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.

155 Comments

  1. Dave McQuire
    September 23, 2016 @ 12:57 am

    I don’t believe in the trinity doctrine and I am not persuaded that God is not more than one eternal being. There’s more reason to believe that the God in the OT, the I AM and the Messiah foretold of being Jesus in the NT, and the Holy Spirit in the N.T. are three distinct members of the Godhead.

    Think in terms of humanity comprised of humans and the Godhead comprised of three deities, but the difference between the two is that while humans have common traits we all differ many ways but the three deities are equal in every respect in what we understand God to be. They are all knowing, everywhere at once and all powerful, plus they are united in purpose such that they are one, i.e., in unity while they maintain their individual personage.

    You may say, to what end? Answer, it remains to be known.

    When the Jews picked up stones to stone Jesus their anger wasn’t limited to what he stood for their anger became hot because he made himself to be God with no hesitation or apology. John 8:58 Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.” Jesus’ assertion was not lost on the Jewish leaders they counted his statement as blasphemy. But, Jesus could not declare himself to be something he was not, to do so would make him unfit to be the savior. To lie would taint his blood making it worthless to atone for sin – his had to live a sinless life in order to a perfect sacrifice.

    There’s much a-do over strained ideas conjured from notions about what the Bible seems to say and what some living centuries ago said, but the effort overlooks the simplicity of God’s word That’s not to say that God’s word doesn’t present difficult issues to understand, it does and Peter said as much in 2 Peter 3:16.

    Consider how God, using the singular form for convenience sake, communicates to man after man loses the garden and the tree of life. God uses conventions humans are familiar with, the concept of a father and son. With that well known relationship he communicates his will as it was before the foundations of the world were laid. The father sends his son to fulfill the law and the prophets. The Holy Spirit is seen both in Genius, subtly, and in the NT he is named as the Holy Spirit – as an active part of the Godhead. The convention provides a context that man can identify with, a father willing to sacrifices his precious son. That carries weight on the mind of a repentant sinner. And too, the thought of God coming to earth, subjecting himself to man’s domain and then to be murdered in a brutal fashion by lawless men who were supposed to be his followers presents an even heavier weight on the mind of a sinner in need of salvation.

    Jesus speaks of the Father’s will and his will as being the same and so too the Holy Spirit. . Is the idea of three persons of the Godhead a heresy?
    Are we suggesting the Bible teaches polytheism?
    No.
    Polytheism is the belief in many gods, each having a different reason for being and given to different behaviors, fits of rage, jealousy, and all manner of human moods, rational and otherwise. Not so with the Godhead in the Bible. They act in concert, with one purpose and one mind.

    Did mankind in the beginning have the capacity to embrace that concept of God?
    I can scarcely hold the concept in my mind any more than I can expand my finite mind to understand God as an eternal being, or infinity for that matter. Sure I can accept it but I can’t wrap my mind around it, it’s too big. I can accept it as truth and makes logical sense of God as three distinct individuals when, for example, I see Jesus praying to the father. He’s not praying to himself which would be case if the trinity were true. And it can’t be that Jesus was created.

    Why would a created being have any value in dying for the sins of mankind?
    If the blood of bulls and goats could not cleanse sin why would the blood of a sinless human accomplish that? After all, bulls and goats know no sin, so if being sinless is all that’s required a bull would do fine. Yes, we could say a bull can’t sin because it doesn’t have free will and no moral compass, but that doesn’t negate the fact that the bull is sinless – only that it can’t sin so what could be more perfect?

    • Rivers
      September 26, 2016 @ 9:27 am

      Dave,

      The reason that the Jews wanted to stone Jesus was because he was “making himself out to be the son of God” (John 19:7). Jesus explicitly made this claim in John 8:54 when he told the Jews that their “God” was his own “Father” when they asked him who he was “making himself out to be” (John 8:53).

      The “I am” (EGW EIMI) at the end of John 8:58 is just a self-identification that goes back to the resurrection implications that Jesus testified about himself earlier in the conversation (John 8:12, 24, 28, 51).

  2. Bob Mcgehee
    December 24, 2015 @ 9:47 am

    Anyone can read Daniel’s 12 chapters and see that God rules from heaven and and the earth is ruled by God Almighty. God raises up and God puts down. God can do with men and women as he chooses. I do not believe Jesus created anything in the universe no matter what you find written in a book.

    • GilT
      December 25, 2015 @ 2:04 pm

      Bob,
      May I suggest that while “Anyone can read in Daniel’s 12 chapters” and “what you find written in a book” reading requires understanding. Now, I expect and I will give you the benefit of the doubt that you know that, but I think maybe you can see that the mindset towards what is written, in scripture no less, behind your last question does make one wonder.
      Gil

  3. kierkegaard71
    December 23, 2015 @ 11:45 pm

    I listened to the interview. I have been off-and-on listening to these podcasts over the last year or so. It sure seems like John, Paul, and the author of Hebrews see Jesus as an agent in creation. I would think this observation is what makes Mr. Dixon an “Arian” rather than a “Socinian”. Hebrews gives me the biggest problems for embracing the view that does not posit Jesus’ pre-existence: I have a very in-depth evangelical New International Greek Testament Commentary on Hebrews which always presents various interpretive options. However, it does not even discuss exegetical options in line with those proposed by Anthony Buzzard and such for Hebrews 1:2, 8, 10. Because of this, I feel like the denial of pre-existence for Jesus is a stretch when taking into consideration all New Testament sources. This denial of Jesus’ pre-existence is a bridge too far for me at the present time.

    • GilT
      January 3, 2016 @ 9:09 pm

      Kierkegaard

      I have not read Anthony Buzzard, but I have heard his comments in the video, The Human Jesus.

      I know my comment here does not do justice to his words nor does it explain much of my own understanding. However, Buzzard has nothing original to say concerning the question on the deity of Jesus in that video. The one possible exception being in the form of a weak charge of anti-Semitism against those who differ or do not embrace the Jewish interpretation of the scriptures. Other than that much of the contributions, though not all by any means, by Buzzard and several of the other video participants is to pose questions which, according to them, have no reasonable, sensible or plausible answer. This tactic of positing a barrage of questions (especially on unsuspecting pedestrians) has become in recent decades the way to silence listeners who themselves assume that merely by the questioner positing questions that he must surely have an understanding of the subject. I dedicated a blog article in response to Buzzard, Dixon, Dockery and others on that video.

  4. Roman
    December 23, 2015 @ 9:56 pm

    Great interview, I’m gonna have to look into the apocalypse of Abraham, I’ve never looking into that writing. But of course I agree with mr. Dixon :).

  5. Danny Andre Dixon
    December 22, 2015 @ 6:01 pm

    Here is a post of Restoration Movement Barton W. Stone’s article “Of Trinity” and “Of the Son of God,” as contained in WORKS OF ELDER B.W. STONE: A FEW DISCOURSES AND SERMONS (ORIGINAL AND SELECTED) by Elder James M. Mathes, Second Edition, (Cincinanati: Moore, Wilstach, Keys & Co., 1859, Reprint, 1953, by The Old Paths Book Club, Rosemead, CA), pp. 50-85. http://www.piney.com/Trinitybs.html

    • GilT
      December 24, 2015 @ 7:34 am

      Danny,
      I read most of the Stone article and browsed the rest. It is quite familiar.

      He, like so many his brethren on the other side of the discussion, expends undue time and energy on what is or may wrong in his brethren’s message. This common practice, even back in Stone’s day, has come to be taken as a default statement of affirmation with a solid peppering of questions. Even this barrage of questions, especially when no one provides a response, is assumed by listeners as proof that the questioner has knowledge and expertise in what they certainly could not answer.

      The irony is consistent. After Stone himself chides those saints who have embraced the mistaken notion of “mystery” with which Rome viewed the “trinity of gods,” but then he himself resorts to an invention of his own with “the mystery of Babylon.”

      The endless, circuitous speculations about the Begotten is staggering as it is baffling. All remain oblivious (see my first post in this thread) to the apostle Paul’s interpretation, explanation and application of the Begotten Son of Psalm 2 in Acts 13. Jesus became the Firstborn when he was raised up from the dead. (There is a secondary and unrelated purpose to this discussion in Paul’s use of the Begotten in his letters to the ministers and churches in Asia and Crete which was a direct affront to Artemis who claimed she was firstborn.)

      • Danny Andre Dixon
        December 24, 2015 @ 6:37 pm

        Well, I just wanted the information “out there” for people to peruse if they wanted to, especially if it was not “quite familiar” to them. Most people in the COC are NOT aware of who he is if they are less than 40 years old. And most OVER that age also see no reason to pay attention to any writing other than Scripture as they feel they know everything they need to know about how to efficiently and effectively read their Bible alone and come to an effective understanding of any church doctrine. It’s existence in a vacuum. I see part of my purpose in writing what little I do as giving them something else to think about.

        I have many interests in life, and I have chosen them for reasons sufficient to me. I am sorry that people have not seen me spend a lot of time responding to anything that they have posited here. But when the book ended, other more pressing matters re-emphasized their time-consuming selves to me. So I will still not be saying much about the book or people’s response to it at least not right now.

        I am not sure of what to say about your not thinking much of Stone. But so it goes. I just wanted COC people to know that at their roots, an Arian thinker was an important foundeer and “restorer.” Whether they want to admit it or not. Or whether they want to think about it or not. I wasn’t hoping, much, to get comments from people already familiar with Barton W. Stone.

        • GilT
          December 24, 2015 @ 7:31 pm

          Danny,

          Although it is not quite true of the saints in the fellowship of churches of Christ, as you state, existence in a vacuum; there is not necessarily a filling merely from a superficial or even an indepth reading of sources other than the scripture. I do not see a problem with that reading, but there is a popular assumption that we, as just one more generation of believers, are any less capable by the Spirit to reading, struggle, discern and gain understanding concerning the scriptures.

          Your own writing like anyone else’s is welcome even if it were old familiar views. The value comes from engaging in the discussion and I can appreciate the rushing in of those time-consuming matters which had been put off during the writing of your book.

          Do I not think much of Stone? Simply, this is your misunderstanding. I do not feel compelled to be hostile towards the man or his theology anymore than you or anyone else. No, this is not to say I am easy or quick to acquiesce to anyone else’s thinking, but my convictions enable to discuss and interact with anyone. That Stone was, according to you (I offer no argument) Arian thinker is neither a surprise nor does it bother me.

          Merry Christmas to one and all!!

        • Rivers
          December 24, 2015 @ 10:31 pm

          Danny,

          I think you should reconsider the importance of interacting with people who’ve expressed an interest in your book (and make it a priority for now). I think it would give you a lot more credibility.

          The discussion of the book probably won’t last long anyway. However, now is the time to be accountable to others who are making the effort to purchase the book and to read it. They are also people who have other interests and priorities.

          • Danny Andre Dixon
            December 24, 2015 @ 11:49 pm

            I am a law school student. My time is limited. The book was put off for a year before starting while Dustin was finishing up his dissertation. My studies suffered as well. I can’t engage in extended discussion, as cowardly or or unaccountable as that may seem to some readers and posters. Law school is as demanding as was my graduate school study in Bible at Abilene Christian University. In some senses it is more demanding. Some posters go on endlessly. There are others who can do as good a job or better in defending matters brought up in the book. I’ll selectively do what I can and may.

            • Sean Garrigan
              December 25, 2015 @ 8:24 am

              Danny,

              No need to let Rivers bully you into dialogue in which you don’t have time to participate. This is a favored tactic of his, and in my experience it’s best to ignore him when he resorts to it.

              Some time back I found myself in a brief dialogue with him, and when I tried to bow out gracefully because I could see where the dialogue was headed, and because I don’t get into these endless arguments that literally go no where, ever, he bullied me by charging that if I don’t answer his objections then I’ll lose all credibility. The only difference is that while he told me that I’d lose credibility, he’s tweaked his bait by telling you that you’ll increase your credibility. It’s the tail side of the same coin.

              BTW, the customary way that scholars interact with opponents isn’t on blogs with people with one name anyway, it’s in peer-reviewed journals, in introductions to new editions of books in which the conversation over the past five or ten years is interacted with and carried forward, and in publishing books specifically to address them. Though this is changing (at a snail’s pace), the fact is that very few renowned scholars enter into extended debates with opposing views on blogs, and when they do, its on their own blog, not someone else’s.

