Saturday, October 27, 2018

The Deity of Christ and Bart Ehrman

The Deity of Christ is a fundamental doctrine of the Christian faith. It is taught throughout Scripture. It has been attacked by heretics throughout history including Islam, and is denied today by many liberal scholars who also deny the supernatural, and the concept of miracles, including God's existence. When Christians cite the claims of Jesus that He claimed to be God particularly in the gospel of John, our Muslim friends try to find alternate interpretations to disprove clear texts such as John 1:1; 8:58-59 (cf. Exodus 3:13-14); 10:30; 14:9; and John 20:28. 
Dr. Bart Ehrman in a recent tweet addresses the question of whether or not Jesus called Himself God. You will notice that Ehrman interprets the passages in John cited above in the same way that Christians have interpreted these passages about the deity of Christ, that these are claims that Jesus makes about His identification as God. Ehrman believes that this is crystal clear in John as he says, "For John, Jesus is obviously God". Note as well, that Ehrman acknowledges just as Christians have always maintained, John does not say Jesus is God the Father, which is the heresy of modalism. Ehrman curiously wonders why the other gospel writers do not state the deity of Christ as clearly. They do, but not in the same way John does. Since Muslims are fond of quoting Bart Ehrman in their attacks on the New Testament, perhaps they will be consistent here, and pay attention to Ehrman's treatment of the gospel of John. Ehrman's tweet is available below. I have highlighted the significant parts in bold letters.
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What Do You Think?
Box 10.5  Did Jesus Call Himself God?
It is an interesting to ask: “What did Jesus say about himself?”  More specifically, you might ask: “Did Jesus ever call himself God?”   As it turns out, it depends on which Gospel you read.
In the Synoptic Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, Jesus never says he is God.  He does talk about himself as the Son of Man; he says he must be killed and raised from the dead; and he admits he is the messiah.  But the vast bulk of his teaching in these Gospels is not about himself at all.  It is about God, the coming Kingdom of God, and the way to live in preparation for it.
Not in John.  
In John Jesus teaches almost entirely about himself:  who he is, his relation to the Father, how he has come into the world from heaven above to convey the truth that can bring eternal life.   And he makes some remarkable claims about himself.  These claims are found in John and nowhere else.
For example, to the Jews who do not believe in him, Jesus says “Before Abraham was, I am” (John 8:58).   Abraham lived 1800 years earlier, and Jesus is claiming to have existed before that Even more than that, he claims for himself the name of God, “I am” (see Exodus 3:13-14).  His Jewish opponents know exactly what he is saying.  They pick up stones to execute him for blasphemy.   Two chapters later, he does it again, claiming “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30).   Once again they break out the stones.  Later, to his disciples, he says “If you have seen me you have seen the Father” (John 14:9).
These teachings of Jesus that he is a divine correlate with what John says elsewhere, as we have seen in the Prologue “The Word was with God, and the Word was God” (1:1)  And in the ending, when Thomas confesses that Jesus is “My Lord and my God” (20:28)
For John, Jesus is obviously God, and he says he is (not God the Father but … equal with God?).  Why do you suppose these sayings are not in the earlier Gospels?   If Matthew, Mark, and Luke knew that Jesus had said such things, wouldn’t they want to tell their readers?   It’s worth thinking about.

63 comments:

David Kemball-Cook said...

Tony, what does it mean to say that 'Jesus is God'?
Does it mean that Jesus is one and the same as the Trinity?
Or that he is a member of the Trinity?
Or that he has a divine nature?
Or that he preexisted his birth?
Or something else?
And do we know this is what John means?

Tony Costa said...

Do you even understand what Christians believe? You seem confused.

David Kemball-Cook said...

Tony thanks for your reply. No I am not confused. I was a trinitarian for a long time. After much study, I am now convinced that the apostles did not believe that YHWH was triune nor that Jesus 'is' God (whatever that means).
Can you answer any of my questions?
I hope that you do know what is meant by Jesus 'being' God, seeing that you use the phrase.
It would be good also if you could justify your implicit claim that to be Christians we must believe this, by referencing where in the NT this is laid out.
Where, in the epistles or in the Acts preaching, or perhaps in the apostolic confession of faith (see eg Mt 16:16, John 20:31), is it stated that we have to believe Jesus to 'be' God in order to be saved.
Those are two challenging, but I hope not unfair, questions for you.
I hope you agree that they are important, and deserve answers, which all serious Christians should be able to consider and deal with.
Thanks!

Tony Costa said...

David, would be happy to interact with you but I simply don't have time to do so. I would refer you to a debate I did on this topic where I also address some of your questions. See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=485qsV0mO4M

David Kemball-Cook said...

Thanks Tony. Your (rather disappointing) reply seems a bit like evasion to me, or to anyone reading this, I think.
'I have no time to answer' seems to suggest 'I cannot answer', to any unbiased reader.
But you are a scholar.
You specialise in dealing with serious questions of doctrine and theology, and would surely pride yourself on being able to answer fairly simple questions like mine, not to duck out at the first hint of difficulty.
Surely a scholar like you would seek to engage, and defeat defective doctrine, rather than say that you have no time to deal with it?
I know I would if I were in your position, and I would make sure I had ten minutes to spare.
My questions could be answered quite quickly, if one knows the answers
For instance you could say in answer to the first question,
'Jesus is God' means that 'Jesus is a member of the Trinity'.
And to the second,
Well ... that is a problem
There are no texts that say that we have to believe Jesus to 'be' God to be saved / true apostolic Christians, are there?
Perhaps that is why you say you have no time?
Thanks again
David

Andrew said...

David. Jesus said he will judge the whole of humanity. John 5:22-23.

Do you think:

(a) a mere human could judge the whole of humanity.

(b) Jesus is God

(c) Jesus was mistaken?

Let us know?

David Kemball-Cook said...

Thanks Andrew for the reply.
Yes a man can certainly judge if appointed to do so by God.
How is this not possible, if God gives that man the power and authority?

And this is indeed the case, as Paul preached to the Athenians
'Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead' (Acts 17:31)
Notice that Paul nowhere in the sermon says that Jesus 'is' God.
Indeed, nowhere in any of the three sermons recorded in Acts is the 'deity of Christ' mentioned.
A rather difficult fact, I think, for 'Jesus is God' believers to explain.
What do you think?

But I would also like to know from you please, as I asked Tony (who is 'too busy' to reply) what you mean by Jesus 'being' God.
I assume that you know, as you used the phrase.
Does it mean that Jesus is one and the same as God, ie one and the same as the Trinity? (assuming you are a trinitarian of course).
Or that he is a member of the Trinity?
Or that he has a divine nature?
Or that he preexisted his birth?
Or something else?
And how do we know your meaning is what John means in his gospel?
Thanks again

Andrew said...

I am a lawyer. I go to Court. The most cases a Judge can handle in day is about 50. For someone to Judge Billions of people they can't be mere person. They must be God.

Of course Jesus is God. "All things created for him and through him"

David Kemball-Cook said...

