Jesus' God was not the Trinity, why is yours?

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21centpilgrim
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Re: Jesus' God was not the Trinity, why is yours?

Post by 21centpilgrim » Tue Mar 10, 2020 3:30 pm

Paidon, are you familiar with the large consensus of scholars saying that MONOGENES does not mean begotten but unique or one of a kind?

This would seem to challenge your line of thinking af what makes Jesus 'divine'.

Here are some quotes-

“In the preface of the New King James Bible, we are told that the ‘literal’ meaning of MONOGENES… is ‘only begotten’… All of this is linguistic nonsense.”
–D. A. Carson, Exegetical Fallacies, p. 28 (see also pp. 30-31)

“‘Only-begotten’ fails the etymology test, as it would require a different word… MONOGENES derives instead from a different root, GENOS, leading to the meaning ‘one of a kind.'”
–Craig Keener, The Gospel of John, Vol. 1, pp. 412-13

“We should not read too much into ‘only begotten’… To English ears this sounds like a metaphysical relationship, but the Greek term means no more than ‘only,’ ‘unique.'”
–Leon Morris, The Gospel according to John, p. 93

“The emphasis is not that Jesus was ‘begotten’ of God, but that God had only one Son, and this ‘one and only’ Son he sent into the world…”
–Colin Kruse, The Letters of John, p. 159

“There is little Greek justification for the translation of MONOGENES as ‘only begotten.'”
–Raymond Brown, The Gospel according to John (i-xii), p. 13

“MONOGENES therefore means not ‘only begotten,’ but ‘one-of-a-kind’ son…”
–Andreas Kostenberger, John, p. 43
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.

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mattrose
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Re: Jesus' God was not the Trinity, why is yours?

Post by mattrose » Tue Mar 10, 2020 5:36 pm

My problem with a list of Scripture verses like what we found in the opening post (used to question the doctrine of the Trinity) is that those very statements are the exact kind of statements trinitarians would expect to find in Scripture. By definition, if both groups (trinitarians and non-trinitarians) are perfectly comfortable with the language used, then the language used doesn't point in one direction or the other in regards to the debate.

Trinitiarians expect Jesus to talk about the Father as his God, especially since we believe that the 2nd Person of the Trinity became human and related to the Father as we do. Furthermore, since progressive revelation is a reality, we would expect to find the earliest Christians speaking in ways the stretch their monotheism without obliterating it, which is exactly what we do find in some of those passages.

I'm left sort of scratching my head as to how a non-trinitiarian would think these kinds of lists would have persuasive power over trinitiarians.

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21centpilgrim
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Re: Jesus' God was not the Trinity, why is yours?

Post by 21centpilgrim » Tue Mar 10, 2020 6:34 pm

Matt, I think they show that not only did Jesus have a God that was not the Trinity while he walked the earth, but they show that he still does have a God now, post-resurrection and ascension.
This would seem to challenge the Nicene notion that God and Jesus are ontologically equal and have the same essence.
They show that Jesus is not the almighty God, since to be GOD you do not have a God. But Nicene Christology and Trinitarians now hold that Jesus is True God from True God.
Does that help?
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.

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Paidion
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Re: Jesus' God was not the Trinity, why is yours?

Post by Paidion » Tue Mar 10, 2020 9:05 pm

Paidon, are you familiar with the large consensus of scholars saying that MONOGENES does not mean begotten but unique or one of a kind?
I know that SOME translators so render it, but I believe they are in error concerning this. The etymology of the word favours "only begotten."
MONO (only) GENES (begotten).

The translators of the following versions translate the word as "only begotten":
ASV, AV, Darby, Diaglot, Douay, EMTV, JB2013, LO, NAS, NASB, NKJV, YLT, and Webster.

