The Virgin Birth: Miracle, Heresy or Cover-up?

C_M_C_M_ Posts: 3,004
edited February 25 in Apologetics

Was Joseph an older man, previously married with other children, couldn't wait, impregnated young Mary, and came up with a story of an angel and virgin birth story? What's the truth of the Birth of Jesus? Were the Bible writers and translators a part of a big cover-up or a miracle of God, really happened? What constitutes a miracle? Let the truth and facts be known of a story so long told with many believing and today many doubting. Can you bring understanding from the biblical account in the gospels with support from the OT? CM

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  • MitchellMitchell Posts: 463
    edited February 25

    CM If one takes the Matthew's account at face value (and accepts it as accurate) the answer is clear. The text makes sure that we know:

    (1) they were engaged

    (2) The had ''not come together" when Mary was found to be pregnant.

    (3) Joseph was a righteous man.

    (3a) Joseph did not want to publicly shame her.See: (Deuteronomy. 22:20) and (Deuteronomy. 22:25-27), public shamming may have entailed her death.

    (3b) Now, if Joseph had been the one whom impregnated Mary why would he need to worry about shamming her and secretly getting read of her before people knew they were to be husband and wife? Actually, if he really impregnated Mary before they got married then he would had to marry and could not have put her away at least according to the Torah and according the concept that he was a righteous man! See (Deuteronomy 22:29) If however, he did impregnate Mary and was trying to get read of her, he then could not have been said to be a righteous man!

    The American King James version reads:

    When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privately. (AKJV)

    The Aramaic Bible in plain English reads:

    The birth of Yeshua The Messiah was thus: when Maryam his mother was engaged to Yoseph before they would have a conjugal relation she was found pregnant from The Spirit of Holiness.But Yoseph her lord was righteous and did not want to expose her, and he was considering divorcing her secretly.

    The English Standard Version reads:

    Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly.

    The New English Bible reads:

    Now the birth of Jesus Christ happened this way. While his mother Mary was engaged to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph, her husband to be, was a righteous man, and because he did not want to disgrace her, he intended to divorce her privately.


    Grace and Peace

  • WolfgangWolfgang Posts: 1,720

    @C_M_ wrote in another thread

    CM response:

    Your point is understood.

    Well, your immediately following comments appear to indicate the opposite, namely that you did not quite understand my point ...

    Wolfgang, what's natural about a woman giving birth to a baby?

    What's the point of your question? Do you think it would be natural for a man to give birth to a baby? perhaps a monkey give birth to a human baby? or perhaps God (or Goddess-Mother) giving birth to a baby?

    Have ever witness (or watch) the birth of a baby?

    Yes, I have .... and I found it quite natural that a woman gave birth to a baby ...especially so since it happened the "natural way" (that is, without medical surgical assistance etc)

    Is not "THE CONCEPTION" of any child is a miracle and what's "supernatural" is conception without a human sperm? 🤔

    No, a conception taking place by sexual intercourse of a man and a woman is the natural way a conception happens ... and that is as such not a miracle but something that happens in accordance with natural laws etc which God has put in effect from the beginning.

    What is supernatural in the case of the conception of Jesus is the fact that the male seed needed for a conception was not provided by sexual intercourse and a male human being, but by God via His creative power holy spirit.

  • C_M_C_M_ Posts: 3,004

    CM response:

    Wolfgang,

    Thanks for sharing. I'm sorry you missed my understanding of your points. I was moving beyond what was stated to another thought. Obviously, I didn't transitioned properly. My thought at the time: What we (humanity) take to be natural or routine, would be able to do if we had to do (conception/birthing) on our own, without God? "I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well" (Psalms 139:14). We have much to be thankful in light of God's grace and mercy. God never ceases to amaze. Blessings! CM

  • WolfgangWolfgang Posts: 1,720

    @C_M_ wrote:

    Thanks for sharing. I'm sorry you missed my understanding of your points. I was moving beyond what was stated to another thought. Obviously, I didn't transitioned properly. My thought at the time: What we (humanity) take to be natural or routine, would be able to do if we had to do (conception/birthing) on our own, without God?

    you are "wandering" in your mind ...

    Actually, it was ME (Wolfgang Schneider) who got my wife pregnant (without God doing anything for which I could blame Him, all my and my wife's doing. Or do you want to say God is getting women pregnant by means of their male sexual partners??

    "I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well" (Psalms 139:14). We have much to be thankful in light of God's grace and mercy. God never ceases to amaze.

    Indeed ... but, please, don't miscontrue what the Psalm is about by such lines of thought as you provided above

  • Bill_ColeyBill_Coley Posts: 1,411
    edited February 25

    @C_M_ said:

    Was Joseph an older man, previously married with other children, couldn't wait, impregnated young Mary, and came up with a story of an angel and virgin birth story? What's the truth of the Birth of Jesus? Were the Bible writers and translators a part of a big cover-up or a miracle of God, really happened? What constitutes a miracle? Let the truth and facts be known of a story so long told with many believing and today many doubting. Can you bring understanding from the biblical account in the gospels with support from the OT? CM

    I don't think the virgin birth story is miracle, a heresy, or a cover-up (I'm curious as to why you chose to limit the options to those three, CM). I think it's a story Matthew and Luke incorporated into their narratives, perhaps because it was already extant and maturing in their parts of the Christian community, or because it appealed to them personally before it had received widespread notice. I think they believed it contributed to their narratives and incorporated it in good faith. Not to cover anything up. Not in fulfillment of heretical impulses. But to tell a story they believed the world needed to hear.

  • C_M_C_M_ Posts: 3,004

    @CM said:

    The New Testament doctrine of the Son of God is the culmination of the dream of Israel’s prophets and psalmists, the fulfillment of the Hebrew Scriptures, the hope of mankind. And the doctrine of is not some borrowed, pagan myth (See Michael Friedländer’s English translation of Ibn Ezra’s commentary; Skarsaune).

    Rather, it explains how the eternal Son of God could enter our world as a “divine human.” His origins were both earthly and heavenly, as the angel Gabriel announced to Miriam, the Messiah’s mother: “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God” (Luke 1:35).

