God and his Son: the Logic of the New Testament – conference presentation

Here’s a video of my May 2012 talk in Atlanta, “God and his Son: the Logic of the New Testament.” Many thanks to Sharon and Dan Gill, who filmed, edited, and posted it on their fine website, 21st Century Reformation.

The characteristic thesis of unitarian Christianity (aka Biblical Unitarianism, Christian Monotheism) is that the Father of Jesus just is the one God, Yahweh, and Jesus is someone else.

This is assumed in this passage:

Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’ (John 20:17, ESV)

Actually, it is consistently assumed in the entire New Testament – there is no difference between authors on this score. But here, it is especially close to the surface, as it were.

And it is explicitly asserted in these:

When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you, since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him.  And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. (John 17:1-3, ESV)

Therefore, as to the eating of food offered to idols, we know that “an idol has no real existence,” and that “there is no God but one.” For although there may be so-called gods in heaven or on earth—as indeed there are many “gods” and many “lords”—  yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist. (1 Cor 8:4-6, ESV)

The waters have been muddied by evangelical and Catholic apologists arguing for “the deity of Christ,” and by some big name theologians like Bauckham and Wright arguing that in the last passage Paul “inserts Jesus into the Shema.” In this talk, after I give a quick logic lesson, I discuss how logic helps us to think clearly about these three passages.

You’ll have to watch the video to find out why the Lord is face-palming. :-) Hint: it has to do with an often-misread piece of scripture.

Here’s the screencast version, which I did when I got back from the conference.

About Dale

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

141 Responses to God and his Son: the Logic of the New Testament – conference presentation

  1. Abel

    Thanks for the encouragement. Paul is very precise and the change of verb tense in Col 1:16 is “spectacular”, as Nigel Turner, the master author on NT Greek, says.

    The EN is “in the sphere of” (Turner) or James Dunn “with him in intention”; “as the one predetermined by God” (Christology in the Making) p. 190.

    I find this very satisfying since Jesus is really a man; in him the whole immortality program is run by God. Once Jesus is made non-human, as an angel or GOD/god, the whole story is ruined and gnosticism takes over. That is why we need a good Reformation returning to the One God and the 2nd Adam/Man Messiah.

    JW’s are hardly up to the detail of Greek and the Way International people made havoc of 1 Cor 12 on gifts.

  2. Xavier says:

    “The thought in the theology of Israel and early Judaism was never of Wisdom (or Word) as separate beings from God, able to be conceived as independent personalities from God…Earliest Christian Wisdom christology took up the wisdom IMAGERY and METAPHOR and applied it to Jesus [presenting him] as the PERSONAL expression of the divine Wisdom WHOSE personality previously could only be expressed in PERSONIFICATION imagery.” J.D.G. Dunn, Did the First Christians Worship Jesus? p 124.

  3. Vlastimil says:

    Villanovanus,

    As I said, no time. That explains my evasions. Of course my argument needs fleshing out. As do arguments in this post and comments for the negation of its conclusion.

    Do your homework. I gave you enough clues to figure out. You’re an investigative guy. But here are few more: ‘Probable’ means epistemically probable with respect to the total evidence one has; look into Swinburne’s Epistemic Justification. ‘Antecedently improbable’ means epistemically improbable with respect to (the total evidence minus the evidence for 1-3); certain prior probability, in other words. For some of the salient evidence, look into Jenkin’s Reasonableness of Christianity, and at Dave Armstrong’s online list of biblical verses he takes as supporting, en masse, the Trinity and Incarnation. For ‘monotheism’ in the common and intuitive sense’ look into Brian Leftow’s “Anti Social Trinitarianism”. For problems of non-supposit views, see Dale Tuggy’s “Trinity” entry at SEP. And as for early modern scholasticism, look into Daniel D. Novotný’s paper “In Defense of Baroque Scholasticism”.

    The Library is under temporary reconstruction.

    Finally, I never denied ‘supposit’ is, in the usage of some authors, synonymous with ‘hypostasis’.

    That’s all from me to you.

  4. villanovanus says:

    @ Vlastimil (November 18, 2012 at 3:44 am)

    Thank you for coming back, but there was really no need to. I had already exposed you prolonged “philosophical” bluff.

    Take care and … don’t bother any more …

    MdS

  5. villanovanus says:

    @ Dale

    Your OP seems to have stirred an awful lot of discussion.