              ~Sean

              • GilT
                December 25, 2015 @ 1:02 pm

                fyi
                Whether or not Danny or anyone engages in the discussion does not bother me. I consider the door for discussion is open for others to engage and they are as much, if not more so, of concern for in terms of the edification of the saints.
                The only article on by blog which ever generated a lot of discussion was six months after I had published and the rabbi who authored the article learned about through his friends. So began a long, amiable dialog through the comment section where, as he requested, we addressed each other on a first name basis. What the rabbi was nothing familiar with was to meet someone who did race to the New Testament for any claims about Jesus. It was he, not I, who mentioned Jesus, but I kept drawing him back to what was the ancient source of scripture, what was familiar to him and what he revered.
                It was to good to have some of his congregants get into the discussion most of whom did what is often common of congregants to cheer and gouge on behalf of their leader. They did not affect our ongoing discussion. The rabbi latter in another blog article on human sacrifice.

              • GilT
                December 26, 2015 @ 1:24 pm

                Sean,

                I have previously expressed my understanding of Danny’s explanation concerning his time constraints and any involvement in this discussion. No problem.

                However, I do find your own explanation interesting concerning the customary way in which scholars interact with their opponents. Yes, you are correct. The customary way for that interaction is in peer-reviewed journals, introductions to new editions of books. Of course, renowned scholars, as you note, do not engage in extended debates unless it is on their own blog. How cozy.

                My social media interactions span back before Facebook. Over the last several years the saints in Christ have seen more than a few preachers (yes, I know. they are not scholars) enter discussion boards. They never last. They soon become painfully aware of their ineptness (yes, I know. they are not scholars) to engage, teach and explain in a setting where friendly and unfriendly voices address comments and questions; not quite like the Sunday morning Bible class or the pulpit sermon, or _ a peer-reviewed journal.

              • Rivers
                December 26, 2015 @ 9:35 pm

                Sean,

                In truth, the last time you and a I had a dialogue, I simply let you have the “last word” because I began to realize that you weren’t competent to entertain any exegetical discussion at a high level. It seemed like a waste of my time as well. There’s plenty of more beneficial discussion going on elsewhere.

                • Sean Garrigan
                  December 27, 2015 @ 8:54 am

                  That’s pretty funny coming from someone with one name, with some of the most bizarre exegetical ideas I’ve ever heard, and who’s afraid to provide the references to the thesis and articles he claims to have written or to come clean and let us know what the responses were to his thesis by his advisers or to his articles by the journal editors who either did or wouldn’t publish them.

                  Those who are truly competent aren’t afraid to provide references to their published works. Every scholar I’ve ever interacted with has happily and eagerly provided such information when asked. Some have actually emailed their theses to me in PDF form free of charge so that I wouldn’t have to make a trip to the library. You’re the only person I’ve ever met who constantly makes megalomaniacal claims promoting his own “expertise”, but who is shy about his own published work (or about admitting that his work was never published).

                  What is the name of your thesis, and where can the folks on this forum obtain a copy for review?

                  What are the titles of the articles you submitted for publication? Were they published or rejected? If published, please provide the references so folks can check them out if they chose to. If rejected, who rejected them and what were the reasons given?

                  ~Sean

                • Sean Garrigan
                  December 28, 2015 @ 7:54 pm

                  “In truth, the last time you and a I had a dialogue, I simply let you have the “last word” because I began to realize that you weren’t competent to entertain any exegetical discussion at a high level. It seemed like a waste of my time as well. There’s plenty of more beneficial discussion going on elsewhere.”

                  Ahem, ah, Rivers, you’ve never ended a conversation with anyone here simply because you didn’t find them sufficiently “competent” to satisfy your ratified atmosphere of expertise. LOL — what utter baloney.

                  ~Sean

            • Rivers
              December 26, 2015 @ 9:41 pm

              Danny,

              Thanks for the response. I was just hoping that you had more to contribute to the conversation about your part of the book before we move on to the next part. I wish you the best with your other pursuits.

  6. Danny Andre Dixon
    December 22, 2015 @ 6:01 pm

    Regarding Barton W. Stone: Here is a post of Restoration Movement Barton W. Stone’s article “Of Trinity” and “Of the Son of God,” as contained in WORKS OF ELDER B.W. STONE: A FEW DISCOURSES AND SERMONS (ORIGINAL AND SELECTED) by Elder James M. Mathes, Second Edition, (Cincinanati: Moore, Wilstach, Keys & Co., 1859, Reprint, 1953, by The Old Paths Book Club, Rosemead, CA), pp. 50-85. http://www.piney.com/Trinitybs.html

  7. Sean Garrigan
    December 22, 2015 @ 7:23 am

    Nice interview. Two points struck me as I listened:

    1. MONOGENHS hUIOS doesn’t necessarily mean “only Son”; it can mean “one of a kind Son” or “unique Son”.

    2. The book of Hebrews goes about as far in showing that Jesus wasn’t an angel as George Washington’s inauguration went showing that he was never a soldier in the Revolutionary Army. As an Arian from yesteryear noted:

    “The other text that I have heard urged to prove that Christ never was an angel, is Hebrews 1:5: ‘For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee?’ Although this text abundantly proves that Christ is exalted above all other messengers, it by no means proves that he was never a messenger himself. If I should say of General Washington that he was made superior to all the offers of the Revolutionary army—for to which of the officers said
    Congress at any time, Thou shalt be commander-in-chief? And again, when they brought him into the army they said, Let all the officers obey him, and of the officers it is said that the government gave them commission and appointed them wages, but to Washington it said, Thou hast loved
    thy country and hated treachery, therefore the government, even thy government, hath exalted thee to honor and office above they fellows—such conversation would go just about as far to prove that I thought Washington never was an officer in the army of the Revolution as the first chapter of Hebrews goes to prove that Christ never was a messenger of God. In fact, the above text, taken in its connection, goes rather to prove than to disprove that he is one of God’s angels, or messengers, because the writer, after speaking of him in connection with the angels several times, finally asserts that he was anointed with the oil of gladness above his fellows, by which he must mean his fellow messengers, for there are no others mentioned in the connection.

    The drift of the writer in the first chapter of Hebrews was not to show that Christ was not a messenger, but to show that he was made greater than all the messengers of God; therefore when the above text is brought to prove that Christ never was an angel, that is, a messenger
    of God, it is pressed into a service for which it was never designed by the writer.” (William Kinkade, The Bible Doctrine of God, Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, Atonement, Faith and Election), pp. 149-155

    ~Sean

    • GilT
      December 22, 2015 @ 9:53 am

      What the word definitions in isolation have never done is explain how or in what sense Jesus is the “only Son”; “one of a kind Son” or “unique Son.” Instead, the speculation goes round and round to declare that either, 1) Jesus was not eternal, or that 2) Jesus had a beginning at some point.

      The apostle Paul, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, explained, interpreted and applied the Begotten Son of Psalm 2 in Acts 13 Jesus as being WHEN Jesus was raised through the resurrection from the dead.

      • Sean Garrigan
        December 22, 2015 @ 10:36 am

        Though many may disagree — and textual uncertainties notwithstanding — I think that John 1:18 is telling us the sense in which the Son’s sonship is unique: He is the only one who exists in the bosom of the Father. I would paraphrase the verse this way:

        “No one has seen God at any time; the only Son who is in the bosom of the Father has explained Him.”

        ~Sean

        • Rivers
          December 22, 2015 @ 8:18 pm

          Sean,

          Yes, and this may be the key to understanding the beginning of the Prologue.

          1. The “word was in the beginning” (John 1:1a) because “no man has seen God at any time” (John 1:18a). Rather, “in the last days, God spoke in a son” (Hebrews 1:2).

          2. The “word was with [toward] God” (John 1:1b) because, after the resurrection, Jesus went to be “in the bosom of the Father” (John 1:18b). Jesus “knew … he was going to [toward] God” (John 13:3).

          3. The “word was God” (John 1:1c) because Jesus explained the Father (John 1:18c). The words that Jesus spoke revealed the Father (John 14:10).

          • Roman
            December 26, 2015 @ 9:07 am

            Or you can just read John 1:1 as part of a prologue to John, describing prior to Jesus’ story, in other words how everyone in the early Church read it, and the most basic reading of it, there is no reason to read john outside the natural reading, how a regular early Christian would read it, and how all of them we know of did.

            • Rivers
              December 26, 2015 @ 12:02 pm

              Roman,

              That’s what I suggested. Your reply is nothing but gibberish. Claiming there is a “most basic reading” or a “natural reading” means nothing without an explanation of the “reading” that would have been intended by the writer. That is why we do translation and exegesis.

              • Roman
                December 27, 2015 @ 8:19 pm

                There is a most basic reading, it’s the one that we can establish the intended audience would most likely have, the one where the least assumptions would have to be made.

                You’re reading isn’t found anywhere in the early church, and it assumes all sorts of things that one cannot simply assume. For example that “in the beginning” doesn’t actually mean “in the beginning” but rather “in the beginning of the resurrection.”

                • Rivers
                  December 28, 2015 @ 9:06 am

                  Roman,

                  The opinions of people in “the early church” don’t establish the correct reading or interpretation of the text. We have access to reliable copies of the apostolic testimony that we can examine for ourselves. I think each generation should take a fresh look at the evidence.

                  With regard to “the beginning” in John 1:1, the perspective I’ve offered is actually the one that is fully supported by the way the writer of the 4th Gospel normally used the term elsewhere to refer to the time when Jesus was with his disciples (John 2:11; John 6:64; John 8:25; John 15:27; John 16:4).

                  There’s no reason to make any exception in John 1:1 (especially in light of 1 John 1:1-2 which uses very similar language to the Prologue). The idea that EN ARXH is a quote from Genesis 1:1 for the purpose of establishing the historical context of the Prologue is also inconsistent with the way the writer applied the terms “word” and “world” and “light” and “darkness” to the circumstances of Jesus’ public ministry throughout the rest of the Gospel.

                  The writer of the 4th Gospel is also not the only one who used “the beginning” to refer to the time when the apostles were with Jesus (Mark 1:1; Luke 1:2; Acts 1:21-22; Hebrews 2:3).

                  • Roman
                    December 28, 2015 @ 7:56 pm

                    If your interpretation is already close to being somewhat ad hoc (reading words into a text where there are none) then the fact that no such reading exists in the early church makes it even less likely.

                    The writer of the gospel of john meant for the gospel to be read, starting from the beginning, and moving to the end. The times you mention beginning being used referring to the time when the disciples were with Jesus only means that because “beginning” is qualified or the context clearly tells us that. In John 1:1 there is no context or qualification that would give us that reading, the beginning simply means beginning, before the logos became, came to be, flesh.

                    • Rivers
                      December 29, 2015 @ 8:39 am

                      Roman,
                      I think reading “preexistence” and “spirit being” into the Prolgoue is far less likely (regardless of the early church) because there’s no grammatical or contextual basis for construing either of those concepts from the language in the Prologue.

                      The context of the Prologue certainly “qualifies” that the term “beginning” is used of the time when the disciples were with Jesus Christ because the Prologue is about John the baptizer introducing Jesus to the disciples and the Jewish people (John 1:6-18).

                    • Roman
                      December 29, 2015 @ 10:06 am

                      There is no exegesis of any text where I read in the words “pre existence” or “spirit being.”

                      All I need to do is just read “beginning” as “beginning” and sarx egeneto as sarx egeneto, thats it. No interpolation needed.

                      We can’t read back into the text contexts that don’t exist within the text, just because sometimes John talks about the beginning of the preaching work doesn’t mean that in the prologue we can assume John is talking about the same thing.

                      One reads the prologue Before one reads the rest of the gospel, so you can’t just read things back into it. Also “beginning” in the prologue is unqualified it’s simply The Beginning. Later in john when it talks about the beginning of Jesus’ ministry there is context and reason to read it that way, not so for the prologue.

                    • Rivers
                      December 29, 2015 @ 12:00 pm

                      Roman,

                      Reading SARX EGENETO as “became flesh” (or “was flesh”) means nothing without interpretation. “Beginning” doesn’t mean anything without interpretation either. That is why context is necessary.

                      From an exegetical and logical standpoint, the best way we can determine what the writer of the 4th Gospel meant by “beginning” is to consider the way he used the term in the context of his Gospel. That should be given priority. Thus, when the same meaning found elsewhere also works in the Prologue, there’s no reason to isolate John 1:1 and claim “it could mean something different in that context.”

                      When you say that “one reads the Prologue before one reads the rest of the gospel” it doesn’t follow that the Prologue should be isolated from the context of rest of the Gospel. Most books have introductions that introduce words and concepts that are developed later in the text (e.g. compare John 1:6-9 with John 1:19-34).

