Trinities podcast

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Seballius
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Trinities podcast

Post by Seballius » Wed Jun 12, 2019 3:15 pm

[from admin: "This topic is being created from another thread (moved from Trinities Podcast) -- the topic comes up from time to time and I thought it was worth its own thread."]
darinhouston wrote:Brother Alan, you say “of course” Christ gave Himself the divine name, but that’s not so obvious and is not necessarily the case regardless of the nature of Christ’s divinity. There are many strong disputations against the divine relevance of the so-called “I Am” passages (even among trinitarians).


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The reading of the text below has Jesus identifying himself as the “I am” who existed before Abraham. What other logical reading can one give it? Jesus is claiming existence before Abraham and the Jews knew he was claiming to be the “I am that I am”. Thus, they picked up stones.


Joh 8:57  So the Jews said to him, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?”
Joh 8:58  Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.”
Joh 8:59  So they picked up stones to throw at him, but Jesus hid himself and went out of the temple.




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Paidion
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Re: Trinities podcast

Post by Paidion » Wed Jun 12, 2019 8:41 pm

Seballius wrote:The reading of the text below has Jesus identifying himself as the “I am” who existed before Abraham. What other logical reading can one give it? Jesus is claiming existence before Abraham and the Jews knew he was claiming to be the “I am that I am”. Thus, they picked up stones.


Joh 8:57 So the Jews said to him, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?”
Joh 8:58 Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.”
Joh 8:59 So they picked up stones to throw at him, but Jesus hid himself and went out of the temple.
That doesn't exactly prove that Jesus was claiming to be Yahweh, or the great "I AM."
He may simply have been stating that He existed before Abraham (in spite of the present tense).
The Jews may have wished to stone Him, only because of that claim.
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Re: Trinities podcast

Post by BrotherAlan » Wed Jun 12, 2019 10:18 pm

Why would Jesus say, "I am", instead of, "I was", "I already existed", or any other phrase using past tense? It doesn't make sense for Him to use the present tense unless He was giving Himself the same name God gave Himself in Exodus and thus asserting the same thing about Himself as that which was asserted by God in Exodus: I am eternal, I AM...

In Christ, the Eternal Son of the Eternal Father,
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as it was in the beginning, is now, and always, and unto the ages of ages. Amen."

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John 8:58 (Before Abraham, "I Am")

Post by darinhouston » Thu Jun 13, 2019 10:51 am

This is from "https://www.biblicalunitarian.com/videos/john-8-58b" and is only one alternative view as to the "I Am" passage here. Much of the discussion is relevant to many non-Trinitarian views. But, they are perhaps unique in their view (as pertaining to temporality) that it is a reference to the pre-incarnate Word.

John 8:58b
Before Abraham was, I am. (KJV)

1. Trinitarians argue that this verse states that Jesus said he was the “I am” (i.e., the Yahweh of the Old Testament), so he must be God. That argument is not correct. Saying “I am” does not make a person God. The man born blind that Jesus healed was not claiming to be God, and he said “I am the man,” and the Greek reads exactly like Jesus’ statement, i.e., “I am.” The fact that the exact same phrase is translated two different ways, one as “I am” and the other as “I am the man,” is one reason it is so hard for the average Christian to get the truth from just reading the Bible as it has been translated into English. Most Bible translators are Trinitarian, and their bias appears in various places in their translation, this being a common one. Paul also used the same phrase of himself when he said that he wished all men were as “I am” (Acts 26:29). Thus, we conclude that saying “I am” did not make Paul, the man born blind or Christ into God. C. K. Barrett writes:

Ego eimi [“I am”] does not identify Jesus with God, but it does draw attention to him in the strongest possible terms. “I am the one—the one you must look at, and listen to, if you would know God.” [1]

2. The phrase “I am” occurs many other times in the New Testament, and is often translated as “I am he” or some equivalent (“I am he”—Mark 13:6; Luke 21:8; John 13:19; 18:5, 6 and 8. “It is I”—Matt. 14:27; Mark 6:50; John 6:20. “I am the one I claim to be”—John 8:24 and 28.). It is obvious that these translations are quite correct, and it is interesting that the phrase is translated as “I am” only in John 8:58. If the phrase in John 8:58 were translated “I am he” or “I am the one,” like all the others, it would be easier to see that Christ was speaking of himself as the Messiah of God (as indeed he was), spoken of throughout the Old Testament.

