Monday, January 6, 2014

Paul Williams and the "Big Seven" - Part Three

Here is the third of PW’s big seven reasons for saying Mark did not teach the deity of Christ.
3) Jesus confesses his ignorance about the date of the End of the world (Mark 13:32)
‘But about that day or hour no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.’
Later Christian teaching would assert that Jesus is equal [sic] God in knowledge. (Emphasis original)

PW has been arguing that Matthew and Luke illicitly enhance the picture of Jesus presented in Mark and that this process of enhancement culminates in John’s Gospel where Jesus is explicitly identified as God. However, when PW comes to this, his third argument, he has a falling out with himself and does not resort to his usual (false) claim that Matthew redacted Mark in order to make Jesus look better. The reason is obvious: Matthew says the same thing here (24:36) that Mark does (13:32). But on PW’s assumptions this has to mean that Matthew saw no problem with the words Mark records from Jesus, otherwise Matthew would have “changed” them. It stands to reason, therefore, that if Matthew, who held a high(er) view of Jesus according to PW, did not see any problem with this teaching, then there is no reason to think Mark understood this to entail a low(er) Christology either. If the former can be credited by PW with a high(er) Christology even though he records that Jesus, the Son, did not know the day or the hour, then, mutatis mutandis, so can the latter when he records the same thing.

The fact is, all the Gospel writers taught the deity of Christ. Jesus’ saying that He does not know the day or the hour was not perceived by them to mean that the Lord Jesus could not be God. This is because, as PW has already been taught in previous responses, the Gospel writers not only believed that Jesus is God (e.g. Mark 6:50; Matthew 14:27; John 6:20; see here and here), they also believed and taught that He became a “very human figure.” This is something that PW conveniently but inexcusably forgets at virtually every turn, and that in spite of the fact that he makes much of his apostasy, a boast that doesn’t mean anything if PW constantly belies an ignorance of basic Christian doctrine or if he has to resort to tearing down straw men rather than the real thing. Why does PW pretend that he left Christianity knowing full well what Christians believe if he can’t demonstrate any competence or proficiency in the same when discussing Christian theology? Or, why does he pretend that he had good grounds for leaving if he can’t refute the real thing?

Since Jesus was both God and man, there were things that He knew in His divine nature that He, in assuming the form of a servant and fulfilling the will of the Father, did not have access to in His human nature. It is because Jesus was a real human being that He could say He did not know the day or the hour. So James Brooks:

Most find it inconceivable that the early church would have invented a saying that ascribed ignorance to Jesus, and we would certainly place ourselves among those….There is little question that Jesus actually spoke the words. One need not be embarrassed about them. Ignorance of certain things was simply a part of Jesus’ humanity, a part of his becoming a real human being. (James A. Brooks, Mark, The New American Commentary, Volume 23 (Nashville, Tennessee: Broadman Press, 1991), pp. 217-218.) (Emphasis mine)

Even Gundry, who is far from being a fundamentalist, in his treatment of this saying in the Matthean parallel, concurs with this:

…we may say that just as Jesus did not exercise his omnipotence except to further the kingdom (cf. his refusal to make stones into bread), so he did not exercise his omniscience except to further the kingdom. To have known and made known the exact time of his coming would have damaged the work of the kingdom by encouraging carelessness during the interim. What Jesus could have done because HE WAS DIVINE did not predetermine what he did do as ALSO A MAN. The incarnation did not destroy divine potencies, but it did limit actualities. (Robert H. Gundry, Matthew: A Commentary on His Literary and Theological Art (Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1982), p. 492.) (Emphasis mine)

(For more on this solution, as well as a survey of other answers that orthodox Christians have given, see the following article by Timothy Miller: Mark 13:32 Problem or Paradigm?)

At the same time, since Jesus is also God, the same Gospel writers attributed divine knowledge to Jesus. For example, both Matthew and Luke record the absolute (“all things”), mutual (“Father” and “Son”), and exclusive (“no one…except”) knowledge that the Father and the Son have of one another, and the all-comprehensive sovereignty of the Son in making the Father known to whom He wills (“anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him”), a fact that entails, as paradoxical and unacceptable as this will be to all revelation-hating rationalists, the omniscience or divine knowledge of the Son:

25 At that time Jesus said, “I praise You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent and have revealed them to infants. 26 Yes, Father, for this way was well-pleasing in Your sight. 27 All things have been handed over to Me by My Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father; nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him. (Matthew 11)

21 At that very time He rejoiced greatly in the Holy Spirit, and said, “I praise You, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent and have revealed them to infants. Yes, Father, for this way was well-pleasing in Your sight. 22 All things have been handed over to Me by My Father, and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, and who the Father is except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.” (Luke 10)

This saying in Matthew and Luke is so shocking to advocates for low-Christology the world over that it has been called a “Johannine thunderbolt” and “a meteorite fallen from the Johannine sky.” As such, it is one of the many hooks that aid in unraveling arguments against the reliability of John’s portrait of Jesus. As Leopold Kopler said:

If this passage is authentic, it makes a breach in the Chinese wall, which some have wanted to build between the Synoptics and John and still do. If the utterance of Christ be historical, then the most important reason why the Fourth Gospel could not be used to reconstruct the historical life of Jesus – the Johannine christology being incompatible with the Synoptic picture of Jesus! – receives a deadly stab, and the sentence of Feine is right: ‘Even the Johannine christology has its firm historical basis in that Synoptic saying.’ (L. Kopler, Die “johanneische” Stelle, pp. 50-51, as cited in Adelbert Denaux, Studies in the Gospel of Luke: Structure, Language and Theology, Tilburg Theological Studies (LIT Verlag Munster, 2010), pp. 115-116.)

In fact, on PW’s presuppositions, since this verse is part of the Synoptic double-tradition, i.e. material common to Matthew and Luke not found in Mark, then it is part of the mythical “Q” source. Never mind for the moment that there is no manuscript evidence for Q, nor even a murmur about its existence from anyone in antiquity, and never mind as well that it is quite unnecessary to postulate such a source even if one assumes Markan priority, for Lukan familiarity with Matthew would easily account for the common material (so Farrer, Mascall, Ropes, Enslin, Drury, Sanders, Davies, et. al), which makes it simpler and more elegant than PW’s theory, particularly since it doesn’t require multiplying entities (Occam’s Razor). On PW’s view the “Q” source, which he unreflectively claims teaches a view of Jesus that comports with Islam, even to the point of quoting fringe scholars like James Tabor to bolster this claim, actually ends up confirming teaching about Jesus that PW erringly thought was distinctive to John’s Gospel, a gospel he admits teaches the deity of Christ. (For more on how the putative “Q” source teaches the deity of Christ, see the following article: The Hypothetical Gospel “Q” and it’s Effect on NT Christology. And since PW has also claimed that the epistle of James and the Didache are part of this same strain of proto-Islamic teaching on Jesus, see also the following articles: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7)

In fact, all throughout the Synoptic Gospels, in Mark no less than in Matthew and Luke, divine knowledge is ascribed to the Son. For another example of this, we read in Matthew:

And they brought to Him a paralytic lying on a bed. Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralytic, “Take courage, son; your sins are forgiven.” And some of the scribes said to themselves, “This fellow blasphemes.” And Jesus KNOWING THEIR THOUGHTS said, “Why are you thinking evil IN YOUR HEARTS? Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up, and walk’? But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—then He said to the paralytic, “Get up, pick up your bed and go home.” And he got up and went home. But when the crowds saw this, they were awestruck, and glorified God, who had given such authority to men. (Matthew 9)

Luke tells the same story:

17 One day He was teaching; and there were some Pharisees and teachers of the law sitting there, who had come from every village of Galilee and Judea and from Jerusalem; and the power of the Lord was present for Him to perform healing. 18 And some men were carrying on a bed a man who was paralyzed; and they were trying to bring him in and to set him down in front of Him. 19 But not finding any way to bring him in because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and let him down through the tiles with his stretcher, into the middle of the crowd, in front of Jesus. 20 Seeing their faith, He said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven you.” 21 The scribes and the Pharisees began to reason, saying, “Who is this man who speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins, but God alone?” 22 But Jesus, AWARE OF THEIR REASONINGS, answered and said to them, “Why are you reasoning IN YOUR HEARTS? 23 Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins have been forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? 24 But, so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins,”—He said to the paralytic—“I say to you, get up, and pick up your stretcher and go home.” 25 Immediately he got up before them, and picked up what he had been lying on, and went home glorifying God. 26 They were all struck with astonishment and began glorifying God; and they were filled with fear, saying, “We have seen remarkable things today.” (Luke 5)

And, worst of all for PW's thesis, so does Mark:

1 When He had come back to Capernaum several days afterward, it was heard that He was at home. And many were gathered together, so that there was no longer room, not even near the door; and He was speaking the word to them. And they *came, bringing to Him a paralytic, carried by four men. Being unable to get to Him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above Him; and when they had dug an opening, they let down the pallet on which the paralytic was lying. And Jesus seeing their faith *said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” But some of the scribes were sitting there and reasoning in their hearts, “Why does this man speak that way? He is blaspheming; who can forgive sins but God alone?” Immediately Jesus, AWARE IN HIS SPIRIT that they were reasoning that way WITHIN THEMSELVES, said to them, “Why are you reasoning about these things IN YOUR HEARTS? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven’; or to say, ‘Get up, and pick up your pallet and walk’? 10 But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—He said to the paralytic, 11 “I say to you, get up, pick up your pallet and go home.” 12 And he got up and immediately picked up the pallet and went out in the sight of everyone, so that they were all amazed and were glorifying God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this.” (Mark 2)

The words of the great Biblical scholar and renowned linguist, J. A. Alexander, are on point:

These cavils and repinings, though not audible, were visible to him who had occasioned them. Immediately, here too (see above, on v. 2) is not an expletive, but indicates the instantaneous detection of their thoughts by his omniscience, without waiting till they were betrayed by word or action. Perceived, literally, knowing, a verb meaning sometimes to recognize or know again (see below, 6, 33. 54), and sometimes to ascertain or discover (see below, 5, 30), but more commonly to know certainly or thoroughly (see Luke 1,1), which is probably the meaning here, the intensive compound having reference to our Lord’s immediate and infallible intuition of their very thoughts. (Alexander, The Gospel of Mark (Carlisle, Pennsylvania: The Banner of Truth Trust, [1858], 1984), p. 37.) (Italics original)

Furthermore, according to the Hebrew Scriptures, which Mark as a Palestinian Jew knew all too well, only Yahweh knows the hearts of men:

39 then hear in heaven Your dwelling place, and forgive and act and render to each according to all his ways, whose heart You know, for YOU ALONE KNOW THE HEARTS of all the sons of men,… (1 Kings 8)

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but THE LORD LOOKS AT THE HEART.” (1 Samuel 16)

Here Mark (as well as Matthew and Luke) clearly puts Jesus on the Creator side of the Creator-creature divide, attributing to Jesus something in the Hebrew Scriptures that is part of God’s own unique identity.

The problems don’t end here for PW. While many other passages on the divine knowledge of the Son in the Synoptic Gospels are ready to hand (*), the above is sufficient for the time being. What I want to point out in conclusion is the fact that the very passage that ascribes the words “nor the Son” to Jesus, the very words to which PW makes his appeal, also exalt Jesus above all men and angels and identify Him as the divine Son of God. None have expressed this better than the late Princeton theologian B. B. Warfield:

By the side of the passages in which the precise title ‘Son of God’ is employed, there stands another series in which Jesus speaks of Himself, or is represented as spoken of by God, simply as ‘the Son’ (1332, cf. 126; 111, 97), used obviously in a very pregnant sense: and these naturally suggest their correlatives in which He speaks of God as His ‘Father’ in the same pregnant manner (838, cf. 1332, 1436). The uniqueness of the relation intended to be intimated by this mode of speech is sharply thrust forward in the parable recorded in Mark 12. There were many slaves who were sent one after the other to the rebellious husbandmen; but only one son—who is called “the beloved one,” a term which is not so much designatory of affection as of that on which special affection is grounded, and is therefore practically equivalent to “only begotten,” or “unique.” It is possible that it is by this epithet that God designates this His Son on both of the occasions when He spoke from heaven in order to point Him out and mark Him as His own (1:11, 9:7)—“This is my beloved Son.” The meaning is that the Son stands out among all others who may be called sons as in a unique and unapproached sense the Son of God….there is intimated in this usage a closeness as well as a uniqueness of relation existing between Jesus and God, which raises Jesus far beyond comparison with any other son of man. And that remarkable passage, 1332, in which Jesus declares His ignorance, though He be the Son, of the day of His advent, exalts Him apparently above not men only, but angels as well, next to the Father Himself, with whom rather than with the angels He seems to be classed. (Warfield, The Lord of Glory: A Study of the Designations of our Lord in the New Testament with Especial Reference to His Deity (Birmingham, Alabama: Solid Ground Books, 2003), pp. 21-23.)

And again:

Here, in the very act of admitting limitations to His knowledge, in themselves astonishing, He yet asserts for Himself not merely a superhuman but even a superangelic  rank in the scale of being.

In any possible interpretation of the passage, He separates Himself from the “angels in heaven” (note the enhancing definition of locality, carrying with it the sense of the exaltation of these angels above all that is earthly) as belonging to a different class from them, and that a superior class. To Jesus as He is reported, and presumably to Mark reporting Him, we see, Jesus “the Son” stands as definitely and as incomparably above the category of angels, the highest of God’s creatures, as to the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews, whose argument may be taken as a commentary upon this passage (Heb 14, 28). Nor is this passage singular in Mark in exalting Jesus in dignity and authority above the angels. Already in the account of the temptation at the opening of His ministry we find the angels signalized as ministering to Him (113), and elsewhere they appear as His subordinates swelling His train (838) or His servants obeying His behests (1327, “He shall send the angels”). Clearly, therefore, to Mark Jesus is not merely a superhuman but a superangelic personality: and the question at once obtrudes itself whether a superangelic person is not by that very fact removed from the category of creatures. (ibid., pp. 36-37)

And again:

We have already had occasion to point out the uniqueness and closeness of the relation to God which is indicated by the designation ‘Son of God’ as ascribed to Jesus. IN the parable of Mark 12 not only it is emphasized that God has but one such son (verse 6), but He is as such expressly contrasted with all God’s “servants” (verses 2 and 4) and expressly signalized as God’s “heir” (verse 7). As we read this parable the mind inevitably reverts again to the representation of the Epistle to the Hebrews, which in its doctrine of the Son (cf. Heb 14, 36, etc.), might almost appear a thetical exposition of it. And in the immediate recognition of Jesus as the ‘Son of God’ by the evil spirits—“as soon as ever they caught sight of Him”—we can scarcely fail to see a testimony from the spiritual world to a sonship in Jesus surpassing that of mere appointment to an earthly office and function rooted in what lies beyond this temporal sphere. It is noteworthy also that when responding to the adjuration of the high priest to declare whether He were ‘the Christ, the Son of the Blessed,’ Jesus points apparently to His exaltation at the right hand of power and His coming with the clouds of heaven, which they were to see, as the warranty for His acceptance of the designation: as much as to say that to be ‘the Christ, the Son of the blessed,’ involves session at the right hand of God and the eternal dominion promised in Daniel (Mk 1462). And it is noticeable farther that immediately upon our Lord’s acceptance of the ascription the high priest accused Him of blasphemy (1463), which appears to be an open indication that to claim to be ‘the Son of the Blessed’ was all one with claiming to be a divine person. Even the heathen centurion’s enforced conviction, as he witnessed the circumstances of Jesus’ death, that this man certainly was ‘a Son of God,’ appears to be recorded for no other reason (1539) than to make plain that the supernaturalness of Jesus’ person was such as necessarily to impress any observer. No doubt a heathen centurion is but a poor witness to Jesus’ essential nature; and no doubt his designation of Him as “a son of God” must needs be taken in a sense consonant  with his standpoint as a heathen. But it manifests how from his own standpoint Jesus’ death impressed him—as the death, to wit, of one of superhuman dignity. And its record seems to round out the total impression which Mark appears to wish to make in his use of the phrase, viz., that the superhuman dignity of Jesus was perforce recognized and testified to by all classes and by every variety of witness. The spiritual denizens of another world (124, 134, 311, 57), the appointed guarians of the spiritual life of Israel (1461), Jesus Himself (126, 1332, 1462), God in Heaven (111, 97), and even the heathen man when he gazed upon Him as He hung on the cross, alike certify to His elevation, as the Son of God, in the supernatural dignity of His person, above all that is earthly, all “servants” and “ministers” of God whatever, including the very angels. Certainly this designation, ‘Son of God,’ is colored so deeply with supernatural implications that even apart from such a passage as 1332 where the superangelic nature of the Son is openly expressed, we cannot avoid concluding (cf. especially 126, 1462, 1539) that a supernatural personality as well as a supernatural office is intended to be understood by it. And if so, in view of the nature of the term itself, it is difficult to doubt that this supernaturalness of personality is intended to be taken at the height of the Divine. What can the Son, the unique and “beloved” Son of God, who is also the Father’s heir, in contradistinction from all His servants, even the angels, be—but God Himself? (ibid., pp. 42-45)

To summarize, PW’s third argument constitutes a betrayal of his own methodology, demonstrates a profound lack of understanding of Christianity (or an unwillingness to present it accurately), requires ignoring the testimony of the evangelists to Christ’s divine knowledge, and, finally, rests on an appeal to a verse – which on historical-critical grounds must be adjudged authentic – that is patently at odds with Islam since it teaches that Jesus is not just a “very human figure” but the very divine Son of God. In short, Mark 13:32 does not constitute a denial of Christ's divine Sonship, nor in the total picture presented in Mark is it a denial that Jesus also possessed divine knowledge. At the end of the day, whatever else one might say, Mark 13:32 is a hammer blow against the Son-denying teaching of the anti-Christ spirit that animated Islam's prophet and permeates its book.

150 comments:

Derek Adams said...

I'm Derek Adams and I approve of this post.

God Bless America

bob said...

“But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Mark 13:32”

As it says all throughout the Scriptures, the Father and the Son are both equally God, and the relationship between the Two is as between father and son/King and Prince (of the kingdom of heaven).

As on earth (On earth as it is in heaven. Matt 6:10), the Prince is not always privy to every decision made by the King, but he is still a Member of the Royal Family, with His own unique function within it (the Saviour).

This father/son relationship was initiated by mutual agreement between the Two.

“I [the Son] will declare the [Royal] decree: The Lord [the Father] has said to Me [the Son], ‘You are My Son, today I have begotten You.’” Psalm 2:7

“For God so loved the world that he gave His only begotten Son…” John 3:16

A very good and accurate picture of this relationship can also be found in John Bunyan’s ‘The Holy War.’

Watchman Apologētikos said...

Guys, I have published a thorough rebuttal of Paul Williams over at my newly established blog. I did a few formatting updates because some of the text were either too small to read, or just out of place. I have slowly become familiar with the blogging tools, so I hope that what I have written is easier to read.

Hey Anthony, give me a shout and let me know if I can improve anything I have mentioned.

Link: http://watchmanapologetikos.blogspot.com.au/2014/01/evaluating-paul-williams-critique-of.html

David Kemball-Cook said...

Thanks
This is a very interesting article. What you say about Q makes perfect sense to me. Why suppose there is a hypothetical source out there, of which no copies have ever been found, when the hypothesis that Luke used Matthew and Mark explains the facts as well, and is much more economical?

However I really struggle with the idea that Jesus had two consciousnesses. Are we supposed to believe that the two consciousnesses alternated, so that at some times he was the divine Son, remembering his time with the Father before he was born and being omniscient, and that at other times he was ignorant of certain things, and only remembering his human life?

And are we supposed to believe that along with two consciousnesses he was also a real human being, with a fully integrated personality, like us except for sin?

Personally I am not surprised that Muslims object to the two nature doctrine. I am a Christian, and yet I struggle with it. Nor do I see it taught in scripture.

Can this doctrine be explained in a way that is consistent with Christ's true humanity?

Rafael Princ said...

I follow a augustinian approch to the subject. I have written an article on the matter which you can read below:

The Bible uses the words 'know' in a number of different ways. Sometimes it is used to mean 'proclaim', 'reveal', or 'make known'. It can also mean to know in an intimate fashion (Genesis 4:1; Amos 3:1-2). Augustine of Hippo (d. 430), wrote that many times in Scripture the statement "God knows" means "God reveals." When it says in Mark 13:32 that the Son does not know the day or hour, according to Augustine, it really means that the Son does not reveal the day or hour.[1] Several patristic authors have hold the same view (ibid.). Augustine’s "figures of speech" solution is, according to Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance, a Philological plausible position. Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance gives the following definitions of the Greek word ‘’eido’’ (know).


A primary verb; used only in certain past tenses, the others being borrowed from the equivalent optanomai and horao; properly, to see (literally or figuratively); by implication, (in the perfect tense only) to know -- be aware, behold, X can (+ not tell), consider, (have) know(-ledge), look (on), perceive, see, be sure, tell, understand, wish, wot. [2]

Theologian and author, Francis X, summarizes Augustine position as follows:


When it says in Mark 13:32 that the Son does not know the day or hour, according to Augustine, it really means that the Son does not reveal the day or hour. For support, Augustine gave the example of Gen 22:12, where God said to Abraham after his test of obedience in sacrificing Isaac: "Now I know that you fear me." In reality, Augustine argued, the omniscient God did not increase in knowledge. It was a figurative way of saying, "Now it is revealed that you fear me." Augustine cited Deut 13:3 as another biblical example of this kind of figure of speech. Here Moses said that God would test the love of his people by means of false prophets. He wrote: "For the Lord your God is testing you that he may know whether you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul." According to Augustine, the phrase "that he may know" does not mean that God would increase in knowledge once the Israelites were tested, but that at that time it would be revealed whether the children of Israel loved God.[3]

Rafael Princ said...

Many contemporary Biblical scholars have hold the same position. Adam Clarke [4] summarizes there reasoned position.


They suppose the verb οιδεν to have the force of the Hebrew conjugation Hiphel, in which verbs are taken in a causative, declarative, or permissive sense; and that it means here, make known, or promulge, as it is to be understood in 1 Corinthians 2:2. This intimates that this secret was not to be made known, either by men or angels, no, not even by the Son of man himself; but it should be made known by the Father only, in the execution of the purposes of his justice. (Clarke’s commentary on the Bible, see here http://clarke.biblecommenter.com/mark/13.htm)

Augustine's interpretation (and those that hold the same position) coincides well with the context in which Mark 13:32 is found. The main point of the section of the Olivet Discourse in which the passage is found is to warn humans to be ready at all times, because the day and hour has not been revealed. Jesus's words about people being taken unaware in the deluge of Noah, and Christ's parables of the faithful servant, the ten virgins, and the talents, all teach this (cf. Matt 24:37-25:30). Furthermore since the Bible teaches that the day of judgement was made through Jesus Christ and he will be the judge on that day, it is reasonable to say that he has perfect knowledge of when that day will be.[5]

Too seal this matter completely we will show that the apostles themselves never interpret Jesus his words as to imply ignorance on his behave. We know that according to contemporary Biblical scholarship that the gospel of Mark was first to been written followed by the gospel of Matthew and Luke and lastly that of John. We see that the last gospel written still narrates the other apostles attributing all knowledge to Jesus.

Rafael Princ said...

Thus his disciples said, truly, "Now we know that You know all things, and have no need for anyone to question You; by this we believe that You came from God" (John 16:30).


"'Simon, son of John, do you love Me?' Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, 'Do you love Me?' And he said to Him, 'Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You' (John 21:17).

Interesting if you consider that they witnessed Jesus uttering the ‘’don’t know’’ statements first in Mark and later in Matthew, indicating that they never considered this to imply ignorance on behave of Jesus. Archbishop Michael Sheehan summarizes our discussion perfectly when he states:


In Matthew 24:36 and Mark 13:32, Jesus Christ is telling his disciples that it is not part of his mission to reveal the time of judgement day. By doing this, he is discouraging his disciples, and us, from asking him when judgement day will be. Jesus does this by using a manner of speaking that his disciples were familiar with and can be understood by people familiar with the Bible, as I briefly explained above. After his resurrection, Jesus tells his disciples that they are not meant to know the times and periods determined by God (Acts 1:6-7).[6]


In conclusion we reiterate that Mark 13:32 and Matthew 24:36 can be, and I would argue should be, interpreted in a fashion that doesn’t attribute ignorance on behave of Jesus. As we have shown is this the most philological and contextual sound interpretation.

Radical Moderate said...

This has got to be the best response yet. They just keep on getting better and better

Derek Adams said...

Excellent posts Rafael

Derek Adams said...

David said:

"Are we supposed to believe that the two consciousnesses alternated",

Your question answers itself. If one person has two consciousnesses, how would they "alternate"? It is not a "singular" switching consciousness from time to time, after all, they are two consciousnesses that simultaneously exist. Jesus was simultaneously God and Man possessing the consciousness of both natures.

"so that at some times he was the divine Son, remembering his time with the Father before he was born and being omniscient,"

"REMEMBERING HIS TIME" implies you are referring to his human nature, and that you believe this means he is no longer with the Father, or that his consciousness with the Father is SWITCHED OFF (like in the movie Avatar when the human is sleeping but his consciousness his awake in his avatar). The consciousness of the divine son's nature is eternally existent, his consciousness never ceases to exist, only he may choose not to exercise his prerogatives e.g. his expression of glory, or full manifestation of his power. etc

Later you said:

"And are we supposed to believe that along with two consciousnesses he was also a real human being, with a fully integrated personality, like us except for sin?"

If there is a contradiction here, you need to make it explicit. You seem to imply Jesus cannot be fully human because he has a divine consciousness that belongs to a distinct nature. But that only shows the opposite to what you are arguing. If Jesus divine nature is distinct from his human nature, then the nature he possesses is truly human. So you need to make the missing premise clear in your argumentation.

As for scriptural support from the NT showing the divinity of Father and Son, I suggest reading Rogers three articles, or did you miss them (and the other links he gives us)?

bob said...

I think the point of Mark 13:32 is that the actual DECISION as to WHEN the event will occur is the Father’s alone.

The same thing applies in Matthew 20:23, in relation to WHOM it will be given to sit on the left and right of Jesus.

“But to sit on My right hand and on My left is not Mine to give, but it is for those for whom it is prepared by My Father.”

And Jesus not knowing when these things would occur does not make Him any less God than the Father since this is part of the original, mutually agreed upon plan (involving all three Persons of the Triune God) in and by which Jesus willingly deferred some decisions regarding timing (Mark 13:32) as well as other decisions (e.g. “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him” John 6:44) to the Father alone.

The father and son/King and Prince relationship was decided upon and entered into (hence, ‘begotten’) by mutual agreement between the Two, i.e., “‘You are My Son, today I have begotten You.’” (the Son repeating Father’s words) Psalm 2:7

In becoming the only begotten Son (There being only one Son within the Triune God, hence, the “only begotten Son”), He willingly gave up some decisions concerning the ‘who’ and ‘where’ and ‘when’ and ‘what’ over to the Father (“It is not for you to know the times or seasons which the Father has put in His OWN authority” Acts 1:7), and in honour of the Father.

The relationship being as one between a King (the Father) and his Son, the Prince (Christ, the Prince of peace Isaiah 9:6) and heir to the kingdom (“All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth.” Matthew 28:18); but with the Prince not always being privy to every decision made by the King. This is in keeping with all Scripture and easily defeats any argument against Christ’s divinity that is based on the plain reading of verses like Mark 13:32 and Matthew 20:23, etc.

Timothy Kerrigan said...

If you look at Jewish wedding ceremonies, it was the Father of the Groom that determined when the marriage was going to take place. Everyone knew that it was going to happen soon, including the bridegroom. Jesus said that he did not know the hour out of deference to the Father. It is the Father's decision for when the wedding takes place, so this is more a sign of resoect rather than ignorance.

David Kemball-Cook said...

Hi Rafael
Thank you for this. Food for thought.

Of course, what you say goes against what most people think about these verses, but that does not mean you (and Augustine) are wrong.

However, can oida and derivatives really mean ‘reveal’, so that if somebody does not ‘know’ in this sense, he really does know but does not reveal it?

I have looked through all other occurences of oida and derivatives in NT and they all seem to mean straightforward ‘know’, not reveal.

Looking at the verse (Mk 13:32) it couples Jesus’ lack of ‘knowing’ with that all people and of the angels. So Jesus not ‘knowing’ is supposed to be on a par with the ‘ignorance’ of everyone who genuinely don’t know. You would think that if the writer was trying to say that Jesus knew but was not saying, he would have made it clear. Instead he lumps together Jesus knowing but not saying with the genuine ignorance of humanity and the angels.

I understand Augustine’s problem, and his concern to show that Jesus was not both ignorant and omniscient simultaneously, but I don’t see that the interpretation stands up strongly enough.

David Kemball-Cook said...

Thanks Derek
I appreciate your reply.

I understand you as subscribing to the simultaneous consciousnesses explanation of two natures. Personally I think this is the least worst understanding of how Jesus could be God and man at the same time.

Kenotic theories just subtract Jesus’ divinity from the instances where trinitarians need it, so understandably people like Wayne Grudem (quoted in Miller’s article that Anthony cites) reject it.

Alternating consciousnesses seems a bit absurd and does not solve the ‘problem’ of Jesus being both God and man at the same time.

So simultaneous consciousnesses seems the best of a bad bunch. I am sure you are aware that theologians and philosophers raise objections to this too.
Suppose someone asked Jesus what his earliest memory was, or if he could forgive sins, or if he could heal the sick, or who touched him just then (the story of the woman with the issue of blood), or when is that day or hour (Mk 13:32)? (and so on) What would he say, if he were to answer truthfully?

Would he reply out of his divine consciousness or his human consciousness? In Mark 13:32 was Jesus really ignorant of the day or hour or was he pretending not to know.

We ascribe abilities and knowledge to persons, not to natures, nor even to consciousnesses. Either Jesus knew the day and hour or he didn’t. Either he knew who touched him or he didn’t. If he had access to his divine consciousness at all time, as you say, then he most certainly did know the answers to these questions.

You cannot have somebody ignorant and omniscient simultaneously, nor at the same time being able to heal the sick and also unable to heal the sick, and so on.

What I think this results in a sort of God-in-disguise, docetic kind of Saviour, looking and behaving like a man (sometimes), but really a divine being underneath.

David Kemball-Cook said...

Hi Bob
You make a good point I think. But this is not quite the issue.

If God is a Trinity, then the Persons could have divided up the decision-making about important events between them. But the point is not who decided when was to be the day and the hour, but who knew about it. According to the perichoresis doctrine of the Trinitarian,each Person enters into what the others do. So it would be impossible for one Person to know something and not the other two (and I don’t think there is any theologian past or present that would disagree).

The question is not resolved. If Jesus is the Second Person of the Trinity then he should have known when the day and hour was going to be.

bob said...

Another point that I could have made concerns the seeming contradiction between Jesus' statement of “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth” (Matthew 28:18) and the verses where the Father calls the shots, but there is nothing which precludes Jesus, by the same overall authority given to Him in Matthew 28:18, from deferring some decisions to the Father, out of and in honour to the Father “...I honour my Father...” John 8:49

In conclusion, concerning verses like Mark 13:32, it is not that Jesus could not know if He wanted to, but rather, that He chose to leave it in the hands of the Father instead (and which, when we read the words of Jesus this is exactly the case), so His divinity is not in question.

David Kemball-Cook said...

PS Derek you also mentioned the scriptural support for the divinity of the Father and the Son.

Now who you mean by ‘the Father’ is what I would call ‘God’ or ‘Yahweh’, the one God of Israel and the God whom Christians worship, he whom Jesus called ‘Father’ and who he encouraged his followers to also call ‘Father’. I do not accept that ‘the Father’ is a First Person of the Trinity. He is God alone. In the NT there is no semantic distinction between ‘God’ and ‘the Father’, or ‘my Father’ and ‘my God’ when Jesus talks of him. Look for instance at the greetings at the beginnings of the epistles. Jesus said he came from God (John 8.42) and he came from the Father (John 16.28). Do we think he was sent by two different individuals? Or isn’t it more likely that Jesus referred to his God equivocally as 'the Father’?

Regarding the supposed divinity of the Son, I am happy to debate any of the prooftexts with you. Why don’t you reply with your ‘best' one, and we could have a dialogue on it? I would appreciate that.

Regards
David

David Kemball-Cook said...

Hi Bob
I think the point I made is still valid. The Second Person could have referred the decision to the First Person, but all three Persons are supposed to know all things together. I don't know any theologian who would say that according to the Trinity there are things which one Person knows and the other two don't know

David

bob said...

David kemball-Cook, you say,

"But the point is not who decided when was to be the day and the hour, but who knew about it. According to the perichoresis doctrine of the Trinitarian,each Person enters into what the others do. So it would be impossible for one Person to know something and not the other two (and I don’t think there is any theologian past or present that would disagree).
The question is not resolved. If Jesus is the Second Person of the Trinity then he should have known when the day and hour was going to be."


But there you have just imposed man’s thinking over the authority of God’s word (Mark 13:32 etc.), which says that they all chose to defer the decision to the Father alone, so that "only the Father" Himself would know the exact timing ("that day and hour").

David Kemball-Cook said...

correction in last PS reply to Derek
Sorry, I used 'equivocally' when I meant the opposite. Ouch.

The relevant sentence should read something like
'Or isn’t it more likely that Jesus used both ‘God’ and ‘the Father’ to refer to the same individual,his God Yahweh?'

bob said...

David Kemball-Cook,

I should also add that the argument of, “if Jesus is second person of the triune God, then He should know the day and the hour” seems to be based on viewing God as simply a lump of omnipotence, omniscience, omnipresence etc.

God is all those things, but He is also a living being, who, against His Holy righteous nature, can also choose to make provision for, to forgive and completely FORGET our sins/crimes.

It would be impossible for Him to have the kind of relationship that He desires with us if He did not forget our sins.

“I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake; and I will not remember your sins.” Isaiah 43:25

So while He is the Almighty and can remember everything, He can also choose to forget.

bob said...

David,

“I think the point I made is still valid. The Second Person could have referred the decision to the First Person, but all three Persons are supposed to know all things together.”

You will need to provide some Scripture to validate your assertion.

“I don't know any theologian who would say that according to the Trinity there are things which one Person knows and the other two don't know.”

This is just an argument from authority (“I don’t know any theologian”) but again with no verses to support it.

David Kemball-Cook said...

Bob
Thanks for those replies

Yes theologians often do seem to view God as a lump of omniscience etc. You are right, God is God, and not to be reduced to a bunch of properties. I believe God is personal, and not a collective of three Persons. As you say, He is a living being (but trinitarians really ought to say ‘They’ is a living being).

I was arguing against the traditional trinitarian view that Jesus was and is the Second Person of the Trinity, and therefore ought to possess all the traditional properties of divinity, including omniscience. I don’t believe that Jesus was omniscient, but this is the traditional trinitarian view.

Re our point about the three Persons supposed to know everything in common, this is just the doctrine of the Trinity, which I reject. You ask me for scripture, but the Trinity is not taught in scripture! The idea of perichoresis was invented in the 4th century to try to find some principle of unity which binds together three distinct Persons so as to avoid the charge of tritheism (unsuccessfully in my view). According to it, the three Persons go everywhere and do everything together, so there is nothing one Person knows which the others do not. There is nothing about it in the Bible (not least because the Trinity is not in the Bible).

I was arguing that, assuming the Trinity and all the doctrine that goes with it, Jesus ought to be omniscient. But he wasn’t omniscient, so the Trinity (and all the doctrine that goes with it) cannot be true. If you want to reject all the doctrine that goes with it, you will have to invent your own version (skipping the Athanasian Creed!). If you do, I will wager that you will end up with three separate gods, because that is the only possible view that avoids contradiction.

Regards
David

D335 said...

My take on it, ... (oh no!)

There was an idea, of how God could decree things contrary to the mindset of us, humans.
Some can blame God that he does not know us, because he is divine and not mortally limited like us.
But not Jesus! Why?

One of the greatest problem of humanity is not always capable of predicting or even knowing for sure what's in the future. Our own ends becoming our own nightmare. Will we die a rich person? Will we die happy? Will we get into heaven? Will we be able to feed our own children?
That is why scripture call us to put our hope in Jesus, to progress not by sight but faith.
Because Jesus knows very well how to be human and there is no mistake about it, when he limited himself knowledge of "the hour".

hope that makes sense. PREACH THE WORD !

bob said...

David, you said,

“I believe God is personal, and not a collective of three Persons.”

Fair enough, but where do you get this belief from?

You said,

“As you say, He is a living being (but trinitarians really ought to say ‘They’ is a living being).”

If someone says of God as a whole, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, that “They is a living being” then that is true and accurate. As it says at the start in Genesis 1:26-27 where we already see the Triune God...

Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness”
So God created man in His own Image.

...and Genesis 3:22,

Then the Lord God said, “Behold, man has become like one of Us, to know good and evil”

You said,

“I was arguing against the traditional trinitarian view that Jesus was and is the Second Person of the Trinity, and therefore ought to possess all the traditional properties of divinity, including omniscience. I don’t believe that Jesus was omniscient...”

But this is no argument against Jesus being omniscient in first place since it was He himself that chose to be ignorant about the timing of certain events.

You said,

“Re our point about the three Persons supposed to know everything in common, this is just the doctrine of the Trinity, which I reject. You ask me for scripture, but the Trinity is not taught in scripture!”

Except, in many places where it says the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, e.g.

Then Jesus, when he had been baptized, came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon him. And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.” Mathew 3:16, 17

...baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” Mathew 28:19

While the word ‘Trinity’ does not appear in the Bible (but then neither does the word ‘Bible’), the doctrine of the Triune God certainly does. The word was coined centuries after the apostles as a title for this very important doctrine or article of the Christian faith and serves as a descriptive name for that which was there from the beginning. The Triune God (the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit) existed long before the term ‘Trinity’ was coined. The triune God exists with or without the word ‘Trinity’. Father, Son and Holy Spirit are not dependent on the term at all. It was simply coined by men of God to help describe what was there all along and which only became clearer with the advent of Christ who Himself lifted the veil on some of the more sublime mysteries of God, as recorded in the Gospels.

You said,

“I was arguing that, assuming the Trinity and all the doctrine that goes with it, Jesus ought to be omniscient. But he wasn’t omniscient, so the Trinity (and all the doctrine that goes with it) cannot be true. If you want to reject all the doctrine that goes with it, you will have to invent your own version (skipping the Athanasian Creed!). If you do, I will wager that you will end up with three separate gods, because that is the only possible view that avoids contradiction.”

Again, the word ‘Trinity’ is simply an abbreviation for Father, Son and Holy Spirit; like a team of three like-minded individuals working together in perfect harmony for the same end. In this case, and since they are of the same nature and essence (which is love and light, and are therefore as ‘one’ and have a ‘oneness’) and have a common purpose and a shared authority, the team as a whole is called God, as per Genesis 1:26 pointed out above.

And God said, “Let Us make man in Our image according to Our likeness...” So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.

mjazzguitar said...

I wouldn't refer to Mark as a "palestinian Jew" because the Romans had not yet renamed the region "Palestine".

David Kemball-Cook said...

Answer to Bob
Thanks Bob
I said “I believe God is personal, and not a collective of three Persons.”
You said “Fair enough, but where do you get this belief from? “

I think every Christian believes that God is personal (are you implying that you don’t?!). The Bible shows God as having a mind, will and emotions. Not only that but the Bible uses singular personal pronouns for God (“I am... ”, “I will... ” etc.) over 7000 times.

The Bible does not teach that God is plural. You mention the cases of plural pronouns used for God. There are exactly 4 such instances in the whole of the Bible, and these can be accounted for by the plural of majesty or attributes. Balance those 4 cases against the 000s of singular pronouns.

Do you think that the Jews in OT times believed that Yahweh was a plurality of Persons?
Do you think trinitarians should be telling them how to read their own scriptures “You thought Yahweh was singular, but we are telling you now that he is plural”?

Matt 3:16 and 28:19 do not teach a Trinity. They mention three ‘Persons’ but do not teach that these three are distinct divine Persons sharing the Godhead. Both texts are quite consistent with Jesus being an anointed man but not divine at all. Neither teach that the Spirit is a separate Person from somebody else called ‘the Father’. They are consistent with the Spirit being a personal manifestion of God.

Do you believe that Jesus believed he was the Second Person of a Trinity? That would be the implication of Matt 28:10 speaking about the Trinity, wouldn’t it? But if he did believe that, why didn’t he teach it? Mark 12:28f would have been good opportunity. He could have said “The Lord our God is one, but he is really three Persons”, but he didn’t. You said he lifted the veil on the divine mysteries. So why didn’t he ever teach about the threeness of God?
The Trinity is not taught anywhere in the gospels or the epistles.
I accept that later theologians formulated the Trinity doctrine, but that is exactly my point. The Bible does not teach it.
Re Jesus’ knowledge, you imply that Jesus once knew the day and then decided to forget it. Am I correct in my inference? Assuming you did mean that, what evidence have you for this? Is there any scripture that says that Jesus at some time knew everything that the other Persons knew, and then decided to forget it?
If you believe that God is a team of three Persons working together, then I say to you that you believe in three gods. Nothing else makes sense. There is no mysterious ‘being’ that unites the three Persons beyond their common essence (just as three humans working together in a team are still three separate people).

bob said...

In the end, the argument against Jesus’ divinity based on His not knowing (not omniscient therefore not divine) the exact timing of certain events (knowledge which He actually chose to forego) as described in Mark 13:32 and other places is just empty rhetoric, and is the result of not having stepped back far enough to view the whole picture.

I.e. BEFORE Jesus decided to forego knowledge of certain events, He knew everything. THEN, at a certain point, He Himself chose to forego knowledge of the timing of some events, which He deferred to the Father. But AFTER the final event (Judgement Day) this ‘contract’ will be fulfilled and then there is nothing that Jesus cannot know.

Jesus is omniscient and therefore divine at the beginning, and is omniscient and therefore divine at the end...

“And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.” John 17:5

...so He can only be called God.

"I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End," says the Lord, "Who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty." Revelation 1:8

bob said...

David, you said,

I said “I believe God is personal, and not a collective of three Persons.”
You said “Fair enough, but where do you get this belief from? “
“I think every Christian believes that God is personal (are you implying that you don’t?!). The Bible shows God as having a mind, will and emotions…”

I was responding to the part where you said “and not a collective of three Persons.”

You said,

“…Not only that but the Bible uses singular personal pronouns for God (“I am... ”, “I will... ” etc.) over 7000 times.”

Which, as we can see from the beginning in Genesis, is a result of the limitations of human language (And God said, “Let Us make man in Our image according to Our likeness) to express/describe God as a whole, that is, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

And, depending on the context, “I am…”, “I will…”, “He”, “Him” etc. can and does also mean the individual Persons of the Godhead .e.g. the ‘Lord of Hosts’ is Christ, and the ‘Spirit of God’ or ‘the Spirit of the Lord’ is the Holy Spirit, and the ‘Lord’ can mean both the Father or the Son (the Lord said to My Lord) or the Holy Spirit.

All three can also be individually described in the one verse,

“For David himself said by the Holy Spirit: ‘The Lord [the Father] said to My Lord [the Son], “Sit at My right hand, till I make Your enemies Your footstool.” Mark 12:36

Just picking out something 7000 times while ignoring the context is not an argument.

You said,
“The Bible does not teach that God is plural. You mention the cases of plural pronouns used for God. There are exactly 4 such instances in the whole of the Bible, and these can be accounted for by the plural of majesty or attributes. Balance those 4 cases against the 000s of singular pronouns.”

It is not just the “plural pronouns”, but where the three Persons are mentioned individually that gives us the picture. For example, the Spirit of God/the Lord, the Holy Spirit, is found all through the Bible from the beginning (and the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. Genesis 1:2) to the end; as is the Son the ‘Lord of Hosts’, and the Father where he is simply called ‘Lord’ as pointed out in Mark 12:36.

You said,

“Do you think that the Jews in OT times believed that Yahweh was a plurality of Persons?”

Some did and some did not, but Moses, David, and the prophets certainly did, as we see from their writings.

You said,

“Do you think trinitarians should be telling them how to read their own scriptures “You thought Yahweh was singular, but we are telling you now that he is plural”?”

The Jews have their own problem of blindness in this regard.

Since Jews do not accept the Christ of the Gospels, they cannot know or understand what Moses, the Psalms and all the prophets are actually saying and teaching.

To adherents of Judaism, Islam, and to all others who deny Christ's divinity, even though they may be literate, the Scriptures are sealed to them as if they were illiterate.

They can see the words but do not know their meaning, as prophesied in Isaiah 29: 11-13.

The whole vision has become to you like the words of a book that is sealed, which men deliver to one who is literate, saying, “Read this please.” And he says, “I cannot, for it is sealed.”

Then the book is delivered to one who is illiterate, saying, “Read this please.” And he says, “I am not literate.”

Therefore the Lord said:

“Inasmuch as these people draw near with their mouths and honour Me with their lips, but have removed their hearts far from Me, and their fear towards Me is taught by the commandment of men.”

bob said...

Continued...

You said,

“Matt 3:16 and 28:19 do not teach a Trinity. They mention three ‘Persons’ but do not teach that these three are distinct divine Persons sharing the Godhead...”

If you step back and take in the whole picture of the rest of the scriptures you will see it.

