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.

243 Comments

  1. Gigi
    November 29, 2014 @ 3:39 pm

    James,

    the only miracle in the bible is the begetting of Jesus Christ through God’s holy Spirit. God did not need to give sperm that Jesus came to exist in Mary’s womb. How could Jesus live before He was beget and born? We all have an exist in the mind of our parents as a thought, because one day they want a child. God had Jesus in His mind before He created the world. Jesus was always in God’s mind, and Mary gave life to the Son of God. We do not need comentaries or books, we only need to read the bible. The bible explain itself and that’s why we can find out, if man wrote mistakes into the bible. There is no trinity in the bible. Believe in the word of Jesus in His teaching. The holy Spirit will reveal it to you, and God is given the time when He wants you to understand His word. Every church has another doctrine, because they do not listen to the teaching of our Lord Jesus Christ. Churches are in the Allianz to become a ONE church, and the catholic church will be the leader. Now wake up and look what revelation 18:4 is telling to us, Come out of the churches who belongs to the ONE church Allianz ( Babylon). May God bless you.

  2. James Schaff
    April 30, 2014 @ 6:11 pm

    Matt1:20- KJV- “for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost( Spirit) “There is only ONE way Mary could have “conceived” and that is by egg and sperm.

  3. Buzzard’s textual arguments against Jesus’ pre-human existence – Part 1 (Dale) » trinities
    July 13, 2012 @ 10:37 am

    […] Sir Anthony Buzzard has argued that the New Testament teaches exactly that, and explicitly so. There’s been a boiling discussion of this argument by our intrepid commenters on this post. […]

  4. Xavier
    July 9, 2012 @ 4:23 pm

    Marg

    Touché! 😉

    Reason I quote these people is to show how double-minded they SOMETIMES are.

    …etymologically the Greek adjective monogenes is related to ginomai, “to become”, not gennao, “to beget”. Some evangelical theologians have concluded that because the actual term begetting to speak of Christ’s eternal generation has LITTLE BIBLICAL SUPPORT IT SHOULD BE ABANDONED.

    So Grudem, Systematic Theology, appendix 6 only in post 2000 printings, 1233-34; John S. Feinberg, No One Like Him: Foundations of an Evangelical Theology (Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway, 2001), 489-92; Robert Reymond, A New Systematic Theology of the Christian Faith, 2nd ed. (Nashville: Nelson, 1998), 324-30; Donal McLeod, The Person of Christ (Westmont, Ill.: InterVarsity, 1998), 71-74, 131-35.

    However, Frame, The Doctrine of God, 711-12 and Letham, The Holy Trinity, 384-89, argue for accepting the term begotten to differentiate the Father and the Son. Kevin N. Giles, Jesus and the Father: Modern Evangelicals Reinvent the Doctrine of the Trinity, p 240.

    The above quthor, Giles, has just published a new book defending the eternal generation doctrine against his fellow Evangelicals:
    http://books.google.com/books?id=lo42zEOKobwC&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q&f=false

  5. Marg
    July 9, 2012 @ 3:47 pm

    From Anthony (previous page):

    Bruce, Robertson and Vine’s…can you really compete with them?

    From Xavier:

    Note the non-sensical back and forth Vine’s makes due to its Christological bias:

    No comment necessary.

  6. Xavier
    July 9, 2012 @ 11:36 am

    Marg & Andy

    Note the non-sensical back and forth Vine’s makes due to its Christological bias:

    Gennao [beget]: It is used of the act of God in the birth of Christ, Acts 13:33; Heb. 1:5; 5:5, quoted from Psalm 2:7, none of which indicate that Christ became the Son of God at His birth.

    So it is used in reference to his birth YET does not mean Jesus is Son of God through his birth?!! :/

  7. Anthony
    July 9, 2012 @ 10:46 am

    Andy

    Hi, You avoided the evidence of the meaning of gennao in NIDNTTh! This is really very simple. Perhaps you stand in awe of the TDNT, the standard work on NT words as you know. Here is what they say (vol 1 under GENNAO):

    This term is used of the begetting of the father and the “bearing” of the mother, not only in Greek generally, but also in the LXX and the NT.

    Will you please accept this easy fact?

    Now tell us please when was the Son begotten according to Matt. 1:20 and I Jn 5:18?

    The Father is called “the one who begat” in 1 Jn 5:1. To what event does this point? We want to know when the Son was brought into existence?

    The word gennao means, as ALL the dictionaries say, “to cause to exist,” “to bring into existence”

    So then when was the Son brought into existence?

    Please be direct and clear for us all.,
    Anthony

  8. Anthony
    July 9, 2012 @ 10:44 am

    Marg

    Thanks.

    A teacher of the Bible has the duty to teach! I would like to persuade you that the Messiah came into existence in Mary.

    You seem not to understand the word gennao which means to cause to exist, cause to be. Your Jesus was alive before Mary. How then did the Son come into existence in Mary?

    The NT makes a huge fuss about believing that Jesus is the Messiah and the Messiah is a prophet like Moses, the Man Messiah Jesus.

    A visitor from outside does not fit this criterion.

  9. Marg
    July 8, 2012 @ 8:23 pm

    Just in case you are interested, Andy, my email address is mlcoll@mymts.net.

    That goes for anyone else who is interested in a one-on-one conversation. I think a lot of things get lost in a thread like this.

  10. Andy
    July 8, 2012 @ 5:54 pm

    Hi Anthony

    Your post 26 says “You are desperate!”…

    We covered Matt 1;20 way back in this thread, where I quoted the BDAG lexicon as stating “that which is conceived in her is of the Spirit Mt 1:20. They cite Diodorus Siculus 17, 77, 3, ed. [LDindorf,] FVogel, CFischer [1866ff,] 1888ff; COldfather 1933ff as the basis of this.

    This variant of GENNAO – aor passive participle sing nom neuter only occurs once in the NT and not at all in the LXX, which is probably why they look at other uses of it. I don’t have Diodorus Siculus so I cannot check this any further.

    Other works that agree with the BDAG include Runge: Lexham Discourse Greek New Testament, NET Bible, KJV, TNIV, RSV, NIV, NRSV, ESV, NAB, Jewish New Testament and others. I know you disagree with them, but I’m just citing these as some evidence that the BDAG’s suggestion is not isolated and unsupported.

    If I gave the impression that I claimed the dictionary (NIDNTT) does not include the iliac use of gennao, I apologise. I agree it does. I was simply pointing out that it did not just state this and say nothing else – some of the other things it stated I quoted in previous posts.

    Anyway, can we drop this? I have great respect for you as a man who has had the courage to speak up against the Trinity. I have been all over your site and find that our beliefs probably overlap a lot more than this thread may give the impression. I am not a Trinitarian. I believe Jesus was 100% human when he came to the earth – as human as we are, but without sin.

    We have a difference over whether he existed before being conceived as a human and I can understand that this might give the impression that I believe in some kind of ‘incarnation’ of a ‘God-Man’. I don’t. My Messiah is 100% human.

    But like I said – I think we have both spent enough time on this. I appreciate that your time is precious to you and that the calls on your time may be many and demanding and, therefore, I appreciate the time you have sacrificed on behalf of this thread.

    Best wishes

    Andy

  11. Anthony
    July 8, 2012 @ 4:57 pm

    If I have accused you of any of those things please quote me. We all know that genna is used in a figurative sense. Where you misstated the facts is this: you tried to show the gennao in the Bible does not mean the coming n existence of a person. That is its PRIMARY meaning n secular Greek as well as in the NT.

    It is I submit, DESPERATE to try to tell us that the dictionary does of include the iliac use of gennao. It does.

    THat said, will you please explain what is meant by the begetig of the Son in Mat 1.20?

    Please do not tell us that gennao also means to bear of the woman.

    My straight question to you: when Was the Sn begotten? And whe was he begotten in 1 John 5.20?

  12. Andy
    July 8, 2012 @ 9:25 am

    Thanks Marg

    There’s nothing on the website, yet. I was trying to write an email address that spam-bots won’t pick up. 🙂

    Andy

  13. Marg
    July 8, 2012 @ 9:13 am

    Andy – I , too, am dropping this thread. But there is one detail I want to clarify for the sake of Xavier, who is still pressing the gennao button. The word in question is the word CREATED.

    That word is used six times in Genesis in connection with the creation of Adam/man (3 times in ch. 1:27 and 3 more in 5:1-2). It is used again in 1 Cor. 11:9.

    This word (Heb. bara) does not appear often in the OT, and its meaning is clear. There was not a single man anywhere until Adam was created. He was the first man (anthropos) and the first Adam (lord, under God, of the whole earth).

    The word CREATED is never used of the Son of God. (I expect that statement to be tested. If anyone can show that it is false, I will admit I made a mistake.)

    So in what sense is Jesus the LAST Adam (1 Cor. 15:45)?

    I believe it has to do with the stewardship that God gave to Adam. He was made lord of all.

    There have been many Adams since then – authority figures who have exercised lordship over all or part of the world. But the Messiah is the last “Adam”. Because he loved righteousness and hated iniquity, his reign is both absolute and eternal (Hebrews 1:8; 1 Cor. 15:24-28).

    The whole context should be read, of course; but v. 47 speaks of the second man (anthropos), and this second man is the lord out of heaven (as opposed to the first man, who was from the earth).

    This second man is not the last man. Because of his work, there is forming a whole new race of men – those who are his own: forgiven, reconciled to God, and predestined to be conformed to the image of God’s Son (Romans 8:29). He is the second man – the first of many. But he is the last Adam, and that is a promise that is just exploding with hope.

    I’ll check your website, Andy. Thanks.

  14. Jaco
    July 8, 2012 @ 7:28 am

    It’s a pity that such discussions should be derailed by such strong emotional expressions. Everything else is then interpreted emotionally and offense is quickly taken. Just for the record, even if a word is used METAPHORICALLY, there is no reason to interpret the PROTOTYPICAL word according to unrelated aspects around its extended use. The metaphorical use of GENNAO is therefore as irrelevant to its prototypical meaning as “spiritual death” is to the consciousness of a person in the case of “physical death.”

    Good discussions nevertheless…

  15. Andy
    July 8, 2012 @ 3:30 am

    Thanks Marg

    In case this got missed, I went on to say that the same dictionary also stated, in the same entry,

    “The actual meaning of gennaa must be determined by the context in both its active and passive forms, as it is used both of the father and the mother as in cl. Gk. (cf. Matt. 1:3, 5f.; 2:1, 4; 19:12; Lk. 1:13; Jn. 9:34; 16:21; Gal. 4:23). It is, however, used in a figurative or extended sense as follows:
    1. Various passages apply the term to God himself who is said to have begotten someone.

    Anyway, I stated in my previous post:

    “One thing I do agree with you (Anthony), from one of you previous, posts – it’s enough. This thread had dragged on for a long time and I think the time has come for me to move on to other things.”

    That is still my intention – since that post I have been called ‘desperate’ and accused of having ‘double standards’, which is hardly a tone in keeping with 2 Tim 2:24, 25, so I stand by my decision to withdraw from this thread.

    I will leave it the readers on this site to see if I have misread/misquoted the above verbatim quote from the NIDNTT.

    Marg, you asked “But I don’t believe that the Son was created. I’m willing to be shown, but I cannot find a single passage that suggests such a thing. Can you?”. I don’t know if this was directed at me in particular, but if you want to chat with me about it you can reach me on discussion at andyskosmos dot com.

    Andy

  16. Marg
    July 7, 2012 @ 6:46 pm

    … it comments on Psalm 2:7 and Acts 13:33 it states “Strikingly, the NT does not apply Ps. 2:7 to the birth narratives of Jesus. Wherever Ps. 2 is quoted in the NT, a physical, sexual begetting is utterly precluded. Acts 13:33 applies the words “this day have I begotten thee” to the resurrection of Jesus.”

    I have added emphasis to this in the hope that someone will actually read it.

    You admitted a mistake and learned from it, Andy. That is to your credit.

    And no; you are not the one who is desperate.

  17. Jaco
    July 7, 2012 @ 5:01 pm

    They don’t mention a preexistence because it has no bearing on establishing Jesus’ Messianic credentials as far as his family tree is concerned. Why would they add an extra detail which would cloud the issue they were trying to prove – that Jesus fulfilled the requirements for beng the Messiah?

    And here is where your argument goes full-circle. If you claim that Jesus’ preexistence was a historical event, you’ll need the support of historical accounts to do so. If these historical accounts go back to Adam in genealogy and focus on God’s role in all of this, and something as central to your Christology as preexistence is strikingly absent, then its absence should lean toward a very negative conclusion. What you’re doing here, however, is ASSUMING preexistence and explaining why the historical accounts saw that as insignificant. On what basis do you ASSUME preexistence? Probably on John’s testimony. And here you also show double standards. If you are so critical of historical accounts such as that of Luke and Matthew, why the same critical approach toward GJohn, particularly since John’s literary genre was NOT so much concerned over the history as it was over the theological significance of Christ? Inconsistent and ad hoc argumentation here and circular reasoning.

    Does this fit that prior to being emptied and coming in human likeness, Jesus was actually God’s plan? Should this be understood in the terms of God planning Jesus’ appearance on earth?

    No, and no one is arguing for this position here. The Philippian hymn belongs solely to the human life of Jesus on earth and beyond. Pre-human existence is not assumed or discussed there.

    and the context shows this was prior to becoming Jesus the man.

    Which context shows this???

    This hymn speaks of Jesus’ being human on earth as God’s royal emissary. As such, he had all the rights of a royal heir, but he had a commission to fulfill according to God’s, not his will. Instead of grasping at equality with God as Adam did, Jesus yielded to his fate. He did so while being in God’s image/form. He assumed the image and appearance of a commoner, an outcast, even a slave. This he did until his death after which he was highly exalted. If you read the Song of the Suffering Servant in Isaiah 52 and 53, you’ll see the striking parallels.
    Jaco

  18. Anthony
    July 7, 2012 @ 2:15 pm

    Andy

    You have missed the point entirely! The dictionary is a dictionary of NT theology.

    You are desperate!

    Yes, of course gennao means what it means in secular Greek also! How can you have missed the point that NIDNTth. gives you the biblical meaning of gennao? Please don’t wear us all out with something which is perfectly easy and obvious.

    This is a very easy word and in the NT and LXX it means “to cause to come into existence”; “to give existence to”!

    I hope that is now clear to you.

    You can start looking at gennao in Matt 1 and after 40 occurrences you will get the easy idea!

    Gennao, I repeat, is the causative of ginomai, to become. ie “to CAUSE to be”; “cause to come into existence, cause to exist.”

    You will learn then that in Matt 1:18, 20 and Luke 1:35 the meaning is that the SON was caused to come into existence! Your Jesus was already in existence and thus could not come into existence!

    Raymond Brown quotes with the favor the idea that these verses are “embarrassing” for orthodoxy. I trust that they are embarrassing for you!
    Anthony

  19. Xavier
    July 7, 2012 @ 11:21 am

    Marg

    I’m willing to be shown, but I cannot find a single passage that suggests such a thing.

    Howbout…

    This is an account of the ORIGIN of Jesus the Messiah…The ORIGIN of Jesus the Messiah was like this… Mat 1.1,18 [TNIV]

    Compare the above with Gal 4.4; Rom 1.3 [Phil 2.7] and “note the deliberate and unusual use of ginomai to express the beginning of existence, not just birth” [Buzzard, Jesus Was Not a Trinitarian, p 147].

    What we find in Matthew and Luke is not the story of some sort of sacred marriage (hieros gamos) or a divine being [“the Son”] descending to earth…in the guise of a man…but rather the story of a miraculous conception without aid of any man, divine or otherwise… Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels, 1992, S. 70.

    This biblical phrase “only-begotten” [monogenes] also speaks to the fact that the Son of God was procreated at a point in time. Also note the technical words used to describe “the holy child to be born”. The first is the word tikto, variously translated “to bring forth, give birth”. This word is related to another that is often used in reference to the Son, prototokos [“firstborn”] as well as gennao [“cause to exist”] and used synonymously with ginomai [“come into existence”].

    Similarly to the Word Study Dictionary comments above regarding the word gennao, Matthew’s use of words “with a temporal notion” [i.e. genesis] has long “troubled theologians”.

    So if the Son is eternal where is he to be found in the Hebrew scriptures? He is neither seen nor heard from:

    In the past God spoke to our ancestors at MANY DIFFERENT times and in MANY DIFFERENT WAYS through the prophets. In these last days he has spoken to us through his Son. Heb 1.1-2

  20. Marg
    July 7, 2012 @ 10:56 am

    … it comments on Psalm 2:7 and Acts 13:33 it states “Strikingly, the NT does not apply Ps. 2:7 to the birth narratives of Jesus. Wherever Ps. 2 is quoted in the NT, a physical, sexual begetting is utterly precluded. Acts 13:33 applies the words “this day have I begotten thee” to the resurrection of Jesus.”

    Thank you, Andy, for reading the dictionary Anthony recommended and for quoting it verbatim. That is the only way that readers can judge what the book actually says.

    But I don’t believe that the Son was created. I’m willing to be shown, but I cannot find a single passage that suggests such a thing. Can you?

    Instead, I find evidence that God’s Son (like his word) always was. God always had a means of expressing himself, and that is what both word and son imply. If the son was created at some point in time, or if the word was created at some point in time, then for an infinitely long period of time God had no way of expressing his mind.

    Hebrews 7:1-3 gives biblical support to this view.
    Melchizedec was a man. But the record makes him LIKE the Son of God. His name means “king of righteousness”. His title means “king of peace”. Also, he was “priest of God most high,” and that is what the author is trying to establish: Christ is our great high priest, after the order of Melchizedec, and not after the levitical priesthood.

    We recognize the list that follows as figurative and not literal. It lists things that are ABSENT from the record, things that made Melchizedec LIKE the Son of God, of whom they are literally true.
    Notice: he was
    1. without father (so far as the record is concerned)
    2. without mother
    3. without genealogy (no connection with the levitical priesthood)
    4. without beginning of days (that goes with having no father or mother)
    5. without end of life.

    This is not a “proof text,” but it certainly supports Clarke’s view of the Son of God, the monogenes of the Father.

  21. Anthony
    July 6, 2012 @ 8:55 pm

    Marg

    You are an Arian, then. Can you tell us about what the Son of God was doing in the OT, when God did not speak in a Son (Heb 1).

    The early fathers like J Martyr believed in a preexistinng Son, brought into existence.
    Later this developed into eternal generation and Trinity.

  22. Andy
    July 6, 2012 @ 6:06 pm

    Thanks Anthony

    I have quoted the dictionary verbatim and I will leave it for the readers of this site to see if I have misread it.

    Same for Phil 2, where you say Paul view Jesus as an historical figure in God’s Form/image. The following verses say he then empties himself, takes a slave’s form and comes in human likeness. Again, I will leave it for the readers to judge for themselves if yours is a good explanation.

    One thing I do agree with you, from one of you previous, posts – it’s enough. This thread had dragged on for a long time and I think the time has come for me to move on to other things.

    Best wishes to all

    Andy

  23. Anthony Buzzard
    July 6, 2012 @ 5:41 pm

    Andy

    You misread the dictionary. Gennao is the CAUSAL FORM of gennomai in the NT as well as secular Greek. You can discover this easily by looking at the many occurences of gennao in the chronology lists. It is self-evident!

    The dictionary is of the NT and its meanings apply to NT words.

    In Phil 2 you are assuming preexistence. Paul is describing “the man Messiah Jesus” [v.5] a historical figure who was in the image/form of God. There is no need to have the word “existing” hoping that this will lead you to “preexisting”. Jesus WAS in the form of God just as Adam WAS the image of God.

    If you would kindly read my 2 books this would safe me alot of repition.

    Thanks,
    Anthony

  24. Andy
    July 6, 2012 @ 4:38 pm

    All (as this is relevant to many of the posts that have occurred since my last post)

    Jaco, just in case you have not read this whole thread, I am not a trinitarian. I dont think Jesus is part of a Godhead or anything like that. I believe he was created by God. The question is *when*.

    Anthony recommended I look at the New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology, which is a book I have owned for quite a whole, but have not made much use of.

    In its entry on Birth, Beget, Bear, Become, Miscarriage, Regeneration, Well-born, which covers GENNAO and related words, it comments on Psalm 2:7 and Acts 13:33 it states “Strikingly, the NT does not apply Ps. 2:7 to the birth narratives of Jesus. Wherever Ps. 2 is quoted in the NT, a physical, sexual begetting is utterly precluded. Acts 13:33 applies the words “this day have I begotten thee” to the resurrection of Jesus.”

    Anthony is right, this book does contain a definition of GENNAO as “come into being” but the context of that definition is “In the secular world of NT times genna? has the meaning of come into being as well as produce in a metaphorical or vague general sense”. Of course, in the ‘secular world’ divinely begotten children were, well, not exactly a regular occurrence, so all this seems to prove is that they used it for normal begetting.

    The book goes on to say “The actual meaning of genna? must be determined by the context in both its active and passive forms, as it is used both of the father and the mother as in cl. Gk. (cf. Matt. 1:3, 5f.; 2:1, 4; 19:12; Lk. 1:13; Jn. 9:34; 16:21; Gal. 4:23). It is, however, used in a figurative or extended sense as follows:
    1. Various passages apply the term to God himself who is said to have begotten someone.”

    I see that Anthony has accurately, but selectively, quoted this book to make it seem that their definition matches his in the case of the conception of Jesus. But a fuller quotation shows that this is not the case. Indeed, looking at its entry on God I find it says ‘According to the developed christology of Jn. 1:1, he existed already before his earthly existence as the divine Word (logos) with God.’

    Anyway, we can quote authorities for the next 10 years not really prove anything. They are, after all, just people. Fallible people at that.

    Jaco mentioned getting into the mindset of the 1st Century Bible writers. I fully agree. When we look at Matthew and Luke we see that they both provide an extensive genealogy of Jesus. Why? Because they were trying to establish that Jesus met the criteria for being the Christ: in the line of Abraham, in the line of Judah and in the line of David. Their concern was to prove that Jesus met the credentials. Their focus, therefore, was on his ancestry *at the time* of his conception/birth/begetting as a human. They just use the normal word for it, one which the NIDNTT acknowledges is used in a figurative or extended sense when the father is God and not a man. They don’t mention a preexistence because it has no bearing on establishing Jesus’ Messianic credentials as far as his family tree is concerned. Why would they add an extra detail which would cloud the issue they were trying to prove – that Jesus fulfilled the requirements for beng the Messiah?

    Going back to scripture, one good test of a teaching/theory is to fit it into passages and see if it holds water. Let’s look at Phil 2 which says, according to the NAB:

    5 Have among yourselves the same attitude that is also yours in Christ Jesus,
    ?6? Who, though he was in the form of God, did not REGARD equality with God something to be grasped. 7 Rather, he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness; ?and found human in appearance, 8? he humbled himself, becoming obedient to death,

    Does this fit that prior to being emptied and coming in human likeness, Jesus was actually God’s plan? Should this be understood in the terms of God planning Jesus’ appearance on earth?

    The word I want to look at is REGARD – Greek haygeomai. The definition of it is “to engage in an intellectual process, think, consider, regard” (BDAG). The Greek word is in the aorist third person singular middle voice indicative. The middle voice means that this regarding was done by Jesus/the plan internally (with respect to himself), and the context shows this was prior to becoming Jesus the man.

    Problem: plans do not think for themselves. They don’t consider grasping/retaining/exploiting (pick your preferred translation of harpagmos as it doesn’t matter for the point I am making) equality with God because plans are an it – they have no consciousness and are entirely in the hands of the designer…

    So, I don’t see how this verse can relate to God’s Grand Design, but if it doesn’t then how is Jesus existing in the form of God prior to becoming a man? Or, maybe we should just take the verse at face value.

    Just to clarify: ‘form of God’ does not have to mean Jesus == God or Jesus is God the Son…

    Andy

  25. Jaco
    July 6, 2012 @ 3:40 pm

    Marg,

    In fact, just such a new kind of existence is seen in the fact that “the word became flesh”. He was now a man, living in the world that had come into existence THROUGH him.

    You are superimposing aspects of a derived meaning back onto the prototypical meaning. That is your error. Just because spiritual death takes place while a person is still actually alive does not mean that death in itself is not truly dying at all. You are committing an equivalent mistake. You are also giving literal meaning to a highly theological account in the Johannine prologue. John was not writing the Matthew birth narrative and Matthew was not concerned over the Philonic significance of Jesus in God’s purpose. You’re confusing the two very distinct genres. That would be the same as archaeologists taking Plato’s Timaeus seriously in searching for Atlantis. A literalist approach given to a highly metaphorical genre.

    The same principle can be seen in Hebrews 2. The Son became a partaker of flesh and blood – a new kind of existence – so that THROUGH DEATH he might destroy him that had the power of death (vv. 14-16).

    There is no temporality or a transformatory aspect associated with the “partaking” in Heb. 2:14. The same word, meteschiken is used in Heb. 7:13. Jesus never belonged to any other tribe that his “partaking” of the non-priestly tribe of Judah should mean that he temporarily assumed tribal affiliation with Judah. No, he “sprang from” or has risen out of Judah, firmly belonging to that tribe. The same can and should be said about his “partaking” of humanity. Not in a temporal sense, but in a qualitative sense of fully belonging to or being a member of the class of humanity. That is how far it goes.

    Anthony can speak for himself, but I don’t know him to be judgmental in any way. The mortality issue of angels compared to Jesus is incidental and is not meant to have a bearing on your salvation because an angelic Messiah would not be able to die. You might have given Anthony’s message a meaning he most probably did not intend it to have. My theology can be classified as “Socinian” and I don’t judge your salvation. Neither do Socinians have a central authority deciding on the salvation of others as the Calvinists and Athanasians and others do. So I take exception to your statement above.

    Take care,

    Jaco

  26. Marg
    July 6, 2012 @ 2:30 pm

    Having said that, and IF the Acts 13 passage applies GENNAO to the resurrection alone, this derived, metaphorical usage does not change the central notion of coming into existence in the prototypical understanding of the word GENNAO. Beginning of something, of a new relationship, of a new kind of existence is a derived notion of “beginning to exist” in its prototypical meaning.

    Thank you. The beginning of a new kind of existence is certainly evident in Psalm 2:7, and (I believe) in the New Testament quotations thereof in Acts and Hebrews.

    In other words, Psalm 2:7 definitely does NOT clinch the fact that Jesus began to exist when he was conceived or when he was born or both.

    In fact, just such a new kind of existence is seen in the fact that “the word became flesh”. He was now a man, living in the world that had come into existence THROUGH him.

    The same principle can be seen in Hebrews 2. The Son became a partaker of flesh and blood – a new kind of existence – so that THROUGH DEATH he might destroy him that had the power of death (vv. 14-16).

    Chapter 9:26 tells us the same thing in different words. If more than one sacrifice for sin had been necessary, he would have to suffer many times since the world began; “but now once at the end of the ages he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.”
    That’s wonderful.

  27. Marg
    July 6, 2012 @ 12:55 pm

    Just for the record, I do NOT believe that an angel became a man.

    I am glad to repeat once again (because it is worth repeating) that Samuel Clarke’s The Scripture Doctrine of the Trinity gives the most comprehensive list of passages relating to God, his Son and his Spirit that I have ever read, and the conclusions he based on the evidence holds up.

    It is also worth noting (as Dale mentioned in another thread) that this is the doctrine taught by the early fathers. Then came Arius, then came the Trinity, then came …

    As for dying, Hebrews tells us quite explicitly that the REASON the Son became a man was so he could offer himself as a sacrifice. I won’t go into those passages again, but no one has yet refuted them.

    Finally, what I find most distasteful about BOTH trinitarians AND socinians is the tendency on the part of both to make belief in their theory a necessary condition for salvation. The Athanasian creed tells me I am eternally damned if I don’t believe every word of it. You tell me I have a non-dying Saviour, implying that my Saviour is no Saviour at all. I am a non-Christian, either way.

    I am not impressed.

  28. Anthony
    July 6, 2012 @ 11:00 am

    Marg

    We know you are not a Trini!

    You believe it seems in an angel who became a man. Alas, holy angel cannot die, nor can God. So you have a non-dying ‘Savior’.

    Not so good!
    Anthony

  29. Jaco
    July 6, 2012 @ 2:30 am

    Marg,

    Jaco, conception and birth occur at different times. That makes two different beginnings, separated in time, and is hardly just a “fine distinction in nuance”. It means that the “beginning of existence” must have occurred on two different days. In other words, the word gennao won’t support the weight that is hanging on it.

    I know conception and birth occur at different times, Marg. But if I want to relate the bringing into existence of someone to the father or the bringing into existence to the mother, I am perfectly justified by using the word GENNAO to convey the prototypical idea of bringing into existence. From a modern biological point of view there should be no difference, I KNOW, but that is not how concepts are necessarily formulated. The ancients’ understanding of GENNAO was from a cultural, not a scientific perspective and that is where you and Andy tend to commit your mistakes in your arguments. From a linguistic perspective, GENNAO does have a fine distinction in nuance when its usage related to a father’s role is compared to that of the mother and the distinction does not obliterate the central notion of bringing into existence as you so strongly argue for.

    Having said that, and IF the Acts 13 passage applies GENNAO to the resurrection alone, this derived, metaphorical usage does not change the central notion of coming into existence in the prototypical understanding of the word GENNAO. Beginning of something, of a new relationship, of a new kind of existence is a derived notion of “beginning to exist” in its prototypical meaning.

    I think a good book to read, just to get the feel of cultural concepts as they are expressed in language is The Intellectual Adventure of Ancient Man by Frankfurt et al.

  30. Marg
    July 6, 2012 @ 12:19 am

    Anthony, since you are the only one who is using the title “God the Son,” I wish you would follow your own advice and give it up.

    Jaco, conception and birth occur at different times. That makes two different beginnings, separated in time, and is hardly just a “fine distinction in nuance”. It means that the “beginning of existence” must have occurred on two different days. In other words, the word gennao won’t support the weight that is hanging on it.

    Besides that, when the king in Psalm 2 proclaims the Lord’s decree, “You are my son, today I have begotten you,” he is NEITHER a newly fertilized egg NOR a new-born baby. He is God’s Messiah, whom God has set on Mount Zion. The Jews who consider it part of the coronation ceremony are justified in doing so.

    The account is chronological and easy to understand. It also fits what God said to David about Solomon. It has to do with God’s relationship to the one on the throne (the idea of agency again); and that is why it is associated with Christ’s resurrection in Acts 13 and again in Hebrews 1.

  31. Anthony
    July 5, 2012 @ 4:34 pm

    Marg
    “God the Son” is not in the Bible and is not in my vocabulary. It never has been. You will not find it in ANYTHING that I have written. I don’t have to give it up.
    So what is the basis of your question?

    Yes, that is it and that is enough! Is God impressed with all the hairsplitting when we should all know that God cannot die (you agree) and an immortal holy angel cannot die.

    The translations in John push the Trinity as you know.

    It seems we are now agreed about IT and he.

    We are socinians in Christology. There is no Son of God until the Son of God comes into existence.

    Jesus is human and really Deut. 18:15-18 should have convinced us all long long ago.

    Anthony

  32. Anthony
    July 5, 2012 @ 4:30 pm

    Andy

    The lamb was slain from the beginning so provision was made for sin. But that is a separate point: The word is NOT God the SON. The word is God’s word! If you say God the Son (and knowing that the Father is God), God hears you speaking of two Gods! I think the universe groans!

    1300 times GOD means the Father in the NT!!! Does that not put your mind at ease?

    You are unaware of the understatements! Why is orthodox embarrassed by Luke!? Please explain why Brown says they are.

    Gennao means to cause to come into existence. It is the causative of ginomai. Please now consult the New International Dictionary of NT Theology (ed Colin Brown) to confirm what I say here.

    Gennao can refer to the birth from a woman– we all know that.In Matt. 1:18 the event is IN the womb and thus beget is right.

    Please comment on why the RV pointed this out in the margin in 1881. Why did they point this out?

    Look under Gennao for this easy info in NIDNTTh. I hope to introduce you to the right literature.
    Anthony

  33. Jaco
    July 5, 2012 @ 4:17 pm

    Andy,

    I think Anthony is very capable of answering your interesting questions. If I can add a few observations of my own (not having read Brown’s book).

    I have a question about your statement: “He is the person whom God had in mind from the beginning of creation”. This could be interpreted as meaning that God planned mankind’s need for redemption from the start… Is that what you mean?

    If you’d asked me that question, I’d say, yes. I know it does not gel well with modern redemption theological schemes, but that is precisely what is implied. Something else you might not know, is that according to ancient Judaism, not only the Messiah but also things such as Torah, Gehenna, etc. notionally preexisted with God. You could ask the question, did God plan mankind’s need for Torah or the eventual fate of sinful mankind because these constructs were present with God before creation? The ancients believed so.

    Notice that Brown is much more guarded than you. Luke is ‘seemingly unaware’, which does not exclude the possibility that he was aware, but chose not to specify those details.

    This is modest academic lingo, Andy. You’ll find that scholars denying the Trinity in the Bible use just as modest language in their volumes. There are various genres of academic writing and some are less expressive than others. This modesty does not weaken the compelling arguments they give either for or against a position.

    This same line of argument can be made with regard to preexistence, can it not?

    No, not necessarily. Arguing from silence is only invalid if the silence is inconclusive and insignificant. Now significance can be very presuppositional. But such presuppositional notions are very valid if one logically expects with high probability the presence of something under certain circumstances and find its absence peculiar. For instance, if there were something like a progressive revelation in God’s self-disclosure to the point of approximating the Trinity doctrine, it would be logical to expect elaborations, even controversy and outrage – among Jews and converted Christians alike – and even some systematic explanation of the concept; especially since something much more authentic to the ancient world as Jesus’ “ransom sacrifice” received such attention by many a bible writer. Something logically expected, even circumstantially insisted upon, is strikingly absent, weakening the notion of a first-century proto-Trinity doctrine considerably. The same can be said about the striking absence of the idea of preexistence in sources dealing precisely with hard-core history of the Messiah, even his birth and divine origin. One would expect much, much more on this, especially since both writers go into so much detail around the circumstances, events, significances, etc. The absence of this idea tends to push for a negative conclusion. No other writer goes into the details of his birth, the historical events, etc., hence no compelling need for anyone to really mention what would be included in such discussions, namely Jesus’ personal preexistence. So no, topically the absence of Jesus’ virginal birth in other discussions is to be expected.

    Do you see how Brown sees, rather than a contradiction between Luke and John, that John develops and enhances Luke’s narrative? Do you see how Brown does not reject preexistence?

    I think you’re misunderstanding this. A theological development is different from a historical development. There are many distinct theological lines developed in John and this is because John has a specific crowd, refuting certain rival influences and a Philonic epistemological frame he is using in writing about Jesus and salvation. If John’s intentions were different and due to theological significances elaborated on Jesus’ life and meaning, the error would therefore be to assume factual historical reporting at every instance, and absence of theological metaphor. Brown understands the difference, as do Dunn and others.

    As Marg puts it, you are hanging an awful lot on the definition of one word, and your definition, both of the English and the Greek, is artificially narrowed.

    How does the fine distinction in nuance (between a father begetting and a mother bearing) change what is implicitly assumed with being born, namely coming into existence? This is a false distinction and has no bearing on the issue at all. Secondly, as any student of Cognitive Linguistics would recognise, there are prototypical meanings to words and from these prototypical “centres” related meanings and applications “radiate.” In other words, if a word has a prototypical meaning as well as a metaphorical or colloquial meaning, something implicit to this word links the marginal meanings to the prototypical one. Furthermore, if a word has a marginal or derived use or application, it would be a fundamental error to use this derived meaning and superimpose it onto the prototypical word and change some aspect of that word in turn. So, whatever weakness you find in the idea of “coming into existence” of GENNAO as used derivatively in some instances cannot be used to change what is implicitly intended in its prototypical meaning.

    What all this demonstrates is that appeals to authority and, especially, selective appeals to authority can only carry so much weight, unless that authority is accepted by all parties as absolutely correct.

    I won’t agree with you here either. If a trinitarian denies what would otherwise be ideal evidence for his position, then that is significant. No one scholar has everything right and this in itself does not render appealing to authority erroneous in principle. Vine’s errors are clear, thanks to scholars who can and do compete with him. It is therefore no error to challenge their mistakes, but to do so in an informed and as objectively as possible manner.

    Hopefully you will not settle for this modernist anachronistic approaches to the notion of preexistence. Hopefully you’ll continue to try and understand the mindset of the ancient Jew as expressed in language we tend to misunderstand these days.

    Jaco

  34. Andy
    July 5, 2012 @ 8:39 am

    Anthony

    As you suggested, I have been reading Raymond Brown. Naturally, I have not (yet) read all 700+ pages of his Birth Narratives, but have focussed on the verses that we have been discussing.

    Here are a few things I have found. (The capitalization is mine in these quotes.)

    Regarding the discussion of Luke 1, Brown writes: “this has embarrassed many orthodox theologians, since in pre-existence christology a conception by the Holy Spirit in Mary’s womb does not bring about the existence of God’s Son. Luke is SEEMINGLY UNAWARE of such a christology; conception is causally related to divine sonship for him.” (p291)

    You wrote, however: “Luke knows NOTHING about pre-existence”.

    Notice that Brown is much more guarded than you. Luke is ‘seemingly unaware’, which does not exclude the possibility that he was aware, but chose not to specify those details.

    Indeed, it would be committing a logical fallacy to conclude absolutely that Luke knew nothing about pre-existence. As a simple example, Luke does not mention the wedding feast in Cana, nor Jesus’ miracle of turning water into wine. Does it follow that Luke knew nothing of it? Does it follow that John contradicts Luke because he mentions it?

    The most that you can deduce from Luke’s not mentioning something is that he *might* have been unaware of it *or* that he chose not to mention it.

    Brown is well aware of this logic – when commenting on the paucity of scriptures outside of Matthew and Luke that refer to the virgin conception & birth, he writes:

    “I would say that it is perfectly proper to speak of the silence of the rest of the NT about the virginal conception because not a single one of the “implicit references” has any compelling force. On the other hand, one would MISINTERPRET this silence if one concluded from it that no other author of the NT (outside of Matthew and Luke) knew of the virginal conception, or that the historicity of the virginal conception is thus disproved. We have no way of knowing how widespread in NT times was a belief in the virginal conception.” (p521)

    This same line of argument can be made with regard to preexistence, can it not?

    Brown also writes “I insisted in ‘The Birth of the Messiah’ that conception from/through/of the Spirit of Matt (and Luke) was a notion of Jesus’ sonship very different from John’s notion of a preexistent divine Son ever at the Father’s side … The Prologues to John and Hebrews are scarcely Gentile theology, and WHY IS THE JOINING OF PREEXISTENCE AND CONCEPTION CHRISTOLOGY NOT TO BE CONSIDERED A PERCEPTIVE THEOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENT?” (p602)

    Do you see how Brown sees, rather than a contradiction between Luke and John, that John develops and enhances Luke’s narrative? Do you see how Brown does not reject preexistence?

    I would add that I do not necessarily agree with everything Brown writes. As I read his book in context, I see that he is often looking at things from the standpoint of historical (higher) criticism of the scriptures, a viewpoint I do not share. That being so, I wonder why you put such weight on his writings – especially as I have shown, and will further show, that he does not provide you with unqualified support for your position.

    You again stress that GENNAO in Luke 1:35 means ‘begotten’ and state that beget means ‘cause to come into existence’. But Brown doesn’t agree with you. He writes of Luke 1:35: “the child to be born. This translates to genn?menon, a neuter passive participle, present tense, of gennan, “to beget (as a father), to bear (as a mother)”; see the NOTES on this verb in Matt 1:16, 20 and footnote 23 in § 5. In itself, the translation “the one begotten” is equally possible, and certainly the aorist passive participle has the meaning “begotten” in Matt 1:20. BUT THE SITUATION IN LUKE IS QUITE DIFFERENT from the situation envisaged by Matthew where Joseph is worried about the paternity of the child. Everything in Luke is from the viewpoint of the virgin mother, and paternity is not even mentioned. CONSEQUENTLY THE VERB SEEMS TO MEAN “BORN” HERE.” (p291)

    Getting away from Brown, the BDAG lexicon gives GENNAO these meanings:

    1) become parent of, beget
    a. By procreation
    b. by exercising the role of a parental figure
    2) to give birth to, bear
    3) to cause something to happen

    It lists Luke 1:35 under definition 2.

    The English definition of beget is “to cause to come into existence by procreation” (Webster’s dictionary) and is, therefore, a much narrower term than GENNAO. You seem insistent of applying an even narrower definition (‘cause to come into existence’) to the GENNAO of these verses.

    As Marg puts it, you are hanging an awful lot on the definition of one word, and your definition, both of the English and the Greek, is artificially narrowed.

    In addition to Brown you quote Robertson, Vine and Bruce and ask if we can compete with them. These scholars are all Trinitarians who accept a pre-existent Jesus! For example, Robertson, in his ‘Word Pictures’ has at least 20 entries supporting the Trinity and 5 that mention Jesus being preexistent. You would not hesitate to ‘compete’ with Robertson where he supports the Trinity, would you?

    What all this demonstrates is that appeals to authority and, especially, selective appeals to authority can only carry so much weight, unless that authority is accepted by all parties as absolutely correct.

    Anyway, I wont labour this point any further – but I hope you will agree that I have read at least some of Brown. You probably wont agree with the conclusions I have draw, and that is fine with me.

    Andy

  35. Andy
    July 5, 2012 @ 4:06 am

    Thanks Anthony

    A point that seems to come up a lot in these posts (to me and to Marg) is that if the word is pre-existent then 1) it is pre-existent as ‘God the Son’ and 2) that Jesus could not be ‘fully man’

    In other words, it would be the Trinitarian concept about the Incarnation of a ‘God Man’.

    I’m certainly not arguing for that, and I don’t think Marg is either.

    I have a question about your statement: “He is the person whom God had in mind from the beginning of creation”. This could be interpreted as meaning that God planned mankind’s need for redemption from the start… Is that what you mean?

    Andy

  36. Marg
    July 4, 2012 @ 7:40 pm

    Are you willing to give up God the Son and go with the Son of God?

    Anthony, “God the Son” is not in the Bible and is not in my vocabulary. It never has been. You will not find it in ANYTHING that I have written. I don’t have to give it up.
    So what is the basis of your question?

    Jaco, John didn’t say that Jesus was the brazen serpent. He quotes Jesus as saying, “AS Moses lifted up the serpent … even so must the son be lifted up.”

    However, “the word became flesh” sounds like a simple statment of fact. As Anthony has already pointed out, that was the transition between the word as “it” to the word as “he”.

    That literal fact is borne out by the context. Notice that the same thing is stated about the word BEFORE “it” became flesh as is said about the word AFTER “it” became flesh and therefore is “he”. Notice:
    All things came into existence through the word (v. 2). And …
    … the world came into existence through him (v. 10).

    The parallel is too striking to ignore. The world that came into existence through HIM is part of the all things that came into existence through “it”. “It” and “he” are one and the same, so far as being the agent of God’s creation is concerned.

    Besides, it fits all the other verses which either imply or state explicitly that “he” (the word) did not begin to exist at the birth of Jesus.

    Let’s be clear about this: the pre-existence of Christ does NOT mean that God is tri-une. The word of God does NOT mean “God the word,” and “Son of God” does NOT mean “God the Son,” and the “mother of Jesus” does NOT mean “Jesus the mother.”

    So let’s deal with what the scriptures actually say, and avoid frivolous questions.

  37. Anthony
    July 4, 2012 @ 6:49 pm

    Andy

    Thanks, but your languages skills seem a bit shaky. I am being a bit unfair probably, and forgive.

    You say “this ONE” can refer to a thing, but in that context (you admit) it really could not! The point is that logos is not a person until IT like wisdom becomes a Man. This is very Hebrew and natural in that Jewish environment.

    Try this, please and embrace the real Messiah:

    God’s word, Torah, and wisdom are all one, the creative, purposeful and supremely good activity of the one God. The author of the prologue of the fourth Gospel could therefore say that the word “came to his own place,” for the world and also Israel, belonged to him by right of creation. But, the prologue continues “his own did not accept him” John 1:11. And then, following immediately, “any who did accept him he empowered them to become children of God” (1:12).

    “Did not accept,” and then “did accept.” How are we to understand this contradiction? Clearly it reflects the conflict which the early Jesus movement came to produce within the people of Israel. Some, even multitudes, heard him gladly, and some, at least some of the Jerusalem establishment, rejected him, possibly for fear of how the Roman occupying forces would react to this movement. In any case after-the-fact, we can certainly say of this positive and negative that God’s word came once more to his created possession, and that his created own people received him in sufficient numbers to make it possible for many others to be able to accept him too.

    “Him” means, in these versus, Jesus Christ. Does this mean the Jew Jesus of Nazareth? Is it proper to say of this Jew that he was in some sense “preexistent?” Here we must do some sorting out.

    The term “preexistent” occurs nowhere in either the Scriptures or the apostolic writing, but there is no reason why the concept, properlly defined, could not be used to refer to the opening words of the prologue of the fourth Gospel and the verses cited from the eighth chapter of Proverbs. The idea certainly appears in the opening of Genesis and Rabbah, where, commenting on these verses from Proverbs, the rabbis argued, in their own inimitable way, that Torah was with God when he began to create the world. The thrust of their claim however appears to be not so much temporal as evaluative: Torah has a higher value even then creation. It is as if the rabbis could have said that creation is a product of Torah but would never have said the opposite that Torah is a product creation. We could put it in our own words by saying that “Torah produced history” is a claim prior in value and in reality to “history produced Torah.” The second claim is obviously but trivially true; theologically, however, it comes second. In like manner, although the prologue of John claims that “the Word was made flesh” (verse 14) it gives priority to the claim that the word made all flesh (verse three). The word egeneto is identical in both versus, and I cannot demean the craftsmanship of the author by thinking that this is accidental. The term “preexistent,” however leads one to think primarily and very misleadingly in temporal terms. The concept of “priority” is therefore preferable because it subsumes the temporal under the metaphysical and evaluative categories that seem to us to be more faithful to the scriptural, rabbinic and apostolic texts.

    This Jewish notion of the priority in value and in reality of God’s word parenthesis or Torah or wisdom to all else, appears in other apostolic texts as well, referring to “our Lord Jesus Christ,” or simply “Christ” (Ephesians 1:3 ff), or “Christ Jesus” (Phil 2:5ff,) or “a Son” who is clearly Jesus (Hebrews 1:2). Especially interesting is the Adam Christ argument of Romans five, in which Christ is assigned a clear priority over Adam and yet there is no clear indication that this priority was intended in a temporal sense we may conclude that for the earliest church, Jesus was accorded the priority in reality the rabbis assigned to Torah.

    If one were to make the claim of priority in a temporal sense for Jesus, one would be claiming that Jesus of Nazareth, born of Mary, had existed with God before the creation of the world. That claim would be worse than unintelligible; it would destroy all coherence in the essential Christian claim that Jesus was truly a human being, that the word became flesh. The humanity of Jesus could hardly be eternal in that sense and still be “like us in all things, excepting sin” (Council of Chalcedon; Hebrews 2:17) Jesus of Nazareth began his life that is, began to exist at a definite time in history: the word became flesh.

    The word that began to be flesh at a definite time in history however is the word that is God’s own, the divine purpose and intention that is God’s very own, this word is eternal as God is eternal. This word is God’s own eternal activity. The issue is the personal identity of personal agency. The word was God in the beginning and with God in the beginning according to the prologue. This is the word which has now moved on to the stage of history.

    The word became, or was made, or happened as flesh, just as the world and all that is became, was made, happened as creation. As in creation, and at Sinai so in the light of this Jew, the creative word spoke and as a result behold: creation, Israel, Jesus of Nazareth!

    The subject of the prologue to the gospel of John is the miracle of God’s involvement with his creation in order to bring it near it to its completion. What is preexistent, utterly one with God for the creation of the world, is the divine resolve or plan not simply to begin creation but to bring it to its completion in a fully personal way. A fully personal way, it should be noted, as distinct from either mechanical or logical way will make room for a fully personal cooperation of God’s creatures. This eternal personal resolve of God’s, is with God and is God the Creator is that which was enacted in the personal existence of the man Jesus of Nazareth. A theology of the Jewish Christian Reality, part 2, A Christian theology of the people Israel, Paul Van Buren, Harper and Row, 1983 pp. 80-83)

  38. Jaco
    July 4, 2012 @ 5:12 pm

    Thanks for the comments.

    I think the closest one can get to stating that Jesus was the word is to do it with an anaphorical understanding. In other words, if John says, Jesus was the brazen serpent he is doing it referring to the historical Jesus and seeing significance in the brazen serpent anaphorically or “backward-pointing” of earlier times. It is NOT a historically factual statement it is a metaphorical statement containing significance and meaning. The same with saying, Jesus “was the manna” or that Jesus “was the rock” in 1 Corinthians 10. It points back to earlier events, and meaning or significance is seen in those. No ontological 1-to-1 identification is intended or implied. Once this conceptual connection is made, the lights will go on…

  39. Andy
    July 4, 2012 @ 3:46 pm

    Anthony

    I quite like some translations that render HOUTOS as ‘the same was with God’, etc. to me it expresses the thought a little more smoothly.

    Of course, in English ‘one’ can refer to a person or a thing, but I agree most readers would equate ‘one’ with person and so it is interpreting the text, if only a little.

    Anthony, you may rest assured that I no more believe in God the Son than you do. As I once said in a discourse, ‘the Bible says Son of God not God the Son – Trinitarianism seems to me to be a form of dyslexia’. A bit flippant, I know, but I was a lot younger then and took things less seriously. Maybe I still should 🙂

    You may be pleased to learn I received my copy of Brown yesterday (actually, several of his works) and have started to go through them. Not a trivial task, as they are not exactly short stories! But I am, of course, focussing on his commentary in the salient verses of our discussion. More to follow – but I will try not to post in haste and make a fool of myself again.

    Andy

  40. Andy
    July 4, 2012 @ 3:37 pm

    Marg

    (Hope I get this one right)

    When the NT was written it was written in uncial script – that is, entirely in capital letters. There were no spaces between words, no punctuation marks, etc.

    Over time, copyists transformed this into ‘usual’ script and added spaces between words, punctuation, accents, breathing marks and so on. The translator does not have to accept these indicators. The apparatus of the NA27 Greek text shows which translations use which punctuation scheme and so forth.

    John, therefore, did not capitalise anything and the translator needs to capitalise words in accordance with proper English grammar and his understanding of the Greek text.

    The ESV translates Rev 19:13 as ‘and the name by which he is called is The Word of God’

    As this is clearly a name, the ESV’s capitalisation seems justified.

    The ESV translates John 1:1 as ‘?In the beginning was ?the Word’.

    Here the translators show that they understand ‘The Word’ to be either a name or a title. As Anthony said earlier, they have worked a little interpretation into their translation. Then again, to translate it as ‘the word’ also has a tiny bit of interpretation in it – that the translator does not think it is a title or name, or if they do, they are not wiling to reveal their stance on it yet.

    Of course, if we understand ‘the word’ as being God’s design, then we could argue that ‘The Word’ is the title of that design, just as Anova Road Map is the title of my company’s grand design for its Anova product.

    Anthony’s own translation of John 1:1 is ‘In the beginning there was God’s Grand Design, the declaration of His Intention and Purpose, and that declaration was with God as His project, and it was fully expressive of God Himself.’ (http://www.focusonthekingdom.org/John.htm)

    If capitalising the word ‘Word’ is adding to scripture, then I hesitate to say what this is…

    Andy

  41. Anthony
    July 4, 2012 @ 3:19 pm

    Andy

    You are right “this word” is the right translation!! That avoids adding what is not there. This ONE is wrong since it imports a person other than God.

    Check this out from a German about the disaster which happened when GOD the Son was invented:
    Heinz Zahrnt, The Historical Jesus, 29-30:

    Jesus Christ was now no longer a man of flesh and blood like ourselves, but a heavenly being of supernatural origin in human form. With the help of a metaphysical system taken over from Greek philosophy, Christological dogma came into being, and an attempt was made to describe the person of Jesus Christ in the form of the so-called doctrine of the two natures. Jesus Christ, true man and true God. So men said, but from the beginning they shrank back from the bare historical character of the revelation of God. The Church has been in danger of embracing a non-human Jesus (docetism) from the very beginning. That is, from the very beginning right until the present day the Church has been tempted to stress the “divinity” of Christ so one-sidedly that his “manhood” threatened to become a mere pretense. In this way, Jesus Christ was made a historical abnormality. The “Son of God” was endowed with wonderful, indeed miraculous, qualities, to such an extent that his feet scarcely seemed any longer to touch the ground. What happened to this Christ was no longer the fate of a man but the fate of a remarkable, shadowy, fairytale figure, half- man and half- God. God offered Himself in an earthen vessel, but men down the ages have made it into a golden monstrance. They have woven a golden veil of pious adoration, love and superstition and spread it over the rugged contours of God’s action in history. We can find iconography not only in Russia, but also in our own sermons and theological textbooks. All this has been done with the laudable intention of heightening the wonder of revelation. In reality, however, the result has been only to conceal this revelation and to make an approach to it immeasurably more difficult.

    Is not the dogmatic picture of Christ for many people the greatest hindrance to belief today? Is it not true that so many people come to grief in the Christian faith because they are expected to believe things of Jesus as historical fact that they cannot accept honestly?

  42. Anthony
    July 4, 2012 @ 3:18 pm

    Marg

    I DO realize that “the word is NOT Jesus until Jesus is alive.” That is obvious.

    This is great! Where you go wrong is saying that Jesus created the world! He did not. He is the person whom God had in mind from the beginning of creation. He is what wisdom became not what a fictitious “GOD the Son became”.

    The word is a HE as soon as the Messiah comes into existence and Luke and Matt tell us when that was!

    Are you willing to give up God the Son and go with the Son of God?

  43. Marg
    July 4, 2012 @ 11:29 am

    I DO realize that “the word is NOT Jesus until Jesus is alive.” That is obvious.

    But verse 10 is quite clear: HE (the word) was now in the world. The world did not recognize HIM, even though HE was the one through whom the world had come into being.

    I do thank you,Anthony, for pointing out the absence of the upper case letter in word. I won’t use it again. In fact, I was surprised to see the capitalization used by John when describing the rider on the white horse in Revelation 19. “His name is called, The word of the God.” [I don’t know why the article is capitalized and the noun not, but it is interesting.]

    Thanks, Xavier, for the info from Dunn. I don’t mind the idea of personification. My problem lies with the words of John 1:10, which deals with “the word” after it was undeniably a he.

    And he is explicitly said to have brought the world into existence.

  44. Anthony
    July 4, 2012 @ 8:41 am

    Marg

    Thanks, your first sentence is right. The word became a HE when Jesus began to exist. You then contradict yourself by giving us a HIM before Jesus is alive.

    As long as you realize that the word is not JESUS until Jesus is alive…OK.

    The promise of Messiah in the OT never ever says that the Messiah is other than human and a descendant of David.
    He is to be the prophet like Moses. If not, you must provide an OT prophecy which designates the Messiah as originally not a human!

    1 Jn 4:1 makes the test of truth belief in the human Messiah, not a preexisting angel or God the Son! This is THE subject in the NT since we are to believe in the Messiah & not a fictititious non-human Messiah.

    God did not speak in a SON in the OT times, Heb.1. You are contradicting this statement.

  45. Xavier
    July 4, 2012 @ 7:47 am

    Marg

    There is no need for Xavier to withdraw his previous (legitimate) observation that the words regarding the earth and the heavens in the O.T. ALWAYS refer to the Genesis creation.

    Sure, and now the creation language is applied to the Son when it comes to “the world to come, of which we speak” [Heb 2.5].