            • GilT
              December 28, 2015 @ 3:36 pm

              Roman,
              Re: “Or you can just read John 1:1 as part of a prologue . . .”
              I’d seen this post of yours and I just now thought it would be appropriate to comment on it.

              Doesn’t it strike you as familiar? You have conjured up two different ways to refer to the reading of the scriptures; a most basic reading and the natural reading. This is much as you do with “creation” and “new creation” here, in John 1:1 as concerns the expression “in the beginning” all of which, according to you, is to avoid assumptions. Neither your different types of reading nor the what you believe is a substantive point concerning “creation” and “new creation” hold much promise for the enlightening of the saints, brother.

              Yet, you yourself engage and hold to assumptions as to “all of them [early Christians] we know of did,” that is, how they read the scriptures. Then, you tell Rivers that his reading of scripture “isn’t found anywhere in the early church?” You have assumed, not that it is vital or critical in my estimation, because you or anyone else has not come across such a reading by early Christians as taken by Rivers that it must therefore be wrong or invalid. Please do not assume that I agree with Rivers’ reading, but the familiar plying of ancient reading of scripture by our early brothers and sisters is in the same vain as what modern scholars do.

              Specifically, I refer to the Greg paper posted by Sean. It reflects that practice of modern scholars to muddle and obscure a point or discussion and to focus intensely on a point to the omission of another. I won’t repeat my entire thread comment here, but the specific failure of Greg’s paper was to focus intensely on GLORY (as to WHAT Isaiah saw) while simultaneously omitting any discussion on the HIM of whom Isaiah spoke.

              The problem with the practice of turning and relying on early Christian readings of scriptures seems another way of scholars themselves to avoid wrestling with the text and, most importantly, avoid declaring their own conclusions clearly. Declaring ones’ own conclusions is virtually anathema among scholars as I have observed over the years. It’s so much easier to talk and speculate about how others read the passage. Hence, not only the avoidance of the saints in Christ today reading and examining the scriptures themselves, but the lack of the trust that the Holy Spirit in them is willing and able to bring them to the necessary awareness and understanding of scripture for their lives in the twenty first century. The scholars have sat themselves in the chair Moses. Fortunately, most of what they have to say, as was noted by someone else in the thread, is to limit their followup discussion to their peer-review journals.

              • Roman
                December 29, 2015 @ 7:54 am

                I’m using the term most basic and natural synonymously. Basically the principle is that we should read the text in the most natural way the intended audience would read it, only making the assumptions that we can establish then would make, none more.

                I am NOT saying that the early Christian sources provide some infallible interpretation. What I am saying is that if one is adding in assumptions, or reading between the lines, one has to justify that. If other early Christians did the same, that would indicate that the intended audience would have read it that way, and so we would be more justified in reading it that way, if not then what is the justification?

                Rivers gives a complicated reading in which one has to read all sorts of things in between the lines, depart from the plain reading of the text and so on, but never justifying why we should think that the intended audience would have read it that way.

                And the fact that words are used in a certain way some places given the context doesn’t mean that we can universally change their meaning. If I write a text in which I say “in the beginning of my school” and later “when the friends were with me from the beginning of the school year.” One can’t just assume that wheneve I say beginning in the rest of the text I mean beginning of the school year apriori, so if I say in the God created everything in the beginning, the fact that I used in the beginning other places to refer to the beginning of the school year doesn’t justify adding in “of the school year” to the “God created everything in the beginning” text.

                Exegesis is cannot be Ad Hoc, you can’t just add in whatever you like, texts have meanings.

      • Rivers
        December 22, 2015 @ 8:01 pm

        Gil,

        You make a good observation about how “the begotten” was associated with the resurrection of Jesus Christ in Acts 13:33-34 and Hebrews 1:5-6. I think it’s also significant that only the writer of the 4th Gospel refers to Jesus as MONOGENHS (and he is writing after the resurrection).

        I would suggest that MONOGENHS was being used of the human Jesus because of his unique status as God’s “heir” (Matthew 21:33-39). This how MONOGENHS was also used of Isaac (Hebrews 11:17). Of course, an “only child” in any family would also be designated the heir.

        • GilT
          December 23, 2015 @ 7:32 am

          Rivers,

          Yes, John is writing after the resurrection as did all the New Testament writers.

          Yes, Jesus is the unique heir, but not because he was the firstborn to Joseph and Mary. He is unique as the firstborn and he is the rightful heir precisely because he is the first risen from the dead.

          It bears worth saying because not only Muslims, but a many saints in Christ often are quick to note that Lazarus and many others were raised from the dead. This is true. However, unlike those others, Jesus laid down his life and took up himself just as he had openly declared to friend and foe alike. Furthermore, unlike those others, he was raised up from the dead to die no more AND has received power and authority to so for all whom the Father draws to himself.

          • Rivers
            December 24, 2015 @ 8:00 am

            Gil,

            I agree. Paul referred to Jesus Christ as “the firstborn” (Colossians 1:15, 18) in the context of “the resurrection of the dead.” I don’t think it has anything to do with his relationship to Mary or Joseph.

            Yes, there are others in scripture who were raised from the dead. However, none of them had eternal life. Even after the resurrection of Lazarus , the disciples weren’t sure if Lazarus was going to “remain” until the Parousia or not (John 21:20-24). This suggests that his resurrection was not considered permanent.

            • Roman
              December 26, 2015 @ 9:08 am

              The resurrection of the dead doesn’t provide the context for the fist born of all creation statement, it’s a whole different statement.

              • Rivers
                December 26, 2015 @ 12:32 pm

                Roman,

                The “firstborn of all creation” (Colossians 1:15) is the same thing as “the firstborn from among the dead” (Colossians 1:18), just as “the faithful witness, the firstborn from among the dead” (Revelation 1:5) is the same thing as “the faithful witness, the beginning of the creation of God” (Revelation 3:14).

                Jesus Christ was neither the “firstborn” nor a “faithful witness” until after the resurrection. These designations occur in contexts that have nothing to do with anything that happened before the Genesis creation. The apostles understood that “in Christ, there is a new creation” (2 Corinthians 5:17-19; Galatians 6:15; Colossians 3:10).

                • Roman
                  December 27, 2015 @ 8:22 pm

                  Why is it the same? Why would Paul just say the same thing twice one right after each other, and why doesn’t “creation” mean “creation”?

                  When Paul means “new creation” he says “new creation.”

                  • GilT
                    December 28, 2015 @ 6:58 am

                    When Paul states, “if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature” do you think he does not mean creation, Roman?

                    • Roman
                      December 28, 2015 @ 7:50 pm

                      When pa says “new creation” or “new creature” he means “new” when he says “creation” he means “creation.”

                  • Rivers
                    December 28, 2015 @ 9:35 am

                    Roman,

                    First, it is not accurate to say that Paul says “new creation” whenever he refers to “new creation” (e.g. Colossians 3:10; Ephesians 2:10; Ephesians 4:24).

                    Second, if you consider what Paul said in Romans 8:23-29, it’s evident that he associated Jesus as “the firstborn” with both the
                    unseen” image” of God and the “redemption of the body” (resurrection life) again in that context.

                    • Roman
                      December 28, 2015 @ 8:01 pm

                      Colossians 3:10 is taking about the new personality and the one who creates, this isn’t tbe word “creation” alone talking about the “new creation” in Ephesians it’s also taking about God creating the new personality, but that is nothing like Paul using just “creation” alone as new creation.

              • GilT
                December 26, 2015 @ 1:09 pm

                Roman,

                I am not quite sure I understand your statement. Nonetheless, I will offer a comment.

                Exactly which one (resurrection? creation?) is a different statement to which you refer is not a problem. They are both quite different statements. However, they are not separate or unrelated and both are in, to borrow that buzzword, context.

                The context spans between what Paul described in I Corinthians 15 as being from perishable to imperishable. The perishable body of Jesus was raised up through the resurrection from the dead as imperishable to become the firstborn of the new creation.

                • Rivers
                  December 26, 2015 @ 9:29 pm

                  Gil,

                  Good points.

                • Roman
                  December 27, 2015 @ 8:35 pm

                  Paul says Jesus was he first born of creation and then he Explains that, then he says he is the head of the church and the firstborn of he dead. Pretending that the latter defines the former and thus they must be talking about the same thing is fallacious, Paul doesn’t just say the same thing over and over again right after each other for no reason. Paul makes progressive arguments, from one point leading to another.

                  If Paul meant “new creation” he would have said “new creation.”

                  The fact that he later talks about the resurrection is actually an argument agaisnt reading “new” into the former creation talk, since it would make Paul be repeating himself for no reason.

                  • GilT
                    December 28, 2015 @ 6:57 am

                    Roman,

                    Actually, Paul does not so much explain as much as he declares that Jesus is the firstborn. The closest he comes to an explanation is to state that Jesus is, “the firstborn from the dead” in verse 18, but that still begs the explanation just HOW did Jesus become the firstborn from the dead. Really this would be a moot point except for two reasons, 1) that I have earlier in this thread discussion (Tuesday, December 22 in response to Sean) posted on Paul’s explanation concerning Jesus as the Begotten Son of Psalm 2 in his message in Acts 13, and 2) you seem to think I am engaged in some kind of fantasy or pretend game between Paul’s former reference to Jesus as the firstborn and his latter reference to Jesus as the head of the church? I do not know how you concluded that Paul’s latter reference of “the head of the church” DEFINES his former reference to “the firstborn?” You are way off, brother. Still, I do appreciate the challenge.

                    You dismiss as fallacious my mention of the new creation because the exact phrase does not appear in Colossians 1. Fair enough. Yet, the creation of the body of believers as those born anew through faith in Jesus is a reality which does not extend back to the garden of Eden, but to Pentecost following the resurrection of Jesus as the firstborn from the dead. There are two key words which merge the message of Colossians 1 and II Corinthians 5 as these appear in the NASB. Of course, different Bible versions may use different words, but I believe the presence of whatever word a particular Bible version uses will appear between those two passage. In the NASB those words are “reconcile” and “creation/creature.” I am not mistaken, unclear or deceived in my mind, brother as to not know the difference between creator and creation, or the firstborn (creator) and the head of the church. (creation) Yes, creator and creation are related by the latter does NOT define, as you suggest that I have done, the latter.

                    Lastly, I would say I am baffled to hear you state that “the resurrection is actually an argument agaisnt reading “new” into the former creation talk,” however, I have heard more far-flung notions.

                    • Rivers
                      December 28, 2015 @ 9:54 am

                      Gil,

                      I think Romans 8:23-29 would be another text that supports your reply to Roman. In that context, Paul also uses “creation” and “image” and “firstborn” and relates it to “the redemption of the body” that was to result from receiving holy spirit power (Romans 8:9-11).

                      The implication is that believers are a new “creation” of God that will be conformed to the “image” of Jesus Christ who became “the firstborn” of those who would share the glory of God through resurrection life (Romans 8:29).

                    • GilT
                      December 28, 2015 @ 2:49 pm

                      Rivers,
                      Yes, that passage came to mind also. I just thought to make my point to the two passages. Also I often trust and assume the person, Roman in this case, is familiar with the numerous other passages which we could both cite.

                    • Rivers
                      December 28, 2015 @ 4:00 pm

                      Gil,

                      Colossians 1:16-17 is a critical text for those who believe in the “preexisting spirit being became an human being” Christology. It’s understandable that they want to keep the “firstborn of all creation” language in the context of Genesis (rather than resurrection).

                    • GilT
                      December 29, 2015 @ 8:21 am

                      Rivers,
                      The understanding and convictions of my faith in Jesus as the Son of God is of his existence prior to coming into the world. I state that assertion clearly because I do not understand your own statements.

                      Yes, Colossians is a text concerning the matter of the preexistence of Jesus. There is nothing which makes it anymore critical than any other text on this subject. Still, I am not sure exactly how you can make that true and accurate claim about those who believe in that preexistence and then claim that “It’s understandable” why those same believers would want to keep the language of the “firstborn of all creation” _ in Genesis? Rather than the resurrection? Would you consider reorganizing what you are trying to communicate here, please.

                      Furthermore, for my part and although I do not speak for anyone else, I have referred thread discussion participants to the apostle Paul’s interpretation, explanation and application of the Begotten from Psalm 2 in his message in Acts 13. So, between just these two passages, namely, Colossians 1 and Acts 13 I have a problem neither with the language of the firstborn of all creation nor with any need to keep within the context of Genesis. Paul does make use of two different references of; the firstborn — of all creation, and the firstborn — from the dead. So, while Paul’s words would seem to suggest a reference to the Genesis account there is no need to feel bound (Certainly, I do not feel bound) ONLY to that creation and latter creation involving the resurrection from the dead. The Genesis account of creation is of the first and earthly creation. The creation of which Jesus as the Son of God raised up from the dead is Lord and Savior is the body of believers; those who have been born anew of water and of the spirit. (btw: He did not become a human being. He took on the FORM of a human being.)

