The Otherness – and yet Rightness – of the Trinitarian Idea

(My friend Keith Brenton is a lot smarter and a little more patient than I am. You should visit his blog. My scribblings today began in seed form in a comment I made there.)

Some people are contrary. I know this because whenever someone suggests an idea, my first instinct is, “No, I think it goes like this.” I’ve given many people the rough edge of my tongue over the years because I loved the sound of my own voice more than I loved the sound of peace.

What does any of this have to do with the Trinity? Good question – I guess you could call it context. All theology (all living, for that matter) is done in a context. Even hermits have surroundings that form their ideas and activities. So when I speak of someone being a contrarian, I hope that is heard in the proper context – that I’ve got three fingers accurately pointing back at me when I point it out in someone else.

Keith and I have an Internet acquaintance who is a contrarian with two hobby horses: the Trinity and the personal indwelling of the Spirit of God in Christians. If you live in a Christian context where questioning those two things sounds crazy, you’re not alone. If you look at posts like this and wonder, “Why are you wasting your time with arguments like this when you could be out offering someone a helping hand?” you’re also not alone. God rescued me in the context of a contrarian fellowship – one of our favorite Scriptures is “Test everything – hold fast what is good.” (1 Thess 5:21) We haven’t obeyed the prior verse with anything like the same passion, but what can you do? Our acquaintance has driven us to do a lot of thinking and clarifying about these matters – I can honestly say that I wouldn’t know half as much about why I believe in the Trinity if I hadn’t been pushed to express it in myriad ways.


  • Yes, the Emperor Constantine summoned a council of bishops in 325 to debate (among other things) the Christian church’s doctrine about the nature of the relationship between the Father, Son, and Spirit;
  • Yes, that council could have had a broader representation of ideas on the matter in question;
  • Yes, that debate – three centuries after the life of Christ – resulted in the broad acceptance of the Trinity doctrine (that had been openly taught and challenged since the late 100s);
  • No, the word “trinity” does not appear in the Bible (that was a big sticking-point for me for several years);
  • Yes, the idea of three-in-one, a perfect communal-unity of agape love, is beyond our ability to categorize thoroughly or to express with exhaustive accuracy.

BUT… (and here I’ll risk the arrogance of quoting what I wrote earlier today):

“What is true is that whether doctrinal exposition comes from the pen of Justin Martyr or the pen of Nick Gill or the pen of my contrarian brother, it must be tested against the Scriptures. And on that account – which was the whole point of the Nicea debate – the idea of the Trinity stands firm as the best model to describe the Father-Son-Spirit relationship we see throughout Scripture. NOT necessarily every doctrine that has been surmised about the Trinity – since Scripture is no more about the inner relationship of Father-Son-Spirit than it is about the work of angels, we should not be surprised that Scripture does not neatly and exhaustively exposit that relationship – so there are going to be some wrong-headed conclusions drawn, even if the idea is headed in the right direction.”

“No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him.”

“He who has seen Me has seen the Father.”

“Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back some of the price of the land? While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not under your control? Why is it that you have conceived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God.”

in HIS love,


About Nick Gill

orphan-poet-adoptee-soldier-prodigal-servant-husband- counselor-desperate seeker after my Father's face "I feel my body weakened by the years as people turn to gods of cruel design. Is it that they fear the pain of death, or is it that they fear the joy of life?" - Toad the Wet Sprocket

Posted on 28 February, 2011, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 65 Comments.

  1. You may not want me to do this, but the two paragraphs I loved the most from the original comment upon which this post was based are the following:

    “You still have to wrestle with the fact that Origen and Tertullian and Polycarp and Ignatius and Justin Martyr were using trinitas and other divine three language to describe what they read in Scripture, as far back as the late 100s and early 200s. Now, you’ll really have to help me understand why I should be swayed by your arguments, and why I should not be swayed by the arguments of these godly men. If agreeing with them is the same as ‘giving great weight to their doctrine,’ wouldn’t agreeing with you be the same as ‘giving great weight to your doctrine?'”


    “If *you’re* allowed to do some cipherin’ on Scripture to come up with doctrines, why would you disallow that privilege from men who lived far closer to the time when the Scriptures were written?”

    You know I have little stomach for this sort of debate, but I love the gold that sometimes comes out of their fire.

    • I haven’t allowed myself to be baited into an argument with my contrarian brother for quite a while, and hopefully I will be able to continue to discipline myself that way.

      I wasn’t really sure how to bring your favorite passages over 🙂 So thanks for helping me out!

  2. I strongly disagree with your opening statement.

    (However, the discourse gets better from there.)

  3. Something that frequently goes unsaid during these discussions is the context within which the original discussions were made. Moderism, humanism, and logic were all foreign concepts at this point in history. It was never meant to be about reducing the Godhead to a formula, but rather an agreement on wording to describe something so far beyond humanity. Now, looking back through a modernist/humanist view point, we try to pick apart things that we really don’t understand. It’s similar to looking at a tribe that wears no clothing and judging them based on our ethnocentric beliefs of right and wrong. We do not have the cultural or contextual authority to do such.

    • Hmm… “No, I think it goes like this!” 🙂

      In the immortal words of Vizzini: “Have you heard of Plato? Aristotle? Socrates? Morons.”

      Seriously, though, logic had been a rockin’ Greek idea for several centuries before Nicea, and much of the writing of the ECF is overly steeped in Hellenistic thought-forms rather than the Hebraic thinking that undergirds the Scriptures.

      Other than that minor disagreement, I completely concur with your point that modern critiques of the ECF radically decontextualize their writings.

  4. Nick am I wrong when I assume you have no problen in calling Mary “mother of god” since it was decreed she was to be called “Theotokos ” at the ” First Council of Ephesus” and even sending up prayers to her to influence her son on things of importance, since she had influenced him on the turning water into wine as his first miracle. or do you pick and choose what you believe on such matters?

    How could one catholic doctrine influence you so much and the other not so much

    • You ask at least five important questions, brother. Let’s start with the last two, and then address the 2nd and 3rd, saving the first for last.

      4) “Do you pick and choose what you believe on such matters?”

      Yes, of course – and so do you! While we both pick and choose (or, less insultingly, assess – certainly you recognize that “pick and choose” suggests flippancy and a lack of consistency) doctrines, yours goes a lot farther than mine. You pick and choose which words of Paul to believe. You pick and choose which books of canonical Scripture to accept. I, on the other hand, try and assess ancient doctrines in the same manner that I assess modern ones – according to their harmony with the Scriptures. Your inability to decide what is actually Holy Scripture leaves you lacking any standard at all! Canon, of course, is Latin for standard.

      5) How could one catholic doctrine influence you so much and the other not so much?

      Simply put? I think the idea of the Trinity harmonizes very well with the Scriptures. Since I believe that, the idea of Theotokos is a simple logical extension. I believe Jesus is God – therefore, I believe that the woman that bore him is the God-bearer.

      “And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, and she exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For behold, when the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.” (Luke 1:41-45 ESV)

      The idea of praying to Mary doesn’t harmonize well with Scripture at all – I think it is a bit foolish, a waste of time, and a hindrance to spiritual growth (a bit like mistaking a patron at a restaurant for the owner/manager – you can complain to the person, and the proprietor might overhear you, but unless they do, you’re barking up the wrong tree). I believe the gracious God I serve forgives foolishness and hears misdirected prayers, but they’re still misdirected and the exercise is less healthy than well-directed prayer.

