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.

640 Comments

  1. Miguel de Servet
    October 7, 2015 @ 5:35 pm

    Dale,

    it happened again: the comment that I posted about 7 hours ago, on a comment by Roman, posted about 8 hours ago has disappeared from trinities.org, but a copy is still visible at DISQUS. So I re-posted it, about 3 hours ago, at trinities.org (from the copy at DISQUS): this time it did appear at trinities.org, as #comment-2295108720. Just out of curiosity, I tried again, and it did appear at trinities.org, as #comment-2295377915, BUT the previous copy has disappeared from the discussion. What is even more puzzling is that, when one of my two (identical) comments appear, Rivers’ comment on Roman (posted about 5 hours ago – #comment-2294890541) disappears.

    Do you know anything about it? If it’s not designed, it seems spooky.

    • Miguel de Servet
      October 8, 2015 @ 5:11 am

      Dale

      I think I have understood what happens. For some peculiar reason, probably connected to DISQUS’ clumsy and awkward environment, if, in the “Recent Comments” window, one presses …

      1. … on the title of the original post (e.g.Kermit Zarley on “My Lord and my God.”) one gets the full post with ALL the comments, BUT does NOT get redirected to the relevant “recent post” which, because of all the different “nesting” levels, is rather difficult to retrieve.

      2, … one presses on the beginning of the relevant comment, one DOES get redirected to that comment, BUT the discussion does NOT include other comments that might have been written, in the meantime, by other commenters. So the overall discussion is not easy to follow.

      • Dale Tuggy
        October 8, 2015 @ 10:26 am

        Hi – thanks for this tip. Yes, there is this difference. I’m aware that some don’t like Disqus, but it seemed better to me than the system that comes with WordPress.

  2. GregLogan25
    September 25, 2015 @ 6:57 pm

    At the outset, I find the reading of Thomas speaking to BOTH Jesus and God inside of Him rather silly and foreign to natural communication. I have heard this before as we all have. It sounds as a painful effort to rectify this text instead of the natural reading that one would expect based on Jesus own exegesis in Jn10:30ff. Reaching for such weak – rather transparently painful – reeds does dis-service to the glory of the man Christ Jesus – whom we worship as our Lord and our God.

    • Dale Tuggy
      October 8, 2015 @ 10:37 am

      Hi Greg, my experience is that “at the outset” some people find PATENTLY RIDICULOUS readings of the NT which they’ve not fully heard the case for. Have you actually examined Zarley’s case?

      Also, perhaps you think that the point of John 10 is to teach that Jesus is claiming to be God. I beg to differ; we must take care not trust too much in the accusations of his enemies. http://trinities.org/blog/jesuss-argument-in-john-10/

      Is it silly to confess Jesus as Lord, in distinction to the one God, aka the Father? Paul didn’t think so, and makes this confession in an undisputed book probably written decades before the 4th gospel. http://trinities.org/blog/podcast-15-are-pauls-one-god-and-one-lord-one-and-the-same/ http://trinities.org/blog/podcast-16-how-is-jesus-the-one-lord/

      • GregLogan25
        October 8, 2015 @ 11:25 am

        Hi Dale

        Thanks for the follow-up – and thanks for creating one of the nerd corners of the world where I fit right in…:-)

        Please note – you are preaching to the choir! You obviously have not been reading my rather vigorous interactions with Rivers et. al. My Christology is Biblical Unitarian (Dynamic Monarchian) nominally including the virgin birth (vs. Adoptionist brand – though I am not opposed to considering).

        My point re Jn10:30 is simple – men are called gods. Jesus told us so. Why then can’t Jesus be called god????? That is easily the most natural reading of Thomas stmt in Jn:20. Zarley’s exegeis – which heard 30 years ago in Bible College – is forced and really just painful. I am not interested in moving from straight text in my reading of scripture unless the context provides otherwise (Heb1:10 – 12 would be a great example of the context providing a much wider application than the straight text). Trin exegesis is horribly forced and painful – which is why they look so silly, confused and are easily mis-led (hence, a GOP congress….).

        Speaking of straight text – you are right – Paul is clear in ICor8:6. Buzzard and his side-kick should have stuck to this text (vs the schma) in their debate with Brown and the joker who sat next to him if he felt it necessary to approach Theologically rather than Christologically.

        Best,

        Greg Logan

  3. Tom Torbeyns
    September 11, 2015 @ 8:57 am

    The “Paul in 1 Corinthians 8” link doesn’t work.

  4. Miguel de Servet
    January 28, 2015 @ 1:23 pm

    Nothing is easy. In the JW translation we read:

    In answer Thomas said to him: “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:28 NWT)

    • Tom Torbeyns
      September 11, 2015 @ 8:58 am

      Fascinating! 🙂

  5. Jaco van Zyl
    January 28, 2015 @ 1:57 am

    This picture looked eerily familiar to me… And then I remembered; it’s one of the Watchtower’s pictures of Jesus’ appearance to Thomas. Blast from the past, lol!

    • Dale Tuggy
      January 28, 2015 @ 10:58 am

      Yeah, they have some talented cartoonists over there. I didn’t know it was theirs, but at least now its being put to better theological use. 🙂

      • Jaco van Zyl
        January 28, 2015 @ 12:01 pm

        Oh yes. Finally some solid theology.

        • Tom Torbeyns
          September 11, 2015 @ 9:00 am

          Glad to hear you guys are not in the “Jesus is an angel” cult. The pictures sometimes contain occult hidden stuff.

          • Rivers
            September 11, 2015 @ 9:14 am

            Tom,

            Well, some follks here are into the “preexistent spirit being” idea (which seems like just a way of avoiding the “Jesus was an angel” language and believing pretty much the same thing). Others have a difficult time getting these folks to explain “what” or “who” this “spirit being” was before Jesus (since they no longer want to call it an angel).

            • Tom Torbeyns
              September 11, 2015 @ 9:20 am

              Just the angel thing, to me seems so at odds with Hebrews 🙂

  6. Rivers
    December 30, 2014 @ 2:35 pm

    Rose,

    The word ‘UPARXW in a Present Active Participle form (i.e. “existing”) doesn’t have to refer to anything other that what is true of Jesus Christ at the time that Paul is writing the letter. The verb ‘UPARXW certainly doesn’t connote anything about “preexistence” or a “dual nature” either.

    Since Jesus Christ wasn’t “exalted” until after the time of his earthly ministry in the context (Philippians 2:9-11), there’s no reason to think that he was “existing in the form of God” (Philippians 2:6) prior to his resurrection and ascension.

  7. River
    December 30, 2014 @ 2:35 pm

    Rose,

    The word ‘UPARXW in a Present Active Participle form (i.e. “existing”) doesn’t have to refer to anything other that what is true of Jesus Christ at the time that Paul is writing the letter. The verb ‘UPARXW certainly doesn’t connote anything about “preexistence” or a “dual nature” either.

    Since Jesus Christ wasn’t “exalted” until after the time of his earthly ministry in the context (Philippians 2:9-11), there’s no reason to think that he was “existing in the form of God” (Philippians 2:6) prior to his resurrection and ascension.

  8. Rose Brown
    December 30, 2014 @ 11:00 am

    Rivers,

    The Greek word DOXA is not used to Christ in the Carmen Cristi.

    AND

    The Greek word UPARCHWN does mean ” existed before until now.” It basically talks about prior existence which is still ongoing up to the present.

    Therefore, it is quite evident that reading the Carmen Cristi as a purely resurrection passage is a mere theory.

    • GregLogan25
      September 30, 2015 @ 12:45 pm

      Rose, Rivers – Uparxon is a present active participle in a sentence with an Aorist verb – therefore, it is present AT THE TIME OF the Aorist action – which was during Jesus’ earthly ministry.

  9. Rose Brown
    December 30, 2014 @ 10:49 am

    John.

    You said: “I have always been puzzled by the words ‘being in the form of a servant’.
    Being a servant is a ‘role’ one fills and has nothing to do with appearance.”

    If it has nothing to do with the appearance of a slave , then, to be in the form of God does not talk about being in the appearance of God, Right?

    But if being a servant is ‘a role’ , then, what is being ‘God’ ? 😀

    • GregLogan25
      September 25, 2015 @ 6:55 pm

      Rose – John nailed it perfectly. Whatever the servant thing means is analogous to the God thing.

      • Miguel de Servet
        September 25, 2015 @ 7:33 pm

        Greg

        Whatever the servant thing means is analogous to the God thing.

        There is a relevant difference: while Jesus “existed in the form of God”, he “took on the form of a slave”.

        • GregLogan25
          September 25, 2015 @ 7:48 pm

          MS – Great observation – however, I don’t think that overcomes the obvious parallelism that Paul would be establishing regardless of the MEANS of obtaining those respective forms. The parallel is far too graphic in the Gk text.

          • Miguel de Servet
            September 25, 2015 @ 8:57 pm

            MEANS?

            If Jesus “existed in the form of God”, he didn’t have to resort to any “means”, to obtain the “form of God”.

            • GregLogan25
              September 25, 2015 @ 9:59 pm

              MS – Certainly on the surface that is a reasonable point and one to consider. The issue of Paul’s intent using uparxw remains unclear – though perhaps we s/work our way backwards by understanding the morphe tou theou as an approach. Thus, the fundamental parallel between the application of morphe becomes very relevant as the Greek makes the parallel very clear.

              Likewise there are other key parallels in this set of vss that may help as well.

              One can asked – wth does “form of God” even mean…???

              • Miguel de Servet
                September 26, 2015 @ 3:17 am

                Greg

                Certainly on the surface that is a reasonable point and one to consider.

                “Great observation” … “on the surface”? C’mon, what do you need?

                The issue of Paul’s intent using uparxw remains unclear – though perhaps we s/work our way backwards by understanding the morphe tou theou as an approach.

                Issue? Unclear? Approach? Surely something doesn’t jibe with your pre-conceptions …

                … the fundamental parallel between the application of morphe becomes very relevant as the Greek makes the parallel very clear. (…)

                Sure. My argument is that, if Jesus “existed in the form of god”, whereas he “emptied himself by taking on the form of a slave”, the former morph? is one he was born with (I said born with, not “pre-existed”with), whereas the latter is one that he chose to adopt, out of obedience to God.

                • GregLogan25
                  September 26, 2015 @ 5:19 am

                  MS

                  First – I am unclear as to the range of meaning of uparxw. Why did Paul use this rather than eimi or ginomai?

                  Second – I don’t believe there is any basis to believe that “morphe tou theou” occured at birth. We don’t know when this status was initiated.

                  We still don’t have any sense for the meaning of morphe tou theou. The basic concept of “form” for God is obviously nonsensical except with respect to functional position which would perfectly fit with the form of a servant.

                  • Miguel de Servet
                    September 26, 2015 @ 7:07 am

                    Greg,

                    First, I find it rather bizarre that you take issue with Paul’s use of hyparch? and morph? in Philippians 2:5-11, as though he was not expert in the use of koine Greek.

                    Second, at least Luke 1:35 (even if you don’t want to consider John 1:14), provides all the “basis” needed.

                    Third, Jesus did NOT exist (hyparch?), as a person, before his conception/birth. So, it makes perfect sense that, since his conception/birth, he “existed in the form of God”.

                    • GregLogan25
                      September 26, 2015 @ 10:58 am

                      MS

                      I am not taking issue with Paul’s use of koine Greek – though I don’t know if he was an expert. I am taking issue with our and, in particular, my understanding of the Greek in this text.

                      Greg

                    • Miguel de Servet
                      September 26, 2015 @ 1:17 pm

                      Greg

                      1. Sorry, I don’t understand what sort of problems you have with the Greek of Philippians 2:5-11 … unless, as I have already suggested, something doesn’t jibe with your pre-conceptions …

                      2. I have already dealt with Luke 1:35 extensively, and I believe you have already read what I have written. Expressions like those used by the angel in Luke 1:35 express the same as “existed in the form of god”.

                      3. What do you mean by “His anointing”? The Baptism? The Transfiguration? The Resurrection? The Ascension? The Glorification? Anyway, surely you realize that “taking the form of a slave” narratively and logically follows “existing in the form of God”

                    • GregLogan25
                      September 27, 2015 @ 8:39 pm

                      MS – Perhaps a reading of Acts 10:37, 38 re His anointing?

                    • Miguel de Servet
                      September 29, 2015 @ 5:27 pm

                      Greg,

                      if I understand you correctly, you seems to make “His anointing” coincide with the Baptism.

                      But you still ignore my comment that “taking the form of a slave” narratively and logically follows “existing in the form of God” (Philippians 2:6,7).

                    • GregLogan25
                      September 29, 2015 @ 5:34 pm

                      MS –

                      With all due respect, my genuine effort is to not do anything except read the straight text in a given context. There is not a given context in Acts10:37, 38 so I take the primary text at face value – Jesus was anointed by the Holy Spirit. How do you think God could make that more clear?? The larger context of scripture fits this scenario perfectly in every respect. Jesus became the Messiah formally and the Messianic ministry began (note the following miracles…:-) ).

                      Does this make sense?

                      I agree re the two form statements are absolute parallels – that was my point earlier. Whatever the sense “form of slave” (essentially position with functional emphasis in larger context) must necessarily be “form of God” (essentially position with functional emphasis – even as the larger context of all of scripture repeatedly confirms this – Jesus most emphatically in John).

                      BTW – I am unclear if you maintain a Biblical Unitarian theology? I know Sean maintains Arian and Roman maintains trin.

                    • Miguel de Servet
                      September 29, 2015 @ 6:12 pm

                      Whatever the sense “form of slave” (…) must necessarily be “form of God” (…).

                      It obviously suits you to ignore that “taking the form of a slave” narratively and logically follows “existing in the form of God”. So, while there is a parallel, “form of slave” is certainly NOT “form of God”.

                      I am unclear if you maintain a Biblical Unitarian theology?

                      I consider myself a strict monotheist, in that I deny the “trinity”, and also any personal “pre-existence” of God’s Son.

                      I believe and affirm that God’s Word aand Spirit are NOT persons, BUT God’s eternal attributes: to use an OT image, His “arms”.

                    • GregLogan25
                      September 29, 2015 @ 6:38 pm

                      MS

                      We share the exact same theo/christological model (essentially dynamic monarchianism if you maintain a virgin birth – adoptionist monarchianism if you do not. I would re-express my Pneumatology in strictly Biblical terms which does not include “arms” but I understand the figurative nature of the language.

                      I did not mean that “form of slave” and “form of God” are intrinsically synonymous – only t.hat the word “form” would – regardless of related prepositional phrase

                    • Miguel de Servet
                      September 30, 2015 @ 7:20 am

                      Greg,

                      1. Most scholars would consider “dynamic monarchianism” as exacly the same as “adoptionist monarchianism”. That being said, what prevents you (apparently) from “maintain[ing] a virgin birth”?

                      2. However you insist on the lexical parallel in the use of the word ????? in Philippians 2:6 and 2:7, once again (and hopefully for the last time), “taking the form of a slave” narratively and logically follows “existing in the form of God”.

                    • GregLogan25
                      September 30, 2015 @ 12:56 pm

                      re Dynamic Monarchianism and Adoptionism
                      Can you provide a list of scholars (vs Wiki and Encyclopeida Brit – which I believe is still in error – though I did have them edit out the heretical statement they made re monarchianism… I take a wee bit of pride in that!

                      re Virgin Birth
                      I acknowledge the virgin birth based on total Biblical authority. I question the virgin birth as genuine because it is solely seen in two texts – no mention in Mark… Kind of odd. Not in John. And, as far as I know, never once mentioned by Paul – indicating that he did not know about it… I may be wrong – but this just seems a little weird to omit one of the greatest events of human history from even one scant reference in the entire Pauline corpus…. Not in Peter or Hebrews either. In fact the Hebrews indicates that we don’t know the lineage of the Messiah…based on statements regarding Melchizedek.

                      I am wondering if this was part of the stories floating around about Jesus after the fact that was collated into the books that we know call the Gospels

                      Regardless, this does reflect early church belief.

                    • Miguel de Servet
                      September 30, 2015 @ 4:50 pm

                      Can you provide a list of scholars (vs Wiki and Encyclopeida Brit –
                      which I believe is still in error – though I did have them edit out the
                      heretical statement they made re monarchianism… I take a wee bit of
                      pride in that!

                      If you make a simple online search, I doubt that you will find any text where Dynamic Monarchianism and Adoptionism are not considered equivalent expressions.

                      Nor is the virgin conception/birth sufficient to discriminate between the two allegedly distinct doctrines. For instance Theodotus of Byzantium (flourished late 2nd century) “claimed that Jesus was born of the Virgin Mary and the Holy Spirit as a non-divine man, and though later “adopted” by God upon baptism (that is to say, he became the Christ), was not himself God until after his resurrection”.

                    • GregLogan25
                      September 30, 2015 @ 5:00 pm

                      I have seen a bit of what you are saying.

                      Frankly we have no idea what Theodotus said – no extant or even copies of autographa – but the fragment above makes sense as a system – though I am loss as to why he was born of a virgin – but later needed to be “adopted”…

                      No matter – this is not really relevant to me. What is really relelvant is “the MAN who told you the truth that He heard from God”. Now THAT is relevant!!!!! Oh yes, and that resurrection thing!!

                    • GregLogan25
                      September 30, 2015 @ 12:59 pm

                      🙂

                      I agree that taking the form of a slave (not servant… wow!) narratively and logically follows the form of God. Regarding this – there was never any question.

                      The reason I started at form of slave is simply because that is easier to grasp the parameters of the sense of the word – and therefore found an approach by working backwards to understand form in context of God.

                    • GregLogan25
                      September 30, 2015 @ 12:51 pm

                      MS – BTW – do we agree, based on clear scripture, that Jesus anointing occurred at His baptism??? Yes? I would like to see some progress here…:-)

                    • Miguel de Servet
                      September 30, 2015 @ 4:28 pm

                      Greg,

                      actually, it was I who was saying that your reference to Acts 10:37,38 seems to imply that you make “His anointing” coincide with the Baptism. I agree. At the same time, I do NOT consider, based on a broader reading of the NT (in particular the Gospel of Luke, the same author of Acts) that Jesus’ Sonship is a mere adoption and “anointing”.

                    • GregLogan25
                      September 30, 2015 @ 4:35 pm

                      Acknowledged. We have achieved agreement…:-)!!!

                      While I acknowledge the NT teaches the virgin birth (Mt, Lk), I have become uncertain that this was the earliest teaching… but it really does not matter to me one way or the other. What matters is His resurrection!!!!!!!!!!

                    • Miguel de Servet
                      September 30, 2015 @ 5:10 pm

                      What matters is His resurrection!

                      Greg,

                      I agree: our faith is based on Jesus’ resurrection: to be accurate, on his bodily resurrection.

                      At the same time, as I have already recently commented elsewhere, I believe (with Raymond E. Brown) that Matthews and Lukes nativity accounts are not literary embellishments, but mark God’s will to give the highest importance not only to Jesus’ “exit” from his earthly mission, but also his “entry”.

                    • GregLogan25
                      September 30, 2015 @ 5:45 pm

                      I am good with all that!

                    • Rivers
                      September 30, 2015 @ 3:59 pm

                      Greg,

                      Paul’s reference to Jesus Christ “existing in the form of God” (Philippians 2:6) can also be referring to the time that Paul is writing the letter (since he uses a Present Active Participle for “existing”). Thus, it doesn’t have to refer back to either the time of his birth or his baptism.

                      I would argue that Jesus Christ didn’t have “the form of God” until after his exaltation (Philippians 2:9-11) when he received his “glorified body” (Philippians 3:21) and had become “the radiance of God’s glory” (Hebrews 1:3). Paul had seen the radiant appearance of the risen Jesus when he encountered him on the way to Damascus (Acts 26:13-15).

                      The term MORFH (translated “form”) that Paul used refers to the physical (visible) appearance of someone (e.g. Mark 16:12). Paul seems to be contrasting it with “the form (MORFH) of a servant, appearance of a man” in the following verses (Philippians 2:7-8). In the next chapter, he also made the same contrast between physical “bodies” in Philippians 3:21.

                    • GregLogan25
                      September 30, 2015 @ 4:22 pm

                      Rivers

                      My recollection of Greek grammar is that the particple tense is seen in the context of the main verb in the sense – which in this instance is aorist – past tense… Yes?? Therefore, the reference is something that Jesus did in the past and was done with – evidently his life on earth and more specifically during His ministry.

                      re: exaltation
                      How does this relate to who was seen in His transfiguration??

                      re Morphe
                      I acknowledge the basal sense as being very uni-dimensional. It seems there must be a more conceptual sense in light of the manner Paul is using it here… Thanks for Phil3:21 – powerful vs! BTW – note that v20 shows that our citizenship is not as an American to take dominion over America for Jesus…:-)

                    • Rivers
                      September 30, 2015 @ 4:43 pm

                      Greg,

                      What I think you’re referring to is the “Historical Present” where a Present Participle will sometimes appear with Aorist verbs in an historical narrative context. Although this is fairly common, it is always a matter of interpretation and is not a hard and fast “rule” of grammar or syntax.

                      In the context of Philippians 2:5-11, it could go either way for several reasons:

                      1. The context is both a present exhortation (Philippians 2:5) and also an historical accounting of Jesus himself (Philippians 2:7-11). Thus, the Present Participle in Philippians 2:6 could follow the Present Active verb (“be having”, Philippians 2:5), or dependent upon the subsequent Aorist verb (“regarded”, Philippians 2:6).

                      2. There is no Aorist verb at the end of Philippians 2:5. Where it says “which WAS also in Christ Jesus”, the verb “was” is added by the English translators who interpret “Christ Jesus” as a reference to Jesus himself.

                      However, without the verb at the end of 2:5, the “in Christ Jesus” clause could be referring to the state of being “in Christ Jesus” (i.e. being spiritual). Thus, the “who existing in the form of God” (2:6) would be related to the fact that the Philippians were (presently) “in Christ Jesus.”

                      3. A Present Active Participle usually simply refers to something that is characteristic of a person at the time of writing. Thus, it can be interpreted to mean that Jesus is “existing (presently) in the form of God” from the perspective of Paul who is writing the letter after Jesus has been glorified (Philippians 3:21).

                    • GregLogan25
                      September 30, 2015 @ 5:04 pm

                      ?? ?? ????? ???? ??????? ??? ???????? ??????? ?? ????? ??? ???,

                      The phrase en morphe seems pretty tightly attached to hegesato… I personally would see them at the same time period – I can’t see that as any other than the natural reading which is a basic hermenutic for me (you know, “man” means “man”…:-)

                    • Rivers
                      September 30, 2015 @ 6:56 pm

                      Greg,

                      OK, if you take “existing in the form of God” (Philippians 2:6) and “the form of a servant” (Philippians 2:7-8) as charactristic of Jesus Christ at the same period of time, then how do you explain that Jesus had two “forms” during time of his earthly ministry?

                      What to you think “form” (MORFH) means in this passage? How would you substantiate your definition of the term with exegetical evidence?

                    • GregLogan25
                      September 30, 2015 @ 8:33 pm

                      Great questions – esp. the second!

                      I don’t have a problem with Jesus having both positions/functions – in the position/function of God he also was in the position/function of a slave.

                      As you can see – I am using morphe as best rendered by “position with strong emphasis on function” based on both the context and the nature of what a slave actually is – a position with a set of functions. I fully acknowledge that this is an unusual use of the term morphe. I don’t know if I have run into it at any time and I have not looked at it closely. The sense basic is that there is this sort of outward structure of God/Slave with an inner essence of position/function. At present, that is the only way I can make sense of the passage and context.

                      This ended after Jesus’ death/resurrection – hence the aorist tense.

                    • Rivers
                      October 1, 2015 @ 9:08 am

                      Greg,

                      I think it’s problematic to suggest that MORFH (“form”) means “function” because there’s no exegetical evidence to support it. I’m glad that you acknowledge that your definition of MORFH is “unusual”. But, that also makes it unlikely to be plausible unless you can at least find the “unusual” use elsewhere and in a similar context.

                      Why do you think it’s difficult to take MORFH (“form”) in its ordinary sense of “outward visible appearance” in this context? There’s plenty of evidence that people could “see” that the “glory” of God (e.g. Isaiah 6:1; Acts 26:13-15) was quite different than the appearance of an human being (e.g. Isaiah 52:13-14). Paul seems to draw the same contrast between “humble” and “glorified” bodies in Philippians 3:21.

                      Why might you think that conceiving of a “dual-form” Jesus is any less difficult than the Trinitarian conception of a “dual-nature” Jesus or the Modalist conception of a “dual-manifestation” God-Jesus? Can you find any other examples of a “dual-form” being in scripture?

                    • GregLogan25
                      October 1, 2015 @ 11:44 am

                      Rivers

                      Good questions.

                      re Morphe
                      I am not keying on the function aspect – but the form of position. Function however is inherent and fills the meaning of position. A position with no function is like a balloon with no air (semi-reasonable analogy).

                      The basis for this conception is the context and particularly I am keying on the word “slave” and then “form of slave”. What does it mean to be in “the form of a slave”? If we understanding the sense of that phrase – we can work our way back to “form of God”. Yes? Does Jesus just “look” like a slave but isn’t really? It is apparent that Jesus is NOT a slave but He appears as a slave – yes? Just how does He appear as a slave? Well, what is a slave? A slave is a social position WITH a function. What is the whole context about? The context is about function – the function of how we treat one another…. Despite Jesus being the form of God (albeit not God), He took on the form of a slave (albeit not a slave), THEREFORE, you pathetic little Christian maggots (vs form of God) should at least be able to nice to one another….and at least talk to one another….. (OK, the maggot thing was a slight embellishment – but makes the point…:-) ). The whole context is the call to us based on the example of Jesus who was so high and debased himself so significantly – thus we also can at least make a little effort… Yes??

                      re dual nature
                      Because the dual form is taught – and the dual nature is not taught. I do not have any problem with the concept of a dual nature intrinsically – if it was formally, repeatedly and clearly taught. It isn’t anywhere – even once – remotely (except in the minds of men who are unable to grasp basic Biblical concepts).

                    • Rivers
                      October 1, 2015 @ 12:41 pm

                      Greg,

                      1. I completely agree that being a “slave” involves a certain “function.” However, I think it is the word “slave” (and not the word “form”) that carries that particular aspect of meaning. The word “form” is what introduces the implications for physical appearance.

                      For example, if I said “Onesimus was a slave”, we would understand his subordinate “function” without any reference to his “form” because that condition is inferred by the word “slave.” The same would be true of “God.” There’s no need to say “the form of …” in order communicate God’ unique “functional position.”

                      2. Since the “function” of God or a slave is inferred by the titles, we should ask ourselves what Paul intended to convey with “the form of …” before those titles. This is where we have to be careful to correctly define “form” (MORFH). Based upon the usage of the term throughout scripture (NT, LXX) it seems that MORFH should be defined as “visible appearance.”

                      Thus, I’m suggesting that the sense of “the form of God” and “the form of a servant” was probably a specific reference to the different physical appearances that accompanied the “functions” inherent in the different titles. This is what Paul seems to be alluding to in Philippians 3:21 where he draws a contrast between his pre-resurrection “humble body” and the “glorified body” of the risen Jesus. This is not only a matter of function, but also of a different physical appearance commensurate with the function. See also 1 Corinthians 15:39-44.

                      3. Incidentally, if you look at what Paul said in Galatians 4:1-5, it’s understandable that a “son” (Jesus) would be no different (functionally) than a “slave” prior to time of being glorified as the “heir” at a later time. This is why it was said that Jesus Christ “received the form of a servant” (Philippians 2:7-8) and humbled himself during the time he awaited his rightful appointment as High Priest (Hebrews 5:4-8).

                      4. OK, I don’t see the “dual form” in Philippians 2:6-8, but I understand that you do.

                    • Miguel de Servet
                      October 1, 2015 @ 12:34 pm

                      … a Present Participle will sometimes appear with Aorist verbs in an historical narrative context

                      Presumably Rivers is referring to the Present Active Participle ??????? and to the successive Aorist Deponent Indicative ???????. What Rivers perhaps doesn’t know (or maybe it doesn’t jibe with his wish to make true his principle whereby “[a] Present Active Participle usually simply refers to something that is characteristic of a person at the time of writing”) is that when a PAP is coordinated with a Verb in its Aorist tense, it accords with that tense: very much like the English Gerund. So, this is the only grammatically correct translation of ?? ?? ????? ???? ??????? ??? ???????? ??????? ?? ????? ??? ???:

                      … who though he exists existed in the form of God did not regard equality with God as something to be grasped … (Philippians 2:6)

                      … if you take “existing in the form of God” (Philippians 2:6) and “the form of a servant” (Philippians 2:7-8) as charactristic of Jesus Christ at the same period of time, then how do you explain that Jesus had two “forms” during time of his earthly ministry

                      The point of the whole Philippians 2:6-8 is NOT a matter of “same period of time”, BUT of the ????? ???? being fundamental (because of his incarnation and of his resurrection) as opposed to his ????? ?????? being temporary (limited to his successful earthly mission).

                    • Rivers
                      October 1, 2015 @ 1:29 pm

                      Miguel,

                      1. Your point is valid. However, Present Participles are not always dependent upon Aorist verbs. It is always a matter of context and interpretation (as in the case of any other syntactical equation). There are different translations of Philippians 2:6 because there is no “definitive” way to correctly translate UPARXWN based upon the grammar. Some translators literally translate UPARXWN as a Present Participle (“being” or “existing”) and some interpret it as a Past tense (“existed”).

                      2. I don’t have a problem with your comment about “temporary” (with regard to the earthly condition of Jesus Christ in “the form of a servant”). I just don’t think it has any implications for anything “fundamental” prior to that time.

                      It makes just as much sense to interpret the language to mean that Jesus Christ attained “the form of God” (Philippians 2:6) after he was “exalted” (Philippians 2:9-11) following his “obedience unto death” (Philippians 2:8). The grammar resolves nothing; rather, it opens up different possibilities of interpretation.

                    • Miguel de Servet
                      October 1, 2015 @ 5:57 pm

                      I will simply point out the most evident misunderstandings.

                      Present Participles are not always dependent upon Aorist verbs.

                      Correct. The principle of a PAP agreeing with the tense of the main (Indicative) verbe with which it is co-ordinated. So, if the PAP is coordinated with a Present, the PAP should be understood to be referring to the present, if it is coordinated with Perfect or Aorist, the PAP should be understood to be referring to the past. Oh, BTW, in English Present Participle is the same as Gerund, but it doesn’t mean that it expresses a present situation/tense (e.g. on arriving, the guests were greeted warmly; on arriving, the guests will be greeted warmly)

                      It makes perfectly good sense to interpret the language to mean that
                      Jesus Christ attained “the form of God” (Philippians 2:6) after he was
                      “exalted” (Philippians 2:9-11) following his “obedience unto death”
                      (Philippians 2:8).

                      No, it does not. See above. Precisely because “a PAP [???????] is coordinated with a Verb in its Aorist tense [???????], it accords with that tense”. Sorry, get over it: your “interpretation” is wrong, grammatically, conceptually, scripturally, theologically.

                    • Rivers
                      October 1, 2015 @ 7:38 pm

                      Miquel,

                      It isn’t convincing when you parrot information from a Greek grammar or lexicon and then misapply it in an endeavor to give your own opinions some kind of credibility. If you understood what you are talking about, you’d be able to speak with authority (of your own) on these issues.

                      The interpretation of Philippians 2:5-8 I’ve suggested is quite plausible and consistent with Paul’s usage of the language as well as the context. If you don’t want to believe it, then go on reading it the way you want to read it. It’s not my responsibility to convince you of anything.

                    • Miguel de Servet
                      October 2, 2015 @ 10:19 am

                      Greg seems to be perfectly aware of what you obviously are not. But you prefer to put your “exegetical” cart before text, language, grammar, everything … a sad case …

                      As for “go[ing] on reading it the way you want to read it”, that applies to Rivers with a vengeance …

                    • Rivers
                      October 2, 2015 @ 10:39 am

                      Miguel,

                      Since you claim that LOGOS refers to “an essential divine attribute”, could you please provide any textual, linguistic, and grammatical evidence that could substantiate your definition of the term?

                      Why don’t we start over here with you showing us how to interpret the Bible correctly without any “prejudice” and getting everything in the right order.

                    • Miguel de Servet
                      October 2, 2015 @ 1:58 pm

                      The Prologue to the GoJ (John 1:1-18), and also 1 John 1:1-4 (which vistually identifies ????? and ???) present to us the ????? in a way similar to the Greek philosophy of the past and also contemporary (Heraclitus, Plato, Aristotle, the Stoics, Philo), but without depending on the Greek philosophical approach, in fact depending on the OT for the concept of the dabar (see Deut 33:27; Job 40:9; Psalm 33:6; Psalm 119:89; Isaiah 53:1 – cp. John 12:38). Please spare me the fastidious comment that Isaiah used the Hebrew word sh?muw`ah and the translation in the GoJ ako?. What matters is that, in both, we find God’s “arm”.

                      As Rivers may know, the Hebrew language does not accommodate for abstractions, so an “essential divine attribute” will be rendered in Hebrew by the concrete word “arm”.

                    • GregLogan25
                      October 2, 2015 @ 3:30 pm

                      MS – Nice text – Jn12:38 in Greek – has both Logos (verbal content) – and Eipon (verbal action). Rivers and I had a brief review of this distinction – and great to see it right here in this text.

                    • Rivers
                      October 2, 2015 @ 4:23 pm

                      Miguel,

                      It’s incorrect to say that “the Hebrew language does not accommodate abstractions.” There are many abstract concepts communicated throughout the Hebrew scriptures (e.g. love, good, evil). Every language known to humanity has the capacity to communicate both concrete and abstract things.

                      It’s also naive to suggest that the use of the Hebrew word for “arm” has anything to do with your theory about “essential divine attributes.” For example, the implication of Genesis 19:16 is that the angels (ALHYM) who delivered Lot and his family from Sodom had arms and hands with which to “seize the hands of Lot and his family.”

                      Thus, there is no reason to suggest that God’s “arm” must be interpreted as an intangible “essential divine attribute.” The reason there is anthropomorphic language in scripture is because Adam was made in the “image” (physical shape) of “God” (ALHYM) which was manifested as “male” heavenly visitors (Genesis 18:1-2).

                    • Miguel de Servet
                      October 3, 2015 @ 6:14 pm

                      Every language ever known to humanity has the capacity to communicate both concrete and abstract things.

                      Good. So surely Rivers will explain this time (as he has carefully avoided to do previously) how the human author of Genesis would have expressed God’s will to “make man in our image, after our likeness”, intending by that to refer similarity in terms of reason, freedom and will, IF that was the author’s intention. No divagating this time, please.

                      For example, the implication of Genesis 19:16 is that the angels (ALHYM) who delivered Lot and his family from Sodom had arms and hands with which to “seize the hands of Lot and his family.”

                      Obvioulsy Rivers has not understood yet a rather basic rhetoric application: while a concrete noun as “arm” can be used to indicate something abstract as an attribute, the vice versa does NOT work. (A sword and/or a scale can express justice, but justice does not express a sword and/or a scale …)

                      The reason there is anthropomorphic language in scripture is because Adam was made in the “image” (physical shape) of “God” (ALHYM) which was manifested as “male” heavenly visitors (Genesis 18:1-2).

                      I am not aware that Rivers has answered my question, yet: why would God (or the angels) have a “phisical shape” at all, even before God (or the angels) appeared to men?

                    • Rivers
                      October 4, 2015 @ 11:33 am

                      Miquel,

                      It isn’t necessary to answer your question about “why angels have a physical shape.” It’s simply a matter of fact because we accept the historical testimony of scripture that such was the case when they appeared to the father of Israel (e.g. Genesis 18:1-2).

                      Yes, of course, the word “arm” can be used figuratively. I’m just suggesting that the physical appearance of the angels (ALHYM) who appeared throughout the history of Israel like “men” was probably the reason that human features and functions were attributed to God.

                      The Hebrew words translated “image” and “likeness” in Genesis 1:26 certainly don’t mean “reason, freedom, will” as you claim. You are just making that definition up without any usage whatsoever to substantiate it.

                    • Miguel de Servet
                      October 4, 2015 @ 12:34 pm

                      It isn’t necessary to answer your question about “why angels have a physical shape.” It’s simply a matter of fact because we accept the historical testimony of scripture that such was the case when they appeared to the father of Israel (e.g. Genesis 18:1-2).

                      It is a sign of ignorance, stupidity or bad faith (or a mix of them all) to retro-project something that we read no earlier than Genesis 18:1-2 as early back in the text as Genesis 1:26-27, even before man was created.

                      Yes, of course, the word “arm” can be used figuratively. I’m just suggesting that the physical appearance of the angels (ALHYM) who appeared throughout the history of Israel like “men” was probably [sic!] the reason that human features and functions were attributed to God.

                      Is Rivers seriously suggesting that, whenever the word “arm” is referred to God in an obvious figurative sense (see Deut 33:27; Job 40:9; Isaiah 53:1; John 12:38), it is because “the men [angels] grabbed his hand and the hands of his wife and two daughters” (Genesis 19:16)? LOL! How perfectly ludicrous!

                      The Hebrew words translated “image” and “likeness” in Genesis 1:26 certainly don’t mean “reason, freedom, will” as you claim. You are just making that definition up without any usage whatsoever to substantiate it.

                      I asked you explicitly NOT to divagate, in your answer to my question. You obviously cannot help it …

                    • Rivers
                      September 30, 2015 @ 5:01 pm

                      Greg,

                      With respect to the meaning of MORFH (“form”), I wouldn’t read too much into it. The majority of the evidence of how this term was used by the biblical writers (both LXX and NT) is that it simply means the visible, physical shape of something and how it appears to the eye.

                      Paul often used another word EIXON (“image”) that is similar, but would refer to a representation of the physical appearance of something. For example, the “image” of Caesar imprinted on a coin (Matthew 22:20-21).

                      Thus, I think it’s likely that Paul used MORFH in Philippians 2:6-8 because he was specifically contrasting the two physical appearances of Jesus before and after the resurrection (as in Philippians 3:21).

                    • Miguel de Servet
                      September 30, 2015 @ 5:22 pm

                      I think it’s likely that Paul used MORFH in Philippians 2:6-8 because he
                      was specifically contrasting the two physical appearances of Jesus
                      before and after the resurrection (as in Philippians 3:21).

                      What, in Jesus’ earthly appearence would have marked his as a slave?

                    • Rivers
                      September 30, 2015 @ 7:06 pm

                      Miquel,

                      Paul explained what he meant in right in the context where it says “made in the likeness of humanity” and “found in the appearance of a man” and ‘becoming obedient to death” (Philippians 2:7-8). Paul also later referred to a distinction between his own “body of humility” and “the glorious body” of the risen Jesus (Philippians 3:21).

                    • Miguel de Servet
                      September 30, 2015 @ 7:27 pm

                      You haven’t answered my question. Do all men “appear” as slaves? What does it mean?

                    • Rivers
                      October 1, 2015 @ 8:52 am

                      Miguel,

                      I answered your question. Please read Philippians 2:7-8 where “form of a slave” is elaborated as “the appearance of a man.” The contrast is between “the form of God” and “the form of a slave.”

                      If you take the time to look up passages that speak of God’s glorious appearance (e.g. Isaiah 6:1) and compare them to other passages that speak of how an human “servant” appeared (e.g. Isaiah 52:13-14) the difference will become apparent.

                    • Miguel de Servet
                      October 1, 2015 @ 11:19 am

                      This was my original question:

                      What, in Jesus’ earthly appearence, would have marked him as a slave?

                      As you didn’t answer it, I asked you a second question:

                      Do all men “appear” as slaves? What does it mean?

                      So no, you haven’t answered (and not even “answered”) my questions, neither the first nor the second. With your usual bait and switch, you have transformed ?? ????????? ???????? ????????? into an “elaboration” of ?????? ?????? ?????.

                      This, of course is due to you stubborn and dogmatic prejudice whereby ????? would only mean “physical appearance”.

                      And if you take the time to look up passages that you cite uncritically, you will (perhaps) notice that God’s servant “was so disfigured he no longer looked like a man” (Isaiah 52:14).

                    • Rivers
                      October 1, 2015 @ 12:17 pm

                      Miquel,

                      I’m point out the way Paul uses the different words in Philippians 2:7-8 to elaborate on what he means by “the form of a servant.” That is how context helps with interpretation.

                      There is no doubt that MORFH means “physical appearance” when it is used in scripture. This is evident in Mark 16:12, as well as numerous uses in the LXX. If you do the research, you’ll discover it for yourself as well.

                    • Miguel de Servet
                      October 1, 2015 @ 5:29 pm

                      You are only projecting your fantasy that what follows ?????? in Philippians 2:7-8 would be “elaborations” on what Paul means by “the form of a servant”. In fact its is amazin that you still insist (at least implicitly) in equating “slave” and “man”, whereas Paul wants to point out two parallel notions (1, 2): although Jesus “existed in the form of God [because he was the incarnation of God’s word], he did not consider being like God something to be held on to, but …” (?? ?? ????? ???? ??????? ??? ???????? ??????? ?? ????? ??? ???, ???? …),

                      1. “emptied himself by taking on the form of a slave … humbled himself, becoming obedient to the point of death – even death on a cross” (?????? ???????? ?????? ?????? ????? … ??????????? ?????? ????????? ??????? ????? ???????, ??????? ?? ???????).

                      2. “coming in the likeness of people, and by being found in appearance as a man” (?? ????????? ???????? ?????????· ??? ??????? ???????? ?? ????????). Cp. Romans 8:3.

                      Of course, one must be able to appreciate the rhetoric chiastic structure of the statements (alliteration, chiasmus, antithesis)

                      Oh, BTW, Rivers can keep his advice on biblical research for himself.

                    • Rivers
                      October 1, 2015 @ 7:30 pm

                      Miguel,

                      I think you are struggling to distantiate yourself and to consider the exegetical evidence from other perspectives. You keep asserting your own views and simply ridiculing others who don’t agree with you.

                      A cavalier dismissal of evidence that is presented from alternative viewpoints is not sufficient. You need to demonstrate that you can provide some kind of substantial exegesis that favors your own views.

                    • Miguel de Servet
                      October 2, 2015 @ 4:03 am

                      You need to demonstrate that you can provide some kind of substantial exegesis that favors your own views.

                      You obviously failed to notice that I have provided my argument in the previous comment. The vast prejudice through which you read these key passages makes for a sad case.

                    • Rivers
                      October 2, 2015 @ 8:58 am

                      Miguel,

                      Ridiculing others and then restating your own opinions is not considered a substantial exegetical defense of your position. If you believe that John 1:14 means “an essential divine attribute turned into a human being” then present us with an exegesis of that particular text that demonstrates why your interpretation has any plausibility.

                    • Miguel de Servet
                      October 2, 2015 @ 1:00 pm

                      As I have just written in a comment for Sean, I interpret Matthew 1:18-23, Luke 1:35, John 1:14, together, to mean that “Jesus’ Sonship (perhaps even unbeknown to Jesus, and only known to Mary), was much more literal that a mere ‘functional bond’ [like agency, including Messiahship].”

                      And, even more so, I find it inadequate to consider that Jesus Sonship would consist in Jesus’ claiming to be “Son of God”, and receiving his “heritage”.

                    • Rivers
                      October 2, 2015 @ 4:04 pm

                      Miguel,

                      What do you see in the context of John 1:14 that would have anything related to the genealogical context of Matthew 1:18-23 and Luke 1:35? Where is there any indication that the context of John 1:14 is dealing with the historical time of the “birth” of Jesus Christ?

                      I think it’s a mistake to link the events in those three passages if you can’t demonstrate that the historical context of John 1:14 is the same as the other two texts.

                    • Miguel de Servet
                      October 3, 2015 @ 6:31 pm

                      I think it’s a mistake to link the events in those three passages [Matthew 1:18-23, Luke 1:35, John 1:14] if you can’t demonstrate that the historical context of John 1:14 is the same as the other two texts.

                      I don’t need to “demonstrate” anything at all, certainly no more that you “demonstrate” that John 1:1b,c refer to the resurrected Jesus. Consider mine, if you will, the hypothesis that best fits the textual data.

                    • Rivers
                      October 4, 2015 @ 7:23 pm

                      Miguel,

                      You do need to demonstrate that the context of John 1:14 is the same as Mathew 1 and Luke 1 or else you entire interpretation of John 1:14 fails. A careless disregard for context isn’t going to help you convince anyone to take your interpretations seriously.

                    • Miguel de Servet
                      October 4, 2015 @ 9:01 pm

                      Rivers,

                      please demonstrate that John 1:1b,c – in context – would refer to the resurrected Jesus.

                      John 1:1-18 is aptly called “Prologue” to the GoJ, because it is a summary of relevant “events”, including the “history” of the ?????, from beginning (John 1:1), to role in creation (1:3) to incarnation (1:14), to “presentation to the world” by John the Baptist (1:15), to full revelation of God, the Father (1:18).

                    • Rivers
                      October 5, 2015 @ 9:15 am

                      Miguel,

                      Please stop evading my request that you present evidence in the context of John 1:14 that is it referring to anything related to time of Jesus’ birth. If you can’t do that then there’s no reason for anyone to conclude that Luke 1:35 and Matthew 1:18-23 and John 1:14 are referring to the same events.

                      The reason I don’t find your views persuasive is because they don’t hold up to basic exegetical scrutiny. You can fantasize all day about “essential divine attributes changing into human beings” but that isn’t sufficient. All that matters is evidence. Evidence is established by sound exegesis.

                    • Miguel de Servet
                      October 5, 2015 @ 9:28 am

                      Please stop evading my request that you present evidence in the context of John 1:14 that is it referring to anything related to time of Jesus’ birth.

                      If there is someone who is repeatedly evading my questions that is Rivers, as he is perfectly aware. I have presented my argument, if Rivers doesn’t like it or has decided that according to his “sound exegesis” he is not satisfied with it, good: let him corner himself more and more with his peculiar, hidiosyncratic “interpretations”.

                      Let him enjoy his (at least) threefold understanding of the ?????. Let him enjoy his persuasion that John 1:1b,c – in context – would refer to the resurrected Jesus.

                    • Rivers
                      October 5, 2015 @ 9:19 am

                      Miguel,

                      Simply asserting that the Prologue is about the Genesis creation and the Incarnation is not sufficient. You need to be able to provide exegesis to substantiate your interpretation of the language. The reason we are all having this conversation is because not everyone shares your opinion about the intent of the Prologue.

                    • Miguel de Servet
                      October 5, 2015 @ 9:36 am

                      The reason we are all having this conversation is because not everyone shares your opinion about the intent of the Prologue.

                      On the contrary, you are on your own in your “interpretation” that John 1:1-3 has nothing to do with Genesis and Creation. You vave toprovide your evidence.

                      … you aren’t even using appropriate language to describe your own view.

                      It would be rather “interesting” to see Rivers suggest what would be the “appropriate language” to describe my own view …

                    • Rivers
                      October 5, 2015 @ 3:15 pm

                      Miguel,

                      Later in the context of the Prologue, the writer explained that what “came (EGENETO) through” Jesus Christ was “grace and truth” (John 1:17). This happened after Moses had already given the Law which led up to the baptism of John (Luke 16:16). Thus, what “came (EGENETO) through” the word (John 1:3) is not probably referring to the Genesis creation.

                      Moreover, it’s evident throughout the rest of the 4th Gospel that the writer identified “all things” with what God the Father gave to Jesus Christ to disclose and accomplish throughout his public ministry (John 4:25; John 5:20; John 13:3; John 14:16; John 15:15: John 16:15; John 17:10).

                    • Miguel de Servet
                      October 5, 2015 @ 4:37 pm

                      Thus, what “came (EGENETO) through” the word (John 1:3) is not probably [sic] referring to the Genesis creation.

                      Thank goodness, at least “probably” works as … Rivers’ “brake” …

                      … it’s evident [sic] throughout the rest of the 4th Gospel that the writer identified “all things” with what God the Father gave to Jesus Christ to disclose and accomplish throughout his public ministry (John 4:25; John 5:20; John 13:3; John 14:16; John 15:15: John 16:15; John 17:10).

                      On the other hand, “it’s evident” works as Rivers’ “accelerator”. Besides John 1:3, there are as many as 18 occurences of the Accusative Plural Neuter Adjective ?????. Only 6 of them refer to “what God the Father gave to Jesus Christ”.

                    • Rivers
                      October 5, 2015 @ 7:58 pm

                      Miguel,

                      What your missing is that there are ZERO times that “all” (PANTA) explicitly refers the anything that happened during the time of Genesis. Thus, it shouldn’t even be considered an option in John 1:3 either.

                    • Miguel de Servet
                      October 6, 2015 @ 3:04 am

                      What Rivers chooses to ignore, being so enamored with his “theory”, it that there is not a whiff of a hint that ?????, in John1:3, would “efer to what God gave Jesus Christ to disclose during his public ministry” …

                      … then again I knew that his “probably” was there only for “aesthetic” reasons …

                    • Rivers
                      October 6, 2015 @ 9:34 am

                      Miguel,

                      The term PANTA (“all”) can refer to anything (depending upon the context). There’s no reason that “all things” must mean “the Genesis creation” in John 1:3. The writer didn’t even use the usual biblical Greek words for “create” (KTIZW) or “make” (POIEW) anywhere in the context.

                      If you think “all things” refers to the Genesis creation, then you need to provide evidence from evidence. Since “all things” is a general term that is always open to interpretation, I think it’s wise to consider how “all things” is used throughout the rest of the 4th Gospel in order to understand in what sense the writer himself may have been using it in John 1:3.

                    • Miguel de Servet
                      October 6, 2015 @ 9:56 am

                      Good, enjoy your “probability”.

                    • GregLogan25
                      October 1, 2015 @ 12:05 pm

                      What is more critical is – what in God’s name does it mean to be “in the form of God”? What does God look like.

                      Rivers – Clearly the context shows that the “form of God” PRECEDED the “form of a servant”. That is the only natural reading…. So you have lost me a bit on the pre- / post- resurrection thing.

                    • Rivers
                      October 1, 2015 @ 1:11 pm

                      Greg,

                      That’s a good question.

                      1. The apostles understood (even after the resurrection of Jesus) that “no man has seen God at any time” (John 1:18) and that “no man can see Him” (1 Timothy 6:16). Jesus did mention God having a “form” (John 5:37) but the writer didn’t use the term MORFH in that particular text.

                      My suggestion is that “the form of God” referred to the glorified appearance of Jesus Christ after his ascension. It is referred to as “the radiance of [God’s] glory” (Hebrews 1:3) and fits the description given of Paul’s historical encounter with the risen Jesus at that time (Acts 26:13-15).

                      Moreover, the “bright blinding light” Paul saw on the road to Damascus seems to fit the way he later associated the “unapproachable light” of God’s immortal place (1 Timothy 6:16). We could also consider the visions of God’s “glory” seen by the prophets and apostles (e.g. Isaiah 6:1; Revelation 4-5). Paul certainly understood that “glory” as a visible aspect of the resurrection body (1 Corinthians 15:39-44).

                      2. I think to say that the form of God must have “clearly preceded” the form of a servant in the context of Philippians 2:6-8 is an overstatement. As I’ve suggested, the implications of the Present Participle (“existing in the form of God”) can be understood with different implications (past or present). That is why I think it is so important to bring all of the other relevant evidence into consideration.

                      Even though we may not agree on this, I hope you can see that I’m trying to present a comprehensive explanation of why I think the Present Participle is not dependent upon the timing of Aorist verbs in this particular context.

                    • GregLogan25
                      October 1, 2015 @ 4:23 pm

                      Rivers

                      Thanks for the input. I am not satisfied with how far either of us gotten here. I am satisfied there is nothing here re Jesus being a divine person or pre-incarnate or any other such silliness.

                      Here is my challenge regarding the pre-/post- resurrection thing. Here is the text in English

                      who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.

                      Clearly the natural flow is that THOUGH He was in the form of God – He emptied Himself in some fashion and took on the Form of a Servant. Essentially the Form of God PRECEDED the Form of a Servant which made the act quite the big deal because he had this grand form – yet condescended to taking on a lowly form. Otherwise the meaningfulness is quite lost here.

                      Interestingly – in reading carefully – the text never says he emptied himself of the form of God – simply that he emptied himself… perhaps by taking on the form of a servant.

                      I continue to see that in appearance of a slave – meaning, in essence, having the position – hence the function of a slave – not as the core concept of form – but as the core concept of “the form of a slave”. Does that help a little??

                    • Rivers
                      October 1, 2015 @ 7:06 pm

                      Greg,

                      I understand why it seems like a “natural flow” to read Philippians 2:6-8 the way that you are interpreting it. I feel the same way about the different way the I read and interpret the text.

                      Please understand that you are interpreting the Present Participle (“existing” in the form of God) as a Past tense. I interpret “existing” as a Present Participle and thus I understand “the from of God” to follow after “the form of a servant.” That is the difference.

                      I still think you have to show why MORFH (“form”) should be interpreted as “position.” Can you provide any examples of where the biblical writers ever used MORFH to mean “position” or where anyone translates it “position”? Without this kind of evidence of usage, I don’t think your interpretation would even be plausible.

                    • GregLogan25
                      October 1, 2015 @ 7:23 pm

                      Rivers

                      Here is the SBL text –

                      ???? ???????????? 2:6-7a SBL Greek New Testament (SBLGNT)

                      6 ?? ?? ????? ???? ??????? ??? ???????? ??????? ?? ????? ??? ???, 7 ???? ?????? ???????? ?????? ?????? ?????,

                      I see that you want the PP uparkon to occur AFTER the not grasping of equality. Do I have that right?

                      The bottom line on the grammar issue is that we should actually refer to a secular Greek scholar. My memory serves me pretty well that the grammar I was taught essentially necessitates that the participle is bound by the main verb… I am completely open to reality though.

                      What I am loss is why you want the form of servant to be antecedent to the form of God (excepting your exegesis) since the entire and if I may kindly say patently obvious sense is that DESPITE have equality with God – he emptied Himself – DESPITE having the form of God, he took the form of a servant. I cannot imagine any other sense would be imagined and I don’t think anyone reads it any other way that I know of.

                    • Rivers
                      October 1, 2015 @ 8:03 pm

                      Greg,

                      1. It’s possible that the PAP (“existing”) could be dependent upon the main Aorist verb but there are no hard and fast rules.

                      2. A typical Greek teacher will tell you that in Philippians 2:6 because it’s favorable to the majority belief in “preexistence” and “incarnation.” Not all translations render the PAP as a Past tense because it isn’t necessary. Consulting a secular Greek teacher wouldn’t really matter because he still has to interpret the implications of the verb form. All one has to do is look at different published translations to see that various scholars interpret the PAP differently.

                      3. Keep in mind that the word for “grasp” in Philippians 2:6 is a noun and not a verb.

                      4. Let me try to clarify the sense in which I think “equality with God” should be understood. Paul is just saying that, while Jesus Christ was on earth, he didn’t regard his entitlement to “equality with God” something to possess before the due time that God exalted him. Jesus didn’t “inherit” equality with God until after his earthly ministry was accomplished (John 17:5; Hebrews 1:3-4).

                    • Miguel de Servet
                      September 30, 2015 @ 6:37 pm

                      I would argue that Jesus Christ didn’t have “the form of God” until after his exaltation (Philippians 2:9-11) when he received his “glorified body” (Philippians 3:21) and had become “the radiance of God’s glory” (Hebrews 1:3). (…)

                      The term MORFH (translated “form”) that Paul used refers to the physical (visible) appearance of someone (e.g. Mark 16:12). Paul seems to be contrasting it with “the form (MORFH) of a servant, appearance of a man” in the following verses (Philippians 2:7-8).

