MacArthur on the "Essential" Trinitarian Doctrine

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darinhouston
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Re: MacArthur on the "Essential" Trinitarian Doctrine

Post by darinhouston » Fri Mar 12, 2021 5:11 pm

dwight92070 wrote:
Fri Mar 12, 2021 9:06 am
This is a clear example of not wanting to see the evidence that is right in front of you. The author knew exactly what Jesus was doing and saying. Verse 18 says He was calling God His own Father, MAKING HIMSELF EQUAL WITH GOD. He had the prerogative to work on the Sabbath as His Father did (verse 18), He had the power and authority to do the works of the Father (verses 19-20), He could raise the dead, just as the Father raises the dead (verse 21), He could life "to whom He wishes" (verse 21) -life can ONLY come from God, there's no other source for life, and He was given the authority to judge ALL (verse 22) - there is no ultimate Judge but God.
This is why you don't accept that Jesus is God - not because there is not ABUNDANT evidence, but because you don't want to see it. The New Testament is FILLED with evidence.
Acts 20:28 "... to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His OWN blood." Whose blood? God's blood. When did God shed His blood? On
Calvalry.

Even simple math shows us that Jesus is God:

If A=C and B=C, then A=B.

If God is our Savior (Titus 2:10; 3:4) and Christ Jesus is our Savior (Titus 2:13; 3:6), then God = Christ Jesus. There is only ONE SAVIOR - Isaiah 43:11
If A = C and B = C , then A = B

This is so simple that even a child can get it. But then, we have to come to God as a little child.

Dwight
The NT is filled with more evidence that God is ONE and there is ALSO a Son who himself HAS a God. Both positions have challenges - but you seem to be just as unwilling to see as you claim I am. For example, you think it's a slam dunk that calling God his own father "MADE HIMSELF EQUAL TO GOD" as if it says "CLAIMING THAT HE HIMSELF WAS THAT GOD." But, that is not what it says, and so it has to be interpreted in light of the rest of scripture and in particular the main gist of that passage and the book in which it exists which is primarily concerned with Jesus being the Messiah, not being divine. Others raised the dead and performed miracles through the power of the Spirit. That did not make them God.

Even Acts 20:28 reads not "of God" in many manuscripts, but "of the Lord" and others say blood "of the Son." Besides, even "his own blood" referencing "God" could well be a figure of speech just as we might use it - his son would be of his blood in a figure of speech.

The point is there is a lot of ambiguity in many of these passages and the ones most heavily relied on either have reasonable alternative meanings or have serious manuscript or translation problems. That's where your blindness is showing. That's not to say the truth your blind to is Jesus not being God (that could well be true) but that your passages and positions aren't as compelling as you think they are and alternative views are at least equally reasonable if not true. History and tradition mean little to me in light of how corrupt most of the relevant history was and how messy it was with so many throughout church history believing otherwise notwithstanding the whitewash church history tends to give to it.

Your simple math forgets that this syllogism only works if it can't be said that A=C in one sense but B=C in another sense. That is true for a great many things and is apparent even to a little child. Also, the principle of identity which you reference would suggest that A also can't be D while B isn't D. Jesus is a man - God isn't a man.

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Re: MacArthur on the "Essential" Trinitarian Doctrine

Post by darinhouston » Fri Mar 12, 2021 5:28 pm

Here's some relevant information on numeric "Identity" in this context...
https://trinities.org/blog/identity/ wrote: Identity is a unique and interesting relation. To understand what modalism is, and in some cases to follow what philosophers who discuss the Trinity are getting so excited about, one needs to be clear about the concept of identity. What follows is a quick primer; for more, see section 2 of this article.

In logic, we express the claim that two (really “two”) things are identical by putting the “=” symbol between their names (here, a, b, c – these are names like “Bob”, not variables that take a numerical value). When “a” refers to George W. Bush, and “b” refers to Koko the Gorilla, these would be true: a=a, b=b. But these would be false: a=b, b=a.

