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« Finding Truth: Free-Loading Atheists | Main | Is It Possible That Jesus Is Michael the Archangel? »

May 16, 2015

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In Matthew, Jesus references the end of a long curse spoken by YHWH to Israel in Micah 6-7. Here is the beginning of the curse that YHWH calls down on Israel in Micah 6:13

So also I will make you sick, striking you down,
Desolating you because of your sins.
You will eat, but you will not be satisfied,
And your vileness will be in your midst.
You will try to remove for safekeeping,
But you will not preserve anything,
And what you do preserve I will give to the sword.
Here is the final verse of the curse in Micah 7:6:
For son treats father contemptuously,
Daughter rises up against her mother,
Daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law;
A man’s enemies are the men of his own household.
Notice that YHWH is not content to simply call the curse down on His people and allow the evils to be done by others. He will cause the evil among them Himself.

Jesus says this in Matthew 10:34-36

Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I came to set
a man against his father,
and a daughter against her mother,
and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law;
and a man’s enemies will be the members of his household.
Jesus says that He Himself will do this thing. That He will bring about the evils of the curse.

Jesus is claiming to do what YHWH said He would do. This is because Jesus is YHWH and just made the claim that He is.

Hi Melissa, in your view did Jesus also claime that someone else was God? John 17: 1 - 3

Covenant Theology.


Perhaps Christ’s most revolutionary claim.


Think about what it is to claim to write a Covenant between God and Man, and to seal it with One’s Own Self, as one speaks to Israelites while quoting the OT.


There is no subtlety about this.


None.


The Old Covenant of The Law - or what Scripture terms the Ministry of Death - and, also, the New Covenant are powerful claims given that Christ speaks as the full arbitrator thereof. The Law’s ultimately futile Ceiling and Floor imbued into the physical nation of Israel from Moses to Christ is summarized in Deuteronomy 28. It fulfills the OT prophecies of failing to actualize Moral Excellence within the Israelite specifically and within Mankind in general even as Christ fulfils the OT prophecies of ushering in the very Means to the very Ends of Moral Excellence – shadows of God-In-Man and Man-In-God emerging. Christ makes the most radical claim possible and tells us He comes as the sole fulfiller of the Law between Israel and God in referencing Himself as the One Who, first, fulfills it and, secondly, has the right to replace it, and thirdly, claims to replace it, and fourthly, claims it is He Who seals the Covenant – a radical claim unequaled by anyone but God…….. ever.


The book of Hebrews has much to say of such lines.


It is a sweeping claim made by Christ as He speaks of fashioning a New Covenant – an act only God could possibly lay claim upon. The Law – and hence its Ceiling and Floor – and its curses – and its limitations – have passed away – the former things having been replaced by the new. Of course, Christ knew such topography when He quoted the OT – His prophetic ministry to Israel not yet complete pending His resurrection – lest we think Christ (God – the writer of Covenants) drove us then as He spoke in the Gospels or is now driving us as we read the Gospels – to hate our mother, or to hate our father, or to hate both. His Gift of Himself to the Gentile – to the World – to all tongues – even to those who persecute Israel and Christ – offends Israel in a very powerful and unique fashion which perhaps we cannot quite “taste” not having been the recipient of the former Covenant and not having said Covenant utterly re-written for the benefit of those who abuse and curse us. Christ did not come to conquer Rome or to re-establish Israel as the Big Boy on the Block or to usher in any other sort of “peace” of any kind whatsoever – though they constantly asked Him when and where He was going to do "that". No. God knew all along the futility of Law and Power. Christ came to Israel then for the same reason He came to Abraham ages ago – to do something very, very sweeping – something which the OT spoke of for eons – ushering all Men and all Nations and all Tongues into His House - only – to Israel such seemed too radical, too revolutionary – and too dangerous given the seeming weakness of the method. Love your enemy? Huh?


Their thinking was stuck in the (ultimate) futility found between the Ceiling and Floor of Deuteronomy 28.


The Schoolmaster ran its course - finished its task.


The Ministry of Death (what Scripture calls the Law of Moses) has been forever done away with and replaced by the very Means and Ends of All-Sufficiency Himself as Moral Excellence is found in the very Nature of the immutable love of the Necessary Being as He creates us anew.


Christ claims to write a Covenant between God and Man and then He claims to seal it with His Own Self as He speaks to Israelites while quoting the OT.


There was no question in His audience as to Who makes that claim.

Dale-

Since Jesus did claim to be God, and since there is only one thing that is God, even if Jesus said at some point that X is God, that would only imply the Jesus is the same thing as X.

Now, as for John 17, the suggestion that Jesus is saying that someone else is God comes down to his speaking of God the Father in the second person..."Father glorify the Son that the Son may glorify You." Like that.

This does not imply that Jesus is a different person from the Father (though He is..a different person, but the same thing). I sometimes speak of myself in the second person..."WL, you dolt, you have to carry the two in that sum." Like that.

At best, then, the fact that Jesus speaks in the second person to the Father is some sort of weak inductive evidence that Father and Son are distinct persons of the Godhead.

Of course the passage from John 7 where Jesus says, 'Before Abraham was born, I am' is where Jesus claims to be God. But stating that you are the son of God does not necessarily mean you claim to be God. It means you claim that you are the Messiah. The reason the Pharisees wanted Jesus killed was that he was claiming to be the Messiah, I don't think they remotely understood that Jesus believed himself to be God having taken on flesh. To the Pharisees and Jewish leaders, it would be inconceivable even that the Messiah would also be God himself come to the earth. When they heard son of God, they heard Messiah. Jesus did in fact make himself equal with God, but never claimed to the Pharisees' and religious leaders' faces and explained to them that the Messiah must be God incarnate. He did this with his disciples, and they never understood it until after Jesus resurrected from the dead. The issue here is that the phrases Son of God, and especially son of man are fairly ambiguous phrases that can have multiple meanings. I think the passage from John 7 is the definitive one, "Before Abraham was born..." You really can't get past it.

Hi Wisdomlover,

So in your view, Jesus is none other than the Father? I'm sorry, but this is plainly contradicted by the NT. Your logic is impeccable though. If a = b, and c = b, then it must also be that a = c. Things numerically identical the same thing, are numerically identical to one another (in other words, we're dealing with only one thing). So if Jesus = God, and Father = God, it follows that Jesus = Father. But we know that's false, because in the NT some things are true of one but not the other. e.g. Jesus died, the Father didn't die. The Father has a Son. Jesus doesn't have a Son.

Now, you want to take the old catholic line than Jesus is the same being as the Father, but not the same person. OK. But normally what we mean by a person is just a certain sort of being. So normally, same being implies same person. I think you agree - as you want to read John 17 as essentially one person/self talking to himself.

This won't fly though. In the NT, Jesus and his Father have a loving interpersonal relationship; it can't be one self play-acting. And Jesus being the mediator between us and God (i.e. the Father) requires that he be a different self than the Father - else, there's no mediator, just a friendly God who doesn't require one.

About Jesus, God, and their being numerically two, this can help you to see how this is assumed and asserted all over the NT: http://trinities.org/blog/god-and-his-son-the-logic-of-the-new-testament/

God bless,
Dale

Jared, good points. You are quite right about the "the Son of God" expression. Typicially in the NT this is used interchangeable with "the Christ / Messiah".

About John 8:58, we must remember that in this very book, Jesus calls someone else the one true God (ch. 17) and says that he has a god, who is also our god (ch. 20), and is the Father, and that he doesn't do the miracles but that God does them through him, and the whole punchline of the book, it's very thesis, is that Jesus is the Messiah (end of ch. 20). And in John 10, he's accused of making himself God (or a god) but he *corrects* his enemies. http://trinities.org/blog/jesuss-argument-in-john-10/ On John as a whole, he's a recent presentation by me: http://trinities.org/blog/podcast-episode-70-the-one-god-and-his-son-according-to-john/

Another misunderstanding is often going on in 8:58. In my view, it's to be taken as meaning: "Before Abe was, I am he" (i.e. am already the Messiah in God's plan). "ego eimi" is quite often translated this way, in other gospels, and even in the next chapter of John. It's an idiom for "I'm the one" or "It's me". http://trinities.org/blog/podcast-episode-63-thomas-belsham-and-other-scholars-on-john-858/ His opponents carp at him and falsely interpret as saying that he's seen Abe. No, Jesus said that Abe saw (i.e. prophetically) him.

So I'm afraid that John 8:58 isn't going to be the slam dunk you think; in the above and other podcasts we've given numerous examples of this Jewish idiom of thinking of what's predestined as already having been, or as occurring now. It's all over the Bible, really.

"To the Pharisees and Jewish leaders, it would be inconceivable even that the Messiah would also be God himself come to the earth."

Quite correct. Because God's anointed / the Messiah is always supposed to be a man. And God isn't a man, any OT reader knows.

Can't one being have both a human and a divine nature? Well, this just isn't taught in the NT, in my view. And it's a good thing, as it would appear contradictory to say that one being is human (so created) and divine (so uncreated).

God bless,
Dale

So in your view, Jesus is none other than the Father? I'm sorry, but this is plainly contradicted by the NT. Your logic is impeccable though. If a = b, and c = b, then it must also be that a = c.
None of which I actually said.