                    • Rivers
                      December 29, 2015 @ 8:56 am

                      Hi Gil,

                      Perhaps I’m not clear on what perspective you are coming from. However, I appreciate that you are “open” the fact that Paul spoke of two different “creations” and I there isn’t any reason not to consider that the Colossians 1:16 “creation” might be referring to the “new.”

                      For clarification, I don’t think the apostles were teaching that Jesus Christ existed before his birth in any sense. I take passages like John 1:1, 14 to simply be referring to when Jesus began his public ministry and was manifested to the Jewish people by John the baptizer.

                      I think the context of Colossians 1:14-20 is about the death and resurrection of Jesus and thus the “created all things in heaven and earth” (Colossians 1:16) is related to “the reconciliation of all things in heaven and earth through the blood of the cross” (Colossians 1:20).

                    • GilT
                      January 3, 2016 @ 9:08 pm

                      Rivers,

                      (I’m sorry. I wrote this days ago and just now realized I had not posted it. gt)

                      Although there are a few particular elements of your comment to which I could speak I believe I would be entering into the same type of approach so common in this and a multitude of other topics of discussion. The approach too often is to focus on word isolation, word definitions, what someone two millennium ago or more recently states and has written on the matter and on and on.

                      What I posited (Isaiah 6 & John 12) early in this thread discussion tends to irritate and annoy some saints. Why? It is because I offer no suggestions or interpretations. I offer no isolation of words or their definitions. I offer no litany of scholars who have written on the matter. It is simply for the individual to read, examine and ponder for themselves.

                      What the text and the questions which I posit represent is a substantive portion of text. It is a text from the Tanakh which also appears in the the New Testament. Invariably, (as has happened even in this thread discussion) assumptions can abound as to what someone thinks, what someone is implying even when they have gone to great lengths to avoid both. I encourage people to read the text in their own preferred version of the scriptures. There is a weighty matter there in any and all versions. It is inescapable. It is what emerges in the individual’s mind which can be upsetting when they consider the implications and conclusion which THEY, and not anyone else, infer from the passages. Whether or not they accept and embrace those inferences and conclusions will determine and shape their confidence concerning the God who is one.

                    • Rivers
                      January 4, 2016 @ 8:32 am

                      Gil,

                      I don’t think that an entirely subjective and individualistic reading scripture is a valid approach. The biblical documents were written to groups of people who needed to have a common understanding of the message.

                      The challenge for us is being thousands of years removed from the original context of the message and trying to translate several dead languages into modern vernacular so we can even hope to read it. Sometimes that requires focusing on certain vocabulary, considering alternate interpretations, and offering substantial reasons that one perspective is more valid than another.

                    • GilT
                      January 4, 2016 @ 2:36 pm

                      Rives,

                      You do not seriously think that I have suggested, stated or advocated for a subjective and individualistic reading of scripture, right? While neither one of those are in themselves necessarily always invalid or inappropriate they are within the realm of human experience an acceptable response in love to God such as with all one’s heart, mind, soul and strength.

                      Yes, I get the point about the need for word study, etc. but the reality is that what transpires and results from much of this too often is nothing more than boys playing scholarly games and in the end the test is this: where is the clarification and edification for the saints in Christ? The spin on speculations is dizzying for those who go in there expecting to glean an understanding of which they can take hold. The article by Greg is just one of these examples.

                      The problem is not that the language is dead. The problem is not understanding, even if we might claim to do so, what it means when we say that the word of God is living and active and that it is the Holy Spirit who dwells in the believer who is able to lead believers to enlightenment. Yes, I understand this, the indwelling of the Spirit, continues to be yet another area of bland vagueries which leave the saints parroting useless catchy words and phrases without the joy, confidence and conviction one would expect to see in the saints in Christ.

                    • Rivers
                      January 7, 2016 @ 8:26 am

                      Gil,

                      Some of the “boys playing scholarly games” occurs because people don’t take a critical approach to doing exegesis where arguments are adequately substantiated with exegetical evidence so that opinions can be shown to be justified. It’s difficult for most people to step out of their religious “comfort zone” and objectively consider opposing perspectives. Scholars are also encouraged to “speculate” about things because it creates fodder for publishing and selling books.

                      I think it’s best just to try to have friendly dialogue on these forums and put forward the different perspectives on the exegetical material so that it can be evaluated by everyone. Each person should consider the evidence for himself and make up his own mind.

                      I also think it’s good to present opposing opinions because no interpretation is of much value if it isn’t tested by the best critical analysis that is available. Fortunately, as a Biblical Unitarian, I’m coming from a perspective that takes a lot of criticism from the majority of Christians. Thus, it compells me to be continually taking a fresh look at the biblical evidence.

                    • Roman
                      December 28, 2015 @ 7:48 pm

                      this is my point. In Colossians 1:13,14 it talks about our release.

                      In 15-17 either it’s talking about the new creation, which means that we were intended to read “new” into the text when it is not there, or it means regular creation , now the fact that new isn’t there should lean us toward the latter reading.

                      18-20 it talks about him being the firstborn from the dead and the means of reconciliation.

                      Now 18-20 is basically taking about the new creation, so if we were to interpret 15-17 as new creation we would have to read the text as Paul just repeating himself, for no reason, and intending us to read in these repetition by reading in “new” where no “new” is written.

                      There is no good reason we should accept that reading.

                      If we just accept that “creation” means creation then it makes sense, it explains the original creation through the logos and then moves on to the reconciliation of all things through him. If we take you’re reading there is no flow of logic, just repetition for no reason.

                    • GilT
                      December 28, 2015 @ 8:34 pm

                      Roman,

                      What I find particularly and seriously peculiar about your explanation, brother is that, 1) it appears to be a resistance or rejection to the teaching of scriptures concerning a creation that came into being as the result of the resurrection, 2) it reflects the common practice of looking for understanding through word isolation, and 3) as much as you advocate for reading the words of other sources such as early Christians you do seem unwilling or unable to read, examine and consider, for instance, II Corinthians 5 which I cited for you in this matter.

                    • Roman
                      December 29, 2015 @ 8:00 am

                      1. I don’t deny that, but I don’t simply read in “new” anytime Paul uses the term “creation” apriori unless I have a good reason for it.

                      2. Again, not the case, but all theology MUST begin with exegesis, and careful exegesis, which means not making ad hoc interpolations when none are justified. After doing exegesis can one bring it all together, but only after figuring out what the writers are actually saying.

                      3. No I’ll consider it, but you haven’t shown how that scripture justifies interpolating “new” before “creation” in Colossians 1:15

                    • GilT
                      December 29, 2015 @ 8:53 am

                      Roman,

                      I believe I have just noticed something very familiar in your comments. It is understood that you are well versed in Latin and I appreciate your admonition that all theology MUST be not just exegesis, but careful exegesis.

                      Yet, you slip, often really, out of place with respect to your own admonitions, brother. For instance, for all your resistance and opposition and efforts seemingly to clarify and distinguish between “creation” and “new creation,” you have conjured up one of your own in your reply to Rivers to supposedly clarify those words with “new personality.”

                      1) What theology and careful exegesis, or better yet, what passage in Colossians 1 can one find the wording, “new personality?”
                      2) Yet, as simplistically redundant as is it to tell me that when “Paul writes ‘new creation’ or ‘new creature’ he means “new” when he says “creation” he means ‘creation'” it is better than number 1, but worse than number 3.

                      3) Is this a example of theology or exegesis: “The writer of the gospel of john meant for the gospel to be read, starting from the beginning, and moving to the end?” Or is it just another friendly instruction or reminder for those who cannot grasp theology and exegesis or had just never thought that this was what John had in mind about his gospel account?

                      However, this is the most egregious: “the beginning simply means beginning, before the logos became, came to be, flesh.” I do not believe your theology professor would have been satisfied with such an attempt to define a word (beginning) by using the same word (beginning) to define it. That’s not theology, Latin or exegesis. It’s just grammar.

                    • Roman
                      December 29, 2015 @ 10:18 am

                      I don’t speak or read Latin, I can read koine Greek fairly decently.

                      In my discussion with Rivers what I’m resisting is reading into scriptures things that are not there simply because in other verses similar words are used in different ways. It would be like if in a text I used “I needed to use the john” as a slang for bathroom, and earlier I said “my friend John” and then someone started saying I was friends with a toilet because “John” means toilet in a later place in the text, it’s unwarranted.

                      1. It doesn’t, that was kind of my point…. I think you may have missed what I was responding to.

                      2. “New creation”
                      Means “new creation” and “creation” means “creation” unless there is a strong reason to think otherwise … Is that not reasonable?

                      3. Point being it’s silly to read things back into the text that aren’t there just because later in the text the word is qualified.

                      The NT was written in Koine Greek, not Latin.

                      “In the beginning” means what the intended reader would have understood it to mean, of course they would think “in the beginning of everything” since that is the biblical usage of the term. They can’t think it to be the beginning of Jesus’ ministry because it’s the beginning of the gospel, the reader doesn’t even know about Jesus’ ministry yet, there’s no context for that established.

                    • GilT
                      December 29, 2015 @ 5:05 pm

                      read and noted, Roman.

                    • GilT
                      January 3, 2016 @ 9:11 pm

                      Roman
                      (I am sorry. I wrote this days ago but I just now realized I had not posted it. gt)

                      Yes, this is familiar to me: The NT was written in Koine Greek, not Latin.

                      If we continue with this discussion I will likely touch on this last reply from you to #1 thru #3. I am not going into further response to those at just this moment.

                      I will comment on your last paragraph which is related variously to those three points. It also shows what I continue to see, Roman. You claim to want to strive for the simple reading of scripture, but all indications are that either you lose yourself or that you obscure the very same things which you claim are plain and simple.

                      Here is what I mean. namely, that you do not seem to be aware of what you state concerning “in the beginning.” You state the following:

                      “They can’t think it to be the beginning of Jesus’ ministry because it’s the beginning of the gospel, the reader doesn’t even know about Jesus’ ministry yet, there’s no context for that established.”

                      You are correct for the wrong reasons.

                      The gospel of Mark is the best commentary to your statement above. You seem to distinguish between the beginning of “Jesus’ ministry” and “the gospel” as being two different things, but Mark seems to regard Jesus’ ministry and the gospel as the same.

                      You are correct that the early readers can’t think “in the beginning” to be the beginning of the ministry of Jesus.

                      You are mistaken for the reason that you state, namely, that they can’t think such a thing because, as you state, “it’s the beginning of the gospel.” Furthermore, you have compounded and even fortified this flaw when you state that, “the reader doesn’t even know about Jesus’ ministry yet.” You are pulling in two different directions, Roman. You state on one hand that it is not the ministry of Jesus, but on the other hand you state that it is the beginning of the gospel. See the opening of the gospel according to Mark. Does he not equate Jesus’ preaching the gospel of God with the beginning of his ministry?

                      However, the greater overall reason why you are mistaken on your explanation of “in the beginning” in John 1 is not because it is, as you have noted, about the preaching of Jesus or the beginning of his ministry; both of which are the same. Rather the reason your explanation is mistaken is because the clear indication involving being “with God” and “all things came into being” that this all predates any preaching or ministry of Jesus.

                      I do not believe you are being deceptive or coy. I do believe, on the basis of what I read of your comments, that there is no confidence to clearly make a declaration of your understanding on a given matter of scripture. You appeal for Rivers and myself to just read the plain text for what it says, but, brother, as praiseworthy and commendable as are these words they do not appear to have resulted in a buildup of your understanding and confidence. This is very much what I stated of what I saw in Greg’s paper. (the link posted by Sean early in the thread) He seems to focus on the glory Isaiah saw only to completely overlook the one of whom Isaiah spoke. He focused on all manner of speculations on the glory (WHAT) Isaiah saw without any attention to the one of whom Isaiah spoke. (WHOM)

                    • Sean Garrigan
                      January 4, 2016 @ 7:12 am

                      “This is very much what I stated of what I saw in Greg’s paper. (the link
                      posted by Sean early in the thread) He seems to focus on the glory
                      Isaiah saw only to completely overlook the one of whom Isaiah spoke. He
                      focused on all manner of speculations on the glory (WHAT) Isaiah saw
                      without any attention to the one of whom Isaiah spoke. (WHOM)”

                      I think you should consider elaborating on that, because I don’t recognize Greg’s papers in your assertion, as stated above.