At the Last Supper, the disciples were trying to find out who would deny the Christ. They said, literally, “Not I am, Lord” (Matt. 26:22 and 25). No one would say that the disciples were trying to deny that they were God because they were using the phrase “Not I am.” The point is this: “I am” was a common way of designating oneself, and it did not mean you were claiming to be God.

3. The argument is made that because Jesus was “before” Abraham, Jesus must have been God. There is no question that Jesus figuratively “existed” in Abraham’s time. However, he did not actually physically exist as a person; rather he “existed” in the mind of God as God’s plan for the redemption of man. A careful reading of the context of the verse shows that Jesus was speaking of “existing” in God’s foreknowledge. Verse 56 is accurately translated in the King James Version, which says: “Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad.” This verse says that Abraham “saw” the Day of Christ, which is normally considered by theologians to be the day when Christ conquers the earth and sets up his kingdom. That would fit with what the book of Hebrews says about Abraham: “For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God” (Heb. 11:10). Abraham looked for a city that is still future, yet the Bible says Abraham “saw” it. In what sense could Abraham have seen something that was future? Abraham “saw” the Day of Christ because God told him it was coming, and Abraham “saw” it by faith. Although Abraham saw the Day of Christ by faith, that day existed in the mind of God long before Abraham. Thus, in the context of God’s plan existing from the beginning, Christ certainly was “before” Abraham. Christ was the plan of God for man’s redemption long before Abraham lived. We are not the only ones who believe that Jesus’ statement does not make him God:

To say that Jesus is “before” him is not to lift him out of the ranks of humanity but to assert his unconditional precedence. To take such statements at the level of “flesh” so as to infer, as “the Jews” do that, at less than fifty, Jesus is claiming to have lived on this earth before Abraham (8:52 and 57), is to be as crass as Nicodemus who understands rebirth as an old man entering his mother’s womb a second time (3:4). [2]

4. In order for the Trinitarian argument that Jesus’ “I am” statement in John 8:58 makes him God, his statement must be equivalent with God’s “I am” statement in Exodus 3:14. However, the two statements are very different. While the Greek phrase in John does mean “I am,” the Hebrew phrase in Exodus actually means “to be” or “to become.” In other words God is saying, “I will be what I will be.” Thus the “I am” in Exodus is actually a mistranslation of the Hebrew text, so the fact that Jesus said “I am” did not make him God.

5. Trinitarians claim that the Jews picked up stones to stone Jesus because he was claiming to be God (John 8:59), but that is an assumption. There is a different explanation that is supported by better evidence: the Jews picked up stones to kill Jesus because they understood he was claiming to be the Messiah. At Jesus’ trial, the High Priest asked, “I charge you under oath by the living God: Tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God” (Matt. 26:63). First of all, we should notice that no one at the trial asked Jesus if he were God. However, if they thought he had been claiming to be God, that would have certainly been a question they would have asked. The High Priest asked Jesus in very clear terms if he was the Christ because that is what the Jews knew Jesus was claiming to be. Second, when the Jews heard Jesus’ clear answer (“Yes, it is as you say”), they accused him of blasphemy and said, “He is worthy of death” (Matt. 26:66). They felt he was worthy of death in the record in John 8, but in that record they picked up stones to kill him, while after hearing his “blasphemy” at the trial, they took him to Pilate and got the Romans to execute Jesus.

Buzzard, pp. 93-97
Dana, Letter 21, pp. 169-171
Morgridge, pp. 120-21
Norton, pp. 242-246
Snedeker, pp. 416-418

Endnotes:
1. C. K. Barrett, The Gospel According to St John (Westminster Press, London, 1978), p. 342. Back to top
2. J. A. T. Robinson, The Priority of John (Meyer Stone Pub., Oak Park, IL, 1985), p. 384. Back to top

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Re: Trinities podcast

Post by darinhouston » Thu Jun 13, 2019 11:03 am

And another non-Trinitarian view (http://www.angelfire.com/space/thegospe ... n8_58.html):

The Trinitarian Claim

Trinitarians claim that Jesus was intentionally employing special language to identify himself as Yahweh, the God of Israel. They claim he was using God's divine name to identify himself as Yahweh, and as Yahweh, they claim Jesus was saying that he pre-existed as a self-conscious divine person (God the Son) before Abraham existed and for that reason the Jews clearly understood he was identifying himself as their God and wanted to stone him for blasphemy.