    OTOH, you seem unusually quiet, ignoring even comments that are directly addressed to you. I wonder why … ;)

    Regards,

    MdS

  6. Marg says:

    Villanovanus – I wasn’t quoting the prologue of John; I was quoting verse 10. At that point, the Logos was IN THE WORLD. The Logos had ALREADY become flesh. Therefore, the translation is accurate: HE was in the world; the world was brought into existence by HIM, but the world did not recognize HIM. As many as did recognize HIM, though, HE gave the power to become the children of God.

    As for what the Logos was BEFORE that, I have no biblical description to quote, so I won’t make up one.

    But I DO have 1 Co. 8:6, as well as other passages, to suggest that the Son of God was God’s AGENT – in creation as well as in salvation.

    I have also read some words of Jesus about the way he expects his disciples to act. But that belongs on another thread.

  7. Xavier says:

    Marg

    But I DO have 1 Co. 8:6, as well as other passages, to suggest that the Son of God was God’s AGENT – in creation as well as in salvation.

    All you need is 1 verse..? : /

  8. Marg says:

    “…as well as other passages

    One of those passages, Xavier, is Hebrews 1:10, on which you gave your honest reaction not that long ago on the KR blog. You said (and I agree) that wherever the heavens and the earth are mentioned in the OT, they refer to the Genesis creation. The Son is God’s AGENT in that creation.

    Rather than repeat the other passages (most of which have been presented before), I would like to request – again – a properly controlled written debate, in which ALL the evidence on BOTH sides of the issue can be presented TOGETHER.

    I am not interested in winners and losers. I am interested in learning, and I think there are other readers who are interested in the same thing.

  9. Greg says:

    Marg, I’m definitely interested. The nature of the preexistence of Jesus is of utmost importance, and I would love to see a debate devoted solely to that topic. I add my voice to the request.

    I think everyone is agreed that Jesus preexisted in some sense, because the one in whom and through whom all things are could not just be a man picked out from among his peers and chosen because he was a decent fellow. On the other hand, are there limits to what that preexistence entails, given that the Bible makes it abundantly clear that he was and is a genuine human being? I’m skeptical of the notion that a divine person could “become” a human being in any meaningful sense of that term. It seems to me to come down to this: did a what become a who, or did a who become a who? Maybe it’s just semantics, but then again, would it surprise anyone if it were mere semantics that divides Christendom? I’ll be the first to admit that I’m skeptical of the majority opinion, which is clearly Trinitarian. On the other hand, I’m reluctant to dismiss the testimony of the historical church as a whole. Are we to each be our own church? Are subjective opinions and interpretations of the text what God had in mind? The questions are unending.

  10. Marg says:

    Greg, I am with you.

    What I wanted to mention, though, has to do with two sayings of the Lord Jesus recorded in the Synoptic Gospels. One is found (worded identically) in all three: Matthew 24:35; Mark 13:31; Luke 21:33.

    The heaven and the earth will pass away, but my words (logoi) will never pass away.

    Those words – along with the statements that follow – would be breathtaking in their audacity if they were spoken by any other man. But they seem appropriate from the man who is the divine logos “in flesh”.

    The other is Matthew 11:28; but it has to be understood in the light of the previous verse: “All things are GIVEN to me from my Father.” He never claims to be the SOURCE of anything. Everything he says or does is clearly from his God and Father.

    But then he makes a statement that is – again – breathtaking:

    Come to me, all you who are laboring and burdened, and I will give you rest.

    What a comfort that has been! To those who are weary with the labor of trying to please God on their own, to those who are burdened with guilt, he says, “Come to ME, and I will give you rest.”

    I did that. And I can testify, the rest he gives is real.

    But then he invites us to take upon ourselves HIS yoke (the yoke of loving submission to the will of God) and learn from HIM, because he is humble and lowly in heart.

    Notice the word “because“. His qualifications as a teacher are humility and lowliness of heart.

    And if we are learning FROM him how to be LIKE him, we will learn to be as he is: humble and lowly in heart. There is no room for arrogance or rudeness in a disciple of his.

  11. Xavier says:

    Marg

    One of those passages, Xavier, is Hebrews 1:10, on which you gave your honest reaction not that long ago on the KR blog.

    YAWN!! :O

  12. Xavier says:

    Greg

    The questions are unending.

    Sounds like your wasting your time then. I suggest you go do something else with your life. :P

  13. villanovanus says:

    @ Marg (November 19, 2012 at 3:35 pm)

    I wasn’t quoting the prologue of John; I was quoting verse 10. At that point, the Logos was IN THE WORLD. The Logos had ALREADY become flesh. Therefore, the translation is accurate: HE was in the world; the world was brought into existence by HIM, but the world did not recognize HIM. As many as did recognize HIM, though, HE gave the power to become the children of God.

