An angel appeared to Abraham as the agent of God, just as an angel appeared to Moses as the agent of God ('God sent as both ruler and deliverer through the hand of the angel who appeared to him in the bush', Acts 7:35).
Funny . . . I don't see where it says that an angel appeared. It says YHWH appeared to Abraham. In fact, the word “angel” does not even appear anywhere in that text. By comparison, Exodus 3:2 flat says it was the Angel of the LORD that appeared to Moses.
In other words, you have to read into
this text something it doesn't say in order to hold to your theology. I could, of course, cite many, many other passages that explicitly say that God Himself appeared. Genesis 3 is a good example. God would walk in the cool of the day through the Garden. It seems silly to send an angel to walk through the Garden. In fact, to use a tactic you tried on Byblos, if you just read Genesis 1-4 in a very straightforward manner, the obvious impression you would get is that you were having face to face conversations. But again, we can cite numerous examples of God Himself appearing with no reference to an angel. You simply have to read into the text something that isn't there. Not a good position to be in . . .
My take is that you're misinterpreting Colossians 1, which speaks of the new creation. Jesus himself attributed the creation to a person other than himself (Matthew 19:4).
Well that's certainly a unique take. It's nice to see you stretch your theology into positions that are, in my opinion, highly contorted. Paul explicitly says that by Christ all
created. That is past tense, my friend. The New Creation isn't here yet. Not even the staunchest preterist would assert that . . . Isaiah 66, Rev 22, etc. . . . those are passages that speak of the New Creation. Further, Paul says that even the visible and earthly things were created by Jesus. That hardly sounds like the new creation (especially considering this is all controlled by a past tense verb). And yet further, these things
were reconciled (again, past tense) to God in Christ. It isn't too hard to show that all things, including this lost world, has been reconciled through Christ.
So, yeah, interesting take. Totally inadequate, but interesting take, anyway. Oh, and as for Matt 19, Jesus does not attribute creation to anyone other than Himself. He says the Creator did the work. Aside from the fact that He is just discussing what Genesis says, if He is the Creator, which Paul says He is, then there is no problem.
Easy. For a Jew, the Jewish people are 'my people' (Esther 7:3-4; 8:6, Daniel 9:20, Lamentations 3:48). The Jewish people were 'his own'.
Not so easy. First, funny thing about the word “my.” Of course, it implies ownership, as in “My shoes.” But it also implies at relationship, as in “My mother.” It can imply a class, as in “my countrymen.” You quite arbitrarily want Jesus to come to “his own” in the sense of “his countrymen,” and yet want the OT statements from God to be marks of ownership. Now, fair enough . . . at least you recognize the difference, but it doesn't get you anywhere. Look at John 1:10-11
- He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him.
You sure are suggesting a very harsh, jarring change in context between the two verses. In 10, we are talking about the whole of creation, and in 11 we are to move not only to just the Jewish people, but in fact to a non-ownership / relational use of the possessive pronoun? Please. You'll forgive me if that seems very, very week.
As verse 10 clearly states that Word was the conduit through which the world was made, then we can thoroughly expect “His own” to refer to that same act of creation. You'll need a LOT stronger argument than just suggesting a possible difference in the semantic range of the possessive pronoun.
* Non-contradiction: You hold that 'God' and 'man' are not p and not-p. You believe that 'man' is a class but 'God' is not a class. But this is simply our assertion. In English, Greek and Hebrew 'God' is a noun in a class which is 'not-man'. Indeed, Scripture is clear that 'God' and 'man' are not just simply different ways of saying the same thing, or mutually compatible attributes, they are two different and mutually exclusive classes.
