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.

8 Comments

  1. john
    May 15, 2012 @ 2:19 am

    Chris
    Unitarians are accused of ‘over-intellectualising” Christianity.The opposite is in fact true.
    Consider
    (i) Unitarians say “there is one supreme God who is the Father and his Son, Jesus Christ who is the Messiah.

    (ii) Trinitarians say God exists of a Trinity in which three ‘persons’ share one ‘substance’ and by the way, one of the persons has a double ‘nature’..

    Unitarians can easily define their terms- Trinitarians can NOT
    They perform gymnastics to define ‘persons’, ‘substance’ and ‘nature’ – and are ultimately unconvincing to all -except those who ‘have the eyes for it’.

    You alluded to verses in which Christ uttered the words “I am”.

    (i)The words are used in John 8v28 “I am he and I can do nothing of my own”
    (ii)The words are used in John 8 v58″ before Abraham was I am”. Christ was declaring that “I am he,the Messiah and I was in Gods great plan from the beginning”. Please not that the Greek words used for “I am” are “ego eimi” – which means “I am” or “I am he”. These are not some ‘magical words’ describing God’s name – they are used in many other scriptures to refer to persons other than God.
    Consider
    John 9v9 The blind man whose sight was restored uttered the words “I am he” “ego eimi”
    Acts 10v21 Peter said,’ behold , I am he’- ‘ego eimi’

    Once you get ‘into it’ you will find that there are NO trinitarian ‘proof verses’.
    The material recommended by Dale (above) constitutes an excellent. starting point!
    Blessings
    John

  2. Xavier
    May 14, 2012 @ 3:48 pm

    Chris

    Would you agree with this statement from Evangelical scholar Millard Erickson in his God in Three Persons [p 270]?

    It may also be neccesary, in order to convey the unusual meaning involved in this doctrine, to utilize what analytical philosphers would term “logically odd language“. This means using language in such a way as intentionally to commit grammatical errors. Thus, I have sometimes said of the Trinity, “He are three“, or “They is one“…[this is how God] can perhaps only be adequately expressed by using language that calls attention to the almost paradoxical character of the concepts.

    Bold mine

  3. Dale
    May 14, 2012 @ 1:08 pm

    Hi Chris,

    Thanks for the comment. Christian unitarians like me have no problem with any of those passages. If you’re like most mainstream Christians, you’ve never been exposed to unitarian exegesis. One place you can start is here: http://www.christianmonotheism.com/ – specifically, here: http://www.christianmonotheism.com/php/media_center/media_displayer.php?chosen=key_verses&mode=&data=&search= See the scripture index in the box on the right.

    One common misconception is that Christian unitarianism is based on “rationalism” or just discomfort with things one can’t understand; but no, the main concern has always been the ill fit between the Bible and Trinity theories. In short, the Bible tells us plainly who the one God is, and it is the Father of Jesus. And it never presents the three as being one God.

    Does the NT teach the pre-existence of the Son (the Logos)? Not relevant. If it does, or does not, it doesn’t follow that he’s God himself (or that he’s one of a divine group, or part of a triune God, or has the divine nature, etc.)

  4. Chris
    May 14, 2012 @ 11:49 am

    How do you reconcile John 1:1-18? 1 John 17:21-23, and Genesis 3:22 – seems to me that God’s Word is what it is and He is almighty and sovereign in that He doesn’t need you to clarify what these references to Jesus being with God in the beginning and being one with the Father. How about John 8:58 “Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.”

    The entire gospel of John would be difficult to reconcile without the idea of God the Father, the Son & the Holy Spirit involved. When I read John 17:5 Jesus says “O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was” This seems to indicate that Jesus was pre-existent and personal “before the world was”.

    I would advise you to accept that we may not have a complete understanding of the relationship of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit and also ask if your salvation depends on it or if you are approaching this as “little children” as such Jesus welcomes you.

  5. Marg
    April 19, 2012 @ 8:45 pm

    Clarke could just as easily be labelled a “subordinationist trinitarian,” it seems to me. His book, after all, is called “The Scripture Doctrine of the Trinity”.

    I don’t make up the labels, of course. But I dislike seeing the adjective “biblical” used as a synonym for “humanitarian”. That’s a bit presumptuous on the part of the label-concocter, it seems to me.

    Now that I have disgorged that self-righteous little speech, I will go back to my popcorn while you and Harriet fire away.

  6. Dale
    April 19, 2012 @ 5:03 pm

    Yes – if the defining thesis of unitarianism is the identity of Yahweh and the Father, then a subordinationist (e.g. Origin, Clarke) is just as much a unitarian as a humanitarian unitarian.

  7. Marg
    April 19, 2012 @ 2:56 pm

    I agree: LaBreeska’s right. I wanted to stand up and cheer when she said, “Did you know every prayer you ever had answered came from God the Father through Jesus Christ?” The principle and the agent, clearly identified.

    As for the post itself, equating a biblical unitarian with a humanitarian unitarian seems to suggest that no other view can be called “biblical”.

    I hope that is not what it means. I think Jesus said more about himself than this post implies, and I am really longing for the day when Samuel Clarke’s view can be discussed thoroughly.

  8. john
    April 19, 2012 @ 11:06 am

    Dale
    Thank goodness for a few sane people out there!
    I have recently experienced the following siutuation (several; times)
    When evangelicals hear that one has ‘strange’ views, they frequently ask ” Well, who do you think Christ is”?
    To which I respond “He is who he says he is”
    The silence is deafening – then one gets the usual Trinitarian ‘gymnastics’ which cause one to think one must be living in ‘cloud- cuckoo-land”

    Is Christ really incapable of identifying himself- or was he in the wrong ‘mode’ when he spoke to Peter?
    Something is terribly wrong!
    Blessings

    John