      2) The Theotokos question

      I have no problem calling Mary Theotokos, although the First Council of Ephesus in 431 merely differentiated between Theotokos and Christotokos. T was already a standard term for Mary, and Nestorius rejected it in favor of C as part of an ugly and awkward solution to a dilemma created by the doctrine of hereditary depravity. The Council gathered to assess the doctrine of Nestorius and rejected Christotokos in favor of the (slightly) older Theotokos. However, 5th century debates about 3rd century ideas about Mary really don’t excite me as much as late 1st century-early 2nd century ideas about Jesus. For me, Theotokos is a way of recognizing the special blessing of Mary announced by Gabriel and recognized by Elizabeth. The Trinity is far more central, compelling, exciting, and spiritually important.

      3) The “praying to Mary” question

      Sending up prayers to her is another matter entirely. Mary herself said to the servants at Cana, “Do whatever He tells you to do.” And Jesus said that He is the only way to the Father, and he instructed his disciples to pray to the Father, so that’s where my prayers go.

      And for your first question:

      “Am I wrong when I assume?”

      Yes, absolutely. It is deeply unhealthy to make assumptions, especially about what people believe about doctrine, especially when one’s assumption is based upon faulty information about the doctrines in question.

  5. Nick, compareing your belief to mine does not make you right, I was just wondering how far you go in believing the Chtholic doctrine since you seem to base your theology upon one or their manmade doctrines. one with out any more truth than praying to Mary.
    By truth I mean backed by scripture.

    • Actually, you mean backed by Laymond-approved(TM) scripture.

      And if you want to play the pejorative name-dropping game, I *could* ask you how far you go in believing the Mohommetan doctrine that Jesus of Nazareth was merely a prophet in a long chain of prophets. Since you seem to base your doctrine upon one of their manmade doctrines.

      • Jesus was a prophet, but not merely a prophet. he was the only prophet, called The Son of God, he was the only prophet chosen by God through which to forgive sins. (yes I know Jesus chose his apostles to forgive sins, but not God) Jesus was the only prophet chosen to be the high Preist, and set by God’s side. Jesus was the only prophet raised from death, but Jesus was not the only prophet called god, so was Moses.

  6. Act 2:36 Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.
    Act 10:36 The word which [God] sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ: (he is Lord of all:)
    Rom 1:3 Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh;
    Hbr 5:5 So also Christ glorified not himself to be made an high priest; but he that said unto him, Thou art my Son, to day have I begotten thee.
    Hbr 5:6 As he saith also in another [place], Thou [art] a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.
    Hbr 5:7 Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared;
    Hbr 5:8 Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered;
    Hbr 5:9 And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;

    (For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which [be] the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. )

  7. Laymond, thanks for sharing those verses. I am sure that we all believe them, though they may have different meanings to each of us – you, me, Nick, everyone. We can’t know what those meanings are unless they’re shared and explained – as I think I’ve pointed out to you at my blog.

    • Keith, I am not really sure you do believe them, as they are written, not until you but your spin on then, so they back what you already believe.

  8. Jhn 14:16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;

    Keith, I don’t see how anyone could read these passages, and say with a straight face, The Father, The Son, and the Holy Ghost are equal participants in the “God head” seems there is “one ” who sends the others to do his biddings.

    That is like saying, The President, the Sec. of defence, and a General, are all equal within the military. They all have authority, but not the same authority.

  9. Laymond, I think I’ve said this before, too, but … it’s possible that one of us is wrong. It’s also possible that both of us are wrong because our brains and our language can’t adequately imagine, capture, describe the interrelationship of divine beings; holy spirits. “Father” and “Son” may well have been the closest approximations available, and communicate the kind of relationship that is offered to us through Christ as well as between Them.

    In any case, I still maintain that using the words “God” and “impossible” in the same sentence is riskier business than I’d wish to engage in. I’ll just say that because of the way that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are spoken of in scripture, I tend to see them as one and yet more than one … and whether that “more than one” is two or three or some other number is irrelevant by virtue of being indefinable. What is the number of spirit? What is the boundary of a puff of smoke, an electron, a galaxy or a soul?

    In algebra, such a number is described as a variable, and so I tend to think of the divine number as a variable. And “one” is a number that when multiplied by any number yields that number. Its identity doesn’t change, in other words. One is always a factor. God is always one. Yet He is not limited to being just one.

    So Jesus was the Word who was with God and was God and is God and is in God and God is in Him. Whether that makes sense to us doesn’t affect the truth of it. Jesus said it. It is impossible for God to lie.

    So we deal with it. I deal with it by believing it.

  10. Oh, and if I haven’t mentioned it before, Laymond, I think the argument that two equals can’t submit to each other or that an order of authority can’t exist among equals is totally fallacious.

    Submit to one another a out of reverence for Christ. ~ Ephesians 5:21

  11. Nick, and Keith. Along with the counsel of catholic bishops, you have
    elevated Jesus, along with the comforter, to gods, equal to God
    almighty. The very same God almighty that Jesus and the apostles
    (including Paul) went to great lengths to describe as the only God, yes
    even the God of Jesus Christ.

    Mat 27:46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice,
    saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why
    hast thou forsaken me?

    Jhn 20:17 Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet
    ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I
    ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and [to] my God, and your

    Lets look at the prophesy of God sending one, and equipping him to do
    the job he was assigned to do.
    Isa 42:1 Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, [in whom] my
    soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him: he shall bring forth
    judgment to the Gentiles.
    In Matthew 12 , Jesus confirms that this prophecy was referring to him,
    a servant of God.

    Lets look at the main reference made when the claim of Jesus is God,
    comes up.
    Jhn 1:1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God,
    and the Word was God.
    Jhn 1:14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and
    we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,)
    full of grace and truth.

    When we call Jesus “the word” therefore he is god, we restrict God’s
    power severely. What about all the other “spirits” of God, that came
    to rest upon Jesus at baptism?
    No Jesus in his time upon this earth was much more than “logos”, the
    voice of God almighty. “logos” was but one of the powers of God,
    (the power of creation) which Jesus demonstrated many times while
    Yes Jesus was more, he was the “Son of God” created by God in a
    woman without the fertilization of the egg by a man.
    Therefore Jesus only contained the DNA of his mother, since God is
    spirit and has no DNA to contribute. so he came from the stem of

    Isa 11:1 And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and
    a Branch shall grow out of his roots:
    Isa 11:2 And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of
    wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit
    of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD;
    (seems Jesus was entrusted with more than the word)

    Lets take a look at the other spirit you call God.
    Jhn 14:26 But the Comforter, [which is] the Holy Ghost, whom the
    Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all
    things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.

    but if I am not mistaken you both prefer a different version than the
    The NIV says it like this. But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit,
    whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things
    and will remind you of everything I have said to you.

    The counselor, now where have I seen that word before? oh yeah in

    Isaiah 11:2 “the spirit of counsel” one of the spirits that ascended and
    rested upon Jesus, at baptism. And the one Jesus later sent to
    comfort the apostles.
    It seems right to me to say yes both the “logos” and ” the spirit of
    counsel” were with God at creation, but they were not individual
    beings, they were attributes/property of “God almighty”.