    Quoting John 1:10 obviously is NOT quoting the whole of the Prologue to the Gospel of John (John 1:1-18), nevertheless it certainly is quoting from the Prologue to the Gospel of John.

    Anyway, the Prologue to the Gospel of John (John 1:1-18) starts with God’s Eternal Logos and ends with Jesus Christ, the Incarnate Logos of God. So, UNLESS you are ready to affirm that …

    Logos = [strict identity] Jesus Christ

    … and therefore, as God’s Logos is eternal, from eternity and for eternity, the Logos is eternally a “who” because Jesus Christ certainly is a “who”, OTHERWISE you have to admit that …

    Logos ¬(= [strict identity]) Jesus Christ

    … that is …

    Logos =/= [NOT strict identity]) Jesus Christ

    … so we still have to establish in what the two (Logos vs Jesus Christ) essentially differ.

    [Marg:] As for what the Logos was BEFORE that, I have no biblical description to quote, so I won’t make up one.

    But I DO have 1 Co. 8:6, as well as other passages, to suggest that the Son of God was God’s AGENT – in creation as well as in salvation.

    So at first you remain vague on “what the Logos was BEFORE that [incarnation]” but then you immediately invoke 1 Co. 8:6 (and in your comment of November 19, 2012 at 9:32 pm, in reply to Xavier, you add Hebrews 1:10).

    Obviously, not a single non-trinitarian here considers those verses (“as well as other passages”) conclusive not only for the “co-equal, co-eternal, tri-personal tri-unity”, but even for the more modest “personal pre-existence” of the Logos. In fact, non-trinitarians affirm that there is a perfectly satisfactory non-trinitarian –and even non-personal-pre-existence– explanation for ALL those verses and passages.

    So, in conclusion, I full subscribe to your comment of November 19, 2012 at 9:32 pm, whereby …

    [Marg:] Rather than repeat the other passages (…), [it is highly recommended to have, here at trinities] a properly controlled written debate, in which ALL the evidence on BOTH sides of the issue can be presented TOGETHER.

    Regards,

    MdS

  14. villanovanus says:

    @ Greg (November 20, 2012 at 12:49 am)

    I’m skeptical of the notion that a divine person could “become” a human being in any meaningful sense of that term. It seems to me to come down to this: did a what become a who, or did a who become a who? Maybe it’s just semantics, but then again, would it surprise anyone if it were mere semantics that divides Christendom? I’ll be the first to admit that I’m skeptical of the majority opinion, which is clearly Trinitarian. On the other hand, I’m reluctant to dismiss the testimony of the historical church as a whole. Are we to each be our own church? Are subjective opinions and interpretations of the text what God had in mind? [bolding added]

    I also believe that the above bolded question is THE question. In fact it is far more essential and interesting than never-ending hair-splitting on the “trinity” (modalist vs tritheist, Western-Latin vs Eastern-Social, Egalitarian vs Subordinationist, etc.).

    After all, if it wasn’t for the questions of the divinity (in what sense?) and of the pre-existence (a “what” or a “who”?) of Jesus Christ, the question of the “trinity” would be totally irrelevant.

    Regards,

    MdS

  15. Xavier says:

    MdS

    Maybe Marg can respond to you and finally settle for all of us what type of Christology she holds to.

  16. Anthony Buzzard says:

    Marg,

    You are reading Jesus into the first creation. Yes the LIGHT is the person Jesus in v. 10. But you have noted that light is not a person in v. 5!

    Jesus is what the light became.

    Jesus is what the word./wisdom became

    As the wisdom of God, Jesus is the human embodiment of wisdom.

    THROUGH him in v. 10 is certainly true; BY him is not right. All things were made IN Jesus and the new creation is THROUGH him [Col 1:16].

    1 Cor 8 speaks of US/WE through him; that is the new creation and THROUGH is right.

    You say you cannot tell us about anything that LOGOS was doing in the OT. Is that not amazing?

    So you have a Jesus alive for billions of years in the OT and yet not doing anything?

    What about all the evidence for the Son beginning in Mary? You are still implying a Jesus in transit from billions of years of existence INTO the womb. That is so odd, since Matt., and Luke could not possibly have meant that!

  17. villanovanus says:

    @ Xavier (November 20, 2012 at 1:39 pm)

    Yes, Jesus Christ and Christology (pace Pneuma and Pneumatology …) is THE question. By comparison, the quibbles on the “trinity” are indeed mere verbiage and obfuscation or, borrowing from Greg‘s expression, vain “questions unending “.

    MdS

  18. Marg says:

    V, I appreciate the fact that you, too, think that

    [it is highly recommended to have, here at trinities] a properly controlled written debate, in which ALL the evidence on BOTH sides of the issue can be presented TOGETHER

    I look forward to such a debate – if it ever takes place.

