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.


  1. Rivers
    December 30, 2014 @ 2:44 pm


    The difference between Paul’s use of the noun THEOS (Colossians 1:19; Ephesians 1:23) and adverb THEOTETOS (Colossians 2:9) is only a manner of speaking. Different parts of speech don’t necessitate a different meaning. It is always context that determines meaning.

    For example, if I’m describing a car crash and I say “I did a lot of harm to his body (noun)” or “I did him a lot of bodily (adverb) harm”, there is no difference in the meaning. I’m just saying the same thing in a different manner using “body” as both a noun and an adverb.

    Likewise, the context of Colossians 1:18-20, Colossians 2:8-10, and Ephesians 1:21-23 are speaking of the same things about Jesus Christ having authority of the church, which is the “body” of Christ. There’s nothing in either of the contexts to suggest that Paul was addressing anything with regards to the ontological nature of Jesus himself.

  2. Rose Brown
    December 30, 2014 @ 12:38 pm


    Both Colossians 1:19 and Ephesians 1:23 talk about the “fullness of THEOS.”

    But Colossians 2:9 has ” fullness of THEOTETOS.”

  3. Rose Brown
    December 30, 2014 @ 12:16 pm


    Nature – it is what inherently belongs to someone.

    Identity – the state of having unique identifying characteristics held by no other person or thing.

    The Bible presented Christ as someone who differs with God only in terms of personal identity and not in terms of nature.

    The Scriptures attest that the Father and the Son are ontologically equal:

    This was why the Jews were seeking all the more to kill him, because not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God. ~ John 5:18

    Based on the texts ( John 10:27-29) both the Father and the Son have the ‘same ability’ ( my hand…my Father’s hand). That is why the Son said that He and His Father are one (John 10:30). It is oneness both in ‘ability’ and in ‘purpose’ to protect their sheep.

    Compare Deuteronomy 32:39 and John 10:27-29 and you’ll see that the Son is claiming to have the same attributes which the Father has.

    The same Scriptures also attest that the Father is ‘the Father of the Son’ and the Son is ‘the only begotten’ of the Father:

    For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. ~ John 3:16

    Grace, mercy and peace will be with us, from God the Father and from Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love. ~ 2 John 1:3

    Christ has the very nature which God has and that is why he has the same identity of the Father as LORD -Y H W H -God.

    Humans do not have God’s nature. The saints merely share in the divine nature [God-like characteristics]. ~ 2 Peter 1:4

    Colossians 2 v 10 does not say that the saints share in the whole fullness of THEOTETOS which Christ

    The Greek says KAI ESTE EN AUTO PEPLEROMENOI [ In Him you are complete].

  4. Rose Brown
    December 30, 2014 @ 11:49 am


    The name of the Father is explicitly the Tetragrammaton [Y H W H] and this name expresses his eternal nature. ~ Exodus 3:14

    Jesus himself said that there are three persons who are one in name:

    …in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit… Matthew 28:19

    This shows that God is a unity of three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

    The Unique God is the Triune God:

    God is a unity of three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

    Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Matthew 28:19 (ESV)

    An individual human is a unity of three aspects:spirit, soul and body.

    Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Thessalonians 5:23 (ESV)

    The difference between God and men is a mind-blowing fact.The God we serve is a unique God and this unique God is the Triune God. It is pivotal for us to understand that God is unlike any of His creatures in terms of being.

    There is none holy like the LORD: for there is none besides you; there is no rock like our God. 1 Samuel 2:2 (ESV)

    To whom then will you liken God, or what likeness compare with him? Isaiah 40:18 (ESV)

  5. Dale
    December 29, 2014 @ 7:39 pm


    Thanks for your comment. It would take a very long time to address all that’s going on in your comment.

    Let me just focus on this part: “Jesus who is in God’s identity as one LORD, is wholly and very God”

    This (and not only this) shows some confusions about the concept of identity, confusions which are now common, having been spread through evangelical circles by the new-fangled, ambiguous language of a handful of scholars. This paper (also a podcast) patiently sorts some of it out, if you’re patient enough to work through it: http://trinities.org/blog/archives/5116

    God bless,

  6. Rivers
    December 29, 2014 @ 3:37 pm


    Good points in your previous reply to Rose.

    I think what many people overlook in Colossians 2:9-10 is that Paul is speaking of Jesus Christ being “the head over all rule and authority.” As in other places, this was referring to the place of Jesus as “head of the body, the church … so he [Jesus] would have first place in everything, for it was the Father’s please to have the the fullness dwell in him” (Colossians 1:17-19). Thus, “the fullness of God” is referring to the church as the body of Christ (and not to the nature of Christ himself).

    Paul spoke of the same concept in Ephesians 1:22-23 where he said “God put all things in subjection under the feet of Christ, and gave him to be head over all things to THE CHURCH, which is HIS BODY, THE FULNESS of God who fills all in all.”

    The “fullness of God” meant that Jewish and gentiles were united together as one people under the supreme rule and authority of Jesus Christ. It had nothing to do with anyone have God’s “nature” at all. God becomes “all in all” when the whole kingdom is delivered to Him by Christ’s victorious rule over all of the people (1 Corinthians 15:24-28).

  7. John
    December 29, 2014 @ 1:03 am

    Your contribution is a morass of confusion.
    Just a couple of points
    (i) How does “in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy spirit’ prove that God is multi-personal?
    (ii) You do not seem to learn the difference between ‘nature’ and ‘identity’ and ramble on and make statements such as ” while Jesus who is in God’s identity as one Lord, is holy and very God both in nature and identity.”
    Rose, do you never listen or learn.? Identity is what makes one unique and there are things about Christ which were not shared with God. Nature is WHAT we are and everyone accepts that Christ and God enjoyed the ‘divine nature’… God as the ‘source’ and Christ by inheritance.
    You then go on to quote Colossians 2 v 9.
    Why do so many people not read Colossians 2 v 10 – the very next verse.” and you share this fullness too”. So believers can be participators of the fullness of the deity -without being God.

    Regarding the divine nature
    -God is the source
    -Christ has it by inheritance
    -believers can participate in it

    BUT Christ and believers have different identities to each other and of course God himself.


  8. Rose Brown
    December 28, 2014 @ 10:53 pm


    1 Corinthians 8:6 is based on two OT texts: Malachi 2:11-12 (LXX) and Deuteronomy 6:4 (LXX).

    Malachi 2:11-12 (LXX) speaks of “one God” and “one Father”as the self-same “Lord” of Israel.

    Deuteronomy 6:4 (LXX) speaks of “one Lord” as the self-same “God” of Israel.

    Without the NT revelation of plurality of persons in one Godhead, these texts would only mean that the one Father God of Israel is the one Lord of Israel himself. This is mere Jewish monotheism. But upon the advent of the NT, it was revealed that plurality of persons exist in one Godhead (Matthew 28:19).This is the Christian Monotheism for it was Christ who reveals this truth in His very person and in His very works.The integrity and substance of the OT texts remained the same in this revealed truth. Notice how Paul showed it out:

    The Father = one God

    Deuteronomy 6:4 – God is the Lord.

    The Messiah = one Lord

    Malachi 2:11-12 – The Lord is God.

    In 1 Corinthians 8:6, Paul is drawing a contrast between the false gods and the Father and Christ.
    The false gods in 1 Corinthians 8:5 are “not gods by nature” ( Galatians 4:8) while Jesus who is in God’s identity as one LORD, is wholly and very God both in His nature and identity (Colossians 2:9).


    The Apostle Paul regarded Jesus as fully and truly God both in identity and in nature. He wrote, ” In Him [Jesus] is dwelling all the fullness of deity[Greek: THEOTETOS] bodily” ( Colossians 2:9). He identified Jesus with God’s identity as “one LORD” in 1 Corinthians 8:6. He did so without turning away from His monotheistic faith but rather, upon doing so, monotheism is preserved because the unity of God is now, having been revealed by the Spirit, a unity of the divine nature which is non-subsisting to false gods as it is written, ” …not gods by nature” ( Galatians 4:8) and which is ever-subsisting only in the three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit, as it is written,” …in the name of the Father, and of the Son,and of the Holy Spirit” ( Matthew 28:19). Indeed, this theology is a shift from Jewish monotheism to Christian monotheism.