The Holy Trinity

General discussions about Christianity including salvation, heaven and hell, Christian history and so on.
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#196

Post by B. W. » Mon Nov 07, 2005 10:22 am

Fortigurn wrote:
B. W. wrote:Fortigurn,

Please do not think me rude or trite on this matter but I would like to simply skip the scripture Judo and ask a simple question: Without any scripture — why do you believe that Jesus cannot be God and that the Trinity is not so?
Because it is a logical contradiction.
What is it about the Trinity you find distasteful? In Your own words — no scripture Judo, please.
My issues with the trinity have absolutely zero to do with personal taste, so I can't actually answer that question.

Thank you for your answer. I apologize for taking 24 hours to respond to you. I do take a day off and rest but that would make another topic.

You stated clearly that why you cannot believe in the Trinity is “Because it is a logical contradiction.” Now we have some common ground in which to build upon. First, I could never argue with you in order to change your views nor could you mine. All I ask is to ponder questions posed and reach your own conclusions, as I ponder yours.

Would it come as I shock to you that I learned of the concept of the trinity from a professed atheist? During my college days spent at the local University listening to a Biology Professor professing that he did not believe in God, He stated, “All living things have three distinct parts, and each individual part has multi-faceted attributes and functions. The best way to study living organisms is to separate them into their three distinct parts to discover what makes them one entity.”

He went on to claim that this was not religion but how life is. Through the course of his lectures, text book studies, autopsies of animal and plant matter, I literally saw that he was correct: All life has three distinct separate parts that make a living entity one, alive and functioning properly. I ask you to check into this matter yourself.

It is almost as if a divine entity had left a finger print for us to see but since it is a oblivious as the nose on one's face, we over look it. Thus, only giving notice as we ponder the reflection we see in the mirror of ourselves. I wonder why this finger print was stamped into all living matter?

I sliced opened a lowly tomato yesterday for lunch and saw the three parts — The body of the tomato, the juice, and the seeds. This caused me to recall that Biology professor's lectures and how he went on to explain that the seeds carry on the tri-nature by being triune themselves. Then we dissected seeds and saw the wonder of this.

Therefore your answer could be termed a "logical contradiction" in and of itself since all living creation does have three parts so why not God?

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#197

Post by Fortigurn » Mon Nov 07, 2005 10:42 am

Thank you BW. The problem with your analogy is that it does not represent the trinity. In the trinity, God is not three parts making up a whole. Each of the three persons are God, yet there is one God.

If you can find me a tomato of which it can be said that the seeds are the tomato, the skin is the tomato, and the juice are the tomato, then you would have a good analogy. You would also have a very strange tomato.

The tomato is not a 'triune' entity. It is an entity made up of many parts, none of which are themselves 'the tomato'. This is not analogous to the trinity, which is precisely why the evangelical churches in China regard this analgoy (and all like it), as heresy.

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#198

Post by Fortigurn » Mon Nov 07, 2005 10:49 am

Felgar wrote:Immortality is not eternality. To be eternal is to exist beyond the confines of time; to have existed from all time to all time - "Alpha and Omega" whereas to be immortal is to exist for all time from a certain point. An immortal being (angels, Satan (yeah, I know), and us) are still bound by time whereas God and Jesus are not.
Ah, the logical fallacy of exegeting the English, and the fallacy of equivocation. Very well. If you really want to exgete the English, I need to point out to you that immortal life in the Bible is translated 'eternal life'. You can argue that one with the translators.

I also need to point out then that the Word is not described as 'eternal', it is described as 'abiding forever'. I also need to point out that the Word always has an existence which commences at a point in time - it commences when God speaks the Word.

Scripture says that the Word of God endures forever (Isaiah 40:6, 8; 1 Peter 1:22-25), and the same is said of those who receive everlasting life (John 6:51, 58).

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#199

Post by Fortigurn » Mon Nov 07, 2005 10:59 am

Byblos wrote:The issue to me was that it looked to me that you were using the qualitative argument to mean the Word is not eternal.
I hope it's clear to you now that I didn't mean that (although it seems that you're using the word 'eternal' in a different sense to me).;
Since I know the Word is eternal and the evangelical qualitative argument does not preclude the eternality of the Word, the argument from my side is resolved.
But you're still not telling me if you read this as a qualitative or an ontological statement. That is the issue here.
But now that you acknowledge the Word is eternal, then I take you back to my original argument where I showed you the fatal logical contradiction of your position. I.e. if the Word is eternal and it became Jesus, and Jesus was a mere mortal man, then you just killed God. There is no escaping that logic.
That might be logic, but it is flawed logic. You've committed a logical fallacy.

