A TEXT-BASED discussion of the Trinity

There are only three things certain in life: death, taxes, and strong disagreements in CD threads as to whether Jesus was God. We can't do much about the first two, but we can do something about the third. Let's have a text-based, NOT a person/personality-based, discussion of the issue.

As the soil of such a discussion, I intend to post each or every few days a new collection of the texts I collect for use by the Sunday group discussion of Christology I'm currently leading. [For the Sunday group, I created a list of close to 150 Gospels passages that I find relevant to the subject, and will eventually create comparable lists of texts from the remainder of the New Testament as well as the Old Testament.] To each reading I will attach my brief assessment of the text's relevance and consequence, and then invite you to share your assessment.

This can be a text-based, NOT a person/personality-based, discussion if we all confine our responses to the texts. So no name-calling, no accusations that those who disagree with us aren't Christians, no comments about each other's character or maturity or intelligence. Simply stick to the texts.

If you disagree with me or another poster, great! Have your say! But tell us why your view of the given text is more accurate than the other person's view. Don't tell us the other person is a fool, an idiot, a hack, or a heretic. Tell us about your view of the text.

I know some of you will strongly disagree with me. Great again! If you tell me about your view of the texts, I will learn from you and have reason to engage you in civil discourse. If you tell me I'm not a Christian because I disagree with you, I won't respond to your judgmental content and my hopes for a text-based, NOT a person/personality-based, discussion will take a hit.


We've had FAR more than enough name-calling in these forums. Let's dig into the Word, beginning with the first group of readings, which follows in the next post.

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Comments

  • Bill_ColeyBill_Coley Posts: 1,776

    INTRODUCTION

    To give my Sunday group simplified access to what I hope will be every Bible text that is relevant to the issue of whether Jesus was God, I intend to create lists of readings from 1) the Gospels; 2) Acts; 3) the Letters and Epistles; 4) Revelation; 5) The Old Testament prophets; 6) the Pentateuch; 7) the OT’s historical and wisdom literature. 


    Some necessary information:

    • My intention is not to leave out any relevant text (which is how I found 150 Gospels passages!) but there is no guarantee that I will succeed. If you believe there are texts I left out, PLEASE add them to one of your posts.
    • Because between 90-98% of the content of the Gospel of Mark is found in Matthew and Luke, my Gospels list does NOT include any Marcan texts. You’re again welcome and invited to add texts from that Gospel you believe deserve our attention.
    • You can download the entire list of Gospels texts HERE . You can download the NLT version of all the Gospels texts HERE. To my frustration, those PDF documents contain a few typos and other errors, which I hope to correct in this thread.

    With that as introduction...


    GOSPELS PASSAGES COLLECTION #1:


    Matthew 1:1–17

    Matthew introduces his Gospel by placing Jesus in a line of human “ancestors” that begins with Abraham, and calls Jesus “a descendant of David.” Matthew conspicuously names Joseph as Mary’s husband, but not Jesus’ father.


    Luke 3:23–38

    Luke presents Jesus in a different line of human succession, moving from Jesus - one “known as the son of Joseph” - back to Adam. I find the human “nature” of these genealogies revealing and relevant.


    Matthew 1:18–25

    Mary becomes pregnant “through the power of the Holy Spirit.” An angel instructs Joseph to name his forthcoming son Jesus because he will “save his people from their sins.” Matthew says Jesus’ birth fulfills the Isianic prophecy of a child named “Immanuel” - or “God with us” - a phrase I interpret to mean that Jesus is a human proclamation of God’s abiding love and presence among them.


    Luke 2:1–20

    Luke’s birth narrative focuses on the exchange between an “angel of the Lord” and some shepherds. Vocabulary begins to matter here. The angel refers to the newborn baby as “the Savior,” “the Messiah,” and “the Lord.” Later in the passage, the angels sing glory to “God,” which in my view distinguishes between the human “Messiah” and the heavenly “God.” It is “God” the shepherds praise as they return to their flocks. In my view of this text, the shepherds believe God has sent the promised Messiah to them.


    I invite, encourage, and hope for your reply to these texts.

  • Bill_ColeyBill_Coley Posts: 1,776

    GOSPELS PASSAGES COLLECTION #2

    Luke 2:25–35

    In his description of Simeon’s temple encounter with Mary and the baby Jesus, Luke refers to Jesus as “the Messiah” who would “come and rescue Israel, and “the Lord’s Messiah.” Simeon then describes Jesus as God’s “salvation,” one who is “a light to reveal God to the nations,” and one who has been “sent as a sign from God.” In my view, each of those descriptions makes clear the distinction between Jesus and God.


    Luke 2:36–38

    In his description of Anna’s encounter with Mary, Jesus, and Simeon, Luke says Anna praised God and “talked about the child” to all who “had been waiting expectantly for God to rescue Jerusalem.


    Matthew 2:1–12

    Matthew’s report of the visit of the wisemen reports that the travelers seek to worship “the newborn king of the Jews.” Herod then asks his religion experts about the expected birthplace of the “Messiah.” The experts’ response includes quoted OT verses that describe the Messiah as “a ruler” who “will come from you [the people] and will be the shepherd for my [God’s] people Israel.” The wisemen seek to worship the God-sent representative who arises from among the people and who is known by the faithful as the Messiah. They do NOT seek to worship God godself.


    Matthew 2:19–23

    An angel instructs Joseph to take “the child”and Mary back to Israel now that those who threatened the child have died. The family’s return to Nazareth fulfills a prophecy that the Messiah will be “called a Nazarene.” The angel gives no indication that Jesus is God. He is instead a very human “child.”


    NOTE: As I tell my Sunday group, this process is about collecting evidence, much of which is not flashy or dispositive on its own. The objective of this kind of review is to look at everything (or thereabouts!) then make a decision. Today’s selections are necessary and informative - if not decisive - building blocks.

    There will be no new texts tomorrow (Thanksgiving Day) I hope to return with collection #3 on Friday.

  • WolfgangWolfgang Posts: 2,101

    @Bill_Coley ... thank you for posting the comments with those scripture references telling of Jesus' birth and childhood, etc from Mt and Lk. From these scriptures it is as clear as can be that this Jesus spoken of in tho.se places is a male human being, who was born in fulfillment of OT prophecies about a man who would come to be the savior of man

  • reformedreformed Posts: 2,572

    @Bill_Coley might it be easier to go one passage at a time? This format isn't really suited for long posts and interacting with long posts. I am up for this challenge, and also agree to the terms of we leave personalities out of it and only interact with the texts themselves.

  • Bill_ColeyBill_Coley Posts: 1,776

    @reformed posted:

    @Bill_Coley might it be easier to go one passage at a time? This format isn't really suited for long posts and interacting with long posts. I am up for this challenge, and also agree to the terms of we leave personalities out of it and only interact with the texts themselves.

    I take your point about the format I've chosen, but with the limited number of active posters we have in the forums, and the single or few sentence responses that at times arise from those posters, I decided that four passages at a time - many of which, in my view, offer only a word or phrase (perhaps a title people attach to Jesus) relevant to this discussion - is workable. HOWEVER, any interaction on particular text(s) will of course affect the pace at which I post new passages. In addition, some texts are so teeming with Christological significance that I will likely partition each of them into its own post.

    But I also have to note that with 150 Gospels passages alone, and scores of others waiting elsewhere in the Bible, the idea of posting one at a time - more specifically, one per day - sounds like a many-month project to which it would be quite difficult to keep people's attention.

    What do you think of responders starting new threads for each text to which they want to respond? This thread will contain every text citation and my comments. Then when someone wants to comment on a particular text, he or she simply launches a new thread, titling it something like "TRINITY DISCUSSION: [text citation]" - pasting my comments into the OP and then that text will have its own discussion thread?

    I'm grateful for and encouraged by your agreement that discussions here should only be about the texts, not each other.

  • WolfgangWolfgang Posts: 2,101

    What do you think of responders starting new threads for each text to which they want to respond? This thread will contain every text citation and my comments. Then when someone wants to comment on a particular text, he or she simply launches a new thread, titling it something like "TRINITY DISCUSSION: [text citation]" - pasting my comments into the OP and then that text will have its own discussion thread?

    This sounds good to me ... In general, I do not think that there will be long replies to text passages IF INDEED the exchange is kept ot Biblical TEXT related points rather thank posting THEOLOGY comments about the texts.

  • reformedreformed Posts: 2,572

    The only reason I'm weary of that is being able to keep up with it. The quoting system on this forum software isn't very good so it's hard to do multi-line quotes and have it all link up properly. Vanilla software just isn't that great.

  • Bill_ColeyBill_Coley Posts: 1,776
    edited November 29

    GOSPELS PASSAGES COLLECTION #3

    Matthew 3.13-17

    John the Baptizes Jesus only after Jesus tells him that he and John must "carry out all that God requires." Upon Jesus' exit from under the water the heavens open, the Spirit of God descends on Jesus, and a voice from heaven that we naturally assume is God's voice calls Jesus "my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy."

    • Jesus says he and John must do what God requires, a declaration that makes no sense if Jesus believes himself to be God.
    • God's voice calls Jesus "my son," not my "my equal," or "my incarnate self." In addition, if God understands Jesus to be God, the declaration that Jesus brings "great joy" makes little sense. Why would God say effectively "I bring myself great joy"?


    Matthew 4.1-11

    I think this is a critical passage in the divinity of Jesus debate.

    The Spirit leads Jesus into the wilderness. After 40 days, a period of temptation commences with the first of two challenges from the devil that ask Jesus to prove that he is the Son of God. Jesus responds with an affirmation of his dependence on God's word, not physical bread.

    The second challenge results in Jesus' quoting from Deuteronomy, that one "must not test the Lord your God."