Trinitarians are actually attempting to make three different claims at once with respect to this verse:

  • 1. Jesus was using the Greek version of the divine name (ego eimi) given to Moses at Exodus 3:14 and was therefore identifying himself as Yahweh their God.
    2. Jesus was claiming to have existed as a self conscious living divine person/being before Abraham existed.
    3. The Jews knew Jesus was identifying himself as their God and therefore wanted to stone Jesus for blasphemy.
The Claim vs. The Facts

The facts tell us that Jesus is referring to what he initially stated: he is the light of the world. That Light existed long before Abraham.


The Problems with the Claims

1. The Impossibility of the Trinitarian Interpretation

The Trinitarian interpretation directly contradicts Jesus' own words in at least four explicitly obvious ways:

  • (1) Jesus had just said that if he testified about himself, his testimony is not true (Jn 5:31; 8:17-18). But that is precisely what Trinitarians have Jesus doing at John 8:58 in direct contradiction to what he said.

    (2) Jesus also had just said that if he glorified himself concerning who he is, his glory would mean absolutely nothing (8:54). But Trinitarians contradict Jesus again insisting that he did indeed glorify himself at John 8:58 and he did so in the highest way possible, and instead of meaning nothing as Jesus insisted, Trinitarians contradict him and insist it means everything.

    Trinitarians talk about of both sides of their mouth concerning Jesus. On one hand, they will admit that Philippians 2:5-9 says that Jesus made himself nothing and humbled himself. On the other hand, they have Jesus glorifying himself as God Almighty.

    (3) Trinitarians also say the Jews wanted to stone Jesus because they knew exactly what he was saying at John 8:58. But yet again, Trinitarians directly contradict Jesus who had just said these Jews could not understand what he was saying because they were not of God and were children of the devil (8:43-47).

    (4) Jesus warned his disciples not to tell anyone he was God's Anointed One (Matthew 16:20; Luke 9:20-21). But we are expected to believe that Jesus was going around Israel declaring himself to be Yahweh their God. It's a ridiculously absurd contradiction.
Jesus' own testimony in this selfsame dialogue decisively demonstrates to us that the Trinitarian interpretation of John 8 is absolutely impossible since their interpretation violently contradicts what Jesus had just said. Trinitarians are effectively demonstrating that they do not hear Jesus anymore than the Jews did in this dialogue nor do they even care. They care far more about promoting their false doctrine than hearing Jesus.


2. Ego Eimi

Trinitarians say that when Jesus used the words ego eimi, the Jews knew he was using the divine name of their God. However, this claim is ridiculous for several reasons.

Trinitarians typically suggest that ego eimi was a Greek way of saying God's name "Yahweh." But this is preposterous on several levels. If that is the case then Jesus effectively said, "Before Abraham was, Yahweh." This is absurd nonsense. And are we also to believe Gabriel identified himself as Yahweh at Luke 1:19 when he said, "I am (ego eimi) Gabriel." At Luke 22:33, when Peter said to Jesus, "I am (ego eimi) prepared to go to prison with you and to death," shall we then say he used the words ego eimi to say to Jesus, "Yahweh is prepared to go to prison with you and to death?" By using ego eimi was Peter also claiming to be Yahweh? When John said, "I am (ego eimi) not the Christ," are we expected to believe it really means John the Baptist was saying that Yahweh is not the Christ? (John 1:20). When the centurion said, "I am (ego eimi) a man under authority (Matthew 8:9), are we to believe this really meant, "Yahweh is a man under authority" and the centurion was claiming to be Yahweh? When Jesus said one of his disciples would betray him and Judas literally said, "Not I am (ego eimi) Lord?" are we to believe this really meant Judas was claiming to be Yahweh and Yahweh was going to betray Jesus? (Matthew 26:25). Why aren't Trinitrians being consistent with the term ego eimi in many other passages? The implications of the Trinitarian claim are disturbingly ridiculous.

In the Greek Septuagint, the actual divine name revealed to Moses was not, "ego eimi" as Trinitarians are suggesting to everyone. God's divine name in this Greek translation was "ego eimi ho ōn" which means "I am the being" or "I am the existence" or "I am the existent one" or some similar idea. Also, English translations which read as, "I AM sent me to you" are not translating "ego eimi sent me to you" from the Greek. The Greek actually reads "ho ōn sent me to you." (Exodus 3:14). In other words, it does not say, "Ego eimi sent me to you." This Trinitarian claim is precariously perched upon a farce that God's divine name in Greek is simply ego eimi. But it isn't.

It also seems that people manage to get two different questions confused right about here.

