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Discourse On The Trinity Mystery With Three Questions:

Discussion in 'Christianity DIR' started by iris89, Dec 27, 2004.

  1. Squirt

    Squirt Well-Known Member

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    I'd love to address these issues, GodSeeker, but it's late and I'm leaving to go out of town on business for a week. I must finish packing and get a semi-decent night's sleep. However, I think you misunderstood me on at least one issue and that's concerning what "unembodied" means. It is simply referring to a spirit that exists outside of or independently of a physical body. I never said and do not believe that God once had a body but no longer does.

    Anyway, when I get back, if this thread is still active, I may address the points you raised. I'll just have to see how deep it's buried by then. I'll also be looking for your final post in our one-on-one debate. You've been back for two weeks now, I believe. It seems to me that that should have given you sufficient time to wrap things up.
     
  2. jaareshiah

    jaareshiah Member

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    There are many who feel that God, Jesus and the holy spirit are "one" in a "Godhead". However, the Bible does not support this thought. Here are some Scriptures to show that Jesus is indeed God's Son, subject to his Father.
    At Hebrew 5:7-10, it says "In the days of his flesh [Christ] offered up supplications and also petitions to the One who was able to save him out of death, with strong outcries and tears, and he was favorably heard for his godly fear. Although he was a Son, he learned obedience from the things he suffered; and after he had been made perfect he became responsible for everlasting salvation to all those obeying him, because he has been specifically called by God a high priest according to the manner of Mel·chiz´e·dek." Questions - If Jesus is God, then why did he have "godly fear" and who heard him ? If Jesus is God, then how was it that he "learned obedience" ? Does God have to become obedient to anyone ? Since God is perfect, setting the standards for perfection, then how could Jesus be "made perfect" if he is God ? How could Jesus be God and yet be "called by God" for the position of "a high priest according to the manner of Mel·chiz´e·dek." ?
    At Matthew 24:36, Jesus said concerning the moment the "great tribulation" will begin that "concerning that day and hour nobody knows, neither the angels of the heavens nor the Son, but only the Father." Since God has all knowledge, even able to foretell the future thousands of years in advance, then how is it that Jesus was not aware when the "great tribulation" would break lose, if he is God ?
    At Matthew 26:39, Jesus says in prayer that "my Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass away from me. Yet, not as I will, but as you will." How could Jesus be God and yet pray for not his "will" to take place but his Father's ?
    At John 14:28, Jesus said that "my Father is greater than I."(King James Bible) If Jesus were God, would the Father be greater than him ?
    At John 17:3, Jesus said that "this means everlasting life, their taking in knowledge of you, the only true God, and of the one whom you sent forth, Jesus Christ." How could he be God and yet pray to the "only true God" ?
    At John 20:17, Jesus said to Mary: "Stop clinging to me. For I have not yet ascended to the Father. But be on your way to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father and to my God and your God.’" How could Jesus be God and yet ' ascend to his God ' ?
    At John 8:28,29, Jesus said that "I do nothing of my own initiative; but just as the Father taught me I speak these things. And he that sent me is with me; he did not abandon me to myself, because I always do the things pleasing to him." How could Jesus be God and yet be "taught" ? Furthermore, how could Jesus be God and yet do "nothing of (his) own initiative " ? Too, how could Jesus "always do the things pleasing to him (God)", if he is God ?
    Too, at Philippians 2:9, the apostle Paul wrote that "God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:"(King James Bible) How could Jesus be God and yet be "exalted" or be given a "name which is above every other name" ? Is there any "name" higher than God's ?
    The apostle John said some sixty five years after Jesus death and resurrection, that "at no time has anyone beheld God." (1 John 4:12 ) Did not the apostle John see Jesus in the flesh and yet how could he say that " at no time has anyone beheld God" ?
    At Colossians 1:15, the apostle Paul wrote that Jesus "is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation;" How could he be God and yet be his "firstborn" ? At 1 Corinthians 15:24, Paul wrote that Jesus "hands over the kingdom to his God and Father, when he has brought to nothing all government and all authority and power." How could Jesus be God and yet "hand over the kingdom" to him ? In verse 28, Paul says that after the "last enemy, death is... brought to nothing", then he says that "when all things will have been subjected to him, then the Son himself will also subject himself to the One who subjected all things to him, that God may be all things to everyone". If Jesus is God, then how is it that "the Son himself will also subject himself to the One who subjected all things to him, that God may be all things to everyone" ?
    The apostle John wrote of Jesus that "Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he was come from God, and went to God;"(John 13:3 King James Bible) How could Jesus be God and have "come from God" and then "went to God" ?
    Some will turn to 1 Timothy 3:16, which according to the King James Bible reads: "And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory." This Scripture, with the words "God was manifest in the flesh" has been found to have incorrect, really tampered with. John James Wetstein (1693-1754), while he was examining the Alexandrine Manuscript in London (a Greek manuscript dating from the fifth century C.E., which contains most of the Bible), made a startling discovery. Up till that time, according to the King James Version (1611), 1 Timothy 3:16 was rendered: "God was manifest in the flesh." This rendering was reflected in most other Bibles in use.
    However, Wetstein noticed that the Greek word translated "God," which was abbreviated to TC, had originally looked like the Greek word OC, which means "who." But a horizontal stroke showing through faintly from the other side of the vellum page, and the addition by a later hand of a line across the top, had turned the word OC ("who") into the contraction TC ("God"). Other manuscripts now confirm Wetstein’s reading, accurate modern translations read: "He was made manifest in flesh," or "He who . . . ," referring to Jesus Christ. (American Standard, Moffatt, Weymouth, Spencer, The New English Bible)
    This was later reaffirmed by Konstantin von Tischendorf, for in 1859, he found what was the oldest known complete copy of the Greek Scriptures in a monastary at the base of Mount Sinai, now known as Codex Sinaiticus and probably produced about 350 C.E. Because Sinaiticus was among the oldest original-language manuscripts, it not only revealed that the Greek Scriptures had remained essentially unchanged but also helped scholars to uncover errors that had crept into later manuscripts, such as the one at 1 Timothy 3:16, for the Sinaiticus reads: "He was made manifest in the flesh." Sinaiticus was made many years before any Greek manuscript reading "God." Thus, it revealed that there had been a later corruption of the text.
    And of course there is John 1:1, in which many will say this proves that Jesus is God. However, this is not the case. Because many Bibles render it as "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God", most believe that the "Word", who is Jesus, is God. Literally the Greek text reads: "IN BEGINNING WAS THE WORD, AND THE WORD WAS WITH THE GOD, AND GOD WAS THE WORD. THIS WAS IN BEGINNING WITH THE GOD." (John 1:1,2 ) In looking at the koine Greek in which it was written, the first mention of "god" in this verse is preceeded by the Greek definite article ton, which literally means "the". But in the second occurrence of "god", there is no definite article. Why did John use "the " before the first God (theos), but not before the second occurrence of it ? Is there a difference between asking for "the" black suit and "a" black suit ? Yes there is. Likewise with the apostle John using the identfying article of "ton" (the) before the first use of God. He intentionally used it to separate who is meant by "god". How else would one distinguish between two individuals, except by saying "the man", as opposed to "a man" ?
    By use of "the"(ton), John is speaking of a specific person - God, whereas in using "god" without a definite article, he was identifying the "Word" as being godlike,or having a godly quality, thus describing the nature of the Word. Therefore, Philip B. Harner, in his article "Qualitative Anarthrous Predicate Nouns: Mark 15:39 and John 1:1," published in Journal of Biblical Literature, said that such clauses as the one in John 1:1, "with an anarthrous predicate (without definiteness ) preceding the verb, are primarily qualitative in meaning. They indicate that the logos has the nature of theos. There is no basis for regarding the predicate theos as definite."
    The apostle John, in using the Greek article "ton" (the) before the first occurrence of God at John 1:1, but not in the second occurrence, was thereby pointing toward the Word as having the quality of godlike ones, but not the person of God.
    If John had said ton theos en ho logos, (the God is the Word) using a definite article in front of both nouns, then he would definitely have identified the logos [the Word] with God, but because he has no definite article in front of theos it becomes a description, more of an adjective than a noun.
    Therefore, Jesus is God's only-begotten Son, for how can someone be be begotten and yet have no beginning, as God does ?(Psalms 90:2; John 3:16 King James Bible) Hence, Jesus had a beginning, for Revelation 3:14 calls him the "the beginning of the creation of God;"



     
  3. FerventGodSeeker

    FerventGodSeeker Believer

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  4. Polaris

    Polaris Active Member

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    So according to your belief God the Father does not have a body. OK, now back to my original question. Why didn't He create us as spirit-only beings like himself? Could we not follow him as spirit-only beings?

    Actually that's not exactly true. Light is made of particle-waves called photons -- we don't know for sure if they have mass or not. The sound we hear is based on the changing pressure of air waves -- air is not immaterial. Either way according to physics as we currently understand it, neither light nor sound can be generated from something that is immaterial.

    Sorry this example is not going to hold any water for me -- I believe that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost are three distinct and separate beings, which easily explains how all three could be seen/heard distinctly from one another.

    In this verse I interpret Man to be a title for God -- who is in heaven. Jesus wasn't the son of man he was the son of God for which "Man" in this context is a title. We could all be considered sons of man, but only Jesus is the son of Man -- who is indeed in heaven. By no means does this clearly indicate that He is physically in more than one place at one time.

    I completely disagree. Because my spirit is what gives me life I can appropriately say I am Spirit. That does not necessarily mean that I am a spirit-only being. Just as saying I'm a physical being doesn't imply I don't have a spirit.

    So are Jesus and God the Father the same being?

    It's impossible for you to effectively demonstrate that ALL references to God's body parts are figurative. I'll admit some are figurative, but I also believe some are literal. If God has no body, why would he state that he would make man in His image in the context of a physical creation? Also, when Stephen saw Jesus standing on the right hand of God, are you suggesting that he saw Jesus standing next to some cloud-like presence?

    All statements must be interpreted in context. Because He is speaking to us, HIS creations, his statement is perfectly valid -- there never was and never will be any other God than Him. Even though we have the potential to become gods, for us there will never be another God -- He alone can bring about our salvation and nothing will ever change that.

    Yeah, it is your opinion. That language implies that we have the potential to become gods. I never said we'd be identical to God (we are separate individuals), but the terms offspring and heir imply we have the potential to become a god and inherit all He has.

    Sure it has to do with our perspective -- the words are directed to us.

    His creations increase and as a result His glory increases.

    I'm curious then, in what way do you believe we can become "like" him?

    Actually, no I don't. I don't believe that God is content to restrict us to a state of existance considerably less than His own.
     
  5. FerventGodSeeker

    FerventGodSeeker Believer

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  6. Polaris

    Polaris Active Member

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    True, as purple polka-dotted beaver ghosts on Pluto we could be obedient to His commandments and progress in some sense. But if we were polka-dotted beaver ghosts we would merely be His creation, not his children, and we would never be able to become like Him. He is not a beaver ghost. He is a glorified, perfected man -- our Father. The fact that we are His children and not merely his creation is a very important point -- we have divine potential.




    I don't think we fully understand what brain waves are either. Are you suggesting that everytime God has ever been witnessed it was done so in a dream or a mirage?

    If that's the best example you have then that's all I need to hear -- it in no way implies that God the Father has ever been observed in multiple places at once.

    The God I believe in is not a genderless, faceless being -- He is a perfect, exalted, and glorified Man.

    Good one. Though I have lungs, without my spirit I would not exist.

    Those verses in Genesis are describing the physical creation of the earth, plants, animals, etc. The context is all concerning the physical creation. Why are we to assume that the reference to create man in God's image is not at least in part a reference to the physical?

    So you're suggesting that Stephen actually only saw one being -- Christ, and the reference to God was just a figurative description of Christ's status?

    No I don't see a contradiction -- we're basically beating a dead horse here. Though we have the potential to become gods, we will always only have one Father and one God that we are subject to.

    Right. He will always be our creator, our God, our Father, the means of our existance and our salvation.

    What? Please explain how being the offspring of God and heirs to God does not imply that we have the potential to become as He is -- even gods. The offspring of lions become lions, the heir to a King has the potential to become a king. One lion isn't necessarily exactly like its father, nor is one king exactly like his predecessor, but that doesn't mean they aren't lions or kings. Similarly just because we may never be exactly like our Father doesn't mean that we can't become gods. The offspring of a god by definition has the potential to become a god.

    Sure, even without His creations He is glorious. But His creations and the progress of His children add to His happiness and glory. I believe we, His children, are His greatest creation and the source of His greatest joy, and unfortunately at times the source of His greatest sadness.

    So why would he end there, or cause our progression to end there? Is He not powerful enough to endow us with even a portion of His godliness? Or will He simply not ever trust us enough even though we'll have eternity to gain His trust?
     
  7. FerventGodSeeker

    FerventGodSeeker Believer

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  8. FerventGodSeeker

    FerventGodSeeker Believer

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    My personal Bible (New King James), says "God" in the verse, but in a footnote says that the original Greek literally says "Who". Therefore, I would concede that this verse is not a direct evidence of the deity of Christ (however it's not a verse I typically use when arguing for the deity of Christ, so I don't really need it, lol).



    Your explanation simply fails to understand the meaning and grammar of the Greek text. As you correctly note, the portion translated "And the Word was God." in English literally says, "and God was the Word." This is due to the fact that the predicate of the sentence is placed before the subject for emphasis. We know the Word is the subject because John is telling us in context what the Word is, not what God is. While in general, you are correct, a Greek noun without an article is assumed to be indefinite (in English, "a" or "an"), in this case it was unnecessary because of the grammar of the sentence. We already know from the preceding statement of the verse that THE God is in question, and there is no other God, as is amply stated in Scripture. Therefore, due to the fact that "God" without an article is the predicate of the sentence, there is no article needed, and it is already known that the One True God is what is in question. If John had repeated "The God was the Word" , that would contradict His prior statement (The Word was with God) which distinguished God and the Logos as different persons. However, the next statement clarifies, by omitting the definite article for the predicate "God", that, while they are different persons, they are one in nature or essence: God is the Word. This perfectly aligns with Trinitarian theology once again.

    Just so that we are on the same page, "begotten" simply means "born". Jesus took on a human nature and was physically born. This does not, however, negate His divine nature, which existed eternally prior to His Incarnation. "I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last." Rev. 22:14.



    The Greek word for "beginning" there is arche, and it is the same word from which we get the English word "architect." Christ, as I've already discussed from Colossians 1, created all things, and thus He is the initiator or "beginning" of all creation, since He began all creation by creating it. It is not an indication that He is a created being Himself...otherwise, as I already pointed out, that would mean, per Col. 1, that He created Himself.

    FerventGodSeeker

     
  9. Polaris

    Polaris Active Member

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    FerventGodSeeker,

    I don't know if you failed to see my last post or have just burned out on this topic (if you have just say so and I'll let it die). But if you're interested I have another question for you.

    As is the case with many Bible-based debates, this comes down to who has the most correct interpretation. There are many passages that when taken at face value are simply contradictory. We are left to attempt to understand the context, implied conditions, figurative expressions, all without knowing for sure what the author actually intended. For example, the statement "there shall be no Gods after me" seems to contradict Paul's teachings that we are "offspring of God" and therefore "heirs to God", which to me implies we have the potential to become gods. Similarly Jesus' statement "the Father is greater than I" seems to contradict His statement that He and the Father are one. Obviously neither of us believes that they actually contradict each other. We claim to understand certain implied meanings that we use to make sense of the seemingly contradictory statements.

    So the question is... who has the most correct interpretation? Who is divinely authorized to interpret scripture and is sufficiently inspired to do so? If the true Apostolic authority indeed continued in succession as the Roman Catholic Church claims then your interpretation is the only one that represents the truth. The doctrine of the Trinity as you understand it is truth and anything that deviates from that is not. However if the Apostolic succession was broken and an Apostasy occurred, as the LDS claim, then your interpretation carries no authority. In that case, the LDS claim of a restoration of truths and authority gains validity and with it the correct interpretation of scripture and the proper understanding of the Godhead. I started a thread on this topic several weeks back in the General Religious Debates Forum entitled "Scriptural evidence for the Apostasy" and would be interested to hear your thoughts.
     
  10. FerventGodSeeker

    FerventGodSeeker Believer

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    Hi, Polaris!
    Sorry this took so long; I didn't see your post because I placed a response after it in answering the claims of another gentlemen.


     
  11. FerventGodSeeker

    FerventGodSeeker Believer

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  12. Polaris

    Polaris Active Member

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    Yet another example of a literal vs. figurative interpretation.

    No, actually the passage specifically says "let us make man in our image, after our likeness". Woman was formed later. It's also interesting to note that later in reference to one of Adam's sons, Seth, we see the same description "in his own likeness, after his image".

    True an offspring or heir may not always become as it's predecessor, but it does have the potential to become such. I'll repeat, the offspring of a god by definition has the potential to become a god.
     