    • So the 4th Gospel opens with a “well, DUH!” statement???

      OBVIOUSLY the attributes/properties of God were WITH God at creation! If they weren’t, they wouldn’t be attributes of God! How dumb would John’s audience have to be, if they needed to be told that God’s creative power (your definition of ‘logos’) was with Him when he created???

      Even within your own argument, Laymond, you fail to deal with the key statements of John 1:

      The Word WAS God.
      The Word (that is God) became flesh.
      The Word that is God and that became flesh exegeted God to the world.

      Nick, and Keith. Along with the counsel of catholic bishops, you have
      elevated Jesus, along with the comforter, to gods, equal to God

      Nope. Not godS. The One True God.

      And since you like finding Counselor in Isaiah, let’s run this up the flagpole and let it flap in the breeze for a little while:

      For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counseller, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6, KJV)

  12. wonderful — pele’ –wonder, marvel
    Counsellor,- ya`ats — to advise, counsel, give counsel, consult
    The mighty — gibbowr — strong, mighty
    god, — el — god, god-like one, mighty one
    The everlasting — `ad –perpetuity, for ever, continuing future
    Father — ‘ab —- head or founder of a household, group, family, or clan.
    The Prince — sar — prince, ruler, leader

    I believe all these discribe Jesus “the Son of God” rightly, without declaring him “God almighty”

    • Isaiah calls the one who will save Israel Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, and Everlasting Father.

      One could be explained away. Two, even, if you were ornery. But three different titles for the One True God given to a non-divine Messiah?

      There were people in Jerusalem who were too hard-hearted to accept what Jesus taught, too – they picked up stones to kill him when he labeled himself with such language. Your warning about the people Keith and I agree with has two edges, Laymond – be careful you don’t gash yourself with it.

      • Mar 12:29 And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments [is], Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord:

        Isa 43:11 I, [even] I, [am] the LORD; and beside me [there is] no saviour.
        Isa 44:6 Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel, and his redeemer the LORD of hosts; I [am] the first, and I [am] the last; and beside me [there is] no God.
        Isa 44:8 Fear ye not, neither be afraid: have not I told thee from that time, and have declared [it]? ye [are] even my witnesses. Is there a God beside me? yea, [there is] no God; I know not [any].
        Isa 45:6 That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that [there is] none beside me. I [am] the LORD, and [there is] none else.

        beside — bil`adey — apart from, except, without, besides

        Nick, are you saying, all this refers to Jesus ? if so how would that make God a “trinity” that would simply mean we have a God named Jesus, and Jesus would be his own “Son” and his own Father.

        Mat 16:15 He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?
        16:16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.

      • Laymond, that is precisely what we’ve been saying – that the One True God is Father-Son-Spirit.

        The Father is the One True God.
        The Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, is the One True God.
        The Spirit is the One True God.

        I’m glad you brought up Isaiah 43:11, because it is essential to the discussion. If your interpretation is correct, that Isaiah 43:11 teaches that the Father of the Lord Jesus Christ is the only savior and that Jesus of Nazareth is his prophet and Son, but not in any way God, surely an angel would get it right? Maybe you’re right – Paul is confused. Maybe you’re right – Mark and Luke aren’t apostles so their non-quotational writings aren’t as trustworthy… but surely the words of an angel of the Lord would confirm your doctrine?

        Isaiah 43:11 (ESV) I, I am the LORD, and besides me there is no savior.

        Savior: from yasha, a primary root meaning “to deliver.”

        Luke 2:11 (ESV) For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.

        Savior: soter, from sozo, from sózó
        Definition: a savior, deliverer

        Which one is correct, Laymond? Isaiah quoting God, or Luke quoting God’s messenger? Is YHWH the Lord and Savior? Is Christ the Lord and Savior?

        Or… as Keith and I (and orthodox Christians for 2 millennia) believe, are we trying to think and believe our way through a mystery that the Trinitarian idea best depicts?

        That since:
        the One True God claims that He and He ALONE is the deliverer, and
        his angel claims that Jesus of Nazareth is the deliverer,

        then they are in some mysterious way ONE, even though they are also diverse enough that they can love one another?

  13. I’ll just list some for you, Laymond, so you can deny them or explain them away:
    John 3:13 … John 8:42 … John 14:9 … John 16:27-28 … 1 Corinthians 15:47-49 … Philippians 2:5ff … Matthew 28:19 … Galatians 4:6.

    Go ahead. Have fun. Knock yourself out. But be prepared to do a lot of typing.

    It takes a lot of words to explain why the Bible doesn’t say what the Bible says.

  14. Nick, I know what you are saying, but why restrict the Godhead to “three” spirits, that was one of the points I was trying to make in the longer comment. If you take the time you will see that the “spirit of council” was one of the spirits that came to rest upon God’s son, at baptism. so why would that spirit be elevated to god statis while the other six were not.? And as we plainly see the comforter/holy ghost is described as “the spirit of truth” and counselor.
    Rev 5:6 And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth.

    As we see it does not say six spirits and a god.

    • The spirit of counsel is not a separate spirit from the spirit of truth. The Holy Spirit is all of those (just like YHWH Yireh and YHWH Rophe and YHWH Nisse, etc. don’t describe different gods but different facets of God as seen in the Old Testament), and the “seven spirits” language in Revelation is John’s figure of speech to emphasize the multi-faceted nature of the Spirit of God.

      Please address my question about Isaiah 43:11 and Luke 2:11.

      • Isa 43:11 I, [even] I, [am] the LORD; and beside me [there is] no saviour.
        Sorry, I thought I had explained sufficently.
        Strong’s H1107 – bil`adey = apart from, except, without, besides

        Nick, what if it was worded like this— I, [even] I, [am] the LORD; and (without me) [there is] no saviour.
        (would you still have a problem with it?)

        Gen 41:44 And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, I [am] Pharaoh, and without < (1107) thee shall no man lift up his hand or foot in all the land of Egypt. (Nick does this mean,Joseph, was Pharaoh? certainly not)(what I am pointing out is, the same word is used for "beside, and without" in this context they mean the same thing.

        Luk 2:11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. (this could not have happened, without God)
        Gal 4:4 But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,

      • I disagree about the context of Isaiah 43. “Without” does not fit what YHWH is saying in that chapter.

        v. 1 Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.
        v. 3 For I am the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.
        v. 11-12 I, I am the LORD, and besides me there is no savior. I declared and saved and proclaimed
        v. 14 Thus says the LORD, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel
        v. 25 I am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins.

        The whole argument of Is 43 is that He and He alone does these things. When the Pharisees said, “God alone forgives sins!” it was this passage to which they looked.

        Furthermore, your whole argument in the previous comment rests upon bil’adey meaning besides rather than without. Throughout this passage, from at least Isaiah 42 on through Isaiah 45, context requires that bil’adey mean besides. Isaiah 45:6, as you quoted above, is the key to understanding how the word is used in Isaiah.

  15. Keith I will get around to speaking to all the scripture you recomended, and without to many of my own words, if you will be patient.

    Jhn 3:13 And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, [even] the Son of man which is in heaven.
    (does that include Paul?)
    2Cr 12:2 I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven.