    As for 1 Cor. 8:6 – it was discussed at length on the thread THE EVOLUTION OF MY VIEWS ON THE TRINITY – PART 8 (DALE). I am tempted to copy the conclusion; but instead I will hope that a debate may yet take place, dealing with the question: Does the biblical evidence justify the conclusion that the Son of God existed BEFORE the man Jesus was born?

    Other questions are sure to follow; but that one, I think, is basic.

    By the way, I hesitate to do much “asserting,” but one thing I can assert, without hesitation. God is ONE – not three. The only true God – the only one who is subject to NOBODY – is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

    Even though God, his Son and his Spirit are mentioned in the same context some fifty or sixty times, the word God NEVER refers to three, or even to two. In all of those cases, it ALWAYS refers to one, and that one is the Father.

    On that point, at least, we probably agree.

  19. villanovanus says:

    @ Marg (November 20, 2012 at 7:09 pm)

    As for 1 Cor. 8:6 – it was discussed at length on the thread THE EVOLUTION OF MY VIEWS ON THE TRINITY – PART 8 (DALE). I am tempted to copy the conclusion; but instead I will hope that a debate may yet take place, dealing with the question: Does the biblical evidence justify the conclusion that the Son of God existed BEFORE the man Jesus was born?

    Thank you for this. Having started to participate actively in the trinities.org blog only recently, I simply wasn’t aware (although perhaps I ought to have been ..) that Dale has posted so extensively and systematically on the “evolution of [his] views on the trinity”. This also explains why he is keeping so quiet in the debate here: he would have to align himself heavily on the side of Subordinationism (Clarke’s view and, apparently, your view), defending his own alleged “unitarianism” (he calls it “subordinationist unitarianism”, but, historically and dogmatically, it is subordinationist trinitarianism, exactly as Origen’s was, exactly as Clarke’s was; BTW, contrary to what is often lazily and incorrectly repeated, Isaac Newton was NOT an “Arian”, BUT a subordinationist trinitarian).

    [Marg] … I hesitate to do much “asserting,” but one thing I can assert, without hesitation. God is ONE – not three. The only true God – the only one who is subject to NOBODY – is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

    I am afraid things are not as simple as you are trying to make them appear in your … er … “reluctant assertion”: if they were, the Arian controversy (see en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arian_controversy) would be simply senseless because the bishops of Alexandria (first Achillas, then Alexander), under whom Arius was a presbyter and under whom he aired and boldly defended his “devastating” thesis that …

    “If the Father begat the Son, he that was begotten had a beginning of existence: and from this it is evident, that there was a time when the Son was not. It therefore necessarily follows, that he had his substance from nothing”

    … were (subordinationist) trinitarians, as were the overwhelming majority of bishops and theologians in the Eastern part of the Roman Empire (as for the Western part, just think of Tertullian and Novatian).

    The essential difference is that WHILE (subordinationist) trinitarians had, until Arius’ provocation, placidly lived with the “explanation” that the “Son” was inferior to the Father yet, somehow, “emanated” by and from the Father, Arius came in like a bull in a china shop, affirming that the “Son” was created out of nothing.

    [Marg] Even though God, his Son and his Spirit are mentioned in the same context some fifty or sixty times, the word God NEVER refers to three, or even to two. In all of those cases, it ALWAYS refers to one, and that one is the Father. On that point, at least, we probably agree. .

    Actually I beg to differ. I claim that when the resurrected Jesus ascended and “seated at the right of the Power” is referred to as “Lord” (e.g. Acts 2:36; Rom 10:9; Phil 2:9-11), he is LORD exactly in the same sense that YHWH (the Father Almighty – on this we agree …) is LORD: because YHWH, in His omnipotence, made him LORD on a par to Himself.

  20. Xavier says:

    villanovanus

    I claim that when the resurrected Jesus ascended and “seated at the right of the Power” is referred to as “Lord” (e.g. Acts 2:36; Rom 10:9; Phil 2:9-11), he is LORD exactly in the same sense that YHWH (the Father Almighty – on this we agree …) is LORD: because YHWH, in His omnipotence, made him LORD on a par to Himself.

    Are you saying that there are 2 YHWHs?

    Are you familiar with Anthony Buzzard’s work on Ps 110.1?
    http://focusonthekingdom.org/articles/adonai.htm

  21. Marg says:

    V. I am a little confused by the suggestion that after the resurrection the word “God” refers to TWO, and not just one. Is there a biblical example of its being used that way?