    There is a striking parallel to this verse in the Dead Sea Scrolls (remember, the Scrolls are Jewish not Christian documents), written in the decades immediately before Jesus. In the so-called “Son of God” text (4Q246), it is written of a Messianic figure: “Son of God he shall be called, and they will name him Son of the Most High.... The sword will cease from the earth, and all cities will pay him homage" (See Collins).

    Truth found truth shared. CM



    SOURCES:

    • Michael Friedländer, Isaiah, The Commentary of Ibn Ezra on Isaiah  (New York: Feldheim, n.d. [the original editi􏰪on was published in 1873]) vol. 3, 5.9
    • Oskar Skarsaune, The Incarnation: Myth or Fact?, trans. Trygve R. Skarsten (St. Louis: Concordia, 1991).
    • John J. Collins, The Scepter and the Star: The Messiahs of the Dead Sea Scrolls and Other Ancient Literature (New York: Doubleday, 1995), 155; 164–65; 154-172
  • WolfgangWolfgang Posts: 1,720

    @C_M_ wrote

    Rather, it explains how the eternal Son of God could enter our world as a “divine human.”

    What is meant with "eternal Son of God" ?? Scripture speaks of the Son of God and his generation and his beginning as a living being when he was conceived and then born (cp Lk 1:35ff and Mt 1:18-25), but nowhere states that this human being already lived in eternity past.

    What is meant with "enter our world as a 'divine human' " ?

    His origins were both earthly and heavenly, as the angel Gabriel announced to Miriam, the Messiah’s mother: “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God” (Luke 1:35).

    The message of the angel Gabriel as recorded in in Lk 1:35 speaks indeed of the Messiah's origin .. thus clearly indicating that he was not an alive living Being of some sort prior to the point in time referenced in Lk 1:35 => the time when Mary conceived the child miraculously without the participation of a human male person.

  • C_M_C_M_ Posts: 3,004

    @Wolfgang said:

    What is meant with "eternal Son of God" ??

    The One who was, is, and is-to-come -- Jesus, The Christ.

    What is meant with "enter our world as a 'divine human' " ? 

    The incarnation of Jesus. CM

  • Bill_ColeyBill_Coley Posts: 1,411

    @C_M_ said: (in response to Wolfgang's question: "What is meant with [sic] 'eternal Son of God'??"

    The One who was, is, and is-to-come -- Jesus, The Christ.

    I'm confident that your reference here is to a verse found in Revelation 1. My contention, however, is that said verse definitively says Jesus is NOT the one "who was, is, and is-to-come," and in fact contributes to the conclusion that John believes Jesus is NOT God. Here's that verse in its fuller context: (emphasis added)

    4 John to the seven churches that are in Asia:

    Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before his throne, 5 and from Jesus Christ the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of kings on earth.

    To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood 6 and made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. 7 Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him, and all tribes of the earth will wail on account of him. Even so. Amen.

    “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.” Revelation 1.4-8 (ESV)

    • The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Re 1:4–8). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

    In the first bolded section, John offers grace and peace from three distinct persons/beings/entities:

    1. The one who is, was, and is to come
    2. "Seven spirits" who are before the throne
    3. Jesus Christ

    In the last bolded section, John tells us who #1 on that list is: "the Lord God." So doing the proper substitution, John offers grace and peace from the Lord God, the "seven spirits before the throne," and Jesus Christ. CLEARLY, in my view, that's a definitive distinction between God and Jesus, one that rules out Jesus' being the "one who is , was, and is to come."

    But what if John believes Jesus is God? Two responses:

    1. It's linguistically redundant for John to offer peace and grace from God, the seven spirits, and from God.
    2. In the middle bolded section John rules out Jesus' being God when he describes Jesus as the one who made us priests to "his God and Father." Unless, of course, we claim that Jesus made us priests to his...self, which doesn't make sense.

    CM, I believe the clear, plain, inarguable meaning of the text to which your assertion refers is that Jesus is NOT the one who is, was, and is to come - that one is instead God, who in the text CLEARLY is not Jesus. So please show me how you engage the quoted text, and how you come to the conclusion that John means to say Jesus IS the one who is, was, and is to come.

  • WolfgangWolfgang Posts: 1,720
    edited March 2

    @C_M_

    >> @Wolfgang said:

    >> What is meant with "eternal Son of God" ??

    > The One who was, is, and is-to-come -- Jesus, The Christ.

    You answer the question "WHO is meant ..." which is not what I asked. My question concerns WHAT ... and in particular, What is meant with ETERNAL Son of God? I think your "eternal" contradicts the various scriptures which speak of a BEGINNING of the Son of God, such as references to him being conceived in the womb of the woman Mary or reference to a conception on "this day .."

    >> What is meant with "enter our world as a 'divine human' " ? 

    > The incarnation of Jesus. CM

    What do you mean with "incarnation"? Scripture states clearly that Jesus was CONCEIVED in Mary ... humans are conceived, and the conception marks their actual physical beginning. IF you define "conception" as "incarnation", you would actually claim that all humans are "incarnated" ?

    Post edited by Wolfgang on
  • @Bill_Coley wrote 8 “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.” Revelation 1.4-8 (ESV)

    The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Re 1:4–8). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

    In the last bolded section, John tells us who #1 on that list is: "the Lord God."

    “Behold, I am coming quickly, and my reward is with me, to repay each one according to what his deeds are! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.” 

    Blessed are the ones who wash their robes, so that their authority will be over the tree of life and they may enter into the city through the gates. Outside are the dogs and the sorcerers and the sexually immoral people and the murderers and the idolaters and everyone who loves and who practices falsehood. 

    I, Jesus, sent my angel to testify to you about these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.” 

     W. Hall Harris III et al., eds., The Lexham English Bible (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2012), Re 22:12–16.

    Connecting "I" in Revelation 22:13 and 22:16 shows Jesus is God

    @Bill_Coley wrote But what if John believes Jesus is God? Two responses:

    It's linguistically redundant for John to offer peace and grace from God, the seven spirits, and from God.

    Linguistic "redundancy" shows greeting from one Triune God: Father, Holy Spirit, and Jesus. God the Father and Jesus are one, which includes being the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.

