Dale Tuggy

Dale Tuggy is Professor of Philosophy at the State University of New York at Fredonia, where he teaches courses in analytic theology, philosophy of religion, religious studies, and the history of philosophy.

50 Comments

  1. Marg
    October 29, 2011 @ 2:15 pm

    One thing that awes me, over and over again, is the CONSISTENCY of the Scriptures. I remember how thrilled I was when I finally discarded the “orthodox” theory of the Trinity as being both irrational and unscriptural, and was able to read John’s gospel just as it is written, without wondering what Christ was talking about when he repeatedly said that he was nothing; that his words, his works, his very life were not his own, but came from his Father, “the only true God” (John 17:3).

    I am experiencing the same thrill now. Paul has convinced me that he, at least, believed that Christ was God’s co-worker, the one through whom all things come. Paul’s credentials for understanding the Hebrew Scriptures were impressive (Acts 22:3; Phil. 3:5-6). So how would Paul have understood Genesis 1:26? To whom was God speaking when he said, “Let us make man after our own image”?

    Paul’s teaching makes the answer obvious. God was speaking to his Son, the one THROUGH whom all things come. And the “image” is singular, because the Son is the exact image of his Father. It all fits.

    It also fits John’s statement (John 1:9-13) that the “true light” was

    in the world, and the world came into being through him, and the world did not know him … but as many as received him, to them he gave the authority to be the children of God.

    It also fits the next verse: “And the Word became flesh, and lived among us, and we beheld his glory, the glory as of an only-begotten of a father.”

    That, in turn, fits John’s vision of the conquering Christ on a white horse, “whose name was called, ‘the Word of God’” (Rev. 19:11-13).

    And all of these passages harmonize perfectly with the first five verses of John’s gospel. The Word (the expression of God’s thoughts) was in the beginning with THE God. The Word was God (no article – describing the divine nature that the Word received from THE God).
    All things came into being THROUGH the Word.
    In the Word was life (received from the Father – see John 6:57), and the life was the light of men.

    Verse 18 again hints at the similarity of function between “word” and “son”.

    No one has seen God at any time; but the only begotten of the Father [the image of the invisible God] he has declared him [made him known; expressed his very being].

    One last thing. Judging from what I have been reading during the last week or so, I have concluded that the Word/Son of God is in fact what Melchizedek was in type: without beginning or end. I am open to correction, but that seems like the most reasonable conclusion.

    I’m finished. Thank you for being allowed to write so much.
    I am looking forward to the last installment of Dale’s evolution of thought regarding the Trinity.

  2. Marg
    October 26, 2011 @ 7:36 pm

    Forgive me; but the clause, “A body you prepared for me” (Hebrews 10:5) has taken hold of my mind and won’t let go.

    “Body” is the first word in the clause. That’s what the whole passage is about: a BODY, composed of flesh (that can suffer) and blood (that can be poured out). A human body, capable of dying, and therefore capable of being offered up as a sacrifice for sin.

    I hadn’t thought of it that way before; but the context is clear. The Son of God was appointed to be the high priest of his people. But he would not be offering the animal sacrifices of the past. They could never make the offerers perfect, and God took no pleasure in them. Instead, this high priest was going to sacrifice HIMSELF.

    Christ knew what that body was for. Nevertheless he said, “I come to do your will, O my God.” As a result, “this man [a perfect man] offered one sacrifice for sin for ever,” and “we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ, once for all … for
    by one offering he has perfected for ever those who are sanctified.” Wonderful words.

    But see the exhortations that come as a result: “Let us draw near … let us hold fast … let us consider one another…” (22-24).

    Peter sums it all up in 1 Peter 2:24 – with words that brought peace to my troubled soul some 65 years ago: “[Christ] himself bore our sins in his own body on the tree …”
    What for? “… so that we, being dead to sin, should live unto righteousness.”

    “This is my body, given for you” (Luke 22:19). “That holy thing …” (Luke 1:35).

  3. Marg
    October 25, 2011 @ 9:48 pm

    I can’t let go of Hebrews without mentioning chapters 12 and 13. Learning is a wonderful and a joyous thing, particularly when the subject is God and his Son. But such learning has a purpose. It should change my life. It should increase my yearning to be a true disciple of Jesus – “walking with him in order to learn from him how to be like him.” That’s what the last two chapters focus on.

    It doesn’t really fit this thread – but I don’t want to forget it.

  4. Marg
    October 25, 2011 @ 5:46 pm

    Knowing that a few passages in Hebrews have a bearing on the question of Christ’s humanity I read through the letter and made notes. I found more than I was looking for (as usual) and have probably missed some, but here is a summary of what I found.

    Chapter 2vv11-15: Because those he came to save are “flesh and blood,” he shared the same thing (flesh and blood) so that he could die. [Possible parallel – “The Word became flesh and tabernacled among us …” (John 1:14)]
    He became like his brothers in all things in order to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. Having suffered in the flesh, being tested (tempted), he is able to help those who are tested (tempted).

    4vv14-16: We have a high priest who can sympathize with our infirmities having been tested (like us) in all respects apart from sin.
    (That fact has a practical consequence: “So let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace that we may receive mercy, and grace for help in time of need.”)

