [and not “who”, as you suggest] is referred to as “the light”? Cp. 1John 1.1-5

    In other words, the subject down to v.14 [when I believe Jesus is finally introduced as “the flesh/human being” in which those impersonal qualities come to “tabernacle/dwell? in] remains the logos of vv.1-3.

  85. on 16 Apr 2010 at 12:11 pmDave Burke

    Xavier:

    You seem to agree with most BUs when they interpret the autos at vv.1-3 as “it” instead of the traditional [trini induced] “he/him”.

    Yes.

    Wouldn’t it make sense to keep this translational standard throughout the rest of the prologue to v.12, since the subject remains the logos which [and not “who”, as you suggest] is referred to as “the light”? Cp. 1John 1.1-5

    Not to me. I see no evidence that the subject remains the logos throughout. We are explicitly told that the light was in the logos and that John the Baptist testified about that light. This immediately tells us that the light is Jesus. We don’t even hear about the logos again until much later.

    John says that the light entered the world, was not recognised by the world, came to his own, was not accepted by his people, but gives the right to become God’s children to all those who believe in him. Does that sound like Jesus to you? It sure sounds like Jesus to me!

    Of course, none of this implies or requires that Jesus pre-existed, nor does it imply or require that Jesus is God. Yet it must surely be a description of Jesus.

    In other words, the subject down to v.14 [when I believe Jesus is finally introduced as “the flesh/human being” in which those impersonal qualities come to “tabernacle/dwell? in] remains the logos of vv.1-3.

    See above. I agree that there is no connection between the logos and Jesus until verse 14, when the logos becomes Jesus.

  86. on 16 Apr 2010 at 12:24 pmXavier

    Dave

    We are explicitly told that the light was in the logos and that John the Baptist testified about that light. This immediately tells us that the light is Jesus.

    Are you suggesting that “the light” described [in the same way as “life” at v.4; cp. “word of life” 1Jn 1.1-4] is the “person” of Jesus?

    If so, how is this different from the trini view that Jesus is the preexistent “person” of the logos? That is, if we agree that all these terms are synonymous. If not, how can we tell if their not? They sure sound like they are.

  87. on 16 Apr 2010 at 5:19 pmDave Burke

    Xavier:

    Are you suggesting that “the light” described [in the same way as “life” at v.4; cp. “word of life” 1Jn 1.1-4] is the “person” of Jesus?

    Yes.

    If so, how is this different from the trini view that Jesus is the preexistent “person” of the logos?

    It is different because I believe that Jesus did not actually pre-exist and there is nothing in John 1:1-14 which suggests that he did. To say that the light was in the logos is not to say that Jesus literally pre-existed, but only that he was part of the greater scheme. We cannot speak of the light (Jesus) personally and literally existing until verse 7, when John testifies about the light (Jesus). Until then, we are merely told that the light was in the logos. And since the logos is simply God’s word, this does not require Jesus’ pre-existence.

    That is, if we agree that all these terms are synonymous. If not, how can we tell if their not? They sure sound like they are.

    They are not synonymous and we know this because of the way they are juxtaposed. The light is said to be in the logos. This automatically differentiates the light from the logos. To say that the light is in the logos is no different to saying that Jeremiah was in the mind of God before he was born:

    Jeremiah 1:5
    “Before I formed you in your mother’s womb I chose you. Before you were born I set you apart. I appointed you to be a prophet to the nations.”

    Here Jeremiah was known by God, set apart by God and appointed as a prophet by God – all before he existed! This does not require literal pre-existence. Like Jesus, Jeremiah was in the mind of God; in His plan; part of His purpose. “In his Word”, if you like.

  88. on 16 Apr 2010 at 8:40 pmXavier

    Dave

    We cannot speak of the light (Jesus) personally and literally existing until verse 7, when John testifies about the light (Jesus). Until then, we are merely told that the light was in the logos.

    The “light” metaphor is introduced in conjunction with the “life” in vv.4-5. These are different terms talking about the same subject of vv.1-3, namely the logos.

    How and why would you differentiate the terms?

    If that’s the case “Who” is the “life”? 🙂

    And where does the text say that “the light was in the logos“?! This is weird, almost Gnostic-trini.

  89. on 17 Apr 2010 at 12:31 amDave Burke

    Xavier:

    The “light” metaphor is introduced in conjunction with the “life” in vv.4-5. These are different terms talking about the same subject of vv.1-3, namely the logos.

    That’s an interesting perspective. How do you arrive at it?

    How and why would you differentiate the terms?

    I differentiate the terms for reasons and by methods which should be obvious. They are different words, they are described differently and they are differentiated.

    If that’s the case “Who” is the “life”? 🙂

    The life is also Jesus. He is both the light and the life, just as he said:

    John 8:12
    Then Jesus spoke out again, “I am the light of the world. The one who follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

    John 9:5
    As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.

    John11:25
    Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live even if he dies

    John 14:6
    Jesus replied, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

    I think you must be the first person I have ever met who denies that Jesus is the life and the light of the world. I find this very strange.

    And where does the text say that “the light was in the logos“?! This is weird, almost Gnostic-trini.

    Settle down mate, there’s no need for that kind of language. It’s not Gnostic-trini at all. It’s just good old fashioned exegesis. I’ve already posted John 1:1-12 and it was all there in plain English. Shall we take another look?

    The Word was with God in the beginning.
    All things were created through it [the Word], and apart from it [the Word] not one thing was created that has been created.
    In it [the Word] was [b]life[/b], and [b]the life was the light of mankind.[/b]

    So the life was IN the Word, and the life IS the light of the world. Thus we know that the light and life are the same thing, and thus we know that the light (which is also the life) was in the Word.

    Now, what does John tell us about that light which was also the life?

    A man came, sent from God, whose name was John.
    He came as a witness to testify about THE LIGHT, so that everyone might believe through him.
    He himself was not THE LIGHT, but he came to testify about the light.
    THE TRUE LIGHT, who gives light to everyone, was coming into the world.

    Are you honestly going to tell me that “the light” in these verses is not Jesus? Seriously?

  90. on 17 Apr 2010 at 12:32 amDave Burke

    Well, it’s unfortunate that we can’t edit our posts, because I’ve just made a mess of that one. Still, you get the general idea.

  91. on 17 Apr 2010 at 1:59 amXavier

    Dave

    That’s an interesting perspective. How do you arrive at it?

    From the text itself. The creative quality that is the “word of God” is the “light” of all things that in turn gives “life”. Sounds like its all synonymous with the creative act of the logos. If not, and it is as you say the “light”=the “person” of Jesus, then are we to assume that this is a “second person in the Godhead”?

    What do you make between the clear contrast of the Johannine prologue with the Genesis account when it comes to that same “light”? Again, are we to assume it is “the person of Jesus”? This would be problematic for our BU perspective wouldn’t it?

    The life is also Jesus. He is both the light and the life, just as he said…

    Are you suggesting that the “what” of 1John 1.1-3 should be a “who”? In other words, Jesus? If so, how can we not say he literally preexisted if that’s what both texts are alluding to, “someone” [and not something] that was there before the known creation?

    Settle down mate, there’s no need for that kind of language. It’s not Gnostic-trini at all.

    Sorry bro, didn’t mean it as a personal attack. It just simply sounds a bit like the Gnostic Reedemer Myth which Bultmann made popular. I apologize.

    Are you honestly going to tell me that “the light” in these verses is not Jesus? Seriously?

    I do not see why it can’t be God Himself being introduced in v.10 with the personal pronoun of auton as opposed to autos. But it could be alluding to the coming human being [flesh] of v.14. Why? Simply because the subject of the prologue is the logos as the “life” as the “light” Who [God] was “coming into the world” when it “tabernacled” in the human Jesus.

  92. on 17 Apr 2010 at 4:25 amDave Burke

    No worries Xavier, it’s cool.

    I am currently writing some counter-rebuttals to Bowman, but I’ll get back to this thread as soon as I have time. Until then, you might be interested in my articles here: http://tinyurl.com/qssj9m

  93. on 17 Apr 2010 at 6:04 amXavier

    Dave

    No worries if your interested let me know if you want to get in touch outside of this forum. Interested to know what your answers are.

  94. on 17 Apr 2010 at 8:46 amDave Burke

    Xavier,

    You can contact me through my own forum (see the link I’ve posted in #92). Feel free to get in touch.

    My curent debate workload will keep me busy until Monday. I’ll come back to this thread then, if I can.

  95. on 17 Apr 2010 at 2:48 pmandrewneileen

    Xavier,

    I have a different approach. I don’t like the ‘it’ option for John 1:1-3 and would agree that ‘he’ is needed as in vv.10-12. My argument is that the Greek of ‘with God’ is pros ton theon and a concordance search on this expression reveals a number of texts about mediators/priests who were ministering ‘towards’ God. This would suggest to me that a person is implied in the title Logos and that it is Jesus. I read 1 John 1:1 as a close parallel indicating Jesus.

    Andrew

  96. on 17 Apr 2010 at 5:03 pmrobert

    If you took the time to search the origin of logos in hebrew you would find parallels with the word for wisdom in which you would find it possess the feminine personification not male.

  97. on 17 Apr 2010 at 7:28 pmMargaret Collier

    I am enjoying this conversation tremendously. I appreciate Dave’s taking the time to try to explain his position when he must be extremely busy with the debate.

    I intend to read Dave’s articles on this subject, because after reading John 1:1-18 in several different translations (as well as a Greek Interlinear), I find myself still understanding logos, light and life all as alluding to Jesus.

    On the other hand, I think Dave’s first post is excellent. It took me several years of studying to discover all the evidence he has already introduced for the fact that God is one person, not three.

    I am looking forward to the next round.

  98. on 17 Apr 2010 at 7:56 pmRay

    Does anyone here see Genesis 1:3 as a prophetic utterance concerning Jesus, or as a promise of what was to come to be born of a woman?

    I see this as a promise of eternal life which God has promised.(Titus 1:2)

  99. on 17 Apr 2010 at 9:07 pmXavier

    andrewneileen

    I don’t like the ‘it’ option for John 1:1-3 and would agree that ‘he’ is needed as in vv.10-12.

    You may not like it but English grammar itself dictates that we are dealing with a common/abstract noun when it comes to “word”. I mean would you say “the car…he was in the beginning, through him…” etc? Also note that this was not always the case, as all early English translations did not use personal noun or pronouns.

    The culprit appears to be the King James translators. As I said before, these translators were much more familiar and comfortable with their Latin Vulgate than they were with the Greek New Testament. They were used to understanding passages based on reading them in Latin, and this worked its way into their reading of the same passages in Greek…The interpretation of John 1:1-2 that is now found in most English translations was well entrenched in the thinking of the King James translators based on a millennium of reading only the Latin, and empowered their close attention to the more subtle wording of the Greek. After the fact—after the King James translation was the dominant version and etched in the minds of English-speaking Bible readers… Truth in Translation, BeDuhn.

    One last point. The theological bias of most English translators leads them to break with a simple rule of English grammar. Unlike other languages, such as French or Spanish, you cannot give common/abstract nouns like “word” or my example of “car” personal pronouns such as “he” or “she”. It is just plain bad grammar to do so. Yet, when it comes to the Johannine prologue no one bats an eye when this cardinal rule is broken time and time again. When the subject is the “word, life, light”, different terms talking about the same thing.

    PS: In Romance languages like Spanish, “word” [“la palabra”] is a feminine gender noun. Grammatical rule dicatates that fem. or masc. noun are to be followed by its proper personal pronouns. So that in Spanish John 1.1-4 should always be rendered [and not sometimes] as:

    In the beginning was the word…All things were created through her and without her nothing was created…In her was life…

    Margaret

    …I find myself still understanding logos, light and life all as alluding to Jesus.

    I agree but not from “In the beginning”…where all these creative qualities [and not “persons” or “person”] were the means through which God first created and then expressed His very Person. That these things later came to “dwell, tabernacle…in the flesh [human person]” of Jesus is another matter.

    Note that as we often say, these are Hebraic ways of explaining the invisible God’s activities through creation. There is nothing to suggest in this prologue or in the OT that we are dealing with preexistent, personal beings as such. But simply God Himself expressing His creative and powerful Person.

  100. on 17 Apr 2010 at 10:20 pmMargaret Collier

    You may be right, Xavier. I haven’t been able to find a translation that uses “it,” but that doesn’t prove anything. I will wait and see what Dave has to say about it in his next posts.

    Your statement ‘That these things later came to “dwell, tabernacle…in the flesh [human person]” of Jesus …’ is a bit bewildering. What translation are you quoting? Any translation I have says that the word BECAME flesh, and took up residence among US.

    In the meantime, the words of verse 15 seem to support the idea that Jesus, though he was BORN after John, nevertheless PRECEDED him.

    It’s hard to imagine that John considered Jesus to have existed previously as an “it”.

  101. on 18 Apr 2010 at 12:26 amJohnE

    Margaret,

    a little bit of context for the language John uses in his prologue would probably be appropriate to understand where he is coming from.

    I personally think this is the most important thing to “get” before trying to figure out what he might have meant. Please see http://kingdomready.org/blog/2010/03/28/two-different-unitarian-doctrines/#comment-62480

    One surely cannot ignore the things that were believed about the “logos” in the Judaism of those times, in favor of today’s anachronistic view of biblical harmony. If God is the source of John’s prologue, is God a 1st century Jew? He surely wouldn’t borrow from Philo or from Philo’s source(s), would he?

  102. on 18 Apr 2010 at 3:16 amMark C.

    It seems to me that if God is the source of John’s prologue, He would use the word “word” the way He used it throughout the Old Testament.

  103. on 18 Apr 2010 at 3:48 amandrewneileen

    Hello Xavier,

    That logos is an abstract noun is not to the point. I wasn’t suggesting otherwise. You mention ‘cars’, a nice common noun, and indeed in colloquial English cars are feminine and referred to with ‘she’. The grammatical agreement of the pronoun and the noun in John is also accepted here by me. The argument made by me was that the abstract noun is used as a term of reference for Jesus because the Greek ‘pros ton theon’ (‘with’ in most versions) is used of the relationship between priests/mediators and God.

    Your grammar does not counter this argument.

    My second argument for ‘he’ not ‘it’ would be the predicate ‘was God’ in v. 1; this makes ready sense for Jesus in the light of Thomas’ confession but not something abstract. My argument is that John has an inclusio here: saying Jesus was God in the beginning and having Thomas make this confession at the end of his book.

    And don’t forget the 1 John 1:1 parallel for identifying Jesus in John 1:1.

    So translations seem to be right for ‘him’ in John 1:3. I recommend the RV.

    Andrew

  104. on 18 Apr 2010 at 4:46 amDave Burke

    Mark C.:

    It seems to me that if God is the source of John’s prologue, He would use the word “word” the way He used it throughout the Old Testament.

    I totally agree.

  105. on 18 Apr 2010 at 7:14 amandrewneileen

    Mark and Dave,

    I would agree on God as the source of the OT.

    But you will have to show a common way of using the word ‘word’ between your OT examples and John 1. For example, suppose someone says Ps 33:6, 9 or Isa 55:11 are the way God uses ‘word’ in the OT. This is one way but not the same way as John 1. We should not make the mistake of thinking God uses ‘word’ in one way. There are various ways.

    The case for ‘him’ in John 1:3 is still standing.

    Andrew

  106. on 18 Apr 2010 at 7:37 amDave Burke

    Andrew, I see no reason to believe that the word “word” is being used differently in Psalm 33:6, 9 & the Johannine prologue. They sure look like the same thing to me.

  107. on 18 Apr 2010 at 8:19 amandrewneileen

    Dave,

    Psa 33:6 juxtaposes ‘word’ and ‘breath of his mouth’ in parallel to show that we have a reference to God speaking as in Gen 1. This descriptive language is not even close to John 1 where we need a concept for ‘word’ which will sustain ‘towards God’ and ‘was God’. In Psa 33, we don’t even have a personification. We might say that Psa 33 uses an attributive hypostatization for ‘speaking’ in its use of ‘word’. John 1:1 is not this because of the priestly/mediator overtones of ‘pros ton theon’.

    I notice the suggestions of ‘plan, purpose’ for ‘word’ in this thread. We are not even in the ballpark for those ideas with Psa 33.

    There are other things to say, but I don’t want to multiply the case for seeing a reference to Jesus in John 1:1. Take things one point at a time is my motto. You must be busy with your debate, so don’t get side-tracked by me. Someone else on this blog may be able to reply.

    Andrew

  108. on 18 Apr 2010 at 8:33 amDave Burke

    ^^ Yes, fair point Andrew.

  109. on 18 Apr 2010 at 10:14 amDoubting Thomas

    Ray (msg. 98)
    Your knowledge of the OT is better than mine but I just read Gen. 1:3 and Titus 1:2 and I don’t see Gen. 1:3 as a promise of eternal life or as a prophetic utterance concerning Jesus. Of course I could be wrong…

  110. on 18 Apr 2010 at 10:45 amJohnE

    Mark,

    It seems to me that if God is the source of John’s prologue, He would use the word “word” the way He used it throughout the Old Testament.

    And that’s exactly the problem, most of the time John doesn’t use “logos” the way it is used in the OT, but rather the way Philo does – that’s the point I was making. Just like Philo, John’s logos was “a god”, was “with God”, is the image of God; this logos is also God’s partner in creation and is God’s offspring. Where in the OT do you read these things about the “word”?

  111. on 18 Apr 2010 at 11:52 amRay

    Thomas, I’ve heard that God speaks in many ways and that one reason so many people at times don’t hear from God, or think they don’t hear from God is that they don’t know how he speaks.

    I’ve heard men talk about how God tells them things through their body, their feelings, what they can sense, and other ways. Sometimes it’s just a thought.

    I’ve seen God speak through patterns. I think many of us have.

    Could Genesis 1:2,3 be a pattern of things?

  112. on 18 Apr 2010 at 11:56 amXavier

    Margaret

    Your statement ‘That these things later came to “dwell, tabernacle…in the flesh [human person]” of Jesus …’ is a bit bewildering. What translation are you quoting? Any translation I have says that the word BECAME flesh, and took up residence among US.

    Alot of emphasis has been given to the word “become” as opposed to the following word of “dwell/tabernable”. It is not a becoming as in transformation since “the word” is not some preexistent being but simply God’s self-expression of Himself. Also due to the fact that, as you say, it “toop up residence among US [human beings]” in the human person of Jesus, the unique [one-of-a-kind, monogenes] Son of God.

    andrewneileen

    My argument is that John has an inclusio here: saying Jesus was God in the beginning and having Thomas make this confession at the end of his book.

    Your using a common, trini argument here. The whole purpose and reason for the Gospel of John is found in 20.31 and not 20.28. This is supported by the rest of the Gospels.

    The other mistake your making is to misread Jn 1.1 in the same way that trinis do. It is not saying: “In the beginning was Jesus and Jesus was with God and Jesus is God.” The continous subject of the prologue relates to the logos, variously personified in Jewish writings as God Himself.

    In poetic prose the writer lays out how God finally came to “dwell” with humanity again through His uniquely created Son.

    Now let me ask you this…why don’t translators give personal pronouns to the logos in the same way they do in the opening of the Gospel?

    …the priestly/mediator overtones of ‘pros ton theon’.

    This is eisegesis at its best. Why would this simple phrase have such connotations as the ones your suggesting here? Where is this preexistent “pre-human”[?] Person, High Priest, mediator in the OT?

  113. on 18 Apr 2010 at 12:13 pmRay

    Looking at Psalm 33:6&9, I begin to wonder who did the speaking in the beginning, Jesus or God. After all, the Bible is a prophetic book. When it says “God said”, we are not told all the details.

    Here is Psalm 33, we see that it was by the breath of his mouth that he spoke.

    That’s why I wonder if he spoke through Jesus. Jesus could have been his mouth, as Aaron was Moses’ mouth piece, the breath of God being the Holy Spirit.

    If Jesus did the speaking, the speaking of the word of God, and it was done, I suppose that God did the works.

    And isn’t this a pattern of things that we see in the new testament?

    I suppose we could say that in the beginning was the word, and the word had communication with the word, who received the word from the word, and the word did as the word was commanded, by the word, for the word, and of the word, and produced the good things of the word.

    Psalm 33:7
    He gathered the waters of the sea together as a heap: he layeth up the depth in storehouses.

    God must have done this by himself, by his word alone, by nothing
    other than that which is of himself.

    Is it that from heaven’s perspective that there is only one in heaven, that everything is of one, that God and Jesus together are one?

    Is it that when God looks at Jesus, that there are times when all he sees is himself?

    Isn’t it that this mystery was hidden in God?

    If we consider that Jesus was with God in the beginning and that all was created by God as Jesus gave the word which he received of God, and God did the works of creation, we can say that God created all by himself, that Jesus simply spoke the creation into being by God doing all the work and all of this was done by the word and will of God.

  114. on 18 Apr 2010 at 12:21 pmXavier

    Ray

    If Jesus was not a second God, alongside the One God YHWH of the Shema, and if he is not an angel as per Heb 1, What/Who was it/he? And where in the OT?

  115. on 18 Apr 2010 at 12:26 pmDoubting Thomas

    Ray (msg. 111)
    You said, “I’ve heard it said that God speaks in many ways.”

    I agree. Some people might think I’m a bit crazy but I have found that when I was going through various crisis’s in my life that God spoke to me through lyrics of songs. Of course he can speak to me in other ways as well.

    You also said, “Could Gen. 1:2,3 be a pattern of things?”

    Of course it could. Like you said God speaks to each of us in his own way. I have to go out now I will answer your other msg. (113) later…

  116. on 18 Apr 2010 at 2:51 pmRay

    Xavier, in answer to your question (#114) I believe Jesus has always been the Son of God. (Psalm 2, Proverbs 8, Proverbs 30:4)
    I believe he has been dwelling in God from eternity as his Son (Micah 5:2)

    As he has received the word of God, I believe he qualifies as being referred to as a “god”(John 10:35, Psalm 82:6). Being as he is, as the very name of God, God’s very character, having his very qualities, being so much better than any of the “gods” (those who have received the word of God – John 10:35, Psalm 82:6), that we may also refer to him as a “God” or as “The Mighty God”, on such basis, even as there is to us but one God (the Father) and one Lord. (the Lord Jesus)

    I do not believe these things to be a contradicion in any way, nor in conflict with each other.

  117. on 18 Apr 2010 at 4:21 pmDoubting Thomas

    Ray
    I understand you believe in a pre-existing Jesus but some of what your saying just doesn’t make any sense to me.

    You said, “That Jesus simply spoke the creation into being by God doing all the work and all of this was done by the word and will of God.”

    Why would God have to speak a word to Jesus who repeats the word back to God and than God do all the work? It sounds like your portraying Jesus like he was some sort of “echo chamber” that God spoke to. I think it makes a lot more sense to believe that Jesus came into existence at his birth in Bethlehem.

    Sorry but I just don’t see it the way you see it…

  118. on 18 Apr 2010 at 4:24 pmrobert

    I am quoting this out of an article i read. this article was not promoting unitarianism or trinitarianism. the facts of this is whats important

    “Unfortunately, we don’t know where or when the first Jewish (or Hellenistic-Jewish) thinker rose up from a perusal of the sacred writings and declared that here was the truth: the Messiah was not a future ruler and human agent of God, a priest or warrior, but his own divine Son, a spiritual figure who was pre-existent with the Father. Moreover, he had, within the spiritual realm, descended from the highest sphere of heaven, suffered, died and been exalted in order to bring about the believers’ own exaltation. We don’t know who first applied the name “Yeshua” (Jesus), meaning “deliverer, savior,” to such a spiritual Son and Christ. Indeed, we don’t know if any one individual can be accredited with such innovations. In fact, that is highly unlikely.

    What we do know is that such innovators were building on contemporary religious philosophy, both Jewish and Greek. They had antecedents. Only if the fundamental concept of a heavenly intermediary between God and humanity was already part of the philosophical fabric of the time can we understand the genesis of the Christian movement, or the success which apostles like Paul achieved. The creation of Christian ideas out of this fabric was a process which undoubtedly took place at more than one location around the eastern Mediterranean, with various communities and individuals interacting on each other over the course of an unknown number of years. A record of such seminal evolutionary processes has been lost to us, but we can see early manifestations of them in such things as the christological hymns of Philippians (2:6-11), Colossians (1:15-20) and 1 Timothy (3:16), in the Epistle to the Hebrews, and in the Wisdom-Word-Son mysticism of the Odes of Solomon . And we can glean something of Paul’s own application and rethinking of the fledgling ideas he embraced at various points in his letters.

    That it was all the product of personal study and pondering over the sacred writings, envisioned as the action of the Spirit in revelation from God, is clear from many passages in the epistles. Paul knows of the Son because God has revealed such an entity directly to him (Galatians 1:16); the Son is the subject of God’s gospel found in the prophets (Romans 1:1-4); and that he died and rose from death is knowledge Paul has received by revelation through a reading of scripture (1 Corinthians 15:3-4:. At the hands of thinkers like Paul, the intermediary Son and his role in salvation was taking new shape.

    Consciously or unconsciously, Paul and his contemporaries were fitting their spiritual Son into the thought patterns of the time. And these patterns can be discerned. Perhaps they are nowhere so clear as in Alexandria around the turn of the era, especially in the writings of Philo Judaeus. Philo might be styled a “grandfather” to Christianity, for some of his genes have been passed down to Paul and others, genes he himself had drawn from his own progenitors, the world of Platonic philosophy and Jewish Wisdom theology. Jesus’ genetic makeup was richly endowed.

    Philo of Alexandria

    The city of Alexandria was founded in the year 331 BCE by Alexander the Great in his march of conquest across the Persian empire. It was home to the largest Jewish community in the Diaspora. Here flourished the most prominent center of Jewish learning outside Palestine, the place where the Hebrew bible had been translated into Greek in the third century BCE. It was arguably the most important point of entry for Greek philosophy in its absorption by the Jews.

    The foremost philosopher-theologian of Hellenistic Judaism was born around 25 BCE and lived until some time after the year 41 CE. Philo believed that the Platonic philosophy of his day (now called Middle Platonism) represented a true picture of God and the universe, supplemented by elements of the Stoic and Pythagorean systems. But Philo was first and foremost a Jew, and so he maintained that Judaism lay at the center of this picture, that the Jewish scriptures, as well as Jewish religious observance, embodied the very reality all this Greek philosophy pointed to. His extensive writings set out to illustrate this.

    Such an outlook had been developing in Jewish apologetics even before Philo. One of the principal ways of interpreting scripture to make it reflect Greek philosophy was through the use of allegory and symbolism. The text itself could on the surface seem primitive and uninspiring and even be seen to contain unacceptable ideas, but by applying allegory, the literal meaning of the words could be swept aside, or at least supplemented, by deeper meaning. Thus the text could be made to say almost anything the interpreter wanted it to say. Moreover, once the Pentateuch was seen to embody the principles of Platonism, Moses as their author could then be trumpeted as the original promulgator of the truths of the universe—under God’s inspiration. Plato and his fellow Greek thinkers were declared to have gotten their ideas from Moses, through the Jewish scriptures, which they must have read (in Greek translation prior to the Septuagint!) before forming their own philosophies. The first prominent exponent of this audacious piece of chutzpah was Aristobolus of Alexandria, who seems to have flourished around the middle of the first century BCE.

    Philo’s relationship to Christianity has over the centuries posed a problem for Christian apologists. On the one hand, he shows not the slightest knowledge of Jesus or the Christian movement, even though he would have survived the crucifixion by more than a decade. And yet his ideas (which would have predated Jesus’ career) have an undeniable affinity with Christian doctrine. The solution, of course, is that Philo represents an expression of the current philosophy of his day, a syncretism between Jewish and Greek, while Christianity was formed from a similar amalgamation of contemporary concepts. Whether any of the ideas in the early Christian catalogue were directly derived from Philo is unknown, but both lines of thought can be reduced to the concept of the Son, the spiritual intermediary between God and the world.”

  119. on 18 Apr 2010 at 5:04 pmRay

    There was a light that shined in darkness before the sun was made manifest. I believe there is manna hidden in the scriptures.

    This light shined in darkness before the world was. God made that light and gave it to the world not so that he could see what he was doing, but for our sakes, no doubt. By this we should see what God was up to, what God was doing, what God was saying by this.

    God didn’t need to speak to Jesus with words. I don’t know if he even did at certain times. God is able to communicate without speaking. Sometimes God does use words.

    Sometimes God speaks by what he does.
    What he has created tells us of his glory. (Psalm 19)

  120. on 18 Apr 2010 at 5:12 pmJaco

    Hello, everyone

    Xavier, I saw your question on John 1:10-12. I’ll get to it as soon as I can. I’ve also noted Dave’s answer. Would like to ask him a few things on it as well. But now over to my take on the Great Trinity Debate…

    First of all; anyone who read through Bowman’s post, with only little training in formal logic, would see one huge, elaborate argument from ignorance. It goes like this: I make a claim or a statement. I have no direct, positive proof of it – it’s nevertheless my statement. Unless you prove that my statement is false, it will stand as truth.

    Bowman starts off by elaborately and exhaustively defending which approaches would not be appropriate in determining the veracity of his heresy-turned-orthodoxy Doctrine. One strawman follows the other. See, no one argued for strictly biblical words (biblicism) no one argued against using modern-day corresponding concepts for those found in the Bible. What is more, Bowman goes as far as saying:

    Anthony Buzzard, a noted advocate of biblical Unitarianism, uses the term unipersonal to describe God (e.g., Doctrine of the Trinity, 15), even though this word is not in the Bible. He also describes Jesus as God’s “agent” or “representative” (43-46), terms that the Bible never applies to Jesus. Kermit Zarley (aka Servetus the Evangelical) dubs his position “exclusive God-in-Christ Christology” and describes it as a “functional” Christology (Restitution of Jesus Christ, xii).

    Doesn’t Bowman know that Jesus is called an Apostle (Heb. 3:1), from the Hebrew, sh’liach, carrying the concepts of sent-out one, representative, ambassador? Doesn’t Bowman know what Jesus said about his acting on God’s behalf in John chapters 5 and 6? How on earth can he object, saying that the terms used by Buzzard and Zarley “never applies to Jesus?” The terms and the concept conveyed by Scripture are in perfect agreement.

    He even goes as far as saying,

    All non-Trinitarians adhere to some concepts or formulations that are not explicit anywhere in the Bible.

    Well, this is as absurd as saying, ‘Nowhere in the Qur’an do we find a denial of the crucifixion.”

    In discussing systematic theology, he says:

    The Bible may not answer these questions explicitly, but it may provide information or statements from which the theologian infers an answer. Did God create the world ex nihilo (out of nothing), ex Deo (from God’s own being), or ex materia (from preexisting matter)? The Bible does not answer this question explicitly, but the question, once asked, is unavoidable.

    Our understanding of physics, especially energy and matter, obviously left us thinking about these things from a biblical perspective. One can even say that modern developments necessitate discussing at least some of these matters as they relate to what the Bible tells us. But what do these things have to do with the identity of God? The Bible is all about the identity and activity of God! He then cites the Rev. 20 prophecy and mentions certain interpretations. How does that relate to the discussion of God’s and Jesus’ identities? A symbolic prophecy compared to the central biblical theme?…Bowman’s comparisons are nothing less than misrepresentations of matters par excellence

    Finally, almost as an aside, dwindling in comparison with his defending what he anticipates to do (using semantic acrobatics in concocting a logical chaos-cube), he says,

    In short, sola scriptura means that all doctrine must derive from the teachings of Scripture, not that we are restricted to using words found in the Bible or to using concepts that one or more biblical writers explicitly formulated.

    I couldn’t agree with him more…I’d like to see how he derives his concepts and doctrine solely from scripture…

    Bowman continues, referring to the Shema:

    This verse tells us, first, that Israel has one God, namely, Jehovah. This God, Jehovah, is “one.” The sense in which Jehovah is “one” is not specified, at least not explicitly in this sentence. It could mean that there is only one deity or divine being named Jehovah. It might mean that Jehovah is a single being (which amounts to the same thing). It also might mean that Jehovah, as Israel’s God, is to occupy the first, primary, most important place in their lives.

    Well, Bowman is surely negotiating the conceptual boundaries of possibilities in the Shema’s meaning. But what Bowman seems to miss is that an explicit statement may have derived or implied meanings. These are not necessarily mutually exclusive. What is more, other texts should allow these implications, and these implications cannot contradict the explicit statement.

    Very subtly Bowman tries to put the Biblical Unitarian concept in such a light as to suggest that we are the ones at odds with the central tenet of our faith. He refers, for instance, to the “doctrine of the Trinity” and then mentions “Unitarian forms of non-trinitarian theology…” It reminded me of Sigmund Freud’s postulate of projection, where he shows that the individual who is subconsciously so distressed about something which disagrees with what he holds dear, that he projects or seeks to highlight that very shortcoming in others. I say this because, if I had the time and energy to list all the various forms and versions and explanations and illustrations of the Trinity (not Biblical Unitarianism), I’d end up with a pantheon of trinities close to the number of Hindu gods…I think Bowman knows it…and I think he is quite distressed about it…not us.

    Central to Bowman’s semantic acrobatics in wrestling with Deut. 6:4, he distinguishes between person and being. So, to Bowman, Yahweh is one Being but many (three) persons. Now, remember, he said that “all doctrine must derive from the teachings of Scripture, not that we are restricted to using words found in the Bible or to using concepts that one or more biblical writers explicitly formulated.”
    I would like to see how and where the bible explicitly distinguishes between being and person, and how this distinction immediately and explicitly derived from the Shema.

    If there was one tenet of Judaism by which a faithful Hebrew would live or die, it was the Shema. Are you interested in seeing how important the Shema is to Bowman? This is how:

    It is completely unnecessary for Trinitarians to try to extract the full doctrine of the Trinity from the Shema alone.

    Telling, isn’t it?

    He repeatedly commits the fallacy of arguing from ignorance:

    Other texts in the Bible use the Hebrew word echad or the Greek word heis in the context of speaking of a human being as one person… This has nothing to do with the meaning of the words for “one,” which is simply one, and leaves undetermined whether the one Lord God is in fact unipersonal.

    Well, Bowman has to prove that singularity in being is different from singularity in person. He will also have to prove that a plurality of persons can necessarily allow them to be regarded as a singular being. If not, his argument from ignorance cannot be excepted as logical truth.

    In reading the section on the incomprehensibility of God, I anticipated Bowman to present our understanding of God as a kind of “blank cheque,” as many have done, to reason that, since it involves God, well, it is so…Well, I was wrong. Bowman did not undertake such a reductionistic course. He did mention things, however, that seem to contradict what he had written elsewhere. He says:

    As the Creator of the world, there is nothing in this world to which we can compare God or liken him that adequately exemplifies what it means to be God

    Then why did Bowman compare God’s nature with that of light (particle/wave duality)? I do not agree with this statement completely. The Bible did compare God to different things so as to explain God to us (albeit only limitedly). Central and overwhelmingly numerous in describing God, was the usage of anthropomorphisms. Since God is explained in human terms, it is no surprise that he is presented as a singular person or being (no difference between the two) as in the case of humans.

    Bowman then appears to confuse matters again. After referring to concepts such as God’s omniscience, omnipresence and omnipotence, he says:

    Many people are so comfortable with these theological affirmations that they do not realize that they attest to the incomprehensibility of God. How can God’s being to exceed the bounds of the entire cosmos and yet to be personally present everywhere at once? It seems contradictory to assert that God existed (exists?) before the universe began to exist: how can something exist before physical time began? But if there is no “before” the beginning, then didn’t God’s existence “begin” at the beginning as well? How can God know something that hasn’t happened yet? The questions easily multiply. On the basis of such questions, some people either abandon the classical Christian conception of God altogether, try to revise it in order to resolve the logical difficulties, or even claim that the very concept of God is irrational. However, orthodox Christians affirm these attributes because they find that Scripture teaches them—that this is what God reveals about himself. We are prepared to accept truths about God that Scripture reveals (explicitly or implicitly) even though these truths are often beyond our ability to comprehend fully or to penetrate logically. They are not illogical, but they transcend our ability to provide a perfectly logical analysis of them that leaves nothing unexplained or correlated.

    What Bowman seems to miss is that these concepts, although hard to grasp, are still explicitly stated in the Bible. Dave beautifully outlined different scriptures showing that God existed from eternity to eternity, that he is Almighty, that he knows everything, that He is everywhere. These are explicitly stated. We just called these explicitly stated concepts omniscience, omnipresence, omnipotence, etc. But, sorry for Bowman, this is not the case for either the premises, or the assumptions of the trinity; not even closely.

    To my relief Bowman states that incomprehensibility is not the same as contradiction. I hope Dave takes note of this. The Bible does provide mutually exclusive, and thus contradictory aspects surrounding what God is and what man is. These should be shown in challenging the biblically articulated absurdity of a God-man.

    Finally Bowman says something which again sounded like the kettle calling the pot black:

    I am anticipating and arguing against a priori objections that amount to saying that the Trinity cannot be true regardless of what the Bible may say.

    I’m glad he says that. And I hope Dave will argue against a priori objections that amount to saying that the Trinity should be regardless of what the Bible may say.

    Dave’s reply to Bowman’s first post was superbly done. He is very sharp in pointing out logical fallacies of a man extremely capable of subtly importing these. Dave made a great point in highlighting Bowman’s a priori rejecting solid biblical articulation of singularity of God’s Being and Person, and he calls Bowman to task for it.

    An atheist professor in Philosophy once said that Richard Dawkins’ God Delusion would have red scribbles all over the place for all the logical errors and fallacies he commits in it. I wonder what he would say of Bowman’s introductory piece. All in all, after reflecting upon this post, I realise that Bowman elegantly introduces us to his trinitarian god of the gaps.

  121. on 18 Apr 2010 at 8:44 pmXavier

    Ray

    RE: Micah 5.2, following are comments from the ESV Study Bible, a trini commentary to be sure:

    The Messiah’s reign is at God’s behest (for me), and his coming forth (or “origins”; plural of Hb. motsa’ah, “coming out”) is from of old, from ancient days. This has been taken to indicate either an ancient (Davidic) lineage or eternal (and therefore divine) origin of the predicted Messiah…text is referring to the Messiah’s ancient Davidic lineage, confirming that the ancient covenantal promises made to David still stand.

    Nothing do with an already “eternal” existing “Son of God” in heaven before his human birth. Heb 1 explicitly says that Jesus is not an angel and only angels are said to dwell in the heavenly places.

    As he has received the word of God, I believe he qualifies as being referred to as a “god”(John 10:35, Psalm 82:6).

    True, the same as Moses at Ex 4.16; 7.1 and the Davidic king at Psa 45.6. But this does not mean they were already existing before their respective human births.

    So again, if Jesus is not another “God” or an angel, what was he before his birth? What is his name? Where is he in the OT?

  122. on 18 Apr 2010 at 9:16 pmRay

    I believe Micah 5:2 is saying that Jesus existed with God from eternity. Other scriptures also tell me that it’s so.

  123. on 18 Apr 2010 at 10:16 pmXavier

    Ray

    Again I ask…what was he before his birth? What is his name? Where is he in the OT?

  124. on 18 Apr 2010 at 10:37 pmMargaret Collier

    I have looked up all the references containing the word “logos,” and you are right. Almost all of them refer to an utterance, or a communication of some kind. An “it” in other words. Thank you to whoever made me look it up.

    However, John speaks in Revelation 19:11-16 of a white horse coming out of heaven, and the rider has two names. One is blazoned on his clothes for everyone to see: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS (v. 16). (Not an “it”.)

    But in verse 13 John gives this person a name that is NOT written on his clothes for men to see. “His name is called THE WORD OF GOD (ho logos tou theou).”

    That name fits Hebrews 1:1. God in these last days has spoken to us in his Son. The Son communicates God perfectly, because he is the IMAGE of the invisible God. He is God’s last “word” to man – the one in whom we see what God is really like.

    The name also fits John 1:1. “In the beginning (or at the start) ho logos was with ho theos”. Two names – two persons – one WITH the other. But only ONE of the two was “ho theos”.

    All in all, I think the evidence favors the pronoun “he” in John 1:1.

    But that does not make God tri-une. Jaco’s critique of Bowman’s first post is pretty well right on, I think.

  125. on 18 Apr 2010 at 10:46 pmXavier

    Margaret

    The Son communicates God perfectly, because he is the IMAGE of the invisible God. He is God’s last “word” to man – the one in whom we see what God is really like.

    Yes, as the writer of Hebrews puts it, “in these last days God has spoken through a Son”. Same idea the writer of John connotes, until the birth of the human Messiah can we speak about him as “the word of God” [] and given some of the YHWH-titles associated with such a figure. But it is clear this does not mean the Son was there before his birth as some unnamed, preexistent “word”!

    I have looked up all the references containing the word “logos,” and you are right. Almost all of them refer to an utterance, or a communication of some kind. An “it” in other words…All in all, I think the evidence favors the pronoun “he” in John 1:1.

    SO you agree the logos at Jn 1.1 is an “it” yet also a “he”, Jesus?

  126. on 18 Apr 2010 at 11:08 pmMargaret Collier

    Xavier:
    – “the word” is not some preexistent being but simply God’s self-expression of Himself.

    So “In the beginning God’s self-expression of himself was WITH (pros) God.” That would hardly be worth saying.

    I like Andrew’s reference to 1 John 1:1-3. The “word of life” was something (someone?) the disciples had seen and heard and handled. It was the same eternal life that was WITH (pros) the Father and was manifested to them.

    And eternal life is to know the only true God (the Father) and Jesus Christ, whom the only true God SENT (John 17:3).

    Thanks, Andrew. That fits a few more pieces into the picture.

  127. on 18 Apr 2010 at 11:22 pmXavier

    Margaret

    So “In the beginning God’s self-expression of himself was WITH (pros) God.” That would hardly be worth saying.

    Yes, I agree, it is odd if we read it as prose. But the passage is obviously figurative, poetic language. The equivalent of which would be: “I give you my word.”

    Remember, we are dealing with a 2 000 year old Jewish text with Ancient Rome/Greek elements for its Jewish-Gentile audience. And not some modern English text.

    Note that most English translators render “the word of life” of 1Jn 1.1-4 as a “what” and not a “who/he”.

    RE: Christians are “sent into the world”

    Plainly, being “sent into the world” does not mean being sent down from heaven into the world. Jesus is sending his disciples into the world in the same manner, “just as,” the Father sent him into the world [Jn 17.16-18]…And just how was John the Baptist “sent from God?” Quite simply, God had filled him with His Spirit from birth. So we can see clearly that John the Baptists was “sent from God” and Jesus sends his disciples “into the world” by anointing them with the Holy Spirit…

    Another verse which vividly illustrates the facts here is Jesus’ own words in John 6…Now read that very carefully. Jesus says the bread that came down out of heaven IS “my flesh.” The bread that came down out of heaven IS Jesus’ flesh. Are we to understand that flesh come down out of heaven? No…

    Yes all things were created in the Word and by means of God’s Word all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities–all things have been created through the Word and unto the Word. That Word came down from heaven into the Virgin Mary. The Word of God, God’s seed, begat a Son in the womb of a virgin, and that son was Jesus.

    See: http://www.angelfire.com/space/thegospeltruth/trinity/articles/preexistence.html

  128. on 19 Apr 2010 at 4:49 amandrewneileen

    Xavier,

    I am not good at formating in blogs.

    So, whether I use trinitarian arguments or not is not to the point – just the validity or otherwise of the arguments.

    My inclusio with 20:28 is not affected by any claims as to the purpose of the book; I can agree 20:31.

    I do not like the paraphrase…

    “In the beginning was Jesus and Jesus was with God and Jesus is God.”

    since the text does not have the proper name ‘Jesus’. My argument is about the reference of ‘logos’ and not anything else. And to keep things on track the argument is about the justification of ‘him’ in v. 3 and this i the most common translation.

    So, onto the attribution of “eisegesis at its best”. It isn’t because it is a claim based on a computer concordance search of the phrase, a bringing together of the relevant texts, and observing a priestly/mediator pattern.

    Eisegesis would be less textually based.

    So, why does the phrase pros ton theon have this implication? The translators go for ‘with’ but ‘towards’ is better. The implication is there because scriptural usage is interpreting scriptural usage. But it is also there because of the way it fits a reading of John 1 that I have not presented.

    You will note I haven’t mentioned pre-existence; I don’t think John 1 requires that reading. Also, I haven’t excluded the relevance of Ps 33. The reason why logos is used as a title to refer to Jesus can be grounded in Ps 33 and Gen 1, and for that matter, it could be counter-rhetoric towards Jewish ideas of the Logos. These are matters to do with the sense and tone of the expression.

    My argument is about reference and what it is that is appropriate as the subject of the predicates ‘was God’ and ‘was towards God’. This is Jesus.

    I believe in short posts.

    Andrew

  129. on 19 Apr 2010 at 4:54 amDave Burke

    Jaco,

    Thanks for your analysis. I appreciate the fact that you’re critiquing both sides of the argument and I hope you’ll point out any errors or omissions in my posts.

  130. on 19 Apr 2010 at 5:02 amXavier

    My inclusio with 20:28 is not affected by any claims as to the purpose of the book; I can agree 20:31.

    It is if you keep thinking that the one God of Israel somehow is His own Son. Prima facie!

    …the argument is about the justification of ‘him’ in v. 3 and this i the most common translation.

    Yeah up until the Catholic induced Protestant KJV of 1602. If the logos is to be identified with anyone Person, is it God Himself.

    So, why does the phrase pros ton theon have this implication? The translators go for ‘with’ but ‘towards’ is better.

    Again, I agree that for the Western mind it is an odd saying. But like I told Margaret above, we first have to understand that the passage should not be read as prose but as a piece of poetry/figurative language. Second, the closest approximation that our Western eyes can understand is in the colloquial saying: “I give you my word.”

    You will note I haven’t mentioned pre-existence…the subject of the predicates ‘was God’ and ‘was towards God’. This is Jesus.

    Sounds like typical trini preexistence argument to me Andrew. Since you have the one God speaking to Jesus.

  131. on 19 Apr 2010 at 7:36 amMark C.

    JohnE,

    And that’s exactly the problem, most of the time John doesn’t use “logos” the way it is used in the OT, but rather the way Philo does – that’s the point I was making. Just like Philo, John’s logos was “a god”, was “with God”, is the image of God; this logos is also God’s partner in creation and is God’s offspring. Where in the OT do you read these things about the “word”?

    The point we’re debating is whether John is using it that way or the way Hebrews used it. His prologue doesn’t say it was “A god,” it says “the word was God.” And it doesn’t say it was “the image of God,” that was in II Cor. 4:4. As for being “with God,” see below. It isn’t a being who is God’s partner in creation, but an extension of God Himself.

    ************************************************
    andrewneileen,

    I would agree on God as the source of the OT.

    But you will have to show a common way of using the word ‘word’ between your OT examples and John 1. For example, suppose someone says Ps 33:6, 9 or Isa 55:11 are the way God uses ‘word’ in the OT. This is one way but not the same way as John 1. We should not make the mistake of thinking God uses ‘word’ in one way. There are various ways.

    The case for ‘him’ in John 1:3 is still standing.

    As Dave said, there is no problem with the “word” being used in the same way in Psalm 33:6, 9 and Isa. 55:11 as it is in John. If we understand God’s Word as His will, or self-expression, which is communicated in various ways, and eventually became flesh.

    Psa 33:6 juxtaposes ‘word’ and ‘breath of his mouth’ in parallel to show that we have a reference to God speaking as in Gen 1. This descriptive language is not even close to John 1 where we need a concept for ‘word’ which will sustain ‘towards God’ and ‘was God’.

    The following excerpt from Anthony Buzzard’s article, “John 1:1 Caveat Lector (Reader Beware)” explains it better than I ever could.

    The Meaning of “Word”

    Sensible Bible study would require that we attempt to understand what “word” would mean in the background of John’s thinking. Commentators have long recognized that John is thoroughly Hebrew in his approach to theology. He is steeped in the Hebrew Bible. “Word” had appeared some 1,450 times (plus the verb “to speak” 1,140 times) in the Hebrew Bible known so well to John and Jesus. The standard meaning of “word” is utterance, promise, command, etc. It never meant a personal being — never “the Son of God.” Never did it mean a spokesman. Rather, word generally signified the index of the mind — an expression, a word. There is a wide range of meanings for “word” according to a standard source. “Person,” however, is not among these meanings.

    The noun davar [word] occurs some 1455 times…In legal contexts it means dispute (Ex. 18:16, 19; 24:14), accusation, verdict, claim, transfer and provision…[otherwise] request, decree, conversation, report, text of a letter, lyrics of a song, promise, annals, event, commandment, plan (Gen. 41:37; II Sam. 17:14; II Chron. 10:4; Esther 2:2; Ps. 64:5, 6; Isa. 8:10), language…Dan. 9:25: decree of a king; [also:] thing, matter or event. Of particular theological significance is the phrase “the word of the Lord/God came to…”…In Jud. 3:19-21 Ehud delivers a secret message (i.e. a sword to kill him)…Yahweh commands the universe into existence. Yahweh tells the truth so everyone can rely on Him. The word of the Lord has power because it is an extension of Yahweh’s knowledge, character and ability. Yahweh knows the course of human events. Similarly human words reflect human nature (“the mouth speaks from the abundance of the heart/mind”)…Words are used for good or evil purposes (Prov. 12:6)…Words can cheer, correct and calm.[3]

    We might add that “As a man thinks in his heart [and speaks] so is he” (Prov. 23:7). A person “is” his word. “In the beginning there was the word,” that is, the word of God. Clearly John did not say that the word was a spokesperson. Word had never meant that. Of course the word can become a spokesperson, and it did when God expressed Himself in a Son by bringing Jesus onto the scene of history. So then Hebrews 1:2 says: “God, after He had spoken long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, at the end of these days has spoken in a Son.” The implication is that God did not earlier speak through His unique Son, but later He did. There is an important chronological distinction between the time before the Son and the time after the Son. There was a time when the Son was not yet.

    It would be a serious mistake of interpretation to discard the massively attested meaning of “word” in the Hebrew matrix from which John wrote and attach to it a meaning it never had — a “person,” second member of a divine Trinity. No lexicon of the Hebrew Bible ever listed davar (Hebrew for “word”) as a person, God, angel or man.

    The Word “With God”

    John’s prologue continues: “And the word was with God.” So read our versions. And so the Greek might be rendered, if one has already decided, against all the evidence, that by “word” John meant a person, the Son of God, alive before his birth.

    Allowance must be made for Hebrew idiom. Without a feel for the Hebrew background, as so often in the New Testament, we are deprived of a vital key to understanding. We might ask of an English speaker, “When was your word last ‘with you’?” The plain fact is that in English, which is not the language of the Bible, a “word” is never “with” you. A person can be “with you,” certainly, but not a word.

    But in the wisdom literature of the Bible a “word” certainly can be “with” a person. And the meaning is that a plan or purpose — a word — is kept in one’s heart ready for execution. For example Job says to God (10:13): “Yet these things you have concealed in your heart; I know that this is with you.” The NASV gives a more intelligible sense in English by reading, “ I know that this is within you.” The NIV reads “in your mind.” But the Hebrew literally reads “with you.” Again in Job 23:13, 14 it is said of God, “What his soul desires, that he does, for he performs what is appointed for me, and many such decrees are with him,” meaning, of course, that God’s plans are stored up in His mind. God’s word is His intention, held in His heart as plans to be carried out in the world He has created. Sometimes what God has “with Him” is the decree He has planned. With this we may compare similar thoughts: “This is the portion of a wicked man with God and the inheritance which tyrants receive from Him” (Job 27:13). “I will instruct you in the power of God; what is with the Almighty I will not conceal” (Job 27:11).

    We should also consider the related concept of “Wisdom.” In Job we find this: “The deep says ‘It [Wisdom] is not in me.’ And the sea says, ‘It is not with me’ ” (Job 28:14). To have wisdom or word “with” one is to have them in one’s mind and heart. “With him is wisdom and strength. To him belong counsel and understanding” (Job 12:13). And of course Wisdom, that is Lady Wisdom, was with (Hebrew, etzel; LXX, para) God at the beginning (Prov. 8:22, 30).

    In Genesis 40:14 we read “Keep me in mind when it goes well with you,” and the text reads literally “Remember me with yourself…” From all these examples it is clear that if something is “with” a person, it is lodged in the mind, often as a decreed purpose or plan. Paul remarked in Galatians 2:5 that the Gospel might continue “with [pros] them,” in their thinking. John in his Gospel elsewhere uses para, not pros to express the proximity of one person to another (John 1:39; 4:40; 8:38; 14:17, 23, 25; 19:25; cp. 14:23. Note also meta in John 3:22, 25ff, etc. See New Int. Dict. of NT Theology, Vol. 3, p. 1205).

    Thus also in John 1:1, “In the beginning God had a plan and that plan was within God’s heart and was itself ‘God’ ” — that is, God in His self-revelation. The plan was the very expression of God’s will. It was a divine Plan, reflective of His inner being, close to the heart of God. John is fond of the word “is.” But it is not always an “is” of strict identity. Jesus “is” the resurrection (“I am the resurrection”). God “is” spirit. God “is” love and light (cp. “All flesh is grass”). In fact, God is not actually one-to-one identical with light and love, and Jesus is not literally the resurrection. “The word was God” means that the word was fully expressive of God’s mind. A person “is” his mind, metaphorically speaking. Jesus is the one who can bring about our resurrection. God communicates through His spirit (John 4:24). The word is the index of God’s intention and purpose. It was in His heart, expressive of His very being. As the Translators’ Translation senses the meaning, “the Word was with God and shared his nature,” “the Word was divine.”[4] The word, then, is the divine expression, the divine Plan, the very self of God revealed. The Greek phrase “theos een o logos”[5] (“the word was God”) can be rendered in different ways. The subject is “word” (logos) but the emphasis falls on what the word was: “God” (theos, with no definite article), which stands at the head of the sentence. “God” here is the predicate. It has a slightly adjectival sense which is very hard to put exactly into English. John can say that God is love or light. This is not an exact equivalence. God is full of light and love, characterized by light and love. The word is similarly a perfect expression of God and His mind. The word, we might say, is the mind and heart of God Himself. John therefore wrote: “In the beginning God expressed Himself.” Not “In the beginning God begat a Son.” That imposition of later creeds on the text has been responsible for all sorts of confusion and even mischief — when some actually killed others over the issue of the so-called “eternal Son.”

  132. on 19 Apr 2010 at 7:49 amXavier

    Mark C.

    Great post, lots to disgest. Let me ask you also…

    What do you make of the word translated as “him/he” [autos] throughout vv.1-12. Who is it referring to, especially when it comes to vv.9-12?

  133. on 19 Apr 2010 at 7:53 amMargaret Collier

    Good point, Xavier. “As the Father sent me, so send I you.” That doesn’t specify the time the Father sent the Son, but it could easily fit his anointing for service as a man.

    Getting back to John 1:1, though, the fact that THE WORD OF GOD (ho logos tou theou) is the NAME of a PERSON (Rev. 19:13) justifies the conclusion that THE WORD (ho logos) in John 1:1 is the same NAME of the same PERSON. That person is WITH the person of GOD (ho theos).

    And please – let’s not fall into the trap of excusing something that sounds irrational by appealing to figurative language. The sentence “ho logos was WITH ho theos” cannot be dismissed as “I give you my word.” The whole passage is too profound for that.

    I really appreciated Dave’s point that ordinary people should be able to understand what the Bible says, even though nobody can possibly grasp all that it means.

    In other words, I don’t consider it necessary to learn everything that Greek philosphers taught. The Word of God is enough.

  134. on 19 Apr 2010 at 8:13 amXavier

    Margaret

    …the fact that THE WORD OF GOD (ho logos tou theou) is the NAME of a PERSON (Rev. 19:13) justifies the conclusion that THE WORD (ho logos) in John 1:1 is the same NAME of the same PERSON. That person is WITH the person of GOD (ho theos).

    Yes, I see what your doing. I think your jumping ahead of the text here and more than that, reading into the prologue of John something that is still in the eschatological [end days] future of what is later written in the book of Revelation. Also, keep in mind that the significance of the name [“word of God”] bestowed upon Jesus is symbolic:

    Symbolism in names can be seen throughout the Bible. It is not unique to Jesus Christ. Many people were given names that would cause great problems if believed literally. Are we to believe that Elijah was “God Jehovah,” or that Bithiah, a daughter of Pharaoh, was the sister of Jesus because her name is “daughter of Jehovah?” Are we to believe that Dibri, not Jesus, was the “Promise of Jehovah,” or that Eliab was the real Messiah since his name means “My God [is my] father?” Of course not. It would be a great mistake to claim that the meaning of a name proves a literal truth. We know that Jesus’ name is very significant—it communicates the truth that, as the Son of God and as the image [form] of God, God is with us in Jesus, but the name does not make Jesus God.

    See: http://www.biblicalunitarian.com/modules.php?name=Content&pa=showpage&pid=72

    …ordinary people should be able to understand what the Bible says, even though nobody can possibly grasp all that it means.

    Sure, in a “perfect world”. Remember though, as John warns in his letters, the spirit of the antichrist has been running rampant trying to confuse and lose the flock. It wasn’t for nothing that Jesus himself dispenses the “spirit of truth” to guide anyone who is seeking the truth [John 14]. Not only that, but teachers as well:

    Therefore I am sending you prophets and wise men and teachers…every teacher of the law who has been instructed about the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house who brings out of his storeroom new treasures as well as old. Mat 13.52; 23.34

  135. on 19 Apr 2010 at 8:34 amMark C.

    Getting back to John 1:1, though, the fact that THE WORD OF GOD (ho logos tou theou) is the NAME of a PERSON (Rev. 19:13) justifies the conclusion that THE WORD (ho logos) in John 1:1 is the same NAME of the same PERSON. That person is WITH the person of GOD (ho theos).

    Jesus is what the Word became. Thus “his name is called the Word” in Revelation. But it was never used to refer to a person before that.

  136. on 19 Apr 2010 at 10:03 amandrewneileen

    MarkC,

    You quoted Buzzard…

    “John’s prologue continues: “And the word was with God.” So read our versions. And so the Greek might be rendered, if one has already decided, against all the evidence, that by “word” John meant a person, the Son of God, alive before his birth.”

    … and as I said, I am not assuming any pre-existence of the Son. I have not defended the view that the Word refers to the Son of God alive before his birth. The problem with your quote is that Buzzard is not discriminating aspects of meaning and in particular the sense and reference of an expression. And so, I accept the database of usage for ‘word’ in the Hebrew and that it is used for (sic) words, for speech and utterances, and for for what is said. But this Hebrew database does not constrain the reference of ‘logos’ in John – it (or rather the relevant OT texts) are however informing the sense of ‘logos’.

    So, in the same way as we have a hypostatizing use of ‘word’ in Isa 55:11, so we have a personifying use of ‘word’ in John. This personifying use is indicated by a) ‘was towards God’ and b) ‘was God’. Along with the Hebraic sense of ‘dabar’ you need to factor in these personifying predicates to see the reference to Jesus. This is why the ‘plan, purpose’ reference proposal fails. (Theological Aside: John wants us to think of Jesus as the word of the new creation – the antitype to the word that God spoke to bring about the Genesis creation. So we need the ordinary Hebraic sense of dabar but a reference to Jesus.)

    I note that Buzzard’s Job references do not use dabar and his Proverbs wisdom texts do not do so either. When arguing the case for ‘plan, purpose’ it would be better to use dabar texts. Texts about ‘what’s in the mind’ or ‘wisdom’ are going to be weaker for your purpose than dabar texts if you want to defend a ‘plan, purpose’ view of John 1.

    So, Margaret is right to retain a reference to Jesus in v. 1, the pronoun ‘him’ is right for v. 3, but we have nothing in the resources of these opening 3 verses to generate ideas of pre-existence, and I will argue against that reading.

    There are other arguments to support this line but its best to keep things short. The ‘pros ton theon’ is holding up well. As Buzzard says, “A person can be “with you,” certainly, but not a word”.

    So far, I have not mentioned v. 14, although MarkC does in reply to Margaret. I prefer ‘was’ to ‘became’ in v. 14 and would suggest that v. 14 is not about what follows v. 1 but it is about what has happened before v. 1. But I would prefer not to open up a second area around v. 14. I am just pointing out the pervasive nature of our reading assumptions with regard to John 1.

    Andrew

  137. on 19 Apr 2010 at 10:54 amXavier

    Andrew

    So, Margaret is right to retain a reference to Jesus in v. 1, the pronoun ‘him’ is right for v. 3…

    If Jesus is being referred to why are you against the reading I alluded to earlier: “In the beginning was Jesus…” etc.

    As many of us have said before and I will say again:

    * In the OT logos [dabar] appears 1500 times as “utterance, promise, command, decree”, etc.

    * For Jews this term referred to “the word of the Lord God”, an expression of His wisdom and creative power. And not some seperate, independent “person”!

    * Which means that the logos [“word”] is an idea that finds concrete expression; a single word, a command; a line of reasoning; a summary of a person’s thought, etc.

    * In English, “word”=abstract noun; a thing; abstract idea. It is never a person!

    * In other languages [Spanish, French] “word” is a noun with gender, accompanied by gender-specific pronouns [“him, her”] but not in English; it still does not make it a person!

    * All 8 English translations from the original Greek prior to KJV [1611] and 30 after have “it” instead of “he”.

    Am I missing something here?

  138. on 19 Apr 2010 at 12:14 pmMargaret Collier

    Let me repeat: “The word of God” (ho logos tou theou) is used by John as the name of a PERSON (Rev. 19:13). This is the name that men don’t know, but HE knows (v. 12).

    I greatly appreciate what I learn from teachers; but Paul cautions us to “test all things,” and your suggestion that the name of “ho logos tou theou” is confined to a future time is just as contrived as some of the arguments that trinitarians have been pushing at me for years.

    This person is the Word of God. He isn’t going to BECOME the Word of God at some future date. He has ALWAYS been the ultimate expression of God.

  139. on 19 Apr 2010 at 12:28 pmDave Burke

    Margaret, there’s a difference between a name and who (or what) someone actually is.

    Jesus is called “God with us” in Isaiah 7:14. Was he truly God with us, or was that just a name signifying one aspect of his life and mission?

  140. on 19 Apr 2010 at 4:30 pmandrewneileen

    Xavier,

    Well, yes, I suppose you are missing something. First, the easy bit. You can’t substitute co-referential expressions without affecting the sense of a sentence. This is standard philosophical logic. So, ‘Elizabeth Regina is over eighty’ has less information than ‘The Queen of England is over eighty’ although the name and the title are co-referential. So, if you have ‘In the beginning was Jesus…’ you are taking away from the sentence everything that ‘logos’ is bringing to the sentence to determine its reference – its sense. Hence, my objection.

    Onto dabar. It’s very common. So I look to restrict the database and the echo of Genesis 1 with ‘In the beginning’ makes me associate logos with the series of ‘And God saids’ there with Ps 33 and Isa 55 to help the exegesis. Here we have dabar as utterance (or better, words) and we are using Ps 33 to interpret Gen 1, and this does not give us ‘plan, purpose’.

    To try a different tack: Suppose someone says the word of God in the OT is an expression of God’s purpose; in this case, there is a concrete and an abstract reference to take into account: the utterance/word as well as the purpose (x of y). The mistake you are making is to ignore the concrete (x) and go for the abstract (y). The echo with Genesis 1 directs us to make a concrete connection: Jesus is the antitype to the word God spoke in the beginning.

    John is personifying the word that was spoken and thereby creating a reference to Jesus.

    A last point: Suppose I say, ‘Our mission is to secure economic growth’ – I have used words to express a plan or purpose. The ‘And God saids’ are nothing like these words and so plan and purpose are not in view.

    I venture to suggest, somewhat controversially, that Biblical Unitarianism has not sufficiently de-coupled from church thinking. It is still working with an incarnational framework except that it is now the plan and purpose of God that has become incarnate in Jesus rather than God the Son. I am proposing a more radical reading of John 1. One less easy to defend in the Bowman-Burke debate but closer to the intertexts of John 1.

    Andrew

  141. on 19 Apr 2010 at 5:36 pmrobert

    “I venture to suggest, somewhat controversially, that Biblical Unitarianism has not sufficiently de-coupled from church thinking. It is still working with an incarnational framework except that it is now the plan and purpose of God that has become incarnate in Jesus rather than God the Son.”

    Andrew
    This is a very true statement, I have watched, listened and read these debates and the first thing that comes to mind is who is this binitarian posing as a unitarian. where is the unitarian that understands that Jesus was 100% human and 100% possessed by God’s Holy spirit. Where is the unitarian that understands when Jesus spoke and when the Spirit spoke, Where is the unitarian that understands that Jesus could die but the Holy spirit had to leave first and where is the unitarian that sees why Jesus felt he was forsaking by God when the Spirit was taken back By God.
    Who or what Jesus is now is not defined completly but we do know it is a highly exalted position as the first begotten of the dead. This gives him the priesthood as being the (elder) head of the family and the Kingship from his earthy birthright as the Son of David

  142. on 19 Apr 2010 at 6:38 pmRay

    Jesus, being as God is, truly is the Word of God, and we learn from John that the Word was God in the beginning.

    To me that means that the word of God had dominion, power and glory, just as God did. Having come from the Father, the Word declared what was to be, and it became by the power of God.

    There is a sense in which Jesus is God just as there is a sense in which people can be salt or light.

    It’s not robbery if Jesus says that he is God.

    I believe Jesus dwelt in the Father and that the Father dwelt in Jesus in the beginning, before the world was made. The light of life was in God, having the power of the Father. Being in the throne of God, the life that was given unto us, (Jesus) was with the Father.

    Joseph was in many ways equal with the Pharaoh of Egypt but I don’t know if the Pharaoh ever let Joseph sit in his throne.

  143. on 19 Apr 2010 at 7:19 pmDave Burke

    Ray, are you aware that faithful believers will sit with Jesus in his throne?

  144. on 19 Apr 2010 at 8:13 pmXavier

    Margaret

    This is the name that men don’t know, but HE knows (v. 12).

    Well, you seem to know it so how can it be hidden or unknown?

    He has ALWAYS been the ultimate expression of God.

    Are you an Arian then? Who or What was this preexistent “word of God”?

    Andrew

    … I suppose you are missing something. First, the easy bit. You can’t substitute co-referential expressions without affecting the sense of a sentence. This is standard philosophical logic.

    This isn’t about “philosophy” but about Biblical exegesis, theology!

    …the echo of Genesis 1 with ‘In the beginning’ makes me associate logos with the series of ‘And God saids’ there with Ps 33 and Isa 55 to help the exegesis. Here we have dabar as utterance (or better, words) and we are using Ps 33 to interpret Gen 1…

    Seems we agree. But then you say it is referring to a person at Jn 1.1, namely Jesus?

    John is personifying the word that was spoken and thereby creating a reference to Jesus.

    Not at all. He is keeping within the OT understanding of dabar [logos, LXX] as God’s self-expression and not as relating to a second person. The Messiah is throughout the Hebrew scripture represented as a future, yet to be created [Ps 2.7] human representative of God. And not as yet an existing one, either in archetypcal form or not.

    It is still working with an incarnational framework except that it is now the plan and purpose of God that has become incarnate in Jesus rather than God the Son.

    Whilst that may be true, I personally do not see a literal incarnation here as most of Catholic/Protestanism does. The prologue is simply speaking, in poetical form, how God Himself has come to “dwell, tabernacle” amongs humanity in the person of His “one-of-a-kind” Son.

    Technically speaking, as noted Bible scholar R. E. Brown writes, ““Incarnation means that at his human conception on the Son of God did not come into existence; rather he was a previously existing agent in the divine sphere who took on flesh in the womb of Mary. Technically incarnation does not tell us whether this agent was created (as were the angels who exist in the divine sphere) or existed with God before any creation. A fortiori, it does not tell us whether the agent was God or equal to God…many scholars, influenced by the Prologue to John’s Gospel where the Word who becomes flesh does exist before creation, join the two ideas.” [An Introduction to New Testament Christology, p 34-35]

    A footnote to this quote shows just how thousands of Catholic orthodoxy has clouded even modern scholarship to the simple biblical teaching of a “Conception Christology” as opposed to this “Precreational Christology”, as termed by Brown:

    We do not know [?!] how Matt and Luke understood the conception of Jesus through the Holy Spirit without a human father. For them was that the becoming of God’s Son? The “therefore” in Luke 1:35 (“The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the one to be born will be called holy, Son of God”) could be interpreted to point in that direction. One may not simply assume that Matt or Luke thought in a Johannine incarnation pattern [why not?!]. Although some scholars think Luke knew John’s Gospel that is far from certain; and John never mentions the conception of Jesus. Ignatius of Antioch (ca. 110) is the first one known to have put together conception and incarnation Christology [what would later become standard “orthodoxy”], for he refers to both Jesus as God’s Word and the birth from a virgin (Magnesians 8:2; Smyrnaeans 1:1).

  145. on 19 Apr 2010 at 10:41 pmDave Burke

    The epistles of Ignatius are shockingly interpolated and need to be approached with care. Nevertheless I believe that it is possible to winnow the wheat from the chaff and arrive at a clear view of Ignatius’ beliefs, which were, in my opinion, perfectly sound.

  146. on 19 Apr 2010 at 10:44 pmMargaret Collier

    Dave: “Margaret, there’s a difference between a name and who (or what) someone actually is.”

    I see your point, Dave.

    Nevertheless, wouldn’t you agree that the person whose name is “the Word of God” is, indeed, the ultimate expression of God?

    It is in THAT sense (I think) that the Son of God is “God with us.” He is fully God – fully divine – and expresses to us all that God is. So anyone who knows the Son knows the Father ALSO (John 14:7).

    To be honest, I am not convinced that the logos of John 1:1 does not refer to a person. I am withholding judgement on that until I see the rest of the debate.

    By the way, your first post is excellent. Poor Rob really doesn’t have much material with which to build a case for a God who is three. The next round may be a bit more challenging.

    And if I have trouble locating it, I’ll ask for a link.

  147. on 19 Apr 2010 at 11:45 pmDave Burke

    Margaret:

    I see your point, Dave.

    Nevertheless, wouldn’t you agree that the person whose name is “the Word of God” is, indeed, the ultimate expression of God?

    It is in THAT sense (I think) that the Son of God is “God with us.” He is fully God – fully divine – and expresses to us all that God is. So anyone who knows the Son knows the Father ALSO (John 14:7).

    Well, “ultimate expression of God” is an odd sort of expression and I’m not really sure what you mean by it. But perhaps we can find some common ground by saying that Jesus gave us the most accurate possible representation of God while he was on earth. If that’s what you mean by “the ultimate expression of God”, then I agree.

    To be honest, I am not convinced that the logos of John 1:1 does not refer to a person. I am withholding judgement on that until I see the rest of the debate.

    I think that’s fair enough. It’s unreasonable to expect everyone here to agree, let alone on the basis of one week’s debate!

    By the way, your first post is excellent. Poor Rob really doesn’t have much material with which to build a case for a God who is three. The next round may be a bit more challenging.

    And if I have trouble locating it, I’ll ask for a link.

    Thanks Margaret, I appreciate the compliment. I think Rob will find my next post rather interesting. 🙂

  148. on 20 Apr 2010 at 2:09 amandrewneileen

    Hello

    I don’t think I am a binatarian, Robert, but don’t know if you were saying I was one. I take the counter point about incarnation, Xavier; it’s a question of definition – if you define incarnation to be person related, then you exclude the notion of the incarnation of a plan or purpose.

    So, since logic is a description of reasoning, as best we can construct it, and God invites us to reason together, I don’t see a problem with my argument about co-referentiality.

    I think an issue here might be ‘in the beginning’. I propose this is a time reference to the ministry of Jesus so that what we have is: in this beginning was the Word and the Word was towards God. My first argument is that v. 2 is a parallel to v. 7: “the same was in the beginning” versus “the same came for a witness”. There is a contrast between John’s ministry and Jesus’ ministry going on in John 1. It’s all very historical and not at all before the mists of time. There is no threat of a pre-existence reading on this score and we don’t need a plan or purpose to become flesh to avoid an icarnational reading.

    I should say, I don’t mind the theology of the purpose of God being made flesh; its just that it doesn’t fit the use of logos/dabar in John 1 which is really about words or the word of God personified in Jesus.

    Andrew

  149. on 20 Apr 2010 at 3:22 amXavier

    Dave

    …Ignatius’ beliefs, which were, in my opinion, perfectly sound.

    Ignatius Christology, whilst sometimes unclear, was indicative of the other early “Church Fathers” who saw Jesus as “the true God”. Following are just some examples from his Letter to the Ephesians:

    Ignatius, who is also called Theophorus, to the Church which is at Ephesus… being united and elected through the true passion by the will of the Father, and Jesus Christ, our God.

    I have become acquainted with your name, much-beloved in God, which ye have acquired by the habit of righteousness, according to the faith and love in Jesus Christ our Saviour. Being the followers of God, and stirring up yourselves by the blood of God.

    But our Physician is the Only true God, the unbegotten and unapproachable, the Lord of all, the Father and Begetter of the only-begotten Son. We have also as a Physician the Lord our God, Jesus the Christ, the only-begotten Son and Word, before time began, but who afterwards became also man.

    Andrew

    I think an issue here might be ‘in the beginning’. I propose this is a time reference to the ministry of Jesus…

    This is an interpretation that the so-called Adoptionist heresy is said to have held in the early Church.

    To be consistent, there is nothing to say that “when the word became flesh” is not related to the virgin birth as recounted in Matthew and Luke.

    This harmonization of John with Matthew and Luke is very ancient. It is to be found already in the so-called Epistula Apostolorum, which may date from the mid-2nd century A.D. The Glory of Christ in the New Testament, L. D. Hurst, Nicholas Thomas Wright, George Bradford Caird, p 113.

  150. on 20 Apr 2010 at 3:38 amDave Burke

    Xavier:

    Ignatius Christology, whilst sometimes unclear, was indicative of the other early “Church Fathers” who saw Jesus as “the true God”. Following are just some examples from his Letter to the Ephesians:

    I have conducted a study of every single letter that Ignatius wrote, and I have concluded that the very few places where he appears to display binitarian or Trinitarian tendencies can be rejected as later interpolations. My analysis is online and you can find it here: http://tinyurl.com/yd3tvg4

  151. on 20 Apr 2010 at 7:53 amrobert

    “I don’t think I am a binatarian, Robert, but don’t know if you were saying I was one. I take the counter point about incarnation.”

