The Evangelical Universalist Forum

Does Julie think Jesus is God? How will Evangelicals react?

You know when the RCC was against Galileo for stating that the Earth wasn’t the center of the universe it wasn’t because like many think now that we think we are the center of the universe. It was because they saw it too lofty a thing to be one of the planets which were in the heavens, that was God’s domain. It wasn’t that they exalted humans it was they wanted to keep them grounded.

So many think it blasphemy that we will become what we will.

right at the top you’ll see “the name” written in vertical orientation
(kind of new agey but has some good stuff)

And Love CAN become unglorified, or lose power, or be condensed, and not be ruler of all, etc; as we see was the case for the Son for a limited space of time, and is always the case for Him in certain of those senses in comparison to the Father (since the Father is always greater than He). And so we see that ‘POWER’ itself (and all the omni’s) are not the ESSENTIAL attributes of God: but rather Agape Love is.

And yet the throne can NEVER ultimately be taken away from Love (though in certain realms this may be true temporarily), and why? Because wickedness is merely a corruption of it, and as such will always remain subservient. And this is exactly why death could not keep Jesus Christ (read: the Master of LOVE) down forever. Not even for three full days! :smiling_imp: :mrgreen:

Very interestink, dahlink! :laughing:

You have anymore info on that, or sources? T’would absolutely make great ammo to fire right back at the neo-atheists! :sunglasses: :smiling_imp: :laughing:

Looks like it may have some cool stuff on it. Don’t have time to look through it right now. And I have to say that I’m largely sympathetic to new agers, I just desire to see everything centered upon Christ, as it should be. Our future glorification is no joke; and Christ DID continually speak of a new age in the form of ‘the age to come’ (which is intertwined with what we’ve been talking of here). The loss of this message in the church is probably a big reason for the shift of many away from it and from the things of Christ… thankfully, we can potentially recover lost ground if we speak up. I’m a part of a group called “Spiritual Matters” on FB and feel that I’m doing my part. :smiley:

Yes, but they didn’t have the experiential knowledge of what the actual result of their rebellion would be. After being redeemed they’ll have their actual past experiences to compare with any imagined possible gains from rebelling. That’s always going to be a major… well, I don’t want to say “bar”, that’s the wrong word, but a major factor.

(The following is a response to Jason’s post here: A Short Bible Case for Universalism-feedback)

While I don’t have time to personally engage all of Jason’s remarks and arguments right now, I would like to provide some links to articles written by Biblical Unitarians that address most of the texts Jason gives. For those texts on which I couldn’t find online articles from a Unitarian perspective, I’ve simply written a brief response myself. I encourage everyone who is interested in this topic to carefully (and prayerfully!) consider the arguments presented on both sides of this debate. While the articles to which I’ve provided links may not fully address every possible argument given in defense of the traditional view that these texts support the deity of Christ (or at least to the satisfaction of those who are staunchly anti-Unitarian in their view! :slight_smile: ), hopefully they will at least help those who are unsure about this subject realize that the “proof-texts” Jason provides are not quite as “obvious,” “straightforward,” “unambiguous” or even “probable” as he thinks. :wink:

In v. 6 of this passage, Jesus (who in v. 1 is called “the apostle and high priest of our confession”) is clearly distinguished from God, so I think it’s very unlikely that the author was trying to identify Jesus as God in v. 4. Rather, the person referred to as “God” in this passage should be understood as Jesus’ God (the Father) throughout. Concerning v. 6, 19th century Universalist Sylvanus Cobb notes in his commentary, … n_1.18.pdf … 201.18.pdf … 201_18.pdf … n1_18.html … 205.20.pdf … n5_20.html … n_5.20.pdf

I’ve also briefly commented on this verse (in response to something Jason wrote) elsewhere on this forum (HI!): … 020.28.pdf … 20_28.html … _20.28.pdf