    7v3: Melchizedek, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but made like the Son of God, remains a priest in perpetuity.
    What Melchizedek was in type (no written record of beginning or end of life) Christ was in reality. Melchizedek’s never-ending priesthood is figurative, but Christ’s is a fact. He is, indeed, a priest for ever. That’s why he can save to the uttermost those who come to God through him. Wow!

    9vv11-14 & 25-28: Christ, through his own blood, entered once for all into the Holies … having put away sin through the sacrifice of himself.

    10vv5-14: “Therefore entering into the world, he says, Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you prepared for me … We are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ, once for all …”

    A body prepared. “That holy thing …”

  5. Marg
    October 24, 2011 @ 10:21 am

    There’s a phrase in Hebrews 1:3 that has caught my attention recently. Rather than quote one phrase out of context, here is a translation of the first three verses (based on Green’s Interlinear):

    In many times and in many ways of old, God, having spoken to the fathers in the prophets, in these last days has spoken to us in [his] Son;
    whom he appointed heir of all things, through whom he indeed made the ages;
    who being [the] shining splendour of his glory and [the] express image of his essence, and
    having made purification of our sins through himself,
    sat down on [the] right of the Majesty on high.

    The phrase that caught my eye is, “… [the] express image of his essence.”

    Here are three other translations of the phrase which vary slightly in wording but have the same impact:
    … [the] exact expression of his substance (Berry)
    … the express image of his person (KJV)
    … the exact representation of his very being (NWT)

    In other words, the Son is the “spi’it’n’image” – the “spirit and image” (Wangerin) of his Father.

    Paul says much the same thing to the Colossians. He says that the Son is “the image of the invisible God” and “in him dwells all the fullness of the deity bodily” (Col. 1:15 and 2:9).
    I understand that to mean that in Christ, all of the quality of deity – the nature of God – dwells in a [human] body.

    Similarly, John quotes Jesus as saying, “If you had known me, you would have known the Father ALSO” (John 14:7, emphasis added). That’s because “He that has seen me has seen the Father” (v. 9).

    So, based on the testimony of two (or three) witnesses, I conclude that:
    – As “the only-begotten Son of God,” the Christ is wholly divine.

    Is any other conclusion possible?

    What he is as “the firstborn son of Mary” will require more searching; but my first impression is that he is also wholly human.

  6. Marg
    October 20, 2011 @ 2:37 pm

    Paul’s argument in 1 Corinthians 8 implies that Christ must have had some kind of existence before his physical birth. No alternative explanation has been introduced, so I’d like to continue – while keeping in mind that I don’t have to know all about Christ in order to do what he says.

    Paul told the Corinthians there is one God, FROM whom are “all things,” and one Lord, THROUGH whom are “all things”. So the many gods and the many lords of Corinth are completely worthless. Nothing is FROM them, nothing is THROUGH them. They are nothing.

    Colossians 1 follows much the same pattern. God is the Creator of the heavens and the earth. But the Son of his love is the one THROUGH whom “all things” were created – things in the heavens AND things on the earth.

    The passage would not make sense if the visible things of creation – things the Colossians could see – are NOT included in the “all things”. How could the Colossians be expected to understand a concept like that?

    The next question in my mind is – what is meant by the word “begotten”?

    I was surprised to see how many ways the word is used, both in a literal and in a metaphorical sense. I agree with Anthony Buzzard that the conception of Jesus in Mary’s womb was a miraculous “fathering” of a child by God, but I’m not so sure this can be understood in a natural (albeit miraculous) way. That would make him a hybrid, wouldn’t it? – half human and half divine?

    That makes no sense to me. And what I have learned about the biological barriers to hybridization in the natural world increases my reluctance to understand God’s only-begotten Son in that way.

    I realize that I will never understand God and/or his Son completely, but I can’t help wanting to know all that the Bible tells me about them. So I keep looking.

  7. John
    October 14, 2011 @ 10:16 am

    Marg
    I apologise if I was not sufficiently clear in post number 37 – I should have stated my reasons for connecting the three verses I quoted .
    They are not red-herrings and they are not taken out of context….
    They raise two issues
    (i) Believers beinmg called before they were born
    (ii)God’s grace being given before the world began.
    Does this mean that they all pre-existed?
    Marg, the quest for truth can be very painful -especially if the evident conclusions fall outside orthodoxy. I sense some of this pain in your responses.
    Your quotes from Dallas Willard will surely ‘strike a chord’ in all readers.!!
    Every Blessing
    John

  8. Marg
    October 14, 2011 @ 7:42 am

    You’re right about the ad hominem, Dave, and I apologize.

    On the other hand, the demand for uniformity of thought encourages “polite lying”. The Catholic Church has always been zealous about “true unity,” and the Athanasian Creed is a perfect example of trying to achieve it by means of threats.

    My own interpretation has been explained several times in my conversation with John, so I won’t go through it again – except for one detail:

    … room to claim that ‘Jesus created the world during his pre-existent state.’

    I have NEVER claimed that “Jesus created the world during his pre-existent state.” Here is the first paragraph of a previous post:

    Christ is never called “the Creator” of anything, so far as I am aware. In every relevant case, “all things” were created IN or THROUGH him. The verb is always passive.

