The Evangelical Universalist Forum

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

A year ago I would have said this sounds like a bunch of new age bull****. But we have the mind of Christ, it is no longer I that lives but Christ in me, Christ in you is the hope of glory, Christ is the wisdom and power of God. As He is so also are we in the world.

My understanding is quite fluid, and I bounce back and forth between something similar to what you wrote, and something more “traditional”. For instance Jesus said I am the way truth and life, no one comes to the Father except through me. I now see that possibly saying that we are to follow Him through the new and living way He inaugurated, which is His flesh. That He laid down the pattern for us back into the garden through the death of the flesh, rending the curtain. We are told we must pick up our cross daily to be His disciples. He is the head of the body being birthed from death to life, the head being what is presented first when a baby is born.

Now you see more of what you’ve become in scripture and so those verses stand out to you more now. Right? :bulb:


Some of my thoughts on Panentheism have probably been seen in my discussions with Aaron (the non-Revival kind - the Unitarian Aaron of whom I have a rather good deal of respect for despite our philosophical bedlam on occasion :laughing: ) and also in my latest philosophical concept “First Reality Argument”.

My thoughts are that, regarding my Panentheism and the Creation, it would be best explained in like mode;

The Reality (God), realities (like our universe), reals (like us). God is immanent in every reality, and real; by fact and nature of being that which makes it “real”. The Reality interpenetrates and exists immanently in every reality and real, as every reality and real exists within the transcendent Reality.

I propose that The Reality expressed his/her/its(God’s) “ideas” (like us, whom I believe to be living ideas) into expressed, manifest “form” via the “fabric of reality”.

This “fabric of reality” I believe to be the manifestation of one of God’s ideas, or a manifestation of such an idea through God’s having acted substantial “activity” into being within himself, using himself as that acted upon “reality presence” being The Reality, being Existence itself. All matter and energy are ultimately “activity”, vibrating fields, branes, strings, or forces; and these ultimately must exist within a simultaneously transcendent/immanent self-evident, eternal “Existence” that I call The Reality. I believe it is from The Reality that the Activity which makes up the manifest forms of various numbers of God’s created ideas and concepts, such as rocks and trees and galaxies.

In summary, The Reality expresses realities and reals into manifest form via Activity within The Reality, which coincides with the Genesis account - I believe - where by speech and words (vibrational activity) God brings forth manifest form, such as light.

All well put. It’s like a verbal hologram.

Hi rline
I wish I could see how you conclude that this is the clearest statement of ‘what we’re to do’ as this scripture alone gives absolutely no indication as to how we are to achieve this ‘reconciliation’.

I respectfully disagree. Your text has not even begun to address HOW the reconciliation is to be achieved. -It may well be that it must be achieved by inviting Christ into one’s heart.
What do you make of the text in revelation which says ‘I stand at the door and knock, if…’?
Jason referred to this text in his very first reply and I believe that you did not respond to this reference (tho’ I may have missed your response).

While it is true, so far as I know, that Jesus is never reported as calling Himself “the God” with a direct article (even in GosJohn), there are as many as fourteen times in the New Testament texts that authors or authoritative characters (not Pharisees challenging Jesus on making Himself out to be the God, for example) call Jesus {ho theos} or {ton theon} or {tou theou} or some Greek grammatic equivalent to “the God”. Including once where the Father (being called {ho theos} Himself) directly calls both Himself and the Son {ho theos}.

Having caught up a bit on some other things, I wrote a monograph on the topic over Thanksgiving holiday, and started posting it in parts once a day at the Christian Cadre journal. Part 7, the finale, summarizes the results while providing links to the posts with the analyses.

Part of the length, aside from trying to be thorough, was due to bending over backward as far as possible to qualify the limits of the analysis–which is a fancy way of saying I don’t treat the project as some kind of slam dunk against unitarian Christians, or other people (religious or otherwise), who like Julie consider the Trinity to be solidly bogus.

Nevertheless: neither is it factually true that Jesus is never called “the God” in New Testament texts. It only happens rarely, but it happens; and across a broad range of texts within the canon, too.

That’s fourteen times in the New Testament, ranging from reasonably probable to definite certainty.

Or thirteen times if Hebrews 3 is thrown out as being the most theoretical.

Or eleven times if the two multiple text transmission examples are thrown out.

Seven times where the grammar directly indicates {ho theos} per se.

