Knowledge puffs up, but love edifies. Verse Tool: show

The Gospel of John and the trinity

The Gospel of John and the trinity

Postby 21centpilgrim » Wed May 31, 2017 9:31 am

John is often turned to to prove that Jesus is God.
The question I have is this, is that the actual intention of the author?

It seems that the author really wants to be clear in his intent on his purpose of the book and the identity of Jesus when he makes it very plain in 20:31

"but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name."

This is virtually the same as the earliest Christian creed we have, Peter's confession in Matt. 16:16 “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

Back to John though, shouldn't our reading of John be framed by the very clear explanation of his intent of his writing?

Thanks
Then those who feared the LORD spoke with each other, and the LORD listened to what they said. In his presence, a scroll of remembrance was written to record the names of those who feared him and loved to think about him.
User avatar
21centpilgrim
 
Posts: 120
Joined: Fri Aug 22, 2008 11:17 pm

Re: The Gospel of John and the trinity

Postby Homer » Wed May 31, 2017 12:10 pm

Romans 11:33 (NASB)
33. Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways!


21centpilgrim,

We will never know in this life, IMO, anything close to all there is to know about God. In the realm of the spirit we know very little about what relation there may be to Father, Son, and Spirit. I think sometimes we try to draw too hard of a line regarding certain things. There are things that must be believed, that are good to believe, and there are things that are best to believe. I think that Jesus being the Son of God is something that must be believed.

I also believe there are things that are best to do and things that we must do. For example, in regard to suing a brother in court Paul tells us we should not do that. We are to take the matter to the church. That is permissible. But it is best for Christ's sake to let the matter go.
Last edited by Homer on Wed May 31, 2017 12:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
Homer
 
Posts: 2394
Joined: Sat Aug 23, 2008 11:08 pm

Re: The Gospel of John and the trinity

Postby 21centpilgrim » Wed May 31, 2017 12:24 pm

Homer, I agree.

I was just hoping for some input and feedback about the actual post above though.
Then those who feared the LORD spoke with each other, and the LORD listened to what they said. In his presence, a scroll of remembrance was written to record the names of those who feared him and loved to think about him.
User avatar
21centpilgrim
 
Posts: 120
Joined: Fri Aug 22, 2008 11:17 pm

Re: The Gospel of John and the trinity

Postby StevenD » Wed May 31, 2017 2:47 pm

21centpilgrim wrote:John is often turned to to prove that Jesus is God.
The question I have is this, is that the actual intention of the author?

It seems that the author really wants to be clear in his intent on his purpose of the book and the identity of Jesus when he makes it very plain in 20:31

"but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name."

This is virtually the same as the earliest Christian creed we have, Peter's confession in Matt. 16:16 “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

Back to John though, shouldn't our reading of John be framed by the very clear explanation of his intent of his writing?

Thanks


Jeremiah (21centpilgrim):

Your question about the "very clear explanation of his [John's] intent of his writing" seems to presuppose that the identity of the Son of God should be separated from Jesus' identity as God. Yet, John informs his readers that his contemporaries understood Jesus' description of his relationship to the Father as a unique statement about his own self expression as God.

"Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God"
(John 5:18).


Although you didn't mention the trinitarian concept by name in your message, the title you gave to this thread ("The Gospel of John and the trinity") seems fitting. I suppose that you could have called the thread "The Gospel of John and oneness", but Jesus' unique status as the Son implies that Godhood includes relational dynamics that a monad concept of deity fails to support.

Steven D.
StevenD
 
Posts: 30
Joined: Sat Aug 23, 2008 2:25 am

Re: The Gospel of John and the trinity

Postby 21centpilgrim » Wed May 31, 2017 3:32 pm

StevenD wrote:
Your question about the "very clear explanation of his [John's] intent of his writing" seems to presuppose that the . Yet, John informs his readers that his contemporaries understood Jesus' description of his relationship to the Father as a unique statement about his own self expression as God.

"Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God"
(John 5:18).


Although you didn't mention the trinitarian concept by name in your message, the title you gave to this thread ("The Gospel of John and the trinity") seems fitting. I suppose that you could have called the thread "The Gospel of John and oneness", but Jesus' unique status as the Son implies that Godhood includes relational dynamics that a monad concept of deity fails to support.