    In other words, there is no passage which says that “Christ created” ANYTHING – past, present or future. It is always God who creates (active voice). Christ is simply the agent THROUGH whom God carries out his purposes.

    That fits Paul’s argument in 1 Corinthians 8 perfectly. It also fits several other passages which seem to suggest the same thing.

  9. Dave Burke
    October 14, 2011 @ 6:10 am

    Marg,

    Paul’s argument is well-crafted, Dave. Yours is non-existent.

    I provided an extensive argument during my debate with Bowman. Would you like to see it again?

    You haven’t actually explained your own interpretation. If all things are ‘by the Father’, what does that mean to you and how does it leave room to claim that ‘through the Son’ means ‘Jesus created the world during his pre-existent state’?

    I’ve noticed something about members of groups that punish non-conformity with excommunication.

    You mean members of groups who believe that true fellowship requires true unity and not just a bunch of people politely lying to each other. I think you’ll find the apostle Paul backs me up on this one.

    They have difficulty looking at adverse evidence with an open mind.

    Well, that’s just a pointless ad hominem, isn’t it Marg? We both know there’s no need for it.

  10. Marg
    October 13, 2011 @ 10:24 pm

    Paul’s argument is well-crafted, Dave. Yours is non-existent.

    I’ve noticed something about members of groups that punish non-conformity with excommunication. They have difficulty looking at adverse evidence with an open mind.

  11. Dave Burke
    October 13, 2011 @ 11:40 am

    ‘All things by the Father… all things through the Son.’ No need for pre-existence there, and certainly no suggestion that Jesus was in any way responsible for the creation of the natural world.

  12. Marg
    October 12, 2011 @ 2:08 pm

    Some time ago, Dale wrote something that I think needs to be repeated now and again:

    I think that Jesus would rather have a person who does what he says (e.g. laying aside anger, contempt, lust, greed, and trusting wholly in God) while being wrong about his metaphysical nature(s) than ten people who laud him with high titles and go to war (verbally or really) for their preferred theory about Jesus’s metaphysical status.

    I want to learn as much as I can about God and about his Christ. But first and foremost, I want to be Christ’s disciple – walking WITH him in order to learn FROM him how to be LIKE him (Dallas Willard).

  13. Marg
    October 12, 2011 @ 12:50 pm

    If the “all things” of 1 Corinthians 8 do not include the visible creation, then Paul’s argument is meaningless.

    Why are the so-called “gods” nothing? Because “all things” come from the ONE God.

    But if Paul was referring only to abstract things, leaving the visible creation for the “gods” to claim, his assertion is meaningless.

    All the references you give are red herrings, John. The meaning of “all things” depends on the CONTEXT.

  14. John
    October 12, 2011 @ 9:17 am

    Marg
    You are absolutely right !
    I scarcely gave the word ‘through’ a second glance.
    Of course the question is -“WHAT is it that is being discussed’?- and that becomes interesting.

    Consider Matthew 6 v 33
    “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God ..and ALL THESE THINGS will be added to you”
    The words capitalised are relected in Greek as” “tauta panta”

    Now, in 1 Corinthians 8 v 6 we have “…from whom are all things (panta) and we exist for him, and one Lord, Jesus Christ through which are the things (panta) and we through him”

    Are the ‘things’ referred to ‘blessings’ which come from experiencing the Kingdom of God through Christ?

    As I’ve mentioned I’m a ‘pre-existence’ skeptic.
    (i) Revelation 13v8 . Was the Lamb really slain from the foundations of the World?
    (ii) Romans 9 v23. “believers born afore glory”- implying that the glory was theirs before they were born.
    (iii) Ephesians 1 v4 ..to believers..”he chose us before the foundation of the wold”

    One sees something new every day!
    Blessings
    John

  15. Marg
    October 11, 2011 @ 8:01 am

    Christ is never called “the Creator” of anything, so far as I am aware. In every relevant case, “all things” were created IN or THROUGH him. The verb is always passive.

    The title of “Creator” belongs exclusively to YHWH, God Almighty. He is the one who makes the plans. He is the one who gives the commands. So I see nothing fuzzy about it.

    The point is – if God’s Son was indeed the one through whom the Father created all things, then he must have had an existence prior to his physical birth. That’s the point that is relevant to this thread.

    As for “sloppy translations,” I was quoting Berry’s interlinear Greek NT. Anyone who knows Greek is free to offer an alternative translation. Or an alternative text, if there is one.

    By the way, I am not rigidly committed to any particular conclusion. I am willing to learn. What I want to do is look at all the evidence.

  16. John
    October 11, 2011 @ 12:41 am

    Marg
    I’m fully on board with at least part of what you say-
    (i) The whole of Acts portrays Christ in an agential way. Acts 2 vv 22-36 summarises Christ’s mission very well.
    (ii)Numerous statements by Christ in which he says that that he derives his power from the Father, without whom he can do nothing
    (iii)Even statements like “If you have seen me you have seen the Father”, portray agency.
    If you work for a company and you were visited by Mr. X from General Electric, you might tell your Chairman “We saw General Electric today”.