                      I would encourage members of this forum to consider Greg’s full argument, as it’s been developed in his book, in his debate with James White, and, most particularly, in the following articles/posts, which are best read in order, it seems to me:

                      1. http://preview.tinyurl.com/hlwbtup

                      2. http://preview.tinyurl.com/pv7vbsw

                      3. http://preview.tinyurl.com/pu8bs4r

                      ~Sean

                    • GilT
                      January 4, 2016 @ 8:01 am

                      Sean,

                      My assertion on Greg’s paper was strictly on the content and focus of his paper. The content is his presentation of various speculations according to what various individuals think might be the glory which Isaiah saw. This focus by Greg on WHAT Isaiah saw is in complete disregard as to the one of WHOM Isaiah spoke. I read the paper in its entirety. It is not a difficult read, I give him that much, but it is a very familiar tactic of speculation which might be great for chatting over hot coffee or a cold beer, but it does absolutely nothing for the understanding of the God who is one and the edification of the saints.

                      Thanks for the links, but I will not be bothering with them.

                    • Sean Garrigan
                      January 4, 2016 @ 10:40 am

                      “Thanks for the links, but I will not be bothering with them.”

                      Suite yourself, but in neglecting crucial data you seem to be reaching a faulty conclusion about Greg’s overall argument, i.e. this assertion of yours appears to be mistaken:

                      “Greg on WHAT Isaiah saw is in complete disregard as to the one of WHOM Isaiah spoke.”

                      Greg in fact does NOT “complete[ly] disregard” the one about WHOM Isaiah spoke. Indeed, a central component of Greg’s argument is precisely that the one about WHOM Isaiah “spoke” is in reference to Isaiah 53, where it was the future suffering and glorious accomplishments of the Messiah that are in view, not the glory of Jehovah that filled the temple at Isa 6.

                      ~Sean

                    • Rivers
                      January 4, 2016 @ 9:02 am

                      Sean,

                      Yes, Greg Stafford has written some good stuff on this topic. I’d recommend that people read it too.

                    • Roman
                      January 4, 2016 @ 10:38 am

                      When I used the term “the gospel” I wasn’t taking about the good news that Jesus preached, I was talking about the document of john which is classified as a gospel document. When I said the beginning of “the gospel” I meant the beginning of the book of John.

                      As far as your issue with my reading of the terms “with God” and “all things” being what I presume would be the most simple one (based on what the intended readers would have had as a context), I’m not really sure what the issue is. Could you spell it out a bit more clearly?

                    • GilT
                      January 5, 2016 @ 8:48 pm

                      Roman,

                      Yes, I quite understood that was what you meant, namely, that your use of the term “the gospel” is the same as the beginning of the book of John.

                      The problem with this explanation by you is that separates and distinguishes the gospel from the ministry of Jesus. Your explanation that the readers would not have thought of any such thing as the ministry of Jesus is upended by Mark’s introduction to this own gospel account. In other words, the gospel and the ministry are synonymous.

                      The point about the expressions in John 1 of “with God” and “all things” strongly suggest, if not indicate, that this is beyond even the scope of the gospel of Jesus or the ministry of Jesus as these occurred in his lifetime. The text strongly suggests that it is referring to some long before even creation came into existence.

                    • Roman
                      January 6, 2016 @ 4:07 pm

                      The question is what would the intended reader of John understand when he read the prologue. I think the way people like rivers read it, as a kind of coded summery of what comes later in john, is not at all what the natural reading would be for the intended reader. It’s kind of silly to assume that one would have to read the entire gospel before understanding the prologue.

                      So when we read the prologue we have to assume that john meant it to be read prior to the gospel.

                    • GilT
                      January 6, 2016 @ 7:28 pm

                      Roman,

                      I should be baffled, but I have learned this is quite common, Roman. Now, on top of the deluge with which the saints are hit with WRITINGS of various early Christians and modern scholars think how a passage should be understood we have the INTENDED UNDERSTANDING of those early readers?

                      What these approaches or methodologies on the study and understanding of the word of God reveal to me is the quickness to run anywhere and everywhere, near and far for what and how we are to understand the scriptures.

                    • Roman
                      January 6, 2016 @ 7:43 pm

                      I don’t get your point here … Could you make it more clear please?

                    • GilT
                      January 6, 2016 @ 8:00 pm

                      Roman,
                      The point, brother, is this penchant we have to expend great amounts of time looking into how OTHER saints understood the scriptures. What you have no brought out in your post goes beyond that to speculate as to how the reader would HAVE INTENDED to UNDERSTAND.

                    • Roman
                      January 6, 2016 @ 8:29 pm

                      I’m sorry but there is simply no other way to do exegesis. When we look at what words mean in the NT or what phrases mean we are looking into how the writer intended them to be read, and to do that he would be thinking about his intended audience and how they would understand what he wrote, if we want to do exegesis, I.e. Find out what the writer intended to say, we have to do the same. There is no other way to do exegesis.

                    • GilT
                      January 6, 2016 @ 8:36 pm

                      Roman,

                      I understand there is no other way to do exegesis and the study of words and phrases. My response was to your noted emphasis on as to how the reader INTENDED to UNDERSTAND. That represent a leap well outside and beyond the discipline of exegesis. Yes, trying to understand a reader’s intended understanding is quite a realistic _ if we are talking about some with whom we are engaged in face to face, not two thousand years ago.

                    • Roman
                      January 6, 2016 @ 9:09 pm

                      There’s no other way to do exegesis. Take the word communism. If we are reading an anthropological text from the late 1800s compared to a political speech from 1950s America, the word communism would mean 2 different things. The only way to figure out the meaning intended by the reader, I.e. The exegeticaly correct one, would be to try and figure out how his intended readership (fellow anthropologists from the late 1800s on one hand and American voters on the other) would understand the word communism.

                    • Rivers
                      January 7, 2016 @ 8:38 am

                      Roman,
                      Good point.

                    • GilT
                      January 7, 2016 @ 10:40 am

                      Roman,

                      I have stated in agreement with you that I understand there is no other way to do exegesis. This is not the issue as I have explained.

                      However, since you have served me a double portion of exegesis I will go ahead and add this to my earlier comment. Consider that what you are talking about really has nothing to do with exegesis. It has to do with delving into the mind of the reader to understand _ the meaning intended by the reader?

                      First of all, which reader? A single reader? Many readers?

                      Second, where is the edification for the saints in Christ if it is not their understanding of the text that they are enriching, but rather learning, “the meaning intended by the reader?”

                    • Roman
                      January 7, 2016 @ 12:42 pm

                      The intended reader, is this to difficult of a concept? When anyone writes anything they have an intended reader in mind, it may be a specific person, it may be a group of people, it mate be a kind of person.

                      The edification comes from understanding what the writer intended to say.

                    • GilT
                      January 7, 2016 @ 4:39 pm

                      Roman,
                      No, Roman, the intended reader, although admittedly a new one for me, is not such a deep and profound concept so as being too difficult for me to grasp.
                      The problem is that you misspoke yourself between reader and writer as Sean had suggested and as I had thought so myself.
                      Now that we have cleared that up I reiterate: I understand the role and value of exegesis. What you (and you are not unique) assume is that the work of exegesis is necessarily and purely without bias and always with the result that the saints are edified. This is what I continue to observe with way too much of what is served up as exegesis. More often than not it is a convoluted message involving numerous possibilities involving word meanings, who said what, several possibilities as to what who might have meant,. This is just the proverbial tip of the iceberg, but I think you get the picture.

                    • Roman
                      January 7, 2016 @ 7:05 pm

                      Yeah, I get the point, but this is the case with any realm of knowledge, there are ambiguities, biases and all sorts of interferences, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t good and bad arguments.

                    • GilT
                      January 7, 2016 @ 8:09 pm

                      Roman,
                      Really, the good/bad arguments is a given. However, the teaching of the word of God is not in rehashing good and bad arguments. Very closely related to that as a way of supposedly teaching the scriptures is to throw out a barrage of questions on the listeners. These questions may be rhetorical, but the impression (perhaps as intended) it creates in the minds of the listeners is that the questioner must surely understand these especially when they see that no one answers his questions. Too often nothing could be farther from the truth.

                    • Roman
                      January 8, 2016 @ 1:29 am

                      If you remember the whole conversation started as a question over the meaning of the prologue of John and its theological implications, for that we need sound exegesis and all that it entails.

                    • GilT
                      January 8, 2016 @ 12:31 pm

                      Roman,

                      Yes, exegesis sounds good; sound exegesis even better. The reality is that good/bad arguments, word definitions, endless speculations and a catalog of how different ancient and modern individuals view a passage of scripture does little towards the edification of the saints. Since this is what they are fed by those who feed on what their favorite scholars have to say; the saints actually believe and the equate this with studying the word of God.

                    • Roman
                      January 8, 2016 @ 12:35 pm

                      … Ok, but we aren’t talking about edification, we are taking about what is true.

                    • GilT
                      January 8, 2016 @ 2:36 pm

                      Roman,
                      I am confident that you understand, first, that it is I who brought the matter of edification into the discussion. Secondly, I trust that you also understand that my reference to the edification of the saints is in way to dismiss or diminish what is true.

                      However, as I look at your own comment I am doing, as has been your message in this thread, wrestling to understand what you, the writer, mean by these words. I am inclined, so as to give you the benefit of the doubt, that you do not mean to dismiss or diminish the edification of the saints over what is true. The latter, brother, is what leads to the former; the edification of the saints, but when what purports to be a search and exploration for what is true turns out to be an endless speculation, word definitions,etc. where is the edification of the saints?

                    • Roman
                      January 9, 2016 @ 1:36 am

                      The truth is the basis for any edification, but the truth comes first.

                    • GilT
                      January 9, 2016 @ 10:25 am

                      Yes. I am familiar with this prioritization from of old, brother.

                    • Sean Garrigan
                      January 7, 2016 @ 5:38 am

                      “My response was to your noted emphasis on as to how the reader INTENDED to UNDERSTAND.”

                      I think he meant how the writer intended the reader to understand his writing, and the criticality of that is a given.

                      ~Sean

                    • GilT
                      January 7, 2016 @ 10:40 am

                      Sean,
                      I considered that possibility, but that is the wording which he continues to use.

                    • Rivers
                      January 7, 2016 @ 8:35 am

                      Gil,

                      Good point. This is why it’s unfortunately that many scholars impose fallacious concepts like the “Hebrew mindset” or “Jewish thought” or “Greek thought” (which are all impossible to precisely define or corroborate) and then restrict the meaning of biblical words to fit them. Sound critical exegesis of scripture should focus primarily on the meaning of the biblical text in the immediate context established by the writer himself.

                    • Rivers
                      January 8, 2016 @ 8:27 am

                      Roman,
                      There’s no book where one can read the introduction (or first chapter) and be expected to understand everything that follows. Otherwise, there would be no reason to write the rest of the chapters.

                      I think your method of isolating the Prologue is nothing more than taking it out of its context. I don’t think there’s any reason to think that the original readers would have read it like you do.

                    • Roman
                      January 8, 2016 @ 12:30 pm

                      I’m not isolating the text at all, I’m reading it in its most natural way, your way of reading it would mean that the reader would understand it one way, then read the rest of the gospel, and then understand it another way, which is a completely inplausable exegesis, unless you think john was being cryptic and none of the early readers (that we know of) understood it.

                    • Rivers
                      January 8, 2016 @ 4:38 pm

                      Roman,

                      The “natural way” idea you keep appealing to is a fallacy. What seems “natural” to you may not be how the language would have been understood in its own historical and literary context.

                      For example, there’s no reason to think it is “natural” to read the term LOGOS in any verse of scripture to mean a “spirit being.” You have to isolate John 1:1 and John 1:14 from the entire context of scripture to make that claim to support our own doctrine.

                      The reason we should be doing sound critical exegesis is to determine what words meant in their original context and what are the limitations of how we can reasonably translate and define them.

                    • Roman
                      January 9, 2016 @ 12:00 pm

                      The reason I think it’s natural to read the logos the way I do is because of the clear linguistic connections between the language Philo uses and john, and the fact that the whole prologue is spiritual in nature taking about the logos as a person with God and being God (no reason to not take that literally) and becoming flesh and so on, and being a kind of demiurge for creation (again, no reason to not take that literally). We have historical context from the Jewish wisdom literature and Philo that would push us to read the prologue in that way.