    The third temptation is the devil's offer of "all the kingdoms of the world and their glory" if Jesus will "kneel down and worship" him. Jesus again quotes from Deuteronomy, this time a verse that says "you must worship the Lord your God and serve only him."

    • It is God's spirit - which descended on Jesus after the baptism - that leads Jesus into the wilderness.
    • The devil does not ask Jesus to prove himself to be God; he asks him to prove himself to be God's son. Hence, the devil doesn't seem to think Jesus is God. (NOT dispositive by any means! But another piece of evidence to collect.)
    • Jesus sees the second challenge as a test of God, something he's unwilling to effect. How could one who believed himself to be God think that his own actions could test God?
    • In the final temptation, the devil asks Jesus to worship him. Jesus' response - which I think IS dispositive - is that Scripture commands that he worship only the Lord his God. By definition, one who believed himself to be God could NOT have a God he or she would feel commanded to worship.
    • Jesus quotes Scripture, not as part of a Godhead that inspired it, but as a believer whose life is built and directed by it.

    I contend that the temptation scene is the most consequential passage of the ten presented so far in this thread. I don't think Jesus' response to the devil's temptations make any sense if Jesus believed himself to be God. Only one who did not think himself to be God would refuse to test God and declare his personal worship of God.

  • WolfgangWolfgang Posts: 2,101

    I contend that the temptation scene is the most consequential passage of the ten presented so far in this thread. I don't think Jesus' response to the devil's temptations make any sense if Jesus believed himself to be God. Only one who did not think himself to be God would refuse to test God and declare his personal worship of God.

    I agree ... and I continue to be astonished greatly at the manner in which trinitarians usually read and then interpret the passages about temptations where (a) the devil desired to deceive and tempt Jesus that Jesus would tempt/test God, and where (b) the devil desired to tempt Jesus to direct his worship of God away from God and to the devil. Jesus remained faithful and obedient to what Scripture declared concerning these two matters of tempting God and worshiping God as God.

  • PagesPages Posts: 73

    @Bill_Coley

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts on the collection of texts gathered for the Sunday group discussion you lead.  

    Review of Passage Collections 1and 2:

    For the most part I have no disagreement with your assessment of the presented texts in the first two collections you have now posted.

    However, I do notice in both passage lists, so far, the re-occurring thread of statements regarding the humanness of Jesus, and the explicit distinction between the persons of God, and of Jesus.

    • human “ancestors”, human succession, human “nature”, very human “child.””
    • “distinguishes between the human “Messiah” and the heavenly “God.”” 
    • “distinction between Jesus and God.”

    My initial reaction to the above sampling of text is as follows:

    I can only wonder at how one considers focusing on Jesus as human is useful to the opposition of what trinitarians believe; seeing that, trinitarian doctrine affirms the humanness of Jesus, while also maintaining the clear distinction between the persons of God, and of Jesus – they are not one and the same person in this doctrine.

    Perhaps you could provide comment to the above?

    Moving on, we do come to disagreement on a particular point in your Collection 2 commentary where it is stated of the wise men’s visitation, “They do NOT seek to worship God godself.”, I believe in reference to worship in Matt 2:2, 11.  

    I have two requests regarding your above statement: 

    The first, is to ask for a more thorough elaboration of the reasoning behind this statement’s conclusion. 

    The second, how is the word “godself” being used here... as a gender neutral pronoun in place of himself, in a metaphysical new age manner, or something else?

  • WolfgangWolfgang Posts: 2,101

    @Pages wrote

    I can only wonder at how one considers focusing on Jesus as human is useful to the opposition of what trinitarians believe; seeing that, trinitarian doctrine affirms the humanness of Jesus, while also maintaining the clear distinction between the persons of God, and of Jesus – they are not one and the same person in this doctrine.

    It is useful due to the fact that a human by definition can NOT be God. Thus, IF Jesus is a human, he can NOT be God. The distinction between the two persons God and Jesus thus shows that the trinitarians' belief actually is a self-contradictory idea when it is claimed that Jesus is more than a human, such as both human and God.

    The Biblical records concerning Jesus thus far cited in this thread all indicate that Jesus is a human being. There has not been any record thus far with any indication to Jesus being more than a human.

  • Bill_ColeyBill_Coley Posts: 1,776

    Welcome to this thread! Thanks for posting a reply.

    @Pages posted:

    I can only wonder at how one considers focusing on Jesus as human is useful to the opposition of what trinitarians believe; seeing that, trinitarian doctrine affirms the humanness of Jesus, while also maintaining the clear distinction between the persons of God, and of Jesus – they are not one and the same person in this doctrine.

    Perhaps you could provide comment to the above?