    I have difficulty with Christ as ‘Creator’ of everything – I have tended to see him as creator of ‘all things new’ and author of a new covenant. I have attributed my different perspective to the ‘fuzziness’ I find in scriptures -which I attribute to ‘sloppy translation’ to occasional outright text tampering.

    Best Wishes
    John

  17. Marg
    October 10, 2011 @ 8:49 am

    Another passage in which Paul seems to imply that Christ was the AGENT through whom the one God created “all things” is Colossians 1.

    The letter begins with thanksgiving to “the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” (v.3). It leaves no question about the supremacy of the “one God” over the “one Lord”.

    Paul prays a wonderful prayer for these Colossian Christians. He asks that they may be

    filled with the knowledge of his will, to walk worthily of the Lord … bringing forth fruit and growing in the [experiential] knowledge of God” (9,10).

    (That makes me hungry.) Then he gives thanks again to the Father, who has “delivered us from the authority of darkness, and translated [us] into the kingdom of the Son of his love” (12).

    The rest of the chapter is devoted to the Son, into whose kingdom we have been translated, and through whose blood we have been redeemed. He is “the image of the invisible God” – as one would expect a true son to be. He is the “firstborn of all creation” (just as David, God’s appointed “firstborn” in Psalm 89:27, was “high over all the kings of the earth.”)

    WHY has the Son been appointed firstborn over all creation?

    Because by him were created all things, the things in heaven and the things upon the earth, the visible and the invisible … all things through him and for him have been created (16)

    This certainly sounds like the creation that the Colossians knew about.
    Since 1 Corinthians 8:6 seems to have no alternative explanation, I take this “all things” to refer to the same thing: the heavens and the earth that God created “in the beginning” through the agency of his Son.

  18. John
    October 10, 2011 @ 12:59 am

    Marg
    Please understand that I am supporting you – I was making the same point to which you refer.

    While on this subject, Trinitarians tell me that they worship HIM, that they have a relationship with HIM – yet they define God as “three persons sharing one substance’

    Social Trinitarians fare no better – their God is a loving GROUP – which they call “HIM”

    Best Wishes
    John

  19. Marg
    October 9, 2011 @ 11:36 pm

    NOWHERE does the word “God” refer to a plurality. NOWHERE. Is that clear enough?

    It would be great to see a comment from someone who has actually READ 1 Corinthians 8.

  20. John
    October 9, 2011 @ 2:02 pm

    Marg
    Just another thought.
    You will have observed that Dale dealt with 1 Corinthians 8 v 6 in his second article on Daniel Waterworth- the issue he dealt with was ‘identity’.

    If you take a Trinitarian perspective and define God as ” three persons sharing one substance’ and substitute these words where the word “God” appears in 1 Corinthians 8v6 you get —-nonsense!
    I can’t find any other words for it!Am I missing something?
    Appreciate your thoughts!
    John

  21. Marg
    October 9, 2011 @ 9:25 am

    …the real debate must lie in the direction of ‘which creation’. ?

    Exactly.
    I think Paul was talking about the creation of the heavens and the earth, for the following reasons:

    The PEOPLE Paul was writing to. The Corinthian Christians had been idol-worshippers – as the context shows. They had previously credited the “gods” with creating everything that they could see around them. So there was confusion regarding the practice of eating foods that had been offered to idols. Was it right or wrong?

    That was Paul’s REASON for writing this chapter (vv. 1, 4). Some thought the idols were a power to be reckoned with; some knew better. Those who knew better could eat such foods without affecting their conscience. The others could not (vv. 7-8).

    Paul’s conclusion is that there is nothing either good or bad about eating such food – unless it causes a weaker brother to stumble. LOVE should govern all our actions; and he is determined to do nothing that might cause offense to a brother for whom Christ died (vv. 9-13).

    His ARGUMENT for reaching that conclusion is simple. Idols are nothing (v. 4). There is only ONE God, the Father – the God of the Old Testament, from whom all things come (v. 6).

    In other words, the so-called “gods” did not create anything at all, no matter what the Corinthians had formerly thought.

    That argument has force only if the “all things” include the creation that the Corinthians were familiar with.

  22. John
    October 9, 2011 @ 2:46 am

    Marg,
    Everyone seems to be on holiday up there in the northern hemisphere!
    You say in the above post “as the context almost demands” – and herein lies the problem.
    It doesn’t demand, it almost demands!
    The God of the OT created the heavens and the earth – and we perform the usual ‘gymnastics’ to say it was something else.
    We are told to accept that “Christ was begotten in eternity but without there being a time when he did not exist”
    Where is that supported by scripture ?-it only exists in Catholic dogma.
    Socrates wrote circa 440CE”If the Father begat the Son,he that was begotten had a beginning of existence, hence it is clear that there was a time when the Son was not”
    A History of Christianity by Paul Johnson p90

    On a different ‘tack’ the real debate must lie in the direction of ‘which creation’. ? The problem is of course that the scriptures are often written in a ‘fuzzy’ way – and there is sometimes inconsistency regarding words used to describe what are clearly the same events but in different gosples
    But I’m a relative novice!

    Best Wishes
    John.

  23. Marg
    October 8, 2011 @ 5:39 pm

    I take it that 1 Corinthians 8:6 has NOT been explained somewhere on this site. So I’d like to stick my neck out.

