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Bowman, the Bible and Trinitarian Apologetics

Part 2

by Greg Stafford


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BOWMAN:
F. IF THE SON DOES EVERYTHING THE FATHER DOES, THEN THE SON MUST CREATE A DUPLICATE OF EVERYTHING THE FATHER CREATED.

I confess to finding this objection a bit obtuse. In no one's mind is this really what is meant by affirming that the Son does all of the divine works. The Son does not need to create duplicate worlds to be doing what the Father does.



STAFFORD:
Good. Then we agree that the statement in John 5:19-20 does not mean that the Son does everything that the Father does. It is a qualified statement.



BOWMAN:
Jesus is referring to the Son's doing the same kinds of things the Father does and participating with the Father in his works; he is not saying that the Son duplicates the specific creative or other works performed by the Father. I should think that is obvious.



STAFFORD:
Let's not commit the obvious fallacy, Rob. You are the one who tried to make it seem as if the Son did/does everything that the Father did/does. You did not qualify your statement. Now that you see a logical problem in it, you are backing off. Let me ask you this: What "thing" did the Son create that the Father did not? I am speaking in reference to actual physical or spiritual (spirit) creations.



BOWMAN:
In the immediate context, Jesus points out that he will raise the dead just as the Father does (v. 21). Surely Greg does not think that the Son will raise from the dead people whom the Father has already raised from the dead, so that everyone will get raised twice!



STAFFORD:
Rob, that is my line of reasoning against you. Now you are trying to turn it around on me as if I had made the same silly claim that you originally did. Nice try, but it will not work here. My intention was to get you to admit that there is some qualification to Jesus' words. Now you are starting to admit that to be true. Previously you did not. No, Rob, that is not my view. I made my view quite clear: the context clearly reveals what "things" the Son does in imitation of the Father.



BOWMAN:
This simple observation seems sufficient to me to put Greg's objection here to rest. I was not claiming that John 5:19 meant that the Son performed duplicate works of every specific work done by the Father, and my argument need not and should not be taken to imply such a thing. Nor is there anything in John 5:19 that would require me to interpret it that way for me to use John 5:19 in defending premise (2). Again, keep in mind that premise (2) is not dependent solely on John 5:19, nor does it even require that the Son does everything the Father does. I conclude that the objection fails to overturn premise (2).



STAFFORD:
I am satisfied that you have admitted that the statements in John 5:19-20 are not meant to be taken absolutely. You seem to be backing off your view of John 5:19-20. Good. Now let us see what it is that makes you so secure in your position.



BOWMAN:
G. JOHN 5:19 IN CONTEXT IS REFERRING TO CERTAIN SPECIFIC FUNCTIONS AND SO NEED NOT MEAN THAT THE SON LITERALLY DOES EVERYTHING THE FATHER DOES.

Greg rightly notes that in context Jesus is talking about "the Son's soteriological and eschatological functions, some of which involve raising the dead (vs. 21) and judging (vs. 22)." Greg thinks that Jesus' focus on these functions allows us to conclude that when Jesus said, "whatever [the Father] does, these things the Son also does" (v. 19), he did not mean for this "whatever" to be "all-inclusive" of everything the Father does. Frankly, I do not see how this follows.



STAFFORD:
Well, actually, you just admitted it a minute ago. It cannot be all-inclusive in terms of the Son doing the very same things the Father does, but now let us discuss to what extent the Son imitates the Father, and in what capacity.



BOWMAN:
The language appears to be deliberately comprehensive. When Jesus says in the same verse, "The Son can do NOTHING of himself except what he sees the Father doing," Greg and his fellow Jehovah's Witnesses will insist that nothing means nothing - the Son cannot do a single thing on his own initiative. By what reasoning, then, can they turn around and say that when Jesus says, "for WHATEVER [the Father] does, these things the Son also does in like manner," whatever does not mean whatever?



