What I like about the Trinitarian view.

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Re: What I like about the Trinitarian view.

Postby ChristianHeretic » Thu Feb 16, 2012 1:39 pm

"agree to disagree" mitch.

mike, moonwood, still interested in your thoughts. I'm ok if those thoughts violate the law of identity, it's just hard for me to justify that position to atheists on this forum and other reasonable thinking people...
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Re: What I like about the Trinitarian view.

Postby mikedsjr » Thu Feb 16, 2012 3:56 pm

CH,
Great! This is the type of information I was hoping to see if you had disagreements. I will probably take these 1 at a time.
ChristianHeretic wrote:1) John 8:58
John most likely used the LXX as his version of Scripture as acknowledged by Dunn:
Dunn, Christology in the Making; pg 14 wrote:It is evident that the LXX is the Bible of the fourth evangelist. This Greek translation is the source of the large majority of John’s OT quotations, not only the three quotations that agree entirely with the LXX (10:34; 12:38; 19:24), but also – with various degrees of certainty – of the quotations in 1:23; 2:17; 6:31, 45; 7:38; 12:15; 15:25; 19:36.

And if that is the case, then unfortunately the Ex 3:14 argument has a difficult obstacle to overcome. The LXX version of Ex 3:14 says:
Ex 3:14 LXX wrote:And God spoke to Moses, saying, I am <EGO EIMI> THE BEING <HO ON>; and he said, Thus shall ye say to the children of Israel, THE BEING <HO ON> has sent me to you.

The reason this is significant is that the Greek terms are different. Jesus says in Jn 8:58 "I am" ("ego eimi") and God claims in Ex 3:14 to be "The Being" ("ho on") or other translations translate it "the One Who Is". This significant discrepancy is evidenced by most early church fathers who quoted the verse (Irenaeus, Against Heresies, Book IV, Chpt XIII; Origen, Against Celsus, Book VIII, Chpt XII; Novation, Concerning the Trinity, Chpt XV). The argument was made by them that this verse proved the pre-existence of Jesus, but the early apologists who were reading the text in Greek had no idea of this alleged claim to be YHWH.

What makes this modern argument even more difficult to subscribe to is this later interpretation of what was "obviously" meant by Jesus with his use of the phrase "I am" doesn't appear to be all that evident to those religious leaders at the time. Let's look at the context a few verses earlier to apparently the same religious leaders:
John 8:24-25 NASB wrote:"Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am He <EGO EIMI>, you will die in your sins." So they were saying to Him, "Who are You?" Jesus said to them, "What have I been saying to you from the beginning?”

So in spite of the fact that Jesus says the exact same thing 34 verses earlier, you don't hear modern orthodoxy espousing this verse because it doesn't help their argument. Jesus says "I am" and the religious leaders extremely versed in the names of YHWH respond, "Who are you?"
.


This is interesting stuff. Do you have longer section from the clip of DUNN's book?

Since i don't know Hebrew or Greek, I have to rely on my go to source i know does, Dr. James White. I'm going to do some study on this so i comprehend what he is saying and review the above with statements. Thanks for giving me something to chew on.
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Re: What I like about the Trinitarian view.

Postby ChristianHeretic » Thu Feb 16, 2012 10:50 pm

Hey mike, I apologize. I've been looking for my Christology in the Making book by Dunn and haven't been able to find it, then I realized I think I lent it to my pastor and he hasn't given it back! Can't trust those pastors...but then did some research online and realized I pulled the wrong reference...sorry about that...this quote is actually from Menken and here's that reference on page 205: Old Testament Quotations in the Fourth Gospel: Studies in Textual Form (Contributions to Biblical Exegesis & Theology Ser. Vol. 15). But it's not in the context of John 8:58, just overall about John's use of the LXX.

Regarding White, here is his really good and detailed analysis on the topic, Purpose and Meaning of "Ego Eimi" in the Gospel of John
In Reference to the Deity of Christ
. I'd like to hear your interpretation after you go through it...couple of things to notice in his analysis though: 1)notice his small acknowledgement of 9:9 shortly after Jesus' statement where the blind man makes the same acknowledgment, apparently also claiming to be the "I am", 2)In 8:28, "I am" is a confirmation that He is the "Son of Man", not God, 3)John 18:5-8 is simply a confirmation that He is "Jesus of Nazareth"--3 times, and 4)the most significant one is 8:24, where the religious leaders are completely oblivious to this alleged "name" of God used throughout the OT so significant that they are supposed to recognize it 34 verses later?