    John Courtney Murray, S.J. (a Catholic theologian for whom I have enormous respect) alerted me to the fact that the prepositions all imply verbs of motion. In The Problem of God, p. 34, he explains that, “The same one God of the Old Testament is the Father of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Father is … the one God as Christ is the one Lord. So in the primitive confession of faith recorded by St. Paul:

    For there is one God the Father, from whom all things [come forth], and we [go back] to him, and one Lord Jesus Christ, through whom all things [come forth], and we [go back to the Father] through him.

    IF the “all things” that come forth FROM the one God THROUGH the one Lord include the “all things” of creation – as the context almost demands – then Christ must have existed before his physical birth, it seems to me.

  24. Marg
    October 6, 2011 @ 6:21 am

    “Eternal begetting” sounds like a contradiction in terms.

    On the other hand, 1 Corinthians 8:6 SEEMS to suggest some kind of existence prior to Christ’s physical birth.

    Has that passage been explained somewhere on this site? If so, could I please have a link to it?

  25. Marg
    October 2, 2011 @ 8:39 am

    I’m glad we now agree that BOTH Christ AND the Jewish leaders understood Psalm 110:1 correctly.

    In other words, this cannot be dismissed as just a “commonly held view in Christ’s time” – as you put it previously.

    That’s enough for me.

  26. John
    October 2, 2011 @ 2:01 am

    Marg
    Psalm 110 was written to be used at the coronation ceremonies of the Kings of Israel – who were for a while, ‘of Davids line”.

    Read the footnote in the NAB Bible.

    I have absolutely no problem in that David called someone ‘my lord’ – but that ‘lord’ is in the ‘lower case’ ‘.
    When the kings of medieval Europe addressed one of their children (princes) they would call him ‘my lord’. In my country a magistrate is called ‘my lord’
    The internet contains a vast amount of material on any topic – and everyone who submits a paper has some form of bias –

    Consider

    Rev N.T. Wright – who performs ‘gymnastics’ to bring us a traditional ‘evangelical christian’
    point of view – my Hebrew friends are amused to see what his ‘jewish’ contributors have to say

    on the other extreme we have Hebrews wishing to comment on these matters – e.g.
    http://www.messiahtruth.com

    I referred to Isaiah 9 v5 &6 in an earlier post.
    The latter have covered this at
    http://www.messiahtruth/com/Isa9.html

    All one can do is to use ones ‘criical’ faculty and decide what makes sense.!
    Blessings
    John

  27. Marg
    September 30, 2011 @ 8:48 am

    Psalm 110 was about real people who lived long before Christ’s birth.

    Who was the real person on earth that King David called, “My master”?

    … Christ was right in the sense that he foresaw what would happen in the heavenly kingdom.

    So David must have been right in the same sense – unless you can think of a then-living person whom David called, “my lord”.

    What the Jewish leaders knew can only be surmised.

    I see you are no longer contesting the fact that David did, indeed, call someone “my lord,” or “my master”. That’s what the Tanakh says.

    The Jewish leaders knew THAT much, at least. So they could not answer Christ’s question.

  28. Helez
    September 30, 2011 @ 4:48 am

    Must desiring or here-and-now-intending not necessarily have a cause?

  29. John
    September 30, 2011 @ 12:11 am

    Marg

    Psalm 110 was about real people who lived long before Christ’s birth.
    Are you suggesting that David encountered Christ on the earthly plane? If so where and when?
    Christ was right in the sense that he foresaw what would happen in the heavenly kingdom.
    What the Jewish leaders knew can only be surmised.

  30. Marg
    September 30, 2011 @ 12:10 am

    I’ve been looking again at Psalm 110:1 in the Tanakh:

    A Psalm of David. HaShem saith unto my lord: ‘Sit thou at My right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.’

    If this is accurate, haShem is talking to David’s lord – just as Jesus said in Matthew 22:44-45.

    John – the “coronation ceremony” you are proposing makes no sense. If such a “ceremony” had been practised in Israel since the days of David, the Pharisees and the chief priests and the experts in the law could not have been ignorant of it. Whatever their faults, they knew the scriptures and they knew their nation’s traditions. But they believed – as Jesus did – that David was calling the Christ “my master”.

    Just as the Tanakh says.

  31. Marg
    September 29, 2011 @ 3:56 pm

    Psalm 110v1 is the TYPE of conversation the newly risen Christ will have/had with God on entering heaven.

    Thank you.

    So Jesus was right in saying that David called the Christ his lord, and the Jewish leaders knew it.

  32. John
    September 29, 2011 @ 12:58 am

    Marg
    The ‘Psalms of David ‘were written by David to be used at the coronation of all future kings.
    The person bestowing the favour is YHWH

    ‘my lord’ is used to refer to those kings-thereby validating their status.

    As the NAB bible states Christ was referring to the commonly held interpretation of those verses at that time.

    Christians have given these verses a ‘christological glaze” a prophetic meaning.
    (I,m defining ‘prophesy ‘ here to mean ‘future predicting’)

    They are generally not – they are more like a ‘foreshadowing typology’. In other words Psalm 110v1 is the TYPE of conversation the newly risen Christ will have/had with God on entering heaven.

