The Evangelical Universalist Forum

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

I only say “the problem clearly can’t be the grammar” after I have provided numerous examples where the exact same grammatic construction is disputed by no one, or would be disputed by no one, in variations up to the point where {theos} is used after a {ho}. Then suddenly there’s dispute, including people saying they want to dispute the grammar.

But if the grammar was really so flexible, there wouldn’t be (as far as I can tell) universal agreement about the meaning of the exact same grammatic form when nouns are used which everyone is willing to agree apply safely to Jesus.

That means the issue isn’t grammatical. The issue is terminological (at least, and maybe conceptual/theological). The grammar is uncontentious until {ho theos} is used there.

So, working backward on counter-argument links provided by AaronR (seeing as how I myself went far out of my way to qualify the first examples as being obscure for various reasons which will no doubt be recapitulated in his linked counterarguments):

HEB 1:8 acknowledges that the Son is being called {ho theos} in the text here. Since that was what I was primarily arguing, and not (primarily) what it means for Jesus to be called {ho theos} here, there is no refutation but rather confirmation of my argument.

They somewhat obscure this acknowledgment, because they routinely treat the situation without referring to the presence of the direct article. The first part of their commentary implies, however, that they recognize {ho theos} is being used here, since they argue that the usage of the direct article doesn’t always refer to God Most High. Their counter-example, 2 Cor 4:4, does refer to Satan as {ho theos tou aio_nos), “the-god of this age”; although they don’t bother to mention that the immediate qualifier (“of this age”) is a clear limitation to the concept of “the-god”, and that the immediate topical context indicates that Paul intends a denying contrast to that title. Their exception doesn’t really prove that it’s easy, normal and expected for entities other than God Most High to be called {ho theos}.

The site is also rather disingenuous at times about what is being argued against. “Hebrews 1:8 is like other verses in that just because the word ‘theos’ (‘GOD’) is used does not mean that it refers to the Father.” Modalists might try to argue that it does, but trinitarians certainly do not, although they do think it refers to God Most High. (i.e. there is a tacit theological exclusion being made in the refutation, so that God Most High must only mean the Father.) Also, it is not only “just because” the word {theos} is being used; the term {ho theos} is being used.

Considering how strongly the site itself lays stress on ‘god’ lacking direct articles where they think this is convenient to their position, it seems strange that if “the god” is not really a problem they aren’t consistently open about “the god” being used here, even if they decide for other reasons it shouldn’t be translated “the God” (capital G).

The rationales of the article otherwise are theological in nature, not grammatic. (e.g. “Christ cannot be the supreme God because the supreme God does not have a God.”) Whatever their worth might be, they don’t actually address the gist of my argument, which is about the textual characteristics (and against a denial that the textual characteristic is there)., which I should warn readers features pop-under ads aggressive enough to get through my Norton onto my Mac (not about theology, mine was about women’s shoes), outright denies that the proper translation is a Greek grammar question at all, and asserts that it is instead “a question of theological interpretation”. This is probably just as well, since their subsequent attempt at grammatically analyzing the phrase tries to make out that God is speaking to the Son about Himself (not the Son) in the 2nd person, i.e. the Father says to the Son “your throne O God” but means “My throne” and vocatively addresses Himself as {ho theos} instead.

I have some things to say about this kind of attempt, as it happens, in the addendum to the Heb 1:8 argument that I posted in response to Dr. Bob’s question about the textual transmission issue there. (Although I don’t mention that particular attempt exactly.) It should be obvious, though, that Angelfire is working hard to impose a theological interpretation over-against the grammar. Whether they are right to do so is a whole other question, but if they didn’t do so Jesus would be being called {ho theos} in the text–because that’s how the grammar per se naturally reads.

Neither article refutes my argument per se; both articles acknowledge and affirm my argument, insofar as they touch at all. Frankly I am a little confused as to why Aaron even linked to them as rebuttals. (Possibly he didn’t read them and/or my argument?) I sure wouldn’t want to hang my rebuttal on Angelfire’s bizarre grammatic solution, though.