You are simply wrong on this. I have no idea why you cannot follow this very, very simple argument. Jesus is a Person. God, when we use the word as that Being's NAME, is a person. Absolutely no one here is arguing that the PERSON called Jesus is the same as the PERSON called God. That would be a contradiction. What we are saying is that the PERSON who is called Jesus belongs to a class of beings called Human, as well as to a class of beings popularly called God (not the Person), but more properly called Divinity or Necessary Existence. There is absolutely no linguistic reason whatsoever that you have cited to prove that the class of Necessary Existence is mutually exclusive from the class of Human Being. There is nothing that says that an individual entity cannot be a member of BOTH CLASSES. Again, consider Football Player and Athlete. Both of these are classes. All Athlete's are not FP's. A person can be a member of BOTH. Or let's consider one not directly nested. Consider the classes American and Male. Not all entities in the class American are also in the class Male, nor all entities in the class Male also in the class American. There is no necessarily connection between the two. This is just the same as Human and Divinity. There is nothing within the definition of Humanity or Divinity that causes them to be mutually exclusive
But there's more. By claiming Jesus is both God and man, the trinitarian claims that Jeus is both immortal (p), and mortal (not-p), both omnipotent (p), and not-omnipotent (not-p), both all knowing (p), and not-all knowing (not-p). Even claiming that Jesus has two natures is logically incoherent, as is the claim that Jesus is 100% God and 100% man (requiring a peculiar definition of '100%').
Again, not true. Your class theory is just awful today. First of all, immortality and mortality have not been properly defined. A person can be immortal in at least three senses. Without going into detail, they can either have life within themselves, making them immune to death; they can simply not have death within themselves, but therefore be prone to death from without; they can have death residing within the flesh, but their immaterial portion capable of existence after its departure from the body. All humans are immortal in the third sense. I believe Adam was immortal in the second sense until the Fall, and only the God Himself is immortal in the first sense.
When the Second Person of the Godhead took on flesh, He did not cease to be immortal. He was just as immortal as He had always been; His body
, however, while not containing death within itself (as ours do), was susceptible to death from without. Does that contract with anything in the class known as Divinity? Nope. Not at all.
Concerning omnipotence and omniscience, I have no problems there either. Just like Pierac, you have confused the coequal ontological nature of God as being a coequal economical nature of God. I don't believe that is the case at all. In essence, Jesus Christ, both before and after the incarnation, was the same as the Father. That is true in economy. Even before the incarnation, the Son and Spirit can only do and know what is according to the Father's will and knowledge. That doesn't affect their coequality in ontological
nature one bit.
So, yes, Jesus is 100% God and 100% Man. He is 100% a member of both classes. His ontological nature and economy never once changed during His kenosis. He simply took on the added descriptions befitting the His additional class. As of today, I am an American. I have never traveled abroad, however. I do not belong to the class of beings we might call “World Travelers.” Suppose, though, tomorrow I fly to Europe. Well, now I belong to that class. Does that change the fact that I am an American? Not one bit. I am 100% American and 100% a World Traveler. Hmmm . . . no “peculiar definition of '100%'” is required here.
Same with Jesus.
* Argument from silence: As I have said repeatedly, I am not making an argument from silence. My argument is that the apostles baptized people as Christians after teaching them that Jesus is a man. I have presented evidence (which wasn't even denied), that the apostles baptized people as Christians after teaching them that Jesus is a man.
Yup, and I have repeatedly said that this IS an argument from silence. Unless you have a statement that says that people were baptized as Christians based only
on the knowledge that Jesus was a man, then you cannot assume that was the only knowledge that was prerequisite to salvation. Your argument runs thus:
1. The recorded apostolic preaching does not include reference to the divinity of Christ,
2. People were baptized after believing the apostolic preaching,
3. Therefore, belief in the divinity of Christ is not necessary for Christian Baptism.
Anyway you cut it, Fortigurn, that is an argument from silence. Show me a verse or logical argument that proves that the apostolic preaching in Acts demonstrates all the necessary elements, and you no longer are arguing from silence. But until then, this argument is simply fallacious
I have said more than once that this does not prove Jesus is only a man. The point I have made is that whereas I have evidence that the apostles baptized people with the knowledge Jesus is a man, you have no evidence that they baptized people with the knowledge Jesus is both God and man.
First off, it doesn't matter whether or not I have evidence that they were baptized with the knowledge of the divinity of Christ. I am talking about YOUR argument, about YOUR assertion. YOU have to defend YOUR assertion. What I have or don't have has absolutely NO bearing on the validity of your argument. Let's say you are right that Jesus is not divine. Let's say the apostle's don't include any reference to the divinity of Christ because, well, He isn't divine in the first place. Obviously, then, all of my arguments are wrong. But here's my point: THIS argument you are making is still INVALID. Why? Because if though the conclusion is wrong, the methodology is incorrect. It is an argument from silence, plain and simple.
