Monday, March 3, 2014

Paul Slanted, David Faltered, but the Trinity Toppled Them Both

The following is a guest post written by Royalson in response to Paul Williams and a unitarian who frequents Williams' blog. Enjoy!

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The scriptures testify to the truth of the Word of God. God has spoken, and His revelation is our sure foundation for knowledge of God, the purpose of God, and the creation which He framed by His Word (Genesis 1;John 1:3, 2 Timothy 3:16;Hebrews 1:1-2). When God speaks, His believers hear His voice (John 10:27) and confirm His truth (Psalms 33:4). We are not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God unto salvation (Romans 1:16).

It is thus a curious thing, to have witnessed on Paul Williams blog the hand-holding between a professing Christian Unitarian and Muslim Nullitarians, the former believing that God is a single person and the latter believing that God is no person at all. It is ironic that both parties would congratulate and affirm each others' "defense" of their allegedly common position of Monotheism. In reality, their own worldviews collide at the very heart of the matter for which they attempt to collectively unite, which is against the biblical concept of the Divine Trinity. How is it that a "Christian unitarian" finds common ground with those who believe in an impersonal conglomeration of disjointed attributes? Obviously, not to mention quite tellingly, it is their common antipathy for the Trinity that unites them. This isn’t the first time unlikely partners have hopped in bed together. Perhaps it would not be too far a stretch to draw a parallel between those who collectively built a tower in the land of Babel to rebel against God, and our apologetic opponents who are collectively attacking the Trinity as we have witnessed on Blogging Theology. Or, as John Owen once said of the otherwise odd collaborative effort on the part of disparate anti-Trinitarian groups in his day:

For however they may seem in sundry things as yet to look diverse ways, yet, like Samson’s foxes, they are knit together by the tail of consent in these fire-brand opinions, and jointly endeavor to consume the standing corn of the church of God. (John Owen, A Brief Declaration and Vindication of the Doctrine of the Trinity, p. 7.)

For those entering into the discussion for the first time, it would be appropriate to preface my biblical defense by summarizing some of the key issues that have arisen in the dialogue thus far. Without wishing to appeal to arguments that focus upon the persons themselves who are making the arguments, it is nevertheless important to understand the inconsistent and irrational approach that my opponents utilize. Alerting the reader to such information will enable the identification of irrational argumentation on their part throughout the discussion. Too often, theological debate can appear to be "locked in the balance" as each side appears to be able to rebut the previous argument. However, if we understand the presuppositions that are committed to, and the criterion applied to in the arguments made, we shall easily spot the flaws and inconsistencies when the said opponents depart from these presuppositions and criterion.


A Muslim Attempts to Teach Math

Enter Paul Williams, Blog Author of bloggingtheology.org, a Muslim apologist and professing ex-Christian. Among his attacks upon the Trinity, Paul Williams makes a numerical argument. Plainly stated, that if the Father is 100% God, the Son is 100% God and the Holy Spirit is 100% God, that it adds up to 300% God which equates to 3 Gods, i.e. Tritheism.

Without conceding to his erroneous reasoning, which I will refute shortly, let us consider the flawed mathematical approach and see how His own theology stands up to it. Firstly, Paul Williams believes that Allah has multiple attributes. Those attributes are Divine (God) by nature. In fact, Paul would consider each attribute to be fully divine in nature. That is to say, they are not partially Divine and partially human attributes. As an example, Allah's mercy, Paul would argue is Divine mercy, unlike any mercy that creatures possess. It is 100% Divine, 100% God in nature. Likewise for Allah's righteousness, and goodness, and truth, etc. For arguments sake, let us suppose that Paul believes that Allah has 99 attributes. By his own reasoning, that would suppose 9900% God = 99 gods.

Not wanting Paul Williams to feel left out, I'm going to apply the same reasoning to Paul Williams Himself. Since Paul believes he has a body which is 100% human, a soul which is 100% human and a spirit which is 100% human, by Paul's own reasoning, he believes that he himself is 300% human or 3 humans. Unless of course, he takes a bipartite view of man, it would nevertheless lead to the idea that he is 200% human or 2 humans.

Before one wishes to accuse me of employing the "Tu-Quoque" or "You too" fallacy, I remind the reader that I already rejected the erroneous reasoning on Paul Williams' part. But since he seems to think it is valid to apply percentages to the constituents of God, then he is inescapably caught in this numerical dilemma, posing a problem that is 33 times more problematic for his own position than that which He falsely asserts upon the Trinity.

As for a refutation of the notion that such percentages ought to be applied cumulatively to the Christian God, a simple statement will suffice: "The Father is the same God as the Son and the Holy Spirit" In other words, if one did wish to apply a 100% to the Father, then that same 100% applies to the Son and the Holy Spirit, not because they are the same person but because they are the same God. Remember, Paul said the Father is 100% God. In saying that the Son is 100% God, He erroneously assumes that this must be a different 100% from the Father. His equation is thus a straw-man and does nothing to interact with the Christian doctrine of the Trinity.

When the Math lesson fails, why not try Philosophy?

Our examination of Paul Williams' presuppositions, although not intended to be exhaustive by any means, still has further important ground to cover. Added to his presuppositional blunders is his commitment to the notion that God cannot enter into His own creation. He writes: "Jesus was simultaneously divinely omniscient humanly ignorant... yet the creeds say Jesus is ‘one person’. How can one person know all things and be ignorant?" Mr. Williams ignorantly asks, "How can one person know all things and be ignorant?" Such questions have been thoroughly answered repeatedly throughout the centuries and to this very day by my fellow Christian brethren.

Simply put, Jesus Christ is eternally God by nature and does not change in His Divine essence. However, in time, He entered into His creation, taking created human nature upon Himself. His human nature did not become His divine nature, nor did His divine nature become His human nature. The two natures existed and indeed exist to this very day, united but distinguishable, each preserved without forming a third composite nature. That being said, there ought to be absolutely no argument that God demonstrates different behaviors and characteristics between the two natures. The question de jour I would ask the Muslims is - Supposing that God entered into human nature economically, how would you expect the two natures to operate? To expect the human nature to have no function would be irrational. To expect it to behave identically to the Divine nature would be blasphemous. The only rational position is that the natures present would behave exactly as they ought, and that is precisely what we see in the gospel accounts.

If you're going to try and attack Satan, at least take your stones outside

Muslims such as Paul Williams who attempt to attack the Trinity are throwing stones in their own glass houses. Oblivious to the mess and sharp edges that pile underfoot, they inflict the sorest of wounds upon Allah Himself. In Sahih Muslim, Book 4, Number 1656 we read: " Abu Huraira reported Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: Our Lord, the Blessed and the Exalted, descends every night to the lowest heaven when one-third of the latter part of the night is left, and says: Who supplicates Me so that I may answer him? Who asks Me so that I may give to him? Who asks Me forgiveness so that I may forgive him?" (Emphasis mine).

The reader will notice immediately that Allah himself is said to enter His creation. This is not simply a one-off event like the incarnation, but something Allah is all too acquainted with, doing it every single night. Aside from the fact that Allah descending every last third part of the night presupposes either a flat earth or Allah in a constant state of descension, or that he does so in order to find out who will supplicate Him, implying actual ignorance on His part, we must ask the following crucial question: "Does Allah's nature change when He enters into the universe to descend to the nearest heaven?" The answer is obvious, one may say. I would agree, but for the muslim, if consistency is to win the day, they must answer in the affirmative. Since they presuppose that the God of the bible must have changed His actual Divine essence due to His entering into created human flesh, fairness demands that Allah's actual nature is compromised when entering the created universe. For the record, I completely reject the fallacious and baseless presupposition of Williams, et al. Muslims, do yourselves a favor and get a broom, clean up the mess, and put on a plaster.

To summarize my points thus far, Mr. Williams employs presuppositions that are not only irrational and unwarranted, but actually cut off the aorta of the Islamic apologetic itself. Forcing unwarranted percentage additions to the internal persons of the one true God infers polytheism on the part of Islam due to the internal attributes of Allah. Firing the magic bullet of insisting that God entering into creation compromises His Divine nature, ends up returning a storm of bullets upon Allah, the ever-descending one who appears to have left His heavenly throne vacant until further notice.

Wooden arguments and elastic aeroplanes

While more could be mentioned of Mr. Williams other presuppositional blunders, we now turn our attention to David the Unitarian. Like clumsy room service, who leaves the occupant's 5 star Singapore hotel suite in a worse state than a dog's breakfast, and the bumbling customer who continues to slip a few bills in the hand for further "services", Paul Williams and David the Unitarian make strange bed-fellows indeed. The former, a nullitarian Muslim who submits to an impersonal force, is all too eager to shake left hands with David who actually believes that God is a person. Somehow, in the ecstasy of anti-trinitarian sweet-talking, a mushrik and a Muslim are a match made in Jannah, or so they thought. We shall see that David the Unitarian's blasphemy and unbridled rebellion against God, clearly demonstrates that seeing, he does not see and hearing he does not hear.

David the Unitarian complains "I have noted above how slippery trinitarian definition is.

1) God is one Being Ö The three Persons share the one Being Ö etc.

2) “is God” slides between numerical and generic identity.

3) “Person” is such an elastic concept you could use it to power a model aeroplane!

I hope you will excuse this little outburst, when I read such words as

ìAs we believe God is singular, and pluralî

While I accept David's complement of our position having the ability to power model aeroplanes, I'm afraid I cannot reciprocate. His theological position has as much power as a wooden car that wooden go. He insists that the concept of God being plural in one sense and singular in another is too slippery. However, he didn't really think this through very carefully, since such insistence leads to an absurd conclusion, that his theology supposes God to be singular in every sense. In other words: God is one being, one person, with only one attribute. So now it'll be up to David to tell us which attribute that would be: If his God is eternal, then he is most certainly not omniscient (for that already would be two attributes). If his God is omnipresent, then he is not omnipotent. Any objection of David at this point will force him to either recant on his erroneous claim that God cannot be singular and plural, or he would have to shrug his shoulders and concede that his position is no more rational than ours. I reject his claim as fallacious and look forward to him conceding the same.

We note also that He doesn't like how the term God is [grammatically] used in different senses, or as David claims, "slides" between numeric identity and generic identity. This however, is likewise an unjustified objection. For example, suppose we were to write the following sentences:

To err is human (generic).

David is a human (numeric).

The first sentence uses "human" in a generic way, pointing to human nature. The second sentence uses "human" in a numeric way. It would be absurd to state that erring is the same is a human. Likewise, it would be equally absurd to say that David is a human nature.

Let's look at some sentences using God:

John 1:1 In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God and the word was God.

Here we see that God is used in a numeric sense in the second clause, and in a generic sense in the third clause.

Galatians 4:8 encapsulates the idea of numeric and generic senses by which one may refer to God:

Formerly, when you did not know God, you were slaves to those who by nature are not gods.

In the first clause it speaks of God numerically. In the second clause, although one could argue that a numerical sense is used explicitly by way of using plural nouns, the implication is more generic by attaching the phrase "by nature".

As a matter of fact, the term God (not gods) is used in conjunction with nature explicitly in Acts 17:29 which reads: 29 "Being then the children of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and thought of man. (NASB). In this English translation we can see the term God being used in a numeric sense whereas we have Divine Nature as a more generic term. The Greek word theos is used in the former and theios is used in the latter. The same word theios appears in 2 Peter 2:4 which reads: "For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine (theios) nature (phusis), having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust. "In both cases, the word theios functions as an adjective (divine).  In 2 Peter 2:4 it modifies the word phusis (nature).

Taking this into consideration, we may speak of God in both senses in this way: Jesus is the son of God (Matthew 16:16-17) and is God by nature (John 1:1).

David also does not like to our use of the term person, saying that it's so elastic it could power a model airplane. What he's basically saying is that he doesn't like how person can have a range of meanings. He prefers to have a wooden definition of words, without allowing for nuances and semantic differences. Such a claim is absurd, and I demonstrate this with some example sentences below:

Some people like to make baseless arguments.

Some people's arguments are like wooden cars that wooden go.


David holds to unitarianism, so he needs to repent.

David's arguments are so ridiculous, it's a wonder that he has 5 degrees.


I wonder if I'll ever debate David in person.

Allah is an “it”, not a person.

The fact of the matter is that David cannot live without the elasticity of language. Any claims to the contrary result in absurdity. (It should also be pointed out that David confuses grammar with ontology.)

Exact misrepresentation

To probe David's Unitarian heresies a little further, I asked "Can a mere creature be the exact representation of God?" To which he replied, "Yes I believe a human being can be (but not anything else in creation), because we are made in God’s image. I believe that Jesus was anointed and filled by the Holy Spirit, so that he spoke God’s words and showed God’s love." and "Mind you, the exact copy of God (Heb 1:3) cannot be God, can it? The copy of anything is NEVER the same as the original. That is the point of copies, they serve to represent the original, where the original cannot or will not go." (Emphasis mine)

According to David, an exact copy is never the same as the original. Something tells me David is locked out of his house because the locksmith who promised to copy his key exactly, gave him a dud instead.

Now if Jesus is an "exact copy" of God, we would expect Him to be exactly the same in nature as what God is. In other words:

God: omniscient

Biblical Jesus: omniscient

David's Jesus: not omniscient


God: omnipotent

Biblical Jesus: omnipotent

David's Jesus: not omnipotent


God: omnipresent

Biblical Jesus: omnipresent

David's Jesus: not omnipresent


God: transcendent

Biblical Jesus: transcendent

David's Jesus: not transcendent


God: eternal

Biblical Jesus: eternal

David's Jesus: not eternal


God: perfectly righteous

Biblical Jesus: perfectly righteous

David's Jesus: not perfectly righteous


Somehow, David expects us to believe that his Jesus is an exact copy of God. The mind boggles.

I'd like to focus on the last section of comparisons above, namely the righteousness of God and Christ respectively. Jesus says "Why do you call Me good? There is none who is good but God." Muslims often try to use this statement of Jesus to prove that Jesus was not perfect. While this argument has been answered and refuted countless times, David himself has no way out. You see, David would have to agree along with the Muslims that Jesus "is not good" If Jesus is not good (even though somehow he's an exact copy of God who is good), then it would make David's Jesus imperfect in his righteousness. It would be ridiculous for David to claim that Jesus is not good and yet perfectly righteous. And so, we come to the heart of the gospel itself, demonstrating why Christian Unitarianism is a complete farce. It makes Jesus into an imperfect sacrifice.

Let us compare:

David's Jesus is a finite creature who is an imperfect sacrifice.

The Biblical Jesus is God and man, a perfectly righteous sacrifice.

Who will you trust your soul to? A finite, imperfect creature? Or to God, manifested in the flesh?

Post-Mortem:

Unitarianism is dead.

Nullitarianism is dead.

I would venture to say that David's unitarianism is actually not unitarianism at all. Although initially it appeared that he was arguing for the rational idea of God being unipersonal as opposed to tri-personal, he in fact doesn't like the term person at all. Since the term person is too elastic for him and he prefers a more wooden description for his god, I can only warn him to stop worshiping his wooden idol which cannot see, speak, hear or save. David's unitarianism is in fact nullitarianism, just like Paul Williams’ personless Islamic nullitarianism. Perhaps the two were not such strange bedfellows after all.

I'll give time for Paul and David to repent. In the meantime, I shall prepare my next response which will use the presuppositional platform I have demonstrated and further expose the irrational and blasphemous nature of these two heretics.

May God have mercy upon them both.

132 comments:

DarkMath said...

Snooze....I can only make it through about 2 paragraphs of this ongoing, please excuse the vernacular, circle jerk.

Paul Williams assertions are wrong and are clearly twisted by his desire as a Muslim to discredit the Christian faith. However it shouldn't take that much discredit him. In fact since Royalson's and Anthony Rogers responses are so long winded it makes me doubt their accuracy. In my opinion they need an editor who can boil down their arguments to something I will read in the 5 minutes I have to check this site before I go on with my day.

One of the reasons I like reading and listening to what David Wood has to say is he's very succinct. It gets right to the point with very tight arguments. That's very convincing to me.

So Royalson and Roger's, I like where you're coming from just try to trim the arguments down to just the essentials.

As for Paul Williams I'm scratching my head as to why someone so smart can't see through the mountain of inconsistencies in the Qu'ran. But then again I've met many brilliant people who are so smart they couldn't park a bicycle. I remember in college getting a ride from a Math and Physics major I knew who hands down is the smartest person I've ever met...even to this day. I remember his car wouldn't start. He got out and turned the connections on the battery so they stay in contact with their mounting points. He gave me some long winded explanation about how the metal was cold, and atoms expand the metal when they get hot and the connections were lose because of it. At no point did he mention "I need to get a wrench and tighten the bolts connecting the wires to the battery"!. He just kept driving the car and manipulating the battery connections every time he had to start the car. I would have laughed at him had I not felt so sorry for him. He was so smart he couldn't figure out the most obvious things.
Anyway, I hope this doesn't sound too harsh for anybody here. Keep up the good work everybody. I really enjoy this site.

Radical Moderate said...

Bravo my Royaslon Bravo.

Nullitarian I love it.

Anthony Rogers said...

DM,

I didn't finish reading your comment. Anything longer than the average cartoon in the Funny Pages taxes my brain and causes me to lose interest. My reading quota for the day is five minutes or less. By the way, notice that your comment is significantly longer than mine. That causes me to doubt the sincerity and accuracy of your comments and to assume that mine are supremely rational. :)

Sam said...

Anthony,

You are not only brilliant but also hilarious! You exposed this rather inconsistent, arrogant know it all named DarkMath.

David Wood said...

Sam and Anthony,

Stop hating on DarkMath for preferring my concise, witty, and brilliantly condensed versions of what you guys argue much more carefully and thoroughly in your longer, more detailed, more heavily referenced articles.

The next thing you know, you'll start criticizing people for thinking I'm more handsome than Sam (and therefore easier to listen to because it's more fun to look at me)!

Anthony Rogers said...

LOOOOL!!! (I would say more, but I am trying to be pithy.)

Anthony Rogers said...

David,

BTW, I found some long, detailed, and heavily referenced articles over here. Could you boil them down for us?

DarkMath said...

DarkMath not feeling love. DarkMath sad. DarkMath not mean offend. DarkMath frustrated by long writing.
DarkMath hide under table now.

Royal Son said...

Hi DarkMath. Thank you for your suggestion. I had to make a decision between writing separate articles or one long one. I chose the latter because the discussion itself is ongoing and I wanted to get all the main points together.

If you doubt the accuracy of my statements due to the length of the article, I would invite you to bring any errors to my attention. I have no desire to use obfuscation to cloud issues.

The article itself deals with a number of attacks upon the doctrine of the Trinity and intends to illustrate the presuppositional inconsistencies of our opponents.

I would strongly encourage you not to be put off by posts simply because of how long they are. For myself, I'm happy to take criticisms of being long-winded on the chin, but there is a rich treasure store of writings of lovers of Christ available, which are the result of digging into the riches of God's word.

I believe we ought to put aside time as the Lord allows to dive into and understand the theological issues that we are faced with.

Peace.

Deleting said...

'Snooze....I can only make it through about 2 paragraphs of this ongoing, please excuse the vernacular, circle jerk'

And Derrick Abdul-whatever the frick the last part of his name is wont even talk to me or foolster!!!!
Said we were mean to him or whatever that sissy boy was whining about!!

DarkMath said...

Royal Son,

No problem. I think doubting the accuracy of what you wrote is the wrong way to put it. A better way to explain it is I gave up on what you wrote. Not because it's wrong. I believe in the Trinity. It's just I didn't get the benefit of what you said because I don't have the time to really get into the arguments in depth.
Take the point regarding whether Jesus claimed to be God. All I need to be convinced of that is that the Jewish priests who sentenced him to death wouldn't have done that had he not done something so egregious and heretical that he deserved death. The only thing heretical enough must have been him claiming to be God and/or the Son of God (or the Son of Man). Whatever. I don't care. To me Jesus bypassed those priests to attach himself directly to God. He would only have done that if he WAS God/Son of God/Son of Man (whatever). Only a God wouldn't care about death because God has eternal life. Jesus came to Earth to inspire people and then leave to return to the infinite majesty of his Father's House.

Anthony Rogers said...

DM,

No hard feelings from me. As long as you say that Sam and David are battling it out for second in the looks department, then we are more than good. :)

Royal Son said...

DarkMath: I understand where you're coming from. You are happily convinced by the reaction of the Jewish leaders to Jesus' statements and that suffices for you. Fair enough.

I'd imagine that were you to debate a Muslim on the Deity of Christ, you would stick to this one point. Honestly speaking, I don't think that it would suffice as a stock standard answer to all objections, simply because it doesn't address all objections.

Apologetics involves presenting the truth from different angles. What I may lack in the Body, others can bring something fuller and better as a response.

Derek Adams said...

Excellent presentation by brother Royalson, hopefully there is plenty more to come from him.

DarkMath, presumptuously and mistakenly assumes that Jesus enemies rightly understood and interpreted Jesus in every sense. However if we are to accept this reasoning, Jesus must also a demon possessed lunatic, or a false prophet etc.

Obviously DarkMath has not thought through these issues carefully, since we don't just trust in the Chief Priests arbitrarily, they have times when they are right and wrong, we judge from the immediate, neighboring and overall context.

David Kemball-Cook said...

Reply to Royal Son and Anthony
Re the elasticity of ‘Person’ and the problems defining the Trinity

Hi RS
I would stand by what I said. The idea of ‘person’ used by Trinitarians to define the Trinity is notoriously elastic, ranging from a mode or appearance of God to a fully independent divine Person with his own consciousness, memory, will, emotions etc.
These different ideas have given rise to a whole range of different versions of the Trinity, from (almost-) modalism (eg Rahner, Barth and recently Gregory Boyd) to social trinitarianism, under which the triune God is a collective of three fully divine individuals (eg recently William Lane Craig, William Hasker).
The (almost) modalist view has trouble distinguishing properly between the Son and the Father. The social Trinitarian view has trouble defining the unity between the Persons, and to say why God in the Bible is almost always an ‘I’ and almost never a ‘We’.

I think a lot of Trinitarians do not understand there are these different views out there, and they think that the doctrine of the Trinity was safely cut and dried in 381 AD. In fact the theologians are still arguing about it 1600 years later.

In addition to the elasticity of ‘person’, there is also the ambiguity in what is means to say ‘Jesus is God’ and also in the term ‘being’, which complicates Trinitarian definition.
In dialogue with Trinitarians on Blogging Theology I discovered that most of them do not know what they mean by ‘Jesus is God’. Is it ‘Jesus is Yahweh’ (numerical identity) or ‘Jesus is divine’ (generic identity)? They did not seem to know the difference. Mind you, that is true of famous Trinitarian apologists (no names mentioned!) as well, who seem to slide between the two meanings on the same page, and do not seem to be aware that they are doing so.
If Jesus is one and the same as Yahweh, then Jesus is his own son and Jesus sent himself (absurdly). If Jesus is Yahweh, and the Father is Yahweh, then Jesus is the Father (absurdly). If on the other hand Jesus is (just) divine, and different from the Father, there are two different divine individuals. You then have the task of trying to explain how these are not two gods.
Any Muslim (or anyone else) with half a brain can see the problems in trying to define three distinct divine individuals who are not three separate gods.

I think that you guys do a great job reaching out to Muslims. But I think it is a great shame that along with Christ you have to present the Trinity. Most people can see the logical flaws in the usual attempts to define the Trinity, and so they think that accepting Jesus must involve having to believe six impossible things before breakfast (in the words of the Queen in Alice Through the Looking Glass!).
If you were really clear about which version of the Trinity you were presenting, and showed that you knew (for instance) what you meant by ‘Jesus is God’ and what you meant by ‘Person’, then you could (perhaps) have a better dialogue. At present it seems a bit of a shouting match at times.

Regards
David

DarkMath said...

Derek,

"DarkMath, presumptuously and mistakenly assumes that Jesus enemies rightly understood and interpreted Jesus in every sense. However if we are to accept this reasoning, Jesus must also a demon possessed lunatic, or a false prophet etc. "

I'm not a scholar or an apologist. I was brought up and atheist by two high functioning hippies. I went to a Transcendental Meditation class before I ever set foot in a church. My parents are rational humanists of the highest order. Although now they go to a Unitarian church pretty much because many of their friends go there.
I only recently started reading the bible actually after going to AA and feeling there was a deeper meaning behind life than what I was brought up to believe. I actually went to my first Bible study last week if you can believe it. I love it. I'm 44 and for the first time in my life I understand.

Basically what I'm trying to say is there are probably other people like me, a non-Muslim, who read the stuff here to better understand Christianity. After all AnsweringMuslims is set up to educate Muslims about Christianity.

In that light I'm not dissing Jesus at all. I'm just beginning to meet him. I'm just saying keep it simple whenever possible because it's easier for us newbies.

Sam said...

DarkMath, thank you for sharing your background since it helps put things in perspective. I truly admire and respect you for being willing to make this journey of discovering who Jesus is, and apologize for assuming the worst.

May God continue to guide you to his love and truth.

Answering Judaism said...

All I can say is Royalson has done pretty well in this paper. Nice one.

Nullitarian, that's new to me. Heh, you learn something every day.

As for the whole Character argument against the Trinity, if I recall Greg Stafford brought this up in the debate with James White. I thought the unitarian's argument was familiar.

bob said...


David said,

"In addition to the elasticity of ‘person’, there is also the ambiguity in what is means to say ‘Jesus is God’ and also in the term ‘being’, which complicates Trinitarian definition."

I see he is still relying on that tired old tactic of trying to occupy the high moral ground
by means of intentionally complicating and confusing the plain meaning of the Trinity.

Derek Adams said...

David,

We have you on record proving Jesus is omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent, (in fact explicitly admitting this, in the case of his omnipotence, and omniscience) and then explicitly *negating* Jesus possesses these attributes. Talk about complete and utter confusion and devastation, you caused the Muslims complete and utter confusion, in just how a man made creature is able to do what God alone can do:

http://bloggingtheology.org/2014/01/15/655/

The rest of your post is a reversion back to the same semantic argument that has also been decimated at the above link.

But this was a new one: "I think a lot of Trinitarians do not understand there are these different views out there, and they think that the doctrine of the Trinity was safely cut and dried in 381 AD. In fact the theologians are still arguing about it 1600 years later."

Since Unitarians argue about the exact precise relationship between the Father and Son, they must have also been arguing for 1600 years, think about all the Unitarian perspectives that none of the Unitarians can unite or agree upon. You deceptively tried to include Modalism as a Trinitarian heresy, yet Modalism is actually a UNITARIAN PERSPECTIVE. You got caught with your pants down again.

Finally I want the readers here to note David's original impression on this blog was: "I am a Christian who is a little confused by the Trinity" to now his sentiment that we should "never appeal to the Trinity with Muslims". A man who actually wrote a book against the Trinity!

Talk about mass taqqiya.

I notice he can't respond to Royalson's brilliant post either, since this was another burial.

bob said...

DarkMath,

"In that light I'm not dissing Jesus at all. I'm just beginning to meet him. I'm just saying keep it simple whenever possible because it's easier for us newbies."

That is a good point, but at the same time, others are further along in their walk and have grown to where they want meat rather than milk.

For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness… But solid food belongs to those who are full of age… Hebrews 5:13-14

And besides that, there are still others who might even prefer something a bit more intellectual to exercise them to begin with. There is always something for everyone (otherwise it would be very bland)

Derek Adams said...

DarkMath, thanks for sharing your interesting story. Well done and I hope you keep enjoying the Bible studies and God's drawing of you to his Son.

You said: "I'm just saying keep it simple whenever possible because it's easier for us newbies."

Brother, I do not advice you read *all* of the posts on this blog if they are beyond your comprehend level. I would primarily focus on the videos of Sam Shamoun and David Wood who keep things as simple as possible in their videos.

Posts like this by Royalson and Nakdimon and many posts by Anthony Rogers are for serious long term students of the Bible and Scholarship and Theology. You need the basics first, I would agree with you that posts like these come down the track after much study.

I'm not sure I would agree with you that you need to be studying Islam, and our responses to Muslims until you have studied the Bible more, but David and Sam will certainly help you out with that.

Anthony Rogers said...

1 of 2

Hi DKC,

All orthodox Christians are united in affirming the essential unity as well as the personal diversity and ontological equality of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. This is demanded by the Biblical data.

You seem to be confusing this basic Biblical confession with various philosophical models that have been proposed by Eastern and Western Christians over the course of two millennia in an effort to further elucidate this.

While all who would profess the true faith are duty bound to assent to the Biblical data, and thus repudiate modalism, tritheism, and ontological subordinationism (the latter being your error of choice), no Christian is under any necessary obligation to figure out which of the two most popular models best captures this reality. This isn’t to say that the Biblical data does not place demands upon those who would enter into this discussion; it is only to observe that not everyone is capable of or required to discuss things on this level (as Derek correctly pointed out to DarkMath).

Also, those who do engage in this secondary discussion may affirm the Biblical data and thus hold to the orthodox faith even if they hold to a flawed model. For example, many Christians who believe in the Biblical doctrine of the Trinity as defined above sometimes try to come up with analogies for it. Some propose that water provides a fitting analogy since it can successively exist as a solid, a liquid and a gas, i.e. one thing in three states. But this of course really illustrates dynamic monarchianism, not Trinitarianism. In this case the person is orthodox in his or her belief even though s/he inadvertently uses a heretical illustration. When someone uses this kind of illustration, we must explain to him or her that this does not really illustrate what he or she believes, and then show him or her a better way.

Having said that, if a choice has to be made, I decidedly come down on the side of Latin Trinitarianism, believing it yields the model that fits most comfortably within the Biblical constraints, though I would object to the way this position is often caricatured, and would insist that this does not rule out the best aspects of the Social Trinitarian view. The LT position in my opinion does the most justice to the demands of essential divine simplicity (which I affirm in its strong form following Aquinas and the Protestant Scholastics, q.v. Richard Mueller, Post-Reformation Reformed Dogmatics: The Rise and Development of Reformed Orthodoxy, ca. 1520 to ca. 1725 [Baker Academic, 2003], especially Volumes III-IV), and is decidedly the majority report in church history (q.v. J. N. D. Kelly, Early Christian Doctrines [New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1978], p. 234). Furthermore, as James E. Dolezal has cogently argued recently, this does not collapse into modalism by denying the genuine personal distinctions that obtain between the Father, the Son, and the Spirit (See “Trinity, Simplicity and the Status of God’s Personal Relations,” International Journal of Systematic Theology, Vol. 16, Number 1, January, 2014) anymore than divine simplicity entails or requires collapsing the divine attributes into a blank unity or reducing the diversity to a mere notional status, as Scott Oliphint has also recently pointed out (God with Us: Divine Condescension and the Attributes of God [Wheaton, Illinois: Crossway, 2012]).

Anthony Rogers said...

2 of 2

So I don’t believe you have said anything that even remotely challenges the Christian faith. If you think you have, it is certainly not in this combox. Since I have told you my view and directed you to detailed discussions of these matters, I would invite you to answer the same questions when it comes to the relationship between the divine essence and God’s attributes as well as between one attribute and another. What do you mean by essence? What do you mean by attribute? And when you say things like “God is X,” where X = light, love, holy, etc., are you using the “is” of identity or the “is” of predication? The only answer that does justice to the Biblical data and at the same time does not fall prey to absurdity will show the necessity of the Trinitarian position. Tread with caution.

“Now, I give you fair warning, either you or your head must be off, and that in about half no time! Take your choice!” -- The Queen of Hearts

Mark Bennett (Dk) said...

Anthony,

LOL

Do not encourage him kind sir.

David's semantic argument (his main foundation built on sand) goes so far as to say possessing a human nature, does not make one human. You are in for an endless litany of wild nonsense, I warned you!

(BTW, this is Derek Adams/Dk, I have now reverted back to using my real name, although obviously I don't mind being referred to as "Derek/Dk" by those of you who know me as this way)

David Kemball-Cook said...

Reply to Derek

I suppose you are still banned from Blogging Theology, otherwise you would still be posting on the Trinity thread
You said “We have you on record proving Jesus is omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent, (in fact explicitly admitting this, in the case of his omnipotence, and omniscience) ...”

I don’t believe I said any such thing. Of course we have to distinguish between Jesus in his earthly existence and as risen. The resurrected Jesus is given lordship over the new creation by God.
But I tried to express my belief that being resurrected and given lordship does NOT imply divinity, and does not imply possessing ‘innate’ (your favourite word) powers such as omnipotence.
I remember saying something like this

“Hi Derek. I don’t know if the Bible ever says that the risen Jesus is omnipotent. But it does say that he was given authority by God. The earthly Jesus was not omnipotent, he had to depend on God for all the mighty works he did.”

Can you please cut and paste my words where I said that Jesus is omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent? Please don’t give the link. Give my exact words.
Thanks
David

David Kemball-Cook said...

Hi Anthony
Thanks for your response.

No of course not every Christian has to be able to explain the ins and outs of the Trinity. Indeed, I believe that to be an impossible task in any case.

But at least, every Trinitarian Christian should be able to say what they mean by ‘Jesus is God’, shouldn’t they?
Does one mean ‘Jesus is Yahweh’, ‘Jesus is divine’, ‘Jesus is a member of the triune God’, or what?

Regarding the divine essence, such language is not in the Bible. I do not believe myself to be obligated to try to define God in terms of divine essence and attributes much beyond what He says about himself in his Word.

God does say emphatically that He is one. The Bible does say emphatically that Jesus is a man. But I do not see the Bible saying that God is three or that Jesus is God (in any sense).

I would say that ‘God is (eg) love’ is a statement of predication, that love is part of his nature.

You said that you follow the Latin Trinity route. So then I hope you will not mind me asking you the ‘usual questions’ to someone of that belief?
1) How then do you understand the (much repeated) claim that ‘Jesus is God’? Do you understand it to mean that Jesus is one and the same as Yahweh?
2) And how are we to distinguish the Persons? Are the Father and the Son separate divine Persons with their own consciousness, memory, emotions, will etc.?

Regards
David

bob said...

David said,

"But I do not see the Bible saying that God is three or that Jesus is God (in any sense)."

Of course he sees it, but he just won't admit it. He is obviously just some kind of troll.

He also said,

"So then I hope you will not mind me asking you the ‘usual questions’ to someone of that belief?"

Why would he bother if he is never happy with, and keeps rejecting the 'usual answers' (by means of contrived, artificial unrelated arguments and intentional deceitful logical fallacies/lies) as if to say that only HIS understanding of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit is correct? He does not seem to have grasped the fact that nothing can shift or move what God’s word plainly says and that hiding behind his own gross misinterpretations can never succeed in convincing those who trust God's word for what it says.

David Kemball-Cook said...

Reply to Royal Son
Regarding Hebrews 1:3 and the copy key

RS “According to David, an exact copy is never the same as the original. Something tells me David is locked out of his house because the locksmith who promised to copy his key exactly, gave him a dud instead”

Hi RS
I think you misunderstand what I meant by ‘the same’. The phrase is ambiguous isn’t it?
It could mean (1) numerically the same or (2) similar in many or all relevant respects.

Your example of the key is a good one. One really hopes that the copy the locksmith made is similar to the original in all relevant respects, in other words having the correct bits sticking out so that it opens the lock.
However the copy key is NOT numerically identical to the original, unless a miracle happened and the lost original key managed to find its way into my pocket and kick out the copy without me noticing.
The copy key will not be the same key as the original. It is made up of different atoms. It has a different history. It will probably look a bit different to the naked eye, and will certainly look a lot different under the microscope. It could even be made of a different material.
But it will be similar enough to the original to open the door, and that is what matters in this case.

I hold that the same is true of the Son in Hebrews 1. The Son is a copy of God in all relevant respects. He is God manifested in the flesh. He who has seen him has seen God.
But that does not make him numerically the same as God.

Regards
David

Anthony Rogers said...

1 of 2

DKC,

No of course not every Christian has to be able to explain the ins and outs of the Trinity.

And here I thought we were asking people to believe six impossible things before breakfast. Silly me.

Indeed, I believe that to be an impossible task in any case.

What do you mean by impossible? Do you mean that I can’t provide a model that is consistent with the Biblical data? Or do you mean that I can’t explain God exhaustively and remove all mystery? You can’t mean the former, because I have already done that. That leaves us with the latter (unless you can think of a third possibility), which either presupposes that God is not infinite, or it means that we are not finite. If God is not infinite, then he is not eternal and immutable either, for the former is simply infinity in relation to time, and the latter is infinity in relation to space, at least after a manner of speaking. If we are infinite, then God is not unique or sui generis. Either option flagrantly contradicts the express teaching of Scripture.

But at least, every Trinitarian Christian should be able to say what they mean by ‘Jesus is God’, shouldn’t they?

Sure, but not in terms of highfalutin philosophy, which is exactly what you want when you ask what is meant by the word “is.” Sophie the housewife is not obliged to be familiar with Leibniz and Aristotle.

Does one mean ‘Jesus is Yahweh’, ‘Jesus is divine’, ‘Jesus is a member of the triune God’, or what?

Jesus is Yahweh, fully divine, the second person of the Trinity.

Regarding the divine essence, such language is not in the Bible. I do not believe myself to be obligated to try to define God in terms of divine essence and attributes much beyond what He says about himself in his Word.

Yet somehow you believe that at least some of us have to do just that. That inconsistency aside, we will see how you do when I get to your answers.

God does say emphatically that He is one. The Bible does say emphatically that Jesus is a man.

When you say, “He is one” would this be the “is” of identity or the “is” of predication? If the former, then how do you distinguish between God’s essence and attributes and one attribute and another? If the latter, then how do you not succumb to attributing composition to God?

Same question for “Jesus is a man.”

But I do not see the Bible saying that God is three or that Jesus is God (in any sense).

Go figure!

Criminals have trouble finding the police, so what?

Anthony Rogers said...

2 of 2

I would say that ‘God is (eg) love’ is a statement of predication, that love is part of his nature.

But you just said “God IS one.” How now do you say that love is “PART of his nature?” How many parts is your “one” God made up of? And do you worship only one part or the whole pantheon? Which part is Jesus the Son of? Which part sent the Holy Spirit?

That is a very interesting unitarian model you have there. Let’s call it “Social Attributism,” shall we? (← Let everyone officially acknowledge that I coined the phrase first.)

And what are you doing using the word nature? Did you find that word used for God in the Bible in this way? If so, how do you define it? If not, why did you use it?

You said that you follow the Latin Trinity route. So then I hope you will not mind me asking you the ‘usual questions’ to someone of that belief?

I answered this already in principle in my previous post, but go right ahead.

1) How then do you understand the (much repeated) claim that ‘Jesus is God’? Do you understand it to mean that Jesus is one and the same as Yahweh?

Yes, Jesus is numerically identical to Yahweh (As is the Father, as is the Spirit).

2) And how are we to distinguish the Persons?

I would have said that the way we do so is analogous to the way you distinguish between the attributes of God except for the fact that you took a nasty ST-like turn that I can’t follow. You were so hard on ST’s before I didn’t see this coming. (Just kidding, I knew all along that you or your head were soon to part ways.)

Ontologically speaking, we distinguish them according to their personal properties, i.e. paternity, filiation and spiritation, just like the Bible does.

Economically speaking, we do so by observing that the Father sent the Son, and the Father and the Son in turn sent the Spirit, etc., which is also exactly what the Bible says.

Behold the mystery!!!

Nothin'ButTheTruth said...

I 100% agree with DarkMath. If possible, please be concise brothers because Muslims don't like to read, that's why sometimes they keep on bringing up arguments that you already refuted.

Royal Son said...

NothinButTheTruth: If Muslims don't like to read, they'll be very good immitators of their prophet.

Do you want to be like them NothinButTheTruth? Or would you rather study the scriptures diligently to show yourself approved as unashamed workmen cutting straight the word of the truth?

Out of interest, what is your word-limit? I'd be interested to know how many excellently written articles on this blog fail to meet your criteria.

I think I speak for the authors on this blog when I say that they would not encourage a mere proof-texting approach but would encourage all readers of this blog to study the materials they present in depth. Indeed they took the time to familiarize themselves with the subject matter thoroughly so that we may benefit from the portion they share.

If you want to see the results of people who have little desire to study the truth in depth, have a look at websites such as Answering Christianity, Calling Christians or Examine The Truth.

bob said...

David, you state,

"But that does not make him numerically the same as God."

Why don't you define for us exactly what you mean by "numerically the same" as it relates to God the Father...

“because God the Father has set his seal on him.” John 6:27

...and God the Son.

But to the Son He (the Father) says: "Your throne, O God, is forever and ever"

And:

"You, Lord, in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands." Hebrews 1:8, 10

Answering Judaism said...

I don't know about you guys, but the unitarian you are speaking to reminds me of the one Anthony spoke to on Paltalk, Moncharcian or Servetus. Probably a different fellow or the same.

David Kemball-Cook said...

Reply to Anthony
Thanks for your reply. It is nice to be able to discuss in a reasonable and courteous fashion.

I said that I believe it be an impossible task to explain the Trinity.
AR “What do you mean by impossible? Do you mean that I can’t provide a model that is consistent with the Biblical data? …”
Yes I go for your first option. I believe that nobody can provide a model which explains the Trinity in a non-contradictory way and which is consistent with the Bible, and in particular which is consistent with monotheism.