    Andrew
    I was keying off your counter point, If you believe in incarnation at Jesus’ conception then at least you have half God. If you look at the birth narrative and see the declaration of a future king(son of God) then you have a human who through perfection received the Word in the Flesh by the Holy spirit dwelling in him after his baptism. this is unitarianism.
    No matter what you call the other you have Jesus as a lessor God while he walked the earth.

  152. on 20 Apr 2010 at 7:55 amandrewneileen

    Xavier,

    I wasn’t presenting an adoptionist view of the union of the Logos with Jesus of Nazerath. This is what F. Watson does in the essay you cite (p. 114). I would take the view that v. 14 is about the virgin birth. I was saying v. 1 is about the beginning of the ministry and that there is no sequence in time moving forward between v. 1 and v. 14.

    To add a further detail…

    There is no prologue in John 1 that extends from v. 1 to v. 14 or v. 18; rather there is a set of paragraphs, with vv. 1-5 being the obvious first paragraph. People are misled in connecting v. 1 and v. 14 as a sequence implying pre-existence by the use of ‘became’ but the Greek egeneto features in vv. 3, 6 and 10 as simply ‘was’ or ‘was made’. V. 14 begins a new paragraph unrelated sequentially with the paragraph vv. 1-5.

    Thanks for pointing out the Watson essay.

    Andrew

  153. on 20 Apr 2010 at 8:37 amMargaret Collier

    This has certainly made me do a lot of studying that I did not do before. For that, I am grateful. I don’t mind learning something that proves me wrong, and I’m happy to learn something that confirms what I believe.

    I’ve been thinking about “en arche” (in the beginning, or at the start).

    These exact words appear in the Septuagint version of Genesis 1:1. The parallel is striking, I think. [I wish I knew how to format here, but you will recognize the mixture of Greek and English.]

    Genesis 1:1 – “En arche” created “ho theos” the heaven and the earth.

    John 1:1 – “En arche” the Word was with “ho theos”.

    My FIRST impression is that the two verses refer to the same time, and involve the same person (God). John simply adds a detail that is not DIRECTLY stated in Genesis.

    First impressions can be wrong, of course. I’m prepared to look at all the evidence.

  154. on 20 Apr 2010 at 9:42 amandrewneileen

    Hello Margaret

    The beginning of the Gospel can echo the beginning of Genesis because John is introducing a new creation theme in v. 3. Compare here Mark 1:1 or 1 John 1:1 for the right beginning. The RV gets the Greek right for v. 3-4 when it defines ‘that which was made was life in him’ – new life in Christ, the new creation. Its not the same time as Genesis.

    Robert, ‘incarnation’ is not right as a description of v. 14 – this is an affirmation that Jesus Christ “came” in the flesh whuch was a concern for John – see his letters.

    I obviously accept traditional authorship ascriptions.

    Andrew

  155. on 20 Apr 2010 at 10:46 amrobert

    “Robert, ‘incarnation’ is not right as a description of v. 14 – this is an affirmation that Jesus Christ “came” in the flesh whuch was a concern for John – see his letters.”

    Andrew
    I agree, but state it is not even close. I dont find any concept of incarnation within the covers of the bible. I dont see any birth account within John’s writings. What i see is a 2nd temple mindset describing the receiving of the holy spirit in fulness as was promised by God in the prophets. I see John comparing Moses’ purpose when he received it thru the staff of God and the way Jesus received it in His flesh because of the purity of it caused by perfect obidience to Gods ways. His flesh becoming a temple for God thru His Spirit to dwell amongst his children. He was chosen because he was without spot of his own freewill to be the pure sacrifice for all mankind. Jesus being called the Son of God in birth narrative was in reference to His future reign as King not a reference to God fathering him. God just caused the conception to happen as he had many times before.Whether Mary was a virgin before or after has no bearing. She could of just been a surrogate to carry the seed of Joseph which the Holy spirit placed in her without intercourse. I just dont find any evidence of a birth narrative in John 1 , I see an act of God that John the baptist was to witness and did at Jesus’s baptism not birth. Whether Jesus could be called a son of God after this I find irrelevant because the phrase has so many uses. As far as First Beggotten we find that it was used to explain The Word of God many centuries before Jesus and was figurative not literal and was the mindset of many of the time of Jesus.
    Can anyone tell me where in the NT we see more personifying of an aspect of God.
    Its there!!

  156. on 20 Apr 2010 at 11:11 amXavier

    Dave

    I have conducted a study of every single letter that Ignatius wrote, and I have concluded that the very few places where he appears to display binitarian or Trinitarian tendencies can be rejected as later interpolations.

    Are you sure of that Dave? Have never heard that before. Got any scholars to back that up with?

    Margaret

    My FIRST impression is that the two verses refer to the same time, and involve the same person (God). John simply adds a detail that is not DIRECTLY stated in Genesis.

    Of course their the same, neither is alluding to some preexistent Son as “the word”. The “word” is the means by which God creates all things and His self-expression. Period.

  157. on 20 Apr 2010 at 11:14 amandrewneileen

    Hello Robert,

    That position would be a different thread to mine which is just about the reference of the Word in v. 1. Can’t deflect onto that topic area without leaving behind my thread on the blog.

    Andrew

  158. on 20 Apr 2010 at 11:43 amrobert

    Andrew
    your right this doesnt fit your discussion because it makes it irrelevant because what you are discussion is a mindset of that time not a literal belief.
    there is a literal belief found within John and that is what John the Baptist was to witness literally at the baptism.
    But i will let you continue with your topic.

  159. on 20 Apr 2010 at 12:02 pmDave Burke

    Xavier:

    Are you sure of that Dave? Have never heard that before. Got any scholars to back that up with?

    Yes, I’m sure. Yes, I do have scholars to back that up. Read my article.

    Only seven of the letters are authentic. These seven letters contain a total of only nine proto-Binitarian statements, none of which are distinctly Trinitarian. At least six of these statements can be dismissed by (a) an appeal to the alternate rescension, (b) an appeal to the Biblical standard which pervades Ignatius’ works, and (c) an appeal to mainstream commentators and standard authorities.

    This leaves only two or three proto-Binitarian statements common to both rescensions, which must be weight against the greater body of evidence. Even Trinitarian scholars have agreed that this presents serious problems for their case.

  160. on 20 Apr 2010 at 2:12 pmandrewneileen

    Robert,

    That is correct. It is the nature of radical alternatives to cancel each other out – but the evaluation of the strengths of one is not faciltated by a jump to another. Maybe discussion of the plan/purpose reading of John 1:1 is at an end.

    Andrew

  161. on 20 Apr 2010 at 5:37 pmMargaret Collier

    Hi, Andrew. You may be right, but I can’t see a new creation in verse 3. “All things were made by him” sounds more like Genesis to me. Mark’s introduction has a completely different flavor.

    John gets to the subject of the gospel in v. 6, it seems to me – as Mark does in v. 2.

    In any case, I appreciate hearing your viewpoint, and I appreciate the way you express it.

    By the way, your references to the preposition “pros” made me look up all the passages where John uses the word (108 of them!) and then check a lexicon for more. It’s fascinating. I’m not quite ready to put it all together, but thank you for making me look.

  162. on 20 Apr 2010 at 6:38 pmRay

    Dave, in answer to your question in #143, Yes. In heaven there is a great throne which is made up of many thrones. Everyone who is seated in Christ is a part of it. God is over all those seated there and so is Jesus. In Christ, the saints are already seated there.
    (Ephesians 2:6)

  163. on 20 Apr 2010 at 6:48 pmRay

    The first few verses in John are interesting.

    If we don’t interpret verse 3 to say that all things were made by Christ, John gives us another chance in verse 10.

  164. on 20 Apr 2010 at 7:56 pmMargaret Collier

    Hi, Andrew.

    I can’t go into everything I’ve learned about the word “pros,” or this post would be a mile long, and most of it off topic. It is used MANY times; and as you have pointed out, it usually has the meaning of “toward” – whether it’s toward a place, or a person, or a goal (as in Mt. 23:5).

    That is particularly true of verbs that imply motion or speech. So the idea that is prominent in such passages is DIRECTION.

    But with a verb like “to be,” the idea of direction takes second place to PROXIMITY. So the word is translated “with”. Examples are:

    Matthew 13:56 (and Mark 6:3)) – “And his sisters, are they not all WITH us?”

    Mark 9:19 – “O faithless generation, how long shall I be WITH you?

    Mark 14:49 – “I was WITH you daily in the temple teaching …”

    2 Corinthians 11:9 – “And being present WITH you, … I did not burden anyone.”

    Philippians 1:26 – “that your boasting may abound through my presence WITH you again.”

    1 Thessalonians 3:4 – “When we were WITH you, we told you …”

    So John 1:1 & 2 are properly translated, “In the beginning the Word was WITH God … This one was in the beginning WITH God.” Proximity, rather than direction, is in view.

    Both Thayer’s Lexicon and BAG are tremendously interesting. Reading all the passages is interesting, too, but there are so MANY.

  165. on 20 Apr 2010 at 8:10 pmMargaret Collier

    Ray, post 142 suggests that Jesus said he was God. Did he ever say that?

    While I think of it, the title “God the Son” is not in the Bible. The title is always, “Son OF GOD”.

    There is no “God the Spirit,” either. The title is “Spirit OF GOD”.

    On the other hand, “God the Father” appears often, while “Father of God” appears never.

  166. on 20 Apr 2010 at 8:55 pmXavier

    Dave

    This leaves only two or three proto-Binitarian statements common to both rescensions…

    That’s interesting Dave, I always saw these early “Church Fathers” as binitarian anyways. The fact is though they all seem to have been influenced by Gnostic ideas.

    We must be careful not to misunderstand the facts and confuse the authenticity concerning which letters Ignatius wrote and the authenticity of the content. If we conclude that it is true that Ignatius only wrote seven letters, it does not necessarily follow that the Short Recension copies of the seven letters we have are uncorrupted.

    Ray

    If we don’t interpret verse 3 to say that all things were made by Christ, John gives us another chance in verse 10.

    You may be right but it can also refer back to God at v.10. But this is my question regarding the translation of “him/he” [autos, auton] I think consistency is a must when it comes to translation. If your of the camp that thinks its Jesus throughout the prologue, then you hold to the traditional translations of “”him/he”. But if your of the BU camp makes more sense to be consistent and keep the common/abstract nouns of “light, life, light” as “it”.

    But as you pointed Ray, v.10 is the only instance in this passage that the personal pronoun of “him” [auton] is used. As referring either to God [BU view] or Jesus [trini view].

  167. on 20 Apr 2010 at 9:44 pmDave Burke

    Xavier:

    That’s interesting Dave, I always saw these early “Church Fathers” as binitarian anyways. The fact is though they all seem to have been influenced by Gnostic ideas.

    Gnosticism was a later development of the 2nd Century and some of the early church fathers actively fought against it, so we must be careful not to throw the Gnostic accusation at all and sundry.

    The earliest early church fathers were perfectly kosher. Papias, Polycarp and Clement of Rome give no indication of Binitarian or Trinitarian tendencies. On the contrary, they are strictly and explicitly Unitarian. I believe Ignatius follows in this Christological tradition and I believe this can be proved by carefully dividing the truth from the interpolated error in his epistles.

    We must be careful not to misunderstand the facts and confuse the authenticity concerning which letters Ignatius wrote and the authenticity of the content. If we conclude that it is true that Ignatius only wrote seven letters, it does not necessarily follow that the Short Recension copies of the seven letters we have are uncorrupted.

    I totally agree. This is an argument I make in my article. The Short Rescension is traditionally identified as the “correct one”, but this conclusion is weakened by the negative evidence against Trinitarianism that we find within it.

  168. on 20 Apr 2010 at 10:07 pmXavier

    Dave

    Gnosticism was a later development of the 2nd Century and some of the early church fathers actively fought against it, so we must be careful not to throw the Gnostic accusation at all and sundry.

    As far as I can tell scholarship is divided on whether Gnosticism predated Christianity or not. From the historical evidence I have personally delved through it appears that it may have predated it not as the [Christian influenced] Gnosticism it came to be known as, but as a mix of pagan/philosophical ideas going back to Ancient Middle Eastern religions like Zoroaster etc.

    As Bart Ehrman contends in his book The lost Gospel of Judas Iscariot [dated c.140-150AD] that such Gnostic works “will not tell us much about whether Gnosticism predated Christianity, sprang up as a sister religion at about the same time, or posdated Christianity as a heretical version of the Christian religion. At the same time, this text may lend some support to the view that Gnosticism–at least the form embodied here–probably did not begin as a reaction to Christianity–or as an offshoot–but that it had its beginnings in non-Christian Judaism.

    Dave

    The earliest early church fathers were perfectly kosher. Papias, Polycarp and Clement of Rome give no indication of Binitarian or Trinitarian tendencies.

    Interestingly enough though Dave none of these “Early Church Fathers” that have come down to us were actual Jewish Christians. Most, if not all, were of Gentiles origin, which is where the problem lies. They all strayed pretty early on it seems from the Hebraic roots of the Greek NT books.

    I agree with your assesment that the early ones we know of are either strangely silent on binitarian or trini ideas, or jus ambigious about it. Certainly the evidence for their works is scant to say the least, thus making it hard to come to a general concesus [as the point you made with Ignatius shows]. Since even later full blown trinis like Origen and Athanasius would agree with unitarians that God is the Father, “the Almighty,” and Jesus his only-begotten Son.

  169. on 20 Apr 2010 at 10:47 pmDave Burke

    Xavier:

    As far as I can tell scholarship is divided on whether Gnosticism predated Christianity or not. From the historical evidence I have personally delved through it appears that it may have predated it not as the [Christian influenced] Gnosticism it came to be known as, but as a mix of pagan/philosophical ideas going back to Ancient Middle Eastern religions like Zoroaster etc.

    The academic consensus is that Gnosticism was at the very most a 2nd Century belief system. It simply did not exist in the 1st Century. Some of the ideas that it drew on certainly existed before that time, but Gnosticism itself was a much later development.

    Your quote from Ehrman is largely speculative; he is simply thinking out loud here, not making concrete claims about evidence for the early existence of Gnosticism.

    Interestingly enough though Dave none of these “Early Church Fathers” that have come down to us were actual Jewish Christians. Most, if not all, were of Gentiles origin, which is where the problem lies. They all strayed pretty early on it seems from the Hebraic roots of the Greek NT books.

    Xavier, have you read the works of Papias, Polycarp and Clement of Rome? I have, and I can tell you that there’s not a single word of Binitarian or proto-Trinitarian ideology in them. If you can find me even half a dozen such references from each man, I’ll eat my hat.

    I agree with your assesment that the early ones we know of are either strangely silent on binitarian or trini ideas, or jus ambigious about it. Certainly the evidence for their works is scant to say the least, thus making it hard to come to a general concesus [as the point you made with Ignatius shows]. Since even later full blown trinis like Origen and Athanasius would agree with unitarians that God is the Father, “the Almighty,” and Jesus his only-begotten Son.

    All very true, though we must be careful not to overstate the case. Origen denied that Jesus was autotheos (ie. inherently God) but still believed he possessed some form of deity. This makes him an ongological subordinationist, along the lines of Lucian and Justin Martyr. Athanasius certainly confessed the Father as “the Almighty”, but he did not confess the Son as less than the Father in an ontological sense. He was no subordinationist.

  170. on 20 Apr 2010 at 11:02 pmrobert

    “Gnosticism was a later development of the 2nd Century and some of the early church fathers actively fought against it, so we must be careful not to throw the Gnostic accusation at all and sundry.”

    Dave
    No matter what you call it , it predated christianity.
    Fact is you wont find any of the early church fathers speak against Philo who they followed

    Some here might not like the source of this article but facts are facts

    http://www.jesushistory.info/philo_of_alexandria_laid_foundations.htm

    Here is a little easier to digest source

    http://www.accessmylibrary.com/article-1G1-78825733/gospel-memra-jewish-binitarianism.html

    this is what happens when we take literal that wasnt literal

  171. on 20 Apr 2010 at 11:09 pmXavier

    Dave

    Your quote from Ehrman is largely speculative; he is simply thinking out loud here, not making concrete claims about evidence for the early existence of Gnosticism.

    Isn’t this what historians do, think out loud? Its part of the profession bro, we’re dealing with scant to almost non-existent, 3rd to 4th hand accounts.

    Xavier, have you read the works of Papias, Polycarp and Clement of Rome? I have, and I can tell you that there’s not a single word of Binitarian or proto-Trinitarian ideology in them.

    Bro, I agreed. Even soi, when simply making the point that the second hand evidnece we have when it comes to Papias or Polycarp certainly does not make it a clean cut closed and shut case.

    All very true, though we must be careful not to overstate the case.

    Semantics and fancy terminologies aside, can we at least agree none of these people held to a BU view?

  172. on 20 Apr 2010 at 11:24 pmDave Burke

    Xavier:

    Isn’t this what historians do, think out loud? Its part of the profession bro, we’re dealing with scant to almost non-existent, 3rd to 4th hand accounts.

    That’s true, but keep in mind that Ehrman is not arguing against the academic consensus. He does not claim that Gnosticism existed any earlier than the 2nd Century.

    Bro, I agreed. Even so, when simply making the point that the second hand evidnece we have when it comes to Papias or Polycarp certainly does not make it a clean cut closed and shut case.

    Actually I believe that it does. We have even less than second hand evidence for the Gospel record, but would you reject it on that basis? The point is that Trinitarians have been completely unable to find any evidence that Papias, Polycarp and Clement of Rome believed what they do, whether implicitly or explicitly. (Eusebius even mocked Polycarp for what he considered to be Polycarp’s heretical beliefs, particularly the 1,000 year kingdom on Earth!)

    These men were held in great esteem by the earliest post-first-century Christians and Trinitarians would love to claim them as their own. However, the evidence is all against Trinitarianism; Papias, Polycarp and Clement of Rome were BU to the core.

    Semantics and fancy terminologies aside, can we at least agree none of these people held to a BU view?

    Oh, absolutely. There is no question about that.

  173. on 21 Apr 2010 at 12:24 amXavier

    Dave

    We have even less than second hand evidence for the Gospel record, but would you reject it on that basis?

    Not a fair comparison bro, as you well know, considering that there are now more than 5,300 known Greek manuscripts of the NT. Add over 10,000 Latin Vulgate and at least 9,300 other early versions (MSS) and we have more than 24,000 manuscript copies of portions of the New Testament in existence today.

    No other document of antiquity even begins to approach such numbers and attestation. In comparison, the Iliad by Homer is second with only 643 manuscripts that still survive. The first complete preserved text of Homer dates from the 13th century.

    Perhaps we can appreciate how wealthy the New Testament is in manuscript attestation if we compare the textual material for other ancient historical works. For Caesar’s Gallic Wars (composed between 58 and 50 BC) there are several extant MSS, but only nine or ten are good, and the oldest is some 900 years later than Caesar’s day.
    Of the 142 books of the Roman history of Livy (59 BC-AD 17), only 35 survive; these are known to us from not more than 20 MSS of any consequence, only one of which, and that containing fragments of Books II-IV, is as old as the fourth century. Of the 14 books of the histories of Tacitus (ca. AD 100) only four and a half survive; of the 16 books of his Annuals, 10 survive in full and two in part. The text of these extant portions of his two great historical works depends entirely on two MSS, one of the ninth century and one of the eleventh.

    The extant MSS of his minor works (Dialogues de Oratoribus, Agricola, Germania) all descend from a codex of the tenth century. The History of Thucydides (ca. 460-400 BC) is known to us from scraps, belonging to about the beginning of the Christian era. The same is true of the History of Herodotus (BC 488-428). Yet no classical scholar would listen to an argument that the authenticity of Herodotus or Thucydides is in doubt because the earliest MSS of their works which are of any use to us are over 1,300 years later than the originals. FF Bruce, The New Testament Documents, pg. 11, Eerdmans, 2003.

    Dave,

    Eusebius even mocked Polycarp for what he considered to be Polycarp’s heretical beliefs, particularly the 1,000 year kingdom on Earth!

    Good point. One of the things I enjoy the most when looking at the historical evidence is seeing how all these groups counter each other with heretical cliams. Yet none of them held a pure BU view. 🙂

  174. on 21 Apr 2010 at 1:54 amDave Burke

    Xavier,

    Yes the comparison is a little unfair. But the basic points holds true. We can’t dismiss these accounts just bcause they’re second- third- or fourth-hand. The very fact that they remain stridently BU despite centuries of Trinitarian interpolations throughout other documents, is itslf a vindication of their original content.

    The simpler Christology is invariably the closest to the truth.

  175. on 21 Apr 2010 at 3:46 amXavier

    Dave

    The simpler Christology is invariably the closest to the truth.

    Would you agree with the term “Conception Christology” termed by R.E. Brown in his An introduction to New Testament Christology [p 126f]?

  176. on 21 Apr 2010 at 4:08 amDave Burke

    Xavier:

    Would you agree with the term “Conception Christology” termed by R.E. Brown in his An introduction to New Testament Christology [p 126f]?

    I might if I knew how he defines the term. What does it mean?

  177. on 21 Apr 2010 at 7:07 amXavier

    Dave

    Basically a Christology based on the virgin birth account as recounted in Matthew and Luke’s gospel. Interesting term I had not come to before that’s all.

  178. on 21 Apr 2010 at 7:14 amDave Burke

    Well, a Christology based on the virgin accounts in Matthew & Luke would surely be a BU Christology, yes?

    I mean, it’s pretty hard to get anything else out of them.

    😛

  179. on 21 Apr 2010 at 8:11 amandrewneileen

    Margaret,

    You said,

    “But with a verb like “to be,” the idea of direction takes second place to PROXIMITY.”

    There is often a first and second place in matters to do with meaning. You could translate Jn 1:1 as ‘with’ but there is no rule that where we have a verb ‘to be’ collocated with the ‘pros’ then we have to go with ‘with’. There are cases where this is right and cases where this is wrong. Examples where the verb ‘to be’ and ‘pros’ are collocated and aren’t given a ‘with’ include Gen 31:2; Judith 13:6; 1 Macc 14:34.

    There are 29 verses in the Greek Bible and the NT that show a collocation of the verb ‘to be’and ‘pros’ and some translations go for ‘with’; most have differing English prepositions. When you look at the verses you quickly start to align the ‘pros’ with the sense of what is being said, so Judith 13:6 is about a post which ‘was above’ the person’s head. Here ‘pros’ is rendered ‘above’. You can do the same analysis for each verse.

    So, where we have two or more people in a situation, we might read ‘with you’ or ‘with each other’, ‘with one another’ (Mk 14:49; Lk 9:41; 23:41). But this begs the question for John 1:1 as to where the Word is and here the pattern of usage ‘pros ton theon’ shows a mediator/priestly pattern such that God is in heaven and the priest/mediator is on earth.

    A good example is Exod 4:16 which has the verb ‘to be’ and ‘pros’ to describe Moses’ relation to Aaron as the one who is towards God. This connection is important repeats ‘pros ton theon’ in contrast with v. 7 and John the Baptist: JB is ‘the one’ who came for a witness; Jesus is the one who was towards God.

    Andrew

  180. on 21 Apr 2010 at 2:51 pmDoubting Thomas

    Robert (msg. 170)
    Thanks for the link Jewish Memra Binatarianism. Your right it was easy to read but even after reading it I’m still not sure what Memra means???

  181. on 21 Apr 2010 at 3:14 pmDave Burke

    Memra is the Aramaic word for “word” (equivalent to “dabar” in the Hebrew) which is used in the Targumim, where it is occasaionally personified.

    Good article here: http://tinyurl.com/266nsuy

  182. on 21 Apr 2010 at 3:30 pmrobert

    Thomas
    Memra is aramic for word, logos in greek. dabar in hebrew and it used to descibe God communicating with man.
    Wisdom is also used the same way.
    It is the personification of this aspect of God that brought about the Misconception of it being a person within the Godhead. Amongst its titles we find mother,sister, first begotten, angel, priest and son.
    this mindet exist 6 centuries before Jesus and was a current mindset of the times of Jesus and the NT writings. John and Paul were just making the gospel relatable not trying to created a Godman. as you see it got out of hand later.

  183. on 21 Apr 2010 at 3:46 pmMargaret Collier

    The lexicons point out several different ways that pros is translated. They are all interesting, but not all relevant to the subject at hand – which is why I didn’t mention them.

    My study was limited to the New Testament, because it’s NT Greek that I am particularly interested in. I wanted to see whether there is any grammatical justification for translating “pros” as “with” in John 1:1, where the verb is “TO BE”.

    There is.

    In fact, in every case I could find, where the verb “to be” is followed by “pros” the latter is translated as “with”.

    I am not suggesting that it MUST be translated as “with” in John 1:1. I am saying that the translation is JUSTIFIED.

    Margaret

  184. on 21 Apr 2010 at 4:23 pmDoubting Thomas

    Robert/Dave
    Thanks…

  185. on 21 Apr 2010 at 5:46 pmrobert

    Thomas
    Your welcome

  186. on 21 Apr 2010 at 8:49 pmRay

    Margaret, in response to your question of #165, I haven’t seen him do so in the scriptures, but I have read of a vison of a man who
    told of how Jesus said that he is the Lord God Almighty at the end of the encounter.

    In the vision, he identified himself as the Lord Jesus.

    Now the interpretation of the thing is important. A man might say for example, “I am salt and light.”

    If we ever do experience the Lord Jesus saying that he is God, I hope we will be ready to receive it as we should. That’s one reason why I like to remind people that if he ever does, it’s not robbery.

    As I thought upon what I had read of Jesus saying what he did, I later thought that “he’s taking names.” He can do that. He’s our judge.

    The vision is written of in a book called “Snakes In The Lobby” by Scott McLeod. It’s been sold through MorningStar Ministries.

  187. on 21 Apr 2010 at 8:57 pmXavier

    Margaret

    I am not suggesting that it MUST be translated as “with” in John 1:1. I am saying that the translation is JUSTIFIED.

    As long as you do not accept the Hebraic meaning behind the use of these words in relation to the logos you fall victim to misinterpretation.

    As robert succintly explains at post #182, these are personifications of God’s qualities. An OT usage that is extended in the NT.

    Furthermore, too much emphasis is placed on the word “become” at v.14 and not on “dwell/tabernacle”, which is another Hebraic way of explaining how the one, invisible God of Israel has “came down from heaven and dwells” [as He did in the OT in tents later in the Temple] in a human being [“flesh”]. The logos remains God’s self-expression of Himself in His “one-of-a-kind” Son. It did not cease to be the word of God and somehow transformed itself to take on another form of being.

    After the prologue John does not apply the specific term Logos to Jesus…John makes it clear that Jesus’ words are God’s words (3:34, 14:10, 24 17:8,14), which makes it very important to believe them (5:47). Indeed to abide in Jesus’ ‘word’ is the same as to be his disciple (8:31). Jesus’ words bring life (5:24, 6:38, 8:51), and in fact are life (6:63). They bring cleansing (15:3) and power in prayer (15:7).

    The reverse side of the coin is that the refusal to heed Jesus’ word or words brings judgement (12:47f. his famous last words). Those who refuse to hear belong to the devil (8:47, cf. 44). It is important to ‘keep’ Jesus’ word (14:23, 15:20, 17:6). There is a good deal more. JOHN AND THE WORD, Comments from Leon Morris, Comm. on John, p.125, 126, 655 (Eerdmans, l971)

    In verses 48ff. we have many echoes of Deuteronomy, esp. 18:18-19…Also Deut. 31:19, 26 where the law is a witness against the people. In John 12:49, 50 the stress on the commandment becomes very strong… this commandment affects men, because the words and the deeds which the commandment directs are themselves the source of eternal life (6:68. 10:10).

    So in Deut. the commandment sets the pattern by which Israel is to fulfil its vocation as the holy people of God. Deut. 32:46, 47 says that the commandment of God given through Moses is a principle of Life. John 6:63 [So the words of Jesus are the principle of life under the New Covenant.]

    In John, however, it is very clear that the command of God that means eternal life is more than any OT commandment. It is THE WORD OF GOD SPOKEN THROUGH JESUS THAT NOW SUMS UP THE COVENANT OBLIGATIONS OF THE BELIEVER. Raymond Brown on John 12:44ff. (Anchor Bible, John, Vol. 1, p. 491).

  188. on 22 Apr 2010 at 1:05 amDave Burke

    I think the point being made by John’s use of the word “tabernacle” is that Jesus’ time on earth was temporary. It’s not referring to the way in which he came.

  189. on 22 Apr 2010 at 4:23 amandrewneileen

    Margaret,

    If you just want NT examples fo the verb ‘to be’ collocated with ‘pros’ that translators do not translate with ‘with’ see Jn 4:35, 11:4; 1 Cor 12:2 and 2 Tim 2:24.

    Standard scholarship would collect LXX examples as well and any 1c. examples like those in the Greek Papyri.

    Dave,

    Tabernacle = temporary is lame. You are inserting temporary into v. 14 and asking us to believe that John wanted to say, ‘Jesus was temporarily with us’.

    Xavier,

    Self-expression seems your preferred rubric for ‘logos’. This is very abstract and hardly Hebraic. Split it up and ask: i) how do I get ‘self’ into the semantics of ‘dabar’; ii) how do I get ‘expression’ into the same semantics.

    Here is a word: ‘word’. I will now comment upon this word and say it is an expression. This comment is not part of the semantics of the word but my linguistic and grammatical analysis.

    Or again, I said ‘Here is a word: word’. I expressed myself. This is a comment about me and not the semantics of the word ‘word’.

    The Hebraic notion is to see the word of the Lord in concrete terms as the words and/or what is said. Jesus is the personification of this.

    Andrew

  190. on 22 Apr 2010 at 6:14 amDave Burke

    Andrew, the verse says “the Word was made flesh, and skēnoō among us.” This is clearly being used as a verb, describing the manner of his residence. If a tabernacle isn’t a temporary dwelling, what is it? Certainly not a permanent dwelling!

    I am aware that the term can be used in a permanent sense (see Revelation 7:15, 12:12, 13:6, 21:3) but we know Jesus’ time on Earth was only of a limited duration, so to my mind John is bringing out the idea of transience in verse 14.

  191. on 22 Apr 2010 at 7:54 amandrewneileen

    Hello Dave,

    The tabernacle was in use in David’s day, so transcience is not part of the typology of the tabernacle. Unless you can find a text with transcience built in to the symbology of the tabernacle, that is. So, it is more likely that the Moses + Angel of the Lord typology of vv. 6-13 is being merged with the logos theology of v. 1 in the new paragraphy of vv. 14-18. The Angel of the Lord inhabiting the tabernacle in Moses’ day and Jesus tabernacling with the disciples in his day.

    Andrew

  192. on 22 Apr 2010 at 7:57 amrobert

    Dave
    this is speaking as a temporary dwelling because it indwelled a human. But returned to indwell many others.
    Jesus did not indwell Jesus ,the truth and understanding of God which is God SPIRIT indwelled a man without measure.
    Jesus wasnt THE Christ he was one of many annointed with the Holy spirit to bring God’s Words to man

  193. on 22 Apr 2010 at 11:08 amXavier

    Andrew

    The Hebraic notion is to see the word of the Lord in concrete terms as the words and/or what is said. Jesus is the personification of this.

    Seems we agree, the logos is until now personified in Jesus but it never was in and of it self another being apart from the one God, Who alone created all things through His word.

    I am YHWH [one YHWH, Deu 6.4], and there is no other; apart from me there is no God…I form the light and create darkness, I bring prosperity and create disaster; I, YHWH, do all these things. Isa 45.5-7

    Dave

    If a tabernacle isn’t a temporary dwelling, what is it? Certainly not a permanent dwelling!

    I would have to agree with you that whilst Jesus was here on earth, he was the physical walking temple of God [John 2.21]. Just as Christians are also said to be [1Cor 6.19]. Note also that they have the “word of life/spirit” [logos] in them [1Jn 2.14, 27].

    This typifies my argument that the logos remains God expressing Himself through His “one-of-a-kind” Son. Which in turn is now manifested through His church, figuratively spoken of as the body of Jesus.

    In other words, for a brief period in human history [c.33 years] humanity beheld the actual Person of the Creator in His Son [John 10.38; 14.7-11, 20; 15.17, 20, 23-24; 16.13-15, 32; 17.21-23].

    Post-resurrection the Son has literally become “the exact representation of His being, sustaining all things by the word of God” [Heb 1.3]. So that the Son is in the “form [and] image” of his heavenly Father [Phil 2:6; Col 1:15].

    For it has pleased [the Father] that all the divine fullness (the sum total of the divine perfection, powers, and attributes) should dwell in [Jesus] permanently…For in [Jesus] the whole fullness of Deity (the Godhead) continues to dwell in bodily form [giving (us a) complete expression of the divine nature]. Col 1.19; 2.9 AB

  194. on 22 Apr 2010 at 11:49 amrobert

    “In other words, for a brief period in human history [c.33 years] humanity beheld the actual Person of the Creator in His Son ”

    Xavier
    In a way i agree but not with your overall picture.

    Yes humanity beheld but not the actual person, but the Spirit indwelling a person and also not 33 years because Jesus was not anointed with God’s spirit till his baptism. if you claim different then provide the references to Jesus being anointed before his baptism. But dont think you can use the declaration of the future King of Israel(Son of God) as proof because there is no anointing within it, just the statement SHALL.
    as we see in these verses this anointing came after His baptism.
    Acts 10
    37 That word, I say, ye know, which was published throughout all Judaea, and began from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached; 38 How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.

    Also we see in this verse that Matthews statement in birth narrative is shown to be false by the statement “for God was with him”

    What Jesus now has authority over has nothing to do with his time while on earth as long as you see it is giving authority after he was exalted at his resurrection. I would say nothing goes from God now to man without going through Jesus or viceversa but that still dont make Jesus the Word of God but just the mediator of it between God and man. The word of God in Revelation that comes on a white horse is not Jesus it is just what it says it is.

  195. on 22 Apr 2010 at 7:41 pmRay

    Xavier,
    In response to your question in #123, I believe Jesus was the Son of God. That’s who he is, even from the beginning before the world was, being hid in God, the eternal truth and life. (That’s a bit about what he is)

    Jesus at this time was an eternal being with God, being as God is,
    having been brought up with him. (Proverbs 8) Being the Son of God, his goings forth have been of old even everlasting. (Micah 5:2)

    Jesus going forth of God as a spiritual being, having come forth of God, reminds me of a spiritual birth.

    I also consider Jesus as coming forth of God during the divine conception. This also reminds me of a spiritual birth.

    I believe Jesus was with God, in God, and by God in the beginning
    before the world was.

    When the spirit of God moved upon the waters in the beginning, I wonder if he was there in the spirit of God. I had wondered if he was in fact that spirit of God. The spirit of God may have been dwelling in Jesus at the time. Maybe Jesus moved over the waters
    along with the Holy Spirit. Maybe God and Jesus both did so at the same time.

    This reminds me of Mary’s conception, like a pattern, type, shadow, or promise of God.

    I haven’t seen his name revealed prior to his birth, though he may have shown up at divers times in the OT scripture. He might have been manifest as the Captain of the Lord’s host, when he met Joshua at the entrance to the promised land.

    I wondered too if he was seen by Manoah in Judges.

  196. on 22 Apr 2010 at 7:42 pmDoubting Thomas

    Ray (msg. 186)
    You said, “I have read of a vision of a man who told of how Jesus said that he is the Lord God Almighty at the end of the encounter.”

    Just because someone has a vision does not mean that the vision came from God. The bible calls Satan the deceiver and Mathew 24:24 says, “For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect.” (ESV)

    You also said, “If ever we do experience the Lord Jesus saying that he is God, I hope we will be ready to receive it as we should.”

    Jesus is the only human to live his entire life without sin. I believe he is still without sin to this day and as such Jesus is not going to contradict both the 1st. and the 2nd. Commandments given to Moses and written with God’s own finger.

    If someone claiming to be Jesus were to appear to me claiming to also be God (the father) I would immediately know that this person in not telling the truth. Jesus would not ever break the two most important Commandments that God has given to us…

    1. “You shall have no other gods before me.”

    2. “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or ANY LIKENESS OF ANYTHING that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God…”

    Jesus would never say I am God! Jesus always humbled himself to his Father and put his Father’s will and his Father’s plans before his own. You don’t bow down or serve Jesus because he is God but because he is at God’s right hand and is our King, Lord and Saviour…

  197. on 22 Apr 2010 at 8:36 pmXavier

    robert

    if you claim different then provide the references to Jesus being anointed before his baptism.

    Ps 2.7 is used throught the NT to denote Jesus as Son of God from birth [Acts 13.33; Heb 1.5; 5.5]. Matthew and Luke relate how he was created directly by the Spirit of God. To suggest that Jesus was somehow not “anointed before his baptism” is far-fetched since the man was generated [begotten] by that same spirit that moved across the waters of Genesis and anointed every other person in the OT.

    As the baptism account suggests, his baptism served two purposes. It was a public demonstration that signaled him to everyone else [who did not know he was the Son of God via birth] as the Anointed One of God. And as Jesus himself says, it was also an act to fulfill what was already written about him.

    Ray

    I believe Jesus was with God, in God, and by God in the beginning before the world was.

    Heb 1 contradicts your believe system. Nowhere does it say that the Son was a preexistent, pre-human[?], person before his birth. You are reading into those OT texts someone who is not there. These are prophetic utterances of someone who would come to exist at a future date. Just as Gen 3.15; Deut 18.15-18 and others clearly say.

  198. on 22 Apr 2010 at 8:52 pmRay

    Thomas, I don’t believe Jesus broke any of the commandments through what he said in the man’s encounter with him.

    It’s only right that the Lord Jesus said what he said. It’s for our salvation that he tell us what he’s like, and who he’s like. It’s not robbery at all. In so doing I believe he was giving God the glory, for to look at his life, who and what he is, is to see God more clearly
    in godliness and truth. Jesus was in that manner making known God as he is and showing us that he is as the Father himself is.

    Isn’t this the foundation of our faith, seeing Jesus as he is?

    Xavier, I believe Hebrews supports what I’ve said about Jesus being with God, in God, and by God in the beginning.

  199. on 22 Apr 2010 at 8:54 pmrobert

    “Ps 2.7 is used throught the NT to denote Jesus as Son of God from birth”

    Xavier
    No its the anointing of David as THE KING OF ISRAEL, CHRIST or SON OF GOD. ALL 3 mean HUMAN KING OF ISRAEL.

    “””Matthew and Luke relate how he was created directly by the Spirit of God. To suggest that Jesus was somehow not “anointed before his baptism” is far-fetched since the man was generated [begotten] by that same spirit that moved across the waters of Genesis and anointed every other person in the OT”

    .Xavier
    How many times I here “BY” when it is not even there, It was caused “OF” the Holy spirit
    These verse are just proclaiming the future King.
    Son of God is the title all kings of israel were giving at their being made the Anointed (Christ) King by God.
    How stupid would God be to give His son something he would be certainly born with if he was BY GOD. Read the birth narrative with the right understanding and you will SEE it Doesnt say what you think it does

  200. on 22 Apr 2010 at 9:04 pmXavier

    robert

    No its the anointing of David as THE KING OF ISRAEL, CHRIST or SON OF GOD. ALL 3 mean HUMAN KING OF ISRAEL.

    Bro, as a rule of thumb, prophecies have a past, present and future component to them. Yes, these Messianic Psalms are relating to the Davidic king of the time, but NT texts like Hebrews 1:5 brings Ps. 2:7 together with 2 Sam. 7:14 to show that Jesus is the messianic heir of David (the Son of God), into whom God has also folded the priestly office.

    Read the birth narrative with the right understanding and you will SEE it Doesnt say what you think it does

    I don’t really follow your line of reasoning here friend. Jesus is the Son of God from birth and as such the Anointed One of God. Period.

  201. on 22 Apr 2010 at 9:21 pmrobert

    Xavier
    First thing is this ISNT a prophesy , this is speaking only of David who It was spoke to when he was anointed King. If you read all of it and dont let some church father dictate what is says you will understand. There not the slightest hint it is a prophesy but was a standard for any anointed King even Jesus when he was anointed King of the Jews at his baptism by the prophet and when he was Anointed King of Israel at his death by GOD Himself

  202. on 22 Apr 2010 at 9:45 pmXavier

    robert

    If you read all of it and dont let some church father dictate what is says you will understand

    Scripture interprets scripture. What “church father” am I quoting to try and explain to you the meaning of the Messianic Psalms?

    I am simply reiterating what the NT writers are citing. Are you having problems underatanding my posts? Please go over them again before making false accusations!

  203. on 22 Apr 2010 at 9:52 pmDoubting Thomas

    Ray (msg. 198)
    You said, “It’s for our salvation that he tells us what he’s like and who he’s like.”

    I have no problem with Jesus saying that he’s like God, because I think it is crystal clear that he IS like God in so many different ways, but I have a big problem with someone claiming to be Jesus saying that they ARE ALSO God Almighty himself.

    You also said, “Isn’t this the foundation of our faith, seeing Jesus as he is?”

    The foundation of my faith lies in God being our father as well as the father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. How we see Jesus depends very much on how we might interpret various scriptures and shouldn’t be the foundation of anyone’s faith (in my opinion anywaze).

    We shouldn’t base our faith on something that is relative like how we think we might see Jesus as he is (when it’s open to interpretation). We should base our faith on something concrete like the fact that God is our father and creator and is also the father and creator of our Lord/King and Savior Jesus Christ…

  204. on 22 Apr 2010 at 9:55 pmrobert

    Xavier
    What accusations???
    No have no problem with seeing the way you understand, i was just stating it was unbiblical.
    Dont start acussiing me of acussing you. this is a discussion because we disagree not because we agree.
    Now since you made it personal we need to agree to disagree.
    anyone else want to discuss this more, just ask

  205. on 22 Apr 2010 at 11:50 pmMargaret Collier

    “If you just want NT examples fo the verb ‘to be’ collocated with ‘pros’ that translators do not translate with ‘with’ see Jn 4:35, 11:4; 1 Cor 12:2 and 2 Tim 2:24.”

    Thank you for the correction, Andrew. I worded my statement poorly.

    Notice, though, that in none of your examples is there a NOUN which is “toward” something.

    John 4:35 – the fields are WHITE toward the harvest (an adjective)
    2 Tim 2:24 – A servant is to be GENTLE toward all (an adjective)
    1 Cor 12:2 – You were LED AWAY to dumb idols (an action verb)

    In any case, there is grammatical justification for the translation “with”.

  206. on 23 Apr 2010 at 12:39 amMargaret Collier

    I am a unitarian by default. That’s because every evidence for a tri-une God that I have tested turned out to be fallacious, and I think I have tested them all.

    I still see the person of the Son in John 1:1; but that has not yet been PROVED. I like Dave’s principle that one verse which apparently supports an idea is not enough. There should be consistency.

    So I have been looking critically at verses I once took for granted. Hebrews 1:2 has produced the first surprise.

    I have several translations, all of which render the word “aionas” as “world” or “worlds”. But it’s actually the word for “ages”. It refers to periods of TIME. But it also includes the things that characterize those periods of time.

    It can refer to ages that are past (Colossians 1:26), the present age (Mark 4:19), or future ages (Hebrews 13:21).

    It usually follows a preposition; but in Hebrews 1:2 it follows a transitive verb: “… a Son, through whom God MADE the ages …”

    The question is, WHAT ages did God make through the Son?

    If they are past ages, involving the “all things” which he “upholds by the word of his power” (v 3) then that would be an additional reason to see the Son in John 1:1.

  207. on 23 Apr 2010 at 1:19 amandrewneileen

    Margaret,

    If you are looking for nouns with the verb ‘to be; and ‘pros’ rather than adjectives and verbs.

    Gen 31:2, face was towards him
    Gen 31:5, face is not towards me
    2kgs 7:13 [horses] left to Israel
    Judith 13:6 post which was towards Holofernes’ heads
    John 11:4 sickness is not unto death

    These texts do no thave the lexical verbal and adjectival factors that you note.

    Andrew

  208. on 23 Apr 2010 at 2:50 amXavier

    Margaret

    The question is, WHAT ages did God make through the Son?

    Try reading Heb 1.2, 10 in the context of Heb 2.5. Anthony Buzzard, a professor of Hebrew and Greek lanugages, has this to say regarding Jesus involvement in the “world/ages/universe” to come:

    In Hebrews 1:10, there is a complication due to the fact that the writer quotes Psalm 102 from the Greek version (LXX) of the Old Testament and not the Hebrew version. The LXX has a different sense entirely in Psalm 102:23-25. The LXX says “He [God] answered him [the suppliant]…Tell me…[God speaking to the suppliant]…Thou, lord…[God addressing someone else called ‘lord’].” But the Hebrew (English) text has “He [God] weakened me…I [the suppliant] say, ‘O my God…’”

    Thus the LXX introduces a second lord who is addressed by God and told that he (the second lord) “at the beginning founded the earth and the heavens.” The writer to the Hebrews had open before him the LXX reading and not the Hebrew reading…

    Reading the LXX the Hebrews writer sees an obvious reference to the new heavens and earth of the future Kingdom and he sees God addressing the Messianic Lord in connection with the prophecies of the rest of Psalm 102 which speak of “the generation to come” and of the set time for Yahweh to build up Zion and appear in His glory: This is a vision of the coming Kingdom.

    See: http://www.focusonthekingdom.org/92.htm

    The same applies for Col 1.15f. where it speaks of the New Creation and not the Genesis creation. Remember that Jesus himself, if it is true that he is already introduced at John 1.1, does not say anything regarding his participation in the Genesis creation. If anything he speaks against this erroneous interpretation:

    “Haven’t you read the Scriptures?” Jesus replied. “They record that from the beginning ‘God made them male and female.’[Gen 1.27]. Mat 19.4

    One final note regarding Heb 1.3 where Jesus is said to uphold all things by “the mighty power of his command” (literally his powerful word). Referring to God’s word and not Jesus since this is “the powerful, dynamic force that created and governs the world.” [NLT Study Bible]

  209. on 23 Apr 2010 at 4:31 amandrewneileen

    Xavier,

    I see you think Col 1:15 is about the new creation, which is correct. In this case, the use of “all things” in Colossians and in John 1:3 should alert you to the subject in John, viz. the new creation. This is confirmed in the RV reading of v. 4 which is supported by Aland, “that which was made through him was life”. Thus, the beginning of v. 1 is the ministry as per 1 Jn 1:1.

    I note that when commenting on the tabernacled of v. 14 you slip into temple language – this puzzle is to justify tabernacled in a typological way and not templed.

    Margaret,

    You are impressed by the parallel between Jn 1:1 and 1 Jn 1:1 and this is right. But 1 Jn 1 has “eternal life which was with the father” mentioned second after the handling of and seeing of the “word of life”. This is different to Jn 1 insofar as the Word is with/towards God. In 1 Jn 1, we have the abstract eternal life with the father before being manifested in the Word of Life. The Word was then towards God on earth.

    Andrew

  210. on 23 Apr 2010 at 5:21 amXavier

    Andrew

    In this case, the use of “all things” in Colossians and in John 1:3 should alert you to the subject in John, viz. the new creation. This is confirmed in the RV reading of v. 4 which is supported by Aland, “that which was made through him was life”. Thus, the beginning of v. 1 is the ministry as per 1 Jn 1:1.

    Are you going just by Greek lexicons and translations or can you read the koine Greek? Because most scholars agree that John 1.1-3 is a clear reference to Gen 1 and not to the New Creation of the Colossians or Hebrew passages.

    In the beginning was the Word echoes the opening phrase of the book of Genesis, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” ESV Study Bible

    Where most of these Bible commentaries err is in thinking that the Son is the preexistent [impersonal yet personal, “being”] logos through whom God made the world.

    …this puzzle is to justify tabernacled in a typological way and not templed.

    If we’re reading the opening language of the prologue as a poetical/figurative piece and not as straight prose there is no problem in seeing “dwell/tabernacle” as a clear typological way of expressing how God comes to “dwell” with humanity in the human body [“flesh”] of His son. As Jesus himself later makes emphasis of this fact when he speaks of his body as God’s temple and how he can tear it down [by willingly giving his life for all believers] and raise it up again.

    How else can we underatand what Jesus later says to Nathaniel of how the heavens will open “and the angels of God ascending and descending” on his person if not to recall [in a clear typological/figurative way] the story of Jacob in Genesis 28 (see esp. v. 12).

    Jesus identifies himself as the ladder linking earth and heaven (John 1:51). While human beings want to ascend to heaven (as reflected in the Tower of Babel story, Genesis 11), God is interested in making the earth his temple-city. ESV Study Bible

    Andrew

    In 1 Jn 1, we have the abstract eternal life with the father before being manifested in the Word of Life. The Word was then towards God on earth.

    Again I disagree purely on textual grounds. How can you say both passages are not talking about the same thing: logos as “word, life and light”?

    Its clear from the text that these are all synonymous and expressive of the same creative quality that is “the word of God”.

    These things were eventually embodied, “made flesh” or “manifested” [cp. John 1.14; 1 John 1.2-3] in the man Jesus.

  211. on 23 Apr 2010 at 6:16 amandrewneileen

    Xavier,

    I did NT Greek in year 1 and year 2 at university, so I guess I can read it to an average standard. Not the best.

    If the scholars and versions are making mistakes in regard to logos, I would not be surprised if they were equally astray regarding v. 3. An echo with Genesis doesn’t establish a reference to that creation. The use of ‘all things’ establishes a new creation pattern, and John naturally echoes the Genesis creation.

    On the new creation reading, pre-existence issues fall away.

    What you say on the temple or Jacob’s ladder is not wrong, its just not the first step in the exegesis of Jn 1:14. It’s like this: you talk of God, but the first step is the Angel of the Lord who tabernacled with Israel in the wilderness, i.e. the Angel of the Presence. Of course, Yahweh was with the people but his presence was mediated through the Angel of the Lord. This is the first point of comparision for understanding the typology of v. 14.

    If the text had wanted to say God came to dwell in the body of Jesus, it could have done so. But we need to exegete the text as it stands and know why ‘the word’ was made flesh. Not how God came to dwell.

    When you factor in the Angel of the Lord typological allusion implicit in ‘tabernacled’, you will see how this explains why Jesus is ‘the Light’ in v. 7 and how the world was made by him in v. 10. There are a lot of gains to be had from seeing Exodus typology in John 1. The Buzzard approach is too tied to traditional church thinking.

    And so it is the same with 1 Jn 1:1. Our exegesis needs to respect the differences. The life that was manifested is about the character of the father manifested in the Son and this is how we are to understand the predicate ‘was God’ in Jn 1:1. If we equate word=life=God, we don’t explain why word, why life, why God in either John or 1 John.

    Lots to say, but I like short posts.

    Andrew

  212. on 23 Apr 2010 at 6:38 amXavier

    Andrew

    The use of ‘all things’ establishes a new creation pattern, and John naturally echoes the Genesis creation.

    I do not quite follow you here bro. I agree with your second statement but not the first. Where is it a precedence that “ta panta” [all things] “establishes a new creation pattern” and is not just a general way of phrasing the whole of creation?

    …you will see how this explains why Jesus is ‘the Light’ in v. 7 and how the world was made by him in v. 10.

    No I do not quite see 2 Creators here just the One God of Israel, YHWH, Who is said thousand and thousands of times to be the sole creator of the OT.

    Again, I do not see New Creation in view in the opening prologue of John. No one does!

    The Buzzard approach is too tied to traditional church thinking.

    Did you hear the recent debates Buzzard had with Dr. Brown and White? They vehemently denied his reading of Heb 1.10 to the point of making personal attacks. So how can this in anyway be “tied to traditional church thinking”?

    If we equate word=life=God, we don’t explain why word, why life, why God in either John or 1 John.

    Why what? 🙂

    Sorry you lost me yet again bro.

  213. on 23 Apr 2010 at 7:10 amandrewneileen

    Xavier,

    I do not wish to lose you and haven’t read the Buzzard treatment of Heb 1:10. I have come across some Christadelphian material that sees the new creation in John 1, a person called Harry Whittaker has a book on the Gospels and it is on one of their websites. A google search should get it – its a free download. Apparently, the suggestion has been made in the past; a friend once told me that he had dug up material written by the Socinians – but he never gave me the references.

    Still, that doesn’t matter. Check out Whittaker’s prose and see if its better than mine.

    Andrew

  214. on 23 Apr 2010 at 8:06 amMargaret Collier

    Andrew: “The life that was manifested is about the character of the father manifested in the Son and this is how we are to understand the predicate ‘was God’ in Jn 1:1.”

    I agree. Thank you for saying it so well.

    I do not see two Creators, Xavier. I see one Creator who created all things by (through the instrumentality of) his Son (Hebrews 1:2).

    Hebrews 11:3 says something similar. The ages were formed through the instrumentality of God’s word. That doesn’t make two Creators. Or three.

    As for Hebrews 1:10, I listened to the two debates and was troubled by Buzzard’s treatment of this verse. He seemed to be saying that it should not be taken as it is written, because it is based on a wrong translation of the Hebrew text.

    Does that mean the Epistle to the Hebrews is not inspired by God?

    I am well aware that my UNDERSTANDING of any passage may be wrong, and I am seriously testing the new ideas I am hearing here; but the suggestion that some of the Bible is inaccurate makes me wonder if it’s worth while.

  215. on 23 Apr 2010 at 9:26 amMargaret Collier

    “One final note regarding Heb 1.3 where Jesus is said to uphold all things by “the mighty power of his command” (literally his powerful word). Referring to God’s word and not Jesus …”

    I agree with you, Xavier, and thank you. I hadn’t noticed that.

    The modifying phrases have a kind of double parallelism:

    Who (the SON)
    being the effulgence of his (GOD’s) glory,
    and the exact expression of his (GOD’s) substance
    and upholding all things by his (GOD’s) powerful word –

    this same one (the SON)
    having by himself made purification of our sins
    sat down on the right hand of the greatness on high (GOD).

    So Jesus – the Son – is the one who is described as upholding all things by the power of God’s word.

    That, again, fits Hebrews 11:3, as well as John 1:1.

    It also fits John 10:18. He made purification for our sins by laying down his life and taking it up again, because that was the commandment he had received from his Father.

  216. on 23 Apr 2010 at 10:37 amXavier

    Andrew

    I do not wish to lose you and haven’t read the Buzzard treatment of Heb 1:10.

    Lose me bro? You know where to find me if you wana argue. 🙂

    Provided you with the link to Buzzard’s take on Heb 1.10.

    Margaret

    …was troubled by Buzzard’s treatment of this verse. He seemed to be saying that it should not be taken as it is written, because it is based on a wrong translation of the Hebrew text.

    No. You misheard and misread. General consensus is that the writer of Hebrews is citing the Septuagint [Greek text of the Hebrew canon, aka. LXX] and not the Masoteric Hebrew.

    Maybe you do not know this but more often than not the NT writers used this Greek version of the Hebrew scriptures more often than the Hebrew Masoteric text.

    …the Greek Jewish Scriptures influenced the NT writers in such a way that their writings were different as a result…Scholars readily aknowledge that the vocabulary of the NT is influenced by the LXX. The use of the Septuagint in New Testament research, Tim McLay, pp 144-145

    Margaret

    So Jesus – the Son – is the one who is described as upholding all things by the power of God’s word. That, again, fits Hebrews 11:3, as well as John 1:1.

    Yes, as long as we do not confuse the “word” [logos] of Jn 1.1 as being one to one equal with the Son. In other words, the logos remains God’s self-expression in and through the Son, who is not literally that same word as such, but the one who manifests it, personifies it and reveals it to his brethren [cp. Jn 1.18]. As per your excellent little diagram.

    …being the effulgence of his (GOD’s) glory, and the exact expression of his (GOD’s) substance.

  217. on 23 Apr 2010 at 11:07 amandrewneileen

    Xavier,

    You haven’t shown how you get ‘self’ and ‘expression’ associated with ‘logos’. For example: My words express my point of view, but they are just words. Or: I have given my word on the matter, but they are still words.

    You are at least abstract level 3 with the ideas of ‘self’ and ‘expression’ for ‘logos’. If level 1 is the concrete spoken or written words like ‘You are a rebellious people’ and level 2 is what is said by such words, e.g. God said that Israel were a rebelious people, level 3 could be an expression of self, but equally they could be criticism of Israel. So, if God created the Genesis creation by his word, there is nothing wrong with the theology that God is creating the new creation by his word which in this case is Jesus.

    Margaret,

    If ‘was God’ picks up on character, it does so as opposed to role and function as well as nature or naming. That is, if we ask what does the predicate ‘was God’ mean? It depends on context. It could mean; someone has the role of God; it could mean someone is called God; it could mean someone has the nature of God – but here we are opting for manifesting character – which would be in keeping with John.

    My argument, which the debater Dave Burke suggested to me in an email, and which he got from someone else, is that Thomas’ confession ‘My God’ is something that Jesus then says he has ‘seen’. This comment by Jesus picks up what he expects his disciples to ‘see’, namely, the father (Jn 14:9). When they ‘see’ the father in Jesus, they see character. And so, this is why ‘was God’ in 1:1 is an inclusio with 20:28 – the two texts bookend a major feature of the gospel – the display of God’s character.

    And all this is why it is important to see Jesus as the reference of ‘logos’ in v.1

    Andrew

  218. on 23 Apr 2010 at 11:27 amXavier

    Andrew

    You haven’t shown how you get ’self’ and ‘expression’ associated with ‘logos’.

    Too much philosophizing and not enough proper theology bro. Alls I am simply saying is that “the word of God” is not the person of Jesus, it is God Himself. In Hebraic thinking this is shown throughout the scriptures. I feel like you have me running in circles here friend.

  219. on 23 Apr 2010 at 3:58 pmMargaret Collier

    I am aware that the NT writers quoted the Septuagint, Xavier. My point is that the quotation in Hebrews 1:10, if taken at face value, agrees with the idea that the Son (the Word of God) was in the beginning WITH God, that God made the ages (and the things that appeared in them) by MEANS of the Son, and that the Son upholds all things by the word of God’s power.

    Saying that the quotation is from the Septuagint doesn’t change that – unless the Septuagint is seriously flawed, and the letter to the Hebrews along with it.

    That’s what I find troubling.

    As for Thomas’s statement, I understand that the Son has been given authority over all things. He is God’s Messiah, Yahweh’s representative. That makes him Thomas’s God and my God and your God. But HE HIMSELF is subject to HIS God.

    The only true God (the Father) is the only one who is subject to NOBODY. His authority is absolute, without exception.

    That relationship is seen quite clearly in 1 Co. 15:24-28, which tells us God is putting all things under the Son’s feet.

    But Paul points out that there is one obvious exception. God did not put HIMSELF under the Son’s control. And in v. 28, the Son, though Lord of all, is totally subject to the only true God, as he has always been.

  220. on 23 Apr 2010 at 5:02 pmDoubting Thomas

    Margaret
    You said, “He is God’s Messiah, Yahweh’s representative. That makes him Thomas’ God and my God and your God.”

    Yahweh’s representative is not Yahweh no more than President Obama’s representative is President Obama. There is only ONE God the first Commandment is very clear on this…

  221. on 23 Apr 2010 at 6:38 pmRay

    I believe God made the light that first appeared (Gen 1:3) by Jesus.
    (Heb 1:2) Jesus upheld the word of God and sustained the world by the power of God his Father.

    He left that glory which he had with God to come to be born into this world to be our saviour.

    It seems to me that God sustained it all without Jesus (except for that which Jesus did by God while he ministered on this earth in the days of his flesh) while Jesus was in the days of his flesh on this earth which he had been the maker of.

  222. on 23 Apr 2010 at 9:09 pmXavier

    Margaret

    Saying that the quotation is from the Septuagint doesn’t change that – unless the Septuagint is seriously flawed, and the letter to the Hebrews along with it.

    I will go over it again with you.

    First, the writer of Hebrews cites a Messianic Psalm that has to do with the future, Millenial Kingdom since it refers to “a generation to come…a people yet to be created” [v.18]. Please re-read the Psalm in its entirety if you haven’t already.

    Second, the Jewish scribes who translated the Hebrew text into Greek some 300-400 years before Jesus actually understood vv.23-27 differently. Since they introduced a second “lord” at v.25. Someone the writer of Hebrews interprets as referring to the Son. Again, I implore to study the text in full.

    I know this may be hard to understand but remember that Heb 1 is about how the Son is so much greater than angels. So much so that he is given a co-creator role “in the world to come of which we speak” [Heb 2.5].

    That makes him Thomas’s God and my God and your God. But HE HIMSELF is subject to HIS God.

    Even though we understand that others may be called “gods” in a secondary sense [cp. Jn 10.30f.], I do not think Jesus claimed that title for his own. Neither do any of the NT writers. The one time he is called “god” in the absolute sense is at Heb 1.8, which again quotes the OT Ps 45.6, taking a Davidic title and applying it to the promised Messiah.

    As Christians it is only fair to recognize Jesus as he tells us to do. As the Messiah, Son of the Living God [Mat 16.16].

  223. on 23 Apr 2010 at 9:22 pmRay

    Here’s something I just now saw in my 1599 Geneva Bible. I’ll give the verse and the footnote that caught my attention.

    I John 5:20
    But we know that that Son of God is come, and hath given us a mind to know him, which is true, and we are in him that is true, that is, in that his Son Jesus Christ, the same is that very 1 God, and that eternal life.

    5:20 1 The divinity of Christ is most plainly proved by this place.

    Now in the 1599 Geneva, in the forward of it, I found talk about the “defininate article”. I believe this is why we see so much of the word “that” in the above verse of scriputure. It’s their way of leaving the “definate article” in the verse, or their way of communicating that defininite article of the Greek.

    Now if I will comment on this verse I will say much of what I have often said, such as Jesus being the very Christ, the certain God who is the Son of God as no other being of God is, though many angels and men may be referred to as sons of God. Jesus is very much the distinction, different from all others, being the Christ, being as God is. Even as many men who have received the word of God may at times be referred to as “gods”, Jesus is by far and away the distinction, the special example, “That” one that is different among all others, who shows us what it is to be like God.

  224. on 24 Apr 2010 at 3:38 amDave Burke

    Guys, I’m going to make a suggestion here: let’s spend more time exchanging ideas and less time trying to convert each other. We’re united against Trinitarianism, so we should keep that fact in mind as we debate.

    Every one of us is passionate about his or her belief, and keen to help others share it with us. But we can’t expect to turn each other around just by hammering out some issues on a blog. People need time to reflect on the things they’ve read, turn them over in their minds and look at them in a new light. Don’t expect too much from the person you’re talking to.

    Let’s give each other a little space and concentrate on sharing our perspectives instead of trying to make others believe as we do. I’m sure we’re all here to learn and nobody wants to leave empty handed, so just contribute what you can and enjoy the exchange.

    😀

  225. on 24 Apr 2010 at 8:43 amMargaret Collier

    Good idea, Dave. My goal is to learn. I hope everyone else feels the same way.

    Thomas: Just for clarification, I DO believe that the only true God (that is, the God who is subject to NO ONE – is the Father. All other gods/Gods are either appointed by Yahweh to represent him (and therefore rule in the NAME of Yahweh and deserve the title “God”), or else are usurping the authority of Yahweh.

    For example, Satan is the god of this world (2 Corinthians 4:4), and “their belly” is the god of some who live “as enemies of the cross of Christ” (Philippians 3:19). Neither of those was appointed by Yahweh, and neither of those should be “my God”.

    I do NOT believe that Yahweh’s representative is Yahweh himself.

    Xavier – thank you for your explanation. I have been reading Psalm 102 in the Septuagint (English translation), and in every other translation I have. I am also reading Hebrews 1 for the manieth time, with your explanation in mind. I will continue to explore the possibilities.

    SO FAR, I can see no TEXTUAL reason to understand that the heavens and the earth referred to are anything other than the heavens and the earth that were created “in the beginning”.

    But I’m happy to leave that question unresolved for the moment, unless someone has more evidence to contribute.

    I want to go on looking for passages which will either support or else falsify my impression that “The Word” in John 1:1 was (or at least included) the Son. Help on that score would be appreciated.

  226. on 24 Apr 2010 at 9:28 amDoubting Thomas

    Dave
    You said, “Let’s give each other a little space and concentrate on sharing our perspectives instead of trying to make others believe as we do.”

    There is a lot of wisdom in what you are saying. I apologize to Margaret and anyone else if I was being too aggressive in stating my beliefs. I was simply trying to share my beliefs with others and listen to the feedback.

    Margaret
    You said, “All other gods/Gods are either appointed by Yahweh to represent him (and therefore rule in the name of Yahweh and deserve the title “God”), or else are usurping the authority of Yahweh.”

    I realize that is the majority view. Unfortunately I do not agree. Maybe I’m simple minded but I like to refer to God as God and believe that he likes it that way. The Lord’s prayer and other parts of the bible talk about God’s name being “Hallowed” or “Holy” to me that means his name should not be used to describe anyone else except him.

    (That’s the way I see it anywaze…)

  227. on 24 Apr 2010 at 9:50 amDave Burke

    Margaret:

    I want to go on looking for passages which will either support or else falsify my impression that “The Word” in John 1:1 was (or at least included) the Son. Help on that score would be appreciated.

    I’ll be talking about John 1:1-14 very soon in the debate. I hope that what I have to say will be helpful.

  228. on 24 Apr 2010 at 10:35 amrobert

    “The Lord’s prayer and other parts of the bible talk about God’s name being “Hallowed” or “Holy” to me that means his name should not be used to describe anyone else except him.”

    Thomas
    God is just a title for YHWH,Yahweh is the name that should be Hallowed.

  229. on 24 Apr 2010 at 11:10 amXavier

    Margaret

    I can see no TEXTUAL reason to understand that the heavens and the earth referred to are anything other than the heavens and the earth that were created “in the beginning”.

    Perhaps it would help to contrast this phraseology of the new “heavens and the earth” with Rev 21.

    Hope the following helps in your search:

    I want to go on looking for passages which will either support or else falsify my impression that “The Word” in John 1:1 was (or at least included) the Son.

    How about the simple fact that the common/abstract noun “word” is not a person? This is like saying that a “table, car”, might in anyway be a person. I guess 2000+ years of Catholic dogma have subbconsiously ingrained this erroneous understanding into the Christian thinking.

    The identification of Jesus with the logos…was further developed in the early church but more on the basis of Greek philosophical ideas than on Old Testament motifs. This development was dictated by attempts made by early Christian theologians and apologists to express the Christian faith in terms that would be intelligible to the Hellenistic world and to impress their hearers with the view that Christianity was superior to, or heir to, all that was best in pagan philosophy. “Logos”, The New Encyclopedia Britannica, Vol. 7, 15th ed., p 449.

    Earlier forms of the [Apostle’s] creed seem to have read: ‘Born of the Holy Spirit and of the Virgin Mary’. The primary affirmation of [preexistence] is that the Son of God, the Word, had become man or, as John’s Gospel puts it, ‘flesh’ (John 1.14). Preexistence and Incarnation presuppose each other in the Christian view of Christ. Hence the New Testament assumed his preexistence when it talked about his becoming man; and when it spoke of him as preexistent, it was describing in the flesh. “Jesus: The Christ and Christology”, The New Encyclopedia Britannica, Vol. 22, 15th ed., p 370-71.

    There remained, indeed, the problem of the relation between this “Word” which was God and yet incarnate in the human Jesus, and the Father- God, whose only begotten Son He was. Was this Word personal or impersonal? If personal, how can we escape Polytheism? And if the Logos be identified with the One God, what becomes of the distinction between Father and Logos? “Christ as the Logos and the Son of God”, God and Man, Hastings Rashdall, Oxford, 1930.

    Doubting

    The Lord’s prayer and other parts of the bible talk about God’s name being “Hallowed” or “Holy” to me that means his name should not be used to describe anyone else except him.

    The word “god” in Hebrew [elohim] or the Greek [theos] is not a name as such, but used as a title. When combined with Divine attributes such as “Almighty”, “Father”, etc., let alone the “Divine Name” YHWH, it certainly is not to be used for anyone else but the one God of Israel.

  230. on 24 Apr 2010 at 11:17 amDoubting Thomas

    Robert
    I realize that but I tried praying using the name Yahweh and it just didn’t feel right. I guess it comes down to familiarity. Ever since I was a child I heard God being referred to as God and not Yahweh.

    Since coming to this website I’ve seen articles (like Jaco’s) and many posts talking about God’s real name being Yahweh. Maybe I should try again praying to God as Yahweh but referring to God as God just seems more natural/comfortable (familiar)…

  231. on 24 Apr 2010 at 11:47 amrobert

    Thomas
    When you send a letter do you just address to Mr., No
    Should you then just address your prayers to a common title like God, Father or both without identifying. Can you be sure that Yahweh accepts these titles that are used commonly.
    This is just my view and the use of Gods name in my relationship with him is a statement there is only one God for me.
    there is nothing wrong with using a title amongst people who have no doubt who God is and i perfer others who dont know just who Yahweh is to use the title.

  232. on 24 Apr 2010 at 2:49 pmDoubting Thomas

    Thanks Everybody for showing me that God is not a name but a title for Yahweh. It still doesn’t feel right to me to be calling Jesus or anybody else representing Yahweh God but I can’t argue with your logic…

  233. on 24 Apr 2010 at 3:01 pmRay

    To Jesus belongs the name of God. It’s not robbery to him to have it and use it. That power was given to him by God and he has shown us that he is worthy of it. I trust he has used it and will use it to show us who he is. I think we should expect that.`

    Also, let’s suppose there are three men. One of them lives a godly life giving praise to God in all the does in word and deed being an example of Christ to all who see him. He speaks of God as his Father in heaven and Jesus as his Son, his Lord and saviour.

    The second man lives a sinful life and always calls God Jehovah.

    The third man lives likewise always being a stumbling block to others on the path of life, and refers to God as YAHWEH.

    Which of the three do you think God will choose to honor or have respect to their prayers or offernings?

    We could also turn things around and give the character of the first to the last, but do we see how it is that people can either honor God or not?

  234. on 24 Apr 2010 at 7:53 pmXavier

    Doubting

    Maybe I should try again praying to God as Yahweh but referring to God as God just seems more natural/comfortable (familiar)…

    I do not think it makes any difference. If anything, the most intimate of titles attributed to the one God of Israel by both Jesus and his apostles is that of abba, Father.

    But as Jesus’ example to the Samaritan woman at well regarding where we should pray to shows, it does not have a modicum of difference I think if you call on the name of YHWH or God the Father. As long as we pray to Him in the holy, wonderful name of His “one-of-a-kind” Son, Jesus the Messiah!

  235. on 25 Apr 2010 at 4:58 amDave Burke

    My latest responses to Bowman at the Trinity debate:

    http://www.reclaimingthemind.org/blog/2010/04/the-great-trinity-debate-part-2-dave-burke-on-jesus-christ/#comment-30794

    http://www.reclaimingthemind.org/blog/2010/04/the-great-trinity-debate-part-2-rob-bowman-on-jesus-christ/#comment-30797

    🙂

  236. on 25 Apr 2010 at 11:35 amDoubting Thomas

    Xavier
    For several months now I’ve been asking God to show me any beliefs I have that might be wrong. I do not want to start an argument with anybody I just want to express what I believe and listen to the feedback I get. I know almost all Christians say we should pray to Jesus who is our intercessor but I’ve always prayed to God.

    There have been times that I have prayed to Jesus thanking him for giving himself up to be our Savior and dieing on the cross or to thank him for being our teacher and teaching us what God wants us to know. But 90% of the time I pray to God directly and try to have an intimate relationship with him through my prayers.

    Jesus said in Mathew 6:6-10, “But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your father who is in secret. And your father who sees in secret will reward you…..Pray then like this: ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done’ etc…”

    Jesus taught us to pray directly to the Father and that is what I do…

  237. on 25 Apr 2010 at 12:34 pmrobert

    Thomas
    AMEN

    We as a people have almost translated all the truth out of the bible. we have made Christ a proper name instead of a descibing word. 39 times the word is used in the greek OT to descibe the call to office of priest,prophet or king of which Jesus holds all 3 as so did his Father David. these 2 are the only 3 fold christ, while also being of 3 that have held the 2 fold office of priest and king. Jesus, David and Shem . and thousands have held it 1 fold as priest,prophets and kings of which some were not even kings of Israel. if we were to understand the word christ and its usage we would come to a better understanding of the truth.

  238. on 25 Apr 2010 at 1:50 pmRay

    I believe we are to pray to God as Jesus did and also taught us.
    I also believe we may call upon him and that he will hear us.

    I always wondered who it was that the apostle Paul talked to about his thorn in the flesh. (the messenger of satan given permission to buffet him) I wondered if he had besought the Lord Jesus on this matter.

    I too pray to God 90% or more of the time. I have also found myself praying to Jesus thanking him too at times. I don’t believe it’s wrong to do so from time to time.

    I was attending a Bible study once and found it odd that one of the married couples prayed so differently, one praying always to “Father God”, and the other always praying to “Lord Jesus”.

    They got along fine. They just prayed differently.

    I had never seen that before.

  239. on 25 Apr 2010 at 3:25 pmXavier

    Doubting

    Jesus taught us to pray directly to the Father and that is what I do…

    Don’t know what this has to do with my recent posts regarding Jn 1.1 but sure, I agree. Pray to the Father in the name of the Son.

    But, I do not have a problem with people asking the Son directly for something they want his God and Father to do. As Jesus himself attested to:

    You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it. Jn 14.14

  240. on 26 Apr 2010 at 7:42 pmMargaret Collier

    I am encouraged by the things we agree on.

    I, too, usually pray to God, addressing him as “Father,” or “O God”.

    But the disciples in Acts often prayed to the Lord Jesus. Stephen’s prayer is quite specific: “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” And we can be sure that whatever Jesus gives comes ultimately from the Father, because the Son never does anything on his own initiative.

    The one thing we should NOT do is stop praying for fear of making a mistake. A Father wants to HEAR from his child, whether his speech is perfect or not.