                      Later on in John it gives us a story, but that’s after the prologue, so it would be silly to read it back into the prologue.

                    • Rivers
                      January 11, 2016 @ 10:17 am

                      Roman,

                      There’s no evidence that the writer of the 4th Gospel had any knowledge of, or corroboration with Philo. Thus, it’s completely arbitrary to claim that there is a “clear connection” between the two writers. Moreover, there are many different interpretation of Philo’s material (just like the Prologue).

                      It’s also fallacious to appeal to an “historical context of Jewish wisdom literature” that also cannot be exegetically corroborated with anything in the 4th Gospel. Similar vocabulary doesn’t mean that two people use the terms in the same way. One thing that ancient “Jewish literature” proves is that there were all different theological ideas prevalent among the Jews.

                      It’s actually “silly” to isolate the Prologue and ignore how the writer of the 4th Gospel developed the same vocabulary, historical events, and theological motifs throughout the rest of his own literature. Forcing the writer of the 4th Gospel to agree with the disputed views of Philo is the wrong approach.

                    • Roman
                      January 11, 2016 @ 5:41 pm

                      The evidence is in he language usage and style, it’s right there …

                      Similar vocabulary used by people in a similar context means we should take it the same way, unless we have reason not to, you haven’t given any reason we shouldn’t.

                      Reading the prologue as a prologue and not just a wired way to summarize the story is not isolating it.

                    • Rivers
                      January 12, 2016 @ 9:03 am

                      Roman,

                      You haven’t given any “evidence” that the “language usage and style” in the Prologue supports isolating John 1:1, 14 and redefining the term LOGOS as “spirit being.”

                      Appealing to uncorroborated sources outside of the 4th Gospel in order to force LOGOS to mean “spirit being” in the context of the 4th Gospel is a fallacious approach. I think that is a sufficient “reason” that using your method of interpretation isn’t a good idea.

                      If your claim that “reading the Prologue as the Prologue” is not “isolating” the Prologue, then what does it mean? How does “reading the Prologue as the Prologue” substantiate your claim that “LOGOS means spirit being” in the Prologue?

                    • Roman
                      January 12, 2016 @ 10:20 am

                      Johns prologue uses the term logos to refer to a being who is God who is somehow with the God, through whom all things were created and who incarnated to do the will of God and be his agent on earth.

                      Philo talks about his logos being God, besides God, being the tool of creation the one through whom everything was created and the one who functioned as Gods agent.

                      So we have two options, either John had no idea that a very very popular and influential Alexandrian Jew and Jewish stream of thought used the exact same language, and we just have an extremely lucky coincidence that both john and Philo use the exact same bizzare language. Which would mean that the readers of the gospel of John would also have to had been completely unaware of the Philo logos concept lest they “misunderstand l” John.

                      Or John used the exact same language because he was conveying a similar concept and would expect his readers to pick up on that which anyone even remotely familiar with Philo’s logos concepts most certainly would.

                    • Rivers
                      January 12, 2016 @ 2:38 pm

                      Roman,

                      OK, thanks for clarifying. Let me address your points:

                      1. It seems like you are making a circular argument with LOGOS because you are assuming that your interpretation of John 1:1b-c and John 1:3 requires a “spirit being” and then forcing the word LOGOS to have that meaning. I think it’s better to properly define the term LOGOS (based upon the writer’s usage of the term) and then determine how it should be interpreted in the context of the Prologue.

                      2. Philo didn’t write the Prologue, and the writer of the 4th Gospel gives no indication of knowing anything about Philo. Thus, there’s no reason to restrict the meaning of LOGOS in the Prologue based upon a selective appeal to your interpretation of Philo’s usage of the term (which is debatable as well).

                      3. I think it’s a mistake to limit your understanding of the Prologue to only “two options.” Moreover, it doesn’t logically follow that the apostolic writer’s audience would have needed to know anything about Philo to understand the 4th Gospel. There are many other explanations of the the language in the Prologue that requires no reference to Philo or any of his writings. What about those?

                      4. It also doesn’t follow that the writer of the 4th Gospel and his audience would need to be “completely unaware” of Philo in order to have a different understanding of the term LOGOS than Philo did. For example, we are very familiar with the Trinity doctrine but we certainly don’t use the term “God” in the same way that the Trinitarians do.

                    • Roman
                      January 17, 2016 @ 5:50 am

                      The prologue writes about the logos as someone, who was divine, who was with God from the beginning, through whom all things were created, who became flesh this is not a normal usage of the term logos.

                      It’s not just that both philo and john use the same word, it’s that the use it in the same way, the same descriptions.

                      If I use the term God, and then talk about it being the father son and holy spirit, one is safe to assume I’m talking about the trinity, unless in the text there is good reason to believe otherwise.

                      If you have a good reason why we should assume otherwise let’s hear it.

                    • Rivers
                      January 18, 2016 @ 8:23 am

                      Roman,

                      I agree. However, it doesn’t logically follow that the person in the Prologue was a “preexisting spirit being” (as you claim). John 1:14 associated the LOGOS with ‘flesh’ (which refers to the human body of Jesus Christ, John 6:51-56).

                      It also doesn’t logically follow that because Philo and the writer of the 4th Gospel might (in your opinion) use a particular word in a similar way that they both were speaking of the same thing. For example, Philo certainly didn’t associate LOGOS with Jesus Christ.

                      I don’t think your analogy works either. For example, Oneness Pentecostals speak of “God” and “Father, Son, Holy Spirit” but certainly don’t believe in the Trinity doctrine. Thus, why should we make that assumption based upon the similar terminology?

                    • Roman
                      January 17, 2016 @ 5:57 am

                      A prologue is supposed to set up the text that follows, and you can’t assume that the reader has read the gospel before he read the prologue in order to understand the prologue.

                      I’m appealing to the only text outside John that uses the logos in the same way using the same language, and is within the same cultural context.

                    • Rivers
                      January 18, 2016 @ 8:42 am

                      Roman,

                      I understand what you are saying. However, not everyone agrees with your interpretation of Philo. Thus, when you make a selective appeal to Philo’s usage of LOGOS, then you also need to establish that your reading of Philo is the correct one. Otherwise, any supposed comparison to the language in the 4th Gospel is unsubstantiated.

                      I just think it’s much more reasonable to establish the meaning of LOGOS from the other 40+ uses (outside of the Prologue) that we have from the writer of the 4th Gospel himself that all happen to have the same basic meaning of a “spoken” saying or message.

                    • Roman
                      January 18, 2016 @ 11:06 am

                      I’m sure there are People who don’t agree With my interpretation of Philo, but that’s irrelvant, what matters is WHY they (actually you) don’t agree. I’m not making selective appeal to Philo’s usage, I’m making an appeal to where Philo’s Language provides Insight to Johns usage, based on the fact that they use it the same way.

                      I go over how Philo’s usage of the Logos clearly provides the background for John’s usage here https://theologyandjustice.wordpress.com/2015/05/09/the-prologue-of-john-the-logos-the-creation-philo-and-wisdom-part-2/

                      I’ts a brief overview, but it lays it out quite well.
                      But listen, if you want to argue the point, you have to make an argument.
                      THe reason we look for another definition, becuase clearly in the prologue it’s talking about a being, who was With god and who was Divine, and so on, that isn’t a spoken Word clearly.
                      But listen, why not actually deal With what I say about Philo rather than just say “other People dissagree.”

                    • Rivers
                      January 19, 2016 @ 8:37 am

                      Roman,

                      It’s arbitrary to suggest that “Philo provides insight to John’s usage” when you don’t have any evidence to corroborate the two sources. It’s also not wise to appeal only to what you think is the similarity between Philo and the Prologue and dismiss the numerous other differences that can be demonstrated.

                      I don’t care to argue about Philo because I think he is irrelevant (from a forensic standpoint). I’m just suggesting it’s more reasonable from an exegetical and logical standpoint to favor the usage of LOGOS by the writer of the 4th Gospel himself (and there’s plenty of it to analyze). It’s a mistake to restrict the Johannine use to conform to Philo.

                    • Roman
                      January 19, 2016 @ 9:40 am

                      Of course there is evidence, and I laid it out!

                      If you don’t want to argue about Philo then I don’t know what you’re doing, other than just stating Your opinion and not dealing With the arguments defending a different position, I mean if you’re just going to dismiss the argument apriori I don’t know why you’re arguing the point.

                    • Rivers
                      January 19, 2016 @ 11:07 am

                      Roman,
                      I would rather discuss the biblical text in terms of the merits of the actually person who wrote it. I think it’s fallacious to suggest that Philo has any relevance when there is no corroboration between the writers. Similar words does not constitute evidence of any intent to convey similar concepts.

                      If you prefer to follow Philo, I respect that. I don’t think he’s relevant, so it wouldn’t be beneficial to discuss his material.

                    • Roman
                      January 19, 2016 @ 1:51 pm

                      In other words you want ignore historical context, and thus ignore my argument.

                      I’m not “following Philo” I’m considering historical context to understand a text.

                      If you’re just going to ignore the whole thing apriori I don’t know what the point of this discussion is.

                    • Rivers
                      January 20, 2016 @ 9:50 am

                      Roman,

                      What you call “historical context” is uncorroborated material. That doesn’t constitute evidence. That is why I disregard it on exegetical and logical grounds. The primary “context” should be the biblical writer’s own material (since his usage of the language can be observed and verified).

                      I don’t think there is any point to discussing Philo because there’s no evidence that he and the writer of the 4th Gospel had any interdependence. It’s a waste of time to speculate about uncorroborated sources. There is plenty of evidence of the usage of LOGOS in the Johannine corpus and it doesn’t support your interpretation of Philo’s use of the term.

                      It’s not consistent with sound exegesis to isolate a couple of uses of LOGOS in the Prologue, dismiss several dozen other uses of the LOGOS by the same writer, and then try to force LOGOS to be redefined according to a highly debated interpretation of the use of the term by Philo (who never even associated the term with Jesus).

                    • Roman
                      January 20, 2016 @ 10:11 am

                      I don’t know what you mean by “Uncorroborated” I mean, it’s historical, it’s from first Century Judaism, and it was part of the same culture. The primary context should be the writers own material, sure, but along With historical context, what you’re doing is dismissing out of hand any other historical context, and then forcing Your own interpretation no matter how implausable.
                      The fact is nobody interprets a text solely using the text itself, it’s impossible, if that were the case then we wouuld have to ignore all the Places Jesus alludes to the Old Testament in John, becuase John didn’t Write hte old testament.
                      You say there is no evidence, but you’re ignoring out of hand the evidence presented. It’s like saying “I don’t need to examine the evidence becuase there is no evidence.”
                      I’m not dismissing all the other uses of the word “Logos”, I’m just actually allowing all historical context, and finding the best and most Natural Reading.
                      You’re the one refusing to even examine any other evidence.

                    • Rivers
                      January 21, 2016 @ 8:37 am

                      Roman,

                      What I mean by “uncorroborated” is just that there is no direct evidence that Philo and the writer of the 4th Gospel knew anything about each other or that the writer of the 4th Gospel depended upon Philo’s particular theory about LOGOS (which isn’t clear to most people today either).

                      Appealing to “historical context” is too general because “history” is only the tiny amount of evidence that is recorded (which is certainly not everything that happened in the past). Even the biblical record indicates that Jews of the apostolic era were in disagreement about many things. Thus, there’s no reason to think that Philo’s opinion represents what any significant number of Jews believed about anything.

                      I appreciate that you are trying to find the most plausible meaning (as I am too). I just think it’s more likely that the meaning of LOGOS would be found in the dozens of uses that occur in the corpus of the writer himself. That is the part of the “historical context” that is directly applicable to writer’s own testimony.

                    • Rivers
                      January 7, 2016 @ 8:54 am

                      Gil,

                      Good points.

                    • Rivers
                      January 8, 2016 @ 8:37 am

                      Roman,

                      When you claim to “accept that creation means creation” in Colossians 1:16 you are simply dismissing the fact that Paul did not always use “creation” to refer the events that took place in Genesis 1. Your approach is not consistent with sound exegesis.

                      Since Paul used “creation” to refer to several different things (that occurred at different times), there’s no reason to insist that your preferred definition of the term is the correct one.

                      Many of us think that Colossians 1:13-20 makes perfectly good sense if Paul was referring to the same “creation” that he talked about in 2 Corinthians 5:17-19 and Galatians 6:15. That is why we appeal to the contextual factors that should be the primary way to determine which definition of “creation” is the most plausible.