Jesus is the same entity as the Father, but He is not the same person.

you want to read John 17 as essentially one person/self talking to himself.
No.

My point is not to argue for any position. My point is that the massage is miles away from supporting the Arian heresy that you are advancing.

As for what we mean by "person", I honestly couldn't care less. I'm only interested in the Creedal meaning. It's meaning is such that the following 7 things are true:

1. There is only One God, and YHWH is His name.
2. The Father is the same entity as YHWH-God.
3. The Son is the same entity as YHWH-God.
4. The Holy Ghost is the same entity as YHWH-God.
5. The Father is not the same person as the Son, nor vice versa.
6. The Father is not the same person as the Holy Ghost, nor vice versa.
7. The Son is not the same person as the Holy Ghost, nor vice versa.

Oh Good Grief!

"My point is not to argue for any position."

Really? It sure looks like you are arguing for some position, WL!

Actually, my point is not to argue for any position about the Persons of the Godhead from John 17.

----------------------------------------

"The massage is miles away..."

But it did get that kink out of my neck, but not, apparently my fingers.

"The passage is miles away..."

Sorry.

Jesus being the mediator between us and God (i.e. the Father) requires that he be a different self than the Father
Says who?

I don't see this as necessary at all.

Amy is the mediator of all comments on this blog, no matter who the comment is directed at. Sometimes people direct their comments at the author of the original post. In those instances, Amy is the mediator between the commenter and the OP author. Amy is also sometimes the author of an original post on this blog. That means that sometimes Amy is the mediator between commenters and herself.

That means she is sometimes the mediator between commenters

Oh dear! My proofreading has been atrocious.

That last sentence, which virtually repeats the previous one, should have been trimmed. Sorry.

I better take a break.

Dale, the problem with what you are saying is that in the context of the passage and the gospel, Jesus does not appear to be saying "I am he." It echoes the prologue in Chapter 1:

"In the beginning was the logos, and the logos was with God, and the logos was God. He was with God in the beginning."

Or do you think John the apostle was wrong?

No, he said, "Before Abraham was born, I am." Notice how it is the last thing Jesus says as so to emphasize it. In the context of the book and the translation, to say "Before Abraham was born, it's me" just doesn't hold much water. In fact, in the other parts of the gospel, I would hesitate to translate it as "it's me".

On several occasions Jesus asks for the mechanism behind David calling his descendent "Lord". No one had a good answer and we expect that silence given the unavoidable issues in play. Christ asks specifically along the lines of genetic/descendent contours. Transpositions emerge in what is a very uncanny set of semantics embedded with genetic peculiarities. But then transposition just is the sort of motion wherein logos transcends efficient and final causality amid Trinity's milieu - where the diffusiveness of the Good finds no contingency should God never create - again amid Trinity's milieu. Then there too in His World Making affairs such communique sums ultimately to transposition in what is - literally - Word. The curious affairs of Causality and of Transposition and of Necessity carry us unavoidably into Trinity's milieu as reality's fundamental shape comes into focus. "That which is caused does not exist before in act, whereas that which is communicated exists before in act." Logos finds in Trinity alone the singular satisfaction of the Necessary.

Trinity:

A clipped assembling of related and nascent contemplations blended with selective paraphrases and manipulations of Garrigou-Lagrange’s “The Trinity and God the Creator” - a book which is neither recommended here nor the reverse - mingled with embryonic ruminations, random pontifications, and underdeveloped reflections on the silhouettes of metaphysics, necessity, and the Triune God:


That which sums to the Necessary realizes satisfaction in Trinity – that is to say – the means and ends of Act void of Cause and of the Perfect Good’s diffusiveness void of Contingency surface as the fundamental shape of reality. The Necessary carries us to the Triune in all that we spy, whether such be the contours of being or of life or of act or of intention or of some other contour of being. That which causes the universe from without rather than from within appears before us void of contingency’s potentiality in need of this or that actualization and begins to come into focus. Trinity reveals to us the very contours of, not causation, but of transposition within and by all that sums to Mind’s lucidity even as we encounter that which sums to the essence of relational collocation in all that sums to the very delineation of Person as love’s filiation void of causation establishes its incantation of ceaseless reciprocity.


Perfect Goodness is essentially diffusive of itself and in the Necessary Being we find the means and ends of Perfect Goodness such that God is essentially and to the greatest degree diffusive of Himself. Indeed, Thomas notes, "….the goodness of God is perfect and is able to be without other beings since nothing of perfection accrues to it from other beings." Here Leibnitz erred by saying that creation is not physically but morally necessary, and that God would not be perfectly wise and good if He had not created and moreover if He had not created the best of all possible worlds and indeed Malebranche erred in this seam toward Occasionalism. This obscurity is clarified by the revelation of the mystery of the Trinity, for, even if God had created nothing, there is still in Him the infinite prolificacy of Logos amid the ceaseless filiation of that which sums to Spirit eternally in transposition’s procession.


Thomas notes, "The knowledge of the divine persons was necessary for right thinking about the creation of things. For when we say that God made all things by His Word we avoid the error of those who say that God made all things necessarily because of His nature. But when we discover in God the procession of love we see that God produced creatures not because of any need, nor because of any extrinsic cause, but because of the love of His goodness….. “ Indeed as Scheeben points out the revelation of the Trinity perfects and confirms our natural knowledge of God the Creator and of creation as an entirely free act of God.


The principle that good is diffusive of itself is perfectly verified in Trinity and in fact the highest Good is necessarily diffusive of itself within itself and this not by causality but by communication – such sums not only to a participation in its entire nature but a also to a communication of His entire nature, of His entire intimate life in the generation of that which sums uncaused to the begotten. From such a higher plane comes confirmation that creation is an entirely free act by which God communicates – transposes – Himself a participation of His being, His life, and His knowledge. Thus also it is more evident that God is not the intrinsic cause but the extrinsic cause of the universe, the end for which it was created, the being that created, conserves, and keeps it in motion. If, therefore, God created actually, it was through love, to show in an entirely free act His goodness, and not in any way by a necessity of His nature.


In the Triune God we find all such processions not by local motion nor by transitive action but by the intellectual emanation of all that sums to the intelligible word from Him who enunciates His continuous Speech. Procession in Trinity finds the Spirit of – the actuality of – Truth which proceeds – the begotten logos – by which all things were made – which proceeds from all eternity – ever with God – ever in God – ever God – ever the communique of transposition. Trinity reveals the very wellspring of reality itself wherein that which does not produce its own being instead by continuous incantation communicates all that is Himself as the very identity of communicate transcends efficient and final causality. Such ushers us to the realization that the begotten logos is not more perfect than the begetter as begetting is not causing. That which is caused does not exist before in Act, whereas that which is communicated exists before in Act. Analogous to C.S. Lewis’ Cube abstraction so too the first angle of the triangle communicates its surface, already existing in act, to the other two angles…….. Thus there cannot be two Fathers or two Sons in the Trinity just as in an equilateral triangle the first angle constructed renders the area of the triangle incommunicable inasmuch as it belongs to that first angle; nevertheless this same area remains communicable and is communicated to the other two angles. Reality’s shape here reveals that in the Divine Procession there is no diversity of nature (the nature remains numerically the same) but only a diversity of persons according to the collocation of relation as transposition there in all that sums to Logos carries all that is God Himself as begetting in God casually transcends contingency’s change from non-being to being.


Person here renders a finite nature such as Man incommunicable of itself which, since it is finite, is filled by the one personality. On the other hand the relative (relational) personality according to the collocation of relation finds, for example, that the person of the Father does not render an infinite nature incommunicable to other persons. The divine nature being infinite and infinitely prolific is not adequately filled by one relative, relational, personality – or let the critic here prove the contrary. Personality in God differs from human personality inasmuch as it is not something absolute but something relative – relational – and it is of the nature of relative things that they have a correlative. The Father cannot be without Logos in whom He communicates His Nature – which is Himself – which cannot be otherwise – as we find in the immutable love of the Necessary Being the milieu of Trinity wherein love’s ceaseless reciprocity comes into focus and carries us onward, inward, into the depths of reality’s Eternally Sacrificing Self Who in relative – relational – love ever embraces reality’s Eternally Filling Other. We here resist the urge to pull back for all which sums to “Self” and all which sums to “Other” and all that sums to Genesis’ peculiar yet fateful and Singular “Us” just is the revelation of the infinite God Who is Himself that which defines, circumscribes, demarcates all that sums to love. That Person is to us that which cannot transpose all that is the Self short of contingency need not bother us. As a Line is to a Cube so too are we to Him Who in Logos begets all that is Himself in His continuous Speech there in Trinity’s unavoidable topography of Self-Other-Us. Here we expect precisely that and no less both of ourselves and of Necessity Himself even as the enigmatic contours of all moral vectors emerge within the Necessary. The fundamental shape of reality unalterably reveals the inimitable contours of the Triune God – from A to Z – in the express meta-narrative of an uncanny sonnet borne within the ceaseless reciprocity of the immutable love of the Necessary Being.

" If a = b, and c = b, then it must also be that a = c.

None of which I actually said.

Jesus is the same entity as the Father, but He is not the same person."

Right. So when you say that Jesus and the Father are "the same entity/being" you think this doesn't imply that Jesus and the Father are numerically one (identical). This is baffling.