Justin Martyr, in his discussion with a group of Jews said:
I shall give you another testimony,my friends,” said I, “from the scriptures, that God begat before all creatures a Beginning... just as we see happening the case of a fire, which is not lessened when it has kindled another... and that which has been kindled by it likewise appears to exist by itself.
—Justin Martyr, Dialogue With Trypho, chap LXI

For to which of the angels did God ever say, "You are my Son, today I have begotten you"? (Hebrews 1:5)
This implies that God DID say these words to His only-begotten Son.

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. (Colossians 1:15)

And several of the second-century Christian writers affirmed that God begat His Son before all ages.
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Re: Jesus' God was not the Trinity, why is yours?

Post by mattrose » Sat Mar 14, 2020 9:28 am

21centpilgrim wrote:
Tue Mar 10, 2020 6:34 pm
Matt, I think they show that not only did Jesus have a God that was not the Trinity while he walked the earth, but they show that he still does have a God now, post-resurrection and ascension.
This would seem to challenge the Nicene notion that God and Jesus are ontologically equal and have the same essence.
They show that Jesus is not the almighty God, since to be GOD you do not have a God. But Nicene Christology and Trinitarians now hold that Jesus is True God from True God.
Does that help?
I'm sorry, no. It doesn't seem to address my points at all. There's nothing surprising, from a trinitarian perspective (at least mine), about any of these verses since Jesus is believed to be fully god and fully man.

Since the Father is fully God.... Jesus did have a God that was 'not the trinity'
Since Jesus is still 100% human... Jesus does still 'have a God now, post-resurrection and ascencion.'
It does not challenge the notion that the Father & Son are of the same essence and equally God
It does not show that Jesus is 'not the almighty God' since there is no reason for your assertion that 'to be God you do not have a God'

The mistake you keep making is you're tryign to equate each member of the trinity with the whole trinity. It's a failure to recognize that the term 'God' can be used in different ways. Nuance is allowed. I see this mistake happening all the time. I was just talking to someone the other day that couldn't understand how everyone can be a 'child of God' in one sense (since we're all created by God and descendants of Adam/Eve), and yet some of us are not 'children of God' in the more important sense of being spiritually in right relationship with the Father through Jesus and the Son.

You're basically saying... Jesus can't be the whole Trinity. I agree. Jesus is not the whole trinity. Jesus can be fully God without being God alone. We can use the term God in 2 different ways (actually more, but only 2 are important here).

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21centpilgrim
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Re: Jesus' God was not the Trinity, why is yours?

Post by 21centpilgrim » Sun Mar 15, 2020 10:32 am

Thanks Matt, it seems that while most assume the Trinity you have multiple understandings of what that means.

Some people worship and or bless the Trinity, will pray to the Trinity. Beyond that, there are those who believe that God is three selves or those who say one self. There are varying definitions of 'being'. etc I think you get the point.

You responded-
-It does not challenge the notion that the Father & Son are of the same essence and equally God
-It does not show that Jesus is 'not the almighty God' since there is no reason for your assertion that 'to be God you do not have a God'
Hear me out here, so you have 3 persons who are equally God, one (or maybe two of these persons but for sake of argument will leave it at just one)of these Gods, let's say God-B has one of the others,God-A, as a God over him.
God-A has no God over him.
God B has said that God A is the only true God.
God B has also said that he, God B, lives because of God A.
God B also has said that as God A has life in himself, God A has granted that God B have life in himself

then the bible say that at the end of all things after death is destroyed that God A will put all things under God B's feet, except God A (this third God is not even in the picture???), anyways, and then after that, it says that God B will be made subject to God A, so that God A may be all in all.

I guess the traditional way to try and get around these is to fit all of these differences within just functional differences and not ontological but these differences are more than just roles but of essence.

thanks again for the feedback
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.

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Re: Jesus' God was not the Trinity, why is yours?