The words ego eimi are used many times in the New Testament by several people. These words were part of their common everyday vocabulary. The expression ego eimi was common to everyday language for Greeks just as the words "I am" are common to our everyday language in English. Nobody regarded ego eimi as two Greek words uniquely reserved as the divine name of their God. A blind man in the next chapter identifies himself by saying, "I am" (ego eimi). Trinitarians are essentially trying to turn a routine language expression into the divine name of God to disingenuously suit their doctrinal purposes.

Observe how these two men identify themselves by saying, "ego eimi."

And Asahel pursued Abner, and as he went, he turned neither to the right hand nor to the left from following Abner. Then Abner looked behind him and said, “Is that you, Asahel?” And he answered, "I AM" (i.e. “It is I.”). 2 Samuel 2:19-20

Therefore the neighbors, and those who previously saw him as a beggar, were saying, “Is not this the one who used to sit and beg?” Others were saying, “This is he,” still others were saying, “No, but he is like him.” He kept saying, "I AM" John 9:8-9

This Trinitarian claim is usually presented as if Jesus suddenly broke out the words ego eimi which no man ever used, in order to identify himself in a shock and awe manner which provoked the Jews to anger since they would automatically recognize ego eimi to be the divine name of their God. However, the contextual facts demonstrate this is absurd and just the opposite is true. During this very same dialogue with the Jews in John chapter 8, Jesus used the term ego eimi several times before he used it at verse 8:58 (8:12,16,18,23,24,28). And through thoses many utterances of ego eimi by Jesus during this selfsame dialogue, not one of these Jews at any time ever supposed Jesus was referring to their God. The use of the term ego eimi never even caused them to raise an eyebrow. The Jews had been asking Jesus who he claimed to be. In that context, Jesus had used the term ego eimi twice before in a very similar manner and they never even blinked. This fact alone clearly demonstrates that the Jews did not think the use of this term was a reference to the divine name of their God.

Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am (ego eimi), you will die in your sins.” Then the Jews said to him, “Who are you?” (8:24-25).

Jesus said, “When you lift up the son of man, then you will know that I am (ego eimi) and I do nothing from myself, but I speak these things as the Father taught me. And He who sent me is with me; He has not left me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to Him.” As he spoke these things, many came to believe in him. (8:28-30).

Did these Jews think Jesus was using their God's divine name? No, it never even occurred to them.


3. Trini-Think Double-Speak

Additionally, it seems that few people notice the Trinitarian double-speak which is occurring. At one moment they claim used this language was used to declare to these Jews that he is their God. But when all the problems with their claim are pointed out, they change their claim. Now, they claim, this language is being used by Jesus to tell the Jews he existed before Abraham. At one moment these words have one purpose and the next moment they have another purpose. So which is it? What was Jesus' purpose of using the words ego eimi? To identify himself as God? Or to tell others he existed before Abraham? These two things are not even remotely similar. Trinitarians don't really seem to know since they can't make up their minds. It appears they are just throwing jello against the wall hoping that sooner or later one of their claims will stick.


4. The "Jesus pre-existed therefore God" Claim

Trinitarians also claim that if Jesus existed as a person before Abraham that he must therefore be God since only God could possibly exist before Abraham and still be existing. However, they are quite mistaken. The folly of this argument is seen when it is realized that many angels existed before Abraham and they are still quite alive and well, including Satan and his angels, and it would seem we can be quite certain that their pre-existence would not mean any of them are God. The point here is not that Jesus is an angel; the point here is that this claim is obviously fallacious at the outself.

Another false premise Trinitarians expect people to accept is that if Jesus did somehow pre-exist before Abraham then this somehow amounts to the conclusion that he was a divine second person of the Trinity hanging out with God in heaven before creation, and after. The problem here is that JW's and Arians believe Jesus existed before Abraham without believing he is God. To suppose Jesus pre-existed does not amount to a pre-existent hypostases of a three-person-God. Pre-existence is a not a license to resort to imaginations.

Furthermore, in the Jewish mindset, if something had been predestined by God at the foundation of the world, it was already a reality. For example, John says "the Lamb had been slain from the foundation of the world" (Rev 13:8). A dying Jewish son of David was a reality long before 30 A.D. When God predestines, the reality begins. But He fixes the times and seasons things will be manifested and fulfilled in the time and space of our creation. God is not a part of our creation and our time and space. He dwells in timelessness and is not subject to time. So although everything God has predestined to occur is already a reality, it doesn't mean we have seen it yet.

Jesus is the promised Messiah. God promised this Messiah even before Abraham was. When God makes a promise it is always fulfilled; it is a coming reality, a reality that is a reality even if it has not arrived here yet. And that is what Jesus was talking about. He is the promised Christ.