Five where the grammar directly and immediately indicates {ho theos}.

Four if for some bizarre reason “the great God” is rejected (because an adjective is used instead of {ho theos} alone) as possibly meaning less than “the” God.

Three of those are from non-Johannine texts.

Two of those are from Pauline-group texts that more scholars would be willing to consider pre-70 compositions than they would the third (2 Thess and Hebrews, versus 2 Peter).

One of those is from an explicitly Pauline text (2 Thess) that sometimes makes lists of authentic Pauline epistles, even among liberal and sceptical NT scholars, alongside texts like Romans and 1 Corinthians. (Whereas one of the more admittedly complex grammatic and contextual examples comes from Romans itself!)

I’ve waited until the finale goes live today before mentioning it, so I can link to the easiest way to cover all the info at once while having links to the details. My apologies for the delay. I hope it will at least be an interesting resource. :slight_smile:

I certainly recommend comparing the arguments in their details with other authors or scholars trying to claim otherwise: check our rationales and how willing we are to be careful in our results, including self-critically qualifying in favor of our opponents and against our own positions.

That’s extremely helpful Jason and I thank you for it.
I must admit that I was quite concerned regarding Julie’s comment:

as even my minor qualification in Greek persuades me that her comment betrays her ignorance of the language.
Now, there’s no shame in ignorance so long as one doesn’t feign knowledge.
I was unaware of the information in your post and am very grateful that you have found the time to post.
God bless

So, I’ve just been observing this whole discussion quietly from the wings and there are what would appear to be thought provoking arguments on both sides of the debate. I can see some merit on both sides, but I tend to lean toward the non-trinitarian view for a couple of very basic reasons:

  1. From the time I was a kid and first asked my parents until today, I’ve personally never heard an explanation of the trinity that truly makes sense to any lay person in any kind of intelligible way. In fact, just last night I was watching a documentary where a career pastor was asked about the trinity and his explanation sounded totally unintelligible…this from someone who has had his entire adult life to practice explaining it in a logical way. If you tell me that the trinity is a mystery and is difficult to explain in human terms, I’m going to say “bunk!” I think that’s simply a cop out and find it hard to believe that God would take what is claimed to be such an essential truth, so difficult to understand or verbalize.

  2. If you study the history of how the doctrine of the trinity became part of “orthodoxy,” it is my conclusion that it was not something where men led by the spirit of God came together and harmoniously agreed on the trinity. There was much dissent and violence for many years leading up to the first council of nicea and the council of constantinople, and there were just as many or more theologians who disagreed with the the trinitarian view as agreed. It’s my belief that the debate over the deity of christ and the trinity came down to a power struggle and in the end the roman/latin western beliefs won out over the eastern beliefs. I say all this to make the point that I believe that if the trinity is true I don’t think God would have left it up to sinful man to decide what is and isn’t truth. One book that explores the history and circumstances leading up to the councils of nicea and constantinople, is When Jesus Became God. I’m sure this author has his own biases, but I felt like he was pretty balanced for the most part.

Notice that I use the term truth instead of orthodoxy because I quite frankly despise the way that the term orthodox/orthodoxy is used by most people…because one man’s orthodoxy is another man’s heresy. If anyone should know this, it should be the universalists on this forum. I believe that several times in this discussion I’ve seen trinitarians appeal to orthodoxy as if that is the final word. Seriously? Any appeal to orthodoxy is complete rubbish in my opinion. If we are honest with ourselves, let’s admit that none of us really knows anything for certain. We are all on a journey of spiritual enlightenment and really, at the end of the day, I don’t think God is going to care less whether we were trinitarian or non-trinitarian. He’s going to care more about how we loved our fellow man. I’m not dismissing the value of debate, and I’m not dismissing that it would be great to have a definitive answer on this issue. I just don’t think think it’s going to happen anytime soon since this issue has been debated for the last 2,000 years. I just don’t think that trinitarian universalists should marginalize non-trinitarians as I’ve sensed on this forum at times and I don’t think that universalists should be afraid to offend the evangelical majority who they are trying to win over to universalism. Seriously, aren’t we heretics already? I’ve shared universalism with close to 300 evangelicals and only a handful have seen any merit or did not think I was a “heretic.” Yes, I’ve read all the arguments for why we need to take a more “one thing at a time approach” with evangelicals…but quite frankly at this point in my life, I’m more interested in investing my time and energy into the world than in the institutionalize church where I see such marginal returns. Plus, the institutionalized church is all “saved,” right? So, I might as well put my time and energy into the world who are all going to “hell.” :slight_smile:

So, to lighten up this discussion a bit, have a look at this video: … 0BZdAMl8mE

Whether you agree with anything that Martin has to say or his personal “unorthodox” approach, he does bring to light some of the unintelligibility of the trinity.

WHEW! :open_mouth: :laughing:

Alot’s been happenin’ since I stopped posting!

All I want to say is this (for now):

I greatly respect unitarians for their sincere dedication to scripture and their proclamation of the faith “of” Christ, which I think is a powerful complement to faith “IN” Christ (neither of which I think should be rejected, especially given Jesus’ own words!)

As for the topic, sadly enough it’s quite an obscure fact that the Jews were binitarian in theology. Throughout their interactions with God you will see two beings, one visible and one invisible, conflated as one being called “YHWH.” Much was made of this even in Second Temple literature. Michael S. Heiser has done great work uncovering this belief which became heresy after Christianity adopted it and claimed that Jesus was the second power in heaven. Alan Segal has also written a masterful work on the subject: … 039104172X

For those who want a quick overview without having to pay anything, this presentation by Heiser is a great intro to the subject (click on “Materials”):

Now, as for worshiping… I’ve actually had a Messianic Jew redefine it for me and speak of how even King David was ‘worshiped’ which means to proclaim worth through the sign of bowing to someone, etc, and also claims that Jesus is ‘a god.’ I don’t quite know what to make of that, but my obvious thoughts is that Jesus is quite clearly far and above anything else in the world and is to be given quite a different recognition as the transcendent power above everything, second only to the Father.

Anyway, that’s all from me, for now.

Julie, I requested your friendship on FB! You were suggested to me and I recognized your name from this thread. haha! I like some of your posts. :smiley:




1.) I have never and would never ask someone to believe in something they find to be actually unintelligible, including the Trinity. If something sounds like logical nonsense it should be treated by the person as a mistake unless and until the person sees cogent reasons for believing otherwise (keeping in mind that prejudice can work in all directions and should be self-critically minimized as much as possible pro or con on a position).

The fact that scriptures may say this or that or these or those things doesn’t obviate the principle; otherwise we have no way of detecting mistaken understandings of scripture (or for that matter of detecting mistaken scriptures!–the Judeo-Christian canon aren’t the only scriptures in the world after all.) At the same time, neither does the principle alter the data to be discovered insofar as possible: if for example a New Testament author calls Jesus {ho theos} (or a cognate thereof) on the page, it’s still there, whatever we decide should be logically made of it.

2.) You have misunderstood how “orthodoxy” was being referenced by most (or all?) of the trinitarians in this thread, myself included. We’re only using it as shorthand for a set of doctrines that came to be termed such. We don’t believe those doctrines to be true ‘because they are orthodoxy’; we aren’t appealing to them as though their ‘orthodoxy’ per se settles everything (I don’t recall appealing to them to settle anything at all, or anyone else doing so either); and we are very well aware that in a deeper sense every honest theist is trying to be ‘orthodox’, to rightly praise God and correctly talk about God to the world in witness, even when they believe something different than the specific type of trinitarian theism (or trinitarian theism at all–there are a couple of variations explicitly not ‘orthodox’) that came to be called ‘orthodoxy’.

In that regard, even honest atheists are trying to be orthodox, to correctly think and talk about God to the world in witness. Whether they or anyone else is doing so aptly is quite another matter.

I expect most of us here, meanwhile, are well-read enough to know that the Councils were not “something where men led by the spirit of God came together and harmoniously agreed on the trinity” etc.; although I think you have misread what amounts to “eastern beliefs” compared to Roman/Latin, as for a long period Latin theology was of almost no consequence in these matters. Trinitarianism, in a couple of varieties, was as “eastern” (and remained as “eastern”) as any unitarianism or modalism variant being proffered; trinitarianism flourished for several centuries far hugely outside (and rather against!) Imperial control (until it was squashed by successive waves of Mongol and Muslim oppression and invasion); the violence and outright thuggery of various councils weren’t limited to trinitarian factions (of the orthodox middle or otherwise); and trinitarian political control of the West lasted only a century or so altogether (with a pagan and unitarian emperors breaking up a large contiguous chunk of the salient 4th century itself) before the region was progressively overrun by Roman-trained northern tribes, themselves primarily pagan and neo-Arian Christian. It took several more centuries for trinitarian bishops to slowly finagle a political solidarity in the new feudalistic territory system of the Latin West. (A process somewhat helped but also somewhat hampered again by the encroaching threat of Muslim expansion into Latin territory from the southwest through what is now Spanish territory.)

The notion of some kind of simplistic monolithic trinitarian religious tyranny in the West during the first 1000 years of Christendom is as mythical as the simplistic notion of monolithic benevolent trinitarian agreement and rule among the bishops during the same period. It makes a good story for rhetorical purposes, but the historical truth is much messier.

(For a detailed but accessible warts-and-all trilogy on the topic, I strongly recommend Yancy’s Jesus Wars, his sequel The Lost History of Christianity, and then Holland’s Forge of Christendom. Their topics overlap a bit, but they’ll take the reader from pre-Nicene to the beginning of the Middle Ages. Yancy slightly evinces a personal agreement that ortho-trin was the best theological compromise of all the positions on the table, but still has plenty of criticism to throw around. I’m not sure I could guess Holland’s religious preferences from his presentation, although he appreciates the social benefits, such as they were, of the emergence of Christian Europe. That this happened at last and after all to be trinitarian Christianity seems quite irrelevant to that appreciation.)


Thanks for your very helpful Cadre summary of ho theos for Jesus! As you know, I’ve also thought N.T. development calls Jesus “God” (esp. Johanine material), though I argued that Jesus’ own (synoptic) words didn’t voice this, and that Paul’s language is more complex than often admitted). You summarize: Jesus is called “The” God 14 possible times! You do seem to acknowledge that most of these omit the definite article, are textually unsure, or involve ambiguous references or inferences. But you call “5” references to Jesus as ho theos more “absolutely unambiguous.”

But most of these connect two nomenclatures with “and,” e.g. Peter’s: the righteousness (or knowledge) of “God and Jesus our Lord.” Do no serious exegetes (Jas. D. G. Dunn?) see some ambiquity here with possibly a two-fold reference to the Father and Jesus (the son; e.g. Leon Morris suggests this in his 2 Thes. commentary)? May not e.g. Titus refer to Jesus as the display of the “glory” of the God? And on your most certain text, Heb. 1:8, isn’t there a textual variant with most translations providing the alternate, “…of the son, God is your throne… as the sceptor of His kingdom”? My inclination is that “absolutely unambiguos” exaggerates the case.

There are a few points which quite clearly establish themselves as self-referential claims to deity on Jesus’ behalf (not including all scriptural references for the sake of time on my part, especially as they are easily searchable):

  1. Jesus claiming “I AM” status before Abraham.

  2. Jesus’ favorite title as the “Son of Man” figure (specifically speaking as of coming in the clouds) which harkens back to Daniel 9, which in turn is clearly making a reference to a deity figure given its distinguishing parallels to Ugaritic literature which reserves cloud-riding for Baal, the son of Elohim. Judaic literature on this point was a slap in the face of pagan literature, stealing their own motifs and reserving them for YHWH (in regards to the visible personage, since they spoke of both a visible and an invisible YHWH personage and often distinguished the two from each other). In reaction to this claim, the high priest tore his robes. Why? Because it was clear blasphemy to he and the rest of the Jewish audience.

  3. In response to the accusations by the Jews that Jesus was making himself out to be God, he harkens back to Psalm 82 which speaks of judgment being made against the gods, plural. And we know that Psalm 82 is not referring to mere men not only due to the parallel in Psalm 89 of the holy ones dwelling in the heavenlies, and not only because the ‘gods’ are spoken of as Elohim (a term which seems to be reserved for disembodied spirits elsewhere), but also because it speaks of them dying like mere men. But if they were mere men already then this judgment would be pointless. Additionally, Jesus would not be saying anything at all by speaking of himself as just as much of a god as his hearers were, and his hearers obviously did not understand him to mean such as they continued seeking to end his life. He did, however, claim to be the unique Son in that same breath, as per the proper translation of John 3:16.