                      This is the Greek …

                      ?????? ?????? …, ????????? ???????? (Philippians 2:7)

                      … that Rivers is excerpting and “translating” as “the form (MORFH) of a servant, appearance of a man” …

                      Yes, definitely, Rivers “favor[s] translating some texts a certain way … because [he] ha[s] a different perspective” …

                    • Rivers
                      October 1, 2015 @ 8:35 am

                      Miquel,
                      I quoted from the NASB translation (which most people consider to be very reputable). I think you should take up your issues with those translators.

                    • Miguel de Servet
                      October 1, 2015 @ 9:28 am

                      I quoted from the NASB translation …

                      Even before checking, I was sure that something as clumsy as “appearance of a man” couldn’t possibly be the NASB translation. Here it is, anyway:

                      … but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. (Philippians 2:7 – NASB)

                    • Rivers
                      October 1, 2015 @ 10:44 am

                      Miquel,

                      If you check Philippians 2:8 in the NASB, it says “being found in appearance as a man.” This is what I was quoting along with “the form of a servant” (Philippians 2:7).

                  • Sean Garrigan
                    September 26, 2015 @ 8:52 am

                    “We still don’t have any sense for the meaning of morphe tou theou. The
                    basic concept of “form” for God is obviously nonsensical except with
                    respect to functional position which would perfectly fit with the form
                    of a servant.”

                    While I have no problem with “form of God”, I wonder if QEOU should be taken indefinitely there, i.e. “form of a god”? This would be attractive from a literary standpoint:

                    He existed in ….the form of a god
                    He took …………the form of a slave

                    This would be consistent with my view that Jesus existed in heaven as a powerful spirit being who “emptied himself” by becoming a human being. Spirit beings were referred to as “gods” in the OT, the DSS, and maybe Philo (don’t recall about the latter), and so there probably wouldn’t be any theological objection to this understanding on the part of the earliest Christians. True, this notion would be abominable to both Unitarians and Trinitarians, but I’m not particularly concerned about that.

                    ~Sean

                    • Miguel de Servet
                      September 26, 2015 @ 10:01 am

                      … my view that Jesus existed in heaven as a powerful spirit being who “emptied himself” by becoming a human being. (…) … this notion would be abominable to both Unitarians and Trinitarians, but I’m not particularly concerned about that.

                      Not necessarily, there are “unitarians”, like the “owner of this blog”, whose understanding of “unitarianism” is so … er … broad as to include Subordinationism.

                    • Sean Garrigan
                      September 26, 2015 @ 4:20 pm

                      “Not necessarily, there are “unitarians”, like the “owner of this blog”,
                      whose understanding of “unitarianism” is so … er … broad as to
                      include Subordinationism.”

                      This is precisely why I typically use “Socinian” to distinguish Unitarians who accept preexistence from those who do not, but I stopped doing that here because of the whining. Maybe I should just ignore the whining and go back to my preferred shorthand!

                      ~Sean

                    • Miguel de Servet
                      September 26, 2015 @ 5:43 pm

                      Historically, the adjective “unitarian” is not attested before 1680, from modern Latin unitarius (1650), and, of course, Socinianism began with Socinus. All is strongly associated with the perception of Jesus Christ as merely human, and without any form of personal “pre-existence”. That is why it is very obfuscatory to refer to “unitarianism” for what are forms of binitarianism or trinitarianism in the making.

                    • Sean Garrigan
                      September 26, 2015 @ 8:30 pm

                      “P.S. What sort of “complaints”, BTW?”

                      Rivers objected because he doesn’t subscribe to the views of Socinus, and he continued to object to the appellation even after I explained that I was using it merely as a form of shorthand for those who reject the proposed real personal preexistence of the one who came to be known as Jesus Christ. I even explained that I’m not technically an “Arian”, but that I am content with being so described as long as all are aware that I don’t subscribe to all the views of Arius, as far as they can be ascertained, but that I am “Arian” in the sense that I believe that the one who became Jesus was originally God’s first created being.

                      ~Sean

                    • Miguel de Servet
                      September 27, 2015 @ 2:08 am

                      I am almost certain that, if Rivers had to sum up his objections to the views of Socinus’ unitarianism – and, by contrast, his own positions – in a bulleted list, he would be in difficulty. The only key opinion of his that seems (seems …) relatively clear to me is that Jesus’ Sonship has essentially to do with “heritage”.

                    • Sean Garrigan
                      September 27, 2015 @ 9:04 am

                      “The only key opinion of his that seems (seems …) relatively clear to
                      me is that Jesus’ Sonship has essentially to do with ‘heritage’.”

                      And while you may disagree, I think that’s a non-starter in answering the puzzle we find at John 5. Just put yourself back in the 1st Century and imagine that you were in the crowd when Jesus called God his “own Father”. Would your immediate natural inference be that he was claiming that he would inherit all of God’s belongings?

                      Even if that’s an inference that a systemic theologian might make based on the entirety of the NT, I doubt that it’s the first thing that would have come to the mind of a 1st Century Jew. Rights of inheritance served a natural purpose in the context of a human family where the father would eventually die and wish to leave his offspring a means of life and sustenance, but no Jew expected God to pass away someday.

                      It’s an interesting proposal, and certainly as worthy of consideration as any other, but I think it necessarily has to take a back seat to something that’s ultimately a better fit, e.g. the agency paradigm.

                      ~Sean

                    • Rivers
                      September 29, 2015 @ 3:55 pm

                      Sean,
                      We know that the “inheritance” issue was understandable to the Jews of the apostolic era because Jesus explicitly illustrated that the Jews wanted to kill Jesus Christ because they knew that the “son” was the “heir” (Matthew 21:31-39).

                    • Sean Garrigan
                      October 3, 2015 @ 6:08 am

                      “We know that the “inheritance” issue was the motivation of the Jews
                      of the apostolic era because Jesus explicitly illustrated that the Jewish leaders wanted to kill him because they knew that “the son” was the “heir” who had the “inheritance” (Matthew 21:31-39). The only way Jesus could be God’s own “heir” was to have “God as his own Father” (John 5:18). That is why his claim to be “the son of God” is what got him the death sentence (John 19:7). Jesus also claimed to the be the son of God in John 10:33-36 and John 8:54 where the Jews wanted to stone him.”

                      First, again, you’re talking past me and not addressing the points I made. That’s an odd way to carry on a “conversation”.

                      Second, you’re ignoring what the Bible explicitly tells us about the reason Jesus’ opponents had him killed: Because Jesus’ claim to be “Son of God” was ipso facto a claim to be Messiah (Mark 14:61).

                      In Matthew 21, Jesus’ adversaries don’t want to kill him because he is “heir of God’s belongings” and therefore “equal with God”, but because the parable demonstrated that they (the adversaries) were NOT going to be heirs of the Kingdom, but that God would destroy them. As the very account you’ve referenced clearly says:

                      43 “Therefore I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit [the people are heirs]. 44 Anyone who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; anyone on whom it falls will be crushed.” 45 When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard Jesus’ parables, THEY KNEW HE WAS TALKING ABOUT THEM. 46 They looked for a way to arrest him, but they were afraid of the crowd because the people held that he was a prophet.”

                      ~Sean

                    • Rivers
                      October 3, 2015 @ 4:29 pm

                      Sean,

                      When you appeal to Mark 14:61, you’re forgetting to read the following verse that where Jesus quoted the prophet who said that he was going to inherit God’s kingdom (Mark 14:62). This is the same “inheritance” that is mentioned in Mark 21:31-39 and Hebrews 1:2.

                      Thus, I think you are ignoring the fact the apostolic testimony consistently associates heirship with Jesus claim to be “the son of God.” The fact that he is called “Christ” is simply another title. According to Mark 14:61-62, “the Christ, the son of God” is to be the one who inherits the world.

                    • Miguel de Servet
                      October 3, 2015 @ 7:16 pm

                      According to Mark 14:61-62, “the Christ, the son of God” is to be the one who inherits the world.

                      This is the cited text:

                      61 But he was silent and did not answer. Again the high priest questioned him, “Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One?” 62 “I am,” said Jesus, “and you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power and coming with the clouds of heaven.”

                      (Mark 14:61-62; cp Ps 110:1, Dan 7:13)

                      There is no direct reference to any “inheritance” in the above.

                      To the question of Caiaphas (who was certainly using the expression “Son of the Blessed One” as equivalent to Messiah, Anointed King), Jesus unexpectedly answers proclaiming that he is NOT the awaited Messiah in the sense of “powerful conqueror who will restore Israel”, BUT in the sense of Daniel’s “son of man”.

                    • Rivers
                      October 4, 2015 @ 10:57 pm

                      Miguel,

                      The phrase “the right hand of power” (Mark 14:62) is a direct reference to when the human Jesus was “appointed HEIR of all things … upholding by the word of his POWER … when he sat down at THE RIGHT HAND of the Majesty on high” (Hebrews 1:2-4). The “right hand” in the Hebrews scriptures was also identified with both heirship (e.g. Genesis 48) and “power” (e.g. Exodus 15:6).

                      I would take “the son of man” to be nothing more than a reference to an human “son”. This is consistent with how the apostles understood that Jesus Christ was born of a woman (Luke 1:35; Galatians 4:4). The “son” of God himself was to be an human descendant of King David (2 Samuel 7:13-14; Romans 1:3-4).

                    • Miguel de Servet
                      October 5, 2015 @ 5:26 am

                      1. In Mark 14:62, Jesus is alluding directly to Ps 110:1 and Dan 7:13. There is no need assume that it was an indirect reference, mediated by the author of the Gospel of Mark via Hebrews 1:2-4. It may help your theory, but it is … pleonastic.

                      2. Perhaps, in your hasty and superficial reading of Genesis 48, it has escaped you that both right and left are mentioned, with reference to Jacob and his grand-children, Joseph’s sons:

                      And Joseph took them both, Ephraim with his right hand toward Israel’s left hand, and Manasseh with his left hand toward Israel’s right hand, and brought them near him. (Genesis 48:13)

                      3. While the Lord’s “right hand” is most certainly the figure of His power (and I don’t need to remind you how I consider these anthorpomorphic images essential), there is not a speck of reference to “sitting at God’s right hand”, not to mention “heritage” in Exodus 15:6. Botched.

                      4. You are reading Jesus’ unmistakable reference to Daniel 7:13-14 the wrong way round. While Jesus referred to himself as the “son of man” more frequently that as “son of God” (80 instances vs less than 30), until the trial in front of Caiaphas, Jesus’ use of the expression had always been rather ambiguous. Not so in Mark 14:62 (and Matthew 26:64).

                    • Rivers
                      October 5, 2015 @ 10:10 am

                      Miguel,

                      Fair enough. We can look at it both ways. I just think the relationship between “the right hand” and signifying the powerful position of the “firstborn” (heir) ties a lot more of the evidence together in a cohesive way (as summarized in Hebrews 1:2-6). I don’t think Mark 14:61-62 should be isolated. It still fits with the rest of the evidence.

                    • Miguel de Servet
                      October 5, 2015 @ 10:59 am

                      I don’t think Mark 14:61-62 should be isolated. It still fits with the rest of the evidence.

                      Not really. Once again: in Mark 14:62, Jesus is alluding directly to Ps 110:1 and Dan 7:13. There is no need assume that it was an indirect reference, mediated by the author of the Gospel of Mark via Hebrews 1:2-4.

                      It may help your theory, but it is … pleonastic.

                    • Miguel de Servet
                      September 29, 2015 @ 5:17 pm

                      [MdS] “The only key opinion of his [Rivers] that seems (seems …) relatively clear to me is that Jesus’ Sonship has essentially to do with ‘heritage’.”

                      [Sean] And while you may disagree, I think that’s a non-starter in answering the puzzle we find at John 5.

                      I presume that by “puzzle we find at John 5”, you refer, most of all, to John 5:16-30, where the relationship between Father and Son is argued for in detail by Jesus. I find interesting, in particular, the final verses (John 5:28-30) where, while neither the words Father nor Son are used any more, the essence of the mission of the Son is summed up this way:

                      “I do not seek my own will, but the will of the one who sent me.” (John 5:30)

                      So, I agree that the essence of the relationship between the Son and the Father, while the Son walked on earth, seems to be summarized by Jesus in terms of agency and, most of all, of obedience.

                      OTOH, there is no doubt that, in the GoJ, it is made clear that that …

                      The Father loves the Son and has given all things into his hand. (John 3:35)

                      … and the post resurrection accounts make it clear that Jesus has fully inherited the Father’s power, in particular to judge.

                    • Sean Garrigan
                      October 2, 2015 @ 8:29 am

                      “I presume that by ‘puzzle we find at John 5′, you refer, most of all, to
                      John 5:16-30, where the relationship between Father and Son is argued
                      for in detail by Jesus.”

                      John 5 is a case where the words “The smarter you are, the more you recognize how much you *don’t* know” should probably be kept in mind by over-confident theologians, some of whom are sure, probably without warrant, that they’ve unraveled the conundrum.

                      There is the question of whether John was merely stating a fact when he said that Jesus made himself equal with God, or whether John meant to simply represent the thought of Jesus’ adversaries. Rivers is sure the former is correct (Rivers is “sure” of everything he asserts), while I side with Adela Yarbro-Collins in suspecting that the later is probably correct.

                      There is the question that emerges in light of the historical observation (made by James McGrath, Margaret Davies, and others) that sonship didn’t connote equality in the ancient world. Someone might respond that the inequality of a son to his father in the ancient world was functional, not ontological, as all human sons were equal to their fathers in that they are all “fully human”. While true, that observation only has applicability if Jesus were a *literal* son of God, which clearly seems impossible, as I’ve explained in other posts (I understand that you disagree, and that’s fine).

                      There is the huge question of what exactly Jesus’ opponents thought he was claiming by calling God “my Father” and behaving in a manner that seemed to them (whether in earnest or via pretense) to go over the boundary of what was appropriate. Did they “hear” a claim of ontological equality, such as literal sons share with their fathers? Did they “hear” a claim of functional equality, e.g. a implicit claim to be the Messiah, who would be “equal with God” to whatever extent God as the principal chose to invest his agent with authority? Did they assume that Jesus was one of the bene-elohim gone mad, or did their minds float straight to pagan categories so that they thought Jesus was claiming to be a sort of Jewish Hercules?

                      My personal view is that J.C. O’Neill was on to something when he pointed out that focus is often put on the wrong part of the words “making himself equal with God” by most commentators. Jesus’ equality stemmed from his Messiahship, which was the equality that an agent has with his principal. It’s a limited functional equality, not an ontological equality. By calling God his “own Father” Jesus was claiming to be the Messiah in an indirect way, and by making such a claim while claiming to have the full authority of God, illegitimately in the minds of his opponents, Jesus was “making himself” God. In other words, the behavior that his opponents felt made him liable to death wasn’t because he was equal with God as his Messiah, but because he claimed this status for himself, unjustly in their minds.

                      Regarding Rivers’s “inheritance” view, I’ll simply repeat the detail that I don’t think you and he have taken into account adequately: While that’s an inference that a systemic theologian might make based on the NT, just as it’s a notion that could and did occur to some who wrote with the guidance of God’s holy spirit, it’s not an idea that would have occurred to Jesus’ followers or his enemies in a real historical situation in the ancient world that unfolded ‘in the moment’. Why? Again, because rights of inheritance as they applied to human father/son relationships wouldn’t be naturally thought to apply to a relationship where God is the Father and a man the Son for the simple reason that no Jew expected God to die, necessitating that he hand over his belongings to another for the good and perpetuation of the family.

                      ~Sean

                    • Rivers
                      October 2, 2015 @ 10:52 am

                      Sean,
                      I think Paul explained how the equality of a father and a son was understood by the Jews in Galatians 4:1-3 and related it more specifically to “heirship” and not simply “sonship.” Paul said “the heir owns everything that belongs to his father.”

                      The apostles understood that all of the disciples of Jesus become “sons of God” after the glorification of Jesus (Romans 8:19; John 1:12). However, it was the priority that Jesus Christ attained as “the firstborn from among the dead” (Colossians 1:18) that designated him as the primary “heir of all things” (Hebrews 1:3).

                      This is why the writer of the 4th Gospel designated Jesus as “the only begotten” (MONOGENHS) when he wrote his books after Jesus had been designated as “the son of God with power by the resurrection of the dead” (Romans 1:3-4). Since the rest of the “sons of God” are not revealed until they are redeemed at the Parousia, Jesus became the MONOGENHS designated as the sole qualified heir.

                    • Sean Garrigan
                      October 3, 2015 @ 5:49 am

                      “I think Paul explained how the equality of a father and a son was
                      understood by the Jews in Galatians 4:1-3 and related it more
                      specifically to ‘heirship’ and not simply ‘sonship.’ Paul said ‘the
                      heir owns everything that belongs to his father.'”

                      First, Galatians 4 doesn’t say that “heirship” is a reason that Jesus is “equal with God”, much less *the* reason.

                      Second, it is a HUGE exegetical blunder to read implications that you think you see in Paul into John 5.

                      Third, you are merely talking past me, and not interacting with the point I made. Is that your intent?

                      Fourth, “Son of God” = “heir of God’s belongings” was not a usage that would have occurred to folks in the historical moment, because such a conceptual category of “Son of God” did not exist at the time the disputes between Jesus and his adversaries occurred. As Alan Richardson points out in his Introduction to Theology, there were four ways in which the idea of sonship of God applied in the Hebrew Bible, which represent the thought categories that were available to the people vis a vis the notion of a “Son of God” in a Jewish setting:

                      1. Angels (see Gen. 6.2; Job 1:6; 38:7)

                      2. The Israelite King (see 2 Sam. 7:14; Ps. 2:7, cf also Ps. 89:26f.)

                      3. Righteous men (see , Ecclus. 4:10; Wisd. 2:18; Pss. Sol. 13:8;

                      17:30; 18:4; Luke 6:35; Matt. 27:43)

                      4. The Nation of Israel (Ex. 4:22; Hos. 11:1)

                      Thus, “heir of God’s belongings” was not something that would naturally occur to the people in the historical moment. That sort of inference was born from reflection after the fact, once the totality of who and what Jesus was became more and more clear in light of guidance from God’s holy spirit.

                      Finally, which of the Father’s belongings will the Son get to keep forever in light of 1 Cor 15:28?

                      ~Sean

                    • Rivers
                      October 3, 2015 @ 4:19 pm

                      Sean,

                      I agree that “son of God” is a term that is applicable to many others besides Jesus Christ. I cited Romans 8:19 which plainly refers to all of the disciples of Jesus being revealed as “sons of God” when they are “redeemed” and “adopted” at the resurrection.

                      The reason I cited Paul’s illustration in Galatians 4:1-5 is because it shows that there was no difference between a “slave” and a child who is the “heir” during the time before the child fulfilled the father’s requirement for “adoption” as a “son.” For the disciples of Jesus, this “adoption” as “heirs” takes place when “redemption” happens at the resurrection (Romans 8:17-19).

                      Both Paul and the writer of Hebrews explained that the “obedience until death” of Jesus Christ during “the days of his flesh” was the requirement that he needed to accomplish (Philippians 2:9; Hebrews 5:5-8) before being “appointed heir of all things” (Hebrews 1:2).

                      The resurrection became the “day” of his adoption and declaration as “the son of God” (Acts 13:33; Romans 1:3-4; Hebrews 1:5-6). This is what made him “the firstborn from among the dead” (Colossians 1:18) and thus MONOGENHS (“the only begotten”). No other human child of God had yet ascended into heaven (John 3:13; John 1:18).

                    • Sean Garrigan
                      October 3, 2015 @ 4:37 pm

                      “I agree that “son of God” is a term that is applicable to many others
                      besides Jesus Christ. I cited Romans 8:19 which plainly refers to all
                      of the disciples of Jesus being revealed as “sons of God” when they are
                      “redeemed” and “adopted” at the resurrection.”

                      You continue to ignore the problem with which you’ve been presented, along with crucial questions that you’ve been asked. I guess we’re done here.

                      ~Sean

                    • Rivers
                      October 4, 2015 @ 11:23 am

                      Sean,

                      I think I’ve addressed all of your objections is specific detail. If you don’t like the answers, then go on believing whatever you think is a better option. It’s not my responsibility to convince you of anything or to give you the answers that you want to hear.

                    • Sean Garrigan
                      October 4, 2015 @ 1:20 pm

                      “I think I’ve addressed all of your objections is specific detail. If
                      you don’t like the answers, then go on believing whatever you think is a
                      better option. I’m not obligated to give you the answers you want to
                      hear or to convince of you of anything.”

                      No, you haven’t. You haven’t addressed the historical problem at all, and you’ve ignored some questions completely, e.g. “What belongings will Jesus get to keep forever as heir in light of 1 Cor 15:28?”

                      Jesus’ adversaries reacted to Jesus ‘in the moment’, and “Son of God = heir to God’s belongings = equal with God” didn’t exist as a category at the time those disputes took place, and so it’s unlikely that such an inference could have been made. Even in the accounts you’ve referenced “heir = equal with God” is not a point of dispute. So, your interpretation of John 5 is quite unlikely.

                      Also, some of your assertions just don’t jive at all. For example, you said:

                      “I think Paul explained how the equality of a father and a son was understood by the Jews in Galatians 4:1-3 and related it more specifically to ‘heirship’ and not simply ‘sonship.’ Paul said ‘the heir owns everything that belongs to his father.'”

                      To which I replied:

                      “Galatians 4 doesn’t say that ‘heirship’ is a reason that Jesus is ‘equal with God’, much less *the* reason.”

                      And so you changed your tune and replied:

                      “The reason I cited Paul’s illustration in Galatians 4:1-5 is because it
                      shows that there was no difference between a ‘slave’ and a child who is
                      the ‘heir’ during the time before the child fulfilled the father’s
                      requirement for ‘adoption’ as a ‘son.’ For the disciples of Jesus, this
                      ‘adoption’ as ‘heirs’ takes place when ‘redemption’ happens at the
                      resurrection (Romans 8:17-19).”

                      Shall I pull a “Rivers” and say that your “credibility” is in jeopardy?

                      ~Sean

                    • Miguel de Servet
                      October 4, 2015 @ 2:26 pm

                      Jesus’ adversaries reacted to Jesus ‘in the moment’, and “Son of God = heir to God’s belongings = equal with God” didn’t exist as a category at the time those disputes took place, and so it’s unlikely that such an inference could have been made.

                      Sean,

                      allow me to comment, at this point, on your exchange with Rivers. If you remove, as historically and exegetically problematic, the middle term …

                      “Son of God = heir to God’s belongings = equal with God”

                      … the above equation perfectly holds, as confirmed by the GoJ, not only John 5:18, but also (and even more strongly), John 10:33.

                    • Sean Garrigan
                      October 4, 2015 @ 6:08 pm

                      “allow me to comment, at this point, on your exchange with Rivers. If
                      you remove, as historically and exegetically problematic, the middle
                      term …’Son of God = [snip] equal with God’ …the above equation perfectly holds, for Jesus’ adversaries, as confirmed by the GoJ, not only John 5:18, but also (and even more strongly), John 10:33.”

                      I’m not sure if you’re saying that it would hold only for Jesus’ adversaries or if you mean that it’s just plain true that Jesus is “equal with God’ in light of these Johannine texts. However, as a general observation I would say that before we can affirm the sense in which Jesus’ adversaries meant to assert that he “made himself equal with God” (Jn 5) or “made himself God or a god” (Jn 10) we’d have to be certain about just how they thought Jesus supposedly made himself God’s equal.

                      1. Did they think that Jesus was presenting himself as one of the bene-elohim? If so, then I don’t think we can affirm that Jesus was equal with God as intended by their charge.

                      2. Did they think that Jesus was claiming to be some sort of Jewish Hercules? If so, then I don’t think we can affirm that Jesus was equal with God as intended by their charge.

                      3. Did they think that Jesus was claiming that to be God’s literal Son, which, in my understanding, would mean that God literally gave birth to him? If so, then I don’t think we can affirm that Jesus was equal with God as intended by their charge.

                      4. Did they think that Jesus was claiming to be God’s Messiah, who, as God’s agent, would have legal equality with God to whatever extent God granted him authority to act in His behalf? If so, then I think we can affirm that Jesus was equal with God as intended by their charge.

                      ~Sean

                    • Miguel de Servet
                      October 4, 2015 @ 8:24 pm

                      I’m not sure if you’re saying that it would hold only for Jesus’ adversaries or if you mean that it’s just plain true that Jesus is “equal with God” in light of these Johannine texts.

                      What we can say for sure from the cited verses (John 5:18, John 10:33), and in spite of your points, is that the Jews perceived Jesus’ words as a claim of divine sonship, in a sense that was strong enough for them to perceive it as worthy of killing, of stoning.

                      Besides, it is simply false (see your point no. 4) that claiming to be the Messiah would be, per se, a capital offense.

                    • Sean Garrigan
                      October 4, 2015 @ 9:22 pm

                      “Besides, it is simply false (see your point no. 4) that claiming to be the Messiah would be, per se, a capital offense.”

                      Yet that is precisely what was said to be a blasphemous capital offense at Matthew 26:65. How so? Because Jesus’ adversaries were determined to construe Jesus’ Messianic claim to be a false one.

                      ~Sean

                    • Miguel de Servet
                      October 4, 2015 @ 9:37 pm

                      Sorry, that is a non sequitur. What was the evidence, for Jesus’ adversaries that Jesus’ Messianic claim was a false one?

                      As you cite Matthew 26:65, see the sequence that leads up to that.

                      23: “I charges Jesus you under oath by the living God, tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God.” – It would have been illegal for Caiaphas to ask Jesus to accuse himself.

                      24. Jesus not only confirms openly that he claims to be the Messiah, but makes it clear that he doesn’t claim to be the Messiah in the expected sense of “powerful conqueror”, BUT in the heavenly sense of Psa 110:1 and of Daniel 7:13. – This is what Caiaphas – and the sanhedrin with him, hastily declare blasphemous.

                      25. “He has blasphemed! Why do we still need witnesses? Now you have heard the blasphemy!”

                    • Sean Garrigan
                      October 5, 2015 @ 6:34 am

                      “Sorry, that is a non sequitur. What was the evidence, for Jesus’ adversaries that Jesus’ Messianic claim was a false one?”

                      It’s pretty obvious that they were determined to take his Messianic claim to be a false one so as to ostensibly justify their evil design against Jesus. It wasn’t illegal to *be* the Messiah, and so they couldn’t kill him for that. But it would be illegal to make a false claim to be the Messiah, which could be considered grounds to put him to death. As I’ve pointed out, one clue that tells us what’s going on is the “making himself” part of the phrase “making himself equal with God” at John 5. In other words, they rejected Jesus’ claim and determined him to be a pretender.

                      “..It would have been illegal for Caiaphas to ask Jesus to accuse himself.”

                      According to some lawyers who’ve studied the case, Jesus’ adversaries broke a number of their good laws. As you’ve pointed out yourself in the past, it was a “Monkey Trial”.

                      ~Sean

                    • Miguel de Servet
                      October 5, 2015 @ 6:59 am

                      It’s pretty obvious [sic! LOL!] that they took his Messianic clam to be a false one. It wasn’t illegal to *be* the Messiah, and so they couldn’t kill him for that. But it would be illegal to make a false claim to be the Messiah, which could be considered grounds to put him to death. As I’ve pointed out, one clue that tells us what’s going on is the “making himself” part of the phrase “making himself equal with God.” In other words, they rejected Jesus’ claim and determined him to be a pretender.

                      Your long, drawn out and inconclusive paragraph confirms that you are unable to indicate how Jesus’ adversaries would have proved Jesus guilty with “his Messianic cla[i]m to be a false one”.

                      Jesus’ adversaries broke a number of their good laws.

                      Ultimately, though, for Caiaphas and the sanhedrin Jesus’ guilt was NOT his Messianic claim (allegedly false, according to Sean, who, though, cannot prove his point), BUT the “blasphemy” of presenting himself as “the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power and coming on the clouds of heaven“.

                      It is “pretty obvious” …

                    • Sean Garrigan
                      October 6, 2015 @ 5:44 am

                      “Ultimately, though, for Caiaphas and the sanhedrin Jesus’ guilt was NOT his Messianic claim (allegedly false, according to Sean, who, though, cannot prove his point), BUT the ‘blasphemy’ of presenting himself as ‘the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power and coming on the clouds of heaven’….It is ‘pretty obvious’ …”

                      You’ve committed what I call the “snippet fallacy”, i.e. you look at two statements that are close together and assume that only they are related to the question at hand and reveal the whole truth, even though a more comprehensive reading reveals otherwise. So, a few observations:

                      1. We know the real reason they had Jesus executed had nothing to do with blasphemy. The real reason was:

                      “If we let Him go on like this, all men will believe in Him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation.” (John 11:48)

                      And

                      “For he knew that it was because of envy that they had handed Him over.”

                      2. The charge of blasphemy was the ostensible justification for fulfilling their evil design against Jesus, but he didn’t commit blasphemy either with his Messianic affirmation or with the Son of Man reference, uttered in the third person.

                      3. We know that it was Jesus’ Messiahship that they were going to use against him — that it was their ace in the whole — because (a) that’s the focal question that they asked, (b) that’s the only true charge that was presented to Pilot, and (c) had Jesus not uttered the Son of Man reference, they wouldn’t have let him go, but would have proceeded to have him killed for the very reason he was killed — his Messianic claim.

                      All you really needed to do to avoid the fallacious conclusion you’ve come to was simply reflect for a moment and ask yourself: What if Jesus hadn’t uttered the Son of Man reference? What if Jesus had merely affirmed that he was the Messiah and left it at that? Would Jesus’ adversaries then have said “Oh, ok, well have a nice day then, you’re free to go”? No, they didn’t need the Son of Man reference, because the only part of their trumped up charge that was true, the part that was sure to secure Jesus’ death was already given to them.

                      “We found this man misleading our nation and forbidding to pay taxes to Caesar, and saying that He Himself is Messiah, a King.” (Luke 23:2)

                      Crimen laesa majestas is what they needed; it’s the reason they led with the question “Are you the Messiah, the Son of God”; and it’s what Jesus gave them. The Son of Man part, if they even understood this third person reference, would been just a little extra icing on the cake.

                      ~Sean

                    • Miguel de Servet
                      October 6, 2015 @ 8:32 am

                      Sean,

                      you commit the peculiar double fallacy of affirming, on one side, that ” they took his Messianic clam to be a false one”, yet, on the other side, of affirming that the real reason is the one expressed by the chief priests and the Pharisees (John 11:48), which, of course, would have been irrelevant if they didn’t think that, because of his “signs” [1] “all men will believe in Him” [viz. that he really is the Messiah] and only as a consequence [2] “Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation”.

                      Few further comments.

                      1. Pilate took the “Messianic charge” of the chief priests so little seriously that, as even you noticed, “he knew that it was because of envy that they had handed Him over” (Matthew 27:18). Obviously, you didn’t draw the right consequence from your own quotation …

                      2. The charge of blasphemy was NOT the “ostensible justification for fulfilling their evil design against Jesus”. However improper the charge was, it was not so much his claim to Messiahship that they refused, BUT the “type” of Messiah that Jesus presented them with: not a “powerful conqueror that would restore Israel” (and they had got used to living as an occupied country, anyway), but, essentially, a religious reformer, who exposed how wrong Israel was with God. Rather than accepting Jesus’ closeness to God, they chose to treat him as a “blasphemer”.

                      3. I believe you are completely wrong. By those references to Psalm 110:1 and Daniel 7:13, Jesus called their bluff. It was like saying: “You do not want to know whether I claim to be the Messiah, nay, whether I AM the Messiah. You refuse the type of Messiah that I am”.

                      As for the rest, lese majesty, instigation against taxation etc. either you believe what the Gospels say about Pilate’s reluctance to execute Jesus or you don’t. I do …

                    • Sean Garrigan
                      October 6, 2015 @ 7:02 pm

                      “you commit the peculiar double fallacy of affirming, on one side,
                      that ‘they took his Messianic clam to be a false one’, yet, on the
                      other side, of affirming that the real reason is the one expressed by
                      the chief priests and the Pharisees…”

                      There it is again, the ever pervasive ‘tit for tat’, which seems to be a defining feature of unitarian argumentation here. I point out how you’ve committed a fallacy, and, so, of course, you have to save face and pretend that I’ve committed one too, and a “double fallacy” no less. Yawn.

                      “1. Pilate took the ‘Messianic charge’ of the chief priests so little seriously that, as even you noticed, ‘he knew that it was because of envy that they had handed Him over’ (Matthew 27:18). Obviously, you didn’t draw the right consequence from your own quotation …”

                      Pilot knew that he was being forced to preside over a Monkey Trial, but he would never take potential crimen laesa majestas lightly, lest Caesar have his head on a platter.

                      “2. …However improper the charge was, it was not so much his claim to Messiahship that they refused, BUT the ‘type’ of Messiah that Jesus presented them with: not a ‘powerful conqueror that would restore Israel’ (and they had got used to living as an occupied country, anyway), but, essentially, a religious reformer, who exposed how wrong Israel was with God….”

                      Now you’re getting warmer, and that observation supports my position. Jesus’ adversaries had a very particular idea of what the Messiah would be like, and Jesus didn’t fit that bill. Moreover, he burst onto the scenes exposing them as hypocrites, whitewashed graves, sons of their father, the Devil, etc. These things converged to make it impossible for them to consider Jesus as anything other than a pretender, someone whose messianic claim was a false one.

                      “3. I believe you are completely wrong. By those references to Psalm 110:1 and Daniel 7:13, Jesus called their bluff. It was like saying: ‘You do not really want to know whether I claim to be the Messiah, nay, whether I AM the Messiah. You refuse the type of Messiah that I am.'”

                      You can believe whatever you chose to believe, but that doesn’t change the facts. Jesus’ fate was sealed the moment he was arrested, and his adversaries would have secured his demise with or without the third person “Son of Man” reference.

                      “As for the rest, lese majesty, instigation against taxation etc. either you believe what the Gospels say about Pilate’s reluctance to execute Jesus or you don’t. I do …”

                      Pilate’s reluctance to execute Jesus is not in tension with my position. If you think it is, then perhaps you should have spent more time asking questions before expressing your typical over-eagerness to disagree with me about anything and everything you can.

                      ~Sean

                    • Miguel de Servet
                      October 7, 2015 @ 3:55 am

                      Sean,

                      does it ever occur to you that the reason why I argue against many of your comments is simply because of their errors, non sequiturs and contradictions? 😉

                      You claimed that I would have commited an alleged “snippet fallacy”. It should have been quite clear that, while your claim only confirms how little you understand (in spite of my full quotation and detailed explanation of Matthew 26:63-65) the key importance of Jesus’ reply to Caiaphas, you simply are incapable of rejecting my accusation of your double fallacy. Actually, it is a true and proper contradiction: according to you, for the high priests and Pharisees Jesus would have been a “false Messiah”, yet, for the very same high priests and Pharisees Jesus CANNOT have been a “false Messiah”, otherwise John 11:48 – that you quote – would have been irrelevant.

                      1. Once again, Pilate took the charges that the high priests and Pharisees brought against Jesus as so irrelevant, that he tried in all possible ways to release him. He cannot have been too concerned about the consequences, can he? Read again, read better.

                      2. Wrong again. Nothing in what Jesus said – including, in particular, his final dénouement at Matthew 26:65 would have been evidence that he was a “false Messiah”. At most, once again, it only confirms that the high priests and Pharisees rejected him. So they resorted ( like in John 5:18, like in John 10:33) to the false charge of blasphemy.

                      3. What do you mean by “third person ‘Son of Man’ reference”? Are you suggesting (or openly affirming) that, in Matthew 26:65, Jesus was not identfying himself with the Danielic “Son of Man”? If so, just shows how vast your misunderstanding is.

                      As for your desperate final defense on Pilate, of course “Pilate’s reluctance to execute Jesus” IS “in tension with [Sean’s] position”.

                      Actually, incompatible.

                      P.S. If you really care for referring to my position appropriately, you can call me Strict Monotheist.

                    • Sean Garrigan
                      October 7, 2015 @ 7:04 am

                      “Actually, it is a true and proper contradiction: according to you, for the high priests and Pharisees Jesus would have been a “false Messiah”, yet, for the very same high priests and Pharisees Jesus CANNOT have been a “false Messiah”, otherwise John 11:48 – that you quote – would have been irrelevant.”

                      In your absolute myopia you can’t even see that the “contradiction” you’ve highlighted is not with MY position, but with the Pharasees’s position! LOL

                      “1. Once again, Pilate took the charges that the high priests and Pharisees brought against Jesus as so irrelevant, that he tried in all possible ways to release him. He cannot have been too concerned about the consequences, can he? Read again, read better.”

                      You’d better “Read again, read better.” What did Pilot do *before* determining that the charge was trumped up? I made two points, both of which are indisputable:

                      A. Jesus opponents carefully crafted a three-pronged charge that was meant to bring the sword of Rome on Jesus’ neck. They probably crafted the charge even before they arrested him, which is why Jesus’ Messianic status was their focal question.

                      B. They included Jesus’ Messianic affirmation not only because it really happened, but precisely because *they sought* to have Jesus found guilty of crimen laesa majestas and thereby executed by Rome.

                      “2. Wrong again. Nothing in what Jesus said – including, in particular, his final dénouement at Matthew 26:64 would have been evidence that he was a ‘false Messiah’. At most, once again, it only confirms that the high priests
                      and Pharisees rejected him. So they resorted ( like in John 5:18, like in John 10:33) to the false charge of blasphemy.”

                      Read again; read better. The question isn’t whether anything Jesus said would have constituted *valid evidence* that he was a messianic pretender. The point is that (a) given their presuppositions about what the real Messiah should be like, and (b) given their evil hearts and haughty nature, and (c) given the fact that Jesus came bursting on the scene condemning them as “hypocrites” and “whitewashed graves” and “son’s of their father, the Devil” etc,. it was unavoidable that *they* could only conclude that he was a pretender. This is so obvious that I don’t intend on wasting any more time arguing about it. I don’t find the delight you do in argument without end, nor do I have any interest in your obsession with saving face. Your lack of humility is between you and God.

                      “3. What do you mean by “third person ‘Son of Man’ reference”? Are you
                      suggesting (or openly affirming) that, in Matthew 26:64, Jesus was not identfying himself with the Danielic “Son of Man”? If so, just shows how vast your misunderstanding is.”

                      I’m merely showing the reserve of one familiar with the history of the Son of Man debate. I’m happy to grant that the title was always a reference to Jesus himself. The only question is whether Jesus’ adversaries would have understood this in light of the way in which it was stated, i.e. in the third person. My position doesn’t require a definitive answer to this question, because, as I’ve said, Jesus’ fate was sealed the moment he was arrested. There was no way they were going to let him escape with his life, with or without the “Son of Man” reference.

                      “As for your desperate final defense on Pilate, of course ‘Pilate’s reluctance to execute Jesus’ IS ‘in tension with [Sean’s] position’. Actually, incompatible.”

                      Nope, not even a little. It’s in tension with your imaginary straw-man version of my position, but it’s not in tension with my actual position.

                      ~Sean

                    • Miguel de Servet
                      October 7, 2015 @ 8:46 am

                      So, John 11:48 should prove (even for Sean …) that if is false to affirm that the Jews rejected Jesus on the basis of the assumption that he was a “false Messiah”: they refused him, and used “blasphemy” (John 5:18,10:33; Matthew 26:65) as an excuse.

                      1. The fact, in spite of Sean’s Herculean efforts, the fact remains that Pilate “knew that it was because of envy that they had handed Him over” (Matthew 27:18).Which, to any normally thinking person, means that he considered the Jews’ “charges” laughable. As his repeated attempts to release Jesus fully prove. Read again, read better.

                      2. “… it was unavoidable that *they* could only conclude that he was a pretender”.
                      … OR they knew perfectly well that *he* was right (“37 If I do not perform the deeds of my Father, do not believe me. 38 But if I do them, even if you do not
                      believe me, believe the deeds, so that you may come to know and
                      understand that I am in the Father and the Father is in me.” Then they attempted again to seize him, but he escaped their clutches. – John 10:37-38) and *they* were wrong … but, of course, they were (understandably) reluctant to commit hara kiri en masse.
                      (You are also, understandably, reluctant to admit that you are wrong …)

                      3. You have confirmed, beyond any doubt, your utter lack of understanding for the key importance of Jesus reply (Matt 26:64) to Caiaphas question (Matt 26:63), and Caiaphas consequently scandalized (or affectedly scandalized) reaction.

                      As for the repeated defense of your “actual position” (which?) on Pilate, it is nothing but mere bluff.

                    • Sean Garrigan
                      October 7, 2015 @ 6:25 pm

                      “o, John 11:48 should prove (even for Sean …) that it is false to affirm that the Jews rejected Jesus on the basis of the assumption that he was a “false Messiah”: they refused him, and used “blasphemy” (John 5:18,10:33; Matthew 26:65) as an excuse.”

                      I think you’ve lost it, old boy. I’ll let you continue to argue with others from now on, as I don’t have the time or the desire to continue engage in the sort of dialogue that you find irresistible. I thought I saw promise that you were attempting to set aside your love of trollery lane, but I see that I was mistaken.

                      Take care,
                      ~Sean

                    • Miguel de Servet
                      October 7, 2015 @ 7:03 pm

                      Enjoy yourself.

                    • Sean Garrigan
                      October 7, 2015 @ 7:24 pm

                      “Enjoy yourself. (Even without your permission, I will continue to expose your errors, non sequiturs and contradictions)”

                      The only thing you’ve exposed is your own ignorance and arrogance, but you’re so blind you can’t see it.

                      ~Sean

                    • Miguel de Servet
                      October 8, 2015 @ 1:41 am

                      Sure, sure … maybe one day you will explain your “actual position” …

                    • Sean Garrigan
                      October 8, 2015 @ 4:20 am

                      “Sure, sure … maybe one day you will explain your ‘actual position’ …”

                      LOL. That reminds me of an episode of Taxi, where Danny Devito’s character said to Tony Danza’s character: “I wish you were smarter, just so you could understand how dumb you are.”

                      Of course, the difference is that in your case it’s not “dumbness” but willful ignorance born from extreme arrogance.

                      ~Sean

                    • Miguel de Servet
                      October 8, 2015 @ 4:54 am

                      “I wish you were smarter, just so you could understand how dumb you are.”

                      The joke is quite good. Pity you are not smart enough to apply it to yourself … 😉

                    • Rivers
                      October 5, 2015 @ 9:10 am

                      Sean,
                      I’m doing the best I can to clarify a different perspective on the biblical testimony and to answer your questions and objections directly. Sometimes your perception of what I’m trying to explain isn’t accurate either. I appreciate your additional comments.

                      The “all things” in 1 Corinthians 15:24-28 is talking about “all rule and authority” (15:24) being subjected to Jesus Christ and God. Jesus understood that “authority over all flesh” was his inheritance in glory (John 17:2; Matthew 18:18; Philippians 2:9-11). I don’t know where you are getting the word “belongings” out of 1 Corinthians 15:28.

                      It’s clear from Jesus’ parable in Matthew 21:31-39 that the Jews understood the implication of the “son” (Jesus Christ) having the right to the “inheritance” of God’s people and kingdom, and that his was the reason the Jews want to “kill” him. Thus, your remark about “no such category at the time” is simply a dismissal of the biblical evidence.

                    • Sean Garrigan
                      October 6, 2015 @ 6:02 am

                      “I’m doing the best I can to clarify a different perspective on the
                      biblical testimony and to answer your questions and objections directly.
                      Sometimes your perception of what I’m trying to explain isn’t
                      accurate either. I appreciate your additional comments.”

                      Yet I still don’t see an answer to my question: In light of 1 Cor 15:28, what part of Jesus’ inheritance does he get to keep forever?

                      I’ve already addressed your last paragraph in detail, but you simply ignore the problem. Nothing I can do about that.

                      ~Sean

                    • Miguel de Servet
                      October 2, 2015 @ 12:49 pm

                      There is the question of whether John was merely stating a fact when he said that Jesus made himself equal with God, or whether John meant to simply represent the thought of Jesus’ adversaries.

                      I definitely share the latter POV. The former POV would ONLY make sense in a trinitarian framework, and I consider “trinitarianism” (with Buzzard), “Christianity’s Christianity’s Self-Inflicted Wound”. Actually, it would work also in a modalist framework, but attributing a modalist POV to Jesus is something that would imply, in my opinion, that Jesus was a liar or a lunatic, and I choose not to consider those options.

                      Jesus’ equality stemmed from his Messiahship, which was the equality that an agent has with his principal.

                      Nowadays, we would find it most bizarre if any agent, even a plenipotentiary, while “equal” to his principal, at least in a specified sense, resorted to calling his principal “Father”.

                      I know that the Davidic King was called God’s “Son”, and therefore, reversing the perspective, it makes sense that YHWH could be called the Davidic King’s “Father. But I find all this diminutive, for Jesus.

                      I still believe that Jesus’ Sonship (perhaps even unbeknown to Jesus, and only known to Mary), was much more literal that a mere “functional bond”. That is how I interpret Matthew 1:18-23, Luke 1:35, John 1:14, together, anyway.

                    • Miguel de Servet
                      September 29, 2015 @ 3:32 pm

                      I don’t subscribe to all the views of Arius, as far as they can be
                      ascertained, but that I am “Arian” in the sense that I believe that the
                      one who became Jesus was originally God’s first created being.

                      What other views is Arius known for, other than the one you explicitly mention?

                    • Sean Garrigan
                      September 29, 2015 @ 7:35 pm

                      “What other views is Arius known for, other than the one you explicitly mention?”

                      I’m not an authority on Arius’ beliefs, but he apparently had a unique soteriology (e.g. see “Early Arianism: A View of Salvation”, by Robert C. Gregg and Dennis E. Groh), and, as I recall, he felt that God was unknowable, but I can’t remember where I read that. I’m sure there are other things, which is why I simply offer the caveat that I don’t subscribe to all his views without reference to anything specific.

                      ~Sean

                    • Miguel de Servet
                      September 30, 2015 @ 8:26 am

                      I’m not even sure that we would agree in toto about what we mean in calling the Son a creature of God, frankly.

                      With the caveat that we know about Arius’ doctrine from his enemies, Athanasius in particular, I believe there is little doubt that the Arian controversy was sparked by Arius considering “the Son” a creature, rather than an “emanation” or an “eternal generation”.

                    • GregLogan25
                      September 29, 2015 @ 8:38 pm

                      Sean – BTW – instead of insulting us with the Socinian appellation – how about at least using the historical Dynamic Monarchism? I am pretty sure Rivers will be okay with that – but the standard phrase is Biblical Unitarian – that would certainly be most respectful.

                    • Sean Garrigan
                      September 29, 2015 @ 9:02 pm

                      “Sean – BTW – instead of insulting us with the Socinian appellation – how
                      about at least using the historical Dynamic Monarchism? I am pretty
                      sure Rivers will be okay with that – but the standard phrase is Biblical
                      Unitarian – that would certainly be most respectful.”

                      So you can call me an “Arian” even though I’m really not a follower of Arius, and that’s fine and respectful, but I can’t call you a “Socianian” without being disrespectful, even though I do so for the very same reason you use “Arian” when describing my beliefs? You’re a hypocrite.

                      BTW, I can’t in good conscience call you or Rivers “biblical Unitarians” because I don’t consider Socinian Unitarianism or “Dynamic Monarchism” to be “biblical”.

                      ~Sean

                    • Rivers
                      September 30, 2015 @ 8:49 am

                      Greg,

                      I agree. Biblical Unitarian is the more appropriate term to use today. I’ve never met any Socinians or read any of their writings. Thus, I think it’s misleading to refer to someone like me with that label.

                    • GregLogan25
                      September 30, 2015 @ 12:47 pm

                      Likewise – I never knew of Socinius till quite a bit later after I had developed my understanding of Biblical Christology. I still know very little as my brief reading did not compel me to spend more time…

                    • Rivers
                      September 30, 2015 @ 2:45 pm

                      Greg,
                      I think some Biblical Unitarians appeal to the “Socinians” because they feel it makes their Christology appear more credible as an historical option.

                      Arians probably feel the same way since Arius is purported to have lived prior to the widespread acceptance of the Trinity doctrine. Thus, it appeals to those who want to think that their Christology was somehow “closer” to the apostolic era.

                    • Miguel de Servet
                      September 30, 2015 @ 4:07 pm

                      Greg,

                      referring to a “Biblical Unitarian” as Socinian may be historically inaccurate and also too extensive, but why on earth would it be “insulting”?

                    • GregLogan25
                      September 30, 2015 @ 4:28 pm

                      Good question!

                      The reason is that this appellation makes us subservient to Socinius – as if he and his scene and ANYTHING to do with our theo/Christology. In fact Socinius was totally irrelevant to any work I have done. At least have the intellectual integrity to call my system by my own name… Gregorism…:-)

                    • Miguel de Servet
                      September 30, 2015 @ 4:59 pm

                      In fact Socinius was totally irrelevant to any work I have done.

                      Greg,

                      that is nobody’s probem other than yours. There would not be any “Biblical Unitarianism”, nowadays, if there hadn’t been Laelius and Faustus Socini and, before them Michael Servetus.

                    • GregLogan25
                      September 30, 2015 @ 5:06 pm

                      🙂

                      I am pretty sure there would be a Riverism, a Servetism and Greorism… without Faustus…

                    • Miguel de Servet
                      September 30, 2015 @ 5:13 pm

                      Greg,

                      as you please. I know enough of the historical development to seriously doubt what you consider “pretty sure”. 🙂

                    • GregLogan25
                      September 30, 2015 @ 5:45 pm

                      Do you know the historical development of Gregorism or Riversism?

                    • Miguel de Servet
                      September 30, 2015 @ 5:56 pm

                      LOL!

                    • Sean Garrigan
                      September 30, 2015 @ 7:24 pm

                      “referring to a ‘Biblical Unitarian’ as Socinian may be historically
                      inaccurate and also too extensive, but why on earth would it be ‘insulting’?”

                      It’s not insulting, and, in fact, Greg is not really insulted. Here’s what’s happened:

                      Yesterday I pointed out that he had been treating me in an uncivil manner, and rather than imaging Christ by humbly apologizing, which his pride wouldn’t allow, he found my comments about Rivers and Socinianism and chose, for apologetic purposes, to feign indignation. He has thereby demonstrated that he is not an honest person.

                      ~Sean

                    • GregLogan25
                      September 26, 2015 @ 10:57 am

                      Sean – To clarify

                      A. Are you essentially Arian in your Theo/Christology (vs traditional trinitarian)?

                      B. Are you really comfortable with considering a spirit being taking a human form being considered a man just like Adam (Rom5:15, ICor15:21, 44) and just us (ITim2:5, Heb2:17) in contrast to God (Jn8:40), etc.? I find the texts which designate Jesus as a man do not allow such equivocation.

                    • Sean Garrigan
                      September 26, 2015 @ 4:15 pm

                      Hi Greg,

                      “A. Are you essentially Arian in your Theo/Christology (vs traditional trinitarian)?”

                      As long as we understand ‘Arian’ as a useful shorthand appellation for those who believe that the spirit being who became Jesus was God’s first heavenly creature, without respect to Arius’ other unique teachings, then yes, that would be an accurate description of my Christology.

                      “B. Are you really comfortable with considering a spirit being taking a
                      human form being considered a man just like Adam (Rom5:15, ICor15:21,
                      44) and just us (ITim2:5, Heb2:17) in contrast to God (Jn8:40), etc.? I
                      find the texts which designate Jesus as a man do not allow such
                      equivocation.”

                      Yes, I’m comfortable with it, and don’t find that it involves any obvious equivocation. Why? Because I don’t argue that Jesus remained a spirit being when he became a man. He gave up his heavenly mode of existence which was replaced with an earthly mode of existence. He was a spirit being who became a man, and once a man he was no longer a spirit being.

                      ~Sean

                    • GregLogan25
                      September 27, 2015 @ 8:46 pm

                      Thanks Sean – great to know where you are coming from.

                      My problem – neither you, I nor Adam was a pre-incarnate spirit being that took on some form of man in conjunction with retaining the unique personhood/center of consciousness of a spirit being…. That is simply NOT the man that is made in all points as we are.

                      If the scriptures teach that Jesus is a man like Adam, make Jesus a man. If the scriptures don’t teach Jesus a man but a spirit being taking a human form – simply say – I reject the man Christ Jesus and I am replacing him with an incarnated spirit being. Mixing the two – by maintaining the essence of the latter but using the language of the former (all incarnationalists do) seems to me to be the height of the hand is quicker than the eye sort of thing and reminds me of the story of the King’s New Clothes (except there are those of us who have seen that in fact the king is naked….).

                    • Sean Garrigan
                      September 27, 2015 @ 9:02 pm

                      “My problem – neither you, I nor Adam was a pre-incarnate spirit being
                      that took on some form of man in conjunction with retaining the unique
                      personhood/center of consciousness of a spirit being…. That is simply
                      NOT the man that is made in all points as we are.”

                      Well, we’ll have to agree to disagree then. I’m less concerned with philosophical objections than I am with the clear teaching of Scripture, and IMO the Bible is clear that Jesus was a man like me and you, but that prior to his human life he was a heavenly being. That’s good enough for me.

                      ~Sean

                    • GregLogan25
                      September 27, 2015 @ 9:32 pm

                      Sean –

                      There is no philosophical objection – what you are teaching is NOT a man in any sense – it is a spirit being in a man’s body. Your Jesus person is still the same divine person – just in a human body. There is no man that is a divine person in a human body – certainly Adam was not and that who Paul aligns Jesus with.

                      You can use the word “man” if you wish to feel better because you want your philosophy to look like that of Jesus and Paul – but anyone even casually reading what you believe knows that that the Jesus you are teaching is NOT a man. Why you so slavishly holding to this – as opposed to a genuine man Christ Jesus as the scriptures plainly teach – is beyond me. With all due respect, while I find the notion of Jesus as a spirit being to be unscriptural and unnecessary, I find the use of the term “man” in this context to be intellectually dishonest and ultimately deceptive.

                      Sincerely,
                      In Christ,
                      Greg Logan

                    • Sean Garrigan
                      September 27, 2015 @ 11:12 pm

                      “There is no philosophical objection – what you are teaching is NOT a man
                      in any sense – it is a spirit being in a man’s body. Your Jesus person
                      is still the same divine person – just in a human body. There is no man
                      that is a divine person in a human body – certainly Adam was not and
                      that who Paul aligns Jesus with.”

                      As I said, we’ll have to agree to disagree. The Bible teaches that Jesus was a man, and I take the Bible at its word. The Bible teaches that the one who became the man Jesus existed in heaven with God prior to his earthly existence, and I take the Bible at its word.

                      Take care,
                      ~Sean

                    • GregLogan25
                      September 28, 2015 @ 12:52 am

                      Sean

                      You have made the Bible contradict itself. However, the Bible does not contradict itself. Therefore, we know something is wrong with your assumptions. Frankly, it is pretty easy to figure out what is wrong with your assumptions by examining them. I am certain that you are aware of the assumptions you have made about Jesus existing in heaven and you are aware of how your assumptions in these matters have been refuted by sound Biblical exegesis – but you reject them and rather choose to simply make the Word of God nonsensical. I prefer to let the Word of God be true and every man a liar.

                    • Sean Garrigan
                      September 28, 2015 @ 5:39 am

                      “The bottom line – when you have created a fundamental contradiction –
                      when you have created fundamental nonsense – then instead of degrading
                      the Word of God, the man of humility reviews his own conclusions which
                      are painfully obviously problematic instead of playing word games to do
                      so to make them “work” at any cost. The Word of God is wonderfully
                      coherent and consistent and it is simply a matter of spending the time
                      and effort to fully unlock the text.”