Imagine that I said that Dubya and George W. Bush are the same being. (True.) But now I add that they're not numerically one, not identical. Stunned silence. You now have no idea what I meant in the first claim.

Of course, this (same being, different "Persons") is what catholic tradition demands that you say. But then, the onus is on you to say what you mean when you claim that they are "the same being." This is the problem that still festers from the innovative language of Nicea. At the time, and even now, there was not agreement on what "same ousia" was supposed to mean there. Hence, a crowd of mostly mutually incompatible theories still on the table: http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/trinity/

We could go on at great length about what "same ousia" might mean. But let me just observe that if you're an evangelical, as I assume, this is placing a LOT of trust in 4th c. catholic bishops - to say that we don't really know what they're asserting... But it's true, important, and obviously taught in the Bible. But if we don't know what these claims are, how can we know that they're true, important, or taught in the Bible?

Again, you lean an the "Athanasian" creed - an even more baffling document. This is what your 1-7 distills. (Yes, I know you think 1-7 are obviously implied by scripture too; I used to think that.) All I can say here is that the creed *looks* inconsistent with itself. So on the face of it, it goes wrong somewhere in expounding scripture. I think too that its pretty unclear what that "creed" is saying... but that's another conversation.

"the Arian heresy that you are advancing"
(facepalm)

Friend, "Arians" have really nothing to do with my views. Don't let old practices of label-slapping keep you from actually hearing and mulling over what is said.

In any case, your 1-7 do nothing to illuminate what you mean by "Person" when you say that Jesus and the
Father are different "Persons" but the same entity. Some things about your language make me think that you hold triune God to be a self. And yet, I'll wager that you think of Jesus and the Father as two selves. This is of course what the NT everywhere assumes, applying person pronouns to both of the them, and everywhere assuming them to be two (as, they qualitatively differ).

Got to get beyond apologist-fu to work this out - both via philosophy and by more careful textual exposition.

"Jesus being the mediator between us and God (i.e. the Father) requires that he be a different self than the Father

Says who?

I don't see this as necessary at all.

Amy is the mediator of all comments on this blog"

Sorry, but your point turns wholly on an equivocation on "mediator". A mediator is some self who negotiates personal relationships between two or more other selves. Letting comments onto a blog or not is not comparable.

Suppose someone wants to approach Amy to be her friend, but doesn't want to do it directly, but only through a mediator. This can't be Amy, right? If Amy-in-a-good-mood is approachable, this is just to say that one doesn't need a mediator to engage her.

People who think that Jesus is God himself effectively think that God is an approachable chap. No third party needed. God just turns out to be the humble, likable Jewish man, who died for us. And then, confusing the two, we don't see any unique role for Jesus. "Jesus", people imagine, is just God's proper name.

I think this is a very harmful confusion. In the NT, we approach God through his Son, our advocate. God is not a likable chap. He is a dangerous, Almighty King. Father, yes, but King too. Jesus is our access to him. We know how much God loves us not because God himself died for us, but because God sent his Son to die for us.

Happily, this last is coherent. Whereas an essentially immortal being like God can't, in principle, die. Jesus can and did die. And now he's been rewarded with immortality, and exalted to God's right hand. All explict NT teaching.

an essentially immortal being like God can't, in principle, die. Jesus can and did die.
Why do you think God is immortal (assuming "immortal" means "unable to die")? Certainly He is eternal and indestructible (if that's what you mean by "immortal" then OK).

God can be eternal and indestructible and still know death without being ended by it. I am not eternal and indestructible, but death will not end me. Why on earth should I think that death poses some sort of problem for God?

Suppose someone wants to approach Amy to be her friend, but doesn't want to do it directly, but only through a mediator. This can't be Amy, right?
Doesn't Lois Lane often have Clark Kent approach Superman for her? No, that's impossible according to you.
God is not a likable chap. He is a dangerous, Almighty King. Father, yes, but King too.
Bruce Banner is a calm and reasonable, and even likable, fellow. So he cannot be the same thing as the Hulk, because the Hulk is anything but that. (Though I've heard that you can approach the Hulk using Bruce as a go-between.)

And anyway, dangerous, powerful beings cannot be likable because...why?

Again, aren't there about a million stories where the whole point was that a powerful, dangerous and seemingly terrifying being turned out to be kindly and gentle if you would just give it the chance to be.

So Dale, even if I were to accept your straw man aimed at saying that I'm trivializing God (and by the way I don't accept it), you would have failed to so much as hint that there is anything conceptually wrong with that, highly distorted, characterization of Trinitarian position.

I mean, let's say that I agree that if you're a Trinitarian, you have to view God as a great big lovable fuzzball like Santa Claus. Have you shown that it is impossible for God to be a great big lovable fuzzball like Santa Claus? (And before you start protesting that the God of the Bible is frightening, remember that many children are afraid of Santa when they actually have to go sit on his lap.)

So I've noticed that you are trying to saddle the Trinitarian position with the idea that Trinitarians trivialize God. An idea that is not implicit in Trinitarianism at all.

But even if I hadn't noticed that, the idea doesn't prove a blessed thing. (Other than, maybe, that you're out of arguments.)

Right. So when you say that Jesus and the Father are "the same entity/being" you think this doesn't imply that Jesus and the Father are numerically one (identical). This is baffling.

Imagine that I said that Dubya and George W. Bush are the same being. (True.) But now I add that they're not numerically one, not identical. Stunned silence. You now have no idea what I meant in the first claim.

So the only way to understand the Father and the Son are the same entity is as a simple statement of numerical identity?

Maybe what I mean is like this "There is one and only one entity that holds the title 'The Father' and that entity also holds the title 'The Son', and there is one and only one entity that holds the title 'The Son', and that entity also holds the title 'The Father'"

The statement is a little different from "a=b".

Now, you might persist that my statement still implies a numerical identity of something with itself.

Well, yeah. In the end YHWH=YHWH right? So what?

Yes, my claim imples that. Then again, doesn't anything and everything imply that?

Now this:

At the time, and even now, there was not agreement on what "same ousia" was supposed to mean there.
Well of course there was. The Arians thought the church should say "homoiousios" instead of "homoousios". Some were swayed by them for a little while because "homoousios" was a term also used by the modalists...and Arianism was, after all, just an overreaction to modalism. some were rightly concerned about slipping back into the old heresy.

But what does all this amount to? Did the early Christians actually disagree about whether Father, Son and Holy Spirit were each YHWH-God? No. I suppose that you could make the same claim of disagreement today if you hold that JWs, Mormons, and so on count as Christians. Color me unimpressed by this fact.

And then this:

I know you think 1-7 are obviously implied by scripture too; I used to think that.
Well aren't you sophisticated?

Which of 1-7 do you think is not taught by the Bible?

The proposition that Father Son and Holy Spirit are all YHWH-God is very clear...each of them being referred to in multiple places by the name "YHWH". But so is monotheism. So is it one of 5-7 that you deny.

It seems not:

This is of course what the NT everywhere assumes, applying person pronouns to both of the them, and everywhere assuming them to be two (as, they qualitatively differ).

Your problem, Dale, is that you won't see past the notion of "person" given by contemporary philosophy. You want to think of a person as a single center of consciousness, will, power and activity.

That is not what the Creeds mean when they distinguish the Persons of the Godhead. In fact, the Atahanasian Creed says that they (The Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost) are not three almighties, but One Almighty. It has a number of similar formulae along those lines, and I think it invites us to make the same sort of claim about all the essential attributes of God. So we might also say that they are not three all-seeing, but One all-Seeing, not three all-knowing, but One All-Knowing and so on. This implies that they are not three consiousnesses, but One Consciousness, not three wills, but One Will, not three agents, but One Agent. If you use the term "person" in the contemporary way, to mean, more-or-less, a free-willed mental entity, then there's only one.

The original meaning of "person" was more like a role, or even a mask, in a play.

This is also not the creedal meaning, since that would simply be modalism. And that doesn't capture the distinction that clearly does exist between Father, Son and Holy Ghost in Scripture. But, FWIW, I think it's a LOT closer to the idea than our contemporary notion.

The chief difficulty with the person-as-role concept of Divine personhood is that it doesn't capture the fact that each of the persons is essential to the Godhead. Roles, or masks can be changed easily.

Correction...

At the time, and even now, there was not agreement on what "same ousia" was supposed to mean there.
"Well of course there was"

I should have written "Well of course there wasn't"

OR

"Well, of course there was disagreement."

I believe I was actually thinking the latter at the time of writing.

BTW, the Greek term "hypostasis" does not carry the same baggage and history as "person". If I say that there is a single ousia and three hypostases. I don't think we english speakers will have as much of a tendency to get wrapped around the axle.

There is one entity, but three ultimate possessors of the essential attributes of that entity. Some of the essential attributes of the one entity may be communicated to the entity by one of the three ultimate possessors. God tasted death because the Son tasted death. God's tasting of death is part of His essential attribute of omniscience. It is not the case that God tasted death because the Father or the Holy Spirit tasted death. They tasted death because God did.

Did Jesus Lie under Oath?