Identity is a relation which is
  • transitive. If a = b, and b = c, then also, a = c. (In this, it is like the relations bigger than, or smarter than.)
  • symmetrical. If a=b, then also, b=a. (In this, identity is like the relation near to, and unlike the relation father of.)
    reflexive. Identity is a relation that a thing can only bear to itself. Unlike most relations you can think of, then, identity isn’t a relation between two things, but always, between a thing and itself. Thus, sometimes philosophers say that identity is a “one-one” relation.
Many relations can be reflexive or not. Two men can bear the puncher-punched relation, but then, a man can punch himself. Identity, though, must always be reflexive.

Identity, then, is a relation that everything bears only to itself. It is closely connected with our concept of an individual entity – to have the concept of an individual entity, is to have the concept of a thing which is self-identical.

Closely connected with the concept is what philosophers often call “Leibniz’s Law” (not to be confused with this, which sometimes is also call Leibniz’s Law.) The more proper name for it is “the indiscernibility of identicals”. It says,

For any x and y, they are identical (x=y) only if whatever is true of one is true of the other.

This principle seems obviously true, and it seems to be necessarily true – something which is true, and couldn’t conceivably be false. Moreover, all people implicitly recognize it to true.
  • Suppose you just met a new friend, Chelsea. She tells you that her dad used to have an important job, that he likes the ladies, loves McDonald’s french fries, and speaks with an Arkansas accent. You say to yourself, “I wonder if her dad is Bill Clinton?” Then, you find out that her Dad is four foot nine, and has never been taller. Well, you can be sure that her dad and Clinton are not identical. Why? It follows from what you know (based on her testimony) plus Leibniz’s Law.
  • Again, suppose you’re on a jury, trying to decide whether or not the defendant Joe Blow is really the Boston Strangler. If you’re certain that the Boston Strangler has a size 9 shoe, and that Joe Blow is a size 13, then “if the shoe does not fit, you must acquit”. Why? If j and b differ with respect to anything at all (including, of course, shoe size), then it is false that j=b.
When it is true that a=b, we can say “a is b”. But that can be misleading, as that little word “is” can express many different ideas. (e.g. “Sally is pretty.” “This sculpture is ice.” “New England is Connecticut, Massachusetts and a few other small states.”) Sometimes philosophers say “a just is b” to express a=b.

OK – the above is mostly common sense, just spelled out with unusual precision. Of course, everything is itself, and not something else. And of course, nothing can differ from itself. So what is the payoff, when it comes to the issue of the Trinity?

Many Christians go around saying things like “Jesus is God“, “Jesus just is God”, or “Jesus is God himself”, etc. And the Father? “He’s God too, of course.” Now, what is being said here? If they’re saying that j=g, and f=g, then it follows (by Leibniz’s Law, or by the transitivity and symmetricality of =) that f=j and that j=f – that Jesus just is the Father, and vice-versa. But if that is so, then “Jesus”, “God”, and “the Father” are three co-referring names – those “three” entities are in fact identical. And thus, whatever is true of one, will be true of the others as well. So we get:
  • The Father was born of Mary, and was later crucified.
  • Jesus sent his only Son into the world, to redeem humankind.
  • There are three persons within the Father.
  • Jesus is a Trinity.
Yikes – looks like some ill theology. Where did we go wrong? Each different developed version of the doctrine of the Trinity has an answer to this question. Some have gone so far as to deny that there’s any such relation as identity. That, however, seems nuts – we all know there’s such a relation, and that it’s ubiquitous. It would seem better understand the truth that “Jesus is God” in some way other than “Jesus is identical to God” (j = g). But how exactly? And will this compromise the claim that Jesus “is fully God”?

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Re: MacArthur on the "Essential" Trinitarian Doctrine

Post by Paidion » Fri Mar 12, 2021 10:06 pm

Your clear expression of the matter is much appreciated, Darin!
Paidion

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Re: MacArthur on the "Essential" Trinitarian Doctrine

Post by dwight92070 » Sat Mar 13, 2021 9:49 pm

Paidon and Darin: I find it interesting that my evidence is pretty much 100% scripture, whereas your rebuttals have very little scripture - rather they attempt to explain why the scriptures that I quote really don't say what is obvious, but something else.

Also, you guys don't have to reinvent the wheel. The heavy lifting of proper translating from the Greek has largely already been done for us. But you assume that a translator that is pro-Trinitarian must, of necessity, be dishonest, and therefore his translation is fraudulent. I believe that a translator that loves God would do all within his power to avoid a biased translation. Does that mean that some translations are 100% accurate? Probably not, but some get real close to that.

So, considering the multitude of verses that I have put forward, the chances that all or even most of them are mistranslated, are slim to none.

Dwight

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Re: MacArthur on the "Essential" Trinitarian Doctrine

Post by dwight92070 » Sun Mar 14, 2021 1:58 am

The Apostle John testified that Jesus was "making Himself equal with God". The only way someone can be equal with God is if He is God. Anyone less than God cannot be equal with God. Unless the translators here are biased toward Trinitarianism - as you claim in most of the other verses. Or if you want to redefine "equal" - changing the clear meaning of the word.

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Re: MacArthur on the "Essential" Trinitarian Doctrine

Post by darinhouston » Sun Mar 14, 2021 12:35 pm

dwight92070 wrote:
Sun Mar 14, 2021 1:58 am
The Apostle John testified that Jesus was "making Himself equal with God". The only way someone can be equal with God is if He is God. Anyone less than God cannot be equal with God. Unless the translators here are biased toward Trinitarianism - as you claim in most of the other verses. Or if you want to redefine "equal" - changing the clear meaning of the word.
The way we keep re-treading issues from other threads and you keep muddying the waters of topics that aren't relevant to the topic at hand makes it difficult to address each of them - I strongly ask that if there's something new you bring up that you bring it up in a separate new topic. Here, you make a claim that is outside scripture (though you say all you're doing is quoting scripture) -- returning to the subtly different text of the scripture at hand, however, I reject your premise that the only way someone can "make himself equal with God" in the literal sense which I believe is consistent with the entirety of the text is to "be God."

On the notion of not bringing scripture, (aside form the fact that I do bring relevant scriptures in at times) please note that I am rarely trying to make the affirmative case of what Scripture teaches here - I am responding to claims of Trinitarians as to what their own passages mean. The affirmative case of monotheism is (I hope) fairly non-controversial. There are plenty of texts that should be answered by Trinitarians, but that has not been the point of most of these topics. I might start a topic to ask how you deal with passages declaring things like Jesus "having a God" and that sort of thing, but I suspect you'd respond much as I do and yet you would not see that you are doing the same.

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Re: MacArthur on the "Essential" Trinitarian Doctrine

Post by dwight92070 » Sun Mar 14, 2021 6:40 pm

darinhouston wrote:
Sun Mar 14, 2021 12:35 pm
dwight92070 wrote:
Sun Mar 14, 2021 1:58 am
The Apostle John testified that Jesus was "making Himself equal with God". The only way someone can be equal with God is if He is God. Anyone less than God cannot be equal with God. Unless the translators here are biased toward Trinitarianism - as you claim in most of the other verses. Or if you want to redefine "equal" - changing the clear meaning of the word.
The way we keep re-treading issues from other threads and you keep muddying the waters of topics that aren't relevant to the topic at hand makes it difficult to address each of them - I strongly ask that if there's something new you bring up that you bring it up in a separate new topic.

Dwight: If you're referring to whether the Trinity is essential or not, we did cover that and I don't know what else needs to be said. But my "muddying the waters" with the RELATED TOPICS of the TRINITY and whether JESUS IS GOD, shouldn't be too difficult for you to respond to. You don't seem to be having a lot of trouble doing so.

Here, you make a claim that is outside scripture (though you say all you're doing is quoting scripture)

Dwight: Actually I said that pretty much all of my EVIDENCE (that Jesus is God) is scripture. I never said that I don't ever talk about anything but scriptural quotes.

-- returning to the subtly different text of the scripture at hand, however, I reject your premise that the only way someone can "make himself equal with God" in the literal sense which I believe is consistent with the entirety of the text is to "be God."

