- Finnegan rebuttal 52:28-1:08 Back to pronouns: Bosserman’s rebuttal was unclear. Overwhelming number of pronouns and verbs re: God are singular; by the ordinary meaning of language, this communicates that he is one being. John 17 says Father is the only true God, and presupposes Jesus to be someone else. Bosserman has not answered who the first trinitarian was. And he hasn’t derived three persons and one essence from the Bible. Nor does it make sense. “Elohim” can be translated singular or plural, and needn’t refer to a plural unity. Is he saying Jesus = YHWH? If so, isn’t that modalism rather than trinitarianism. But if he’s a different “YHWH” then it seems there are two of them. “Before Abe was I am [the one]” i.e. the messiah; that’s the best way to take that saying. Believes Jesus an unfallen, sin-free human, being virgin born with God causing him. Col 1:15 doesn’t teach Jesus’ pre-existence; it’s about the new creation effected by Jesus. John 6:62 – “came down from heaven” is figurative. John 1 – can translate with “it” for “logos.” “God” in NT in over 99% of texts refers to Father. Rare in both testaments to call any human a “god.” Jesus died; God can’t. Thus they are two.
- Bosserman rebuttal 1:08:48 – 1:24:05 Can’t assume unitarianism in OT; never says that God is unipersonal. Not fair then that the unitarian demands that the Trinity be stated in the OT. Why not take his unity to be mysterious? As I showed, heads of a tribes can use singular pronouns to refer to himself and his tribe – “many” of these in OT. “Elohim” can be used of foreign gods, needn’t be taken the same way there [as denoting complex unity??]. Can God change his mind or not? (OT texts for both sides.) Is this a contradiction? No - one God, two perspectives, one as Master of history, one as an agent within history. This sort of like what I say about Christ – one person, two natures. Only objection to this: I don’t understand how it could be. Reason must be used in submission to God’s word. Unitarians think human reason is “above God.” We believe trinitarianism to be the culmination of the OT. About John 14:28 – inconsistently, unitarians take this metaphysically, i.e. as saying that his essence is lesser than the Father’s essence. This only economic superiority; compare: Paul’s statement that man is the head of woman. God manifests attributes of leadership, and of submission. John 8:58 – in some OT (in LXX) God says “I am” with no “the one” following; Is 41:4 in LXX most resembles Jesus’ statement in John 8:58. John 17:3 only a problem for tritheists. That the Father is identified here as God is no problem – for Jesus too can be so identified. Both f and s are “saviour.” There is no God outside of the Father, but Jesus in in him. So John 17:3 is a trinitarian text. Unitarians believe, like Muslims, in “justification by fiat.” No OT text calls any man an “elohim” – “we have comparisons drawn, and that is it.” Don’t know who first trinitarian, but it is taught in NT. [Unclear point about Jesus being God.] In John 1, we must translate “he” for logos because later in chapter, Jesus is being talked about. In sum, unitarian insists that God must be how we suppose; he thereby makes himself God! To the contrary, God’s word “is reason enough.”
Finnegan here does pretty well, and does something essential to good debating, which is pointing out to the audience where and how your opponent has failed to make his case, or how he has skirted key questions. In the = part, I think his reasoning is valid, but he needs to state a hidden premise, which is that things which differ can’t be numerically one (identical, =). He’s drawn a little off course by the atonement stuff, but is concise and fairly clear. Effectively makes the point that some trinitarian scholars agree with many of his key exegetical points, which shows that they are not ad hoc intentions of the unitarian.
Bosserman has an unfortunate habit of giving compressed arguments where he doesn’t quite spell out the conclusion, leaving us to guess at his point. Must slow down! Just saying something on the topic isn’t enough. Try to repeat back your opponent’s argument in the process of dismantling it. His “two perspectives” argument is multiply dodgy – does that even resolve the apparent contradiction? And how exactly is this related to Chalcedonian christology – are we to think a “nature” is a perspective? And again, he attacks a common straw man – that the unitarian’s only or main problem is that he can’t “see how” some mysterious claim could be true. Or that human reason can grasp all things. Did Finnegan ever say or imply these? Or give an argument which required any such premise? This seems a straw man fallacy – just reading from the standard anti-unitarian script. I thought we wasn’t going to turn it into an ad hominem, but to my disappointment, around 1:23:30 he pulls a classic poisoning the well fallacy - Finnegan thinks he’s God! [So, he's evil and crazy... so why should anyone argue with him?] He makes some interesting exegetical points about various passages, though his treatment of John 17, I think, is demonstrably mistaken; he simply doesn’t understand what it means to say some x is the only F. His point about “elohim” is unclear – if people are metaphorically called “elohim” then yes, that term is applied to humans.