The Evangelical Universalist Forum

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

This all has a lot of reference to the EOx tradition of subordinate deification of the faithful in Christ, too, btw. :slight_smile:

That’s interesting stuff, stellar; It actually makes a lot of sense. With respect to trinitarianism, I think it’s still possible (perhaps even more likely) for that scenario to be true and not have Jesus be The God. It is true that he has a unique role and position as firstborn, the Father’s perfect representative, etc. but that still doesn’t necessitate his being co-equal with the Father.
I look at Joseph in the OT, who was clearly a ‘type’ of Christ. His relationship to Pharaoh, the supreme ruler of Egypt, is much like that of Jesus to God (except that Joseph was not begotten of pharaoh). For all practical purposes, he was pharaoh, because that authority had been bestowed on him. But that did not make him pharaoh in actuality, just a actually subordinate (functionally equal) “perfect representative”.


I have an issue with the divine council, the thought of which actually makes my stomach drop, not saying its not correct but its this; if the sons of God could sin, and we are to become them, whats to say that we won’t also sin once we become glorified?

Well, hopefully it would follow the biblical pattern of Christ being the second Adam. Since it would be made up of Sons perfected in Christ, we would theoretically have the same situation as the second Adam righting the wrongs of the first. :wink:

Completely theoretical, but hey…


My expectation is that we’ll still have sufficient knowledge of who we were as sinners to serve as bar, though still not a simply automatic one, against that ever happening again.

Does your stomach drop already thinking about the technical possibility you might sin again after glorification is complete? You’re already safe, I’d say. :slight_smile: The comparative difference won’t get any less sharp.

I don’t have any problem imagining going on forever with the occasional thought of “I could sin, but in love of God I choose not to, thank You God!”

I understand the technical possibility (and I agree we won’t) but the difference is the sons actually did/do sin, and they are already “glorified”, unless we are those sons, and we’ve been lowered into this human existence in the same way Jesus was.

Cool! I’m starting to really like the Eastern Orthodox church the more and more I learn of them. It really does seem as if the RCC underwent quite a change in comparison and that the EOx is more authentically truer to the original church.

Hmm. What do you conceive being ‘co-equal’ means? Because Jesus obviously said that the Father is greater than He. But then we’re talking about the same essence, the same being.

I look at it as the same energy and essence of infinite being condensed into something more limited which can modify form at will within the space-time continuum (while still defining the bounds of space-time). Did you realize that there are two different sizes of infinity?

Ah, well I MAY see where you are missing something. It’s not the glorification itself that reconstitutes a rightful state of being but rather the other way around. It’s being reoriented into our rightful state of being (total and complete dependence upon God) which glorifies us. In the process of purification, the Spirit uplifts us to a place which we have never been to before. The reason that the members of the divine council will die like mere men is because they have become corrupt. It’s just a natural consequence of their ontological state of being. And the reason we will be glorified is because we are indwelt by the Holy Spirit! It may come down to your views on OSAS, but I’d point to verses about how the One who began the good work will be faithful to finish it, and that nothing can separate us from the love of God, our whole soul, spirit and body being kept sanctified until the coming, Jesus being the only one able to present us before the throne of God, etc.

And then of course, those fallen human beings who do not come to God, or are not pulled by His love, will sink deeper and deeper into lower states of being, until, as we hope, they see the utter futility of their way and circle back around yet again.

Some quotes to ruminate upon (author listed at the end of each grouping):

“A beast does not know that he is a beast, and the nearer a man gets to being a beast the less he knows it.”

“Even the damned must at times become aware of what they are, and then surely a terrible though momentary hush must fall upon the forsaken regions.”

“Thus the Lord… becomes the soul of our souls, becomes spiritually what He always was creatively; and as our spirit informs, gives shape to, our bodies, in like manner His soul informs, gives shape to, our souls. The deeper soul that willed and wills our souls rises up, the infinite Life, into the Self we call ‘I’ and ‘me,’ but which lives immediately from Him and is His very own property and nature - unspeakably more His than ours… until at length the glory of our existence flashes upon us, we face full to the sun that enlightens what it sent forth, and know ourselves alive with an infinite life, even the Life of the Father; know that our existence is not the moonlight of a mere consciousness of being, but the sun-glory of a life justified by having become one with its origin, thinking and feeling with the primal Sun of life, from whom it was dropped away that it might know and bethink itself and return to circle forever in exultant harmony around Him.”

~George MacDonald

“Mere morality is not the end of life… Morality is indispensable: but the Divine Life, which gives itself to us and which calls us to be gods, intends for us something in which morality will be swallowed up. We are to be re-made. All the rabbit in us is to disappear—the worried, conscientious, ethical rabbit as well as the cowardly and sensual rabbit. We shall bleed and squeal as the handfuls of fur come out; and then, surprisingly, we shall find underneath it all a thing we have never yet imagined: a real Man, an ageless god, a son of God, strong, radiant, wise, beautiful, and drenched in joy.”