You say:
  • If the word is eternal
  • And it became Jesus
  • And Jesus is a mere mortal man
  • Then you just killed God
Where did 'God' come from? We started with the 'Word', and you abandoned the Word and introduced a new term in your conclusion. What you have here is a non sequitur, a classic logical fallacy.
It is either you think the Word is not divine and not eternal, therefore your position that Jesus was not divine would follow.
No, I believe that the Word is qualitatively Divine, and therefore eternal (in the sense that it lasts forever).
(Or you believe the Word is divine and eternal and you killed the Word by attributing to a mortal being. Since you indicated that the Word is eternal, the latter is the position you are left with.
How can I 'kill' the Word, when it wasn't alive to start with? You see, you predicate your entire argument on these a prior assumptions.
Fortigurn wrote:
You are confusing the issues, a typical and expected reaction from you when you are cornered.


Can you explain how I am confusing the issues?


In one instance you seem to indicate the Word is not eternal (and therefore attributing it to a mortal man is ok) then you say it is eternal (in which case your position falls apart because you just killed an eternal being, an inherent contradiction).
I've explained this more than once - I do not hold that the Word is 'an eternal being'.
I wasn't asking you for you to provide an answer. I was asking you so you can define how you are using the qualitative argument (whether or not qualitative includes eternality).
Oh you weren't asking me to provide an answer for what it means? That must be why you asked me what it means, and told me that it was my 'invention'. I didn't see you saying 'Please define how you are using the qualitative argument', I saw you ask me what it means, and I saw you claim that the qualitative argument was my 'invention'.

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#200

Post by B. W. » Mon Nov 07, 2005 11:37 am

Fortigurn wrote:
Felgar wrote:Immortality is not eternality. To be eternal is to exist beyond the confines of time; to have existed from all time to all time - "Alpha and Omega" whereas to be immortal is to exist for all time from a certain point. An immortal being (angels, Satan (yeah, I know), and us) are still bound by time whereas God and Jesus are not.
Ah, the logical fallacy of exegeting the English, and the fallacy of equivocation. Very well. If you really want to exgete the English, I need to point out to you that immortal life in the Bible is translated 'eternal life'. You can argue that one with the translators.

I also need to point out then that the Word is not described as 'eternal', it is described as 'abiding forever'. I also need to point out that the Word always has an existence which commences at a point in time - it commences when God speaks the Word.

Scripture says that the Word of God endures forever (Isaiah 40:6, 8; 1 Peter 1:22-25), and the same is said of those who receive everlasting life (John 6:51, 58).
In the same vein —

The gospels, in your view, did God just give Jesus certain divine powers “dunamis”, which enabled him — a mere mortal though he was, to perform God like task of healing the sick, forgiving sins?

Next, according to your view — who was Jesus and do you ascribe his teachings any importance to your theology? If so — what?

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#201

Post by Byblos » Mon Nov 07, 2005 12:16 pm

Fortigurn wrote:
Byblos wrote:The issue to me was that it looked to me that you were using the qualitative argument to mean the Word is not eternal.


I hope it's clear to you now that I didn't mean that



Well, it was clear until you added:
Fortigurn wrote:(although it seems that you're using the word 'eternal' in a different sense to me).;


I'm assuming what you mean by that is what you stated later, i.e. you believe the Word to be eternal but not to be an eternal being.

Ok, I will accept that as your premise for the sake of this argument (although I disagree with it as clearly stated by 1 John), but let's move on.
Fortigurn wrote:
Since I know the Word is eternal and the evangelical qualitative argument does not preclude the eternality of the Word, the argument from my side is resolved.


But you're still not telling me if you read this as a qualitative or an ontological statement. That is the issue here.