    In my view, the issue is not simply that the texts cited to-date in this thread report that Jesus was a human; it is that they do NOT report that Jesus was God. I quickly and gladly acknowledge that this survey of the biblical record is in its infancy, but TO-DATE - ten texts in - there is NO Gospels evidence that Jesus was God. No one - of either earthly or heavenly origin - has claimed him to be God. And he has not claimed himself to be God. YES, there is MUCH more to come! But the evidence SO FAR PRESENTED fully supports the claim that Jesus was a human, but in no way supports the claim that he was God.


    They do NOT seek to worship God godself.”, I believe in reference to worship in Matt 2:211. ...

    I have two requests regarding your above statement: 

    The first, is to ask for a more thorough elaboration of the reasoning behind this statement’s conclusion. 

    I conclude that the wisemen did not seek to worship God because in my view their term "newborn king of the Jews" referred to a human being who would occupy a political, perhaps military, but undoubtedly earthly position. I read no divinity into that term, which in my view means they did not come to worship God.


    The second, how is the word “godself” being used here... as a gender neutral pronoun in place of himself, in a metaphysical new age manner, or something else?

    For nearly forty years, I have been a passionate adversary of "exclusive language," a.k.a. gendered references to humanity (e.g. "mankind"), but also to God. My use of "godself" - which I grant is both cumbersome and unappealing - is neither "metaphysical" nor "new age." It's simply my refusal to employ gendered references to a God who in my view transcends all gender.

  • Bill_ColeyBill_Coley Posts: 1,776

    GOSPELS PASSAGES COLLECTION 4


    Matthew 4:17

    Jesus launches his preaching ministry by directing people to “repent of your sins and turn to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near.” 

    • The most sensible interpretation of Jesus’ use of the phrase “turn to God” suggests strongly that God and he were not the same person/being/entity.


    Matthew 5:17–19

    Jesus commands strict obedience to God’s laws and sees himself as one who will accomplish the purpose of the law of Moses.

    • Again Jesus refers to God in the third person, offering no hint that he believes himself to be the God to whose laws he is commanding obedience. The most sensible interpretation of this saying, too, is that Jesus does not see himself as God.


    Matthew 7:21–23

    Not everyone who calls Jesus “Lord” will enter the Kingdom of Heaven; only those who do the will of the “Father in heaven” and who don’t “break God’s laws,” will enter.

    • Critical to this passage is Jesus’ distinction between himself as “Lord” and the source of the laws people who enter the Kingdom of Heaven must not break. He does not claim to be the source of those laws! God is the source, while he is the one who will accomplish them (see previous passage). 
    • Note that the problem for people who don’t get in the Kingdom of Heaven” is NOT that they violate Jesus’ commands as Lord, but that they violate God’s commands whose purposes he (Jesus) has come to accomplish, and that they fail to do the will of the Father in Heaven,” not his (Jesus’) will.
    • Bottom line: Here “Lord” does NOT mean God; it means master, one to whom followers are in a subservient relationship whose character will be judged by the degree to which they obey God’s laws and do God’s will. 


    Matthew 8:23–27

    Frightened disciple awaken Jesus on a boat in the midst of a storm. They call Jesus “Lord,” but at the end of the passage voice their lack of certainty of who he is.

    • This brief scene offers additional support for the view that “Lord” does not always mean God. For the disciples on the boat, Jesus is clearly one to whom they are loyal, but NOT one whom they have identified as God.


  • WolfgangWolfgang Posts: 2,101
    edited December 1

    @Bill_Coley wrote

    For nearly forty years, I have been a passionate adversary of "exclusive language," a.k.a. gendered references to humanity (e.g. "mankind"), but also to God. My use of "godself" - which I grant is both cumbersome and unappealing - is neither "metaphysical" nor "new age." It's simply my refusal to employ gendered references to a God who in my view transcends all gender.

    I would keep such supposedly "non-gendered" references as "self" out of the picture and use commonly used language when communicating to common folks.

    You cite "MANkind" as a "gendered" term ... Well, when I went to school and learned a few things about language, I learned that THE CONTEXT determines meaning of terms. I also learned that "kind" is not the same as "gender" !! As regards "mankind" I learned that the term is used as reference to "men AND WOMEN" as term of a KIND (and NOT A gender !!). There is no such thing as "a male kind" or a "female kind", thus the term manKIND has nothing whatever tot do with "gender" in the first place.

    But then, perhaps the English teachers (and other language teachers we well) just were ignorant about the difference between "genders" and "kinds" ?? Perhaps they were all just not "properly gender educated and trained" to know that the language used and commonly understood by normal common people was just discriminating women??

  • WolfgangWolfgang Posts: 2,101

    Bottom line: Here “Lord” does NOT mean God; it means master, one to whom followers are in a subservient relationship whose character will be judged by the degree to which they obey God’s laws and do God’s will

    I would consider it essential to a correct understanding of Scripture that one understands that the term "Lord" does NOT equate to "God" and is NOT solely used for God. Again, the context determines the meaning ... and not the other way around

    Human beings are referred to as "Lord"; God Himself is referred to as "Lord", but that does NOT make humans to be God, nor would it be correct to interpret such an expression in reference to humans as if the use of that word made the person to be God.