    The prevailing disagreement here is that you think “the word/wisdom” was an actual 2nd Person beside the one God YHWH. I see Jaco brought up Dunn so let me give you something to think about from him:

    Prior to verse 14 we are in the same realm as pre-Christian talk of Wisdom and Logos…dealing with personifications rather than persons, personified actions of God rather than an individual divine being as such.

    The point is obscured by [translating the] masculine Logos as ‘he’ throughout the poem. But if we translated Logos as ‘God’s utterance’ instead, it would become clearer that the poem did not necessarily intend the Logos of vv. 1-13 to be thought of as a personal divine being. In other words, the revolutionary significance of v. 14 may well be that it marks…the transition from impersonal personification to actual person.

    The point is that Christ is the incarnation of this Wisdom/Word. To speak of Christ as himself preexistent, coming down from heaven, and so forth, has to be seen as metaphorical; otherwise it leads inevitably to some kind of polytheism–the Father as a person, just like Jesus was a person…otherwise, there is the danger of a too literal translation of Father-Son language once again into a form of polytheism… Christology in the Making, pp 47, 243

  46. Marg
    July 3, 2012 @ 11:47 pm

    I’m glad to see your name, Jaco. I have always enjoyed your contributions to any discussion – whether I agreed with you or not!

    No, I have not read the book by Dunn. Can you give me a clue? or a link to a review? or something?

    Once the word is in the world it is a “he”!

    That’s all I need to know, Anthony. The word became a man. So the transition from “it” to “he” was marked by the birth of Jesus.

    From that point on, he (the word) was in the world; and even though the world came into existence through HIM (the word), the world did not know HIM (the agent responsible for its existence).

    And that means that Hebrews 1:10-12 makes perfect sense, on the basis of the law of agency. There is no need for Xavier to withdraw his previous (legitimate) observation that the words regarding the earth and the heavens in the O.T. ALWAYS refer to the Genesis creation.

    One other thing. The synoptics all quote Jesus as saying, “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall never pass away.”

    Those words seem appropriate ONLY from the one who is the logos.

    It seems ironic that John is the one who puts in the cautionary note. He quotes Jesus as saying, “My words are not my own.” He was not God; but his words were God’s words. They shall never pass away.

    The whole thing is so very consistent, if you let it mean what is says, and stop trying to make everything fit a theory that hangs from a particular use of one particular Greek word.

  47. Xavier
    July 3, 2012 @ 11:48 am

    To all,

    Why is it wrong to believe that Jesus, the Son of God, began to exist at his birth? And as such the 2nd adam, human Messiah as foretold by the Jewish writers?

  48. Anthony
    July 3, 2012 @ 10:10 am

    Marg

    Why do you keep writing Word and not word? You are adding to Scripture.

    The word “beget” is applied to the beginning of the life of the Son! Luke 1:35 and Matt 1:18, 20. 1 Jn 5:18 (not KJV) gives the same “begotten” for the origin of the Son. This is not hard at all.

    Acts 13:33 refers obviously to the “raising up” of the Son at his birth. As you know top expositors like Vine, Robertson and Bruce and others see this clearly. Why make BEGET mean other than what it means “to cause to come into existence”?

    That is not true of the resurrection FROM THE DEAD of Jesus. Acts 13:34 speaks of the resurrection BY CONTRAST (de). Not so hard.

    Anthony

  49. Jaco
    July 3, 2012 @ 2:03 am

    Hi Marg,

    Good to see you’re still actively involved in such great discussions. Have you read Christology in the Making by James D. G. Dunn?

    Thanks,

    Jaco

  50. Marg
    July 2, 2012 @ 7:04 pm

    Thank you, Anthony. That agrees with what I believe. I woud only add that in the Word was LIFE. And the living Word existed before the birth of Christ.

    So the Word became a man, whose name was Jesus. He was in the world (of men), and the world was made through him, and the world did not know him.

    There is no problem, then, with 1 Corinthians 8:6. There is one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things come.

    Same with Colossians 1:16. All things were created through him (last clause).

    Same with Hebrews 1:2. It was through the Son that God made the ages. But it wasn’t until the end of those ages that the Son appeared to put away sins by the sacrifice of himself (ch. 9:26-27).

    The identification of the Word with the Son should not be a problem, even if NEITHER word be understood as a “person” until revealed as a man. The man, most definitely, was a person. We can agree on THAT.

    Can we agree, then, that the meaning of Psalm 2:7 and of Acts 13:33 can be understood according to their CONTEXT, and that Paul quoted the Psalm in reference to Christ’s resurrection?

  51. Anthony
    July 2, 2012 @ 4:56 pm

    Marg

    There is no need to put “it” there. Once the word is in the world it is a “he”!

    Made “through it” wisdom/word. In verse 10 the light is actually a person but not in verse 5! This shows the transition.

    1 Jn 1:2, 3 clears it all up as John’s corrective comment on what is being twisted in his Gospel

    Anthony

  52. Andy
    July 2, 2012 @ 4:15 pm

    Marg

    Thank you for you kind words. I am always hard on myself and it’s incredibly embarrassing to have made such an elementary mistake.

    I take no credit for apologising – that was the only honest thing to do and one thing I think everyone involved in this discussion wants is honesty.

    Andy

  53. Marg
    July 2, 2012 @ 4:01 pm

    Thank you. I was already aware of the difference, which is why I did not argue about the pronoun “it” in the first few verses. That was never my question.

    And thank you for the link, Xavier. The translation I found most interesting was the “Gospel in Scouse” (whatever that is). I really like the last few sentences.

    The problem is that there was not a single quotation of anything beyond verse 5. What I want to see is a translation of verses 10-12.

    So my question remains: Can you give me a link to a translation which translates those verses with the word “it”? For example:
    “It was in the world and the world was made by it and the world did not know it. It came to its own, and its own did not receive it. But as many as received it, to them it gave authority to become the children of God, to those believing in the name of it” (vv. 10-12).

    And if there is, what is the name of “it”? What is the name that people are to believe in?

    By the way, Andy, don’t be too hard on yourself. You have admitted a mistake, and learned from it. That is to your credit.

  54. Andy
    July 2, 2012 @ 2:28 pm

    Anthony

    Thank you for the correction – you are of course quite right that I mixed things up. Marg, I apologise for this as I made it in my reply to you…

    Andy

  55. Anthony
    July 2, 2012 @ 1:44 pm

    Andy

    Thanks but you are displaying a lack of knowledge of elementary grammar!

    The personal pronouns for logos are masculine and this is nothing to do with sexual gender! You really cannot engage the conversation if you don’t know this. Please do some homework first.

    You are confusing sexual and grammatical gender as any of millions of language teachers would tell you.
    Anthony

  56. Andy
    July 2, 2012 @ 1:29 pm

    Xavier

    I actually replied to this question (asked by you, not Anthony) in my post of 24th May in this thread. I wrote “I know Koine Greek, but have not received formal training in it. It has been an interest of mine for 30+ years.”

    I’m not in a position to answer why some translations in the past translated personal pronouns as ‘it’. Unfortunately, they are not around to answer for their decisions either.

    Andy.

  57. Xavier
    July 2, 2012 @ 1:04 pm

    Marg

    Can you give me a link to one of those translations?

    Actually, Anthony Buzzard has a pretty comprehensive list extending to the present:
    http://focusonthekingdom.org/translations.htm

    As for the Spanish connection see my study on it:
    http://inthenameofwhowhat.blogspot.com/2011/06/palabra-or-verbo-truth-or-tradition.html

  58. Marg
    July 2, 2012 @ 12:46 pm

    Xavier- do those first European translations translate the same pronoun as “it” in verses 10-12?

    That is not a rhetorical question. I don’t know, and I really would like to. Can you give me a link to one of those translations?

  59. Xavier
    July 2, 2012 @ 11:23 am

    Andy

    The personal pronouns of John 1 are masculine and cannot be translated as ‘it’. They have to be ‘he’.

    So why do you think the first European translations, in Spanish and English, translated it as “it” and not “he”?

    And are you ever going to answer Anthony’s question regarding your knowledge of the Greek?

  60. Andy
    July 2, 2012 @ 11:17 am

    Anthony

    John 1 deals with HO LOGOS. 1 John 1 deals with TOU LOGOU TAYN ZOAYN. Given this difference it can’t simply be assumed that the two passages, whilst clearly related, are synonymous. I would not translate one in the terms used by the other.

    Marg

    The personal pronouns of John 1 are masculine and cannot be translated as ‘it’. They have to be ‘he’. The demonstrative pronoun HOUTOS is more flexible – and can refer to persons or things. The big question for John 1:1 is whether HO LOGOS is a thing or a person and how it is PROS TON THEON (with, towards, or even face to face with, God).

    Anthony

    Of course there is some interpretation in translation. Otherwise, we could just pick definitions from lexicons and come up with really weird expressions. However “All translation is an interpretation!” is probably putting it too loosely.

    Maybe ‘this one’ is too interpretative. My main objection to ‘this word’ is that it feels rather wooden in English.

    Andy

  61. Marg
    July 2, 2012 @ 10:27 am

    Sorry about the formatting. Also – the previous comment had to do with the discussion about gennao. I didn’t realize that Anthony had posted a comment abut the Logos while I was writing.

    On THAT subject, I have a question. No matter how you translate the pronouns in vv. 1-3, “it” seems inappropriate in statements like “It was in the world and the world was made by it and the world did not know it. It came to its own, and its own did not receive it. But as many as received it, to them it gave authority to become the children of God, to those believing in the name of it” (vv. 10-12).

    What is the name of “it” – the name that people are to believe in?

  62. Marg
    July 2, 2012 @ 9:40 am

    Psalm 2 is really the focal point of this whole discussion, so let’s look at it in detail.

    The first two verses are quoted by Peter in Acts 4:25 – “Why did the heathens rage …? The kings of the earth stood up and the rulers were assembled … against the Lord and his Anointed.”

    Then he explains the connection: “… Herod and Pontius Pilate, with nations and the peoples of Israel, were assembled together against your holy child Jesus, whom you anointed …”

    Psalm 2 goes on, “He who sits in the heavens will laugh.” Why? Because their defiance is futile. God’s verdict is clear: “I have set my king (my anointed) on Zion, my holy mount.”

    And then the anointed king speaks: “… YHWH … said to me, ‘You are my son. Today I have begotten you.'”

    The speaker is not a fetus. It is the king who has been set on Mount Zion who claims that Today YHWH has become his father.

    No wonder the Jews considered this to be a part of the coronation of the king.

    Besides, it is a fulfillment of God’s promise to David regarding his son, Solomon: “He will be my son, and I will be his father” (2 Samuel 7:14). It has nothing to do with the beginning of Solomon’s existence. It has to do with his position as God’s representative on the throne of Israel.

    Getting back to Acts 13, Paul quotes Psalm 2:7 in a context that cannot be mistaken. It is all about God’s raising Jesus from the dead, the necessary prelude to Peter’s statement that “God has made this same Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ” (Acts 2:36).

    So the word gennao is applied by Paul to Christ’s resurrection – God’s vindication of his anointed king.

    And now I want to come back to Anthony’s claim that

    Ps 2.7 clinches the fact that the Son was brought into existence in time

    Judging from the evidence so far, that claim is false.

  63. Anthony
    July 2, 2012 @ 9:26 am

    Andy

    Thanks, but “THIS ONE” shows that you have decided that Logos is a Person.
    Why not agree with John in 1 John 1? He says “that WHICH” five times!
    You are reading your preexistence into Logos!

    All translation is an interpretation! I think you have not thought this through.

    What is your training/skill/competence in Koine Greek?

  64. Xavier
    July 1, 2012 @ 3:56 pm

    Andy

    I thought so…thanks 😉

  65. Andy
    July 1, 2012 @ 2:52 pm

    Xavier

    Shouldn’t your question be ‘where in the Bible is GENNAO a reference to resurrection from the dead?’?

    In any case, the BDAG lexicon specifically links Acts 13:33’s GENNAO to the resurrection, using GENNAO in its figurative sense of ‘exercising the role of a parental figure’.

    Rather than accepting this without question, in my previous post I asked a question: does Jesus’ arrival on the scene fulfill all the promises God made or was it his resurrection? If, as Paul argues, it was his resurrection then the GENNAO of Acts 13:33 HAS TO be in relation to his resurrection. If the resurrection was not necessary to fulfill all the promises, then the GENNAO of Acts 13:33 could refer to his arrival on the scene.

    So, in a sense, Xavier the answer to your question depends on the answer to mine 🙂 How do you answer?

    In addition, there does not *have* to be another scripture where GENNAO is used in relation to the resurrection. These things aren’t decided by statistics but by context. And, if God resurrects someone, would he not, in a sense, become a father to that one?

    Andy

  66. Xavier
    July 1, 2012 @ 2:02 pm

    Marg & Andy

    Let me try this again…where in the Bible is beget a reference to resurrection from the dead?

  67. Marg
    July 1, 2012 @ 8:38 am

    Your original argument, Xavier, was that gennao always refers to the beginning of someone’s existence. Andy’s lexicon has given you many passages where that is not the case. I want to refer to a few of them specifically.

    In John 3:3, 4, 5, and 7, Jesus tells Nicodemus that unless one is born (gennao) from above, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus can’t understand it. Jesus then goes on to describe how that new birth will finally be brought about through the “lifting up” of the Son of God.
    1 John 5:1 explains: “Everyone believing that Jesus is the Christ has been born (gennao) of God.”
    In neither of these cases does gennao refer to the beginning of a person’s existence.
    In fact, the person being “begotten” has a part to play. He must “believe that Jesus is the Christ.”

    Then there is 1 Co. 4:15. Paul says, “I have begotten you in the gospel.” It’s the same form of gennao that is used so often in the first 16 verses of Matthew. But in Paul’s case, it has nothing to do with the beginning of anybody’s existence.

    That leaves me free to mention another word used in both of the birth narratives. It is the word firstborn. We are told that Mary gave birth to her son, the firstborn; and you could argue that firstborn could never refer to anything except a birth.
    But in Colossians 1:15-18, the Son is called both firstborn of all creation AND firstborn of the dead.

    Then there’s Rev. 1:5, where the Son is called the firstborn out from the dead.

    So there is no justification for taking one clause out of Acts 13:30-34 and making it refer to something completely different from the context. Verse 30 begins with “God raised him from the dead,” and v. 34 begins with the same thing. ALL of it has to do with Christ’s resurrection.

    When your theory hangs on a particular meaning of a particular word, it’s hanging on a thin thread.

  68. Xavier
    June 30, 2012 @ 10:35 pm

    Andy

    Is beget ever used in the Bible in reference to a resurrection from the dead?

  69. Andy
    June 30, 2012 @ 2:19 pm

    Xavier, Marg

    gennao does not always refer to a begetting in a literal sense. BDAG lists Acts 13:33 as follows (I’ve abbreviated it because it’s a very long entry):

    ? become the parent of, beget
    ? by exercising the role of a parental figure
    With the following scriptures cited as examples:
    1 Cor 4:15; Phlm 10, John 1:13 1John 2:29; 3:9; 4:7; 5:1, 4, 18. John 3:3, 7. 1John 5:1; Acts 13:33 Heb 1:5, 5:5

    With regard to Acts 13:33, I agree the anistami on its own could mean ‘raised up’ in the sense Xavier mentions, but it has to asked whether this would on it’s own *fulfill* the promises made to the forefathers, bearing in mind Paul’s words at 1 Cor 15:16-19. Or, to put the question another way, if God had NOT resurrected Jesus, would his being ‘raised’ by being brought onto the scene fulfill all those promises?

    It has also been argued that Ps 2:7 was initially fulfilled with regard to the fleshly King of Israel, and God did not become his father in the begetting sense. Here’s what the Expositor’s Bibke Commentary (abridged version) says

    “The “decree” of the Lord deals with the Davidic king and the establishment of God’s kingdom on earth. The divinely appointed king speaks about the Lord’s promise, publicly proclaiming his own relationship with God, the Great King. This decree determines his relationship to the king and to the nations. The Davidic king is by birth and by promise the “son of God,” and God is the Davidic king’s “father” (cf. 2Sa 7:14). In actuality this relationship is confirmed at the moment of the coronation. Therefore the theocratic king must respond to the interests and desires of his father and represent God’s will to his people. Jesus is the Christ, the “Son” of God by the Father’s proclamation (Mt 3:17; Mk 1:11; Lk 3:22).”

    Most of this discussion (currently) seems to be revolving around the Greek word GENNAO *having* to mean a literal be getting and that that be getting *has to* mean the *start* of the life of the one being GENNAO’d. But that view is very narrow and the lexicons don’t support it.

    Anthony

    I would translate HOUTOS of John 1:2 as ‘this one’ rather than ‘this Word’ as John doesn’t repeat LOGOS at this point and ‘this one’ is the natural way to express HOUTOS in English. I wouldn’t translate it as ‘he’ as that is interpreting the text rather than translating it.

    I would still point out that the BDF refers to HOUTOS as referring to ‘someone’. I will, over the next few days, research whether this is just a general rule with exceptions or an absolute rule…

    I’ve only just arrived home after being delayed by the flooding in the North of the UK, so I will respond to the other points raised over the next few days, once I have had more time to research them.

    Andy

  70. Xavier
    June 29, 2012 @ 8:02 am

    Marg

    The word translated “raised” CAN be used in reference to resurrection but only when it is used in this context. Thus, in Acts 13.33, God is said to have “raised up” His Son onto the scene and not from the dead. We know this fact from the use by the writer of Ps 2.7, which is in reference to a “begetting” always associated with birth and not death!

    Thus, in Acts 13.33, God is said to have “raised up” His Son onto the scene and not from the dead. We know this fact from the use by the writer of Ps 2.7, which is in reference to a “begetting” always associated with birth and not death!

    If not can you show us where this is not the case? I.e. beget used in reference to resurrection from the dead.

  71. Marg
    June 28, 2012 @ 9:23 pm

    The contrastive de in v.34 should be quite obvious.

    This is misleading, Anthony. According to the BAG lexicon, de is used in four different ways. The first two are:

    1. to emphasize a contrast

    2. very frequently as a transitional particle pure and simple, without any contrast intended
    [Notice the words very frequently.]

    I notice that de is used in both of these ways in Acts 13:29-34.
    1. “… they laid him in a tomb. BUT God raised him from the dead” (29-30). [The contrast is obvious.]
    2. “… God has fulfilled his promise … raising up Jesus … AND he raised him up from the dead …” (33-34) [I cannot find any translation which renders de as but in this verse.]

    The NIV doesn’t translate the de at all: “The fact that God raised him from the dead, never to decay, is stated in these words: etc.”

    So the translators see no contrastive de in verse 34. Neither do I.

  72. Marg
    June 28, 2012 @ 6:54 pm

    Are you suggesting that vv. 29 to 33 are NOT about the resurrection? Let’s look at it again.

    It begins with “God RAISED him from the dead.” That leaves no doubt about what Paul means by “RAISING”.
    Then he tells us about those who are WITNESSES of the fact that God raised him.
    That is the basis for the “good news”. God has fulfilled his promise to the fathers by RAISING Jesus.

    Verse 34 continues with the same theme. God RAISED Jesus from the dead, fulfilling prophecies that Paul’s Jewish listeners knew. So the theme of resurrection is introduced in verse 29, and continues to the end of v. 37.

    To make one single verse mean something altogether different from the rest – even though it uses exactly the same word – seems ridiculous.

  73. Anthony
    June 28, 2012 @ 4:26 pm

    Marg

    Bruce, Robertson and Vine’s…can you really compete with them?

    The contrastive de in v.34 should be quite obvious. You’re forgetting, conveniently, the coming into xistence of the Son in Mathew and Luke. And apparently the gennethis of 1 John 5.18 is lost on you also.

  74. Marg
    June 28, 2012 @ 3:47 pm

    Thank you for responding, Anthony. I hope I am allowed to test your statements, though.

    Acts 13.33 speaks of the coming into existence of the Son; v. 34 his resurrection from the dead.

    Let’s take a look at the context (vv. 26-33).
    Paul is speaking in the synagogue to his fellow Jews. The story is sequential. The rulers of the Jews and Pilate condemned and crucified Jesus – and in doing so fulfilled the scriptures (e.g. Psalm 2).
    But THEN (vv. 30-33, NRSV):

    God raised him from the dead; and for many days he appeared to those who came up with him from Galilee to Jerusalem, and they are now his witnesses to the people. And we bring you the good news that what God promised to our ancestors he has fulfilled for us, their children, by raising Jesus; as also it is written in the second psalm, ‘You are my Son; today I have begotten you.’

    This entire section – and not just v. 34 – deals with the resurrection of Christ. So the quotation from Psalm 2:7 is explicitly connected with Christ’s resurrection, and not to his birth. Look again:
    “God raised him from the dead …[God has fulilled his promise] by raising Jesus, AS IT IS WRITTEN, ‘You are my Son; today I have begotten you.”
    And that fits the pattern of Psalm 2 perfectly.
    So what is the justification for saying that v. 33 changes the subject and refers to Christ’s birth?

  75. Anthony
    June 28, 2012 @ 2:50 pm

    Apology accepted.

    What is your training/skill/competence in Koine Greek?

  76. Andy
    June 28, 2012 @ 2:28 pm

    Anthony

    I’m travelling today and tomorrow, so I won’t be able to post fully until the weekend. I’m sorry that I misread your previous post. – I simply missed the 1 in front of John and thought we were still discussing john’s gospel. I hope you will accept that this was an honest mistake. And, of course, I withdraw my statement that you had mistranslated HOUTOS in John 1.

    I will consider the other points you, Xavier and Marg have posted over the weekend and try to respond early next week.

    Andy

  77. Anthony
    June 28, 2012 @ 2:07 pm

    Andy

    We’re talking about 1 John 1.2, etis = WHICH. Also we have 4 times “that WHICH” not “HE WHO”.

    I fully agree that John 1.2 is “this word”.

    Please read the Birth Narratives by Brown and the article by Feuillet quoted by him as well then get back to me, please.

    Marg

    Acts 13.33 speaks of the coming into existence of the Son; v. 34 his resurrection from the dead. I choose to agree with FF Bruce, Robertson’s Words Pictures, Vine’s and OBVIOUS common sense on this point.

    Please also read Pannengberg on this point, “Jesus, God and Man”.

    Heb 1.5 is parallel to 2Sam 7 which you have misquoted: “I WILL BE His Father…” so when, according to the NT did this occur?

    You are in sufficiently schooled to engage this conversation with competence. You should also read Godet’s “Commentary on Luke”. You need a good seminary library or buy these books second hand.

  78. Xavier
    June 28, 2012 @ 9:40 am

    PS: “…elsewhere John uses para tini to express the proximity of one person to another (Jn. 1.39; 4.40; 8.38; 14.17, 23, 25; 19.25; cf. 14.23; note also meta tinos in Jn. 3.22, 25 f. etc.) or the nearness of the Son to the Father (Jn 8.38; 17.5), never pros tina.” Ibid., Brown, NIDNT, p 1205.

  79. Xavier
    June 28, 2012 @ 9:38 am

    Andy

    So the Son is not God?

    Marg

    the word translated “with” [pros] in the phrase: “the word was with God” in John 1.1b “does not imply any movement or action on the part of the Logos”, as if it were talking about one person next to [“with”, para(23)] another, in this case God.

    Support for this view may be found in the NT parallels where pros with the acc. often following the verb einai denotes the linear motion but punctiliar [i.e, not moving] rest (Matt. 26.18, 55 vl.; Mk. 6.3 ( =Matt. 13.56); 9.19 ( = Lk. 9.41 but Matt. 17.17 has meth’ hymon); 14.49; 1Cor 16.6f.; 2Cor 5.8; 11.9; Gal 1.18; 4.18, 20; Phil 1.26; 1Thess 3.4; 2Thess 2.5; 3.10; Phlm 13; Heb 4.13; 1Jn 1.2). ., Brown, NIDNT, p 1204.

  80. Marg
    June 27, 2012 @ 8:14 pm

    I learned a lot about what governs the precise meaning of para from a prolonged debate on John 17:5. I’m looking forward to learning about pros.

    I have to admit, I was disappointed with Anthony’s statement that “We have convinced MANY, I am happy to tell you …” Convincing many proves very little about the quality of your evidence. I’m sure examples will come to mind.

    In fact, Anthony’s claim that

    Ps 2.7 clinches the fact that the Son was brought into existence in time

    has twice been challenged, on the basis of statements by Peter and John (in Acts 4:25-26) and Paul
    (in ch. 13:32-33). He still has offered no response.

    To those two scriptures can be added Hebrews 1:5, where Psalm 2:7 is quoted in parallel with God’s promise to be a father to Solomon when he became king (2 Samuel 7:14). The New Testament application of Psalm 2:7 is consistent. It never refers to the beginning of anyone’s existence.

    In fact, if you read the Psalm itself you will recognize that it has to do with a proclamation of Yahweh when he installs his King on Mount Zion. Nothing in the Psalm suggests anybody’s birth.

    In other words, the MANY that are convinced by such evidence must be people who do not heed Paul’s injunction to “test all things”.

  81. Andy
    June 27, 2012 @ 5:04 pm

    Anthony

    So now HOUTOS of John 1:2 means WHICH not WHO??

    HOUTOS neither means WHICH nor WHO. I have consulted the following lexicons:

    BDAG, Liddell and Scott, Louw Nida, Thayer and the Exegetical Dictionary of the NT, all of whom concur that HOUTOS means ‘this or this one.’

    The BDF Grammar states ‘HOUTOS is used to point to someone present’. Someone. NOT something.

    As HOUTOS is a MASCULINE demonstrative pronoun, your suggested translation WHICH is simply incorrect. I have searched my extensive collection of translations and cannot find one that says WHICH… The more literal say something like ‘this one’ and the others say ‘he’ as can be seen from this list:

    Young’s Literal Translation: ‘this one was in the beginning with God’

    ESV, NIV, NIV 2010, NAB, NASB, Jewish New Testament, Darby, NET (footnote), God’s Word Translation, New Living Translation, The Scriptures, ‘He was in the beginning with God’

    King James ‘ The same was in the beginning with God’

    Rotherham Emphasised Bible, The Authorised Version, ‘The same was originally with God’

    I’m away from home, so I cannot check Moffatt or Schonfield, but will do so when I get the chance.

    Thus far, you have argued that HOUTOS means WHICH, KAI means PRECISELY and KALEOW means BE, all of which seem to be definitions designed to support your teachings.

    Please, tell us which lexicon or grammar you are basing these on.

    I am a firm believer that translation must PRECEDE interpretation and, therefore, an accurate translation is paramount. Your translations seem forced and theologically motivated. I remain unconvinced about the teachings you build on them…

    You again state that Luke doesn’t mention a pre-existence, as though an omission is proof that it cannot exist. Mark doesn’t mention the birth of Jesus at all. Perhaps that means he was never born? If Luke stated that Jesus DID NOT have a pre-existence, then it would be significant. His saying nothing about it is no proof whatsoever that it could not be. An argument from silence is weak, and the more weight you place on it the weaker your position becomes.

    Xavier

    I would not translate Jn 1:1c as ‘The word was God’. The anarthrous theos is distinct from the articular HO THEOS/TON THEON and the translation has to reflect that.

    Marg

    We haven’t yet got to the interesting bit of John 1:1,2 where the Word is ‘with’ (Greek PROS) God. For now, all I will say is that this is ‘with’ in an external sense. PROS just cannot mean ‘within’. You’d need to use the Greek EN or, in some circumstances, PARA for that. No doubt more will follow on this bit.

    Andy

  82. Anthony
    June 27, 2012 @ 7:48 am

    Andy

    Widen your investigation. Read Ray Browns’ Birth Narratives. Begotten, brought into existence, WILL BE the Son of God. Brown is careful to point out that “to be called” is synonymous with “being”. Brown candidly says that Luke 1.35 is an embarrassment to Orthodoxy. For them the virginal birth does not bring into existence the Son. Luke knows NOTHING about preexistence. This is clear to ALL great commentary.

    We have convinced MANY, I am happy to tell you and of course we are not inventing nothing new. Read 1 John 1.1-3 and allow the writer to correct the popular misunderstanding of John 1.1. It was the word of eternal life WHICH (not WHO) was with the Father.

