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Paul's great omission

Posted: Sat Dec 26, 2020 9:59 pm
by 21centpilgrim
Acts 17- Paul in Athens. they wished to know what was this 'new teaching' of his, this 'strange teaching'. they delighted in hearing and telling of new things.
What an opportunity to unpack the Trinity!

But no, Paul didn't believe in any such thing. Read vs 22-31

Paul clearly tells them that in spite of the many various deities they loved to worship- the 'unknown god' was the sole creator of the heavens and the earth, of mankind. God wanted mankind to seek after this one God and find him.

This God commands all men to repent because He will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom He has appointed, and that can be counted on because God has raised this man from the dead.!

Paul does not just distinguish God and Jesus from each other as separate beings, but categorically distinguishes them , one as being a singular creator of all things God who wants people to worship Him *, and the other being a man appointed and raised up by God.

Paul would be rebuked by many teachers today for not getting the Godhead right and misleading a whole audience.

*john 4:23 But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him.

You will find throughout the gospel presentations in Acts, no semblance of a Christology as Trinitarian affirm.
Is this troubling to any Trinitarians reading this? Do you not agree with that assessment?

Thank you

Re: Paul's great omission

Posted: Sat Jan 16, 2021 3:07 pm
by Paidion
True. Paul did not teach that Jesus is God or part of a "Trinity".
However, throughout the New Testament Jesus is identified as "The Son of God."

In the beginning, God begat a Son—another Being like Himself.

The son of a human being is human as is his father, and thus is a human being himself.
Likewise, the Son of God is divine as is His Father, and thus is a divine being Himself.

Re: Paul's great omission

Posted: Sat Jan 16, 2021 7:08 pm
by darinhouston
Paidion wrote:
Sat Jan 16, 2021 3:07 pm
True. Paul did not teach that Jesus is God or part of a "Trinity".
However, throughout the New Testament Jesus is identified as "The Son of God."

In the beginning, God begat a Son—another Being like Himself.

The son of a human being is human as is his father, and thus is a human being himself.
Likewise, the Son of God is divine as is His Father, and thus is a divine being Himself.
We've been down this road quite a bit of course, but divinity does not equate to a part of a trinitarian god. And we also don't see directly that the Son was begotten in the beginning (or that this was from eternity past -- something I know you don't believe either). Or that the Son existed prior to the incarnation. Or that the Word is the same as the Son. And so forth.

Re: Paul's great omission

Posted: Sat Jan 16, 2021 7:46 pm
by backwoodsman
21centpilgrim wrote:
Sat Dec 26, 2020 9:59 pm
You will find throughout the gospel presentations in Acts, no semblance of a Christology as Trinitarian affirm.
Is this troubling to any Trinitarians reading this? Do you not agree with that assessment?
No, it's not at all troubling. Why would it be? Why on earth would one introduce something like the trinity when evangelizing?

I can't find anything about the trinity, one way or the other, in Acts 17; nor can I find anything inconsistent with trinitarian belief. The fact that he doesn't give a complete trinitarian Christology doesn't mean there's no trinity, any more than the fact that he doesn't describe the 3 views of hell means there's no hell.

Re: Paul's great omission

Posted: Sat Jan 16, 2021 7:53 pm
by Paidion
The Begetting (or Generation) of the Son of God Before All Ages

During my youth, I thought Jesus being the “only-begotten Son of God” referred to his having been begotten in the womb of Mary. But when I began reading second-century Christian writers in my early twenties, I realized that they taught that He was begotten before all ages, the first of God's acts. I came to see that this was the universal opinion of the first and second-century Christians. This understanding persisted right into the fourth century

Now I understand that Jesus is the Son of God because God the Father begat Him as the first thing He ever did, and that that event marked the beginning of time.

We read in Colossians 1:15 :

He [God’s beloved Son ---vs 13] is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. NASB

This seems to say rather clearly that the Son was the first being that God produced, and because He was “begotten not created” as we read in the hymn “Adeste Fideles” (O Come All Ye Faithful), He is the exact image of the Father’s essence (Heb 1:3)

The following translations render it “the firstborn of all creation” (as in the Greek):

NASB, ASV, Darby, RSV, ESV, ERV, and Revised Webster.

Interestingly, the Philips translation renders it, “He was born before creation began,”

The NIV and the NKJV render it “the firstborn over all creation” giving it a completely different meaning. There is nothing in Greek to justify the addition of the word “over”. One suspects that the translators were inserting a word in the phrase which reflects their theological bias.

The early catholics when instituting the first Christmas, (that is, the first “Christ’s Mass”), as a replacement for the Saturnalia celebrations, held three masses in honour of Christ:
1. The first to celebrate Christ’s “birth before all ages”
2. The second to celebrate Christ’s “birth from the virgin’s womb”
3. And the third to celebrate Christ’s “birth in the hearts of the faithful”.