    Jhn 8:42 Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me. ( why would I disagree with this)

    Jhn 14:9 Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou [then], Shew us the Father?
    (Col 1:15 Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: )

  16. Nick, you seem to say Jesus could forgive sins, because he was really God. And only God could forgive sins.

    Jhn 20:22 And when he had said this, he breathed on [them], and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost:
    Jhn 20:23 Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; [and] whose soever [sins] ye retain, they are retained.
    NIV – Jhn 20:23 – If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”

    Did this make the apostles “God” according to your reasoning, it does, and oh, by the way I seem to recall that you have the same “holy ghost” as the apostles were given, (in your opinion) what does this make you?

    • The perfect passive indicative form of a Greek verb indicates something that became true in the past and is still true. Passages such as “it is written” (Matt 4:4) and “if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen” (1 Cor 15:13) show the idea that this tense describes something that happened conclusively in the past and is still currently true.

      This matters because “they are forgiven” and “they are not forgiven” in John 20:23 translates the present passive indicative of apheimi (to send away from). Thus the idea being conveyed is that when the disciples pronounce forgiveness, they are only announcing something that has already been done and is still actively true. The sins of the world were forgiven at the cross – those who take advantage of it will be saved. Those who do not take advantage of that forgiveness remain under the wrath of God until He Himself pronounces them forgiven.

      So no, the apostles are not God because the apostles did not actually forgive sins – they announced the forgiveness that Jesus had already given, and they helped people get into that forgiveness. The Pharisees were correct in their interpretation of Isaiah (“God alone forgives sins!”), but not in its application.

      What does my sharing in the Spirit of God make me? An empowered representative of God, charged and authorized to announce his message and act on behalf of His kingdom. If only you would soften your heart, brother, and accept His Spirit, you too could be an ambassador of the kingdom.

  17. “If only you would soften your heart, brother, and accept His Spirit, you too could be an ambassador of the kingdom.”

    In your words, as the very words of those who made the “trinity doctrine” if I don’t accept your way of thinking, my soul is condemned to the fires of “HELL”

    Mat 10:32 ¶ Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.
    Mat 10:33 But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.

    So Nick, I don’t know what kingdom you are talking about

    1Jo 4:15 Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God.

    I don’t know how you were baptized, but I confessed/acknowledged that very thing.
    But no one saw a dove ascend on me, but I do believe I was added to the kingdom of God.

  18. Don’t put words in my mouth, brother.

    As you say, your salvation is secure. I have no doubt of that! What sincerely concerns me is your empowerment for kingdom work and effectiveness.

    Where, in your body, does your spirit dwell, Laymond? Where does the spirit of Laymond reside? “The life is in the blood,” Scripture says. The blood carries the air that you breathe to every cell, nourishing them and empowering them to do what they’re made to do.

    What happens if a hand or a foot stops receiving blood and/or oxygen?

    Likewise the spirit of Christ, the spirit of God, the Holy Spirit dwells in the whole Body of Christ. But if one member of the body rejects its lifegiving presence and nourishment, what happens?

    It is not your rejection of the Trinity doctrine that concerns me so much, brother. I think that is merely worjing against the grain of reality- unhealthy and exhausting but not inherently dangerous. It is your rejection of the Spirit of God that concerns me deeply- for it seems to me to be tantamount to saying that you are not actually part of the Body.

    We are all one Body, individually members of it, and we all share the same Spirit.

  19. Rom 12:5 So we, [being] many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.

    Strong’s G4983 – s?ma – is used of a (large or small) number of men closely united into one society, or family as it were; a social, ethical, mystical body

    Nick, I see what Paul said here as, “we are many members of Christ’s family and we are all brothers and sisters.
    Now if we are added as members of Jesus’ spiritual family, at baptism, and we accept Jesus as the son of God, doesn’t that necessarily make us part of God’s spiritual family ? God’s kingdom ?
    Or in your opinion do we need to be indwelled by a separate “holy being” to be counted among the righteous.?

    You asked about my spirit and where/ and what it was, I understand the
    Spirit/soul – as the motor or motivator of the body.
    Just as I see the spirit of Christ as the motor/motivator of the Church/his spiritual family/body.

  20. Nick said to his brother in Christ . “It is your rejection of the Spirit of God that concerns me deeply”

    How could I be rejecting God, when my one and only intent, when I went forward to be baptized, was to Join the family of Jesus Christ, so I would be acceptable to God the Father, and be added to his kingdom ?

    If God offered me the powers he gave the apostles, through Jesus Christ, would I refuse ? no ! he just hasn’t offered.

    • For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness.
      (Romans 8:7-10 ESV)

      You confidently assert that you do not have the Spirit of Christ – in fact, you say he hasn’t even offered it to you.

      The first, while false, is mere foolishness. The second borders on blasphemy. For Peter on the Day of Pentecost, made it quite clear that everyone who was baptized into the remission of sins would receive the same gift: the Holy Spirit.

      • Nick, that is just another place where you and I see scripture differently, I see the gift as salvation, by the Holy Spirit, you see the gift , as the Holy spirit.I guess it depends on how you see it.

      • Nick, do you believe demons, and evil spirits inhabit human bodies as well .? Or is evil in the human mind.?

      • Acts 2:38 KJV Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

        “Of The” translates the Greek article “tou” which is the neuter form of THE.

        Thus we have l?mpsesthe (you shall receive) ten (of the) dorean (gift, feminine) tou (the) hagio (holy) pneumatos (spirit).

        As for your question about evil… I believe both. I do not believe that is an either/or question. Demons have and can inhabit human bodies. They can afflict humans from outside. And much evil comes straight from the human heart and mind without any demonic involvement.

  21. Act 2:36 Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.
    ( God anointed, appointed, ordained, this man, lord over all.)

    Act 17:30 And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:
    Act 17:31 Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by [that] man whom he hath ordained; [whereof] he hath given assurance unto all [men], in that he hath raised him from the dead.
    ” he will judge the world in righteousness by [that] man whom he hath ordained;”
    ( seems to me that the bible does say “God” is the one and only savior.) We will be saved through Jesus, but we will be saved by God.

    1Cr 11:3 But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman [is] the man; and the head of Christ [is] God.

    • It is by judgment that the One True God rescues his creation. If judgment is by Jesus, so is salvation, for they are one and the same. For judgment is the act of making things right. Wrath and rescue come together as Jesus judges and saves.

      For unto you in the City of David is born this day a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.

      If you remember your 1 Samuel, you would remember what God told Samuel when the people of Israel clamored for a king like the other nations had:

      Then all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah and said to him, “Behold, you are old and your sons do not walk in your ways. Now appoint for us a king to judge us like all the nations.” But the thing displeased Samuel when they said, “Give us a king to judge us.” And Samuel prayed to the LORD. And the LORD said to Samuel, “Obey the voice of the people in all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected me from being king over them. According to all the deeds that they have done, from the day I brought them up out of Egypt even to this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so they are also doing to you. Now then, obey their voice; only you shall solemnly warn them and show them the ways of the king who shall reign over them.” So Samuel told all the words of the LORD to the people who were asking for a king from him. He said, “These will be the ways of the king who will reign over you: he will take your sons and appoint them to his chariots and to be his horsemen and to run before his chariots. And he will appoint for himself commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and some to plow his ground and to reap his harvest, and to make his implements of war and the equipment of his chariots. He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive orchards and give them to his servants. He will take the tenth of your grain and of your vineyards and give it to his officers and to his servants. He will take your male servants and female servants and the best of your young men and your donkeys, and put them to his work. He will take the tenth of your flocks, and you shall be his slaves. And in that day you will cry out because of your king, whom you have chosen for yourselves, but the LORD will not answer you in that day.” But the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel. And they said, “No! But there shall be a king over us, that we also may be like all the nations, and that our king may judge us and go out before us and fight our battles.” And when Samuel had heard all the words of the people, he repeated them in the ears of the LORD. And the LORD said to Samuel, “Obey their voice and make them a king.”
      (1 Samuel 8:4-22 ESV)

      In Jesus Christ, God restored His Own Kingship. That is the answer to the riddle in Luke 20:41, why King David calls his own son My Lord. How can the kingdom of God be ruled by one who is NOT God?