    In any case, I am glad of the confirmation that the earliest readers (and writers) understood the NT in the same way that Clarke does. At the moment, I understand it the same way.

    However, I am willing to look at evidence to the contrary, so long as the evidence is biblical.

  22. Xavier says:

    Marg

    I am willing to look at evidence to the contrary, so long as the evidence is biblical.

    :P

  23. villanovanus says:

    @ Xavier (November 21, 2012 at 7:42 am)

    Are you saying that there are 2 YHWHs?

    Nope. I’m saying that Yehowah, in His omnipotence, MADE Yehowshuwa`, His Son, His Messiah, the Incarnation of His Eternal Logos, LORD on a par with Himself, sharing the same Majesty, the same Power, the same Glory.

    Are you familiar with Anthony Buzzard’s work on Ps 110.1? (focusonthekingdom.org/articles/adonai.htm)

    I am, very much so.

    First, the “LORD’s proclamation” is to David (or rather, to the Davidic King, the Messiah), so it is NOT describing a definitive situation, BUT prophetic and dynamic (“until I make your enemies your footstool”).

    Second, Buzzard doesn’t consider the equal Majesty, Power and Glory bestowed by Yehowah, in His omnipotence, on Yehowshuwa`, His Son. Proper Son. Generated from Himself in “the fullness of time”.

    Third, Buzzard completely ignores that Yehowshuwa` is the Incarnation of Yehowah Eternal Logos, which (which …) is an eternal, essential attribute of Yehowah.

    Is this “polytheism”? Who cares? We are not speaking of the Ugaritic and Canaanean “gods”, against which Deut 6:4 was affirmed, are we? We are speaking of Yehowah‘s own Son …

    MdS

  24. Marg says:

    1 Cor 8 speaks of US/WE through him; that is the new creation and THROUGH is right.

    Thank you, Anthony. This part of the verse was not discussed previously, so this is something new to add to the rest.

    The whole sentence has four distinct parts:

    There is one God, the Father, FROM whom are all things, and we FOR him, and
    one Lord, Jesus Christ, THROUGH whom are all things, and we THROUGH him.

    So:
    1 (a) the one God is the SOURCE of all things, and
    (b) he is the GOAL of our existence (even though sin has separated us from him).
    Also:
    2 (a) the one Lord is the AGENT through whom all things come, and
    (b) he is the MEDIATOR through whom we are reconciled to God.

    That takes care of past, present and future. The one Lord is the agent/mediator through whom God creates, redeems, judges, rules.

    As for other suggestions regarding the meaning of 2 (a), they do not fit the grammatical restraints of dia when used with the GENITIVE of a PERSON.

  25. Anthony Buzzard says:

    Marg, you are assuming that DIA cannot be used of wisdom!!! Jesus is what wisdom became.
     
    My insistence here is that you are contradicting so much text I think in making Jesus into a non-real human being. Christians are hopelessly divided here.  This is not a good idea.

    It is not clear that in 1 Cor 8 the “all things” means the birds and the bees!  Paul has defined the all things as “authorities” in Col 1.

    Do you not think that “through whom ARE all things and we through him” could not be the same creation? Why not? The tense is present not past; and the WE speaks of the Christian’s present creation.
     
    What about the causal EN with aorist in Col and the spectacular change of tense when the present creation is THROUGH Jesus?  (Col 1:16)

  26. Marg says:

    Let’s review, Anthony.
    On the thread previously noted (comment 39, third page) you said:

    ‘Through the agency of’ is for me exactly the same as ‘with Jesus as the attendant circumstances’. Jesus is the attendant circumstance of the whole creation. … Have a look at TDNT, if you can (Vol 2:65-70).

    Please note: You are talking about Jesus (a PERSON) being the “attendant circumstance of the whole creation“. And you cite the TDNT in support of your statement.

    So I looked at the TDNT and found this:

    The formula “through Christ” … is also to be taken more often in the sense that Christ mediates the action of another, i.e., the action of God, namely, creation (Jn. 1:3; 1 C. 8:6; Col. 1:16);

    Notice that Christ is mediating the action of God in creation, and one of the examples is 1 Corinthians 8:6.

    Putting the two together, the TDNT says that in 1 Corinthians 8:6, Christ is mediating the action of God in creation; or, to use your words, the whole creation.

    In other words, the TDNT does NOT support your explanation. Instead, it supports the obvious meaning of Paul’s words, namely:
    The one Lord is the mediator through whom all things come FROM the one God.
    He is also the mediator through whom we are redeemed FOR the one God.

    This is Paul’s argument to convince the Corinthians that idols are NOTHING. Nothing comes FROM them, nothing comes THROUGH them. They are worthless.