Thanks Andrew. But do you know what you mean when you say that Jesus is God?
The differing and rival Trinity theories (eg A) God is a single person with three personal expressions, or B) God is three divine Persons with their own minds in social relationship, or C) God is the divine nature which three divine Persons share or D) God is the Father and the other two are subordinate divine Persons or E) ...) give different possible answers.
You did not tell me, but I assume that you must know what you mean, and I presume you know which of the competing Trinity theories you believe in.
Do you?
As a lawyer, you understand the importance of clear definitions, I presume.
If we do not know what we mean when we claim something to be true, our claim is meaningless, and we would not last 5 minutes on the witness stand against an opposing lawyer, would we?
So over to you on that, hoping for a clear definition this time.
NB I used to be a trinitarian, but after much study I realised that all these theories are inconsistent with the apostolic testimony and/or incoherent.

On 'Jesus must be God and cannot be a man because he will judge humanity', you ignore the testimony of Paul, preferring your human experience.
Andrew, don't you believe that God could give a man the authority, and speed, to judge everyone?
That is, after all, what the NT says (and not just in Acts 17).
But it seems you prefer your human reason to what the Bible says.

On why there is no mention of the deity of Christ in the Acts preaching, you appear to have no answer.
Yet, if the apostles had believed that Jesus 'is' God, it would surely have been the centrepiece of their preaching, wouldn't it?
The amazing fact about the Saviour which everyone should know, that a man is also the creator of the universe and the God of the Jews.
But they keep quiet about it.
Just read the sermons in Acts 2, 13, 17.
Have you thought about this before?

Look forward to your reply
Thanks again

Andrew said...

You have copied the technique of Muslims. Go straight to the trinity and try and ridicule it.

You can't get over the hurdle that only God can physically judge the whole of humanity.

The disciples worshipped Jesus. Thomas called him my Lord and my God.

And that is game, set and match.

Tony Costa said...

David, you may want to check out the meaning of the 'strawman fallacy' and 'ad hominem' fallacy. Because I don't really have time to engage in a meaningful way, not in a quick fire rapid response in 10 minutes as you suggest does not mean I can't answer your questions. I have more respect for you than merely allotting you 10 minutes to answer questions that have eternal ramifications. Please watch the video I sent and give me your comments.

David Kemball-Cook said...

Andrew, you have not engaged with anything I said.
NB there is no such thing as 'the trinity'.
There are various rival theories, developed over centuries.
I asked you which of the various Trinity theories you believe in, and you have not been able to say.
Do you know what you believe?
Have you studied any theology or church history?

David Kemball-Cook said...

OK Tony, sorry. I will watch the video and get back to you.
Thanks

David Kemball-Cook said...

Tony, thanks for the video. Interesting debate.
1) At 28 you give your definition of 'the' doctrine of the Trinity, so please let us start from there
'Within the one God there exists three distinct persons, coequal, coeternal, consubstantial, each called YHWH ... is one What and three Whos'
This definition is ambiguous, as it equivocates over a) 'person' b) 'God'
a) Does 'person' refer to a distinct personality or a personal way of being without being a distinct person?
b) Who or what is the one God?
A collection of three divine Persons in the 'modern sense' (minds, egos, personalities), or one divine Person with three personal ways of existing, or the 'What' (Being, Nature, Essence) that three divine Persons share?
So the defintion covers the different rival formulations without saying which one it is!
If you can unpack this definition, then I will perhaps have your answer to what is meant by Jesus 'being' God as well.

Here are the four broad historical alternatives as I understand them
A) God is a single person with three personal modes of being (Latin Trinity eg Augustine, Barth, Rahner, Brian Leftow)
B) God is three divine Persons with their own minds in social relationship (Social Trinity eg Wiilliam Hasker, WL Craig)
C) God is the divine nature which three divine Persons share (eg Athanasian Creed, James White perhaps)
D) God is the Father and the other two are subordinate divine Persons (Monarchian eg Eastern Orthodox, Samuel Clarke, Beau Branson)
Looks like you believe one of A, B or C because you say 'co-equal'.
Do you think the Persons have their own minds?
If so, it would have to be B or C
What do you believe?
Or do you think that there is just one doctrine of 'the' Trinity which somehow embraces these four rival versions?

2) Then we could get on to whether the Trinity in your sense is the God of the Bible.
Is the God of the Bible a What, a He or a They?
And who speaks when God speaks?
The Father alone as an I and Me?
All three together as a We and Us?
The What, as a sort of impersonal nature speaking?
Your answer should follow from your answer to 1).

3) We can then ask if the apostles believed the version of the Trinity that you are defending.
a) If they did, where do they teach it?
In which epistle is the doctrine actually laid out, clearly argued for and stated in a passage devoted to the subject (rather than just 'indicated','suggested' or 'mentioned')?
I put it to you that the apostles and 1st century had no idea the YHWH might be 'triune', in any of the senses above.
b) If they did, where did they preach it, or 'the deity of Christ', in the Acts preaching (see sermons in Acts 2, 13, 17).
If they believed that Jesus 'is' God, they would have shouted it from the rooftops, wouldn't they?

Or
b) Is the Trinity a construction of theologians in the centuries following the 1st? (my view, but not just mine)
A study of church history would confirm this view, and I presume you have studied church history.
You say that the Trinity was not invented in 325.
This is correct, as the one God in the Nicene Creed is the Father.
Coequality and the 'full divinity' of the Spirit did not emerge until the time of the Cappadocians and Augustine, late 4th century.

So I look forward to your answers.
We could of course discuss the interpretations of the 'trinity texts' you discussed, but in the context of my 3).
Thanks again

Oyebola Feranmi Peter said...

David Kemball, you should know that there are several models developed by the Church to develop the doctrine of the Trinity as taught in the scriptures. According to the scriptures,
1) The Father is God
2) The Son is God
3) The Holy Spirit is God
4) The Father is neither the Holy Spirit not the Son
5) The Son is neither The Father nor The Holy Spirit
6) The Holy Spirit is neither The Father nor The Son
7) There is only one God Almighty

Second, Kemball, the word "God" can be used in both personal and qualitative sense just like the word "Adam". Jesus is qualitatively God because He possesses all the attributes and qualities that made us to call the Father God in the first place. The same goes for the Holy Spirit. The Bible teaches us that only three persons possesses divine qualities and attributes.

Third, you are confusing the conceptual Trinity with the creedal one. However, the NT is clear that three different persons shares the same divine qualities and attributes. The creedal Trinity was meant to explain this concept.

Fourth, the deity of Christ was taught in the early Church. But people like you are desperate to explain these verses. How do you explain the worship-devotion of the early Church to Jesus Christ if Jesus is not God? Why attribute divine qualities to Jesus if He is nothing more than a mere man

David Kemball-Cook said...

Thanks Oyebola. You make good points, and you make the important distinction between numerical and qualititative (predicative) identity.
You also agree with me that the Trinity was developed by the church, presumably as opposed to being believed by the apostles.
So that is all good!

You say 'Jesus is qualitatively God because He possesses all the attributes and qualities that made us to call the Father God in the first place. The same goes for the Holy Spirit'
This is clear.
But what are these attributes?
Immortality? But the Bible says that Jesus died.
Omnipresence? But Jesus, in his earthly life, was limited to a human body.
Omniscience? But there were things that Jesus did not know (eg the time of his coming, Mark 13:32)/
Impassibility? But Jesus suffered.
So please tell me what are these attributes of God that Jesus is supposed to possess.

Yes, let us discuss all these 'Jesus is God' verses.
Let us take your best one first.

' How do you explain the worship-devotion of the early Church to Jesus Christ if Jesus is not (qualitatively) God?'
I can explain by God's command to worship Jesus!
See eg Phil 2:9-10, Heb 1:6

I look forward to your reply
Thanks

Andrew said...

Isaiah 42:8 I am the Lord. That is my name. My glory I do not share with another.

Jesus is God.

David Kemball-Cook said...

Andrew, two beings cannot be one and the same as each other if there are differences between them.
This is obvious.
There are differences between God and Jesus.
For instance, God has a son, and Jesus did not, God cannot die and Jesus died …
You said that you are a lawyer, but I have yet to see any careful definitions from you.
I was hoping for something a bit more from you than simple assertion.
(I asked you what sort of Trinity you believe in, no reply. Perhaps you don’t know what you believe)
Do you know, then, what it means to say that Jesus 'is' God, if not one and the same as God?
Jesus is a part of God? Jesus has a divine nature? Something else?
You tell me please!

Andrew said...

Jesus indeed has omniscience.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ljMliETgD0E

David Kemball-Cook said...

Andrew you ignore scripture in your answer, never a good strategy for a Christian.
' But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.' (Mk 13:32)
Shall I give up waiting for some clear definitions from you?
It seems so!

Andrew said...

Did you even watch the clip? The Greek word Aido has different meanings know/proclaim/reveal.

David Kemball-Cook said...

Andrew, Strong's, Bible dictionaries, the New Testament and all the Bible translators disagree with your clip. Not to mention all the trinitarian theologians, who have thought that this verse poses a problem to the idea that Jesus was omniscient.

Andrew said...

I think I will stick with the disciples and Augustine over unamed "Trinitarian theologians"

Oyebola Feranmi Peter said...

David Kemball said:

"You also agree with me that the Trinity
was developed by the church, presumably as opposed to being believed by the apostles. So that is all good!"

Well, there is nothing good in distorting someone's position. I never said that that the Trinity was developed by the Church or that the apostles never believed in the Trinity. You are really confused. I was speaking about models used to explain the Trinity not the Trinity itself. Before the invention of mathematical symbols and formulas, people have been carrying out mathematical equations. The word "Trinity" and its model were invented to explain the seven facts I listed above. If you have another way to explain it, then let us know.

Oyebola Feranmi Peter said...

Kemball also said:

"But what are these attributes? Immortality? But the Bible says that Jesus died."

If the refusal of Jesus to exist in a physical state for three days disqualifies Him as God then what about The Father who never for once existed in the physical state? Has He been dead from eternity (God forbid such a blasphemy!)?
You see, your argument is valid if you believe in physicality or materialism i.e. every aspect of man is physical without immaterial aspect. Is our soul and spirit material like our body? No.
No one argued that the body that Jesus lived in is divine. He is a complete human with a human soul and body. If Jesus died, that means Jesus as a fleshy man ceased to exist. His Spirit and Soul did not wink out of existence.

"Omnipresence? But Jesus, in his earthly
life, was limited to a human body."

You see, it is time for you to understand the roles and functions of each Person of the Godhead. It is the role of the Holy Spirit to be everywhere not that of the Father or The Son. There is orderliness within the Godhead The person of The Father is not omni-present as you think. He is omni-present in His Spirit and the same goes for The Son.
Again, you are confusing the humanity of Christ with His deity.
Read this passage

Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. (John 14:19-20 NIV)

"and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with
you always, to the very end of the age.”
(Matthew 28:20)

O"mniscience? But there were things that Jesus did not know (eg the time of his
coming, Mark 13:32)"

Yes, Jesus in His human nature does not know everything and He is only enabled by The Spirit to tap into His Divine knowledge when necessary.

Oyebola Feranmi Peter said...

"I can explain by God's command to
worship Jesus!
See eg Phil 2:9-10, Heb 1:6"

Not so easy! Is that not an approval from the Father that Jesus is God? The Bible is clear that only God is worthy of being receipient of worship and praise from creation. If Jesus is a recipient, something The Father approves, does that not prove that Jesus is divine?

David Kemball-Cook said...

Thanks Oyebola
You say I am confused and that 'I never said that that the Trinity was developed by the Church'
But you said
'… there are several models developed by the Church to develop the doctrine of the Trinity …'
Understand inference on my part I think.
But anyway, if you think that the doctrine of the Trinity existed in some (primitive?) fashion, in the minds of Jesus and the apostles, BEFORE the models developed by theologians, then please tell me what is this (primitive? undeveloped?) apostolic doctrine of the Trinity.
And what happened to it then?
Did it lie underground through the 2nd and 3rd centuries, as the Logos theology was speculated on, and Tertulllian and Origen put forward their subordinationism, or was it there in the background, somehow informing these speculations?
And then did it emerge into the light in the late 4th century?
Or what?
Over to you.

On the divine attributes shared by God and Jesus, I asked you for a list of these, and you have not yet given it.
Can you do so?

Immortality. You ignore the facts that the Bible says that a) God cannot die and b) Jesus died.
Omnipresence. Looks like this is not on your list, right?
Omniscience. Also not on the list?
So we need your list, and an explanation of how, if Jesus does not possess all divine attributes, he is still 'fully God', in the light of what you said here
' Jesus is qualitatively God because He possesses ALL the attributes and qualities that made us to call the Father God in the first place'
Perhaps you want to revise that claim?

On worship, you say
'Is that not an approval from the Father that Jesus is God'
If Jesus 'were' God, he would not need anyone's approval for the angels to be worshipped, would he?
' The Bible is clear that only God is worthy of being receipient (sic) of worship and praise from creation.'
I think you are quoting from the OT
But even the OT is against you on this point
Ps 110:1, the most quoted (21 times) OT verse in the NT, says that David's Lord is to be raised to God's RH.
Properly an object of worship, if God commands it, would you not say?
And you have not really answered me on Heb 1:6 and Phil 2:9-10.
' If Jesus is a recipient, something The Father approves, does that not prove that Jesus is divine?'
Not at all, certainly not in your defined sense of possessing all divine attributes (which view you may now have to revise, anyway).
If God tells you to worship someone, are you going to refuse to obey because this person is not sufficiently divine, in your view?

Thanks again for this dialogue.

David Kemball-Cook said...

Correction sorry.

If Jesus 'were' God, he would not need anyone's approval to be worshipped by the angels, would he?

Tony Costa said...

