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Greg Stafford's Second Response to Hommel (Part 2):

{{ Now, I agree that in all cases other than God, one person equals one Being.}}

 

Let's stop here for a moment. How can you not see that you are special pleading here? Where oh where does the Bible say anything about "person" meaning one thing for God and another for everyone else? Again, this is precisely why you will never get the point, for you absolutely cannot distance yourself from the preconception of the Trinity, and so there is no other view at which you can arrive than the Trinity, for it, and all the distinctions and definitions that come along with it, are assumed at the outset.

 

{{But here, John tells us that the Word was with God, and had all the qualities (attributes or nature) that God has.}}

 

You are only repeating yourself and forcing me to do the same. There really is no point in speaking with you further about this issue, and I can assure you that it will end soon. THINK: If John tells us that the Word was "with" God, and he does, then that God with whom the Word was MUST BE the Trinity, for there is, according to you, ONLY ONE GOD, the Trinity! Therefore, to say that the Word was with GOD, not simply the Father, would have to mean that the Word was with the Trinity, for there is ONLY ONE GOD, the Trinity, and the Word was with God! John does not use an adjective which would predicate only qualities of someone, but which would, by extension either identify that someone as a certain someone, or as someone who belongs to a group of other who share these qualities. Since the NOUN used is THEOS, then either the Word is identified as a particular THEOS or is revealed as a THEOS, and the qualities belonging to one who is a THEOS are emphasized by the fronting of the PN. There is nothing here about "persons," but only THEOS.

 

{{ If John says the Word has all the attributes of God, I can only conclude that the Word is God.}}

 

Of course that is the "only" conclusion YOU can reach, for you are bound by the restraints of Trinitarian theology. Biblical monotheists (see below) are not bound to such a limited conclusion, and they can quite easily and rightly place the Word in a category of gods who serve the only true God. QUESTION FOR ROBERT HOMMEL: Since Jesus says that the Father is the only true God in John 17:3, then is Jesus a false god or a secondary god? Since he only allows for the Father to occupy the position of true God, then the only option for you, since you do not accept a class of secondary gods who serve the true God, is that Jesus is a false god. How do you explain? Please realize that false appeals to the meaning of "only" will only (no pun!) serve to expose your view once again, for if we allow the view that "only" does not mean "one and only" in John 17:3, then we are forced to conclude that there is more than one true God (which you practically do below!), which you also deny. You want "only" or "one" to mean just that when it is said that there is "only" one God (which you take to mean "God" in any positive sense), but when it comes to identifying that "only" God as one of the "persons" of your "Godhead" then, conveniently, you will likely claim that only does not mean only, for, again, you are assuming Trinitarianism at the outset, and thus everything that is shown to you is broken down and reinterpreted according to your presuppositions.

Either way, I hope you will see (though you likely will not [based on what you have written to date]), you are FORCED to deny reality. You will likely say that only does not mean only and that that somehow means you can reinterpret "true God" in John 17:3 and the "first person OF the true God" and references to Jesus as "the second person OF the true God." If that or something similar is your reply, don't bother. I will simply delete it and end the conversation. But, if you can answer the question WITHOUT using the preconception of Trinitarianism, then I will readily consider what you have to say, for if you proceed to answer the question with the assumption of Trinitarianism then there is only one conclusion you can reach, and that is the conclusion you started with.


 

{{ If the Word is also with God, I can only conclude that either there are two True Gods, or that the identity of God encompasses the Word, but the Word is not "all of God," as Dr. Mantey says. Given the dozens of declarations in both the OT and NT that there is only One True God (Deut 32:39, Is 37:16; 43:10; 44:6; 44:8; 45:5-6; 45;14; 45:18; 45:21-22; 46:9; Jer 10:6, 7; 2 Sam 7:22; 1 Kings 8:60; 1 Chron 17:20; 1 Cor 8:4-6; 1 Tim 2:5; Jas 2:9), I am left with only one conclusion that accords with Scripture.}}

 

No, those are NOT the only conclusions form which you can choose. You should know that since you do not believe that "only" means only in John 17:3. Why then should you think that the denials to idols gods and gods of the nations should include the angelic gods who serve Jehovah? The Bible identifies the Father as the "one God," but you do not let that stop you from expanding the idea of the one God to include other "persons." Why do you have this selective problem? No need to answer, for I already know. Let me try and help you out with an example from Jesus discussion with the Jews' in John 8:39-41. Here we have an excellent example of how the Jews in Jesus' day could limit the use of a descriptive term to one person, with one sense, but then use that same term in a secondary (lesser) and yet positive sense for another person. Notice that in John 8:39 the Jews respond to Jesus with the words, "Our father is Abraham." But then in verse 41 they reply again, "We have one Father, God." If we were to use the logic of Trinitarians concerning the restriction of terms to certain individuals then we would have to conclude that the Jews believed that Abraham was God!

Clearly, though, the Jews viewed Abraham as their father in a different sense than the way they viewed God as their father. But, still, they did not hesitate to claim that they had but "one Father, God," when just prior to this claim they confidently stated that Abraham was their father. According to your logic, Mr. Hommel, we would have to say that the Jews viewed Abraham as God, for they had but one Father, God, and in the same context they identified Abraham as their Father! Do you see how ridiculous your use of the same reasoning in reference to texts that speak of "one God" is, when you fail to take note of the different, positive senses in which terms are used? Jehovah is the "God of gods" (Ps 138:1). Obviously the gods over whom He is God are not gods to the same degree as he is, just as one human might differ from another in age, ability, and attributes. The same s true of Jesus, since Jehovah is his God (Mic 5:4; Rev 3:12), as he is the only-begotten god (see below on your misunderstanding of John 1:18, and your avoidance of my very clear and pointed question regarding the translation of this text) and was "with" God in the beginning, and was himself a god, one of those over whom God is God.

What you need to do is start reading the Bible in context and apart from the assumptions informing Trinitarianism. When you that, if you truly do it, then will see, quite easily I might add, that the denials to which you refer speak solely and directly against the false gods of the nations who oppose Israel, many of whom Israel had "gone after." There is nothing in the context of any of the verses which you reference that argues against the existence of the angels as gods, which the Bible clearly and repeatedly articulates. See my book for details and discussion.


 

[[John's grammar and vocabulary involve an ontological distinction between hO THEOS with whom the Word was, and THEOS as a description of the Word's mode of being. There is nothing to indicate ontological unity in this passage, and everything points to an ontological distinction! Indeed, even the context points to such a distinction when it calls the Word the "only-begotten god." (1:18) Of course, Trinitarians are fond of mistranslating this verse since it is so lethal to their views, but, I ask, where do we find another instance of an adjective immediately preceding a noun of the same gender, number and case where the preceding term is not taken as an adjectival modifier for the term that follows? Also, if the Word and the Father are the same God, then is the Father the "only-begotten G-god," also? He would have to be, according to you, for there is only one God and that triune God involves both the Father and the Son, not to mention the holy spirit, which would also have to be the "only-begotten G-god." John 1:1, its context and the context of the entire Bible cannot be made to agree with Trinitarianism. It stands in direct contradiction to such a teaching. ]]
{{The ontological unity is expressed by the qualitative force of theos.}}

 

There is nothing about ontological unity anywhere in this text. There is a RELATIONSHIP, and that relationship is between the Word and the God he is with. As I have said time and time again, the emphasis on the qualities of the noun from the fronting of the PN does nothing to remove the definite or indefinite aspect of the NOUN.

 

{{ Trinitarians are fond of mistranslating this verse? You're not referring to the fact that Textus Receptus reads monogenes huios, are you? }}

 

No, Mr. Hommel, I am not. Did you not read what I wrote? Apparently not, for you continued:

 

{{ This was the preferred variant for Unitarians for many years: "[monogenes theos] is foreign to John's mode of thought and speech, dissonant and harsh - appears to owe its origin to a dogmatic zeal which broke out soon after the early days of the church" (Thayer, Lexicon, p. 418). And what was that dogmatic zeal, according to Thayer and other Unitarians? Why, the notion that Jesus was God, of course! (cf. Godet, John 1:378).
{{Now, why would Unitarians denounce a verse that you claim is so lethal to Trinitarianism?}}

 

Because Unitarians, as a religious group, are not more biblical than Trinitarians! Well, maybe a bit more biblical :-)

 

{{ Perhaps they understood that the simple adjectival meaning you wish to assign to monogenes is unlikely. Had John written ho monogenes theos, the translation "the only-begotten God/the unique God" would be possible. In all other cases when John uses monogenes as an attributive adjective, the noun it qualifies is articular (John 3:16, 18; 1 John 4:9). But John chose the anarthrous construction here, which is significant (c.f., Hort, Dissertations, 14, 18). We can conclude with Milligan and Moulton, Weiss, and others that the absence of the article signifies the uniqueness of Jesus as the Only Son (in the case of monogenes), and to his possession of the all the attributes of Deity (in the case of theos). If we take into consideration that of the 8 uses of monogenes in the NT, 7 of them signify "only son" or "only child" (4 times as an attributive adjective before articular huios, 3 times absolutely), we can conclude with Lagrange, Burton, du Plessis, De Kruijf, Finegan, Theobald, Fennema, Beasley-Murray, Carson, Harris, and McReynolds (among others) that theos stands in epexegetic apposition to monogenes: "The Only Son, who is God".
{{The fact of the matter is that there is no evidence that monogenes theos was a controversial translation in the Patristic era, being used by both Arius and Athanasius, as well as several others. Indeed, McReynolds cites Origen (Against Celsus, 2:71: kai monogenes ge ohn theos ktl.) as an early witness to the proper interpretation of monogenes in this verse.}}

 

First of all, attributive adjectives do not require the article. They do not even have to precede the noun! (Compare ERGON AGATHON in Php 1:6.) Second, John did not write MONOGENHS . . . WN THEOS. Finally, everything you wrote becomes supremely irrelevant once you take notice of and attempt to answer my rather noticeable question. Remember, I wrote:

 

[[Of course, Trinitarians are fond of mistranslating this verse since it is so lethal to their views, but, I ask, where do we find another instance of an adjective immediately preceding a noun of the same gender, number and case where the preceding term is not taken as an adjectival modifier for the term that follows?]]

 

Let me repeat that, since you so conveniently avoided it the first time around: "where do we find another instance of an adjective immediately preceding a noun of the same gender, number and case where the preceding term is not taken as an adjectival modifier for the term that follows?" Do you understand this question? Can you answer this question? If the answer is yes to these questions, why did you avoid it in the first place? Also, you quoted but did not respond to this portion of my reply:

 

[[Also, if the Word and the Father are the same God, then is the Father the "only-begotten G-god," also? He would have to be, according to you, for there is only one God and that triune God involves both the Father and the Son, not to mention the holy spirit, which would also have to be the "only-begotten G-god." John 1:1, its context and the context of the entire Bible cannot be made to agree with Trinitarianism. It stands in direct contradiction to such a teaching. ]]

 

If you are going to make a federal case about my snipping parts of your reply (the reasons for which I previously explained) then do not casually pass by significant questions just because they destroy your argument, and do not ignore my comments regarding the absurd conclusion to which you are lead when you proceed to interpret these texts with the assumption of Trinitarianism.