Post by steve » Tue Mar 17, 2020 12:14 pm

I prefer not to engage non-trinitarians in debates on the trinity, because it is soon evident in every such discussion that non-trinitarians usually do not understand the trinity doctrine that they claim to reject in the way the trinitarians do. It is similar to debating with atheists who are debunking a god that no theist believes in. The trinity doctrine that most non-trinitarians reject is a doctrine that no self-studied trinitarian would recognize, and which all should reject. In most cases, the non-trinitarians seem to misunderstand, not only the trinity doctrine, but their own proof-texts as well. Take the following example:
The Pharisees thought Jesus was claiming to be God in [John 10:] 33, Jesus clarifies that what he was saying was not that he was God but that he is God's son, that he is the Messiah.
That is not what Jesus was clarifying at all. If this were correct, then Jesus could have just answered, "Hold on there! I never said I was God. I only said that I was the Son of God." That would have clarified His point adequately—if that was, indeed, the point He was making.

Instead, He went the circuitous route of pointing out that they did not object to the Psalmist calling people "gods," so what (He implies) is the basis for their present uproar? His point was the same one that He made about David eating showbread and the priests working on Sabbath in the temple,when they were criticizing His disciples for working on the Sabbath (Matthew 12:1-7). He made the same point in John 7:22-23, and other occasions—namely, pointing out their hypocritical inconsistency in judging Him when they did not condemn similar cases among their heroes and friends.

He is pointing out their own inconsistency here—not clarifying His identity.

True, He had not said "I am God," but, rather, "I am the Son of God." Yet, every non-trinitarian accepts the latter as true. That is simply a matter of fact, but this was not the point He was making, and His use of the term "Son of God" cannot be taken as a denial of His deity unless it can be shown that the trinitarian understanding of the Word being God can be disproved. To follow Jesus' argument, especially on a statement that is so wildly misunderstood by many, is all important in the responsible exegesis of the passage. The fact that He never made the former claim on record is irrelevant, since we have no record of Him making the latter claim, in those terms, either. Yet, every non-trinitarian accepts the second claim as true, despite the lack of Jesus having said it on record.

There seems no sense in debating the trinity since an understanding of it eludes those of a certain mindset, and it is not the end of the world if they never understand it. There is a certain naivété (I had almost said arrogance, but I changed my mind) among those who quote the verses that they imagine to be against the trinity doctrine—as if they imagine that theologians throughout history, and today, have somehow not seen or seriously regarded those verses, and would be unable to fit them into their system.

I was raised, of course, believing in the trinity, but my theological; upbringing is not predictive of my views on any theological subject about which I have had any opportunity to think critically. I have been thinking critically about thew trinity since my mid-twenties. The view I now hold carries not water for the Nicene verbiage, but has been reached the same way that my other views have been—by seeking the simplest harmony of all the relevant statements in scripture on a subject, and adopting the view that is comfortable with them all, and does violence to none. I grant every other believer the liberty to take the same approach and to reach one's own convictions.

I don't care to engage this thread further. If anyone has questions about my understanding of the trinity, I am a man of no unrecorded thoughts! My views can be found expounded in my series "Knowing God" in the lectures with obvious titles related to the trinity.https://thenarrowpath.com/topical_lectu ... nowing_God

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21centpilgrim
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Re: Jesus' God was not the Trinity, why is yours?

Post by 21centpilgrim » Tue Mar 17, 2020 2:38 pm

I would like to respond but now it seems it is discouraged to engage Non-Trinitarians. So why even the Doctrinal Topic- Trinity as an option?
The title of the thread was tongue in cheek. Of course Jesus' God wasn't the Trinity. However maybe the title gets people to look at things they wouldn't consider otherwise.

And yes , John 10:33 contains a larger response of Christ that shows more than.....' I am the Son of God.'
More had been shared in this thread than just that though....
I believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God, that I have the Son and have life.


I will listen to the lectures mentioned and then perhaps go from there.
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Re: Jesus' God was not the Trinity, why is yours?

