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.

421 Comments

  1. GregLogan25
    September 22, 2015 @ 2:47 pm

    Unfortunately sorting out the sequence here is a little wild…:-)

    • Miguel de Servet
      September 22, 2015 @ 4:58 pm

      Yes, this DISQUS is the most rubbishy blog S/W I’ve ever seem.

  2. Rivers
    September 9, 2015 @ 8:43 am

    Dale,

    I agree with the gist of what Kermit Zarley says here, but I don’t think “agency” is the appropriate word. The purpose of the 4th Gospel was to demonstrate that Jesus was “the son of God” (John 20:31) and not merely an “agent” (which is a general term that would be applicable to any of the angels, prophets, or apostles who were “sent” before and after Jesus Christ).

    It is much more significant to be “the son of God” because it makes one “equal with God” (John 5:18; John 10:30-36) and thus entitled to inherit “authority over all flesh” (John 17:2) and “the glory” the God Himself possessed from the foundation of the world (John 17:5). This would not be applicable to someone merely sent as an “agent.”

    This “divine agent” concept is a weak argument that biblical unitarians have overemphasized in order to try to mitigate the implications of the title “God” being applied to Jesus Christ by the writer of the 4th Gospel (John 1:1; John 1:18; John 5:18; John 10:33). However, what is significant about Jesus is that he claimed to be “the son” who was “sent” by the “Father” (John 5:23) and not an “agent.”

    • Dale Tuggy
      September 9, 2015 @ 8:27 pm

      Hi Rivers, I’m not sure why you think an agent can’t also be God’s Son in various senses. Think of the parable where Jesus talks of the owner sending messengers to see how his property is being run in his absence, and then he finally (after they’re killed) sends his son. The son too is an agent, yes?

      • Sean Garrigan
        September 9, 2015 @ 8:39 pm

        “The son too is an agent, yes?”

        Yes, indeed! In fact, I believe that Jan A Buhner develops this in the book that is quoted more often than any other in reference to “Christ as Agent”, namely,

        Der Gesandte Und Sein Weg Im 4.

        ~Sean

        • Rivers
          September 11, 2015 @ 11:30 am

          Sean,

          What difference would it make if the apostles argued that Jesus Christ was an “agent” of God? The “agent” status wouldn’t distinguish Jesus Christ from any ordinary slave who was “sent” by his master (Matthew 21:34-36) or an ordinary “angel” who was “sent” by God (Acts 12:11).

          • Miguel de Servet
            September 11, 2015 @ 11:39 am

            The “agent” status wouldn’t distinguish Jesus Christ from any ordinary slave who was “sent” by his master (Matthew 21:34-36) or an ordinary “angel” who was “sent” by God (Acts 12:11).

            Rivers,

            so far, so good. So what, according to you, would distinguish Jesus Christ from any other agent?

            • Rivers
              September 11, 2015 @ 12:01 pm

              Miguel,

              John the baptizer explained the distinction when he was saying “the MAN coming after me is greater than me … he is the son of God” (John 1:30-34). Both John and Jesus were “sent from God” (John 1:6; John 3:2) so that didn’t make any difference.

              In the parable of the vineyard, all of the “slaves” and “the son” were “sent” (agency) by the owner of the vineyard (Matthew 21:33-39). The difference between the ordinary slaves and the “son” was a matter of “the inheritance” (Matthew 21:38). This is what Paul also explained in Galatians 4:1-3.

      • Rivers
        September 9, 2015 @ 8:59 pm

        Dale,

        I understand what you’re saying. My point is simply that “agency” represents a concept that is unnecessary when it is understood that Jesus was “calling God his own Father” (John 5:18). I don’t see any evidence that the apostles were defending the identity of Jesus Christ based upon “agency.”

        Even in the parable you cited, it seems that the keepers of the vineyard understood that the “son” was superior to the other “messengers” because the vineyard would be his “inheritance” (Matthew 21:31-39).

        • Dale Tuggy
          September 9, 2015 @ 9:13 pm

          In this book, he’s teaching God’s message, doing God’s works, and God vouches for him by the miracles. I’m befuddled that you think the idea of Jesus as God’s agent is not relevant here. I mean, in the very high point of the book, Jesus is said to be the Messiah – the man God anoints and sends as deliverer – as his agent.

          Yes, in the parable of course the son is superior to *the other agents* who went before him.

          I’m not sure we’re really disagreeing about anything here…

          • Rivers
            September 9, 2015 @ 10:03 pm

            Dale,

            I think we do agree in general. The point I’m making is that “agency” is a concept that doesn’t seem to be the primary concern of the apostles (since it wouldn’t distinguish Jesus from a slave any other messenger).

            It seems to me that many biblical unitarians use the “divine agency” concept as a way of countering the evidence that Jesus was called “God” (John 1:1, 18) or considered to be “equal with God” (John 5:18; John 10:33).

            I think it’s more significant to note that “equality with God” was related to Jesus’ unique claim that “God was his own Father” (John 5:18). This is also evident in John 10:30-36 where “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30) is also a claim to be “the son of God” (John 10:36) and taken to mean “making oneself out to be God” (John 10:33).

    • Sean Garrigan
      September 9, 2015 @ 8:36 pm

      To be “Son of God” was to be “agent of God”, i.e. the two phrases were not mutually exclusive, but overlapping instead.

      As a starting point, I would recommend that you peruse A.E. Harvey’s “Jesus and the Constraints of History”, particularly chapter 7.

      ~Sean

      • Rivers
        September 9, 2015 @ 9:02 pm

        Sean,

        I agree that the concept of “agency” can be made to overlap with “sonship.” However, there’s little or no evidence that the apostles were defending the identity of Jesus Christ based upon “agency.”

        • Sean Garrigan
          September 9, 2015 @ 9:06 pm

          “I agree that the concept of “agency” can be made to overlap with
          “sonship.” However, there’s little or no evidence that the apostles
          were defending the identity of Jesus Christ based upon “agency.”

          They didn’t need to. If you understood the concept of agency better you’d realize why.

          ~Sean

          • Rivers
            September 9, 2015 @ 9:50 pm

            Sean,

            I understand the “agency” concept well enough not to make fallacious arguments with it. All that matters is the evidence and not what people speculate about how much the apostles supposedly understood about a concept they said little or nothing about.

            • Sean Garrigan
              September 10, 2015 @ 4:13 am

              “I understand the “agency” concept well enough not to make fallacious
              arguments with it. All that matters is the evidence and not what
              people speculate about how much the apostles supposedly understood about
              a concept they said little or nothing about.”

              I don’t think you do understand it well, because by denying that Jesus’ relationship with the Father was understood in light of the agency paradigm, you are in fact making a fallacious argument.

              ~Sean

              • Miguel de Servet
                September 10, 2015 @ 8:53 am

                Jesus’ relationship with the Father was understood in light of the agency paradigm …

                Agency is a very generic concept, and it applies to the Kings and Prophets of the OT.

                Jesus was understood, at least by the inner circle of his disciples, as The Anointed King, The Messiah. He was also referred to as Lord and Rabbi.

                In fact he was also, literally, The Son of God and God’s Incarnated Word.

                All these titles are true and appropriate, and none of them excludes the others.

                • Sean Garrigan
                  September 10, 2015 @ 7:23 pm

                  “In fact he was also, literally, The Son of God and God’s Incarnated Word.”

                  How is a man *literally* “Son of God”? I’m sure that if we had a sample of Jesus’ DNA, you’d find pure humanness there.

                  I’ve also pointed out that your view that Jesus is *literally* an attribute of God is not intelligible. You really shouldn’t offer that assertion again until you put for an effort to make it intelligible.

                  “All these titles are true and appropriate, and none of them excludes the others.”

                  Yes, of course.

                  ~Sean

                  • Miguel de Servet
                    September 11, 2015 @ 9:54 am

                    I’m sure that if we had a sample of Jesus’ DNA, you’d find pure humanness there.

                    I’m sure too. At the same time, though, as parthenogenesis of a male offspring is not known to happen for mammals, God must have tweaked Mary’s ovum a bit.

                    … your view that Jesus is *literally* an attribute of God is not intelligible.

                    I’m not aware that I’ve expressed my view as *literally* as that. Anyway, and once again, in Jesus the eternal logos of God is, somehow expressed: logos sarx egeneto.

                    What is pure invention, OTOH, is that some “pre-existing spirit being” would have been “incarnated” in the man Jesus. David has repeatedly invited Sean to “put for an effort to make it intelligible”. Sean never even tried to make the effort. 🙁

                    • Sean Garrigan
                      September 11, 2015 @ 10:38 am

                      “I’m sure too. At the same time, though, as parthenogenesis of a male
                      offspring is not known to happen for mammals, God must have tweaked
                      Mary’s ovum a bit.”

                      Sure, but he would have tweaked it so as to cause the the *human being* he wanted to be born to become that human being. He wouldn’t have tweaked it so that the human Son was *literally* “Son of God”. I’m not sure what that would even mean or involve.

                      “What is pure invention, OTOH, is that some “pre-existing spirit being”
                      would have been “incarnated” in the man Jesus. David has repeatedly
                      invited Sean to “put for an effort to make it intelligible”. Sean never
                      even tried to make the effort. :(”

                      I’ve actually responded to David on that matter to the extent that I’m able. What part of my response could you not understand?

                      ~Sean

                    • Miguel de Servet
                      September 11, 2015 @ 11:20 am

                      Sure, but he would have tweaked it so as to cause the the *human being* he wanted to be born to become that human being. He wouldn’t have tweaked it so that the human Son was *literally* “Son of God”. I’m not sure what that would even mean or involve.

                      Let’s check. So …

                      … Sean finds it perfectly understandable that God “would have tweaked it [Mary’s ovum] so as to cause the *human being* he wanted to be born to become that human being” AND that, somehow, some “pre-existing spirit being”, created by God “in the beginning” would have been united to (or turned into?) that *human being* …

                      BUT

                      … Sean is “not sure what … would even mean or involve” for God to impress His logos on a human ovum, so that the resulting man is His son, “generated, not created”.

                      Methinks Sean should read the Gospels again (Luke and John, in particular), and read them better.

                    • Sean Garrigan
                      September 11, 2015 @ 12:48 pm

                      Sean: “Sure, but he would have tweaked it so as to cause the the *human being* he wanted to be born to become that human being. He wouldn’t have
                      tweaked it so that the human Son was *literally* “Son of God”. I’m not
                      sure what that would even mean or involve.”

                      “Miguel”:

                      Quote:
                      Let’s check. So …

                      Sean finds it perfectly understandable that God “would have tweaked it
                      [Mary’s ovum] so as to cause the *human being* he wanted to be born to
                      become that human being” AND that, somehow, some “pre-existing spirit
                      being”, created by God “in the beginning” would have been united to (or
                      turned into?) that *human being* …

                      BUT

                      … Sean is “not sure what … would even mean or involve” for God to impress His logos on a human ovum, so that the resulting man is His son, “generated, not created”.

                      Methinks Sean should read the Gospels again (Luke and John, in particular), and read them better.”

                      Sean: So I have two points to offer in response:

                      1. I don’t see a counterargument there, so I’ll assume that you also find your view impossible to delineate logically. No surprise there.

                      2. Since you have no valid argument to offer, you’ve resorted to a weak “You-Too” response. The problem is that even your “You-Too” “argument” doesn’t word, because it’s based on a category error.

                      My belief that a spirit being *became* a human being doesn’t involve a category error, because in my view, the human Jesus wasn’t also a divine or spirit being while he was a human being.

                      Your view seems to simply be unintelligible. Your view is comparable to saying that a male cat can *literally* be “Son of” a human being if one just tweaks a little DNA. I don’t think that works.

                      So, back to the question you seem ill-disposed to answer: How does God’s tweaking human DNA to get the human he wants cause that human to *literally* be “Son of God”?

                      ~Sean

                    • Miguel de Servet
                      September 13, 2015 @ 11:45 am

                      My belief that a spirit being *became* a human being doesn’t involve a category error, because in my view, the human Jesus wasn’t also a divine or spirit being while he was a human being.

                      So which is it? [1] Was that “pre-existing spirit being”, created by God “in the beginning” (temporarily?) united to that *human being*? [2] Was that “pre-existing spirit being”, created by God “in the beginning” (temporarily?) turned into that *human being*?

                      How does God’s tweaking human DNA to get the human he wants thereby cause that human being to *literally* be “Son of God”?

                      I have repeatedly explained that: in the virgin conception, God’s action on the female ovum provides the functional equivalent of male DNA.

                    • Sean Garrigan
                      September 13, 2015 @ 8:21 pm

                      “Miguel”: So which is it? [1] Was that ‘pre-existing spirit being’, created by God ‘in the beginning’ (temporarily?) united to that *human being*? [2] Was
                      that ‘pre-existing spirit being’, created by God ‘in the beginning’
                      (temporarily?) turned into that *human being*?”

                      Sean: Aside from the “temporarily” part, I’ve already answered that question. A spirit being *became* a human being, not “was united to” a human being, but *became* a human being.

                      I had asked:

                      “How does God’s tweaking human DNA to get the human he wants thereby cause that human being to *literally* be ‘Son of God’?”

                      You responded:

                      “I have repeatedly explained that: in the virgin conception, God’s action
                      on the female ovum provides the functional equivalent of male DNA.”

                      That doesn’t explain how a man is “Son of God”; it merely explains how God could ensure that the man he wanted to be born was in fact the *man* who was ultimately born.

                      The *literal* “child” of a cat, is a cat; the *literal* “child” of a dog, is a dog; the *literal* child of a human is a human; and the *literal* child of a god is a god (by nature, granting the assumption, for the sake of argument, that a god can even bare a child, whatever that might mean).

                      How does God’s tweaking human DNA to ensure that the *human* he wants to be born of a woman is in fact that *human*, make that human the *literal* Son of God once he’s born? I’m looking for an answer that doesn’t involve a category error, if such an answer can even be given.

                      ~Sean

                    • Miguel de Servet
                      September 14, 2015 @ 4:43 pm

                      Aside from the “temporarily” part, I’ve already answered that question.

                      Temporarily means that I am noty sure if, for you, the “spirit being *became* a human being” somehow retained something of hi humanity, once Jesus was resurrected and glorified.

                      That [God’s action on the female ovum provides the functional equivalent of male DNA] doesn’t explain how a man is “Son of God” …

                      It does, because NOT ONLY is does the equivalent of the male DNA originbate directly from God, but it is modeled on something essential to God: His logos.

                    • Sean Garrigan
                      September 15, 2015 @ 4:15 am

                      “That [God’s action on the female ovum provides the functional
                      equivalent of male DNA] doesn’t explain how a man is “Son of God””

                      “It does, because NOT ONLY does the equivalent of the male DNA originate
                      directly from God, but it is modeled on something essential to God: His logos.”

                      But the “equivalent of the male DNA” is still human male DNA, not divine male DNA, which I would assume doesn’t exist.

                      Also, the following statement doesn’t have any obvious meaning:

                      “[Jesus DNA is] modeled on something essential to God: His logos.”

                      What does that mean? It sounds like it involves another category error.

                      ~Sean

                    • Miguel de Servet
                      September 15, 2015 @ 4:51 am

                      … the “equivalent of the male DNA” is still human male DNA, not divine male DNA, which I would assume doesn’t exist.

                      Fair enough. This is as close as one can get to expressing that Jesus is the divine-human Son of God. Mary, apparently, accepted without arguing the angel’s words, when he said to her “the power of the Most High will overshadow you, therefore [??? ???] the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God” (Luke 1:35)

                    • Sean Garrigan
                      September 15, 2015 @ 6:50 pm

                      “Mary, apparently, accepted without arguing the angel’s words, when he
                      said to her “the power of the Most High will overshadow you, therefore [??? ???] the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God” (Luke 1:35)”

                      Well, the question isn’t whether Jesus was “called” the Son of God, the question is whether this language is meant literally or figuratively/idiomatically. Since a “literal” Son of God would have to have come about via an act of literal procreation, it seems to me that he is “Son” figuratively, i.e. “Son of God” is another way of saying “Messiah”.

                      ~Sean

                    • Miguel de Servet
                      September 16, 2015 @ 12:38 am

                      Since a “literal” Son of God would have to have come about via an act of literal procreation, it seems to me that he is “Son” figuratively, i.e. “Son of God” is another way of saying “Messiah”.

                      Suit yourself. The author of Hebrews was not so finicky, when he simply spoke of Jesus as “son” (uios).

                    • Sean Garrigan
                      September 16, 2015 @ 3:29 am

                      “Suit yourself. The author of Hebrews was not so finicky, when he simply spoke of Jesus as “son” (uios)”

                      The author of Hebrews didn’t say that Jesus was “literally” God’s Son.

                      ~Sean

                    • Miguel de Servet
                      September 16, 2015 @ 2:19 pm

                      The author of Hebrews didn’t say that Jesus was “literally” God’s Son.

                      If it’s meant to be a joke (but it doesn’t seem to be …) it’s a poor joke.

                      If it’s in earnest (should it have been “in these last days God has spoken to us in a LITERAL son”?) then it’s quite funny …

                      … actually, grotesque.

                    • Sean Garrigan
                      September 16, 2015 @ 7:37 pm

                      “If it’s meant to be a joke (but it doesn’t seem to be …) it’s a poor joke.”

                      Nah, you just don’t comprehend the problem you’re view is faced with, and I’m trying to help, but there’s only so much I can do.

                      I suspect that the owner if this site understands why Jesus couldn’t be God’s *literal* Son, as identifying category errors is part of his specialty.

                      ~Sean

                    • Miguel de Servet
                      September 17, 2015 @ 2:13 am

                      I suspect that the owner if this site understands why Jesus couldn’t be God’s *literal* Son, as identifying category errors is part of his specialty.

                      So, as I suspected, it wasn’t a a joke. But, instead of defending the obvious (and grotesque) conclusion (the author of Hebrews should have unambiguously meant … son, when he wrote … son), Sean fills his mouth (as he is wont to do repeatedly, lately), with some alleged “category error”, and, as he cannot argue by himself, he hides behind the skirt … er kilt of the “owner if this site”.

                      How truly pathetic!

                    • Sean Garrigan
                      September 17, 2015 @ 3:43 am

                      “Sean fills his mouth (as he is wont to do repeatedly, lately), with some
                      alleged ‘category error’, and, as he cannot argue by himself, he hides
                      behind the skirt … er kilt of the ‘owner if this site’.”

                      Not a very mature way to respond to my observation that you don’t understand the issue adequately, but this is pretty much what I expect from you. Egomaniacs always bite when their views are shown to be flawed.

                      ~Sean

                    • Miguel de Servet
                      September 18, 2015 @ 8:34 am

                      You obviously don’t understand what it means to be a *literal* son. For God to have a *literal* Son, he (or it, in this odd case) would have to *literally* give birth to a male child. Stamping LOGOS on human DNA — which notion seems to be meaningless gibberish in any case — doesn’t
                      make the human so created a *literal* Son. Again, for someone to be God’s *literal* son, God would have had to have given *literal* birth to that person, and this would have resulted in a divine heavenly (spirit) being, not a human being, because “like begets like”.

                      As I have already said: “This [the message of the NT, and in particular the combination of Luke 1:35, John 1:14 and Hebrews 1:2] is as close as one can get to expressing that Jesus is the divine-human Son of God.

                      But how can someone with his own “category problems” about an alleged “pre-existent spirit being” becoming a human male, someone who, so as exorcise the word *literal* (or *literally*), has to repeat it – and double-star it – as many as 6 (six!) times in a single paragraph, how can he read in an unprejudiced way the obvious text of the NT, rather than swear by the absolute validity of Aristotle biological principle “like begets like”, as though it was some sort of inflexible dogma applying even to God Himself?

                      No chance …

                    • Sean Garrigan
                      September 19, 2015 @ 7:05 am

                      “But how can someone with his own “category problems” about an alleged
                      “pre-existent spirit being” becoming a human male, someone who, so as
                      to exorcise the word *literal* (or *literally*), has to repeat it – and
                      double-star it – as many as 6 (six!) times in a single paragraph, how
                      can he read in an unprejudiced way the obvious text of the NT, rather
                      than swear by the absolute validity of the Aristotelian
                      metaphysical-biological principle “like begets like”, as though it was
                      some sort of inflexible dogma applying even to God Himself?…No chance”

                      Once again I don’t see anything resembling an argument there, so I’ll assume that you are simply incapable of providing any sort of sound reasoning to try and establish that like begets unlike.

                      The irony in your twisted fundamentalist approach is that it is probably just such an approach that led to Trinitarianism. I don’t think that belief in preexistence was the problem; I think the problem was and still is the *way* certain fundamentalist types, including yourself, choose to interpret Scripture. You draw bizarre, impossible conclusions because you choose to read a book that’s bloated with symbolic language as though it were a medical book describing how to perform knee surgery.

                      The very verse that is applied to Jesus in Hebrews 1 (Psalm 2:7) has the appellation “Son” applied to a king because of his *royal* sonship, not because of *literal* sonship, and Hebrews 1 is itself about Jesus’ *royal* status as the king whose throne will never parish.

                      ~Sean

                    • Miguel de Servet
                      September 19, 2015 @ 11:36 am

                      Once again [sic] I don’t see anything resembling an argument there …

                      Let’s make it fool-proof, for the dumb ones: its a metaphysical delusion to oppose to the crystal-clear message of the NT (which is a close as one can get to viz. that Jesus is to expressing that Jesus is the divine-human Son of God) the claim that this cannot be because of some Aristotelian metaphysical-biological principle (“like begets like”), as though it was some sort of inflexible dogma applying even to God Himself.

                      The irony in your twisted fundamentalist approach is that it is probably just such an approach that led to Trinitarianism.

                      The irony of Sean’s pseudo-philosophical approach is that the problem started with Philo, and with Justin Martyr, who, with his eteros theos derived from Philo, introduced the very “original sin” of Christianity, to “atone” for which, ultimately (after Tertullian, after Origen, after Arius), the Cappadocian scoundrels came up with the “co-eternal, co-equal, tri-personal trinity”, in the desperate (and clumsy and failed) attempt to reconcile the (subordinationist) “trinity” with the original strict monotheism.

                      The very verse that is applied to Jesus in Hebrews 1[:5] (Psalm 2:7) has the appellation “Son” applied to a king because of his *royal* sonship, not because of *literal* sonship, and Hebrews 1 is itself about Jesus’ *royal* status as the king whose throne will never parish.

                      There is no doubt that, at least by the time of Jesus, Psalm 2:7, originally applied to the Davidic King, was interpreted in a Messianic sense.

                      From the fact that David, and then the Davidic Kings, were referred to as “son of God” (see 2 Sam 7:14; 1 Chr 17:13; Ps 2:7; Ps 89:26-27) does not logically follow that Jesus, the Anointed King, was not “Son of God” in a more literal (yes …) sense, not clearly evident from the OT.

                    • Sean Garrigan
                      September 20, 2015 @ 7:32 am

                      “Let’s make it fool-proof, for the sake of the dumb ones,”

                      So three points in response:

                      (1) When you have to resort to calling other people names, it doesn’t make them look bad, it makes you look bad.

                      (2) It also reveals the weakness of your position, because a compelling argument doesn’t have to be bolstered by personal insults.

                      (3) You assert that there is overwhelming evidence that the man Jesus was also divine in some undefined and apparently undefinable sense that supposedly constitutes him as *literal* Son of God, yet everything you’ve presented so far as “evidence” is underwhelming at best.

                      For example, it was you who suggested that my understanding that Jesus was a non-literal Son is “grotesque”, and you used Hebrews 1 to support that, er, colorful description, yet in calling Jesus “Son” the author of Hebrews was himself applying a reference to Jesus that was originally used of one who was not in fact a *literal* Son. If your view were correct then the author of Hebrews would have been pretty sloppy in picking references to apply to Jesus.

                      The irony with your position is that if the author of Hebrews were here contributing to this topic, he would almost certainly recoil at your view, which he would probably find to be truly grotesque. In light of the thought categories of the time, for someone to suggest that Jesus was *literally* Son of God would have ipso facto meant that he was suggesting that God took human form and had coitus with Mary. Not only would that have been viewed as a rejection of the biblical birth narratives, but it would have been a most repulsive idea to the Jews, yet it’s what probably would have come to a 1st century mind when hearing the declaration that Jesus was thought to be God’s *literal* Son.

                      ~Sean

                    • Miguel de Servet
                      September 21, 2015 @ 2:00 pm

                      … in calling Jesus “Son” the author of Hebrews was himself applying a reference to Jesus that was originally used of one who was not in fact a *literal* Son. If your view were correct then the author of Hebrews would have been pretty sloppy in picking references to apply to Jesus.

                      This argument is definitely more articulated than the non-argument whereby “[t]he author of Hebrews didn’t say that Jesus was ‘literally’ God’s Son”.

                      Nevertheless, I largely agree with the comment at footnote 5 tn, appended to NET Bible’s translation of Hebrews 1. This

                      “The Greek puts an emphasis on the quality of God’s final revelation. As such, it is more than an indefinite notion (“a son”) though less than a definite one (“the son”), for this final revelation is not just through any son of God, nor is the emphasis specifically on the person himself. Rather, the focus here is on the nature of the vehicle of God’s revelation: He is no mere spokesman (or prophet) for God, nor is he merely a heavenly messenger (or angel); instead, this final revelation comes through one who is intimately acquainted with the heavenly Father in a way that only a family member could be. There is, however, no exact equivalent in English (“in son” is hardly good English style). [bolding added]

                      In light of the thought categories of the 1st century, for someone to suggest that Jesus was *literally* Son of God would have ipso facto meant that he was suggesting that God took human form and had coitus with Mary.

                      Perhaps you should familiarize yourself with the story of Zeus’ golden rain, with Danaë, and with Proteus.

                    • Rivers
                      September 11, 2015 @ 10:45 am

                      Miquel,

                      I agree with Sean’s point. The noun LOGOS is never used to mean an “attribute” and it doesn’t make any sense that an “attribute” is (or became) an human being.

                    • Miguel de Servet
                      September 11, 2015 @ 11:28 am

                      Rivers,

                      amusing to see the advocate of the “logos-as-name-of-the-man-Jesus” join forces with the main resident advocate of “Jesus-the-pre-existing-spirit-being” …

                    • Rivers
                      September 11, 2015 @ 11:49 am

                      Miguel,

                      According to Revelation 19:13, the term O LOGOS was part of a “name” by which Jesus Christ was “called.” I’m not sure why you have difficulty with text.

                      Regardless of whether you want to believe that O LOGOS means “attribute”, you shouldn’t be dismissive of other ways the term was used by the apostles. If there was any evidence that O LOGOS could mean “attribute” in the apostolic usage, I would have to accept it as well.

                  • GregLogan25
                    September 21, 2015 @ 8:32 pm

                    Sean Garrigan – With all due respect, what Miguel shared re SoG/incarnation of the Word is really basic. I am at loss why you would not have known this in light of your proffered expertise earlier.

                    • Sean Garrigan
                      September 22, 2015 @ 4:05 am

                      Greg,

                      You said:

                      “Sean Garrigan – With all due respect, what Miguel shared re
                      SoG/incarnation of the Word is really basic. I am at loss why you would
                      not have known this in light of your proffered expertise earlier.”

                      I love it when people begin with “With all due respect” and then proceed to show you no respect at all. Perhaps you could clarify exactly what you’re talking about?

                      My issue with “Miguel’s” view is not that it’s complicated, but that it’s unintelligible (and surely impossible). The owner of this site, who is a professional logician, happens to agree with me on that score, BTW.

                      To assert that Jesus is the *literal* incarnation of an attribute of God is to utter pure gibberish. His position certainly isn’t “basic” as he’s pretty much the only person who promotes it, at least in my experience. Even he has admitted that it’s a minority view, and that’s an understatement!

                      Oh, and when did I proffer “expertise” and about what? I’ve been around long enough to realize that there are questions even the youngest and most confident scholar can’t answer.

                      ~Sean

                    • Miguel de Servet
                      September 22, 2015 @ 6:27 am

                      [Greg] … what Miguel shared re SoG/incarnation of the Word is really basic

                      [Sean] Perhaps you could clarify exactly what you’re talking about?

                      With all due respect, Sean needs to be reminded that he affirms that Jesus is “Son of God” in a purely honorific, metaphorical sense, AND replaces the “incarnation of the Word” (? ????? ???? ??????? – in the obvious sense of the expression at John 1:14) with some unsupporteed idea that some “pre-existing spirit being” became the man Jesus.

                      The owner of this site, who is a professional logician, happens to agree with me on that score, BTW.

                      Leaving all respect aside (I’m afraid) Sean repeatedly shows that he desperately needs to seek shelter underneeth the skirt … er behind the kilt of the “owner of this site” … 😉

                    • Sean Garrigan
                      September 22, 2015 @ 6:54 pm

                      “Leaving all respect aside (I’m afraid) Sean repeatedly shows that he desperately needs to seek shelter underneeth the skirt … er behind the kilt of the “owner of this site” … ;)”

                      First, you always leave respect aside, so I’m not sure why you’d take the time to clarify that you’ve chosen to continue with that pattern.

                      Second, I don’t need to seek shelter under anyone’s skirt. Anyone with some training in philosophy and logic can see that you’re promoting gibberish. I simply thought that, since the critical problem for your view is a logical one, and since the owner of this site happens to be a professional logician, maybe, just maybe that might inspire some much needed reflection on your part. One would think that you might find Dale’s view, which is born from expertise, to be worthy of consideration, but then you aren’t the type who’d be likely to embrace an opportunity to stand corrected.

                      ~Sean

                    • Miguel de Servet
                      September 23, 2015 @ 5:08 am

                      First, you always leave respect aside …

                      That’s not true. You have obviously ignored the paragraph in my previous comment where, to get you out of your perplexity at Greg’s comment (“what Miguel shared re SoG/incarnation of the Word is really basic”), I have summed up (with all due respect …) your understanding of the expression “Son of God” as purely honorific, and your (non) understanding of ? ????? ???? ??????? as some “pre-existing spirit being” that would have become the man Jesus. (Embarrassed some?)

                      Second, I don’t need to seek shelter under anyone’s skirt …

                      Not only once, but even twice you have invoked the “owner of this site”, a “professional logician”. And you have done that certainly NOT so “that might inspire some much needed reflection on your [MdS’] part”, BUT with the obvious and repeated hope that he would come into the arena as your “logical and categorical chamipon”.

                      … we don’t have any sense of what it would even mean to be the incarnation of LOGOS as attribute, literally or figuratively

                      I have expended many a comment on the subject, so if you “don’t have any sense”, that is your problem. (And probably, yes, also of Dale Tuggy – see his posts trinitarian or unitarian? 3 – Irenaeus’s 2-stage Logos theory and trinitarian or unitarian? 4 – Irenaeus’s reported creeds, and my comments there as villanovanus)

                    • Sean Garrigan
                      September 23, 2015 @ 9:24 pm

                      “That’s not true. You have obviously ignored the paragraph in my
                      previous comment where, to get you out of your perplexity at Greg’s
                      comment (‘what Miguel shared re SoG/incarnation of the Word is really
                      basic’), I have summed up (with all due respect …) your understanding
                      of the expression ‘Son of God’ as purely honorific, and your (non)
                      understanding of ? ????? ???? ??????? as some ‘pre-existing spirit
                      being’ that would have become the man Jesus. (Embarrassed some?)”

                      Why should I be embarrassed? You make a deliberate effort to be as difficult and obnoxious as possible at virtually all times, and saying “with all due respect” doesn’t mean you have in fact shown “all due respect”. I would think you’d know the difference..

                      “Second, I don’t need to seek shelter under anyone’s skirt …

                      “Not only once, but even twice you have invoked the ‘owner of this site’, a
                      ‘professional logician’. And you have done that certainly NOT so ‘that
                      might inspire some much needed reflection on your [MdS’] part’, BUT with
                      the obvious and repeated hope that he would come into the arena as your
                      ‘logical and categorical champion’.”

                      You must have forgotten that Dale has already agreed with me on this blog that your view is unintelligible. I really don’t need him to repeat himself. As for your assertion that I’m a liar, well, I guess that’s another example of you showing “all due respect”.

                      ~Sean

                    • Miguel de Servet
                      September 24, 2015 @ 2:46 am

                      Why should I be embarrassed?

                      Aren’t you? That can only mean that you knew perfectly well what Greg meant, and that your positions are … er … different from those that Greg calls “really basic”. You are a comedian. (Yes, no respect)

                      You must have forgotten that Dale has already agreed with me on this blog that your view is unintelligible.

                      I have already provided, in my previous comment, the links to two of Dale Tuggy’s posts, with my comments as villanovanus. I leave it for you (assisted by your intelligence and your conscience) to decide whose points make more sense, both biblically and, yes, philosophically.

                    • GregLogan25
                      September 22, 2015 @ 2:55 pm

                      Hi Sean

                      Are you going to make me have to go back and read through this ponderous dialogue to then dissect and edit my own statement…:-).

                      re: Proffering Expertise – yes, please read your responses to Rivers re Agency as fulfillment of the role of sonship in 1C speak (or something like that) – you worked him over pretty hard…!

                      re: Logos as Attribute – I agree with both you and Rivers that the Logos is NOT an attribute of God (silly thought actually – but I am not sure Miguel actually said that or not – and don’t want to find out). In general, Logos simply means “an expression” of whoever. However, I have noticed, at the urging of certain colleagues, that Logos occasionally is used in a pre-communicative sense as to one’s internal expression, i.e. thought/plan.

                      Does that make sense to you?

                      Best,

                      Greg

                    • Miguel de Servet
                      September 22, 2015 @ 5:12 pm

                      Greg

                      re: Logos as Attribute – I agree with both you and Rivers that the Logos is NOT an attribute of God (silly thought actually – but I am not sure Miguel actually said that or not – and don’t want to find out).

                      It would take to long to repeat my argument here, as you haven’t followed the previous installments. In a nutshell, I affirm that God’s Word/logos/dabar and His Spirit/pneuma/ruwach are NOT “persons” (as trinitarians would have it), BUT God’s “arms”. In the fullness of time, God generated Jesus as His divine-human Son, after His logos.

                    • GregLogan25
                      September 22, 2015 @ 5:56 pm

                      Miguel

                      Acknowledged that I did not follow.

                      I am wondering what is wrong with Logos simply being used in its standard sense of “expression” as we see in Gen1 and Ps33:6?

                      I am wondering what is wrong with the Holy Spirit being the Spirit of God analogous to the human spirit as Paul formally taught in ICor2:11?

                      I am uncertain how I could justify either of these primary concepts being metaphorically spoken as the “arms of God”.

                      Greg

                    • Miguel de Servet
                      September 23, 2015 @ 4:13 am

                      Greg

                      I am wondering what is wrong with Logos simply being used in its standard sense of “expression” as we see in Gen1 and Ps33:6?

                      As for Genesis 1, I presume that you are referring to the Hebrew verb ‘amar, “to say, to speak”, repeated as many as 11 times in the chapter, at the critical junctions of creation. Unlike in Genesis 1, though, the Greek noun logos is used in John 1:-1-8, and I am sure that it is a deliberate choice: the logos is, so to speak, the mind of God, even before He “uttered” any word, even before creation. You must have at least suspected as much yourself, when you wrote, “I have noticed, at the urging of certain colleagues, that Logos occasionally is used in a pre-communicative sense as to one’s internal expression, i.e. thought/plan.”

                      As for Psalm 33:6, I am glad that you cited it, because, elsewhere, that is precisely the verse that I have quoted myself:

                      “By the word [dabar] of the LORD the heavens were made, And all the host of them by the breath [ruwach] of His mouth.”

                      It is those dabar and ruwach that I believe are alluded to here …

                      The eternal God is a refuge, and underneath are everlasting arms; he has driven out enemies before you, and has said, “Destroy!”(Deut 33:27 – emphasis added)

                      … as His “everlasting arms”. Irenaeus of Lyon wrote extensively on this, and I have reproduced his quotations in several comments elsewhere here at Trinities.

                    • Rivers
                      September 26, 2015 @ 10:31 am

                      Miquel,

                      LOGOS doesn’t mean “thought” or “plan.” It means a spoken “saying” or “message.”

                      In Psalms 33, the context shows that “the word of the Lord” (33:6) is what what “the Lord spoke” (33:9) in order to cause things to happen.

                    • Miguel de Servet
                      September 26, 2015 @ 12:21 pm

                      The word logos has so many different meanings, and so many nuances of meaning that to be so categorical as you are is simply ridiculous.