    And who claims to be perfect, anyway?

  241. on 26 Apr 2010 at 8:12 pmXavier

    Here’s an excellent study on whether or not we can pray to Jesus from the CES people over at that other excellent site Biblicalunitarian.com [aka. Truthortradition.com]: http://www.biblicalunitarian.com/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=83

  242. on 26 Apr 2010 at 10:14 pmrobert

    Xavier
    I can find thousands of studies on how the trinity exist and there are millions people who think they see the logic in it. I dont put my faith in studies or articles unless i can prove using the scriptures, Nt writings, history and common sense.
    By these 4 i dont see a case for this study to even exist, but as with the trinity there might be billions who believe every study like this.

  243. on 26 Apr 2010 at 10:16 pmXavier

    robert

    These are studies based on the scriptures. Are you saying they are of little value to you?

  244. on 26 Apr 2010 at 10:24 pmrobert

    “These are studies based on the scriptures.”

    there are no studies based purely on scripture without some type of interpretation that contradicts the truth. They must meet all 4 requirements for me even consider theres any value in them.
    so to answer you
    YES
    But they do help me understand just how christianity got to where they are now.

  245. on 27 Apr 2010 at 1:18 amXavier

    robert

    Your comments remind me of this saying by those Protestant lovers who are all about “scripture only”:

    I do not follow interpretations of men. Now let me tell you what I think. 😛

  246. on 27 Apr 2010 at 9:26 amrobert

    Xavier
    Thats a little belittling.
    It doesnt matter what i think , It only matters what i can prove. I find no reason to be led by blind faith when the bible is not as confusing as some people want you to think. All it takes is clearing the preconceptions and doing a little research on history then you can make a logical conclusion.

  247. on 27 Apr 2010 at 10:53 amXavier

    robert

    No worries bro.

    Peace.

  248. on 27 Apr 2010 at 1:41 pmrobert

    Xavier
    Oh i wasnt worried because i have seen a lot worst by many here including me but have been accused by a lot less.

    I wasnt offended even though it was meant to belittle but we must look at what other people here see who see it as very unchristian. It is not just the statements that offend that are just human, its the inability to forgive your brother that is unchristian or the person who is not held by the same standards as they hold their brother by that is unchristian.

    we may not be able to be perfect in how we treat others but we all can be perfect in forgiveness if we want to

  249. on 27 Apr 2010 at 9:13 pmXavier

    robert

    I wasnt offended even though it was meant to belittle…

    That was not my intention, I was actually trying to enlighten the mood of these posts. I do not seek to belittle or denigrate posters. As per “The Golden Rule”:

    Do not do unto others as you would expect they should do unto you.

    Regardless, if it did offend you then I sincerly apologize friend.

  250. on 27 Apr 2010 at 9:57 pmDoubting Thomas

    Speaking of enlightening the mood of these posts there is an old Christian saying that says “God will never give us more than we can handle.”

    There are times when I wish God didn’t trust me quite so much… 🙂

  251. on 27 Apr 2010 at 10:14 pmrobert

    Xavier
    You didnt offend me, I know it wasnt meant to belittle but that doesnt change that it is a statement that does belittle I just think its not a good idea to profile someone using past or current religions. Doesnt matter if they were or are of a sect of christianity because every sect has people who are misled by people they trust and respect. It is the teachers of the sects who are to blame.
    lets just not compare people to sects.

  252. on 28 Apr 2010 at 2:20 amXavier

    robert

    lets just not compare people to sects.

    I think your misreading too much into this. Nothing about comparing people on here with sects etc.

  253. on 28 Apr 2010 at 6:34 amMargaret Collier

    I printed Dave’s second article and have been studying it with care. One thing I had never really thought about before was the question of whether Jesus worshipped God, his Father.

    I am now convinced that he did (does). The two passages in the article were less than convincing (to me), but Matthew 4:10 seems conclusive.

    It is marvellous to see the absolute dependence of Jesus on his God. And if dependence characterized the only-begotten Son of God, it should certainly characterize his disciples.

    The statement that Jesus could be tempted needs to be qualified, I think. I’m still looking at that one. The meaning of “tempted” would have to be explained, because it is used differently in different contexts.

  254. on 28 Apr 2010 at 8:05 amrobert

    Xavier
    You must not understand the purpose of your joke. Any joke with a religous overtone is meant to belittle. since we are mixed backgrounds here it has no place here.
    Like i said i dont think you intended to offend, but there are those it would do just that.

  255. on 28 Apr 2010 at 8:07 amDoubting Thomas

    Margaret
    You said, “And if dependence characterized the only-begotten Son of God, it should certainly characterize his disciples.”

    I wholeheartedly agree.

  256. on 28 Apr 2010 at 4:13 pmJaco

    Hi, everyone

    Sorry for not coming back with a critique on the second part of the debate yet. We’re visiting relatives 700 kilometers away, and will only return this weekend. Will post my comments as soon as I can. (I feel jealous for not taking part in your exciting exchange.)

    Just one little thing, Xavier. The Golden Rule (Mt 7:12) says, Do unto others what you want them to do unto you. The negative of this, the one you’re quoting, is Confucius! 🙂

    See y’all soon, and God bless,

    Jaco

  257. on 28 Apr 2010 at 11:47 pmXavier

    Jaco

    Confucius, Jesus, Buddah, same message no? 🙂

  258. on 29 Apr 2010 at 8:55 amDave Burke

    LOL, don’t go all universalist on us, mate.

    😛

  259. on 29 Apr 2010 at 4:44 pmMargaret Collier

    Dave: You wrote, “Jesus lived a sinless life of service to the Father’s will, despite being capable of sin and subject to temptation.”

    I think we all agree with the principal clause. But I have reservations about the two qualifying phrases.

    Hebrews 4:15 tells us that he can “sympathize with our weaknesses” because he has been “tempted in all points as we are, apart from sin.”

    The phrase “apart from sin” could mean that his temptations INCLUDED the temptation to sin, which he resisted; or it could mean that he was not tempted by sin at all – that all his temptations were APART from sin.

    The Greek word for “tempt” is used in two different ways. God cannot be tempted by evil (James 1:13); so in the sentence, “Thou shalt not tempt Yahweh thy God” (Matthew 4:7), the word is translated “put to the test” (NIV).

    In that same sense, God tempted Abraham – put him to the test. But he did not tempt Abraham with evil, because (as James tells us) God will not do that.

    James explains that the temptation to do evil comes from WITHIN. We are tempted to sin by our evil desires. And evil desires are themselves evil, according to Jesus.

    If Jesus had evil desires, he was a sinner, just like us, whether the evil desire culminated in an act or not.

    But in him was no sin. Jesus had no association with sin UNTIL Yahweh laid on him the iniquity of us all. That’s what qualifies him to be the sinless substitute.

    When the Spirit of God led Jesus into the wilderness, the Devil tempted him – tested his devotion to God – just as God tested Abraham. But Jesus’ devotion to God was total. He had no desire for anything apart from the will of God.

    So I conclude that Jesus, like his Father, could not be tempted with evil, and therefore was not capable of sinning.

    But I am willing to be corrected.

  260. on 29 Apr 2010 at 5:31 pmrobert

    Margaret
    I am not sure what translation you are using but here is several different translations that put it into perspective

    New International Version
    15For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are–yet was without sin.

    Peshitta – Lamsa Translation
    15 For we do not have a high priest who cannot share our infirmities, but we have one who was tempted with everything as we are, and yet without sin.

    The Geneva Bible (1587)
    15 For we haue not an hie Priest, which can not be touched with the feeling of our infirmities, but was in all things tempted in like sort, yet without sinne.

    King James Version (1611)
    15 For wee haue not an high Priest which cannot bee touched with the feeling of our infirmities: but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sinne.

    Complete Jewish Bible
    15 For we do not have a cohen gadol unable to empathize with our weaknesses; since in every respect he was tempted just as we are, the only difference being that he did not sin.

  261. on 29 Apr 2010 at 7:13 pmRay

    I believe Jesus was tempted in everything like we are but he did not commit sin. He kept himself by the power of God, sanctified for our salvation, that he might be our redeemer and priest of God.

    One thing I’ve been thinking about in relation to this matter is that all men from Adam have had the proclivity to sin, by one, the nature
    we have inherited, and two, by our own falling into it, being taken captive by it.

    We’ve all had those two counts against us there. But Jesus neither had the inherent tendancy to sin, nor did he commit sin, though I believe he was tempted as we all have been.

    I wonder if he had a stronger resistance to it. By him we should learn to overcome all sin.

    So here’s the question:

    Jesus being tempted with just as much temptation as we all have been, and did not sin, was it that he overcame the temptation for many reasons, one being that he had a greater resistance to it, or that he was stronger than we against the temptation?

    Is it possible that two men be tempted with the same strength of temptation but that one overcome the temptation because of a greater resistance to it, or because of a greater character, as well as other reasons?

    The scripture says that he resisted unto blood striving against sin.
    (Hebrews 12:4) By this I conclude that his working to resist sin was a greater effort than anything I have produced in resisting it.

    I fell into sin and he did not. He put forth a greater effort for one thing. I’m sure there are many reasons why he was successful against sin and why I failed.

  262. on 29 Apr 2010 at 7:51 pmrobert

    Ray
    If Jesus wasnt able to sin he wasnt a role model for us to follow because we are able to sin.
    It was the fact he was able but didnt is why he was chosen to be the Lamb of God at his baptism where he received the Holy spirit which wrote the (Word)Torah in his flesh (heart)with understanding without measure.
    He did this out of pure love of Gods ways not out of some supernatural power.

  263. on 29 Apr 2010 at 9:48 pmRay

    I believe it was God working within him to will and to do according to his good pleasure. (Phil 2:13)

    Jesus said that he could do nothing of himself (John 5:19) but what he saw the Father do.

    This he said after he healed the man at the pool of Bethesda.

    I wonder if keeping himself from sin was the greatest of his works.

  264. on 29 Apr 2010 at 9:55 pmrobert

    Ray
    all this was after receiving the holy spirit. you have nothing for before so dont invent it. He was human in everyway we are, After the holy spirit GOD WAS WITH HIM but being chosen was from his life prior to the holy spirit

  265. on 29 Apr 2010 at 11:08 pmMargaret Collier

    I am using two interlinear Greek Bibles, Robert, as well as the meanings given in two lexicons. The preposition “choris” means “separate from,” or “apart from,” or “without”. And the word “yet” is not in the text.

    I like your thinking, Ray. You are groping, as I have been. But if Jesus lacked the TENDENCY to sin, since he lacked the sinful nature we inherited from Adam, then he did not have the sinful desires that are the breeding ground of all sin (see James 1:13-15). So he wouldn’t have to struggle to keep himself from sinning. He had better things to do. And so would we, if we loved God with all our heart and soul and mind.

    We do not need sympathy for our sinful thoughts. We need to confess them and accept God’s forgiveness for them through faith in Christ’s atoning work.

    Thank you for mentioning Hebrews 12:4. I don’t think the sin Jesus strove against was sin in himself. He came to take away OUR sin, and his agony in Gethsemane is a hint of what it cost him – but in him was NO sin (1 John 3:5).

    Never mind. With each comment the picture becomes clearer, and I become surer that the Son of God was a true son of his Father. He (like his Father) could not be tempted with sin, and he did not have to struggle to keep himself from sinning. Instead, he found all his delight in doing his Father’s will.

  266. on 29 Apr 2010 at 11:29 pmrobert

    “The preposition “choris” means “separate from,” or “apart from,” or “without”. And the word “yet” is not in the text.”

    Margaret
    Neither is the word “from” found in text
    but “yet” not being there doesnt change the reading but “apart” just simply means “Without”
    which would be the common sense reading, one that makes the whole verse senseless or one that makes sense from front to back.
    this is why most scholars present correct reading even though they would rather give a reading that backs their belief too.
    they seen it wouldnt make any sense to bring up tempted of sin then say he was not able to sin.
    what else can you be tempted to commit other than sin

  267. on 29 Apr 2010 at 11:33 pmXavier

    Margaret

    …he did not have to struggle to keep himself from sinning.

    Jesus went out as usual to the Mount of Olives, and his disciples followed him…He withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.”…And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground. Lu 22.39-44

    Jesus was in agony (Gk. agōnia) in anticipation of bearing “our sins in his own body on the tree” (1 Pet. 2:24), and therefore he prayed more earnestly. his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground…

    …there are both ancient and modern accounts on record of people sweating blood—a condition known as hematidrosis, where extreme anguish or physical strain causes one’s capillary blood vessels to dilate and burst, mixing sweat and blood. In either case, Luke’s main purpose is to highlight the intensity of Jesus’ emotional and physical trauma. ESV Study Bible

  268. on 30 Apr 2010 at 4:04 amDave Burke

    Margaret, I believe you are over-complicating the issue unnecessarily. We all agree that there was no sin in Jesus. He did not sin in any way; not even through his thoughts.

    But Scripture says Jesus was made like us in every way (Hebrews 2:17). Scripture also says Jesus was tempted and that he suffered when he was tempted (Hebrews 2:18).

    If Jesus literally pre-existed as a divine being, was incapable of temptation and did not struggle to keep himself from sinning, then both of these verses are false.

  269. on 30 Apr 2010 at 4:22 amXavier

    Dave

    Amen brother!!

    1 Pe 3.15

  270. on 30 Apr 2010 at 10:41 amMargaret Collier

    Xavier, your reference to Gethsemane proves my point. He suffered at the thought of bearing OUR sins – not his own. It was OUR iniquities that Yahweh laid on him; and to someone who was sinless, the thought of bearing sin, and thereby being forsaken by his God, was agony.

    Dave – I’m sorry if I appear to be complicating things. That’s not my intention. I simply want to look at ALL of the Word of God relative to the subject, and I don’t think that’s wrong.

    He “suffered when he was tempted” reminds me of Matthew 4. He suffered hunger. The hunger was real.

    The Tempter used that hunger to try to make him do something ON HIS OWN INITIATIVE – something he would not do, no matter how hungry he was. His total dependence on his God, his love for God and his delight in doing only those things that pleased his Father, made any such self-directed action impossible.

    The reality of his hunger, though, and the suffering it entailed, means that he can sympathize with people today who are suffering from starvation and the temptations that such suffering can cause. (I can’t. I have never been there.)

    Hebrews 4:15, I believe, qualifies what is meant by the “every detail” in ch. 2:17-18. Our high priest can sympathize with our weaknesses (like hunger and exhaustion). He was made like us in every detail APART FROM SIN.

    In other words, his likeness to us in every detail does not mean that he was born with a sinful nature, as the rest of us are.

    That, so far as I can see, leaves no contradiction. But I appreciate being reminded of any passage that might shed more light on the subject.

  271. on 30 Apr 2010 at 11:33 amDave Burke

    Margaret,

    I will have to remind myself of my own advice that we should not be attempting to convert each other on this blog. So I’ll keep this short and simply give you my opinion, for whatever it’s worth. 😀

    You say:

    Hebrews 4:15, I believe, qualifies what is meant by the “every detail” in ch. 2:17-18. Our high priest can sympathize with our weaknesses (like hunger and exhaustion). He was made like us in every detail APART FROM SIN.

    In other words, his likeness to us in every detail does not mean that he was born with a sinful nature, as the rest of us are.

    That, so far as I can see, leaves no contradiction. But I appreciate being reminded of any passage that might shed more light on the subject.

    (a) The Bible does not say “he was made like us in every detail apart from sin.” It says he was tempted in every way, like we are, yet without sin.

    (b) As a Christadelphian, I believe that we are born with a nature that is capable of sin and prone to sin, but we are not considered sinners until we actually sin. Unlike the Catholics and Calvinists, I do not believe in “Original Sin” (or “Total Depravity”, as the Calvinists call it). This is how I can say say that Jesus is made in exactly the same way that we are, but still managed to live a sinless life.

    I hope this helps to clarify the point.

  272. on 30 Apr 2010 at 12:47 pmXavier

    Dave

    A question on the nature of sin [disobedience].

    Is it due to what some translate as “the sinful nature” [sarx] or something else? Considering that even spiritual beings are suseptible to sin [cp. Jude 1.6; 2Pe 2.4].

  273. on 30 Apr 2010 at 1:10 pmMargaret Collier

    Thank you for the correction, and thank you for clarifying your point of view. I don’t consider it an attempt to convert me. You are trying to help. Big difference.

    Just to clarify my own position: I am not a Catholic, nor a Calvinist, nor a Christadelphian. I am not bound to defend any “official” set of doctrines. I want to learn. If learning more about my Father’s Word changes my views, then they need to be changed.

    I have been wondering about your sentence, “We all agree that there was no sin in Jesus. He did not sin in any way; not even through his thoughts.”

    If he did not sin through his thoughts, what was the “temptation”? If he wasn’t thinking of a sin to be desired, how could he be tempted to commit it?

    James makes it clear where the temptation to sin comes from. It comes from our own desires, our own inward thoughts. A pedophile, for instance, is tempted through his thoughts.

    Did Jesus experience that temptation? Just how far would you take the phrase “in every detail”?

    Hebrews 4:15 does not tell us that Jesus was tempted to sin. It tells us that he was tempted in every detail WITHOUT sin.

    I understand “without sin” to qualify “in every detail”. The temptations he endured did not involve the temptation to sin.

    That makes sense grammatically, and it fits what we read about Jesus elsewhere.

  274. on 30 Apr 2010 at 1:10 pmDave Burke

    Xavier:

    A question on the nature of sin [disobedience].

    Is it due to what some translate as “the sinful nature” [sarx] or something else?

    You would have to tell me what you mean by “sinful nature.” I believe that human nature can be described as “sinful” only in the sense that it is capable of sin and prone to sin. Human nature does not = sin, full stop (as the Catholics and Calvinists believe).

    Considering that even spiritual beings are suseptible to sin [cp. Jude 1.6; 2Pe 2.4].

    I don’t believe that spiritual beings are referred to in those verses.

    Jesus said that faithful believers will be made “like the angels” (Mark 12:25) and Paul tells us that “the last enemy that shall be destroyed is death” (I Corinthians 15:26). Since death is the wages of sin (Romans 6:23) it naturally follows that there will be a time when sin and death both cease to exist. I believe that time is the post-millennial era (see Revelation 22).

    Since the entire point of Jesus’ mission was to save us from sin and death, it makes no sense if we are still capable of sin in our glorified immortal state. In fact, Paul describes our immortal bodies as free from the effects of sin and death (I Corinthians 15:53-56). Thus I believe that those who are “made like the angels” will be incapable of sin, just as I believe angels themselves are incapable of sin.

    If we can still sin after being accepted, glorified and immortalised at the Judgement Seat of God, then Jesus’ entire life and sacrifice was a complete waste of time. Bottom line: there’s no such thing as an immortal sinner. The very idea is a contradiction in terms.

  275. on 30 Apr 2010 at 1:34 pmXavier

    Dave

    By humanity’s “sinful nature” I refer to what Paul time and time again refers to as “the flesh” [sarx]. Something that apparently is seen as the vehicle and at other times the reason for sin itself.

    I don’t believe that spiritual beings are referred to in those verses…just as I believe angels themselves are incapable of sin.

    So who or what are those verses referring to? I agree that God’s angels are kept holy as long as they remain subservient to their Creator. What about Satan and the rest of his wicked angelic host?

  276. on 30 Apr 2010 at 2:15 pmDave Burke

    Xavier:

    By humanity’s “sinful nature” I refer to what Paul time and time again refers to as “the flesh” [sarx]. Something that apparently is seen as the vehicle and at other times the reason for sin itself.

    OK, I see what you’re saying. Paul sometimes uses “the flesh” as a metaphor for our sinful inclinations (Romans 8:12, “So then, brothers and sisters, we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh“) and sometimes as a reference to our susceptibility to sin (Romans 13:14, “Instead, put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh to arouse its desires”).

    Paul always insists that our flesh makes us prone to sin, but he never equates flesh with sin. Paul would not regard a newborn baby as a sinner, as Catholics and Calvinists do.

    So who or what are those verses referring to?

    I believe that they refer to a particular group of sinners in the Old Testament. Note that Jude mentions them in the context of other mortal sinners (e.g. Sodom and Gomorrah). The Jamieson-Faussett-Brown commentary says that these “angels who left their first estate” are the sons of Seth (Genesis 6:2) which is a plausible explanation.

    Alternatively, it might be a reference to Korah, Dathan and Abiram (Numbers 16) which fits the context even better, since Jude has made it clear that he is referring to sinners during the Exodus period (verse 5) who were destroyed because “they did not believe.” I think this is more likely to be correct.

    I agree that God’s angels are kept holy as long as they remain subservient to their Creator.

    I believe that their only inclination is to obey God. They are perfect; immortal and incapable of sin. Faithful believers are promised that we will share this state. Is there any point in making us immortal if we can still sin? Do you believe there will never be a point at which sin and death no longer exist?

    What about Satan and the rest of his wicked angelic host?

    I don’t believe in an evil supernatural being called “Satan” and I don’t believe in a “wicked angelic host.” Angels are immortal and therefore incapable of sin. How can you have immortal sinners?

  277. on 30 Apr 2010 at 2:35 pmrobert

    2 Peter 2:4
    For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment;

    Dave
    Your view that this isnt spiritual beings makes no sense. It nowhere says immortals can not sin. there have been many refered to throughout the bible. Can a person be possessed by a human, No so who are the evil beings being cast out by the power of the holy spirit by Jesus.
    I am sure there are seperate commandments for spiritual beings and eternal punishments for sinning.

    But you dont believe that satan is an angel that sinned, do you?

  278. on 30 Apr 2010 at 2:41 pmDave Burke

    Margaret:

    Just to clarify my own position: I am not a Catholic, nor a Calvinist, nor a Christadelphian. I am not bound to defend any “official” set of doctrines. I want to learn. If learning more about my Father’s Word changes my views, then they need to be changed.

    I understand this and appreciate it. I think you have a great attitude. 😀

    I have been wondering about your sentence, “We all agree that there was no sin in Jesus. He did not sin in any way; not even through his thoughts.”

    If he did not sin through his thoughts, what was the “temptation”? If he wasn’t thinking of a sin to be desired, how could he be tempted to commit it?

    James makes it clear where the temptation to sin comes from. It comes from our own desires, our own inward thoughts. A pedophile, for instance, is tempted through his thoughts.

    Did Jesus experience that temptation? Just how far would you take the phrase “in every detail”?

    Hebrews 4:15 does not tell us that Jesus was tempted to sin. It tells us that he was tempted in every detail WITHOUT sin.

    I understand “without sin” to qualify “in every detail”. The temptations he endured did not involve the temptation to sin.

    That makes sense grammatically, and it fits what we read about Jesus elsewhere.

    I see what you’re saying Margaret, but there’s a danger that we might end up talking past each other due to our different perspective on these verses. Perhaps we should go back to Jesus’ own words:

    Matthew 5:28, “But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to desire her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”

    I believe that Jesus could be tempted to have lustful thoughts by the presence of a desireable woman, but that he never allowed those thoughts to emerge. Does this help you to understand my view?

  279. on 30 Apr 2010 at 2:49 pmDave Burke

    robert:

    2 Peter 2:4
    For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment;

    Dave
    Your view that this isnt spiritual beings makes no sense. It nowhere says immortals can not sin. there have been many refered to throughout the bible.

    robert, please go back and read my responses to Xavier, where I explain how I arrive at the conclusion that immortals cannot sin. Here’s the short version:

    Death = the wages of sin. Immortals cannot die. Therefore, immortals cannot sin. Paul tells us that we will be made immortal, no longer subject to sin and death. Scripture tells us that there will be a time when sin and death no longer exist. Therefore, immortality goes hand in hand with sinlessness.

    Surely you don’t believe that immortals can sin and die?

    Can a person be possessed by a human, No so who are the evil beings being cast out by the power of the holy spirit by Jesus.

    robert, doesn’t it strike you as rather odd that the problems caused by “demons” and “evil spirits” in the New Testament are now known to be medical problems which can be treated and in some cases cured by modern medicine? Isn’t it strange that reports of “demons” and “evil spirits” only emerge from the most remote, undeveloped human communities, where superstition is rife and

    I am sure there are seperate commandments for spiritual beings and eternal punishments for sinning.

    Well, I don’t find that anywhere in Scripture.

    But you dont believe that satan is an angel that sinned, do you?

    No, of course not. Angels can’t sin. What would be the point of making us like the angels if we can still sin? That’s not much of an improvement, is it?

  280. on 30 Apr 2010 at 3:04 pmrobert

    “Surely you don’t believe that immortals can sin and die?”

    Dave
    Absolutely not, I believe they receive eternal punishment worst than dying in the lake of fire
    ——————————————————–
    “”robert, doesn’t it strike you as rather odd that the problems caused by “demons” and “evil spirits” in the New Testament are now known to be medical problems which can be treated and in some cases cured by modern medicine?””

    Can a medical problem speak and fear judgement
    ————————————————-
    “I am sure there are seperate commandments for spiritual beings and eternal punishments for sinning.

    Well, I don’t find that anywhere in Scripture.”

    why would you , they wouldnt be addressed to humanity

    —————————————————

    “No, of course not. Angels can’t sin. What would be the point of making us like the angels if we can still sin? That’s not much of an improvement, is it? ”

    Dave
    We receive immortality like angels we dont become angels.
    Only difference between mortality and immortality is death would be a blessing for an immortal that sinned. better to be a mortal who sinned that to have all the truth as an immortal has than sin

  281. on 30 Apr 2010 at 3:37 pmDave Burke

    robert and Xavier,

    I’ll have to drop this subject because I can see us going around in circles very soon, and in any case I need to get back to my Trinity debate. But I’ll respond to these last few points:

    Absolutely not, I believe they receive eternal punishment worst than dying in the lake of fire

    OK, that’s not an idea I’m familiar with from Scripture. We know that the lake of fire is figurative (not literal) because death and hell are cast into it. The lake of fire therefore represents permanent destruction. I don’t know of any passage which refers to evil supernatural beings suffering an “eternal punishment worst than dying in the lake of fire.”

    Can a medical problem speak and fear judgement

    No, but someone who believes they are possessed by a demon will do both of those things.

    why would you , they wouldnt be addressed to humanity

    So how do you know that there are “separate commandments for spiritual beings and eternal punishments for sinning”? That’s just a guess.

    We receive immortality like angels we dont become angels.

    True, we don’t become angels. But we do become free of sin and death. Read I Corinthians 15.

    Only difference between mortality and immortality is death would be a blessing for an immortal that sinned. better to be a mortal who sinned that to have all the truth as an immortal has than sin

    You haven’t addressed my earlier point: that Jesus’ death on the cross is completely wasted unless we are sinless when we are immortalised. Jesus promised to make us free of sin and death, but you believe we will only be free of death. I believe we will be incapable of sinning and incapable of dying. There is no such thing as an immortal sinner.

    Can you find six passages in Scripture which prove that we will be capable of sin even after we are immortalised? I don’t think so.

  282. on 30 Apr 2010 at 3:38 pmDave Burke

    Ooops, my final quote tags are broken. Hopefully you can still see what I mean.

    :p

  283. on 30 Apr 2010 at 4:11 pmMargaret Collier

    Thank you, Dave. Matthew 5:28 was on my mind. A man who looks on a woman IN ORDER TO (pros) lust after her has committed adultery with her already in his heart.

    My question with regard to Jesus is – how could he be “tempted” to have lustful thoughts, unless the desire for lustful thoughts was already there?

    More generally, how could he be “tempted” to steal or “tempted” to abuse a child without having sinful thoughts?

    If in Hebrews 4:15 the verb (tempted) is qualified by the adverbial phrase (without sin), then it’s telling us he was tempted in every respect EXCEPT sin. Grammatically, that is the natural way to read the sentence. Or am I wrong?

    If that is a legitimate understanding of the sentence, it does away with the problem of how far we go in applying “in every respect” to the ways in which Jesus was tempted to sin. It means he wasn’t tempted to sin at all. He was tempted in all respects EXCEPT sin.

    Frankly, I think that makes sense. He was (is) his Father’s true Son. Like his Father, he is not tempted with evil, and he doesn’t tempt anyone else with evil.

    I DO understand, however, that the Tempter in Matthew 4 was trying to use the physical hunger of Jesus to make him act independently of God. It didn’t work.

  284. on 30 Apr 2010 at 4:13 pmrobert

    “True, we don’t become angels. But we do become free of sin and death. Read I Corinthians 15.””

    Dave just were do you see this applying to angels, after the first resurrection satan will be bound for 1000 years so temptation to sin will be too. after the 1000 years he will be freed to deceive the nations than after that thrown into eternal punishment with the false prophet and antichrist then God will come to dwell physically with the living where sin and death no longer exist.
    there are 2 resurrections and you have applied them in your doctrine to be the same. the first only promises us 1000years but in the 2nd immortality. but those who enter the 1000 year kingdom are promised immortality when death is defeated after the 1000 years but those who live without the kingdom during the 1000 years are still subject to death as we see when satan is freed and deceives the nations to bring war against the saints.
    Why 6 references when i can use the whole bible to prove it. can you provide 6 references to support your view. no but you can ignore many to support your view.
    I cant fight those who ignore clear verses so yes we have come to the end of a fruitful discussion.
    Wisdom doesnt allow me to ignore clear verses over unclear verses that can be interpretated to mean just about anything we want.

  285. on 30 Apr 2010 at 8:29 pmRay

    Dave, I was reading #268.

    Now my thought about Jesus being with God in God’s very image
    and likeness in the begining, and up until he came to this earth through his conception by the Holy Spirit, at such a time is it that he was not tempted?

    Could it be that a divine Son of God being as God himself is, without flesh, but being a spiritual being, could it be that in such a condition, he was, and at this time he was not tempted?

    I suppose I can look at Lucifer’s condition. He was a spiritual being,
    but he fell into sin, having not flesh.

    I suppose Jesus being with God in the beginning, could have fallen into sin as Lucifer did, but Jesus did not. He kept himself in God.

  286. on 30 Apr 2010 at 8:46 pmrobert

    “Can you find six passages in Scripture which prove that we will be capable of sin even after we are immortalised? I don’t think so.”

    Dave
    Here is one powerful one worth more than 6 that an immortal being can sin. what so powerful about this one is it is Lucifer the archangel(anointed cherub) aka advesary(Satan) of God. the one you deny exist. there is no way this refers to any human being

    Ezekiel 28
    11 Moreover the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, 12 Son of man, take up a lamentation upon the king of Tyrus, and say unto him, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty. 13 Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, [4] topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created. 14 Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. 15 Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee. 16 By the multitude of thy merchandise they have filled the midst of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned: therefore I will cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God: and I will destroy thee, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire. 17 Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness: I will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee. 18 Thou hast defiled thy sanctuaries by the multitude of thine iniquities, by the iniquity of thy traffick; therefore will I bring forth a fire from the midst of thee, it shall devour thee, and I will bring thee to ashes upon the earth in the sight of all them that behold thee. 19 All they that know thee among the people shall be astonished at thee: thou shalt be a terror, [5] and never shalt thou be any more.

  287. on 30 Apr 2010 at 8:48 pmXavier

    Dave, before you go let me reply to your last message to me where you said:

    Paul always insists that our flesh makes us prone to sin, but he never equates flesh with sin.

    Hard not to come to that conclusion that that flesh=sin. What is he saying regarding sin and the origin thereof?

    The Jamieson-Faussett-Brown commentary says that these “angels who left their first estate” are the sons of Seth (Genesis 6:2) which is a plausible explanation.

    Yes, I have heard it said that the “angels” menioned throughout the scriptures starting with Gen 6 are humans and not angelic beings.

    But, as the ESV Study Bible states, most “scholars think this refers to the original fall of angels from heaven. Others think Jude is referring to the sin of angels in Gen. 6:1–4 (see 1 Pet. 3:19). This view is strengthened by Jude’s citation of 1 Enoch 1.9 (Jude 14–15), which contains much discussion on the fall of these angels.”

    Following are notes from 1Pe 3.19 from the same:

    …the spirits are the fallen angels who were cast into hell to await the final judgment. Reasons supporting this view include:

    (a) Some interpreters say that the “sons of God” in Gen. 6:2–4 are angels (see Gen. 6:1–2) who sinned by cohabiting with human women “when God’s patience waited in the days of Noah” (1 Pet. 3:20).

    (b) Almost without exception in the NT, “spirits” (plural) refers to supernatural beings rather than people (e.g., Matt. 8:16; 10:1; Mark 1:27; 5:13; 6:7; Luke 4:36; 6:18; 7:21; 8:2; 10:20; 11:26; Acts 5:16; 8:7; 19:12, 13; 1 Tim. 4:1; 1 John 4:1; Rev. 16:13–14; cf. Heb. 1:7).

    (c) The word “prison” is not used elsewhere in Scripture as a place of punishment after death for human beings, while it is used for Satan (Rev. 20:7) and other fallen angels (2 Pet. 2:4; Jude 6). In this case the message that Christ proclaimed is almost certainly one of triumph, after having been “put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit” (1 Pet. 3:18).

    Dave

    Do you believe there will never be a point at which sin and death no longer exist?

    Sure, I believe what scripture says regarding the eternality of the age to come. Beyond that the information is next to scant to say the least.

    Angels are immortal and therefore incapable of sin. How can you have immortal sinners?

    I see. Forgot your a CD. Guess the previous comments from ESV will be explained away so let me ask you this. Paul writes in Eph 6.12 that “our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the rulers [kosmocrator] of the darkness of this world, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens.”

    Vine’s Expository Dictionary of the NT says this regarding the Greek word kosmokrator:

    The context (“not against flesh and blood”) shows that not earthly potentates are indicated, but spirit powers, who, under the permissive will of God, and in consequence of human sin, exercise satanic and therefore antagonistic authority over the world in its present condition of spiritual darkness and alienation from God….Cp. John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11; 2 Cor 4:4.

    The ESV Study Bible says that this is a “list of spiritual rulers, authorities, and cosmic powers (see 3:10) gives a sobering glimpse into the devil’s allies, the spiritual forces of evil who are exceedingly powerful in their exercise of cosmic powers over this present darkness.”

    Further, the online NET Bible commentary adds:

    The phrase world-rulers of this darkness does not refer to human rulers but the evil spirits that rule over the world. The phrase thus stands in apposition to what follows (the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens)…The phrase spiritual forces of evil in the heavens serves to emphasize the nature of the forces which oppose believers as well as to indicate the locality from which they originate.

    What say you?

  288. on 01 May 2010 at 9:00 amMargaret Collier

    [QUOTE]What say you?[/QUOTE]

    Xavier – Dave is clearly busy with his debate – which is important – so maybe this is the time for me to ask for help in formatting.

    I’m going to try using the code used on another website, to see if it works. If it doesn’t would you please tell me what I am doing wrong?

    One of the sufferings that Jesus endured was the suffering of [B]death[/B]. That suffering was necessary, both for his role as [I]Savior[/I] and for his role as a sympathetic [I]high priest[/I].

    Chapter 5 of Hebrews expands on the subject already started in ch. 4, and I am finding it extremely interesting.

    I wish there were a way to preview this before sending it, but … here goes.

  289. on 01 May 2010 at 9:03 amMargaret Collier

    Sigh.

  290. on 01 May 2010 at 10:44 amSean

    Margaret,

    This website uses normal html for formatting comments. Click here to see instructions on how to format using html. (the link is also at the top of the page called “Formatting Comments”)

  291. on 01 May 2010 at 12:14 pmMargaret Collier

    Thank you!!

  292. on 01 May 2010 at 10:24 pmMargaret Collier

    I am still thinking that “The Word” of John 1:1 is probably the same person whose name is “The Word of God” in Revelation 19:13.

    On another thread, some verses were mentioned which seem hard to reconcile with the idea that the Son of God did not exist before the birth of Jesus. Here are three of them:

    John 1:15,30 – John bore witness of Him … “He existed before me.”

    John 6:62 – What then if you should behold the Son of Man ascending where He was before?

    John 17:5 – Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.

    Is there conclusive evidence somewhere that the Son of God did not exist until Jesus was born? If so, what is it?

  293. on 01 May 2010 at 10:51 pmMargaret Collier

    I just read the article Divine Agency in the Scriptures.

    It is tremendous. I have not seen the subject dealt with so well.

  294. on 02 May 2010 at 4:57 amRay

    As far as I can tell, the Bible never suggests that Jesus did not exist until he was born.

  295. on 02 May 2010 at 6:24 amRay

    When I read Colossians 1:26-28, it seems to me that not only is Paul speaking of the mystery about Christ, but about Christ himself
    who was hid but became manifest unto the saints. It seems to me that Christ himself is the mystery of God and the grace of God. (Titus 2:11)

  296. on 02 May 2010 at 8:00 pmXavier

    Margaret

    Is there conclusive evidence somewhere that the Son of God did not exist until Jesus was born? If so, what is it?

    Anthony Buzzard in his recent book Jesus Was Not a Trinitarian [p 147] writes that it is “important to examine God’s own story as He prepared to bring his unique Son on to the scene of history, ‘when He brought the firstborn into the world’ (Heb. 1:6). ‘In the fullness of time God sent forth his Son, coming into existence from a woman’ (Gal. 4:4)…Note the deliberate and unusual use of ginomai here and in Rom. 1:3 to express the beginning of existence, not just birth. Compare the genesis of Jesus in Matt. 1:18. Note that the normal word to express birth is gennao (see Job 14:1; 25:4).”

    On the textual evidence regarding the word genesis at Mat 1.1, 18 textual critic Bart Ehrman in his Orthodox Corruption of Scripture [pgs. 75-76] says:

    The first question to be asked, then, is which of the readings the original is more likely. In addition to claiming the earliest and best manuscript support, the reading genesis seems to cohere better with the preceding context. Matthew began his Gospel by detailing the ‘book of the genesis’ of Jesus Christ [i.e., his genealogical lineage; 1:1], making it somewhat more likely that he would here [v.18] continue with a description of the genesis itself. And so the majority of textual scholars agree that gennesis represents a textual corruption, created perhaps out of deference to the following account of Jesus’ birth. [Also see Metzger, Textual Commentary, pg. 8]

    At the same time, something more profound may be occurring here. Both genesis and gennesis can mean “birth”, so that either one could be appropriate in the context. But unlike the corrupted reading, genesis can also mean “creation”, “beginning” and “origination”. When one now asks why scribes might take umbrage at Matthew’s description of the genesis of Jesus Christ, the answer immediately suggests itself: the original text could well be taken to imply that this is the moment in which Jesus Christ comes into [existence]. In point of fact, there is nothing in Matthew’s narrative, either here or elsewhere throughout the Gospel, to suggest that he knew or subscribed to the notion that Christ had existed prior to his birth.

    Orthodox scribes found Matthew’s account useful nonetheless, particularly in conjunction with statements of the Fourth Gospel supporting the notion of Jesus’ existence with the Father prior to his appearance in the flesh. The orthodox doctrine, of course, represented a conflation of these early Christological views, so that Jesus was confessed to have become “incarnate [Gospel of John] through the virgin Mary [Gospels of Matthew and Luke]”. Anyone subscribing to this doctrine might well look askance at the implication that Matthew was here describing Jesus’ origination and might understandably have sought to clarify the text by substituting a word that ‘meant’ the same thing, but that was less likely to be misconstrued.

  297. on 02 May 2010 at 9:29 pmrobert

    Actually Jesus did believe in a Godhead as you will find in [Luke 7:35] “Wisdom is proven by Her children.” but only as dual aspects just as many throughout the OT did. You will also find that during the translation to greek they removed Feminine aspects and replaced them with masculine aspects and John 1 is the worst of the mistranslations by applying a masculine aspect to wisdom(word)( Holy spirit) or as it should be known as the indwelling spirit that made a dwelling place in the person of Jesus that made him the anointed(christ). Whether Jesus was exalted to a position of the Son in the Godhead at his resurrection as the first begotten of the dead I am not sure but some NT writers hint very heavily toward it. what the most important to know is Jesus was just a perfect human being while he walked the earth born of completely human parents but was the first to receive the promise of the indwelling of the spirit of God and his blood completed that promise to the whole world to receive the same .
    Just how many scholars know this but hide it from the church

    Among the many pearls of truth that have purposely been concealed from churches and synagogues is the awareness that Elohim is simultaneously God and Goddess. In the original Hebrew of the Bible, Eloah [el-LO-ah], is the feminine form of ‘God.’ This one specific word, Eloah, literally means “Goddess.”

    Theologians, motivated by various agendas, deliberately masked profound truths about Elohim [pronounced el-lo-HEEM], the God of the Bible. They intentionally obscured the presence of the Divine Feminine. Even though some of the Hebrew words for God have a distinctly feminine gender, translators have almost universally suppressed this, being unwilling to use the feminine word “Goddess.” They have consistently used only masculine pronouns when referring to God – even when feminine pronouns would have been correct.

    Present-day Bible dictionaries and concordances are still biased, and ignore basic Hebrew grammatical rules in translating the various words for Deity. The result is that most Christians and Jews have been mis-taught that God is exclusively male.

    Elohim is a majestic, awesome Being that is beyond comprehension. Elohim is translated into English as ‘God.’ It is actually a gender-combined word, simultaneously representing both unity and majestic plurality. It is a compound of the feminine singular Eloah with the masculine plural suffix -im. Eloah is the feminine singular counterpart of El, which means God. Eloah is correctly translated as “Goddess.” In Hebrew, the -oah, -oh or -ah suffix makes a word feminine [comparable to the English suffix -ess, used in such words as waitress and stewardess.]

    In Aramaic, the original language of New Testament times, the word Abwoon is similarly gender-combined, meaning “Father-Mother.” In the original Aramaic, ‘The Lord’s Prayer’ begins with the word Abwoon, but in English translations of the Bible, it has been translated as Father, only.

    El Shaddai is another name of God used in the Bible. The word ‘shad’ means ‘woman’s breast,’ and ‘shaddai’ means ‘breasts,’ or ‘many breasts.’ Though El Shaddai is translated as ‘God Almighty,’ or ‘the Almighty’ in the English Bible, it literally means ‘God with breasts’ or ‘[many] breasted [God].’ The name El Shaddai refers to the Goddess of Israel.

    There is a radically important declaration in Exodus 6:3: “I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob by the name of El Shaddai, but by my name Yahweh I was not known to them.” The Patriarchs were aware of the Father [Yahweh], but Elohim related to them primarily as the Goddess, El Shaddai.

    The word Eloah appears fifty-seven times in the Old Testament, and Shaddai or El Shaddai appears forty-eight times; two-thirds of these are found in the book of Job. Job lived during the days of Abraham, and Job is the second most ancient book of the Bible. There are two specific declarations of the femininity of Eloah, in Job. The Father announced, “the sea ‘leapt tumultuous from the womb’.” [Job 38:8] Then, He rhetorically asked, “Out of whose womb came the ice?” [Job 38:29] Obviously there is a Biblical Goddess, Eloah, from whose Divine Womb sprang the sea and ice.

    Ruach ha Kodesh is the Hebrew phrase that means ‘Holy Spirit.’ Ruach is feminine, and the Aramaic equivalent ruah is also a feminine noun. These words are always paired with feminine verbs and pronouns. The Holy Spirit is feminine, and is another designation of Eloah. In the original Aramaic texts, Messiah promised: “And I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that She may dwell with you forever.” [John 14:16]

    Wisdom is another name for the Goddess. ‘Wisdom’ is the feminine Hebrew word Hochmah; the equivalent name in Greek is Sophia. Although the word ‘wisdom’ definitely is equated with good judgment and astuteness, Wisdom unmistakably refers to Goddess in several scripture passages, The Messiah said: “Wisdom is proven by Her children.” [Luke 7:35]

    Wisdom announces that She was brought forth before the physical creation, and She also assisted in the generative process, alongside Yahweh. “Yahweh created Me, first-fruits of His fashioning, before the oldest of His works. From everlasting I was firmly set – from the beginning, before the earth came into being. The deep was not when I was born, nor were the springs with their abounding waters. Before the mountains were settled, before the hills, I came to birth; before He had made the earth, the countryside, and the first elements of the world. When He fixed the heavens firm, I was there; when He drew a circle on the surfaces of the deep, when He thickened the clouds above, when the sources of the deep began to swell, when He assigned the sea its boundaries (and the waters will not encroach on the shore), when He traced the foundations of the earth. I was beside the Master Craftsman, delighting Him day after day, ever at play in His presence, to play everywhere on His earth, delighting to be with the children of men.” [Proverbs 8:22-31]

    The Bible makes numerous references to the Goddess. It instructs us to praise and worship Her; to offer prayer to Her. “I am one who calls on Goddess and expects an answer.” [Job 12:4]

    “Then Shaddai will be all your delight, and you shall lift your face to Eloah. You will pray and She will hear.” [Job 22:26-27]

  298. on 02 May 2010 at 9:51 pmDoubting Thomas

    Robert
    That last post was very interesting. I am always praying to God for wisdom…

  299. on 03 May 2010 at 9:24 amJaco

    Hi, everyone

    I’m glad to be back after a short holiday.

    To turn to our Debate, Part 2:

    I’ll start with Bowman’s treatment of the matter. He starts off with expressing his unease toward classical hermeneutics, namely the assigning of greater priority and authority to clearer texts, compared to unclear or ambiguous texts. Well, that poses a problem to Bowman. If I am a polygamist and proper scientific research publishes one finding after another on the negative effects polygamy has on the person, the family and the community, my reaction to those findings will reveal my own honesty in the matter. But my attacking scientific method would be the utmost sign of dishonesty and desperation! If the polygamist thinks that scientific revolution will follow because the method exposes a weakness in his makeup, well, he has to think again. The same goes with Bowman.

    I generally agree with his 8 points on exegesis. I would add the ninth, though – the one Bowman strives to trivialize above.

    Now, over to Bowman’s “proofs.” I was dumbstruck to see which texts Bowman included and which he didn’t. He did not include the “Alpha and Omega” texts of Revelation! No “I am” texts! While these are the ones he loves to use – not to mention the novel ad hoc grammatical rules in Greek he conjures up when treating John 8:58. But, alas! Bowman still has creative concoctions he scoops out of his eisegetical cauldron…

    Matthew 28:17: “And when they saw him they worshipped him, but some doubted.” Bowman then says:

    Nothing in the context suggests that what some doubted was that Jesus had risen or that it was Jesus whom they saw.

    Arguing from silence…fallacy number one.

    Rather, it seems that some doubted the propriety of worshipping Jesus.

    Inconsistent arguing. If the context determines what they doubted about, where does it say that they doubted the “propriety of worshipping Jesus?” Fallacy number two.

    He continues:

    Their doubt makes no sense if this act was comparable to bowing before a human dignitary, as many anti-Trinitarians assert. Surely, Jesus’ disciples would have had no doubts about showing Jesus such courtesy and respect.

    Excuse me, but we are not the ones asserting the propriety of proskyneo to be the issue here! Strawman fallacy…fallacy number three. Dave nicely answers the issue, pointing to the apostles doubting whether it was truly the risen Jesus.

    He then links 28:16-18 with 4:8-10. As Dave points out, there is no link…In fact, Jesus uses the fact of his receiving all authority as a reason, not for worshipful service, but for sending them out to spread the Gospel. “Therefore, go and make disciples…” Nice cherry picking by Bowman…fallacy number four.

    He goes on:

    The Father clearly is God, and as we shall see in week 5, the Holy Spirit in this text must also be God; it follows that the Son in this text is also God. If we exclude the idea that these are three Gods, as we should, the conclusion that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are one God follows.

    What I cannot understand is that Bowman has to resort to such reductionistic assumptions that the juxtaposition of these referents automatically and naturally implies equality and identity. The very juxtaposition does not imply 3 Gods (however this can be deducted from it alone is also mind-boggling). If it’s all about the juxtaposition, why cannot the Father be the Son be the Spirit? From juxtaposition, that is. Slippery slope par excellence.

    He says:

    There is no precedent in biblical religion for performing such religious acts in devotion to a mere man, no matter how great a man.

    False dilemma. We expect no president for performing such acts to any other man. As the Ultimate Declarer of who Jehovah is, Jesus would be the only man ever to receive such exaltation and no one since! The absence of any such comparison does not necessitate him to be God, sorry

    Another false dilemma:

    “And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (28:20). In short, Jesus’ promise presupposes that he possesses the divine attribute of omnipresence.

    Not true. His being present does not necessitate him being God, and no such connection is ever made. His sending a representative spirit (John 16:7-16) is the actual Biblically authentic understanding of it.

    Bowman’s reference to God’s sh’khinah is another short-sighted, rushed “proof” of Jesus “Deity.” Messianic Jews like to run with this “evidence.” Sh’khinah means glory. Bowman and others say that Jesus was God’s glory, and thus in essence God. Well, not according to Heb. 1:3, where Jesus is “a reflection of God’s glory (sh’khinah)…” and not the Sh’khinah itself… Sorry, no proof here either.

    Then John 1:1-18.

    Firstly, had it not been for the grammatical ambiguity in English Trinitarians like to exploit when referring to God, the confusion would not have served to the Trinitarians’ interest at all. Hence you will find subtle grammatically distinct references used as if they were identical, e.g. to say the Father is God (ho theos, a definite noun) is not the same as saying the Son is equally God (no Greek precedent, adverbial reference). There is simply no place where such a distinction is drawn, unless one refers to theios, which would be a different reference altogether.

    “En” means “was.” No “past perfect” nuance here either (that the “word” had eternally been with God), sorry.

    The anarthrous predicate noun, “theos” in John 1:1c is not proof of Jesus’ equality and identity with God, period. No novel ad hoc grammatical inventions allowed here, sorry.

    So, his assetions,

    Those who advocate Arian or polytheistic theologies can try to justify the revisionist translation “the Word was a god,” but consistent Unitarians cannot. Nor can they consistently maintain that the Word was God, since this would lead ineluctably to the conclusion that God became incarnate (1:14). This puts Biblical Unitarians in something of a bind.

    belong somewhere else, but not in this debate. He seems to be confused.

    I have my reservations with Bowman’s reference to “world” as that which Jesus as co-creator created. Bowman here confuses the secular, classical kosmos (literal creation) with the biblical kosmos (order, arrangement of things). “Creation” (ktisis) is different from “world” (kosmos).

    Bowman says in one place, referring to Anthony Buzzard’s explanation on “word,”

    For example, a Biblical Unitarian website article on John 1:1 endorses Anthony Buzzard’s claim that what John meant was that the Word “was fully expressive of God.” But this is not what John 1:1 says.

    But in the next paragraph he says:

    We accept that the Word was someone existing with God (the Father) and that the Word was himself God (the Son).

    .

    Nowhere does John 1:1 say this either! Bowman cannot accuse someone of something and then commit it himself! By the way, he doesn’t even attempt to refute Anthony Buzzard by evidence. That doesn’t prove anything!

    He goes on:

    John writes, “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us” (v. 14 niv). The word that the niv translates “made his dwelling” (eskēnōsen) literally meant to pitch one’s tent in a place, and it alludes in this context to God’s dwelling among the Israelites in the tabernacle. The tabernacle was essentially a tent where God would make his presence known to the Israelites and meet with them (Ex. 33:7-11; 40:35).

    No, poor exegesis again. In 2 Pet. 1:13 Peter refers to himself as a tabernacle. How on earth can that prove that Peter is God? If it doesn’t, how on earth can Bowman use the same premise to prove that Jesus is God?

    As if Bowman has not had enough of accusing someone of something he is guilty of himself, he quotes the inaccurate translation (NRSV) of John 1:18b:

    “It is God the only Son, who is close to the Father’s heart, who has made him known”

    Check ANY interlinear. There is no such thing as “God the only Son.” This is utter dishonesty. And he dares to criticise Anthony Buzzard for using a paraphrase for Gal. 3:20!

    Bowman’s handling of John 20:26-31 is no less amateurish. He goes to great length to divorce the section from its Jewish roots. He resorts to pseudo-polytheism (“John’s conclusion that he wants his readers to believe that Jesus is the Son of God (20:30-31) is not at odds with understanding Thomas’s statement in 20:28 as a model confession of Jesus as Lord and God.”) He ignores the authentic, and necessary notion of sh’liach, and he even contradicts one of his own criteria of exegesis:

    Purpose of the book: This criterion also overlaps the subject matter criterion, but pertains to the book as a whole, not just the individual passage.

    John states the purpose of his book: 20:31, “But these have been written down that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ the Son of God, and that, because of believing, you may have life by means of his name.”
    Bowman assumes, still without proof, that the Father, Son and Holy spirit are 3 persons, while maintaining that they are a single being. He thus ignores the grammatical, semantic and anthropomorphical distinctness, inequality and non-singularity of the referents. His assumptions are mere repetitions ad nauseam that still need to be proven.

    Bowman concludes by using the wicked Jews’ reaction to Jesus’ claims as an acid test for the veracity and implications of his claims.

    Christ’s comments here did not alleviate the Jews’ impression that he was claiming to be God (10:30). After Christ finished his response by saying, “the Father is in me and I am in the Father,” the Jewish authorities “tried again to arrest him” (vv. 38-39).

    His reasoning is simply preposterous! If we were to go on the impressions the Jews had of Jesus, we are equally forced to accept their impressions of Jesus being an agent of Beelzebub!
    Bowman resorts to further structural fallacies:

    First premise: If Jesus is Yahweh, he will be called “the Good Shepherd”

    Second premise: Jesus is called the Good Shepherd

    Conclusion: Thus, Jesus is Yahweh

    Fallacy: Affirming the consequent.

    Sorry, Bob, this proves nothing!!! To further say:

    If Jesus was not claiming divine equality or identity, it would have been easy enough to have said something like, “I’m not God; I’m just his Son, one of his creatures.” He never did so.

    Now Bowman resorts to arguing from silence. He simply ignores that, if someone else is only God, then Jesus cannot be that One also. Jesus needn’t spell that out (although I think he does). As I said to Andrew Patrick, autistic children battle to follow implied linguistic logic. Unfortunately I see the same with indoctrinated Trinitarians. Only means only. Alone means alone. If someone is not identified as only or alone such, he is excluded from that… That’s why John 17:3 is so devastating to Trinitarianism.

    Bowman finally resorts to equivocation when he said:

    Yet John explicitly calls Jesus “God,” and does so in contexts that make it clear that he is God no less than the Father.

    It is irrefutable that elohim or theos has a wide semantic range of meanings. Bowman equivocates the Father’s being God with Jesus being god, or representative of God (sh’liach)

    It is clear that Bowman is very selective in what he brings out of his cauldron of doctrinal concoctions. To Bowman and others, language means nothing. Grammar means nothing. One can mean anything. “Only you” can include me too. But, alas, to Bowman, the Bible is as depraved of clear confessional statements of God’s identity as it is of quantum physics (cf. Bowman’s previous comparison to Creation). It is, in reality, a depravity of a heresy which simply isn’t there. A heresy which requires extra-biblical mystic philosophical terms to exhaust the mind in ironing out the confusion. A heresy which had Bowman refraining from using pronouns in referring to Yahweh (see Part 1), while doing so freely when referring to Jesus. This (sorry for the forensics) gives away his cognitive dissonance badly.
    Bowman continues with very weak arguing when he replies to Dave’s part. Whatever Bowman asserts to prove Jesus’ ontological identity with God, will be a false dilemma unless and until he refutes all possibility for Jesus to be the exact representation of the Single True God, Jehovah. I can go as far as saying that, even if Jesus were called Yahweh at times, not even that would prove anything, but create a false dilemma. If an angel could have had God’s Name in him, all the more so could Jesus. This would not make Jesus God – any less than it would make the angel God (Ex. 23:20, 21).

    Bowman wanders off into creating fabulous rules. Once again these are nothing more than structural fallacies:

    First premise: If Jesus is God, he would be called Saviour

    Second premise: Jesus is called Saviour

    Conclusion: Thus, Jesus is God.

    Fallacy: Affirming the consequent. He resorts to the ambiguous Sharp’s Rule to prove his point. The typical desperate attempts we see even Muslims resort to when their proofs collapse beneath them. What is more, having Jesus assigned so many titles doesn’t prove anything. Those titles have meanings. To insist (albeit reductio ad absurdum) that those simply prove his Deity is, as I have shown, creating a false dilemma.

    Yes, Bowman doesn’t like us highlighting certain “proofs” they use for Jesus’ Deity being used exactly the same way with other non-divine beings (humans, angels, Satan). But that’s his problem. That’s what we call falsifiable arguments. If the premise proves deity in one instance, it has to prove deity in another. If not, then, it doesn’t prove deity.

    I think Dave is doing a splendid job. I cannot improve on his excellent rebuttals. All I can say is, Rob Bowman has met his match yet again. I do not want to be in his shoes…

    In Christ,

    Jaco

  300. on 03 May 2010 at 9:55 amJaco

    Oh, yes, Xavier

    The difference between Jesus’ Golden Rule and Confucius’ rule, is in approach.

    The Golden Rule is active. Confucius’ is passive.
    The Golden Rule is proactive. Confucius’ is almost apologetic.
    The Golden Rule is vigilant. Confucius’ is defensive.

    The differences in approach do become significant if one thinks about it.

    Regards,

    Jaco

  301. on 03 May 2010 at 10:36 amXavier

    Jaco

    Got it…kuddos.

  302. on 03 May 2010 at 8:48 pmMargaret Collier

    Thank you, Jaco. Bowman really does suffer from lack of “ammunition”.

    Robert:
    You are right in saying that the word elohim is not gender specific. In 1 Kings 11:33, each of three idols is called an elohim – and the first one is a “goddess”.

    The title does not infer plurality, either. The Israelites called a golden calf their elohim (Nehemiah 9:18). The calf was definitely not plural. It wasn’t male or female either. But the Israelites called it their elohim, just the same.

    The title elohim is a general title, used of any deity, true or false. I did a long search a few years ago and concluded that every single idol in the OT is called an elohim. There may be exceptions, but they are few. So Baal-Zebub the elohim of Ekron (2 Kings 1:3); Dagon was the elohim of the Philistines (Judges 16:23); Ashtoreth was the elohim (goddess) of the Zidonians (1 Kings 11:33); and so on.

    It is also used of a REPRESENTATIVE of Yahweh, one example being Moses (Exodus 7:1).

    Conclusion: The title elohim

  303. on 03 May 2010 at 8:52 pmMargaret Collier

    Oops. Let me try again.

    The title “elohim” does not infer EITHER masculinity OR plurality.

  304. on 03 May 2010 at 9:21 pmrobert

    Robert:
    You are right in saying that the word elohim is not gender specific. In 1 Kings 11:33, each of three idols is called an elohim – and the first one is a “goddess”.

    Margaret
    While it may be termed as not gender specific when spoken about another but It can mean both when spoke by the one it is spoke of. The use of this word as not gender specific could be used for an object , an unidentified person or even a mixed group of people. but no one would speak of himself alone using this word when there is a word to mean what gender is being spoke of. It could also represent a position that has qualities of both genders as it is meant when it refers to God and his created spirit which possess the feminine qualities as we see throughout the OT and as well the words of Jesus himself.
    The Holy spirit is the feminine aspect of God that God sent to earth from heaven as the only begotten of GOD

  305. on 04 May 2010 at 6:01 amMargaret Collier

    Xavier:
    Thank you for your answer to my question,

    Is there conclusive evidence somewhere that the Son of God did not exist until Jesus was born?

    I printed your answer (Post # 296) and have studied it carefully. But it seems to be almost entirely taken up with whether the verb in Matthew 1:18 should be genesis or gennao.

    Let me quote:

    Both genesis and gennao can mean “birth”, so that either one could be appropriate in the context.

    I follow the argument that genesis can ALSO mean the beginning of existence. But this is not what I meant by “conclusive evidence”.

    For example: John 17:3 is conclusive evidence that the Father is the only true God, and that Jesus Christ was SENT BY the only true God. (I have yet to see any attempt to reconcile this statement with the doctrine of tri-unity.)

    But verse 5 of the same chapter says,

    And now glorify me, Father, with (para – beside) thyself, with-the glory which I had with (beside) thee before the world was.

    That seems like direct evidence that the Son of God existed, WITH the only true God, before the world began to exist.

    So – is there any conclusive evidence that he did NOT exist prior to the birth of Jesus?

    If there isn’t, then how do you reconcile such verses as those listed in Post # 292 with that teaching?

  306. on 04 May 2010 at 6:58 amXavier

    Margaret

    So – is there any conclusive evidence that he did NOT exist prior to the birth of Jesus?

    If anything, the accounts related to his birth, coming into existence, being “sent by God” into this world, would tell us whether or not he preexisted his birth would it not? As it is, both the Matthew and Luke accounts do not give us any evidence of a literal preexistence.

    Now, if we read into the Gospel of John such a preexistence simply because it refers to a “glory” that Jesus had prior to his birth, we would say the same for believers who are said to have been foreknown and predestined to share in those same “riches of glory” [Eph 1.5, 11; Rom 8.29-30].

    If words have any meaning, as Christians it is of little merit if we say we believe the virgin birth but not what it actually says regarding the origin, coming into existence of the Son of God via His spirit. A miraculous event that created for the first time the unique, “one-of-a-kind” Son of the Living God [Mat 16.16]!

  307. on 04 May 2010 at 9:05 amJaco

    Xavier,

    I agree with you here. I’d like to add two more things, please. Firstly, to understand Joh. 17:5 i.t.o pre-existence Christology poses a dilemma of another kind. The Bible says that Jesus received greater glory when he was exalted (Php. 2:9). To assert that he would return to former glory would be a contradiction of what Paul says. Unless, and that is what our understanding is, God had reserved this greater glory for Jesus before the world was.

    Another point to consider, also dealing with glory, is John 17:22:

    Also, I have given them the glory that you have given me, in order that they may be one just as we are one.

    This is what we call proleptic, or anticipatory language. Some definite future event is stated as if it has already taken place. Without being aware of it, we understand this text to be exactly that. We know that those disciples had not been glorified yet. We also know that Jesus had not been glorified either. So, in anticipatory terms, they would receive what has already been reserved for them. Because our subconscious presuppositions include more than this where it comes to Jesus, we tend to ignore this understanding when reading texts such as John 17:5.

    Regards,

    Jaco

  308. on 04 May 2010 at 6:28 pmMargaret Collier

    Let’s review the points on which we agree. The man Christ Jesus began his human life at his birth. He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit in the womb of a virgin and was therefore the unique, “one of a kind” Son of the living God.

    That does not preclude the possibility that “The Son of God,” who is also “The Word of God,” became flesh when he was born of the virgin, thus beginning a unique human life.

    John 1:4, 5 covers three periods, it seems to me:

    1. I have glorified you on earth; I completed the work you gave me to do.
    2. Glorify me WITH you (with = para – which means beside, or in the presence of) – …
    3. the glory which I had WITH you (in your presence) before the world began.

    The words of Hebrews 1:1-4 cover the same periods, though not in the same order:

    1. The Son, through whom God made the worlds
    2. He (as a man – a little lower than the angels) secured purification of our sins …
    3. then sat down at the right hand of God, having been made so much better than the angels.

    His work as a man EARNED him a glory that he did not have before.

    That’s what the passages seem to say. I am not trying to “read into” them something they do not say.

    The same goes for several other passages, Hebrews 1:10 being one of them.

    It should be noted that none of these passages have any bearing on the identity of the only true God, who is the Father alone.

  309. on 04 May 2010 at 8:38 pmXavier

    Margaret

    That does not preclude the possibility that “The Son of God,” who is also “The Word of God,” became flesh when he was born of the virgin, thus beginning a unique human life.

    Of course it does! Because you are attributing 2 births or beginnings or coming into existence of the Son of God. Apart from denying the full human nature of the man Jesus, since that would make him some kind of pre-human human!

    Your making the trini mistake of assuming “the word of God” is the preexistent “Son of God”. If anything, the logos at Jn 1.1 should be properly translated as “God’s self-expression of Himself”. It is not some second, preexisting being existing within the One God of Israel. It is, simply put, the creative means by which God brought “all things” into existence.

    It should be noted that none of these passages have any bearing on the identity of the only true God, who is the Father alone.

    Who or What was Jesus before his birth then? Human, angel, or some second “god”? If something else, where is this person in the OT? Whoever or Whatever he was he is oddly silent.

    Jaco

    Great point!

    The prophetic glory that was Jesus’ even before his birth was because God’s plan was for him to be the glorious redeemer of Creation. This plan was so well defined by the body of prophecy spoken and written about the Coming One that it was a virtual certainty. Therefore, it could be spoken about as a “reality” long before it was actually fulfilled.

    In this same context Jesus could speak about the glory which he had with the Father “before the world was” [17.5]; a glory already received which in turn he gives to us, so that we may be one, just as he and the Father are one [17.22].

    A “spiritual oneness” as opposed to an ontological one.

    The perspective being Jesus’ heavenly and “eternal” glory transposed onto his earthly life and ministry; eternal because it began, not in some hereto unbeknownst “before all time” but in the mind of God.

  310. on 04 May 2010 at 8:52 pmDave Burke

    Guys,

    There has been a delay in the posting of our Week 4 arguments. Bowman was busy with family commitments over the weekend, and I have been very sick, bedridden for several days. Our latest work should be online very soon.

    🙂

  311. on 04 May 2010 at 9:04 pmDave Burke

    robert, ray and Xavier: I don’t want to get dragged back into the satan/devil debate because it’s not on topic and it’s not what I came here to discuss. But I feel compelled to observe that nobody has presented any evidence that “Satan” is a supernatural being in the verses submitted to support your position. Nor have I seen proof that “Lucifer” is an evil supernatural being in Isaiah 14, Ezekiel 28 or anywhere else. In fact, modern Bible translations now reject this interpretation as fallacious. See the footnotes of the NET Bible for Isaiah 14:12 (here: http://tinyurl.com/3xv3roo).

    Xavier, I’ve written an article on the Ephesians 6 passage (here: http://tinyurl.com/622ay7). It’s about 8 years old now, so well overdue for an update. But it provides a fair summary of my position. You might also be interested in an article I’ve written on the personification of sin (here: http://tinyurl.com/5du7z3) and the other articles on my forum which address the subject of Satan (here: http://tinyurl.com/yay36gy).

    Anyway, back to the Trinity debate… 🙂

  312. on 04 May 2010 at 9:56 pmXavier

    Dave

    Just one question…you believe in holy angels but not in demonic angels?

    Recently I asked a CD this question and he said that he did believe in demons but not in the Devil. Something I am still trying to get my head around.

  313. on 04 May 2010 at 9:59 pmrobert

    Dave
    I am sorry but your were the one who requested the verses I presented. Not only does Ezekiel 28 11ff prove that immortal can be judged and punished it seems to say they can die.
    the fact that it is speaking of someone who existed 3000 years before this was written and the subject matter is without a doubt lucifer aka satan. this was just a plus. 2 birds one stone.

    I see there is no reason to discuss this subject if you can deny the clear truth in these verses but your not the only one here.

  314. on 04 May 2010 at 10:15 pmXavier

    Dave

    “There is not a single reference in the Old Testament to Satan as an internal tempter. The Serpent in Genesis was clearly not Eve’s human nature! It was an external personality who spoke and reasoned with refined subtlety.” Anthony Buzzard, Satan, The Personal Devil.

    http://www.focusonthekingdom.org/articles/satan.htm

  315. on 04 May 2010 at 10:16 pmDave Burke

    Xavier:

    Just one question…you believe in holy angels but not in demonic angels?

    Correct. I believe all angels are immortal and incapable of sin.

    Recently I asked a CD this question and he said that he did believe in demons but not in the Devil. Something I am still trying to get my head around.

    That sounds very strange; certainly nothing like Christadelphian teaching on this subject. I have no idea what he would mean by it.

    robert:

    I am sorry but your were the one who requested the verses I presented. Not only does Ezekiel 28 11ff prove that immortal can be judged and punished it seems to say they can die.

    Verse 2 tells us that this chapter is all about the prince of Tyrus, a human ruler. I see no references to an immortal being.

  316. on 04 May 2010 at 10:25 pmXavier

    Dave

    So if I understand this correctly…CD teaching regarding this subject takes the traditional belief in demons and a personal Devil and reduces it to human nature [OT] manifested as ailments [NT]?

    Doesn’t this force upon the reader to see Jesus as either lying or acting in a deluded way himself? Since he is going around like a crazy man interacting with impersonal manifestations of the same human nature?

  317. on 04 May 2010 at 10:32 pmrobert

    “Verse 2 tells us that this chapter is all about the prince of Tyrus, a human ruler. I see no references to an immortal being. “”

    Dave verse 2-10 is adressing the King of Tyrus if you care to truly read it.
    verse 11ff adresses where he get his power from and identifies satan as the true King of Tyrus making the human king only a prince.
    No man can have lived in the garden, Mountan of God which was 3000 years prior. This even calls him Christ(anointed of God) as the once King of all angels but now fallen.

    But if you dont want discuss this why do you continue. want to or not?

  318. on 04 May 2010 at 10:48 pmXavier

    Dave

    In one of your study links you say:

    That the apostle Paul categorically denied their existence on many occasions.

    Yet, Paul clearly again and again refers to what sounds like a personal being who he describes as “the prince of the power of the air” [Eph 2.2; cp. Jn 12.31; 1Jn 5.19] and most prominently as “the God of this age” [note the use of the article here, ho theos, 2Cor 4.4].

    With all due respect, I think you are misled and most importantly misleading others in this issue!

  319. on 04 May 2010 at 11:11 pmDave Burke

    Xavier:

    “There is not a single reference in the Old Testament to Satan as an internal tempter. The Serpent in Genesis was clearly not Eve’s human nature! It was an external personality who spoke and reasoned with refined subtlety.” Anthony Buzzard, Satan, The Personal Devil.

    http://www.focusonthekingdom.org/articles/satan.htm

    This quote has no impact on my beliefs whatsoever. I completely agree with it!

    Christadelphians do not claim that “Satan” in the OT is human nature, nor do we claim that the serpent which tempted Even was human nature. We believe it was a talking serpent. Anthony seems to misunderstand our position, as so many people do. I did my best to clarify it for him when we spoke on the phone last week.

    So if I understand this correctly…CD teaching regarding this subject takes the traditional belief in demons and a personal Devil and reduces it to human nature [OT] manifested as ailments [NT]?

    No, that’s another misunderstanding which confuses two different aspects of our theology. We don’t believe that “demons” are “human nature manifested as ailments.”

    We believe that sin is occasionally personified (as in references to “Satan” and “the devil”) while “demons” and “devils” are variously (a) physical and mental ailments, or (b) false gods (I Corinthians 10:20), depending on the context (see the articles here: http://tinyurl.com/yay36gy). Notice the use of “daimoniōn” in Acts 17:18, where it is applied to Christ by Paul’s Greek audience. How would you explain this?

    We also believe that the word “satan” is used in reference to external tempters, adversaries, and false accusers:

    Numbers 22:22, “Then God’s anger was kindled because he went, and the angel of the LORD stood in the road to oppose [satan] him. Now he was riding on his donkey and his two servants were with him.

    The NET footnote says: “The word is שָׂטָן (satan, ‘to be an adversary, to oppose’).”

    We have an example of this in the NT:

    Matthew 16:23, “But he turned and said to Peter, ‘Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me, because you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but on man’s.'”

    “Satan” is simply anyone or anything which constitutes an adversary. On rare occasions it is used as a personification of sin.

    Doesn’t this force upon the reader to see Jesus as either lying or acting in a deluded way himself? Since he is going around like a crazy man interacting with impersonal manifestations of the same human nature?

    But he’s not “interacting with impersonal manifestations of the same human nature.” He’s talking to people with physical and/or mental ailments, who believe they are possessed. If he temporarily accommodates this belief, it is only to reassure their faith in his cure.

    I personally believe that some first-century Christians believed that “demons” were real, and that the Gospels are written in this way for this reason. But in our modern world, it is surely impossible to maintain the belief that ailments such as epilepsy, blindness, deafness, etc. are caused by “demons.” Can you recall the last time a “demon” made you ill? Would you tell an epilepsy patient to stop taking his medication and visit an exorcist instead? I suspect that the answer to both of those questions is “No.”

    If you wish to discuss this further, I suggest you familiarise yourself with the Christadelphian position by reading the articles to which I have referred, and sign up at my discussion forum (www.thechristadelphians.org/forums), where you’ll find plenty of people happy to debate it.

    robert:

    But if you dont want discuss this why do you continue. want to or not?

    I don’t want to, but I couldn’t even if I wanted to, because you and I are simply talking past each other now.

  320. on 04 May 2010 at 11:16 pmDave Burke

    Xavier:

    In one of your study links you say:

    That the apostle Paul categorically denied their existence on many occasions.

    Yes, Paul denies the existence of demons.

    Yet, Paul clearly again and again refers to what sounds like a personal being who he describes as “the prince of the power of the air” [Eph 2.2; cp. Jn 12.31; 1Jn 5.19] and most prominently as “the God of this age” [note the use of the article here, ho theos, 2Cor 4.4].

    Notice, however, that Paul does not refer to this “personal being” as a “demon.” I think you’re confusing two separate issues: “satanos” and “daimoniōn.” Keep reading the articles. You’ll get a more complete picture that way.

    With all due respect, I think you are misled and most importantly misleading others in this issue!

    With all due respect: I’ll live with it. If I can help to save people from Trinitarianism, that’s good enough for me. 🙂

  321. on 04 May 2010 at 11:39 pmrobert

    Dave
    Just how do you help anyone without the whole truth.
    As far as the trinity goes i see one after Jesus’ resurrection as long as you understand that Jesus is not a God but an agent
    as far as binitarianism goes I see it existing after God created Wisdom(The Holy spirit) (God of Isreal) as his only begotten during creation. thanks to Philo christianity changed this
    Sorry I just dont see you helping at all

  322. on 05 May 2010 at 12:00 amXavier

    Dave

    One of the tenents of your CD belief involves the excommunication and shunning of likeminded believers who do not adhere to your non-Devil [demons] doctrine. Whilst in your mind you may be saving people from trinis…on the other hand your condemning them to seperation from God!

  323. on 05 May 2010 at 1:10 amDave Burke

    Xavier:

    One of the tenents of your CD belief involves the excommunication and shunning of likeminded believers who do not adhere to your non-Devil [demons] doctrine. Whilst in your mind you may be saving people from trinis…on the other hand your condemning them to seperation from God!