Dwight: Okay, you tell me how a person can make themselves equal with God without actually being God. It's impossible. You can't do it, unless you change the meaning of the word "equal". John did not say that Jesus was "making Himself equal to God "in a particular sense" (your qualifier) - he just simply used one word - equal, and he expected us to understand it, knowing what "equal" means. 2 + 2 equals 4, 2 + 2 is 4, Jesus equals God, Jesus is God

On the notion of not bringing scripture, (aside form the fact that I do bring relevant scriptures in at times) please note that I am rarely trying to make the affirmative case of what Scripture teaches here

Dwight: Why not? is it because there aren't very many scriptures that actually support your view?

- I am responding to claims of Trinitarians as to what their own passages mean. The affirmative case of monotheism is (I hope) fairly non-
controversial.

Dwight: So you would rather "muddy the waters" of the clear scriptural teaching of the fact that Jesus is God and the Trinity, than to come up with scriptures that support your view. Again, we are both monotheistic.

There are plenty of texts that should be answered by Trinitarians, but that has not been the point of most of these topics.

Dwight: Bring them on. If your view is correct, I would love to see scriptures that support it.

I might start a topic to ask how you deal with passages declaring things like Jesus "having a God" and that sort of thing,

Dwight: What scriptures are you thinking of? Since you like to make new topics, (even though, in my mind, we are still in the same ballpark), I recommend that you start a new topic: All the Scriptures that Show that Jesus is Not God (or possibly, There's No Trinity).

but I suspect you'd respond much as I do and yet you would not see that you are doing the same.

Dwight: If I can't refute your beliefs with the scriptures, then I need to rethink or even renounce my beliefs.



Dwight:

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Re: MacArthur on the "Essential" Trinitarian Doctrine

Post by darinhouston » Sun Mar 14, 2021 10:39 pm

dwight92070 wrote:
Sun Mar 14, 2021 6:40 pm
Dwight: Actually I said that pretty much all of my EVIDENCE (that Jesus is God) is scripture. I never said that I don't ever talk about anything but scriptural quotes.
That is one of the things that can make responding to your posts somewhat frustrating - quoting a scripture often begs the question. Posting a different scripture is often just avoiding the discussion and throwing up distracting chaff. They rarely bear on the question at hand but instead simply raise different topics which should be separate discussions/topics. It can be a bit of a barrage tactic.

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Re: MacArthur on the "Essential" Trinitarian Doctrine

Post by darinhouston » Sun Mar 14, 2021 10:42 pm

dwight92070 wrote: Dwight: Okay, you tell me how a person can make themselves equal with God without actually being God. It's impossible. You can't do it, unless you change the meaning of the word "equal". John did not say that Jesus was "making Himself equal to God "in a particular sense" (your qualifier) - he just simply used one word - equal, and he expected us to understand it, knowing what "equal" means. 2 + 2 equals 4, 2 + 2 is 4, Jesus equals God, Jesus is God
John does imply a particular sense since Jesus didn't actually say "I am equal with God" so the sense in which they probably meant it was probably the same or sense in which Jesus was making claims (notably, the argument is that he claimed to "be" God, which was not their objection). Equal does not always imply numeric identity.

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Re: MacArthur on the "Essential" Trinitarian Doctrine

Post by darinhouston » Sun Mar 14, 2021 10:48 pm

dwight92070 wrote: On the notion of not bringing scripture, (aside form the fact that I do bring relevant scriptures in at times) please note that I am rarely trying to make the affirmative case of what Scripture teaches here

Dwight: Why not? is it because there aren't very many scriptures that actually support your view?
Now you're just being a bit "catty." Because the affirmative scriptures (I believe I posted quite a string of them at one point) are really not ever questioned. I would actually suggest it's the "whole of scripture" that implies the base case that there is one God and that Jesus is His Son, a man, Jesus who was born, died, and raised again. Do you really need a string of proof-texts for those propositions? The admittedly extra-scriptural argument is not taught clearly in scripture and few real scholars would say it is - instead it is what they would say is "implied" by certain proof-texts (which are the subject of my discussions) or required to fit their interpretation of same. So, since we're dealing with those implications and logical arguments that are largely extra-scriptural and speculative theology (regardless how widely accepted), that's where the real argument lies. It does require discussion of the proof-texts.

Perhaps one of these days I can get around to posting problematic passages for Trinitarians and see what you have to say about them, but we spend too much time re-treading old ground.

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