Al Kidd's latest reply to Bowman!
Rob Bowman attempted to take Al Kidd to task for Al's support of Greg Stafford.
Below we present Kidd's crushing surrejoinder to Bowman.
Posted by Al Kidd on June 09, 1998 at 13:09:28:
Kidd Against Bowman
The question before us is: Are there (1) works and/or (2) attributes both (a) unique to the Father and (b) necessary (per Scriptural revelation) for a definition of what it means for a person to be the Almighty God? If we know that we can truthfully give an affirmative answer to the question, then we also know that only the Father is the Almighty God. I encourage the reader to familiarize himself with the following Bible verses for what follows: John 15:26; Acts 2:33; Ephesians 1:17.
Holy spirit is God's holy spirit: God is not a recipient of holy spirit, but it is from Him alone that holy spirit gets any procession of itself because every procession begins with God and takes place at His (the Father's) pleasure--yes, according to His will (John 14:16). The ability to make procession of holy spirit at will is an ability or attribute that belongs only to God the Father: the Father is the only person whose essence of Being--whose beingness! (not a difficult word at all, is it?)--precludes that he be a recipient of holy spirit. Holy spirit first proceeds from the Father alone, and may go thence--may go from that Source--to the Son. No, there is no procession of holy spirit which did not originate with God the Father. This fact does not disallow that holy spirit may be channeled through person(s) not God after its having proceeded from Him (from God the Father). Even so, the original link in that which, in the event, has become a channeling of holy spirit is a link that must be identified with the Father alone.
Clearly, then, Jesus' words as respects the matter of the One (the Father), Who has a certain attribute that defines Him as the One Who can do the work of originating a procession of holy spirit--the One alone from Whom holy spirit proceeds for its first manifestation outside the being of God--, are words that disallow the Son from being God, for it is God's holy spirit that becomes _the object of a work originating with God_ whereby holy spirit gets any procession of itself from God as a procession that originates from Himself, from the Father alone.
Before one goes cavalierly and perkily citing Galatians 4:6 and certain other verses in the Scriptures in an effort to build argument for overturning the exposition given above, I think he should be aware that 2 Kings 2:9 and Ezekiel 1:20 are just a few of the verses in the Bible which we can use to undo the rejoinder--if I have correctly anticipated what form the rejoinder might take.
Now we are in position to consider Jesus' words (which see at John 5:19, 20) about the works of the Father and the works of the Son. They are words that cannot have as their context something that holds the meaning "Absolutely everything that the Father wills to do in connection with His holy spirit MUST OF A LOGICAL NECESSITY INTRINSIC TO THE SON be works that the Son was ever equicompetent in performing in connection with his will over holy spirit."
Well, then, what is the context of Jesus' words? Jesus said that the works he does are a result of his having seen the Father at work (John 5:20; compare John 8:23, 26-28 where we read that Jesus was instructed in heaven before the flesh-taking event, before his coming to earth)--and Jesus said that there were even greater works that the Father would show the Son. Yes, the Father educates His Son as respects how works are to be accomplished, and this according to the Father's will. The Father works towards a vindication of His Universal Sovereignty, and from the beginning of when the righteousness and goodness of His sovereignty first came under attack, the
Father began specially working in preparing an arrival in due course of time of an administration that should bring restoration to all things. It ever pleased the Son in all that time for him to be a co-worker with the Father in doing works that complement the Father's, this so that they are works done in a like-manner fashion to the Father's (John 5:20). The works done by the Father and the Son finally amounted to a sufficient means whereby men observing Jesus' Father-vindicating and mankind-saving ministry should come to faith in the Father and His Son. The Son has had a complementary hand in all that the Father has been doing according to the context discussed above.
Jesus' words give us to understand that he means them to be applicable as respects certain works that are fulfilling--and would in future support--a certain purpose authored by his Father (compare Ephesians 1:3, 9, 10; 3:10, 11). Jesus' words give us to understand that all of the Father's works he has reference thereto are works the Father is doing within a framework of reference that allows us to "marvel" at them. Jesus' words do not have application as respects a frame of reference in which absolutely all of Jehovah's works ought to be referenced, for we cannot get to know and "marvel" at absolutely all of them! But as respects the more limited frame of reference as set forth above, why . . . Yes! Jesus is associated with his Father in ALL
OF THOSE works.
The exposition set forth above rips away the core of Bowman's response to Greg. But I should like to add a few more things before I post this effort.