Unitarians actually have no problem understanding Jesus as the person to whom Peter was referring when he said, “To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever.” The fact that glory and dominion belongs to Jesus “unto the ages of the ages” (which is true of both Jesus and his God, although I believe God’s glory and dominion extends beyond the time when Jesus delivers the kingdom to God and becomes subjected to God) does not mean that he is the one God. To Jesus belongs glory and dominion unto the ages of the ages because his God and our God (the one God, the Father) highly exalted him and bestowed on him a name that is above every name. That is, Jesus’ aeonian glory and dominion is the aeonian glory and dominion of a man who was made Lord and given all authority in heaven and on earth by God. According to the author of Hebrews, Jesus’ God made Jesus (a man) for a little while lower than the angels, and when he raised him from the dead he crowned Jesus with glory and honor, putting everything in subjection under his feet (Heb 2:7-8). But this glory and honor with which Jesus was crowned by God wasn’t inherently his; rather, Jesus became as much superior to the angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs (Heb 1:4). … %209.5.pdf … om9_5.html … ns_9.5.pdf

“He” in Heb 8:8 need not be understood as referring to Jesus but rather can be understood as referring to Jesus’ God. The context must determine who the author has in view. The author had previously referred to both Jesus (who is called “a high priest” in v. 1 and “a minister” in v. 2) and Jesus’ God (who is called “the Majesty” in v. 1 and “the Lord” in v. 2) in the immediate context, so to refer to both persons as “he” later on in the passage (even in close proximity) would only be confusing if it could not be discerned from the context whether it was Jesus or Jesus’ God who is in view. But the only reason why one would (or could) understand v. 8 to refer to the same “he” as in v. 6 (which refers to Jesus) would be if one already believed that Jesus was the divine person who spoke in the OT by the prophets (in this case, the prophet Jeremiah). Otherwise, it would simply be understood as implied that the author had begun referring to Jesus’ God (i.e., “the Majesty” of v. 1, “the Lord” of v. 2) in vv. 8-13.

Moreover, considering how the author of Hebrews begins his epistle, I think we can be fairly confident that he did not believe Jesus was the person speaking in Jeremiah’s prophecy. In v. 1 the author declares, “Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he [God] has spoken to us by his Son.” Clearly, the title “God” in this verse refers to Jesus’ God, the Father (whom Jesus calls the “only true God” and Paul calls the “one God”). Jesus’ God - not Jesus - is the one who “long ago, at many times and in many ways” spoke by the prophets (which would include the prophet Jeremiah, who is quoted in chapter 8). It is only in what the author calls “these last days” that God had spoken to the Jewish people by his Son. Moreover, the author of Hebrews often referred to Jesus’ God as “he” or “him” rather than using the title “God” when it could be discerned from the context that Jesus’ God - rather than Jesus - is in view (Heb 1:6-8, 13; 2:10; 4:3; 5:5, 7; 10:30). Consider especially Heb 2:5-13, where the author alternates between speaking of both Jesus and Jesus’ God by simply using personal pronouns:

I think Revelation 1:1-2 is helpful to our understanding of this verse: “The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show to his servants the things that must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John.” God gave Jesus the revelation, and Jesus made it known by sending his angel to his servant John. But by virtue of the fact that the Father is Jesus’ God (Jesus even refers to the Father as “my God” at least 5 times in this book), everything that Jesus can refer to as his (such as his angel) is God’s as well. The angel is thus not just Jesus’ angel - it is the angel of Jesus’ God as well, and may thus be spoken of as such (Rev 22:6).

Moreover, when we read in Revelation of how an angel stops John from bowing down to him because he considered himself only a “fellow servant” (Rev. 22:9), we should not conclude that John mistakenly believed the angel to be God himself, or even Christ. Adam Clarke notes in his commentary:

In other words, John (being overcome with emotion at the awesome facts that had been disclosed to him) was tempted to render homage to the angel as the source of the glorious revelation he had been given. But it was God - not the angel - who was the source of the revelation (Rev 1:1-2). God - as the source of the revelation - made it known to Jesus, who in turn made it known to his angel (who, again, is also God’s angel), who then made it known to John. Thus, the angel tells John to “worship God.” IOW, the angel’s telling John to render homage to God (i.e., he who is both John’s God and Jesus’ God) as the source of the revelation which filled John with such wonder and joy, not him (the angel). … Jn1_1.html … d%2014.pdf … t-john-1-1

My own brief comments on this verse can be found here: Trying to understand non-Trinitarians. (Present your cases?) … 202.13.pdf … 202_13.pdf … s2_13.html … 20_28.html … 020-28.pdf … %201.1.pdf … er1_1.html … %201_1.pdf … 201.12.pdf … nians-1-12

The ESV reads, “…according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.” See also the NET. Apparently, v. 12 is not considered by modern translators as that “unambiguous!”

