Saturday, August 9, 2008

Is Jesus Human? - Refuting "The Human Jesus" (part 3)

Another argument against the trinity centers on the Hebrew word Elohim. Elohim has a plural ending and many Christians see this as just another piece of evidence that God has revealed himself in more than one person. One of the ways this video tries to argue away the implications of Elohim is to present a Jewish Rabbi whose only argument is "Judaism just disregards it." Obviously not a very strong argument, but again, the view is Jews are the authority when it comes to God.

Another argument presented is that the context in which Elohim is used shows whether it should be used as a plural or as a singular. My question is, why was Elohim ever used for God in the first place if God only revealed himself as one person? This is never addressed. Instead, once again, an attempt is made to rationalize the evidence away.

The video goes on to present a straw man type argument. It asserts that the only real place the trinity is presented is in the Gospel of John (it does acknowledge "a few verses in Paul and couple others elsewhere"). It says if the doctrine of the Trinity is "to be established it should be established across the pages of Scripture; from beginning to end." Is this an accurate portrayal of what Scripture has to say about the doctrine of the Trinity? The answer is no. The Trinity is seen from the beginning of and to the end of the Bible.

I found this list of "References to the diversity of God" put together by James A. Fowler. (Click here to view the entire article.):

References to the diversity of God
1. Old Testament
Gen. 1:1 - "In the beginning God (Elohim - plural) created..."
Gen. 1:26 - "Let Us (plural) make man in Our (plural) image"
Isa. 6:8 - "Who will go for Us (plural)?"
Isa. 9:6 - (Messianic) "Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace"
2. New Testament
Matt. 3:16,17 - "being baptized, Jesus...saw the Spirit of God descending...and a voice,
saying, 'This is My beloved Son...'"
Matt. 28:19 - "baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit"
II Cor. 13:14 - "the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship
of the Holy Spirit, be with you all"
Gal. 4:6 - "God sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts..."
Eph. 4:4-6 - "one God and Father of all..."
I Pet. 1:2 - "foreknowledge of God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, that
you may obey Jesus Christ..."
I Jn. 5:7 (KJV) - (without adequate MSS evidence; interpolation)

a. Father as God
Jn. 6:27 - "the Father, God, has set His seal"
Eph. 4:6 - "one God and Father"
I Pet. 1:2 - "God the Father..."
b. Son as God - (cf. I Jn. 5:20; Phil. 2:6
Jn. 1:1 - "the Word was God"
Jn. 20:28 - "My Lord and my God"
Titus 2:13 - "our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus"
Heb. 1:8 - "of the Son, 'Thy throne, O God, is forever..."
II Pet. 1:1 - "God and Savior, Jesus Christ"
c. Holy Spirit as God
Acts 5:3,4 - "lie to Holy have lied to God"
Rom. 8:9 - "the Spirit...Spirit of God...Spirit of Christ
I Cor. 6:11 - "the Spirit of our God"
II Cor. 3:17,18 - "the Lord is the Spirit"

As one can see there are more passages concerning the concept of the Trinity then just those found in John, "a few verses in Paul and couple others elsewhere." I would also like to add one passage to the list here. In Revelation 4 and 5 we see the glorious throne room of God. Who is worshiped in this throne room? Look and see. "Worthy is the Lamb who is slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!...To him who sits on the the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!...the elders fell down and worshiped." (Rev 5:12-14). Jesus and God receive the same worship. How can this be? They are one God!

Four verses have been given for the Old Testament, there are others. For instance, Hebrews 1 quotes OT scripture, Psalm 45:6-7, when the author writes "Your throne, O God, is forever and ever,...therefore God, your God, has anointed you..." All one needs to do is read the Scripture to see the many, many references made to God being more than just one personality.

A position is made "The only real Scripture Christians use for the Trinity is found in one book. Such an important concept should be throughout Scripture from beginning to end." This is a straw man argument. They have made an assertion that isn't true just to knock it down. The video goes from this point to knock down the straw man.

Before they attack John's Gospel, I want to point out that the video makes a couple of references to it being "suspect." This is, no doubt, a way to plant doubt in the mind of anyone viewing. What makes the Gospel of John "suspect?" They never say.

John 1:1 gets the full brunt of the attack. It is asserted that implying "the Word" as meaning Jesus, or the "Son," is wrong. The proof! A professor at Fuller Theological Seminary, Dr. Colin Brown, says so! Okay, that's not the whole of the proof, but it is used to substantiate what is next going to be said.

The word "logos has occurred in the Old Testament about 1600 times. I must stop at this statement and point out that the Old Testament was written in Hebrew and Aramaic, not Greek. The word logos is not found in the Old Testament. Now, there is a Greek translation of the Old Testament called the Septuagant. The Greek word is used to translate Hebrew words.

It is interesting that this video fails to, or more likely purposely ignores, the fact that Scripture, especially New Testament Scripture, is rife with words that traditionally meant one thing but have been given a fuller meaning understood only by Christians. For example, the word agape translated as unconditional love was originally a generic word used for love. It did not have a deeper meaning until the Christian era.

The word logos is no exception. It to has a generally accepted meaning of "knowledge," but when John used it, obviously it was meant to mean more then just an expression of God's thought. How do we know this? By keeping it in context. Here is the context for you to judge.
"1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4 In him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7 He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. 8 He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light.

9 The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. 11 He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. 12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth."
There is one little phrase that blows the argument, that logos expresses God's "thoughts," out of the water. It is "the Word became flesh and dwelt among us." There is no way around it. The "Word" is Jesus and the beginning of John states "In the beginning was [Jesus], and [Jesus] was with God and [Jesus] was God!"

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