You said,

“…Both texts are quite consistent with Jesus being an anointed man but not divine at all…”

Except in other places where He forgives sin, accepts worship, performs miracles, raises people from the dead etc. and verses such as:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him nothing was made that was made. John 1:1-3

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. John 1:14

For unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given… And his name will be called Wonderful, Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6

“Thus says the Lord, the King of Israel, and his Redeemer [Christ], the Lord of hosts: ‘I am the first and the last; besides me there is no God.’” Isaiah 44:6 (repeated by Christ in Revelation 1: 8, 11)

For by him [the Son] all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth… And he is before all things, and in him all things consist. Colossians 1:16, 17

Jesus, the Son, is also speaking the words of Exodus 20:8 (Ten Commandments) concerning the Sabbath.

“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy…”

The Son of Man is also the Lord of the Sabbath. Luke 5:28

Satan himself was one of the best witness’s that Jesus was God the Creator, when, at the end of forty days of being tempted by the devil, during which time Jesus ate nothing and was hungry, the devil said to him,

“If [since] you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.” But Jesus answered him, saying, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.’” Luke 4:3, 4

This would have been a pointless temptation if Jesus was not the Creator but just an ordinary man who could not turn stones into bread.

In fact, all the devils/demons/evil spirits were subject to his authority and feared him greatly.

…there was a man who had a spirit of an unclean demon. And he cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Let us alone! What have we to do with you, Jesus of Nazareth? Did you come to destroy us? I know you, who you are – the Holy One of God!” But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be quiet, and come out of him!” Luke 4:33-35.

The Holy One, Christ, the Son, is spoken of throughout Scripture and can be found in 2Kings 19:22; Job 6:10; Psalm 71:22, 78:41; Isaiah 1:4 (about 30 times throughout Isaiah); Jeremiah 50:29, 51:5; Ezekiel 39:7; Hosea 11:9; Habakkuk 1:12, 3:3; Mark 1:24; Luke 4:34 and 1John 2:20.

You said,

“…Neither teach that the Spirit is a separate Person from somebody else called ‘the Father’. They are consistent with the Spirit being a personal manifestion of God.”

Some think that the Holy Spirit is not an individual or person but simply a projection of the Father’s own spirit. However, the following verse shows that the Holy Spirit is indeed an individual Person within the triune God.

But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit…? You have not lied to men but to God.” Acts 5:3, 4

But he who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness… Mark 3:29

Then the Spirit said to Philip, “Go near and overtake this chariot.” Acts 8:29

As they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, “Now separate for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” Acts 13:2

And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Ephesians 4:30

Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says: “Today, if you will hear his voice, do not harden your hearts…” Hebrews 3:7, 8

bob said...

You said,

“You said he lifted the veil on the divine mysteries. So why didn’t he ever teach about the threeness of God?”

You seem to have missed where He taught over and over again about the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

You said,

“The Trinity is not taught anywhere in the gospels or the epistles.
I accept that later theologians formulated the Trinity doctrine, but that is exactly my point. The Bible does not teach it.”

Like I said, you need to step back and look at the picture as a whole, as the “later theologians” did who were only submitting to the authority of God’s word when they coined a simple handy term for the three Persons of the Godhead.

You said,

“Re Jesus’ knowledge, you imply that Jesus once knew the day and then decided to forget it. Am I correct in my inference? Assuming you did mean that, what evidence have you for this? Is there any scripture that says that Jesus at some time knew everything that the other Persons knew, and then decided to forget it?”

Jesus obviously had the option to know, but decided to forego this knowledge (Mark 13:32). Having the option to either know or not to know does not impinge on His overall omniscience since the choice was His to begin with, and because at any time He could have known if He had so desired, His omniscience and therefore his divinity remains intact.

You said,

“If you believe that God is a team of three Persons working together, then I say to you that you believe in three gods. Nothing else makes sense. There is no mysterious ‘being’ that unites the three Persons beyond their common essence (just as three humans working together in a team are still three separate people).”

There are three individual Persons who are, all together, called God. If they are altogether God then they are also God individually. As we read throughout the Scriptures, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are a team or family, and the Family as a whole is called God; again, as per Genesis 1:26-27 and Genesis 3:22 and in all the rest of scripture where they come up individually and are called God and Lord etc.

Again, you need to see the big picture in God’s word rather than scratching around and pretzelising scripture, and denying its validity and truth etc. to support your belief in a God that is only one Person. Because it is outside of scripture, your view, like the Judaic and Islamic view of God as one Person, is really just an idol of your own construction, and does not exist, except, at best, in the person of the devil himself.

"...but they have walked according to the imagination of their own heart and after the Baals [idols]..." Jeremiah 9:14
"...these men have set up their idols in their hearts, and put before them that which causes them to stumble into iniquity." Ezekiel 14:3

The idea that God is only one Person is irreconcilable with all of Scripture and requires that it be bent, twisted, discarded and ignored in order to fit this one Person idol, which itself ends up looking like a Picasso painting, and with any argument from scripture to defend this idol ending up all over the place like a mad man’s excrement.

David Kemball-Cook said...

Thanks Bob
I appreciate this dialogue (everyone else seems to have moved on.

You said “You seem to have missed where He taught over and over again about the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.”. Please say where Jesus did this!

I concede there is Matt 28.19 of course, but that is not teaching about a Trinity but instructions on baptism. It was not said in his lifetime but after resurrection, and only counts as one anyway, not ‘over and over again’ as you say.

You said “The idea that God is only one Person is irreconcilable with all of Scripture”. Yet you talk about God as a ‘He’ and not a ‘They’. Why? Even people like James White, who accept that God should really be either an ‘It’ when talking about the Being of God or a ‘They’ when talking about all three Persons, uses ‘He’. Why is this?

In the scriptures, as I pointed out, God is overwhelming referred to with singular personal pronouns. Over 7000 times. There are only these four occasions of plural pronouns, of which you cite two, and they are easily accounted for by the plural of majesty or God speaking to the angels.

How did the Jews understand their scriptures? If you were to ask (say) a Jew in Jesus’ lifetime, how is God portrayed in the OT, do you think he would say as a ‘He’ or as a ‘They’?

So how do you speak about God. As ‘He’ or ‘They’?

Regards
David

David Kemball-Cook said...

Reply to Bob
Thanks for all these
I am not sure that the moderator has posted my last reply but to try to respond briefly anyway:

1) Can you give any teaching about the threeness of God anywhere in scripture?
I don’t mean verses like Matt 29:19 which mention three individuals, but actual teaching.
(comparable to the teaching of the oneness in God in texts like Dt 6:4)

2) Can you give any scriptural reference to your thesis that Jesus originally (in his pre-human existence?) knew everything, then made a contract to forget them during his human life, and then remembered everything again on his resurrection? (I hope I have represented you correctly). I cannot find any such reference.

3) You say that Moses, David and some of the prophets believed that God was a plurality of Persons. Can you give any scriptural support for this?

Regards
David

bob said...

David,

These questions have already been answered in my last post. You will need to go through my previous comments where I given more than enough references to point you in the right direction.

You will have to have a bit of a go yourself and do your own legwork. And remember, it’s all about the big picture, the whole of Scripture, from Genesis (origin of sin and death) to Revelation (the final defeat of sin and death), the full story from beginning to end, not just the bits that seem to fit your one Person idol.

As for Deuteronomy 6:4...

“Hear O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one!”

...the “one” means collectively one; one in unity; a unified ‘one’; team/family

There is only one Father:

The Lord [the Father] said to my Lord [the Son]. Mark 12:36

Only one Son:

To you it was shown that the Lord Himself is God; there is none other besides Him. Deuteronomy 4:35

And only one Holy Spirit:

And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. Genesis 1:2

Together, they are “one” God, as already explained in my previous comments.

David Kemball-Cook said...

You said “These questions have already been answered in my last post. You will need to go through my previous comments where I given more than enough references to point you in the right direction.”

Actually you haven’t answered my questions I asked
1) Can you give any teaching about the threeness of God anywhere in scripture?
I don’t mean verses like Matt 29:19 which mention three individuals, but actual teaching.
(comparable to the teaching of the oneness in God in texts like Dt 6:4)

2) Can you give any scriptural reference to your thesis that Jesus originally (in his pre-human existence?) knew everything, then made a contract to forget them during his human life, and then remembered everything again on his resurrection? (I hope I have represented you correctly). I cannot find any such reference.

3) You say that Moses, David and some of the prophets believed that God was a plurality of Persons. Can you give any scriptural support for this?

You have not given any scriptural references, as far as I can see. This would suggest that you don’t know any, at least to the neutral reader.
I will reply in a minute to your other points

Regards
David

David Kemball-Cook said...

Hi Madmanna

You said “As for Deuteronomy 6:4...
“Hear O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one!”
...the “one” means collectively one; one in unity; a unified ‘one’; team/family”

The word ‘echad’ means ‘one’. If you look at its use in the OT you will see it is used to mean exactly that, ‘one’ of the thing it is used to describe. True if it is applied to a collective noun eg ‘people’ it means a unified collective. But how on earth do you know it means one in unity in Dt 6:4?

Do you think the Jews in the OT understood that their word for ‘Lord’ (Yahweh) is a collective noun?

If they did, where is the evidence?

If they didn’t, are you saying that we English speakers know what their Hebrew words mean better than they did?

Regards

David Kemball-Cook said...

PS correction
I meant Hi Bob in my last post. (Getting confused with Paul Williams' site)
And I meant 'things' not 'thing'
sorry

bob said...

David, it seems that you are intentionally missing the point: you say,

“Can you give any scriptural reference to your thesis that Jesus originally (in his pre-human existence?) knew everything, then made a contract to forget them during his human life, and then remembered everything again on his resurrection? (I hope I have represented you correctly). I cannot find any such reference.”

The proper response to this rather illogical question would be by exercising some simple logic/deduction and in viewing the story as a whole, and whereby your misrepresentation of what I have been saying can be corrected.

Since Jesus is the Creator of heaven and earth i.e. God...


In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him nothing was made that was made. John 1:1-3
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. John 1:14


...and He, the Word, the Creator, spoke everything into existence...


Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. Genesis 1:3 …etc. until everything was created.

By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, and all the host of them by the breath of His mouth. Psalm 33:6

by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water… But the heavens and the earth which are now preserved by the same word… 2Peter 3:5, 7

For by Him [the Son] all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth… And He is before all things, and in him all things consist. Colossians 1:16, 17


...then it is obvious that He has to be omniscient.


But then, in mark 13:32 we read that only the Father, the First person of the Godhead knows the exact timing of an event, which can only mean that Jesus, who, being the Creator and therefore omniscient, has obviously decided to forego knowledge of the timing of this event right from beginning when the plan of salvation for mankind came into existence.

But since He himself decided (the option was His) to forego this knowledge, then this option to either know or not to know also does not impinge on His overall omniscience since the choice was fully His to begin with. And, because at any time He could have known if He had so desired (because He is the Creator), His omniscience and therefore his divinity remains completely intact (regardless of the event in Mark 13:32 having taken place or not).

The problem you have with your interpretation of verses like Mark 13:32 is that you are working from the wrong end (hence your rather illogical question). By simply focusing on these verses and leaving out the beginning and the rest of the story, you can only ever end up with a distorted view of the Scriptures as a whole, and where they will always remain contradictory and confusing.

bob said...

David, you say,

“You have not given any scriptural references, as far as I can see. This would suggest that you don’t know any, at least to the neutral reader.”

Says the man who has himself brought almost no scripture to support his arguments. The burden of proof to prove your one Person idol from scripture rests on you just as much as much as it does on me to disprove it.

“Can you give any teaching about the threeness of God anywhere in scripture?
I don’t mean verses like Matt 29:19 which mention three individuals, but actual teaching.”

By the same token you have not actually shown how Matthew 29:19 and Matthew 3:16-17 would DENY the “threeness of God” either.

You say,

“The word ‘echad’ means ‘one’. If you look at its use in the OT you will see it is used to mean exactly that, ‘one’ of the thing it is used to describe. True if it is applied to a collective noun eg ‘people’ it means a unified collective.”

That is true, it can and does mean one in the singular, or one as a collective ‘one’ with either being determined by the commentary of the surrounding scripture i.e. the context in which it is situated.

You say,

“But how on earth do you know it means one in unity in Dt 6:4?”

From the structure of the sentence, the context in which it is situated, and what the rest of Scripture says in relation to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

You said,

“You say that Moses, David and some of the prophets believed that God was a plurality of Persons. Can you give any scriptural support for this?
You have not given any scriptural references, as far as I can see.”

David, are your eyes painted on? What about in previous comments where I gave the following:

“Thus says the Lord, the King of Israel, and his Redeemer [Christ], the Lord of hosts: ‘I am the first and the last; besides me there is no God.’” Isaiah 44:6 (repeated by Christ in Revelation 1: 8, 11)

“I [the Son] will declare the [Royal] decree: The Lord [the Father] has said to Me [the Son], ‘You are My Son, today I have begotten You.’” Psalm 2:7

And from Psalm 110:1…

The Lord said to My Lord, “Sit at My right hand, till I make Your enemies footstool.”

…which Jesus Himself repeated in Matthew 22:44 and Mark 12:36…

“For David himself said by the Holy Spirit: ‘The Lord [the Father] said to My Lord [the Son], “Sit at My right hand, till I make Your enemies Your footstool.”

…and which (Mark 12:36) is also amongst my previous comments, and of course, from Moses, there is also Genesis 1:26-27 and 3:22 which are also in my comments.

David Kemball-Cook said...

Thanks Bob
Sorry I forgot about these references that you gave earlier. I will copy them here and comment

You said “David, are your eyes painted on? What about in previous comments where I gave the following:
“Thus says the Lord, the King of Israel, and his Redeemer [Christ], the Lord of hosts: ‘I am the first and the last; besides me there is no God.’” Isaiah 44:6 (repeated by Christ in Revelation 1: 8, 11)”

This looks like a statement of monotheism to me. I see you have put [Christ] in brackets, reading it into the text. Some would call that eisegesis, and a great sin, when you insert something that is not there in the original.

I gather that you think there are two individuals referred to here. But if there are two, they are both called Yahweh. That would make two Yahwehs wouldn’t? Yet Trinitarians always insist on monotheism, that there is only one Yahweh (who is three Persons). Two Yahwehs is big trouble for the Trinity.

What does the ‘his’ refer to? Are you thinking it is Yahweh’s Redeemer, as a sort of aide or sidekick? That is only one possible reading, and you will see that different versions translate it differently, with the ‘his’ meaning ‘Israel’s’, eg NIV has ‘Israel’s King and Redeemer’.

“I [the Son] will declare the [Royal] decree: The Lord [the Father] has said to Me [the Son], ‘You are My Son, today I have begotten You.’” Psalm 2:7

Accepted this psalm has application to Jesus. However it does not fit the idea of the Eternal Son does it? Some theologians thought up this idea of ‘eternal generation’ to try to get round the contradiction between the Son being born and the Son being eternal. But this passage seems to speak clearly of the Son being born at a moment in time. Also, does it say anything about the Son being God and/or divine?

“And from Psalm 110:1…
The Lord said to My Lord, “Sit at My right hand, till I make Your enemies footstool.”
…which Jesus Himself repeated in Matthew 22:44 and Mark 12:36…
“For David himself said by the Holy Spirit: ‘The Lord [the Father] said to My Lord [the Son], “Sit at My right hand, till I make Your enemies Your footstool.”

Yes Ps 110:1 is very important, the most quoted OT verse in the NT. But where does it say that the Son is God? Looks like the Son (the Mssiah, David’ Lord) is being given rulership by God.

“…and which (Mark 12:36) is also amongst my previous comments, and of course, from Moses, there is also Genesis 1:26-27 and 3:22 which are also in my comments.
OK, I see you class Genesis as written by Moses. Fair enough. If you acknowledge that pronouns used for God are relevant, than you have to consider the four cases of plural pronouns in the OT against the over 7000 cases of singular pronouns. Then you have to bear in mind that the plural of majesty is used in the Bible for royal personages (eg 1 Kings 12.9), as it is in modern English. I don’t think the 4 plural pronouns really constitute an overwhelming case.
Also please consider how the Jews understood their scriptures. Do you believe that in OT times they understood God as plural?

I will try to get to your other points a bit later when I have time.

regards

David Kemball-Cook said...

Reply to Bob re Dt 6.4

I said “The word ‘echad’ means ‘one’. If you look at its use in the OT you will see it is used to mean exactly that, ‘one’ of the thing it is used to describe. True if it is applied to a collective noun eg ‘people’ it means a unified collective.”

You said “That is true, it can and does mean one in the singular, or one as a collective ‘one’ with either being determined by the commentary of the surrounding scripture i.e. the context in which it is situated.

I said “But how on earth do you know it means one in unity in Dt 6:4?”

You said “From the structure of the sentence, the context in which it is situated, and what the rest of Scripture says in relation to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

So are you saying that the Jews understood their foundational text as meaning that Yahweh was a unified collective?
Are you saying that they understood the proper name Yahweh as a collective noun?
That would be the implication of what you are saying wouldn’t it?

regards

David Kemball-Cook said...

Reply to Bob
I said “You say that Moses, David and some of the prophets believed that God was a plurality of Persons. Can you give any scriptural support for this?
You have not given any scriptural references, as far as I can see.”

You replied “Since Jesus is the Creator of heaven and earth i.e. God...
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him nothing was made that was made. John 1:1-3
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. John 1:14
...and He, the Word, the Creator, spoke everything into existence...
Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. Genesis 1:3 …etc. until everything was created.

By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, and all the host of them by the breath of His mouth. Psalm 33:6

by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water… But the heavens and the earth which are now preserved by the same word… 2Peter 3:5, 7

For by Him [the Son] all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth… And He is before all things, and in him all things consist. Colossians 1:16, 17

I was asking you for scriptural support for the doctrine that God is three Persons. You haven’t really given me any, apart from Matt 28:19 and Matt 3, which is where we came in. All these scriptures here are really attempts to show the divinity of Christ because he is the Creator, which is not the same thing as God being three Persons. I rest my case, that there is no actual teaching in the Bible that God is three Persons.

“Since Jesus is the Creator of heaven and earth i.e. God...
This argument does not really work. You could say that James Dyson made the Dyson XXX12 and also that the workers in a particular factory made it, but that does not prove that the workers are James Dyson. There are different types of agency involved here.
The Arians and JWs accept your premise and reject the conclusion. They say that Christ was God’s agent in creation, but not God.

In any case I dispute the premise.
Where in John 1:1-3 does it mention Christ? It doesn’t. I hope you can see the Trinitarian assumption operating here that Christ is identical with the Word of God. In fact the prologue describes Jesus as the Word made flesh (v14). There is nothing in John 1 about Christ as a Person who pre-existed his birth.

Colossians 1, if read as about Genesis creation, provides good support for the Arian position. However I see it, as with the parallel passages in Ephesians 1, as about Jesus’ lordship of the new creation. If you read it in context, it is all about the new creation in Christ – any alleged involvement in Genesis creation would have nothing to do with it.

regards

bob said...

David, you say,

“Thus says the Lord, the King of Israel, and his Redeemer [Christ], the Lord of hosts: ‘I am the first and the last; besides me there is no God.’” Isaiah 44:6 (repeated by Christ in Revelation 1: 8, 11)
This looks like a statement of monotheism to me. I see you have put [Christ] in brackets, reading it into the text. Some would call that eisegesis, and a great sin, when you insert something that is not there in the original.”

There is only one Redeemer and that is Christ.

Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which they must be saved. Acts 4:12

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

You said,

“Yet Trinitarians always insist on monotheism, that there is only one Yahweh (who is three Persons). Two Yahwehs is big trouble for the Trinity.”

You have just contradicted yourself.

You said,

“What does the ‘his’ refer to? Are you thinking it is Yahweh’s Redeemer, as a sort of aide or sidekick? That is only one possible reading..."

What about instead of "sidekick" we just call Him the second Person in the Godhead?

It says, “...and His Redeemer, the Lord of hosts...”

The Redeemer for all of mankind (John 3:16).

Remember what I said about the big picture?

You said,

“I [the Son] will declare the [Royal] decree: The Lord [the Father] has said to Me [the Son], ‘You are My Son, today I have begotten You.’” Psalm 2:7
Accepted this psalm has application to Jesus. However it does not fit the idea of the Eternal Son does it? Some theologians thought up this idea of ‘eternal generation’ to try to get round the contradiction between the Son being born and the Son being eternal. But this passage seems to speak clearly of the Son being born at a moment in time. Also, does it say anything about the Son being God and/or divine?”

It just means that at one point, the relationship between the Two eternal Persons became as a relationship between Father and Son (hence ‘begotten Son’). And as we see from John 1:1-14 the Son, the Word, is the Creator/God, so obviously He is eternal. Hello.

You said,

“And from Psalm 110:1…
The Lord said to My Lord, “Sit at My right hand, till I make Your enemies footstool.”
…which Jesus Himself repeated in Matthew 22:44 and Mark 12:36…
“For David himself said by the Holy Spirit: ‘The Lord [the Father] said to My Lord [the Son], “Sit at My right hand, till I make Your enemies Your footstool.”
Yes Ps 110:1 is very important, the most quoted OT verse in the NT. But where does it say that the Son is God? Looks like the Son (the Mssiah, David’ Lord) is being given rulership by God.”

That is a common attempt at interpreting Psalm 110:1 and very similar to the one that the scribes in Mark 12 had; but then what are you going to do with Jesus’ explanation of it i.e.

“Therefore David himself calls Him ‘Lord’; how is He then his Son?” Mark 12:37

And on top of that, Psalm 110:1 is talking about eternal spiritual things, not temporary earthly things. David is in the ground so he has no enemies as his footstool, and he is also not the Messiah of prophesy.

bob said...

David, you said,

“…and which (Mark 12:36) is also amongst my previous comments, and of course, from Moses, there is also Genesis 1:26-27 and 3:22 which are also in my comments.

OK, I see you class Genesis as written by Moses. Fair enough. If you acknowledge that pronouns used for God are relevant, than you have to consider the four cases of plural pronouns in the OT against the over 7000 cases of singular pronouns. Then you have to bear in mind that the plural of majesty is used in the Bible for royal personages (eg 1 Kings 12.9), as it is in modern English. I don’t think the 4 plural pronouns really constitute an overwhelming case.”

Even if it were only one case it would make no difference since it is God’s word spoken by the Holy Spirit through the prophets, and God does not lie.

You said,

“Also please consider how the Jews understood their scriptures. Do you believe that in OT times they understood God as plural?”

Whoever listened to and followed Moses and the prophets would have, at some level, been aware that there were individual Persons within a Godhead who are together the Almighty. E.g. they would have been well aware of the Spirit of God/Spirit of the Lord, the Holy Spirit, who is mentioned quite frequently all through the Old Testament as well as the New Testament. They also would have been well aware of the Person called the Lord of hosts who is individually distinct from the Spirit of God or Holy Spirit. Since Moses, David and all the prophets were dealing directly with these Persons, as shown in their writings, and respected them as their Lord and God then it is obvious that those Israelites who respected and followed Moses and the prophets would also know this.