(Made more onerous by Angelfire’s strident mocking of trinitarians for supposedly foisting our theology into this text in extreme fashions. :unamused: )

HEB 1:10

I referenced this in my argument for Heb 1:8 as parallel support, the idea being that immediately after calling Jesus {ho theos} the Father goes on to call Him YHWH by applying this quotation (about YHWH in the OT, translated as {kurios} of course) to the Son, thus addressing the Son as YHWH. And not as any lesser YHWH either, apparently, as the text is pretty clear about what this YHWH does and has done and how He compares to anything else in creation.

But anyway, the argument was that the Father addresses the Son as YHWH here by saying to the Son this scripture addressed to YHWH, and that the statements made about YHWH here also thus grammatically apply to the Son.

The site agrees that it was talking about YHWH originally, and agrees it’s talking about Jesus Christ now. The site then just kind of flatly asserts that the person being addressed has changed from YHWH to Jesus Christ, and tries to argue that the actions being described have also changed from what was originally being talked about (YHWH’s original creation of all things and His unique self-existence compared to any of them), to a different action (Jesus Christ’s creation of the new heavens and the new earth.) Never mind that in the OT no one less than YHWH would be creating the new heavens and new earth, too, just like He created the old one! Be that as it may, it’s an argument from a non-trinitarian theology over-against what the grammar would otherwise be plainly saying. (They do try to connect it to a verse later topically, but the verse only adds the support they want if they read their Christology into the verse first: a point they rather gloss over. Whether they’re right or wrong to do so, that isn’t the kind of argument I’m making.)

The site reports a second argument which, although they don’t subscribe to it, AaronR says he himself subscribes to. On this argument, the “and” or {kai} which begins verse 10 isn’t read as continuing the declaration of the Father to the Son with another declaration, first from this scripture, then from this new one; but rather as breaking off from the author’s rhetorical argument to praise God the Father for a while, before picking back up afterward with a final brief comparison of the Son to angels. The idea is that this is the kind of God Who has promised a throne to Jesus, so we can be sure the stability of the kingdom of that throne is proportionately secure.

There is nothing actually in the grammar to indicate this, of course. The main rationale for the attempt is that otherwise the Father would be calling Jesus the original self-existent YHWH in comparison to any of the angels, which is how the grammar per se most naturally reads. And that would be binitarian theism (at least) which has to be wrong. Still, while totally impossible to prove, I can’t think of any way to disprove it from the grammar either, although the theory does require breaking the flow of the author’s rhetorical structure–another advantage for the grammatic interpretation, which not only preserves but thus climaxes the structure (with verse 13 afterward, still in structure, neatly bookending the structure on either side with references to Psalm 110. This, in other words, is how the author interprets the riddle of Psalm 110: is the ADNY there only adonei or Adonai? I find the author’s answer is “both”.)

On the other hand I do admit that Norton (the author cited at the site as representative of this argument) does connect his theory topically to how the Psalmist applies the statement, which is definitely a point in its favor.

Angelfire, as before, pretends that the trinitarian must start by assuming God is saying a second thing to the Son, as though this was not how the grammar would naturally read. Then he continues as though the “nearest antecedent = nearest last word” argument from 1 John 5:20 (which as I carefully qualified isn’t universal and which in that case features an emphatic “this one” unlike here) is merely being thrown out to match “He” at verse 13 with “the Father” at verse 8 instead of with “you, Lord” at verse 10.

Angelfire agrees that God the Father is speaking at verse 13; what he wants to argue is that God the Father is being spoken about as Lord at verse 10. To do so he himself must violate the same (not inviolable) rule, and ignore that normally the “you” being addressed in verse 10 would be the same “you” being addressed in verse 9, namely Christ.

AF’s rhetorical structure hinges on the word {kai} being used to introduce a new argument element to which the Hebraist then contrasts the next element with a {de}. The contrast is then inferred that at verse 10 the Hebraist is explaining that no angel has ever been asked to sit at God’s right hand and never will, because God is so much greater than all creation; but the Son will be given that spot.

Actually, AF’s argument is rather vague in its details and logical validity there (not least because this isn’t the topic of that citation at all). He is very emphatic (probably because the cited scripture is equally emphatic about the utter and categorically unique supremacy of YHWH/Lord) that the emphasis of the scripture means no created angel will ever sit with the Father; but then in practically the next breath he expects the reader to ignore this same criteria in regard to the merely created Son!