Hi David, I realized this is not the first time you have sparred on this blog. I noticed there was an extensive correspondence in 2014 on this very issue and many of your questions were addressed already and satisfactorily in my opinion. http://www.answeringmuslims.com/2014/03/paul-slanted-david-faltered-but-trinity.html?m=1
I would merely be reiterating the same arguments and points many of my colleagues on this blog have raised. This would in my opinion be a waste of precious time. I am sure you realize by now that you share more in common in your Unitarianism with Islam than Christianity. You unite with them in your denial of the Trinity, the eternal pre-existence of the Son, and the Incarnation. When your theology is aligned with that of the enemies of Christ, it reveals a kindred spirit with them. I pray the Triune God will be merciful to you and grant you repentance.

David Kemball-Cook said...

Thanks Tony. You refuse my invitation to say what kind of Trinity you believe in.
It seems to me that your evasion of discussion reflects your own uncertainly about your beliefs.
1) Do the Persons have their own minds?
2) Who or what is the one God of the Bible?
Why do you refuse to say? It would not take you long!
It seems that you are not really sure what you believe.

If your Muslim opponent had been a bit more knowledgeable, he could have pressed you hard on those questions, couldn't he?

Most trinitarians prefer to keep things a bit vague …
'I believe in 'the' Trinity, but I am not sure what kind … but anyway Jesus is God …'.
You seem one of those vague trinitarians, as opposed to the more scholarly kind.
I had expected you to have thought through your beliefs a bit more!

As for your claim that I have more in common with Islam, that is a faintly ridiculous accusation.
I believe that authentic Christianity is apostolic Christianity, what Jesus and the apostles believed.
Of course the apostles did not believe that YHWH was triune, and I think that you are probably well aware of that.
They were 1st century Jews, after all, and 1st century Jews did not believe that YHWH was triune.
If the apostles had believed YHWH was triune, Paul would have taught it explicitly, not just mention it on the side in passages about something else.
And this 'apostolic Trinity' would not have remained hidden in the following centuries until coming to late in the late 4th century, would it?

Oyebola Feranmi Peter said...

DKC, you said,
<<>>
Response
There is a big difference between a concept and the models used to develop the concept. Just because the periodic table did not exist until the 19th century by Mendeleev does not means that the elements in the periodic table did not exist until that particular century. The periodic table is a model developed to explain the chemical and physical properties of the elements.
Likewise, several models were developed by the Church to explain these basic facts below:
1) The Father is God
2) The Son is God
3) The Holy Spirit is God
4) The Father is neither The Son nor The Holy Spirit
5) The Son is neither The Father nor The Son
6) The Holy Spirit is neither The Father nor The Son
7) There is only one God Almighty
Several models were used to explain the basic facts listed above. The seven facts listed above had been there since the inception of the Church and was taught throughout the Old and New Testament.

<<< Understand inference on my part I think.
But anyway, if you think that the doctrine of the Trinity existed in some (primitive?) fashion, in the minds of Jesus and the apostles, BEFORE the models developed by theologians, then please tell me what is this (primitive? undeveloped?) apostolic doctrine of the Trinity.
And what happened to it then? >>>
Response
The seven propositions I listed above is the “primitive” Trinity and nothing happened to them. All Trinitarians still hold to it. I should be the one asking you how your Unitarian theology includes these seven propositions. In your words, what happened to them then?

Oyebola Feranmi Peter said...

<<< Did it lie underground through the 2nd and 3rd centuries, as the Logos theology was speculated on, and Tertulllian and Origen put forward their subordinationism, or was it there in the background, somehow informing these speculations? >>>
Response
You are still labouring under some mistakes that many modern Christians do make concerning the pre-Nicene understanding of the relationship between The Father and The Son. David W. Bercot said:
“The key to understanding the pre-Nicene doctrine of the Trinity is comprehending the difference between "nature," "personal attributes," and "order." These terms refer to three very different things, yet many western Christians do not grasp this distinction. Arius certainly did not grasp it, which is what led to his heresy.
In theology, "nature" or "substance" refers to the essence or class to which a person or creature belongs. All humans are of one nature or one substance, regardless of differing personal characteristics.
In a genetic sense, no man or woman is any less human than anybody else. But humans are not of the same nature or substance as the angels. Now, the Nicene Creed affirms that the Father and the Son are of the same nature or substance. The Son is not something foreign to the Father; rather, He possesses the same nature as the Father. Both the Father and the Son are equally divine. If the Son were not of equal nature or substance as the Father, He would not be fully divine; He would not possess true Godhood.” (David W. Bercot A Dictionary of Early Christian Beliefs, pp. 113)
Bercot went on to use the analogy of Adam and Eve. Adam and Eve belongs to the same class i.e. they are both human. However, in terms of personal attributes, Adam is very different from Eve. Eve can carry a child in her womb and can breastfeed while Adam cannot. With this analogy in mind, Bercot said:
“Likewise, the church has taught from the beginning, that there are personal attributes that distinguish the Father from the Son. For example, the Father begets the Son, and, therefore, the Son has His origin [arche] in the Father.
Does this make the Son less divine than the Father? Does this reduce the Son to being a demigod? Not at all! Being unbegotten is not an aspect of divinity; it is a personal attribute. Again, the early church believed that the Father could never become incarnate nor could he ever make himself visible to human eyes. To the early church, this would have been a denial of the Father's unique personhood.
That is because the Father is the ultimate Source not only of the universe, but also of the Trinity.
In saying this, the early church was not demoting the Son to being a demigod. Rather, it understood that such things are not attributes of divinity. Rather, those attributes are simply differing characteristics of the Father and the Son. So the early church affirmed that the Father is GREATER than the Son—as to PERSONAL ATTRIBUTES, but NOT AS TO NATURE. The Son (and the Holy Spirit) possess the full attributes of divinity, but the Father possesses UNIQUE PERSONAL ATTRIBUTES THAT MAKE HIM GREATER than the Son and the Holy Spirit.” (ibid. pg. 114)

Oyebola Feranmi Peter said...

Now, coming to aspect of “ORDER”, Bercot said:
“There is another sense, however, in which the early church taught that the Father is greater than the Son: in the sense of order. Here, "order" means chain of authority. EQUALITY OF NATURE DOES NOT MEAN EQUALITY OF ORDER. Returning to our illustration of Adam and Eve, we find that not only did the first two humans differ in personal attributes; they also differed in order. Although Adam and Eve were equal in nature, Adam was created first, and he was the head of Eve.
Paul explains that there is the exact same order within the Trinity, saying, "I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God" (1 Cor. 11:3). So the Father has authority over the Son. The Son is sent by the Father; the Son does the will of the Father; and the Son sits at the Father's right hand. This hierarchy of order cannot be reversed. Yet this hierarchy of order in no way diminishes the Son's divinity.” (ibid.)
David Bercot, knowing about Christians like you who are so careless to muddle everything up, said:
“When Christians do not understand the difference between NATURE, PERSONAL ATTRIBUTES, and ORDER, they end up with a confused understanding of the Trinity. They also misconstrue what the early Christians taught about the Father and the Son.” (ibid)
Origen is one of the most misunderstood early church fathers. I do not agree that Origen believe in subordinationism in the sense that Jesus is inferior to the Father. Tertullian, as well, did not hold to this view. Orthodox Trinitarians believe that the Son and Holy Spirit are lower to The Father only in POSITION and not nature or essence. I am lower to my father in authority and position, but in terms of essence and nature, we are EQUAL.
The Logos Theology precedes the birth of Christ. The theology of Memra is well-grounded in the theology of the Second Temple Judaism and I can bring you evidences if you don’t mind.