STAFFORD:
First, you are not correct in stating what I and my "fellow Jehovah's Witnesses" insist on respecting this verse. We do not hold to the view that Jesus did not perform anything but that which his Father first showed him. For example, when Jesus turned the water into wine at the wedding feast in Cana, that was of his own volition. This was not something necessary to the fulfillment of his Father's will. But when it comes to his ministry and in regard to the outworking of his God's purposes, the things he taught (John 7:16-17) and the things he did and will do (e.g., John 5:14-16, 21-23) are only done according to the Father's good pleasure. Jesus does not act independently with regard to these matters, and that is the context of his statement in John 5:19-20. Thus, we are consistent in terms of the basis we use regarding both the things Jesus cannot do apart from the Father, and those things he does in imitation of the Father, for they are, in fact, the same things! (See Part 1 for more on the context of John 5:19-20.) Now, having said that, I should point out that the language used to describe the Son's dependence on the Father is much stronger than that used to reveal the Son's imitation of the Father.



BOWMAN:
Furthermore, the functions of which Jesus speaks in the context, especially that of raising the dead, are really extensions of the creative functions that God exercised in the original creation of the universe.



STAFFORD:
They are? How so? God did not recreate something that had previously existed. Nor did God (in the original creation) give life to that which He had previously made. The two events are not the same.



BOWMAN:
The point may be illustrated from a wide variety of sources, but let me point to Romans 4:17 as an example. Paul speaks there of Abraham's faith in "God, who gives life to the dead and calls into being that which does not exist." In context Paul is referring to Abraham's belief that God could produce life from the virtually dead bodies of Sarah and himself (v. 19), that is, the life of a baby son. Paul uses "creation language" to describe God bringing about life where there is none. In other words, Paul's point is that Abraham believed God could give him a son BECAUSE GOD WAS THE CREATOR.



STAFFORD:
Yes, but that baby son did not previously exist. In the case of Jesus' resurrecting persons from the dead, these persons previously existed, and still do in God's mind. That is why he is the "God of the living, for they are all living to him." (Luke 20:38) The Father, "the God of the living," gives the Son the ability to bring to life persons who had previously lived. This is not the same as calling into existence that which has never existed before.



BOWMAN:
Or another example is Paul's reference to the "new creation" of which we are part if we are in Christ (2 Cor. 5:17). Note the similarity of what Paul says about God in Romans 4:17 to what Jesus says about himself as the Son in John 5:21 - "For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son also gives life to whom he wishes."



STAFFORD:
You seem to be getting off track here, Rob. The whole matter is quite simple: God raises the dead, and has now given His Son the ability to do so. Nowhere does the Bible say that only God can raise the dead. In any event, anyone who has the ability to raise the dead received it from the Father, but the Father receives this power from no one. Why is that, Rob? By the way, is the human nature of Jesus doing the raising, or the divine?



BOWMAN:
One cannot, then, dissociate the power of creation from the power of salvation and judgment.
God has the latter power because he has the former power.



STAFFORD:
I'd like everyone to take a few moments to meditate on Bowman's point. Review as much of the above as needed. Bowman concludes that God's allowing others to resurrect those who had previously lived is tantamount to God's calling into being the whole of creation! To be sure, the holy spirit is behind both acts, but to create things that previously did not exist is not at all the same as giving life back to persons whom God originally created. These are the kind of arguments Bowman uses on other matters, and it is important that you pay close attention to what he says, so that you are not fooled into thinking he has made a point, when he has not.



BOWMAN:
Indeed, in the immediate context of John 5 a creational perspective is also present. Jesus claimed to be exempt from the Sabbath because he was the Son of his Father, who likewise worked on the Sabbath (v. 17). God's Sabbath, of course, was his resting from the original creative works of the "six days" (Gen. 2:1-3). Jesus' point is that although God has finished creating the universe, his divine work continues nonstop around the clock as he sustains the universe and in particular works to bring new life into the world. And, Jesus says, the same is true of himself. The implication, then, is that Jesus is here claiming to have worked alongside God the Father in his original creation, and now to be continuing to work alongside his Father in the regenerative work of the new creation. The restoring of healthy life to the sick man by the pool of Bethesda on the Sabbath (1:1-16) was a token of that new creative work.



STAFFORD:
Notice how Bowman makes a GIANT leap at this point? He states that God's rested from His "original creative works" and has kept working in another capacity. From this he concludes that "Jesus is here claiming to have worked alongside God the Father in his original creation"! How does this follow from the fact that Jesus claims to have kept working from the time since God's rest began? Of course, we have no problem with Jesus working in some capacity with God before His "rest," but the Bible shows that this is an intermediate role, not the active, creative role that the Father had. (1 Cor. 8:6) God gave Jesus and others the ability to heal and raise the dead, but His Son will have the joy of raising billions from the dead, when the voice of the archangel pierces the deepest layers of sleep, and restores life to those who had previously lived. ---John 5:25; 1 Thess. 4:16.



BOWMAN:
There is a good case to be made, then, that the kinds of works that the Son does according to John 5:19 cannot be circumscribed to exclude the creative works of God. But whether that case is regarded as persuasive or not, premise (2) remains essentially unaffected and unchallenged. As long as the Son does SOME of the works that ONLY God can do, the premise is true.



STAFFORD:
Bowman has given no proof at all in support of his statement that the Son performed the creative works of God. Time and time again the Bible makes it clear that the Son is the passive agent of the Father, and the Father is the One out of whom all things came. (1 Cor. 8:6) The Bible never uses such language for the Son. Bowman has also failed to prove that the Son does what only God can do. The context of John 5:19-20 is against him. Remember, these are Bowman's words; the Bible never says the Son can do what only God can do.



BOWMAN:
THE CASE FOR PREMISE (2)

I conclude, then, that Greg has failed to disprove premise (2). His four arguments against it (D through G) all fall short. Still, my argument from John 5:19 for premise (2) has been questioned from many different sides. It seems appropriate, then, to present additional evidence for premise (2). I will argue here that premise (2) may also be proved using specific works that the Bible says only God does and yet Jesus is said to do as well.

For example, in 1 Kings 8:39 Solomon affirmed that Jehovah "ALONE knows the hearts of all the sons of men." But John 2:24-25 reports that Jesus "knew all men" and "did not need anyone to bear witness concerning man, for he himself knew what was in man." While some interpreters have construed this passage as attributing to Jesus, not specific knowledge of individual hearts, but general insight into the spiritual condition of humanity, there is considerable evidence that Jesus did know what was in the hearts of specific individuals.



STAFFORD:
When I first read the above, I have to admit, I took a break from typing. It's one thing to try and vigorously defend one's position, but when it comes to misusing the Holy Scriptures this way, I can hardly bear it. I care for Bowman. But I also wonder how he can sleep at night.

It is true, of course, that Jehovah alone knows the hearts of all the sons of Adam, but that is not what John 2:24-25 reports concerning Jesus. The masculine plural pantas refers contextually to autois ("them" = the people in Jerusalem attending the passover). The text does not say "all men," as Bowman claims. Of course, Jesus knows the sons of men intimately, for the things he was fond of "were with the sons of men." (Prov. 8:31) But how is it that Jesus came to have such knowledge while on earth? The answer is not hard to find. Isaiah tells us: "And there must go forth a twig out of the stump of Jesse; and out of his roots a sprout will be fruitful. And upon him the spirit of Jehovah must settle down, the spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the spirit of counsel and of mightiness, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of Jehovah; and there will be enjoyment by him in the fear of Jehovah." (Isa. 11:1-3) Verses 3 and 4 go on to tell us that Jesus will not judge by what he sees outwardly or by what he hears from others. No, this spirit from Jehovah will allow him to judge "with righteousness…and with uprightness he must give reproof in behalf of the meek ones of the earth." It was this same spirit that allowed Peter to read the heart of Ananias: "Ananias . . . Why was it that you purposed such a deed as this in your heart?" (Acts 5:4) Peter knew what was in man, not because he was God, but because of the operation of God's spirit upon him. He also displayed this gift in the case of Simon. (Acts 8:17, 21) Bowman's conclusions fail to take into account the special operation of the holy spirit in the ministry of Jesus and in the acts of the apostles.