The somewhat frustrating thing for me is that in spite of his educated position on the topic, he still takes this house of cards the church has built on Ex 3:14 and rather than clearly exposing it for it's inadequacies, he instead attempts to justify it by finding verses in Isaiah that can be used to prop the house of cards up, which now can be used to support his interpretation of John 8:58. It's to me intellectually dishonest along with others below who take the same approach (I'm not arguing that he is even aware of what he's doing, I just think some are so driven by their theology that it interferes with their objectivity):
The NET Bible study notes on John 8:58 wrote:I am! is an explicit claim to deity. Although each occurrence of the phrase “I am” in the Fourth Gospel needs to be examined individually in context to see if an association with Exod 3:14 is present, it seems clear that this is the case here (as the response of the Jewish authorities in the following verse shows).
And it's apparent that they recognize John's use of the LXX because in the study notes to John 1:18 they claim “Finally, HO ON occurs in Rev 1:4, 8; 4:8, 11:17; and 16:5, but even more significantly in the LXX of Exod 3:14.”
The ESV Study Bible notes on John 8:58 wrote:The words ‘I am’ in Greek use the same expression (Egō eimi) found in the Septuagint in the first half of God's self-identification in Exodus 3:14, "I AM who I AM." Jesus is thus claiming not only to be eternal but also to be the God who appeared to Moses at the burning bush.

The comment above by the ESV is worse. It is disingenuous to argue that Jesus is actually quoting the “first half of God’s self-identification in Exodus 3:14” from the Septuagint simply because it is not the title He repeats for Himself in the latter part of the verse. At the end of the verse He repeats, “Thus shall you say to the sons of Israel, ‘the One Who Is has sent me to you.’” He does not tell them to say “the ‘I Am’ has sent me to you.” Notice even though they acknowledge the LXX, they mistranslate it “I AM who I AM” seemingly to mislead the reader into believing they are claiming it is actually a quote of the title YAHWEH claims for Himself in the second part of this verse in the Septuagint rather than the completely ambiguous “first half” subject of the verse preceding the title God actually claims for Himself. And they do this in spite of the fact that they still indistinctly acknowledge that Jesus could only have extracted the subject portion of this verse rather than the actual title YAHWEH claims for Himself found in the predicate of “the Being” or “the One Who Is.” If Jesus was simply quoting the subject as they propose and their argument can stand on its own, why aren’t they more candid in their English translation of the Septuagint? And why do we argue that this is the particular verse Jesus chose to siphon off the subject portion rather than the hundreds of other verses found in the LXX where the subject of EGO EIMI is followed by any other self-claimed title found in the predicate? And so this phrase that Jesus uses in John is not the same title that God claims for Himself in Exodus based on the opinion of these early Jewish translators of the Septuagint. And the translators of the ESV and NET are apparently aware of this based on their comments above despite their endorsement of the alleged reference. However, they still refuse to abandon this popular claim of orthodoxy in spite of the fact that they can no longer claim ignorance as they have acknowledged the Septuagint in their explanation. Even if the ESV somehow mistakenly retranslates the LXX based on their English interpretation of the Hebrew, they realize that Jesus was not quoting the title YAHWEH claims for Himself in the verse in Greek because of their acknowledgement that it was just a quote of the “first half of God's self identification.” They rather offer further justification in a less than accurate attempt to try to perpetuate this misguided theory that Jesus was in fact acknowledging Himself as YAHWEH here rather than being truthful by simply disregarding this claim as an unreasonable argument sourced in Church tradition.
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Re: What I like about the Trinitarian view.

Postby StillSearching » Thu Aug 15, 2013 6:49 pm

Caught this on Facebook and figured there was a Trinity-themed thread on here somewhere in which I could post it.

Question & Answer with John Shelby Spong
Zolika Heath from Ocala, Florida, writes:

Question:
The Trinity: How did this doctrine evolve? Is it polytheistic? Father, Son and Spirit are in scripture but is "Trinity?"

Answer:
Dear Zolika,

Your question is a very good one. I doubt that Jesus was a Trinitarian; I am quite certain that Paul was not. The Trinity is a human definition of God, and since the human mind could never fully embrace the mystery and wonder of God, to literalize a human definition of God borders on the absurd. For human beings to worship their own creation is the essence of idolatry. The Trinity is a definition not of God, but of the human experience of the divine and is, therefore, an attempt to make rational sense out of that human experience.