    Keep Smiling 😀

  • WolfgangWolfgang Posts: 1,720

    @Keep_Smiling_4_Jesus wrote

    Connecting "I" in Revelation 22:13 and 22:16 shows Jesus is God

    How do you arrive at that idea? Do you realize that YOU seem to be saying that God is the descendant of David? In other words, king David is the father of God ??? Would one not have to call such an interpretation as yours to be non-sense and therefore be false?

    Linguistic "redundancy" shows greeting from one Triune God: Father, Holy Spirit, and Jesus.

    In what English or other language class did you learn such non-sense? Just because you state something as "a big fat claim" doesn't make the non-sense you claim to be the truth.

    God the Father and Jesus are one, which includes being the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.

    So then (1) God, the Father of Jesus Christ, and (2) Jesus Christ, the Son of (1) God are not two but ONE ??

    Why do you give the impression that you missed the most basic of all math classes and never picked up on what the numbers 1 and 2 mean ?

  • Bill_ColeyBill_Coley Posts: 1,411


    @Keep_Smiling_4_Jesus said:

    Connecting "I" in Revelation 22:13 and 22:16 shows Jesus is God

    Thanks for your reply in which you raise verses at the end of Revelation which in your view connect Jesus and God. As I have made clear in multiple posts over my years in the CD forums, I believe there are New Testament verses which can, when properly isolated, appear to support the view that Jesus is God; I think Revelation 22.13, and to a lesser extent Revelation 22.16, are such verses. My challenge to your point of view, however, consists of the following elements:

    1. There is nothing in the immediate context of Revelation 1 that supports such a conclusion; in fact, the chapter's identifications make no reference that directly ties Jesus to God, and for that matter are most sensibly interpreted to mean Jesus is NOT God. For that matter, there is no reference in all of Revelation 22 that directly ties Jesus to God.
    2. The language of the two references to "the Alpha and Omega" are sufficiently different to compel me to ask whether John intends them to point to the same person (differences highlighted): "'I am the Alpha and the Omega,' says the Lord God, 'who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty" (Rev 1.8) and "I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end” (Rev 22.13)
    3. Both Rev 1.8 and Rev 4.8 make a direct and specific identification of God as the Alpha and Omega without ANY suggestion that Jesus is God. The reference to Jesus as the Alpha and Omega in Rev 22.13, in addition to its very different rhetorical presentation of the identification, makes no such direct and specific identification of Jesus as God.
    4. Contextual considerations in Revelation 22 raise serious questions about the accuracy of concluding John means to identify Jesus as God: 1) Rev 22.1,3 both describe a river that flows "from the throne of God and of the Lamb," language that seems clearly to distinguish between God and the Lamb (who is Jesus); 2) Rev 22.7 quotes God's angel (see Rev 22.6) promising to come "soon." If the speaker in that verse is Jesus, then Jesus is an angel God has sent, and not God; 3) Rev 22.16 quotes Jesus asserting that he has a sent an angel, but I propose that the angel he claims to have sent has a different mission - to testify to the "things" reported in Rev 22.14-15 - than does the angel God sends in Rev 22.6 - to show what "must soon take place." As a result, it's not clear to me that the two angels are the same, particularly if the angel quoted in Rev 22.7 - the one God sent - is Jesus; 4) Rev 22.18-21 makes several references to God and a couple to Jesus, but NONE of those references make any attempt to assert that Jesus is God. I contend that if one reads Revelation 22 looking for direct ties between God and Jesus, the fact that none exists is obvious and telling.
    5. You contend that what I call linguistic redundancy - that which results from textually supported substitution into Rev 1.4-5 - "shows greeting from one Triune God: Father, Holy Spirit, and Jesus. God the Father and Jesus are one, which includes being the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end." The problem is that, at bare minimum, substitution produces the statement, "Grace to you and peace from the Lord God, and from the seven spirits who are before his throne, and from Jesus Christ the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of kings on earth." That's NOT "Father Holy Spirit, and Jesus"! That's "God, seven spirits (neither word capitalized!) and Jesus." Do you contend that "the seven spirits" of Rev 1.4 are the Holy Spirit? Where else in the NT is there support for such a multi-headed and un-capitalized reference to the Holy Spirit?

    That's a lengthy and complex response to your post. I hope it made sense.


    p.s. I continue to hope you will offer us a way to refer to you in addition to "Keep_Smiling_4_Jesus." It's awkward to use that entire phrase in a sentence, and it feels wrong to refer to you as "Keep Smiling." Might you suggest a name/title/identity less cumbersome than your user name for those who wish to refer to you in their exchanges with you?

  • @Bill_Coley wrote: That's a lengthy and complex response to your post. I hope it made sense.

    Believe your complex response can be simplified into some belief statements:

    1. God made mankind in His image
    2. A human can only be in one place at one time
    3. Therefore God can only be in one place at one time (will not believe that God could be both in Heaven and in Human flesh)
    4. Hence Jesus cannot be God (so nothing in scripture can show Jesus is God to you so must have "clear" separations)

    Does human unbelief change the Truth of God ?

    If your understanding of God is perfect, then the questions in Job chapters 38 through 41 would be easy to answer.

    FYI: my reading/pondering of Revelation 1:1-8 resulted in tears while thinking about God being pierced (both in Heaven and on earth). Also thought about John 5 where Jesus replied to serious scripture students (literally knew letter of law plus memorized oral law) in verses 39-40 "You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life."

    @Bill_Coley wrote p.s. I continue to hope you will offer us a way to refer to you in addition to "Keep_Smiling_4_Jesus." It's awkward to use that entire phrase in a sentence, and it feels wrong to refer to you as "Keep Smiling." Might you suggest a name/title/identity less cumbersome than your user name for those who wish to refer to you in their exchanges with you?

    Thankful for the Lord God Almighty forgiving me for my sins against Him plus God keeps giving me more reasons to Be ReJoicing in the Lord always, which appears as a Smile 😀Thankful for Holy Righteous Fruit of the Holy Spirit: Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, Humility, Self-Control 😍(awesome beauty of God is beyond what words describe) Many years ago, my past attitudes and actions provided reason for Holy Righteous Jealous God to blot me out of His Book of Life, which is something I never want to do again. Hence my user name choice that reflects my ongoing Love for Jesus (God) 😍

    Keep Smiling 😀

  • Bill_ColeyBill_Coley Posts: 1,411

    @Keep_Smiling_4_Jesus

    Believe your complex response can be simplified into some belief statements:

    - God made mankind in His image

    A human can only be in one place at one time

    Therefore God can only be in one place at one time (will not believe that God could be both in Heaven and in Human flesh)

    Hence Jesus cannot be God (so nothing in scripture can show Jesus is God to you so must have "clear" separations)

    Does human unbelief change the Truth of God ?

    That we are made in God's image (Genesis 1.27) does NOT mean we are God. Or, in imagery apropos of your post, just because WE can't be in more than one place at a time doesn't mean GOD can't be. Or, in imagery directed to a Christological point, just because Jesus - a human being - couldn't be in more than one place at one time doesn't mean God couldn't be.

    But such forays into the land of logic aren't necessary here because my "complex response" had nothing to do with the humanity of Jesus. It had everything to do with the content of the Revelation texts to which it referred. To my disappointment, in your reply you chose not to engage the content of those texts or my analysis of it.


    If your understanding of God is perfect, then the questions in Job chapters 38 through 41 would be easy to answer.

    To my reading of the book, it is precisely BECAUSE God's questions are so easily answered that Job repents "in dust and ashes." (Job 42.6) Without further debate God's questions convince Job that he does not have standing to dispute God's ways.


    Thankful for the Lord God Almighty forgiving me for my sins against Him plus God keeps giving me more reasons to Be ReJoicing in the Lord always, which appears as a Smile 😀Thankful for Holy Righteous Fruit of the Holy Spirit: Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, Humility, Self-Control 😍(awesome beauty of God is beyond what words describe) Many years ago, my past attitudes and actions provided reason for Holy Righteous Jealous God to blot me out of His Book of Life, which is something I never want to do again. Hence my user name choice that reflects my ongoing Love for Jesus (God) 😍

    I respect and appreciate your testimony to your username's genesis. I will continue my present practice of not referring to you by name.

  • C_M_C_M_ Posts: 3,004

    @CM's response:

    The Prologue explains how and for what purpose the book was written, introduces the book’s author, and describes the nature and main themes of Revelation, thus setting the tone for the rest of the book. It consists of three parts:

    • The introductory section (1:1–3)
    • The greetings and doxology (1:4–6)
    • The book’s main theme (1:7–8).

     John addresses the original recipients of the book. The text contains the Trinitarian greetings

     This greeting formula is used by Paul and Peter at the beginning of their letters (cf. Rom. 1:7; 1 Cor. 1:3; 2 Cor. 1:2; Gal. 1:3; 1 Pet. 1:2; 2 Pet. 1:2), and might well have been a common greeting in the early church.

    The greetings combine the customary:

    • Greek greeting word charis (“grace”)
    • Hebrew greeting word shalom (“peace”; Gr. eirēnē), which became a greeting widely used among the early Christians. 

     The One who is and who was and who is coming. This tripartite title refers most likely to the great Old Testament covenant name Yahweh (cf. Exod. 3:14):

    1. Expressing the eternal existence of God in the past, present, and future (See McNamara). Recently Aune argues that the tripartite divine name was borrowed from Hellenistic sources.
    2. Refers to God the Father is seen in 1:8 and 4:8 where it is associated with another divine title, the Almighty.
    3. The title “the One who is and who was and who is coming” refers to “the eschatological ‘visitation’ of God". (See Aune) ” The phrase here indicates at the very beginning that the end-time presence of God in the book of Revelation must be understood in light of both his past and future actions.

    Truth found truth shared. Next time -- thoughts on "The Seven Spirits". CM

    SOURCES:

    -- Martin McNamara, The New Testament and the Palestinian Targum to the Pentateuch (Rome: Pontifical Biblical Institute, 1966), 101–105.

    --Aune, Revelation 1–5, 30–33 -- more recently, Aune argues that the tripartite divine name was borrowed from Hellenistic sources and Refuted by McNamara.

    -- Aune, Revelation 17–22, 939–940.

     

  • Bill_ColeyBill_Coley Posts: 1,411

    @C_M_ said:

    The Prologue explains how and for what purpose the book was written, introduces the book’s author, and describes the nature and main themes of Revelation, thus setting the tone for the rest of the book. It consists of three parts:

    Your quotations from the McNamara and Aura resources, CM, offer points of view about the opening of the book of Revelation, but they don't engage the textual issue I raised to you in my previous post, which was that Rev 1.4-5 offer grace and peace from three distinct entities: 1) "the one who is, was, and is to come" (identified as God in both Rev 1.8 and Rev 4.8); 2) "seven spirits who are before his throne;" and 3) "AND" from Jesus Christ. By every interpretive convention with which I'm familiar, a sentence that says "greetings from A, B, and C" means that A is not C, and C is not A.

    With all due respect for the resources from which you quote, I'm much more interested in your personal take on this question: What do YOU believe John means to say about the distinction between God and Jesus when he sends grace and peace from God, the seven spirits, and from Jesus Christ? Do YOU believe that's a Trinitarian formulation? If so, where in the text do you find support for your view? Do you believe that "the seven spirits who are before his throne" (Rev 1.4, ESV - notice no capital letters!) are the Holy Spirit?

    Thanks for your additional attention to our exchange.

  • C_M_C_M_ Posts: 3,004

    @Bill_Coley said: What do YOU believe John means to say about the distinction between God and Jesus when he sends grace and peace from God, the seven spirits, and from Jesus Christ? Do YOU believe that's a Trinitarian formulation? If so, where in the text do you find support for your view? Do you believe that "the seven spirits who are before his throne" (Rev 1.4, ESV - notice no capital letters!) are the Holy Spirit?

    @CM Response:

    Bill,

    Given your starch, dyed-in-wool", "fight-to-the-death" anti-Trinitarian position, very little that I can say personally or with references will answer your questions or satisfy you or your concerns on the subject matter, because of my embracement of the Scripture (as a whole), acceptance of biblical revelations (general/special), the Godhead, and method of biblical interpretation, etc.

