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.

16 Comments

  1. Silas Z
    October 6, 2016 @ 4:39 pm

    Thanks for the podcast.

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    Did Jacob see God’s face and live?
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    God has told Moses that:

    “Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live.” (Exo 33:20 KJV)

    In the record of Jacob it appears that he encounters the face of God:

    So Jacob called the name of the place Peniel, saying, “For I have seen God face to face, and yet my life has been delivered.” (Genesis 32:30 ESV)

    Why did Jacob exclaim he had seen God’s face? Do we interpret Exodus 33:20 as literally true at all times or can there be exceptions?

    Now, God manifests himself through messengers (angels).

    “And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a M A N with him until the breaking of the day.” (Genesis 32:24 KJV)

    Now this angel that wrestled with Jacob is referred to as GOD. Jacob interpreted his encounter with the angel as if he was God himself.

    Later on we find that Hosea explains the event like this (Not Biune God)

    “Yea, he had power over the ‘A N G E L’, and prevailed: he wept, and made supplication unto him: he found him in Bethel, and there he spake with us; Even the LORD God of hosts; the LORD is his memorial.” (Hos 12:4-5 KJV)

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    Hosea declared that it was an angel. (Angels are men looking beings without wings but to most of the world they are pretty chicks with wings)
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    Angels have a job. They represent God to humans. This probably makes their jobs exciting.

    The fundamental EVIL of trinity is that they deny the goodness of the Father. Most Christians believe that the OT God is the angry God while the New Jesus it the real deal and real stuff. All theology of Trinity is to deny the Father. The love of the Father exists only because of Jesus. The Father is angry and mad. Jesus comes along and gives him “blood” now the Father is loving and good.

    The gnostics declared the Old testament God as a bad god or even demi god or even daemon (I think I got this from Bart Ehrman)

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    Purpose of angels and their implications to us: (Behold the goodness of the Father towards those who fear him)
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    “Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?“ (Heb 1:14 KJV)

    “The angel of the LORD encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them.”(Psa 34:7 KJV)

    “Bless the LORD, ye his angels, that excel in strength, that do his commandments, hearkening unto the voice of his word. Bless ye the LORD, all ye his hosts; ye ministers of his, that do his pleasure.” (Psa 103:20-21 KJV)

    “The chariots of God are twenty thousand, even thousands of angels: the Lord is among them, as in Sinai, in the holy place.” (Psa 68:17 KJV)

    “For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.” (Psa 91:11-12 KJV)

    Many christians have the notion of a personal or guardian angel. It is good to be aware then how we conduct ourselves in the presence of this angel that God may have assigned to us. The angel who was meant to answer Daniel’s prayer was assigned the task to respond to the prayer but he was not always in the presence of the Daniel. Angels do seem to have a lot of adventure and joy completely satisfied with the tasks and challenges assigned to them by their God.

    “See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that in heaven their angels always see the face of my Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 18:10 ESV)

    Listening to the interview the fundamental notion of who angels are is completely missed. He just picks on an angel and declares him Jesus.
    Picking on one angel as Jesus is crazy because Jesus was not an angel and this is explicitly stated:

    Heb 1:5 For to which of the angels did God ever say, “You are my Son, today I have begotten you”? Or again, “I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son”?

    Heb 1:6 And again, when he brings the firstborn into the world, he says, “Let all God’s angels worship him.”

    Heb 1:7 Of the angels he says, “He makes his angels winds, and his ministers a flame of fire.”

    Jesus is not an Angel, but Trinity requires Jesus to be an angel to prove Jesus’ pre-existed?

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    Behold how God and the angels work: The great conference in Heaven
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    1Ki 22:20 Yahweh said, ‘Who will entice Ahab, that he may go up and fall at Ramoth Gilead?’ One said one thing; and another said another.

    1Ki 22:21 A spirit came out and stood before Yahweh, and said, ‘I will entice him.’

    1Ki 22:22 Yahweh said to him, ‘How?’ He said, ‘I will go out and will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets.’ He said, ‘You will entice him, and will also prevail. Go out and do so.’

    1Ki 22:23 Now therefore, behold, Yahweh has put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these your prophets; and Yahweh has spoken evil concerning you.”

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    Was the name bearing angel Jesus?
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    Here is Stephen’s testimony on the whole thing – Stephen did not say the angel was Jesus but the that the Angel was angel. Stephen was not a Trinitarian.

    It was obvious that angels represented God as they could bear his name. They bear his name because God also LOVES his angels and gives them responsibilities. There is a hierarchy in heaven and one angel is greater than the other. (Note the angel’s words to Mary)

    In early Exodus we note an Angel appeared to Moses:

    And the **ANGEL** of the LORD appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed. And Moses said, I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt. And when the LORD saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here am I. And he said, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground. Moreover he said, I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God. (Exodus 3:2-6 KJV)

    From the above passage:

    An angel appears to Moses

    But GOD speaks

    Stephen speaks of this event thus:

    And when forty years were expired, there appeared to him in the wilderness of mount Sina an **ANGEL** of the Lord in a flame of fire in a bush. When Moses saw it, he wondered at the sight: and as he drew near to behold it, the **VOICE of the Lord** came unto him, (Acts 7:30-31 KJV)

    According to Stephen this Angel was to be Moses’ deliverer:

    This Moses whom they refused, saying, Who made thee a ruler and a judge? the same did God send to be a ruler and a deliverer by the hand of the ** ANGEL ** which appeared to him in the bush. (Acts 7:35 KJV)

    “by the hand of the angel”

    So the angel carried the VOICE of God. People interacted with God through angels or messengers.

    So we see angels MANIFESTED God.

    The law was given by angels was understood by NT writers. Unlike some who seem to be claiming that Jesus (the special angel) gave the law?

    Trinitarians claim that Jesus brought about a ‘grace’ yet he was in Exodus giving the law?

    Heb 2:2 For if the word spoken through *** ANGELS *** proved steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompense;

    Heb 2:3 how will we escape if we neglect so great a salvation—which at the first having been spoken through the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard;

    The topic of angels is too huge but I think the fundamental role of angels was not considered.

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    Here is an example of speed and delegation of Angels and how they manifest and bear God’s name.
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    Dan 10:10 Behold, a hand touched me, which set me on my knees and on the palms of my hands.

    Dan 10:11 He said to me, Daniel, you greatly beloved man, understand the words that I speak to you, and stand upright; for I have been sent to you, now. When he had spoken this word to me, I stood trembling.

    Dan 10:12 Then he said to me, “Don’t be afraid, Daniel; for from the first day that you set your heart to understand, and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard. I have come for your words’ sake.

    Dan 10:13 But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days; but, behold, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me because I remained there with the kings of Persia.

    Dan 10:14 Now I have come to make you understand what will happen to your people in the latter days; for the vision is yet for many days.”

    “But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days; but, behold,
    Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me because I remained there with the kings of Persia.”

    So angels have limitations, help each other and in the process execute the will of God.
    So God has given angels control.

    Do trinitarians claim this angel to be the Holy spirit and Michael to be Jesus?

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    Did Abraham meet with the three Gods of the Trinity:
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    New testament response: No!

    “Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.” (Heb 13:2 KJV)

    The three than Abraham met were only angels!

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    To conclude how Moses and Jesus as humans manifested God:
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    Jesus mentioned in his prayer (Gods do not pray to Gods – yes they Do!):

    “I have manifested your name to the people whom you gave me out of the world. Yours they were, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. (John 17:6 ESV)

    Jesus’ role was to manifest God’s name on earth as a HUMAN. That is why he is the SUPREME EXAMPLE for men to follow. By following Jesus’ way of life we manifest God’s will in our lives.

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    Moses manifests God to Pharaoh and the Jews
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    Moses was chosen to manifest God to Pharaoh and all Egypt. God would make himself known through Moses. Pharoah’s experience of the almighty God would be by the hand of Moses.

    “And the LORD said to Moses, “See, I have made you like ***God*** to Pharaoh, and your brother Aaron shall be your prophet.“ (Exo 7:1 ESV)

    “Then the anger of the LORD was kindled against Moses and he said, “Is there not Aaron, your brother, the Levite? I know that he can speak well. Behold, he is coming out to meet you, and when he sees you, he will be glad in his heart. You shall speak to him and put the words in his mouth, and I will be with your mouth and with his mouth and will teach you both what to do. He shall speak for you to the people, and he shall be your mouth, *****and you shall be as GOD to him.****” (Exo 4:14-16 ESV)

    So if Pharaoh rejects Moses he rejects God. Pharoah would experience the mighty power of God through Moses. Moses had to be careful to give all the glory to God and not pretend that he was God. So, Moses perfectly manifested God and gave God the glory in all that he said and and the miracles that he performed.Pharaoh and the Egyptians had first hand experience of God through Moses. God is well pleased to reveal himself “through” faithful people such as Moses. So Moses was a mediator for God to bring us to God. We learn and experience about God through Moses.

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    Moses’ face reflected God’s face
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    “When Moses came down from Mount Sinai, with the two tablets of the testimony in his hand as he came down from the mountain, Moses did not know that the skin of his face shone because he had been talking with God.“ (Exo 34:29 ESV)

    Here God glorified Moses so that his face shone after he had received the ministry that was inscribed on stone.

    The glory was due to

    * The testaments

    * Moses was a faithful man

    * God had authorized Moses to deliver the commands to the people

    God’s glory could be seen on Moses. To accept Moses was to accept God and to challenge Moses was to challenge God. He was “one” with God in purpose and emotions and manifested God to the Israelites. The Israelites could not beheld the glory of God as Moses could. A glory passed from God to Moses, so that his face shone. Unfortunately, they chose to veil the glory rather than admire it and seek after it.

    “When Moses finished speaking to them, he put a veil over his face. But whenever Moses went into the LORD’S presence to speak with him, he took off the veil until he came out. Whenever he came out and told the Israelites what he had been commanded, they would see that Moses’ face was shining. Then Moses would put the veil back on until he went in again to speak with the LORD.” (Exo 34:33-35 GW)

    What an amazing privilege to experience the presence of God through Moses. But people out fear and sin chose to hide themselves from Moses’ face like the first man hid himself from the presence of God.

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    Significance of Face to Face encounter with God – Friendship
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    Deu 34:10 “And there arose not a prophet since in Israel like unto Moses, whom the LORD knew face to face,”

    [Trinitarians deny the fundamental goodness of God. In fact they cannot even accept YHWH can bear the title of Father the old testament. ]

    Here the witness borne in favour of Moses is one of intimacy. The physical sighting is not as significant to the oneness and closeness one can experience with their God. The point being made is that Moses was very close to God. In fact the scripture tries to emphasize the relationship that Moses and God shared were that of buddies.

    In actual fact Moses only heard the voice of God (Angel?) and perceived his form but never literally saw his FACE:

    “The LORD talked with you face to face in the mount out of the midst of the fire, (I stood between the LORD and you at that time, to shew you the word of the LORD: for ye were afraid by reason of the fire, and went not up into the mount;) saying, I am the LORD thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage.” (Deuteronomy 5:4-6 KJV)

    In the above passage we see that the usage of “face to face” refers more to proximity than literalness. Surely the rebellious Israelites were not worthy as to hear the voice of God yet God revealed himself to them through FIRE and VOICE.

    This is the greatest difficulty with Religion – Meeting and worsting the unseen/invisible God.

    Similarly,

    “And the LORD spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend. And he turned again into the camp: but his servant Joshua, the son of Nun, a young man, departed not out of the tabernacle.” (Exodus 33:11 KJV)

    So we note how great Moses was in God’s eyes and how God exalted Moses through great miracles to Jew and Gentile. We also noted how angels manifested God, then it is easy to understand how the human Jesus manifests YHWH in the ‘last days’.

    The Christmas story.
    God wanted to have a son. and they said ‘Its a Boy’!
    God wants a son through a woman. So with Mary he has a son.
    Jesus has a human mother and a Divine Father!
    So he was born with a purpose and was destined for greatness!
    But he was 100% human!

    Sorry my comments are too long…

  2. Gary
    November 24, 2015 @ 5:25 pm

    Was Jesus really Yahweh?

    Imagine talking to someone who attempts to justify the horrific crimes against humanity committed by Adolf Hitler or Joseph Stalin. What would you think of such a person? Even if they condemned such behavior today, their justification of brutal crimes committed in the past would not be excusable. You would look upon such a person with disgust and contempt and consider them incredibly immoral.

    So let’s take a look at Christianity. Practically every version of Trinitarian Christianity, from fundamentalist to liberal, sees Jesus as the God of the Old Testament. To deny that Jesus is the God of the Old Testament is to deny the Trinity. If Jesus is the God of the Old Testament he is guilty of some of the most barbaric, horrific acts of infanticide and genocide known to man. Yet Christians of all stripes pray and worship this mass murderer of men, women, and little children.

    Any Christian who refuses to condemn and denounce the God of the Old Testament is immoral.

    • Dale Tuggy
      November 26, 2015 @ 12:46 pm

      “Any Christian who refuses to condemn and denounce the God of the Old Testament is immoral.”

      Strong statement, Gary. I think, too strong. If there is a God, it is plausible that he has much, much wider rights with respect to us. And even with humans it is plausible, and almost universally believed, that not all homicide is murder. Of course, this is a big subject, and its one on which Christians disagree.

      For my part, I’m a Christian, and I deny that Jesus is the God of the OT. The God of the OT just is the God of the NT, even if you think some of things reported about the former are untrue. He’s the one Jesus calls our and his heavenly Father. Jesus, according to all NT authors, is that God’s Messiah, his human special agent and now appointed rule, who best reveals him, and voluntarily becomes a once for all sacrifice for the sins of humanity.

    • Roman
      November 27, 2015 @ 3:08 am

      1. Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin and so on were all humans, fallible, selfish, and motivated by various Things, none of which were perfectly Good (obviously) or having to do With a certain higher purpose.

      2. If you actually look at the war in the Old Testament, it’s more humane than the practice of war of the surrounding nations, the same way their economic code was far more egalitarian than the surrounding nations, but still within the historical context.

      When Jesus is talking about divorce we get a really good principle through which to look at the Old Testament and in fact God’s actions in time in Mark 10:

      4 They said, “Moses allowed a man to write a certificate of dismissal and to divorce her.” 5 But Jesus said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart he wrote this commandment for you. 6 But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’

      The principle being that God Works his will through fallible and imperfect humans and thus needs to, and does allow for and InFact act in ways which are not 100% the way Things should be. God hated divorce, yet he allowed it in order to make his will manifest through imperfect and fallible humans.
      3. Who are we to judge God?

    • Rivers
      December 2, 2015 @ 9:22 am

      Gary,

      It doesn’t really make any difference if Jesus was the same as YHWH (or not) because the apostles portrayed Jesus as a valiant bloody warrior who carries out the vengeful wrath of God and slaughters and burns all of his enemies and leaves their carcasses to rot and be eaten by scavengers (Revelation 19; 2 Thessalonians 1:6-9).

  3. Tom Torbeyns
    August 25, 2015 @ 5:24 am

    I was thinking of the pre-incarnated Jesus, being already more human than the Father, by the Orthodox Church. 🙂

  4. des111168
    August 9, 2015 @ 2:23 am

    Maybe it’s just because I’m a dim bulb compared to a guy that can translate half a dozen ancient languages, but when I see “Angel of the Lord”, I take the biblical writers at their word. It’s just an angel (and since we know there are many angels, how can you even say “Angel of the Lord” was the same angel every time in the Old Testament? “Hey Gabriel, it’s your turn on Angel of the Lord duty today. Get to it”. “Binitarian” would indicate two equals acting as one, just as the Trinity is supposed to be three equals acting as one. I just don’t see anything like that in the Old Testament. I see the One God… Yahweh… sending various agents to do His bidding from time to time. Even if an angel on a particular mission was… well, kind of being possessed by God, if you will… if God was inhabiting that angel’s form to protect men… that still doesn’t make the angel a second god or equal to Yahweh. He’s just a vessel.

    Edit: and one thing that really bothered me about Dr. Heiser’s idea of hiding Binitarianism among many passages in the OT… why? If there’s something God wants people to know about Him, why would He make them play Where’s Waldo, doing a giant puzzle reconstruction among lots of texts to put the secret truth together? It sounds like a Dan Brown novel.

    The closest thing I’ve ever had to a revelation from God was this: the time it occured to me, like sunlight suddenly shining in my brain, that Jesus brought a simple gospel for a simple people. Something they could understand. I mean he really went the distance to make them understand, telling them straight out when they could take it, and if they couldn’t get it that way, then using parables to give them a frame of reference. Jesus really wanted his flock to get it. If he truly is the only begotten son of the One God… and I think he is… then why would God be any different? Why would God make His laws and directives and feelings overly complicated? When He wants us to know that something is beyond us, He tells us (“My ways are not your ways”). He seemed to be pretty basic, pretty direct with his message in the OT. All this gnostic approach type of stuff just seems too clever by half.

  5. Annoyed Pinoy
    August 8, 2015 @ 10:54 pm

    Dale, I wish you had flat out asked Dr. Heiser, “Since you’re at the forefront of reintroducing to the church the ancient teaching of the Divine Council which taught a Jewish pantheon (of sorts), why do you assume that Jesus is a second Yahweh/Jehovah equal with (even possibly ontologically so) the first Yahweh rather than one of the lesser gods in the pantheon? In other words, doesn’t your work on the Divine Council, prima facie, undermine or at least call into question Trinitarianism and its foundations?” You nearly did so, but because you’re such a nice guy, were too polite to ask it again more directly. By the way, as far as I’m aware of his views, I’m in substantial agreement with Dr. Heiser regarding the Divine Council, Two Powers etc.

    Also, I’m going to eventually address all 5 parts of your response to my Rebuttal. It may take a month to do because I’m busy and I don’t want to rush a response (that I’ll regret) which I’ll have to constantly revise and update. Again, no obligation on your part to respond.

  6. Part 2 of Mike’s Interview on the Trinities Podcast | Very Top Secret Information
    August 5, 2015 @ 8:59 pm

    […] the second half of my interview with Prof. Tuggy on his Trinities podcast. […]

  7. Roman
    August 4, 2015 @ 9:41 am

    For Genesis 48:15,16, I don’t see how it can’t be “let him bless them” in the sense that in normal Language one could say that when one doesn’t know which one would bless the child, or perhaps that both would. I mean I can took at an army and say all of you will fight bravely, but he who dies in Battle will be remembered, or perhaps I can say to 2 women, she who eats the chocolate will get fat, perhaps they both will.
    As far as the angel, lets say we have a view similar to that of Philo, can’t one say that God blesses the children through the angel, he blesses them, and the he can be both of them, the same way both a general and a king can be said to have conquered a land? I don’t understand why this must be written of an instead a binitary God spoken of.

  8. Rivers
    August 3, 2015 @ 10:00 pm

    Hi Dale,

    This was another interesting podcast with Dr. Heiser. I really enjoy listening to his insights into the nuances of the Hebrew scriptures.

    However, I think Dr. Heiser struggled during the latter half of the interview when you were trying to get him to clarify his understanding of “incarnation.” I thought his attempt to associate God manifestation with both “the angel of the Lord” and the “incarnation” (Jesus) kind of fell apart when you pressed him to make a clear distinction between the angel and Jesus Christ.

    • Rivers
      August 4, 2015 @ 11:07 am

      Roman,

      Good points. Moreover, the reference to “the angel” in Genesis 48:16 may also simply refer back to the “angel” who “blessed” Jacob earlier in his life (Genesis 32:26). I don’t think there’s any reason to take away any “binitarian” implications from Jacob’s comment at all.

      I’ve heard Dr. Heiser comment many times on the “flexibility” of the Hebrew language but he seems to overlook some of the pertinent critical questions when he has his own mind set on a particular reading or interpretation of the text. This is another instance where I think we should defer to a simpler explanation of the language.

      • Roman
        August 4, 2015 @ 5:42 pm

        Btw, you’re gonna see more of this, trying to sneak in a multiple person Yahweh into Judaism, they need to do that otherwise the lack of any articulation of such a concept in the Nt and the seeming acceptance of the Jewish concept of monotheism (which was Unitarian) gets really embarrassing for Protestant trinitarians.

        • Paul Anchor
          August 10, 2015 @ 8:17 am

          Talking about “sneaking in” where is your unitarian agent or spirit being active in the OT? What is he doing until he makes his “human” appearance? Does he assist God in the OT creation? Or is he sidelined until the NT?

          • Roman
            August 10, 2015 @ 9:51 am

            According to the NT the creation was done “through” the agent.
            As far as what he was doing, who knows? If the bible doesn’t tell us then we can’t say anything.
            As far as being active in the OT, I don’t know, some People identify him as teh angel of Yahweh, some People don’t.
            BTW, there is no problem sneaking in the concept that there are other divinelike agents or beings into ancient Judaism, that was a very common belief.
            The concept of a multipersonal God however is completely Foreign.

          • Rivers
            August 11, 2015 @ 8:18 am

            Paul,

            I agree with your sentiment here, and that is why I don’t believe in a “preexistent spirit being” or the “divine agency” concept. There is no evidence that Jesus Christ existed (or did anything) prior to his human birth. That apostles understood that the “origin” (Grk. GENESIS) was the result of his genealogical heritage (Matthew 1:1, 18; Luke 1:14) and the virgin birth (Luke 1:35).

            Whatever was “created” through Jesus Christ (Colossians 1:16) was associated with his death and resurrection (Colossians 1:18-20) and all things that “came through him” (John 1:3) were associated with his being “flesh” (John 1:14). Jesus was “claiming that God was his own Father, making himself equal with God” (John 5:18) and not that he was a divine agent.