                      For the third and final time, we’ll have to agree to disagree, because (a) there is no contradiction or nonsense in what I’ve offered (you are mistaken), (b) the Bible does *clearly* teach that the one who became the man Jesus — not the Godman or the angel-man, but the *man* — existed in heaven prior to his earthly life, and (c) this beautifully embraceable conclusion is reached by those who humbly allow their beliefs to be molded by the testimony of Scripture, and is only avoided when one chooses instead to play the bias-shaped game of eisegetical twister.

                      Take care,
                      ~Sean

                    • GregLogan25
                      September 28, 2015 @ 10:29 am

                      Arbitrary definition as to man….??? How about looking in the mirror to find out what a man is…::-)!! (as I do).

                      The only game of twister is the Incarnationalist word game of changing the standard meaning of a word (aner/anthropos in this instance) into anything they want to resolve the results of their poor quality exegesis. This is a painfully transparent game which would simply be silly except for the severe degradation of the man Christ Jesus. You and I both know that probably the most basic rule of hermeneutics – and one that works great – is to maintain the standard meaning of a word unless another definition is explicitly provided in the context. ALL Incarnationalists choose to grossly violate this rule.

                      How about simply doing some good exegesis on the texts in which you think your current interpretation necessitates that you violate this rule? I did – and did not need anyone’s input (though there are many who have so done). I strongly expect you can as well if you decide that word games are not acceptable.

                      You current approach, if consistently honestly used, really should result in you eating the literal body and blood of Christ… How is your genuflect and “our Father”..:-)?!?

                    • Roman
                      September 28, 2015 @ 11:12 am

                      Let me ask you something, are People who go to heaven REALLY spirit Creatures? Or are they just men inhabiting spirit bodies?
                      Yes, it is an Arbitrary definition, man means a human being, made of flesh, human DNA, With human limitations, both Sean and I agree With that, but the bible forces us to understand that Jesus had an existance prior to his birth as a human.
                      that does NOT make him not human at all, there is nothing in the scriptures that defines human beings as necessarily not having any pre-human existance, just like a spirit being can still be a spirit being if it has a pre-spirit existance.
                      This “rule” of what defines a human being, IS arbitrary. as Sean has pointed out.
                      Jesus DESCENDED from heaven, just as he will Ascend … this text and texts like these in both John and Paul shouldn’t be just ignored or taken as mere metaphore, just because it would mean Jesus doesn’t fit you’re arbitrary, non-biblical definition of what it means to be a man.

                    • GregLogan25
                      September 28, 2015 @ 11:31 am

                      Hi Roman

                      Thanks for joining the conversation!

                      Not sure where your first paragraph is coming from…

                      Regardless, there is no “arbitrary” definition to the term man (except in the very limited circumstance where it is clearly defined in the context – I believe there is one instance in Ex18). Jesus is clearly defined as being “made in all points like His brethren” and identical to Adam and all man-kind in the multitude of texts that state and necessitate that He is a man. You and I know what a man is (the mirror should suffice!) what men have ALWAYS been. To play word games here is not just silly – it is really deceptive and not only takes advantage of the ignorant (about 98% of evangelicals and 99.9% of the vaticanists) but really degrades the wonderful work of the man Christ Jesus who went all the way to save you and I. Likewise you open up a barrel of monkeys because now any word can mean anything I want it to to fit whatever neat theology I want to create. I am completely lost as to why you even consider doing it. For me, it is a fundamental integrity issue.

                      I am certain you are aware that the hypostatic union flat out denies the human person/center of consciousness of Jesus – and reduces him to an impersonal human nature actuated by a deity (Anhypostasis). Again, this is silly and really very deceptive to then say He is a man. There is not such beast that is a man except in the minds of incarnationalists.

                      BTW – I trust you have been gnawing on Jesus body and blood lately – am I right about that…:-)

                      Best,

                      Greg

                    • Roman
                      September 29, 2015 @ 2:50 am

                      My first paragraph is simply a Call for consistancy, if you believe that after Death some People become spirit Creatures of some sort, does the fact that they were previously human exclude that?
                      Except Jesus was not made in all Points like his brethren, he was sinless, it was through him one can approach God and so on.
                      I know what a man is, we all do, but there is nothing in what a man is that precludes that person existing in another form prior to his birth, nothing at all, especially if the bible and the exegesis of the bible demands it.
                      A human being, is like you and me, but there if I pre-existed my birth in another form, I would still be actually human, just the same way if a human becomes an spirit creature, he is actually really a spirit creature.
                      I don’t believe in the hypostatic Union btw.

                    • GregLogan25
                      September 29, 2015 @ 3:14 am

                      OK Roman – let’s see – God says Jesus was made in all points like we are – and Roman says He was not… Damn, I wonder who I should believe…:-)

                      Do you know any men who existed prior to birth? I would stick with plain, straight reality rather than than sort of philosophical speculation, assumption and ultimately sort of Seanian mind games. Why in God’s name would we diverge from the standard meaning of a plainly stated word especially when it is in context with plainly stated, formal statements??

                      Greg

                    • Roman
                      September 29, 2015 @ 5:23 am

                      Do you know any man that was born of a Virgin?
                      Do you know any man that was raised to the right hand of God?
                      Do you know any man that was sinless?
                      Do you know any man whose Death served as a Ransom for mankind?
                      Do you know any man through which you could be reconciled to God?
                      I mean common, lets be serious.
                      These are not philosophical speculations, I hold my belief based on a solid exegesis of the text of John and Pual’s writings.
                      I’m NOT deverging form the standard meaning of the plainly stated Word …. you’re insisting on a definition of the Word which is simply not warrented.

                    • GregLogan25
                      September 29, 2015 @ 12:52 pm

                      Roman

                      You are COMPLETELY biffing the categories. My reference is strictly ontological – your references are everything BUT ontological.

                      You are totally absolutely twisting the word man to mean something that it NEVER means. Why? Not because of sound exegesis but because of very poor quality exegesis derived from to 3/4C traditions of illiterate men that for some reason you want to take precedence over the clear word of God. I am at a complete loss as to why you want to do this – there is simply no need to toy with the Word of God.

                    • Roman
                      October 1, 2015 @ 10:07 am

                      There is nothing in what it means to be a man that requires having no pre-existence. If one believes in re-incarnation, for example, the re-incarnated person is still a human being.
                      John says Jesus came Down from heaven and will Return up just as he came Down …. I believe him.
                      You’re ENTIRE position is based on the absolutely arbitrary, and not supported in scripture, argument that to be a “man” excludes any pre-existence, and that pre-supposition demands that you ignore, or re-interperate all sorts of scriptures.
                      So far you still haven’t defended Your assertion that to be a man excludes any possibility of pre-existence.

                    • GregLogan25
                      October 1, 2015 @ 11:26 am

                      There is nothing in what it means to be a man that requires having no pre-existence.

                      [Greg absolutely stunned – just sits staring at the monitor – unable to actually believe this sentence was written….. Suddenly “trickle-down economics” and “police never lie” actually sounds believable…:-) ]

                      Roman – Ever met a man who was really a pre-incarnate deity in a human body? No – you say? Neither have I. Not at all arbitrary – totally basic…:-)

                      Your exegesis in Jn6 is simply wrong. As much as I would like to work together to exegete the text, I am realizing that when one point blank rejects the point blank, clear, formal doctrinal statement “for unto us there is one God, the Father”, PERIOD, then we have no real grounds of communicating.

                      Oh – just to check – I trust you have been eating Jesus flesh and drinking his blood – and, btw, do you prefer his liver fried and with onions or grilled and with ketchup….

                    • Roman
                      October 5, 2015 @ 4:16 am

                      No I haven’t ever met a man who was previously a dre-incarnate deity.
                      But how is that an argument? Almost everything about Jesus was unique to him and him alone …. It’s arbitrary that you pick one trait to be demanding that that Jesus is not human, because it would be uniquie to Jesus, but ignore the other ones.

                      As far as the last part, there is evidence that it is not literal.

                      (There’s more evidence for trinitarianism than there is for trickle Down economics though 😛 …. )

                    • GregLogan25
                      October 5, 2015 @ 8:57 am

                      Roman

                      Your parenthetical sentence is classic – and I fully agree!!! There is only one thing that trickles down – and it is NOT money.

                      Agreed that there are many things that are unique – as there are for every man (Obama – first black president is unique, etc. Trump is unique, etc.) BUT these unique elements are NOT ontological – Obama and Trump are still human persons created at birth. The fundamental consciousness’ are human – not a divine being…. A divine being simply isn’t a man.

                    • Roman
                      October 5, 2015 @ 10:48 am

                      I’m glad we agree on economics at least :).

                      I don’t see why, say having no personhood prior to earth is fundemental to being a human, and not being able to die for the sins of mankind isn’t? Or being able to reconcile mankind to God isn’t?

                      A divine being is NOT a man, I agree, but a divine being can become a man, just the same way that a man can become a divine (or spirit) being.

                    • GregLogan25
                      October 5, 2015 @ 11:33 am

                      Ever know a man who had his ontological person-ness prior to his conception?? No, you say? Neither have I ….:-)

                      A man NEVER becomes a divine being – a man is always a man – we simply take on a new body when it is given to us – which ALL men experience.

                      A man is what all men are – not what no men are.

                    • Roman
                      October 6, 2015 @ 3:29 am

                      I’ve never known a man who had died and been given a New body either, how do we know that person is really a man?
                      Jesus had human dna, hands, a brain, a spine, a liver, he was born of a woman, he is what all men are, and even more.
                      To be honest this debate is a little bit silly because it’s nothing more than semantics, what is it to be a man.

                    • GregLogan25
                      October 6, 2015 @ 4:04 am

                      Roman

                      Your first sentence makes no sense – I already discussed this in the previous post – and Paul beat me to it by 2,000 years in ICor15.

                      As to Jesus being what all men are – you are obviously not serious…. You are fully familiar with the anhypostasis of the human nature of Jesus I am sure…???

                    • Roman
                      October 6, 2015 @ 4:10 am

                      Yes I am familiar.
                      My point is if a man can become a spirit being, the reverse is also possible.

                    • GregLogan25
                      October 6, 2015 @ 12:20 pm

                      Roman

                      The notion that spirit being is divine rather than a human spirit is the issue – but lets try another approach.

                      Can Jesus fully, independently function WITHOUT
                      an incarnated deity (just like you and I and all men do)?

                      Do you believe that the Jesus conceived was a
                      created human person – human center of consciousness – just like you and I??

                    • Roman
                      October 6, 2015 @ 4:21 pm

                      My point is that if a man, a saint, become a heavenly creature, a divine being, then I don’t see the probem with the reverse.

                      I think the question betrays a missunderstanding of my position, I don’t believe that Jesus had within him some incarnate deity. I believe that a divine being BECAME a human being.

                      So an analogy would be, for example, a larve becoming a butterfly, it’s not that a larve is hiding within the butterfly, it becomes that.

                      Jesus was conceived, but his life force, was (somehow) transformed into that conceived person.

                      The metaphysics may be difficult, but I believe I am forced to that position by scripture.

                      Jesus was virgin born, we agree (I think) on that, so we already start from the presupposition that we are talking about no ordinary man, a man certainly, but no man is conceived by a virgin.

                    • GregLogan25
                      October 6, 2015 @ 5:45 pm

                      Roman said, “My point is that if a man, a saint, become a heavenly creature, a divine being, then I don’t see the problem with the reverse.”

                      >>> Man NEVER becomes a divine being – we receive a glorified HUMAN body. God is God, angels are angels and Man is man. Period.

                      What is a man?
                      If every single man has a particular characteristic, then, by definition, that is
                      what is characteristic of being a man

                      Here is a simple way to see the difference between your Jesus and the man Christ Jesus of scripture:

                      Can your Jesus fully, independently function WITHOUT an
                      incarnated deity (just like you and I and all men do)?

                      In other words, if the divine first created person left your Jesus (since no man is a divine person we need to eliminate that to get to what a real man is) – could the remaining man fully function like all men do.

                      Other than the above, I have gone round and round on this with other Arians so I won’t do so further. My hermeneutic is simple – I take the words at their standard meaning without infusing other exegesis (especially errant exegesis re: a pre-incarnate being). When the text says Jesus is man – that means the PERSON is created at conception – just like ALL men!

                      All the best to you,

                      Greg

                    • Miguel de Servet
                      October 6, 2015 @ 5:53 pm

                      When the text says Jesus is man – that means the PERSON is created at conception – just like ALL men!

                      Can you honestly say that “the text says” that Jesus is “created at conception” “just like ALL men”?

                    • GregLogan25
                      October 6, 2015 @ 6:05 pm

                      MS

                      BTW – can you clarify – are you Arian in your Christology as well?? Maybe you told me that and I forgot.

                      There are about 12 or so texts which explicitly and formally teach that Jesus was a man, a man just like us, created like us so we are his brethren. As a man Jesus necessarily has the characteristics of a man – so each of these text state that whatever a man is – Jesus is. We know what men are – we are one.

                      You and I both know that there are no texts that goes through the characteristics of a man one by one. That would be silly and redundant. As soon as Jesus is declared to be a man – case is closed.

                    • Miguel de Servet
                      October 6, 2015 @ 6:19 pm

                      Greg,

                      experience doesn’t help. We have no direct experience of men either directly “formed from the soil of the ground” or born of a virgin, thanks to “the Holy Spirit coming upon [her], and the power of the Most High overshadowing [her]”.

                      I am most definitely NOT Arian. The ?????, before becoming flesh in/as Jesus is NOT a “person”, but an eternal attribute of God.

                    • GregLogan25
                      October 6, 2015 @ 7:10 pm

                      Fair enuf – but both were created – Jesus essentially at conception – and Adam necessarily was a one-off person – who was not a pre-incarnate person.

                      I stand with the hermeneutic that we use words with their standard meaning unless the context clearly and formally indicates otherwise. The context of Jesus clearly and formally informs us of a virgin birth – AND some sort of conception (the details of which are irrelevant to me). Man means man – BOTH Jesus and Adam were human person – NOT divine persons in a human body. A rather significant difference don’t you think??

                      Thanks for clarification re Christology – that is what I remember.

                    • Miguel de Servet
                      October 7, 2015 @ 4:23 am

                      Greg,

                      we humans are creatures, because we are part of the uninterrupted chain of God’s creation.

                      But, as regards or relation with our parents, we a NOT “created” by them, we are generated. Likewise, as regards the genetic relation of Jesus to God, the Father Almighty, and his mother Mary, he was “God’s only Son” (??? ???? ??? ???? ??? ????????), “conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary”.

                      BOTH Jesus and Adam were human person – NOT divine persons in a human body. A rather significant difference don’t you think??

                      Why do you ask? You know very well that I reject the notion of personal “pre-existence”. Nevertheless Jesus is the incarnation of God’s eternal ?????. AFAIAC, there is no other way of interpreting John 1:1,14.

                    • GregLogan25
                      October 7, 2015 @ 10:36 am

                      I am fine with generated. The main thing – you and I know what a man is – we see him in the mirror everyday. We damn well know we were not a pre-incarnate divine person…:-)

                    • Roman
                      October 7, 2015 @ 9:01 am

                      Ok, so you don’t believe that a human being can go to heaven? Is there air in heaven? Is there gravity in heaven? Is there Sunlight in heaven? Is there water in heaven? If this New body has no relationship to the human body then in what way are we human?
                      It’s like Alvin Plantiga’s thought Experiment of a person in a Beatles Body, at that point how is the person still a human being?
                      Every man has the charachteristic of having both a human father and a human mother … so by definition Jesus is not a man …. Every man has the charachteristic of having sinned, Jesus has not sinned, Jesus is not a man … you see the problem With Your definition here?
                      Jesus is not WITH an incarnated deity … Jesus is a Deity that BECOMES a man through the Virgin birth …. there is no ghost in the machine …. You’re arguing here as if I believe in the hypostatic union … I DO NOT!!!! I don’t believe Jesus had 2 natures …. I belive Jesus was a person, living in heaven, and became a person living on Earth.
                      Those who go to heaven will have a heavnely body, before they had an earthly body. Jesus had a Heavenly body, while he was on Earth he had an earthly Body.
                      You’re exegeses breaks Down when Jesus makes it Clear that he descended from heaven, and Your definition of “man” breaks Down once you realize that Jesus was born of a Virgin.

                    • Miguel de Servet
                      October 7, 2015 @ 9:59 am

                      Roman,

                      there are so many issues with your comment, that it is difficult to point them all out. Let’s try.

                      1. It is not true that the new (resurrected) body “has no relationship to the human body”. In the only example we have (Jesus), Mary Magdalene, the disciples of Emmaus, the Apostles, were all able to recognize Jesus, although, manifestly, with some difficulty.

                      2. “Alvin Plantiga’s thought Experiment” is phoney, and only makes sense to body-soul dualists.

                      3. You should bring the “[e]very man has the characteristic of having both a human father and a human mother” to its logical consequence, and say that, with those premises, the first man, Adam, was not a man. As least Jesus has a human mother … and God provided the functional equivalent of a man’s DNA.

                      4. That “every man has the characteristic of having sinned” is NOT a necessity, BUT, due to humans’ weakness, something virtually inevitable. (Of course, I reject the BS doctrine of “original sin” …)

                      5. How (logically, philosophically, theologically, scripturally, materially) would the Virgin birth, by itself, manage to make “a Deity … BECOME a man”?

                      6. Why affirming that Jesus had (still has …) two natures [divine and human] would be any more problematic than affirming that “Jesus was a person [a Deity – said Roman], living in heaven, and became a person [a man – said Roman] living on Earth”?

                      7. So are you claiming that Jesus first “had a Heavenly body”, then, while on earth, “had an earthly body”, finally was resurrected in a “Heavenly body”? Seems an awful amount of fuss and bother, to me. Is that (partly) due to your understanding of kenosis?

                      8. Are you sure that you haven’t got enough imagination and elasticity as not to understand “descended from heaven” in your overwrought way?

                    • GregLogan25
                      October 7, 2015 @ 10:39 am

                      Roman

                      Like it or not – all incarnational models necessarily have the PERSON as the pre-incarnate PERSON. No man is a pre-incarnate person – we are created (or, generated or conceived or wtf you want to call it – we are NOT divine persons). Therefore, there is huge gap between your Jesus and the man Christ Jesus.

                      BTW – is there any way you can answer my simple questions?

                      Here is a simple way to see the difference between your Jesus and the man Christ Jesus of scripture:

                      Can your Jesus fully, independently function WITHOUT an
                      incarnated deity (just like you and I and all men do)?

                      In other words, if the divine first created person left your Jesus (since no man is a divine person we need to eliminate that to get to what a real man is) – could the remaining man fully function like all men do.

                    • Roman
                      October 8, 2015 @ 4:05 am

                      Why cannot it be the case that a man pre-existed as a personal being before his birth?
                      And don’t say “Do you know any man who existed as a person prior to his birth?” Because we already have to give up that line of argument as soon as we Accept the Virgin birth.
                      I can’t answer the question, because Your question assumes something which I do not believe …. (akin to the old School yard question “does Your mom know you’re Gay”).
                      The question is nonsense becuase I do not believe that Jesus HAD an incarnated deity within him ….

                    • GregLogan25
                      October 8, 2015 @ 11:29 am

                      Roman

                      You don’t understand your own Christology. Your own Christology teaches that the person/core consciousness of Jesus IS the divine, pre-incarnate person wrapped up neatly in some kind of human nature/body or wtf you want to call it. This is why He specifically talked about His pre-incarnate status in Jn6 and Jn8 (based on the horribly mutilated Arian exegisis of both of these passages). He could not have said these statements if he was not that divine, pre-incarnate person.

                      Greg

                    • Roman
                      October 8, 2015 @ 12:03 pm

                      I do understand my own Christology Greg, Jesus was a heavenly being, he became a man, while he was a man, he was a man, then he was ressurected, and taken up to heaven.

                      No, he wasn’t a divine being inside a body, he WAS that body, just as we are our bodies. I don’t understand why this is so difficult to understand.

                    • GregLogan25
                      October 8, 2015 @ 11:32 am

                      re: your virgin birth stmt

                      Huh?!? Virgin birth has NOTHING to do with a pre-incarnate person – this has to do with created/generated at conception – just like all men – regardless of how it is done.

                      That is a HUGE difference.

                      Yes, I understand your subtility that every man has had a sperm. Sorry – you are missing one – your great grand-father…:-)

                    • Roman
                      October 8, 2015 @ 12:05 pm

                      I think we’ve covered all the ground we’re going to cover, at this point I would just be repeating myself.

                    • Rivers
                      October 7, 2015 @ 12:35 pm

                      Roman,

                      I would dispute two things about your definition of “man” here that I think undermines your argument.

                      First, Adam was a “man” and yet he did not have a father or a mother. Thus, I don’t think being “human” should be predicated only upon one’s genealogy.

                      Second, although Jesus “knew no sin”, he was subject to biological death (Hebrews 5:7) like Adam and thus was counted among sinners (Romans 5:12). This is why the writer of Hebrews pointed out that Jesus not only died for “the sins of the people”, but also “for himself” (Hebrews 5:1-3).

                    • Roman
                      October 8, 2015 @ 4:06 am

                      Fair enough, my argument doesn’t hang on some arbitrary definition of “man” like Greg’s does.

                    • Miguel de Servet
                      October 7, 2015 @ 2:35 pm

                      Roman,

                      there are so many issues with your comment, that it is difficult to point them all out. Let’s try.

                      1. It is not true that the new (resurrected) body “has no relationship to the human body”. In the only example we have (Jesus), Mary Magdalene, the disciples of Emmaus, the Apostles, were all able to recognize Jesus, although, manifestly, with some difficulty.

                      2. “Alvin Plantiga’s thought Experiment” is phoney, and only makes sense to body-soul dualists.

                      3. You should bring the “[e]very man has the characteristic of having both a human father and a human mother” to its logical consequence, and say
                      that, with those premises, the first man, Adam, was not a man. As least Jesus has a human mother … and God provided the functional equivalent
                      of a man’s DNA.

                      4. That “every man has the characteristic of having sinned” is NOT a necessity, BUT, due to humans’ weakness, something virtually inevitable. (Of course, I reject the BS doctrine of “original sin” …)

                      5. How (logically, philosophically, theologically, scripturally, materially) would the Virgin birth, by itself, manage to make “a Deity … BECOME a man”?

                      6. Why affirming that Jesus had (still has …) two natures [divine and human] would be any more problematic than affirming that “Jesus was a person [a Deity – said Roman], living in heaven, and became a person [a man – said Roman] living on Earth”?

                      7. So are you claiming that Jesus first “had a Heavenly body”, then, while on earth, “had an earthly body”, finally was resurrected in a “Heavenly body”? Seems an awful amount of fuss and bother, to me. Is that (partly) due to your understanding of kenosis?

                      8. Are you sure that you haven’t got enough imagination and elasticity as not to understand “descended from heaven” in your overwrought way?

                    • Miguel de Servet
                      October 7, 2015 @ 5:09 pm

                      Roman,

                      there are so many issues with your comment, that it is difficult to point them all out. Let’s try.

                      1. It is not true that the new (resurrected) body “has no relationship to the human body”. In the only example we have (Jesus), Mary Magdalene, the disciples of Emmaus, the Apostles, were all able to recognize Jesus, although, manifestly, with some difficulty.

                      2. “Alvin Plantiga’s thought Experiment” is phoney, and only makes sense to body-soul dualists.

                      3. You should bring the “[e]very man has the characteristic of having both a human father and a human mother” to its logical consequence, and say
                      that, with those premises, the first man, Adam, was not a man. As least Jesus has a human mother … and God provided the functional equivalent of a man’s DNA.

                      4. That “every man has the characteristic of having sinned” is NOT a necessity, BUT, due to humans’ weakness, something virtually inevitable. (Of course, I reject the BS doctrine of “original sin” …)

                      5. How (logically, philosophically, theologically, scripturally, materially) would the Virgin birth, by itself, manage to make “a Deity … BECOME a man”?

                      6. Why affirming that Jesus had (still has …) two natures [divine and human] would be any more problematic than affirming that “Jesus was a person [a Deity – said Roman], living in heaven, and became a person [a man – said Roman] living on Earth”?

                      7. So are you claiming that Jesus first “had a Heavenly body”, then, while on earth, “had an earthly body”, finally was resurrected in a “Heavenly body”? Seems an awful amount of fuss and bother, to me. Is that (partly) due to your understanding of kenosis?

                      8. Are you sure that you haven’t got enough imagination and elasticity as not to understand “descended from heaven” in your overwrought way?

                    • Roman
                      October 8, 2015 @ 4:16 am

                      1. That isn’t a metaphysical relation, only a phenomelogical relation.
                      2. My point exactly.
                      3 & 4. You still haven’t told me what that means “functional equivalent of a man’s DNA.” …. But as I told Rivers, my argument doesn’t hang on any arbitrary definition of what it is to be a “man,” frankly that doesn’t intereset me, or, if you’re honest, the New testament writers.
                      5. It doesn’t by itself …. that isn’t my argument.
                      6. Because transformation is normal and happens all the time, a child transforms into an adult, People holding two natures simply doesn’t happen, it also necessitates an arbitrary definition of nature.
                      7. Not really that much fuss and bother, it’s what the bible says, but yes the Kenosis described in Philippians 2:5-10 is relevant to the topic.
                      8. One can imagin all one wants, but the text says what it says, he descended just as he ascended …

                    • Miguel de Servet
                      October 8, 2015 @ 12:24 pm

                      Roman

                      1. By speaking of “metaphysical relation” you are most likely being inconsistent. See 6.
                      2. N/C
                      3. I believe I have. Anyway, surely you do not doubt that Mary had her own DNA. God miraculously (by His Holy Spirit) “sculpted” her female DNA so that her ovum would be fertilized. Somehow the “form” that God contributed is homologous to His ?????.
                      4. I notice you have carefully avoided the specific point of “original sin”.
                      5. You wrote, “Jesus is a Deity that BECOMES a man through the Virgin birth”. So how doest it work? What IS your “argument”?
                      6. See point no. 1 above. It is certainly true that “transformation is normal and happens all the time” and that “a child transforms into an adult”. Are you suggesting that the transformation of a child into an adult is metaphysically similar to the transformation between the ???? ??????? and the ???? ??????????? (1 Cor 15:44)? If yes, how so? If not, then your comment is totally irrelevant.
                      7. Where (apart from your interpretation of kenosis) would the Bible say so?
                      8. You have repeatedly used, here at trinies.org, the phrase “he descended just as he ascended” (see also podcast 100 – Dr. Larry Hurtado on God in New Testament Theology, #comment-2269496862), as though it was verbatim from the Bible. It is NOT. Neither John 3:13, nor Eph 4:9-10. The closest you have is this …

                      “… This same Jesus who has been taken up from you into heaven will come back in the same way you saw him go into heaven.” (Acts 1:11)

                      … but it is referred to the future …

                    • Roman
                      October 9, 2015 @ 7:05 am

                      1. Well, if you have a problem metaphysically With one, and not the other, then you’re being inconsistant, the point is the fact that mary could recognize Jesus doesn’t mean much, the question is whether or not Jesus raised into heaven, is a human being? If so in what way? Does he have a heart, lungs, do they breath? And so on and so forth.

                      3. Ok.

                      4. Because it’s just one of many examples, the point is Jesus was not an ordinary man.

                      5. How it Works is not explained in the bible, but that it is true is necessitated from the bible.

                      6. Metaphyisically I don’t know, the point is there is nothing that is incoherent or logically fallacious about a spirit being becoming a human being any more than vice versa.

                      7&8. John 3:13:
                      ??? ?????? ?????????? ??? ??? ??????? ?? ?? ? ?? ??? ??????? ???????, ? ???? ??? ????????.

                      and no one has ascended into heaven, except the one who from heaven has descended, the son of man.

                      Extremely Clear, the descending FROM heaven that Jesus does is analagous to his ascending to heaven.

                      John 6 … 32 Then Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is that which[g] comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” 34 They said to him, “Sir, give us this bread always.”

                      35 Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. 36 But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe. 37 Everything that the Father gives me will come to me, and anyone who comes to me I will never drive away; 38 for I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him who sent me.

                      He comes Down from heaven JUST LIKE MANNA ….
                      Just to name a few verses ….

                    • Miguel de Servet
                      October 9, 2015 @ 5:23 pm

                      1. What is essential to be a man? What did God mean when he said, “Let us make man [adam] in our image, after our likeness …”? Did He mean that it is essential, to man, to “have a heart, lungs, [to] breath, [a]nd so on and so forth”? I am not being inconsistent, I am pointing out your peculiar use (or rejection) of the expressions “metaphysical relation”, “transformation”, “nature”.

                      3. You asked me to explain what I meant by saying that, for His Son Jesus, God, the Father, provided the “functional equivalent of a man’s DNA”. I did, adding that “the ‘form’ that God contributed is homologous to His ?????”. You replied “Ok”. Good.

                      4. He certainly wasn’t. Yet, this is what we read:

                      For we do not have a high priest incapable of sympathizing with our weaknesses, but one who has been tempted in every way just as we are,
                      yet without sin. (Heb 4:15)

                      5. So you bluffed, when you wrote, “Jesus is a Deity that BECOMES a man through the Virgin birth”. You are unable to support your claim.

                      6. So, you admit that comparing “a child [who] transforms into an adult” to the transformation between ???? ??????? and the ???? ??????????? (1 Cor 15:44) is untenable. Right?

                      7, 8. You cannot be serious. What does the “bread from heaven”, what does the manna have to do with the resurrection and the ascension. Ludicrous.

                    • Roman
                      October 11, 2015 @ 6:27 am

                      1. Well if we talk about what the normal usage of the term “man” is, and how people would read the text when they read “anders” or “anthropos” they would understand it as a physical human body with human features …. pretty straight forward, no metaphysical theory necessary.

                      5. I am through the text of the bible, but the bible doesn’t give us the metaphysical or physiological process …. the bible also doesn’t give us a scientific theory of creation …. but we believe in creation because that’s what the bible says.

                      6. No, it’s an example of a transformation, but of course it’s not a perfect equivalence, it’s an illustration.

                      7&8. Bread DESCENDED from heaven, if Jesus came into existence at his birth and had no existence prior to that, then the metaphor of his descending from heaven like manna makes no sense.

                    • Miguel de Servet
                      October 11, 2015 @ 9:21 am

                      1. 1 Corinthians 15 (in particular 1 Cor 15:44) says that, at the resurrection, we will transform from ???? ??????? to ???? ???????????. It does NOT say that we will transform from ???????? to something other than ????????. Period.

                      5. Once again, your comment is a total non sequitur to your boastful claim that “Jesus is a Deity that BECOMES a man through the Virgin birth”. Many theologians and scholars, as you (should) know, affirm that the Virgin birth is NOT essential for “Jesus [to be] a Deity that BECOMES a man”.

                      6. So, “a child [who] transforms into an adult” is a mere, poor analogy for the transformation from ???? ??????? to ???? ??????????? (1 Cor 15:44).

                      7&8. It’s not (the personally pre-existing) Jesus that “descended from heaven”, it is God’s Word:

                      1 ?? ???? ?? ? ?????, ??? ? ????? ?? ???? ??? ????, ??? ???? ?? ? ?????. (…) 14 ??? ? ????? ???? ??????? ??? ????????? ?? ???? … (John 1:1,14)

                      (The manna was not a personal entity, was it?)

                    • Roman
                      October 12, 2015 @ 5:18 am

                      1. Yes … But in what way is a spirit body still a human …. Listen, we need Equal scales here.

                      2. No, it isn’t essential, but that isn’t my argument, the reason I believe that Jesus was a spirit being prior to the Virgin birth is not because of the Virgin birth, you’re arguing against a strawman.

                      3. Can a ???? ??????????? become a ???? ????????
                      4. So what was it that ascended?
                      Manna was not a personal entity, but it didn’t become a personal entity and then ascend again as one.

                    • Miguel de Servet
                      October 12, 2015 @ 8:42 am

                      1. Equal scales? LOL! The ???? ??????????? that we will be at the resurrection will still be human for the good reason that man is made “in the image and likeness” of God (Gen 1:26). In an animal (???????) sense? Think …

                      2. So, for the umpteenth time, it was empty boasting, that you cannot support, when you affirmed that “Jesus is a Deity that BECOMES a man through the Virgin birth”. Your words …

                      3. It is NOT attested anywhere in the Bible. The closest you have is angels temporarily assuming human aspect.

                      4. Jesus’ person, with his ???? ???????????.

                      5. Precisely, that is why manna is only a figure of Jesus as “God’s word”, as “word of life”.

                    • Roman
                      October 12, 2015 @ 9:37 am

                      1. Ok, so being a human being has nothing to do With having a human body?
                      2. Yes, he becomes a man through the Virgin birth, he comes a man at his birth, the reason I believe that is because it’s obvious that Jesus existed in a personal form prior to his birth, but it’s also obvious that he came Down and took on flesh, presumably at his birth ….. What is it that Your asking for? A metaphysical theory laid out in scripture?
                      WHy would you insist on that? There isn’t any metaphysical laying out of what Divine Sperm is …. So yes, Equal scales.
                      3. It is attested when Jesus becomes flesh ….
                      But lets get our arguments straight … is Your argument exegetical or metaphysical?
                      If it is exegetical, which text and why?
                      If it is metaphysical then let’s stick to that,, I’m sick of having you jump around from argument to argument, let’s stick to one and work it through.
                      4. Exactly, he ascended, just as he descended, he exists in heaven know after his earthy body died, and he existed prior to his earthly body’s birth.
                      5. So what’s the figure? Was manna an idea that took form on Earth in some bizzare way? Or did it actually come DOWN from heaven?

                    • Miguel de Servet
                      October 12, 2015 @ 4:29 pm

                      1. In the ordinary sense (the only one of which we have experience, except for those who met the resurrected Jesus), to be human implies having the animal body (???? ???????) with which we are all endowed. BUT, at the resurrection, while we will remain human (????????) we will receive a spiritual body (???? ???????????).

                      2. That “Jesus existed in a personal form prior to his birth” is NOT “obvious”, it is the misunderstanding, of Arius, JW and … Roman …

                      … Jesus is NEITHER “a Deity that BECOMES a man”, NOR “God-the-Son who took on a human nature”, but the word of God that became a human being: ? ????? ???? ???????.

                      3. Provide textual evidence for the “personal pre-existence” of Jesus.

                      4. Nope. This is the sequence: God’s Word (NOT a person) => became the man Jesus (fully human, with ???? ???????) => who, at the resurrection received a spiritual body (???? ???????????).

                      5. The manna (the literal “bread of life”) was the real, physical, yet miraculous figure of the Word of God, come down from heaven and incarnated in/as Jesus, the spiritual “bread of life”.

                    • Rivers
                      October 12, 2015 @ 4:47 pm

                      Miguel,

                      I think you make a some valid points in your reply to Roman here.

                      However, it makes no sense to claim that “God’s word (impersonal) became the man, Jesus (a human being).” That is certainly not what John 1:14 means in Greek.

                      An abstract “word” cannot turn into an human being. LOGOS always refers to a “spoken” saying or message when it is used in the 4th Gospel. God didn’t speak a “word” and then turn it into Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ was a man (flesh) speaking the word (message) from God.

                      According to the apostles, the person who was speaking “the word (LOGOS) of life” was the human Jesus (1 John 1:1). He was the person came to dwell with the disciples (John 1:14) and the person John the baptizer was talking about (John 1:15).

                    • Miguel de Servet
                      October 12, 2015 @ 5:47 pm

                      … it makes no sense to claim that “God’s word (impersonal) became the man Jesus (a human being).” That is certainly not what John 1:14 means in Greek.

                      Enjoy your certitude …

                    • Roman
                      October 13, 2015 @ 4:09 am

                      1. So basically … no? I mean if one is simply a personal spirit being With no flesh and is still human, then there is nothing about having a human body has to do With being a human.
                      2 & 3. I’ve been doing that all over the place in different discussions here, With you and others, I’m not going to just rehash it for this discussion here.
                      4. That’s not what Jesus said, he says he will ascend just as he descended, HE descended, i.e. him as a person descended, and he ascends back to heaven the same way. That’s what the text says.
                      5. According to you nothing descended, it’s just that God put his spiritual sperm in Mary, that is’nt Jesus descending as he says he does.

                    • Miguel de Servet
                      October 13, 2015 @ 7:57 am

                      1. If you accept Paul’s formulation at 1 Corinthians 15:35-49 of what the resurrection body is going to be like, this is the only possible consequence: the “animal body” is the “seed” of the “spiritual body”.

                      2,3. OK, let me put it explicitly, then: there is nowhere in the Scripture where the “personal pre-existence” of Jesus is spoken of (or hinted at). If you see it there, it is your eis-egesis.

                      4. Let’s consider your two quotations that you brandish as proof-texts, John 3:13 and John 6:32-38. There is no need to affirm that “the one who descended from heaven” or “I have come down from heaven” refer to a “personal pre-incarnated state” of Jesus. It is a matter of interpretation. AFAIAC, what “came down from heaven” is God’s ?????, which ???? ??????? in/as Jesus.

                      5. That is precisely how I understand the combination of Matthew 1:18-25; Luke 1:26-36; John 1:1-14.

                    • Roman
                      October 13, 2015 @ 8:21 am

                      1. Ok, but that we cannot simply affirm that that is a human being in a spiritual body at one moment, and the insist that a person who prexists his body is not a human being since we haven’t seen a human being who prexists his body before.
                      2&3&4. It’s eisegesis to insist that whe Jesus says “I” he doesn’t actually mean “I.” I take Jesus at his Word, when he says “I have come Down from heaven” and that he descended just as he ascends, I assume he means it.
                      Jesus didn’t ascend as a personified attribute of God that can function as Divine sperm, he ascended as a person.
                      5. That’s eisegesis, it’s you’re interpreting within a framework that the logos cannot be personal. Neither of those verses describe the mechanics or metaphysics of what happened, the only Place it gets Close is in John, where it describes the logos becoming flesh. The fact that you interperate that as being Divine sperm is not from the text, it’s an interpretation Place ON the text, which in term forces you to interperate “I” as not actually meaning “I.”

                    • Miguel de Servet
                      October 13, 2015 @ 8:57 am

                      1. You are deviating from the point. My comments were in reply to your original question: “Ok, so being a human being has nothing to do With having a human body?”

                      2,3,4. No “eisegesis” at all, simply making sense of the Incarnation of God’s Word (? ????? ???? ???????) without resorting to any “personal pre-existence” presupposition.

                      If I say, “I come from Spain”, because my father is from Spain, but I have never lived there myself, this is a pefectly clear and understandable claim, even if I have never seen Spain once.

                      5. Does the angel speak to Mary of a “pre-existent spirit being” (Matthew 1:18-25)? Does the angel speak to Joseph of a “pre-existent spirit being” (Luke 1:26-36)?

                    • Roman
                      October 13, 2015 @ 9:26 am

                      1. I’m not deviating, I’m pointing out the fact that the insistance on certain qualities for a definition of “human” are arbitrary and Ad Hoc, given that you’re perfectly ok With a definition of a human being that doesn’t include having a human body.
                      2. It is Eisegesis, you’re ASSUMING that the logos is unpersonal, dispite the fact that the only first Century jewish work we have that talks about the logos uses it in a personal way, and then taking that assumption to translate “I descended” as “not I, but rather a non personal attribute of God descended, well not descended but acted a Divine sperm.”
                      “I come from Spain” is not the same as saying “I have arrived from Spain” or “I came Down from Spain.” Or “I will go to France Just as I came from Spain.”
                      5. No, he doesn’t, it doesn’t talk about the metaphysics of the issue, he’s telling Mary what she needs to know.

                    • Miguel de Servet
                      October 13, 2015 @ 12:32 pm

                      1. [patiently …] At the resurrection, we will remain human (????????) even if, having abandoned our ???? ???????, perhaps after thousands of years, we will receive a spiritual body (???? ???????????).

                      2. As repeated umpteen times, Philo’s heretic logos as deuteros theos, unfortunately adopted by Justin Martyr, is the first step on the way that led to the full-fledged (co-equal, co-eternal, tri-personal) “trinity”. You obviously do not know enough about the History of Christian doctrines and creeds.

                      You seem horrified by God’s ????? as sperma. It is an analogy (don’t we become more and more aware, nowadays, how the DNA, the Genetic Code is essentially and properly information?), that makes the notion of “Son of God” as close as can be to being literal.

                      (Leave Spain, if it doesn’t help you …)

                      5. So, if the angel does not explicitly speak of the “mechanism” or of the “metaphysics of the issue”, what are you left with, other than with God’s ?????, that nowhere in the Prologue to the Gospel of John says, hints or implies is a “personal spirit being”?

                    • Roman
                      October 14, 2015 @ 7:06 am

                      1. So … Yes or not … is it the case that being human has nothing to do With being a human body?
                      2. You say that Philo’s and Justin Martyr’s concept of the logos as deuteros Theos is heretical and lead to the Trinity … but you just say it, giving no reason to believe it.
                      The fact thay you claim that doens’t take away from the fact that Philo’s concept is the only first Century Jewish context we have for that kind of Language, and if you want to do serious exegesis you have to include that context.
                      The way you use it is not really an analogy, since you claim that “son of God” is actually LITERAL … somehow, if you demand “Son of God” be taken literally, you first need a reason why we should take it as literal? Since we have reasons to not take it as literal (God is not a man, Son of God is used all over the Place in the Old testament not literally, Son of God was a royal title for both jews and Imperial Rome and so on).
                      Listen you can make claims all day long, but they are meaningless unless you argue for them.
                      5. Generally non personal attributes can’t dwell among People. We also have all the descending Language in the rest of John.
                      And no we don’t hear about the mechanism or metaphysics of the issue, nor should we be suprised at that.

                    • Miguel de Servet
                      October 14, 2015 @ 5:39 pm

                      1. What I wrote is perfectly clear, and I challenge you to find fault with it.

                      2. The notion of deuteros theos is incompatible with the Biblical God. It is a mishmash of Greek (heathen) philosophy and of adulterated Judaism. Its adoption by Justin Martyr (most certainly NOT by the Evangelist John) is the “original sin” that, through recognizable steps, led (almost) inevitably to the full-fledged “trinity” of the Cappadocian scoundrels. Once again, you obviously do not know enough about the History of Christian doctrines and creeds.

                      Obviously God does not have literal sperma. Evidently my parenthetical note on the essence of the Genetic Code being information was lost on you.

                      5. Obviously you are not aware that the Greek verb ?????? is used in John 1:14 because, like the Hebrew verb ??????, (shakan, from which the noun mishkan, “tent”, “tabernacle”, with special reference, in the OT, to the holy tabernacle where God resided), means “to fix one’s tent” and (derivatively), “to dwell”.

                      So much so that we read:

                      And the Word became flesh and dwelt (“fixed his tent”) among us … (John 1:14)

                    • Roman
                      October 15, 2015 @ 2:39 am

                      1. I don’t know why you don’t want to give a straight answer,but whatever.
                      2. Why is it incompatible? It’s not as if the old testament and jewish literature insist that no other being but Yahweh can be properly called god or gods.
                      It wasn’t lost on me, but Genetic code is physical and found in sperm, but I don’t see any reason why we should take “son of God” in a literal sense.
                      5. So the dwelling among us was not a personal act? In the tabernacle a personal God dwealt among his People …. Not an attribute of God.

                    • Sean Garrigan
                      September 30, 2015 @ 5:24 am

                      “These are not philosophical speculations, I hold my belief based on a solid exegesis of the text of John and Pual’s writings. I’m NOT deverging form the standard meaning of the plainly stated Word …. you’re insisting on a definition of the Word which is simply not warrented.:”

                      If you want to see someone play fast and loose in their diverging from the “standard” meaning of words, just take a look at what the preexistence-denying Unitarians have to do with a few of these:

                      KAI NUN DOXASON ME SU, PATER, PARA SEAUTWi THi DOXHi hHi EICON
                      PRO TOU TON KOSMON EINAI PARA SOI

                      Note in particular what they do with ME and EICON, which are massaged into “the plan about of me” and “I had in your plan”.

                      So much for “the plain meaning of words”. It is not the meaning of words, plain or otherwise, that undergirds preexistence-denying Unitarianism; it’s the presupposition of non-preexistence. Like Trinitarianism, this form of Unitarianism is a form of presuppositional apologetic, and like most Trinitarians, most of these Unitarians don’t even recognize this. They think they argue like a William Lane Craig, when they are really Van Til-ians at heart.

                      ~Sean

                    • Roman
                      October 1, 2015 @ 10:02 am

                      I couldn’t agree more, when you’re Christology demands that you abandon the Clear and obvious Readings of texts, and insist on inserting Words which don’t exist, it’s time to question Your Christology.

                    • Rivers
                      September 29, 2015 @ 9:45 am

                      Greg,

                      Good point. The fact that there is no explicit historical reference to Jesus Christ in the Hebrew scriptures is a critical problem for people who believe in “the preexistence of Christ” or “the incarnation.”

                      Even though there is some language in the 4th Gospel that can be construed to suggest that Jesus Christ somehow existed before his human birth, it doesn’t constitute “evidence” of preexistence or incarnation. It can only be inferred if one prefers to interpret the language in favor of those doctrines.

                      The linguistic evidence also shows that most of the terminology being construed as “preexistence” language in the 4th Gospel is also applied to other people and things besides Jesus Christ (e.g. “born from above” and “came down from heaven”). This also mitigates against the idea that the writer intended the language to refer specifically to a “preexistence” or “incarnation” of Jesus himself.

                    • GregLogan25
                      September 29, 2015 @ 1:02 pm

                      Rivers

                      You can add Heb 9:26, 28 totally obliterate any Christophanies (how come trins could not see this??????). What dark cloud covers their minds???

                      BTW – I like to think that dynamic monarchianism is the only genuine and meaningful incarnational, pre-existent Christology In fact, NONE of the other Christologies can possibly include pre-existence. I will let you play with how…:-)

                      NOTE1 There is NOTHING in the 4th Gospel that indicates a personal pre-incarnate Christ. People simply don’t get Jesus metaphorical language THE SAME WAY they did not get “tear this temple down in three days…” NOR “you must eat of my body….” (unless Roman and Sean want to start munching on wafers from some pedophile… hmmmm…yum!)

                      NOTE2 I am at a complete loss why grown men would so trash the basic and distort the standard meaning of words in this one instance. The classic King is wearing no clothes story. They would NEVER do so in any other instance – certainly not with their finances (not sure how they treat their women…). They simply turn a blind eye to plain, clear, formal text again and again – I am shocked to see such demeaning and deprecatory treatment of God and His Word. Whatever flavor of incarnationalist – they all do it… Bizarre – almost like a psychosis has taken hold of the minds. “Their consciences seared….”

                    • Rivers
                      September 29, 2015 @ 1:14 pm

                      Greg,

                      I think most people sincerely believe that the concepts of “preexistence” and “incarnation” are found in the 4th Gospel (as I once did as well) because it seems consistent with the way some passages are translated in most Bibles and with what is taught in most churches and Christian institutions.

                      All we can do is present the same evidence from a different perspective and allow the few who are interested in sorting things out to evaluate it for themselves. I try to point out other plausible translations and intertextual factors that have caused me to think about thing differently.

                    • GregLogan25
                      September 29, 2015 @ 1:46 pm

                      Rivers

                      You do make a good point – the translators are often blatantly dishonest in their translations. When newbies come into the scene – as both you and I did (me at the age of 20 with NO background) – we are easily able to be mis-led. I can see giving significant grace to such people.

                      However, the men I encounter have not been newbies for a long time. I am so stunned – and, admittedly, severely frustrated – not just with the intellectual dishonesty but really with the grotesque degradation of the person – the man Christ Jesus – who actually did all the work for us – as us – that I perceive we are encountering those who have crept into the church having been marked out of old for this condemnation, who pervert the grace of God and DENY our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ. Yes, of course they use His name – just like the individuals referenced by Jude used the name of Jesus – but they are denying the person of Jesus and replacing Him with some kind of deity….

                      How pathetically sickening is this deception. I cannot think of a more devious plot of Satan….that those that use the name of Jesus but in essence degrade and deny Him and what He did for mankind… making a mockery of the Lord and His work all displayed before the world….:-(!!! Really it is simple logic to see this as I describe – there is no mystery and nothing is complex – it is all very simple and black-and white once you understand the fullness of the incarnationalist scene and watch their distortions and deceptions. If there was even an ounce of basis, I could be more gracious but there simply is no basis for these blatant distortions. Regardless, I submit to another perspective if you have it.

                    • Rivers
                      September 29, 2015 @ 3:39 pm

                      Greg,

                      In fairness, I don’t think we should speak of the translators as “blatantly dishonest.” Rather, they have to make decisions when translating and we should expect a committee of Trinitarian translators (or a bunch of JWs) to favor a particular rendering of the texts that are critical to their theological position if they have the choice. I favor translating some texts a certain way too.

                      Of course, popular translations can be misleading for the average person who expects to be able to read the Bible like a book without the capability (or desire) to ask critical questions about the original text. The best that we can do is try to be objective about presenting the exegetical and contextual evidence from a different perspective with the hope of enlightening those who are interested in evaluating other options. We should be considerate of their perspectives as well.

                      As you can see in the limited context of this forum, there are people who have different concepts of Christology who all want to give a sincere defense of their particular position. You and I are probably wrong about many things too so we need to be careful about being too judgemental (Matthew 7:1-3). 🙂

                    • GregLogan25
                      September 29, 2015 @ 4:42 pm

                      Rivers

                      You are quite the generous man – I am not so sure I can meet that bar. I frequently read in the Greek and find the translations generally pathetic in so many instances not just related to trin theology (though that is the worst). Failure to includes words – picking more obscure rather than less obscure readings – the list goes on and on and is obviously blatant.

                      Here is a classic from the NIV – below is the Greek. Slight difference? Massive difference in sense. The Greek clearly describes Jesus as a created entity just like His brethren. In contrast the NIV translation is almost devoid of meaning. This is where we get back to the dia/ek contrast – and how the former is so overtranslated again and again.

                      Nevertheless, I appreciate your generous spirit and am making some effort to assuage my grief at repeatedly encountering something seemingly in between essentially suicidal intellectual dishonestly – the killing of Jesus (again) of whom we are apart – gleeful, self-righteous nonchalance and mind-numbingly insolence against God, His Word and reality in general (which, as we know is objective…!).

                      Hebrews 2:11New International Version (NIV)

                      11 Both the one who makes people holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters.

                      ???? ???????? 2:11SBL Greek New Testament (SBLGNT)

                      11 ? ?? ??? ??????? ??? ?? ??????????? ?? ???? ??????· ??’ ?? ?????? ??? ???????????? ???????? ?????? ??????,

                    • Sean Garrigan
                      September 28, 2015 @ 6:34 pm

                      “Arbitrary definition as to man….??? How about looking in the mirror to find out what a man is…::-)!! (as I do).”

                      Perfect. When the Jesus of my Christology looked in the mirror a man is exactly what he saw, so he meets your criteria.

                      ~Sean

                    • GregLogan25
                      September 28, 2015 @ 7:09 pm

                      Well Sean I give you credit – you are quite the game player!!!

                    • Sean Garrigan
                      September 28, 2015 @ 9:18 pm

                      “Well Sean I give you credit – you are quite the game player!!!”

                      Only someone who is quite a game player would think so.

                      ~Sean

                    • GregLogan25
                      September 28, 2015 @ 10:27 pm

                      Geez you are good Sean – that took a LOT of insight to come up with that.

                      Interestingly – anyone from the outside would see that I don’t play games and toy with the Word of God – but retain the standard meaning of words. Any outsider could easily see an infinite difference between your efforts and mine. I am quite certain you can as well….

                    • Sean Garrigan
                      September 29, 2015 @ 5:12 am

                      “Interestingly – anyone from the outside would see that I don’t play
                      games and toy with the Word of God – but retain the standard meaning of
                      words. Any outsider could easily see an infinite difference between
                      your efforts and mine. I am quite certain you can as well….”

                      What anyone can plainly see is that you, like most of the Socinians here (except for the site owner, who is a true gentleman), are simply incapable of being civil and agreeing to disagree, as I tried to get you to do 3 or 4 times. Because of your stupid pride you just couldn’t bring yourself to do so, and I am simply not interested in pursuing discussion with egos.

                      The reason I started visiting Dale’s site is not only for his insightful posts and excellent interviews, but precisely because I had had enough of the vanity that you wish to pursue. I’ve spent much too much time over the past 20 years arguing with the trinitarian equivalent of you, Rivers, et al, and I finally realized that that isn’t what Christ wants of me. I came here thinking that I would be able to avoid the egos, as I had some expectation of common ground, but it turns out that Socinians are even worse than Trinitarians when it comes to uncivil behavior. That was a surprise, but I’m glad to have learned it.

                      ~Sean

                    • GregLogan25
                      September 29, 2015 @ 1:06 pm

                      Sean –

                      Recommend you look in the mirror if you want to understand the spirit of my response to you. I have had a very positive interaction with an Arian before and we maintain quite a cordial relationship despite his failure in this area.

                      Frankly – I can do the same with you – if you choose to do so.

                      Greg

                    • Sean Garrigan
                      September 29, 2015 @ 7:27 pm

                      “Recommend you look in the mirror if you want to understand the spirit
                      of my response to you.”

                      I don’t think so, as I’ve been quite civil with you, but don’t think I’ve been repaid in kind.

                      “I have had a very positive interaction with an Arian before and we maintain quite a cordial relationship despite his failure in this area….Frankly – I can do the same with you – if you choose to do so.”

                      That’s a truly remarkable offer. So, you call me a deceiver; you essentially tell me that I’m a moron when it comes to exegesis; and you even turn my very name into an insult, i.e.:

                      “I would stick with plain, straight reality rather than than sort of philosophical speculation, assumption and ultimately sort of Seanian mind games.”

                      And now you offer the hand of friendship? I suppose that if you were one of those people who likes to beat the crap out of his kids, you’d probably offer to adopt me, hey?

                      In light of your absolute intolerance and hatred of ‘Arians’, I think befriending one is probably your personal limit, so I’ll let you continue to cultivate that relationship. My friends are all, well, friendly, and I’d like to keep it that way.

                      ~Sean

                    • GregLogan25
                      September 29, 2015 @ 8:36 pm

                      Sounds like a plan – your call.

            • GregLogan25
              October 1, 2015 @ 8:08 pm

              Re-reading your statement – I understand your point better.

              So here is the question – how did Jesus get come to uparxo in the form of God? I am uncertain the word itself requires that he was “eternally” in this status (though one may argue that in the mind of God he was so…prior to conception).

              • Miguel de Servet
                October 2, 2015 @ 12:17 pm

                So here is the question – how did Jesus get come to uparxo in the form of God?

                Here is my (tentative) answer. Jesus “existed in the form of God” (Philippians 2:6) since and because he was generated by God’s Holy Spirit AND by God’s Power:

                The angel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore [??? ???] the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.

                It was not before he made his public appearance at the Jordan and began his ministry that he “took on the form of a slave” (Philippians 2:6).

                • GregLogan25
                  October 2, 2015 @ 3:02 pm

                  MS

                  How does being conceived by the HS cause Jesus to be “in the form of God”?

                  What does the “form of God” even mean?

                  • Miguel de Servet
                    October 3, 2015 @ 12:22 am

                    [1] How does being conceived by the HS cause Jesus to be “in the form of God”? [2] What does the “form of God” even mean?

                    [1] Not just “conceived by the HS”, but being “overshadowed by the power of the Most High”. I affirm that this unspecified “power” coincides with God’s ?????.