No, that is not the issue. Read on.
Fortigurn wrote:
But now that you acknowledge the Word is eternal, then I take you back to my original argument where I showed you the fatal logical contradiction of your position. I.e. if the Word is eternal and it became Jesus, and Jesus was a mere mortal man, then you just killed God. There is no escaping that logic.


That might be logic, but it is flawed logic. You've committed a logical fallacy.

You say:
  • If the word is eternal
  • And it became Jesus
  • And Jesus is a mere mortal man
  • Then you just killed God


Where did 'God' come from? We started with the 'Word', and you abandoned the Word and introduced a new term in your conclusion. What you have here is a non sequitur, a classic logical fallacy.


There is no logical fallacy because it follows from 1 John that the Word is God. However, given the qualitative argument you're employing, I could see how you might consider it as a logical fallacy so what I will do is remove the logical fallacy you seem to be arguing and yet still arrive at the same fatal logical contradiction.

Let us remove the last sentence where I said 'Then you just killed God'. By doing so, we have removed the logical fallacy you are claiming.

By your admission, the Word is eternal (though not an eternal being). The Word (that is eternal) became a mortal man. Do you really not see it? Eternal became mortal. It is a logical contradiction to say eternal became mortal, even if we do not attribute the Word to an eternal being or God. Here I showed you without a 'logical fallacy', we still arrive at the same conclusion, i.e. a fatal logical contradiction of your position.

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#202

Post by Fortigurn » Mon Nov 07, 2005 6:07 pm

B. W. wrote:In the same vein —

The gospels, in your view, did God just give Jesus certain divine powers “dunamis”, which enabled him — a mere mortal though he was, to perform God like task of healing the sick, forgiving sins?
Well yes - Jesus says this himself:
Matthew 9:
6 But so that you may know11 that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—then he said to the paralytic— “Stand up, take your stretcher, and go home.” And he stood up and went home.
8 When the crowd saw this, they were afraid and honored God who had given such authority to men.
See that? When Christ forgave this man, and healed him, the crowd didn't say 'Aha, that's God then', they honored God (whom they believed to be someone else), becuase they understood that God had given such authority to men (Christ).

Christ gave this same authority to his apostles (mortal men):
John 20:
22 And after he said this, he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.
23 If you forgive anyone's sins, they are forgiven; if you retain anyone's sins, they are retained.”
This makes it clear that men authorised by God can forgive sins. You should know this, since it's an important doctrine in the Roman Catholic Church.
Next, according to your view — who was Jesus and do you ascribe his teachings any importance to your theology? If so — what?
He was and is the son of God, and since his teachings were given to him by God, I ascribe the same importance to his teachings as I ascribe to any of the teachings of God - the highest importance possible.

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#203

Post by Fortigurn » Mon Nov 07, 2005 6:12 pm

Byblos wrote:I'm assuming what you mean by that is what you stated later, i.e. you believe the Word to be eternal but not to be an eternal being.
Yes, I've said this from the start.
Ok, I will accept that as your premise for the sake of this argument (although I disagree with it as clearly stated by 1 John), but let's move on.
I invite you to pick up a standard lexicon and look up the word LOGOS. Then tell me if it means 'person'.
There is no logical fallacy because it follows from 1 John that the Word is God.
It is a logical fallacy, because you constructed your syllogism without invtroducing God as an initial premise. But at least I can now see that you are reading THEOS in John 1 as ontological, not qualitative.

So THEOS here refers to the entire trinity, and the entire trinity was the Word, and the entire trinity became flesh. Interesting idea.
Let us remove the last sentence where I said 'Then you just killed God'. By doing so, we have removed the logical fallacy you are claiming.

By your admission, the Word is eternal (though not an eternal being). The Word (that is eternal) became a mortal man. Do you really not see it? Eternal became mortal. It is a logical contradiction to say eternal became mortal, even if we do not attribute the Word to an eternal being or God. Here I showed you without a 'logical fallacy', we still arrive at the same conclusion, i.e. a fatal logical contradiction of your position.
Why is it a logical contradiction to say 'eternal became mortal'? Remember, from my perspective the Word of God is exactly that - His Word, the words He speaks, the 'breath' of His 'mouth'. It is eternal in that it stands forever, it accomplishes His will, it never returns to Him void.

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#204

Post by Byblos » Mon Nov 07, 2005 7:24 pm

Fortigurn wrote:
Byblos wrote:I'm assuming what you mean by that is what you stated later, i.e. you believe the Word to be eternal but not to be an eternal being.


Yes, I've said this from the start.
Ok, I will accept that as your premise for the sake of this argument (although I disagree with it as clearly stated by 1 John), but let's move on.


I invite you to pick up a standard lexicon and look up the word LOGOS. Then tell me if it means 'person'.
There is no logical fallacy because it follows from 1 John that the Word is God.


It is a logical fallacy, because you constructed your syllogism without invtroducing God as an initial premise. But at least I can now see that you are reading THEOS in John 1 as ontological, not qualitative.

So THEOS here refers to the entire trinity, and the entire trinity was the Word, and the entire trinity became flesh. Interesting idea.


Well there you go again, confusing the issues. Who said anything anywhere the Word is the entire trinity? Though I can see how you could come to such an erroneous conclusion considering you do not believe in the trinity.
Fortigurn wrote:
Let us remove the last sentence where I said 'Then you just killed God'. By doing so, we have removed the logical fallacy you are claiming.

By your admission, the Word is eternal (though not an eternal being). The Word (that is eternal) became a mortal man. Do you really not see it? Eternal became mortal. It is a logical contradiction to say eternal became mortal, even if we do not attribute the Word to an eternal being or God. Here I showed you without a 'logical fallacy', we still arrive at the same conclusion, i.e. a fatal logical contradiction of your position.


Why is it a logical contradiction to say 'eternal became mortal'? Remember, from my perspective the Word of God is exactly that - His Word, the words He speaks, the 'breath' of His 'mouth'. It is eternal in that it stands forever, it accomplishes His will, it never returns to Him void.


Are you serious? If you do not see why it is illogical to say 'eternal became mortal' then there really is no point in continuing this discussion as you just single-handedly suspended logic and reason. If something is eternal then it always existed and always will. It simply cannot become anything other than eternal.

So it is either you believe the Word is eternal and that eternality is why we say Jesus is eternal (not his physical part as that died and was resurrected).

Or you can say that the eternal Word became mortal and get stuck in an oxymoronic belief system. It is that simple.

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#205

Post by Fortigurn » Mon Nov 07, 2005 9:00 pm

Byblos wrote:Well there you go again, confusing the issues. Who said anything anywhere the Word is the entire trinity?
You did, when you said that the Word was God (unqualified). When you want to refer to the individual persons of the trinity, you must distinguish them thus - 'God the Father', 'God the Son', 'God the Holy Spirit'. These terms were created specifically to avoid confusing the persons.
Though I can see how you could come to such an erroneous conclusion considering you do not believe in the trinity.
I'm actually being a lot more careful in my use of trinitarian terminology than you are, that's all.
Fortigurn wrote:Why is it a logical contradiction to say 'eternal became mortal'? Remember, from my perspective the Word of God is exactly that - His Word, the words He speaks, the 'breath' of His 'mouth'. It is eternal in that it stands forever, it accomplishes His will, it never returns to Him void.


Are you serious? If you do not see why it is illogical to say 'eternal became mortal' then there really is no point in continuing this discussion as you just single-handedly suspended logic and reason.
This from someone who tells me that we have God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit, and only one God?
If something is eternal then it always existed and always will. It simply cannot become anything other than eternal.
Scripture please.
So it is either you believe the Word is eternal and that eternality is why we say Jesus is eternal (not his physical part as that died and was resurrected).
I believe that the Word of God abides forever - that is, it always accomplishes its purpose, it never returns to Him void, and it fulfils His eternal will. That is the sense in which the Word of God is eternal. I don't see Scripture saying anything else.

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#206

Post by Byblos » Mon Nov 07, 2005 10:33 pm

Fortigurn wrote:
Byblos wrote:Well there you go again, confusing the issues. Who said anything anywhere the Word is the entire trinity?
You did, when you said that the Word was God (unqualified). When you want to refer to the individual persons of the trinity, you must distinguish them thus - 'God the Father', 'God the Son', 'God the Holy Spirit'. These terms were created specifically to avoid confusing the persons.
Though I can see how you could come to such an erroneous conclusion considering you do not believe in the trinity.
I'm actually being a lot more careful in my use of trinitarian terminology than you are, that's all.
Fortigurn wrote:Why is it a logical contradiction to say 'eternal became mortal'? Remember, from my perspective the Word of God is exactly that - His Word, the words He speaks, the 'breath' of His 'mouth'. It is eternal in that it stands forever, it accomplishes His will, it never returns to Him void.


Are you serious? If you do not see why it is illogical to say 'eternal became mortal' then there really is no point in continuing this discussion as you just single-handedly suspended logic and reason.
This from someone who tells me that we have God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit, and only one God?

Then we are done with this thread (at least I am).

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#207

Post by Kurieuo » Tue Nov 08, 2005 8:15 am

Fortigurn wrote:If "the Word" is God, and God becomes flesh, then God does not cease being God (for it is logically impossible, in virtue of who God is, for God to cease being God).


Well yes, this is precisely why we know that the 'Word' here is not ontologically 'God' in the sense you understand it. That is precisely my point. God cannot become 'flesh' (Y), and cease being 'God' (X).

But here we have something which can become Y, at which point it ceases being X. Therefore we do not have an ontological reference to God, in the sense you understand it.

What you are doing is actually requiring that the Greek here be contradicted. You require that 'the Word became flesh' must not actually mean 'the Word became flesh'. You require that this Greek phrase (which always means that X became Y, and ceased to be X), in this case actually means that X became Y, and remained X.

Can you understand why I am objecting to the fact that your theological interpretation contradicts the actual Greek grammar here?
I disagree with your interpretation of the Greek. It is clear to me that Jesus is still the Word which is God, even when Christ takes upon himself fleshly form. As Hebrews 13:8 says: "Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today, and forever."

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#208

Post by B. W. » Tue Nov 08, 2005 10:05 am

Fortigurn wrote:
B. W. wrote:In the same vein —

The gospels, in your view, did God just give Jesus certain divine powers “dunamis”, which enabled him — a mere mortal though he was, to perform God like task of healing the sick, forgiving sins?
Well yes - Jesus says this himself:
Matthew 9:
6 But so that you may know11 that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—then he said to the paralytic— “Stand up, take your stretcher, and go home.” And he stood up and went home.
8 When the crowd saw this, they were afraid and honored God who had given such authority to men.
See that? When Christ forgave this man, and healed him, the crowd didn't say 'Aha, that's God then', they honored God (whom they believed to be someone else), becuase they understood that God had given such authority to men (Christ).

Christ gave this same authority to his apostles (mortal men):
John 20:
22 And after he said this, he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.
23 If you forgive anyone's sins, they are forgiven; if you retain anyone's sins, they are retained.”
This makes it clear that men authorised by God can forgive sins. You should know this, since it's an important doctrine in the Roman Catholic Church.
Next, according to your view — who was Jesus and do you ascribe his teachings any importance to your theology? If so — what?
He was and is the son of God, and since his teachings were given to him by God, I ascribe the same importance to his teachings as I ascribe to any of the teachings of God - the highest importance possible.

You stated:

"He was and is the son of God, and since his teachings were given to him by God, I ascribe the same importance to his teachings as I ascribe to any of the teachings of God - the highest importance possible."

Question: how do you define the phrase - Son of God?

You again stated:

Christ gave this same authority to his apostles (mortal men):

John 20:
22 And after he said this, he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.
23 If you forgive anyone's sins, they are forgiven; if you retain anyone's sins, they are retained."

Question: Jesus - a man breahted on them what? How was this possible?

Next Question: What is your definition of sin?

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#209

Post by B. W. » Tue Nov 08, 2005 11:48 am

Fortigurn wrote:Thank you BW. The problem with your analogy is that it does not represent the trinity. In the trinity, God is not three parts making up a whole. Each of the three persons are God, yet there is one God
You seemed to have missed the point I was making which was: a finger print from God within creation is a mark, or a sign, pointing out a self evident truth that Tri-nature does indeed exist in our world to see. From this observation a person must draw his or her own conclusions.

For example, cell fractionation, cell fractionation is the manner used to dissect a single cell, separating the major organelles so that their individual parts of a single cell organism can be studied. In other words, separate into separate parts to understand the nature of the cell better.

