Bosserman questions Finnegan: 1:36:20
- B: Did OT saints understand that the physical Temple would be replaced by Jesus?
- F: No.
- B: So does the NT contradict the OT on this?
- F: Incomplete vs. contradictory claims.
- B: What about Deut 12?
- F: Like you, I think it doesn’t predict an unending physical temple.
- B: Why can’t God then only later reveal himself to be not only one but also triune?
- F: Jesus confesses Jewish monotheism [in Mk 12:29] which Jews then and now think incompatible with three divine beings. E.g. pronouns.
- B: How is the Trinity case different from the Temple case?
- F: I believe in progressive revelation, but OT says God not a man, can’t be ignorant – so it contradicts Trinity claims.
- B: Weren’t you inconsistent in admitting the pre-existence of Jesus?
- F: I didn’t. I said that was not relevant to the issue of whether he’s the one God.
- B: It’d be inconsistent with your claim that he came to exist at his conception, right?
- F: So? Even if he does pre-exist, that doesn’t prove the Trinity. And your claim is unclear and unfalsifiable.
Comment: this is time-wasting. The debate question needed to be better defined. If it is the deity or full godhood of Jesus, then Finnegan is right. If Finnegan’s whole humanitarian christology is on the table, then it would be relevant. Finnegan is right to criticize Bosserman’s thesis as unclear – we can’t find evidence for or against a claim until we grasp its meaning – but he should avoid the philosophy of science term “unfalsifiable.”
- B: You say: truly human, therefore capable of sinning. So, you either think that (1) now he can sin, or (2) he’s no longer human.
- F: I don’t know whether or not Jesus can sin.
- B: Doesn’t this threaten your salvation?
- F: I don’t see how it would… In any case, I trust that Jesus will continue to remain righteous.
- B: This puts your salvation at risk.
- (Others jump in and suggest that now Jesus can’t sin because he’s in the presence of God.)
- B: But has he then ceased to be human?
- F: So the other view would be that Jesus is human but can’t now sin.
- B: Right – that’s what we trinitarians say.
- F: My main point is that he was really tempted, which implies that one can really give in. A “temptation” where the temptee can’t give in is not a real or full temptation at all.
- B: So, you still say that Jesus could sin because he was human.
Comment: Point to Bosserman.
But Finnegan is right to retreat here to the weaker claim that at that point Jesus was able to sin, that Jesus, when he was a condition like ours, was able to sin. He needn’t claim than any human as such must be able to sin. After all, it is not obviously false that the saved eventually lose their ability to sin, say, after the resurrection, when they have new bodies and minds, and their salvation is complete.
But also: point to Finnegan – his claim about temptation is plausible, and Bosserman just ignores it. And Bosserman doesn’t seem to realize that Finnegan’s retreated to a less extreme claim.
- B: Gen 1:27 “Let us make” – Do you think he’s speaking to the angels? Isn’t this inconsistent with Is 44:24 where God says that he created alone or by himself.
- F: Maybe post-resurrection a human can’t sin. So then, the raised Jesus could not.
- F: This is a common reading of Gen 1:27 [not merely a unitarian one] and God is the only creator, even though he “involved the angels” when making human beings.
- B: It says he did it alone.
- F: So?
Round to Finnegan. He successfully played defense here, which is all he must do to win this round. Most of Bosserman’s questions were poorly chosen. He caused a retreat on a christological question, but it’s hard to see quite how that whole thing bears on the main issue at hand, which is trinitarianism vs. unitarianism.