5. Blasphemy: The Alleged Jewish Motivation for Picking up Stones

Trinitarian apologists also have an unwarranted interpretation of John 8:59 They claim the Jews wanted to stone Jesus because he was claiming to be Yahweh and so under their Law they thought he deserved stoning. Many Trinitarians will even make the disingenuous claim that these Jews would not have attempted to stone Jesus unless he was claiming to be God by suggesting that the only way Jesus could have possibly blasphemed God by claiming to be God Himself. But that is completely untrue. The Bible shows us that one could blaspheme the name of God in many ways. Moreover, the Jews stoned Stephen to death and he was not claiming to be God.

But the situation for Trinitarians is even worse. They need everyone to accept the premise that the Jews would never have stoned Jesus unless he had broken the Mosaic Law as if to say these men were righteous law-keepers and would never have stoned Jesus unless they thought he had somehow transgressed the Law. Trinitarians suggest that if they attempted to stone him, it necessary means that the Jews thought they had a lawful reason to do. But again, Trinitarians deny the plain facts and the testimony of Jesusto make this claim. Jesus testified to the contrary in this selfsame dialogue. These men were lawless hypocrites (Matthew 23:28), and Jesus here testified that they wanted to kill him (8:37,40) long before his John 8:58 statement. Jesus also tells us why they wanted to kill him, "You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies" (8:44). In the Gospels, Jesus identified these men not as law-keepers but as lawless hypocrites, thieves, liars, murderers, serpents, vipers, sons of Hell and sons of Satan. It should be quite clear that the Trinitarian suggestion that these men would never transgress the Mosaic Law is pitifully ridiculous in light of Jesus' testimony concerning their lawlessness. Trinitarians deny the words of Jesus who tells us in this selfsame dialogue WHY these men desired to kill him. They wanted to kill Jesus and stone him because they did the desires of their father: the devil (8:43-47). Even further, the Trinitarian claim says that the Jews wanted to stone Jesus because they clearly understood what he was saying at John 8:58. However, this directly contradicts what Jesus had just said about them. He said they could not understand what he was saying because they were not of God but of the devil (8:43-47). That is the testimony of Jesus, the Son of God. And if we actually hear Jesus in John 8, it is the testimony of God the Father since Jesus' words were not his own but the Father's who sent him. Why then do Trinitarians not hear or believe God?


6. The Confusion of the Jews = Confusion of the Trinitarians

Jesus had said that Abraham rejoiced to see his day. The Jews respond by changing what Jesus had said, "You are not yet fifty years old and you have seen Abraham?" But Jesus didn't say he had seen Abraham. It was the other way around. He said Abraham rejoiced to see his day.


Analysis of the Evidence

1. Two Required Witnesses

At John 8:12-58, the entire dialogue between Jesus and the Jews concerns who he claimed to be and that two witnesses were required concerning this matter. Two witnesses were required under the Law and Jesus himself said that if he testified about himself, his testimony would not be true. He clarifies this matter by explaining he spoke the words of the Father. Hence, the Father Himself was the second witness testifying about Jesus. In the same way, Jesus said that if he glorified himself, his glory would mean nothing. Two witnesses are required and the two witnesses were Jesus and God the Father.


2. Jesus spoke the words of the Father

Jesus said that he did not come to do his own will but to do only the will of the Father. For this reason, he tells us many times in the Gospel of John that he did not teach his own teaching or speak his own words. He only spoke what the Father gave him to say. He also said his words were not his own but the Father's who sent him. Once we understand that Jesus spoke the Father's words, it is clear how the Father was the second witness concerning who Jesus was. Not only so, one we realize Jesus spoke the words of the Father, his words, "Before Abraham was I am" are words the Father was expressing to these Jews.


3. I am the light of the world

The dialogue between Jesus and the Jews began when Jesus declared, "I am the light of the world." God the Father is Light (1 John 1:5) and the Father abiding in Jesus did the works (1:10). Now let us remember that when Jesus said, "I am the light of the world," he spoke the words of the Father as he reminds the Jews in this discourse (8:26,28,47). Therefore, whoever receives the testimony of Jesus has certified that God is true (3:33; cf. 14:24). The Father was the True Light which was coming into the world and John the Baptist was testifying about that Light (1:6-9). In this way, Jesus declared the Father (1:18) in terms of all the things he said and all the things he did. The works that I do in my Father’s name, these testify of me (10:25; cf. 5:36). The Father abiding in Jesus did the works (14:10-11).

Jesus declared the Father who is Light by doing his Father's will, saying what the Father gave him to say, doing what the Father gave him to do. The Father who is Light was explained/expressed through Jesus and for that reason Jesus could say, "I am the Light of the world," that is, he explained/expressed the Father who is that true Light which was coming into the world as John the Baptist witnessed about that Light. The Father existed before Abraham and his will for the work of the Messiah existed before Abraham. Now that will of the Father was being manifested, fulfilled.


4. The Light before Abraham

Abraham rejoiced to see Jesus' day. Jesus is the Lamb who had been slain before the foundation of the world (Rev 13:8). God had predestined the Lamb to be slain on a cross. Jesus was the promised seed which God had promised to Abraham:

The Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the nations by faith, preached the Gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, "All the nations will be blessed in you." Galatians 3:8.

By faith, Abraham was "looking for the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God" (Hebrews 11:9). In faith, Abraham believed in a better home, a heavenly home (11:16-21). Abraham's seed had been promised (3:16-18) and Jesus was the fulfillment of this promise. The man Jesus was a reality from the time God promised him to Abraham and that is true because it was God who made the promise. Indeed, this was a reality before Abraham came to be. He is the Lamb who had been slain from the foundation of the world.

The Jews had asked Jesus if he was greater than Abraham. In their eyes, no man could be greater than Abraham and none of them would say they were greater than Abraham. But before is greater and Jesus' answer was a Yes. He had been predestined from the foundation of the world and Abraham rejoiced to see his Day, the Light of God. He was greater than Abraham and then meant Jesus was greater than these Jewish leaders and that was something which made their blood boil.


Conclusion

God the Father is Light and that Light existed long before Abraham. That flesh named Jesus declared the Father. The Father abiding in Jesus did the works and in this way that body of flesh was the Light of the world, the Light of the Father shining through a human being. Because the Father abiding in him did the works, and this body of flesh declared the Father to the world in terms of all the things Jesus was doing, this flesh was shining that Light of God the Father who is that Light. This flesh, Jesus, was that Light of the Father, that Light which existed long before Abraham.


I am the Light of the world.

Abraham was glad to see my Day; He saw it and was glad.

Before Abraham was, I am.

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darinhouston
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Re: Trinities podcast

Post by darinhouston » Thu Jun 13, 2019 11:07 am

BrotherAlan wrote:
Wed Jun 12, 2019 10:18 pm
Why would Jesus say, "I am", instead of, "I was", "I already existed", or any other phrase using past tense? It doesn't make sense for Him to use the present tense unless He was giving Himself the same name God gave Himself in Exodus and thus asserting the same thing about Himself as that which was asserted by God in Exodus: I am eternal, I AM...

In Christ, the Eternal Son of the Eternal Father,
BrotherAlan
It does make sense if I Am is not the functional equivalent of the oft-referenced Exodus statements. It could well be that the tense is a big clue as to what Jesus meant and affirming of the fact that he wasn't talking about pre-existence at all or making a claim (at least there) as to his being Yahweh.

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Re: Trinities podcast

Post by BrotherAlan » Thu Jun 13, 2019 11:50 am

Thanks, darinhouston, for these posts. I'll have to look over them more thoroughly later when I have a little more time. However, I did look over them briefly just now, and I would say that there are a couple very important principles to keep in mind concerning the doctrine of the Trinity which principles will serve as a sufficient response to at least most of the claims that there is a contradiction between the doctrine of the Trinity and the Scriptures.

The first principle is this: Christ has two natures-- a human nature and a Divine nature; He is true Man and true God. Knowing and understanding this principle goes a LONG way in explaining a lot of APPARENT contradictions between the doctrine of the Trinity and the Scriptures. Thus, for example, the seeming contradiction that might arise in one's mind at hearing Christ say, "The Father is greater than I," disappears when one recalls that Christ has a human nature and, in this particular instance, He was referring to His human nature (the Father is greater than Christ insofar as He is MAN). Likewise with many other verses.

The second principle is this: even when considering Christ as God, Christ, as God, receives-- eternally receives-- His divine nature from His Heavenly Father. This does not make Christ any less Divine than His Heavenly Father: they are both true God (they are both the ONE true God; so, Paidion's repeated reference to the Father being "the Only true God" does not contradict the doctrine of the Trinity, for this doctrine holds that, yes, the Father is the "only true God", and so is the Son, and so is the Holy Spirit). But, Christ, from all eternity, being the Eternal Son begotten of the Father, being the Eternal Word of the Father (being "the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being"), He receives the Divine Nature from His Father. Thus, statements like, "Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does. For the Father loves the Son and shows him all he does," are not only not a contradiction to the doctrine of the Trinity, but fit perfectly with the doctrine of the Trinity insofar as that doctrine, again, affirms that Christ, as God, receives, eternally, His divine nature from the Father (as well as affirming that Christ is not only true God, but true Man, and these particularly words of Christ very well may be referring to both the fact that Christ receives His Divine nature from His Father, as well as His human nature).

So, like I said, if we keep these two principles in mind, a lot of apparent contradictions between the Scriptures and the doctrine of the Trinity will disappear; indeed, more than that, a lot of apparent contradictions will serve to better explain and understand the doctrine of the Trinity.

In Christ, the Son of God,
BrotherAlan
"Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and always, and unto the ages of ages. Amen."

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Seballius
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Re: Trinities podcast

Post by Seballius » Thu Jun 13, 2019 12:43 pm

Hello,

Since Unitarians arguments are copied/pasted, it is only fair to post from a trinitarian.

John 8:58 and 10:30-33, "I am."
by Matt Slick

Jesus said in John 8:58, "Before Abraham was, I am." This is a very important verse to Trinitarians because it is one of the places we use to show that Jesus is God. We maintain that Jesus attributed the divine name of God ("I AM" from Exodus 3:14), to Himself, but this verse alone may not be sufficient to prove His deity. There are a combination of other verses that contribute to the doctrine. Nevertheless, there are many non-Christian groups that deny that Jesus is God. Therefore, when they come to this verse, it must be dealt with. The reason is simple. If Jesus did say, "I am," it would give strong evidence that Jesus was claiming to be God.

This paper will not attempt to analyze the Greek translation principles that have lead various Bibles to render John 8:58 as "I have been" or "I was in existence," etc. Suffice it to say that the best-recognized translations which have sought literal renderings of the text have translated the verse as "I am": NASB, NIV, KJV, RSV, etc.

The Jehovah's Witness Watchtower organization claims that the best translation of John 8:58 is "Before Abraham was, I have been." Notice that they do not have it say, "I am." Is it legitimate for the Watchtower organization to insist that John 8:58 is best translated as "I have been"? Let's take a look.

Ego Eimi means "I am"
In Greek, the words recorded in John 8:58 are "'prin abraam genesthai ego eimi." Literally, this is "Before Abraham was existing, I am." "Ego eimi" is literally, "I am." This is the present tense. To say "I have been" is to use the perfect tense. In Greek, his would have been "aemane," but Jesus didn't use it here. He used the present tense "ego eimi" which is "I am."

There are places, however, in the New Testament where the Greek present tense of 'ego eimi' "I am" can be translated into the English perfect tense "I have been." An example of this is John 14:9 where Jesus says, "Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me . . . " In this verse, "Have I been" is originally the Greek present tense 'ego eimi'; but here, Jesus was answering the statement in verse 8, "Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us." Since in English it is awkward to say, "I am with you so long, and you still don't know me . . . ,?" it is then rendered as, "Have I been with you so long, and you have not come to know me . . . ?" The translation of the Greek present into the English perfect tense is perfectly justifiable here because it doesn't make sense in English, but is it the case with John 8:58? Must it be translated as "I have been"? No. There is no linguistic requirement to translate it as "I have been" particularly when you notice that the Jews wanted to kill Jesus after he said, "ego eimi."

Two Views
Some say that the reason the Jews wanted to kill Jesus after He said, "Before Abraham was, I am" is that it was the last straw in a series of difficult and insulting things Jesus had been saying to the Jews in John chapter 8. Others say that the Jews wanted to kill Jesus for saying "Before Abraham was, I am," because "I am" is close to God saying "I am that I am" in Exodus 3:14. In other words, we can make the case that for Jesus to say, "Before Abraham was, I am" was equivalent to claiming God's name for Himself. This is something the Jews would absolutely protest. Let's look at the arguments:

The first argument states that Jesus had upset the Jews so much by what He had been saying that when he finally made his statement in verse 58, it was the last straw; the Jews snapped, and then they tried to kill him; but, they maintain, it wasn't because Jesus was claiming the divine title. They had just had enough.

What had Jesus been saying? Following is a list of some key statements by Jesus in chapter 8.