Compare v. 12 (as translated in the ESV/NET) with vv. 1-2 (ESV): “To the church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” … eb1_8.html

And as for Hebrews 1:10, see … b1_10.html

That’s a good question. Co-equality between Father, Son and HS is a trinitarian formulation; and actually part of the reason that I reject it, is the point you have raised here. The way I was taught it was that Jesus (specifically) was/ is equal with the Father in his godhood, yet is not the Father. Yet scripture says what you have here, that the Father is clearly greater. So as I understand it, co-equality is saying that the Son is equal in power, authority, etc. as part of his nature as God.
Scripture is clear that this authority was given to him by the Father, who is greater. That lines up with what Jesus said.

Something that is infinite being condensed into something more limited is, well…limited, and therefore no longer infinite. :wink:

Hi Justin,

To say it’s a “fact that the Jews were binitarian in theology” is, I think, a rather sweeping statement and (to me) smacks of exaggeration and oversimplification. I am curious about what Alan Segal has to say, however (although perhaps not curious enough to shell out $70 for the book! :laughing:). In his book, does Alan Segal provide evidence that the majority of Jews during the Second Temple era were binitarian in their theology (and thus believed in two uncreated persons who each possessed all of the divine attributes by which a being could be categorized as “God”)? Was this a prevalent belief among the Jews in Jesus’ day?

But more importantly, did those Second Temple era Jews whom Segal believes were biniatrian in their theology (whether they were few or many in number) derive their binitarian beliefs from a correct interpretation of their inspired scriptures? The answer to the last question depends, of course, on what the correct interpretation of scripture actually is (and is “where the rubber meets the road,” so to speak). But I don’t think this question is any more difficult to answer than, say, the question, “Do those Christians who believe in ECT (or UR) derive their beliefs from a correct interpretation of their scriptures?” :slight_smile:

Hey Aaron :smiley:

Well, I’ll admit that I haven’t read the book. Heiser is a trustworthy scholar, though (who gives you the evidence to your face whenever possible, and tells you exactly where to look it up when not), who practices careful exegesis and he recommended the book as well as provided some material from it.

Yeah, $70 is pretty steep. Must be out of print (I didn’t look at the price before, sorry).

I rather recommend looking instead at the presentation at (click “Introduction”).

Yes; in fact, it was apparently being confronted by the concepts in scripture which forced them to conclude that there must be two powers in heaven. The references are quite blatant and unavoidable. If push comes to shove I may just have to post them myself. :stuck_out_tongue:

Jason, would you please cite 3 or 4 of these instances in which Jesus is called “the God” in the New Testament.

Ah, I see what you mean. I’m not entirely educated on the concept of co-equality, but imagine that it means that,

a) Nothing supersedes either the will of the Father or the Son, and
b) The will of both Father and Son always perfectly agree.

As for that, given that their wills are in union, I imagine that it’s not problematic to say that the Son is subordinate in power to the Father and yet that they are in some sense co-equal.

But that’s certainly not the only thing defining, and certainly not backing up, the concept of the trinity. If it is true what I have hitherto established, the nature of God is not essentially POWER, but LOVE. Thus, the Son can also be God by virtue of being love (and they would need to both exist as necessary beings in order for there to be any love eternally at all!) But then again… the union of power does seem to unite them in one being in a secondary sense as well.

Ah, at first glance maybe not! But think about this again. You can have a line extending infinitely in either direction, or a line with a beginning which extends infinitely in only one direction. Or think about it this way. In Hilbert’s Grand Hotel Paradox, you could have the whole infinite set of occupants leave together and the hotel would be empty… or you could start with room #4 onward and thus have an infinite number of people exit and yet leave three.