    Your Jesus is not an authentic human being, just dressed up as one.

  83. Xavier
    June 27, 2012 @ 7:23 am

    Andy

    So in the beginning was the Son and the Son was God? If my Maths is correct that sounds like you have 2 Gods. ; )

    As to the Mormon connection look up Eternal progression/Exaltation.

  84. Andy
    June 27, 2012 @ 5:12 am

    Scripture? I quoted Phil 2 & John 1. I think they are scriptures 🙂

    Mormonism? Don’t know much about their beliefs. I’m certainly not basing anything I post on what they may teach…

    Andy

  85. Xavier
    June 26, 2012 @ 10:43 pm

    Are you saying that it was IMPOSSIBLE for God to take an already existing divine life form and change it into a human life form?

    Sounds awfully Mormon to me. : )

    You can talk about what’s possible, impossible, etc., but why don’t we just deal with scripture?

  86. Marg
    June 26, 2012 @ 9:55 pm

    Thanks for John 1:1, Andy. I am convinced by the CONTEXT (vv. 1-18) that the Word has to mean more than a plan.
    The Word became flesh. (That COULD refer to a plan, of course.)
    The Word dwelt among us. (Well – maybe. It’s a bit of a stretch …)
    The World was made by it/him but the world did not know it/him.
    Now “plan” no longer makes any sense. If the plan came into effect only when Jesus was born, then THAT plan could hardly have made the world.

    The idea that the plan was in the world, and the world that the plan had made didn’t recognize it, is ludicrous, it seems to me.

    However, IF all things were actually made by (dia) the Word, who then became flesh, and lived in the world he/it had made, then it is worth noting that the world (kosmos = world of men) didn’t recognize its maker.

    However, to those who received that Word, and believed on his name, to them he gave the power to become the children of God.

    I think that fits the context. And it fits Revelation 19:13, which ALSO has to be explained away.

    That’s the problem. There are too many passages that cannot be allowed to mean what they say, because they do not fit a theory.

  87. Andy
    June 26, 2012 @ 5:36 pm

    Anthony

    Regarding dio kai the BDAG lexicon specifically states “therefore … also, denoting that the inference is self-evident, Lk 1:35; Ac 10:29; 24:26; Ro 4:22; 15:22; 2 Cor 1:20; 5:9; Phil 2:9;”

    I see no reason to add anything to this definition. Your suggested translation “For this reason PRECISELY the one begotten/born WILL BE the Son of God” is overstating things. “therefore also (or just ‘therefore’, as most modern translations put it) the one to be born will be called holy, the Son of God…” is what the Greek says. Because of his divine conception, the man Jesus would be called holy, the Son of God, as he surely was. It does not exclude him being called that before this, does it?

    Sure, being ‘called’ X when you are X means you are X but I think you are saying that the verse means that Jesus BECAME X only because of this event. That’s a possible interpretation, but you cannot prove it from the words in the verse, and translating it to make it appear to cement your claim isn’t a good move. Sure, use it as an evidence but trying to squeeze your theology INTO and then OUT OF one verse is one of the Trinitarian translator’s ploys and I don’t think it helps your case at all to do this.

    You wrote “The Messiah cannot be older than his ancestor David!!”. I’m sorry, but you assume what you must prove. Are you saying that it was IMPOSSIBLE for God to take an already existing divine life form and change it into a human life form? That’s certainly a possible interpretation of Phil 2:6-8 and John 1:1-18. And I can argue that ‘begotten’ in Matthew and Luke refers to the beginning of his human life without it excluding the possibility of a pre-existent life. As ‘begotten’ in both Greek and English usually means procreated it is clear that the term here does not adequately cover all the details of Mary’s miraculous conception and that the angel was just using words she and Joseph would understand, without going into all the details.

    The challenge for all of us, myself very much included, is not to come up with a theory and then see if the scriptures can be read in the light of it, but, rather, to see what
    picture the scriptures paint in the absence of those theories… You seem to base your view of Christ on taking the Word of Jn 1:1 as being ‘God’s plan’ and that, therefore, any reference to a pre-existent Jesus has to be understood in those terms. Fine, as far as theories go. But you have not convinced me that the Word of Jn 1:1 means ‘God’s plan’.

    Andy

  88. Xavier
    June 25, 2012 @ 10:21 pm

    Marg

    That God miraculously caused a fetus to be born without male human sperm, I have no doubt.

    Agreed. Hence his being called the 2nd adam, human being!

    God caused that human body to exist.

    Where does it ever say that? So Jesus was just an empty body shell inhabited by the Son?

  89. Marg
    June 25, 2012 @ 8:13 pm

    Nobody mentioned John 1:1 except you, Xavier.
    John 8:57 is the verse that clearly fits the context and makes sense ONLY if it is understood as, “Before Abraham was born, I already was.”
    That, in turn, agrees very well with the question, “David calls the Messiah his Lord, so HOW can he be his son?” HOW can he be David’s son if David calls him Lord?

    Then there’s 1 Corinthians 8:6 and Hebrews 1:2, among several that have been dealt with at length. There are just too many passages that can’t be allowed to mean what they say, because if they did, they would contradict the teaching of humanitarian unitarians.

    But let’s suppose that God DID became the Father of Jesus by “begetting” him in Mary’s womb. What do you mean by that, anyway? Are you suggesting some kind of divine sperm, producing a mythical type of hybrid? I suspect not. Then what other options are there?

    That God miraculously caused a fetus to be born without male human sperm, I have no doubt. That, I submit, is how he “prepared” a body for his Son when Christ came into the world. In order for him to offer himself as a sacrifice for sin, he had to have a human body. God caused that human body to exist.

    That makes a lot more sense (to me) than any other theory I have heard. And it certainly fits the Scriptures better.

    I repeat: “This day have I begotten thee” has nothing to do with Christ’s conception. It has to do with his investiture as the vindicated, resurrected Messiah, no longer subject to death. So it doesn’t mean “began to exist”.

    Is that not true, Sir Christopher?

  90. Xavier
    June 25, 2012 @ 5:06 pm

    Marg

    The Lord’s question, leading to the statement that stumped the Pharisees, suggests that he WAS older than his ancestor David (Mt. 22:41-46).

    The passage is about the lordship the Messiah has over his “father” David and has nothing to do with chronology.

    Again – there is no disagreement between the synoptics and John.

    Matthew & Luke talk about the genesis and “coming into existence” of the Son [Mat 1.1, 18-20; Luke 1.35]. Yet, your reading the Son into John 1.1? Sounds like disagreement to me.

    If not…could you tell me how one can be said to have 2 origins? 2 coming into existences? 2 begettings?

  91. Marg
    June 25, 2012 @ 3:44 pm

    The Lord’s question, leading to the statement that stumped the Pharisees, suggests that he WAS older than his ancestor David (Mt. 22:41-46).
    So Matthew 22:41-46 harmonizes perfectly with John 8:57. Again – there is no disagreement between the synoptics and John.

    Also:

    Ps 2.7 clinches the fact that the Son was brought into existence in time (cp LXX Ps 110:3).

    Psalm 2 is referred to twice in the book of Acts. In Acts 4:25-26, Peter and John quote the first two verses and apply it to the gathering together of “Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the nations and (the) peoples of Israel … against your holy child Jesus, whom you anointed” (v. 27).
    Then in ch. 13:32-33, in a context that deals entirely with Christ’s resurrection, Paul quotes Yahweh’s decree in Ps. 2:7: “You are my Son, today I have begotten you.” (The rest of the Psalm describes what his kingdom will be like.)

    So the verdict of Herod and Pilate and the nations and Israel was reversed by the resurrection. God fulfilled his promise to Israel by raising Jesus from the dead, and declaring him to be his anointed King.

    Therefore, I suggest that Psalm 2.7 has nothing to do with the beginning of Christ’s existence.

  92. Anthony
    June 25, 2012 @ 12:23 pm

    Andy

    Please read the Birth Narratives of Brown.

    To be called SON of God is exactly synonymous with to BE the Son. Just look it up.
    What do you think dio kai means??

    The Messiah cannot be older than his ancestor David!!
    Anthony

  93. Andy
    June 25, 2012 @ 2:58 am

    Anthony

    I’m not ignoring the kai, I just don’t see it as having the force you see in it. I haven’t found a translation in my collection which translates Kai as PRECISELY/INDEED nor do the lexicons that I have suggest that reading. But even allowing that it could mean that I don’t see that it gets you where your think it gets you, because the Greek BE verb is not in this verse.

    The verb KALEOW in the future tense (will be called) follows the KAI so the verse is saying what Jesus will be CALLED not that he came into existence at that point in time.

    Yes, Luke doesn’t mention a pre-existence. What of it? It doesn’t make John or Paul contradict Luke when they do, anymore than my wife adding extra details to a story I am telling, where I may have omitted them for brevity or for some other reason, would be contradicting me.

    I don’t have access to Brown. I presume you refer to Raymond Brown, and it’s easy to pick and choose scholars who happen to agree with your point of view. When I last came across quotes from Brown on Jn 8 he was stating that the I AM in John meant that Jesus was claiming to be Almighty God. I doubt you’d agree with him… (I don’t either).

    The fact that ‘many top commentators agree’ with you is likewise a poor argument. Other top commentators don’t agree with you and we can quote our favourite scholars all we like, but appeals to authority don’t count for much when it comes to settling matters.

    Andy

  94. Anthony Buzzard
    June 24, 2012 @ 3:34 pm

    Andy

    Unless we start reading a lot into the English word begotten, the terms ‘been conceived’ and ‘been begotten’ are virtually synonymous.

    Begetting in the womb is the activity of the Father. Mothers “conceive” and Fathers “beget”. I hope you can read Brown’s Birth of the Messiah p 290-291:

    The child BEGOTTEN in her.

    Note also what Brown says:

    Luke 1.35 has EMBARRASED many Orthodox theologians. Since in preexistence [Orthodox] Christology a conception by the Holy Spirit in Mary’s womb DOES NOT BRING ABOUT the existence of God’s Son. Luke is seemingly UNAWARE OF SUCH Christology. Conception is CAUSALY related to Divine Sonship for [Luke]…

    As we shall see, there is NO EVIDENCE that Luke thought of the Incanrantion of a preexistent.

    …whether Jesus existed prior to his birth or not has no real bearing on what Gabriel says.

    First of all you are not dealing with the kai following dio, “therefore PRECISELY/INDEED”. When a person comes into existence he cannot already be in existence. This would be sheer NON-SENSE.

    Many top commentaries on Luke fully agree with me. There is no preexistent Son anywhere in Luke or Acts. So why make the Gospel of John contradict them?

  95. Andy
    June 20, 2012 @ 7:24 am

    Anthony

    Sorry, I missed your post dated 1st June where, in part, you wrote:

    “Would you please explain why Thayer’s Lexicon translates there “begotten” and not “conceived” in Mat 1.20. While the RV in 1881 tells us in the margin that the Greek word means “begotten”. Would you please cite OTHER occurrences in scripture where gennao, speaking of what happens IN THE MOTHER, means “conceive” rather than “beget”.

    You have just explained away the precise language of Gabriel. He says, “For this reason PRECISELY the one begotten/born WILL BE the Son of God”…”

    ———————————

    Obviously, I cannot explain why Thayer’s lexicon represents a word in any particular way. I could ask the same question “Why did the BDAG lexicon suggest ‘conceived’ in Matt 1:20?” and neither of us could answer it. I have noticed that the some translations, such as the ESV, use ‘conceived’ and some other translations use ‘begotten’ for Matt 1:20. Unless we start reading a lot into the English word begotten, the terms ‘been conceived’ and ‘been begotten’ are virtually synonymous.

    With regard to what Gabriel said (I think you are quoting Luke 1:26-35, but please correct me if I’m wrong) – Gabriel doesn’t actually say “For this reason PRECISELY the one begotten/born WILL BE the Son of God” does he? The ESV translates this as:

    “30 And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. 32 He will be great and WILL BE CALLED the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”
    34 And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?”
    35 And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born WILL BE CALLED holy—the Son of God.”

    I don’t think I’m explaining what Gabriel actually says away – whether Jesus existed prior to his birth or not has no real bearing on what Gabriel says.

    Andy

  96. Marg
    June 8, 2012 @ 1:51 pm

    What I appreciate most about Clarke’s book is that, if you skip the comments, you are reading the New Testament. It’s value (to me) is that ALL the passages relating to each part can be read together, and I don’t have to look them all up separately in a concordance. I am using it as a reference book, rather than as a commentary. And I value it highly.

    I think we all agree that making known God’s provision of salvation through the work of his Son is more important than refuting the idea of a tri-une God. Besides, there are trinitarians who make the “good news” very clear – Dallas Willard being one of them.
    In fact, it was through such a group that I was first led to recognize my utter helplessness to please God on my own, and trust the all-sufficiency of the sacrifice of Christ. (As Hebrews 7-10 makes so wonderfully clear.)

    So I think we do not necessarily have to refute trinitarianism in order to present the gospel. If we stick with what the Bible actually says, a tri-une God will never surface anyway.

    On the other hand, I love the Bible, and I want to learn what it says about God and his Son and his Spirit. It must be worth learning, or it wouldn’t be there.

    By the way, Andy, thank you for the note re Mat. 12:8. I understand the two grammatical reasons you give for translating it as “the son of man is a lord of the sabbath”. I accept that.
    [I can’t think of any other man who could say that, but I agree it is not worth quibbling about.]

  97. Xavier
    June 7, 2012 @ 8:00 pm

    Andy
    I think the ‘Great Commission’ (nice phrase, BTW) is more important, although that usually involves refuting the trinity

    And confessing the HUMAN Messiah. 😉

  98. Andy
    June 7, 2012 @ 6:12 pm

    Hi Marg

    Thanks for the link. – the second one works 🙂

    I think Dale mentioned this book in one if his recent interview videos and he self publishes it on lulu.com

    Another one to add to my ever growing ‘to read’ list.

    One book I stumbled upon and actually got around to reading is ‘Should Christianity Abandon the Doctrine of Trinity?’ (http://www.amazon.com/Should-Christianity-Abandon-Doctrine-Trinity/dp/1581129408) where the author examines all the trinity proof texts.

    I cannot comment on his comments on OT Hebrew, but his NT Greek seems sound enough.

    I have to admit I sometimes tire of reading such books, I guess it’s because I don’t want to spend all my time disproving something I don’t believe in anyway. Like Anthony, I think the ‘Great Commission’ (nice phrase, BTW) is more important, although that usually involves refuting the trinity…

    Andy

  99. Marg
    June 7, 2012 @ 5:37 pm

    I’m not sure what I’m doing wrong, but I want to try once more. Just once:

    “http://trinities.org/blog/archives/2739#more-2739”

  100. Marg
    June 7, 2012 @ 5:30 pm

    Andy – if you haven’t read Samuel Clarke’s book on the trinity, it is worth reading. He lists all the verses in the New Testament that have any bearing on the subject of God, his Son and his Spirit. I think it is tremendous.

    Dale has an interesting post on Clarke here (I hope the link works):

    http://trinities.org/blog/archives/2739

  101. Anthony
    June 7, 2012 @ 4:08 pm

    Andy

    Thanks, and yes, Patrick writes very interestingly. Glad you have some fellow believers to meet with,
    Anthony

  102. Andy
    June 7, 2012 @ 8:53 am

    Hi Anthony

    I’m aware of your books, but haven’t read them (yet). Time is always the one thing that I don’t have enough of…

    I’ve read Patrick Navas’ book on the Trinity – ‘Divine Truth or Human Tradition?’. I found it very interesting. I have never been a trinitarian, but I was interested to see his approach and his even-handed argumentation. It’s a wordy book, but the words seemed, in the main, good to me.

    I do OK for fellowship. I have a number of like-minded friends and a very supportive wife, which always helps!

    Andy

  103. Anthony
    June 7, 2012 @ 7:08 am

    Andy

    Thanks,

    We covered the issues fairly fully in the two books [Self-Inflicted Wound; Jesus not a Trinitarian].

    The greater issue is the Great Commission, I think, is getting the Kingdom Gospel out.

    You are perhaps aware of the various sites listed at our YouTube page? http://www.youtube.com/user/AbrahamicMovement

    Sean Finnegan’s site is full of good stuff [christianmonotheism.com] and Dan Gill gets about 1/2 million hits a month at 21stcr.org.

    Strack Billerbeck is as you know that great classic documenting the Mishah and Talmud background to the NT.
    I will look again at the rabbis on Ps 45.

    The fact that the Father is 1300 times GOD and Jesus is God twice for certain, ought to be quite conclusive, but as we know the Trinis don’t give up easily. Some do, however, and we receive daily encouragement from those who see who God is.

    What do you do for fellowship? Home Church?

    In hope,
    Anthony

  104. Andy
    June 7, 2012 @ 3:18 am

    Sorry Xavier, my misunderstanding.

    Andy

  105. Xavier
    June 6, 2012 @ 6:19 pm

    Andy

    as Xavier puts it a ‘secondary’ god, one created by God and who worships God as his creator.

    I dont see Jesus as some ‘secondary god’. What I wrote was that the meaning of the word ‘god’ is obviously used in a SECONDARY SENSE when not applied to YHWH, “the God of gods” [Deu 10.17; Dan 2.47] 😉

  106. Andy Bell
    June 6, 2012 @ 6:01 pm

    Hi Anthony

    I don’t disagree. There is no issue at all in calling Jesus god or a god – as Xavier puts it a ‘secondary’ god, one created by God and who worships God as his creator.

    My background probably causes me to be seeking proofs at an almost forensic level. I used to play chess at tournament level and now work in I.T. so I’m drawn to logic and proofs rather than probabilities and possibilities. I accept this is both a strength and a weakness…

    My ‘defensiveness’ about using Heb 1:8 to ‘prove’ Jesus is a god is that I know that a reasonable counter argument exists. Yes,I understand that it’s disputed by many, although most of the disputes are from trinitarians, trying to rescue a cherished proof text. The arguments for and against the possible translations don’t have enough weight to prove or disprove anything (IMHO) but rather leave the question in stasis with two reasonable explanations, neither of which in themselves is decisive.

    Ironically, I think, if I read the info in your site correctly, that the proof texts I would use to state that Jesus is a god would probably meet with a measure of disagreement from you 🙂 So we arrive at similar conclusions via different routes with some of the details differing.

    in any case, I think we both agree that Jesus is saviour and lord, to be held in the highest esteem as one who performed the awe inspiring act of sacrificing himself for the likes of someone like me. But all this honour is, in the end, to the glory of God the Father, the creator of Jesus and the ultimate cause of everything.

    Perhaps we can move on to discuss something else? 🙂

    Andy

  107. Anthony
    June 6, 2012 @ 4:47 pm

    Andy

    Thanks,

    What possible difficulty is there in addressing Jesus as god or God. The vast learning of the NAB translators give us in Ps 45 “your throne o god.” King Messiah is the meaning to Jews (see Strack-Billerbeck on the Hebrews passage). So I don’t see the point of making any issue here.

    Non-Trinitarians do not need to be defensive!

    Moses is called God and so are judges.
    Anthony

  108. Xavier
    June 6, 2012 @ 8:38 am

    Andy

    I fully agree.

    Great. We’ll agree to disagree. 😉

  109. Andy
    June 6, 2012 @ 3:08 am

    Xavier

    Of course, the majority view, huge or not, is not a deciding factor in settling this sort of thing. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argumentum_ad_populum

    You wrote: “Its interesting that alot of anti-trinitarians use this weak argument but the reality is that the Son CAN BE called “god” in a secondary sense.”

    I fully agree. But there are far better verses than Heb 1:8 to prove it…

    Anthony

    In my post dated May 25th, I did ‘ask the rabbis’ or, at least, some of them:

    Tanakh, an English OT translation produced by Jewish scholars and rabbis, translates it (the Psalm) this way:

    “Your divine throne is everlasting;
    your royal scepter is a scepter of equity.”

    They cross reference this to 1 Chron 29:23, which they translate as “Solomon successfully took over the throne of the Lord as king instead of his father David”.

    So it would seem that at least some rabbis see it differently.

    I don’t agree with your statement about ‘the most natural way to read the Greek’. HO THEOS is in the nominative and the most natural way to translate a Greek nominative is as the subject of a sentence or as a nominative predicate. The grammar allows for the nominative to be used as a vocative but, statistically, that is the exception and not the rule. Especially so with HO THEOS, where the vast majority of LXX and NT verses simply mean ‘God’.

    I also stated in my May 25th post:

    “If the writer wanted to write ‘God is your throne’ he had no choice but to write the verse as it is written. Varying the word order would alter nothing. He would have no choice but to live with the ambiguity.

    If he wanted to write “your throne, O God” he could have written the verse as it stood, and live with the ambiguity. Or he could have used the Greek Vocative case proper, in which case he would not write HO THEOS but simply THEE, which is God in the vocative case and this excludes any possibility of ambiguity.”

    Two questions that needs answering are: If the Psalm is best translated as ‘Your throne, O God’ (or, indeed, if that is the only correct translation) they WHY did the LXX translator not use the vocative THEE and, instead, choose the nominative HO THEOS? WHY did the writer of Hebrews, who was under no obligation to quote the LXX verbatim, not change it to THEE if he really intended to say ‘Your throne, O God’?

    To my knowledge, no grammarian who favours the vocative translation has ever addressed these. Jesus’ words at Mtt 27:46 do address God as THEE, so it cannot be argued that the vocative case proper was no longer being used in the first century.

    To sum up – I am simply pointing out that a grammatically acceptable alternative translation to Heb 1:8 is available. Thus, any argument based on Heb 1:8 needs to be wrapped with the proviso “IF it’s a vocative, then xyz…’ and ‘if it’s a nominative then abc…’. I can understand anyone’s reluctance to concede this point, because it weakens any argument based on Heb 1:8, whichever translation you favour.

    Andy

  110. Anthony
    June 5, 2012 @ 9:53 pm

    Andy

    The Greek, read most naturally, says “Your throne O God,” and just ask the rabbis about the Hebrew.
    They had no difficulty with the Messiah being “elohim,” King Messiah.

    “God is your throne” is most unnatural and unnecessary I think.

  111. Xavier
    June 5, 2012 @ 6:33 pm

    Andy

    Translators bring in their own theologies and sometimes biases into the translation process.

    Agreed but it doesnt mean they get it wrong all the time.

    Regardless of the opinions of scholars, anyone who can read Greek will see that their are two possibilities here. And that’s all I’m pointing out.

    Sure but it makes no sense that the writers are calling the throne God when the subject is the Son. Hence the OVERWHELMING grammatical/translational number against the MINORITY view.

    Its interesting that alot of anti-trinitarians use this weak argument but the reality is that the Son CAN BE called “god” in a secondary sense. Just like the Davidic king, Moses and judges were.

    When a grammarian of Archibald Robertson’s status says a translation makes good sense, it also makes good sense to accept it…

    Pick your poison I guess. 😉

  112. Andy Bell
    June 5, 2012 @ 5:07 pm

    Moffatt’s translation, Goodspeed’s ‘An American Translation’ and Byington’s ‘The Bible in Living English’ all use the ‘God is your throne’ translation in the main text. The New Revised Standard Version and Today’s English Version both state in their footnotes that it is an acceptable alternative to ‘Your throne, O God’.

    We both know that the NUMBER of translations that suuport version x as to those who support version y is of no use in determining its correctness. Translators bring in their own theologies and sometimes biases into the translation process.

    Regardless of the opinions of scholars, anyone who can read Greek will see that their are two possibilities here. And that’s all I’m pointing out. The grammar allows for both translations and there are no grammatical indications as to which one is more likely. The NET Bible’s comments are interpretational and not grammatical.

    The Tyndale Commentary states “The opening words, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever, cause a problem, for they can be taken either as a direct address to the Son in which case the implication cannot be avoided that the Son is being described as God, or less probably the words can be understood to mean ‘The throne of your God’, or ‘God is your throne’, in which case the implication that the Son is God is avoided”

    They don’t give any evidence as to why they think the alternative is less probable.

    The Expositor’s Greek New Testament Commentary states: “It does not matter, therefore, whether we translate “Thy throne is God” or “Thy throne, O God,” for the point here to be affirmed is not that the Messiah is Divine, but that He has a throne and everlasting dominion. Westcott adopts the rendering “God is thy throne,” and compares Ps. 71:3; Isa. 26:4; Ps. 90:1, 91:1, 2; Deut. 33:27. He thinks it scarcely possible that “God” can be addressed to the King.”

    Finally, Robertson’s Word Pictures states: “O God. This quotation (the fifth) is from Psa. 45:7f. A Hebrew nuptial ode for a king treated here as Messianic. It is not certain whether [ho theos] is here the vocative … or [ho theos] is nominative (subject or predicate) with [estin] (is). “God is thy throne” or “Thy throne is God.” Either makes good sense.”

    When a grammarian of Archibald Robertson’s status says a translation makes good sense, it also makes good sense to accept it…

    Andy

    Andy

  113. Xavier
    June 5, 2012 @ 3:47 pm

    Andy

    It’s not a suggestion that the Greek could be translated as ‘God is your throne’. It’s a fact…Grammatically, this ‘alternative’ translation is 100% viable and appears as such in not a few translations.

    Where? So far I cannot come up with 1 single translation. And if it “is 100% viable” shouldn’t the translations and commentatires be at least split on this?

    One professor of Biblical languages concluded that the theology of the translator is the deciding factor…

    Who? Got anyone else to back them as well?

  114. Andy Bell
    June 5, 2012 @ 2:42 pm

    Xavier

    It’s not a suggestion that the Greek could be translated as ‘God is your throne’. It’s a fact. The Greek ‘ho theos’ is in the nominative and this expression is the usual way that the NT writiers refer to God when they speak of God the Father. But viewing ‘ho theos’ as being a nominative expression requires the translation ‘God is your throne’. Viewing it as a vocative allows for the ‘Your throne, O God’. As I have said before, there is nothing to choose, grammatically, between them. One professor of Biblical languages concluded that the theology of the translator is the deciding factor…

    The NET Bible is trinitarian in its outlook. One of its main contributors is Daniel Wallace. Do I really need to say more? Their note casts doubt on the possibility of the translation on theological grounds. Grammatically, this ‘alternative’ translation is 100% viable and appears as such in not a few translations.

    Marg

    The verses you quote seem correctly translated to me, although Matt 12:8 would possibly be better as “the son of man is a lord of the sabbath’ as the Greek word ‘kurios’ lacks the Greek article and there are no other definitizing aspects in that verse. But let’s not quibble about it!

    You are, of course, reading some things into these verses to say that Jesus was above temptation. Counter arguments could be presented, and I’m sure some will 🙂

    Andy

  115. Xavier
    June 5, 2012 @ 12:52 pm

    Marg

    The fact remains that “Lord” is credited with founding the heavens and the earth (past tense – not future).

    So Jesus is “the LORD/YHWH” Who created the Genesis earth? So the passage should read as:

    God also said to the Son, ‘In the beginning, LORD [YHWH], you laid the foundation of the heavens and the earth’.

    ?!

  116. Marg
    June 5, 2012 @ 12:16 pm

    Xavier, Andy answered the question about the textual difference between the Masoretic text and the LXX. In detail.

    The fact remains that “Lord” is credited with founding the heavens and the earth (past tense – not future).

  117. Xavier
    June 5, 2012 @ 11:23 am

    Marg

    I believe the article you refer to, Xavier, is the one we both read two years ago. Enough has been said about that.

    Well you keep saying I have not shown you how and why my view on this verse has changed and instead keep bringing up the past.

    But since you say you have read it could you care to refute the points it makes concerning the textual difference between the MT and Septuagint and the fact that Ps 102 is Messianic [future]?

  118. Marg
    June 5, 2012 @ 9:27 am

    I believe the article you refer to, Xavier, is the one we both read two years ago. Enough has been said about that.

    Andy – I have been enjoying the gospel by Matthew, and have listed some passages where Matthew quotes Jesus as saying things that suggest something more than a mortal man struggling against temptation. If these passages are incorrectly translated, I would appreciate help. My knowledge of Greek grammar is limited.

