Trinity – What is it?

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Re: Trinity – What is it?

#31

Post by Byblos » Thu Sep 20, 2007 1:29 pm

FFC wrote:Good link. It also seems to be fraught with a little machismo. :lol:
And deservedly so. :roll:
Let us proclaim the mystery of our faith: Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again.

Lord I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.

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Re: Trinity – What is it?

#32

Post by Byblos » Thu Sep 20, 2007 1:40 pm

Fortigurn wrote:... it is the singular use of 'elohim' which identifies God as one person (not more than one).
... The rule at the heart of this issue is that the word 'elohim', when used with singular verbs, is singular not plural.


A quick question for you Fortigurn (as a side note and just for my own curiosity, no debate intended - yet). Since Elohim is generally recognized to be the plural form of the word Eloah, why was Elohim used then and not Eloah? Moreover, why is Elohim considered a morphology when there exists a word representing the singular form? I mean it's like using the word 'people' with the singular verb to denote a single person rather than use the word 'person'.
Let us proclaim the mystery of our faith: Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again.

Lord I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.

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Re: Trinity – What is it?

#33

Post by YLTYLT » Thu Sep 20, 2007 3:43 pm

Fortigurn wrote:
YLTYLT wrote:DeuT 6:4 "Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD is one!

This word (one) comes from the Hebrew word “'echad” and can mean, “compound unity.” Sadly, some religious movements have tried to use this Scripture to teach their “oneness” movement. However, this verse could have easily been translated,

“Hear, O Israel: The LORD is our God, the LORD alone.”
You are unfortunately making a very common mistake with regard to the meaning of the word 'echad'. Even a simple glance in a standard lexicon will inform you that the word 'echad' simply means 'one'. It does not mean 'compound unity'.

I'll let trinitarian apologist Gregory Boyd explain it:
Even weaker is the argument that the Hebrew word for "one" (echad) used in the Shema ("Hear O Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord") refers to a united one, not an absolute one. Hence, some Trinitarians have argued, the Old Testament has a view of a united Godhead. It is, of course, true that the meaning of the word may in some contexts denote a unified plurality (e.g. Gen. 2:24, "they shall become one flesh").

But this really proves nothing. An examination of the Old Testament usage reveals that the word echad is as capable of various meanings as is our English word one. The context must determine whether a numerical or unified singularity is intended.

Boyd, Gregory (1995), Oneness Pentecostals and the Trinity
Emphasis mine.
Note how this same word 'echad is used in Genesis 2:24,

“Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.”

Whenever couples marry, they don't become one in “number.” They become one in “unity.”
You are misunderstanding the use of echad here. It is saying they become 'one'. Certainly, one in 'unity', not in 'number'. But echad here still means one.
Note how this same word "echad" is used again in Genesis 11:6,

“And the LORD said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do.”

The people spoken of here in Genesis 11:6 did not become one in “number.” They became one in “unity.” Genesis 11:6
could easily read this way,

“And the LORD said, Behold, the people are unified (i.e., is one), and they have all a unified (i.e., one) language;”
Again, the word echad here means one. How many languages did they have? They had one language. Did they become two in unity, or one in unity? They became one. In both cases, the word 'echad' here means 'one'. It does not mean 'a compound unity'.
My point in my reply was not to prove the Trinity in this one verse. Someone else brought up this verse and my point was that It cannot be use to prove that there is not a Trinity.
Because if 'echad' can be used to describe a married couple as one meaning that they are unified, it very well could also be used to describe God(Elohim) as being one group of persons which are unified. Now I am not saying that it has to be, only that this verse (DeuT 6:4) should not be used to say that God is not more than one person.

To quote from your source: Boyd, Gregory
But this really proves nothing. An examination of the Old Testament usage reveals that the word echad is as capable of various meanings as is our English word one. The context must determine whether a numerical or unified singularity is intended.
There are too many possible ways the the word 'echad' is used to make this an across the board rule without looking at the context of the passage.

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Re: Trinity – What is it?

#34

Post by Fortigurn » Thu Sep 20, 2007 4:52 pm

FFC wrote:Fortigurn,
I understand your concern. Maybe this little break in things can help us to step back and consider what we are posting and how we are reacting to others posts before putting anything forth. I have no authority here, but I can see that you and B.W. are intelligent individuals through which many of us can learn. None of us will agree with everything a person says but there is always the opportunity to learn something new, right.

Take care
FFC
Thanks FFC.
Good link.
Aside from some dating errors (the Huleatt Manuscript, Barnabas, and Hermas are all enthusiastically dated tremendously earlier than the academic consensus), and aside from some very selective quoting (it doesn't tell us everything the writers quoted really believed), it's still useful for illustrating just how long it took for the doctrine of the trinity to come along. I might address some of its more obvious misrepresentations in another thread.
It also seems to be fraught with a little machismo.
Typical COC.
YLTYLT wrote:My point in my reply was not to prove the Trinity in this one verse.
I realise that. My point was that you argued this verse can be used as evidence of the trinity, because (as you claimed), 'echad' is a 'compound unity'. In fact this verse cannot be used as evidence for the trinity, and 'echad' is not a 'compound unity'.
Because if 'echad' can be used to describe a married couple as one meaning that they are unified, it very well could also be used to describe God(Elohim) as being one group of persons which are unified.
In order for 'echad' to describe a group of persons which are unified (which isn't actually the trinity, but anyway), the persons would need to be referred to in the text. We know that 'echad' is used in Genesis 2 to describe two persons (separate beings), who become 'one' in a figurative sense (where the word 'echad' here still means just 'one', and does not mean 'a compound unity'), because both persons are referred to. But in the case of 'YHWH our Elohim is one YHWH', we only have one person referred to (as indicated by the singular verb). This affirms YHWH is one person.
Now I am not saying that it has to be, only that this verse (DeuT 6:4) should not be used to say that God is not more than one person.
This verse says God is one, whereas trinitarians say God is three in one. The difference is fairly obvious. The verse uses a singular verb, indicating only one person. You can support Unitarianism from this verse, but not the trinity. This verse militates against the trinity.
Byblos wrote:A quick question for you Fortigurn (as a side note and just for my own curiosity, no debate intended - yet). Since Elohim is generally recognized to be the plural form of the word Eloah, why was Elohim used then and not Eloah? Moreover, why is Elohim considered a morphology when there exists a word representing the singular form? I mean it's like using the word 'people' with the singular verb to denote a single person rather than use the word 'person'.
Good question. First of all, since TWOT is now 27 years old I would be checking to see if that statement is still current. From my personal observations on B-Trans (a professional Bible translation list), and other more current sources, the 'uncertainty' which TWOT mentions with regard to the relationship between 'elohim' and 'eloah' or 'el' (which even TWOT says is 'far from settled'), has diminished. Some people used to argue that 'elohim' was the plural of 'el', but it was demonstrated that 'el' has the perfectly natural plural 'elim' (which is the predictable morphology). Others suggest that 'elohim' is the plural of 'eloah', but it has been demonstrated that the plural of 'eloah' would be 'eloahim' (which is the predictable morphology).