But this is just why infinity is such a problematic number in the real-world of actuality (and is thus avoided by mathematicians, although potential infinity is okay). But in the realm of God’s self-generating being it could potentially be a reality. It would thus be a QUALITY of being rather than a QUANTITY. It’s more like an endless spring of life rather than some static quantity or set.

I’m telling you, I just keep running up against more and more existential problems that are only solved by the concept of the trinity. It’s astounding, really… such fundamental concepts reconciled by what seems on the face of it to be absurd by most (though I don’t think that it’s absurd at all, especially after approaching these issues).

Hmm. I have a problem with a) because the Fathers will does supersede the will of the Son.
b) makes sense because the will of the Son always perfectly agrees with the Father’s because it is perfectly subordinate to the Fathers. Neither of which help the case, per se.

I think I can agree with you to an extent here, because the nature of God is Love (as well as light and spirit). Here is where it gets tricky though. Jesus is divine by nature of his being the perfect representative of the Father, and by having been begotten, rather than created. Jesus is also not the Father, but trinitarians agree with that anyway, so that doesn’t really help either case. I think the sticking point here is that, even though it is denied, the practical effect of trinitarian theology contradicts itself in implying that the Son is in effect the Father while saying that he isn’t the Father, due to this concept of Co-equality; not necessarily in power as such, but in authority. That to my mind is where the trin. formulation breaks down with respect to the Father and Son relationship. There is a whole separate issue as to the identity of the holy spirit, which I think is even more problematic for trinitarianism than the Father and Son relationship

:laughing: I’m not sure that my brain can do this one just at the moment, but I think what it comes down to for me is a question of how the three supposed individuals of the trinity are identified in scripture, and whether that really constitutes a trinity.

I’m not exactly sure what you mean by existential problems only solved by the trinity, but if you have an example or two, perhaps we could look at those and disassemble them to see if they are unsolvable by unitariansim, or even perhaps ‘binitarianism.’


The link I gave is a summary of the results of the mini-series, giving each example and a further link to my extended discussion about it in some earlier part.

I’m actually willing to downgrade one of them now to near or at the bottom of the list thanks to Aaron’s efforts, even though most of his arguments on that example are otherwise quite weak. More on that presently. (I’ll need to update its entry with the appropriate counterargument and discussion, too.)


Was looking forward to an expected reply from you! Thanks muchly for it!

I would like to thank you for noting that I repeatedly bent over very far backward qualifying my examples so as not to make them seem like any kind of staunchly anti-Unitarian slam-dunk, or even to present them as “proof-texts” per se–but I can’t, because you didn’t. :wink:

I should hope anyone actually reading the mini-series would be able to tell that I do not treat even the top examples as being self-evidently unambiguous, obvious and straightforward (certainly not in any mere “proof-text” fashion); and I cannot imagine anyone getting the impression that even my brief summary reports of the other half of the examples are altogether easy to suss out.

Restricting myself for the moment to specific commentary from you (but I very much appreciate the links):

Re Heb 3:4 – I specifically chose this as my least example, and mentioned everything you mentioned. In fact, I went much further than you did qualifying against {ho theos} referring to Jesus there. You might have mentioned that you agreed more with my analysis against it than for it. :wink:

Re 1 John 5:20 – I am pretty sure I myself mentioned everything you did in qualifying my analysis.

Re 1 Peter 4:11 – I didn’t just stop in noting the topical ambiguity putting Jesus with the Father in sharing all power and glory due to {ho theos}, but extensively noted how the same author had been treating Jesus up to this point in the epistle, in ways explicitly identifying Jesus as YHWH. That lends a lot of weight toward understanding what the author means here at 4:11 by including Jesus in the power and glory that a devout monotheist would normally reserve religious praise only for {ho theos} and no lesser lord or god. (I still rated the application of the term itself to Jesus as being ambiguous, though.)

While that’s definitely there in the text, the Hebraist shortly after 1:4 has the Father refer to the Son as the original Lord (YHWH in the Hebrew) Who created everything, compared with which this Lord alone is self-existent. (This is mentioned in my argument concerning Heb 1:8, in auxiliary to the analysis of {ho theos} being applied to the Son by the Father.)

Whatever it may mean for Jesus to be exalted to this position after His death and resurrection (which as you say is definitely there in the same text, both at chapter 2 and later), details of that other sort are there, too. The Hebraist is not talking about a mere man who started off as a man and then was eventually made an authoritative lord under the Father by the Father. He is talking about the original YHWH Most High being made into a man by the Father and then being exalted again by the Father.

(And yes I know you disagree with that and provide counterargument links. I’m just replying in summary of my position on that topic, not counter-rebutting your own linked material there.)

Re Heb 8:8… (this is the main portion of my reply.)

This would weigh more if you had produced even one example of the Hebraist clearly by grammatic context calling someone other than Jesus “He” throughout the contextually preceding material. (Even I went out of my way being willing to acknowledge that the author calls someone not a man “the Lord” back at verse two in distinction from Jesus. But not “He” even there.)

As far as I can trace back through the Greek pronouns of He, Himself, Him, His, etc., the last the time the Father by clear contrast to the Son is called “He” is 7:17. (“For He is attesting, ‘You are a priest forever etc.’”)

The next “Him” is at verse 21, as receiver of the same promise, so definitely the Son.

v.24 “His remaining into the eon”, Jesus, explaining that His priesthood is inviolate thereby.

v.25 “Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those coming to the God through Him.” Jesus again.

v.27 “for this He does once for all, offering up Himself” Jesus clearly.

8:3 “From this it is necessary for this one also to have something which He may offer” as a priest. Thus Jesus.

v.4 “Indeed, then, if He were on earth He would not even be priest”, Jesus.

v.5 “For see, He is strongly declaring”… this is either YHWH or a not-YHWH angel of YHWH (speaking as YHWH and expecting to be religiously treated as YHWH) giving instructions on how to build the tabernacle. But grammatically the author slides right on into talking about this “He” as if this is the same “He” the author has been talking about since 7:21!

v.6 Three words after quoting YHWH as He, “Yet now He has happened upon a more excellent ministry, in as much as He is the Mediator also of a better covenant”… so which He is this? You and I both agree it is Jesus.

v.8 For blaming them for breaking the earlier covenant, He is saying… what YHWH says to Jeremiah.

v.13 Having finished that quotation, the Hebraist explains, “In saying ‘new’ He has made the former old”, talking about whoever just said that.

9:7 the author goes on now to talk about the design of the earthly tabernacle for a while, and refers to the chief priest as “He” (in a generic fashion not meaning anyone in particular).

Having finished that, the author proceeds to compare it to Christ the chief priest of the impending good things, and doesn’t use that pronoun for a while until 9:14-15, where the pronouns explicitly refer to Jesus. Then not again for another while until verse 25, where there is a large cluster of them all referring to Christ again.

Then at verse 10:5 the author writes “Therefore entering into the world He is saying” a scripture definitely being applied to the Son talking to the Father and having a body being adapted for Him by the Father (with King David speaking to YHWH/Elohim).

And frankly I’m having trouble finding the next time when the author uses that pronoun set in the text to talk about the Father instead of Jesus. (No later than 11:16 anyway. Unless Jesus is the one being called {ho theos} there. :wink: But I wouldn’t argue for that. Your later example of 10:30 on another topic actually doesn’t count, as rather than the pronoun “Him” the author uses the direct article {ho} as shorthand for “with the one Who”. This is a common method of the author referring to God rather than to Jesus so as not to confuse the pronoun trail, including at other non-contentious points throughout this section, although the author uses the same phraseology for Jesus occasionally, too.)

So the author, smack dab in the middle of dozens of verses where he clearly distinguishes he is talking of Jesus whenever he explicitly uses the pronoun set He/Him/His/Himself, shifts casually over to someone twice when quoting scripture, but also just as casually once presents the same “He” as definitely meaning the Son in quoting scripture as being spoken by “He”.

The pattern strongly indicates that the same “He” is the speaker in the two exceptions under consideration.

You would have done better to try rebutting on grammatic contextual ground, that the author calls (or seems to call) someone “Lord” other than Jesus back at verse 2, and since the author goes out of his way to remind us “the Lord is saying” during the Jeremiah quote, then this must be who he means by “He” instead of Jesus. A factor I myself twice mentioned in the article as qualifying against my argument!–including as my final word on the argument! It is in fact exactly this reason why I ranked it so relatively low in the list.

In further mitigation against my argument, may I volunteer that back at the first chapter the author, in the middle of a bunch of times referring to the Father by “He” pronouns, briefly refers to the Son as “He” at verse 4 before going right back to talking about the Father as “He”? It isn’t until around 2:8 that the author starts referring to Jesus much as “He” instead (although there are a couple of other exceptions before then.)

If I may volunteer this, I will also observe that the same portion of scripture exemplifies that the author casually introduces speaking scriptural quotes by “He” here, where they match naturally with his vast majority usage of “He”. :mrgreen:

But this leads into your next rebuttal, which I think is vastly much better:

His Son “through whom He makes the eons”, you mean. :mrgreen:

The grammar at verse 1 there is not so explicitly contrasting as the translation you quoted; but aside from a special set of exceptions (where David may be said to be anticipating what Christ will say, thus Christ says those scriptures now), and one other exception that can be just as plausibly argued without theological bias to be referring to Joshua instead of Jesus, even I cannot find any other place in Hebrews where the author presents Jesus as being the speaker of the scriptures being cited.

This admittedly would leave my example over as the outlying data point; which can only weaken my argument. This is a fine rebuttal! :smiley: I’ll have to add a (further!) qualification against my argument to the original article, as well as to the summary result (probably lowering it down on the list, too).

You should have gone with this and stayed away from the other arguments, because aside from this one your rebuttals on this example are quite weak and look like they’re merely casting about for some reason why it would be intrinsically obvious in the text itself at that section (without prejudice to theological ideas under contention either way) that the author wasn’t talking about Jesus when casually switching speakers in the midst of a huge block of only talking about Jesus using that pronoun set.

So for example…

…since my argument was never simply “the Hebraist only uses that pronoun for Jesus” (which I am not so silly or ignorant to have tried, however ignorant I might be in other regards :wink: ), this is entirely beside the point (not “moreover”). But since none of these examples is really a parallel to the odd situation at the exemplified location, you had to come up with some implied reason to justify the comparison I guess. :mrgreen:

At Heb 1, the author clearly establishes that both persons, the Father and the Son, are being regularly talked about by name, and provides pretty clear topical pointers about which “He” he’s talking about at any time.

Ditto Heb 2:10.

At 4:3, the Hebraist has already started a section where the “He” set of pronouns is used exclusively when talking about the someone that no one disputes is God Most High, which doesn’t end until verse 10 (unless verse 7 talks about Jesus instead of Joshua!) The author does not elide in a vague brief manner into talking about Jesus (not by name) and back out again by means of the same pronoun.

10:30 isn’t actually an example, as noted before; “He” isn’t used of the Father there in the text.

5:5 and 7 are the same thing. Verse 5 introduces a different person in relation to the person of Jesus by means of “the one speaking toward Him”. 5:6 then uses “He” for the Father, and verse 7 “His” for the Son (and on afterward exclusively for a while, with {ho} by itself preferred as a different shorthand pronoun for the Father as back at verse 5.) Two persons are clearly in view and being discussed, as was already established to be true back previously in verses 1-4.

None of these situations are actually parallel to the situation at Heb 8, unless 3:7-4:10 is supposed to be parallel because the author is also only talking about one person there! (But then my argument said the same thing, although only of the Son not only of the Father, which you’re rejecting.) They are trivially parallel only in the sense that the Hebraist calls the Father “He” in (most of) them, which is the contention to be established against the casual appearance of continuing to use “He” for the Son in Heb 8.

(This is where the factor I myself mentioned against my argument, about “the Lord” not referring to Jesus earlier nearby, would come into play.)

Still, your argument from Heb 1:1 seems quite appropriate when backed up by demonstrable examples everywhere else in EpistHeb that I can find, leaving my example the data point out. I’m willing to acknowledge a very solid refutation on that ground, and will adjust my article (and the subsequent entries) accordingly. :smiley:

Finishing up…

Re Rev 22:16 – your reference to Rev 1:1-2 per se doesn’t actually help, because the pronouns don’t actually indicate who or Who was dispatching the messenger to John, nor whose or Whose messenger was being dispatched. Whereas Rev 22:16 very explicitly says that Jesus was dispatching the messenger to John, or rather the angel says this while speaking for Jesus.

But then you agree that Jesus sent His angel to John to give the message, which is not only exactly what I said but is a crucial part of my argument. So referring back to 1:1-2 has added nothing against my argument. We both would look at Rev 22:16 to clarify what’s being talked about here, not vice versa.

(That “God” gives the revelation to “Jesus” to give to show to His and/or his slaves, is not something I dispute either and will be discussed in principle as I go.)

I have no disagreement about the angel belonging to the Son by virtue of having been given (like everything else) to the Son by the Father. But this is a concept that can obviously be understood both in a unitarian and a trinitarian way. Whether it counts as a plausible alternative depends on how other contexts add up there.

It should be noticed, though, that even that defense leaves the Son on the other side of a hard thick dividing line with the Father compared to anyone else. We may be given all things in the Son, but we don’t get to send angels, identifying themselves as our angels, to speak for us personally (much less while the angels make claims originally attributed to YHWH in speaking for us personally!) Similarly, Christ may share the throne with us as the Father shares the throne with Him, but we don’t get to sit on the throne receiving the worship of all creation (or of any creation), or on the throne at all actually.

Which naturally leads to the worship distinction problem posed by this angel.

This sounds like you’re basically agreeing we shouldn’t even respectfully worship not-God creatures that we know to be such out of politeness. So much for worshiping a not-God Jesus then!

Nor by the same token are we supposed to worship not-God angels who show up with messages from God, even when they start speaking for God directly. So much less for worshiping a not-God Jesus then!

Adam Clarke’s defense, which you quoted, leaves over exactly no reason to properly worship the Son either, as we can be under no obligation to the Son for information or anything else we receive from Him, all things having been given to the Son from God alone.

I think I recall you defending at great length, on such principles as these, why the scriptures (not least RevJohn) indicate we are still supposed to worship Jesus (and/or the Angel of YHWH) in a religious fashion otherwise reserved for God alone. My memory may be faulty, though.

But your defenses for why it was not proper to worship the official messenger of God sent by God alone, when He comes bearing a message from God alone, speaking for God alone, even when the messenger speaks as though God is directly presently speaking, can even be extended in the same principles as a refutation in themselves for why the heck Jesus should be considered as having anything more than a merely technical place in this chain of transmission!–much moreso for sending an angel of God in Jesus own name to speak for Jesus! It seems like unitarians would be mistaken to attribute such things to Jesus at all in any personally authoritative way, even though that’s just how the texts present the situation. (And as I’m sure you know, some unitarians do in fact refuse to worship Jesus or treat him as having any more than a technical place in passing along this or that gift of God, just like any other mere messenger serving God.)

My point regarding Rev 22:16 still stands. As I myself explicitly said in its argument, the angel should be sent from the God of spirits alone; and up until 22:16 there is no textual indication otherwise. Even at 22:16 Jesus does not say “I and My Father are sending His angel” or “our angel” or whatever. Just as God alone is to be worshiped, not the messengers God sends, God alone sends the angel; but Jesus sends the angel to speak for Himself, just as Jesus is to be worshiped–not as only a messenger of God, Who alone should be worshiped.

Re 2 Thess 1:12 – the ESV gets to this by adding a “the” to make two distinctive referents. Otherwise the initial “the” would govern the terms connected by the “and”, which as I demonstrated is standard operating procedure for a phrase of this sort.

I totally welcome the comparison to the opening salutations of the same letter (and 1 Thess, incidentally, and Philippians, and Ephesians (both at the beginning and ending salutation), and Galatians, and 2 Cor, and 1 Cor, and Romans, and I got bored of looking up examples at this point :wink: ), where neither {theos} nor {kurios} have direct articles (and {theos} in each case has a name title attached to it, “Father”, that very distinctly distinguishes it from Jesus Christ, not incidentally.)