Steven D.


Steven, thanks for the response. 'Making himself equal with God' does not mean making himself God.
I do presuppose and separate the identity of the Son of God from Jesus' identity as God because the very passage does so.
vs 19- the son can do nothing of his own accord.
vs 22- the son does not posses in himself 'all judgment' but all judgment was given to him by the father.
vs 26- the son does not have life in himself innately but it has been granted by the Father to the son to have life in himself
vs 27 the authority to execute judgment was given to the son as well.

Jesus has derived authority, stated both here and in the great commission- 'all authority has been given to me, therefore go.....'
Jesus himself says that the Father alone is the one true God- john 17:3-'And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.'

So I will use the language of scripture in saying that Jesus is 'the Son of God', which is profound enough for the gospels and Jesus. However i will hesitate to say the phrase that is never in scripture, 'God the Son'.
Some see the two as being synonymous, many do.

Bless you Steven
Then those who feared the LORD spoke with each other, and the LORD listened to what they said. In his presence, a scroll of remembrance was written to record the names of those who feared him and loved to think about him.
User avatar
21centpilgrim
 
Posts: 120
Joined: Fri Aug 22, 2008 11:17 pm

Re: The Gospel of John and the trinity

Postby mattrose » Wed May 31, 2017 4:09 pm

I take no issue with someone being reluctant or unwilling to use the phrase 'God the Son'

One could insist on using only 'Son of God' and still call themselves Trinitarian since all that is technically required to call oneself a Trinitarian is a belief that there are 3 (God, Jesus, Spirit) who are unified in some important sense.

But I, myself, would not be so reluctant to call Jesus 'God' in some sense. Even John does this in chapter 1 "and the Word was God". Just because the term 'son of God' does not necessarily mean that the 'son' in question is divine... it also doesn't necessarily negate that possibility. It seems we have plenty of evidence from the 4th Gospel account that the Father and Son are unified and some evidence that you can refer to the Son as God. You also have good evidence (from the Farewell Address) that the presence of Christ is equated (and in direct unity with) the presence of the Spirit. So it does seem to me that we have all the truth statements necessary to construct some sort of 'trinitarian' doctrine from the 4th Gospel.
User avatar
mattrose
 
Posts: 1798
Joined: Fri Aug 22, 2008 11:28 am

Re: The Gospel of John and the trinity

Postby darinhouston » Sat Jul 15, 2017 8:15 am

[First, I may have inadvertently deleted the post I was trying to quote from -- apologies to the poster]

John's opening verse established that he (as the Word) was both God, yet "with God".
Further, "without him was not anything made that was made" (v. 3).


This is the sort of loose exegesis that makes these trinitarian discussions so difficult (particularly in reference to John).

John doesn't actually say "he was the Word." He said the Word "became" flesh. That's is subject to varying interpretations. "Equating" the Word in existential/ontological identity with Jesus isn't required by this text and is only assumed when people read John with trinitarian presuppositions (and especially as typically translated).

From his introduction it seems to me that John wants his reader to understand something about the pedigree of Christ. Unlike Matthew and Luke who respectively focus on the kingly and human aspects of the nature of Jesus' birth, John appears intent on highlighting his Divine conception (evidently the Word was always with God).
(Matthew: son of Abraham, son of David; Luke: son of Adam; John: Son of God).


This is the traditional presupposition of John's purpose. But, I am beginning to think that John's purpose here is to compare Jesus with Adam as the new Adam in a new Creation. The prologue is clearly a nod towards the Creation narrative, and many of the allusions are to Adam and the Creation/Fall narrative.

So far, as I have explored these issues with some purpose over the past several years, John 17:5 is the only really problematic passage for me, at least as to the pre-existence of Jesus (at least in some "personal" form). Whether that's an eternal pre-existence isn't proven, but I find it difficult to see that passage in any context other than assuming His pre-existence.