"I am the light of the world" (8:12).
"I am He who bears witness of Myself, and the Father who sent Me bears witness of me" (8:18).
"You don't know me or my Father" (8:19).
"You are from below, I am from above" (8:23).
"Unless you believe that I am, you shall die in your sins" (8:24).
"The things which I heard from Him [God the Father], these I speak to the world" (8:26).
"I speak these things as the Father taught me" (8:28).
"I always do the things that are pleasing to Him" (8:29).
"I speak the things which I have seen with My Father . . . " (8:38).
" . . . you are seeking to kill Me, a man who has told you the truth, which I heard from God, this Abraham did not do" (8:40).
" . . . I proceeded forth and have come from God . . . " (8:42).
"Truly, truly, I say to you, if anyone keeps My word he shall never see death" (8:51).
"It is my Father who glorifies Me . . . " (8:54).
"Before Abraham was, I am" (8:58).
The preceding list has many profound statements. It is perfectly understandable that the Jews would be upset, but, it was Jesus' statement in 8:58 that triggered their murderous attempt. Was it because Jesus said "Before Abraham was, I have been" or "Before Abraham was, I am"? Which would be the phrase most likely to be the last straw for the Jews? It is quite possible that either statement would be sufficient; but, of course, any claim by Jesus to the divine name would be a stronger motivation for the Jews to kill Him.

Also, notice statements 1, 5, 11, and 14. These are clear declarations by Jesus where He exalts Himself to heavenly level. The Jews could easily see this and would protest--particularly when Jesus said, "Before Abraham was, I am." Since He did say, in Greek, "I am," it is more likely that the Jews wanted to kill Jesus for blasphemy. Consider Leviticus 24:16 which says, 'Moreover, the one who blasphemes the name of the Lord shall surely be put to death; all the congregation shall certainly stone him" (NASB).

The Connection with John 10:30-33
Capital punishment was only for serious sins: blasphemy, adultery, etc. From what I can see in the Bible, saying you had a preexistence isn't blasphemy. However, claiming to be one with God is quite different. In John 10:30-33 Jesus said, "I and the Father are one. The Jews took up stones again to stone him. 32Jesus answered them, "I showed you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you stoning me?" 33"The Jews answered Him, 'For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy; and because You, being a man, make Yourself out to be God" (NASB).

Between John 8:59 where the Jews picked up stones to kill Jesus and John 10:30-33 where they again picked up stones to kill him, there is no mention of stoning whatsoever. John 10:31 is referencing back to John 8:59 when it says "The Jews took up stones again to stone Him." Note that they again wanted to kill Him, and this time they give the reason why. They said that Jesus was claiming to be God. Now, where would they get that idea? Could it have been where he said, "Before Abraham was, I am"? Could it be from where Jesus said, "I and the Father are one" (10:30). Since they wanted to kill Him both times, it would seem that Jesus had been making some very serious claims, or was it simply that the Pharisees misunderstood Jesus; and that Jesus never did claim to be God?

But, if Jesus was not claiming to be God in John 8:58 and 10:30, then what was it that He said that warranted such a violent response from the Jews in both cases? What phrase from Jesus did the Jews react to and what 'misunderstanding' did they have about what it was Jesus said that led them to claim that he was making Himself out to be God?

In my opinion, the best explanation for the Jews wanting to kill Jesus is that Jesus was claiming equality with God. They considered this blasphemy. The cults, like the bad religious leaders who opposed Jesus, deny who Jesus really is as well.

For further reading go to Who is Jesus according to the apostle John?



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darinhouston
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Re: Trinities podcast

Post by darinhouston » Thu Jun 13, 2019 12:51 pm

BrotherAlan wrote:
Thu Jun 13, 2019 11:50 am
The second principle is this: even when considering Christ as God, Christ, as God, receives-- eternally receives-- His divine nature from His Heavenly Father.
That just makes no sense whatsoever. Eternal begetting or eternal reception seems like an oxymoron -- not a paradox, but an actually (not apparently) inconsistent statement. Eternal existence is hard to understand, but is philosophically logical. But "receiving something" implies it was given as an act by another. That necessarily implies that there was a moment in time (no matter how infinitesimal) in which the receiver did not yet have it. This seems to be a derived position (and thus somewhat circular since it derives from the doctrine that it supports) and thus not a safe assumed presupposition for such an important doctrine.

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Seballius
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Re: Trinities podcast

Post by Seballius » Thu Jun 13, 2019 1:06 pm

Walter Martin had a different view. I believe his frequent debates with JWs pushed him to this stance.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=JzldbHs4I-w


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