                    [2] We can only speculate, because, in the whole NT, the word ????? appears only 3 times, twice in Philippians, in the expressions ?? ????? ???? ??????? (Phil 2:6) and ?????? ?????? ????? (Phil 2:6). (The third instance, ?? ????? ?????, Mark 16:12, is not to be made much of, with all the rest of the “longer ending” of Mark, vv. 16:9-20). So, in the short span of Philippians 2:6-7 we have all the NT usage of ?????. The fact that ????? appears in the expression ?????? ?????? ????? is the key to understanding its intended use, because it is simply a non-started to affirm that there would be some specific “external appearance” of a slave. Which? The ????? ?????? is most likely a reference to the condition of slave that Jesus willingly took (“He humbled himself, by becoming obedient to the point of death – even death on a cross!” – Phil 2:8) as opposed to the divine condition into which he belonged by birth, and which he fully resumed with his resurrection.

                    • GregLogan25
                      October 3, 2015 @ 2:00 am

                      re: HS and Power – Are they not just two expressions for the same reality? Why not?

                      re: Morphe – Are there not cognates that we can reference? Regardless, your point is well taken – there are certainly no other “morphe tou theou” statements in the NT…

                      You are essentially going in the same direction that I am in exegeting this by moving backwards – I used the position/function of slave rather than condition – but essentially it is the same essence. Except I would recommend that Jesus had the form of God at His baptism when ALL authority was given to Him inc. forgiving sins, etc.

                    • Miguel de Servet
                      October 3, 2015 @ 1:02 pm

                      HS and Power – Are they not just two expressions for the same reality? Why not?

                      That would be a possibility only if Luke intended the expression ?????? ????? ??????????? ??? ??, ??? ??????? ??????? ?????????? ??? (Luke 1:35) as a hendiadys. There are at least a couple of considerations that militate against this. First, it would require that Luke resorted here to a hendiadys, and it is far from obvious that Luke did (including an obvious candidate like Luke 21:15). Second, a hendiadys (“one through two”) consists of a sentence where ther are two nouns which really express the same, or variants of the same. Normally, though, a hendiadys involves just one verb, not two, whereas in Luke 1:35 we have two, ??????????? and ??????????.

                      I would recommend that Jesus had the form of God at His baptism when ALL authority was given to Him inc. forgiving sins, etc.

                      Obviously, that’s a possibility. I am reluctant to let go of the virgin conception / incarnation as a key moment for the bestowal of divinity upon Jesus (even if, maybe, that moment did not include the bestowal of “ALL authority “), because that would make the virgin conception a dubious legend, and the incarnation an imaginary event.

                    • GregLogan25
                      October 3, 2015 @ 5:31 pm

                      MS – I would not have any trouble with “power” being an attribute of God – as long as not “personalized” as yet ANOTHER person. Scripture provides so many fundamental pictures of just two entities – the Father and the Son – that to go beyond that is silly.

                      Thanks for recognized the “form of God” at baptism – really at His anointing as Messiah. This is the powerful moment – My beloved son in whom I am well pleased… This must have been utterly staggering event for those who really knew the significance.

                      I would love to see us step up to something nearly this place – but, frankly, I don’t think anyone here could handle it – least of all yours truly (sadly…:-( ).

                    • Miguel de Servet
                      October 3, 2015 @ 5:42 pm

                      Greg

                      Scripture provides so many fundamental pictures of just two entities – the Father and the Son – that to go beyond that is silly.

                      There simply was no entity that could be called Son until Jesus was conceived/born.

                      Sean has elaborated on all the possible meanings of the expression “Son of God” in a Jewish setting (Angels, the Israelite King, Righteous men, the Nation of Israel). ALL of them are inadequate to describe Jesus as Son of God.

                    • GregLogan25
                      October 3, 2015 @ 7:04 pm

                      🙂

                      Agreed – the two entities I am referring to are post conception – seen most vividly in Rev 21 but in a hundred other places as well – Paul’s epistolary openings, ICor8:6, ITim2:5, Rev21 esp. last several vss, etc.

                    • Miguel de Servet
                      October 4, 2015 @ 10:27 am

                      Rather than “post conception”, the passages you cite are post-resurrection. Let’s quickly look at them.

                      For there is one God and one intermediary between God and humanity, Christ Jesus, himself human, (1 Timothy 2:5)

                      This verse is unproblematic. The resurrected Jesus, though, is not presented as Son, even less as equal to God, but as “intermediary” [???????] between God and men.

                      … yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things [?????] and for whom we live, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things [?????] and through whom we live. (1 Corinthians 8:6)

                      In this verse, the main difficulty, IMO, is whether the “all things” referred to God, the Father (which I do not hesitate to consider as a reference to creation) are the same as the “all things” referred to Jesus Christ. IMO there are two possibilities: either Christ’s “all things” are the “new creation”, or they are still the “old creation”. With some hesitation, I still believe that the reference is to the “old creation” and therefore to Jesus Christ only proleptically, but really to the pre-incarnate ?????, “through which all things were created” (John 1:3).

                      Revelation 21 is all about the New Jerusalem, God Almighty and His Lamb. Unquestionably two distinct entities.

                    • GregLogan25
                      October 4, 2015 @ 12:27 pm

                      Post resurrection – good point.

                      I would agree that ta panta in v6 and v7 should be the same. To otherwise is a real strain to the natural reading.

                      I am good with a proleptic reference re Jesus. However, I would reject the notion that the Word (rather the Messiah Himself) is in view since that is not a proleptic use but actual use (Gen1). Rather I understand that Jesus – the Messiah – is the cornerstone reference to God’s entire creation. That is the whole point of our faith is it not…:-)?

                      NOTE: “Ek” is NEVER used of Jesus – only God – see here and Heb2:11 wherein Jesus is clearly created. Of course Trins will say – that is the humanity – but the humanity is impersonal (anhypostasis) and the text is clearly personal.

                    • Miguel de Servet
                      October 4, 2015 @ 1:08 pm

                      I would reject the notion that the Word (rather the Messiah Himself) is
                      in view [1 Corinthians 8:6] since that is not a proleptic use but actual use (Gen1). Rather
                      I understand that Jesus – the Messiah – is the cornerstone reference to
                      God’s entire creation. That is the whole point of our faith is it
                      not…:-)?

                      Here is a small sylllogism for you:

                      [P] Jesus did not have a personal pre-existence, before his conception/birth.
                      [C] Any reference to Jesus before his conception/birth cannot be literal, but only proleptic.

                      … Heb2:11 wherein Jesus is clearly created …

                      This seems like an Arian view. Here is the verse you cite:

                      For indeed he who makes holy [Jesus] and those being made holy [humans] all have the same origin, and so he is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters, … (Hebrews 2:11)

                      While Jesus and humans “all have the same origin” (God), and therefore “he is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters”, it doesn’t mean that they are literally brothers and sisters. We are God’s creatures and, if we folloe Jesus, can become adoptive children, he is God’s one-begotten: the ????????? (John 1:14,18

                    • GregLogan25
                      October 4, 2015 @ 1:40 pm

                      🙂

                      He was created at conception.

                      Why is there a problem with that?

                    • Miguel de Servet
                      October 4, 2015 @ 2:40 pm

                      Greg,

                      whether Jesus was generated (or created), whether he was generated (or created) at conception or ??? ?????? ??? ?????? is NOT the first issue I was confronting. The issue I was confronting is whether the ????? “through which all things came into being” (????? ??’ ????? ???????) is a person (Jesus, somehow) OR an (impersonal) attribute of God.

                      P.S. It would be very simple if you responded to my “little syllogism” …

                    • GregLogan25
                      October 4, 2015 @ 3:14 pm

                      re: Syllogism – Of course! Rev13:8 is the easy one to start with – Eph1:4 likewise.

                      Logos is NOT a person – Jesus is the Logos made flesh – essentially like the creation is the logos made material (not quite the same but sort of an analogy). However, I would not call the logos an attribute. The logos is what you and I have agreed it is – the expressed content of God’s mind. Just like the logos of MS is the expressed content of MS’s mind. That is the basic meaning of logos and it works great.

                    • Miguel de Servet
                      October 4, 2015 @ 4:01 pm

                      Greg,

                      as you agree that the second ????? in 1 Corinthians 8:6, in the phrase “through [???] whom are all things”, refers to the “old creation”, and you agree with my “little syllogism”, whereby “any reference to Jesus before his conception/birth cannot be literal, but only proleptic”, then I am baffled as to what you may mean when you say “I would reject the notion that the Word (rather the Messiah Himself) is in view since that is not a proleptic use but actual use”.

                      Whas “the Messiah Himself” in existence, as a person, at the “old creation”? YES or NO?

                    • GregLogan25
                      October 4, 2015 @ 4:22 pm

                      He was in view proleptically from before the foundation of the world. He was a real phenomenon at His creation at conception.

                      The Logos is a separate and very real phenomenon.

                    • Miguel de Servet
                      October 4, 2015 @ 4:44 pm

                      The Logos is a separate and very real phenomenon.

                      We agree that “the Logos is a … very real phenomenon”.

                      As for being “separate”, presumably from the Messiah, sorry for keeping on pressing you with my questions, but how do you understand the phrase, ? ????? ???? ??????? (John 1:14)? Who is the ?????? What does ???? refer to? How should ??????? be translated? Is there a relation between ? ????? and Jesus?

                    • GregLogan25
                      October 4, 2015 @ 6:41 pm

                      MS

                      I think they are great questions. To be sure, I don’t know exactly what John wrote – he did not bother to annotate…. Likewise, I don’t know where/how the Creator “Became” – nor how to deal with the absurdity of it all except to note how absurd it is for you and I and anyone to be actually conscious and communicating.

                      That said, I will freely give you what I have.

                      Yes – the Logos is totally separate – however the Messiah is ALL of the Logos – but the Logos is not all of the Messiah. I don’t see any reason to understand this language beyond that. God still speaks apart from Jesus – but He has fully spoken in Jesus (hmm.. that actually sounds pretty good…:-).

                      I am good with “the Word became flesh” translation in this sense. I don’t see a reason to go beyond. There is all kinds of figurative language in John – and I tend to want to understand it as simply as possible.

                      I still suspect there is a purpose in John to deflate various logos doctrines floating around and pulling that all together. However, this is an assumption as it is not stated.

                    • Miguel de Servet
                      October 4, 2015 @ 8:45 pm

                      Yes – [1] the Logos is totally separate – [2] however the Messiah is ALL of the Logos – [3] but the Logos is not all of the Messiah.

                      Greg,

                      simple logic (you can visualize it in terms of Venn diagrams) requires [2] to mean that the Massiah includes the Logos, while [3] would mean that the Logos is included (as a subset, in logical terms) in the Messiah. So, even admitting that [2] and [3] are true, it is simply impossible, and therefore wrong, to affirm that [1] “the Logos is totally separate” from the Messiah.

                    • GregLogan25
                      October 4, 2015 @ 8:59 pm

                      I am not sure this scene is amenable to set theory…:-)

                    • Miguel de Servet
                      October 4, 2015 @ 9:06 pm

                      It is you who, with your [2] and [3] made the situation you describe “amenable to set theory”.

                      Anyway, either that, or the abyss of mysticism, mystery, and, ultimately, nonsense.

                      No better than “trinitarians”, really …

                    • GregLogan25
                      October 4, 2015 @ 9:33 pm

                      Fair enuf as the instigator – I did not intend to carry it that far.

                      It is a really easy concept – and i suspect I simply am not able to communicate it well. I still like my comment –

                      Yes – the Logos is totally separate – however the Messiah is ALL of the Logos – but the Logos is not all of the Messiah.

                      The logos is essentially an abstraction – it is NOT a power, or an attribute or some “Thing” – it is the Word of God – just like you have a Word. Your word is you. Your word is about you and expresses you. Etc. Is your Word a power? an attribute? a “thing”? No – it is an abstraction.

                    • Miguel de Servet
                      October 4, 2015 @ 9:53 pm

                      Yes – the Logos is totally separate – however the Messiah is ALL of the Logos – but the Logos is not all of the Messiah.

                      It totally baffles me how you can compare the Logos with the Messiah (and in the above you unquestionably do), and then go on to affirm that “[t]he logos is essentially an abstraction”.

                      How can God’s word/logos/dabar (the very power by which “the heavens were made” – Ps 33:6) be referred to as an “abstraction”?

                      So shall my word be that goes forth from my mouth; it shall not return to me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper [in the thing] for which I sent it. (Isaiah 55:11)

                      Seems totally real and concrete to me …

                    • GregLogan25
                      October 4, 2015 @ 9:54 pm

                      MS – Is the word that goes forth from the mouth MS totally real and concrete – or is it an abstraction??

                    • Miguel de Servet
                      October 4, 2015 @ 10:08 pm

                      Greg,

                      inasmuch as my word is, first of all, the product of my thought (and elsewhere you seem to agree with that), inasmuch as my word, corresponding to my thought, “shall not return to me void, but it shall accomplish what I please” it most certainly is totally real and concrete.

                    • GregLogan25
                      October 4, 2015 @ 10:42 pm

                      OK – if you will call that which we know as our human words “real and concrete” – then in that framework, the logos of God is real and concrete. My framework for identifying the nature of our words is an abstraction. But the reality is we are talking about the same thing just using two different terms.

                      I am uncertain whether we can quite find a perfect analogy for your fully manifested in something other than you – yet you still having your word to speak.

                    • GregLogan25
                      October 4, 2015 @ 11:23 pm

                      I can work with that (see it is accomplishing what you please already…:-))!

  10. Rose Brown
    December 30, 2014 @ 10:44 am

    Talitha,

    Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak of what we know, and bear witness to what we have seen, but you do not receive our testimony. ~ John 3:11

    The context of this text does not talk about seeing God the Father.

  11. Rose Brown
    December 30, 2014 @ 10:40 am

    Talitha,

    Biblical Paradigm: To see is to know.

    Only Christ sees the Father in the sense of absolute knowledge of Him:

    (Not that anyone has ever seen the Father; only I, who was sent from God, have seen him.) ~ John 6:46 ESV

    All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. ~ Matthew 11:27 ESV

    This is because Christ is very God:

    No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known. ~ John 1:18 ESV

    In fact, by being God’s Son who is ontologically equal with God, Christ can reveal God in all his fullness.

  12. Chris NT
    December 30, 2014 @ 10:33 am

    Dale,

    If you even read Kermit’s passages i.e., John 5 and 10, Jesus made no such claim that he was not God (I know that’s a double negative).

    In fact, in John 10:30, Jesus claims he and the Father are one (in the Greek neuter), and most First year Greek students would realize you could say, “We are one thing”.

    Then Second year (Intermediate) Greek students might lecture you about the Granville Sharp rule as applied to John 20.

    Of course Jesus is not saying he is God the Father (that you can also get from the Gospel of John and a different second year Intermediate Greek rule — John 1:1 and Colwell’s rule).

  13. Rivers
    December 29, 2014 @ 9:39 pm

    Talitha,

    Continued from the previous comment …

    With regard to Philippians 2:6 … what I pointed out earlier is that Paul used a Present Active Indicative verb when he said “who [Christ] existing in the form of God.” Most of the other verbs in context are Aorist Indicative forms which are normally translated in the past tense.

    I think Paul used the Present Active Indicative (“existing”) deliberately in Philippians 2:6 (in contrast to the other past tense verbs) because he was speaking of “the form of God” as something that “presently” characterized Jesus Christ at the time he was writing that letter when Christ had been “exalted” after his resurrection (Philippians 2:9-11).

    Although some will argue that “existing” should also be translated in the past tense as “existed” (giving the implication that Jesus preexisted in a divine “from” before he “emptied” himself while on earth), it is not necessary at all. The passage makes perfectly good sense if “existing (presently) in the form of God” is taken as a literal translation.

    Thus, here is how I suggest the passage should be read [with amplification] to clarify the use of the different verbs:

    PHILIPPIANS 2:5 … Have this attitude [presently on earth] in yourselves [Philippians], which was [past] in Christ Jesus

    PHILIPPIANS 2:6 … who [Jesus], although existing [presently in heaven] in the form of God [radiantly exalted], did not regard [while on earth] equality with God, a thing to be taken [while on earth]

    PHILIPPIANS 2:7 … but emptied himself [while on earth], taking the form of a servant [humbly debased], being made [while on earth] in the likeness of men

    PHILIPPIANS 2:8 … being found [while on earth] in appearance as a man, he humbled himself [while on earth], becoming obedient to the point of death on the cross

    PHILIPPIANS 2:9 … for this reason, God highly exalted him [at the time of his ascension] and bestowed on him [at the time of his ascension] the name above every name

    Thus, it makes perfectly good sense of the reading of this text if there is no implication of Jesus Christ preexisting in any sense. Rather, Paul was telling the Philippians to have the same kind of “humble attitude” that Jesus had while he was living as a man on earth (during his public ministry) while he patiently awaited the equality with God that he was going to attain by inheritance when he was finally resurrected and glorified.

    This makes good sense of the exhortation to the Philippians because it’s unlikely that they could relate to a Messiah who supposedly had a divine nature and then put it aside to obey God after coming down to earth.

    Rather, the Philippians could relate to a Messiah who lived an ordinary human life of humility and obedience while he waited for God to reward him with resurrection life and glory (which he didn’t have before) at a later time. This is what Paul and the Philippians were experiencing (Philippians 3:7-12) and ultimately waiting for (Philippians 3:21).

  14. Rivers
    December 29, 2014 @ 9:00 pm

    Talitha,

    Thank you. I think many interpreters have lost sight of the fact that “glory” in scripture is a word that is derived from the physical appearance of things like the sun and stars (1 Corinthians 15:40-41). It didn’t only mean power and authority.

    I certainly agree that the context of Philippians 2:5-11 requires that we understand that Jesus was “exalted” from a former position of “humility.” I just think the use of MORFE in the context suggests that Paul also has the physical transformation of resurrection in mind as well (Philippians 3:21).

    It seems that the apostles recognized that both the physical transformation, and the higher ranking, go together in the description of the exaltation of Jesus (Hebrews 1:3).

  15. Talitha
    December 29, 2014 @ 6:02 pm

    Rose,

    Have you considered that Jesus’ language about seeing the Father may be language describing the visionary experience of a prophet? By means of God’s spirit, Jesus was “in heaven, seeing and hearing from God ” while physically being on earth?
    I’m not suggesting that other prophets or the WORD that came to them are equal to that of Jesus. On the contrary, John’s presentation of Jesus is systematically one-upping the revelatory “heavy weights”- John the Baptist, Jacob, Moses, Abraham, David, Solomon, Enoch? , Melchizedek?, Pharisees.
    But, I wonder if his talk about seeing the Father is not about pre-existence, but about the unique, unprecedented revelatory experience of having the Father dwell in him. No angelic mediator like others receiving revelation- Daniel, John on Patmos- direct revelation from YHWH’s mind to Jesus’.

    What do you think about John 3: 11, about testifying to what “we?” have SEEN? Who is the “we” if this is talking about God the Son before incarnation? And J. The B’s comment about “what he (Jesus) has seen and heard”? His language about the testimony of “the one from heaven” is couched within his acceptance of Jesus being The Messiah, not being YHWH right? cf. John 3:32, John 8:38.

  16. Talitha
    December 29, 2014 @ 5:16 pm

    John/ Mario/ Rivers

    J. Yes, that is why I struggle to accept that Phil 2 recounts of the incarnation of “God the Son”.

    M- thanks for the leads!

    R- I think your emphasis on the radical change in Jesus (IMO, a change in nature, in formalization and full excecution of his inherited role, and in his fleshly body) after resurrection is insightful, and I agree that we may misapply texts specifically describing the glorified Christ (in his current state) as proof texts for his diety before and/ or during his earthly life. (At least I think that’s what you’ve suggested about some texts).

    I’ve tried to read through the posts, but cld you clarify and reference a former post if already hashed out: do you read verse 6 “…who though he was in form of God…” to be describing Jesus’ current resurrected appearance in a glorified body?

  17. Mario
    December 29, 2014 @ 1:00 pm

    Rivers

    1. [Deuteronomy 33:27] I take good note that you delude yourself of explaining this verse in purely historical-cultural terms, of course ever invoking the shibboleth of any complacent and self satisfied exegete: the “context”! In fact, the context dictates so little the analysis and interpretation of this verse [ma’ownah ‘elohiym qedem ve’me’thachath zaroth owlam …] that you can have as diverse English “translations” as:
    [NAB] “He spread out the primeval tent; he extended the ancient canopy”
    [NRSV] “He subdues the ancient gods, shatters the forces of old”
    Go figure! (BTW, “The everlasting God is a refuge, and underneath, arms of perpetuity” is perfectly appropriate …)

    2. [1 Timothy 1:17] I have provided a perfectly current English translation of the verse, with evidence of some Greek expressions involving the critical word aiôn. Instead of criticizing the proposed translation, and in particular the translation of the expression eis tous aiônas tôn aiônôn (for which it doesn’t take a scriptural genius to notice the parallel with ‘owlam ‘ad ‘owlam), all you can do is project your historical-cultural-exegetic-hermeneutic prejudice, on top of which you pile up a host of merely cited verses.

    What has escaped you, in all simplicity, is the obvious doxological (and, therefore, deliberately hyped) character of 1 Timothy 1:17.

    3. You haven’t confronted Isaiah 57:15.

    It is poor arguing to affirm that, because Biblical Hebrew words like owlam, qedem, ad, have a temporal connotation, and even the Greek words aidios and aiônios, the way they are used in the Scripture, may not be entirely devoid of a temporal connotation, “therefore”, even when applied to God, they would not mean “everlasting”, “forever” etc.

    You had (reluctantly) admitted that “God may certainly be ‘eternal’ in the modern sense” [Rivers] …

    … one step forward, two steps back … 🙁 🙂 😉

  18. Rivers
    December 29, 2014 @ 11:59 am

    Mario,

    I understand that you are citing certain text to try to force OULM and AIWN to connote “eternal”, but you are not paying attention to the other words (i.e. context) that show that neither word was being used that way by the biblical writers. Please consider these comments:

    1. Deuteronomy 33:27 … in this text, the writer is speaking of this Israelites whose enemies God had destroyed in their midst. The context here refers to the twelve sons of Israel (Deuteronomy 33:1) when God became their King when the Law was given to Moses at Sinai (Deuteronomy 33:2-5). It is referring to the “generations of Israel dwelling safely” (Deuteronomy 33:28-29).

    Thus, when the writer speaks of “everlasting (OULM) arms” of God (Deuteronomy 33:27), he is only speaking of God’s protection during the duration of his relationship with the sons of Israel. To suggest that OULM connotes anything about “eternal” here is to completely ignore the historical context in which God’s “arms” had been protecting the Israelites for only several hundred years. The implication of OLUM is only that several hundred years had extended for multiple “generations.”

    2. 1 Timothy 1:17 … when it says “King of the ages (AIWNWN)” there is no implication of “eternal” here either. This is because “ages” was used by Paul to refer to human “generations” (1 Corinthians 10:11; Colossians 1:26; Ephesians 2:7; Ephesians 3:9; Titus 1:2). Human “ages” (AIWNWN) were not “eternal”, but presumably began with Adam (Genesis 5:1). Thus, there is no implication of “eternal” when referring to a “king” of human “ages.”

    The word “King” would not have applied to God in any “eternal” sense either. According to scripture, God did not become “King” until he established “the kingdom” of Israel (Exodus 19:6; Deuteronomy 33:2-5; 1 Chronicles 28:5). Thus, to speak of God as “king of the ages” would be limited to the historical duration of the kingdom itself (which spans only human “ages”).

    Mario … I know it can be difficult to think of God in these limited terms, but this is how the semantics of the ancient languages would be derived from being careful to analyze the relationship between words in the context (even if it puts uncomfortable limitations on the connotation of some of the words).

    Simply taking OULM or AIWN to mean “eternal” (based upon post-apostolic philosophical ideas about the “eternal nature” of God) is not sound linguistics. Translators who use “eternal” and “forever” to render these Hebrew and Greek words are (understandably) interpreting them to suit the expectations of a modern Christian reader. We have to be cautious not to confuse the “interpretation” that comes out in the modern translation from the actual semantic range of the original word in the ancient language.

  19. Rivers
    December 29, 2014 @ 11:05 am

    Talitha / John,

    The reason that MORFE (form) is used to contrast “the form of God” and “the form of a servant” in Philippians 2:6-8 is because Paul certainly understood that there was a difference in visible appearance between an ordinary human body, and one that was glorified by resurrection. Paul described this in Philippians 3:21 and in 1 Corinthians 15:42-45.

    The apostles also understood that the “radiant glory of God” characterized Jesus Christ after he was exalted (Hebrews 1:3). Paul had seen this glory for himself when Jesus appeared to him on the road as “light shining brighter than the sun” (Acts 26:12-14). Thus, we have to take into account that there was a physical “transformation” (Philippians 3:21) that took place along with the superior role and function that Jesus inherited.

    In other words, although there is certainly a change of status that Paul is illustrating in Philippians 2:6-8, there was also a change in visible, physical appearance that went along with it. That is why MORFE (form) is used in the context along with ‘OMOIWMA (likeness) and SXHMA (manner) include the aspects of appearance and function.

  20. Mario
    December 29, 2014 @ 5:23 am

    Talitha,

    you may find interesting this online article on “Philippians 2:6” (www.angelfire.com/space/thegospeltruth/trinity/verses/Php2_6-2.html). In particular the quotation from When Jesus Emptied Himself, Kenneth Wuest, Bibliotheca Sacra 115.458 (April-June 1958): 153-158. All the more interesting because Wuest is a Trinitarian.

    As for Ernst Lohmeyer, probably the best (relatively recent) secondary source in English on his word on Philippians 2:5-11 is Where Christology Began: Essays on Philippians 2, Ralph P. Martin, Brian J. Dodd editors, 1998.

  21. Mario
    December 29, 2014 @ 3:12 am

    Rivers

    The point I’m making about the Hebrew word OULM is simply that it is not equivalent to our modern word “eternal” (which means timeless or without beginning or ending). God may certainly be “eternal” in the modern sense, but the biblical writers were not expressing that concept at the time the scriptures were written.

    I will take your convoluted answer to mean that (regardless of what “biblical writers” intended to convey) you agree that the God of whom the Bible speaks IS “without beginning or ending”. Hallelujah!

    I think it’s better that some translations use “everlasting” (with beginning, but no ending) or “eonian” (ancient time, or distant future) because it is closer to the limited implications of OULM.

    I believe that your unusual “eonian” is a most peculiar way of avoiding to express the obvious meaning of BOTH the Hebrew words qedem AND ‘ad AND the Greek noun aiôn, as referred to God. You may want to consider these quotations:

    ma’ownah ‘elohiym qedem “The everlasting God is a refuge” (Deut 33:27)

    shokhen ‘ad “the one who dwells forever” (Isaiah 57:15)

    To the King of the ages [tôn aiônôn], immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever [eis tous aiônas tôn aiônôn]. Amen. (1 Tim 1:17)

    I don’t think anyone in scripture was born on “Christmas” (December 25th). The biblical evidence suggests that the man, Christ Jesus, was born in late August or early September (Revelation 12:1-2).

    What has this got to do with … the price of tea in China? Anyway, how would Revelation 12:1-2 suggest that Christ Jesus “was born in late August or early September”?

  22. John
    December 29, 2014 @ 12:41 am

    Talitha
    I have always been puzzled by the words ‘being in the form of a servant’.
    Being a servant is a ‘role’ one fills and has nothing to do with appearance.

    Blessings
    John

  23. Talitha
    December 29, 2014 @ 12:24 am

    Anyone looked into Kenneth Wuest’s research on Phil 2? I’ve read a bit about what he proposes, but not the actual commentary, so not enough to share responsibly. I do remember that Wuests found Greek examples within the time period ( in non-biblical texts) of morphe to mean “role or position”.

    Also done a little reading on Ernst Lohmeyer’s work.

    Anyone have two cents on either of these scholars?

  24. Rose Brown
    December 28, 2014 @ 10:07 pm

    @Rivers,

    Jesus SAW the Father ( John 6:44).

  25. Rivers
    December 28, 2014 @ 9:34 pm

    Mario,

    The point I’m making about the Hebrew word OULM is simply that it is not equivalent to our modern word “eternal” (which means timeless or without beginning or ending). God may certainly be “eternal” in the modern sense, but the biblical writers were not expressing that concept at the time the scriptures were written.

    There are about 425 uses of OULM (in various forms and phrasings) in the Hebrews scriptures and not a single one of them means “eternal.” I think it’s better that some translations use “everlasting” (with beginning, but no ending) or “eonian” (ancient time, or distant future) because it is closer to the limited implications of OULM.

    I don’t think anyone in scripture was born on “Christmas” (December 25th). The biblical evidence suggests that the man, Christ Jesus, was born in late August or early September (Revelation 12:1-2). I’m sorry if I missed this question; I do read all of your comments. 🙂

  26. Mario
    December 28, 2014 @ 5:20 pm

    Rivers,

    I will comment on your comment when you have answered my question at post “Who was born on the first Christmas?”.

    Once again (and for the umpteenth time), you say this: “everlasting can mean ‘never ending’ (which allows for a beginning)”.

    Are you suggesting that, when it is applied to God, ‘owlam “allows for a beginning”? Yes or no?

    Thanks 🙂

  27. Rivers
    December 28, 2014 @ 4:20 pm

    Mario,

    Deuteronomy 33:27 doesn’t give any indication that the “arms” refer to “eternal attributes of God.” The text doesn’t even mention anything about “word” or “spirit” either.

    Psalms 33:6 is simply speaking of the time of creation. The text says nothing about any “eternal attributes of God.” According to scripture, God spoke “in the beginning” (Genesis 1:1). The term “in the beginning” does not refer to “eternity” either.

  28. Mario
    December 28, 2014 @ 3:37 pm

    The writers of the scriptures had an ‘anthropomorphic’ view of God – but does anyone living today really believe trhat God has a hand, an arm, flowing white hair?

    John,

    Of course “arms”/”hands” are anthropomorphic images. BUT they are images of something real and essential. I believe that the “arms”/”hands” of which we read at Deuteronomy 33:27 are, respectively the word/logos/dabar and the spirit/pneuma/ruwach, the two eternal, essential attributes of God of which we read at Psalm 33:6.

  29. Rivers
    December 28, 2014 @ 3:12 pm

    John,

    I would agree with your Hebrew friend except that I don’t think the biblical Hebrews were using their “imagination” because men like Abraham, Lot, Jacob, and Moses actually spoke of having seen “the Lord” (Genesis 18:1) and “God” (Genesis 32:30) when they interacted with the angelic visitors (who looked like “men”).

    They used language like “face to face” because these angelic visitors actually had a “face.” If you read Genesis 18-19 and Genesis 32, it’s evident that these angelic visitors (who they called “the Lord” and “God”) did all the things that require a face, mouth, hands, arms, legs, etc.

  30. Rivers
    December 28, 2014 @ 3:03 pm

    John,

    No, I agree that God Himself is “spirit” (John 4:24) and always “unseen” (John 1:18; 1 Timothy 6:16).

    The point I’m making is that the “anthropomorphic” terminology used to describe God may have originated from the fact that angelic visitors (who were “men”) were seen and heard by the Patriarchs when they appeared with the word of God and performed miracles among the people.

    What other “image of God” (Genesis 1:26) was known other than the human form of the angelic visitors that the ancient Hebrews called “God” and “Lord” and worshiped? This is why there are many accounts of the Patriarchs speaking “face to face” with God at the appearing of an angel (Genesis 32:30; Exodus 30:11; Deuteronomy 5:4; Judges 6:22; Acts 7:30-38). The “face” of God comes from the fact that the angels had faces (just like human beings).

  31. John
    December 28, 2014 @ 2:03 pm

    Hi River,
    I,ve just been speaking to a Hebrew and he tells me that he believes that the anthromorphism arose from peoples limited knowledge and imagination in the early days.
    They would try to consider what God looked like and all they could image was someone bigger than the biggest chief or king that they knew – a mighty superman. Of course honoured guests would be seated at His right hand —- and so on…
    A little joke you might enjoy.
    A little girl was scribbling and colouring on a note -pad
    The teacher asked her what she was drawing.
    She replied ‘ I’m drawing God”
    The teacher told her that no one knows what God looks like
    To which she replied ” They will once I’ve finished my picture”!!

    Blessings
    John

  32. John
    December 28, 2014 @ 1:55 pm

    Hi Rivers
    Surely the ‘angels’ are not God, but God’s agents.?
    Do you really believe that the ‘persons ‘concerned were not humans ?
    Do you believe that this awesome being who dwells in unapproachable light’ has human features?

    Blessings
    John

  33. Rivers
    December 28, 2014 @ 1:08 pm

    John,

    The reason that the ancient Hebrews used an “anthropomorphic” vocabulary when they spoke of YHWH is because whenever the angelic visitors appeared and spoke, or acted, on God’s behalf, they usually had the male human physical form (i.e. what is called “the image of God”, Genesis 1:26). Thus, when the angels were ministering among the people, they used their mouths, hands, arms, and other members to accomplish God’s purposes.

    One of the best illustrations of this is found in Genesis 18-19 where “the Lord” (Genesis 18:1) visits Abraham in the form of three “men” (Genesis 18:2, 16, 18) who are also called “angels” in the context (Genesis 19:1, 15) and “Lord” (Genesis 19:2, 18).

    Throughout the account, Abraham, Sarah, Lot treat the angels of the Lord just as they would show hospitality and protection to any important human visitor by attending to their physical needs for “washing feet” (Genesis 18:4) and “resting” (Genesis 18:4) and “eating” (Genesis 18:5-8) and “escorting them” (Genesis 18:16) and “sleep” (Genesis 19:2, 4) and “safety” (Genesis 19:6-8).

    It’s also interesting to note that in Genesis 19:10, there is a reference to the “hands” of the angels that reach out to protect Lot. Later in the context, the angels “grab” the “hands” of Lot and his family as well (Genesis 19:16).

  34. Rivers
    December 28, 2014 @ 12:38 pm

    Rose,

    I understand what you are trying to say about Philippians 2:5-11, but you are getting “nature” from the NIV translation (which I don’t think it an accurate rendering of MORFE in this context). You are also assuming a bizarre “dual nature” concept that has nothing to do with MORFE or any other biblical words.

    If MORFE means “physical appearance” (as I’ve suggested), the passage makes perfectly good sense without the need for a “dual nature” concept. The apostles understood that the physical appearance of Jesus Christ changed after he was exalted (Philippians 3:21; Hebrews 1:3). This was part of being “glorified” by resurrection.

    With regard to God’s “form” … I think you’re missing that the apostles understood that Moses spoke with “angels” when he saw God (Acts 7:30, 35, 38). Moses never actually saw God Himself, as no other man did either, even after they knew Jesus Christ (John 1:18).

  35. John
    December 28, 2014 @ 8:34 am

    Mario
    The writers of the scriptures had an ‘anthropomorphic’ view of God – but does anyone living today really believe trhat God has a hand, an arm, flowing white hair?

    Blessings
    John

  36. Rose Brown
    December 28, 2014 @ 5:26 am

    @Jaco,

    FYI, it is Rivers who does not deserve to be taken seriously. He kept defending his Christology which is time-and-again not substantiated by the Scriptures due to its being out-of-context.

  37. Rose Brown
    December 28, 2014 @ 5:25 am

    @Rivers,

    You took the texts out-of-context:

    Philippians 2:6 “Who, being in very nature, God … taking the very nature of a slave”(NIV).

    The occurrence of MORFE in Philippians 2:6 and Philippians 2:7 is talking about ‘reality’ of ‘nature’ and not a mere visible appearance. Jesus did not just appear like a slave but rather, he became a ‘real’ slave with all the ‘characteristics’ of a slave. Likewise, Jesus did not just appear like God Almighty but rather he is really God Almighty with all the characteristics of God Almighty.

    Romans 12:2 “be trans-form-ed BY the renewing of your MIND”

    The occurrence of METAMORFOW primarily indicate the ‘nature’ of the ‘new creature’ (2 Corinthians 5:17) which is not visible ( seen by human sense of sight)due to its subsistence in the MIND.

    Philippians 3:10 “being con-form-ed to His death”

    The occurrence of SUMORFIZW is not talking about visible ( seen by human sense of sight) appearance of becoming literally like Jesus in his death.Rather, it talks about ‘real life’ of being a Christian which is an ‘inward reality’ ( Galatians 2:20).

    Philippians 3:21 “who will transform the body of our humble state into con-form-ity with the body of His glory”

    The occurrence of SUMORFOS does refer to the dual meaning of MORFE. It talks about the literal change or transformation of the bodies of Christians in the likeness of Christ’s glorified body — from old human nature to new human nature — due to the second or new birth ( 2 Corinthians 5:17;James 1:18). In addition, 2 Peter 1:4 also speaks of THEIAS PHYSEOS ( God-like nature) in the context of resurrection and glorification of the body ( … having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust).

    Galatians 4:19 “My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be form-ed in you”

    The occurrence of MORFOW is about the ‘reality’ of Christ’s presence ‘in’ us. The gestation Paul is talking about here is the ‘unseen reality’ of the second or new birth by the Holy Spirit of God. We read in John 3:8:

    “The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.”

    It is unseen because it is not wrought by human action but by God himself ( Titus 3:4-6).

    NOTE

    God has a form:

    And the Father who sent me has himself borne witness about me. His voice you have never heard, his form you have never seen,( John 5:37).
    Moses saw God’s back:

    “Then I will take My hand away and you shall see My back, but My face shall not be seen.” Exodus 33:23
    Angels behold God’s face:

    “See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that in heaven their angels always see the face of my Father who is in heaven. Matthew 18:10
    The appearance of God is described in Daniel 7 and it is the same appearance which Christ had in Revelation 1.

    “The hair of his head was pure like wool” Daniel 7:9

    “The hairs of his head were white like wool, as white as snow” Revelation 1:14

    ======================

    “A Man clothed in Linen” Daniel 10:5

    “A Man clothed with a Long Robe” Revelation 1:13

    ======================

    “With a belt of fine Gold” Daniel 10:5

    “With a golden sash” Revelation 1:13

    ======================

    “His face like the appearance of lightning” Daniel 10:6

    “His face was shining like the sun shining in full strength” Revelation 1:16

    ======================

    “His eyes like flaming torches” Daniel 10:6

    “His eyes were like a flame of fire” Revelation 1:14

    ======================

    “His arms and legs like the gleam of burnished bronze: Daniel 10:6

    “His feet were like burnished bronze, refined in a furnace” Revelation 1:15

    ======================

    “The sound of his words like the sound of a multitude”, Daniel 10:6

    “His voice was like the roar of many waters” Revelation 1:15

    ======================

    “I fell on my face in deep sleep with my face to the ground” Daniel 10:9

    “When I say him I fell at his feet as though dead” Revelation 1:17

    ======================

    “And behold a hand touched me and set me trembling on my hands and knees” Daniel 10: 10

    “But he laid his right hand on me…” Revelation 1:17

    ======================

    “Then he said to me, Fear not” Daniel 10: 12

    “…Saying, Fear not” Revelation 1:17

  38. Jaco
    December 26, 2014 @ 8:36 am

    Rose Brown,

    I don’t think you’re interested in really wanting to learn. You are committed to defend your cherished doctrine. That’s a pity. You don’t deserve to be taken seriously.

  39. Rivers
    December 26, 2014 @ 7:34 am

    Rose,

    None of the passages you are quoting have anything to do with “nature” (a term which doesn’t occur in any of the texts). They are all using MORFE to refer to the outward appearance:

    Philippians 2:6 … Paul explained that Jesus had a “glorified body” after he was exalted in contrast to the “humble body” he had when he was on earth (Philippians 3:21). This physical form is also described in the other texts you cited later (Matthew 17:2; Mark 9:2; Luke 9:29).

    Romans 12:2 … Paul used METAMORFOW to speak of “transforming” lives by doing good works with “bodies” (Romans 12:1). Thus, it means doing actions that would be visible to others. It is not talking about people changing their nature. Paul spoke of the same thing in 2 Timothy 3:5 where MORFWSIS refers to the outward (visible) actions that were hypocritical.

    Philippians 3:10 … Paul uses SUMORFIZW to refer to the outward appearance of his suffering that was like what people seen when Jesus suffered and died. This had nothing to do with ontological nature. Jesus suffered as an ordinary human being (Hebrews 2:14-16; Hebrews 5:7-9).

    Philippians 3:21 … Paul uses SUMORFOS is used to speak of “the transformation of the body”. Thus, it is referring to the visible, physical form of a person and not the “nature” of a person.

    Galatians 4:19 … Paul uses MORFOW to refer to the visible works of Law (Galatians 4:21) that the Galatians were being compelled to do by the law-zealous Jews. This is the same sense in which MORFWSIS was used in 2 Timothy 3:5.

    Rose … we have to be careful to consider the context of these passages. There is no mention of “nature” (FUSIS or QEIOTHS) in Philippians 2 or any of the other passages. They are talking about the way things look and are seen (in the sense of outward appearance).

  40. Rose Brown
    December 26, 2014 @ 7:09 am

    In the first century, the Greek word MORPHE has dual meanings: nature and appearance.

    These meanings were used by the NT writers:

    MORPHE as nature:

    Phil. 2:6,
    Romans 12:2,
    Phil. 3:10 and 21
    Gal. 4:19

    These five NT verses used MORPHE as “nature.” It wasn’t used in the sense of “appearance” but rather, it was used in the sense of a real thing subsisting in a person.

    MORPHE as appearance:

    Luke 9:29
    Matthew 17:2
    Mark 9:2
    2 Timothy 3:5

    These four NT verses used MORPHE as “appearance.” It talks about the external form perceivable by human sense of sight.

  41. Rose Brown
    December 26, 2014 @ 7:07 am

    @Rivers,

    In the first century, the Greek word MORPHE has dual meanings: nature and appearance.

    These meanings were used by the NT writers:

    MORPHE as nature:

    Phil. 2:6,
    Romans 12:2,
    Phil. 3:10 and 21
    Gal. 4:19

    These five NT verses used MORPHE as “nature.” It does about “appearance” but rather, it is about the real thing subsisting in a person.

    MORPHE as appearance:

    Luke 9:29
    Matthew 17:2
    Mark 9:2
    2 Timothy 3:5

    These four NT verses used MORPHE as “appearance.” It talks about the external form perceivable by human sense of sight.

  42. Rivers
    December 24, 2014 @ 3:06 pm

    Rose,

    Regardless of whether you consider Mark 16:12 to be part of scripture, the use of MORFE in that text is ancient enough to be compared with the rest of the manuscript evidence.

    It also doesn’t help your argument to disregard it because you are simply left with making up your own definition of MORFE in Philippians 2:6 (which doesn’t make it very compelling). 🙂

  43. Rose Brown
    December 24, 2014 @ 8:33 am

    @Rivers,

    Mark 16:12 isn’t part of Scripture.

    Very old and ancient MSS do not contain it.

    In fact, many modern English translations placed in a bracket.

  44. Sean Garrigan
    December 22, 2014 @ 7:05 pm

    Rivers,

    Well, I guess I’d rather take a chance on misunderstandings which I can clarify then give up the shorthand:-)

    ~Sean

  45. Rivers
    December 22, 2014 @ 4:46 pm

    Jonathan,

    Thank you for clarifying our agreement on things in Philippians 2:6. Yes, I would consider “God” to be referring to the Father in that context. The “form of God” would be the “radiance” that Jesus acquired when he was glorified along with inheriting the Father’s position of power and authority (Hebrews 1:3-6).

    Where we might differ still is in that I would suggest the same thing about Genesis 1:26 and 1 Corinthians 11:3-16 where I think “the image and glory of God” was the physical appearance of Adam that distinguished him from the woman (and associated his physical appearance with higher authority).

    I think this is because the ancient Hebrews understood that the angelic visitors who came from the presence of God were always male in appearance (in other words, there were no female angels). That is why, in 1 Corinthians 11:3-16, I think Paul made his argument for the humble appearance of the women in the churches based upon their lower position of authority.

    Evidently, the women were required to wear their “long hair” (1 Corinthians 11:15) tide up over their heads in order to display their cooperation with the created order established by the authority of the angels (1 Corinthians 11:10; Genesis 1:26-28). The implication here may be that Paul understood that the men were created to have the “male” appearance of the angelic authorities.

    The issue we have in the Hebrew text of Genesis 1:26 is that the word translated “image” is not an authority or essence word. It first denotes the physical form or appearance of someone or something. Thus, it shouldn’t be limited to the concept of “authority” only.

  46. Rivers
    December 22, 2014 @ 3:36 pm

    Sean,

    No problem. Thanks for clarifying. I just try to avoid the labels (as I wouldn’t call you an “Arian” either).

    My concern with being labeled a “Socinian” is two-fold. First, it represents a group of people from the 17th Century that I have no affiliation with (and would probably would have little or nothing in common with the rest of their Reformed doctrines). Second, many of the people today who claim to be “Socinian” believe in bizarre things like “the preexistent LOGOS” or that LOGOS means “the wisdom, plan, and purpose of God” which I don’t think is biblical either.

    I would rather keep the focus on the apostolic testimony that we all seem to agree with authoritative. That way, we can all sort out the evidence for ourselves and make up our own minds. In your case, I wonder why you would even appeal to the name of someone like “Arias” when we don’t even have any firsthand testimony about what he believed. All we know about him is what his critics said about him. I wouldn’t want my critics speaking on my behalf, would you? 🙂

  47. Jonathan Jensen
    December 22, 2014 @ 3:20 pm

    @Mario @Rivers

    Mario,
    To me, it doesn’t matter whether one says it’s specifically the humbling of Himself or the laying down His life, because the latter is an example of the former, and is exemplary of the former. After all, isn’t that Paul’s more specific intent? He says this:

    “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

    In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:”

    So, all of what entails is having to do not just with being “humble” as in only making yourself out to be nothing, but also in valuing others more than yourself. With it being “mere” humility (if it could be called mere), it could only be love for God in obedience; yet such a humility also it outworked in the offering of His life, if indeed it is a humility of valuing the others above Himself (rather than only making Himself nothing). Not that the two are different concepts, but I just mean to highlight the sense of what’s being said. As such, I don’t see it having a problem being both of what you and I said in the same idea.

    Rivers,
    I am not saying that the form is not the appearance, but that the appearance of God here is an authoritative one. For everyone everywhere, the prime idea of God was that of being the greatest. “Most High”, “Lord”, “Almighty”, “Mighty One”, etc. etc. etc. It’s to the point where YHWH was substituted with “LORD”. The word “God”, is that not coming from mighty? So, I do think that the first thing that would come to mind would normally be the greatness.

    However, I meant to say that we can tell that it’s specifically authority here because of the position He’s in to humble Himself, and how He turns out in His humbling. Image of God is obviously appearance of God, as we both agree. I’m suspecting that you, as I, feel that “God” here is the Father specifically. (John 14:1-14, etc.)

    I meant to make the point more fortified by mentioning other places where “form of God” is treated as the appearance of God by way of authority:
    – Genesis 1:26, man is made in the image of God, to rule the world
    – Colossians 1:15, Christ is the image of God, the ruler of His creation
    – 1 Corinthians 11:7-10, man is the image (and glory) of God, in contrast to the woman, having the authority over her (Genesis 3:16)

  48. Sean Garrigan
    December 22, 2014 @ 3:08 pm

    Rivers,

    I use “Socianian” as shorthand for those who deny the proposition that the one we came to know as Jesus lived in heaven as a real person before becoming a man on earth. I do this because it’s a pain in the backside to type all that out every time I refer to that particular group, just as I’ll sometimes refer to myself as an “Arian”, as shorthand for one who believes that the one we came to know as Jesus was and is actually the very first being God created, even though I don’t subscribe to all the views of Arias, as far as we can infer them, filtered as they often are through the uncharitable perceptions of his opponents.

    ~Sean

  49. Rivers
    December 22, 2014 @ 12:55 pm

    Mario,

    I think when Jesus used “the last day” to refer to the day of the judgment and the resurrection itself (John 6:39-44; John 12:48). This seems to be how Martha understood is as well (John 11:24). Based upon the way Jesus suggested that some of those he was speaking to would “never die” (John 11:26), there’s little doubt that he understood that “the last day” was going to transpire for those to whom he was speaking. See also Matthew 16:27-28.

  50. Rivers
    December 22, 2014 @ 12:40 pm

    Sean,

    Thank you for the clarification. I don’t find any evidence that Jesus preexisted in any personal or impersonal form prior to his human existence. I don’t know if that makes me a “Socinian” in your eyes or not, but I don’t consider myself a Socinian. I’m must trying to understand what the apostles understood and Jesus Christ and how they expressed it in their own language. 🙂

  51. Rivers
    December 22, 2014 @ 12:24 pm

    Mario,

    In the context of Mark 16:10-14, the word MORFE (form) is used with FANEROW (make visible) and QEAOMAI (see, look upon). Thus, the implication of MORFE is that the various disciples recognized Jesus by observation when he appeared to them. This makes perfectly good sense in the context of Philippians 2:5-9 as well since we know that Paul understood that Jesus had a “glorious body” after he was exalted (Philippians 3:21) and had probably seen that form himself (Acts 26:13-16; 1 Corinthians 15:8, 43).

    In Luke 24, the concept of Jesus “opening their eyes” so that they “recognized” him isn’t being related to the word MORFE.

  52. Mario
    December 22, 2014 @ 11:15 am

    Rivers

    There’s … no evidence that Jesus had immortality until he was resurrected (Acts 2:29-34; Acts 13:34). In fact, the apostles understood that Jesus Christ had to “plead with God to save him from death” (Hebrews 5:7-9; Acts 2:24) and that “immortality” was revealed through his appearing to abolish death (2 Timothy 1:10).

    You write both immortality (in a negative sentence) and “immortality” (in a positive sentence). Any special reason? 🙂

    Jesus also associated “eternal life” with his “flesh” (John 6:54).

    This is the verse:

    The one who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. (John 6:54)

    What does “I will raise him up on the last day” mean?

  53. Sean Garrigan
    December 22, 2014 @ 11:12 am

    Rivers,

    My argument wasn’t addressed to those who favor a Socinian view of the text. It was addressed to Rose and others who accept the real personal preexistence of the Son, and was meant to show what the text must mean if such an understanding is presupposed. IF the Son personally existed in heaven before he took the form of a slave, THEN the emptying HAD to involve giving up his heavenly “nature” (immortal spirit), based on the flow of the text, and on the intended result (sacrificial death).

    Thus, there was really no need for you to repeat your view, as my comments weren’t meant to interact with it at all.

    ~Sean

  54. Mario
    December 22, 2014 @ 10:54 am

    The word MORFE (form) meant the visible appearance of someone or something …

    Rivers,

    how would “visible appearance of someone or something” apply to “the form of God”?

    Oh, BTW, neither does Mark 16:12 explain what it means that Jesus “appeared in a different form” to “two of them”, nor does Luke’s account help us understand what first “kept the eyes [of the disciples of Emmaus] from recognizing him” (Luke 24:16) and then, after “he took the bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them”, how “their eyes were opened and they recognized him” (Luke 24:31).

  55. Rivers
    December 22, 2014 @ 10:26 am

    Sean,

    I don’t think there’s any notion of preexistence suggested at all in the context of Philippians 2:5-9. The word translated “existing” (Philippians 2:6) is a Present Active Participle which implies nothing more than that Jesus was “existing in the form of God” at the time Paul was writing the letter (which was after Jesus was already glorified).

    There’s also no evidence that Jesus had immortality until he was resurrected (Acts 2:29-34; Acts 13:34). In fact, the apostles understood that Jesus Christ had to “plead with God to save him from death” (Hebrews 5:7-9; Acts 2:24) and that “immortality” was revealed through his appearing to abolish death (2 Timothy 1:10). Jesus also associated “eternal life” with his “flesh” (John 6:54).

  56. Mario
    December 22, 2014 @ 9:50 am

    Jon,

    the expressions “he poured out His soul to death” (Isaiah 53:12) and “emptied himself” (Phil 2:7) are only apparently expressing the same idea. In fact, in the former, the Servant of Yahweh gives up his life (this, and no other is the meaning of the Hebrew nephesh), whereas the latter is an idiomatic expression that is best (and far less confusingly) expressed with “made himself nothing” (NIV). The former speaks about Jesus’ acceptance of his death on behalf of many, the latter, of Jesus’ choice of humbling himself, in spite of his divine morphe, and of accepting his role (again, morphe) of servant of God.

    As for “I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh” (Joel 2:28; cp. Acts 2:17), it is different from both: here it is Yahweh speaking about his own Spirit (ruwach), which God pours out on all people, and which enables young and old to have prophetic visions.

  57. Rivers
    December 22, 2014 @ 9:42 am

    Hi Jon,

    Good comments.

    I also don’t seen any ontological implications in Philippians 2:5-9 either. It’s evident in the context that Paul was describing the “humility of mind” that characterized the “attitude” that Jesus Christ had before he was exalted by the Father (Philippians 2:3-4, 9-11). This would provide a meaningful example and exhortation for the Philippians who probably couldn’t relate to someone who preexisted or had two natures, but were actually living in a “humble state” and awaiting to be glorified with Christ (Philippians 3:21).

    However, I would differ with you a little bit with respect to the implications of the term “the form of God.” The word MORFE (form) meant the visible appearance of someone or something (e.g. Matthew 16:12) and shouldn’t be restricted to “only” or “specifically” a matter of authority.

    Although Jesus did inherit the authority of God the Father when he was exalted (Philippians 2:9-11; Hebrews 1:4), he also received a “glorified body” (Philippians 3:21) and “the radiance of God’s glory” (Hebrews 1:3). Paul may have actually seen this glory of the risen Lord at his conversion (Acts 26:13-16; 1 Corinthians 15:8, 43). Thus, there seems to be a connection between one’s status and one’s physical appearance. There may also be a connection between Paul’s use of “light” and “image” in the context of Colossians 1:12-15 as well.

    If you look up the usage of the Hebrew word translated “image” (Genesis 1:26), you’ll also find that it always denotes the physical appearance of someone (Genesis 5:3) or something (Isaiah 48:5). These “images” used for worship could be thought of as representing “authorities” in a practical sense, but the word “image” is used because the object has a physical form (just like they could probably see the anatomical resemblance between Seth and Adam when the boy was born).

  58. john
    December 22, 2014 @ 9:38 am

    Isn’t it just so simple to say that Jesus emptied Himself of that human attribute that separates us from God – His EGO.
    Blessings
    John

  59. Sean Garrigan
    December 22, 2014 @ 7:36 am

    Jon,

    Interesting comments, thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    Please note that the logical necessity that I pointed out about ontological “emptying” is based on granting the assumption, purely for the sake of argument, that both an ontological AND a preexistence reading is valid. If that’s the case — and I personally only favor the preexistence part, while I’m quite skeptical of the “nature” part, if by “nature” one means absolute ontological equality with God — but if that’s the case then I think an emptying that involves giving up your nature and replacing it with another is unavoidable. It’s suggested, IMO, by the flow of the argument, and it’s required by the result (=Christ’s death), which could only happen if the pre-existent Son gave up his immortality.

    The Son *had* to give up his immortality if he was to fulfill his commission of obedient service followed by a sacrificial death. Later ideas about Jesus dying “as to his human nature” but not “as to his divine nature” (whatever that means) are foreign to Paul. He knew nothing of such paradoxical abstractions, and so we shouldn’t superimpose them on the narrative.

    ~Sean

  60. Jonathan Jensen
    December 22, 2014 @ 4:31 am

    @Mario @Rose @etc…

    Jesus emptied Himself of Himself, and He “poured out His soul to death”. In other words, He counted Himself as nothing. The “ontological” arguments are so foreign to the Bible, that it neither argues for nor against any “ontological equivalence” with God. Paul was no stranger to dissecting scriptures, as can be noticed in 1 Corinthians 15, where he reckons that because it says “sit at My right hand UNTIL…” that Jesus is at God’s right hand for a limited time. Things like that Paul explains, such as the Father saying, “I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh”, regarding “all” to mean both the Jews and the Gentiles — in other words, men of every nation (backed by Psalm 2, Daniel 7, etc.).

    Certainly I do think that Paul was having Isaiah 53 in mind, and as far as humbling Himself and not taking advantage of equality with God, but instead going to death, has to do with Him for instance not *asking the Father* to send legions of angels to save Him from death.

    Now, if the emptying is of His own self-worth, then it was a true emptying, or else it wasn’t heart-felt. If it were “ontological” (and that’s obviously very foreign to the Scriptures) then it doesn’t have to be heart-felt if it’s real; and if it is of the concept of being able to “take advantage” of such an “ontology” (which doesn’t make sense as far as authority is concerned, especially since as in the other verse, this still comes only through the Father, which He neglected for Himself, and not denying His Own, inherent power to save Himself but rather the Father’s) then it would still be a very real emptying. Now, if by literal, you mean to the letter, then Christ at no time could have emptied Himself “literally”, unless he expunged all His innards. If, however, the emptying is figurative, you cannot say that He did not literally do that “figurative” emptying, or else what Paul says is just a blast of air and no one will benefit from it.

    Regarding Romans 4:14 — the emptying there is real, in that it is the emptying of the effectiveness of the faith, if the hope of the faith is meaningless through the faith. After all, if just “being a Jew” or “being a child of Abraham according to the flesh” is what counts, then faith won’t do any good, and the promise of faith is worthless. The faith is that God gives eternal life in His Son to those who believe Jesus and what He says. If what counts is only keeping the Law, then faith counts for nothing, since the Law condemns the sinner. Certainly, however, Jesus is a grace of precious mercy for the grace of the holy Law already given.

    The only thing in mind in Philippians 2 is authority, which is what being in the form of God is here, also called being in the image of God elsewhere by Paul (Colossians 1:15) and in Genesis 1:26; it is contrasted with the “form of a servant”, which is the appearance of one who serves. This is analogous to the Son of Man (Daniel 7, him who is given authority over the nations — 1 Chronicles 17; Psalm 2; Psalm 89) coming not to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.

    This is what Paul is talking about, since it’s directly related to Him offering up His life. So you see, it is specifically authority, and has nothing to do with the anachronistic and irrelevant, confusing “ontological” side of things, which never had a place here to begin with.

    In other words, humbling Himself had to do with laying down His life for others, and not “becoming a human being; for, “whoever humbles himself will be exalted”.
    Ezekiel 21:25-27

    I hope this strengthens!

    Love,
    -Jon

  61. Mario
    December 20, 2014 @ 2:27 pm

    “Christ did not literally empt[y] himself. Christ did not make himself empty of anything in Philippians 2:7.”

    Rose,

    this time you are quite right. The empying is not literal. Some people tend to mistake meta-phorical for meta-physical … 😉

  62. Jaco
    December 20, 2014 @ 1:15 pm

    Rose, sometimes literal language is used with abstract concepts. That does not mean that literal references should all be seen as abstract. Your argument above is rendered nonsensical.

  63. Sean Garrigan
    December 20, 2014 @ 8:28 am

    Rose,

    “Christ did not literally emptied himself….Christ did not make himself empty of anything in Philippians 2:7.”

    On an ontological reading he surely did.

    ~Sean

  64. Rose Brown
    December 20, 2014 @ 5:29 am

    @Sean,

    Christ did not literally emptied himself.

    Christ did not make himself empty of anything in Philippians 2:7.

    In Romans 4:4, Paul said that “faith is made void ( Grk. EKENOSEN).”Faith did not literally emptied itself of anything. Likewise, in Philippians 2:7, Jesus did not literally make himself empty of anything.

  65. Sean Garrigan
    December 18, 2014 @ 12:39 pm

    Rose,

    Another point about your view that most Trinitarians don’t realize but is nevertheless true (IMO) despite the protestations of the authorities, is this: If you go with “nature” for form, that’s fine, but it refutes Trinitarianism. The reason is because Christ “emptied himself” and, contrary to popular orthodox opinion, you don’t empty yourself by *adding* a new nature to your already existing nature. That would be “increasing yourself”:-)

    Why is this a problem for Trinitarianism? Because YHWH is incapable of ceasing to be God, and so if a deity truly did “empty himself” of his divine nature to take on human nature, then that deity has to be a lesser deity, i.e. one who can cease to be a deity and become a non-deity, i.e. a man.

    If you wish to embrace a view that refutes Trinitarianism, I won’t discourage you:)

  66. Rivers
    December 18, 2014 @ 11:54 am

    Rose,

    I don’t think when you say that “the context of [Philippians 2:6-8] reveals that MORFE denotes ‘nature'” is accurate at all. The context actually uses MORFE along with a couple of other Greek words for “likeness” (SXHMA) and “appearance” (‘UMOIWMA) which don’t mean “nature” either.

    For me, the authority rests with how the apostles actually used the words in their own conversation. I think it is fallacious to transfer final authority to the opinions of church fathers who lived hundreds of years after Jesus and the apostles were gone and didn’t speak their languages.

    I would have no problem believing in things like the Trinity doctrine, the deity of Christ, and the Incarnation if there was sufficient canonical evidence to suggest that the biblical prophets and apostles were teaching those concepts. However, I think it’s more likely that those ideas actually originated later.

  67. Rose Brown
    December 18, 2014 @ 7:42 am

    @Sean,

    I believe that God has an appearance ( John 5:37) but not physical appearance ( John 1:18).

    God even has a bosom and a womb! ~ Psalm 110:3 LXX ; John 1:18c

  68. Sean Garrigan
    December 18, 2014 @ 7:25 am

    Rose,

    You assume that God doesn’t have an appearance, but without justification, I’m afraid. As a spirit being his appearance can’t be seen with the human eye, but I’m quite sure that fellow spirit beings recognize him;-)

    You’re failing to take into account the prevalence of anthropomorphic language used of God throughout the entire Bible, and the literature of the time (and even today, for that matter). Indeed, much of the language used to describe God in all literature is anthropomorphic. The very fact that we refer to God as “Him” is anthropomorphic, because as a spirit being God has no genitalia, and is therefore genderless.

    ~Sean

  69. Rose Brown
    December 18, 2014 @ 7:25 am

    @Sean,

    What you call as a possible connotation is not a mere connotation because it is what fits the context well.

    Jesus is already addressed as ‘God’ in both John 1:1 and John 1:18. The Prologue of John’s gospel represents the whole theme of the entire Johannine Gospel record.

    In John 10:28-30, Jesus is claiming to be ‘God’,that is, we see Jesus himself affirming and asserting con-substantiality with God the Father throughout the JOHANNINE CORPUS ( John 3:16,18;5:18-19,26;8:42;10:28-39, 1 John 5:20).

    Notice that Jesus as ‘God’ ( anarthrous theos) in the qualitative sense(nature) preceded the divine title ascribed to Him:

    theos ( John 1:1)
    theos ( John 1:18 )
    theos ( John 10:33)
    ho theos ( John 20:28)
    ho theos ( 1 John 5:20)

    It is sound to accept the texts per se in such a way that is not divorced from its context.

  70. Rose Brown
    December 18, 2014 @ 7:12 am

    @Rivers,

    The context wherein the Greek word MORPHE occurs in the Carmen Cristi reveals that its denotation is ‘nature’ and not ‘appearance.’

    Who, existing in very nature, God …taking the very nature of a servant… ( Philippians 2:6-7 NIV).

    God has no physical appearance but rather, he has a real essence… Jesus did not just have an appearance of a servant but rather, he became a real servant.

    “The Greek term translated form indicates a correspondence with reality. Thus the meaning of this phrase is that Christ was truly God.” ~ NETBible

    Christ was truly God ( Philippians 2:6 CEV)

  71. Rivers
    December 16, 2014 @ 6:27 pm

    Sean,

    I agree. I think “the word was God” is the more likely word order in translation as well.

  72. Sean Garrigan
    December 16, 2014 @ 3:49 pm

    Rivers,

    “What is your opinion on the rendering of John 1:1c as “God was the word”?”

    In my opinion it’s backwards;-) The LOGOS is clearly the subject in the text, and QEOS is the predicate noun.

  73. Rivers
    December 16, 2014 @ 2:12 pm

    Sean,

    What is your opinion on the rendering of John 1:1c as “God was the word”?

  74. Sean Garrigan
    December 16, 2014 @ 12:27 pm

    Rivers,

    Reflecting again on the NIV, what the translators have done is replace the denotation with one barely possible connotation. This is similar to the mistake that translators make with respect to John 1:1c. Ontological divine-ness is one *possible* connotation of QEOS, but not a necessary connotation. Hence to render the clause “the Word was divine” is not only to replace a noun with an adjective without justification, but it’s to replace the term used with one its *possible* though not necessary connotations. Ironically, despite all the rhetoric offered against the “a god” rendering, it’s actually the most neutral rendering if one accepts that QEOS there is not definite.

    ~Sean

  75. Rivers
    December 16, 2014 @ 9:08 am

    Hi Rose,

    I agree with Sean’s comment about MORFE (“form”). There isn’t any evidence that the noun had any ontological connotations in biblical Greek.

    In Mark 16:12, it is used of the different “appearance” that Jesus Christ took after the resurrection. This is the only other occurrence besides Philippians 2:6-8.

    In the context of Philippians 2:6-8, the word MORFE is used along with “equality” (ISOS) and “likeness” (‘OMOIWMA) and “appearance” (SXHMA) which are words that also don’t require any ontological connotations when used in the NT.

    I’m not finding some of your argumentation persuasive because it seems like you are trying to force an ontological connotation into the meaning of these words when there isn’t enough evidence to make it necessary or plausible.

  76. Sean Garrigan
    December 16, 2014 @ 6:54 am

    “one of which is the most extensive study undertaken so far on the meaning of MORPHE”

    At least it’s the most extensive that I’m aware of.

  77. Sean Garrigan
    December 16, 2014 @ 6:47 am

    Rose,

    “God is not just a spirit, he is also eternal, immutable,omniscience, omnipotence and omnipresence.”

    (a) Those things are not “form”, and (b) you assume without justification that to be in the “form” of another person must mean that you have all attributes that the other person has. We know with absolute certainty that the Son doesn’t have all of the attributes of the Father.

    Also, you still haven’t addressed the fact that two studies, one of which is the most extensive study undertaken so far on the meaning of MORPHE (Fabricatore’s study), undermine your view that MORPHE must connote ontology.

    ~Sean

  78. Rose Brown
    December 16, 2014 @ 5:53 am

    i mean, …omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent.

  79. Rose Brown
    December 16, 2014 @ 5:49 am

    @Sean,

    God is not just a spirit, he is also eternal, immutable,omniscience, omnipotence and omnipresence.

  80. Rose Brown
    December 16, 2014 @ 5:34 am

    @Mario,

    The Ancient of Days has an appearance ( Daniel 7) that Jesus has ( Revelation 2). It is therefore clear that there are two , not one , whose appearance is of the Ancient of Days.

    The oneness of the Son with the Father ( John 10:30) is not included in the “all” of John 10:29.

  81. Rose Brown
    December 16, 2014 @ 5:32 am

    @Mario,

    What is the oneness of the believers with the Father and the Son in John 17?

    According to the immediate context, the oneness of the believers with the Father and the Son is the oneness in terms of love.

    John 17:11,22-2411 And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may BE ONE, AS WE ARE ONE …
    22 The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may BE ONE AS WE ARE ONE, 23 I in them and you in me, that they may BECOME PERFECTLY ONE, so that the world may know that you sent me and LOVED THEM EVEN AS YOU LOVED ME. 24 Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you LOVED ME before the foundation of the world.

    Even the greater context shows that the mutual indwelling is based on love and not on nature.

    And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and HE THAT DWELLETH IN LOVE, DWELLETH IN GOD AND GOD IN HIM. 1 John 4:16

    Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will LOVE HIM, and we will come to him and MAKE OUR HOME IN HIM.” John 14:23

  82. Rivers
    December 15, 2014 @ 7:28 pm

    Sean,

    What about the “nature” of the account do you think suggests a “progression” from preexistence to humily to exaltation? Please explain.

  83. Sean Garrigan
    December 15, 2014 @ 7:07 pm

    Rivers,

    “Again, I can understand why most interpreters would make the argument for a “progression” in Philippians 2:6 because they all believe in some kind of “preexistence” or “incarnation” (i.e. becoming human from some other substance). I just don’t think that is a necessary conclusion to be drawn from the language. I think it’s more likely that the Present Participle was deliberate (since Paul needed to distinguish the “present” glorious “form” of Jesus from the humble “form” that he had before he was exalted.”

    Well, I don’t think it’s an assumption of preexistence that suggests a progression, but the nature of the account presented to us. Oh, well…

    ~Sean

  84. Rivers
    December 15, 2014 @ 6:59 pm

    Sean,

    Sorry about that. I thought you were referring to John 1:1-3.

    With regard to Philippians 2:6, I would make a similar observation. If the Present Active Participle of ‘UPARXW was referring to Jesus Christ “existing in the form of God” at the time when Paul was writing the letter (i.e. after he was exalted, Philippians 2:9, and had a “glorified body”, Philippians 3:21) then there wouldn’t need to be any implication of “divinity” or “divine nature” prior to that time.

    Again, I can understand why most interpreters would make the argument for a “progression” in Philippians 2:6 because they all believe in some kind of “preexistence” or “incarnation” (i.e. becoming human from some other substance). I just don’t think that is a necessary conclusion to be drawn from the language. I think it’s more likely that the Present Participle was deliberate (since Paul needed to distinguish the “present” glorious “form” of Jesus from the humble “form” that he had before he was exalted.

  85. Sean Garrigan
    December 15, 2014 @ 4:34 pm

    Rivers,

    Thank you for your comments. I was primarily thinking of Philippians 2, however, when I suggested that a visit to bgreek might prove helpful. I’ve read a good number of articles, chapters, books, etc, dealing with this verse and I’ve never seen the particular point you made mentioned by any of them (though Dunn may have offered a somewhat similar point, but it’s been a while). Every study I recall sees a progression in time, i.e. Jesus existed in God’s form (initial state), then took the form of a slave (subsequent state), then was exalted (final state). Might be worth running it past the folks at bgreek for comment.

    ~Sean

  86. Rivers
    December 15, 2014 @ 3:12 pm

    John,

    In the case of the Prologue, I think it functions as an introduction to the whole 4th Gospel, part of the first chapter of the 4th Gospel, and has an “immediate” context within itself. One of the things I think often gets overlooked when interpreting the Prologue is the fact that some of the information events are reiterated from John 1:19-53.

    I think “the word was divine” is a possibility, but why would that interpretation be necessary if it is speaking of Jesus Christ after he began his public ministry? That is where the understanding of “in the beginning” can become significant. I can understand why the “divinity” of the LOGOS would be more important to someone who might think the LOGOS was “in the beginning” (before Genesis 1:1) or “with God” (before Genesis 1:1).

  87. john
    December 15, 2014 @ 1:13 pm

    Rivers
    Am I correct in saying that the context ultimately determines whether a predicate is definite or indefinite.?
    In your opinion is the context the immediately adjacent verses, or the first chapter of Johns Gospel, – or perhaps Johns Gospel taken as a whole?

    How do you view some scholars ‘take’ on John 1.1,3 as ‘the word was divine’ -i.e. giving logos a qualitative meaning.

    Blessings
    John

  88. Rivers
    December 15, 2014 @ 10:16 am

    Sean,

    I would also agree that the comma (in translation) should come after “today” in Luke 23:43. Even Jesus himself didn’t go to “Paradise” on the same day he died (Matthew 12:42; John 20:17). The apostles also taught that “the dead in Christ” would not ascend until Jesus returned to meet them later (1 Thessalonians 4:13-17). Determining the position of the comma really has nothing to do with the grammar.

    Also, I don’t deny that there are a number of different possibilities when it comes to interpreting John 1:1c, but how one approaches the context makes a big difference. I’m just pointing out that most other scholars have taken the position that John 1:1-3 should be taken to be referring to some kind of “preexistence” of the LOGOS followed by an “incarnation.” I don’t consider either of those concepts to be necessary or likely.

    Even if “the word was a god” is taken to be the correct translation of John 1:1c, the context would still ultimately determine in what sense the writer meant it to be taken. If there was no “preexistence” (John 1:1a) or “incarnation” (John 1:14a) concept intended by the writer to begin with, then “the LOGOS was God” or “God was the LOGOS” or “the LOGOS was a god” or “what God was, the LOGOS was” would probably not have any connotation of “eternal deity” at all.

    I’m just suggesting that the Prologue may have simply been a resurrection text (as I also think was the case with John 8:58) and was never intended to convey any concept of “preexistence” or “incarnation” at all. It’s seems to be the notions of “preexistence” and “incarnation” that have fueled most of the debate about the details of the grammar.

  89. Sean Garrigan
    December 15, 2014 @ 7:00 am

    Rivers,

    “I think the critical issue I would take with your perspective on Philippians 2:6 is that you would have to prove that the Present Active Participle of ‘UPARXW (“existing” in the form of God) is actually referring to something that was characteristic of Jesus before his “humility” (Philippians 2:7-8),…
    This seems highly unlikely since Paul didn’t use Present Participles to speak of things that were “past.” Thus, regardless of whether we understand “the form of God” to be about appearance, familial status, or intrinsic nature, it probably didn’t characterize Jesus until Paul knew him after he was “exalted” (Philippians 2:9) and already had “the glorious body” (Philippians 3:21).”

    Have you ever floated some of your more a-typical views on bgreek? They have some extremely knowledgeable folks who participate there (at least they did the last time I visited), and while they don’t permit theological debate, and are subject to the same biases that the rest of us are subject to, they nevertheless can often help one see things differently. If memory serves, at one point the most knowledgeable of them all, Carl Conrad, bucked tradition insofar as he acknowledged that “a god” is grammatically possible at John 1:1c. He also revised a previous opinion on Luke 23:43 and, after considering evidence of which he was previously unaware, concluded that the comma should go after “today”. I seem to recall that Jason BeDuhn softened his argument vis a vis Hebrews 1:8 a little after some interaction there as well.

    ~Sean

  90. Rivers
    December 14, 2014 @ 9:10 pm

    Sean,

    I have researched many different scholarly perspectives on John 1:1-3 over the years, but I think they all fail at two particular points. First, they assume that “in the beginning” in John 1:1a refers to the time before Genesis 1:1. Second, they ignore the usage and implication of the preposition PROS (“to” or “toward”) in the 4th Gospel.

    This leads them all to come to misdirected conclusions about John 1:1c as well. Most of the debate about “the LOGOS was God” is the result of drawing the wrong conclusions about the historical context of the Prologue. Thus, most of what has been published up to this point is of little value.

    Any first-year seminary student with a computer concordance can look up the dozens of occurrences of LOGOS and PROS in the Johannine books and immediately rule out most of the unnecessarily complicated fine points of grammar that have been introduced into the debate in order to force a reading or interpretation of John 1:1c that is based upon misunderstanding the first two clauses.

  91. Sean Garrigan
    December 14, 2014 @ 8:20 pm

    “The way that some of their translations put “nature” in passages like Philippians 2:6 and Hebrews 1:3 is no less misleading than to insist that “a god” should be the translation of John 1:1c. This is why it’s imperative for those of us (most of us) who have the research tools available to check the plausibility of these translations be careful to take the time to do it.”

    I agree, with the caveat that there really isn’t anything at all misleading in suggesting that “a god” is probably correct at John 1:1c. I actually like “the Word was God” for theological reasons which I’ve mentioned recently, but I think that the Evangelist meant to convey what we would read in English as “a god”.

    As I’ve mentioned before, over 50% of the pre-verbal anarthrous predicate nominatives in John are indefinite, and the rest are probably definite. There are precisely zero “qualitative” bounded nouns in John found in a Colwell construction, if by “qualitative” you speak of an exclusive category where the nature is conveyed sans the indefiniteness of the nouns. The category was invented by theologians who came to realize that the old answer, i.e. that QEOS is definite, per Colwell’s rule, was not correct, and so they had to find some solution that would allow them to keep their most sacred of theological cows.

    You may have already done so, but if you haven’t, then I’d encourage your to study the modern history of the “scholarly” opinion about John 1:1c. It’s a regular comedy of errors!

    Harner’s and Dixon’s “studies” have never been properly vetted, and that is to the great shame of those who set themselves up as Greek authorities. They have allowed an unsuspecting public, most of whom don’t have the sort of language savvy that it takes to spot these sorts of errors, to be hoodwinked.

  92. Rivers
    December 14, 2014 @ 3:06 pm

    Sean,

    With regard to your quote from N.T. Wright about his disappointment with the NIV translation …

    Over the years, I’ve found it amusing to hear the various scholarly Trinitarian debaters criticize the NWT translation (usually when speaking against the JWs) of passages like John 1:1 and Colossians 1:16 when there are so many misleading translations in of various texts in their own Bibles.

    The way that some of their translations put “nature” in passages like Philippians 2:6 and Hebrews 1:3 is no less misleading than to insist that “a god” should be the translation of John 1:1c. This is why it’s imperative for those of us (most of us) who have the research tools available to check the plausibility of these translations be careful to take the time to do it.

  93. Rivers
    December 14, 2014 @ 2:51 pm

    Sean,

    Thank you for the clarification.

    I think the critical issue I would take with your perspective on Philippians 2:6 is that you would have to prove that the Present Active Participle of ‘UPARXW (“existing” in the form of God) is actually referring to something that was characteristic of Jesus before his “humility” (Philippians 2:7-8),

    This seems highly unlikely since Paul didn’t use Present Participles to speak of things that were “past.” Thus, regardless of whether we understand “the form of God” to be about appearance, familial status, or intrinsic nature, it probably didn’t characterize Jesus until Paul knew him after he was “exalted” (Philippians 2:9) and already had “the glorious body” (Philippians 3:21).

  94. Mario
    December 14, 2014 @ 2:05 pm

    @ Rose

    You agree that Jesus had a divine nature in Philippians 2:6.

    Perhaps you missed my caveat, though:

    “that Jesus is “ontologically equal” with the One and Only God does NOT imply that he is self-subsistent. Only YHWH God, the Father Almighty, his Father, is attiyiq yowmin, “the Ancient of Days” (Daniel 7:9)”

    You also need to realize that this nature Jesus has is the same nature the Father has (John 10:28-30).

    Look ye here:

    28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish; no one will snatch them from my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one can snatch them from my Father’s hand. 30 The Father and I are one [hen esmen].” (John 10:28-30 – emphasis and [Greek interpolations] by Mario; hen is Neuter Nominative Singular)

    11 Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father is in me [egô en tô patri kai ho patêr en emoi], but if you do not believe me, believe because of the miraculous deeds themselves. (…) 20 You will know at that time that I am in my Father and you are in me and I am in you [egô en tô patri mou kai ymeis en emoi kagô en ymin]. (John 14:11,20 – emphasis and [Greek interpolations] by Mario)

    20 “I am not praying only on their behalf, but also on behalf of those who believe in me through their testimony, 21 that they will all be one [ina pantes hen ôsin], just as you, Father, are in me and I am in you [kathôs su pater en emoi kagô en soi]. I pray that they will be in us [autoi en êmin ôsin], so that the world will believe that you sent me. 22 The glory you gave to me I have given to them, that they may be one just as we are one [ina ôsin hen kathos êmeis hen] –23 I in them and you in me [ egô en autois kai su en emoi] – that they may be completely one, so that the world will know that you sent me, and you have loved them just as you have loved me. (John 17:20-23 – emphasis and [Greek interpolations] by Mario)

    Q for Rose: does any of the above indicate that Jesus is “in you” in the same way that he is “in my Father”? If yes, can you draw some metaphysical consequence? If not, why not? (Neither “grammar” nor “context” will help you with a “not” reply …)

    How is it you say? Ah, yes: “Text without context is pretext …” 😉

  95. Sean Garrigan
    December 14, 2014 @ 10:59 am

    Rivers,

    I should probably clarify that I don’t personally have a problem with a valid “nature” inference, and I hold it out as a possibility. The reason I said “No, it doesn’t” was because Rose responded to two studies that contradicted her view by simply repeating herself again, so I thought essentially repeating myself was appropriate;-)

    The problem with Rose’s view is that it seems to be based on the rather odd assumption that the nature in question is “Godness” (whatever that might mean to a given individual). However, if we’re going to go with “nature” in the subject text, then the form in question would be better understood as ‘spirit’ (John 4:24). So, a “nature” paraphrase might go something like this:

    “Although he was a glorious spirit being like God, he did not consider equality with God as something to be seized.”

    This would harmonize with my understanding of John 1:1, where (IMO) a spirit being became a fleshly being. Recall the words of D. S. Russell:

    “…it must be remembered that monotheism, for the Old Testament prophets, had a connotation very different in many respects from that which it has in modern thought. It is false to assume that the Old Testament writers, however exalted their conception of the Godhead might be, conceived of God as alone in isolated majesty over against men, the creatures of his will. There is ample evidence to show that this conception of monotheism was held in conjunction with a belief in a spiritual world peopled with supernatural and superhuman beings who, in some ways, shared the nature, though not the being, of God.” (The Method & Message of Jewish Apocalyptic), p. 235

    ~Sean

  96. Sean Garrigan
    December 14, 2014 @ 10:28 am

    Rivers,

    Yeah, the NIV is a classic example of what’s wrong with translations that stray too far from the literal, IMO. N.T. Wright gave it a good smacking recently:

    “In this context, I must register one strong protest against one particular translation. When the New International Version was published in 1980, I was one of those who hailed it with delight. I believed its own claim about itself, that it was determined to translate exactly what was there, and inject no extra paraphrasing or interpretative glosses. This contrasted so strongly with the then popular New English Bible, and promised such an advance over the then rather dated Revised Standard Version, that I recommended it to students and members of the congregation I was then serving. Disillusionment set in over the next two years, as I lectured verse by verse through several of Paul’s letters, not least Galatians and Romans. Again and again, with the Greek text in front of me and the NIV beside it, I discovered that the translators had had another principle, considerably higher than the stated one: to make sure that Paul should say what the broadly Protestant and evangelical tradition said he said. I do not know what version of Scripture they use at Dr. Piper’s church. But I do know that if a church only, or mainly, relies on the NIV it will, quite simply, never understand what Paul was talking about.”

    See: http://www.christianmonthlystandard.com/index.php/nt-wright-slams-the-niv/

    Note: This is not to suggest that Wright would object to inferring nature from Philippians 2, but we can offer a hearty “Here, here!” vis a vis his general observation, and apply his words to the NIV’s mishandling of our subject text.

  97. Rivers
    December 14, 2014 @ 9:22 am

    Sean,

    I agree. I don’t know why the word “nature” would be introduced into the interpretation of MORFE or Philippians 2:6 at all. For all we know, MORFE referred to the visible appearance of something in biblical usage (Mark 16:12; Philippians 2:7).

    Apparently the “very nature” idea comes from a preference for the NIV translation. I wonder if Rose has considered that the NIV translates the noun MORFE as “form” the only other time is appears in NT usage (Mark 16:12).

  98. Sean Garrigan
    December 14, 2014 @ 9:11 am

    “The Greek Phrase EN MORPHE THEOU means “in very nature, God” ( NIV 2011)”

    No, it doesn’t.

  99. Rivers
    December 14, 2014 @ 8:28 am

    Rose,

    The Greek preposition PROS does not mean “with.” It means “to” or “toward.” Sometimes it is translated “with” in English Bible because the subject has already “come toward” someone or something. In biblical Greek semantics, PROS conveyed the idea of “direction.” It was never used to speak of someone always being “together with” someone else.

    This is why the writer of the 4th Gospel used PROS in John 1:2-3. Even if it is translated “with”, it should be understood that the use of PROS implies that the LOGOS had already “come toward” God from somewhere else. In the case of Jesus Christ, this would most likely refer to his resurrection (since he often spoke of going “to (PROS) the Father”, John 13:1-3, John 14:12; John 16:10; John 20:17).

    In the context of the Prologue, the writer was speaking of “the begotten, who is in the bosom of the Father” (John 1:18). This is speaking of where Jesus Christ was after his resurrection and exaltation. Hence, the LOGOS had already gone “toward” (PROS) God to be “with God.”

  100. Rose Brown
    December 14, 2014 @ 1:56 am

    @Sean,

    The Greek Phrase EN MORPHE THEOU means “in very nature, God” ( NIV 2011)

    In Biblical Greek, MORPHE means “form” ( nature, outward appearance). It’s dual meaning is used in the Bible. MORPHE as “nature” is used for about FIVE TIMES in the NT ( Phil. 2:6, Romans 12:2, Phil. 3:10 and 21,Gal. 4:19 ) and as “outward appearance” in both the OT (Daniel 3:19 ) and the NT ( 2 Timothy 3:5 ).

    Daniel J. Fabricatore did an extensive study of MORPHE, called “Form of God, Form of a Servant: An Examination of the Greek Noun [MORPHE] in Philippians 2:6-7?, and concluded:

    “This study assumed a synchronic approach over a diachronic approach for determining word meaning…an exhaustive lexical examination of [MORPHE] was undertaken in various areas of Greek literature. The overwhelming majority of uses of [MORPHE] in all of Greek literature denoted the idea of the form or shape of someone or something, but even more critical, the uses expressed the fact that [MORPHE] denoted a form or shape that was observable by sight. The majority of uses then fell into the category of visible appearance. A SMALL MINORITY OF EXAMPLES WERE FOUND THAT DENOTED THE ESSENCE OR NATURE OF A PERSON OR THING [emphasis mine]. However, even in several of these uses, the [MORPHE] was referring to the VISIBLE APPEARANCE THAT DESCRIBED THE UNDERLYING NATURE. This semantic range was stable and remained in place for over 600 years.”

    God has a face — beholding by angels (Matthew 18:10; Exodus 33:23)and a back — seen by Moses (Exodus 33:23 ).

    God has a form — seen by His own Son ( John 6:46).

    God’s visible appearance is the same appearance Christ has –seen by Daniel / John ( Daniel 7, 10 ; Revelation 2).

    Ergo, the Son is of same nature with the Father.

  101. Sean Garrigan
    December 14, 2014 @ 1:31 am

    Rose,

    See also pages 22-24 of Donald Macleod’s “Jesus is Lord, Christology Yesterday and Today”. Here’s a brief snippet:

    “The clue to the meaning of [MORPHE] is probably to be found not in the classical philosophers but in the Septuagint…[MORPHE] is virtually synonymous with eidos and homoioma, the usual words for appearance. This can be seen from such passages as Job 4:16, Isaiah 44:13 and Daniel 3:19. Job 4:16, for example, reads: ‘It (a spirit) stood still, but I could not discern its appearance. A form was before my eyes; there was silence, then I heard a voice’ (RSV). The parallelism here makes clear that appearance and form (homoioma and [MORPHE]) are synonymous. [MORPHE] is the appearance appropriate to God.”

    He goes on to point out that the appearance appropriate to God is his glory, and we know that man is the glory of God (1 Cor 11:7).

    ~Sean

  102. Sean Garrigan
    December 14, 2014 @ 1:13 am

    Rose,

    According to those who’ve made an intensive philological study, MORPHE doesn’t necessarily have an ontological component. For example, Daniel J. Fabricatore did an extensive study of MORPHE, called “Form of God, Form of a Servant: An Examination of the Greek Noun [MORPHE] in Philippians 2:6-7”, and concluded:

    “This study assumed a synchronic approach over a diachronic approach for determining word meaning…an exhaustive lexical examination of [MORPHE] was undertaken in various areas of Greek literature. The overwhelming majority of uses of [MORPHE] in all of Greek literature denoted the idea of the form or shape of someone or something, but even more critical, the uses expressed the fact that [MORPHE] denoted a form or shape that was observable by sight. The majority of uses then fell into the category of visible appearance. A SMALL MINORITY OF EXAMPLES WERE FOUND THAT DENOTED THE ESSENCE OR NATURE OF A PERSON OR THING [emphasis mine]. However, even in several of these uses, the [MORPHE] was referring to the visible appearance that described the underlying nature. This semantic range was stable and remained in place for over 600 years.”

    Sorry, but another cherished myth bites the dust;-)

    ~Sean

  103. Rose Brown
    December 14, 2014 @ 1:00 am

    @Mario, You agree that Jesus had a divine nature in Philippians 2:6.

    You also need to realize that this nature Jesus has is the same nature the Father has ( John 10:28-30).

    😉 🙂

  104. Rose Brown
    December 14, 2014 @ 12:49 am

    @Sean,

    “The term [MORPHE] and its cognates refer most basically to ‘visible appearance,’ and, depending on the context, the word-group MAY OR MAY NOT bear an ontological component.” ([MORFH QEOU]
    As a Signifier of Social Status in Philippians 2:6, JETS 52/4 (December 2009), pp. 779–97.

    IT IS. The Greek Phrase EN MORPHE THEOU means “in very nature, God” ( NIV 2011)

    In Biblical Greek, MORPHE means “form” ( nature, outward appearance). It’s dual meaning is used in the Bible. MORPHE as “nature” is used for about FIVE TIMES in the NT ( Phil. 2:6, Romans 12:2, Phil. 3:10 and 21,Gal. 4:19 ) and as “outward appearance” in both the OT (Daniel 3:19 ) and the NT ( 2 Timothy 3:5 ).

    Check this out:

    https://www.google.de/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=10&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0CGoQFjAJ&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.etsjets.org%2Ffiles%2FJETS-PDFs%2F49%2F49-4%2FJETS_49-4_739-766_Jowers.pdf&ei=BiSNVJqfH8HImAXi4YK4Bg&usg=AFQjCNFWzonD-gb2AQuWpmx1WNHP4r0nfg&bvm=bv.81828268,d.dGY

  105. Rose Brown
    December 14, 2014 @ 12:42 am

    @Rivers,

    Gk. Pros as ‘in the presence of,with”.

    These ancient versions agree: Old Latin, ‘Apud’ and Coptic, ‘nnahrn’.

  106. Sean Garrigan
    December 13, 2014 @ 7:57 pm

    Rose,

    “In Biblical Greek, MOPHE means “form” ( nature, shape). It’s dual meaning is used in the Bible, morphe is used in the New Testament as “nature” for about 5 times ( Phil. 2:6, Romans 12:2, Phil. 3:10 and 21,Gal. 4:19 ) AND as “shape” in both Old Testament Septuagint (Daniel 3:19 ) and New Testament ( 2 Timothy 3:5 ).”

    I wish I could remember the studies I’ve read that covered this issue, but I’m having a senior moment. However, my recollection is that MORPHE generally signifies ‘visible appearance, as Joseph Hellerman indicates:

    “The term [MORPHE] and its cognates refer most basically to ‘visible appearance,’ and, depending on the context, the word-group may or may not bear an ontological component.” ([MORFH QEOU]
    As a Signifier of Social Status in Philippians 2:6, JETS 52/4 (December 2009), pp. 779–97.

    Available here: http://www.etsjets.org/files/JETS-PDFs/52/52-4/JETS%2052-4%20779-797%20Hellerman.pdf

    ~Sean

  107. Rivers
    December 13, 2014 @ 6:57 pm

    Rose,

    The comments by Robertson and Lenski are erroneous. They didn’t research the way that the writer of the 4th Gospel used the different propositions either. Let me show you how superficial the quotations you gave really are:

    1. Robertson’s appeal to 1 Corinthians 13:12 disregards the fact that Paul used “face” several times in the passage because it was necessary to say “face to face” in order to convey that meaning of “intimacy” (which John 1:1b does not have). Paul did not simply use PROS to communicate the intimacy. Moreover, the PROS still meant “toward” (and not “with”) because it was being used to express how the “faces” are looking “toward” (PROS) each other.

    2. Lenski appears to be ignorant of the usage of PROS by the Johannine writer as well. Lenski also give no evidence that the writer was speaking of any “inherent attribute” or “power” in the passage. This is a good example of why the biblical text should be the final authority and not the personal opinion of someone like Lenski.

    3. In 2 Corinthians 5:8, the reason that Paul used PROS was not to express any “intimacy” but because “at home with the Lord” would require him to move in the direction “toward” where the “home with the Lord” was (i.e. heaven). Paul was talkinga about “being absent from the body” in another location (i.e. toward the Lord, in heaven).

    2.

  108. Mario
    December 13, 2014 @ 6:05 pm

    The longer I visit and comment at trinities.org, the more I realize that we ALL (myself included …) rationalize our prejudice (I sincerely still believe I have no prejudice …) and/or become apologetes for our conclusions (I sincerely still believe my conclusions are the best balance of all factors, scriptural, historical, logical, etc.). 🙁 😉 🙂

  109. Sean Garrigan
    December 13, 2014 @ 2:01 pm

    Rose,

    I should clarify that I’m not denying that nouns can be definite, indefinite, and qualitative. What I reject is the absurd notion that bounded nouns (=count) are purely qualitative (mass/abstract), which has no justification outside the minds of Trinitarians. Moreover, when count nouns are used to highlight the “nature” of a subject, they don’t become non-count (=qualitative); rather, the qualitativness they highlight depends on their indefiniteness! For example, one could say “He’s such a MAN”, and mean to thereby highlight the person’s manly qualities. The qualitative inference depends on the noun’s indefinitenss. You wouldn’t say “He is such MAN”, as that would be ambiguous at best. The same goes for countless phrases.

    He is a sinner = He is sinful, and the qualitativeness depends on the noun’s indefinitness.

    She’s a beauty = She’s a beautiful person, and the qualitativeness depends on the noun’s indefinitness.

    He’s a child (said of an immature man) = He’s childish, and the qualitativeness depends on the noun’s indefinitness.

    Let me ask the question again that people keep ignoring. Let’s assume, just for the sake of argument, that Harner, Dixon, and others are correct in arguing that QEOS is “qualitative” at John 1:1c. In his JBL article, “Qualitative Anarthrous Predicate Nouns: Mark 15:39 and John 1:1” (JBL 92 (1973)), Harner asserted that “In John 1:1 I think that the qualitative force of the predicate is so prominent that the noun cannot be regarded as definite.” (p. 75). In his thesis, “The Significance of the Anarthrous Predicate Nominative in John” (Th. M. thesis, Dallas Theological Seminary) Dixon said that “Technically, any noun which is not definite is indefinite” (p. 9). Now, in which of the following translations does QEOS look like a “qualitative” noun that is “technically indefinite”?

    (a) The Word was God
    (b) The Word was a god

    Anyone who chooses “a” gets a booby prize;-)

  110. Sean Garrigan
    December 13, 2014 @ 1:13 pm

    “Nouns generally fall under three semantic categories: Definite (identity), Indefinite (one of a class of others), or Qualitative (essence or nature—not identity). The anarthrous theos in John 1:1c is qualitative.”

    Sorry, but that’s a mistaken view promulgated by Trinitarians who can’t allow either of the natural understandings of the text to be true. It emerges from a number of faulty assumptions, equivocations, and erroneous views, and the two primary proponents in recent years who got the error rolling over against the previous error (=the misuse of Colwell’s Rule) were P. B. Harner and Paul Dixon. Neither of these men were linguists, and their work has never been properly vetted by secular linguists. Instead, their erroneous views were swallowed with alacrity because they tickle the ears of Trinitarians.

    I’ve pointed this out before here, but, as J. Gwyn Griffiths observed back in the 1950s:

    “Dr. Strachan’s statement is if special interest in that it seeks to give an explicit philological foundation to the translation ‘divine.’ Greek lexicons do not generally admit an adjectival meaning for [QEOS]…Dr. Strachan, however, thinks that the omission of the article before [QEOS] gives it the force of an adjective, whereas Dr. Temple derives the same force (or a force ‘not far from adjectival’) from the predicative use of the word. It may be suggested that neither of these statements is confirmed by general usage in classical or Hellenistic Greek. Nouns which shed their articles do not thereby become adjectives; nor is it easy to see how the predicative use of a noun, in which the omission of the article is normal, tends to give the noun adjectival force….Taken by itself, the sentence [KAI QEOS HN hO LOGOS ] could admittedly bear either of two meanings: (I) ‘and the Word was (the) God’ or (2) ‘and the Word was (a) God.’ Since, however, the expression [PROS TON QEON] has occurred immediately before this clause, the natural inference is that [QEOS] now bears the same meaning and reference, the article having disappeared according to regular custom.” (The Expository Times, Vol. 62, October 1950 — September 1951), p. 315

    I agree with Griffiths to the extent that there doesn’t really appear to be any reason to think that nouns that shed their articles change meaning, i.e. they don’t become “adjectival” (yesteryear’s preferred term) or “qualitative” (today’s preferred term). Nor — I would add — does there appear to be any reason to think that placing a noun before the verb changes its meaning to one of “qualitativeness”. I therefore agree that the two most natural readings are (a) “the Word was God” or (b) “the Word was a god”. Griffiths favored the former (=a) because of [PROS TON QEON], whereas I favor the later (=b) for the same reason, and for others, e.g. the traditional rendering yields a paradox that I don’t think the author of John’s gospel could have said without experiencing congnative dissonance for himself and his readers. Historically speaking, Trinitarianism didn’t exist yet as a conceptual grid into which such a paradoxical statement could be placed to avoid cognitive dissonance, and so if his readers understood him to be saying that the LOGOS was both “God” and “with God”, then they either would have understood that QEOS was being used representationally, in harmony with the shaliah principle (meaning something like “the Word represented God”), or they would have required explication.

    ~Sean

  111. Rose Brown
    December 13, 2014 @ 1:07 pm

    @Rivers,

    Check this out:

    Robertson (1932: 5:4) elucidates the significance of the preposition pros in John 1:1b:

    With God (pros ton theon). Though existing eternally with God the Logos was in perfect fellowship with God. Pros with the accusative presents a plane of equality and intimacy, face to face with each other. In 1 John 2:1 we have a like use of pros: “We have a Paraclete with the Father” (parakl?ton echomen pros ton patera). See pros?pon pros pros?pon (face to face, 1 Cor, 13:12), a triple use of pros.

    Lenski (1943: 32-33) similarly shows that pros in John 1:1b signified the inseparable communion that the distinct Person of the Word had with the Father:

    The preposition pros, as distinct from en, para, and sun, is of the greatest importance …The idea is that of presence and communion with a strong note of reciprocity. The Logos, then, is not an attribute inhering in God, or a power emanating from him, but a person in the presence of God and turned in loving, inseparable communion toward God, and God turned equally toward him. He was another and yet not other than God. This preposition pros sheds light on Gen. 1:26, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.”

    Check this out too:

    Pros expresses the intimate and special relationship that Christians will experience “at home with [pros] the Lord” (2 Cor. 5:8).

  112. Rose Brown
    December 13, 2014 @ 1:01 pm

    @Sean, @Mario, @Talitha, @Rivers

    In Philippians 2:6-7, it is clear that Jesus has dual form.

    Jesus is ‘God in form.’ ~ Philippians 2:6

    Jesus is ‘servant in form.’ ~ Philippians 2:7

    English Dictionaries define “form” as “essence” not just “outward appearance” or “shape.”

    In Biblical Greek, MOPHE means “form” ( nature, shape). It’s dual meaning is used in the Bible, morphe is used in the New Testament as “nature” for about 5 times ( Phil. 2:6, Romans 12:2, Phil. 3:10 and 21,Gal. 4:19 ) AND as “shape” in both Old Testament Septuagint (Daniel 3:19 ) and New Testament ( 2 Timothy 3:5 ).

    Do you agree with this?

  113. Rivers
    December 13, 2014 @ 12:58 pm

    Rose,

    Your understanding of PROS as “inseparable communion and loving intercourse” is totally contrary to the evidence. The writer of the 4th Gospel used the preposition PROS dozens of times and it meant “to” or “toward”. It never meant “together with” or “face to face with.”

    The writer also used the preposition META dozens of times to speak of two persons being “with” one another. Thus, there is no reason to think that META would not have been used in John 1:1b if the writer was intending to express the idea of “communion” or “togetherness.”

  114. Sean Garrigan
    December 13, 2014 @ 12:56 pm

    Somehow my references got messed up. Here’ are the names and links of Denny Burk’s discussions dealing with Philippians 2:

    1) On the Articular Infinite in Philippians 2:6: A Grammatical Note with Christological Implications, available here:

    http://98.131.162.170/tynbul/library/TynBull_2004_55_2_06_Burk_ArticularInfinitivePhil2_6.pdf

    2) The Meaning Of [hARPAGMOS] In Philippians 2:6 – An Overlooked Datum For Functional Inequality Within The Godhead, available here:

    https://bible.org/article/meaning-philippians-26-overlooked-datum-functional-inequality-within-godhead

    3) Christ’s Functional Subordination in Philippians 2:6: A Grammatical Note with Trinitarian Implications, found in The New Evangelical Subordinationism?: Perspectives on the Equality of God the Father and God the Son, available here:

    http://www.amazon.com/The-New-Evangelical-Subordinationism-Perspectives/dp/1608998525

    4) The Meaning of HARPAGMOS at Philippians 2:6, by Denny Burk, DTS Thesis, 2001

    and, another:

    5) Articular Infinitives in the Greek of the New Testament: On the Exegetical Benefit of Grammatical Precision, available here:

    http://www.amazon.com/Articular-Infinitives-Greek-New-Testament/dp/1905048416/ref=sr_1_8?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1418493330&sr=1-8&keywords=denny+burk

  115. Rivers
    December 13, 2014 @ 12:51 pm

    John,

    I think Jesus Christ did consider himself “equal” with God because he expressed a number of times that “all things” that belonged to the Father were given to him (John 3:35; John 5:20; John 13:3; John 16:15; John 17:2; John 17:10). The people also understood that “all things” of God belonged to Jesus Christ (John 4:26; John 16:30; John 21:17).

    What Paul said in Philippians 2:6-8 also suggests that Jesus Christ had “equality with God” within his grasp while he was living his humble and obedient life on earth.

    The issue with “equality with God” is understanding the sense in which “equality” (ISOS) was used by the apostles. They did not use it to speak of anything ontological (“nature”), but always used it to speak of an equality of value or content.

    Since the apostles understood that Jesus Christ was “the son of God” (John 11:27; John 20:31), and that Jesus was making that claim for himself (John 10:36; John 19:7), it would mean that he was “owner of everything” that belong to his own Father (Galatians 4:1-2). Jesus eventually was “appointed heir of all things” after the resurrection (Hebrews 1:2-3).

  116. Rose Brown
    December 13, 2014 @ 12:50 pm

    @Sean,

    Nouns generally fall under three semantic categories: Definite (identity), Indefinite (one of a class of others), or Qualitative (essence or nature—not identity). The anarthrous theos in John 1:1c is qualitative. As with the noun “flesh” in John 1:14: “The Word became flesh,” not “the flesh” (definite), or “a flesh” (indefinite), but “flesh” (qualitative)—as to the Word’s new nature. Likewise, it would most unnatural to translate ho theos agap? estin in 1 John 4:8 as “God is a love” (tagging agap? [“love”] as indefinite) or “God is the love” (definite). Here agap? is qualitative. Grammatically, in John 1:1c, theos is an anarthrous pre-verbal predicate nominative. A predicate nominative describes the class or category to which the subject (the “Word”) belongs.

    Of all the Greek prepositions that John could have used in 1:1b (such as en, para, sun, which all can mean “with”), he specifically chose the preposition pros (lit., “facing” or “toward”). Pros (when persons are in view) signifies more than being near or beside. Rather, pros denotes intimate personal fellowship between persons. Thus, in 1:1b, pros expresses the inseparable communion and loving intercourse that the Word shared with the Father—before time. In Rom. 5:1, the believer having been justified from faith has peace pros ton theon (lit., “with the God,” same rendering as John 1:1b). Pros in 2 Cor. 5:8 (pros ton kurion, “with the Lord”) expresses the intimate and special relationship that Christians will experience “at home with [pros] the Lord.”

  117. Sean Garrigan
    December 13, 2014 @ 12:40 pm

    I had said:

    “Moreover, as Denny Burk has demonstrated beyond a reasonable doubt, MORFHi QEOU and EINAI ISA QEWi do not speak of the same reality.”

    I should have said:

    “Moreover, as Denny Burk has suggested, MORFHi QEOU and EINAI ISA QEWi need not speak of the same reality.”

    See:

    1) On the Articular Infinite in Philippians 2:6: A Grammatical Note with Christological Implications, avaible here: http://www.amazon.com/dp/1608998525/ref=as_li_ss_til?tag=denbur-20&camp=0&creative=0&linkCode=as4&creativeASIN=1608998525&adid=0A9GZK7C4FVV7Y1B39CE

    2) The Meaning Of ???????? In Philippians 2:6 – An Overlooked Datum For Functional Inequality Within The Godhead, available here: https://bible.org/article/meaning-philippians-26-overlooked-datum-functional-inequality-within-godhead

    3) Christ’s Functional Subordination The New Evangelical Subordinationism? Perpectives on the Equality of God the Father and God the Son, found in Philippians 2:6: A Grammatical Note with Trinitarian Implications, found in The New Evangelical Subordinationism? : Perspectives on the Equality of God the Father and God the Son, available here: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-new-evangelical-subordinationism-dennis-w-jowers/1112855736?ean=9781608998524

    4) The Meaning of HARPAGMOS at Philippians 2:6, by Denny Burk, DTS Thesis, 2001

  118. Rivers
    December 13, 2014 @ 12:33 pm

    Mario,

    The writer of the Johannine books indicated that LOGOS was a “name” given to Jesus Christ (Revelation 19:13). Thus, I think it’s reasonable to take LOGOS as a reference to the same person in John 1:1-3. The writer was describing an audible and tangible man when he spoke of LOGOS in 1 John 1:1-2 as well.

    On the other hand, the Johannine writer never associated LOGOS with a n “attribute” or a “plan” or a “purpose” or “wisdom.” The writer didn’t even use any of the words for those concepts at all (except in Revelation where SOFIA occurs several times only to refer to human “wisdom”).

    If you could show where you are getting an “attribute” from the apostolic usage of LOGOS I would certainly be more interested in considering your perspective. As far as I can tell at this point, you are just making up your own definition of LOGOS, so I think your “eternal attribute that became flesh” idea is totally unpersuasive.

  119. Sean Garrigan
    December 13, 2014 @ 12:27 pm

    Rose,

    “Do you mean that the Greek word ISA in John 5:18 does not mean “equality” but ” likeness” ?”

    That would make good sense, but it’s not something for which I feel compelled to argue. My point vis a vis Philippians 2 is that folks obviously observe a softer sense for ISA, and since such a softer sense exists, we should show some reserve on how far we press the language.

    Moreover, as Denny Burk has demonstrated beyond a reasonable doubt, MORFHi QEOU and EINAI ISA QEWi do not speak of the same reality. ISA QEWi is used functionally at Philippians 2, i.e. the Son did not attempt to usurp the authority of the Father. Burk would say that the Son did not usurp the Father’s rule “within the Trinitarian Godhead”, but since Paul knew nothing of a “Trinitarian Godhead”, we can set that aside as yet another example of reading later categories into the NT text.

    “…If that so , then, you might mean that for Jesus to call God his own Father meant to be ‘like God’ in John 5:18?…Well, that sounds more like the HOMOO-I-OSIAN party ( Semi-Arianism)…It seems that if the Son is only ‘like’ in nature [ HOMOIOUSIOS] with the Father then it obviously follows that they are not of same nature [ HOMOOUSIOS].”

    The problem is that you see ontology everywhere you look, because of the presupposition of Trinitarianism that colors your interpretation of every text you quote. John 5:18 probably has nothing to do with ontology, however. Moreover, even if it does (which is historically hard to justify), the inference of ontological “likeness” or “equality” would be a *mistaken* inference on the part of the Jews, which Jesus counters the way one would expect God’s supreme agent to counter.

  120. Sean Garrigan
    December 13, 2014 @ 11:50 am

    Rose,

    [Rose] “Before the mountains GENESTHAI, from everlasting to everlasting, You are God ( Psalm 90:2 LXX)…God’s existence is contrasted with the coming into existence of the mountains.”

    Bringing Ps. 90:2 into the dialogue was a good choice, as it provides an opportunity to consider some ways in which this verse, often used in discussions of John 8, is both like and unlike 8:58. How is Ps. 90:2/LXX similar to John 8:58? Most notably, because it too is an example of the Extension from Past idiom at work. Your rendering retains a present tense “are”, but that’s based on the assumption that the Psalmist was referring to both past and future ages. I don’t think that this is the case. As the Bible Research page indicates:

    “This assertion simply states that God existed from one age to another in all of the eternity in the past–prior to the creation of the world. This, is what Moses by the Spirit of God, said….It is true that there are certain passages in the Word of God which look into eternity in both directions and which declare His eternal existence; but Psalm 90:2 is simply an assertion of His eternal existence in the past.” (Found here: http://www.biblicalresearch.info/page92.html)

    In the preceding verse the Psalmist spoke of how God had been a refuge EN GENEA KAI GENEA (in generation and generation, or throughout the generations), and he clearly seems to intend a close structural parallel between those words and APO TOU AIWNOS EWS TOU AIWNOS (from the age until the age), which suggests that both phrases are referring to the past ages. If this is correct, then a better translation of Psalm 90:2 would be something like this:

    “Before the mountains were born and the earth and world were formed, even from age to age you have existed.”

    or,

    “You have been in existence since before the mountains were born and the earth and world were formed, even from age to age.

    [Rose] “Before Abraham GENESTHAI, I am ( John 8:58)…Jesus’ existence is contrasted with the coming into existence of Abraham…”

    The point isn’t to contrast Jesus existence with Abraham’s existence, but to answer the question posed in verse 57, which was expressed with a sense of absolute disbelief:

    “‘You are not yet fifty years old,’ they said to him, ‘and you have seen Abraham?’”

    Jesus responded with what would be literally rendered in English as:

    “The truth is, I have been in existence since before Abraham was born!”

    See: A New Syntax of the Verb in New Testament Greek: An Aspectual Approach, by Kenneth L. McKay, pp. 41-42, and ‘I am’ in John’s Gospel, The Expository Times, 1996 107 (10), p. 302, found here: http://preview.tinyurl.com/l25zp3s

    ~Sean

  121. Rivers
    December 13, 2014 @ 10:24 am

    Rose,

    I agree with you that LOGOS is mostly likely referring to a “person” in John 1:1-3, especially since the writer described the LOGOS as someone that the apostles “heard, saw, watched, and touched” in the parallel introduction to his first letter (1 John 1:1-2).

    However, the preposition PROS (often translated “with”) in John 1:2b is not the one that the writer used to speak of two persons being “together with” each other. If he had intended that meaning, he would have used META (as he did in 1 John 1:3). See also John 3:26 where HN META is used to express that John the baptizer “was with” Jesus when they were baptizing together.

    The writer of the 4th Gospel always used PROS to mean “to” or “toward” someone or something (and not being “with” someone). Thus, it is more likely that EN PROS TON THEON meant “was toward God” in the sense of being “the way to God” (see John 14:6).

    I think it’s also important to consider that that this would be consistent with the conclusion of the Prologue where the writer had Jesus Christ “in the bosom of the Father” (John 1:18) since he was writing after the ascension had taken place.

  122. Sean Garrigan
    December 13, 2014 @ 10:03 am

    “The LOGOS is “God” (as to His nature). Whoever is God by nature is God in identity.Ergo, the LOGOS is a person.”

    And whoever is subordinate to God by function is subordinate to him by nature;-)

    But setting that aside, I’ve already demonstrated the problem with the above assertion, and still you continue to repeat yourself as though there’s nothing that challenges your view.

    There is nothing in John 1 that requires us to interpret the application of QEOS to the LOGOS in ontological categories. QEOS there is either definite or indefinite (the idea of “qualitative” bounded nouns was invented via equivocation by Trinitarians who torture language itself as a means of escaping this, as Dixon unwittingly revealed, and as buttressed by the slopiness of the arguments given in support of the notion and in opposition to the two natural senses [i.e. definite and indefinite]).

    If QEOS is definite at 1:1c, then it’s either (a) being used functionally/representationally, or it’s (b) being used as a proper noun functioning like a proper name, making it equivalent to the previous hO QOES, which would make the LOGOS the Father (=modalism).

    If it’s indefinite then it’s either (c) being used functionally/representationally, or it’s (d) being used to say that the LOGOS is “a divine being”.

    (a) would be in harmony with the understandings I offered from James D.G. Dunn, A.E. Harvey, and Marianne Meye Thompson. Although I favor this understanding for theological reasons, I think that grammar and context favor an indefinite QEOS.

    (b) (modalism) is out of the question, I assume, for the folks currently engaged in this dialogue, and it just so happens to be implausible in light of the Problem of Expectation that I discuss here:

    http://kazesland.blogspot.com/2013/09/those-who-are-familiar-with-work-of.html#comment-form

    (c) is probably what John meant, IMO, but

    (d) is also possible. An understanding of the thought-world of the time helps us to understand why this wouldn’t be a problem, e.g.:

    “…it must be remembered that monotheism, for the Old Testament prophets, had a connotation very different in many respects from that which it has in modern thought. It is false to assume that the Old Testament writers, however exalted their conception of the Godhead might be, conceived of God as alone in isolated majesty over against men, the creatures of his will. There is ample evidence to show that this conception of monotheism was held in conjunction with a belief in a spiritual world peopled with supernatural and superhuman beings who, in some ways, shared the nature, though not the being, of God.” (D. S. Russell, The Method & Message of Jewish Apocalyptic), p. 235

    “Quite a lot could be accommodated in Jewish speculations about God’s retinue of heavenly beings, provided that God’s sovereignty and uniqueness were maintained, especially in cultic actions. I think that we may take it as likely that the glorious beings such as principal angels who attend God in ancient Jewish apocalyptic and mystical texts were intended by the authors very much as indicating God’s splendour and majesty, and not as threatening or diminishing God in anyway. The greater and more glorious the high king the greater and more glorious his ministers, particularly those charged with administering his kingdom.” (First-Century Jewish Monotheism, JBL 71 [1998]), p. 23

  123. Rose Brown
    December 13, 2014 @ 9:37 am

    @Sean,

    Do you mean that the Greek word ISA in John 5:18 does not mean “equality” but ” likeness” ?

    If that so , then, you might mean that for Jesus to call God his own Father meant to be “like God” in John 5:18?

    Well, that sounds more like the HOMOO-I-OSIAN party ( Semi-Arianism).

    It seems that if the Son is only “like” in nature [ HOMOIOUSIOS] with the Father then it obviously follows that they are not of same nature [ HOMOOUSIOS].

  124. Rose Brown
    December 13, 2014 @ 9:24 am

    LOL Why did the Greek words become question marks?

  125. Rose Brown
    December 13, 2014 @ 9:16 am

    @Talitha,

    I doubted Trinitarianism when friends of mine tried to convince me that the Father alone is the “only true God” according to Jesus himself in John 17:3 but upon scrutinizing the passage “in context”, I have found out that John 17:3 wasn’t trying at all to exclude Jesus from his Father’s nature because the Father is the one true God only in terms of ‘authority’ neither in ‘glory'(John 17:5) nor in ‘nature’ ( John 5:18,26;10:28-30; 17:2,5).Bible Scholars call this “functional subordination.”

    This is what it means when the Bible says that Jesus Christ has a God over him.Jesus is truly human ( 1 Timothy 2:5) and he wasn’t an atheist. He’s still has flesh and bones in his glorified state ( even right now) — Luke 24:39;Acts 1:11;Revelation 3:12.

    On the other hand, the Bible also teaches that Jesus is not only fully human in nature but also, fully God in nature.Notice what Jesus had uttered as recorded in John 10:28-30.

    Unitarians ( Socinian) interpret it to mean that Jesus is claiming to be God’s supreme emissary ( The Shaliach Principle) but that is not what Jesus meant.

    John 10:28-30 (NIV)
    28 I give them eternal life , and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all[a]; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.”

    In John 10:28-30, the Father and the Son are ????? in terms of having the same abilities to give life and preserve life by a powerful hand [???? ?????? ?????? ???? ???????…?????? ???…?????? ??? ?????? ].In the Old Testament, only God has these abilities ( Deuteronomy 32:39).The Jews correctly understood this but they won’t believe (v. 33-38).

    John 10:28-30 The text refutes the ‘Shaliach Principle’ because it does not present Jesus as a creature-agent of whom a Unitarian Deity made himself manifested but rather, it clearly shows that the Father and the Son are one in terms of nature for their attributes are identical not similar ( Deuteronomy 32:39 LXX with John 10:28-30).This oneness in nature is what Bible Scholars call as “Ontological Equality.”

  126. Sean Garrigan
    December 13, 2014 @ 9:13 am

    “The phrase ‘being like God’ (Greek isa theou), too, may not simply be translated with terms like ‘equality to God’, ‘being like God’, as often happens. That would require the form isos theos. What we have in the text is the adverb isa, and that merely means ‘as God’, ‘like God’. So there is no statement about Christ being equal to God, and this in turn tells against an interpretation in terms of pre-existence. So on both traditio-historical and linguistic grounds, according to the Catholic exegete and Jerusalem Dominican Jerome Murphy-O’Connor there is ‘no justification for interpreting the phrase of the hymn in terms of being of Christ’.” (Born Before All Time?, by Karl-Joseph Kuschel), p. 251

    Setting aside Kuschel’s erroneous view that the account doesn’t speak of preexistence, the distinction between isa and isos that he notes may be at play here. While Kuschel’s view may not be certain, I’d say that as a possibility it rules out dogmatic assertions about “equality of nature” (whatever that means to a given interpreter).

  127. Rose Brown
    December 13, 2014 @ 8:46 am

    @Mario,

    To treat the LOGOS in John 1:1-3 as a ‘person’ is substantiated by the context per se.

    The LOGOS is “with” God ( the Father). Only someone can be ‘with’ someone.Ergo, the LOGOS is a person.

    The LOGOS is “God” (as to His nature). Whoever is God by nature is God in identity.Ergo, the LOGOS is a person.

    “A text without a context is just a pretext.”

  128. john
    December 13, 2014 @ 8:44 am

    Mario
    I’ll wager that Christ did not consider himself ‘equal’ to God in any respect – because he was not.
    One simply cannot compare the ‘created’ with the ‘creator’ .
    I reject Catholic doctrine that Christ was not a created being.- Christ was his father!
    The scriptures tell us something like 50 times that God created the heavens abd the earth.
    The Gospel writers , in their ‘lavish’ attempts to ‘promote’ Christ may have slated Christ as ‘creator ‘- but they have simply created confusion in modern minds. Christ was certainly the creator of a new era – a raprochement between God and man.
    Put yourself into the mind of someone who lived in Christs time.
    Adam sinned by trying to equate himself with God.
    Christ did not sin & humbled himself.
    For that God has exhalted Him.

    Blessings
    John

  129. Mario
    December 13, 2014 @ 6:20 am

    Rivers,

    you’re getting rather repetitive and, in spite of my repeated invitations, you have never provided any evidence of where “the apostles” would have referred to Jesus with the “name” logos.

    If by “explanation of John 1:1-3 that I offered” you mean this …

    [Rivers – December 12, 2014 at 12:07 pm] John 1:1-3 simply meant that Jesus Christ was there in the beginning of the apostolic ministry (John 1:1a), that he was the way to God the Father (John 1:1b), and that he was the one who explained God the Father (John 1:1c). This is what the Prologue was about (John 1:18).

    … then one can immediately say that “he was the one who explained God the Father” is hardly a translation of kai theos en ho logos “consistent with the grammar and the context”: it is obviously a “motivated” translation, to be kind … 🙁

    (BTW, you have simply omitted John 1:2-3 …)

    In the meantime (in the way of a correction to Rose’s own interpolation-interpretation of John 1:1-3), I have provided my own (comment of December 13, 2014 at 5:00 am). You are welcome to criticize it.

    Your comment on the “nativity accounts in Matthew and Luke” is simply preposterous. Answer this simple question, if you please: do you consider them mythical? Yes or no?

  130. Mario
    December 13, 2014 @ 5:41 am

    The whole purpose of the ancient ‘hymn’ which was drawn from Philippians 2 was that unlike the First Adam, Christ did NOT seek equality with God and humbled himself and became obedient, even unto death on a cross.

    John,

    there is an – apparently small – but critical mistake, in the above. This verse …

    “… who though he existed in the form of God did not regard equality with God as something to be grasped …” (Philippians 2:6)

    … means that Christ Jesus, although he had a divine nature [morphê], did not hold on to that “unfair advantage” [harpagmos], but etc.

    The (implicit) comparison with Adam goes like this: Jesus Christ did NOT “seek equality with God” (unlike Adam, he didn’t need it, he already had it), BUT, although he had a divine nature he didn’t take advantage of it.

  131. Mario
    December 13, 2014 @ 5:00 am

    @ Rose

    Here is how I CORRECT your interpolation-interpretation of John 1:1-3.

    In the beginning [even BEFORE creation] the Word [the WORD] already existed, and the Word [the WORD] was with [an ESSENTIAL ATTRIBUTE of] God [the ONE AND ONLY God, the Father Almighty] and the Word [the WORD] was God [as to ITS nature]. IT [houtos, viz. the WORD] was with God [the ONE AND ONLY God, the Father Almighty] in the beginning [even BEFORE creation]. All things came into existence [EGENETO] through IT [autou, viz. the WORD], and apart from IT [autou, viz. the WORD] nothing came into existence [EGENETO] that has come into existence [EGENETO].

    NOTE
    ALL the translations from Greek to English (and also to other modern languages) mislead the reader into believing that the pre-incarnated logos is a person (Person) with the following CONJURING TRICK. The Greek noun logos happens to be masculine (an irrelevant coincidence, just like sophia is feminine and pneuma is neuter). As the translators know perfectly well, in English the noun “word” is neuter, so, grammatically, it should be referred to with “it”. Instead, simply by translating houtos with (Capitalized …) “He” and autou with (Capitalized …) “Him” they manage to create the DELUSION that the pre-incarnated logos is a “person”, nay, even a “Person”.

    Shame on them … 🙁

  132. john
    December 13, 2014 @ 4:40 am

    Rose
    Adams ‘sin’ was seek equality with God and the parables of the ‘Trees in the Garden’ and the ‘Tower of Bable’ are designed to show us that trying to equate ones-self with God is the ultimate sin
    See Genesis 3 ‘ ye shall be like gods’
    The whole purpose of the ancient ‘hymn’ which was drawn from Philippians 2 was that unlike the First Adam, Christ did NOT seek equality with God and humbled himself and became obedient, even unto death on a cross.
    The Trinitarian explanation piles one unbelievable explanation unto another. But then Trinitarians are the ultimate Rationalists

    Blessings
    John

  133. Mario
    December 13, 2014 @ 4:21 am

    @ Rose

    What equality does the Son ha[ve] with the Father in John 5:18 and Philippians 2:6? If not ontological equality, then what?

    First, a textual check of the critical Greek phrases.

    ison eauton poiôn tô theô (“making himself equal with God” – John 5:18)

    ouch harpagmon êgêsato to einai isa theo (“did not regard equality with God as something to be grasped” – Philippians 2:6)

    In John 5.18, ison is Accusative-Singular-Masculine, in accordance with eauton, “himself”, that is Jesus. In Philippians 2:6, isa is Nominative-Plural-Neuter, and expresses the “equality with God” (lit. “the being equal things to God”)

    That being premised, I agree that “equal with God” and “equality with God” express “ontological equality”, even if the concept, which requires a Greek philosophical mind, is totally alien to Hebrew Scripture.

    It is important to add a caveat, though: that Jesus is “ontologically equal” with the One and Only God does NOT imply that he is self-subsistent. Only YHWH God, the Father Almighty, his Father, is attiyiq yowmin “the Ancient of Days” (Daniel 7:9)

  134. Rose Brown
    December 13, 2014 @ 3:46 am

    In Philippians 2:6-7, it is clear that Jesus has dual form.

    Jesus is ‘God in form.’ ~ Philippians 2:6

    Jesus is ‘servant in form.’ ~ Philippians 2:7

    English Dictionaries define “form” as “essence” not just “outward appearance” or “shape.”

    In Biblical Greek, MOPHE means “form” ( nature, shape). It’s dual meaning is used in the Bible, morphe is used in the New Testament as “nature” for about 5 times ( Phil. 2:6, Romans 12:2, Phil. 3:10 and 21,Gal. 4:19 ) AND as “shape” in both Old Testament Septuagint (Daniel 3:19 ) and New Testament ( 2 Timothy 3:5 ).

  135. Rose Brown
    December 13, 2014 @ 3:28 am

    @Rivers,

    John 1:1-3
    In the beginning [ of creation] the Word [the Son] already existed, and the Word [the Son] was with God [the Father] and the Word[the Son] was God [as to his nature]. He [the Word] was with God [the Father] in the beginning [of creation].All things came into existence [EGENETO] through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into existence [EGENETO] that has come into existence [ EGENETO].

    John 1:1-3 is about the eternal Word who was God (by nature) with God (the Father).

    John 1:14
    The Word [the Son] came into existence [EGENETO]in a human body[ SARXI].

    John 1:14 is talking about the eternally existent Word coming into existence as human.

    1 John 1:1-3 concur with John 1:1-3: The Word of life , the Eternal Life who was with the Father from the beginning “became visible” [EPHANEROO] to humans.

  136. Rose Brown
    December 13, 2014 @ 3:04 am

    @Mario,

    The Greek word ISOS is used in both John 5:18 and Philippians 2:6 in the context of ontological relationship of the Father and the Son.

    John 5:18 The only way a son could be equal to his father is in terms of nature never in terms of authority. Jesus calling God his own Father denotes ontological equality not functional equality.

    ( Philippians 2:6 NIV 2011) Who, being in very nature God,did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;

    The NIV 2011 captures the sense (meaning) of the Biblical Greek.

    NOTE

    The so called “Adam Christology” applied in the Carmen Cristi is not substantiated from the texts per se.There is not even an allusion of Genesis 1-3 in the texts.

    QUESTION:

    What equality does the Son has with the Father in John 5:18 and Philippians 2:6? If not ontological equality, then what?

  137. Rivers
    December 12, 2014 @ 5:07 pm

    Mario,

    Here are my thoughts about your previous comments:

    1. You haven’t explained how any of the uses of the noun LOGOS could even possibly be referring to an “attribute.” The interpretation that I’m suggesting is based upon how the word LOGOS is most often used (i.e. a “spoken” message), and the fact there there is evidence that it was used as a “name” for Jesus Christ (Revelation 19:13).

    2. It doesn’t matter what the Hebrew word DBR or LOGOS was used several hundred years before Christ, and it doesn’t matter how Iranaeus may have used a similar word a couple hundred years after Christ. All that matters when interpreting the apostolic usage of the term is how the biblical writers were using it. It’s a fallacy to force the biblical usage of the word to conform to external uses (that aren’t even contemporary).

    3. Yes, the explanation of John 1:1-3 that I offered is completely consistent with the grammar and the context. If you have specific questions about the evidence to substantiate the reading I suggested, please ask them.

    4. The nativity accounts in Matthew and Luke to not use the word LOGOS. There’s not evidence that the apostles used LOGOS to speak of Jesus Christ until after they knew him personally (1 John 1:1-2). 🙂

  138. Mario
    December 12, 2014 @ 3:13 pm

    @ Rivers

    There is no “preconception” that LOGOS means a “spoken” saying or “message.” That is the way it is almost [sic!] always used in biblical Greek.

    That “almost”, obviously, makes all the difference: in ALL those instances you have to explain (away) logos as a “name” for Jesus.

    [a] On the other hand, the noun LOGOS is never used in biblical Greek to refer to an “attribute.” I think a skilled should always “depend” upon the usage of the words (and the context) rather than fabricate ideas like [b] “preexistence” [c] and “incarnation” that have no grammatical or conceptual counterpart in the biblical languages.

    [a] I have already shown how the Hebrew dabar (LXX Greek:logos) is used in Psalm 33:6; [b] I most certainly never “fabricated” (or indulged) an idea like (personal) “preexistence”; [c] I have already shown that “incarnation” is NOT a late Latin invention, BUT that ensarkosis was used by Irenaeus as early as c. 180 CE. More, it is the obvious way of rendering with one word the expression sarx egeneto (John 1:14), which you (try to) explain (away) as something like “manifestation of Jesus” (at his Baptism).

    John 1:1-3 simply meant that Jesus Christ was there in the beginning of the apostolic ministry (John 1:1a), that he was the way to God the Father (John 1:1b), and that he was the one who explained God the Father (John 1:1c). This is what the Prologue was about (John 1:18).

    Is this your idea of “skilled” exegesis? Mm …

    Jesus Christ was called LOGOS (“the word”) because he embodied the message about eternal life that God sent him to proclaim (1 John 1:1-5). This had nothing to do with “preexistence” or “incarnation.” God did not send him to proclaim the gospel message until he was anointed with holy spirit at his baptism (Luke 4:14-19).

    See above …

    There was no LOGOS before that time.

    Matthew and Luke provide two accounts of the nativity – different and difficult to harmonize (but no more than those of the resurrection). Do you perchance consider them mythical? If so, may I ask you why? If not, what prevents you from seeing them as complementary to John’s Prologue?

  139. Rivers
    December 12, 2014 @ 2:21 pm

    Mario,

    As I noted earlier, the noun LOGOS is never used for an “attribute” in biblical Greek.

    I haven’t seen you provide an exegetical evidence to support your assertion that “the LOGOS is an eternal attribute of God which became flesh.” I get the impression that this is just your own fabrication that you are using as a denial of everyone else’s perspective. I wish that would provide some substantial grammatical or contextual support for your opinion.

    Yes, biblical Greek can be subtle. However, it isn’t always subtle. 🙂

  140. Mario
    December 12, 2014 @ 2:00 pm

    @ Rivers

    There’s no difficulty with understand the LOGOS was a “name” given to Jesus Christ himself (Revelation 19:13) when we consider that the apostles didn’t know him until they were introduced to him at the time of John’s baptism (John 1:35-49). This is the “beginning” that the writer is referring to (John 1:1-3; 1 John 1:1-5). See also Acts 1:21-22.

    You are confusing and conflating the “name” logos thou theou (Rev 1:13) given to Jesus in the Book of Revelation, a text that ONLY speaks of the resurrected and ascended Jesus with an unattested use of the word logos as a “name” allegedly given to Jesus by “the apostles”. I have invited you to provide textual (NOT hypothetical) evidence …

    The confusion arises when most interpreters disconnect the figurative use of “the beginning” (John 1:1-3) from the figurative uses of “light” and “darkness” and “world” throughout the rest of the context of the Prologue (John 1:4-18) which were speaking of the historical circumstances of Jesus public ministry. For example, John the baptizer was sent to “testify about the light” (i.e. Jesus Christ) and not the “light” in the historical context of Genesis 1:3.

    You are confusing two very different ideas: [1] John 1:4 (where the word zoê appears) makes it clear that words like phôs and skotia are used figuratively, regardless of what logos means; [2] only your prejudice makes you assume that words like arche or kosmos are used in a “figurative” sense.

    You speak of most interpreters “disconnecting” vv. 1-3 from vv. 4-18. I see the turning point between the logos as attribute of God and as referred to its (its …) incarnation in/as Jesus Christ somewhere between v. 9 and v. 12

    May I invite you to provide your FULL paraphrase/interpretation of John 1:1-18?

    (BTW, the noun logos is explicitly used only in John 1:1,18,, but its is repeatedly referred to by means of the pronouns houtos and autos throughout the Prologue.)

    Since the allusions to the Genesis creation language in the context of the Prologue (“light”, “darkness”, and “world”) don’t apply to anything that was happening in Genesis 1, there is no reason to think that the writer intended “in the beginning” to apply to anything happening in Genesis 1 either. The development of this figurative language should all be taken together.

    LOL! What “syllogism”, hey! Unfortunately the premise is unsound.

    Moreover, there are numerous times that the apostles (especially the Johannine writer) used “the beginning” to refer to the time when they began following Jesus Christ (Mark 1:1; Luke 1:2-3; Acts 1:21-22; 1 John 1:1-2; John 6:64; 1 John 2:24; 1 John 3:8; 1 John 3:11). Even Jesus referred to as “the beginning” (John 15:27; John 16:4).

    In ALL the above verses (except for Mark 1:1, which has simply ex archê – Nominative, and from Acts 1:22, which has arxamenos – Aorist Middle Participle), the expression is either ex archês or ap archês, with the Genitive. In John 1:1, the expression is en archê, with the Dative

    Yes, Greek is a very subtle language … 😉

  141. Rivers
    December 12, 2014 @ 12:37 pm

    Hi Talitha,

    I think we agree.

    One thing I think is problematic with the typical arguments made by Trinitarians about “equality” and “nature” is that the biblical words that they translate “equality” (ISOS, John 5:18, Philippians 2:6) and “nature” (‘UPOSTASIS, Hebrews 1:3) weren’t used to refer to anything “ontological” in biblical Greek.

    For example, ISOS is the word used for “confidence” or “assurance.” This is very easy to confirm if one looks at how the word is translated all 6-7 other times in appears in biblical Greek. Those characteristics are not “inherent” aspects of “being” or “substance” but are traits that are learned or gained through experience or appointment.

    Hence, in the context of Hebrews 1:2-4, Jesus Christ became the “exact representation” of God’s “confidence” in the sense that God “appointed him heir of all things” (Hebrews 1:2) and gave him the “power to uphold all things” (Hebrews 1:3b) after he was exalted “sit down at the right hand of God” (Hebrew 1:3b).

    As you suggested, this is “confidence” that comes from receiving God’s appointment as ruler of the universe (after the resurrection), and not from any inherent divine “nature” (in an ontological sense). Even Jesus Christ had to be “saved from death” (Hebrews 5:7) because he was an ordinary man like the rest of the children of Abraham (Hebrews 2:14-16).

  142. Rivers
    December 12, 2014 @ 12:07 pm

    Mario,

    There is no “preconception” that LOGOS means a “spoken” saying or “message.” That is the way it is almost always used in biblical Greek.

    On the other hand, the noun LOGOS is never used in biblical Greek to refer to an “attribute.” I think a skilled should always “depend” upon the usage of the words (and the context) rather than fabricate ideas like “preexistence” and “incarnation” that have no grammatical or conceptual counterpart in the biblical languages.

    John 1:1-3 simply meant that Jesus Christ was there in the beginning of the apostolic ministry (John 1:1a), that he was the way to God the Father (John 1:1b), and that he was the one who explained God the Father (John 1:1c). This is what the Prologue was about (John 1:18).

    Jesus Christ was called LOGOS (“the word”) because he embodied the message about eternal life that God sent him to proclaim (1 John 1:1-5). This had nothing to do with “preexistence” or “incarnation.” God did not send him to proclaim the gospel message until he was anointed with holy spirit at his baptism (Luke 4:14-19). There was no LOGOS before that time. 🙂

  143. Rivers
    December 12, 2014 @ 11:40 am

    Mario,

    There’s no difficulty with understand the LOGOS was a “name” given to Jesus Christ himself (Revelation 19:13) when we consider that the apostles didn’t know him until they were introduced to him at the time of John’s baptism (John 1:35-49). This is the “beginning” that the writer is referring to (John 1:1-3; 1 John 1:1-5). See also Acts 1:21-22.

    The confusion arises when most interpreters disconnect the figurative use of “the beginning” (John 1:1-3) from the figurative uses of “light” and “darkness” and “world” throughout the rest of the context of the Prologue (John 1:4-18) which were speaking of the historical circumstances of Jesus public ministry. For example, John the baptizer was sent to “testify about the light” (i.e. Jesus Christ) and not the “light” in the historical context of Genesis 1:3.

    Since the allusions to the Genesis creation language in the context of the Prologue (“light”, “darkness”, and “world”) don’t apply to anything that was happening in Genesis 1, there is no reason to think that the writer intended “in the beginning” to apply to anything happening in Genesis 1 either. The development of this figurative language should all be taken together.

    Moreover, there are numerous times that the apostles (especially the Johannine writer) used “the beginning” to refer to the time when they began following Jesus Christ (Mark 1:1; Luke 1:2-3; Acts 1:21-22; 1 John 1:1-2; John 6:64; 1 John 2:24; 1 John 3:8; 1 John 3:11). Even Jesus referred to as “the beginning” (John 15:27; John 16:4).

  144. Mario
    December 12, 2014 @ 11:40 am

    @ Rivers

    “I think it’s more likely that ‘the word became flesh AND dwelt among us’ (John 1:14) should be taken together as one complete expression …”

    Sure! That is exactly what the Greek text says: kai ho logos sarx egeneto kai eskênôsen en êmin.

    Of course, if one does NOT depend on the preconception that logos can ONLY mean “spoken saying or message” OR (in a handful of verses of the Johannine Corpus – John 1:1,14; 1 Jo 1:1; Rev 19:13), the “name” of Jesus, one can see what probably “lies beneath”:

    “And the word [the very same logos that “was in the beginning”, AND “was with God” AND “was God”] became flesh AND dwelt among us [“became a human being” AND lit. “pitched the tent among us”, somewhat as it is said that the shekinah, the glory of God’s presence, resided in the OT tabernacle]” (John 1:14a – interpolated with [explicatory notes])

  145. Rivers
    December 12, 2014 @ 10:37 am

    Hi Rose,

    I agree that the LOGOS in John 1:1-3 and 1 John 1:1-2 was referring to Jesus Christ as a “person.”

    Some kind of abstract “plan” or “purpose” or “wisdom” would not fit the writer’s detailed description of the tangible relationship the apostles had with the LOGOS (1 John 1:1-2), nor would it fit the writer’s association of “flesh” with the LOGOS (John 1:14).

    On the other hand, I don’t think that “became flesh” (SARX EGENETO) requires any notion of “incarnation” in the context of the Prologue, especially since the writer says the LOGOS “became flesh” after he already related that John the baptizer “came” (EGENETO, John 1:6) to testify about Jesus Christ. The immediate context is also about the time when Jesus “dwelt among them” (John 1:14b) and when John was “testifying” about him (John 1:15).

    I think it’s more likely that “the word became flesh AND dwelt among us” (John 1:14) should be taken together as one complete expression referring to the time when Jesus was “manifested” to the world and the apostles began to follow him (1 John 1:2) as a result of the testimony of John the baptizer who was the first to recognize that Jesus was the Messiah (John 1:30-31).

    There isn’t any grammatical or contextual reason to think that John 1:14a should be taken as a separate clause referring to a different time than John 1:14b. Nothing else in the context of the Prologue suggests that the writer was talking about anything that happened at the time of Jesus’ birth.

  146. Mario
    December 12, 2014 @ 10:01 am

    [1 – December 12, 2014 at 9:23 am] “Jesus, at all points of his existence, had and has a someone who is God to him. I start with this clear fact and then go to passages that are highly debated – the majority of which can be understood with the concept of agency, the doctrine of the resurrection of the dead, and an understanding of a much HIGHER Messianic expectation than most laity or clergy are aware.”

    [2- December 12, 2014 at 9:38 am] “You [Rivers] extend my point (made sarcastically) that the idea of ontological equality and economic subordination only works if Jesus doesn’t have a god. BUT, he does, so the (trinitarian model) is insufficient. Keep the functional subordination. Add the acquisition of God’s nature by resurrection to immortality. Add Jesus’ official elevation to the role of YHWH Himself. Put it all together and you have a perfectly equipped, immortal/ incorruptible human ruler who God has put in charge of the universe. Not bad for a ‘mere man’ huh? (sarcasm again).”

    You are avowedly not a Trinitarian. So, why the sarcasm.

  147. Mario
    December 12, 2014 @ 9:44 am

    “The understanding that LOGOS was a “name” of Jesus Christ himself is no hypothesis. We find it in Revelation 19:13. Therefore, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to consider that it is the name [“quotes” dropped, in the meantime …] of Jesus himself in John 1:1-14, and [1?] John 1:1-2 as well. Both texts describe the LOGOS as “God” (John 1:1, 1 John 5:20 [?]) who became “flesh” and dwelt among his disciples who perceived him as an audible and tangible person (John 1:14;1 John 1:1-2, 4:2).”

    Rivers has found an unpredictable ally in Staunch Trinitarian Rose … 🙁 😉

  148. Talitha
    December 12, 2014 @ 9:38 am

    Rivers to Talitha
    But, it’s evident that in the context of Hebrews 1:8-9 the usage of the word “God” referring to both the Father and the son indicate that the Father is greater than the son. Also, the context of Acts 2:29-34 also shows that apostles understood that God the Father was a greater “Lord” than the “Lord” Jesus Christ who was a son of David.

    Talitha: Agreed. You extend my point (made sarcastically) that the idea of ontological equality and economic subordination only works if Jesus doesn’t have a god.

    BUT, he does, so the (trinitarian model) is insufficient. Keep the functional subordination. Add the acquisition of God’s nature by resurrection to immortality. Add Jesus’ official elevation to the role of YHWH Himself. Put it all together and you have a perfectly equipped, immortal/ incorruptible human ruler who God has put in charge of the universe. Not bad for a “mere man”‘ huh? (sarcasm again).

  149. Mario
    December 12, 2014 @ 9:28 am

    @ Rivers

    “I don’t even know what the ‘metaphorical name’ idea refers to. The apostles understood that the LOGOS was an audible and tangible person (1 John 1:2) who ‘dwelt among them’ (John 1:14). They certainly did not believe that Jesus Christ was an ‘attribute’ or a ‘metaphor.’

    Are you perchance suggesting that “the apostles” referred to Jesus as logos in a way similar to Peter being nicknamed kepha? If so, where would be the supporting textual evidence? If not, what do you mean by “the LOGOS was an audible and tangible person”? For what reason would “the apostles” (while not claiming that Jesus had the logos [tês zoês] “embedded” in him) refer to him with the name (or “name”) logos? Perhaps because he … “was an audible … person”? Well, I wonder why (as he was also a “tangible person”) they didn’t also refer to him with the “name” epaphe? 😉

    BTW, just to refresh your memory, this is what you wrote, not so long ago:

    I don’t find your idea that the LOGOS was merely an “attribute” of God [convincing?] because there is no evidence that the word LOGOS was used that way by the writer of the 4th Gospel. LOGOS was used about 40 times in the Johannine corpus and always referred to a “spoken” saying or message (except when it was used as metaphorically of Jesus himself). [Rivers, December 7, 2014 at 8:57 pm – emphasis by Mario]

    “However, there are many metaphorical names that were applied to Jesus Christ. For example, John the baptizer called him “the lamb” (John 1:29). Jesus called himself things like “the bread” (John 6:51) and “the door” (John 10:7).”

    This is a confirmation that the sense of the expression “metaphorical name” was and is perfectly clear to you.

    “The apostles called him ‘the word’ (John 1:14; Revelation 19:13).”

    You still have to provide the evidence for “the apostles”. That in this phrase, ho logos sarx egeneto (John 1:14), logos would be (or function) as a name (or “name”) is pure fantasy-exegesis. Revelation 19:13 (which you didn’t even consider, until I cited it …) is the ONLY verse of the Johannine Corpus where ho logos tou theou is used as a “name”, in a way similar to how pistos and alethinos are used in Rev 19:11.

  150. Mario
    December 12, 2014 @ 9:28 am

    @ Rose

    “Jesus’ existence is contrasted with the coming into existence of Abraham.” [John 8:58]

    Jesus’ present Messiahship is contrasted with the future fulfilment of the prophecy about Abraham. [Gen 17:5]

    “See the same contrast between EN in John 1:1 and EGENETO in John 1:14.”

    The contrast is, indeed, between the eternity of God’s logos and its (its …) incarnation (sarx egeneto) in/as Jesus.

  151. Talitha
    December 12, 2014 @ 9:23 am

    Talitha says:
    December 10, 2014 at 7:11 am
    @ Rose @ Sean

    Interesting that God’s Anointed, who is called “god” and “lord” and “logos” continues to declare YHWH to be his personal God even after his ascension. Must be a bummer for Jesus to have to worship the One with whom he’s always been ontologically identical. Good thing he’s got this functional submission thing down!

    Rose, I’m new to this forum, so nice to meet you. A former Trinitarian, I think I understand the points you make. There are many scriptures that give Jesus exalted titles. There are scriptures that are about YHWH in OT, that are then applied to Jesus in N.T. There are words Jesus says and reactions to them that no average person could make.

    Here’s the problem: Jesus, right now in heaven, has a god. That god is YHWH. If Jesus “shares in this divine identity”(as Baucham proposes)or, (even more troublesome) is one person of a tri-person diety…

    how did the apostles reconcile this ? How did they, with a firm understanding that Jesus, being YHWH Himself, also had one person of God (Father) as his own personal diety?

    The record is clear that Jesus, at all points of his existence, had and has a someone who is God to him. I start with this clear fact and then go to passages that are highly debated – the majority of which can be understood with the concept of agency, the doctrine of the resurrection of the dead, and an understanding of a much HIGHER Messianic expectation than most laiety or clergy are aware.

  152. Rose Brown
    December 12, 2014 @ 8:17 am

    @Mario, I should have said, ” Jesus did not LITERALLY make himself empty. 🙂

  153. Rose Brown
    December 12, 2014 @ 8:08 am

    @Rivers,

    The understanding that LOGOS was a “name” of Jesus Christ himself is no hypothesis. We find it in Revelation 19:13. Therefore, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to consider that it is the name of Jesus himself in John 1:1-14, and John 1:1-2 as well. Both texts describe the LOGOS as “God” ( John 1:1, 1 John 5:20) who became “flesh” and dwelt among his disciples who perceived him as an audible and tangible person (John 1:14;1 John 1:1-2, 4:2).

  154. Rose Brown
    December 12, 2014 @ 8:05 am

    The Greek word MONOGENES is a compound word.

    MONOS -one, only, single, alone

    GENOS – stock, race, offspring,nation,born;type,sort,kind.

    The Greek word MONOGENES ( “only offspring”) still carry the connotation of “only begotten” because an “only offspring” is an “only begotten.”

  155. Sean Garrigan
    December 12, 2014 @ 7:19 am

    “I think you’re afraid to put your viewpoint forward because it cannot stand up to exegetical scrutiny. Thus, it probably isn’t worth my time to consider. :)”

    I’ve already put it forward, but you seem to have some trouble comprehending that! Moreover, between what I offered on McGrath’s blog and what I’ve offered here, there isn’t really anything to add except that I don’t need to resort to the paraphrase you’ve requested, because a literal English translation that is based on the understanding that the Extension from Past idiom is at work in verse 58 forms an exquisite response to verse 57 with no need of bracketing whole phrases that are not part of the original Greek.

    “I have been in existence since before Abraham was born.” (Kenneth L. McKay)

    See:

    ‘I am’ in John’s Gospel, The Expository Times, 1996 107 (10), p. 302, found here: http://preview.tinyurl.com/l25zp3s

    and

    A New Syntax of the Verb in New Testament Greek: An Aspectual Approach, pp. 41-42

  156. Rivers
    December 12, 2014 @ 7:15 am

    Mario,

    I don’t even know what the “metaphorical name” idea refers to. The apostles understood that the LOGOS was an audible and tangible person (1 John 1:2) who “dwelt among them” (John 1:14). They certainly did not believe that Jesus Christ was an “attribute” or a “metaphor.”

    However, there are many metaphorical names that were applied to Jesus Christ. For example, John the baptizer called him “the lamb” (John 1:29). Jesus called himself things like “the bread” (John 6:51) and “the door” (John 10:7). The apostles called him “the word” (John 1:14; Revelation 19:13).

  157. Rose Brown
    December 12, 2014 @ 7:13 am

    Before the mountains GENESTHAI, from everlasting to everlasting, You are God ( Psalm 90:2 LXX).

    God’s existence is contrasted with the coming into existence of the mountains.

    Before Abraham GENESTHAI, I am ( John 8:58).

    Jesus’ existence is contrasted with the coming into existence of Abraham.

    Before Abraham was (prin Abraam genesthai). Usual idiom with prin in positive sentence with infinitive (second aorist middle of ginomai) and the accusative of general reference, “before Abraham came into existence.”

    See the same contrast between EN in John 1:1 and EGENETO in John 1:14.

    “The long interval between Abraham and Jesus is irrelevant. Just as Jesus appeared in time after John the Baptist, but was first in relation to him (1:30) so it is with Abraham. This is brought out by the tenses of the verbs in the Greek – the aorist “came into being”, used of Abraham, is contrasted with the present [I am], which can express duration up to the present, “I have been as well as the simple present, “I am”. Jesus claims that his mode of existence transcends time, like God’s and his I AM is understood by the Jews as a claim to equality with God, and as blasphemy, 59, provokes the appropriate reaction, in an attempt to stone him.” (John, J. N. Sanders and B. A. Mastin, John 8:58, p235)

  158. Mario
    December 12, 2014 @ 5:45 am

    @ Rivers [December 11, 2014 at 7:15 pm]

    1. Once again, the question is NOT in what sense Paul thought that Jesus was prôtotokos (Col 1:18 – which, BTW, you seem to explain as though it was virtually one and the same as the aparche of 1 Cor 15:20 – perhaps because of the similarity between “firstborn” and “first fruits”?) BUT the meaning of prôtos in John 1:15,30, which is perfectly explained as “first in rank”. There is no evidence that the author of the GoJ had in mind the resurrection of Jesus Christ, when he attributed that prôtos to the Baptist’s description of Jesus. You are simply projecting on the text your obviously favourite interpretation of Jesus’ “primacy” through the resurrection.

    2. First, according to the author of the GoJ, the “Spirit descending and remaining upon him” “like a dove” was a God-given sign for John the Baptist, for recognizing the Messiah (ho eklektos tou theou, “the chosen one of God” – John 1:32-34). Second, there is no evidence, from John 3:3-6, that Jesus was applying to himself idea of “second birth in the spirit”.

    3. First, you start by saying “I agree with you that MONOGENES means simply ‘a only child’.” That “simply” is your addition, because, on the contrary, I clearly added that monogenês “also [denotes] someone/something unique (one of its kind) such as the mythological Phoenix (1 Clem. 25:2)”. Second, it is unclear what you mean by “the apostles used MONGENES to refer to Jesus Christ”. These are ALL the verses where the adjective monogenês is used in the NT: Luke 7:12; 8:42; 9:38; John 1:14,18; 3:16; Heb 11:7; 1 John 4:19. Which of them do you have in mind?

    4. It is rather bizarre that you affirm, “I don’t see any evidence of an ‘eternal LOGOS’ in scripture”. In John 1:1 the logos is spoken of as being en archê. In the same way the Spirit (MT: ruwach, LXX: pneuma), was “in the beginning” (MT: bereshyit, LXX: en archê). I really cannot imagine how you manage to read tên zoên aiônion êtis ên pros ton patera (1 John 1:2) as other than “the eternal life that was with the Father” and then (in time and space, Palestine, 1st century CE) was “revealed to us” in/as Jesus.

    5. That the expression “the word became flesh” (ho logos sarx egeneto John 1:14) would refer to the “manifestation to the disciples” of someone “metaforically named” “the Word” on the occasion of the Baptism of John is a bizarre interpretation. BTW, the expression eskênôsen en êmin (lit. “pitched the tent among us” – John 1:14), referred to the logos, alludes to the OT tabernacle, where the Shekinah, the visible glory of God’s presence, resided. The author of the GoJ is suggesting that this glory can now be seen in Jesus.

  159. Mario
    December 12, 2014 @ 3:44 am

    Rivers,

    thank you for your interest in my “double ellipsis” interpretation of John 8:58. Here are my comments on your comments.

    1. While it is not true, in general, that in the Classical and koine Greek literature gi[g]nomai never means “to be born”, it is true that it never does in the 4th Gospel.

    2. You cannot find anything in John 8 that suggests any direct reference to Genesis 17:5, but you certainly find repeated claims by “the Jews” that they are “Abraham’s children” (John 8:33,39,53), that Jesus relentlessly rebukes (John 8:37,39,40,56).

    3-4. The word gowy, in the singular, is certainly used to refer to Israel (e.g. Isaiah 1:4). In the plural it is NEVER used to refer to Israel, on its own or as part of “various nations”. So, even if the Jews interpreted the plural gowyim in Genesis 17:5 as referring exclusively to the descendents of Abraham through Isaac and Jacob-Israel, that is the Israelites, they should have realized themselves that they were abusively restricting the sense of that gowyim.

    As for the way Paul used Genesis 17:5 in Romans 4:11-22, I recommend you re-read carefully this:

    “And he [Abram/Abraham] received the sign of circumcision as a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised, so that he would become the father of all those who believe but have never been circumcised, that they too could have righteousness credited to them.” (Rom 4:11 – bolding added)

    5. I believe you are misunderstanding the use that Paul makes of the quotations of Gen 17:5 and of Gen 15:5. When Paul (who affirms the equality in front of God of Jews, Greek and Gentiles in general – Gal 3:28, Col 3:11) says that Abraham will be “the father of many nations” (Rom 4:17,18) he means that Abraham’s “children” will be all those who have the same attitude of faith in God that Abraham had, without any distinction of ethnos. Paul is clearly rejecting the restrictive, exclusivist understanding of Gen 17:5 by the Jews. (Oh, BTW, the Edomites, the descendants of Esau, were also “descendants of Abraham from Sarah’s womb” …)

    6-7. The main reason why John 8:58 has become such a bone of contention is because of that egô eimi, that Trinitarians use as “evidence” of the deity of Jesus, treating it as though it was absolute (rather than elliptical) and then projecting onto it the egô eimi of Exodus 3:14 in the LXX Greek translation. Once it is realized that egô eimi is elliptical, the realization that prim abraam genesthai is also elliptical becomes almost immediate.

  160. Mario
    December 12, 2014 @ 1:50 am

    “I’m not a ‘Socinian’ and I know how to do sound, critical exegesis. That’s why I don’t buy into the bizarre ‘preexistent LOGOS’ idea that they advocate.”

    People who do “sound, critical exegesis” should’t buy into the bizarre “metaphorical name” idea either … 😉

  161. Rivers
    December 11, 2014 @ 9:19 pm

    Sean,

    You don’t need to worry about me. I’m not a “Socinian” and I know how to do sound, critical exegesis. That’s why I don’t buy into the bizarre “preexistent LOGOS” idea that they advocate.

    I think you’re afraid to put your viewpoint forward because it cannot stand up to exegetical scrutiny. Thus, it probably isn’t worth my time to consider. 🙂

  162. Sean Garrigan
    December 11, 2014 @ 7:26 pm

    “Again, I would prefer to see you offer an exegetically and contextually sound alternate interpretation of John 8:58 that we can all agree is more plausible. If you think your opinion can stand up to exegetical scrutiny, I’d like to consider it.”

    It can stand up to exegetical scrutiny, but not to the presuppotional interpretative barrier to preexistence erected by Socinians. Sorry, I just went through this here recently, and I’m weary of banging my head against the wall.

  163. Rivers
    December 11, 2014 @ 7:15 pm

    Mario,

    1. I think what you’re missing is that Paul understood that Jesus didn’t become “the beginning” or “the firstborn” until he rose from the dead (Colossians 1:18). His “rank” as the “firstborn” was the result of the resurrection.

    2. That is why when John saw the spirit “remaining upon him” he know that Jesus was the “son of God” (John 1:30-31). Jesus was “born of the spirit” (John 3:3-6) before any of the other disciples who didn’t receive holy spirit from Jesus until he was glorified (John 7:39).

    3. I agree with you that MONOGENES means simply “a only child.” The passages you quoted certainly confirm that definition. However, the apostles used MONGENES to refer to Jesus Christ only after he was “declared to be the son of God by the resurrection of the dead” (Romans 1:3-4). There is no evidence that they understood Jesus to be “the begotten son” until that time. That is why the handful of reference to Jesus as “the begotten” in the 4th Gospel are part of introductory and narrative remarks by the writer.

    4. I don’t see any evidence of an “eternal LOGOS” in scripture so that makes a difference in the way we approach some of the texts. I think the LOGOS in John 1:1-14 and 1 John 1:2 is referring to Jesus Christ himself.

    5. The LOGOS was an audible and tangible man who was “manifested” to the disciples (1 John 1:2). He was “manifested” at the time of his baptism (John 1:30-31). That is why the writer has “the word became flesh” (John 1:14) within the context of the ministry of John the baptizer (John 1:6-15) in the Prologue.

  164. Mario
    December 11, 2014 @ 6:35 pm

    @ Rivers

    “What John the baptizer probably meant in John 1:15 is that Jesus was going to be the firstborn from among the dead.”

    The sense of John 1:15 (and of John 1:30) becomes perfectly clear, once one has realized that prôtos has the meaning of “first in rank”, without having to resort to a rather anachronistic association between the Baptist’s witness to Jesus and Paul’s prôtotokos ( Col 1:18)

    “That is why the writer called Jesus Christ “the begotten” in John 1:14 before he mentioned the testimony of John in John 1:15.”

    The Greek word is monogenês, an adjective that can denote an “only child” (e.g Luke 7:12; 8:42; 9:38), but also someone/something unique (one of its kind) such as the mythological Phoenix (1 Clem. 25:2). The KJV translates it with the awkward “one begotten”. In the Johannine Corpus (and also in Heb 11:7, where it refers to Isaac, who was not Abraham’s only son, but was certainly unique) it certainly refers to Jesus being unique in his divine Sonship.

    There is only association between monogenês and Acts 13:33-34, Hebrews 1:3-6, Romans 1:3-4, John 1:30-34.

    There is more (and earlier) to Jesus’ Sonship than being the eschatological Son of man (Dan 7:14), or being raised by God, or being transfigured, of being proclaimed at the Baptism. I stop at the Conception, that I see as the miraculous side of the mystery of the ensarkosis of God’s eternal logos. On the other hand, I do not find any Scriptural support for any “personal pre-existence”, let alone “co-eternal, co-equal”.

  165. Rivers
    December 11, 2014 @ 4:36 pm

    Mario,

    Thank you for posting your amplified interpretation of John 8:58. I hope you don’t mind if I make some comments. Here are my initial impressions. Please respond, if you like.

    1. I like that you are on the right track with GENESThAI meaing “becomes” or “comes to be.” The writer of the 4th Gospel never used GINOMAI to speak of anyone’s “birth”, but always used GENNAW. Thus, I agree that an elliptical “becomes” is more likely correct.

    2. I think your suggestion that Jesus had Genesis 17:5 in mind is interesting. However, as I thought it through, I just can’t find anything in the context that would suggest that Jesus and the Jewish leaders were discussing that text in particular (or anything about “the nations”). Can you offer any additional evidence to support that idea?

    3. I do see the many references to Abraham being the “father” of the Jews in the preceding context (John 8:16-53), but I don’t see any allusions to “gentiles” or “nations” in the context. Why would you be adding that to your amplified reading? Can you please clarify.

    4. Your assertion that the Hebrew word GOYM “usually refers to non-Hebrew people” is inaccurate. Most of the time that GOYM is used in the Hebrew scriptures, it refers to the “nations” who were descended from Abraham and Sarah (as Paul used it in Romans 4:11-22). It doesn’t refer to non-Hebrew people very often at all.

    5. In the context of Genesis 17:5-8, the “nations” (GOYM) is certainly not referring to any non-Hebrew people (because they are all “descendants” of Abraham). On what basis are you including “non-Hebrew people” in the fulfillment of Genesis 17:5? Even Paul interpreted the text to be referring to the physical “descendants” of Abraham from Sarah’s womb (Romans 4:16-22).

    6. I agree that EGW EIMI could certainly be interpreted meaning “I am (the Messiah)” in this context.

    7. I hope you can elaborate on the issues I’ve raised here. I do appreciate that you are thinking outside of the box and trying to offer a different perspective. I agree that the whole debate about “I am” is not the critical issue in John 8:58 but has become an unfortunate diversion for most interpreters.

  166. Rivers
    December 11, 2014 @ 3:26 pm

    Sean,

    When you simply insist that someone’s reading of a text “constitutes a non sequitur” and then cannot provide any exegetical or contextual reason to demonstrate why you think that is the case, it give the impression that you are simply being subjective and dismissing something that you don’t understand.

    It isn’t any more “logical” for you to throw the term “non sequitur” out at someone’s argument that would be for me to simply declare your interpretation “unscholarly” without providing any substantial reason that anyone should draw the conclusion.

    Again, I would prefer to see you offer an exegetically and contextually sound alternate interpretation of John 8:58 that we can all agree is more plausible. If you think your opinion can stand up to exegetical scrutiny, I’d like to consider it. 🙂

  167. Rivers
    December 11, 2014 @ 3:07 pm

    John,

    That is a good point that you made about “the form (MORFE) of God” in the previous comment. It is consistent with the context where it seems to be compared to “equality (ISOS) with God.” I think one could argue that “the form of God” referred to the “exalted” position of authority (Philippians 2:9) that Jesus Christ attained after his resurrection and ascension (Hebrews 1:3).

    However, it’s interesting to consider that the apostles also seemed to associated a “glorified” (radiant) appearance with the position that Christ attained (Hebrews 1:3; Philippians 3:21). Paul himself had been a witness to this radiance (Acts 26:12-15), and he did draw a contrast between “the glorious body” of Jesus Christ in heaven and “the humble body” he had on earth (Philippians 3:20-21).

    Perhaps this is the reason that Paul used MORFE to speak of the “form” of God. The evidence suggest that he could have used MORFE to suggest both a visual “appearance” or a status. I also think it’s reasonable to think that someone of exalted status would “appear” differently than someone of humble ststatus.

  168. Rivers
    December 11, 2014 @ 2:38 pm

    Mario,

    Don’t forget that “translations” are also “interpretations.” A “literal” rendering isn’t necessarily the correct “translation.” 🙂

  169. john
    December 11, 2014 @ 2:24 pm

    Mario
    I find it intriguing that people talk about being ‘in the form of a slave’ – while being a slave is a position one holds – and not an ‘appearance’.

    Also- what does the ‘form of God’ mean – if God is invisible ?

    I’m surprised that no-one seems to treat the ‘second Adam’ aspect seriously. Surely Christ emptied Himself of his human ego and became obedient even unto death on a cross?

    Blessings
    John

  170. Mario
    December 11, 2014 @ 1:23 pm

    @ Rose [December 11, 2014 at 12:12 pm]

    [1] “PHILIPPIANS 2:7 but he made himself empty ( i.e. poured himself out), [by means of] having been taken the form of a slave (i.e. the reality of being a slave), [by means of] having become in [the] likeness (similarity) of men.”

    [2] “… in Philippians 2:7, Jesus did not make himself empty of anything.”

    So, did Jesus [1] “ma[k]e himself empty ( i.e. poured himself out)” OR [2] did Jesus NOT “make himself empty of anything”?

    (The Greek expression eauton ekenôsen literally means “emptied himself”. Every other “translation” is an interpretation …)

  171. Rivers
    December 11, 2014 @ 1:04 pm

    Mario,

    What John the baptizer probably meant in John 1:15 is that Jesus was going to be the “firstborn from among the dead.” That is why the writer called Jesus Christ “the begotten” in John 1:14 before he mentioned the testimony of John in John 1:15.

    It’s evident that the apostles associated “the begotten” with the resurrection day of Jesus Christ (Acts 13:33-34; Hebrews 1:3-6). This is when the Father “declared him to be the son of God by the power of the spirit” (Romans 1:3-4). John could se that “the spirit was remaining upon” Jesus Christ when he baptized him (John 1:30-33). This is how John knew that he was “the son of God” (John 1:34).

    Paul later explained that Jesus became “the firstborn from among the dead” (Colossians 1:18). This is the sense in which Jesus Christ “existed” before everyone else. Jesus was a man who had “eternal life” (1 John 1:2). Being “the firstborn from AMONG THE DEAD” is what made him “the beginning” and “to have first place in everything” (Colossians 1:18).

  172. Rivers
    December 11, 2014 @ 12:51 pm

    Sean,

    I was hoping that you would summarize your own perspective here so that we could discuss it. I’m not following your conversation on McGrath’s blog and I’m not familiar with McKay’s perspective. Would you be willing to give a paraphrase (similar to what I offered) so that I can understand how you would give a “logical” reading of John 8:58? 🙂

  173. Mario
    December 11, 2014 @ 12:51 pm

    P.S. My interpretation of John 1:30 (cp. John 1:15), attributing to prôtos the meaning of “first in rank”, is corroborated by the Further Testimony About Jesus by John the Baptist (John 3:22-30).

    In particular by the last verse (John 3:30). Here is the Greek text:

    ekeinon dei auxanein eme de elattousthai

    And here is the literal English translation, as faithful as possible to the Greek text:

    “That one is necessary to increase, I though [must] be made less.”

    In decent English:

    “He must increase, but I must decrease.” (John 3:30 – ESV)

  174. Rivers
    December 11, 2014 @ 12:47 pm

    Rose,

    The Greek word ISOS (translated “equal” in Philippians 2:6) is another term that was not used by the biblical writers to speak of “nature” at all. If you look up the 7 other times that term was used by the apostles, it simply meant that something was “equal” in value, status, or consistency. It was not a word used to speak of two beings or persons have the same ontological constitution or substance.

    We have to be very careful about mistaking lexical definitions for the actual meaning of biblical words. The only thing that matters when interpreting scripture is discerning how the biblical writers were actually using the words. Forcing a certain lexical (or theological) definition of a word into the exegesis of a particular biblical text can lead to erroneous conclusions.

    I’m just pointing this out because you are using a lot of extra-biblical theological jargon (e.g. “dual nature”) to explain your perspective that really has no grammatical or conceptual counterpart in the language that the inspired writer was actually using. This make it difficult for me to find any substantiation for some of your argumentation. 🙂

  175. Sean Garrigan
    December 11, 2014 @ 12:42 pm

    Rivers,

    “What part of the paraphrase do think doesn’t come from the context?…Even though I understand you are trying to sound logical by suggesting other interpretations are “a non sequitor”, I think you are just being subjective. Perhaps you are approaching your reading of the text with a different understanding of the “context” than McKay or I might be approaching it.”

    I don’t know why you’d think that I see the context differently from McKay, because his view is the one I advocate.

    “If you could explain how you read the text, and why you think your interpretation is consistent with the grammar and the context, that would be helpful.”

    I think, in light of what I’ve said on McGrath’s blog and here, there should be sufficient data for one to understand how I read the text/context. Maybe I’ll put something up on my blog in the near future so that there’s a one-stop-shop for my understanding.

    As I said in the beginning, you and I won’t agree on how to understand preexistence texts. Since you don’t know why your paraphrase constitutes a non secuitur, I’m really at a loss on how to help further, as it’s pretty obvious to me that it’s a non secuitur and I can’t imagine why anyone would believe otherwise.

  176. Rose Brown
    December 11, 2014 @ 12:12 pm

    The Carmen Cristi ( Hymn to Christ) text in Philippians chapter 2 reveals the truth of the dual nature of Jesus Christ.

    PHILIPPIANS 2:6 Who, [although]existing in the form of God (i.e. the reality of being God; in very nature, God — NIV).
    did not think it “arpagmos” ( noun) –larceny– to be “isos” ( adverb)–equal– with God,

    PHILIPPIANS 2:7 but he made himself empty ( i.e. poured himself out), [by means of] having been taken the form of a slave (i.e. the reality of being a slave), [by means of] having become in [the]likeness (similarity) of men.

    The participles in Philippians 2:6-7 evince that Jesus has dual form: God-hood and Servant-hood.

    The Son did his respective role. He did not act against the divine will ( Isaiah 53:12; Matthew 26:39 ).We, as followers of Christ, should be the same, that is, doing our respective task without “empty-glory” (Philippians 2:3) because Jesus himself said, ” “Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted” (Matthew 23:12). He had been highly exalted ( Philippians 2:9-11) and he is our head (Colossians 1:18).

    NOTE

    In Romans 4:4, Paul said that “faith is made void ( Grk. EKENOSEN).”Faith did not empty itself of anything. Likewise, in Philippians 2:7, Jesus did not make himself empty of anything.

    Morphe means “form” ( nature, shape). It’s dual meaning is used in the Bible, morphe is used in the New Testament as “nature” for about 5 times ( Phil. 2:6, Romans 12:2, Phil. 3:10 and 21,Gal. 4:19 ) AND as “shape” in both Old Testament Septuagint (Daniel 3:19 ) and New Testament ( 2 Timothy 3:5 ).

  177. Mario
    December 11, 2014 @ 11:39 am

    @ Rose

    “‘Before Abraham came into existence, I am (in existence).’ — John 8:58
    This is the natural reading of the text. It is truly apropos.”

    What you consider the “natural reading” of prin abraam genesthai egô eimi may be the superficial reading of a cryptic sentence, motivated by your Trinitarianism (or, as you say “Christian Monotheism”). You seem to ignore that the Gospel of John is steeped with cryptic sentences of Jesus, which his interlocutors misunderstand (or seem to misunderstand?).

    “This backed up by the Prologue of John. ‘He was before me’ John 1:15 and John 1:30. John is older than Jesus (in time) but Jesus is the LOGOS who is THEOS; the one who was EN ARCHE; by whom all thing came into existence (John 1:3.”

    Once again, you seem to ignore that John is resorting to a word play (paronomasia) which is made possible by the ambiguity of the Greek adjective prôtos.

    This is the key sentence repeated by John the Baptist:

    opisô mou erchetai anêr hos emprosthen mou gegonen oti prôtos mou en (John 1:30, cp. John 1:15)

    This is the word by word English translation:

    ‘After me comes [a] man who in front of me has become, because first of me [he] was’

    The critical word is, obviously, prôtos, which can have BOTH the meaning of “first in time” AND of “first in rank”. (Incidentally, the English adjective “first” has a similar kind of time/rank ambiguity.)

    I suggest that, leaving aside any prejudice of personal eternity/pre-existence, you consider that this is what John the Baptist was truly saying:

    ‘After me comes a man who has passed in front of me, because he was more important than me’ (John 1:30 – cp. John 1:15 – interpreted attributing to prôtos the meaning of “first in rank”)

  178. Rivers
    December 11, 2014 @ 11:39 am

    Rose,

    Your preferred reading of John 8:58 is only one possibility.

    The Aorist Infinitive form of GINOMAI the writer used in the clause “before Abraham becomes” can also be taken to refer to Abraham “becoming” something at a later time. The Aorist denotes only a “point of time” (and does not always signify a point of time in the “past)). Especially when used in the Infinitive mood, it can refer to something happening “again” or in the “future” (e.g. being “born again” in John 3:4).

    With regard to the “I am” clause … there’s no doubt that Jesus was “existing” and “alive” at the time that he identified himself with EGW EIMI. It is nothing more than the simplest of expression for “I am (the someone or something)” in biblical Greek (depending upon what is associated with the person in the context).

    However, what is meant by the whole verse “before Abraham becomes, I am” is open to interpretation. I don’t think it’s likely that the clause “before Abraham comes to be” was referring to the birth of Abraham (since he was already “dead”, John 8:53). There is also nothing in the context that requires Jesus to have been alive during the time of Abraham either. Thus, John 8:58 could simply be taken to mean that Jesus was saying “I am” (present) before Abraham “comes to be” (again, future).

  179. Rivers
    December 11, 2014 @ 10:54 am

    Rose,

    I agree that there are two different “forms” identified with Jesus Christ in Philippians 2:6-8. However, we still need to determine (from the context) what Paul meant when he used the word “form” (MORFH) in “form of God” and “form of a servant.”

    My thinking is that MORFH is referring to the physical appearance of Jesus in both places in this context because of the way that Paul related MORFH with the words “appearance” (SXHMA) and “likeness” (‘OMOIWMA). I also think it’s important to consider that the only other occurrence of MORFE was used to speak of the physical “appearance” of Jesus after the resurrection (Mark 16:12).

    The biblical usage of ‘OMOIWMA could refer to physical appearance (Romans 1:23; Romans 8:3; Revelation 9:7) or circumstantial similarity (Romans 5:14; Romans 6:5) and SXHMA could refer to circumstances or conditions too. I don’t find any evidence that these words translated “form” and “appearance” and “likeness” in Philippians 2:6-8 had anything to do with the inherent “nature” or any kind of “preexistence” of Jesus Christ at all.

    It seems more likely that Paul was using “the form of God” (Philippians 2:6) to refer to the physical “transformation” of receiving a “glorious body” (Philippians 3:21) that Jesus experienced along with the “exalted” status he attained after he ascended to heaven (Philippians 2:9). Paul was contrasting that glorious “form” with the “humble body” form of an ordinary “man” that Jesus had along with his status as a “servant” during the time of his earthly life (Philippians 2:7-8).

  180. Rose Brown
    December 11, 2014 @ 10:19 am

    “Before Abraham came into existence, I am (in existence).” — John 8:58

    This is the natural reading of the text. It is truly apropos.

    This backed up by the Prologue of John. ” He was before me”John 1:15 and John 1:30. John is older than Jesus ( in time) but Jesus is the LOGOS who is THEOS; the one who was EN ARCHE;by whom all thing came into existence ( John 1:3).

  181. Mario
    December 11, 2014 @ 10:08 am

    John 8:58: the text and its many interpretations

    Let’s examine the critical phrase.

    [Greek text] prin abraam genesthai egô eimi

    [Literal (clumsy) English translation] before Abraham become (or be born), I am

    [Rivers’ paraphrase/interpretation] BEFORE ABRAHAM COMES [to life again, in my day], I AM [the one he rejoiced to see]

    [Sean’s paraphrase/interpretation] … I have been in existence since before Abraham was born!

    [Mario’s paraphrase/interpretation] Before Abraham becomes [the father of a multitude of nations (Hbr gowyim) – Gen 17:5] I am [the Messiah] (#)
    ======================

    (#) Explanation of Mario’s paraphrase/interpretation.

    Let’s look at the relevant verses of John 8, once again:

    56 Your father Abraham was overjoyed to see my day, and he saw it and was glad.” 57 Then the Judeans replied, “You are not yet fifty years old! Have you seen Abraham?” 58 Jesus said to them, “I tell you the solemn truth, before Abraham was, I am! 59 Then they picked up stones to throw at him, but Jesus hid himself and went out from the temple area.” (John 8:56-59 – NET Bible)

    The critical phrase is [Greek] prin abraam genesthai egô eimi and, in particular, the phrase prin abraam genesthai.

    Now, genesthai is the Second Aorist – Middle Deponent – Infinitive form of gi[g]nomai, which has a very broad spectrum of meanings (see Liddel-Scott-Jones Greek Lexicon), the most fundamental of which is “to become” and, only derivatively, “to be [born]” (absolute sense). Normally, in the sense of “to become”, genesthai is followed by a predicate, which is apparently not the case in John 8:58, so, the Greek phrase prin abraam genesthai is usually understood as though genesthai was actually used in the absolute sense, and consequently translated with something like “before Abraham was [born]”.
    But, as I have already written in a comment at “podcast episode 63 – Thomas Belsham and other scholars on John 8:58”, one of the arguments raised by Belsham ( A Calm Inquiry Into the Scripture Doctrine Concerning the Person of Christ, § 3, pp. 53-55) is that of double ellipsis.

    If, instead of interpreting genesthai as absolute (“to be [born]”), we suppose that genesthai means “to become” (in an elliptical sense to be determined), the key phrase at John 8:58 becomes:

    [Lit. Eng.] before Abraham become [ellipsis], I am [ellipsis]

    Neither “become”, nor “I am” are, reasonably, used in an absolute sense. So, there may be an ellipsis associated with each verb.

    Unpacking the [double ellipsis], we may have:

    “Before Abraham becomes [the father of a multitude of nations (Hbr gowyim) – Gen 17:5] I am [the Messiah]”

    Amplifying the rather cryptic sentence, what Jesus is saying to “the Jews” may be something like this:

    “And verily I say, that the time for the accomplishment of what he foresaw is not yet arrived: for before Abram shall be Abraham, i. e. become the father of many nations, according to the import of his name, I am the Christ your Messiah.” (Interpretation and paraphrase of John 8:58 provided at the Theological Repository vol. iv. p. 351, as quoted by Thomas Belsham in A Calm Inquiry Into the Scripture Doctrine Concerning the Person of Christ, p. 54)

    Obviously “the Jews” couldn’t accept this affirmation, because it implied that the prophecy at Gen 17:5 was NOT fulfilled in the (ethnical) Israel, BUT (if they understood correctly Jesus’ doubly elliptical sentence), Jesus, as the Messiah, would have given an entirely different, and vastly broader meaning to Gen 17:5. This is why, this time, “they picked up stones to throw at him” (John 8:59): NOT because of Jesus’ presumed claim to deity (which simply does NOT exist, in John 8:58), BUT because they considered Jesus implication, viz. that the Messiah would not be only the Messiah of the ethnic Israel, but, truly, of a “multitude of nations”, an insult.

    Notice that the Hebrew word for “nations” is gowyim, a word which is usually referred to non-Hebrew people.

  182. Rose Brown
    December 11, 2014 @ 10:05 am

    @Dale,

    The Father is “in” Jesus and vise versa.

    JESUS IS IN THE FATHER. Should we believe that the Father is flesh and Messiah too?

  183. Rivers
    December 11, 2014 @ 9:42 am

    Sean,

    Thank you for the comments.

    I don’t think there’s anything “cryptic” or “strained” about the reading of John 8:58 that I suggested because it is entirely derived from the grammar in the text and related to the words that Jesus used in the immediate context (John 8:51-57). What part of the paraphrase do think doesn’t come from the context?

    Even though I understand you are trying to sound logical by suggesting other interpretations are “a non sequitor”, I think you are just being subjective. Perhaps you are approaching your reading of the text with a different understanding of the “context” than McKay or I might be approaching it.

    If you could explain how you read the text, and why you think your interpretation is consistent with the grammar and the context, that would be helpful. 🙂

  184. Rose Brown
    December 11, 2014 @ 9:33 am

    @Rivers,

    Jesus has dual form in Philippians 2:6-7.

    en morphe theou ( form of God)

    morphen doulon ( form of a servant)

  185. Rose Brown
    December 11, 2014 @ 9:31 am

    @Rivers,

    The Greek word HUPOSTASIS in Koine Greek does not have just one meaning of ” confidence” or” assurance.”

    It also has “substance” (nature, reality) as its meaning.

    2 Corinthians 9:4 “…otherwise if any Macedonians come with me and find you unprepared, we–not to speak of you–will be put to shame by this (reality).” The whole context of the passage is the exhortation to the Corinthians to let down Paul in his boasting of them. In other words, if the Macedonians come and see them unprepared, ‘the reality’ would put Paul, and them, to shame. Confidence has nothing to do with it.

    2 Corinthians 11:17 What I am saying, I am not saying as the Lord would, but as in foolishness, in this (example) of boasting. Paul is talking about the ‘reality or essence’ of his actual boasting, and not his ‘confidence’ of boasting.

    Faith exudes confidence but it is not based on mere confidence. We have confidence because of faith, not faith because of confidence.

  186. Rivers
    December 11, 2014 @ 8:51 am

    Rose,

    I don’t understand where you are getting your definition of “hypostatize” (or where you are even getting that term).

    There is a biblical Greek word ‘UPOSTASIS (which means “confidence” or “assurance”). It is used to speak of the confidence of Jesus Christ in Hebrews 1:3 (after God appointed him heir of all things) and of the “assurance” that comes from “faith” (Hebrews 3:4; Hebrews 11:1). Paul also used it a few times to refer to his own “confidence” as a true apostle (2 Corinthians 9:4; 2 Corinthians 11:17).

    If this biblical Greek term is what you are alluding to, then it had nothing to do with “nature” or “attributing identity to a concept” at all. The apostles simply used the word to refer to “confidence” and “assurance” (which are qualities that are “gained” by experience or appointment, and not intrinsic to anyone’s “nature” or “being”).

  187. Rivers
    December 11, 2014 @ 8:41 am

    Rose,

    I understand completely. I wish there was an “editing” feature on this forum so we could make corrections. Maybe Dale will add that feature sometime. 🙂

  188. Rivers
    December 11, 2014 @ 8:37 am

    John,

    I’m sorry if I overlooked your questions. Here’s a response.

    1. No, I don’t think it’s necessary to think that Hebrews 1:8 was the “actual” words that the Father used to greet Jesus Christ when he entered heaven.

    2. I’m glad we agree on the implications of the verbs in Philippians 2:5-9. I think many of the Trinitarians interpreters unwittingly fail to take into account the implications of the Present
    Active Participle in Philippians 2:6 (i.e. existing) and also the fact that Paul was writing the letter after Jesus Christ had been “exalted” (Philippians 2:9-11).

    Thus, anything that is represented by an Aorist Indicative is probably “past tense”, but there’s no reason to force those Aorist verbs to point to any action(s) that took place before the time of Jesus’ public ministry (since the context of Philippians 2 is about how Jesus conducted himself as a “man”).

  189. Rose Brown
    December 11, 2014 @ 7:46 am

    I deeply apologize for my bad English. I do not feel well. I did not have time to check my grammar.

  190. Rose Brown
    December 11, 2014 @ 7:39 am

    @Jaco,

    Hypostatize – to attribute real identity to ( a concept).

    The hypostatization of both God’s Wisdom and God’s Spirit is definite in the NT.

    In the OT, the begotten Wisdom ( Prov. 8:25) and the begotten Christ ( Ps. 109:3 LXX)is the self-same only begotten Son in the NT ( Jn. 1:18, 1 Cor. 1:24).

    The Holy Spirit in the OT is the Holy Spirit who is both Lord and God in the NT ( Acts 5:3-4, Matthew 28:19 ).

    Jesus himself did reveal this and the Holy Spirit is still revealing it to his church from generation to generation ( John 14:16; 1John 2:20).

    The one God in Genesis 1:26-27 has only one image from which humans were created. It is evident that God’s fellows in Genesis 1:26-27 cannot be angels who have a beginning of existence.

    The inclusion of Jesus within the hebraic divine identity ( one God, one Lord) is an essential part of the revelation of the economic Trinity ( 1 Cor. 8:6, Colossians 2:2).

    Adam in Eve in the second chapter of Genesis is TWO IN ONE ( Genesis 2:24).

    (((ONE FLESH)))

    Matthew 28:19 ( Exodus 3:14) attests that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are THREE IN ONE.

    (((ONE IN NAME)))

    John 1:1 states that God’s self-reflection is none other than “God.” God himself do not think of himself as a “god” or “a god” but only as “God.”

    http://www.aquinasblog.com/16-trinity.html

    https://books.google.de/books?id=laNbBAAAQBAJ&pg=PA24&lpg=PA24&dq=self-knowledge+augustine+john+1:1&source=bl&ots=sJSTS4fSbb&sig=LYI_v_1SqQhrrzGsPS253Iu8CrM&hl=de&sa=X&ei=lI2JVI_fEITEmwW6_4HQBg&ved=0CEoQ6AEwBw#v=onepage&q=self-knowledge%20augustine%20john%201%3A1&f=false

    John 1:18 shows that God the Father cannot be seen( experienced/known) except by the only begotten who is God himself { MONOGENES THEOS}. — John 6:46; 14:9.

    John 10:28-30 The text refutes the ‘Shaliach Principle’ because it does not presented Jesus as a creature-agent of whom a Unitarian Deity made himself manifested but rather, it clearly shows that the Father and the Son are one in terms of nature for their attributes are identical not similar ( Deuteronomy 32:39 LXX with John 10:28-30).

    The angel mediator of Job 16:19 and 33:23 is a person, right? Well, the Holy Spirit is called ‘parakletos’ in John 14:16 must also mean that he is a person.

    Lastly, the economic Trinity is only about the three: Father, Son and Spirit in the purpose and activity of salvation.

  191. Mario
    December 11, 2014 @ 7:11 am

    Correction to my latest comment:

    ERRATA: einai pros ton patera
    CORRIGE: einai pros ton theon

  192. Sean Garrigan
    December 11, 2014 @ 7:05 am

    Rivers,

    “Can you please clarify what you see to be the “non sequitor in the context” with regard to the interpretation of John 8:58 that I suggested. Or could you please cut and paste your thoughts here so that I can consider them.”

    As I explained on McGrath’s blog:

    “…if we accept McKay’s observation that verse 58 is an example of the Extension from Past idiom, then Jesus’ response (a) makes perfect sense in light of the question posed, and (b) would have constituted a stoning offense if untrue. Notice how the pieces fall in place under McKay’s view:

    Verse 56 – Jesus: “Your father Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day; he saw it and was glad.”

    Verse 57 – Opponents: “You are not yet fifty years old,” they said to him, “and you have seen Abraham?”

    Verse 58 – Jesus: “The truth is, I have been in existence since before Abraham was born!”

    Jesus’ opponents inferred from his statement in verse 56 that Jesus had personally observed (first hand) Abraham rejoice over seeing his day. For Jesus to say the equivalent of “I am God’s name-bearing agent” as a response would be to utter a non sequitur. On the other hand, if we recognize the Greek idiom at work in the text and translate it the way we almost certainly would were it not for Church tradition, then Jesus’ response fits perfectly, even exquisitely in context.”

    Like McGrath’s view, yours has Jesus utter words that constitute a non sequitur:

    Verse 56 – Jesus: “Your father Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day; he saw it and was glad.”

    Verse 57 – Opponents: “You are not yet fifty years old,” they said to him, “and you have seen Abraham?”

    “John 8:58 … “BEFORE ABRAHAM COMES [to life again, in my day], I AM [the one he rejoiced to see]”

    Not only is that paraphrase strained in the extreme, but it simply doesn’t fit in context. Why not just consider the possibility that denying Christ’s preexistence in John isn’t the right interpretive choice? Or, as James Dunn might put it, why not let John be John?

  193. Mario
    December 11, 2014 @ 3:44 am

    @ Rivers

    1. (and 5.) I think it would be somewhat paranoid to suggest that Liddell-Scott-Jones had a “dog in the race” of the einai pros ton patera

    2. There is no need to make any “effort”, to underline the obvious difference between “who” and “what”. The blunder was entirely yours …

    You are obviously unaware that NOT ONLY the Greek word ensarkosis is NOT a (back) translation from the Latin incarnatio, BUT ALSO that it was used by Irenaeus (early 2nd century – c. 202 CE) in his Against heresies (Book III, Chapter VXIII, § 3; Chapter XIX, § 1)

    3. You seem unaware that you are contradicting yourself:

    on the one hand you claim that “the Johannine writer … used LOGOS dozens of times” (in the mere sense of “saying or message”);
    on the other hand (when the shoe doesn’t fit) you (try to) explain away the use of LOGOS, by the very same “Johannine writer”, in the sense of “metaphorical name” of Jesus.

    If you don’t see the inconsistency of your position now, you never will (perhaps it has to do with some … er … “metaphorical blinders”).

    4. Once again, not only “became flesh” (better: “became a human being”) is the OBVIOUS translation of sarx egeneto, BUT far from being “forced” upon the text c. AD 300, the notion of “incarnation” was expressed with the Greek word ensarkosis by Irenaeus c. AD 180.

  194. john
    December 10, 2014 @ 11:49 pm

    Rivers
    Thanks for your response!
    (i) You still have not responded to my earlier question which was “Do regard the words of
    Hebrews Chapter 1 from verse 8 as the ACTUAL words which God used in welcoming the newly risen Christ into Heaven?

    (ii) “I simply pointed out that UPARXW (existing or posessing) is a present participle and need not be referring to anything that characterised Christ prior to the time that Paul was writing the letter (after Christ had been exalted)”

    You then responded by analysing the use of the verbs in Philippians 2 verses 5-9 as follows

    – 5,6,7 &8 ‘in past, on earth’
    – 9 ‘in past on His ascention’

    Your analysis is obviously correct, and will be assumed by anyone reading these verses, but does not detract from the points I made about them (these verses.)

    The trinitarian interpretation of Philippians 2 is as ‘forced’ as anything I have encountered.

    Blessings

    John

  195. Sean Garrigan
    December 10, 2014 @ 10:14 pm

    “John 8:58 … “BEFORE ABRAHAM COMES [to life again, in my day], I AM [the one he rejoiced to see]”

    I’ve seen numerous paraphrases from Socinian-type Unitarians, and they all have three things in common: (1) Each one appears to amount to a non sequitur in context; (2) each one is unnecessarily cryptic; and (3) each one is so removed from what precedes it that there’s literally no way anyone could possibly have justifiable confidence that their preferred paraphrase represent Jesus’/John’s intent.

    In the two corresponding accounts in John — i.e. ch 5 and ch10 — Jesus responds to his accusers clearly, directly, and un-cryptically, yet at John 8:58 you chose to assume that Jesus decided to wax cryptic with the sort of non sequitur that would not only leave his hearers scratching their heads, but us as well. I think it’s time that ya’ll consider the possibility that denying Christ’s preexistence in John isn’t the right interpretive choice.

  196. Rivers
    December 10, 2014 @ 9:26 pm

    Sean,

    Can you please clarify what you see to be the “non sequitor in the context” with regard to the interpretation of John 8:58 that I suggested. Or could you please cut and paste your thoughts here so that I can consider them.

    I browsed through the many comments in the McGrath blog entries you linked, but didn’t find what you were referring to. I’d like to consider your perspective and feedack.

  197. Rivers
    December 10, 2014 @ 9:17 pm

    Mario,

    Thank you for continuing the discussion. I’ll only reply to the main (and relevant) points you made:

    1. I think it’s somewhat naive to suggest that “grammarians are less biased than others.” Many scholars (including “grammarians”) sometimes commit the same kind of exegetical fallacies and logical errors that the average pastor or seminary student make. However, I value their opinions (just as you do).

    2. Regardless of the effort you are making to establish a significant difference between an attribute being a “who” or a “what”, you still haven’t offered any exegetical evidence to support your conclusion that “LOGOS is an eternal attribute of YHWH” or that “it became incarnated.” Why even used the word “incarnation” it was derived from a Latin term used in the 4th Century (without any counterpart in biblical Greek)?

    3. I don’t think the use of DBR in the Hebrew scriptures, or LOGOS in the LXX, has any significance when interpretation LOGOS as it was used by the Johannine writer. He used LOGOS dozens of times. This gives us plenty of evidence of how the apostolic community was using the term in their own generation.

    4. I don’t think your claim that “incarnation” was some kind of exclusive idea revealed by the apostles is persuasive at all. You are merely forcing the post-apostolic concept of “incarnation” (c. AD 300) back into the text of John 1:14 when there is nothing in the grammar or the context that requires “the word became flesh” to mean that anything or anyone “became” a different nature or from.

    5. Even though some scholars try to make the argument that “EIMI + PROS + Acc” means “a close relationship or connection”, it isn’t consistent with any of the other uses of PROS throughout the John books, or the way that the writer always used the preposition META (“together with”) in every other context where a “close relationship” was being described. The “EIMI + PROS + Acc” argument is a good example of what you said about the bias that results from “having exegetical, hermeneutical, and theological motives.”

  198. Sean Garrigan
    December 10, 2014 @ 6:55 pm

    Rivers,

    “John,…”

    I assume you’re referring to me, which is an ironic slip, since Sean is Irish for John:-)

    “Thanks for the link. I’m sorry that I misunderstood you comment.”

    No worries.

    “I don’t think most interpreters are going in the right directly with John 8:58b either. The EGW EIMI connotes nothing about “the divine name.” it was nothing but the simplest biblical Greek expression for “I am” (the someone or the something). There are so many examples of how EGW EIMI was used by the Johannine writer (often quoting Jesus himself) that it’s difficult to understand why there is any debate about the intended meaning.”

    I agree. Someone here asked when expositors began connecting EGO EIMI at Jn 8:58 with Ex. 3:14, and my tentative answer is, probably when the verse was rendered into English in an interlinear form rather than being fully translated. Of course, IMO, EGO EIMI at John 8:58 is a little different from other uses, because at John 8:58 it’s part of the Extension from Past idiom.

    “I offered my reading of John 8:58 for you consideration because it takes into account the implications of the Aorist Middle Infinitive form of GINOMAI used in the first part of the verse (which is almost always ignored by interpreters and debaters) and allows EGW EIMI to be taken in its usual sense.”

    My main problem with your paraphrase is that it offers a non sequitur in context. (See my comments on McGrath’s blog).

  199. Rivers
    December 10, 2014 @ 4:48 pm

    John,

    Thanks for the link. I’m sorry that I misunderstood you comment.

    I don’t think most interpreters are going in the right directly with John 8:58b either. The EGW EIMI connotes nothing about “the divine name.” it was nothing but the simplest biblical Greek expression for “I am” (the someone or the something). There are so many examples of how EGW EIMI was used by the Johannine writer (often quoting Jesus himself) that it’s difficult to understand why there is any debate about the intended meaning.

    I offered my reading of John 8:58 for you consideration because it takes into account the implications of the Aorist Middle Infinitive form of GINOMAI used in the first part of the verse (which is almost always ignored by interpreters and debaters) and allows EGW EIMI to be taken in its usual sense.

  200. Rivers
    December 10, 2014 @ 4:20 pm

    John,

    No, I’m just taking the language in it’s plainest sense (since it make perfectly good sense as such). Let me try to [clarify] how I think the verbs in Philippians 2:5-9 were intended only to make a distinction between the time of Jesus’ earthly ministry (past) and his exaltation (present) …

    Philippians 2:5 … HAVE [at present, on earth] THIS ATTITUDE IN YOURSELVES [Philippians] WHICH WAS [no verb] IN CHRIST JESUS,

    Philippians 2:6 … WHO [Christ Jesus] ALTHOUGH EXISTING [at present, in heaven] IN THE FORM OF GOD, DID NOT REGARD [in the past, while on earth] EQUALITY WITH GOD [the Father] A THING TO BE GRASPED [to be taken for himself in the past, while on earth]

    Philippians 2:7 …BUT EMPTIED [in the past, while on earth] HIMSELF, TAKING [in the past, while on earth] THE FORM OF A SERVANT, AND BEING MADE [in the past, while on earth], IN THE LIKENESS OF MEN

    Philippians 2:8 …BEING FOUND [in the past, while on earth] IN APPEARANCE AS A MAN, HE HUMBLED [in the past, while on earth] HIMSELF, BY BECOMING [in the past, while on earth] OBEDIENT TO THE POINT OF DEATH, EVEN DEATH ON THE CROSS

    Philippians 2:9 … FOR THIS REASON ALSO, GOD [the Father] HIGHLY EXALTED [in the past, at his ascension] HIM [Jesus Christ] THE NAME WHICH IS ABOVE EVERY NAME

  201. Mario
    December 10, 2014 @ 3:43 pm

    [Sean – December 10, 2014 at 9:01 am] “We [Sean and Rivers] won’t agree, I’m quite sure, on the Scriptural evidence for Jesus’ preexistence …”

    [Rivers – December 10, 2014 at 9:45 am] “I appreciate that you [Sean] are candid enough to admit that you are ‘not sure about the preexistence of Jesus’”

    Someone, here, has reading problems … 🙁

  202. Mario
    December 10, 2014 @ 3:21 pm

    @ Rivers [December 9, 2014 at 1:17 pm],

    “Thanks for continuing the discussion. Here is how I would respond to your comments.”

    Thank you in return. But why that “I would respond”? You have responded … 😉

    I will limit myself to the most relevant points.

    “I know the vocabulary and semantics of the biblical languages very well. If I didn’t understand them, I would be appealing to lexicons and dropping the names [sic] of other scholars to give people who don’t know me the impression that I’m ‘learned.’”

    From our discussion I have some difficulty in forming an idea of your level of competence with “biblical languages”. To quote a prime Greek Lexicon as the Liddell-Scott-Jones is done by me with the obvious intention of avoiding to become contentious on matters were grammarians are certainly less biased than people with exegetical, hermeneutical and theological motivations.

    “… the noun LOGOS was never used in biblical Greek to speak of an ‘attribute’ and there is no concept of ‘incarnation’ in the language either. That is why I don’t think there is any substantial exegetical basis for drawing the conclusion you’ve offered. You seem to be unnecessarily forcing an ‘incarnation’ concept into John 1:14, 1 John 4:2, and 2 John 7 when neither the grammar, nor the context of any of the passages require it.”

    Zeroth, I didn’t say that “the LOGOS is an attribute of YHWH who became incarnated.” I find it revealing that, in spite of my ample disclaimer (“the Johannine logos is NEITHER a ‘personification’ – like Wisdom/sophia/chokmah in Proverbs 8 – NOR a ‘metaphor’, NOR an ‘allegory’, NOR a ‘subordinate god’, NOR a ‘co-equal, co-eternal person in a trinity’, BUT an eternal attribute of the One and Only God YHWH that became incarnated – sarx egeneto – in/as Jesus of Nazareth”) you still have replaced my original “that” with your “who” in your “quotation”.

    First, the Greek word logos, in all those instance where in the Johannine Corpus (in the broad sense) it does NOT mean “spoken saying or message” (the very same places where you claim that it is used as a “metaphorical name” for Jesus – namely John 1:1; John 1:14; 1 Jo 1:1; Rev 19:13) reflects the Hebrew word dabar. This is nothing strange, because dabar is normally rendered with logos in the LXX.

    Second, if you want an example of where the Hebrew word dabar (and the corresponding Greek word logos) is used as an attribute of God, here it is.

    “By the word [MT dabar, LXX logos] of the LORD [MT YHWH, LXX kyrios] the heavens were made, And all the host of them by the breath [MT ruwach, LXX pneuma] of His mouth.” (Psalm 33:6)

    Third there certainly isn’t, in any Greek philosophical discourse, any notion of “incarnation”. That shouldn’t be surprising, because, even for Christians, the Incarnation of God’s Word in/as Jesus is a “hapax”, a unique event, so much so that, in John’s Gospel, it was rendered with the Greek phrase, sarx egeneto, literally “became flesh”, which is a Hebrai(ci)sm. We can translate in English the critical phrase in John 1:14, much more understandably, like this:

    ho logos sarx egeneto => the Word [of God] became a human being

    “I don’t think your understanding the PROS TON THEON or PROS TON PATERA merely conveys the idea of “close relationship” is consistent with the evidence.”

    I believe it is you who don’t understand. You obviously failed to realize that there is a difference between the unusual construction einai + pros + ACC. (John 1:1b and 1 John 1:2 – PROS TON THEON) which conveys the idea of close connection/relationship, and the constructions where pros + ACC. is associated with a verb expressing motion or direction (John 14:6; John 16:10 – PROS TON PATERA)

    Yes, Greek is a very subtle language … 🙂

  203. Sean Garrigan
    December 10, 2014 @ 2:48 pm

    Rivers,

    “I appreciate that you are candid enough to admit that you are “not sure about the preexistence of Jesus” but are concerned about the most plausible interpretations of John 8:58 and Philippians 2:6.”

    I’m sorry if I gave that impression, as it is not my view that one can “not [be] sure about the preexistence of Jesus”. What I was trying to say is that you and I will disagree about how to interpret these texts; not that I’m not personally sure how to understand them.

    Both the Trinitarian and the Socinian-type Unitarian interpretations of these texts (esp. Jn 8:58) are simply not compelling, nor is the view that at John 8:58 Jesus said “EGO EIMI” as a means of taking God’s name, which has been suggested buy James McGrath and others. I’ve discussed this verse extensively on this blog, but unfortunately I don’t remember where the comments are located and therefore can’t refer you.

    You can get a sampling of my thinking, however, here:

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/2014/06/i-am-the-name-of-god.html

  204. john
    December 10, 2014 @ 2:08 pm

    Rivers

    Are you suggesting that the words used of Christ in Philippians 2 verses 6-8 are the ACTUAL words used by God to welcome the newly risen Christ into Heaven?

    Regarding Philippians 2 verses 6-8 are you suggesting that the actions of Christ described, are post-resurrection.?
    -i.e. not regarding equality with God as something to be grasped (how do you think ‘God ‘is defined here?)
    -emptying himself
    -Humbling himself
    -Blessimgs
    John

  205. Rivers
    December 10, 2014 @ 1:02 pm

    John,

    Thank you for your comments.

    However, I don’t make any assumptions about “typology” when reading any biblical text unless the writer indicates that he intended to identify something as typological. I don’t seen any evidence in the grammar or context of Acts 2, Philippians 2, or Hebrews 1 that would require any “typological” interpretation.

    With regard to the verbs in Philippians 2:6-8, I agree that they all pertained to Jesus Christ. I was simply pointing out that ‘UPARXW (“existing” or “possessing”) is a present participle and need not be taken as referring to anything that characterized Jesus prior to the time that Paul was writing the letter (i.e. after Christ had already been exalted).

  206. john
    December 10, 2014 @ 11:15 am

    rRivers
    Where do you get that ‘stuff’ from.
    Hebrews 1 is pure typology.
    It surmises what Christs arrival in heaven must have been like expressed in the words and imagery of ceremonies involving the Davidic Kings
    Verses 8 &9 are a ‘re-make’ of Psalm 45 (see verses 7-10)
    Psalm 45 describes the marriage of the Davidic King to the Princess of Tyre
    verse 10 in fact praises The King and declares ‘ daughters of Kings are your lovrly wives (NAB)

    If you examine Philippians chapter 2 you will note that —
    –in verses 6-8 the subject of every verb is Christ
    -in verse 9 it is God who is the subject.
    Verse 11 in fact tells that God has made Christ ‘Lord’ to the glory of God the Father
    As always the Father is GOD

    Christ is the’second Adam’ who did not make the same mistakes as the ‘first adam’ (trying to equate himself to God) but emptied Himself (of human ego) and humbled Himself even onto death on a cross
    Acts 2 29-34 is another regurgitation of an OT scripture and is pure typology. At Coronation services of the Davidic Kings the candidates were
    -made Gods adoptive sons
    -ordained as priests
    -crowned King.

    Blessings
    John

    KJV uses ‘honoutable ladies)
    Note how deceitful persons have capitalised the word ‘God’ in Hebrews v8!

  207. Rivers
    December 10, 2014 @ 10:13 am

    Sean,

    Where I think most interpreters have gone wrong in John 8:58 and Philippians 2:6 (which has resulted in the notion of “preexistence”) is missing the implications of the verb forms in these two texts.

    Unfortunately, in John 8:58, most of the debate has focused on the interpretation of “I am” (EGW EIMI) in the second clause which is nothing more than a common biblical Greek expression for “I am” (the someone or something) that should never be misconstrued as having any connotation of “deity.”

    What has been missed is the implication of the Aorist Middle Infinitive form of GINOMAI used in the first clause. Even though it is usually translated as a past tense (“was born”), the Infinitive form of the Aorist can also mean “comes to being”. If this is the case, then Jesus was referring to something that hadn’t happened with Abraham yet (e.g. resurrection) and not to his original “birth.”

    Likewise, what I think has been often overlooked in Philippians 2:6 is the used of the Present Active Participle of ‘UPARXW. Although it is also usually translated in the past tense (unnecessarily), this form can also indicate that Paul was speaking of Jesus possessing “the form of God” at the time he was writing the letter. If that is the case, then Jesus was “existing in the form of God” only after he had already been “highly exalted” (Philippians 2:9) and had a “glorified body” (Philippians 3:21).

  208. Jaco
    December 10, 2014 @ 9:46 am

    Rose,

    Your argumentum ad nauseam suggests that you are unable to address my issues with your doctrine.

    To Sean you said: “Addressing Jesus Messiah as EIS KURIOS is an honor indeed. It’s a worship because the one being honored is absolute Deity.”

    No. If, to the ancient Jewish Christian, there existed Kurios Theos and Kurios Christos, the obvious question would be, who this eis kurios would be. The dominant OT text used as template for Jesus’ royal office is Ps. 110:1 and it is clear that Kurios Theos (YHWH) has given temporary authority (1 Cor. 15:27f.) to Kurios christos (Jesus). If Kurios could only mean one thing and could refer to only one person, then you probably had biblical support for your doctrine. But there is none.

    You said, “Jesus’ Lordship — Ruler-ship — is something he was made and was given in time ( Matthew 28:18; Acts 2:36). ”

    Yes. That is in contrast to the Eternal God of the Universe who by definition is Almighty and does not require appointment.

    “On the other hand, Jesus’ being YHWH is an eternal identity ( Exodus 3:14, Deuteronomy 6:4).”

    No, Jesus himself knew the Shema and he knew that someone else deserved worship as God Almighty (Matt. 4:10; Joh. 17:3; 1 Cor. 11:3). You also mis-use the word “identity” above. If Jesus and Yahweh is identical and Yahweh sent out a son, then Jesus sent out a son. The principle of “indiscernibility of identicals” prohibits something from being different to itself at any one time.

    “How would you explain 1 Corinthians 8:6 wherein Paul worships Jesus as EIS KURIOS?”

    Simple. To Paul, there is only one true God, Yahweh; Jesus is his son, the appointed Messiah. So according to Ps. 110:1 and the custom of the day, Yahweh was worshiped and his deputy was also given veneration. Nothing odd to the ancient monotheistic Jew. The way you understand the text, upon being asked, “Who else, besides Yahweh, is God?” you would have to say, the Father. Which would make you a polytheist, since kurios, according to you, means Yahweh.

  209. Rivers
    December 10, 2014 @ 9:45 am

    Sean,

    I’m seeking clarification of your viewpoint …

    Where do you find the concept of “a heavenly person (spirit?) who became Jesus” in scripture? Do you think that “spirit being” is the same “person” as Jesus Christ?

    I appreciate that you are candid enough to admit that you are “not sure about the preexistence of Jesus” but are concerned about the most plausible interpretations of John 8:58 and Philippians 2:6.

    Since I don’t think there is any evidence that the apostles believed in any kind of “preexistence of Christ” or “incarnation” doctrines, let show a plausible grammatical and contextual reading of both John 8:58 and Philippians 2:6 that doesn’t require drawing the “preexistence” conclusions.

    I’m going to [paraphrase] a little bit just so you can see the interpretation I’m suggesting:

    John 8:58 … “BEFORE ABRAHAM COMES [to life again, in my day], I AM [the one he rejoiced to see]”

    Philippians 2:6 … WHO [Christ Jesus] ALTHOUGH HE [Jesus Christ] EXISTS [presently] IN THE FORM OF GOD [in his body of glory], DID NOT REGARD EQUALITY WITH GOD [the glory of God] SOMETHING TO BE GRASPED [taken for himself] …

  210. Rivers
    December 10, 2014 @ 9:03 am

    Talitha,

    Good point. There’s no doubt that both God the Father and Jesus Christ are called “God” and “Lord” in the scriptures (Hebrews 1:8-9; Acts 2:34).

    But, it’s evident that in the context of Hebrews 1:8-9 the usage of the word “God” referring to both the Father and the son indicate that the Father is greater than the son. Also, the context of Acts 2:29-34 also shows that apostles understood that God the Father was a greater “Lord” than the “Lord” Jesus Christ who was a son of David.

  211. Sean Garrigan
    December 10, 2014 @ 9:02 am

    Rose,

    “Even without using the word ‘consubstantiality’, the fact remains that the Gospel of John presented Jesus as God’s only begotten Son who is one with him in terms of nature ( John 1:1,14,18;3:16-18;5:18-19,8:42;10:28-39,20:28-31).”

    You’re just repeating yourself, and ignoring the answers given.

  212. Sean Garrigan
    December 10, 2014 @ 9:01 am

    “When you refer to Jesus Christ as “heavenly life”, were are you getting “heavenly life” from scripture? Do you think that Jesus Christ was an actual human person, or do you mean something else by “heavenly life”? Please clarify.”

    I use the generic “heavenly life” because the Bible does not specify the ontology of the heavenly person who became Jesus. I would say that he was a spirit being, since fleshly beings are part of the physical world, whereas he wasn’t yet part of the physical world.

    We won’t agree, I’m quite sure, on the Scriptural evidence for Jesus’ preexistence, but I think that such is the most plausible reading of Philippians 2, and GJohn, which includes ch 8:58 where this understanding is inescapable, IMO.

  213. Rose Brown
    December 10, 2014 @ 9:00 am

    @Sean,

    Even without using the word ‘consubstantiality’, the fact remains that the Gospel of John presented Jesus as God’s only begotten Son who is one with him in terms of nature ( John 1:1,14,18;3:16-18;5:18-19,8:42;10:28-39,20:28-31).

  214. Rose Brown
    December 10, 2014 @ 8:51 am

    @Jaco,

    “That lends absolute no validity to any of those religious systems, simply because a background contaminated or distorted is no longer fully reflective of that which it claims to be derived from. ”

    The OT as a whole is explicit that God, his Wisdom and his Spirit, are all active in both creation and redemption. The same reality can be seen in the NT albeit Wisdom and Spirit is now regarded as real persons and not mere personifications any more ( Matthew 28:19, John 1:1,18,10:28-30, 14:16).

  215. Rose Brown
    December 10, 2014 @ 8:45 am

    @Sean,

    Addressing Jesus Messiah as EIS KURIOS is an honor indeed. It’s a worship because the one being honored is absolute Deity.

    Jesus’ Lordship — Ruler-ship — is something he was made and was given in time ( Matthew 28:18; Acts 2:36).

    On the other hand, Jesus’ being YHWH is an eternal identity ( Exodus 3:14, Deuteronomy 6:4).

    How would you explain 1 Corinthians 8:6 wherein Paul worships Jesus as EIS KURIOS?

    NOTE

    All Jews in first century Judaism knew the Greek of Deuteronomy 6:4.

  216. Rivers
    December 10, 2014 @ 8:38 am

    Rose,

    I understand what you are trying to say about Jesus being “God.” However, when you keep using the term “consubstantiality”, you are actually not interpreting the scriptures in their own context.

    The word “consubstantial’ is a Latin word (coined at least a hundred years after the apostolic era) and is a translation of a Greek term that isn’t found in scripture either. My concern is that you are unwittingly trying to force a post-apostolic theological concept into the vocabulary of the writer of the 4th Gospel.

    When doing sound, critical exegesis and analytical biblical theology, it’s important that we interpret the apostolic vocabulary within the “context of the canonical scriptures. The wrong “context” is no more useful than “no context.”

  217. Jaco
    December 10, 2014 @ 8:33 am

    Rose Brown,

    Thanks for your response, but know that it has been rather inadequate.

    You said: “Hebraic backround of the Trinity is seen in the OT personification of God’s Wisdom and Spirit ( Job 33:4, Psalm 33:6, Proverbs 8:22).”

    Well, there’s a Hebraic background to Islam and to Mormonism and even to Hare Krishna. That lends absolute no validity to any of those religious systems, simply because a background contaminated or distorted is no longer fully reflective of that which it claims to be derived from. There are furthermore degrees of distortion, such as the importing of alien concepts, the displacement of original concepts or even the forgetting of concepts unique to its original setting. So your statement above is reductionistic and therefore unsound. The personification of Yahweh’s choqma and ruach in the Hebraic mind is significantly different from the fully personal and distinct centres of consciousness found among the Three Divine Persons of the Gentile Trinity. While choqma and ruach would all belong to the One who was Jesus’ Father (Yahweh) and be reflective of him, in the terms of the indigenized distortion of that reality (Gentile Trinity), all three Persons are Yahweh. These fundamental differences should be clear even to the most indoctrinated. For a study on the extent of hypostatization of Wisdom and Spirit, see Christology in the Making by James Dunn.

    You said: “God was not presented in the OT as a Unitarian being. Rather, God is seen to be with other fellows like Him ( Genesis 1:26-27, 3:22;11:7; Isaiah 6:8).”

    Well, your sentence is rather misleading. For God “to be with other fellows like Him” is no real solution to your proposal, since you would still have ONE GOD and IN ADDITION TO THAT ONE GOD, other fellows like Him. That amounts to polytheism. Moreover, to have WITH HIM other fellows like Him is significantly different from the Gentile Trinity which posits an internal plurality of the Divine, as opposed to distributed plurality. So I’m afraid, from just a high-level impression of your sentence above, that you still haven’t proven much.

    As to the accuracy of your statements, it is probably as obvious as to students of Theology of Genesis 101 that Gen. 1:26-27 does not in the least reflect a Trinity. Even the Social Trinitarian, Dan Wallace, admits in his NET Bible that those addressed there is the heavenly court, befitting a royal setting in ancient Mesopotamia. The same has been said about Gen. 3:22, 11:7 and Isa.6:8. Even the Targumim attest to the heavenly court whom God addressed in these texts. No Trinity there.

    You said: “The OT as a whole is explicit that God, his Wisdom and his Spirit, are all active in both creation and redemption. The same reality can be seen in the NT albeit Wisdom and Spirit is now regarded as real persons and not mere personifications any more ( Matthew 28:19, John 1:1,18,10:28-30, 14:16).”

    No, typology would prevent you from making these doctrinal leaps. And these are precisely the leaps you require, as well as specific Gentile metaphysics, to arrive at the Trinity. Matthew 28:19 attests to the existence of the Father (Yahweh) his son, the exalted Jesus from Nazareth, and the holy spirit by which they become present (perfect Hebraic pneumatology);

    John 1:1 states that God’s plant-in-action was fully reflective of who God was;

    John 1:18 maintains the transcendentality of Yahweh (hence the necessity of intermediary figures such as wisdom, logos and spirit), and that Jesus acted as reflector of God’s glory;

    John 10:28-30 reiterates the major theme of GJohn, namely that Jesus as God’s representative is in full harmony with the Almighty, Yahweh; and

    John 14:16 is pure personification. And if you want to insist upon full hypostatization, you still need to deal with what the ancient mental default would have been to Jewish monotheists, also keeping in mind that the Targum on Job translated the angelic mediator of Job 16:19 and 33:23 as parakletos. This is a far cry from God the Holy Spirit of the late Gentile Church.

    You said, “Both Unitarians and Trinitarians concur that the economic Trinity exists but Trinitarians also agree that the economic Trinity per se is the immanent Trinity.”

    I do not think in Trinitarian terms whatsoever. So I’m not included above.

  218. Rivers
    December 10, 2014 @ 8:27 am

    Sean,

    When you refer to Jesus Christ as “heavenly life”, were are you getting “heavenly life” from scripture? Do you think that Jesus Christ was an actual human person, or do you mean something else by “heavenly life”? Please clarify.

  219. Sean Garrigan
    December 10, 2014 @ 8:26 am

    “How would you explain 1 Corinthians 8:6 wherein Paul worships Jesus as EIS KURIOS?”

    There is no indication of “worship” in that verse. KURIOS there has the same significance it has in the other verses I referenced. THAT was how Paul conceptualized Christ’s lordship, hence it was part of his form of address when writing letters.

  220. Rose Brown
    December 10, 2014 @ 7:59 am

    @Talitha and @Sean,

    How would you explain 1 Corinthians 8:6 wherein Paul worships Jesus as EIS KURIOS?

    NOTE

    All Jews in first century Judaism knew the Greek of Deuteronomy 6:4.

  221. Sean Garrigan
    December 10, 2014 @ 7:36 am

    Talitha,

    You call to mind another feature of what I call the Problem of Expectation. Trinitarians want to assert that Jesus is called Lord, where this is a substitute or “translation” of YHWH. Yet I would say that that’s virtually impossible to justify historically, because of the subordinate sense in which Lord is used, e.g.:

    Ephesians 1:3 – Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ
    1 Peter 1:3 – Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!
    2 Corinthians 1:3 – Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ
    2 Corinthians 11:31 – The God and Father of the Lord Jesus, who is to be praised forever, knows that I am not lying.

    If the early Jewish Christians thought that Lord = YHWH when used of Jesus, they would have been dumbstruck by such phrases, and would have required that such cognitive-dissonance inspiring expressions be explained. Once that conversation had begun, it would have naturally led very quickly to the sorts of conversations and disputes that arose much later on the road to Nicaea.

  222. Sean Garrigan
    December 10, 2014 @ 7:25 am

    Rose,

    “Notice that Jesus as ‘God’ ( anarthrous theos) in the qualitative sense(nature) preceded the divine title:…theos ( John 1:1)…theos ( John 1:18 )…theos ( John 10:33)…ho theos ( John 20:28)…”

    Those verses have nothing to do with divine “nature” or “qualitative” thoes, which is an idea that was invented by Trinitarians to avoid the two most natural understandings of John 1:1c. Paul Dixon essentially admits this in the introduction to his thesis, entitled The Significance of the Anarthrous Predicate Nominative in John:

    “The importance of this theses is clearly seen in the above example (John 1:1) where the doctrines of the deity of Christ and the Trinity are at stake. For, if the Word was ‘a god,’ then by implication there are other gods of which Jesus is one. On the other hand, if QEOS is just as definite as the articular construction following the verb because, ‘the dropping of the article…is simply a matter of word order,’ then the doctrine of the Trinity is denied.'” (The Significance of the Anarthrous Predicate Nominative in John), p. 2

    Note that, as a student at DTS, Dixon had no choice but to defend the Trinity:

    http://www.dts.edu/about/doctrinalstatement/

    So Dixon had to secure a third category of bounded noun (contrary to sound linguistics), because he believed that the “deity of Christ” (an amorphous phrase) and the truthfulness of the Trinity doctrine are at stake. Thus, as I said, as a Trinitarian he had *no choice* but to reject both a definite and an indefinite QEOS at John 1:1c. He *had* to try and secure another alternative. I would say that the same goes for P.B. Harner, whose “study” is a logical mess, and who assumed but never proved that a different word order would have been used had the Evangelist meant to say that the Word was “a god”, which is poppycock (over 50% of the bounded pre-verbal anarthrous predicate nominatives in John are indefinte). Greek is an extremely flexible language word-order-wise. Placing the noun before the verb no more makes QEOS “qualitative” than rearranging an English sentence from the active to the passive voice changes the meaning of English predicates. At most we’re talking about a slight shift in emphasis at the sentence level, not a shift in the meaning of the individual words.

    James Dunn, A.E. Harvey, and Marianne Meye Thompson all offer *much* more compelling answers to what is meant at John 1:1c, all of which can be viewed as functional applications, not ontological ones:

    James D. G. Dunn
    “The fact that even when describing the Logos as God/god (1.1), John may distinguish two uses of the title from each other is often noted but too little appreciated. The distinction is possibly made by the use of the definite article with theos and the absence of the definite article in the same sentence… As we see in Philo, in his exposition of Genesis 31.13 (De Somniis 1.227-30)…John’s Gospel does not attempt similar clarification in his use of God/god for the Logos… But in possibly making (or allowing to be read) a distinction between God (ho theos) and the Logos (theos) the Evangelist may have had in mind a similar qualification in the divine status to be recognized for Christ. Jesus was God, in that he made God known, in that God made himself known in and through him, in that he was God’s effective outreach to his creation and to his people. But he was not God in himself.” (Did the First Christians Worship Jesus), pp. 134 & 135

    Marianne Meye Thompson:
    “Here the category of agency sheds light…A common saying in the rabbis was ‘the one who is sent is like the one who sent him’ or ‘a man’s agent is equivalent to himself’ (m. Ber. 5:5;b. B. Mes. 96a; b. hag. 10b; b. Menah. 93b; b. Nazir 12b; b. Qidd. 42b, 43a)…When the concept of agency is coupled with speculation on the names or powers of God, we see that the name of “God” for the Word is intended to show that the Word exercises the divine prerogatives. As Jesus of Nazareth, the incarnate Word continues to exercise the divine prerogatives, and exactly these actions and this claim evoke hostility from the Jewish authorities who charge Jesus with blasphemy (10:31-38).” (Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels, Intervarsity Press, 1992), pp. 376, 377

    A.E. Harvey
    “The relevance of this is easily expressed in a syllogism:

    (a) The Word was God;
    (b) Jesus was the Word; therefore
    (c) Jesus was God

    But both premises require some qualification.”
    End Quote

    After offering such qualification, some of which I would certainly state differently in light of the current understanding of Jewish monotheism during the biblical period, he offers a more fitting understanding of what’s going on at John 1:1:

    Begin Quote
    “The premises of the syllogism now have to be rephrased in some such form as the following:

    (a) The Word was an expression of God’s activity;
    (b) Jesus could for certain purposes be described as the Word.

    The conclusion cannot therefore be pressed beyond a statement such as

    (c) Jesus could for certain purposes be described as an expression of God’s activity.”

    (Jesus and the Constraints of History, Gerald Duckworth & Company, London: 1982), pp 176, 177

    See also my comments in this thread: http://trinities.org/blog/archives/6575/comment-page-3

    If QEOS is correct at John 1:18, which I tend to doubt, then it’s use is also in harmony with the agency-paradigm. Since divine titles were often used of agents of God, it is wholly appropriate for the Evangelist to refer to Jesus as MONOGENES (unique) QEOS.

    For John 10, see my discussion here: http://kazesland.blogspot.com/2012/06/charge-against-jesus-at-john-1031.html#comment-form

    ~Sean

  223. Talitha
    December 10, 2014 @ 7:11 am

    All-

    Interesting that God’s Anointed, who is called “god” and “lord” and “logos” continues to declare YHWH to be his personal God even after his ascension. Must be a bummer for Jesus to have to worship the One with whom he’s always been ontologically identical. Good thing he’s got this functional submission thing down!

  224. Rose Brown
    December 10, 2014 @ 6:28 am

    @Jaco,

    Hebraic backround of the Trinity is seen in the OT personification of God’s Wisdom and Spirit ( Job 33:4, Psalm 33:6, Proverbs 8:22).

    God was not presented in the OT as a Unitarian being. Rather, God is seen to be with other fellows like Him ( Genesis 1:26-27, 3:22;11:7; Isaiah 6:8).

    The OT as a whole is explicit that God, his Wisdom and his Spirit, are all active in both creation and redemption. The same reality can be seen in the NT albeit Wisdom and Spirit is now regarded as real persons and not mere personifications any more ( Matthew 28:19, John 1:1,18,10:28-30, 14:16).

    Both Unitarians and Trinitarians concur that the economic Trinity exists but Trinitarians also agree that the economic Trinity per se is the immanent Trinity.

  225. Rose Brown
    December 10, 2014 @ 6:16 am

    Jesus is already addressed as ‘God’ in both John 1:1 and John 1:18. The entire Prologue of John’s gospel represents the whole theme of the entire Johannine Gospel record.

    In John 10:28-30, Jesus is claiming to be ‘God’,that is, we see Jesus himself affirming and asserting con-substantiality with God the Father throughout the Gospel of John the Apostle ( John 3:16,18;5:18-19,26;8:42;10:28-39).

    Notice that Jesus as ‘God’ ( anarthrous theos) in the qualitative sense(nature) preceded the divine title:

    theos ( John 1:1)
    theos ( John 1:18 )
    theos ( John 10:33)
    ho theos ( John 20:28)

    It is sound to accept the texts per se in such a way that is not divorced from its context.

  226. Sean Garrigan
    December 9, 2014 @ 10:09 pm

    Rivers,

    “Since we both agree that Jesus Christ had a “beginning”, and we both want to understand the New Testament scriptures, when do you think that Jesus Christ had his “beginning”?”

    The Scriptures don’t tell us when Jesus’ heavenly life began.

  227. Rivers
    December 9, 2014 @ 8:50 pm

    Hi Sean,

    Since we both agree that Jesus Christ had a “beginning”, and we both want to understand the New Testament scriptures, when do you think that Jesus Christ had his “beginning”?