 

[[You next question reveals just how little you understand of our/my position, and why you need to spend several months, perhaps even a year or two, familiarizing yourself with the facts. But, that is what you should have done in the first place: >]
{{Your rhetorical puffery and condescending attitude are tiresome, though instructive. Peter tells us to defend our faith with gentleness and respect (1 Pet 3:15). Paul tells us to correct, rebuke and encourage--with great patience and careful instruction (2 Tim 4:2). I'm curious how you justify your caustic remarks against these scriptures. This is not a rhetorical question.}}

 

I really do not believe they have instructed you properly at all (especially in view of comments made by you, below), but I, too, would be tired of someone who constantly reminds me of my fallacious arguments and faulty understanding. "Puffery"? Please, Mr. Hommel, if you only knew how gentle I am being with you, in view of your horrific presentations you would thank me instead of trying to correct me. I am being EXTREMELY patient with you, and, to be honest, I don't know why I should anymore. You have ignored significant issues and avoided key sections of my reply, for what? There is nothing in my above words which in any way clashed with the guidelines of those scriptures you reference. You DO have a very inaccurate understanding of my position, which is evidenced by what we will read next. You DO need to spend several months to several years studying issues before commenting dogmatically on them (such as your unbelievable misuse of the PN in Xenophon, and your 'concession,' both of which sprang from a failure to consider the PN in the source material), and you SHOULD have done all of this prior to engaging in this or any other discussion, with the intent to PROVE that which you have yet to fully explore. But, you really do not need to do that, right? For you are already convinced of what you believe and the facts will either support you or be made to support you. YOU are the one who should meditate on what it means to have a serious mind and proper respect for others, before wasting our time and making absurd comments about what is or what might be true, before studying the material yourself.

 

>> We might ask, Mr. Stafford, if you demand that Trinitarians prove their view of God from the grammar of a single verse, where do we find the notion of the inferiority of the Word in the grammar of John 1:1? After all, Mormons are quite happy to admit the Word is "a God," while denying that the Word is in any way inferior to God the Father. How can you demonstrate, from the grammar alone, that the Word is a created being, even if He is "a god"? You see, Mr. Stafford, you must import your theological suppositions that "a god" is the same as "an angel," and angels are not co-equal with God but were created by Him. While you may believe your suppositions are more Biblical than those of Trinitarians, it is disingenuous to accuse Trinitarians like Dr. Mantey of somehow engaging in an exegetical practice less sound than your own. <<
[< I do not believe that John 1:1 teaches the inferiority of the Word to the God with whom he existed, so your naive question is moot.
{{Doesn't the WT gloss its view of qualitative theos 'Godlikeness or a mighty one'? Isn't a mighty one inferior to God? For that matter, isn't "a god" inferior to God, in your view? Don't the grammar and context of John 1:1 DEMAND that translation, according to you? }}

 

Why do you ask me these questions and then proceed to answer them yourself, contradicting your original question in the process? Your first question was: " where do we find the notion of the inferiority of the Word in the grammar of John 1:1?" Now that I have exposed your shallow understanding of our view of the grammar of the verse, what do you ask? Why, this: " Do not the grammar and context of John 1:1 DEMAND that translation, according to you?" Did you say GRAMMAR AND CONTEXT, Mr. Hommel? YES! But your first question was in reference to the grammar alone!

Now that you have flip-flopped on this point, I suppose you can appreciate your own refutation to your false analogy, and realize, what I have been trying to tell you all along, that NWT'S translation of John 1:1 is not solely the result of their acceptance of the qualitative nuance of THEOS, but also on the CONTEXT! THAT is why they can and do translate the clause as if the Word, as "a god," is inferior and separate from the God with whom he existed. After this reply I do not believe I will engage you in conversation anymore, for I am becoming more and more convinced of 1) your inability to engage in such conversation and understand what is being said, and 2) your lack of honesty in handling the material.


 

[< Mantey is the one who claimed that PROS TON THEON involves the Word's "personal fellowship with the Father," and by this he means that they are distinct in "person" but one in nature, and the "with" involves the "fellowship" between the two "persons." John does not say any such thing. He says, quite clearly I might add, that the Word was with GOD. Therefore, the Word cannot be the same God with whom he was! It is really that simple, and fully supported by the grammar, which somehow you cannot see. }}
{{Dr. Mantey says the grammar "implies" the personal relationships in the Godhead, which it does, as I've explained above (a definite noun specifies a particular PERSON, place, or thing; a qualitative noun does not). Dr. Mantey does not claim that the full, ontological nature of God and the Word is explained in this passage, which is what you seem to be demanding.
{{Now, again, I will admit that all creatures described in the Bible manifest a one-to-one relationship between person and being, but it is nothing more than idolatry to assume that creatures are the measure of God's nature.}}

 

There is nothing in the Bible which suggests that a person is anything but a being, when it comes to God or any other. This view is read back into the text by Trinitarians. Your view of PERSON is not what is used to define a noun in our dictionaries, so please do not tell me that " a definite noun specifies a particular PERSON, place, or thing; a qualitative noun does not"! A qualitative NOUN is a NOUN and as such is either definite or indefinite. The qualities conveyed by the NOUN are emphasized. I have said enough on this point, and if you cannot accept it, that is your problem, no matter how much you continue to deny it.

You are special pleading on the word "person," which, again, is not used in this text. There is nothing further to say, as you have not shown the slightest ounce of comprehension on this point. I will repeat what I wrote and ask you to try again. The proper response on your part will FIRST be a restatement of my position, in your own words, so that we can all see what is quite apparent, namely, you do not understand the argument. THEN, once you have restated my position, you may attempt to refute it. Naturally, I will first consider your restatement of my view, and, if correct, I will engage your argument. But, if you are wrong, if after all this time you show that you do not understand my simple and straightforward arguments as given in the paragraph above your above comments, then I will restate my position and ask you to try again. This is the only way you will learn, and hopefully understand what is going on.


 

[< If the topic was the temporality of Christ's preexistence, there are a host of passages supporting such a view, and once you show that you are capable of carrying on an honest conversation about the ontological distinction inherent in the grammar of John 1:1, then we can proceed on and discuss other passages.

{{Honest conversation?! }}

 

Yes.

 

{{Do you think I am a liar?}}

 

I try not to make those kind of judgments, but in view of all the evidence you have presented against yourself I will simply let the facts speak for themselves.

 

{{ You seem to be the one employing questionable tactics, starting with your propensity for ad hominems.

 

If I have such a clear "propensity," then why are you ASKING me if am doing such and such? If you demonstrate an inability to, in my opinion, honestly handle the issues pertaining to a proper exegesis of John 1:1, then there is nothing odd about my commenting on what I SEE AND READ, having written page after page to you regarding these issues. I am sure you are a nice person and that you mean well, but what am I supposed to think , Robert, when I state my position and my response over and over and over again, and you still do not see what is happening? Do you not believe I have SOME basis for concluding that there just MIGHT be some less-than-honest motivation behind all of this? But I do not intend to pursue this issue. My occasional reference to possibly unfortunate influences working upon you is not in any way meant to impede our reaching the final goal: truth. So please do not make an issue out of a non-issue, especially when that non-issue just might be a legitimate issue against you, after all.

 

[<As it stands, above you have shown your ability to miss the point and ask me a question that does not relate in any way to my argument so as to detract from your inability to prove anything from the grammar of John 1:1, without appealing to your Trinitarian presuppositions. Knowing that you must do this, you have to try and make it seem as if I am forced into doing the same, but you could not do that without failing to properly understand what I am arguing in the first place! Instead, you had to invent an argument on my part, namely, that I somehow obtain the "inferiority" of the Word to the Father from John 1:1. These tactics will not work here, I can assure you of that. >]
{{How, exactly, Mr. Stafford, am I "appealing to my Trinitarian presuppositions" by stating that the qualitative force of theos in John 1:1c means that the Word possesses all the qualities or attributes of God, particularly when that is the definition of a qualitative noun given by grammarians? }}

 

1) You are appealing to the definition as given by TRINITARIAN GRAMMARIANS who are doing so in direct reference to the very text under consideration!

2) When YOU say " the Word possesses all the qualities or attributes of God" YOU mean that the Word is a fully divine "person" within the one triune God. Do you now, finally, understand why you cannot "prove anything from the grammar of John 1:1, without appealing to your Trinitarian presuppositions"? If I am wrong, then do so!

3) I AGREE that a qualitative noun emphasized ALL the qualities conveyed by the NOUN THEOS. That is why the Word is "a god," not the God with whom he existed, which would have to be the Trinity according to you, unless (and you do) you redefine the God with whom the Word existed to mean "God the Father, the first 'person' of the triune God," where you once again 'appeal to your Trinitarian presuppositions.'


 

{{Can you demonstrate for me from the GNT one other example of a qualitative noun - even a qualitative-indefinite - in which only some qualities or similar qualities (as opposed to all qualities) are meant by the qualitative nuance?}}

 

No, I cannot. But why would I want to do that? Again, you are proceeding with a highly flawed understanding of my view. It is almost comical at this point, and would be if this were not such a serious issue.

 

{{It is you, sir, who are imposing your theological suppositions on the text by insisting on an ontological distinction in 1:1b, while ignoring the ontological unity mandated by the qualitative force of theos in 1:1c.}}

 

You present a circular argument (again). There is nothing in the text, nor specifically relating to the PN of 1:1c, that says anything about "ontological unity." The Word is called THEOS as distinct from the THEOS he is "with." There is a clear and unmistakable distinction between the two in terms of THEOS. Only a Trinitarian could miss it! Can you, Mr. Hommel, show me from the GNT one other example where the fronting of the PN denotes "ontological unity"?