    Just visit your local Synagogue and talk to an expert.
    Regards
    John

  33. Marg
    September 28, 2011 @ 4:35 pm

    I just looked up Psalm 110:1 in the Tanakh (on-line) in order to compare it with my Interlinear Bible. Here it is:

    1 A Psalm of David. HaShem saith unto my lord: ‘Sit thou at My right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.’

    It is a Psalm of David. So David is saying that HaShem (the Name = YHWH) spoke to David’s lord.

    That’s HEBREW – not Greek. Okay?

  34. Marg
    September 28, 2011 @ 4:14 pm

    The Hebrew text has YHWH talking to ‘my lord’-

    Exactly. And the Hebrew begins with, “(of) David a Psalm.”

    So in Hebrew, David is calling someone “my lord”. Who was it?

    Not YHWH, God Almighty. That has already been agreed to several times already, so you can stop beating a dead horse.

    Jesus obviously thought David was referring to Israel’s Messiah. So do I.

    Who do YOU think David was referring to?

  35. John
    September 28, 2011 @ 12:51 pm

    Marg
    The Hebrew text has YHWH talking to ‘my lord’-
    who do you think is YHWH talking to? The footnote to the Catholic (NAB) Bible says it is the earthly king
    The Greek text which came hundreds of years after the Hebrew text & uses the word “kurios mou’ for “my lord” -which I’m told is never used in connection with the one Supreme God.
    Regardless of the ‘Greek aspect’ precisely who is YHWH talking to?
    Blessings
    John

  36. Marg
    September 28, 2011 @ 7:34 am

    The title of the Psalm is actually part of the Hebrew text. It says, “(of) David a Psalm”. The very first word is “David”.

    If the Hebrew text is right, then Jesus was right in saying that David called someone his lord. It was not simply the “commonly held view in Christ’s time”. It was exactly what the Psalm says.

    The Catholic Bible takes it for granted that the Hebrew text is right. So do I.

    What evidence have you that the text is wrong?

  37. John
    September 28, 2011 @ 1:26 am

    Hi Marg
    My Catholic (NAB) Bible states as a prologue to Psalm 110

    “Psalm 110
    God appoints the King both King and Priest
    A Psalm of David
    v1 The LORD says to you my lord” etc…

    The footnote to Ps. 110 states
    “A royal psalm in which the court singer recites three oracles in which God assures the king that his enemies will be conquered
    (1-2)makes the king ‘son’ in traditional adoption language (3) gives priestly status to the king, and promises to be with him in future military ventures (4-7)”

    Note that it does not say that the king became a priest – but rather that he had priestly status
    This was important -since it bestowed the king with divine authority . To challenmge the ruler became more than a ‘political’ act.
    Kings thus ordained did NOT perform priestly duties- such as is mentioned in 2 Chr 26 v 18.

    The thinking was not new
    As Wikipedia states ” The idea of the divine right to rule has appeared in many cultures Eastern and Western spanning all the way back to the first god Kimg Gilgamesh”

    Now
    Revering to Matthew 22 vv 42-44 I am most certainly NOT accusing Christ of knowing deceit. What he said reflected the common view at that point of time.
    Do you think -for example- that Christ thought the world was ‘flat’. By his own words he stated that he was not omniscient.

    There was an excellent BBC series a few years ago called “Son of God’. The presenter followed Christ’s footsteps and in one scene he showed the place where Christ worked as a carpenter. Within 40 minutes walk was a place (Whose name I cannot remember) which was the ‘hub’ of philosophy and theology in the region. Every day speakers addressed theological issues from sunrise to sunset.
    Christ was intimately versed in such matters – but I don’t think he knew E = MC2 !!!
    By the way- Its nice to ‘meet’ someone who is capable of independent thought!
    Blessings
    John

  38. Marg
    September 27, 2011 @ 9:12 am

    Thank you for the clarification, but I see no reason for an apology. Differing views do not bother me. As has already been pointed out, what Jesus asked for was obedience to his commands – not an exquisitely detailed understanding of theology.

    That being said, I would like to know all I CAN know about God and his Christ, and I have always found the Bible more satisfying than human explanations of it. That is why I long ago rejected the doctrine of tri-unity as unscriptural, even though the congregation of which I am a part teaches it rather forcefully.

    “… Christ cites Psalm 110v1 accepting the Davidic authorship of the Psalm- A COMMON VIEW AT THE TIME….. Matthew assumes that the Pharisees interpreted it as assuming it is referring to the Messiah …

    If Christ said that “David calls him lord,” even though David did nothing of the kind, then it isn’t his pre-existence that is at stake. It is his integrity as “the faithful and true witness”.
    …..
    Since you can find no scriptural evidence that kings of Israel were ever made priests, I can ignore your reference to a relatively recent English tradition.

    The evidence of 2 Chronicles 26:16-21 (verse 18 especially) is enough to convince me that Israel’s kings were NOT made priests. And Hebrews 7:13-28 clinches the matter, in my view.

  39. John
    September 27, 2011 @ 2:39 am

    Hi Marg!
    I must apoligise to you!

    I had hoped to avoid being drawn into the sensitive issue of Christ’s omniscience.