Does God live because of someone else's existence? No. By definition of what it means to be the living God, then, as respects a certain matter in connection with the essence of the God-Being (i.e., as respects a certain matter in connection with the living God's beingness), we find that that essence must not result from some other person's existence. But a thing that characterizes the Son's existence is that he lives because of the Father. He said it: "I live because of the Father" (John 6:57). Therefore, the Son cannot be God. Bowman's (mis)handling of Greg's argument in one of its particulars is a meaningless acknowledgment of the truth of that particular, for when Bowman writes "2. The Son was given his life. Again, true . . . ," he shows not the slightest awareness that that truth ("I [(the Son)] live because of the Father") logically devastates trinitarianism by virtue of the fact that X (where X is a fact about God's essence that means absence of an impartation of life for the Being that is the living God) is not a fact for the essence that defines the being Son (the Son-Being), and this precisely because the Son is the result of an impartation of life from another person, namely, the One who is the Son's God and Father, the Almighty God (Jehovah).
If X marks the "spot," then Bowman really ought to see where the real X is.
As time permits, I hope to take apart very much more of Bowman's rejoinders. But I wish to make comment upon my use of Balzer's material. I apologize that in my extensively bracketing explanatory interpolations I inadvertently failed to use enough brackets. I deny that I have made any substantive misuse of his material. Consider:
Classical trinitarians imaginatively (in word-magic fashion) construct a class of Persons out of the One and selfsame ( = indivisible, homogeneous) Substance (Being), which class they tell us has three objects in it, for they expostulate as follows:
'There are three persons (three necessary modes of presentation so that the economic Trinity is the immanent Trinity, and the immanent Trinity is the economic Trinity). These three objects are three "persons" distinguishable from each other--they are different persons.'
However, an instancing (a putting before our mind's eye through use of the Scriptures) of the class Trinity (triune God) WILL NOT put before our mind's eye any plurality of real-world objects; it will not even put before our mind's eye a plurality of abstract objects. Rather, the instancing of the class will expose a logical fallacy in trinitarianism, for what gets presented is a logical contradiction to what trinitarians tell us to look for, for we see presentation of a a single abstract object--though trinitarians vehemently insist that we are mistaken in our count and analysis, for they say they see three personalistic instantiations such that all the personal God-Being is in each instantiation. This leaves no room by use of their own terms for any essential differences in the instantiations--no variation according to degree and number of attributes informing each instantiation. There is a contrariety in their God-defining terms such that there can be no different persons, no persons which can be the subject of different predicative propositions that would distinguish the persons from each other.
We accordingly find no epistemologically and psychologically satisfying way for us to acknowledge that trinitarianism gives us even one person we know from a study of the Scriptures, and that despite the idea that one should really take as his point of departure purely Scriptural revelation for a look (abstractly) at the attributes that define what it means for a person to be God Almighty.
Classical trinitarianism's hOMOOUSIOS is an imaginary substance such that at any time we try to "take a look at it"--at any time we attempt to make an instancing of the allegedly existing Substance (Being)--, we find that it not only fails to give a plurality of objects because of a contradiction in the defining terms they have used, but it also fails to present to our mind's eye any justification for one's holding that he has even one real person before him; we can only call it word-magic when trinitarians say they see a plurality of persons so that each justifies their (the trinitarians') semantically signaling by use of names the existence of three different persons. Bowman is in such a camp of trinitarians. I have not misrepresented the position to which his dogma must logically devolve, and the fact that he cannot or will not see the truth of the matter in no way touches upon the veracity of my presentation here.
Balzer's material on class theory does indeed furnish us a useful tool for schematizing the problems with trinitarianism. I SUSPECT that Bowman does not understand Balzer; however, I am confident in my declaring that he fails to see how Balzer's material is an effective cudgel in the hands of us anti-trinitarians. Not that we need it for our coming to understand Biblical theology, but if we involve ourselves in a polemic against trinitarianism for its abuse of commonsense in our reading of the Scriptures, then we may make effective use of certain tools in addition to the Scriptures--but never as replacement for the Scriptures. Balzer's subject matter is not about an arcane philosphical problem at all, but is useful theory--as is sentential calculus. Either of the items will appear arcane to ones getting a first-time exposure to them, but they themselves are not of an arcane, philosophical problem.
Excursus: The Scriptures do not contain express wordings reflective of a self-consciousness in the Bible's writers whereby we might have known, in the event of any such recording of some of the Scriptures, that the writers themselves knew that they were furnishing God's servants material for an attack against trinitarianism. So, when I tackle the Hellenistically inspired dogma of Christendom's trinitariansm for getting at an accurate historiography that uncovers sometimes contradictory formulations of it, it is possible that I may have unfairly lumped some trinitarians in a camp with others. It does become problematic in our presenting a COMMON ENOUGH face to trinitarianism when you have to deal with Roman Catholicism versus Eastern Orthodoxy, and to deal with a Lutheran Barth versus a Roman Catholic Rahner. But we can have a fairly decent result in our efforts so that readers may get a feel for the problems inherent in classical trinitarianism--the more especially is that the case when we turn back the hands of time, and we go back to a times before there had yet to appear in places other than in the Scriptures our sound understanding of what it means for a being (an existent, an entity) to be a person. Perhaps I ought to post something about that, too. I do not think Bowman would ever do so.