                      BTW, any “saying” or “message”, before being uttered, is normally a “thought” or “plan” …

                      … unless, of course, it is uttered by a parrot …

                    • Rivers
                      September 27, 2015 @ 8:10 am

                      Miquel,

                      Yes, LOGOS has about 15 different lexical definitions. However, the only definition that matters is the one that is consistent with the usage of the term by a particular writer. It’s fallacious to simply appeal to “so many different meanings” without paying attention to context.

                      Since the writer of the 4th Gospel always used the noun LOGOS to simply mean a spoken “saying” or “message” (over 40 times), there is no reason to think that he intended any other meaning. The writer never used LOGOS to mean a “thought” or a “plan.”

                      Another thing you don’t seem to understand is that a spoken “word” (LOGOS, noun) is not the same as the process of having a “thought” (DOKEW, verb). That is why there are two different terms for these concepts in the language.

                      One can have a “thought” (DOKEW) without ever expressing it verbally and thus it never becomes a LOGOS. This is why LOGOS is often associated with “hearing” in scripture, but “thinking” is not.

                    • Miguel de Servet
                      September 29, 2015 @ 4:46 pm

                      Rivers doesn’t even realize how he keeps chasing his tail, about this ????? issue. Let’s see:

                      1. According to Rivers, even if we are aware that ????? has “about 15 different lexical definitions”, the only thing that matters, for its meaning within the Gospel of John, is the way the author has used it therein.

                      2. Now, there are exacly 36 verses where the word ????? appears in the GoJ and (Rivers adds quite rightly), in 34 of them ????? invariably means “spoken word” of “saying”.

                      So, what about John 1:1 and John 1:14, which both belong to the s.c. Prologue for the GoJ, and, incidentally are the only verses of the Prologue where the word ????? appears? Well, in those verses, for some special reason, that only Rivers seems to understand and subscribe to, the word ????? is used as a “name” of Jesus.

                      Why? Well, because it is evident to Rivers. Ludicrous!

                      As for Rivers’ sophistic thoughts on the verb doke? (that, for some reason, Rivers seems to consider the one that means “to think”, as though there were not about 15 others in the NT), he turns the relationship between “saying” and “thought” around. I am certainly not suggesting that there cannot be thoughts that are not expressed: what I said, once again, is that …

                      … any “saying” or “message”, before being uttered, is normally a “thought” or “plan” …

                      … unless, of course, it is uttered by a parrot …

                    • Rivers
                      September 29, 2015 @ 6:49 pm

                      Miquel,

                      I think you’re misrepresenting what I’ve said about LOGOS in the Prologue. Here are some replies for clarification.

                      1. Yes, you are right (quoting me). Sound exegesis requires that the primary definition of a word be predicated upon how a particular writer uses the term. Lexical definitions do not determine meaning.

                      2. The evidence that Jesus Christ was “called” by the “name” of O LOGOS is found in Revelation 19:13 and not the Prologue.

                      3. You are simply unfamiliar with how the different words for “thinking” and “saying” function in the semantics of biblical Greek. Thus, you continue to attempt to force LOGOS to connote a “thought” or “attribute” which it never does.

                    • Miguel de Servet
                      September 30, 2015 @ 8:21 am

                      1. In spite of what Rivers says, “lexical definitions”, while they “do not determine meaning”, certainly DO attest to the spectrum of the various meanings that a word takes throughout the various texts of a specific language.

                      2. I have already commented how amusing it is that Rivers, who developped his “theory” of ????? used as a “name” of Jesus apart from Revelation 19:13, and who ONLY took it into consideration because I pointed it out to him, now has made of Revelation 19:13 the last bastion of his “theory”. Again, as already commented elsewhere, in Revelation 19:13 Jesus’ “name is called the Word of God” very much like in Revelation 19:11 “he who sat on [a white horse] was called Faithful and True”. Appellatives …

                      3. The obtuseness (or bad faith?) of Rivers’ comment (“LOGOS is often associated with “hearing” in scripture, but “thinking” is not”) is beyond redemption …

                    • Rivers
                      September 30, 2015 @ 8:32 am

                      Miquel,

                      1. What you call the “spectrum of various meanings” in a lexical source doesn’t matter when the apostolic writers only used a particular word a certain way. It’s a fallacy to suppose that any “definition” of a word in a lexicon is applicable to every use of a term.

                      2. Regardless of whether you label “the word” as an “appellative” in Revelation 19:13, the same could be true of its occurrence in John 1:1, 14. Thus, your insistence on this argument establishes nothing in your favor. Moreover, your own “LOGOS = divine attribute” idea has no exegetical support whatsoever.

                      3. Can you cite any example of where LOGOS is directly associated by Jesus or the apostles with “thought” or “thinking”? If you cannot, then your comment on this point is nothing more than condescending rhetoric (again).

                    • Miguel de Servet
                      September 30, 2015 @ 8:49 am

                      1. In his fanaticism (or bad faith?), Rivers doesn’t seem to realize that, in spite of his insistence on the meaning of ????? throughout the GoJ (as “saying”/”spoken message”), he (Rivers) is obliged to make an exception right there where it matters most (John1:1,14) and “translate” ????? with “name” … ludicrous …

                      2. Which, once again, just confirms that Rivers is obliged to make an unwarranted exception for the use of ????? where it matters most (John1:1,14), for which (with my added comments), Revelation 19:13 becomes absolutely essential for him … no further comments required …

                      3. Yes, obtuseness or bad faith … or both …

                    • Rivers
                      September 30, 2015 @ 9:37 am

                      Miquel,

                      1. Again, you are misrepresenting what we’ve discussed numerous times before. LOGOS should be translated “word” in John 1:1, 14 because that is what it means. The word that is translated “name” in Revelation 19:13 is not the term LOGOS.

                      2. Your statement here follows from the misrepresentation earlier in your comment. I don’t know of anyone who would translate LOGOS as “name” in John 1:1, 14. Here’s the way I think John 1:1 and John 1:14 should be translated:

                      “in the beginning was the word (LOGOS), and the word (LOGOS) was toward God, and the word (LOGOS) was God” (John 1:1)

                      “the word (LOGOS) was flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14)

                    • Miguel de Servet
                      September 30, 2015 @ 4:18 pm

                      I see. So, after all, ????? should be translated “word” in John 1:1,14, “because that is what it means”. So, presumably, Rivers is now saying that ????? doesn’t mean anything different in John 1:1,14 than in all the rest of the Gospel of John, that is (according to Rivers), “saying”/”spoken message”. Now, even if, according to Rivers, “saying” is not “associated by Jesus or the apostles with ‘thought’ or ‘thinking'”, presumably, even for Rivers, a “saying” is uttered by a “sayer”. So, who is the “sayer” of the ????? in John 1:1,14? The Father? Jesus? Who?

                    • GregLogan25
                      September 30, 2015 @ 4:33 pm

                      Come on MS this is easy – the sayer is God… Gen1, Ps33:6, Heb1:3, etc.

                      I will acknowledge that 90% of the time Logos would be best translated “spoken word” or “expression” – however there are occasions when the inner thought or plan (as a type of inner thought) seems best suited for the context. I seem to think it occasional has a more diverse meaning.

                    • Miguel de Servet
                      September 30, 2015 @ 5:03 pm

                      Come on MS this is easy – the sayer is God… Gen1, Ps33:6, Heb1:3, etc.

                      Greg,

                      so says you (and so say I). Unfortunately, by stealing Rivers’ thunder, you have given him an excuse for not commenting himself: it would be (would have been?) interesting to see him answer spontaneously my … “trilemma” …

                    • Rivers
                      September 30, 2015 @ 6:53 pm

                      Miquel,

                      According to the writer of the 4th Gospel, “the word (LOGOS) of life” was what the apostles “heard” and “saw” and “touched” (1 John 1:1). This happened in “the beginning” (John 1:1) when “the word” came to dwell among them (John 1:14). Thus, LOGOS refers to the “message” they heard from Jesus Christ himself (1 John 1:5).

                      Thus, there is no LOGOS (“word”) apart from the proclamation of Jesus Christ himself. As the writer of Hebrews said, “in the last days, God spoke in a son” (Hebrews 1:2).

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

                      [1] … there is no LOGOS (“word”) apart from the verbal proclamation of Jesus Christ himself. [2] As the writer of Hebrews said, “in the last days, God spoke in a son” (Hebrews 1:2).

                      Rivers doesn’t seem to be aware that Jesus is contrasted by the author of Hebrews with the prophets, because, while God “spoke through the prophets” only in Jesus God “has spoken to us in a son”.

                    • Rivers
                      October 1, 2015 @ 8:41 am

                      Miguel,
                      I agree. That is why there is no LOGOS apart from when “God spoke in a son.” The writer of the 4th Gospel said that “the word (LOGOS) was flesh” (John 1:14) and that they had “heard” and “seen” and “touched” the LOGOS (1 John 1:1).

                      Another consideration in these texts is that there is no mention of any “divine attributed became a human being.” Thus, it seems foolish for you to continue your condescending and critical behavior toward others here when you have nothing whatsoever to substantiate your own definition of LOGOS.

                    • Miguel de Servet
                      October 1, 2015 @ 9:43 am

                      [1] That is why there is no LOGOS apart from when “God spoke in a son.” [2] The
                      writer of the 4th Gospel said that “the word (LOGOS) was flesh” (John
                      1:14) [3] and that they had “heard” and “seen” and “touched” the LOGOS (1
                      John 1:1).

                      [1] What Rivers is incapable (or refuses) to get is that, IF “God spoke [to us] in a son” (Heb 1:1-2), and IF ????? means “spoken saying/message”, TEHN it is perfectly appropriate to say that Jesus IS the “word of God”.

                      [2] No, he did NOT. In spite of all your efforts, and in that context, ??????? does NOT mean “was”, BUT became. Get over it.

                      [3] No prob with that: Jesus was God’s word and he was “flesh”.

                    • Rivers
                      October 1, 2015 @ 10:50 am

                      Miguel,

                      1. A human being cannot literally be a “spoken saying/message.” This is why we recognize that LOGOS is being applied to Jesus Christ as the human “son” through whom the “message” is spoken (1 John 1:1-5). As a person, Jesus Christ was later “called” by the “name” of “the word (LOGOS) of God” (Revelation 19:13).

                      2. To translate EGENETO as “became” in John 1:14 is misleading to an English reader. I understand that your preference for “became flesh” serves your own purposes, but there’s nothing in the grammar or the context that requires EGENETO to be translated “became” in that particular text. Using “was” is a better translation (as in John 1:6) because it makes better sense in English.

                      3. More accurately, we should say “Jesus Christ was the human being (flesh) speaking word (LOGOS) of life” (John 1:14; 1 John 1:1).

                    • Miguel de Servet
                      October 1, 2015 @ 1:21 pm

                      1. You are exasperating, with your craving for having your cake and eating it too (a. first ????? “should be translated ‘word’ in John 1:1, 14 because that is what it means”, b. then ????? “is being applied to Jesus Christ as the human “son” through whom the “message” is spoken” – don’t you ever have enough of your “scare quotes”, BTW?)

                      2. To translate as “became” in John 1:14 is misleading ONLY to the English reader Rivers, who has a declared prejudice about ? ????? ???? ??????? being translated as “the word [of God] became ‘flesh’ [a human being]”. Only someone totally ignorant of Hebrew language does not realize that “flesh” does not mean something like “a pound of flesh”. And only a grammatical ignoramus cannot tell the difference between ??????? in John 1:6 and John 1:14.

                      3. No problem with that either, but it leaves totally unexplained how Jesus had that capacity. (According to Hebrews he was “a son”, NOT a mere prophet).

                    • Rivers
                      October 1, 2015 @ 3:13 pm

                      Miquel,

                      The “quotes” are only for emphasis. You are the only one who gets “scared” of them.

                      1. I think you’re confusing the translation of LOGOS with its potential application as a metaphor. For example, when we interpret “the lamb of God” (John 1:29, 36) we understand that it is being applied to Jesus Christ. However, it is still correct to translate AMNOS as “lamb” just like we would in a context where it literally refers to a farm animal.

                      2. Your appeal to the “Hebrew language” is fallacious and has nothing to do with translating John 1:14 which is written in very simple Greek prose. If you can present some substantial evidence for your “essential divine attribute turned into a human being” idea, I’m still willing to consider it. Condescending remarks and personal attacks don’t constitute “evidence.”

                      3. I agree with you that Jesus Christ was a “son” and that he was not a “mere prophet.”

                    • GregLogan25
                      October 1, 2015 @ 4:49 pm

                      Gentlemen

                      Here you two have the exact same model – but banging on a minor exegetical point…:-)!! Fair enough – some people bang one another with gloves (boxing) – some people are more participatory by banging Biblical exegesis. At 6’/140lbs, I am sticking to the latter!!

                      In meaning of the Logos, I am sort of loss as to the key issue. The expression of God is simply the expression of God. Jesus is A manifestation of the COMPLETE reality of the expression of God (and that entails whatever it is). Isn’t that what the text says? He is such a fulfillment of the expression of God that He can be named the Expression of God.

                      My real question – when are Greg, Rivers and MS going to catch up to the Master – so that we can be so named the Word of God as well….??

                    • Rivers
                      October 1, 2015 @ 7:12 pm

                      Greg,

                      Similar to the situation with the use of MORFH in Philippians 2:6, it’s imperative to properly translate, and correctly interpret the meaning of, the noun, LOGOS.

                      If you think it means “expression”, then you need to define what category of “expression” you are talking about and where you see that the term LOGOS was used by the writer of the 4th Gospel to identify that kind of “expression.” It isn’t sufficient to simply state that “LOGOS means the expression [of God].”

                      MS and I go back and forth about the meaning of LOGOS because it is critical to establish the meaning of the term before we can translate it, and interpret how the writer is using it in any particular context.

                    • GregLogan25
                      October 2, 2015 @ 1:16 am

                      Rivers – Agree on your first paragraph…:-)!

                      Logos almost always means expression – start with Gen1 – the spoken word of God created the heavens and earth… Yes? Why is John going to diverge from his heritage? Though in Ps33:6, Heb11:3 and Jn1:2 just for fun…:-) (oh, and about 95% of the other Biblical usages of the world…:-) ).

                      BTW – “pre-existence” is a funny word – how can anything – inc. the divine SoG exist before itself….

                      Greg

                    • Rivers
                      October 2, 2015 @ 8:38 am

                      Greg,

                      Thanks again for your thoughtful replies. Here are some further comments:

                      1. If you say “LOGOS almost always means expression”, then you need to define what category of “expression” you are talking about. Otherwise, you are inadvertently undermining the meaning of the word by making it indefinite. What do you mean by “expression”? Did God express himself by making a funny face or a hand gesture? Or, did He express Himself by speaking or writing?

                      2. I don’t agree that we should “start with Genesis 1” because the 4th Gospel was written 2,000 years later by a different person. The only way to determine what LOGOS means in the 4th Gospel is to examine the 40+ times the writer himself used the word in his writings. That is a huge sampling of linguistic evidence to work with.

                      3. You’re begging the “heritage” question. The Jews and Greeks had dozens of ideas about LOGOS. On what basis are you going to distinguish how the writer of the 4th Gospel understood the word other than from his own writings? You and I are both Americans and Christians … do we have the same view of LOGOS because of our “heritage”?

                      4. We agree on this … preexistence is a nonsensical term only applicable in the context of the Incarnation doctrine. I don’t think the concept is biblical in any sense (literally or notionally).

                    • GregLogan25
                      October 2, 2015 @ 11:40 am

                      Rivers

                      Thanks for pushing me!

                      re: 1
                      Category of expression is simply general “verbal” – God spoke a WORD and the creation was (Ps33:6, Heb1:3). Nothing more complicated than that.

                      Why is that a question?

                      re: 2
                      I would strongly reference Jn1:2 and the call things being made through the Logos as definitively tying back to Gen1, Ps33:6. Why would we not naturally do that?

                      re: 3
                      Fair enuf – though that seems to be a place to start – esp. w/v2. Plus there is no reason to see otherwise in the text. I acknowledge that John was addressing the common logos theories – and pointing them towards a correct understanding by wrapping all together in Messiah.

                      re: 4
                      The whole concept of something existing before itself is the nonsensical aspect of the word. Therefore I always use the term “pre-incarnate” which actually makes sense.

                    • Rivers
                      October 2, 2015 @ 1:44 pm

                      Hi Greg,

                      1. I agree that LOGOS is related to “verbal” expression. That is very simple and consistent with all the uses by the writer of the 4th Gospel. However, LOGOS is a “noun” to we have to be careful not to confuse it with the action of “speaking.” Throughout the 4th Gospel, LOGOS always refers to “what” (content, message) is spoken, but doesn’t mean “speaking.”

                      2. I’m thinking that you take “all things” in John 1:3 to be referring to the Genesis creation because you take “in the beginning” and “word” in John 1:1-2 to be referring to the time of Genesis. I read it differently because the writer of the 4th Gospel used “all things” several other times to refer to what was revealed by Jesus himself during the time of his public ministry (e.g. John 4:25; John 15:15; John 16:15). The writer also spoke of “the beginning” as the time when Jesus began his public ministry (John 8:42; John 15:27; John 16:4) and “word” almost always refers to something that Jesus said during his public ministry.

                      3. From a forensic standpoint, I think we should stick to the simplicity of your thought in #1. If LOGOS simply means “what” is expressed (verbally), then why introduce “other logos theories” that complicated the matter and introduce speculation about uncorroborated external influences? If one can make sense of LOGOS in it’s basic definition, why look for any other meaning?

                      4. Yes, pre-incarnate would be a better term. Of course, it still only works within the limited context of the theological doctrine of the Incarnation. Nobody speaks of anything as “pre-incarnate” unless they are referring to the human Jesus existing in some other non-human form prior to his birth.

                      Even if we said “I’m going to flesh out one of my ideas”, we wouldn’t refer to the “idea” as “pre-incarnate.” Likewise, when God spoke of knowing Jeremiah before he was born (Jeremiah 1:5), theologians don’t say that Jeremiah was actually somehow “pre-incarnate.”

                    • GregLogan25
                      October 2, 2015 @ 3:13 pm

                      1. Agreed. And well stated – creating more refinement. It is the expression itself – NOT the expressing that created the expression. So verbal content is a good phrase.

                      2. I understand. John obviously does not annotate this text (as he does not most of his texts). I appreciate your approach. For the moment I am sticking with what seems to be an obvious analog to Gen1 – God spoke – and there was creation – Jn1 – God spoke – and there was a man (the full content of God impressed in Him).

                      3. I did not intend to indicate that there were other logos theories included – simply that John created a boundary by providing an accurate presentation of the true logos.

                      4. In the case of Jeremiah – I think think it is the only reasonable use of pre-existence there is…:-) Great text re foreknowledge btw – thanks for the reminder.

                    • Rivers
                      October 2, 2015 @ 4:36 pm

                      Greg,

                      1-2. What I’m presenting is the exegetical evidence for an inter-textual interpretation of the language in the 4th Gospel. This is a fresh approach that many Biblical Unitarians haven’t considered. I think it provides a much simpler, yet more exegetically sound, approach to providing a coherent and comprehensive explanation of the Prologue that doesn’t require any notion of “incarnation” or “preexistence.”

                      3. Thanks for clarifying about LOGOS. I was concerned that you were making the common mistake of thinking that a term like LOGOS can take on multiple definitions (in a particular context) or that any lexical definition can simply be applied to any usage of the word to suit one’s personal preference.

                      4. No problem. I agree.

                    • GregLogan25
                      October 2, 2015 @ 3:32 pm

                      See Jn12:38 which corresponds to 1. above. Content vs Speaking. I think this is actually really common prophetic phraseology as in “He spoke and said…”

                    • Rivers
                      October 2, 2015 @ 10:18 pm

                      Greg,

                      OK, but notice that there are two different terms used by the writer to express that Isaiah “spoke” (verb, LEGW) and the content (noun, LOGOS) of what he said. This shows that LOGOS is used of the “message” and not the action of speaking.

                      Thus, I think we have to be careful to understand that the use of LOGOS in the Prologue is because the writer is directing the readers’ attention to “what” was heard. He also seems to identify what was “heard” with the one (Jesus Christ) from whom they heard it (John 1:14; 1 John 1:1-2).

                      That is one reason I think it’s likely that “in the beginning” (John 1:1) and “from the beginning” (1 John 1:1) refer to the time when the apostles heard “the word of life” from Jesus himself. Hence, there was no LOGOS (as it was related to Jesus) before the time of his public ministry.

                    • GregLogan25
                      October 2, 2015 @ 10:24 pm

                      Rivers –

                      Just curious – if you were to simply and naturally read the Greek text (no personal pronoun) – what would the time sense and action sense of making – tend to be?

                      If I may say – Jesus is all of the Logos – but all of the Logos is not Jesus… Make sense?

                    • Rivers
                      October 3, 2015 @ 8:05 am

                      Greg,

                      Can you please clarify your previous question? Are you referring to “the sense of making” in John 1:3?

                      Thank you.

                    • GregLogan25
                      October 3, 2015 @ 12:16 pm

                      Rivers

                      Sure. The same question can be asked of trins over and over – if you take the plain sense of a given passage – just a natural read – without pre-conceived notions or even any prior exposure – what would the natural sense of a passage be? I don’t need to disregard figures of speech – because figures of speech are part of natural speech. A great example if ICor8:6…. Who is God at the end of the day. The text is clear. Another is Jn8:40 – what is Jesus – and is He God? Obviously not.

                      So if one were to naturally read Jn1:1 – 3 – would they not come away with the notion that there was a making of the whole universe – particularly if they added the context of Genesis – the natural context of the author?

                      My hermeneutic tends to straight text and the natural sense of a text within the natural context. A contrast is modalism which has to devolve to a serious bit of strained/forced manipulation of multitudes of texts which clearly demonstrate two very distinct entities.

                    • Rivers
                      October 4, 2015 @ 10:44 am

                      Hi Greg,

                      I think you’re begging the question because you’re assuming that your reading of John 1:1-3 is the “natural” way that anyone would read it.

                      However, since we don’t have anyone from the apostolic era to tell us what the “natural” reading might have been, we can only consider various exegetical options in order to determine what is the most likely meaning intended by the ancient author.

                      I also try to maintain a grammatical-historical approach to reading the biblical text. But, that method still leaves many passages open to a certain amount of interpretation. That is why there are a number of different translations and readings of John 1:1-3 that are offered by those who use the same hermeneutic.

                    • Miguel de Servet
                      October 4, 2015 @ 11:51 am

                      [Greg] … if one were to naturally read Jn1:1 – 3 – would they not come away with the notion that there was a making of the whole universe – particularly if they added the context of Genesis – the natural context of the author?

                      [Rivers] I think you’re begging the question because you’re assuming that your reading of John 1:1-3 is the “natural” way that anyone would read it.

                      I would go one step further than both Greg and Rivers: IF the author of the GoJ actually wanted to convey a meaning of John 1:1-3 so totally unrelated to Creation and Genesis, couldn’t we legitimately say that he was actually trying to muddy waters and confuse us?

                    • Rivers
                      October 4, 2015 @ 11:14 pm

                      Miguel,

                      If the writer of the 4th Gospel was trying to convey what happened “in the beginning” to the time of the Genesis creation in the Prologue, there’s no reason to think that he would have applied “the word” and “God” and “the light” and “the darkness” and “the world” to the human Jesus and the things that happened during his public ministry (John 1:4-18).

                      From a forensic standpoint, it’s naive to think that the application of the “in the beginning” allusion to the Genesis language (John 1:1-2) should be separated (in time reference) from all of the other allusions to the Genesis language. There is too much evidence showing that “the beginning” was used throughout the John books simply to refer to when the disciples first hear Jesus speaking the gospel (e.g. John 8:42; John 15:27; John 16:4, and numerous texts is the John letters).

                    • Miguel de Servet
                      October 5, 2015 @ 6:25 am

                      I deliberately quoted Greg, before Rivers, because Greg obviously reads John 1:1-3 in its obvious sense, as related to Creation and Genesis. So much so, I went on to argue, that IF the intention of the author of the GoJ was NOT to refer to Creation and Genesis, then we could legitimately say that he was trying to muddy waters and confuse us.

                      Perhaps Rivers should redirect all his “biblical forensics” savvy, like a good CSI, in exploring that possibiliy …

                      As for Rivers’ reference to John 8:42, 15:27, 16:4:

                      John 8:42 has nothing whatsoever to do with “the beginning”.

                      John 16:4 refer to things that Jesus “did NOT tell [the apostles] from the beginning”, so it simply does NOT help your presumed “evidence”.

                    • Rivers
                      October 5, 2015 @ 11:08 am

                      Miguel,

                      The reason I cited uses of “the beginning” in John 6:64, John 8:25, John 15:27, and John 16:4 is to show evidence for when the writer himself (and Jesus) identified “the beginning.” This usage needs to be taken into consideration when determining possibilities for interpreting “the beginning” in John 1:1.

                      Just because “in the beginning” is similar to the LXX version of Genesis 1:1, it doesn’t logically follow that the two different contexts are referring to the same events. The context of the Prologue doesn’t specifically refer to anything that happened in Genesis 1, so we have to keep interpretive options open. There are many other examples of OT language being applied to the human Jesus and his public ministry in the 4th Gospel (e.g. lamb, temple, bread).

                      I think a stronger intertextual case can be made for understanding “in the beginning” as referring to the time when Jesus began his public ministry because of the historical details in the ensuing context of the Prologue (John 1:6-18) as well as the way all of the allusions to the Genesis 1 language (word, God, light, darkness, world) are applied to the human Jesus and what was taking place during the time since he began his public ministry throughout the rest of the 4th Gospel.

                    • Miguel de Servet
                      October 5, 2015 @ 12:38 pm

                      The context of the Prologue doesn’t specifically refer to anything that happened in Genesis 1

                      On the contrary, the most obvious interpretation of John 1:3 is that it refers to creation. Any other interpretation (including Rivers’ first and foremost) is most artificial. Once again, either that, or you should consider that the author is deliberately leading all the readers astray.

                    • Rivers
                      October 5, 2015 @ 4:12 pm

                      Miguel,
                      if your opinion of John 1:3 was “obvious” then there wouldn’t be other options. There’s nothing in the context of the Prologue that describes anything that happened in Genesis 1. The Prologue is about what resulted from what happened as a result of the public ministry of Jesus Christ (John 1:10-12, 17).

                    • Miguel de Servet
                      October 5, 2015 @ 4:46 pm

                      … if your opinion of John 1:3 was “obvious” then there wouldn’t be other options.

                      First, Rivers knows perfectly well that it is NOT only my opinion, but, by far, the most common opinion.

                      Second, to say that “[t]here’s nothing in the context of the Prologue that describes anything that happened in Genesis 1” is begging the question.

                      Third, the sentence ????? ??’ ????? ???????, ??? ????? ????? ??????? ???? ?? has manifestly nothing to do with “what God the Father gave to Jesus Christ”.

                    • Miguel de Servet
                      October 5, 2015 @ 2:06 pm

                      So, according to Rivers, does John 1:1 refer to

                      a. Jesus at the beginning of his mission?

                      b. the resurrected Jesus?

                      (Just one, please …)

                    • Rivers
                      October 5, 2015 @ 4:27 pm

                      Miguel,

                      John 1:1 is the introduction to the Prologue and the 4th Gospel. It summarizes what happened from the baptism of John (John 1:6) to the ascension (John 20:17) while Jesus Christ was living “in the presence of his disciples” (John 20:30-31) during the time of his public ministry.

                    • Miguel de Servet
                      October 5, 2015 @ 4:59 pm

                      Wow! So John 1:1 is the … Prologue to the … Prologue!

                    • GregLogan25
                      October 4, 2015 @ 12:11 pm

                      Rivers

                      As far as I know, everyone reads v3 as a creation passage. Do you know of meaningful exceptions? My challange is that straight text, natural reading – unless the context provides specifics as to otherwise is sufficiently compelling. In other words, I have no reason not to take the easiest route. Do you have a reason that is more compelling and really obvious?

                      In light of the following –

                      Gen1:3 ??? ????? ? ????? ???????? ???? ??? ??????? ???. (etc)

                      Ps33:6 ?? ???? ??? ?????? ?? ??????? ???????????? ??? ?? ???????? ??? ???????? ????? ???? ? ??????? ??????

                      And this text – which obviously has a LOT of interesting linguistics (:-)!!) and shows the need to move beyond simple 101 exegesis and into the complexity of linguistic semantics/contexutalization, big picture, etc. The books in the Bible are NOT a cute little puzzle that we paste together – they are literature – and have the same complexity that our own language contains – we simply don’t notice because most meaning is so automatic.
                      Heb11:3?????? ??????? ??????????? ???? ?????? ?????? ????, ??? ?? ?? ?? ?????????? ?? ?????????? ?????????.

                    • Rivers
                      October 5, 2015 @ 8:49 am

                      Greg,

                      I think the entire context of Prologue mitigates against the popular interpretation of John 1:3 as referring to the time of the Genesis creation. There is certainly an allusion to some of the terms used in Genesis 1, but it doesn’t follow that those words are describing the same events.

                      The Prologue describes what was taking place during the time of John the baptizer (John 1:6) and Jesus Christ (John 1:9-18) and merely applies some of the Genesis language to things taking place at that time. For example, John the baptizer could not have “testified about the light … coming into the world” during the days of the Genesis creation.

                      Rather, the writer is saying that John the baptizer “testified” (i.e. spoke) about “the light” (i.e. the human Jesus) who was “coming into the world” (i.e. being manifested to Israel) at the time that Jesus came to dwell with his disciples (John 1:14, 31) and to be glorified (John 1:18).

                    • GregLogan25
                      October 5, 2015 @ 9:30 am

                      And when is “the beginning” through which the all things were made? And what were the “all things”?

                      I am not entirely opposed to alternates here – certain “beginning” seems to mean something different in IJn HOWEVER the references to Genesis is more strong than simply allusion as v3 seems to require.

                      Regardless, I am not sure it matters – what matters is that Jesus is “the expression” of God. If you have seen me – you have seen the Father. If we have this – and the whosoever believes – becoming adopted sons… The other is more exegetical detail to see the greatness of God than what is needed to live our lives.

                    • Rivers
                      October 5, 2015 @ 3:04 pm

                      Hi Greg,

                      1. I think “the beginning” refers to the time when Jesus was living with his disciples from the time of John’s baptism to the ascension (Acts 1:20-22). This is when the apostles “heard” and “saw” and “touched” the LOGOS (1 John 1:1). Jesus also spoke of being with his disciples “from the beginning” (John 15:27; John 16:4) and speaking to the Jews “from the beginning” (John 8:25).

                      2. Some other texts to consider are Mark 1:1, Luke 1:2-3, and Acts 1:20-22 which speak of things “beginning” with the eyewitness testimony of the apostles during the time when Jesus Christ was with them after they were baptized by John.

                      3. I don’t have a problem with simplifying it to “Jesus was the [verbal] expression (LOGOS) of God” as in Hebrews 1:1. However, this would not be convincing to most people who are accustomed to reading the post-apostolic concepts of “preexistence” and “incarnation” into the language in the Prologue. That is why it’s necessary to offer a lot of exegetical and intertextual evidence to substantiate a different reading.

                    • GregLogan25
                      October 5, 2015 @ 3:32 pm

                      So what is the reference to the all things being made through the Logos – and not one thing that was made without it…?

                      Also, if this is the beginning – what is John meaningfully trying to communicate re Logos by saying “In the beginning was the Logos…”?

                    • Rivers
                      October 5, 2015 @ 4:53 pm

                      Greg,

                      Please let me point out something about the translation of John 1:3-4 that suggest a clarification as to what is the meaning of “all things came into being through him.” Here are two options for you to consider:

                      1. JOHN … [1:3] “all things came into being through him, and apart from him, nothing came into being that has come into being. [1:4] In him was life, and the life was the light of men.” (NASB)

                      2. JOHN … [1:3] “all things came [about] through him, and apart from him nothing came [about]. [1:4] What has come [about] is life, and the life was the light of men.”

                      In the second translation, you’ll notice that the redundancy of [1:3] is alleviated because the clause which says “that which has come about” can be taken (punctuated) as the beginning of [1:4] instead of the end of [1:3]. This also accounts for the change of the verb form (“has come about”) also found in that third “came about” clause.

                      If this translation is correct, then it is the “all things” pertaining to “eternal life” which was manifested in the “flesh” of Jesus Christ (John 1:14; John 6:51). The writer understood that Jesus came to give “eternal life” to those who believed in him (John 6:27; John 6:54; John 10:28; John 17:2).

                    • GregLogan25
                      October 6, 2015 @ 2:59 am

                      In the second translation, it seems the initial phrase of v4 is missing – the In Him. Am I missing something?

                    • Rivers
                      October 6, 2015 @ 9:06 am

                      Greg,

                      Yes, you’re right. Sorry I omitted the “in him” in the second translation … “what has come [about] in him was life, and the life was the light of men.”

                    • Miguel de Servet
                      October 3, 2015 @ 12:56 am

                      I think we have to be careful to understand that the use of LOGOS in the Prologue is because the writer is directing the readers’ attention to “what” was heard. He also seems to identify what was “heard” with the one (Jesus Christ) from whom they heard it (John 1:14; 1 John 1:1-2).

                      Jesus is the definitive word of God:

                      “… in these last days he has spoken to us in a son …” (Hebrews 1:2)

                    • GregLogan25
                      October 3, 2015 @ 1:00 pm

                      Rivers, MS,

                      Here is a straight-forward, often seen text throughout scripture –
                      10 Then the WORD of the Lord came to Samuel: 11 “I regret that I have made Saul king, because he has turned away from me and has not carried out my instructions.”

                      The Logos of Jehovah – came – the Logos is seen as separate from God – yet it is God. The Logos is the content of God’s mind – which, typically, is expressed. Samuel received the Logos of God – the expression of God’s mind. Jesus IS the Logos of God. The level of achievement of this man Jesus is such that He IS the Logos of God – according to the call and work of God in Him.

                      This seems so basic to me that I do not understand why anyone would see anything different – though they might express/describe it somewhat different – but same concept. Why would we ever abandon these foundational conceptions – the river of contextual reality – that these men worked with as expressed in the OT? These men always worked with the OT as their source.

                      BTW – perhaps more importantly – where is such passion that we spend all night crying out to Jehavoh instead of the 5 minute pitiful milquetoast utterance that is we pass off as a pray….
                      Samuel was angry, and he cried out to the Lord all that night.

                      Happy Sabbath…:-)

                    • Rivers
                      October 4, 2015 @ 11:02 am

                      Greg,

                      I understand the point you are trying to make about “the word of the Lord came to Samuel” (1 Samuel 15:10). However, I think you are overlooking the other evidence.

                      When it says “the word of the Lord came”, we have to ask the critical question … “how did it come to Samuel”? There are other texts which use the same language to refer to someone seeing it in a “vision” (Genesis 15:1) or by another person (1 Kings 16:7).

                      We also know that the apostles understood that “the word” came through the “prophets” (Hebrews 1:1) and the “angels” during the time of the Hebrew scriptures (Hebrews 2:2).

                      Unfortunately, your conclusion that “the word of the Lord = God’s mind” doesn’t follow because LOGOS doesn’t mean “thought” or “mind.” LOGOS is not a “vision” or a “messenger” either. The term LOGOS is used of the “message” (content) itself after it has been spoken through someone (see 1 John 1:1-5).

                    • GregLogan25
                      October 4, 2015 @ 11:58 am

                      I fully agree on pretty much everything you said – the main point is the word is expressed content!! Actually we could translate “message” in many instances – but the point is the content. What I am focused on is sort of the surrounding contextualization to most fully grasp the sense of usage such that John’s various statements including Jesus as the ultimate expression of God.

                      See this sentence in my above post –

                      The Logos is the content of God’s mind – which, typically, is expressed.

                      I do note there are occasional usages that do not include expression.

                    • Miguel de Servet
                      October 4, 2015 @ 12:04 pm

                      The Logos is the content of God’s mind – which, typically, is expressed.

                      I coudn’t agree more. Only sophistic distortions prevent one to agree with the obvious.

                    • Rivers
                      October 5, 2015 @ 8:23 am

                      Greg,

                      Yes, the “content” Is the main point. However, when LOGOS is used, it signifies that the content was spoken by someone. The apostles didn’t use LOGOS to mean an unspoken “thought” or “plan.” That is why the term is usually associated with “hearing” and “speaking” in the various contexts.