Oyebola Feranmi Peter said...

<<< And then did it emerge into the light in the late 4th century? >>>
Response
No.
<<< On the divine attributes shared by God and Jesus, I asked you for a list of these, and you have not yet given it.
Can you do so? >>>
Response
Jesus is omniscient

Jesus knew the thoughts of men (Mark 2:8). His disciples testified that Jesus knew all things on two different occasions (John 16:30; 21:17). Jesus is The Great Judge on the Judgment Day and for Him to be the judge, He has to know everything.
Jesus is omnipresent
"In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, AND I IN YOU" -John 14:20
"Jesus answered him, "If a man loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and MAKE OUR HOME WITH HIM" -John 14:23
"But if CHRIST IS IN YOU, although your bodies are dead because of sin, your spirits are alive because of righteousness" -Romans 8:10
"Do you not realize that JESUS CHRIST IS IN YOU?" -2 Corinthians 13:5
"I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but CHRIST WHO LIVES IN ME; and the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me" -Galatians 2:20
I wonder how Jesus could live in all believers if He is not omnipresent.

Oyebola Feranmi Peter said...

Jesus is Omnipotent
“And I WILL DO WHATEVER YOU ASK IN MY NAME, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I WILL DO IT.” John 14:13-14
In the book of Revelations, it is written:
“Then I saw standing in the middle of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the middle of the elders, a Lamb that appeared to have been killed. He had SEVEN HORNS and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth.” Revelations 5:6
Horn is a biblical imagery for power and strength. Seven is a biblical imagery for perfection. Jesus having seven horns means that He is omnipotent. That Jesus is omnipotent made the early church to direct their prayers to Him because He is able to save.
Jesus is the CREATOR of the universe
“who delivered us out of the power of darkness, and translated us into the Kingdom of the Son of his love; in whom we have our redemption, b the forgiveness of our sins; who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. FOR BY HIM ALL THINGS WERE CREATED, IN THE HEAVENS AND ON THE EARTH, THINGS VISIBLE AND THINGS INVISIBLE, WHETHER THRONES OR DOMINIONS OR PRINCIPALITIES OR POWERS; all things have been created through him, and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things are held together.” Colossians 1:13-17
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. ALL THINGS WERE MADE THROUGH HIM. WITHOUT HIM WAS NOT ANYTHING MADE THAT HAS BEEN MADE.” John 1:3
And I could list even more… But time will allow me.

<<< Immortality. You ignore the facts that the Bible says that a) God cannot die and b) Jesus died. >>>
Response
Please, define death. What do you mean by death? God as a Spirit is immortal since He does not wink out completely out of evidence. Jesus did not also wink out of existence. So what do you mean by death? Define it again and let’s see.

Oyebola Feranmi Peter said...

<<< On worship, you say
'Is that not an approval from the Father that Jesus is God'
If Jesus 'were' God, he would not need anyone's approval for the angels to be worshipped, would he?
' The Bible is clear that only God is worthy of being receipient (sic) of worship and praise from creation.'
I think you are quoting from the OT
But even the OT is against you on this point
Ps 110:1, the most quoted (21 times) OT verse in the NT, says that David's Lord is to be raised to God's RH. >>>
Response
And who is David’s Lord in this particular context? Read Mark 12:35-37 again and stop raising canned objections. In fact, I do not see how the OT is against our position. In the OT, it is very clear that only God is worthy of religious worship and devotion. No other person, neither even the angelic realm nor the host of Yahweh’s emissaries is given religious worship or devotion.

<<< Not at all, certainly not in your defined sense of possessing all divine attributes (which view you may now have to revise, anyway).
If God tells you to worship someone, are you going to refuse to obey because this person is not sufficiently divine, in your view? >>>
Response
My dear DKC, you are missing the point. God explicitly tell us that:
“I am Yahweh. That is my name. I WILL NOT GIVE MY GLORY TO ANOTHER, nor my praise to engraved images.” Isaiah 42:8
“for you shall WORSHIP NO OTHER GOD: for Yahweh, whose name is Jealous, IS A JEALOUS GOD.” Exodus 34:14
Did Jesus Himself not say,
“for YOU SHALL WORSHIP NO OTHER GOD: for Yahweh, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.” Matthew 4:10
“Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘YOU ARE TO WORSHIP THE LORD YOUR GOD AND SERVE ONLY HIM.’” Luke 4:8
Now, supposing the pagans called you to defend Paul’s statement here:
“They exchanged the truth of God for a lie and WORSHIPED AND SERVED THE CREATION rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.”
How will you defend Paul? If Jesus is a creature, how are we different from pagans and heathens? If you believe in Jesus as a creature and you believed that it is okay for you to worship Him, are you not exchanging the truth of God for a lie?
In the apocalypse of John the Beloved, while all the EXALTED 24 elders and all creation were worshipping The ONE on the Throne, why did Jesus not join them? And what do have here? Jesus was receiving worship alongside the Father just as Jesus had commanded here:
“so that all PEOPLE WILL HONOR THE SON JUST AS THEY HONOR THE FATHER. The one who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him.” John 5:23
In fact, an angel who rejected worship from John the Beloved, took great pains to emphasize that only God is worthy of worship:
“I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things, and when I heard and saw them, I threw myself down to worship at the feet of the angel who was showing them to me. But he said to me, “DO NOT DO THIS! I am a fellow servant with you and with your brothers the prophets, and with those who obey the words of this book. WORSHIP GOD!” Revelations 22:8-9

Oyebola Feranmi Peter said...

<<< Thanks again for this dialogue. >>>
Response
My pleasure. Remember that this site is organized as a response to the diatribes of Muslims and not heretical Christians. If you don’t mind, we can move this discussion to another site.

David Kemball-Cook said...

Thanks Oyebola.
You have said a great deal there.
Can we please focus on your 'basic facts', the basics of the (primitive apostolic) Trinity, first, and then move on to the other points?
'2) The Son is God'
You say that the apostles believed this
I think this is the crucial issue
Can you please tell me what the apostles understood by the Son / Jesus 'being' God?
That
A) Jesus is identical to (one and the same as) YHWH?
B) Jesus is part of YHWH?
C) Jesus has a 'divine nature'?
If so, what does it mean for a man to have one of these?
D) Jesus existed eternally as a 'divine being' with two other 'divine beings'?
E) Something else?

Once we know what you think is meant by this important claim, we can examine the evidence for the apostles believing it.

Thanks again
PS call me a 'heretical Christian' if you like (I was trinitarian, now biblical unitarian)

Oyebola Feranmi Peter said...

DKC, did you bother to read from the works of David W. Bercot I cited above or you just choose to skip just for you to repeat your objections over and over again? Or should I say that your comprehension skills are poor (If I want to be harsher)?
Before I answer your question, can you give us the reason why the Father is God? Let's start from there
Second, when the NT refers to Jesus as God, in what sense do you think they gave Him the name?

David Kemball-Cook said...

Thanks Oyebola. No I did not read it, sorry.
I am more interested in a) what the apostles believe and b) what you believe.
You evade my question, why?
Do you know what you believe on this?
If you do, is your reluctance to say because you don't wish anyone else to know?
If you don't know what you believe, you have a problem, don't you?

1) 'The Father' is just a title used in the NT for God, aka YHWH, the God whom Jesus called 'Father' and whom he identified with YHWH (John 20:17).
Obviously, then, 'the Father is God' is true by definition.
2) Please give me the verses where the NT 'refers to Jesus as God (god, a god)', and I will tell you how I understand them. The sense will depend on the verse.
I look forward to your answers to my questions
thanks again

Oyebola Feranmi Peter said...

DKC, since you did not bother to read works I cited above, then why respond to my comments when we all know you will keep repeating the same set of objections that had been refuted a thousand and one times?

(((( You evade my question, why? ))))
Evaded your question? You can't be serious! You are the mole heading straight for the nearest hole yet you blamed for running away from your own hole.
I have listed all the SEVEN propositions that the Apostles believed in yet you keep asking me what the apostles believed. Here are seven propositions again for you to see:
1) The Father is God
2) The Son is God
3) The Holy Spirit is God
4) The Father is neither The Son not The Holy Spirit
5) The Son is neither The Father not the Holy Spirit
6) The Holy Spirit is neither The Father nor The Son
7) There is only one God Almighty

Please, if our doctrine of the Trinity cannot or does not accommodate the facts listed above, can you please entertain us with a terminology that can or do?

Now, when asked to prove that The Father is God, you realized that you are in trouble because the arguments you want to use to prove the deity of The Father is very same of arguments you want to reject when used for The Son!!!

You said,

(((( The Father' is just a title used in the NT for God, aka YHWH, the God whom Jesus called 'Father' and whom he identified with YHWH (John 20:17).
Obviously, then, 'the Father is God' is true by definition. ))))

Your argument above follows like this:

Minor premise: The Father is called God
Conclusion: The Father is God
From this, your major premise goes: Anyone who is called God in the NT is definitely God.

Now, you realize that we can use this very same premise to prove the deity of The Son, you now went on to say,

(((( Please give me the verses where the NT 'refers to Jesus as God (god, a god)', and I will tell you how I understand them. The sense will depend on the verse. ))))

As you understand them? Okay, in what sense do you think that Jesus should be called "God" that will make you believe that He is truly God?
Jesus is known as God (John 1:1), He is in the same nature as God (Phillippians 2:6), He is the Creator, He is omnipresent, He is omnipresence etc. Please what more hurdles will Our Redeemer cross for you to acknowledge His deity? Or how long will you continue in your blasphemy against the Holy Spirit?


David Kemball-Cook said...

Thanks Oyebola
My point is that you need to be able to substantiate your alleged 'facts'
The crucial one is 'the Son is God'
Here again is the question that you evaded answering
1) Can you please tell me what the apostles understood by the Son / Jesus 'being' God?
That
A) Jesus is identical to (one and the same as) YHWH?
B) Jesus is part of YHWH?
C) Jesus has a 'divine nature'?
If so, what does it mean for a man to have one of these?
D) Jesus existed eternally as a 'divine being' with two other 'divine beings'?
E) Something else?

I don't think you know what you, or the apostles, mean by this claim.
If so, your claim is meaningless(obviously).
I claim that the apostles did not believe that Jesus 'is' God in any of the above sense, and I would dispute your interpretation of any scripture text that you thinks says so..


2) I would also like to ask you please, as (presumably) a trinitarian
Who or what is the one God of the Bible, YHWH??
Is it a single person, a 'He'?
Or a collective of three persons, a 'They'?
Or the divine 'Being' / 'Nature' / 'Essence' that three persons share, an 'It'?
Or something else?

Once I know your answers, we can see it this understanding squares with how Jesus and the apostles understood YHWH and the relationship between Jesus and YHWH.
Thanks

As for what you asked me, you say
'Your argument above follows like this:
Minor premise: The Father is called God
Conclusion: The Father is God
From this, your major premise goes: Anyone who is called God in the NT is definitely God.'
I did not say this, or anything close.
You have it round the opposite say.
God is called 'Father', not the other way round.
I actually said
1) 'The Father' is just a title used in the NT for God, aka YHWH, the God whom Jesus called 'Father' and whom he identified with YHWH (John 20:17).
Obviously, then, 'the Father is God' is true by definition.

2) Please give me the verses where the NT 'refers to Jesus as God (god, a god)', and I will tell you how I understand them. The sense will depend on the verse.

You say 'As you understand them? Okay, in what sense do you think that Jesus should be called "God" that will make you believe that He is truly God?'
I would say first that I need to know what is meant by a man 'being truly God' (see above).
If it is numerical identity, then Jesus saying 'I am God' (ego eimi ho theos) would do it.
But there is no such verse.

'Jesus is known as God (John 1:1)'
Thanks. Where in John 1:1 does it mention Jesus?


'He is in the same nature as God (Phillippians (sic) 2:6)'
Where in Phil 2:6 does it say this?

'He is the Creator, He is omnipresent, He is omnipresence etc.'
What verses state these?
Remember I am asking for scriptural texts.

'Please what more hurdles will Our Redeemer cross for you to acknowledge His deity?'
I am waiting to know what it means to say that a man has 'deity'

'Or how long will you continue in your blasphemy against the Holy Spirit?'
Please quote the scriptures that say that it is blasphemy to deny that Jesus 'is God' (whatever that means).
Or are you just sounding off your mouth without any clear idea of how it is supported by scripture?

Thanks again

David Kemball-Cook said...

correction Oyebola, sorry
I meant to say
'You have it round the opposite way'
not
'You have it round the opposite say'!

Oyebola Feranmi Peter said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Oyebola Feranmi Peter said...

>>>>> 1) Can you please tell me what the
apostles understood by the Son/ Jesus
'being' God? That

A) Jesus is identical to (one and the
same as) YHWH?
B) Jesus is part of YHWH?
C) Jesus has a 'divine nature'?
If so, what does it mean for a man to
have one of these?
D) Jesus existed eternally as a 'divine
being' with two other 'divine beings'?
E) Something else? <<<<<

This would be the last time I would be answering this very objection because I have already answered the questions TIMES and AGAIN. You did not even bother to read the works I cited yet you pretend as if your questions went on unaddressed.
I am not interested in the options you gave me... You are tempting me to play by your rules. When we say that Jesus is God, we mean that Jesus possesses all the qualities that set The Father apart from creation and makes us to call Him God. In other words, Jesus belongs to the same class that The Father belongs to just as Eve belongs to the same class that Adam belongs to. In fact, Eve is known as "Adam" in the scriptures because she belongs to the same class with her husband.
In such a wise, Jesus is God in the sense that He possesses all the divine qualities and attributes.