Additionally, though this was not a claim by Jesus himself, it nevertheless strongly points to a belief of Jesus’ own beloved disciple:

  1. There was a “Word of God” figure which frequently appeared throughout the OT in reference to the prophets and patriarchs. They would speak of the “word of the Lord” appearing to them and performing some concrete actions, such as touching their lips, or standing in a certain place, etc. Or they might say that the “word of the Lord” came to them in a “vision” - an experience emphasized for its visual rather than auditory qualities. This is further emphasized in the Aramaic Targums which speak of the “Memra of God” who appears concretely in even more references. Thus John chapter 1 would be speaking of this “Word of God” figure which was also God, once again appearing yet this time in a more thorough sense of becoming completely human by birth and living a full life unto death.

I’m not necessarily disagreeing with this but if Jesus was saying He is I am what I am, then Paul may be saying the same here:

1 Cor 15:10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me.

eimi ho eimi, the same as LXX translates the name in Ex 3:14

Jesus just says I am, Paul says the whole name

Neither do Jesus’ own Johannine words per se, so far as I know. :wink:

The Titus and 2 Thess examples are not especially complex (by the standards of Greek grammar anyway :wink: ). But then of course, when they’re ranked as being late pseudographs on grounds of high Christology, it’s for things like this.

The grammatic (and thematic) complexity of the Romans example, on the other hand, is what leads to the conclusion that he is calling Christ {ho theos} in that verse. There are plenty of times he calls the Father {ho theos} in entirely simple fashions, but this is not one of them.

Except that some which omit the definite article either are grammatically supposed to have it anyway as understood (John 1:1), or are thematically understood as effectively having it. (You are entirely welcome to argue that the Hebraist’s quote from Jeremiah isn’t supposed to be referring to “the” God if you want. Good luck with that.)

Your observation about ambiguous arguments cuts both ways, of course. :wink: To the extent that the matter still seems ambiguous after careful consideration, it is still ambiguous that it doesn’t call Jesus “the” God either. Simplistic grammatic and textual arguments otherwise fail either way in such cases. That may not be ideal, but that’s the state of the data sometimes.

Meanwhile, considering that I repeatedly go very far out of my way to call attention to such issues, including when such issues are problematic, I suppose it’s accurate enough to say that I do seem to acknowledge such things. :unamused: It isn’t like I’m hiding the qualifiers about the results under a bushel or in a corner. I don’t even claim that 14 examples is a lot compared to, say, 6.

Come to think of it, I wouldn’t even claim the data shows much “development” in such a direction. It happens sporadically even in texts scholars tend to grade as late due to their high Christology. But that might be a rather question-begging criteria itself, as JAT Robinson (no friend of “fearful fundamentalists” or even of conservatives) came to realize shortly before passing away (with his landmark Redating the New Testament.)

Personally I would add John 1:1 to that, as far as the grammar goes (it shouldn’t be ambiguous in the Greek); and the grammar at Acts 20:28 is as grammatically unambiguous as the top five in my list (the problem isn’t the grammar but the textual transmission variants–a problem that calls for a sufficient difficulty in the original text to inspire the spread.) Similarly, the grammar of the RevJohn example is unambiguous as far as it goes; the thematic logic (which is also solid) is what requires some piecing together, and so what obscures the issue. (Over here the angel is sent by and is speaking for {ho theos} of the spirits Who sends angels and who alone should be worshiped; over there the same angel concluding the message is speaking for and sent by Jesus. The grammar either way is mundanely straightforward even by Greek standards. It’s putting together the topical bridge between them that can get confusing.)

But I was trying not to overplay the claims, or downplay the difficulties involved.

Be that as it may, I said the top 5 examples in the list were unambiguous about the grammar. I stand by that. (Although I even tried to suggest various shades of grammatic unambiguity. :wink: )

And I discussed in detail in each case why this was not only not a problem but would be interpreted without theological dispute if the nouns were replaced–as in fact commonly happens in different but grammatically parallel examples.

Clearly the problem isn’t the grammar. The problem is that by some people’s conceptual reckoning, be that right or wrong, Jesus isn’t supposed to ever be called {ho theos}, or not by the authors of those texts, so if {ho theos} shows up in the grammatic construction it must be referring to someone else, even though had some other noun been used, or had Jesus not been the person being described that way, there would be no interpretative problem.

You are entirely welcome to provide their detailed grammatic analyses for comparison.

If the problem comes down to “but {ho theos} is being used here!”, however, then it isn’t really grammar that’s the problem.