    We have been down this road, pretty much. The question is why you think the Virgin Birth narrative is in the Bible? Do you think to know better than God? Are the Bible writers making "stuff"up? Are you saying anything you or a human can't wrap the brain around it, is impossible? Do you know what this is called? Under whose or what authority you speak or to invalidate God's inspired Word men wrote under the influence of Holy Spirit (God whom you deny)?

    As promised the phrase: The Seven Spirits...

    The plurality of the Holy Spirit occurs also in Revelation 22:6. “The seven Spirits before the throne of God” are identical to “the seven Spirits of God” in Rev. 3:1.

    Elsewhere in the book, “the seven Spirits of God” are portrayed as “seven torches of fire” burning before the throne (Rev. 4:5) and “seven eyes … sent out into all the earth” (Rev. 5:6).

    The Old Testament background of this imagery is found first in the Greek translation (Septuagint)"

    • Isaiah 11:2 -- where seven designations of the Spirit of the Lord are mentioned: the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and godliness, and the spirit of the fear of God.
    • Zechariah 4 -- where the prophet saw the seven lamps (Zech. 4:2) which were to denote “the eyes of the Lord which range throughout the earth” (Zech. 4:10).

    These refer to the activity of the Holy Spirit in the world (Zech. 4:6). John uses Zechariah’s images in portraying the Holy Spirit in his sevenfold fullness (See Bauckham).

    The fact that “the seven Spirits” are here (Rev. 1:4–6)

    1. Associated with the Father and Christ as the equal source of grace and peace.
    2. Rev. 1:4, we have a reference to the sevenfold activity of the Holy Spirit on behalf of the churches.
    3. The number “seven” must, of course, be taken symbolically as divine fullness and perfection

    See for example: Rev. 5:1 scroll … seven seals. Cannot be read until all seven seals are broken. Possible meanings of the scroll:

    • The Book of Life (13:8; 21:27)
    • The Book of the Covenant (Deut. 17:18–20; 2 Kings 11:12–17)
    • The title deed to the universe (see Jer. 32:6–15)
    • The judgment scroll of Ezekiel (Ezek. 2:9–3:3)
    • The record of human history

    Rev. 1:4–8 -- Is a summary of the major themes of the book:

    • The Godhead
    • The roles and actions of Jesus
    • His Second Coming

    Rev. 1:4–5 Seven Churches...

    • "Grace" -- Greek greeting.
    • "Peace -- (Hebrew greeting)
    • "Him who is … is to come" -- A rough paraphrase of God’s name in Ex. 3:14–15.
    • "Seven Spirits" -- Symbolic reference to the Holy Spirit. Please note that Rev. 1:4–5, mentions each member of the Godhead or Trinity:

    * The Father (as “Him who is and was and is to come”)

    * The Spirit (“the Seven Spirits”)

    * Jesus Christ (See Rev. 4:2, 5; 5:5–6; 22:16–21)

    As for the Trinity, see Matt. 28:19 --

    • 18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” Amen.

    "All" = [Dan. 7:13, 14]; Matt. 11:27; Luke 1:32; 10:22; John 3:35; Acts 2:36; Rom. 14:9; 1 Cor. 15:27; [Eph. 1:10, 21]; Phil. 2:9, 10; [Heb. 1:2]; 1 Pet. 3:22

    The seven “Spirits” parallel the seven churches in which the Spirit operates (See Swete).

    What are the seven spirits? [Is. 11:2]; Zech. 3:9; Rev. 3:1; 4:5; 5:6

    • And from the throne proceeded lightnings, thunderings, and voices. Seven lamps of fire were burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God (NKJV Re 4:5).

    Each of the letters to the seven churches concludes with this exhortation:

    • “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”
    • If the churches are a symbolic representation of the universality of the Christian church, then the meaning is clear: “the seven Spirits” seem to refer to the fullness and universality of the activity of the Holy Spirit on behalf of God’s faithful people.

    Truth found truth shared. If you need anymore on the Trinity, see around the forums for my posts on the topic. CM

    SOURCES:

    -- Bauckham, Richard. The Climax of Prophecy. Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1993., pp162–166.

    -- Swete, Henry B. The Apocalypse of St. John. New York: Macmillan Company, 1906. Reprint, Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1951.

  • Bill_ColeyBill_Coley Posts: 1,411

    @C_M_ said:

    Given your starch, dyed-in-wool", "fight-to-the-death" anti-Trinitarian position, very little that I can say personally or with references will answer your questions or satisfy you or your concerns on the subject matter, because of my embracement of the Scripture (as a whole), acceptance of biblical revelations (general/special), the Godhead, and method of biblical interpretation, etc.

    All I asked for, CM, was YOUR point of view on these matters rather than the points of view reported in quoted resources.


    We have been down this road, pretty much. The question is why you think the Virgin Birth narrative is in the Bible? Do you think to know better than God? Are the Bible writers making "stuff"up? Are you saying anything you or a human can't wrap the brain around it, is impossible? Do you know what this is called? Under whose or what authority you speak or to invalidate God's inspired Word men wrote under the influence of Holy Spirit (God whom you deny)?

    My concern is simply the biblical text - its content and intent. My concern is not whether I "know better than God," whether Bible writers "(make) 'stuff' up," or whether anyone can "wrap the brain around" a particular teaching. My concern is not about myself (or you) personally at all. It's about the content and intent of the biblical text in the book of Revelation when it comes to the relationship between God and Jesus. That's both my concern and the focus of my request for YOUR understanding of the biblical texts to which I have drawn attention.

    Under whose/what authority do I speak? I'm guessing the authority similar to what underwrites your posts on this matter: The authority of my status as a child of God and a follower of Jesus, as well as my experience with the biblical text. Under whose/what authority do you suggest that my intent is to "invalidate God's inspired Word" (which is NOT my intention, by the way) or that I "deny" God? (which I don't, by the way)


    As promised the phrase: The Seven Spirits...

    In my view, exegetical and interpretive laziness abound in the material quoted in your post. I don't have time to list it all, so here are two examples:

    • "The Old Testament background of this imagery is found first in the Greek translation (Septuagint)" Isaiah 11:2 -- where seven designations of the Spirit of the Lord are mentioned: the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and godliness, and the spirit of the fear of God."