    Please note, the use of "lord" versus capitalized "Lord" in English is solely an interpretation of translators or publishers by which they try to distinguish between God ("Lord") and man ("lord"), it is only a linguistic device in English to supposedly "help" the reader better understand. The Problem is that their interpretation is no guarantee for truth and actually leads people to understand context in light of a single word, when true interpretation is the opposite by recognizing that the context determines the meaning of words used.

  • PagesPages Posts: 73

    @Wolfgang

    Thank you for your explanation. 

    It is useful due to the fact that a human by definition can NOT be God. Thus, IF Jesus is a human, he can NOT be God.

    But in trinitarian doctrine isn’t it the case that the second person of the trinity, the divine Son, (not the Father, or Spirit) took on flesh (human likeness)? In other words, the divine entering into humanness, not the human entering into divineness.  

    The distinction between the two persons God and Jesus thus shows that the trinitarians' belief actually is a self-contradictory idea when it is claimed that Jesus is more than a human, such as both human and God.

    How does this distinction of person within the trinitarian doctrine provide for a “self-contradictory idea”?  

  • PagesPages Posts: 73

    @Bill_Coley

    Thank you for your comment, elaboration, and clarification.

    ...because in my view their term "newborn king of the Jews" referred to a human being who would occupy a political, perhaps military, but undoubtedly earthly position. 

    Yes, the “king of the Jews“ understood as Messiah, by Herod, would carry the meaning of no longer under Roman rule, and the end of Herod’s reign, should he, himself, still be alive at the time of this new king’s enthronement; hence, Herod’s eager desire to destroy his rival.  

    ...I read no divinity into that term, which in my view means they did not come to worship God.

    In reference to worship in Matt. 2:2 I would point to Matthew’s use of προσκυνῆσαι as reflecting the sense of worship given to the divine for the following reasons.  

    We find this exact phrase προσκυνῆσαι αὐτῷ of Matt. 2:2 used in Rev. 19:10 and we find προσκυνῆσαι ἔμπροσθεν τῶν ποδῶν in Rev. 22:8. The two uses of προσκυνῆσαι in Revelation, without question, reflect worship given to the divine.   

    Within the NT we find only the above three occurrences of προσκυνῆσαι; however, there are ten occurrences of προσκυνῆσα in the LXX which give further insight on the usage of this word.  

    Of these ten occurrences of προσκυνῆσαι found in the LXX, eight portray worship as given to the divine (cf. Lev. 26:1, 2Ki. 5:18, 2Chr. 20:18, Sir. 50:17, Zech. 14:16-17, Isa. 66:23, Dan. 3:15).

    So, for myself, I consider the above to carry considerable weight in my reading of Matt. 2:2.

  • WolfgangWolfgang Posts: 2,101

    But in trinitarian doctrine isn’t it the case that the second person of the trinity, the divine Son, (not the Father, or Spirit) took on flesh (human likeness)? In other words, the divine entering into humanness, not the human entering into divineness. 


    THe thread here is not about theological doctrines and how they define their terminology and/or defy common definitions and meanings of words such as "man/human", "God".

  • WolfgangWolfgang Posts: 2,101

    In reference to worship in Matt. 2:2 I would point to Matthew’s use of προσκυνῆσαι as reflecting the sense of worship given to the divine for the following reasons. 

    We find this exact phrase προσκυνῆσαι αὐτῷ of Matt. 2:2 used in Rev. 19:10 and we find προσκυνῆσαι ἔμπροσθεν τῶν ποδῶν in Rev. 22:8. The two uses of προσκυνῆσαι in Revelation, without question, reflect worship given to the divine.


    FIrst, προσκυνῆσαι is simply a certain grammatical form (aorist, active, infinitive) of the verb προσκυνέω which occurs in about 60 times in 54 verses in the Greek NT and is the word for "worship". The word αὐτῷ is the word "him".

    The word is defined in NAS Greek dictionary (1998) as follows: προσκυνέω proskuneō; from 4314 and κυνέω kuneō (to kiss); to do reverence to:—bow down(1), bow down before(1), bowed down(1), bowed down before(2), bowing before(1), bowing down(1), prostrated himself before(1), worship(32), worshiped(17), worshipers(1), worshiping(1), worships(1).

    Strong's Enhanced Dictionary has the following: 4352 προσκυνέω [proskuneo /pros·koo·neh·o/] v. From 4314 and a probable derivative of 2965 (meaning to kiss, like a dog licking his master’s hand); TDNT 6:758; TDNTA 948; GK 4686; 60 occurrences; AV translates as “worship” 60 times. 1 to kiss the hand to (towards) one, in token of reverence. 2 among the Orientals, esp. the Persians, to fall upon the knees and touch the ground with the forehead as an expression of profound reverence. 3 in the NT by kneeling or prostration to do homage (to one) or make obeisance, whether in order to express respect or to make supplication. 3A used of homage shown to men and beings of superior rank. 3A1 to the Jewish high priests. 3A2 to God. 3A3 to Christ. 3A4 to heavenly beings. 3A5 to demons.