Exactly how the word 'elohim' came about is uncertain. Linguists still debate its origin. It has been demonstrated that even if it did originally come from a root word as a plural, there is no doubt that its form is now only morphologically plural, and that it is used in both a plural and a singular sense. Not only does its use with singular verbs prove this (note its application to a single pagan god, or to the single king of Israel), but also the fact that in the LXX we find 'elohim' with the singular verb translated by the singular noun THEOS (not the plural THEOI). There is absolutely no scholarly dispute over the fact that elohim has only one morphology, that elohim plus singular verb has a singular subject, and elohim plus plural verb has a plural subject.

It's interesting that in English we have evidence of a similar grammatical oddity, only in the reverse. As I demonstrated, the word 'fish' has only one morphology but can take a singular or plural subject. In this case, it is the noun/verb agreement which indicates the usage in a given context (exactly as with 'elohim'). And yet there exists in English the plural word 'fishes' (though not commonly used today). Now why would anyone use the word 'fish' to refer to more than one fish, when there's a perfectly good plural form of the word 'fish', which is 'fishes'? It's just one of those grammatical oddities which has arisen over time, and it's possible that 'elohim' originally had a root with dual forms (one singular, one plural), but that the original singular morphology has been discontinued, leaving only the plural morphology which assumed both meanings.

But of course this is only speculative, as with suggestions for the origin of 'elohim'. However, as noted before there is absolutely no scholarly dispute over the fact that elohim has only one morphology, that elohim plus singular verb has a singular subject, and elohim plus plural verb has a plural subject. It is also worth remembering that 'elohm' is not hte only Hebrew noun in this class. I listed about three or four other Hebrew nouns which have only one morphology and which take a singular or plural verb to indicate the number of their subject, and there are at least half a dozen such verbs in Hebrew that I know of (possibly more). Exactly how this noun class arose is debatable, but the fact that it exists (and that 'elohim' belongs to it), is not.

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Re: Trinity – What is it?

#35

Post by B. W. » Thu Sep 20, 2007 5:24 pm

Fortigurn wrote: This will fortunately be brief, since BW hasn't said anything new.
* 'I took on the role against majestic plural nouns':
Here's the problem - you have both opposed majestic plurals, and supported majestic plurals. You need to decide which view you hold, and stay with it…

This contradicts BW completely, since BW has argued that the plural of majesty was used by 'ancient Hebrew minds', and was used right in this passage. But then BW has also argued that the plural of majesty was not used by the Hebrews, so we have to wait until BW has decided what to believe about this.

What is interesting is that BW presents us with two completely contradictory articles from the NET site. In this trintiarian article we are told that 'elohim' in Genesis 1:1 cannot be a majestic plural, yet in another trinitiarian article quoted by BW we are told that 'elohim' in Genesis 1:1 is a majestic plural...Here they are together:

*Some have maintained that it is a plural of majesty, but that projects something to ancient Hebrew minds that they never considered.
*The plural form indicates majesty; the name stresses God's sovereignty and incomparability — he is the “God of gods.”

I have to wonder if BW has realised that he himself has argued both for and [/b]against[/b] the majestic plural, and that he has quoted one trintiarian arguing for the majestic plural in Genesis 1 and another trintiarian arguing against the majestic plural in Genesis 1?
Why yes! This a technique of logic, to explore both sides and it is a method that can take many forms to uncover a truth and the truth remains: a plural is a plural. You are not used to this technique as your view is slanted and incapable of seeing another point of view, and did you realized you spelled many words wrong in you post and bad grmmar! — Happens to the best of us. :D
Fortigurn wrote:* 'The Book - Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament [TWOT] is a neutral book and presents all sides.'

It isn't a neutral book, it explicitly introduces theology into word studies.
Sorry Fortigrun — you did not read the introduction of TWOT, page iv, “The editors in general have allowed the writers to speak for themselves.” Then on page iii, “Word study does not lead to a total understanding of the Old testament Text…” It is very balanced and neutral.
Fortigurn wrote: B.W. quote * 'These individuals use a numeric rationale with the majestic plural concept to denote that the plural Elohim was used to define God as singular number One with no plural collectiveness implied of persons due to rule that plural nouns must match singular verbs, etc so that Elohim is singular'

This is wrong on several counts. No one to the best of my knowledge has made the argument that 'the plural Elohim was used to define God as a singular number One'. In fact the opposite is true. As you've been told more than once, it is the singular use of 'elohim' which identifies God as one person (not more than one). You also claim that this argument (which was never actually made), was made on the basis of a 'rule that plural nouns must match singular verbs'. There is no such rule, and no one has appealed to such a rule. The rule at the heart of this issue is that the word 'elohim', when used with singular verbs, is singular not plural. You have helpfully cited a lexical authority which actually says this (even though you disagreed with it).

* 'Fortigrun continually stated this as fact that Elohim is a numerical symbol for a single person!'

I said no such thing, not even once. I said that the word 'elohim', when used with singular verbs, is singular not plural. You have helpfully cited a lexical authority which actually says this (even though you disagreed with it).
Is this what you quoted? See Below… rest my case...
Fortigurn wrote: This is a misleading paragraph, because it implies that 'elohim' is a plural noun, whereas it is in fact a noun with one morphology which is used for both plural and singular referents. Since, as you say 'proper grammar was known and used - yes - even way back when', we must take note when the Hebrew Bible uses elohim with singular verbs and pronouns. When it does so, it refers to only one person (not two or more people)… - it is recognized that 'elohim' with a singular verb refers to one person, whether used as a majestic plural or not. Not only that, but no lexical source of which I'm aware treats 'elohim' as a 'collective noun' in the plural..

'Collective nouns in Hebrew, whether singular or plural, can take both plural verbs and predicate and plural collective nouns can refer to a single group, and then take singular verbs and modifiers This is irrelevant, since 'elohim' is not a collective noun (and I've already corrected you on the issue of collective nouns).
It does not really matter because both are plural forms! Which was my point!
Fortigurn wrote: * 'EL-God could have been used if that was the intent of the numeric symbol the authors really intended as Fortigrun repeatedly cited by saying Elohim is singular number as a single person when used with singular verbs, predicates'

As I have pointed out (and indeed, as this very sentence points out), the fact that 'elohim' is singular when used with singular verbs is the very reason why 'El' was not necessary here. It's very simple.
Yet plural morphology only to you but not the text — it remains a plural and yes, I too too can quote and back my statements up and smother you too death — learned from you!
Fortigurn wrote:I note that you're now changing the subject. Previously we were simply discussing Hebrew grammar. Now you want to just copy/paste quote after quote from articles written by trinitarians about why they believe in the trinity. But since a number of the articles you quote make the same grammatical errors you do, I'll correct them:

* '(Genesis 1:1). While the verb create is singular and thus should have a singular subject, Elohim, the Hebrew name for God in this verse, is plural'

This repeats the common mistake which BW has made. The Hebrew name for God in this place is not plural. It has a plural morphology but it is singular in meaning, as the singular verb tells us.

