The First Act of God

God, Christ, & The Holy Spirit
User avatar
Paidion
Posts: 5393
Joined: Mon Aug 18, 2008 10:22 pm
Location: Back Woods of North-Western Ontario

Re: The First Act of God

Post by Paidion » Thu Sep 09, 2021 10:37 am

Dwight wrote: Dwight - If there was no "before", then God cannot be eternal.
That doesn't follow. If there were no "before" and God existed since the beginning of time, then He is eternal.

Clearly, Matthew 25:46 uses the word for "eternal" (αιωνιος) in the sense of "everlasting".
Paidion

Man judges a person by his past deeds, and administers penalties for his wrongdoing. God judges a person by his present character, and disciplines him that he may become righteous.

Avatar shows me at 75 years old. I am now 83.

dwight92070
Posts: 1060
Joined: Sat Dec 10, 2011 12:09 am

Re: The First Act of God

Post by dwight92070 » Mon Sep 13, 2021 7:30 am

Colossians 1:15 - F.F.Bruce says: "He is the firstborn over all creation", a phrase which the Arians made to mean that Christ was a created being (or begotten as Paidion prefers) and not co-eternal with the Father, BUT THE CONTEXT RULES THIS OUT COMPLETELY. The title here given emphasizes the thoughts of priority and superiority, declaring, as Lightfoot states, 'the absolute pre-existence of the Son'. The reference here is to His deity rather than His humanity, to the Son in His eternal being rather than the incarnate Son.

User avatar
darinhouston
Posts: 2688
Joined: Tue Aug 26, 2008 7:45 am

Re: The First Act of God

Post by darinhouston » Mon Sep 13, 2021 5:41 pm

dwight92070 wrote:
Mon Sep 13, 2021 7:30 am
Colossians 1:15 - F.F.Bruce says: "He is the firstborn over all creation", a phrase which the Arians made to mean that Christ was a created being (or begotten as Paidion prefers) and not co-eternal with the Father, BUT THE CONTEXT RULES THIS OUT COMPLETELY. The title here given emphasizes the thoughts of priority and superiority, declaring, as Lightfoot states, 'the absolute pre-existence of the Son'. The reference here is to His deity rather than His humanity, to the Son in His eternal being rather than the incarnate Son.
Well, I guess I think he is wrong. It does not say firstborn before all creation. Doesn't "over" imply authority and priority of position as opposed to temporal priority? It does emphasize priority and superiority, but not necessarily "otherness" or pre-existence. Scripture is equally clear of the Father's priority and superiority over the Son.

What about the context of priority and superiority rules out the Arian position? (noting that even the Arians believe the Son pre-existed all of Creation, as does Paidion).

dwight92070
Posts: 1060
Joined: Sat Dec 10, 2011 12:09 am

Re: The First Act of God

Post by dwight92070 » Mon Sep 13, 2021 9:46 pm

darinhouston wrote:
Mon Sep 13, 2021 5:41 pm
dwight92070 wrote:
Mon Sep 13, 2021 7:30 am
Colossians 1:15 - F.F.Bruce says: "He is the firstborn over all creation", a phrase which the Arians made to mean that Christ was a created being (or begotten as Paidion prefers) and not co-eternal with the Father, BUT THE CONTEXT RULES THIS OUT COMPLETELY. The title here given emphasizes the thoughts of priority and superiority, declaring, as Lightfoot states, 'the absolute pre-existence of the Son'. The reference here is to His deity rather than His humanity, to the Son in His eternal being rather than the incarnate Son.
Well, I guess I think he is wrong. It does not say firstborn before all creation. Doesn't "over" imply authority and priority of position as opposed to temporal priority? It does emphasize priority and superiority, but not necessarily "otherness" or pre-existence.

Dwight - The context has to do with Him creating all things (verse 16), so obviously He had to pre-exist before creation and before His incarnation. Scripture is equally clear of the Father's priority and superiority over the Son.

What about the context of priority and superiority rules out the Arian position? (noting that even the Arians believe the Son pre-existed all of Creation, as does Paidion).
Dwight - To interject the Arian position of God creating or begetting Jesus is changing the subject and adding speculation to the text, especially since Jesus Himself is here declared to be the Creator.

User avatar
darinhouston
Posts: 2688
Joined: Tue Aug 26, 2008 7:45 am

Re: The First Act of God

Post by darinhouston » Tue Sep 14, 2021 9:18 am

dwight92070 wrote:
Mon Sep 13, 2021 9:46 pm
Dwight - The context has to do with Him creating all things (verse 16), so obviously He had to pre-exist before creation and before His incarnation. Scripture is equally clear of the Father's priority and superiority over the Son.
Well, that begs the question of what "Creation" is in view. I believe the focus for Paul is always the coming kingdom and the church etc. and not the Genesis account. The creation of principalities and the like is discussed, but not other elements of Genesis creation like sun, moon, stars, mankind, etc. It could also well be a reference not to their being created "through" Jesus, but "in" him. Or "on account of" him or "because" of him and what he would come and do etc. That seems to be more consistent with Pauls general approach to Jesus and the kingdom focus and to the Father being the creator.

This is an interesting discussion of Jesus' pre-eminence...

-----------------

Why is Jesus pre-eminent in the kingdom?