>>>>> I claim that the apostles did not believe
that Jesus 'is' God in any of the above sense, and I would dispute your
interpretation of any scripture text that
you thinks says so.. <<<<<<<

Yes, the apostles believed that Jesus is God in the sense I stated in my reply above. Jesus is God (John 1:1), the same nature as the Father (Phillipians 2:6), Jesus is the Creator (Colossians 1:16-20). In fact, Paul adjusted the Shema to include The Father and The Son (1 Corinthians 8:4-6) etc.
Needless to say, if you insist on trying to explain these passages away to suit your need, you need to give us sufficient reasons otherwise I can use your methods to explain away the deity of The Father. To deny The Son means to deny The Father.
I have been asking you to prove that The Father is God yet you keep evading me like a plague.

Oyebola Feranmi Peter said...

>>>>> Who or what is the one God of the Bible, YHWH??
Is it a single person, a 'He'?
Or a collective of three persons, a 'They'? Or the divine 'Being' / 'Nature' / 'Essence' that three persons share, an 'It'? Or something else? <<<<<<
Okay, who is Adam? Is He the first man on earth? Or does it refers to Eve as well? Or does it refers to all his descendants?
Just as the word "Adam" can be used both in a personal manner and in a qualitative manner, the word "God" too carries the same meaning. Do not forget there is at least two different individuals referred to as Yahweh in the Old Testament. Do not forget that we have the Malak Yahweh in the Old Testament who often speaks as Yahweh and identifies Himself as Yahweh.
Do not forget that the Greek word "kyrios" is the translation of the Divine Name - a title almost exclusively reserved for Jesus in the NT. Lest you argue that others too were called "lord", I tell you that context is what matters. The OT passagea concerning Yahweh are applied to Jesus - in other words, the apostles see Jesus as Yahweh and they do not hesitate to substitute Yahweh in some OT passages for Jesus.

Second, if you argue that the word "He" used for God in the OT is an argument against the Trinity, then can't we say that God is of the male gender? At best, the singular pronoun can only disprove POLYTHEISM. After all if "they" was used for God, then the Mormons will have a point while the unitarians will try to dismiss the plural pronoun as pluralis majestatis. After all, what have you unitarians been doing concerning plural verbs being applied to God?
Okay, let us take a look at passages where plural pronoun is used of God:

"Then God said, "Let US make man Our image, according to OUR likeness;" Genesis 1:26

Then [Yahweh] God said, "Behold, the man has
become like one of US." Genesis 3:22

"Come, let Us go down and, confuse their
language, that they may not understand one
another's speech." Genesis 11:7

Then I heard the voice of [Yahweh], saying,
"Whom shall I send, and who will go for US?" Then I said, "Here am I. Send me!" (Isa 6:8)

We all know how unitarians out of desperation tried to explain away these passages - not even to talk of passages like this:

“For your HusbandS are your MakerS (bō‘ălayikə ‘ōśayikə) — Yahweh of hosts is his name — the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; he is called the GodS of all the earth (Elōhêy kāl- hā’ārets).” Isaiah 54:5

DKC, please forget about using pronouns to argue for the loneliness of God because it does not favour you. For me as a Trinitarian, singular pronouns/verbs/titles indicates that God is a unity while plural pronouns/verbs/titles indicates that there is diversity in the Godhead. Polytheists have problems with the former while unitarians have problems with the latter. We are aware of how both sides tries to explain the unfavourable aspect away.

Oyebola Feranmi Peter said...

DKC, you said:

>>>>> I did not say this, or anything close.
You have it round the opposite say.
God is called 'Father', not the other way
round.
I actually said
1) 'The Father' is just a title used in the
NT for God, aka YHWH, the God whom
Jesus called 'Father' and whom he
identified with YHWH (John 20:17).

Obviously, then, 'the Father is God' is
true by definition."

Good! Let's use the word "Adam" to clarify things better.
Adam = The first man
There the first man = Adam by definition. In other words, Adam is the first man or the first man is Adam. Both are 100% convertible.
Now,
Eve = Adam
Does that means
Eve = Adam = the first man?
No.
You are the one insisting on a rigid definition of the word "God" yet you expand the definition to suit your whims when applied to Jesus.

Just as Eve can be called Adam because she shares the same nature with her husband, I do not see any reason why the word "God" when used for Jesus should be explained away in a different sense when the Bible is clear that Jesus is in the same nature as of God (Phillippians 2:6) and that the Bible goes on to give divine attributes to Jesus.
So, in what sense do you think that the word "God" is applied to Jesus?

Now, in John 20:17, Jesus said that He is ascending to His Father and to His God. What if His Father and His God are two different personalities?
Do you know that Thomas said the same thing concerning Jesus:

"Thomas said to him, "My Lord and my God! " John 20:28

In what sense do you think you can explain these passage away without hurting John 20:17? Let's see how good you are in acrobatics.

Oyebola Feranmi Peter said...

>>>>> 'Jesus is known as God (John 1:1)'
Thanks. Where in John 1:1 does it
mention Jesus? <<<<<

Who do you think is the Logos here if not Jesus? Be careful here because your argument may trap you.

>>>>> He is in the same nature as God
(Phillippians (sic) 2:6)'
Where in Phil 2:6 does it say this? <<<<<

Do we have to spoonfeed you, eh?

"Who, being in VERY NATURE God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped," Philippians 2:6

>>>>> 'He is the Creator, He is omnipresent, He is omnipresence etc.'
What verses state these? Remember I am asking for scriptural texts. <<<<<

Go back and read my previous comments where I laid out some scriptural texts for all to see. See my comments at November 13, 2018 at 11:31 AM and November 13, 2018 at 11:32 AM.
I do not need to repeat myself.

>>>>> I am waiting to know what it means to say that a man has 'deity' <<<<<

We didn't say so.

>>>>> Please quote the scriptures that say that
it is blasphemy to deny that Jesus 'is
God' (whatever that means).
Or are you just sounding off your mouth without any clear idea of how it is
supported by scripture? <<<<<

Here you go again. The blasphemy against the Holy Spirit means trying to explain away Biblical evidences and trying to set up your own set of philosophical objections to judge the revelations. In other words, you are trying to teach the Holy Spirit concerning a world where your set of philosophical standards do not apply.

David Kemball-Cook said...

Thanks Oyebola
1) You say you refuse to define what it means to say that Jesus 'is' God, but then you proceed to define it!
You say 'Jesus is God in the sense that He possesses all the divine qualities and attributes'
OK, that is pretty much what you said before, without the precision of 'qualitatively'.

But then you did not answer my reply! I said
You say 'Jesus is qualitatively God because He possesses all the attributes and qualities that made us to call the Father God in the first place. The same goes for the Holy Spirit'
This is clear.
But what are these attributes?
Immortality? But the Bible says that Jesus died.
Omnipresence? But Jesus, in his earthly life, was limited to a human body.
Omniscience? But there were things that Jesus did not know (eg the time of his coming, Mark 13:32).
Impassibility? But Jesus suffered.
So please tell me what are these attributes of God that Jesus is supposed to possess?
Still waiting for that list ... Perhaps you want to revise it, omitting these above attributes?

2) Who or what is the one God of the Bible, YHWH?
You gave a long reply, but you did not answer the question.
Is it a single person, a 'He'?
Or a collective of three persons, each with their own minds, a 'They'?
Or the divine 'Being' / 'Nature' / 'Essence' that three persons share, an 'It'?
Or something else?
Is He / They / It different from Jesus or the same as Jesus?
I think this question is pretty clear, but so far you have been unable to answer it.
It looks like you think YHWH is a collective of three persons, each with their own minds.
But you can clarify.

We really need to know your beliefs before we can discuss scriptures.
Then we can get on to Phil 2, Col 1 and the rest
Thanks

PS ' I have been asking you to prove that The Father is God yet you keep evading me like a plague'
To me 'God is the Father' is a simple statement of numerical identity, as I have explained
Nothing to prove, no logical argument involved.

Oyebola Feranmi Peter said...

Keep repeating the objections I have already addressed. It makes me feel like talking to a sophisticated robot that is designed for the business of recycling arguments.

Go back and read my previous replies - there you will see my answer. If you have nothing else to say to my replies, then keep quiet. Or why will you pretend as if I never addressed your arguments in the first place? A similar thing on this site occured in 2014 where you were not able to address the arguments presented yet you keep pretending as if your arguments went on unnoticed.

If someone demolishes your argument, you just say "oh, you did not respond to my questions". What a convenient cop-out tricks you've got in your sleeves!

Oyebola Feranmi Peter said...

Well, I will busy throughout this weekend and Monday. My full response comes up on Tuesday - Lord willing

David Kemball-Cook said...

Oyebola, before we can debate scriptures we need to be clear about what we each believe and how we define terms.
I believe God is one single person and that Jesus is God's Messiah, a real human being.
I want to know what you believe about God and Jesus.
Hence my questions 1) and 2).
You DO know what you believe, don't you?

You sort of answered 1), saying
You say 'Jesus is qualitatively God because He possesses all the attributes and qualities that made us to call the Father God in the first place. The same goes for the Holy Spirit'
But then you cannot seem to be able to tell me what are these attributes that Jesus possesses!
Immortality? But the Bible says that Jesus died.
Omnipresence? But Jesus, in his earthly life, was limited to a human body.
Omniscience? But there were things that Jesus did not know (eg the time of his coming, Mark 13:32).
Impassibility? But Jesus suffered.
So please tell me what are these attributes of God that Jesus is supposed to possess.

2) Who or what is the one God of the Bible, YHWH?
You gave a long reply, but you did not answer the question.
Is it a single person, a 'He'?
Or a collective of three persons, each with their own minds, a 'They'?
Or the divine 'Being' / 'Nature' / 'Essence' that three persons share, an 'It'?
Or something else?
Is He / They / It different from Jesus or the same as Jesus?
I think this question is pretty clear, but so far you have been unable to answer it.
It looks like you think YHWH is a collective of three persons, each with their own minds.
But you can clarify.

We really need to know your beliefs before we can discuss scriptures.
Then we can get on to Phil 2, Col 1 and the rest
Thanks

Andrew said...

David, Jesus will judge the whole of humanity. Which will run into the Billions. A mere human cannot possibly Judge the whole of humanity.

You say he could if appointed by God. But that doesn't explain how Jesus can physically do it? Are you saying God upgrades Jesus ala 2001: a space odyssey?

Andrew said...

David,

when God appeared to Moses in the form of a burning bush he physically manifested himself in a fixed point in space and time in a limited finite form while still being omnipresent.

So do you agree that God can be finite and infinite at the same time?

David Kemball-Cook said...

Andrew, I already answered you. I said
Yes a man can certainly judge if appointed to do so by God.
How is this not possible, if God gives that man the power and authority?

And this is indeed the case, as Paul preached to the Athenians
'Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead' (Acts 17:31)
Notice that Paul nowhere in the sermon says that Jesus 'is' God.
Indeed, nowhere in any of the three sermons recorded in Acts is the 'deity of Christ' mentioned.
A rather difficult fact, I think, for 'Jesus is God' believers to explain.

As for your ' ut that doesn't explain how Jesus can physically do it', I take your point.
But who said anything about 'physically'?
Paul writes that resurrected bodies will be 'spiritual bodies'.
'It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.'

Anyway, can you please tell me what you believe about Jesus and God?
If Jesus the same as God, or part of God, or something else?

Andrew said...

Nice! You use paganism or science fiction to explain unitarianism.

Do you agree God can be finite and infinite at the same time?

Andrew said...

I went back and read most of the 2014 post that Tony referred to. Two things stand out:

1) DKC getting nuked by Anthony Rogers.

2) DKC blaspheming the Holy Spirit by referring to Matthew 28:19 as an "odd" verse and John 20:19 as an "impulsive" verse.

Andrew said...

I mean John 20:28

David Kemball-Cook said...

Andrew, do you know why trinitarians are so reluctant to say what they believe?
It is a bit of a puzzle isn't it?
Tony Costa would not say.
Now you won't say ...
But please tell me what you believe about Jesus and God
If Jesus the same as God, or part of God, or something else?

As for God being 'finite and infinite at the same time', I am sorry I don't know what this means.
Can you explain?

Andrew said...

You do know what I mean. You are just playing dumb.

David Kemball-Cook said...

Thanks Andrew
1) If you knew what you meant, you could explain it!
But you seem reluctant to do so …

2) You seem to have given up on the 'a mere man could not judge humanity …', in the face of scripture.
So that is good.

3) But you are still reluctant to say what you believe about God and Jesus.
Why?
Don't you know what you believe?

Andrew said...

Okay.

God appeared to Moses in a fixed point in space and time in the form of a burning bush. So in a limited finite form of himself. While still being omnipresent. So God can exist in a finite form while still being omnipresent.

Nope. Not given up on anything. I simply pointed out how ridiculous it is a Unitarian importing pagan ideas into scripture.

I have already said Jesus is God. Three persons;one God. I note you are like an energiser bunny. Anthony Rogers went through all the different formulations of the trinity and you keep saying the same thing.

I don't have time to waste on blasphemers who call bible verses odd or impulsive.

Goodbye.

David Kemball-Cook said...

Thanks Andrew.
1) Yes that clarifies. God can appear within His creation in a limited form while still being omnipresent. This is pretty obvious.

2) What pagan idea did I import into scripture?

3) Yes, the formula is Jesus 'is' God, but what does it mean?
This is what stumps trinitarians of the non-scholarly kind.
Does it mean that Jesus is the one and the same as God (aka modalism), or part of God, or something else?
Do the Persons have their own minds (social Trinity) or is there just one mind in God (Latin Trinity)?
Do you know what you believe?
I suspect you don't, which explains your reluctance to say.