* 'That may not prove the Trinity, but it definitely points to plurality of persons in the Godhead. There was no other logical reason to choose a plural name.'

Again, the word 'elohim' is not plural here. It is singular. It is not a 'plural name'. In fact 'elohim' is not even a name.
It identifies — God is a name — generic yes but still a name: Plural without an 's' but plural.
Fortigurn wrote: Actually as I've pointed out, there is no necessity to read a plural of majesty here because this is simply the correct grammar for using 'elohim' with a singular subject. But wait, this is a trinitarian telling us that 'elohim' here is a 'plural of majesty'. Yet BW tried to tell us this:

Not only have I proved that this is false, but BW himself has argued supporting the majestic plural, and has in his last post presented an article by a trinitarian arguing that 'elohim' in Genesis 1:1 is a majestic plural. So both BW and the author of this article are using an argument which (according to BW), 'came [evolved] much later in history as a response formulated by cults and non-Christian groups to counter a Trinitarian view of God'. The confusion and contradiction of this position is clear.
The Below Statements Quoted in Part and with some paraphrasing in parts from Book by Yoel Natan: The Jewish Trinity: Collective nouns in Hebrew, whether singular or plural, can take both plural verbs and predicate and plural collective nouns can refer to a single group, and then take singular verbs and modifiers…

Genesis 41:57, “Moreover, all the earth [singular] came [plural verb] to Egypt to Joseph to buy grain, because the famine was severe over all the earth.” ESV - People came to Joseph, not the earth itself.

Genesis 1:14, “And God said, Let luminaries [Plural] be” [LITV] takes on singular verbs! And later plural verbs — should it not be luminary?

Genesis 35:11, “And God said to him, I am God Almighty; be fruitful and multiply. A nation and a company of nations shall be from you. And kings shall go forth from your loins.” ESV A nation and a company of nations — takes a singular verb.

Exodus 20:18, “Now when all the people saw the thunder and the flashes..” ESV the Plural people takes singular verbs.

And the word people in — Joshua 24:16, 21, 24takes on the plural verbs!

Joshua 24:21, “And the people said unto Joshua: 'Nay; but we will serve the LORD.”
Joshua 24:24, “And the people said unto Joshua: 'The LORD our God will we serve, and unto His voice will we hearken.” JPS

Job 12:7, “But now please ask the animals, and they will teach you; and the birds of the heavens, and they will tell you;” [LITV] the plural word animals in Hebrew has singular verbs.

Isaiah 2:18, “And the idols shall utterly pass away” [JPS] The plural Idols takes the singular verb - pass away. END QUOTE from Yoel Natan's Book

Accordingly, should these not read different since the plural is used with singular verbs, etc? As Fortigrun so pointedly pointed out that the singular Plural noun is absolutely intensely singular due to the absolute necessity of matching the singular verb. Since the plural noun Elohim denotes a singular person due solely to matching with singular verbs, etc. Do these verses need changing!? What of these usages? And plurals with plural verbs should have an 's' or 'es' at least!

Yes, the Hebrew grammar does not line up with and so easily match-up with the singular used with plural is always makes noun usage singular, as Mr. Yoel Natan points out! However when referring to Elohim then it's an absolute exception! I smell wet straw and an attempt at a cover up. A Plural remains a plural as the name expresses a collective — a unique collective — a unity - an echad. How else can there be none Like God!!
Fortigurn wrote: The end of BW's post is a wholesale attack on the Christian denomination to which I belong, which certainly has nothing to do with this discussion.
Do you believe that blood of Jesus Christ atones? That Jesus Christ is the son of God and very God of very! Born of a virgin! The savior! That the Holy Spirit is a person - thrid person of the Godhead? That Christ death on the cross saves! That Christ rose from the dead on the third day? That there is a hell and there is an afterlife the departed enter into — living eternally - immediately after death either in judgment or heaven's land?

The answer is NO, you stated this time and again on this form — you do not believe these: thus, you are not a Christian denomination. Did you not once say, buried amongst all you posting that Christdelphians are not organized and hold no hierarchy — what changed your mind? You are not a Christian denomination as you do not hold to the basic fundamentals of the Christian faith - such as the Trinity!

By the way — what I edited from your one post was an attack on me, notice the other attacks have been left as they are.
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Re: Trinity – What is it?

#36

Post by Fortigurn » Thu Sep 20, 2007 6:08 pm

B. W. wrote:Why yes! This a technique of logic, to explore both sides and it is a method that can take many forms to uncover a truth and the truth remains: a plural is a plural.
But BW, you haven't actually done this at all. You haven't said 'Well let's present both sides and see if the majestic plural is true or not'. You claimed right from the start that the majestic plural was a 'doctrine' which was invented much later by non-trinitarians in an attempt to argue against the trinity. You later contradicted this by claiming support for your argument from the majestic plural.

And yes, a plural is a plural (that's a truism), and a singular is a singular (another truism).
You are not used to this technique as your view is slanted and incapable of seeing another point of view, and did you realized you spelled many words wrong in you post and bad grmmar!
Of course I'm used to this technique, but this technique is not what you're actually using. If I spelled 'many words wrong' and used bad grammar, please feel free to correct me. I'm not aware that I did so.
Sorry Fortigrun — you did not read the introduction of TWOT, page iv, “The editors in general have allowed the writers to speak for themselves.”
Er, this says that they have allowed the writers of the work to speak for themselves (in general), which is why they have allowed the writers of the work to introduce theological arguments. This does not say that they haven't permitted theological arguments in the text, because they have.
Then on page iii, “Word study does not lead to a total understanding of the Old testament Text…”
That's true, but this has nothing to do with what I said.
It is very balanced and neutral.
It's pretty balanced, but it isn't neutral. If you were familiar with academic lexicons, you would see what 'neutral' means in this context.
Is this what you quoted? See Below… rest my case...
Yes that is what I said. Let's see what you quoted from me:
Fortigurn wrote: This is a misleading paragraph, because it implies that 'elohim' is a plural noun, whereas it is in fact a noun with one morphology which is used for both plural and singular referents. Since, as you say 'proper grammar was known and used - yes - even way back when', we must take note when the Hebrew Bible uses elohim with singular verbs and pronouns. When it does so, it refers to only one person (not two or more people)… - it is recognized that 'elohim' with a singular verb refers to one person, whether used as a majestic plural or not. Not only that, but no lexical source of which I'm aware treats 'elohim' as a 'collective noun' in the plural..