    Thus, we can see, that the verb προσκυνέω in and of itself by definition does not indicate who or what is the object of said "worship", nor does it indicate "as what" the object of the worship is being worshiped. It is the sentence and immediate context of the text where it is used that tells who or what is "worshiped, adored, shown respect,, etc" and as what (e.g. as teacher, as master, as king, as husband, as God, etc.).

    Mat 2 states that the magi came to worship (adore, show respect, pay hommage, etc) a man child (c.p. "new born") who was to be king (c.p. "king of the Jews"). They did not declare that they came to worship God, nor that they came to worship a man as God.

  • Bill_ColeyBill_Coley Posts: 1,776

    @Wolfgang posted:

    I would keep such supposedly "non-gendered" references as "self" out of the picture and use commonly used language when communicating to common folks.

    Lots of people agree with your point of view here, Wolfgang. I happen to disagree with your point of view. Each of us likely gives life to our point of view in our speech, both written and verbal.


    You cite "MANkind" as a "gendered" term ... Well, when I went to school and learned a few things about language, I learned that THE CONTEXT determines meaning of terms. I also learned that "kind" is not the same as "gender" !! As regards "mankind" I learned that the term is used as reference to "men AND WOMEN" as term of a KIND (and NOT A gender !!). There is no such thing as "a male kind" or a "female kind", thus the term manKIND has nothing whatever tot do with "gender" in the first place.

    I agree that context matters.

    The brief survey I conducted of the etymology of "man" as a prefix led me to conclude that there IS a history of the prefix having a male-only meaning. There ARE indeed additional, non-gendered, etymologies of the prefix, but gendered ones DO exist.

    The root issues for me are clarity and precision of language, and linguistic fairness.

    • "Humanity" or "humankind" in my view are both more precise terms than "man" or "mankind." There is NO chance that "humanity" refers only to male persons. There is a chance - however small - that "man" and "mankind" can refer - or can be interpreted to refer - only to males. Why not use the most precise term possible?
    • Whether intended to do so or not, "man" and "mankind" each appear to exclude females, whereas "humanity" and "humankind" do not. Why use terms that CAN be interpreted to exclude half the human race when alternative terms eliminate the possibility of such exclusion?


    But then, perhaps the English teachers (and other language teachers we well) just were ignorant about the difference between "genders" and "kinds" ?? Perhaps they were all just not "properly gender educated and trained" to know that the language used and commonly understood by normal common people was just discriminating women??

    Inclusive language is not a matter of ignorance... a needlessly harsh and judgmental term; it's a matter of awareness and sensitivity. It wasn't until my seminary years back in the early-to-mid 1980's that I discerned the value and necessity of inclusive speech. Before then, I was unaware, not ignorant, of the issue.

    One of my signature moments during my three years at seminary was the clarion call chapel sermon I preached on inclusive language in my final year. Most of my fellow students embraced my call for inclusion; some rejected it. So it has probably been with every sermon I've preached in the years since!

  • Bill_ColeyBill_Coley Posts: 1,776

    @Pages posted:

    Yes, the “king of the Jews“ understood as Messiah, by Herod, would carry the meaning of no longer under Roman rule, and the end of Herod’s reign, should he, himself, still be alive at the time of this new king’s enthronement; hence, Herod’s eager desire to destroy his rival.  

    We have common ground.


    In reference to worship in Matt. 2:2 I would point to Matthew’s use of προσκυνῆσαι as reflecting the sense of worship given to the divine for the following reasons.  

    I respect your point of view, but concur with Wolfgang's conclusions about the contextual meaning of the word "worship" in Matthew 2.2. (BTW, both of you clearly have FAR, FAR, FAR more original language skills than I!! So I bow to both of you LONG before I rely on my own conclusions.)

  • Bill_ColeyBill_Coley Posts: 1,776

    GOSPELS PASSAGES COLLECTION #5


    Matthew 8.28-34

    Jesus releases demons from two men. In their interaction with Jesus the demons ask, "Why are you interfering with us, Son of God? Have you come here to torture us before God’s appointed time?"

    • The demons call Jesus the "Son of God." As I have said before, that's certainly NOT dispositive (!) but it is a collectible piece of evidence since neither Matthew nor Jesus corrects the demons' assertion. Further, the demons appear to draw a clear distinction between the Son of God (Jesus) and God, whose "appointed time" has not yet arrived. Multiple opportunities here to declare his identity as God, but Jesus doesn't take them (and Matthew doesn't take up that cause on his own).


    Matthew 9.1-8

    In my view, this is a critical scene.