Gospel of John's Jesus:
Jesus answered, “I have spoken openly to the world; I have always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where all the Jews come together. I have said nothing in secret.
John 18:20

Gospel of Mark's Jesus:
He strictly ordered them that no one should know this.
Mark 5:43

Mark’s Jesus seems to ALWAYS be telling his disciples and those he heals to keep his deeds secret. John’s Jesus swears under oath in front of the Jewish Sanhedrin (high court) that he has said nothing in secret.

This is a blatantly false.

To Jews, God cannot lie, therefore this is absolute proof to them (and maybe it should be to Christians) that Jesus was not God.

The Jewish Bible:
God is not a man, that he should lie, nor a son of a man that he should repent...
--- Numbers 23:19

"Why do you think God is immortal (assuming "immortal" means "unable to die")?"

Well, here's one reason: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/immortal

Here's the Greek word from 1 Timothy 6:16 http://biblehub.com/greek/110.htm

We shouldn't argue about the meaning of this word, right?

I understand why you want to avoid the obvious meaning of "God is immortal" - it's because you think that Jesus is God, and died. Hence,

"Certainly He is eternal and indestructible (if that's what you mean by "immortal" then OK)"

No, those don't mean the same thing. A thing might die yet exist forever, and be indestructible (while dead). Dying is ceasing to live. This doesn't conceptually entail ceasing to exist.

You and I agree that dying isn't the same as ceasing to exist. Of course, I was not saying that dying is or implies ceasing to exist. I was saying that dying is incompatible with being (at that time) immortal, and with being essentially immortal.

"Doesn't Lois Lane often have Clark Kent approach Superman for her?" She may think that's what she's doing. But we know that she's really talking directly to Superman, who just is C.K. How does this apply to God and Jesus now?

"Bruce Banner is a calm and reasonable, and even likable, fellow. So he cannot be the same thing as the Hulk, because the Hulk is anything but that."

No, in that mythology Bruce and Hulk are assumed to be personally identical. Same being, same self/person. Different personalities, sure. But same self. e.g. Bruce correctly remembers doing what Hulk did. Because that was him.

How is this relevant to God and his Son? Do you think that the Son is just God living in one way, and that the Father is just God simultaneously living another way?

Do you think that in truth, no mediator is needed, because we can access God directly via his Jesus-personality?

"distorted, characterization of Trinitarian position" Now you're just in attack mode. I will just observe here that there is not one standard trinitarian position about all of this. Confusion reigns. What I've been addressing here is *one* position which its adherents consider to be trinitarian, a position which is common among American evangelicals. This is the view that Jesus and God and numerically one, identical, and so, the same self.

"the idea that Trinitarians trivialize God" No, I'm afraid you're not following me. It is not all trinitarians I'm talking about. Rather, I'm talking about the ones who confuse Jesus and God. I claim that this confusion is spiritually harmful, and obscures the important differences between Jesus and God that are so central to the NT.

"Maybe what I mean is like this "There is one and only one entity that holds the title 'The Father' and that entity also holds the title 'The Son', and there is one and only one entity that holds the title 'The Son', and that entity also holds the title 'The Father'" The statement is a little different from "a=b"."

Yes, you're suggesting that "Father" and "Son" are co-referring terms. This, as you say, implies that Father = Son.

What's the problem? The self-evident truth of the indiscernibility of identicals, plus the fact that in the NT some things are true of one, that aren't true of the other. http://trinities.org/blog/simplifying-the-indiscernibility-of-identicals/

No, statements of the form a=b are not always trivial, in the way that statements of the form a=a are. Often, statements like a=b or not(a=b) are important discoveries.

"Well of course there was. The Arians..."
Stop right there. I meant disagreement among the bishops who voted for the "one ousia" formula. They literally came to consensus on the language, not on some theoretical insight.

"Did the early Christians actually disagree about whether Father, Son and Holy Spirit were each YHWH-God?"

They absolutely did, yes. Early catholics identified the Father with the one God, and held the Son to be lesser in knowledge, power, and before Origen, in age. e.g. Tertullian, Irenaeus, Justin Many relevant quotes here: http://trinities.org/blog/?s=trinitarian+or+unitarian No, I'm not counting Mormons, etc. We're talking pre-Nicene mainstream Christians. I'm even ruling out the "monarchians," though many such were at the heart of the mainstream.

"Which of 1-7 do you think is not taught by the Bible?" I think the way you mean them, 3 is the main problem. I think the term "Holy Spirit" in the NT is ambiguous, following the pattern of the OT. Too much to explain in a combox, but you can listen here: http://trinities.org/blog/podcast-episode-25-a-conversation-with-pastor-sean-finnegan-about-the-holy-spirit-part-1/

"The proposition that Father Son and Holy Spirit are all YHWH-God is very clear...each of them being referred to in multiple places by the name "YHWH"."

Friend, do you see that this is not a valid argument?

1. A is called F.
2. B is called F.
3. Therefore, A and B are the same entity.

Names and titles can be ambiguous, we all know. So you can make a valid argument like this:

1. For any x whatever, if x is called F, then x = A.
2. B is called F.
3. Therefore, B = A.

But in the cases before us, the first premise will be false. Let F be "God" or "Lord" - it is clear that in the NT there are used of more than YHWH himself. See e.g. Heb 1:8 for two uses of "God" and https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+22%3A42-46&version=ESV for "Lord" - though it is "my lord" vs. "the Lord".

Jesus isn't called by the Hebrew "Yahweh" because the NT is in Greek. It's mistaken to think that "the Lord" in the NT is always substituting for "YHWH." Based on Ps 110:1, the NT writers distinguish the human "lord" from his God YHWH who exalts him. http://trinities.org/blog/podcast-episode-15-are-pauls-one-god-and-one-lord-one-and-the-same/

"Your problem, Dale, is that you won't see past the notion of "person" given by contemporary philosophy. You want to think of a person as a single center of consciousness, will, power and activity. That is not what the Creeds mean when they distinguish the Persons of the Godhead."

Oh no, you can use "Person" however you please; it's your theory. In comparing Trinity theories I am guided not by philosophy, but rather by a concept all humans possess. I focus on the common-sense concept we all have of a self. As I think I observed before, I see that the tradition is driving you towards a one-self understanding of the Trinity, as I explain here. http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/trinity/#OneSelThe

Specifically, when you say: " not three agents, but One Agent... The original meaning of "person" was more like a role, or even a mask, in a play."

Yeah, so maybe I'm moody. Depressed-Dale says "get lost" and Happy-Dale says "Howdy neighboreeno". But of course, it was all just me. You've interacted, on these occasions, with just one self.

I'm sorry, but this is flatly contradicted by the NT, in which the one God is the Father, and he differs from Jesus, e.g. exceeding Jesus in knowledge. http://trinities.org/blog/podcast-86-kermit-zarley-on-distinguishing-jesus-and-god/

"The chief difficulty with the person-as-role concept of Divine personhood is that it doesn't capture the fact that each of the persons is essential to the Godhead. Roles, or masks can be changed easily."

This is no problem that can't easily be fixed. You just say that these personalities are eternal and essential, basically. http://trinities.org/blog/what-is-modalism/

But the theology stills goes hard against the NT. This is a case of catholic tradition against the NT. Got to decide if you're on the Reforming side.

God bless,
Dale

Gary, I don't see a lie there. Jesus is refusing to give information, not claiming that he's never said anything semi-privately.

"The high priest questioned Jesus about His disciples and about His teaching.

20 “I have spoken openly to the world,” Jesus answered him. “I have always taught in the synagogue and in the temple complex, where all the Jews congregate, and I haven’t spoken anything in secret. 21 Why do you question Me? Question those who heard what I told them."

I don't see how a hearer would conclude that he never gave further explanations of any sort to his inner circle. I also don't see how what Jesus says in John 18 is inconsistent with his keeping a temporary lid on reports of his miracles, etc.

Jews didn't need to catch Jesus in a lie to think he wasn't God himself. Rather, all they needed was the background beliefs like "God is not a man" or "God is invisible".

We shouldn't argue about the meaning of this word, right?
True, you should simply agree with me that the word is ambiguous.

Just as "Immortal" can mean, simply, "everlasting or eternal", so also "Athanasia" can mean everlasting or eternal. I Timothy 6 is no argument that God has not tasted death...and indeed, God could not be omniscient unless He had...for there would be something He does not know.

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Suppose someone wants to approach Amy to be her friend, but doesn't want to do it directly, but only through a mediator. This can't be Amy, right?[emphasis mine]
The point of the Superman example was to show that one might approach a being in on guise order to have that being carry a message to that same being in a different guise. I approach Amy as blog moderator to get her to carry a message to Amy as post author. Lois approaches Clark to get him to carry a message to Superman. It's actually, contrary to your claim, quite possible to do this.

The fact that the person approaching Amy or Clark knows or does not know what they are doing is beside the point.

Here's another example. I'm happy to carry on a conversation with you as WL on this blog. But let's say that you discovered my personal e-mail and started sending me posts. I might not be too receptive to that. You know that you are talking to D. through WL (yes, I share your first initial), and that you are doing so through my personal e-mail...but I am approachable as WL, but not as D.

WL is the mediator between Dale and D. For all that WL is D.

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Bruce Banner is a calm and reasonable, and even likable, fellow. So he cannot be the same thing as the Hulk, because the Hulk is anything but that.
No, in that mythology Bruce and Hulk are assumed to be personally identical. Same being, same self/person. Different personalities, sure. But same self. e.g. Bruce correctly remembers doing what Hulk did. Because that was him.
So the Hulk is calm, reasonable and even likable?

No that's a property of the Banner personality, but not the Hulk personality.

How is it that you haven't just proven my point? Bruce and Hulk are the same in one respect and different in another. They're even different by having different personalities.

Why is it such a leap to say "God in Three Persons, Blessed Trinity"?

------------------------------------------------

I'm going to leave the logic of definite descriptions to one side for now. Suffice it to say that I don't need to think that identities are always trivial in order to think that YHWH=YHWH is. Also, I don't need to think that identities are always trivial in order to think that "The Father is God and The Son is God" is NOT just a roundabout way of saying the "The Father=The Son".

------------------------------------------------

Now let's move to the fact that Jesus, for example, is repeatedly referred to as YHWH.

They literally came to consensus on the language, not on some theoretical insight.
Yes they wanted to be careful not to slip back into modalism, so they were very cautious about the wording.

They did not think that Jesus was anyone other than YHWH-God.

They absolutely did, yes. Early catholics identified the Father with the one God, and held the Son to be lesser in knowledge, power, and before Origen, in age. e.g. Tertullian, Irenaeus, Justin
You think Tertullian is not a Trinitarian? He's the one who coined the formula "One being, three persons".

I read your blog's entry on Irenaeus also. It quotes a passage from Against Heresies as if the passage is suggesting that Jesus is not God. But in that passage (Bk II, Ch 9), Irenaeus is arguing for the Deity of Christ. Basically, this is because Jesus is referred to as YHWH. John, in preparing the way for Jesus is said to be the voice calling "In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord". So Jesus is that Lord. But in the OT, the passage reads "Prepare the way of YHWH"

Jesus isn't called by the Hebrew "Yahweh" because the NT is in Greek. It's mistaken to think that "the Lord" in the NT is always substituting for "YHWH."
Of course. But where Jesus is referred to as "Lord" in reference to an OT passage that says YHWH, the NT is referring to Jesus as YHWH.

And such passages occur all over the place (it's not just the passages about John the Baptizer).

------------------------------------------------

Friend, do you see that this is not a valid argument?
  1. A is called F.
  2. B is called F.
  3. Therefore, A and B are the same entity.
Well, there is only one being called YHWH...so if you add that premise...
  1. A is called F.
  2. B is called F.
  3. There is only one entity called F
  4. Therefore, A and B are the same entity.
...the argument is far from invalid.

------------------------------------------------

Specifically, when you say: " not three agents, but One Agent
This is nothing that I was not invited to say by Creedal language. The Athanasian Creed is not an exhaustive list of the essential Divine Attributes...that's not its purpose. But it's clear enough that for each such attribute, x, we're not to say "three x's". Instead we are to say "One X".
The original meaning of "person" was more like a role, or even a mask, in a play.
I did not endorse this original meaning, but said, pretty clearly, that the idea is defective. So attributing modalism to me (per your Happy Dale, Grumpy Dale riff) on the basis of any supposed endorsement is wide of the mark.

I agree with you about the 'easy' fix to the person-as-role idea. If there is any fix for the idea, that is it...assert that the roles are themselves essential to God (BTW, the Athanasian creed says that there are not three fathers but One Father...so that, at least, fits with what we've already said).

I'm still not so sure it's that easy.

------------------------------------------------

Got to decide if you're on the Reforming side.
So now the reformers were not Trinitarians? Well, I guess if Tertullian wasn't a Trinitarian, then who on God's good earth ever was!

I think that "immortality" I Tim 6:16 must mean "eternity", because the claim there is that God alone is immortal. But we mortals will put on immortality (I Cor 15)...we will become deathless, its far too late for us to be everlasting or eternal.

So God alone is not deathless.

But God alone is eternal.

Also, I think an argument can be made that I Tim. 6:16 is referring to Jesus when it says who is athanasian. It is the King of kings and Lord of lords that is athanasian. "King of kings and Lord of lords" is one of Jesus' titles.

Oh No!

I had a huge comment responding to you, Dale. The little remark on I Tim. 6, was just a brief follow-up.

I entered it, and I thought it had been accepted. But now it's missing.

The STR comment eater strikes again!

It's been dormant for some time, and I became lax in my practice of always writing the comment in TextPad and then copying it over.

(Stick around here long enough, Dale, and you'll know what I mean).

I'm sorry to say that I don't have time to re-create it right now.

But I will send out a plea to Amy to try and rescue it for me...sometimes that works.

Amy saved the day again. Thanks Amy!

"True, you should simply agree with me that the word is ambiguous. Just as "Immortal" can mean, simply, "everlasting or eternal", so also "Athanasia" can mean everlasting or eternal. I Timothy 6 is no argument that God has not tasted death...and indeed, God could not be omniscient unless He had...for there would be something He does not know."

Sorry, the word means literally "deathless," not everlasting, and not eternal. You may not ignore the point that living is more than existing. Being dead implies not living, but conceptually, being dead is consistent with existing or not. The word means literally: "deathless" - not merely alive, but alive and doesn't die - and I take it that this is not by accident, but because the thing *can't* die, as the def. says "not subject to death."

So the NT does clearly and explicitly say that God can't, or if you like, just doesn't ever die. Paul of course is not at all arguing this. Any Jew would be shocked at the suggestion that God might die.

Can't re-define words to defend your speculative theology, I'm afraid.

"indeed, God could not be omniscient unless He had...for there would be something He does not know."

Oh for goodness' sake. Think this through. Do you think that God was less than omniscient before 30 AD? God can know exactly what it's like for a human to die just by his unlimited cognitive powers - call it perfect imaginative powers or perfect abilities of first-person simulation.

"The point of the Superman example was to show that one might approach a being in on guise order to have that being carry a message to that same being in a different guise. ...It's actually, contrary to your claim, quite possible to do this."

I didn't claim that was impossible. Indeed, it happens all the time, as in your apt D vs. WL example. My point was that this is not literally a case of mediation - one self acting as a go-between, to negotiate a relationship between two or more other selves. Your cases are only analagous to these. Your cases are of a self who simply doesn't use or need a mediator, as he or she is approachable via some mode, personality, or way of interacting. This again, is my point that you seem to be a one-self trinitarian, which is against the now-popular "social" (three self) views, e.g. Hasker, Swinburne.

"So the Hulk is calm, reasonable and even likable?"

Yes! When he's in the Banner-mode. And Banner says "You wouldn't like me when I'm angry." That's true, as he just is the Hulk himself - that's Bruce in another mode.

"No that's a property of the Banner personality, but not the Hulk personality."

No, personalities, properly speaking, don't have qualities like being reasonable, etc. Those are qualities of persons/selves. What's true is that the Banner personality or mode includes properties like being calm. So, when the man is in that mode, he ipso facto must be calm.

"How is it that you haven't just proven my point? Bruce and Hulk are the same in one respect and different in another. They're even different by having different personalities. Why is it such a leap to say "God in Three Persons, Blessed Trinity"?"

Yeah, one self. I can only refer you to what I've written about the the obvious clashes with scripture here. Two big ones: the friendship of Jesus and his God, and that Jesus is a mediator between God and us.
http://trinities.org/blog/if-modalism-about-the-son-were-true-then/

"You think Tertullian is not a Trinitarian? He's the one who coined the formula "One being, three persons"."

Not only to I think it, but I've argued it after studying all his extant works. Here's my presentation to a group of mostly Catholic philosophers.

http://trinities.org/blog/podcast-episode-11-tertullian-the-unitarian/

Honestly, I didn't get any substantial objections afterwards.

In brief, he does believe in three divine persons, who are divine because they're composed of different portions of the divine stuff (substantia). A finite time ago, God extended a portion of his matter, resulting in that portion also composing the Son.

"John, in preparing the way for Jesus is said to be the voice calling "In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord". So Jesus is that Lord. But in the OT, the passage reads "Prepare the way of YHWH"

Sigh. This fulfillment fallacy is aggressively pushed now by evangelical apologists.

http://trinities.org/blog/proving-that-bush-sgt-speedo/

http://trinities.org/blog/the-bible-teaches-that-david-is-god/

For this particular case: the gospel author does think that YHWH is acting through his Messiah. No, he doesn't here assume or hint that Jesus is YHWH. To the contrary, Jesus is YHWH's anointed, which presupposes that he's someone else.

"So now the reformers were not Trinitarians?"

Some were and some weren't. Most likely you have in mind those who were. But the point is that those didn't go far enough. This confused and confusing realm of Trinity speculation isn't and never has been essential to the movement, and has done much harm.

On the essential point: http://trinities.org/blog/podcast-85-heretic-four-approaches-to-dropping-h-bombs/

On ongoing reforming: http://21stcr.org/

"I think that "immortality" I Tim 6:16 must mean "eternity", because the claim there is that God alone is immortal."

More likely is that he means *essentially* immortal. cf. saying only God is good. Yes, we too will be transformed and made immortal, as was Jesus. But neither we nor Jesus are essentially immortal (again, Jesus died). Non-essential immortality is implied in gaining a transformed, resurrection body.