'Collective nouns in Hebrew, whether singular or plural, can take both plural verbs and predicate and plural collective nouns can refer to a single group, and then take singular verbs and modifiers This is irrelevant, since 'elohim' is not a collective noun (and I've already corrected you on the issue of collective nouns).
See that? I didn't say 'Elohim is a numerical symbol for a single person', not once.
It does not really matter because both are plural forms! Which was my point!
You're confusing yourself again. The word 'elohim' does not have two forms, it only has one form. That one form can be singular or plural. It is not simply plural, as you wrongly claim.
Yet plural morphology only to you but not the text — it remains a plural and yes, I too too can quote and back my statements up and smother you too death — learned from you!
This sentence doesn't make any sense, and it contradicts the very sources you've quoted. It's not just a plural morphology to me, that morphology is recognized by standard lexical authorities. And no, it does not 'remain a plural' in every case, as I've pointed out. If you think you can 'smother' me in lexical sources which say that 'elohim' is a plural word which never has a singular meaning, then please do so. To date you have only quoted from a Hebrew dictionary which contradicts you and supports my case.
It identifies — God is a name — generic yes but still a name: Plural without an 's' but plural.
We're not talking about the English word 'God' (which is not a plural), we're talking about the Hebrew word 'elohim', and the Hebrew word 'elohim' is not a name.
The Below Statements Quoted in Part and with some paraphrasing in parts from Book by Yoel Natan: The Jewish Trinity[/url]: Collective nouns in Hebrew, whether singular or plural, can take both plural verbs and predicate and plural collective nouns can refer to a single group, and then take singular verbs and modifiers…
This is irrelevant, because we're not discussing collective nouns, we're discussing the noun 'elohim'. I already addressed this. You've simply repeated an argument to which I already replied.
Yes, the Hebrew grammar does not line up with and so easily match-up with the singular used with plural is always makes noun usage singular, as Mr. Yoel Natan points out!
The source you quoted is talking about something completely different. It's discussing collective nouns, not the noun type to which 'elohim' belongs. But I have never said that 'singular used with plural is always makes noun usage singular' (which I wouldn't say anyway, because it's incorrect English grammar for a start).
However when referring to Elohim then it's an absolute exception! I smell wet straw and an attempt at a cover up.
There is no 'exception' here. The noun 'elohim' belongs to a class of nouns which are plural in their morphology but can have a plural or singular subject, which is indicated by the noun/verb agreement (singular verbs to indicate the singular use of the noun, plural verbs to indicate the plural use of the noun). This is not an 'exception', and there are a number of Hebrew nouns which follow this grammatical rule.
A Plural remains a plural as the name expresses a collective — a unique collective — a unity - an echad. How else can there be none Like God!!
This is even more bizarre. A plural is not necessarily a collective, not necessarily a 'unique collective', not necessarily a unity, and a plural is certainly not an 'echad' (which means 'one').
Do you believe that blood of Jesus Christ atones? That Jesus Christ is the son of God and very God of very! Born of a virgin! The savior! That the Holy Spirit is a person - thrid person of the Godhead? That Christ death on the cross saves! That Christ rose from the dead on the third day? That there is a hell and there is an afterlife the departed enter into — living eternally - immediately after death either in judgment or heaven's land?

The answer is NO, you stated this time and again on this form — you do not believe these: thus, you are not a Christian denomination.
You can save your attacks on my personal beliefs for another thread.
Did you not once say, buried amongst all you posting that Christdelphians are not organized and hold no hierarchy — what changed your mind?
No, I said that Christadelphians have no centural organization or hierarchy.
You are not a Christian denomination as you do not hold to the basic fundamentals of the Christian faith - such as the Trinity!
Start another thread and show me from the Bible.
By the way — what I edited from your one post was an attack on me, notice the other attacks have been left as they are.
I have never made any attacks on you.
Last edited by Fortigurn on Fri Sep 21, 2007 8:28 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Trinity – What is it?

#37

Post by YLTYLT » Fri Sep 21, 2007 8:24 am

Fortigurn wrote:In order for 'echad' to describe a group of persons which are unified (which isn't actually the trinity, but anyway), the persons would need to be referred to in the text. We know that 'echad' is used in Genesis 2 to describe two persons (separate beings), who become 'one' in a figurative sense (where the word 'echad' here still means just 'one', and does not mean 'a compound unity'), because both persons are referred to. But in the case of 'YHWH our Elohim is one YHWH', we only have one person referred to (as indicated by the singular verb). This affirms YHWH is one person.

Now I am not saying that it has to be, only that this verse (DeuT 6:4) should not be used to say that God is not more than one person.


This verse says God is one, whereas trinitarians say God is three in one. The difference is fairly obvious. The verse uses a singular verb, indicating only one person. You can support Unitarianism from this verse, but not the trinity. This verse militates against the trinity.
In the sentence "Our team is winning." A Team is one team, but consists of more than one person and a singular verb is used here. So to determine if the the verb used with it is singualar or plural does not resolve the issue. The issue is what is the meaning of the word "Elohim".

But again you still missed my point. My point is not to prove the trinity with this verse as you have claimed I am trying . But my point is to identify that there is too much debate in this meaning of word 'echad' of this verse alone to use it to prove or to disprove the Trinity. But There is plenty of eveidence that supports my position that it is a "compound unity". See the following:

From The California Institute for Ancient Studies: Dictionary Lexicon of the Hebrew Language
echad, one, [`echad/one' is always used by associating more than one object, `the evening and the morning were one day', `gathering together of the waters into one sea', `man and wife shall be one flesh'. None of these examples use the other Hebrew word for `one', `yachid'.
And from christian-thinktank.com
This is the older translation of the famous Shema: "Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one." There are two words for 'one' in Biblical Hebrew: 'ehad ('one', 'alone', 'unity from parts') and yahidh (uniqueness-only one of its kind). This verse is sometimes used by a few groups within the Jewish tradition to assert the numerical unity of God's nature, over against what they perceive as a 'Christian' notion of plurality-in-unity. But this verse either doesn't support their position (i.e., it doesn't talk about God's nature at all); or actually does the opposite (i.e., by leaving a door open to 'composite unity'). Instead of using YAHIDH, which MIGHT be of some support to their position, it uses 'EHAD, which lends itself to the plurality position (or certainly allows it). Consider some other passages in which 'EHAD is used:
http://www.christian-thinktank.com/trin02.html is the link to the rest of this


We must go back to the meaning of the word "Elohim" but without using the verb-number(singular or plural) to identify the meaning of "Elohim".

But I will leave that to others which are already discussing that very thing .....

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Re: Trinity – What is it?

#38

Post by Fortigurn » Fri Sep 21, 2007 11:40 am

YLTYLT wrote:In the sentence "Our team is winning." A Team is one team, but consists of more than one person and a singular verb is used here. So to determine if the the verb used with it is singualar or plural does not resolve the issue. The issue is what is the meaning of the word "Elohim".
In the sentence 'Our team is winning', the word 'team' is a singular noun. So it takes a singular verb. The plural is 'teamS', which takes a plural verb. This is Grammar 101. The noun 'team' has both singular and plural morphologies. It is not a noun of the same class as 'fish', or 'sheep', which have one morphology which can be used for singular and plural subjets.

