a guest Oct 20th, 2018 130 Never
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- John 1:1 & John 20:28 clearly—and I do not use that word lightly—display the divinity of Christ. Calling a creature your God is blasphemous and senseless. I really don't know about Titus 2:13 and 2 Peter 1:1. There are good reasons to doubt both identify Christ as God. In Titus, Christ could simply be "the glory of" our great God and Savior (i.e., the Father). In 2 Peter, the definite article preceding "Savior" may have been dropped out because it's the introduction of an epistle—a very common practice in the New Testament. I still doubt Romans 9:5 calls Jesus God. Philippians 2:6-8 pretty clearly describes the incarnation of a divine being. Colossians 1:16-17 indicates Christ is the one in whom, through whom, and for whom absolutely everything exists, which is utterly impossible to be true of someone who is a creature; God, whose name is Jealous, made the world for His own glory. Revelation 5 depicts Christ receiving equal worship with God the Father, which doesn't make sense if he isn't "true God of true God" (as the Nicene Creed puts it). Later in the same book, Christians are described as priests of Jesus Christ, and if you're a priest of someone, that person is your God to whom you render cultic devotion and sacred service. If someone offered that to anyone other than YHWH in the days of King David, that person would be considered an idolater.
- I'm also convinced Christ is the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End based on Revelation 22:13. Revelation 1:8 & 21:6 are almost certainly God the Father, which shows that it's a title of divinity and absolute preeminence; if Jesus shares that title as well, then to him belong all the honor and worship associated with that status, which is precisely what we see in the book of Revelation (especially 5:13-14). The explanation I used to give for Revelation 1:17 & 2:8, that Christ is "the first and the last" because he's the first and last to be raised from the dead, was a terrible argument in retrospect that clearly revealed my biases. Arianism initially sounds reasonable, but falls flat because Jesus is ultimately a creature under this model, which does not sufficiently account for the fact that he is our God (John 20:28), who was in the beginning with God and was God (John 1:1), and is the one for whose sake everything exists (Colossians 1:16). Whatever the case may be, however, it is clear from the Scriptures that God is not Jesus. They're clearly portrayed as two distinct entities from one end of the New Testament to the other, especially in Paul. Even in John, which placards the glory and majesty of Christ in a way not found elsewhere in the New Testament, Jesus is still carefully distinguished from God throughout the whole book. John 7:17 is a good example: "If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself." If your will is to do God's will, you will know that the doctrine Jesus taught came from God, not from himself. Simple logic dictates that God is not Jesus here.
- The New Testament reveals Jesus Christ as a divine person who is neither an angel nor a demigod, and there are not different grades of divinity in the biblical worldview. However, to conflate God and Jesus is contrary to the New Testament authors' repeated efforts to distinguish them from one another. Jesus is God, but God is not Jesus. This sounds self-contradictory, and it is certainly paradoxical, but I believe there is a solution that will explain this phenomenon. The only doctrine of God that incorporates all these seemingly disparate data is the Monarchy of God the Father. There is one God, the Father Almighty, who eternally begets a Son and spirates a Spirit who are absolutely equal with Him in divinity, glory, and eternity. The Son and Spirit are therefore truly God, but they are not the one God from whom are all things. They derive their being and attributes from God the Father through two eternal processes unique to each (i.e., begottenness and spiration), and are not "the one God" in the monotheistic sense. Whenever a cardinal number is associated with "God" in the New Testament, which signifies the biblical author is about to make a monotheistic statement, it always describes the Father, not the Trinity. The Father is the only true God (John 17:3), there is one God and Father of all (Ephesians 4:6), and for us there is one God, the Father (1 Corinthians 8:6). Yet the apostles do not speak of God apart from His Son and Spirit, and they continually invoke all three in their doxologies, blessings, and prayers. The upshot of this is each person of the Trinity is worthy of the same worship as the other; we do not give one level of worship to the Spirit, a yet higher worship to the Son, and the highest worship of all to the Father, but rather we worship them equally.
- The most common form of Trinitarianism found in the West doesn't work because they believe God is the Trinity, which is not the case in the New Testament. But this is not a denial that the Son and the Spirit are each YHWH; given that Jesus fulfills many things that were prophesied of YHWH in the Old Testament (e.g., "all who call on the name of the Lord will be saved" in Romans 10:9 and "every knee shall bow to me" in Philippians 2:9), it is safe to infer that he is YHWH. But the reason they are YHWH and the reason the Father is YHWH are quite different. The Father has shared His divine life with the Son and Spirit and incorporated them into His own identity, while the Son and Spirit receive this status from God the Father. The Father's so-called "Monarchy" (which refers to a priority in causation, not a priority in honor or glory or worship) is why He is called "God" by way of preeminence—if that is an appropriate word to use—throughout the New Testament. Again, this is a preeminence only in the sense that He is the source and cause of the Godhead; God the Father is the archetype, with the Son and Spirit being perfect images of the original. To offer a lower level of worship to the Son and Spirit, or to deny that they are truly God, dishonors the Father and detracts from His glory, because the Son and Spirit are what the Father is and are the only means by which to rightly worship God. If Christ is not truly God, then that means his Father is not truly God, because what Christ is, the Father is. The same is true of the Spirit.
- I have not found a more satisfactory solution than this. The Monarchy of God the Father preserves biblical monotheism without compromising the divinity of the Son and Spirit, remains faithful to the apostolic witness concerning God, and guards against the pervasive modalistic tendency in Western Trinitarianism.
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