Now when Jesus (God was manifested in the flesh. 1Timothy 3:16), who is the Redeemer, the Lord of hosts, the Word (John 1:1 and Revelation 19:13 …and His name is called the Word of God), the Messiah, was manifested, He spoke about the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The Old Testament, which is history and prophesy, is frequently quoted all throughout the New Testament (which includes fulfilled prophesies) including by Jesus, the Lord of hosts Himself. Judaism of course has completely missed this and is still waiting for the Messiah to appear for the first time.

You said,

“I said “But how on earth do you know it means one in unity in Dt 6:4?”
You said “From the structure of the sentence, the context in which it is situated, and what the rest of Scripture says in relation to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. So are you saying that the Jews understood their foundational text as meaning that Yahweh was a unified collective?
Are you saying that they understood the proper name Yahweh as a collective noun?
That would be the implication of what you are saying wouldn’t it?”

Most Jews even today know and believe that Moses wrote both Deuteronomy 6:4 and Genesis 1:26-27 and 3:22. If we compare these verses we see that there is actually no contradiction.

Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness.” So God created man in His Own image. Genesis 1:26-27

Then the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of Us…” Genesis 3:22

“Hear O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one!” Deuteronomy 6:4

Then on top of that, and as I have said before, you also have the problem of explaining away the individual Persons of the Spirit of God/Spirit of the Lord (the Holy Spirit) and the Lord of hosts, the Redeemer/Saviour (Christ), which, as we all know appear very frequently and constantly throughout the Old Testament, and which shows unequivocally that there is obviously more than one Person in the Godhead.

David Kemball-Cook said...

Hi Bob
Re plural pronouns

You said “Even if it were only one case (of plural pronouns) it would make no difference since it is God’s word spoken by the Holy Spirit through the prophets, and God does not lie. “

I am not saying that God lies, heaven forbid. A plural pronoun (eg We) does not always mean that a collective is referred to. There is the plural of majesty, and also the possibility of God speaking to the angels.


By your logic, you might as well say as well that all the 000s of singular personal pronouns prove that God is a single Person. So that we have the plural pronouns proving God is multipersonal and the singular pronouns proving God is a single Person, which is of course contradictory.


I think it is a bit odd that Trinitarians seem reluctant to talk about God as a ‘They’ rather than a ‘He’, when really they ought to follow the logic of their own position and use ‘They’ and ‘Them’.


regards

David Kemball-Cook said...

Hi Bob
Re God being shown as plural in the OT


I said “Also please consider how the Jews understood their scriptures. Do you believe that in OT times they understood God as plural?”


You said “Whoever listened to and followed Moses and the prophets would have, at some level, been aware that there were individual Persons within a Godhead who are together the Almighty. E.g. they would have been well aware of the Spirit of God/Spirit of the Lord, the Holy Spirit, who is mentioned quite frequently all through the Old Testament as well as the New Testament. They also would have been well aware of the Person called the Lord of hosts who is individually distinct from the Spirit of God or Holy Spirit. Since Moses, David and all the prophets were dealing directly with these Persons, as shown in their writings, and respected them as their Lord and God then it is obvious that those Israelites who respected and followed Moses and the prophets would also know this. “


I think you are rewriting the Old Testament if you believe that pious Jews believed that God was a plurality of Persons because they talked about the Spirit of God, or indeed the Word of God. The Bible does talk about the Word and the Spirit, but that does not mean they are thought of as separate Persons. The OT talks about the Hand of God, the Face of God, the Mighty Arm of God, ascribing action to them. But these are anthropomorphisms, describing God’s action. If these are all Persons, because they are described by nouns, how many Persons are we going to have in the Godhead?


I think you will find that I am not saying anything unexceptional. Nobody thinks that the Arm of God etc is a Person.


Indeed, in our ordinary language we talk about a person’s spirit, or his word. “He has a good spirit”. “His word was that nobody was to leave the building”. But we would never think that talking about a person’s spirit or word as a substantive implies that these are separate persons from the person whose spirit or word they are

regards

David Kemball-Cook said...

Hi Bob
Re Is 44:6

I said “What does the ‘his’ refer to? Are you thinking it is Yahweh’s Redeemer, as a sort of aide or sidekick? That is only one possible reading..."

You said “What about instead of "sidekick" we just call Him the second Person in the Godhead?
It says, “...and His Redeemer, the Lord of hosts...”
The Redeemer for all of mankind (John 3:16).
Remember what I said about the big picture?


I repeat my point that Is 44:6 is capable of multiple translations, and that to interpret it as you do gives us two Yahwehs. That would be unacceptable to both Trinitarian and Unitarian, because it violates monotheism.

I would never disagree that Jesus is the Redeemer in the new dispensation. But he is God’s agent in this work, appointed by God for this purpose (for which multiple references can be given if you like).

God is described as the Redeemer of Israel in eg Is 43:1, with no possible hint of a separation between two ‘Persons’.

Regards

David Kemball-Cook said...

Hi Bob
Re Psalm 2:7 and John 1:1-14

“I [the Son] will declare the [Royal] decree: The Lord [the Father] has said to Me [the Son], ‘You are My Son, today I have begotten You.’” Psalm 2:7
I said “Accepted this psalm has application to Jesus. However it does not fit the idea of the Eternal Son does it? Some theologians thought up this idea of ‘eternal generation’ to try to get round the contradiction between the Son being born and the Son being eternal. But this passage seems to speak clearly of the Son being born at a moment in time. Also, does it say anything about the Son being God and/or divine?”

You said “It just means that at one point, the relationship between the Two eternal Persons became as a relationship between Father and Son (hence ‘begotten Son’). And as we see from John 1:1-14 the Son, the Word, is the Creator/God, so obviously He is eternal. Hello.

But do you not see that you are reading two eternal Persons into Ps 2:7? It actually implies the contrary. Somebody is born on a certain day cannot be eternal, can he?

Where does John 1:1-14 identify the Son and the Word? I cannot see ‘Son’ until v18, and that is the begotten Son. How can somebody who is begotten be eternal?

regards

bob said...

David, you said,

“I was asking you for scriptural support for the doctrine that God is three Persons. You haven’t really given me any, apart from Matt 28:19 and Matt 3, which is where we came in.”

Since you have not shown that they actually deny the Triune God then they still stand.

You said,

“All these scriptures here are really attempts to show the divinity of Christ because he is the Creator, which is not the same thing as God being three Persons.”

No, they show that He is one of the Persons of the Godhead i.e. the Son, and who is co-equal with both the Father and the Holy Spirit.

You said,

“I rest my case, that there is no actual teaching in the Bible that God is three Persons.”

So far you have shown that you do not actually have a case, and that your whole argument is based on wilfully ignoring and dodging around what the scriptures are saying.

You said,

“Since Jesus is the Creator of heaven and earth i.e. God...
This argument does not really work. You could say that James Dyson made the Dyson XXX12 and also that the workers in a particular factory made it, but that does not prove that the workers are James Dyson…”

But Mr Dyson is not the Creator of heaven and earth. You are just wilfully ignoring the scriptures again in favour of your own one Person idol.

You said,

“…There are different types of agency involved here.”

Such as?

You said,

“The Arians and JWs accept your premise and reject the conclusion. They say that Christ was God’s agent in creation, but not God.”

It’s no good quoting people who also wilfully ignore God’s word. In fact the Jehovah’s Witnesses have their own translation of the Bible called the New World Translation/abomination where they have actually altered God’s word to give John 1:1 another meaning, but in so doing, they have only contradicted the rest of God’s word such as those verses I have already pointed out.

Revelation 19:14 would also help to draw attention to the rather large hole in your hypothesis.

“He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called the Word of God.” This lines up with John 1:1-3 and also Genesis 1 where the Word, who is God, spoke everything into existence from nothing.

You said,

“In any case I dispute the premise.
Where in John 1:1-3 does it mention Christ? It doesn’t. I hope you can see the Trinitarian assumption operating here that Christ is identical with the Word of God. In fact the prologue describes Jesus as the Word made flesh (v14). There is nothing in John 1 about Christ as a Person who pre-existed his birth.”

In any case you are being wilfully ignorant and trying to dodge around what it, together with the rest of God’s word, plainly says, including ALL of John 1:1-14.

You said,

“Colossians 1, if read as about Genesis creation, provides good support for the Arian position.”

Not together with the rest of God’s word it doesn’t.

You said,

“However I see it, as with the parallel passages in Ephesians 1, as about Jesus’ lordship of the new creation. If you read it in context, it is all about the new creation in Christ – any alleged involvement in Genesis creation would have nothing to do with it.”

The context should be all of God’s word, not what is in your wilfully ignorant head.

bob said...

David, you said,

“I am not saying that God lies, heaven forbid. A plural pronoun (eg We) does not always mean that a collective is referred to. There is the plural of majesty, and also the possibility of God speaking to the angels.”

So we are made in the angel’s image are we? You seem to have missed “So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him…”, and “…male and female He created them.” (Genesis 1:27) Are the angel’s male and female that can procreate? Can they go forth and multiply?

So with your interpretation you are calling God a liar.

You said,

“By your logic, you might as well say as well that all the 000s of singular personal pronouns prove that God is a single Person. So that we have the plural pronouns proving God is multipersonal and the singular pronouns proving God is a single Person, which is of course contradictory.”

Again you have completely ignored the context and meaning of all of these “000s of singular personal pronouns” and lumped them all together as if they all meant exactly the same thing and are all in support of your one Person idol.

You said,

“I think you are rewriting the Old Testament if you believe that pious Jews believed that God was a plurality of Persons because they talked about the Spirit of God, or indeed the Word of God. The Bible does talk about the Word and the Spirit, but that does not mean they are thought of as separate Persons.”

More wilful ignorance.

You said,

“The OT talks about the Hand of God, the Face of God, the Mighty Arm of God, ascribing action to them. But these are anthropomorphisms, describing God’s action. If these are all Persons, because they are described by nouns, how many Persons are we going to have in the Godhead? I think you will find that I am not saying anything unexceptional. Nobody thinks that the Arm of God etc is a Person.”

You are really clutching at straws there. Nobody in his right mind would go anywhere near that interpretation.

You said,

“Indeed, in our ordinary language we talk about a person’s spirit, or his word. “He has a good spirit”. “His word was that nobody was to leave the building”. But we would never think that talking about a person’s spirit or word as a substantive implies that these are separate persons from the person whose spirit or word they are.”

More nonsense.

You said,

“I think it is a bit odd that Trinitarians seem reluctant to talk about God as a ‘They’ rather than a ‘He’, when really they ought to follow the logic of their own position and use ‘They’ and ‘Them’.”

It does not matter that ‘He’ is used since the Bible itself says that of God as a whole anyway.

And God said, “Let Us make…” So God created man in His own image.

And if someone wants to say ‘They’ and ‘Them’ when referring to Father, Son, and Holy Spirit then that is also accurate and true.

And since you brought up the word ‘odd’ I think it is a bit odd that the one Person idol worshipers seem reluctant to repent of their belief even though their arguments against the triune God of the Bible always run out of puff and fall flat.

bob said...

David, you said,

“I repeat my point that Is 44:6 is capable of multiple translations, and that to interpret it as you do gives us two Yahwehs. That would be unacceptable to both Trinitarian and Unitarian, because it violates monotheism.”

Another illogical statement.

You said,

“I would never disagree that Jesus is the Redeemer in the new dispensation. But he is God’s agent in this work, appointed by God for this purpose (for which multiple references can be given if you like).”

You are right there and he is at the same time also the eternal second Person of the triune God whom the Father calls “My Servant”

“By His Knowledge My righteous Servant shall justify many, for He shall bear their iniquities.”

“Yet I am among you as One that serves” Luke 22:27

You said,

“God is described as the Redeemer of Israel in eg Is 43:1, with no possible hint of a separation between two ‘Persons’.”

That is the Lord of hosts, Jesus, the Redeemer himself talking in Isaiah 43:1

As it says further along in Isaiah 44:6, when both the Father and Son are speaking as one “Thus says the Lord, the King of Israel, and His Redeemer, the Lord of hosts: ‘I am the First and I am the Last; besides Me there is no God.’”

You said,

“But do you not see that you are reading two eternal Persons into Ps 2:7? It actually implies the contrary. Somebody is born on a certain day cannot be eternal, can he?”

Where do I or Psalm 2:7 say that He was born on a certain day? And how could the Son give a speech when He was only just born?

Read what I said again:

It just means that at one point, the relationship between the Two eternal Persons became as a relationship between Father and Son (hence ‘begotten Son’). And as we see from John 1:1-14 the Son, the Word, is the Creator/God, so obviously He is eternal.

‘Begotten Son’ means the birth of the Father/Son relationship itself, not that the Son came into existence. It is the Father that is saying that henceforth ‘You are My Son, today I have begotten You.’

The other option would be to say that God had sex with His wife and begot a Son, but we know that cannot be right. So we are left with the words of the Father (‘begotten Son’) which the Son is repeating in Psalm 2:7 meaning the beginning of the special Father/Son relationship between the Two eternal Persons. So no one had sex and no one was born/came into existence in Psalm 2:7. It is the relationship itself that was born and that is what the Son is talking about when he quotes the Father’s words.

You said,

“Where does John 1:1-14 identify the Son and the Word? I cannot see ‘Son’ until v18, and that is the begotten Son. How can somebody who is begotten be eternal?”

I am pretty sure everyone can see through your pretended ignorance.

Tom said...

I am curious "David Kemball-Cook" what is your religious affiliation "Jehovah witness, muslim etc"?

Bob, thank you For articulating my Believe In my Saviour Lord Jesus Christ.
At the end of it all, If we believe that The God of Abraham is Perfect and just, one sin in His Sight, unleashes His Judgement, "Who then can provide us with a solution?

David Kemball-Cook said...

Hi Bob

I wonder if you are trying to persuade me to the Trinitarian view, or expose the Unitarian case as false. It looks like you are just hurling epithets like ‘ignorant’, ‘nonsense’, ‘clutching at straws’ without any effort to understand any of the points I was trying to make? I get the impression it is the latter, but forgive me if I have got the wrong impression.

It is classic in debating to dismiss your opponent’s arguments as ‘nonsense’ etc when you don’t know how to answer him. I have never called you ignorant or your arguments nonsense, but I have tried to engage with your points. However I get the impression you are not engaging with what I am saying. This is a sign that the debate is getting unproductive!

Re Dyson, I don’t think you understand what I was saying about different types of causation. The point is that you and the Arians both say that Jesus created the world, but the Arians say that he did so as the agent of the Father.

One cannot rule out the Arian account on grounds of logic. They say the Son created the world and God created the world, but that the Son is not the same as God. It is quite acceptable to say that X did something under instructions from Y, so that, in a sense, you can say that X did it and also Y did it. So to say that X did it and Y did it does not automatically imply that X is the same as Y. This is just normal language, nothing philosophical or tricky. I am not defending Arianism, just trying to point out that Jesus created the world does not automatically imply that Jesus is God.

God talking to the angels would explain the Genesis 3 “like one of us”, not the Genesis 1.

I don’t understand what you are saying about personal pronouns. Seems pretty self-evident to me, and I hope to any unbiased reader, that if you think that plural pronouns prove that God is plural then you have to accept that singular pronouns prove that God is singular. Just simple logic, but arriving at a contradiction.

My point is that the 7000+ singular pronouns do seem to outnumber the 4 plural pronouns. Add to that the plural of majesty and God speaking to the angels as explanations for the plurals, and you do seem to have a less than overwhelming case.

I think that Trinitarian apologists nowadays do not place a lot of importance on the plural pronouns.

About calling God ‘They’, I repeat that I do think that vehement Trinitarians like yourself never seem to talk of God as They. Even James White calls God ‘He’. I do think it is a little odd.

I am happy to keep on debating, but I would hope for more serious comments than blanket dismissal as ‘ignorance’ etc. The point is that by throwing comments like that, you give me nothing to reply to. All I can do is repeat my arguments and try to express them more clearly.

regards

David Kemball-Cook said...

Hi Tom
I am a unitarian (not a unitarian universalist), that is a Christian who believes that God is one and not three Persons, and that Jesus was and is a man (now glorified at the right hand of God), the Messiah and only mediator between God and man (1 Tim 2:5).
regards
David

David Kemball-Cook said...

David, you said, “I repeat my point that Is 44:6 is capable of multiple translations, and that to interpret it as you do gives us two Yahwehs. That would be unacceptable to both Trinitarian and Unitarian, because it violates monotheism.”
Bob said “Another illogical statement.

Why is it illogical?

David Kemball-Cook said...

Hi Bob

David said, “God is described as the Redeemer of Israel in eg Is 43:1, with no possible hint of a separation between two ‘Persons’.”

Bob said “That is the Lord of hosts, Jesus, the Redeemer himself talking in Isaiah 43:1

How do you know it is Jesus talking?
And where does it say Lord of hosts in this verse?

regards
David

David Kemball-Cook said...

Hi Bob

I said “I rest my case, that there is no actual teaching in the Bible that God is three Persons.”
Bob said “So far you have shown that you do not actually have a case, and that your whole argument is based on wilfully ignoring and dodging around what the scriptures are saying

My case is that there is no actual teaching in the Bible that God is three Persons. So for you to refute it would be to provide some actual teaching. We have already discussed Matt 28:18 and Jesus’ baptism, where I said this was not teaching. For teaching I think we have to look to the words of Jesus, or of say Paul in his epistles or preaching. You have not yet provided any examples of teaching of the Trinity.

Many Trinitarians admit that the Trinity is not actually taught in the Bible, but is ‘inferred’. Historically we know it took around 300 years for theologians to come up with it.

Regards
David

David Kemball-Cook said...

Hi Bob

David said, “But do you not see that you are reading two eternal Persons into Ps 2:7? It actually implies the contrary. Somebody is born on a certain day cannot be eternal, can he?”

Bob said “Where do I or Psalm 2:7 say that He was born on a certain day? And how could the Son give a speech when He was only just born? Read what I said again:
It just means that at one point, the relationship between the Two eternal Persons became as a relationship between Father and Son (hence ‘begotten Son’). And as we see from John 1:1-14 the Son, the Word, is the Creator/God, so obviously He is eternal.
‘Begotten Son’ means the birth of the Father/Son relationship itself, not that the Son came into existence. It is the Father that is saying that henceforth ‘You are My Son, today I have begotten You.’
The other option would be to say that God had sex with His wife and begot a Son, but we know that cannot be right. So we are left with the words of the Father (‘begotten Son’) which the Son is repeating in Psalm 2:7 meaning the beginning of the special Father/Son relationship between the Two eternal Persons. So no one had sex and no one was born/came into existence in Psalm 2:7. It is the relationship itself that was born and that is what the Son is talking about when he quotes the Father’s words.

I reply, Bob, Ps 2:7 says nothing about two eternal Persons. It says “today have I begotten thee”. Reads like a prophetic description of the birth of the Messiah. Trinitarians do have to try to explain away this verse, some in the way that you have done, because it contradicts the idea of the eternal Son. Why cannot we believe the words of the Bible that Jesus was born of a virgin by the power of the Holy Ghost (eg Luke 1:35, Gal 4:6)?

regards

David Kemball-Cook said...

Hi Bob

I said (re Is 44:6),“Yet Trinitarians always insist on monotheism, that there is only one Yahweh (who is three Persons). Two Yahwehs is big trouble for the Trinity.”
You said “You have just contradicted yourself.

How have I contradicted myself? Monotheism means there is only one God. For Christians Yahweh is the name of that God. So more than one Yahweh means more than one God. For a Trinitarian to say there is more than one Yahweh is to admit there is more than one God, isn’t it?

Regards

David Kemball-Cook said...

Hi Bob

And from Psalm 110:1…
The Lord said to My Lord, “Sit at My right hand, till I make Your enemies footstool.”
…which Jesus Himself repeated in Matthew 22:44 and Mark 12:36…
“For David himself said by the Holy Spirit: ‘The Lord [the Father] said to My Lord [the Son], “Sit at My right hand, till I make Your enemies Your footstool.”
I said “Yes Ps 110:1 is very important, the most quoted OT verse in the NT. But where does it say that the Son is God? Looks like the Son (the Mssiah, David’ Lord) is being given rulership by God.”

You said “That is a common attempt at interpreting Psalm 110:1 and very similar to the one that the scribes in Mark 12 had; but then what are you going to do with Jesus’ explanation of it i.e.
“Therefore David himself calls Him ‘Lord’; how is He then his Son?” Mark 12:37

Good point. On his resurrection God declared Jesus both Lord and Christ (Acts 2:36) and gave him a name above every name so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow …(Phil 2:9). We see that Jesus is given this authority by God, not because he is divine by nature or numerically identical to Yahweh. So David should prophetically call him ‘Lord’, as everyone else will, but not because he is God.

regards

D335 said...

@david kemball-cook
I'll try to be as polite as I can be.

You mentioned yourself as a christian in the very first post, however what affiliation do you have with christianity?

You did mentioned ‘those trinitarian apologist‘ ... are you somehow unitarian? The monotheism context and the 'we' part that rings a question ... what is your church statement of faith?

Do you realize that every verse Bob has provided you, you had not read the whole context and only tailored what you need to make up a non existing contradiction?
I.e hey whos talking what in psalm 110, ... do you realize that the whole scripture relates to each other in which God provides salvation in the person of Jesus? It's not moses or judas or anyone else the primary character of the bible, but God himself!

@Bob don't think all that you typed gone to waste. I am learning how you answer with scriptural support, so I can better preach the word!

Amen

David Kemball-Cook said...

Hi D335
I am a unitarian (the traditional biblical kind, not the modern universalist church which is now associated with that name.

I believe God is one person, who makes himself manifest in a variety of ways, through his Word and his Spirit, and through Jesus. I believe Jesus was and is a man, born of a virgin, made Messiah and Lord by God and now rules at God’s right hand.

You asked for a church statement of faith. There are not too many biblical unitarians in the UK. There are more in the US, and if you are interested you can google biblical unitarian. I am sure you will come up with the Restoration Fellowship and the CES, and be able to find their statements of faith.

Re Ps 110 everyone I have ever read agrees it is prophetically about God talking to Jesus. Do you disagree? The thing that some trinitarians add to their interpretation is to say that the second ‘Lord’ must also be God because the word used there, Adoni, is used of God. Was that the point you wanted to make? If not, what is the point you are making?

BTW I disagree with the second ‘Adoni’ being God, because it is prefixed by ‘my’. The Old Testament never has ‘my Adoni’ meaning ‘my God’. ‘My Adoni’ would always be used of a human lord, never of God.

If you want me to explain how the Trinity doctrine comes down to a trilemma between modalism, tritheism and outright contradiction, I would be glad to.

Regards
David

Anthony Rogers said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anthony Rogers said...

DKC,

I don't have time to catch up with this conversation or contribute to it, but skimming over things I noticed a number of statements that are untrue. To take just your last one, you said:

"I disagree with the second ‘Adoni’ being God, because it is prefixed by ‘my’. The Old Testament never has ‘my Adoni’ meaning ‘my God’. ‘My Adoni’ would always be used of a human lord, never of God."

First, there is no Hebrew word "my" prefixed TO adoni. The word "my" is included in the word itself.

Second, the word is used for God in the Old Testament. For example:

Adonijah, which means “My Lord [adoni] is Yahweh,” was the name of the fourth son of David and his wife Haggith according to 1 Samuel 3:4. Thus showing not only that adoni could be and was used for Yahweh, but that it was so used by David. Other individuals who bore this name are mentioned in Nehemiah 10:16 and 2 Chronicles 17:8. In fact, the latter passage also speaks of someone named Tobadonijah, which means “My Lord [adoni] Yahweh is good.” 1 Kings 4:6 and 5:14 mention someone named Adoniram, which means “My Lord is exalted,” and Ezra 8:1 and 13 mention Adonikam, which means “My Lord [adoni] arose.”

I wish I had time to correct your other errors, but alas, that will have to wait for another time.

bob said...

David, you seem to be a very slow learner. Unless you put the eternal Son, Christ, at the very centre of the Bible...

For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given… And His name will be called Wonderful, Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6 [Revelation 12:5]

...from beginning to end, from Genesis to Revelation, You will never be able to interpret Scripture without error and without contradicting another part of God’s word, and God’s word as a whole. Without accepting Christ as the eternal Creator (which you deny), it is impossible to understand God’s word as intended by its Author, the Holy Spirit.

For prophesy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit. 2Peter 1:21

The basic rule is: When an interpretation contradicts the plain reading of other parts of God’s word, and God’s word as a whole (especially concerning Christ as the eternal Creator), then the interpretation is wrong. But if an interpretation is in harmony with the rest of God’s word then it is safe.

So far all of your interpretations have clashed severely with other parts of the God’s word, and God’s word as a whole. Go back to the start of our dialogue and read through carefully and see where this has been repeatedly pointed out to you.

bob said...

David,

The following is a very good example of what I was talking about in my last comment concerning interpretation.

You said,

“God is described as the Redeemer of Israel in eg Is 43:1, with no possible hint of a separation between two ‘Persons’.”

I said,

“That is the Lord of hosts, Jesus, the Redeemer himself talking in Isaiah 43:1

You said,

“How do you know it is Jesus talking?
And where does it say Lord of hosts in this verse?”

We both know that there is only one Redeemer, Jesus Christ. So by you saying, “God is described as the Redeemer of Israel in eg Is 43:1”, you have unwittingly called Jesus God.

bob said...

David, another point I should also make:

You said,

“...The Bible does talk about the Word and the Spirit, but that does not mean they are thought of as separate Persons.”

And, because of what I had already posted previously, I rightly said "More wilful ignorance."

Here is what I posted concerning the Holy Spirit being an invdividual Person that you obviously wilfuly ignored.

In your comment you said,

“…Neither teach that the Spirit is a separate Person from somebody else called ‘the Father’. They are consistent with the Spirit being a personal manifestion of God.”

To which I answered...

"Some think that the Holy Spirit is not an individual or person but simply a projection of the Father’s own spirit. However, the following verse shows that the Holy Spirit is indeed an individual Person within the triune God."

...followed by some verses:

But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit…? You have not lied to men but to God.” Acts 5:3, 4

But he who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness… Mark 3:29

Then the Spirit said to Philip, “Go near and overtake this chariot.” Acts 8:29

As they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, “Now separate for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” Acts 13:2

And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Ephesians 4:30

Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says: “Today, if you will hear his voice, do not harden your hearts…” Hebrews 3:7, 8

Then, (as I have said above), in a later comment you said,

“...The Bible does talk about the Word and the Spirit, but that does not mean they are thought of as separate Persons.”

Now either I am arguing with the village idiot or with someone who is trying to have a lend of me, (or maybe even a combination of both).

bob said...

D335,

Thanks.

David Kemball-Cook said...

Hi Anthony
I appreciate your articles, as I said above. I think you are so right about Q and the Farrer thesis. Of course we don’t need to suppose a Q. Occam’s Razor rules!

Thanks for your comments.

By the way I made a mistake in my post, referring to the ‘second Adoni’. I meant the second ‘Lord’. The first ‘Lord’ is Yahweh, not Adonai. Ouch.

Yes I know the ‘my’ in Hebrew is normally attached as a suffix (in the case the ‘i’ vowel ending).

I stand corrected on Adonijah, thanks. But I think my point basically stands. Nobody in the OT is described as referring to God or addressing God as Adoni, ‘my Lord’. Adoni is for human lords (eg Gen 18:12, 23:6). If God is referred to or addressed in a possessive way, ie translated ‘my Lord’ it is Adonai not Adoni (eg Gen18:3, Ex 4:10)).

Best regards
David

David Kemball-Cook said...

Hi Bob

Re your abuse (village idiot). Is this is your usual way of debating? (And what do you mean by ‘who is trying to have a lend of me’?) In my experience, Trinitarian opponents usually resort to abuse, or retreat to mystery, when they don’t feel they can answer the unitarian case. Are we getting to the abuse stage, do you think?

The passages you cite are usually given here to try to prove the Spirit is a Person in his/its own right. However they do not show the Spirit has a separate personality from ‘the Father’, do they? There is no scriptural passage like “Not my will, but thy will …” which shows that the Son and the Father have two separate wills. There is nothing that shows the Spirit to have a different will, memory, knowledge, emotions from your First Person ‘the Father’ (who is God to us unitarians).

If someone speaks to the Spirit, they speak to God. If God speaks to someone, then it would be the Spirit speaking. Consider the analogy with human spirits. The spirit of somebody, or indeed his word, is never considered as a separate person from the person himself.


Regards
David

David Kemball-Cook said...

Thanks Bob

You are using Is 9:6 as a prooftext for the deity of Christ. Yet the verse (on your interpretation) would also identify Jesus with the Father, wouldn’t it? Yet the Father and the Son are supposed to be different, according to the Athanasian Creed.

Re El Gibbor, this can be translated ‘mighty one’, see Ezek 32:21 where the phrase is used in the plural and is translated ‘mighty leaders’ by eg NIV

regards

David Kemball-Cook said...

Hi Bob
Re one Redeemer

I refer to 1 Tim 2:5
‘There is one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus’
I hope that you accept this verse, and its description of Jesus.

God is the author of the plan of salvation, and I think the scripture makes it clear that Christ is the agent of salvation.

Regards
David

bob said...

"Re your abuse (village idiot). Is this is your usual way of debating? (And what do you mean by ‘who is trying to have a lend of me’?) In my experience, Trinitarian opponents usually resort to abuse, or retreat to mystery, when they don’t feel they can answer the unitarian case. Are we getting to the abuse stage, do you think?"

It may be abuse but it is also acurately stating a fact and in your case it is also well earned.

Besides that, Jesus Himself also had to draw attention to falsehoods by "abusing" some people from time to time .e.g "generation of vipers" etc.; so I am in good company.

And David, being outwardly nice but decietful within can also be construed as abuse, i.e. insulting (abusing) your opponent's intelligence, as you yourself have been doing; so it's no good being precious about it.

David Kemball-Cook said...

Hi Bob

OK so I am deceitful (note the spelling BTW) as well as stupid. Are you able to back up either accusation?

It does seem to me like we have reached the abuse stage. I am still willing to debate if you can answer any of my questions or back up your accusations.

Regards
David

bob said...

David, you said,

“You are using Is 9:6 as a prooftext for the deity of Christ. Yet the verse (on your interpretation) would also identify Jesus with the Father, wouldn’t it? Yet the Father and the Son are supposed to be different…”

Read it again:

For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given… And His name will be called Wonderful, Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6

“For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given…” is obviously talking about Jesus not the Father. And the Father is not the “Prince of Peace.”

“Everlasting Father” would mean that Jesus has existed eternally and is co-equal with the Father as we see from “Mighty God.”

And further along in Isaiah 47:4, what do we see?

As for our Redeemer, the Lord of hosts is His name, the Holy One of Israel.

You said,

I refer to 1 Tim 2:5
“There is one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus’
I hope that you accept this verse, and its description of Jesus.”

How is this an argument against His divinity in light of 1Timothy 3:16 a bit further on where we read, “God was manifested in the flesh”?

“God is the author of the plan of salvation, and I think the scripture makes it clear that Christ is the agent of salvation.”

See above.

You said,

“OK so I am deceitful (note the spelling BTW) as well as stupid. Are you able to back up either accusation?”

Concerning your deceit: Your constant dodging around the plain mean of the verses that I have given you would be a good evidence of that.

And as for stupid: It is your inability to see that most of your interpretations are not supported by the rest of God’s word, but are simply a product of you trying to force the scriptures to fit into your world view and where you are relying on your own imagination rather than God’s word.

But this stupidity could be rectified if you would just let ‘Scripture interpret Scripture’ and not keep trying to put words in its mouth, (which no man has any right to do, since it is God’s word).

You said,

“It does seem to me like we have reached the abuse stage.”

That’s right.

You said,

“I am still willing to debate if you can answer any of my questions...”

Many of your questions have been answered without you even having been aware of it.

And,

"...or back up your accusations”

See above.

BTW, I would not go criticising anyone about their spelling since yours is is not too flash either.

David Kemball-Cook said...

Hi Bob

Re Is 9:6
For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given… And His name will be called Wonderful, Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6

You said “For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given…” is obviously talking about Jesus not the Father. And the Father is not the “Prince of Peace.” “Everlasting Father” would mean that Jesus has existed eternally and is co-equal with the Father as we see from “Mighty God.”

Don’t you think that the verse identifies Jesus with the Father, not just co-equal? After all you say that it shows Jesus is the Mighty God, not just co-equal with him? His name will be called … suggests that this person, the Son, will be described with all these descriptions, according to your interpretation I think.

I understand (obviously) why you are reluctant to say that Jesus is the Father, but it seems to me (and I think to any unbiased reader) that this is where your interpretation of the verse is heading.

Regards
David

David Kemball-Cook said...

Hi Bob
Re 1 Tim 2:5
“There is one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus’
I said “I hope that you accept this verse, and its description of Jesus.”
God is the author of the plan of salvation, and I think the scripture makes it clear that Christ is the agent of salvation.”

You said “How is this an argument against His divinity in light of 1Timothy 3:16 a bit further on where we read, “God was manifested in the flesh”?

The verse describes Jesus as a man, doesn’t it? Are you disagreeing with it?
We came into this from a discussion of how many redeemers there are. I say that this verse shows there is God, and there is Jesus Christ, and the two are distinguished in the economy of God’s salvation.

But I see that you do not wish to discuss this verse, but see it as an attack on Christ’s divinity, so you shift your argument to 1 Tim 3:16 (which is not really about redemption). This verse says, like John 1:18 and John 14:9, that Jesus manifests God to the world. That is not the same as actually being God. A man can reveal God without being God. (And I reject the whole idea that a man could actually be God).

Regards
David

David Kemball-Cook said...

Hi Bob

You said “Concerning your deceit: Your constant dodging around the plain mean of the verses that I have given you would be a good evidence of that.
And as for stupid: It is your inability to see that most of your interpretations are not supported by the rest of God’s word, but are simply a product of you trying to force the scriptures to fit into your world view and where you are relying on your own imagination rather than God’s word.
But this stupidity could be rectified if you would just let ‘Scripture interpret Scripture’ and not keep trying to put words in its mouth, (which no man has any right to do, since it is God’s word).“

We have discussed quite a few scriptures now. I have repeatedly asked you to provide any examples of teaching of the threeness of God, and you haven’t given me any. I told you why Matt 28:19 and the Baptism of Jesus don’t really count as teaching. I think you have struggled to give any such examples.

You brought up Is 43:1, which according to your reading gives two Yahwehs (there should only be one). You didn’t answer me on that point.

You mentioned Is 9:6, which according to your reading must identify Jesus with the Father, as you claim it shows Jesus is the Mighty God. You then change your reading from ‘identify with’ to ‘be co-equal with’.

You cited verses which show the Spirit as personifying God in communication, and I pointed out that they do not show it as a separate personality from some other ‘God the Father’. You have not replied to that.

I don’t think I am evading. I think I am asking you questions which you are not answering.

In any case, none of the scriptures you cited are examples of the teaching of the threeness of God, which is what I originally asked you for. I, and anyone else reading this, can only conclude that you are not able to find the Trinity being taught in the Bible.

Regards
David

David Kemball-Cook said...

Hi Bob
I said “It does seem to me like we have reached the abuse stage.”
You said “That’s right.”

I often find when discussing with Trinitarians that when they are not able to answer simple questions, like where is the Trinity taught in the Bible, they either resort to abuse or say ‘It is a divine mystery’.

You have called me stupid and deceitful, but have not provided any examples of where I have been either. In debate, you have to back up your accusations, or look stupid yourself.

Regards
David

David Kemball-Cook said...

Hi Bob

I said, “I am still willing to debate if you can answer any of my questions...”
You said “Many of your questions have been answered without you even having been aware of it.”

Perhaps you could help me, and the readers of this blog, by providing proof of where you have answered my questions

Thanks!
David

David Kemball-Cook said...

Hi Bob
You said “BTW, I would not go criticising anyone about their spelling since yours is is not too flash either.”

Bob, if someone does a typo I would not criticise him. We all do it.
I was not criticising you but pointing out the error. If somebody gets the spelling rules wrong (eg ‘i before e …’, it’s and its), then they ought to be grateful for anyone helping them so they don’t do it again.

Regards
David

bob said...

"...plain mean..." should be '...plain meaning...'

Tom said...

Brother Bob,
great work, Thanks. Shalom.

bob said...

David, you said,

“Don’t you think that the verse identifies Jesus with the Father, not just co-equal? After all you say that it shows Jesus is the Mighty God, not just co-equal with him? His name will be called … suggests that this person, the Son, will be described with all these descriptions, according to your interpretation I think.
I understand (obviously) why you are reluctant to say that Jesus is the Father, but it seems to me (and I think to any unbiased reader) that this is where your interpretation of the verse is heading.”

Jesus cannot be the Father if it was the Father that sent Him.

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son…” John 3:16

“This is the will of the Father who sent Me…” John 6:39

You said,

“The verse [1Timothy 2:5] describes Jesus as a man, doesn’t it? Are you disagreeing with it?”

Both 1Timothy 2:5 and 1Timothy 3:16 true at the same time since they are both part of the same story. I am not sure why you would have such trouble understanding it, since, apart from being God, Jesus was just like us in that He was simply spirit within flesh, hence, “God was manifested in the flesh.”

And so it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being.” The last Adam became a life giving spirit.

The first man was of the earth made of dust; the second Man is the Lord from heaven. 1Corinthians 15:45, 47

As Jesus (who was obviously in the flesh) Himself says, “For I have come down from heaven…” John 6:38

And as was prophesied in Isaiah 7:14 (about 700 years before Christ),

Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.

(Immanuel meaning “God with us.” The words of this prophesy were fulfilled in Matthew 1:23).

You said,

“But I see that you do not wish to discuss this verse, but see it as an attack on Christ’s divinity…”

See above.

“…so you shift your argument to 1 Tim 3:16 (which is not really about redemption).”

Your focus on 1Timothy 2:5 has caused you to miss the big picture again. Without God being manifested in the flesh (the incarnation) there would be no perfect unblemished sacrifice (the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world! John 1:29) to hang on the cross in the first place. Without God being manifested in the flesh redemption would not be possible.

You said,

“I told you why Matt 28:19 and the Baptism of Jesus don’t really count as teaching. You cited verses which show the Spirit as personifying God in communication, and I pointed out that they do not show it as a separate personality from some other ‘God the Father’”

What is it about, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit that you do not understand? Matthew 28:19 says: “of the Father”, “of the Son”, “and of the Holy Spirit.” This is three separate Persons. David, how dumb can you get and still be breathing?

You said above,

“I told you why Matt 28:19 and the Baptism of Jesus don’t really count as teaching.”

No one is going to take your word over God’s.

bob said...

David, you said,

“In any case, none of the scriptures you cited are examples of the teaching of the threeness of God, which is what I originally asked you for. I, and anyone else reading this, can only conclude that you are not able to find the Trinity being taught in the Bible.”

And I told you to do your own legwork i.e. look up all the verses that speak of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit and let me see if you can force them to fit your hypothesis/world view. Then we can proceed with that part of the debate.

Remember when I said the burden of proof is just as much on you to prove your point from the scriptures as it is on me to prove mine? But so far I have been doing most of the work in providing verses while you have mostly been exercising your imagination. I am not doing all the work you lazy bugger.

You said,

“I said “It does seem to me like we have reached the abuse stage.”
You said “That’s right.”

See Matthew Ch. 23 concerning Christ’s treatment of some deceitful people.

You said,

“I said, I am still willing to debate if you can answer any of my questions...”

It’s no good laying down the law if you are not going to follow it yourself.

You said,

“Perhaps you could help me, and the readers of this blog, by providing proof of where you have answered my questions”

Answered your questions? Who died and left you in charge?

So far all you have done is voiced your opinion and twisted the scriptures so that they cannot relate to each other .i.e. 1Timothy 2:5 and 3:16.

You said,

“You have called me stupid and deceitful, but have not provided any examples of where I have been either.”

Stop playing the victim.

David Kemball-Cook said...

Hi Bob
Re Is 9:6

bob said...
David, you said, “Don’t you think that the verse identifies Jesus with the Father, not just co-equal? After all you say that it shows Jesus is the Mighty God, not just co-equal with him? His name will be called … suggests that this person, the Son, will be described with all these descriptions, according to your interpretation I think.
I understand (obviously) why you are reluctant to say that Jesus is the Father, but it seems to me (and I think to any unbiased reader) that this is where your interpretation of the verse is heading.”

Jesus cannot be the Father if it was the Father that sent Him.

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son…” John 3:16

“This is the will of the Father who sent Me…” John 6:39

I agree entirely Bob. These verses, and many others, show that Jesus is distinguished from the Father. Our differences are

1) I (with other unitarians) say that the Father is God himself, Yahweh, the creator of heaven and earth. You say, I presume, that ‘the Father’ refers to the First Person of a Trinity

2) I say that Jesus is an anointed man, born of a virgin. You say, I presume, that he is the Second Person of a Trinity

But we agree that Jesus is different from the Father, even though we differ about what we mean by those terms.

Regards

David

David Kemball-Cook said...

Hi Bob
Re how many Redeemers there are
(I say two, God as author and Jesus as agent or mediator)
(I quoted 1 Tim 2:5)

I had said, “The verse [1Timothy 2:5] describes Jesus as a man, doesn’t it? Are you disagreeing with it?”

Bob said
“Both 1Timothy 2:5 and 1Timothy 3:16 true at the same time since they are both part of the same story. I am not sure why you would have such trouble understanding it, since, apart from being God, Jesus was just like us in that He was simply spirit within flesh, hence, “God was manifested in the flesh.”
And so it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being.” The last Adam became a life giving spirit.
The first man was of the earth made of dust; the second Man is the Lord from heaven. 1Corinthians 15:45, 47
As Jesus (who was obviously in the flesh) Himself says, “For I have come down from heaven…” John 6:38
And as was prophesied in Isaiah 7:14 (about 700 years before Christ),
Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.
(Immanuel meaning “God with us.” The words of this prophesy were fulfilled in Matthew 1:23).

Your focus on 1Timothy 2:5 has caused you to miss the big picture again. Without God being manifested in the flesh (the incarnation) there would be no perfect unblemished sacrifice (the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world! John 1:29) to hang on the cross in the first place. Without God being manifested in the flesh redemption would not be possible.”

Bob, none of these verses say that Jesus is God (if you disagree, say which ones do). I do agree that he is God manifested in the flesh, but not that he is God.

Talking about the Atonement, if you read Hebrews (for example) you will see that there is nothing there about Jesus having to be God in order to be a perfect sacrifice. If you can find any text from Hebrews, or anywhere else, which says Jesus has to be God to be a perfect sacrifice, please say so

Regards
David

David Kemball-Cook said...

Hi Bob

I said “I told you why Matt 28:19 and the Baptism of Jesus don’t really count as teaching. You cited verses which show the Spirit as personifying God in communication, and I pointed out that they do not show it as a separate personality from some other ‘God the Father’”

Bob said “What is it about, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit that you do not understand? Matthew 28:19 says: “of the Father”, “of the Son”, “and of the Holy Spirit.” This is three separate Persons. David, how dumb can you get and still be breathing?

Bob, when you debate somebody it does not really help the debate to call your opponent ‘dumb’. Previously you have called me deceitful and stupid. Do you think that by insulting people you win the argument?

When I debate trinitarians, I usually find that we end with abuse from their side, or a retreat to ‘divine mystery’

I have asked you repeatedly teaching that God is three Persons. Matt 28:19 does not say this, it would work if the Spirit and Jesus were non-divine agents of God. The problem for the Trinity is that there is no actual teaching of the so-called ‘threeness’ of God.

Regards
David

David Kemball-Cook said...


I said “I told you why Matt 28:19 and the Baptism of Jesus don’t really count as teaching.”

Bob said “No one is going to take your word over God’s.”

So where does God say that Matt 28:19 and the Baptism of Jesus don’t really count as teaching?

David

David Kemball-Cook said...

David, you said,
“In any case, none of the scriptures you cited are examples of the teaching of the threeness of God, which is what I originally asked you for. I, and anyone else reading this, can only conclude that you are not able to find the Trinity being taught in the Bible.”

Bob said “And I told you to do your own legwork i.e. look up all the verses that speak of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit and let me see if you can force them to fit your hypothesis/world view. Then we can proceed with that part of the debate.

Remember when I said the burden of proof is just as much on you to prove your point from the scriptures as it is on me to prove mine? But so far I have been doing most of the work in providing verses while you have mostly been exercising your imagination. I am not doing all the work you lazy bugger.”

I said that the Trinity is not taught in the Bible
You said that it is.
I said, OK show me where.
Seems clear that the burden of proof is on you.
How could it be on me?? Surely if you know that the Trinity is taught in the Bible you should know some texts where it does?
You have not provided any texts where the Trinity is taught (if I have missed any please say so). So it seems to me that the trinitarian case has not been established

By insulting me, do you believe you are increasing the quality of our debate and bringing credit to the trinitarian cause? Or do you think that readers of this blog might conclude that trinitarians tend to hurl abuse when they cannot prove their case?

Regards
David

David Kemball-Cook said...

Bob said” So far all you have done is voiced your opinion and twisted the scriptures so that they cannot relate to each other .i.e. 1Timothy 2:5 and 3:16.”

1 Tim 2:5 says Jesus was a man, the mediator between God and man
1 Tim 3:15 says ‘he’ or ‘God’ was manifested in the flesh, depending which version of the Bible you follow
But if you interpret it as saying that Jesus was God manifested in the flesh, I would not disagree with the interpretation. John 1:18 and 14:9 say much the same thing

I don’t think I have twisted either scripture. Or have I? If I have please explain how

David

David Kemball-Cook said...

I said “You have called me stupid and deceitful, but have not provided any examples of where I have been either.”
Bob said “Stop playing the victim.”