Also note that in 1 Tim 1:17 Paul uses another word which is often translated "immortal", and immediately before says "eternal". Using this word to mean "eternal" then would be immediately redundant. Most unlikely. Clearly, "immortal" (or: imperishable, incorruptable) is on his list of divine attributes to mention. http://biblehub.com/greek/aphtharto__862.htm

Back in 6:16 he uses an abstract noun rather than the adjective above - "immortality" vs "immortal."

So on the whole, the other word in 1 Tim 6:16 means "immortality," just like *all* the translators say. http://biblehub.com/1_timothy/6-16.htm
http://biblehub.com/greek/athanasian_110.htm

And the English "immortal" means: doesn't die and/or can't die.

Text > theory. Theory must go.

"Also, I think an argument can be made that I Tim. 6:16 is referring to Jesus when it says who is athanasian. It is the King of kings and Lord of lords that is athanasian. "King of kings and Lord of lords" is one of Jesus' titles."

No, sorry, that would be a misreading. Note v. 14 - Jesus is mentioned there, v15 - "who at the due time will be revealed by God". So "God" here is the Father, and is contrasted with Jesus. But God/the Father is the subject of vv. 15-6, not Jesus.

Even though yes, in Rev 17 & 19 God has bestowed the name of "king of kings and lord of lords" on the Lord Jesus.
https://www.biblegateway.com/quicksearch/?quicksearch=%22king+of+kings%22&qs_version=HCSB

You might think it counterintuitive that two different beings could bear that title. But see the link above - the title was applied to human kings too. True, not in a religious context. The point is just that any name or title can be used for various beings. Even the term "god" is ambiguous, as Jesus himself points out. http://trinities.org/blog/jesuss-argument-in-john-10/

God bless,
Dale

"Sorry, the word means literally "deathless," not everlasting, and not eternal."

Not what Thayer's says. But if you insist, then tell me how it is that God alone is immortal. Also, tell me how it is the the King of kings and Lord of lords, i.e. Jesus, is deathless.

"You might think it counterintuitive that two different beings could bear that title. But see the link above - the title was applied to human kings too."

Oh! "Kok and Lol" might refer to the Father. Or the Shah-an-shah of Persia...one of the two.

While we're on the subject of Persia...did you know they had an elite force called The Immortals. Obviously, the only possible meaning of that is that the force consisted entirely of deathless soldiers. So the title was seen by all to be a lie when they experienced their first fatality.

(The force was actually called that because it was supposed to be indestructible and everlasting....because whenever one of their 10,000 were killed, he was immediately replaced.)

"Oh for goodness' sake. Think this through. Do you think that God was less than omniscient before 30 AD?"

I'd recommend similar thoughtfulness.

Do you think the eternal God is capable of having knowledge based on a future event?

Jesus created time, for all things were made by Him and without Him was not anything made that was made. Could you honestly think that somehow He had to wait to die before He could know the death that He died? He will do what He wants with time.

"More likely is that he means *essentially* immortal. cf. saying only God is good"

So "only" means "essentially" now.

I wonder what wrack and ruin that will make of Scripture.

Thanks, but I'll stick with the far more likely view that sometimes immortal means everlasting or indestructible.

-----------------------------------------------------

"I didn't claim that was impossible."

Actually, you did:

"Suppose someone wants to approach Amy to be her friend, but doesn't want to do it directly, but only through a mediator. This can't be Amy, right?"

You did say this:

"My point was that this is not literally a case of mediation"

OK, whatever, why should I think that Jesus isn't the mediator between God and man, but that He lacks the elusive property of being a literal mediator.

Whatever that means.

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"Sigh. This fulfillment fallacy is aggressively pushed now by evangelical apologists."

I said nothing of fulfillment.

The point is that the NT text refers to Jesus as the Lord where the OT passage refers to YHWH.

The prophecy would not even need to be fulfilled to recognize that the NT author is identifying Jesus as YHWH.

Sgt. Speedo is an idiotic argument. I'm not going to dignify it with a response.

As for David, "my Lord" in Psalm 110 DOES NOT refer to David. David wrote the psalm...he is referring to his lord. Jesus, in Matt. 22 was kind enough to point out that "my Lord" refers to the Christ.

So that argument fails too.

"Jesus is YHWH's anointed, which presupposes that he's someone else."

Yes, YHWH could not anoint Himself. That's beyond even His omnipotence.

Not.

While we're at it, yes, I think it is possible for YHWH to say to the Christ that He should sit at His right hand, and, for all that, for the Christ to be YHWH.

YHWH made space too, and he'll do what He likes with it.

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WL: So the Hulk is calm, reasonable and even likable?

Dale: Yes! When he's in the Banner-mode. And Banner says "You wouldn't like me when I'm angry." That's true, as he just is the Hulk himself - that's Bruce in another mode.

OK, one cannot act as a mediator between oneself and others, John wasn't preparing the way of the Lord, Tertullian isn't a Trinitarian, and Hulk is calm, reasonable and even likable.

I think I've won this argument. I'll let it sit for now.

But in the true spirit of the academy please feel free to continue in your efforts to make the weaker argument the stronger.

"then tell me how it is that God alone is immortal."

Bro, I already did. The idea, I suggest, is that God alone is essentially immortal. Any other being can only be immortal non-essentially.

"Do you think the eternal God is capable of having knowledge based on a future event?"

You had suggested that to be omniscient, God must have actually died. If you want to switch to a timeless "fore"-knowledge, fine. Does God, in your view, know what it's like to sin? If so, does this require that God sins at some time or other?

""More likely is that he means *essentially* immortal. cf. saying only God is good" So "only" means "essentially" now. I wonder what wrack and ruin that will make of Scripture."

My Mom is (relatively) good. Saved saints someday will be good through and through. But Jesus says that only God is good. This is plausibly taken to mean that only God is independently good, or the source of goodness, or that only he is essentially good. Not an ad hoc move, friend, but one that's required to understand this saying. And it makes good theological sense out of the unique divine immortality that Paul mentions.

"Thanks, but I'll stick with the far more likely view that sometimes immortal means everlasting or indestructible."

OK, but you're just holding your theory against every NT translator. The *English* "immortal" doesn't mean what you say, and that's how they render the Gr. word.

Alright, WisdomLover. You were living up to the name for awhile, but you're now devolving to abuse and missing the point(s).

It is boneheaded to mock my claim that one can't be a mediator for oneself. This is just part of the concept of mediation. Every so often a person "marries" herself. Well, that's not literally marriage, is it? Maybe you get into a dispute with your employer, and per the contract you demand mediation. Then you tell them that you'll be the mediator. They say no - the contract means a literal mediator, and you pretend you don't know what that means. Good luck with that!

Against the NT, your theology has a God who doesn't require mediation, as he's simply friendly and accessible, in one of his (eternal, essential) modes. Sadly, this is a common theme among some present-day evangelicals.

About Ps 110, I invite you to consider a few good commentaries.

About Speedo. Yeah, maybe that's an idiotic argument... or maybe you just don't get the point. Or you don't want to... In the story, Speedo fulfills the genuine and true prophecy about Bush - but of course that doesn't mean that he is Bush. Just so with YHWH and Jesus, his Son.

God bless,
Dale

I suggest, is that God alone is essentially immortal. Any other being can only be immortal non-essentially.
I saw that. And responded. The text says "alone". It does not say "essentially".

I would think that someone so wrapped around the axle about sophisticated and nuanced terminology like "immortal" and "mediator" so that they must, must, must be ever univocal (an utterly absurd and pedantic view) would find swapping out a relatively simple term like "alone" to be anathema maranatha, especially swapping it out for so conceptually vexed a term as "essentially".

Maybe you could just provide a decoding key?

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If you want to switch to a timeless "fore"-knowledge, fine.
I've never held any other view. Of course the creator of time is independent of time. How else could it be?

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Does God, in your view, know what it's like to sin? If so, does this require that God sins at some time or other?
Every act I do, sin or obedience, I do only because God gave me to do it. He made me and all my acts. All things were made by Him, and without Him was not anything made that was made.

That said, it is possible for two people to do the same act and one of them commits a sin in doing it, while the other does not commit a sin in doing it. Perhaps one has knowledge that the other lacks and that knowledge either excuses or accuses that individual.

God knows what every act is, because He acts through us. It may be a sin for us, but it is not for God.

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Jesus says that only God is good. This is plausibly taken to mean that only God is independently good, or the source of goodness, or that only he is essentially good.
Jesus response to the rich young ruler was "Why are you asking me about the good? Only God is good."

Not "only God will ever be good".

The comment is implicitly scoped to the people of the RYR's experience. Jesus needn't say "well...there are these people on a far away planet called Marklar, and..." The only individual the RYR has any experience of who is good is God (assuming the RYR has never met an angel) whom he has met in the Temple.

Presumably the reason it initially makes no sense for the RYR to ask about the good is that no men in the RYR's orbit are good, of course, with one exception (meaning no disrespect to you Mom, I mean Jesus). So no men have the authority to speak about the good.

Interestingly Jesus goes ahead and speaks with authority to the RYR's question. Because He is not only man but God, the only good one.

No need to say "only"="essentially" there. (Though, of course, God is essentially good...I'd never deny that.)