    Isaiah 11.2 mentions six, not seven, "designations of the Spirit." In addition, to my reading, said "designations" are all clearly descriptions of various functions/powers of the same one Spirit. Finally, notice that in Isaiah 11.2, the reference to the Spirit is capitalized, where it's NOT capitalized in the applicable Revelation verses. In my view, that difference alone justifies the conclusion that the Isaiah 11 verse is not germane to our discussion.


    • "The plurality of the Holy Spirit occurs also in Revelation 22:6. “The seven Spirits before the throne of God” are identical to “the seven Spirits of God” in Rev. 3:1."

    In Rev 22.6, the phrase is NOT "the seven Spirits before the throne of God." The verse refers to "the spirits of the prophets." Notice four differences between the phrase as quoted by your resource and the actual biblical text: 1) The biblical text makes NO reference to the number of spirits, while your resource quotes it as reporting "seven" spirits; 2) The biblical text makes NO reference "the throne of God," while your resource says it does; 3) The biblical text refers to the "spirits of the prophets," while your resource capitalizes the word "spirits," suggesting that those spirits are the spirits of God; 4) A follow-up to #3: The biblical text does NOT capitalize the word "spirits," (because the verse refers to the spirits of prophets, not of God) while your resource DOES capitalize it.


    I view those as consequential mistakes in the resources' handling of the biblical text (and if I had time, I could list many other errors). If the authors you quote can't get simple things such as those correct, on what basis can we have confidence in other parts of their work?

    Again, CM, I ask for YOUR point of view on these matters, not the points of view of quoted resources.

  • WolfgangWolfgang Posts: 1,720

    @Bill_Coley wrote:

    Again, CM, I ask for YOUR point of view on these matters, not the points of view of quoted resources.

    This is a request I too have mentioned various times throughout my participation in this as well as the previous forum. Unfortunately, it seems that some are seemingly unable (for whatever reasons) to provide their own understanding and their own reasoning and point of view in such matters. Instead, sometimes rather lengthy quotes of extra biblical resources are given as reply. Perhaps those who adhere to such a strategy or tactic expect that others then would shut up rather than continue a discussion, seeing that some famous or not so famous published source was given ???

  • Bill_ColeyBill_Coley Posts: 1,411

    @Wolfgang said:

    This is a request I too have mentioned various times throughout my participation in this as well as the previous forum. Unfortunately, it seems that some are seemingly unable (for whatever reasons) to provide their own understanding and their own reasoning and point of view in such matters. Instead, sometimes rather lengthy quotes of extra biblical resources are given as reply. Perhaps those who adhere to such a strategy or tactic expect that others then would shut up rather than continue a discussion, seeing that some famous or not so famous published source was given ???

    Over my years in the CD forums, Wolfgang, I've discovered that I am much better equipped to engage the content of others' posts than I am to analyze the intentions or expectations behind them. As a result, I contend only that quotations from resources report authors' points of view much more than CD posters'.

    And with all due respect, Wolfgang, I feel compelled to use my response to your post as a reminder of my recent questions to you regarding your frequent posts of links to articles written by others. Don't those posts of yours conflict with the principle you declare in your reply to CM, that quotations/links to the words of other writers do not provide YOUR understanding and reasoning?

  • C_M_C_M_ Posts: 3,004
    edited March 9

    @Bill_Coley/@Wolfgang,

    Thanks for your response. I'm sorry you seem to be unfulfilled with my contributions to CD or response to a given post. What is my "personal view" or opinion worth in light of the Word (Bible)? My so-called "point of view" would just be online fodder to be banter about in a rotating mixing drum, with your god-like presuppositions and afterward thrown into the fire as chaff at the end of a summer harvest.

    The two of you, who can, deny the divinity of Christ and another, the virgin birth of Christ, regardless of what biblical writers (or a composite of passages throughout the Bible) penned under inspiration says. What does my "point of view" or willing to "provide...own understanding and...own reasoning" really worth?

    Let me be clear, my posts are not exclusively void of my personal views. Some quotes expressed what I want to say, others expressed better than I am able to do so, and sometimes, quoting others, who hold my views. In addition, I do what I do, to broaden the discussion, in including others to the conversation. Is something inherently wrong with this? You, Bill, responded accordingly to a source I cited. Others should follow your lead. It wasn't my intent to share what you deemed "exegetical and interpretive laziness...in the material".

    I don't envy or fear your literary articulations and I am sure, you likewise don't of me. So, let's be respectful and acceptance of one another form or manner of expressions in these forums. I don't post exclusively for the two of you neither do I exclude you. It's not my intent to frustrate either of you, but CD Guidelines affords you much freedom in getting through the day in CD, like it does me.

    I am not a debater, trained as a debater, known as a debater, studying debating, or am I a son of a debater. From what I have experienced, there are many others share my status, in these forums, rather they care to admit it or not. I am a proclaimer of biblical truth. Yes, I am aware of the name of this site ("Christian Debate"). The two of you are inclined to say, given my admission, I have no place in these forums. You may hold these views on a conscience or a subconscious level. Regardless, I'll remain. Unless and until, I get a word from the chief Administrator, that I am out of compliance with CD guidelines, work with what is shared and consider this matter closed.

    It's appropriate to ask at this point. Are the users of this site compelled to adhere to the high school or collegiate debating rules? Are we saddling this cite and these forums with rank debating guidelines? If so, are we shooting ourselves in the foot? Are people turned off before they come on board? No one wants to enter a public form where they would feel inadequate, unskilled or "picked on" because portions of their journey or belief system is still evolving. I personally don't feel this way, but I can imagine others feeling so. Are we aware that there are many for readers of these forums and than those who, actually, participates? When the name changed from "Christian Discourse" (Old CD), Christian Discussion", to "Christian Debate", I was concern that the later name sends out a message for ONLY people with speciality or universal skills in this area. This is plausible when one has a viable pool or people group to draw. What's in a name? A name carries weight long before a person experiences the good therein.