                      I think this is a very important nuance that must be taken into account. When the writer of the 4th Gospel said “the word was flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14) is means that the LOGOS they heard was from the “one coming after” John the baptizer (John 1:15). This puts the LOGOS in its proper historical context.

                    • GregLogan25
                      October 5, 2015 @ 8:36 am

                      Jesus is definitely the “speaking” of God – which is a VERY cool picture!

                      BTW – I think there are a few instances of Logos when there does not appear to be a verbal expression.

                    • Rivers
                      October 5, 2015 @ 11:47 am

                      Greg,

                      Please find those “instances of LOGOS when there does not appear to be a verbal expression” and let’s consider them. If they have any bearing on the interpretation of LOGOS in the 4th Gospel, then we should take them into account.

                    • GregLogan25
                      October 5, 2015 @ 3:23 pm

                      Rivers

                      No bearing on the 4th Gospel – there are a few though – one is actually a written form of expression (an account in Jesus’ parable as I recall) and they are very few. If you run through your resources you should be able to find them. I cannot pursue at this time.

                      Mainly I am good with Jesus as the expression of God – and that is the standard meaning of Logos except for the very occasional slight alternates.

                    • Rivers
                      October 5, 2015 @ 4:29 pm

                      Greg,

                      Sounds good. I’m glad we agree on that point.

                    • Miguel de Servet
                      October 5, 2015 @ 5:06 pm

                      [Greg] I am good with Jesus as the expression of God

                      [Rivers] Sounds good. I’m glad we agree on that point.

                      Sounds good, and perfectly in line with this:

                      1 After God spoke long ago in various portions and in various ways to our ancestors through the prophets, 2 in these last days he has spoken to us in a son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he created the world. (Hebrews 1:1-2)

                    • Rivers
                      October 5, 2015 @ 8:08 pm

                      Miguel,

                      Good point. Hebrews 1:1-2 is another reason we know that the apostles didn’t believe the there was any LOGOS before “the last days” when God “spoke in a son” who was the human Jesus “appointed heir of all things.”

                    • Miguel de Servet
                      October 6, 2015 @ 3:09 am

                      As often happens, Rivers’ comment is a spectacular non sequitur. God most certainly thought about “speaking to us in a son”, before actually speaking. This is precisely what God’s logos is about.

                    • Rivers
                      October 6, 2015 @ 9:43 am

                      Miguel,

                      The biblical evidence shows that LOGOS is never used of “God’s thought before speaking.” LOGOS always refers to something that has already been “spoken.” You’ll never understand the meaning of LOGOS until you start paying attention to how the term was used by the apostles.

                      The writer of the 4th Gospel explained that “the word (LOGOS) of life” is what they HEARD and SAW and TOUCHED while they had fellowship with the human Jesus (1 John 1:1-5). This language cannot be referring to “God’s mind before He spoke.”

                      LOGOS is a noun. It is not an adjective or a verb signifying an “attribute.”

                      LOGOS is also not one of the words for “wisdom” (SOFIA) or “plan” (BOULH) or “thinking” (DOKEW) that the apostles use elsewhere.

                    • Miguel de Servet
                      October 6, 2015 @ 9:59 am

                      Enjoy your thoughtless LOGOS.

                      (Quite amusing, how you edited “through whom he created the world” from Hebrews 1:1-2, BTW …)

                    • GregLogan25
                      October 5, 2015 @ 6:47 pm

                      Hopefully we both agree with Jesus Christ…:-)

                    • Rivers
                      October 5, 2015 @ 8:10 pm

                      Greg,

                      Of course, that’s why we do exegesis to try to determine what the apostles were actually teaching about Jesus Christ.

                    • Miguel de Servet
                      October 4, 2015 @ 12:01 pm

                      When it says “the word of the Lord came [ to Samuel – 1 Samuel 15:10]”, we have to ask the critical question … “how did it come to Samuel”? (…) We also know that the apostles understood that “the word” came through
                      the “prophets” (Hebrews 1:1) and the “angels” during the time of the
                      Hebrew scriptures (Hebrews 2:2).

                      Rivers must be seriously confused: Samuel WAS a prophet. The “word of the Lord” simply came to him (see 1 Samuel 3).

                    • Rivers
                      October 5, 2015 @ 8:28 am

                      Miguel,

                      I think you’re overlooking that sometimes the “prophets” received the word of the Lord from angels (e.g. Moses, Acts 7:35-37). Thus, it “came” to them in different ways.

                    • Miguel de Servet
                      October 5, 2015 @ 9:16 am

                      There’s no reason to insist that this language [“the word of the Lord came to Samuel” – 1 Samuel 15:10] means that something just popped into Samuel’s head.

                      And why not, bearing in mind that Samuel WAS a prophet? What would be different from Samuel’s situation at 1 Samuel 15:10 and Abraham’s situation at Genesis 15:1?

                    • Miguel de Servet
                      October 2, 2015 @ 6:09 pm

                      Throughout the 4th Gospel, LOGOS always refers to “what” (content, message) is spoken, but doesn’t mean “speaking.”

                      Like a … thought?

                      Nobody speaks of anything as “pre-incarnate” unless they are referring to the human Jesus existing in some other non-human form prior to his birth.

                      “Jesus existing in some other non-human form prior to his birth” could still refer to a (personal) “pre-existing spirit being”. It is not enough to say “non-human”, it is necessary to think of the ?????, before the incarnation, as “non-personal”.

                    • Rivers
                      October 2, 2015 @ 10:28 pm

                      Miguel,

                      1. No, LOGOS is not a “thought.” Words are spoken, not thoughts. That is why both Greek and English has different terms to designate thinking and speaking.

                      2. The problem with you notion that LOGOS is a “thought” that is also “non-personal” is that it isn’t consistent with the way that the “thoughts” of both God and a man were understood to be personal (e.g. Isaiah 55:11; Proverbs 23:7; 1 Corinthians 2:11)

                    • Miguel de Servet
                      October 3, 2015 @ 12:47 am

                      1. Can Rivers, then, explain what does it mean that …

                      “Throughout the 4th Gospel, LOGOS always refers to ‘what’ (content, message) is spoken, but doesn’t mean ‘speaking'”

                      … according to Rivers’ own very words?

                      2. First, Rivers doesn’t appreciate that my comment was in response to his comment (“Nobody speaks of anything as ‘pre-incarnate’ unless they are referring
                      to the human Jesus existing in some other non-human form prior to his
                      birth”): there is NOT a “personal pre-human Jesus”.

                      Second, River’s citations are irrelevant to the point I am making. God’s own ????? is NOT impersonal in the sense that it does not belong to a person (of course God IS a person!), BUT in the sense that God’s own ????? is NOT itself (itself …) a person: not until it is incarnated in/as Jesus.

                      (BTW, as Dale once objected to the ambiguity of my “in/as”, it means both: “as Jesus” and “in Jesus”)

                    • Rivers
                      October 3, 2015 @ 8:15 am

                      Miguel,

                      1. The LOGOS refers to the content of “what” was spoken. For example, the people “heard” what (LOGOS) Jesus was saying (John 7:40). What Isaiah said what (LOGOS) was fulfilled (John 12:48). Pilate was afraid of what (LOGOS) he heard from the Jews (John 19:12-13).

                      2. I’m sorry if I misunderstood the intent of your comment about “pre-incarnate.”

                      3. The main objection I have to your view of LOGOS is that it isn’t based upon the way LOGOS is used by the writer of the 4th Gospel. God is certainly related to the DBR (“word”) revealed in the Hebrew scriptures but that isn’t the specific LOGOS (“word”) that the writer of the 4th Gospel is associating with Jesus Christ.

                    • Miguel de Servet
                      October 3, 2015 @ 1:26 pm

                      The LOGOS refers to the content of “what” was spoken.

                      Your explanation is a DWAD (Distinction Without A Difference). The contents of “what” is spoken IS a thought unless, for the upteenth time, the speaker is a … parrot. Besides, you seem to be blissfully unaware of how many oscillations you have had on ?????, even if I pointed them all out to you (after a. ????? “should be translated ‘word’ in John 1:1, 14 because that is what it means”, b. ????? “is being applied to Jesus Christ as the human “son” through whom the “message” is spoken”, you added c. ????? in John 1:1,14 “as a metaphor”).

                      The main objection I have to your view of LOGOS is that it isn’t based
                      upon the way LOGOS is used by the writer of the 4th Gospel. God is certainly related to the DBR (“word”) revealed in the Hebrew
                      scriptures but that isn’t the specific LOGOS (“word”) that the writer of
                      the 4th Gospel is associating with Jesus Christ.

                      You are entitled to your opinion. I consider your opinion wrong.

                    • Rivers
                      October 4, 2015 @ 11:16 am

                      Miguel,

                      LOGOS is the spoken “message.” Your misapplication of “Distinction Without A Difference” is another indication that you don’t understand the semantics of biblical Greek or how languages work in general.

                      LOGOS is associated with “hearing” throughout he John books because spoken words are “heard.” People do not literally “hear” someone else’s “mind.” Something in the “mind” cannot be known without a verbal (or written) expression. In biblical Greek, LOGOS refers specifically to what has been expressed verbally. There is no LOGOS without the verbal expression.

                      This is why the writer of the 4th Gospel explained that the disciples “heard” and “saw” and “touched” what was “concerning the word (LOGOS) of life” (1 John 1:1, 3 ). He is talking about what was actually “manifested” to them (1 John 1:2) and what the “message” that they were “announcing” (1 John 1:3, 5).

                      John 1:14 refers to the means (i.e. a man of flesh) through whom the spoken LOGOS originated. The LOGOS didn’t come to the disciples until after John the baptizer identified who spoke it (John 1:15). There’s nothing in this context to suggest that “God’s mind (or an attribute) turned into an human being at birth.

                    • Miguel de Servet
                      October 4, 2015 @ 11:32 am

                      There’s nothing in this context to suggest that “God’s mind (or an attribute) turned into an human being at birth.

                      You use the word “context” as generously as someone would use chili powder to season one’s food. The problem with that approach is that one doesn’t perceive the taste of the food itself any more.

                      The evidence? Sure! You are blissfully unaware of (or choose to ignore) how many oscillations you have had on ????? (see previous comment).

                    • Rivers
                      October 4, 2015 @ 11:06 pm

                      Miguel,

                      The immediate “context” of John 1:14 is the surrounding verses that I cited. That is understood by everyone. Your “food” analogy makes no sense here.

                      Instead of using a bad analogy, please indicate where you think the context of John 1:14 suggests anything about the time of the birth of Jesus Christ. Otherwise, your attempt to connect “the word was flesh and dwelt among us” with Luke 1:35 and Matthew 1:18-23 has no exegetical merit.

                    • Miguel de Servet
                      October 5, 2015 @ 2:59 am

                      The Prologue to the GoJ summarizes the whole essential story of the ?????, from the ????, when the ????? ?? ???? ??? ???? (John 1:1), even before creation, to the time when Jesus, the Lamb of God, was presented to the world by John the Baptist, and Jesus, the Son, the ????????, made God known fully known to us.

                      In between, quite naturally, the author of the Gospel of John inserts the moment when ? ????? ???? ???????, the ????? became (yes, became) a human person in/as Jesus.

                      Oh, BTW your reaction to my “food analogy” confirms that not only you are a poor exegete, but you are absolutely devoid of any sense of humor.

                      Oh, BBTW, you ARE blissfully unaware of how many oscillations you have had on ?????: after a. ????? “should be translated ‘word’ in John 1:1, 14 because that is what it means”, b. ????? “is being applied to Jesus Christ as the human “son” through whom the “message” is spoken”, you added c. ????? in John 1:1,14 “as a metaphor”.

                    • Miguel de Servet
                      October 5, 2015 @ 6:03 am

                      … please indicate where you think the context of John 1:14 suggests anything about the time of the birth of Jesus Christ.

                      Why should we limit ourselves consider John 1:15 as the “context” that helps unterstand John 1:14? Just to please Rivers? Amusing.

                      The “context” is the entirety of the Prologue (John1:1-18) where, as in any proper prologue, the author summarizes the events preceding the narration that he is going to develop, and the general goal of his endeavor: first ? ????? “in the beginning”, ?? ????, even before creation (1:1-2), then the role of ????? in creation, then the ????? becoming a human being in/as Jesus. Different interpretations …

                      BTW, the chili powder analogy obviously irked you: you haven’t obviously even got any sense of humor.

                      BBTW, you prefer not to contront the obvious evidence of the many oscillations you have had
                      on ?????: a. first, ????? “should be translated ‘word’ in John 1:1, 14 because that is what it means”; b. second, ????? “is being applied to Jesus Christ as the human “son” through whom the “message” is spoken”; c. third ????? in John 1:1,14 “as a metaphor”. Dithering some?

                    • Rivers
                      October 5, 2015 @ 10:19 am

                      Miguel,

                      I think there are a couple of problem with the way you are trying to elasticize the context of the Prologue.

                      First, it doesn’t logical follow that because “the Prologue is a summary” that “in the beginning” (John 1:1) must refer to “before [Genesis] creation.” I don’t think that interpretation is consistent with the Prologue or the rest of the narration throughout the rest of the 4th Gospel.

                      Second, many of the things mentioned in the Prologue regarding the historical circumstances of the time when John the baptizer, Jesus Christ, and the disciples were together (John 1:6-15), is elaborated in the rest of the chapter (John 1:19-43). There’s nothing in either John 1:6-15 or John 1:19-43 that has anything to do with the time of Jesus’ birth.

                      Furthermore, even your appeal to “the beginning = Genesis creation” interpretation of John 1:1-3 doesn’t give any exegetical basis for construing John 1:14 to be about the time of Jesus’ birth. Regardless of what the “word” is in John 1:1-3, it doesn’t “dwell among us (disciples)” until the historical period introduced in John 1:6-9.

                    • Miguel de Servet
                      October 1, 2015 @ 6:23 pm

                      The “quotes” are only for emphasis.

                      That is NOT their full definition:

                      [American Heritage® Dictionary] Quotation marks used to emphasize a word or phrase or to indicate its special status, especially to express doubt about its validity or to criticize its use.
                      [Collins English Dictionary] quotation marks placed around a word or phrase to indicate that it should not be taken literally or automatically accepted as true

                      I think you’re confusing the translation of LOGOS with its potential application as a metaphor.

                      Gasp! Rivers is changing tack again. Are you now suggesting (after a. ????? “should be translated ‘word’ in John 1:1, 14 because
                      that is what it means”, b. ????? “is being applied to Jesus Christ
                      as the human “son” through whom the “message” is spoken”) c. ????? in John 1:1,14 “as a metaphor”? If so, why didn’t you say so clearly a long, long time ago?

                      Your appeal to the “Hebrew language” is fallacious and has nothing to do with translating John 1:14 which is written in very simple Greek prose.

                      Yours is a pathetic attempt to divagate. The question, here, is NOT about the meaning of ?????, BUT about the proper translation of ???????. Sorry to break it to you: the ONLY proper translation of ??????? at John 1:14 is “became”.

                      Jesus Christ was a “son” and that he was not a “mere prophet.”

                      This leaves unsolved the problem of the essential difference between Jesus being a “son”, vs being a “mere prophet”. Why coudn’t one who was a “mere prophet” receive God’s “heritage”?

                    • Rivers
                      October 1, 2015 @ 7:43 pm

                      Miguel,

                      It’s naive to claim that “BECAME is the only possible translation of EGENTO in John 1:14.” The ssame term EGENETO is translated a half dozen different ways just in the 18 verses of the Prologue alone. Please do some research.

                      I’m getting the impression that your only intent is to be argumentative and condescending. I don’t care if you criticize other viewpoints, but I would really appreciate a substantial exegetical response that could be of some value to the discussion.

                    • Miguel de Servet
                      October 2, 2015 @ 11:55 am

                      The same term EGENETO is translated a half dozen different ways just in the 18 verses of the Prologue alone.

                      It is interesting that Rivers claims that ??????? “is translated a half dozen different ways just in the 18 verses of the Prologue alone” (actually, there are 6 occurences of ???????, precisely, altogether). Interesting, because, if that is the case, Rivers would have very little ground for insisting (as he constantly does), that ??????? means (and therefore should be translated) with “was” both in John 1:6 and in John 1:14.

                      In fact, the case is relatively simple: in a nutshell, ???????? EITHER is used absolutely, meaning “come into being” (as opposed to simple being, ?????), OR is used with a Predicate (or Complement) and, in that case it means, “come into a certain state” (or become), specified by the Predicate (noun, or adjective). This being premised, let’s look in detail at the 6 occurrences of ??????? in John 1:1-18.

                      v. 3 (twice) ??????? means “came to be”, “came in existence”;
                      v. 6 ???????, referred to JtB, is used absolutely, and means “came to be”, “there came”, even “there was”;
                      v. 10: same as v.3;
                      v. 14 ???????, referred to the ?????, is accompanied by the Predicate ????, which specifies what ? ????? “became”. So, “the word became flesh”, or, in more normal English “the word became a human being”;
                      v. 17: same as v.3 and v.10.

                      … your only intent is to be argumentative and condescending.

                      Even if they get over your head, I always provide arguments.

                    • Rivers
                      October 2, 2015 @ 3:35 pm

                      Miquel,

                      You’re not taking all of the different translations into account. If you survey the way that translators render EGENETO throughout the the Prologue, you’ll discover that that there are over a half dozen different ways of translating the term (including “was”).

                      As I’ve pointed out before, your oversimplification and misuse of grammatical labels is fallacious. Context is what determines the meaning intended by the author. Grammatical labels like “absolute” and “predicate” do not. It’s a basic understanding in linguistics that the same “meaning” can be represented by different grammatical and syntactical forms.

                    • GregLogan25
                      October 1, 2015 @ 4:41 pm

                      Damn that Rivers for wanting to eat his cake…!!!

                    • Rivers
                      September 26, 2015 @ 10:27 am

                      Greg,

                      Good points!

                    • Sean Garrigan
                      September 22, 2015 @ 7:20 pm

                      Hi Greg,

                      “re: Proffering Expertise – yes, please read your responses to Rivers
                      re Agency as fulfillment of the role of sonship in 1C speak (or
                      something like that) – you worked him over pretty hard…!”

                      I don’t think I was hard on Rivers. All I did was point out that he doesn’t seem to know what he’s talking about vis a vis the agency paradigm and its applicability to Christology. He claims that this is some sort of refuge for Unitarians, yet its applicability is appreciated by all, including many Trinitarians.

                      To argue that even slaves could be “agents” and therefore the concept is not relevant to Christology does show a serious lack of adequate reflection and understanding on the matter.

                      “re: Logos as Attribute – I agree with both you and Rivers that the Logos is
                      NOT an attribute of God (silly thought actually – but I am not sure
                      Miguel actually said that or not – and don’t want to find out).”

                      Well, that’s good to know:-)

                      ~Sean

              • Paul Anchor
                September 12, 2015 @ 7:20 pm

                It seems to me that unitarians need the concept of agency to explain the texts that describe God creating the world through the Word or through the Son in Colossians, GJohn and Hebrews.

                They have to posit a creature that God the Father used to create. To a trinitarian of course this is impossible nonsense.

                • Rivers
                  September 12, 2015 @ 8:40 pm

                  Paul,

                  That’s right. However, not all biblical unitarians appeal to the “agency” concept since it is a very weak line of argumentation.

                  Some biblical unitarians place more emphasis on the resurrection context of the “creation” passages that involve Jesus Christ. For example, I would argue that even John 1:1-3 is a resurrection text (and has nothing to do with anything that happened before the public ministry of Jesus).

                  • Sean Garrigan
                    September 13, 2015 @ 7:22 am

                    “However, not all biblical unitarians appeal to the “agency” concept since it is a very weak line of argumentation.”

                    I would guess that all Unitarians who *understand* the agency paradigm would and do accept it’s applicability to Christology. I’m not too concerned about the rest, which may actually be only one Unitarian, who happens to have a higher opinion of himself than anyone I’ve ever met in my life.

                    ~Sean

                • Sean Garrigan
                  September 13, 2015 @ 7:32 am

                  “It seems to me that unitarians need the concept of agency to explain the
                  texts that describe God creating the world through the Word or through
                  the Son in Colossians, GJohn and Hebrews.”

                  Actually, you can find the agency concept appealed to directly or indirectly by myriad orthodox expositors. Folks have understood its applicability for centuries. Ironically (in light of your comment), the person who was instrumental in helping pretty much everyone but Rivers understand its applicability to Christology in modern times was the Lutheran scholar Jan A. Buhner, whose book “Der Gesandte Und Sein Weg Im 4” is quoted more than any other scholar when the subject is referenced in the academic articles and commentaries.

                  ~Sean

          • Rivers
            September 22, 2015 @ 4:25 pm

            Sean,

            It’s fallacious to presuppose things about “the 1st century cultural context” that cannot be corroborated with scripture. Rather, if the concept of divine agency was of great significance, then we should expect to find the apostles appealing to it in their own defense of the gospel.

            • Miguel de Servet
              September 23, 2015 @ 6:16 am

              [Sean] In light of the thought categories of the 1st century, for someone to suggest that Jesus was *literally* Son of God would have ipso facto meant that he was suggesting that God took human form and had coitus with Mary.

              [Rivers] It’s fallacious to presuppose things about “the 1st century cultural context” that cannot be corroborated with scripture. Rather, if the concept of divine agency was of great significance, then we should expect to find the apostles appealing to it in their own defense of the gospel.

              So, if I get it right (and against Sean), Rivers is suggesting that notions like “honorific appellation” or “metaphor”, or “divine agency” are not adequate explanations of what it meant to the apostles that Jesus claimed to be (and to them was) “Son of God”.

              OTOH, Rivers denies that ? ????? ???? ??????? (John 1:14) has anything to do with Jesus being “Son of God”.

              Can Rivers explain to us what it means to him that Jesus was “Son of God”?

              Thanks.

              • Rivers
                September 23, 2015 @ 9:41 am

                Miquel,

                I’m not sure what you mean by “Rivers denies that John 1:14 has anything to do with Jesus being the son of God.” I don’t think I’ve ever suggested anything like that.

                The meaning of “the word was flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14) is that Jesus Christ was the “man” that John the baptizer said would “come after” his testimony about the Christ (John 1:15, 27-30). John the baptizer explicitly identified the human Jesus as “the son of God” (John 1:34).

                The meaning of “the son of God” is that Jesus Christ was a man who was “born” of holy spirit (Luke 1:35; John 3:6) and later declared to be the heir of all of the Father’s glory (John 17:5) through the power of the resurrection (Acts 13:33; Romans 1:3-4; Hebrews 1:5-6).

                • Miguel de Servet
                  September 23, 2015 @ 4:18 pm

                  River says, “I don’t think I’ve ever suggested … that …” “? ????? ???? ??????? (John 1:14) has [no]thing to do with Jesus being ‘Son of God'”.

                  Then please, by all means, let Rivers explain what, in his opinion, ? ????? ???? ??????? (John 1:14) has to do with Jesus being “Son of God”. (BTW, that “John the baptizer explicitly identified the human Jesus as “the son of God” (John 1:34)” has nothing whatsoever to do with ? ????? ???? ???????).

                  So, according to Rivers, the expression “son of God”, applied to Jesus Christ essentially means that 1. Jesus was “born” [sic] of holy spirit and 2. heir of all of the Father’s glory.

                  Is Rivers suggesting that the expressions “the Holy Spirit will come upon you” (which is applied to Mary, mother of Jesus, and only indirectly to Jesus – Luke 1:35) and “what is born of the Spirit is spirit” (which applies to any “person [who] is born from above” – John 3:6 and 3:3) mean essentially the same?

                  • Rivers
                    September 23, 2015 @ 7:27 pm

                    Miquel,

                    John 1:14 is not specifically referring to Jesus Christ as “the son of God.” I think you’re getting confused because you aren’t checking the biblical references.

                    When the writer said “the word was flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14), he was referring to what John the baptizer had testified about “the one coming after me” (John 1:15). The details of John’s testimony this “man” (Jesus) are given in John 1:26-36.

                    Jesus was the man who’s ‘flesh” was “the life of the world” (John 6:51). That is why John called him “the lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world” (John 1:29). If you compare John 1:14-15 with John 1:29-30, it’s evident that they are referring to the same thing.

                    • Miguel de Servet
                      September 24, 2015 @ 4:56 am

                      John 1:14 is not specifically referring to Jesus Christ as “the son of God.”

                      Thanks for confirming (at last and unambiguously) my understanding of your position.

                      When the writer said “the word was [BIAS ALERT] flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14), he was referring to what John the baptizer had testified about “the one coming after me” (John 1:15). The details of John’s testimony this “man” (Jesus) are given in John 1:26-36.

                      This is against common sense and obvious reading. Besides, John 1:14 comes before John 1:15 and, of course, John 1:26-36.

                      If you compare John 1:14-15 with John 1:29-30, it’s evident that they are referring to the same thing.

                      That is true ONLY about 1:15 vs 1:30. The rest is your peculiar “interpretation”.

                    • Rivers
                      September 24, 2015 @ 8:28 am

                      Miquel,

                      It makes no difference that John 1:14 comes “before” John 1:15 because it is the historical sequence of events in the context that matters. For example, Jesus didn’t “dwell among” his disciples (John 1:14b) until AFTER John the baptizer told them who Jesus was (John 1:15). Thus, it’s wrong to suggest that what happened in John 1:14 must occur before what is mentioned in John 1:15.

                      John 1:29-43 explains what took place in John 1:14-15. You would do better to pay attention to how the biblical writer himself elaborated on the same events rather than speculating about “preexistence” which isn’t mentioned or described anywhere in the context.

                    • Miguel de Servet
                      September 24, 2015 @ 11:22 am

                      There is so much “interpretation” and projection on your part, that it is difficult to indicate all your twists. Let’s try.

                      1. In the text, John 1:14 comes before (not “before”) 1:15, and it makes perfect sense that it is in that order. First, the logos became a human being (“flesh”) and came to live (“pitched his tent”) among us humans (John 1:14 – that his disciples are involved at this stage of the text is your invention and projection). Second, after about 30 years of obscure life, John the Baptist announced Jesus’ public appearance, when Jesus went at the Jordan, and JtB proclaimed that Jesus was greater than himself (John 1:29, anticipated in the Prologue at 1:15).

                      2. That John 1:1-18 is a true and proper prologue to the whole gospel is confirmed by the presence of the key words logos and monogen?s, both referring to the unique relationship between Jesus and God, that the Gospel of John illustrates throughout.

                      3. By putting in the same box (personal) “preexistence” and “divine attributes”, you are, as usual, muddying waters.

                    • Rivers
                      September 24, 2015 @ 11:57 am

                      Miquel,

                      It’s always necessary to “interpret” grammar and syntax even after translating it (which also requires some interpretation). This is why making arguments from points of grammar (without being careful about the context) leads to many exegetical fallacies.

                      1. You’re interpretation of the sequence of John 1:14-15 Is presumptuous and doesn’t account for the context. There’s nothing that requires John 1:14a to be referring to the birth of Jesus Christ and nothing to suggest that there should be a 30 year gap between John 1:14a and John 1:14b. It makes perfectly good send that “the word” (LOGOS) was the person (flesh) who came to live with the apostles (John 1:14) after they heard John the baptizer preaching about his coming (John 1:15).

                      2. Agreed!

                      3. I don’t think the writer of the 4th Gospel was saying anything about “divine attributes” or “preexistence.” Thus, I can’t be “muddying the waters” with regard to any of them. My understanding is that you are one who claims that “a divine attribute became an human being.”

                    • Miguel de Servet
                      September 24, 2015 @ 12:58 pm

                      Gasp! All I can say is, enjoy your “many exegetical fallacies”.

                      Some detail.

                      1. I find your use of the adjective “presumptuous” quite amusing: it is a typical word used by mafia bosses of those who dare challenge them. You are speaking of the GoJ as though it was written in a pneumatic vacuum, where notions like the virgin birth and the late start of Jesus’ “public career” never entered. But, hey, enjoy what “makes perfectly good sen[se]” to you!

                      2. Except that you had previously explicitly denied that John was a prologue in the obvious sense of the word, and that you interpret in your peculiar and idiosyncratic way both key words.

                      3. You certainly are muddying waters, because “pre-existence” is advocated by those who affirm that Jesus, before his human life, was a “heavenly spirit being”, which has absolutely nothing to do with the logos being an essential, eternal attribute of God.

              • GregLogan25
                September 23, 2015 @ 8:59 pm

                MS – Why isn’t God’s creation of Jesus in Mary’s by His spirit sufficient to render Jesus properly being call the Son of God?

                • Sean Garrigan
                  September 23, 2015 @ 9:37 pm

                  “S – Why isn’t God’s creation of Jesus in Mary’s by His spirit sufficient to render Jesus properly being call the Son of God?”

                  “Son of God” was another way of saying “Messiah”, which had nothing to do with the transfer of ontological properties via literal birth.

                  ~Sean

                  • GregLogan25
                    September 23, 2015 @ 10:32 pm

                    Sean

                    I have never seen Jesus’ sonship being the result of transfer of ontological properties – but simply causality. I guess I am essentially agreeing with you – and I don’t get into it beyond what the text states.

                    re: Sonship = Messiahship
                    What texts would you use to substantiate this?

                    • Sean Garrigan
                      September 24, 2015 @ 3:27 am

                      Hi Greg,

                      You asked:

                      “re: Sonship = Messiahship…What texts would you use to substantiate this?”

                      Time constraints necessitate a very brief response today, which means I can’t develop any sort of detailed argument, but, for example, Peter said:

                      “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” (Matt 16:16)

                      And the high priest asked:

                      “I adjure You by the living God, that You tell us whether You are the Christ, the Son of God.”

                      Such texts don’t mean “You are the Christ AND ALSO the Son of God”, they mean “You are the Christ ALSO KNOWN AS the Son of God”. Such synonymous usage may have stemmed from the OT declaration that the human King, who prefigured the ultimate Messianic King, was “son of God” (Psalm 2:7).

                      ~Sean

                    • GregLogan25
                      September 24, 2015 @ 1:40 pm

                      Sean

                      Fair enough – I think it would be safe to say that the Messiah was to be the Son of God – likely on the very basis you mentioned. Not that the positions/conditions were identical in essence but coordinate in existence in the same entity. In other words, if you are the Messiah, you will also be, the Son of God – sort of a package deal…:-)

                      In light of this, I wonder then – was the virgin birth story really necessary?? Could Jesus have been the Son of God despite being a completely natural man with human father as well as mother? It does seem to bet he case – in fact the writer to the Hebrews touches on this. Thus, was the virgin birth narratives simply add-ons for good measure? I have wondered about this in light of the lack of reference in other NT text (though I may well be missing something here since I have never fully studied this subject – and, admittedly, don’t intend to…:-)

                      Greg

                    • Sean Garrigan
                      September 26, 2015 @ 8:27 am

                      “In light of this, I wonder then – was the virgin birth story really
                      necessary?? Could Jesus have been the Son of God despite being a
                      completely natural man with human father as well as mother? It does
                      seem to bet he case – in fact the writer to the Hebrews touches on this.
                      Thus, was the virgin birth narratives simply add-ons for good measure?
                      I have wondered about this in light of the lack of reference in other
                      NT text (though I may well be missing something here since I have never
                      fully studied this subject – and, admittedly, don’t intend to…:-)”

                      That’s a very good question, and one’s approach will probably influence one’s answer.

                      There’s the hyper-fundamentalist “Moody Bible College” approach (if you will), which would likely involve arguing that every statement or nearly every statement in the Bible is literally true, except perhaps where it is thought that stories should be understood symbolically, in which case the meaning the symbolic language was meant to convey is true. With this approach one could take all four gospels and artfully weave them together into one and call it a multi-authored biography. The differences in the stories with the distinctive emphases would be thought of as the result of different points of focus. All four representations of Jesus’ life are literally true, and the differences in the story-lines emerged because of focusing in on different hues on the canvass which is the veridical picture of Jesus’ life. Broadly speaking, everyone from this group would say that Jesus did not have a human father, and that Mary became pregnant as a result of a miraculous event.

                      There’s the somewhat more liberal approach, represented by folks like Richard B. Hays. This is a scholarly approach that seeks to employ the methods and accept the findings of the historical-critical methodology(ies) while remaining ‘in the fold’ of believers, as it were. Folks who adopt this approach would say that the four gospels don’t give us the history of Jesus’ life as we moderns understand it, i.e. they don’t represent what we would see if we were to watch the life of Jesus on historical videotape. Rather, they are literary attempts to reflect the multi-hued identity/character of Jesus in light of the profound impact he made on the lives of his followers, as this was passed down in the Church’s memory. (This is an attempt to unpack what Hays has dedicated an entire course to, and so if this description doesn’t do it absolute justice, may he forgive any lacunae that emerge from necessary concision.) Many from this group would also say that Jesus did not have a human father, and that Mary became pregnant as a result of a miraculous event.

                      Then there’s the hyper-liberal group, who sometimes refer to themselves in a rather self-congratulatory way as “progressives”. In my experience — which is very limited and which I don’t profess to be broadly representative — these folks are primarily concerned with the virtues of their own personal “way” of reading Scripture, and of identifying how and why it should and shouldn’t be applied in light of our times, in light of modern scientific findings, and our social, cultural, and political milieu, etc. With this group beliefs are all over the map, because folks in this category have replaced the authority of Scripture with the authority of their opinions, which are shaped, as all opinions always have been and always will be, by the sociocultural influences of the age in which they live. Folks from this group may or may not feel that there’s any reason or benefit in accepting the birth narratives or the notion that Jesus did not have a human father.

                      These are the three primary categories that I’ve encountered in my readings and interactions with scholars and Bible teachers, and one could probably delineate six categories rather than three, depending on how broadly one were to speak when describing the body of religious and scholarly opinion. There are certainly points in which all three can overlap, and the first two will overlap more with each other than the first and the last, just as the last two will overlap more with each other than the first and the last.

                      I have more in common with the first two groups than the third, and I accept what the birth narratives are telling us: Jesus did not have a human father.

                      ~Sean

                    • Miguel de Servet
                      September 24, 2015 @ 4:20 am

                      Greg

                      1. [Greg] Why isn’t God’s creation of Jesus in Mary’s by His spirit sufficient to render Jesus properly being call the Son of God?

                      2. [Sean] “Son of God” was another way of saying “Messiah”, which had nothing to do with the transfer of ontological properties via literal birth.

                      3. [Greg] I have never seen Jesus’ sonship being the result of transfer of ontological properties – but simply causality. I guess I am essentially agreeing with you – and I don’t get into it beyond what the text states.

                      4. [Greg] re: Sonship = Messiahship
                      What texts would you use to substantiate this?

                      Comments

                      1. This is what the key verse says:

                      The angel replied, “The holy spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore that holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. (Luke 1:35)

                      The verse mentions, distinctly, God’s holy spirit AND the power of the Most High. I affirm that it is NOT a hendiadys, but a proper distinctions between the holy spirit and another unspecified power. I believe that this other power is specified in John 1:18, and it is ? ????? (John 1:1): ? ????? ???? ??????? (John 1:14).

                      2,3. No, you are not “essentially agreeing” with Sean, because he NOT ONLY denies any “transfer of ontological properties”, BUT ALSO “simply causality”.

                      4. All those who trivialize Jesus’ Sonship in mere terms of Messiaship, make a big meal of verses like Ps 2:7, Ps 89:27 and similar, which refer to David and the Davidic king as God’ “son”.

                    • GregLogan25
                      September 24, 2015 @ 1:35 pm

                      Miguel

                      I may have missed something but I am not certain you answered my original question.

                      Why isn’t God’s creation of Jesus in Mary by His spirit sufficient to render Jesus properly being call the Son of God? Why do we need to get any more complex than this?

                      BTW – the notion of a 3rd or 4th person, while creative, seems to suffer immeasurably in light of the consistent picture of two persons – God – and His Son, the Messiah – that we have repeatedly, clearly and formally throughout scripture – most vividly seen throughout Revelation and wrapping up with Rev 21 with the Lamb as the temple and God as the light.

                    • Miguel de Servet
                      September 24, 2015 @ 4:27 pm

                      Greg

                      [Greg] Why isn’t God’s creation of Jesus in Mary’s by His spirit sufficient to render Jesus properly being call the Son of God?

                      [MdS] This is what the key verse says:

                      The angel replied, “The holy spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore that holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. (Luke 1:35)

                      The verse mentions, distinctly, God’s holy spirit AND the power of the Most High. I affirm that it is NOT a hendiadys, but a proper distinctions between the holy spirit and another unspecified power. I believe that this other power is specified in John 1:18, and it is ? ????? (John 1:1): ? ????? ???? ??????? (John 1:14).

                      [Greg] I may have missed something but I am not certain you answered my original question.

                      Actually, I think you have lost your original persuasion, because you now seem to have moved from your original position (“Why isn’t God’s creation of Jesus in Mary’s by His spirit sufficient to render Jesus properly being call the Son of God?”), viz. “simply causality”, supernatural causality, but still causality, to Sean’s position (Sonship = Messiahship, as some “sort of package deal”).

                      My position is “more complex” because the texts that we must account for are more complex: already Luke 1:35 is more complex than the mere reference to the role of the Holy Spirit in the virgin conception, but there is also John 1:14, where, as I believe, the other “power of the Most High” is identified with the logos.

            • GregLogan25
              September 23, 2015 @ 8:58 pm

              I expect Sean’s point is that they DID appeal to it – since it is necessarily included in Sonship. I would wonder at the issue of prophets them – as an example of God’s word IN them in Heb1:1 – and then IN His Son.

              • Rivers
                September 23, 2015 @ 11:02 pm

                Greg,

                Regardless of whether “agency” was part of “sonship”, it is Jesus’ unique claim to be “calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God” (John 5:18) that set him apart from all others.

                The Jews wanted to kill Jesus Christ because he was claiming to be “the son of God” which they construed to be “blasphemy” (John 19:7) because they didn’t believe the corroborative testimony God the Father was supplying through the miraculous “works” that Jesus was doing (John 5:36; John 8:18-19, 27; John 10:37-38).

                Jesus also illustrated in the parable of the vineyard that the Jews wanted to kill him because, as “the son” they knew he was the “heir” (Matthew 21:31-39).

                • GregLogan25
                  September 24, 2015 @ 3:16 pm

                  Fair enough – it is certainly true He was not claiming to be the “Agent” of God – and that was not the issue – as, I suppose, many could be Agents of God – but rare indeed to the be the Son of God. I think this distinction is interesting and I will keep in mind during future reading.

                  • Rivers
                    September 24, 2015 @ 9:21 pm

                    Greg,

                    Yes, I think the “divine agency” idea is flaunted by some biblical unitarians because they think it is necessary to use it to “soften” the implications of the term “God” being occasionally applied to Jesus Christ. I don’t think this is a good approach.

                    The “divine agency” principle also appeals to some interpreters because they think it is consistent with their hypothetical “Jewish background” paradigm for interpreting the apostolic testimony. Unfortunately, imposing a nebulous external influence is fallacious (or speculative at best).

        • GregLogan25
          September 22, 2015 @ 2:48 pm

          Rivers: I agree that the concept of “agency” can be made to overlap with “sonship.” However, there’s little or no evidence that the apostles were defending the identity of Jesus Christ based upon “agency.”

          Greg: Nice!

          • Rivers
            September 22, 2015 @ 3:40 pm

            Greg,

            Thanks. I think the problem with the “agency” argument (that is overemphasized by many biblical unitarians) is that it seems to be an overreaction to the issue of the word “God” being associated with Jesus Christ in the 4th Gospel.

            I don’t think it’s of much value to water down the implications of the term “God” by trying to overstate the implications of the term “agent.” Any common “slave” can be “sent” as one’s agent in scripture, so I don’t think this argument does much of anything to distinguish Jesus Christ from anyone else.

            • GregLogan25
              September 22, 2015 @ 3:44 pm

              Rivers – I tend to agree. I think this was a huge failing in the Buzzard debate – esp. by his sidekick. In fact, I don’t see any emphasis on this at all – more as a side-note. The fact is John was all about Jesus being “the Son of God” – the Messiah. How do I know? Because he stated that was his purpose…:-)!

              • Rivers
                September 22, 2015 @ 4:11 pm

                Greg,

                Exactly! … I think the “divine agency” argument is very weak and that’s why it didn’t phase White or Brown at all during that debate with Buzzard and his Jewish side-kick.

                I think we need to do a better job of explaining how the human Jesus was “the son of God” and yet could claim “equality” with the Father. We need to accept the fact that there is some sense in which the apostles attributed “equality with God” to the human Jesus (John 1:1, 18; John 5:18; John 10:33; Philippians 2:6) and not try to get around the evidence.

                • GregLogan25
                  September 22, 2015 @ 4:25 pm

                  Actually his sidekick isn’t actually Jewish – a point which Brown rather pointedly made since Brown is actually Jewish… I hate to say it but the sidekick just made it all the more like a circus with the whole HaShem thing…

                  BTW – did Jesus Himself ever actually claim equality – or is that simply Paul’s statement in Phil2?

                  For what it is worth, I fully acknowledge that Jesus is equal with God – in position with respect to the rest of us. A true man can be our true judge. He will just look at us and laugh with our phony excuses re our humanity…:-). Though the real powerful meaning of the man Christ Jesus is that we have someone we CAN actually obtain to… (contrary evangelicals victim/failure ethos).

                  • Rivers
                    September 22, 2015 @ 4:39 pm

                    Greg,
                    I do think that the writer of the 4th Gospel understood that the human Jesus was “making himself equal with God” (John 5:18). I also think this is evident in John 1:1c and in John 10:33 (where the Jews heard it the same way).

                    Some try to suggest that John 5:18 was only a “false accusation by the Jews” but the grammar and the context simply won’t sustain that view. The writer himself is the one speaking in John 5:18 (“for this reason …”) and the use of “he” and “himself” indicates that is was Jesus who was making the claim.

                    • GregLogan25
                      September 22, 2015 @ 6:06 pm

                      Rivers

                      I can see a reading of this text which finds that John – and, by extension, Jesus – may have considered Jesus (Himself) equal to God in some sense. This raises the obvious question – in what sense?

                      The following discussion by Jesus seems a perfect clarification/annotation of the sense of “equality of God” – in fact, rather hard to avoid that this is the very purpose of this text. This sense is clear – God is both far greater – but has given Jesus the position and function of God. Admittedly, this may bring us back a bit to the concept of “agency” and, as Sean noted, “agency embedded with the concept of Son-ness”. I am open to all of that.

                      What I am not open to – based on these texts – is an ontological (essential) equivalency – since that conception is nowhere to be found here.

                    • Rivers
                      September 23, 2015 @ 8:23 am

                      Greg,

                      I agree. There can’t be any ontological unity between God the Father and the human Jesus, who is His son through birth (Luke 1:35). The word ISOS (translated “equal” in John 5:18 and Philippians 2:6) doesn’t connote anything about nature or essence either, but means that someone’s testimony or value is equivalent to that of another.

                      I think the sense in which being “the son of God” was making Jesus “equal with God” is a matter of heirship. In Galatians 4:1-7, Paul illustrated the difference between a “slave” and a “son” residing in a father’s household. It is only the “heir” who “owns everything” and remains in the house forever.

                      In the context of the relationship between a father and a son, the “heir” is equal to the father because they are co-owners. However, it is the father who is greater because he is the one who determines that the child is qualified to be the “heir” and determines the date of the inheritance (John 17:1-5; Hebrews 1:2-4).

                    • GregLogan25
                      September 23, 2015 @ 8:57 pm

                      Rivers – I will buy that – that is a really strong theme in Heb – see Heb 1:2 I think it is – and other texts re Son in Heb, etc.

                    • Rivers
                      September 23, 2015 @ 9:44 pm

                      Hi Greg,

                      Thanks again. I think the strongest exegetical and intertextual case for defending the “equality” of the Father and the son from a biblical unitarian perspective can be made from the “inheritance” angle.

                      The “divine agency” and “preexisting plan or purpose” and “notional preexistence” concepts are weak lines of argumentation that are based upon problematic exegesis and lack of evidence. I think the next generation of biblical unitarians will need to move past those ideas.

                      Some of the research I’m presenting here is a fresh approach that is comprehensive and coherent. Of course, it takes some effort to reconsider the evidence from a different perspective (especially with the difficult Johannine passages). I’m hoping that people will continue to offer critical feedback. I welcome it.

                    • GregLogan25
                      September 23, 2015 @ 10:36 pm

                      Rivers

                      How would you understand God making the ages through the Son? Heb 1:2/3?

                      I appreciate your other thoughts – and conceptions. I am uncertain, in light of Rev13:8, IPet1:20, Eph1:4, etc. feeding into Jn17:3, Jn8:58 why we would abandon or need to mature beyond the conception of a pre-existing Messiah in a notional status?

                      Greg

                    • Rivers
                      September 23, 2015 @ 11:39 pm

                      Greg,

                      In the context of Hebrews 1:2-4, Jesus is said to “make the ages” during “the last days” when he is “appointed heir of all things.” When it says “through whom [God] made the ages” it follows from “whom [God] appointed heir of all things.”

                      The “ages” (AIWNAS) here probably refers to the people of all the preceding generations who were going “to inherit salvation” through Jesus Christ (Hebrews 1:14). The writer later indicated that these “ages” (AIWNAS) were the people who had prepared themselves through “faith” in the word of God (Hebrews 11:3-40).

                      Also note that similar language is used in John 1:10 where the writer says that “the world was made (GINOMAI) through [Jesus]” when he was “in the world” and “the world did not know him”. Here again, this “made the world” language occurs in the context of the time when Jesus was present during the apostolic era.

                      In the following verses, it seems that what the writer meant by saying that Jesus “made the world” is that Jesus gave “those who received him the right to become (GINOMAI) children of God” (John 1:12). Thus, as “children of God”, the disciples of Jesus would be able to become “fellow heirs” (Romans 8:17).

                    • Miguel de Servet
                      September 24, 2015 @ 6:31 am

                      In spite of all Rivers’ lexical acumen, it is perfectly satisfactory to read the Greek words ai?n and kosmos for what they normally mean, viz. respectively “age” and “world”, in the obvious cosmic sense.

                    • Rivers
                      September 24, 2015 @ 9:31 am

                      Miquel,

                      I agree. However, we still must demonstrate from any particular context what is meant by “ages” and “world.” Nobody is disputing the translation of these terms, but there still needs to be interpretation.

                    • Miguel de Servet
                      September 24, 2015 @ 12:21 pm

                      … there still needs to be interpretation.

                      If you say that you agree (or is it “agree”?), then the only interpretation (or “interpretation”?) is that “it is perfectly satisfactory to read the Greek words ai?n and kosmos for what they normally mean, viz. respectively ‘age’ and ‘world’, in the obvious cosmic sense”.

                    • Rivers
                      September 24, 2015 @ 9:11 pm

                      Miquel,

                      AIWNAS is plural in Hebrews 1:3 and Hebrews 11:3. Thus, a more literal translation would be “ages” especially when it is referring to many generations of people living throughout past “ages” (Hebrews 11). KOSMOS doesn’t appear in Hebrews 1:3.

                    • Miguel de Servet
                      September 24, 2015 @ 11:13 pm

                      AIWNAS is plural in Hebrews 1:3 and Hebrews 11:3. Thus, a more literal translation would be “ages” especially when it is referring to many generations of people living throughout past “ages” (Hebrews 11).

                      Of course. I wrote the word ai?n in its Nominative Singular form, as is standard scholarly practice.

                      KOSMOS doesn’t appear in Hebrews 1:3.

                      You have forgotten that, in the very same comment, you also cited John 1:10, where kosmos (“world”) appears, in its Nominative Singular and also Dative forms, as many as three (3) times.

                    • Rivers
                      September 25, 2015 @ 9:44 am

                      Miquel,

                      Instead of making superficial references to grammatical labels (which isn’t “scholarly” at all), why not offer a substantial interpretation of Hebrews 1:3 and John 1:10 that we can work with?

                      Let us consider your interpretation of Hebrews 1:3 or John 1:10 and see if it will hold up to exegetical scrutiny.

                    • Miguel de Servet
                      September 25, 2015 @ 12:34 pm

                      So it is confirmed that when you wrote, I agree, you actually meant, I “agree”, with the usual mental reserve. And you are clearly losing your composure.

                      Oh, BTW, two bonus tracks:

                      Who [the Son], being the radiance of his [God’s] glory, and the expression of his [God’s] real being, and sustaining all things by the word of his [God’s] power, having accomplished the cleansing of sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in the highest.

                      [The logos] was in the world, and the world came into being through it [the logos], and the world did not know it [the logos].

                    • Rivers
                      September 25, 2015 @ 1:01 pm

                      Miquel,

                      1. Where do you come up with “real being” as a translation of UPOSTASIS in Hebrews 1:3?

                      2. What is “the logos” in your translation of John 1:10? Why don’t you translate the term instead of transliterating it?

                    • Miguel de Servet
                      September 25, 2015 @ 4:52 pm

                      1. After discarding person, nature, essence and substance, I found that “real being” was the most appropriate. Why, how would Rivers have translated it? He hasn’t, yet, AFAIK …

                      2. Word of God?

                    • Rivers
                      September 25, 2015 @ 7:46 pm

                      Miquel,

                      The word UPOSTASIS in Hebrews 1:3 simply means “confidence” or “assurance.” See Hebrews 3:14 and Hebrews 11:1. It is also used the same way by Paul in 2 Corinthians 9:4 and 2 Corinthians 11:17.

                      There’s no exegetical evidence that the apostles ever used that term to mean “nature” or “essence” or “substance” or “real being.”

                    • Miguel de Servet
                      September 25, 2015 @ 8:50 pm

                      The word UPOSTASIS in Hebrews 1:3 simply means “confidence” or “assurance.”

                      Can Rivers be so kind as to provide not just his translation for the Greek word ?????????, but for the entire verse Hebrews 1:3? That should be interesting.

                      BTW, with reference to John 1:10, I see no objections, on Rivers’ part, to the translation of ? ????? with “Word of God”. Good.

                    • Rivers
                      September 26, 2015 @ 9:34 am

                      Miquel,

                      Hebrews 1:3 should be translated this way:

                      “And he [Jesus] is the radiance of the glory [of God], and the mark of His [God’s] confidence, and upholds all things by the the word of the power [of God], when he [Jesus] had made purification of sins, he [Jesus] sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.”

                      The idea the writer conveys here is that the glorification of Jesus Christ enables him to rule with the confidence and the power of God the Father.

                    • Miguel de Servet
                      September 26, 2015 @ 12:04 pm

                      The word ?????????, etymologically and literally, means, “support”, “base”, “what lies underneath”. In this sense, it is an exact parallel of the Latin word substantia. So, translations like “confidence” or “assurance” are, at best, secondary and interpretative.

                      And that “the glorification of Jesus Christ enables him to rule with the confidence and the power of God the Father” sounds appropriate … for Bush Jr. vs Bush Sr. …

                    • Sean Garrigan
                      September 26, 2015 @ 4:30 pm

                      “The word ?????????, etymologically and literally, means, “support”,
                      “base”, “what lies underneath”. In this sense, it is an exact parallel
                      of the Latin word substantia. So, translations like “confidence” or “assurance” are, at best, secondary and interpretative.”

                      Quite so, and it seems pretty clear to me that Heb 3 is merely expressing the motif of Christ as “image of God” in a new and more emphatic way. To translate ????????? as “confidence” seems singularly out of place.

                      ~Sean

                    • Miguel de Servet
                      September 26, 2015 @ 5:55 pm

                      To translate ????????? as “confidence” seems singularly out of place.

                      Indeed. I try to avoid metaphysics, that’s why I chose “real being”, that seems to me somewhat more concrete than “essence”.

                    • Sean Garrigan
                      September 26, 2015 @ 7:57 pm

                      “Indeed. I try to avoid metaphysics, that’s why I chose ‘real being’, that seems to me somewhat more concrete than ‘essence’.”

                      Agreed, though I would simply go with “being”, but that’s a minor distinction.

                      ~Sean

                    • Rivers
                      September 27, 2015 @ 7:56 am

                      Sean,

                      You are committing the same exegetical fallacy as Miquel when you appeal to “etymology” without any usage to validate it. Thus, your methodology is what is “out of place.”

                      The correct translation of UPOSTASIS in Hebrews 1:3 is “confidence” (or “assurance”) based upon the way the writer of Hebrews used the term elsewhere (Hebrews 3:14; Hebrews 11:1) and the way it was used by Paul (2 Corinthians 9:4; 2 Corinthians 11:17).

                    • Sean Garrigan
                      September 27, 2015 @ 9:08 am

                      “The correct translation of UPOSTASIS in Hebrews 1:3 is “confidence” (or
                      “assurance”) based upon the way the writer of Hebrews used the term
                      elsewhere (Hebrews 3:14; Hebrews 11:1) and the way it was used by Paul
                      (2 Corinthians 9:4; 2 Corinthians 11:17).”

                      Yes, of course you’re right, Rivers. You’re always right, and all other Christians and skilled translators throughout human history have been wrong, dead wrong, every last one of them. What would we do without you?

                      ~Sean

                    • Rivers
                      September 28, 2015 @ 11:56 am

                      Sean,

                      There are two things to keep in mind. First, translators makes decisions (and sometimes mistakes). Second, publishers (who fund translation committees and print Bibles) have expectations. Give some thought to the implications of these two things.

                      Also, regardless of whether you agree with a particular translation or not, it’s a basic matter of doing sound exegesis that the “etymology” of a word should never should be given priority over usage and context. Thus, your appeal to the “etymology” of UPOSTASIS is irrelevant when the evidence shows that it was only used one particular way by the apostolic writers.

                      The “skilled translators” that you refer to are the ones who translate UPOSTASIS “confidence” or “assurance” in all the other occurrences in scripture. Thus, my suggestions about Hebrews 1:3 are consistent with the normal usage of the word in the apostolic corpus.

                    • GregLogan25
                      September 28, 2015 @ 12:21 pm

                      Admittedly, while I appreciate Sean’s sentiment (“singularly out of place”) – and it echos mine – I do find Rivers logic to be strong…

                      I leave this now to focus on what I am able to clearly apprehend – the man who told us the truth that He heard from God…. (yes, I love the placement of this text right in the middle of Jn8 as well…:-)!!).

                    • Rivers
                      September 28, 2015 @ 12:51 pm

                      Greg,
                      Thanks again. Every one should consider the evidence for himself and make up his own mind. It’s not my responsibility to convince anyone. We should all be doing our best to reiterate (and understand) what the apostles were teaching.

                    • Miguel de Servet
                      September 29, 2015 @ 4:15 pm

                      Really? Lo and behold.

                      For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence foundation firm to the end. (Hebrews 3:14)

                      Now faith is the confidence foundation of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. (Hebrews 11:1)

                      I don’t think we should take into account at all the way Paul used ?????????, because, once again, “confidence” (or “assurance”), granting that Paul used it in that sense in 2 Corinthians 9:4, 11:17 is only secondary.

                    • Rivers
                      September 29, 2015 @ 6:31 pm

                      Miquel,

                      Using “foundation” to translate UPOSTASIS in Hebrews 3:14 or Hebrews 11:1 is incorrect because nobody speaks of “the beginning of a foundation” or “the foundation of things hoped for.” The term “foundation” doesn’t go with “evidence” in Hebrews 11:1 either.

                      Moreover, the word “foundation” wouldn’t work where UPOSTASIS is used in Hebrews 1:3, or 2 Corinthians 9:4 or 2 Corinthians 11:7. All of these uses need to be taken into account when determining the meaning of the word.

                    • Miguel de Servet
                      September 30, 2015 @ 7:07 am

                      Using “foundation” to translate UPOSTASIS in Hebrews 3:14 or Hebrews 11:1 is incorrect because nobody speaks of “the beginning of a foundation” or “the foundation of things hoped for.”

                      And who is the authority for this categoric statement? The great Rivers? Bwah ha ha ha …

                      The writer of Hebrews used the term QEMELIOS when he meant a “foundation.”

                      One (????????) does not exclude the other (?????????). But hey, as you please: enjoy your dogmatic lexical persuasions.

                      Moreover, the word “foundation” wouldn’t work where UPOSTASIS is used in Hebrews 1:3, or 2 Corinthians 9:4 or 2 Corinthians 11:7.

                      I have already commented on Paul’s use of ????????? in Corinthians 9:4, 11:17.

                      As for Hebrews 1:3, “the glorification of Jesus Christ enables him to rule with the confidence and the power of God the Father”, this River pearl is, once again, appropriate, at best, for … for Bush Jr. vs Bush Sr. …

                    • Rivers
                      September 30, 2015 @ 8:16 am

                      Miquel,
                      1. It doesn’t take an “authority” to understand that your arbitrary choice of “foundation” is the wrong translation of UPOSTASIS. The writer used QELEMIOS when he meant “foundation” and the words are not used interchangeably.

                      2. There’s no evidence in scripture that UPOSTASIS (“confidence”) and QELEMIOS (“foundation”) are ever used interchangeably. Thus, your “exclusion” statement is irrelevant.

                      3. Your erroneous “foundation” definition of UPOSTASIS makes no sense of Hebrews 1:3 which is another indication that it is wrong. The evidence shows that the writer of Hebrews use QEMELIOS when he meant “foundation” (Hebrews 1:10; 4:3; 6:1; 9:26).

                    • Miguel de Servet
                      September 30, 2015 @ 8:36 am

                      As Rivers’ apostolical lexical acumen is … er … incomparable, let me just say this: to translate ?? ?? … ???????? ??? ?????????? ????? (Hebrews 1:3) with “[Jesus is] the mark of His [God’s] confidence” is simply senseless.

                    • Rivers
                      September 30, 2015 @ 9:09 am

                      Miquel,
                      The translation of Hebrews 1:3 that I suggested is very accurate (based upon the way XARAKTHR and UPOSTASIS are used in scripture). It also makes good sense in English. The context of Hebrews 1 is all about Jesus Christ receiving the authority and power of God to rule His creation.

                    • Miguel de Servet
                      September 30, 2015 @ 2:12 pm

                      Confidence (or assurance) is something that is learned or gained. It is not a matter of “nature” or “essence.”

                      Indeed. That is precisely why it is wrong to translate ?? ?? … ???????? ??? ?????????? ????? with “he [Jesus] is the mark of His [God’s] confidence”.

                      Besides, there is no reason in the world why IF “Jesus is the radiance of the glory of God”, it would be (allegedly) problematic that he is also “the expression of God’s real being”.

                      Jesus had to learn to obey …

                      Although he was a son, he learned [emathen] obedience through the things he suffered [epathen]. (Hebrews 5:8)

                      … NOT to exercise power:

                      … he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high. (Hebrews 1:3; cp. Psalm 110:1)

                      This idea of “learning to exercise power” is specular to the BS idea that ?????? ???????? (Philippians 2:7) would mean that Jesus had to “unlearn” his ????? ????, while on earth.

                    • Rivers
                      September 30, 2015 @ 2:55 pm

                      Miquel,

                      In the context of Hebrews 1, it is totally appropriate to translate UPOSTASIS as “confidence” (or “assurance”) because it refers to Jesus Christ being “appointed heir of all thing” in the previous verse (Hebrews 1:2). Thus, it is talking about an inherited authority and power (and not the essence or nature of anything). The follow verse also indicates that Jesus attained this status after his death and resurrection (Hebrews 1:4).

                      The problem with your “expression of God’s real being” translation is that the Greek words don’t mean that. XARAKTHR doesn’t mean “expression” and UPOSTASIS doesn’t mean “real being.” You continue to remain ignorant of the meaning of the words because you don’t pay attention to how the biblical writers used them.

                      I don’t agree with your misunderstanding of “the form of God” in Philippians 2:6 and thus there is no difficulty for me. Jesus didn’t have “the form of God” until after he was exalted (Philippians 2:9-11). The “radiance of God’s glory” in Hebrew 1:3 is probably referring to “the glorified body” that Jesus attained after his ascension (Philippians 3:21).

                    • Miguel de Servet
                      September 30, 2015 @ 5:34 pm

                      Rivers knows that I know, so he simply cannot be honest with me. In a moment of (not typical) honesty, though he (almost) candidly wrote, in a comment in reply to Greg:

                      ” I favor translating some texts a certain way too because I have a different perspective.”

                      Indeed …

                    • Rivers
                      September 30, 2015 @ 10:13 pm

                      Miguel,

                      All translators have to make choices and it’s understandable that any of us would prefer a rendering that we think is consistent with our perception of the writer’s literary and theological intention. That’s just common sense. There isn’t anything particularly “candid” about it.

                      Hopefully, we try to be as objective as possible, but there is always flexibility. That is why there are so many different translations and interpretations among us.

                    • Miguel de Servet
                      October 1, 2015 @ 3:46 am

                      There isn’t anything particularly “candid” about it.

                      No, not “particularly”, that’s why I added “almost”.

                      But from now on I will watch pitilessly any boastful and/or categoric, “this is the only proper translation” and/or “this is wrong”, “this is unattested in the apostolic usage”, etc. etc.

                    • Rivers
                      September 27, 2015 @ 7:48 am

                      Miquel,

                      It’s fallacious to appeal to the “etymology” of a word because only the usage matters when doing translation and interpretation. The term UPOSTASIS means only “confidence” or “assurance” whenever the apostles used it. Thus, it should be translated that way in Hebrews 1:3.

                    • Miguel de Servet
                      September 29, 2015 @ 3:37 pm

                      See ahead in discussion, where you provide other instances of use of ????????? in Hebrews, and in 2 Corinthians.

                    • GregLogan25
                      September 24, 2015 @ 3:13 pm

                      For what it is worth I think the Col1:15ff passages would be relevant to this discussion – esp. as to the limitations of the word “ALL” specifically denoted in the context.

                      A key issue is the preposition “DIA” – esp. in contrast with “EK” (“EK” is NEVER used of Jesus – an interesting – and very rare – consistency in scripture.

                    • Rivers
                      September 24, 2015 @ 9:15 pm

                      Greg,

                      Yes, it’s very easy to show that the world “all” seldom has any absolute or universal sense in scripture. I don’t understand why anyone would try to force that implication in John 1:3 (especially when “in the beginning” doesn’t have to refer to the time of the Genesis creation).

                      Interesting observation about DIA and EK.

  3. Paul Anchor
    September 9, 2015 @ 8:28 am

    “The one who sends is greater that the one who is sent”, is not necessarily universally true, even in human relations. To argue that it must always be true in any context is begging the question or arguing from the human to the divine.

    The freedom to refuse to be sent does not play a part in the relations between the persons of the trinity in my view so it can’t be applied or argued from in this case.

    • Dale Tuggy
      September 9, 2015 @ 8:30 pm

      Hi Paul, It is possible, sure, that of two equals, one should “send” the other. But Jesus also tells us in this book that it’s God who has given him his message, and that it’s God who is doing the miracles through him, and that he only does what he sees God doing. That doesn’t sound like the functioning of equals, so this just reinforces our general assumption, which fits here, that the sender is (as the sent one explicitly says!) “greater.”

      • Paul Anchor
        September 12, 2015 @ 7:20 am

        Hi Dale,

        “it’s God who is doing the miracles through him”

        Yes, but not as a separate cause or source of power. Jesus speaks as if he is the sole author of the miracles.

  4. Miguel de Servet
    September 8, 2015 @ 12:45 pm

    …the foremost christological motif in the Fourth Gospel is not incarnation Christology but ‘agent Christology.’

    Maybe not “foremost”, but surely any serious exegete/hermeneut cannot avoid to confront John 1:14, and, in particular, the phrase ho logos sarx egeneto.

  5. Paul Anchor
    September 8, 2015 @ 11:18 am

    Does John 14 v 28 refer to a temporary difference in greatness between Jesus and the Father until he is exalted? The word “greater” seems to imply only a difference in degree but not kind. It seems almost blasphemous to use this language unless he had co-equality with the Father. It is like saying God is more holy, good, righteous etc. than I am. The difference is only a finite one.

    When did the Father send him? Is Jesus talking about something that happened in his pre-existence? I don’t think so. I think he is referring to his being sent by the Father after his messianic mission was revealed to him. Sometime in his early adult life perhaps. So there is no necessary subordination to be found here in my view.

    • Matt13weedhacker
      September 9, 2015 @ 6:41 am

      Justin Martyr distinguished the Logos in both “kind” and “rank”:

      Gk., ( ??????? ???? ??? ?????? – ?????? ??? – ??? ??????? ??? ???? ) – Dialogue 56.4

      I presume you understand what Justin meant, when he qualified Gk., ( ???? ??? ?????? ) with, and by Gk., ( ?????? ??? )? Don’t you?

      To Justin, he was “a god and lord” of a Gk., ( ?????? ) “different kind” (nature is also implied in ??????) to the Father.

      And Gk., ( ??? ) “inferior” or “below/under” Him in rank, place, and kind.

      Or are you aware that Justin did not enumerate the Logos with the Father, as one and the same being, person, or kind, either?

      Cf. Dialogue 129.4 Gk., ( ?????? ?????? ).

      Latin “trinitas” or “Tri{3}nity,” only came by way of the false prophet Montanus, through his dupe Tertullian.

      • Sean Garrigan
        September 9, 2015 @ 7:11 am

        While I don’t take issue with your argument, I wonder why anyone would want to base their understanding of God and Christ on any of the early “Fathers”, as they were all too late in time and intellectual ‘place’ to be trustworthy as guides to Apostolic Christianity. It seems that JM was particularly problematic, as his theology/christology seems to have been a bit of a mess. Some have even suggested that while JM considered Jesus to be lesser than God, he also considered Jesus to be the God of the OT (YHWH), and that YHWH was himself a divine being who was Son of and subordinate to ‘the high God’ of antiquity.

        http://www.bu.edu/religion/files/pdf/Gods-and-the-One-God.pdf

        ~Sean

        • Rivers
          September 9, 2015 @ 8:28 am

          Sean,

          Good points!

          • Sean Garrigan
            September 9, 2015 @ 8:58 pm

            Thanks, Rivers. I can understand why Trinitarians might wish to promote the “Fathers”, as they offer the transition from Jewish categories of thought to non-Jewish categories of thought — and non-Jewish categories were necessary for Trinitarianism to find soil in which it could grow — but I don’t really understand why ‘Unitarians’ or ‘Arians’ would appeal to them. Just a curiosity, really.

            ~Sean

            • Rivers
              September 9, 2015 @ 9:46 pm

              Sean,

              I don’t understand why biblical unitarians would appeal to the Church Fathers either.

        • Roman
          September 11, 2015 @ 3:33 am

          I think, I might be wrong, but I get the impression that JM was influenced by Philo, in the sense that they believed God himself, YHWH was absolutely trascendant, and that the YHWH of the Hebrew bible who appeared to People was an angel, or the logos, in a sense YHWH, and that Jesus was that manifestation.
          At least that’s a way to make JM consistant and it also jives With previous Jewish thought.

          • Matt13weedhacker
            September 11, 2015 @ 5:58 am

            Justin describes at Dialogue 103.3 the Father, in comparison to the Son, with a superlative substantive as: ??? ??????????? ?????? “the Strong-(est) One of all”

            He also describes the Father at 1 Apol 6.1 as ??? ??????????? “the Most-True [God]”

        • Matt13weedhacker
          September 11, 2015 @ 6:02 am

          When Justin calls the Logos: ???? ??? ?????? ?????? ??? ??? ??????? ??? ???? “a numerically additional god and lord, one that is [both] inferior [and] of different kind [and nature (as implied also by ??????)] to the Maker of the entire universe” he – IS – saying that the Logos is Gk., ( ??? ) “inferior” to the Father.

          The words [1.] Gk., ( ?????? ) and [2.] Gk., ( ??? ), by comparison, take on a far more important and heavier meaning in this context, than the words Gk., ( ???? ??? ?????? ) do. They, Gk., ( ?????? ??? ), both modify and define further what Gk., ( ???? ??? ?????? ) mean here.

          This is ontological subordination, in both kind and nature. Compare Dialogue 61.1 ??????? ???? […] ??????? “a certain KIND of rational power”

          • Sean Garrigan
            September 11, 2015 @ 10:45 am

            “When Justin calls the Logos: ???? ??? ?????? ?????? ??? ??? ???????
            ??? ???? “a numerically additional god and lord, one that is [both]
            inferior [and] of different kind [and nature (as implied also by
            ??????)] to the Maker of the entire universe” he – IS – saying that the
            Logos is Gk., ( ??? ) “inferior” to the Father.

            The words [1.]
            Gk., ( ?????? ) and [2.] Gk., ( ??? ), by comparison, take on a far more
            important and heavier meaning in this context, than the words Gk., (
            ???? ??? ?????? ) do. They, Gk., ( ?????? ??? ), both modify and define
            further what Gk., ( ???? ??? ?????? ) mean here.

            This is
            ontological subordination, in both kind and nature. Compare Dialogue
            61.1 ??????? ???? […] ??????? “a certain KIND of rational power”

            As I said before, I don’t dispute the data you’ve presented. I merely wonder why anyone would base their understanding of Apostolic Christianity on what the “Fathers” had to say, as they were too far removed in time and intellectual ‘place’ to be trustworthy guides to the beliefs of the earliest Christians.

            If I want to know what an NT author meant, I’ll focus on his writings in light of thought categories that actually had the potential to inform his worldview, i.e. the OT (primary), DSS, Philo, intertestamental literature, etc. I understand that others may see things differently.

            ~Sean

            • Matt13weedhacker
              September 11, 2015 @ 3:00 pm

              Hi Sean. I originally posted my response in reference to Paul Anchor’s comments about “a difference in degree not kind” and “co-equality”. I’m not sure if he’s a “Trinitarian,” with a capital T, (going by Dales method of distinction), or a “trinitarian” with a small t. I thought it might be informative for a traditional Trinitarian, (if he is), to see what an early Post-Biblical Christian wrote ; seeing they are often led to believe that the “Trinity” was a Biblical teaching passed on by an “unbroken chain” of tradition going all the way back to the Apostles.

              Thus JM, who DOESNT teach that the Logos who became flesh, (and thus was given and re-named), Jesus was the same “kind” of ???? or ?????? as the Father. That was my material point.

              And I don’t “base my” personal “understanding of Apostolic Christianity on what the ‘Fathers’ had to say” either. But I do like to talk about, discuss, and inform people about early Christianity, and the history of the myriad of doctrinal changes, that without dispute, took place from the death of the last Apostle, until now.

              To contribute to the Biblical discussion going on here on “the Sender and the Sent” compare:

              “…( His ) servant Jesus…” (Acts 3:13)
              “…( His ) servant…” (Acts 3:36)
              “…( Your ) holy servant Jesus, whom ( You ) anointed…” (Acts 4:27)

              Jesus is YHWH’s “servant”. This should have a bearing on this discussion.

              Hebrews 3:1 Bible in Basic English 1949/1964
              “…For this reason, holy brothers, marked out to have a part in heaven, give thought to Jesus THE REPRESENTATIVE and high priest of our faith…”

              Hebrews 3:1 Murdock Translation 1852
              “…Wherefore, my holy brethren, who are called with a calling that is from heaven, consider THIS LEGATE and High Priest of our profession, Jesus the
              Messiah…”

              Hebrews 3:1 Hebrews by Benjamin W. Brodie October 2008
              “…For this reason, holy brethren, partakers of a heavenly station in life, concentrate on THE AMBASSADOR, even High Priest of our confession: Jesus, 2 Who has always been faithful to the One Who appointed Him, just as Moses also was to all His house…”

              Hebrews 3:1 Orthodox Jewish Bible 2011
              “…consider carefully THE SHLIACH and Kohen Gadol…”

              Hebrews 3:1 The Voice Bible 2012
              “…So all of you who are holy partners in a heavenly calling, let’s turn our attention to Jesus, THE EMISSARY OF GOD and High Priest, who brought us the faith we profess…”

              Hebrews 3:1 Complete Jewish Bible 1998 by David H. Stern
              “…Therefore, brothers whom God has set apart, who share in the call from heaven, think carefully about Yeshua, whom we acknowledge publicly as GOD’S EMISSARY and as cohen gadol…”

              Hebrews 3:1 Phillips New Testament
              “…So then, my brothers in holiness who share the highest of all callings, I want you to think of – THE MESSENGER – and High Priest of the faith we hold, Christ
              Jesus…”

              Hebrews 3:1 Exegesis Expanded Bible [Rendering C]
              “…So all of you holy brothers and sisters, who were called by God, think about Jesus, who was sent to us – A COMMISSIONED MESSENGER – and is the high priest;of our confession…”

              BDAG definition of Gk.,( APOSTOLOS ) = “…of messengers with extraordinary status, esp. of God’s MESSENGER, ENVOY […] it refers to persons who are dispatched for a specific purpose, and the context determines the status or function expressed in such Eng. terms as ‘AMBASSADOR, DELEGATE, MESSENGER…”

              Jerome the translator of the Latin Vulgate wrote this in his commentary on Galatians:

              JEROME (circa. 347 to 420 C.E.): “…Paul wanted to make a clear distinction between himself, as one sent by Christ, and those sent by men, and so he began his epistle: “Paul, and apostle sent not by men nor through human agency.” THE WORD: “APOSTLE,” WHICH MEANS: “ONE WHO HAS BEEN SENT,” IS A WORD ( COMMONLY USED BY THE HEBREWS ). This is also what Silas’ name means, a name bestowed upon him because he was to be sent on an mission…” – (Book 1, Chapter 1:1, “Commentary On Galatians,” as quoted Page 61: “THE FATHERS OF THE CHURCH,” St. Jerome, Commentary On Galatians, Translated by Andrew Cain, The Catholic University Press of America, 2010.)

              • Sean Garrigan
                September 11, 2015 @ 6:49 pm

                Hi Matt13,

                You said:

                “Hi Sean. I originally posted my response in reference to Paul Anchor’s comments about “a difference in degree not kind” and “co-equality”. I’m not sure if he’s a “Trinitarian,” with a capital T, (going by Dales method of distinction), or a “trinitarian” with a small t. I thought it might be informative for a traditional Trinitarian, (if he is), to see what an early Post-Biblical Christian wrote ; seeing they are often led to believe that the “Trinity” was a Biblical teaching passed on by an “unbroken chain” of tradition going all the way back to the Apostles….Thus JM, who DOESNT teach that the Logos who became flesh, (and thus was given and re-named), “Jesus,” was the same “kind” of ???? or ?????? as the Father. That was my material point.”

                Ah, I got it, that makes perfect sense. Thank you for clarifying your objective, and for offering the references supporting Christ as ‘agent’. It’s not every day that one runs into someone who has Murdock’s translation handy for reference:-)

                ~Sean

              • Rivers
                September 11, 2015 @ 7:16 pm

                Mark13,

                I don’t think anyone in this discussion would deny that Jesus was a “servant” and a “messenger” sent from God. The issue is that those things don’t distinguish Jesus Christ from any other “servant” or “messenger” (as many others are also identified the same way in scripture).

      • Dale Tuggy
        September 9, 2015 @ 8:32 pm

        Hi Matt13weedhacker, I know it is tangential to your main point, but do you have any evidence for thinking that Montanus coined, or even used the Latin “trinitas”? Or are you just assuming that because T. was, later in life, a Montanist?

        • Matt13weedhacker
          September 10, 2015 @ 2:26 pm

          Hi Dale.

          That’s a good question, and I concede fairly, that I cannot say for certainty that Montanus himself “coined” the word Ltn., “trinitas”. But it is generally agreed among scholars that Tertullian did. And Tertullian, in the main work that deals with this subject “Against Praxaes” attributes his ideas to the inspiration and teachings of the: “NEW PROPHECY” and it’s “Paraclete”, Montanus, whom he calls:

          “Against Praxaes,” Chapter 8

          “…even as the Paraclete himself also teaches…”

          “Against Praxaes,” Chapter 30:5

          “…the preacher of a unified monarchy, in fact it’s Interpreter, even by means of it’s economy, FOR ANYONE WHO WILL PERMIT ADMITTANCE TO THE SERMONS OF ( HIS ) NEW PROPHECY, even the leader of all truth, which consists in the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit…”

          Thus, in that sense, it, (the concept and specific tailored doctrinal language), did come by way of, (i.e. were inspired and directly influenced by), the false prophet Montanus, and the false prophetesses Maximilla and Priscilla, (“Prisca”). This is by no means a comprehensive reply to your question, and I’ve got to go to work. Will come back later.

          • kzarley
            September 11, 2015 @ 12:33 pm

            Hi Dale and Matt the Weed Hacker (good name for a golfer). Here is a footnote in the section “Tertullian” in my RJC book: “Tertullian, Against Praxeas, 3, 11-12. Actually, Theophilus (ca. 115-181 or 188 ce; Epistle to Autolycus II, xv), bishop of Antioch, in 180 ce became the first patristic writer to apply the Greek word trias (=L. trinitas=Eng. trinity) to God. But his concept of “God, and His Word, and His Wisdom,” which latter he used interchangeably with the Holy Spirit, did not coincide with the later, final Trinitarian formula. Thus, Trinitarians usually do not credit him, but Tertullian, as the originator of their namesake term.”

            • Matt13weedhacker
              September 11, 2015 @ 7:23 pm

              Hi Kzarley.

              Theophilus of Antioch’s reference in, (Latin title): “Ad Autolycus” Book 2, Chap. 15, is actually showing that “God” Gk., ( ??? ???? ) was
              a stand alone identity of (and/or on) His own right.

              He did not identify “God” as the Gk., ( ??????? ).

              He was not saying that “God” was the Tri{3}ad, (lit., “the three”), or that the Tri{3}ad, (lit., “the three”), were the God either.

              Nor was Theophilus saying that “the three” were collectively the God.

              Rather he was saying the three related things:

              [1.] “God” lit., “of the God”
              [2.] “and ( HIS ) word” lit., “and of the word ( of Him )”
              [3.] “and ( HIS ) wisdom” lit., “and of the wisdom ( of Him )”

              Were Gk., ( ????? ) “types” of Gk., ( ?? ????? ?????? ) “the three days” of creation, before God created the luminaries.

              At the time when Theophilus wrote “Ad Autolycus,” there was no unity aspect attached to the word ???????, (or ?????) in Greek.

              Plus there is no three-within-oneness inherent in the etymology of ???????, (or ?????). At all.

              Compare Book 1, Chapter 20, Sections 1-9, of “Noctes Atticae” by Aulus Gellius, (circa. 125-after-185 C.E.), where ???????, (or ?????) = Ltn., “ternio”. Gk., “???????”, (or ?????) is a common Greek word of simple enumeration.

              Thus, Gk., ( ??????? or ????? ) is not the Greek equivalent of Lat., “trinitas”.

              Plus, the context forbids it, (i.e. the later “three-within-one-thing” interpretation). See Gk., ( ??????? ) “tetrad/four” in the very next breath/sentence.

              So there is no tri{3}personal God present in Theophilus statement.

              “Three” here are simply enumerated, and the Father, is Gk., ( ? ???? ), as one of the three. But “God” is not all of them united together.

    • Rivers
      September 9, 2015 @ 8:34 am

      Paul Anchor,

      There are different kinds of “equality.” We know from John 5:18 that Jesus was “claiming that God was his own Father, making himself equal with God.” Thus, his “equality with God” is related to the relationship of Father and son (thus, maintaining the superior position of the Father, John 14:28).

      The sense in which a “father” and a “son” are equal is a matter of heirship. Paul explained this in Galatians 4:1-2 where he said that a child who is the “heir” already “owns everything” that belongs to his father (even before he receives the inheritance). The Jews wanted to kill Jesus Christ because they understood that his claim to be “the son of God” meant that he would “inherit” the entire kingdom from God the Father (Matthew 21:33-39).

      • Paul Anchor
        September 12, 2015 @ 7:10 am

        Rivers,

        As I see it the bible doesn’t teach that equality with God is something that anything can inherit from God.

        • Sean Garrigan
          September 12, 2015 @ 7:41 am

          “As I see it the bible doesn’t teach that equality with God is something that anything can inherit from God.”

          Yet the equality that an agent has with his principal, which is legal rather than ontological, is something a man can have if God chooses to give it to him. The four Gospels, but most especially John, define Jesus’ sonship in light of the agency paradigm.

          It’s ironic that Rivers’ uses John 5 to support his inexplicable reluctance to accept this, because if one of the ancient Rabbis were teaching a class about the shiliah principle, he would have been hard pressed to find a more apt account to illustrate it, or a more apt book to illustrate it than GJohn.

          If it looks like a duck, and walks like a duck, and talks like a duck…

          ~Sean

          • Rivers
            September 12, 2015 @ 8:06 am

            Sean,

            The apostles never associated being “sent” or the concept of “agency” with Jesus being “equal with God.” There are also numerous angels and other human beings who were “sent” by God who are never said to be “equal with God.”

            There’s no evidence of any “agency paradigm” or rabbinic “shiliah principle” in scripture either. These are concepts that you are presupposing on your own and trying to force upon certain texts.

            • Sean Garrigan
              September 12, 2015 @ 9:36 am

              “Your misunderstanding of the ‘shiliah principle’ is part of the problem.”

              My understanding of the shiliah principle is in harmony with that of the scholarly community in general, whereas you, once again, chose to place your own novel and ill-defined (or undefined) understanding above that of everyone one else.

              Being legally “equal with the principal” as defined by the principal is in fact *exactly* what the shiliah principal is about. The fact that there are different types of agents with different levels of authority granted to them by their principals doesn’t undermine this concept, as you mistakenly seem to believe.

              ~Sean

              • Rivers
                September 12, 2015 @ 10:25 am

                Sean,

                What you’re missing is that there’s no indication in scripture that the apostles raised any “legal” issues about “shiliah principle” as far as anything related to Jesus Christ. Scholars who impose this concept on the biblical testimony are as mistaken as you are.

                The reason you have to selectively appeal to scholarly opinion and “rabbis” is because there is no biblical evidence to support your application of any “agency principle” to the identity of Jesus Christ.

        • Rivers
          September 12, 2015 @ 8:11 am

          Paul,

          If you look at the context of Hebrews 1:3-4, it’s evident that Jesus Christ was “appointed heir of all things” and thus became “the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his subsistence.” The text plainly says this happened “when” Jesus died and ascended into heaven after his resurrection.

    • Paul Anchor
      September 12, 2015 @ 6:54 pm

      “The word “greater” seems to imply only a difference in degree but not
      kind. It seems almost blasphemous to use this language unless he had
      co-equality with the Father. It is like saying God is more holy, good,
      righteous etc. than I am. The difference is only a finite one.”

      On reflection this argument doesn’t carry any weight because of the following text for example:

      “My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand”.

      But is Jesus speaking in his capacity as the servant of the Father?

  6. Rose Brown
    September 8, 2015 @ 10:32 am

    Jesus is greater than the Holy Spirit:

    Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; NEITHER HE THAT IS SENT GREATER THAN HE THAT SENT HIM (John 13:16).

    But when the Comforter is come, whom I WILL SEND UNTO TO YOU from the Father, even THE SPIRIT of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me (John 15:26)

  7. Evangelical Apologetics
    September 8, 2015 @ 10:30 am

    The primary message of the Gospel of John is faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as the Son of God (John 20:30-31).Hence, the principal christological motif in the fourth gospel is the divinity of Christ (High Christology).

    The prologue introduces the whole theme of the Johannine Corpus and that’s salvation through faith in the Name (John 1:12;1 John 5:13; 3 John 1:7) of Jesus Christ as ‘God’ (John 1:1;18;10:33;20:28;1 John 5:20) by virtue of being the only [begotten] Son of the Father (John 1:14,18;3:16,18;1 John 4:9, 2 John 1:7).

    Any biblical text that speaks of Christ as “inferior” to the Father is in reference to his being “the only begotten Son” (John 3:16) as well as to his being “fully human” (Philippians 2:7-8).

    • John
      September 8, 2015 @ 11:14 am

      E.A.
      I’m sure you are aware that ‘divinity ‘ refers to ‘nature’ and not ‘identity’.
      Christ and God do not share the same numerical identity and are different persons, different entities. God is ‘autotheos’..
      Christs ‘divine nature’ is by inheritance from The Father who alone is the source of this nature.
      Blessings
      John

      • Sean Garrigan
        September 9, 2015 @ 6:47 am

        Hi John,

        Good point. The distinctions that Trinitarians make involving “functional subordination” and “ontological co-equality” would never have occurred to Jesus’ original followers. To be “sent by God” was ipso facto to be someone other than God, and to be someone other than God was ipso facto to be someone to whom God is greater, both functionally and ontologically. There was no other category of thought available to them. We therefore know without question that the original readers/hearers of the GJohn didn’t ‘hear’ what later Trinitarians ‘heard’ because those thought categories simply weren’t available to them.

        The trinitarian apologetic is brought to the texts, not inferred from the texts, and assumptions upon which it is sustained by some have been shown to be flawed for a very long time.

        As one humorous example, I once heard a lecture by the late “Answer Man”, Walter Martin, who presented this argument:

        There is only one God
        The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are all called God
        Therefore, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit must be the one God

        This silly syllogism never gets off the ground, because plenty of folks who were not God were nevertheless “called God” without any hint that those who applied said appellation to them felt that they were thereby identifying any of these other individuals as the one God of the Bible.

        The reason committed Trinitarians typically can’t be dissuaded from their view of God is because their view of God is presuppositional in character in the same way that the existence of God was presuppositional in character to Cornelius Van Til, and continues to be today to those who accept the presuppositional apologetic he pioneered in modern times. Of course, the difference between the the application of Van Til’s apologetic to the existence of God and applying the same sort of apologetic to the supposed triunity of God is that the former is consciously done, whereas many if not most Trinitarians don’t even realize they’re doing so with respect to the presupposition of triunity. This is why arguing with Trinitarians can be so frustrating, i.e. they think their arguing like a William Lane Craig while in reality their Christological Van Til-ians at heart.

        ~Sean

        • Paul Anchor
          September 9, 2015 @ 9:04 am

          “There is only one God
          The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are all called God
          Therefore, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit must be the one God”

          I see this as a valid argument. There is only one God and one Lord in the ultimate sense who is worthy of religious worship.

          Unlike unitarians and JWs I don’t see gods and lords behind every nook and cranny in the bible that I have to worship on a scale of 1 to 10.

          I think your way of interpreting the bible destroys the transcendence of God and makes God too incompetent to define and convey his revelation of it to mankind.

          • Sean Garrigan
            September 9, 2015 @ 8:13 pm

            “I see this as a valid argument. There is only one God and one Lord in the ultimate sense who is worthy of religious worship.”

            It’s not a good argument, though, because it depends on an unstated premise that is demonstrably false, namely: To be *called* God is ipso facto to be the one God by identity and ontology. That necessary unstated premise simply isn’t valid, not because it’s unproven, but because it’s been unequivocally disproven. Every form of literature that existed at the time (e.g. the OT, DSS, Philo, possibly oral midrashic traditions) — which reflect the cultural thought categories of the time — reveal quite clearly that agents of God were referred to as G-god(s) within a monotheistic framework. To repeat what I’ve said many times:

            Once we recognize (a) the flexible use of divine titles in the biblical period among monotheistic Jews, and (b) the contexts in which such applications were considered appropriate, then we come to realize something we might not have expected: Not only is it not surprising to find divine titles applied to Jesus in the New Testament, but it in light of his unique status as God’s agent par excellence, it would be downright shocking to find that such titles were not applied to him!

            ~Sean

            • Evangelical Apologetics
              September 12, 2015 @ 5:44 am

              @Sean, God shared his own name to his Son, Jesus Christ (Philippians 2:9).

              BTW, what can you say about the gods who are ‘not gods by nature” in Galatians 4:8?

              As early as A.D. 49, Paul was speaking of ontological status as a benchmark for identifying the true God apart from the Greco-Roman gods.

              • Sean Garrigan
                September 12, 2015 @ 9:22 am

                “@Sean, God shared his own name to his Son, Jesus Christ (Philippians 2:9).”

                That’s a possibility which I accept, though it isn’t certain. The grammar allows “Jesus” to be the name given, or “Lord” (not YHWH), or “Lord” (surrogate for YHWH). Some people I’ve conversed with have even argued that the intended name isn’t stated in context, and that it could be “Word” or “Son”, but that’s pretty speculative.

                I’m content to understand the name given to be “Lord” (surrogate for YHWH), which, as a surrogate is and isn’t really God’s name. We have some precedent in Jewish writings for applying God’s name to an exalted agent, e.g. an angel is called Yahoel [=”Yehowah God”] which was done specifically to signify that God empowered him (Apocalypse of Abraham, Ch 10).

                In G.H. Box’s translation of the Apocalypse of Abraham there is a in interesting footnote about the reason the angel was named Yaheol:

                “6 The name of the archangel Joel …(= Heb. Yahoel) is represented in our Apocalypse as a being possessed of the power of the ineffable name, a function assigned in the Rabbinical writings to Metatron, ‘whose name is like unto that of God Himself’…The name Yahoel (Jaoel) is evidently a substitute for the ineffable name Yahweh, the writing out of which in full was forbidden. In chap. xvi i . below God Himself is addresse[d] as Jaoel.”

                See: http://www.marquette.edu/maqom/box.pdf

                “BTW, what can you say about the gods who are ‘not gods by nature’ in Galatians 4:8?”

                Not sure I follow. What would you have me say about them?

                “As early as A.D. 49, Paul was speaking of ontological status as a benchmark for identifying the true God apart from the Greco-Roman gods.”

                Possibly, though I don’t think that’s certain. Paul speaks of those who are only “called” Gods, but he also states “just as are many gods and many lords” (1 Cor 8:5). We shouldn’t loose sight of the the fact that Paul would have been influenced by the Jewish culture of the time, and monotheism did not preclude — or rather, included — a belief in a heavenly world peopled by “divine” beings:

                “…?it must be remembered that monotheism, for the Old Testament prophets, had a connotation very different in many respects from that which it has in modern thought. It is false to assume that the Old Testament writers, however exalted their conception of the Godhead might be, conceived of God as alone in isolated majesty over against men, the creatures of his will. There is ample evidence to show that this conception of monotheism was held in conjunction with a belief in a spiritual world peopled with supernatural and superhuman beings who, in some ways, shared the nature, though not the being, of God.” (The Method & Message of Jewish Apocalyptic), p. 235

                Larry Hurtado has proposed that:

                “Jewish monotheism can be taken as constituting a distinctive version of the commonly-attested belief structure described by Nilsson as involving a `high god’ who presides over other deities. The God of Israel presides over a court of heavenly beings who are likened to him (as is reflected in, e.g. the OT term for them `sons of God’). In pagan versions, too, the high god can be described as father and source of the other divine beings, and as utterly superior to them. In this sense, Jewish (and Christian) monotheism, whatever its distinctives, shows its historical links with the larger religious environment of the ancient world.” (What Do We Mean by `First-Century Jewish Monotheism’?, in Society of Biblical Literature 1993 Seminar Papers. Atlanta, Georgia: Scholars Press, 1993), p. 365

                Hurtado’s view is in harmony with others who have studied this issue, such as John J. Collins:

                “The great Jewish scholar Yigael Yadin pointed out 40 years ago that the beings we call angels are called elim, gods, in the War Scroll, and the same usage can be found in the Songs of the Sabbath Sacrifice, an early mystical text also found at Qumran. ?Given the appearance of such semidivine figures in Jewish texts, the term `monotheism’ is not entirely felicitous as a description of Jewish beliefs in the pre-Christian period [Note: not as modern’s like to define it, that is. Biblical monotheism and modern `strict’ monotheism don’t correspond in every detail].” (Aspects of Monotheism: How God is One), p. 86

                He continues:

                “…?in this literature [apocalyptic literature such as the DSS, & Philo] the supremacy of the Most High God is never questioned, but there is considerable room for lesser beings who may be called `gods,’ theoi or elim ?(ibid., p. 93)

                And, significantly:

                “The notion that there was a second divine being under God was not intrinsically incompatible with Judaism, although the belief that Jesus of Nazareth was such a being undoubtedly seemed preposterous to many Jews. What was incompatible with Judaism was the idea that this second divine being was equal to God.” (ibid., p. 102)

                As Hurtado points out, recognizing that there existed a retinue of heavenly (divine) beings did not diminish God, but rather amplified his majesty and splendor:

                “Quite a lot could be accommodated in Jewish speculations about God’s retinue of heavenly beings, provided that God” sovereignty and uniqueness were maintained, especially in cultic actions. I think that we may take it as likely that the glorious beings such as principal angels who attend God in ancient Jewish apocalyptic and mystical texts were intended by the authors very much as indicating God’s splendour and majesty, and not as threatening or diminishing God in anyway. The greater and more glorious the high king, the greater and more glorious his ministers, particularly those charged with administering his kingdom.” (First-Century Jewish Monotheism, JBL 71 [1998]), p. 23

                The last sentence is important. God’s heavenly agents are glorious because they represent God who is glorious. Christ is more glorious than any other agent because he represents God in a more all-encompassing way than any previous agent ever had. As Don Cupitt once observed:

                “In the Old Testament religion there was a great variety of different kinds of men of God: prophets who spoke for God, priests who regulated society’s relation to God, wise men who were spiritual masters and ethical teachers, and kings who ruled Israel under God. If we could imagine one comprehensive figure who united all these functions and was plenipotentiary in all God’s dealings with men, that would be the figure that the New Testament writers take Christ to be…This model suggests how it was possible for the early Christians to use extremely exalted language about Christ without feeling that they might possibly be infringing monotheism.” (The Debate About), p. 90-91

                ~Sean

                • Evangelical Apologetics
                  September 14, 2015 @ 8:53 am

                  Sean,

                  Larry Hurtado said the following:

                  “All the talk of “persons”, “being” etc. is anachronistic for the NT texts.”

                  “I have repeatedly referred to a “binitarian” (or now a “dyadic”) devotional pattern, itemizing specifically the practices that comprise it, and showing that they are a unique development, Jesus incorporated into earliest Christian devotional practices in ways otherwise reserved for God.”

                  “There is a real “duality” in the ways that Jesus is referred to in the NT writings: a real, historical human, who was also the Logos, “in the beginning with God”, etc.”

                  “NT texts clearly ascribe to Jesus a status and role that goes beyond that of a human: e.g., as the agent of creation (e.g., 1 Cor 8:4-6), and as bearing “the form of God” (Philip 2:6).”

                  “Much of earliest Christian Christological rhetoric reflects “agency” language (e.g., Son/Word/Image of God, etc.) But the place of the risen Jesus in earliest Christian worship and devotional practice comprises what I have termed a novel/unique “mutation”.”

                  I recommend you read Larry Hurtado’s ‘Lord Jesus Christ’ and his ‘One God, One Lord’ sholarly work on Early High Christology

              • Rivers
                September 12, 2015 @ 10:33 am

                Evangelical,

                In Philippians 2:10, Paul indicates that “Jesus” is the “name” to which everyone should bow. This is the “name” God the Father gave him when he was born (Luke 1:31). There’s no indication that “Jesus” is a name the Father ever had.

                • Evangelical Apologetics
                  September 13, 2015 @ 11:47 am

                  Rivers,

                  God super-exalted Jesus and bestowed on him “the name above every name” (Philippians 2:9). This is none other than the name of the LORD himself.

                  …for you have exalted above all things your name…” Psalm 138:2 (ESV)

                  FYI, Jesus was never the name of the Father. The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit have one name (Matthew 28:19).

                  • Rivers
                    September 13, 2015 @ 4:17 pm

                    E.A.,

                    Philippians 2:10 says that “at the name of JESUS” every knee should bow. Where are getting another “name” out of the language in Philippians 2:9-11?

                    Why would you argue that “name” in Matthew 28:19-20 means a “personal” name when the same word can also refer to “authority.” Do you see that “all authority” is what is mentioned in the previous verse (Matthew 28:18)?

                    • Evangelical Apologetics
                      September 14, 2015 @ 8:27 am

                      Rivers,

                      Yes. onoma in Matthew 28:19 can refer to ‘authority.’

                      Regardless of what meaning we use, it would still show that the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit have one onoma (authority/name).

                      “…in the name (not names) of the Father & the Son & the Holy Spirit…”

                    • Rivers
                      September 14, 2015 @ 2:55 pm

                      E.A.

                      Agreed. But, having “one authority” wouldn’t have any implications for the Father, son, and holy spirit being of the same essence or nature. For example, God being the “head” of Jesus Christ and Jesus being the “head” of every man doesn’t make “God” and “man” the same substance or nature. The “head” (like “name”) refers to authority without any ontological implications.

                      This is why I don’t think Matthew 28:19-20 is a good text to use when trying to prove the Trinity doctrine. The passage makes perfectly good sense if the three are operating as “one authority” and it is impossible to prove that this cannot be a plausible interpretation of the language.

                    • Evangelical Apologetics
                      September 15, 2015 @ 3:18 am

                      But, having “one authority” wouldn’t have any implications for the Father, son, and holy spirit being of the same essence or nature.

                      However, it would have the implication that the Father,Son and Holy Spirit are equally ‘three persons’.

                      The passage makes perfectly good sense if the three are operating as “one authority”

                      Three persons with one and same authority.

                    • Rivers
                      September 15, 2015 @ 9:02 am

                      E.A.,

                      I think you make some valid points here. Of course, we agree that the Father and the son are separate “persons.” However, I’m not sure that Matthew 28:19-20 is sufficient to prove anything about holy spirit being a third “person” because we have other evidence to take into consideration.

                      Holy spirit is said to do things that a person does (e.g. speak), but it is also said to be like impersonal things (e.g. poured out, power, wind) which are things not attributed to the Father or the son. The spirit is also said to be “of God” and “of Christ” (possessives) but they are not described as possessions of the spirit.

                    • Evangelical Apologetics
                      September 15, 2015 @ 9:18 am

                      Rivers,

                      [Holy spirit is said to do things that a person does (e.g. speak), but it is also said to be like impersonal things (e.g. poured out, power, wind) which are things not attributed to the Father or the son.]

                      The Holy Spirit is not a power (energy).The Holy Spirit is outright said to have a mind which energy does not (Romans 8:27).This is a clear biblical evidence that the Holy Spirit is a person and not something that is personified.

                      1 Timothy 4:1 Now (THE SPIRIT clearly says) that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to (deceitful SPIRITS) and (teachings of DEMONS)

                      If “unholy or evil spirits” are persons, then the Holy Spirit is a person.

                      Are we to believe that God is a literal “heat, fuel and oxygen” because the Bible said that ” Our God is a consuming fire” (Deu. 4:24, Heb. 12:29)? Is God a flame? Is not fire impersonal?

                      [The spirit is also said to be “of God” and “of Christ” (possessives) but they are not described as possessions.]

                      The Lord Jesus Christ is the Son OF God. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit OF God and OF Christ. The Father alone had no origin (source) but all of them equally eternal (had no beginning of existence).

                    • Rivers
                      September 15, 2015 @ 9:47 am

                      E.A.,

                      Jesus referred to holy spirit as “power” in Acts 1:8. He was also referring to a “baptism” (Matthew 3:11) by means of “pouring” (Acts 2:17). These things are not descriptive of what happens with a personal being.

                      I agree that holy spirit is “the spirit of God” and “the spirit of Christ.” My point was that there is no “the Father of spirit” or “the son of spirit” language in scripture that expresses the same kind of possession in relation to all three.

                      Spirit is a term (in both Hebrew and Greek) that is both associated with a “person” and with impersonal “things”. Thus, it is not a word that is used the same way as “Father” or “son.” Moreover, “spirit” is neither a familial title (like father or son) nor is it identified with a personal name (like a father or a son).

                      These things all mitigate against the idea that “holy spirit” can simply be categorized as a “person.” I think there needs to be a more comprehensive explanation of the evidence.

                    • Evangelical Apologetics
                      September 15, 2015 @ 9:48 am

                      Rivers,

                      Jesus is also the Son OF God.

                      The Holy Spirit is not a power (energy).The Holy Spirit is outright said to have a mind which energy does not (Romans 8:27).This is a clear biblical evidence that the Holy Spirit is a person and not something that is personified.

                      In the entire Scriptures, blasphemy ,in and of itself, is always done to someone and not to something! (Neh 9:26;2 Sam 2:14;Jn 10:33;Rev 13:6, 16:11). The Holy Spirit can be blasphemed and hence, he is a person (Matthew 12:31,32;Luke 12:10, Mk 3:29).

                      God is associated with many impersonal things. In fact God is directly called “fire” i two places: “our God is a consuming fire.” Heb. 12:29 and “For the Lord your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.” Deut. 4:24.

                    • Rivers
                      September 15, 2015 @ 10:29 am

                      E.A.,

                      I’m not trying to suggest that understanding “spirit” or “holy spirit” is easy. You certainly are presenting evidence (of “personal” descriptions) that must be taken into consideration. I’m just pointing out the other ways that the biblical writers spoke of “spirit” that is different than how they spoke of persons.

                      I think another thing that needs to be taken into account is that “spirit” is also associated with persons in a way that doesn’t require the understanding that the “spirit” is another person (in and of itself).

                      For example, in 1 Corinthians 2:11, Paul makes a comparison between “the spirit of a man” and “the spirit of God” (both referring to the “thoughts” of the persons). In this case, nobody would suggest that “spirit of a man” is a different person from the man himself. Why then should we take “the spirit of God” to be a separate person?

                      These thoughts are characteristic of “spirit”, but they are only “personal” in the sense that they belong to someone who is a person.

          • Dale Tuggy
            September 9, 2015 @ 8:41 pm

            Hi Paul,

            I can tell you that as it stands, that argument is demonstrably invalid – the conclusion doesn’t follow. But with a minor fix, we can make a valid argument:

            There is only one “God” [i.e. only one being is called “God”]
            The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are all called “God.”
            Therefore, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit must be the one being which is called “God.”

            This is valid. But premise 1 is false, according the both OT and NT. And the conclusion is not theologically desirable, as we know that those in various ways differ, so we know they’re not all the same being. e.g. God has a Son. Jesus doesn’t have a Son. Nothing can differ from itself.

            • Evangelical Apologetics
              September 12, 2015 @ 5:33 am

              @Dale,

              Of course, Jesus doesn’t have a son.

              This argument of yours shows that you confused the word ‘God’ as used in the predicate nominative to a subject name:

              God has a Son

              Jesus = God

              Jesus has a Son

              The Scriptures plainly shows us that there is nothing wrong with the Father sharing his divine glory and divine name with his Son, Jesus Christ (Philippians 2:9,1 Corinthians 8:6). Both validly share the divine appellations while remaining distinct individuals:

              The Father is God

              Jesus is God

              The Father is not Jesus

              Jesus is not the Father

              • Matt13weedhacker
                September 12, 2015 @ 6:42 am

                The Father is: “…the God ( of ) our Lord Jesus Christ…” Ephesians 1:17.

                What does: “God ( of )…” usually mean without twisting?

                • Evangelical Apologetics
                  September 13, 2015 @ 12:02 pm

                  Matt13,

                  The Father is: “…the God ( of ) our Lord Jesus Christ…” Ephesians 1:17.

                  I have no problem with that.

                  God is not flesh (John 4:24)
                  The Word was God (John 1:1)
                  The Word became flesh (John 1:14)

                  Jesus was ‘in very nature God’ (Philippians 2:6 NIV2011), ‘in him dwells the whole fullness of ???????? bodily’ (Colossians 2:9).

                  Hebrews 1:8-9
                  Unto the Son:
                  Your throne O God is for ever…
                  God, Your God anoints you…

                  • Matt13weedhacker
                    September 13, 2015 @ 2:27 pm

                    What does: “…God ( of )…” usually mean without twisting? It’s natural sense?

                    Perhaps a few more examples, may help you to actually grasp the question:

                    “…( the God of ) gods…” Joshua 22:22(A)
                    “…( the God of ) gods…” Joshua 22:22(B)
                    “…( the God of ) gods…” Psalm 50:1
                    “…( the God of ) gods…” Psalm 136:2
                    “…( the God of ) gods…” Daniel 2:47
                    “…( the God of ) gods…” Daniel 11:26

                    “…the God ( of ) Abraham…” Acts 3:13(A)
                    “…the God ( of ) […] Isaac…” Acts 3:13(B)
                    “…the God ( of ) […] Jacob…” Acts 3:13(C)
                    “…the God ( of ) […] our forefathers…” Acts 3:13(D)

                    Note this one:

                    “…the God ( of ) my – Lord – the King…” 1 Kings 1:36(C)
                    “…the God ( of ) our – Lord – Jesus Christ…” Ephesians 1:17.

                    Ephesians 1:17 with a bit more context:

                    Ephesians 1:3, 17 The Translators New Testament 1973
                    “…Let us give thanks to ( the God and ) Father ( of ) our Lord Jesus Christ, ( who in ) Christ has blessed us with every spiritual blessing from the supernatural world […] I remember you in my prayers, and ask the glorious Father ( who is the God of ) our Lord Jesus Christ to give you the spiritual gifts of wisdom and insight as you come to know ( Him )…”

                    It’s not an isolated saying, or phrase either. It forms an Apostolic pattern:

                    “…the God ( of ) our Lord Jesus Christ…” Ephesians 1:17
                    “…the God […] ( of ) our Lord Jesus Christ…” Ephesians 1:3
                    “…the God […] ( of ) our Lord Jesus Christ….” Romans 15:6
                    “…the God […] ( of ) our Lord Jesus Christ…” 2 Corinthians 1:3
                    “…the God […] ( of ) our Lord Jesus Christ…” 2 Cor. 11:31
                    “…the God […] ( of ) our Lord Jesus Christ…” Colossians 1:3
                    “…the God […] ( of ) our Lord Jesus Christ…” 1st Peter 1:3

                    “…the God ( of ) our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father…” Eph. 1:17
                    “…( the God and ) Father ( of ) our Lord Jesus Christ…” Ephesians 1:3
                    “…( the God and ) Father ( of ) our Lord Jesus Christ….” Romans 15:6
                    “…( the God and ) Father ( of ) our Lord Jesus Christ…” 2 Corinthians 1:3
                    “…( the God and ) Father ( of ) our Lord Jesus Christ…” 2 Cor. 11:31
                    “…( the God and ) Father ( of ) our Lord Jesus Christ…” Colossians 1:3
                    “…( the God and ) Father ( of ) our Lord Jesus Christ…” 1st Peter 1:3

                    There’s no mistaking the sense of it. It’s confirmed by the words of our Lord himself, and his Apostles:

                    “…( my ) God…” Matthew 27:46(A).
                    “…( my ) God…” Matthew 27:46(B).
                    “…( my ) God…” Mark 15:34(A).
                    “…( my ) God…” Mark 15:34(B).
                    “…( Our ) God…” Mark 12:29
                    “…( my ) God ( and your ) God…” John 20:17.

                    “…( Your ) God…” Hebrews 1:9(B)
                    “…( his God and ) Father…” Revelation 1:6(B)

                    “…this is what the Son of God says…” Revelation 2:18(B)
                    “…( my ) God…” Revelation 3:2(D)
                    “…( my ) God…” Revelation 3:12(A)
                    “…( my ) God…” Revelation 3:12(B)
                    “…( my ) God…” Revelation 3:12(C)
                    “…( my ) God…” Revelation 3:12(D)

                    • Evangelical Apologetics
                      September 14, 2015 @ 8:24 am

                      Matt13,

                      I really appreciated your list of the Father as Jesus’ God because it effectively refutes docetism.

                      Yes. I totally agree that Christ was and is human. He bled and died. He has flesh and bones. But he is not only human. He is truly God as well.

                      Thomas answered and said to HIM [JESUS]: My Lord and my God (John 20:28)

                      HEB. 1:8
                      UNTO THE SON,
                      YOUR THRONE, O GOD IS FOR EVER AND EVER

                    • John
                      September 15, 2015 @ 4:45 am

                      Hi E.A.
                      Have you compared Hebrews 1v 8 with Psalm 45 vs 7-10?
                      In the latter we have a wedding psalm for a king of the Davidic line.
                      Such kings were crowned as adoptive sons of God –
                      but were addressed as ‘god’
                      “Therefore ‘god’ your God has anointed you..” -so this ‘god’ has a God !
                      v10 states ” Daughters of kings are your lovely wives” (NAB) The KJV says ‘honourable ladies’
                      The unknown author of Hebrews has re-addressed some of these words to Christ – prefixed by the words “but of the Son”.
                      Surely you can see that this is typology – not to be taken literally?
                      Blessings
                      John

                    • Evangelical Apologetics
                      September 15, 2015 @ 10:14 am

                      John,

                      I agree with the typology. The king in Ps. 45 is the type of Christ. The king represents God that is why he had the title ‘God.’ This is only God-ness by title and function but not in essence.

                      Moses was God as well in Exodus 7:11.But again, this only God-ness by title and function and not in essence.

                      Hebrews 1:8 was calling Jesus ‘God’ in the strictest sense of the word because he was God by nature based on the immediate context (verse 3): “…the exact imprint of his nature” (ESV).

                    • John
                      September 15, 2015 @ 1:39 pm

                      Hi E.A.
                      The unknown author of Hebrews was introducing , in Chapter 1, an introduction to Christ’s arrival , in these last days, and then surmising that in his risen state Christ must now be “higher than the angels’
                      You will note that he uses the word ‘charakter’ to describe ‘imprint’. As you know important people had a ‘seal’ or signet ring’ with which to affix seals or sign documents.
                      If I affix my seal to a document the result is not me – but my authority.
                      Why should an imprint reflect nature – it’s an imprint?
                      We then get down to the question of being made in God’s image etc.
                      Hope not!
                      God Bless you
                      John

                    • Paul Anchor
                      September 15, 2015 @ 3:08 pm

                      Hi John,

                      “The unknown author of Hebrews was introducing , in Chapter 1, an introduction to Christ’s arrival , in these last days, and then surmising that in his risen state Christ must now be “higher than the angels'”

                      I think you are seeing something that you want to see here.

                      Heb 1 v 6 And again, when he bringeth in the firstbegotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him.

                      Why were the angels commanded to worship Jesus when he was still a baby and not yet exalted according to the unitarian scheme of things?

                      God bless,

                      Paul

                    • Miguel de Servet
                      September 15, 2015 @ 3:44 pm

                      Paul

                      Why were the angels commanded to worship Jesus when he was still a baby and not yet exalted according to the unitarian scheme of things?

                      This is what the Gospel of Luke says:

                      12 This will be a sign for you: You will find a baby wrapped in strips of cloth and lying in a manger.” 13 Suddenly a vast, heavenly army appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, 14 “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among people with whom he is pleased!” (Luke 2:12-14)

                      I am afraid that what you are accusing John of (“I think you are seeing something that you want to see here”) applies with a vengeance to you. The angels were NOT “commanded to worship Jesus when he was still a baby”, they were praising God in the highest for the wonderful sign that He had given to the “people with whom he is pleased”.

                    • John
                      September 16, 2015 @ 12:45 am

                      Hi Paul!
                      At the time Christ was born Jews considered angels to be ‘superior’ to humans.
                      The writer was surmising that in his elevated state that Jesus was now ‘higher than the angels’
                      You will notice that the word used to describe ‘worship’ in Hebrews 1 v 6is ‘proskynesatosan’ which is derived from the Greek verb ‘ proskueno’.
                      This means worship in the sense of ‘bowing before’ or ‘doing obesience before a superior’
                      The same word is used to describe the ‘worship’ of the three wise men after Jesus’ birth.
                      Notice that the scripture did NOT use the verb ‘latreou’
                      God Bless
                      John

                    • Paul Anchor
                      September 17, 2015 @ 4:50 pm

                      Hi John,

                      I believe that the bible teaches that men and angels must only worship God. Worship of any other creature would be idolatry.

                      I don’t see any evidence that men or angels can worship each other. The bible clearly teaches against this in my view.

                      you said “Sorry, forgot to mention that the wise men were worshipping Christ as ‘ the King of the Jews”

                      In what sense was the baby Jesus “King of the Jews” according to your belief?

                      He wasn’t king in the sense of an earthly ruler because we are told later on that he refused to be made King of the Jews:

                      John 6 v 15 When Jesus therefore perceived that they would come and take him by force, to make him a king, he departed again into a mountain himself alone.

                      So I think my question has still not been satisfactorily answered, from the unitarian viewpoint, as to why the angels or for that matter the wise men worshipped Jesus as a baby.

                      Perhaps a “spirit being” born to a Jewish mother is atutomatically the king of the Jews?

                      you said: “You will notice that the word used to describe ‘worship’ in Hebrews 1 v 6is ‘proskynesatosan’ which is derived from the Greek verb ‘ proskueno’.”

                      My simple answer to that would be that the scripture John 4 v 24 is specifically referring to the worship of God but it does not use the word ” ‘latreou'” either.

                      King James Bible

                      God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.

                      Blessings,

                      Paul

                    • Rivers
                      September 17, 2015 @ 10:34 pm

                      Paul,

                      If the Jews didn’t worship the angels, why would Apostle John have “fallen down to worship” the angel who delivered the Revelation visions to him (Revelation 22:8)? Why would the angel have needed to defer the worship to the risen Christ?

                    • Miguel de Servet
                      September 18, 2015 @ 2:33 pm

                      Rivers

                      [1] If the Jews didn’t worship the angels, why would John have “fallen down to worship” the angel who delivered the Revelation visions to him (Revelation 22:8)? [2] Why would the angel have needed to defer the worship to the risen Christ?

                      [3] An incident like this suggests to me that the worship of angels was expected. [4] Perhaps the only reason the angel deferred it to Jesus Christ at that time was because the human Jesus was recently exalted above all of the angelic authorities (Philippians 2:9-11).

                      1. You do not have to look far, for the right answer. John simply made a mistake (in his vision, don’t forget), and this is evident from the rebuke he got from the angel:

                      But he [the angel] said to me, “Watch out! I am a fellow servant with you and with your brothers the prophets, and with those who keep the words of this book. Worship God!” (Rev 22:9)

                      2. This is funny, coming from you. The angel did NOT “defer the worship to the risen Christ”, he simply said, “Worship God!”

                      3. Yours is simply an illogical conclusion (see above).

                      4. The resurrected Jesus was certainly “exalted above all of the angelic authorities”, and even proclaimed Lord, BUT “to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:11)

                    • Rivers
                      September 18, 2015 @ 2:52 pm

                      Miquel,

                      John might have made a “mistake” by attempting to worship the angel at the time of his Revelation (as we agree), but it doesn’t logically follow that it would have been wrong to do so before the exaltation of Jesus Christ. Thus, I don’t think your answer is sufficient.

                      There are a number of examples of angels being worshipped by the Patriarchs and the Jews understood that their Law was “a religion (worship) of angels” (Colossians 2:18) and regarded them as “majesties” (Jude 1:8) and rulers (Hebrews 2:5).

                    • Miguel de Servet
                      September 18, 2015 @ 4:20 pm

                      Rovers

                      [1] John might have made a “mistake” by attempting to worship the angel at the time of his Revelation (as we agree), [2] but it doesn’t logically follow that it would have been wrong to do so before the exaltation of Jesus Christ. Thus, I don’t think your answer is sufficient.

                      [3] There are a number of examples of angels being worshipped by the Patriarchs [4] and the Jews understood that their Law was “a religion (worship) of angels” (Colossians 2:18) [5] and regarded them as “majesties” (Jude 1:8) and [6] rulers (Hebrews 2:5).

                      1. Not a “mistake” (with “scare quotes”) as you are wont to writing: simply a mistake.

                      2. Why would it have been appropriate to (attempt to) worship angels “before the exaltation of Jesus Christ”? This is a non sequitur. Once again, the angel simply said, “Worship God!” Nothing whatsoever with “defer[ring] the worship to the risen Christ”.

                      3. Provide evidence. A single citation from the OT would do.

                      4. From Colossians 2:18, it does seems that angel worship was practiced at the time Paul wrote to the Colossians. Does it mean to say that it was licit? This would be an illicit inference. What we know for sure is that Paul forbade believers to be engaged in such conduct:

                      Let no one who delights in humility and the worship of angels pass judgment on you. That person goes on at great lengths about what he has supposedly seen, but he is puffed up with empty notions by his fleshly mind. (Col 2:18)

                      Still not convinced? Then consider this:

                      But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be accursed! (Galatians 1:8)

                      [5] It is not clear who are the ????? (“glorious ones”, lit. “glories”) that we read of in Jude 1:8, and the entirely analogous 2 Pet 2:10, but the following verses (respectively Jude 1:9 and 2 Pet 2:11) seem to allude to the fallen angels, and the sense is that men should not pass judgment on them, and leave it to God:

                      But even when Michael the archangel was arguing with the devil [????????] and debating with him concerning Moses’ body, he did not dare to bring a slanderous judgment, but said, “May the Lord rebuke you!” (Jude 1:9; cp. 2 Peter 2:11)

                      [6] Again, it is not sure who are the “angels” referred to in Hebrews 2:5 and whether they include also the fallen angels. By all evidence, the ???????? who tempted Jesus, and who claimed that he could give to Jesus “all the kingdoms of the world”, if only Jesus would “throw [him]self to the ground and worship [him]” was a fallen angel. In fact their chief, Satan, the “ancient serpent” (Rev 20:2).

                    • Rivers
                      September 19, 2015 @ 5:18 pm

                      Miquel,

                      Your answers aren’t consistent with the evidence in scripture. Let me give you a couple of examples.

                      1. You claim that Galatians 1:8 would mean that somebody worshipping an angel would be “accursed” but then we later find that John had no hesitation to worship the angel in Revelation 22:8. Thus, I don’t think your application of Galatians 1:8 is appropriate here.

                      2. If you concede that “the worship of angels” was being practiced by the Jews (Colossians 2:18), then there’s nothing in that context to suggest that it was only happening at the time Paul wrote to the Colossians since the rest of the Mosaic precepts were being practiced long before that time. On what basis would “worship of angels” be distinctly a Colossians issue?

                      3. There would have been nothing “illogical” about worshiping angels prior to the glorification of Jesus Christ because the world of creation was “subject to the angels” (Hebrews 2:5). It is “the world to come” that is subject to Jesus Christ after he is glorified (John 17:5).

                    • Miguel de Servet
                      September 21, 2015 @ 1:36 pm

                      Rivers

                      [Rivers] There are a number of examples of angels being worshipped by the Patriarchs

                      [MdS] Provide evidence. A single citation from the OT would do.

                      You couldn’t deliver. With that, your entire construction falls to the ground.

                      Besides …

                      1. It is entirely obvious, by now that you crossed your fingers behind your back when you said that you “agreed” that John had made a mistake.

                      2. Once again: even if from Colossians 2:18, it seems that angel worship was practiced (at the time Paul wrote to the Colossians, or even before), this does NOT mean that it was licit, withing the framework of Scripture. Period.

                      3. This is what Hebrews 2:5 says: “For he did not put the world to come, about which we are speaking, under the control of angels.”

                      Only someone’s overwrought imagination can derive from this verse that the worship of angels was licit, prior to Christ’s resurrection and glorification.

                    • Rivers
                      September 21, 2015 @ 3:15 pm

                      Miquel,

                      Genesis 18:1-2 is an example of where Abraham “bowed down” in the presence of the angelic visitors.

                    • Miguel de Servet
                      September 21, 2015 @ 7:05 pm

                      Genesis 18:1-2 is an example of where Abraham “bowed down” in the presence of the angelic visitors.

                      This is what we read:

                      1 And the LORD [YHWH] appeared unto him [Abraham] at the oaks of Mamre: and he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day. 2 And he lift up his eyes and looked, and, lo, three men stood by him: and when he saw [them], he ran to meet them from the tent door, and bowed himself toward the ground.

                      So, who was the LORD [YHWH]?

                      0. None of them
                      1. One of them?
                      2. Two of them?
                      3. All three of them?

                      (Hint: don’t forget about 18:10,13,22, 19:1)

                    • Rivers
                      September 21, 2015 @ 11:14 pm

                      Miquel,

                      It doesn’t matter “how many” because YHVH and ALHYM were used interchangeably. The Hebrew language in Genesis 18-19 allows for either YHVH or ALHYM to include any number of the angelic visitors.

                      This is why YHVH “appears” and there are “three men” that Abraham sees. This is one of the reasons that ALHYM is plural in Hebrews.

                    • Miguel de Servet
                      September 22, 2015 @ 4:27 am

                      It doesn’t matter “how many” because YHVH andALHYM were sometimes used interchangeably.

                    • Rivers
                      September 22, 2015 @ 8:33 am

                      Miguel,

                      Again, you are making several fallacious arguments based upon “grammar” that are not consistent with the way the words are used in the context of these passages. In Genesis 18:1-2, when YHWH appears, Abraham sees “three men” who are later identified as “angels” (Genesis 19:1).

                      The apostles understood that “no man has ever seen God [the Father] at any time” (John 1:18; 1 Timothy 6:16). The only way YHVH manifested himself is in the form of angelic visitors.

                    • Miguel de Servet
                      September 22, 2015 @ 8:45 am

                      Rivers,

                      the only good thing about your post is that you used my proper name. Continue like that.

                      I have provided textual facts, not “fallacious arguments”: that is your speciality. Try to confute a single one of my points, if you may.

                      In particular, it is a textual fact that the plural word ‘adonay is used by Abraham to address the LORD,
                      once He has remained His own with Abraham, while the [two] “men” have
                      gone on to Sodom (Gen 18:22), and Abraham pleads for the “godly people in the city”
                      (Gen 18:27,30,31,32).

                      Check …

                      Read again, read better. Stop inventing.

                    • Rivers
                      September 22, 2015 @ 9:16 am

                      Miquel,

                      Both YHVH and ALHYM were sometimes used of “angels” in scripture because the Patriarchs didn’t have contact with God in any other form. That is why so much anthropomorphic language is also used to describe YHVH in the Hebrew scriptures.

                      Adam was said to be “made in the image and likeness of God (ALHYM)” because he bore the physical resemblance to the angelic “men” who visited the Patriarchs (e.g. Genesis 18:1-2; Genesis 32:24-28). Likewise, God is described in human terms because that is the only way the ancient Hebrews had known him (John 1:18).

                    • Miguel de Servet
                      September 22, 2015 @ 11:16 am

                      Patriarchs didn’t have contact with God in any other form [than angels (or is it “angels”?)]. That is why so much anthropomorphic language is also used to describe YHVH in the Hebrew scriptures.

                      The word translated in English with “angel”, in the OT Hebrew (and Aramaic) is mal’ak.

                      If by angels (or “angels”) Rivers means “heavenly messengers having the appearence of men”, that is certainly what angels mostly appeared like in the OT, and in the NT as well.

                      But that is not always the case. A prominent example is this …

                      The angel of the Lord appeared to him [Moses] in a flame of fire from within a bush. He looked – and the bush was ablaze with fire, but it was not being consumed! (Exodus 3:2)

                      … where the expression “angel of the LORD” (mal’ak YHWH – already repeatedly used in Genesis, see 16:7-13; 21:17; 22:11-18 – and here, indeed, “used interchangeably” for YHWH Himself) has got no human form, but certainly converses understandably with Moses.

                      Adam was said to be “made in the image and likeness of God (ALHYM)” because he bore the physical resemblance to the angelic “men” who visited the Patriarchs (e.g. Genesis 18:1-2; Genesis 32:24-28).

                      This is another of Rivers’ peculiar claims.

                      When we read …

                      Then God [‘elohiym] said, “Let us make humankind [‘adam] in our image, after our likeness, so they may rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move on the earth.”(Gen 1:26)

                      … the obvious sense is that God, having created lower life forms, entrusted them to the stewardship of a creature endowed (like God, and unlike lower life forms) of reason, freedom and will.

                      (BTW, I take good note that Rivers has gone back to his bad mis-spelling habits: how childish!)

                    • Rivers
                      September 22, 2015 @ 2:06 pm

                      Miguel,

                      The Hebrew word translated “image” in Genesis 1:26 always means the physical shape of something throughout the Hebrew scriptures. The term never means “reason, freedom, or will.” That interpretation simply demonstrates ignorance of the Hebrew vocabulary.

                      If you look at the way Paul himself interpreted Genesis 1:26, it’s evident that he understood that “the image of God” (male) was distinct from “the glory of the man” (female). He alluded to this distinction in order to substantiate the fact that men and women were to have a different appearance (predicated upon the order of creation and nature, 1 Corinthians 11:8-16).

                      The reason that Adam (males) have the physical shape of ALHYM (“God”) is because that is the way human males were created after the likeness of the angels who “appeared” as “men” (Genesis 18:1-2). There cannot be an “image” of a God who is “unseen” (John 1:18). Thus, the “image” must refer to the shape of the ALHYM that were visible (i.e. angelic visitors).

                    • Miguel de Servet
                      September 22, 2015 @ 4:52 pm

                      The Hebrew word translated “image” in Genesis 1:26 always means the physical shape of something throughout the Hebrew scriptures.

                      1. It demonstrates ignorance of the Hebrew vocabulary to affirm that “physical shape” is the only meaning of the word translated as “image” in Genesis 1:26. The Hebrew word tselem (Strong’s #6754) besides meaning 1. “image”, e.g. like in an idol and 2. “image”, like in the reproduction of a model, means also 3. “semblance” (Ps 39:6) or “mental image” (Ps 73:20).

                      Worse, you entirely omit to mention that the word translated as “likeness” in Genesis 1:26 (d?muwth – Strong’s #6754) can mean something as abstract as a “pattern” (for an altar 2 Kings 16:10).

                      In any case, there is no doubt that OT Hebrew is a very concrete language, so it often resorts to material images, even to express spiritual images.

                      2. It is entirely your projection to read an obscure and irrelevant passage as 1 Corinthians 11:8-16, as a Pauline interpretation of Genesis 1:26.

                      3. Once again, it is simply bizarre to assume that spiritual beings like angels (assuming that they were the ones to whom God’s “Let us make” is addressed in Genesis 1:26) had any reason whatsoever to physically “look like men”. (Or are you perchance subscribing to one of the many weird theories whereby “angels” were, in fact, aliens from some faraway superior extra-galactic civilization?!)

                      P.S. I take good note that you have avoided to take up my challenge (“According to [Rivers], a self-existent, numerically one God simply does NOT exist.”)

                    • Rivers
                      September 22, 2015 @ 10:21 pm

                      Miquel,

                      1. The meaning of the term “image” in Psalms 39:6 is a “shadow.” A shadow is in the physical shape of something. The meaning of the term “image” in Psalms 37:20 is the physical “form” of a person standing over a bed. Please read the passages instead of merely quoting citations from an online concordance.

                      2. 1 Corinthians 11:8-16 is an inspired apostolic commentary on Genesis 1:26. Please read the passage instead of hastily dismissing it.

                      3. Heavenly angels (ALHYM) often appear as “men” in scripture. This is why it is reasonable to consider that “let us make Adam in our image” (Genesis 1:26) refers to the male physical form that looks like the angelic form. An “unseen” God cannot have an “image” (John 1:18).

                    • Miguel de Servet
                      September 23, 2015 @ 5:41 am

                      The meaning of the term “image” in Psalms 37:20 is the physical “form” of a person standing over a bed.

                      There is neither the English word “image” nor the Hebrew word tselem in Psalms 37:20. As for what I had actually quoted, Psalms 73:20, even there we find no “physical ‘form’ of a person standing over a bed” whatsoever, BUT God who will “despise the image of the wicked” like someone gets rid of an umpleasent mental image when one wakes up after a nightmare. Read the citations and the passages properly, rather than spreading BS.

                      1 Corinthians 11:8-16 is an inspired apostolic commentary on Genesis
                      1:26. Please read the passage instead of hastily dismissing it.

                      Instead of resorting to “inspired apostolic” authority, (try to) explain in your own words how 1 Corinthians 11:8-16, would be a Pauline interpretation of Genesis 1:26.

                      Heavenly angels (ALHYM) often appear as “men” in scripture.

                      [… patiently …] Once again, (try to) explain why spiritual beings like angels would have any reason to “appear as men”, before men are even created (Gen 1:26). This is more than bizarre. This is stupid.

                      P.S. Considering your careful silence on the subject, I presume there must be some truth in my claim (“According to Rivers, a self-existent, numerically one God simply does NOT exist.”)

                    • Rivers
                      September 23, 2015 @ 9:26 am

                      Miquel,

                      Even if you argue that TsLM (“image”) refers to someone seen in the dream, the word is still referring to the physical form seen in the dream. It is the word “dream” earlier in the passage that conveys the “mental” idea and not the term TsLM.

                      For example, if I have a dream about an elephant, and I awake thinking about the “form” of the elephant I saw in the dream, it is not the “dream” itself that determines the form of the elephant. The word “form” refers to the physical shape of the elephant seen in the dream, and the word “dream” refers to the mental experience.

                      I shouldn’t need to explain that 1 Corinthians 11:8-16 is a commentary on Genesis 1:26 because it’s evident throughout the text. Please read it sometime. It gives a lot of insight into how the apostle understood the creation of male and female and the involvement of the angels.

                      The historical accounts in Genesis tell us that the angelic messengers “appeared” as “men” (Genesis 18:1-2). That is the evidence we have to work with throughout scripture. I don’t think there’s any need to speculate about what “the image of God” was. The Hebrew term TsLM (“image”) meant “physical shape” and the ALHYM later appeared in the same “male” form as Adam was made (Genesis 18:1-2).

                    • Miguel de Servet
                      September 23, 2015 @ 3:36 pm

                      1. Once again. When we read …

                      Then God [‘elohiym] said, “Let us make humankind [‘adam] in our image, after our likeness, so they may rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move on the earth.”(Gen 1:26)

                      … the obvious sense is that God, having created lower life forms, entrusted them to the stewardship of a creature endowed (like God, and unlike lower life forms) of reason, freedom and will, NOT that man was created with the physical aspect of angels.

                      If you do not agree, then you should consider this: if “‘image’ [tselem] always means the physical shape of something throughout the Hebrew scriptures”, this would imply that there was, even in principle, no way of expressing the notion that God created man with spiritual qualities modeled on his. Of course, you would have to consider this in good faith …

                      2. Your saying “I shouldn’t need to explain that 1 Corinthians 11:8-16 is a commentary on Genesis 1:26 because it’s evident throughout the text”, simply means that you cannot, of for some reason that you prefer not to disclose, you do not want to. Your choice, your failure …

                      3. Once again, (try to) explain why spiritual beings like angels would have any reason to “appear as men”, before men are even created (Gen 1:26). This is more than bizarre. This is stupid.

                    • Rivers
                      September 23, 2015 @ 4:05 pm

                      Miquel,

                      1. The problem with your theory about “reason, freedom, will” is that the Hebrew word “image” has nothing to do with those concepts. Moreover, there is no evidence that “ruling” in Genesis 1:26 is connected to “reason, freedom, or will” either. Redefining terms and ignoring the relationship of the words in the context is simply doing bad exegesis.

                      2. The only “spiritual quality” that Adam received was “the breath of the spirit of life” (Genesis 2:7). However, that didn’t distinguish him from any of the animals who all have the same “spirit” that humans do (Genesis 7:15; Ecclesiastes 12:7).

                      3. The evidence in scripture shows that even though angels are called “spirits” (Hebrews 1:13), they also appear and function with corporeal male bodies (Genesis 18-19). Thus, I think you’re dismissing a lot of evidence when you insist that they are only “spiritual beings.”

                    • Miguel de Servet
                      September 24, 2015 @ 5:40 am

                      The problem with your theory about “reason, freedom, will” is that the Hebrew word “image” has nothing to do with those concepts.

                      This is a total non-sequitur to my remark. The point is, IF the Hebrew words tselem and d?muwth have only a strictly physical connotation, and therefore are not used, even figuratively, to express that God endowed man with spiritual qualities similar to His own (like “reason, freedom, will”), THEN what Hebrew expression would do, if that is precisely what the (inspired …) author wanted to express?

                      Moreover, there is no evidence that “ruling” in Genesis 1:26 is connected to “reason, freedom, or will” either.

                      Really? Then what, according to Rivers, would be “connected” to “ruling”, so that man “may rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move on the earth”? Perhaps … having the aspect of angels who … look like men? (LOL!)

                      The evidence in scripture shows that even though angels are called “spirits” (Hebrews 1:13), they also appear and function with corporeal male bodies (Genesis 18-19).

                      Are you suggesting that to “appear and function with corporeal male bodies” is the normal “state” of angels? Presumably (according to you) even before man was created (Gen 1:26)?

                    • Rivers
                      September 24, 2015 @ 9:08 am

                      Miquel,

                      All I’m saying is that when you propose that TsLM (“image”) means capacity for “reason, freedom, will” and that this is supposedly why Adam was to “rule” over the animals, there must be some exegetical evidence that your definition of the terms is plausible.

                      Anyone doing sound critical exegesis is going to ask the same questions about the unsubstantiated assumptions you are making to arrive at your claims about the meaning of the passage. Since you can’t even show a single use of TsLM that means “reason, freedom, will” in Hebrew, there’s no evidence that any of your conclusions about the meaning of the text have any foundation.

                    • Miguel de Servet
                      September 24, 2015 @ 12:09 pm

                      Rivers’ comment is, again, such total non-sequitur to my comment that I can only conclude that he is dumb or in bad faith … but I believe he is not dumb …

                    • John
                      September 18, 2015 @ 1:19 am

                      Hi Paul
                      Read the first 2 verses of Matthew 2.-
                      “where is the newborn king of the Jews..”?
                      The Magi believed that an ‘earthly’ king had been born – and Herod was (quite rightly). ‘greatly troubled’
                      Note that the word used for worship was ‘proskueno.
                      “prostrating before” , ‘obesience’
                      The NAB Bible uses the words “we have come to do him homage”
                      Blessings
                      John

                    • John
                      September 18, 2015 @ 8:36 am

                      Hi Paul,
                      I didn’t notice the ‘read more tab’ so didn’t respond fully to your response.
                      Of course Christ was ‘worshipped’ in many verses of the Bible.
                      The question is ‘in what sense”?
                      Christ was offered ‘proskueno’ as were a myriad of other persons..
                      The Lord God Almighty was also offered ‘proskueno” – as you have mentioned.
                      You mentioned the word ‘latreou’
                      As you will know this word is derived from the word ‘latris’ which means a hired servant – in many cases the service rendered by temple workers
                      The word ‘latreou’ appears 21 times in the NT
                      -18 in worship of the Lord God Almighty
                      – once in an arguable sense (Revelation)
                      -2 times in relation to the worship of false gods.
                      In the end one has to try and determine nature of the worship being offered, and one has to go back to the CONTEXT.
                      One has also to try to get inside the mind of the person offering the worship -not always easy
                      God Bless
                      John

                    • Paul Anchor
                      September 20, 2015 @ 3:07 pm

                      Hi John,

                      you said, “The question is ‘in what sense”?
                      Christ was offered ‘proskueno’ as were a myriad of other persons..”

                      But proskueno in spirit and in truth can only be offered to God himself. Or are you claiming that it is right for us to give God worship that we could give to creatures also? Surely this is an offence to God to do so. We should not give to God the lowest common deniminator of worship because we have the light to give him the highest worship and this is his will as Jesus said.

                      As Christians we have sufficient truth in the bible to worship God fully in spirit and in truth. The magi were not able to do this in the same way as we do because they did not have the same light of the NT revelation as we do.

                      As I see it latreuo is any type of spiritual service given to God. This would include but not exclude proskeuno. Latreuo would seem to be broader in scope than proskeuno.

                      Unitarians are trying, but in my view they fail to make a case to make these concepts exclusive to each other.

                      God bless,

                      Paul

                    • Rivers
                      September 20, 2015 @ 9:46 pm

                      Paul,

                      Why do you draw the conclusion that “only God can receive worship in spirit and truth” from John 4:23-24? There’s nothing in the context of John 4 that suggests that this was the implication of those words.

                      If you read the previous verses, it’s evident that God was already being “worshipped” by both the Jews and Samaritans (John 4:20-21), as well as the “Greeks” (John 12:20), long before anyone had “holy spirit” which was not given until after Jesus was glorified (John 7:39). Worship of God certainly didn’t require having holy spirit.

                      In the context of John 4, the reason Jesus referred to “worship in spirit and truth” is because, when Jews, Samaritans, and Greeks received “holy spirit” after Pentecost, it would become evident that all would be able to worship God together in the unity of the spirit and truth of the gospel (1 Corinthians 12:13; Ephesians 4:4).

                    • John
                      September 21, 2015 @ 12:00 am

                      Paul
                      Rivers has answered the question adequately but I would like to add –
                      “Worship” takes many forms , whether it be bowing down to a magistrate, prostrating oneself to a king or paying homage… or worshipping the Lord God Almighty.
                      So what’s the difference?
                      The difference lies in the INTENTION of the worshipper..
                      Only the person worshipping can really tell us that is going on in his mind and we therefore resort to CONTEXT to try and ascertain what is going on.
                      Scholarly bibles try to distinguish between the different types of ‘worship’ , thus, in the NAB Bible you will see that the Maji ‘paid homage ‘ to the infant Christ. (KJV = worship’)
                      Christ was never worshipped as God – and in Revelation Christ is seen to have rejected this type of worship. See Chapter 22v 9.
                      God Bless
                      John

                    • Sean Garrigan
                      September 21, 2015 @ 6:11 am

                      “‘Worship’ takes many forms , whether it be bowing down to a magistrate,
                      prostrating oneself to a king or paying homage… or worshipping the
                      Lord God Almighty…So what’s the difference?…The difference lies in the INTENTION of the worshipper.”

                      That is exactly right, John, and it answers how monotheistic Jews who believed that ‘worship’ in its fullest sense was only due to God could offer a single act of such ‘worship’ to both God and his King. I’m thinking of 1 Chron 29:20, where a single act of proskuneo was offered to both God and the King in a context where ‘worship’ was a necessary component of that act of obeisance.

                      How do we know that the obeisance there included the element of ‘worship’? Because (a) that act was a sort of ‘amen’ gesture offered at the end of a prayer, and (b) there was probably no context in which a congregation of ancient Jews would bow before YHWH in recognition of his sovereignty where that act did not constitute an act of worship in it’s fullest sense (although, see footnote).

                      Interestingly, the translators of the Amplified Bible understood that the agency paradigm is at work here, and offered this instructive paraphrase:

                      “20 And David said to all the assembly, Now adore (praise and thank) the
                      Lord your God! And all the assembly blessed the Lord, the God of their
                      fathers, and bowed down and did obeisance to the Lord and to the king
                      [as His earthly representative].”

                      So that single act of obeisance was *intended* in two ways, i.e. (a) as an act of worshipful recognition of God’s absolute sovereignty, and (b) as an act of worshipful recognition of the authority God conferred upon His earthly agent. I think that this is an important key to understanding the ‘worship’ given to Jesus, God’s Messianic King. If God and his king could be joint recipients of proskuneo without any suggestion of impropriety in an earthly setting (ibid), then I can see no reason why God and his King could not be joint recipients of proskuneo without any suggestion of impropriety in a heavenly setting (Rev. 5:1-14).

                      ~Sean

                      Footnote: Some, e.g. James McGrath and Ken Schenck, would suggest that animal sacrifice was the ‘fullest’ expression of ‘worhsip’, which constituted the absolute dividing line between what was only due to God and what could be given to God and his representatives. It is instructive, I think, that in the book of Revelation, where many would suggest that the ‘worship’ of Jesus seems most pronounced, he (Jesus) is “the lamb” that was sacrificed, not the God to whom the sacrifice is offered.

                    • John
                      September 21, 2015 @ 2:03 pm

                      Hi Sean,
                      A most useful analysis!
                      Thank you !
                      I particularly appreciate your thoughts on Larry Hurtado’s thesis.
                      I must admit that I tend to give little thought to his ‘gymnastics’ – he just keeps seeing what he wants to see!
                      The ultimate rationalist!
                      God Bless
                      John

                    • John
                      September 24, 2015 @ 1:53 pm

                      Hi Sean,
                      Forgive me for ‘sneaking in ‘ this comment -it’s not quite apposite!
                      You have noted Larry Hurtados interest in Revelation and I appreciate your observations (above).
                      I was reading Revelation this morning and was ‘struck’ with the observation that
                      Revelation 1v8 and Revelation 21v6 refer to Alpha and Omega Strongs 1 and 5598) while Revelation 1 verse 17 and Revelation 2 verse 8 use the words “the first and the last” – Greek “Protos’ and ‘eschatos’ nd 2078)
                      While “Alpha’ and ‘Omega’ undoubtedly refer to the Lord God Almighty,
                      “Protos’ and ‘eschatos’ – the one who died and came to life.
                      So much for the Trinitarian ‘take’ !
                      Blessings
                      John

                    • John
                      September 16, 2015 @ 12:48 am

                      Paul
                      Sorry, forgot to mention that the wise men were worshipping Christ as ‘ the King of the Jews”
                      Blessings
                      John

                    • John
                      September 16, 2015 @ 1:03 am

                      Hi Paul
                      Something went wrong with my post in that the text disappeared after sending.. so here goes again !
                      The Jews believed that angels were ‘superior’ to angels.
                      The author of Hebrews was surmising that in heaven Christ must now be ‘superior to the angels.’
                      You will note that the Greek word used for ‘worship’ here is ‘proskynesatosan’ which is derived from the verb ‘proskueno’ . This means ‘to prostrate before a superior’ or to do obesience’
                      You will notice that the word ‘latreou’ was not used.
                      God Bless
                      John

                    • Sean Garrigan
                      September 16, 2015 @ 3:44 am

                      “Why were the angels commanded to worship Jesus…”

                      I think that your KJV-onlyism is the problem, here, frankly. Angels and men can pay homage (proskuneo) to a king without any notion that the king is God.

                      ~Sean

                    • Matt13weedhacker
                      September 16, 2015 @ 4:53 am

                      Here’s some background info on Hebrews 1:6 that may not have been taken into Tri{3}nitarian calculation/evaluations.

                      Hebrews 1:6 quotes Deuteronomy 32:43.

                      Here’s what the oldest versions of Deuteronomy 32:43 say. Translation underneath the MSS names etc.

                      Deuteronomy 32:43 according to the recieved Hebrew MT., Masoretic Text circa. 900 C.E.

                      “…Let all [Heb., ( HA ELOHIM ) the gods] do obeisance…”

                      Deuteronomy 32:43 according to DSS., Dead Sea Scrolls manuscript 4QDt-j, circa. 100 B.C.E. – 78 C.E.

                      “…Let all [Heb., ( BENI ELOHIM ) Sons of God] do obeisance…”

                      Deuteronomy 32:43 according to DSS., Dead Sea Scrolls manuscript 4QDt-q, circa. 100 B.C.E. – 78 C.E.

                      “…Let all [Heb., ( BENI EL[OHIM] ) Sons of God] do obeisance…”

                      Deuteronomy 32:43 according to LXX Papyrus Fouad 266, (Rahlfs 848), circa. 100 B.C.E – 200 C.E.

                      “…Let all [Gk., ( HUIW[N THEOU] ) Sons of God] do obeisance…”

                      The implications lead to the possible, i.e. hypothetical, renderings underneath:

                      Hebrews 1:6 + Deuteronomy 32:43 MT Rendering

                      “…moreover when HE again brings HIS first born [“…Son…” = implied] into the inhabited earth, HE says: [Quoting Deuteronomy 32:43]: “And let all the [Masoretic Received Text: “…the God’s…”] do obeisance to him…”

                      Hebrews 1:6 + Deuteronomy 32:43 LXX Fouad 266

                      “…moreover when HE again brings HIS first born [“…Son…” = implied] into the inhabited earth, HE says: [Quoting Deuteronomy 32:43]: “And let all the [LXX Papyrus Fouad 266, Rahlfs 848: “…Sons of God…”] do obeisance to him…”

                      Hebrews 1:6 + Deuteronomy 32:43 DSS 4QDeut-j

                      “…moreover when HE again brings HIS first born [“…Son…” = implied] into the inhabited earth, HE says: [Quoting Deuteronomy 32:43]: “And let all the [Dead Sea Scrolls 4QDeut-j: “…the Sons of God…”] do obeisance to him…”

                      Hebrews 1:6 + Deuteronomy 32:43 DSS 4QDeut-q

                      “…moreover when HE again brings HIS first born [“…Son…” = implied] into the inhabited earth, HE says: [Quoting Deuteronomy 32:43]: “And let all the [Dead Sea Scrolls 4QDeut-q: “…the Sons of G[od]…”] do obeisance to him…”

                    • John
                      September 16, 2015 @ 10:05 am

                      Dear Matt,
                      A most informative post!
                      What are your thoughts on who the “Sons of God’ might be, given the OT setting?
                      Humans?
                      Davidic Kings?
                      Any thoughts on the difference between verse 7 and the OT text ?
                      God Bless you
                      John

                    • Rivers
                      September 16, 2015 @ 8:59 am

                      E.A.