In a debate, when you call your opponent names, such as calling him stupid, but you cannot back up your accusation, you don’t win the argument. It is usually not a good debating policy to throw insults. Observers might think that you have exhausted rational argument.

And just throwing more insults after the first ones is not a very good tactic either

David Kemball-Cook said...

sorry typo in last post
1 Tim 3:16 of course

And I affirm both scriptures. I think it is the trinitarians who should have trouble with 1 Tim 2:5.

geof arnold said...

David you said,

“Bob, none of these verses say that Jesus is God (if you disagree, say which ones do). I do agree that he is God manifested in the flesh, but not that he is God.”

Are you for real? You cannot have it both ways. Nice bit intellectual dishonesty there.

You said,

“Talking about the Atonement, if you read Hebrews (for example) you will see that there is nothing there about Jesus having to be God in order to be a perfect sacrifice. If you can find any text from Hebrews, or anywhere else, which says Jesus has to be God to be a perfect sacrifice, please say so”

In the beginning of Hebrews in 1:10 it says of the Son, Christ,

“You, Lord, in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth and the heavens are the work of your hands.” That would make Him God.

In Romans 3:23 it says “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” so Jesus was not a created man otherwise he would have been a sinner.

You said,

“Bob, when you debate somebody it does not really help the debate to call your opponent ‘dumb’. Previously you have called me deceitful and stupid. Do you think that by insulting people you win the argument?”

Unless, of course, one is trying to help his opponent by drawing attention to his stupidity as the Bible itself does when it talks about fools in Proverbs, Ecclesiastes etc. So I am actually doing the right thing by you by calling you stupid, dumb etc. If I was ‘nice’ and refrained from pointing this out to you then I would be doing you a great disservice.

You said,

“I have asked you repeatedly teaching that God is three Persons. Matt 28:19 does not say this, it would work if the Spirit and Jesus were non-divine agents of God. The problem for the Trinity is that there is no actual teaching of the so-called ‘threeness’ of God.”

And I have also repeatedly asked where there is any specific teaching AGAINST the ‘threenes’ of God (in Matthew 28:19 for example). So far all have got is a lot of twisting of scripture, intellectual dishonesty/equivocation and dodging around the issue.

Speaking of intellectual dishonesty, you said,

“I said “I told you why Matt 28:19 and the Baptism of Jesus don’t really count as teaching.”
Bob said “No one is going to take your word over God’s.”
So where does God say that Matt 28:19 and the Baptism of Jesus don’t really count as teaching?”

Now where did I say or imply that Matthew 28:19 does not count as teaching? You answer/excuse will probably be something along the lines of “Sorry, I thought you meant something else”

geof arnold said...

David you said,

“I said that the Trinity is not taught in the Bible
You said that it is.
I said, OK show me where.
Seems clear that the burden of proof is on you.
How could it be on me?? Surely if you know that the Trinity is taught in the Bible you should know some texts where it does?
You have not provided any texts where the Trinity is taught (if I have missed any please say so). So it seems to me that the trinitarian case has not been established”

Again, the burden of proof is also on you to prove your position, otherwise it cannot be called a debate can it? Where are the specific verses that say that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are NOT the triune God?

You said,

“By insulting me, do you believe you are increasing the quality of our debate and bringing credit to the trinitarian cause? Or do you think that readers of this blog might conclude that trinitarians tend to hurl abuse when they cannot prove their case?”

Playing the victim again.

You said,

“1 Tim 2:5 says Jesus was a man, the mediator between God and man
1 Tim 3:15 says ‘he’ or ‘God’ was manifested in the flesh, depending which version of the Bible you follow
But if you interpret it as saying that Jesus was God manifested in the flesh, I would not disagree with the interpretation. John 1:18 and 14:9 say much the same thing
I don’t think I have twisted either scripture. Or have I? If I have please explain how”

More equivocation (the worst kind of intellectual dishonesty), but you still won’t admit that Jesus Himself is God the Creator.

You said,

“In a debate, when you call your opponent names, such as calling him stupid, but you cannot back up your accusation, you don’t win the argument. It is usually not a good debating policy to throw insults.”

Yes the truth can be insulting.


You said,

“Observers might think that you have exhausted rational argument.”

Or they might not.

“And just throwing more insults after the first ones is not a very good tactic either”

Sometimes the truth hurts and is a good wakeup call. So under certain circumstances sarcasm/insult can be a very helpful tactic to pull someone out of the flames as we see from the Scriptures themselves where we quite often see the word “fool”, and “liar”, “deceiver” etc.

You said,

“And I affirm both scriptures. I think it is the trinitarians who should have trouble with 1 Tim 2:5.”

Not if we stick with the plain reading as intended by the Author, the Holy Spirit.

David Kemball-Cook said...

Hi Geof,

Re 1 Tim 2:5 and 3:16

I said “Bob, none of these verses say that Jesus is God (if you disagree, say which ones do). I do agree that he is God manifested in the flesh, but not that he is God.”

Geof said “Are you for real? You cannot have it both ways. Nice bit intellectual dishonesty there.”

I am not sure what you mean by intellectual dishonesty here. Neither verse says that Jesus is God, does it? Perhaps you could be more specific.

1 Tim 3:16 might say that Jesus is God manifested in the flesh, depending on what version you read. But that does not mean Jesus is God, indeed it would imply the opposite wouldn’t it?

For instance we often speak of how very good people manifest the love of God, for instance Mother Theresa of Calcutta. But by saying those things, we never for one moment imply that (eg) Mother Theresa is God, surely?

Regards
David

David Kemball-Cook said...

Hi Geof
Re the Atonement

I said “Talking about the Atonement, if you read Hebrews (for example) you will see that there is nothing there about Jesus having to be God in order to be a perfect sacrifice. If you can find any text from Hebrews, or anywhere else, which says Jesus has to be God to be a perfect sacrifice, please say so”

Geof said “In the beginning of Hebrews in 1:10 it says of the Son, Christ,

“You, Lord, in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth and the heavens are the work of your hands.” That would make Him God.

In Romans 3:23 it says “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” so Jesus was not a created man otherwise he would have been a sinner.”


Thanks. I was talking about the treatment of the Atonement in Romans and Hebrews (perhaps the two most prominent presentations of it in the NT). Now you brought up Hebrews 1, which is not actually about the Atonement. It is about Jesus, showing him to be greater than the angels.

The verse you mention 1:10, is about the strongest prooftext for the deity of Christ (in some sense) that you can find in the Bible, and it is the most difficult verse for me, a unitarian, to account for.

But if the author wanted to show Christ was God, why is he contrasted with God in the first 9 verses?

Why didn’t he just say that Jesus is God, rather than the Son of God, and then skip to v10?

Christ is described as the Son of God in v1. If you are the Son of X, you cannot be the same as X.

If he is at the right hand of the Majesty, he cannot be the Majesty, can he?

If he is ‘made better than the angels’ then he must have been made by someone else, so cannot be the Creator of all.

The Son is addressed as ‘God’ in v8 (from Ps 45), but immediately we are told that ‘God, thy God …’. So this ‘God’ has a God, who is THE God, Yahweh. The Son is one those individuals who are called ‘God’, even though they are men (eg Moses, kings of Israel, judges)

Then in v13, the Son is at the RH of God (Ps 110:1). Again, if he is God, how can he be at the RH of God?

Now in v10 I believe that the author is using the Septuagint version of Ps 102 in v10, which has a Messianic theme (from v16 on). So ‘Lord’ may refer either to God or the Messiah, who is God’s appointed Lord at his resurrection (Acts 2:36).

So the creation spoken of in v10 would be the new creation, of which Jesus is the author and Lord.

But as I said, this verse is I think the most difficult verse in the Bible for a unitarian to explain. Why does the author call him the founder of heaven and earth, creating ambiguity between Genesis and new creation? I confess it puzzles me.

Yet I am convinced that the author, like all NT authors, does not intend to show Jesus is God, in any sense. Even in chap 1, Jesus is the Son of God, and the Son of God cannot be the same as God. No individual, divine or not, can be his own father.

Back to the Atonement. I repeat my claim that if you read what Paul and the author of Hebrews say about the Atonement, you will not find any reference to his being God as necessary for that to happen. This idea does not originate with the Bible, it came from Athanasius in about 330 AD.

You referred to Rom 3.25. Yet the Bible is clear that Jesus is a man (eg 1 Tim 2:5). All Christians, trinitarians or not, say Jesus is a man, don’t they? Like us, except for sin (Heb 4:15). Gal 4:6 says he was made of a woman.

So I don’t see how you can deny he was not a created man. Don’t these verses show he was?

Good to talk to you.

Regards
David

bob said...

My apologies. 'bob' and 'geoff' are one and the same person. Their different use is dependent on being locked out of sites for having 'strong opinions' (as we know, various names being used in order to get back in and continue with the debate). Having already been logged in elsewhere as ‘geoff’ the comments came up here under ‘geoff’

bob said...

David, you said,

“And I affirm both scriptures. I think it is the trinitarians who should have trouble with 1 Tim 2:5.”

I don’t think so.

If the Son is simply an embodiment of the Father, and they are not both individual members of the Godhead, as you try to argue from 1 Timothy 2:5 and 3:16 (God was manifested in the flesh), then how do you account for verses like Matthew 3:17...

When He had been baptised, Jesus came up immediately from the water… And He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him (As prophesied in Isaiah 11:2 and 42:1 about 700 years before the event). And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, “This is My Son in whom I am well pleased.”

...and in John 12:28 showing that there two Persons, where Jesus says,

“Father, glorify your name” (followed by the Father’s reply) Then a voice came from heaven, saying, “I have both glorified it and will glorify it again.”

...which show that they are individual Persons? Are you saying that your one-person-idol was talking to himself?

bob said...

David, you said,

“If he is at the right hand of the Majesty, he cannot be the Majesty, can he?”

They are both the Majesty since they are both sitting on the same throne, at the same level.

You said,

“If he is ‘made better than the angels’ then he must have been made by someone else, so cannot be the Creator of all.”

“Made better” does not mean that He was created; it simply means that He was given a high and unique honour, on account that it was He alone, (not the angels), who was sacrificed for the sins of the world.

You said,

“The Son is addressed as ‘God’ in v8 (from Ps 45), but immediately we are told that ‘God, thy God …’”

That is right, God the Son and God the Father.

You said,

“Then in v13, the Son is at the RH of God (Ps 110:1). Again, if he is God, how can he be at the RH of God?”

You still have that one-person-idol stuck in your head. He is on the same throne as the Father which means that He is at the same level, so He is God. Sitting at the right hand is not lower, but is a position of the highest honour.

As Jesus Himself says,

I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End,” says the Lord, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.” Revelation 1:8

You said,

“Now in v10 I believe that the author is using the Septuagint version of Ps 102 in v10, which has a Messianic theme (from v16 on). So ‘Lord’ may refer either to God or the Messiah, who is God’s appointed Lord at his resurrection (Acts 2:36).

Jesus is the Triune God’s appointed Lord. He is both God and Messiah.

You said,

“So the creation spoken of in v10 would be the new creation, of which Jesus is the author and Lord.”

No, because that would not fit with John 1:1-14 and Hebrews 1:10 would it?

You said,

“But as I said, this verse is I think the most difficult verse in the Bible for a unitarian to explain. Why does the author call him the founder of heaven and earth, creating ambiguity between Genesis and new creation? I confess it puzzles me.”

See above.

bob said...

David, you said,

“Yet I am convinced that the author, like all NT authors, does not intend to show Jesus is God, in any sense. Even in chap 1, Jesus is the Son of God, and the Son of God cannot be the same as God. No individual, divine or not, can be his own father.”

Again, your belief in the one-person-idol keeps you stuck in the idea that the highest authority is a position that cannot be shared. And yet, the actual Author of God’s word, the Holy Spirit, the third Person of the Godhead, says otherwise.

You said,

“Back to the Atonement. I repeat my claim that if you read what Paul and the author of Hebrews say about the Atonement, you will not find any reference to his being God as necessary for that to happen. This idea does not originate with the Bible…”

Except where sacrificial lamb is mentioned quite frequently throughout the Bible and which title is used of Jesus when John says, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” (John 1:29)

And by Peter, ‘but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot’ (1Peter 1:19)

And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb. Revelation 22:1

(Notice “throne of God and of the Lamb”? Both are at the same level and the authority is shared, so both are God)

You said,

“You referred to Rom 3.25. Yet the Bible is clear that Jesus is a man (eg 1 Tim 2:5). All Christians, trinitarians or not, say Jesus is a man, don’t they? Like us, except for sin (Heb 4:15). Gal 4:6 says he was made of a woman.’

How could He be physically sacrificed to make atonement if He was not manifested in the flesh?

You said,

“So I don’t see how you can deny he was not a created man. Don’t these verses show he was?”

Not together with the rest of the story they don’t.

David Kemball-Cook said...

Hi Bob/Geoff

Apologies I may not have time to finishing replying to your posts now, will try to resume later. Time for one maybe now

Heb 1:10 is about the most difficult verse for a unitarian to answer. I admit it is puzzling. Yet it surrounded by talk about Jesus being the Son of God, getting a name by inheritance (and so not his by nature), and being made. So I deduce the author is not trying to show Jesus is God, otherwise he would have said so. ‘Lord’ in the NT is used to refer to either God or Jesus.

David said,“And I affirm both scriptures. I think it is the trinitarians who should have trouble with 1 Tim 2:5.”

Geoff said
I don’t think so. If the Son is simply an embodiment of the Father, and they are not both individual members of the Godhead, as you try to argue from 1 Timothy 2:5 and 3:16 (God was manifested in the flesh), then how do you account for verses like Matthew 3:17...

When He had been baptised, Jesus came up immediately from the water… And He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him (As prophesied in Isaiah 11:2 and 42:1 about 700 years before the event). And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, “This is My Son in whom I am well pleased.”

...and in John 12:28 showing that there two Persons, where Jesus says, “Father, glorify your name” (followed by the Father’s reply) Then a voice came from heaven, saying, “I have both glorified it and will glorify it again.”...which show that they are individual Persons? Are you saying that your one-person-idol was talking to himself?


I reply, no I do not think that the Son is simply an embodiment of the Father. However I do deny that they are both individual members of the Godhead.

I believe that Jesus was and is the perfect man, like us except for sin. He was born of a virgin and appointed Son of God / Messiah. In his words and actions he manifested God, because he spoke and did as God told him to (he says this of himself several times in John).

But that does not mean he was not human, just as Mother Theresa manifested God in her work, yet was completely human as well.

We differ because I do not believe God is a Trinity, nor that Jesus is God. As I said, I do not see the Trinity taught anywhere in the Bible.

For example Matt 3:17 is claimed to show a Trinity. It shows a voice from heaven saying that Jesus is his Son. Trinitarians say that is ‘the Father’ speaking. But unitarians say it is GOD speaking, and that Jesus is described everywhere as the Son of GOD, not of a First Person.

If you are the Son of God, (I claim) you cannot be God. You cannot be your own Father. I make this point with regard to Matt 3, and to Heb 1 which we discussed earlier, and to the whole of the NT.

Talk to you later

Regards
David

David Kemball-Cook said...

PS sorry I meant to add that there are certainly two persons here at Jesus’ baptism, not one.
There is Jesus and there is God. The Spirit is seen as well to descend on Jesus, but I do not consider the Spirit as a person in its own right, for the reasons I gave you earlier.

So definitely two persons, and neither was talking to himself!

David Kemball-Cook said...

Hi Bob
Re Heb 1

David, you said,
“If he is at the right hand of the Majesty, he cannot be the Majesty, can he?”

Bob said “They are both the Majesty since they are both sitting on the same throne, at the same level”

I reply
Hebrews 1 keeps contrasting God and the Son. In v3 the Son sits down at the RH of the Majesty, which is the RH of God.

I repeat my points that if Jesus is the Son of God, he cannot be God, and that if he is at the RH of God, he cannot be God. Verses like Acts 2:26, Phil 2:9 and Heb 1:2 show that Jesus is appointed to this position by God. So how can he BE God? How can he appoint himself to a position at his own RH?

If we said this kind of thing about people, they would say we are talking nonsense!

I understand I think what Trinitarians want to say. That it is the First Person who appoints the Second Person to his (FP’s) RH. But the texts don’t talk about a First and Second Person.

They always say it is GOD who does the appointing, and at whose RH Jesus sits. So if God is a Trinity, Jesus is sitting at the RH of the Trinity. This is not what the trinitarian needs, in my view

Regards
David

David Kemball-Cook said...

PS I have been trying to understand the Trinity for a long time now.
Whichever way you try to say that Jesus is God, I don’t think it works out the way the Trinity doctrine wants it.

If you say Jesus is numerically identical to God, then Jesus is the same as the Trinity.
If you say Jesus is divine (generic identity) then there are two (or 3) distinct divine individuals, ie more than one god.

Try this as part of a Trinitarian definition

1) There is one God
2a) The Father is God
2b) The Son is God

So how does a trinitarian answer the questions
Q1) How is the Father not the same God as the Son?
Q2) How is the Father then not the same as the Son?

I don’t know how a trinitarian answers them. I have seen a modern few philosophers have a god, by trying to jettison common sense ideas of identity. But I don’t see any way of answering them consistent with what the Bible says about God.

Regards
David

David Kemball-Cook said...

PPS sorry, in last post I said 'have a god'
I meant of course 'have a go'

David Kemball-Cook said...

Hi Bob

David said “If he is ‘made better than the angels’ then he must have been made by someone else, so cannot be the Creator of all.”

Bob said “Made better” does not mean that He was created; it simply means that He was given a high and unique honour, on account that it was He alone, (not the angels), who was sacrificed for the sins of the world.

OK, let us agree that, in your words, Jesus was given a high honour. So, if Jesus is God, who could have given him that honour?

Regards
David

David Kemball-Cook said...

Hi Bob

David said “If he is at the right hand of the Majesty, he cannot be the Majesty, can he?”

Bob said “They are both the Majesty since they are both sitting on the same throne, at the same level.”

But Bob, if he is at the RH of God, he cannot be God can he? If we are told John sits at the RH of Peter, then we know straight away that John cannot be Peter

Pls explain!

David

David Kemball-Cook said...

David said,“The Son is addressed as ‘God’ in v8 (from Ps 45), but immediately we are told that ‘God, thy God …’”

Bob said “That is right, God the Son and God the Father.”

But Bob, the God the Son of the Trinity does not address God the Father as ‘my God’, does he?
They are supposed to be coequal members of the Trinity, each as divine as the other, surely.

David

David Kemball-Cook said...

Bob said
As Jesus Himself says,
I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End,” says the Lord, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.” Revelation 1:8

It does not actually say that it is Jesus talking does it? I think it is God talking, if only because I don’t think Jesus is ever described as the Almighty in the Bible, although God is many times.

Regards

David Kemball-Cook said...

Bob said “Jesus is the Triune God’s appointed Lord. He is both God and Messiah.

So you are saying that God anointed himself as Messiah?
Surely if you are anointed, or appointed, to an office, it has to be somebody other than you that does it?

David Kemball-Cook said...

I said “So the creation spoken of in v10 would be the new creation, of which Jesus is the author and Lord.”

Bob said “No, because that would not fit with John 1:1-14 and Hebrews 1:10 would it?

You are correct I think, it would not fit with John 1.1, which is about the Genesis creation. Mind you these are different contexts, and different books.

I admit Heb 1:10 is (I think) the worst verse for a unitarian to try to explain, and I am not really sure how to do it. It really does seem to be about Genesis creation. I must do some more research on it.

Regards
David

David Kemball-Cook said...

Hi Bob

I said “Yet I am convinced that the author, like all NT authors, does not intend to show Jesus is God, in any sense. Even in chap 1, Jesus is the Son of God, and the Son of God cannot be the same as God. No individual, divine or not, can be his own father.”

Bob said “Again, your belief in the one-person-idol keeps you stuck in the idea that the highest authority is a position that cannot be shared. And yet, the actual Author of God’s word, the Holy Spirit, the third Person of the Godhead, says otherwise”

Bob the point I was trying to make was not that authority cannot be shared. It certainly can. What I am arguing is that the Son of X, whoever X is, cannot be the same as X.

Yet Trinitarians insist that ‘Jesus is God’. But if he is the Son of God, he cannot be God.

Trinitarian theologians have recognized this as a huge problem. Hence their attempts to redefine the Trinity, or the meaning of ‘is God’. But for me the bottom line is that the Bible writers knew nothing of fancy philosophy. In their world view, ‘Son of God’ meant a Messianic figure sent from God who would inaugurate the Kingdom of God. Such a figure could not be identical with the one who sent him.

Regards
David

David Kemball-Cook said...

Hi Bob
Re Lamb of God being God

David said, “Back to the Atonement. I repeat my claim that if you read what Paul and the author of Hebrews say about the Atonement, you will not find any reference to his being God as necessary for that to happen. This idea does not originate with the Bible…”

Bob said “Except where sacrificial lamb is mentioned quite frequently throughout the Bible and which title is used of Jesus when John says, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” (John 1:29)

And by Peter, ‘but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot’ (1Peter 1:19)

And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb. Revelation 22:1

(Notice “throne of God and of the Lamb”? Both are at the same level and the authority is shared, so both are God)”

Indeed Jesus is described as the Lamb of God. But where does it say that the Lamb must be GOD to make the atonement work? If John, say, had said “Here comes the DIVINE Lamb …”, then trinitarians might have a case here.

But (correct me if I am wrong) nowhere is the Lamb described as God/divine.
I know you say that the Lamb is divine because it is seated on the throne with God, but that is an inference on your part. The text does not actually SAY it. You are reading that it, I think.

Indeed, when one thinks about the Atonement, and the idea of Jesus as the Lamb, then one realizes that the whole point of the Lamb is to DIE. Passages too numerous to mention mention the blood of Christ and the death of Christ as efficacious in salvation.

Yet, surely, God cannot die. So how can the Lamb be God?

Regards
David

David Kemball-Cook said...

Hi Bob
Was Jesus a created man? (Bob says No)

David said,“You referred to Rom 3.25. Yet the Bible is clear that Jesus is a man (eg 1 Tim 2:5). All Christians, trinitarians or not, say Jesus is a man, don’t they? Like us, except for sin (Heb 4:15). Gal 4:6 says he was made of a woman.’ …
“So I don’t see how you can deny he was not a created man. Don’t these verses show he was?”

Bob said “Not together with the rest of the story they don’t.

OK, so if Jesus was not a created man, what sort of man was he, according to the Bible? Do you think he is, say, an eternal man, eternally begotten? What verses tell the ‘rest of the story’, for you?

Regards
David

bob said...

David, you said,

“I reply, no I do not think that the Son is simply an embodiment of the Father. However I do deny that they are both individual members of the Godhead.”

Where does it specifically say that they are not?

You said,

“I believe that Jesus was and is the perfect man, like us except for sin. He was born of a virgin and appointed Son of God / Messiah. In his words and actions he manifested God, because he spoke and did as God told him to (he says this of himself several times in John).”