 

[C. Your quotation from page 148(3) was in a paragraph under the heading: "With the subject in a copulative sentence." Two examples occur there to illustrate that "the article points out the subject in these examples." But we made no statement in this paragraph about the predicate except that, "as it stands the other persons of the trinity may be implied in 'theos'." And isn't that the opposite of what of what your translation "a god" infers? ]
[[Most certainly, but the work of Lane McGaughy has shown that in equative clauses where both the subject and the predicate nominative have the article, the first one is the subject and the second is the predicate, thus, there would have been no confusion about such matters, had John used the article for THEOS in reference to HO LOGOS. The grammar's statement about "the persons of the trinity" clearly reveals that theology, not grammar, is the basis for their translation, and a post-biblical theology at that. Nowhere does the Bible say anything about a triune God, and nowhere does it mention anything about how one can be a separate "person" without also being a separate BEING. Trinitarians created this distinction long after the Bible was written, and have been reading it back into the text ever since, unfortunately.]]
>> "Most certainly?" Then you admit the WT's inference is deceptive. Thank you for at least honestly admitting this point.
[< Mr. Hommel, are you reading what I say, or just quoting me for the fun of it? My "most certainly" is clearly in reference to Mantey's observation that we disagree with his theology.
{{I was being facetious.}}

 

You were either caught red-handed or being immature and disrespectful. I find nothing humorous about what you wrote, but apparently you do, which is most unfortunate. And you have the temerity to quote 1Pe 3:15 and 2Ti 4:2 to me? It appears to be a combination of both: You got caught missing the point (again) and you could not help being immature and disrespectful in your reply. You will, therefore, get no sympathy from me.

 

[<The reference to their grammar where they cite a grammatically parallel passage to John 1:1 and translate that parallel passage with the indefinite article ALLOWS for the parallel passage to be translated similarly. It does not demand it, but it does allow for it. Grammar alone is what the WTB&TS is focusing upon here, not theology. Mantey fails to deal with the text to which he parallels John 1:1, which is why WTB&TS makes reference to it! Instead he goes off on a tangent about his theological position, which has nothing to do with the WTB&TS's reference to their section 148(3). >]
{{We've gone over this ad nauseum. Parallel grammar does not imply parallel semantics. Dr. Mantey hardly "fails" to deal with the Xenophon text! He may not deal with it to your satisfaction with regard to the semantic force of the PN, but this is NOT THE CONTEXT of his discussion, so why should he?}}

 

And you apparently still do not understand the point, even though we have indeed gone over this ad nauseum. The NOUNS, of course, convey different semantics, but we are (or should be) discussing the import of the fronted PN, which "allows for," in both Xenophon and John, an indefinite semantic. Dr. Mantey does not deal with it in the context of his condemnation of the NWT rendering. Why do you have so much trouble staying focussed on MY point? Please stop missing it...As I said, "The reference to their grammar where they cite a grammatically parallel passage to John 1:1 and translate that parallel passage with the indefinite article ALLOWS for the parallel passage to be translated similarly. It does not demand it, but it does allow for it. Grammar alone is what the WTB&TS is focusing upon here, not theology. Mantey fails to deal with the text to which he parallels John 1:1, which is why WTB&TS makes reference to it! Instead he goes off on a tangent about his theological position, which has nothing to do with the WTB&TS's reference to their section 148(3)."

 

<<However, your comments with regard to McGaughty are hardly relevant. McGaughty wrote his dissertation in 1972. Dr. Mantey's letter was written just 2 years later. There is no evidence he was aware of McGaughty's study. Even if he was, it has no bearing on what was written in the Manual Grammar, which was published some 47 years earlier. >>
[< Once again you fail to see a rather obvious point. NOWHERE do I suggest that Mantey SHOULD HAVE known of this matter involving the article with the subject and predicate in copula clauses! I am merely commenting on what Mantey wrote in his letter and for the benefit of those who might misconstrue him to mean that the only reason why John did not use the article for the predicate in 1:1c. is so the subject and predicate could rightly be distinguished, correcting him. If you don't understand what I am saying or why I am saying it, even though here it should have been obvious even to you, then either ask for clarification or avoid touching on the subject until you obtain a proper understanding. >]

{{I'm sorry, perhaps I read more into your comments than you intended. }}

 

Not "perhaps," but definitely. This is not the only time, but what has occurred in almost every sentence of your rejoinder.

 

{{Even re-reading it now, I certainly get the sense that you are suggesting that Dr. Mantey's comments regarding the determination of the subject in an equative clause are not correct, thus suggesting (as a world-class grammarian) he SHOULD HAVE known of this matter. }}

 

"World-class grammarians" often make world-class mistakes, and Mantey was no exception. Again, you seem to have a great deal of trouble understanding what I say. What else can I say...you should have asked, as I said, BEFORE jumping to conclusions.

 

{{Nevertheless, I still maintain that McGaughy is hardly relevant to this discussion. }}

 

It is relevant to the point *I* chose to make for the sake of preventing any possible misunderstanding regarding the use of the article in relation to the argument regarding the subject/predicate distinction.

 

{{Nowhere does Dr. Mantey suggest that the only reason John did not use the article was to distinguish the subject. He states that in equative clauses in which one noun is preceded by the article and the other is not, the articular noun is the subject, the anarthrous the PN. You don't deny the truth of this statement, do you? Every other grammarian I'm aware of concurs, McGaughy notwithstanding. }}

 

Again, you do not seem to understand a very simple point: I am responding to a potential misunderstanding as to why John did not use the article before the predicate in 1:1c., which argument states that he did not use it because HAD he used it then we would not have know which is the subject and which is the predicate. McGaughy shows that such an argument is not well-founded. The subject can be determined even though both the subject and the predicate have the article.

 

{{Dr. Mantey goes on to state that had John used the article with theos, he would have made theos and ho logos "convertible," that is the same person, which is clearly not John's intent. Thus, only by failing to consider Dr. Mantey's comments in context would one make the mistake you now claim you were "correcting."}}

 

Please rephrase my argument, as articulated and explained above, in your own words, so that we can determine if you have any idea what is going on here. I contend that you derailed a long time ago. You are also, AGAIN, reading a post-biblical concept of "person" into your exegesis of John 1:1. Thus, you assume Trinitarianism at the outset, and that is, therefore, the only conclusion you can possible reach! What you also, like Mantey, fail to understand is that THEOS in 1:1c, is either definite or indefinite. So even though there is an emphasis on the qualities conveyed by the noun, the very thing you wish to avoid come crashing down upon you! (See below for more on convertability.)

 

<<Dr. Mantey's point, as is plain to all but the most willfully blind WT apologist, is that the WT cited the Grammar out of context, for the context is the use of the article to establish the subject of the sentence, not the definiteness or indefiniteness of the predicate. Further, as the Grammar also states on page 149, had John used the article with both theos and logos, he would have made the two a "convertible proposition," that is, interchangeable. Thus, as the Grammar points out, the anarthrous theos in John 1:1c is significant beyond merely distinguishing it as the predicate.
[<You are in error, as everyone not blinded by a fanatic zeal to discredit Jehovah's Witnesses can see. You are also confusing their quotation regarding "deity" as a qualitative translation and their statement that his grammar allows for the NWT translation, which it does. I am not going to go over this point with you again. Four or five times is quite enough. From this point on if you continue to repeat yourself and repackage the same issues then I will simply delete them. >]
{{What, exactly, am I in error about? In this paragraph, I am merely summarizing what Dr. Mantey states in his grammar. I am establishing the context. You cite McGaughy in an attempt to dispute Dr. Mantey's point regarding the determination of the subject of an equative clause, and I respond by noting that Dr. Mantey also discusses another aspect of the anarthrous PN, namely the denial of a convertible proposition.}}

 

That you would ask me about your error shows that you cannot see what I have stated over and over and over again. So why should I continue to do what will not help you? Reread what I wrote above, and if you cannot see it then that is your problem. I told why I cited McGaughy and you still did not get it. What else can I do?

 

>> Dr. Mantey's assertion that "the place was not the only market," which the WT has jumped on in support of its translation, has nothing to do with the indefiniteness of the noun emporion, but rather that the "place" and the "market" are not one in the same - are not, in other words, 'convertible.' The WT's confusion regarding the concept of a convertible proposition is further manifest on page 1363 of the 1971 NWT: "The proposition "The Word was a god" is a convertible one." This statement is nonsense: a convertible proposition relates to two definite nouns (Mantey, p. 149; Wallace, p. 42; etc.). The WT thus inadvertently endorses Colwell's reading of theos as definite, the inevitable conclusion if the subject and predicate nominative in John 1:1c are convertible. <<
[<Here you are so far out of touch with what is really happening that it is hard to imagine you being clear on much of anything else. You are assuming far too much for the WTS, and until you provide a basis for your contentions then I believe they are a misreading of the primary WT sources relating to this point. The fact that that place was not the only market most certainly does have something to do with it being indefinite!
{{I said Dr. Mantey's assertion had nothing to do with the indefiniteness of the PN. Dr. Mantey's assertion had to do with whether the terms were convertible as he and other grammarians define the term. This is called "the context" of Dr. Mantey's assertion. The WT has taken Dr. Mantey's assertion and attempted to justify their translation of the PN in John 1:1c. This is called "taking Dr. Mantey's assertion out of context." Clear enough?}}

 

As I said, "Here you are so far out of touch with what is really happening that it is hard to imagine you being clear on much of anything else. You are assuming far too much for the WTS, and until you provide a basis for your contentions then I believe they are a misreading of the primary WT sources relating to this point. The fact that that place was not the only market most certainly does have something to do with it being indefinite!" If you don't "get it" then, again, that is your problem. You just don't understand the simple fact about NWT's "allows for," and that is such a thorn in your side that you, in my opinion, have to play dumb on the matter.

 

[<As for convertibility, it does NOT relate solely to definite (to the exclusion of indefinite) nouns!
{{Oh? Can you support this statement by relevant citation? Dan Wallace, on pages 41-42 of his Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics explains that the sentence "John is a man" is not convertible. Instead, he terms it a subset proposition. It is not convertible because the subject (John) is a member of the larger class of the PN (Man). A convertible proposition "indicates an identical exchange" between the subject and the predicate nominative. Thus, says Wallace, "Jesus is the Son of God" is a convertible proposition because "The Son of God" and "Jesus" are interchangeable terms. "John" and "a man" are not. Only definite nouns can be "identically exchanged." Thus, only definite nouns can be convertible.}}

 

And here we see how your misunderstand of basic linguistics and semantics, as well as your being tied to the conclusions of other Trinitarians, leads you further into error. Have you not heard of specific and non-specific uses of nouns preceded by the indefinite article? Of course, since you apparently (based on the above) take our view of John 1:1 as though it meant that the Word was simply "a god," that is just a god among many others, then I can see, to an extent, where you would fall off the path of understanding, but since I have gone over specificity with you before, you really have no excuse. Still, since you also misunderstood and failed to respond to my point about John 1:18, that could be the reason why you also miss the point here. But that is, once again, your own doing.