    For example:

    Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill.” (Matthew 5: 17)
    [Isn’t that a risky claim for a man who is still resisting temptation?]

    Many will say to Me on that day, `Lord, Lord, etc.?’ And then I will declare to them, `I never knew you …’” (ch. 7:22, 23) [How can he be so sure?]

    Over and over again in Matthew 5:21-48 he says, “You have heard that … But I say to you that …

    Then there is ch. 9:13 – “…for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” And ch. 18:11 – “For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost.” [Come from where?]

    He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.” (ch. 10:37)

    For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. ” (ch. 16:25)

    For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.” (ch. 12:8) [!!!]

    Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall in no wise pass away. (ch. 23:35)
    [Who does he think he is?]

    Then there is Matthew 10: 32-33, and ch. 11:27-29, and ch. 13: 41, and ch. 16:18 and ch. 16:27, and ch. 19: 27-28, and ch. 23:44 – ALL of them expressing supreme self-confidence, entirely inappropriate for a mortal man who is still capable of sinning.

  119. Xavier
    June 5, 2012 @ 7:17 am

    Andy

    Grammatically, there is nothing to choose between these possibilities.

    More a SUGGESTION than a true translation of the Greek.

    This translation is quite doubtful, however, since (1) in the context the Son is being contrasted to the angels and is presented as far better than they…the context and the correlative conjunctions are decidedly against it. NET Bible, Heb 1.8

    And as you say many commentaries use this as an “affirmation of the deity of Christ” [i.e., the Son is God]. But those who disagree have to simply deal with the evidence at hand. The Son is “god” in an obvious, secondary sense since the text goes on to say that the Son has a God [v.9].

  120. Andy
    June 5, 2012 @ 5:09 am

    Xavier wrote:

    “Heb 1.8 says: “But of the Son HE [GOD] says…”

    God goes on to call the Son “god” [v.8] and “lord” [v.10]. There are 2 figures here. Now the debate is in what way is the Son “god” and “lord”.”

    ——–

    It’s worth pointing out that the Greek of Heb 1:8 is ambiguous. It could be translated as ‘Your throne, O God’, using the vocative function or it could be translated as “God is your throne”, using the standard nominative form of the verse. Grammatically, there is nothing to choose between these possibilities.

    Placing a lot of weight on such a verse would, therefore, be unwise. I am aware that the majority of Bible translations prefer the ‘Your throne, O God’ variant, but not all do. Of course, this is also a so called Trinitarian ‘proof text’ and most Bibles translators are Trinitarian, so it’s no surprise that this variant has the majority vote, as it were.

    Andy

  121. john
    June 4, 2012 @ 3:11 pm

    Xavier Skylar
    You might not have noticed my post number 17 but I mentioned –
    (i) Christians were ‘identified’ by their refusal to curse Christ
    (ii) Skylar is incorrect when he states that ‘early Christians sang a hymn in which they worshipped Christ as God”

    Please refer to
    http://www.tektonics.org
    http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/pliny

    In both cases you will observe that ‘they sang in alternate verse a hymn to Christ as to a god”

    As early as 36CE Christians were chanting a hymn based on Philippians 2 which referred to Christ as being ‘in the form of God’

    All this is a far cry from what Skylar has been saying.

    Best wishes
    John
    /

  122. Xavier
    June 4, 2012 @ 7:36 am

    Skylar

    In short, I’m not convinced that the Romans were absolutely oblivious to the practices and beliefs of their subjects during the time Pliny was writing.

    Possible but highly unlikely whether or not the Roman authorities would bother to question Christians regarding their liturgies. If anything those who were interested in the early Christian sects ended up converting or being sympathetic to their cause [see the NT references to the early Church’s interaction with Roman authorities].

    My opinion from the historical evidence and what little we have in the way of secondary evidence when it comes to these interactions is that the Roman authorities acted on mostly hearsay and gossip. Just look at the first cases of Jewish-Christian persecutions at the time of Nero when they were used as scapegoats for the great Roman fire of the 60s. All the Romans cared about was whether or not people were into the Imperal cult of the day.

  123. Xavier
    June 4, 2012 @ 7:29 am

    Marg

    However, I will accept the fact that you can’t refute your own argument, and will not mention it again.

    Let me try by quoting Anthony Buzzard’s excellent article on the subject…

    1) the Hebrews writer is reading the LXX, not the Hebrew text, and finding in the second half of the psalm a wonderful prophecy of the age to come (Kingdom, restoration of Israel, new creation) which fits his context in Hebrews 1 exactly, and that…

    2) there is a Messianic Lord addressed by Yahweh and invited to initiate a founding of the heaven and earth, the new political order in Palestine, exactly as said in Isaiah 51:16.

    For the full article see my link: http://inthenameofwhowhat.blogspot.com/2010/11/hebrews-110-and-age-to-come-reload.html

  124. Marg
    June 3, 2012 @ 10:48 pm

    I have read post #7 with care, Xavier, but I cannot find a single thing to explain why you no longer believe the following:

    I’m just still having trouble understanding how or in what way the Messiah is said “in the beginning [to have] laid the foundation of the heavens and the earth”, when this is clearly referring to the Genesis 1.1 creation that appears in every OT reference [Ps 102.25-27; 104.2; Job 9.8; 26.7; 38:4-7; Isa 42.5; 44.24; 45.18; Jer 10.12; 51.12; Zech 12.1]
    …Like I stated above, in every one of its OT usage, this phrase is always used [it seems] for the Genesis creation. Whilst I appreciate the interpretation, it sounds like a long shot to me. Too many acrobatics to explain this one verse out of its Biblical context.

    However, I will accept the fact that you can’t refute your own argument, and will not mention it again.

  125. Xavier
    June 2, 2012 @ 12:47 pm

    Marg

    The fact is, Xavier, there are not two “Lords” in the passage. There is ONE God, translated theos and ONEYHWH, translated kurios.

    Heb 1.8 says: “But of the Son HE [GOD] says…”

    God goes on to call the Son “god” [v.8] and “lord” [v.10]. There are 2 figures here. Now the debate is in what way is the Son “god” and “lord”.

    I think someone has to be desperate to insist that the translators deliberately changed the meaning of the text they were translating.

    Do you have at your disposal the Hebrew Masorestic and Septuagint text? If not please research what I have repeatedly pointed out regarding the differences of Ps 102.24-27.

    What made you change your mind on that?

    Please see post #7.

  126. Marg
    June 2, 2012 @ 10:15 am

    Xavier, one thing you have not done yet is refute your own very strong argument that the making of the heavens and the earth ALWAYS, in the OT, refers to the Genesis creation. What made you change your mind on that?
    Because if (as you suggest) the Greek translators deliberately changed the meaning of the passage so that “the Lord” refers to the Messiah, then the passage in Hebrews is a point in favor of Trinitarianism.
    In fact, that’s what you will find in many Trinitarian commentaries.

    I think we have discussed enough passages which definitely imply the pre-existence of Christ that those who are seriously committed to what the Bible teaches (rather than an official creed of some kind) will acknowledge that the case is sound.

    It has been suggested that the Synoptics do not support this view. So I have been going through the gospel by Matthew, noting passages that harmonize with it. They are not “proof” texts – but they suggest someone that does NOT fit the idea of a human on earth, struggling against temptation.

    There are quite a few of them. Check it out.

  127. john
    June 2, 2012 @ 5:47 am

    Skylar

    Christians were identified by Pliny as those who refused to curse Christ even when threatened with death.
    Pliny commented that ‘some Christians sang in alternate verse a hymn to Christ as to a ‘god’.’
    There is a big difference between this and what you are suggesting!

    I’ll bet that the ‘hymn’ that Pliny is referring to is the often quoted derivation of Philippians 2…which was in circulation within a few years of Pentecost.
    Trinitarians claim that this was early evidence of “Trinitarian thinking’ within the Christian community.
    As I noted in an earlier post – there is a much more simple and logical explanation for the verses in Philippians-

    In verses 5 -8 Christ is the subject
    In verse 9 God is the subject.
    Paul was drawing parallels with Genesis Chapters 2 and 3 – and the situation that prevailed in the time about which he was writing
    (i) The first Adam -who was made in Gods image – committed the great sin of trying to equate himself to
    God (see Genesis 3v5).
    This was the original sin.
    (ii)The second Adam , was also made in the likeness of God (the scriptures do NOT say’ God’)
    -but far from trying to snatch equality with God and disobeying God’s command, he humbled himself
    and became obedient even unto death on the cross. He obviously emptied himself of ‘ego’ which is
    what separates us from God.

    At the end of all the desperate gymnastics there is no evidence in the scriptures supporting the Trinity.
    As Dale has pointed out Christ, Peter and Paul were all Unitarians – they all agreed that Christ has a Father, who is also God.
    Add to that the fact that “The Son is not the Father’ – and we can say conclusively the the Son is NOT God.
    Blessings
    John

  128. Skylar
    June 2, 2012 @ 3:15 am

    Xavier,

    After having some time to think about your response (briefly, that the Romans could have simply been wrong), I think that it is too simplistic of an explanation. Let me give a couple of reasons why.

    1. If Pliny is telling the truth within the same letter that I quoted above about how he actually questioned Christians before he had them executed if they failed to renounce their faith, then it seems plausible to think that the Roman officials at some point would have found out that the Christians weren’t worshiping Christ as God. After all, Christians were being condemned for sacrilege. However, to be fair, such trials do not seem to have taken place that often and Pliny really only asked them “Are you a Christian?” multiple times, not “What do you believe?”
    2. Romans knew the difference between the worship of a deity and the honoring of a hero. One would not be condemned for sacrilege because one honored a hero, but because he refused to accept God’s other than his own. I would contend that if Jesus as the Son of God was understood to be a perfect human being and not God incarnate, then Christianity would be closer to hero veneration and so would not have been condemned for sacrilege.
    3. The Roman Empire is well known for having spread far and wide because it incorporated gods of other nations into its own pantheon. Yet it did not do so when Christians appeared in the first century, even under what Roman authors considered to be a “golden age” of liberty and civil justice under Trajan.

    In short, I’m not convinced that the Romans were absolutely oblivious to the practices and beliefs of their subjects during the time Pliny was writing. It’s possible that they could have been though; after all, communication was not as well-done before the time of Trajan and maybe Romans (like Nero) didn’t really care what their subjects believed precisely. I’m open to these ideas, but from what I know so far this doesn’t seem as plausible to me.

  129. Marg
    June 1, 2012 @ 11:30 pm

    Who is this second “O Lord” who God the Father is addressing, according to the writer of Hebrews? Is this Lord in the Hebrew text?

    According to Trinitarians, it’s “God the Son”. Is that the answer you’re looking for?

    Tell me, is “the Lord” to whom the Psalmist is praying (see vv. 1, 16, 23) the second Lord or the first one?

    The fact is, Xavier, there are not two “Lords” in the passage. There is ONE God, translated theos and ONEYHWH, translated kurios.

    I think someone has to be desperate to insist that the translators deliberately changed the meaning of the text they were translating.

  130. Anthony
    June 1, 2012 @ 10:18 pm

    We all know that gennao means to “procreate” of the Father and to “bear” of the mother. Would you please explain why Thayer’s Lexicon translates there “begotten” and not “conceived” in Mat 1.20. While the RV in 1881 tells us in the margin that the Greek word means “begotten”. Would you please cite OTHER occurrences in scripture where gennao, speaking of what happens IN THE MOTHER, means “conceive” rather than “beget”.

    You have just explained away the precise language of Gabriel. He says, “For this reason PRECISELY the one begotten/born WILL BE the Son of God”. You are contradicting this by saying that THAT is not the reason for his being the Son of God because he was ALREADY the Son of God. Nobody said anything about EVERY TINY DETAIL. But the exact reason for calling Jesus the Son of God is given in a simple sentence.

    Now tell us about the silent Son of God in the OT times? Heb 1.1-2.

  131. Xavier
    June 1, 2012 @ 2:56 pm

    Marg

    As for the meaning of verse 25, I appreciate Xavier’s comment in 2010

    I’m flattered but why won’t you deal with the PRESENT view I now hold based on the textual evidence? I am sure throughout your Christian life you have changed certain views as well?

    In other words, the Psalmist is speaking to Yahweh, and he is talking about the physical creation of the universe.

    Yes, in the Hebrew, Masoretic text but not in the Septuagint:

    I say, “My God, do not take me away in the [half] midst of my days, Your years are throughout all generations. “Of old You founded the earth…” MT

    In the beginning thou, O Lord, didst lay the foundation of the earth. LXX in English

    Who is this second “O Lord” who God the Father is addressing, according to the writer of Hebrews? Is this Lord in the Hebrew text?

  132. Marg
    June 1, 2012 @ 1:09 pm

    Thanks for the information about the earlier Septuagint, Andy. I wasn’t aware of it. That would explain a lot.

    In any case, there is no reason to think that the translators deliberately changed the meaning of Psalm 102 to something they knew was NOT in the Hebrew text.

    As for the meaning of verse 25, I appreciate Xavier’s comment in 2010, in which he points out that everywhere in the OT, such references to the heavens and the earth always refer to the Genesis creation.

    In other words, the Psalmist is speaking to Yahweh, and he is talking about the physical creation of the universe.

    But the principle of agency solves the problem. Yahweh created the heavens and the earth; but he did it through the agency of his Son.

  133. Xavier
    May 31, 2012 @ 3:46 pm

    Skylar

    Any thoughts?

    Ummm…the Romans were wrong? Just as the Pharisees who kept misunderstanding Jesus’ claim of Messiah. ; )

  134. Skylar
    May 31, 2012 @ 3:10 pm

    I am not entirely convinced that the worship of Jesus as God was developed over time, or that the disciples would have understood that Jesus was the Son of God and not God. I have recently been studying the letters of Pliny the Younger to the Emperor Trajan and in one he says something quite interesting:

    “All these [Christians who later rejected Christ] as well worshipped [sic] your [Trajan’s] statue and images of the gods, and blasphemed Christ. They maintained, however, that all that their guilt or error involved was that they were accustomed to assemble at dawn on a fixed day, to sing a hymn antiphonally to Christ as God, and to bind themselves by an oath . . . ” (10.96, Oxford World Classic’s Edition: Complete Letters)

    Customarily, Pliny said that he executed Christians who remained obdurate–that is, those who refused to worship the Roman gods. Pliny writes to the Empire between 97 and 112 AD. I just found this interesting because only about 60 years after Christ, and perhaps within the same decade of the writing of the Gospel of John, Pliny says that Christians worshiped and sang to Christ as God.

    Any thoughts?

  135. Andy
    May 31, 2012 @ 8:52 am

    Apologies. I said Psalm 2. I should have said Ps 110.

    Keeping track of all these various posts and subjects is obviously overloading my poor brain 🙂

  136. Andy
    May 31, 2012 @ 8:36 am

    Marg

    I would add to the last clause of your last post that the oldest fragments of the LXX contained the Tetragrammaton written in Hebrew characters. I have seen it said, but cannot verify it for certain, that only copies of the LXX dated after 150AD have kyrios instead of YHWH.

    So, the translators of the LXX seem not to be to blame for the two lords problem of the LXX of Psalm 2.

    Bruce Metzger, in his book on the translations of the Bible into other languages, points out that after Rome destroyed Jerusalem, the Jews stopped using the LXX and even declared some sort of day of mourning over it. Metzger then states that the LXX became known as the Christian’s Bible.

    This is only speculation, but I wonder if, as the early church become corrupted and adopted the Trinity from pagan religions and Greek philosophy, that THEY removed the Tetragrammaton from the LXX, in order to cement their position. I would emphasise that this is mere speculation… But someone took it out and, somehow, I doubt the Jews would have done so…

    Andy

  137. Xavier
    May 31, 2012 @ 8:25 am

    Marg

    You’re having trouble reading, Xavier. I asked WHEN you changed your mind. It must have been fairly recently.

    Yes I oftentime have trouble reading & I sure as heck cannot recall date, time etc. But it was through much study, research, etc.

    Have you READ what Peter and John said about Palm 2 in Acts 4:25-26?

    Yes and I don’t see what this has to do with Ps 2.7 specifically.

    And have you READ Paul’s explicit reference to Psalm 2 in relation to the resurrection in Acts 13:33?

    As I said, scholarship is divided on this issue. But if you care to see what our view is you can go here: http://inthenameofwhowhat.blogspot.com/2010/11/csi-begetting.html

    I think the Greek translators would have been amazed at this accusation. They were not changing the meaning of the passage.

    Please note the differences between the Masoretic and Septuagint texts regarding Ps 102.25-27. As some commentators have:

    In the Septuagint text the person to whom these words [“of old you laid the foundation of the earth”] are spoken is addressed explicitly as “Lord,” and it is God who addresses him thus. Whereas in the Hebrew text the suppliant is the speaker from the beginning to the end of the psalm… New International Commentary on Hebrews, p. 61

  138. Andy
    May 31, 2012 @ 8:03 am

    Anthony

    Re Matt 1:20 the BDAG Lexicon specifically states “that which is conceived in her is of the Spirit Mt 1:20”. The overall entry that contains this statement is “become the parent of, beget ? by procreation…”

    I know we both believe that this was no ordinary event. The question is whether Mary became pregnant with a brand new life or became pregnant with a pre existent life that had been miraculously placed in her womb. In either case, Jesus’ life as a human started at that point. Webster’s dictionary defines beget as “to procreate as the father : sire”. Interesting that both the BDAG and Webster use the word procreate.

    As I said before, the Angel used the usual Greek word to describe Mary’s condition, but clearly this was no normal begetting and that the Greek word and its English counterparts do not adequately cover all the details. I think it is a mistake to read anything deeply doctrinal into the Angel’s words to Mary. He wasn’t explaining every little detail to her. He just told her that she was going to get pregnant without a human father being involved and that God, somehow, miraculously, caused the pregnancy by means of holy spirit.

    With regard to Jn 8:58, let me emphasise that I’m talking about translation, you are talking interpretation. You interpret it as “‘I am’ means in John ‘I am the Messiah'”

    Well, maybe it does, but let’s look at the context of John 8:58 to see if that is what it means here.

    V57: the Jews say “You are only 50. How can you have seen Abraham?”. According to your interpretation, Jesus replies “I am the Messiah”. Do you think that it in any way represents even an attempt to answer their question?

    But there is more, because Jesus said more than merely “I am”. What happens if we put your interpretation into the full sentence that Jesus spoke?

    “truly I tell you, before Abraham was born I am (the Messiah)”

    What is that supposed to mean? And how does that answer the Jews’ question? What is more, it’s a nonsense sentence in English because it violates English grammar in two ways. First, it uses an English present tense in a past tense context. Second, it dangles the verb at the end if the sentence.

    The challenge for any translation and interpretation of Jn 8:58 is to retain the cohesion between the ego eimi and the ‘before Abraham was born’ parts of the sentence. The ‘traditional translation’ simply ignores the ‘before’ clause, ignores the Greek grammar, ignores English grammar and ignores the question that prompted Jesus’ reply. I would add that the Greek ‘be’ verb is one of the most frequently used verbs, just as it is in English. It’s a huge claim to say that whenever Jesus says ego eimi he always means he is the Messiah.

    Once again I would add that I am NOT a trinitarian. I don’t believe a mysterious Godhead composed of several gods/persons/things etc. I believe in one God, the Father and that Jesus Christ was created by that one God. In think the main area where we seem disagree is ‘when’ that creation took place. I have backed my position up with Scriptures such as Philippians 2 and John 8:58 and have taken the time to explain, in considerable detail, the underlying Greek Grammar and that it supports my position.

    Most of the objections to this position have been in the form of unsubstantiated assertions. I am happy with the case that I have made.

  139. Marg
    May 30, 2012 @ 11:20 pm

    You’re having trouble reading, Xavier. I asked WHEN you changed your mind. It must have been fairly recently.

    In case somebody would like to read a more detailed comment by Xavier on Ps. 102, you can find it here:
    http://lhim.org/blog/2010/01/21/divine-agency-in-the-scriptures/#comment-58127

    Scholarship is divided on this interpretation of Ps 2.7 and those who hold your view find it problematic, to say the least.

    Have you READ what Peter and John said about Palm 2 in Acts 4:25-26?
    And have you READ Paul’s explicit reference to Psalm 2 in relation to the resurrection in Acts 13:33?
    I am flattered to have their view attributed to me, but honesty forbids me to take credit for it.

    Furthermore, Hebrews quotes from the Greek version (LXX) and not the Hebrew version (MT) which speaks of a second “lord” who is addressed by God.

    I think the Greek translators would have been amazed at this accusation. They were not changing the meaning of the passage. They were simply translating Yahweh as kurios.
    As people who read the Septuagint are well aware, that was the NORMAL Greek translation for Yahweh.

    So the acrobatics continue.

  140. Xavier
    May 30, 2012 @ 3:47 pm

    Marg

    if you read the verse IN CONTEXT you will see that the Pharisees MISSED what Jesus was saying, and turned their question around so that it had to do with his having seen Abraham. That’s the question Jesus was answering.

    Jesus saus Abraham saw his “DAY”, not his PERSON. Big difference.

    When did you change your mind, Xavier?

    I thought I had answered you but here it goes again.

    Hebrews quotes Ps 102, a Messianic/eschatological Psalm looking to “future generation not yet CREATED” [v.18]. It is not looking back to Genesis, even though the phrase “in the beginning you laid the foundation of the heavens and earth…” is similar to that of the original Creation.

    Furthermore, Hebrews quotes from the Greek version (LXX) and not the Hebrew version (MT) which speaks of a second “lord” who is addressed by God.

    The apostles obviously thought that Psalm 2:7 referred to Christ’s RESURRECTION – not to his conception or his birth.

    Scholarship is divided on this interpretation of Ps 2.7 and those who hold your view find it problematic, to say the least. Of note is their admission that the “eternal generation” doctrine was a later creation:

    The designation of this relationship by words with a temporal notion [“this day have I begotten you”, Ps 2.7] has TROUBLED theologians, who have proffered various explanations.

    Origen understood this as referring to the Son’s relationship within the Trinity and was the first to propose the concept of eternal generation. The Son is said to be eternally begotten by the Father…(Act 13:33; Rom 1:4; Heb 1:5; 5:5). The WordStudy Dictionary

  141. Marg
    May 30, 2012 @ 2:46 pm

    Ps 2.7 clinches the fact that the Son was brought into existence in time …

    The apostles obviously thought that Psalm 2:7 referred to Christ’s RESURRECTION – not to his conception or his birth.

    For example, in Acts 4:25-26, Peter and John quote the first two verses of Psalm 2 and apply it to the gathering together of “Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the nations and (the) peoples of Israel … against your holy child Jesus, whom you anointed” (v. 27).

    Then in Acts 13:32-33, in a context (30-37) that deals entirely with Christ’s resurrection, Paul says,

    … this promise God has fulfilled to us their children, raising up Jesus, as also in the second Psalm it has been written, “My Son you are, I today have begotten you.”

    So Psalm 2:7 does not in any way refer to Christ’s beginning in time.

    I agree with you, though that Jesus was a Unitarian. Nothing he ever said suggested that God is anyone other than the Father.

  142. Marg
    May 30, 2012 @ 2:18 pm

    Xavier, if you read the verse IN CONTEXT you will see that the Pharisees MISSED what Jesus was saying, and turned their question around so that it had to do with his having seen Abraham. That’s the question Jesus was answering.

    If you are free to ignore the question and make Jesus answer something the Jews did NOT ask, then you can make it mean anything at all.

    By the way, Xavier, you may have forgotten, but you have already said (in the KR thread on “Agency in the Scriptures,” Comment #8):

    The problem for me is that there’s really no precedent for interpreting “in the beginning you laid the foundation of the heavens and earth…” as referring to the Messianic age.

    Like I stated above, in every one of its OT usage, this phrase is always used [it seems] for the Genesis creation. Whilst I appreciate the interpretation, it sounds like a long shot to me. Too many acrobatics to explain this one verse out of its Biblical context.

    When did you change your mind, Xavier?

    By the way, John, you can see that Trinitarians have no monopoly on verbal gymnastics.

  143. Anthony Buzzard
    May 30, 2012 @ 2:08 pm

    Andy

    Let’s deal with Matt. 1:20: “that which is begotten in her.”

    To beget is to cause to come into existence, so this child, the Son of God as Lk 1.35 describes him, is said to come into existence in Mary. The word is not “conceive” in Matt. 1:20. This is activity “in her.” The RV margin notes that the Greek in Matt. 1:20 is “begotten” which is certainly a fact. So combining Matt. and Luke we have a clear beginning of the Son of God which is based on that event:

    FOR THAT REASON PRECISELY he is the Son of God” (Lk. 1:35).

    John 8.58 should not contradict the Synoptics.

    “I am” means in John “I am the Messiah” as the first occurrence in chapter 4 tells us. It is the strongest Messianic claim. Abraham looked forward to the Messiah’s coming – he certainly didn’t believe the Messiah was already alive! So Jesus is making the claim that he is the Messiah even before the time of Abraham: before Abraham was I am the Messiah. HIs minnistry antedates his birth in the counsels of God

    The creed of Jesus is unitarian (Mk. 12:29; Jn. 17:3) and Ps 110:1 governs the NT and certainly doesn’t speak of God and God but God and the human Messiah, my lord, adoni. Ps 2.7 clinches the fact that the Son was brought into existence in time (cp LXX Ps 110:3).

    Anthony

  144. Xavier
    May 30, 2012 @ 11:02 am

    Andy

    It is reading a lot into this passage to limit this supernatural event to also meaning that Jesus’ life had to begin at time.

    So Jesus’ sonship is somehow figurative/metaphorical and not an actual, human birth? Sounds like the way Muslim interpret the virgin birth to me.

  145. Andy
    May 30, 2012 @ 8:42 am

    Marg

    No, I don’t think there is any connection between John 8:58 and Ex 3:14. Arguments for and against this have been made many times. All I will say is that my Hebrew sources suggest ‘I AM that I AM’ to be a poor translation of Ex 3:14 and the link between these verses is an imaginary one born of poor translation of both passages.

    Xavier

    Matt 1:1 the Greek word GENESIS can also mean ‘an account of someone’s life, history’. The ESV thus translates it ‘The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ’

    Matt 1:18 The same Greek word has , according to the BDAG lexicon ‘special ref. to circumstances under which the birth took place’ and is translated by the ESV and others simply as ‘birth’.

    Therefore, there are other, linguistically correct, alternatives to ‘origin’.

    Matt 1:20 the meaning of the Greek word GENNAO means ‘has been conceived’.

    In Luke 1:35 this same word, in the participle, means ‘one to be born’

    In context, the angel is explaining to Mary that she is going to become pregnant supernaturally and to Joseph how she became pregnant. The angel uses the obvious word for it, as there is no specific Greek word that captures the full idea, and then explains that this is a supernatural event. It is reading a lot into this passage to limit this supernatural event to also meaning that Jesus’ life had to begin at time. The angel is explaining to Mary and Joseph, in human terms, the situation that they face. It’s a stretch to say all the details are included.

    As I stated earlier, Jesus did make a specific claim to pre-existence. John 8:58, properly translated, says exactly that – that he had been in continuous existence since before Abraham was born.

  146. Xavier
    May 30, 2012 @ 7:11 am

    Marg

    I tend to take literally anything that makes good literal sense.

    Sure but you have to stay within the Hebraic teaching regarding humans and where they come from. Adam was created from the earth, he was not some disembodied angel-type being who took on a body. There is just no evidence for that sort of thing UNTIL you come to the pagan-Gnostic, Greco-Roman view.

    So the past tense is meant to be taken literally.

    Fair enough but how do you ever reconcile this interpretation with the LITERAL sense in which the Gospels describe the origin [Mat 1.1, 18] and coming into existence of the Son [Mat 1.20; Luke 1.35]?

    The same is true of verses 10-12. The only attempt I have seen to make “the heavens and the earth” something other than the physical creation didn’t satisfy YOU, Xavier, and doesn’t satisfy me.

    The writer of Hebrews is quoting from Psalm 102 which looks FORWARD to a “future generation…a people not yet CREATED” [v.18]. Nothing to do with the Genesis creation. But again, if we read it the way you’re suggesting it would not harmonize with the rest of scripture which clearly places God as the SOLE CREATOR of “the heavens and earth”.