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OK, but you're just holding your theory against every NT translator. The *English* "immortal" doesn't mean what you say, and that's how they render the Gr. word.
No. I agree with all the translations. The best word to use for "athanasia" is "immortal". This is because one of the more important principles of translation is to preserve ambiguity.

And the term "immortal" is ambiguous in spite of your really strange fixation on the idea that it is not. Here's Dictionary.com's take on the word:

  1. not mortal; not liable or subject to death; undying.
  2. remembered or celebrated through all time.
  3. not liable to perish or decay; imperishable; everlasting.
  4. perpetual; lasting; constant.
  5. of or relating to immortal beings or immortality.
  6. (of a laboratory-cultured cell line) capable of dividing indefinitely.
Now, to be sure, the idea of not dying is in a lot of these uses. But not all.

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Alright, WisdomLover. You were living up to the name for awhile, but you're now devolving to abuse and missing the point(s).
I love wisdom. Sometimes I even know her when I see her.

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It is boneheaded to mock my claim that one can't be a mediator for oneself. This is just part of the concept of mediation...Maybe you get into a dispute with your employer, and per the contract you demand mediation. Then you tell them that you'll be the mediator. They say no - the contract means a literal mediator, and you pretend you don't know what that means.
Well, I'm sure that no one, all by themselves, in such cases ever gets to name the mediator. The contracts are probably drawn up so that in case of disputes, both sides must agree to the mediator. They surely would not agree to me as mediator, not because of the concept of mediator, but because if I were mediator, I'd settle every disputed point in my favor.

But let's suppose the contract I signed was defective...so I get to name the mediator in our dispute.

Still, most contracts have clauses to prevent conflicts of interest in such cases, so the mediator can't be a member of my family...this would rule me out.

But let's suppose that my contract is really defective, it actually contains no language that rules me out as mediator.

If that's the case, if my employer was that lax in drawing up the language on how we would settle our disputes, then here is the way forward for this fictitious employer I have a dispute with:

Give in.

Because I will successfully name myself as the boneheaded mediator in our dispute, and absent the necessary language in our contract, no amount of caviling over the concept of mediator will save them.

And, just for fun, here is the definition of "mediate"

  1. to settle (disputes, strikes, etc.) as an intermediary between parties; reconcile.
  2. to bring about (an agreement, accord, truce, peace, etc.) as an intermediary between parties by compromise, reconciliation, removal of misunderstanding, etc.
  3. to effect (a result) or convey (a message, gift, etc.) by or as if by an intermediary.
Notice that none of this says or implies that the one mediating must be a discrete mental entity from the parties. Nothing even says the parties, or the mediator, have to be individual mental entities.

The ego mediates between superego and id. Does that make them three separate minds.

In some cases of multiple personality disorder, there is one personality that mediates between other hostile personalities.

Honestly, this fascination you have with the idea that "mediate" can mean only one thing so that an ancient doctrine of the church must be turned over because of it is quite inane.

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Against the NT, your theology has a God who doesn't require mediation, as he's simply friendly and accessible, in one of his (eternal, essential) modes.
I never said God doesn't require mediation. I said that God is the mediator.

I must say, I'm not sure why a friendly God is bad...you would prefer Allah?

I don't, by the way, know that God requires mediation...maybe we do. If He does require mediation, I don't know whether its because He is so unfriendly. Maybe He's too friendly.

Or maybe, He's friendly and accessible...just like the Hulk.

This is all stuff that you just chose to make up and attribute to me. Please keep it.

My point, my only point, is that the fact that Jesus mediates between God and man does not imply that Jesus != YHWH.

A good thing that, since the Bible repeatedly identifies Him as YHWH.

On a loosely related point, what on earth is an essential mode? Is it like an accidental nature?

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About Ps 110, I invite you to consider a few good commentaries.
If the commentaries conflict with Jesus' understanding of the Psalm, I'll pass.

Jesus said that "my lord" in the Psalm refers to Messiah. Not David. As such, the fact that Peter says later on that it refers to Jesus (which is actually right, since Jesus is the Messiah) then does not have the implication that Jesus is David. Because, you see, "my lord" does not refer to David.

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As for Speedo, the point of the Mark 1/Isaiah 40 parallel is that in Mark, John is preparing the way for Jesus and in so doing, he, John, fulfills the prophecy that the voice calling prepares the way of YHWH. The apt parallel would be to say that by invading Iraq, Speedo somehow fulfilled a prophecy that Bush would invade Papua New Guinea. At least, that's the apt parallel if Jesus != YHWH.

A lot of point missing here and silly stonewalling - I'm just about done. Don't have time to explain why the dictionary doesn't settle issues that turn on conceptual analysis...

Willful ignorance about Ps 110. :-(

Speedo... wow. You're just not getting it. I'd keep going if I thought you were willing to get it, but...

Doing a blog post on this later, because I know that others will get it.

God bless,
Dale

"Don't have time to explain why the dictionary doesn't settle issues that turn on conceptual analysis"

It does do a pretty good job of telling us how words are used though. Which is actually what we were debating.

I'd keep going if I thought you were willing to get it, but...
Oh, Dale, I do get it. Being an academic, you're used to people thinking it's really cool when you say things like "Tertullian wasn't a trinitarian," and it gets your back hairs up when someone finds that mockworthy.

But I honestly can't take a claim like that too seriously.

What's next? "Descartes wasn't a dualist?" "Plato was a nominalist?"

Good luck.

I feel that I should re-visit Sgt. Speedo. My fault, I should have just stuck with my initial point that the argument is idiotic...let people go to Dale's web site and decide for themselves.

As it is, I feel like I said just enough for people who might be reading along, but have no desire to go to Dale's site, to get confused. We've mentioned this mysterious Sgt. Speedo, but anyone else reading might not have any idea what we're talking about.

Here's Dale's Speedo story in brief:

  • A psychic predicts that G.W. Bush himself will invade Iraq. This prediction takes place before W's father was even President.
  • Sgt. Speedo claims to be the first person to cross the Iraqi border in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
  • Sgt. Speedo further claims that he, Speedo, fulfilled the prediction.
  • On the basis of this, Speedo claims that he is Bush.
  • His comrades with him at the bar when he makes this claim are incredulous.
This is supposed to be just like the parallel between Isaiah 40:3 and Matthew 3:3, Mark 1:3, Luke 3:4, John 1:23, where John the Baptizer is identified as the voice crying to prepare the way of YHWH in the wilderness
A voice is calling
Clear the way for the LORD (YHWH) in the wilderness
Make smooth in the desert a highway for our God.
The argument we give is that in doing this the gospels identify Jesus as the one John was preparing the way for. The conclusion is that they are claiming that Jesus is YHWH.

We should, according to Dale, be as incredulous about this identification as Speedo's friends were of his drunken rant.

Is Dale right? Are the cases just the same?

Well, notice that it is John, not Jesus who fulfills the prophecy here.

So the Speedo nonsense doesn't apply, right there. Speedo claimed that he fulfilled the prediction. YHWH from Isaiah is parallel to Iraq in the psychic's prediction, not to Bush. So if you really wanted to create a false identification, the psychic should have predicted that Bush would invade Papua New Guinea. Then Speedo's claim would be that Iraq = Papua New Guinea because he, Speedo, fulfilled the prediction by invading Iraq.

Can you see what else is wrong here?

Who is it that identified Speedo's action as what was referred to in the psychic's prediction?

Was it someone with the authority to do so?

Was it someone with authority to speak on who is who and where is where?

At a minimum was it someone with the authority to speak on who is meant in the prediction and where is meant in the prediction?

No, it was a drunken Sargent in a bar. Speedo lacked the authority to say that his action was referred to in the prediction.

In essence, Dale's analogy leaves out any counterpart to Matthew, Mark, Luke or John!

He's imagining that it's just some guy who identifies the crying voice's preparation for YHWH with John's preparation for Jesus.

If, contrary to fact, someone in the Sgt. Speedo's bar had the authority to speak to the subject of whether Sgt. Speedo's action was referred to in the prediction, then the case would be different.

Suppose the psychic was there and said: "It was Speedo's action, and his alone, that fulfilled the prediction I made. I know Bush, I know Speedo. I've met them hundreds of times. I've been to Iraq, and I've been to Papua New Guinea...both of them hundreds of times. And I tell you now, that Bush's invasion of Papua New Guinea is Speedo's invasion of Iraq."

Chances are that no one would believe the psychic. No one would think that the psychic's prediction actually was fulfilled. No doubt, Speedo's friends would think the psychic is as deranged as Speedo is. But that's not the point. It does not matter whether Speedo is Bush or Iraq is Papua New Guinea. It does matter what the psychic is claiming. It does matter to whom and to where the prediction is referring.

Based on the psychic's additional claims at the bar, it's clear enough that he/she is saying the Speedo is Bush, and Iraq is Papua New Guinea.

These are false claims, but it doesn't change the fact that the psychic is making them.

It may be false that Jesus is YHWH. That does not change the fact that Matthew, Mark, Luke and John all claimed that He is.

Perfect Mediation between God and Man:


First, the platform:


“God is by definition the greatest conceivable being. As the greatest conceivable being, God must be perfect. Now a perfect being must be a loving being. For love is a moral perfection; it is better for a person to be loving rather than unloving. God therefore must be a perfectly loving being. Now it is of the very nature of love to give oneself away. Love reaches out to another person rather than centering wholly in oneself. So if God is perfectly loving by His very nature, He must be giving Himself in love to another. But who is that other? It cannot be any created person, since creation is a result of God’s free will, not a result of His nature. It belongs to God’s very essence to love, but it does not belong to His essence to create. So we can imagine a possible world in which God is perfectly loving and yet no created persons exist. So created persons cannot sufficiently explain whom God loves. Moreover, contemporary cosmology makes it plausible that created persons have not always existed. But God is eternally loving. So again created persons alone are insufficient to account for God’s being perfectly loving. It therefore follows that the other to whom God’s love is necessarily directed must be internal to God Himself. In other words, God is not a single, isolated person, as unitarian forms of theism like Islam hold; rather God is a plurality of persons, as the Christian doctrine of the Trinity affirms. On the unitarian view God is a person who does not give Himself away essentially in love for another; He is focused essentially only on Himself. Hence, He cannot be the most perfect being. But on the Christian view, God is a triad of persons in eternal, self-giving love relationships. Thus, since God is essentially loving, the doctrine of the Trinity is more plausible than any unitarian doctrine of God.” (WLC)

That is to say,

Perfect Goodness is essentially diffusive of itself and in the Necessary Being we find the means and ends of Perfect Goodness such that God is essentially and to the greatest degree diffusive of Himself. Indeed, Thomas notes, "….the goodness of God is perfect and is able to be without other beings since nothing of perfection accrues to it from other beings." Here Leibnitz erred by saying that creation is not physically but morally necessary, and that God would not be perfectly wise and good if He had not created and moreover if He had not created the best of all possible worlds and indeed Malebranche erred in this seam toward Occasionalism. This obscurity is clarified by the revelation of the mystery of the Trinity, for, even if God had created nothing, there is still in Him the infinite prolificacy of Logos amid the ceaseless filiation of that which sums to Spirit eternally in transposition’s procession.


Trinity reveals to us the very contours of, not causation, but of transposition within and by all that sums to Mind’s lucidity even as we encounter that which sums to the essence of relational collocation in all that sums to the very delineation of Person as love’s filiation void of causation establishes its incantation of ceaseless reciprocity. Thomas notes, "The knowledge of the divine persons was necessary for right thinking about the creation of things. For when we say that God made all things by His Word we avoid the error of those who say that God made all things necessarily because of His nature. But when we discover in God the procession of love we see that God produced creatures not because of any need, nor because of any extrinsic cause, but because of the love of His goodness….. “ Indeed as Scheeben points out the revelation of the Trinity perfects and confirms our natural knowledge of God the Creator and of creation as an entirely free act of God. The principle that good is diffusive of itself is perfectly verified in Trinity and in fact the highest Good is necessarily diffusive of itself within itself and this not by causality but by communication – such sums not only to a participation in its entire nature but also to a communication of His entire nature, of His entire intimate life in the generation of that which sums uncaused to the begotten.


From such a higher plane comes confirmation that creation is an entirely free act by which God communicates – transposes – Himself a participation of His being, His life, and His knowledge. Thus also it is more evident that God is not the intrinsic cause but the extrinsic cause of the universe, the end for which it was created, the being that created, conserves, and keeps it in motion. If, therefore, God created actually, it was through love, to show in an entirely free act His goodness, and not in any way by a necessity of His nature. In the Triune God we find all such processions not by local motion nor by transitive action but by the intellectual emanation of all that sums to the intelligible word from Him who enunciates His continuous Speech. Procession in Trinity finds the Spirit of – the actuality of – Truth which proceeds – the begotten logos – by which all things were made – which proceeds from all eternity – ever with God – ever in God – ever God – ever the communique of transposition. Trinity reveals the very wellspring of reality itself wherein that which does not produce its own being instead by continuous incantation communicates all that is Himself as the very identity of communicate transcends efficient and final causality. Such ushers us to the realization that the begotten logos is not more perfect than the begetter as begetting is not causing. That which is caused does not exist before in Act, whereas that which is communicated exists before in Act. Necessarily it is the case that we find Logos in Transposition such that Necessity is in fact that which is in God, is with God, is God.


Therefore:


Mediation amid Perfect Mercy and Perfect Justice finds us again within the Necessary as all that sums to less lands again in the express insufficiency of Moses.


The Necessary finds us in the topography of the Good and the Good finds us – again – in the landscape of the Good’s diffusiveness and here we begin to see – yet again only vis-à-vis Trinity – just how it is that Necessity finds the Good demanding the dichotomy of Full and Final Justice such that Mercy is aborted even as the Good demands Full and Final Mercy such that Justice is aborted. The Privation of the Self – while fully God in Trinity’s Great I AM – can sum to nothing more than Evil in any Created Being. Trinity alone allows us to sum His Goodness there to Perfection as the Self flows in Him without First, without Last, eternally poured out – debased – emptied – even as such is eternally filled, made full again – as it were – in Him without First, without Last. Whatever degree of Privation it is which we the mutable think we spy here inside of contingency is but some portion of some degree which sums – necessarily – to a mere glimpse of what full and final Privation sums to within the topography of love’s ceaseless reciprocity amid the contours of Self/Other in Whom we spy love’s Eternally Sacrificed Self even as we spy love’s Eternally Filling Other. Perfect sacrifice just is Perfect Loss and Perfect Loss just is Perfect Privation even as Perfect glorification just is Perfect Filling of said Privation. In Trinity such living water flows without first/last and this to degrees far, far beyond the horizon which we within contingency refer to as “death” or as “loss” for such privation to *us* just is death, just is destruction, however, such privation, emptying, in Trinity just is the Great I AM.


Trinity alone finds us, then, within that which actually *does* sum to Perfect mediation between God-In-Man, Man-In-God as by no other means do we necessarily reach the coherence of the ends housed in, "Just as it pleased the Lord to make you prosper and increase in number, so it will please him to ruin and destroy you” as such finds Necessity in the Good demanding the dichotomy of Full and Final Justice such that Mercy is aborted even as the Good demands Full and Final Mercy such that Justice is aborted.


If we think such motions amid the ceaseless and infinite reciprocity of love’s ceaseless and infinite Self/Other, if we think such infinite emptying, such infinite privation, such infinite filling, such ceaseless and infinite full-again, if we think such contours are contours contingent upon a created some-thing then we not only annihilate (once again) the Perfect Good in Perfect Diffusiveness, but we also annihilate the very ontology of what Perfect Mercy actually *is*, of what Perfect Justice actually *is*. The express ontology of All Sufficiency filling In-Sufficiency, of what Privation actually *is*, of what Evil actually *is*, of Contingency, of the Perfect Good, of Love and of the Necessary – that is to say, of the immutable love of the Necessary Being, all of these carry us unavoidably into the topography of the Triune God.

Whence Perfect Mediation amid Necessity/Contingency?

Shall the In-Sufficient, the Contingent, reach such distances?

In Christ we find just such Necessity fully actualized, fully beheld. God in Christ takes Man where Man cannot reach and He therein reconciles the world to Himself. Christ reveals to Man His complete and completed will. Justice and Mercy are in Him finished here within Contingency – the Perfectly Good forever complete forever in the seamlessness of Divine Simplicity – and such seamlessness houses on necessity those peculiar contours of privation – of love’s emptying – of love’s filling – as such vis-à-vis Trinity comes into focus.


In and by *Christ* we spy the nature of all things – of the Created and Uncreated - literally.


Let us add that these Necessities are unavoidable both to Logic’s Eye and to Love’s Eye. That we find such ontological topography captured nowhere at all to the degree which Christ's Fullness in Trinity captures them is perhaps one of Christianity’s strongest claims on reality. All moral claims made by paradigms outside of such seamless simplicity must give up some degree of mercy – some degree of filling – or else they must give up some degree of justice – some degree emptying – and we speak here of actual ontological real-estate within the Necessary.


We find here all definitions flowing downhill from the Necessary to the Contingent.


Reality cannot be some other way.


Christ is the singular stand-alone actualization within the metaphysical landscape of contingency - within time and physicality - of the Necessary should God in fact house perfect love void of contingency – of Final Actuality there in the immutable love of the Necessary Being should God in fact house perfect privation amid prefect justice/emptying void of contingency, should God in fact house perfect privation amid perfect mercy/filling void of contingency. Whatever Justice is to we in our contingency, whatever Mercy is to we in our contingency – whatever Privation is to we in our contingency – we find in Him such contours in degrees and in distances which our eyes cannot contain. Death is a peculiar definition and in Trinity we find Actuality to be the palindrome wherein the Lord says to my Lord Prepare for Me a Body. Where Death can and does hold Contingency – Death cannot hold the Necessary – and in Christ we begin to spy the Necessary degree and the Necessary distance such that Perfect Privation sums to that which Death must at some seam somewhere release or must at some seam somewhere suffer defeat. Perfect Mediation summing to Perfect Mercy/Justice amid Self/Other, amid God/Man, cannot sum to some lesser some-thing – to that which Death can finally hold - as the express Insufficiency of Moses – or any other Insufficient Some-Thing, is, and are, done away with – forever – by the All Sufficiency of All Sufficiency – that is to say – such being a palindrome – by the God of All-Sufficiency – or – by the All-Sufficiency of God.

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