A specific or transparent use of a/an + noun can denote a particular entity known to the writer but not to the reader, or known to both the reader and to the writer. In this case, John is not simply identifying Jesus as just "a god" among many equals, but as a PARTICULAR god who was "with" God in the beginning, and who was the mediator of His creative acts. This PARTICULAR god is made more specific in verse 18, as the only begotten god. Thus, while the indefinite rendering of 1:1 serves to highlight Jesus' qualities as a god who is ontologically distinct from the God with whom he was, the predication of THEOS for the LOGOS conveys a particular semantic known by John as is clear from his use of the backdrop of Genesis 1 and his knowledge of the mediatorial role of the LOGOS in this creation, but also from his reference in verse 18, which may or may not be shared knowledge with his readers. Nonetheless, for John, the semantic signal for the anarthrous THEOS in 1:1c is, "the only begotten god who existed with God," and is thus a specific description and therefore grammatically and semantically convertible. It is even convertible for you, for your view of the anarthrous THEOS in 1:1c is, "the second person of the triune God." You are therefore, ultimately, arguing for a convertible proposition, even though you attempt to mask this with "qualitative" language. (NOTE: I am not sure that you understand this point; I know that Bowman does, though I doubt that Hartley realizes the implications. So I do not expect you to understand it now, having failed to do so several times already in this discussion. Indeed, for you to recognize this point would mean an acceptance of your mishandling of the text, so I no more expect you to all of a sudden get the point than I expect you to abandon your view of God, or at least admit your mishandling of the text. That is why this discussion (with you) will go nowhere, and I am prepared to accept that.

 

[<The problem with Trinitarians is they have to change the semantics of the count noun THEOS in 1:1c to match that of a mass noun, so they can give Jesus the full nature of God, but allow for other "persons" to share it. This is eisegesis of the worst kind. You are forced into inventing a semantic for preverbal PN count nouns whereby you can give it the semantic you want, but yet you do not see that you would have to do the same thing with TON THEON in 1:1b. (indeed, everywhere where the Bible used "God" for one of the three "persons" of the Trinity!), which you do in fact do, by redefining TON THEON to "the Father" as understood by later Trinitarianism, namely, as the first person of the consubstantial Triad.

{{If I make the statement to an evolutionist "Homo Erectus was man," I am claiming that our ancient ancestor was fully human, that he possessed all the qualities of human nature.}}

 

And that he is an instance of man; he is "a man"! You cannot disassociate his being "fully man" from his being "a man," and that is precisely what you want to do with THEOS in reference to the Father or the Son. Is it not? Thus, you have presented a false analogy, and one that actually works against, as will all such analogies, for you are ultimately forced into special pleading in relation to your view of God, which even you have previously admitted.

 

{{ John 9:24 (from your list, above) demonstrates the same qualitative force.}}

 

No, it demonstrates nothing in relation to the point you are failing to make. It is merely the fronting of a PN that emphasizes the qualities of the noun; the man is "a sinner." To say, "He is sinful" is correct but only BECAUSE he is a sinner! There is no way of conveying the man's sinfulness without, at the same time, identifying him as "a sinner." It someone truly has the qualities of something, then, being a singular, personalistic subject, it is either an instance of the group denoted by the noun or the reference is figurative, or there is only one instance of that something and the singular, personalistic subject is that one something, but not a PERSON OF that something. This is primarily (or at least one main area) where your view falls apart, having no substance to hold it together. You are reading your view into the text, and I do not know how much plainer one can make it for you.

 

{{ Both examples are count nouns. A qualitative noun is a qualitative noun, whether it is mass or count. It is you who change the semantics of theos by claiming it changes meaning from clause B (the One True God) to clause C (a lesser god), so you can deny Jesus the nature John ascribes to Him. This, sir, is eisogesis epitomized.}}

 

No, it is perhaps dishonesty exemplified by your rewording and misrepresenting my view, for I do not hold to a lesser view of THEOS in either instance, but gather my view of the use of THEOS for the Word and the God with whom he existed from what John elsewhere tells us about them. You are right: they are both COUNT NOUNS. Therefore, they are either definite or indefinite. Being qualitative does not strip them of this semantic, but merely emphasizes the qualities of the NOUN. I do not deny Jesus the INDIVIDUAL divine nature John gives him. You do! You, sir, are the one who denies the individual deity of the Word. You are the one who transforms John's ontological distinction between the Word and the God with whom he existed to a "personal" distinction between the members of the Trinity!

 

[<"The Word was a god" is most certainly a convertible clause.
{{Tell me, how is "a god" identical with "The Word"? Aren't there "gods many?" Or will you equivocate on the term "convertible proposition" now as well?}}

 

I already explained this point. The problem lies with your apparent linguistic incompetence and your repeated failure to note the semantic weight of the predicate in the context of the Prologue, and instead forcing it to mean "the second person OF GOD," instead of God or a god.

 

>> The Bible says nothing directly about the pre-incarnate Jesus being the Angel Michael. You must resort to a series of alleged associations, such as Jesus having the "voice of an archangel," being the "Bright Morning Star," etc., to make such an assertion. Why, then, do you insist that Trinitarians play by different rules? The Bible says there is only one God (Deut 6:4). Jehovah says he knows of no other gods (Is 44:8). The Bible clearly teaches that the Father and the Son are called God. Even most WT apologists do not dispute this. You claim that many beings may be rightly called "gods," and the Son is one of them. Trinitarians claim no one may be rightly called God but Jehovah (all others are false gods). This letter is not the place to engage these matters in detail. The point is that Trinitarians believe they stand on a firm Biblical foundation for proclaiming the Trinity. For if the Bible declares that God is One, and if no others may rightly be called God, then Jesus, who is rightly called God, must - in some way - be that One God, together with the Father.
[<That expression, "in some sense," is where you go off the cliff. In reference to the identity of Michael the Archangel as the Lord Jesus Christ there is abundant scriptural testimony, but that is ALL we are trying to prove: IDENTITY. Trinitarianism, on the other hand, is not just trying to prove that Jesus is God (you don't even believe that without qualification!), but you are asserting that there is an articulated basis upon which you can prove the existence of a certain TYPE of God, namely, a triune being, and that there are three "persons" who are called "God," but yet are not really God (= the Trinity); rather, they are three "persons" who share in the nature of the one God. So you are equivocating on your position by saying that there is only ONE GOD, but then citing Scripture where you believe the three persons are called "God," yet you go on to redefine "God" in reference to the three persons, not as the Trinity (which is how you define the term in your first proposition, "there is only one God"), but as a qualitative description for each of them, denoting their participation in the alleged Godhead. THAT is far different from saying, "This person (Michael) is elsewhere called 'Jesus.'"
{{We are hardly equivocating on the position that there is One God - you are. The entire basis of the Trinity is that there is One God. Period. The entire basis of JW Christology is that there are many who are rightly called "god," over whom is God the Father. Now, you say the Only True God is the Father, but some of the other "gods" are true gods as well, but true in some other sense than the True God is true. You must redefine the terms "One" and "Only" and "True" and "God," to accommodate your theology. We maintain that the scriptures that say God is One mean what they say. We also maintain that the scriptures that call Jesus God and the Spirit God also mean what they say. We maintain that the Son and the Spirit are called God in a way that is categorically different than any others that are termed "god." I will illustrate this key point, below.}}

 

Sorry, that is a non-answer. Please REFOCUS and reread what I said, and ADDRESS each point, line by line, quoting what I said and placing your comments directly below each sentence I wrote. You have ignored far too much already, and I will not allow you to ignore the key point above that refute the entire basis of your theology. As I said, "That expression, "in some sense," is where you go off the cliff. In reference to the identity of Michael the Archangel as the Lord Jesus Christ there is abundant scriptural testimony, but that is ALL we are trying to prove: IDENTITY. Trinitarianism, on the other hand, is not just trying to prove that Jesus is God (you don't even believe that without qualification!), but you are asserting that there is an articulated basis upon which you can prove the existence of a certain TYPE of God, namely, a triune being, and that there are three "persons" who are called "God," but yet are not really God (= the Trinity); rather, they are three "persons" who share in the nature of the one God. So you are equivocating on your position by saying that there is only ONE GOD, but then citing Scripture where you believe the three persons are called "God," yet you go on to redefine "God" in reference to the three persons, not as the Trinity (which is how you define the term in your first proposition, "there is only one God"), but as a qualitative description for each of them, denoting their participation in the alleged Godhead. THAT is far different from saying, "This person (Michael) is elsewhere called 'Jesus.'"

 

[<Your assertions are also highly selective in that you do not include others (angels and certain humans) who are called "G-god" or "G-gods" as belonging to the Godhead, for you have preconceived views from post-biblical creeds telling you what to believe. Finally, the propositions you put forth are directly opposed to a great many verses that teach an ontological distinction between God and the Word, such as John 1:1, 18 and a variety of others, not the least of which involve those passages where Jesus refers to the Father as his GOD, without any qualification at all (Rev. 3:12).
{{Two criteria - the role of Creator and the role of Sovereign - were essential to 2nd Temple Jews in defining the identity of the One True God. The God of Israel is the Creator and Ruler of All, to the exclusion of all other 'gods.' The literature is quite clear on this point (Creator: Ps 96:4-5; Isa 40:26, 28; 42:5; 44:24; 45:12, 18; 48:13; 51:16; Neh 9:6; Hos 13:4 [LXX]; 2 Mac 1:24; Sir 43:33; Bel 5; Jub 12:3-5; Sib Or 3:20-35; 8:375-376; 2 Enoch 47:3-4; 66:4; Apoc Abr 7:10; Pseudo-Sophocles; Jos. Asn 12:1-2; T. Job 2:4; Sovereign: Dan 4:34-35; Ps 96: 10; Bel 5; Add Est 13:9-11; 16:18, 21; 3 Mac 2:2-3; 6:2; Wis 12:13; Sir 18:1-3; Sib Or 3:10, 19; 1 Enoch 9:5; 84:3; 2 Enoch 33:7; 2 Bar 54:13; Josephus, Antiquities, 1:155-156.). Second Temple Jews, however, did apply one or both of these roles in a metaphorical way to the Word of the Lord (Gen 1 [Aramaic translation, Targum Jonathan], Ps 33:6, 9, Sir 42:15; Jub 12:4; Sib Or 3:20, 2 Bar 14:17; 21:4; 48:8; 4 Ezra 6:38, T Abr A9:6; Wis 9:1), the Spirit of the Lord (Gen 1:2; Job 33:4; Ps 104:30), and the Wisdom of the Lord (Jer 10:12; 51:15; Ps 104:24; Prov 3:19, 8:30; Sir 24:3, Wis 7:22, 8:4-6; 1QH 9:7, 14, 20; Wis 9:2).}}

 

I am sorry, but which texts use the term "metaphorical"? Are you referring to the early Targums or the late Targums? Please be specific, as general comments on these points usually point to an inaccurate or incomplete understanding of these issues, which I fear is true in your case.