    Jesus was NOT claiming the name of God. But he WAS claiming that he existed before Abraham was born.

    If you read the verse IN CONTEXT, Jesus is talking about Abraham seeing the Messianic age [v.56] . A Gospel plan that was certainly foreknown by the patriarchs. If Jesus had wanted to say that he somehow preexisted his birth he well could have said it and not left it to speculation.

    Its always interesting to me how most readers side with the Pharisees who are clearly wrong in this instance.

    My Father, whom you claim as your God, is the one who glorifies me. Though YOU DO NOT KNOW HIM, I know him. John 8.54-55

  147. Marg
    May 29, 2012 @ 11:55 pm

    Matt – Are you sugggesting that the Corinthians were familiar with the letter to the Hebrews?

    The fact is, nothing of the kind is mentioned in 1 Corinthians 8. So what in the context demands such a limitation?

    If you limit the “all things” to what the Corinthians cannot see and have no reason to know, and leave everything they CAN see and DO know for the idols to claim, then you are making Paul’s argument a joke. Because all things come FROM God THROUGH the one Lord, idols are worthless, and eating food that has been offered to them does not constitute idolatry. But LOVE should govern all our actions, as Paul states in his conclusion.

    So far as I know, Jesus never added “today” to the solemn introduction, “Truly, truly I say to you.” However, we can allow that possibility, and put Luke 23 aside as inconclusive.

    Xavier – I tend to take literally anything that makes good literal sense. If I make a mistake, I am willing to change my mind. But only on the basis of evidence.

    What about the evidence of Hebrews 1:2? It was through the Son that God made (past tense) the ages; and chapter 9 tells us that at the COMPLETION of those ages, Christ came to offer himself as a sacrifice for sin. So the past tense is meant to be taken literally.

    The same is true of verses 10-12. The only attempt I have seen to make “the heavens and the earth” something other than the physical creation didn’t satisfy YOU, Xavier, and doesn’t satisfy me. But for me, the principle of AGENCY explains perfectly why it is addressed to the Son, and there is no contradiction. How do YOU explain it?

    John 8:58 fits the pattern. Jesus was NOT claiming the name of God. But he WAS claiming that he existed before Abraham was born.

    That is the only meaning that fits the CONTEXT, and that is why the Jews immediately tried to stone him.

    Yes, I take his words literally. I take his words in John 17:3 literally, too, even though a confirmed Trinitarian does not. I see no need to be intimidated by dogmatic “ologies” of ANY kind. But I am definitely willing to look at EVIDENCE.

  148. Matt
    May 29, 2012 @ 8:10 pm

    “humbled himself in this way” – I.e. by rejectiing the first Adam’s folly in grasping at equality with God, despite being in the form of God (“he that hath seen me hath seen the Father”; “the express image of his person” cp Genesis “in the image of God”) and instead taking the appearance of a servant (e.g. Washing disciples’ feet, ultimately submitting to the death of the cross).

  149. Matt
    May 29, 2012 @ 8:02 pm

    Hi Marg,

    Apologies that I’ve been a bit sporadic with my posting…

    Lk 23: surprised to see you use this one in that way. We can be confident from Matt 12:40, Acts 2:31, John 20:17 that wherever Jesus was later that day, it was not paradise and it caertainly wasn’t heaven. Where he actually was depends on your understanding of “hell” in that passage. Also we see that the thief did not anticipate an immediate reward “when thou comest”, which is consistent with Jesus’ teaching (a man went into a far country…) and Paul’s (e.g. II Tim 4:1,8). Thus we must conclude that the comma belongs after “today”, not before. Compare Acts 20:26, 26:2.

    I believe Paul is clear in e.g the II Tim passage above, and I Cor 15 and elsewhere that he believes in the resurrection of the dead, not a disembodied existence immediately following death. Our understanding of statements about departing the body must be compatible with this.

    Been meaning to reply to you on “all things” in I Cor 8:6 also. I can see why you see the literal creation as an attractive context to imagine for Paul’s argument, and you’re right that if it were the context it would be a good argument against the other “gods”… But since creation is nowhere in the context we are required to supply it ourselves which is unconvincing to me. All we have is this “all” word, which refers to a set of things which are derived from God, through Christ, and (as you rightly point out) to which these other “gods” have made no contribution. Is there another passage that can help us understand this formula? I believe so: Heb 2:10. There, it seems clear to me that the “all” are the “many sons” being brought to glory, an invitation FROM God made possible THROUGH Christ. Does this work in I Cor? Very well I’d say, and without importing anything into the context. In v1 “all” means ”all those who are in Christ”. It’s this same group of people who are “in” the Father “through” Christ (Jn 17:21), and Paul brings it specifically to his readers by restating with the pronoun “we” – so “we” have nothing to worry about in respect of MEAT OFFERED TO idols. Our relationship with God is secured through Christ, not what we eat which may or nay not have been “blessed” by one of the “lords” of the “idols”. It’s the meat that’s in question, not the “gods” themselves – see v1, where Paul assumes his audience has already rejected the pantheon.

    I believe this understanding of I Cor 8:6 is supported by the context, without importing or imposing concepts or having to imagine what the argument *might* be, and which is consistent with similar passages elsewhere.

    Andy – you’ll have noticed that “ego eimi” is used a lot by Christ in the Gospels, esp. John. I’d be interested in your view of the relationship between this and the Name of God as revealed in Ex 3:14, if any?

    Finally a small point on Phil 2 – it’s been suggested repeatedly that Christ went from “form of God” to “form of man”. This is NOT what it says. The two forms are of God and of a servant. He was born as a man (I.e. was human like Adam). v8 makes it clear he was ALREADY human when he humbled himself in this way.

    One has to question Paul’s argument – which is “be humble, follow Christ’s example in this” – if rather than being born a human Christ was in fact a pre-existent divine being. How can we be expected to follow such an example?

    God bless,

    M

  150. Xavier
    May 29, 2012 @ 5:48 pm

    Marg

    All of the above suggest that one can exist without a body.

    Your too wooded/literal reading of those passages is troubling to say the least Marg. :/

  151. Marg
    May 29, 2012 @ 4:28 pm

    Consequently, when Christ came into the world, he said, “Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired, but a body you have prepared for me (Hebrews 10:5, NRSV).

    I have just been looking for other passages which suggest that a human can exist apart from a body. Here are a few.

    Luke 23: 42-43 Then [the dying thief] said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”
    He replied, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” [Both would be dead that day. Both would be in Paradise, without a body.]

    2 Corinthians 12: 2-4. I know a person in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven– whether in the body or out of the body I do not know; God knows.
    And I know that such a person– whether in the body or out of the body I do not know; God knows—
    was caught up into Paradise and heard things that are not to be told, that no mortal is permitted to repeat. [Body or no body, he was caught up into Paradise – wherever that is.]

    2 Corinthians 5: 6, 8. So we are always confident; even though we know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord–
    Yes, we do have confidence, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord.

    Philippians 1: 23, 24. I am hard pressed between the two: my desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better;
    but to remain in the flesh is more necessary for you.
    …….

    All of the above suggest that one can exist without a body.
    In other words, the beginning of the body that God “prepared” for his Son (when Christ came into the world) was not necessarily the beginning of that Son’s existence.

  152. Xavier
    May 29, 2012 @ 3:28 pm

    Andy

    Yes, I do think Jesus had a literal pre-existence. Jn 8:58, correctly translated, says exactly that.

    So the being who originated [Mat 1.1, 18] and comes into existence [Mat 1.20; Luke 1.35] in the womb of Mary was who?

  153. john
    May 29, 2012 @ 2:44 pm

    Andy
    I find it difficult to distinguish between Hebrew words like ‘dumuth’ and ‘tselem’ – and the Greek words ‘elkom ‘ ‘homousin’ and ‘morphen’.
    People I have spoken to bring in ‘special pleading’ for some of these words – but I’m not convinced!
    Blessings
    John

  154. Andy
    May 29, 2012 @ 2:30 pm

    John,

    Interesting comment. But you do still have to account for the timeline. He was in the form of God and emptied himself into the form of man.

    Xavier

    I, like everyone else, think my ‘Christology’ is what the Bible says 🙂 I don’t formally ascribe to any ‘ology’ but try to piece it together thru scripture and always check the Greek rather than rely on any particular translation.

    Yes, I do think Jesus had a literal pre-existence. Jn 8:58, correctly translated, says exactly that.

    Andy

  155. john
    May 29, 2012 @ 12:59 pm

    All
    It’s interesting that the scripture (2 Philippians) talks about being ‘in the form of God’ – i.e. NOT” God.”

    What did he empty himself of? Surely that’s as easy as my ‘Second Adam” hypothesis… he was a human and emptied himself of that impeditemt that separates us from God – Ego!
    Blessings
    John

  156. Xavier
    May 29, 2012 @ 12:48 pm

    Andy

    I don’t think Jesus was or is or has ever been part of a ‘Godhead’ or part of a Trinity or God

    Okay it sounded like you were for LITERAL preexistence.

    So what is your Christology composed of?

  157. Marg
    May 29, 2012 @ 12:47 pm

    … If it’s existential, it’s I am, I was, I have been and so forth, depending on the context… It can be existential or copula in any given passage. It can’t be both, so the translator has to choose.

    Thank you for that, Andy. I can live without the “ologies,” but I am grateful for any Greek grammar that I can get.

    The key, though, is the context. To the question, Are you Jesus of Nazareth?” the answer “I am he” makes perfect sense. But it seems to me that the question the Jews asked in John 8:57 required could not be answered that way.

    Check it out:
    “You are not yet fifty years old, and you have seen Abraham??”
    “Before Abraham was born, I am he.” [I am WHO? Nothing in the context fits.]

    BUT
    “You are not yet fifty years old, and you have seen Abraham??”
    “Before Abraham was born, I already was.” [That answers the question.]

    In any case, I think that’s the way the Jews understood it. They had heard him say ego eimi more than once without any violent reaction. But now, he was claiming to have existed before Abraham, and they immediately tried to stone him.

  158. Andy
    May 29, 2012 @ 11:04 am

    Marg

    It all depends if you translate ego eimi as an existential or as a copula, with the implied complement ‘he’, as in ‘I am he’. If it’s existential, it’s I am, I was, I have been and so forth, depending on the context… It can be existential or copula in any given passage. It can’t be both, so the translator has to choose.

    Xavier

    Sorry, I’m more versed in Greek than in the ‘ologies’, so I don’t know anything of the Kenotic point of view. Certainly, I don’t think Jesus was or is or has ever been part of a ‘Godhead’ or part of a Trinity or God, so whatever he emptied himself of it was not of being God in some way. ‘Divine’ of course is a pretty vague term – Bibles such as Moffatt translate John 1:1 as “the word was divine”, treating the anarthrous theos as being qualitative (as per Harner’s article in the Journal of Biblical Literature (can’t remember the date – I have a copy of it at home)). But that still leaves the reader to go figure what it means to be ‘divine’…

    With regard to the tense of Greek verbs and their correspondence to English verbs we need to tread carefully. I belong to the school of thought that believes the Greek verb names to be very poorly named, as they, with the exception of the aorist, give the impression of a one to one relationship with their English counterparts. It has been widely recognised that in the non indicative Greek moods (such as the Imperative and the Subjunctive), that Greek verbs do not contain a time element. Over the last 25 years or so, Grammarians such as Fanning and Porter (and others) have concluded that Greek verbs in the Indicative mood also contain no time element – the ‘tenses’ describe how an action occurred from the writer’s standpoint and the context supplies the time element.

    Very few translations pay much attention to this and it results in what I call lame translations – not inaccurate per se, but often lacking in the real flavour of the Greek words.

    Andy

  159. Xavier
    May 29, 2012 @ 9:58 am

    Andy

    Consider Christ Jesus, who WAS in God’s form…the Greek word morphe and that there is a timeline in this passage.

    Note that many translate v.6 with the PRESENT tense: “Who, BEING/EXISTING IN the form of God”. So I wouldn’t use the “timeline” argument that many read into the passage. Paul is clearly speaking about the EARTHLY Messiah and not his preexistant form.

    Be that as it may, do you hold to a Kenotic or non-Kenotic theology of the passage? As you know many trinitarians believe that Messiah LITERALLY emptied himself of Deity, hence making the Godhead somehow mutable/changeable.

  160. Marg
    May 29, 2012 @ 9:38 am

    I am aware of the verses where ego eimi means “I am (he)”. John 18:5,6 (another Trinitarian proof text) is a good example.

    A couple of days ago I downloaded (from the Septuagint as well as in the Greek NT) all the passages containing the phrase ego eimi. It took a couple of hours to look them all up, but it is an interesting study. The phrase can mean several slightly different things, depending on the context.

    That’s the point. The CONTEXT of John 8:58 makes “I am he-the long awaited Messiah” just as unlikely an interpretation as that of the Trinitarians – who probably outnumber the people who disagree with them.

    Let’s look at your second option:

    (ii) Even Abraham foresaw my coming as Messiah.-(even though I only came later.)

    There is no doubt that Abraham foresaw Christ’s coming.That fits the words of Jesus in v. 56. But that isn’t what the Jews were asking about. They didn’t ask, “You are not yet fifty years old, and has Abraham seen you?”

    They asked, “You are not yet fifty years old, and HAVE YOU SEEN ABRAHAM?”

    That’s the question he answered. His age (their question implied) made it impossible for him to have seen Abraham. His answer was, in essence, “My age has nothing to do with it. Before Abraham was born, I already am.”

    This is only one of many passages that imply, either directly or indirectly, that Christ did not begin to exist when Jesus was conceived in Mary’s womb. We have already looked at some of them. There are others.

  161. Andy
    May 29, 2012 @ 8:37 am

    With regard to Phil 2 there are a number of things that need to be considered:

    The passage says, in effect:

    Consider Christ Jesus, who WAS in God’s form (Greek morphe), did not consider (Greek haygeomai: think, or regard) seizing equality with God. Instead, he emptied himself and took on the form (morphe) of a slave, becoming a human. He then submits to death and is then exalted by God, etc.

    Two things need to be understood here: the Greek word morphe and that there is a timeline in this passage. The basic meaning of morphe is “form, outward appearance, shape” and many explanations have been made to discern its meaning in this passage.

    Without going into that, as it would take too long, the timeline is this: We consider the Messiah Jesus. At some point in the past he was in the morphe of God. Whilst in that morphe, he rejects the notion of grasping equality with God but goes in the opposite direction. He empties himself and takes on human morphe. AT THIS POINT, I would say, he becomes a little lower than the angels. Then he dies. Then he is exalted.

    Therefore, his path to humanity was different to ours. He starts in one form, changes to another and is then exalted.

    It is interesting that Marg has raised that old favourite of Trinitarians, John 8:58, where she rightly concludes that the ego eimi (I am) statement is to do with existence.

    It’s worth noting that although ego eimi is in the Greek present tense, the Greek present tense does not correspond exactly to the English present tense. This can be seen from John 14:9 where the present tense ego eimi is translated as have been: “Jesus said to him, “Have I been (eimi) with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip”

    Why is translated that way? A Greek Grammar of the New Testament and other Early Christian Literature by Blass, Debrunner and Funk, often referred to as the BDF, in section 322, has an entry called the Perfective Present. Basically, when a present tense verb occurs with an expression of past time, the verb takes on the aspect of the past continuing to the present. The BDF specifically indicates that John 8:58 is in this category. Several other Greek Grammars, including Smyth, Winer and Young have a similar category (named slightly differently) with some also indicating that Jn 8:58 fits into this category.

    In Jn 8:58 the expression of past time is “before Abraham was born” and so eimi is modified to the past and should be translated something along the lines of “I have been/existed since before Abraham was born”, with word order that reads like normal English.

    This has definite implications for the meaning, does it not? Jesus is not saying ‘I was alive before Abraham and here I am again’, as though he had had a resurrection. No, he is saying I have been alive, continuously, from some unspecified time prior to Abraham being born and I am still alive today.

    The above statement nicely harmonises with the Phil 2 timeline, does it not?

    I would also add that it does not matter who else may espouse such a view. What matters is whether it is true or false…

    Andy

  162. Xavier
    May 29, 2012 @ 7:14 am

    john

    I think what Xavier was saying was that the whole of creation -including humanity- pre-existed in God’s mind . That means that even you and I were in that great plan.

    Yes. The Bible speaks about foreknowledge, foreknown, predestined [1Pe 1.20; Acts 2.23; Rev 13.8] and NOT preexistence. Especially of the LITERAL kind. That borders on the Mormon in my view. 😛

    I’m sure there are scriptures that say as much – but I can’t give you a reference right now.

    How about Mat 25.34; Rom 8.29; Eph 1.4-5, 11; 1Pe 1.2; 1Cor 2.7; 2Tim 1.9?

  163. john
    May 29, 2012 @ 12:24 am

    Marg
    As you will have observed ‘ego eimi’ can also mean “I am he’ -which is why the blind man at the pool at Bethesda uttered those words.
    Most people think Christ was saying “I am he-the long awaited Messiah.”

    In the case of John 8 v58 “ego eimi’ can be interpreted two ways-

    (i) I pre-existed as a person

    (ii) Even Abraham foresaw my coming as Messiah.-(even though I only came later.)

    I think what Xavier was saying was that the whole of creation -including humanity- pre-existed in God’s mind . That means that even you and I were in that great plan. I’m sure there are scriptures that say as much – but I can’t give you a reference right now.

    Best wishes

    Every Blessing
    John

  164. Marg
    May 28, 2012 @ 7:53 pm

    As ever, context trumps bad arguments…

    Amen, Andy! You have just identified the most useful tool there is for understanding a passage.

    And yes, John’s explanation of Phillipians 2 satisfies all the conditions.

    What I find frustrating is that bad interpretations can sometimes detract from the message that is really there. That is true of Philippians 2. It is also true of John 8:58, where Jesus says, “Before Abraham was born, I am.”

    The claim that he was calling himself by the name of God can be proven wrong in several ways; but the easiest way is by the context. Jesus uses those same words (ego eimi) five times in the chapter, and in three of them the phrase stands alone.

    The whole section from v. 12 to the end is a conversation which, according to Eidersheim, is a typical rabbinical argument. I won’t go into it – you can do that on your own – but look at verse 24:

    If you do not believe that I am (ego eimi), you will die in your sins.

    If that was claiming the name of God, you would expect an uproar, wouldn’t you? But there wasn’t one. Instead, the Jews said, “Who ARE you, then?” They could see he was claiming to be someone or something, but they didn’t know what.

    His answer was, Just what I’ve been teling you all along. He had said, earlier in this very conversation,

    I am (ego eimi) the light of the world. The one following me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.

    .
    An amazing claim, and an amazing promise. Especially for one who had not yet been raised from the dead. The Jews rejected it.

    He claimed that he was sent from God, and pointed to the signs and miracles that God did through him as evidence that he was telling the truth. They weren’t listening.

    Then, in verse 28, he said,

    When you have lifted up the Son of man, then you shall know that I am (ego eimi), and from myself I do nothing, but as the Father taught me, those things I say …

    You will know then that I am what I claim to be – the sent one of God – and that I do nothing on my own initiative. How could anyone imagine God saying THAT?

    That’s enough to prove that he was not claiming the name of God. But then comes verse 58, and the immediate context is important. The conversation goes like this, breaking in at verse 51:

    “If any man keep my word, he will never see death.”
    “Are you greater than our father Abraham, who died?”
    “Your father Abraham leaped for joy that he should see my day, and he saw, and rejoiced.”
    [We understand this to be prophetic on Abraham’s part, but the Jews missed the point, and turned the sentnce around. So they asked …]
    “You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?”

    Before Abraham was born, I am (ego eimi)

    He isn’t talking about the name of God. He is talking about his existence, prior to the birth of Abraham. Before Abraham existed, he already was.

  165. Xavier
    May 28, 2012 @ 4:20 pm

    Andy

    I don’t see that if option 2 is selected that it would mean that all humankind had to go through this process, btw.

    Then in what other way can Jesus POSSIBLY be human? A pre-human human?

    Note that the subject of Phil 2.5-11 is the earthly “Messiah Jesus” [v.4]. It would be a stretch if Paul were talking about some OTHER preexistent being.

  166. Andy
    May 28, 2012 @ 3:28 pm

    John

    Just in case I wasn’t clear, harpagmos relates to the expression about Christ not seeking to snatch/steal equality with God, which the 2010 NIV translates something along the lines of “make use of his equality with God” (I’m paraphrasing here as I cant remember it exactly and don’t have it to hand), as tho he had equality, but gave it up.

    Marg

    Agreed.

    Andy

  167. Marg
    May 28, 2012 @ 3:13 pm

    I like the way you express the two options, Andy. And if the Son was made lower than the angels SO THAT “he might taste death for every [son],” as v. 9 explains, then the second option is more likely.

    That same idea flows through the whole chapter, I think. “Since … the children were partakers of flesh and blood, in like manner he shared the same things [flesh and blood] …” What for? “SO THAT through death he might annul the one who had the power of death,” and so on.

    But chapter 1 gives the necessary introduction to the idea of a pre-existent Son. It was through the Son that God made [past tense] the ages (v. 2); and now, at the COMPLETION of those ages, “he has been manifested to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself” (ch. 9:26).

    That makes the rest of chapter 1 a carefully constructed argument, in which the Son is clearly identified as someone other than Yahweh (see vv. 8-9), before quoting a Psalm which is clearly directed TO Yahweh.

    Yahweh created the heavens and the earth; but he did it through the agency of his Son.

  168. Andy
    May 28, 2012 @ 3:12 pm

    John – I agree with your post and your reasoning.

    Often the key argument is over the Greek word harpagmos, which is disputed by Trinitarians, who say it means ‘using to advantage’ or ‘retaining’ and they make a lot of arguments about it.

    The Greek word, according to all the studies I’ve done means, in reality, robbery (or worse), and all its related words, when used in the NT and contemporary literature, always carry the thought of robbery, violent snatching etc. The Greek mythological birds – the harpies – were named using this word and our English word ‘harpoon’ is related to it.

    The phrase that convinces me that it cannot mean ‘retain’ or ‘using to advantage’ is that God exalted Jesus to a higher position. If Jesus had equality with God how could be exalted above that and in what way would his new name be higher than what he had before? As ever, context trumps bad arguments…

    Andy

  169. john
    May 28, 2012 @ 12:30 pm

    Andy
    I’m sure you have been perplexed by the ‘gymnastics’ which are employed to ‘explain’ Philippians 2?

    Trinitarians say ‘He’ emptied himself -but fail to explain what He emptied himself of..etc.
    If it was His attributes would not this make “Him’ a different ‘person’ etc.
    And in verse 9 we are told that “God has exalted Him”
    It simply does not make sense!!
    A pastor friend preached a sermon in the United Kingdom last year – and I am pursuaded that he is ‘spot on’. In fact people that I explain it to are immediately convinced
    It goes like this
    (i) The First Adam, who was made in Gods likeness , sought equality with God (Genesis 3v5) and that was the first sin.

    (ii) The second Adam, who again was made in the image of God, did not seek equality with God and humbled himself and became obedient- even unto death on the cross. For which God has exalted him.!

    Isn’t it as simple as that?

    Trinitarians claim that this scripture was evidence of an early emergence of Trinitarian thinking.
    The ‘truth’ is , I am sure, a great deal simpler!

    Every Blessing
    John

  170. Andy
    May 28, 2012 @ 11:22 am

    Xavier

    I can see 2 interpretations. The first is direct creation- when Mary conceived him miraculously, he was made a little lower than the Angels, simply because he was a human and therefore lower than the angels.

    Secondly, it could be tied to Phil 2 – a pre-existent Jesus emptied himself to be born as a human, thus becoming lower than the angels.

    The grammar if Hebrews 2 supports either interpretation as the expression ‘made lower’ doesn’t give any details how it happened. I don’t see that if option 2 is selected that it would mean that all humankind had to go through this process, btw. The end result is that mankind just is lower than the angels in the universal hierarchy. By whatever means Jesus arrived as a man, he was made lower than the angels.

    My preference is for option 2, but that’s probably the topic for another setof discussions.

    Andy

  171. Xavier
    May 28, 2012 @ 8:14 am

    Andy

    So the Psalm is stating that, when God made man, his rank was lower than the angels. Jesus was also made lower than the angels.

    Considering who Jesus was, how was he made lower than God’s holy angels? And was this a state that lasted throughout his earthly life UNTIL his resurrection from the dead? Where it seems he has NOW been exalted to a position ABOVE those holy angels he hereto was under.

  172. Andy
    May 28, 2012 @ 3:19 am

    John

    Re Hebrews 2:7-9, I suspect this has more to do with the hierarchy you spoke of in a previous post, rather than the chronological order of creation. In the original Greek, the usual word for creation is not present in this passage. The word translated ‘made lower’ is in the Greek aorist tense – a tense that has a simple verbal aspect. The aorist is used to just describe what is, or was, or will be, without any indication of how or when it happened. The ‘when’ part comes from the context and, in the aorist, is usually, but not exclusively, in the past, as it is here.

    So the Psalm is stating that, when God made man, his rank was lower than the angels. Jesus was also made lower than the angels. Whether he had a pre-existence or not is not stated in this passage. Other passages, of course, could be discussed regarding that question.

    Re your other post – where proskuneo is used where we expect latreuo, it always has to be borne in mind that proskuneo can mean religious worship and so can properly be used to describe worship of God.

    I’m sure we’d all like the scriptures to have no ambiguity and every I dotted and every T crossed, but we have to work with what we’ve got and interpret the evidence when absolute proof is not present.

    Andy

  173. john
    May 28, 2012 @ 12:22 am

    Xavier
    Very good point!!
    Blessings
    John

  174. Xavier
    May 27, 2012 @ 4:24 pm

    john

    The idea that Jesus was ‘made a little lower than the angels’ must have some implications for the concept of a pre-existent Christ who was present at the creation of the universe.?

    You mean humanity as a whole? Since that is WHO the writer of Hebrews is INITIALLY referring to by qutoing Ps 8.4-6. The text is extended to the HUMAN Messiah. If he somehow preexisted his birth so did the whole of humanity which the writers are clearly referring to.

  175. john
    May 27, 2012 @ 1:55 pm

    Xavier
    While looking through the material on ‘worship’ I came accross some more thoughts from Hebrews- this time Hebrews 2 verses 7 and 9.
    The idea that Jesus was ‘made a little lower than the angels’ must have some implications for the concept of a pre-existent Christ who was present at the creation of the universe.?
    Blessings
    John

  176. john
    May 27, 2012 @ 1:10 am

    Xavier
    Many thanks -that makes perfect sense!
    Sorry to labour the point!
    Blessings
    John

  177. Xavier
    May 26, 2012 @ 4:39 pm

    john

    Its just a cleverly constructed ARGUMENT using proof texts from the Hebrew scriptures to proof that the Son is MUCH GREATER than God’s holy angels. Therefore, he has been designated “Lord” of the New Creation.

  178. john
    May 26, 2012 @ 4:13 pm

    Hi Xavier
    Sorry if I was obscure in my question. I was attempting to ask – ,” is the author of Hebrews talking about a literal dialogue between God and the resurrected Christ -or is this a form of typology- i.e.THE SORT OFf dialogue which the newly resurrected Christ had with the Father when he entered heaven.?
    The words used look to me like a sort of ‘cut-and-paste’ job -taking verses from the OT and applying them in a typological sense.
    The latter would make more sense to me – but I’m not an expert!
    Many thanks
    Every Blessing
    John

  179. Xavier
    May 26, 2012 @ 1:53 pm

    john

    Would you both accept Hebrews 1 as ‘typological’ – as opposed to being a literal dialogue.?

    What do you mean? Letter simply opens up with the exaltation of the Son of God.

  180. Andy
    May 26, 2012 @ 11:09 am

    John

    Thank you for your kind words, but I would not describe myself as giving ‘sage’ advice. I’m still a learner – happy to share what I know, happy to learn from others. I admit to being quite stringent in my desire for ‘proof’ before I believe anything, yet I am aware that the Bible also calls for an element of faith and trust and that absolute proof is not always available.