As I have already pointed out, the word 'elohim' is an entirely different class of noun. It does not have singular and plural morphologies, unlike the word 'team'. You are comparing apples to oranges. The word 'elohim', like the word 'sheep' and others of this class, has only one morphology, which can be used for singular and plural subjects. It is the noun/verb agreement which informs us which is being used in any given case.

You are not in a position to argue with this. It's a grammatical fact just like the English word 'sheep', or the other Hebrew words of the same class as 'elohim', such as 'zequnim' and 'ne`urim'. As if any more evidence for this were required, the Jews themselves translated elohim+singular verb with the singular noun, THEOS (not the plural noun THEOI). And if any more evidence is still required then I suggest you go and write to the editors of the standard Hebrew lexicons, such as HALOT. I also invite you once again to visit the B-Hebrew list and argue against the professional scholars here.

You still seem to think that this is a matter of my opinion against yours. It isn't. This has absolutely nothing to do with my opinion. This is an established grammatical fact which has been known by Hebrew grammarians at least since the Hebrew and Chaldee lexicon of Gesenius published in 1812. If you want to dispute it you're not simply up against my opinion, you're up against almost 200 years of lexical scholarship. Do please think seriously about contesting this position. You're going to need a significant array of evidence, and I suggest you're also going to need professional qualifications (not to mention recognized peer-reviewed literature). If you have all that, then by all means go and tackle the scholars on B-Hebrew. I'll be waiting to see if you do.
But again you still missed my point. My point is not to prove the trinity with this verse as you have claimed I am trying .
I didn't claim you were trying to do that. I pointed out what you had said very clearly, that you were attempting to prove that this verse supports the concept that God is more than one person.
But my point is to identify that there is too much debate in this meaning of word 'echad' of this verse alone to use it to prove or to disprove the Trinity.
On the contrary, there is no debate about the meaning of the word 'echad'. Standard lexicons note that it means 'one', 'each', 'a certain', 'an', 'once', 'only', 'first', and is the component for 'one' in the ordinal 'eleventh'. You can see for yourself that all of these meanings refer to a single subject.
But There is plenty of eveidence that supports my position that it is a "compound unity". See the following:

From The California Institute for Ancient Studies: Dictionary Lexicon of the Hebrew Language
echad, one, [`echad/one' is always used by associating more than one object, `the evening and the morning were one day', `gathering together of the waters into one sea', `man and wife shall be one flesh'. None of these examples use the other Hebrew word for `one', `yachid'.
This is a very confused sentence (and I note that it is not a standard lexical source). Firstly, echad is not always used 'by associating more than one object':

* Numbers 13:2: 'You are to send ONE [echad] man from each ancestral tribe': Here echad modifies only one word, the word 'man'. How many men? One man? More than one man? A 'compound unity' of men?

* Numbers 34:18: 'You must take ONE [echad] leader from every tribe': Here echad modifies only one word, the word leader'. How many leaders? One? More than one? A 'compound unity' of leaders?

* 1 Kings 19: 'while he went A [echad] day's journey into the desert': Here echad modifies only one word, the word 'day'. How many days? One day? More than one day? A 'compound unity' of days?

* 1 Kings 20:13: 'Now A [echad] prophet visited King Ahab of Israel': Here echad modifies only one word, the word 'prophet'. How many prophets? One prophet? More than one prophet? A 'compound unity' of prophets?

* Daniel 8:3: '3 I looked up8 and saw A [echad] ram': Here echad modifies only one word, the word 'ram'. How many rams? One ram? More than one ram? A 'compound unity' of rams?

Secondly, I don't know any standard lexicon which defines echad as 'a compound unity' (and even this 'lexicon' you've quoted doesn't say that).

Thirdly, in every single one of these phrases the word echad means nothing more than one.

Let's look and see:

* `the evening and the morning were one day': How many days? A 'compound unity' of days, or only one?

* `gathering together of the waters into one sea': How many seas? A 'compound unity' of seas, or only one sea?

* `man and wife shall be one flesh': How many flesh? A 'compound unity of more than one flesh', or only one flesh?

Well of course, you see the point. In each and every case the word echad here means one, and nothing more than one. It functions exactly the same as the English word for one. Let me show you:

* One flock: How many flocks?

* One team: How many teams?

* One group: How many groups?

* One person: How many people?

You see? The meaning of the word is simply one, in every case. Unsurprisingly, when the Jews translated echad into Greek, they used the Greek word for one.
And from christian-thinktank.com
This is the older translation of the famous Shema: "Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one." There are two words for 'one' in Biblical Hebrew: 'ehad ('one', 'alone', 'unity from parts') and yahidh (uniqueness-only one of its kind). This verse is sometimes used by a few groups within the Jewish tradition to assert the numerical unity of God's nature, over against what they perceive as a 'Christian' notion of plurality-in-unity. But this verse either doesn't support their position (i.e., it doesn't talk about God's nature at all); or actually does the opposite (i.e., by leaving a door open to 'composite unity'). Instead of using YAHIDH, which MIGHT be of some support to their position, it uses 'EHAD, which lends itself to the plurality position (or certainly allows it). Consider some other passages in which 'EHAD is used:
http://www.christian-thinktank.com/trin02.html is the link to the rest of this
As I've already shown, this is a sadly common misunderstanding of the Hebrew word echad. The word does not mean 'a compound unity', and the Hebrew word used here is the perfectly ordinary and good word for 'one'. When the Shema says that God is one it is very obviously not saying God is three in one. Miller helpfully provides a list of passages in which the word echad is used to refer to one of something (not to a 'compound unity' of several things).

If you're left in any doubt as to the meaning of echad, I invite you to simply look at how it is translated by modern professionals. Look in your Bible, and you will see echad translated one. It is not translated 'a compound unity' or 'a composite unity', or any such thing. It means 'one', and it is rightly translated 'one'. Again, if you wish to contest this then I'll see you on B-Hebrew. To save you some time (and some embarrassment), let me post some comments from B-Hebrew on this issue:
The "echad" issue was raised to defend "trinitarian" theology, not because of any innate special concept of "composite unity" in the Shema "echad"
it really leaves Messianics and Christians with egg on their face when they use it in front of a native-born Hebrew speaker.... and you will find it all over the Net
Ask any 3 year old Israeli who has barely started talking. 'Echad' is one of the first words of vocabulary in the Hebrew language! It stands for 'one finger pointed up', in response to an almost silly question.
Echad cannot mean anything but the number 1.
If that doesn't convince you, then I suggest you subscribe to B-Hebrew yourself and contest the issue with the scholars there.
We must go back to the meaning of the word "Elohim" but without using the verb-number(singular or plural) to identify the meaning of "Elohim".
No that is wrong. If you are not using the noun/verb agreement to identify the meaning of 'elohim' in any given passage then you are throwing away the Hebrew grammar and making things up as you go along.

