The Evidence of God II

***Comment taken from the ‘Evidence of God’

Society. I may be wrong but I think he is saying he is afraid for your soul if you do not believe Jesus is God in the flesh” (Michelle)

Agreed…but that’s not what he said – he did say this ‘I sense that you are not serious about God or the eternal state of your own soul’. If I said that to you Michelle (or anyone in here) – what do you think I am implying with that sentence? One, you dont care about God and two, you don’t care about yourself (my soul was mentioned) – nice…two commandments in one sentence.

I do not believe Jesus is God/Deity in the flesh – that’s not to say I don’t ‘follow Jesus’ and believe he was ‘the son of God’ and ‘Messiah’. I can say like John ‘every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God’ (1 John 4:2). Jesus (last name not Christ) the Messiah has come in the flesh and gone.

to believe Jesus is who He claimed to be — the great I AM.” (Michelle)

I am a believer (in God – the I AM) but I don’t believe that statement. Now there is some claims to Jesus being divine in the NT (not gonna argue that) – but there is no concensus from book to book to letter. John and one verse of Paul allow for divinity (and John can be read a few ways – not just literally all the time) – but there are 4 real problems here that orthodoxy (these councils) did not ‘Flesh’ out.

(1) God cannot die…that is a fact none of us would dare argue. Fact is – Jesus does die (for a period of 3 days). Are we going to admit God can die…what a sturdy foundation we have been given?

(2) God cannot be tempted…another idea from the Tanakh and even the NT “for God cannot be tempted by evil…” (james 1:13). – Yet we know full well Jesus was tempted by Satan in the wilderness – for what…40 days! Granted he did not give in – but if he was God then who cares – that’s not being tempted at all. Ants build nice houses – but they don’t tempt me to want to live in them.

(3) Jesus is proclaimed to have been human – yet the orthodox position is clearly Jesus was 100% God and 100% human…I got some bad news for everyone – there is nothing human about that statement. Jesus has a whole 100% more than any of us in these convo’s – his God side…making him not a human but someone in the appearance of humanity.

(4) Jesus says he follows the One – “”What commandment is the foremost of all?” Jesus answered, The foremost is, ‘HEAR, O ISRAEL! THE LORD OUR GOD IS ONE LORD” (Mark 12:28-29). That is the Shema in Jewish circles – which all Jewish people have recited for decades (prior to Jesus even) – and was supposed to memorized as the greatest teaching. Jesus, oddly enough, calls it the foremost teaching – so he agrees. What he is also saying there is ‘God is One’ in agreement with the scribe…does he think he is the One? From context – it doesn’t seem that way.

I think I raise fairly valid questions on these issues – and give plenty of reasons (from scripture itself) why I do or don’t accept certain ‘beliefs’. Does that realy make me any different than anyone else here?

***Now I am kind of tired of the Jesus and God debate (for writing in blogs) – but I laid out 4 good reasons I dare anyone to challenge – my own Josh Mcdowell/CS Lewis theory if you will. I think this is the best trinity case I have put together.

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45 thoughts on “The Evidence of God II

  1. 1) After the Israelities were freed from Egypt, God gave over 600 commandments to them, but after the first Ten, The Israelites were so stuck by the majesty of God that they begged Moses to speak for God. This is, of course, detailed in Exodus 20:1-21. So because God is so powerful, so glorious, so majestic, so sovereign, so holy, &c. and The Israelites were so filled with fear they refused to let God speak, insisting instead, “[Moses,] Speak to us yourself and we will listen. But do not have God speak to us or we will die” (Ex. 20:19). So, from that point of view, and because God wanted to bridge the gulf between humanity and the divine, He orchestrated the birth of Christ so that humanity would no longer live in fear of His majesty, His power, His holiness. Jesus came to Earth as The Son of God because it was in that way that He is most approachable, -unlike the divine storm at Sinai after The Exodus.

    2) But for the incarnation of Christ to be successful, then He had to endure the same trials and the same difficulties that humanity has to endure–growing up, working for a living, hunger, puberty, farting, and, yes, temptation. It would hardly set a worthy example for anyone to follow if Christ had not been tempted, if God had not been fully human. Can a virgin understand what it is like to lose a child? Of course not! Ah…but if God was Christ then surely He already understands what we face in temptation! Yes, He does. But just because you know the alphabet and every word in the English language doesn’t mean the committee is going to award you a Pulitzer. You’ve got to write the book and put it out there for all to see so that there is no question about your literary talents or experience. And that is precisely what God did through Christ.

    “I think this is the best trinity case I have out together.”

    I was about to answer the rest of your questions when I saw that sentence. What the heck does “have out together” mean…?

  2. Hey, Society!

    I answered, a bit, on my site, but thought I would come over here and see what’s up. As I read through your four points again, it struck me that all of these questions can be answered through the book of Hebrews. I’m finishing up a study on Hebrews at church, we’re beginning chapter 12. I want to lay out the chapter themes in hopes you will see where to look to find your answers. I believe they are given in this remarkable text which delves into the concept of covenants…

    Chapter One – Jesus is God – Higher than the Angels
    Chapter Two – Jesus was Made Man – like His Brethren
    Chapter Three – Jesus is Faithful Priest over His House
    Chapter Four – A Warning not to Harden your Hears
    Chapter Five – God Appointed Him to Suffer
    Chapter Six – Press on to Maturity
    Chapter Seven – Our High Priest Who Abides Forever
    Chapter Eight – The Mediator of a Better Covenant
    Chapter Nine – Jesus is a Better Sacrifice
    Chapter Ten – Do Not Trample on Christ’s Blood
    Chapter Eleven – By Faith Witnesses Endured for Us
    Chapter Twelve – Lay Aside – Endure Discipline – Don’t Refuse
    Chapter Thirteen – Let Love Continue – Practical Living

    Like I said on my site, I think it’s virtually impossible in this way (the blogosphere) to “hash out” these beliefs, which is one reason I stopped commenting on de-Con, sometimes it feels we’re just talking past one another. I have come to the place I am in from personal inductive, in-depth study. I try to stay away from commentaries since they are just the teachings of the teachings. I do check them out to be sure I haven’t stepped into some known heresy. If I’ve made up a new one, well… 🙄

  3. Noreaster,

    I’m unsure as to how your response to #1 answers the question as to how God can die? I see that God sent Christ, in order to bridge a gap. But how can God lose life? Or cease to exist?

    **if Christ had not been tempted, if God had not been fully human. Can a virgin understand what it is like to lose a child? Of course not! Ah…but if God was Christ then surely He already understands what we face in temptation!**

    How does this factor in the fact that God is omniscient? If He is all-knowing, then by that very definition, would God need to become human in order to know all this? If God has to experience something in order to fully “know” it, then that contradicts the idea that God is omniscient, because of how “all” is used. If God was a virgin, then His omniscience would allow Him to know what it’s like to lose a child. So I don’t think the Pulizter example works, given that we have to include the omniscient factor.

    The other point is temptation: tempted in what way? Did Christ ever want to sin, or disobey God? Did he ever experience that struggle? How valid is temptation unless it connects with some sort of desire in us? And isn’t part of the definition of sin the yearning to disboey God? Our thoughts are sinful, as well as our actions? I see that as society’s point, when if we say that Christ was tempted, it doesn’t hold as much meaning for me, because *how* can God be tempted, and still remain God? Can God sin? Especially if God can’t even look upon sin? And if God doesn’t have those internal struggles, and we do, then how can God understand temptation?

    It just seems that the struggle would mean more if Jesus were human exactly like us, and by that, I mean he had no divinity at all. Aka, exactly like us. Not exactly like us and God, as well.

  4. sweeeet dude! “yet the orthodox position is clearly Jesus was 100% God and 100% human” this was a device to pave over the differences that the early christian church had. even the ACTS writer totally white-washed these differences.

    http://toothface.blogspot.com/2008/02/new-testament-class.html

    it’s worth considering other options than the orthodox as man is flawed and limited and tends to muck stuff up. while i’m not clear on the divinity of jesus the person, i’m certain of the divine message. so are we worshipping God according the message or just worshipping the messenger?

  5. Society,

    I’m surprised that with all the blog-bouncing you’ve done, no one’s said the reason why you don’t understand is because the gospel is foolishness to the unsaved … although the opening quote kind of hints at that …

    I also understand where your questions are coming from, as I have questions along the same line. I appreciate those who have answered. But what I also feel in general is that the questions don’t get answered. They get re-directed. From my experience, the quotes or reasons I provide don’t get addressed head-on. I’m told to look at the whole of the Bible — I get that one the most. Or look at the church history, or that it’s a mystery beyond our comprehension.

    That’s what frustrates me — I’m searching for answers, for why Trinitiarians believe what they believe. How Trinitiarians resolve these verses, or answer these questions. How do they engage, head-on, all the verses in the Bible and reconcile them to their beliefs?

    Noreaster, I understand why you’re tired of it. I do. I’m just as tired of asking the same questions. 🙂 No debate is every new, really. Just the people involved.

    But I hope you can understand why I had the questions. I realize I “pounced” on you, but as I said, I didn’t really see an answer, especially in terms of how God can die. I am faced with a God that tells me “Come, let us reason together, or that I am to love God with all of my mind. Surely part of that involves intellect, and so questions like this must be faced head-on? Even if I am told that I can “know” God. Surely that must involve some type of comprehension?

    Even with Michelle providing the book of Hebrews. How does that deal with any Bible quote itself, or a major Bible quote? How does that deal with the questions? I know that Michelle said to read the Hebrews, but even if I look at the list of what Hebrews contains, I’m again left with two ideas of God. Jesus is God, and God appointed him to suffer. But Jesus didn’t appoint himself to suffer. That “God” is the Father.

    If I read the first chapter, I have a few different ideas floating around. God spoke in various ways, and in these last days, God speaks by a son, who is appointed heir of all things, and through this son, God created the world. This son is the reflection of God’s glory, and the imprint of God’s being, and having made purification, he has sat down at the right hand, having become as much superior to the angels, and the name he inherited is more excellent than theirs.

    Right off the bat, I get a superior to an inferior. The son inherits something, he is used by God to create the worlds, he is the reflection of God’s glory … all of these give me the impression that the son is not the same/equal to the Father, but rather used by the Father to accomplish things. He became superior — he wasn’t always superior.

    There are verses after that, speaking of angels worshipping/bowing down, or “Your throne, O God … (although I’ve seen Bibles that say another translation is “God is your throne), but then it says that God, the son’s God, has anointed him, and that the son founded the earth — but that makes sense, since God created the worlds through the Son.

    So I’d like to be able to reconcile all of these, and yet how? To just have someone (general someone, not you) tell me that the whole struture of the Bible points to Jesus as God does nothing to resolve my questions.

  6. One Small Step,

    Again I have to say (I didn’t say it here, I said it over on my site), if we could sit down and go through it, hash it out in context, we might get somewhere. This forum doesn’t allow for the explanations to get as in-depth as needed — the whole from Genesis to the first century of the Early Church took from Moses (if you think he wrote all of the Torah, I happen to think God, Adam, Seth, Noah, and Shem wrote the first bits — way out there, huh? 😉 ) to John for the full revealing to be written down.

    “Right off the bat, I get a superior to an inferior. The son inherits something, he is used by God to create the worlds, he is the reflection of God’s glory … all of these give me the impression that the son is not the same/equal to the Father, but rather used by the Father to accomplish things. He became superior — he wasn’t always superior”

    Are you doing any word studies as you read? Our definitions are not the same as the Koine Greek…to read it without study tools to help can cause much confusion. And of course, your paraphrase does not begin to do the text justice. With that type of casual approach you can come up with all types of interpretations, which is why, again, in-depth, inductive study is essential.

    I’m not trying to dodge any questions, I’m just not capable of writing dissertations over every verse…individual study is a must. When I begin a study of a book, I approach the text with careful observations, reading it 3-5 times through in the first sitting to get a framework, to answer questions who, what, where, when, why, and how. I look for key words and phrases, and try to see the themes, looking for divisions not given by chapter, but train of thought. The next time I do the same thing, and again, and again, until I feel I have the framework down. Then I delve into the chapters. I first structure the chapter to understand the flow better, pulling out lists, comparison/contrasts, finding words that summarize or give time clues, looking verse by verse, doing Greek studies of the key words, looking at tense and mood and then cross-referencing to any topic needing further understanding. Topical studies or character studies are next…

    How am I to give these explanations through this medium? It takes getting into a good Bible Study, I suggest Precept Upon Precept studies, that will use this approach and sticking it out to the end. The first study I did was on 2 Peter – 3 chapters took nine weeks, to condense that study into a combox is ludicrous. To take a few verses is still more than anyone wants to read, or type, in one sitting. I started my blog thinking I would share some of these things, it’s just not possible through this forum. We each need a text written in the same version with our study tools beside us answering eachothers questions as we go, but not before bathing ourselves in prayer and asking the Holy Spirit to speak through the Word.

    You see…It’s not possible…so to continue to rant and speak as though no one wants to help you see what we see…well, help yourself, do the work, “be diligent to study, a workman who does not need to be ashamed, handling accurately the word of truth.” Go to the Word and dig deep – let the text say what it says. Pray, pray, pray…that’s my approach.

  7. “I’m searching for answers, for why Trinitiarians believe what they believe.”~OSS

    I think Trinitarians believe the same way Mormons believe (sorry, I live in Utah, so this is where my analogies tend to run). If you talk to a Mormon, they will tell you that the truth of the Book of Mormon will be revealed to you if you pray sincerely with a pure heart to have it revealed to you. They never see that the implication of that statement is that one would really need to be convinced of it before praying. It does no good to tell them you did pray and did not get that revelation; at that point they feel you lack sincerity.

    Trinitarians are taught to believe it wayyy before they have studied it. In fact, you are taught it is heresy to question it. How can one even begin to come to an unbiased, scriptural conclusion when that is the foundation that has been laid?

    Michelle seems to have the same approach as some of my Mormon friends. You don’t see what she sees because you haven’t studied enough, prayed enough, aren’t sincere enough, etc. Your lack of seeing it her way is a deficiency on your part. Many of my Mormon friends cannot accept that I really do understand their perspective and that I just don’t agree with it. They can’t. They are the holders of the truth and so, by definition, my lack of seeing it their way PROVES that I am still missing it somewhere.

  8. “So, from that point of view, and because God wanted to bridge the gulf between humanity and the divine, He orchestrated the birth of Christ so that humanity would no longer live in fear of His majesty, His power, His holiness” (NorEaster)

    So you see Jesus as a 2nd Moses of sorts – something I have also picked up from Matthew. Didn’t Moses also bridge that divide? I find I am using a Pauline allegory of sorts – Moses as Torah and Jesus as the gospels (lol). Moses did bridge that divide and spoke to God on behalf of the people – I would say the prophets also play this role to some degree. So God has a pattern of sending people to the nation of God – as seen in the roles of Moses and the Prophets – and now we see this in Jesus (who makes the same claims as being sent).

    “But for the incarnation of Christ to be successful…” (NorEaster)

    I would finish this sentence with ‘he had to be fully human’. I ask anyone – name another human on this planet that had the God essence within them (100% human and God)? I know the theory and most of the theology behind Jesus being human – and I actually do appreciate it – it’s quite fantastic. However, it’s also a weird betrayal of facts in some sense – because we are saying God was tempted by satan.

    “What the heck does “have out together” mean…?” (NorEaster)

    It means – I am not winning any Putlizer prizes for my writing (lol) – it was typo.

    “i’m certain of the divine message. so are we worshipping God according the message or just worshipping the messenger?” (Luke)

    That’s my whole beef more or less – or at least where my questions find their home. I think the point is the message from the messenger – which is quite simple – Love God and Love Your Neighbor (which I plan to put on my doorposts when I buy a house – literal writing on my doorposts). I think if we love the teachings – by virtue we love the teacher.

  9. “although the opening quote kind of hints at that” (OSS)

    And that dude was not even humble enough to apologize for that claim – and I even asked him to. Heck, I know if I said that about someone’s faith I would be prostrate in front of them for the absurdity.

    “From my experience, the quotes or reasons I provide don’t get addressed head-on. I’m told to look at the whole of the Bible — I get that one the most. Or look at the church history, or that it’s a mystery beyond our comprehension.” (OSS)

    I see these all the time – and they are fairly common sayings. I think the struggle is the fun personally – and for some this is not fun (I can appreciate that for them also). But Jacob did not become Israel because he slept all night – no – he decided to wrestle with God.

    “Right off the bat, I get a superior to an inferior” (OSS)

    It’s almost as if God the Father had ‘sent him’ and then ‘blessed him’. It’s funny but Matthew has in God’s court at the transfiguration (Matt 17) a few noteables – Elijah and Moses – Torah speaker and a great Prophet. If that is literal, then how come they are in the court with God and speaking to Jesus – being mere humans?

    “You see…It’s not possible…so to continue to rant and speak as though no one wants to help you see what we see…well, help yourself, do the work” (Michelle)

    Truer words were never spoken. I like the twinge of impossibility in the sentence – meshed with in depth study being asked…isn’t that the reality of this whole thing?

    “They are the holders of the truth and so, by definition, my lack of seeing it their way PROVES that I am still missing it somewhere” (Andrew)

    Great points Andrew – they are worth a blog in and of themselves – but I will attend to this point. This is very true – and is the reason I have my faith called to the carpet – because it’s a ‘power game’. If I can be demeaned to the point of ‘lacking faith’ then the person making the assumption is ‘right’ and ‘has the correct faith’. Basically, I can stand to learn something from them – and I am rather insincere if I do not. And I admit – I do suck.

    I like your Mormon comparisons – they ring loud and clear for me also. It’s tough to speak with people who have formulated solid doctrine prior to the convo – they are so solid in opinion that there is no wiggle room. I have been there – I accepted all I was told and studied to find it also…and found no discrepencies. Problem was, even the people with it all theologically figured out were behaving as people with a lot to learn still. So I figured my quest was ‘far from over’.

    And I was right…there is a lot of quest to look into – namely the beliefs that make doctrine and what it all means (in real life – cause whatever you believe does effect your behavior). I got into the questioning aspect because honest questions needed to be perused and asked – for the sake of the legitimacy of this faith. Am I making mistakes along the way? Likely…but it doesn’t mean my sincerity should be taken as a weakness – on the contrary – it’s a great virtue (I think I like myself now).

  10. Michelle,

    I know what you mean, about the blog forum. 🙂

    **And of course, your paraphrase does not begin to do the text justice. With that type of casual approach you can come up with all types of interpretations, which is why, again, in-depth, inductive study is essential. **

    Why do you say it’s casual, though? Because of the inferior/superior connection I’m seeing? Wouldn’t a casual approach rather not include the usage of certain words, the meaning of other words? A paraphrase is not synonmous with a casual approach. For starters, as you said, there’s limited room. Had I done the whole thing, the comment would’ve been huge. But yes, I do look at what the words originally meant, as well as an in-depth study. But even that will cause complications. One person’s study doesn’t lead them to the same path as another person’s. Just look at liberal/conservative Christians with theology degrees. And even with the fact that Greek words don’t hold the same meaning — I agree. I think that’s why the whole New Perspective of Paul started.

    **so to continue to rant and speak as though no one wants to help you see what we see…well, help yourself, do the work, “be diligent to study, a workman who does not need to be ashamed, handling accurately the word of truth.” **

    Why do you assume I haven’t done the work? I have. I have three bookshelves full of Christian/Judaic theology books, historical books on the church, and so forth (if you like, we can break into a “My bookshelf is totally bigger than your bookshelf!” competion 😉 But where do you think the questions are coming from, if I haven’t done the work?

    I am frustrated, yes, and I know that’s showing through in parts. I hope you understand why. There’s an expectation on my part that if someone so passionate about their beliefs, then there’d be some sort of brief answer to “problem passages.” I put out there how I approach the text, what I’m seeing in it, and would like to know how it’s resolved. Surely it’s resolved in *some* way. 😉 Trinitarians must have answers for this, if they’ve seriously studied the Bible.

    But prior experience has led me to the re-direction comment. Michelle, I’ve been on quite a few blogs, posing these types of questions, and I don’t feel they’re addressed. It would be one thing to say, “I see your confusion over this verse, here’s a few ideas.” But the closest I think I’ve come to that is someone saying she didn’t know how to answer my question, and we need to take the BIble as a whole. Okay. But that “whole” always seems to be determined by specific verses, which I was just told I can’t do, but must approach the BIble as a whole.

    If the questions I have, and the verses I use, aren’t addressed at all … what other conclusion do I reach? It would be like you asking me why the Earth remains in orbit around the sun, and I tell you that we know it does, because we can see the sun. That’s not an answer to your question. That’s a re-direction. That’s how issues like the ones Society addresses seem to get treated.

  11. Society,

    **I think the struggle is the fun personally – and for some this is not fun (I can appreciate that for them also). But Jacob did not become Israel because he slept all night – no – he decided to wrestle with God. **

    At least you’re having fun? 🙂 And Jacob did get something in the end — what he was striving for. Hopefully, that bodes well for our search.

    Andrew,

    **It does no good to tell them you did pray and did not get that revelation; at that point they feel you lack sincerity.**

    It does make me wonder how we judge sincerity. By effort or result? In this case, it seems to be by result. But is that a standard judgement of sincerity? In most cases, do we say, “If he is sincere, he’ll try his best” or “If he is sincere, he’ll suceed.” Considering the amount of things we try but don’t suceed at, I’m hoping it’s the former.

  12. And isn’t part of the definition of sin the yearning to disboey God? (OSS)

    The definition of the verb “sin” is “to miss the mark”, or “to err”, in its original Greek form. NOTHING about it being a choice or a “yearning”.

    I’d like to think NO Christian yearns to disobey God. Meanwhile, those who aren’t believers don’t know they’re “in sin”, because no one’s made them aware of it. So I’d say they’re not yearning to disobey God, either. Besides all that, none of us chose to be “born in sin”.

  13. Shelly,

    What I always ponder about the idea is that in order to miss the mark, as derived from an archery term … doesn’t that mean we were aiming for the mark at one point?

    However, that is not how sin seems to be commonly described. Sin rather seems to be any thought/action that is in defiance of God, or the idea that we are born in rebellion to God. I’ve seen the Sermon on the Mount used, in terms of the lust in the heart and hatred of the brother, to show that we’re all imperfect sinners in need of a Savior. So even a random lustful thought is a “sin.”

    I don’t agree with that, because we can’t control those types of thoughts. Willful indulgence in those type of thoughts is another story.

  14. I’ve tried to explain where I’m coming from and why I can’t adequately do justice to the text on a combox, it’s not a diversion. Y’all can put whatever motive y’all want to the words, but all I’m trying to say is, I’m not up to writing a book (a commentary). I shared my approach (which none of you seem to see is the point of my last paragraph) to the scripture. It’s totally personal and I cannot impart to you what I have learned. My strength and ability is lacking. That was all I was saying…

    “You see…It’s not possible…so to continue to rant and speak as though no one wants to help you see what we see…well, help yourself, do the work” (Michelle)

    Truer words were never spoken. I like the twinge of impossibility in the sentence – meshed with in depth study being asked…isn’t that the reality of this whole thing?

    I’m not sure what you mean by this…I meant it’s not possible for me to write out all my thoughts in a way that will be understood. Not that it is not possible to understand the text of God’s word. I said nothing more to you than I have continued to say to all my students…search it out. It’s hard work but well worth the effort.

    And the idea that Trinitarians and Mormons are the same? Mormons do not believe Jesus and the Father are the same – they also deny the divinity of Jesus.

    OSS – With the paraphrase comes the interpretation, that is why I feel it is necessary to stick with the closest interpretation to the original Greek.

    “But yes, I do look at what the words originally meant, as well as an in-depth study. But even that will cause complications.”

    Yes, it does, which is why we have so many commentaries, as do the Jews for the Tanakh. It is the nature of the subject — God — being more than we can ever possibly understand. We only see in a mirror darkly…we’re all doing the best we can, I think? My best has to do with intense study — I was taught another gospel when I was a child, I came to where I am through study. Society, you say you began to study and came to where you are…OK then…we come to the place of agreeing to disagree.

    I’m sorry y’all could not understand my heart in the previous comment…I meant no offense. And contrary to your evaluations of my comment, I do not feel at all superior, I’m sorry y’all took it that way. 😦

  15. Michelle,
    You had mentioned earlier that you felt, on blogs, that people talk right past each other. I think that is true and I am developing a theory of why that is. I think some people are mostly digital thinkers and some are mostly analog thinkers. Digital is like a light switch – on or off. Analog is like a dimmer switch – as you turn the dial, you get varying levels of power.

    For a digital thinker, there are no varying degrees between two arguments. If something is in the “middle” the digital person must immediately shift it to one side or the other. Whereas the analog person will leave the argument in the middle and reference it by the two poles.

    Your statement : “And the idea that Trinitarians and Mormons are the same? Mormons do not believe Jesus and the Father are the same – they also deny the divinity of Jesus.” could not have missed my point more cleanly. However, I do not necessarily think it was intentional, nor rude. I think it is a perfect example of what I am talking about and is, perhaps, one of the reasons that you feel some conversations are ” just talking past one another”.

  16. Andrew, I knew that wasn’t your point…I got your point…just wanted to make another one. You see us (Trinitarians and Mormons) as the same in our approach because, in your opinion, we are both way off and we seem to say, if you will only study and pray hard enough, you too, will come around to our way of thinking. (which is what? wrong?) I believe Mormonism is a cult based upon false teaching — dare I say, you feel the same about Trinitarians?

    What makes Christianity different than all other faiths? We believe salvation is by faith alone in the One who came from heaven to show us the way, Jesus the Christ, the Son of the living God. Emmanuel – God with us. The Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. The One who is worthy of glory, power, and praise. He sits at the right hand of His Father. We worship Him as the One and Only Son – united in essence and will with His Father in the heavenlies and the Spirit, come to dwell in believers’ hearts.

    So, I think you aren’t going to agree with my affirmation…therefore, I am considered like a Mormon in your mind…someone who is deluded into believing a false teaching. If this is not what you’re saying, then please, try again and maybe I’ll get it.

  17. Michelle – I do think your approach is similar, but I would not say you are “way off”. I simply disagree. I do not think that Trinitarians are a cult, nor is it based on false teachings. I just see more scriptural evidence leaning toward a non-triune God. Not that there is no argument for it, I just see too many contestable points to ever be rock solid on that issue. Presently, for me, these are just interesting considerations. So for the moment I refer to Jesus in His many descriptors, while keeping his status to what I see being presented in scripture. For me, that is not equality or interchangeability with God. Yet, I do not see Him as being just a man either. For me, He is definitively, Other.

    On a related note, I do not consider Mormons a cult either. (I think the word cult gets used too quickly and dismissively and shuts down potential dialogue) I do not agree with a fair chunk of Mormon theology or practice, but I don’t believe God is overly impressed with our theology anyway (we bang rocks together to describe the Almighty).

    BTW. Your middle paragraph is a statement that most Mormons would gladly affirm as well.

  18. Michelle,

    **With the paraphrase comes the interpretation, that is why I feel it is necessary to stick with the closest interpretation to the original Greek. **

    That’s pretty much how a lot of Bibles phrased it. The HarperCollins Study Bible has:

    “Long ago God spoke to our ancestors in many and various ways by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by a son, whom he appoined heir to all things, through whom he also created the worlds. He is the reflection of God’s glory and the exact imprint of God’s very being, and he sustains all things by his powerful word. When he had made purifcation for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majest on high, having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more exellent than theirs.” It also has the line of “Let all God’s angels worship him” and I put bowing in there because of how worship can be translated, as it connects to a physical action. There’s also the line “Your throne, God, is forever and ever” but both this BIble and others have mentioned that another translated: “God is your throne” can be used. It also has the line “In the beginning, Lord, you founded the earth”

    And that’s a pretty common idea in every BIble I own.

    It’s all how all the commentaries I find online seem to treat it:

    http://www.godshew.org/Hebrews2.htm
    http://members.aol.com/Sftrail/crossreferencebible/hebrews/01.html

    and even when looking at the Greek words, they seem to mean certain things with the son becoming better, or having an inheritence.

    ** I said nothing more to you than I have continued to say to all my students…search it out. It’s hard work but well worth the effort.**

    But surely you answer their questions at points? Studying is important, as well as not just taking someone’s word for what is said. At the same time, books can’t talk back. Studying will raise quesitons, and people sometimes need an interactive forum. Nor does everyone learn the same way. Some people need that interactive forum, others learn by studying. Others learn in a combination of both ways.

    And I do understand — the blog forum isn’t an adequate method for you to provide this type of information, given what it requires. Nor was I trying to say that you were avoiding the issue, but rather why I continue to get that impression, provided by my Earth example.

  19. Shalom, Society. You have settled on modern Judaism as your offical stand. 😉

    You obviously can’t get past the idea that the Creator of the universe would want to inhabit a man to draw humanity closer to Him. In fact, you think He “cannot” do these things (points 1,2, and 3). I think your God is too small. The God Michele describes in her second paragraph is infinitely greater than that.

    Regarding Mormonism. It is a cult and deserving of being dismissed based on verifiable evidence alone.

  20. “I meant no offense. And contrary to your evaluations of my comment, I do not feel at all superior, I’m sorry y’all took it that way.” (Michelle)

    I take no offense at any of your comments Michelle – while we may have some disagreeance – that by no means I don’t think your ‘a great person’ (you seem very nice to eveyrone). On my site, it’s not so much about superiority and inferiority – we are all equals – also an idea I see in scripture.

    “I’m not sure what you mean by this” (Michelle)

    I was just bantering about the call for studiousness and the impossibility of relating it – sort of like the convo’s about God.

    “Some people need that interactive forum, others learn by studying. Others learn in a combination of both ways” (OSS)

    I like all those ways – studying and blogging (interaction) – heck I even like theological debates. I learn from all these things…and I think we all need convo to learn.

    “You have settled on modern Judaism as your offical stand” (Jim)

    I like modern Judaism as a stand personally – but I am not in Judaism – I am in Christianity (which I will remind you was written by Jewish people with Jewish perspectives). I accept the Christ – honestly I do.

    “In fact, you think He “cannot” do these things (points 1,2, and 3). I think your God is too small. The God Michele describes in her second paragraph is infinitely greater than that.” (Jim)

    I just make the questions – I leave them to be answered (which no one dared touch).

    Your issues with ‘My God’ you can take up with ‘My God’ – your issues with me and my questions – you can take those up with me.

    I am glad Michelle has a Great God – she deserves One! I think we all deserve a Great God!

    Fact is, my view of God is He abides by His own commandments (He’s only as good as His word) – from the Torah and Prophets – plain and simple. Now if this not something we all believe – then just say it…I am fairly sure God is big enough to handle our small questions about Him (and yes, even our doubts).

  21. At the risk of being “pounced upon” by the the theological lions in den (LOL), I just thought I would provide a thought for point number 1.

    “(1) God cannot die…that is a fact none of us would dare argue. Fact is – Jesus does die (for a period of 3 days). Are we going to admit God can die…what a sturdy foundation we have been given?” (SVS)

    My comment is more of a philosophical musing, rather than a defense for the Trinity. On the idea of death and whether or not God can die. I’m just wondering, do any of us really die?

    Our physical body comes to an end, but does not our soul and spirit continue to exist/live? If that is the case, then Jesus’ body dies (sacrificed I dare say) but he continues to live during that 3 day period, because none of us really die, then he physically come backs to life 3 days later.

    Not defending the Trinity in any way here, just having a “hmmm” moment.

  22. “Our physical body comes to an end, but does not our soul and spirit continue to exist/live? If that is the case, then Jesus’ body dies (sacrificed I dare say) but he continues to live during that 3 day period, because none of us really die, then he physically come backs to life 3 days later.” (Just1)

    It’s a good point and does address the intention of first point – I think we have a winner!

    However, that would not make Jesus God (which you slightly allude to in your comment)…it just makes Jesus a part of the common experience of humanity – totally and thoroughly.

  23. “It is a cult and deserving of being dismissed”

    I think this is the common notion, but I think we are called to higher standard as Christ followers. How did Jesus react to “cults”? Did he dismiss them? Roll his eyes? Become impatient? Mock? What pattern did he set?

    I think we can find this out by looking at how he treated Samaritans and how he used them in his parables. I would assume that the Jewish community at the time felt about Samaritans the way Christians tend to feel about Mormons. There are a lot of similarities in the way they related to the “mainstream”. I think Jesus set a pattern we should try to emulate.

  24. **On the idea of death and whether or not God can die. I’m just wondering, do any of us really die? **

    I’ve wondered this myself. When we experience what is called death, is there actually an end to us? Or is just passing from one phase to another, and there’s never a point at which we’re not aware?

  25. Just to clarify, Andrew, my full quote was “Regarding Mormonism. It is a cult and deserving of being dismissed based on verifiable evidence alone.”

    How one treats Mormons is another thing. And you are right that we should not belittle them.

  26. Hey OSS, can you give me a good explanation of Psalm 110:1 and the Adnoi thing in that passage – or even you Yael (since this is a Hebrew word matter). I would like to know what ‘the Lord said to my lord’ is translated as and means.

  27. Remember? No capital letters in Hebrew. Also, the word here is really la-donai, (L’ just means ‘to’) lamed-aleph-dalet-nun. ( When Adonai is used for God, we usually see yud-hay-vav-hay, but there are a few cases when it appears this spelling is used for God. Perhaps at a later date I will look them up for you so you can compare.) The word, adonai, means lord, ruler, master.

    The translation of the 110th psalm in Artscroll,

    “Regarding David, a psalm. The world of Adonai (Ineffable Name) to my master (adonai or Adonai), “Wait at My right, until I make your enemies a stool for your feet.

    Adonai (Ineffable Name) will dispatch the staff of your strength from Zion; rule amid your enemies!

    Your people volunteer on the day of your campaign: because of your majestic sanctity from the inception of [your reign], you shall retain the dewlike freshness of your youth.

    Adonai (Ineffable Name) has sworn and will not relent, “You shall be a priest forever, because you are a king of righteousness.” (your text uses the name Melkizedek, the word in Hebrew is malki-zedek which means king of righteousness, the same as in Genesis. Is is a name or just a description of the person? That is a matter of interpretation.)

    Adonai (adonai or Adonai) is at your right; He (or he) crushes kings on the day of His (or his) anger.

    He (or he) will judge the corpse-filled nations, He (or he) will crush the leader of the mighty land.

    From a river along the way he (or He) shall drink – therefore he (or He) may proudly lift his (His) head.

    Perhaps it is confusing with all the parentheses, but I think they are needed so that you can see what is open for interpretation and what is not, and why for both cases, so that you can think about it without wondering about such things.

    I need to be going though. Tonight starts Shabbat as usual, but then Shabbat leads right into Pesach. Once the sun sets tonight I’ll be off the net until Monday night, enjoying freedom, wine, good food, and good friends. Have fun with the text.

  28. So Yael, I know that the Jewish faith does not see God-hood in that passage of the 2nd lord of Psalm 110:1 – is the 2nd lord not considered God? My guess is it is not – but what is your take?

  29. Opps. I see I typed ‘world’ when it should have been ‘word’….

    I don’t want to separate the verse from its context so I will talk about the psalm as a whole. No, I don’t see the use of adonai in this psalm as God because that would have God talking to God. For Christians that might make sense but certainly not for Jews. You know, Jason, I don’t agree with the Artscroll interpretation where they say the first adonai is master but the second is God. I translate both as ‘master’ since adonai spelled out is so seldom used as God. My take of this psalm would be this:

    This psalmist is taking to another person telling him what God said to David:

    “Regarding David, a psalm. The word of Adonai God to my master, “Wait at My right, until I make your enemies a stool for your feet.

    God will dispatch the staff of your strength from Zion; rule amid your enemies!

    Your people volunteer on the day of your campaign: because of your majestic sanctity from the inception of [your reign], you shall retain the dewlike freshness of your youth.

    God has sworn and will not relent, “You shall be a priest forever, because you are a king of righteousness.”

    (And now the psalmist does a bit of boasting about his master, King David.)

    My master is at your right; he crushes kings on the day of his anger.

    He will judge the corpse-filled nations, he will crush the leader of the mighty land.

    From a river along the way he shall drink – therefore he may proudly lift his head.

    To me, the psalm as a whole makes sense this way.

  30. Thanks Yael – I am not sure how to read that passage to be perfectly honest – having not studied it very much (or the Psalms for that matter). i know it is a passage used in the gospels (and some of the letters) – and I wanted to get your take on it now as someone with some knowledge of Hebrew.

    Reason I asked is someone at another website is using this passage as proof of Jesus being God (the 2nd lord in that sentence) and I was like ‘no – that’s not accurate’…but I had limited proof(s) for my side of the debate. Basically, what I was lacking was the Hebrew on this passage and how it was being read…I had a strong feeling people in the Jewish faith did not see this as ‘God speaking to God’ – which is, in and of itself, kind of humurous.

  31. Just remember the two ‘lords’ in this verse are two totally different words. Would the psalmist have used two different words in the same sentence to mean the same thing? For what reason? Why would he not speak clearly instead? Could it be that he really did speak clearly? I interpret it as yes he did speak clearly.

  32. Hi guys, fly-on-the-wall here
    Interesting thoughts. Remember “the Lord said to my lord”. The lord is David’s lord. Jesus refers to this Scripture in Matthew 22

    41While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, 42″What do you think about the Christ? Whose son is he?”
    “The son of David,” they replied.
    43He said to them, “How is it then that David, speaking by the Spirit, calls him ‘Lord’? For he says,
    44” ‘The Lord said to my Lord:
    “Sit at my right hand
    until I put your enemies
    under your feet.” 45If then David calls him ‘Lord,’ how can he be his son?”

    Son of David/Man and Son of God/Messiah. Jason, since the Trinity is what you are mostly suspicous of, and that is understandable, I just posted a good description of it by LT Jeyachandran of Ravi Zachariah ministries.

    No one has to agree with me here. I only want the Christian perspective to be well represented.

  33. “Son of David/Man and Son of God/Messiah. Jason, since the Trinity is what you are mostly suspicous of, and that is understandable” (JIm)

    I will check out the Ravu Zacharias link – if not to hear more on the story and have a well rounded usage of it from a variety of places.

    Thing is, and Amy Jill Levine points this out, Christians and the Judaic faith look at the scriptures differently and find varying interpretations – and this isn’t the worst thing (unless it slips into anti-Judaic sentiments – then we enter the ‘not cool’ region). The question is not about who is right (although for some it is) but what is being represented by both sides for their faith.

    That’s problematic for me, since I feel Jesus was Jewish and would not have cut himself off from his own faith (and the Torah and Prophets). So the scripture has to be seen a few ways – for sure – but none of them have to be about Jesus being God. That being said, Yael’s perspective is accurate I think – someone writing about David in the Psalm – that works in the original context also.

    The passage Jesus quotes is actually a point about the usage of lord as the ‘son of David’ – Jesus only makes the point that ‘lord’ (the 2nd lord in that Psalm vs. 1) is not the ‘son of David’ – nothing to do with God-hood in the slightest or the hebrew of that term ‘lord’…these are later inventions as people perused that passage and saw this weird wording and tried to use it for Trinity backing.

  34. Society,

    It looks like Yael already answered, but if you go to this link: http://www.htmlbible.com/sacrednamebiblecom/kjvstrongs/B19C110.htm

    It has the Greek works you can reference. The first Lord is reference the Jehovah name, and I think it’s the same as how Adonai is referenced (Yael can better explain that one). The second lord is referring to ‘Adoni, which is never used to refer to God Himself, but rather a human superior, or perhaps an angel. The word can mean lord, master, or owner. Other instances in the Tanakh that use adoni are Genesis 24;12, or 1 Samuel 24:6. Although in the link I provided, if you look up the Genesis verse, it translates that as “master.” Same with the Samuel verse.

    The site you’re referring to that’s using that as proof may be looking at the Greek version of the Tanakh, because I think both lords there would be translated as Kurios (sp?)

  35. OSS
    I just read through Rabbi Singer’s post and I find it the shakiest of arguments. Would King David have been talking about himself? He says that David is naming himself as the human lord at God’s right hand because it was intended to be sung in the temple in the future. Sorry, that dog won’t hunt.

    The lower case lord is a human who is at God’s right hand. Human, yet divine. Hmmm. Now Rabbi Singer has some convincing arguments, especially about Israel’s place in the world, but this is unconvincing.

  36. Jim,

    Well, I did say it was a commentary, not the commentary to end all commentaries. Society mentioned he wanted a variety of viewpoints, and there was one I knew of.

    We do agree that the second lord is a human. The human is told to sit at the right hand/wait at the right hand/wait for the right hand. But nothing in that Psalms speaks of divinity to me, but rather the lord is favored.

    Society,

    A correction to the strong’s concordance website: the Psalms are in Hebrew, not Greek. The Greek doesn’t kick in until the NT.

  37. Rabbi Singer is Orthodox so he’s limited to the Orthodox view on texts. Since tradition attributes this psalm to David, it must have been written by David, according to Orthodoxy. I don’t buy into the Orthodox view of revelation, which has never been Jewish tradition in spite of what the Orthodox claim, so I’m not limited in my interpretation. To me this psalm makes no sense if I say it was written by David.

    Two sentences in this psalm cause me to dismiss Jim’s interpretation, aside from our theological differences:

    Your people volunteer on the day of your campaign: because of your majestic sanctity from the inception of [your reign], you shall retain the dewlike freshness of your youth.

    David was spoken of as being a ruddy lad, so talking about his youth makes sense. This doesn’t seem like an apt description of Jesus. Isn’t he supposed to be ‘the ancient of days’ around since the beginning of time? I’ve never seen any description of him that spoke of youth so I would find that odd here.

    From a river along the way he shall drink – therefore he may proudly lift his head.
    I thought pride was a sin?

    Now you could say the second adonai isn’t speaking of messiah, but then you’re using two different interpretations of the same word in one psalm, which was my main reason for rejecting the Artscroll interpretation.

  38. Rashi’s Commentary on Psalm 110:1-2:

    “The word of the Lord to my master Our Rabbis interpreted it as referring to Abraham our father, and I shall explain it according to their words (Mid. Ps. 110:1): The word of the Lord to Abraham, whom the world called “my master,” as it is written (Gen. 23: 6): “Hearken to us, my master.”

    “Wait for My right hand” Wait for My salvation and hope for the Lord. [The root] ישיבה means only waiting, as Scripture states (Deut. 1:46): “And you stayed (ותשבו) in Kadesh for many days.”

    This is a new spin on this Psalm – one I have never heard before – but I like Rashi’s commentary very much. I am not sure I agree with him – but he does make a good point about the passage and the way it should be looked at – namely ‘ “The word of the Lord to my master…” – this is likely the best translation of this text I have seen (or I should say – it’s the pattern I like the most). Rashi obviously see’s the second use of Master as a human (thus Abraham).

    Yael, do you have any more commentaries like this – this one was awesome!

  39. That link will allow you to read Rashi’s commentary on anything in Tanakh. The link was a new find for me, only discovered last night. Offhand I don’t know of any other commentaries on the Psalms but I’ll let you know if that changes.

    Our weekly Torah class studies using materials from Nehama Leibowitz, some of which are available online. She was a highly respected Torah scholar in Jerusalem so you might enjoy reading from her. I don’t know if she ever wrote on the Psalms though. I haven’t seen anything yet.

    You might also enjoy tackling some of Maimonides Guide for the Perplexed. Mostly I’m still perplexed, but he usually makes me think.

    Glad you liked the commentary. I enjoy reading Rashi also but I don’t always agree with him either, or anyone else for that matter! No matter how wise they are, they were still just other human beings. God gives Torah to me just as much as to them so I have the responsibility to think it through taking into consideration any number of sources, or none at all, rather than just parroting one. That’s the fun of it all, right?

  40. “That’s the fun of it all, right?” (Yael)

    I guess it’s not different than mining for treasure in a way – it’s the work of the individual involved that makes it exciting. Now others before that person have some pretty honed techniques – but everyone elaborates in the search process. The words are treasure to those who can see it – and we all study them on our own (and that is fun!). But I also blog to share that enjoyment with others – like you say – study is more fun with a partner.

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