We experience God as other, beyond anything that our minds can grasp. This is what we mean when we say God is Father – the Ground of all being. We experience God as an inward presence, so deep within us that we cannot name the reality we know is there. That is what we mean when we say God is Spirit, ineffable, life-giving, inward and real. We experience God in the life of others. Sometimes to lesser degrees, sometimes to what seems like a total degree. This is what we mean when we call Jesus “the son,” and why we frame doctrines like “the Incarnation.” Our experience was and is that in Jesus we saw the presence of God flowing through his human life.

Is that who God is? No, but that is what our experience of God is and so we claim it.

The Trinity is not a definition of God; it is an experience into which we live.

Thanks for asking,

~John Shelby Spong
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Re: What I like about the Trinitarian view.

Postby JustJim » Fri Aug 16, 2013 4:06 am

Spong is so cool....

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Re: What I like about the Trinitarian view.

Postby mikedsjr » Fri Aug 16, 2013 9:35 am

That's why your god is not my God. Spong only seeks to intellectual recast the Scriptures, not interpret context.
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Re: What I like about the Trinitarian view.

Postby StillSearching » Fri Aug 16, 2013 10:09 am

mikedsjr wrote:Spong only seeks to intellectual recast the Scriptures, not interpret context.


Not sure I understand what that means.
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Re: What I like about the Trinitarian view.

Postby mikedsjr » Fri Aug 16, 2013 10:31 am

Recast is a word he used before to reject Scriptures teachings. He will properly state a historical christian view accept he does it with an "intellectualized" mocking tone. He dismisses them, then reframes Christianity to something modern society would accept. He has no ability, because of his lack of context to his position from Scripture, to explain why his view is Christian at all. He believes holding to traditional Christianity will only kill the religion and thus must be rebranded.

However, there is not a JS Spong without nonsensical people who reject Scripture too.

Thus, JS Spong & his followers do not worship the same God of Scripture. Thats dishonesty for one to even offended by that. They cant possibly read Scripture and say "i believe in this God" then reject what Scripture says about God and what he did and does.
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Re: What I like about the Trinitarian view.

Postby StillSearching » Fri Aug 16, 2013 10:50 am

I'm sure it comes as no surprise that I disagree with your opinion. Would you care to provide me with an example or two of what you consider to be Spong's rejection of scripture? I understand that he rejects the historicity of the virgin birth and even the resurrection. That's not what I'm talking about here so please avoid those in your reply.

mikedsjr wrote:Thus, JS Spong & his followers do not worship the same God of Scripture. Thats dishonesty for one to even offended by that. They cant possibly read Scripture and say "i believe in this God" then reject what Scripture says about God and what he did and does.


This is how I read your comment:

They can't possibly read scripture and say "I believe in this God," and then reject my interpretation of what scripture says about God and what he did and does.
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Re: What I like about the Trinitarian view.

Postby mikedsjr » Fri Aug 16, 2013 5:47 pm

What you did was misinterpret what i said to mean something different. That isnt what i said and it doesnt matter what you think im saying. The issue is whether its true and/or whether you agree.

For instance lets start with a verse i would begin with to demonstrate the Trinity is a Scripturally sound doctrine. The Shema. Any faithful jew would have recited this daily.
Deut 6:4
“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.

The text says there is one God. Thats not interpreting. That's what it says. Context demonstrates this. To intrpret this another way would not be a "my interpretation" but a misinterpretation.
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Re: What I like about the Trinitarian view.

Postby StillSearching » Sun Aug 18, 2013 4:24 am

mikedsjr wrote:For instance lets start with a verse i would begin with to demonstrate the Trinity is a Scripturally sound doctrine. The Shema. Any faithful jew would have recited this daily.
Deut 6:4
“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.

The text says there is one God. Thats not interpreting. That's what it says. Context demonstrates this. To intrpret this another way would not be a "my interpretation" but a misinterpretation.


First, how does this demonstrate the Trinity? It says that God is one, not three.

Second, I asked for an example of Spong rejecting scripture. Since you are so strongly dismissive of his works, I would assume that you are familiar with them and can provide me with an example.

Third, would you describe his words above as "rejecting scripture"? How so?
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Re: What I like about the Trinitarian view.

Postby mitchellmckain » Sun Aug 18, 2013 4:58 pm

StillSearching wrote:First, how does this demonstrate the Trinity? It says that God is one, not three.

That IS the doctrine of the Trinity that God is one - ONE God, one being but known to us in three different and distinct persons that have always existed. The doctrine of the Trinity is a view of God which is NOT created in our own image and yet is not less than a person but more.

So Deut 6:4 demonstrates the ONE God aspect of this doctrine. The other aspect of this doctrine that God is three persons is typically demonstrated by John 1:32-34 where we are introduced to these as three distinct persons and to this we can add many more passages which refer to two of these as distinct persons.

With regards to the the other two challenges however, I shall leave mike to answer them, if he can.
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Re: What I like about the Trinitarian view.

Postby StillSearching » Mon Aug 19, 2013 6:12 am

mitchellmckain wrote:That IS the doctrine of the Trinity that God is one - ONE God...


Yes, I know. But this passage doesn't address the entire doctrine. It merely says that God is one.

...one being but known to us in three different and distinct persons that have always existed.


Which strikes me as precisely what Spong is expressing in the quote above - one being that is experienced by humans in three ways.

The doctrine of the Trinity is a view of God which is NOT created in our own image and yet is not less than a person but more.


Not created in our own image, but created by us, right? Or do you disagree with that?

So Deut 6:4 demonstrates the ONE God aspect of this doctrine. The other aspect of this doctrine that God is three persons is typically demonstrated by John 1:32-34 where we are introduced to these as three distinct entities and to this we can add many more passages which refer to two of these as distinct persons.


Yep, no argument there. The Bible seems to describe the three in a way that identifies them as distinct (and yet as one). I see Spong's answer as nothing more than another way of expressing that concept, though it replaces the idea of three distinct "persons" with the idea of one "person" experienced in three different ways - kind of like looking at a married doctor who has two kids as "doctor", "husband", and "father". Three very distinct "persons" depending upon how one is experiencing that "person" but nonetheless the same person.

I guess for me, Spong's way of explaining the Trinity is more understandable than the traditional Christian view which you and Mike seem to be describing. The whole "God's just weird like that and our puny human brains can't comprehend it" line just doesn't cut it for me, but looking at it from Spong's point of view makes it more clear for me, without (I think) harming the root concept of the Trinitarian philosophy.
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Re: What I like about the Trinitarian view.

Postby mikedsjr » Mon Aug 19, 2013 8:40 am

StillSearching wrote:
mikedsjr wrote:For instance lets start with a verse i would begin with to demonstrate the Trinity is a Scripturally sound doctrine. The Shema. Any faithful jew would have recited this daily.
Deut 6:4
“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.

The text says there is one God. Thats not interpreting. That's what it says. Context demonstrates this. To intrpret this another way would not be a "my interpretation" but a misinterpretation.


First, how does this demonstrate the Trinity? It says that God is one, not three.

Second, I asked for an example of Spong rejecting scripture. Since you are so strongly dismissive of his works, I would assume that you are familiar with them and can provide me with an example.

Third, would you describe his words above as "rejecting scripture"? How so?

First,second,third: i said the Scripture was a starting point i would use to demonstrate the Trinity. If your tuning out scripture right off the bat, then Spong is your guy. He doesnt expect you to believe Scripture but reject it. If you dont know Spong, then why would you quote him?
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Re: What I like about the Trinitarian view.

Postby StillSearching » Mon Aug 19, 2013 9:50 am

mikedsjr wrote:First,second,third: i said the Scripture was a starting point i would use to demonstrate the Trinity.


Ooooo kaaaaaay :?

If your tuning out scripture right off the bat, then Spong is your guy.


How am I (or Spong for that matter) "tuning out" scripture? I haven't made a single argument against the Trinity, nor has Spong. What is it that you think he is saying and how does it contradict scripture? Can you answer with some sort of explanation, rather than just reasserting that he and I are rejecting scripture. I understand that you believe that to be the case. Why?

He doesnt expect you to believe Scripture but reject it.


What makes you believe that?

If you dont know Spong, then why would you quote him?


I know Spong. You are acting as if you know him, by declaring assertively that he rejects scripture and asks his readers to do the same. I'd like to know 1.) if you do indeed know him/his works as you imply, and 2.) what makes you believe that he rejects scripture and asks his readers to do likewise.

There are no wrong answers here Mike. If you believe what you have written, I'm just interested in knowing why.
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