To do this involves the process centrifuge, whereby spinning a single cell at various speeds produces cell fractionation by the process of homogenization which disrupts the cells into parts that can be studied without breaking or damaging a cell's organelles.

Cell fractionation enables a researcher to study components of a cell in bulk quantity in order to learn a cells composition, metabolism, and nature. Basically a single cell, through the process of cell fractionation centrifuge produces three parts — cell membrane, cytoplasm, and cytosol. Each has different attributes and natures.

Let's use the logic of One to mean only One with the inability to divide in order to produce a whole: Zygote. At conception when the human sperm and human egg meet they form a Zygote. If one remains only one, then how can the Zygote divide and form a human body/person from one cell if one only means one? Should we not all be born and look like a zygote?

I am surprised that you do not understand the doctrine of the Trinity in this manner as evidenced by God's own creation. The Cappadocians in Church History explained the mystery of the trinity similar to this: God in One and incomprehensible to human nature. To be understood by humanity the One allows himself to be glimpsed by his creation as three — Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

I understand this statement by Gregory of Nazianzus, Orations, 40: 41 —“No sooner do I conceive of the One than I am illumined by the splendor of the Three; no sooner do I distinguish Three than I am carried back to the One. When I think of Him as the Whole, and my eyes are filled, and the greater part of what I am thinking escapes me.”

The Creed of Nicaene, “We believe in One God, Father Almighty, maker of all things visible and invisible; and in one Lord Jesus Christ, the son of God, begotten of His Father, only begotten, that is the ousia of the Father, God of God, Light of Light, true God of true God; begotten, not made. He is of one substance with the Father, by who all things were made, both things in heaven and in earth, who for us men (humanity) and for our salvation, came down from heaven and became flesh and became man, suffered and rose again on the third day, ascended into the heavens and comes to judge the living and the dead... And we believe in the Holy Spirit…

Now I postulate to you that if the One eternal God wants to revel Himself as three personal attributes so that we can know the unknowable One God through the agency of three person's, then let God be God! If He can centrifuge Himself to make His Glory known — so be it. He is God and can do whatever He wants! Who are we to stop and stay God's hand?

Who are we to say to God that He cannot do this because it defies human logic? Are we to think God does not know us and thus cannot reveal Himself to humanity in a relatable manner unless he has our permission?

We who believe in the Trinity honor God's all powerfulness and we acquiesce with God that He can do whatever He wants to do to help us understand and know Him better.

You state that Christians worship Three Separate Individual Gods but we truly do not. We worship One God revealed in three Person's — read the creed again. We who espouse the Trinity place no-limits to God's eternal sovereignty and power that He uses to instruct Humanity about Himself.

Are you placing limits on 'Elohim' which is a plural noun used in ancient Hebrew to describe God as used in Genesis chapters 1, 2, and 3?

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#210

Post by Fortigurn » Tue Nov 08, 2005 4:24 pm

Kurieuo wrote:
Fortigurn wrote:If "the Word" is God, and God becomes flesh, then God does not cease being God (for it is logically impossible, in virtue of who God is, for God to cease being God).


Well yes, this is precisely why we know that the 'Word' here is not ontologically 'God' in the sense you understand it. That is precisely my point. God cannot become 'flesh' (Y), and cease being 'God' (X).

But here we have something which can become Y, at which point it ceases being X. Therefore we do not have an ontological reference to God, in the sense you understand it.

What you are doing is actually requiring that the Greek here be contradicted. You require that 'the Word became flesh' must not actually mean 'the Word became flesh'. You require that this Greek phrase (which always means that X became Y, and ceased to be X), in this case actually means that X became Y, and remained X.

Can you understand why I am objecting to the fact that your theological interpretation contradicts the actual Greek grammar here?
I disagree with your interpretation of the Greek.
Would you like me to show you the other passages in Scripture in which this grammatical construction is used?
It is clear to me that Jesus is still the Word which is God, even when Christ takes upon himself fleshly form. As Hebrews 13:8 says: "Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today, and forever."

I think you're reading a lot more into that passage of Hebrews than is there. If Jesus Christ is 'the same yesterday, today, and forever' in the ontological sense, then he couldn't have added flesh to himself (that would have resulted in a change), he couldn't have grown up, couldn't have learned, couldn't have developed, couldn't have changed in any way.
Kurieuo

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