We must pause a moment and ask, Why is Jesus pre-eminent? Is it because he is God and, as such, inherently ranks above all? Not according to Scripture. Jesus occupies the highest position because God exalted him to a place of power and authority:
Ephesians 1:19-21 (NASB) and what is the surpassing greatness of His [God’s] power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His [God’s] might 20 which He brought about in Christ, when He [God] raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. (emphasis added)
Paul’s teaching in Ephesians parallels that of his teaching in Colossians and Philippians,[20] which states that Jesus’ position or rank was delegated to Him by God the Father. The apostle Peter also speaks of this:
1 Peter 3:22 (NASB) [Jesus Christ], who is at the right hand of God, having gone into heaven, after angels and authorities and powers had been subjected to Him. (emphasis added)
After God raised Jesus from the dead, He made him superior to all governing authorities. In other words, before this time, they weren’t subjected to him. If Jesus is God, this makes absolutely no sense. But if he is the exalted human agent, it makes perfect sense,[21] and it is in keeping with Scripture which says that God gave Jesus authority to rule:
Matthew 11:27 (NASB) “All things have been handed over to Me by My Father...” (emphasis added)

Matthew 28:18 (NASB) And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. (emphasis added)

John 3:35 (NASB) “The Father loves the Son and has given all things into His hand. (emphasis added)

User avatar
darinhouston
Posts: 2688
Joined: Tue Aug 26, 2008 7:45 am

Re: The First Act of God

Post by darinhouston » Tue Sep 14, 2021 9:45 am

dwight92070 wrote:
Mon Sep 13, 2021 9:46 pm
Dwight - To interject the Arian position of God creating or begetting Jesus is changing the subject and adding speculation to the text, especially since Jesus Himself is here declared to be the Creator.
Actually, you (in Bruce's quote) raised the Arian position - I was only suggesting that the Arian position is actually consistent with Bruce's position as to pre-existence, so I don't understand why he thinks he contradicted it.

dwight92070
Posts: 1060
Joined: Sat Dec 10, 2011 12:09 am

Re: The First Act of God

Post by dwight92070 » Wed Sep 15, 2021 8:17 am

Darin, when you see the Trinity or the Deity of Christ in the Bible, you have this tendency to see the trees, but ignore the forest. This is exactly what you're doing with John 1. Instead of acknowledging that there is a forest (the Trinity and the Deity of Jesus), you inspect the individual trees (words and verses that you can say don't really mean what they obviously mean). Then, Wha-la! your conclusion! Obviously, there can't be a Trinity and Jesus can't be God! As I said in a previous post, even a teenager can see in John 1, that the Word IS A PERSON, that is, He is NOT a concept or a principle, or simply a personification. That teenager could see that He IS GOD and that same WORD, BECAME FLESH, IN THE PERSON OF JESUS. EVEN A TEENAGER COULD UNDERSTAND THAT GOD BECAME FLESH IN THE PERSON OF JESUS. But you don't want to acknowledge that, so you will continue to twist and turn individual words, to make them say what they are not saying.

User avatar
darinhouston
Posts: 2688
Joined: Tue Aug 26, 2008 7:45 am

The First Act of God

Post by darinhouston » Wed Sep 15, 2021 8:18 am

Teenagers are often mistaken. But I think I’m looking more at the forest than you are in this case.

My general approach to "study" is to read a text with as much surrounding textual and historical context as possible first (considering but holding very loosely the traditions of men/institutions). THEN, look at the possible meanings of words and phrases and manners of speech, including their full semantic ranges and the like to see if a particular reading is more in line with the over-arching themes and immediate context, giving greatest weight to the larger themes. And to zoom in and out as much as possible - recursively - rinse and repeat.

I am trained as an engineer and a patent lawyer and that is a how I treat most everything I read that has any substantive impact from its proper interpretation. Legislation, scripture, technical specifications, contracts, court opinions, patent claims, scientific studies and reports, etc.

I have to be methodical in my line of work. Many of us do this instinctively with modern discourse (though some do not even do that very well). But, it's even harder with ancient languages and customs and context.

This may not be perfect, and I may not do it always as consistently as I might think or hope I do, but I don't think it's fair to say I only look at the trees.

User avatar
Paidion
Posts: 5393
Joined: Mon Aug 18, 2008 10:22 pm
Location: Back Woods of North-Western Ontario

Re: The First Act of God

Post by Paidion » Wed Sep 15, 2021 5:38 pm

Well... my belief differs both from that of Dwight (that Jesus is God) and that of Darin (that Jesus is but a man whom God exalted above all others). My belief is that Jesus is the divine SON of God, whom He begat as His first act.

The son of a man is human like man; the Son of God is divine like God (though Jesus, in His human form is also the son of man, for God sent Him to be born as a normal human being (except without having a human father).
Paidion

Man judges a person by his past deeds, and administers penalties for his wrongdoing. God judges a person by his present character, and disciplines him that he may become righteous.

Avatar shows me at 75 years old. I am now 83.

User avatar
darinhouston
Posts: 2688
Joined: Tue Aug 26, 2008 7:45 am

Re: The First Act of God

Post by darinhouston » Wed Sep 15, 2021 5:58 pm

Paidion wrote:
Wed Sep 15, 2021 5:38 pm
Well... my belief differs both from that of Dwight (that Jesus is God) and that of Darin (that Jesus is but a man whom God exalted above all others). My belief is that Jesus is the divine SON of God, whom He begat as His first act.

The son of a man is human like man; the Son of God is divine like God (though Jesus, in His human form is also the son of man, for God sent Him to be born as a normal human being (except without having a human father).
I respect your view, Paidion, and I am not completely settled on "some form" of pre-existence. Those texts are still a bit unsettled in my mind. But, I'm just curious, Paidion, if you believe the Son of God had conscious personal pre-existence or had existence and was "sent" in some other sense? Do you believe he shared in all of the same divine attributes (such as aseity) as the Father in that pre-existent state? And so forth...

Post Reply

Return to “Theology Proper, Christology, Pneumatology”