 

{{ To what extent pre-Christian Jews believed some of these metaphors also entailed a hypostatic reality is far from clear (see Segal, Two Powers in Heaven; Lapide in Lapide and Moltmann, Jewish Monotheism and Christian Trinitarian Doctrine, pp. 34ff). }}

 

It is? How so? Please quote the point from Segal that reveals this lack of clarity. Do you believe the angel, word, spirit and Wisdom of Jehovah in the OT are also metaphorical and not hypostatic realities? Please explain your answer.

 

{{Nevertheless, these terms were easily "included" in the Identity of God - they are aspects of God, expressing his mind and will in relation to the world - whereas the other 'gods' were not.}}

 

Explain what YOU mean by "included" and "the Identity of God." I am confident that you are here reading Trinitarianism back into these ancient sources, but you can help clarify by explaining, in detail, what you mean by what you say. The OT present God as a WHO, not as a WHAT. Do you agree? If so, who is the WHO, and what/who are "included" in HIM? Be specific....

 

{{ The writers of the NT referred to Jesus and the Spirit as God in a way that is precisely like the metaphoric usage in the OT and other literature, and which is categorically different than others who are termed "gods." Jesus is clearly the Creator of all things, alongside the Father (John 1:3; Eph 3:9; 1 Cor 8:6; Col 1:16; Heb 1:2,10; 3:3-4), even though the OT says that Jehovah was the sole creator (Is 44::24).}}

 

What book are you reading? Where are you getting this from? Not one of the texts to which you refer says anything about Jesus creating anything. In fact, most of them say, in quite clear language, that Jesus was the mediator of GOD'S (not just the "Father" as understood by Trinitarians) creative acts. Yes, God ALONE made all things THROUGH His Son. This is so typical of you Trinitarians: cite a text that says the opposite of what Trinitarians think it says, or that does not say anything to the point, and simply pretend that it does. But when you proceed to interpret any and all texts with the assumption of Trinitarianism as a truism, then that is what happens; all texts are integrated into the framework of Trinitarians theology and bent and twisted to fit into whatever presupposition you accept at the outset. Just siting them blindly without exegetical comment is weak, and underscores the futility of trying to prove your post-biblical position. But, of course, when once you are forced to deal critically with the text then the twisting becomes evident, or, hopefully, the meaning is so clear, even to you, that you will refrain from citing them as proof of your view.

 

{{ Indeed, 2nd Temple Jews believed quite clearly that Jehovah acted alone as the Creator, to the exclusion of even a helper (2 Enoch 33:4; 4 Ezra 3:4; Josephus, C Ap 2:192).}}

 

First of all, you (or the source on which you depend) do not even know enough about such literature so that you could make a proper distinction between the A and the J recensions of 2 Enoch. You also show an unfortunate acceptance of 2 Enoch as a representative of Second Temple literature. Are you not aware of the fact that we have no manuscript for this work earlier than the 14th century CE? Thus, dates for this work "range from pre-Christian times to the late Middle Ages" (Andersen, OTP1, page 95). Are you not aware of the frequent and clear presence of later "Christian" interpolations? And yet you cite this as "proof" of your view! In any event 2 Enoch 33:4(J [the longer recension]) reads: "And there is no adviser and no successor to my creation." A, the shorter recension, reads: "There is no counselor and no successor, only myself, eternal, not made with hands."

Since the language of 2 Enoch is Slavonic, we do not know the precise semantic of "adviser" in recension J, but it does not matter! We do not believe that Jehovah had to be "advised" by anyone! Your citation once again underscores your terrible misunderstanding of our position. That is no doubt why you used "helper" instead of "adviser" or "counselor." Why did you do that Mr. Hommel? Which translation of 2 Enoch 33 are you using, which contains "helper"?

And who, Mr. Hommel, does 2 Enoch 33:10 (J and A) identify as God's mediator/intercessor? Michael!

4 Ezra is preserved in Latin, Syriac, Ethiopic, Armenian and Arabic manuscripts, and portions in Coptic, Georgian and a "tiny scrap" of Greek from the 4th century CE. The oldest Latin Codex containing 4 Ezra is dated to 822 CE (Metzger, OTP1, page 518). The oldest Syriac version is the Peshitta. Metzger agrees with most other scholars in dating this book to the early part of the second century CE. Thus, dating to a time after the writing of the NT books.

Mr. Hommel refers to 4 Ezra 3:4 as evidence that "2nd Temple Jews believed quite clearly that Jehovah acted alone as the Creator, to the exclusion of even a helper." The text reads: "O sovereign Lord, did you not speak at the beginning when you formed the earth--and that without help---and commanded the dust and it gave you Adam, a lifeless body?" So, once again, we see that this refers to God's creative acts, which Jehovah's Witnesses DO NOT believe were shared by anyone else. God ALONE created through his Son, the Logos. That is why the PASSIVE verb forms are used in Col. 1:16-17, in relation to the Firstborn's role. Also, since this is the work of a post-first-century Jew, it may be that he is contradicting popular view about God and the Logos, prevalent in Christian circles. Thus, on all counts, Hommel has once again shown that 1) he does not understand my view and 2) he does not have a good understanding of the literature of the Pseudepigrapha and the time when and the circumstances under which these books were authored. It is also interesting to note that in 4 Ezra 6:42 reference is made, not to creation, but to "the waters to be gathered together in the seventh part of the earth; six parts you dried up and kept so that some of them might be planted and cultivated and be of service before you." Then we are told in verse 43: "For YOUR WORD went forth, and at once the work was done." If this is indeed a reference to the hypostatic Word of God, then we can see just what "role" it played in the creation of God, not as a creator, but as one who carried out God's commands in relation to His will FOR his creation.

Finally, Hommel refers to Josephus, C Ap 2:192, which is his work "Against Apion." Here Josephus says, "God made these [the physical creations previously mentioned] without hands, without hard work, and without colleagues [SYNERGASOMENWN] of whom he was not in need [EPIDEHQEIS]." There are at least two problems with Hommel's use of this quote from Josephus, both of which show, once again, that Hommel is either not interested in checking out his sources or he does not understand my argument and the Witnesses' position. We do not believe that God was IN NEED OF anyone, and we do not believe anyone, including the LOGOS, was a COLLEAGUE or CO-WORKER/CREATOR with God. I will here ask Hommel to please state my argument in his own words, so we can see just what kind of misunderstanding would prompt him to use information like this, as if it were some kind of argument against my view.


 

{{ Jesus is also exalted to the role of Sovereign over all things (Mat 11:27; 28: 17-18; Luke 10:22, John 3:35, 13:3, 16:15; Acts 10:36; 1 Cor 15:27-28; Eph 1:10, 20-23, 4:10; Phil 2:9-11, 3:21; Col 1:20; Heb 1:2; 2:8).}]

 

Correct. GOD exalted him to such a position. Question: Was Jesus exalted in his human nature or in his divine nature? If in his divine nature then he could not have shared the same divine nature with the Father, and if in his human nature then are you saying that his humanity is no longer a limitation, having been given the "role of Sovereign over all things"?

 

{{The writers of the NT easily and without fear they were challenging the traditional monotheism of their Jewish heritage, applied OT passages that praised Jehovah as Creator or Sovereign to Jesus (Phil 2:6-11 vs Is 45:22-23; Rev 1:8, 17, 21:6, 22:13 vs Is 44:6, 48:12; Rom 10:13 vs Joel 2:32; 1 Cor 8:6 vs Deut 6;4, cf. Rom 11:36; Heb 1:8, 10-12, cf.13:8 vs Ps 102:25-27).}}

 

They also identify people like John the Baptist with Elijah, not for purposes of ontological identification, but for the purposes of prophetic fulfillment and representation. Nowhere does the NT apply texts to Jesus with the intent of identifying him as his God. Obviously you have not read my book, and if you have then you have failed to properly deal with my argument here, so I will wait until you do what you should have done in the first place.

 

{{ Hebrews 1 is, in essence, an exegesis of Ps 110. Careful study (which we don't have space for here, but which I invite any readers to consider) reveals this passage employs all the key features by which Jewish monotheism characterized the uniqueness of God in order to include Jesus within that uniqueness. These examples really cannot be ignored or glossed over. The writers of the NT wrote of Jesus and the Spirit as distinct Persons, and yet included them in the Identity of the One God. }}

 

They did no such thing, and NOWHERE can you show that they used "person" the way you do. As for Hebrews 1, it is hard to imagine a chapter of the Bible that is more anti-Trinitarian than this one. But I would not really call it "anti-Trinitarian" since that would seem to suggest that the writer had a knowledge of the Trinity, which he clearly did not, as it came about hundreds of years later. It is, in fact, a chapter that is incompatible with Trinitarianism, which is why you and others have to redefine the terms used and create "personal" distinctions where the text has a ONTOLOGICAL distinction.

Hebrews 1:1 refers to God, which would have to be the Trinity since there is ONLY ONE God, right? No, for you are quite capable and willing to extract "God" from the text and insert "the Father, the first person of the Trinity," thus reading the text in light of Trinitarianism. Verse 2 reveals a distinction between "God" (not just the "Father" as understood by Trinitarians, mind you) and "his Son," the one THROUGH WHOM HE (that is, God) made the ages. Verse 3 makes a clear and unmistakable distinction between the BEING (hYPOSTASEWS) of God and His Son, who is said to be a copy (CHARAKTHR) of His being! Verse 4 says that Jesus was exalted above the angels, which means that at one time he was below them. When was that, and (again), which nature of Jesus received the exaltation? Is his humanity now exalted above the angels? Verse 6 refers to him as the "Firstborn," a clearly temporal term when used in this non-figurative context, especially in light of the temporal terms used in verses 2-3. Verse 8 may or may not use the term G-god for Jesus, even as it may or may not have used it in reference to the human king in Psalm 45. But either way it contradicts Trinitarianism, for if Jesus is "God," then he is the Trinity or god in a secondary sense. (One cannot twist THEOS to mean a PERSON OF THEOS.) In verse 9 the exalted Jesus is said to have One who is God to him, which, again, would either have to be the Trinity (since there is ONLY ONE GOD) or the Most High God, the Father, as a distinct being from Jesus, for the distinction is not a "personal" one, but, like John 1:1, made in terms of THEOS. Verses 10-12 highlight Jesus' immortality since his resurrection, which is another way that he has "become better than the angels" (verse 4). See my book for more on the meaning of these texts. Verses 13-14 reveals the superior position that Jesus has been given as one who sits to the right of God, while the angels remains messengers, a role that Jesus formerly had prior to his exaltation above the angels. (Even Trinitarians identify him as the "angel of Jehovah," though they redefine angel hear to mean what they want it to mean, and read the description in the light of Trinitarianism.)