    The last time I checked, these forums were able to accommodate all, debaters and non-debaters. CD can include various others and still spill e-ink, at the same time, while remaining relevant to the times. I know it could be frustrating to have so much training and skills as a debater with no one to match wit with. A skilled debater among so many non-debaters, what a predicament to be in!

    Reality Check: which is more likely to happen first? Non-debaters becoming skilled debaters or skilled debaters being patience with the non-debaters?

    I have reminded you of where to find personal expressions. In addition, I have given you my personal view of your apparent disappointments to some of my posts. If you feel burdened to discuss my personal views further, we must do it elsewhere.

    Now, back to the OP, The Virgin Birth. CM

  • C_M_C_M_ Posts: 3,004

    Hey, @Bill_Coley,

    Lighten up! I can't speak for Wolfgang (and wouldn't try), but his sharing could be one or several reasons:

    1. They could be reflect his views and sentiments.
    2. They shared to convey context.
    3. May be Wolfgang wanted to make sure He didn't get in the way of message.
    4. He may have wanted the CD Family be aware of difference perspective or thought leader beyond what we have been exposed too.
    5. Then, it could be, he shared full articles provoke thought and feedback. Unfiltered messages give an edge, but then with this, we read out of our interests and needs.
    6. Even after Wolfgang's response, it will still not cover Meta-communication. Gregory Bateson coined the term, In the early 1970s, to describe the underlying messages in what we say and do. This covers "all the nonverbal cues (tone of voice, body language, gestures, facial expression, etc.) that carry meaning that either enhance or disallow what we say in words".

    Meta-communication, or metacommunication, is a secondary communication about how a piece of information is meant to be interpreted. It is based on an idea that the same message accompanied by different meta-communication can mean something entirely different, including its opposite, as in irony.

    I don't agree or endorse Wolfgang's articles, but I respect his right to invite other voices into the conversation. The most articulate self-expressive person, we're all left in a deficit, to understand because we can't hear and see one another. Let's be willing to receive be more appreciative to what one has to offer.

    Don't you agree? CM😉


    SOURCE:

    PS. "I APPROVE THIS MESSAGE"! 😉

  • WolfgangWolfgang Posts: 1,720
    edited March 9

    @Bill_Coley wrote:

    And with all due respect, Wolfgang, I feel compelled to use my response to your post as a reminder of my recent questions to you regarding your frequent posts of links to articles written by others. Don't those posts of yours conflict with the principle you declare in your reply to CM, that quotations/links to the words of other writers do not provide YOUR understanding and reasoning?

    My intention / purpose for posting links to articles was/is to point to the article wriiter's view and content .... and as far as I remember it has been mostly or solely in reference to their mention of political current issues.

    As far as Biblical matters are concerned, I would think that I have not been hiding behind scholars or preachers when in answers when I was asked a question .... but instead have given my own reasoning and my own understanding of Biblical passages with any necessary textual support and language considerations and logical and reasonable conclusions ... actually not much different from the approach you have in regards to commenting on Biblical matters or topics

  • Bill_ColeyBill_Coley Posts: 1,411

    @C_M_ said

    Thanks for your response. I'm sorry you seem to be unfulfilled with my contributions to CD or response to a given post. What is my "personal view" or opinion worth in light of the Word (Bible)? My so-called "point of view" would just be online fodder to be banter about in a rotating mixing drum, with your god-like presuppositions and afterward thrown into the fire as chaff at the end of a summer harvest.

    and in the next post...

    Hey, @Bill_Coley,

    Lighten up! I can't speak for Wolfgang (and wouldn't try), but his sharing could be one or several reasons:

    All I've EVER sought in our exchange was understanding of your views on the issues raised, including the issues with which you started this thread:

    • "Was Joseph an older man, previously married with other children, couldn't wait, impregnated young Mary, and came up with a story of an angel and virgin birth story? What's the truth of the Birth of Jesus? Were the Bible writers and translators a part of a big cover-up or a miracle of God, really happened? What constitutes a miracle? Let the truth and facts be known of a story so long told with many believing and today many doubting. Can you bring understanding from the biblical account in the gospels with support from the OT? CM"

    That read to me like a request for our views, so I offered mine and requested yours. That you have declined to offer yours was and will always remain your choice.

    As for your soliloquy about debates and debaters, I don't think CD exists to win or lose arguments; rather it exists as a community in which to make and respond to them. Neither of us sways the other in our exchanges on the Trinity, do we? You're not convinced by my exegesis any more than I'm swayed by the resources you quote. Bottom line: There are no winners and losers in genial exchanges of ideas.

  • C_M_C_M_ Posts: 3,004

    Wow! Thanks for your candor. Perhaps, we can find some common ground, moving forward. CM

  • Bill_ColeyBill_Coley Posts: 1,411

    @C_M_ said:

    Wow! Thanks for your candor. Perhaps, we can find some common ground, moving forward. CM

    In my view, we've always had common ground, CM.

    When you and I post to threads that discuss the American president, we're expressing our own views and responding to each other's. The same is true when we post to threads on matters of Christology, including this thread's focus on the virgin birth. The difference between our expressions and exchanges of views in this thread and the political threads is that in this one you and I hold different views. But the basic dynamic - you and I express views and respond to each other's views - is not at all different.

    I continue to proclaim the centrality of these forums' expectation that we will criticize ideas, not people. In my view, the common ground on which we stand is at its most solid when we conform our posts that simple directive. We don't need to doubt each other's faithfulness, or question each other's commitment to Christ, or suggest that the other is denying God. Regardless of its merits, each of those is at its root a criticism of a person more than an idea, and therefore not in keeping with the intentions of these forums.

    Moving forward, I propose that you express your views, I express my views, and we comment on, agree and/or contend with, and ask questions about each other's views... just as we've been doing for quite some time now.

  • Jesus asked a question to the Pharisees in Matthew 22:42-45 (with parallels in Mark 12:35-37 and Luke 20:41-44)

    42 “What do you think about the Christ, whose son is He?” They said to Him, “The son of David.”

    43 He said to them, “Then how does David in the Spirit call Him ‘Lord,’ saying,

    44 ‘The Lord said to my Lord,

    “Sit at My right hand,

    Until I put Your enemies beneath Your feet” ’?