You are surely familiar with the arguments.
1) Three ‘Persons’ who are each identical to Yahweh are not three distinct individuals but one being (the ‘Latin Trinity’ route).
If (say) the Father is one and the same as Yahweh and Jesus is one and the same as Yahweh, then the Father is one and the same as Jesus. This is not a Trinity but modalism.

2) If on the other hand there are three ‘Persons’ who are not identical to Yahweh but are each fully divine (the social Trinity option), then there are three gods.

You say “Yes, Jesus is numerically identical to Yahweh (As is the Father, as is the Spirit).”
So clearly you go for (1).

Then how do we distinguish the Persons? Surely this is modalism?
You say
“Ontologically speaking, we distinguish them according to their personal properties, i.e. paternity, filiation and spiritation, just like the Bible does.

Economically speaking, we do so by observing that the Father sent the Son, and the Father and the Son in turn sent the Spirit, etc., which is also exactly what the Bible says.”
But the problem with your criteria for distinguishing the Persons is that if they are each numerically identical to Yahweh, then (as I pointed out above), they are numerically identical to each other.
This implies that they must have EXACTLY the same properties (among other things).
So we cannot distinguish them according to their properties.
Everything that can be said about the Father is the same as everything that can be said about the Son, which is everything that can be said about Yahweh. This is the meaning of numerical identity.
You have the absurd results of modalism, for instance that
‘Jesus sent himself’. ‘Jesus is his own Son’. ‘Jesus is a Trinity’ and so on.

Now I am sure that you are not a modalist. But if you say that Jesus is numerically identical to Yahweh your position is indistinguishable from modalism.

It is these problems that have led some theologians to ditch numerical identity and talk of some kind of ‘relative identity’ as the solution to the problem of the Trinity. Somehow the three Persons can be said to be numerically the same without being identical. But this view has not led to universal acceptance (see eg Dale Tuggy’s review in http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/trinity/)

Regards
David

David Kemball-Cook said...

Hi Anthony
How are we to distinguish between the Persons?

I asked you: “Are the Father and the Son separate divine Persons with their own consciousness, memory, emotions, will etc.?”

You replied
“I would have said that the way we do so is analogous to the way you distinguish between the attributes of God except for the fact that you took a nasty ST-like turn that I can’t follow. You were so hard on ST’s before I didn’t see this coming. (Just kidding, I knew all along that you or your head were soon to part ways.)

Ontologically speaking, we distinguish them according to their personal properties, i.e. paternity, filiation and spiritation, just like the Bible does. “

Thanks, but you did not answer my question:
I asked you “Are the Father and the Son separate divine Persons with their own consciousness, memory, emotions, will etc.?”
I am sure you know how to answer this question, and you have probably answered it many times before. Any Latin Trinity advocate must know that this is the No. 1 question he will be asked.

Regards
David

David Kemball-Cook said...

Hi Anthony
Biblical support for the Trinity and that Jesus is God


I said: “But I do not see the Bible saying that God is three or that Jesus is God (in any sense).”

You said “Go figure!

Criminals have trouble finding the police, so what? “

Thanks. Was that an answer to my point?
Can I please rephrase it?
Where in the Bible is it taught or preached that God is three Persons or that Jesus is God?

I am talking about teaching or preaching (not the odd verse like Matt 28:19 where you might claim that three divine Persons are mentioned, or like Rom9:5 where some translations might render Jesus being called ‘God’, or like John 20:28 when Thomas impulsively calls Jesus ‘my God’).

If the Trinity and God-man doctrines are so important (and Trinitarians claim that belief in then are essential to salvation don’t they?), and if they are taught in the Bible (rather than ‘developed’ in later centuries), then surely they should have been taught and preached.

I would expect) There should be at least one chapter in Romans (say) devoted to the threeness of God and the deity of Christ.

(I would expect) The preaching in Acts should record at least one mention of the deity of Christ and to the the threeness of God.

So where in the Bible is it taught or preached that God is three Persons or that Jesus is God?

Regards
David

Mark Bennett (Dk) said...

David said:

"Where in the Bible is it taught or preached that God is three Persons or that Jesus is God?"

Then David said:

"I am talking about teaching or preaching (not the odd verse like Matt 28:19 where you might claim that three divine Persons are mentioned, or like Rom9:5 where some translations might render Jesus being called ‘God’, or like John 20:28 when Thomas impulsively calls Jesus ‘my God’)."

lol

Earlier David said:

"Regarding the divine essence, such language is not in the Bible. I do not believe myself to be obligated to try to define God in terms of divine essence and attributes much BEYOND WHAT HE SAYS ABOUT HIMSELF IN HIS WORD."

Then David said:

"I would say that ‘God is (eg) love’ is a statement of predication, that love is PART of his NATURE"

lol

David make sure to address Anthony's question that you predictably dodged:

"But you just said “God IS one.” How now do you say that love is “PART of his nature?” How many parts is your “one” God made up of? And do you worship only one part or the whole pantheon? Which part is Jesus the Son of? Which part sent the Holy Spirit?

That is a very interesting unitarian model you have there. Let’s call it “Social Attributism,” shall we? (← Let everyone officially acknowledge that I coined the phrase first.)

And what are you doing using the word nature? Did you find that word used for God in the Bible in this way? If so, how do you define it? If not, why did you use it?"

Finally, David, if God is one, as in numerically singular. How does God possess attributes?

Do you say God is numerically the same as one?

I'll let you decide David, What does the statement ‘God is one’ mean? numerical, generic, qualitative, vague, relative or contingent identity?

David Kemball-Cook said...

Reply to Bob
Bob said
David, you state, "But that does not make him numerically the same as God."

Why don't you define for us exactly what you mean by "numerically the same" as it relates to God the Father... “

Hi Bob
I mean by ‘numerically the same’ the ordinary meaning of being identical to, being one and same as. I have no special meaning of the phrase as it relates to Jesus or to God.

I thought that everybody understood the concept of identity, but it seems that a few people on Blogging Theology do not.
If ‘X’ is identical to ‘Y’, where ‘X’ and ‘Y’ are proper names or definite descriptions, that means that ‘X’ and ‘Y’ denote or stand for the same individual. Whatever could be said about ‘X’ can be said about ‘Y’ (except perhaps where people are talking about ‘X’ and don’t know that ‘X’ is ‘Y’).
So for instance ‘Judas is the disciple who betrayed Jesus for 30 pieces of silver’ is a statement of numerical identity.
It means that Judas is one and same as the disciple who betrayed Jesus for 30 pieces of silver. If it is true that Judas killed himself then it is also true that the disciple who betrayed Jesus for 30 pieces of silver killed himself.
And so on.

So when I say that Jesus is not numerically identical to Yahweh, or God, I mean that Jesus is not one and the same as Yahweh. They are different individuals.

Regards
David

David Kemball-Cook said...

Hi Derek/Mark
If you are Derek, are you a sincere believer in the Trinity?
I prefer to discuss with people who are trying to present a point of view that they believe in, not just arguing for the sake of it.


But on the oneness of God, I understand this to mean that God is only one individual, one person if you like. That is why he is almost always referred to in the Bible as an ‘I’ or a ‘He’, and almost never as a ‘They’, ‘Them’, ‘We’ or ‘Us’. (To say that God is one is not really a statement of any kind of identity.)

I find it interesting that even true-believing Trinitarians talk of God as a ‘He’, whereas they should (to be consistent) use plural pronouns (unless you are an almost-modalist I suppose).
I mean, if you believe that God is really a ‘Them’, why don’t you talk about God as a ‘Them’?

If we say God is one, we mean he is one individual. But of course he can have lots of attributes! Did you think that Unitarians believe God cannot have multiple properties?
We could say that Derek Adams is one, in the sense that there is only one individual called ‘Derek Adams’. But this person can have lots of qualities and properties.
He can be intelligent, courteous, kind and modest, for instance.
But we wouldn’t say that Derek is made up of four parts, because we can think of four qualities that he has, would we?


But Derek, I have put my cards on the table and said what I believe in. To be fair, why don’t you do the same?

Regards
David

Anthony Rogers said...

DKC,

I said: “But I do not see the Bible saying that God is three or that Jesus is God (in any sense).”

You said “Go figure!

Criminals have trouble finding the police, so what? “


Thanks. Was that an answer to my point?


Yes, it was.

What does it matter if you do not see it? If a deaf person can’t hear the music, does that mean it isn’t playing? Does it mean I can’t appreciate Bach and Handel? Does the man who saw the sun have to put out his eyes because Plato’s cave-dwellers have never seen it and think he is talking rubbish?

Atheists don’t see God in nature even though they are surrounded and hounded on all hands by God's revelation in nature. Unitarians are their doubles when it comes to special revelation, i.e. the Bible.

Can I please rephrase it?

Sure. I think that would be a good idea.

Where in the Bible is it taught or preached that God is three Persons or that Jesus is God?

I would gladly point you to the verses that teach this, but I hesitate to spend much time doing so since your antipathy for the Trinity might lead you to attack the Bible as well. For example, you might just dismiss as “odd” any verse I show you. Or you might even accuse an apostle Christ blessed of making an “impulsive” remark. You might also play the Mormon card and say, “the Bible is true when correctly translated,” which of course means, “when it agrees with me.”

I am talking about teaching or preaching (not the odd verse like Matt 28:19 where you might claim that three divine Persons are mentioned, or like Rom9:5 where some translations might render Jesus being called ‘God’, or like John 20:28 when Thomas impulsively calls Jesus ‘my God’).

See what I mean?

I think Screwtape needs to reassign Wormwood to another case or schedule him for some remedial retraining. He gave you some really bad counsel. Attacking the Bible requires greater subtlety and craftiness than what we see here. Next time it would be wiser to lead off with: “Did God really say….?” The direct attack (“odd,” “impulsive,” etc.) is just not as effective.

If the Trinity and God-man doctrines are so important (and Trinitarians claim that belief in then [sic] are essential to salvation don’t they?), and if they are taught in the Bible (rather than ‘developed’ in later centuries), then surely they should have been taught and preached.

Yes, surely. Hence the reason we find verses in the Bible that unitarians find odd and impulsive and wish would be translated differently.

At some point I would like to share more “odd” and “impulsive” statements with you besides the ones currently gnawing at you, but you are not yet ready.

I would even now direct you to the countless number of articles we have written that demonstrate the doctrine of the Trinity and the deity of Christ, but judging from your attempted response to the LT model I can see that you didn't first acquaint yourself with the relevant literature that I originally pointed you to.

Anyway, I will be back tomorrow evening (Lord willing) to address the rest of what you wrote.

David Kemball-Cook said...

Hi Anthony
Thanks for your reply
(I assume that you DID want this dialogue, since you let RS post his article attacking me and it would be natural to expect me to respond. I am grateful for the opportunity.)

I asked you
Where in the Bible is it taught or preached that God is three Persons or that Jesus is God?

You replied “I would gladly point you to the verses that teach this, but I hesitate to spend much time doing so since your antipathy for the Trinity might lead you to attack the Bible as well …”

I am not against the Bible! I expect you agree that doctrines as important as the Trinity and the deity of Jesus, if they are biblically-based, should be found in the Bible.

They should be taught clearly by Jesus, taught clearly in the epistles and preached clearly by the apostles.

So, as you did not answer my question the first time, may I repeat it?

Where in the Bible is it taught or preached that God is three Persons or that Jesus is God?

Thanks
David

David Kemball-Cook said...

Reply to Anthony
The meaning of ‘God is one’

AR “But you just said “God IS one.” How now do you say that love is “PART of his nature?” How many parts is your “one” God made up of? And do you worship only one part or the whole pantheon? Which part is Jesus the Son of? Which part sent the Holy Spirit?”


Hi Anthony

I tried to reply to Derek to explain how ‘God is one’
This is what I said to Derek, and I should say it to you as well.

“But on the oneness of God, I understand this to mean that God is only one individual, one person if you like. That is why he is almost always referred to in the Bible as an ‘I’ or a ‘He’, and almost never as a ‘They’, ‘Them’, ‘We’ or ‘Us’. (To say that God is one is not really a statement of any kind of identity.)

I find it interesting that even true-believing Trinitarians talk of God as a ‘He’, whereas they should (to be consistent) use plural pronouns (unless you are an almost-modalist I suppose).
I mean, if you believe that God is really a ‘Them’, why don’t you talk about God as a ‘Them’?

If we say God is one, we mean he is one individual. But of course he can have lots of attributes”

Regards
David

David Kemball-Cook said...

Reply to Anthony
Re love being part of God’s nature

AR “But you just said “God IS one.” How now do you say that love is “PART of his nature?” How many parts is your “one” God made up of? And do you worship only one part or the whole pantheon? Which part is Jesus the Son of? Which part sent the Holy Spirit?”


Hi Anthony

When we speak of God, or anyone, having qualities, properties or attributes, we should not think of dividing God, or anyone, up into parts. When I said that love was part of the nature of God, I was not thinking of ‘parts’ in that sense. I just meant that love is one of the qualities of God.
This is just the normal way of speaking about people.

For instance, I can say that passion for the truth is part of the nature of Anthony Rogers (and I think I can say that truthfully). But I am not saying that Anthony is divided up into parts and that passion for the truth is one of those parts. Passion for the truth is just one of Anthony’s (many) qualities. If Anthony added another quality, say that of being correct about the Trinity, that would not mean that there would be less of him to share with his previously existing qualities.
We do not think about people being divided up into parts, and nor should we think in that way about God.

When we worship God we worship GOD, we do not worship parts of God. That would be silly. In any case, as I said, we should not think of God as having parts. Qualities yes, parts no.

Jesus the Son is not part of God. He is the Messiah, the Son of God, but not a part of God.

Regards
David

Mark Bennett (Dk) said...

Hi David,

Your nullitarian friend PW, banned me from his blog for two alleged reasons:

1) I did not keep proper debate etiquette or the rules of the blog

This one is blatantly false as PW didn't make his blog rules tighter until after he had banned me. In other words I didn't violate any direct rules at the time of the banning. Being "arrogant" is not a reason to ban someone unless that violates blog rules, which clearly it did not, as PW himself was arrogant on several occasions.

2) I do not believe in the Trinity because I'm a critic of Abrahamic Faiths..

This of course is not a reason to ban someone, but a blatant ad-hominem. My position was well known since the time I commented on the blog (available through my blog). Even if it were true, as Eric the Muslim on PW's blog pointed out, one does not have to believe in the New Testament, to point out the New Testament teaches the Resurrection of Jesus, it's utterly irrelevant.

You asked me for what I believe which is on my blog in response to PW. I believe in one absolute God who consists of unity and diversity. This means God must at least be two persons, if not more. I class myself somewhere between an agnostic and a christian.

Mark Bennett (Dk) said...

Hi David,

Unfortunately you have made several false assumptions in your most recent response to me.

You believe that because God is called a "he", this must be identical to how it is applied to humans or animals.

This is false for several reasons.

Humans contain physical corporeal bodies, they are limited to time, space, matter and dimensionality. This means people are usually limited to one person per one body.

God is not a body.

God is not literally a male.

God is not literally a human person.

Animals are not literally "people" (although can be described that way using language, like God is described using human language as Jealous etc)

Things like "wind" are not literally people.

Wisdom is not literally a "her".

God specifically says in the Bible he is beyond comprehension, and transcendent, his nature, ways and thoughts are all far beyond ours.

"He", therefore clearly does not have the EXACT same ordinary connotation as it does when applied to humans.

He is therefore used as a term of distinction to show God is distinct and personal, but it never implied the exclusion of other divine persons.

Just like the statement "the Lord is one" does not exclude the Lord from explicitly being identified as two persons (Gen 19:24).

God even uses singular pronouns in Isaiah 44:6 while asserting his own singularity and plurality:

"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."

The Hebrew here is: וְגֹאֲל֖וֹ, VE Goalo, literally translated this means: "and his redeemer"

Now the redeemer here could either be referring to

1) God's redeemer who is his own right hand, yet a distinct person (Isa 63:5-12)
2) Israel's redeemer who is God (Isa 10:17)

Either way Isaiah has two persons identified as YHVH using singular pronouns.

But it becomes even more clear a few chapters later:

1 Listen to me, O coastlands, and give attention, you peoples from afar. The LORD called me from the womb, from the body of my mother he named my name. 2 He made my mouth like a sharp sword; in the shadow of his hand he hid me; he made me a polished arrow; in his quiver he hid me away. 3 And he said to me, "YOU are my servant, ISRAEL, in whom I will be glorified." 4 But I said, "I have labored in vain; I have spent my strength for nothing and vanity; yet surely my right is with the LORD, and my recompense with my God." 5 And now the LORD says, he who formed me from the womb to be his servant, TO BRING JACOB BACK TO HIM; and THAT ISRAEL MIGHT BE GATHERED TO HIM-- for I am honored in the eyes of the LORD, and my God has become my strength--
6 he says: "It is too light a thing that you should be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob and to bring back the preserved of Israel; I will make you as a light for the nations, that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth."
7 Thus says the LORD, the Redeemer of Israel AND HIS HOLY ONE, to one deeply despised, abhorred by the nation, the servant of rulers: "Kings shall see and arise; princes, and they shall prostrate themselves; because of the LORD, who is faithful, the Holy One of Israel, who has chosen you. " (Isa 49:1-7 ESV)

In this chapter the servant is called Israel, yet distinguished from Israel as the deliver who will bring Israel back to God. This can't be referring to Jacob as Jacob no longer exists or will exist on earth, and secondly Jacob could obviously not gather all of Israel back to God nor is he made a light unto gentiles or salvation for the people of earth.

This means this is is most likely a messianic foreshadowing or prophecy of the Messiah son of David who is assigned the exact same role in the book of Isaiah. (e.g. Isaiah 42, Isaiah 53, Isaiah 9:6).

Mark Bennett (Dk) said...

This means the holy one who brings back Israel and the Gentiles to God is distinguished from Yahweh (Isa 49) yet identified as Yahweh who is the redeemer of Israel (Isa 44:6) The exact same language is employed in both verses hence the parallel I'm drawing. This also implies that the Holy One with YHVH is foretelling his own birth (49:7)

This is no surprise to the New Testament authors who explicitly made the connection and identified Jesus as the Holy One of God: Joh 6:68-69, Act 2:25-27;3:14;13:32-35,Rev 3:7; 16:5, Mar 1:24, Luk 4:34

One may or could argue that God is simply repeating a divine epithet like he does on occasion, the problem with this interpretation is:

1) Isaiah 49 tells us who the holy one is in context, the one who is strengthened by God to redeem and restore Israel and set apart from Israel as Israel, showing he is set apart as Holy. Jesus says in the NT:

do you say of him whom the Father consecrated and sent into the world, 'You are blaspheming,' because I said, 'I am the Son of God'? (Joh 10:36 ESV)

2) The book of Isaiah in general shows God is not uni-personal (e.g. Isaiah 6;9:6;7:14;6;42;52-53;63:5-12)

3) The book of Isaiah could of easily explicitly identify God as the Holy One like it does on multiple occasions:

Fear not, you worm Jacob, you men of Israel! I am the one who helps you, declares the LORD; your Redeemer is THE Holy One OF ISRAEL. (Isa 41:14 ESV)

3 For I am the LORD your God, THE Holy One of Israel, your Savior. I give Egypt as your ransom, Cush and Seba in exchange for you. (Isa 43:3 ESV)

14 Thus says the LORD, YOUR REDEEMER, THE Holy One OF ISRAELA: "For your sake I send to Babylon and bring them all down as fugitives, even the Chaldeans, (Isa 43:14 ESV)

Finally this ignores our previous correspondence, which you were unable to deal with, but I will link you to the plural verbs and nouns in the Hebrew OT again:

http://www.answering-islam.org/Shamoun/plurality1.htm

http://www.answering-islam.org/authors/shamoun/israels_gods.html

Mark Bennett (Dk) said...

You also so deliberately tried to ignore the conundrum you are in as a Unitarian, since as a Unitarian there is no evidence of any plural of majesty existing in verb form, and those scholars who do believe it existed yet can't provide evidence, don't share your view, for example they believe it denotes THE PLURALITY within God, hence God represents it as a "Single" whole.

Again from Sam And Anthony:

"The plural of majesty is unattested in biblical literature in relation to pronouns. Attempts have been made to show examples from the Holy Bible where the plural of majesty is used in relation to pronouns, i.e. 1 Kings. 12:9, 2 Chronicles 10:9 and Ezra 4:18. Yet a careful examination of the context of these passages will show that none of them prove the use of the plural of majesty in regards to pronouns:

“And king Rehoboam took counsel with THE OLD MEN, that had stood before Solomon his father while he yet lived, saying: ‘What counsel give ye me to return answer to this people?’ And they spoke unto him, saying: ‘If thou wilt be a servant unto this people this day, and wilt serve them, and answer them, and speak good words to them, then they will be thy servants for ever.’ But he forsook the counsel of THE OLD MEN which they had given him, and took counsel with THE YOUNG MEN that were grown up with him, that stood before him. And he said unto them: ‘What counsel give YE, that WE may return answer to this people, who have spoken to me, saying: Make the yoke that thy father did put upon us lighter?’” 1 Kings 12:6-9

“And king Rehoboam took counsel with THE OLD MEN, that had stood before Solomon his father while he yet lived, saying: ‘What counsel give ye me to return answer to this people?’ And they spoke unto him, saying: ‘If thou be kind to this people, and please them, and speak good words to them, then they will be thy servants for ever.’ But he forsook the counsel of THE OLD MEN which they had given him, and took counsel with THE YOUNG MEN that were grown up with him, that stood before him. And he said unto them: ‘What counsel give YE, that WE may return answer to this people, who have spoken to me, saying: Make the yoke that thy father did put upon us lighter?’” 2 Chronicles 10:6-9

It is clear from the context of these verses that the “WE” refers to the king and his men, to the royal court. The king is not speaking of himself only.

This is substantiated by the following passages:

“Moreover Hezekiah the king AND THE PRINCES COMMANDED the Levites to sing praises unto the Lord with the words of David, and of Asaph the seer. And they sang praises with gladness, and they bowed their heads and prostrated themselves.” 2 Chronicles 29:30

“So the posts went with the letters from the king AND HIS PRINCES throughout all Israel and Judah, and according to the commandment of the king, saying: ‘Ye children of Israel, turn back unto the Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, that He may return to the remnant that are escaped of you out of the hand of the kings of Assyria… Also in Judah was the hand of God to give them one heart, to do the commandment of the king AND OF THE PRINCES by the word of the Lord.” 2 Chronicles 30:6, 12

We note here that King Hezekiah along with his officials pass on decrees to the people. This adds support to my claim that Rehoboam’s “we” statement didn’t solely refer to himself, but included his advisors as well.

Mark Bennett (Dk) said...

Finally:

“Then sent the king an answer unto Rehum the commander, and to Shimshai the scribe, and to the rest of their companions that dwell in Samaria, and unto the rest beyond the River: ‘Peace, and now the letter which ye sent unto US hath been plainly read BEFORE ME. And I decreed, and search hath been made, and it is found that this city of old time hath made insurrection against kings, and that rebellion and sedition have been made therein. There have been mighty kings also over Jerusalem, who have ruled over all the country beyond the River; and tribute, impost, and toll, was paid unto them. Make ye now a decree to cause these men to cease, and that this city be not builded, until a decree shall be made by me. And take heed that ye be not slack herein; why should damage grow to the hurt of the kings?’” Ezra 4:17-22

The context is clear enough to demonstrate that the use of “US” refers to the king and his royal court. This is also seen from the king’s use of “BEFORE ME” with the implication being that the letter was read aloud before the king’s men.

The following is another passage that is used to support the plural of majesty:

“This was the dream; now we will tell the king its interpretation.” Daniel 2:36


Here Daniel supposedly refers to himself in the plural, since in the context he is the only one who interprets the king’s dream, even though he is a singular person. However, if we actually do read this in context we discover that the “we” refers to both God and the prophet since they are the ones who explain the dream to the king:
“The astrologers answered the king, ‘There is not a man on earth who can do what the king asks! No king, however great and mighty, has ever asked such a thing of any magician or enchanter or astrologer. What the king asks is too difficult. No one can reveal it to the king except the gods, and they do not live among men.’ This made the king so angry and furious that he ordered the execution of all the wise men of Babylon. So the decree was issued to put the wise men to death, and men were sent to look for Daniel and his friends to put them to death. When Arioch, the commander of the king’s guard, had gone out to put to death the wise men of Babylon, Daniel spoke to him with wisdom and tact. He asked the king’s officer, “Why did the king issue such a harsh decree?” Arioch then explained the matter to Daniel. At this, Daniel went in to the king and asked for time, so that he might interpret the dream for him. Then Daniel returned to his house and explained the matter to his friends Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. He urged them to plead for mercy from the God of heaven concerning this mystery, so that he and his friends might not be executed with the rest of the wise men of Babylon. During the night the mystery was revealed to Daniel in a vision. Then Daniel praised the God of heaven and said: ‘Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever; wisdom and power are his. He changes times and seasons; he sets up kings and deposes them. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning. He reveals deep and hidden things; he knows what lies in darkness, and light dwells with him.

Mark Bennett (Dk) said...

I thank and praise you, O God of my fathers: You have given me wisdom and power, you have made known to me what we asked of you, you have made known to us the dream of the king.’ Then Daniel went to Arioch, whom the king had appointed to execute the wise men of Babylon, and said to him, ‘Do not execute the wise men of Babylon. Take me to the king, and I will interpret his dream for him.’ Arioch took Daniel to the king at once and said, ‘I have found a man among the exiles from Judah who can tell the king what his dream means.’ The king asked Daniel (also called Belteshazzar), ‘Are you able to tell me what I saw in my dream and interpret it?’ Daniel replied, ‘No wise man, enchanter, magician or diviner can explain to the king the mystery he has asked about, but there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries. He has shown King Nebuchadnezzar what will happen in days to come. Your dream and the visions that passed through your mind as you lay on your bed are these: As you were lying there, O king, your mind turned to things to come, and the revealer of mysteries showed you what is going to happen. As for me, this mystery has been revealed to me, not because I have greater wisdom than other living men, but so that you, O king, may know the interpretation and that you may understand what went through your mind.’” Daniel 2:10-30

“‘The great God has shown the king what will take place in the future. The dream is true and the interpretation is trustworthy.’ Then King Nebuchadnezzar fell prostrate before Daniel and paid him honor and ordered that an offering and incense be presented to him. The king said to Daniel, ‘Surely your God is the God of gods and the Lord of kings and a revealer of mysteries, for you were able to reveal this mystery.’” Daniel 2:45-47

Hence, Daniel’s “we” refers to the fact that it is God who revealed both the dream that the king saw and its interpretation through his inspired spokesperson.

It may even include Daniel’s friends since they too sought God to reveal the dream and its interpretation for the purpose of saving themselves from the fate decreed on the rest of the wise men (cf. 2:18). In light of this all four would have known the dream and its interpretation so that all four could be saved. It can be further inferred from 2:49 that his three companions were present. All of these factors strongly suggest that Daniel also spoke on behalf of his three friends and as such the plural does not refer to Daniel alone. Otherwise, we would have to assume that Daniel withheld such vitally pertinent information from his friends which would affect whether they lived or died!

For more Hebrew scholarship on this check here:

http://www.answering-islam.org/authors/rogers/plural_majesty.html"

Mark Bennett (Dk) said...

Further more the angelic interpretation is completely disproven contextually and bionically:

With regard to the “angel” interpretation. This interpretation is ruled out by the fact that the text says that man was created in God’s own image. Man is never said to be created in the image of angels.

Other passages affirm this point:

“Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed; for in THE IMAGE OF GOD made HE man. Genesis 9:6

Furthermore, we are clearly told in Genesis 2 that God alone created man:

“Then the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul… And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the place with flesh instead thereof. And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from the man, made He a woman, and brought her unto the man.” Genesis 2:7, 21-22

The Scriptures are also clear that angels took no part in creation:

“Who commandeth the sun, and it riseth not; and sealeth up the stars. Who ALONE stretcheth out the heavens, and treadeth upon the waves of the sea. Who maketh the Bear, Orion, and the Pleiades, and the chambers of the south.” Job 9:7-9

“Thus saith the Lord, thy Redeemer, and He that formed thee from the womb: I am the Lord, that maketh all things; that stretched forth the heavens ALONE; that spread abroad the earth by MYSELF;” Isaiah 44:24

Someone may interject and claim that Genesis 1:26 need not imply that man was created in the image of God and angels, but that angels were also created in God’s image. This would then mean that God was telling the heavenly council that man would bear God’s image much like the angels. The only problem with this claim is that nowhere do the Holy Scriptures say that angels are also created in God’s image. The burden of proof rests upon those who claim otherwise.

I should also add that the angels are also clearly contrasted with God, while the sons of God are merely spectators who glorify God, God is seen as the sole agent of creation:

Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind and said: “Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge? Dress for action like a man; I will question you, and you make it known to me.”Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding. Who determined its measurements–surely you know! Or who stretched the line upon it? On what were its bases sunk, or who laid its cornerstone, when the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy ? “Or who shut in the sea with doors when it burst out from the womb, when I made clouds its garment and thick darkness its swaddling band, and prescribed limits for it and set bars and doors, and said, ‘Thus far shall you come, and no farther, and here shall your proud waves be stayed’? (Job 38:1-11)

“who laid its cornerstone, when the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy ? ”

This is a clear opportunity when the author could have included the Sons of God in the creation process as members who laid out the cornerstone, yet God is contrasted with those, while God is a working active participants, they are singing for joy.

Mark Bennett (Dk) said...

Finally Genesis 1:26 is also ruled out as being a plural of majesty (even if such an idea existed), since the Hebrew Bible says the author of Job clearly knew of more than one Person who was the Maker of all things:

“Your hands fashioned and made me, and now you have destroyed me altogether. Remember that you have made me like clay; and will you return me to the dust? Did you not pour me out like milk and curdle me like cheese? You clothed me with skin and flesh, and knit me together with bones and sinews. You have granted me life and steadfast love, and your care has preserved my spirit.” Job 10:8-12

“The Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life.” Job 33:4

Yahweh and his Spirit made man, and yet Yahweh alone is the Creator according to Job:

“who commands the sun, and it does not rise; who seals up the stars; who ALONE stretched out the heavens and trampled the waves of the sea; who made the Bear and Orion, the Pleiades and the chambers of the south;” Job 9:7-9

“Did not he who made me in the womb make him? And did not ONE fashion us in the womb?” Job 31:15

The Psalms, much like the book of Job, identify more than one Person or Entity as the Cause of all creation:

‘By the word of the LORD the heavens were made, and by the Breath/Spirit (ruach) of his mouth all their host.” Psalm 33:6

Here we have the Word of the Lord and the Spirit of the Lord as active creating agents. Yet the Spirit is also said to the Creator of the hosts of heaven (including the angelic beings), once again demonstrating the Angels are creations, not creators along side of YHVH.

God, His Word, and His Spirit created the constellations.

“When you send forth your Spirit, they are created, and you renew the face of the ground.” Psalm 104:30

God sends forth his Spirit to create and renew the earth.

If you would like evidence that the Spirit of the Lord and the Word of the Lord are not same person as YHVH, yet also identified as YHVH and share the same characteristics as YHVH according to Scripture (and not just early Jewish interpretations of Scripture), I would be happy to provide that evidence as-well.

Mark Bennett (Dk) said...

Eric was also shut down in his appeal to the plural of majesty:

Eric the wannabe Hebrew Scholar, we have already addressed this quotation in the article, but further more ,you seem to leave out why the author thinks it’s a plural of majesty, which is rather odd seeing that he doesn’t take this to be an ordinary plural of majesty, he qualifies it in it’s Hebrew context. First lets begin with the first part of the quote:

“The plural “We” was regarded by the fathers and earlier theologians almost unanimously as indicative of the Trinity: modern commentators, on the contrary, regard it either as pluralis majestatis; or as an address by God TO HIMSELF, the subject and object being identical; or as communicative, an address to the spirits or angels who stand around the Deity and constitute His council.”

Our premiere scholarship is thus informed you of your johnny come lately explanation which did not exist in the most ancient interpretations of this verse, rather modern commentators use this explanation, since this is a rather modern invention.

But you also omitted the rest, our friends refute the angelic or heavenly host interpretation, and show how the plural of majesty is a Trintiarian foundation:

“The last is Philo’s explanation: διαλέγεται ὁ τῶν ὁ͂λων πατὴρ ταῖς ἑαυτο͂υ δυνάεσιν (δυνάμεις equals angels). But although such passages as 1 Kings 22:19., Psalm 89:8, and Daniel 10, show that God, as King and Judge of the world, is surrounded by heavenly hosts, who stand around His throne and execute His commands, the last interpretation founders upon this rock: either it assumes without sufficient scriptural authority, and in fact in opposition to such distinct passages as Genesis 2:7, Genesis 2:22; Isaiah 40:13 seq., Genesis 44:24, that the spirits took part in the creation of man; or it reduces the plural to an empty phrase, inasmuch as God is made to summon the angels to cooperate in the creation of man, and then, instead of employing them, is represented as carrying out the work alone. Moreover, this view is irreconcilable with the words “in our image, after our likeness;” since man was created in the image of God alone (Genesis 1:27; Genesis 5:1), and not in the image of either the angels, or God and the angels. A likeness to the angels cannot be inferred from Hebrews 2:7, or from Luke 20:36. Just as little ground is there for regarding the plural here and in other passages (Genesis 3:22; Genesis 11:7; Isaiah 6:8; Isaiah 41:22) as reflective, an appeal to self; since the singular is employed in such cases as these, even where God Himself is preparing for any particular work (cf. Genesis 2:18; Psalm 12:5; Isaiah 33:10).”

Finally:

“No other explanation is left, therefore, than to regard it as pluralis majestatis, – an interpretation which comprehends in its deepest and most intensive form (God speaking of Himself and with Himself IN THE PLURAL NUMBER, not reverentiae causa, but with reference to the fullness of the divine powers and essences which He possesses) the truth that lies at the foundation of the trinitarian view, viz., that the potencies concentrated in the absolute Divine Being are something more than powers and attributes of God; that they are hypostases, which in the further course of the revelation of God in His kingdom appeared with more and more distinctness as persons of the Divine Being. ”

So much for the Unitarian appeal to Hebrew Scholarship. In other words this Hebrew scholar views this as a plural of majesty , not in the sense that the one God represents the heavenly court as a single head of that court (as is the common ordinary understanding of plural of majesty), since this is disqualified by his previous paragraph and exegetically ruled out, but rather the plural of majesty is indicative of the plurality within God himself, and God speaking as the single representative of this plurality.

Mark Bennett (Dk) said...

As Rogers says:

“Although some modern writers – Jewish, Christian, and otherwise – can be cited in favor of the existence of such a figure of speech during the period of Biblical composition,2 and who also see it as explaining the divine use of the plural pronouns found in Genesis and Isaiah, other sources (and more careful scholarship) can just as easily be cited saying otherwise, pointing out that: 1) there are no unequivocal examples of the plural of majesty ever being employed in the Ancient Near East in the B.C. period that coincides with the writings of the Old Testament; and 2) even if there were bona fide instances, there is no example that such a figure of speech existed in Jewish culture of the relevant time period(s) or that it was ever employed by the Biblical authors. ”

And his footnote on (2):

“2 It should be pointed out that even when some advocates of the existence of what they call a plural of majesty use this terminology to explain what is going on in Genesis, they are not always thinking along the same lines as those who use it to deny the Trinity (or at least who deny that the Trinity is in view in these passages). For many scholars, the plural of majesty is suggestive or inclusive rather than exclusive of a Trinitarian understanding. In other words they hold that such expressions provide a hint about the nature of God’s being and inner life, which is not characterized by a static unity but by a rich diversity, thus leaving the door open for a Trinitarian understanding, especially as greater light is shed upon it through further revelation. And so, for example, Oswald T. Allis, who held academic degrees from the University of Pennsylvania, Princeton University, Princeton Theological Seminary, and the University of Berlin, and who taught for nineteen years in the Department of Semitic Philology at Princeton Theological Seminary, could at once rule out a polytheistic understanding of the Hebrew word Elohim (Heb., God), on the grounds that it is a plural of majesty, and then go on to explain the Lord’s use of plural pronouns thusly: “It is best to regard this as the language of soliloquy, God talking with Himself, and as involving in germ the doctrine of the Trinity.” (O. T. Allis, B.D., Ph.D., D.D., God Spake By Moses, An Exposition of the Pentateuch [Philipsburg, New Jersey: Presbyterian and Reformed], pp. 9, 13)

Or, in an example that is more to the point, Keil (D.D.) and Delitzsch (D.D.), after demonstrating problems with other views, say:

No other explanation is left, therefore, than to regard it as pluralis majestatis, – an interpretation which comprehends in its deepest and most intensive form (God speaking of Himself and with Himself in the plural number, not reverentia causa, but with reference to the fullness of the divine powers and essences which He possesses) the truth that lies at the foundation of the Trinitarian view, vis. that the potencies concentrated in the absolute Divine Being are something more than power and attributes of God; that they are hypostases, which in the further course of the revelation of God in His kingdom appeared with more distinctness as persons of the Divine Being.” (Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament, Vol. 1, the Pentateuch (Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 1866), p. 62-63; online here.)”

Mark Bennett (Dk) said...

Thus your so called appealed to authority still failed. Not only did you fail to address the arguments I had already made showing how no such feature existed in ANE, you then appeal to Scholars who give a Trinitarian understanding of the plural of majesty, that violates the exact understand Unitarians argue for God as the single head and representative of the heavenly court, as the singular speaker for all creation.

Rather than providing substance, once again we see an absence of any critical thinking. I recommend not merely citing scholars, but reading why most of them do not concur with a plural of majesty, which is demonstrated well here:

http://www.answering-islam.org/authors/rogers/plural_majesty.html

Now that you know 1) polytheism 2) heavenly hosts(angels) 3) plural of majesty are ruled out interpretation, are you going to come up with another 10 views, until we get to the best explanation of all the verses in scripture, and the immediate two verses? ha ha, honestly stop wasting your time, these desperate attempts to find anything remotely unitarian or Islamic are evidence of how far someone has to go to deny the clear implications and ratifications of the Trinitarian Bible..

Mark Bennett (Dk) said...

Now David, can we stop repeating the same ad-nausem arguments, when you have not proven any plural of majesty exists, and all the evidence is shown to be against your personal view. You cannot account for any usage including Gen 1:26;3:22;11:7 even if the idea were existent, it still can't explain these passages!

Now David, please focus.

Why are you using language that is not found in the Bible? e.g. "part of his nature"

Is the statement "God is one" numeric or generic identity.

Please go back up and actually respond to what people ask of you. Instead of repeating arguments that have already been torn to shreds on another blog.

Mark Bennett (Dk) said...

David said:

"I just meant that love is ONE OF the qualities of God. This is just the NORMAL WAY of speaking ABOUT PEOPLE ."

Indeed and that's your problem, you liken God (who prohibits you from doing so) to his creation as "normal" and "people", quite peculiar like your accuse Jesus and his apostles statements as "odd" and "impulsive".

But this doesn't explain why you are employing language like "PART OF HIS NATURE" or "ONE OF HIS QUALITIES". This is non-biblical terminology which is "beyond" what the Bible says. Please stick to your own rules.

The Bible doesn't use terms like "traits, characteristics, qualities, attributes, nature, essence, substance, being" etc, these are terms we use to expound and explain the Bible in more westernized robust terminology, something you prohibit yourself from doing. Only we Trinitarians may employee this language, you as a Unitarian are stuck in borrowing from the Trinitarin World View, which you deserve praise for undermining your own false position. Well done on that David, every time you do that, you use truth to undermine your own heresy.

bob said...

David, you say,

“I mean by ‘numerically the same’ the ordinary meaning of being identical to, being one and same as. I have no special meaning of the phrase as it relates to Jesus or to God.
If ‘X’ is identical to ‘Y’, where ‘X’ and ‘Y’ are proper names or definite descriptions, that means that ‘X’ and ‘Y’ denote or stand for the same individual. Whatever could be said about ‘X’ can be said about ‘Y’ (except perhaps where people are talking about ‘X’ and don’t know that ‘X’ is ‘Y’).”

Again, and in light of your statement of “I have no special meaning of the phrase as it relates to Jesus or to God” how does ‘X’ and ‘Y’ and Judas relate to God the Father and God the Son, as we find them in the Scriptures?

E.g. God the Father...

“because God the Father has set his seal on him.” John 6:27

...and God the Son.

But to the Son He (the Father) says: "Your throne, O God, is forever and ever"

And:

"You, Lord, in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands." Hebrews 1:8, 10

You say,

“So when I say that Jesus is not numerically identical to Yahweh, or God, I mean that Jesus is not one and the same as Yahweh..."


Where, and bearing in mind the above verses, do we find your explanation in God’s word?


"...They are different individuals.”

But no one is saying that they are not different individuals.

David Kemball-Cook said...

Hi Derek (I assume you are Derek?)

‘God is one’ is neither numeric nor generic.

We can understand it saying that there is only one God, ie monotheism, and also that God is not composed of a plurality of Persons. I think these two understandings come to the same thing.

I would like to know what you believe Derek. I had a look at your website, and it seems that you are not a Christian (any more).
So why are you posting here?
What truth do you think you are defending?
Or are you just having fun in attacking other people’s beliefs?

Regards
David

David Kemball-Cook said...

Reply to Derek
Hi Derek

I would still like to know what you believe
It is very difficult to debate someone if you don’t know where they are coming from
Fair’s fair. I will answer anything you like to ask me on what I believe, if you do the same.

You said “God is not a human person”
Indeed! I agree that God is not human. But I would say that he is a person, in at least one sense.

We could debate what ‘person’ means. It does need definition, because the concept is notoriously elastic.

But Trinitarians say that Jesus is God and also that Jesus is a person, and also that Jesus has a human nature, don’t they?

So if you (Derek) were a Trinitarian, you might want to explain why exactly Jesus is NOT a human person.

Or maybe you believe God is not a human person and that Jesus IS a human person?

If you felt able to say what you believe, then we might be able to discuss meaningfully.

Regards
David

David Kemball-Cook said...

Reply to Derek
OK thanks. Sorry I did not see this reply before I replied earlier

You said “I believe in one absolute God who consists of unity and diversity. This means God must at least be two persons, if not more. I class myself somewhere between an agnostic and a christian.”
If you believe in God, then (surely) you are not an agnostic?

“Consisting of unity and diversity” – what does this mean?
Do you mean that there is only one God (monotheism), but that he is more than one person?

Regards
David

David Kemball-Cook said...

Reply to Derek
Thanks
“we Trinitarians …” So you are a Trinitarian are you? I am confused!
Debating you feels a bit like wrestling with a bar of soap

Not long ago you said “I believe in one absolute God who consists of unity and diversity. This means God must at least be two persons, if not more. I class myself somewhere between an agnostic and a christian.”
“at least two”? Why not say three, if that is what you believe?
And are you saying you are a Trinitarian without being sure you are a Christian? This seems a new type of belief to me.
And why did you not say before that you are a Trinitarian?
Why not be upfront about what you believe?

BTW I said “MUCH beyond what he said in his word”
And the Bible does actually use the words ‘substance’ (hypostasis) and ‘nature’ (physis)
(only ‘substance’ is not used in the way that Trinitarians would prefer.)

Regards
David

David Kemball-Cook said...

Reply to Bob
Are God and Jesus different individuals?

Hi Bob

I said “So when I say that Jesus is not numerically identical to Yahweh, or God, I mean that Jesus is not one and the same as Yahweh. They are different individuals.”

You said “Where, and bearing in mind the above verses, do we find your explanation in God’s word?”

For instance Jesus said “My Father is greater than I”
That makes two individuals. Nobody can be greater than himself.

The Bible says that Jesus is the Son of God
That would make two, God and his Son. Nobody can be his own Son.

I could cite other examples where it is clearly implied that God and Jesus are different individuals, if you wish

Regards
David

bob said...

David, you say,

"I could cite other examples where it is clearly implied that God and Jesus are different individuals, if you wish"

Again, no one is saying that the Father and the Son are not different individuals.

What we ARE saying is that they are both equally God since they both reside at the same highest level of power/authority in heaven. And since there is no higher title for the highest position in heaven other than "God" then they are both, together with the Holy Spirit, equally God, and all Three, individually or together, are therefore called God, as we see in the Scriptures.

As Jesus 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

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

And we also have the following.

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

Jesus existed as the Son BEFORE the incarnation e.g. Daniel 3:25

"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 fourth is like the Son of God."

Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.” John 8:58.

“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing. Matthew 23:37

Then in Psalms we see:

How precious is your loving-kindness, O God! Therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of your wings. Psalm 36:7

Jesus also accepted worship and forgave sins which only God has the authority to do since he is the one we have sinned against.

“That all should honour the Son just as they honour the Father. He who does not honour the Son does not honour the Father who sent him.” John 5:23

Then we have another of Jesus' titles: the Holy One

…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.



Anthony Rogers said...

DKC,

(I assume that you DID want this dialogue, since you let RS post his article attacking me and it would be natural to expect me to respond. I am grateful for the opportunity.)

I don’t know what lead you to question my interest in this discussion, unless it was my observation that I see little point in giving you more verses when you have already told me what your attitude is to the ones you brought up for me. If that is how you handle verses you don’t like, why should I think that you deserve other verses or that you will handle them any better?

If I offer a vagrant five dollars and he spits in my face, do you think he has the right to complain that I didn’t turn around and offer him more money after that?

If you go to a restaurant broke and they give you a baked potato for free, do you think you have a right to demand that they serve it to you with extra sour cream and chives? Even after you complain about how it looks and smells?

I asked you Where in the Bible is it taught or preached that God is three Persons or that Jesus is God?

That isn’t quite right. You asked where the above is taught in the Bible, and then you followed this up with impulsive remarks that were worse than odd about passages that teach these things. In other words, you asked for verses and then told me not to give you any verses that you don’t like.

I am not against the Bible!

I am afraid you already tipped your hand. There is little point in trying to put on a good poker face now.

I expect you agree that doctrines as important as the Trinity and the deity of Jesus, if they are biblically-based, should be found in the Bible.

Yes, and I expect people to fear and tremble before the Word of God, otherwise I am just casting out pearls for you to trample on them.

They should be taught clearly by Jesus, taught clearly in the epistles and preached clearly by the apostles.

And when such doctrines are clearly taught, people shouldn’t dismiss such teachings as odd and impulsive. Are you starting to get the point?

So, as you did not answer my question the first time, may I repeat it?

I did answer your question: until you are grateful and give thanks for the verses already on the table, you don’t get to demand a second serving.

Where in the Bible is it taught or preached that God is three Persons or that Jesus is God?

Here are a few passages for starters.

Matthew 28:19
Romans 9:5
John 20:28

These passages are clear. Give me something better than “odd,” “impulsive, and “mistranslated” for a response. Using synonymous words like “weird” or “thoughtless” won’t cut it either.

Anthony Rogers said...

DKC,

I asked you about the relationship between God’s essence and attributes and between His various attributes. You ventured a reply to the first part but ignored the second. That’s fine; the part you did answer gives me more than enough to work with.

As for your answer, you said that you are using “is” in the sense of predication, not identity. To quote you: “I would say that ‘God is (eg) love’ is a statement of predication, that love is part of his nature.”

In other words, God’s essence and attributes are not one, and God is a composite being. The problem with this answer, which is basically the same problem you lay at the feet of Social Trinitarians (which I have already distinguished myself from), is that it denies God’s aseity, immutability, and uniqueness.

1. The God of Scripture is a se, i.e. He exists in and of Himself and does not depend on anything besides Himself. To say that God is composed of various attributes or parts is to assert that something preceded Him, namely the attributes of which He is composed, and that He depends on this collection of parts to be what He is. Moreover, since everything that is composed of parts is composed by something else, i.e. by another person or thing, then God would be dependent on that which brought about His (alleged) composition.

2. The God of Scripture is unchanging in His essential nature. To say that God is made up of parts, i.e. essence and the attributes/accidents that are predicated of Him, is a denial of His immutability, for if the attributes are predicated of the essence, that is, if they really are different things that somehow inhere in Him or that are super-added to Him, then either God changed in the past or He has the potential to change in the future, either by the addition or subtraction of one or another attribute.

In fact, this follows from what you said to Derek, wherein you put God and Derek on the same level in an effort to explain what you meant when you said that love is something predicated of God:

“We could say that Derek Adams is one, in the sense that there is only one individual called ‘Derek Adams’. But this person can have lots of qualities and properties.
He can be intelligent, courteous, kind and modest, for instance. 
But we wouldn’t say that Derek is made up of four parts, because we can think of four qualities that he has, would we?

Well, yes, that is exactly what it means to predicate attributes like intelligence of Derek. And since it is something predicated of him, it is also something non-essential, i.e. something that he could just as well have or not have, attain or lose.

Anthony Rogers said...

3. The God of Scripture alone is eternal and unique; there is nothing coeval or coexistent with Him. To say that various attributes are predicated of God is to say that there are multiple entities, indeed, as many entities as there are attributes, besides God that He somehow participates in or partakes of. In effect, you have denied the simplicity or the non-composite essence and nature of God, and in doing so you have multiplied entities beyond measure.

What this latter point means is, if your argument against the ST model is true, which is to say, if STers are guilty of constructing a model that is tritheistic rather than one that is truly Trinitarian in keeping with the Biblical data, then your view is a hundred times worse, for you believe in as many entities as there are attributes. On this account, STers would be tritheists, but you would be a full-blown polytheist, worthy of honorary induction into the Mormon hall of fame. In fact, since there is no reason to think that God’s attributes are limited to those we know of, your view would make Joseph Smith blush.

(Similarly, even though I don’t believe the persons of the Trinity are parts of God, as if to say that the Father is 1/3 God, Jesus is another 1/3 and the Spirit another 1/3, or that the three persons are just instantiations of a generic divine nature, it is fundamentally inconsistent and altogether arbitrary of you to say that God being one allows for Him to be composed of various attributes but not be composed of persons. If you can say that God is composed of a multiplicity of attributes without on that account being guilty of polytheism, then Social Trinitarians are well within their rights to say God is composed of three persons without that committing them to tritheism. If composition were allowed, then your view is no less objectionable than their view. In fact, I would even say that their view is superior to yours since your view depersonalizes these other entities and thus introduces an element of impersonalism into your view of ultimate reality.)

Anthony Rogers said...

In light of all of this, I found it quite funny when you said: “If we say God is one, we mean he is one individual. But of course he can have lots of attributes! Did you think that Unitarians believe God cannot have multiple properties?”

That is exactly what I think you are committed to as a matter of consistency. Better unitarian theologians and philosophers than you have pointed this out.

And so I have to ask: just whom are you referring to when you say “we,” as in

we say God is one…”

and

…we mean he is one individual”?

Apparently you think “we” refers to “unitarians” as such, because you go on to say, “Did you think Unitarians believe God cannot have multiple properties?”

Philosophically astute unitarians, aware of what I laid out above, have most definitely had a problem with your view. For example, here is what Maimonides, a Jewish unitarian, said to those who naively say things like, “of course he can have lots of attributes,” in the sense that they are properties that are properly predicated of Him:

“If, however, you have a desire to rise to a higher state, viz., that of reflection, and truly to hold the conviction that God is One and possesses true unity, without admitting plurality or divisibility in any sense whatever, you must understand that God has no essential attribute in any form or in any sense whatever, and that the rejection of corporeality implies the rejection of essential attributes. Those who believe that God is One, and that He has many attributes, declare the unity with their lips, and assume plurality in their thoughts. This is like the doctrine of the Christians, who say that He is one and He is three, and that the three are one. Of the same character is the doctrine of those who say that God is One, but that He has many attributes; and that He with His attributes is One, although they deny corporeality and affirm His most absolute freedom from matter; as if our object were to seek forms of expression, not subjects of belief. For belief is only possible after the apprehension of a thing; it consists in the conviction that the thing apprehended has its existence beyond the mind [in reality] exactly as it is conceived in the mind. If in addition to this we are convinced that the thing cannot be different in any way from what we believe it to be, and that no reasonable argument can be found for the rejection of the belief or for the admission of any deviation from it, then the belief is true. Renounce desires and habits, follow your reason, and study what I am going to say in the chapters which follow on the rejection of the attributes; you will then be fully convinced of what we have said: you will be of those who truly conceive the Unity of God, not of those who utter it with their lips without thought, like men of whom it has been said, ‘Thou art near in their mouth, and far from their reins’ (Jer. xii. 2).” [Moses Maimonides, Guide for the Perplexed – Translated From the Original Arabic Text by M. FRIEDLÄNDER, PHḌ, 2nd edition (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul Ltd., 1904), Ch. L, pp. 67-68.]

According to Maimonides, you do not hold to God’s “true unity” but are such a one as merely asserts the unity with his lips but whose thoughts are far from the truth.

Anthony Rogers said...

Having heard from Maimonides, who is only one of a long list of other Jewish unitarians who put down your view that God is a subject that things can be predicated of, let’s now hear from a Muslim unitarian, namely Muhammad Asad, who once again is only one of a long list of others who point this out:

“…. The very concept of ‘definition’ implies the possibility of a comparison or correlation of an object with other objects; God, however, is UNIQUE, there being ‘nothing like unto Him’ (42:11) and, therefore, ‘nothing that could be compared with Him’ (112:4) – with the result that any attempt at defining Him or His ‘attributes’ is a LOGICAL IMPOSSIBILITY and, from the ethical point of view, A SIN. The fact that He is UNDEFINABLE makes it clear that the ‘attributes’ (sifat) of God mentioned in the Qur’an do not circumscribe His reality but, rather, THE PERCEPTIBLE EFFECT OF HIS ACTIVITY on and within the universe created by Him.” [Asad, Surah 6, fn.88. See also Surah 13, fn.21; Surah 76, fn.73.]

Your departure from maintaining the “true unity” of God is further exposed when you say “God is one” means that God is one person (something the Bible nowhere says):

“But on the oneness of God, I understand this to mean that God is only one individual, one person if you like.”

Once again, this is contrary to the demands of holding to the “true unity” of God, which sees the necessity of saying that God and His attributes are one. For example, in drawing out the implications of the unity of God’s essence and attributes in a way that admits of no distinctions between them, Asad says the following about the application of the term “person” to God:

“The core of the argument is an exposition of God’s ONENESS and UNIQUENESS. He is the Prime Cause of all that exists, but “no human vision can encompass Him” (verse 103), either physically or conceptually: and, therefore, ‘He is sublimely exalted above anything that men may devise by way of definition’ (verse 100). Consequently, any endeavor to ’define’ God within the categories of human thought, or to reduce Him to the concept of a ‘person’, constitutes a blasphemous attempt at limiting His infinite existence. (To avoid a conception of God as a “person” the Qur’an always varies the pronouns relating to Him: He is spoken of – frequently in one and the same sentence – as ‘He’, ‘I’ and ‘We’; similarly, the possessive pronouns referring to God fluctuate constantly between ‘His’, ‘My’ and ‘Ours’.)” [Asad, introduction to Surah 6 (Al-‘An’am), p. 196.]

And to the following statement of yours,

“That is why he is almost always referred to in the Bible as an ‘I’ or a ‘He’, and almost never as a ‘They’, ‘Them’, ‘We’ or ‘Us’. (To say that God is one is not really a statement of any kind of identity.)”

Asad demurs, telling us that God uses singular AND plural terms PRECISELY BECAUSE he is not a person, as demanded by the constraints of His simplicity:

“…these changes are not accidental, and not even what one might describe as ‘poetic license’, but are obviously deliberate: a linguistic device meant to stress the idea that God is not a ‘person’ and cannot, therefore, be really circumscribed by the pronouns applicable to finite beings.” [Asad, Foreword, p. vii.]

Anthony Rogers said...

The funny thing is, my view actually bears a greater (though not identical) resemblance to that of Maimonides and Asad than your view does, and thus my view appears and actually turns out to be more truly monotheistic than what you are espousing. The difference is, while I believe in the simplicity of God, i.e. that the essence of God is not to be divorced from His attributes, so that the attributes are in some fundamental sense one with His essence, nevertheless over and against unitarians like Maimonides and Asad, I insist that this does not render God an undefinable and unknowable blank, because the attributes are still capable of being distinguished, provided we don’t reason univocally but analogically, which is in keeping with the Creator-creature distinction, something that will be pointed out later when I cite Dolezal. For now, consider the words of theologian A. A. Hodge:

“10. What do theologians mean by the phrase SIMPLICITY, when applied to God?

The term simplicity is used, first, in opposition to material composition, whether mechanical, organic, or chemical; second, in a metaphysical sense in negation of the relation of substance and property, essence and mode. In the first sense of the word human souls are simple, because they are not composed of elements, parts, or organs. In the second sense of the word our souls are complex, since there is in them a distinction between their essence and their properties, and their successive modes or states of existence. As, however, God is infinite, eternal, self-existence from eternity, necessarily the same without succession, theologians have maintained that in him essence, and property, and mode are one. He always is what he is; and his various states of intellection, emotion, and volition are not successive and transient but co-existent and permanent; and he is what he is essentially, and by the same necessity that he exists. Whatever is in God, whether thought, emotion, volition, or act, is God.

Some conceive of God as passing through various transient modes and states just as men do, and therefore they suppose the properties of the divine nature are related to the divine essence as the properties of created things are related to the essences which are endowed with them. Others press the idea of simplicity so far that they deny any distinction in the divine attributes in themselves, and suppose that the only difference between them is to be found in the mode of external manifestation, and in the effects produced. They illustrate their idea by the various effects produced on different objects by the same radiance of the sun.

In order to avoid both extremes theologians have been accustomed to say that the divine attributes differ from the divine essence and from one another, 1st, not realiter or as one thing differs from another, or in any such way as to imply composition in God. Nor 2d, merely nominaliter, as though there was nothing in God really corresponding to our conceptions of his perfections. But 3d, they are said to differ virtualiter, so that there is in him a foundation or adequate reason for all the representations which are made in Scripture with regard to the divine perfections, and for the consequent conceptions which we have of them.” [Archibald Alexander Hodge, D.D., Outlines of Theology – Rewritten and Enlarged (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, [1860], 1949), pp. 136-137.

Anthony Rogers said...

Note that the position that Hodge outlines stands over against your view, which admits of composition in God, and the view of Maimonides and Asad, which denies the possibility of distinguishing God’s attributes or that there is anything in God that corresponds to our conceptions about Him, which would turn God into nothing more than a colorless abstraction.

And so, I have no other option than to say that you don’t know what you are talking about when you say God is the subject of whom various attributes are predicated but this does not mean God is made up of parts. If you predicate attributes of God rather than identify them with His essence, then you either have to view them as intra-deical or extra deical. On either accounting you deny God’s unity, either because you make God a composite being, or because you introduce a plurality of entities alongside God. And neither alternative is acceptable theologically or philosophically.

Accordingly, when you say the following:

“When we worship God we worship GOD, we do not worship parts of God. That would be silly. In any case, as I said, we should not think of God as having parts. Qualities yes, parts no.”

You are absolutely right, that certainly would be silly. The problem is, that is exactly what your position entails. Without know it, you have accurately assessed your own position. If the “is” in statements like “God is love” is the “is” of predication rather than identity, then, like it or not, your God is made up of parts, and it would be perfectly appropriate for you to personify any part and do obeisance to it. Your view is the root of which full-blown pagan polytheism is the fruit.

So your silly position is as theologically and philosophically flawed as they come, all denials notwithstanding.

All of the above demonstrates that we need a view that simultaneously affirms God’s essential (non-composite) unity without destroying the possibility of distinguishing between His attributes. Your view doesn’t cut it.

Is there any other view that does not fall prey to either the blank simplicity view of more consistent monotheists like Maimonides and Asad, or to the composition view of less consistent “monotheists” like yourself and your Socinian forebears? Obviously I think there is, but it is a view that leads straightway to the Trinity. Better yet, it is a view that presupposes the Trinity.

Anthony Rogers said...

Before coming to that, let me respond to your ill-informed reply to the LT view that I set forth before. In response to this, you made the following remarks:

“I said that I believe it be an impossible task to explain the Trinity….

I believe that nobody can provide a model which explains the Trinity in a non-contradictory way and which is consistent with the Bible, and in particular which is consistent with monotheism.

You are surely familiar with the arguments.”


Yes, I am familiar with the arguments. However, when you say the following, you are not providing an argument:

“1) Three ‘Persons’ who are each identical to Yahweh are not three distinct individuals but one being (the ‘Latin Trinity’ route).

If (say) the Father is one and the same as Yahweh and Jesus is one and the same as Yahweh, then the Father is one and the same as Jesus. This is not a Trinity but modalism.

2) If on the other hand there are three ‘Persons’ who are not identical to Yahweh but are each fully divine (the social Trinity option), then there are three gods.

You say “Yes, Jesus is numerically identical to Yahweh (As is the Father, as is the Spirit).”

So clearly you go for (1).

Then how do we distinguish the Persons? Surely this is modalism?”


It would only be modalism if in fact I said the words you put in my mouth. I did say that Jesus is numerically identical to Yahweh (as is the Father, as is the Spirit), but I decidedly did not say they are not three persons (as per your point 1). That was your all too convenient addition to what I said. The fact is, I am not a unitarian. I do not believe that “Yahweh” is reducible to a single person. Numerical identity would only entail modalism on the supposition that God is a single person. Apparently you do not remember a brief discussion we had on another thread which should have made this obvious to you. On that occasion, you said:

“I have not been able to get any trinitarian to explain what it means to say ‘Jesus is God’, and what kind of identity is being claimed here. Nobody has been able to explain the flaw in such simple arguments as

1) The Father is God
2) Jesus is God
Therefore
3) The Father is Jesus (which I would agree is absurd)

Perhaps there is a trinitarian out there who can explain the flaw here. It must be a simple one! ”


To this, I replied:

Yes, there is a flaw here. Your argument is elliptical. It rests on a hidden and deeply flawed (read: unbiblical) premise.

(3) only follows from (1) and (2) on the unexpressed assumption of unitarianism, i.e. God [Yahweh] is unipersonal.

But since the Bible teaches (1) and (2) but rejects (3), as you admit ("which I would agree is absurd"), then it follows that unitarianism is false.

Anthony Rogers said...

And so, when I said the persons of the Trinity are numerically identical to the divine essence, i.e. each person is properly identified as Yahweh, I was not saying that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are numerically identical to each other. In saying the above I am affirming their essential unity, which justifies identifying any one of the persons or all three of them as Yahweh, and at the same time I am affirming their personal diversity. You might believe that the logical implication of affirming the essential unity of Father, Son, and Spirit leads to a denial of personal distinctions, but since I obviously don’t grant that then you need to lay out the premises that demonstrate this to be a necessary implication, and you also need to be able to argue it in such a way that it does not destroy the possibility of distinguishing between God’s attributes. Simply saying that my view entails modalism, as you do above, doesn’t make it so.

Now you might say that you did actually provide the rationale for this in another comment of yours, where you said:

“But the problem with your criteria for distinguishing the Persons is that if they are each numerically identical to Yahweh, then (as I pointed out above), they are numerically identical to each other.

This implies that they must have EXACTLY the same properties (among other things).

So we cannot distinguish them according to their properties.

Everything that can be said about the Father is the same as everything that can be said about the Son, which is everything that can be said about Yahweh. This is the meaning of numerical identity.

You have the absurd results of modalism, for instance that ‘Jesus sent himself’. ‘Jesus is his own Son’. ‘Jesus is a Trinity’ and so on.

Now I am sure that you are not a modalist. But if you say that Jesus is numerically identical to Yahweh your position is indistinguishable from modalism.”


But it was just this kind of comment that lead me to say that you obviously flouted reading any of the works I mentioned.

Anthony Rogers said...

Although you didn’t actually lay out the premises of the argument, other unitarians have, and the argument has been directly addressed in the literature. Here is how Augustine replied long ago:

There is, accordingly, a good which is alone simple, and therefore alone unchangeable, and this is God. By this Good have all others been created, but not simple, and therefore not unchangeable. “Created,” I say—that is, made, not begotten. For that which is begotten of the simple Good is simple as itself, and the same as itself. These two we call the Father and the Son; and both together with the Holy Spirit are one God; and to this Spirit the epithet Holy is in Scripture, as it were, appropriated. And He is another than the Father and the Son, for He is neither the Father nor the Son. I say “another,” not “another thing,” because He is equally with them the simple Good, unchangeable and co-eternal. And this Trinity is one God; and none the less simple because a Trinity. For we do not say that the nature of the good is simple, because the Father alone possesses it, or the Son alone, or the Holy Ghost alone; nor do we say, with the Sabellian heretics, that it is only nominally a Trinity, and has no real distinction of persons; but we say it is simple, because it is what it has, with the exception of the relation of the persons to one another. For, in regard to this relation, it is true that the Father has a Son, and yet is not Himself the Son; and the Son has a Father, and is not Himself the Father. But, as regards Himself, irrespective of relation to the other, each is what He has; thus, He is in Himself living, for He has life, and is Himself the Life which He has. (The City of God, NPNF 1, Vol. 2, 11.10. Emphasis mine.)

Anthony Rogers said...

And here is a more robust recent account from Dolezal:

“Obviously it is a challenge to understand how there can be a real identity between the essence, which is one, and the divine persons, which are three. Prima facie it seems to contravene the law of identity. If the first, second and third persons of the Godhead are each equal to the divine essence, then must we not conclude to the real identity of the persons? The answer is that we must if we predicate ‘person’ and ‘relation’ univocally of God and humans, that is, as referring to relations between three individual substances. But simplicitists reject such univocity. In the Summa theologiae Aquinas takes divine simplicity as his point of departure in answering the question of whether essence is the same as the person in God: ‘the divine simplicity requires that in God essence is the same as suppositum’. And since the relations by which the persons are constituted and really distinguished from each other cannot inhere as accidents in the divine substance, it must be that the relations themselves subsist.

If the personal relations were accidents in God they would be really distinct from his divinity. If they were only conceptual relations then the persons would not be really distinct from each other. And if they were substantial relations the persons would be three really distinct beings, three gods. Thus, the divine personal relations must be subsistent relations. Such a notion is entirely without counterpart in Aristotelian philosophy. Thomas writes: ‘Now distinction in God is only by relation of origin … while relation in God is not as an accident in a subject, but is the divine essence itself; and so it is subsistent, for the divine essence subsists’.

If the divine relations themselves subsist then it is not possible to conceive of them as existing in another, such as the personal essence of each divine person. Indeed, there is no particular Father-essence, Son-essence or Spirit-essence; there is simply the divine essence subsisting according to three really distinct relations within itself. These three subsistent relations simply are the three persons of God. Clearly, there is a radical difference between the criteria by which creaturely persons (or supposita) are distinguished and those by which divine persons are distinguished. Thomas locates this difference precisely in the fact that creaturely relations are not subsistent (i.e. they are accidents in creatures) while divine relations subsist in virtue of their identity with God's essence:

There cannot be a distinction of suppositum in creatures by means of relations, but only by essential principles; because in creatures relations are not subsistent. But in God relations are subsistent, and so by reason of the opposition between them they distinguish the supposita; and yet the essence is not distinguished, because the relations themselves are not distinguished from each other so far as they are identified with the essence… (quote continued in next post)

Anthony Rogers said...

...The distinctions between the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are not as those between thing and thing or substance and substance. Neither are they distinct as between accident and accident within a single subject. As far as essence is concerned the divine relations are not really distinct from each other – they are all three the one same God. As fully existing by virtue of the self-same divinity the divine persons cannot be distinguished by anything other than the opposition of their relations. And while those relations wherein they are distinguished cannot be properly ascribed to each person, as befits opposition, everything else about them can. Their distinction lies solely in their relations of opposition. As real, non-accidental and identical with God's essence these relations must themselves be subsistent. Reformed theologian John Owen remarks that ‘a divine person is nothing but the divine essence … subsisting in an especial manner’. That special manner is as a subsistent relation.

If the divine persons just are the divine relations subsisting in the Godhead then it must be that the Father is identical with the relation of paternity, the Son with filiation and the Spirit with spiration. As subsistent relations these ordinarily abstract terms are predicated of the persons concretely. These are not relations that are superadded to already-constituted subjects in the Godhead, otherwise it would not be the relations that ultimately constitute and distinguish the divine persons after all. Gilles Emery distils the essence of the claim for the simplicity of the divine persons:

[In God] relative property and person designate the same reality, even though their mode of signifying it differs. In the final analysis, this identity of relative property and person rests on the nature of a divine relation, and … divine relations formally possess the being of the divine essence. This applies in full to the three personal relations, that is, to the three relative properties which constitute the persons: paternity, filiation, and procession. These relations or relative properties ‘are the subsisting persons themselves’: paternity is the Father himself, filiation is the Son, and ‘procession’ is the Holy Spirit.

Just as God's simplicity requires the real identity of the divine essence and relations, it also requires that we conceive these relations as subsistent and each of the divine persons as identical with his distinct relation. This identity means that the persons qua persons are non-composite.” [James E. Dolezal, “Trinity, Simplicity and the Status of God’s Personal Relations,” IJST, Vol. 16, issue 1, January 2014. Italics original]

Anthony Rogers said...

So I don’t think the account I gave requires me to appeal to paradox as soon as you thought, but even if at this point you are not convinced and do not believe that it has been shown how the persons of the Trinity can be identical to the essence and distinct from each other, i.e. even if you think I have not removed the mystery at this point -- and I would certainly grant that in any case I would eventually reach an end to what I can say about God long before exhausting the truth about Him -- there are several things I can say that show the consistency and necessity of embracing the paradoxical, i.e. incomprehensible, God of Christianity. In other words, even if it were the case that I have not and/or cannot not show how God can be both one (in essence) and many (in personal subsistence), I can show that the Trinity is consistent with what we must say about the relationship of God’s essence to His attributes, so that, in principle, if one denies the latter, then they must also deny the former. In addition, I can also show that one necessarily has to presuppose the Triune God in all His incomprehensible majesty in order to know anything at all.

On the matter of consistency, note that what I have already said about what MUST be true of the relationship between God’s essence and attributes is analogous (albeit not identical) to what I have said about the Trinity.

As Scott Oliphint writes:

“…God, since he is essentially infinite, is without boundaries—temporal or spatial. He is not “contained” by a context of space that surrounds him. Rather, his existence just is. It is not an existence here or there; it is simply existence.

Not only is he “simply existence,” but traditional Christian theism has always held that God is “simple existence.” “Simple” here does not mean the opposite of complex (what can be more complex than God?), but rather it affirms that God is not composed of any parts external to himself. Thus, any distinctions we make with respect to God must themselves be identical to him. One way to illustrate this is by way of our understanding of God as triune. By “triune,” we mean that God is one in three. He is one identical essence, and he is also three persons. But this does not in any way mean that God is composed of three parts—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Rather, it means that the three persons of the Trinity are each one and all together identical to God. They are….one in essence, three in persons. So, we make distinctions—between Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—and the distinctions do actually tell us that the Father is not the Son, who is not the Spirit, who is not the Father. But those distinctions are in no way “parts” of God. The three are one and the same God.

So also, though not in an identical way, are the attributes of God. They are distinctions that we make with respect to God’s character. But these distinctions with respect to who God is essentially are themselves not parts of God that come together to “compose” who he is. Rather, they just are God. Thus, when we say God is eternal, we do not mean that God partakes of that which is eternal and external to his existence. What we mean is that the eternity of God is itself God. To think otherwise is to make God dependent on something else—in this case eternity—in order to be who he is essentially.” [Scott Oliphint, God With Us, pp. 17-18.]

Anthony Rogers said...

In addition, the attributes of God actually demand that we understand God along Trinitarian lines. This is point is cogently made by Ralph Smith:

“Of all the gods in all the religions of the world, only the triune God of the Bible is truly and wholly personal. This point is often not recognized, so we will dwell on it briefly. First, consider the non-Christian theism embraced by Jews and Muslims [and Socinians – AR], the belief in a single god who rules the world. By itself, theism will not suffice to give us a truly personal god, for a god who is utterly and simply one—a mere monad—fails to have the qualities we know to be essential to personality. Although an absolute monad, like the god of Islam, is the most exalted non-Christian idea of deity, a monad is a being who is eternally alone—with no other to love, no other with whom to communicate, and no other with whom to have fellowship. In the case of such a solitary god, love, fellowship, and communication cannot be essential to his being. Indeed, they are not part of the monad at all. But without these qualities it is difficult to imagine that the deity so understood is in any meaningful sense personal. To conceive of a god who does not know love, a god who has never shared, a god for whom a relationship with another is eternally irrelevant, is to conceive of an abstraction, an idea or a thing more than a person.

If, to make his god more personal, a believer in such a deity suggested that this god loved the world after he created it, the result would be a god who changes in time and who needs the world in order to grow into his self-realization as a god of love—a god who becomes personal only with the help of the creation. Suppose one asserted that the monad loved the world from eternity? Then the personality of this deity and his attribute of love would still depend for their existence on the world he created. Creation would be a necessary act of self-becoming. For, unless this deity created the world, he could not realize the love that had been eternally hidden in him, waiting for its time to shine forth.

In either case, we would have theism of a sort. Both cases would be attempts to obtain a monad for whom love had some meaning. However, these attempts succeed in exalting the monad ethically by demoting him ontologically, for he is no longer absolute, no longer transcendent. We would have to admit that he could no longer truly be god, and that a god who varies or a god who is dependent on the world that he creates is not worthy to be regarded as a deity. Be that as it may, in either of these cases, though the idea of love has been imported into an inchoate theism, we are clearly far from the biblical concept of a personal fellowship of love among equals. Of course, neither orthodox Jews nor orthodox Muslims imagine their god as a changing or contingent being. They would not think of revising their views of god to enhance his image and compensate for his lack of personal qualities. It follows that they must be satisfied with a god who exists in an eternal vacuum, even though they will find irresistible the temptation to ascribe personality to the monad….(quote continued in next post)...

Anthony Rogers said...

…What we have said here about love applies to other attributes of God also. IN the Bible, words like righteousness, faithfulness, and goodness refer to divine attributes that ultimately require the doctrine of the Trinity. None of these notions can be defined biblically apart from the relationships between Father, Son, and Spirit. Even outside of the biblical worldview, they cannot really be defined apart from the context of interpersonal relationship. Righteousness for a lonely monad simply has no specific content. Righteousness for the triune God means that each of the persons respects and preserves the boundaries of the others. The Father honors the Son and does not allow the infringement of what belongs to the Son. Goodness refers to their mutual seeking of blessing for one another, faithfulness to their keeping their word with one another. In the absence of a relationship among persons, these and similar words become so utterly abstract that meaning disappears. They may describe the monad’s relationship to the world, but that brings up the same problems that appeared when we considered the meaning of love.” (Smith, Trinity and Reality: An Introduction to the Christian Faith, pp. 18-19.)

So even though I don’t agree with your way of accounting for or understanding the divine attributes, the very fact that you acknowledge that God does have attributes, i.e. that God is holy, righteous, and loving, presupposes the truth of the Trinity or the personal relations that obtain between the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

Finally, if ultimate reality is not both one and many, such as we find to be the case in the revealed doctrine of the Trinity, then it would be impossible to make anything in human experience intelligible.

[My time has run out…I will have to finish this later. Lord willing, of course.]

David Kemball-Cook said...

Hi Anthony
Thanks for your posts and extracts. They clearly deserve close attention and I will go through them when I have time. Hopefully tonight.

Just a couple of points in the meantime

1) Distinction between the Persons

Did you answer my question about whether the Persons have separate consciousnesses etc?
I did not notice an answer when I skimmed your posts just now. But it should be fairly easy to give a short answer shouldn’t it (eg Yes or No)?


2) Biblical evidence

I asked you for clear teaching and preaching in the Bible of the doctrines of the Trinity and Incarnation. I said, that if they are biblically based “They should be taught clearly by Jesus, taught clearly in the epistles and preached clearly by the apostles.”

Where in the Bible is it taught or preached that God is three Persons or that Jesus is God?

You replied “Here are a few passages for starters.

Matthew 28:19, Romans 9:5, John 20:28

These passages are clear. Give me something better than “odd,” “impulsive, and “mistranslated” for a response. Using synonymous words like “weird” or “thoughtless” won’t cut it either.”

Thanks Anthony, but these are not clear teaching or preaching.

Teaching of Jesus
Matt 28:19 is not teaching of the threeness of God, as I pointed out before on your thread dealing with this. If Jesus had believed that he was one of a Trinity, he would have spent time teaching his disciples this during his earthly life, not left it until after his resurrection.

Mention of ‘Father’, ‘Son’ and ‘Holy Spirit’ in the same sentence does not amount to teaching that God is three. I believe, as you know, that ‘Father’ refers to God, ‘Son’ refers to Jesus, and ‘Spirit’ refers to the Spirit of God, who is not a Person in its (his) own right.

If Jesus had believed that God was three, why did he not teach it?
He could have at least replied to the scribe in Mark 12:29 something like
“The Lord our God is one Lord, but I say to you he is really three”
But he did not say that. He reiterated the Shema, that God is one.

Teaching of Paul
I would think at least a chapter in Romans would be needed, as far as Paul is concerned. He spends eight chapters on salvation, three on the fate of the Jews. Surely something substantial on the deity of Christ would be expected?
Surely the Trinitarian needs more than a single verse with disputed translations (even James White needs a couple of pages to try to show that Romans 9:5 means that Jesus is God).

John’s Gospel
If John meant with his gospel to show that Jesus was God, why did he say that these things are written to show “that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God” (John 20:31).
If you are the Son of God, you are not God (if you were, you would be your own son)
There is no clear teaching in John that Jesus is God.

Preaching in Acts
You have not supplied anything from Acts showing that the apostles preached that God is three or that Jesus is God.
Don’t think that they would have done so, if they had believed in those doctrines?
They are hardly marginal to the Christian faith, as orthodoxy would have it. The Athanasian Creed requires belief in them in order to be saved.

If the apostles had been (Athanasian Creed) Trinitarians, would they not have wanted their audience to be saved?

Regards
David

David Kemball-Cook said...

Reply to Bob

I said “I hold that the same is true of the Son in Hebrews 1. The Son is a copy of God in all relevant respects. He is God manifested in the flesh. He who has seen him has seen God.
But that does not make him numerically the same as God.”
I explained that meant different individuals

Bob “Again, no one is saying that the Father and the Son are not different individuals.

What we ARE saying is that they are both equally God since they both reside at the same highest level of power/authority in heaven. And since there is no higher title for the highest position in heaven other than "God" then they are both, together with the Holy Spirit, equally God, and all Three, individually or together, are therefore called God, as we see in the Scriptures.”
And then you cite Rev 1:8, Col 1:16f, Dan 3:25. John 8:58 and others

Thanks Bob
1) You say Father and Son are both equally God, and that they are different individuals
That looks like two gods to me, and to many others (not least the Muslims that this site is reaching out to.

How you do explain to people that the Trinity does not teach multiple gods?

Your explanation “all Three, individually or together, are therefore called God” will not convince (I suspect) many sceptics that there are not three gods here.

2) Re John 8:58, when Jesus says ‘I am’, what do you think he is saying?
Is he claiming identity with Yahweh, or with the Father?

Regards
David

Radical Moderate said...

Anthony Rogers uses the Nuclear option on DKC lol

CharlesMartel said...

DKC,

I think I have spent enough time correcting you.

I will let others like Bob or Derek strive with you further, though I think DK lost interest after his last reply to you, as teens to happen when people go in circles committing the same basic errors.

Enjoy your time meditating on my last several posts.

CharlesMartel said...

Edit: teens = tends

David Kemball-Cook said...

Reply to Charles Martel

Hi Charles
Are you (numerically?) the same as Anthony Rogers? You don’t say so, but you refer to your last posts, and CM hasn’t posted before.

On the assumption that you are indeed Anthony
I left some questions with you.
I don’t think that they are hard to answer.

1) Do the Persons of the Trinity have separate consciousnesses, memories, emotions, will etc?

2) Where in the Bible is it taught or preached that God is three Persons or that Jesus is God?


If these doctrines are biblical, there should be at least a chapter in Paul’s epistles on each doctrine, don’t you think?

If Jesus had thought himself to be part of a Trinity, he would have mentioned it at least once to his disciples during his earthly life.
The apostles should have mentioned the threeness of God and the deity of Jesus at least once in their preaching as recorded in Acts.
After all, these doctrines are reckoned to be pretty important to the Christian faith.
If the first century Christians never had the Trinity preached to them, then they would not have been saved (according to the Athanasian Creed).

You have given just three verses (none of which from Acts), to which I have replied.
Now you seem to withdraw from debate.
If you did not want to debate with a unitarian point of view, why allow RS to post attacking me?


BTW you mention my “errors”. If you were to reply, could you please say in a (short) paragraph what they are? If I have made a mistake, it should be fairly easy to point it out to me.

Regards
David

bob said...

David, you say,

“I said “I hold that the same is true of the Son in Hebrews 1. The Son is a copy of God in all relevant respects.”

What “relevant respects” might they be?

You say,

“He is God manifested in the flesh [1Timothy 3:16]. He who has seen him has seen God. But that does not make him numerically the same as God.”

That statement points to someone, such as yourself, who has deceitfully created/invented a false/third option because they cannot come to terms with and face what the scriptures are plainly saying, e.g.

…of whom are the fathers and from whom, according to the flesh, Christ came, who is over all, the eternally blessed God. Romans 9:5

Notice “…and from whom, according to the flesh, Christ came, WHO IS OVERALL, THE ETERNALLY BLESSED GOD”?

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

Notice “the second Man (Jesus) IS THE LORD FROM HEAVEN”?

You say,

“1) You say Father and Son are both equally God, and that they are different individuals
That looks like two gods to me, and to many others (not least the Muslims that this site is reaching out to.
How you do explain to people that the Trinity does not teach multiple gods?”

The Trinity teaches three Persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, who are all equally God, because they are all eternally existing and are at the same highest level of power/authority. They can only be called God, because, all being eternal and all being at the highest level of power/authority, there is no name higher by which they, as individuals, can be called. God is the highest name.

That’s why we have verses where they call each other God, such as in the case of the Father and the Son e.g.

But to the Son He (the Father) says:

“Your throne, O God, is forever and ever…” And: “You Lord, in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of Your hands.” Hebrews 1:8, 10

And the Son says to the Father,

“My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” Matthew 27:46

The Trinity does not teach and is not representative of multiple pagan gods who are themselves created and are not eternal and all-powerful, as you would have people believe, and which blasphemously goes against God’s word.

bob said...

David, you say,

“Your explanation “all Three, individually or together, are therefore called God” will not convince (I suspect) many sceptics that there are not three gods here.”

Do these “three gods” (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) all reside at the same highest level of authority/power in heaven? If so, then you are talking about the triune God of the Bible.

You are obviously not a Bible believer/Christian since you continuously ignore and/or disbelieve, as well as wilfully disort what the Scriptures are saying.

You say,

“2) Re John 8:58, when Jesus says ‘I am’, what do you think he is saying?
Is he claiming identity with Yahweh, or with the Father?”

He is actually claiming to BE Yahweh/God, since He is equally God (God the Son) with God the Father at the same highest level of authority/power in heaven.

But as usual, because of your blind adherence to your one-person-‘there can only be one guy at the top’-idol, and against all Scripture, you refuse to acknowledge the distinction between Jesus’ temporary earthly servitude...

“Yet I am among you as the one who serves.” Luke 22:27 (as prophesied in Isaiah 42:1 [“Behold! My Servant”] about 700 years before God the Son, our Creator [John 1:1-14; Colossians 1:16; Hebrews 1:10], was manifested in the flesh [1Timothy 3:16; 1Corinthians 15:47])

...and His glory as God, you are locked out from understanding Jesus as God and the triune God of the Scriptures.

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

Notice “glorify Me TOGETHER WITH YOURSELF” and “with the glory which I HAD with You BEFORE the WORLD WAS”?

So your statement/claim “But that does not make him [Jesus] numerically the same as God” at the beginning has no bearing on the doctrine of the triune God of the Bible.

You try to argue against the Trinity but you don’t even know how it works. Maybe Paul Williams should sack you and employ someone else. Either that or he is not a very good business man and does not know when he is being ripped off.

Mark Bennett (Dk) said...

Anthony, I thoroughly enjoyed your posts. It's definitely worth a few more reads. You should of warned David he would need a bomb shelter, although in David's case his shelter has already been blown to pieces, here and else where. ;-)

Me and Royalson were discussing several of these issues recently, it's nice to see further corroboration.

One assertion, I am not totally convinced of is that ALL world views (except the Trinitarian world view) do not affirm the absolute unity and plurality of reality. As far as I know Hindu's would have extremely different answers to this question, and very diverse. There could be a World Views I am probably unaware of, besides David himself is a "Social Attributist" who affirms God is a composite unity. However I guess I shouldn't use David as an example here, as I believe his position leads to out right polytheism as you suggested, so while God is predicated on nature and attributes, this shows the separation from God from multiple eternal entities, if we take David's criticism seriously.

Unfortunately David is notorious for having an inability to respond to serious philosophy and scholarship with any substance as evidenced in the above post and predictably "future" posts.

In one case he argued the Greek word "morphe" (quoting Thayer) in Jesus heavenly pre-existence as the external appearance of God, and then after giving the meaning said "morphe" here actually refers to Jesus emulating "moral behavior" of God. David has a habit of perpetually dismissing his own sources, ignoring his own reasoning (as you have shown), changes meanings at his whim (as evidence in the above post he argues hypostasis means nature, but elsewhere argues it must be translated as person or character).

David asserts Hebrews 1:2 and Col 1:16-17 are talking about the "new creation" in Christ, alleging Jesus is the active agent whom created the spiritual world but not the material world, going to the point of adopting the Marcionite heresy in order to maintain his bankrupt ideas.

I had asked David earlier if he believed God was an eternal Father (without answer), so I imagine he will play dodge-ball again now that you have explicitly brought out the logically necessary result of this conundrum (his God cannot be a person, or his God is mutable).

Mark Bennett (Dk) said...

Before Anthony had expressed David's false assumption, even on the other thread: "God is unipersonal" I pointed out the same and even had complained that David was repeating himself (on PW blog):

"David is repeating himself ad-nausem as if he were not addressed on this.

David your argument does not follow necessarily:

1) Clark Kent is Superman
2) Kal-el is Superman
3) Therefore Clark Kent is Kal-el

Just like this argument doesn’t follow necessarily:

1) Only one single God exists
2) Father is God
3) Son is God
4) Therefore Father is Son

Note (4) does not follow (1, 2, 3)

In order for your argument to follow necessarily you would have to argue like this:

1) Superman is only one person
2) Clark Kent and Kal El are Superman
3) Therefore Clark Kent and Kal El are only one person

And in the case of Uni-personal Modalism, like this:

1) God is only one single person
2) Father, Son, Holy Spirit are God
3) Therefore Father, Son, Holy Spirit are only one single person

I am not posting this to continue an interaction with you (as you clearly think repeating yourself is working). I am posting this to show how logical syllogisms work."

What was his response to this? To simply repeat himself AGAIN:

"Reply to Derek

Derek “David is repeating himself ad-nausem as if he were not addressed on this.
David your argument does not follow necessarily:
1) Clark Kent is Superman
2) Kal-el is Superman
3) Therefore Clark Kent is Kal-el

Just like this argument doesn’t follow necessarily:
1) Only one single God exists
2) Father is God
3) Son is God
4) Therefore Father is Son
Note (4) does not follow (1, 2, 3)”

Thanks Derek
Your argument is valid, even without premise 1), when God is used as a proper name (ie when translating Yahweh or ho theos).

In that case 2) and 3) are statements of numerical identity, ie
2) The Father and God are one and the same
3) The Son and God are one and the same

It follows logically that
4) The Father and the Son are one and the same

When trinitarians say ‘Jesus is God’ they are often claiming numerical identity (ie Jesus and Yahweh are one and the same)

But it looks like in your argument you mean something INSTEAD of numerical identity, like
The Father (Son, Spirit) is divine
The Father (Son, Spirit) is a member of the Trinity
The Father (Son, Spirit) is a Person of the Trinity

Is one of these what you mean by ‘the Father (Son, Spirit) is God’?

I would argue that Trinitarians really need to ‘raise their game’ a bit, and explain what they mean when they say that ‘Jesus is God’.

Regards
David"

Note his response here was merely to assume once again that: "Yahweh *is* unipersonal", which was the very assumption being challenged in the first place!

Hence David is not actually a serious opponent (like say what Asad or Maimonides could be), but rather needing to under-go an education process.

In this regard he is along the same level as PW, but not say, Bassam Zawadi who for example does not argue the Trinity is logically impossible.

Anthony as you suggested I will not be responding unless I see something *new*, as David will perpetuate the same falsehoods all day and night.

Mark Bennett (Dk) said...

The Confusion of Biblical Unitarianism, A Self Collapsing Theology

http://bloggingtheology.org/2014/01/15/655/

Is Jesus omnipotent?

I DON' KNOW, Bible is silent:

David said: "1) David so is your claim Jesus is not omnipotent?
The Bible does not say he is"

"David said: "Hi Derek. I DON'T (KNOW) if the Bible ever says that the risen Jesus is omnipotent. But it does say that he was given authority by God."

David ALSO said:

“Jesus is exalted to God’s RH, and can perform ANY TASK delegated to him. ”

David said: "Clearly Jesus now has ‘all power’. So I answer yes to your first question; Jesus does (now) possess the power of God."

David also said NO:

"If Jesus does something powerful, it would be with the power of God, NOT WITH ANY POWER that resides in his OWN NATURE."

David said: "Perhaps you are thinking of ‘power’ as something like Superman’s powers, which could be said to be ‘part of his nature’. I see the Bible’s talk of powers applied to Jesus as more like ‘authority’, hence my analogy showing how we ordinarily speak of delegated power / authority."

David said: "I don’t understand how I am supposed to answer the question ‘where is it David?’, except to say that Jesus has it."

Jesus is omnipresent according to David:

“certainly the Bible does say that on his resurrection and ascension God exalted him to the position of high priest where he can hear prayer and intercede. So it would follow that he would now possess that ability.”

And:

“I think that the risen Jesus lives in every believer as a quickening spirit (1 Cor 15:45), also called the Spirit of Christ (Rom 8:9),”

Jesus is omniscient according to David:

“and that he searches their hearts (Rom 8:27).”

Jesus is not omnipresent according to David:

"Hi Derek I don’t understand how you draw the conclusions that Jesus is omnipresent and omniscient.
I think the Bible says pretty clearly that the risen Jesus lives in the hearts of believers, in the form of a quickening spirit, and is able to hear their prayers. But that does not make him omnipresent and omniscient does it? Please explain."

David Kemball-Cook said...

Reply to Bob
Re Romans 9:5

Hi Bob
You quote
…of whom are the fathers and from whom, according to the flesh, Christ came, who is over all, the eternally blessed God. Romans 9:5

Notice “…and from whom, according to the flesh, Christ came, WHO IS OVERALL, THE ETERNALLY BLESSED GOD”?


You quote the NKJV here I think.
This verse can equally be read as praise to God, following talking of Christ coming. The ‘who is’ is not in the Greek. Punctuation is not in the Greek.

Alternative translations are possible. For instance the RSV has
“to them belong the patriarchs, and of their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ. God who is over all be blessed for ever. Amen.”


Regards
David

David Kemball-Cook said...

Reply to Bob
Re 1 Cor 15:47

Hi Bob
“The first man (Adam) was of the earth, made of dust; the second Man (Jesus) is the Lord from heaven. 1Corinthians 15:47

Notice “the second Man (Jesus) IS THE LORD FROM HEAVEN”?”

Notice that Jesus is described here as a man, ‘the second man”.
Most people think it is impossible for God to be a man. The Bible seems to agree
Numbers 23:19
“God is not a man, that he should lie …”

Yes, Jesus is Lord, but he is not Yahweh. He was made Lord (Kyrios) by God

Acts 2:36
Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.

If he was made Lord by God, he cannot be God

Regards
David

David Kemball-Cook said...

Reply to Bob


David said “1) You say Father and Son are both equally God, and that they are different individuals
That looks like two gods to me, and to many others (not least the Muslims that this site is reaching out to.
How you do explain to people that the Trinity does not teach multiple gods?”


Bob “The Trinity teaches three Persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, who are all equally God, because they are all eternally existing and are at the same highest level of power/authority. They can only be called God, because, all being eternal and all being at the highest level of power/authority, there is no name higher by which they, as individuals, can be called. God is the highest name.

That’s why we have verses where they call each other God, such as in the case of the Father and the Son e.g.

But to the Son He (the Father) says:

“Your throne, O God, is forever and ever…” And: “You Lord, in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of Your hands.” Hebrews 1:8, 10

And the Son says to the Father,

“My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” Matthew 27:46

The Trinity does not teach and is not representative of multiple pagan gods who are themselves created and are not eternal and all-powerful, as you would have people believe, and which blasphemously goes against God’s word.”

Hi Bob.
This still looks like three Gods. The fact that they (may) call each other ‘God’ is neither here nor there. There are three distinct divine individuals, each fully divine, each with their own distinct personality. This is three Gods!

This website tries to convince Muslims (and presumably others) that trinitarian Christianity is, despite appearances to the contrary, monotheistic.

Do you honestly think that a Muslim would accept your explanations as a defence of monotheism?

Regards
David

Sam said...

I see the unitarian heretic is regurgitating the same pathetic objections against the Trinity and the Deity of Christ by citing passages out of their immediate and over all contexts. We would excuse him for such shallow responses had it not been for the fact that Trinitarians have answered these same sad excuses for denying the True God over and over again.

Here are the replies to his manhandling of Biblical texts:

ROMANS 9:5

http://answering-islam.org/authors/shamoun/jesus_rom95a.html

http://answering-islam.org/authors/shamoun/jesus_rom95b.html

NUMBERS 23:19

http://answering-islam.org/authors/shamoun/god_as_man.html

http://answering-islam.org/Shamoun/q_god_not_man.htm

ACTS 2:22, 36

http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL7B16A422469CF4A4

http://answering-islam.org/authors/shamoun/rebuttals/williams/acts2_22.html

http://answering-islam.org/authors/shamoun/rebuttals/williams/acts2_36.html

http://answering-islam.org/Shamoun/q_jesus_made_lord.htm

http://answering-islam.org/Shamoun/q_given_name_lord.htm

Thus, not only does he distort philosophy, logic, and language to deny who and what God is, as he has revealed himself in the Holy Bible, but he even has the audacity to pervert the Scriptures to his shame.


David Kemball-Cook said...

Hi Derek
Re ‘eternal Father’

“I had asked David earlier if he believed God was an eternal Father (without answer), so I imagine he will play dodge-ball again now that you have explicitly brought out the logically necessary result of this conundrum (his God cannot be a person, or his God is mutable). “

This is what I said in reply to you on the BT thread

"I don’t know what you mean by God being ‘an eternal Father’. God made himself known as Father to Israel, then to the kings of Israel, then of Jesus, and then of believers."

Perhaps you could explain what you mean by ‘eternal Father’

Regards
David

David Kemball-Cook said...

Reply to Derek
Re morphe of God

“In one case he argued the Greek word "morphe" (quoting Thayer) in Jesus heavenly pre-existence as the external appearance of God, and then after giving the meaning said "morphe" here actually refers to Jesus emulating "moral behavior" of God.”

It seems that you think there is some kind of contradiction here.
Can you explain what the contradiction is?

Regards
David

David Kemball-Cook said...

Hi Bob

Bob “Do these “three gods” (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) all reside at the same highest level of authority/power in heaven? If so, then you are talking about the triune God of the Bible.”

Thanks. My point is that these three Persons, distinct from each other and fully divine, sound pretty much like three Gods – to a Muslim or any other non-trinitarian.

How do you convince someone not already in ‘the choir’ that these three Persons are not three gods?

Regards
David

David Kemball-Cook said...

Reply to Bob

David “Re John 8:58, when Jesus says ‘I am’, what do you think he is saying?
Is he claiming identity with Yahweh, or with the Father?”

Bob “He is actually claiming to BE Yahweh/God, since He is equally God (God the Son) with God the Father at the same highest level of authority/power in heaven.”

Thanks. So on what basis do you think Jesus saying ‘I am’ implies that he is claiming to be Yahweh?

Regards
David

David Kemball-Cook said...

Reply to Derek
Re Jesus’ supposed omnipotence

Hi Derek

This is what I said to you
“Jesus has power / authority because God has given it to him.
I don’t understand how I am supposed to answer the question ‘where is it David?’, except to say that Jesus has it.”

I suppose you are trying to establish that Jesus is by nature omnipotent, and is therefore God.
But you won’t get me to say that, and (more importantly) I claim that you can’t find it in the Bible.
Whatever power or authority the risen Jesus possesses, it is given to him by God
‘And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.’
Matt 28:18

Regards
David

David Kemball-Cook said...

Reply to Derek

“Jesus is omnipresent according to David:”

David said “certainly the Bible does say that on his resurrection and ascension God exalted him to the position of high priest where he can hear prayer and intercede. So it would follow that he would now possess that ability.”

And:

“I think that the risen Jesus lives in every believer as a quickening spirit (1 Cor 15:45), also called the Spirit of Christ (Rom 8:9),”

Hi Derek
I would deduce from Jesus’ high priestly role that he can hear prayer and intercede. But this ability is, like all his abilities, given to him by God (and is not part of his nature as a man)

Besides, being able to hear prayer is hardly omnipresence, is it? Omnipresence is the ability to be everywhere, regardless of whether there are people praying.

Regards
David

David Kemball-Cook said...

Reply to Derek
“Jesus is omniscient according to David:”

Hi Derek
When did I ever say that?

Regards
David

David Kemball-Cook said...

Reply to Derek
Re Jesus is God etc.

Hi Derek
Thank you for quoting me at length.
I was talking about numerical identity, not about ‘being the same Person as’.
If we say ‘Jesus is Yahweh’ in the sense of numerical identity, we mean that ‘Jesus is one and the same as God’, that the individual / being / substance denoted by ‘Jesus’ is the same individual / being / substance as that denoted by ‘Yahweh’.

Trinitarians say that ‘Jesus is Yahweh’ in the sense of numerical identity. If you were a Trinitarian, you would be claiming the same.
But these give rise to the absurdities already pointed out
Jesus is his own Son, Jesus is the Trinity and so on

It is only when ‘Jesus is Yahweh’ is questioned in this way, that Trinitarians backtrack, and say that it means ‘Jesus is the same God as Yahweh, but not the same Person’ or some such. In other words Trinitarians deny it means numerical identity, but something else.

This ‘Jesus is the same God as Yahweh, but not the same Person’ kind of language is foreign to the Bible

In the Bible, entities are either (numerically identical to) Yahweh or are not Yahweh. And in the Bible, there is only one entity that is Yahweh. This is true monotheism, that there is only one Yahweh.

Regards
David

Royal Son said...

I would like to alert my brothers and sisters to the fact that David Kemball-Cook is not a believer in the Bible as the perfectly preserved word of God. Regardless of the volumes of evidence testifying to the truth of the Doctrine of the Trinity, he ignores those passages that don't fit his heretical agenda.

If anyone thinks I'm being too harsh, he admitted to his doubts on the integrity of God's word on Paul Williams' Blog in response to a post on a passage from the Book of Numbers.

bob said...

David, the devil’s son (John 8:41, 44), you say,

“This verse can equally be read as praise to God, following talking of Christ coming. The ‘who is’ is not in the Greek. Punctuation is not in the Greek.”
Alternative translations are possible. For instance the RSV has
“to them belong the patriarchs, and of their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ. God who is over all be blessed for ever. Amen.”

In light of other verses that tell us that Jesus is the Creator Himself in the flesh (John 1:1-14), that argument evaporates into nothing. And the other translations (KJV, NIV, AMP, ESV, NASB, NLT) outnumber your translation and agree with NKJV anyway.

You say,

“Notice that Jesus is described here as a man, ‘the second man”.

Who is the Lord from heaven. 1Corinthians 15:47

Notice “the second Man (Jesus) IS the LORD FROM HEAVEN"?

That is, God manifested in the flesh (1Timothy 3:16)?

You say,

“Most people think it is impossible for God to be a man.”

Why? Who died and left you in charge? If He wants to be manifested in the flesh (1Timothy 3:16; John 1:1-14) then that is entirely up to Himself. Who are you to put limitations on the Creator’s plans and actions in regards to salvation – which we can plainly see throughout the Scriptures?

You say,

“The Bible seems to agree
Numbers 23:19
“God is not a man, that he should lie …”

You just fell into your own trap there. Since Jesus never lied, because He was sinless, then that would make Him God.

This verse in Numbers is talking about created men. Jesus was not a created man but God manifested in the flesh (1Timothy 3:16; 1Corinthians 15:47). In quoting Numbers 23:19 to support your lies you have run afoul of 2Peter 3:16

…as also in all his [Paul] epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures.

Are you sure you are not just a Muslim masquerading as a Unitarian ‘Christian’? But if not, and since you are so far from the doctrine found in the Scriptures, you may as well own up, collect your thirty pieces of silver, be done with it, and stop pretending that you are a Christian.

You say,

“Yes, Jesus is Lord, but he is not Yahweh. He was made Lord (Kyrios) by God”

That’s a bit blasphemous (to say the least). How can an ordinary man be made into the Almighty (Revelation 1:8) and be the Creator of the heavens and the earth (John 1:1-14)?

David Kemball-Cook said...

Correction to Rom 9:5 post

I said “This verse can equally be read as praise to God, following talking of Christ coming. The ‘who is’ is not in the Greek. Punctuation is not in the Greek.”

The phrase translated ‘who is’ (ho on) is in the Greek, sorry.
The question is, to who does it apply, to Christ or to God?
Translations differ on this.

David

bob said...

The devil’s son (John 8:41, 44), You say,

“Acts 2:36
Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.

If he was made Lord by God, he cannot be God”

That verse does not mean that was not already one of three Persons of the triune God of the Bible. He was already Lord (God the Son, the Word. John 1:14) but on top of that, the triune God as a whole also made Him Christ, the Messiah, the Anointed One, i.e. both Lord AND Christ.

You say,

“This still looks like three Gods. The fact that they (may) call each other ‘God’ is neither here nor there. There are three distinct divine individuals, each fully divine, each with their own distinct personality. This is three Gods!”

That is right, they are three God’s, eternal, uncreated/uncaused who operate as One like a team or family (God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit)and are all at the same highest level of authority/power in heaven, and since there is no name higher than "God" by which they can be called, then they can only be called God.

But they are not three created pagan gods as you would have everyone believe.

You say,

“This website tries to convince Muslims (and presumably others) that trinitarian Christianity is, despite appearances to the contrary, monotheistic.”

That argument does not work either since the Father, Son and Holy Spirit operate in perfect harmony as One (monotheistic) God, like a team/family unit, and are all at the same highest level of authority/power in heaven, and since there is no name higher than "God" by which they can be called, then they can only be called God.


You say,

“Do you honestly think that a Muslim would accept your explanations…”

It’s not MY explanation, it’s the explanation found in God’s word (as we can plainly see) as revealed by the Holy Spirit who is the Author of the Scriptures.

…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

You continue,

“…as a defence of monotheism?

So if God is just one eternal person and he is love (which continuously emanates from him) then who did he love before he created everything – himself? Where did the love and kindness that emanates from him go? Who was the recipient/s of his eternal love and kindness before he created everything? Who was he righteous, kind and loving towards – himself? How did he, from eternity, exercise who he is when there was no one else about?

It wouldn’t happen to be God the Son and God the Holy Spirit would it?

Can you not see how nutty the idea of your one-person-‘there can only be one guy at the top’-idol actually is?

bob said...

The devil’s son (John 8:41, 44), you say,

"How do you convince someone not already in ‘the choir’ that these three Persons are not three gods?"

But there you are just blaspheming again. First you call them three Persons and then you call them three gods.

The correct thing to say is that they are three God’s, eternal, uncreated/uncaused who operate as One like a team or family (God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit) and are all at the same highest level of authority/power in heaven, and Since there is no name higher than "God" by which they can be called, then they can only be called God.

But they are not three created pagan gods as you would have everyone believe.

David Kemball-Cook said...

Hi Royal Son and others
(I am not used to all the close scrutiny which has been given to my every word!)

The passage which was discussed was Numbers 31:17-18
‘Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him.
But all the women children, that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves.’

For the record I wrote on the thread
“I find these verses (and the many others in the OT like it) very troubling. I have not heard any explanation of them which fits the character of God as shown in Jesus, except the explanation that interprets them as basically mistakes by the writers, ie
“God never actually said that, Moses and the others just thought he did”

I was being honest. I find the idea of God ordering slaughter and rape utterly contrary to what Jesus taught and revealed about God’s character.

Some Christians are quite OK with the idea that God told the Israelites to do things which, if they were done today, by, say, jihadists in Nigeria, we would all condemn as evil.

Royal Son, are you OK with killing babies and raping young girls in the name of God? If you heard the Spirit say to you to do it, would you obey without question, or would you consider it contrary to God’s word?

Other Christians are not OK with genocide, rape and slaughter in the name of God, and there is a debate amongst theologians and others about how to interpret passages like this.

If you want to tell (say) Muslims that killing people and keeping the best women for yourselves is wrong, how do you answer the objection that God told the Israelites to do the exact same thing?
What do you say?
“Genocide, slaughter and rape was OK then but it is not OK now. Now we have to love each other”

How many Muslims are you going to convince with that argument?
If God is unchangeable, wouldn’t he be consistent with himself if he ordered genocide, rape and slaughter today?

What kind of picture of the character of God do you wish to convey?
The God of Numbers 31 or the God who is the Father of Jesus?

David

bob said...

The devil’s son (John 8:41, 44), you say,

"Thanks. So on what basis do you think Jesus saying ‘I am’ [John 8:58] implies that he is claiming to be Yahweh?"

On what basis are you claiming that 'I AM' implies that He is NOT claiming to be Yahweh?

bob said...

Royal Son, you say,

“If anyone thinks I'm being too harsh, he admitted to his doubts on the integrity of God's word on Paul Williams' Blog in response to a post on a passage from the Book of Numbers.”

I don’t think you are being too harsh at all. If anything you are being too lenient, since God’s own word is super harsh on such people who bend and twist His word in disobedience to it (and who thereby also lead others astray from God's truth)

At the very first, I thought Kemble-Cook might have had some kind of honour about him. But I have long since come to see him as a weak, cowardly, lying grub (Job 25:6) who tries to hide behind a polite demeanour; who cannot face up to God’s truth and who would rather cover it with a blanket of lies.

THAT may seem a little harsh, but I haven’t called him a snake yet, which would be perfectly appropriate and in order, since that is what our Lord Himself called such reprobates (Matthew 23:33). But from the Lord’s point of view and therefore our own, this is simply tough love and a wakeup call, and not done out of spite/hate etc. (but which is what they claim when they employ the tactic of ‘playing the victim’)

Eventually, if scallywags like Kemble-Cook keep coming at us with endless lies and deceit while destroying the integrity of God’s word in people’s eyes to the point where a lost world treats it as a joke, then they must expect a good clip around the ear via the strong warnings and admonishments found in the Scriptures, and which are designed for that purpose.

E.g. Revelation 21:8

“But the cowardly, unbelieving… and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire…

If these reprobates think that by quoting such verses that we are trying to frighten them, then they would be right.

…but others save with fear; pulling them out of the fire… Jude 1:23

Royal Son said...

David is showing his true colours. He thinks that the Old Testament teaches that rape is an acceptable practice.

He also reveals that He is in a position to judge God.

I'm going to wager that David Kemball-Cook is NOT a vegetarian. David - when you eat meat for dinner, do you consider that you are advocating the slaughter of God's creation?

Now granted, humans have dominion over all the creatures of the Earth, and they have a dignity unique to them among all creation because of the virtue of their being created in the image and according to the likeness of God.

Now, unless your blasphemies know no bounds, I'm sure you'd agree that there's a gigantic chasm between us human creatures and God Himself. As you were granted a creaturely dominion, so God has supreme dominion over all things.

As such, if God chooses, according to His own purposes that He should annihilate a person, a group of persons, a race or the entire earth, what is that to you? Who are you oh man to question God over his right over creation?

You're starting to pull the victim card, but I have no sympathy for someone who spews his hatred toward the God of the Bible. You deny His Word, and you deny His supreme dominion over the heavens and the earth.

You bring out the emotional question that If God were to command the slaughter of an entire race, would I participate? Why not David? Let's turn this back to you:

Should Abraham have disobeyed God when He asked him to kill His own son, Isaac? Or do you believe this is not a part of the scripture either?

Was God unjust for destroying men, women and children by the flood? Or is this also not a part of scripture?

And here we come to it - the heart of the gospel - was God evil and cruel to send His only Son to die on the cross for our redemption? Or did that also not truly happen?

The very arguments you're using are the same ones Muslims use in their hateful denial of God's word, the Bible, and indeed the gospel itself.

Royal Son said...

*There has been great excitement among textual critics in what confirmed their suspicions for decades concerning the original manuscripts among key Old Testament passages. Discovered in an underground cache among wooden crates and broken furniture are what archaeologists, paleographers and textual critics describe as the most significant discovery since the Dead Sea Scrolls.

One particular manuscript is taken from the book of 1st Samuel Chapter 15. An English translation of the passage has been provided:

1 Samuel said to David Kemball-Cook, "I am the one the LORD sent to anoint you king over his people Israel; so listen now to the message from the LORD. 2 This is what the LORD Almighty says: 'I will punish the Amalekites for what they did to Israel when they waylaid them as they came up from Egypt. 3 Now go, attack the Amalekites and totally destroy everything that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys.' " 4 So David Kemball-Cook summoned the men and mustered them at Telaim--two hundred thousand foot soldiers and ten thousand men from Judah. 5 David Kemball-Cook went to the city of Amalek and set an ambush in the ravine. 6 Then he said to the Kenites, "Go away, leave the Amalekites so that I do not destroy you along with them; for you showed kindness to all the Israelites when they came up out of Egypt." So the Kenites moved away from the Amalekites. 7 Then David Kemball-Cook attacked the Amalekites all the way from Havilah to Shur, to the east of Egypt. 8 He took Agag king of the Amalekites alive, and all his people he totally destroyed with the sword. 9 But David Kemball-Cook and the army spared Agag and the best of the sheep and cattle, the fat calves and lambs--everything that was good. These they were unwilling to destroy completely, but everything that was despised and weak they totally destroyed. 10 Then the word of the LORD came to Samuel: 11 "I am grieved that I have made David Kemball-Cook king, because he has turned away from me and has not carried out my instructions." Samuel was troubled, and he cried out to the LORD all that night. 12 Early in the morning Samuel got up and went to meet David Kemball-Cook, but he was told, "David Kemball-Cook has gone to Carmel. There he has set up a monument in his own honor and has turned and gone on down to Gilgal." 13 When Samuel reached him, David Kemball-Cook said, "The LORD bless you! I have carried out the LORD's instructions." 14 But Samuel said, "What then is this bleating of sheep in my ears? What is this lowing of cattle that I hear?" 15 David Kemball-Cook answered, "The soldiers brought them from the Amalekites; they spared the best of the sheep and cattle to sacrifice to the LORD your God, but we totally destroyed the rest." 16 "Stop!" Samuel said to David Kemball-Cook. "Let me tell you what the LORD said to me last night." "Tell me," David Kemball-Cook replied. 17 Samuel said, "Although you were once small in your own eyes, did you not become the head of the tribes of Israel? The LORD anointed you king over Israel. 18 And he sent you on a mission, saying, 'Go and completely destroy those wicked people, the Amalekites; make war on them until you have wiped them out.' 19 Why did you not obey the LORD? Why did you pounce on the plunder and do evil in the eyes of the LORD?" 20 "But I did obey the LORD," David Kemball-Cook said. "I went on the mission the LORD assigned me. I completely destroyed the Amalekites and brought back Agag their king. 21 The soldiers took sheep and cattle from the plunder, the best of what was devoted to God, in order to sacrifice them to the LORD your God at Gilgal."

Royal Son said...

22 But Samuel replied: "Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of the LORD? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams. 23 For rebellion is like the sin of divination, and arrogance like the evil of idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, he has rejected you as king." 24 Then David Kemball-Cook said to Samuel, "I have sinned. I violated the LORD's command and your instructions. I was afraid of the people and so I gave in to them. 25 Now I beg you, forgive my sin and come back with me, so that I may worship the LORD." 26 But Samuel said to him, "I will not go back with you. You have rejected the word of the LORD, and the LORD has rejected you as king over Israel!" 27 As Samuel turned to leave, David Kemball-Cook caught hold of the hem of his robe, and it tore. 28 Samuel said to him, "The LORD has torn the kingdom of Israel from you today and has given it to one of your neighbors--to one better than you. 29 He who is the Glory of Israel does not lie or change his mind; for he is not a man, that he should change his mind." 30 David Kemball-Cook replied, "I have sinned. But please honor me before the elders of my people and before Israel; come back with me, so that I may worship the LORD your God." 31 So Samuel went back with David Kemball-Cook, and David Kemball-Cook worshiped the LORD. 32 Then Samuel said, "Bring me Agag king of the Amalekites." Agag came to him confidently, thinking, "Surely the bitterness of death is past." 33 But Samuel said, "As your sword has made women childless, so will your mother be childless among women." And Samuel put Agag to death before the LORD at Gilgal. 34 Then Samuel left for Ramah, but David Kemball-Cook went up to his home in Gibeah of David Kemball-Cook. 35 Until the day Samuel died, he did not go to see David Kemball-Cook again, though Samuel mourned for him. And the LORD was grieved that he had made David Kemball-Cook king over Israel. 36 David Kemball-Cook pondered these things and cried out saying "How can it be righteous for the Lord to treat me such?" 37 And the LORD appeared to David Kemball-Cook saying "Do you not remember when I spoke to you, saying Do not spare any among the Amalekites?" 38 David Kemball-Cook rebuked Him saying "But what had the children done to deserve this? They are innocent, I command you to act righteously." 39 The LORD spoke to Him, saying "Shall I act righteously toward you?" 40 David Kemball-Cook said to Him "Yes, LORD, act righteously toward your servant." 41 And with his last breath He expired. 42 And the LORD poured out His wrath upon the Amelylkites. 42 All the men, and women and children and cattle and everything that breathed and walked among them, so did the Lord destroy. 43 And Israel's blood was avenged and He loved Israel and drew near to Him. 44 And Israel dwelt securely in the land according to what the LORD had spoken.

*Disclaimer - Such manuscripts do not exist. This illustration was for educational purposes only. David Kemball-Cook is a fictional character and any resemblance to living persons by the same name are for illustration purposes. It must be noted that at least Saul obeyed God partially. Verse 7 points out that Saul destroyed the men, women and children (something David-Kemball Cook would not actually have done). As such King Saul was more obedient toward God than David Kemball-Cook would have been in his place.

Radical Moderate said...

David I think Royalson covered everything but I would like to respond on a few points.

You wrote...
"Royal Son, are you OK with killing babies and raping young girls in the name of God? If you heard the Spirit say to you to do it, would you obey without question, or would you consider it contrary to God’s word?"

My Response:

First off the killing in the bible is not I repeat not in the name of GOD, the killing done was done on the direct and express command of God.

Now to answer your question. If I had experianced God in the way the Israelites experianced God, being led out of Egypt with a mighty hand, crossing the sea of reads on dry ground only to see it swallow up Pharo's army. To be lead in the desert by a pillar of smoke by day and protected by a pillar of fire at night. To hear the voice and see the dark cloud on the mountain and all the other miracles that had taken place. If after witnessing all this I heard the voice of God or his prophet Mosses command me to kill anyone man, woman, child, animal, or plant life I would be a fool to refuse him.

CharlesMartel said...

Ouch!

bob said...

The devil’s son (John 8:41, 44), you say,

“Royal Son, are you OK with killing babies and raping young girls in the name of God? If you heard the Spirit say to you to do it, would you obey without question, or would you consider it contrary to God’s word?”

I am very impressed with your ignorance. And I see that you are resorting to fallacious, grossly misinformed atheist arguments which are also often times simply wilful blatant distortions of the Scriptures, such as the example of Numbers 31:17-18 that you gave.

You say,

“Other Christians are not OK with genocide, rape and slaughter in the name of God, and there is a debate amongst theologians and others about how to interpret passages like this [Numbers 31:17-18].”

The events concerning Noah’s flood and Sodom and Gomorrah, the Canaanites/pagan tribes and other events described in the Bible prompt many to accuse God of being a murderer and a hypocrite.

But there is a vast difference between the murder of an innocent and the execution of a criminal. The events relate to a Righteous and Holy Judge executing judgement on criminals for often extreme criminal behaviour and after much warning.

All the infants and children that were killed were spared the inevitable involvement in their parent’s sins and consequent eternal ruin. In this respect God’s judgment was also merciful.

The inherited sin that all children are born with (no one has to teach children to lie and steal; it comes naturally to them) being covered by Christ’s work on the cross, which covers all of human history.

…of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. Revelation 13:8.

Another point that can be made for the reason for God’s judgement was to prevent more children being born into a society and a life that would end up destroying them. For example, a God who did not judge Canaanite evil would not be a God of mercy, love and compassion (the Canaanites’ bag of sins/crimes being full, with, among many other things, frequent child sacrifice – idolatry at it its worst)

The view of some that the Bible or parts thereof are evil is caused by removing and isolating verses from the surrounding scripture and comparing and criticising them out of their context.

This is done out of either:

(a) Ignorance, in which case the underdeveloped reasoning and logic of a child is being used to try to understand the Scriptures.

(b) It is being done wilfully, which is the same deceitful “editing” technique that is used by the media in order to make a better story and/or to discredit someone.

You say,

“What kind of picture of the character of God do you wish to convey?
The God of Numbers 31 or the God who is the Father of Jesus?”

So what are you saying; that the God of the Old Testament is not holy and righteous?

Or are you saying that the Old Testament scriptures are false?

And what are you going to do about Jesus, the final Judge, sending all the unbelievers and pretenders to hell?

The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness, and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Matthew 13:41, 42

Your attempt to portray Jesus as a pacifist and who is just a created man only goes against God’s word.

Sam said...

Here is some advice to my brothers here. I wouldn't waste any more time on this unitarian heretic since all he is going to do is to ignore challenges to his blatant perversions of Scripture, misuse of logic, and continue to assault and blaspheme the true God by questioning or perverting Scripture to his own shame and destruction (cf. 2 Peter 3:15-16). I think it is time to follow the counsel of Matthew 7:6 in regards to this heretic whose assault against the Lord Jesus and Scripture is sickening to say the least.

Radical Moderate said...

David Kemball Cook wrote...

"I was being honest. I find the idea of God ordering slaughter and rape utterly contrary to what Jesus taught and revealed about God’s character."

My Response:

A few things, first you seem to be confusing the true living God of the bible with the Islamic False god of the quran.

Where did the true living God, whom you say you believe in, order the rape of woman?

But more importantly you said "I was being honest."

Where you implying that those who take Gods sovereignty seriously are not being honest?

bob said...

Sam said,

"I think it is time to follow the counsel of Matthew 7:6 in regards to this heretic whose assault against the Lord Jesus and Scripture is sickening to say the least."

Spot on. Trying to explain God’s word to this imbecile is like feeding strawberries to a pig. It’s just a waste.

But having said that, and in another far more important/higher aspect, it has been a very good opportunity to spread God’s word for the benefit of any spectators that may have been present, so it does not matter whether the heretic/imbecile benefited from God’s truth or not, since he was only being used as a sounding board anyway; in order to publicly expose and demonstrate the devil’s deceitful tricks/devices...

For we are not ignorant of his [Satan’s] devices. 2Corinthians 2:11

...and true nature, and totally bankrupt position.

So in that regard the strawberry eating heretic/imbecile came in quite handy. The true God is such a great Lord and Master that he can even turn the wickedness of the devil into good. Overall, even the devil has to serve God.

Royal Son said...

Amen. I agree, Sam.

Mark Bennett (Dk) said...

There are several non-Christian groups who allege Numbers 31:16-17 is a command to "rape". Among them, Atheists and Muslims. Unfortunately to my own shame as an Atheist I too, used the same argument. But seeing that David is a Unitarian polytheist, namely of the "heretical" category, he has confirmed my earlier suspicion. You will recall I had said about David:

"David asserts Hebrews 1:2 and Col 1:16-17 are talking about the "new creation" in Christ, alleging Jesus is the active agent whom created the spiritual world but not the material world, going to the point of adopting the Marcionite heresy in order to maintain his bankrupt ideas. "

Indeed it is Marcion himself who proposes the God of Numbers 31 is not the God of the New Testament.

David Wood said...

I've decided to block David Kemball Cook, who's been trying to post attacks on the Bible today (thus revealing his true colors). While we have no problem responding to objections to the Bible, this blog is called "Answering Muslims," not "Answering Heretical Christians Attacking the Bible." Mr. Cook is clearly trying to divert attention away from Islam. Not happening.

Radical Moderate said...

About time you sent him back to Paul Williams blog.

Royal Son said...

Good riddance.

aaron said...

@mark

Do you still hold that that view on Numbers?

Answering Judaism said...

Its times like this I can say thank God I am a Trinitarian.

I know its established that Monarchian and DKC are not the same guy, but some of his questions are ridiculous, such as "how do you know the Jesus and the Father are distinct persons?" Well its obvious from the Bible they are and yet the Son is the Alpha and Omega, a title belonging to God only.

There are other points but how can one cone to the Bible and not believe in the Trinity?

Also, Interesting DKC is a Marcionite, that's just as bad. I bet he would butcher 2 Timothy 3:16 to deny it refers to the Old Testament AND the New Testament.

Anyway, that's all I have to say.

Royal Son said...

Answering-Judaism - While DKC certainly has elements of Marcionitism in some of his assertions, he actually discredits some of Paul's works - Something which Marcion did not do to the best of my knowledge. I believe Marcion held to Paul's epistles and the writings of Luke. I stand to be corrected on that point however.

When confronted with evidence of Christ's Deity as clearly taught in the Epistle to the Colossians pm Paul Williams' Blog, DKC dismissed the writing as a later epistle. This is like Muslims who throw out verses as later corruptions when they can't respond to them, albeit without textual-critical evidence to back-up their claims.

David Wood, I'd like to thank you for allowing the discussion continue as long as it did. I agree, the focus needs to return back to Islam. I do hope however that this has been educational and edifying for the Body of Christ to see that the Doctrine of the Trinity is soundly robust and does not require the relinquishing of any of our books of the Bible.

Soli Deo Gloria.

Answering Judaism said...

Royalson, that is true, Marcion accepted Paul's letters and Luke's Gospel.

My guess judging by what you have mentioned to me, you don't suppose DKC holds to the New perspective on Paul doctrine?

If DKC has to call into question Colossians because of the Deity of Christ being taught in it and doesn't actually deal with the text, he is not being very honest.

Anyway, I'm going to let this return to a discussion about Islam, I think DKC has been talked about long enough. Carry on guys.

AJ over and out.

Royal Son said...

I think His theology has been Kemball-Cooked. It's very odd. The fact that he has to throw out scripture proves that the Trinitarian position is vindicated and the Unitarian position is refuted.

Tom said...

@ David Wood,

Yes, thanks for letting it run as long as did, there are quite a few points I have picked up as part of The Body of Christ, The Only Son of God.(I will be going through some of it again, to learn how distraction is applied)

Amed ma said...
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