So your one-person-idol told himself what to do?

You said,

“But that does not mean he was not human, just as Mother Theresa manifested God in her work, yet was completely human as well.”

Mother Theresa is not God manifested in the flesh. And no one is denying Jesus’ humanity.

You said,

“We differ because I do not believe God is a Trinity, nor that Jesus is God. As I said, I do not see the Trinity taught anywhere in the Bible.”

But where do you see it actually denied?

You said,

“For example Matt 3:17 is claimed to show a Trinity. It shows a voice from heaven saying that Jesus is his Son. Trinitarians say that is ‘the Father’ speaking. But unitarians say it is GOD speaking, and that Jesus is described everywhere as the Son of GOD, not of a First Person.”

It must be the God the Father speaking if He calls Jesus His Son (who is himself the Creator because by Him all things were made).

You said,

“If you are the Son of God, (I claim) you cannot be God. You cannot be your own Father. I make this point with regard to Matt 3, and to Heb 1 which we discussed earlier, and to the whole of the NT.”

You must have a short memory. We have been through all this before i.e. “begotten Son”

You said,

“I repeat my points that if Jesus is the Son of God, he cannot be God, and that if he is at the RH of God, he cannot be God. Verses like Acts 2:26, Phil 2:9 and Heb 1:2 show that Jesus is appointed to this position by God. So how can he BE God? How can he appoint himself to a position at his own RH?”

But there you are just stuck in one-person-idol thinking instead of trusting/believing in God’s word. He was appointed by mutual agreement within the Godhead. He would not be appointed against His will now would He? And notice in Heb 1:2 “through whom He also made the worlds”? That means He was the Creator and not created.

You said,

“If we said this kind of thing about people, they would say we are talking nonsense!’

We are not talking about people we are talking about the triune God.

You said,

“I understand I think what Trinitarians want to say. That it is the First Person who appoints the Second Person to his (FP’s) RH. But the texts don’t talk about a First and Second Person.”

And neither do they deny it.

You said,

“They always say it is GOD who does the appointing, and at whose RH Jesus sits. So if God is a Trinity, Jesus is sitting at the RH of the Trinity. This is not what the trinitarian needs, in my view”

Jesus is not sitting at the right hand of the Trinity; He is PART of the Trinity.

bob said...

David, you said,

“PS I have been trying to understand the Trinity for a long time now.
Whichever way you try to say that Jesus is God, I don’t think it works out the way the Trinity doctrine wants it.
If you say Jesus is numerically identical to God, then Jesus is the same as the Trinity.
If you say Jesus is divine (generic identity) then there are two (or 3) distinct divine individuals, ie more than one god.”

Another memory lapse. We have been through this before. Remember the Three Persons as a team or family with the team/family as a whole being God as per Genesis 1:26, 3:22 including some others like Isaiah 6:8,

Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying: “Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?”

And Isaiah 42:1 where we see the Triune God,

“Behold! My [the Father] Servant [Jesus] whom I uphold, My Elect One in whom My soul delights! I have put My Spirit [the Holy Spirit] upon Him.” This prophesy (700 years before Christ) came to pass in Matthew 3:17.

You said,

“Try this as part of a Trinitarian definition
1) There is one God
2a) The Father is God
2b) The Son is God”
So how does a trinitarian answer the questions
Q1) How is the Father not the same God as the Son?
Q2) How is the Father then not the same as the Son?”

Your maths is a bit off, you forgot the Holy Spirit. It cannot be a Triune God without Him.

You said,

“I don’t know how a trinitarian answers them. I have seen a modern few philosophers have a god, by trying to jettison common sense ideas of identity. But I don’t see any way of answering them consistent with what the Bible says about God.”

You have a shocking memory. Remember when I said “...the word ‘Trinity’ is simply an abbreviation for Father, Son and Holy Spirit; like a team [/family] of three like-minded individuals working together in perfect harmony for the same end. In this case, and since they are of the same nature and essence (which is love and light, and are therefore as ‘one’ and have a ‘oneness’) [and are eternal] and have a common purpose and a shared authority, the team [/family] as a whole is called God, as per Genesis 1:26...”

(And God said, “Let Us make man in Our image according to Our likeness...” So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.)

There is no philosophy required or common sense jettisoned and it is completely consistent with what the whole Bible says about God.

Your one-person-idol on the other hand is far from consistent with what the Bible says about God, as has been pointed out to you often enough.

bob said...

David, you said,

“David said “If he is ‘made better than the angels’ then he must have been made by someone else, so cannot be the Creator of all.”
Bob said “Made better” does not mean that He was created; it simply means that He was given a high and unique honour, on account that it was He alone, (not the angels), who was sacrificed for the sins of the world.
OK, let us agree that, in your words, Jesus was given a high honour. So, if Jesus is God, who could have given him that honour?”

The Father and the Holy Spirit of course since they are also part of the Godhead. Jesus did something totally unique in being manifested in the flesh (the Lamb of/from God does not mean that He Himself is not part of the Godhead) and taking away the sins of the world. So the Father and the Holy Spirit cannot but honour Him.

You said,

“But Bob, if he is at the RH of God, he cannot be God can he? If we are told John sits at the RH of Peter, then we know straight away that John cannot be Peter. Pls explain!”

That’s right they (John and Peter) are separate/individual people sitting at the same level. The Son and the Father are also two separate Persons sitting at the same level (on the same throne/position of authority) so they are both part of the same ruling power or Godhead, hence, they are both God, as the scriptures say.

David, can you not see how your ‘one-person-“there can only be one guy at the top”-idol’ has blinded you and does not allow you to comprehend the simplicity of the triune God of the Bible?

You said,

“But Bob, the God the Son of the Trinity does not address God the Father as ‘my God’, does he?
They are supposed to be coequal members of the Trinity, each as divine as the other, surely.”

He certainly does.

“My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me? (Matthew 27:46) This was prophesied in Psalm 22:1

You said,

“I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End,” says the Lord, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.” Revelation 1:8

It does not actually say that it is Jesus talking does it? I think it is God talking, if only because I don’t think Jesus is ever described as the Almighty in the Bible, although God is many times.”

You should have kept reading.

Verses 12-13: Then I turned to see the voice that spoke with me (in verses 8 and 11). And having turned I saw seven golden lampstands, and in the midst of the seven lampstands One like the Son of Man...

Verses 17-18: “Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last” “I am He who lives, and was dead [crucified], and behold, I am alive for evermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death.”

And if you have a red letter edition Bible, Revelation 1:8, 11, 17-18 through to 3:22 is in red to make it even easier to see where Jesus is speaking.

You said,

“Bob said “Jesus is the Triune God’s appointed Lord. He is both God and Messiah.
So you are saying that God anointed himself as Messiah?
Surely if you are anointed, or appointed, to an office, it has to be somebody other than you that does it?”

Who can appoint God if God is the highest authority? There is no one that can appoint Him as Messiah if He is already the Most High. So He obviously He has to appoint Himself (since it is He that has been sinned against anyway) since there is no one above Him.

You said,

“Bob said “No, because that would not fit with John 1:1-14 and Hebrews 1:10 would it?
You are correct I think, it would not fit with John 1.1, which is about the Genesis creation. Mind you these are different contexts, and different books.”

That is another mistake you keep making i.e. “Mind you these are different contexts, and different books.”

The whole Bible is one story about the origin of sin and death (in Genesis) and its eventual defeat.

The last enemy that will be destroyed is death. 1Corinthians 15:26

bob said...

David, you said,

“I admit Heb 1:10 is (I think) the worst verse for a unitarian to try to explain, and I am not really sure how to do it. It really does seem to be about Genesis creation. I must do some more research on it.”

Punches quite a large hole in your ‘one-person-“there can only be one guy at the top”-idol’ doesn't it?

You said,

“Bob the point I was trying to make was not that authority cannot be shared. It certainly can...”

That is one of the things that make them equally God, the shared authority.

“…What I am arguing is that the Son of X, whoever X is, cannot be the same as X.”

But no one is saying they are. They are simply eternal individuals which hold equal authority.

You said,

“Yet Trinitarians insist that ‘Jesus is God’. But if he is the Son of God, he cannot be God.”

Again, see my previous comments on the ‘begotten Son’

You said,

“Trinitarian theologians have recognized this as a huge problem...”

I don’t see what the problem is.

You said,

“But (correct me if I am wrong) nowhere is the Lamb described as God/divine.”

The Lamb is Jesus, the Son, the Word etc. which would make Him divine.

"I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last…. I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you (John, and by extension, us) these things...”

Note: “…testify to you (John, and by extension, us) these things…”

You said,

“I know you say that the Lamb is divine because it is seated on the throne with God, but that is an inference on your part. The text does not actually SAY it. You are reading that it, I think.”

I could just as well say the same thing about you interpretation against His divinity because it doesn’t NOT say it either. There is nothing there that speaks against His divinity; so you will have to do better than that.

You said,

“Indeed, when one thinks about the Atonement, and the idea of Jesus as the Lamb, then one realizes that the whole point of the Lamb is to DIE. Passages too numerous to mention mention the blood of Christ and the death of Christ as efficacious in salvation.”

There would be no salvation if He had not defeated death on our behalf and for His glory.

You said,

“Yet, surely, God cannot die. So how can the Lamb be God?”

I [Jesus] am He who lives, and was dead [crucified], and behold, I am alive for evermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death. (Revelation 1:18)

“…because I lay down my life that I may take it again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from my Father.” John 10:17, 18.

The Father would not give the command if the Son did not have the power to carry it out. They are both equally God.

You said,

“OK, so if Jesus was not a created man, what sort of man was he, according to the Bible?”

Why don’t you read the Gospels (and the Epistles) for yourself and you will find out exactly what kind of Man Jesus was.

You said,

“Do you think he is, say, an eternal man, eternally begotten? What verses tell the ‘rest of the story’, for you?”

In light of what I have already given throughout the whole dialog I am not sure why you would even ask such a question. Another memory lapse perhaps?

David Kemball-Cook said...

Hi Bob

David said “I admit Heb 1:10 is (I think) the worst verse for a unitarian to try to explain, and I am not really sure how to do it. It really does seem to be about Genesis creation. I must do some more research on it.”

Bob said “Punches quite a large hole in your ‘one-person-“there can only be one guy at the top”-idol’ doesn't it?”

The problem for the unitarian is it appears to show Jesus as the author of original Genesis creation. Actually it fits the Arian / subordinationist view just as well as the trinitarian.

Every view has its problem verses. This is one of mine. But I am sure there is an answer from a unitarian perspective, I just don’t know it yet.

Regards
David

David Kemball-Cook said...

Hi Bob

David said “Bob the point I was trying to make was not that authority cannot be shared. It certainly can...”

Bob said “That is one of the things that make them equally God, the shared authority.

Bob there are countless examples in history and today where authority is delegated. eg Darius under Cyrus, Caesars under the Emperor (eg Constantius under Diocletian). The list could go on.

There is one man at the top, who delegates rule of (perhaps a part of) the kingdom to another.

The logical point is that because there are two rulers, this does not imply they have equal authority.
The biblical point is that that it is clear that Jesus was GIVEN his authority by God (Acts 2:36, Phil 2:9f etc). So clearly God has the supreme authority and Jesus’ authority was given to him.

Regards
David

David Kemball-Cook said...

Hi Bob

I said “…What I am arguing is that the Son of X, whoever X is, cannot be the same as X.”

Bob said “But no one is saying they are. They are simply eternal individuals which hold equal authority.

I said “Trinitarian theologians have recognized this as a huge problem...”

Bob said “I don’t see what the problem is.

But Bob, don’t you believe that Jesus is God?

You said on Jan 9

“There are three individual Persons who are, all together, called God. If they are altogether God then they are also God individually”

If you believe that Jesus is God, which it appears you do, then you are saying that Jesus, who the Bible says is the Son of God, is his own son.

You are saying that Jesus is his own Son.
(but see next comment)

David Kemball-Cook said...

Hi Bob

I say that you are saying that Jesus is his own Son.

I understand you to be want to rewrite or rephrase or redefine what it means to be the Son of God in order to avoid this absurdity. You say that the Bible says that the Son was born when the Father said to he who would be the Son “I am begetting you”

But please read eg Luke 1.35. Don’t you see that your story about a moment in prehistory when one eternal Person said to another “I am begetting you” is about one million years away from what the Bible says about the birth of the Son of God?

The Bible says that the Son of God was born of the virgin Mary by the power of the Holy Spirit (in about 4BC, they say). The Bible does not say anything about it being a transaction between two eternal Persons. And both accounts cannot surely be true!

Regards
David

David Kemball-Cook said...

Hi Bob
More on your belief about the birth of the Son of God

You said “ ‘Begotten Son’ means the birth of the Father/Son relationship itself, not that the Son came into existence. It is the Father that is saying that henceforth ‘You are My Son, today I have begotten You.’


I think you are in a minority of trinitarians on this point.
Consider eg The Westminster Confession, which uses ‘eternally begotten’
III. In the unity of the Godhead there be three Persons of one substance, power, and eternity: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost. The Father is of none, neither begotten nor proceeding; the Son is eternally begotten of the Father; the Holy Ghost eternally proceeding from the Father and the Son.
Eternally begotten is the opposite of begotten at a moment of time, even if you mean the Father/Son relationship was the thing that was ‘begotten’.

So you are clearly disagreeing with the Reformed strand, and quite possibly with the Catholic and Evangelical Trinity doctrines as well.

Most Trinitarians would stick to their church line, but you seem to be a bit out on a limb with your own ‘version’. May I ask, do you belong to a church, and do you follow their official doctrine? (No offence intended, I was a bit ‘out on a limb’ with regard to the church I belonged to for quite a long time).

Regards
David

David Kemball-Cook said...

Hi Bob
Re the divinity of Christ

I said “But (correct me if I am wrong) nowhere is the Lamb described as God/divine.”

Bob said “The Lamb is Jesus, the Son, the Word etc. which would make Him divine.

Being the Son of God does not make you divine automatically, because your father is divine. Son of God is used in the Bible as a messianic title, and for kings of Israel. Nowhere do you see the Son of God being called divine (I claim)

"I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last…. I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you (John, and by extension, us) these things...”

Note: “…testify to you (John, and by extension, us) these things…”

This passage is from Rev 22:13-16. In this chapter you have God speaking, the angel speaking and Jesus speaking. The verses you omitted have the angel speaking. So how do we know it is Jesus speaking in v13?

I am not saying it must not be, only that it is not obvious.

David

David Kemball-Cook said...

Bob
More on divinity of Christ

David said, “I know you say that the Lamb is divine because it is seated on the throne with God, but that is an inference on your part. The text does not actually SAY it. You are reading that it into the text, I think.”

Bob said “I could just as well say the same thing about you interpretation against His divinity because it doesn’t NOT say it either. There is nothing there that speaks against His divinity; so you will have to do better than that.

I don’t think it is a very good proof of the divinity of Christ to say there is nothing that is said against it.

You could prove a lot of things are divine by that method!
You could prove eg that that the donkey that Jesus sat on was really an angel is disguise, because the Bible does not say it was not an angel in disguise (tongue in cheek but I hope you get my point)

Trinitarians are normally eager to prove that Jesus is God from the Bible, they don’t usually sit back and say that there is no proof against it, so Jesus must be God.

Regards
David

bob said...

David, you said,

“Bob there are countless examples in history and today where authority is delegated. eg Darius under Cyrus, Caesars under the Emperor (eg Constantius under Diocletian). The list could go on.

There is one man at the top, who delegates rule of (perhaps a part of) the kingdom to another.

The logical point is that because there are two rulers, this does not imply they have equal authority.”

But there you are talking about men and earthly authority of a temporal nature. The eternal triune God is something else.

You said,

“The biblical point is that that it is clear that Jesus was GIVEN his authority by God (Acts 2:36, Phil 2:9f etc). So clearly God has the supreme authority and Jesus’ authority was given to him.”

You have not taken into account Jesus’ temporary earthly servitude in the service (Philippians 2:6-11) of the Father and mankind...

“Yet I am among you as the one who serves.” Luke 22:27

...(Including the example set by him for us to follow), for the purpose of rescuing us from sin and Satan’s hold over us and for the purpose of destroying death which came into the world through the first Adam’s disobedience (Jesus being the last Adam, the Lord from heaven).

And so it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being.” The last Adam became a life giving spirit.

(Notice “life giving spirit”? Only God can give life.)

The first man was of the earth, made of dust; the second Man is the Lord from heaven. 1Corinthians 15:45, 47

Notice “the second Man is the Lord from heaven”?

Who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. Philippians 2:6-7

Notice “equal with God”?

You said,

“If you believe that Jesus is God, which it appears you do, then you are saying that Jesus, who the Bible says is the Son of God, is his own son.
You are saying that Jesus is his own Son.
I say that you are saying that Jesus is his own Son.”

No, I am not saying, nor ever did say that “Jesus is his own Son.”

As usual, and in desperation, you have tried to create a false dilemma and which always requires you to stray far outside of and ignore the Scriptures and also ignore everything that I have previously said. And at the same time you pretend to argue from a Biblical perspective.

Another example of you trying to create a false dilemma would be in a previous comment where you said,

“1) There is one God
2a) The Father is God
2b) The Son is God”
So how does a trinitarian answer the questions
Q1) How is the Father not the same God as the Son?
Q2) How is the Father then not the same as the Son?”

To which we answer: where in the scriptures does it say that the Father is the same God as the Son?

God’s word says that they are not one and the same but individual Persons.

Your argument/false dilemma has no legs because it is simply product of your own imagination, with nothing from God’s word to support it.

bob said...

You said,

“I understand you to be want to rewrite or rephrase or redefine what it means to be the Son of God in order to avoid this absurdity.”

The absurdity is only in your own silly stubborn head.

You said,

“But please read eg Luke 1.35. Don’t you see that your story about a moment in prehistory when one eternal Person said to another “I am begetting you” is about one million years away from what the Bible says about the birth of the Son of God?

The Bible says that the Son of God was born of the virgin Mary by the power of the Holy Spirit (in about 4BC, they say). The Bible does not say anything about it being a transaction between two eternal Persons. And both accounts cannot surely be true!”

Of course they are both true. At one time the Two Persons of the Godhead formed the Father/Son relationship (hence ‘begotten Son’) by mutual agreement, then, when it was time for the Son to be incarnated (God was manifested in the flesh. 1Timothy 3:16) he did so through the virgin Mary (Luke 1:35). Originally the Son was begotten in the spiritual relationship sense, then, in order to be in the world physically (the second Adam) he was born of a woman, hence also one of His names, the ‘Son of man.’

You said,

“You said “ ‘Begotten Son’ means the birth of the Father/Son relationship itself, not that the Son came into existence. It is the Father that is saying that henceforth ‘You are My Son, today I have begotten You.’”

I see your memory has returned.

You said,

“I think you are in a minority of trinitarians on this point.
Consider eg The Westminster Confession, which uses ‘eternally begotten’”

Where in God’s word does it say ‘eternally begotten’?

How do they get “eternally” from, “You are my Son, today I have begotten You” (Hebrews 1:5 and Psalm 2:7) And “I will be to Him a Father, and He shall be to Me a Son”? (Hebrews 1:5)

You said,

“Eternally begotten is the opposite of begotten at a moment of time, even if you mean the Father/Son relationship was the thing that was ‘begotten’.”


But to say “eternally” would mean that the deal is never closed and is contrary to “today I have begotten You”, which is a certain point in history, not before or after.

You said,

“So you are clearly disagreeing with the Reformed strand, and quite possibly with the Catholic and Evangelical Trinity doctrines as well.”

If they are outside of God’s word then I disagree with them.

You said,

“Most Trinitarians would stick to their church line, but you seem to be a bit out on a limb with your own ‘version’. May I ask, do you belong to a church, and do you follow their official doctrine? (No offence intended, I was a bit ‘out on a limb’ with regard to the church I belonged to for quite a long time).”

Their interpretations hold no water if they are outside of God’s word, since God’s word is the highest authority.

Anyway, why are you hiding behind them for? Can’t you handle the debate? If you are going to step into the ring you had better bring more than just your opinions, because so far all you have been doing is getting up off the canvas.

bob said...

David, you said,

“Being the Son of God does not make you divine automatically, because your father is divine. Son of God is used in the Bible as a messianic title, and for kings of Israel. Nowhere do you see the Son of God being called divine (I claim)”

To which I can easily argue back: Where does it say that He is NOT divine?

You said,

"I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last…. I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you (John, and by extension, us) these things...” [Revelation 22:13, 16]

This passage is from Rev 22:13-16. In this chapter you have God speaking, the angel speaking and Jesus speaking. The verses you omitted have the angel speaking. So how do we know it is Jesus speaking in v13?

I am not saying it must not be, only that it is not obvious.”

More deceit. Where do I have “God speaking” and where you are trying to imply that Jesus is not divine (“Jesus speaking”)?

It is obvious that Jesus had to speak the words for the angel to pass them on to John.

These words being:

“And behold, I am coming quickly, My reward is with Me, to give everyone according to his work.
I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last…. I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you (John, and by extension, us) these things...”

But I am sure you knew that.

You said,

“I don’t think it is a very good proof of the divinity of Christ to say there is nothing that is said against it.
You could prove a lot of things are divine by that method!”

Again, you need to take the whole story into account.

You said,

“You could prove eg that that the donkey that Jesus sat on was really an angel is disguise, because the Bible does not say it was not an angel in disguise (tongue in cheek but I hope you get my point)”

There you go with your imagination again.

You said,

“Trinitarians are normally eager to prove that Jesus is God from the Bible, they don’t usually sit back and say that there is no proof against it, so Jesus must be God.”

You seem to have missed the point. The evidence FOR Christ’s divinity far outweighs the evidence AGAINST His divinity. You have not shown how the verses that you claim have ‘no evidence of Jesus being divine’ would actually DENY His divinity. Like I have said before, the burden of proof is just as much on you to prove your position as it is on me to prove mine, otherwise it is not a debate is it?

David Kemball-Cook said...

Hi Bob

The basic problem with Jesus being God and the Atonement is this little argument

1) Jesus is God
2) God cannot die
3) Jesus died on the cross
4) Therefore God died on the cross (from 1 and 3)
5) Therefore God cannot die and also God died (from 2 and 4)

It seems to show a contradiction right at the heart of the trinitarian view
Do you know any answer to it?

Regards
David

David Kemball-Cook said...

Hi Bob
David said, “But Bob, if he is at the RH of God, he cannot be God can he? If we are told John sits at the RH of Peter, then we know straight away that John cannot be Peter. Pls explain!”

Bob said “That’s right they (John and Peter) are separate/individual people sitting at the same level. The Son and the Father are also two separate Persons sitting at the same level (on the same throne/position of authority) so they are both part of the same ruling power or Godhead, hence, they are both God, as the scriptures say.
David, can you not see how your ‘one-person-“there can only be one guy at the top”-idol’ has blinded you and does not allow you to comprehend the simplicity of the triune God of the Bible?

Thanks. You have not explained what you understand by ‘sitting on RH of God’. I think you are reinterpreting it to mean ‘sitting with the Father’. Is that correct?

Regards
David

David Kemball-Cook said...

Hi Bob
David said “But Bob, the God the Son of the Trinity does not address God the Father as ‘my God’, does he?
They are supposed to be coequal members of the Trinity, each as divine as the other, surely.”

Bob said “He certainly does.

“My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me? (Matthew 27:46) This was prophesied in Psalm 22:1

Exactly my point. Jesus (as prophesied in Ps 22) talks to God as ‘my God”
But the supposed ‘God the Son’ could never talk to the ‘God the Father’ like that
So Jesus cannot be a ‘God the Son’

David

David Kemball-Cook said...

Hi Bob
“I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End,” says the Lord, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.” Revelation 1:8

David said “It does not actually say that it is Jesus talking does it? I think it is God talking, if only because I don’t think Jesus is ever described as the Almighty in the Bible, although God is many times.”

Bob said “You should have kept reading.

Verses 12-13: Then I turned to see the voice that spoke with me (in verses 8 and 11). And having turned I saw seven golden lampstands, and in the midst of the seven lampstands One like the Son of Man...

Verses 17-18: “Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last” “I am He who lives, and was dead [crucified], and behold, I am alive for evermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death.”

Yes, it must be Jesus speaking in 1:17-18. Another difficult verse for a unitarian I think. But it does not conclusively proof that Jesus is the same as God. First and last of what? People can be firsts and lasts of different things.

For instance Jesus is the last of the old creation and the first of the new creation (1 Cor 15:23, Col 1:18), without (necessarily) being God.
David

David Kemball-Cook said...

Hi Bob
David said,“Bob said “Jesus is the Triune God’s appointed Lord. He is both God and Messiah.
So you are saying that God anointed himself as Messiah?
Surely if you are anointed, or appointed, to an office, it has to be somebody other than you that does it?”

Bob said “Who can appoint God if God is the highest authority? There is no one that can appoint Him as Messiah if He is already the Most High. So He obviously He has to appoint Himself (since it is He that has been sinned against anyway) since there is no one above Him.”

So do you think that when Peter said
“God has made that same Jesus … both Lord and Christ” (Acts 2:16)
Peter meant that God made HIMSELF Lord and Christ?

If not, how was Peter’s misunderstanding corrected later in the NT?

Regards
David

David Kemball-Cook said...

Hi Bob
David, you said, “PS I have been trying to understand the Trinity for a long time now.
Whichever way you try to say that Jesus is God, I don’t think it works out the way the Trinity doctrine wants it.
If you say Jesus is numerically identical to God, then Jesus is the same as the Trinity.
If you say Jesus is divine (generic identity) then there are two (or 3) distinct divine individuals, ie more than one god.”

Bob said “Another memory lapse. We have been through this before. Remember the Three Persons as a team or family with the team/family as a whole being God as per Genesis 1:26, 3:22 including some others like Isaiah 6:8,

Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying: “Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?”

And Isaiah 42:1 where we see the Triune God,

“Behold! My [the Father] Servant [Jesus] whom I uphold, My Elect One in whom My soul delights! I have put My Spirit [the Holy Spirit] upon Him.” This prophesy (700 years before Christ) came to pass in Matthew 3:17.

I don’t think you address my point. You clearly believe that Jesus is God.
OK, so in what sense, numerical or generic identity? It can’t be both senses, and either gives you different problems, as I outlined.

I claim that it is only the confusion between the two senses of identity that keeps trinitarianism off the hook, as it were.

Regards
David

David Kemball-Cook said...

David said,

“Try this as part of a Trinitarian definition
1) There is one God
2a) The Father is God
2b) The Son is God”
So how does a trinitarian answer the questions
Q1) How is the Father not the same God as the Son?
Q2) How is the Father then not the same as the Son?”

Bob said “Your maths is a bit off, you forgot the Holy Spirit. It cannot be a Triune God without Him.

I said it was PART of a trinitarian definition. We don’t need the Holy Spirit to make the point

David said,“I don’t know how a trinitarian answers them. I have seen a modern few philosophers have a god, by trying to jettison common sense ideas of identity. But I don’t see any way of answering them consistent with what the Bible says about God.”

Bob said “You have a shocking memory. Remember when I said “...the word ‘Trinity’ is simply an abbreviation for Father, Son and Holy Spirit; like a team [/family] of three like-minded individuals working together in perfect harmony for the same end. In this case, and since they are of the same nature and essence (which is love and light, and are therefore as ‘one’ and have a ‘oneness’) [and are eternal] and have a common purpose and a shared authority, the team [/family] as a whole is called God, as per Genesis 1:26...”

(And God said, “Let Us make man in Our image according to Our likeness...” So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.)

There is no philosophy required or common sense jettisoned and it is completely consistent with what the whole Bible says about God.”


You are not answering my questions. If you are going down the route of God as a collective, then you have to redefine what ‘is God’ means, to avoid the logical problem I outlined. ‘Jesus is God’ means sort of ‘Jesus is a member of the Trinity’.

This is called a sort of social Trinity, which people like William Lane Craig have put forward. But you are probably familiar with him. BTW Craig is a philosopher, and he needs some fancy philosophy to try to make this work.

Various problems of the social Trinity include

1) You have to redefine what is means to say that Jesus (say) ‘is God’.

2) You have to rewrite the Bible so that whenever God speaks, it is the whole ‘team’ speaking, changing ‘I’ to ‘We’, and change all the talk about God from He’s to They’s.

3) Then you have to deal with the texts that seem to be one Person but ascribe full divinity to that Person. We have already discussed Is 44:24, which I think you said was the Father speaking.

4) How can each of the Persons be fully divine, if only the Trinity is fully divine?

5) f the Trinity as a whole can speak, that makes four individuals, not three.


Bob said “Your one-person-idol on the other hand is far from consistent with what the Bible says about God, as has been pointed out to you often enough.”

I reply that this social Trinity needs a lot of rewriting of the Bible. OK you have got the 4 plural pronoun texts, but you have to change all the 000s of singular pronouns to plural! All the times that God says ‘I am God’ have to be changed to ‘We are God’.

Regards
David

David Kemball-Cook said...

Hi Bob
David said,“Being the Son of God does not make you divine automatically, because your father is divine. Son of God is used in the Bible as a messianic title, and for kings of Israel. Nowhere do you see the Son of God being called divine (I claim)”

Bob said “To which I can easily argue back: Where does it say that He is NOT divine?

Gosh we have just been here. Absolutely no trinitarians I have ever come across have tried to prove Jesus’ deity by claiming that there are no texts that say he was NOT divine!
As I said before, You could prove a lot of things are divine by that method!
You could prove eg that that the donkey that Jesus sat on was really an angel is disguise, because the Bible does not say it was not an angel in disguise (tongue in cheek but I hope you get my point)

This is a rather ridiculous kind of logic. How far could you get in real life arguing like that? Could you establish an alibi that you were in place X at time Y because there is no proof that you were NOT there at that time? How absurd!

Do you know any theologians who have tried to use this kind of logic to prove Jesus’ deity?

regards

David Kemball-Cook said...

Hi Bob
I think this dialogue has been interesting, and fruitful for me
We have got two texts that are difficult for the unitarian interpretation
And you have not retreated into divine mystery, so that it is good.
But we have got to the stage where you are making more and more outlandish statements and using ridiculous logic.

1) You prove Jesus’ deity by saying there is no proof he is NOT divine (!!)

2) You say that Jesus being begotten did not actually happen like the Bible said it did in the birth accounts (Matt 1:20, Luke 1:35), but was a transaction between two eternal Persons, when one said to the other “You are my son”.

3) You say that God is a collective of three divine Persons, but seem to think this view does not imply rewriting of the Bible to convert all the singular pronouns into plural. You think that 4 plural pronouns prove God is plural, but all the 000s of singular pronouns prove nothing but that they have to be ‘reinterpreted’ into the collective speaking of the Trinity.

I have spoken to a few trinitarians before, but not found any more determined than you to read into the Bible your own version of trinitarianism.
We are not getting anywhere if we don’t listen to each other and just repeat again what we just said before!

I would be prepared to carry on but I don’t feel you are listening to me. I am certainly listening to you, whatever you may think. However I don’t think you are paying my views any respect, or more importantly, that you are prepared to discuss different interpretations of scripture in a balanced way.
What also upsets me is your rudeness. Sorry for being precious, but courtesy is a valuable part of good discussion. You have just called me deceitful (again), silly and stubborn, and I don’t have to put up with that.

Best wishes
David

bob said...

David, you said,

“The basic problem with Jesus being God and the Atonement is this little argument

1) Jesus is God
2) God cannot die
3) Jesus died on the cross
4) Therefore God died on the cross (from 1 and 3)
5) Therefore God cannot die and also God died (from 2 and 4)

It seems to show a contradiction right at the heart of the trinitarian view
Do you know any answer to it?”

As usual your “little argument” is completely outside of God’s word.

Jesus was willingly killed physically and His body was resurrected 3 days later (death could not hold Him, so He defeated death on its own terms and on its own turf). But, like us when we die, He did not cease to exist spiritually when His body was killed. Remember that the spiritual realm is the higher reality, since the physical realm is only temporary as any cemetery can bear witness to.

You said,

“My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me? (Matthew 27:46) This was prophesied in Psalm 22:1

Exactly my point. Jesus (as prophesied in Ps 22) talks to God as ‘my God”
But the supposed ‘God the Son’ could never talk to the ‘God the Father’ like that
So Jesus cannot be a ‘God the Son’”

You have not taken Hebrews 1:8-9 into account.

But to the Son He [the Father] says: “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever… Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You...”

The Father is calling the Son, God.

And the Son also calls the Father, God.

“My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me? (Matthew 27:46) This was prophesied in Psalm 22:1

They are both God.

You said,

“Thanks. You have not explained what you understand by ‘sitting on RH of God’. I think you are reinterpreting it to mean ‘sitting with the Father’. Is that correct?”

What is there to explain when God’s word plainly says it, and why do you keep ignoring what I have written?

You said,

“Yes, it must be Jesus speaking in [Revelation] 1:17-18. Another difficult verse for a unitarian I think. But it does not conclusively proof that Jesus is the same as God. First and last of what? People can be firsts and lasts of different things.”

First and Last (Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End), means that there is nothing before Jesus and there is nothing after Jesus. In other words, He exists eternally, and therefore cannot but be called Almighty God.

You said,

“So do you think that when Peter said
“God has made that same Jesus … both Lord and Christ” (Acts 2:16)
Peter meant that God made HIMSELF Lord and Christ?”

“God has made” means they were all (the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit) in mutual agreement of the plan to make Jesus both Lord and Christ. He was already Lord/God, but on top of that, He is also made the Christ (the Messiah the Anointed One).

You said,

“I don’t think you address my point. You clearly believe that Jesus is God.
OK, so in what sense, numerical or generic identity? It can’t be both senses, and either gives you different problems, as I outlined.

I claim that it is only the confusion between the two senses of identity that keeps trinitarianism off the hook, as it were.”

David you keep barking up the wrong tree and chasing phantoms.

How do you get a “confusion between the two senses of identity” from Three individual Persons as a team or family with the team/family as a whole being God (as per Genesis 1:26, 3:22)?

You are trying too hard and ending up all confused. Just relax, trust God’s word, and it will come to you.

bob said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
bob said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
bob said...

David, you said,

“David said,
Try this as part of a Trinitarian definition
1) There is one God
2a) The Father is God
2b) The Son is God”
So how does a trinitarian answer the questions
Q1) How is the Father not the same God as the Son?
Q2) How is the Father then not the same as the Son?”

Bob said “Your maths is a bit off, you forgot the Holy Spirit. It cannot be a Triune God without Him.

I said it was PART of a trinitarian definition. We don’t need the Holy Spirit to make the point”

My apologies. But like I said later, the above questions are simply a false dilemma since they are outside of the Scriptures which say that the Father and the Son are individual Persons within the Godhead and so they cannot be confused one with the other.

You said,

“You are not answering my questions. If you are going down the route of God as a collective, then you have to redefine what ‘is God’ means, to avoid the logical problem I outlined. ‘Jesus is God’ means sort of ‘Jesus is a member of the Trinity’.”

The logical problem is only in your own head and is caused by you trying to lean on your own understanding rather than trusting in God’s word.

You said,

“This is called a sort of social Trinity, which people like William Lane Craig have put forward. But you are probably familiar with him. BTW Craig is a philosopher, and he needs some fancy philosophy to try to make this work.”

He does not “need” fancy philosophy he just likes to use it. And as I have demonstrated one can easily explain the triune God in very simple terms.

If we simply trust the opening/introduction of the story there will be no dramas in understanding the rest of the story as I have already shown i.e.

“...the word ‘Trinity’ is simply an abbreviation for Father, Son and Holy Spirit; like a team [/family] of three like-minded individuals working together in perfect harmony for the same end. In this case, and since they are of the same nature and essence (which is love and light, and are therefore as ‘one’ and have a ‘oneness’) [and are eternal] and have a common purpose and a shared authority, the team [/family] as a whole is called God, as per Genesis 1:26...”

(And God said, “Let Us make man in Our image according to Our likeness...” So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.)

The introduction cannot be ignored without causing the rest of the story to be understood without difficulty, as we have seen.

You said,

“I reply that this social Trinity needs a lot of rewriting of the Bible. OK you have got the 4 plural pronoun texts, but you have to change all the 000s of singular pronouns to plural! All the times that God says ‘I am God’ have to be changed to ‘We are God’.”

There goes your memory again. It’s a bit rude when you ignore what I have already said about the “000s of singular pronouns” near the beginning of our dialogue.

bob said...

David, you said,

“Various problems of the social Trinity include

1) You have to redefine what is means to say that Jesus (say) ‘is God’."

No redefinition required to say that Jesus is God.

"2) You have to rewrite the Bible so that whenever God speaks, it is the whole ‘team’ speaking, changing ‘I’ to ‘We’, and change all the talk about God from He’s to They’s."

Then what are you going to do in the many instances where they appear individually as God, Lord etc. rather than as a whole? “I”, “He”, “Me” is used of the individual Persons of God as well as the collective. But having said that there are also occasions where the plural (“Us”, “Our”) is used and which I have already pointed out.

"3) Then you have to deal with the texts that seem to be one Person but ascribe full divinity to that Person. We have already discussed Is 44:24, which I think you said was the Father speaking."

That is only a problem if you don’t accept the triune God.

"4) How can each of the Persons be fully divine, if only the Trinity is fully divine?"

Why not? They are still fully divine in their own right. Being apart from the others does not make each Person any less God than when they are together. They all occupy/reside at the same level of authority and share this authority equally.

"5) f the Trinity as a whole can speak, that makes four individuals, not three.”

How do you work that out? If you are sitting at the kitchen table with two friends and everyone says the same thing at once, why would there suddenly be four individuals instead of three?

You said,

“Bob said “To which I can easily argue back: Where does it say that He is NOT divine?

Gosh we have just been here. Absolutely no trinitarians I have ever come across have tried to prove Jesus’ deity by claiming that there are no texts that say he was NOT divine!”

They will learn. And it is perfectly valid to demand evidence when someone tries to employ the argument from silence like you do when you say that there is no evidence in such and such verse that speaks of Jesus’ divinity. Just because a verse says nothing of Jesus’ divinity that does not mean that He is not God since other verses in the rest of the story say that He IS God, as I have shown.

And it is not just in those verses you quote, but there is nothing in the whole Bible that denies His divinity.

Then you also have to contend with things like, for example, where people directly worshiped Jesus (and which He never forbade), but were not condemned as idolaters which is what they would have been if Jesus was not divine.

Also, Jesus says that where “two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them” (Matthew 18:20) which would mean that He would have to be omnipresent if people are gathering in His name in more than ONE place, let alone all over the whole world.

And only God Himself would have the strength and power to take the world’s sins on Himself and still totally defeat sin and death in the process.

You said,

“You say that Jesus being begotten did not actually happen like the Bible said it did in the birth accounts (Matt 1:20, Luke 1:35), but was a transaction between two eternal Persons, when one said to the other “You are my son”.”

David, He existed as the Son BEFORE He became manifested in the flesh. For example,

“Look!” he answered, “I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire; and they are not hurt, and the form of the forth is like the Son of God.” Daniel 3:25 (about 500 years before He was manifested in the Flesh in Luke 1:35)

You said,

“What also upsets me is your rudeness. Sorry for being precious, but courtesy is a valuable part of good discussion. You have just called me deceitful (again), silly and stubborn, and I don’t have to put up with that.”

Righto precious.

David, if you take off those ‘One-Person-“there can only be one guy at the top”-Idol’ blinkers you might be able to see a bit more.

D335 said...

@David
unitarian perspective cannot fully and precisely fit biblical doctrine.
That is why from unitarian pentacostals, jehovah witness, islamists are not (in our perspective, biblical christianity).

You can engage every bit of details in a bible that do not go with your own understanding, but then you only end up with creating a bible of your own version.
Must remember that unitarians today use their own version of scripturem a translation of their own and whatever doctrines of their own.

To us, infact that God first revealed the scripture to us therefore we try to understand it our best, ...
Rather than to fit God's words to our own understanding, which in turns........ end up making a conflicting ideas of your own version.

I see that the debacle been on so very long, yet I don't see what could be an end i.e. if you tried either to make psalm 110 or isaiah 9:6 to fit your own understanding. For us it is so easy because the whole scriptures tell one major thing ... Jesus, the Saviour.
Even in Genesis!, even at the back, the book of revelation!

I wonder if you can see it, why God spares isaac and told abraham that He, Himself will provide, .... or why moses big drama of the death of the first born son using the blood of the lamb saving israelites children,... or why king david mention the "Lord said to my Lord"... or the big white throne that john saw during his vision.....for us it is connected.

If you can't see the whole picture, the whole context, the whole bible..... I don't believe you are in good terms of what Christianity is all about.

If I might suggest, think about your own theology, see if its fit the puzzle.

David Kemball-Cook said...

Hi D335
Thanks for your comments.

You said that unitarians use a translation of their own.
Where did you get that from?

Personally I use the KJV by choice, and for a modern version I tend to use ESV
What do you use?

Jesus the Saviour, Yes!

Re Ps110:1, I would want to use it the way that Jesus and the NT writers used it (it is the most quoted OT verse in the NT).
They used it to show that God raised the glorified Messiah to God’s RH and has given him rule until all his enemies are under his (Messiah’s) feet.

I have thought about the big picture. Since I became a unitarian it all seems to fit.

I used to be a trinitarian. You mentioned ‘the puzzle’.
What puzzles I used to have to try to face, such as the following

1) The Father is God
Jesus is God
Therefore Jesus is the Father (!?)

and
2) Jesus is God
Jesus is the Son of God
Therefore Jesus is his own Son (!?)

and
3) God sent Jesus
Jesus is God
Therefore Jesus sent himself (!?)

and
4) God is a Trinity
Jesus is God
Therefore Jesus is a Trinity (!?)

I cannot believe now that I used to accept such things. Maybe I just didn’t think too much about it. Maybe I thought it was all a ‘divine mystery’.

Anyway I am thankful now that I do not have to accept this contradictory and unbiblical Trinity, and I can see what the Bible DOES say about God and Jesus.

‘The Father’ is God pure and simple.
Jesus is God’s anointed Messiah
Jesus really does say to the Father “You are the only true God” in John 17:3


Regards
David

D335 said...

@David

wowsa! David, let's see how you fare with these questions,.... I won't try to fix your statement, whatever you write as an answer will be your whole answer. Since nowhere a unitarian fits reformed theology of the Triune God anyway .

1. tell me david, is Jesus God? the alpha omega? did God promise he will save his elects by himself? did God provide salvation as in Jonah 2:9 "salvation is of the Lord"? or in Gen 22:14 "God will provide himself a lamb for the burnt offering"?
Did God need someone else to save His own people, i.e. a messiah? or He Himself is the messiah ?

2. John 1:3
"All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made."
Go ahead give me a shot of what you can exegete from this one too

3. Yup Isaiah 9:6 ... is it directed for multiple person or one?
"For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counseller, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace."

4. Yup again Psalm 110 IN RELEVANCE with Matt 22:41-46

41 While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them,
42 Saying, What think ye of Christ? whose son is he? They say unto him, The son of David.
43 He saith unto them, How then doth David in spirit call him Lord, saying,
44 The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool?
45 If David then call him Lord, how is he his son?
46 And no man was able to answer him a word, neither durst any man from that day forth ask him any more questions.

What will be your answer for Jesus's question ?

5. John 10:30 I and the Father are one.”
Go ahead entertain us with your exegesis.

D335 said...

@David to the previous "puzzle" that you provided.

It is answered with Trinity, yes.

God as three divine persons or hypostases: the Father, the Son (Jesus), and the Holy Spirit; "one God in three persons". The three persons are distinct, yet are one "substance, essence or nature"

-Your logic stands that a son can only be possible through sexual union and passing genetic materials. Sure if it's biological son.
-Again your logic said one is not three and three is not one. Sure, it it's mathematical question. It's like ripping off the word "the spirit of God" from genesis.
-Your logic believes that Jesus sent himself, ... yeah right, like God got nothing better to do, like networking himself into three separate persons right?
-Your logic as a unitarian believe that Jesus is not God therefore, well alpha omega, accepting glory that is for God alone, and everything are just misprinted bible contradictions right?

Therefore no way a unitarian can ever be a part of reformed theology since there is none to support it at the beginning of the protestantism right? or even at the beginning of the church anyway.

Go ahead, provide me your overview, and promise, it will be taken as YOUR answer alone.

D335 said...

@David

AHH YOU SNEAKY!!! I didn't spot the John 17:3 at the last part!

3 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, AND Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.

4 I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.

5 And now, O Father, GLORIFY THOU ME WITH THY OWN SELF with the glory which I HAD WITH THEE before the world was.

hmm wait, John 17 is not that short!

verse 10 And ALL MINE ARE THINE, and THINE ARE MINE; and I am glorified in them.

verse 11 And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, AS WE ARE.

verse 21 That they all may be one; AS THOU, FATHER, ART IN ME, and I IN THEE, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.

verse 22 And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as WE ARE ONE:

Oh man, John is very very clear on this one, am I right ? or wrong? John wasn't some kind of dopey poet right?

David Kemball-Cook said...

Hi D335

No, I don’t believe that Jesus is God (in most senses in which trinitarians would claim that to be true

But I haven’t got time to entertain you. Life is too short!

If, on the other hand you would like a serious debate, with respect for each other’s point of view, that would be different.

Then I would be glad to go through any questions you have, and attempt to answer them in the same vein.

Regards
David

Pic said...

you will get a clear answer when you read Deuteronomy 13. About new version of God never been heard before. Oneness of God consist of Father, spirit and son taught by Paul was indeed something new. A version of God that do not agree with teachings of gentile prophet Noah until the time of all Israelite prophets. Such falsehood is not God of Universe.