                    • Roman
                      January 8, 2016 @ 12:33 pm

                      You think that on the basis of eisegesis, not exegesis, you’re reading into Colossians what isn’t there, the fact that creation is used in a way that is contextualized to mean something other than the genesis creation doesn’t mean one has the right (exegeticaly) to insert that context where it doesn’t exist.

                    • Rivers
                      January 8, 2016 @ 4:48 pm

                      Roman,

                      Paul used “create” again in Colossians 3:10 to refer to what God did through Jesus Christ in order to make the “new” [self]. He also used “image” to refer to Jesus Christ in that verse. This also suggests that the “image” in Colossians 1:15 is related to the “reconciliation” in Colossians 1:20.

                      As Paul said elsewhere … “God predestined us to become conformed to the IMAGE of the son, so the he would be the FIRSTBORN among many brethren” (Romans 8:29). This is the same connection Paul is making in Colossians 1:15, 18.

                    • Roman
                      January 9, 2016 @ 12:02 pm

                      You’re right about Colossians 3, but there is no reason to think that because it is used in that specific way in chapter 3 (through the context) that we can move that context back to chapter one, when it isn’t there.

                    • Rivers
                      January 11, 2016 @ 10:26 am

                      Roman,

                      Thank you for acknowledgin the evidence in Colossians 3:10

                      I don’t think it’s wise to isolate the vocabulary in Colossians 1:16 from the greater context of Paul’s letter to the Colossians (or his understanding of the “new creation” expressed in his other letters). From an exegetical and logical standpoint, the stronger argument for interpreting Colossians 1:16 is going to be established by the inter-textual evidence.

                    • Roman
                      January 11, 2016 @ 5:44 pm

                      No it isn’t Colossians 3 is using the term created in a completely different context using different grammar. I’m sorry doing a word search to see how a word is used is not proper exegesis, each instance needs to be taken in its own context and grammar, compare the 2 verses in the Greek it’s not even the same word.

                    • Rivers
                      January 12, 2016 @ 9:22 am

                      Roman,

                      Doing “word searches” to determine the usage and the meaning of words is how lexical definitions are established. Isolating a word in a particular verse and ignoring the other uses of the term is not how proper exegesis is done.

                      I really think it weakens your argument when you insist that “created must mean Genesis 1:1” in Colossians 1:16 and then make excuses for ignoring the related language in Colossians 1:18-20 and Colossians 3:10, as well as other ways that Paul used the term “creation” elsewhere.

                      When you interpret Colossians 1:16, you aren’t even willing to consider the similar language in Colossians 1:18-20 which is in the immediate context. How can you claim that you are even taking “context” into consideration at all?

                    • Roman
                      January 17, 2016 @ 5:56 am

                      in an individual text, you don’t pick the first definition, you decide based on the context. proper exegesis is primarily about context, not word searches.

                      I’m not making excuses for Colossians 1:18-20 or Colossians 3:10, Colossians 3:10 isn’t talking about the same thing at all, it’s not talking “all things, it’s talking about a specific thing being created anew.

                      Colossians 1:18-20, is part of the narrative attached to Colossians 1:16, colossians 1:16 says one thing, and then goes on to say another in colossians 1:18-20.

                    • Rivers
                      January 18, 2016 @ 8:33 am

                      Roman,

                      Word searches establish usage which is where definition(s) comes from. We can’t do any exegesis without a proper translation of the words. This is why it’s critical not to isolate words.

                      With regard to “all” (PANTA) in Colossians 1:16, it could be referring just to people since Paul defines it as “thrones, dominions, authorities, and powers” in the same verse. He also seems to associate “all” (PANTA) with “the church” (i.e. people) in Colossians 1:17-18.

                      I think it’s unlikely that the “all” (PANTA) in either Colossians 1:16 or Colossians 1:17 refers to the Genesis creation when there’s no indication that any “thrones, dominioins, authorities, or powers” were created at that time, or that anything was reconciled through Christ at that time (Colossians 1:18-20).

                    • Roman
                      January 18, 2016 @ 11:13 am

                      Yes, but creation, usually means creation … the fact that you can find it in a form where the context dictates it mean something else, doesn’t mean you can implant that something else where ever you want.

                      I sometimes use the term “cream” just because other times I use “whipped cream” doesn’t mean that one can interpret my usage of “cream” other Places as being “whipped cream” just becuase I said that somewhere else, you need a good reason for doing so. You haven’t given any good reason for translating “creation” as “New creation,” and the fact that Paul talks about “New creation” or “created anew” other Places isn’t a good reason any more than my cream example is a good reason.

                      Those are included, but notice it says “all Things in heaven and on Earth,” this is a univarsal claim.

                      All Things, including throms dominions and authorities have their begining from God, but notice vrs 20.

                      and through him God was pleased to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, by making peace through the blood of his cross.
                      If creation somehow, and for whatever reason means “New creation” then the reconciliation is either just a repetation ( don’t know why Paul would be just saying the same thing twice) or a different event ….

                    • Rivers
                      January 19, 2016 @ 8:54 am

                      Roman,

                      Even though the text says “all [things] in heaven and earth”, it also refers to those things as “thrones, dominions, authorities, and powers” in the following clause. This is not referring to the things that were created in Genesis 1-2.

                      Another thing you are missing is that Paul was teaching his disciples that the were “seated in heavenly places with Christ” (Ephesians 2:6) where Christ was “seated in heaven” (Colossians 3:1; Ephesians 1:20). Thus, there is no problem with human beings having dominion and authority in heaven.

                      It seems like you are really going out of your way to force “created all [things]” to refer to Genesis 1-2 when there is no reason to do so in this context. Your reading of Colossians 1:16 also requires the presumption of Preexistence which isn’t mentioned anywhere in the context either.

                      If we can adequately explain “created” within the context of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ (which is what the context of Colossians 1:14-20 is about), then I think it’s more reasonable to favor the simpler interpretation that doesn’t require a Preexistence doctrine or finding “thrones, dominions, authorities, and powers” that are missing from the Genesis creation story.

                    • Roman
                      January 19, 2016 @ 9:46 am

                      It ALSO refers to thrones dominions authorities and so on, but that doesn’t mean you can define what it “all Things” by what is also included in that within the text. All Things, means, unless we have reason to believe otherwise, all Things, and creation means creation unless we have good reason to believe otherwise.
                      You’re second paragraph is kind of irrelevant …
                      I’m not going out of my way … created all Things means created ALL Things, all Things include everything that exists, you’re the one trying to force a meaning which isn’t there.
                      You’re explination is NOT the simpler exlination becuase it requires Reading inbetween the lines and Reading Things into the text on the basis of Things mentioned which don’t demand that eisegesis.

                    • Rivers
                      January 19, 2016 @ 11:17 am

                      Roman,

                      If you look at the syntax of Colossians 1:16, the “all [things] created” appears in both Colossians 1:16a and Colossians 1:16c and the “WHETHER thrones, authorities, dominions, and powers” (Colossians 1:16b) is a parenthetical definition of “all [things].” There’s no reason to think that the “all [things]” doesn’t refer to the “thrones, dominions, authorities, and powers.”

                      Again, I think you are trying so hard to force “created” and “all [things]” to refer to something that happened in Genesis, that you are completely dismissing the rest of the evidence in the context (which cannot be associated with anything that happened in Genesis 1).

                      Isolating a couple of terms that can easily be shown to have a wider semantic range is not a good approach to arguing your position. There needs to be something in the context to support your definition of the terms or else your reading of the text isn’t reasonable.

                    • Roman
                      January 19, 2016 @ 4:24 pm

                      “Whether” or eite in Greek does not define what “all things” are it just includes things in them l, the same way if is said “all countries” whether Jamaica or Japan the 2 examples wouldn’t exhaust the “all,” or define them exclusively. The all things includes those things dominions powers and so on, but it’s not limited to them brocade it is all things.

                      I’m not making the connection to scripture of Genesis one rather to the act of gods creation which was (and are) of all things, including whatever powers or dominions exist.

                      In fact the “context” you point to goes agaisnt your argument, because it would have Paul unnecessarily repeating himself. Reading all things as actually all things makes the point perfectly, without Paul repeating himself unnecessarily and without adding words that aren’t written.

                    • Rivers
                      January 20, 2016 @ 10:42 am

                      Roman,

                      I don’t think Paul was merely repeating himself. I think he was elaborating (Colossians 1:18-20) on what he said earlier (Colossians 1:16-17) which required some repetition of the vocabulary.

                      Why would it be necessary to conclude that “creation” or “all [things]” must have a different meaning because Paul used those terms more than once in the same paragraph?

                    • Roman
                      January 20, 2016 @ 11:01 am

                      Well what you’re calling elaboration is just repitition using different words, if all things were created through him, just means the new creation (I.e reconciliation to God) came into being from his resurrection, why does he then say the exact same thing after?

                      Creation and all things don’t have a different meaning, they both mean exactly what they say, had those terms needed qualification Paul would have provided it.

                    • Rivers
                      January 21, 2016 @ 8:46 am

                      Roman,

                      If “repetition” is an issue, why does Paul repeat himself in Colossians 1:16? What is your explanation of this?

                      “For in him all [things] were created (Colossians 1:16a) …. all [things] have been created through him and for him (Colossians 1:16c)”

                      Don’t you think that the “all” and “created” and “him” refer to the same thing in both clauses? Thus, I would argue that “all” and “him” in Colossians 1:17 and Colossians 1:19-20 also refer to the same things. This repetition of the words simply ties the entire context together.

                    • Roman
                      January 21, 2016 @ 11:07 am

                      That isn’t repetition,, in him is one thing, all Things through and for him is another thing.
                      the question is not whether “all” and “him” refer to the same thing, the question is whether “created” and “reconciled” refer to the same thing.

                    • Rivers
                      January 22, 2016 @ 8:18 am

                      Roman,
                      The question is answered in 2 Corinthians 5:17-18 where Paul also explicitly associated “new creation in Christ” and “all [things] and “reconciliation.” There’s no problem with interpreting the relationship of these words the same way in Colossians 1:16-20.

                    • Roman
                      January 22, 2016 @ 9:27 am

                      This is getting really old, No, NEW creation is reconcilation. But Colossians 1:16 doesn’t talk about NEW creation.

                    • Rivers
                      January 22, 2016 @ 12:36 pm

                      Roman,
                      Your interpretation of Colossians 1:16 depends entirely upon isolating the word “created” and insisting that it must refer to “the Genesis creation.” I’ve done everything I can to show you why that is not a persuasive way to do exegesis or to argue your position.

                      However, if you are convinced in your own mind that your reading of Colossians 1:16 is correct, then that is what you should follow (Roman 14:5). I agree that there’s no point in continuing to debate the same points of difference. 🙂

      • Rivers
        December 23, 2015 @ 7:19 am

        Gil,

        Jesus Christ is the MONOGENHS on account of the resurrection from the dead. This is when God “declared him to be the son of God with power” (Romans 1:3-4) and “appointed him heir of all things” (Hebrews 1:2). Thus, he became “the firstborn from among the dead” (Colossians 1:18).

        The writer of Hebrews associated the faith of Abraham with the fact that Isaac was his MONOGENHS because the promises were to be fulfilled through him (Hebrews 11:17). Abraham had no hesitation of kill Isaac because he “considered that God is able to raise people from the dead” (Hebrews 11:19). Thus, the writer said that Isaac was a “type” of Jesus Christ.

    • Rivers
      December 22, 2015 @ 7:51 pm

      Sean,

      The problem with Kinkade’s argument here is that neither “messenger” nor “fellows” must be restricted to a relationship between angelic beings. The biblical evidence shows that an human being can be a “fellow” to the heavenly angels (Revealtion 22:9) and “messengers” like the heavenly angels (Matthew 11:10-11).

      Another consideration is that Hebrews 1:9 may not be using “companions” to refer to heavenly angels at all. It could simply be man human fellows (as it does in every other use of the term by the writer of Hebrews and elsewhere in the apostolic writings).

      • Sean Garrigan
        December 22, 2015 @ 7:58 pm

        You seem to have missed the point of Kinkade’s argument, probably because your primary point of focus is the denial of Christ’s preexistence.

        ~Sean

        • Rivers
          December 23, 2015 @ 7:08 am

          Sean,

          You seem to have missed the fallacy of Kinkade’s argument probably because your primary point of focus is defending your Preexistence doctrine!

  8. GilT
    December 21, 2015 @ 9:26 pm

    I am in the process of reading Dixon, Irons and Smith’s book, The Son of God: Three Views of the Identity of Jesus.