His interpretation also voids the rhetorical structure of the Father quoting verses about (and in every case to) the angels or to the Son. He also manages to obscure that the Father starts off quoting one verse and then immediately quotes another verse with {kai} (although not only with {kai}, but {kai palin} “and again” is irrelevantly different.)


The Father says this scripture to the Son about the Son
and again that scripture to the Son about the Son
yet to angels the Father says this scripture about the Son

and to the angels He says this scripture about the angels
yet to the Son He says this scripture about the Son

•••and the Hebraist says this scripture to the Father about the Father•••
yet to the Son the Father says this scripture about the Son.

AF thinks this retains the structure of the rhetoric, and in fact that the rhetorical structure even demands it, which trinitarians are only being wishy blinkered about not seeing.

So I’m having to guess what his logic is supposed to be. But after accusing trinitarians of wishful thinking he’s satisfied, and that seems to be the most important thing. :slight_smile:

AF’s approach actually validates (in a backhanded fashion) the observation that the most natural reading of the grammar, would be that the Father is continuing to say something to the Son, namely a second scriptural citation (much as the Father started off by doing). One doesn’t have to assume trinitarianism to read the text that way; but the problem seems to be that reading it that way would weigh toward at least binitarianism. Thus something else has to be tried over-against the grammar in order to avoid the result.

That’s a problem of the implications of the grammar, though.

2 THESS 1:12 punts on the grammatic argument by stating that they have proved elsewhere that the so-called Granville Sharp Rule (of which this is a variant) “is not a valid proof of the Trinity”. The reader is referred to a discussion on Eph 5:5, which is taken as an example for discussing the critiquing the principles of the ostensible rule.

The article shows well enough that the rule only functions insofar as readers already understand the same descriptives being applying to the noun in question, or not; consequently it is impossible to read out an identification of terms, or an exclusion of them for that matter, in such a grammatic condition. The reader is expected to read the meaning of identity, or not, into the grammar.

The discussion does not however address the particular type of phraseology under consideration here and in other relevant examples of my list, which (unlike at Eph 5:5 not incidentally) is a standardized form for describing a person in multiple ways; and which can be easily contrasted to different but related standardized forms for describing two different persons. This well-known standardization is simply grouped as a lump under Granville Sharp and then thrown out with it (possibly because it has no name that I know of. All of which, by the way, explains why I never once tried to claim “Granville Sharp Rule”.)

Their rebuttal, although to the point on Eph 5:5, thus misses on a partial category error. As I demonstrated in detail, there is in fact a normal standard expectation about what the grammar of a particular form (within minor variations) is supposed to mean (even though the broader category of examples under Granville Sharp has no such intrinsic expectations): “the description and description, name”. It is not the grammatic form that is disputed, but the application of a particular noun within that form.

As I also acknowledged, that doesn’t mean the grammatic form has to trump the interpretation of the offending noun. But it does mean that the noun ({theos} with a {ho}) is what offends and calls for a different interpretation over-against the standard expectation of the grammar. (Ironically, the form is so standardized that {theos} without a {ho} in otherwise the same form is commonly recognized without dispute as signaling a reference to a different person than whoever is named after the second description!–namely {ho theos}! But the form of such address is uniformly though subtly different, as I also demonstrated.)

Their second rebuttal is that both God and Jesus Christ give grace, which of course trinitarians do not deny. This is no rebuttal to the grammar per se, although by comparing this verse to others with a uniformly (if subtly) different grammatic structure, they imply that there is no difference meant here, and so there is no reason to “remove the Father from the verse”.

Sean Finnegan, in the second link provided by AaronR (which is a brief pdf commenting on the issue of translation here), quotes the late super-exegete Raymond Brown, who at least gets closer to the argument I made, although missing details I provided.

RB doesn’t bother appealing to the G-S Rule per se, probably for the same reason I didn’t: the Rule as set up recognizes that meanings are read into the text inclusively or exclusively either way according to the expectation of the reader. On the other hand, neither does he call that against the interpretation here. Consequently he tacitly acknowledges that something more standardized in the form is applicable which would create expectations about the two terms applying to Jesus, except that one of the terms is {ho theos}. His sole argument against the interpretation is on this ground, that the “exact three-word Greek combination” (actually four words in Greek {ho theos kai kurios}, with suffix modification of course) applied here in the form, is found nowhere else in the Bible; but since he refers to 2 Peter 1:1, he knows that a very similar form, “the God and savior” does appear at least once (actually twice) in relation to Jesus Christ.

RB is also aware that one evidence in favor of the other translation is supposedly the “of us” separating the two titles; but as in my own argument he affirms that this is of no weight (since a substantially similar example will have that “our” for Lord instead.)

RB’s sole argument in favor of the other interpretation is that “our God” appears four other times in 1 and 2 Thess in reference to God the Father. I found six times the phrase “our God” was used, three of which explicitly say “our God and Father”, the other three of which are not overtly clear in a similar way. Since he didn’t list them I can’t tell for sure which four he means, but if he means the ones referencing “our God and Father” not only does the phraseology explicitly spell it out (all three times in comparison to “our Lord Jesus Christ” where one might have expected there was no special need for distinguishing Who was being referred to as “the-God of us”), but insofar as it goes it also shows that “the-god” “our” and “x” in that order would all be expected to refer to one person.

RB is also aware that the alternate interpretation requires interpolating a distinct “the” for “Lord Jesus Christ” along with “the God of us”; and is also aware that this is a definite difficulty for the theory, despite the fact that normally the lack of an article tells us nothing about whether one is implied or not, or refers to something we would normally think of as being “the X” even though an article was not specifically in mind to the writer. If a tacit article can be so easily supplied, why is there a serious difficulty?–requiring a supposition that “perhaps ‘Lord Jesus Christ’ was so
common a phrase that it would automatically be thought of as a separate entity and could be used without the article”?–a supposition quite opposite from the expected defense which would be something like “’the god’ was so commonly understood to refer to the Father that it would automatically be thought of as a separate entity”?!

Raymond Brown doesn’t say why this is such an unexpected difficulty with such an unexpected line of defense. But the fact that he recognizes a difficulty requiring, he thinks, this kind of defense, fits what I have been saying about the standardized expectation of this form: when it reads “the blah and (no the) blah name”, the normal expected interpretation is for “the blah” and “blah” both to refer to “name”. The expectation is so strong that the learned doctor’s inclination is to find some reason to suggest why another “the” would be understood although not printed there: because having both nouns at articular par, both with or both without articles, is by contrast a normal way of distinguishing a two person reference compared to this form instead.

The short of it is that even Raymond Brown’s report of arguments against “the god” referring to Jesus, hang altogether on the problem of “the god” being used unexpectedly in that grammatic form.

But that’s a problem with the term, not with the grammar per se. It would be an undisputed grammatic lock except then “the god” would refer to Jesus.

That’s the problem to be reconciled.

Jason, (this is from Bob Wilson)

I really appreciate your patient (and consistent) clarification as to why you think other renderings are grammatically impossible. You confirmed my impressions that the examples of the same construction you had provided always confirm that rule of grammar. My assumption was that exegetes who dispute you conclusion (in ho theos passages about Christ) believe they can also cite other non-ho theos texts that similarly join two subjects with kai etc, but which do not follow the rule you cite. I take it that your understanding is that no such counter-examples can be successfully cited, right?

Hi Justin,

You wrote (How should we feel about salvation?):

Ah, I see. :slight_smile: So your remark about it being a “masterful work” is not so much your own opinion (derived from reading it yourself), but rather the opinion of others (such as that of reformed evangelical, Michael Heiser: I’m not saying Segal’s book is not a “masterful work,” of course, but it’s not like very intelligent people have never drawn erroneous or unwarranted conclusions from the data before (data which they, by virtue of being experts in their field, know much better than most). But I’m not even sure what exactly Segal’s conclusions are yet, and how his book would answer my questions concerning when exactly bintarian theology emerged among the Jewish people and how prevalent of a belief it was, especially in Jesus’ day. Based on what Heiser says (with whose work you are more familiar), is it your understanding 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”)? And was this a prevalent belief among the Jews in Jesus’ day?

Well hopefully, then, Heiser provides some solid evidence for the following:

I watched Heiser’s presentation, and I’m actually familiar with the various passages and “concepts” of which you speak (which you claim forced the Jews [some/most/all?] to conclude that there must be two uncreated divine “powers” who each possess all the divine attributes by which a personal being can be considered “God”), since they are often brought up in discussions on the Trinity. But I remain wholly unconvinced that the best explanation of the texts which Heiser provides in his presentation is that there are two (or more) uncreated divine persons who each have the same name, “Yahweh.” I’m rather inclined to think that any Jews who used such passages as support for a “binitarian” understanding of God were simply exploiting certain Hebrew figures of speech and motifs in order to more easily import their pagan-derived/influenced (i.e., polytheistic) views of God into their own scriptures, just as many believers in ECT do with both the OT and the NT. In other words, I think certain more liberal-minded Jews may have been a little too eager to read into Scripture views concerning God that were derived more from the religious beliefs of the polytheistic pagans (whom they’d become more heavily influenced by since the first Temple era), and perhaps saw passages such as the ones Heiser uses in his presentation as an opportunity to promote their less conservative theological views.

As for the references to “two powers in heaven” that you call “quite blatant and unavoidable,” I decided I would create another thread for my response to Heiser’s position, so here’s the link: Response to Michael Heiser’s “Two Powers” View

I’m not sure if my response in this other thread means that “push” has come to “shove!” :slight_smile: But if it has, I’ll let you have the last word. More could certainly be said, but I’ve said just about all I have time to say on this subject right now (if you or anyone else is interested in reading more of what I believe regarding this topic, please see the following thread and links provided: Trying to understand non-Trinitarians. (Present your cases?)).

Within the form “the x and y name”, I have not yet found counter-examples, and enough examples to convince me that the form has a standard expectation of application: a form that is notably contrasted (even in the Thess epistles, including 2 Thess itself) by a similar repeated related form where the only difference is that x and y are at articular par (both have the same articles, or rather the lack of them).

Please note that I am being very specific about the form. I am not talking about the broader claim made by Granville Sharp (although I suspect this regularity is what inspired him to try to extend the standard expectation into a rule with too many exceptions and too wide a purview.)

My sense is also limited in that I don’t mean there is some grammatic rule, even on this limited form, so strong that it must/should outweigh all other considerations. I only mean that if there are exceptions to the rule (for want of a shorter word for the standard expectation), the exceptions come because of readers importing other expectations into conflict with what would otherwise be a normal grammatic expectation of the form. Whether readers have good reasons to do so is beside the point I’m trying to make.

I wish I could reference a study of all occurrences of this form in the NT canon. I have little doubt that one or more such studies exist somewhere–the back of my mind is pretty sure I’ve read reference to them. I should dig around in my reference books…

I am however willing to admit it is possible I have overfocused topically and created a mis-impression about normal expectation of results from the form, over-against which alternate translations would be acting in order to avoid associating an offending noun-article combination with a person.

(Although even then the data may indicate a standardization common to particular authors. If I learned that Paul was 100% in line with this usage outside of theologically contentious exceptions where the term would be a problem if otherwise normally applied, but Lucan or Johannine texts didn’t follow grammatic suit so cleanly, I would not be overly surprised. That would indicate an author’s or speaker’s stylistic habit.)

Hi Jason,

I had hoped to respond to your posts sooner, but a lot’s been going on right now so I’ve had to keep postponing my response! While I don’t see anything “decisive” in my response or which could come close to settling the Trinitarian vs. Unitarian debate, this will be my last contribution to this discussion on the forum (at least, for a while). While I have by no means grown weary of discussing this subject with you or anyone else on the forum (if anything, I’m more zealous in my desire to participate in this important and ongoing discussion now more than ever before, especially as it seems to me that the Biblical Unitarian movement - alongside the Evangelical Universalism movement, interestingly enough - has been growing and gathering momentum in the past few years). But as I will be making known shortly in the announcements section, I’ve decided to take an extended break from the forum. :frowning: So I guess you can view the following as just a “parting blow” from your stubborn Unitarian opponent! Thanks again for all of your thoughtful and challenging responses to my posts. You are a gracious and brilliant Christian thinker, and if I ever convert back to Trinitarianism in this lifetime it will undoubtedly be because of you (don’t hold your breath, though :stuck_out_tongue: )!

Ok, so you wrote:

Heh. :slight_smile: Well, previously you’d written:

But right after your “bending over backward” comment you wrote,

You also say:

But then add:

While you seem to want to approach this topic in a way that at least seems fair to Unitarians (and some Trinitarians who have differing views on the text), it seems like you are, in fact, trying to “slam-dunk” those Christians (both Unitarian and Trinitarian) who would disagree with your understanding that Jesus is, in fact, called ho theos “across a broad range of texts within the canon.” You seem to want to give the Unitarian a “fighting chance” so to speak, but only after they are forced to concede that the texts in view are basically a part of your arsenal, or at least well within reach for you to employ in your defense of ortho-trin. :slight_smile: So while you are adamant that you are “NOT arguing that orth-trin must be true if Jesus is called ‘the God’ in the NT,” demonstrating that Jesus is beyond a reasonable doubt called “the God” not just once (e.g., in the book of Hebrews in a quote from Psalm 45 where elohim could easily be understood in a limited sense, as several Trinitarian commentators have acknowledged) but rather “across a broad range of texts within the canon” would, as I’m sure you’re well aware, go a long way in supporting the Trinitarian position!

Ok, so you said ( … ew_30.html):

The following is from the Biblical Unitarian website, which I consider a good response to the above:

Some things which were previously said of Yahweh could be appropriately applied to Jesus as well after he was highly exalted by Yahweh and made Lord of all. This need not be understood to imply that Jesus is Yahweh. Rather, Jesus relates to us as the gracious benefactor of spiritual blessings just as Yahweh alone did for the Israelites in the OT. But Jesus only holds this unique status and is only able to relate to us in this way because his God exalted him to his right hand.

In another thread ( … 455#p32784) I wrote the following concerning this verse:

But again, RB seemed to think the grammar was not so inflexible as to necessitate the translation for which you’re arguing, because if it was, there would be no “possible interpretations” for which to argue. Apparently, he (and a number of other scholars) view it as flexible enough that it can be legitimately understood to refer to more than one person. To merely argue, “But here, here and here the same form is used by Peter and it clearly refers to one person only!” does not mean the form was so inflexible as to require that the reader expect only one person to be in view every time the particular form appears in the NT, or in extra-biblical literature. Perhaps the “expectation” regarding this grammatic form should simply be that when this form appears it can be understood to refer to either one person or two separate persons, and that whether it refers to one person or two separate persons depends on other factors being taken into consideration. But in the end, I’m afraid the primary defense of my view in regards to this verse will have to simply be an appeal to all of the modern English translations that render it in such a way two distinct persons are in view:

“…according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.”

“…according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.”

"… according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ. "

“…according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.”

“…according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.”

“…according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.”

“…according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.”

“…according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.”

“…according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.”

“…according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.”

“…through the grace of our God and Jesus Christ the Lord.”

“…in accord with the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.”

I fully admit that all of these translations could be mistaken, and you could be right. It certainly wouldn’t be the first time that the majority of translations got it wrong. But I just haven’t seen anything decisive in your defense of your understanding of 2 Thess 1:12 to overturn what seems to be the consensus that this verse can just as legitimately be translated and understood in a way that is consistent with what I believe to be the general tenor of Scripture.

:open_mouth: I’m all for asking difficult questions, especially of mainstream Christianity who have obviously made some huge mistakes in regards to the nature of hell, the love of God, etc! I’m also personally aware how when we have such a paradigm shift of thinking in taking up Christian Universalism, we naturally need to reevaluate everything else we’ve been taught.

However, it seems we’re holding now holding very different positions on the divinity of Christ? :confused: As we’re both keen on seeking the truth (like the Bereans ) and believe the Bible is an important primary source, I’m really hoping she will be interested in wrestling with this a bit more with Jason Pratt (an Evangelical Universalist & Trinitarian Theologian). I think it would make for a worthwhile discussion.

Just so you know, I’ve been friends with Julie for a few months on FaceBook & like the fact she’s keen to engage with difficult questions, even when she persecuted for it. I also appreciate her accessible book on UR called Raising Hell, however, if she takes on Arianism (?) she puts herself outside orthodox Christianity & Evangelicalism, as far as I know :frowning:

Hey Alex,

First of all, I want to go over some Bible verses (John 10:33-36) that Julie quoted in her post; I will quote them from the Greek NT (Westcott/Hort with Diacritics) below:

33 ἀπεκρίθησαν αὐτῷ οἱ Ἰουδαῖοι· περὶ καλοῦ ἔργου οὐ λιθάζομεν σε ἀλλὰ περὶ βλασφημίας, καὶ ὅτι συ ἄνθρωπος ὢν ποιεῖς σεαυτὸν θεόν. 34 ἀπεκρίθη αὐτοῖς ὁ] Ἰησοῦς· οὐκ ἐστιν γεγραμμένον ἐν τῷ νόμῳ ὑμῶν ὅτι ἐγὼ εἶπα· θεοί ἐστε; 35 εἰ ἐκείνους εἶπεν θεοὺς πρὸς οὓς ὁ λόγος τοῦ θεοῦ ἐγένετο, καὶ οὐ δύναται λυθῆναι ἡ γραφή, 36 ὃν ὁ πατὴρ ἡγίασεν καὶ ἀπέστειλεν εἰς τὸν κόσμον ὑμεῖς λέγετε ὅτι βλασφημεῖς, ὅτι εἶπον· υἱὸς τοῦ θεοῦ εἰμι;

Note that Julie sees the Greek “ποιεῖς σεαυτὸν θεόν” in verse 33 as being translated as “make Yourself out to be a god.” Though most English translations don’t render the indefinite article “a” to be present in the verse, I cannot safely say that Julie’s rendering is incorrect. However, if the verse were actually saying “make Yourself out to be a god”, the Greek would be “ποιεῖς σεαυτὸν μίαν θεόν.” In all fairness, I’d be careful with interpreting verse 33 as either one or the other; maybe the “Jews” in this case were trying to “catch him [Jesus] in his words,” or put words in his mouth.

If Jesus was advocating a sort of henotheism (inclusive monotheism) in verses 34-36, as opposed to a strict monotheism, then this would be a good case for an assumption of Arianism. Indeed, Jesus did not assert that he was God Himself. Rather, he asserted his complete Oneness with God the Father (John 10:30) in his perfect knowledge of Him (Matt. 11:27; Luke 10:22), and submits his will to the Will of the Father (Matt. 26:39, 42; John 6:38). And indeed, this was the message, I believe, that Christ was trying to convey in saying, “ὃν ὁ πατὴρ ἡγίασεν καὶ ἀπέστειλεν εἰς τὸν κόσμον ὑμεῖς λέγετε ὅτι βλασφημεῖς, ὅτι εἶπον· υἱὸς τοῦ θεοῦ εἰμι;” (v. 36). The Jews were mistaken in thinking that Jesus was saying that he was God Himself (if this is the correct rendering of “ποιεῖς σεαυτὸν θεόν” in verse 33).

Does this mean that there were other “gods” at the time God (YHWH) created the heavens and the earth? He may have had angels to assist Him in creation ('Elohim; see Genesis 1 in the Hebrew), but they were certainly not His equals. But we know that God (YHWH) so desired to have a creature made in His (or “their”) likeness; a creature that can hold the divine image within a physical body created from the earth ('Adam). In light of this, we can say that God wants to make “little Gods” after Himself, but ones that are in the position to “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule…” (Genesis 1:28 - NASB). In other words, God wants children after His own heart that He can put “into the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it” (Genesis 2:15 - NASB).

Christ Jesus was the only begotten (μονογενῆ) Son (John 3:16) of God that could stand in place of the dead 'Adam (humanity) and subsequently bring him (them) back to life. Christ was in the form of God (“ἐν μορφῇ θεοῦ”; Greek NT Philippians 2:6), or in “God’s form”, because he was born of a Godly lineage (Matt. 1:1-16; Luke 3:23-38), and was determined (anointed) by God the Father to be His Christ (Isaiah 61:1-2; Luke 4:18-19). Since Christ Jesus justifies us through his death (Romans 5:8-11), we are no longer under the death (condemnation) of the Mosaic Law because Christ spiritually fulfilled it through his resurrection (Romans 5:10; 1 Cor. 15:44-49, 56-57).

That said, God sent Jesus as the Christ in order to purge and engraft the lost human lineage into the Godly lineage (Romans 11:11-23). However, as I explained in my previous post to Lefein ([Did Jesus die a Virgin- Serious Question)), Christ could only accomplish spiritual salvation through his death on the cross. Physical salvation, or the salvation of our bodies (Romans 8:23), was left undone due to the unfaithfulness of Israel toward their Messiah (John 1:11; Acts 7:51-53).

Anyway, getting back to the point of this discussion, I do not think Julie is wrong in being skeptical about the orthodox Trinitarian (homoousian) doctrine, which claims that Jesus Christ is an uncreated divinity and God Himself. Yet, it is still safe to say that Christ is both fully divine and fully human because he fulfilled the YHWH-'Adam connection, thereby becoming “[a] god” (θεὸς) after the God’s (τὸν θεόν) own heart.

Personally, I am inclined to take a Semi-Arian (homoiousian) position on the divinity of Jesus Christ. I oppose strict Arianism/Anomoeanism (heteroousianism), but acknowledge that God made Man (‘Adam; ἄνθρωπον) in His “image and likeness” ("κατ’ εἰκόνα ἡμετέραν καὶ καθ’ ὁμοίωσιν" [Septuagint - Genesis 1:26]). 'Adam is not made to be God Himself, but is made to bear His own image and likeness on earth. This is what Jesus Christ came to accomplish for humanity during his lifetime on earth, but we crucified him.

There are a lot of ideas out there about Arianism. I’m inclined to think that a number of them is false. In the following letter to Eusebius, Arius himself wrote that the Son of God is fully God. That being the case, would he have considered the worship of Jesus as idolatry?

Letter of Arius to Eusebius, Bishop of Nicomedia ---- A.D. 321

Nice find, Paidion. Arius’ letters are quite interesting. When I first read them I was quite surprised.

Wow, Cindy! 18 below (-28ºC.) on Dec. 6 in South Dakota! Even wayyyy up here in the backwoods of North-Western Ontario, the low was only -24ºC. on that date. However, it did go down to a low of -33ºC. (27 below F.) on Sunday, Dec. 8. We didn’t even venture out to go to church. We kept the home fires burning.

In September I went out into the woods, cut down 3 cords (not “firewood cords” REAL cords) of wood and hauled it to the house in a small trailer attached to the quad. I needed 6 cords for the winter, but being nearly 76, I didn’t have the energy to get up the rest, and so I bought 2.4 cords of ash from a neighbour. I was hoping that would be enough, but the temperatures so far seem to indicate that we’ll be out of wood before the winter is over.

Just thought I’d share this photo from a few years back of me and my beloved wife, Jepne:

That’s a good picture, I always like to see the spouses of people I correspond with.
I’d be happy to cut 3 cords but at 65 would not find it easy.

Great photo, Paidion. We ozzies, particularly in the far north, have nothing but blue skies and sunshine with calm tropical beaches.

Thanks Stef.

Ozzies? Is that an alternate spelling of “Aussies”?

Yes. The land of Oz. I would put some photos up, but I don’t know how to. :slight_smile:

Here’s one way to post photos, Stef. Go to and join (free). Then you can upload photos to that site. After your photo is uploaded, click on that photo which is now in photobucket. At the right you will see “links to share the photo.” Click on “IMG URl=http:/s etc.” and the site will save the URL address to your clipboard. Go to the message in which you wish to post the picture and press “Shift-insert”. The URL will appear on your message. But when you post your message, only the photo will appear.

Thanks Paidion. I used to know all this stuff, but after an accident… I had cognitive and memory problems. I use the topics here to re-capture my memory, and to rehabilitate my brain. I haven’t yet started on my ‘IT’ memory… I used to work in IT, but knowing God get’s my attention first. :slight_smile:

Almost all translations add “full , God…”, following Opitz, HG who makes the emendation: not pleres theos, ‘fully God’, but pleres charitos kai aletheias, theos, ‘full of grace and truth, [a] god’ (in his seminal translation Werke III (1934); emendation referenced here: Williams, R (2001) ‘Arius: Heresy and Tradition’, p.309. Do we have any resident Germans who might be interested in translating his reasons for the correction? Werke III can be read here.

I strongly suspect that Arius considered Jesus to be fully divine. And even fully god. But not fully The God.