* The purpose of Acts: I'm not sure how you are defining 'the Apostolic tradition', but I have never said that the purpose of Acts was intended to record 'the whole of the Apostolic tradition'. I have said that the purpose of the Acts was to instruct a catechumens, and in the process describe what the apostles taught as the gospel prior to baptizing people. And that's exactly what we find, right from Acts 2.
And I am saying that you have your purpose wrong. Now, in the broadest possible sense, I can totally agree that Acts was written “to instruct a catechumen.” The book is obviously written to instruct a believer on the growth and development of Christianity. But Fortigurn, that doesn't mean anything, because in that sense, every single book in the entire Bible is written “to instruct a catechumen.”
Your purpose statement is simply insufficient, which explains your deficient interpretation of the apostolic preaching recorded in the book. What you have to ask yourself is this: in what is the catechumen being instructed? Your answer has consistently been the basic essentials of the apostolic tradition (in the sense of what had to be believed to be baptized). First off, I disagree with that entirely. That's not what Theophilus was being instructed in. He was being shown the historical basis of his faith so that he might me sure that his faith was grounded in reality
(see Luke 1:4).
The very simple fact of the matter is that there is absolutely no reason
to believe that the sermons recorded in Acts contain all of the elements in the original apostolic preaching. This is true because it is not the purpose of acts to record all the elements of the original apostolic preaching. Your argument, then, moves from being an argument from silence to simply an invalid argument because you have a false premise you are working from. In other words, you are just factually wrong on this.
* Pliny: You make three mistakes when appealing to Pliny. The first is that you're appealing to a secondary source rather than a primary source. The second is that even this secondary source is (allegedly), reporting what was said to him by people who were no longer Christians, and hadn't been Christians for between 3 and 25 years[/b], according to Pliny.
The third and most significant mistake is that you want to represent what these ex-Christians allegedly said as representative of Christian orthodoxy and orthopraxy. The problem with this is that there is no evidence for this whatever. If it were true, you would be able to find evidence for it, but you can't.
Concerning the first “mistake,” there is nothing secondary about Pliny's personal experience with Christians. If Pliny is secondary, then so are all the Gospels, because Jesus Himself didn't write any of them. Concerning the second “mistake” has no bearing on anything. We have gotten a good deal of information about Nazi Germany from former Nazis. According to your logic, I can never read the words of a former Mormon or former Muslim about what they believe. That is simply retarded. In fact, it violates one of the most basic elements of historical research, which is that the testimony of enemies is often more valuable than that of sympathizers. The third “mistake” is flat comical. I can't appeal to former Christians to find out what orthodoxy was? And on what basis do we assume that their practice of Christianity was not orthodox? The fact that they were, at the time of their practice, by definition, PRACTICING CHRISTIANS should say a lot.
Now, besides this, you seem to have missed the thrust of the argument. I already said that the fact
that a few Christians in the mid 70's believed Jesus was God would be, by itself, a hasty generalization. However, when you take that fact
and add it to the rest of my argument, this fact
leads us to exactly the conclusion you want to avoid: it was the widely held view of the early church that Jesus Christ was God in the flesh. So . . . your “mistakes” are no mistakes at all.
Consider the earliest witnesses to the orthopraxy of the early Christian assemblies:
Yes, lets . . .
# The New Testament: There are perhaps three (contested), hymnic passages in the New Testament, and none of them are addressed to Christ as a 'divinity'. Nor is there any evidence whatever that the early Christian assemblies met at dawn and sang a hymn to Christ, still less a hymn to Christ as a 'divinity'.
Of course, this entire paragraph falls to the fallacy of begging the question. The very thing we are discussing is whether or not the NT teaches the divinity of Christ. You can't assume that it doesn't in your evidence. Really, I expect much more from you than that. Obviously, I disagree with just about every word in that little piece there. Keep in mind, we are trying to find out information about how the earliest Christians practiced their NT beliefs.