  22. “Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness.”

    Nick,when we take every word of the bible literally, we can never comprehend what is being said. If we were to take Paul at his word literally, in order to please God we would have to shed this body and become the spiritual body we are promised at resurrection.
    But common sense tells us that is not what he said. He simply is saying we have to forsake the wants of the body, for the needs of the spirit. follow the spirit.

    You say The Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost have bodies made of the same substance. Let’s look at what Jesus said when he described his body, and God’s.

    Luk 24:39 Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have.
    I don’t recall where it is said that Jesus turned into a spirit, when he went to heaven. Do you?

    Jesus said:
    Jhn 4:24 God [is] a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship [him] in spirit and in truth.
    Notice Jesus said God is “A SPIRIT” that tells me God is ONE. do you think Jesus just misspoke here. If so what gives you confidence he never misspoke anywhere else.

    • Thus Paul writes: Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. (Rom 6:12)

      Paul does a good job of explaining his own metaphors. Paul never says anything about shedding our old body, but our old identity. If you can find a passage where Paul says to take off our flesh or our body, I’d be surprised, but certainly willing to read it. If Paul meant us to hate our bodies, how could he write, “The body is not for sexual immorality, but for the Lord; and the Lord for the body.” (1 Cor 6:13) or “Glorify God in your body.” (1 Cor 6:20)

      or: “as it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death.” (Php 1:20)

      Perhaps you’re thinking of Col 2:11 – “In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ” That’s a challenging saying, and one of the Pauline sayings loved by the Gnostics – those who hated the flesh and thought that an evil demigod created the physical world. But considering the many other examples where Paul speaks of the body in a positive light, this passage becomes more clear as a statement about what happens when we are baptized – the “spiritual circumcision” that King Jesus performs. And it is this same King Jesus that Paul describes, just two verses earlier, as “For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily.” Good luck working your way around that.

      “May your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless for the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Thess 5:23

      I’ve looked at every appearance of soma in Paul’s letters, and Col 2:11 is the only time the word appears in a possibly negative context.

      Laymond writes:

      You say the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost have bodies made of the same substance.

      Brother, I’ve asked you repeatedly to stop putting words in my mouth. If you can find one quote anywhere of me making such an assertion, I’ll pour steak sauce on my shoes and chow down. I’ve never said anything of the kind – not, at least, since the early 90s when I abandoned the Mormonism in which I was raised.

      But I will say this much about John 4:24 – there is no indefinite article (“a” spirit) in the text. The text reads, translated literally, “Spirit the God and the ones worshipping him in spirit and in truth it is necessary to worship” Spirit is placed at the beginning of the sentence for emphasis and is in an adjectival construction, while the subject of the sentence is God. The text simply doesn’t say “God is a spirit.” Jesus didn’t misspeak – human translators did.

      I believe that Jesus has, right now, the same kind of spiritual body that we will have when we are raised (1 Cor 15; 1 John 2).

  23. No I don’t see Paul saying we have to get rid of this body in order to follow Jesus either. That was my point about taking things literally.

    quote Nick: And it is this same King Jesus that Paul describes, just two verses earlier, as “For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily.” Good luck working your way around that.

    Jhn 3:34 For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure [unto him]. — ” fullness of deity dwells bodily”

    Nick, I am not trying to work my way “around” scripture, just explain it, so it makes sense to me, as well as others.

    You said, “Brother, I’ve asked you repeatedly to stop putting words in my mouth. If you can find one quote anywhere of me making such an assertion, I’ll pour steak sauce on my shoes and chow down. I’ve never said anything of the kind”

    Nick you have repeatedly said you believe the trinity is a fact. This is the belief from which “the trinity” evolved. (“They are three, not in dignity, but in degree, not in substance but in form, not in power but in kind. They are of one substance and power, because there is one God from whom these degrees, forms and kinds devolve in the name of Father, Son and Holy Spirit.”)
    So naturally I thought you would stand up for your belief, and it’s origin.

    bon appetite

    • I’m still waiting for you to show where Paul says something that could literally be interpreted as an instruction to get rid of this body.

      Paul said the FULLNESS of deity, Laymond. Not just the Spirit, not just the words. The FULLNESS. The whole of deity.

      Saying that I believe in the Trinity is a far cry from saying that I agree with every idea anyone has ever had about the Trinity. This is a discussion between a few friends, Laymond – I limit myself to addressing what you and Keith and the other participants actually say (and what I remember of what you’ve said during past conversations). I’d appreciate it if you’d show me the same grace. Address what I’ve said I believe, not what your reading teaches you to assume that I believe.

  24. Theological differences regarding Jesus Christ began to manifest in Constantine’s empire when two major opponents surfaced and debated whether Christ was a created being (Arius doctrine) or not created but rather coequal and coeternal to God his father (Athanasius doctrine).

    The theological warfare between the Arius and Athanasius doctrinal camps became intense. Constantine realized that his empire was being threatened by the doctrinal rift. Constantine began to pressure the church to come to terms with its differences before the results became disastrous to his empire. Finally the emperor called a council at Nicea in 325 AD to resolve the dispute.

    A creed was adopted which favored Athanasius’s theology. Jesus Christ was approved to be “one substance” with God the Father.
    This is the whole reason for the council at Nicea. to determine whether Jesus was of the same substance of God.

    Laymond – I limit myself to addressing what you and Keith and the other participants actually say.
    That is a good rule to follow about scripture as well.
    Rev 1:5 And from Jesus Christ, [who is] the faithful witness, —–
    Rev 3:14 And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God;

  25. My attention span only allowed me to read through about 8 of the 40+ comments here, but I do have a question for all 3 involved in this trinitarian debate (notice my incredibly clever use of 3 & trinitarian.)

    Nick, Keith, Laymond…
    If my view on this issue is incorrect, am I still a Christian? If YES, then how much does this issue really matter? If NO, why not?

    • Thanks for coming by, Scott. I really appreciate it, and I hope that some of what I’ve written here will be a blessing to you.

      By this point in the conversation, we’ve actually broached BOTH of Laymond’s hobby-horses – the Trinity and the literal dwelling of the Holy Spirit in the church. So I have to be a bit careful how I answer your question.