  228. Sean Garrigan
    December 9, 2014 @ 7:27 pm

    Aaron,

    “Before Arius, it would seem to me that Subordinationism was the predominant view; with Christ being eternal.”

    Depends on the time period to which you’re referring. Once Christology was planted in pagan Greek soil, then all sorts of unbiblical concepts emerged. But while Christology remained planted in Hebrew soil, Christ was not thought of as eternal.

    “Can you explain the reason you see Christ as having a beginning? I’m sure you believe the scriptures over the early bishops (as all us newtestamentarians do). So why are they wrong? Thanks again!”

    Sure, it’s because I presuppose that only God is without beginning. Since Jesus is someone other than God, he is not without beginning.

  229. Aaron
    December 9, 2014 @ 3:22 pm

    Sean,

    You wrote you were “newtestamentarian” in your Christology with Christ being the Father’s first creation.
    Should I read that as newtestamentarian or newtestamentARIAN? 🙂

    Before Arius, it would seem to me that Subordinationism was the predominant view; with Christ being eternal. Can you explain the reason you see Christ as having a beginning? I’m sure you believe the scriptures over the early bishops (as all us newtestamentarians do). So why are they wrong? Thanks again!

  230. Rivers
    December 9, 2014 @ 1:17 pm

    Hi Mario,

    Thanks for continuing the discussion. Here is how I would respond to your comments.

    1. The reason that I added the evidence in Revelation 19:13 to our discussion about LOGOS is because you insisted that Revelation should be included in the “Johannine Corpus.” Since I there isn’t any evidence the “John” who wrote Revelation (Revelation 1:1-2) also authored the 4th Gospel or the 3 letters, I didn’t refer to the occurrences of LOGOS in Revelation in my original comment.

    2. I think it’s good that you brought the usage of LOGOS in Revelation into the discussion because it certainly shows that LOGOS was a “name” given to Jesus Christ, as well as always referring to a “spoken” saying or message elsewhere. This supports my suggestion that LOGOS was used the same two ways by the writer of the 4th Gospel and the 3 letters. It’s certainly reasonable to consider that LOGOS was being used as a name for Jesus Christ himself in John 1:1-3, 14 and 1 John 1:2.

    3. You seem to have misunderstood the usage of LOGOS that I pointed out in my original comments. First, the term LOGOS is always used by the writer of the 4th Gospel to refer to a “spoken” saying or message (and it almost always refers to something that Jesus himself said). Second, the term LOGOS was applied to Jesus himself (as a name, presumably in a figurative sense because he was the man who embodied the message about eternal life, 1 John 1:1-2).

    4. I know the vocabulary and semantics of the biblical languages very well. If I didn’t understand them, I would be appealing to lexicons and dropping the names of other scholars to give people who don’t know me the impression that I’m “learned.” Some people need to take that approach, but I’m not that kind of person.

    5. I understand that you’ve come to the conclusion that “the LOGOS is an attribute of YHWH who became incarnated.” Unfortunately, the noun LOGOS was never used in biblical Greek to speak of an “attribute” and there is no concept of “incarnation” in the language either. That is why I don’t think there is any substantial exegetical basis for drawing the conclusion you’ve offered. You seem to be unnecessarily forcing an “incarnation” concept into John 1:14, 1 John 4:2, and 2 John 7 when neither the grammar, nor the context of any of the passages require it.

    6. Jesus called himself “the way, the truth, THE LIFE” (John 14:6). The apostles also understood that what they “heard, saw, watched, and touched” when they were with Jesus Christ, was the “manifestation” of “the LOGOS of LIFE” (1 John 1:1-3). That is why I think the writer associated “flesh” with LOGOS (John 1:14).

    7. I don’t think your understanding the PROS TON THEON or PROS TON PATERA merely conveys the idea of “close relationship” is consistent with the evidence. If you take a closer look at how the writer of the 4th Gospel used the different prepositions (PROS, META, PARA), you will find that he always used META to convey the sense of “fellowship” and PROS to convey the sense of “direction” This is evident right in the context of 1 John 1:3 where he used META to speak of “fellowship” with God.

  231. Mario
    December 9, 2014 @ 10:33 am

    @ Rivers

    [December 8, 2014 at 7:29 pm]

    Point by point.

    1. The Greek word logos does, indeed, mean “spoken saying or message” … except for when it doesn’t 😉 And, in your … dialectical emphasis, you even seem to have forgotten that, beside Rev 19:13 (which you had not even previously considered), you had tried to explain (away) logos as “used metaphorically of Jesus himself”, when it would be senseless to insist that it means “spoken saying or message” …

    2. Isn’t it ironical that the very verse that you had previously not even considered part of the “Johannine Corpus”, Rev 19:13, now seems to become essential for your “metaphorical name” hypothesis!

    3. In spite of your strenuous efforts, there is no way (other than ignorance of the Greek language) that may accommodate your same “interpretation” of the different meaning of gi[g]nomai, respectively, in John 1:6 and John 1:14. The disciples certainly “knew the LOGOS as an audible and tangible person while they were with him” (1 John 1:1-3). That still doesn’t explain what was the logos when the disciples “were [not] with him” … ah, wait, the logos (normally nothing but a “spoken saying or message”) was a “metaphor” … 🙁

    4. That docetism (at least in its incipient form) was addressed in the Johannine letters is such common knowledge that you can even read about it in the Encyclopedia Britannica:

    Docetism, (from Greek dokein, “to seem”), Christian heresy and one of the earliest Christian sectarian doctrines, affirming that Christ did not have a real or natural body during his life on earth but only an apparent or phantom one. Though its incipient forms are alluded to in the New Testament, such as in the Letters of John (e.g., 1 John 4:1–3; 2 John 7), Docetism became more fully developed as an important doctrinal position of Gnosticism, … (Encyclopedia Britannica, Docetism)

    5. Isn’t it ironical that you would attribute “presuppositions” to me, when your presupposition, viz. that, in the Johannine Corpus, logos (when it cannot be explained as “spoken saying or message”) would be a “metaphorical name” for Jesus, transparently conditions ALL your arguing?

    BTW, I have indeed come (NOT to a “presupposition”, BUT) to a conclusion: the Johannine logos is NEITHER a “personification” (like Wisdom/sophia/chokmah in Proverbs 8), NOR a “metaphor”, NOR an “allegory”, NOR a “subordinate god”, NOR a “co-equal, co-eternal person in a trinity”, BUT an eternal attribute of the One and Only God YHWH that became incarnated (sarx egeneto) in/as Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of God, the Son oaf man, the Messiah.

    [December 8, 2014 at 8:26 pm]

    “AND LIFE [Jesus Christ] WAS MANIFESTED [revealed] AND WE [apostles] HAVE SEEN AND TESTIFY AND PROCLAIM TO YOU [as eyewitnesses] THE ETERNAL LIFE [Jesus Christ] WHICH WAS WITH THE FATHER [the way to the Father], AND WAS MANIFESTED [revealed] TO US [the apostles].” [Rivers’ “interpretive paraphrase” of 1 John 1:2]

    Why should LIFE, nay even ETERNAL LIFE be equated to Jesus Christ? Another “metaphorical name”? 🙂

    As for John 1:1b and 1 John 1:2, the unusual construction einai + pros + ACC. conveys the idea of close connection/relationship. That no one “comes to the Father” except through Jesus (John 14:6), that (when his earthly mission was nearing the end) Jesus said that he was “going to the father” (e.g. John 16:10) is an entirely different concept, because in these phrases the pros + ACC. is associated with a verb that (unlike einai) expresses “motion or direction”.

  232. Sean Garrigan
    December 9, 2014 @ 10:31 am

    Rose,

    “The Son is Functionally Subordinate (FS) to and Ontologicaly Equal (OE) with the Father due to His being ‘the Son’…Jesus’ functional subordination to the Father does not affect his inherent and immutable divinity (Philippians 2:6-7)…Jesus can have all authority depending on the Father granting ( Matthew 28:18)…The ‘authority’ Jesus has is the permission to use his ‘ability’ from his inherent divinity ( Acts 1:7 – Mark 13:32, Matthew 18:18 – Colossians 2:3).”

    You’ve essentially repeated yourself, but haven’t addressed the very real problem I presented to you. You show familiarity with the sorts of pet phrases that orthodox theologians like to use when delineating their understanding of Jesus Christ, but it doesn’t appear that you really understand the nature of the problem I’ve highlighted. So, rather than simply engage in an endless back-and-forth, I’ll simply recommend that you think about the problem and consider the writings of Kevin Giles which I previously referenced.

  233. Rivers
    December 9, 2014 @ 10:11 am

    Rose,

    I must disagree with your redefinition of MONOGENES as “consubstantiality” because there is no evidence that the biblical writers ever used the term that way. In biblical usage, the term MONOGENES simply meant an “only child” (Luke 7:12; Luke 8:42; Luke 9:38; Hebrews 11:17). See also Judges 11:34 (LXX).

    The apostles didn’t use the term MONOGENES with reference to Jesus Christ until after he was “begotten” through his resurrection and ascension (Acts 13:33-34; Hebrews 1:5-6) because that is when God “declared him to be the son of God” (Romans 1:3-4). That is when Jesus Christ was “appointed heir of all things” (Hebrews 1:2).

    In John 1:18, Jesus was called “the begotten son in the bosom of the Father” because he had already ascended to the Father (John 20:17) by the time the Gospel was written. The writer of the 4th gospel never associated the word MONOGENES with the “birth” or “nature” of Jesus.

  234. Rivers
    December 9, 2014 @ 9:46 am

    Rose,

    I agree that the use of EGENETO in John 1:3 refers to things that “happened” through Jesus Christ. However, the context doesn’t require the idea that those things “came into existence.” GINOMAI is used many different ways in the 4th Gospel and the John letters. The word itself never denotes anything about “existence” (unless a particular context demands it).

    For example, the same verb, EGENETO, is in John 1:6 to refer to John the baptizer being “sent by God” to testify about Jesus. John did not “come into existence” when he started his public ministry. The verb simply indicates that something “happened” with John.

    Likewise, in John 1:14, EGENETO is used to speak of when Jesus “came” to “dwell” with his disciples. Jesus also did not “come into existence” when he began his public ministry. The verb simply suggests that the apostles saw his “flesh” (1 John 1:1-2) when he came to them.

    Please consider some other examples of how the Johannine writer used the verb GINOMAI simply to refer to someone (who already existed) “coming” or “appearing” somewhere. I’m just showing you these examples so that you can understand why I don’t think “existence” is what the writer has in mind in John 1:14.

    John 6:19 … Jesus “came” (GINOMAI) to the disciples when he walked on the water.

    John 6:21 … The ship “came” (GINOMAI) to land from the water.

    John 6:25 … Jesus “came” (GINOMAI) to Capernaum

    John 9:22 … People were going to “come out” (GINOMAI) of the synagogues

    John 12:30 … God’s voice “came” (GINOMAI) from heaven

    John 12:42 … People were going to “come out” (GINOMAI) of the synagogues

    John 14:22 … Jesus “came” (GINOMAI) to the disciples when he met them

  235. Rose Brown
    December 9, 2014 @ 8:37 am

    @Rivers,

    The Galatian texts you have cited refers to the followers of Christ as the only ones that were adopted sons to be an heir ( Galatians 4:1-5). The immediate context of the text itself shows that Christ is “God’s Son, born of a woman” ( Galatians 4:4).

    It was the Apostle John alone who used MONOGENES to Jesus ( John 1:1,14,18;3:16;18;1 John 4:9) and by using the term, he meant it to be referring to the consubstantiality of the Father and the Son ( John 1:1,18;5:18,26;10:28-38).

    Hebrews 1:2a God ”appointed” the Son the ”heir” of all things ( The Son owns all things).
    Hebrews 1:2b God created the universe by his Son ( a Person).
    Hebrews 1:3a The Son is the exact imprint of God’s ‘nature’ ( Greek: HUPOSTASEOS).
    Hebrews 1:3b The Son upholds all things (he had created) by His inherent powerful ‘word’ (Greek: RHEMA).
    Hebrews 1:4 The Son ‘inherited’ a more excellent name than the angels because he alone is “begotten” from God ( Hebrews 1:5) as opposed to the angels who were “made” ( Hebrews 1:7).

    The usage of Psalm 2:7 in the New Testament texts (Luke 3:22;Acts 13:33-34;Hebrews 1:5,5:5) is elucidated by Romans 1:4 wherein it says that Jesus Christ was ‘declared’ ( not made) God’s Son with power at his resurrection.Hence, it is shown in the Scriptures per se that Jesus was neither given power (ability) at his resurrection nor made literal son(begotten) at his resurrection.

  236. Jaco
    December 9, 2014 @ 8:19 am

    Rose,

    I’m afraid you didn’t answer my question. And I don’t blame you, because no respectable scholar of ancient Jewish anthropology and theology would ever claim that:
    1. God was ontologically distinguished between person and being
    2. That God had a nature or essence different from human nature
    3. That God subsisted in internal distinct hypostases

    So you couldn’t provide the evidence, because there is none. The Hebraic thought-world simply was different from the Gentile thought-world within which the indigenized Trinity doctrine developed (See for instance The Intellectual Adventure of Ancient Man by Henry Frankfort et al.). The doctrine REQUIRED a specific metaphysics for it to be conceptualized at all; without which it is non-existent. This is the crux of the matter, and the crux is actually axiomatic for further inquiry.

    You said: “Jesus and his Father are two distinct ‘persons’ who are one in ‘nature’ (Matthew 28:19;John 1:1,14,18;5:18,26;8:42;10:28-38,Colossians 2:9, Hebrews 1:3 etc.). The NT ascribed divine titles, divine blessings, and immutable divinity to Jesus Messiah. This is truth from the Holy Spirit is the truth that the ekklessia upholds (John 16:13;1 Timothy 3:15).”

    No, Jesus and his Father are not two distinct persons (chameleon-word which means two different things depending on your specific strand of metaphysics) in the Trinitarian sense. Jesus’ relation to the One God, Yahweh, is that of a son toward a father. That MAKES Jesus relationally Son and Yahweh relationally Father, while Yahweh, the Father is a distinct identity from his human messiah, Jesus. None of your texts prove otherwise. I can’t see how you can derive this developed doctrine from the texts you cited. You might want to explain.

    You are also presupposing your doctrine (as opposed to deriving it) by referring to divine titles, divine blessings and immutable divinity to Jesus Messiah (Michael Peppard’s Son of God in the Roman World). It is firstly a conceptual inaccuracy to think of the Anointed One (Messiah) as Most High, since his position as Messiah requires a superior Anointer. Secondly, titles and blessings are perfectly in order for a divinely-appointed deputy to have. Jesus explicitly admitted to his derived authority from God (who, in relation to Jesus is Father) in John chapters 6 and 7. More explicit you can’t get.

    “Followers of Christ in the first century do have a sort of an intermingling of Christologies that is systematized in the later centuries to follow due to reactions to christological heresies.”

    You are again presupposing the one indigenized super-doctrine of the Trinity and superimpose it onto your understanding of NT Christologies. These should be kept separate, as these were indeed distinct Christologies according to time and distribution of Christian communities (or as Chris Keith puts it, don’t create a super-gospel, because there was none). And none of the Christologies you mention presuppose or require Jesus to be God Almighty.

    You said, “HEBREWS 1:3’s HUPOSTASEOS ( from HUPOSTASIS)”

    From your subsequent elaboration of hypostasis and prosopon it seems like you are aware of the conceptual evolution and merger of different constructs which would eventually create favorable grounds for the conceptualization of the Gentile Trinity. But you are not correct in your understanding of hypostasis. It literally means substructure or under-build. In other words, while it later came to refer to a distinct, self-existent aspect of God, it initially meant the true “design” of something or what something truly is. And Heb. 1:3’s use of hypostasis is significantly different from the later Gentile use of it, since in Heb. 1:3, Jesus is not the hypostasis of God (who/what God is), but he is the imprint OF who/what God is. So you have no support here.

    You said, “Take note that , obviously, such influence is not the origin of the doctrine but rather, it is a means of expressing the doctrine in Platonic terms as a form of systematization. It is therefore not pagan but rather, systematic theology per se.”

    No, it is an indigenized conceptualization of God. As one gets indigenized Christianity in various parts of Africa and South America and China and India, the Trinity is simply a hybrid doctrine expressed in culture-specific concepts of the time. It is as valid as the doctrinal hybrids found in these other indigenized strands of Christian theology. Nothing more.

    You said: “The various words and terms used to describe the Triune Godhead are all having its roots from the NT in the sense of dynamic equivalence.
    The writers of the NT didn’t forbid to use terms that are scripturally faithful ( 2 Timothy 3:16-17, Titus 2:1).”

    And this is where your argument is the weakest, since your slippery slope is the clearest. As long as the concepts are faithful to the original, then by all means. The Trinity is a radical deviation from the original Hebraic cognitive universe Jesus and his first followers received their revelation (even the oppressive Athanasius had to face this fact, cp. De Decretis V.19-21). It is a linguistic and a conceptual hybrid doctrine. That invalidates your use of 2 Tim. 3:16-17 and Tit. 2:1 as an attempt to justify this hybrid. And you are welcome to glorify it all you want.

    Jaco

  237. Rose Brown
    December 9, 2014 @ 8:08 am

    @Sean,

    The Son is Functionally Subordinate (FS) to and Ontologicaly Equal (OE) with the Father due to His being ‘the Son’.

    Jesus’ functional subordination to the Father does not affect his inherent and immutable divinity (Philippians 2:6-7).

    Jesus can have all authority depending on the Father granting ( Matthew 28:18).

    The ‘authority’ Jesus has is the permission to use his ‘ability’ from his inherent divinity ( Acts 1:7 – Mark 13:32, Matthew 18:18 – Colossians 2:3).

  238. Mario
    December 9, 2014 @ 8:01 am

    “… someone who believes that the one who became the man Jesus Christ previously existed in heaven with God and was his first created ‘son’.”

    A remarkably … er … objective definition of “Newtestamentarian” … 😉

  239. Sean Garrigan
    December 9, 2014 @ 6:55 am

    Aaron,

    “Could you give a quick summary of your Christological views? How would you self-identify? Arian? Subordinationist?”

    How about Newtestamentarian? 😉 i.e. someone who believes that the one who became the man Jesus Christ previously existed in heaven with God and was his first created ‘son’.

  240. Rose Brown
    December 9, 2014 @ 3:05 am

    @Jaco,

    Jesus and his Father are two distinct ‘persons’ who are one in ‘nature’ (Matthew 28:19;John 1:1,14,18;5:18,26;8:42;10:28-38,Colossians 2:9, Hebrews 1:3 etc.). The NT ascribed divine titles, divine blessings, and immutable divinity to Jesus Messiah. This is truth from the Holy Spirit is the truth that the ekklessia upholds (John 16:13;1 Timothy 3:15).

    Followers of Christ in the first century do have a sort of an intermingling of Christologies that is systematized in the later centuries to follow due to reactions to christological heresies.These are the following of it:

    1) Son of God Christology
    2) Son of Man Christology
    3) Logos Christology
    4) Wisdom Christology

    HEBREWS 1:3’s HUPOSTASEOS ( from HUPOSTASIS)

    In the first century, the Greek word HUPOSTASIS meant “nature”( ESV, NASB, HCSB).

    In the second century, both ‘PROSOPON'(Greek) and ‘persona'(Latin)were used to denote the “person-hood” ( I, you,he ) of the Trinity.

    In the third and fourth century, the Greek word HUPOSTASIS become to mean “person”( KJV, YLT). Such a shift in semantics is not a product of linguistic evolution but rather, it’s a product of an influence from Platonic teachings.

    Take note that , obviously, such influence is not the origin of the doctrine but rather, it is a means of expressing the doctrine in Platonic terms as a form of systematization. It is therefore not pagan but rather, systematic theology per se.

    The various words and terms used to describe the Triune Godhead are all having its roots from the NT in the sense of dynamic equivalence.

    The writers of the NT didn’t forbid to use terms that are scripturally faithful ( 2 Timothy 3:16-17, Titus 2:1).

    Glory to the Trinity whose name is one! ~ Matthew 28:19

  241. Jaco
    December 9, 2014 @ 12:07 am

    Rose,

    Thanks for your answer, but you did not answer my question. You used a text which happens to have the Greek word physis in, and defaulted to your specific understanding of the concept, NATURE. My question again:

    “How was nature, essence and hypostasis expressed conceptually or linguistically in the Hebrew culture?”

    And in providing your evidence, please make sure that NATURE to you and the Greek/Latin Church is equivalent to NATURE to the ancient Hebrews.

    Thanks,

  242. Rose Brown
    December 8, 2014 @ 11:15 pm

    @Rivers,

    EGENETO has been used in John 1:3 to mean ” to come into existence” of things that do not have prior existence.

    In John 1:14, EGENETO means ” to come into existence” because the Word was not ‘flesh’ but rather, He was ‘God’ prior to his becoming flesh (cf: John 1:1,14).

    “A text wihout a context is a just a pretext.”

  243. Aaron
    December 8, 2014 @ 9:45 pm

    Sean,

    Could you give a quick summary of your Christological views? How would you self-identify? Arian? Subordinationist?

    Thanks!

  244. Rivers
    December 8, 2014 @ 8:26 pm

    Mario,

    There should be no difficulty with 1 John 1:2. Let me offer an interpretive [paraphrase] that I think renders the author’s intended meaning without any dispute about the text or translation:

    “AND LIFE [Jesus Christ] WAS MANIFESTED [revealed] AND WE [apostles] HAVE SEEN AND TESTIFY AND PROCLAIM TO YOU [as eyewitnesses] THE ETERNAL LIFE [Jesus Christ] WHICH WAS WITH THE FATHER [the way to the Father], AND WAS MANIFESTED [revealed] TO US [the apostles].

    What I think many interpreters overlook in this text (and in John 1:1b) is that the writer specifically used the preposition PROS to speak about the relationship between Jesus Christ and the Father during the time that they knew him. This is because PROS conveys movement and direction (and does not mean “with” in the sense of two persons being “together with” each other).

    Jesus often spoke of going “to the Father” (PROS TON PATERA) when he spoke of his resurrection and ascension (e.g. John 13:3; John 14:12; John 16:10; John 20:17). When Jesus was with the disciples, he told them that HE was “the way … to the Father” (John 14:6).

    Thus, what is being expressed in 1 John 1:2 is simply that Jesus Christ, who “was” the way “to the Father” (PROS TON PATERA) was “manifested” to the apostles through John the baptizer (John 1:30-31) so that they might believe through him (John 1:7).

  245. Rivers
    December 8, 2014 @ 7:29 pm

    Mario,

    I appreciate your passionate critical feedback. Please let me respond to each of your points:

    1. Regardless of whether or not the 4th Gospel and the 3 letters were written by the “John” who claims authorship of Revelation (Revelation 1:1-2), it makes no difference because all 5 books use LOGOS the same way. It always means a “spoken” saying or “message” except for Revelation 19:13 where it is a “name” given to Jesus Christ. Thus, I don’t think a particular scholarly definition of the “Johannine Corpus” has any bearing on determining how the apostles used the word LOGOS.

    2. The understanding that LOGOS was a “name” given to Jesus Christ himself is no hypothesis. We find it in Revelation 19:13. Therefore, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to consider that it is the name being given to Jesus himself in John 1:1-14, and John 1:1-2 as well. Both texts describe the LOGOS as an audible and tangible person (1 John 1:1-2) who was “flesh” and “dwelt among” his disciples (John 1:14).

    3. Your selective appeal to a lexical opinion about the meaning of EGENETO in John 1:6 and John 1:14 is insignificant. GINOMAI is used several dozen times in the 4th Gospel and the John letters and certainly doesn’t fit the restrictive definitions you’ve chosen. GINOMAI has a wide semantic range that is always dependent upon the particular context. I think the writer explained the meaning of “the word became flesh” when he referred to the fact that the disciples knew the LOGOS as an audible and tangible person while they were with him (1 John 1:1-3).

    4. Since there is no evidence whatsoever that the Johannine writer knew of any “Docetists speading in his community”, it’s unsubstantial for you to assume that such a doctrine had anything to do with the reference to “flesh” in John 1:14 or 1 John 4:2 or 2 John 7. It makes perfectly good sense that the writer was simply testifying that he knew the LOGOS as an human being. In both contexts, the matter of concern is that the LOGOS “dwelt among” the disciples (John 1:14b) and that they had “fellowship” with him (1 John 1:3a).

    5. I think you’re missing the simple point that the Johannine writer was making in John 1:14 and 1 John 1:2 because you are trying to force the biblical text to conform to your presuppositions about the influence of “Docetism.” I would encourage you to focus on the biblical text and allow the usage of the words in each particular context to illuminate the writer’s intended meaning for you.

  246. Mario
    December 8, 2014 @ 6:22 pm

    “If the Son is eternally subordinated to the Father, and cannot be otherwise [why?], then he does not just function subordinately, he is the subordinated Son.”

    Perhps it would be a sign of honesty and respect not just to provide a link to Tom Witherington blog post, but also so invite everybody to read it in its entirety … 🙂

  247. Mario
    December 8, 2014 @ 5:59 pm

    @ Rivers

    [December 8, 2014 at 8:34 am]

    Let me remind you that “Johannine Corpus” is an expression used in scholarship to refer collectively to the Gospel of John, the Letters of John Book of Revelation. It may be considered a conventional classification, but some scholars see things rather more substantially:

    “Considering the Fourth Gospel in the second-century context also forces us not only to view it alongside other Gospel literature, but also alongside other writings with which it was widely associated, namely, the Johannine Epistles and Apocalypse.” (Charles E. Hill, The Johannine Corpus in the Early Church, OUP, 2004, Abstract)

    [December 8, 2014 at 9:29 am]

    It is entirely obvious to me that you are so enamoured with your “metaphoric hypothesis” of the use of the Greek word logos (a word that would normally mean only and simply “spoken saying or message”) to refer to Jesus, that it would be a waste of time and energy to try and persuade you that it is a hermeneutical dead end.

    So, I will restrict myself to applying “local criticism” to some of the things you say.

    First, it is not particularly relevant, but, for the sake of the record, in John 1:15,30 it is simply said that the Baptist referred to Jesus with the demonstrative pronoun houtos. The Baptist says that “this one”, Jesus, was “coming after him” for the trivial reason that Jesus was younger than him and that he made his first public appearance at John’s Baptism at the Jordan. Contrary to you, I read (with Raymond E. Brown) John 1:6-8 as verses added to a pre-existing text (hymn), that manifestly break its rhythm. John 1:1-10 ONLY speaks of the logos (also referred to as “life” and “light”) as God’s eternal attribute. It is ONLY with John 1:11 that the text begins to refer to Jesus, in/as whom God’s eternal Word “became flesh” (sarx egeneto).

    Second, the Greek verb gi[g]nomai (see Liddell-Scott-Jones Greek Lexicon) has the fundamental meaning of come into a new state of being. There is a clear difference in use, depending on whether gi[g]nomai is used …
    I. in an absolute sense, in which case it means come into being;
    II. followed by a predicate, in which case it means come into a certain state, become, and (in past tenses), to be.

    So, far from egeneto having the same meaning in both John 1:6 and in John 1:14, the proper translations are, respectively:

    egeneto anthropos => there came / there was a man (John 1:6)
    ho logos sarx egeneto => the word became flesh (John 1:14)

    Third, having skirted around the Greek phrase ho logos sarx egeneto, without providing your proposed translation of it, but anyway, having wrongly assumed that, in John 1:14, egeneto simply means “came”, leaving entirely unexplained the predicate sarx, as though it didn’t exist, you proceed to giving importance to how erchomai is used both for John’s and for Jesus’ “coming” (so what?) and also to how erchomai is used in conjunction with en sarki (“came in the flesh”) in 1 John 4:2,3 and 2 John 7, when it is (should be …) entirely obvious that, in these verses, the expression “came in the flesh” is opposed to (and a condemnation of) the docetism that was spreading in the Johannine Community.

    As for your conclusion (“I think it’s plausible to consider that ‘the word (LOGOS) became flesh AND dwelt among us” (John 1:14) probably [sic!] meant nothing more than that Jesus Christ was ‘manifested’ to the world as a tangible human being”), what on earth does it mean that “Jesus Christ was ‘manifested’ to the world as a tangible human being”? Unless one wants to dispel docetic propensities, that is a moot and irrelevant claim. If you feel like tackling something relevant, how do you explain “the eternal life that was with the Father and was revealed to us” (1 John 1:2)?

  248. Sean Garrigan
    December 8, 2014 @ 5:38 pm

    Rose,

    Here is an example of Kevin Giles’s argument vis a vis functional/ontological surbordinationism:

    “Grudem and the many evangelicals who follow him say they are only advocating the eternal functional or role subordination of the Son, not the ontological subordination of the Son. Indeed, all Christians believe that the Son voluntarily and temporally choose to be subordinated for our salvation in the incarnation (Phil 2:4-11). The problem arises with the word “eternal.” If the Son is eternally subordinated to the Father, and cannot be otherwise, then he does not just function subordinately, he is the subordinated Son. His subordination defines his person or being. Eternal functional subordination implies by necessity ontological subordination. Blustering denials cannot avoid this fact.”

    Found here: http://benwitherington.blogspot.com/2006/03/eternal-subordination-of-christ-and-of.html

    I not only think he’s right, but I think he’s clearly and inescapably right.

  249. Rivers
    December 8, 2014 @ 2:22 pm

    Rose,

    As an alternative to what you proposed in an earlier comment. Here is what I think is a likely contextual paraphrase of John 1:1-2 based upon the usage of the words in the Johannine books (and especially the parallel introduction in 1 John 1:1-5). I’m not disputing the translation at all. The purpose of the [paraphrasing] is to suggest an interpretation of the text:

    John 1:1 … “IN THE BEGINNING [of the gospel] WAS THE WORD [Jesus Christ, the eternal life], AND THE WORD [Jesus Christ] WAS TOWARD GOD [the way to the Father], AND THE WORD [Jesus Christ] WAS GOD [explained in a son]

    John 1:2 … “HE [Jesus Christ] WAS IN THE BEGINNING [of the gospel] TOWARD GOD [the way to the Father]

  250. Rivers
    December 8, 2014 @ 11:45 am

    Rose,

    Again, I see nothing of “divinity” or “divine nature” in John 1:14 because “flesh” is what characterizes human beings, and not God Himself. Even Jesus always spoke of himself as a “man” (John 8:40) of “flesh” (John 6:51-58).

    I think it’s likely that what the apostles by “the word (LOGOS) became flesh AND dwelt among us” (John 1:14) is simply that Jesus Christ was “manifested to Israel” (John 1:30-31) through the testimony of John the baptizer (John 1:6-9) at the time when the apostles began to follow them (John 1:34-53).

    My concern is that many interpreters have taken “the word became flesh” (John 1:14a) and unnecessarily disconnected it from “and dwelt among us” (John 1:14b) giving the impression that this text was referring to both the time of Jesus’ birth and the time with his apostles (30 years later). I think it’s more likely that both clauses were meant to be taken together as only referring to the time of Jesus’ public ministry when the apostles “heard, saw, watched, and touched the word (LOGOS)” (1 John 1:1-2).

  251. Rose Mattie Brown
    December 8, 2014 @ 11:41 am

    @Jaco,

    There exists gods ( 1 Cor. 8:15) who are ” not gods by nature” ( Galatians 4:8).

    But the Son exists as true God both identity and nature for he has in him all the fullness of THEOTETOS ( Colossians 2:9).

    The Trinity is of same name that is why the Trinity is of same nature because God’s name is expressive of his eternal nature ( Matthew 28:19; Exodus 3:14).

    Jews were all the earliest followers of Christ and these Jews worshiped Christ as EIS KYRIOS ( 1 Corinthians 8:6,Deuteronomy 6:4).

    Greek language is the language in first century Judaism( colonized by Rome). Yes. Latin was not the language of first century Rome but rather, it’s Greek.

    Jesus did use the LXX.That’s a fact.

    Every Jew in first century era knew the Shema in the Septuagint.

  252. Rivers
    December 8, 2014 @ 11:31 am

    Rose,

    I think what you are overlooking about MONOGENES is what Paul explained about “sonship” in Galatians 4:1-5. Even though a “child” was biologically the “son” of a father, he was not “adopted as a son” (in order to become an “heir”) until the “date” that was set by his father.

    This is why the apostles spoke of Jesus Christ as “the begotten son” only after the “day” of the resurrection (Acts 13:33-34) which was when he was “appointed heir of all things” (Hebrews 1:3-6). The resurrection is when Jesus Christ was “declared to be the son of God” (Romans 1:3-4) with the “power” that enabled him to “uphold” the creation (Hebrews 1:3-4). That is when the world knew of his glory as the “begotten son.”

    Keep in mind, the apostolic documents were all written after the resurrection of Jesus. Thus, they refer to him as “the begotten son” (John 1:18; John 3:16-18) because that is how the writer knew of him later. We don’t find the “begotten son” language used of Jesus Christ in the context of the time of his birth anywhere in scripture.

  253. Rose Mattie Brown
    December 8, 2014 @ 11:20 am

    @Rivers,

    FYI, the Greek word MONOGENES was not related to the resurrection. Jesus was God’s Son long before his resurrection ( Luke 1:35, Matthew 14:33).

    Acts 13:33,Hebrews 1:5 and Hebrews 5:5 as well as Luke 3:22 are best explained with Romans 1:4 wherein it says that Jesus Christ was ‘declared’ ( not made) God’s Son with power at his resurrection.

    That said, it is clear that Jesus was not literally begotten at his resurrection day. Psalm 2:7 ( as quoted in the NT) is only referring about the Father declaring to the world that Jesus the Christ is God’s Son.

  254. Rose Mattie Brown
    December 8, 2014 @ 10:57 am

    @Rivers,

    Every passage of Johannine scripture that I have presented did teach ontological equality and functional subordination within the relationship of the Father and the Son.

    John 1:1 The LOGOS (only begotten) was – – THEOS (God as to his nature).

    John 1:14 The only begotten (HO LOGOS) is – – PARA PATROS ( from the Father).

    John 1:18 Jesus is the MONOGENES THEOS ( only begotten, who is God as to his nature).

    John 5:18 The only way a son could be equal to his father is in terms of nature never in terms of authority. Jesus calling God his own Father denotes ontological equality not functional equality.

    John 5:26 The Father gave the Son the very same sort of life which he has.Ergo, the Son is ontologically equal with the Father albeit functionally subordinate for the Son does not have divinity from himself but from the Father.

    John 8:42 Jesus draws a contrast between his sonship and the sonship of the Jews. Jesus is the ontological Son of God, that is, Jesus is God’s Son by nature (not by adoption like his followers – Romans 8:15).

    John 10:28-38 The Father and the Son are one in nature based on both the immediate context and greater context (Deuteronomy 32:39).

    CONCLUSION

    These passages do speak of Christ’s sonship in terms of ontology.

    Also, in John 1:14, there’s simply nothing in the text implying that the immutable divinity of the Word has changed. In fact, we have a clear-cut evidence in the Pauline corpus that Jesus still God as well as human in his days on earth ( 1 Corinthians 8:6;Philippians 2:6-7;Hebrews 1:3).

  255. Rivers
    December 8, 2014 @ 9:51 am

    Jaco,

    Good point.

    Moreover, the Greek word ‘UPOSTASIS, which is sometimes unfortunately translated “nature” in Hebrews 1:3, actually meant “confidence” or “assurance” everywhere else it is used in scripture. Confidence and assurance are things that are “gained” (and not inherent qualities of essence or nature).

  256. Rivers
    December 8, 2014 @ 9:38 am

    Sean,

    I agree. I’ve always been wary of the Trinity doctrine because there’s no evidence that it was developed historically (or semantically) until long after Jesus and the apostles were gone.

    Just the underlying concept that a “being” could be composed of multiple “persons” (which is essential to the Trinitarian claim to be a “monotheistic” view) would have been inconceivable in the biblical languages where there is no vocabulary to suggest that the biblical writers had any way to conceive of, or verbally express, a distinction between a “being” and a “person” at all.

  257. Rivers
    December 8, 2014 @ 9:29 am

    Mario,

    I don’t think reconciling John 1:14 with the LOGOS being a “name” given to Jesus Christ is difficult at all. Please let me point out a few things in the context of the Prologue that I think many interpreters have overlooked.

    First, according to the testimony of John the baptizer, Jesus was a “man” who was “coming AFTER him” (John 1:15, 30). Thus, the writer said that Jesus was “coming into the world” and “was in the world” (John 1:9-10) after John testified that he was “the light” (John 1:6-7). Perhaps the writer understood that Jesus did not actually “come into the world” until he began his public ministry after being baptized by John. This is consistent with what the rest of John 1:19-53 is all about.

    Second, the word translated “became” in John 1:14 is the same one translated “came” in John 1:6. Both verbs are Aorist Middle Indicatives (EGENETO) of GINOMAI. Thus, the writer used the same word to speak of how John the baptizer and “the word” (LOGOS) both “came.” Thus, I think it’s likely that the writer was simply speaking of when both men “became” known to the people, and not how they came to “exist.” This is also consistent with what the rest of John 1:19-53 is about.

    Third, the writer also used another word for “come” (ERChOMAI) in the same context of the Prologue to speak of the ministry of both John the baptizer (John 1:7) and Jesus (John 1:9-11). He also associated this word “come” (ERChOMAI) with “flesh” (SARX) in 1 John 4:2 and 2 John 7 when speaking of Jesus Christ.

    Thus, I think it’s plausible to consider that “the word (LOGOS) became flesh AND dwelt among us” (John 1:14) probably meant nothing more than that Jesus Christ was “manifested” to the world as a tangible human being (1 John 1:1-2) of “flesh” (1 John 4:2; 2 John 7) by John the baptizer (John 1:30-31) who directed his disciples to begin following Jesus as the Christ (John 1:38, 43) when Jesus began his public ministry (Luke 3:23).

  258. Rivers
    December 8, 2014 @ 8:34 am

    Mario,

    Let me clarify my use of “Johannine Corpus.” I’m just using the term as a convenience to refer to the 4th Gospel and the 3 letters (since there is no evidence that any “John” wrote those documents). However, I do think that Revelation was written by a man named “John” (Revelation 1:1-2).

    Thus, I didn’t include the usage of LOGOS in Revelation. But, the evidence shows that LOGOS also meant the same thing (i.e. a spoken saying or message) in Revelation as it does in the 4th Gospel and the letters. As you noted, the only exception is Revelation 19:13 where LOGOS is a “name” given to Jesus Christ. I think this was also the case in John 1:1-14 and 1 John 1:1.

  259. Rivers
    December 8, 2014 @ 8:23 am

    Rose,

    Thank you for giving further explanation of your viewpoint. I agree that Jesus Christ is not a “second God”, but is “the son of God” (John 20:31).

    However, my concern is that there doesn’t seem to be any reference to “nature” in any of the passages you are citing. Thus, I don’t think it’s likely that “nature” is what the author was concerned about. For example, in John 1:14, the “flesh” is associated with Jesus, whereas “spirit” is associated with God the Father (John 4:24).

    Also, the term MONOGENES (John 1:18; John 3:16-18) was used by the apostles to speak of the exalted status that Jesus Christ was given at the resurrection (Acts 13:33-34; Hebrews 1:3-6; Hebrews 5:5). There is no indication that it was referring to his “nature” (ontology). Rather, “sonship” refers to the right of a child to become the “heir” of everything that his father owns (Galatians 4:1-2).

    Another consideration here is that “became flesh” (SARX EGENETO) in John 1:14 does not have to mean “incarnation” or that Jesus changed his nature. This is evident in John 1:6 where the writer said that John the baptizer also “came” (EGENETO) when he was “sent by God” to testify about Jesus. Thus, “the word came [as] flesh” probably just meant that Jesus was a man who embodied the “word” (LOGOS) about eternal life that he was proclaiming during his ministry (1 John 1:1-3).

  260. Sean Garrigan
    December 8, 2014 @ 7:00 am

    Rose,

    You didn’t really address the problem. You might want to consider the writings of Trinitarian Kevin Giles, because, as I recall, he also understands that functional subordination is ipso facto ontological subordination within the Trinitarian godhead, and he therefore opposes the modern Evangelical suborninationist version of the Trinity. See:

    Jesus and the Father: Modern Evangelicals Reinvent the Doctrine of the Trinity

    The Trinity & Subordinationism: The Doctrine of God & the Contemporary Gender Debate

    The Eternal Generation of the Son: Maintaining Orthodoxy in Trinitarian Theology

    Of course, in my view the Trinity should be abandoned, not just because it’s logically incoherent, but because it’s unbiblical. It emerged in Greek soil, which included ideas foreign and antithetical to Hebrew soil.

  261. Mario
    December 8, 2014 @ 4:48 am

    @ Rivers

    “I don’t find your idea that the LOGOS was merely an “attribute” of God [convincing?] because there is no evidence that the word LOGOS was used that way by the writer of the 4th Gospel. LOGOS was used about 40 times in the Johannine corpus and always referred to a “spoken” saying or message (except when it was used as metaphorically of Jesus himself).”

    First, when you speak of “Johannine corpus”, presumably you include the Gospel and the Letters (44 occurrences of the Greek word logos, in all its meanings), and exclude the Book of Revelation (17 occurrences).

    Second, having excluded from your consideration the Book of Revelation (but I don’t), in all the occurrences that cannot be explained as “spoken saying or message” (John 1:1,14; 1 Jo 1:1; I also add Rev 19:13) you choose to understand the word logos as “used … metaphorically of Jesus”. I understand it to refer to God’s Logos before it (it …) was incarnated (John 1:1) or when it was incarnated in/as Jesus (John 1:14; 1 Jo 1:1) or, finally, when it was glorified after Jesus’ Resurrection. As you can see, it is essential, from my POV, not to ignore the time factor (before-after incarnation).

    Third, I believe that the most critical phrase …

    ho logos sarx egeneto, “the Word became flesh” (John 1:14)

    … is impossible to harmonize with your metaphorical interpretation. How can a “metaphor” become flesh? In more normal parlance, how can a metaphor become a person, nay, THE person to which it is supposed to refer? How can a “spoken saying or message” (NOT “Wisdom”, NOT “Mind”, NOT “Command”) be a “metaphor” of anything? How do you deal with that?

  262. Jaco
    December 8, 2014 @ 3:38 am

    Rose,

    How was nature, essence and hypostasis expressed conceptually or linguistically in the Hebrew culture? And One What in Three Whos makes you a Social Trinitarian (I hope you realise that there are variants among yourselves).

    I think therein lies the crux.

  263. Rose Brown
    December 8, 2014 @ 2:24 am

    @Rivers,

    The purpose of the entire Gospel record of John is to show that Jesus Christ is THE SON OF GOD ( John 20:31).

    The unique sonship of Christ is the reason why he is God by nature and it is by being God by nature that Christ is not a second God (John 1:1,14,18;5:18,26;10:28-30).

    Let me explain bit by bit:

    ~ Jesus is called THEOS because He is God by nature ( John 1:1,18;10:33,20:28).

    Jesus is God by nature ( John 1:1,14,18;5:18,26;8:42;10:28-38).

    ~ Jesus is God by nature because He is the MONOGENES (John 1:14,18;3:16,18,cf:1 John 4:9).

    The LOGOS who is THEOS in John 1:1 is the MONOGENES (John 1:14,18;3:16,18;1John 1:1-3, 4:9).

    The Word from God’s very being.

    The Son from God’s very being.

    The LOGOS “came into existence”(EGENETO) in a human “body” ( SARXI) in John 1:14.

    The Gospel of John and His epistles do show that Jesus is man by nature as well as God by nature.

  264. Rose Brown
    December 8, 2014 @ 1:43 am

    @John,

    Human nature is not the same with God’s nature.

    Human nature is ‘divisible’ because it consists of ‘parts’ ( e.g. Human Genome).

    God’s nature is ‘indivisible’ because it is ‘spiritual'( John 4:24).

    The Trinity is ONE WHAT and THREE WHO’S ( Matthew 28:19).

  265. Rose Brown
    December 8, 2014 @ 1:16 am

    @Sean,

    Human nature is different from God’s nature.

    Human nature is ‘divisible’ because it consists of ‘parts’ ( e.g. Human Genome).

    God’s nature is ‘indivisible’ because it is ‘spiritual'( John 4:24).

    The Trinity is ‘consubstantial’ (Matthew 28:19).

    The Trinity is not equal in terms of ‘authority’ (Matthew 28:19).

  266. Rivers
    December 7, 2014 @ 9:23 pm

    Mario,

    Have you considered that “the beginning” (John 1:1-3) might go along with the applications of the language from Genesis 1 (light, darkness, world) which were referring to things that were actually happening through the public ministry of Jesus (John 1:5-11). I think this is a critical thing to consider in the context of the Prologue.

    If one assumes that “the beginning” literally refers back to the time of Genesis 1:1, then why do you think the writer would suddenly apply the other language from Genesis to things that were not happening at that time? Isn’t it more reasonable to think that his application of the language from Genesis 1 (light, darkness, world) to the ministry of John and Jesus (John 1:5-11) would include “the beginning” as well (John 1:1-3)?

  267. Rivers
    December 7, 2014 @ 8:57 pm

    Mario,

    I don’t find your idea that the LOGOS was merely an “attribute” of God because there is no evidence that the word LOGOS was used that way by the writer of the 4th Gospel. LOGOS was used about 40 times in the Johannine corpus and always referred to a “spoken” saying or message (except when it was used as metaphorically of Jesus himself).

    Moreover, almost every occurrence referred specifically to something that was actually spoken during time of Jesus’ public ministry (and usually be Jesus himself). Even when the writer specifically associated the LOGOS with God the Father, it was still referring to the things that he had spoken to the apostles (John 17:6-17; 1 John 1:6-10).

  268. Rivers
    December 7, 2014 @ 8:40 pm

    John,

    I don’t think it’s reasonable to think that “holy spirit” is what was meant by the LOGOS. The LOGOS was referring to a man of “flesh” (John 1:14) who was “heard, seen, watched, and handled” by the apostles (1 John 1:1-2) while he “dwelt among them” (John 1:14).

    However, I do agree that “holy spirit” refers to the “power” of God Himself (Luke 1:35; Acts 1:8) and that it remained upon Jesus Christ (John 1:32-33) so that he could speak the “words” of God and have eternal life (John 6:63).

  269. Mario
    December 7, 2014 @ 6:31 pm

    @ Rose

    [December 7, 2014 at 11:01 am] “The Word (John 1:1). Jesus is not a literal word.”

    First, unlike the metaphors that you cite (Bread – John 6:35; Light – John 8:12; Door – John 10:7), Word (logos, dabar) does NOT refer, as a metaphor, to a “literal word” (mental, uttered, or written), BUT to a very rich, polysemic term that can take many meanings, like “discourse” (uttered or mental). It can apply to the “discourse” of a human or, as it is used in the Prologue to the Gospel of John (and also in the First Epistle of John) to the God Himself.

    Second, unlike the metaphors that you cite, the Word is NOT another “metaphor” for Jesus: Jesus is the Incarnation of God’s Word (“the Word became flesh” logos sarx egeneto – John 1:14) or, as it would be more normal to say today, “God’s Word was made person”.

    [December 7, 2014 at 11:16 am] “If the LOGOS has the whole nature of God then why is the LOGOS not a person?”

    I have already answered exactly the same question of yours at my comment of December 7, 2014 at 4:33 am, but, instead of taking issue with my question, you repeat it again … 🙁

    So let’s look at your next question:

    “Is not personhood a characteristic of God?”

    Sure, but, unless one resorts to the pretext of God’s “simplicity”, from God’s personhood the personhood of God’s attributes does NOT logically follow.

    Consider the following syllogism:

    1 Personhood is a characteristic of God (e.g. Psalm 139:17-18; Isaiah 41:10);
    2 The Word [before the Incarnation] was God (Grk theos ên ho logos – John 1:1c);
    3 Therefore personhood [before the Incarnation] was a characteristic of the Word.

    Is the above syllogism valid (that is there is no fault in arguing the conclusion from the premises)? I believe it is, with the double proviso that the Bible (OT and NT) does NOT contradict itself and that the Word is identical with God.

    But is it also sound (both premises are true)?

    Well, the statement “The Word is God” can either mean identity or not. You have repeatedly said:

    “The Greek word THEOS in the third clause of John 1:1 is ‘qualitative in sense.’”

    So, the above syllogism should be revised in the following way:

    1 Personhood is a characteristic of God (e.g. Psalm 139:17-18; Isaiah 41:10);
    2a The Word [before the Incarnation] was God in a qualitative sense (John 1:1c);
    3 Therefore personhood [before the Incarnation] was a characteristic of the Word.

    Does the revised statement 2a spell identity between the Word and God, as I appeared to assume the original statement 2 did? I don’t think so. The consequence is that, from 1 and 2a, 3 cannot be validly deduced.

    Is this surprising? I don’t think so.

  270. Rivers
    December 7, 2014 @ 6:02 pm

    Hi Rose,

    No, I don’t think John 1:1-3 is referring to Jesus being “together with” the Father or that God the Father and Jesus Christ had the same “nature.”

    The writer of the 4th Gospel described God the Father and Jesus quite differently. God the Father is “spirit” (John 4:24) and always “unseen” (John 1:18). On the other hand, “the word” (Jesus Christ) was a “man” (John 1:30) of “flesh” (John 1:14; John 6:51-58) whom they apostles had “seen” and “touched” (1 John 1:1-2).

    Throughout the 4th Gospel, there are dozens of references to Jesus Christ being a “man” and the “son of man.” Even Jesus himself claimed to be a “man” (John 8:40). All the rest of the people in the Gospel stories also understood that Jesus was a “man” John 1:30; John 4:29; John 6:52; John 10:33; John 18:4; John 18:29).

    I also think it’s significant that, in the Johannine letters, the author also emphasized the fact that “the word” (LOGOS) was a visible and tangible human being (1 John 1:1-2) that had “come in the flesh” (1 John 4:2; 2 John 7).

  271. Mario
    December 7, 2014 @ 4:17 pm

    @ John

    “… consider the possibility that ‘the logos’ is Gods Holy Spirit …”

    The only thing wrong with “trinitarian” doctrine is that it transforms the Word and the Holy Spirit in two “co-equal, coeternal persons”, whereas they are NOT persons, BUT attributes of God.

    Consider that God’s Word (logos, dabar) is NOT a person, BUT one of God’s two eternal, essential attributes.

    Consider that God’s Spirit (pneuma, ruwach) is NOT a person, BUT the other of God’s two eternal, essential attributes.

  272. john
    December 7, 2014 @ 3:25 pm

    Rivers
    You are clearly capable of infinite rationalisation – but just stop for one moment and consider the possibility that ‘the logos’ is Gods Holy Spirit .
    We need not go into the question as to whether this is a ‘quality’ or an ‘attribute’ -that is just semantics.

    The Holy Spirit is AKA
    The ‘ anarthrous theos’ that was with God in John 1v1
    The ‘light’ that showed John the Baptist what was to come
    The ‘power from on high’ which impregnated Mary and produced the human Jesus.

    That is the only ‘solution’ which makes any sense to me!

    Blessings
    John

  273. john
    December 7, 2014 @ 3:12 pm

    @Rose
    You still havn’t got it!
    Nature is not just a set of attributes.
    Each member of the whole of the human race has a ‘human nature’. Its WHAT we are
    – while each member of the human race has an individual identity- thats WHO we are.
    Neither natures or identities are divisible.!
    Neither ‘whats’ or ‘whos’ can be divided.
    But the divine nature can be enjoyed by those that God chooses.
    Blessings
    John

  274. Sean Garrigan
    December 7, 2014 @ 2:49 pm

    Rose,

    You said:

    “Do not confuse identity with nature…‘My dad and I are both human by nature. I am his daughter and he’s my dad.’”

    You’ve confused my argument with John’s response to you. I’m not confusing identity with nature; rather, I’m explaining why Jesus can’t be functionally subordinate unless he’s a different deity. You’re illustration supports my point. The reason that you can be functionally subordinate to your father is precisely because you are two separate human beings. If you and your father were the same human being, then your subordination would be ontological, because his position of authority and your subordinate position would be ontological attributes of the one being you both share.

  275. Rose Brown
    December 7, 2014 @ 11:16 am

    @Mario,

    The LOGOS has the whole nature of God (John. 1:1). The Greek word THEOS in the third clause of John 1:1 is “qualitative in sense.”

    If the LOGOS has the whole nature of God then why is the LOGOS not a person?

    Is not personhood a characteristic of God?

    The phrase THE WORD (HO LOGOS) is also a title of Jesus aside from his THE BREAD, THE DOOR and THE LIGHT.

    Jesus is not a literal word, he is not a literal door, he’s neither a literal bread nor a literal light.

  276. Rose Brown
    December 7, 2014 @ 11:01 am

    @Mario,

    The LOGOS has the whole nature of God himself.

    KAITHEOSEENHOLOGOS ( John 1:1c).

    The Word was God by nature.

    The Greek word THEOS in the third clause of John 1:1 is “qualitative in sense.”

    The following are all Jesus’ titles in the Gospel of John:

    The Word ( John 1:1). Jesus is not a literal word.
    The Bread ( John 6:35).Jesus is not a literal bread.
    The Light ( John 8:12).Jesus is not a literal light.
    The Door ( John 10:7). Jesus is not a literal door.

  277. Rose Brown
    December 7, 2014 @ 10:31 am

    @Sean,

    Do not confuse identity with nature.

    ‘My dad and I are both human by nature. I am his daughter and he’s my dad.’

    Functional subordination is not identical with ontological equality.

    There are three persons who are of same nature and the one nature which the Trinity has is distributed to each one of them by their identity or personal property ( Matthew 28:19).

    The nature of the Father is spiritual ( John 4:24). The Son is only begotten from the Father i.e. of same ‘ spiritual’ nature with the Father ( John 1:14,18). The nature of God the Father is indivisible ( due to being spiritual – John 4:24)that is why the Father and the Son are one in nature ( John 10:28-30).

  278. Rose Brown
    December 7, 2014 @ 10:06 am

    @John,

    Identity is different from nature vise versa.

    Nature is the ‘set of attributes.’
    Nature belongs inherently to someone.

    Identity is the ‘self’ of someone.

    Whoever is in God’s whole nature is God in identity.

    The Word was God( by nature). John 1:1. The Greek word THEOS in the third clause of John 1:1 is “qualitative in sense.”

    In fact, Jesus is both God in nature and God in identity based on Paul’ record:

    Jesus has all the fullness of THEOTETOS (Colossians 2:9).

    The Father and the Son are not one person. The Father and the Son are two distinct persons. They are of same nature( John 10:28-30).

    The Son is God by nature because he is the only begotten ( John 1:14,18,3:16,18,3:16-18,1 John 4:9).

    Believers ‘share’ in the “God-like” nature (Greek: theias physeos) — 2 Peter 1:4

  279. Sean Garrigan
    December 7, 2014 @ 9:16 am

    Rose,

    “The reason why Jesus is not an another God beside the Father is because the nature of Jesus, being the Son, is the whole nature per se of the Father (John 10:28-30, Colossians 2:9, Hebrews 1:3)…What this means is that the consubstantiality( sameness in nature) of the Father and the Son (and the Holy Spirit) is the reason why these three are not three Gods( i.e. Tri-theism).”

    I’m afraid that that doesn’t seem to work, Rose. IF Jesus were ontologically equal with the Father, then he can’t be *functionally* subordinate and be the same God. He can only be functionally subordinate if he’s a different God.

    The reason your view is logically impossible (IMO) is because once you assert that three persons are one being, then it follows that the functional characteristics of each person must be ontological attributes of the one God. The Father’s position as the Boss, first person of the Trinity, is an ete