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Re: Trinity – What is it?

#39

Post by YLTYLT » Fri Sep 21, 2007 1:16 pm

Fortigurn wrote:On the contrary, there is no debate about the meaning of the word 'echad'. Standard lexicons note that it means 'one', 'each', 'a certain', 'an', 'once', 'only', 'first', and is the component for 'one' in the ordinal 'eleventh'.
In our earlier conversation I referenced:
Note how this same word 'echad is used in Genesis 2:24,
“Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.”
And you replied:
You are misunderstanding the use of echad here. It is saying they become 'one'. Certainly, one in 'unity', not in 'number'. But echad here still means one.
So in this instance it is not one in number it is in unity. What precludes it from being that way in other instances, such as Deut 6:4. I realize that some lexicons say this today. But the mere use of the word in Gen 2:24, identifies that it can mean something different than one in number. It may be "one in thought", or one flesh, or one in ideas, but in this instance in your own words it is not one in number. And as you pointed out, it is one in unity because there are multiple persons being referred to in Gen 2:24. So that is why we cannot use this word 'Echad' to identify the Lord as one person. If Elohim refers to only one person then you would be right and echad would mean one numerically. But if Elohim means more than one person then echad would have to mean unified in some way and not one person.
This is why I say that , to be accurate, we must define Elohim apart from this verse (deut 6:4) without using this as evidence one way or the other.

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Re: Trinity – What is it?

#40

Post by Fortigurn » Fri Sep 21, 2007 6:57 pm

YLTYLT wrote:
Fortigurn wrote:On the contrary, there is no debate about the meaning of the word 'echad'. Standard lexicons note that it means 'one', 'each', 'a certain', 'an', 'once', 'only', 'first', and is the component for 'one' in the ordinal 'eleventh'.
In our earlier conversation I referenced:
Note how this same word 'echad is used in Genesis 2:24,
“Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.”
And you replied:
You are misunderstanding the use of echad here. It is saying they become 'one'. Certainly, one in 'unity', not in 'number'. But echad here still means one.
So in this instance it is not one in number it is in unity.
You are still missing the point. It still means ONE. It doesn't mean 'three', it doesn't mean 'many', and it doesn't mean 'a compound unity'. It means ONE. That is why the translators have rendered it ONE. The exact sense in which the two have become ONE has to be understood from the context, but that doesn't change the fact that the word echad here means ONE, which is why the translators have rendered it ONE.
...I realize that some lexicons say this today.
No, all standard lexicons have always said this, from 1812 right up to today.
But the mere use of the word in Gen 2:24, identifies that it can mean something different than one in number.
No it doesn't. If you really want to overturn 200 years of Hebrew scholarship, then get onto B-Hebrew and start the revolution. Please, don't waste your time with me, my opinion doesn't count for anything, talk to the professionals.
It may be "one in thought", or one flesh, or one in ideas, but in this instance in your own words it is not one in number.
Have you read this sentence of yours? As you say, it means ONE in thought, or ONE in flesh, or ONE in ideas. And no, I have never said 'it is not one in number'. On the contrary, I have repeatedly said that it is one in number. Did you read my post?
And as you pointed out, it is one in unity because there are multiple persons being referred to in Gen 2:24.
You really aren't reading my posts. The fact that is ONE 'in unity' doesn't change the fact that echad here means ONE, which is why it is translated ONE. You keep using the word one to describe echad (which is correct), whilst at the same time telling me it doesn't mean one.
So that is why we cannot use this word 'Echad' to identify the Lord as one person.
On the contrary, we certainly can. As I have demonstrated using an overwhelming array of evidence, echad means one.
If Elohim refers to only one person then you would be right and echad would mean one numerically. But if Elohim means more than one person then echad would have to mean unified in some way and not one person.
The meaning of 'elochim' has absolutely no bearing whatever on the meaning of echad. And as I have pointed out, 'elohim' can be singular or plural, and the manner in which we identify its number in any given case is by the noun/verb agreement.
This is why I say that , to be accurate, we must define Elohim apart from this verse (deut 6:4) without using this as evidence one way or the other.
I have never appealed to Deuteronomy 6:4 in order to define the word 'elohim'. You were the one who raised this verse. You made a false claim about the word echad, just as BW has repeatedly made false claims about the word elohim. I have presented the evidence which demonstrates your errors. Please address it. And please, do yourself a favour and take your arguments to B-Hebrew if you really believe they are true.

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Re: Trinity – What is it?

#41

Post by Gman » Fri Sep 21, 2007 7:16 pm

Fortigurn... Hey how's it going? I know you and I agree on many things... Things like the local flood and the falsehood of Mormonism, etc.. I just thought I'd let you know that I too use to teach that the Trinity was false, but now I see that it was true all along.

For me I can clearly see that Jesus is God, and nothing can take that away from me now. You see, before I use to think that Christ (or man) had to die to God for redemption. But actually it is God dieing FOR man in man's place. When you truly understand the Trinity, you can truly grasp what God has done for us.. Because God (or Christ) died for us, not a second Adam... Basically our sins killed God himself and God was willing to die for us. Another Adam would not have done this for us, only God. And when you see and understand this, you will see the love of God.
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Re: Trinity – What is it?

#42

Post by Jac3510 » Fri Sep 21, 2007 8:58 pm

I'd rather not be a buzzkill or whatever, but let me broadly say (as a staunch Trinitarian), that I don't think the word elohim contributes whatsoever to the debate. It is not a "plural" noun, as has been noted. It is a word with a single morphology, and therefore, it sometimes is used as a plural, and othertimes it is used as a singular. I don't even think you can say that when it refers to God it must have some plurality of some sort involved as this would be a case of special pleading. Look, the fact that elohim is used to refer to individual human beings and even individual pagan dieties (who we ALL agree do not exist in a plurality of persons) should put the cap on the debate with regard to the word's relationship to the Trinity.

As far as why we would find words like El and Eloah, I think it's a rather simple question with a simple answer. First, there is nothing anywhere in the rules of logic, theology, nor any type of communication in general that restrict language to one word to refer only to one broad concept. As much of a copout as it sounds, if someone asks, "Well why would Moses use the word El here???" we could well reply, "Because he wanted to."

Second, it is of interest that Elohim isn't used in conjunction (that I'm aware of) with other words as El is (i.e., El Shaddai). If, then, a writer wanted to use one of these forms, then El would be both in order and specifically called for.

Third, it is well noted that some writers simply prefer one word to the other. El, for instance, is found very often in Job and Psalms, far moreso than Elohim. We must not forget in our affirmation of the inspiration of Scripture that human beings still have stylistic tendancies.