    The argument covers everything, and there is nothing contradictory in it. It’s a powerful argument, just as it is written.

  27. Xavier says:

    Marg

    So what category of Being was this preexistent “agent” Who help create the “all things” with God the Father? i.e., an angel, God/god?

  28. Anthony Buzzard says:

    Marg,

    These issues will never be solved by struggling with a single preposition!

    Dia plus the genitive has a CAUSAL sense too, as you see in TDNT. The PRESENT creation is THROUGH Jesus. The Genesis creation is with Jesus IN MIND. That is because “the word” is the plan through which GOD created in Genesis.

    The light is not a person in Jn 1:5 but it is a person in v. 10. The distinction between auto and auton shows how precise John is.

    Then in Col 1:16 the passive verb is a DIVINE PASSIVE: “All things WERE created (by GOD) IN Jesus”; i.e., with him “in intention” (Dunn as quoted by Xavier).

    The point is that the synoptics are quite clear that GOD made them male and female. “God, [not Jesus], rested on the 7th day”. They also give a full account of the ORIGIN of the Son and they are meant to stave off a non-human Jesus.

    Judaism never, EVER, believed that the Messiah was LITERALLY alive before he was born!

    Yes, Jesus is very much the ‘agent’ of the NEW Creation, but a pre-human is incoherent and the Trinity winds up making Mary the mother of a BODY and not a person [cp. Catholicism which sees Mary as theotokos].

    Once you speak of a LITERAL pre-life you are automatically DENYING the death of the Son.

    If Jesus preexisted as an angel, God/god or ANY OTHER TYPE/CATEGORY of Being he cannot die!

    These are the huge issues.

  29. Marg says:

    Judaism never, EVER, believed that the Messiah was LITERALLY alive before he was born!

    This article in the Jewish Encyclopedia (http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/10729-messiah#anchor14) seems to suggest otherwise. I will quote (emphasis added):

    The preexistent Messiah is presented also in the Haggadah (Pes. 54a; Ned. 39a; Yal?. i. 20; et al.), where the name of the Messiah is included among the seven things created before the world was made, and where he is called “Yinnon,” reference being made to Ps. lxxii. 17 (which passage probably was in the mind of the author of the Messiological section of Enoch when writing xlviii. 3). That, contrary to the view of Weber (“Jüdische Theologie,” 2d ed., p. 355) and others, it is actual preexistence which is meant here, and not predestination, is evident from the additional remark—”According to another view, only the Torah and the Throne of Glory were [actually] created; as to the other [five] things the intention was formed to create them” (Yal?., l.c.; in regard to “the name of the Messiah” compare the comment above to Enoch, xlviii. 3). Finally, the preexistence of the Messiah in paradise is minutely described in “The Revelation of R. Joshua b. Levi” (see Jew. Encyc. i. 680), in Midrash Konen (Jellinek, “B. H.” ii. 29), and in “Seder Gan Eden” (ib. iii. 132 et seq., 195). In the first two, regardless of the apparent anomaly, the preexistent Messiah is called “Messiah ben David.”

    Whether the encyclopedia is right or wrong, it indicates that Anthony’s emphatic statement is not justified.

    By the way, the Messiah is not an angel, judging from the first two chapters of Hebrews. But that is another topic.

  30. Marg says:

    I’m not sure what happened to the quotation, but here it is again, without any emphasis added:

    The preexistent Messiah is presented also in the Haggadah (Pes. 54a; Ned. 39a; Yal?. i. 20; et al.), where the name of the Messiah is included among the seven things created before the world was made, and where he is called “Yinnon,” reference being made to Ps. lxxii. 17 (which passage probably was in the mind of the author of the Messiological section of Enoch when writing xlviii. 3). That, contrary to the view of Weber (“Jüdische Theologie,” 2d ed., p. 355) and others, it is actual preexistence which is meant here, and not predestination, is evident from the additional remark—”According to another view, only the Torah and the Throne of Glory were [actually] created; as to the other [five] things the intention was formed to create them” (Yal?., l.c.; in regard to “the name of the Messiah” compare the comment above to Enoch, xlviii. 3). Finally, the preexistence of the Messiah in paradise is minutely described in “The Revelation of R. Joshua b. Levi” (see Jew. Encyc. i. 680), in Midrash Konen (Jellinek, “B. H.” ii. 29), and in “Seder Gan Eden” (ib. iii. 132 et seq., 195). In the first two, regardless of the apparent anomaly, the preexistent Messiah is called “Messiah ben David.”

  31. Anthony Buzzard says:

    Marg

    Thanks, will you please read Dalman, Words of Jesus, please and post again.