 

{{Of course Jesus refers the the Father as his God. Jesus was our perfect example, who took on the morphe of a slave. That Jesus calls His Father God is not surprising, nor does it negate those passages cited above that clearly apply the exclusive roles of the True God to Jesus.}}

 

Then why do you call Jesus God and not follow his "perfect example" of identifying the Father as the "only true God"? (John 17:3) If the Father is Jesus' God, and if there is a Trinity, then, since there is ONLY ONE GOD, then the Trinity is the God of Jesus. There is no way out, and thus you are forced into redefinition and post-biblical distortion. Sorry, it absolutely will not work here.

 

[<So, again, in the case of the Michael = Jesus question, we are pointing to statements in the Bible that point to this identification; but you are asserting much, much more (and selectively at that) and in contradiction to the use of language in Scripture. You must, therefore, refrain from equivocating on your use of "God" and show where the Trinity is articulated in the Bible. If it is not articulated in the Bible, then it cannot be dogmatically held up as a Bible teaching.
{{Let me get this straight: I'm equivocating on "God," because I believe John 1:1b refers to the Father (even though John himself clarifies who the Word was with in verse 17), and you are not equivocating when you claim that theos changes meaning between clause B and clause C. Is that right? }}

 

First of all, I appreciate the fact that you are finally asking me for clarification. Now, if only you had done this in an email regarding a host of other issues, we might have prevented you from making horrific claims about a variety of matters.

 

{{Evidence of the Trinity is all through the Bible, in every passage that asserts the uniqueness of the One God of Israel, in every passage that ascribes the exclusive roles of Creator and Sovereign to Jesus, in passages like 1 Cor 2:10-11 that ascribe personal qualities to the Spirit that only God could possess. }}

 

No, it is in no such places, but it is read into them, by you and others. There is no one or collection of verses that even remotely speaks toward some form of Trinitarianism. What is more, every time the term God is used in the Bible is stands in direct contradiction to the Trinity doctrine. "Personal qualities" are frequently given to impersonal objects in the Bible. To give but one example, the "anointing" from God is said to "teach" in 1 John 2:27. You need to spend some time understanding the Hebrew concept of personification, which you have apparently failed to do. But, since you assume what is and is not true at the outset, I suppose it really does not matter in your case. The spirit is OF GOD. It belongs to HIM. The Son is OF GOD. Where, though, do we read of the Father OF GOD? The spirit is OF GOD just as our spirit is OF MAN/WOMAN. It is a property of God's being, not one of three "persons" within Him.

 

>> Finally, I feel I must address your sweeping statements about "post-Biblical theology." The fact is you cannot demonstrate from the historical record that the Trinity is post-Biblical. For to do so, you would have to prove that first Century Jews were henotheists as opposed to monotheists, and this you cannot do, for they held no such beliefs. >>
[< In fact, there is plenty of evidence to show that they recognized gods other than Jehovah, but who are subservient to Him. Since I discuss this at length in my book, I will defer you to my discussion there. Obviously you are not familiar with the Bible's teaching regarding such divine beings, and you apparently have not read the Pseudepigrapha or the DSD very carefully at all, either.
{{I am familiar with the passages to which you are no doubt referring. They are rather paltry in comparison to the number of passages that clearly delineate the Jewish concept of the One God beside whom are no other gods (Deut 4:35, 39; 32:39; 1 Sam 2:2; 2 Sam 7:22; Ps 96:4-5; Is 43:11; 44:6; 45:5; 6, 14, 18, 21, 22, 46:9; Hos 13:4; Joel 2:27; Wis. 12:13; Jdt. 8:20; 9:14: Bel 41; Sir 24:24; 36:5; 4Q504 5:9; 1Q35 1:6; Bar 3:36; 2 Enoch 33:8; 36:1; 47:3; Sib. Or. 3:629, 760; 8:377; T. Abr. A8:7; Orphica 16; Philo, Leg. All. 3.4, 82).]]]

 

And I have already exposed your misuse of these and other texts, which you rip out of context to support a preconceived view. I also discuss them in my book. Of course, the above texts, if taken the way you suggest, would leave you in the position of making Jesus a false god, as the Father is the only true God, and is the ONLY ONE who is identified as the "one God" or as "God" in contrast to other gods. (1Co 8:4-6) He is the "God of gods," which includes Jesus Christ (Ps. 138:1; Rev. 3:12).

 

{{ Richard Bauckham writes:
Much of the clear evidence for the ways in which Second Temple Judaism understood the uniqueness of God has been neglected in favor of a small amount of highly debatable evidence. Intermediary figures who may or may not participate in divinity are by no means characteristic of the literature of Second Temple Judaism (Richard Bauckham, God Crucified, p. 5).}}

 

I see no proof for his this view anywhere in the above statement, nor anywhere else in Bauckham's book. In fact, I respond to Bauckham's mishandling of the data in my second edition. His mischaracterization of the importance of principal intermediary figures is appalling. He not only fails to appreciate significant statements regarding principal angelic and other figures in Second Temple Judaism, but he falls back on a terrible misreading of a number of NT and OT passages, all of which I have explained in my book. That you would rely on Bauckham and accept his misinterpretation of these issues is not surprising, but still disappointing. What Bauckham and you also fail to realize is that Jesus is a principal mediator figure in the NT (1Tim 2:5), and thus the parallels between him and other such figures in Second Temple Judaism are quite relevant, at least to non-biased persons who are not bent on reading post-biblical theology into the text. You should try reading the texts apart from such preconceptions, and not simply accept what Bauckham and others have to say, just because that may be what you WANT to hear. Truth matters...

 

{{N.T. Wright states that Jewish monotheism "rules out henotheism, the belief that there are indeed other gods, but that Israel will worship only her God" (N.T. Wright, The New Testament and the People of God, p. 249). }}

 

Anyone can SAY anything. Wright is in error and is merely reciting classical Trinitarian denials, for obvious reasons. He does not understand what the Bible says because he, like you, is forced to redefine everything the Bible says about God according to a Trinitarian view of God. That is why he concludes the way he does, for he already knows what he wants, and he simply makes sure he gets it.

 

{{He goes on to say that whatever language 2nd Temple Jews may have used regarding divine intermediary beings has "nothing to do with a declining away from 'pure' monotheism":
Language about supernatural agencies other than the one god has to do, rather, with the theological problem of how to hold together providence (with covenant as a special case of providence) and a belief in a transcendent god. Unless this god is to collapse back into being a mere absentee landlord, in which case providence and covenant go by the board, or unless he ceases to be in any meaningful sense transcendent, moving instead towards pantheism or paganism, one is bound to develop, and second-temple Jews did develop, ways of speaking about the divine action in the world which attempt to do justice to these different poles of belief. Thus it is that language about angels, about the Shekinah or 'presence' of Israel's god, about Torah, about Wisdom, about the Logos - all of these make their appearance, not as mere fantasy or speculative metaphysics, but as varied (and not always equally successful) attempts to perform a necessary theological task. At one level, this task was purely linguistic (IBID, pp. 258-259).}}

 

In my book I explain the relevance of the LOGOS and Wisdom traditions, as well as those involving MEMRA, and other, similar traditions. The relevance of OT and intertestamental intermediary figures is quite obvious, and a quotation form some scholar that denies their relevance for NT christology does not prove anything. As I said, Christ IS an intermediary figure in the NT, so to discount the relevance of other such figures is either incredibly naive or incredibly narrow-minded, or possibly a combination of both. But, that is what Trinitarians are forced to do: eliminate relevant data; redefine words according to post-biblical theology; ignore the use terms and distinctions made in the biblical material; and assume Trinitarianism as the basis for interpreting any and all theological and christological texts. That those whom you quote merely follow in this path hardly establishes your point, and only further demonstrates the validity of mine.

 

[<As for being monotheists, that only hurts your cause, for over and over and over and over again the one God is NEVER identified as the "Father, Son, and Holy Spirit," but always as the Father as DISTINCT from the Son. (1 Cor. 8:4-6) Even Jesus himself called the Father the ONLY true God. So, you have a problem: Since Jesus effectively removed himself from the category of "the only true God," then he is either a false god or a secondary god subservient to the Father.
{{You have created a false dichotomy. If the Father is the ONLY True God, then all other gods must be false - whether they are subservient or not. Of course, you will equivocate on "true," but Jesus will not allow you to do this. So, you are the one who has the problem. If all other gods are false - which is the plain meaning of Jesus' statement - but John calls Jesus God, not once but 3 times (1:1; 18; 20:28), there is only one possible conclusion, though you will do your best to avoid it.}}

 

Since you missed the point I will repeat it: The Bible clearly uses the term "G-god" for Jesus, but you do NOT believe he is "G-god" but a PERSON OF God. Therefore, since the Father is the only true God, and since, as even you admit, Jesus is called "G-god," then either Jesus is a false G-god or a god of a secondary category, a category that is CLEARLY articulated in the, which you do your best to avoid, in such places John 10:30-36, where Jesus himself APPEALS to the secondary use of "G-god" as JUSTIFICATION for the alleged claim made against him! This is a real problem for you, as is your failure to understand that Jesus excluded himself from being the true God, and is therefore either a false G-god or a secondary god, an "only-begotten god." Since you deny that he is a secondary God, and since he excludes himself from being the true God, then according to you Jesus is a false G-god. I am on sure biblical ground for claiming that Jesus is what the text says he is: an only-begotten god who is ontologically distinct from his God.

 

[<We take the latter position, which is entirely consistent with the Bible, but you are forced into viewing Jesus as a false god, for you cannot accept the secondary category because of your fealty to the creeds of a post-biblical time.
{{It is not me who is forced into a post-biblical creed, it is you. }}

 

Oh? You mean the Bible does not say Jesus has a God? The Bible does not call Jesus the mediator between the "one God" and man? You mean the Father is not the "one God"? You mean Jesus is not the "only-begotten god"? You mean Jesus is not the "firstborn" who "lives because of the Father"? You are right; what am I doing listening to post-biblical creeds on such matters, when I can turn to the Bible and find a clear articulation of "person" meaning something other than a "being." I should just accept the clear and unambiguous articulation of "God" as the Trinity, and recognize that even though there is ONLY ONE God (the Trinity) that Bible clearly teaches that when it uses "G-god" for any one of the three persons who are CLEARLY said to be "persons within God" that it means that the one of whom God is predicated is in fact a PERSON OF God, not G-god, even though that is what the text says. Yes, I can't for the life of me figure out why I FORCE myself into accepting these obviously non-biblical "creeds" of mine, while I reject the clear Trinitarianism taught in the Bible.

 

{{The Bible never once ascribes the role of Creator or Sovereign to any "god" but the True God. }}

 

Exactly. I am so glad you agree. After all, Jesus made it clear that he is NOT the true God, but that his God is, and the Bible could not be clearer on the subject of Jesus' passive role as mediator for GOD'S creative acts. But, even though these are just about as clear as any doctrine you can find in the Bible, you reject them, choosing your post-biblical creeds instead. You are denying reality, and inventing your own. There is very little I or any human can do to help you further. If anyone reading this discussion thinks that Mr. Hommel is being reasonable and that I am unfairly characterizing him as failing to see or accept the obvious and instead reading his preferred view into the text, please email me at GregStffrd@aol.com. I would be very interested in knowing how and why you see it this way. I will also be sure to include your emails in my next reply, assuming Mr. Hommel does intend on continuing the discussion, so that others can see your reasoning on this point. Of course, if you ask me not to, I will keep your comments to myself, though I will probably follow up with an email to you, to discuss your position on Hommel's arguments.

 

{{These roles were the defining characteristics of the God of Israel. Yet, the writers of the NT ascribed those roles to Jesus, without hesitation. }}

 

What can I say? Either you are not listening or you are not reading the Bible, or both. I have nothing further to say to you on this subject.

 

{{The earliest testimony of the Ante-Nicene Fathers demonstrates the ease with which they ascribed full Deity to Jesus (Justin Martyr, Dialogue with Trypho ch. 36, 56, 63; Irenaus, Against Heresies, 1:8:5, 1:10:1, 3:19:2, 3:21:1; Ignatius, Ephesians, Romans 1, Romans 3, Smyreans; Clement of Alexandria, Instructor 1:11, Exhortation ch. 1 and many others). Arianism arose centuries later in reaction to the orthodox church (cf., Arius, Letter to Alexander). The historical record is really quite clear for anyone wishing to explore it further: The notion that Jesus was a secondary god, a created being, is the quintessential "post-biblical" creed.}}

 

Hmmm...You are the one claiming to be in line with biblical creeds, but you here refer only to post-biblical writers! Of course, not only do you not have an accurate understanding of our view of Jesus' "full Deity," but you have not represented the views of these Fathers accurately at all. Justin writes: ""But this Offspring which was truly brought forth from the Father, was with the Father before all the creatures, and the Father communed with Him; even as the Scripture by Solomon [Pr 8:22-31] has made clear, that He whom Solomon calls Wisdom, was begotten as a Beginning before all His creatures and as Offspring by God" (ANF 1, chap. 62, p. 228). With reference to these statements, Willis Shotwell observes: "The language here is such that it cannot be argued that Justin considered the Logos to be eternal. The most that can be said about the Logos is that he was created before anything else" (Willis A. Shotwell, The Biblical Exegesis of Justin Martyr [London: S.P.C.K, 1965], 105).

Justin also wrote: ""There is, and there is said to be, another God [theos . . . heteros] and Lord subject to the Maker of all things; who is also called an Angel, because He announces to men whatsoever the Maker of all things-above whom there is no other God-wishes to announce to them" (Dialogue With Trypho, ANF 1, p. 223). Do you agree that there is "ANOTHER God," who is "subject to the Maker of all things," Mr. Hommel?

As for why Justin accepted Jesus as THEOS, he tells us why. Justin says that Christians should "reverence no other god." But he then points out that "since God wishes it, he [a Christian] would reverence that angel who is beloved by the same Lord and God" (ANF 1, p. 246).

Irenaeus clearly used the term "God" for the Father in a sense that does NOT apply to Jesus. Thus, he referred to "the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ" as "God ALONE." (ANF 1, p. 419, par. 4) Also, he taught: "Such, then, are the first principles of the Gospel: that there is one God, the Maker of this universe; He who was also announced by the prophets, and who by Moses set forth the dispensation of the law, -- [principles] which proclaim THE FATHER OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST, and IGNORE ANY OTHER GOD or Father, EXCEPT HIM." He also wrote: "Now to whom is it not clear, that if the Lord had known many fathers and gods, He would not have taught His disciples to know [only] one God, and to call Him alone Father." (ANF 1, p. 463, par.2) And, further: "Both the Lord, then, and the apostles announce as the one only God the Father." (ANF 1, p. 517, par.6) Finally, we read: "Now I have shown in the third book, that no one is termed God by the apostles when speaking for themselves, except Him who truly is God, the Father of our Lord" (ANF 1, p. 553, par.2).

So, yes, while Irenaeus did in fact call Jesus "God," and he even taught that he and other Christians would become "at length gods" (ANF 1, p. 522, par. 4), there was a sense in which only the Father was God. We agree with in this, though he was clearly influence by post-biblical philosophy in his articulation of Christ's relation to the Father. He also made it ever so clear that Jesus was not the creator, but the medium through whom GOD created (see ANF 1, pp. 361-362).

Of course, you failed to refer to Origen, the greatest biblical scholar of his time, whose writings Rufinus distorted (a common practice of Trinitarians of later years). When discussing John 1:3 Origen wrote:

"And the Apostle Paul says in the Epistle to the Hebrews: 'At the end of the days He spoke to us in His Son, whom He made the heir of all things, "through whom" also He made the ages,' showing us that God made the ages through His Son, the "through whom" belonging, when the ages were being made to the Only-begotten. Thus, if all things were made, as in this passage also, through [dia] the Logos, then they were not made by [hypo] the Logos, but by a stronger and greater than He. And who else could this be but the Father?" -- ANF 10, p. 328.

Who else indeed! What was that you were saying about the Creator and the true God, Mr. Hommel? Origen further stated: "We consider, therefore, that there are three hypostases, the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit; and at the same time WE BELIEVE NOTHING TO BE UNCREATED BUT THE FATHER." (ANF 10, p. 328) No wonder you do not refer to Origen!

Origen seemed to understand the use of alethinos in John 17:3 just as Jehovah's Witnesses do, for in his Commentary on John he wrote:

"God on the one hand is Very God (Autotheos, God of Himself); and so the Savior says in His prayer to the Father, 'That they may know Thee the only true God;' but that all beyond the Very God is made God by participation in His divinity, and is not to be called simply God (with the article), but rather God (without the article). And thus the first-born of all creation, who is the first to be with God, and to attract to Himself divinity, is a being of more exalted rank than the other gods beside Him, of whom God is the God, as it is written, 'The God of gods, the Lord [Jehovah], hath spoken and called the earth.' [Ps. 136:2] It was by the offices of the first-born that they became gods, for they drew from God in generous measure that they should be made gods, and He communicated it to them according to His own bounty. The true God, then, is 'The God,' and those who are formed after him are gods, images, as it were, of Him the prototype" (ANF 10, p. 323).

Origen clearly understood that the reference to the Word as theos was not intended to make him equal to God the Father, for he wrote: "Nor must we omit to mention the Word, who is God after [hexes] the Father of all" (ANF 10, p. 303). It is a good thing that Rufinus and other dishonest Trinitarians did not get to these writings of Origen!

As for Clement and the other Fathers you mention, you also distort and selectively communicate their teachings. I will revisit this entire matter in a separate paper I am writing on the meaning of God in the Apostolic and in the Ante-Nicene Fathers, as opposed to the meaning we find in the Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, and so I will defer to that discussion for further consideration of this point. The above is sufficient to show that you have not properly handled the teachings of the Fathers, just as you have not properly handled the teachings of the Bible.


 

[<Of course, you will try to say that Jesus is included in the category of "the only true God," but he will not allow you to do that, as he himself restricted that to the Father (John 17:3). The only way to get around this is to deny the truth of what Jesus said, and distort the Scriptures. Thankfully, I just have to read them and accept what they say, as I do not have to make them fit with post-biblical notions about a triune being.
{{I certainly do NOT deny any truth spoken by Jesus. }}

 

Yes, you do. You deny that the Father is the ONLY true God. Of course, you will not come out and SAY you disagree with Jesus, but you do, and no matter how often you deny it, you cannot change this fact.

 

{{Of course I say that Jesus is included in the Identity of the True God, and in this I stand firmly rooted in Biblical truth. }}

 

Please list those scriptures that clearly articulate what you call the "Identity of the True God," namely, a triune deity, and where Jesus is "included in" this Identity. Again, showing us verses that use THEOS of Jesus DISproves your view. You have offered nothing to support the Trinitarian view of the "Identity of the True God." Jesus says absolutely nothing about any such thing.

 

{{It is the WT that distorts scripture by relegating the Word to the status of a secondary god, and it must twist virtually every verse in the Prologue to accommodate this view, as well as the word "true" in 17:3.}}

 

No, they do no such thing. The Prologue, as with the rest of the Fourth Gospel, is quite clear to us. But, when you have to force post-biblical definitions and distinctions into the Bible, then that is a problem, and that is why you have such a hard time defending your view. You are just typing; what you type does nothing to establish a biblical foundation for your view. You simply CLAIM it does. The simple facts, viewed apart from post-biblical thoughts and expressions, contradict your claim.

 

<<In fact, the historical record - from the Targums, from the works of the Ante-Nicene Fathers, from Roman records, from the Bible itself - is clear. Jews and early Christians were fiercely monotheistic; yet early Christians believed that Jesus was God and worshipped Him as such. The only way to resolve a Father and a Son, both of whom are One God, is to accept the multi-personal nature of that One God, or begin redefining terms like One and God. Sadly, you have chosen the latter, following the path of every heretic since Marcion. >>
[< You are so far out of touch with historical sources such as these, and others, that, again, I will defer to my published discussion. I will gladly do so especially since you cite NO REFERENCES from any of the above sources, so that we might put your claim to the test and show how you selectively choose those texts that YOU believe prove your point, and ignore others. When you get around to citing evidence, let me know. Until then, I have made my position available for all to read and the fact that you have ignored it shows that you are not interested in considering issues at length, but only with repeating those ideas you believe are accurate. You also deny the plain meaning of words and equivocate at almost every turn. Why, we have not seen such heretical practices since the Athanasius! (Actually, that is not true, we see them quite regularly in our modern times.) >]
{{Now, now, Mr. Stafford, you really don't think I would post comments like this on the Internet and not be able to back them up, do you? It is really quite common not to substantiate every argument, especially in an initial exchange. Why, you yourself have not substantiated each of your claims, though you are fond of justifying such occasions by use of antagonistic rhetoric ("Once you show that you are capable of carrying on an honest conversation..."). }}

 

What claim have I made that was not somewhere in my reply accompanied by some data? You give no specifics, so your argument does not even get off the ground. Now that you have provided what you consider support for your view, let's have a look:

 

{{OK, I'm letting you know...
{{Targums - Jesus is God: "The prophet announced to the house of David that: 'A boy has been born to us, a son has been given unto us, who has taken the Torah upon himself to guard it; and his name has been called by the One who gives wonderful counsel, the Mighty God, He who lives forever: 'Messiah,' in whose day peace shall abound for us'" (Targum Jonathan, Isaiah 9:5 - notice the Mighty God, not a Mighty God);

 

You are probably leaning on Morey's mistranslation of this Targum. I have in fact shown in Chapter 2 of my 2nd edition where you are wrong. This is what happens when you depend on others for your facts, Mr. Hommel. You need to DO SOME RESEARCH, and stop swallowing everything Trinitarians mishandle and miscommunicate in support of their view.