    Upon hearing Jesus tell the paralyzed man he has just healed that his sins are forgiven, "teachers of religious law" say to themselves, "That's blasphemy. Does he think he's God?" In response, Jesus commands the man to rise from his paralysis, which he does. Jesus tells the religious leaders that his action "prove(s)" that "the Son of Man has the authority on earth to forgive sins." At the end of the passage, the crowd praises God "for giving humans such authority."

    • Jesus has a chance to confirm the religious leaders' allegation that he thinks he's God. Jesus declines that chance and instead reaffirms his identity as the "Son of Man."
    • Jesus declares that his authority to forgive sins comes from God, thereby making clear that he does not see himself as God; it is a distinction the crowd's closing praise to God for giving humans such authority confirms.
    • In this passage, Jesus is the human "Son of Man" to whom God has granted authority to forgive sins, in my view making this passage a pillar in the biblical argument against the claim that Jesus is God.


    Matthew 9.19-26

    Two healing stories, included in my list simply to show that in Gospels Jesus is one known to have the power to heal.


    Matthew 9.32-34

    Jesus removes demons from a man, an act which leads Pharisees to assert that Jesus is "empowered by the prince of demons."

    • Included in the list simply to identify another way Jesus is perceived during his ministry, this time as one empowered by the devil. This text offers insight into religious leaders' view of Jesus. It does NOT prove that Jesus was "empowered by the prince of demons"!
  • PagesPages Posts: 73

    @Wolfgang

    THe thread here is not about theological doctrines and how they define their terminology and/or defy common definitions and meanings of words such as "man/human", "God".

    I understand this thread to be about the trinity, specifically, as to how it is false via biblical texts. Seeing that, in general, doctrines are derived out of scripture by the interpretation of those texts it would seem inevitable that some discussion will touch on issues of doctrine.  

    I didn’t ask you those two questions to debate the issue; rather, it was to better understand, and have clarity of what you wrote – which in turn aids my communication with you.

  • PagesPages Posts: 73

    @Wolfgang

    Thank you for posting the dictionary excerpts. I am, most thankfully, aware of the lexical range of meaning for the lexeme προσκυνέω.

    FIrst, προσκυνῆσαι is simply a certain grammatical form...

    Yes, exactly, it is the inflected form of which I preformed a complete survey for this specific form, προσκυνῆσαι (Matt. 2:2), across the entirety of scripture – OT, Apocrypha, and NT – for a total of 13 occurrences of which 10 are not in question as referencing cultic worship given to the divine, and the remaining 11th instance, Matt. 2:2, which I believe is also most likely to be in this divine worship category.   

    This survey process, then informs us as to how the biblical authors, in context, used this particular inflected form in the 13 total occasions we find throughout scripture – the near unanimous meaning conveyed by these writers is that προσκυνῆσαι is in reference to worship of the divine.

  • PagesPages Posts: 73

    @Bill_Coley

    We have common ground.

    Thank you for your comment.

  • Bill_ColeyBill_Coley Posts: 1,776

    @Pages posted:

    I understand this thread to be about the trinity, specifically, as to how it is false via biblical texts. Seeing that, in general, doctrines are derived out of scripture by the interpretation of those texts it would seem inevitable that some discussion will touch on issues of doctrine. 

    FWIW - and that's probably not much! - my purpose in this thread is to address the question "Is Jesus God?" by examining the biblical record more extensively than is common in these forums. I respect the creeds and doctrines of historical Christianity, and recognize their relevance to our exchanges. In my posts, however, the viability and/or reliability of those doctrines is not my central concern.

    I celebrate the faith of those who claim that Jesus is God. I disagree with their views, but I celebrate their faith and recognize them as my brothers and sisters in Christ. I don't mean to prove or disprove a doctrine - though judgment about some doctrines is unavoidable. I mean to answer a question.

    Pages, Wolfgang, and all others who post here are welcome and encouraged to engage on these issues as you see fit, including but not limited to reference to historic creeds and doctrines. My laser-like focus will remain on the biblical text, which I know will draw much of your attention as well.

    Hope that made sense!

  • WolfgangWolfgang Posts: 2,101

    @Wolfgang FIrst, προσκυνῆσαι is simply a certain grammatical form...

    @Pages Yes, exactly, it is the inflected form of which I preformed a complete survey for this specific form, προσκυνῆσαι (Matt. 2:2), across the entirety of scripture – OT, Apocrypha, and NT – for a total of 13 occurrences of which 10 are not in question as referencing cultic worship given to the divine, and the remaining 11th instance, Matt. 2:2, which I believe is also most likely to be in this divine worship category.  

    A certain grammatical form of a verb does NOT indicate or define a particular meaning which the verb then has. It is always the context which provides and determines the meaning of words. Illustration: We could look at all the verses which use the word "went" and then have a look at all the verses that use the word "to go" or "goes". Does "went" mean "walk slowly" while "to go" means "walk quickly" etc?? Of course not ... the grammatical form is not decisive for the meaning. If a context had the expression "and they went hastily to the market place" and another had "and they were ready to go hastily away from there", what would tell you that in either case some folks had gotten themselves or were planning to get themselves quickly somewhere?

    Mat 2:2 simply has no indication to give the meaning "divine worship (worship as God)" to the word προσκυνῆσαι, no matter how many other verses have a context in which God is given worship. In each case where the word προσκυνέω is used in whatever grammatical form (such as προσκυνῆσαι) the immediate context determines what it means and who is worshiped as what. Mat 2:2 very plainly speaks of "worship A KING", and does not speak of "worship GOD".

    This survey process, then informs us as to how the biblical authors, in context, used this particular inflected form in the 13 total occasions we find throughout scripture – the near unanimous meaning conveyed by these writers is that προσκυνῆσαι is in reference to worship of the divine

    While such an approach, often spoken of as "word study", is certainly helpful to learn about how words were used by the biblical authors, it is a detrimental fault to interpret meanings from one passage into another passage just because the same word (whether in its exact same grammatical form or not) is used in both places. Just because we read about someone "entered" and in one place, the person "entered the temple", doesn't mean that in another place "entered" means "entering the temple" ... especially so, if we are told that he "entered a boat" or "entered a house".

  • Bill_ColeyBill_Coley Posts: 1,776

    GOSPELS PASSAGES COLLECTION #6

    Matthew 9.35-38

    In response to the needs of crowds of people he perceives to be confused and helpless, Jesus instructs his disciples to “pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest,” and to “ask him to send more workers into his fields.”

    • Jesus directs prayer to the “Lord,” who we assume is God. In this text, Jesus clearly believes “the Lord” is someone other than himself.


    Matthew 10.16-23

    Among the instructions Jesus gives his disciples as they prepare for their mission is an advisory that in their travels they will have opportunities to tell “rulers and other unbelievers” about him. When in front of such audiences, Jesus reassures his followers, God will give them the words to speak. Jesus says “the Spirit of [their] Father” will speak through them. 

    In addition, in this text Jesus again refers to himself as the Son of Man who will one day return.

    • Jesus as much tells us that when he says “Father,” he’s referring to God. (“God” will give them words; “the Spirit of [their] Father” will speak through them)
    • His references to “God” and “the Father” give no hint whatsoever that he sees himself as part of a godhead. 
    • Authority and ability for the disciples’ mission ultimately will come from God - the one Jesus calls “Father” - not from Jesus, the one disciples will tell leaders and non-believers about.
    • He sees himself as the Son of Man, a title for which we have yet to discover any evidence of deity.


    Matthew 10.28-33

    More from Jesus’ instructions to the disciples. Here he tells them to fear God, who can destroy both body and soul, rather than those who can only harm the body. He further tells them of their value to their “Father,” whom in the previous passage he identified as God, and of the outcomes awaiting those who acknowledge or deny him (Jesus) on earth: acknowledgment or denial, respectively, before his “Father [God] in heaven.”

    • Jesus again speaks of God as his “Father,” and for a second time refers to God also as the disciples’ “Father.” (see previous passage) So Jesus understands his God (“Father”) to be their God. (“Father”) [c.f. John 20.17]


    Matthew 10.40-42

    Yet more from Jesus’ instructions to his disciples, the relevant portion of which is his reference to “the Father who sent me.”

    • Jesus understands himself to have been sent by the “Father,” who we know from the previous passage Jesus believes is God. Clearly, in my view, that he sees himself as sent suggests strongly that he does not believe he is, or is equal to, the one who sent him.


    NOTE: Collection #7, which I should be able to post on December 3, will contain three more passages, and that will raise to 25 the total number of passages we have reviewed to-date in this thread. At that point - about 1/6 of the way through the Gospels' passages list - I'll offer my assessment of what we have learned from the first two dozen texts, and encourage you to do the same. It'll be a day or two for reflection on the fruits of our journey to-date. Then we'll move on in Matthew.... Miles to go before we sleep! 🙂

  • WolfgangWolfgang Posts: 2,101

    Yet more from Jesus’ instructions to his disciples, the relevant portion of which is his reference to “the Father who sent me.”

    Not recognizing or misinterpreting the difference and distinction between the one who sends and the one who is sent seems to be a fundamental error when trying to declare Jesus to be God.

  • WolfgangWolfgang Posts: 2,101

    Mat 10:32-33

    “Therefore everyone who acknowledges me before people, I also will acknowledge him before my Father who is in heaven. 33 But whoever denies me before people, I also will deny him before my Father who is in heaven.

    One should note that Jesus speaks of GOD as "my Father in heaven" ...

    Trinitarians often say that "the Son" and "the Father" are two persons, but then turn around and claim that the Son and the Father are both one and the same "God" ... which actually then would make the above scripture passage mean that "God" spoke of "God" and that TWO Gods were involved, one in heaven and one on earth. Simply reading what is written and letting indeed the records speak for themselves quickly shows that such Trinitarian ideas are not what the passage in Mt 10 states.

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