BOWMAN:
Regarding some scribes, Jesus is said to "know their thoughts" and asks them why they are "thinking evil in your hearts" (Matt. 9:4; Mark 2:6-8; Luke 5:22). Luke tells us that Jesus "knew the reasonings of their hearts" (Luke 9:47), referring to Jesus' own disciples. The first time Jesus met Nathanael, he pronounced him to be "an Israelite in whom is no guile" (John 1:47), showing that he knew what was in Nathanael's heart. John also tells us that Jesus knew right from the beginning which of his disciples really believed (6:64).

In addition to these direct testimonies to Jesus' knowledge of human hearts, there is the fact that Jesus will judge all humanity and determine their eternal future (e.g., John 5:22-23; Acts 10:42; 17:31). I would submit that Jesus would not be competent to do this unless he had absolute,
infallible, and exhaustive knowledge of each person's heart. Nor is this mere speculation, since as we have seen there are biblical testimonies to Jesus having just that competency. This is my answer to Greg's challenge: "And here you assume that being a 'finite' creature somehow makes one unworthy to receive the power to judge. Why don't you show that from the Bible, Rob?"

Here we have an example of a work that the Bible explicitly says only God does and that it also says Jesus Christ does. Therefore, premise (2) would appear to be established from Scripture as proved.



STAFFORD:
You have proven no such thing. The Bible does not say that the knowing of a man's heart is something only God can do, but that at the time of Solomon's prayer, as recorded in the book of 1 Kings, Jehovah alone had such knowledge. This has nothing to do with the operation of His spirit upon His Son or the apostles. Clearly we can see that in both cases God gave them this ability, the "spirit of knowledge," which enabled them to discern the thoughts and intentions of man's heart. An infinite being does not have to be given such a spirit, for such a spirit would be intrinsic to His nature. This is not true of Jesus (Isa. 11:1-3) or the apostles. They were all given the spirit of God, which empowered them to perform works such as these, that we might "marvel."



BOWMAN:
I have offered indisputable references to Jesus knowing people's hearts in order to establish the premise in dispute.



STAFFORD:
You have only further shown your inability to prove that Jesus does what only God can do, by failing to give any credible examples. All you have done is misuse the Bible to try and prove post-biblical theology, and it should be obvious to all by this time, even those who may have previously supported you.



BOWMAN:
However, let me add one more that does not come from the Gospels, although I expect Jehovah's Witnesses to dispute it. In Acts 1:24-25 the disciples prayed to "the Lord" asking
him to show which one of the two candidates they had put forward should be Judas's replacement. They address him as "You, Lord, who knows the hearts of all men." True to form, the NWT renders the Greek word KURIE here as "Jehovah," on the assumption that prayer cannot be directed to Jesus. Now, I have critiqued the NWT practice of substituting "Jehovah" for "Lord" in the "Christian Greek Scriptures" or New Testament, and would refer interested persons to that critique, found in chapter 8 of Understanding Jehovah's Witnesses: Why They Read the Bible the Way They Do (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1991). By the way, although this book appeared about six years before Greg Stafford's book Jehovah's Witnesses Defended, Greg did not refer to that chapter once (or to the book at all). This is surprising to me, since Greg did cite various sources from 1991 up to as recent as 1997 in his chapter on the divine name. In any case, in addition to the general objections I gave in that chapter to the NWT practice, there are several good reasons for interpreting "Lord" in Acts 1:24 as referring to Jesus Christ.