“It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest and most uninteresting person you talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare. All day long we are, in some degree, helping each other to one or other of these destinations. It is in the light of these overwhelming possibilities, it is with the awe and the circumspection proper to them, that we should conduct all our dealings with one another, all friendships, all loves, all play, all politics. There are no ‘ordinary’ people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilisations – these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whome we joke with, work with, marry, snub and exploit – immortal horrors or everlasting splendours. This does not mean that we are to be perpetually solemn. We must play. But our merriment must be of that kind (and it is, in fact, the merriest kind) which exists between people who have, from the outset, taken each other seriously – no flippancy, no superiority, no presumption. And our charity must be a real and costly love, with deep feeling for the sins in spite of which we love the sinner – no mere tolerance or indulgence which parodies love as flippancy parodies merriment.”

~C.S. Lewis

“Some day, after we have mastered the winds, the waves, the tides and gravity, we shall harness for God the energies of love. Then for the second time in the history of the world, we will have discovered fire.”

~Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

Ah, and on that last note as well!:

“Everything muse at length be subject to man, as it was to The Man. When God can do what He will with a man, the man may do what he will with the world; he may walk on the sea like his Lord; the deadliest thing will not be able to hurt him.”
~George MacDonald

Through the sanctification experience I have found that there is a permanence. It’s just as much a matter of failing as it is of succeeding, of falling as much as getting back up (I’ve heard that the early church fathers would not accept someone as a leader until they had made a major mistake). In fact, one must encounter one’s own limitations and the rock-bottom level of one’s being with all of its current faults and follies. And when one has exhausted every last hallway of one’s possible goodness and run into dead-ends everywhere, THEN one may collapse into the arms of God in final resignation (a concept echoed in the writings of Madame Guyon and again C.S. Lewis). St. Theresa had this to say:

"I have always wanted to become a saint. Unfortunately, when I have compared myself with the saints, I have always found that there is the same difference between the saints and me as there is between a mountain whose summit is lost in the clouds and a humble grain of sand trodden underfoot by passers-by. Instead of being discouraged, I told myself: God would not make me wish for something impossible and so, in spite of my littleness, I can aim at being a saint. It is impossible for me to grow bigger, so I put up with myself as I am, with all my countless faults. But I will look for some means of going to heaven by a little way which is very short and very straight, a little way that is quite new.

“We live in an age of inventions. We need no longer climb laboriously up flights of stairs; in well-to-do houses there are lifts. And I was determined to find a lift to carry me to Jesus, for I was far too small to climb the steep stairs of perfection. So I sought in holy scripture some idea of what this life I wanted would be, and I read these words: ‘Whosoever is a little one, come to me.’ It is your arms, Jesus, that are the lift to carry me to heaven. And so there is no need for me to grow up: I must stay little and become less and less.”

To think of us somehow magically becoming ‘gods’ is a joke: a big joke. And one that I think that the demons must be playing on many New Agers who seek such an end through futile pathways.

Such a lofty state of being is far too high for us. The only way is for the Almighty Spirit of God to fill every pathway of the soul, to course through every vessel of our veins. Only when YHWH is speaking through us, living through us, can we ever even think that it is possible to attain.

When God first lay the proposition before me, I ‘shrunk back’ (just what scripture tells us not to do! :wink:) thinking it impossible and myself far too inadequate; until I realized that it was my destiny no matter what and that it simply could not be avoided. The Spirit in me is far too strong. At times I’ve wondered how I am ‘worthy’. But it has nothing to do with worthiness and everything to do with the sovereign love of God electing us for it before the sands of time ever began to fall. For he blessed us in Christ before the ages of time, or in other words, in the eternals where we have been appointed to dwell and dwell in now, if the Spirit truly resides in us.

And more than that, it is our solemn duty as children of the King! :smiley:

first whats OSAS?

I guess my issue is really why would the divine council fall? They are not in adam, or are they? Were they subjected to futility because of Adam? You say they sin because its their ontological position, because they have become corrupt. I have a hard time seeing the why of them being in the state of glorification, and then becoming corrupt. Is that not part of the state of glory? You said we don’t sin because we are reoriented into our rightful state of being. Would that not be what state they were in? I guess its not necessary. How much wood could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?

I don’t know what I’m even saying here. :question:

Stellar your description of Jesus being the smaller form of the infinite is how I see it (when I’m viewing through the 2 YHWH lense). But that He was birthed out of the Father, that doesn’t necessarily make Him not Co-eternal, because it could have happened outside of time, before spacetime was created.

(Man, this guy just can’t stop, can he!? :laughing:)

"When we are born again we all have visions, if we are spiritual at all, of what Jesus wants us to be, and the great thing is to learn not to be disobedient to the vision, not to say that it cannot be attained…

"God gives us the vision, then He takes us down to the valley to batter us into the shape of the vision, and it is in the valley that so many of us faint and give way. Every vision will be made real if we will have patience. Think of the enormous leisure of God! He is never in a hurry. We are always in such a frantic hurry. In the light of the glory of the vision we go forth to do things, but the vision is not real in us yet; and God has to take us into the valley, and put us through fires and floods to batter us into shape, until we get to the place where He can trust us with the veritable reality. Ever since we had the vision God has been at work, getting us into the shape of the ideal, and over and over again we escape from His hand and try to batter ourselves into our own shape.

“The vision is not a castle in the air, but a vision of what God wants you to be. Let Him put you on His wheel and whirl you as He likes, and as sure as God is God and you are you, you will turn out exactly in accordance with the vision. Don’t lose heart in the process. If you have ever had the vision of God, you may try as you like to be satisfied on a lower level, but God will never let you…”

~Oswald Chambers

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: