The Evangelical Universalist Forum

Intelligent discussion re: trinity

Two guys who differ in their opinions having a thoughtful exchange. Dale Tuggy is the Christian unitarian, Prof. Bowman is a well-known and published Trinitarian. They get down to bedrock here, both are very aware of the other’s position and reasoning behind the position, and the sparring is good-natured and constructive. … es-part-2/

I did not want to start a new thread so I’ll tack on to this one.
Reading Luke 4 just now and noticed something I hadn’t previously:

“And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit…”

That seems like a very odd thing to write, unless Jesus was in fact a fully human being.
If he was a two-natured being, fully God and fully man, why would he need to be filled with the spirit?
Just another of those nagging questions that keep me from committing to Chalcedonian, etc, trinitarianism. Just can’t buy it.

It’s probably more a descriptive phrase indicative of the obvious presence of God in one’s life… take for example the eight disciples of the early church of whom the same phrase was also used — Stephen, Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, Nicolas, and Barnabas.

Yep, that was kinda my point - other men had the same thing said of them. I would not go so far as to say this is conclusive evidence that Jesus was/IS a man - but it’s another indicator that he was not an odd mixture of divinity/humanity in whatever proportions (I know that the ‘mixture’ concept is not strictly trin teaching, at least the more sophisticated trins).

I’ll pass but only because we have other threads where this has been answered. :slight_smile:
For the nonce, here’s a link to 100 articles m/l that are full of great information on the subject.
I give the link because it’s too much work to reproduce them in my own words, y’know?
Happy Thanksgiving Qaz!!

My understanding is that in Phil 2.7 “he emptied himself” of his divine attributes so i think he was simply human during his ministry on earth & it says that he conducted his powers through the power of the Holy Spirit (perhaps in Acts). To quote Al Gore, Jesus put his divine power in a Lockbox while he was on earth as a man, IMHO. Happy Thanksgiving to you and everyone!

And to you too, Steve!

Here is an article that explains the passage in depth, and shows you to be irretrievably heretical, doomed, in most grievous error, and beyond totally depraved. (whatever that would be). I exaggerate :slight_smile:
But worth reading:

Thanks Dave, My wife always tells me i’m depraved so now it’s confirmed! Good article & food for thought & how appropriate on Thanksgiving! I really “gobbled” up this article.

You just HAD to say it, didn’t you? :rofl:

Here is a study on the Holy Spirit, part 1. Part 2 is also available. You can listen to the podcast or download the pdf for a more relaxed experience.
This fits with a biblically-based unitarianism (which holds the high ground imo) in that the holy spirit is not, scripturally, a Who, but a What. In other words, not a divine person.
But if you have a little time, read for yourself. Part 2 is very exegetically strict, and takes to task some translations.
Part 1
Part 2

I personally lean Unitarian, but if I’m recalling correctly that “holy spirit” is neuter, but then referred to ungrammatically as a “he” rather than “it,” might that suggest that this divine spirit is not seen as a what, but as personal?

I report, you decide :slightly_smiling_face:
He made, I thought, some pretty good distinctions on that issue (in part 2) but as I am no scholar, I can’t be dogmatic. Wish I could be.
Did you find a fault in his reasoning? I’d be interested to know.
He said:
“In particular, I am interested in exposing one of the most flagrant (mis)translation practices found in virtually all English Bibles: rendering impersonal Greek pronouns as personal in English when referring to the holy spirit. What I present here is neither sectarian nor ground breaking. Anyone who can read Greek can verify what I am saying. I will cite mainstream Trinitarian scholars to backup these very points. Yet, since one cannot grasp the issue at hand without some cursory knowledge of Greek grammar, we will begin with a brief overview of the basics.”
One set of examples he gives - among many:

Anyway, lots of other examples. Where his explanation goes ‘wrong’ would be a teachable moment for me.

Where I’m at now: The spirit is God/Christ in action.
I’ve worked through both parts of the pdf’s - it took a while - and would really like to hear from you Greek scholars after/if you read them also. He builds a case step by step and knows his Greek. He does point out some less-than-transparent translation bias in most current translations, and explains why. It’s a long argument and very detailed.

I may be mistaken, but the kind of case I’m citing is Hebrews 10:15 where it says, “the pneuma (neuter), he witnesses” (masculine verb). It’s hard to account for breaking the rule of grammar with a neuter subject unless the writer intentionally wants to say the spirit is not an it. Another case may be 1 Peter 1:11.

Qaz - here is the approach in the pdf’s:
"Perhaps the matter is best put in terms like these: the Spirit is God’s active approach to us. Where the Spirit operates, there God himself is at work. The Spirit is not a ‘thing,’ over against God, but a way of expressing God in his relation to us…Where the Spirit is given a personal quality such as teaching, revealing, witnessing, interceding, creating, and so on, it is not as an entity distinct from God, but as God himself doing these things and yet not compromising his transcendence.
I can live with that.
One more:
Although it does not seem necessary (scripturally speaking) to view the Spirit as a “person” per se, it also does not seem necessary to think of the Spirit as merely an “impersonal force,” for it is undoubtedly the Spirit of a personal being; the outwardly extending through invisible expression and influence of the inward, personal reality and heart of God.

Bob - I can only refer you to his presentation - he takes on ALL the key verses as far as I can tell.
I’ll send you a dozen of my wife’s great cookies if you find the time to read both parts - (and this goes for you other Greek mavens as well!) You know who you are) you would understand it so much better than I can and like I said, if he’s weak so be it, but he’s pretty convincing.
p.s. - if you’ve already read it, the cookie thing does not apply. :slight_smile:

So Dave, I’m not making any Trinitarian argument… but there is little to nothing on these two texts in those articles…

Isa 63:10 But they rebelled and grieved His Holy Spirit; So He turned Himself against them as an enemy, and He fought against them.

Eph 4:30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.

How possible is it for an impersonal it to be “grieved”? The closest the author comes to explaining this is to say the spirit is owned by God, i.e., God’s spirit… hmm, maybe?

Hmm…What about all the others he addresses? Did you feel he was doing justice, or have any probs with his reasoning? Do you think he has a solid case for the translation bias?
I’m just guessing, but it felt like a preponderance of evidence for his thesis; I don’t know about outlier verses.
Do you personally hold to the personhood of the holy spirit?
I’m just fumbling around here, so no disrespect is meant…

B0b - Wright’s translation of Heb 10.15 is a little different:

I don’t know about the grammar - is the ‘he’ referring to a person that is a holy spirit, or to the prophet ? There is no indication of a third member of a trinity, or the ontological status of such a member. Perhaps that is my main consideration. I would think that, if the spirit is a WHO, a person, surely there would be more explanation somewhere in scripture as to when that person was created (unless that person is a part of God), is it omni-anything, etc.? Hmmm

To be honest I didn’t really check them out. I used to be a trini but these days more unitarian.

There may be some latitude for “mystery” but I tend to think the designation ‘holy spirit’ might simply be another variant way of expressing God. The author probably dealt with it, though I haven’t looked, but the line in Acts about lying to the Holy Spirit and thus lying not to men but God kind of bears this out.

Take for example the heart… it can be understood in the neuter and yet if we say God’s heart was grieved it’s akin to saying God’s spirit was grieved… same difference as in heart/spirit is God’s and thus inseparable.

1 Like