                      The word UPOSTASIS in Hebrews 1:3 doesn’t mean “nature.” It means “confidence” or “assurance” (see Hebrews 3:14; Hebrews 11:1). Confidence and assurance are things that are gained or learned, they are not inherent to one’s nature or essence.

                      The writer said that Jesus Christ was “appointed heir of all things” (Hebrews 1:2) and that is why he became “the exact representation of God’s confidence” (Hebrews 1:3a) which simply means that Jesus was given full authority as a co-regent on God’s throne (Hebrews 1:3b-4). Jesus gained the confidence/assurance that “the world to come was subject to him” (Hebrews 2:5).

                      Please notice that “the radiance of God’s glory” (Hebrews 1:3a) is also associated with the “confidence.” This is because Jesus received a “body of glory” when he ascended into heaven (Philippians 3:21). This is the radiance of glory that Paul saw on the road when Jesus appeared to him (Acts 26:13-15).

                  • Matt13weedhacker
                    September 13, 2015 @ 3:01 pm

                    EA said: “Jesus was ‘in very nature God’ (Philippians 2:6 NIV2011)…”

                    Phillipians 2:6 doesn’t use the Greek word Gk., ( ????? ) “nature,” it uses Gk., ( ????? ) “form.”

                    Gk., ( ????? ) “nature” and Gk., ( ????? ) “form” are two different words are they not?

                    “Very” in the NIV2011 should not be there at all, or be in brackets. It’s paraphrase, and nothing more than retro-spective Tri{3}nitairan projectionism upon the English text. “Very” is not in the Greek at all, let alone Gk., ( ????? ) “nature”.

                    Here’s a link to Papyrus P46 (dated circa. 2nd-3rd Century C.E.) and the text of Phillipians 2, and see if you can spot Gk., ( ????? ) “nature” anywhere in Phil. 2:5?

                    http://www.earlybible.com/manuscripts/p46-Phi-4.html

                    • Sean Garrigan
                      September 13, 2015 @ 6:52 pm

                      “Phillipians 2:6 doesn’t use the Greek word Gk., ( ????? ) ‘nature,’ it uses Gk., ( ????? ) ‘form.'”

                      I get the feeling that “Evangelical Apologetics” is the new title of our local Trinitarian friend “Rose Brown”. If my suspicion is correct, then be forewarned that most here have given up on her. She exemplifies perfectly what I was talking about when I referred to trinitarianism as a form of presuppositional apologetic.

                      ~Sean

                    • Evangelical Apologetics
                      September 14, 2015 @ 8:11 am

                      Matt13,

                      There is no controversy at all.

                      The Greek word ????? has more than one meaning. It can mean either ‘appearance’ or ‘nature’ or ‘status’ depending on the context it is used.

                      Both Philippians 2:6 and Philippians 2:7 have ????? in them.

                      Philippians 2:6 who, being in the ????? of God

                      Philippians 2:7 having taken the ????? of a slave

                      The Greek word ????? in these texts can possess all the meanings it has.

                      Christ has the appearance of God (Rev. 1:13-17)
                      Christ has the status of God (Matthew 18:18,Philippians 2:9)
                      Christ has the nature of God (Colossians 2:9;Hebrews 1:3)

                      In 1 Corinthians 8:4-6, Paul talked about idols as gods. In Galatians 4:8, Paul said that they are ‘not gods by nature’ (?????). Christians can ‘participate’ (take part) in the divine nature (?????) in 2 Peter 1:4 but the Lord Jesus Christ is the exact imprint of his (God’s) nature (?????????) in Hebrews 1:3.

                  • Rivers
                    September 13, 2015 @ 9:36 pm

                    E.A.,

                    When it says “the fullness of deity in a body” (Colossians 2:9) it is referring to the “church” as the “fullness of God” (and not the nature or physical form of the human Jesus). If you read the following verse, it says that Jesus is the “head” (Colossians 2:10).

                    Jesus cannot be the “head” of his own physical body. Jesus is the “head” of the “body” that is the “church.” See Colossians 1:18 and Colossians 2:19, as well as Ephesians 5:23.

                    • Evangelical Apologetics
                      September 14, 2015 @ 7:46 am

                      Rivers,

                      When it says “the fullness of deity in a body” (Colossians 2:9) it is referring to the “church” as “the body” (and not the nature or physical form of the human Jesus). If you read the following verse, it says that Jesus is the “head” (Colossians 2:10)

                      What do you mean by ‘deity’ (????????) in Colossians 2:9?

                      If the adverb ‘bodily’ in Colossians 2:9 means the ‘church’ ,then, do you mean that ‘in Christ dwells all the fullness of deity in the church’?

                    • Rivers
                      September 14, 2015 @ 2:45 pm

                      E.A.,

                      There’s a very similar passage in Ephesians where Paul explains that “the CHURCH, which is HIS BODY, the FULNESS of Him (God) who fills all in all” (Ephesians 1:22-23). The relationship of the words here shows that Paul spoke of “the church” as a “body” being “the fullness of God.” Moreover, Christ is the “head” of this “body” (Ephesians 1:22).

                      I think this is the same thing Paul said in Colossians 2:9-10. Thus, I don’t think this text has any ramifications for the “incarnation” or the Trinity doctrine. It’s being taken completely out of context among those who are using it to debate the “nature” of Jesus Christ.

                      The forms of the words don’t really matter. For example, I can say “I injured my body in a car crash” or “I suffered bodily injury in a car crash” and it means the same thing. Likewise, Paul could use nouns and adverbs when referring to the same concept. It’s just a different manner of speaking.

                    • Evangelical Apologetics
                      September 15, 2015 @ 2:08 am

                      Rivers,

                      I agree.

                      The church (i.e. the body) IS the fullness of God.~ Ephesians 1:22-23

                      church = body
                      body = fullness of God

                      Christ is the “head” of this “body” (Ephesians 1:22).

                      However, Colossians 2:9 says something different.

                      In Him [JESUS] is dwelling all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.

                      The adverb ‘bodily’ (?????????) tells us how the divine essence dwells in Jesus Christ.

                    • Miguel de Servet
                      September 15, 2015 @ 3:30 am

                      E.A.

                      The church (i.e. the body) IS the fullness of God.~ Ephesians 1:22-23

                      There is a strong parallel between Ephesians 1:22-23 and 1 Corinthians 15:27-28. More, the expression ????? ?? ????? is identical in both Eph 1:23 and 1 Cor 15:28.

                      However, Colossians 2:9 says something different.

                      It does indeed, because …

                      “For in him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily …”

                      … speaks uequivocally of Jesus Christ’s divinity.

                      This is a real embarassment for all those who, with the excuse of rejecting the “trinity” and/or the “pre-existence”, deny the full divinity of Jesus Christ, alongside his full humanity.

                    • Sean Garrigan
                      September 15, 2015 @ 4:19 am

                      “This is a real embarassment for all those who, with the excuse of
                      rejecting the “trinity” and/or the “pre-existence”, deny the full
                      divinity of Jesus Christ, alongside his full humanity.”

                      I don’t see why it would be an embarrassment for anyone, personally. God can dwell in a literal temple, or on a mountain, or in a man. That doesn’t make the temple, the mountain, or the man “fully divine”.

                      ~Sean

                    • Miguel de Servet
                      September 15, 2015 @ 5:03 am

                      God can dwell in a literal temple, or on a mountain, or in a man. That doesn’t make the temple, the mountain, or the man “fully divine”.

                      First, Paul does not explicitly mention (probably was not even aware of) the virgin conception, but Luke 1:35 and Col 2:9 allude in different ways to the full divinity of Jesus.

                      Second, see how many things Sean tries to say about Jesus, at the same time: 1. a “pre-existing spirit being” turned into (the man) Jesus; 2. “God can dwell … in a man”, and Jesus is that sort of man.

                      Methinks Sean’s Jesus is a most peculiar man …

                    • John
                      September 15, 2015 @ 4:50 am

                      Hi E.A.
                      You quote Colossians 2 v 9 “In Him dwells the fullness of the Godhead bodily’
                      Yes and the following verse (10) states
                      “.. and you (believers) share this fullness with him”
                      Blessings
                      John

                    • Evangelical Apologetics
                      September 15, 2015 @ 10:08 am

                      Hello John,

                      I don’t think that verse 10 in Greek includes the pronoun ‘this.’

                      Colossians 2:10 and you have been filled by him who is the head over all ruler and power.

                    • John
                      September 15, 2015 @ 1:24 pm

                      Hi E.A.
                      There are translational variations.
                      Consult Strongs Greek Ref 4137.
                      “Pleroo’ – to fill, to fulfil, to completely fill
                      Now look specifically at ‘pepleromenoi’
                      There are 3 occurances in the NT
                      Romans 15v14
                      ‘filled with goodness”
                      Philippians 1 v 11
                      ‘being filled with fruits’
                      Colossians 2 v 10
                      Well, we have some options!
                      The NAB which I trust says “you share this fullness in Him..”
                      NIV “You have been brought to fullness’
                      ESV “you are complete”
                      ESV ” You have been filled with Him..”
                      Are you suggesting that there is some other type of fullness?
                      I think not!
                      God Bless You
                      John
                      Surely plain language indicates that the fullness which dwells in Christ also fills or dwells in believers?

                    • Rivers
                      September 15, 2015 @ 8:38 am

                      E.A.,

                      I don’t agree that the adverb makes any difference in Colossians 2:9-10 because the context has nothing to do with the human body of Jesus Christ. Using a noun (body) or adverb (bodily) is nothing more than a different manner of speaking about the same thing. Moreover, Jesus cannot be the “head” of his own physical body (Colossians 2:10).

                    • Evangelical Apologetics
                      September 15, 2015 @ 9:56 am

                      Rivers,

                      Colossians 2:9 in him [JESUS]dwells all the fullness (pleroma) of the Godhead bodily

                      Colossians 2:10 and (kai) you [the church, Christ’s body] have been filled (pleroma) by Him [JESUS], who is the head [of you i.e. the church, Christ’s body] over every ruler and authority.

                      The texts clearly have different contexts. The former talks about Christ being full of the divine essence (theotetos) while the latter talks about the church being full of Christ.

                    • Rivers
                      September 16, 2015 @ 12:46 am

                      E.A.,

                      Paul already identified “the fullness of God” with the reconciliation of the people in the church (Colossians 1:19). The context of Colossians 2 continues the same theme. There’s no indication that Paul was suddenly talking about the nature of Jesus himself in the middle of that context.

                      I also don’t think it’s reasonable to suggest that there are two different “contexts” in Colossians 2:9 and Colossians 2:10 (especially since Paul seems to be continuing the same thought with both verses). How could “context” change in the middle of a thought?

                    • Evangelical Apologetics
                      September 17, 2015 @ 7:55 am

                      Rivers,

                      I’m talking about the immediate contexts of the texts in question.The former talks about Christ being full of the divine essence (theotetos) while the latter talks about the church being full of Christ.

                    • Rivers
                      September 17, 2015 @ 8:41 am

                      E.A.,

                      I understand that. But, you are arbitrarily defining QEOTHTOS as “divine essence” without anything from the context to substantiate it. The word doesn’t appear anywhere else in biblical Greek so there is nothing else to work with.

                      If you look at how Paul repeats “in him (Christ)” in Colossians 2:9 and Colossians 2:10 and Colossians 2:11, it’s evident that he is taking about believers being “in Christ” and not “divine essence.”

                      Moreover, the closest thing we have to the language in Colossians 2;9-10 is Ephesians 1:22-23 where it is obvious that the “fullness of God” is referring to “the church, which is his body.”

                    • Evangelical Apologetics
                      September 19, 2015 @ 6:28 am

                      Rivers,

                      Colossians 2:8-10 (KJV)
                      8 Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
                      9 For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.
                      10 And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:

                      It’s explicit that in Christ [ not in Christians] dwells all the fullness (not just some) of God’s nature bodily.

                      2 Peter 1:4 (KJV)
                      4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

                      2 Peter 1:4 is explicit that Christians [not Christ] partakes (take part) in the divine nature.

                    • Miguel de Servet
                      September 19, 2015 @ 6:56 am

                      Then there is this:

                      And when all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will be subjected to the one who subjected everything to him, so that God may be all in all. (1 Cor 15:28)

                      … which is explicit that God will be “all in all” (????? ?? ?????).

                      But that will only happen at the general judgment and resurrection.

                    • Rivers
                      September 19, 2015 @ 5:28 pm

                      E.A.

                      I agree, but Paul ALWAYS uses the term “in Christ” as a figurative reference to Christians being a part of “the body of Christ” (i.e. the church). There is no reason to make “in Christ” mean anything different in Colossians 2:9 especially when Jesus is said to be the figurative “head” in Colossians 2:10.

                      Yes, all believers will “become partakers of the divine nature” (2 Peter 1:4). However, if you look at the context, this is speaking of the resurrection “power” that was yet to be attained through the “promise” of eternal life (which was not yet fulfilled). Even Jesus Christ was “not yet glorified” while he was on earth (John 7:39).

                      At most, 2 Peter 1:4 would be referring to the holy spirit “power” (Acts 1:8) which is the “guarantee” of future participation in the immortality of God (Romans 8:11; Ephesians 1:12-13).

                    • Evangelical Apologetics
                      September 24, 2015 @ 5:36 am

                      Rivers,

                      I don’t know what semantic range or grammatical structure are you using to exegete Colossians 2:9 but one thing is for sure. Colossians 2:9 does not portray the church as the subject in whom dwells all the fullness of the Godhead.

                      Paraphrasing Colossians 2:9 to reflect your understanding of it is absurd at best:

                      Colossians 2:9 does not say ” [You who are] in Christ , [in you] dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily [ in your body].

                      It contradicts 2 Peter 1:4 wherein it is said that Christians ‘partake’ (take part) in the divine nature.

                      Only Christ has the whole fullness of God’s nature.

                      Even Biblical Unitarians believe that only Christ is the subject of Colossians 2:9. They interpreted the divine essence as the Holy Spirit who was given to Christ alone without measure.

                    • Rivers
                      September 24, 2015 @ 8:47 am

                      E.A.

                      There is no word “godhead” anywhere in biblical Greek. Moreover, you are proposing an interpretation of Colossians 2:9 that is contrary to the way Paul used the term “in Christ” in every other occurrence.

                      You are also ignoring the following verse (context) which says that Jesus Christ is the “head” of the body (Colossians 2:10). Christ as “head” is always used by Paul with reference to the “church” as the “body.” Jesus as the “head” of his own physical body makes no sense.

                      2 Peter 1:4 (QEIOS, adjective) is not using the same word as Colossians 2:9 (QEOTHS, noun) and I don’t know why you would want to connect these two passages because it proves too much. I don’t know any Trinitarians or deity of Christ fanatics who would want to suggest that “the fullness of the Godhead” indwells the physical body of every Christian.

                      Yes, there are other biblicial unitarians who might accept your interpretation of Colossians 2:9 because they are not interpreting the language correctly either. But, I can only answer for myself.

                    • Miguel de Servet
                      September 24, 2015 @ 11:40 am

                      Yes, there are other biblicial unitarians who might accept your interpretation of Colossians 2:9 because they are not interpreting the language correctly either.

                      What incredible chutzpah!

                    • Evangelical Apologetics
                      September 28, 2015 @ 6:52 am

                      Rivers,

                      In biblical Greek, theotetos means ‘the state of being God.’ In English, the word ‘Godhead’ (God-ness) faithfully translates the Greek.

                      Colossians 2:9 says that in Christ does tabernacle all the fulness of the Godhead bodily

                      In Colossians 2:10, the Christians (…and YOU…) are filled with Christ who is the head over all rule and authority.

                      Colossians 2:9 is about Christ being entirely filled with theotetos
                      Colossians 2 :10 is about Christians being filled with christos

                      Why do you disagree that in Jesus dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily?

                      The way you understand Colossians 2:9 is completely out of context. What is your basis in your insistence that Colossians 2:9 does not talk about the divine identity and divine nature of the Lord Jesus Christ?

                    • Rivers
                      September 28, 2015 @ 12:22 pm

                      E.A.

                      The term QEOTHTOS occurs only once in the writings of the apostles. On what basis are you presuming it must mean “the state of being God” in Colossians 2:9? Which of the biblical writers ever defined the term that way in Greek? How can you claim it means “Godhead” in English when you are making up your own “Greek” definition of the term?

                      I understand your reading of Colossians 2:9-10, but you are missing the relationship between the uses of “fullness” in both verses. Paul refers to the “body” as the “fullness” (PLHRWMA) in Colossians 2:9 and then idenfities the “church” (plural “you”) as “completed” (PLHROW) in Christ in Colossians 2:10.

                      Thus, it is the people to whom Paul is speaking that are the “fullness of God bodily” and Jesus Christ is the “head” of that “body”, which is the “church.” Paul just said the same thing in Colossians 1:18-19, as well as Ephesians 1:22-23. There’s nothing in the context of these passages that has anything do to with the “nature” of Jesus Christ as a person.

                    • Evangelical Apologetics
                      September 29, 2015 @ 12:21 am

                      Rivers,

                      Paul used the word ‘body'(Gk. Soma) in his letter to the Colosisians with different meanings:

                      Col. 1:18,24 body — figuratively (the church)
                      Col. 1:22 body of flesh– literally ( Physical body)
                      Col. 2:9 bodily — literally ( physical body )
                      Colossians 2:11 body of flesh of sin –metaphorically (whole mass of sin condition)
                      Col. 2:17 — figuratively ( corpus)

                      There is already an antecedent for regarding soma(tikos) as Christ’s physical body in the Colossian epistle ( cf. Col. 1:22; Col.2:9). Remember that the original writings do not contain chapter and verses divisions.

                      The folowing are the scholars who support the consensus view of theotoes, Lightfoot, (“The totality of the divine powers and attributes”), Trench (“all the fullness of absolute Godhead…He was, and is, absolute and perfect God”), Bengal (“not merely the Divine attributes, but the Divine Nature itself”), Moule (“as strong as possible; Deity, not only Divinity”), Reymond (“the being of the very essence of deity”), Warfield (“the very deity of God, that which makes God God, in all its completeness”), and Thayer (“deity, that is the state of being God, Godhead”).

                      Note that Thayer himself is a unitarian!

                    • Rivers
                      September 29, 2015 @ 8:48 am

                      E.A.,

                      Thanks for the reply. Here are my thoughts:

                      1. I think the fact that Paul specifically uses “flesh” with “body” in Colossians 1:22 and Colossians 2:11 (to designate a literal use of “body”) suggests that he is not speaking of the physical body of Jesus in Colossians 2:9. Thus, I don’t think this helps your view.

                      2. Colossians 2:9-10 associates “fullness” and “head” and “body” as does Colossians 1:18-24. Thus, I think you are ignoring the contextual elements of Colossians 2:9-10 that show Paul was also using “fullness” and “head” and “body” figuratively as in Colossians 1:18, 24. Taking the relationship of words into account is important to making the proper interpretation in both passages.

                      3. Why would you claim that “fleshly body” in Colossians 1:22 is an “antecedent” to “body” in Colossians 2:9 when Paul referred to the “his body, the church” in Colossians 1:24? Colossians 2:9 doesn’t even refer to any “fleshly body” either.

                      4. I’m not concerned about the opinion of the handful of scholars you’ve cited. There are others who disagree with them. If I cited a few of the others, are you going to change your mind on the basis of their opinion?

                    • Evangelical Apologetics
                      October 2, 2015 @ 8:23 am

                      Rivers,

                      1. Paul exactly portray that the subject is the receiver of the codition.

                      In him (Christ) dwells all the fulness of the Godhead bodily (ASV)

                      In whom dwells all the fulness of the Godhead bodily? The answer is ‘Christ.’

                      Therefore, the body refers to the physical body of Christ himself.

                      Colossians 1:22 body of flesh ( literal)

                      Colossians 2:11 body of flesh (figurative)

                      If Paul could use ?????? ??? ?????? both literally and figuratively in the same epistle, why won’t it be used with soma?

                      Colossians 1:18/ Colossians 2:9 / Colossians 2:17

                      2. I think that you’re the one who’s ignoring the context:

                      Ephesians 1:23 The body IS the fullness of Christ (who is all and in all).

                      Colossians 2:9 The Godhead is (all the) fullness of Christ (dwelling in Him).

                      Colossians 2:10 is clear that Christians are full of Christ (who is head of all rule and authority)

                      That is, Colossians 2:10 (not Colossians 2:9) coheres with Ephesians 1:23.

                      It would be very nonsensical to interpret Colossians 2:9 to speak of the church as the subject.

                      3. In Him is dwelling all the fullness of the Godhead

                      In Christ Jesus dwells the entire/ complete state/condition of being God

                      in what manner does it dwell? Paul says ‘ somatikos.’ (bodily or in a body adv.)

                      Colossians 2:9 is clearly speaking of the incarnate Deity. Colossians 2:9 is telling us that Jesus Christ is God himself subsisting in a human body.

                      4. It’s not just a mere opinion but an educated research and in fact, the consensus on what ‘theotetos’ means in Colossians 2:9.

                      The folowing are the scholars who support the consensus view of theotoes, Lightfoot, (“The totality of the divine powers and attributes”), Trench (“all the fullness of absolute Godhead…He was, and is, absolute and perfect God”), Bengal (“not merely the Divine attributes, but the Divine Nature itself”), Moule (“as strong as possible; Deity, not only Divinity”), Reymond (“the being of the very essence of deity”), Warfield (“the very deity of God, that which makes God God, in all its completeness”), and Thayer (“deity, that is the state of being God, Godhead”).

                    • Rivers
                      October 2, 2015 @ 9:09 am

                      E.A.,

                      I think I already replied to this comment the other day.

                      I don’t think your interpretation of Colossians 2:9-10 takes all of the exegetical evidence into account. You seem to be isolating Colossians 2:9 and then trying to force the words “fullness” and “bodily” to refer only to Jesus Christ himself without taking into account how Paul used “head” to refer to Jesus himself in the rest of the sentence (Colossians 2:10). Jesus cannot be the “head” of himself (or his own fleshly body).

                      The evidence shows that whenever Paul refers to Jesus Christ as the “head” then the related terms “fullness” and “body” refer to the “church.” He’s already made this connection in Colossians 1:18-19 and does so again in Ephesians 1:22-23.

                      Even Paul’s reference to “the fullness of God” in Ephesians 3:19 can be taken to refer to the church (as a unity of Jews and gentiles). There is no reason to insist that “the fullness of God in a body” has anything to do with the ontological substance of Jesus Christ himself.

                      Of course, if you want to fall back on a selective appeal to certain “scholars” who favor your own view, I can respect that. Every one should consider the evidence for himself and make up his own mind. 🙂

                    • Evangelical Apologetics
                      October 3, 2015 @ 4:11 am

                      Rivers,

                      Colossians 2:9 does not talk about the church, the body of Jesus Christ. Rather, the evidence points to the nature and identity of Jesus Christ as God in a body.

                      Yes. Christ is not the head of his own body. Neither Colossians 2:9 nor Colossians 2:10 says anything like that.In Colossians 2:10, the pronoun ‘you’ (the church), being ‘filled’ (of Christ) , who is the ‘head’ of it.

                      It’s as if you’re saying that the church in Colossians 2:9 is the ‘fullness of God’when in fact both Colossians 2:10 and Ephesians 1:23 speak of the church as the ‘fullness of Christ’ and ‘filled of Christ.’

                      Those certain ‘scholars’ have contributed to biblical hermeneutics; their works are useful for biblical exegesis.Consider Thayer (a Unitarian) who is not bias. He knew that theotetos denotes ‘the state of being God, Godhead.’

                      The text reads “In Him dwells all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.” How do you read Colossians 2:9? Could you paraphrase it?

                    • Rivers
                      October 3, 2015 @ 3:51 pm

                      E.A.,

                      OK, here’s how I would paraphrase Colossians 2:9-10 which shows how I am reading it differently than you do:

                      COL 2:9 …”For in him [in Christ] dwells all the fullness [the people] of God in bodily form [the church, the body of Christ]

                      COL 2:10 … and in him [in Christ] you [the church] have been made complete and he [Christ] is the head of all rule and authority [in the church, the body of Christ]”

                      I think what you are misunderstanding is that it is “the fullness of God” (i.e. all the people of God) who dwell in Christ (i.e. in the church, which is the body).

                      This reading is consistent with the context, as well as the way Paul used “fullness” and “body” and “head” and “in Christ” to refer to the people who comprise the “church.” I don’t ‘see any reason to think that his language refers to the physical nature or essence of Jesus Christ himself.

                    • Evangelical Apologetics
                      October 5, 2015 @ 6:48 am

                      Rivers,

                      Thank you. It’s now clear what your POV is.

                      It’s now clear how your view misses the substance of the text.

                      You easily dismiss the word ‘Godhead’ , ‘the Deity’ in the text.

                      theotetos and theiotes are not only different in spelling but in meaning as well.

                      Earlier in the epistle, Christ is said to be prior in all things, that is, Christ was there before all creation began because in, through and by Him all things were created (Colossians 1:15-17). Indeed, such a protological role and condition exalt Jesus above all creation. His supremacy over the church is tackled as well (Colossians 1:18-19).

                      Paul viewed Christ as the source of all wisdom and knowledge indicating that true gnosis is found in Him (Colossians 2:3).

                      In Colossians 2:8-9, Paul underscores Christ’s supremacy even more because not only Christ is the origin of all things whether creation or redemption or knowledge but also the one in whom dwells all the fulness of the Godhead.

                      Bottom line: Christ’s supremacy is what makes him all sufficient.

                      See for yourself how Paul evinced Christ’s supreme being and power:

                      Col. 1:16-17 Christ is above all things.
                      Col. 1:18-19 Christ is above new creation.
                      Col. 2:3 Christ has all wisdom/knowledge
                      Col. 2:9 Christ has all the fullness of the Godhead
                      Col. 2:10 Christ is above all authority and rule

                      So, you see, everything points to Christ. Paul’s aim is to exalt Christ against every form of belief and practice that put Christ on the level with angelic intermediaries.

                      Truly, the church is Christ’s body but your opinion on Colossians 2:9 is shallow at best. You have not considered the overall context of the text in question. That’s what makes ???????? semantically stronger in upholding High Christology.

                    • Rivers
                      October 5, 2015 @ 11:45 am

                      E.A.
                      Thanks for continuing the dialogue. Here are my responses to your latest points:

                      1. I’m not “dismissing” the word QEOTHTOS (“deity”?) at all. I accounted for it in the translation you asked for. I just don’t think you are giving an accurate definition of the term. I think Paul plainly defined what he mean by “fullness of God” when he explicitly identified it with “the church body” of people when using similar language elsewhere (Ephesians 1:23).

                      2. I also don’t think Colossians 1:15-18 has anything to do with Jesus existing “before [the Genesis] creation.” I think the context of Colossians 1:14-20 indicates that Paul is speaking of what was “created” as a result of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Jesus is “the firstborn of all creation” (Colossians 1:15) because he became “the firstborn from among the dead” (Colossians 1:18).

                      3. I don’t agree with the connection you are making between “knowledge” and “the fullness of deity” in Colossians 2:8-9. I think it’s more likely that the “knowledge” refer to the understanding that Jews and gentiles were all eligible for inclusion in the “fullness of God” (i.e. the church). The context of Colossians 2 is about “judging” others according to the Law of Moses and not about the nature or essence of Jesus Christ himself.

                      4. I don’t have a problem with what you’re saying about Jesus “supreme being and power” in Colossians 1-2 except that Paul is talking about what happened “through” the death and resurrection of Christ (Colossians 1:18-20) and not about his personal nature or essence.

                      5. You don’t have to agree with the perspective I’ve offered on the meaning of Colossians 2:9-10. Every one can consider the exegetical evidence for himself and make up his own mind. I can understand why a Trinitarian would prefer your interpretation, but I don’t think it’s plausible.

                    • Evangelical Apologetics
                      October 10, 2015 @ 7:35 am

                      Rivers,

                      Certainly, Colossians 1:15-17 talk about the Genesis creation, that Jesus Christ preceded all things, that ‘the Son of his love’ was before all creation for all things were created in, by and for Him.

                      The whole point of the Colossian epistle is to exalt Christ in both status and role, essence and nature. Christ is above all creation.There are no creature-intermediary that is equal to Christ.

                      You fail to take into account that ???????? should be understood in light of that preeminence which Christ alone has. How could someone function as God if that someone is not God by nature? Sure, an emissary could but Christ is not merely an agent but himself, fully God.

                      “In Him doth tabernacle all the fulness of the Godhead bodily” (Colossians 2:9 ASV).

                      Furthermore, Colossians 2:8 would be compromised if you would insist that Colossians 2:9 talked about the church. The subject of Colossians 2:9 is the antecedent of Colossians 2:8. It wasn’t until Colossians 2:10 when the church was tackled as being filled with Christ. The chruch is Christo-centric as Colossians 2:8-10 show. Other than that would be an eisegesis.

                      Indeed, your interpretation that the church is the ‘fulness of the Godhead’ holds no water.

                    • Rivers
                      October 10, 2015 @ 7:58 am

                      E.A.,

                      1. I agree that one point of Colossians is to describe the exalted role of Jesus Christ. However, it was written after the resurrection. Thus, everything Paul says about Christ can be interpreted in that historical context. Preexistence and Incarnation aren’t necessary to explain anything Paul said in that book.

                      2. I do interpret QEOTHTOS in the context of the preeminence of Jesus. That is why I pointed out that Colossians 2:9-10 is referring to Christ Jesus being the “head” of the church “body” which represents “the fullness of God.” See also Ephesians 1:22-23.

                      3. Nothing is “compromised” in Colossians 2:8 because “the fullness of God bodily” refers to Jews and gentiles together in Christ. The previous context is about be careful not to judge between circumcised and uncircumcised believers on the basis of the Law of Moses.

                    • Evangelical Apologetics
                      October 10, 2015 @ 8:23 am

                      Rivers,

                      Paul touches the resurrection of Christ in Colossians 1:18-19. You can’t interpret Colossians 1:15-17 in light of the resurrection or else, are you suggesting that the angels are “new creation” just like the “believers”?

                      The ‘fulness of the Godhead’ is certainly not about the one new man i.e. the church. The church is the ‘fulness of Christ’ ( Ephesians 1:23) and Christ has all the fullness of the Godhead (Colossians 2:9).

                    • Rivers
                      October 10, 2015 @ 7:02 pm

                      E.A.

                      1. I don’t agree because Paul’s comments in Colossians 1:15-17 fall between his comment about “redemption” (Colossians 1:14) and “firstborn from among the dead” and “reconciliation through the blood of the cross” (Colossians 1:18-20). Thus, I think it is more consistent with the context to look for an interpretation of “created through him” that fits into that historical context.

                      2. I don’t think your view is plausible because the same language and context is found in both Colossians 2:9-10 and Ephesians 1:22-23 but you are arbitrarily trying to interpret them differently. I don’t think this is a good exegetical or logical approach. However, I can understand why an Evangelical would favor your interpretation of Colossians 2:9-10.

                    • Evangelical Apologetics
                      October 27, 2015 @ 3:10 am

                      Rivers,

                      1. It wasn’t until verse 18 when Paul started to introduce the body of Christ as the church. The inclusion of both creation and redemption in the scope of God’s activity through Christ was a direct influence of Wisdom Theology that was prevalent in first century Judaism.

                      2. Colossians 2:9 is speaking of The Godhead dwelling in Christ BODILY.

                      The interpretation that the Lord Jesus is both God and Man in Colossians 2:9 is cogent.

                      In HIM(one singly person) dwells all the fullness of DEITY (divine) BODILY (human). ~ Colossians 2:9 (ESV)

                      For IN HIM(Jesus Christ)dwells ALL the fullness of The Godhead IN BODILY form.

                    • Rivers
                      October 27, 2015 @ 9:09 am

                      E.A.,

                      1. Whenever Paul uses “body” and “head” and “fullness” today, he is speaking of the “church.” The same is true in Colossians 2:9-10. If you read the context, the subject is not Jesus himself. The subject is the Colossians being “in Christ.”

                      2. Interpreting Colossians 2:9-10 as referring to a “God-man” has no support from the context or the language that Paul used. The context is about the disciples of Jesus Christ being “in Christ” without any need for the Law of Moses. It is not a discussion about the ontology of Jesus himself.

                      I can understand why this text is so important to your Evangelical doctrine. However, sound exegesis requires that we consider context and word usage when interpreting a passage. Paul didn’t use “the fullness of God” or “body” and “head” to refer to Jesus himself. He always used that language when figuratively referring to the “church” as the “body of Christ.” Evangelicals simply isolate this text and misconstrue the meaning.

                    • Sean Garrigan
                      October 10, 2015 @ 9:20 am

                      “Colossians 2:9 does not talk about the church, the body of Jesus Christ.
                      Rather, the evidence points to the nature and identity of Jesus Christ
                      as God in a body.”

                      If God can dwell on a mountain or in a temple, then why can’t he dwell in a man?

                      ~Sean

                    • Evangelical Apologetics
                      September 24, 2015 @ 5:59 am

                      Rivers,

                      The Holy Spirit is not God’s power. The Bible itself tells us that the Holy Spirit has power.

                    • John
                      September 17, 2015 @ 12:00 pm

                      E.A.
                      You are going against so many other scriptures in which believers are said to partake of the divine nature!
                      See 2 Peter 1 v 4 “He has bestowed upon us great and precious promises .. so that through Him you might share the divine nature”
                      Similar statements in 1 Corinthians chapter 15.
                      Your ‘disconnect’ between Colossians 2 verse 9 and v 10
                      is really ‘clutching at straws’
                      God Bless You
                      John

                    • Rivers
                      September 17, 2015 @ 3:03 pm

                      John,

                      Good point. I think E.A. also has a problem with Ephesians 3:19 where even “the fullness of God” is attributed to all believers. I think we have to be careful not to isolate one particular text and insist on a particular meaning of word.

                    • Evangelical Apologetics
                      September 15, 2015 @ 10:20 am

                      Rivers,

                      Col 2:9 for in him [JESUS] dwells all the fullness (pleroma) of the Godhead bodily..

                      Col 2:10 and you have been filled (pleroma) by him [JESUS], who is the head of all ruler and power.

                      Different texts with its own context.The former tells us that Christ is full of the divine essence while the latter speaks of the church being full of Christ.

        • John
          September 9, 2015 @ 11:23 am

          Sean,
          Some excellent points!
          I cannot fathom Paul Anchors easy dismissal of my points.
          I guess it’s just easy to keep saying ‘I don’t agree’ without giving reasons.
          God Bless you
          John

          • Paul Anchor
            September 9, 2015 @ 4:52 pm

            John,

            Give me a reason first to agree with your assertions.

            Some kind of syllogism perhaps.

            If it’s not too much to ask.

            Where are your axioms coming from?

            Paul

            • John
              September 10, 2015 @ 2:10 am

              Hi Paul
              Syllogisms are dangerous especially when referring to qualities and inanimate objects.
              HOWEVER
              We can derive meaningful syllogisms when it comes to specific identities.
              Trinitarians say that God = three persons sharing one divine nature
              Trinitarians say that Christ = God
              Therefore Christ = three persons sharing one divine nature.
              or
              IF God = the Father and
              the Father ==/= the son then
              the Son ==/== God.
              Paul you can label me as you wish but I am a seeker after truth. I began my quest after someone commented to me that if Christ has revealed himself as God, this would have been the most momentous moment in history – and the bible would not have been written as it was. All the ‘who do you say that I am’? type statements would never appear!
              I simply say that ‘there is one God who is our Father and Jesus Christ is his Son”?
              The Trinitarian view is extreme rationalisation and relies on one absurd ‘doctrine’ piled on another – and when that fails lets declare it to be a mystery ( a man made one no less)and ‘go out to lunch’.
              God Bless
              John

      • Paul Anchor
        September 9, 2015 @ 8:13 am

        Hi John,

        These are all just your assertions without any proof of any kind.

        Just your opinions.

        I don’t share them.

        Blessings,

        Paul

      • Paul Anchor
        September 9, 2015 @ 5:14 pm

        “I’m sure you are aware that ‘divinity ‘ refers to ‘nature’ and not ‘identity’.”

        Why? Let me in to the secret. Don’t keep it to yourself. I want to be a gnostic too.

        • John
          September 10, 2015 @ 1:55 am

          Hi Paul,
          Simple!
          Nature is WHAT we are
          Identity is WHO we are -our unique DNA as it were.
          The fact that you and Adolf Hitler posess a human nature does not make you Adolf Hitler!
          Blessings
          John

          • Paul Anchor
            September 12, 2015 @ 7:39 am

            Hi John,

            you said “The fact that you and Adolf Hitler posess a human nature does not make you Adolf Hitler!”

            I’m pleased to hear that!

            In reply to your comment I take the simple route because Sean’s explanation is too much work for my brain and too complicated/abstract.

            you said: “I’m sure you are aware that ‘divinity ‘ refers to ‘nature’ and not ‘identity’.”

            “Nature is WHAT we are
            Identity is WHO we are -our unique DNA as it were.”

            In reply I would say that the identity depends upon nature. The identity is caused by the nature. You cannot separate cause from effect.

            You can identify something by it’s attributes or nature and it’s identity in relation to other beings which share those attributes. So the nature of a thing determines it’s identity both in a relational and a non-relational way.

            God’s identity before he created anything is his immutable nature. God’s identity after creation is his identity in relation to what he has created. So identity cannot be decoupled from nature.

            Was God divine before he created anything? Yes, unless he changed at creation. If so that belongs to his nature. If so that determines his identity.

            • John
              September 13, 2015 @ 2:07 am

              Hi Paul
              My mind cannot comprehend what ‘things’ looked like before God existed – and I try to avoid metaphysical speculation.
              You ask “was God divine before He created everything”? – of course, ‘divine’ means ‘of God’ and God was always God.
              I entirely agree with you when you assert that ‘nature determines identity’
              The source of the divine nature can only be God by identity.
              But this is just one aspect of God’s identity-
              God had a ‘first-born son’ among many things.
              Christ had no son.
              Just examples of course !
              God Bless
              John

        • Roman
          September 11, 2015 @ 3:35 am

          That made me laugh :), theological debates don’t usually make me laugh but that did, Kudos.

        • Sean Garrigan
          September 11, 2015 @ 5:07 am

          “Why? Let me in to the secret. Don’t keep it to yourself. I want to be a gnostic too.”

          It shouldn’t be a “secret” to anyone who understands how English words function. “Divinity” can function as either a count noun or as a mass/abstract noun. When you say “The Divinity I worship is all knowing, all loving, all powerful, and his name is YHWH”, you are using it as a count noun. When you say “the divinity of Jesus Christ” you are using it as a mass/abstract noun. Mass/abstract nouns describe the nature of something or someone, not the identify of something or someone.

          Gnosticism has nothing to do with it.

          ~Sean

      • Evangelical Apologetics
        September 12, 2015 @ 4:39 am

        @John, Your stance is like the Orthodox teaching on the Trinity. If it were, then, that would be great! I don’t have a problem with that. I agree that the Father and the Son are two persons who have the same nature. The Father begat the Son and the Son is begotten by God. The Son had an origin but not beginning of existence.

        Athenagoras ( A.D. 177)
        wrote:

        “We acknowledge one God,
        uncreated, eternal, invisible, impassable [i.e., not subject to suffering],
        incomprehensible, illimitable … by whom the universe has been created through
        his Logos … We acknowledge also a Son of God. Nor let anyone think it
        ridiculous that God should have a Son … the Son of God is the Logos of the Father.
        If … it occurs to you to inquire what is meant by the Son, I will state briefly
        that **he is the first product of the Father, not as having been brought into existence, for from the beginning**
        God, who is the eternal mind, had theLogos in himself, being from eternity
        instinct with Logos. (Plea for the Christians ch. 10)

        • Matt13weedhacker
          September 12, 2015 @ 6:37 am

          Interesting, that Athenagoras says ??? ??? ???????? ??? ??????

          And not ??? [? ????] ??? ???????? ??? ?????? as the comon English translation presents.

          Gk., ( ??? ) grammatical denoting a singular male someone.

          It can be translated as: “[We acknowledge] one [Person], Who is uncreated, and eternal…” = a singular Person, who is clearly identified in the context as “the Father.”

          Another translation of further on in the passage: “…He is [the] first resulting product that was generated to exist by the Father, [Or: “He is the first resulting product that had it’s existence generated by the Father” “He is the first thing generated to exist by the Father”], not as entering into a new state [Or: “mode”] of existence, (but in the sense of a beginning that originates from out of the One Who is definitively God – Who being – eternally intelligent Him-Self, always has within Him the reason [Or: “that reason” Perhaps: “that which is reason”] – as being an eternal characteristic of His [non-personal] faculty of rational thinking [Or: “rational thinking faculty”])…”

          Gk., ( ??????? ) i.e. the non-personal faculty of rational thinking, or capability of speaking or reasoning. The Gk., ( -???? ) suffix denotes characteristic
          or tendency, in this case, the tendency to think or speak logically
          and rationally.

          Yet, Athenagoras, (if un-tampered with by later Tri{3}nitarian scribes = as is the case with many of the ANF manuscripts and texts), contradicts greatly his contemporaries in saying ??? ?? ?????????.

          Shepehrd of Hermas, Justin Martyr, his disciple Tatian, Clement of Alexandria, and Theophilus, are definitely at odds with him on ??? ?? ????????? (with the single Gk., ( ? ) “nu” not the double Gk., ( ?? ) “nu” as in ???????? “begotten”).

        • Matt13weedhacker
          September 12, 2015 @ 6:48 am

          Even Athenagoras portrays Jesus as God’s “Servant” using the word Gk., ( ???? ).

          • Evangelical Apologetics
            September 12, 2015 @ 7:14 am

            So what? Jesus is a servant for he took it upon himself ( ???? ?????? ???????? ?????? ?????? ?????) Philippians 2:7

            That doesn’t diminish his status as one in whom the whole fullness of ?????? lives. Colossians 2:9

        • John
          September 13, 2015 @ 2:24 am

          Hi E.A. !
          I accept most orthodoxy until the Apostles Creed For me things seem to go astray when Christianity became separated by time and space from its roots.
          You are aware of the debate over John 1 vs 1-3
          (I) The subject of v3 is ‘ logos’ and it is prefixed by the definite article (ho)
          (ii) The word ‘theos’ does not have the definite article.
          I believe , but most don’t , that ‘logos’ is a quality or attribute of God – in fact something by which He created the heavens and the earth. Some says Gods Wisdom – I think rather Gods Holy Spirit.
          This (logos) debate will never end – at least not in this life!
          You may be interested to know that as a young person I was ‘fully on board’ with the concept of ‘Godhead’ and it was only when I became aware that Christians were saying that “Christ equals God”‘ that I decided to investigate.
          God Bless
          John

          • Evangelical Apologetics
            September 13, 2015 @ 8:46 am

            Hello John,

            [I accept most orthodoxy until the Apostles Creed For me things seem to go astray when Christianity became separated by time and space from its roots.]

            I accept the A.D. 325 Nicene Creed.It is biblical (“We believe in one God the Father…and in one Lord Jesus Christ”…1 Corinthians 8:6)

            [You are aware of the debate over John 1 vs 1-3
            (I) The subject of v3 is ‘ logos’ and it is prefixed by the definite article (ho)
            (ii) The word ‘theos’ does not have the definite article.
            I believe , but most don’t , that ‘logos’ is a quality or attribute of God – in fact something by which He created the heavens and the earth. Some says Gods Wisdom – I think rather Gods Holy Spirit.]

            The Logos Christology of the Johannine gospel greatly differ from the Apologists’.

            Notice that the Greek word ????? wasn’t found in the Nicene Creed.

            [This (logos) debate will never end – at least not in this life!]

            However, I found out that based on history, the pioneers of regarding the Logos as a mere abstract attribute/ speech/plan of God was the third century Modalistic Monarchians (Sabellius) and Dynamic Monarchians (Paul of Samosata). Prior to these and in fact, contemporary to them was the Trinitarian theology already in shape only to be evinced in new terms.So, basically, that belief in the Johannine Logos as an attribute was a new concept.

            [You may be interested to know that as a young person I was ‘fully on board’ with the concept of ‘Godhead’ and it was only when I became aware that Christians were saying that “Christ equals God”‘ that I decided to investigate.]

            I was also asking questions like why was there three instead of one? Wouldn’t it be so simple if God was just ‘one = one’ than ‘one= three’?

            Unitarianism ( one God, one person)
            Trinitarianism (one God, three persons)

            However, the Scriptures itself forced me to affirm that Jesus was and is God’s equal. I may not understand fully why and how could God have an only-begotten, the only-one-of-his-sort Son but I do have faith in his word.

            I recommend you Larry Hurtado’s scholarly work. He had great insights on Early Christology.

            • John
              September 13, 2015 @ 9:32 am

              Hi E.A.
              Thanks for responding !
              My problem goes back to the scriptural, or rather lack of scriptural support, for the trinity.
              There are verses which Trinitarian apologists say ‘strongly hint’ at a Trinity.
              Catholic academics quickly admit that there is no scriptural basis for the Trinity , but urge me to refer to the writings of the Early Church Fathers.
              Protestants are stuck with ‘Sola Scriptura’ and are forced into tremendous gymnastics to try to support their complex doctrine.
              I might be ‘simple minded’ but I really don’t see any verse in which Christ is equal to God!
              Christ has explicit words to explain who He is – everything else looks like rationalisation to me.
              God Bless You
              John

              • Rivers
                September 13, 2015 @ 10:47 am

                John,

                There are several verses that indicate that Jesus was “equal with God.” For example, John 5:18 and Philippians 2:6. There are also other texts where “God” is uses to speak of Jesus Christ (John 1:1, 18; John 10:33). Hebrews 1:3 also suggests the same things.

                Even if we are not Trinitarians, I think this evidence must be taken into consideration along with the rest of scripture. Simply claiming that we don’t “see” any of these verses is not a good approach.

                • John
                  September 13, 2015 @ 3:51 pm

                  Rivers
                  Yes it may be ‘politically correct ‘ to not be so dogmatic !.
                  The verses you quote are the ‘old dogs’ of the Trinitarian repertoire and some like John 1v1 will not be resolved by a one month seminar!
                  As you know John 5v18 states that Christ was asking a question rather than making a point.
                  In John 10v33 Christ confirms that he is ‘the Son of God’ and contrasts himself to the other people who regarded themselves as ‘gods’ -i.e. those to whom the law is given.
                  Your comments regarding Hebrews 1 v 3 are not understood. In this scripture Christ has been called ‘an apostle of God’ and ‘high priest of our confession’
                  The Book Of Acts shows that Christ was a MAN sent by God , a servant of God, a ‘slave of God’ who did Gods perfect will, was RAISED by God, EXALTED by God.
                  Sorry old friend , this ‘equality’ escapes me!
                  Blessings
                  John

                  • Rivers
                    September 13, 2015 @ 9:30 pm

                    Hi John,

                    I think you’re confusing John 5:18 with some other text. In John 5:18, the writer of the 4th Gospel is making the comment that Jesus “himself” was “claiming that God was his own Father, making himself equal with God.”

                    In John 10:33, I think you’re misunderstanding Jesus’ reply to the Jews. When Jesus said “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30), the Jews understood that this was “a man, making himself out to be God.” Jesus repeated the same claim about the “Father” in John 10:37-38). The point of quoting Psalms 82 was not to deny their charge that he was “making himself out to be God.” It was to substantiate it.

                    My point about Hebrews 1:3 is that UPOSTASIS does not mean “nature.” I agree with everything you stated about Jesus being a “man” who was “exalted by God” after his death and resurrection (Hebrews 1:4).

                    • John
                      September 14, 2015 @ 12:35 am

                      Hi Rivers,
                      Nowhere did Christ claim to be God -or equal to God.
                      We are told on several occasions that the Jews implied that Christ was making himself equal to God – but we was not – clearly that was their excuse to eliminate him.
                      Why did they wish to ‘eliminate’ him?
                      See John 11 v 48 ” if we leave him alone all will believe him and the Romans will come and take away our land, and our nation”.
                      You will have noted the lack of the definite article in the Greek text “syanthropos on poieos seauton theon”.
                      They were not even accusing Christ of being “God’ but “A god”… this epithet being applied to those to whom the Law was given… such as the gentlemen being addressed in Psalm 82..
                      Regarding John 10v31 – Christ had earlier told onlookers ‘just as you and I may be one (hen) as I and the Father are one’. Clearly ‘hen’ in this case denotes unity of purpose.
                      I know that I’m being a bit uncharitable here – but at the end of the day I cannot find a single Trinitarian proof-verse
                      God Bless
                      John
                      Regarding John 10v33 , Christ had just told his audience that Just as we may be one as I and the Father are one”
                      There can be no misunderstanding here! Same Greek word ‘hen’

                    • Rivers
                      September 14, 2015 @ 8:58 am

                      John,

                      I’m a biblical unitarian and not a Trinitarian. However, I think that non-Trinitarians who insist that “Jesus never claimed equality with God” are dismissing the evidence (because they don’t understand the sense in which Jesus was equal with God).

                      The writer of the 4th Gospel tells us in John 5:18 that Jesus was “making HIMSELF equal with God.” The writer uses the words “he” and “himself” in this text refer to Jesus, and not his accusers. It is the writer who attributes both “breaking the Sabbath” and “making himself equal with God” to Jesus, and not the Jews.

                      The other problem you have is that Jesus was condemned for claiming to be “the son of God” (John 19:7) and not “a god.” The claim to be “the son of God” is also what Jesus is defending against the Jews in John 10:30-38. Thus, I don’t think your “a god” argument is relevant to the reason Jesus quoted Psalms 82 in that context. The reason he was quoting that text was to distinguish his own superiority as “son of God” from all others who were sent before him who received the word of God.

                    • John
                      September 14, 2015 @ 11:36 am

                      Rivers
                      I have to agree with your analysis.
                      You will have noticed that Christ performed many miracles ‘on the sabbath’ -thereby provoking the religious Jews.
                      The term ‘Son of God’ was applied to the Kings of the Davidic line – but in a sense we are all ‘son’s of God’
                      as Christ told us in John 20 v 17.
                      One can argue that in a sense a son is ‘inferior’ to a Father- and Christ did or said nothing to claim equality… on the contrary He ascribed his mandate and his powers to the Father.

                      This ‘intimacy’ did not square well with the Jews.
                      The fact is that the latter were looking for an excuse to kill Him – and He was not going to ‘blunt’ their attack.
                      God Bless
                      John

                    • Rivers
                      September 14, 2015 @ 3:12 pm

                      John,
                      Did you mean to say you “disagree” with me? 🙂

                    • John
                      September 15, 2015 @ 1:26 am

                      Rivers
                      I agree with your analysis regarding who was doing the speaking in the texts you mentioned – thanks for your insights !
                      I can accept some degree of ‘equality’ between God and Christ in that Christ was dedicated to God’s purpose.
                      The latter part of my post was to voice something that has fascinated me for some time.
                      It may be that there were many other incidents which were not reported, but in the ones which are
                      Christ-
                      (I) performed a large percentage of His miracles on people who were considered ‘unclean’ or ‘undesirable’
                      -prostitutes, tax-collectors, lepers etc
                      (ii) many miracles were conducted on the Sabbath.
                      In both cases pious Jews would have been affronted.
                      In addition Christ seems to have likened his inquisitors to the ‘gods’ of Psalm 82, who had ruled unjustly and were now going to be judged themselves .
                      On another occasion he called the Pharisees ‘sons of fornication’, vipers etc.
                      These ‘provocations’ must have been intolerable to ‘pious’ men and made the end inevitable.
                      God Bless
                      John

                    • Rivers
                      September 15, 2015 @ 8:35 am

                      Hi John,
                      All those are good observations and the biblical writers did report that the Jewish rulers took offense to those things (Matthew 9:11; Luke 7:34).

                    • Jaco van Zyl
                      September 14, 2015 @ 5:19 am

                      So you take “making himself equal to God” as a truth statement and not the Jews’ conclusion related by the writer?
                      BTW, I’m convinced by your indicating hypostaseos to mean confidence or assurance.

                    • Rivers
                      September 14, 2015 @ 9:52 am

                      Jaco,

                      Thank you. Hebrews 1:3 is another example of a mistranslation of a simple Greek word (UPOSTASIS) that causes a lot of unnecessary debate about nothing that was ever intended by the writer.

                      Yes, I think John 5:18 is a truthful comment by the writer of the 4th Gospel himself (and not the Jews). Thus, the issue is what “sense” in which Jesus was “claiming equality with God” and not that he wasn’t doing it. Likewise, we need to discern “why” he could break the Sabbath (as Lord) and not focus on dismissing the evidence that he was doing it.

                      As I’ve noted before, the thing that makes a “father” and a “son” equals is that they “own everything” together (Galatians 4:1-3). Thus, from the son’s perspective, the “equality” he claimed to have with God the Father was predicated upon the familial relationship that entitled him to inherit everything belonging to God himself. The Jews correctly understood the “inheritance” issue, and that is why they wanted to kill “the son” (Matthew 21:31-39).

              • Evangelical Apologetics
                September 13, 2015 @ 12:46 pm

                Catholic academics quickly admit that there is no scriptural basis for the Trinity.

                Where is the basis of this assertion of yours?

                Protestants are stuck with ‘Sola Scriptura’ and are forced into tremendous gymnastics to try to support their complex doctrine.

                I don’t think so. I think it is the other way around.Unitarians are forced into tremendous gymnastics to try to support their complex doctrine of Two [equal] Lord(s).

                Trinitarians don’t have problem with Jesus being God. The Scriptures are so clear.

                Thomas answered and said unto HIM [JESUS]: My Lord and my God (John 20:28)

                The problem with Unitarians is that they ‘wanted’ to ‘see’ from the Scriptures ‘verbatim’ that God is a “Three-in-One being” when in fact there is not one scripture that ‘explicitly’ says God is “only-one-person being.”

                • John
                  September 13, 2015 @ 3:30 pm

                  Hi E.O.
                  As a Unitarian I say that there is one God, the Father – and His Son is Jesus Christ
                  Can anything be simpler and more direct?
                  I have no idea that Unitarians have a complex doctrine involving two ‘Lords’.
                  I know of Trinitarians who are in this muddle.
                  They mainly make the error of assuming that since Christ is sometimes called ‘Lord’ in the NT that this equates him to God.
                  Some Trinitarians refer to 1 Corinthians 8 v 6 and try to make this show that God the Father is also our Lord Jesus Christ.!
                  This is gobbledygook!
                  In this scripture we note the CONJUNCTION !!
                  .
                  The ONE LORD is easy to identify because the ONE GOD appointed him (Acts 2 v36)
                  The ONE GOD is easy to identify because Christ himself identifies Him as ” the one God and Father’
                  John 20 v 28 is easy, especially when one considers the context in which it occurs
                  (I) It is ‘ bracketed’ by John 20 v 17 ” I am going to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God’ and John 20 v 31 “These are written that you may come to know that Jesus is the Messiah, the SON of God’
                  (ii) We have been told that ‘to see Jesus is to see God” Jesus is Gods perfect representative.
                  The book of Acts portrays Christ as A MAN , APPOINTED BY GOD, SENT BY GOD, who did Gods perfect will , a slave of God, obedient to God, raised by God and exalted by God.
                  Hebrews is frequently quoted by Trinitarians – note for example in Hebrews 3 v 2 Christ is called ‘ an apostle of God’ ‘a high priest of our confession’
                  The problem with Trinitarians is that they are stuck in a tradition that they cannot easily retreat from.
                  As a result they see what they want to see,
                  They create elaborate constructs and then call their man-made constructs ‘reality’.
                  Christianity will become involved in a titanic struggle with other Monotheists in the coming decades, who are not blinded by complex constructs . I fear that Christianity’s ‘self-inflicted wound’ (a term coined by Sir Anthony Buzzard) will come to haunt us and eventually make us think more clearly.
                  God Bless You
                  John

                  • Evangelical Apologetics
                    September 15, 2015 @ 2:51 am

                    John,

                    1 Corinthians 8:4-6 reminisce these two Septuagintal texts:

                    Deuteronomy 6:4 (LXX): Only the God of Israel is the ‘one Lord.’

                    Deuteronomy 10:17 (LXX) Only the God of Israel is the ‘God of gods and Lord of lords.’

                    1 Corinthians 8:6

                    [There is] one God, [who is] the Father from who are all things and we for him.

                    [There is] one Lord, [who is] Jesus Christ through whom are all things and we by him.

                    In 1 Corinthians 8:4-6, Paul talked about idols as gods (?????). In Galatians 4:8, he said that these gods were ‘not gods by nature’ (????? ?? ???? ?????). Thus, Paul was aware of ontology as benchmark for being the true God.

                    In 1 Corinthians 8:6, the one God is the Father alone. Jesus Christ is not the one God according to the text. Rather, Jesus Christ is one with the one God. The unity they have is an ontological unity.

                    Paul draws a contrast between the false gods and the one God/one Lord.

                    Both the Father and Jesus Christ transcend the cosmos. The Father originates the cosmos through Jesus Christ and he originates redemption through Jesus Christ as well.

                    None of the unreal gods created anything through the unreal lords.

                    Only the one God created all things through the one Lord.

                    • John
                      September 15, 2015 @ 5:06 am

                      Hi E.A.
                      I agree that the purpose of the early verses of 1 Corinthians was to distinguish the ‘false gods’ from the one true God.
                      I also agree with your words ‘the one God in 1 Colossians 8 v6 is the Father only. Christ is not the ‘one God’ according to the text. Rather, Jesus Christ is ‘one’ with the one God.”
                      I disagree with the conclusion you draw “the unity they have is ontological unity’
                      Perhaps you are drawing on John 10v30?
                      In this verse the Greek word used is ‘hen’ which frequently means functional unity In fact in an earlier verse Christ had uttered (addressing onlookers) the words “that you and I may be one (hen) just as I and the Father are one” . Having a common purpose as in 1 Corinthians 3v8.”the one who plants and the one who waters have a common purpose” (hen)
                      We see the same construction in Philippians Chapter 2 v2 “united in heart”(NAB) (hen).
                      God Bless
                      John

                    • Evangelical Apologetics
                      September 15, 2015 @ 10:04 am

                      John,

                      [Perhaps you are drawing on John 10v30?]

                      Nope. I’m drawing on Galatians 4:8. Notice that the Greek word ‘?????’ only occurred twice in the NT (Gal. 4:8, 1 Cor. 8:5). That brought us into conclusion that the oneness of the Father with Jesus Christ is ontological.

                      Galatians 4:8 says that the gods are ‘not gods by nature.’ The Greek word translated as nature is ‘?????.’

                    • John
                      September 15, 2015 @ 12:52 pm

                      Hi E.A.
                      You say-
                      “notice that the word ‘theois’ only occurred twice in the NT -Gal 4v8 and 1 Cor 8v5 brought us to the conclusion that the oneness of the Father with Jesus Christ is ontological”
                      It certainly did not lead me to that conclusion!
                      The word ‘theoi does not occurs TWICE in the NT.
                      It occurs ONCE in Galations 4 v 8
                      See Strongs G 2316
                      You say-
                      “Galatians 4 v 8 says that gods are ‘not Gods by nature’
                      The Greek word translated as ‘nature’ in this verse appears FIVE times in the NT
                      Per Strongs Greek concordance.
                      Romans 2 v 14
                      Galatians 2 v 15
                      Galatians 4 v 8 (as discussed)
                      Ephesians 2 v 3
                      James 3 v 7
                      On reading these verses you will note that ‘nature’ on some occasions is referring to ‘the nature’ of Jews’,’ the nature of children ‘
                      E.A. – I feel that you are grasping wildly to support an error.
                      God Bless you
                      John

                    • Evangelical Apologetics
                      September 24, 2015 @ 4:24 am

                      John,

                      Exactly.The word physis occurs frequently in the NT. It refers to either disposition or essence per se.

                      Why can’t you accept that the gods spoken of in Galatians 4:8 were not gods by nature?

                      Jesus is by nature God (Colossians 2:9). Greco-Roman deities were not.

                    • John
                      September 24, 2015 @ 1:18 pm

                      Hi E.A.
                      I’m sorry if we misunderstood each other.!
                      Of course I agree with you.!
                      I think that it is interesting to note that the NAB Bible expresses Galatians 4.8 in two ways-
                      – main text = …”you became slaves to things which by nature are not gods”
                      -Footnote = gods that by nature do not exist”
                      Someone might care to comment on the fact that the word ‘theoi’ occurs only ONCE in the bible in Galatians 4 v 8-9 Strongs Greek 2316.
                      Sorry about the confusion!
                      God Bless
                      John

                    • Evangelical Apologetics
                      September 28, 2015 @ 8:03 am

                      John,

                      The Greek word theois occurs TWICE in the NT ( gal. 4:8; 1cor. 8:6).

                    • John
                      September 28, 2015 @ 2:31 pm

                      Hi E.A.
                      Perhaps we are using different reference books – but Strongs Greek 2316 shows-
                      ‘theois’ 1 occurrence Galatians4v8
                      theos 311 occurrances
                      Confirmed by Englishmans Concordance.
                      God Bless
                      John

                    • Rivers
                      September 28, 2015 @ 4:43 pm

                      John,
                      You’re right. I only see QEIOS in Galatians 4:8 as well. I’m not sure what E.A. is referring to in 1 Corinthians 8:6. Maybe he is referring to QEIO in 1 Corinthians 8:5.

                    • John
                      September 29, 2015 @ 12:57 am

                      Rivers
                      Your suggestion regarding 1 Corinthians 8 v 5 is probably correct – but even if that’s the verse E.A. is referring to, it still doesn’t ‘work’
                      It’s interesting that the word ‘theois’ appears in only one scripture and one wonders why.
                      The footnote to Galatians 4 v 8 in the NAB (Catholic) is interesting as it suggests an alternative translation ‘gods that by nature do not exist’
                      Blessings
                      John

                    • Rivers
                      September 29, 2015 @ 9:04 am

                      John,

                      I don’t know what the significance of QEOIS in Galatians 4:8 would be anyway. It is just a plural form of the word “god” like QEOI in 1 Corinthians 8:5.

                      If E.A. is trying to argue something with respect to the “nature” of the “gods” in Galatians 4:8, then he needs to show where “nature” (FUSIS) in Galatians 4:8 has any counterpart in Colossians 2:9 where Paul didn’t use either the term “nature” or the term “gods.”

                      If you’ve been following my other conversation about Colossians 2:9-10 with E.A., I think it’s evident that he’s trying to force Colossians 2:9-10 to be about the “nature” or “essence” of the physical being of Jesus Christ despite the lack of any contextual support for that interpretation.

                      Moreover, he doesn’t seem to be taking into account how Paul used the same “fullness” and “body” and “head” language together to refer to the relationship between Jesus Christ and the “church” (body) in Colossians 1:18-24 and Ephesians 1:22-23.

                    • John
                      September 29, 2015 @ 2:12 pm

                      Rivers,
                      I was beginning to wonder if I was missing something !
                      your explanations have ben absolutely clear.
                      I’m afraid that E.O. is ‘flogging a dead horse”!
                      God Bless
                      John

                    • Rivers
                      September 29, 2015 @ 3:44 pm

                      John,

                      Thanks for letting me know I’m coming through “clear.” 🙂

                    • Miguel de Servet
                      September 15, 2015 @ 5:22 am

                      … Jesus Christ is one with the one God. The unity they have is an ontological unity.

                      E.A.

                      I don’t see how the “ontological unity” that you speak about can be understood other than in a “oneness” (see Oneness Pentacostalism) or “trinitarian” (or at least “binitarian”) sense. Actually, to make sense of the word “unity”, more the latter than the former.

                      Do you agree?

                    • Roman
                      September 15, 2015 @ 5:30 am

            • Rivers
              September 13, 2015 @ 10:53 am

              John,

              I suggest that it is very simple to understand in what sense Jesus Christ was “equal” with God. The writer of the 4th Gospel explained that it was based upon the fact that Jesus was “claiming that God was his own Father, making himself equal with God” (John 5:18).

              It is the relationship between the Father and his “only son” (MONOGENHS) that entitled the human Jesus to be “appointed heir of all things” and thus he became “the exact representation of God’s subsistence” (Hebrews 1:3).

      • Paul Anchor
        September 12, 2015 @ 8:11 am

        Hi John,

        “Christ and God do not share the same numerical identity and are different persons, different entities. God is ‘autotheos'”

        I believe that the Son is also “autotheos”.

        Father Son and Holy Spirit are the same author of creation. They act as one effective cause in creation. They are the same Creator God. In this sense they are numerically identical persons. or beings.

        And the Son is upholding all things by the word of his power Heb 1 v 3.

        Otherwise everything created would cease to exist as it was created.

        “Christs ‘divine nature’ is by inheritance from The Father who alone is the source of this nature.”

        I don’t believe this or see any evidence in scripture for this concept.

        Blessings,

        Paul

        • Rivers
          September 12, 2015 @ 8:45 am

          Paul,

          I agree with some of what you said here. The term “nature” is never associated with the “inheritance” that Jesus received. The word often mistranslated “nature”‘ (UPWSTASIS) in Hebrews 1:3 means “confidence” or “assurance” and has no ontological connotations.

          • Evangelical Apologetics
            September 13, 2015 @ 12:39 pm

            Rivers,

            UPOSTASIS certainly means ‘substance’ (nature) in Hebrews 1:3. The Vetus Latina (Old Latin MSS, A.D. 150) reads ‘substantia’ (substance;nature).

            …”the exact imprint of his nature” (Hebrews 1:3 ESV)

            Even in the A.D. 325 Nicene Creed, UPOSTASIS is contrued to be synonymous with OUSIA.

            • Rivers
              September 13, 2015 @ 4:24 pm

              E.A.,

              UPOSTASIS never means “nature” in scripture. It always means “confidence” or “assurance.” Please look at how the writer of Hebrews used the same word in Hebrews 3:14 and Hebrews 11:1. It doesn’t matter how a remote interpreter mistranslated the term into Latin hundreds of years later.

              Also, if you look at the only other two times the word occurs in 2 Corinthians 9:4 and 2 Corinthians 11:7, it’s also evident that it means “confidence.” Nature is certainly not the appropriate way to translate UPOSTASIS in the apostolic letters. Jesus Christ had God’s full “assurance” after he was “appointed heir of all things” and was “seated at the right hand of majesty” (Hebrews 1:4).

              “Confidence” and “assurance” are things that are gained or learned. They are not characteristics of inherent “nature.” This is a further indication that using “nature” in Hebrews 1:3 is a misleading translation.

              • Evangelical Apologetics
                September 14, 2015 @ 10:08 am

                Rivers,

                [UPOSTASIS never means “nature” in scripture. It always means “confidence” or “assurance.”]

                Are you saying that Jesus is the ‘stamp of God’s confidence/assurance’?

                [Also, if you look at the only other two times the word occurs in 2 Corinthians 9:4 and 2 Corinthians 11:7, it’s also evident that it means “confidence.” ]

                2 Corinthians 9:4 “…otherwise if any Macedonians come with me and find you unprepared, we–not to speak of you–will be put to shame by this (reality).” The whole context of the passage is the exhortation to the Corinthians to let down Paul in his boasting of them. In other words, if the Macedonians come and see them unprepared, ‘the reality’ would put Paul, and them, to shame. Confidence has nothing to do with it.

                2 Corinthians 11:17 What I am saying, I am not saying as the Lord would, but as in foolishness, in this (example) of boasting. Paul is talking about the ‘reality or essence’ of his actual boasting, and not his ‘confidence’ of boasting.

                Faith exudes confidence but it is not based on mere confidence. We have confidence because of faith, not faith because of confidence.

                [Nature is certainly not the appropriate way to translate UPOSTASIS in the apostolic letters.]

                Wisdom of Solomon predated the epistle of Hebrews.

                Hebrews 1:3 is a paraphrase of Wisdom 7:26

                Wisdom 7:26 the stamp of his (God’s) ‘goodness’ [an attributes of God]

                Hebrews 1:3 the stamp of his (God’s) ‘nature’ [ESV,NASB]

                Are you familiar with the Wisdom Theology of the Second Temple Judaism? Most of non-canonical Sapiental writings are the Deuterocanonicals.

                • Rivers
                  September 14, 2015 @ 3:09 pm

                  E.A.,

                  Yes, because, in the context of Hebrews 1:2-4, the writer refers to Jesus Christ being “appointed heir of all things” and “seated at the right hand of majesty” after his death and resurrection. Thus, there are “authority” references throughout the context.

                  What I think the writer meant by “the exact representation of God’s confidence/assurance” is that, when Jesus was exalted to the right hand of God and given authority over “all things”, he became co-ruler with his heavenly Father. Thus, God gave Jesus full “confidence” and “assurance” that Jesus’ will would be done. In other words, the exalted Jesus had the same “confidence” as God the Father in terms of his authority to rule.

                  I don’t think there is anything about ontological “nature” in the two texts in 2 Corinthians. The reason “confidence” is used in the translation of 2 Corinthians 4:9 is because Paul is speaking about his “confidence” that the Corinthians will be found faithful when the Macedonians visit them.

                  Likewise, in 2 Corinthians 11:17, Paul is talking about his “boasting” due to his “confidence” in the righteousness of faith (as opposed to Jewish requirements).

                  I understand the point you are making about Wisdom of Solomon, but the vocabulary is not the same and it is speculative (at best) to think that the writer of Hebrews had that text in mind. I think it’s wiser to follow the writer’s own use of the vocabulary elsewhere (Hebrews 3:14; Hebrews 11:1).

        • John
          September 13, 2015 @ 1:32 am

          Hi Paul,
          Christ is most certainly ‘autotheos’ since he was begotten by the Father.
          How can the ‘first-born’ also be the ‘creator’ ?
          Over 50 texts tell us that the Father created everything.
          Christ is the creator of ‘a new creation’ , ‘all things new’.
          He upholds all things by the power of His word.
          Christ was ‘bodily raised to be’ Life Giving Spirit’- the first of many brothers..”
          The word ‘through’ in Hebrews 1 is greatly discussed – where do you think Christ was ‘before the Prophets ?
          It’s interesting that Hebrews Chapter 3 v 1 describes Christ as an ‘apostle’ !
          Regarding ‘nature’-
          Believers are offered an exciting possibility in
          2 Peter vs 1-4
          “He has bestowed upon us great and precious promises.. so that you may share the divine nature’
          Remember of course, that God is the ‘self-existing one’ and He alone is the SOURCE of the divine nature. All that created beings can do is to ‘reflect’ that divine nature.
          Blessings
          John

          • John
            September 13, 2015 @ 1:34 am

            Hi Paul
            Oops, my reply to the above should read ” Christ was almost certainly NOT ‘autotheos’….
            God Bless

          • Paul Anchor
            September 14, 2015 @ 4:32 pm

            Hi John,

            “Christ is most certainly ‘autotheos’ since he was begotten by the Father.”

            I don’t believe that he was eternally begotten by the Father. As I understand the bible he was begotten through the incarnation and the resurrection events in time.

            “How can the ‘first-born’ also be the ‘creator’ ?”

            I say why not? The Son existed before he became the firstborn. I take it that he was the co-author, together with the Father and the Holy Spirit, of the creation of his own human nature. The identity of his human nature already exists as the eternal, immutable Son before his being begotten in the flesh.

            He asserted that he had the power to raise himself and he prophesied that he would reconstruct his own body after his death:

            “Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.”

            “Over 50 texts tell us that the Father created everything.”

            Which texts for example?

            Blessings,

            Paul

            • John
              September 15, 2015 @ 1:32 am

              Hi Paul,
              Texts like Genesis 1v1 which ‘sets the stage’ for everything-
              “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth…”
              Do you imagine that this is a ‘triune’ God?
              God Bless
              John

              • Paul Anchor
                September 15, 2015 @ 11:28 am

                Hi John,
                you asked: “Do you imagine that this is a ‘triune’ God?”

                Yes, I do. It is my understanding reading the OT in the light of the NT.

                God bless,

                Paul

                • John
                  September 15, 2015 @ 1:42 pm

                  Paul,
                  You are welcome to your view!
                  You will continue to see what you want to see!
                  Blessings
                  John

    • Dale Tuggy
      September 9, 2015 @ 8:37 pm

      Thanks for the comment. But the “Hence” starting your second sentence marks a non sequitur. Looking at the verse you cite first, it seems that “Son of God” is another way of saying, in this context, “the Messiah.”

      I invite you to interact with my arguments here: http://trinities.org/blog/podcast-episode-70-the-one-god-and-his-son-according-to-john/ As I see it, this gospel sharply and consistently distinguishes between Jesus and God, and the book is only misread as identifying them. Please correct me as you see fit.