      On the Trinity – I would say YES without any hesitation – absolutely you are a Christian if you confess Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. Misunderstanding His divine nature is working against the grain of reality, I believe, but it is not believing another gospel. The gospel, I believe, is neatly encapsulated in Romans 1:3-6 – Jesus the Messiah, the promised Son of David, appointed Son-of-God-in-power (I love the NET Bible!) by the Holy spirit by the resurrection, now the Lord of all. The similar encapsulation in 1 Cor 15:3-4 develops the purpose of his death more deeply, while the Romans passage deals more directly with the power of the resurrection. Don’t nail me down to just this – I’m writing off-the-cuff at work 🙂 But that’s where I would start, and I wouldn’t go too far in any other direction when discussing the gospel one must believe to be saved. Trinitarian theology isn’t at the heart of the gospel, but it is at the heart of reality – Christian life is much harder for the one who fails to see Jesus as God Himself doing what God always said God alone would do for Israel and the world.

      Which leads to #2: the question of the Holy Spirit

      I cannot answer YES without reservation, when your question is directed towards the doctrine of the Holy Spirit’s present life in the church (indwelling is, IMO, an inelegantly coined word that doesn’t do what it was coined to do, so I’m trying to learn to avoid it.). See, Jesus has this thing about the Holy Spirit being pretty important – central, even – to the work of God in the world. He says that people can even be forgiven for attributing His teaching and his claims of authority to the Evil One, but no one will ever be forgiven for attributing the work of the Holy Spirit to the evil one. It’s a hard teaching, and I’m not saying that Laymond (or anyone else I know) falls under its condemnation. I’m just laying out the foundation of my thoughts. Paul, too, has a soft spot for the Holy Spirit – he talks about the danger of quenching and grieving the Spirit (1 Thess 5:19; Eph 4:30), and one of his clear tests of Christian orthodoxy is affirming one’s sharing in the Spirit of God (Romans 8:9-10). The sharing of the Spirit forms a key part of John’s writing as well.

      So… IF I understand Paul correctly in Romans 8, he expects his audience to affirm that the Spirit of God is in them. What effect does it have on our relationship with God when we refuse to affirm that? I honestly don’t know – and that is why I have a more difficult time saying that “denial of the Spirit’s real dwelling in the church” isn’t a spiritually-perilous doctrine. No one in Scripture, not even John in the elegant and mind-bending introduction to his gospel, asserts that believing Jesus is God is essential to belonging to Him.

      That is exactly what Paul seems to be asserting in Romans 8 about the Spirit.

      • Rom 8:10 And if Christ [be] in you, the body [is] dead because of sin; but the Spirit [is] life because of righteousness.

        Nick do you think Christ lives in a dead body ? no, and he does not live in a dead church either.

  26. Scott, you need to decide whether it is revelant to salvation or not. to know the God we worship.
    Isa 48:11 For mine own sake, [even] for mine own sake, will I do [it]: for how should [my name] be polluted? and I will not give my glory unto another.
    Isa 43:11 I, [even] I, [am] the LORD; and beside me [there is] no saviour.
    Isa 44:6 Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel, and his redeemer the LORD of hosts; I [am] the first, and I [am] the last; and beside me [there is] no God.
    Isa 45:21 Tell ye, and bring [them] near; yea, let them take counsel together: who hath declared this from ancient time? [who] hath told it from that time? [have] not I the LORD? and [there is] no God else beside me; a just God and a Saviour; [there is] none beside me.

    This is but a few of many times in Isaiah alone, where God is said to have told us there is but one almighty God, and that is ME. Now if you want to believe “The Holy Spirit” is a seperate indivigual from God almighty,and his word is more trustworthy than that of God, Go ahead but you do so at your own risk. I will not go down that path. I will not accuse “My God ” of lying. There is another who claims equality with “God” and I am sure he smiles when he hears his followers say he is not alone, that others claim that equality also.

    Let’s look at what Nick said in his answer to you, “Jesus has this thing about the Holy Spirit being pretty important – central, even – to the work of God in the world. He says that people can even be forgiven for attributing His teaching and his claims of authority to the Evil One, but no one will ever be forgiven for attributing the work of the Holy Spirit to the evil one.”
    Unless I have really misunderstood Nick, in many posts, he has said Jesus is God.
    Then here he said, the words he spoke, (the words “The Father” gave him to speak) is less important than the message the “HG” brought, a messenger Jesus asked his Father to send, to remind the apostles of what Jesus had said. I don’t get it.
    I believe Jesus said the one sent is not more important, than the one who sent him.

    • Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, as some do, letters of recommendation to you, or from you? You yourselves are our letter of recommendation, written on our hearts, to be known and read by all. And you show that you are a letter from Christ delivered by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts. Such is the confidence that we have through Christ toward God. Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God, who has made us competent to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.

      Now if the ministry of death, carved in letters on stone, came with such glory that the Israelites could not gaze at Moses’ face because of its glory, which was being brought to an end, will not the ministry of the Spirit have even more glory? For if there was glory in the ministry of condemnation, the ministry of righteousness must far exceed it in glory. Indeed, in this case, what once had glory has come to have no glory at all, because of the glory that surpasses it. For if what was being brought to an end came with glory, much more will what is permanent have glory.

      Since we have such a hope, we are very bold, not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face so that the Israelites might not gaze at the outcome of what was being brought to an end. But their minds were hardened. For to this day, when they read the old covenant, that same veil remains unlifted, because only through Christ is it taken away. Yes, to this day whenever Moses is read a veil lies over their hearts.

      But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.

      Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart.

      But we have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways. We refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God’s word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God. And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled only to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.

      For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death is at work in us, but life in you. Since we have the same spirit of faith according to what has been written, “I believed, and so I spoke,” we also believe, and so we also speak, knowing that he who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and bring us with you into his presence. For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God. So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. (2 Cor 3-4 ESV, emphasis mine)

  27. The Trinity

    “And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.”


    If Christ had glory with God before the world was, then obviously it is argued he must have existed before his birth on earth.

    Stress is often placed on Jesus’ statement that he had glory with the Father. The J.W.’s in their New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures translate this verse as follows: “So now you, Father, glorify me alongside yourself with the glory that I had alongside you before the world was.”1 But the Greek preposition “para” translated “with” in the A.V. and “alongside” in the N.W.T. also occurs in John 1:6: “There was a man sent from {Greek: para} God, whose name was John.” If the preposition in John 17:5 requires the literal pre-existence of Christ, then likewise it requires the literal pre-existence of John the Baptist.2 It is interesting that the N.W.T. inconsistently translates John 1:6 as follows: “There arose a man that was sent forth as a representative of God: his name was John.” There is no hint of pre-existence here.

    How could Jesus have glory with his Father “before the world was” if he did not literally pre-exist? An illustration is helpful: An architect sees and knows the beautiful details of his proposed construction before the site is prepared, or the foundation-stone laid. But God is the great Architect and in His divine plan, Christ was “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (Rev. 13:8) – the chief cornerstone “foreordained before the foundation of the world”. (1 Peter 1:20). The building will duly be fitly framed together (Eph. 2:21) to constitute its part in the “kingdom prepared . . . from the foundation of the world.” (Matt. 25:34). Christ was “foreordained”, but not formed until born of the virgin Mary in the days of Herod the king. Likewise, the glory he had with his Father was in the divine plan of the great Architect. It was the subject of prophetic testimony “when it {the Spirit of Christ} testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glory that should follow.” (1 Peter 1:11 cf. John 12:41).

    Scripture speaks as if others pre-existed, as well as Christ. Consider the following:
    Of believers, Paul wrote:
    “Whom he did foreknow.” (Rom. 8:29).
    “He had afore prepared {note the past tense} unto glory.” (Rom. 9:23 cf. 2 Tim. 1:9).
    “He hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world.” (Eph. 1:4).
    Of Jeremiah, the LORD said: “Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.” (Jer. 1:5).

    But who would contend for the pre-existence of Jeremiah and other believers because the language employed states that God knew them before they were born? Similarly, the language of John 17:5 must be understood in terms of this background. Unless the principle is recognized that God “calleth those things which be not as though they were” (Rom. 4:17), confusion will result in Biblical interpretation, as it does with the wrested pre-existence interpretation given to this passage in John’s gospel.

    The context is sufficiently clear that Christ is not “Very God”. His power and authority are derived, not innate: “As thou hast given him {Christ} power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him.” (John 17:2).

    • Laymond, I expected better from you. Two chapters of Scripture, and you respond with a cut-and-paste chapter of opinion? From someone who understands Greek even more poorly than *I* do? (and that’s saying something! I’ve never taken a single Greek lesson and I’ve only been a Christian since 1994)

      The meaning of a preposition, Laymond, (in any language) depends upon the form and meaning of the noun it modifies. The form of the noun tells us how the preposition, which can mean one of several things, is intended to be understood. In koine Greek, para starts out meaning simply NEAR. When you put it with a noun in the dative case (such as THEE and YOURSELFin 17:5), the meaning becomes at or in the vicinity of. When you put it with a noun in the genitive case, the way GOD is written in 1:6, the meaning becomes from beside.

      Para only means FROM when it appears in a situation of movement away from its object (genitive case). It can also mean TO or BEYOND, when it appears in a situation of movement towards its object (the accusative case). When it appears in a situation describing a particular moment with no direction at all, it basically retains its original meaning of IN THE VICINITY OF.

      I got all that from Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance in about 5 minutes. Prepositions are some of the most challenging words to translate, because their meaning is so dependent upon their placement in a sentence. You can’t just say, “Oh, the same preposition appears in both places, so it must mean the same thing.” Look at the listing for PARA in Strong’s.

      I know you’d like to think that people just came up with the Trinity idea to soothe our itching ears, but whether you like it or not, there is solid linguistic evidence supporting the better translations. I also know you believe that a great 1500 year Catholic conspiracy has produced all those translations – what I don’t understand is how you escaped such a broad, deep, and powerful conspiracy, while us suckers can’t shake it.

  28. Nick, The meaning of a preposition, was not the main subjest I was pointing to here.
    How could Jesus have glory with his Father “before the world was” if he did not literally pre-exist?
    Given solution:
    An illustration is helpful: An architect sees and knows the beautiful details of his proposed construction before the site is prepared, or the foundation-stone laid.

    But God is the great Architect and in His divine plan, Christ was “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (Rev. 13:8) – the chief cornerstone “foreordained before the foundation of the world”. (1 Peter 1:20). The building will duly be fitly framed together (Eph. 2:21) to constitute its part in the “kingdom prepared . . . from the foundation of the world.” (Matt. 25:34). Christ was “foreordained”, but not formed until born of the virgin Mary in the days of Herod the king. Likewise, the glory he had with his Father was in the divine plan of the great Architect. It was the subject of prophetic testimony “when it {the Spirit of Christ} testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glory that should follow.” (1 Peter 1:11 cf. John 12:41).

    I have a problen in saying Jesus was in God’s plan all along, as this person did. If we settle for this explanation, that means God”s plans for his creation included the failure of his plan. I can’t buy that.
    That would be like the architect, including how to clean up the mess when the building falls.
    No I believe the plan to clean up the mess was made after the human race fell. I have never said Jesus was not sent from heaven, even if Jesus the man from the time of his birth, until his baptism had never been in heaven, the Jesus Christ we all know and love after baptism, certianly did come from God in the heavens. therefore he could return to the Father without rendering that truth unbelieveable, or understandable. I believe both John, and Jesus were holy from conception,and both were part of God’s plan to redeem mankind, But that does not lend me to believe either was part of the “Godhead”

    Nick, I believe where so many get led astray on this subject is when they try to replace the word “world” with the word “earth” they are not interchangable.

    • 1. I don’t know how anyone could have told, from your copy-and-paste of the page from “Wrested Scriptures,” that you were disagreeing with the main thesis of the author. I’m not sure how you expected me to discern that you weren’t posting with approval an argument from another rejector of the Divinity of Jesus.

      2. Who was walking around in the body of Jesus of Nazareth for the three decades before he was baptized?

      3. What part of his plan failed? Where does Scripture tell us that the Creator planned for humankind not to sin? The Bible I read speaks of a God who accepted the risk of giving freewill, for the reward of the opportunity of love. His plan would have failed if He had thought humanity would never sin. In fact, the verses you quote (Matt 25:34; 1 Pet 1:20; Rev 13:8) make it clear that His plan included rescue and never failed.

      Laymond, you are absolutely right about the difference between the two words. “Ge” (earth) usually means LAND, while KOSMON (world) is the word from which we get COSMOS – the universe, the whole of creation.

      The word translated world in John 17:4-5, 1 Pet 1:20, and Rev 13:8 is KOSMON. This is all the more important in the John and Revelation passages, because both of them include both words!

      “I have glorified thee on the earth. I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do. And now O Father glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.” John 17:4-5

      “And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” Rev 13:8

      As you say, brother – “earth” and “world” are NOT interchangeable.

  29. “Who was walking around in the body of Jesus of Nazareth for the three decades before he was baptized?”

    Nick, you claim the “Holy Ghost” is walking around in your body, after baptism, from where is he sent, and who was walking around in your body before baptism?
    If you can believe that, is it to great a jump to believe, Jesus was a just, godly Man, a human being that received his powers from God at baptism ?

    “What part of his plan failed? Where does Scripture tell us that the Creator planned for humankind not to sin?”
    If God planed for man to sin and thus, suffer upon this earth, why would he warn them as to what would happen, I agree he tested his plan, and it failed the test, what about the first attempt at rescue, was that planned to fail also. His original plan had failed so much, he was ready to abandon the whole thing. Or was that just drama to add spice to the story? If the plan of Jesus was always in his bag, why not bring it out first. No I believe his original plan was that man was eternal “in our image” .
    Why would he try the animal sacrifice plan, if he knew it would not work.

    The bible is written as a book of trial and error, and final result. experiment.
    Whether it was or not is not up to me or you to say, it is for us to believe. because that is what we have, and when we start adding to the bible, we say we don’t believe it as written. such is the “trinity doctrine” man made theory, because they couldn’t believe what they were told.

    • Scripture doesn’t teach that Jesus was merely a just, godly man. It says that about Zechariah and Elizabeth, about Joseph, John the Immerser, and Cornelius, but it does not stop there when referring to Jesus. Do you believe one of them was good enough to become the Messiah? Scripture doesn’t call me sinless.

      What about the announcement at the birth of Jesus? Where the shepherds were told, not that “the one who will become the Messiah” has been born… but “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.” IS, Laymond – not “will be.” IS.

      Where you see the failure of a plan, I see the anger and frustration of a parental relationship. Did you fail as a parent because one of your children disobeyed you? Was your plan, as parents, to create kids who never made bad choices? The bad decisions of adult children do not constitute failure on the part of the parent’s plan to raise a family.