    I’ve been reading Dale’s posts for quite some time now but have only just started to post – I have seen too many sites where apologists lambaste ‘dissenters’ and I have no desire to keep the company, or debate with, such people.

    I have found that here, we have a forum for rigorous, dynamic discussion, with, so far, no aggressive nastiness. In the end we may go our separate ways agreeing to disagree, but hopefully we learn from these exchanges and, most importantly, question *ourselves* about the soundness of our beliefs. If we cannot do that, then we are truly stuck, IMHO 🙂

    I am taking the weekend off from posting (finally good weather in southern England!) but will consider your questions next week. I am also mindful that I don’t want to use Dales diskspace and bandwidth as my own personal soapbox. This is his site and I would like to thank him for not rejecting my lengthy posts. I can be reached at andy at andys kosmos dot com (remove the spaces etc)…

    Best wishes

    Andy

  181. john
    May 26, 2012 @ 10:45 am

    Andy ,Xavier

    You have both ‘gone the second mile’ on my behalf – for which I thank you!

    Would you both accept Hebrews 1 as ‘typological’ – as opposed to being a literal dialogue.? I have always found the latter idea difficult.

    Andy,
    You have gone to great lengths to state your case – and I found your words persuasive.

    I too believe that the Bible forms a harmoneous whole -while individual verses remain inconclusive. The only thing one can do in these circumstances is to interpret the ‘less clear’ scriptures by reference to clear text.

    Regarding the form of worship which should be accorded to The Lord Jesus Christ and The One Supreme God – the linguistics seem to offer no hard and fast rules.

    There has got to be some sort of ‘hierarchy’ in the heavenly realm with the one doing the resurrecting, anointing and elevation, being ‘higher ‘ than the one being elevated etc.

    It is interesting that the form of worship accorded Almighty God (Revelation 15) ,by Moses and The Lamb is ‘proskueno’- so one must conclude that there are no ‘hard and fast rules’ here. I would have expected ‘laterou’.

    I have found the following to be useful (as a non-literalist)

    (i) Rev Samuel Clark’s ‘rule’ that if one thinks one has found a scripture that makes Christ and God one person – one will find a verse, in the immediate vicinity that shows them to be two persons
    (e.g. John Chapter 20 verses 28 and 31)
    (ii) The truth resides at a ‘higher level’ and too literalist an approach will often obscure it.

    Thanks for your sage advice’
    Every Blessing
    John

  182. Xavier
    May 26, 2012 @ 6:28 am

    Marg

    KNOWING whom I am worshipping will prevent me from addressing him by the wrong name, without any need for a “code”.

    But that is a “code”, a structure of worship you’re following. Nothing wrong with that. 😉

  183. Marg
    May 25, 2012 @ 10:57 pm

    So I don’t have to worry about protocol (assuming that I don’t do something silly like addressing the Lamb as the Lord God Almighty.”

    “Yeah but by doing that you ARE following a specific “protocol” or code.

    In my opinion, actually KNOWING whom I am worshipping will prevent me from addressing him by the wrong name, without any need for a “code”.

    In any case, I am free to worship God and his Son together – using words that apply to both. That’s good enough for me.

  184. Andy
    May 25, 2012 @ 7:03 pm

    Hi John

    This is in response to your post 50 regarding Psalm 45/Heb 1.

    I have a copy of the NAB complete with their notes, so I can let them answer your first question: why they put god in lower case. Their note states:

    “O god: the king, in courtly language, is called “god”, i.e. more than human, representing God to the people.”

    That is their explanation. Does it answer your other questions? That this god has: a God, wives… I guess so…

    However, althiugh the NAB’s translation is echoed in many others, not all Bibles translate the verse this way.

    Tanakh, an English OT translation produced by Jewish scholars and rabbis, translates it this way:

    “Your ?divine throne? is everlasting;
    your royal scepter is a scepter of equity.”

    They cross reference this to 1 Chron 29:23, which they translate as “Solomon successfully took over the throne of the Lord as king instead of his father David”. The NAB and ESV give very similar translations. My Hebrew interlinear confirms that ‘Lord’ is here YHWH and so we could translate this as Yahweh’s throne…

    Going back to Psalm 45, some other English translations also render the verse “God is your throne” (Byington (NEB), Jerusalem Bible and others).

    I don’t have sufficient Hebrew to say which is the better translation, but there is no doubt that the alternatives make the contextual verses simple to understand. The idea of ‘God is your throne’ is that the King’s power, rule and authority came from and depended on God.

    Coming to Hebrews 1:6, which is a direct quote from Ps 45, the Greek states:

    HO THRONOS SOU HO THEOS

    Literally this is: the throne your the god.

    The expression ‘the throne’ and ‘the god’ are in the nominative case, ‘your’ is in the genitive, possessive case.

    IF we translate this as a regular Greek expression we could try “the throne is your God” or “God is your throne”, as either God or throne, by being in the nominative, is the subject of the sentence. Obviously, the first possibility is nonsense. Only the second makes sense. The TEV, NET and NRSV translations mention this as a possible translation in their footnotes

    BUT, there is a third possibility. Sometimes, Greek uses the nominative as a way of expressing the vocative case, the case of direct address. Hence, the translation “your throne, O God”. Grammatically, this is acceptable and perfectly possible. There is, in fact, no way to tell from the grammar whether the writer intended to use the nominative or the nominative-as-vocative from the words he wrote. This is a genuinely ambiguous expression. But we can try to determine which intention was more likely.

    If the writer wanted to write ‘God is your throne’ he had no choice but to write the verse as it is written. Varying the word order would alter nothing. He would have no choice but to live with the ambiguity.

    If he wanted to write “your throne, O God” he could have written the verse as it stood, and live with the ambiguity. Or he could have used the Greek Vocative case proper, in which case he would not write HO THEOS but simply THEE, which is God in the vocative case and this excludes any possibility of ambiguity.

    What governs the choice between using the vocative or the nominative-as-vocative? Frankly, the writer’s style or even whim. There isn’t any compelling reason to choose one over the other, although by the time the LXX was written, the vocative was being used less often. However, Jesus’ words at Mtt 27:46 address God in the vocative, so it is used in the NT.

    Therefore, it seems that both Psalm 45 and Heb 1 can legitimately be translated either way and *might* therefore address both the king of Israel and Jesus as God. Or they might not. The evidence is insufficient to state with any certainty what the Psalmist and the writer Hebrews intended to mean, and we don’t have the luxury of being able to ask them. The Psalm as a whole reads easier, to my mind, with the ‘God is your throne’ translation. It can also be stated that an unqualified HO THEOS is usually used in the NT exclusively for God the Father. But this is circumstantial evidence at best. What can be stated with certainty is that if the writer of Hebrews wanted to say ‘Your throne, O God’ with no ambiguity he could have used the vocative case, but he didn’t do that.

    —-

    I think I will sum up my position here.

    The question is whether Christians should worship Jesus in the sense of religious/cultic worship. There is no question that Jesus should be held in high esteem, honoured and prostrated to as a superior. The offering of proskuneo to Jesus leaves us in no doubt about that.

    What evidence is there that Christians are commanded to offer Jesus worship in the religious sense? Dale offered Phil 2:10, but I have argued that the translation of that verse in the ESV, and others, is dubious, to say the least. A more accurate translation shifts the worship away from Jesus and directs it to God.

    Rev 5 has been cited, but it does not say who the elders offered worship to. Sir Anthony has argued that it was God and Jesus, because that seems the natural way to understand the verse. I agree that the verse could be understood that way, but it’s hardly conclusive proof or a compelling argument. The fact remains that this verse does not state who the worship is offered to and, therefore, whatever conclusion we draw will be an interpretation.

    We’ve also seen that the Hebrew and Greek words discussed here are, with the exception of latreuo, ambiguous. They are used both of men and of God. Therefore, their use in connection with Jesus is not proof that religious worship was offered to him. Had latreuo been offered to Jesus there would be no need for any debate. But it never is.

    It is my firm belief that the Bible forms an harmonious whole, and when individual verses are inconclusive, they are best understood, interpreted if you will, in harmony with the scriptures that are clear and conclusive.

    The Bible talks rather a lot about worship and the OT position is often stated in no uncertain terms. The second commandment states “You shall have no other gods before? me.” ESV
    The third commandment condemns worshipping idol gods. Deut 6:13-15 states, in part, “You shall not go after other gods”.

    These thoughts are repeated throughout the OT, and when the Jews departed from the exclusive worship of Yahweh, there were consequences. When I read Judges through to the end of Chronicles I see the same pattern over and over again. The Jews worship other gods. Yahweh’s anger is expressed. People die, get deported and get told to repent (not necessarily in that order).

    This establishes, for me, an obvious pattern, a framework for interpreting the less clear scriptures such as the ones we are discussing.

    In the NT, Jesus repeats the OT position in Matt 4 and his words at John 4 to the samaritan woman are in the same vein. Ok, his words don’t explicitly exclude worshipping him in John 4, but does that really amount to much? Are we really going to construct a theology based on what Jesus didn’t say?

    Personally, I would want the evidence for offering Jesus religious worship to be clear, unequivocal and unambiguous. But there are no such texts commanding religious worship of the Son. Therefore, after considering the evidence presented by Anthony and Dale, much of which, quite frankly, seems no stronger than that offered by Trinitarians (ambiguous scriptures, ambiguous words, poor translations etc) I would conclude that the case for the religious worship of Jesus has not been proven.

  185. Xavier
    May 25, 2012 @ 6:26 pm

    Marg

    So I don’t have to worry about protocol (assuming that I don’t do something silly like addressing the Lamb as the Lord God Almighty.

    Yeah but by doing that you ARE following a specific “protocol” or code. 🙂

  186. Marg
    May 25, 2012 @ 3:11 pm

    As Sir Anthony has already pointed out, we should be aware of WHOM we are worshipping. God and his Son are not identical.

    However, the words of every creature in Rev. 5:13 are being addressed to both equally, fulfilling the Father’s intention that all should honor the Son just as they honor the Father.
    To the one sitting on the throne AND to the Lamb [be] the blessing and the honor and the glory and the might, for ever and ever.

    So I don’t have to worry about protocol (assuming that I don’t do something silly like addressing the Lamb as the Lord God Almighty. I can worship both at the same time, with words that apply to both.

    That is what every creature in Revelation 5 is doing. I intend to do the same.

  187. Xavier
    May 25, 2012 @ 11:24 am

    Marg

    No need to worry about protocol.

    Don’t exactly know what you mean here but there is a protocol to follow when it comes when it comes to worshipping the Son and the Father. One is Deity and the other isn’t. 😉

  188. Marg
    May 25, 2012 @ 11:04 am

    I agree that Hebrews 1:8 cannot be equating Christ with God, since it is HIS God who gives him that position (v. 9).

    I was unfamiliar with the word latreuo until you pointed it out, Xavier, so I looked up all the passages containing the word. I agree that it refers primarily to ritual service – which seems like a good translation. Worship would hardly fit in passages like John 16:2, Hebrews 8:5 & 13:10, for instance.

    According to my dictionary, “worship” comes from an old English word that means worthy. Which brings us to Revelation 5.

    “Who is worthy to take the scroll …?” is the question in verse 2.
    No one [in the entire universe] is found worthy (v. 4).

    But a Lamb appears in the midst of the creatures surrounding the throne. He takes the scroll; and the living creatures and elders fall down (epesan) before him saying, “Worthy you are to receive the book, because you were slain, and redeemed us to God by your blood …” (9)

    That is followed by thousands of thousands of angels, saying, “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive the power and riches and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and blessing.” [I feel like singing that.]

    Then EVERY creature joins in (v. 13) saying,

    To the one sitting on the throne and to the Lamb [be] the blessing and the honor and the glory and the might, for ever and ever.

    And the elders fall down (epesan) and worship the one who lives for ever and ever.
    [That’s the “living Father,” and it’s because of him that the Lamb ALSO lives (John 6:57).]

    So I can relax. In giving equal honor to the Father and the Son, I am fulfilling the will of God (John 5:23). No need to worry about protocol.

    What delights me is that this makes it possible for men as diverse in their theology as Dallas Willard, Samuel Clarke and Anthony Buzzard to be “one” in worshipping God and the Lamb together: at the same time, with the same words.

  189. Xavier
    May 25, 2012 @ 8:20 am

    john

    in what way are Psalm 45 and Hebrews 1 connected?

    Hebrews writers quotes from Ps 45 in reference to the Son of God who is called “god” in the same representational sense that Moses [Ex 4.16; 7.1] or the judges [Ps 82.6] were called “gods”.

  190. john
    May 25, 2012 @ 12:55 am

    Xavier/Andy
    Xavier
    Thank’s -what you say makes sense!
    A common view is that Hebrews 1v8 confirms that Christ=God and I have always had difficulty with this!

    Andy
    Look forward to your dissertation.!! Thanks

    I must say that I think that on the subject of ‘worship’ your views are converging – and you are getting closer to a defendable position.

    Thanks so much!
    Every Blessing
    John

  191. Andy
    May 24, 2012 @ 6:14 pm

    To add to my previous post I will quote two commentaries that comment on the Chronicles verse:

    “II. THE OBJECT OF WORSHIP: to whom worship is due. The congregation of Israel “worshipped the Lord, and the king.” Yet the homage offered to David was civil, not religious; and there could have been no danger of confusing the one with the other.”

    The Pulpit Commentary: 1 Chronicles. 2004 (H. D. M. Spence-Jones, Ed.) (448). Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

    “The Assembly’s Praise to God (29:20–22a). David’s prayer becomes a catalyst of praise among the people as he turns to them and prompts them to give praise. They immediately responded both aurally (“praised”) and physically (“bowed low and knelt”), signaling not only their praise to God but also their submission to the Lord. Interestingly, they also KNELT before “the king,” a reference most likely to David, which reflects the belief that the king was vice-regent of the Divine King, Yahweh (Ps 2).”

    Boda, M. J. (2010). Cornerstone Biblical Commentary, Volume 5a: 1-2 Chronicles (221). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers.

    I’ve capitalised KNELT to show that this commentary did not consider this to be worship…

    Regrettably, the Expositor’s Bible Commentary and the Tyndale Commentary do not comment on this verse with regard to David being ‘worshipped’/’bowed down to’.

    Will post re Hebrews 1/Psalm 45 over the weekend…

  192. Andy
    May 24, 2012 @ 5:43 pm

    Hi Xavier

    I’m afraid I’ll have to answer your post 49 in two posts. It’s getting late here in the UK and I have a busy day at work tomorrow.

    Tonight I will give a small answer re 1 Chron 29:20. It’s small because Hebrew is not an area where I would claim much knowledge or expertise. Looking at the verse there are two hebrew verbs: The first simply means to bow low and the second, HWH, has also the basic meaning of prostration, in very much the same sense as proskuneo in Greek, if I am reading the rather long entry in the Theological Lexicon of the Old Testament correctly.

    It certainly is used in the OT for prostration before man: 2 Sam 1:2, 1 Sam 24:8 and Gen 18:2 (where the ‘men’ turned out to be Angels)’. This lexicon comments that the LXX renders the hebrew verb with, guess what, proskuneo! So we are basically, as I read it, in the same boat here – we have a word that is sometimes directed to God as worship and sometimes directed to men as prostration. What does it mean when it is directed at BOTH God and men simultaneously!?

    Hmmm. A lot of things come into play when interpreting the Bible. Dale and others trained in logic/philosophy would look to settling matters with valid arguments leading to sound conclusions. I won’t argue with that approach – it strikes me as ideal. However, the Bible wasn’t written by people trained in such ways nor who were, necessarily, trying to ‘prove’ anything in the way of logical debate. Especially in the OT, which was essentially written by Jews, for Jews, at least at the time of writing. A lot gets assumed. A lot of verses depend on other verses to really grasp what they mean. We have to take the background, culture and, especially, the religious context into account.

    I don’t think I need to quote OT passages that expressly forbade worshipping anyone other than YHWH. It’s in the Ten Commandments and repeated throughout the OT. In that context, what was going on in 1 Chron 29:20 was either idolatrous worship of David, which usually would lead to rather swift and terminal consequences, or was prostration in the honouring a superior sense. That’s how I read it, given the context. Before anyone shouts ‘but you can’t prove it!’ I fully admit I can’t. But the Hebrew word is ambiguous, just as proskuneo is ambiguous. So, in the end, we interpret these passages, hopefully in a way that harmonises with scripture as a whole.

    I have very few Hebrew Bibles that are translated by Jews for the Jewish community, but one I do have is Tanakh The Holy Scriptures which, according to the blurb, was translated by academic scholars and Rabbis representing the three largest branches of organised Judaism in America. Such a description sounds scholarly… Anyway, they render the verse:

    “all the assembly blessed the LORD God of their fathers, and bowed their heads low to the LORD and the king.”

    Certainly, they don’t see the verse as offering religious worship to David and, if I read my Hebrew resources properly, their translation is grammatically sound.

    I will answer regarding Psalm 45/Hebrews 1 over the weekend. I have made a detailed study of these verses, especially the Greek of Hebrews, but it will take some time to marshal the data into something cogent enough to be posted…

  193. Xavier
    May 24, 2012 @ 3:22 pm

    john

    in what way are Psalm 45 and Hebrews 1 connected?

    Andy was asking for specific verses where God the Father commands “worship” to His Son. I pointed to those verses.

    As for how can “god” have a “God”? Here are a couple of commentaries that might further help you:

    Because the Davidic king is God’s vice-regent on earth, the psalmist addresses him AS IF HE WERE God incarnate. NET Bible, Ps 45.6 [caps mine]

    In this psalm, which praises the king and especially extols his “splendor and majesty” (v. 3), IT IS NOT UNTHINKABLE that he was called “god” as A TITLE OF HONOR (cf. Isa 9:6). NIV Study Bible, p 831, ed. Kenneth L. Barker, Zondervan, 1985 [caps mine]

  194. john
    May 24, 2012 @ 2:23 pm

    Andy /Xavier
    I feel very foolish asking this – but in what way are Psalm 45 and Hebrews 1 connected?
    I use the NAB Bible so will refer to that.

    (A) In Psalm 45
    (i) We are told that this is a Psalm for a royal wedding (Israelite King to Princess of Tyre)
    (ii) The name ‘god’ in verse 7 is in the lower case
    (iii) In verse 8 we are told that this ‘god’ has a ‘God’ who has anointed him
    (iv) This ‘god’ has lovely wives -or as the Good News Bible puts it ‘honourable women’

    (B) In Hebrews Chapter 1
    ‘god’ has been ‘elevated’ to UPPER CASE.

    The ‘unknown’ writer of Hebrews is applying verses 7&8 in Psalm 45 to Christ (Hebrews 1vv8&9)
    but clearly this “God’ has a ‘God’.(v9)

    How does one make sense of this?

    Thank you
    Every Blessing
    John

  195. Xavier
    May 24, 2012 @ 9:43 am

    John

    Agreed.

    Andy

    Do you have an example from the OT where ‘true’ religious worship is offered to someone other that YHWH?

    Yes, “true religious worhip” in connection with YHWH: 1 Chronicles 29.20; Ps 45.6 [cp. Heb 1.8].

    Therefore it’s not a clear cut command for us to offer religious worship to the Son.

    I must have misunderstood what evidence you were asking for then. Thought it sounded like you wanted to know where God, specifically, commands worship of His Son. Period.

  196. Andy
    May 24, 2012 @ 3:55 am

    Xavier

    My explanation is this – true religious worship in the OT is offered to YHWH. Any instance of religious proskuneo offered to anybody/anything else is false worship. Do you have an example from the OT where ‘true’ religious worship is offered to someone other that YHWH?

    I know Koine Greek, but have not received formal training in it. It has been an interest of mine for 30+ years. I’m still learning – since the 1990’s the idea of Greek Verbal Aspect has come to the forefront and it has some definite implications for many verses. In most cases using it it clarifies the meaning but sometimes it subtly changes it. I’ve started working on my own NT translation, but I have limited time to devote to it. But when considering almost any NT verse, I tend to open the NA27 Greek text first and look at translations later…

    I have no knowledge of Hebrew, although I have enough tools (software, lexicons and grammars) to do word studies and check meanings and grammatical constructions. However, most of the ‘disputed’ translations are in the NT, most of those revolve around trinity ‘proof texts’.

    Re Heb 1:6, I think John has given a decent answer. Again I would add that proskuneo is used here and so something along the lines of “and let God’s angels prostrate themselves to him” (this is from memory, I would want to check the Greek text before finalising the translation) would be lexically and grammatically sound. Therefore it’s not a clear cut command for us to offer religious worship to the Son.

    An interesting verse to compare is 2 Kings 2:15 in the LXX, where people bow down to Elisha. Guess which word the LXX uses for ‘bow down’…

  197. john
    May 24, 2012 @ 2:05 am

    Xavier
    I think Dale will agree that the issue (Philippians 2v10) is one of ‘domain’

    I’m absolutely sure that the One Supreme God -who dwells in unapproachable ligh- does not ‘bow the knee’ to anyone.

    It is the angels in heaven who are now ‘below’ the newly exalted Christ and bow to him.
    So the ‘domain’ is ‘all of Creation excluding the Creator.”

    Hebrews 1v6 confirms this view.

    Trinitarians keep reiterating the jaded view that it was God who ’emptied’ himself (Philippians 2 ) – while it must be evident that-
    -the first Adam ,who was made in Gods image- tried to equate himself to God (Genesis 3v5) ,and that was
    the first sin,
    -the ‘second Adam’ (Christ) did not make this mistake and humbled himself even to death on the cross.

    I’d be interested to hear a contrary view!

    Blessings
    John

  198. Xavier
    May 23, 2012 @ 6:49 pm

    Andy

    When I asked Dale to demonstrate one scripture that explicitly commands/authorises worship of/to the son, he offered Phil 2:10, which I hope I have shown above is not as clear cut as modern, trinitarian, translations would like their readers to think.

    What about Heb 1.6?

  199. Xavier
    May 23, 2012 @ 6:39 pm

    Andy

    Still religious proskuneo but not outwardly visible to onlookers.

    So, in other words, its a stance of the heart thing.

    Obviously, throughout the OT only YHWH properly receives worship.

    Could you explain yourself here since we know that men/angels/false gods are worshiped in BOTH senses of the word throughout the Hebrew scriptures.

    One last thing, do you know Hebrew or Koine Greek? If so, are you a teacher?

  200. Andy
    May 23, 2012 @ 5:58 pm

    Xavier – good question. Answer is they *might* look different. IOW I might prostrate myself before God when praying and that would be an act of religious proskuneo. But I might also worship God by silently offering praise to him whilst out for a walk. Still religious proskuneo but not outwardly visible to onlookers.

    Liddell & Scott list, under their religious proskuneo entry “to make obeisance to the gods, fall down and worship, worship, adore”. The second entry then speaks of “the Oriental practice of prostrating before kings and superiors”

    So there is a connection between both definitions, in that one MIGHT involve prostration. The second definition always involves prostration.

    What seems to be the sticking point in these posts is that the two definitions are being treated as though they are interchangeable or somehow synonymous. As I said in one of my first posts, they are not. The two definitions, whilst having things in common, are mutually exclusive – where a sentence includes proskuneo it means worship offered to a god, possibly including prostration OR prostration before a person recognised as a superior.

    Most translators, when seeing proskuneo offered to an ordinary person, render it as prostration, ‘fell at his feet’ or obeisance. And when they see proskuneo offered to The God/Ho Theos/The Father they, quite rightly, use the word worship.

    The problems comes when the object of proskuneo is Jesus. Then the translator has to choose one of the two meanings and, from the grammar and the lexical entry, they could pick either. So we have to consider the Bible as a whole. Obviously, throughout the OT only YHWH properly receives worship. There are indicators in the NT where I think Jesus speaks in line with the OT position, such as Jn 4:23, which Dale disputes is inferring what I think it’s inferring. However, the Revelation 19 scriptures command John to ‘worship God’, when he mistakenly offers worship to the angel. I think this has a bearing on understanding who is worshipped in Rev 5:14. The angel could have told John to worship God and/or the Lamb. But he doesn’t. Could that be significant?

    When I asked Dale to demonstrate one scripture that explicitly commands/authorises worship of/to the son, he offered Phil 2:10, which I hope I have shown above is not as clear cut as modern, trinitarian, translations would like their readers to think. At the very least, it can easily be interpreted as not meaning that Jesus is the object of worship, when a consistent, accurate translation is used. Rotherham’s, the ASV and Young’s Literal Translation, among others, all translate Phil 2:10 as ‘in the name of Jesus’ in case anyone thinks I’m going off into unchartered territory here.

    If I were making a translation of the NT I would ensure I consistently distinguished between the two forms of proskuneo. When God or The Father is the object of proskuneo I would translate it as ‘worship’. When the object of proskuneo is not God the Father I would stick with prostration or a synonym of prostration.

    For Rev 5:14 I would use worship because the preceding verb piptow means to fall down and might seem superfluous if the proskuneo on offer meant prostration. Then again, there are some bible examples of redundant expressions, especially in the OT, so I suppose one could say of Rev 5:14 ‘the elders fell down and prostrated themselves’, but that seems wooden to me. As I stated before, the object of devotion is not stated in Rev 5:14, and I don’t accept as a valid argument that the ‘natural’ assumption it includes the lamb is conclusive. The verse is open to interpretation and I have stated my case above…

  201. Xavier
    May 23, 2012 @ 4:58 pm

    Andy

    I would define religious proskuneo as worship offered to the entity you accept as your God, whereas ‘prostration’ proskuneo is the act of bowing/prostration before someone that you acknowledge as being superior to you.

    Are you suggesting that these 2 would somehow LOOK different? Religious worship as compared to non-religious worship. How so?

  202. Andy
    May 23, 2012 @ 4:13 pm

    Sorry, the Greek text didn’t submit properly. ?? ?? ??????? should be EN TOW ONOMATI

  203. Andy
    May 23, 2012 @ 4:12 pm

    Hi Dale

    With regard to John 4:23, I stated that the phrase ‘true worshippers worship the Father’ had implications. At the very least it implies that if there are true worshippers, there might also be false. I accept I may be reading other implications into this.

    However, with regard to Phil 2:10, I don’t think that it says what you think it says. I note that the ESV, along with not a few other translations, render this “AT the name of Jesus every knee will bend”, as though he were the direct object of worship. However, this is extremely tendentious, as I will demonstrate below.

    Firstly, the Greek here is: ?? ?? ???????, which is the preposition: EN, the article in the dative: TOW, the noun in the dative: ONOMATI.

    This expression EN TOW ONOMATI occurs in the following verses in the NT, and except where otherwise indicated, is translated in the ESV as “in the name”:

    Mark 9:38, Mark 16:17, Luke 9:49, Luke 10:17, John 5:43 (twice), John 10:25, John 14:13, John 14:14, John 14:26, John 16:23, John 16:24, John 17:11, John 17:12, John 20:31, Acts 3:6, Acts 4:10 (by the name), Acts 9:27, Acts 9:28, Acts 10:48, 1 Cor 5:4, 1 Cor 6:11, Php 2:10 (at the name), James 5:10, Jas 5:14, 1 Pet 4:16 (in that name)

    Acts 4:10 could be rendered “in the name” without changing the meaning and 1 Pet 4:16 renders EN as in, but renders the article as ‘that’ rather than ‘the’.

    Thus, the ‘odd one out’ is your proof text, Phil 2:10 where EN is rendered ‘at’, rather than ‘in’. Translated that way, it appears to make Jesus the object of worship, as you have argued. However, as can be seen from the citations above, this is the only time where the ESV renders this phrase in this way and there is nothing at all different in the Greek grammar of Phil 2:10 that distinguishes it from the other verses.
    Commenting on this construction (EN with dative), Liddell & Scott’s Lexicon states that ‘at’ is a valid translation of EN only where the context has to do with Place or Location. The examples it gives for this is “broken off at or by the shaft”. A brief word search of the other 130 instances of where the ESV translates EN as ‘at’ show adherence to this – examples are 1 Cor 11:34, Eph 1:20 and Phil 1:1. I can, of course, supply the whole list if anyone wants to see it…

    The evidence above points to this: the ESV has translated Phil 2:10 in a way that is contrary to the way it usually translates EN TOW ONOMATI. It is contrary to the lexical meaning of EN to translate it as ‘at’ unless it refers to a place. The ESV translators well know this, as can be seen from the 130 other times it translates EN as ‘at’, all of which have to do with a place or location. I would not accept that the name of a person can be a place.