# The Didache: This contains a clear description of the service at Christian assemblies. There is no mention of a dawn meeting. There is no mention of a hymn to Christ, still less a hymn to Christ as a 'divinity'. Not only that, but the three prayers which are described are all prayers to God, who is identified as one person, the Father. And not only that, but Jesus is clearly identified not only as the son of God, but as His agent and servant.
Two problems with your argument here. First off, it is again an argument from silence (you like these, don't you?). Unless we have a clear statement on the PURPOSE of the Didache
, you cannot argue against orthopraxy based on omission. That is really a simple idea, Fortigurn. Don't make arguments based on omission
Ok, second, let's say we take the popularly assumed purpose, which was to instruct the new believer in basic Christian life issues. First off, notice that this person is already a believer, so it is assumed that they already understand the Gospel. Second, note that the Didache
is completely silent on issues we know to be essential to basic Christianity: it never expressly identifies Jesus as “the Son of God.” There are no exhortations to “believe” anything; the word “faith” is only used three times, and only once with any significant connection to anything. There is no mention of preaching (only of prophets and teachers). There is no mention of singing, which we know was a part of early worship (see Eph 5:18-20, etc.).
In short, we don't get anything about orthopraxy from the Didache
. What we get is a manual for Christian living. That there is no reference to the deity of Christ proves absolutely nothing, and to say otherwise is, again, an argument from silence.
# Justin Martyr: No mention of a dawn meeting. Prayers are made to God, and not to Christ. There is no mention of any hymns to Christ at all, still less to Christ as a 'divinity'. And this is the mid-2nd century.
And still more appeals to silence . . .
Now, is this all your idea of early Christian orthopraxy? Pliny's letter predates all of this. It certainly predates Martyr, and it probably predates at least the composition of the Didache
. The events that it describes certainly predate our little Christian handbook. It's rather absurd to dismiss a stated fact from Christians as to how they worshipped because other documents don't describe the exact same thing. Further, it goes without question that the earliest churches were modeled after synagogues, and synagogues did include, for instance, singing. Yet further, I have already mentioned Ignatius who predates Martyr and who was alive and well while the Didache
was being used, and he, a bishop, calls Jesus Christ God on some sixteen occasions. If we are going to go all the way up to Martyr, perhaps I should mention Diognetus, Irenaeus, Martyr himself, Aristides, Tatian, and others?
So, again, considering my three lines of evidence:
1. Pliny (and others) speaks of the worship of Jesus as divine during the apostolic years;
2. The early church fathers uniformly considered Jesus divine, which pushes the source of the belief into the apostolic years;
3. John's epistles take time to deal with proto-Gnosticism, which presumes a belief in the divinity of Christ during the apostolic years.
Thus, we have the wide spread belief in the early church that Jesus was God. The most likely source: the apostolic tradition.
So you're in exactly the same problem as those who claimed that the early Christian assemblies involved group sex and cannibalism - there is no record of it taking place at all. If as you claim this was the orthopraxy of the early Christian assemblies, then why is there no Christian record of it, not in the New Testament description of Christian assemblies, not in the Didache's description of Christian assemblies, and not even in Martyr's description of Christian assemblies?
I'm nowhere near in “exactly the same group.” Those who claimed Christians were cannibals had misunderstood the Eucharist. It is an understandable misinterpretation. Those who charged them with group sex were not apostates who had at one time been in Christians meetings in which those things existed; they were enemies of the Church who were trying to destroy it with the pen.
As far as there not being any description, I've already shown why that is not the case. Pliny does describe it. Ignatius, Martyr, and other Church Fathers repeatedly speak of the divinity of Christ. Singing was a common form of worship in the synagogue, which was the pattern after which the early church was formed. Besides all this, you are STILL simply arguing from silence. Just because something is not mentioned somewhere is no reason to believe it did not exist. Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, especially when there is evidence that it did exist
, as I have been talking about here.
How could it have been missed by these three key sources, for over 100 years? There is simply no evidence to support your case that this statement is representative of Christian orthopraxy at the Christian assembly.
It wasn't. See above. Stop using arguments from silence.
