Saturday, July 5, 2008

Is Jesus Human? - Refuting "The Human Jesus" (part 2a)

(I tried and tried to shorten this post. In the end I had to break it into two parts.)

The second part of this video concerns itself with trying to prove that the trinity is not rational. Simply stated, if God is one god and Jesus is one god and the Holy Spirit is one god then you must have three gods. Unitarians state that Christians over rationalize the scriptures that seem to suggest Jesus and the Holy Spirit as having the same attributes as God.

My response, how about taking Scripture at face value! In one breath the Unitarians deny that scripture gives Jesus and the Holy Spirit the same attributes as God and in the next breath they say Christians over rationalize the scriptures that do. This is a logical fallacy. Essentially the Unitarians confirm that scripture does give Jesus and the Holy Spirit attributes that only belong to God.

Basically the difference between us and them is we have accepted Scripture at face value understanding that we can’t understand it all. On the other hand the Unitarians have tried to rationalize it with a human’s temporal, mortal, finite mind. Essentially they have put God into a mold that fits human comprehension.

That fact is scripture gives both Jesus and the Holy Spirit the same attributes as God (I have already dealt with this in a previous blog). The simplest way to rationalize such scriptures is to take them at face value! To rationalize any other way is to either over simplify or not take all the facts into account (or both).

To say that Christians throughout the centuries developed the doctrine of the trinity is another misleading argument. It is obvious that at least two of Jesus’ disciples, John and Thomas, believed Jesus to be God not to mention Paul and the writer of Hebrews. On closer examination of New Testament authors, such as Peter and James, a case can be made that they also held a concept of the trinity. Throughout the epistles God and Jesus (and the Spirit) are seen as being equal, given equal credit and described has having equal attributes. To deny these men ever held the concept of the trinity is to simply deny the truth.

Admittedly it is hard to describe the concept of the trinity in such a way that our human minds can wrap around it. The trinity is three beings who are of the same substance. The counter argument to this is that we as humans share the same substance with our fathers and mothers and yet we are three completely different people.

This is a false analogy, a logical fallacy. You can’t compare humans to God. This is like comparing apples to rutabagas. Yet an apples to apples argument is made. Once again, these kinds of arguments put God into a mold that denies His true nature.

The fact of the matter is we cannot explain God. I’ve said that God is that which nothing greater can be conceived, and to a certain extent this is true, but in reality God is greater then that which nothing greater can be conceived. God is incomprehensible. We only know what we know about Him because He has revealed it to us. What does this mean? All things are possible with God.


Ronald said...

In the scriptures, Jesus is never given the attribute of being the only true God, or being the Most High, or of being the Almighty. Only the God and Father of Jesus are given these attributes. Jesus is always depicted as being sent by the only true God, Yahweh (Jehovah).

The only true God, by means of his holy spirit, reveals through the scriptures that Jesus was sent by Yahweh, speaks for Yahweh, represents Yahweh, and was raised and glorified by the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Jesus never claimed to be, nor do the scriptures present Jesus as, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, whom Jesus represents and speaks for. -- Deuteronomy 18:15-19; Matthew 22:32; 23:39; Mark 11:9,10; 12:26; Luke 13:35; 20:37; John 3:2,17,32-35; 4:34; 5:19,30,36,43; 6:57; 7:16,28; 8:26,28,38; 10:25; 12:49,50; 14:10; 15:15; 17:8,26; 20:17; Acts 2:22,34-36; 3:13,22; 5:30; Romans 15:6; 2 Corinthians 1:3; 8:6; 11:31; Colossians 1:3,15; 2:9-12; Hebrews 1:1-3; Revelation 1:1.

For the truth about Jesus and his God, see:

ythpstr1 said...

That is plain dishonesty to say that Jesus never claimed to be God. When Jesus said "I Am" the Jews knew very well that He was claiming to be God and they wanted to kill Him for it. Even when He made the simple statement that God was His father the Jews knew He was calling himself God. The real issue at hand is that Unitarians do not want to accept God as anything more than what can fit into their comprehension. If you take Scripture at face value and are honest then you cannot deny that Jesus claimed to be God. Debate ends when people are unwilling to look at the truth and at least admit that it exists.

ythpstr1 said...

Wow. Just visited your link. Explains a lot. Restoration Light Bible Study Services is the ministry service of Christian Bible Student. They claim Charles T. Russell as their founder who is also claimed by the Jehovah's Witnesses. Russell has always denied the diety of Christ and believed and taught (and fooled) people into thinking that the Bible was/is some how a mystery or secret that can only be revealed through the organization that has the keys to unlocking its secret. Though they claim to not be affiliated with the Jehovah's Witnesses there sure are a lot of similarities.

ythpstr1 said...

As I am thinking about this more and more it has occurred to me that while I try to look at all the Scriptures that deal with God and the divinity of Jesus you might not. It is obvious that you focus on the Scriptures that talk about God being one. I do not disagree with this. I challenge you to not only look at these Scriptures but the Scriptures I mentioned in my previous post concerning the nature of God. We can't just take a few Scriptures and make a theology, we have to take all the Scriptures and really study them. I would like to hear, instead of just denying those Scriptures speaking about Jesus' divinity, what your explanation is concerning these in light of the others. I don't want websites or copied material. I want to hear your thoughts in light of the Scriptures themselves.

Ronald said...