Post by Paidion » Thu Mar 19, 2020 5:40 pm

Steve wrote:I prefer not to engage non-trinitarians in debates on the trinity, because it is soon evident in every such discussion that non-trinitarians usually do not understand the trinity doctrine that they claim to reject in the way the trinitarians do.
Well, that's fine. No one is pressuring you to debate the matter.
However, I don't think you are correct in presuming that non-trinitarians usually do not understand the trinity doctrine ... in the way the trinitarians do. Many of them, like myself, were raised in trinitarianism and were taught the doctrine quite fully.

I won't debate the issue either. But I will just point out an observation I have made. The Trinitarians which I have encountered seem to think that there is one "God", and that this one God is a compound Being consisting of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. But nowhere in the Bible do we find the word "God" used for such a compound Being. Indeed probably over 95% of the occurrences of the word refer to the Father alone. A few of them denote the Son, and none denote the Holy Spirit.

As I see it, the Holy Spirit (called in the Bible "the Spirit of God" or "the Spirit of Jesus") is just that. Our spirit or self is confined to our bodies. The Father and the Son, on the other hand, have the ability to extend themselves to any point in the Universe. In my view, that extension of themselves is what is known as "the Holy Spirit."
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Re: Jesus' God was not the Trinity, why is yours?

Post by darinhouston » Fri Mar 20, 2020 10:09 am

I do think it's unfair to suggest non-Trinitarians don't understand what Trinitarians actually believe. I find quite the opposite is true (not so much that they do understand, but that most Trinitarians understand less). But, often they may seem that way because they may be responding to one of the prevailing views that don't agree with another particular view that an apologist might hold. Even if they do misunderstand a particular view, I think that can be excused at least partially since there are so many variants today by those who actually think (or at least proclaim to think) that they understand the Trinity. It can, indeed, be difficult to debate a moving target. The idea that there is a widely held deeply considered single strand of orthodox Trinitarian belief even today is laughable. Once you get past the trite one God in Three Persons recitation and probe beyond that, most realize they don't really understand what they claim to believe or have widely different viewed of what that means. At least that's my perception today.

The more I have read scholarly and popular treatments of these subjects and the more debates between both and Trinitarian apologetics from famous and often scholarly Trinitarians I've tried to review critically (though usually not scholars in Trinitarianism per se) the more ignorant I think most Trinitarian apologists and pastors and lay people are in the history and development and wide diversity of views there have been of both the deity of Christ and the many flavors of trinitarianism through the ages. (they are either ignorant or disingenuous, maybe both in some cases) The simplistic view of pre-Nicene thought on these related subjects and of what happened at Nicea itself and the near complete and total ignorance of the post-Nicene (even immediately following Nicea) diversity of views in the church and outside it is mind boggling considering the importance this subject has been made to orthodoxy. Most lay people and clergy and even apologists today seem to think there has never been any real debate in the church on this subject and Nicea cleanly and forever put aside a minor heretic and cleanly and forever laid out the modern Trinitarian formula. (I know Steve himself acknowledges things aren't quite that simple) They take the position that anyone who claims otherwise is stupid or a heretic or both and disengage debate. But nothing could be further from the truth. The closest thing to today's prevailing Trinitarian formula came much later after numerous intervening and competing councils and anathemas and creeds (some of which were widely held official non-Trinitarian views).

I think many non-Trinitarians are "on to something" and considering the silence in modern dialogue on this subject I think they can be excused when they get out over their skis trying to piece together an alternative view. These issues, both philosophically and historically are complex, notably because so many contrarian writings have been destroyed and/or squelched in academia and beyond. Only recently has this taken a serious tone in academic discourse. And it has. But, I think folks will need to be engaged more than ever with gentle correction as they drift into error on specific texts and positions, not blanket rebuke and scorn. I think that's how we find truth over time. I have little doubt that we "have it wrong." Yes, many non-Trinitarians are getting it "wronger" but that doesn't mean we shouldn't try to meet in the middle and find the "truthiest" position or at least carve off the dogmatic positions that are "wrongest" and leave mystery in the middle. It might get messy but I don't think that's a reason to disengage debate.

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