    Excommunication: yes. Shunning: no. We do not have a policy of shunning, like the JWs do. Anyone leaving our community for this or any other reason is free to find fellowship with people who share those beliefs and is free to return to us if their beliefs change again. If we’re wrong: well, we’re not condemning them to separation from God, are we?

    The main problem, Xavier, is that “Satan” is typically described in a way that makes him equivalent to a second god. Not on the same level as the Father, of course; but still a type of “smaller” god. For me, that’s just unacceptable.

  324. on 05 May 2010 at 2:21 amXavier

    Dave

    Excommunication: yes. Shunning: no.

    Oh, I am sorry!. So you only “shut the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces” [Mat 23.13]? At least you don’t shun them I guess. 🙂

    The main problem, Xavier, is that “Satan” is typically described in a way that makes him equivalent to a second god. Not on the same level as the Father, of course; but still a type of “smaller” god. For me, that’s just unacceptable.

    Your assumption would also be true of the first Adam since he relinquished his divine authority and rulership of the world over to “the Devil” [Rev 12.9; 20.2], as the Bible alludes to time and time again.

    Similarly, the second Adam [Jesus] was tempted to do the same yet didn’t. Thus, having been made the “author of salvation…firstborn from the dead” and through whom God will bring about the restoration of all things.

  325. on 05 May 2010 at 6:51 amJaco

    Hi, Margaret

    It is truly a pleasure to have you on the blog.

    As I pointed out with the John 17 references, we have assumptions (and even forced translations) we need to contend with. Firstly, as regards the Hebrews 1 references you use, we need to follow the development of the verses:

    Verse 1: God communicated his word to our forefathers in different ways by means of prophets
    Verse 2: At the conclusion of the days, however, he spoke through someone else, namely, his Son. By means of whom the subsequent ages came about.
    Verse 3: Now, this heir of all things reflects God’s glory perfectly.
    Verse 4: This very one has been made more excellent than the mighty angels and received greater status.

    From this development, it would be an anachronism to have the references to ages (eons) refer to the Genesis creation. Verse 2 continues with how, after communication through diverse ways, eventually through his Son, God produced the ages. Hence my disagreement with the idea that the Genesis creation is in view. Not only chronologically, but also semantically. The translation you use has the word “worlds” for eons, or ages. This is unfortunately very misleading, since it gives the impression that the Genesis creation is referred to, which simply isn’t. Both the Old and New Testaments tell us that there will be new heavens and a new earth. In fact, there will be two more. First the heaven and earth of the Millennium, the 1000 years Christ rules the earth, which will perish (Isa. 65:17; Rev. 20:1-10), and then the heaven and earth of Revelation 21, which will exist forever. A little further on in Hebrews it says,

    “It is not to angels that He has subjected the world to come, about which we are speaking” (Heb. 2:5).

    So, the references to the ages or the order of things are the ones which would have taken shape after Jesus came and was exalted.

    Another word to understand is the word for “make.” The Greek here is poieo and has a wide range of meanings of causation, including accomplish, are, be, began, been, bring, carry out, cause, committed, do, earned, exercise, formed, gain, give, made, performed, preparing, produce, provide, put into practice, reached. Hence my understanding that new orders of things came about by means of what Jesus accomplished.

    You say:

    3. the glory which I had WITH you (in your presence) before the world began.

    As I showed, if the glory Jesus referred to was glory he used to personally possess before becoming human, his exaltation would not be “greater glory” but glory already possessed, or glory already given him. This does create exegetical complexities. If, however the glory Jesus ‘had with God’ refers to, not his presence with God, but what was reserved with God, or intended for Jesus, none of these complexities come about.

    All these explanations do make sense if one allows the intentional or anticipatory spirit of these passages to guide one’s understanding (as with John 17:22).

    Dave and Xavier,

    Maybe after the Debate we should have an article on the Christadelphian concept of Satan, demons and angels.

    I do have a problem with exclusivity among churches. Unfortunately the seriousness of the excommunication processes are often trivialized with, “they’re still free to return.” This is extremely reductionistic and misleading. As far as I can see, our understanding of who or what Satan or the demons are is not legitimate grounds for excommunication (1 Corinthians 5). And to say, “we’re not condemning them to separation from God, are we?” is not an honest assessment of the issue either. If it is not for the purpose of disciplining, or reproof or of correction, then what is it for? If separation from God is not the issue here, then why take such action also taken against behaviour that does separate us from God? What is more, if I do not confess the non-personality of Satan, I cannot share in communion with Christadelphians. This is the utmost sign of disapproval and non-acceptance by a people who consider themselves the Body of Christ. So, these rationalizations simply do not add up.

    But, as I said, you have a debate you’re busy with, and you’re doing an excellent job. Maybe we can get to these issues once you’re done.

    In Christ (believing in a personal Satan and all)

    Jaco

  326. on 05 May 2010 at 7:23 amXavier

    Jaco

    … if I do not confess the non-personality of Satan, I cannot share in communion with Christadelphians. This is the utmost sign of disapproval and non-acceptance by a people who consider themselves the Body of Christ. So, these rationalizations simply do not add up.

    Couldn’t have said it better myself bro.

    Keep the faith in a personal Devil! 🙂

  327. on 05 May 2010 at 7:18 pmRay

    Margaret,
    Your reading of John and Hebrews (#308) looks very sound to me.
    It looks the same as I have seen it when it began to become clear to me.

    I too believe Jesus is the word of God who existed with God in the beginning, but was manifest later (in the flesh) to many who were on the earth.

    I believe Jesus experienced what we could refer to as several
    “births”, some of them in the spirit, and one in the flesh.

  328. on 05 May 2010 at 8:10 pmMargaret Collier

    As I pointed out with the John 17 references, we have assumptions (and even forced translations) we need to contend with.

    Thank you for the admission, Jaco. That puts us all on the same level. I will look at any evidence that is produced; but I will respectfully disregard explanations that are themselves based on assumptions.

    I have some studying to catch up on; but previous exchanges have left me more certain than ever of one thing, at least: Jesus could not be tempted to sin. He was tempted as we are in all respects EXCEPT sin.

    James is quite clear on where temptation to sin comes from. It comes from our own inward desires. If you don’t desire it, you’re not tempted to do it. And the desire to sin is itself sinful, as Dave pointed out from Mat. 5:28.

    We all believe that Jesus was (and is) the Son of God. As a true Son, exactly like his Father, he could not be tempted with evil.

    I am not basing that conclusion on assumptions. I am basing it on James 1:13-15, Hebrews 1:3, Colossians 2:9 and several other passages which I will not take the time to look up.

    Jesus did not have to strive against his own temptation to sin, or he would not be the perfect, sinless sacrifice that God required. The sin he strove against was outside of himself, not within himself.

    You can prove me wrong by pointing out a passage that tells us of a particular sin that Jesus was tempted to commit, but successfully resisted. I have never seen one.

  329. on 05 May 2010 at 8:10 pmXavier

    Ray

    I believe Jesus experienced what we could refer to as several “births”, some of them in the spirit, and one in the flesh.

    Sounds Hindu/Buddhist reincarnation to me Ray. I mean, how many “births” do we have? Seeing as how Jesus is supposed to be our brethren.

  330. on 05 May 2010 at 8:13 pmMargaret Collier

    I believe Jesus experienced what we could refer to as several “births”, some of them in the spirit, and one in the flesh.

    What scriptures tell us of these “several births”, Ray? I have never seen anything like that.

  331. on 05 May 2010 at 8:22 pmXavier

    Margaret

    You can prove me wrong by pointing out a passage that tells us of a particular sin that Jesus was tempted to commit, but successfully resisted. I have never seen one.

    By definition sin is a manifestation of an inward desire [James 1.13-15]. One of the things Jesus was tempted with was riches [Mat 4.8-9]. Note also that the tempter “departed from him until an opportune time” [Lu 4.13], meaning that it did not end there.

    To say that he wasn’t really tempted because he was totally unable to, being the divinely created Son of God, is to do violence to the text. Where it says he was tempted in all things yet did not sin.

  332. on 05 May 2010 at 8:25 pmDoubting Thomas

    Margaret
    You said, “You can prove me wrong by pointing out a passage that tells us of a particular sin that Jesus was tempted to commit, but successfully resisted.”

    Jesus said that a sin against the Holy Spirit would not be forgiven in this life or the life to come. Jesus knew that God through the Holy Spirit had told him that it was his will that Jesus be betrayed, beaten, and crucified.

    In the garden Jesus repeatedly prayed the same prayer over and over again asking that this cup be taken away from him and he was so distressed that he was sweating drops of blood. You honestly don’t think that Jesus was being tempted (within himself) to flee the temple guards that he knew were on the way to arrest him.

    In the end Jesus overcame his fear and trusted his father’s will and judgment. The fact that Jesus so clearly experienced this (human) fear I think demonstrates that he was in fact fully human and not some kind of supernatural being that existed since before creation and that participated in the creation of the heavens and the earth…

  333. on 05 May 2010 at 10:34 pmMargaret Collier

    Thomas – this example proves my point. It was not his own sinful desires that he strove against. It was the sins of others that caused him such anguish.

    Jehovah was going to lay upon him the iniquity of us all. He was going to be forsaken by his God. The prospect caused him to sweat drops of blood. If it was possible, he wanted that cup to pass from him.

    But he was totally submissive to his Father. “Not my will, but thine, be done.”

    Jesus was fully human. We agree on that. He shared our human frailties. But he was nevertheless the Son of God, totally unique. He did not share our sinful desires.

    His pre-existence is not the subject here. The fact remains that he was conceived supernaturally, through the power of the Holy Spirit. His father was not a human father. His Father was God.

    Or maybe you don’t believe that?

  334. on 05 May 2010 at 11:10 pmrobert

    Margaret
    Lets put the birth narrative in context

    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(KING OF ISRAEL)
    : 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(THAT) man (NAMED DAVID)? 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(KING OF ISRAEL).
    This is all about Jesus being heir to the throne though Joseph Nowhere does this state God fathered Jesus. Quite the contrary because the power that Caused the conception was the HOLY MOTHER ,THE HOLY SPIRIT
    JOSEPH IS THE REAL FATHER OF YAHSHUA.
    Matthews birth narrative was added by church fathers because It wasnt in the original hebrew writing of Matthew as testified by several church fathers

  335. on 05 May 2010 at 11:11 pmMargaret Collier

    Xavier – Does the text say that he DESIRED riches? If he didn’t DESIRE them, then Satan’s “tempting” turned out to be a test – which is what the word means in Mat. 4:7.

    You can’t tempt the Lord God with evil; but you can test him – as the Israelites did at Masseh.

    Similarly, God doesn’t tempt anybody to do evil. When he “tempted” Abraham, he was not tempting him to sin. He was TESTING Abraham’s loyalty and devotion.

    My point is, if Jesus desired something sinful, then he was sinful. That is taking him at his own word (Mat. 5:28).

    He was NOT sinful. He did no sin. No sin was in him. He had no sinful thoughts or sinful desires. So the Tempter had no hold on him. You can’t be tempted to do something you have no desire to do.

    Jesus was not tempted to lie, or steal, or treat someone cruelly. If he had been tempted to do such things, he would not have been sinless, and could not have been the sacrifice for sin that I absolutely believe him to be.

    I believe that Jesus was fully human, born of a woman. But his Father was GOD.

    And he was like his Father. He was the image of the invisible God, who cannot be tempted with evil. Therefore, God’s Son cannot be tempted with evil, either. He was tempted in every respect EXCEPT sin.

  336. on 05 May 2010 at 11:17 pmMargaret Collier

    Robert – If the Bible is not reliable, we’re wasting our time.

  337. on 05 May 2010 at 11:21 pmrobert

    Margaret
    No I am not wasting my time because theres thousand of verses,years of history and with a little common sense it is very profitable to me.
    The way it is interpreted is what makes it a waste

  338. on 06 May 2010 at 12:37 amXavier

    Margaret

    …God’s Son cannot be tempted with evil, either. He was tempted in every respect EXCEPT sin.

    What about the first Adam? The difference between him and the second Adam is that one failed the “test” [temptation] and the other didn’t.

    Your reasoning is facetious to say the least. I mean, what other ways can you be tempted except for the purpose of sinning [disobeying] God’s commands?

    I disagree with your assesment because your also making a distinction between the biblical meaning of “testing” and “temptation” that really isn’t there. It all leads to the same result. Vine’s Dictionary of the NT defines itthus:

    Temptation [peiramos]: Of “trial” definitely designed to lead to wrong doing, “temptation,” Luke 4:13; 8:13; 1 Tim. 6:9.

    Note: James 1:13-15 seems to contradict other statements of Scripture in two respects, saying (a) that ‘God cannot be tempted with evil,’ and (b) that ‘He Himself tempteth no man.’ But God tempted, or tried, Abraham, Heb. 11:17, and the Israelites tempted, or tried, God, 1 Cor. 10:9. James 1:14, however, makes it plain that, whereas in these cases the temptation or trial, came from without, James refers to temptation, or trial, arising within, from uncontrolled appetites and from evil passions, cp. Mark 7:20-23.

    The spirit of God led Jesus to the desert where the devil tried to get Jesus to sin right? If not, was it really temptation/testing as the text suggests? Now to be clear, the text says Jesus was tempted to sin by the Devil and not by God! As you are misreading it. With the OT understanding by Abraham’s example [and many others] that people are tested by God through various means in this present evil age. He allows it “because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” [James 1]

    As the writer of Hebrews clearly states, in order for Jesus to bring the children of God “to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through what he suffered. Both the one who makes people holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters…

    Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil— and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death…

    For this reason he had to be made like his brothers and sisters in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted. [Heb 2]

  339. on 06 May 2010 at 3:37 amDave Burke

    Xavier:

    Oh, I am sorry!. So you only “shut the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces” [Mat 23.13]? At least you don’t shun them I guess. 🙂

    We don’t shut the kingdom of heaven in anyone’s face. (We don’t control the door to the kingdom of heaven!) We simply can’t fellowship with anyone who disagrees with us on doctrinal principles that we consider fundamental. That was the apostolic practice, endorsed by Paul himself.

    Your assumption would also be true of the first Adam since he relinquished his divine authority and rulership of the world over to “the Devil” [Rev 12.9; 20.2], as the Bible alludes to time and time again.

    Similarly, the second Adam [Jesus] was tempted to do the same yet didn’t. Thus, having been made the “author of salvation…firstborn from the dead” and through whom God will bring about the restoration of all things.

    Xavier, you appear to have missed my point. I’m not talking about divine authority and rulership. I’m talking about supernatural power.

    Where does your supernatural Satan get his supernatural power from? We know his power does not come from God, because Jesus proved this when he responded to the Jews in Luke 11:18-20. So is Satan’s power innate? That would make him a type of lesser god.

    Anyway, perhaps we can discuss this in more detail after the Trinity debate, as Jaco suggested. 🙂

  340. on 06 May 2010 at 3:49 amDave Burke

    Jaco:

    I do have a problem with exclusivity among churches. Unfortunately the seriousness of the excommunication processes are often trivialized with, “they’re still free to return.” This is extremely reductionistic and misleading. As far as I can see, our understanding of who or what Satan or the demons are is not legitimate grounds for excommunication (1 Corinthians 5).

    Christadelphians understand “demons”, etc. to fall into the category of false gods. That is why we cannot fellowship anyone who believes in them. If that position sounds harsh or unfair, consider this: Paul himself said “You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot take part in the table of the Lord and the table of demons.” (I Corinthians 10:21). And that was merely in reference to eating food offered to pagan idols!

    And to say, “we’re not condemning them to separation from God, are we?” is not an honest assessment of the issue either. If it is not for the purpose of disciplining, or reproof or of correction, then what is it for? If separation from God is not the issue here, then why take such action also taken against behaviour that does separate us from God?

    Nobody can separate you from God. If you are excommunicated, you are separated from a community, but you are not separated from God. You are still free to pursue your relationship with God in any way that you please. The issue is not about separation from God; it’s about fellowship with a community on the basis of “one body, one Spirit, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all” (Ephesians 4:4-6).

    What is more, if I do not confess the non-personality of Satan, I cannot share in communion with Christadelphians. This is the utmost sign of disapproval and non-acceptance by a people who consider themselves the Body of Christ. So, these rationalizations simply do not add up.

    Jaco, I consider you a Christian, just as I consider the Trinitarians Christians. But I can’t break bread with people who believe in the “demons” that Paul described as false gods. I think that rationalisation stands up very well.

  341. on 06 May 2010 at 6:00 amJaco

    Dave,

    Believing, as in trusting in, hoping in, praying to demons/false gods/Satan is not the issue here. The issue is believing in whether they exist or not. My acknowledging their existence is most certainly not communing or fellowshipping with them (which eating food in celebration of pagan idols impied), so, the 1 Corinthians 10:21 reference is, I think, irrelevant.

    If you are excommunicated, you are separated from a community, but you are not separated from God. You are still free to pursue your relationship with God in any way that you please. The issue is not about separation from God; it’s about fellowship with a community on the basis of “one body, one Spirit, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all” (Ephesians 4:4-6).

    Dave, disapproval is the issue here. If the issue were as trivial as how it is stated above, this action, typically taken against serious and gross sinners (fornicators, idol worshipers, drunkards, blackmailers, etc. – 1 Corinthians 5), would not be the very same action taken against someone who believes in the existence of a personal Satan and demons. The congregational discipline, the judgement, the rejection, the excommunication are most certainly seen as a very serious act of disapproval by a community who view themselves as the Body of Christ, as ambassadors of Christ, upholding His righteous judgment. Their rejection of a person or a doctrine is, in their mind, a reflection of God’s and Christ’s rejection of a person or a doctrine.

    What is more, some Christadelphians are at odds with, for instance, the identity of the Tempter in Matthew 4. The same goes with Christadelphians’ understanding of exorcism. In a personal conversation with what we would understand to be an elder of a Christadelphian community in Johannesburg, this gentleman had this to say regarding exorcism:

    The explanation that [driving out of demons] is an idiomatic expression for healing of sicknesses is one of two main stream explanations that Christadelphians have in our brotherhood. My explanation is the other one – i.e that the demons refer to God’s angels – they are good angels but are doing God’s work that is related to severe illnesses/ that can only be healed by God (via his angels).

    These apparently do not violate Ephesians 4:4-6 you quote. In my books, that amounts to double standards.

    Jaco, I consider you a Christian, just as I consider the Trinitarians Christians. But I can’t break bread with people who believe in the “demons” that Paul described as false gods. I think that rationalisation stands up very well.

    The way you state it, maybe, but that is not remotely a fair reflection of the reality of matters. I am no demon worshipper, friend. Just as my believing in the reality of fornication and murder does not make me a sharer in those vile practices, my believing in the existence of demons and a personal Satan in no way makes me a friend or a fellow of them – let me just get that straight. I hope that is not the way you view me and others.

    In your statement above, you say that you consider me a Christian ‘just as you consider the Trinitarians Christians.’ Maybe it’s just my Psychology/Cognitive Linguistics training, but that seems to contradict what you said previously,

    If I can help to save people from Trinitarianism, that’s good enough for me.

    If your estimation of other Christians were as indifferent and serene as what you stated two quotes back, you would not endeavor to “save them” from what you consider to be wrong. So, judgment is the issue here.

    I, on the other hand, although at odds with your belief regarding Satan and demons, do consider you, not only a Christian, but also a brother. Had it not been for the Christadelphian policy making an issue out of the identity of Satan (to the point of excommunication and discipline), I wouldn’t even have had this discussion with you. Understand please, that the “gap” is not of my doing. If it depended upon me, brother, I would be honored to share communion with you.

    Your brother,

    Jaco

    P.S. I’m still going to give my full support to your debate! Keep it up!

  342. on 06 May 2010 at 7:53 amXavier

    Dave

    That was the apostolic practice, endorsed by Paul himself.

    Yes, but I do not see them doing it over this matter. Since it didn’t exist nor present itself until John Thomas made it up!

    So is Satan’s power innate? That would make him a type of lesser god.

    What about an archangel gone rebel, as the Isaiah, Ezekiel and Revelation passages intimate. By this reasoning you could argue the same in the case of Jesus, since he is greater than angels and only second to the One God Himself. A “lesser god” along the Supreme God to be sure no?

    Christadelphians understand “demons”, etc. to fall into the category of false gods. That is why we cannot fellowship anyone who believes in them.

    What?! This is nonsensical reasoning bro. Paul believed in other “so-called gods” [1Cor 8.4-6] and James certainly believed in demons [2.19]. So I guess you would disfellowship them as well?

    If you are excommunicated, you are separated from a community, but you are not separated from God.

    By definition though you make yourself out to be the true community [church] of God, don’t you? And since his body is the community of the saints [believers=church], how is this not seperatist??

    I think that rationalisation stands up very well.

    Be careful bro cause so-called rationalism may lead to delusionism! 🙂

  343. on 06 May 2010 at 10:39 amMargaret Collier

    Looking at the last 40 or 50 posts, with all the different viewpoints expressed, prompted me to forget blogs for awhile and do what James encourages us to do: ask for wisdom from God, who gives to all freely and doesn’t reproach us for asking (James 1:5-6).

    What I really want is to understand how your interpretation of Hebrews 4:18 can be reconciled with James 1:14 and Matthew 5:28. And your reference to Vine’s Dictionary, Xavier, supplies the clue.

    Vine makes a difference between outward temptations and inward temptations. That is the difference between the temptations of Matthew 4 and those of James 1:14.

    The Tempter tempted Jesus during and after the forty days in the wilderness, and probably many times thereafter. We are told about three of the temptations, specifically.

    Jesus was tempted to use his God-given authority, on his own initiative, to make himself a meal. But there was no inward response. His subjection to the will (“every word”) of his God was total.

    Satan tempted him to prove that he was the Son of God by throwing himself off the pinnacle of the temple. Jesus countered that temptation again with a word from God. He had no inward desire to show off.

    The Devil finally tempted Jesus with the offer of all the kingdoms of the world, of which Satan is “the god” (ho theos – 2 Cor. 4:4), in exchange for worshipping him.

    The temptation was not the temptation to be rich. Everything that Satan was offering him (and more) was already his in the plans of God.

    The temptation was to avoid the path God had planned toward that goal. Satan was tempting him to avoid the cross; to avoid being made a sacrifice for the redemption of mankind.

    But the temptation was outward, not inward. He had no desire to take himself out of the will of God. His response was, again, a word from God. His whole delight was to do his Father’s will.

    That solves the problem. He was tempted as we are outwardly. But he had no sinful desires. He was not tempted inwardly to do evil. He was “without sin” – and that includes sins of thought.

    In other words, he did not spend his time on earth fighting sinful desires – the inward temptation to sin.

  344. on 06 May 2010 at 10:48 amMargaret Collier

    Xavier – The temptation to insult those who disagree with you should be resisted. It does nothing to promote your argument.

  345. on 06 May 2010 at 6:58 pmRay

    Xavier, (#328)
    I believe Christians have at least two experiences that we can refer to as “births”. One is the being born of the flesh, and the other the being born of the spirit.

    Receiving the Holy Spirit with the evidence of the Spirit being manifest is sometimes referred to by Christians as a “born again” experience.

    Jesus also received the Holy Spirit at his baptism, and this began a new kind of life for him, that is, his ministry in the power of it.

    Prior to his being baptized by John, and his being born of Mary,
    he had been with God, dwelling with him, and even going forth.

    That might also be referred to as a “birth” of sorts.

    I also think of his conception as a birth because at that time he came from God. I think of him as having been dwelling in God and then coming out of him at that time. Such a miracle of God seems to be to be a “birth” of sorts.

  346. on 06 May 2010 at 7:06 pmXavier

    Margaret

    He was tempted as we are outwardly. But he had no sinful desires. He was not tempted inwardly to do evil.

    I still think your not getting it. God allowed Jesus to be tempted/tested in all ways as we are. The outward evil he encountered to break God’s commandments had to affect him inwardly in order for him to “resist evil”. What do you think he was some kind of Terminator [cyborg, half-man/machine]?!

    The temptation to insult those who disagree with you should be resisted. It does nothing to promote your argument.

    Do you know the concept of “brotherly” exhortation? Or don’t you think Jesus and the Apostles time and time again “insulted” people when they rebuked them for false teachings and their inability to come to the truth?

  347. on 06 May 2010 at 7:17 pmDoubting Thomas

    Margaret
    Before you go I’d just like to respond to msg. (332)

    You said, “He did not share our sinful desires.”

    I could be wrong but the way I see it Jesus said that to even think about committing a sin was sin. He also said that a sin against the Holy Spirit was the worst of all sins and would not be forgiven in this life or the life to come. It is clear that it was the will of the Holy Spirit that he be betrayed, beaten, lashed, crucified, etc…

    The fact that he repeatedly asked that this cup be taken away from him (even though he knew it was the will of the Holy Spirit) shows quite clearly he was thinking about sinning. He was doing the human thing and going to his father to see if there was some way he could avoid (violate) the will of the Holy Spirit (the will of his father).

    He was (from within) thinking about committing a sin against the Holy Spirit…

  348. on 06 May 2010 at 7:26 pmDoubting Thomas

    I have to make a correction to my last message. Thinking about committing some sins, like adultery, was a sin. Since Jesus was without sin thinking about how to avoid doing the will of the Holy Spirit because of your God given human fear is something altogether different…

  349. on 06 May 2010 at 7:58 pmDoubting Thomas

    Xavier
    You said, “Do you know the concept of brotherly exhortation?”

    I agree with Margaret brotherly exhortation should be done with love and gentleness. If everybody on this site went around insulting people that they thought were wrong about something, this would not be a very pleasant site to visit. It would be no different from the many other sites I’ve heard about where people continually insult each other and call it dialogue…

  350. on 06 May 2010 at 8:29 pmrobert

    Thomas
    you are correct
    whether you feel its christian or nonchristian is not the issue. It the fact it a rule for posting here.
    we all fail at this at times but apologizing for it and then being forgiving is a most important christian issues

  351. on 06 May 2010 at 9:25 pmRay

    Today I heard the phraze “God fully embodied” which was applied to Jesus.

    Though one might not wish to describe Jesus in such fashion, isn’t there a sense in which it is most certainly true?

    Is there anything distasteful about that?

  352. on 06 May 2010 at 10:16 pmMargaret Collier

    Thinking about committing some sins, like adultery, was a sin. Since Jesus was without sin thinking about how to avoid doing the will of the Holy Spirit because of your God given human fear is something altogether different…

    I appreciate your thinking about the implications, Thomas. If Jesus desired to do something sinful, it could not be said of him that he was “without sin”. That would be a contradiction.

    He asked his Father to take the cup away (change the plan) if it were possible. He did not consider refusing the Father’s will.

    “Not my will, but thine, be done” is a clear indication that he had no desire to take his own way.

  353. on 06 May 2010 at 11:35 pmDoubting Thomas

    Margaret
    You might be right. But from Jesus’ behavior in the garden it would seem he was bordering on having a panic attack anticipating what he would have to go through. I don’t see how a supernatural being that existed since before creation and participated in the the creation of the heavens and the earth could experience such intense human emotions…

  354. on 07 May 2010 at 3:38 amAnnie

    Hi everyone,

    The reasoning on this topic has been very enjoyable and thought provoking to follow.

    Meditating on all of it, I have come to a question. If God allowed Jesus to be tempted/tested by Satan, while knowing fully that he was capable of resisting temptation, what would the reason then be for allowing temptation in the first place?

    The first Adam comes to mind. He was the first to be tempted/tested by Satan. Would Jesus, as the second Adam, be the proof that a man can resist temptation, as he was born as a man? Would his faithful resistance of temptation not settle the universal question Satan posed in the beginning, by tempting Adam and hence also Jesus? (The question being that no man would serve God faithfully without selfish motive, or gaining something.) Would his successful accomplishment not open the way for all of mankind to do the same? If so, what then is required to successfully resist temptation?

    It is important then to understand how it was possible to resist temptation if we want to follow in his footsteps. Why did Adam fail and Jesus succeed? What does man need in order to equip himself to resist temptation/tests as Jesus did? Does resisting temptations of all kinds make for a perfect man as Jesus was?

    Learning about the way he successfully resisted temptation and his humble plea to God to have the cup passed him because he would rather have Gods will take place than his own, has great spiritual value. Learning of the special relationship between God and Christ teaches us also. It tells us of the high regard Christ had for his Father’s will and purposes. Jesus also proved Satan wrong and opened a way for all mankind to learn how to do so. But most importantly he remained in the same loving, trusting relationship with God, his Father and our Father. He never jeopardised it.

    Learning how to resist ALL temptation, spiritual, fleshly etc would then make a perfect man or woman. To successfully imitate Christ, and to fully serve God faithfully as Jesus did, leaves mankind with yet a great task to complete in order to become perfect. To gain a good standing with our God we need to successfully accomplish what our Savior has.

    In humble service to God

    Annie

  355. on 07 May 2010 at 3:40 amXavier

    Doubting

    If everybody on this site went around insulting people that they thought were wrong about something, this would not be a very pleasant site to visit.

    I agree. But I do not feel I have insulted anyone on here. That they may feel insulted because of their inability to agree with others, that’s their problem. Time and time again I disagree with alot of people here and vice versa and come into hot and heavy debate regarding certain matters. But at no point do I feel that simple disagreement is a cause for me to feel offended or insulted.

    Margaret

    “Not my will, but thine, be done” is a clear indication that he had no desire to take his own way.

    I think Doubting Thomas’ has presented another excellent piece of evidence whereby if it was up to Jesus, in other words because his will at times weakened due to the constant testing/temptation he underwent, he would not have tasted of the “cup of wrath” that the Father had prepared for him beforehand. But his love for his God and Father was such that he was compelled, even though he may not wanted to undergo such sufferings, to do His will and not his own!

  356. on 07 May 2010 at 6:38 amDoubting Thomas

    Annie
    Your message is very thought provoking. I agree with everything that you said…

  357. on 07 May 2010 at 7:55 amrobert

    Annie
    I agree with Thomas
    That was very well put and a great understanding of One of Jesus’ great teachings.

  358. on 07 May 2010 at 9:25 amDave Burke

    Jaco:

    In your statement above, you say that you consider me a Christian ‘just as you consider the Trinitarians Christians.’ Maybe it’s just my Psychology/Cognitive Linguistics training, but that seems to contradict what you said previously,

    If I can help to save people from Trinitarianism, that’s good enough for me.

    If your estimation of other Christians were as indifferent and serene as what you stated two quotes back, you would not endeavor to “save them” from what you consider to be wrong. So, judgment is the issue here.

    It’s not at odds with my previous statement. I believe Trinitarians are Christians who worship a false Christ. We can’t just waltz into salvation purely on the basis of being a Christian; we must worship God in spirit and in truth. Trinitarians do not worship in truth, which is why they need to learn about the real, Biblical Jesus.

    Christ said “Not everyone who says to me ‘Lord, Lord’ will enter the Kingdom of heaven” (see also the parable of the sheep and goats). By the same token, I believe it is possible to be a Christian without any hope of salvation. A Christian is, after all, simply a follower of Christ – and the world has plenty of those.

  359. on 07 May 2010 at 10:24 amXavier

    Dave

    I believe Trinitarians are Christians who worship a false Christ.

    Is it just me or does this statement make no sense? Or by this do you mean to be flippant, like when the Apostle Paul talks about his false “brothers”?

  360. on 07 May 2010 at 10:59 amrobert

    “It’s not at odds with my previous statement. I believe Trinitarians are Christians who worship a false Christ. We can’t just waltz into salvation purely on the basis of being a Christian; we must worship God in spirit and in truth. Trinitarians do not worship in truth, which is why they need to learn about the real, Biblical Jesus.”

    Dave
    Thomas made a very good point in a thread here that he didnt believe salvation was a matter of doctrine. Salvation is based on matters of the heart toward your fellow human being. After this i did some reading with this in mind and found he is correct. I do not believe that someone who lived a life of love towards humanity would not be saved because they didnt know a christian doctrine. There are many people who would be considered very christian amongst the religions of the world that without the law of God and has followed the basics of it within their own beliefs. Their salvation is whats meant by Grace.

    Now on the other hand there is a reward for the Elect for those who has separated themselfs as a special group by following every word spoken by God to man. This Elect includes all from the beginning to present who Loved the ways God set for man to follow concerning the Worship of HIM and the treatment of your fellow human. This is a more strict discipline including signs that God setup to set apart this Elect. This Elect is who will take part in the first resurrection and will reign as kings and priest with Yahshua during the 1000 year Sabbath of God here on earth.

    I feel that i have met the requirement for the 2nd resurrection but i am striving to take part of the 1st. While there is a few requirements to meet for the 2nd , there are a multitude for the first. The 1st is for the best of the best and 2nd for the best.
    So be careful when you judge your fellow human by doctrine over their behavior and claim salvation is for only likeminded people like yourself because God will save who he choses and teaching things that arent true might just set him against you

  361. on 07 May 2010 at 6:17 pmMargaret Collier

    I agree with Annie that the secret of Jesus’ sinlessness was his perfect love for God, making everything else of secondary value. Thank you for that, Annie.

    I also believe he had God (not a human) for his Father. He was the Son of God by birth, as well as “Son of God” by messianic appointment.

    That, to my mind, explains his perfect love for his Father.

    But maybe it’s time to just rejoice in what we all agree on: that Jesus was “without sin”. Neither his words nor his thoughts were sinful. That’s why he was qualified to die on behalf of sinners.

    We, on the other hand, have all sinned (Romans 3:23). Anyone who claims he has no sin is deceiving himself (1 John 1:8). So all of us are qualified to confess our sins and be cleansed. (I take that to mean we can’t cleanse ourselves.)

    If I have sinful desires, I don’t look for sympathy. I look for cleansing. But if I confess my sins, the blood of Jesus Christ will cleanse me from ALL of them.

    For that, I give thanks – continually.

    By the way, anyone who has Vine’s Dictionary of New Testament Words would profit (I think) from reading ALL of what he says about the word “tempt”. It’s amazing the number of passages where the Greek word is found, and the many different ways it is used.

  362. on 07 May 2010 at 6:29 pmDoubting Thomas

    Margaret
    You said, “But maybe it’s time to just rejoice in what we all agree on: that Jesus was ‘without sin’.

    I agree. We humans tend to make too big a deal about small differences in doctrine instead of celebrating what it is that we all agree on…

  363. on 07 May 2010 at 6:53 pmrobert

    “If I have sinful desires, I don’t look for sympathy. I look for cleansing. But if I confess my sins, the blood of Jesus Christ will cleanse me from ALL of them.”

    Margaret
    As long as you understand this is a one time cleansing, after that your sins count towards judgement.

    Hebrews 6
    4 For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, 5 And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, 6 If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.

  364. on 07 May 2010 at 8:51 pmXavier

    Margaret

    It’s amazing the number of passages where the Greek word is found, and the many different ways it is used.

    Yes, always in relation to sin!

  365. on 08 May 2010 at 12:23 amDoubting Thomas

    Ray (msg. 351)
    You said, “Today I heard a phrase ‘God fully embodied’ which was applied to Jesus….Is there anything distasteful about that?”

    To a Trinitarian it would probably mean that Jesus was fully God. To a Unitarian like myself it would just mean that Jesus fully embodied God’s nature and character. So the way I see it, it all depends on how you interpret it…

  366. on 08 May 2010 at 10:06 amMargaret Collier

    Yes, always in relation to sin!

    When you use the word “always,” Xavier, you can be proven wrong with a single example. Vine gives several – which, apparently, you did not read.

    In Matthew 19:3, Mat. 22:17-18, Mt. 22:35-36 and other parallel passages, the religious rulers were “tempting” Christ – not to sin, but to catch him in his speech. (Those passages are worth reading. The last one, in particular, fits in with Annie’s post very well.)

    The same Greek word (peirazo) is used in John 6:6, after Jesus asked Philip where they would get food for all these people. The explanation is, “This he said testing him, for he knew what he was about to do.” (Jesus was not tempting Philip to sin.)

    In Acts 16:7, Paul and Silas (after being forbidden by the Spirit to go into Asia) attempted to go into Bythinia. (How can you associate this with sin?)

    The fact remains: if Jesus had sinful desires, he was not “without sin”. His own words in Matthew 5:28 make that perfectly clear.

  367. on 08 May 2010 at 10:09 amDoubting Thomas

    Psalms 133:1 “Behold how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity.”

    I think it would be nice if this website became a welcome place for all Unitarians whether they agree on Jesus’ pre-existence or his ability to be tempted with sin or whatever…

  368. on 08 May 2010 at 10:34 amXavier

    Margaret

    Agree to disagree. This topic is not edifying no one I think.

  369. on 08 May 2010 at 10:38 amXavier

    Doubting

    As you probably know, this is one of the few [if not the only one of its kind] blog that even lets you post.

    Sometimes meaningless and endless debates such as these ones. Since few are edified and worst of all persuaded to come to some sort of unity in the sound doctrine of our lord Messiah Jesus.

  370. on 08 May 2010 at 10:46 amDoubting Thomas

    Xavier
    I appreciate the fact that you do allow me to post. But I think we can have unity even if there are minor differences in doctrine. The two things are not mutually exclusive…

  371. on 08 May 2010 at 11:20 amrobert

    “Agree to disagree. This topic is not edifying no one I think. ”

    Xavier
    Just how do you determine what edifies others, i could understand you saying it doesnt edify you.
    Whether something edifies others or it self edifies would be unknown to someone not subject to edifictation on certain subjects.
    I find edifictation where I least expected to find it.
    Thats what drives all discussions

  372. on 08 May 2010 at 11:27 amXavier

    Doubting

    It is not incumbent on me to let people post or not but the moderators of this site.

    As to whether minor differences and unity in all things are mutually exclusive or not, the lord Jesus wishes his church to be one, even as he is one with his God and Father [Jn 17]. And as time rolls on and the world becomes overloaded with sin, this will be harded to find.

    robert

    Your posts are evidence enough whether any thread that ultimately leads down a rabbit hole ceases to edify or not.

  373. on 08 May 2010 at 11:35 amrobert

    “robert

    Your posts are evidence enough whether any thread that ultimately leads down a rabbit hole ceases to edify or not.”

    Xavier
    There is no need to try to insult.
    I think you need to understand how to use “edify” before you use it, because if you think you can know what edifies others you must not understand.

  374. on 08 May 2010 at 12:31 pmDoubting Thomas

    Xavier
    You said, “As to whether minor differences and unity in all things are mutually exclusive or not, the Lord Jesus wishes his church to be one, even as he is one with his God and Father.”

    Let’s look at the example that Jesus, Peter and the Apostles set for us. “The Way” as the early Christians were called were just one of many sects that were united together in the Jewish faith and referred to themselves as Jews. They met together, worshiped together, celebrated Holy Days together, etc…

    They would would have regular debates and discussions together as well. Peter and the Apostles didn’t say we have to separate ourselves from these other sects because of our differences in doctrine. They didn’t say to people that disagreed with them that they should just agree to disagree and not talk about it anymore.

    They encouraged discussion. But it was done with gentleness and reverence for the other persons beliefs. Even though they knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that their doctrines were absolutely correct they still didn’t act like they were somehow superior to others but humbled themselves in service to mankind and in spreading the Gospel.

    Today (because of the passage of time and corruption of writings) we cannot know for sure like they did (beyond a shadow of a doubt) that our doctrines are absolutely correct. Which is why we should be even more humble and reverent of other people’s beliefs than they were.

    At least that’s the way I see it anywaze…

  375. on 08 May 2010 at 3:29 pmMargaret Collier

    Agree to disagree. This topic is not edifying no one I think.

    Xavier – Your reply to my comment on how many different ways the Greek word for “tempt” is used in the bible was:
    blockquote>Yes, always in relation to sin!

    Post 366 gives evidence that you were wrong. Your credibility would suffer less if you were willing to admit you made a mistake.

    Also –cutting off discussion when a scripture cannot be reconciled with your point of view is not to your credit.

  376. on 08 May 2010 at 9:18 pmXavier

    Doubting

    They would would have regular debates and discussions together as well.

    “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer…All the believers were together and had everything in common…one in heart and mind…” Acts 2.42, 44; 4.32

    Margaret

    Also –cutting off discussion when a scripture cannot be reconciled with your point of view is not to your credit.

    Somehow I think it wouldn’t have mattered if I had kept my “credit” or “credibility” before, as you say, since from the get go your closed to reasoning and arguing the point.

    As you yourself contend, you need to sit down and search and examine and meditate in the scriptures on these and many other topics.

    Adios!

  377. on 08 May 2010 at 10:15 pmDoubting Thomas

    Xavier
    I also don’t agree with Margaret about whether Jesus could be tempted with sin or not but I don’t think it is fair to say that she is closed to reasoning. In real life real people disagree on things…

  378. on 08 May 2010 at 10:15 pmMargaret Collier

    Thomas:
    Acts 15 supports your view that the apostles discussed matters on which there was a serious difference of opinion.

    And Romans 14 indicates that we are not to judge one another on SOME matters where there might be a difference of opinion.

    Don’t stop thinking and discussing, Thomas. The purpose of discussion is to learn – and anyone who comes with an open mind will learn something.

  379. on 08 May 2010 at 10:19 pmDoubting Thomas

    Margaret
    Thank you for your encouraging remarks…

  380. on 09 May 2010 at 1:36 amDave Burke

    Guys,

    What’s your views on Bowman’s latest? Dale Tuggy () has said that Bowman characterises the Biblical Unitarian position in the following way:

    1. The Bible contains no progressive revelation concerning God.
    2. The OT does not reveal the Holy Spirit as a distinct divine person.
    3. Therefore, the NT does not reveal the Holy Spirit as a distinct divine person.

    Speaking personally, I don’t know any Biblical Unitarian who takes this line of reasoning. Most of us will agree to (1) and (2), but we don’t simply use this as an excuse to ignore the evidence of the NT. We arrive at the conclusion in (3) via an additional step, which is to examine the NT record independently for evidence that the Holy Spirit is a person.

    So the argument really looks more like this:

    1. The Bible contains no progressive revelation concerning God.
    2. The OT does not reveal the Holy Spirit as a distinct divine person.
    3. A close examination of the NT evidence reveals that the Holy Spirit is heavily personified but never represented as a literal person who is also God.
    4. Therefore, the NT does not reveal the Holy Spirit as a distinct divine person.

    Any thoughts?

  381. on 09 May 2010 at 1:42 amDave Burke

    Xavier:

    Dave

    “I believe Trinitarians are Christians who worship a false Christ.”

    Is it just me or does this statement make no sense? Or by this do you mean to be flippant, like when the Apostle Paul talks about his false “brothers”?

    I’m not being flippant. I believe that it’s possible for someone to be a Christian whilst still confessing wrong doctrine. It simply means they’re going to receive a nasty shock at the Judgement Seat.

    If we are to be honest with ourselves, mainstream Christians actually agree with us on many points of doctrine and practice, but they disagree on fundamental issues like Christology and immortal soulism. Can we honestly claim that they’re not Christians just because they disagree with us on these issues? I know many of them believe we’re not Christians, but is that position really justified?

    The apostle Paul wrote to Christians whose doctrinal understanding was astray, but while correcting them he never said that they’d ceased to be Christians.

  382. on 09 May 2010 at 2:27 amXavier

    Margaret & Doubting

    Don’t stop thinking and discussing, Thomas. The purpose of discussion is to learn – and anyone who comes with an open mind will learn something.

    Knock yourseleves out! 🙂

    Dave

    I believe that it’s possible for someone to be a Christian whilst still confessing wrong doctrine. It simply means they’re going to receive a nasty shock at the Judgement Seat.

    You can join Doubting & Margaret… 😛

  383. on 09 May 2010 at 3:06 amDave Burke

    Xavier:

    You can join Doubting & Margaret… :p

    Hey, at least I’ll have company! :p

  384. on 09 May 2010 at 7:21 amDoubting Thomas

    Dave
    You said, “I believe it’s possible for someone to be a Christian whilst still confessing wrong doctrine.”

    I agree completely. I believe that on judgment day that I (and everyone else) are going to be told that we were wrong about this or that. After all we are only human and thus limited by our 5 primitive senses (6 if you include our ability to reason).

    I think that the search for the truth is a noble endeavor but that it should be realized that the ultimate goal of knowing everything there is to know is beyond our reach. (Which is another reason we should remain humble and reverent of other people’s beliefs)…

  385. on 09 May 2010 at 7:46 amDoubting Thomas

    I was thinking and I have to make a correction to my above message. I actually believe we have 7 senses if we include our hearts which are capable of listening to the Holy Spirit which God sends down to all of us that humbly ask for his guidance…

  386. on 09 May 2010 at 10:36 amDave Burke

    I have posted a rebuttal to Bowman’s Week 3 argument here:

    http://www.reclaimingthemind.org/blog/2010/04/the-great-trinity-debate-part-3-rob-bowman-on-jesus-christ-continued/#comment-31089

    Feel free to share your thoughts.

    🙂

  387. on 09 May 2010 at 5:02 pmDoubting Thomas

    Dave
    I have learned a lot from reading your links here. In my opinion your most convincing argument is that if Jesus were God than Jesus would not be required to have any faith in God. After all he is actually God and not the (human) son of God. I had never thought of that before…

  388. on 09 May 2010 at 6:46 pmMargaret Collier

    Before I make any more comments, I have to apologize for a very negative post (375). It was not necessary; it was not kind; and I am ashamed. I will really try to avoid such negative remarks in the future.

    And Thomas – your comments in #384 are right on. No one can know everything there is to know about God. He is infinite.

    That does not relieve us of the responsibility to learn what we can; but our purpose in learning should be to know God better, so that we can worship him more freely, and enjoy communion with him more fully.

    James 1:5-8 is a source of constant comfort to me. God will not rebuke me for asking for wisdom when I need it. He will GIVE what I need, “liberally”. That does not leave any room for conceit.

    There is a wonderful promise in Isaiah 66:2 “To this one will I look: to the one who is lowly and of a contrite spirit, and who trembles at my word.”

  389. on 09 May 2010 at 7:13 pmDoubting Thomas

    Margaret
    You said, “I have to apologize for a very negative post (375)”

    I don’t think you need to apologize. I think that someone was pushing you to the point of anger. Some people will accuse other people of making personal accusations of them at the drop of a hat, but can’t seem to see it when they are doing the same thing to others.

    I guess this is just another symptom of being a human with all of our God given frailties and limitations that go along with the territory. I’m glad you decided not to leave us…

  390. on 09 May 2010 at 8:12 pmXavier

    Margaret

    I have to apologize for a very negative post (375). It was not necessary; it was not kind; and I am ashamed. I will really try to avoid such negative remarks in the future.

    Apology accepted. 🙂

    No one can know everything there is to know about God. He is infinite.

    “Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent…Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me.” John 17.3, 25

    Doubting

    I think that someone was pushing you to the point of anger. Some people will accuse other people of making personal accusations of them at the drop of a hat, but can’t seem to see it when they are doing the same thing to others.

    I am guessing I am that “someone, some people” in question so let me just say…check your sources again friend. If Margaret is [indirectly] apologizing its for a reason.

    But if I have personally accused someone on here present your case instead of shooting off such posts!

  391. on 09 May 2010 at 8:15 pmDave Burke

    Thomas:

    I have learned a lot from reading your links here. In my opinion your most convincing argument is that if Jesus were God than Jesus would not be required to have any faith in God. After all he is actually God and not the (human) son of God. I had never thought of that before…

    You’re welcome. I really appreciate the feedback! 🙂

  392. on 09 May 2010 at 9:21 pmMargaret Collier

    Thomas:
    Just ignore the negatives altogether. There are better things to think about.

    I am away behind in the debate. I suspect it will take me a few months to catch up.

    I found Dave’s rebuttal of Bowman’s third article just too long and boring to read in detail. (Sorry, Dave. I’ll go back to it another day.)

    But the articles themselves are worthwhile. I think if we check the evidence for each point separately, it will be possible to get something worthwhile from BOTH debaters.

    For example, when it comes to the oneness of God, I think Dave has the advantage, by far. On other points, Dave’s evidence is weaker. But that can wait.

    In the meantime, 2 Peter 3:18 exhorts us to grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. It is eternal life to know him – to know him personally (John 17:3). But we can grow in our knowledge OF him. We can know him better. There is nothing stagnant about our life “in Christ.”

    That is true of any relationship, of course. No matter how well we know a person, there is always something left to learn.

    I am convinced that for ever will not be long enough to learn everything that God has to teach us about himself. That’s exciting.

  393. on 09 May 2010 at 9:26 pmDave Burke

    No worries Margaret. My rebuttal is very long, so I tried to break it into digestible chunks. Perhaps I needed more chunks.

    🙂

  394. on 09 May 2010 at 9:49 pmDoubting Thomas

    Margaret
    You said, “I am convinced that for ever will not be long enough to learn everything that God has to teach us about himself. That’s exciting.”

    I agree 100%…

  395. on 09 May 2010 at 10:02 pmrobert

    “Margaret
    You said, “I am convinced that for ever will not be long enough to learn everything that God has to teach us about himself. That’s exciting.” ”

    Actually I believe God can teach us everything He wants us to know in an instant through the Holy Spirit if we are willing and have room for it. Till then we have to seek it out and clear sin to make room.

  396. on 09 May 2010 at 10:16 pmDoubting Thomas

    Xavier
    Psalms 37:29-30 “The righteous shall inherit the land and dwell on it forever. The mouth of the righteous utters wisdom, and his tongue speaks justice.”

    I do not claim to be righteous but I am trying and as such I feel compelled to point out injustice when I see it. I know you have heard of brotherly exhortation I am trying to do it with love and compassion.

    You almost act like a bully at times toward people. You claim that you get into heated debates and have no choice but the reality is that you yourself take simple discussions and turn them into heated debates. I don’t know you personally or if you are like this in person but I am just saying how you come across via this forum.

    The most outrageous incident I can remember was on another thread when you quoted a verse from the OT to Robert implying that he was interpreting scripture wrong. Robert just said, “Are you sure this quote doesn’t apply to you.” You responded very angrily and said, “I don’t have to stay here and be insulted like that. Let’s agree to disagree.” (or words similar to that).

    I am usually good at understanding human behavior but I am baffled by how you could think that when you quoted this OT scripture to him it was not an insult but when he quoted it right back to you it all of a sudden became a personal insult.

    I don’t mean to offend you or anyone else but I stand by what I said in msg. (389) above. I believe it’s just human nature not to be able to see our own faults at certain times. That’s probably why the bible talks about the importance of brotherly exhortation…

  397. on 09 May 2010 at 10:29 pmXavier

    Doubting

    I don’t know you personally or if you are like this in person but I am just saying how you come across via this forum.

    Same here. A lot of things are misread/interpreted on forums. That’s why I give all people online the benefit of the doubt. But sometimes you do not have to be a genius to identify the fools from the foolish. 🙂

    You responded very angrily and said, “I don’t have to stay here and be insulted like that. Let’s agree to disagree.” (or words similar to that).

    If you do not have the evidence I suggest you refrain from “typing words onto my fingers”. I do not recall ever responding to someone in such terms.

    I believe it’s just human nature not to be able to see our own faults at certain times. That’s probably why the bible talks about the importance of brotherly exhortation…

    Sure, no one is above reproach and whovere thinks should take our brother James’ advice to heart:

    We all stumble in many ways. Those who are never at fault in what they say are perfect, able to keep their whole body in check. James 3

  398. on 10 May 2010 at 6:27 amMargaret Collier

    Thomas:
    I agree with you that Xavier seems to have two different standards. He has no patience with other people’s mistakes, but will not admit his own (e. g. see post # 366).

    But – and this is just a suggestion – the most profitable thing to do is forget about it. Let’s just pray for him (he certainly needs it) and go on.

  399. on 10 May 2010 at 6:43 amXavier

    Margaret

    “Let those who do wrong continue to do wrong; let those who are vile continue to be vile; let those who do right continue to do right; and let those who are holy continue to be holy.” Rev 22.11

  400. on 10 May 2010 at 6:52 amJaco

    Good day, all

    Here is my critique of Bowman’s third installment on The Great Trinity Debate:

    Romans 10:8-13

    Bowman argues that Jesus is given “the divine title ‘Lord’ while referring to the Father by the divine title ‘God.’” The error of his assumption is profound, since kyrios is in no way divine by default. In the NT, slave-owners, husbands, rulers, Herod, even the title “mister,” were all referred to as kyrios. Being called kyrios in itself, thus, doesn’t arbitrarily imply equality with God.

    Matthew 22:44 quotes the Psalm 110:1 (we know these Scriptures very well by now), where “Yahweh said to my lord, Sit at my right hand…” Using this oft-quoted and alluded-to text as a basis to understand the usages of “Lord” or kyrios, will refute Bowman’s erroneous assumptions immediately. It shows that the One God, called Yahweh, says to another, separate and subjected lord, to sit at His right-hand. Now, remember Bowman’s doctrinal concoction, that Yahweh (Being) = 3 Persons, Father, Son, Holy Spirit. According to this recipe, {the Father, Son and Holy Spirit} said to another lord to sit on {His} right hand! I hope Dave calls Bowman to task by asking him which Lord, the first or the second, Romans 10:13 is referring to!

    Bowman continues using verse 11’s link with Isaiah 28:16 and Romans 9:32, 33:

    Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense; and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.

    This is, unfortunately for Bowman, where his strained exegesis takes a further crack. The text in Isaiah is introduced with, “This is what Adonai Yehovah has said.” So, Yahweh, Adonai, has installed another, separate subject as a stone in Zion. These are the presuppositions Bowman should have before attempting to interpret what follows, but which he regrettably chooses to ignore.

    His “praying to Jesus” argument doesn’t hold up, either. While on earth, Jesus indicated what a crucial role he would play in prayer, or in approaching God. He did this while maintaining his subordinate role in God’s purpose. In one of Jesus’ clearest agency-sermons he gave to his apostles, he said,

    I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. The things I say to you men I do not speak of my own originality; but the Father who remains in me is doing his works. Also, whatever it is that you ask in my name, I will do this, in order that the Father may be glorified in connection with the Son. John 14:6, 10b, 13

    I will later return to John 14:13.

    He could say these things, since God appointed him as Lord:

    Acts 2:36: “…God made him both Lord and Christ…”
    Acts 5:31: “God exalted this one as Chief Agent and Savior to his right hand, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins.”

    Remember Bowman’s list of priorities in determining the identity of God? He included Confessional Material as one of them. Here you have clear confessions of how Jesus was made Lord by God. If Jesus were ontologically God, he could not have lacked Lordship. These texts tell us that Jesus only received exaltation after his resurrection ascension. Until Bowman provides proof that Jesus merely received formally possessed Lordship, this is a contradiction, and Bowman admits that contradictions cannot be part on one’s belief system.

    His objections are frail and weak. He says,

    First, if Jesus is a different being than God, and yet Jesus hears and answers prayers, the conclusion follows that Jesus is at least functionally a second God.

    I hope this is not an accurate reflection of his understanding of the matter. If it is the case, he just gave his level of scholarship away. His false dilemma, once again, collapses when one remembers Jesus’ role as Apostle, or Agent, or Sh’liach. Jesus was given roles never before given to any human being. Of course this is unique! Of course this is most wondrous! But how Bowman sees this as automatically making Jesus a second God (unless Jesus is merely a second Person)…well, heaven only knows. Bowman then continues with “how is he able to”-arguments, stating how impossible it is for Jesus to do all the things Bowman lists, unless Jesus is God. His arguments are disingenuous, really. How was Elijah able to raise the widow of Zaraphath’s son? How was Moses able to split the Sea of Reeds? How was Jonah able to survive in the fish’s belly? The answer to these questions will be the answer to Bowman’s.

    So, taking all these points together, calling on Jesus’ name will have the same effect as calling on Jehovah’s name, since Jesus is the One appointed to be Lord over the congregation (Eph. 1:22). It is that simple.

    1 Corinthians 8:4-6

    Bowman does what no ancient, faithful Israelite would have dared to do (without facing certain death by stoning), and that is to split the Shema. Bowman selects a modified version of the Shema, where “Yahweh” is replaced with “LORD.” You see, then you have an apparent correspondence between the Lord of 1 Cor. 8 and the LORD of the Shema. This is very crafty indeed!

    But we know that the one God, Yahweh, is the One God, the Father in 1 Cor. 8:6. The one Lord is Jesus who has been made Lord by God, Yahweh (Ac. 2:36). If Jesus were ontologically Adonai, then it would not be possible to also make him Adonai. Yes, the name Yahweh is translated to kyrios in the NT. But so were many other titles and appellations referring to humans. So, to arbitrarily assume that kyrios is Yahweh in the case of Jesus, is desperate indeed. Once again, the fallacy of affirming the consequent. Bowman also seems to miss the whole point of the verses, namely, the contrast between the pantheon of lords and gods of the nations, and, for us, the God (Father) and the Lord (Jesus). Bowman conveniently ignores the distinction in references. Paul says there is for us one God, the Father, and one Lord, Jesus Christ. If we follow Bowman’s line of reasoning consistently, well end up with the following broth:

    For us there is one God, the Father, and one Yahweh, Jesus Christ. If I were Bowman, I’d be more concerned over my reputation than to assert such lunacy.

    He goes on, reasoning this way:

    The Bible says all things came through and from Yahweh in Romans 11:36. 1 Cor. 8:6 says the same, only that now Jesus is the one “through” whom all things are. So,

    First premise: If Jesus is Yahweh, all things would be made through him. (Ro. 11:36)

    Second premise: All things were made through him. (1 Cor. 8:6)

    Conclusion: So, Jesus is Yahweh.

    Fallacy of affirming the consequent. See, the problem with Bowman’s argument is that the Romans text simply does not specify agency. The 1 Corinthians text does and that’s all. What he does indicate, though, actually counts against him:

    First premise: If Jesus is Yahweh, all things would be made from (ek/ex) him.

    Second premise: All things were not made from (ek/ex) Jesus.

    Conclusion: Thus, Jesus is not Yahweh.

    This is perfectly valid reasoning, called modus tollens. The 1 Cor. 8:6 text is a strictly Biblical Unitarian text. For Bowman to legitimately elevate Jesus to the level of being ontologically God, he has to show that all created things came from (ek/ex) as is the case with Yahweh. Unless and until he proves that conclusively, Jesus remains in the mediatory position through whom (dia) all things came.

    The ta panta reference is only partially true. “All things” does mean everything of a creation. In the Genesis creation, it refers to all things thereof. In the new creation it refers to all things thereof. I do believe that Paul refers to the new creation (“for us there is…”). As the second Adam, the Initiator of a new creation, Jesus is the one through whom Almighty God makes all things new.

    Bowman makes a further theological/linguistic mistake in connecting with the “our Lord” references to Yahweh. To replace the title “Lord” with “Yahweh” would have it “our Yahweh.” This is one of the most critical linguistic violations one can make! One cannot say “my Yahweh,” “your Yahweh,” or “our Yahweh.” So, inserting God’s name in there is an erroneous move. So, for us, the Lord God, Yahweh, made Jesus the Lord Messiah (Ro. 1:4)

    Now, over to Philippians 2:3-11.

    Bowman’s premise, also a false one, is that of assuming ontology to be the issue in this hymn. Not ontology, but behaviour, function, action, appearance are the issues.

    He makes the ontological statement:

    The presupposition here is that the Philippians are all in fact equal, but each is to act humbly as if others are more important than he or she is.

    Ok, now, since ontology is the issue, what about ontological humanity? Not only were the Philippians all equal, they were all human! So, does that make Jesus and Yahweh humans? Preposterous, isn’t it? Bowman’s equality argument as well.

    Verse 6 refers to Christ, “having existed in God’s form.” Jesus was the Christ when he was human (not before.) He was in God’s form or outward appearance in what he did and the authority he received from God (John 5, 6). Not nature, but function and outward appearance are the issues here. Bowman assumes pre-existence, while this is exactly what he has to prove!

    Harpagmon/harpazo: From classical literature it has the nuance of snatching at something not rightfully yours, or take as possession something not belonging to you. The Matthew 4 temptation is a classical example of how Jesus could use his power to obtain what wasn’t God’s will for him to have at that time. Instead, Jesus acted and behaved as a faithful, humble and obedient servant. So, although perfectly representing God, he did not greedily assume a position in which he would act independently of God. No, but assumed a position of servant, even though he actually functioned representatively as God.

    So Jesus emptied himself (kenosis), by doing, not his own will, but God’s will (Joh. 5:30). The Trinitarian kenosis hypotheses are as numerous as Hinduism’s gods. Well, Bowman’s version is one, not really of emptying (kenosis) but of clothing (endusasthai), since, according to Bowman, Jesus retained Almightiness, remained Yahweh, he merely “clothed on” humanity. As I’ve shown, then Jesus’ “being made Lord” means nothing. According to Bowman, Jesus had been Yahweh all along. What is more, becoming human in itself does not arbitrarily make oneself “as of no repute.” This is Gnosticism at its best! Bowman dares to refer to Isaiah 53, where Jesus is depicted as the servant of Yahweh. To use Bowman’s analogy, then, he should have said, Jesus, yes, Yahweh, is the servant of Yahweh. Just imagine that!

    Bowman says:

    Paul is not saying that God took a mere man and exalted him to a position of divine authority.

    No, Paul says exactly that. All fullness of God dwells now in Jesus bodily [Col 2:9] (something we can also strive for – Eph 3:19). He is still subjected to God (1 Cor. 11:3). Jesus was not given The Name. He was given a name – implying status, authority, position and reputation – above every name (God’s excluded – 1 Cor. 15:27).

    Bowman contradicts himself when he says:

    Thus, God quite properly exalted his Son by publicly naming him with his own name YHWH/LORD, letting the world know that the man Christ Jesus was not merely a man but was indeed LORD.

    Where on earth did he read this? Since, according to Bowman, Jesus did preach him having the name Yahweh (I am, John 8:58) he has to somehow churn his cauldron of alchemy to qualify this clear contradiction, namely, that Jesus received exaltation after/b his ascension. The closest he can come with the Bible here, is to say that Jesus acted in God’s Name. But that started even as he was here on earth. And, even if God’s Name was upon Jesus, it would be a fallacy of false dilemma to say that it can only mean that he was ontologically Yahweh (See Ex. 23:21). Instead of seeking biblical explanations to these, Bowman turns to the sauces of his doctrinal broth.

    Bowman finally resorts to further special pleading, where he says:

    This act of exalting his incarnate Son in no way detracts from the glory of the Father, but in fact everything that Christ did, from humbling himself to become a man to dying on the cross to rising from the dead to ruling as LORD over all creation was to bring glory to God the Father.

    Jesus was in the first place not God. Bowman assumes this without proving it first. Jesus acted in God’s stead (in God’s form). So, his exaltation was no mere exaltation which included glorifying God. The final verse contains a purpose clause, hina and then eis, meaning, “so that”, or “for the purpose of” glorifying God the Father. Jesus said, while one earth, that his Agency would achieve exactly that:

    Also, whatever it is that you ask in my name, I will do this, in order that the Father may be glorified in connection with the Son.

    The ultimate purpose of it all is stated in the climax of the verse, namely, to glorify God. Trinitarians give an unwarranted inclusion of “God the Son” here. No. All these things were done by Jesus and by God for the purpose of glorifying the Father.

    With this whole passage, Bowman assumes ontology to be the issue. He assumes personal pre-existence. He also invents meanings for kenosis and morphe not warranted by the text. What is more, he assumes inclusive glory or inclusive Deity in the case of Jesus. We’re still waiting for him to prove his assumptions. The Philippian hymn is a beautiful monotheistic section in the Bible. I’m looking forward to the time when Biblical Unitarians will start to use this section as a proof text of Biblical monotheism.

    The final apparition Bowman calls up from his pot of doctrinal concoctions is his take on Heb. 1:1-13. His first mistake is to assert that not “one of the proof texts in the catena in Hebrews 1 applied in reality to the Davidic king.” Bowman is making a fatal mistake here. The whole book of Hebrews deals with types and antitypes. For something to serve as an antitype, there has to be a type in the first place! If a greater fulfillment of an event or a prophetic type excludes the reality of the initial event or utterance (as Bowman is asserting), then we should also deny the existence of the Temple and its utensils. We should dismiss the existence of the Old Covenant, dismiss the historicity of Melchizedek, and so I can go on, since all these “were shadows” of a greater reality (Heb. 8:5, 10:1). His assumptions will thus not be taken seriously here.

    Verses 1-2: God used to speak through persons other than Himself. Likewise, in the last days, he spoke to someone different from himself. We as Biblical Unitarians tend to ignore the subtle and casual “shift” Trinitarians make when they identify God in these verses as the Father, and then include Jesus in the “Godhead” as merely another person. We miss this crafty move because, to us, God is the Father and the Father is God. These two terms are reversibly equivalent. But this is fatal for Trinitarian theology! The text does not say that the Father spoke on different occasions, it says that God did so. It also said that He finally did so through His Son. The death stroke in these designations is that the Son is explicitly different from God. It also excludes the possibility that God can be any other than the Father alone, since His having a Son makes Him the Father. It excludes immediately the Son as being part of God, since the Son cannot have the Son as His son.

    What God did through the Son (di ou kai tous aiwnas epoiesen) refers to the ages that would come about by means of the activities of His Son. (See John. 5:19) Not the Genesis creation. Not even close.

    Verse 3: The Alchemist swiftly switches hands again by casually replacing “God” with “Father.” The Son radiates the glory of God, and thus not his own, indicating the Son’s separateness in being and nature, not only of the Father, but explicitly of God. He continues with reference to the throne. This is very desperate, since being raised and at the right hand of indicate Jesus’ subordination and separateness to the Majesty of God.

    Verse 4:

    Some people understand this verse to mean that at some point in Jesus’ human life—perhaps his conception or ascension—he obtained this “more excellent” name for the first time. However, what the writer says is that the Son inherited his name, not that he obtained it. What we have already read up to this point all would seem to indicate that he “inherited” his name when he was designated the “heir of all things,” which in context is prior to the creation of the world (v. 2).

    Bowman waffles in his handling of Jesus’ “inheriting” a greater name. While he chooses to twist and strain meanings into the text, he ignores the obvious, namely that anthropomorphically, Jesus had to be distinct and subject to his Father in order to inherit what he previously never had. Our inheritance will be accordingly (Romans chapter 8).

    Verse 5-7: Bowman extends the word proskyneo beyond its semantic range. Any honorable person can be proskyneo’ed, not only Yahweh. This is something God said the angels should do. Jesus, the Son, is thus once again distinct from God. God can only be the Father alone.

    Verse 8, 9: The king was to Yahweh as a son to a Father. 2 Samuel 7:14 says of David:

    I myself shall become his father, and he himself will become my son.

    This was said and recorded as words of God to Israel. In the same sense was Jesus God’s son. God addresses this mighty king – initially an Israelite king, and later Jesus – with the honorific title God. This is perfectly fine within the irrefutably confirmed frame of monotheistic Jewish thought.

    Verse 10-12: To continue the glorious reality of the New Creation, the writer of Hebrews quotes Yahweh from the LXX, where he addresses a human king as the beginning of a creation of heavens and earth. Once again would insistence on Jesus being Yahweh amount to a false dilemma. Secondly, it is Yahweh addressing another. For Bowman to have any point, he has to prove (against the tenets of his own theology) that the One spoken of as Yahweh can only mean the Father. He wouldn’t dare.

    The catena is introduced showing Jesus to be subordinate and separate from Almighty God, and concludes the catena with Ps. 110:1 (the Ultimate Trinity Basher). Everything in between confirms Jesus’ highly exalted position as means by which Yahweh brings a New Creation in effect. And throughout the catena the use of words such as “inherit” “firstborn” “exalted” and “anointed” all have inherent meanings of an exalted, approved, humble human ruler whom God, Jehovah, made king of the New Creation.

    “Bubble, bubble, toil and trouble,” but nothing as convincing as the unadulterated Word of God!

    Regards,

    Jaco

  401. on 10 May 2010 at 6:58 amJaco

    Romans chapter 8) has to be Romans chapter 8…formatting…

  402. on 10 May 2010 at 7:39 amXavier

    Jaco

    How many books have you written bro? 😛

  403. on 10 May 2010 at 8:29 amDave Burke

    Jaco, that’s a great critique! I disagree with your interpretation of verses 10-12, but aside from that, you’ve absolutely nailed Bowman to the wall. 8)

  404. on 10 May 2010 at 8:52 amXavier

    Dave

    I disagree with your interpretation of verses 10-12…

    Your insipid Arianism is keeping you from agreeing.

  405. on 10 May 2010 at 9:49 amMargaret Collier

    Hello, Jaco.
    Thank you for your explanation of Hebrews 1 (Post 325). I printed it, and have studied it with care. I really appreciate being able to understand someone else’s point of view.

    Your summary of the first four verses is:

    Verse 1: God communicated his word to our forefathers in different ways by means of prophets
    Verse 2: At the conclusion of the days, however, he spoke through someone else, namely, his Son. By means of whom the subsequent ages came about.
    Verse 3: Now, this heir of all things reflects God’s glory perfectly.
    Verse 4: This very one has been made more excellent than the mighty angels and received greater status.

    I’d like to go through the first two verses again:

    Verse 1
    a) God, having spoken to our forefathers in many different ways through the prophets
    b) has in the last of these days spoken to us through his Son.

    Verse 2
    a) Whom [the Son)] he [God] appointed heir of all things …
    (The time of the appointment is not specified; but I agree that in the purposes of God, it took place before the world began.)
    b) By means of whom [the Son] he [God] made the ages.

    I agree with you that the word “ages” does not refer to the universe. It refers to periods of time.

    I also appreciate your pointing out the difference between “made” and “created”. What is in view here is NOT the creation of the universe. We agree on that.

    However, the word “subsequent” is not in the text. And verse 2 does not suggest that God made these ages AFTER the exaltation of his Son.

    There are many passages containing such phrases as “unto the ages of the ages,” which clearly refers to the future. But the word is also used of past ages (1 Co. 1:26; 1 Co. 2:7; Eph. 3:9). And the singular form is used of this present age (Mark 4:19; 1 Co. 1:20).

    Since there is nothing in the immediate context to limit the meaning to future ages, I take it to mean that God, through his Son, made ALL the ages – past, present and future.

    Your extension of the context to include ch. 2:5 has some merit, because of the reference to angels. So I studied chapter 2 from the beginning.

    It starts with, “On account of this …”

    On account of what?

    On account of what has been presented in chapter 1 (all of which, on the surface, appears to refer to the past) –
    on account of that, we do well to give heed to the message of present salvation which has been preached by the Lord and by those who heard him (vv. 1-5).

    Then comes the reference to the habitable world that is to come – entrance to which depends on the acceptance of the “good news” already referred to. The “rest” which we are in danger of missing is a future rest.

    And this future world is not going to be run by angels, either. The Son continues to be preeminent.

    So far, I see no reason for adding the word “subsequent” to verse 2. If that is what the author meant, I think he would have said so.

    Verses 10-12, and your reference to three different creations, requires consideration. That is a new idea to me.

  406. on 10 May 2010 at 9:54 amXavier

    Margaret

    Verses 10-12, and your reference to three different creations, requires consideration. That is a new idea to me.

    Told you that ages ago.

  407. on 10 May 2010 at 10:11 amDave Burke

    Xavier:

    Your insipid Arianism is keeping you from agreeing.

    What’s that supposed to mean? I’m not Arian at all. I deny that verses 10-12 apply to Christ, for the reasons I’ve given in my rebuttal to Bowman – and those reasons are utterly contrary to Arianism!

    If you want to challenge my rationale, please go right ahead. We won’t learn much from each other if you’re just going to throw pejoratives around the place.

  408. on 10 May 2010 at 10:47 amXavier

    Dave

    My bad, wrong person. 🙂

  409. on 10 May 2010 at 1:56 pmDave Burke

    LOL! OK, you’re forgiven. 🙂

  410. on 10 May 2010 at 6:57 pmDoubting Thomas

    Xavier msg. (397)
    You said, “But sometimes you don’t have to be genius to identify the fools from the foolish. :)”

    I don’t know which philosophical genius you are quoting above but putting a smiley face at the end of an insult does not change the fact that it is an insult. Don’t worry I’m not going to stoop to your level and insult you back. Instead I’m going to try something helpful and quote a very wise man, King Solomon.

    Proverbs 15:4-5 “A gentle tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it breaks the spirit. A fool despises his father’s instruction, but whoever heeds reproof is prudent.”

    I’ve been thinking and praying about it and I’ve decided to take Margaret’s advice and not say anymore to you on this subject (I’ve already made my opinions clear). Instead I will pray that God will open your eyes to the light so that you can change your behavior.

    May the peace of God be on you and on all of us…

  411. on 10 May 2010 at 8:50 pmXavier

    Doubting

    …putting a smiley face at the end of an insult does not change the fact that it is an insult.

    This wasn’t directed at you as such friend, so don’t take it personally. Anyways, your right this whole thing has spun out of context and topic so…forgive and forget.

  412. on 10 May 2010 at 9:29 pmrobert

    Thomas
    The fact is this should have already been addressed by Sean,Victor or Mark.

    Xavier
    Thomas knows this isnt addressed to Him, but as a good christian he was trying to give you gentile correction. I dont think it matters who it was addressed to all that mattered to him was the behavior which was offensive to him.
    as for the comments i have already forgave you and really doesnt bother me because it has no basis.

  413. on 10 May 2010 at 10:46 pmMargaret Collier

    I have now carefully read some parts of your rebuttal, Dave, and I take back the word “boring”. It isn’t boring. It’s just long.

    I agree totally with your exegesis of Philippians 2:5-11. It fits.

    Your treatment of adoni (my lord) is also well done. This word cannot be understood to mean that the Messiah is Yahweh. Jesus’ quotation of it makes that clear.

    However, I’m not so sure about the sentence

    Jesus’ status as “firstborn of all creation” (Colossians 1:15) refers to the fact that he was the “firstborn from among the dead”.

    “Refers to” seems to suggest that the two terms are synonymous. I don’t think they are.

    You are aware (I’m sure) that the word “firstborn” does not necessarily mean “born first” (or “created first”). There are those who were the “firstborn” in their families, even though they were not the first to be born.

    Jacob is one example. Esau despised his birthright and sold it to Jacob for food (Gen. 25:29-34). So Moses was instructed to tell Pharaoh, “Israel [Jacob] is my son, my firstborn.”

    Ephraim is another. In Gen. 48:13-20, Jacob blessed Ephraim [Joseph’s younger son] ahead of Manasseh. And in Jer. 31:9, Yahweh says, “…Ephraim is my first-born.” The word here is an official title, independent of age.

    Yahweh says of David in Ps. 89:27, “I myself shall place him as first-born, the most high of all the kings of the earth.” David was the youngest in his family, not the oldest; but he was the one chosen to be king. The title “first-born” is defined here as “the most high of all the kings of the earth.”

    It is clear that as the first-born of each generation died, he was replaced by another first-born. God’s covenant with David, though, was permanent, in that his seed would reign for ever (Ps. 89:28, 29).

    That gives special significance to the title “First-born from the dead.” Other rulers could not continue because of death; but this one was raised from among [ek] the dead. Death could not hold him. This First-born has a kingdom that will never end (Heb. 1:8), because he lives in the power of an indestructible life (Heb. 7:16).

    I want to study the rest of the passage in the light of your treatment of it. I may end up agreeing with you. It wouldn’t be the end of my world if I do.

  414. on 10 May 2010 at 11:18 pmDave Burke

    Thanks for your thoughts Margaret. I’m delighted that my exegesis of Philippians 2 made sense to you. I agree that “firstborn” does not always mean “born first”, and I agree with what you say here:

    It is clear that as the first-born of each generation died, he was replaced by another first-born. God’s covenant with David, though, was permanent, in that his seed would reign for ever (Ps. 89:28, 29).

    That gives special significance to the title “First-born from the dead.” Other rulers could not continue because of death; but this one was raised from among [ek] the dead. Death could not hold him. This First-born has a kingdom that will never end (Heb. 1:8), because he lives in the power of an indestructible life (Heb. 7:16).

    Throughout the NT, the term “firstborn” is used at least eight times in reference to Christ: Luke 2:7, 23; Romans 8:29; Colossians 1:15, 18; Hebrews 1:6, 12:23; Revelation 1:5.

    Two of these verses simply refer to Jesus as the firstborn son of Joseph and Mary (Luke 2:7, 23). Two others include use the phrase “firstborn from among the dead” (Colossians 1:18, Revelation 1:5), which echoes Acts 26:23 (“that the Christ was to suffer and be the first to rise from the dead”). I also see a connection between the use of “firstborn” in Colossians 1:15 & 18, particularly since the Greek of verse 15 says “the first born of every creature.”

    So while I believe that the title of “firstborn” can refer simply to Christ’s pre-eminence, I believe that it finds its greatest significance in the fact that he was “firstborn from among the dead”, since this is the best way to understand how he can be “firstborn among many brothers and sisters” (Romans 8:29).

    🙂

  415. on 11 May 2010 at 7:10 amMargaret Collier

    With what you say above, Dave, I totally agree. If he had not been firstborn from among the dead, he would simply be dead. He would not be the firstborn of anything

    I see in this title the condition necessary for his eternal preeminence. So I don’t think it is synonymous with “Firstborn of all creation”. That’s why I questioned your statement that the one “refers to” the other.

    To be honest, I find it easy to read what you write about passages like Philippians 2, because I have already studied those passages and arrived at the same conclusion.

    When it comes to Colossians 1, though, I need to be convinced. My study so far has not revealed what you see in it, and it will take awhile to test what you are saying.

    That, in fact, is what I consider to be most valuable about getting involved in blogs like this – whether Trinitarian or Unitarian. Although it’s a pleasure to see my own conclusions well expressed, it is even more useful to see them challenged, and be forced to TEST someone else’s conclusions.

    So far, my only observation is that all the men who are specifically called God’s firstborn are preeminent in a limited sphere. Not one is called the “Firstborn of all creation”. And I see in “all creation” a parallel with “all things”.

    I want to slice off another chunk of your rebuttal and see if I can find your take on Hebrews 1:10. I am interested in reading it, because, frankly, I have yet to see any real evidence for the idea of three creations. It sounds a bit like a kind of Unitarian trinity.

  416. on 11 May 2010 at 7:50 amDave Burke

    Hi Margaret, thanks again for the feedback. I particularly enjoyed this:

    If he had not been firstborn from among the dead, he would simply be dead. He would not be the firstborn of anything.

    LOL! 😀

    My exegesis of Hebrews 1 starts here. It is posted in two parts, and the section on verse 10 is here.

  417. on 11 May 2010 at 7:52 amDave Burke

    Oh yes, and just for the record: I don’t believe in “three creations.”

    😀

  418. on 11 May 2010 at 8:58 amDave Burke

    Dale Tuggy has posted his latest assessment of the debate here.

    🙂

  419. on 11 May 2010 at 9:54 amMargaret Collier

    I just read the first few articles by Tuggy, and I think I will stop reading the debate and concentrate on Tuggy’s assessment.

    For one thing, Dave, I love his “flags”. He points out some of the weak points in your argument, points that I wanted to mention after the debate is over. Now I don’t have to.

    What I like most is that after reading through his comments on the first three sessions, I really don’t know what his personal belief is. I think that means he is commenting strictly on the merits of the debate, and not pushing one side againt the other.

    That’s wonderful.

  420. on 11 May 2010 at 12:08 pmrobert

    Dave
    Here is another passage that shows an immortal can sin and die.
    If death did not exist till sin than before sin Adam was immortal.
    Maybe we need to redifine immortality to understand it is still conditional on God maintaining it.

    Romans 5:12
    Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:

  421. on 11 May 2010 at 8:48 pmMargaret Collier

    Thank you, Dave. I have read your interpretation of verse 10, which makes some sense. I’ll look at the passages more closely. At least it allows the verse to mean what it says.

    To interpret Psalm 102:25 as speaking of the Son is to believe that the Father appeals to the Son as “Lord”, which is theologically untenable.

    This I can’t understand. If it is theologically tenable for the Father to call the Son “God” (v. 8), why should it be theologically untenable for the Father to call him “Lord”?

    The Son is, after all, the “one Lord” (1 Co. 8:6). Are the two titles not equally applicable to God’s agent?

  422. on 11 May 2010 at 8:48 pmXavier

    robert

    YHWH says “all souls are mine…the soul that sins dies” [Ezek 18.4,20]. It does not specify between immortal or mortal souls. That is if we believe angels are souls as well.

  423. on 11 May 2010 at 8:50 pmrobert

    Xavier
    Yes so we are in agreement

  424. on 11 May 2010 at 8:52 pmXavier

    Margaret

    The Son is, after all, the “one Lord” (1 Co. 8:6). Are the two titles not equally applicable to God’s agent?

    Best thing you have written thus far. Kuddos!!

  425. on 12 May 2010 at 12:00 amDave Burke

    Margaret,

    Yes Tuggy’s site is excellent and his critiques are well balanced. I appreciate his objectivity.

    This I can’t understand. If it is theologically tenable for the Father to call the Son “God” (v. 8) , why should it be theologically untenable for the Father to call him “Lord”?

    Notice that I didn’t say it is theologically untenable for the Father to call him “Lord”; I said it is theologically untenable for the Father to appeal to him as “Lord.”

    The context of Psalm 45 is very different to the context of Psalm 102. In Psalm 45 we have the Father praising the Son with a description of the glory, majesty and authority that the Son enjoys as a result of the Father’s blessing. Since the psalm was originally addressed to a human king, we have a Messianic type in view. Unlike Psalm 102, Psalm 45 can be read in its entirety as an address by the Father to the Son.

    We cannot do this with Psalm 102, because here we have a mortal man appealing to the Father in his hour of need. Just look at verse 24, which immediately precedes the verse quoted in Hebrews 1:

    Psalm 102:24, “I say, ‘O my God, please do not take me away in the middle of my life! You endure through all generations.'”

    This marks the commencement of the address from which verse 25 is taken. Unlike Psalm 45 there is no Messianic type in view (and obviously the Father cannot function as a Messianic type, since the Father does not represent the Son). Thus we cannot legitimately read this passage as a typological reference to Christ.

  426. on 12 May 2010 at 12:36 amDave Burke

    robert:

    Here is another passage that shows an immortal can sin and die.
    If death did not exist till sin than before sin Adam was immortal.
    Maybe we need to redifine immortality to understand it is still conditional on God maintaining it.

    Romans 5:12
    Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:

    I believe that death was already in the world before Adam sinned, and I believe Adam was mortal. If he had fallen off a cliff, he would have died. If he’d been stuck underwater for more than 10 minutes, he would have died. If he’d choked on a banana and ceased to breathe, he would have died. Do you believe that all forms of life were immortal – including plants and animals?

    In Romans 5:12 Paul is telling us that death became the penalty for son as a result of Adam’s sin:

    sin entered the world through one man and death through sin

    Two things entered the world: (a) sin, and (b) death through sin (ie. death as a punishment for sin). This is why Paul adds: “and so death spread to all people because all sinned”, thereby confirming the sense of “death through sin.”

  427. on 12 May 2010 at 1:49 amXavier

    David

    Unlike Psalm 45 there is no Messianic type in view (and obviously the Father cannot function as a Messianic type, since the Father does not represent the Son). Thus we cannot legitimately read this passage as a typological reference to Christ.

    Yes you can see it as a Messianic typology in sync with Ps 45, if you take into account the fact that the writer quotes Psalm 102 from the Greek version (LXX) and not the Hebrew version.

    The LXX has a different sense entirely in Psalm 102:23-25. It introduces thoughts not found in the Hebrew text. The LXX says, “He [God]answered him [the suppliant]…Tell me [God speaking to the suppliant]…Thou, lord [God addressing someone else called ‘lord’].” But the Hebrew text has “He [God] weakened me…I [the suppliant] say, ‘O my God…’”

    Reading the LXX the Hebrews writer sees an obvious reference to the new heavens and earth of the future Kingdom and he sees God addressing the Messianic Lord in connection with the prophecies of the rest of Psalm 102 which speak of “the generation to come” (v. 18) and of the set time for Yahweh to build up Zion and appear in His glory…[we find] there a wonderful prophecy of the age to come (Kingdom, restoration of Israel) which fits his context exactly and that 2) there is a Messianic Lord addressed by Yahweh and invited to initiate a founding of the heaven and earth, the new political order in Palestine, exactly as said in Isaiah 51:16. This is precisely the message the Hebrews writer wants to convey about the superiority of Jesus over angels. Jesus is the founder of that coming new Kingdom order. The Hebrews writer in 2:5 tells us expressly that it is about “the inhabited earth of the future that we are speaking.” Jesus Was not a Trinitarian, Anthony Buzzard, pp 418-24.

    Dave, you also say,

    Do you believe that all forms of life were immortal – including plants and animals?

    I think it is superflous to speculate on the state of creation before the fall. There is just not enough information to come up with a clear picture. But one thing is clear to me, there was no reason for anything to have died [perished] before the disobedience of humans which led, as you rightly state, to the introduction of said death [sin] into all of creation.

    So, did “all forms of life” pre-fall have an immortality quality to them? I would say why not if there was no reason or rhyme for there to have been death [things prishing away].

  428. on 12 May 2010 at 8:02 amrobert

    “I believe that death was already in the world before Adam sinned, and I believe Adam was mortal.”

    Dave
    you must read from a different bible than I do.
    If Adam wouldnt of sinned he would of lived in the Garden as its keeper forever just as those who are redeemed will live in it forever on the 8th day.
    You make God look like an idiot when he said Adam would die that very day if you think its about our fleshy body. Adam had a spiritual body very simular to Jesus after his resurrection till he sinned

  429. on 12 May 2010 at 9:10 amMargaret Collier

    Psalm 102:24, “I say, ‘O my God, please do not take me away in the middle of my life! You endure through all generations.’”

    This marks the commencement of the address from which verse 25 is taken.

    I see your point.

    But the other interpretation would be:

    (Messiah’s plea) – “I say, ‘O my God, please do not take me away in the middle of my life!'”

    (Yahweh’s answer to that plea) – “You endure through all generations …’”

    That would eliminate any problem of the Father appealing to anyone.

    However, your interpretation is more straightforward. I like it.

  430. on 12 May 2010 at 10:03 amrobert

    “So, did “all forms of life” pre-fall have an immortality quality to them? I would say why not if there was no reason or rhyme for there to have been death [things prishing away].”

    Xavier
    are you saying God created meat eating equiped animals to not kill for meat, whales that can only survive by eating plankton.
    The death mentioned to Adam was the death of the soul not his body. Adam was created to tend Gods paradise on Earth which God created after HIS 1st Sabbath rest. After sin came, God moved this paradise because God can not live with sin. After the redemption of mankind by Jesus ,God will move Eden back to earth after all the promises to Abraham are fulfilled on the Day after Gods 2nd sabbath rest(1000 years reign promised to Abraham’s seed)

  431. on 12 May 2010 at 11:02 amXavier

    robert

    You lost me bro.

  432. on 12 May 2010 at 11:11 amrobert

    Xavier
    Not sure how i could lose you, but i will make it clearer.
    For these animals to survive after God created them they had to eat using the means God gave them. They had to kill!!!
    so how could all things be immortal before the fall.

  433. on 12 May 2010 at 11:27 amXavier

    robert

    Like I said previously, the information we have regarding the mechanics of the pre-fall creation is scant. Whether they were carnivour or not who knows, I would say not. Point is, I do not think creation and everything in it was created to eventually perish and die away.

  434. on 12 May 2010 at 11:40 amrobert

    Xavier
    There plenty info within Genesis with the physical facts that have been left by the creation. lets use these facts instead of using human imagination to guess.
    Adam was the first creation to receive a living soul within the living body. He was only created to tend the garden of Eden which was God’s first creation after his sabbath. the failure to see this separate creation from the first 6 is what has confused man to not understand the plan of God after the redemption.

  435. on 12 May 2010 at 1:56 pmDave Burke

    Xavier:

    Yes you can see it as a Messianic typology in sync with Ps 45, if you take into account the fact that the writer quotes Psalm 102 from the Greek version (LXX) and not the Hebrew version.

    I am familiar with this explanation from Anthony’s book (Jesus Was not a TrinitarianBut one thing is clear to me, there was no reason for anything to have died [perished] before the disobedience of humans

    Not even accidental death, as in the examples I gave?

  436. on 12 May 2010 at 1:59 pmDave Burke

    Ooops, that turned out rather badly thanks to some dodgy html. Shall we try again? 😛

    Xavier:

    Yes you can see it as a Messianic typology in sync with Ps 45, if you take into account the fact that the writer quotes Psalm 102 from the Greek version (LXX) and not the Hebrew version.

    I am familiar with this explanation from Anthony’s book (Jesus Was not a Trinitarian) which I received from him a couple of weeks ago. However, I believe it is problematic because the recipient of the address in in Psalm 102 needs to be a Messianic figure in order for the argument to work, and the LXX reference does not resolve this issue.

    Additionally, I don’t believe that Hebrews 1:10-12 speaks of the new creation. Firstly, it does not use new creation language; secondly, it quotes an OT reference to the old creation, which in my experience is occasionally contrasted against the new creation but never cited in the sense of a “dual application”, as Anthony’s argument requires. I believe that the new creation comes into view with Hebrews 2 (“the world to come, about which we are speaking”) but not before then.

    But one thing is clear to me, there was no reason for anything to have died [perished] before the disobedience of humans

    Not even accidental death, as in the examples I gave?

  437. on 12 May 2010 at 2:03 pmDave Burke

    robert:

    Dave
    you must read from a different bible than I do.

    Maybe! 😛

    If Adam wouldnt of sinned he would of lived in the Garden as its keeper forever just as those who are redeemed will live in it forever on the 8th day.

    Yes, I agree with that.

    You make God look like an idiot when he said Adam would die that very day if you think its about our fleshy body. Adam had a spiritual body very simular to Jesus after his resurrection till he sinned

    I don’t read anything about a “spiritual body” in Genesis. God said to Adam and Eve that they would die in the same day that they ate the fruit. Now, you and I both know that they ate the fruit, but we also know that they didn’t die.

    Why do you think they didn’t die, robert?

  438. on 12 May 2010 at 2:18 pmrobert

    “Why do you think they didn’t die, robert? ”

    Dave
    They did die, its just something you cant understand. The death was not of the physical body , it was the death of the spiritual soul which was the source of their immortality. the same type of spiritual soul Jesus received at his resurection.
    What was taken from Adam is the same as what was given to Jesus. Was Jesus alive before his death ? Was Adam alive after his death? Yes to both and both were same types just as they had the same types for after the resurrectin of Jesus and before Adam sinned.

  439. on 12 May 2010 at 8:16 pmMark C.

    Just a quick note regarding whether animals were carnivores in the beginning. Gen. 1:29-30 says:
    29 Then God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the surface of all the earth, and every tree which has fruit yielding seed; it shall be food for you;
    30 and to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the sky and to every thing that moves on the earth which has life, I have given every green plant for food”; and it was so.

    He did not give meat for food till after the flood. Gen. 9:
    1 And God blessed Noah and his sons and said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth.
    2 “The fear of you and the terror of you will be on every beast of the earth and on every bird of the sky; with everything that creeps on the ground, and all the fish of the sea, into your hand they are given.
    3 “Every moving thing that is alive shall be food for you; I give all to you, as I gave the green plant.

  440. on 12 May 2010 at 8:20 pmXavier

    Dave

    I believe it is problematic because the recipient of the address in in Psalm 102 needs to be a Messianic figure in order for the argument to work, and the LXX reference does not resolve this issue.

    The “recipient of the address” is referred to as “lord” and “creator of the heavens and earth”. As we now know, and previously did not, YHWH will bring about the “new creation” [new as in “restored”] through His “one-of-a-kind” son. So I could see how this text might be used by the NT writers to explain Jesus’ co-creator role in the Millenial age to come and beyond.

    it quotes an OT reference to the old creation, which in my experience is occasionally contrasted against the new creation but never cited in the sense of a “dual application”…

    Yes, but wouldn’t you agree that the whole of Ps 102 is eschatological in nature, hence referring to the age to come? Just because the creation language is similar to that of Genesis does not mean it cannot be used for the creation to come, does it?

    Not even accidental death, as in the examples I gave?

    No, not even “accidental death” since there is no sin to speak of pre-fall. Also, note that in the beginning all creatures, including humans, seem to have been vegetarians and not carnivorous [Gen 1.29-30]. Therefore, no one had to kill in order to eat.

    Furthermore, all of creation is said to have been “good” in the eyes of God. Perhaps a sign of its permanency, holiness [Gen 1.10, 31].

  441. on 12 May 2010 at 8:23 pmXavier

    Mark C.

    You read my mind [or post] bro! 🙂

  442. on 12 May 2010 at 8:45 pmrobert

    “He did not give meat for food till after the flood. Gen. 9:”

    Mark
    Science has proven that very doubtful, there are species that can only survive as carnivores like whales who eat plankton. I am sure this only pertains to the first humans but was lost in translations and copies.

  443. on 12 May 2010 at 9:02 pmrobert

    29 And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing
    seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat. 30 And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, [8] I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so.

    Actually its says the first humans were to eat all of the green plants and all the animals that ate green plants as meat

    3 “Every moving thing that is alive shall be food for you; I give all to you, as I gave the green plant.

    in this verse ALL the animals were for meat as were ALL the green plants were.

    Your just letting tradition read it for you

  444. on 12 May 2010 at 9:33 pmXavier

    robert

    Science has proven that very doubtful, there are species that can only survive as carnivores like whales who eat plankton.

    “Modern science” holds a Darwinist view [you and I came from monkeys]. So which is it, scriptures or science?

    I am tired of your constant assumptions that people are led by “human traditions” and not how you see things robert. Apparently we’re all blinded by our tradition – but you insist on reading the true and wonderful King James?! Altho it says given the plants as ‘meat’ in KJV – meaning food – their still “plants”!

  445. on 12 May 2010 at 9:43 pmrobert

    Xavier
    When i say science i am refering to physics not modern science.
    I think modern science is a crock just like i think of theologians.
    they look for a majority and from that state things are proven.

    “I am tired of your constant assumptions that people are led by “human traditions” and not how you see things robert. Apparently we’re all blinded by our tradition – but you insist on reading the true and wonderful King James?!”

    Xavier
    I read out of about 30 different translations I JUST USE KJV TO POST

    “Altho it says given the plants as ‘meat’ in KJV – meaning food – their still “plants”! ”

    Actually this is adressing the first humans to what they can eat.
    And if You read it for real its abouts whether these animals were plant eaters, If so they were for meat for the first humans

  446. on 13 May 2010 at 3:51 amDave Burke

    I’m sorry I ever brought this up in the first place! 😛

  447. on 13 May 2010 at 5:46 amJaco

    Hi, Dave,

    Glad you enjoyed my bit in critiquing Bowman. I read your response to Bowman to see what your take was on Heb. 1:10-12. I see your point, namely to make it stand out as a doxology. I suppose that can work. The reason why I do not view it this way is twofold:

    1. The proviso you give for it not to be messianic but doxological is the introductory phrases, such as,

    Heb. 1:5a “…to which one of the angels did he ever say…”
    Heb. 1:6a “…but when he brings his firstborn into the world…”
    Heb. 1:8a “But with reference to the Son…”

    These provisos are not convincing to me, because other references to the Son are not introduced with the phrases above, but merely linked with “and” and continued with the messianic quotation from the OT (see the “links” in 1:5, 6, 7). You are quite correct that kai can in certain constructs and contexts carry the nuance of “but.” But in the catena the nuance of “but” is rather shown by the word de. See 1:6a, 8a, 11b, 12d, 13a, in light of their preceding clauses. From its immediate context insisting on a contrasting nuance for kai would not convince me.

    2. The second reason for my understanding of Heb. 1:10-12 to be a messianic allusion to Ps. 102:25, 26, is because the LXX does not use that section in Psalm 102 as a doxology to Yahweh, but to the one Yahweh “answered” (not innah, afflicted, but anah, answered. From different vowel pointings). So, even though the MT has it “afflicted,” that was not the text, nor the meaning of the text (LXX) the writer used here.

    Sure, there are some who may see a doxology there, but others don’t. These scholars are ones even Bowman has to ascribe to and would thus not weaken your case. I’ll quote a few here.

    In the Septuagint text the person to whom these words are spoken is addressed explicitly as “Lord”; and it is God who addresses him thus. Whereas in the Hebrew text the suppliant is the speaker from the beginning to the end of the psalm, in the Greek text his prayer comes to an end with v. 22, and the next words read as follows: “He [God] answered him [the suppliant] in the way of his strength: ‘Declare to Me the shortness of My days: Bring Me not up in the midst of My days. Thy [the suppliant’s] years are throughout all generations. Thou, lord [the suppliant, viewed here as the Messiah by Hebrews], in the beginning didst lay the foundation of the earth.’” This is God’s answer to the suppliant; He bids him acknowledge the shortness of God’s set time (for the restoration of Jerusalem, as in v. 13) and not summon Him [God] to act when that set time has only half expired, while He [God] assures him [the suppliant, called lord by God] that he and his servants’ children will be preserved forever…
    Bacon suggested that the Hebrew, as well as the Greek, text of this psalm formed a basis for messianic eschatology, especially its reference to the “shortness” of God’s days, i.e., of the period destined to elapse before the consummation of His purpose [the arrival of the yet future Messianic Kingdom on earth]; he found here the OT background of Matt. 24:22, Mark 13:20 and Ep. Barn. 4.3 (“as Enoch says, ‘For to this end the Master [God] has cut short the times and the days, that his Beloved [Jesus] should make haste and come to his inheritance’”)… F.F. Bruce in the New International Commentary

    [T]he whole passage down to the end of the psalm becomes the answer of Yahweh to the suppliant who accordingly appears to be addressed as Kurie [lord] and creator of heaven and earth…Instead of understanding the verse as a complaint of the psalmist at the shortness of his days which are cut off in the midst, LXX and the Vulgate understand the utterance to be Yahweh’s answer to the psalmist’s plea that he will intervene to save Zion, because “it is time to have pity on her, yea, the set time is come” (v. 13). He is bidden acknowledge (or prescribe?) the shortness of Yahweh’s set time, and not to summon him when it is but half expired. On the other hand he [the Messianic lord] is promised that his own endurance shall be perpetual with the children of his servants. B.W. Bacon, “Heb. 1:10-12 and the Septuagint Rendering of Ps. 102:23,” Zeitschrift für die Neutestamentliche Wissenschaft 3, 1902, p. 280-285.

    The text at the center of Heb. 2:5ff. is Ps. 8:4-6 and it exhibits thematic connections to the scriptural catena [chain] of the first chapter [i.e. Heb. 1:10 is all part of the same reference to the new creation]…Heb. 2:5 [“the inhabited earth to come of which we speak”] is an introductory comment continuing the contrast between the Son and angels. Its reference to the “world to come” reinforces the notions of imminent judgment and cosmic transformation intimated by Ps. 102, cited at 1:10-12. Oxford Bible Commentary (2000)

    This is also my understanding of it. I just think that Bowman could place the burden of proof on you and, technically speaking, from a formal logical point of view he can easily call it special pleading. I’d prepare myself for it.

    I post this in good faith.

    Margaret

    I’m glad you found my very concise summary of Heb. 1 interesting. A central theme in Hebrews, starting almost immediately in chapter 1, is that it is eschatological. It points toward or aims at future or end-time fulfillments. Granted, there are references to past events, but these references are necessary to show how the OT point to greater realities. That is the greater context of the book of Hebrews.

    The immediate context of Heb. 1:2 only confirms this. Let me explain. The catena, or chain of statements follow upon the other. Every chain of references reaches a climax, almost like a crescendo, with a conclusion. Take for instance 1:1-4; 5-6; 7-12. In one of these clusters (Sean Finnegan calls them hubs) we have 1:1-4. In this section a build-up toward the climactic vs. 4 is already started. Realizing this would perhaps explain why I said that 1:2c would be an abrupt break in the eschatological crescendo and even an anachronism if it pointed back to the Genesis creation.

    To say,

    However, the word “subsequent” is not in the text. And verse 2 does not suggest that God made these ages AFTER the exaltation of his Son.

    creates a bit of a false dilemma, since a serial pattern doesn’t require being explicitly realized such as by using the word “subsequent.” In fact, the writer of Hebrews doesn’t do it anywhere in chapter 1.

    You are right. Nothing in the word “ages” itself requires a futuristic meaning. Its usage in Hebrews, however, presupposes that, seeing that it has a predominantly eschatological theme with Jesus at the centre of it.

    In Christ,

    Jaco

  448. on 13 May 2010 at 7:23 amXavier

    robert

    Actually this is adressing the first humans to what they can eat.
    And if You read it for real its abouts whether these animals were plant eaters, If so they were for meat for the first humans

    Anyone else care to translate? 🙂

    Jaco

    Couldn’t have said it betta myself…although I have been trying to persuade people like Margaret to our understanding of Heb 1.10.

  449. on 13 May 2010 at 9:35 amrobert

    Genesis 9
    3 “Every moving thing that is alive shall be food for you; I give all to you, as I gave the green plant.

    Genesis 4
    4 And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the Lord had respect unto Abel and to his offering:

    Mark
    as far as your understanding of Genesis 9 ,Genesis 4 seems to show its not the right understanding.

    “I’m sorry I ever brought this up in the first place!”

    Dave
    I’m not, this is how we get to the truth
    I understand at CD sites theres things you never question but we are told to prove and reprove all things related to our faith.
    the truth should stand under all reproving, if it doesnt then its not the truth

    “Anyone else care to translate?”

    Xavier
    Its perfectly clear in a language you have shown you understand.

  450. on 13 May 2010 at 2:50 pmMark C.

    Mark
    as far as your understanding of Genesis 9 ,Genesis 4 seems to show its not the right understanding.

    Animal sacrifice was introduced right after the fall (ch. 3), but ch. 4 just says that Abel kept sheep. It says nothing about eating them. Chapter 9 clearly indicates that a change had come about after the flood.

  451. on 13 May 2010 at 6:51 pmrobert

    Mark
    That was just the first sacrafice spoken of, no ones knows when they started. probably with first adams in the 6th day.
    THE ADAM of the 8th day was probably also commanded cause it was how God instructed worship within His laws.
    Abels was probably both a sin offering and worship much like Israels.
    But the main thing in my post was to show sheep was Abels livelyhood and tending them was to keep them from being prey.
    Other than that then they could just let them run wild.
    the meat of them was his livelyhood and his bargaining power to buy grain for bread.
    Like i said pure physical evidence in science says the normal understanding of Genesis1 :30 is wrong.
    there has been fossils found of preflood animals with other species of animals bone within them.

  452. on 13 May 2010 at 8:30 pmDoubting Thomas

    Robert (449)
    You said, “We are told to prove and reprove all things relating to our faith. The truth should stand under all reproving, if it doesn’t than it’s not the truth.”

    I agree. The bible says, “Test everything, hold fast what is good.” To an outsider this site might at first seem a bit chaotic with all the different opinions being expressed, but I find it a good learning experience to see what all the different views are.

    I think God can see through the apparent chaos and see the underlining love we share for seeking the truth. We all learn at our own speed and in our own way. May God guide us all in our endeavors…

  453. on 13 May 2010 at 10:31 pmMargaret Collier

    Dave’s interpretation of Hebrews 1:10 allows Psalm 102:24 to mean what just it says – whether in Greek, Hebrew or English.

    That makes it preferable to any other interpretation I have heard.

  454. on 14 May 2010 at 1:37 amMark C.

    Mark
    That was just the first sacrafice spoken of, no ones knows when they started. probably with first adams in the 6th day.
    THE ADAM of the 8th day was probably also commanded cause it was how God instructed worship within His laws.
    Abels was probably both a sin offering and worship much like Israels.

    The Bible doesn’t say that. There was no need for sacrifice until after Adam sinned.

    But the main thing in my post was to show sheep was Abels livelyhood and tending them was to keep them from being prey.
    Other than that then they could just let them run wild.
    the meat of them was his livelyhood and his bargaining power to buy grain for bread.

    Again, the Bible doesn’t say that. There are other things that a shepherd does in tending sheep besides keeping them from being prey. And sheep are raised for wool as well as meat.

    Like i said pure physical evidence in science says the normal understanding of Genesis1 :30 is wrong.
    there has been fossils found of preflood animals with other species of animals bone within them.

    How do they know the fossils were preflood? Besides, there are too many other variables to be able to say that science proves the plain language of the Bible to be wrong. Several good Creationist web sites present very good evidence for this position.

  455. on 14 May 2010 at 8:05 amrobert

    Mark
    I never said science proves the bible wrong, it proves traditional interpretations wrong like the one you state.
    No real facts are against the truth.
    BTW theres are also keepers of cattle before flood , so wool would not be the factor.
    There is no reason to keep them if it wasnt from harm.
    also sacrafices are not just for sin they are for blessings of first fruits as Cain and Abels were. we know they eat it after its sacraficed.
    Its not hard to see the truth in Genesis 1 :30 if you remove whats been beaten into you.Its just stating what animals can be eaten clean or unclean which we see later 7 of each of the Clean animals gathered by Noah. you didnt think God was talking about them not having dirt on them did you.
    clean and unclean is a reference to what can be eaten by Man, After the flood all animals were to be eaten as long as the blood was removed because unclean animals blood has things that are harmful to man thats why we dont eat them today unless completely cooked

  456. on 14 May 2010 at 9:03 amMargaret Collier

    The problem with the traditional interpretation of Genesis is not the text. The problem begins with the fact that people do not take God’s definitions seriously.

    For example, God’s first definition is of the word “day” (Genesis 1:4,5). Study that definition carefully and you will see that it could not possibly apply to a 24-hour day.

    However, this thread is about the Trinity debate. Is there a thread somewhere that deals with the subject of Genesis, beginning with chapter 1?

  457. on 14 May 2010 at 9:22 amrobert

    Margaret
    It would be great if when the subject matter naturally migrated from the subject someone could create a discussion thread for that subject. there would be no need for someone to write an article but they could make a Tag with the name subject discussions and then name thread by topic of discussion. this could keep each thread on topic

  458. on 14 May 2010 at 5:59 pmDoubting Thomas

    It seems to me that “Old Testament Foundation (part 1)” is already talking about this subject. (At least it’s closely related to this topic)…

  459. on 15 May 2010 at 8:16 amMargaret Collier

    Forgive my total lack of computer savvy, Thomas, but I can’t find this thread. Could you give me a link?

  460. on 15 May 2010 at 10:20 amDoubting Thomas

    Margaret
    The easiest way I think is to click “blog” top left of sign on screen and scroll down to the 4th. article from the top. It is written by Mark C. and posted May 3rd. 2010.

    The other way is to to go to the search box top right of sign on screen and type “Old Testament Foundation (Part 1)” in and it will bring you to the article. I’m not very computer savvy either. My son jokingly calls me a techno dummy…

  461. on 16 May 2010 at 10:24 pmDave Burke

    Dale Tuggy has written a critique of my rebuttal to Bowman’s Week 3 argument. You can read it here.

    😀

  462. on 22 May 2010 at 10:39 amJaco

    Greetings, everyone

    I’m glad to be able to give my little contribution in the Great Trinity Debate, with our friends, Dave Burke and Robert Bowman, Part 4.

    As before, Bowman did not present anything of much substance. This time round, however, he has given the expression “punching in the air” a new meaning. No solid substance in his doctrinal scoops, really. His latest is to feverishly wave around in his doctrinal vapor to create a consistent apparition of some kind…only he was imaginative enough to see anything, running around, arms in the air yelling “progressive revelation, progressive revelation…” But we still see nothing…but smoke.

    As with his other creations, Bowman gives a brand new puff of doctrinal invention called, definition-by-parallelism fallacy. Logic is not Bowman’s forte – he should rather stick to alchemy. No such fallacy exists and our friend won’t be the one enlightening the world of formal logic. Fact is that Hebrew parallelism is an excellent way by which two concepts are expressed synonymously. E.g.

    Ps 113:1-4
    When Israel went out of Egypt, the house of Jacob from a barbarous people:
    Judea made his sanctuary, Israel his dominion.
    The sea saw and fled: Jordan was turned back.
    The mountains skipped like rams, and the hills like the lambs of the flock

    See also Genesis 4:23, Psalm 51:2-3, Ps 24:1-3; 103:3,7-10; Jer. 17:10; Zech. 9:9, Mt. 11:30

    Consider the parallelism in Lu. 1:35:

    “holy spirit will come upon you,
    and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.

    Unfortunately, Bowman’s examples are no examples to the contrary at all! None of them take the format of a parallelism! Bowman is not comparing mushrooms to mushrooms. He is equivocating.
    Next Bowman hastily generalises findings in linguistics:

    This approach to “word study” is highly problematic, as hermeneutical scholars who have brought the modern discipline of linguistics to bear on biblical studies have repeatedly explained. Words do not have some sort of irreducible “root meaning” that limits or defines its sense in every usage

    As Dave has shown in his article, the OT usage of spirit, namely an invisible dynamic cause, remained surprisingly stable in semantic range through the Inter-testamental time, right into the First Century. Fact is that many words in many languages have retained so much of their original root meaning, that it is no less than a horrendous fallacy to state that this approach is “highly problematic.” As a speaker of an African language, I have even found (to the ecstasy of Dr. Mozeson, a German linguist and one who coined the word “Edenic”) that even certain words in African languages testify to the Semito-Hamitic link. Not only are there many words that have retained their root meanings across languages, even more so do we find this to be the case in ancient languages!

    Furthermore, no cultural revolution, no socio-economic renaissance nor any divine revelation changed the cognitive reference in the word ruach and pneuma to anything Bowman would want us to believe. He has a better chance at finding post-exilic Jewish-Mormon artefacts in the USA than of providing evidence for the above. As Benjamin Wilson put it:

    Pneuma like ruach of the Old Testament has four significations:
    1. It represents, primarily the air we breathe
    2. It denotes a being, as angels
    3. It represents an influence from a being
    4. It indicates a state of feeling

    It is believed that there is not a passage where these words rendered spirit, occur but what may be classified under one of these significations.

    Thayer has it:
    1. a movement of air, (gentle) blast
    2. the spirit, i.e. the vital principle by which the body is animated
    3. a spirit, i.e. a simple essence, devoid of all or at least all grosser matter, and possessed of the power of knowing, desiring, deciding and acting.
    4. ascribed to God, i.e. God’s power and agency manifest in the course of affairs, and by its influence upon souls productive in the theocratic body (the church) of all the higher spiritual gifts and blessings.
    5. the disposition or influence which fills and governs the soul of any one; the efficient source of any power, affection, emotion, desire, etc.

    Obviously (we know Bowman’s ritual by now) Bowman would want the semantic range of pneuma fit his anachronistic doctrinal broth. Well, he should stick to theology and leave linguistics to the linguists.
    So, with every occurrence of the words, “(the) holy spirit,” the meaning should be determined within the cultural universe of its time, its established (not concocted) semantic range, its immediate and extended context and, of course, figures of speech. Dave was the one doing exactly that. Bowman doesn’t even come close.
    Bowman quickly pounces on the Upper Room Discourse; the only place where extensive personal references (albeit not without qualification) to the holy spirit are made. He introduces his argument with a bit of a tangent by addressing the issue of Jesus’ personal pre-human existence. The basis for his argument is, yes, you guessed it, linguistics. Hupagei is ceremoniously flung into the simmering broth. Bowman insists on the meaning, “going back,” “returning,” “going home” in Joh. 13:1, 3. Not according to the lexicographers.

    According to Thayer, hupagei means “to withdraw one’s self, to go away, depart…Particularly, [it] is used to denote the final departure of one who ceases to be another’s companion or attendant, Jn. vi.67; euphemistically, of one who departs from life, Mt. xxvi.24; Mk. xiv.21.” Bowman’s meaning of “returning” would have him believe in the personal pre-existence of each and every one of us. If I didn’t know any better, I’d suspect Bowman to be an undercover Mormon of some kind…Sorry, no “going back” reference here.

    Bowman insists on literality. Well, in that case, then the following has to be taken literally, “Indeed, I assure you, Moses did not give you the bread from heaven but my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the Bread of God is that which descends from heaven and is giving life to the world. I am the bread of life. Because I have descended from heaven…I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the desert and died. This is that bread descending form heaven so that any one may eat of it, and not die. I am the living bread who has descended form heaven. If any one eat of this bread, he shall live to the age; and the bread is my flesh, which I will give in behalf of the life of the world. This is that bread which has descended from heaven. Not as the fathers ate, and died; he who eats this bread shall live to the age.” (John. 6:32, 33, 35, 38, 48-51, 58) Consistency in arguing would have us accept the literalness of Jesus’ words…that’s how absurd it gets.

    Bowman says, “Since the Son was literally someone who came into the world from the Father, the Holy Spirit is also literally someone who was going to come from the Father to be with the disciples as “another” Paraclete.” Logically this is such a weak argument. Not only is this a slippery slope, but also an equivocation, seeing that function (to come from the Father) is used as the basis for ontology (being personal). What prevents Bowman from claiming that the Paraclete must be flesh and blood also? According to him, ontology is the issue, and Jesus was flesh and blood. The absurdity of his claims, taken consistently, simply has no end!

    Bowman then gives a list of all the similarities between what Jesus did, and what the holy spirit would do. He takes a huge inductive leap by assuming ontology in one referent from function and identity of another. All of these are repetitive structural fallacies of assuming the consequent:

    First premise: If the holy spirit is a person, he would, as Jesus, be sent by the Father.
    Second premise: The holy spirit was, as Jesus, sent by the Father.
    Conclusion: So, the holy spirit is a person.

    He consistently commits this fallacy. Someone has to show him this, please.

    He then sums it all up, saying that the spirit would “be sent, hear, speak, teach, testify and declare.” I will return to this when discussing Bowman’s smoke-screen rebuttal to personification explanations.

    Bowman’s doctrinal broth is going a bit off where he says:

    If the Upper Room Discourse is the first direct revelation of the distinct person of the Holy Spirit, we would expect to see the Holy Spirit become far more prominent in the Bible after Jesus’ death and resurrection.

    I do not see how the consequent naturally follows the antecedent’s claim of the spirit’s personhood. If it were time for holy spirit to become active upon the disciples, and Jesus predicted it, of course it would happen, regardless of whether it is a person or not! Bowman subtly introduces a new ingredient to his soup (personhood), hoping we won’t see it.

    The first text Bowman takes from Acts dismisses his point immediately. Biblical Unitarians show that the spirit is God’s invisible means of acting. Jesus also received this means. Through this means, God, or Jesus, can act and communicate, and that is exactly what Luke says in his introduction in Acts: O Theophilus, about Messiah, Jesus, both what he began to do and teach, until the day, when he made ascended to heaven, having given the Messiah’s commands through holy spirit to the apostles whom he chose. It is crystal clear that holy spirit was the means by which Jesus gave the instructions. Why deny the obvious? Why refuse to accept what is evident? Why insist on smoke-apparitions, complicating the matter by saying:

    The words that Jesus spoke were also in some way the words of the Holy Spirit.

    No, Bowman is committing the fallacy of denying the correlative.

    What Bowman does next nearly had me falling on my back. He appeals…to…the Old Testament! Bowman changed the recipe of his alchemy to include OT statements for correlation. Dave should grab hold of this opportunity!!! He still makes an unwarranted leap (and, from the scarcity of evidence, this desperation is understandable) by claiming ontology from symptoms. If I have to go on that, every epileptic I know (symptom) should be referred to an exorcist (spirit possession). The logic behind it is absurd. What is more, the reference Bowman failed to use in Acts 2, take from the OT itself, is the one in Ac. 2:17, that God would pour out some of his spirit. Now, “sending the holy spirit” is grammatically and cognitively vague enough to imply both a person (spirit is a count noun) or a substance (spirit is a mass noun). BUT, and this is crucial; to pour out of God’s spirit, who is Himself spirit (Joh. 4:24) immediately exclude “spirit” as a count noun and undeniably refers to it being a mass noun.

    Now Bowman’s ceremony is getting exciting! Bowman resorts to the most amateurish level of fallacious reasoning. He says:

    Anti-trinitarians routinely ask how a person can “fill” another person, or a person be “poured out.” God, who is infinite, omnipresent being, can do these things.

    It’s the same as saying, I know the idea that ball lightning is caused by ghosts makes no sense to you, but that’s only because you’re human. Humans cannot understand supernatural phenomena. Special pleading par excellence!

    What’s the use then? If God can do anything I claim, I can ascribe any contradictory nonsense to God, switch off proper reasoning and resort to such a pathetic generalization as, “It involves God, so it’s possible.” This is the kind of abuse of logic, the kind of logic which had dictators commit atrocities in the name of religion, the kind of primitive and stifling mentality people like Bowman give as fodder to God-dishonoring atheists. His tactics are no less dangerous than those of the cults he dares to attack!

    He continues with a few self-incriminating texts: Remember, Bowman claims that, to be filled with the spirit of God means exactly to be possessed by a spirit person. Now, Eph. 3:19 says that we are to be “filled up (form of pleroo) to all the fullness of God.” Why doesn’t he argue consistently by claiming to be possessed by the Fullness Person? In Colossians 1:9 Paul prays for them to be filled with knowledge. Taking Bowman’s reasoning consistently, they have to be possessed by the Knowledge Person! Bowman definitely believes that Jesus is a physical being in heaven. Unless he is represented by or acts by means of a permeating spirit, how on earth can Jesus physically “fill all things” (Eph. 4:10)? To fill, or fill up (pleroo) is also found in John 1:14, where Jesus was “full of favor and truth.” Are we to argue that Jesus was possessed by the Persons, Favor and Truth? In Acts 6:8, Stephen was “full of favor and power.” Are we to believe Favor and Power were divine Persons? If not, why use pleroo as a condition for personhood in the case of the holy spirit?

    Bowman next makes another wild claim, saying that being poured out “is an idiom that means to give of oneself completely, and so even human beings can be said to be ‘poured out.’” The NT texts he reference use the word spendomai in a reflexive sense which has exactly that connotation, namely, one of offering up, libation, even bloodshed. His reference in Psalms has the word exegee in a metaphor referring to water. The Isaiah reference has a form of the word paradosis which basically means “to surrender.” The word for “poured out” in his NT reference is not the word used for God and Jesus having “poured out” holy spirit. Bowman is equivocating here! The word used for pouring out something else, is ekcheo. It is used in contexts such as pouring out of a bowl [metonymy](Rev. 16:1, 3, 4, 6, 8, 10), of money (Eze. 16:36, John 2:15), of favor [metaphorically] (Ps. 45:2), blood as water (Ps. 79:3, 106:38, Eze. 36:18), contempt [metaphorically] (Ps. 107:40), divine rage [metaphorically] (Eze. 22:22, 31, 30:15, 39:29). Ekcheo is exactly the word used to describe God pouring out something else upon believers. The only nuance in which ekcheo can be used to mean “being given up to a thing,” is the passive of ekcheo, which is only found in Jude 11. Sorry, no point here.

    Bowman, for the rest of his case, embark on an imaginary journey to prove the personhood of the holy spirit from verbs typically used in reference to persons, and not inanimate things. He concludes with an attempt at disproving the possibility of Personification. Well, let’s have a look:

    Personification in the Bible occurs (among other places) here:
    Genesis 4:10: And he [God] said [to Cain, who had just murdered Abel], What hast thou done? the voice of thy brother’s blood crieth unto me from the ground.

    2 Kings 3:19: And ye shall smite every fenced city, and every choice city, and shall fell every good tree, and stop all wells of water, and mar (lit., cause pain to or grieve) every good piece of land with stones.

    Isaiah 24:23: Then the moon shall be confounded, and the sun ashamed, when the Lord of hosts shall reign in mount Zion….

    Joel 1:10: The field is wasted, the land mourneth; for the corn is wasted: the new wine is dried up, the oil languisheth.

    In the NT, the following are said about the conscience:
    – testifies, accuses or defends (Ro. 2:15)
    – co-attests (Ro. 9:1)
    – recommended to (2 Cor. 4:2)
    – can be seared [lit., cauterised] (1 Tim. 4:2)
    …do these references make blood, cities, land, oil, and conscience persons?

    Bowman concludes section C with a bold statement in italics:

    The Holy Spirit is the primary “witness” who was present during the events and whose testimony is the basis for the book’s historical narrative

    Now, let’s see if, on the basis of “testimony” whether the following things are also in actual fact real persons:

    Scripture (John 5:39), works (John 5:36), the conscience (Ro. 2:15), Law (Ro. 3:21), our “spirits [disposition, according to Bowman himself]” (Ro. 8:16), water, blood (1 John 5:7). Taken consistently, Bowman claims that all these are persons!

    In Section D Bowman tries to dismiss personification in the Wisdom literature on the basis of where these cases of personification are found. Ok, then why does Jesus himself use personification so extensively in the Upper Room Discourse?

    15:18 the world hates them, he would have loved them if they were part of him.
    16:6 sorrow has filled their hearts,
    16:22 hearts shall rejoice
    Apart from personification, Jesus also used metaphor. In 15:1-10 Jesus describes the relation between, his disciples, himself and God in terms of the branches of a vine and a vinedresser.
    These are figures of speech in the Upper Room Discourse alone. No sane person will take these to be literal. What is more, Jesus said in 16:25, after talking about the “paraclete,”

    These things I have spoken to you in figures; an hour is coming when I will no more speak to you in figures, but I will tell you plainly about the Father.

    There you have it! As Dave has shown, the rest of Scripture confirms the metaphorical reference to the holy spirit as the “paraclete.”
    Another point to remember is that Jesus, in every reference to the “paraclete,” clarifies what it is, by saying, “the spirit of the truth” (15:26, 16:22). They would also share in what Jesus possessed, as prophesied by Isaiah 11:2: “And upon him will reside the spirit of YHWH, the spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the spirit of counsel and of power, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of YHWY…” No different persons intended here!

    It is clear, then, that holy spirit is something “of God” who Himself is spirit (mass noun). Yes, different contexts allow for different nuances in which we would have spirit to be either a mass noun (spirit) or a count noun (spirits). The holy spirit is from God, in that it is a means by which God acts. It is also fluid, divisible (thus not an individual) as in Acts 2:17. What is more, the holy spirit is said to be “God’s spirit”, or “spirit of God.” This is a dilemma for the Trinity, as the concept conveyed by these expressions preclude the possibility of a distinct individual ontologically identical to the Person he is said to be of, to be from, or belonging to. As with so many other entities, the holy spirit is also personified as Wisdom is personified in the Wisdom literature. But nothing changed in the meaning and ontology of holy spirit between the OT and NT. What happened in the fourth century, however, is where our friend Bowman gets his doctrinal concoctions from.

    In Christ, by means of holy spirit,

    Jaco

  463. on 22 May 2010 at 11:59 amMargaret Collier

    Dale Tuggy has been giving a very good assessment of the debate, round by round. Not only is it even-handed, giving credit wherever it applies, but his “flags” constitute a short course on debating skills. I have been learning a lot from this blog.

  464. on 22 May 2010 at 12:05 pmMargaret Collier

    Scroll down to Round 1 and get it all. It’s worth the effort.

    Each entry has the added advantage of being concise, so it doesn’t require an interminable amount of reading.

  465. on 22 May 2010 at 3:23 pmDave Burke

    Jaco, great summary. Fine work as usual! 🙂

  466. on 22 May 2010 at 3:34 pmJaco

    Dave, your fine dabating deserves it!

  467. on 22 May 2010 at 3:46 pmDave Burke

    Well, I just do my best. 🙂

    I’d like to exchange email addresses, if that’s OK. I’m not sure how many html tags are supported by WordPress, but try clicking here to send me an
    email.

  468. on 22 May 2010 at 7:43 pmDave Burke

    Hmm, that didn’t work.

    OK, I’ll spell out my email: burke . davej @ gmail.com

  469. on 25 May 2010 at 9:19 amMargaret Collier

    OK, I’ll spell out my email: burke . davej @ gmail.com

    Is this a general invitation to anyone, or only to Jaco personally?

    I’d like to communicate with you AFTER THE DEBATE IS OVER. Your handling of the non-evidence for tri-unity has been superb. Other things can wait.

  470. on 25 May 2010 at 5:39 pmDave Burke

    Yes Margaret, it’s a general invitation to anyone. Thanks for your kind words. 🙂

  471. on 25 May 2010 at 7:58 pmXavier

    Dave

    Would love to debate the Devil thing with you…perhaps someone can start a new thread on here to see if we can persuade you? 🙂

  472. on 26 May 2010 at 1:34 amDave Burke

    Xavier,

    That will have to wait for a long while yet. I am still writing my rebuttal to Bowman’s Week 5 argument, then I need to write one for Week 6, and then I have to take questions from readers.

    Pastoral and domestic commitments overtook me during the weekend, and continue to interrupt my work. It has been necessary for me to take on two public speaking appointments at short notice due to cancellations by other brethren, and I have been recalled to oversee a recently opened preaching project (www.mustardseedbec.org.au) since I am a member of the organising committee and responsible for our Bible education curriculum.

    In addition to this I have just commenced a full time tertiary study programme which runs from 09:30-16:30, 5 days a week. This doesn’t leave a great deal of spare time, even after the Trinity debate is over. But you have my email, so please do keep in touch and feel free to sign up at my forum if you want to discuss anything with the Christadelphians there.

    🙂

  473. on 30 May 2010 at 4:19 pmJaco

    Hi, there, everyone

    Over at Parchment and Pen, the concluding remarks to the Great Trinity Debate have already been posted. Mostly just a summary of what each party had already stated in their previous installments. This is my critique to the 5th part of the Debate. It won’t be as lengthy as the previous ones, mainly since he’s very repetitive in committing the same fallacies, and using them as premises for the same conclusions…you guessed it – that by necessity they point to God’s “tri-unity” (enough to make old Moses’ head spin).

    There are quite a few fallacies Bowman commit in this round. He commits the fallacy of begging the question, or circular reasoning, where he assumes things such as Jesus’ pre-existence, the Father’s, Son’s and Holy Spirit’s co-quality, and their ontological (relating to being) identity, while these are exactly what he has to prove first. His “proofs” of these matters amounted to creating one false dilemma after the other, committing one fallacy of affirming the consequent after the other, by claiming that similarity in activity means ontological identity (fallacy of affirming the consequent, as well as equivocation) and that ontological identity is the sole and necessary conclusion to be drawn (false dilemma/suppressing the correlative). As you saw previously, Bowman creates dichotomy where there’s none (between person and being), suppressing the correlative (such as the valid explanation of personification in the case of the holy spirit) and the truly Hebraic concept of agency, or sh’liach which by necessity leads to the Biblical Unitarian concept and utterly refuting the later heretical development of the trinity doctrine. To any student of formal logic and critical reasoning, Bowman’s remarks will be the best for exam preparation, seeing that he commits nearly every one in the book. Bowman’s theology can be summarized as follows: He believes in 3 personal Yahweh’s in one ontological Yahweh. He made this distinction exactly. So, we end up with a “Christian” being a fully confessed personal polytheist of one ontological deity. This, my friends, needs to be shouted from the rooftops!

    In his 5th installment, Bowman reaches out for the three-leaf shamrocks in his doctrinal cauldron. He confuses the existence of the three entities, Father, Son and holy spirit with their relationship. He confounds the facts by somehow making his readers believe that mentioning the three together, means more than accepting their existence. It implies by necessity that they must also be co-equal, co-eternal and all three being God. This is called the slippery slope fallacy. The one (existence) does NOT imply the other (co-equality). The unwary, by nature resistant to any contradiction to their belief-system, will easily fall for this demonstrably fallacious invention. Thank God we have been freed by the Truth (Joh. 8:32).

    Matthew 28:19

    It is not without good reason that orthodox Christians historically have usually regarded this statement as at least implicitly trinitarian.

    Since no explicit teaching of this kind can be found in the Bible, post-Nicene Roman Catholic Church Fathers have used this verse as arbitrary proof for their novel doctrine. He makes a gigantic leap by saying that these “three persons are equally the object of Christian faith.” The leap between their existence and their relationship is as unwarranted as saying that faith, hope and love are “equally required in the Christian faith.” The word “equally” is subtly introduced and its ambiguity in this context exploited to espouse an unwarranted relationship among the three entities referred to. As with “faith, hope and love,” although in immediate “triadic” proximity, do not prove ontological equality, since love is still greatest (1 Cor. 13:13), likewise the proximity of the Father, Son and holy spirit proves nothing regarding their relationship. This rule of thumb should be used with every of Bowman’s imaginary “triads” he beholds in his doctrinal apparitions.

    Bowman has a few putrid red herrings up his ceremonial coat’s sleeve too! He tries to distract our attention by referring to the questionability some see in this verse’s authenticity. But that was not Dave’s argument! What is more, to Bowman, one can either doubt the authenticity of the verse, or accept it as authentic, but then accept the doctrinal implications thereof (which, to him, means T-R-I-N-I-T-Y). But this is a false dilemma (yet again). If Bowman were a forensic detective, or even a judge of a court (heaven forbid!) he’d be the gullible goose every villain would want to have on their case! See, there is a difference between authenticity and validity. The authenticity of the verse has a bearing on the veracity thereof. If it’s spurious, it cannot be used as evidence. But if it isn’t, it doesn’t automatically mean any doctrinal invention from it is now suddenly also valid! So, no case, sorry. The verse is regarded as questionable among several circles. But even if it isn’t, it proves at best three distinct entities and their authority, and nothing more. Bowman makes a funny little argument here:

    If Biblical Unitarianism is true, the Father is God himself, while the Holy Spirit is an aspect of God, specifically his power. Thus, two of the three names in Matthew 28:19 denote either God himself or an aspect of God, according to Biblical Unitarianism. The middle name, however, supposedly refers to a mere human being (though the greatest of them all) whom God exalted to a divine status. This would seem to be a problematic way of reading the text. If we simply paraphrase Matthew 28:19 to express explicitly how the Trinitarian and Biblical Unitarian theologies understand its meaning, the difficulty facing the Biblical Unitarian will become clear:
    Trinitarian: “Baptize disciples in the name of God the Father, the name of God the Son, and the name of God the Holy Spirit.”
    Biblical Unitarian: “Baptize disciples in the name of God, the name of the exalted virgin-born man Jesus, and the name of the power of God.”

    Sounds valid, right? Wrong! Interpretation of both trinitarian and Unitarian understandings of this verse is NOT required. If we were not the recipients of a dogma brutally imposed upon millions of mute sheep over many, many centuries, and we have retained the natural understanding of these entities by their primary semantic meanings, including anthropomorphism and grammatical distinctness, only the trinitarian concoction would be needing explanation. Beware of old Bowman! He likes to confound his alchemic formulas!

    None of these entities are in themselves names. These entities each have a name in the sense of having authority. To the ancient Christian, baptism into a name was no literal undertaking. They understood baptism to mean dedication, so, dedication into a name meant dedication into the authority of something or someone. This is as natural and as acceptable in the text’s grammar and daily usage, that interpretation in this regard isn’t required either.

    Bowman insists on the personality of the holy spirit. See, something impersonal can be personified. Something personal, however, cannot be de-personalized – especially when referring to God, unless you want to be charged with blasphemy. God can be explained using metaphor. But something depicted as a fluid, divisible wind, to be called exactly that (pnevma, ruach or wind/breath) and then at other times as a personified agent of God, necessitate the conclusion of it being and impersonal activity. Because we already know that angels are personal, we needn’t prove it. Not so with the holy spirit. So, to insist on the holy spirit’s personality on that basis, amounts to special pleading, so, sorry, he has no point. To further embark on logical riffraff and linguistic acrobatics, is a waste of time. Unless Bowman gets the above essentials right, his sub-conclusions and final conclusions will be no less than meaningless huffs of pockets of smoke.

    John 14:26

    Here the Father, in the Son’s name, sends the Holy Spirit. It is remarkable that the Father does this in the Son’s name, since the Father obviously is not a mere agent acting on the Son’s behalf.

    God, Yahweh the Father, us the ultimate Sender. He sent out Jesus, and now he also sends out the holy spirit. Jesus came in God’s name (agent, remember) and now, in his ultimately exalted position, he is privileged to have the spirit of truth, personified as a faithful agent, sent out in his name. No logical riffraff, no linguistic acrobatics. By the way, Bowman’s attempt at personalizing the holy spirit has been debunked. The spirit is personified, period.

    Acts 2:33

    Jesus does not sit on God’s throne. And, even if he did, unless Bowman and his fellow tribesmen can prove Jesus is God, his sitting on the throne of God means nothing less that what is stated here:

    1 Chr 29:23 “And Solomon proceeded to sit upon Yahweh’s throne as king in place of David his father and to make a success of it, and all the Israelites were obedient to him.”

    Folks, our friend Bowman believes Solomon and David are God Almighty! If not, then, for whatever reason, not Jesus either…for the same reason.

    He quotes Joel 2:28 where Yahweh is said to pour out some of His spirit. Well, that nicely proves that Yahweh is the Initiator. The Father, who sends the holy spirit in Jesus name is conclusively proven to be Yahweh, separate and distinct from Jesus as the Father is! Once again, he has to get these essentials right first. Only then may he advance to the level of valid conclusions.

    Bowman desperately tries to make Jesus’ designation to be God’s King an eternal thing by making it sound that only the publicity thereof alone was new.

    Therefore, Luke clearly does not understand Peter to mean that Jesus receives these titles for the first time at his resurrection and exaltation to the right hand of the Father. Evidently, by “God made him both Lord and Christ” Luke understands Peter to mean that in his resurrection and exaltation, Jesus was vindicated or publicly presented or officially declared to the world as both Lord and Christ

    Close, but no cigar…I think Luke knew exactly what Peter meant. But let’s allow Peter to explain himself what he meant:

    1 Pet. 1:20 “True, he was foreknown before the founding of the world, but he was made manifest at the end of the times for your sake.”

    Prolepsis, Bob, prolepsis…

    Romans 8:9-11

    The fact that the Spirit can be described in the same context as both “the Spirit of God” and “the Spirit of Christ” proves that “Spirit of God” does not mean the energy or power that belongs to and emanates from God’s being and that Christ supposedly “uses” as God gives it to him.

    See, this is the kind of imaginary “rules” Bowman creates – something he is notorious for. Doctrinal fumes have damaged his reasoning beyond repair. To the rest of us, the spirit of God is the spirit which Jesus also received as a means to act in God’s stead.

    Romans 8:26-27, 33-34

    Here Paul speaks of two divine persons who intercede for us: the Spirit, and Christ Jesus. That these are two distinct yet complementary acts or types of intercession is clear from how Paul describes each. The Spirit intercedes for us from within us, “with groaning too deep for words.” The Son, Christ Jesus, intercedes for us from “the right hand of God.”

    I cannot see how this in any way naturally leads to his conclusion. It points out that God is the receiver of prayer, Whom we reach by Jesus’ intercession, and the spirit’s help. Well, Bowman just proved that the Father is God alone (John 14:6)!

    Bowman must be either blind, or dishonest. In verse 11 it says: “If, now, the spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he that raised up Christ Jesus from the dead will also make your mortal bodies alive through his spirit that resides in you.” Here the spirit is something God used to raise up Jesus. That’s the Unitarian point exactly! Why, since he insists that the spirit of God is a person, he doesn’t also insist that the “spirit of slavery” (v. 15) is also a person as well as “the spirit of adoption”? What is more, we will be “joint heirs” with Christ! We will inherit what Christ inherited! Does that make us God also? What is more, and Bowman as capitalized on this immensely, is that Christ is depicted as someone different from, not the Father (which is in line with trinitarianism), but from God. This is a dilemma for trinitarians, as Jesus cannot be different from God, but has to be God Himself. He capitalized on it, since for us, there is one God, the Father, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, so it’s easy to see this otherwise obvious contradiction for trinitarianism to slip by unnoticed.

    See also verse 29 where we are called brothers of Christ. Anthropomorphically we are related to Christ as brothers are to their eldest brother. This is a dilemma for trinitarians, since we, along with Christ are in the class of being sons of God. A clear distinction in equality and being along with Christ. And finally, if Jesus were God, his love would be God’s love by definition. It is thus an unnecessary tautology to say that “God’s love is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (verse 39). Bowman the cherry picker missed all these refuting verses to only highlight the vague ones he could strain into his doctrinal mold.

    1 Cor. 12-4-6

    The deliberate parallelism of these three lines practically speaks for itself. If a Jew unfamiliar with Christianity read these lines alone, he would certainly understand “the same Spirit,” “the same Lord,” and “the same God” to be three synonymous expressions for the same Creator. We know from the immediate context that the one whom Paul identifies here as “the same Lord” is Jesus (v. 3).

    Oops! Double standards! Bowman commits his own fabricated “fallacy of definition-by-parallelism!” Secondly, parallelism means the one entity is the other parallel entity:

    Ps 113:1, 2 When Israel went out of Egypt, the house of Jacob from a barbarous people:

    [Israel is the house of Jacob; Egypt is the barbarous people]

    2 Judea made his sanctuary, Israel his dominion.

    [Judea is Israel; his sanctuary is his dominion]

    Oh, bad one! Bowman’s parallelism proves that the same Spirit is the same Lord is the same God…That is Oneness Pentacostalism or Modalism! Ouch!

    2 Corinthians 13:14

    “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you all.”

    There’s nothing more to say about this verse. It is self-explanatory. This should be the clear verse to be used to understand the other “triadic” verses, where Jesus, distinct from God, and the spirit, our unifying force, are explicitly distinguished in being and function.

    Galatians 4:4-6

    If Bowman insists on parallelism (in violation of his own “definition by parallelism-fallacy”) then God’s Son would be the Spirit of God’s Son. Another modalism folley.

    Eph 2:18-22

    Bowman assumes the arbitrary assignment of YHWH to “Lord” whenever the reference is made to Jesus Christ. This doesn’t work, unless Bowman worships another YHWH. 1 Cor 8:6 would read:

    “For us there is one God, the Father…and one YHWH, Christ Jesus…” How ridiculous, isn’t it? What is more, to say our Lord or my Lord, according to Bowman, would amount to having Yehowahi and Yehowaheinu in the Hebrew! (Jehovah forgive me). That is as blasphemous as translating the Qur’an and substitute “Allah” with “trinity.” And to think people actually buy Bowman’s books!

    Eph. 4:4-6

    Bowman commits another fallacy of false dilemma. His conclusion does not follow by necessity.

    Eph. 5:18-21

    Same as above, as well as his amateurish repetition ad nauseam of substituting “Lord” with YHWH. Once again, the gullible and blind are the only ones that will fall for his concoctions.

    Jesus is our Lord, the appointed Master for our salvation, to the honor and glory of the God, Yahweh.

    1 Pet 1:2

    Same as above.

    As you can see, Bowman’s doctrinal rituals and chants amount to nothing less than logical and linguistic gibberish. There are many who are impressed by his tenacious repetition of the same old alchemical formulae. One smoke screen after another brought no substantial apparition to light. Unless, of course, the doctrinal fumes have drugged the sober mind to such and extend…that three suddenly means one…

    To God be the glory!

    Jaco

  474. on 30 May 2010 at 6:23 pmXavier

    Jaco

    Have you thought of writing a book bro? 🙂

  475. on 31 May 2010 at 2:59 amAnnie

    Hi guys,

    I agree with Xavier, brother, Jaco, have you thought of writing a book? !!

    Excellent piece of work. No arguments left on this debate! A lot to chew on bro. Keep up the good work.

    Annie

  476. on 31 May 2010 at 6:06 amMichael

    Jaco, can Jesus be God’s ontological Son?

  477. on 31 May 2010 at 6:01 pmDoubting Thomas

    Michael
    I know this wasn’t addressed to me, but if Jesus was God’s ontological Son that would mean he was something other than a human being. Jesus repeatedly referred to himself (probably several times a day) as the “Son of Man”. As a matter of fact in Mathew 26:24 it says, “The ‘Son of Man’ goes as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the ‘Son of Man’ is betrayed!…”

    This is repeated almost word for word in Mark 14:21 and Luke 22:22. Because the disciples did not question who Jesus meant by the “Son of Man” in this statement, I think it can be assumed that he must have been constantly referring to himself as the “Son of Man” throughout his entire ministry. It was clear to the disciples who Jesus was referring to when he used the phrase the “Son of Man”.

    I don’t understand, Why would Jesus repeatedly call himself human (Son of Man) if in reality he was the ontological son of God???

  478. on 31 May 2010 at 7:19 pmDave Burke

    More to the point, what is meant by “ontological Son of God”?

  479. on 01 Jun 2010 at 2:40 amJaco

    Hey, Michael

    Well, Dave jumped in ahead of me 🙂 …do you refer to Ontological Sonship in the doctrinal sense, or ontological sonship in the semantic sense of the words?

    I think one should also include in one’s paradigm the reference to Adam and holy angels, seeing that they are also called “sons of God.” Sons, not by adoption, but by creation or production, hence their relation to God in such familial terms.

    Jaco

  480. on 01 Jun 2010 at 2:44 amJaco

    Xavier

    Bro, I appreciate your compliment. It has crossed my mind, yes, but I think I’ll start off by translating some books into Afrikaans for the sake of my people who live in a rather isolated world where it comes to religious matters.

    You’ve gone a bit quiet. We miss your research and comments here.

    Chat soon!

    Jaco

  481. on 01 Jun 2010 at 3:55 amAnnie

    Jaco,

    Good idea brother. Some Afrikaans reads would have great benefit to many sincere seekers of truth.

    However this would be a great task. You mentioned being occupied with studies. Hope it fits into such a schedule. Good luck if this is to happen.

    There is a desperate need for some bible literature in Afrikaans in this part of the world.

    Looking forward to more great discussions from all.

    Annie

  482. on 01 Jun 2010 at 7:14 amMichael

    Thomas writes … but if Jesus was God’s ontological Son that would mean he was something other than a human being.

    Response-To that I would agree.

    Dave writes… what is meant by “ontological Son of God”?

    Response- If in the simplest terms ontological refers to a category of being, Mary is a human being and God is not a human being so can God have an ontological child and did he have an ontological child in Jesus with Mary?

    Jaco writes… do you refer to Ontological Sonship in the doctrinal sense, or ontological sonship in the semantic sense of the words? I think one should also include in one’s paradigm the reference to Adam and holy angels, seeing that they are also called “sons of God

    Response- The range of interpretations of the words “son of God” does not come down to semantics and since no angel or Adam has been begotten by God ones definitions pertaining to them does not affect whether or not Jesus is the ontological Son of God. So since we all enjoy the study of scripture you or anyone can answer the question doctrinally.

  483. on 01 Jun 2010 at 7:38 amDave Burke

    Michael:

    Response- If in the simplest terms ontological refers to a category of being, Mary is a human being and God is not a human being so can God have an ontological child and did he have an ontological child in Jesus with Mary?

    I don’t believe that God had an ontological child with Mary. He enabled a miraculous conception through the power of the Holy Spirit, and Mary’s child was totally human. It did not “inherit” deity from God, if that’s what you’re getting at.

  484. on 01 Jun 2010 at 7:50 amMichael

    Dave writes… I don’t believe that God had an ontological child with Mary. He enabled a miraculous conception through the power of the Holy Spirit, and Mary’s child was totally human.

    Response- Then all denominations astonishingly have complete agreement on the belief that Jesus as the “Son of God” is not God’s Son ontologically.

  485. on 01 Jun 2010 at 7:53 amDave Burke

    Michael:

    Response- Then all denominations astonishingly have complete agreement on the belief that Jesus as the “Son of God” is not God’s Son ontologically.

    You’d think so, wouldn’t you? Yet I have seen Trinitarians argue that Jesus is God on the basis of his divine conception. The usual formula for this type of claim is “like begets like; human begets human; God begets God.” Unfortunately for Trinitarians who subscribe to this view, it only results in polytheism.

  486. on 01 Jun 2010 at 8:42 amMichael

    Dave writes… I have seen Trinitarians argue that Jesus is God on the basis of his divine conception.

    Response- I believe the official Trinitarian definition of God as the Father of Jesus has them eternally coexisting negating God from having a son.

    So if Jesus is not the Son of God ontologically then is “Son of God” a title?

  487. on 01 Jun 2010 at 8:47 amDave Burke

    Michael:

    Response- I believe the official Trinitarian definition of God as the Father of Jesus has them eternally coexisting negating God from having a son.

    Correct. Some Trinitarians take it even further, claiming that Jesus’ Sonship is “eternal”; ie. he was always God’s Son. Other Trinitarians reject this as dangerously heretical. It’s just one of the many problems they have with their Christology.

    So if Jesus is not the Son of God ontologically then is “Son of God” a title?

    Well, it is a title, but it’s also a literal description. Adam was the Son of God because God created him (Luke 3:38). The same applies to Jesus; he is God’s Son because God created him.

  488. on 01 Jun 2010 at 3:29 pmJaco

    Michael,

    I see what you mean. To me it does boil down to semantics. One has to start with an apparatus according to which one’s paradigms can be tested. The same with ontological sonship. To give an exhaustive and well-define description thereof would be the best, seeing that a rather wide range of meanings can be attached to it. Much like “soul” or “progressive revelation” today. The boundaries of what should be allowed in these categories are rather fuzzy, hence their vastly disparate meanings.

    You say,

    The range of interpretations of the words “son of God” does not come down to semantics and since no angel or Adam has been begotten by God ones definitions pertaining to them does not affect whether or not Jesus is the ontological Son of God. So since we all enjoy the study of scripture you or anyone can answer the question doctrinally.

    No, I won’t be allured into the snare of dogmatic speculation. So, I’ll keep it Biblical and cognitive-linguistically valid as possible. Anthropomorphically it essentially or fundamentally indicates: a relationship. That of a son to an Originator (explicitly), even a Father (implicitly). It indicates a distinctness in individuals. Hebraically it indicates a difference in authority, age (time), honor, glory, even power. One can embark on a philosophical/mystical explanation of it all, but then one divorces our interpretation from the Biblical world-view we’re seeking to have. (E.g., although barzakh means “purgatory” according to Islam, it would be disengenuous to try and define or interpret aspects of barzakh through the eyes of Roman Catholicism).

    So, to return to sonship, Jesus was the son of God, as are the angels and Adam. With all three these entities the same essential anthropomorphic aspects above have to apply. Being the “only-begotten” son of God does elaborate on certain aspects of sonship. Aspects now coming into play involve Jesus’ relation, not only to God, but also to humanity. His pre-eminence also comes into play, since no-one before or since his birth will be brought into being that way. Heirship is another aspect, as well as representativeness (see the parable in Lu. 20:8-18), in that God’s agent, or sh’liach, would ultimately and preferrably be his son – the one He could trust most with His affairs.

    Beyond these essentials, being “only-begotten” doesn’t change much. It does not change the essential conditions of sonship (according to the Hebrews). It does not suddenly elevate Jesus to a level of Almighty Godship (slippery slope). Nor does it change Jesus’ relation to his Father from a derived relationship (derived in the real, non-doctrinal sense of the word) to an eternal one. No. No confusion of the cognitive boundaries established and communicated by our spiritual ancestors.

    The doctrinal idea of Ontological Sonship is something many, many churches do hold to (in formality, that is.) It means that Jesus’ “Being” as “God the Son” is eternal (Calvin) and not derived, or derived in Person (Athanasian) but co-eternal within God in essence as the Logos. I assure you, friends, that you’ll have better luck figuring out the relationships among the characters of Hindu legends than the mystical/philosophical possibilities instigated by the logically boundless doctrine of the trinity.

    Trinitarians need redefined and historically novel (anachronistic) concepts to end up with a trinitarian outline. Beyond that one’s options are endless in formulating absurd and fantastic intricacies within the trinitarian “realm.” Spiritual alienation and destitution are the inevitable consequences of such an endeavor.

    Jaco

  489. on 01 Jun 2010 at 5:19 pmDoubting Thomas

    Michael (482)
    You said, “Thomas writes…..’but if Jesus was God’s ontological Son that would mean he was something other than a human being.’ Response – To that I would agree.”

    I’m not an expert or a scholar, but I still don’t understand, Why Jesus would be constantly (repeatedly) referring to himself as human (Son of Man) if in reality he was something other than a human being??

    It seems to me that he was pretty clear about stating that he was human…

  490. on 01 Jun 2010 at 8:49 pmMichael

    Dave writes…. Adam was the Son of God because God created him (Luke 3:38). The same applies to Jesus; he is God’s Son because God created him.

    Luke 3:38 Which was the son of Enos, which was the son of Seth, which was the son of Adam, which was the son of God.

    Response- Of course Luke 3:38 does not actually state that Adam was called the Son of God because God created him and if that logic is faulty then the conclusion is also. The fact that God can create a man does not make him God’s son.

    Luke 3:8 Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance, and begin not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, That God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.

    Dave writes of the term son of God… is a title, but it’s also a literal description.

    Response- Again, how can God have a literal Son that is not in the same category of being that He is?

  491. on 02 Jun 2010 at 1:02 amFortigurn

    Michael,

    The fact that God can create a man does not make him God’s son.

    You’re actually claiming Luke’s reference to Adam as a son of God is invalid. The fact that God caused a man to come into being legitimizes Luke referring to that man as a son of God.

    Response- Again, how can God have a literal Son that is not in the same category of being that He is?

    Because being a literal father means being responsible for causing another person to come into existence. This does not require the son to share the same category of being as the father. Again, Luke.

  492. on 02 Jun 2010 at 3:04 amMichael

    Thomas writes… I’m not an expert or a scholar

    Response- That’s ok because it is the experts and scholars that of necessity invent words not found in scripture to explain the words that are used in scripture for our understanding.

    Thomas writes… Why Jesus would be constantly (repeatedly) referring to himself as human (Son of Man) if in reality he was something other than a human being??

    Response- Jesus was a human being when he was born in Bethlehem the difference being he was the second Adam and it was what these two Adams had that made them different than any human being before the resurrection and not how they were created.

    Jaco’s writes… Jesus was the son of God, as are the angels and Adam. With all three these entities the same essential anthropomorphic aspects above have to apply.

    Response- But Jesus and Adam are human beings?

    Jaco writes… Being the “only-begotten” son of God does elaborate on certain aspects of sonship. Aspects now coming into play involve Jesus’ relation, not only to God, but also to humanity. His pre-eminence also comes into play, since no-one before or since his birth will be brought into being that way.

    Response- Will anyone be brought into existence again with a rib and if they were how would they relate to their humanity?

    Jaco writes… that God’s agent, or sh’liach, would ultimately and preferrably be his son – the one He could trust most with His affairs.

    Response- Jaco, can Jesus be God’s ontological Son?

    Jaco writes… The doctrinal idea of Ontological Sonship is something many, many churches do hold to (in formality, that is.) It means that Jesus’ “Being” as “God the Son” is eternal (Calvin) and not derived,

    Response- But do you believe that God can beget an ontological son?

    Fortigurn writes… You’re actually claiming Luke’s reference to Adam as a son of God is invalid. The fact that God caused a man to come into being legitimizes Luke referring to that man as a son of God.

    Response- Luke’s reference to Adam as the son of God is completely valid I simply point out that he did say that it was because God created him.

    Fortigurn writes… Because being a literal father means being responsible for causing another person to come into existence. This does not require the son to share the same category of being as the father. Again, Luke.

    Response- I’m sure Eve feels really left out of this conversation but again you are making the claim that Adam and Jesus are called sons of God because God created them and install Luke to verify this position when Luke himself claims God can make children form rocks and Abraham is their father.

    This position inadvertently has you and every denomination denying the Creator procreation at the very outset of trying to understanding God as the Father of Jesus.

  493. on 02 Jun 2010 at 3:20 amDave Burke

    Michael, you’re sounding like a polytheist.

  494. on 02 Jun 2010 at 3:57 amMichael

    Dave writes… you’re sounding like a polytheist.

    Response-Is it because I don’t agree the position that if God creates a human being they are His children or because I don’t deny the Creator procreation?

  495. on 02 Jun 2010 at 4:16 amDave Burke

    Michael: it’s because you seem to believe God created another god via procreation.

  496. on 02 Jun 2010 at 4:26 amMichael

    Dave writes… you seem to believe God created another god via procreation.

    Response- The word god is a title used and given to many and if someone with the title of god procreates the result is not two gods.

  497. on 02 Jun 2010 at 8:27 amDoubting Thomas

    Michael (msg. 492)
    You said, “Jesus was a human being when he was born in Bethlehem.”

    I’m just curious.

    When was it that you believe Jesus became the ontological Son of God??

    Also, Do you believe we all have the potential to become the ontological Sons of God??

  498. on 02 Jun 2010 at 9:48 amJaco

    Hi, all

    I have not welcomed Michael or Fortigurn yet. I’m glad you’ve joined us on the blog, friends. Hope to learn a lot from you.

    Michael, you can use HTML tags when writing quotes. One’s comments come out nicely laid-out.

    You write:

    But Jesus and Adam are human beings?

    Well, exactly! “Nature,” or “essence,” or “deity” are not at issue here. Coming into existence is. And, as with the angels, both Adam and Jesus were brought into existence by Yahweh.

    Will anyone be brought into existence again with a rib and if they were how would they relate to their humanity?

    The means of coming into existence has no bearing on the creature’s eligibility to be God’s son or not. Origin is.

    Jaco, can Jesus be God’s ontological Son?

    I answered you in the rest of post #488.

    But do you believe that God can beget an ontological son?

    Michael, from your comments here and the ones you made previously, where you deny any church believing in Jesus’ Ontological Sonship, I cannot clearly figure out what you exactly mean by that term. I will only be able to answer you once you’ve given me an unambiguous explanation of your understanding of what Ontological Sonship is and what it isn’t.

    The word god is a title used and given to many and if someone with the title of god procreates the result is not two gods.

    Michael, did God actually procreate? That sounds to me like Ancient Near-Eastern mythology…

    Tell us what you believe. Tell us in some detail.

    Jaco

  499. on 02 Jun 2010 at 7:02 pmMichael

    Jaco writes… The means of coming into existence has no bearing on the creature’s eligibility to be God’s son or not. Origin is.

    Response- Jesus himself claimed that God could raise children from stones and they would not be God’s children so origin clearly does not determine ones status as a child of God.

    Jaco writes… you deny any church believing in Jesus’ Ontological Sonship, I cannot clearly figure out what you exactly mean by that term.

    Response- One cannot father a child and the child is outside the father’s category of being. The problem with the Unitarian position with the term “Son of God” is they want it to be a title and a literal fathering by God. They want God who is not a human being the literal, biological father a human being.

    Jaco writes… did God actually procreate?

    Response- It is Unitarians that believe that He did and deny that He can.

  500. on 02 Jun 2010 at 7:31 pmDoubting Thomas

    Michael
    You said, “One cannot father a child and the child is outside the father’s category of being.”

    As Christians we are grafted on to the children of Abraham even though Abraham is not biologically our father. God get’s to decide who is children are. We don’t get to decide who are father is.

    You also said, “The problem with the Unitarian position with the term “Son of God” is they want it to be a title and a literal fathering by God.”

    I don’t know of any Unitarian that seems to believe this except maybe you. If indeed you actually are a Unitarian. You continually ask questions of people here and yet ignore question after question asked of you and what you believe. Are you ashamed of your beliefs??

  501. on 02 Jun 2010 at 11:32 pmMichael

    Thomas writes… As Christians we are grafted on to the children of Abraham even though Abraham is not biologically our father.

    Response- Abraham is the father of the faithful much like someone can be the father of a country but no one refers to them literal or biological fathers as you point out.

    Thomas writes… You also said, “The problem with the Unitarian position with the term “Son of God” is they want it to be a title and a literal fathering by God.”I don’t know of any Unitarian that seems to believe this except maybe you.

    Response- There’s many examples on this thread and blog of people that want the term “Son of God” to be literal, ontological, look at the answers from Dave B and a Unitarian teacher on this blog to the same question.

    Question-So if Jesus is not the Son of God ontologically then is “Son of God” a title?

    Dave writes…Well, it is a title, but it’s also a literal description. Adam was the Son of God because God created him (Luke 3:38). The same applies to Jesus; he is God’s Son because God created him.

    Unitarian teacher writes… I believe that “Son of God” is a title that was prophesied about the Messiah, Luke 1:35 indicate he was ontologically God’s Son as well. Both are true.

    Thomas writes… You continually ask questions of people here and yet ignore question after question asked of you and what you believe. Are you ashamed of your beliefs??

    Response- Quid pro quo, has my main question been answered? Is the term “Son of God” a title or a literal, biological and ontological relationship between the Father and Jesus?

    Is it the Unitarian position that both are true?

  502. on 02 Jun 2010 at 11:48 pmrobert

    I think Luke sums it up perfectly by saying “SHALL BE CALLED”, Not “Shall Be”
    Nothing ontological,biological or literal could be refered that way.
    This is a simple title refering to his future kingship, his office as a prophet and his annointing as a Priest.
    What he was exalted to After his resurrection it still to be answered

    Luke 1:32

    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:

    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.

  503. on 03 Jun 2010 at 7:42 amJaco

    Michael,

    To only pick one section of Scripture (Lu. 3:8), even a metaphorical one, and then divorce it from other references to “son” or “sons of Abraham,” make for a flawed argument at best! The NT, from John the Baptiser to Paul and John, gives a much grander theological meaning to being of Abraham’s seed.

    Richard T. Ritenbaugh (Theologian/Bible commentator) says:

    Abraham is the father of the faithful. He is a type of God the Father; Isaac was a type of the Son, Jesus Christ. Humanly, he is the head of the family—of those who are loved by God, who love God, and are obedient to Him.

    (emphasis mine)

    Gal. 3:26, 27, 29 “You are all, in fact, sons of God through your faith in Christ Jesus. For all of you who were baptised into Christ have put on Christ. Moreover, if you belong to Christ, you are really Abraham’s seed, heirs with reference to a promise”

    John 8:39 “In answer they said to him: ‘Our father is Abraham.’ Jesus said to them: ‘If you are Abraham’s children, do the works of Abraham.'”

    Jesus said that, in order to qualify as Abraham’s offspring, his listeners, not Abraham, had to do something. It is not a matter of Abraham bringing forth children. It is a matter of proving yourself eligible for sonship as Abraham’s offspring, by conduct that gives evidence of having faith like Abraham.

    To be a son of Abraham, the NT employs an antitype of Abraham (Yahweh), an antitype of Isaac (Jesus) and an antitype of his seed (Christians as adopted sons). So we are sons of God, the greater Abraham by adoption, and spiritual sons of Abraham by faith. The usage is thus metaphorical or symbolical.

    You are utterly equivocating when you use this symbolic usage as a basis for determining the sonship of Jesus as it relates to the Father. What is more, you argue inconsistently by insisting on using Lu. 3:8 as a reference, while ignoring other precise expressions, namely, “son of God” (Adam) and “sons of God” (angels).

    As with the rest of creation, it was God’s spirit which brought Jesus into being. Luke 1:35 ascribes Jesus’ sonship precisely to (dio kai) his begettal in Mary’s womb by holy spirit. This makes Jesus part of creation:

    Ps. 104:30 “If you send forth your spirit, they are created; And you make the face of the ground new.”

    Job. 33:4 “God’s own spirit made me, And the Almighty’s own breath proceeded to bring me to life.”

    One cannot father a child and the child is outside the father’s category of being.

    Are you referring to God or to humans? With humans sexual intercourse is necessary…so, does it also have to be the case with God? If, with humans, the child has to be inside the father’s category of being, was Adam and the angels also within the Father’s category of being?

    Abraham is the father of the faithful much like someone can be the father of a country but no one refers to them literal or biological fathers as you point out.

    Exactly! That’s metaphorical use. To apply this to Jesus, the angels and Adam, you have to prove metaphor in their case first.

    Quid pro quo, has my main question been answered? Is the term “Son of God” a title or a literal, biological and ontological relationship between the Father and Jesus?

    Michael, you can quote Latin expressions, but you cannot reply to a simple English statement. What part of “Explain yourself” don’t you understand?

    It’s not about quid pro quo, friend. As far as I know, normal human communication consists of a reactional turn-taking in communicating messages. This is a discussion blog. You’ve only assumed a position of interrogator on here, and even presumptuously so. Unless you give us something substantial to work towards, thus abandoning your hit-and-run tactics, we’re wasting everybody’s time.

    Respectfully yours,

    Jaco

  504. on 03 Jun 2010 at 11:14 amMichael

    Jaco writes… You’ve only assumed a position of interrogator on here, and even presumptuously so.

    Response- For a group that dissect s every nuance of Trinitarian doctrine like lab rats and cheers those that debate them as conquering heroes and endlessly tell tales of the battles in detail you have little stomach for defining your own beliefs. I am not here to teach anyone anything I simply want to know how Unitarians see Jesus as the Son of God.

    You have teachers on this blog that believe that the words” Son of God “when applied to Jesus are a title and indicate that he is also the ontological Son of God and you have absolutely nothing to say about it yet at the same time you produce the longest posts on this blog so you can “give my little contribution in the Great Trinity Debate”

    You have teachers on this board that write.. ..Jesus is the Son of God by divine conception, but he is also the son of man by way of his human mother. This combination makes him a different type of being, but no less the biological Son of God.We see something like this in the animal kingdom. Certain species can be combined to form a new type of animal. For example, a mule is a cross between a horse and a donkey. It is a different type of animal from either of its parents, but is no less the offspring of those parents.

    And you want to know what I believe?

  505. on 03 Jun 2010 at 11:54 amrobert

    Michael
    For the last year you have shown up on average every 3 months to ask the same question over and over again. Your question has been answered by many as to what they believe but when they turn the question on you, you fail to answer.
    Do you believe Jesus to be the ontological son of the creator GOD?
    Or do you believe Jesus to be the biological son(half breed) of the creator God?
    Or do you believe that Jesus can be the literal son of the creator God some other way?
    Or do you believe that while Jesus was on earth he was the son by means of title? If so what is his status after his resurrection?

  506. on 03 Jun 2010 at 2:42 pmMark C.

    For a group that dissect s every nuance of Trinitarian doctrine like lab rats and cheers those that debate them as conquering heroes and endlessly tell tales of the battles in detail you have little stomach for defining your own beliefs. I am not here to teach anyone anything I simply want to know how Unitarians see Jesus as the Son of God.

    There is no single view about this among Biblical Unitarians, even those who post here. There are some who believe that “son of God” is a title and that he is not literally the ontological son. There are others who believe that while “son of God” is a title, Jesus is also called the “only begotten” which implies literal begetting. But all agree that he is the Son of God and not God the Son, which is what defines a Biblical Unitarian.

  507. on 03 Jun 2010 at 5:21 pmDave Burke

    Michael:

    You have teachers on this blog that believe that the words” Son of God “when applied to Jesus are a title and indicate that he is also the ontological Son of God

    Really? Can you quote anyone who has actually said this?

  508. on 03 Jun 2010 at 6:08 pmMichael

    Mark writes… There is no single view about this among Biblical Unitarians, even those who post here. There are some who believe that “son of God” is a title and that he is not literally the ontological son. There are others who believe that while “son of God” is a title, Jesus is also called the “only begotten” which implies literal begetting. But all agree that he is the Son of God and not God the Son, which is what defines a Biblical Unitarian.

    Response- This clear and concise answer makes perfect sense, there has to be a driving force in anyone’s or groups faith that causes an action, a pearl of great price if you will.

    For instance, I once spoke to a Unitarian Universalist minister who explained that what drove their group was not believing the Bible. I thought it odd because this Bible unbelieving church needed the Bible as much as any Bible believing church. The UU’s power came not from belief but from unbelief.

    This is similar to Biblical Unitarians who need Trinitarians to believe that Jesus is God the Son so they can believe that Jesus is not God the Son so like the UU’s the BU’s power comes from unbelief not knowledge of who Jesus is.

    Dave writes… Really? Can you quote anyone who has actually said this?

    Response- Can I? Yes. Will I? No.

  509. on 03 Jun 2010 at 6:15 pmDave Burke

    Michael:

    Dave writes… Really? Can you quote anyone who has actually said this?

    Response- Can I? Yes. Will I? No.

    LOL

    In other words, you can’t.

  510. on 03 Jun 2010 at 8:05 pmDoubting Thomas

    Micheal
    Since you refuse to disclose what it is you actually believe that leaves all the rest of us to guess. From analyzing your comments and your behavior I believe it is very likely that you are an angry Trinitarian attempting to ridicule the Biblical Unitarian’s beliefs/teachings. This would seem to explain why you are so secretive about what your beliefs actually are.

    You don’t really believe that Jesus is the ontological Son of God you believe Jesus is actually God pretending to be his own son. The ontological son stuff is just your way of trying to demonstrate that our beliefs are ridiculous. But I would say that the Trinitarian belief that God was just pretending to be his own son is really the ridiculous belief…

  511. on 03 Jun 2010 at 8:12 pmDave Burke

    I reckon you’ve got it right, DT.

  512. on 04 Jun 2010 at 2:55 amJaco

    Doubting Thomas,

    Man, I couldn’t have said it any better.

    Michael,

    For a group that dissect s every nuance of Trinitarian doctrine like lab rats…

    Like lab rats?! No! Lab rats are highly sophisticated animals. They have fully differentiated, fully functioning organs and systems testifying to their being divinely created. I initially thought that a more fitting comparison would be dissecting sponge…but that too is so sophisticated, so beautifully in harmony with the rest of creation, that even that would create a false analogy. So, to correct you here, your analogy would require something of purely human origin. Something doing violence to logic, to established truth, more like a cloning experiment or necromancy-gone-wrong with horrific consequences. Well, taking the trinity invention and recalling how its key figures and adherents have done violence, not only to other humans (remember Calvin the Murderer), but also to logic and plain Biblical hermeneutics, I’d rather say we’re dissecting old Frankenstein. Not much brain…not much purpose…not much anything useful, but horror.

    …and cheers those that debate them as conquering heroes and endlessly tell tales of the battles in detail…

    You got it right here. Much like the victory song after Moses and the Israelites “conquered” Egypt through Yahweh’s hand.

    …you have little stomach for defining your own beliefs.

    Oh, boy, that’s like the the owl telling the sparrow that it has a big head…lol!

    Michael, you’d achieve much more if you stop acting as the elusive Pink Panther.

    Cheers!

  513. on 05 Jun 2010 at 5:19 amFortigurn

    Xavier, I would be very happy to discuss satan and demons with you. There is some highly significant data in the New Testament which people typically overlook. In 86% of the New Testament books, there are only 7 references to demons. This means that 14% of the books contain 95% of the New Testament references to demons. All of those five books belong to the same genre, and three of them are recording basically the same narrative. This is data which requires a coherent explanation.

    Furthermore, the demon possession pattern in the synoptics is geographically identifiable, and reflects consistent historical data. In the synoptics we find demon possession common in the rural areas, common in low socio-economic areas, common in areas of multi-ethnic tension, yet gradually less and less common the closer we move to areas of urban density, to the point that demon possession within the most developed cities becomes virtually non-existent, even though people may refer to them.

    This speaks to the historical accuracy of the gospels, since this is an observably repeated distribution pattern of belief in demons across cultures and throughout recorded history. It also has strong affinities with the distribution of belief in witches, and the geographical/socio-economic distribution of the witch hunts.

    There’s a lot more in the New Testament data than people realise. Simply attributing a belief in demons to the New Testament writers does not explain this, nor does it explain the massive Old Testament body of data, in which demons are nothing more than the false gods of the heathen which (the Bible insists), do not exist.

  514. on 05 Jun 2010 at 2:23 pmFortigurn

    Jeco, I have really enjoyed reading your analysis of the debate, and have copied your posts into a Word document for later reference (I hope you don’t mind).

  515. on 05 Jun 2010 at 3:53 pmJaco

    Fortigurn

    To value my analysis of the debate that highly comes as a huge surprise. I am truly grateful. You’re more more than welcome to do so.

    (I suppose I should too…)

    Jaco

  516. on 05 Jun 2010 at 4:46 pmDoubting Thomas

    Jaco
    You said, “That’s like the owl telling the sparrow that it has a big head.”

    I love reading some of your very unique expressions…. 🙂

  517. on 05 Jun 2010 at 6:40 pmMargaret Collier

    Jaco – I see the subject of Satan and demons has come up again.

    The subject of demons is being debated in the comments at the end of Dale Tuggy’s assessment of Round 6. You might be interested in reading them. The url is http://trinities.org/blog/archives/2008

  518. on 05 Jun 2010 at 6:41 pmDave Burke

    For an evil supernatural being, the devil seems to be remarkably popular.

    “Satan: the guy Christians love to hate!”

    😛

  519. on 05 Jun 2010 at 10:07 pmDoubting Thomas

    Margaret
    I just read the demon debate at the trinities.org website and it was fascinating. By the way I think you made some really good points. You might want to mention that if demon possession was just a simple mental illness than, Why couldn’t the disciples drive the demon out of the one young man? Why could only Jesus do it? Why did Jesus say that for this particular demon prayer was required?

    Thanks for posting the link…

  520. on 06 Jun 2010 at 2:32 amDave Burke

    What’s your explanation for that incident, DT? Why would a demon be any more resistant to the disciples than to Christ?

  521. on 06 Jun 2010 at 4:01 amFortigurn

    DT,

    You might want to mention that if demon possession was just a simple mental illness than, Why couldn’t the disciples drive the demon out of the one young man?

    The issue was lack of faith (Mark 9:19), not Special Skillz(tm). If you don’t have sufficient faith, it doesn’t matter if you’re trying to heal a broken leg or cast out a demon, it’s not going to work.

    Lane, W. L. (1974). The Gospel of Mark. The New International Commentary on the New Testament (335):

    This response contains at least the implicit criticism that the disciples had failed because they had not acted in prayer and sincere faith.

    France, R. T. (2002). The Gospel of Mark : A commentary on the Greek text (370):

    The disciples’ problem, on this understanding, has been a loss of the sense of dependence on Jesus’ unique ἐξουσία which had undergirded their earlier exorcistic success.

    Evans, C. A. (2002). Vol. 34B: Word Biblical Commentary : Mark 8:27-16:20. Word Biblical Commentary (54):

    The story also underscores the importance of faith, for along with repentance it is the prerequisite for unleashing the power of the kingdom of God. When faith is present, God works.

    Black, A. (1995). Mark. The College Press NIV commentary (Mk 9:19):

    The disciples revealed their weakness in faith by their inability to cast out the demon.

  522. on 06 Jun 2010 at 9:23 amRay

    In Mark 19, about the one who was possessed by a devil, Jesus dealt with his parents about this.

    Why didn’t his disciples?

    It seems to me that devils find legal access into the lives of people.
    I wonder if it was necessary for the whole family that was present
    to agree with Jesus for this to happen? (the boy and his parents)

    Had Jesus been stronger in prayer and fasting than his disciples?
    I think so.

    If a man cast out a devil out of “his” house, could their be some retaliation? Does God protect us?

    I find a lot to think about here.

  523. on 06 Jun 2010 at 3:44 pmDoubting Thomas

    Dave
    You asked, “What’s your explanation for that incident, DT? Why would a demon be any more resistant to the disciples than to Christ?”

    I can only guess. But I think this was more than a simple case of demon possession. Apparently the boy had been this way since he was a young child. This makes me think that this actually might have been a case of mental illness and not demon possession which would explain why prayer was needed to heal the boy. If it had just been a simple case of demon possession than the disciples would have been able to cast the demon out.

    Of course this is just speculation on my part. But from what I understand when Satan fell he took 1/3 of the angels with him. What happened to all these angels?? Also in 1st. Corinthians 7:5 it says, “….but then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self control.”

    And in Luke 10:18 Jesus says, “I saw Satan fall like lightening from heaven.” It would seem at this point Satan was permanently evicted from heaven. Also in Luke 22:3 it says, “Then Satan entered into Judas called Iscariot, who was of the number of the twelve.” And further along in Luke 22:31 it says, “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail.”

    Why would Jesus be praying about a non existent being and his influence over Peter?? Why does Jesus talk about Satan so often (there are many other references)?? Why would Jesus pretend to be tempted by Satan in the desert??

    And in Mathew 16:18 Jesus says, “And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”

    Who is it that is being held back behind the gates of hell??

    When I first became a Christian I didn’t believe in Satan or in hell because it didn’t seem to make any sense to me, but that was before I started to study the bible and read what it actually says…

  524. on 06 Jun 2010 at 8:35 pmFortigurn

    DT,

    Why would Jesus be praying about a non existent being and his influence over Peter??

    He didn’t.

    Why does Jesus talk about Satan so often (there are many other references)??

    Actually there aren’t ‘so many references’, and look in John for a surprise. But surely you realise that Christadelphians believe that ‘satan’ is a term not only for an adversary but also for the inclinations of the flesh?

    Why would Jesus pretend to be tempted by Satan in the desert??

    He didn’t pretend.

    And in Mathew 16:18 Jesus says, “And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”

    Who is it that is being held back behind the gates of hell??

    No one. The passage says nothing about anyone being held back behind the gates of hell.

    DT, you do realise that everything you’re saying about satan and demons are the same kind of arguments used against Unitarians when it comes to ‘hell’? Why would Jesus speak of a non-existent place, so many references, where did the rich man go in the parable of the rich man and Lazarus, in which Jesus explicitly said that bad people burn in hell when they die?

  525. on 06 Jun 2010 at 10:18 pmDoubting Thomas

    Fortigurn
    You didn’t explain Luke 10:18 when Jesus says, “I saw Satan fall like lightening from heaven.” Was it an inclination of the flesh falling from Heaven? If not, Was it an adversary? If so, Who was this adversary falling from heaven?

    You also didn’t explain Luke 22:3 was it an inclination of the flesh that entered Judas of Iscariot or was it an adversary or what? Again if it was an adversary, Who was this adversary?

    You also didn’t explain Luke 22:31, “…..Satan demanded to have you….” Was this an inclination of the flesh demanding to have Peter or an adversary? Again if it was adversary, Who was this adversary?

    I asked Dave, “Why would Jesus be praying about a non existent beings influence over Peter?” You responded, “He didn’t.” But gave no explanation of the passage or what it was Jesus was actually praying about in this passage.

    I also asked Dave, “Why would Jesus pretend to be led by the Holy Spirit into the desert to be tempted by Satan?” You responded, “He didn’t pretend.” Again giving no explanation of the passage or who it was that asked him to jump from the highest point of the temple or promised him that if he would just bow down and worship him he would be given the entire earth as a reward.

    Was he to bow down and worship an inclination of the flesh or was it an adversary? Again, Who is this adversary? Why would he want him to jump off the highest point of the temple? How did he get to be on the highest point of the temple?

    You said, “The passage says nothing about anyone being held back behind the gates of hell.” If the gates of hell are not there to hold back the demons (fallen angels) what are the gates of hell for? Is it to keep us out? Are there that many people falling over themselves trying to get into hell?

    I noticed you used the same tactic on the trinities.org website. You provide super short answers like “He didn’t.” or “He didn’t pretend.” Without explaining yourself or explaining what your way of interpreting the scripture is and then acting like the other person is ignorant because they can’t figure out what the heck it is your talking about.

    Anyone reading this blog can see the difference between how clear my comments and questions are and how vague (almost non existent) your answers are…

  526. on 06 Jun 2010 at 10:49 pmMargaret Collier

    Thomas – It’s difficult to answer so many questions at once, when each answer would take a lot of explaining.

    Try one passage at a time. You might be surprised. Or you might be vindicated.

    But keep your mind open.

  527. on 06 Jun 2010 at 11:15 pmDoubting Thomas

    Fortigurn
    Margaret is right. I apologize if I was too aggressive in my questioning of your beliefs in my last message. It’s just I find it frustrating when it appears someone is trying to avoid directly answering my questions…

  528. on 07 Jun 2010 at 1:14 amFortigurn

    DT, no harm no foul. We’re good. I understand your questions, they’re all relevant. I apologize if my short answers seem abrupt, but I don’t see the point in writing lengthy replies to questions which are asking me about something I don’t believe. Dave has rightly responded the same way to Bowman. I’ve already been explicit about what I consider satan to be, so I don’t consider myself to have been vague on that point in the least.

    You’re throwing a list of passages at me and asking for individual replies to each one. Unless I explain to you the background of my understanding of the subject, and how I believe the relevant data coheres, you won’t understand how I reach my conclusions on each individual passage. The result will be that my answers appear completely ad hoc, and you won’t understand the reasoning behind them. This is precisely what happens when I discuss God and Christ with Trinitarians. They want to ‘proof text’ their way through the conversation, instead of developing an interpretive matrix.

    Not only that, but they phrase the questions within the context of what they think I believe. I have never said I believe Christ was pretending to be led by the Holy Spirit to be tempted, and I certainly never said that Jesus was praying about a non existent being’s influence over Peter. I find short answers stop this line of unproductive questioning, because they lead to the questioner asking a proper question, just as you have done, which is ‘Ok, if that’s not what you believe then what do you believe?’, which means you’re ready to listen to what I have to say instead of second guessing me. It doesn’t escape my atttention either that while I’m expected to answer all questions aimed at me, my own questions are answered selectively or not at all.

    As with the identity of Christ, it’s important to establish the Second Temple interpretive matrix first in order to identity the likely meanings of key terms such as ‘satan’, ‘devil’, and ‘demons’. Let’s look at part of that matrix. This is from John Gill, the 18th century Baptist expositor. He is useful firstly because he was a highly learned Hebrew and Aramaic exegete, very knowledgeable in the Second Temple Jewish literature, and also because he was utterly ‘orthodox’ on the subject of satan and demons, believing completely in a literal supernatural evil being called ‘satan’, and literal supernatural evil beings called ‘demons’. Let’s see what he has to sayin his note on 2 Corinthians 12:7:

    ‘’…they {a} often say, “Satan, he is the evil imagination”, or corruption of nature…’

    Current Jewish groups confirm this is a historic understanding of ‘satan’ within Judaism:

    ‘Rather, Satan is a force or adversary, according to rabbinic sources, equal to the serpent-tempter of Genesis, and the yetzer ha’ra, the evil inclination that Judaism says exists within all of us alongside our better impulses.’

    ‘Judaism teaches that these images “are different manifestations of the same [force of evil],” Kahn says. “Not that there is a physical person or an angel out there doing things, but that it’s the way in which we hold or characterize the destructive or negative forces that exist in ourselves or in the world.”’

    (Jewish News Weekly, Leslie Katz, ‘Never underestimate the power of evil, say scholars’, January 19, 1996)

    I can of course supply you with evidence of Jewish expositors holding these views:

    * 1344 (d): Levi ben Gershon (1 Samuel 24:1)
    * 1160 (b): David Kimchi (1 Samuel 24:1, Zechariah 3:1)
    * 892-942: Saadia Ben Joseph (Job 1:6)
    * 400s (?): Judah, (Micah 7:5, compare Deuteronomy 15:9 LXX)
    * 330-360: Ben Isaac (Micah 7:5, compare Deuteronomy 15:9 LXX)
    * 230-270: Simeon Ben Lakish (said that satan/the heart/angel of death are all one)
    * 135-160: Joshua Ben Kar’ha (Deuteronomy 15:9)
    * 100s AD: Jonathan Ben Uzziel (Zechariah 3:1)

    I’ll answer this gratis:

    You said, “The passage says nothing about anyone being held back behind the gates of hell.” If the gates of hell are not there to hold back the demons (fallen angels) what are the gates of hell for? Is it to keep us out? Are there that many people falling over themselves trying to get into hell?

    The verse says that the ‘gates of hell’ will not be able to withstand the Kingdom of God. The contrast is between the Kingdom of God advancing, and the gates of hell resisting. The gates of hell are not described as restraining something from getting out or in, they are described as trying to prevent the advancement of the Kingdom. It’s saying that death will not be able to prevail over the Kingdom, and specifically those who will enter it. John Gill:

    Again, the gates of “Hades,” or hell, sometimes seem to design no other than the gates of death, and the grave, and persons going into the state of death; see Job 38:17 Isa 38:10 where the Septuagint use the same phrase as here; and then the sense is, that neither death, nor the grave, shall finally, and totally prevail over the people of God, and members of Christ; but they shall be raised out of such a state, and live gloriously with him for ever.

    It’s not difficult to find standard modern commentaries saying the same. No demons, move on please, nothing to see here.

    Let me also save some time by providing you with two handouts I wrote to help explain my position on satan and demons to other people. They are only 2 pages each, and they are presented in a three column format, so they won’t take long to read.

    * https://www.yousendit.com/download/YWhOTXRTOC9RYS92Wmc9PQ

    * https://www.yousendit.com/download/YWhOTXRTOC9OMUN4dnc9PQ

    Once you’ve read them, I’d be more than willing to discuss them with you further. I’m just wondering about the propriety of doing it here however, especially in this thread. Would you prefer we go elsewhere?

  529. on 07 Jun 2010 at 1:28 amFortigurn

    Longer quote from Gill:

    Some have thought that corporeal afflictions are here designed, which may be compared to thorns: see #Ho 2:6, and which are not joyous, but grievous to the flesh, and come not by chance, but are by divine appointment, and are designed and made use of, to hide pride from men; and sometimes, by divine permission, Satan has an hand in inflicting them, as in the case of Job: whilst such a general sense is kept to, it is not to be despised, without entering into the particular bodily disorder with which the apostle was afflicted, as some do; some saying it was the choleic, others the gout, others a pain in the ear, and others the headache; which latter it is said he was much troubled with; but these are mere conjectures: others think that the corruptions of nature are intended which in regenerate persons are left, as the Canaanites were in the land, to be “thorns” in the eyes and sides of the Israelites, #Jos 23:13 Jud 2:3.

    These, to be sure, were felt by the apostle, and were very grievous and humbling to him, and were no doubt sometimes stirred up by Satan, which made him complain bitterly, and groan earnestly; and it may be observed, to strengthen this sense, that it was usual with the Jews to call concupiscence, or the vitiosity of nature, Satan; for so they {a} often say, erh ruy awh Njvh, “Satan, he is the evil imagination,” or corruption of nature; and particularly they call the lust of uncleanness by this name; and it is said {b} of a young man of Israel, being tempted by a young woman of Midian, through the counsel of Balaam, that Njvh wb rewb, “Satan burned in him,” and he turned aside after her; and that the evil imagination is the old serpent; yea, they call this “the messenger of hell,” a phrase very much like what is here used.

    . Hona {c}, as he was preaching to the children of men to take warning, said unto them, children, beware Mnhyg lv axylvm, “of the messenger of hell”; but who is this? the evil imagination, or concupiscence, is that which is “the messenger of hell”; ?

    {a} T. Bab. Bava Bathra, fol. 16. 1. Tzeror Hammor, fol. 6. 2. 3. s. 3. 10. 4. 13. 3. 20. 2. 50. 3. 58. 3. 72. 4. 73. 2. 86. 1. 87. 2. 93. 1. 96. 1. 99. 4. 100. 4. 101. 42. 113. 1. & 133. 2. & 141. 3. &; 149. 2. & 152. 3. Raya Mehimna in Zohar in Lev. fol. 7. 2.
    {b} Bemidbar Rabba, sect. 20. fol. 229. 1.
    {c} Midrash Hannelam in Zohar in Gen. fol. 67. 4.

    As you can see, Gill believed that a literal supernatural evil ‘satan’ was involved here, but he also mentions others who believe that the natural inclinations of the flesh are referred to. He also helpfully explains that the following terms were used by the Jews of the natural inclinations of the flesh:

    * Satan
    * The messenger of hell
    * The old serpent
    * The evil imagination
    * Satan burned in him

  530. on 07 Jun 2010 at 2:35 amXavier

    Fortigurn

    Following are notes from the ESV Study Bible on 1Pe 3.19:

    …the spirits are the fallen angels who were cast into hell to await the final judgment. Reasons supporting this view include:

    (a) Some interpreters say that the “sons of God” in Gen. 6:2–4 are angels (see Gen. 6:1–2) who sinned by cohabiting with human women “when God’s patience waited in the days of Noah” (1 Pet. 3:20).

    (b) Almost without exception in the NT, “spirits” (plural) refers to supernatural beings rather than people (e.g., Matt. 8:16; 10:1; Mark 1:27; 5:13; 6:7; Luke 4:36; 6:18; 7:21; 8:2; 10:20; 11:26; Acts 5:16; 8:7; 19:12, 13; 1 Tim. 4:1; 1 John 4:1; Rev. 16:13–14; cf. Heb. 1:7).

    Paul writes in Eph 6.12 that “our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the rulers [kosmocrator] of the darkness of this world, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens.”

    Vine’s Expository Dictionary of the NT says this regarding the Greek word kosmokrator:

    The context (”not against flesh and blood”) shows that not earthly potentates are indicated, but spirit powers, who, under the permissive will of God, and in consequence of human sin, exercise satanic and therefore antagonistic authority over the world in its present condition of spiritual darkness and alienation from God….Cp. John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11; 2 Cor 4:4.

    For the word “Satan” it says it “is not simply the personification of evil influences in the heart, for he tempted Christ, in whose heart no evil thought could ever have arisen (John 14:30, 2Cor 5:21; Heb 4:15); moreover his personality is asserted in both the OT and the NT, and especially in the latter, whereas if the OT language was intended to be figurative, the NT would have made this evident.”

    The ESV Study Bible says that this is a “list of spiritual rulers, authorities, and cosmic powers (see 3:10) gives a sobering glimpse into the devil’s allies, the spiritual forces of evil who are exceedingly powerful in their exercise of cosmic powers over this present darkness.”

    Daimon: In the NT it denotes “an evil spirit.” It is used in Matt. 8:31, mistranslated “devils.”

    Daimonion: In Acts 17:18, it denotes an inferior pagan deity. “Demons” are the spiritual agents acting in all idolatry. The idol itself is nothing, but every idol has a “demon” associated with it who induces idolatry, with its worship and sacrifices, 1 Cor. 10:20,21; Rev. 9:20; cp. Deut. 32:17; Isa. 13:21; 34:14; 65:3,11. They disseminate errors among men, and seek to seduce believers, 1 Tim. 4:1. As seducing spirits they deceive men into the supposition that through mediums (those who have “familiar spirits,” Lev. 20:6,27, e.g.) they can converse with deceased human beings. Hence the destructive deception of spiritism, forbidden in Scripture, Lev. 19:31; Deut. 18:11; Isa. 8:19. “Demons” tremble before God, Jas. 2:19; they recognized Christ as Lord and as their future Judge, Matt. 8:29; Luke 4:41. Christ cast them out of human beings by His own power. His disciples did so in His name, and by exercising faith, e.g., Matt. 17:20.

    Acting under Satan (cp. Rev. 16:13,14), “demons” are permitted to afflict with bodily disease, Luke 13:16. Being unclean they tempt human beings with unclean thoughts, Matt. 10:1; Mark 5:2; 7:25; Luke 8:27-29; Rev. 16:13; 18:2, e.g. They differ in degrees of wickedness, Matt. 12:45. They will instigate the rulers of the nations at the end of this age to make war against God and His Christ, Rev. 16:14.

    Further, the online NET Bible commentary adds:

    The phrase world-rulers of this darkness does not refer to human rulers but the evil spirits that rule over the world. The phrase thus stands in apposition to what follows (the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens)…The phrase spiritual forces of evil in the heavens serves to emphasize the nature of the forces which oppose believers as well as to indicate the locality from which they originate.

  531. on 07 Jun 2010 at 2:46 amFortigurn

    Xavier, Bible study notes can be useful. They are especially relevant when they are grounded firmly in the relevant socio-religious context of the text itself. They are less useful when used as a vehicle for modern theology.

    The ESV Study Bible notes are an excellent example of how to ignore facts inconvenient to one’s theology. They rightly say ‘Daimonion: In Acts 17:18, it denotes an inferior pagan deity’, and then go on for two full paragraphs blithely making assertions which are not found from one end of the Bible to another. If I followed Trinitarian study footnotes about Christ, I would have very different beliefs today. So would you.

    Similarly, Vine’s is simply an idiosyncratic commentary on the text. You will note that he didn’t pay any attention to the relevant socio-religious context, unlike Gill. I am not interested in what Vine thinks ‘satan’ means. I’m interested firstly in how the word was used in literature proximate to the New Testament.

  532. on 07 Jun 2010 at 4:30 amJaco

    Fortigurn,

    Actually there aren’t ’so many references’, and look in John for a surprise. But surely you realise that Christadelphians believe that ’satan’ is a term not only for an adversary but also for the inclinations of the flesh?

    Fortigurn, “a surprise?” I encourage you to keep the exchange free from facetious overtones, friend.

    Fortigurn, please provide us with an apparatus by which one can determine the exact identity of Satan. Provide it, please, as a necessary model to follow (i.o.w as a model superior to other necessary and valid ones).

    I apologize if my short answers seem abrupt, but I don’t see the point in writing lengthy replies to questions which are asking me about something I don’t believe. Dave has rightly responded the same way to Bowman. I’ve already been explicit about what I consider satan to be, so I don’t consider myself to have been vague on that point in the least.

    Your answer here is rather odd, Fortigurn. If I’m not mistaken, we should always be ready ‘to make a defense before everyone that demands of us a reason for the hope in us, while doing so with a mild temper and deep respect’ (1 Pet. 3:15). I would expect that a doctrine, so serious that error in one’s belief on it could result in congregational discipline, even expulsion, would receive much more comprehensive and better laid-out answers you’ve been giving. Had Dave had the same attitude toward the trinity as the one you give above, he would most certainly not have been much of an opponent to Bowman. Maybe to yourself you’ve not been vague. But, see, I don’t think you should think that it’s all about you. It’s about ‘those demanding of you a reason for the hope in you.’ And, logically, the answers we have gotten from you have in many respects been incoherent and unsatisfactory, hence our persistent questioning in this regard. “Mild-temperedness and deep respect” also include respecting our sincere concerns over aspects that we see as being Scripturally and logically crucial to the issue.

    This is precisely what happens when I discuss God and Christ with Trinitarians. They want to ‘proof text’ their way through the conversation, instead of developing an interpretive matrix.

    I think both systems, trinitarian and Unitarian, have their respective sets of matrices. They simply base their “design specifications” on different sources – one extra-biblical, mystical and illogical, the other one diametrically opposite. Likewise, with the issue at hand, we’d want to see the “design specifications,” the premises and logical deductions/inductions you’re making bringing you by necessity to your matrix.

    As you can see, Gill believed that a literal supernatural evil ’satan’ was involved here, but he also mentions others who believe that the natural inclinations of the flesh are referred to.

    Alright, Fortigurn, please explain yourself. Are you saying that the mere fact that an entity is sometimes refer to in literal terms and at other times idiomatically, the entity by necessity be regarded as metaphorical altogether?

    Your answer to Xavier has been noted, but your solution to the problem has to be more operational. You are quoting authorities yourself. Dismissing them, saying that these Jewish authorities are influenced by Kabbalistic mysticism of their time wouldn’t be very convincing, would it? You will have to do better than that, Fortigurn. Consistent hermeneutical apparatus should be everyone’s standard.

    Jaco

  533. on 07 Jun 2010 at 5:09 amFortigurn

    Jaco,

    Fortigurn, “a surprise?” I encourage you to keep the exchange free from facetious overtones, friend.

    My apologies, no offense intended. I’m just trying to keep the discussion light hearted.

    Fortigurn, please provide us with an apparatus by which one can determine the exact identity of Satan. Provide it, please, as a necessary model to follow (i.o.w as a model superior to other necessary and valid ones).

    Have you read my two handouts?

    Your answer here is rather odd, Fortigurn. If I’m not mistaken, we should always be ready ‘to make a defense before everyone that demands of us a reason for the hope in us, while doing so with a mild temper and deep respect’ (1 Pet. 3:15).

    I agree. I’ve been doing that. I’ve even posted two handouts articulating my position in some detail. But I still see no reason to make lengthy replies in responses to questions which assume I believe X, when I don’t believe X.

    Maybe to yourself you’ve not been vague.

    Could you explain what it is about my answers which you think has been vague, incoherent, and contradictory? I’ll then see to articulating myself more to your satisfaction. When for example I said that ‘satan’ means ‘adversary’, was that clear or vague? When I said that ‘satan’ could refer to the natural inclinations of the flesh, was that clear or vague? When I said that ‘satan’ could refer to an adversary, was that clear or vague?

    Likewise, with the issue at hand, we’d want to see the “design specifications,” the premises and logical deductions/inductions you’re making bringing you by necessity to your matrix.

    As I’ve said a couple of times now, I’m using the same interpretive matrix Dave is using for the Trinity debate. I’m using the Second Temple millieu, including the Old Testament and non-canonical literature and commentaries. See the two handouts for an explanation of how I’m applying that matrix.

    Are you saying that the mere fact that an entity is sometimes refer to in literal terms and at other times idiomatically, the entity by necessity be regarded as metaphorical altogether?

    No. I am saying (as John Gill already said), that since ‘the natural inclinations of the flesh’ is an established meaning within the lexical range of the word ‘satan’ and found in Jewish literature proximate to the New Testament, it is not unreasonable for me to suggest that meaning as the meaning in a given passage of Scripture which uses the word ‘satan’. I am not saying that it necessarily must have that meaning, I am saying that it is a possible and valid meaning to apply to the word ‘satan’ within the Scriptural text.

    We must then examine the broader context of the Biblical literature, and the narrower context of each passage, to determine the extent to which this particular meaning is most likely in a given passage. But I can’t be accused of applying a meaning of ‘satan’ which didn’t exist in the 1st century or wasn’t known to the Biblical writers. It did exist, and it was known to them.

    Your answer to Xavier has been noted, but your solution to the problem has to be more operational. You are quoting authorities yourself.

    I am not quoting authorities. I quoted Gill, who quoted Jewish literature. I am not relying on Gill’s authority, and nor was Gill. He quoted directly from proximate literature. We can’t pretend that literature doesn’t exist.

    Dismissing them, saying that these Jewish authorities are influenced by Kabbalistic mysticism of their time wouldn’t be very convincing, would it?

    Well it wouldn’t given that Kabbalistic mysticism post-dates the majority of these quotes by a few hundred years. But more to the point, it would be irrelevant. Regardless of how that definition of the word came to be, the fact is that it was within the lexical range of ‘satan’ during the 1st century. This means it is available as a possible meaning of the word ‘satan’ in the New Testament. Gill noted that himself.

    Consistent hermeneutical apparatus should be everyone’s standard.

    I agree. I await yours. I’ve given you two posts and two documents explaining mine, and demonstrating how I apply it.

  534. on 07 Jun 2010 at 5:12 amFortigurn

    Sorry Jaco, I omitted to blockquote one of your paragraphs in my post, this one:

    Are you saying that the mere fact that an entity is sometimes refer to in literal terms and at other times idiomatically, the entity by necessity be regarded as metaphorical altogether?

    I’m pointing out that the lexical range of the term is more than people seem to think. Neither the Hebrew or Greek words translated ‘satan’ mean simply ‘supernatural evil demon/fallen angel/demigod’ or however people want to define it along those lines.

    The lexical range is broader than that, and we must take that into account. The lexical range includes the natural inclinations of the flesh, so we must take that into account also.

  535. on 07 Jun 2010 at 5:42 amDave Burke

    So when the ESV Study Bible notes say this…

    Daimonion: In Acts 17:18, it denotes an inferior pagan deity

    …what should we conclude?

  536. on 07 Jun 2010 at 10:54 amMichael

    “Please provide us with an apparatus by which one can determine the exact identity of Satan”

    Wow, there is no Unitarian consensus on the identity of Jesus and you’ve moved on to Satan?

    Dave and Jaco believe that the term “Son of God” is a title and indicates the literal Son of God because his existence was established by God yet Jesus himself claimed that God could raise children from rocks and they would not be His children so is this a contradiction?

    Robert is clear that the term Son of God is a title only but alludes to the fact that “What he was exalted to after his resurrection it still to be answered”.

    Mark writes that “There is no single view about this among Biblical Unitarians, even those who post here….But all agree that he is the Son of God and not God the Son, which is what defines a Biblical Unitarian.”

    So when Dave has finished his debate with Mr. Bowman and is victorious because there is no Trinity spoken of in the Bible and if his vanquished foe also sees that Jesus is not God the Son and asks Dave to tell him who Jesus is does Dave tell him that the answer to who is Jesus is Jesus is not God the Son to which Mr. Bowman has already conceded?

  537. on 07 Jun 2010 at 4:57 pmDoubting Thomas

    Micheal
    There is no Trinitarian consensus on exactly what the Trinity means and how it works either. They just throw up their hands and claim it is a mystery…

  538. on 07 Jun 2010 at 5:58 pmMichael

    Thomas writes…There is no Trinitarian consensus on exactly what the Trinity means and how it works either. They just throw up their hands and claim it is a mystery…

    Response- Although not many Trinitarians can even attempt to explain the Trinity there is a general consensus of one God three persons. If there were no Trinitarians in the world would the Unitarian message still be as Mark says “that he (Jesus) is the Son of God and not God the Son, which is what defines a Biblical Unitarian”.

    If what makes people Biblical Unitarians is the agreement that Jesus is not God the Son but the Son of God then isn’t reasonable to expect that BU’s could explain how Jesus is the Son of God?

    If you take a math test and the question is what is 9 times 6 and you answer “it’s not 11” you are correct but have you answered the question?

  539. on 07 Jun 2010 at 6:54 pmDave Burke

    Michael:

    Dave and Jaco believe that the term “Son of God” is a title and indicates the literal Son of God because his existence was established by God yet Jesus himself claimed that God could raise children from rocks and they would not be His children so is this a contradiction?

    How is it a contradiction?

    Biblical Unitarians are united in our belief that Jesus is the Son of God and not God the Son. We all agree that Jesus is the Son of God because God was personally and directly responsible for his existence, just like Adam.

    If what makes people Biblical Unitarians is the agreement that Jesus is not God the Son but the Son of God then isn’t reasonable to expect that BU’s could explain how Jesus is the Son of God?

    We’ve already explained how Jesus is the Son of God. We’ve done this several times. You’re simply ignoring the answers because you can’t accept what Scripture is saying.

  540. on 07 Jun 2010 at 7:10 pmDoubting Thomas

    Michael
    You said, “There is a general consensus of one God three persons.”

    We have have a general consensus of one God and one Son.

    You also said, “If there were no Trinitarians in the world would the Unitarian message still be as Mark says, ‘that he (Jesus) is the Son of God and not God the Son, which defines a Biblical Unitarian.”

    The plain text especially of the Synoptics would demonstrate that Jesus is the Son of God and not God the Son whether Trinitarianism had been invented in the 4th. century or not.

    You also said, “If what makes people Biblical Unitarians is the agreement that Jesus is not God the Son but Son of God then isn’t it reasonable to expect that BU’s could explain how Jesus is the Son of God?”

    We can. It’s simple it’s because the bible says so. If what makes people Trinitarians is the agreement that Jesus is not the Son of God but God the Son isn’t it reasonable to expect that Trinitarians could explain how Jesus is God the Son?

    Not only does the word Trinity not appear in the bible it doesn’t appear in any document until several centuries after Pentecost. How can a concept that didn’t exist until several centuries after Jesus and his disciples be in any way essential to salvation or to being a Christian??

  541. on 07 Jun 2010 at 7:10 pmRay

    Michael,

    How can one be certain that God is a person?
    I believe God is a spirit.
    I believe God is love.
    I believe God is good.
    I believe God is merciful, kind, and just, but how can I be sure that God is a person?

  542. on 07 Jun 2010 at 10:23 pmMark C.

    Although not many Trinitarians can even attempt to explain the Trinity there is a general consensus of one God three persons. If there were no Trinitarians in the world would the Unitarian message still be as Mark says “that he (Jesus) is the Son of God and not God the Son, which is what defines a Biblical Unitarian”.

    No, we wouldn’t have to clarify it with “not God the Son” if that concept had not been invented. The Unitarian message would still be that Jesus is the Son of God, the Messiah.

    If what makes people Biblical Unitarians is the agreement that Jesus is not God the Son but the Son of God then isn’t reasonable to expect that BU’s could explain how Jesus is the Son of God?

    All BU’s agree that he is the Son of God, the Messiah. Most of us here also agree that the titles “Son of God” and “Messiah” refer to his being the one anointed to be king over the coming kingdom. The only thing we disagree about is the details in the mechanics. That is, whether “Son of God” is a figurative title or whether he was literally begotten by God. But the New Testament does not include that distinction when laying out what is necessary for salvation. The requirements are, repent and believe the Gospel of the Kingdom, confess Jesus as your lord, and believe that Jesus of Nazareth is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that he died for our sins and rose again. On these matters I believe we are all in agreement on this blog.

  543. on 07 Jun 2010 at 10:59 pmXavier

    Fortigurn

    If I followed Trinitarian study footnotes about Christ, I would have very different beliefs today. So would you.

    Not all of their studies are antithetical to scripture, like their stance on Sabbath-keeping. Take the good throw away the nad my friend.

  544. on 07 Jun 2010 at 11:49 pmFortigurn

    Xavier,

    Not all of their studies are antithetical to scripture, like their stance on Sabbath-keeping. Take the good throw away the nad my friend.

    I certainly agree. You’ll note that I quoted several commentaries on Mark 9:19. I also own this:

    http://www.logos.com/portfolio

  545. on 08 Jun 2010 at 3:50 amMichael

    Dave writes… We all agree that Jesus is the Son of God because God was personally and directly responsible for his existence, just like Adam.

    Response- But God is not the Father of Jesus according to the flesh so how is He his literal Father and I am not disagreeing that God is the literal Father of Jesus?

    Romans 1:3 Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh;

  546. on 08 Jun 2010 at 6:50 amDoubting Thomas

    Michael
    You asked, “But God is not the Father of Jesus according to the flesh so how is he his literal Father.”

    My personal belief is that we are both spiritual beings as well as beings made of flesh. Our fleshy heart has no pain receptors and doesn’t feel anything. Our spiritual heart on the hand can feel compassion, empathy, love, etc…

    God is Jesus’ spiritual Father just like he was Adam’s spiritual Father. This is just my personal belief and there might be some Unitarians that disagree with me (I”m not sure).

    You also said, “I am not disagreeing that God is the literal Father of Jesus?”

    I find that hard to believe. Both Dave and Jaco repeatedly asked you what you meant by ontological Son and you just ignored their questions. If you had actually thought you had a revelation from God about Jesus being his ontological Son you would have been eager to share this. The fact that you were so secretive demonstrates that you really hadn’t given this idea very much thought and hadn’t even thought through it’s potential implications…

  547. on 08 Jun 2010 at 7:23 amDave Burke

    Michael:

    Dave writes… We all agree that Jesus is the Son of God because God was personally and directly responsible for his existence, just like Adam.

    Response- But God is not the Father of Jesus according to the flesh so how is He his literal Father and I am not disagreeing that God is the literal Father of Jesus?

    Romans 1:3 Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh;

    God is the literal Father of Christ in the same way that He is the literal Father of Adam. I’ve already explained this several times, and I’ve demonstrated it from Scripture.

    The crucial difference between us is that I believe Jesus was “made of the seed of David according to the flesh”, but you don’t.

  548. on 08 Jun 2010 at 3:49 pmDoubting Thomas

    Ray (msg. 541)
    You asked, “I believe God is merciful, kind and just, but how can I be sure God is a person?”

    I think what’s confusing you is that when you think of person you are thinking of someone like you or me. God is not a person in that way. God has his own separate will, his own separate mind, his own separate thoughts, his own separate feelings and therefore his own separate personality (merciful, compassionate, kind, just, forgiving, loving, slow to anger etc…)

    Since he has his own personality that makes him a person with thoughts, feelings, and emotions just like us (his children). At least that’s how I see God anywaze…

  549. on 08 Jun 2010 at 6:57 pmRay

    Thomas,
    When I watch a sci-fi movie I often see made-up characters or creatures and they do most often seem to have a mind or will of their own along with feelings like us.

    I don’t always think of them as persons as much as creatures, beings, or life forms.

  550. on 08 Jun 2010 at 7:18 pmDoubting Thomas

    Fortigurn
    I just had time to read the links you sent. I didn’t have time to look up the many passages that you quote but I did look up some of them. The one passage you quote is 1st. Peter 5:8, “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the Devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”

    Linguistically speaking it make no sense for Peter to say, “Beware! Your adversary the adversary prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” Peter deliberately names the adversary “the Devil” and sternly warns us to be sober-minded and watchful. It seems clear to me that Peter was warning of a particular (specific) adversary that was extremely dangerous.

    Your links simply stated the same thing you already said, and that is that Satan/Devil actually means adversary and demons were a sickness (you just added several dozen bible quotes). I still don’t understand why it is you couldn’t answer any of the questions I asked in my msg. 525 above. It seems to me that a teacher should be able to answer the questions of a layman like myself and answer me in such a way so that I can understand.

    I can answer any questions that someone asks me about my beliefs. You said that if I would read your links you would answer my questions. There are many questions in my msg. 525 above that I would like answered. I’ll let you pick which of them you’d like to answer first. You can start out by answering the easiest of them if you want…

  551. on 08 Jun 2010 at 7:27 pmDoubting Thomas

    Ray
    Just because God isn’t exactly the same as us does not necessarily mean he can not be a person. I believe it is possible that a being or a life force can also be a person. It’s just it wouldn’t be like a person you would normally meet in your day to day life. I think that because it is clear that God has a personality (merciful, compassionate, kind, just, forgiving, slow to anger, etc…) than it must therefore logically follow that God is a person.

    Of course this is just my own personal opinion…

  552. on 08 Jun 2010 at 7:28 pmrobert

    Thomas
    Are you following the discussion over at Dales blog
    http://trinities.org/blog/archives/2008/comment-page-4#comment-92709
    Jaco,Marg and a few others are making some great points

  553. on 08 Jun 2010 at 7:49 pmDoubting Thomas

    Robert
    Thanks for the heads up. I’ll have a look see…

  554. on 08 Jun 2010 at 10:53 pmRay

    As I look at the word “person” in my dictionary, I see that there is a meaning to the word such that a “person” can be a “being”, or
    “self”, as well as a “personality”.

    I believe God is a spirit who has a personality, that he is unique.
    I believe he is of himself and is true to his nature. I believe he is a being and as such, is in at least some sense of the word, a person. Though not human, God does share in much of the things of human personality because we were made by him in his image. All of the good things of our personality may be likened unto him if they truly are good.

  555. on 08 Jun 2010 at 11:58 pmFortigurn

    DT,

    Linguistically speaking it make no sense for Peter to say, “Beware! Your adversary the adversary prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” Peter deliberately names the adversary “the Devil” and sternly warns us to be sober-minded and watchful. It seems clear to me that Peter was warning of a particular (specific) adversary that was extremely dangerous.

    I agree he is warning of a particular specific adversary. I made that clear in what I wrote. I believe he was referring specifically to the Roman emperor. He quotes, as I noted, directly from Proverbs which uses exactly the same figure of speech to refer to a wicked king by whom the righteous are persecuted. To me it makes no sense to read him as using the quote to mean something completely other than what it actually meant. It’s all there in what I wrote.

    If you read my handouts you would see how I answer your questions.

    You didn’t explain Luke 10:18 when Jesus says, “I saw Satan fall like lightening from heaven.” Was it an inclination of the flesh falling from Heaven? If not, Was it an adversary? If so, Who was this adversary falling from heaven?

    It’s Christ’s declaration of the success of his ministry in overcoming the adversarial elements he came to destroy. You will note that modern commentators struggle with this passage, finding it extremely difficult to read coherently in the theological context of ‘orthodox’ beliefs about ‘Satan’. It’s clearly talking about the present not the past or the future, yet commentators agree that ‘Satan’ didn’t ‘fall from heaven’ at this time, and there’s no evidence in the Bible that ‘Satan’ ever fell from heaven at any time. Commentators also note that whilst this is clearly a statement of victory, in orthodox understanding ‘Satan’ was not defeated at this point, and in fact dominated Christ during his entire ministry to the point of even having him killed.

    Orthodox commentators are undecided as to exactly when, if ever, Christ had a decisive victory over ‘Satan’, especially since orthodox teaching has it that ‘Satan’ is alive and well today and still overcoming Christ’s disciples and frustrating his work on a daily basis. It is therefore typical of modern commentators to say this is a reference to an eschatological event which Christ hasn’t managed to get around to yet, but will in the Kingdom age.

    You also didn’t explain Luke 22:3 was it an inclination of the flesh that entered Judas of Iscariot or was it an adversary or what? Again if it was an adversary, Who was this adversary?

    See the quote from Gill, and the handout ‘The Death of the Devil’ (page 1), in which I explain this kind of language explicitly by reference to Acts 5:3-4. As I have explained, this is language which was typical of how the Jews described someone being overcome by their own temptations. It’s all there in what I wrote.

    You also didn’t explain Luke 22:31, “…..Satan demanded to have you….” Was this an inclination of the flesh demanding to have Peter or an adversary? Again if it was adversary, Who was this adversary?

    See the quote from Gill, and the handout ‘The Death of the Devil’ (page 1), in which I explain this kind of language explicitly by reference to Acts 5:3-4. As I have explained, this is language which was typical of how the Jews described someone being overcome by their own temptations. It’s all there in what I wrote.

    I asked Dave, “Why would Jesus be praying about a non existent beings influence over Peter?” You responded, “He didn’t.” But gave no explanation of the passage or what it was Jesus was actually praying about in this passage.

    See the quote from Gill, and the handout ‘The Death of the Devil’ (page 1), in which I explain this kind of language explicitly by reference to Acts 5:3-4. As I have explained, this is language which was typical of how the Jews described someone being overcome by their own temptations. It’s all there in what I wrote.

    Again giving no explanation of the passage or who it was that asked him to jump from the highest point of the temple or promised him that if he would just bow down and worship him he would be given the entire earth as a reward.

    It’s talking about Christ struggling with his own inclinations. Christ was the only person who knew he was hungry, Christ was the only person who could take himself to the top of the Temple, and Christ was the only person who had the authority and power to take the kingdoms of the earth to himself. To say that ‘Satan’ could read Christ’s mind, take Christ wherever he wanted to, and had total authority over the entire planet so that he could give Christ all the kingdoms of the earth, is to make ‘Satan’ equivalent to God.

    See the quote from Gill, and the handout ‘The Death of the Devil’ (page 1), in which I explain this kind of language explicitly by reference to Acts 5:3-4. As I have explained, this is language which was typical of how the Jews described someone being overcome by their own temptations. It’s all there in what I wrote.

    Meanwhile, I’m resigned to my own questions going unanswered.

  556. on 09 Jun 2010 at 12:29 amFortigurn

    Rabbi Simeon Ben Lakish (230-270 AD):

    ‘Resh Lakish said: Satan, the evil prompter, and the Angel of Death are all one.

    He is called Satan, as it is written, And Satan went forth from the presence of the Lord. He is called the evil prompter: [we know this because] it is written in another place, [Every imagination of the thoughts of his heart] was only evil continually, and it is written here [in connection with Satan] ‘Only upon himself put not forth thine hand.

    The same is also the Angel of Death, since it says, Only spare his life, which shows that Job’s life belonged to him.’

    Talmud Babylon, Tractate Baba Bathra, Part I, Chapter 1 (or Folio 16a), Rabbi I Epstein (editor), Soncino edition, (originally printed 1935-1948), quote here from the reprint 1952-1961

    The phrase ‘the evil imagination’ (sometimes translated ‘evil inclination’), is an English translation of the Hebrew phrase ‘yetzer ha-ra’, used in rabbinical teaching to speak of the natural inclination in men to do evil (the same inclination noted by Paul in Romans 7, where he calls it by metonymy ‘sin which dwells in me’).

    Noteworthy here is Rabbi Lakish’s identification of satan and the angel of death with the ‘evil imagination’. To Rabbi Lakish, these three are one, meaning that satan and the angel of death are personifications or representations of the ‘evil imagination’. This is a personification of the very kind I understand to be used in the New Testament. I would naturally disagree with Lakish that the angel of death is merely a personification, but the fact that he is appealing to this device remains.

    Rabbi Nachman Ben Isaac (330-360), and Rabbi Judah (400s AD?), whose comments are also found in Talmud Babylon:

    Micah 7:
    5 Put no trust in a neighbor, have no confidence in a friend; guard the doors of your mouth from her who lies in your bosom;

    ‘It is written: “Trust ye not in a friend, put ye not confidence in a confidant.” It means, if the evil imagination say to thee, Do thou sin and the Lord will forgive, be not persuaded, as it is written: “Trust ye not in an evil one”; and “an evil one” is nothing but the evil imagination, as it is written: “The imagination of a man’s heart is evil”; and there is no “guide” but the Lord, as it is written: “My father, the guide of my youth art thou.”‘

    Talmud Babylon, Book III, Tractate Hagiga, chapter 2, Rodkinson’s 2nd edition, 1918

    This commentary was quoted with approval by Rabbi Judah, from the earlier Rabbi Nachman Ben Isaac, and is remarkable for two reasons. Firstly, because it clearly personifies the ‘evil imagination’ in a manner I understand to be used in the New Testament.

    Secondly, and even more strikingly, because it describes the ‘evil imagination’ as speaking to an individual, as if it were an external personal tempter. This is the same kind of personification I see in Christ’s temptation in the wilderness.

    Rabbi Nachman Ben Isaac:

    * ‘If the evil imagination say to thee, Do thou sin and the Lord will forgive,

    * be not persuaded, as it is written: “Trust ye not in an evil one”‘

    * Matthew 4:2-4: And he fasted forty days and forty nights, and afterward he was hungry.

    * And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.”

    * But he answered, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’

    There is no doubt that the ‘evil imagination’ spoken of by Ben Isaac is the internal inclination of men to sin rather than an external source of temptation. This is proved not only by the quotation of Genesis 6:5 regarding the imagination of men’s hearts, but also from the clear statement ‘and “an evil one” is nothing but the evil inclination’.

    Yet in this passage, we find that ‘the evil imagination’ (undoubtedly the natural inclination in men to sin), is personified to the exact extent that Christadelphians believe it to be personified in the gospel accounts of Christ’s temptation in the wilderness:

    * It is an internal inclination described as an external tempter (it must be remembered this commentary is given as the explanation of the passage in Micah 7:5 ‘Trust ye not in a friend, put ye not confidence in a guide’, which speaks very obviously of an external person, but is interpreted as the temptations of the internal ‘evil imagination’)

    * It is an internal inclination which is personified as speaking directly to the person it tempts to sin

    * It is an internal inclination which is personified as attempting to persuade the individual, just as an external tempter would do

    Of course there is no doubt that Ben Isaac was in fact extrapolating from the passage in Micah a warning which was not actually there (the text does read naturally as a warning not to trust another literal human being, rather than a specific warning against the ‘evil inclination’).

    Nevertheless, Ben Isaac’s over-enthusiastic interpretation does not invalidate the argument we can draw from his commentary – that the ‘evil inclination’ was so well understood to be personified by early rabbis, that they even read it into passages which were more obviously speaking of literal men and women.

  557. on 09 Jun 2010 at 6:30 amJaco

    Fortigurn,

    I took the time yesterday afternoon to read your two handouts. Thank you for posting them. I think some of the issues will gradually be considered here, and on Dale Tuggy’s blog.

    I agree he is warning of a particular specific adversary.

    What in the text, linguistically or otherwise, brings you to the conclusion of specificity? Why not a general identity?

    Commentators also note that whilst this is clearly a statement of victory, in orthodox understanding ‘Satan’ was not defeated at this point, and in fact dominated Christ during his entire ministry to the point of even having him killed.

    So, in line with this, do you also take the following texts temporally literal?

    Jude 14 “Yes, the seventh one from Adam, Enoch, prophesied also regarding them, when he said: ‘Look! The LORD came with his holy myriads, to execute judgment against all, and to convict all the ungodly concerning all their ungodly deeds that they did in an ungodly way, and concerning all the shocking things that ungodly sinners spoke against him.’”

    John 16:33 “In the world you are having tribulation, but take courage! I have conquered the world.”

    1 Tim 4:8 “I have fought the fine fight, I have run the course to the finish, I have observed the faith.”

    There are also some questions, pertaining to cognitive linguistics, I’d like to ask you around what you said here:

    [T]his is language which was typical of how the Jews described someone being overcome by their own temptations.

    I’ll post the questions to you later.

    [T]hat the ‘evil inclination’ was so well understood to be personified by early rabbis, that they even read it into passages which were more obviously speaking of literal men and women.

    Tell me, then, was the “Satan” in the book of Job also an evil inclination? If not, why not? By what system do you interpret it differently?

    Jaco

  558. on 09 Jun 2010 at 7:07 amFortigurn

    Jaco,

    What in the text, linguistically or otherwise, brings you to the conclusion of specificity? Why not a general identity?

    * The definite article (Anthony Buzzard will be only too delighted to tell you about its significance)
    * The personal pronoun (see Anthony again)
    * The context of the proverb being quoted (it refers to a specific entity)
    * The historical context of Paul’s letter

    So, in line with this, do you also take the following texts temporally literal?

    * You’ve done something strange with Jude 14, the text is in the future tense and you’ve changed it to the past tense
    * In John 16:33 no, Christ hadn’t conquered the world, he was speaking in anticipation of his resurrection
    * In 1 Timothy 4:8 yes, Paul had fought the good fight, he had run the good race, he had kept the faith

    I’ll post the questions to you later.

    It’s ok, I’m good at answering questions put to me. I’m hoping it will rub off on a few here.

    Tell me, then, was the “Satan” in the book of Job also an evil inclination?

    No. It was a man among the sons of God, who was envious of Job.

    If not, why not? By what system do you interpret it differently?

    Context. God does not have an ‘evil inclination’. The idea that the ‘satan’ here is simply a personification of God’s ‘evil inclination’ is logically untenable. That was a weird question.

  559. on 09 Jun 2010 at 9:33 amrobert

    “No. It was a man among the sons of God, who was envious of Job.”

    Fortigurn
    That is a very strange view.
    What period of time do you account Job. Preflood,post flood,or post Exodus.
    How do you deal with a man who has supernatural powers to inflict physical diseases.
    If satan was just a average man than who were the sons of God and if they were men then is this a new usage for “sons of God”
    For reference to supernatural i am using this verse
    7 So went Satan forth from the presence of the Lord, and smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot unto his crown.

  560. on 09 Jun 2010 at 10:53 amFortigurn

    Robert,

    That is a very strange view.

    Why do you say that? It’s found in early Jewish exposition from the 2nd century AD, and Christian exposition from the 3rd century AD. It’s also found in standard mainstream Christian commentaries today.

    What period of time do you account Job. Preflood,post flood,or post Exodus.

    Post-flood, probably pre-Abraham, certainly pre-Exodus.

    How do you deal with a man who has supernatural powers to inflict physical diseases.

    He didn’t. That’s exactly why he had to ask God for help. But anyway, we both know Elijah struck Gehazi with a physical disease, and Paul cursed Elymas with blindness. How do you deal with that?

    How do you account for the fact that all the individuals in the book of Job believe his disasters came from God, including Job (Job 1:21; 2:10; 6:4; 10:2; 19:21; 27:2), Job’s servant (Job 1:16), Job’s wife (Job 2:9), Job’s three friends (Job 5:17; 8:4; 11:5-6), Job’s acquaintances and relations (Job 42:11), and Job’s adversary himself (Job 1:11; 2:5). Did no one tell them it was really a supernatural evil being called ‘Satan’ all along?

    If satan was just a average man than who were the sons of God and if they were men then is this a new usage for “sons of God”

    They are members of the covenant community, men. This is not a new usage for ‘sons of God’. You should at least be familiar with the New Testament use of this phrase to refer to those in Christ. Historically, this interpretation has support from at least the 2nd century AD:

    Symmachus’s translation of the OT into Greek rendered sons of God as “sons of the powerful,” and Targum Onqelos (second century A.D.) and Targum Neofiti (second-fourth century A.D.) both went in a similar direction.

    Genesis Rabbah 26:8 (fifth-sixth century A.D.) cites R. Simeon b. Yohai (A.D. 130–160) as insisting on the interpretation “sons of nobles” and placing a curse on anyone who promulgated the “angels” theory.

    By the time of the medieval rabbis, this interpretation had become entrenched. Rashi, Ramban and Ibn Ezra all favored identifying the sons of God as rulers or judges.

    Alexander, T. D., & Baker, D. W. (2003). Dictionary of the Old Testament: Pentateuch (794). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

    Among Christians also, this became the dominant interpretation from an early date:

    The earliest church fathers continued supporting the “angels” view. Numbered among the supporters are Justin Martyr, Clement of Alexandria, Tertullian, Lactantius, Irenaeus, Cyprian and Ambrose (Newman, 22).

    As in Jewish circles, however, a shift began in the late second and early third centuries A.D. Julius Africanus’s work contains the earliest known adoption of the Sethite theory (i.e., the sons of God are descendants of Seth).

    A variation of this view was promoted in Augustine’s influential City of God (15.22). In the mid-fifth century, Cyril of Alexander produced a lengthy treatise on the subject (quoted at length in Wickham, 135–36) in which he viewed the sons of God as descendants of Enoch and labeled the “angels” view as perverse.

    This remained the “Christian” interpretation throughout the Reformation and beyond (both Luther and Calvin firmly supported it).

    Alexander, T. D., & Baker, D. W. (2003). Dictionary of the Old Testament: Pentateuch (794). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

    This remains a mainstream interpretation of the passage. This is from Gleason Archer, whom you could hardly claim as a marginal expositor:

    But the occurrences of benê ʾelōhîm referring to men standing in covenant relationship to God are fully as numerous in the Old Testament as those referring to angels (cf. Deut. 14:1; 32:5; Ps. 73:15; Hos. 1:10 [MT=2:1]—and, we believe, Gen. 6:2 as well).

    The reasons for understanding Genesis 6:2 as referring to members of the covenant family, descendants of the line of Seth, are quite compelling.

    Archer, G. L. (1982). New International Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties. Zondervan’s Understand the Bible Reference Series (79). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House

    See also the completely mainstream ISBE:

    A more reasonable interpretation of the phrases, “sons of God” and “daughters of men,” is that they mean “the godly and the ungodly.” The mingling of the good and the bad results in an immediate apparent improvement which later becomes a deterioration.

    Bromiley, G. W. (1988; 2002). Vol. 1: The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Revised (647). Wm. B. Eerdmans

    I’m immensely surprised you’ve not met this interpretation in the relevant scholarly commentary.

  561. on 09 Jun 2010 at 11:19 amrobert

    How do you deal with a man who has supernatural powers to inflict physical diseases.

    “He didn’t. That’s exactly why he had to ask God for help.”

    Fortigurn
    In the first test of Job it was God as we see here”3 And the Lord said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? and still he holdeth fast his integrity, although thou movedst me against him, to destroy [1] him without cause.

    But in the second test Gods part was not to stop satan as we see here ” 6 And the Lord said unto Satan, Behold, he is in thine hand; but save his life.7 So went Satan forth from the presence of the Lord, and smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot unto his crown.

    “They are members of the covenant community, men. This is not a new usage for ’sons of God’. You should at least be familiar with the New Testament use of this phrase to refer to those in Christ. Historically, this interpretation has support from at least the 2nd century AD:”

    Fortigurn
    I agree that the sons of God here are men in the Goldly line of Seth but put a preflood account of Job.
    i believe satan here just might be Cain who gets his power from the indwelling of Satan within him which accounts for his ability to inflict the physical disease on Job.

    But as usual you went into defence mode and also included a try at belittlement as to what i believe and should know when i never stated what i believed or knew. Was just trying to understand your belief.
    It is unwise to attack before your figure out freind or foe.

    but thank you for explaining how you see it

  562. on 09 Jun 2010 at 12:07 pmJaco

    Fortigurn,

    The definite article (Anthony Buzzard will be only too delighted to tell you about its significance)
    * The personal pronoun (see Anthony again)
    * The context of the proverb being quoted (it refers to a specific entity)
    * The historical context of Paul’s letter

    There’s a bit of sarcasm in your first point, but I thank you for answering my question clearly.

    * You’ve done something strange with Jude 14, the text is in the future tense and you’ve changed it to the past tense

    Check the Greek, Fortigurn. ηλθεν literally means “came.” Do you agree?

    * In 1 Timothy 4:8 yes, Paul had fought the good fight, he had run the good race, he had kept the faith

    Has he undergone final judgment already, then? How do you understand this in light of Philippians 3:12, 13?

    It’s ok, I’m good at answering questions put to me. I’m hoping it will rub off on a few here.

    Thanks. I’m looking forward to your answering my questions on Dale Tuggy’s blog.

    In your notes, Fortigurn, you show a table of Inter-Testimental books containing/not containing references to Satan. Why is that? Do you believe those books are inspired? Why make this list in the first place – what would references to Satan as a fallen angel otherwise have proven, had there been any references to him?

    Thanks,

    Jaco

  563. on 09 Jun 2010 at 12:13 pmFortigurn

    Robert, I didn’t say a word about what you believe, let alone belittled it. On the contrary, I told you what I believe and you went and told me it was a ‘very strange idea’. Then you turn around and claim I’m attacking you? I’m the one on trial here, not you. I’m the one whose beliefs are being systematically ridiculed, not you.

    Whatever your intention was with regard to what you wrote about Job, you clearly agree with me about the identity both of Job’s satan and the sons of God in Genesis 6, so I have no idea why you opposed me on both counts.

    Frankly I am not interested in attacking what you believe. You go and believe what you like. I’m here giving a defense of what I believe, as I’ve been asked to.

  564. on 09 Jun 2010 at 12:30 pmrobert

    “Whatever your intention was with regard to what you wrote about Job, you clearly agree with me about the identity both of Job’s satan and the sons of God in Genesis 6, so I have no idea why you opposed me on both counts. ”

    Fortigurn
    Do i agree or oppose? can i do both? I dont think I gave enough info eithr way.
    I agree with usage of sons of God but certainly not with your view of satan.

    Saying it was a strange view was not an attack or in anyway reflected what i know or believe , Mine is just as strange.

    Maybe its just the tone you used that i saw as belittling, So i will apologize for the statement.

  565. on 09 Jun 2010 at 12:38 pmFortigurn

    Jaco,

    There’s a bit of sarcasm in your first point, but I thank you for answering my question clearly.

    If you had read Anthony’s work on the definite article you would know it wasn’t sarcasm in the least. He explains it in some detail, and enjoys doing so.

    Check the Greek, Fortigurn. ηλθεν literally means “came.” Do you agree?

    It’s a proleptic aorist, Jaco. The context in Enoch is a prophesy about the future, and it means ‘is coming’. Check any standard Greek grammar and/or standard modern English translation. Even interlinears translate typically translate it as a present.

    Has he undergone final judgment already, then?

    No, nor does he say he has.

    How do you understand this in light of Philippians 3:12, 13?

    Why would I understand it in light of Philippians, when it was written afterwards?

    Thanks. I’m looking forward to your answering my questions on Dale Tuggy’s blog.

    I know you are, because you know I answer questions reliably. I, on the other hand, wish you would answer my questions but know full well you won’t. So we’re both reliable, in different ways.

    In your notes, Fortigurn, you show a table of Inter-Testimental books containing/not containing references to Satan. Why is that?

    I explain why. Please read the notes, and post here the explanation I give as to why I post that table. Look at the words underneath the title ‘Between the Testaments’, second page, second column, of the handout ‘The Death of the Devil’. It’s right there. Quoting it will demonstrate to me that you’re reading what I write.

    Do you believe those books are inspired?

    As you know full well, I don’t. I explicitly differentiate them from the Bible in my handout.

    Why make this list in the first place – what would references to Satan as a fallen angel otherwise have proven, had there been any references to him?

    If you read what I wrote, you’ll understand why I made that list. References to satan and a fallen angel in these books would demonstrate that the belief first emerged at least as early as the early 2nd century BC. Instead we find that the evidence is that the belief in satan as a fallen angel does not appear until almost the mid-2nd century BC. This evidence coheres well with the explanation I provided for the historical origin of this understanding of satan. It’s all right there in what I wrote.

  566. on 09 Jun 2010 at 12:43 pmFortigurn

    Robert,

    Do i agree or oppose? can i do both? I dont think I gave enough info eithr way.

    You can do both, but when you do so you can expect me to be confused. You certainly did give enough info when you told me that my view was ‘very strange’.

    I agree with usage of sons of God but certainly not with your view of satan.

    If you agree with my usage of ‘sons of God’, why did you call it a ‘very strange view’? This is the sort of thing which just confuses me.

    Maybe its just the tone you used that i saw as belittling, So i will apologize for the statement.

    Thank you, no apology necessary. I’m used to a fairly rugged level of discourse, and I don’t take personal offense. But I do get frustrated when people are inconsistent, evasive, oblique, or just don’t read what I write.

    Jaco, with regard to Anthony the correct word is irony, not sarcasm. It’s highly ironic for me to direct you to Anthony’s notes on satan.

  567. on 09 Jun 2010 at 1:10 pmrobert

    “If you agree with my usage of ’sons of God’, why did you call it a ‘very strange view’? This is the sort of thing which just confuses me.”

    Fortigurn
    Because it is a very strange view, Do you not understand the usage of strange (different from normal). As i said My view is also strange and the reason i asked was to clarify your view so i could understand your belief better. Your handouts were not sufficient in all areas.
    you ask why people dont answer you when most do but you ignore their answer completely.

  568. on 09 Jun 2010 at 1:30 pmFortigurn

    Robert, please tell me why you think it’s a ‘very strange view’. I don’t find it referred to that way in standard commentaries.

    Your handouts were not sufficient in all areas.

    Please let me know how I can make them more sufficient for your needs.

    you ask why people dont answer you when most do but you ignore their answer completely.

    Examples please. Since when has anyone answered all my questions? Since when have I ignored anyone’s answer completely?

  569. on 09 Jun 2010 at 1:46 pmrobert

    “Robert, please tell me why you think it’s a ‘very strange view’. I don’t find it referred to that way in standard commentaries.”

    Fortigurn
    Evidently the word strange has to be negitive to you so i will change it to different than the normal if that will help.

    “Please let me know how I can make them more sufficient for your needs.”

    Fortigurn
    I think after this discussion is over you should be able to look over it and revise your handout to make it more friendly to those that dont hold to your view. I am sure that amongst your peers it makes sense but to others outside it just doesnt. so maybe you should try to look at it from an outsiders standpoint to understand how we see it.

    “Examples please. Since when has anyone answered all my questions? Since when have I ignored anyone’s answer completely? ”

    Fortigurn
    I am not going all the way back through this blog and Dales to show you, maybe everyone you have done this to will show you where you did it to them. Yes to some extant it has been done to you

  570. on 09 Jun 2010 at 6:21 pmDoubting Thomas

    Fortigurn (msg. 555)
    You said, “It’s Christ’s declaration of the success of his ministry in overcoming the adversarial elements he came to destroy. You will note that modern commentators struggle with this passage, finding it extremely difficult to read coherently in the theological content of the “Orthodox” beliefs about Satan.”

    I don’t trust authority figures and don’t read any modern commentators. I prefer to try to figure it out myself and if I get stuck than I ask a friend (someone I trust) what they think. Mathew 11:12 Jesus says, “From the days of John the baptist till now the kingdom of heaven has suffered violence, and the violent take it by force.”

    I believe that here Jesus is talking about Satan leading his angels in a rebellion against God. And then in Luke 10:18 Jesus says, “I saw Satan fall like lightening from heaven.” I believe at this point the rebellion was crushed, Satan was evicted from heaven and the angels that followed him were chained up behind the gates of hell to wait for the final day of judgment. Of course this is just my own personal opinion (like I said I don’t read commentators).

    You also said, “It’s about Christ struggling with his own inclinations. Christ was the only person that knew he was hungry, Christ was the only person that could take himself to the top of the temple, and Christ was the only one who had the authority and the power to take the kingdoms of the earth to himself.”

    I don’t know how Satan could not have known that after forty days of fasting in the desert that Jesus would be hungry. And your statement that Christ was the only person that could take himself to the top of the temple doesn’t really make any sense either. If Jesus had the ability to just transport himself to the top of the temple any time he wanted, Why didn’t he just transport himself to the nearest farmer’s market and get some food for himself??

    Why would he transport himself to the highest point of the temple and then tell himself to jump?? Was he suicidal??

    And, How could he bow down a worship himself??

    I think the story makes a lot more sense if there was another person (Satan) involved in tempting him.

    You also said, “To say that ‘Satan’ could read Christ’s mind, take Christ where ever he wanted to, and had total authority over the entire planet so that he could give Christ all the kingdoms of the earth, is to make ‘Satan’ equivalent to God.”

    That would be like saying that because Jesus has been given authority over all things that would make Jesus equivalent to God. From what I understand Satan was a powerful archangel who was given much authority by God. We don’t know exactly what authority God had given him or what his exact limitations are. But we do know if we resist him and turn to God and God’s teachings (like Jesus did in the desert) he will flee.

    I’m not trying to be argumentative. I can see by your posts here and on the other blog that you are passionate about your beliefs and are speaking from your heart (I respect that). I’m sorry, I just don’t see it the way you see it…

  571. on 10 Jun 2010 at 2:21 amFortigurn

    DT,

    * I wasn’t asking you to trust modern commentators, I was pointing out that the ‘orthodox’ understanding of satan makes interpretation of this text difficult; this typically happens when a text is being approached wrongly

    * The problem with your interpretation here is not simply that you’re assuming events which the Bible never describes, but also because it isn’t falsifiable; you’ve offered an interpretation which you have no way of substantiating, so it’s no more than an unsupported guess

    * Please tell me how you think ‘satan’ could have known Jesus was hungry after 40 days in the wilderness going without food quite happily; if you saw someone go without food for 40 days, would you think ‘I bet they’ll get hungry on day 41!’, or would you start to think that it’s highly likely they just don’t need food?

    * The answer to why Jesus didn’t just transport himself to the nearest market to get food is the same answer Jesus gave to the tempter when refusing to turn the stones to bread; the whole point of this exercise was to refuse the temptation to use his divinely given power to satisfy himself

    * I have no idea why you think Jesus would have to be suicidal to transport himself to the top of the Temple and consider jumping; the whole point of the temptation is that Jesus knew full well he would be protected from harm if he jumped (this is the opposite of being suicidal)

    * I am not saying Jesus was tempted to bow down and worship himsef; I am saying that this is a personification of his temptation to give in to his own desires

    * Your comparison between satan and Jesus being given power isn’t relevant because we know from the Bible itself that Jesus had been given such power whereas there is nothing in the Bible which says that satan was ever given such power; this means that if you want to claim that satan had such power, you have no warrant whatsoever for saying that God gave it to him (making him equal with God), and you are ignoring the fact that this power was given to Jesus

    From what I understand Satan was a powerful archangel who was given much authority by God.

    Where do people get these ideas? The Bible says nothing like this.

  572. on 10 Jun 2010 at 9:21 amrobert

    Thomas
    We can argue all day with them over usage of words but when it comes right down to it we all know by using the first and last references to satan that this being is thought to be real By GOD Himself. Imagination is of no use to a being that knows everything.You cant curse, chain up or loose something that doesnt exist. and you certainly cant give it a seed as you can to a human.
    I have never seen a discussion with a CD on this subject ever go anywhere. These are good people who have a need to deny satan exist within Gods plan for Mankind and we just need to accept that.

    Genesis 3
    14 And the Lord God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life: 15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.

    Revelation 20
    20And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. 2 And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years,

    7 And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison,

  573. on 10 Jun 2010 at 5:38 pmDoubting Thomas

    Fortigurn
    You said, “I wasn’t asking you to trust modern commentators, I was pointing out that the “orthodox” understanding of Satan makes the interpretation of the text difficult.”

    I was just pointing out that I have no problem with Jesus saying in the present tense that, “I saw Satan falling from heaven like lightening.”

    You asked, “Please tell me how you think Satan could have known Jesus was hungry after 40 days in the wilderness going without food quite happily; if you saw someone go without food for 40 days, would you think ‘I’ll bet they’ll get hungry on day 41’, or would you start to think that it’s highly likely that they just don’t need food.”

    Satan has been around mankind since the time of Adam and Eve and is quite aware of our needs and our weaknesses and our temptations. I believe Jesus was hungry long before day 41 but Jesus had a very strong character combined with an equally strong will power. Your suggestion that Jesus didn’t need food makes me wonder if you believe Jesus was some sort of supernatural being. The fact that he needed food is demonstrated by the fact that when he appeared to his disciples (after his resurrection) one of the first things he did was ask them, “Do you have something to eat?”

    You also said, “I have no idea why you think Jesus would have to be suicidal to transport himself to the top of the Temple and consider jumping.”

    It doesn’t seem like something a rational person would do. In my opinion Jesus was very rational. Also, according to your theory, he had the power to fly himself up to the top of the temple but for some reason could not fly himself back down and had to depend on Angels to break his fall. This doesn’t make any sense to me.

    You also said, “You have no warrant whatsoever for saying that God gave it to him (making him equal with God), and you are ignoring the fact that this power was given to Jesus.”

    There are examples in the bible of angels being given authority over certain things for example the angel that appeared as a cloud in the daytime and a pillar of fire during the night was given authority (by God) to pass judgment on the children of Israel on God’s behalf. How much more authority would an Archangel be given??

    By the way I’m not the one that said that Satan must therefore be equal with God. Your the one that keeps saying that. Just because God gives an Angel or Archangel authority over something does not mean that the Angel or Archangel suddenly becomes “equal to God”. I think even you realize your stretching here.

    By the way at the end of msg. 555 that you sent me you said, “Meanwhile, I’m resigned to my own question going unanswered.”

    I looked over the messages your sent me and I couldn’t see any questioned addressed to me. I apologize if I didn’t answer one of your questions. I would be happy to answer any questions but of course I am just a layman with limited knowledge and some of my answers may not be satisfying to you (I do have some unorthodox beliefs).

    I agree with Robert that the Christedephians (hope I spelled that right) do appear to be good people. And even though it appears we disagree on some things (to quote you) We’re good….

  574. on 15 Jun 2010 at 9:22 amDave Burke

    My rebuttal to Bowman’s Week 6 argument starts here.

    My counter-rebuttal to Bowman on my Week 1 argument starts here.

    My counter-rebuttal to Bowman on my Week 2 argument starts here.

    My counter-rebuttal to Bowman on my Week 3 argument starts here.

    My counter-rebuttal to Bowman on my Week 4 argument starts here.

    My counter-rebuttal to Bowman on my Week 5 argument starts here.

    😀

  575. on 19 Jun 2010 at 1:24 amMargaret Collier

    I don’t want to interrupt your discussion re the existence of Satan, but the question of demons is being debated on Dale Tuggy’s blog, and it might be profitable to get back to it here. In fact, it might help with the issue of Satan, as well.

    The question is – does the belief that demons exist constitute polytheism?

    Is there a thread somewhere that specifically deals with this subject? Or should it continue in this thread?

  576. on 19 Jun 2010 at 9:40 amDoubting Thomas

    Margaret
    I was just reading your conversation with Andrew and Fortigurn in Dale Tuggy’s blog at:

    http://trinities.org/blog/archives/2008/comment-page-4#comment-92709

    Starting with what Andrew wrote in message #265. It is a very interesting conversation and I like the way Andrew is responding in a non-confrontational rational way. It makes for pleasant reading and is also very informative…

  577. on 19 Jun 2010 at 9:58 amMargaret Collier

    I think so too, Thomas. I’ve been learning a lot by studying the points Andrew makes. Hid mind is not totally closed – and neither is mine.

  578. on 19 Jun 2010 at 10:10 amDoubting Thomas

    Margaret
    I think the discussion here about whether Satan existed or not is pretty much over. No-one has posted anything since my last post (msg. #573) dated 10 June 2010…

  579. on 19 Jun 2010 at 10:20 amDave Burke

    ^^ Yep, it’s probably best to keep this thread on topic and stick to the Trinity debate.

  580. on 20 Jun 2010 at 12:18 amDave Burke

    Bowman has now closed the debate, which is unfortunate because I was still working on a counter-rebuttal to his rebuttal against my Week 6 argument. Since I can’t post it at Parchment & Pen, I’ll post it here.

  581. on 20 Jun 2010 at 12:19 amDave Burke

    The Argument from Reason (I)
    Rob,

    Your claim that I have “played right into your hands” by presenting an argument from reason is frankly absurd. If I was trying to present an argument for my own Christology purely on the basis of logic without any reference to Scriptural evidence, you could have valid grounds for objection. But that is not what I am doing, nor am I trying to rationalise the evidence away.

    You say:

    …the debate is supposed to focus on which of our positions best reflects the teachings of the Bible.

    Yes, absolutely! That’s why my arguments are fundamentally Bible-based, and that’s why I have repeatedly tested both of our positions against the evidence of Scripture. But I’m sure you’ll agree that our interpretations must also be logically and rationally consistent. As I said in my own closing argument:

    If we allow doctrine to be illogical, it becomes arbitrary and ceases to be meaningful. There is no point in systematic theology if our beliefs are permitted to be self-contradictory.

    I know you subscribe to a form of systematic theology, I know you believe it is important to approach the Bible with a consistent hermeneutical method, I know you believe reason has a part to play in our exegesis of Scripture and I know you seek to avoid self-contradiction. I know all of this because you made it very clear in your Week 1 argument and also in your article here, where you say:

    The other principle is that we interpret logically but not rationalistically. Using the same illustration, if God knows everything ahead of time, then logically He must have known that Adam and Eve would fall into sin. However, to argue that if God knew Adam and Eve would sin then they would not be responsible for their choosing to sin is not “logical,” it is rationalistic. It may be difficult to understand how persons could be responsible for their sinful actions if God knew ahead of time that they would sin, but it is not illogical (not self-contradictory) to say so.

    (My emphasis. You may wish to edit that article now our debate is over, since it uses your defunct 6-point Trinity formula from Week 1).

    This quote demonstrates two things:

    You believe that logic has a legitimate part to play in exegesis and theology

    You believe that illogical conclusions (e.g. self-contradictory statements) are to be avoided

    But having decided this, you must be consistent; you can’t just wave logic away when it doesn’t suit you. I know you are aware of the logical difficulties presented by Trinitarianism, because your arguments have betrayed an inner tension which remains unresolved. On one hand you have tried to defend the illogical nature of Trinitarianism, referring to it as merely “paradoxical”; on the other hand you assert self-contradictions as if they are perfectly valid (e.g. Jesus is fully God and fully man). This demonstrates that you are fully aware of Trinitarianism’s inherent self-contradictions, but seek to dismiss them by rationalistic means (contrary to your own principles of exegesis).

    I think it’s important to review the role of logic and reason in Christian theology to ensure that we are viewing these concepts in the right way and applying them appropriately. A good place to start is your concept of “person” within the context of Trinitarianism. I originally asked for your definition of “person” in Week 1, but you didn’t want to talk about it. Instead you deflected the request with a promise to define “person” and “being” in Week 5. But by the time Week 6 was over, you still hadn’t provided your definition of “person.” I found this very strange; surely “person” and “being” are not difficult words to define? Or are they only difficult to define when you’re trying to fit them into a Trinitarian template?

    A fellow Trinitarian eventually extracted a definition of “person” from you during the post-debate discussion. In your defence you “explained” that you hadn’t been able to provide this definition earlier because our word limit was too restrictive. That is not a credible excuse.

    There was nothing to stop you providing a definition in one of your rebuttals or counter-rebuttals, since the word limit only applied to our weekly arguments. I used my rebuttals to introduce material I hadn’t been able to fit into my 5,000 word limit, and I even did you a favour by addressing a Trinitarian proof text you had wanted to use in Week 3 but had abandoned due to lack of space (Colossians 1:15-20). You could have done exactly the same with your definitions of “person” and “being”, so you cannot blame our weekly word limit for your (failure? refusal?) to provide the requested definition.

    The funny thing is, I didn’t really mind how you chose to answer my question, nor did I care about the details! All I wanted was a working definition so that I could see how it fitted into your personal version of Trinitarianism. You could have said anything you liked, and I would have worked with it. There was no need for prevarication or avoidance.

    In the end you chose to argue that the Bible does not present a definition of “person”, which is true but irrelevant, since the Bible shows us how the English word “person” should be applied to those whom we identify as “persons” in the Bible, linguistically. The Bible shows us that the standard English meaning of “person” is applicable, and Trinitarians themselves only ever abandon this standard meaning when speaking of God. This is demonstrably the fallacy of special pleading.

  582. on 20 Jun 2010 at 12:20 amDave Burke

    The Argument from Reason (II)
    Rob,

    Excluding the Trinitarian use of the word person, the dictionary typically gives the following definitions or uses of the word: human or human being, a character in a play, a human being’s body or bodily appearance or bodily presence, a human being’s personality, or one of three types of pronouns or pronominal inflections. None of these non-theological definitions will fit the Unitarian description of God as a “person.”

    Let’s check a proper list of dictionary definitions, rather than your selectively edited list:

    1. a human being, whether man, woman, or child: The table seats four persons.
    2. a human being as distinguished from an animal or a thing.
    3. Sociology. an individual human being, esp. with reference to his or her social relationships and behavioral patterns as conditioned by the culture.
    4. Philosophy. a self-conscious or rational being.
    5. the actual self or individual personality of a human being: You ought not to generalize, but to consider the person you are dealing with.
    6. the body of a living human being, sometimes including the clothes being worn: He had no money on his person.
    7. the body in its external aspect: an attractive person to look at.
    8. a character, part, or role, as in a play or story.
    9. an individual of distinction or importance.
    10. a person not entitled to social recognition or respect.
    11. Law. a human being (natural person) or a group of human beings, a corporation, a partnership, an estate, or other legal entity (artificial person or juristic person) recognized by law as having rights and duties.
    12. Grammar. a category found in many languages that is used to distinguish between the speaker of an utterance and those to or about whom he or she is speaking. In English there are three persons in the pronouns, the first represented by “I” and “we”, the second by “you”, and the third by “he”, “she”, “it”, and “they.” Most verbs have distinct third person singular forms in the present tense, as writes; the verb “be” has, in addition, a first person singular form am.
    13. Theology. any of the three hypostases or modes of being in the trinity, namely the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.

    The definitions under “4” and “12” are perfect for Unitarians, and both fall within the realms of normative usage. Note that Trinitarianism gets a mention in “13”, where we find a definition that is very different to the normative usage. Unitarianism requires no special favours from dictionaries.

    The fact is that the word “person” is a problem only for Trinitarians. Aquinas openly acknowledged the dilemma facing Trinitarian definitions of God, when he defined God as necessarily “a unity because of the unity of essence; a trinity, because of the three I know not what [trinitatem propter tres nescio quid]” (De Trinitate, 5.8.10).

    God, for Aquinas, is necessarily a Trinity because of God’s three “somethings”, but Aquinas is totally at a loss as to how to describe them, since no word is applicable. He can’t even bring himself to use the Latin for “persons.”

    You say:

    It is telling that you would write, “The OT offers no basis for the Trinitarian view of personhood, so how is the idea deduced from Scripture?” (emphasis added). One would think that a Christian would ask the question with reference to “the Bible,” not just “the OT.” Your wording reflects your polemical stance that unless Trinitarians can substantiate their position from the OT alone, it cannot be biblical. Sorry, my Bible has 66 books in it, not just 39.

    You have missed my point. I didn’t claim that unless it can be substantiated from the Old Testament alone it can’t be Biblical. My point was that since the Trinitarian view of personhood isn’t used in the Old Testament, how can we apply it to the New Testament? Furthermore, I asked how the idea is deduced from Scripture; I did not simply ask how it is deduced from the Old Testament. So not only did you misrepresent me, but you also avoided my question.

    You say:

    This “definition” is not a theological presupposition from which the doctrine articulated in “C” is derived; the reverse is the case. We derive this stipulated definition from the theological conclusion “C” which is derived from Scripture alone using no extrabiblical concepts. Now, of course, you may claim that “D” expresses an impossible state of affairs, that it is irrational or illogical, and so forth. However, you cannot fairly, accurately, or reasonably argue that Trinitarians have derived this conclusion from extrabiblical concepts or sources.

    The term “Person” comes toward the very end of the argument, as a terminological shorthand for theological conclusions that in their substance are derived from the Bible alone. The conclusion that the term Person is not identical in meaning to the term Being in this context is a conclusion from the biblical evidence as explained above, not a presupposition or arbitrary definition used to distort the biblical evidence.

    Absolutely false, since C can only be viewed as a valid conclusion if it is held a priori that one being can be three persons, and that persons are not beings. Thus the validity of C is predicated on an assumption which is found nowhere in the Biblical evidence. It is completely non-Biblical.

    You say:

    I can summarize your entire line of criticism of the doctrine of the Incarnation in one short sentence: It is impossible for God to become a man. Your “argument from reason” is really an a priori objection against the Incarnation. All of the paradoxes, which you regard as contradictions, to which you object with regard to the Incarnation arise necessarily if God becomes a man. Thus, your whole line of criticism against the Incarnation proceeds from the a priori assumption that this is something God simply could not do.

    Wrong again. Not only was this not my criticism, but the burden of evidence lies on you to prove that it is possible for God to be deity and man concurrently, whilst possessing all the attributes of both. You have not presented any evidence to support this claim, which runs aground on the law of contradiction and breaks up shortly thereafter. My position on the incarnation is based upon the Biblical evidence I have presented throughout this debate, and the Bible-based definition of God and his attributes which I presented in Week 1.

  583. on 20 Jun 2010 at 12:24 amDave Burke

    The Argument from Reason (III)
    Rob,

    Trinitarians are aware of the logical problems presented by their doctrine, but solutions have proved elusive. Consequently, many will admit the problems without attempting any solution, while others try to excuse the problems rationalistically (as you do). Ralph Smith (Trinity and reality: An introduction to the Christian faith, Canon Press, 2004, p.6):

    The doctrine of the Trinity appears to us to be a contradiction because in the human world, a personal being is mono-personal.

    Here Smith boldly affirms the contradiction. Unwilling to apply the same principles of logic that he would apply to almost any other doctrine, he gives the Trinity a free pass. But others have correctly recognised the inconsistency here. John V. Dahms (“How Reliable Is Logic?”, Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society,Volume 21, 1978 (V 21, N 4, p.372):

    The orthodox doctrine of the incarnation also provides a problem for those who insist that logic is universally applicable. How can there be two natures but only one person, especially if it be remembered that the debate over monothelitism led to the conclusion that the two-natures doctrine implies that Jesus Christ had two wills? That one person can have two wills would seem to be contrary to the law of contradiction. Of course there are “conservatives” who declare that in Christ “there are not two wills, one Divine and one human”…

    Be that as it may, by what logic is it possible for a nature that cannot be tempted to be united with a nature that can be tempted, or for a nature that cannot grow weary to be united with one that can grow weary, or for a nature that is always in full and perfect favor with God to be united with a nature that can grow in favor with God? The Monophysites and the Nestorians had more respect for logic than the orthodox, as did the Docetists and the Ebionites before them, and as do those liberals who deny the incarnation today.

    Pages 373-374:

    Numerous attempts have been made to show, as J. O. Buswell, Jr., has expressed it, that in the doctrine of the Trinity “we are not expressing a contradiction, ‎or ‘an absurdity in arithmetic.'” But all of them fail…

    Even if a perfect illustration of the Trinity could be found in empirical experience it would do nothing whatever to show that there is no contradiction in the Trinity unless it were also shown that the combination of unity and diversity in the illustration is such that logical contradiction is not involved….

    All attempts to show that the orthodox doctrine of the Trinity does not involve contradiction fail. The plain fact of the matter is that Sabellians and Arians, for example, are more logical than orthodox Christians. As already intimated, it is quite illogical to say that one and the same “substance” is Father, Son and Holy Spirit, if Father, Son and Holy Spirit are not merely different names.

    Dahms also closes the door on the traditional escape routes:

    To take another example, W. T. Shedd also insists that there is “no contradiction” in the doctrine of the Trinity. He believes he can say this because “God is one in another sense than he is three, and three in another sense than he is one.” He is one in essence, but there are “three modes of the essence.” What he fails to see is that for this to be true without involving contradiction requires a dualism of mode and essence, a la Plato, which is intolerable for orthodoxy. Orthodoxy requires that the unity thereof be maintained. One cannot maintain such a unity and still affirm the three modes of the one essence without contradiction.

    Dahms’ conclusion is a classic case of special pleading; he affirms that the law of contradiction should not be applied universally:

    We pause to note that what we have called contradictions in Christian doctrine are often referred to as paradoxes. We understand “paradox,” when used in such a context, to mean “apparent contradiction”—that is, contradiction in appearance but not in reality. If we only had the knowledge that God has we would perceive that no logical contradiction is involved. But if so, how is it known that in the light of God’s knowledge there is no logical contradiction? Only on the assumption that the law of contradiction is universally applicable, an assumption that we have seen reason to question quite apart from theological considerations though as we have seen it is also incompatible with orthodox Christian doctrine.

    Moreover, many of those who insist on paradox in these matters of Christian doctrine insist that the Calvinist and Arminian doctrines of election cannot both be right, because to affirm that they are is illogical. In view of the fact that both appear to be derived from Christian premises, they ought to proclaim a paradox. That they ordinarily do not do so calls into question their appeal to “paradox” in the areas we have been discussing.

    But this only results in further problems for Christian “orthodoxy.” Norman Geisler (“‎Avoid All Contradictions: A Surrejoinder To John Dahms”, JETS 22:2 (June 1979) pp.156) replies thus to Dahms:

    There are two serious (I think insurmountable) problems with the attempt to use logic only some of the time. First, if some contradictions are allowable, why not others? If we Christians can have contradictions in our beliefs, why not Mormons, atheists and anyone else? How can we ever again claim a view is false ‎because it has “contradictions” (antitheseis), as the Bible says we should? Second, contradictory beliefs do not even make sense. On Dahms’ view the basic Christian beliefs (e.g., the Trinity, incarnation, fall, atonement) are all reduced to nonsense.

    Geisler has a valid point, but even he cannot reconcile the contradictions Dahms has presented. Instead he takes a different path (p.159):

    Let me emphasize what I see as the basic issue and its importance for orthodox Christianity. It is this: Does the law of noncontradiction reign sovereignly and universally over all thinking and speaking about God, or can one legitimately hold that two or more statements can be logically contradictory and still both be true? If they can, as Dahms claims, then the following disastrous consequences follow:

    1. We can believe the absurd (and so can anyone else) as long as we have a way to “unite” (?) these contradictory beliefs in our (aesthetic) feelings.

    2. We can somehow “understand” what is contradictory and absurd. By this token the mystic coincidence of opposites can be true too. In fact, if Dahms is correct the ultimate “understanding” goes not only beyond all reason but against it. It is not a mystery (as almost all Christians have held) but an absurdity (as almost no Christians have held).

    3. If Dahms is right, then there can be double truths—a heresy long ago condemned by the Christian Church. For according to Dahms two contradictory statements can both be true.

    4. I do believe in tests for truth other than noncontradiction and spend whole chapters on it in the very book (Christian Apologetics) to which Dahms refers. I speak of “systematic consistency” and “undeniability” as tests for truth.

    A logical contradiction by definition means that if one statement is true the denial of it must be false; both cannot be true. And yet Dahms wants to claim that there are logical contradictions between some true statements. Whatever else one might say in favor of Dahms’ position, it is clearly confused.

    Between Dahms and Geisler we see that Trinitarianism fails the standard tests of logic and reason that Christians have always applied to almost every other doctrine. Neither Dahms nor Geisler can escape this conclusion. Both attempt rationalistic solutions which consist of little more than special pleading; Dahms says the law of contradiction does not always apply, while for Geisler the only option is to avoid using non-contradiction as a test of truth (“I do believe in tests for truth other than noncontradiction”).

    It’s a sorry state of affairs, made worse by another startling admission:

    Theologically it is correct to say that the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God. But these statements cannot be reversed. We cannot say God is the Father, because that would omit the Son and the Holy Spirit. Nor can we say God is the Son, or God is the Holy Spirit.

    (John H. Fish III, “God the Son”, Emmaus Journal Volume 12, 2003 (1) (34), Dubuque, IA: Emmaus Bible College).

    Note the statement in bold: it reflects a point I have been making throughout this entire debate. Trinitarians cannot say that God is the Father, but that is precisely what the apostles do say repeated in the NT.

  584. on 20 Jun 2010 at 1:29 amDave Burke

    ^^ Corrected version of the post above

    The Argument from Reason (III)
    Rob,

    Trinitarians are aware of the logical problems presented by their doctrine, but solutions have proved elusive. Consequently, many will admit the problems without attempting any solution, while others try to excuse the problems rationalistically (as you do). Ralph Smith (Trinity and reality: An introduction to the Christian faith, Canon Press, 2004, p.6):

    The doctrine of the Trinity appears to us to be a contradiction because in the human world, a personal being is mono-personal.

    Here Smith boldly affirms the contradiction. Unwilling to apply the same principles of logic that he would apply to almost any other doctrine, he gives the Trinity a free pass. But others have correctly recognised the inconsistency here. John V. Dahms (“How Reliable Is Logic?”, Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society,Volume 21, 1978 (V 21, N 4, p.372):

    The orthodox doctrine of the incarnation also provides a problem for those who insist that logic is universally applicable. How can there be two natures but only one person, especially if it be remembered that the debate over monothelitism led to the conclusion that the two-natures doctrine implies that Jesus Christ had two wills? That one person can have two wills would seem to be contrary to the law of contradiction. Of course there are “conservatives” who declare that in Christ “there are not two wills, one Divine and one human”…

    Be that as it may, by what logic is it possible for a nature that cannot be tempted to be united with a nature that can be tempted, or for a nature that cannot grow weary to be united with one that can grow weary, or for a nature that is always in full and perfect favor with God to be united with a nature that can grow in favor with God? The Monophysites and the Nestorians had more respect for logic than the orthodox, as did the Docetists and the Ebionites before them, and as do those liberals who deny the incarnation today.

    Pages 373-374:

    Numerous attempts have been made to show, as J. O. Buswell, Jr., has expressed it, that in the doctrine of the Trinity “we are not expressing a contradiction, ‎or ‘an absurdity in arithmetic.'” But all of them fail…

    Even if a perfect illustration of the Trinity could be found in empirical experience it would do nothing whatever to show that there is no contradiction in the Trinity unless it were also shown that the combination of unity and diversity in the illustration is such that logical contradiction is not involved….

    All attempts to show that the orthodox doctrine of the Trinity does not involve contradiction fail. The plain fact of the matter is that Sabellians and Arians, for example, are more logical than orthodox Christians. As already intimated, it is quite illogical to say that one and the same “substance” is Father, Son and Holy Spirit, if Father, Son and Holy Spirit are not merely different names.

    Dahms also closes the door on the traditional escape routes:

    To take another example, W. T. Shedd also insists that there is “no contradiction” in the doctrine of the Trinity. He believes he can say this because “God is one in another sense than he is three, and three in another sense than he is one.” He is one in essence, but there are “three modes of the essence.” What he fails to see is that for this to be true without involving contradiction requires a dualism of mode and essence, a la Plato, which is intolerable for orthodoxy. Orthodoxy requires that the unity thereof be maintained. One cannot maintain such a unity and still affirm the three modes of the one essence without contradiction.

    Dahms’ conclusion is a classic case of special pleading; he affirms that the law of contradiction should not be applied universally:

    We pause to note that what we have called contradictions in Christian doctrine are often referred to as paradoxes. We understand “paradox,” when used in such a context, to mean “apparent contradiction”—that is, contradiction in appearance but not in reality. If we only had the knowledge that God has we would perceive that no logical contradiction is involved. But if so, how is it known that in the light of God’s knowledge there is no logical contradiction? Only on the assumption that the law of contradiction is universally applicable, an assumption that we have seen reason to question quite apart from theological considerations though as we have seen it is also incompatible with orthodox Christian doctrine.

    Moreover, many of those who insist on paradox in these matters of Christian doctrine insist that the Calvinist and Arminian doctrines of election cannot both be right, because to affirm that they are is illogical. In view of the fact that both appear to be derived from Christian premises, they ought to proclaim a paradox. That they ordinarily do not do so calls into question their appeal to “paradox” in the areas we have been discussing.

    But this only results in further problems for Christian “orthodoxy.” Norman Geisler (“‎Avoid All Contradictions: A Surrejoinder To John Dahms”, JETS 22:2 (June 1979) pp.156) replies thus to Dahms:

    There are two serious (I think insurmountable) problems with the attempt to use logic only some of the time. First, if some contradictions are allowable, why not others? If we Christians can have contradictions in our beliefs, why not Mormons, atheists and anyone else? How can we ever again claim a view is false ‎because it has “contradictions” (antitheseis), as the Bible says we should? Second, contradictory beliefs do not even make sense. On Dahms’ view the basic Christian beliefs (e.g., the Trinity, incarnation, fall, atonement) are all reduced to nonsense.

    Geisler has a valid point, but even he cannot reconcile the contradictions Dahms has presented. Instead he takes a different path (p.159):

    Let me emphasize what I see as the basic issue and its importance for orthodox Christianity. It is this: Does the law of noncontradiction reign sovereignly and universally over all thinking and speaking about God, or can one legitimately hold that two or more statements can be logically contradictory and still both be true? If they can, as Dahms claims, then the following disastrous consequences follow:

    1. We can believe the absurd (and so can anyone else) as long as we have a way to “unite” (?) these contradictory beliefs in our (aesthetic) feelings.

    2. We can somehow “understand” what is contradictory and absurd. By this token the mystic coincidence of opposites can be true too. In fact, if Dahms is correct the ultimate “understanding” goes not only beyond all reason but against it. It is not a mystery (as almost all Christians have held) but an absurdity (as almost no Christians have held).

    3. If Dahms is right, then there can be double truths—a heresy long ago condemned by the Christian Church. For according to Dahms two contradictory statements can both be true.

    4. I do believe in tests for truth other than noncontradiction and spend whole chapters on it in the very book (Christian Apologetics) to which Dahms refers. I speak of “systematic consistency” and “undeniability” as tests for truth.

    A logical contradiction by definition means that if one statement is true the denial of it must be false; both cannot be true. And yet Dahms wants to claim that there are logical contradictions between some true statements. Whatever else one might say in favor of Dahms’ position, it is clearly confused.

    Between Dahms and Geisler we see that Trinitarianism fails the standard tests of logic and reason that Christians have always applied to almost every other doctrine. Neither Dahms nor Geisler can escape this conclusion. Both attempt rationalistic solutions which consist of little more than special pleading; Dahms says the law of contradiction does not always apply, while for Geisler the only option is to avoid using non-contradiction as a test of truth (“I do believe in tests for truth other than noncontradiction”).

    It’s a sorry state of affairs, made worse by another startling admission:

    Theologically it is correct to say that the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God. But these statements cannot be reversed. We cannot say God is the Father, because that would omit the Son and the Holy Spirit. Nor can we say God is the Son, or God is the Holy Spirit.

    (John H. Fish III, “God the Son”, Emmaus Journal Volume 12, 2003 (1) (34), Dubuque, IA: Emmaus Bible College).

    Note the statement in bold: it reflects a point I have been making throughout this entire debate. Trinitarians cannot say that God is the Father, but that is precisely what the apostles do say, and it is repeated throughout the NT.

  585. on 14 Sep 2014 at 6:59 amImgeta

    Hi everybody, I would like to propose some questions to the non- trinitarian’s

    Please explain firstly if Jesus is not equal to the Father as to his “nature”

    Then why is he;

    * Called God: Isa 9.6, John 1.1, Heb 1.8, John 20.28, Mat 1.23
    *Creates all things: John 1:1-3, Col 1:15-, Hebrews 1.10
    *Is worshiped : Mat 14.33, 28.9, 17, John 9.38, Heb 1.6 and Rev 5.13-14
    *Is Prayed too: Acts 7:59-60, 1 Cor 1.2, 2 Cor 12.8-9 (Paul prays to Jesus 3 times to remove his thorn)
    *Is identified as Yahweh or Jehovah (PSA 102-25-27 – Hebrews 1:10-1 & Isa 6.1, John 12.38-42)

    My question is what kind of god, messenger, prophet is he? If he can be called God, Creates ALL Things, is Prayed too, is Worshiped and is identified as Yahweh. Do you all worship Jesus and Pray to him as Paul did, as Stephen did and or worship him as the disciples did and as the angels do and as all creation does in revelation 5.13?

    Although there are many gods and as Jesus highlights in John 10.34, siting psa 82.6 they are only “so called gods-” and by nature are not god Gal 4.8. Notice how these human judges “would die like mere men, even though they are gods”? Those human judges, were whom the pharisees thought they had descended from and represented. Jeremiah 10.10-12 says that all God’s who didn’t make the heavens and earth will perish but Only the True God who made the heavens and earth will remain. Psa 96-5-6 says that All gods of the nations are idols but only the True God made the heavens and the earth. Isa 44.24 clearly states that Yahweh makes the heavens and the earth by himself, who was with him?

    Therefore, this is my conclusion. Since all god’s who did not make the heavens and earth will perish and therefor, can’t be the True God. The True God who made the heavens and the earth must be the True God right? And since Yahweh says that he made the Heavens and the earth by HIMSELF “Isa 44.24, Yet John 1.3, Col 1.15 and Heb 1.10 say that Jesus also made the heavens and the earth and that he controls them by the word of his power Heb 1.3 Jesus can only be equal to Yahweh and Col 2.8-9 can’t make this clearer. “In him dwells ALL THE FULLNESS OF DEITY BODILY”

    If you truly believe that Jesus is just a mere man, angel or son of God who is worthy of the worship and adoration given to him in Rev chapter 5 that is absolute idolatry. Jesus qualifies as the True God because he created all things and nothing was created without him (Panta di autou egeneto, kai choris autou egeneto) All things made through him, NOT A SINGLE THING MADE WITHOUT HIM. He is the ONLY unique God in John 1.18 who has explained the father to everybody. It is Unitarians that believe in multiple God’s, we trinitarians believe in One God who is revealed in scripture through 3 separate persons who equally act, say and do things that only the True God could do.

    Let me pose a final question in your family where you have a mother, father and son and even maybe brothers and sisters. There may be 3-5 separate persons but how many different human species are there among your family? There is no difference. You are all equally human yet all separate persons. That is the doctrine of the Trinity. They are all equally God in nature yet separate persons and have separate functions they have chosen. Just because their functions are lower than eachother does not mean that one is better than another? Give me one scripture that says the Father is “BETTER” than Jesus or the Holy Spirit, you will find none because they are all equal and that’s why Jesus commissioned the disciples to baptize in the NAME, singular of the Father, the Son and The Holy Spirit. If the Father was supreme and better than the son and the Spirit then it would be just under the Father’s name that we should be baptized. (Matt 28-19)

  586. on 15 Sep 2014 at 10:24 amSarah

    Hi Imgeta,

    Welcome to the Kingdom Ready blog. Your questions and comments have been discussed at length in various articles on this blog. Please feel free to search the site using the search box at the top of the screen or the green topical links in the sidebar.

    I would like to address one of your comments if I may:

    Let me pose a final question in your family where you have a mother, father and son and even maybe brothers and sisters. There may be 3-5 separate persons but how many different human species are there among your family? There is no difference. You are all equally human yet all separate persons.

    Let me give you a scenario in return. Suppose I told you there is one human being sitting at my kitchen table. And then I brought you into my kitchen and introduced you to my mom, dad, and brother. You would rightly point out that there are actually THREE human beings sitting at my kitchen table.

    The doctrine of the trinity claims that God is three persons in one being. This is Greek philosophical sleight of hand, because in reality “person” and “being” are semantically equivalent.

    Some 10,000 times scripture identifies God using singular personal pronouns. He is clearly not a WHAT but a WHO, and he has a personal name: YHWH. Jesus in fact called YHWH the “only true God” in Jn 17:3.

    The conception of God as three-in-one is not taught by scripture. Rather, it is read into scripture, thanks in large part to three men who lived in the Cappadocia region of Asia Minor in the 4th century – Gregory of Nyssa, Gregory of Nazianzus, and Basil of Caesarea.

    They were enamored with Plato’s pagan philosophical ideas and they used these ideas to formulate their definition of God. The late R.P.C. Hanson, a church historian respected by many prominent Trinitarians, said this about the Three Cappadocians’ idea of a three-in-one God:

    There can be no doubt about [Gregory of Nyssa’s] debt to Platonic philosophy…Gregory holds firmly along with his brother Basil and his namesake of Nazianzus, that we can know and must believe that God is one “ousia” and three “hypostases”…Though in fact Gregory has fused many contemporary philosophical ideas into his doctrinal system, he is wary about acknowledging his debt to pagan philosophy and prefers to delude himself (as almost all his predecessors and contemporaries did) into believing that the philosophers had been anticipated in their ideas by Moses and the prophets.”

    R.P.C. Hanson, The Search for the Christian Doctrine of God, pp. 719, 721-722

  587. on 21 Sep 2014 at 9:46 amImegeta

    Hi Sarah thankyou for your comments. I would like to point out a few things in return. Firstly, I don’t think anybody would say to another person “I have one human being sitting at my kitchen table” that would be an incorrect statement as it is more likely one would say I have a person named bob or sally sitting at my kitchen table. The reason for this is we identify them as a person. In science we are regarded as “humans” because that is “what we are”. The persons are who they are. So yes I do believe in ONE GOD in nature that is reveled to us through 3 separate co- eternal, co equal persons who are all God. You mention some “10,000 passages” that mention God is a singular person, yet I Would argue we are “talking about persons” here rather than God being “ONE BEING”. The plain fact of the matter is, there is no answer to the issues I have presented. If Jesus is not God with the father, please explain how he is

    * Called God
    *Creates all things
    *Is Worshiped
    *Is prayed too
    *Is reveled to be Yahweh

    What kind of agent is he? Because there no single agent, messenger or angel in the bible that consistently does all of the above the way Jesus does.

    Jesus said to the Jews in john chapter 8 that “Abraham rejoiced as seeing his day and he saw it and was glad”. When did Abraham see Jesus? Please explain…..? I’ll tell you, this was in Genesis 18, when three people appear before Abraham and one is addressed as Yahweh along with the Yahweh in the heavens. This Yahweh who is addressed on earth was the pre-incarnate Son. This is what led the Jews to question Jesus age and saying he would be too young to have been seen or known by Abraham, to what Jesus replies as “Before Abraham was I AM”. (John 8:58) It was at this that the Jews picked up stones to stone him. Stoning was a practice of blasphemy. Jesus was claiming to be the I AM of exodus 3.14, the same greek words Ego eimi, which is identical to the septuagint translation of exodus 3.14. Furthermore, you have instances in Isa 6.1 where Isaiah says he saw “Yahweh’s glory”, yet John seems to say and think that Isaiah saw Jesus glory in John 12.40-42. The same could be said of Hebrews 1.10 where the Hebrew writer says “You oh lord laid the foundations of the heavens and the earth, they are work of your hands..” Yet Psalm 102.25-27 says the exact same scripture but of Yahweh. Revelation 1.7 says the Alpha and the Omega is the one who is, who was and who is to come. The LORD GOD ALMIGHTY. Please explain who is coming? Before Rev 1.5 set’s the context that the one who is coming in the clouds was the one that even those who pierced him will see him, then it follows on with the Alpha and Omega coming, who is the LORD GOD Almighty. Who was pierced?

    You will also note that the Alpha and the Omega is the first and the last and these titles are interchangeable with Jesus, see Rev 1.17-18 and also Isa 44.6. Please explain how there can be two “first and lasts”? and two “alpha and omega’s”?

    I have read the articles here and a lot of your arguments and those by the others are based on “men’s reasoning” and very little biblical citation. I’m not interested in scholarly quotes. Let’s stick to the bible. How can a mere man, angel or agent be able to

    *Be called God
    *Create all things
    *Worshiped religiously and absolutely in Revelation chapter 5.13-14
    *Prayed to by Paul 2 Cor 12.8
    *Be revealed to be Yahweh in Hebrews 1.10 with psa 102.25-27, Isaiah 6.1 with John 12.40-42 and Revelation 1.6-8, 1.17-18 and Rev 22.12-16 with Isa 44.6?

    Are Unitarians prepared to give ALL BLESSING AND HONOR AND GLORY AND POWER AND MIGHT FOREVER AND EVER…. to a man? To a created being?… That is nothing else but absolute idolatry my friend and it is my love in Christ that I speak these words in love.

    If you really want to look back into history and talk about independent sources why don’t you look into the first century? What did Ignatius say about Jesus?… what did Tertulian say, what did Clement of Rome say, what did Justin Martyr say, what did Origen say? What did Polycarp say? I will leave that up to you to have a look into but I’ve got the answers next time if you wish.

    Lastly, Unitarians love to quote John 17.3 but forget about the rest of the context, especially John 17.5. If you truly understand the whole purpose of Jesus coming to earth then you would understand Philipians 2.5-8 that clearly explains Jesus having the very FORM of God (Morphe) which literally means “Nature or essence” but did not try to grasp onto equality but humbled himself and took on the FORM of man. When Jesus says that Yahweh is the only true God, this is a statement about all the False God’s in the universe and from the perspective that Jesus was speaking from his human nature. Let me ask you this. Since scripture calls Jesus God, does this mean he is a false God? or is he a True God? I’ve already explained to you that all God’s are false who A) Did not create the heavens and the earth and B) are by nature not God. Well Heb 1.10, Col 1.15 and John 1.3 says that Jesus Creates all things and Phil 2.5-8, Heb 1.3 and Col 2.8-9 all speak of Jesus having the same nature or essence as the father. That is why is can be the ONLY UNIQUE GOD who has seen him and can explain him to us in john 1.18. That is also why he says that he and his father are ONE. John 10.30. So therefore, he can truly say “Now father glorify me with the GLORY I HAD WITH YOU BEFORE THE WORLD BEGAN”. John 17.5, yet Isaiah says in Isa 42.8 “I am Yahweh, I will not SHARE MY GLORY WITH ANOTHER”. Yet we can clearly see that he does with Jesus (John 17.5) and if you’re not satisfied with this then please look at 1 Cor 2.8 as Jesus is described as the LORD OF GLORY. How can he be the Lord of Glory if Yahweh has all glory and does not share this with anybody? I can tell you why? Because Jesus is Yahweh and Yahweh is the name that is applied to all 3 persons of the GODHEAD.

    You see all I’ve done so far is given you scriptures to prove that Jesus is truly God because he is qualified to be God based on what he does and who he is. Everything I’ve seen from you is quoting from reasoning hundreds of years after Christ and your own confusion that scientifically that human beings are the same concept as persons? A person has personality and describes who they are, humans are a species which describes what the are. A dog is what it is. Bingo is WHO the dog was. GOD is what they are. The persons are who they are.

    Please address the tight 5 reasons to the deity of Christ which hasn’t even been touched through scripture..

  588. on 23 Sep 2014 at 5:32 amJaco

    What I sometimes find SO amusing is how Trinitarians resort to hit-and-run tactics by posting ad verbosum, never to defend their fundamentally flawed arguments. We can address the 5 “tight” reasons to the deity of Christ until the cows come home, we won’t see Imegeta ever again… So no, you’re wrong. If you want to know why, then be prepared to defend your arguments.

  589. on 23 Sep 2014 at 4:32 pmImegta

    Hi Jaco thanks for your comments but I’m not running away from here I’m still waiting?….

  590. on 24 Sep 2014 at 2:08 amBrian Keating

    Hi Imegta,

    In addition to all of the articles that are posted on this site, you might also find the information at the following site very useful – especially because you have questions about specific verses in Scripture:

    http://www.biblicalunitarian.com/verses

    That site contains a wealth of information, about many specific verses that are often used to try to support the doctrine that Jesus, himself, is Almighty God. The page listed above has a separate link for each specific verse; for example, here is the direct link for John 8:58:

    http://www.biblicalunitarian.com/verses/john-8-58b

    I hope you find this information useful!

  591. on 24 Sep 2014 at 2:59 amImegta

    Hi Brian I’ll have look. Thanks and God Bless.

  592. on 24 Sep 2014 at 11:02 amSarah

    Hi Imegta,

    I’d like to reply to a few of your comments:

    In science we are regarded as “humans” because that is “what we are”. The persons are who they are. So yes I do believe in ONE GOD in nature that is reveled to us through 3 separate co- eternal, co equal persons who are all God.

    But we are not all “one human” are we? Suppose you have person A, person B, and person C. Clearly these are THREE humans. Sharing a human nature does not make us all ONE human. So can you please explain exactly why the three persons of the Trinity with their three individual identities are not also THREE Gods?

    If you really want to look back into history and talk about independent sources why don’t you look into the first century? What did Ignatius say about Jesus?… what did Tertulian say, what did Clement of Rome say, what did Justin Martyr say, what did Origen say? What did Polycarp say? I will leave that up to you to have a look into but I’ve got the answers next time if you wish.

    I have indeed examined many writings of the early church. Ignatius, Justin Martyr, and Clement of Rome knew absolutely nothing of a three-in-one God. Nor did any of these men suggest that Jesus was YHWH.

    Justin Martyr, for example, was a Platonist before he converted to Christianity and thus viewed Jesus through the lens of Plato’s cosmology. In Justin’s view, Jesus was a second and subordinate god completely distinct from YHWH. Justin believed he was begotten by YHWH in spirit form at the beginning of creation to be YHWH’s creative demiurge.

    Tertullian (3rd century) is usually credited with introducing the term “trinity” into theological discourse. Ironically, he was later considered a heretic because he (like Justin Martyr) believed there was a time when the Son did not exist.

    Tertullian’s contemporary Origen invented the idea of the “eternal generation of the son,” which is when some portions of the church began to view Jesus as co-eternal to God. Yet even Origen is quite explicit in his belief that the Father alone is YHWH.

    In any case, Origen too was pronounced a heretic at a later church council for the same work that contained his “eternal generation” theory. It should also be noted that Origen believed in the transmigration of souls (essentially reincarnation) and universalism, among other troubling things. Not exactly the most trustworthy “church father” who ever lived.

    I can provide supporting quotes from Justin Martyr, Tertullian, and Origen if you are interested.

    I have read the articles here and a lot of your arguments and those by the others are based on “men’s reasoning” and very little biblical citation.

    I’m happy to talk about individual scriptures. It’s just that I also believe church history is a critical component when evaluating the doctrine of the trinity for accuracy.

    Unfortunately you cited too many passages and I have too little time to address them all right now. In a future post, I’ll pick a few out and respond. Meanwhile I second Brian’s recommendation to visit the Biblical Unitarian website. Additionally, if you click the “Christian Monotheism” link in the sidebar of this blog (near the top and to the right) it will take you to another website that deals extensively with individual proof texts.

  593. on 25 Sep 2014 at 2:08 amImegta

    Hi Sarah thanks again for your comments. I have looked into the biblical Unitarian website and will post a separate comment around that. Now I’d like to address a few questions. You mention “we are not all one human are we”? You are right there’s over 6 billion people on the earth but if you look back at my question I was very specific when I asked “how many different human species are there “? Are u a completely distinct human species to me? No we are both equally human and are both part of the ONE species. You are not a different kind of human species to me but you are a separate and different person functionally. You have also included a lot of information about what the early church fathers believed but you haven’t provided any references? I will send u a separate article on what the early church fathers actually said, especially ignatius who was the earliest disciple of john.

  594. on 25 Sep 2014 at 5:18 amJaco

    Hi Imegta,

    Glad to hear that you’ll stick around. I picked one of your latest responses as a kick-off.

    So yes I do believe in ONE GOD in nature that is reveled to us through 3 separate co- eternal, co equal persons who are all God. You mention some “10,000 passages” that mention God is a singular person, yet I Would argue we are “talking about persons” here rather than God being “ONE BEING”.

    The first flaw in your argument above is the assumption that the person/being dichotomy is an original one. It is not. The ancient Hebraic paradigm within which the whole NT was written precluded and excluded any such philosophically loaded paradigm. So epistemologically your overall assumption is fundamentally flawed.
    Moreover, the fact that God was referred to in the 10 000s using personal singular pronouns confirms the ancient paradigm of thinking of God in normative terms, such as we would when we refer to another person/someone. As such God is a singular someone without any internal plurality even hinted at.

    Now, to you 5 “solid” cases. In order for these 5 points to prevail, they need to be falsifiable. They can be falsified if it can be shown that they do not by necessity come to your conclusion, namely that Jesus is God Almighty. And even if they were not falsifiable, Jesus-as-God does not by default imply your flawed position I address above. But they are false precisely in the areas where they can be falsified, namely:

    • Other figures who are explicitly shown to be utterly human have called God;
    • Medium in creation is not one and the same as Cause of creation;
    • The above point holds even if creation refers to the Genesis creation and not the New Creation;
    • Other figures who are explicitly shown to be utterly human have been worshipped;
    • Other figures who are explicitly shown to be human and angelic have been involved in the act of prayer;
    • Other figures who are explicitly shown to be utterly human have borne God’s Name Yahweh;
    • The above point holds even if the application of the Name to Jesus is direct and not merely typologically.

    On your point re. Joh. 8:58, you can visit my blog and check out my article on the issue: https://worshipingmind.wordpress.com/2014/07/28/is-jesus-of-the-fourth-gospel-the-i-am-of-the-old-testament-3/.

    Your reference to Isa 6:1 in John 12:40-42 has been popularised by James White who is not an authority in NT scholarship, and who doesn’t even hold an accredited PhD. Even a conservative scholar such as Andreas Kostenberger has admitted that it would be wrong to just assume that Isaiah saw the pre-incarnate Christ as Yahweh. This is so because the hermeneutical pattern in John has been prophetic visions pointing to future appearance and glory of the Messiah. That is correct for several reasons:

    • Instead of fixating only on the LXX, several scholars have shown the central role the Targummim have played in compiling the Gospel of John. And in the Targum Isaiah, Yahweh’s glory fills the sanctuary, but the prophet sees the glory of the Shekhina of Yahweh. This is crucial and also fatal for the trinitarian’s position, since God’s transcendence is maintained so that only a reflection of God’s glory is seen, and not God Himself. Being a reflection of that glory or even the glory itself renders Jesus still non-identical to Yahweh.

    • Jesus explains later that he received glory which the Father transferred to him, which he also transfers to his followers. This further establishes the contention by those who do not hold to a Trinitarian hermeneutic that Yahweh of the OT is the Father of the NT. The pattern is continued throughout the Bible.

    I cannot reply comprehensively to all your points. Posting ad verbosum is not conducive to good discussion.

    The Trinitarian argument from Heb. 1:10-12 is flawed because the quotation is not from the Masoretic Text, but from the LXX where Yahweh addresses the Judean king as the one who laid the foundations of the heavens (Royal empire in Palestine) and the earth (political order in Palestine itself) (cp. Isa. 51:16). This is applied to the Messianic rule over a future restored earth (cp. Heb. 2:5).

    Your Rev. 1:7 reference does not prove the Trinity either, because divine titles can be shared by agents. That was the pattern. Throughout Revelation Jesus is consistently shown to be subordinate to and distinct from Lord God Almighty (e.g. 1:6, “serving his God and Father…”

    Are Unitarians prepared to give ALL BLESSING AND HONOR AND GLORY AND POWER AND MIGHT FOREVER AND EVER…. to a man? To a created being?…

    Yes, because God says so. And secondly because God’s glory is reflected in Jesus, so that Jesus is a symbol or image of God. Giving glory to him implies giving glory to God Almighty whom he reflects. This has been a very profound and dominant notion in the first century, particularly where devotion and glory has been given to Adam and the high priest.

    In reference to your citing Ignatius, Tertullian, Clement, Justin Martyr, etc., how about taking to heart the words of the celebrated scholar Philip Schaff:

    The doctrines of the Logos and the Trinity received their shape form Greek Fathers, who, if not trained in the schools, were much influenced, directly or indirectly, by the Platonic philosophy, particularly in its Jewish-Alexandrian form. That errors and corruptions crept into the church from this source cannot be denied. Among the most illustrious of the Father who where more or less Platonic, we may name Justin Martyr, Athenagoras, Theophilus, Iranaeus, Hippolytus, Clement of Alexandria, Origen, Minucius Felix, Eusebius, Methodius, Basil the Great, Gregory of Nyssa and St. Augustine

    Lastly, Trinitarians (yourself included) cannot deal with John 17:3 adequately, especially if one realises that such exclusivity is used by the MAN himself in reference to SOMEONE ELSE in a book so widely abused to prove the Trinity. There is only One God truly. Jesus identifies who that is and says it’s the Father. The Father is not ALSO the True God; He is ALONE the true God. And that nails it.

    By the way, morphe does not mean nature or essence. That’s false. It means external appearance and status. A modern quote by Carl Jung might give you a hint as to how the Hymn should be understood:

    At your low point you are no longer distinct from your fellow beings. You are not ashamed and do not regret it, since insofar as you live the life of your fellow beings and descent to their lowliness, you also climb into the holy stream of common life, where you are no longer an individual on a high mountain, but a fish among fish, a frog among frogs.

    In fact, the Philippian hymn ends with the ultimate aim of Jesus life as Suffering Servant (Isaiah 52/53), namely to ultimately glorify God the Father (Php. 2:11). A unitary understanding of God is once again confirmed.

    John 1:18 has textual issues, so it still proves nothing.

    Nothing Jesus did or said proves that he is inherently God.

    Everything he did, said and was, was by holy spirit given to him by the One True God, Yahweh (cp. John chapters 5 – 7).

    Please address the tight 5 reasons to the deity of Christ which hasn’t even been touched through scripture…

    I prefer the description flimsy.

  595. on 26 Sep 2014 at 8:19 pmSarah

    Imegta,

    Looks like Jaco answered most of the citations you listed, so I’ll continue with the historical aspect for the moment.

    You have also included a lot of information about what the early church fathers believed but you haven’t provided any references?

    Sorry, ran out of time & space. Perhaps the first place to start is Plato’s teaching. According to the Catholic Encyclopedia:

    “Moreover, Plato’s interest in nature is dominated by a teleological view of the world as animated with a World-Soul, which, conscious of its process, does all things for a useful purpose….This conviction is apparent especially in the Platonic account of the origin of the universe, contained in the “Timaeus”… he believes the soul to have existed before its union with the body. The whole theory of Ideas, in so far, at least, as it is applied to human knowledge, presupposes the doctrine of pre-existence.

    http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/12159a.htm

    The concept of literal pre-existence was foreign to Hebraic thought but fundamental to Greek thought. Justin Martyr was a trained philosopher who sought to harmonize the pagan notion of literal pre-existence with Hebrew scripture.

    Most likely Justin originated the unbiblical idea that the Angel of the Lord in the OT was a pre-existent Jesus. But Justin also made a clear distinction between that “pre-existent” Christ and YHWH God (brackets & emphasis mine):

    “…it will not be the Creator of all things [YHWH] that is the God that said to Moses that He was the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, but it will be He who has been proved to you to have appeared to Abraham, ministering to the will of the Maker of all things [YHWH]…”

    http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/justinmartyr-dialoguetrypho.html

    I also mentioned Tertullian, who wrote the following:

    “He could not have been the Father previous to the Son, nor a Judge previous to sin. There was, however, a time when neither sin existed with Him, nor the Son.”

    http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/tertullian13.html (see chap III)

    Regarding Origen, in the following quote he explains his belief that the Father and Son are two totally distinct gods, with the Father being the greater of the two:

    “For we who say that the visible world is under the government to Him who created all things, do thereby declare that the Son is not mightier than the Father, but inferior to Him. And this belief we ground on the saying of Jesus Himself, “The Father who sent Me is greater than I.” And none of us is so insane as to affirm that the Son of man is Lord over God. But when we regard the Saviour as God the Word, and Wisdom, and Righteousness, and Truth, we certainly do say that He has dominion over all things which have been subjected to Him in this capacity, but not that His dominion extends over the God and Father who is Ruler over all.

    http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/origen168.html (see chapter XV)

    And you can read more about the council that anathematized Origen here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_Council_of_Constantinople

    I will send u a separate article on what the early church fathers actually said, especially ignatius who was the earliest disciple of john.

    Please do. I am always interested in learning new information. I haven’t studied Ignatius in depth, but I do know that several forgeries of his writings exist and therefore his work must be approached with caution.

  596. on 26 Sep 2014 at 9:42 pmJas

    Sarah
    Bravo!

  597. on 27 Sep 2014 at 3:56 amImegta

    Hi Sarah here are the words of the early church fathers with references.

    1. Ignatius of Antioch (c. 50–117): For our God, Jesus the Christ, was conceived by Mary according to God’s plan, both from the seed of David and of the Holy Spirit. (Ignatius, Letter to the Ephesians, 18.2. Translation from Michael Holmes, Apostolic Fathers, 197)

    2. Ignatius (again): Consequently all magic and every kind of spell were dissolved, the ignorance so characteristic of wickedness vanished, and the ancient kingdom was abolished when God appeared in human form to bring the newness of eternal life. (Ibid.,Letter to the Ephesians 19.3. Holmes, AF, 199)

    3. Ignatius (again): For our God Jesus Christ is more visible now that he is in the Father. (Ignatius, Letter to the Romans, 3.3. Holmes, AF, 229)

    4. Ignatius (again): I glorify Jesus Christ, the God who made you so wise, for I observed that you are established in an unshakable faith, having been nailed, as it were, to the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ. (Ignatius, Letter to the Smyrnaeans, 1.1. Holmes, AF, 249.)

    5. Ignatius (again): Wait expectantly for the one who is above time: the Eternal, the Invisible, who for our sake became visible; the Intangible, the Unsuffering, who for our sake suffered, who for our sake endured in every way. (Ignatius, Letter to Polycarp, 3.2. Holmes, AF, 265.)

    6. Polycarp of Smyrna (69–155): Now may the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the eternal high priest himself, the Son of God Jesus Christ, build you up in faith and truth . . ., and to us with you, and to all those under heaven who will yet believe in our Lord and God Jesus Christ and in his Father who raised him from the dead. (Polycarp, Philippians, 12:2. Holmes, AF, 295)

    7. Justin Martyr (100–165): And that Christ being Lord, and God the Son of God, and appearing formerly in power as Man, and Angel, and in the glory of fire as at the bush, so also was manifested at the judgment executed on Sodom, has been demonstrated fully by what has been said. (Justin Martyr, Dialogue with Trypho, 128. Translation from Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson, Ante-Nicene Fathers, I:264)

    8. Justin (again): “Permit me first to recount the prophecies, which I wish to do in order to prove that Christ is called both God and Lord of hosts.” (Ibid., 36. ANF, I:212.)

    10. Justin (again): Therefore these words testify explicitly that He [Jesus] is witnessed to by Him [the Father] who established these things, as deserving to be worshipped, as God and as Christ. (Ibid., 63. ANF, I:229)

    11. Melito of Sardis (d. c. 180): “He that hung up the earth in space was Himself hanged up; He that fixed the heavens was fixed with nails; He that bore up the earth was born up on a tree; the Lord of all was subjected to ignominy in a naked body – God put to death! . . . [I]n order that He might not be seen, the luminaries turned away, and the day became darkened—because they slew God, who hung naked on the tree. . . . This is He who made the heaven and the earth, and in the beginning, together with the Father, fashioned man; who was announced by means of the law and the prophets; who put on a bodily form in the Virgin; who was hanged upon the tree; who was buried in the earth; who rose from the place of the dead, and ascended to the height of heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of the Father.” (Melito, 5. ANF, VIII:757)

    12. Irenaeus of Lyons (120–202): “For I have shown from the Scriptures, that no one of the sons of Adam is as to everything, and absolutely, called God, or named Lord. But that He is Himself in His own right, beyond all men who ever lived, God, and Lord, and King Eternal, and the Incarnate Word, proclaimed by all the prophets, the apostles, and by the Spirit Himself, may be seen by all who have attained to even a small portion of the truth. Now, the Scriptures would not have testified these things of Him, if, like others, He had been a mere man. . . . He is the holy Lord, the Wonderful, the Counselor, the Beautiful in appearance, and the Mighty God, coming on the clouds as the Judge of all men; — all these things did the Scriptures prophesy of Him.” (Irenaeus, Against Heresies, 3.19.2. ANF, I:449)

    13. Irenaeus (again): “He received testimony from all that He was very man, and that He was very God, from the Father, from the Spirit, from angels, from the creation itself, from men, from apostate spirits and demons.” (Ibid., 4.6.7. ANF, I:469)

    14. Irenaeus (again): “Christ Jesus [is] our Lord, and God, and Savior, and King, according to the will of the invisible Father.” (Ibid., 1.10.1. ANF, I:330)

    15. Irenaeus (again): “Christ Himself, therefore, together with the Father, is the God of the living, who spoke to Moses, and who was also manifested to the fathers.” (Ibid., 4.5.2. ANF, I:467)

    16. Clement of Alexandria (c. 150–215): “This Word, then, the Christ, the cause of both our being at first (for He was in God) and of our well-being, this very Word has now appeared as man, He alone being both, both God and man—the Author of all blessings to us; by whom we, being taught to live well, are sent on our way to life eternal. . . . . . . The Word, who in the beginning bestowed on us life as Creator when He formed us, taught us to live well when He appeared as our Teacher; that as God He might afterwards conduct us to the life which never ends” (Clement of Alexandria, Exhortation to the Heathen, 1. ANF, II:173)

    17. Tertullian (c. 160–225): For God alone is without sin; and the only man without sin is Christ, since Christ is also God.” (Tertullian, Treatise on the Soul, 41. ANF, III:221)

    18. Tertullian (again): “Thus Christ is Spirit of Spirit, and God of God, as light of light is kindled. . . . That which has come forth out of God is at once God and the Son of God, and the two are one. In this way also, as He is Spirit of Spirit and God of God, He is made a second in manner of existence—in position, not in nature; and He did not withdraw from the original source, but went forth. This ray of God, then, as it was always foretold in ancient times, descending into a certain virgin, and made flesh in her womb, is in His birth God and man united.” (Tertullian, Apology, 21. ANF, III:34–35)

    19. Hippolytus (170–235): “The Logos alone of this God is from God himself; wherefore also the Logos is God, being the substance of God.” (Hippolytus, Refutation of All Heresies, 10.29. ANF, V:151)

    20. Caius (180–217) [in response to those who would question the deity of Christ] “Perhaps what they allege might be credible, did not the Holy Scriptures, in the first place, contradict them. And then, besides, there are writings of certain brethren older than the times of Victor, which they wrote against the heathen in defense of the truth, and against the heresies of their time: I mean Justin and Miltiades, and Tatian and Clement, and many others, in all which divinity is ascribed to Christ. For who is ignorant of the books of Irenaeus and Melito, and the rest, which declare Christ to be God and man? All the psalms, too, and hymns of brethren, which have been written from the beginning by the faithful, celebrate Christ the Word of God, ascribing divinity to Him.” (Caius, Fragments, 2.1. ANF, V:601)

    21. Origen (c. 185–254): “Jesus Christ . . . in the last times, divesting Himself (of His glory), became a man, and was incarnate although God, and while made a man remained the God which He was.” (Origen, De Principiis, Preface, 4. ANF, IV:240)

    22. Novatian of Rome (210–280) “For Scripture as much announces Christ as also God, as it announces God Himself as man. It has as much described Jesus Christ to be man, as moreover it has also described Christ the Lord to be God. Because it does not set forth Him to be the Son of God only, but also the Son of man; nor does it only say, the Son of man, but it has also been accustomed to speak of Him as the Son of God. So that being of both, He is both, lest if He should be one only, He could not be the other. For as nature itself has prescribed that he must be believed to be a man who is of man, so the same nature prescribes also that He must be believed to be God who is of God. . . . Let them, therefore, who read that Jesus Christ the Son of man is man, read also that this same Jesus is called also God and the Son of God” (Novatian, On the Trinity, 11. ANF, V:620.)

    You see Sarah it’s pretty obvious that the early church believed that Jesus was God with the father. These were long before the council of nicea. I always find debates with Unitarians fascinating because I always like to address the “deity of Christ” but Unitarians love to go a different direction and attack the doctrine of the trinity. If you look at my posts the argument is very clear on the “deity of Christ” that is my argument yet the posts I’m getting back keep bringing up the doctrine of the trinity as though that is what I’m directly arguing for. The deity of Christ is NOT the doctrine of the trinity but part of it. Once u can deal with the evidence biblically and now historically as I have shown you that Jesus truly is Yahweh with the father then will you start to appreciate the trinity as truth. I’ll be posting a separate article on the biblical Unitarian website around certain scriptures however, I must reiterate again that I’ve had no real response to how it can be acceptable to view Jesus as anything else but God if he ;

    Is called God
    Creates all things
    Is worshipped
    Is prayed too
    And is identified as Yahweh

    With all the scriptures I’ve provided to support the deity of Christ plus the historical sources from the words of the early church fathers, it is quite clear that the evidence favours Jesus is God, the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End..

  598. on 27 Sep 2014 at 9:29 amSarah

    Thanks for the quotes, Imegta. I can see you’ve done some digging into church history.

    It seems that our disagreement hinges what the early church fathers meant when they called Jesus “God.” Are you suggesting they meant that Jesus is YHWH, the One God of Israel? I contend this is simply not the case.

    As mentioned earlier, the early fathers viewed scripture through the lens of Plato’s cosmology. It was Plato, not the Hebrews, who taught literal pre-existence. The early Gentile church fathers were steeped in Plato’s ideas and thus many assumed that Jesus literally pre-existed as a completely distinct and secondary god beneath the Father. This is completely different from the Trinitarian view of the deity of Christ.

    Nowhere in the early church writings will you find the idea that Jesus is in any sense the “One God” of Israel. To the contrary, the church fathers routinely made a sharp distinction between the One and Only God and his Son Jesus Christ.

    Ignatius:

    “As Paul admonished you. For if there is one God of the universe, the Father of Christ, “of whom are all things; ” and one Lord Jesus Christ, our [Lord], “by whom are all things; ” and also one Holy Spirit…. For “there is one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is through all, and in all.”

    Ignatius, Letter to the Philippians

    http://www.angelfire.com/space/thegospeltruth/trinity/history/ignatius.html

    Clement of Rome:

    “Let all the nations know that you are the only God, that Jesus Christ is your servant, and that we are your people and the sheep of your pasture.”

    1 Clement 59:4

    Justin Martyr:

    “We worship the God of the Christians, whom we reckon to be one from the beginning, the maker and fashioner of the whole creation, visible and invisible; and the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who had also been preached beforehand by the prophets…”

    Justin Martyr, The Martyrdom of Justin Martyr

    And Irenaeus:

    “Both the Lord [Jesus], then, and the apostles announce as the one only God the Father…”

    Irenaeus, Against Heresies IV.36.6

    Even Constantine noted the influence of Plato upon the Gentile church fathers in this quote from the council of Nicaea:

    “Lastly, Plato himself, the gentlest and most refined of all, who first essayed to draw men’s thoughts from sensible to intellectual and eternal objects, and taught them to aspire to sublimer speculations, in the first place declared, with truth, a God exalted above every essence, but to him he [Plato] added also a second, distinguishing them numerically as two, though both possessing one perfection, and the being of the second Deity proceeding from the first.…In accordance, therefore, with the soundest reason, we may say that there is one Being whose care and providence are over all things, even God the Word, who has ordered all things; but the Word being God himself is also the Son of God.”

    http://www.constantinethegreatcoins.com/Constantine/Saints.html

    What the early fathers meant when they called Jesus “God” had nothing to do with identifying him as YHWH. Rather, they saw TWO unequal Gods – YHWH (the supreme being) and Jesus (the servant of YHWH).

    Scripture actually does use the term god [theos in Greek, elohim in Hebrew] of others besides YHWH. Moses was called god in Ex 7:1, for example. But of course this did not mean Moses was YHWH. There is a legitimate sense in which Jesus can be called God. It is not inherent deity, however, but an authority bestowed on him by the One God of Israel.

    Having said all this, let me hasten to add that Biblical Unitarians (myself included) love, honor, worship, and serve Jesus Christ as the Messiah and only begotten Son of God who has been exalted to the right hand of God as Lord of all creation. There is only one greater than Jesus, and that is Jesus’ own God YHWH, for whose sake we faithfully follow our risen redeemer and Lord!

  599. on 02 Oct 2014 at 5:52 amimgeta

    Hi Jaco thank you once again for your comments, I will now address them all individually

    “Now, to you 5 “solid” cases. In order for these 5 points to prevail, they need to be falsifiable. They can be falsified if it can be shown that they do not by necessity come to your conclusion, namely that Jesus is God Almighty. And even if they were not falsifiable, Jesus-as-God does not by default imply your flawed position I address above. But they are false precisely in the areas where they can be falsified, namely:

    • Other figures who are explicitly shown to be utterly human have been called God;” (Jaco 594)

    Once again this is perhaps the greatest and weakest argument that Unitarians pose when attacking the deity of Christ. Notice how there hasn’t been any refutation around my first post on why many are called god?. Let me just post this up again as a reminder that Jaco has not even attempted to answer the question;

    “Although there are many gods and as Jesus highlights in John 10.34, citing psa 82.6 they are only “so called gods-” and by nature are not god Gal 4.8. Notice how these human judges “would die like mere men, even though they are gods”? Those human judges were whom the Pharisees thought they had descended from and represented. Jeremiah 10.10-12 says that all God’s who didn’t make the heavens and earth will perish but Only the True God who made the heavens and earth will remain. Psa 96-5-6 says that All gods of the nations are idols but only the True God made the heavens and the earth. Isa 44.24 clearly states that Yahweh makes the heavens and the earth by himself, who was with him?

    Therefore, this is my conclusion. Since all god’s who did not make the heavens and earth will perish and therefore, can’t be the True God. The True God who made the heavens and the earth must be the True God right? And since Yahweh says that he made the Heavens and the earth by HIMSELF “Isa 44.24, Yet John 1.3, Col 1.15 and Heb 1.10 say that Jesus also made the heavens and the earth and that he controls them by the word of his power Heb 1.3 Jesus can only be equal to Yahweh and Col 2.8-9 can’t make this clearer. “In him dwells ALL THE FULLNESS OF DEITY BODILY” (Imgeta 585 Sept 14, 2014)

    As you can see here Jaco, scripture is VERY CLEAR on who and what qualifies as the True God. Why do you not consider God’s word through his servant Jeremiah who said that “ALL GODS who didn’t make the HEAVENS AND The EARTH Will perish and that only YAHWEH is the True God because of this VERY reason that HE MADE the heaven’s and the earth. Or why not consider God’s word from the Psalmist who said in Psalm 96.5-6 that “ALL GOD’S OF THE NATIONS ARE IDOLS BUT THE LORD MADE THE HEAVENS AND THE EARTH”(ESV) If you even have a look at the context in Psalm 96:5 you’ll see that Yahweh is above ALL GOD’S and we are not to fear any other gods and the distinction that separates Yahweh from ALL OTHER GODS are that He created the Heavens and the Earth. Moreover, why do you not consider God’s word through his prophet Isaiah when he said in Isaiah 44:24

    “Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer,
    who formed you from the womb:
    “I am the LORD, who made all things,
    who alone stretched out the heavens,
    who spread out the earth by myself, ” (ESV)

    Who made the Heavens and the Earth Jaco? Did Yahweh really make the HEAVENS AND THE EARTH ALL BY HIMSELF? Well we both agree that the Father Yahweh made the heavens and the earth, BUT how do you explain the following?

    *John 1.3 “ALL THINGS were made through him and WITHOUT HIM was NOT ANYTHING MADE THAT WAS MADE (ESV)

    *COL 1.16 “16 For by[f] him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. 17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. 19 For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.” (ESV)

    – BY HIM
    – THROUGH HIM
    – FOR HIM
    -IN HIM ALL THINGS HOLD TOGETHER
    – IN EVERYTHING HE MIGHT BE PREEMINENT/FIRST

    Show me any other god called in scripture besides Yahweh that does WHAT JESUS has done? Please just show me one? Jesus Christ created ALL THINGS ,NOTHING was made without him? How could Jesus have been created if nothing was created without him? Since he too CREATES ALL THINGS, whether in Heaven and on Earth and lastly that

    ““You, Lord, laid the foundation of the earth in the beginning,
    and the heavens are the work of your hands;
    11 they will perish, but you remain;
    they will all wear out like a garment,
    12 like a robe you will roll them up,
    like a garment they will be changed.[a]
    But you are the same,
    and your years will have no end.” (Heb 1.10-12 ESV)

    You see the whole point here is that although there are many gods. All other gods are not really God because they are not the creator of ALL THINGS the way that the Father and his Son Jesus is.

    Which brings me to your comment around Hebrews 1.10-12 on what you said

    “The Trinitarian argument from Heb. 1:10-12 is flawed because the quotation is not from the Masoretic Text, but from the LXX where Yahweh addresses the Judean king as the one who laid the foundations of the heavens (Royal empire in Palestine) and the earth (political order in Palestine itself) (cp. Isa. 51:16). This is applied to the Messianic rule over a future restored earth (cp. Heb. 2:5).” (Jaco)

    This can clearly be shown to be false if we look at the context of scripture. There are so many things to consider. Firstly let’s go back further to Hebrews 1.5-6

    “5 For to which of the angels did God ever say,

    “You are my Son,
    today I have begotten you”?

    Or again,

    “I will be to him a father,
    and he shall be to me a son”?

    6 And again, when he brings the firstborn into the world, he says,

    “Let all God’s angels worship him.” (ESV)

    OR why not even further back to Hebrews 1:1-2

    “Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of ALL THINGS, THROUGH WHOM also he created the world” (ESV)

    Now let’s look at Psalm 102:25-27 from where the Hebrew writer is quoting

    “Of old YOU LAID the FOUNDATION of the EARTH,
    and the HEAVENS are the work of your HANDS.
    26 They will perish, but you will remain;
    they will all wear out like a garment.
    You will change them like a robe, and they will pass away,
    27 but you are the same, and your years have no end.

    If you read psalm 102.1 the opening words are “Hear my prayer oh Yahweh let my cry come to you” (ESV). Then as you continue right through to verse 27, the only God in the context is Yahweh and there is no other god or Judean King addressed at all. I have no idea where you have got your research from however; CONTEXT is a beautiful thing in scripture isn’t it? The context as I’ve clearly outlined here in both Hebrews 1.10-12 and Psalm 102:25-27 clearly shows that Yahweh is the one who is being addressed in Psalm and Jesus is the ONE who is being addressed in Hebrews where the Hebrew writer is clearly applying the scripture used of Yahweh to Jesus because he understood that Jesus truly is YAHWEH in that they are both EQUALLY GOD. The attributes and language used of for the person in psalm 102:25-27 can only be THE TRUE GOD. How could you possibly even think that a mere man “ Lays the foundation of the heaven’s and the earth…. they will all wear out like a garment but you remain the same and your years have no end” How is the attribute even possible for some Judean King? Are you telling me some human besides Jesus is imperishable, remaining the same never to wear out?

    So once again what I’ve highlighted thus far is that Jesus can only be the TRUE GOD because He too creates ALL THINGS and scripture shows the difference between the TRUE GOD and all OTHER gods, which is. They WILL PERISH AND FADE AWAY and that they did NOT CREATE the Heavens and the Earth. This qualifies him to be the TRUE GOD because scripture sets it out clearly that Only the True God created the heavens and the earth.

    Now lets have a look your other explanations

    •” Medium in creation is not one and the same as Cause of creation;
    • The above point holds even if creation refers to the Genesis creation and not the New Creation;” (Jaco 594)

    Well I think this point has clearly and utterly been refuted and answered in my above point. Jesus wasn’t just a MEDIUM in creation. He CREATED ALL THINGS. BY HIM, THROUGH HIM AND FOR HIM. HE LAYS THE FOUNDATION OF THE HEAVENS AND THE EARTH, THEY ARE WORK OF HIS HANDS. How is that a medium in creation? Once again another falsehood presented here with no scriptural basis to back it up.

    • “Other figures who are explicitly shown to be utterly human have been worshiped;” (Jaco 594)

    Jaco I absolutely agree that throughout scripture many figures have been shown to receive worship no arguments there BUT in WHAT context and HOW MANY TIMES? There are two types of worship;

    Worship and adoration to a dignitary as a form of respect AND religious worship in a religious context. The Greek word Proskuneo derives from the greek root words Pros- (Toward or face to face) and Kuneo (To kiss)

    However, it can surely be used of GOD too if you consider;

    Matt 4:10; John 4:21-24; 1 Cor 14:25; Rev 4:10; Rev 5:14; Rev 7:11; Rev 11:16; Rev 19:10 (2nd part); Rev 22:9;

    AND of Christ

    Daniel 7:14- Matt 14.33, 28.9, 17, John 9.38, Heb 1.6 and Rev 5.13-14,

    There are TWO MAIN reasons why I believe the worship given to Jesus is different to worship given to mere men and idols

    * Jesus is shown to have received worship on SEVERAL OCCASIONS
    * Jesus is shown to have received worship in a RELIGIOUS CONTEXT, which was never explained to be FALSE or wrong.

    Reason One: Of the examples you have said where others have received worship can you show me how MANY DIFFERENT times the same people received worship?

    Reason Two: Of the occasions where kings, rulers and even Angels who received worship can you please show me HOW many times this was in a RELIGIOUS CONTEXT and approved and accepted by Yahweh? The only possible examples you could provide would be of the Dragon, The Beast, The image of the Beast, idols and Demons and Angels and would you say this was accepted or even endorsed by Yahweh?

    The basic point to my argument is this. Jesus received worship on more than one occasion, which completely sets him apart from other rulers and kings who may have received reverence or obeisance as a sign of respect on one or two occasions.

    Secondly the WAY in which Jesus received WORSHIP is astounding. Now I never included Daniel 7:14 in my earlier posts about Jesus receiving worship because I was saving it for this very reason as I knew it was going to come down to the argument that many people received worship. However, Jesus is said to have received TRUE religious worship in Daniel 7:14, with the Greek word Latreuo (which can only be used of religious worship to God)

    “And to him was given dominion
    and glory and a kingdom,
    that all peoples, nations, and languages
    should SERVE HIM; (Serve = Latreuo)
    his dominion is an everlasting dominion,
    which shall not pass away,
    and his kingdom one
    that shall not be destroyed.” (ESV)

    If you look earlier in Daniel 7:10 you will see the ANCIENT OF DAYS also having “Thousands Serving him” (Latreuo)

    For those who don’t understand what I’m talking about here, I am talking about the Greek Septuagint of the Hebrew Bible done some 300 years before Christ, to WHICH the early Christians quoted from and used as a basis for the New Testament. In the Septuagint translation in Daniel 7:10-14 Latreuo is used of both GOD the father “Ancient of Days” and Jesus Christ “Son of Man and this is seen as completely acceptable and not highlighted as being wrong for the “Son of Man”.

    Also, I need to keep going back to Revelation 5:13-14

    “13 And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying,

    “To HIM WHO SITS ON THE THRONE AND TO THE LAMB
    be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!”

    14 And the four living creatures said, “Amen!” and the elders fell down and WORSHIPED” (ESV)

    Now although the Greek word used here is Proskuneo, as I’ve highlighted above it can be used of GOD as well and notice the Angel says to John in Revelation 19.10 and 22.9 not to give him that glory but ‘WORSHIP GOD’. Guess what Greek word is used? “Proskuneo”

    Finally in Luke 4.8 Jesus quotes the Shema to Satan where he says that he should only worship THE LORD YOUR GOD, and him only you should serve. Once again the word for Worship is “Proskuneo” interestingly enough both Proskuneo and Latreuo is used in this same verse for the English words Worship and Serve, thus showing that they are interchangeable depending on the context.

    The basic point is this. Why does Jesus NEVER rebuke those who continuously give him worship and HOW can Jesus RECEIVE the same religious worship only given to Yahweh in Daniel 7.14 and Revelation 5.13-14 when clearly he says that we should ONLY WORSHIP The LORD and Serve him only? Luke 4.8. The only possible reason is that JESUS IS YAHWEH and he has explained him, as the ONLY BEGOTTEN- UNIQUE ONE of God, John 1.14. To have ALL CREATION giving him the praise and honor and glory forever and ever and WORSHIPING him with Yahweh in revelation 5:13, how is that not an offense to Yahweh according to Luke 4:8 and the Shema (Deut 6:4) and Isaiah 42.8 where Yahweh says ”

    I am the LORD; that is my name;
    my glory I give to no other,
    nor my praise to carved idols. (ESV)

    If revelation 5:13-14 is NOT SHARING in Yahweh’s glory, that I have absolutely NO IDEA what is? It is so obvious. All creation gives them praise, glory and honor to the ONE SITTING ON THE THRONE AND TO THE LAMB. And the Elders all fall down AND WORSHIPED. Who did they Worship? Well if John wanted to make sure that the worship only belonged to the Father, he would have said “Worshiped the ONE SITTING ON THE THRONE”. However, he does not make this distinction because he like rest of the early Church believed that Jesus was GOD just as he had earlier said in John 1:1 “The Word was God”.

    If Jesus only wanted his worshipers to worship the father he would have told satan to “Worship the father” but no he uses the scriptures to worship Yahweh his God and him only shall you serve”. Satan wanted Jesus to worship him but Jesus is telling him I AM your God, worship and serve me because I share in the divine name with my father.

    • “Other figures who are explicitly shown to be human and angelic have been involved in the act of prayer;” (Jaco 594)

    I’m sorry ladies and gentlemen but I really need to address the absolute falsehood that is being presented to you with Jaco’s statements about prayer given to Jesus. Jaco I note that you mention that others who are human have been INVOLVED in prayer?

    Please note what my actual question and argument was;

    *”Is Prayed too: Acts 7:59-60, 1 Cor 1.2, 2 Cor 12.8-9 (Paul prays to Jesus 3 times to remove his thorn. Imgeta 585)

    “My question is what kind of god, messenger, prophet is he? If he can be called God, Creates ALL Things, is Prayed too, is Worshiped and is identified as Yahweh. Do you all worship Jesus and Pray to him as Paul did, as Stephen did”…. (Imgeta 585)

    Where did I ever say in here or in that Jesus was “INVOLVED in the act of prayer?” My argument was straightforward. I asked how could JESUS be PRAYED TOO. There is a huge fundamental difference to being INVOLVED in the act of prayer and being PRAYED TOO. Every time we pray to God we are essentially INVOLVED in the act of prayer to him. However, show me one single scripture where others prayed to humans and or angels? And God accepted it? Are you now Catholic my friend? I believe this is why you simply made a statement but gave no SCRIPTURAL basis AGAIN…. to back up what you have said about prayer given to others because there IS NONE. The plain fact of the matter is this. Why is Paul asking Jesus to remove his thorn 3 TIMES? Why doesn’t he ask God the father if he ALONE IS GOD? Secondly Why doesn’t Jesus not Rebuke him for praying to him? Furthermore, why doesn’t Stephen pray out to Yahweh in Acts 7:59? Yet he clearly calls out to Jesus in prayer asking him to forgive those stoning him? Jesus is the ONLY one here in the context and Stephen asks asks him to RECEIVE his spirit.

    And lastly why does Paul encourage the WHOLE CHURCH to CALL upon Jesus in I Cor 1:2 if the father Yahweh ALONE is God? Why Jesus? why not CALL Upon Yahweh? The answer is once again crystal clear… Jesus is Yahweh and he is qualified to receive prayer just like the father. If you believe it is acceptable to pray to a “human” then there are some fundamental problems with your Christian theology and we are no better than Mormans, Hindu’s, Catholics and other pagan religions.

    ” Other figures who are explicitly shown to be utterly human have borne God’s Name Yahweh;
    The above point holds even if the application of the Name to Jesus is direct and not merely typologically” (JACO 594)

    Once again… I don’t think you truly understand my question. Jaco you come across as a very intelligent person with the type of vocabulary you often use in these posts and I don’t doubt your knowledge of historical background and church history, however, I must say you are constantly misunderstanding my questions. If you look back at my posts in 585 and 587 my argument is not about Jesus bearing the Name of Yahweh but being revealed to BE Yahweh as in Hebrews 1.10-12 with Psalm 102-25-27 and John 12-40-41. That is a huge difference. I KNOW that many holy ones bore the name of Yahweh, such as Joshua but that wasn’t my argument. Do these ones who bore the name of Yahweh be revealed to actually BE YAHWEH? So I think you have not answered the questioned but decided to focus on an area that isn’t even been asked, which brings me to your comment on Isaiah 6.1

    “Your reference to Isa 6:1 in John 12:40-42 has been popularised by James White who is not an authority in NT scholarship, and who doesn’t even hold an accredited PhD. Even a conservative scholar such as Andreas Kostenberger has admitted that it would be wrong to just assume that Isaiah saw the pre-incarnate Christ as Yahweh. This is so because the hermeneutical pattern in John has been prophetic visions pointing to future appearance and glory of the Messiah. That is correct for several reasons:

    • Instead of fixating only on the LXX, several scholars have shown the central role the Targummim have played in compiling the Gospel of John. And in the Targum Isaiah, Yahweh’s glory fills the sanctuary, but the prophet sees the glory of the Shekhina of Yahweh. This is crucial and also fatal for the trinitarian’s position, since God’s transcendence is maintained so that only a reflection of God’s glory is seen, and not God Himself. Being a reflection of that glory or even the glory itself renders Jesus still non-identical to Yahweh.

    • Jesus explains later that he received glory which the Father transferred to him, which he also transfers to his followers. This further establishes the contention by those who do not hold to a Trinitarian hermeneutic that Yahweh of the OT is the Father of the NT. The pattern is continued throughout the Bible.” (Jaco 594)

    Let me address this in two parts. Firstly, James White has masters in Theology and completed his PHD on line from the University of Columbus. He still did the work the only difference is it was done online from a University not recognized globally; to bring this up is really a cheap shot. Now I’m Armenian and James White is a Calvinist so we actually have a lot of differences however, I do respect Jame’s white’s work on the deity of Christ but if you really insist on “accredited” scholars, why don’t you look at the works for Dr Michael Brown who has his PHD from New York (accredited) or why not just look at the greatest Theologian in the modern era NT Wright and see what they say about the deity of Christ? Lastly why don’t you just look at the vast majority of scholarship surrounding the nature of Christ? You will see that most of them are on the Trinitarian position. Now this is by no means a justification around “The majority is always right”. It’s not about that, what it’s about is that these men and women who have spent years and years and thousands of dollars on researching the scriptures, church history, might I say far more than you and I, unless you are a biblical scholar and can show me your credentials, all come to a common conclusion that Jesus is GOD. So to question James L White’s authority as an “accredited scholar” is nothing more than a cheap shot, if you consider the VAST majority of scholarship who support the truth around the deity of Christ.

    Now lets have a look at what you said concerning the Greek word “morphe”

    “By the way, morphe does not mean nature or essence. That’s false. It means external appearance and status. A modern quote by Carl Jung might give you a hint as to how the Hymn should be understood:
    At your low point you are no longer distinct from your fellow beings. You are not ashamed and do not regret it, since insofar as you live the life of your fellow beings and descent to their lowliness, you also climb into the holy stream of common life, where you are no longer an individual on a high mountain, but a fish among fish, a frog among frogs. “ (Jaco 594)

    Wow… is anybody seeing this? Jaco makes a statement about the Greek word for “morphe” that it is false, gives no scholarly or scriptural evidence and then goes and quotes a non biblical psychiatrist who embraced all relgions as his authoritative source. Let me SHOW YOU in two ways that the above statement is completely wrong concerning the Greek word for “Form” Morphe.

    Lets see what an “actual credible” Greek and Hebrew dictionary says about the term “Morphe” shall we?

    1. Form (Noun) morphe denotes “the special or characteristic form or feature” of a person or thing; it is used with particular significance in the NT, only of Christ, in Php 2:6,7, in the phrases “being in the form of God,” and “taking the form of a servant.” An excellent definition of the word is that of Gifford: “morphe is therefore properly the nature or essence, not in the abstract, but as actually subsisting in the individual, and retained as long as the individual itself exists. … Thus in the passage before us morphe Theou is the Divine nature actually and inseparably subsisting in the Person of Christ. … For the interpretation of ‘the form of God’ it is sufficient to say that

    1. it includes the whole nature and essence of Deity, and is inseparable from them, since they could have no actual existence without it; and
    2. that it does not include in itself anything ‘accidental’ or separable, such as particular modes of manifestation, or conditions of glory and majesty, which may at one time be attached to the ‘form,’ at another separated from it. …
    The true meaning of morphe in the expression ‘form of God’ is confirmed by its recurrence in the corresponding phrase, ‘form of a servant.’ It is universally admitted that the two phrases are directly antithetical, and that ‘form’ must therefore have the same sense in both.” [ From Gillford, “The Incarnation,” pp. 16,19,39.]
    The definition above mentioned applies to its use in Mark 16:12, as to the particular ways in which the Lord manifested Himself. (Vines complete expository dictionary of old and new testament words, pg 251 1984)
    http://gospelhall.org/bible/bible.php?search=morphe&dict=vine&lang=greek

    The second reason that your argument is ONCE AGAIN false is that you disregard the context and consistency in the context. Philipians to 2:5-8. Let’s see what the bible really says;
    5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,[a] 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant,[b] being born in the likeness of men. 8 .( ESV- Phil 2:5-8)
    Let me ask you something Jaco?…. Was Jesus “taking up the form of a servant” and “being born in the likeness of men” Make him truly a servant of God and a Man?…. Please answer.
    Because if your answer is YES…. Then having the form of a servant making him truly a servant MUST MEAN that having the form of GOD means that he truly is GOD…. You can’t have inconsistency with your reasoning that is why renowned scholars such as WE Vine, M Unger and W White Jr in “Vines” share their thoughts. So please when you make a statement be ready to back it up with actual scholarly and scriptural evidence not opinions by yourself and or from a un authorized source like Carl Jung.

    Let’s have a look at your last argument.
    “Lastly, Trinitarians (yourself included) cannot deal with John 17:3 adequately, especially if one realises that such exclusivity is used by the MAN himself in reference to SOMEONE ELSE in a book so widely abused to prove the Trinity. There is only One God truly. Jesus identifies who that is and says it’s the Father. The Father is not ALSO the True God; He is ALONE the true God. And that nails it” (Jaco 594)
    This is yet another example of why you and Unitarians can look at certain scriptures with an eye closed and disregard ALL the other scriptures we have discussed concerning the True deity of Christ. But let’s have a look at the scripture shall we?
    “17 When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you, 2 since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. 3 And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. 4 I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do. 5 And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.” (John 17:1-5)

    Jesus says some profound words here in John chapter 17. He says that “Eternal life”can only come from knowing the TRUE GOD his father and that’s right? So Eternal life only comes from Knowing the father right? And the scripture verse ends there correct? WRONG…. That is how Unitarians view this scripture. If the verse ended there and there was nothing else, then you would have a strong argument but notice what else Jesus says… “That they may know you the only true God….. AND JESUS CHRIST WHOM YOU HAVE SENT…. NOW FATHER GLORIFY ME IN YOUR OWN PRESENCE WITH THE GLORY THAT I HAD WITH YOU BEFORE THE WORLD EXISTED”

    Why does the Father the ONLY TRUE GOD also require believers to believe not just in him BUT HIS SON ALSO?
    Why does the Father the ONLY TRUE GOD share HIS glory with a mere creature (17:5) When he clearly stated that he DOES NOT SHARE HIS GLORY with another (Isaiah 42.8)? You see what is happening here is that Jesus is showing us that He is on the same status and equality as God our Father and that when he says that we should know HIM the ONLY TRUE GOD it’s Jesus saying that The father is above all OTHER FALSE GOD’S. The father is the ONLY true God above all the false God’s BUT Jesus cannot be a FALSE GOD because HE CREATED ALL THINGS and he remains the same and will not Perish. So John 17:3 can clearly be understood if you have an open heart and not just pick and choose which parts of the verse you will use.

    Ladies and Gentlemen what I’ve done for you is present a logical, SCRIPTURAL argument for THE DEITY OF CHRIST using the “Tight 5 Reasons” to his deity. I’m not asking you to believe what I’ve said. Go back and look at the scriptures, consider what I have said in light of them All Jaco has done is made a lot of statements with very little or no scriptural evidence and an incredible lack of authoritative scholarship. If you truly have a love for the Faith, consider ALL THINGS.
    I will comment separately on John 8:58 as Jaco has spent some hard work and time on this topic and we’ll still be here for a long time if we brought this up now.

    In light of everything I do have a desire that people may come to KNOW who Jesus truly is. THE LORD OF GLORY… THE ALPHA AND THE OMEGA… THE GOD WITH IS.

    IMGETA

  600. on 02 Oct 2014 at 1:13 pmJaco

    Thank you for your reply, Imegta, and it is interesting that you resort to the kind of theatrical display of melodrama as you have above. I will nevertheless respond to the content of your comment as far as it is free of emotional expressiveness.

    From the outset I need to highlight your methodological errors, first of all ignoring genre of the texts you cite, then ignoring the redactional scope of those texts and then ignoring the paratextual context of those writings. Your assumptions are absolutist to begin with and with this absolutist approach, you squeeze these texts to say what you have predetermined them to say. This is an overall flaw in your approach, which I will demonstrate now one by one.

    • Other figures who are explicitly shown to be utterly human have been called God

    This is the strongest argument against Trinitarians precisely since it demonstrates culturally (divinely)-authorised usage of the name God without rendering the one being called God to be God Himself. This is so because of faithful representation and reflection of God’s glory in the bearer’s words and deeds. If we see divine justice, love, peace and glory in someone, we see God. That person represents and reflects God. This is the paradigm to which the Bible confirms (which goes without saying, because the bible emerged from a culture which gives priority to FUNCTION as opposed to ONTOLOGY. The bible as a text also feeds back into the culture, perpetuating these pre-existent paradigms).

    So, to address the texts you picked to contest the above consensus: Gal. 4:8 challenges idolatry or God-dishonoring devotion which has never been a sanctioned practice within monotheistic Judaism to begin with. These idols are by nature (or by design, to use the Hebraic concept) not God, nor reflective of his glory. I confirm that. Psalms 82, Ex. 4:16, Ex. 7:1, Philo Prob. 43; De Somniis II. 189; Mos. I 158; Qu.Ex. II.29, 11QMelch. lines 9-11 etc. show that humans could assume divinely sanctioned roles meant to reflect and represent God on earth. None of this has ever been denied in Judaism.

    None of your other texts refute the above consensus. Ps. 96:5, 6, Jer. 10:10-12 and Isa. 44:24 all have within their redactional scope Yahweh and the idols. Within that scope Yahweh alone is God, and not these other gods. Perfect. This does not refute the divinely instituted custom of representation of the True God, Creator, Yahweh, in humans and angels.

    You then jump over to John 1:3, Col 1:16, Heb. 1:10 and Col 2:8, 9.

    To begin with Col 2:8, 9, it is perfectly fine for the fullness of God’s glory to dwell in Jesus, as he was seen as the restoration of divine-glory-in-Adam as the Second Adam. Jesus perfectly reflected God’s glory as Adam did as God’s image. Moreover, faithful imitators of Jesus who would be the next generation of the Second Adam, and who would spearhead this New Creation humanity, would be transformed to be of the same form (symmorphosis) as Jesus. What Jesus was, they would become, through the activity of God’s spirit. What is said of Jesus would have been said of them, because of this transformative power. If divinity in the Trinitarian sense is implied, then these disciples would be part of a massive Pantheon, showing again the short-sightedness of Trinitarianism. So, Christians are also said to have the fullness dwell in them (Eph. 3:19), we would be of the same form as Jesus (Ro. 8:29), to reflect God’s divine glory (2 Cor. 3:18, 2 Pet. 1:4) so that, while no-one has ever seen God, people would see God in us (1 John 4:12-16). No Trinity, sorry.

    John 1.3 states a guiding principle used to expound the prologue of John, namely that the transcendent God, whom no-one has seen, has nevertheless been overwhelmingly active and visible to those who have discernment, in that he was visibly active in and through his creative and transformative word. That’s perfectly fine and is in fact a refutation of Trinitarianism, in that the word was never personal (personified, yes, but not personal) and that the word maintained the Otherness of God so that we see a reflection of God’s presence and glory, and not God Himself. Jesus did what the word did, in that Jesus was transformative and overcame the darkness in his ministry. By typology then, Jesus is the word of the New Creation, as he was the “manna”, the “brazen serpent,” the “Lamb” also by typology. Since you ignored this literary genre, the redactional intent of the writer of John passed you by and you default to erroneous Trinitarianism.

    Col 1:16 is again a continuation of Paul’s New Creation language in that Jesus was the initiation of a new administration. Since his resurrection and exaltation, there has been a cosmic reshuffle, and even though the cosmos seemed hostile, the Christians were reminded that they were still under the reign of Christ who was vindicated at God’s right hand (Ps. 110:1, Col. 3:1). That the Colossian hymn refers to the New Creation is clear if we read the parallel passages in Ephesians. The writer of Ephesians used Colossians as source text to expound on it theologically and in the process clarified the source text:

    Colossians: First-born of all creation (1:15); first-born from the dead (1:18)
    Ephesians: When he raised him from the dead (v. 20)

    Colossians: In him all things were created, through him and for him (1:16)
    Ephesians: In him (2:15), through him (2:18), a new man is created

    Colossians: He is before all things (in priority); in all things he might come to have first place (1:18)
    Ephesians: Seated him at His right hand in heavenly places far above all… (1:19, 20)

    Colossians: …rulers [archai]; authority [exousia]; dominions [kuriotetes]; thrones [thronoi] (1:16)
    Ephesians: …rule [arches]; authority [exousias]; dominion [kuriotetos]; power [dunameos] (1:21)

    Colossians: In him all things hold together (1:17)
    Ephesians: All building fitly framed together (2:16)

    Colossians: Reconciled all things to himself on earth and in heaven (1:20)
    Ephesians: Gather together all things in heaven and on earth (1:10); Reconcile both Jew and Gentile to God (2:16); made us sit in heavenly places (2:6)

    Colossians: All fullness dwell in him (1:19, 2:10)
    Ephesians: Fullness of Christ that fills all in all (1:23)

    So in all this, what was the role of Jesus as proclaimed and preached to people on the outside?

    Acts 2:21: 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 THROUGH HIM in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know…

    In all these prepositions about Jesus, the word “EK” or FROM is never used, but is carefully reserved for the Originator alone (1 Cor. 8:6), so that the mediatorial role of Jesus is simply irrefutable.

    Heb. 1:10-12 is a midrash on Psalm 102, just as 1:8 is a midrash of Psalm 45:6, 7. Both psalms were originally sung to the Judean King using very exalted language. But, as several scholars have noted, it is Yahweh addressing the human. It is also Yahweh who approvingly upholds the custom of being called God in a transferred sense. But the writer makes it clear that Yahweh is still this human ruler’s God (“God, YOUR GOD…”). So, as an explanation of Heb.1:10-12 I referenced Isa. 51:16. The World Biblical Commentary has said on Isaiah 51:16, which also uses creation language and applies it to the Judean king:

    That makes no sense if it refers to the original [Genesis] creation…In the other instances God acts alone, using no agent. Here the one he has hidden in the shadow of his hand is his agent. Heavens and land here must refer metaphorically to the totality of order in Palestine, heavens meaning the broader overarching structure of the Empire, while land is the political order in Palestine itself.”

    You should do some studying comparing the Masoretic reading and the LXX reading of Ps. 102:25-27. Then you’ll see the difference. Sorry, no Trinity.

    My above explanations therefore confirm my following two points:

    • Medium in creation is not one and the same as Cause of creation;
    • The above point holds even if creation refers to the Genesis creation and not the New Creation;

    To go over my next points:

    • Other figures who are explicitly shown to be utterly human have been worshiped

    Your distinguishing between proskyneo in a religious sense and a non-religious sense are also a false one, precisely since recipients of proskyneo in a religious sense included figures who were both humans and angels. These cases include:
    • Adam receiving religious worship by angels (Life of Adam and Eve 12-16, Sybelline Oracles VIII:596ff);
    • Faithful rulers in God’s kingdom would receive regular proskyneo as kings and priests (Rev. 3:9)
    • David receiving proskynesis alongside Yahweh in 2 Chronicles 29:20;
    • Ancient inscriptions show angels receiving proskyneo alongside God in ancient gravestone inscriptions (Rhenia inscription, Kalecik inscription)
    • High priest receiving praise and proskynesis as
    • Wisdom in human form;
    • A manifestation of the likeness of Yahweh’s glory (Ezek. 1:26-28);
    • The perfect image and likeness of God (Gen. 1:26, 27; Ps. 8)
    • As the one who re-enacts the 7-day creation (Ben Sira 7:27-31, 49:16-50:21 – Fletcher-Louis)

    All these took place because the recipients of such worship were glory bearers of Yahweh so that Yahweh remained the ultimate Recipient of that worship (cp. Php. 2:11). So this refutes your absolutist statements that Jesus is God because he received regular religious worship. In all these descriptions of Jesus receiving worship, the position posited by those who believe in the unitary state of God is consistently maintained: God is still shown to be DISTINCT from Jesus and SUPERIOR to him, as well as the ultimate Recipient of that worship. Trinity again refuted.

    Reason One: Of the examples you have said where others have received worship can you show me how MANY DIFFERENT times the same people received worship?

    Yes, please see above.

    Reason Two: Of the occasions where kings, rulers and even Angels who received worship can you please show me HOW many times this was in a RELIGIOUS CONTEXT and approved and accepted by Yahweh? The only possible examples you could provide would be of the Dragon, The Beast, The image of the Beast, idols and Demons and Angels and would you say this was accepted or even endorsed by Yahweh?

    Please see above.

    Your reference to Dan. 7:14 is also an overstatement. In the standard LXX used by both Christians and Jews, the Son of Man receives, not latreuo, but douleuo. The Aramaic Daniel has the Son of Man receiving pelach. In the Aramaic Targummim pelach was again used to refer to service being rendered to a king without any religious connotation. So no, you have no point here. And even if latreuo were rendered to the Son of Man, he is till shown to be subordinate and distinct from Yahweh (as opposed to equal and identical to Yahweh according to Trinitarianism). In the Sybelline Oracles VIII Adam is said to receive latreuo because he reflects God’s glory. Again Trinitarian arguments are shown to be short-sighted and inferior (even with Luke 4:8 in mind).

    Funny that you use Luke 4:8 in your rebuttal as the whole temptation of Jesus shouts of Jesus being not-God. Jas. 1:13 says that God cannot be tempted with evil. This is so, since God is omniscient and cannot be deceived. Not only that, but temptation can only be called such if the possibility to sin is a reality. Otherwise Jesus’ temptation was a sick joke and a false hypocritical game he played. Many a Trinitarian have admitted that this is another major challenge to their doctrine, precisely since the temptation of Jesus was no mere farce.

    • Other figures who are explicitly shown to be human and angelic have been involved in the act of prayer

    I’m sorry ladies and gentlemen but I really need to address the absolute falsehood that is being presented to you with Jaco’s statements about prayer given to Jesus. Jaco I note that you mention that others who are human have been INVOLVED in prayer?

    Oh please… Others were recipients of prayer, as I demonstrated above. Both David and angels have been included in doxologies and prayers alongside God. In 2 Enoch we see angels acting as deliverers of prayer to God and as mediators/intercessors of prayer. This has been an overwhelming theme in the book which profoundly influenced the NT. In all the texts you give (Ac. 7:59, 60; 1 Cor. 1:2; 2 Cor. 12:8, 9), the writers were very clear that Jesus was human and nothing else but human, but that he was the one who represented redeemed, Second Adam humanity who bore God’s glory. The Trinitarian paradigm is consistently refuted in these books (Ac. 2:22, 3:13, 7:31; 1 Cor. 1:3, 2 Cor. 11:3, etc.).

    You ask,

    I KNOW that many holy ones bore the name of Yahweh, such as Joshua but that wasn’t my argument. Do these ones who bore the name of Yahweh be revealed to actually BE YAHWEH

    No, and neither was Jesus.

    Let me address this in two parts. Firstly, James White has masters in Theology and completed his PHD on line from the University of Columbus. He still did the work the only difference is it was done online from a University not recognized globally; to bring this up is really a cheap shot. Now I’m Armenian and James White is a Calvinist so we actually have a lot of differences however, I do respect Jame’s white’s work on the deity of Christ but if you really insist on “accredited” scholars, why don’t you look at the works for Dr Michael Brown…

    James White has unfortunately gained a high reputation because of his fundamentalist apologetics. Real, compelling, world-renown scholars have debated and trashed him. Sadly, their very debating him he has used to his own self-promotion. It is encouraging to see that most scholars who are spear-heading Christological research and discussion have no interest in dialoguing with White precisely because of his pompous self-promotion. His scholarly inferiority has also confirmed his inferior qualification. And many devoted Trinitarians have demonstrated his hopelessly overstating his cases. My criticism of Hubris man, therefore, stands.

    Re. Wright, he is most certainly not THE world renowned NT scholar on Christology. James Dunn is. Wright has also been challenged by several Trinitarian and non-Trinitarian scholars alike for his messy Christology (messy because he fluctuates between functional and ontological arguments while being blissfully unaware of his fallacious course). Gradually Trinitarianism is losing ground and this is most clearly seen by the establishing of sectarian seminaries, since university faculties study non-Trinitarian Christological scholarship. This is very exciting indeed.

    Wow… is anybody seeing this? Jaco makes a statement about the Greek word for “morphe” that it is false, gives no scholarly or scriptural evidence and then goes and quotes a non biblical psychiatrist who embraced all relgions as his authoritative source. Let me SHOW YOU in two ways that the above statement is completely wrong concerning the Greek word for “Form” Morphe.

    Hold your horses, cowboy. I quoted Jung as an explanation, not as proof. And as I said, your ad verbosum comments (repetitive ones too) are not conducive to good conversation, because it amounts to shouting. Dunn, Bruce, Otto Michel, Seyook, JAT Robinson, and several others have shown that morphe is closely synonymous to image, precisely since the nuance conveyed is that of external appearance. Your ignorance of the research in this area is an indictment upon you, not me. And Gifford is just plain wrong. Subsistence is conveyed by the word physis, not morphe. You should consider reading scholars who do not have a doctrinal agenda to push for.

    The context is in favour of the non-divine reading of the Hymn anyway, as a mindset such of that of Christ can only be held by those who find themselves in the same predicament as he did. PREEXISTENT ONTOLOGICAL DIVINITY is not it! So your whole righteous “let’s see what the Bible says” is a joke, since you only superimpose your cherished doctrine onto a text and feigns actually reading out of it. So here is what the Bible ACTUALLY says (paraphrased):

    Have this mind among yourselves, which also Christ Jesus had, who, though he had the status and authority of God, did not grasp at actual equality with God [like Adam did], but [contrary to Adam who was humiliated as punishment] Christ willingly humbled himself, assuming the status no different from that of a servant, indeed like every other man [indistinguishable, like the Suffering Servant of Isaiah 52/53]. And in this state, he willingly humbled himself further, willingly, obediently, to the point of a humiliated death. [As approved apostle of God], God highly exalted him, gave him the Name and Authority of Yahweh so that in the name of Jesus every knee should bow…and shall confess that Jesus has become Lord to the honor and glory of Yahweh God.

    This, my friend, is something worth imitating, in contrary to the wishful desires of those who want to worship more than God. Expand on your own research by studying Dunn, James McGrath, Hendrikus Berkhof, JAT Robinson, Karl-Joseph Kuschel and others.

    Your doctrinal agenda is perhaps clearest in your failed attempt at John 17:3. And again you sound like James White with his pseudo-scholarship. The whole of God’s saving plan is necessary for salvation. So no, you’re not “right” in your caricaturing of my position. The whole plan of salvation includes The Single God, Yahweh, Jesus Christ as his apostle or shaliach (“the one he has sent”) and the morality associated with all of this. That all these aspects are necessary for salvation does not render all of them identical with God. And that’s again your flawed argument. In this whole plan of salvation, Jesus identifies the One who is God and he does so EXCLUSIVELY. In relation to this one Jesus calls himself shaliach(!) which triggers the whole agency principle dominant of his time. This is a killer for Trinitarianism. Jesus had the glory with God because he was the intended one. You show again ignorance of the range of glorious entities which existed in God’s plan before the creation of the world – namely Torah, the Throne of Glory, Paradise, etc. Having glory does not in and of itself mean being identical with God. Another flaw in your argument. Jesus says that that glory was what was given him, which he also would give his followers (Joh. 17:22, 24; Polianity threatening again…). You got to do your research first. Read Sigmund Mowinckel for starters.

    I’m afraid that you’ve failed in defending your cherished case. Your theatrics just demonstrates your cocky desperation, Imegta (whatever your real name is). Your 5 reasons are as flimsy as Mr. Bean’s Mini’s fanbelt. Thank goodness you’re not asking us to believe what you said, because your research, hermeneutics and logic has been hopelessly insufficient.

    I think you’ve bitten off more than you could chew. Basta with your fabricated Christ.

    Jaco van Zyl

  601. on 08 Oct 2014 at 9:12 amRay

    Jaco, Jesus was much more than Adam in the beginning. Adam had nothing to do with the creation of the world or all things visible or invisible. Jesus made Adam. Adam did not create Jesus. Follow Jesus, not Adam.

  602. on 09 Oct 2014 at 12:10 amJaco

    Ray, I agree with nothing you wrote above, except (partially) with your first sentence. I wouldd have agreed had I had a very limited knowledge of first-century restoration concepts.

  603. on 12 Oct 2014 at 5:59 amimgeta

    Thank you again Jaco… FOR AVOIDING AND NOT Answering ANY OF MY QUESTIONS… AGAIN…
    You once again failed to even address any of the issues raised, quoted un-biblical sources such as the “Book of Enoch and the Sybelline Oracles VIII Adam” (Has anybody even heard of this?) as evidence for prayer and worship given to humans. Since when were these works a part of the bible cannon? So when I say that “All Jaco has done is made a lot of statements with very little or no scriptural evidence and an incredible lack of authoritative scholarship” you keep re-affirming EVERYTHING I have said thus far, which is you HAVE NO ANSWERS scripturally to answer my questions about Christ’s deity, worship, prayer, creation and equality to Yahweh as being identified as Yahweh and not just his agent. It’s obvious that you have no appreciation for what scripture actually says and REFUSE to answer any of my questions. You are completely blinded by your own preconceived ideas based on works that are un-biblical. Ladies and gentlemen go back through this dialogue between us and look at the questions being asked and see who is actually asking questions and who is addressing and answering the questions raised, rather than avoiding them and using un-scriptural and un-biblical sources to back his own ideas.

    *Jesus is called God:
    Once again Jaco fails here to answer the questions raised… Which was that “Although there are many gods” Scriptures such as Jeremiah 10.10-12, Psa 96.5-6, and Isaiah 44.24 CLEARLY STATE that “ONLY THE TRUE GOD” makes the heavens and the earth and that the other gods aren’t even in his league because they WILL PERISH AND FADE AWAY. My question was very clear if Jesus is said to ALSO MAKE ALL THINGS, then he is in the category of the TRUE GOD who is said to be distinct from ALL OTHER GODS who did not make the heavens and the earth, which therefore means they are truly not GOD but are false. That is why Jesus Christ used Psalm 82 in his response to the Jews in John 10.34. They were the UNRIGHTEOUS judges of the day and although they were gods they would DIE LIKE MERE MEN?? What kind of Gods are these who just die like mere men? Would Jesus compare himself to UNRIGHTEOUS JUDGES who didn’t defend the poor in Psalm 82? Go back and read the context of Psalm 82 rather than the Book of Enoch or “Sybelline Oracles” or whatever, that is. Jesus is the Righteous and Holy ONE of God and it was the Pharasies who were meant to represent God but failed and just like their UNRIGHTEOUS JUDGES counterparts in Psalm 82, they too did not defend the poor and work for righteousness sake.

    So just answer the question? If Jesus is not the TRUE GOD, why is he said to create all things, which qualifies him according to the scriptures in Jeremiah, 10, Psalm 96 and Isaiah 44 as the TRUE GOD because they all claim the same thing that ONLY THE TRUE GOD CREATES THE HEAVENS AND THE EARTH. Don’t hide from the scriptures or questions, just answer it.

    Now lets look at your very poor and weak response to Colossians 2:8-9
    “To begin with Col 2:8-9, it is perfectly fine for the fullness of God’s glory to dwell in him” (Jaco 600)
    This is yet ANOTHER strong reason for Jaco’s lack of knowledge in Koine Greek and bias in his own preconceived ideas and simply outright false statements. “Theotetos”, ladies and gentlemen does not mean God’s glory to dwell in Jesus, but even if it did… YOU’RE STILL WRONG, because Yahweh says ‘HE DOES NOT SHARE HIS GLORY” (ISA 42.8) So you are then happy to admit that HE DOES WITH JESUS in Colossians 2:8-9. But this is not the point. The word for glory in Greek is “Doxa”. That is why he is called “HO KURIOS DOXA” “THE LORD OF GLORY”. (1 Cor 2:8) There is no mention of “Doxa” in this verse, the words used are;
    “ALL THE FULLNESS OF DEITY DWELLS IN HIM BODILY ”
    ὅτι ἐν αὐτῷ κατοικεῖ πᾶν τὸ πλήρωμα τῆς Θεότητος σωματικῶς,”
    “Hoti en auto katoikei pan to pleroma tais theotetos somatikos” (Koine Greek transliteration)
    Anybody who has an appreciation for Koine Greek here , will clearly see that Jaco’s comment about “Theotetos” meaning God’s Glory dwelling in Christ is completely false. What is dwelling in Christ is GOD. That which makes GOD, GOD is in Christ. That is what THEOTETOS means my friend and notice that the greek word “Pan” which means ALL THE FULLNESS of “Theotetos” (Deity, Godhead, Divinity) ALL not some or much or a great amount, ALL dwells in Christ.

    *JESUS IS PRAYED TOO!
    Jaco I know your knowledge of Greek is very poor but is now your knowledge of ENGLISH JUST AS POOR?. Once again no respect for the question and believing that “Being involved in prayer” is the same as PRAYING TO SOMEONE”. Jaco look at my question??? I didn’t ask how Jesus was INVOLVED IN PRAYER. I asked how is it that ones COULD PRAY TO HIM!!? Why are you avoiding the question? Answer it, Why does Paul pray to CHRIST and not Yahweh in 2 Cor 12:8. Let’s see what I asked, which wasn’t even touched by Jaco.

    “I asked how could JESUS be PRAYED TOO. There is a huge fundamental difference to being INVOLVED in the act of prayer and being PRAYED TOO. Every time we pray to God we are essentially INVOLVED in the act of prayer to him. However, show me one single scripture where others prayed to humans and or angels? And God accepted it? Are you now Catholic my friend? I believe this is why you simply made a statement but gave no SCRIPTURAL basis AGAIN…. to back up what you have said about prayer given to others because there IS NONE. The plain fact of the matter is this. Why is Paul asking Jesus to remove his thorn 3 TIMES? Why doesn’t he ask God the father if he ALONE IS GOD? Secondly Why doesn’t Jesus not Rebuke him for praying to him? Furthermore, why doesn’t Stephen pray out to Yahweh in Acts 7:59? Yet he clearly calls out to Jesus in prayer asking him to forgive those stoning him? Jesus is the ONLY one here in the context and Stephen asks him to RECEIVE his spirit. “ (Imgeta 599)

    JACO’S RESPONSE:
    “Oh please… Others were recipients of prayer, as I demonstrated above. Both David and angels have been included in doxologies and prayers alongside God. In 2 Enoch we see angels acting as deliverers of prayer to God and as mediators/intercessors of prayer. This has been an overwhelming theme in the book which profoundly influenced the NT. In all the texts you give (Ac. 7:59, 60; 1 Cor. 1:2; 2 Cor. 12:8, 9), the writers were very clear that Jesus was human and nothing else but human, but that he was the one who represented redeemed, Second Adam humanity who bore God’s glory. The Trinitarian paradigm is consistently refuted in these books (Ac. 2:22, 3:13, 7:31; 1 Cor. 1:3, 2 Cor. 11:3, etc.).”

    Ladies and gentlemen please have an open mind, look at my question and look at Jaco’s response? Is he answering the question? And is his answer based on scripture? He mentions David and angels been included in “doxologies and prayers” where is your scriptural reference? What part of the bible is the Book of Enoch in Jaco? Is it the Old Testament or New Testament? ITS NONE! Because it’s not part of the bible! Also David being present, does this mean they were praying TO DAVID? Also I love the way how you avoid the question “how can people pray to Jesus” by saying “Well the writers were very clear that Jesus was human and nothing else but human” You are going off on a different topic like you ALWAYS do. Just answer the question Jaco? Why is Jesus being prayed too? If he is just a man. If this is normal? Show me elsewhere IN THE BIBLE not Enoch where this has happened before, WITHOUT the father being in the context at ALL. God the father is not there all all in this context, AND Jesus is not just listening to something on his behalf, otherwise the scriptures would have said it. And Jaco I Completely agree that Jesus is A MAN! The only difference between me and you is that I believe he is FULLY MAN AND FULLY GOD. Hypostatic Union. That’s what Philippians 2:5-8 says. “He was IN GOD’s form, empties himself, then TAKES ON the form of Man” Paul was very clear to indicate that he never “took on the form of GOD” BECAUSE HE WAS ALREADY IN IT. But he takes on the form of man because this is the incarnation, that happened in a moment in time over 2000 years ago. This very scripture DESTROYS Unitarian thinking denying the pre-existence of Christ. Tell me Jaco how does an “impersonal it”ALREADY exist in the FORM OF GOD” then empty himself and take on the Form of a Man”? Sounds like a personalty that is doing something to me. This is not the argument though, we can discuss the pre-existence of Christ at a later date. Now lets have a look at 1 Cor 12:8-10 it SO CLEARLY says;

    “Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Cor 12:8-10)

    What profound words from the great apostle. He begs the Lord Jesus Christ to remove his thorn and Jesus says “Don’t ask me, I’m not God, pray to the father, he is the ONLY ONE who can only remove your thorn” Right?… WRONG AGAIN JACO. That’s probably what you think and WISHED IT SAID but the scriptures share something different. “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me”. Who’s power Jaco? Who’s power Jaco, Who’s power Jaco? I have to keep repeating things with you because you can’t answer the question and hide away from it. Who is Paul begging and asking to remove his thorn? Just answer the question? Why is Paul praying to Jesus and how can anybody pray to a man and it be acceptable? You mention “David and the angels have been included in doxologies and prayers” No scriptural reference here but God was always there in the context according to your own words. Where is the father here in this context? Where is the Father Jaco? He isn’t there because Paul knew that JESUS is GOD and that he could pray to him just like he could pray to the father. That’s why he called him “The great God and Savior” Titus 2:13 and Jesus never rebukes him, if Jesus finds it acceptable for Paul to pray to him then how can he be a mere man?. Jaco do you pray to Jesus? Answer the question? Do you ask Jesus to help you in times of struggle like Paul did? Please answer the question Jaco?

    Now on the topic of “morphe” You say “Gifford is wrong” Yet who are you? Do you have better credentials than Gifford? Or Vines? Are you more qualified to make that statement? Furthermore, you didn’t EVEN TOUCH ON the second point. I told you that the proof of Morphe was in the context. If Jesus taking on the form of a Servant meant he was TRULY a servant, then you have to be consistent and fair, because HAVING the form of God would mean he is truly God. (This was a question I asked you to answer, no response AGAIN) That is why Morphe can also mean “Nature and essence” as shown in this context and supported by Vines and Gifford. It’s funny that you NOW decide to bring up Dunn and other scholars to support your claim to Morphe when previously you relied on Jung who is a worshiper of all religions. You said it yourself “You quoted Jung as an explanation” So what you’re saying is you’re relying on Jung’s reasoning and authority to support your “own opinion”? It’s okay Jaco but at least be honest about it.

    Lastly on “morphe” your paraphrasing to this verse is a Joke. On what basis and where do you get your ideas to paraphrase Phil 2:5-8 so poorly with no biblical proof or appreciation of the original language to support your biased paraphrasing of this verse? You see ladies and Gentlemen, Jaco has to PARAPHRASE the bible to get his opinion out. Since when have I ever done that thus far? When I quote scripture, I give you ALL scripture as it is, for I believe that “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work “( 2 Tim 3:16-17 ESV)

    Do not distort and paraphrase the scriptures to your suit your own beliefs. Provide your interpretation of scripture that’s fine but to paraphrase like what you did, which isn’t even supported in the original Greek is an offense to God’s word.

    Your response to Dan 7:14 is very poor and once again lacks references. I have never heard what you said about it being “douleuo” I’m open to this but at least back it up? You see when I tell you things; I give scriptural references and or scholarly references when I state something. However, once again the context does not lie. How is a MAN given a dominion that will last forever? That all people should SERVE him? Also, look at the verse above and the Ancient of Days has “All people’s serving him” which is again in the context of religious worship.

    Moreover, Jesus receives worship on many occasions unlike David or Moses and he does not receive this as a greeting or sign of respect, often after he does some incredible miracles, just go back and look at the verses I quoted and you will see. Plus you didn’t even touch revelation chapter 5:13. How does a created human being receive all blessing and honor and glory and power”? And then be WORSHIPED together with the father? How is that not sharing in Yahweh’s glory? Are you simply happy to accept “well Yahweh let it happen” But Yahweh is true to his word. Worship only Yahweh your God, him only you shall serve (Luke 4.8) and “I will not share my glory with another” (Isaiah 42.8) You see ,Jesus has an equal standing with the father and this scene in heaven where “All creation bow down and worship the one seated on the throne and the lamb” clearly shows the Son’s equality with the father. So either Jesus is equal to God, which means he’s God with the Father, or we have the Father contradicting his own word where we should only worship him and that he does not share his glory with another. Which one is it Jaco?

    Which finally brings me to John Chapter 17:3. Once again, you look at this scripture ALONE and forget the entire context that Jesus has virtually completed his mission that HE VOLUNTARILY chose (Phil 2:5-8) which was to make the Father known as THE ONLY TRUE GOD. You forget what was happening before Jesus came. How many false gods were they, even the Jews had made things like money, possessions their god. Jesus was setting things straight that the father is above all other man made gods. However, he equates salvation to believing not just in his father as the true God but himself also. You still didn’t answer my question. What kind of True God needs a man to redeem his people to salvation? If he’s the true God he doesn’t need a man in his plan. That’s because Jesus isn’t just a man, HE’S GOD. That’s what makes the sacrifice even more amazing that God came down for us in the incarnation (Matt 1:23) He chose this, on his own accord which I find very hard for an impersonal “it” that didn’t exist before the incarnation to do.

    The glory given to him is the reward for fulfilling the father’s will, this is not the Glory he already had with the father, which also doesn’t explain how he can be LORD OF GLORY “HO KURIOS DOXA” If the father alone does not share his glory
    (1 Cor 2:8)

    You see Jaco, looking back you haven’t answered any of my questions and have actually turned this discussion onto the doctrine of the Trinity rather than the Deity of Christ. I said this to Sarah and I’ll say it to you. The Deity of Christ is not the Doctrine of the Trinity. It is only a part of the trinity. I’m asking you about the deity of Christ, stick to that please rather than attacking the Trinity, have I asked you to debate the Trinity?

    I can see that you are truly set in your ways and really this discussion is going nowhere because you refuse to answer the questions scripturally. I’ll give you one piece of good advice. Call me whatever, you like I really don’t care. But be VERY CAREFUL when you call OUR LORD AND SAVIOR Jesus Christ a “Fabricated Christ” He will be the one judging you not me Jaco

    Imran

  604. on 12 Oct 2014 at 6:01 amimgeta

    By the way I posted my real name for you because you questioned whether “imgeta” was real or not.

  605. on 14 Oct 2014 at 4:43 amJohn

    Hi Imran
    You seem to be very certain of Christ’s ‘deity’.
    Perhaps you could explain the following-
    (i)If one reads the Preface to the Revelation of St. John you will note that God gave Christ the initial revelation.
    Surely that shows that Christ was a distinct person and not God himself ?
    (ii) In the opening verses of Hebrews we are told that in these last day God spoke through Christ . Who did he speak through before that?
    (iii) Christ calls his Father ‘the ONLY true God’

    Numerous verses testify that
    (a) God created the heavens and the earth (50texts)
    (b)Christ was the first-born of Mary
    (c) Christ was the first-born from the dead
    (d) We are told that Christ is ‘first-born of all creation’
    (Col 1 v 16)
    (e) We are told thatChrist is the first-born of many brothers.

    And you say he was ‘deity’!!
    Are you not confusing ‘divinity’ with ‘deity’ ?
    God Bless
    John

  606. on 14 Oct 2014 at 10:43 amSarah

    Imran,

    I said this to Sarah and I’ll say it to you. The Deity of Christ is not the Doctrine of the Trinity. It is only a part of the trinity. I’m asking you about the deity of Christ, stick to that please rather than attacking the Trinity, have I asked you to debate the Trinity?

    Okay, why don’t you explain exactly what you mean when you wrote that “Jesus is God with the Father”? That is the question the first century Jews would have asked Paul, Peter, and all the other apostles if they were preaching such a thing.

    Old Testament Israel indisputably viewed the One God of Israel as a singular personal being, so if the New Testament changed this definition of the One God to incorporate a second person, we should see large tracts of New Testament scripture explaining such a drastic doctrinal change. Instead, we find passages like this which plainly distinguish Jesus from the One God (brackets mine):

    “[there is] one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” (Eph 4:6)

    “For there is one God, and there is one mediator between [the one] God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (1Ti 2:5)

    “The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, the God of our fathers, glorified his servant Jesus, whom you delivered over and denied in the presence of Pilate, when he had decided to release him.” (Act 3:13)

    As I showed in post #598, the early post-apostolic church likewise distinguished Jesus from the One God of Israel. When they referred to Jesus as “God,” they did NOT use that term to suggest an equivalence (either ontological or functional) to YHWH, the One God of Israel. That notion didn’t enter the picture until much later.

    A survey of Plato’s well-documented influence on Christian thought in the first several centuries of the church shows us exactly how the modern definition of Christ evolved. The interpretations of scripture you have presented here largely arose from that seedbed of Platonic influence, rather than the Hebraic background of the New Testament authors.

    We cannot expect to rightly interpret passages such as John 17:5 until we accurately understand the Hebraic background of John himself regarding the notion of pre-existence – and it is indeed quite different from Plato’s ideas. For more on this I highly recommend the “Defining Jewish Preexistence” series of articles on the Dustin Martyr blog:

    http://dustinmartyr.wordpress.com/2014/09/23/defining-jewish-preexistence-part-1/

  607. on 15 Oct 2014 at 7:33 amimgeta

    Hi John and Sarah. Glad you both have some thoughts to share about this. Sarah I haven’t forgotten about our conversation surrounding the early church fathers, I will email you a separate post around that as you can see I’ve been busy with Jaco and now both you and John have joined in on this conversation.

    Firstly John let me address your statements;

    “i)If one reads the Preface to the Revelation of St. John you will note that God gave Christ the initial revelation.
    Surely that shows that Christ was a distinct person and not God himself ?” (John 605)

    Once again this is such a common confusion among Unitarians and how they actually understand the doctrine of the Trinity. John I completely agree with you that Jesus is A DISTINCT person from God the father that’s exactly what the Trinity teaches and has always taught. I think you are misunderstanding our position. I’m not a modelist who believes that God the father and Jesus Christ are the same person. That’s un-biblical and NOT the doctrine of the trinity. We believe there is ONLY one BEING of God as to his nature and that the ONE BEING of God is revealed to US through 3 Separate Co-eternal, Co-equal persons, The Father , The Son and The Holy Spirit. So I’m actually completely happy with the Father giving the Son a revelation because I believe they are FUNCTIONALLY and personally distinct from each other, YET because they are of THE SAME nature (Col 2:8-9) they are both Equally God. (John 10:30, phil 2:5-8)

    You see Sarah could not really answer this question or grasp onto the concept when I asked her “How many different human species are there”… “Are you a different kind of human species to me”? She kept insisting we are TWO SEPARATE HUMANS. We are not TWO SEPARATE humans but two separate persons who are both equally human of the SAME human nature. We are two separate persons, with different functions, distinct from each other, yet at the same time, we are of the SAME equal “Human nature”.

    That my friend is how we UNDERSTAND the “being of God”. GOD is what THEY ARE. HUMAN is what we are. If you look at the entire new Testament, the consistent rendering and revelation of the Father is by addressing him as God the father and The Lord Jesus Christ.This is how the inspired writers through The Holy Spirit chose to reveal and address the two persons by. However, on occasions we do see the Son addressed as God (John 1.1, John 20:28, Titus 2:13, Hebrews 1:8) and the Father addressed as Lord (Romans 10:12-13, Luke 4:8, 2 Cor 5:5) but primarily for us to understand the two persons, they are identified as God the Father and The Lord Jesus Christ. Now remember, over 7000 times in the bible the rendering for God in the Old Testament is LORD, replacing the Tetragrammaton and the New Testament writers followed this practice. So actually this point does not disprove the deity of Christ at all but actually highlights the truth around the doctrine of the Trinity as opposed to Modelism.

    (ii) “In the opening verses of Hebrews we are told that in these last day God spoke through Christ . Who did he speak through before that?”(John 605)

    Ah well….. the scriptures clearly say that he spoke through the prophets but whom did they speak about and prophesy about? You see I don’t see how this a strong argument against the deity of Christ? The incarnation only happened ONCE in a moment in time some 2014 years or so ago. So of course in the past God spoke through his prophets but IN THE LAST DAYS because of the INCARNATION he spoke directly through his Son, which makes John 3:16 so powerful because after sending his prophets who were still rejected by men, he finally sends his ONE AND ONLY SON (John 1:18) to truly reveal who the FATHER really is and REDEEM us back to him from what Adam lost.

    You see Sarah you ask “why don’t you explain what you mean that Jesus is God with the father”? I have… for the last month or so we’ve been discussing this. You see you all have to be prepared to acknowledge, worship and pray to a second true god? That is what your theology teaches you. Let me ask you John and Sarah and let’s see if you can actually do a better Job than Jaco by answering this question.

    * Do you pray to Jesus and ask for HIS help in times of struggle like Paul and Stephen did CLEARLY in the bible (Acts 7:59-60, 1 Cor 12:8)? Please answer the question?

    *If your answer is YES? Then my question would be, How can you be praying to a Created Man? Why are you not praying to God the Father alone?

    *If your answer is NO, my question would be, Why does Paul the apostle and Stephen do this and it’s included in scripture as proof?

    I would then also challenge you to please explain how is that in revelation chapter 5:13, ALL CREATION give praise and glory and honor to the ONE SITTING ON THE THRONE AND TO THE LAMB at the same time and Fall down and Worship? Worship who? It does not say The father alone? And the only two people in the context receiving the worship is the Father and the Son. Is this not a clear example of Yahweh sharing his glory with the son, where he clearly says he would not? (Isa 42:8)

    John you mention “numerous versus testify that God created the heavens and the earth” Great then please explain how is that Christ also CREATED THE HEAVENS AND THE EARTH (John 1:1-3, Col 1:15-19, Hebrews 1:10-12

    You see as I mentioned to Jaco, Yahweh made it VERY CLEAR how to distinguish from who the TRUE GOD IS. The True God makes the heavens and the earth and will not fade away, and does this all by himself. (Jeremiah 10:10-12, Psa 96:5-6, Isa 44:24) Yahweh says that Before him there was no God formed and after him there will be NONE. Only he is Lord and there is no savior (Isa 43:10-12) Is Jesus not our savior anymore?

    So like I said to Jaco, although there are many gods out there. They are ALL FALSE like the false gods in Psam 82 and Gal 4:8. There is only 1 true God, the rest are FALSE because they did not create the heavens and the earth and they do not remain forever, like Jesus does (Hebrews 1:10-12)

    Your theology only allows you to believe in two possible outcomes, since Jesus is clearly shown to be and called God in scripture. You believe that;

    1) Jesus is a separate and second True God
    or
    2) Jesus is not a second True God but a False God

    Those are the only options you can possibly have according to scripture. Which one is it guys?

    You see, the underlying problem here is that you cannot escape from the Tight 5 reasons to Christ’ Deity

    *He is Called God
    *He creates ALL THINGS
    *He is Worshiped
    *He is Prayed too
    *He is identified/revealed to be Yahweh.

    If you are happy to accept the tight 5 and yet still insist that Jesus is a mere man? Then you actually worship believe in Two true gods or a second false God. So then who is actually practicing monotheism now?

    God Bless

    Imran

  608. on 16 Oct 2014 at 9:59 amRay

    An old African proverb:

    He who can not dance will say the drum is bad.

  609. on 18 Oct 2014 at 12:38 amJohn

    Hi Imran,
    I believe that you still do not appreciate the difference between ‘nature’ and ‘identity’.

    “Nature’ is WHAT we are
    “Identity’ is WHO we are -our unique DNA as it were.

    You and I share the same human nature but you cannot say that we are the same person. Many people do this .. they say, ‘well, Jesus is divine’ therefore He is God.

    Yes, that is His nature.

    Regarding the divine nature –

    God is divine since He is the source of the divine nature

    Christ is divine by inheritance from the Father

    Believers can participate in the divine nature. 2 Peter 1v4.

    So, having the divine nature does not make one ‘ The Lord God Almighty’ by identity.

    Imran, no-where in the Bible does Christ refer to himself as “God’ -in fact Christ was at pains to explain that he is NOT God.

    What does John 20 v 17 mean?

    Worship the God that Christ served and worshipped!

    God Bless
    John

  610. on 19 Oct 2014 at 12:08 amJaco

    Imran,

    After going through your protest above, it is clear that you have made up your mind. My “not answering any of your questions” is one thing, but not accepting any of my answers for invalid reasons is quite something else. I have not interest in entering a shouting contest with you, nor is there any mandate upon me to comply with any of your demands. Knock yourself out 😉

  611. on 26 Oct 2014 at 4:54 amimgeta

    Hi Imran,
    I believe that you still do not appreciate the difference between ‘nature’ and ‘identity’.

    “Nature’ is WHAT we are
    “Identity’ is WHO we are -our unique DNA as it were.

    You and I share the same human nature but you cannot say that we are the same person. Many people do this .. they say, ‘well, Jesus is divine’ therefore He is God. ” (John 609)

    Hi John I completely agree with what you’re saying. We are different persons yet share the same nature. That is exactly what the doctrine of the trinity is and what I’ve been saying thus far. If we are just talking about Jesus and the Father, they both share the exact same nature (phil 2:5-8, Heb 1:3 and Col 2:8-9) It is because they have the same nature that they are both God. Remember the term God and or Elohim is not usually the rendering used to describe who he is? It’s Yahweh, the tetragrammaton that is used over 7000 times in the Old testament that describes who God is.

    “God is divine since He is the source of the divine nature

    Christ is divine by inheritance from the Father

    Believers can participate in the divine nature. 2 Peter 1v4.

    So, having the divine nature does not make one ‘ The Lord God Almighty’ by identity.

    Imran, no-where in the Bible does Christ refer to himself as “God’ -in fact Christ was at pains to explain that he is NOT God.” (John 609)

    John please show me a single scripture that shows Jesus “inherited his divine nature” Because from the scriptures I provided above he didn’t inherit it he ALWAYS HAD IT. “He was IN GOD’S FORM” Phil 2:5-8. “In HIM DWELLS ALL THE FULLNESS OF DEITY”. Col 2:8-9 “Theotetos” meaning nature and essence. So the above statement cannot be supported through scripture.

    “Imran, no-where in the Bible does Christ refer to himself as “God’ -in fact Christ was at pains to explain that he is NOT God. ” (John 609)

    John you are very right. There are no direct scriptures where Jesus refers to himself as God. However, I could ask you the same question. Does Jesus ever deny that he isn’t God? Show me a scripture where Jesus directly denies he is God?

    The thing people need to realize is that if Jesus came out directly and said he was God without showing everybody he was, it would’ve caused even more tension before he completed his mission. Anybody can say they are God but they have to prove it. Jesus wanted his followers to believe in faith and he would show them all throughout scripture for instance John 8:58 where he does better than saying he’s god he calls himself the “I AM” of exodus 3:14, the Jews knew this and at this they picked up stones to stone him. Why do you think when Thomas called him “My lord and My God” Jesus said “You believe because you have seen, blessed are those who believe and have not seen”.

    Jesus never rebuked Thomas or denied his claim and the original Greek here used is “Ha Kurios mu kai, Ha Theos mu”. The definite article is used here by John to describe Jesus, which is usually just used of the father (“Ha Theos”)

    “What does John 20 v 17 mean” (John 609)

    It’s obvious what this scripture means. He’s making a statement of possession of his father and God. “It’s his father and our father, our God and His God”. I don’t see how this statement shows Jesus is inferior to the father? For example consider the below example

    If you have kids with your wife, wouldn’t it be right to say “They’re my kids and you’re kids”? By saying “My kids” would that mean your kids are superior to you? Because you said they are you kids so you belong to them in a subordinate sense?

    Worship the God that Christ served and worshiped!(John 609)

    I do worship the father with all my heart, but I also worship his son Jesus just like ALL CREATION does in Revelation 5:13 or like the disciples do in Matt 14:33 and Daniel 7:13 because Jesus is God so he deserves the worship due him.

    You see at the very heart of this discussion just like Jaco and Sarah, John you cannot answer the questions through scripture. If Jesus is not God how is it that he is

    “Called God”
    “Prayed too”
    “Worshiped”
    “Creates All things”
    “Is identified as Yahweh”

    Jaco mentioned that it seems “I’ve made up my mind”. He’s right, I will always believe that Jesus is God along with the father. It seems no matter how clear the scriptures are, you will always believe that he is not. So to both yourself, Jaco and Sarah. It’s been interesting and enjoyable experience but I think we will never change our ways So there’s no point going around in circles. So God bless and take care but please consider the possibility as to how Jesus could do such things and say such things if he was just a mere man.

    May the peace of God our father, the love of Christ and the Fellowship of The Holy Spirit be with now and always.

    Imran

  612. on 26 Oct 2014 at 1:30 pmJas

    “Called God”
    “Prayed too”
    “Worshiped”
    “Creates All things”
    “Is identified as Yahweh”

    imgeta
    I can call a rock God
    I can pray to a Rock
    I can Worship a Rock
    YAH created All things
    ABSOLUTELY NOWHERE IS JESUS IDENTIFIED AS YHWH

    While post resurrection Jesus was accounted many things which in a primitive mindset make him a God he only has been bestowed authority not came by it on his Own.
    He can not even exist in heaven without being indwelt by HS.

  613. on 05 Jun 2016 at 3:08 pmannuaire france gratuit

    I really like reading an article that will make people think. Also, thanks for allowing for me to comment!

  

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