If one takes a look at the Restoration Light sites, it should be obvious that the focus I place on those pages is on the harmony all the scritpures, including the scriptures that trinitarians claim support the trinitarian dogma. In the material on the RL sites, I do not ignore the claims of the trinitarians, but examine those claims in the light what God has indeed revealed in the scriptures. I may not have yet addressed all of the scriptures that trinitarians claim as support of their trinitarian dogma, but most of the major ones have been addressed on the Restoration Light sites.

The desire is expressed for me to discuss the scriptures where the trinitarian adds to and read into the scriptures that Jesus is Yahweh. Since there are so many scriptures presented by trinitarians wherein the trinitarian dogma is added to and read into the scriptures, it may take a year or more to address all of them, which is why I gave the link to the site.

You say that since Jesus used the expression, "I am" [EGO EIMI] is mentioned, perhaps this would be a good place to start. While I do not deny (nor did Charles Taze Russell) the divinity/deity of Jesus in the mightiness that the only true God has given to Jesus, when Jesus said EGO EIMI, there is no indication at all that Jesus was claiming to be Yahweh (Jehovah), the only true God who sent Jesus. The main "EGO EIMI" scripture that is usually referenced with the added on claim that Jesus was saying that he is Yahweh is John 8:58, wherein one has to add to and read into what Jesus said that he was claiming to be EHYEH, or that he existed for all eternity before Abraham. In reality, Jesus, by using the Greek present tense in a past tense setting, was claiming his existence before Abraham. He was not claiming to be his God, EHYEH, YAHWEH, who sent him, nor was he denying that he was firstborn creature, as Paul later shows him to be by use of the genitive partitive in Colossians 1:15.

I see no need to rewrite what I have already written on the Restoration Light website, so I will first reproduce an excerpt from the sites regarding Jesus and EHYEH:

Was Jesus in John 8:58 quoting from Exodus 3:14? The name in Exodus 3:14 by which Yahweh spoke of himself in its full form is usually transliterated as "EHYEH ASHER EHYEH". Its short form, which also appears in Exodus 3:14 is simply EHYEH. Was Jesus saying in John 8:58 that his name is EHYEH? Actually, no. The expression in Greek that Jesus used is often transliterated as EGO EIMI. Did Jesus say that this was his name? No, there is no discussion concerning Jesus' name in John 8:58 nor anywhere in the context. Rather, the discussion is concerning the age of Jesus.

Jesus expressly shows that he is not the only true God who sent him in John 17:1,3. Since there is only one true God, then Jesus, being sent by the only true God, is not the only true God. The only true God who sent Jesus is the One who identified Himself as EHYEH ASHER EHYEH in Exodus 3:14,15.

Exodus 3:14 - God said to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM [EHYEH ASHER EHYEH]," and he said, "You shall tell the children of Israel this: 'I AM [EHYEH] has sent me to you.'"

Exodus 3:15 - God said moreover to Moses, "You shall tell the children of Israel this, 'Yahweh, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you.' This is my name forever, and this is my memorial to all generations."

EHYEH and YAHWEH are simply two different forms of the same name.

***[see my earlier post for scriptures concerning Jesus and his God.]

So was Jesus claiming to be his God in John 8:58? Is there any link between John 8:58 and Exodus 3:14? Only as can be seen by the way the translators would make such a link. Of course, Jesus did not say, as did the only true God in Exodus 3:14, that is name is EHYEH, nor was he speaking about his name at all, but rather he was talking about his existence before Abraham.

Could it be that Jesus was quoting the Greek Septuagint Version (LXX) of Exodus 3:14 when he says EGO EIMI in John 8:58? Hardly, since in the Greek Septuagint Version, the short name of EHYEH is rendered as HO OHN, not EGO EIMI. The full form is rendered as a sentence: EGO EIMI HO OHN, which means "I am the being". Thus the Septuagint gives EGO EIMI a predicate, but the short form is simply HO OHN, "The Being". So if Jesus quoted the LXX, he would have used HO OHN, not EGO EIMI, which, of course, in context would have made no sense at all. Further, if he were quoting the LXX from the long form EGO EIMI HO OHN, then he left the subject and verb "I am" without a predicate, which indicates further that he was not quoting the LXX.

Actually, in the Greek, a present tense can be used in a past setting to denote a continuous condition. In English such is often expressed in some form of the past tense, as in the case of John 8:58: "I was", or "I have been", etc. (See John 14:8,9) So, what Jesus was saying is very simple: "I have/had been existing since before Abraham was."

I plan, God willing, to address all of the trinity proof text scriptures given on the pages of this site on the "Trinity in the Bible?" blogsite. Perhaps, Yahweh willing, I will post the same here on the pages of this blogsite where the scriptures are presented, as I get to the various scriptures. However, as I said, I have already addressed most of them on the RL website, and its "Jesus and His God" forum.

ythpstr1 said...

It seems to me that the LXX was taking a little liberty in its translation. If a person wanted to directly translate EHYEH he would use EGO EIMI. I don't see an argument here. I see an attempt to explain away an obvious reference made by Jesus himself concerning his deity.

How do I come to this conclusion. Because you are ignoring the obvious response of the Jewish leaders. The Jewish leaders did not want to kill Jesus for saying "I was before Abraham" but for saying "I AM" comparing himself to God. They understood this!! Jesus could have chosen many different words or phrases to express that He existed before Abraham (if that is what He was trying to do), but He chose a phrase that the Jewish leaders would be well acquainted with; a phrase that they would not miss no matter what the Greek words He used were. If there is any doubt as to what He was saying it is diminished by the response of the Jewish leaders to his words.