STAFFORD:
Is there some issue in your book that you feel is so important on this matter that it should have been addressed? If so, what is it? I addressed what I felt were relevant points relating to the use of the divine name in the NT. But don't worry Rob, regarding the above-mentioned book, you'll get your wish soon enough. Also, I was asked to keep my book below 400 pages. As you can see, I was just barely able to do so! My second edition contains additional material, including an appendix on the issue of praying to Jesus. But, Rob, the section in your book dealing with the divine name in NT is quite basic, and I decided to deal with more involved treatments of this issue in my chapter on the divine name, specifically in the section dealing with its use in the NT.



BOWMAN:
1. Since Acts 1:24 is not a quotation from the OT in which the divine name Yahweh appears where the NT quotation has KURIOS, there is no necessity even on Watchtower exegetical principles for substituting "Jehovah" in this verse. In other words, the substitution is based solely on theological, dogmatic grounds.



STAFFORD:
As are a great many decisions involved in Bible translation. Your point is?



BOWMAN:
2. In the immediate context someone has already been referred to as KURIOS, namely, "the Lord Jesus" (v. 21). Going back to the previous occurrence, we find KURIE, the vocative form of direct address, just as in verse 24, and clearly directed to Jesus: "Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?" (v. 6).



STAFFORD:
"Lord" in verse 21 is qualified and made specific by the addition of "Jesus," and the use of kyrie in verse 6 is much earlier in the account, but it also occurs in an entirely different setting, many days earlier than the prayer of verse 24. The two uses of the vocative are therefore quite distinct from each other, and clearly have different referents, since, as you point out, prayer is to be directed to the Father, even as Jesus said. (Matt. 6:9) Can you provide one clear-cut example in the NT where proseukhomai is used of Jesus? Of course, Acts 2 goes on to distinguish Jesus from God quite clearly. (Acts 2:22, 24, 32, 34, 36) And yet in this chapter we find kyrios used of both God and Christ in the quotation of Psalm 110:1 (Acts 2:34), and kyrios refers to God in verse 39, and possibly also in verse 47. So Bowman's objection is without merit. He also fails (again) to recognize the significance of sense and reference in this matter involving the use of "Lord" in NT.



BOWMAN:
3. It is the consistent teaching of the NT that Jesus personally and directly chose each of the apostles. Besides the passages in the Gospels where Jesus actually calls them to follow him, there is Luke's account and Paul's claim that Paul was an apostle because Jesus had appeared to him and personally called him to be an apostle (Acts 9:5, 10-17; 20:24; 26:15-16; 1 Cor. 9:1; 15:8-9). There is every reason to believe that Matthias likewise was chosen by Jesus Christ - which is exactly what Acts 1 says if the "Lord" to whom they prayed was Jesus.



STAFFORD:
Bowman here reveals a deficient knowledge of the NT teaching regarding the choosing of apostles. Aside from the fact that the "God" who made Jesus "Lord" in Acts 2:36 is also said to "call" people to him according to Acts 2:39, God is revealed as the One who calls by means of Christ. (Php 3:14; 1 Thess. 2:12) This is also true regarding the call given to the apostles, in a context where God is distinguished from "the Son." (Rom. 8:30) 1 Corinthians 1:1 specifically states that Paul was called to be an apostle through God's will, and this will was made known through His Logos (compare Php 3:14). Finally (but by no means the last text that could be cited!), Galatians 1:1 says, "Paul, an apostle, neither from men nor through a man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father." (emphasis added) Thus, there is nothing unusual about God the Father deciding which of His Son's followers would fill the void left by Judas.



BOWMAN:
4. Since Luke has already reported that Jesus knew what was in people's hearts (Luke 5:22; 9:47), there is no reason that the disciples' confession here could not apply to Jesus.