    The footnote to Matthew Chapter 22 vv 42-44 in the NAB bible reads (in part)
    “… Christ cites Psalm 110v1 accepting the Davidic authorship of the Psalm- A COMMON VIEW AT THE TIME….. Matthew assumes that the Pharisees interpreted it as assuming it is referring to the Messiah…”

    We have two points of view
    (i) The traditional Hebrew view ,that Psalm 110 refers to YHWH talking to his ‘lord’ -the earthly king.

    (ii) The commonly held view in Christ’s time that David was talking to the Messiah. ..with the crowds recognising Christ as the Davidic messianic king (at least for the time being)

    By his own admission Christ was NOT omniscient – and the prologue to Revelation shows that this is not the case ,even in his ‘exalted state’

    Regarding the priesthood of kings -this tradition has survived until this day.

    The priesthood is symbolic.

    The Queen of England is ordained head of the Church of England and the coronation ceremony incorporates this aspect.
    Very Best Wishes
    John

  40. Marg
    September 26, 2011 @ 3:44 pm

    You still haven’t told me what king of Israel was ever made a priest.

  41. Marg
    September 26, 2011 @ 3:42 pm

    I don’t think you are reading what I write, John. I am well aware that:
    a) adoni is not a synonym for YHWH, and
    b) adon is used of all kinds of people, bad and good, who have authority over someone else. Even Nabal was his servants’ adon.

    The ending of adon(i) stands for my; so David is calling someone “my lord“.

    The ‘lord’ of Matthew 21 is the earthly king.

    And who, pray tell me, was David’s earthly king?

  42. John
    September 26, 2011 @ 3:00 am

    Marg
    Apologies to Dale of deviating from the intention of the post!

    There is a lot of material around ,which explains Psalm 110 – but the FOOTNOTE to the Psalm in the NAB Bible really says it all.

    You mention “Davids Lord” – but you will note that in scholarly bibles, the lower case is used for “l’.
    The Hebrew word used is ‘adoni’-which is NEVER used to describe YHWH.
    “Adonai’ is used to denote YHWH.
    Adoni is used when addressing important people. In a monarchy the King will adress his son as ‘My lord”. In a court of Law the judge will be addressed as ‘my lord’
    The ‘lord’ of Matthew 21 is the earthly king.
    Of course ,it would be logical to ‘rank’ The Messiah higher than David – and that gets us unto another topic …..

    My friend Ellie tells me that there are verses in the Hebrew Bible which say something like “YHWH, my great God”. As I mentioned, his name means ‘great God’ or “very great God”.
    Incidentally, the ‘Hebrew Bible’ which one encounters on the internet, frequently varies from the Tanakh.
    I find that so many ‘mis-translations’ one finds in the scriptures are deliberate, and are used to reinforce doctrine. Very naughty!
    Hope this makes sense!!
    Every Blessing
    John

  43. Marg
    September 25, 2011 @ 5:23 pm

    Your “ceremony” is interesting, but:

    Question 1: Where in the Bible do we read of a king being made a priest? I’m willing to learn; but the only king I can think of who tried to act as a priest was judged severely for it. Didn’t priests come only from the tribe of Levi?

    Question 2: How does this ceremony explain what is meant by “David’s Lord” (see Mt. 22:42-45)?

    As for the phrase, “YHWH, my God” or “YHWH our God,” that can hardly be watered down to mean something else.

  44. John
    September 25, 2011 @ 10:59 am

    Marg
    Thanks for that!
    As I understand things, Psalm 110 was compiled by David to be used at the coronation ceremonies of the earthly kings- in all likelihood his descendants.
    In this ceremony YHWH
    (i) Makes the King ‘son’ in traditional Hebrew adoptive language
    (ii)Gives the King priestly status and confirms his divine ordination

    David was without doubt, the ‘everlasting father’- and it was assumed that his line would last forever.
    I have a Hebrew friend here (in Zimbabwe) called “Ellie’ and he tells me that his name means “My God” – but stated by way of exclamation (much like the ‘very great God” referred to in Strongs Exaustive Concordance (430)
    From here on I find the TYPOLOGICAL explanations more credible than
    ‘literal’ interpretations…the latter look like ‘gymnastics’ to me ! Just my opinion!
    I agree that A. Buzzards comments need a great deal more explanation.
    Every Blessing
    John

  45. Marg
    September 24, 2011 @ 4:06 pm

    No offense whatever. I appreciate the response.

    It is true that no one in the Bible ever used a possessive pronoun with Yahweh (YHWH). But they certainly used it with the word “God” (elohim). In fact, “Yahweh, my/our/his God” is a common phrase in the OT.

    It is also true that the Bible calls the rulers of Israel “gods”. That includes Moses, whom Yahweh made “god” (elohim) to Pharaoh (Ex. 7:1). Each of these “gods” was an agent of the only true God, who is Yahweh.

    Kings were also called “fathers” of their people. And the “mighty god/God” of Isaiah obviously refers to a king.

    But the next verse makes me think that it involves more than the present tense: “To the increase of the government and of peace there is no end, and on his kingdom, to order it and to sustain it with justice and with righteousness, from now and forever… (Green’s Interlinear). He is the “everlasting father”.