In John 8:42, it is written: “Jesus said to them, "If God were your Father, you would love me, for I emerged out of God and come.” Though I have never seen it translated this way, this seems to be the literal meaning of the Greek.

ἐγω γαρ ἐκ ……..του θεου ἐξηλθον ….και…. ηκω
..Ι.....for..out of….the God.. emerged..and… come

The word I translated as “emerged” literally means “came out of”. Could Jesus have been referring to his having been brought forth from the Father at the beginning of time?

When I realized that the begetting of the Son before all ages seems to have been taught and believed by the apostles as well as the majority of Christians up to the late 4th century, I then understood that Luke in Acts 13:32-33, reports Paul quoting Psalm 2 to show that God begat Jesus at the beginning of time For the purpose of bringing the gospel to the world. Then in verse 34, he quotes another psalm to support the resurrection of Christ. The phrase “as for the fact” indicates that he is adding the matter of Christ’s resurrection to his initial affirmation.

32 And we bring you the good news that what God promised to the fathers,
33 this he has fulfilled to us their children by raising Jesus; as also it is written in the second psalm, ‘You are my Son, today I have begotten you.’
34 And as for the fact that he raised him from the dead, no more to return to corruption, he spoke in this way, ‘I will give you the holy and sure blessings of David.’

Justin Martyr, a second century Chistian (110-165 A.D.) spent several days dialoguing with a Jewish man, Trypho, and his companions to show them that the ancient Hebrew Christians prophesied the coming of the Messiah, and that this Messiah was the Son of God, the Messiah, and that He was begotten (or generated) as the first of the Father's acts. He compared this generation to starting a small fire from a big one. This quote is taken from Justin's work called “Dialogue with Trypho”:

Wisdom as fire begotten from fire.
“I shall give you another Chapter LXI—Wisdom is begotten of the Father, testimony, my friends,” said I, “from the Scriptures, that God
begat before all creatures a Beginning, [who was] a certain rational power [proceeding] from Himself, who is called by the Holy Spirit, now the Glory of the Lord, now the Son, again Wisdom, again an Angel, then God, and then Lord and Logos; and on another occasion He calls Himself Captain, when He appeared in human form to Joshua the son of Nave (Nun). For He can be called by all those names, since He ministers to the Father’s will, and
since He was begotten of the Father by an act of will; just as we see happening among ourselves: for when we give out some word, we beget the word; yet not by abscission, so as to lessen the word [which remains] in us, when we give it out: and just as we see also happening in the case of a fire, which is not lessened when it has kindled [another], but remains the same; and that which has been kindled by it likewise appears to exist by itself, not diminishing that from which it was kindled. The Word of Wisdom, who is Himself this God begotten of the Father of all things, and Word, and Wisdom, and Power, and the Glory of the Begetter, will bear evidence to me, when He speaks by Solomon the following: ‘If Ishall declare to you what happens daily, I shall call to mind events from everlasting, and review them. The Lord made me the beginning of His ways for His works. From everlasting He established me in the beginning, before He had made the earth, and before He had made the deeps, before the springs of the waters had issued forth, before the mountains had been established. Before all the hills He begets me. God made the country, and the desert, and
the highest inhabited places under the sky. When He made ready the heavens, I was along with Him, and when He set up His throne on the winds: when He made the high clouds strong, and the springs of the deep safe, when He made the foundations of the earth, I was with Him arranging. I was that in which He rejoiced; daily and at all times I delighted in His countenance, because He delighted in the finishing of the habitable world, and delighted in the sons of men. Now, therefore, O son, hear me. Blessed is the man who shall listen to me, and the mortal who shall keep my ways, watching daily at my doors, observing the posts of my ingoings. For my outgoings are the outgoings of life, and [my] will has been prepared by the Lord. But they who sin against me, trespass against their own souls; and they who hate me love death.' ”

So as I now see it, Jesus, the only-begotten Son of God is another exactly like the God who begat Him, the exact image of the Father's essence. (Heb 1:3). Thus He reveals to us what God is really like. That's why, when Philip asked Jesus to show them the Father, He said, “He who has seen me has seen the Father.” Jesus wasn't saying that He WAS the Father, but that He was exactly like the Father.

Suppose I had two prints of a photo of myself taken from the same negative (or from the same file if a digital camera were used). I take the first out of my pocket and show you. Then I take out the other one, and say, “Here is another picture of me.” You might respond, “That's not another. That's the same picture.” Then I might say, “Look! (holding up the first print) here's one picture and (holding up the second picture) here's the other. There are two pictures.” Nevetheless, if you've seen the first picture, you've seen the other. That's the sense in which Jesus meant, “If you've seen me, you've seen the Father.” They were two individual divine Beings, but yet exactly alike, so that if you know one of them, you know the other.