STAFFORD:
Using that line of reasoning, we could say that there is nothing preventing us from identifying the object of the disciples' prayer as Peter! But, of course, there are contextual and other factors that must be considered. We are not left with a short-sighted view of the calling of the apostles, or a misuse of the NT teaching regarding the ability to read someone's heart.



BOWMAN:
5. As to the disciples praying to Jesus as "Lord" (KURIE), in Acts alone there is additional evidence for this practice (notably Acts 7:59-60; 9:5, 10, 13; 22:8, 10, 19; 26:15).



STAFFORD:
And there is nothing precluding an identification of the Father as "Lord" in this context, particularly in view of the use of this title for him in Acts 2. The sense, of course, for the word "Lord," when used of Jesus and when used of God, is quite different, as Acts 2:36 helps us to appreciate.



BOWMAN:
I conclude that Acts 1:24 adds further testimony to the fact that Jesus Christ knows the hearts of all people, a work explicitly said by Solomon to be unique to Jehovah God. I call this a "work" because it is an active function that in Scripture is made the basis of God's judgment of human
beings. But of course, it also implies a characteristic, namely, infinite knowledge, or omniscience. Hence, Christ's work of knowing all people's hearts implies that he possesses a characteristic of God, namely, omniscience, lending further support to premise (5) in my second argument.



STAFFORD:
First, the Bible never says that Jesus knew the hearts of all people, but I agree that he could have known the heart of any human, since he was given Jehovah's spirit. (Isa. 11:1-3) Similarly, are we going to suggest that Peter could not have known the heart of any man, with his use of the spirit? Of course not. The spirit could have allowed Peter to know anyone's heart, and we are given at least two examples where this was done. By the way, knowing the hearts of all men hardly makes one "omniscient"! This was but another GIANT leap for trinitarian thinking. Just how Rob's point "implies a characteristic, namely, infinite knowledge, or omniscience," is not at all clear. Please explain, Rob.



BOWMAN:
Now let me summarize the points made in this post.

1. The twin arguments I presented leading to the conclusion that Jesus is God because he does what only God can do and has characteristics that only God has are deductive arguments known as syllogisms. They can be refuted only by showing that the form of the argument is invalid or by showing that one or more of the premises is false.



STAFFORD:
And I have shown that premise 2 is false. Also, in Parts 3-4, we will reveal the shortcoming in your use of the term "God," as understood by trinitarians.



BOWMAN:
2. Greg raised a number of interesting questions and claimed that they called my arguments into question: How can the Son be God if he does nothing on his own initiative? How can the Son be God if he was given his life? Is it the human nature or the divine nature of the Son that does
whatever the Father does? As worthy of attention as these questions are, they are irrelevant to the logical form of the arguments or the truth of their premises. Hence, they are irrelevant to evaluating the arguments I presented.



STAFFORD:
They are quite relevant, for you have not at all established that your argument is true in spite of these references. The questions I have asked, based on the testimony of Scripture, reveal the weaknesses of trinitarian thinking, and should be enough to move any reasonable person to question your view. Of course, once you attempt to prove your argument, as we have seen from the above, then all doubt is removed, and we can see the scriptural teaching of God and Christ as something far removed from trinitarianism.



BOWMAN:
3. Although Greg at one point questioned the validity of the arguments, later he conceded that they might be valid. Since in fact the arguments are valid, their conclusion can be refuted ONLY by directly refuting one or more of the premises of each argument.



STAFFORD:
Again, I could not originally say for sure if they were valid because you equivocated on your use of the term "God." Now that you have defined it (see Parts 3-4) we will consider the implications of your definitions. I have also shown that your premise #2 is without biblical foundation.



BOWMAN:
4. The premise that whoever has characteristics that only God has, is God (premise [4]), is definitionally true. Greg's objection that angels have such characteristics fails because the premise stipulates that the characteristics in question are unique to God.



STAFFORD:
And this is the same error you make. Nowhere does the Bible say that the things Jesus does are what only God can do.



BOWMAN:
5. The premise that Jesus has characteristics that only God has (premise [5] was proved from Colossians 2:9 and other texts. Later I argued that the Son's ability to know infallibly and exhaustively what is in each person's heart implies omniscience, a characteristic that only God has.



STAFFORD:
You proved no such thing with regard to Colossians 2:9 or the matter involving Jesus' ability to know what is in man. See above for details.



BOWMAN:
6. Since premises (4) and (5) are both true, the conclusion (6) that Jesus is God must be true.



STAFFORD:
Again, you have not shown premise 4 to be true in relation to Jesus.



BOWMAN:
7. The premise that whoever does what only God does, is God (premise [1]), is definitionally true. Greg's objection that God could allow a creature to imitate some of his works fails unless Greg wishes to concede that a creature could imitate ALL of God's works, in which case he would essentially be saying that premise (1) is formally true but meaningless. However, Greg himself makes it clear that he does not believe a creature can do EVERYTHING God can do. Thus, premise (1) stands as both true and meaningful.



STAFFORD:
Once again, my reference to "imitation" is offered in explanation of the texts in question, particularly John 5:19-20. I am not disputing premise 1 itself. I am objecting that it is necessary in terms of explaining the meaning of our subject texts.



BOWMAN:
8. Greg offered four objections to the assertion that Jesus does what only God can do (premise [2]). These objections may be reduced to two: that John 5:19 speaks of the Son doing what the Father, not God, does; and that Jesus does not do everything God does. I argued that these objections do not have merit, and that even if they did, they would fail to refute the premise. Even if Jesus does not do EVERYTHING God does, if he does ANYTHING that only God can do, premise (2) is true.



STAFFORD:
I am still waiting for an example of Jesus doing something that only God can do.



BOWMAN:
9. As positive evidence for premise (2) beyond the statement in John 5:19, I pointed out that the Bible says that only God knows the hearts of all people (1 Kings 8:39) and yet also reports that Jesus knows the hearts of all people (e.g., John 2:24-25; Acts 1:24). That is, Jesus is able to
judge the hearts of all human beings infallibly and perfectly.



STAFFORD:
And I pointed out that Jehovah was the only One who knew the hearts of men at the time Solomon petitioned Him, but that the spirit of knowledge that Jehovah gave His Son, as spoken of in Isaiah 11:1-3, allowed Jesus to know the thoughts and intentions of the heart, and this same gift was exercised by the apostles, in particular the apostle Peter. John 2:24-25 refers specifically to knowing those in attendance at the festival in Jerusalem, and you misquoted the Scripture. Also, his "knowing what was in men" could simply mean he knows what mankind is like, what their imperfections and tendencies are; it does not necessarily mean he can read everyone's heart, and it sure does not mean he is omniscient! But, again, there is no problem with granting that Jesus can read the hearts of man. There is no NT passage that says only God can read the hearts of all men. In Solomon's time that was true, and it may still be true in NT, but is it not necessary for it to be true, in view of the spirit's operation in the ministry of Jesus and his apostles.



BOWMAN:
This is something only God can do, and is directly relevant to Jesus' divine function of judging all humanity. This proves that when Jesus claims to be able to judge all people, he is indeed claiming to do something that only God can do (cf. John 5:19-23).



STAFFORD:
No, he is claiming to do something that in the past only God did do. Jesus' God has now given him this function, showing that the ability to do so is not intrinsic to the Son's nature. Thus, he is not the same God as the Father.



BOWMAN:
10. Since premises (1) and (2) are both true, the conclusion (3) must also be true: Jesus is God.



STAFFORD:
Not only is premise 2 not true, but your misuse of the term "God" is evident once again. In Parts 3-4 we will discuss the question of what "God" means in the Bible, and what it means to trinitarians.

END OF PART TWO

GO TO PART THREE

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