    Where do these texts speak of an actual conscious and active Jesus/Son of God alive before he was born?

    Show us that the Messiah, son of David, was LITERALLY older than David.

    Yes, of course, the true Jesus preexists his SECOND coming [i.e, in prophecy, Dan 7 etc.], but where does he literally preexist his own birth?!

  32. Marg says:

    I can’t improve on the Jewish Encyclopedia, Anthony.

    In the meantime,

    Dia plus the genitive has a CAUSAL sense too, as you see in TDNT.

    This has made me look carefully (again) at what the TDNT says about dia used with the Genitive.
    There are five sections, the last of which is 5. Causal:
    This again is subdivided into two sections:
    a. of the cause: “in consequence of,” “on the basis of,” “on account of”. The cause, in this case, is a THING, not a person, as the examples indicate:
    Romans 8:3: For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through (dia) the FLESH…
    2 Corinthians 9:13: they glorify God for (dia = on account of) your OBEDIENCE …

    The second subheading is b. of the author: “from,” “for the sake of.” The examples referring to God are R. 11:36, Hb. 2: 10, and 1 C. 1:9, which says :
    God is faithful, through dia whom you were called into fellowship with His Son …

    God is clearly not acting as an AGENT of anyone. He is the CAUSE – the ultimate SOURCE – of the action.
    This causal usage is not possible in 1 Co. 8:6, because the CAUSE (the ultimate source) is already identified as the FATHER. So in connection with “the one Lord,” the only possible meaning is through the agency of. As the TDNT states:

    The formula “through Christ” … is also to be taken more often in the sense that Christ mediates the action of another, i.e., the action of God, namely, creation (Jn. 1:3; 1 C. 8:6; Col. 1:16); the revelation of salvation and reconciliation (Jn. 1:17; 3:17; Ac. 10:36; 2 C. 5:18; Col. 1:20), miracles (Ac. 2:22); judgment (R. 2:16); the consummation of salvation (R. 5:9; 1 C. 15:57); the impartation of the Spirit (Tt. 3:6). …

    Notice: that Christ mediates the action of another, i.e., the action of God, namely, creation …
    And one of the examples given is 1 Corinthians 8:6.

    That seems to settle the issue, so far as the TDNT is concerned.

  33. Anthony Buzzard says:

    Marg

    OK, You are working HARD at the prepositions; then in 1 Cor 8 the new creation is in mind as shown by “and WE…” Now prove that Paul is speaking of Jesus as the direct agent in the first creation in 1 Cor 8. And do not forget that Jesus is what wisdom became.

    As long as you have Jesus alive before being born, this would make him NON-human.

    While working the prepositions will you unpack clearly what category of person Jesus was in the OT times? Angel or God/god or human or what?

    And will you tell us WHEN the SON was begotten?

    Thanks, please do not leave these questions out.

  34. Xavier says:

    Anthony

    Maybe she’ll answer you. :/

  35. Marg says:

    Your questions, Anthony, are merely an attempt to hide the fact that you misrepresented the TDNT, and said something about judaism that is clearly not true.

    I don’t know the metaphysical qualities of God OR his Son, beyond what the Bible tells us. Both are holy. Both are love. Both are light.

    In other words, the Son is like his Father – which should come as no surprise.

    Anthony, you have made statements that are wrong. It would be to your credit if you admitted it. That would leave the way clear to move on to something else.

  36. Greg says:

    I can honestly see both sides.

    On the one hand, I have to wonder, what happened to that fully conscious person who suddenly found himself a seed in a woman’s body? What happened to his awareness, his memories? And when he grew in wisdom and stature before God and men as Luke has it (Luke 2:52), was he merely recalling that which he already knew? It seems absurd and would seem to destroy any possibility of true humanity.

    On the other hand, is it so difficult to imagine that the Spirit of Christ is eternal (see I Peter 1:11)? I just can’t fathom how a personage so central to the history of the universe and its salvation as Jesus could have an origin like every other human being (with the exception of the virgin conception, which of course in itself is pregnant with exegetical possibility). The Messiah cannot be just a man, for we are warned in Psalm 146 not to put our trust in a son of man.

  37. Marg says:

    I understand you, Greg.
    I was planning to refer to an earlier comment of yours, in which you said something about “semantics” being PROBABLY the source of a lot of the divisions that have occurred in the past (and presently tarnish the testimony of the church). I won’t try to find the comment, but I do agree.

    It seems as though errors breed errors. I believe it’s called the “ditch syndrome”. Theologians see a ditch on one side of the road, veer violently in the opposite direction, and end up in a ditch on the other side. Then each ditch fills with people who have no sympathy for anyone who isn’t in the same ditch.