Now, those are just some broad ideas that are in no way intended to be final. I believe that it would make for a very worthwhile study to look into the aspects of God's nature being emphasized by each of these words. For instance, in my own studies, I've come to the conclusion that Yehweh is used strictly with reference to the covenantal aspect of God's nature, whereas Elohim emphasizes God's universal sovereignty. Given the fact that El was the simple proper name of many of the surrounding pagan dieties, the word may emphasize (I'm only guessing here) the personal aspect of God's might as opposed to His strict and absolute authority so obvious in Elohim. Whatever the reasons, my point is that they could well exist, and there seems to me to be a strong enough base of evidence in their favor to warrant further study and, in the mean time, to hold off making theological conclusions based on one usage vs. another.

It just seems to me that there are MUCH better arguments in favor of the Trinity than this one . . .

God bless
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And that, brothers and sisters, is the kind of foolishness you get people who insist on denying biblical theism. A good illustration of any as the length people will go to avoid acknowledging basic truths.

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Re: Trinity – What is it?

#43

Post by B. W. » Fri Sep 21, 2007 11:02 pm

++
I am more than willing to stop the insults along as Fortigrun is willing. Therefore let us move on:

It is not whether the majestic plural noun is correct or not that is the issue because there is none like God and one God that is three persons yet one is most definitely unique and quite majestic too! The issue is this: majestic plural or not it is still a plural. Jesus stated the he is the truth, the way, and the life, that the Holy Spirit will guide us into all truth. Note what Jesus did not say: Grammar is the truth, the way, and life and the holy grammarian will guide people into all truth.

Hebrew is a picture language, it paints a picture. Think of this: In the beginning, the morphology of God begins — demonstrating God revealing himself that he is unlike all others, then revealing things about him, showing forth his nature and true character that makes him like no other! It is a progression. We are blessed in that we now live in a time that we have a completed Book about God. When we reduce the truth to be defined solely by grammar alone we truly are missing the person of truth who will reveal to us all things pertaining to God.

Therefore, let us look at the inconsistencies in the Hebrew grammar, which like all languages have their own inconsistencies. It has been stated the majestic plural comes about by a simple deduction of matching the Plural Noun/pronoun with a singular verb forms, adverb, adjective, predicates, etc and this would indicate that a singular part of noun is what is meant. Hence, plural nouns with plural verbs would be true plurals and in the case of Elohim — god. It is not so simple as that.

Take Elohim/haElohim translated God following the rules of grammar stated by the opposition on this very thread: In these verses Elohim/haElohim forms are used denoting the majestic plural.

Genesis 5:22, 24, Genesis 6: 2, 4, 9, 11, Genesis 35:7, Genesis 17:18, Genesis 28:28, Genesis 20:6, 17, Genesis 22:3-9 etc and etc…

And yet using the same grammar rules haElohim is translated gods instead of following the rules of grammar for majestic noun construct: Exodus 18:11, "Now I know that the LORD is greater than all the gods [haElohim]; indeed, it was proven when they dealt proudly against the people." NASB

Deuteronomy 10:17, 'For the LORD [Yahweh] your [haElohim] God is the [Elohim] God of [haElohim] gods and the Lord of lords” NASB

Judges 10:14, "Go and cry out to the gods [haElohim] which you have chosen” NSAB

1 Samuel 4:8, "Woe to us! Who shall deliver us from the hand of these mighty gods [haElohim]?” NASB

Jeremiah 11:12, “Then the cities of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem will go and cry to the gods[haElohim] to whom they burn incense, but they surely will not save them in the time of their disaster.” NASB

God of gods?
Psalms 136:2, “Give thanks to the God of gods [haElohim], for his loyal love endures.” NET — Should it not read God of God?

Look at Judges 3:7, “The Israelites did evil in the LORD's sight. They forgot the LORD their God [haElohim]and worshiped the Baals [haBaals] and the Asherahs [haAsherahs]” NET. Notice the usage with [haElohim] is inconsistent with both [haBaals] and [haAsherahs] used the same way, with plurals prefixed by the definite article.

To translate a word one way and then say it cannot be translated another when used in the same grammar construct proves an inconsistency. It would be well advised that the opposition re-read every word for Elohim/haElohim, about 2600 words for themselves to see these inconsistencies at work as well. This would indeed take some time and the opposition should be heedful to take the time to go over this before speaking too rashly.

No one has been able to point this out to the opposition on this thread, or elsewhere, due to the fact that the opposition cries foul! And tries to distract people away from the true morphology of God announced in the beginning! But the opposition will state that these refer to false gods and not the real God. True — but a rule of grammar is a still a rule! To say it works here and not there is inconsistent with the rules no matter what the word refers too.

A rule is a rule or is it? Does the rule only support a biased point of view per interpretation? Praise be to Jesus when he said the Holy Spirit will guide us into all truth! Be thankful he did not say the Holy grammarian! Note: a person guides and teaches — a force cannot teach only shove. One side shoves and the other teaches — what is the reader learning about God? None like the Lord God!!

Please note that in Joshua 24:19 the words Elohim Plural is alongside [Holy] also plural. Plural with other plurals should not they be translated as plurals - a rule is a rule except in rare exceptions!? Point: grammar is not the sole source for uncovering the truth of scripture alone — you need to see the picture — the context more than the grammar, you need the Holy Spirit to teach and guide you.

Psalms 58:11, “And men will say, "Surely there is a reward for the righteous; Surely there is a God who judges on earth!" NASB

The Psalm writer writes of God [Elohim] as he who judges [Plural] why was this not used in accordance to the rules? Why would these wicked say their own gods are judging the earth when in the entire Psalm God's wrath is painted as slaying these very wicked, not making them rejoice [verse 10]? The oppressed righteous — they rejoice realizing there is a reward for the righteous! Also note that it is the righteous this verse speaks about and not the wicked because the righteous will see their reward and truly declare there is a God [Elohim - unlike all others] who judges the earth. Does this line up with the book of Revelations?

To say what works here and not there is inconsistent with the rules no matter what the word refers too regarding the true or false god/gods. Then there are other cases too using adoni and other common words demonstrating mixing the singular and plural forms. Quite confusing!

In conclusion:

What I am saying is that the bible usage of Elohim is not so easily to define in accordance to rules of grammar alone. A plural means a plural, majestic or not — does not matter because there are inconsistencies and these inconsistencies point out that Elohim is a plural and should be read as such keeping in mind the context and the picture the OT is painting. You have God describing himself in the bible as being unlike all others! What is more unlike all others than One God in three persons? Now that is majestic! Trinitarians at least are indeed scriptural.

When reading the word translated God in Genesis chapters 1-3 and keep in mind what the word Elohim portrays and note the picture the scene in Genesis paints. Were there any other actors/agents in the drama other than God and man?