 

{{Messiah called both "the Lord" and "the Word of the Lord" (Targum Pseudo-Jonathan, Ps 45). }}

 

Mr. Hommel, I am afraid you are going to have to type the entire section of the source from which you're quoting. Also, where is "Lord" or "Word of the Lord" articulated in this source or any other Targum, to mean "the second person of a Trinity"? That is how YOU interpret it, is it not? Your chopped up references prove nothing. Piere Grelot (What Are The Targums? [OTS 7; Collegeville, Minnesota: The Liturgical Press, 1992], 111) gives the following rendering of the Targum to Psalm 45:7-8: "The throne of your glory, YHWH has established it for ever and ever. Your royal scepter is a scepter of rectitude. And you, O king Messiah, because you have loved justice and hated impiety, YHWH, YOUR GOD has anointed you with the oil of joy in preference to your fellows" (emphasis added). This completely contradicts Trinitarianism. YHWH, who YOU say is the Trinity, is the God of the Messiah in the Targum, and in the Bible.

 

{{Talmud - Monotheistic: "He created in the beginning one man only, so that heretics should not say that ther are several Powers in heaven (Sanh, 38a); "All agree that nothing was created on the first day, so that people should not say that the archangel Michael stretched the south end of the firmament and Gabriel the north end; for 'I am the Lord that stretched forth the heavens alone'" (Gen R 1:3). }}

 

The Judaism of the Talmud is not exactly biblical in all respects, but even here we meet with nothing akin to Trinitarian monotheism. Everything that is stated above is completely in line with the monotheism taught in the Bible, and by Jehovah's Witnesses.

 

{{Ante-Nicene Fathers - There is a vast amount of evidence that the Early Fathers understood Jesus as God, applied the role of Creator and Sovereign to Him, and worshipped Him, alongside the Father. Please see my article here: Were Early Christians Trinitarians?

 

Please see my exposure of your mishandling of the Fathers, and my book for more information. I will also be writing a separate paper on the subject, that will further expose Trinitarian's mishandling and misuse of the Fathers.

 

{{NT Apocrypha - Jesus is God: "God says,' There is no favor...'" [quoting Jesus in Luke 6:32], (Gospel of the Egyptians, 13:4); "We know this: our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is God..." (Epistula Apostolorum 3:1-13). Worship of Jesus: "We praise thee as God" (Gospel of Bartholomew, 4:69); Glory to thee, Father; Glory to thee, Logos; Glory to thee, Spirit" (Acts of John, 51, 94).

 

Of course, these writings of post-biblical, and frequently contradict the teachings of the Bible. But before I explain this point, and comment on you references, none of which, as you have them, say anything in support of Trinitarianism as such, you must first tell us which edition of the NT Apocrypha you are quoting. Again, these partial quotes do not prove anything for you, and we must have the source you are using to evaluate whether you are even properly quoting them at all. There are different editions to the NT Apocrypha.

 

{{Roman Records - Monotheistic: Josephus, WJ, Book VII. (in this key text, Josephus tells us that Jews would not call Caesar "Lord," for this was a title reserved for God Himself. Of course, Jewish writers of the NT had no problem calling Jesus "Lord"). Worship of Jesus: Pliny the Younger, Letters X:96. }}

 

You here fail to properly distinguish between the use of the Lord in Josephus, which I DOUBT very highly was the basis for the NT writers' use of the term (!), and how they themselves use it. Please tell us all about how Jesus can be MADE Lord, if Lord here has the same semantic significance as it does for God, the one who MADE Jesus Lord. Again, your view of monotheism would have been utterly rejected by Josephus, according to his view of the OT. Regarding Pliny, you do not even give the quote yourself! Until you show that you have checked the sources yourself I will not comment. I get the feeling you are just leaning on some works of those who believe the way you do, and have not done any of the research, reading through the original sources, yourself. That is unacceptable.

 

{{Bible - Monotheistic: Deut 4:35, 39, 32:39; Ps 96:4-5; Is 37:16; 43:10-11; 44:6, 8; 45:5-6, 14, 18, 21-22; 46:9; Jer 10:6, 7; 1 Sam 2:2; 2 Sam 7:22; 1 Kings 8:60; 1 Chron 17:20; Hos 13:4; Joel 2:27; 1 Cor 8:4-6; 1 Tim 2:5; Jas 2:9. Worship of Jesus: Matt 28:17; Phil 2:9-11; Rev 5. }}

 

Sorry, I have already explained how you have absolutely no biblical basis for your view. You can site all of the texts you want, but that means nothing. You need to critically interact with each text, and show how it teaches your view of Trinitarian monotheism, CLEARLY, or any list of texts you provide are essentially of no value in this discussion. See my 2nd edition, Chapter 2 and Chapter 6, for more details.

 

{{Historians: Monotheistic: "The conception of God held by the Rabbis is monotheistic in the strictest degree" (Cohen, Everyman's Talmud, p. 4); "There is, then, across the range of Jewish writing that we possess, solid unanimity on certain major and vital issues; and we have already seen good reason to suppose that this unanimity was equally strong among those who wrote nothing and read little. There is one god, who made the entire universe, and this god is in covenant with Israel" (Wright, The New Testament and the People of God, p. 247). See also, J.M.G. Barclay, Jews in the Mediterranean Diaspora from Alexander to Trajan, pp. 429-434. Worship of Jesus: "Jesus is represented as receiving the highest honors" Moule, The Origin of Christology, p. 176).}}

 

Since the above contains only opinions, with no critical analysis of the source material, at least not that you have provided, it is as good as what you have already said, which is of no value at all. The fact that persons other than yourself read post-biblical thoughts and concepts into the Bible text does not prove anything.

Well, as we can see, and as I said, "When you get around to citing evidence, let me know. Until then, I have made my position available for all to read and the fact that you have ignored it shows that you are not interested in considering issues at length, but only with repeating those ideas you believe are accurate. You also deny the plain meaning of words and equivocate at almost every turn."


 

>> Think about it, Mr. Stafford: one of the first great heresies in the early Church was Monarchism. Monarchism could only have arisen if early Christians held both to monotheism and the full divinity of the Father and the Son. For, to committed henotheists who read the "easily translated" John 1:1c as "The Word was a god," the notion that the Father and the Son were one person (Monarchism or modalism) would be impossible, as would be the idea that the Word was equal to the Father in His essential nature. Historian Harold Brown writes: "The fact that Gnosticism and adoptionism could not hold their own in the face of orthodoxy, and that orthodoxy itself came under attack from modalism at the other end of the theological spectrum, is another evidence of the fact that the early church simply could not deal with the evidence of the New Testament and its own experience of Christ except in terms of acknowledging his deity. It was easier to slip into modalism and confuse Christ with the Father than to say with Gnosticism that he was a mere lesser aeon; or with adoptionism that he was only a man" (Heresies, p. 101).
>> So, Mr. Stafford, what historical evidence can you show that accounts for the rise of the peculiar notion of Christ's full divinity, if early Christians were henotheists with a clear understanding of the Biblical passages that - according to you - mandate Christ as a secondary deity? <<
[< It is quite simple that those advocating Trinitarianism in the post-biblical period were influenced by Greek philosophy and a misguided view of biblical monotheism. Says Meijering:
'We regard it as highly probable that Athanasius knew this Middle-Platonic doctrine of the ideas, a doctrine which several Christian writers had already used before him. This makes it understandable why he used in C.G.2 [Against the Pagans] terms like ta noeta ["the ideas"], ta theia ["the divine"], ta onta ["the existing"], and theos ["god"] more or less indiscriminately: if the ideas belong to the godhead, then contemplation of the true intelligible world is contemplation of God Himself'--- Meijering, Orthodoxy and Platonism in Athanasius, p. 13.
[< Meijering sums up Athanasius' thoughts on God's being and actions and their relation to each other, when he says:
God is the eternal, unchangeable, always identical, real Being, says Athanasius, using both language and arguments which are also found in the Platonists. He is then confronted with the difficulty that many Biblical texts seem to contradict this ontological conception of the divine, especially of the Son. By making use of the Platonic theory that the words are secondary to the matter signified by them, he can explain those texts in such a way that they corroborate his doctrine of the ontological divinity of the Son. --- Meijering, Orthodoxy and Platonism in Athanasius, p. 104.
[< That you are unaware of these facts, and have to ask me how your post-biblical view of God came about, is very telling indeed.
{{Is this the best you can do? }}

 

Okay, that's enough. I think I have been more than patient with your antics, and I have explained time and time again where you are in error. Here, however, it ends.

I ask, Mr. Hommel, DID I SAY, "Here is the best I can do"? You asked a question and I referred to a recognized work that deals with the subject of pagan philosophy in the writings of one of the great defenders of Trinitarianism. I obviously wrongly ASSUMED that you would not just read the two quotes I gave, but look up the source itself, and then look up the references contained therein. Anyone who has honestly studied the writings of early Trinitarians like Athanasius knows that they were strongly influenced by paganism in their denial of the biblical use and meaning of words, and in constructing their own theology. But, you here make a truly immature comment and ask, "Is this the best you can do?" In light of your earlier hypocrisy in regards to your claim in reference to my comments, and your reference of those texts that speak of respectful dialogue, I have no more time to spend with you, on these subjects.

There is but a small portion of your reply remaining, where you again show confusion about the real issues and refer to other Trinitarians, many of whom I have quoted and refuted in my book (such as Helyer). You are just quoting those who believe the same thing that you do, and neither you nor they have done anything to substantiate your post-biblical view of God, as being something clearly taught in the Bible.

I have asked you several key questions in this response, which have partially ask you to rephrase my arguments and views. I have asked these because it is clear to me that you do not understand what I am saying, and you are proceeding to reply according to your misinformed view. When I receive your next reply, assuming you give it, I will immediately go to your answers to these key questions. If I find five misunderstandings, after all I have done to explain these things to you, then I will highlight those five instances and ignore the rest of your reply, as it is not worth my time to continue correcting you on these points, when you are ultimately just leaning on what other Trinitarians tell you to believe.

I thank you for your time and thoughts, but I think you need to reevaluate your position, and start doing your own research, or at least show me that you are, by giving the full quote and context of the sources you site. It is also essential for you to show that you do rightly understand my views, in order for this discussion to continue.


Best Regards,

Greg


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