    Therefore, I would argue that Phil 2:10 should be translated as ‘in the name of Jesus every knee should bend … to the glory of God the Father’. The bending of the knee is to the Father, but in the name of Jesus.

    I don’t think your illustration re the $5 is relevant to this – worshipping the Father in the name of Jesus is not giving Jesus the worship to pass on to the Father.

    I would define religious proskuneo as worship offered to the entity you accept as your God, whereas ‘prostration’ proskuneo is the act of bowing/prostration before someone that you acknowledge as being superior to you. If I was presented to the Queen (I’m in the UK) and I bowed to her, that would be an act of proskuneo in the non-religious sense.

  204. Andy
    May 23, 2012 @ 11:32 am

    Anthony

    You said

    “Proskuneo means worship and is offered to God and some other human beings, including Jesus.”

    This is where we differ, and your statement either overlooks or ignores the fact that lexicons give two or three distinct meanings to proskuneo. But I’ve explained that in my earlier posts to this thread…

    “No need to quibble over the words.”

    I don’t view myself as quibbling over words – I’m just pointing out a simple fact – proskuneo means more than one thing and to munge all of its distinct meanings into one word – worship – is incorrect.

    Dale – I will post an answer to your last post sometime this week…

  205. Xavier
    May 23, 2012 @ 7:10 am

    Dale

    I recommend looking at the work of Larry Hurtado on the theme of “devotion to Jesus” – he documents how all our information points to the earliest Christians did things that we would all call “religious worship” with respect to Jesus.

    The problem with Hurtado and others like Bauckham is that for them “religious/cultic worship” means worship to “God/god”. And although they correctly observe that Jesus was worshiped throughout the NT but the NATURE of that worship was not “cultic”, hence, “religious”. This is something James Dunn counters very ably, I feel, when dealing with the NT language of “religious/cultic” offered to the Father ONLY:

    Hurtado recognizes the EXCLUSIVE God reference for latreuein and latreia but DOES NOT COMMENT FURTHER…the argument [of early cultic worship of Jesus] GOES WELL BEYOND THE EVIDENCE and is in GRAVE DANGER of the classic fault of petitio principii…[the evidence shows] that the writers of the New Testament HAVE ONLY WORSHIP OF GOD IN VIEW AS DESIRABLE and COMMENDABLE. In this they are FAITHFUL to the teaching of their scriptures.

    Did the First Christians Worship Jesus? p 15, f. 29; 17, 113. [CAPS mine]

  206. Dale
    May 23, 2012 @ 12:54 am

    Hi Andy, thanks for the comments. Substantially I agree with Anthony on this, but I’ll add a few thoughts.

    Re John 4:23, true he does not explicitly say that ONLY the Father is to be worshipped, but there is a lot implicit in the statement “the TRUE worshippers will worship the Father…” (i.e false worshippers worship someone else). I am aware that negative inference can sometime be fallacious, but in the absence of Jesus or the Father making the statement “it’s ok to religiously offer proskuneo to the Son…” I for one would hesitate to do so…

    I’m afraid that it just doesn’t say what you want it to.

    Similarly with Matt 4 – to complete your Philippians quote – “in the name of Jesus every knee should bend (prostration, proskuneo) … to the glory of God the Father” – it’s clear to me that Paul had in mind worship directed to God in the name of Jesus…

    ESV:
    “so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

    This is saying the purpose for which God has raised him: to get universal submission and praise. Is this enough of “a specific scripture commanding worship of the Son” for you?

    If you say these do not constitute religious service, then I would like to know what you think religious service is.

    What I see there is:
    direct object of worship: Jesus
    indirect object: God

    If you give me $5 to give to, I don’t know, Mitt Romney, then you have given me money (yes, to pass on). You might insist that *really* you only gave it to Mitt (through me), but that’s quibbling over words. The $5 was (for a time) in my very hand, having just come out of yours.

    I recommend looking at the work of Larry Hurtado on the theme of “devotion to Jesus” – he documents how all our information points to the earliest Christians did things that we would all call “religious worship” with respect to Jesus.

  207. Anthony Buzzard
    May 22, 2012 @ 8:55 pm

    Andy

    Proskuneo means worship and is offered to God and some other human beings, including Jesus.

    The worshipers are indeed worshiping God and the lamb and the people worshiped God and the King in 1 Chron 29:20.
    The issue is NOT trying to find a word for “religious worship”. Just know that only the Father is God and prayer is offered to God and sometimes Jesus.

    Paul thanks Jesus and Christians call on the name of the Lord Jesus.

    No need to quibble over the words. Just know that God alone is the Father.

  208. Andy
    May 22, 2012 @ 2:22 pm

    I would add to my previous post that I fully acknowledge that, taken on its own, the verse can easily be interpreted as as worship directed to both God and the Lamb. I am pointing out that the verse does not say who is the object of worship here, neither the English translation nor the original Greek makes any definite indication.

    Grammatically, in the original Greek, one could (I hasten to add that I would not) argue that the four living creatures were the object of worship, as they are mentioned immediately before the elders offering worship. We ‘know’ that would be a wrong interpretation, not because of the Greek but because of the context of the Scriptures.

    In the same vein, we can interpret that the Lamb is here offered worship, but we cannot prove it from this verse and the context of Scripture as a whole casts doubt on this interpretation. As I stated above, this verse could also be interpreted as the elders offering religious proskuneo to The Father alone, and that certainly would be in harmony with scripture as a whole.

    I am happy to concede that this verse could be interpreted either way, but it comes close to begging the question to cite this verse as PROOF that God has commanded us to offer religious worship to the Son. That conclusion would be stronger than the evidence in this verse and the absence of other verses explicitly supporting this conclusion AND the presence of other verses (in Revelation 19 and the rest of Scripture) that contradict this conclusion cast enough doubts in my mind to say that the case has not been proven.

  209. Andy
    May 22, 2012 @ 11:33 am

    Anthony

    You wrote: “The main point: God has commanded worship of His own Son. Not because THAT Son is God himself but because God requires honor to be given to the Son as to the Father.”

    I wasn’t aware of a specific scripture commanding worship of the Son. I am aware of proskuneo offered to Jesus, both prior to and after his resurrection.

    You also wrote “How UNNANTURAL then to create a distinction in v.14”

    Maybe, but it’s still an assumption to conclude the elders are offering religious worship to the Son. In other words, it’s not in itself conclusive proof…

    Andy

    Andy

  210. Anthony Buzzard
    May 20, 2012 @ 3:17 pm

    Andy

    Thanks. The real issue is understaing WHO THE OBJECT of the worship is. If you are to be involved in worshipping the Lamb, it is clear that you do not worship him as God but as the Messiah. It is rather FORCED to insist that in Rev 5.14 the “prostation” there is ONLY to God and not to the Lamb also. Since in v.13 “praise and honor, glory and might” are offered BOTH to God and to the Lamb. How UNNANTURAL then to create a distinction in v.14.

    The main point: God has commanded worship of His own Son. Not because THAT Son is God himself but because God requires honor to be given to the Son as to the Father.

  211. Andy
    May 18, 2012 @ 11:46 am

    Sorry about the typos in the previous post – must learn to proofread…

    “I would answer that whether Jesus deserves it or not the deciding factor” should be:

    I would answer that whether Jesus deserves it or not is not the deciding factor

  212. Andy
    May 18, 2012 @ 11:41 am

    Dale

    My position re Rev 5 was in my previous post, paragraph 2… To summarise it, no I don’t think the verse explicitly states who the worship is given to – see above for the fuller viewpoint.

    Re John 4:23, true he does not explicitly say that ONLY the Father is to be worshipped, but there is a lot implicit in the statement “the TRUE worshippers will worship the Father…” (i.e false worshippers worship someone else). I am aware that negative inference can sometime be fallacious, but in the absence of Jesus or the Father making the statement “it’s ok to religiously offer proskuneo to the Son…” I for one would hesitate to do so…

    Similarly with Matt 4 – to complete your Philippians quote – “in the name of Jesus every knee should bend (prostration, proskuneo) … to the glory of God the Father” – it’s clear to me that Paul had in mind worship directed to God in the name of Jesus…

    You said “Back to Matt 4, why not say:Jesus correctly quotes to Satan the divine policy then in force. But after his resurrection and ascension, it is clear that Jesus deserves not only honor as Messiah and God’s Son, but also religious worship” I would answer that whether Jesus deserves it or not the deciding factor, but rather whether God has actually now authorised religious worship of the Son. Obviously there are no clear cut verses (i.e. ones that don’t permit another explanation) that explicitly give this authorisation, or there would be no need to debate this.

    If there were instances of Jesus being given and accepting latrueo then, again, there would be no need for any debate. But only proskuneo is offered to and accepted by Jesus.

    You said: “Suppose you lived in a Kingdom where it was the law of the law that one would always bow to the King, and never to anyone else. This goes on for quite some time. Then one day the King announces that you must also bow to his son, the prince (and future king, one presumes).

    Would you object, on the grounds that one should only bow to the King?”

    In that case there would be no objection… Now all we need is a verse that actually announces that regarding Jesus and I will do it 🙂

    I’ll keep my head on, if I may. I’m planning on using it some more… 🙂

    Andy

  213. Andy
    May 18, 2012 @ 8:40 am

    Xavier

    🙂

    Getting back to the topic, I note that in Buzzard’s interesting videos he sticks to translating proskuneo as ‘worship’ rather than translating it as prostration/obeisance when the context is non-religious proskuneo. To my mind, although his arguments are good, they would be better and more concise if he acknowledged and took advantage of the fact that this word has two distinct meanings.

    With regard to Rev 5, it’s interesting that when the elders fall down and worship in v14, the account does not say who that worship was directed to. Ok, the lamb is acknowledged and praised in the preceding verses, but that does not automatically mean he was included in the worship of v14, especially given the extended context of chapter 19 where John it told ‘worship God’. Could it be that John does not say who chapter 5’s worship is directed to because there is no need to… Such worship would, in his eyes and in the context of the book as a whole and the scriptures as a whole only be directed to YHWH so there is simply no need to clarify it in v14.

    I accept this is interpretation that can neither be verified not refuted by the grammar of v14. I would so, tho, that the burden of proof rests with this who claim that v14 shows religious proskuneo was being directed to God AND to the Lamb, as this would be a unique event that is at odds with, indeeds contradicts, the rest of scripture…

    Andy

  214. Xavier
    May 17, 2012 @ 8:45 pm

    Andy

    they are in the false religious sense, but proskuneo in and of itself does not distinguish between false and true religious worship.

    I think you just answered your own question here…FALSE worship, be it religious or not, is not VALID. Therefore, this particular argument IS from silence. :p

    And yes, great last points you made. TOTALLY AGREE!!!

  215. Andy
    May 17, 2012 @ 8:10 am

    Xavier

    Before I post further I want to clarify that I fully agree with you – proskuneo as religious worship should only be directed to YHWH/the Father.

    Nevertheless, there is a danger of assuming what we have to prove, for there are examples of proskuneo being used in the religious sense, when not directed to the Father. True, they are in the false religious sense, but proskuneo in and of itself does not distinguish between false and true religious worship. Exampls of this would include Acts 7:43, Rev 19:10 and Matt 4:9

    Therefore, to prove the point that religious proskuneo is properly given only to the Father, I chose to cite Jesus’ own words in Matt 4:10 and John 4:23, where the context is definitely religious proskuneo going only to the Father and that true worshippers worship only The Father. Ergo, if proskuneo is offered to Jesus it has to be of the non-religious kind for it to be proper, otherwise Jesus would be contradicting himself, etc.

    So I think that, maybe, we are on pretty much the same page, but with the details differing. I think it also reflects my background – I work as an IT developer and have a tendency to want to prove things conclusively without begging any questions, resorting to circular reasoning or making any weak assumptions…

    Andy

    • Dale
      May 18, 2012 @ 8:42 am

      Andy – what, then, do you make of Rev 5? (See previous posts on that.) Would you claim that in that scene no religious worship is being given to the exalted Jesus?

      You’re certainly right that proskyneo can be used for religious worship or just for what you could call honoring or civic worship.

      Note that John 4:23 doesn’t say that only the Father should be worshiped.

      About Matt 4:10:

      Suppose you lived in a Kingdom where it was the law of the law that one would always bow to the King, and never to anyone else. This goes on for quite some time. Then one day the King announces that you must also bow to his son, the prince (and future king, one presumes).

      Would you object, on the grounds that one should only bow to the King?

      Off with your head! 🙂

      *The King himself* has just told you to bow to the Prince. So it just can’t be any sort of betrayal, treason, or disloyalty to do this. Rather, so bowing would be an act of *obedience to the King*.

      Back to Matt 4, why not say:Jesus correctly quotes to Satan the divine policy then in force. But after his resurrection and ascension, it is clear that Jesus deserves not only honor as Messiah and God’s Son, but also religious worship, as head of the church and the world, raised to God’s throne. It is clear because God has so raised him, and given him the name which is above every name, etc.

  216. Xavier
    May 16, 2012 @ 5:22 pm

    Andy

    But it’s not decisive in itself…

    There are 2 words in the Koine Greek used in reference to worship, as you and I have pointed out proskyneo is the generic term but latrevo is a very specific and therefore significant term for “religious/cultic” worship; which is the topic at hand. i.e., is the worship rendered to Jesus in the NT “fully religious”?

    the lexical definition does allow proskuneo to mean religious worship…

    Only when the CONTEXT is in relation to the one God of Israel, YHWH. Not due to its “lexical definition” per se.

  217. Andy
    May 16, 2012 @ 3:41 pm

    That latrevo is never directed at Jesus… Whatever argument you make from that is, effectively, an argument from silence. I’m not saying that it’s not significant, indeed I think it is an important piece of evidence that Jesus is not Almighty God. But it’s not decisive in itself…

    I also think it is necessary to address which form of proskuneo is directed to Jesus, because the lexical definition does allow proskuneo to mean religious worship…

    Andy

  218. Xavier
    May 16, 2012 @ 3:20 pm

    Andy

    An argument FROM silence ( not for silence)…

    Yes, thank you, I mistyped. I know what it means just asking what you were referring to as an argument from silence.

  219. Andy
    May 16, 2012 @ 2:51 pm

    An argument FROM silence ( not for silence) is when you base an argument or a conclusion from the fact that there is a lack of evidence. For example, “the Bible mentions nothing about guns, therefore…”.

    Any argument based on a lack of evidence is inherently weak, because silence is not the same as a definite stance on something. A counter argument that takes the opposite position could be viewed as just as strong…

  220. Xavier
    May 16, 2012 @ 11:12 am

    Andy

    some might argue that such an argument from silence is not in itself conclusive.

    What’s an argument for silence? Your unclear here.

    the disciples offering Jesus proskuneo amidst doubts, which to my mind strongly indicates prostration rather than worship…

    I think it could simple be said that Jesus is proskyneo as Messiah and not God. Otherwise we make it difficult for “people out there”. The theological distinctions inherent in latrevo should be reserved to the “inner” biblical scholarship dialogue.

  221. john
    May 16, 2012 @ 10:41 am

    Dale
    Sir Anthony referred to God as being’ the ultimate object of worship ‘- and no verses are more relevant than Revelation Chapter 15 verses 2-4.
    Here we see The song of Moses and the Song of the Lamb ,being ‘bundled’ and sung to the Lord God Almighty.
    Surely it is evident rthat the latter is the ultimate object of our worship?
    Is it unreasonable to suggest that if the Lamb were one of the persons who comprise the Trinity, that it would worshipped instead of being a worshipper?
    Is it not evident that “The Lamb’ is NOT the Lord God Almighty?

    Blessings

    John

  222. Andy
    May 15, 2012 @ 5:18 pm

    I’d call it an interpretation rather than a stretch 🙂 I agree that latrevo makes a strong distinction in that it is never applied to Jesus, although some might argue that such an argument from silence is not in itself conclusive.

    The point I was trying to make, probably clumsily, was that proskuneo does not necessarily mean ‘worship’ in the religious sense and that translators are (and often do) quite justified in rendering it ‘prostrate before’ or ‘obeisance’. IOW, proskuneo being applied to Jesus is not evidence that he was ‘worshipped’ as God either when on earth as a man or during his appearances after the resurrection. Add to this the facts about latrevo that you, and Dunn and others, make and it presents a strong picture that Jesus was not worshipped, in the sense that we would use ‘worship’ today…

    The examples I have quoted of Jesus using proskuneo tend to, I think, fall in line with Liddell and Scott’s definition of proskuneo as ‘worship’ and, therefore, I see proskuneo as a word of, maybe, richer meaning than latrevo in that it can mean religious worship, but it can also mean a non religious act of prostration to a human being… Such richness of meaning means we have to take the context into account, and many translators think that because Jesus is the object of proskuneo then it means ‘worship’ rather than prostration…

    However, in Matt 28, we see the disciples offering Jesus proskuneo amidst doubts, which to my mind strongly indicates prostration rather than worship…

    Andy

    Andy

  223. Xavier
    May 15, 2012 @ 10:12 am

    Andy

    In view of his statements in Matt 4:10 and Jn 4:23 I would argue that he thought that the Father alone should receive proskuneo in the sense of ‘worship’ whereas the proskuneo he accepts is of the ‘prostration before kings and superiors’.

    Its a stretch to base this on the usage and meaning of proskyneo in and of itself. As I have written above, the more technical and stronger latrevo word group brings this distinction out more.

  224. Andy
    May 15, 2012 @ 8:25 am

    It’s worth bearing in mind that proskuneo has a wide range of meanings. Liddell & Scott’s lexicon mentions:

    1) Make obeisance to the gods or their images, fall down and worship, do reverence
    2) Especially of the Oriental fashion of prostrating themselves before kings and superiors
    3) (later) Kiss, greet, welcome respectfully.

    These are distinct meanings – in other words, when a writer uses proskuneo her/she means one of these definitions and not all 3 of them combined. The translator has to pick which one he thinks is appropriate, given the context etc. Option 3, I suspect, post dates 1st Century, and might not be a valid option for Bible translators…

    This explains why, in Rev 3:9 proskuneo (prostrating themselves before kings and superiors) is proper, but the proskuneo (make obeisance to the gods, worship) to the angel in Rev 19 is not. (I’ve indicated which definition of proskuneo seems to be applicable in brackets).

    Interestingly, Jesus uses proskuneo (prostrating themselves before kings and superiors) in his parable of the slave who owed a king a fortune – in Matt 18:26. The slave falls down before the king to beg for mercy – clearly not an act of religious worship.

    That Jesus receives proskuneo does not necessarily mean he received religious worship. In view of his statements in Matt 4:10 and Jn 4:23 I would argue that he thought that the Father alone should receive proskuneo in the sense of ‘worship’ whereas the proskuneo he accepts is of the ‘prostration before kings and superiors’.

    Obviously, this is just an interpretation. But it has in its favour the fact that does not cause Jesus to contradict himself, which would be the case if he accepted worship after having uttered Matt 4:10 and Jn 4:23…

    Just my 2 cents 🙂

  225. Xavier
    May 11, 2012 @ 1:34 pm

    Dale

    If you want to use “worship” to mean a kind of honor appropriate to the Father alone, you are free to do this, and I have no objection.

    I think the textual evidence shows that “religious/sacred” worship language is used for the Father only. What that means in relation the Son being worshipped as God’s Messiah is where we have to be careful and note the textual distinction.

  226. Dale
    May 11, 2012 @ 9:35 am

    Re: comments 15 & 16: I think we agree. If you want to use “worship” to mean a kind of honor appropriate to the Father alone, you are free to do this, and I have no objection.

    Both of you were distracted by my analogy; the point is just that not every difference of word use points towards some underlying distinction.

    Will talk more about worship and different kinds of worship whenever that talk of mine gets posted online; Xavier – you remember that at the end I talk about some ways in which acts of religious worship may differ.

  227. Xavier
    May 10, 2012 @ 4:58 pm

    Jaco

    the respective statuses of Father and son determine the extent to which worship is rendered.

    Which is supported by the distinction the NT Greek places on the word “worship”.

  228. Jaco
    May 10, 2012 @ 4:50 pm

    I think many apologists (we included) approach this issue from the wrong way around. On the one hand the mere fact that latreuo is rendered to Yahweh the Father alone, which also stands out by its absence with regard to Jesus, indicates the difference in approaching Father and son. Not only that, but that the respective statuses of Father and son determine the extent to which worship is rendered. So, it is not the proskyneo in itself rendering Jesus ontologically identical to God (it’s simply false), but his subordition and functional identity with God determining the extent to which proskyneo should be given. The whole “worship” thing to prove Jesus’ “deity” is in my opinion a non sequitur.

  229. Jaco
    May 10, 2012 @ 4:43 pm

    Yeah, I would agree with Xavier above. The analogy is not really equivalent. To have two kids in your analogy is to assume equal or equivalent relational classes. Not so with Father and human son.

  230. Xavier
    May 10, 2012 @ 7:51 am

    Dale

    You want to say that cultic worship should be given only to the Father, right?

    Its not me bro. I am just appealing to what the NT writers have to say about this topic.

    Dunn’s book is a conceptual mess. He’s great at carefully reading the texts, but not so great at systematic thinking.

    Agreed. But the simple point I make when quoting him is the findings he, and many other Greek scholars make, regarding the distinction between proskyneo & latrevo and what this has to do with Christian worship of both the Father and the Son.

    Again, I think reserve or further definition should be made when we talk about any sort of “religious” worship that may be given to the Son in the NT.

  231. Dale
    May 10, 2012 @ 7:40 am

    Hi Xavier,

    Re: the baseball analogy, the point is all about words

    You want to say that cultic worship should be given only to the Father, right? But that would include prayer and hymns – Dunn p. 30. But he agrees that there is evidence of both being given to Jesus by the early church. Look, e.g. at p. 57. Dunn admits this. But he wants to minimize *the amount* of cultic worship given to Christ. That may be right. Certainly, the early church did not confuse Jesus with God.

    Dunn’s book is a conceptual mess. He’s great at carefully reading the texts, but not so great at systematic thinking. After he’s told us that Jesus was given cultic worship, see his agonized, unclear conclusion on 150-1. He ought to say: Yes, early Christians did worship Jesus, and then consider how they did so, and what this does and doesn’t imply about Jesus and God.

  232. Xavier
    May 9, 2012 @ 10:26 pm

    Dale

    Suppose you have two kids, and both play baseball.

    I don’t think this analogy is relevant since we’re talking about the Father and His Son.

    it is up to you to say what this distinction is (what exactly is the difference?), and also show us where the distinction is made or presupposed

    Thought I had. : / Let me try again…

    The language of the NT Greek seems to be clear on the distinction of the 2 when it comes to “religious/cultic” worship that is given only to God the Father. So reserve must be made when we state that Jesus is worshipped in a religious/cultic sense as well.

  233. Dale
    May 9, 2012 @ 8:38 pm

    Is that the only verse, other than the one in Revalation? I’m assuming you get that worship here is prescribed from the tone of the verse and the fact that when they paid homage, they weren’t stopped from doing so.

    Is this your thinking?

    And if worship can properly be given to exhalted beings, wouldn’t that include the angel who rejects worship in revelation and tells John to worship God?

    Not prescribed – rather, it is assumed to be OK. No – there are a number of such verses. You can look them up – hit the Strong’s Concordance. 🙂

    No, I don’t think that worship can be given to any “exalted being”. I think it is wrong to worship angels. Stay tuned for a relevant post on the biblical concepts of idolatry.

  234. Jacob
    May 9, 2012 @ 6:53 pm

    Is that the only verse, other than the one in Revalation? I’m assuming you get that worship here is prescribed from the tone of the verse and the fact that when they paid homage, they weren’t stopped from doing so.

    Is this your thinking?

    And if worship can properly be given to exhalted beings, wouldn’t that include the angel who rejects worship in revelation and tells John to worship God?

  235. Xavier
    May 9, 2012 @ 6:45 pm

    Dale

    Note that Dunn, on the pages cited, doesn’t make too much of the linguistic facts you note – I think that is right. Not every difference of terminology shows an important ethical or theological distinction.

    But most of Dunn’s book deals with “linguistic facts” on theologically loaded terms like “worship”, “prayer”, etc., so I don’t know what you mean by the above comment.

    I think the observation he makes regarding the very technical, specific NT Greek terms having to do with “religious/cultic” worship should be hilighted in our discussions. To say “Jesus is plainly fully” worshipped in a “religious” sense is not textually accurate.

    What’s wrong with just saying what the text says?

    • Dale
      May 9, 2012 @ 8:36 pm

      “don’t know what you mean by the above comment.”

      Suppose you have two kids, and both play baseball. Whenever one gets a hit, you say “Great!” Whenever the other gets a hit, you say “Fantastic!” Now, someone point this out. “What distinction are you making” they demand. None, you say. It’s just a habit.

      Xavier, if you’re claiming that the NT distinguishes two kinds of worship or honor, and says that one can be given only to the Father, and the other to both Father and Son – then it is up to you to say what this distinction is (what exactly is the difference?), and also show us where the distinction is made or presupposed. Based on what Dunn says, I don’t see any such distinction.

  236. Dale
    May 9, 2012 @ 5:00 pm

    “Then David said to all the assembly, “Bless the Lord your God.” And all the assembly blessed the Lord, the God of their fathers, and bowed their heads and paid homage to the Lord and to the king.” 1 Chr 29:20, ESV

    Note: “paid homage to” – the translators don’t want to say “worshiped,” but I believe it is normally so translated.

    http://bible.cc/1_chronicles/29-20.htm

  237. Jacob
    May 9, 2012 @ 3:34 pm

    “No – in the language of the Bible kings etc. are properly “worshiped” (honored/bowed down to)”

    Could you point to some verses?

  238. Dale
    May 9, 2012 @ 2:21 pm

    No – in the language of the Bible kings etc. are properly “worshiped” – given that this English term now means *religious* worship, one could argue that a better translation in those cases would be honored or bowed down to. (The main Greek term used literally means this last.)

  239. Dale
    May 9, 2012 @ 2:19 pm

    I take it that “cultic” worship is something done in the setting of a religious service, or at least a group, typically on some sort of regular schedule. I guess this would be a type of religious worship. I don’t think religious worship can be given any tight definition – it is just a sort of honoring, the kind which should be given to God or to a god.

    I don’t know that there was much “cultic” worship in NT assemblies – perhaps some sort of opening or closing prayers were standard, some hymns. But there was no sacrifice, no developed liturgy, no “services” as now understood, and no special class of priests to do it all. Let’s imagine that they start off with giving of thanks to God the Father, and to the Lord Jesus – that prayer could be called an act of cultic worship, and also (the more generic term) religious worship. I guess the “love feast” could be called cultic worship – a meal dedicated to Jesus, and to God.

    Note that Dunn, on the pages cited, doesn’t make too much of the linguistic facts you note – I think that is right. Not every difference of terminology shows an important ethical or theological distinction.

  240. Xavier
    May 9, 2012 @ 12:05 pm

    Dale

    I would add that in Revelation 5, the “worship” offered to both God and to Jesus is plainly fully religious worship, and not some other, lesser sort of honoring.

    Is there any difference between “religious” & “cultic” worship? If not, how does this statement support the NT language findings of NT Greek scholars like Dunn:

    Cultic worship or service (latreuein, latreia) as such is never offered to Christ…bearing in mind that the latreuein word group is the nearest expression for the offering of ‘cultic worship’… Did the First Christians Worship Jesus?, pp. 15, 27.

    [Bold mine.]

  241. Jacob
    May 9, 2012 @ 11:28 am

    Aside from the Rev. 3:9 passage… isn’t it at least debatable as to whether being other than YHWH are *properly* worshipped? That is… isn’t Buzzard here noting descriptions instead of prescriptions?