    “No end … now and forever” does not describe what happened then; so I take it to be an allusion to the (then) future Messiah, the Son of God, who would be “given” by God for the salvation of the world (John 3:16). Of HIS kingdom there will be no end.

    Thank you for mentioning Psalm 110v1. David says, “YHWH said to my adon, etc.” I agree – absolutely – that this is not a conversation between two YHWHs. Nor was Yahweh talking to himself. Yahweh was talking to David’s lord. Which (I think) gets us back to the topic of the thread.

    I am not at all convinced by Mr. Buzzard’s dogmatic interpretation of Luke 1:35. I want time to study that carefully before commenting, though.

  46. John
    September 24, 2011 @ 12:46 am

    Marg
    You raised some points which require response – although they don’t fit into the subject (generation and time)
    (i)A devout Jew would never use the posessive pronoun in conjunction with God – “MY YHWH” would be considered outrageous.
    (ii)For decades I have pondered why some people seem to insist in ‘shoe-horning’ OT verses into a NT context. I was told that many verses were ‘prophetic’ or ‘messianic’ – and so they are in terms of tradition.
    But are they really?
    You mentioned Isaiah Chapter 9 – and this contains verses which are accepted as ‘prophetic- yet
    (i) The Tanakh ranslates the whole chapter in the present tense
    (ii) The NAB Bible (Catholic) does likewise
    consider
    v5 A child is born to us, a son is given to us
    upon his shoulder dominion rests
    they name him
    Wonder- counselor
    God-Hero
    Father -forever
    Prince of Peace
    The footnote to this verse reads
    “In Christian tradition and liturgy this
    passage is used to refer to Christ”
    NOTE
    – Use of PRESENT TENSE -this was talking
    about contemporary events (Hesekiah)
    – Christ was never called some of these
    names
    -The name ‘God-Hero” was used in
    connection with David etc.

    You can imagine the furious response one gets from evangelicals at this interpretation – – but if you consult the Hebrew Department at a reputable university you will probably get the truth.

    Over the years I was given ‘deceptive’ answers to my questions – ‘agreed that this is not an exact ‘fit’ but it is ‘prophesy for then and prophesy for now'”!!! – and so on.

    What the apologists would not tell me is that some of these veses are what is called a ‘foreshadowing typology’ – i.e. a certain TYPE of issue which is repeated in history.

    Psalm 110 v1 is another example
    You will notice that the first time “Lord” appears it is capitalised. The Tanakh and Interlinearbible.org show the Hebrew word to be YHWH – and, as the Hebrews say, this verse is NOT a conversation between TWO YHWHs!!
    When it is picked up in the Christian era it was held to be ‘Typologically foreshadowing’ the conversation the newly risen Christ had when he took his place at God’s right hand.

    When I first encountered these issues I felt that I had had a bucket of cold water thrown over me!! Hope these thoughts do not cause offense!
    Every Blessing
    John

  47. Marg
    September 22, 2011 @ 8:57 am

    I want to make a comment that probably doesn’t fit here (or anywhere else). It’s just something I have been discussing (arguing?)with my friends. Delete it if it isn’t useful.

    I have been looking again (with delight) at Isaiah 9:6-7. The promised son is “the mighty God” who will sit on David’s throne for ever. That’s wonderful.
    But the Bible never describes him as “almighty”. Why not?
    The reason (I believe) is that the Almighty is HIS God. He is “the God of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 1:17; 1 Peter 1:3). And in Revelation 3:12, the risen and glorified Lord Jesus speaks of him repeatedly as “my God”.
    The Almighty never calls anyone “my God”. He takes counsel from no one, but does all things according to the counsel of his own will (Eph. 1:11).
    He carries out those purposes through his Son (e.g. Hebrews 1:2; Romans 5:10), by the power of his Holy Spirit. He sends; he commands; they obey. But NO ONE gives commands to the Almighty.
    1 Corinthians 15:24-28 gives a marvelous and detailed account of the relationship between our God and his Christ. God will put all things under his feet – with one obvious exception. Christ does NOT have authority over the One who GIVES him all authority (v. 17). The supreme authority is the Lord God Almighty, the Father. The adjective “almighty” does not fit anyone else, and the Bible never applies it to anyone else.
    On the other hand, I appreciate the description of the Lord Jesus as “truly God and truly man”. That statement is both scriptural and precise, it seems to me. He who was truly divine (John 1:1) became truly human – the only fit mediator between God and men (1 Timothy 2:5), because he shares the nature of both. I could say “amen” to that, with all my heart.

  48. Anthony Buzzard
    August 21, 2011 @ 4:10 pm

    The concept of God “begetting” His unique Son in scripture is precisely restirctive to a geographical place and a definitive time. Leaving NO DOUBT for speculation. Luke 1.35 grounds the sonship of Jesus in the supernatural begetting.

    The meaning is obvious and the Father becomes the Father of Jesus because of the event wrought in Mary.

    That which is begotten [fathered] in her is from the Holy Spirit.

    There is nothing to argue about there.

  49. Dale
    August 21, 2011 @ 10:24 am

    [sound of crickets chirping]

    😉

  50. James Goetz
    August 19, 2011 @ 10:45 pm

    Could any reader of this blog who believes in the patristic doctrine of the eternal generation of the Son please give a biblical defense for that doctrine?