To begin with, I expect (although I might be wrong?) that “Jesus Christ” would have to be in accusative form, so as to clearly distinguish him from “the glory of the great God and savior of us” (all in genitive form, as is Jesus Christ in the actual text, plus in undisputed parallel examples where Jesus is clearly meant by formally similar grammar), and to match with “the happy expectation and advent/appearance/display”. On the other hand, maybe “Jesus Christ” should be in nominative form in order to be identified with the display. Or dative. But I very much doubt grammatically that “Jesus Christ” is supposed to be in the same genitive as the rest of the phrase if the rest of the phrase is supposed to be about the Father and not about Jesus.

On the other hand, “Jesus Christ” is in the same genitive case as “the glory”. But if Jesus is meant to be identified with the glory, distinguished from “the great God and our savior”, it doesn’t make much sense in the Greek to put his name way at the end like that, where it would more normally be placed if the whole phraseology qualifying “of the glory” was supposed to be talking about and describing Jesus Christ. (As can be easily demonstrated by other common examples, which I bothered to provide not-incidentally.)

I think there would have to be a pretty strong grammatic argument made for your hypothesis, in order to trump the established normal usage of the formal phraseology there. And at the moment I don’t see such a better grammatic option.

More to the point (and as I similarly asked in the article itself), how seriously would you be proposing your option if Paul (or whoever wrote Titus) had put “the lord” instead of “the god” there? There would be exactly zero difference in the grammar; the only difference would be in one of the referent nouns describing “Jesus Christ”. I know I would still have zero grammatic problem with it, because it’s a standard grammatic form. But it’s still a standard grammatic form with “the god” there instead.

I can make the same argument another way around (and in fact I’ll add this as a comment to the relevant Cadre post, too).

If Paul had written that our happy expectation was the display {Ise_ou Xristou}, “of Jesus Christ”, how seriously would you think this didn’t refer to Jesus Christ?

If he had written that our happy expectation was the display {so_te_ros he_mo_n Ise_ou Xristou}, “of our savior Jesus Christ”…?

If he had written that our happy expectation was the display {te_s doxe_s so_te_ros he_mo_n Ise_ou Xristou}, “of the glory of our savior Jesus Christ”…?

If he had written that our happy expectation was the display {te_s doxe_s kuriou kai so_te_ros he_mo_n Ise_ou Xristou}, “of the glory of our lord and savior Jesus Christ”…?

If he had written that our happy expectation was the display {te_s doxe_s tou kuriou kai so_te_ros he_mo_n Ise_ou Xristou}, “of the glory of our (the) lord and savior Jesus Christ”…?

If he had written that our happy expectation was the display {te_s doxe_s tou megalou kuriou kai so_te_ros he_mo_n Ise_ou Xristou}, “of the glory of our (the) great lord and savior Jesus Christ”…?

At what point does the grammar as such seriously point to all those things not being said personally of Jesus Christ? Anywhere yet? (I can, and did, easily demonstrate from other examples that moving {he_mo_n} around makes no grammatic difference at all, by the way.)

What if Paul had written that our happy expectation was the display {te_s doxe_s megalou theou kai so_te_ros he_mo_n Ise_ou Xristou} “of the glory of our great god and savior Jesus Christ”? Is there a problem yet? If not, is it because there is no {tou} for {megalou theou} as there was for {megalou kuriou} in the previous example? Christ might or might not only be being called “a” god grammatically, so everything is still entirely straightforward grammatically?

What if Paul had written that our happy expectation was the display {te_s doxe_s tou megalou theou kai so_te_ros he_mo_n Ise_ou Xristou} “of the glory of our (the) great god and savior Jesus Christ”…? Is there any grammatic problem yet?

Oh, wait, he did write that. :mrgreen:

I argued in some depth, with comparative examples, that this was a standard form that would be grammatically unambiguous about whether “the X” was being applied to Jesus Christ or not. If you offer another grammatic option, I want to know why there’s a problem with the standard grammatic form being applied. If the problem is because Jesus Christ would otherwise be being called “the God” here, then the grammar per se is not the problem.

As for the Heb 1:8 textual transmission variant and its interpretation… would you believe I skipped mentioning it so as not to vastly inflate my article (especially at the end) bird-dogging something of ultimately negligible importance?

Because I can and totally will write up an addendum article on it explaining in wrist-sawing detail why the topic might as well be ignored except for purely trivial purposes. :smiling_imp: (Although I’ll inflict that on the Cadre audience primarily.)

True, but irrelevant: Paul isn’t making a theologically contentious statement about an unusual characteristic of his existence, a characteristic that might be otherwise regarded as belonging to God Most High alone, as a rebuttal challenge to his audience. Who by the way didn’t try to stone him for saying so (or we wouldn’t still have the letter).

There are several other pertinent things going on in that scene, too. The Pharisees going for the kill aren’t just doing so out of context of those things, as though Jesus was saying something as harmless as “God made me who I am, thank God”.

That is a key to understanding. Jesus answered the question, “You are not even fifty and you seen Abraham?”

Jesus responded, “Before Abraham (their Father) was born, I AM (The one speaking from the Tree).” Identifying Himself as I AM, God Almighty who was on the Mountain of Fire and Shadow. who was the God of Israel.

At this, they were about to kill Him for stating what they believed was Blasphemy!

Well said, Brother.

I understand the contextual difference, although Paul is writing a letter and no responses are seen to his claims, well except Peter saying that they are hard to understand but they are inspired. Which brings me to my intent on posting that. If Jesus is claiming “the name” in a unitarian sense, as in YHWH the fullness is in Jesus the man, then what Paul is saying may be the same thing. I will say in this passage that interpretation does seem strained to say the least, and also I "hold’ to a concept of the 2 YHWH’s, but also see things from perspective of the story of Jesus being allegorical for us all which may put me in the unitarian camp, but I don’t fully understand that ism, and frankly can’t categorize this thought process. Maybe its both, or neither, but I digress.

Back to Paul, he is writing the divine name in full. As far as I know this is the only place in the NT it is written (I don’t know how to search for whole greek phrases with the tools I use, NET bible, BlueLetterBible, and I believe the scripture to be inspired, and each word there for a reason (even with textual variants and poor translations). I know this can be taken as just a phrase, but the Jews were pretty particular about the name of God. If the name of God was supercalifragalisticexpialidosious and Paul wrote that, it might stand out more (if he could use that in a sentence), but “the name” being a phrase that is common may not stand out to our eyes. But would it to Jews at the time?

Back to Peter writing about Paul and his stuff being hard to understand. What was hard to understand? The mystery hidden since ages past? That was given to Paul only. Christ in you. People still believing that God is out there, not in here? The other disciples knew Jesus in the flesh. Paul didn’t, Christ was revealed in him. Was Peter defending Paul’s claims to Jews who would read his statements as blasphemous? (as many are thinking mine are right now :wink: )

10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me did not prove vain; but I labored even more than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God with me.

seems similar to:

Gal 2:20 "I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.

All of 1 Co 15 is about the resurrection which is also likened to birthing(born again). (The revealing of the sons of God, Christ was born to the virgin, we are to be the virgin bride, that gives birth to the manchild (Rev), until Christ is formed in you)

1 Co 15: 47The first man is from the earth, earthy; the second man is from heaven. 48As is the earthy, so also are those who are earthy; and as is the heavenly, so also are those who are heavenly. 49Just as we have borne the image of the earthy, we will also bear the image of the heavenly. 50Now I say this, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 51Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, 52in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.

2 Co 3:18 But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.

1 Jo 3:2 Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is.

Or I could be imagining things :smiley:

Hey redhotmagma,

Just thought I’d post something to you real quick before hurrying back to work.

It may or may not solidify/clarify things in your mind to hear it the way Heiser explains it. When you realize that the “sons of God” in the OT are divine beings whom YHWH has created and were intended to assist Him in ruling, then much of the NT starts opening up for you. Verses such as, “To as many as believed gave He the power to become the ‘Sons of God’” become much more potent for you, as well as Paul’s communication of the concept of adoption. In other words we are to reconstitute the divine council and become kings and priests in His kingdom in an ‘already but not yet’ type of scenario. This also makes sense of why he thought it should be so blatantly obvious that we will someday judge angels. And provides the backdrop for C.S. Lewis’ thoughts on how Christianity is more than mere morality but the process of becoming ‘gods’ and that given that we take the right path, we will one day be so glorious that one would have to strongly resist the temptation to worship us.

Now, how is Christ different than that? Well he was ALWAYS like that, and identified himself as the visible YHWH that the Israelites interacted with, and is eternal. After all, the most transcendent divine (the Father) must need an intermediary to condense His essence into, and as for God’s own state of being, there must be more than one in order to have love (and BE love)!