    Whether or not the Messiah had a prior existence, we have to remember that EVERYTHING came from God. It was God who prepared a body for him (Hebrews 10:5). And his response was, “I come to do your will, O God” (v. 7).
    Psalm 40:6-8 ends with the clause: “I delight to do your will, O my God.” And that could easily be the attitude of the already existing Son to his Father’s plan. That plan was to make him a man – a REAL man of flesh and blood – subject to all the limitations of manhood.

    That can all be seen in the manhood of Jesus. As he grew, physically and mentally, his attitude toward God remained constant: “I always do the things that please the Father.” That NEVER altered, or he would not have been the sinless sacrifice that we sinful humans need.

    We are only human – that’s ALL we are – so we needn’t be surprised that we can’t absorb all we would like to know.
    But it also means there will never come a time when we can’t be learning something new.
    I find that exciting.

  38. Anthony Buzzard says:

    Marg,

    You have given us not a clue as to the begetting of the SON!

    Hebrews 1 says that God did not speak in a SON in the OT times! That is because there was NO Son at that time.

    The simplicity of truth is turned into a nightmare of argumentation and confusion once the SON is projected back into the OT. This ruins the whole plan of God to cause His Son to be born in the fullness of times.
    A preexisting SON cannot be the descendant of David, which the real Son of God must be.

    It remains clear that in Judaism there is no actual, literal preexisting Messiah! The NAME of the Messiah is prepared before creation but not the Messiah himself. If that is not clear Paul makes it clear by saying that the first Adam precedes the second.

    Again, we are to test the spirits and cling to the spirit which affirms the Messiah, as the one who was human.

  39. Xavier says:

    Greg

    The Messiah cannot be just a man, for we are warned in Psalm 146 not to put our trust in a son of man.

    Thought you were with us buddy.

    Jesus was not “just” or “mere man”, as Orthodoxs love to point out thus contructing a straw man argument. The Messiah is the 2nd adam, made immortal and able to save because of his incredible work AS just that man.

    Jesus was no more “mere man” than the 1st adam ever was.

  40. villanovanus says:

    @ Marg (November 21, 2012 at 8:19 am)

    I am a little confused by the suggestion that after the resurrection the word “God” refers to TWO, and not just one. Is there a biblical example of its being used that way?

    Actually, not only after the Resurrection, but even before the Incarnation, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was fully God.” (John 1:1), so Jesus, who IS the Incarnation of God’s Eternal Logs, IS God.

    The whole point, as I have repeatedly said, is NOT whether Jesus is divine-human, God-man (he IS, and on sound scriptural basis), BUT whether the pre-incarnated Christ, that is the Word, was a person, a “he”. There is no reason to affirm that he was, and there are many reasons to affirm that he wasn’t

    Once again …

    [villanovanus, November 20, 2012 at 9:50 am]… not a single non-trinitarian here considers those verses ([1 Cor 8:6, Heb 1:10], “as well as other passages”) conclusive not only for the “co-equal, co-eternal, tri-personal tri-unity”, but even for the more modest “personal pre-existence” of the Logos. In fact, non-trinitarians affirm that there is a perfectly satisfactory non-trinitarian –and even non-personal-pre-existence– explanation for ALL those verses and passages.

    … and I notice that you have carefully avoided to come back on this …

    [Marg] In any case, I am glad of the confirmation that the earliest readers (and writers) understood the NT in the same way that Clarke does. At the moment, I understand it the same way.

    The only Church Father that I explicitly named as a Subordinationist trinitarian, Origen (c.185–c.254), certainly wasn’t one of the “earliest readers (and writers)”. In fact, the problem openly started with a previous Christian author (a convert from heathenism), Justin Martyr (100–ca.165) who, following in the footsteps of the Jewish theologian and Middle -Platonic philosopher Philo of Alexandria (20 BC – 50 CE), affirmed that there was a “second god” (deutheros theos), that manifested himself in the theophanies (divine manifestations) of the Old Testament, before becoming incarnated in Jesus Christ.

    This is Christianity’s “original sin”.

    All the rest (Subordinationism, Arianism, full–fledged the “co-equal, co-eternal, tri-personal tri-unity”) is only a consequence of the clumsy (maybe worse …) attempts to compensate for this “original sin.”

    MdS

  41. Marg says:

    It remains clear that in Judaism there is no actual, literal preexisting Messiah!

    Perhaps you didn’t read the Jewish Encyclopedia:
    strong>

    That … it is actual preexistence which is meant here, and not predestination, is evident from the additional remark, etc.

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