      Where you see multiple plans, I see stages in one strategy. Since I see no errors in the work of God, I cannot agree that the bible is written as a book of trial and error.

      Are you done with the earth vs. world comment? I was hoping you would clarify about what you believe leads people astray between those two words.

  30. Nick, do you think “the foundation” of the world in which we live, came from God?

    Eph 1:4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:

    Nick , does this sound like a God who created us to sin?

    Isa 28:16 Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner [stone], a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste.

    Eph 2:20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner [stone];

    1Pe 2:6 Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded.

    Isa 65:17 For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind.

    Isa 66:22 For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before me, saith the LORD, so shall your seed and your name remain.

    2Pe 3:13 Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.
    (could it be this is the foundation that is spoken of in Eph 1:4 as well as in Jhn 17:24 )
    Or do you believe this describes the world in which we live.?

  31. 1. Yes – the One True God created/founded this world.

    2. No – it sounds like a God who created us with the ability to sin and love. With that as His purpose, He would have been foolish and naive not to expect both possibilities.

    3. Could the creation of the renewed heavens and renewed earth be the foundation spoken of in Eph 1:4 and Jn 17:24? No. That interpretation renders the passages in question nonsensical. “Glorify me with the glory I had with you before the future?” “God chose us in him before the future?”

    4. “The foundation of the world” in Eph 1:4 and Jn 17:24 speak of the creation of the kosmon in which we currently live – that will be transformed at Judgment. We will “meet him in the air,” the creation will be transformed a la 2 Peter 3:10-13, then we will enter the New Jerusalem a la Rev 21.

  32. Jhn 4:22 Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews.
    NLT – Jhn 4:22 – You Samaritans know so little about the one you worship, while we Jews know all about him, for salvation comes through the Jews.
    NIV – Jhn 4:22 – You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews.

    Jesus was a Jew, not God dressed as a Jew. The Jews were God’s chosen people, and Jesus was God’s chosen Son/begotton, not created.
    (the question is “choosen” for what.?)

    Deu 7:6 ¶ For thou [art] an holy people unto the LORD thy God: the LORD thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that [are] upon the face of the earth.
    Deu 7:7 The LORD did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye [were] the fewest of all people:
    Deu 7:8 But because the LORD loved you, and because he would keep the oath which he had sworn unto your fathers, ———-.

    Mat 12:18 Behold my servant, whom I have chosen; my beloved, in whom my soul is well pleased: I will put my spirit upon him, and he shall shew judgment to the Gentiles.

    Mat 15:24 But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
    (This story is a little hard for me, since Jesus knew full well he was sent to Judge the Gentiles) Is there a place where it is said Jesus was sent to Judge the Jews.
    Weren’t the Jews saved by promise of God, and the gentiles by the teachings of Jesus. (you might want to look into it)

    • Truly you have a dizzying intellect! I really have no idea what this is supposed to mean or prove. Your assertion that “Jesus is a Jew, not God dressed as a Jew” attacks a straw-man of your creation. I haven’t heard anyone say that God put on a Jewsuit and came to town one day. That sounds more like a Hannibal Lecter story than it does the Gospel, which says, “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.”

      Jew and Gentile both are saved by the same thing – the blood of the Jewish Messiah.

  33. Rom 11:26 And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:
    Rom 11:27 For this [is] my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.
    Rom 11:28 As concerning the gospel, [they are] enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, [they are] beloved for the fathers’ sakes.
    Rom 11:29 For the gifts and calling of God [are] without repentance.

  34. Nick, if the “Holy Ghost” did not complete it’s mission, sometime in the first century,
    Why did Paul leave people sick?

    Phl 2:27 For indeed he was sick nigh unto death: but God had mercy on him; and not on him only, but on me also, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow.
    1Ti 5:23 Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach’s sake and thine often infirmities.
    2Ti 4:20 Erastus abode at Corinth: but Trophimus have I left at Miletum sick.

    Why does James have the sick call the elders and not one with the gift of healing
    Jam 5:14 Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord:

    Just thought I would leave you with some thoughts over the weekend.

  35. Origen and Tertullian and Polycarp and Ignatius and Justin Martyr —
    Adam Gonnerman, Nick Gill, Keith Brenton, and numerous others may stand against me, but the one who matters stands with me, or better said I stand with him.

    Mat 12:30 He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad.

    Jhn 14:28 Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come [again] unto you. If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father: for my Father is greater than I.
    (“father”, here represents “God” . “I” here represents “Jesus”, and it plainly states they are not equals)
    and there are those among us, who say this just is not true, they are equal persons.
    Please explain why Jesus would lie about this, what did he gain?
    What is the problem, do you not believe Jesus, or do you not believe the biblical writer.?

    • Oh Laymond, your persecution complex is showing again. No one stands against you except the evil one. Stop whining.

      None of us believe that either Jesus or the biblical writer lied. You know none of us believes that, and your creation of a false dilemma to try and force us into that position does you no credit.

      Php 2:6-7 explains quite clearly why, at the time Jesus spoke those words in John 14, they were quite accurate.

      …who though he existed in the form of God
      did not regard equality with God
      as something to be grasped,
      but emptied himself
      by taking on the form of a slave,
      by looking like other men,
      and by sharing in human nature.

      Kenosis, Laymond. Self-emptying. The choice to be nothing but a slave. But now…

      As a result God exalted him
      and gave him the name
      that is above every name,
      so that at the name of Jesus
      every knee will bow
      – in heaven and on earth and under the earth –
      and every tongue confess
      that Jesus Christ is Lord
      to the glory of God the Father.

      Existed in the form of God, made himself nothing, was glorified to his preeminent existence.

  36. Kenosis, Laymond. Self-emptying. The choice to be nothing but a slave. But now…

    The miracles attributed to Jesus in the bible
    1 Changing water into wine
    2 Healing of the royal official’s son
    3 Healing of a man possessed by a demon in Capernaum
    4 Healing of Simon Peter’s mother-in-law
    5 Healing the sick during the evening
    6 Catching a large number of fish
    7 Healing a leper
    8 Healing a centurion’s servant
    9 Healing a paralyzed man
    10 Healing a withered hand
    11 Raising a widow’s son
    12 Calming the stormy sea
    13 Healing the Gerasene demon-possessed man
    14 Healing a woman with internal bleeding
    15 Raising Jairus’ daughter
    16 Healing two blind men
    17 Healing a mute man possessed by a demon
    18 Healing a man who was crippled for 38 years
    19 Feeding 5000 men and their families
    20 Walking on water
    21 Healing of many in Gennesaret
    22 Healing a demon-possessed girl
    23 Healing a deaf man with a speech impediment
    24 Feeding the 4000 men and their families
    25 Healing a blind man in Bethsaida
    26 Healing a man born blind
    27 Healing a boy possessed by a demon
    28 Catching a fish with a coin in its mouth
    29 Healing a blind and mute man who was possessed by a demon
    30 Healing a woman with an 18 year infirmity
    31 Healing a man with dropsy
    32 Healing 10 men suffering from leprosy
    33 Bringing Lazarus back to life
    34 Healing Bartimaeus of blindness
    35 The withering fig tree that produced no fruit
    36 Restoring a severed ear
    37 Catching of the 153 fish

    Nick, does this sound like a God who emptied himself of all his Godly attributes, or a Man who recieved all the powers of God?

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