    45 “If David then calls Him ‘Lord,’ how is He his son?”

     New American Standard Bible: 1995 Update (La Habra, CA: The Lockman Foundation, 1995), Mt 22:42–45.

    Jesus Christ (Messiah) is both Man (legally & physically a descendant of King David) and God (The Word was eternally being before the creation of the world).

    @Wolfgang wrote So then (1) God, the Father of Jesus Christ, and (2) Jesus Christ, the Son of (1) God are not two but ONE ??

    (1) God, the Father of Jesus Christ and (2) Jesus Christ, the Son of God intimately share (1) Heart, (1) Soul, (1) Strength, (1) Image while having (2) voices with (2) minds that choose to truly Love 😍within community of (1) God plus Love God's creation.

    Keep Smiling 😀

  • @Bill_Coley wrote: That we are made in God's image (Genesis 1.27) does NOT mean we are God. Or, in imagery apropos of your post, just because WE can't be in more than one place at a time doesn't mean GOD can't be. Or, in imagery directed to a Christological point, just because Jesus - a human being - couldn't be in more than one place at one time doesn't mean God couldn't be.

    But such forays into the land of logic aren't necessary here because my "complex response" had nothing to do with the humanity of Jesus. It had everything to do with the content of the Revelation texts to which it referred. To my disappointment, in your reply you chose not to engage the content of those texts or my analysis of it.

    Concur that humans being made in God's image does not make humans into gods (although am aware of a number of humans who thought they were gods). The One God who designed creation and Love included plans to be in two places at the same time when "The Word" (John 1:1,14) became flesh so God was ruling in heaven while being in Jesus (both God and Man).

    Personally not understand "complex response" since it did not make sense to me. One point reminded me of a college English teacher about major points in a speech needing triplicate:

    • Tell them what you are going to tell them
    • Tell them
    • Tell them what you told them

    A number of radio ads repeat phone numbers three times (to create one memory in humans). In contrast is God's style of Holy inspiration, which has a variety of repetitions. Revelation chapter 22 includes: "I am the Alpha and Omega ... I, Jesus ..." that has a differently worded expressions to begin the Revelation of Jesus Christ (while lacking first personal pronoun with Jesus). John chapter 1 has imagery about The Word that lacks repetition in the Gospel of John. Noted John 8:12 "I am the light of the world." has Jesus using God's Name along with reference back to Genesis 1:3 where God said: "Let there be light"

    What are the diety implications of more than one of "the Alpha and the Omega" ? To me, "the Alpha and the Omega" are One so different wording provides aspect insights about One God.

    Wondered if isolated verses are ignored because they are not understood OR are ignored because they cannot be believed ?

    Keep Smiling 😀

  • Bill_ColeyBill_Coley Posts: 1,411

    @Keep_Smiling_4_Jesus said:

    Concur that humans being made in God's image does not make humans into gods (although am aware of a number of humans who thought they were gods). The One God who designed creation and Love included plans to be in two places at the same time when "The Word" (John 1:1,14) became flesh so God was ruling in heaven while being in Jesus (both God and Man).

    Our disagreement as to the meaning and Christological significance of John's use of the Greek word "Logos" ("Word") in the prelude of his Gospel is obvious and likely irreconcilable.

    Personally not understand "complex response" since it did not make sense to me.

    The essence of my previous response - the "complex" one - was that I don't find the verses in Revelation to which you drew attention to be persuasive evidence that Jesus is God, even though I count them among the small number of NT verses which can, if read in isolation from the rest of the NT, be interpreted to lend credence to such a point of view. Were you to respond to scores of the NT verses whose clear meaning, in my view, is that Jesus is NOT God, you'd be at it for quite a while.

    A number of radio ads repeat phone numbers three times (to create one memory in humans). In contrast is God's style of Holy inspiration, which has a variety of repetitions. Revelation chapter 22 includes: "I am the Alpha and Omega ... I, Jesus ..." that has a differently worded expressions to begin the Revelation of Jesus Christ (while lacking first personal pronoun with Jesus). John chapter 1 has imagery about The Word that lacks repetition in the Gospel of John. Noted John 8:12 "I am the light of the world." has Jesus using God's Name along with reference back to Genesis 1:3 where God said: "Let there be light"

    You interpret the lack of repetition in Revelation's imagery differently than I do. I respect that.

    Where in John 8.12 does Jesus use God's name?

    John 8 has numerous verses whose clear meaning, in my view, is that Jesus is not God:

    • John 8.28 - Jesus does nothing on his own; he says only what the Father has taught him. [Jesus is powerless on his own - NOT a divine characteristic.]
    • John 8.29 - The one who sent Jesus is always with Jesus because Jesus always does what pleases the one who sent him. [The sender is NOT the same as the one sent.]
    • John 8.39-40 - Jesus describes himself as "a man" who has told people the truth he "heard from God." [Jesus is the messenger, not the source of the message.]
    • John 8.42 - Jesus says he "came from God," the one who "sent" him. [The sender is not the same as the one sent.]
    • John 8.50 - God seeks Jesus' glory; Jesus does not seek his own glory. (cf. John 8.54)
    • John 8.54 -55 - Jesus says he knows and obeys the one they call "God." [A perfect opportunity for Jesus to claim to be God, but he doesn't take it. Instead he says he knows God and obeys God. I see no suggestion in those verses that Jesus believes he's obeying himself. In fact, in multiple locations in the chapter, he makes clear that he's not in control; God is. In my view, that's a clear distinction between God and Jesus.]

    Wondered if isolated verses are ignored because they are not understood OR are ignored because they cannot be believed ?

    There's at least a third option: Isolated verses are given less weight - NOT "ignored" - because they contradict the message of the vast majority of other verses on the given subject. If one verse says "X" and twenty verses say "not X," the one verse proves "X," but ONLY if it is read in isolation, without the input of the twenty verses that say "not X." When it comes to the question of whether Jesus is God, I choose to believe the 20 verses, not the one verse. [20-to-1 is not intended as an accurate report of the ratio of verses on the subject of Jesus and God. I believe the ratio is significantly on the side of "Jesus is not God," but I don't claim the ratio is 20-to-1.]

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