Trinitarianism did not become widespread until the fourth century. Even early Trinitarians understood Jesus as have been begotten before all ages. The Nicene Creed in it's original form (composed by Trinitarians) used the phrase:

As set forth at Nicea, A.D. 325

We believe in one God the Father Almighty, Maker of all things visible and invisible; And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, begotten of the Father before all ages, only begotten, that is, of the substance of the Father; God of God, Light of Light, Very God of Very God, begotten, not made, being of one essence with the Father, through whom all things were made; both things in heaven and things on earth; who for us people, and for our salvation, came down, and was incarnate, and was made man; He suffered, and was raised again the third day, and ascended into heaven and he shall come again with glory to judge the living and the dead.

Later Trinitarians, realized that “begotten of the Father before all ages” contradicted their Trinitarian understanding. So they changed the phrase in the Nicene Creed to “eternally begotten”.

You will find in the New Testament that the norm was to address prayer to the Father. The only prayer you find there addressed to Jesus was that of Stephen as he was dying from being stoned. He called out, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” You will find NO PRAYER addressed to the Holy Spirit.

So I don't think it matters much whether we address our prayers to the Father or to the Son. They are exactly alike, and I am sure if we talk to either of them, the other will be well aware of it.

Re: Paul's great omission

Posted: Mon Jan 18, 2021 6:56 pm
by steve
Hi Paidion,

My pilgrimage was the reverse of yours. You began believing that Jesus was the “Son” due to His being born of a virgin, and you later reconsidered and settled on the traditional view that He was eternally begotten before all ages.

By contrast, I began my life and ministry believing the traditional doctrine (which had only church fathers and creeds in its favor, but no scripture), and moved toward a view that has some scriptural support—namely, that Jesus is referred to as the “Son of God” because of the virgin birth (Luke 1:34-35).

The statement that Jesus “emerged” or “came forth” from the Father (ek can mean "from" as well as "out of") needn’t mean anything more than that Jesus came forth or emerged from the Father into our world at His birth.

You wrote that that Colossians 1:18 “seems to say rather clearly that the Son was the first being that God produced.” I see it differently. Since Paul has just said (three verses earlier) that Jesus was the “Firstborn from the dead” (referring to His resurrection as a birth into the new order). The entire creation will also be reborn into this new order (Rom.8:21; 2 Pet.3:13). The whole creation will thus be “born” in the sense that Jesus was “born” into the new creation at His resurrection—thus making Him “the firstborn of all creation.”

You mentioned Acts 13:33 (which cites Ps.2:7:“You are my Son, this day I have begotten you”) in such a way as to indicate that you don’t recognize its reference to Christ’s resurrection (as Paul clearly identifies it in the citation). It is another reference to Jesus being begotten or born “from the dead”—as in Colossians and Revelation.

It should be noted that Jesus is sometimes called the monogenés [unique] Son (e.g., John 3:16, etc.) and elsewhere called "the firstborn [Son]" (Hebrews.1:6; Col.1;15, 18; Rev.1:5).

Thus Jesus is spoken, in terms of His virgin birth, as the “unique Son” [and also as the “unique God”—John 1:18] and, in terms of His resurrection into the new creation, as the “firstborn” or “first-begotten” Son.

There are no passages that speak of His having borne the title or status of "Son" prior to His earthly history.

Re: Paul's great omission

Posted: Mon Jan 25, 2021 11:57 am
by Otherness
Greetings 21centpilgrim,

God's “first love” in His creative agenda is the formation of the Body of Christ : all else in this Grand Cosmos plays a supporting role to this prime directive (Romans 8:28, 2 Corinthians 4:15). This is Paul's focus, thus does he preach Jesus because HE is the “net” that is cast into the “sea of humanity” so that all (and all manner of) men may be drawn to Him (John 12:32). Jesus Christ is the palpable Immanence of I AM in that each and every human soul needs this (unique) touch of (the Living) God because of its primal / existential corruption. Jesus is the key that fits the lock that holds the human soul in its bondage, thus it is the agenda of the New Testament (New Covenant) to glorify Jesus – even to the extreme of knowing nothing but Jesus Christ, and Him crucified (1 Corinthians 2:2). We Christians know that in Jesus we have that Grace of God that allows sinners to be in His Presence so that they may be transformed by Who He Is.

As a Trinitarian I have no trouble with Paul's presentation here because he is majoring on the major, and being all things to all men (1 Corinthians 9:22). Remember that Jesus Himself accepted the thief on the cross based on nothing but his recognition and acceptance of HIM as Lord and Savior. The “information” that inspires (dictates?) the “Trinitarian Understanding” is found elsewhere throughout Scripture. But the Love that binds God and Man must always be the “tip of the spear” in the Gospel's conquest of humanity.

My love to you in Jesus.