  13. Polaris

    Polaris Active Member

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    I agree 100%. And I have also enjoyed this discussion. Even though we don't agree on some of these points I do have a lot of respect for your views and beliefs.

    True and that's why I said our position gains validity.

    The bottom line is this: we believe that as the early Apostles were persecuted and eventually killed (somewhere near the end of the 1st century or shortly thereafter), the Apostolic authority was also taken along with the rights to general revelation. From other discussions I've had it seems most Catholics and Orthodox claim that the Apostolic authority was simply passed on to the Bishops, which to me doesn't make sense because in my belief the offices of Apostle and Bishop are completely different offices of authority and Apostolic succession should have proceeded with a succession of Apostles.

    The thread I referred you to makes other scriptural based arguments for the apostasy, but again they are dependent on the interpretation of scripture, which can rarely settle any doctrinal dispute. Really the foundation of my belief is in my conviction that Joseph Smith was who he claimed to be -- and that was only attained through study and answer to prayer. I firmly believe that he was a prophet of God and therefore all other questions (apostasy, nature of God and the Godhead, etc) simply flow from there (though I will add that there is biblical support for nearly all doctrines that Joseph revealed).
     
  14. FerventGodSeeker

    FerventGodSeeker Believer

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    "So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them." God created mankind in His own image, as two different genders: male and female. Again, a literal image reveals God as some hermaphrodite, which I simply don't buy.

    In ordinary cases, you'd be right. However, God is obviously unique and His position unique. He alone is God, and will remain so for all eternity, with no other Gods beside Him.
    And I'll repeat, there's simply no reason to assume that references to Christians as God's "children" are literal. If anything, our sonship to God is adoptive, not biological or direct. "to redeem those who were under law, that we might receive the adoption as sons." Gal. 4:4; "having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will," Eph. 1:5
     
  15. FerventGodSeeker

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  16. Polaris

    Polaris Active Member

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    If all the apostles die before having the opportunity to gather and ordain individuals to specifically fill the vacancies (similar to that done in Acts 1 with Matthias), yes the Apostolic authority is taken with them. In our church when an Apostle dies the rest of the Apostles meet to select and ordain another to fill the vacancy.

    My point is this true Apostolic succession did not happen in the early centuries as is evidenced by the lack of Apostles.

    From what I understand Linus was presumably the first Bishop of Rome. I've never heard any indication of him being an Apostle and I doubt there is any evidence of such an Apostolic ordination. The office of Pope didn't come along until much later.
     
  17. FerventGodSeeker

    FerventGodSeeker Believer

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  18. Polaris

    Polaris Active Member

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    That's a good question. The Quorum of the Seventy would then take over as the presiding body, but they do not hold Apostolic authority. I don't believe God would let such and event occur as we believe this to be the last dispensation to usher in the Second Coming of the Lord.

    Yeah in the beginning it did, but at some point (whether by choice or force) it did not continue. There is no evidence that Linus was given Apostolic authority -- he was a Bishop.

    Peter was an Apostle and it appears that he helped get the church established in Rome. No where in scripture does it indicate that he was a Bishop -- though he called others to the office of Bishop.

    This actually support my claims. Peter is always referred to as Apostle and Linus as Bishop. It makes perfect sense that the Apostles would found and establish the church in Rome and then turn it over to a Bishop (local authority) to take it from there so the Apostles could attend to more global church issues.
     
  19. FerventGodSeeker

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  20. Polaris

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    Well, there are scriptures that prophecy of an apostasy though you would probably interpret them differently.

    Seventies cannot call and ordain Apostles -- Apostles are of higher authority. The only ones who can call and ordain Apostles are Apostles or a Prophet called by God to do so.

    The evidence is that in the early Christian church (post 1st or 2nd century)there was no official office of Apostle -- there were just a group of Bishops.

    Where is Peter referred to as Bishop of Rome?

    That's right. Peter was an Apostle which is a higher authority than a Bishop. Apostle and Bishop are not the same office of authority -- Apostle is a higher global authority while Bishop is a local authority. Apostles call, ordain, and oversee Bishops.

    Where is it stated that Rome was the center of the Christian church during the time of the Apostles? In the NT it sounds like Jerusalem was still regarded as the center. Everything you've showed me indicates Linus may very well have been ordained as Bishop over Rome, but that is not the same as Apostle of the church. Even the center of the church could have its own Bishop (under the Apostles) so that the Apostles could concentrate on the more global church issues.
     
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