The opening phrases could have also been written like {apo tou theou patros [he_mo_n] kai tou kuriou Ie_sou Xristou}, with two direct articles, and distinguished between the persons similarly. Whereas if verse 12 had read {tou theou he_mo_n kai kuriou patros}, no one would be disputing for a moment that it was talking about God the Father, even though it would be extremely unusual for Paul to speak of anyone other than Jesus as “Lord” including earlier nearby. The conclusion would be that Paul had chosen to take a moment to affirm the Father as Lord, too, for whatever reason.

(I have now added an addendum comment to that entry saying basically the same thing in a little more detail.)

Regarding Segal’s 2PiH: while I haven’t read this yet, it’s a classic work that I often see respectfully referenced (although never in much explicit detail) in ortho-trin apologetic books of various sorts. There are copies available through Amazon for less than $72 by the way, although $50+ shipping is still pretty steep. I snagged one of the new ones myself, so now there’s one less. :mrgreen:

My understanding of the book from hearing prior references to it (and this is backed up by descriptions at Amazon), is that the Two Powers concept in Judaism was a popular minority way among the rabbis of trying to deal with much the same issues in the Jewish OT that Christianity came to embrace. My impression has not yet been that the book intended to present this idea as normative in Judaism (until Christianity came along to run with the idea in application to Jesus Christ, necessitating the split).

I suppose I’m willing to be convinced it was normative, since it sure wouldn’t hurt my own position any. :wink: However, as Aaron rightly points out, the more pertinent question would be whether such interpretations were correct, not how normative they were (or weren’t!) After all, no Christianity was normative to Judaism, insofar as the two ideas differed (whatever those differences were at any given time).

Note: I have now updated the mini-series, with an in-depth presentation of the rebuttal to the Heb 8 example, and attribution to Aaron. :smiley:

I decided the rebuttal was strong enough to remove Heb 8 from the list altogether, and have made changes to that effect with a note explaining the change was made. :slight_smile:

Jason, I have yet to see a single verse in the New Testament where Jesus is clearly called “the God”.

Your statement that He is called “Yahweh” does not help. I think that the Father and the Son both share the name “Yahweh”, and yet the Son of God is not “the God”. Jesus addressed the Father as “the only true God”.

Indeed, the following verse seems to speak of two different Individuals, each of whom is called “Yahweh”:

Then Yahweh rained on Sodom and Gomorrah sulfur and fire from Yahweh out of heaven. (Genesis 19:24)

In the context, there were three “men” who visited Abraham. Two of them left to go to Sodom. The one remaining was addressed by Abraham as “Yahweh”. I see this “man” as the Son of God. Through Him, the Father rained sulfur and fire on Sodom and Gomorrah. One Yahweh was in heaven; the Other on earth (the One who had been talking to Abraham). The One in heaven was the source of the sulfur and fire. But He sent it by means of the One on earth.

This, too, I learned many years ago from reading Justin Martyr’s account of the event — an account he shared with Trypho and the Jews who were with him, when he was trying to convince them that Jesus is the divine Son of God.


Thanks! On the 14 ho theos texts, I agree ambiguity “cuts both ways,” and even allows all to wax confident that they must support whatever they already find convincing in the wider datum. So I logically focused on the 5 you see as most unproblematic (you add that they require your view unless there’s bias that Jesus can’t be called God; but they’d just think your own bias cuts in the opposite direction :wink: ).

I suggested grammatical translators often see these verses as possibly referring to God the Father, and to Jesus. E.g. that Titus 2:13 could mean that the one who will manifest "the glory of the great God (the Father) and (also) the one who is our savior (Jesus) is Christ. And I asked, don’t some serious Trinitarian translators render that as a possibility?

You appear to respond, No, they can’t think “the grammar seriously points” to such a thing, and that your longer article proves this. I see you say there that the article must belong both to God and Savior, who must both be Jesus himself, rather than a description of God’s glory, and you again say, “no one would ever think” otherwise. I remain skeptical that it’s that certain, tho I lack your level of confidence that the alternative view outweighs yours here. Still my impression is that there’s enough ambiquity for it to remain a possible meaning. Unready to lay out the grammatical necessities that you invite, I am ordering Dunn’s book on this, and will re-engage if I gain more clarity on an alternative interpretation.