    So far it is everything I had expected: nothing new. The same old same old. I am not offended or incense by the views espoused by these brothers. I consider that they are no different than any of the saints who desire and struggle to know the God who is one.

    I have noted at other times the striking similarities between the supposedly different views of deity held by these men. All of the share the same flaw equally: they attach a numeric, quantitative value to the term one, as in, God is one. Muslims do the same.

    I do not doubt these brothers respect and revere the scriptures as the word of God, but the reality is that it has come up short for them, hence, their (and they are by no means alone) the flight to ancient sources. Whether or not those sources have anything valuable or substantive to offer it escapes the saints today that those brothers were no different than us in their desire and struggle to know the God who is one.

    When Jesus stated that it was he about whom Moses wrote it is a clue which remains to be examined. If we would follow that clue it would also lead us to the realization that the one about who Moses wrote was also, to seriously understate it, very active.

    One of these glimpses is afforded to us by Isaiah which has led me to pose this much ignored and dismissed question:

    1) According to the scriptures whom did Isaiah see in Isaiah 6?
    2) According to the scriptures whom did Isaiah see in John 12?

    The passage is of Isaiah is quoted in John 12. I have also encouraged those interested to take up their preferred Bible version in their preferred language and without plugging any names or titles into the text see what inference and conclusions you are led to draw from those two passages.

    • Jaco van Zyl
      December 21, 2015 @ 11:47 pm

      That question has not been ignored. It has been answered by many a scholar and commentator. It is similar to asking, 1) Who is Immanuel in Isa. 7? 2) Who is Immanuel in Matt. 1:23? If you talk about the initial usage and understanding, it is Hezekiah; this understanding had to be present still in the first century, save the prophetic (second) understanding attached to it, referring now to the ministry of Jesus.

      Your two questions are no different. Yahweh’s glory was seen in Isa 6. But something interesting is happening in John 12 in that the writer shows influences of the Targum. There it was the Shekhina’s glory which was seen, since Yahweh remained unseen. As noted by several scholars, this text was prophetically understood to point to the glory-bearer that would come in future, namely Jesus. Claiming that Jesus is Yahweh in Isa 6 is as absurd as claiming that Jesus was Hezekiah in Isa. 7. It doesn’t sound as absurd because theology has been receiving special treatment in getting away with logical absurdities.

      • GilT
        December 22, 2015 @ 7:11 am

        I will grant you that the question may be similar to the question concerning Immanuel in Isaiah 7 and Matthew 1. Any similarities between those questions is not to say they have been answered necessarily.

        Whether or not you assume I am among those who plug-in a name, such as Jesus, into Isaiah 6 it does suggest to me, or at least leads to wonder, whether you yourself have accepted the plug-ins by the many scholars and commentators concerning Immanuel. If their answers concerning Immanuel are anything like the “interesting . . . influences of the Targum” in John 12, well, it’s interesting.

        Does your statement that “Yahweh remained unseen” reflect what the text of Isaiah 6 declares to the reader as to whom it was that Isaiah saw or is this a bit of that theology, special treatment and logical absurdities? You have taken a vast, broad general statement about the glory which fills the earth to negate as unseen the specific center focus of whom the text declares Isaiah saw. Also, was John careless with his use of pronouns so as to fail to use the proper neuter pronoun if indeed John did focus on the glory (as you intimate from Isaiah 6) as what rather than whom Isaiah saw in his own account in John 12?

        • Sean Garrigan
          December 22, 2015 @ 10:24 am

          You may find this paper helpful:

          http://preview.tinyurl.com/zo9dyaq

          ~Sean

          • GilT
            December 23, 2015 @ 7:43 am

            The paper by Greg is unquestionably a solid piece of scholarship of focus on the glory which the prophet Isaiah saw in Isaiah 6.

            What stands out about his paper contribution to the discussion is that its focus on that glory is as much as a putting aside of what the one of whom Isaiah spoke. It is a focus which reflects the human tendency to value what we is see above what we hear; or put another way, works above faith. This is not to say it is wrong or that indeed one is above the other. It is to make a suggestive note that there appears to be something of great significance which is being put aside and overlooked when we examine WHAT Isaiah SAW at expense of WHOM he spoke.

            Jesus valued the signs which he performed for the glory of the Father. However, when he responded to the angst-filled Philip and the other disciples as to the proof of the indwelling of deity in him he provided as evidence 1) the words which he spoke, and 2) the works which he did in that order. Jesus placed a higher value on words over works or what we understand and speak as opposed to what we do. This was true in his response to the Jews who wanted to know the WORKS of God that they might work them, but Jesus said to them the work of God is that they believe in the one whom he sent.

            This is the shortfall of Greg’s paper, but it is quite common. (As an aside, also common is the notion of Jesus as The or a prophet. When did the Father communicate with the Son through visions and dreams?) I do not expect, nor am I given to telling people or filling in the blanks for them, but the opportunity is present between the reading of Isaiah 6 and John 12 for the reader to draw their conclusions on the basis of their own inference on the strong implications concerning, not just the glory which Isaiah saw, but the one about whom Isaiah spoke.

            Despite the opening clear statements of the first page the entire paper neither builds and supports those statements nor does it squelch them. Instead, the focus is on the glory. Even then, the focus on that glory is more with a diffusing of that focus into a variety of possibilities as to just what it might be or what might best explain, as one might expect, for the enlightenment and edification of the saints in Christ, but with seriously questionable results.

            • Sean Garrigan
              December 23, 2015 @ 1:33 pm

              I’m a little short for time right now, but here’s an earlier paper by Stafford in which he interacts with James White, who shares your point of view.

              http://preview.tinyurl.com/pv7vbsw

              I have to agree with Greg that using these verses to support the Trinity is not a very good argument, but we each have to make up our own minds about such things.

              ~Sean

              • GilT
                December 23, 2015 @ 8:15 pm

                Sean,

                I make time for these things, brother.

                I appreciate the and I may or may not read it, but I am not really interested in reading a Part Two rehash of Greg’s message on glory. I have read his first paper thoroughly and I see if for what it is: a focus on the glory Isaiah saw at the expense of the one about WHOM Isaiah spoke.

                You presume to know my point of view? I have not stated a view and it is most definitely not because I do not have a view or because I am unable to articulate it. If you think James White has articulated my view that is your own conclusion.

                Yes, we each have to make up our mind about such things, but I (and I believe more than a few saints) grow weary of this default thought and its cousin: we just have to agree to disagree. Greg’s articulate like everything, yes, everything, I have ever read over the years is really not that hard. Why? Because no matter the level of scholarship it is still the same old tripe and rehash over and over beginning, for example, with the most ridiculous, uncontested and obvious that the word trinity is not found in the scriptures and ending with a convoluted concoction that does precious little for the edification of the saints.

                • Sean Garrigan
                  December 23, 2015 @ 8:34 pm

                  “I have read his first paper thoroughly and I see if for what it is: a
                  focus on the glory Isaiah saw at the expense of the one about WHOM
                  Isaiah spoke.”

                  The reason I posted the earlier article is precisely because what you state, quoted above, is a faulty conclusion. Greg’s understanding is not “at the expense of the one about whom Isaiah spoke” in any way, shape or form, as James White would say;-)

                  You grow weary of those who would prefer to agree to disagree while I have grown weary of those who wish to argue without end to promote their own pet views. This isn’t your fault, of course, as my weariness has emerged over decades of interaction with would-be apologists.

                  ~Sean

        • Jaco van Zyl
          December 23, 2015 @ 10:20 am

          I don’t know what you mean by plug-ins. To say that John 12 refers to Isaiah 6, that the glory seen according to John 12 was Jesus, and that THEREFORE Jesus is Yahweh (in Isa 6), is as wrong-headed as saying that Hezekiah is Jesus because Matthew 1:23 calls him Immanuel.

          No, God being unseen was both the implicit assumption of all Targumim, as well as the Fourth Gospel. That was also the function of the memra – to keep God transcendent while bringing him present. I’m not sure which pronoun you’re referring to in John 12. The autous in verse 31 are all masculine to me.

          • GilT
            December 23, 2015 @ 12:46 pm

            Jaco,

            I will give you an example of what I mean by plug-ins taken from your comment above and one which I certainly did not make: Jesus is Yahweh. I do recognize this popular plug-in of the name of Jesus into texts where it does not appear. It is about as common as the one parroted by scholars as well about, “Father Yahweh.”

            Yes, the masculine pronoun autos is in the text for “him.” This is clear. What is not present is a neuter noun for the “glory” which is the sole focus of Greg’s paper. It strikes me as telling that Greg’s paper, again, not unique by any means, focus solely on the WHAT of glory and nothing about WHO it was Isaiah saw. Whatever the Targum might have to say and regardless of the nature of unseen, transcendent God it is Yahweh of hosts whom the Seraphim, not Isaiah, inform and enlighten us as being that one whom Isaiah saw.

            • Rivers
              December 24, 2015 @ 8:18 am

              Gil,

              If you think the intent of John 12:40 was to mean that Isaiah actually “saw” YHVH himself, what do you do with the statements that the apostles made about “no man has ever seen God [the Father] or can see him” (John 1:18; 1 Timothy 6:16)? How do you reconcile this text with your interpretation of Isaiah 6:1 and John 12:40?

              • GilT
                December 24, 2015 @ 9:33 am

                Rivers,

                First, I have neither offered nor suggested an interpretation of Isaiah 6 and John 12.

                Second, there are at least two other statements which are heard to reverberate right along with “no man has/can see God.” They are “God is not a man” and “God cannot die.” I have often wondered if the latter of these two was not conjured up through the slight altering of the Numbers 23 passage and the exchange of the word “die” for “lie.” The saints have run with this for a long time only to stumble on this seeming contradiction: How can God not die and Jesus be God who died? It is a favorite prod of Muslims on Christian theology. How do these relate to the statement: “no man has ever seen God?”

                As much as we note John’s words that no man has seen God we fail to note the latter part of the verse where John states that the only Begotten “has explained him.” This suggestion that maybe not seeing God is synonymous with no knowing God was revealed much earlier through Moses. God declared that unlike the prophets with whom God spoke through visions and dreams God spoke “face to face” -clearly- with Moses. God made known things to Moses in a very clear manner. This hardly mean that Moses explained God as did the only Begotten Son. Moses merely caught a glimpse of what God needed Moses to know as the leader of his people Israel.

                The factual statement that God is not a man has been seriously misconstrued as much by Muslims as by Christians when they grapple with the question of the deity of Jesus. God is not a man. God did not become a man. God took on the FORM of a man. Yes, we know Jesus felt no more the need to blurt out to the Jews, I AM GOD anymore than the blurt out I AM NOT A MAN. Jesus trusted them to discern the former and the latter he was not afraid to refer to himself as a man.

                Here is where the whole cascade of unbelief comes tumbling down as much on self-professed Jehovah’s Witnesses and others who snicker when they hear that a Christ believes Jesus was God in the flesh.

                What, they blurt out? Are you saying God died? Amen. Precisely. It was fitting that the creator of life, the giver and sustainer of life should demonstrate that he could restore life to the dead such as Lazarus. Here again, Muslims point out the prophets raise the dead. Quite true. However, Jesus went one big step further than that when he declared repeatedly and openly to friends and foe alike that he would like down his life and take it up again. Death was in the palm of his hand. It’s got nothing on Jesus.

                • Rivers
                  December 26, 2015 @ 11:53 am

                  Hi Gil,

                  I’m sorry if I misunderstood your comment about Isaiah 6 and John 12:40.

                  I think the reason “no man has seen God at any time” is significant in the context of the Prologue is because the writer is associating Jesus Christ with “the word” (LOGOS). The term LOGOS means a “spoken saying or message.” Jesus Christ was the man (“flesh”) from whom the disciples heard what God was saying (“word”) to them (John 1:14).

                  This is also why the writer says at the end of John 1:18 that Jesus Christ “explained him [the Father].” God was not visible to anyone, and thus He communicated to the disciples through the spoken “word” (LOGOS) that came to them through the human Jesus (cf. Hebrews 1:2).

                  With regard to the “face to face” language in the Hebrew scripures, I think it best understood simply to be referring to the fact that the “angels” who mediated the Law to the Patriarchs (Galatians 3:19) appeared as “men” (e.g. Genesis 18:1-2). Thus, they literally had “faces” and “mouths” when they communicated with human beings.

          • Rivers
            December 24, 2015 @ 8:20 am

            Jaco,

            Good points.