Some will say yes — there were angels and heavenly court that follows God about. Note these are not eluded too or even hinted at in the account. A good understanding of Elohim uncovers the mystery that:

Jeremiah 10:6, "There is none like you, O LORD [Yahweh]; you are great, and your name is great in might." ESV

1Kings 8:23, " O LORD[Yahweh], God [Elohim], of Israel, there is no God [Elohim], like you, in heaven above or on earth beneath, keeping covenant and showing steadfast love to your servants who walk before you with all their heart.” ESV

Psalms 113:5, “ Who is like the LORD [Yahweh] our God [Elohim], who is seated on high…” ESV

Exodus 15:11, "Who is like you, O LORD[Yahweh], among the gods [elohim]? Who is like you, majestic in holiness, awesome in glorious deeds, doing wonders?” ESV

Psalms 71:19, “ Your righteousness, O God [Elohim], reaches the high heavens. You who have done great things, O God [Elohim], who is like you?

Deuteronomy 33:26,, "There is none like God [EL], O Jeshurun, who rides through the heavens to your help, through the skies in his majesty. 27 The eternal God[Elohim] is your dwelling place, and underneath are the everlasting arms….” ESV

If there are no further interruptions — we can proceed to look at Genesis chapters 1-3 a bit more closely next time and hopefully dispense with grammar for now while we take a look at the text and what the scriptures themselves paint before our eyes.
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Re: Trinity – What is it?

#44

Post by Fortigurn » Sat Sep 22, 2007 12:20 am

B. W. wrote:I am more than willing to stop the insults along as Fortigrun is willing.
I have not insulted you once in this entire thread. Before I answer your latest post, I am going to ask you to review it and:

* Correct the English grammar errors which make it difficult for me to understand what you mean

* Correct the false statements you have made in your post regarding Hebrew grammar, or at the very least identify where you borrowed these statements from (if they are your own arguments, then please understand that Hebrew scholars and standard lexicons do not agree with you at all

* Decide whether you believe that the majestic plural is used in the Bible or not

* Address the points I have made

I would also advise you to read with care the posts by Gman, and especially Jac. You are not coming across as convincing.

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Re: Trinity – What is it?

#45

Post by Fortigurn » Sat Sep 22, 2007 12:36 am

Jac3510 wrote:I'd rather not be a buzzkill or whatever, but let me broadly say (as a staunch Trinitarian), that I don't think the word elohim contributes whatsoever to the debate. It is not a "plural" noun, as has been noted. It is a word with a single morphology, and therefore, it sometimes is used as a plural, and othertimes it is used as a singular. I don't even think you can say that when it refers to God it must have some plurality of some sort involved as this would be a case of special pleading. Look, the fact that elohim is used to refer to individual human beings and even individual pagan dieties (who we ALL agree do not exist in a plurality of persons) should put the cap on the debate with regard to the word's relationship to the Trinity.
Thank you Jac, that's exactly what I have been saying.
As far as why we would find words like El and Eloah, I think it's a rather simple question with a simple answer. First, there is nothing anywhere in the rules of logic, theology, nor any type of communication in general that restrict language to one word to refer only to one broad concept. As much of a copout as it sounds, if someone asks, "Well why would Moses use the word El here???" we could well reply, "Because he wanted to."
Yes. Scholars of Biblical literature would say 'stylistic reasons'.
Second, it is of interest that Elohim isn't used in conjunction (that I'm aware of) with other words as El is (i.e., El Shaddai). If, then, a writer wanted to use one of these forms, then El would be both in order and specifically called for.
Yes, this does seem to be the case (though note 'YHWH elohim sabbaoth', and there may be one or two others).
Third, it is well noted that some writers simply prefer one word to the other. El, for instance, is found very often in Job and Psalms, far moreso than Elohim. We must not forget in our affirmation of the inspiration of Scripture that human beings still have stylistic tendancies.
Good point.
Now, those are just some broad ideas that are in no way intended to be final. I believe that it would make for a very worthwhile study to look into the aspects of God's nature being emphasized by each of these words. For instance, in my own studies, I've come to the conclusion that Yehweh is used strictly with reference to the covenantal aspect of God's nature, whereas Elohim emphasizes God's universal sovereignty. Given the fact that El was the simple proper name of many of the surrounding pagan dieties, the word may emphasize (I'm only guessing here) the personal aspect of God's might as opposed to His strict and absolute authority so obvious in Elohim. Whatever the reasons, my point is that they could well exist, and there seems to me to be a strong enough base of evidence in their favor to warrant further study and, in the mean time, to hold off making theological conclusions based on one usage vs. another.
That is a very worthwhile study, and there is a lot of good literature on this subject.
It just seems to me that there are MUCH better arguments in favor of the Trinity than this one . . .
I agree with you.

Gman, thanks for your kind words. I understand your reasoning that Jesus is God on the basis of the penal substitution model of the atonement. I personally reject that model of the atonement, because I do not find it in Scripture, I find the participatory model. I've attached a PDF file on this (you'll need WinRAR to unzip it, which you can download for free). The penal substitution model didn't appear in Christian history until the 11th century, which for me completely rules it out as a valid theory, quite apart from the fact that it isn't Biblically based. I don't believe that God can die. I don't find any Scriptural passages saying that God died. I find many passages saying things to the effect that 'God so loved the world that He sent His only begotten son' to die (God sent His son, God did not send Himself), and that it was the son of God who died on the cross (not God).

I don't believe that the penal substitution model is remotely moral. I don't believe that God would be so unjust as to refuse to forgive people who repented, and insist on a payment before He forgave people. If our forgiveness was bought, then we are not saved by grace. Nor do I believe that God would be so unjust as to punish the innocent instead of the guilty, then forgive the guilty - even if they didn't repent. I don't find that loving at all, I find that shocking.

The Scriptures teach that the willingly offered life and death of Christ (commonly termed 'the atonement'), is not merely 'representative' in the sense of Christ doing what we could not, but 'participatory' in the sense of showing what Christ inspires us, and God strengthens us, to do - not merely following his good example, but being prepared to fellowship with his sufferings.
1 Peter 2:
21 For to this you were called, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving an example for you to follow in his steps.

22 He committed no sin nor was deceit found in his mouth.
23 When he was maligned, he did not answer back; when he suffered, he threatened no retaliation, but committed himself to God who judges justly.

24 He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we may cease from sinning and live for righteousness. By his wounds you were healed.

25 For you were going astray like sheep but now you have turned back to the shepherd and guardian of your souls.
1 Peter 4:
1 So, since Christ suffered in the flesh, you also arm yourselves with the same attitude, because the one who has suffered in the flesh has finished with sin,
2 in that he spends the rest of his time on earth concerned about the will of God and not human desires.
1 John 2:
6 The one who says he resides in God ought himself to walk just as Jesus walked.
1 John 3:
16 We have come to know love by this: that Jesus laid down his life for us; thus we ought to lay down our lives for our fellow Christians.
For me, the bottom line is that in Acts 2, the very first time that the apostles preached, they taught people that Jesus is a man appointed by God. They baptized 3,000 people as Christians, all of whom with the understanding that Jesus is a man appointed by God. Throughout every record of their preaching and baptisms, I never see anything else but the same. Baptizing people with any other understanding is teaching 'another Jesus'.
Attachments
Participatory Atonement.rar
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