* Heresies: You ask how it could be possible that people could come to the conclusion that Jesus was divine. Easy, the same way the came to the conclusion that Paul and Barnabas were divine - Jesus performed miracles. That's all it took for the superstitious Greeks to decide someone was divine.
Yes, and Paul and Barnabas immediately put a stop to that belief. This statement weighs AGAINST your position. We know that people were worshipping Jesus as divine during the apostolic days. Further, we know that the apostles' direct disciples worshipped Jesus as divine. And yet, not only do they not point out these heresies (as they did with many others), they even used language that could (and does) affirm them! Why? Probably because they believed it themselves.
It's easy to see that if the earliest creedal statements are directed at refuting specific heresies, then the belief that Jesus is God is certainly a belief at which they are taking aim.
So, if they are AIMING at destroying the notion that Jesus is God, then I can expect to find a statement that explicitly says that Jesus is not God. This should be good. Ok, let's see them!
In the Didache:
* God is always described as one person, who is 'the Father', 'Father', and 'the Father almighty', and is described as the creator of all things ('Thou, Master almighty, didst create all things for Thy name's sake')
Hmm . . . nothing about Jesus not being God.
* All prayers are addressed to the Father, through Jesus, in accordance with apostolic teaching and practice
Still nothing . . .
* Jesus is never described as God, or divine, and is said to be the son and servant of God
And still nothing. In fact, it is interesting that Jesus is not even called the Son of God, which John said you have to believe to be saved. Hmmm . . .
In addition, Jesus is explicitly described as the agent of God:
* 'We thank Thee, our Father, for the life and knowledge which You madest known to us through Jesus Thy Servant'
* 'We thank Thee, holy Father, for Thy holy name which You didst cause to tabernacle in our hearts, and for the knowledge and faith and immortality, which You modest known to us through Jesus Thy Servant'
* 'You didst freely give spiritual food and drink and life eternal through Thy Servant'
Yeah . . . Jesus = Agent is not the same as Jesus <> God. Still looking for that statement that Jesus is NOT God, since that is the very heresy we are out to refute!!!
Likewise the Apostles' Creed, in which God is described as one person, the Father, and to whom is attributed the entire creation, whereas Jesus is called the son of God, and is represented as a man.
Still no statement that Jesus is not God . . .
The fact is that the earliest undisputed Christian document referring to Jesus as God doesn't appear until the 2nd century, so you can hardly claim that this is an apostolic teaching.
Begging the question, and denying the evidence from Pliny, as well as the origin of the beliefs from those second century documents that must necessarily go back into the mid to late first century.
* Ignatius: No I did not say that Ignatius was 'too late to be admissible'. I didn't say that in the least.
Well I certainly hope he is not too late, because his words are contemporary with your precious Didache.
What I did say was this:
Next a string of quotes from Ignatius, mainly from the forged epistles or quotes of the later interpolations (not Ignatius' own words), so this is not an accurate representation of Ignatius. I can go into detail about Ignatius later if necessary. What's important here is that non-interpolated and authentic Ignatian epistles distinguish God from Jesus, identify God as one person (the Father), and identify Jesus only as God's son.
Yes, yes, the Ignatian letters contain interpolations, but good luck proving every reference to Jesus' divinity is a later addition to the text. Of course, I can certainly see why you would want to discredit him. If he acknowledges Jesus' deity, your entire case is shot.
At the end of the day, I don't have to apologize for my position. I can see for myself that the apostles baptized people as Christians after teaching them that Jesus is a man. That was good enough for the apostles', and it's good enough for me. There is no evidence that they requried those people to believe Jesus is God, nor is Jesus' 'divinity' ever said to be a matter of salvation, from one end of the New Testament to the other.
On the contrary, what you have to apologize for is basing your entire position on an argument from silence. You simply refuse to acknowledge the broad historical evidence against your position. You reinterpret the NT texts in painfully contorted ways . . .
You have your beliefs. Great. Fine. I don't care. But you've offered absolutely nothing except logical fallacies, bad definitions, and contorted exegesis. As far as your presentation of your position has gone, so far as this thread is concerned, you've left your entire view looking rather silly. In my opinion. And, most likely, in the opinion of just about everybody here.