John 17:5 "Now, Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was." (NASB)
User avatar
darinhouston
 
Posts: 2039
Joined: Tue Aug 26, 2008 7:45 am

Re: The Gospel of John and the trinity

Postby backwoodsman » Sat Jul 15, 2017 10:10 am

darinhouston wrote:[First, I may have inadvertently deleted the post I was trying to quote from -- apologies to the poster]

Here is that post, from Google's cache:

============

Re: The Gospel of John and the trinity
by StevenD » Wed May 31, 2017 8:54 pm

Hi Jeremiah,

Thank you for the polite reply. Of course I also appreciate Matt Rose's follow-up post.

From your opening sentences I am pressed to consider the nature of equality with God that Jesus had in mind. You said:

'Making himself equal with God' does not mean making himself God.
I do presuppose and separate the identity of the Son of God from Jesus' identity as God because the very passage does so.


John's prologue refers to Jesus as "uniquely begotten" of the Father (1:14--the Word, 18--the Son).
John's opening verse established that he (as the Word) was both God, yet "with God".
Further, "without him was not anything made that was made" (v. 4).

From his introduction it seems to me that John wants his reader to understand something about the pedigree of Christ. Unlike Matthew and Luke who respectively focus on the kingly and human aspects of the nature of Jesus' birth, John appears intent on highlighting his Divine conception. (Matthew: son of Abraham, son of David; Luke: son of Adam; John: Son of God).

In the absence of any good reason to dismiss the plain statements included in John's introduction of the Word, it is difficult to imagine how a fair-minded reader should conclude that the Gospel writer intends his readership to see the Word as anyone other than God. Accordingly, John does appear to make a distinction between the Father and the Son (cf. 2 John 1:9). The distinction between the Father and the Son is the begotten nature of the Son in relationship to unbegotten identity of the Father.

This seems to account for why on occasion Jesus is referred to as God when addressed exclusively (e.g. Titus 2:13; 2 Peter 1:1), yet when the Father and the Son are both in view the Father is identified as God while "the Lord Jesus Christ" seems to customarily be his title (the opening salutations of the epistles bear this out).

As the Nicene Creed went, "God from God, light from light, true God from true God, begotten--not made, one in substance with the Father". If a 1700 year old cliche isn't tasteful, I apologize, but it appears to soundly resonate with John's Gospel.

Thanks for corresponding about this. Maybe we should get together sometime soon and talk about it in person?

Peace in Christ,
Steve D.
User avatar
backwoodsman
 
Posts: 449
Joined: Thu Dec 03, 2009 11:32 am
Location: Not quite at the ends of the earth, but you can see it from here.

Re: The Gospel of John and the trinity

Postby darinhouston » Sat Jul 15, 2017 1:40 pm

Awesome! Thanks...

backwoodsman wrote:Here is that post, from Google's cache:
User avatar
darinhouston
 
Posts: 2039
Joined: Tue Aug 26, 2008 7:45 am

Re: The Gospel of John and the trinity

Postby Perry » Tue Jul 18, 2017 12:52 pm

mattrose wrote:...all that is technically required to call oneself a Trinitarian is a belief that there are 3 (God, Jesus, Spirit) who are unified in some important sense.


By this definition, I could comfortably call myself Trinitarian.

Yet I find myself reluctant to do so. Mainly this is because formal definitions of the trinity seem to go further than they need to, not only in their declarations about the nature of God, but also in how they categorise the people who do or do not adopt those definitions.

I think it was Steve who said it best in one of his lectures. (I'll paraphrase as best I can). Before the council of Nicea, there were brothers who had different beliefs on how to interpret certain scriptures regarding the nature of God. After the council there were the orthodox and the heretics.

I realize this is an oversimplification, but it gets to the heart of my main discomfort with trinitarianism.

I think Matt's definition, "belief that there are 3 (God, Jesus, Spirit) who are unified in some important sense" is an appropriate description of what I see in the Bible.

But it's a mistake to go further than the Bible does in describing what "in some important sense" means, and it's an even bigger mistake to use that as a way to categorize some believers as heretics.
User avatar
Perry
 
Posts: 328
Joined: Thu Jan 13, 2011 1:24 pm

Next

Return to The Trinity

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest