I am a middle-aged man with a wife and some kids I am molding into my distorted image. My professional training is in theology, but I have been an avid student of Christian apologetics for 25 years.

134 Responses to “About”

  1. Tim Says:

    I noticed your thoughts about the possibility or not of an infinite universe (a universe without a beginning), and I think I have a reply. A simple case for why the universe cannot be infinite goes like this:

    If the universe is truly infinite than prior to today there has been an infinite amount of days. But this would mean that to get to today we would have to pass through an infinite number of days. We realize that, if the number of days is truly infinite, then by definition (“infinite” means something without end) we cannot really pass through all these days to get to today. There would be an endless amount of days and so could never all be passed by. You could always add a day prior to today.

    Thus this proves that an infinite universe could not exist, because if it really was infinite we could never reach today.

    What do you think of this idea (I didn’t come up with it, but find it a powerful argument)? I find it pretty solid, and cannot find anything wrong with it. I hope you like it too!

    Keep it cool man,
    Tim

    Like

  2. Tim Says:

    Oh, and sorry I posted this in the wrong spot. You can move it, or even delete it if you want. But I wanted to tell you that argument.

    Keep it cool,
    Tim 🙂

    Like

  3. jasondulle Says:

    Tim,

    Yes, I use that same argument often. In fact, it is presented in a post from a week or two ago. William Lane Craig refers to it as the “impossibility of traversing the infinite” argument.

    Jason

    Like

  4. Barry Says:

    Hi Jason,

    I’m trying to contact William Arnold III

    I’d tried emailing him but it bounced back.

    Like

  5. jasondulle Says:

    Barry,

    He is nearly impossible to get a hold of these days. He may have changed his email, but more likely, it is so full that emails are bouncing back.

    Jason

    Like

  6. Peter Connell Says:

    Jason, On one of your blogs from May of last year you wrote about modesty and mentioned a book by C.J. Mahaney, “Worldliness: Resisting the Seduction of a Fallen World.” You mentioned then that the book was “soon to be released.” I have not been able to find out anything else about that book and would like to get it. Do you have any further information? Any help would be appreciated. An email would be nice.

    Blessings,

    Like

  7. Peter Connell Says:

    Actually just found it. Thanks nonetheless.

    Like

  8. Scott Speight Says:

    Why is there no RSS feed on the blog?? that would be handy

    Like

  9. jasondulle Says:

    Can’t you do it by going to “Blog info” in the upper right corner and selecting “Subscribe to Blog”? Nevertheless, I added an RSS feed button to the site, although you’ll have to tell me if it actually allows you to subscribe to an RSS feed. I’m not good at this stuff.

    Like

  10. Scott Speight Says:

    Erm, yeah – didn’t realise could do it from the URL toolbar. As for the RSS feed button, it works.

    Like

  11. James Says:

    Are you on any social media sites (Facebook, Twitter)? Where are you from? I know your name but can’t connect the dots.

    Like

  12. jasondulle Says:

    James,

    No, I avoid social media sites (and most message boards) like the plague. 🙂

    I am originally from Ohio, but I’ve been in CA for the past 15 years.

    Jason

    Like

  13. Xochi Adame Says:

    Are you a Theosophist? Theosophy may be very different than what you are referencing in you blog title. It’s an occult term for divine wisdom, most commonly known for the int’l society that was created in 1875. I’m just wondering because I handle social media(FB & Twitter) for the Theosohical Society in America and have the term among my google alerts, which for obvious reasons, tags you.

    Like

  14. jasondulle Says:

    Xochi Adame,

    No, I am not a Theosophist. “Theosophical” is a term some non-Theosophist’s use to describe an approach to religion that bridges theology and philosophy (which is why my blog’s tagline is “a collage of theological and philosophical musings”).

    Jason

    Like


  15. How can i get in touch with you? I need to speak with you.

    Like

  16. jasondulle Says:

    Grady, you can email me at jasondulle@yahoo.com and we can go from there.

    Like

  17. JT Says:

    Hello Jason,

    I have enjoyed reading some of your material and appreciate the quality of your thought and your expression of it, as well as the service you undertake to share it on the web. After reading your arguments for the oneness model of the Godhead, I would like to make a brief (relatively) comment in response.

    I think that the key to reaching clarity for the contemporaries of both sides of this argument is a consideration of the concept of “person”. I think that a close examination of the evolution of the concept from a biblical context to the modern western Christianity context will show that it has changed considerably.

    Our idea of a person today portrays a very independent and isolated entity the qualification of which as a person is grounded entirely within its own being. A more ancient Near East idea, on the other hand, portrayed an interdependent and communal entity whose ground of being as a person is found only within the context of a relational community existing around it.

    One person necessitates two, and two persons necessitate three. (Witness the creation progression for the completion of mankind). One person cannot exist in isolation. There simply is no such thing as a person-by-itself. E.G., A human being raised by wolves would not have the faculties necessary to constitute a “person”. While the evidence is abundant for this facet of human nature, I think we can deduce from implication and biblical data that the same is true of Divine nature.

    When one properly understands the concept “person” it becomes apparent that unity and community (of persons) are not in the least antithetical, but are rather synthetical. This explains why God has found it necessary to create a community of persons to bear His image for eternity.

    T

    It is readily apparent that the nature of God’s revelation through history has been progressive with regard to the disclosure of His personal nature and His works. Thus, it is not surprising that the post-incarnational and culminating revelation of the NT would reveal greater depth and clarity regarding the One God’s personal nature. One could imagine that the primitive Sinaitic Jews might have been confused by as much in their historical/spiritual context to the degree that they would have falsely separated the persons. Indeed, they demonstrated such a propensity when they manufactured the false god at the base of Sanai, which Egyptology instructs us may have represented a dual God, the calf and its invisible rider. Thus, the unity of God stressed in the OT was not necessarily meant to be analytical of His nature, but rather it was probably intended to identify and stress His distinction from the variety of false deities that surrounded Israel and the exclusive nature of His relationship to His people. Whereas, once God has Himself revealed the Son through the incarnation and the proceeding scriptural witness, and imparted the Spirit unto the believers, it becomes safe to make the distinction on the part of worshipers, for the accurateness and veracity of the distinction is sure.

    It may seem contradictory to speak of three persons as one entity and to use a singular pronoun. But this manner of speaking is not any more contradictory than God’s speaking of the people Israel (and the Church) and other nations and groups as singular entities. They are, in fact, singular entities. Israel or the church is a plurality of persons but one people, one temple, one image-bearing entity. YHWH is a plurality of persons but one (and the only) Divinity.

    I know my writing is a bit rough and unclear, but supposing you catch my drift, what are your thoughts in response to this line of argument?

    Like

  18. Jay Says:

    Jason,

    I just wanted to comment that your blog here, and at onenesspentecostal.com, are refreshing to my mind and spirit beyond belief! i have been involved in apostolic/pentecostalism for going on four years now. i am still wrestling with issues such as baptism in Jesus’ name being essential to salvation, and some theology issues regarding the Godhead. the civility and intellectual appeals from your blogs make me happy and encourage me. just wanted to let you know bro.

    Jay

    Like

  19. Aaron King Says:

    I love this blog site! Excellent material and a great read. Well composed and thoughtfully presented. Even the reply comments are intelligent and a good read. Well done.

    Like

  20. Hope Says:

    Your “What is your worldview?” image…may I use it? Where did it come from?

    Please let me know.
    Thank you and blessings,
    Hope
    faithinhumanity72@yahoo.com

    Like

  21. Francis Says:

    Hi Bro Jason,

    I’m Francis, a oneness believer from the Philippines. I have a question and hope u can help me clarify on this matter.

    Q: We believe that in Christ, the divine (Father) and human nature are united inextricably and inseparably. Did the Father (divine nature) leave the body of Christ at the point of death on the cross? Is this possible? David Bernard teaches in his oneness of God that the Father left the body of Christ during his death…

    I believe that the Father never left the body at death even until Christ burial. The Father that is united inseparably in the flesh suffered the passion and death. And that it was buried also, and it is that Spirit in the dead flesh that resurrected it….is my belief correct or not?

    Thank you so much…

    Like

  22. Scalia Says:

    JT writes,

    One person necessitates two, and two persons necessitate three.

    And three persons necessitate four, and four persons necessitate seven, and seven persons necessitate seven thousand….

    Why stop at three? The problem here is your use of the word necessitate. There is no logical necessity attached to a person. Perhaps you meant to use the word implies. Adam was a person prior to Eve, so the claim one cannot be a solitary person is demonstrably false, but the fact he was probably created with reproductive capacity implies, but doesn’t necessitate other persons.

    A more ancient Near East idea, on the other hand, portrayed an interdependent and communal entity whose ground of being as a person is found only within the context of a relational community existing around it.

    Thus, the idea of person is tied to a compound unity.

    You later state this more clearly:

    When one properly understands the concept “person” it becomes apparent that unity and community (of persons) are not in the least antithetical, but are rather synthetical. This explains why God has found it necessary to create a community of persons to bear His image for eternity.

    Your definitions here are imprecise, which is a common feature of trinitarian apologetics. You use singular personal pronouns for God like “His” and “Himself.” Thus, God is a He. Yet, within God three persons apparently exist in a relational community. If God, as a whole, is a He, and the three persons are themselves, individually, “He,” then there are four “He’s” in the Godhead (a Quaternity, not a Trinity). If God is not a He, then “God” is an abstract term akin to a corporation, with no personal identity except in the three persons that compose this divine corporation (what you later affirm). In that case, God cannot be a He, but an It, except as a figure of speech.

    Against this you might argue that each person shares in the one “He” of the Godhead. But if the “He – God” is a composite of three, then God becomes a composite or fractional unity (your position). As classical trinitarians have noted for centuries, the compound is posterior to its components (the components being ontologically prior to the whole), which necessitates an explanation of the whole in terms of its composition. This negates the affirmation the composite is divine. For what is composed cannot be uncaused, nor can it be the first principle of being; its parts are the first principles.

    Moreover, if omnipotence is composed, then the omnipotence (along with the other omni-attributes) of each person is contingent upon two other persons (a person is not omnipotent in himself). But three contingent beings cannot compose a non-contingent being. Three fractions cannot create an infinite. If the parts are finite, the whole is finite; if the parts are contingent, the whole is contingent.

    You are thus saddled with affirming each person is, in himself, infinite. If that is the case, you have three Gods, by definition. Additionally, it makes your affirmation unintelligible in another way: It affirms each part (which is alleged to be infinite) is equal to the sum of the whole. This is logically unintelligible because the whole is the sum of its parts.

    On the other hand, if one argues from the perspective of divine simplicity, then there is no intelligible way there can be three personal relations within a being whose existence is identical with His essence — whose essence is identical with His attributes. If God is entirely simple, having no potency in His being (a being of pure act), it is unintelligible to then insist His being is somehow “divided” among three persons. If each person shares divine essence equally (and that includes the mind of God which is identical with His essence), there can be no “sphere” or “region” of divine substance unique to a person. The “distinction” of persons then becomes a division of persons which ipso facto makes God a composite being (the opposite of simplicity). This is a classical attempt to divide God while insisting God cannot be divided (one in substance, three in relation). If, however, the distinction is one of name or mode, not personality, then you have modalism, not trinitarianism.

    It may seem contradictory to speak of three persons as one entity and to use a singular pronoun. But this manner of speaking is not any more contradictory than God’s speaking of the people Israel (and the Church) and other nations and groups as singular entities.

    This demonstrates your rejection of divine simplicity. A composite God cannot be God, by definition.

    Israel or the church is a plurality of persons but one people, one temple, one image-bearing entity.

    One entity, but not one personal being. Corporate status is not personal identity, except in metaphor. God, according to you, is not a personal being; “he” is merely an impersonal club of immaterial beings. Real personal identity is not in God, it is in its constituents. All personal pronouns associated with God are mere personifications. This philosophically self-destructs (per above) because one cannot be commitment to monotheism under a Trinitarian paradigm.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Guillermo Says:

    hello, i was wondering what you use to write your articles in your website, and for this blog. do you use the web base interface, or some software in your computer?
    thanks.
    God Bless 🙂

    Like

  24. jasondulle Says:

    Guillermo

    I use Dreamweaver for my website, and for the blog, I paste my content into the WordPress “new post” box from either a MS Word doc, or from a MS Outlook email (I often write my blog posts in advance and save them in my drafts folder of Outlook).

    Jason

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  25. JT Says:

    Cool! Someone responded to my post! Thanks Scalia!

    I’d like to respond for the purpose of constructive dialogue, but I don’t want to clutter Jason’s blog with my amateur theosophying any more than I already have.

    Perhaps you would allow me to email you a response directly?

    Like

  26. jasondulle Says:

    JT,

    Please email me your email address to jasondulle@yahoo.com and I’ll pass it along to Scalia.

    Like

  27. C Cook Says:

    So when are you going to start your apologetics page? With the resurgence of Calvinism, it seems like there is a growing number of theological works on the Trinity, and a growing number of popular blogs, calling the oneness view heretical. Unfortunately there is not equal number of scholarly blogs on the oneness view.

    Unfortunately many of the student who have came out of CLC and have become scholars have rejected the oneness position. I believe the have because

    a. they first rejected our hard stance on salvation (which I am agreement on),

    b. but also because it easier to be a trinitarian (and accepted) than one of the oneness persuasion.

    Not to say that any came to real belief of the Trinitarian doctrine, (I just don’t see it as the ONLY reason) It is apparent that peer pressure and lack of any strong scholars or strong scholarly pastors in our theological movement is eroding the scholars among us, because there is little room for scholars within the UPC itself. Scholars question everything, while our movement has doctrine of What Type of clothing is actually considered women’s clothing.

    In other words, I am looking forward to your apologetics site up and running, and focusing apologetics as it concerns the nature of God. I am just curios to when we’ll start to see it, and if we’ll be seeing it linking to the other scholars in the movement.

    Our movement needs it. Many of the young pastors who have come out of our movement and even out of CLC have rejected the idea of only oneness people people saved, but still want to see some strong scholarly work on the oneness position of God. It’s not easy being rejected by your trinitarian or oneness brothers, especially when you hold a high standard of truth and the word of God.

    Liked by 1 person

  28. jasondulle Says:

    C Cook,

    I have already bought the domain for thinkingtobelieve.com, but I have not put any content up there yet. In the meantime, this blog and onenesspentecostal.com are housing my apologetics material. But when I do get the site up and running, it won’t be about doctrinal apologetics. It will be about Christian apologetics: atheism, the problem of evil, moral relativism, religious pluralism, etc. The kind of content you seem to be looking for is already up at onenesspentecostal.com.

    Jason

    Like

  29. Scalia Says:

    For the record, Jason emailed me JT’s email address on August 25th. On the same day, I emailed JT and invited continued dialog. I have yet to hear from him. Of course JT may have valid reasons for not replying, but s/he has not given me any explanation for h/er nonresponse.

    Like

  30. Aaron Says:

    Hi, Jason.

    Wasn’t sure how else to contact you. Hopefully you see this soon.

    I have a question. I came across a term on this blog that a commentator used to describe a doctrine or idea regarding the level to which Christ was in the Father and the Father was in Christ, especially in a mutual sense. I’d never heard of the term before, so I looked it up. But now, I cannot remember it, nor find it on your blog. I only remember thinking it starts with a “p” and is either an -ism or -logy of some sort from perhaps the 2nd or 3rd century.

    Can you help?

    Thanks,

    Aaron

    Like

  31. Jason Dulle Says:

    Aaron,

    I think you are referring to “perichoresis.”

    Jason

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  32. Aaron Says:

    That’s it. Thank you!

    Like

  33. Pachomius Says:

    May I just suggest that you call your blog instead of Theosophical Ruminations,Theo-philosophical Ruminations.

    In that way people will not right away turn away from your blog when it comes up with Google search,* people for example like myself who am not into the writings of theosophists.

    Pachomius

    *Search Results Science Cannot Identify Uncaused Entities « Theosophical Ruminations 10 Mar 2011 … For example, when scientists detect a new particle such as the neutrino, … If uncaused things can only be identified philosophically, …
    theosophical.wordpress.com/…/science-cannot-identify-uncaused-entities/ – Cached

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  34. jasondulle Says:

    Pachomius,

    Others have mentioned this to me in the past, but I like the word and refuse to let a cult own it. The first time I came across it was while in seminary to describe the confluence of theology and philosophy, and I think it is an apt description. So despite its potential drawbacks, I decided to keep it the way it is.

    Jason

    Like

  35. Danzil Monk Says:

    Greetings brother Jason, long time I know, but as you I stay quite busy.
    Just want to give you a shout out and encourage you in what you do so well.
    stay encouraged and focused. I have not forgot our last contact discussion.
    I am interested in your take on the topic. I did respond to your email but I don’t know if you received it. I will resend as your input is welcome always.
    blessings.
    Brother Monk

    Like

  36. jasondulle Says:

    Yes, I did receive it (assuming you are referring to the issue of the age of the universe). I don’t have anything written on the topic to send you.

    Jason

    Like

  37. Aaron Deskin Says:

    It seems that you are more of a philosopher than a Christian.

    Are you still challenging Oneness on Theological, Salvational, Christological teachings?

    Are you holding the Son is God and eternal?

    Are you holding the two persons of Jesus doctrine?

    Have you been blacklisted yet from UPCI for false teaching yet?\

    Aaron
    aka Scmit on CARM

    Oneness Apostolic Pentecostal Christian

    Like

  38. jasondulle Says:

    Aaron,

    I didn’t realize that being a philosopher and being a Christian were antithetical categories. But no, I’m not more of a philosopher than a Christian. My formal training is in theology, not philosophy.

    I am doing my best to understand God. If that results in challenging specific formulations of God I think are in error, then so be it. Is there any theologian alive who does not challenge other theologies, including some theologies within the group he associates with? No. If rigorous study leads you to believe everything that someone else believes, one of you isn’t thinking. That’s just the nature of scholarship.

    Of course the Son is God and is eternal, if by “Son” you are referring to the divine person who is incarnate.

    No, I have never held to a two-persons view of Jesus. I oppose such a view adamantly.

    No, not yet. And I don’t expect to be anytime soon. Have you been blacklisted for being so disrespectful yet?

    Jason

    Like

  39. Susan Says:

    You look handsome for an apologist !

    Like

  40. Aaron Deskin aka Scmit Says:

    Jason you are a philosopher and not much of a Christian if you hold to the trinity doctrine of the Son is God, for to tbe so he must be eternal and that is not what Oneness teach (maybe you pander to them, we don’t).
    Oh and is threates of banning and the only way you can win a argument?
    Sounds just like a Inquistional Trinitarian as well.
    I see your false teachings as teaching two gods!, two persons of Jesus and you slip and slide about the Son, now we have the divine person what inside the human person and you got two persons now?
    Maybe you should understand, Jesus is the person ALONE!, the sole person of which is FATHER, SON AND HOLY GHOST!

    You think following the common salvation, the one God truth, Spirit baptism, Jeuss name baptism is then following and not thinking as we get it from the Bible and for ourselves and not your mind, then you are not sound at all and teaching your own heresy.

    You don’t know what rigorous study is, what you got a few hours as college and that makes you someone, something?
    I hope not to see your writings again in print in Oneness magazine, you are a false teacher and a fraud.

    on carm SCMIT

    Like

  41. JC Lamont Says:

    Just wanted to say hi and more power to you. I never get used to the Christians pick fights with Christians concept. I’d really like to understand how all Jesus admonitions to love one another get so lost. It’s very sad. Anyway, keep up the good work.

    Like

  42. Gordon Says:

    Would you please enter into a web blog subject dealing with the word “nature”? I have seen this word (I beleive) used in ways in which the writer seems to want to project deity by capping the “N” regardless of where it is in the sentence. Further I have read various sentences where the word is used as if to replace the word God (and of course its meaning) and even read the sentences putting “God” in replacing the word ‘Nature’ and it reads just fine. I know there are dictionary definitions (and I could look them up–and have) but I feel this is not what the various authors are portraying. What are your comments on this?

    Like

  43. jasondulle Says:

    Gordon,

    I agree with you that those who do this tend to see “nature” as the God substitute. I find this telling. While they reject God, they need to find a substitute for Him because His role is necessary in explaining reality. There must be some ultimate being, and they know it. They just don’t want it to be a personal God who makes demands on their life.

    Jason

    Like

  44. Greg Says:

    Hey Jason. I am doing some research in the scriptures on who baptized the apostles during Jesus ministry. I am looking at John 3:22 & 4:2. It shows that Jesus didn’t baptized the apostles and John 4:2 is a continuation of John 3:22. Only Paul is mentioned being baptized and we know who did the baptism. What are your thoughts according to the scriptures?

    Like

  45. jasondulle Says:

    Hi Greg,

    John 3:22 and 4:2 doesn’t rule out the possibility that Jesus baptized the apostles. It only shows that the apostles, rather than Jesus, were baptizing the masses. But it would be odd for the apostles to be baptizing if they themselves had not been baptized. And since disciples of a rabbi were often baptized by the rabbi as a mark of their discipleship, it makes the most sense to think that Jesus had previously baptized the apostles before the events of John 3:22.

    Jason

    Like

  46. jasondulle Says:

    Scmit,

    You write, “Jason you are a philosopher and not much of a Christian if you hold to the trinity doctrine of the Son is God, for to tbe so he must be eternal and that is not what Oneness teach.” You did not read what I wrote carefully enough. I said, “Of course the Son is God and is eternal, if by ‘Son’ you are referring to the divine person who is incarnate.” My statement was qualified. I didn’t know if you were using “Son” as a synonym for “Jesus” or not. Given your usage of the term, no, the Son is not eternal because “Son” refers to God’s human mode of existence which began just 2000 years ago.

    Then you say, “Oh and is threates of banning and the only way you can win a argument?” Again, you need to read more carefully. In response to your previous question, “Have you been blacklisted yet from UPCI for false teaching yet?”, I responded, “No, not yet. And I don’t expect to be anytime soon. Have you been blacklisted for being so disrespectful yet?” So the context was about being banned by someone else, namely the UPC. I was not talking about banning you from my blog, but asking whether you had been banned from the UPC for your disrespectful demeanor.

    As for the two persons view you ascribe to me, as I noted in another comment thread (just a few minutes ago):

    “I do not hold that the Father and Son are two divine persons, nor that the Father is a divine person while the Son is a human person. When it comes to the Father and Son there is only one person in view. Jesus and the Father are the self-same divine person. So what is there two of? Natures. There is a divine nature and a human nature. Via the human nature He assumed in the incarnation, God is able to personally exist and function as a genuine human being (Jesus) while continuing to exist and function as God (Father) via his divine nature, simultaneously. So there are two natures, which allow for the one divine person to exist in two distinct ways simultaneously. I repeat, “There are not two persons!” Any construal of my theology as teaching two persons – whether two divine persons or one divine person and one human person – are radically off-base.”

    Jason

    Like

  47. Scmit aka Aaron Says:

    You have made comments to the effect that Oneness follow two persons, do you state that is not what you stated?
    I say you did.

    Like

  48. Joey Says:

    Hi Jason

    I was reading up on the topic raised last year.

    ‘Stephen Hawking: God Could not Create the Universe Because There Was No Time for Him to Do So’

    I am in some what agreement (and puzzlement) with what Arthur says (no.23)

    “the ball did not create the indent. Furthermore, no such cushion and ball exists. It’s no more helpful than asking if a toy were made by Santa’s elves, what would it prove about the existence of elves.”

    I am slightly agreeing with Arthur because, the point he was raising was that if the ball and cusion scenario was the case then 2 possibilities would occur.

    1. The universe would have created the dent in the cushion since it is there and there was no cause.

    2. There would be no dent, if these properties were created at the same time in an instant, there may not even be a dent, The ball would have penetrated the cushion.

    I understand that this ball and cushion scenario was the scenario sent up by Kant as a route to understanding cause and effect on a logical plane, But as Arthur may have implied, who says that there would have been a dent in the cushion, if you can make up scenarios like that then you can also make up scenarios like what was mentioned (“It’s no more helpful than asking if a toy were made by Santa’s elves, what would it prove about the existence of elves”)

    If you want to understand the universe or its origins, then the scenario must be in compliance of the universe or it would not make sense.

    Just to clarify, I am a christian and in agreement to what you posted in relation to the creation of the universe, but the point that was raised by Arthur shows that it could be a possibility that cause and effect may not exist on a logical plane

    What are your thoughts?

    Like

  49. Daniel Williams Says:

    God is eternal; he was not created. The heavens and the earth (creation) are not. They were created. I wonder what God was up to prior to creation. Jason, can you write a post on this topic. We obviously don’t know what God was doing specifically… But if you could come up with some Theosophical Runinations on this topic I would love to read them. Thanks,

    Like

  50. jasondulle Says:

    Daniel,

    I can answer that here. While I know what you mean by “prior to creation,” technically speaking that is a category error. “Before” is a temporal concept.” Time began with creation, so there is no “before creation.” A better way of describing it is “God without creation.”

    So what was God doing? Technically speaking, nothing. If God was doing something, then there would be time because acts require temporal duration. But in eternity, there was no temporal duration, and thus God performed no acts. He was changeless.

    Jason

    Like

  51. Daniel Williams Says:

    So that’s why God is still “changeless”, because he is simultaneously present in a changeless eternity and in his creation if time?

    I was pondering over your reply for several minutes. I understood it completely. But something still had me puzzled on the topic. I think it’s my concept of God doing nothing during his existence of “without his creation”. So I was going to ask, if his thoughts and reasoning process would be considered “acts” that require time. But then I would assume that since God is supreme, and all knowing; that he would not have to reason or think since he already knows; So he therefor, could exist eternally without ever doing anything at all. Is that right?

    Like

  52. jasondulle Says:

    Daniel,

    Actually, I don’t think God is still changeless. I think the act of creation, being a temporal act, “drew” God into time. God is now omnitemporal, enduring through time alongside His creation. Read http://www.onenesspentecostal.com/divineeternity.htm for the details.

    When we think of God doing nothing, we tend to imagine a long period of time passing in which God is static. But there is no passage of time without creation. Without creation, God was just existing timelessly. He didn’t even have mental events. Unlike us, God does not reason discursively. In virtue of His omniscience, He simply knows all truths at once.

    Jason

    Liked by 1 person

  53. Daniel Williams Says:

    I’ll check out that article.

    I believe “He didn’t even have mental events. Unlike us, God does not reason discursively. In virtue of His omniscience, He simply knows all truths at once” is exactly where my thoughts led me at the end of my last reply.

    Jason, thanks so much for your insight on this. I appreciate you.

    Like


  54. […] This post was originally found and borrowed from Theo-shophical Ruminations written by Jason Dulle […]

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  55. gordon Says:

    Atheism is getting very ‘angry’ and critical of those who believe (let’s pick on Christians—seeing as we both are).

    The (now) “new” atheism is on an attack mode and is out to make those who believe seem silly, by ridiculing and even mentioning (I think as does Dawkins – or one of the four horsemen of atheism); ‘let the parents raise their children and we will indoctrinate them into atheism in the public schools and universities and work place’.

    So let’s give them what they want (I thought); what do we do away with if all religions (but specifically the three monotheistic religions) are eliminated:

    No Christmas (no more gift giving and the purchasing of gifts—which would hurt our economy and emotionally impact society in general); no more cemeteries (saving space for more buildings, we’d just cremate everyone and use it as fertilizer—or whatever); of course, we must change the “in God we trust” from our money (no one will cry about that); remove any oath that can be based on any authority other than the fallible human from the courtroom; use churches for storage facilities or condos or whatever (but no more church services will be tolerated as all ‘such’ meeting places are there to practice worship to a God that no one wants and that society says must go); philanthropic giving needs to be re-evaluated as Darwinian principles hardly support any such foolishness (it is rooted in religious ethics); Sunday is gone as being Sunday for religious reasons and so therefore the workweek will be re-established to 6 days of work and one day off; many universities have/had Christian foundation and such history needs to be expunged this goes for the hospitals too; We need to burn all Bibles and Korans and Dead Sea scrolls and all other religiously orientated publications…such as (certain) art and poetry and music. And how are we to run society: to care for people, have compassion, run a proper legal system, to have a functioning political base…without some moral standard to ‘point’ towards?

    I bet I could go on naming others (things) but perhaps this is a good subject to write an article on or ask your readers about? I know that D’Souza wrote “What’s so great about Christianity” and so many of the above points may be there BUT he wrote with the idea to educate the readers about the good that Christianity has done (and still does do)…perhaps it is better to smack the atheists in the right cheek to get them to realize once we start down the back side of the curve, the slope gets slippery, fast; all the way to the book-burnings of the Nazi regime. As soon as the atheists is told no more cemeteries, Christmas trees, and weekends are now just Saturday…perhaps they will realize that one should be carefully about what they wish for…for they just might get it and not have any way to go back!

    Ya know…we humans are a MESS!

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  56. Daniel Williams Says:

    Bro Jason, I guess there’s a first for everything. I just received what looks to me a comment email notification that looks like spam.

    God bless, -Dan

    On Feb 10, 2014, at 9:18 PM, Theo-sophical Ruminations wrote:

    WordPress.com Sab Taylor commented: “Dear business owner of Theosophical.wordpress.com I would like to take a few minutes from your schedule and ask for your attention towards Internet marketing for Theosophical.wordpress.com. As a business Owner you might be interested to gain profit “

    Like

  57. jasondulle Says:

    Hi Dan. Yes, span gets through every once in a while. Just deleted it.

    Jason

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  58. […] This post was originally found and borrowed with full permissions from Theo-shophical Ruminations written by Jason Dulle […]

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  59. I haven’t gone through any formal training in philosophy ,so I get easily lost with some of the arguments canvassed in support of the existence of God.I have read through Augustine’s City of God and Aquinas’ Summa and several other write-ups, but I must say that the articles in your blog are really insightful. I think your explanations on the problem of evil and existence of God are more compelling and easy to understand than most of the arguments I have seen elsewhere.
    Please do you have any post on the biblical account of creation?and how it could be reconciled with scientific data on the origin of the universe.What is your take on this? Based on creationist estimation, the universe isn’t up to 3 billion years old as posited by science and supported by fossil records. I find it hard to defend the seven days account in the bible when asked for explanation by skeptic friends. Thank you

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  60. I haven’t gone through any formal training in philosophy ,so I get easily lost with some of the arguments canvassed in support of the existence of God.I have read through Augustine’s City of God and Aquinas’ Summa and several other write-ups, but I must say that the articles in your blog are really insightful. I think your explanations on the problem of evil and existence of God are more compelling and easy to understand than most of the arguments I have seen elsewhere.
    Please do you have any post on the biblical account of creation?and how it could be reconciled with scientific data on the origin of the universe.What is your take on this? Based on creationist estimation, the universe isn’t up to 3 billion years old as posited by science and supported by fossil records. I find it hard to defend the seven days account in the bible when asked for explanation by skeptic friends. Thank you

    Like

  61. gordon Says:

    “…in support of the existence of God.”

    Do a Google search–you’ll get pro and con. I always find it strange that when science or just folks want to consider the existence of God that they ‘put’ God in our frame of reference (length, width, depth, time, space, hunger, touch, weight, etc etc). No one (especially a Christian) should go about putting God in their worldly ‘box’ so that they can then…”prove the existence of God” to others. Everyone on their own decides as a change of mind, heart and spirit whether belief (faith) is truth. No one changes another’s mind…we each change our own mind (Rom 12:2). Let’s make an analogy. If you go to a museum (the Louver) and see the Mona Lisa; do you also know what the artist looks like? The artist is a given because of the irreducible complexity of the arrangement of the paint on the canvas–you KNOW that the information in the arrangement of the paint MUST point back to an artist! The artist uses the paint to weave his intelligence into it and onto the canvas via a brush and all that implies (without doubt) intelligence. If science (or any reasonable endeavor) finds information then that information always points back to intelligence. And if it is not information then science would not give it any credence…chaos does not get labeled as information. So as the artists uses canvas, brush, and paint to express his intelligence via information, God uses time, space, energy (matter) to create (and too life) this world and in so doing expresses His Intelligence via information. Further, forensics is the science of investigation of change (my idea)…that is if change is made by upsetting the natural entropy of time impressed onto ‘creation’…that is; things naturally wear out and decay…then if some(one) comes along and upsets that natural process then forensics ‘basically states that they can scientifically determine intent and sometimes motive. just as a criminal can be found out…(even though he tries to alibi the crime) a designer is not trying to hide but still upsets the natural decay of the entropic process. God is not hiding it is just that we do NOT see correctly.

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  62. SonofMan Says:

    Tim:

    Here is the critical flaw in your argument; it lies in this sentence:

    “But this would mean that to get to today we would have to pass through an infinite number of days.”

    This is untrue because?

    Imagine that “we” are a flower: the flower argument might say that there are 730 days in the Finite universe, “But this would mean that to get to today the flower would have to pass through the finite number of 730 days to arrive at the day of its blooming but this could not be true since the flower blooms and wilts in one season while many seasons (and days) passed before it.

    Man is a flower in the Garden and the Garden IS the infinite universe, not the flowers; stars are like flowers in the Garden and many days pass before the star is born and while they are within their bloom; a fruit fly is a flower in the universe and so are the pathogens whose life cycle may be merely minutes.

    “……..we would have to pass through an infinite number of days.” assumes that “we” humans are the universe and not the flowers therein, n’est ce pas?

    Like

  63. sonny b. binayao Says:

    Jason,

    Just to ask you other topics. Is it Biblical to conduct an oath of office for our new officers in the youth assembly?

    Like

  64. jasondulle Says:

    Sonny,

    The Bible doesn’t speak to such matters, and does not mention such positions (there were no youth ministers). But that’s not to say because it’s not in the Bible it is wrong. For it to be wrong would require that it violate something in Scripture. Based on the limited information you gave me, I have no reason to think something is wrong with it.

    Jason

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  65. Colleen Letwinch Says:

    Jason,
    I just found this page! I am asking if you could set me up with the smaller banner on your Institute of biblical studies site? I had it on my old phone, but I just got a new phone and there is nothing there I can use, and I refer often to that site, thanks to you!!

    Colleen Letwinch

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  66. Hi Colleen! I’m not sure what banner you are referring to. The site is onenesspentecostal.com .

    Like


  67. Hello. Do you have an email? I would like to ask you something about the hypostatic union.

    Like


  68. Hi Eduardo. I just accepted your FB friend request. Please send me an IM.

    Like

  69. mizpeh1 Says:

    Scalia, do you have a blog?

    Like

  70. Scalia Says:

    @mizpeh1

    Hello! I help to moderate a political blog, and there’s very little theology there. If you would like to discuss theology, I’m certain that there’s a category in Jason’s blog that’ll fit. Just let me know, and we can pick up a conversation there. Jason won’t mind so long as the discussion is on topic.

    Liked by 1 person

  71. mizpeh1 Says:

    Hello @scalia,

    Thank you for responding. I’m not interested in politics. I am a Oneness believer.

    I would like to discuss your post (#63) in the Credo section. Specifically, the different ways in which Christ may have functioned as God incarnate that allowed Jesus to be like us in every way. Heb 2:17 NIV… (erased memory, doesn’t access his memory data bank, a relationship with himself)

    I was also wondering if your term ‘functional subordination’ could also be thought of as ‘functional kenoticism’.

    I will have to listen to the debate between Tuggy and Brown first. I’ll post something in response to your post #63 in a week or so.

    Thank you for the offer to discuss theology with me.

    God bless you.

    Like

  72. mizpeh1 Says:

    @scalia, your thoughts on infallibility and inspiration would be helpful as well. I’m currently reading Greg Boyd’s book, Inspired Imperfection and discussing a couple of contradictions in the OT on a discussion forum with a biblical critical scholar. Thanks again, Carol.

    Like

  73. Scalia Says:

    @mizpeh1

    Hello again! You write:

    Specifically, the different ways in which Christ may have functioned as God incarnate that allowed Jesus to be like us in every way. Heb 2:17 NIV… (erased memory, doesn’t access his memory data bank, a relationship with himself)

    I do not at all believe that Jesus erased His memory or that He declined to access his memory bank. If Jesus is truly God, then it would be impossible for Him to forget or restrict His omniscience. To affirm that would undermine His aseity (as I stated in Post 63 of the Creedo thread) which of course means that He wasn’t truly God.

    I was also wondering if your term ‘functional subordination’ could also be thought of as ‘functional kenoticism’.

    I would reject this for the same reason. God could not do such a thing and be God. People who assert that have a woefully undeveloped understanding of ontology and why God, as the ground of contingent being, could not for a moment, even in principle, cease to function as God in any respect.

    I subscribe to classical theism which asserts that all contingent beings are material or metaphysical composites with the underlying principles of being being called act and potency. Act is what is (or exists) and potency is what can be. Since a potency cannot raise itself to act (since it does not exist), it must be raised to act by something already in act. But if what actualizes a potency is also actualized (its being a composite of act and potency), then it cannot ultimately account for the effect of existence. Since all composites must be composed, the only ground for contingent being is Pure Act which is Being who has all perfections eminently with no potency to actualize (else it too would be a composite). Thus, if Pure Act is all-knowing, then He is always all-knowing and can never be otherwise.

    Many theologians will readily affirm divine aseity, but their undeveloped metaphysics often cause them to make assertions without a proper ontological ground.

    Like

  74. Scalia Says:

    @mizpeh1

    Hello again! You write:

    your thoughts on infallibility and inspiration would be helpful as well. I’m currently reading Greg Boyd’s book, Inspired Imperfection and discussing a couple of contradictions in the OT on a discussion forum with a biblical critical scholar.

    I do not at all agree with his views on biblical inspiration. You would perhaps be interested in Greg Bahnsen’s The Inerrancy of the Autographa for a much better account of inspiration (for anybody who affirms both the inerrancy of Scripture and the existence of corrupted copies). However, if the Bible teaches logical contradictions, then on what basis can any of it be trusted? People tend to use the word contradiction rather loosely. Anything inconsistent is automatically labeled a contradiction in many people’s minds. But recall that a logical contradiction is the conjunction of a statement and its denial. A true contradiction is something that absolutely cannot be a feature of Scripture if it is truly God’s word. Moreover, contradictory concepts like the doctrine of the Trinity (DT) also cannot be taught by the Bible if it is inspired of God. Thus, any view that affirms contradictions in the Bible while holding it up as evidence of its divine inspiration is confused at best.

    Like

  75. mizpeh1 Says:

    Hello Scalia,

    “You would perhaps be interested in Greg Bahnsen’s The Inerrancy of the Autographa for a much better account of inspiration (for anybody who affirms both the inerrancy of Scripture and the existence of corrupted copies). ”

    Thank you for the link. I added it to my favorite’s list.

    “However, if the Bible teaches logical contradictions, then on what basis can any of it be trusted?”

    The enemy must have had men throw things in there to cause confusion. If there is a contradiction, then we pray and ask God for wisdom and discernment. We throw out the whole thing because it has contradictions. Look what men do to the NT. Some variants are removed. I don’t know why the Hebrew/Israelites/Jews allowed them to remain in the OT

    “People tend to use the word contradiction rather loosely. Anything inconsistent is automatically labeled a contradiction in many people’s minds. But recall that a logical contradiction is the conjunction of a statement and its denial. A true contradiction is something that absolutely cannot be a feature of Scripture if it is truly God’s word.”

    Let me give you an example and perhaps you can explain to me if it is a contradiction or an inconsistency.

    In Deuteronomy 10:6-9 Arron’s death and burial happen before the Levitical priesthood is established and after the Israelites left the Sinai. The person I am discussing this with states that “Levitical priests” found in Deuteronomy refers to all of the Levites and therefore all of the Levites can function as priests and not just those Levites who are of the sons of Aaron. (Numbers 3:1-38) The Numbers passage puts the establishment of the priesthood before the death of Aaron (not after) and before the Israelites left the Sinai. It strictly permits only the sons of Aaron the responsibility for performing the duties of the priest. In this “tradition” the Levites (sons of Kohath, Merari, and Gershon0 are not priests but have more of a helping role in the care of the tabernacle.

    “Thus, any view that affirms contradictions in the Bible while holding it up as evidence of its divine inspiration is confused at best.”

    To sum it up, in Numbers, the role of the priests was established before Aaron died, before the Israelites left the Sinai, and are composed only of Aaron and his sons. The rest of the Levites had helping roles in care of the tent of meeting and its surrounding structures.

    In Deuteronomy, the priests and their roles were established after Aaron died, after the Israelites had left the Sinai, and are composed of ALL of the Levites.

    It sounds contradictory to me. What do you think?

    Like

  76. mizpeh1 Says:

    It should say “we DON’T throw out..”

    Like

  77. mizpeh1 Says:

    Hello again @Scalia,

    “I do not at all believe that Jesus erased His memory or that He declined to access his memory bank. If Jesus is truly God, then it would be impossible for Him to forget or restrict His omniscience. To affirm that would undermine His aseity (as I stated in Post 63 of the Creedo thread) which of course means that He wasn’t truly God.”

    I don’t understand how any of these things would undermine God’s aseity.
    How do you understand the incarnation? Or how do you explain Jesus’ lack of knowledge? Or the genuineness of his prayers? Or all of his reliance on his Father for his mighty works and his doctrine? etc…

    “I would reject this for the same reason. God could not do such a thing and be God. People who assert that have a woefully undeveloped understanding of ontology and why God, as the ground of contingent being, could not for a moment, even in principle, cease to function as God in any respect.”

    I’ve heard this argument before from a Trinitarian who relies on the simplicity of God. How can Jesus grow in wisdom if this is true? How could he become a man? God became a contingent being when he entered the world as a baby.

    Speaking in such a way of God as pure act and not contingent, puts him in a box and limits him. It takes away from his finer, personal aspects, imo.

    Like

  78. Scalia Says:

    @Mizpah 1, Hello! You write:

    If there is a contradiction, then we pray and ask God for wisdom and discernment. We throw out the whole thing because it has contradictions. Look what men do to the NT. Some variants are removed. I don’t know why the Hebrew/Israelites/Jews allowed them to remain in the OT

    I think you meant to type, “We don’t throw out the whole thing because it has contradictions.” But my question has not been answered: On what basis can any of it be trusted? A statement does not have to entail a contradiction in order for it to be false. Contradictions are obvious indicators that something is seriously askew, but if a work that purports to be the infallible word of God is inherently contradictory in its doctrinal teaching, then it cannot be automatically accepted as true. As I stated, a text doesn’t have to be contradictory to be false, so we’re now forced to independently verify, if possible, every other claim from the alleged infallible book. The “all Scripture is given by inspiration of God” becomes “all independently verified Scriptures can be deemed as reliable as its verification process.” I don’t see a way around that dilemma.

    In Deuteronomy 10:6-9 Arron’s death and burial happen before the Levitical priesthood is established and after the Israelites left the Sinai. The person I am discussing this with states that “Levitical priests” found in Deuteronomy refers to all of the Levites and therefore all of the Levites can function as priests and not just those Levites who are of the sons of Aaron.

    I must respectfully disagree with this assertion. First, the statement in De. 10:6 appears parenthetical to me. Moses narrates Israel’s history in the Exodus and tells us where Aaron died. In other words, we have a narrative of Israel’s journey, the text stops to tell us that this is the spot where Aaron died (or will die), and then proceeds with the narrative. I see no inconsistency whatsoever, let alone a contradiction. For example, if I gave you a narrative of our family’s trip through Texas in 1960, and I recounted how we visited El Paso, traveled eastward to Abilene, then visited Dallas—it was there that President Kennedy was shot, and proceeded to Waco…I am not saying that President Kennedy was shot in 1960. I am simply referring to the place where he died. My narrative should not be taken to imply that this “version” of the president’s death “contradicts” my other account of his death occurring in 1963. Thus, there is nothing inconsistent in the accounts that would lead us to conclude a different timeframe for the priesthood’s establishment.

    Second, a reading said chapter the general context makes it obvious that the establishment of the priesthood occurred while Aaron was still alive (vss. 10-11—harmonizing it with the account in Numbers). There is also nothing in Deuteronomy which states that those who were not the sons of Aaron also served directly as priests. Verses 10-11 are a general reference to Levi being designated to minister before the Lord. My Jewish friends have never taken that to mean that any male Levite was qualified to serve as a priest. I’m actually quite surprised that this allegation is made. I’ve read the Bible many times and never concluded that anybody other than the sons of Aaron served as priests. If the Bible is given to us by God and we’re given a general reference in one book and a specific reference in another book, then it stands to reason that the general reference cannot override the specific one. Any apparent tension is easily harmonized against the charge of contradiction and thus preserves the claim that the text is inspired of God.

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  79. Scalia Says:

    @Mizpah1, I intend to soon post a reply to you Post 79, but I am extremely busy right now. Indeed, I had to squeeze in the time to reply to Post 77. So, it may take up to a week (hopefully less) before I can reply.

    Like

  80. mizpeh1 Says:

    @Scalia,

    No rush. Take your time. When every you are able to reply is fine by me. Thank you.

    Like

  81. Scalia Says:

    @mizpeh1. Thank you. Did you see Post 80?

    Like

  82. Scalia Says:

    Hello again, mizpeh1! You write:

    I don’t understand how any of these things would undermine God’s aseity.

    To understand why God cannot forget anything or restrict His own knowledge, one would have to understand the underlying metaphysics that ground my claim. Something forgotten is due to an inability to mentally retain what you have experienced. Since God’s essence is perfect, there is nothing in Him that has the capacity to malfunction or fail.

    Neither space nor time permit me at present to give a full account of classical theism. I can only say at this juncture that all contingent being is grounded in non-contingent being. And what makes every being contingent is its compositeness. Ancient philosophers struggled to account for the change we observe around us. Some philosophers believed that change was an illusion and other philosophers believed that there was nothing permanent—all was in flux. Aristotle rightly reasoned that our observations were accurate and that there was both permanent and flux in reality. What accounts for change is a principle of being called potency and what accounts for permanence is a principle of being called act. All beings that change have the capacity or potential to change, and anything that changes is actual or real. Consequently, every contingent being is a composite of act (actuality) and potency (potentiality). There are also other types of composition that serve as corresponding principles to act and potency such as form and matter, substance and accident, supposit and nature, genus and species, and essence and existence. Since nothing can compose itself (on pain of contradiction), every composite is assembled by another. It thus follows that no composite can account for its own existence. It is by definition grounded in something other than what it is. And since the assemblage of contingent/composite beings remains contingent, it must be grounded in being that is not composite. And this we know to be God.

    As non-contingent being, God is not composite; He is simple without any physical or metaphysical parts. The “skinny” of that means that there can be no change in God for He would have to have the capacity to change which of course would make Him a composite of act and potency. His aseity and immutability are fundamental planks of theism.

    Since all creaturely perfections are given by the Creator, it follows that all the perfections in creation are contained eminently (infinitely and transcendentally) in God (for one cannot give what one does not have). Thus, God’s essence, which is His perfection, is fully actual with no potency to acquire a new state of existence or to actualize latent perfection. So, given this immutability, it is thus impossible for God to die, to sin, to fail, to learn, or to forget—even in principle.

    The above is a woefully truncated, incomplete account of classical theism. If you haven’t been trained therein, it will take a while to fully grasp its implications. Indeed, many people who criticize it do not even understand what it is (as evidenced by their pedestrian appraisals). The bottom line is that if this account is defensible, it is easy to see why the assertion that God could experience a self-imposed state of amnesia, or any kind of amnesia is absurd.

    How do you understand the incarnation? Or how do you explain Jesus’ lack of knowledge? Or the genuineness of his prayers? Or all of his reliance on his Father for his mighty works and his doctrine?

    These are all good questions, but it must be recalled that they are asked with the object of obtaining a doctrinally consistent and accurate explanation of biblical data. It must also be recalled that some things are hidden from the wise, some things require revelation, including the knowledge of who Jesus really is, and some things are anthropomorphic or accommodating our finite perspectives.

    God is eternal which means that there is no past, present or future in Him. He is not indexed sequentially; everything is simply “now” to Him. Thus, the incarnation is His eternal decree and eternal act now, not sequentially. We experience time, and the progression from past, to present, to future, and our thoughts and experiences are linear, but that’s not at all God’s “dimension.” Hence, we see nothing in the incarnation or life of Christ which is discordant with God’s immutability. On the other hand, if you affirm change in God, then you cannot avoid affirming contingency in God, and that of course means that He isn’t God at all.

    Jesus’ “lack” of knowledge relates to the locus of knowledge in His person. His knowledge is in His divinity, not His humanity. So, when the Bible tells us that the Son doesn’t know the hour of His own coming, then either Jesus isn’t God, God has amnesia, or the Son qua Son (man) has no knowledge of the Second Advent—that knowledge rests in the divine Spirit. There are things that I know as a minister that I do not know as a husband and vice versa. Indeed, I have said things like, “I didn’t learn that as a minister; I learned that as a husband,” (or child, or father, etc.); or “As a son, I don’t know that; I only know that as a father.”

    The ”genuineness” of Christ’s prayers is a tad curious as a question. Was Christ one person or two? If Jesus was a human person as you and I are human persons, then the incarnation means that Jesus is a composite of two different persons. This of course means that when he prayed, the divine mind had nothing to do with it; the human person prayed. That answers the “genuineness” question in that a man was really performing devotions to God and sincerely asking for help as a supplicant, but of course that renders His exaltation an act of idolatry since a man like you and me who happened to be filled with the Holy Spirit like you and me is worshipped as God.

    Standard Christian theology, which even most Oneness Pentecostals affirm, is that Christ was one person with two natures—human and divine. From a Oneness perspective, and even from a trinitarian perspective, Christ prayed as a man (though both camps may give that term a different meaning). That is, He prayed as our example to show us how to have a relationship with God. Are such prayers genuine? Of course! But not in the sense that He didn’t know who He was or forgot who He was and was some way uncertain whether divine assistance would come. The bottom line options are either Jesus is God or He isn’t.

    Finally, His reliance on God for works and doctrine: The answer here is similar to the locus of knowledge in Jesus. Jesus spoke both as God and as man. He spoke as supplicant and as sovereign. The power and message is not derived from the office of the Son or mediator. That office is to dispense the power and message derived from another office which is the Father. A person speaking as a man is saying that his message isn’t his (authored) qua man. That message is rather from another, and that other is the eternal one.

    I’ve heard this argument before from a Trinitarian who relies on the simplicity of God. How can Jesus grow in wisdom if this is true? How could he become a man? God became a contingent being when he entered the world as a baby.

    Jesus didn’t actually grow in wisdom. He appeared to do so from man’s perspective. As a 12-year-old, He confounded the doctors of the law with His knowledge, so where did He get it? He was clearly superior in the law because He authored the law. His omniscience could never be lost, so we harmonize that knowledge with the text and understand that He “matured” before men as other men mature with a corresponding appearance of increasing knowledge and wisdom (though it was actually always there).

    I disagree that “God became a contingent being.” That is impossible. The fleshly body is certainly contingent, but the flesh isn’t God by definition. So, the human body of Jesus, being a composite of act/potency, form/matter, etc., is contingent by definition. But since God is none of those things by definition, it follows that God is not contingent. To reject that obligates you to offer an account of God’s essence that justifies change and contingency in Him. I respectfully contend that such an effort undermines God’s divinity.

    Believe it or not, this reply is the “Reader’s Digest” version. I haven’t given each topic nearly the time it needs for satisfactory explication. Perhaps in question-and-answer, the skimming can be fleshed out in more detail. Thanks for the dialog and all the best.

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  83. mizpeh1 Says:

    Hello Scalia,

    You wrote: ““ But my question has not been answered: On what basis can any of it be trusted?”

    I trust it because God used it to inspire me to repent, to be baptized in Jesus’ name, and then he filled me with his Spirit and I spoke in other tongues just like in the book of Acts. I didn’t become a Christian in a church. I was an atheist before I was saved. These experiences and others with God confirmed to me that God is real, his name is Jesus, and his word is true. Even if there are contractions in the Bible, God was still able to use it to save me and sustain me in faith. He has confirmed his word and my obedience to his word with his presence time after time.

    You wrote: “A statement does not have to entail a contradiction in order for it to be false. Contradictions are obvious indicators that something is seriously askew, but if a work that purports to be the infallible word of God is inherently contradictory in its doctrinal teaching, then it cannot be automatically accepted as true. As I stated, a text doesn’t have to be contradictory to be false, so we’re now forced to independently verify, if possible, every other claim from the alleged infallible book. The “all Scripture is given by inspiration of God” becomes “all independently verified Scriptures can be deemed as reliable as its verification process.” I don’t see a way around that dilemma.”

    Scripture is inspired by God in the autographs and God can inspire it to our hearts, but it’s not inerrant. I do agree with Bahnsen on this point which has been proven in my life by my own experience with his word, “Faith in the consistency of God—His faithfulness to His own intention to make men wise unto salvation—guarantees the inference that He never permits Scripture to become so corrupted that it can no longer fulfill that end adequately”

    You wrote: “Thus, there is nothing inconsistent in the accounts that would lead us to conclude a different timeframe for the priesthood’s establishment.”

    You missed an important point in that narrative.

    Deut 10:6-9 6 (The Israelites journeyed from Beeroth-bene-jaakan[b] to Moserah. There Aaron died, and there he was buried; his son Eleazar succeeded him as priest. 7 From there they journeyed to Gudgodah, and from Gudgodah to Jotbathah, a land with flowing streams. 8 At that time the LORD set apart the tribe of Levi to carry the ark of the covenant of the LORD, to stand before the LORD to minister to him and to bless in his name, to this day. 9 Therefore Levi has no allotment or inheritance with his kindred; the LORD is his inheritance, as the LORD your God promised him.) NRSVUE

    The beginning of verse 8, “At that time…” is setting the time when the Lord set apart the tribe of Levi. The makeup of the priesthood is expanded to include all of the tribe of Levi not just Aaron and his sons. This contradicts Ex 28:1,43, Ex 29: 44, Ex 40: 12-15, Nu 3:1-38, an Nu 10:11-12, Nu 12:1 Nu 6:22-27

    The person I’m discussing this with understands the term “Levitical priests” to include every Levite. For example:

    Deut 18:1a The Levitical priests, the whole tribe of Levi, shall have no allotment or inheritance within Israel.

    tn The MT places the terms “priests” and “Levites” in apposition, thus creating an epexegetical construction in which the second term qualifies the first, i.e., “Levitical priests.” This is a way of asserting their legitimacy as true priests. NET notes

    “My Jewish friends have never taken that to mean that any male Levite was qualified to serve as a priest. I’m actually quite surprised that this allegation is made. I’ve read the Bible many times and never concluded that anybody other than the sons of Aaron served as priests. “

    It was a surprise to me as well! I’ve read the entire Bible many times also and thought exactly the same as you. For me, I think that comes from reading it straight through and making assumptions as I read so when I came to Deuteronomy I thought that the author(s) meant the same as author(s) who wrote Exodus/Levitus/Numbers. When I read “Levitical priest”, I understand it to mean a son of Aaron who is from the tribe of Levi (and not all of the sons of Levi are priests.)

    “If the Bible is given to us by God and we’re given a general reference in one book and a specific reference in another book, then it stands to reason that the general reference cannot override the specific one. Any apparent tension is easily harmonized against the charge of contradiction and thus preserves the claim that the text is inspired of God.”

    I don’t believe this one can be harmonized.

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  84. mizpeh1 Says:

    @ Scalia, I just figured out what I’ve been doing wrong. I haven’t been logging into WordPress so when I posted a response to you 2 days ago, it completely disappeared and I hadn’t saved it. I tried again today, and it did it again, but I was wise enough to save my response to a word document this time.
    I’ll get back to your other post in the next couple days.

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  85. Scalia Says:

    Well, for some reason, this site is not letting me post my reply. Perhaps it is too long, so I’ll try to break it up…

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  86. Scalia Says:

    Hello again, Mizpeh1! Thanks for your reply. You write:

    I trust it because God used it to inspire me to repent, to be baptized in Jesus’ name, and then he filled me with his Spirit and I spoke in other tongues just like in the book of Acts.

    I would say in reply that we trust various people and things due to their consistent behavior, but that doesn’t make them infallible. I may trust my mechanic because he as proven reliable when working on my car, but that of course doesn’t make him infallible or my go-to person for medical advice. So, if he offers me medical advice, prudence would dictate that I verify his claims against sources I trust more than he. For me, that means that we cannot automatically trust anything in the Bible that we haven’t verified as true.

    In your experience, you trusted “it” in relation to your new birth, but that doesn’t logically extend to the Godhead, the tabernacle, holiness principles, prophecy, etc. Moreover, it doesn’t extend to anybody who has a competing claim from Islam or other brands of Christianity with experiences discordant with Acts 2:38. I had a friend who testified of his life-changing experience by being baptized into the Trinity. But that experience doesn’t nullify biblical teaching on baptism nor does it biblically affirm the Trinity. However, if we dispense with inspiration and infallibility, we have no biblical basis to differentiate between true and false doctrine. That’s a bridge too far.

    Scripture is inspired by God in the autographs and God can inspire it to our hearts, but it’s not inerrant.

    I think that this reduces inspiration to the kind of common inspiration experienced by songwriters and preachers. Both are very fallible, but both can be inspired of God to write beautiful songs or to preach great sermons. But pursuant to what I just said, we wouldn’t trust either to be a barometer of truth except in those things that we already agree on or think we’ve “witnessed” via spiritual phenomena. Thus, an appeal to the Bible reduces to an appeal to our opinions, especially given the plethora of competing opinions within Christianity itself.

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  87. Scalia Says:

    Continued…

    Most certainly, copies of the autographs can be corrupt (e.g., Codex Sinaiticus), but as Bahnsen and many others have pointed out, the science of textual criticism, given the abundance of Greek manuscripts from a wide geographical area, is able to piece together critical passages. And the textual discrepancies are for the most part extremely minor given the overwhelming agreement of the general text. I see nothing in such objections to warrant abandoning the traditional approach to the Bible as God’s infallible word.

    You missed an important point in that narrative.

    I’ll get to that in a moment, but part of your agreement relied on the timing of Aaron’s death and the establishment of the priesthood. I showed that there is no contradiction in the accounts of his death and that the failure to consider a logical alternative can result in a conclusion entirely at odds with other texts.

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  88. Scalia Says:

    I am not able to post the rest for some unexplained reason. Please hold off a reply until I can see what the problem is.

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  89. Scalia Says:

    Continued…

    I’d like at this point to make some comments about contradiction. As noted earlier, the word contradiction is used rather casually in informal settings. A contradiction is a subcategory of inconsistency, but they are not the same, logically speaking. A contradiction is a statement used in conjunction with its denial wherein it is impossible for both to be true. Inconsistent statements aren’t necessarily untrue; it could be an apparent inconsistency which of course means that the statements may be resolved (which eliminates the inconsistency). Truly inconsistent statements mean that it is not possible for every one of them to be true, but it also means that every statement could be false. Thus, inconsistency is logically “weaker” than a contradiction. The examples that you cite are what I call apparent inconsistencies which are definitely resolvable.

    The beginning of verse 8, “At that time…” is setting the time when the Lord set apart the tribe of Levi. The makeup of the priesthood is expanded to include all of the tribe of Levi not just Aaron and his sons. This contradicts Ex 28:1,43, Ex 29: 44, Ex 40: 12-15, Nu 3:1-38, an Nu 10:11-12, Nu 12:1 Nu 6:22-27

    But I addressed this above. As you acknowledge, the Bible is very specific who the priests in Levi were and what their various duties would entail. Moreover, we also know that the book of Numbers specifies what the general duties of the entire tribe were (1:48; Chapter 3). The fact that the entire tribe worked closely with the priests in moving the tabernacle and as auxiliaries does not mean that they were priests de jure. When we have numerous specific statements about a thing and a handful of general statements about a thing, the general does not define the specific. It is rather the other way around. What is needed to assert an inconsistency or a contradiction is the production of a text that clearly states that Levites other than Aaron’s progeny legitimately served as priests. Moreover, some of the texts you cite have nothing to do with assigning Aaron’s sons the priesthood (e.g., Num. 12:1).

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  90. Scalia Says:

    Continued…

    Deut 18:1a The Levitical priests, the whole tribe of Levi, shall have no allotment or inheritance within Israel.

    tn The MT places the terms “priests” and “Levites” in apposition, thus creating an epexegetical construction in which the second term qualifies the first, i.e., “Levitical priests.” This is a way of asserting their legitimacy as true priests.

    And you, of course, produce this as an example of just such a text (showing that those other than Aaron’s progeny were considered priests). I think that this conclusion is problematic on several levels.

    First, Orthodox Jews, who should be assumed to be experts on their native tongue, have approved of at least two English Translations:

    Orthodox Jewish Bible
    The Kohanim, who are Levi’im, and all of the tribe of Levi, shall have no chelek nor nachalah with Yisroel; they shall eat the offerings of Hashem made by eish, even His nachalah.

    The Complete Jewish Bible
    The cohanim, who are L’vi’im, and indeed the whole tribe of Levi, is not to have a share or an inheritance with Isra’el. Instead, their support will come from the food offered by fire to Adonai and from whatever else becomes his.

    There is thus a clear distinction between the priests and the entire tribe. This alleged “apposition” only qualifies the priests as Levites, but nonetheless, the entire tribe, due to their close association with the priesthood and the maintenance of the tabernacle, were to have no inheritance in Canaan. I see nothing here that forces the conclusion your debating partner is alleging.

    Second, when I stated that the Jews never asserted an expansion of the priesthood, you said that you never noticed it either. I want to clarify, however, that I’m not referring to lay Jews; I’m referring to theologians whose job it is to analyze every passage of Scripture. As professor I know who teaches Hebrew to English students states:

    The translation you have is correct with regard to the Hebrew, and note the comma after the word “kohanim”, which, BTW, is the transliterated Hebrew plural noun. The comma in the translation, correctly separates the “Levitic kohanim” from the rest of the tribe of Levi. The reason is that the Hebrew words for “a priest”, “kohein”, and the plural “kohanim”, are used in the Hebrew Bible to not only identify the Levitical priests, but also priests of foreign deities (e.g., 1 Samuel 5:5, 2 Kings 10:19). as well as in reference to officials in a regime (e.g., 2 Samuel 8:18, 20:26).

    So it does not follow from Deuteronomy 18:1 that those member of the tribe of Levi who are not priests could perform each and every function that the Levitical priests were to perform.

    Thus, this is not in any measure an affirmation of an expansion of the priesthood.

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  91. Scalia Says:

    Conclusion…

    Third, if everybody in Levi is, individually, a priest, then are women Levites priests? Are those under 30-years-old priests? Are those over 50-years-old priests? Are those Levites who have physical deformities priests? Are Levites married to divorced persons or people whose spouses have died priests? Those who wish to retain some kind of doctrinal consistency would deny that and insist that the previous restrictions would hold, buy why? If it is permissible to completely contradict God’s apparent prescription of who would serve as a priest, then why not the whole nine yards? And if the previous restrictions hold, then that undermines the claim of expansion, especially since the meaning of the text is disputed. However, if this is truly a contradiction, then of course both cannot be true. One is true and the other is false, so which one is correct? On what basis do you determine the correct doctrinal position?

    Fourth, you used the word “expanded” to describe the inclusion of the entire tribe of Levi into the priesthood. Thus, if God truly did expand the qualifications to serve as a priest, then the only way for there to be a contradiction is to locate a verse or verses which state that any addition to the original “list” is a sin against God’s law. However, nothing in the establishment of Aaron’s progeny (from your list above) includes that kind of verbiage. In other words, if God says that persons A, B and C shall serve in capacity X, and He concomitantly prohibits the nation from adding to X, there is nothing in that command to prevent God from adding to X. The fact that God placed restrictions on Israel does not mean that He placed restrictions on Himself. Thus, God could certainly initially designate Aaron’s sons as priests and later expand that to include the entire tribe. In that case, there is no possible way for the statements that you produced to be inconsistent, let alone contradictory. So, even if my analysis above is incorrect(that is, Aaron’s progeny are always priests de jure), there cannot be a contradiction in God’s expanding His initial category of the priesthood.

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  92. Scalia Says:

    @Mizpeh1,

    I would re-word the following text…

    I would say in reply that we trust various people and things due to their consistent behavior, but that doesn’t make them infallible. I may trust my mechanic because he as proven reliable when working on my car, but that of course doesn’t make him infallible or my go-to person for medical advice.

    …to read as follows:

    I would say in reply that we trust various people and things due to their consistent behavior, but that doesn’t make them reliable in other matters. I may trust my mechanic because he has proven reliable when working on my car, but that of course doesn’t make him reliable or my go-to person for medical advice.

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  93. Scalia Says:

    @Mizpeh1

    While awaiting your reply, I think that it is appropriate to focus on the subject that partially relates to this mini-thread about inspiration and infallibility, and that is the advisability of biblical discussions about the Trinity. Since all variations of the doctrine of the Trinity entail logical contradictions, said doctrine is false by definition. Why, then, would one go to the Bible or any other text to see whether said doctrine is taught therein? The only answer I can think of is to further demonstrate the unreliability of the Bible. It would be another tool in an atheist’s arsenal against the Bible. If the Bible teaches false doctrine on something it describes as fundamental to the Christian faith, on what basis can it be claimed that it is reliable on anything unless independently verified?

    So, while I am not averse to answering questions from sincere trinitarians about the right hand of God, Jesus’ prayers, the “plural” passages, and other “problem” texts, I think it’s best to have a person who wants to debate the topic to first defend the intelligibility of his doctrine. If it is shown to be genuinely contradictory, then it is false and must be dispensed with. It’s a waste of time to wade through the Scriptures when it is known beforehand that we’re on a fool’s errand. And it is a waste of time because the issue of intelligibility will have to be answered anyway.

    For example, if we go to Hebrews 1 and find God addressing the Son and saying, “Thy throne O God is for ever and ever…,” the first question I’d ask is, “If the Father is addressing the Son, and if the Father is both God and not the Son, and if the Son is God, then why are there not two Gods?” The trinitarian would either say, “Beats me” (unlikely), or he would attempt to harmonize the discrepancy to make what he asserts from said passage consistent with monotheism. However, the attempt to harmonize the matter will fail because he will either be forced to affirm composition in the Godhead or he will have to deny monotheism. And since neither option is acceptable to him, he is without the warrant to assert that his doctrine is true. This same exercise will be repeated regardless the additional verses he quotes, so it is best to settle the matter ahead of time rather than go to verses that will prompt the same questions anyway.

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  94. mizpeh1 Says:

    @scalia, I tried to post a response but it is not accepting it. I tried twice. I’ll try again tomorrow.

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  95. Scalia Says:

    @mizpeh1,

    I normally type my posts onto a Word document and then paste them into the thread. For some reason, this site wouldn’t take my post. When that has happened in the past, it was due to some editing command error which automatically blocks the post. However, after re-reading the post several times, it was clear that no such error had been made. I even tried to copy the text to my Notebook, but that didn’t work either. I ended up having to re-type the post directly on this site. Very odd.

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  96. mizpeh1 Says:

    Hello @Scalia,

    Thank you for your responses to my posts. We are definitely at odds in regard to our view of God despite both of us being Oneness! I absolutely do not hold to the doctrine of the Trinity. There was a time when I considered it, but ultimately rejected it and held onto my Oneness beliefs even more tightly.

    “Something forgotten is due to an inability to mentally retain what you have experienced. Since God essence is perfect, there is nothing in Him that has the capacity to malfunction or fail.”

    If God really wanted to become like us (human), then he would have to restrict his divine attributes (his omni powers) in such a way that he could not use nor access them while in his physical human body. This wouldn’t affect him in his existence that was transcendent to his human body as the Father. As the Father, he would remain “perfect” like he always has been. Becoming human is not a malfunction. It was intentional. To be like us, Jesus has to be born without prior memories, prior knowledge, and super-powers.

    Hebrews 2:14-18 Since, therefore, the children share flesh and blood, he himself likewise shared the same things, so that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by the fear of death. For it is clear that he did not come to help angels but the descendants of Abraham. Therefore, he had to become like his brothers and sisters in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make a sacrifice of atonement for the sins of the people. Because he himself was tested by what he suffered, he is able to help those who are being tested. NRSVUE (I would bold the 1st part of verse 14 and 17, if the blog would allow me)

    “Since nothing can compost itself (on pain of contradiction), every composite is assembled by another. It thus follows that no composite can account for its own existence It is by definition grounded in something other than what it is. And since the assemblage of contingent/composite beings remains contingent, it must be grounded in being that is not composite. And this we know to be God.
    As non-contingent being. God is not composite; He is simple without any physical or metaphysical parts. The “skinny” of that means there can be no change in God for He would have to have the capacity to change which of course would make Him a composite of act and potency. His aseity and immutability are fundamental planks of theism.”

    Thank you, again for this explanation of theism. I agree that God is a noncontingent being, but I reject the planks of theism that prevent God from becoming incarnate and human like us. It goes against scripture. Therefore, your doctrine of aseity must be false.” he had to become like his brothers and sisters in EVERY RESPECT which means God had to change in some ways.

    “Thus, God’s essence, which is his perfection, is fully actual with no potency to acquire a new state of existence or to actualize latent perfection. So, given this immutability, it is thus impossible for God to die, to sin, to fail, to learn, or to forget–even in principle.”

    I respectfully disagree. Jesus is God in the flesh. Everything predicated of Jesus is predicated of God. God did die, he learned, he grew in stature and in knowledge; etc, because God became like us in every respect! You would have to believe that Jesus is not God to disagree with those statements.

    “The bottom line is that if this account is defensible, it is easy to see why the assertion that God could experience a self-imposed state of amnesia, or any kind amnesia is absurd.”

    Then your explanation of the incarnation and the results we read about (Jesus not knowing, having to learn, growing in wisdom, dying.) would have to be just as or more untenable than God becoming like us to the extent of limiting himself drastically when he became human. Your Jesus would not be God at all, which in my opinion, is worse.

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  97. mizpeh1 Says:

    Part 2

    How do you understand the incarnation?

    “It must also be recalled that some things are hidden from the wise, some things require revelation, including the knowledge of who Jesus really is, and some things are anthropomorphic or accommodating our finite perspectives.”

    True. Are you saying the incarnation is one of those things?

    “God is eternal which means that there is no past, present, or future in Him. He is not indexed sequentially; everything is simply “now” to Him.”

    I don’t think I can agree with this. (I’ve been influenced by Greg Boyd’s teachings on Open Theism.) God knows that there was a time before he created when there was no actual creation. God entered into time when he interacted with Adam and Eve in the garden. In Genesis 22:12, He could say “…for NOW I know that you fear God…” The creation allowed God to enter into our dimension and exist apart from our dimension simultaneously. Immanent and transcendent. God also entered into time physically when he became flesh. Jesus was born, ate, slept, learned, grew, was beaten, and died, in other words, he experienced time. All of these things are predicated on God who became incarnate and functioned as a human, like you and me. That is how he knows our weaknesses.

    “Jesus “lack” knowledge relates to the locus of knowledge in His person. His knowledge is in His divinity not in His humanity. So, when the Bible tells us that the Son doesn’t know the hour of His own coming then either Jesus isn’t God, God has amnesia, or the Son qua Son (man) has no knowledge of the Second Advent–that knowledge rests in the divine spirit”

    Very similar to the way trinitarians would explain the incarnation only they say that the person of the Son is truly incarnate and functions within the limitations of the human mind, soul, and body of Jesus and the exact same person of the Son is also transcendent existing in perichoretic harmony with the Father and Spirit. So the person of the Son knows his second coming through his divine nature and doesn’t know his second coming through his human nature at the same time and this is not a contradiction since the person of the Son knows or doesn’t know in different ways. No matter how I look at it, it seems contradictory. The person of the Son (Jesus) has to juggle knowing and not knowing at the same time, The same person dies and doesn’t die. The same person grows in knowledge and possesses all knowledge. The same person prays for the glory he once had and exists in that glory with the Father and the Spirit…and on and on. It seems that Jesus lives a contradictory lifestyle in his two modes of existence, divine and human.

    I understand the incarnation in the setting of a functional kenosis predetermined by God before the incarnation took place. There is only one person of God, and that one person became a man and continued to exist transcendent to his human body as the Father. Within the incarnation, Jesús functioned just like us. He started out without prior memories of his preexistence as God. He grew and learned like we do. His spirit/soul is that of the divine spirit but with restrictions that allow him to live a human life. I don’t find this as contradictory. It also allows Jesus to be God incarnate. Whereas in the trinitarian version, Jesus has a human soul, spirit and body but his person is divine. If the divine person could be taken away from the incarnation, Jesus would have everything required to exist as a human. (1 Thess 5:23)

    “There are things that I know as a minister that I do not know as a husband and visa versa…”As a son, I don’t know that; I only know that as a father.”

    I find that reasoning to be somewhat specious in that all these different ways of knowing are all predicated on you, yourself, your person. I don’t see how you could possibly compartmentalize yourself into roles with separate types of knowledge. Does that mean you can only use certain knowledge if you are performing that role? All of your fund of knowledge is accessible to you without regard from the role in which you learned it.

    “From a Oneness perspective, and even from a trinitarian perspective, Christ prayed as a man (though both camps may give that term a different meaning). …That is, He prayed as our example to show us how to have a relationship with God. Are such prayers genuine? Of course! But not in the sense that He didn’t know who He was or forgot who He was and was some way uncertain whether divine assistance would come.”

    How can his prayers be genuine if as God and knowing that he is God with all of his omni powers unlimited? How could he pray so fervently and with such passion as to shed drops of blood while in possession of the knowledge that you speak of? It sounds like it was all for show and not genuine. IOW, Jesus was a good actor. Is that what you really think when you read the gospels?

    “Finally, His reliance on God for works and doctrine: The answer here is similar to the locus of knowledge in Jesus. Jesus spoke both as God and as man.”

    Just so I’m clear on what you are saying. I don’t want to mix you up with trinitarian Christology. What are you saying in the above quote. How did Jesus speak both as God and as man?

    As for the knowledge Jesus possessed…it came the same way that we acquire knowledge…by learning, experience, and being taught. Jesus was mainly taught by his Father. Like I said, Jesus is always God in the flesh (with self-imposed restrictions/limitations.) Jesus has only one locus of knowledge.

    “Jesus didn’t actually grow in wisdom. He appeared to do so from man’s perspective. As a 12-year-old, he confounded the doctors of the law with his knowledge, so where did he get it? He was clearly superior in the law because he authored the law. His omniscience could never be lost, so we harmonize that knowledge with the text and understand that He “matured” before men as other men mature with a corresponding appearance of increasing knowledge and wisdom (though it was actually always there).”

    This explanation does not sound like Jesus is genuinely growing in wisdom and knowledge like we do. He didn’t really become like us “in every respect”. He just pretended to be like us. He didn’t set a good example. Oh, sure we can live like Jesus did. He can be our example. If only we had superpowers like he did… No, Jesus lived a genuine human life in which he was reliant on his Father to teach him and work through him.

    Sincerely, with all respect, I think that you are letting your metaphysical doctrine of God dictate your understanding of the scriptures. I truly appreciate your time in responding to my posts. Thank you.

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  98. mizpeh1 Says:

    @Scalia, I will try to get back to the posts on the two priestly traditions/contradictions as soon as I can sometime this week.

    Like

  99. Scalia Says:

    @mizpeh1, it looks like you solved your posting issues, so that’s a good thing. I certainly hope that mine are resolved. It’s frustrating to type a long post only to discover that I have to type it again. Anyway, I hope this works. You write:

    If God really wanted to become like us (human), then he would have to restrict his divine attributes (his omni powers) in such a way that he could not use nor access them while in his physical human body. This wouldn’t affect him in his existence that was transcendent to his human body as the Father. As the Father, he would remain “perfect” like he always has been. Becoming human is not a malfunction. It was intentional. To be like us, Jesus has to be born without prior memories, prior knowledge, and super-powers.

    Respectfully, these statements are made without argument. Since God is non-spatial and transcendent, He cannot be restricted by anything by definition (per my previous argument). God spoke to Job through a whirlwind, but that had no effect on His transcendence. The whirlwind was merely a visible representation of God which affected no change in God whatsoever. Although a human body is vastly more complex than the dust that composes a whirlwind, the principle is the same. As I mentioned in a previous post, we have a scriptural description of Jesus growing in wisdom and knowledge while previous to that description, He confounded the doctors of the Law. His omniscience was always in full operation. It is pretty clear that we’re using the term “like us” quite differently, but perhaps I can flesh (no pun intended) this out in just a little bit.

    Hebrews 2:14-18 Since, therefore, the children share flesh and blood, he himself likewise shared the same things, so that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by the fear of death. For it is clear that he did not come to help angels but the descendants of Abraham. Therefore, he had to become like his brothers and sisters in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make a sacrifice of atonement for the sins of the people.

    We can agree that Jesus’ body was definitely human flesh, bone and blood, but what does it mean to be like us “in every respect”? When we are tempted, we have the capacity to sin. We can fall, refuse to repent and be lost. Does that imply that Jesus had the capacity to sin, to fall and be lost? The Bible says,

    Act 2:23 Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:

    Rev 13:8 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.

    Christ’s death, burial and resurrection were foreordained from the world’s foundation. It was thus impossible for Christ to have sinned and be disqualified from being the sacrifice for mankind’s salvation. And this is not merely the musings of a lone, Oneness Pentecostal theologian. This is really the position of Christianity throughout history which spans denominational divides. Thus, when we say “like us” in every way, we are required to qualify the term based on the whole of Scripture and not what a passage may imply. For example, God promised to pour His Spirit out upon “all flesh,” but He certainly wasn’t speaking of fish flesh, zebra flesh, or porcupine flesh. He was limiting “all flesh” to human flesh. And even that is further qualified by restricting the Spirit’s outpouring to believers and not to unbelievers. Consequently, being made like us does not entail having the capacity to sin. And if Jesus did not have the capacity to sin, then He could not lie, cheat, steal or blaspheme.

    Thank you, again for this explanation of theism. I agree that God is a noncontingent being, but I reject the planks of theism that prevent God from becoming incarnate and human like us. It goes against scripture. Therefore, your doctrine of aseity must be false.” he had to become like his brothers and sisters in EVERY RESPECT which means God had to change in some ways.

    So, the basis of your rejecting the argument is not on any inferential flaw in the argument (at least none that you state), it is rather what you consider its discord with biblical teaching. However, nothing that classical theists argue deny the incarnation, so it could hardly be unscriptural. There is nothing about the incarnation that compromises God’s aseity (His non-contingency). As I stated, the incarnation is God’s eternal decree and eternal act. Jesus was most certainly human, but He was not two persons. There was not one human consciousness and another divine consciousness. He is one person with two natures: human and divine. The humanity changes, but God remains the same. God did not need to find out how humans think and feel because He designed the human body. He knows exactly how the eyes see and how they are experienced due to his omniscience. He designed the nervous system, so He knows exactly how creatures feel what they do. Nothing was “discovered” in the incarnation. It was simply the temporal unfolding of God’s eternal plan.

    I respectfully disagree. Jesus is God in the flesh. Everything predicated of Jesus is predicated of God. God did die, he learned, he grew in stature and in knowledge; etc, because God became like us in every respect! You would have to believe that Jesus is not God to disagree with those statements.

    Well, I disagree with those statements, and I most certainly believe that Jesus is God. If everything that is predicated of Jesus is predicated of God, then what are we to do with:

    Heb 2:16 For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham. (?)

    So, everything predicated of the seed of Abraham is predicated of God? Unless one is a pantheist, Abraham’s seed is not God. We thus have limited logical options. Either Christ’s body was the mere appearance of human flesh and it was 100% divine (the divine flesh doctrine), it was a mixture of human flesh and divine flesh, or the body was entirely flesh but the person in the flesh was God. The first option can be rejected outright due to Heb. 2:16 and various other passages which clearly teach otherwise. The second option may be likewise dispensed with because a mixture is still nonetheless partly Abraham’s seed and is not divine. Consequently, we must accept the scriptural statement that Jesus’ body was fully and truly human and not divine. There is really no other option. Either Jesus’ flesh was Abraham’s seed or it was not. If it was not, then He could not be of the lineage of David and the prophets prophesied falsely that Jesus would be of David’s house. Indeed, God had promised David that his seed would sit on the throne of Israel (not referring to Solomon in the prophecy, but to Christ). Again, unless one is a pantheist, it is impossible for Jesus’ body to be both Abraham’s seed and divine flesh—excepting the second option in which case we cannot say that “everything predicated of Jesus can be predicated of God” because Abraham’s seed is not a predication of God. Thus, it was the flesh that died, not God.

    Moreover, this is again not my private opinion. This is standard Oneness theology. As well-known Oneness author Gordon Magee stated, “God did not die on the cross, but He who died was God.” It was rather the flesh the died, not the eternal Spirit. Even the statement that “God died in the flesh” is defensible from a logical perspective if we qualify our terms. Some definitions of death include a going out of existence (from a dissolution of one form to another). That can certainly happen to the body, but not the soul. Our souls do not go out of existence, so we don’t die in that sense. We can only die in the sense of separation from the body. Given that, then we may say that the Spirit separated from the body when Christ’s heart stopped beating, so in that sense, we can agree with the statement that God died in the flesh, but we would never say that the flesh is God.

    Then your explanation of the incarnation and the results we read about (Jesus not knowing, having to learn, growing in wisdom, dying.) would have to be just as or more untenable than God becoming like us to the extent of limiting himself drastically when he became human. Your Jesus would not be God at all, which in my opinion, is worse.

    Respectfully, I don’t see how this follows at all. It is certainly not given in argument form, so I’m genuinely at a loss to how that conclusion is drawn. Anthropomorphisms (God’s using accommodating language) is common throughout Scripture. What appears one thing to man is totally different considered from the eternal state. For example, Joshua commanded the sun to stand still, and the Bible tells us that it stood still. That made perfect sense to the ancients because the sun indeed appears to move. However, as we all now know, the sun doesn’t move in the sense described, and God certainly knew that. Nonetheless, there is no violence to the facts to state that the sun appeared to stand still from man’s perspective. Moreover, even if my account of Jesus knowledge, prayers, and descriptions of His relationship with God are insufficient (or “untenable”), how does that undermine the claim that He is God when I nonetheless affirm that the person in that body is none other but God Almighty? The Bible tells us that God cannot lie. The Bible also tells us that God cannot deny Himself. However, none of these impossibilities impeach God’s divinity. Indeed, He wouldn’t be God if He could lie and deny Himself. It thus does not follow that the inability to do certain things entails a denial of God’s divinity.

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  100. Scalia Says:

    As to your Part 2, I will have to defer a reply to when I have more time.

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  101. Scalia Says:

    @mizpeh1, I’m very sorry, but I typed a long reply to your Part 2, and nothing I try works. I even re-typed it to no avail. Very sorry.

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  102. mizpeh1 Says:

    I’m sorry it won’t accept your reply. My last couple of responses were all typed into the reply box. That was the only thing that worked me as you had told me previously.

    I’ll respond to what you have already written on the two subjects we are discussing as soon as I am able. Maybe there are rules that we don’t know listed somewhere on the WordPress home page.

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  103. Scalia Says:

    Okay, here goes for another try:

    Hello again, Mizpeh1! I’m normally extremely busy and most of my posts are typed on the fly. Summers are especially busy for me, so I didn’t think that I could reply to your Post 2 for several days at the earliest. But I have a window of time at present, so I thought I’d jump on it before something else came up. You ask how I understand the incarnation. That’s a pretty broad subject, so I would respectfully ask you to perhaps refine it. If I wrote what I understand about the incarnation, I would have to write a book. I wrote a little about it in the last post, so perhaps that will put us in the ballpark. I wrote:

    It must also be recalled that some things are hidden from the wise, some things require revelation, including the knowledge of who Jesus really is, and some things are anthropomorphic or accommodating our finite perspectives.

    To which you replied:

    True. Are you saying the incarnation is one of those things?

    Yes. Everybody that I’ve read recognizes the mystery of the incarnation. As God Himself is beyond our complete comprehension, we should expect there to be lots of things we cannot fully understand. I would, however, note the distinction between principled and unprincipled mysterianism. Principled or legitimate mysterianism is rooted in a sound argument. If the premises are true and the conclusion necessarily follows the premises, then we accept the conclusion even if we do not understand how the conclusion came about or how it works. For example, the arguments leading to the doctrine of creatio ex nihilo (creation from nothing) are very strong. If those arguments hold, then we accept the conclusion (that God made matter from nothing) even if we cannot understand how God did it. A sound argument is not defeated due to our ignorance of how the conclusion came about. On the other hand, unprincipled mysterianism is an appeal to mystery when it is shown that an argument is inherently contradictory. Again, an argument isn’t contradictory merely because it is hard to understand or is apparently inconsistent. Statements that cancel each other are untrue by definition, and no appeal to mystery can justify a contradiction (which is why the doctrine of the Trinity is false). Moreover, if one person may appeal to mystery to back out of a logical swamp, so can everybody else. We will thus reach an epistemological impasse without the means to resolve a conflict.

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  104. Scalia Says:

    Continued…

    With respect to the incarnation, the basic and fundamental doctrine across denominational barriers is that Jesus is one person with two natures, human and divine. There is no purely philosophical argument for the event of the incarnation. Philosophy can give us insights as to God’s essence (Ro. 1:20), but it doesn’t tell us whether the incarnation is necessary or that it even took place. We of course receive that doctrine from the Scriptures. We know that Jesus is God, that God is immutable (via the Scriptures and philosophy), and that Jesus is a man. How this was done or how the natures interact is a mystery to us. The clear boundaries given to us by the Bible must be affirmed while we acknowledge that such affirmations are beyond our finite minds to fully comprehend. That notwithstanding, if our affirmations entail logical contradictions, then to the extent that the argument is contradictory, it must be abandoned. Our personal understanding is subordinate to the force of the logic. Since contradictions are not true by definition, we cannot continue to affirm them on pain of doctrinal relativism.

    I don’t think I can agree with this. (I’ve been influenced by Greg Boyd’s teachings on Open Theism.) God knows that there was a time before he created when there was no actual creation. God entered into time when he interacted with Adam and Eve in the garden. In Genesis 22:12, He could say “…for NOW I know that you fear God…” The creation allowed God to enter into our dimension and exist apart from our dimension simultaneously. Immanent and transcendent. God also entered into time physically when he became flesh. Jesus was born, ate, slept, learned, grew was beaten, and died, in other words, he experienced time. All of these things are predicated on God who became incarnate and functioned as a human, like you and me. That is how he knows our weaknesses.

    There can be no “time” prior to creation because time began with creation. Time before time is a logical contradiction. The concept of eternity is radically different from our experience as finite creatures bound by time.

    It seems that most people project their concept of time onto eternity in that they imagine motion and sequence in the eternal state as parallel to ours. But without time, there is no past and no future. Note, I am not merely asserting these things. Everything that I am saying is the consequence of God’s non-contingency. It is the logical outgrowth of our affirmation that God is infinite. If He is infinite, there can be no change in Him, for if God could change, then He would be contingent, which is of course the opposite of our affirming His non-contingency. I fully realize that what I am saying is hard to comprehend if one isn’t schooled in classical theism. Combox discussions are woefully inadequate to fully explicate the topic. It’s best to read the literature on the subject in order to grasp what we are saying. I would recommend Ed Feser’s Aquinas as a starter (since you’re accustomed to reading theological literature).

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  105. Scalia Says:

    Continued…

    So, getting back to the incarnation, God is always transcendent, but since He created matter and thus motion and time, He most certainly understands linear progression. From our perspective, things happen after other things, but from the perspective of eternity, they simply are. Our perspective doesn’t affect God’s transcendence. That’s why the lamb was slain from the world’s foundation. It wasn’t mere foreknowledge; it was God’s perfect, eternal decree which makes “past” and “future” events present with Him. That’s why the insistence that He must “enter time” in order to be immanent sounds so foreign to us.

    Very similar to the way trinitarians would explain the incarnation only they say that the person of the Son is truly incarnate and functions within the limitations of the human mind, soul, and body of Jesus and the exact same person of the Son is also transcendent existing in perichoretic harmony with the Father and Spirit. So the person of the Son knows his second coming through his divine nature and doesn’t know his second coming through his human nature at the same time and this is not a contradiction since the person of the Son knows or doesn’t know in different ways. No matter how I look at it, it seems contradictory. The person of the Son (Jesus) has to juggle knowing and not knowing at the same time, The same person dies and doesn’t die. The same person grows in knowledge and possesses all knowledge. The same person prays for the glory he once had and exists in that glory with the Father and the Spirit…and on and on. It seems that Jesus lives a contradictory lifestyle in his two modes of existence, divine and human.

    And again, I think you’re conflating “contradiction” with “comprehension.” It’s obvious that you’re having a difficult time understanding our explanation of the matter but that does not imply that we’re committing a logical contradiction. Jesus never said, “I don’t know the hour of my coming.” He specifically stated that “the Son” doesn’t know. We are therefore left with limited logical options. If Jesus is God, then He most certainly knows the hour of His coming because that knowledge is in God’s eternal purpose and decree. The Son is the consequent of God’s decree; thus, that knowledge does not originate in nor is it known in that capacity. Man does not determine it, nor does man cause it. It can only be known by the Father. In order for that to be contradictory, it must be shown that the statements cancel each other. I’ve seen plenty of efforts to do just that, but they’ve all failed.

    I understand the incarnation in the one person of God, and that one person became a man and continued to exist transcendent to his human body as the Father. Within the incarnation, Jesus functioned just like us. He started out without prior memories of his preexistence as God. He grew and learned like we do. His spirit/soul is that of the divine spirit but with restrictions that allow him to live a human life. I don’t find this as contradictory. It also allows Jesus to be God incarnate.

    But I think that I’ve shown why it is contradictory because that would affirm a denial of God’s aseity. You refer to “functional kenosis,” but functioning a certain way is not abridgement. He could curse trees so that they would wither, but He didn’t curse every tree. He could walk on water, but that doesn’t mean that He always walked on water. He also routinely read minds an saw people who were not physically present. There’s a world of difference between having a capacity and not exercising it and not having it at all.

    I find that reasoning to be somewhat specious in that all these different ways of knowing are all predicated on you, yourself, your person. I don’t see how you could possibly compartmentalize yourself into roles with separate types of knowledge. Does that mean you can only use certain knowledge if you are performing that role? All of your fund of knowledge is accessible to your without regard from the role in which you learned it.

    I don’t know how it could be specious since what was said is absolutely true. There are things I would have never known had I not been married, and there are things that I would have never known had I not been a minister. I can truly say that I know as a minister what I wouldn’t or could not know as a husband. We can definitely imagine experiencing certain things, but that gives rise to the very common reply, “How could you know this or that? You’re not a ‘fill in the blank.’” In other words, reading about it or imagining it doesn’t confer actual or complete knowledge until you’ve experienced it. That doesn’t mean that the person who experienced something is unable to access that information once it is experienced. He can still acknowledge that the knowledge in question could not have been obtained without that role or mode.

    How can his prayers be genuine if as God and knowing that he is God with all of his omni powers unlimited? How could he pray so fervently and with such passion as to shed drops of blood while in possession of the knowledge that you speak of? It sounds like it was all for show and not genuine. IOW, Jesus was a good actor. Is that what you really think when you read the gospels?

    The “acting” objection is a common one we hear. I think, however, that our friends who object do not realize that they are in the same boat. Remember that redemption was a fait accompli from eternity. Calvary was going to occur the instant God willed it. So, with respect to this fervency and passion that you speak of, there is no possible way for the events to turn out differently than they did. Thus, under both our paradigms, God ordained “ beforehand” that Gethsemane would occur. In your view, He somehow “programmed” the man (Himself) to exist in such a way so that He would genuinely struggle with submitting His will to the Father, but He also programmed Himself to submit to the Father so that there would be no thwarting of His eternal decree. Thus, the struggle and passion were prearranged, and when submission time came (the moment of triumph), Jesus submitted in accordance with what He decreed as God before the incarnation. A struggle seems real (or, to use your word, genuine) when there’s an option to do otherwise (e.g., I could have gone on vacation, but I stayed with you while you were sick). But if you knew that I had programmed myself to stay with you during your sickness, would my staying constitute a genuine conflict? In your theology, one person willingly gave himself amnesia (I do not use that term pejoratively) but programmed an outcome. It was thus that person’s intent all along to give the appearance of a struggle with the outcome a foregone conclusion. That looks every bit like an act to me.

    Have you seen pictures of Alex Honnold’s ascent of El Capitan? He climbed it “free solo,” which means that he used no ropes. He is the only person in the world to have climbed it without ropes. Seeing him 2,000 feet above earth on the edge of a cliff makes my palms sweat just typing about it. He trained and researched the matter for two years before making the ascent (besides climbing it with ropes numerous times). We all admire him for his ability to overcome his fears and to do what nobody else has ever done. However, what if we discover that Honnold is an alien with superpowers? What if we find out that his alien self programmed his human self to “struggle” with the decision to climb the cliff, to overcome the indecision and fear, and to climb to the top? Would we not consider it all an act, even if his “human self” actually felt indecision while in his human mode? We would call it an act because prior to his human mode, everything was programmed. One may argue that the agony was not programmed; it was merely foreseen, but that doesn’t avoid the fact that God foreordained the outcome. He knew that He would agonize over Calvary, so He ordained that the agony would turn to resolve to finish the work. He wrote the story, and He fulfilled its theme. So, does that mean we discount everything as a wasted effort? We do not. We see the love of God for us in demonstrating the same, so that in spite of our weaknesses and trials, we can always depend on Him who made an open show of strength over the flesh in His perfect self—that if we look to Jesus (Heb. 12:1) He will be the Author and Finisher of our faith. Our victory rests in Him, not in us.

    Just so I’m clear on what you’re saying. I don’t want to mix you up with trinitarian Christology. What are you saying in the above quote. How did Jesus speak both as God and as man?

    The same way I speak differently depending on which hat I am wearing. My mode of speech to my wife and vastly different from my mode of speech while I preach or counsel people. My speaking to my friends as their supervisor is different than my speech to the same persons as their friend. When Jesus said that He would be crucified, He was speaking as the Son, but when He said, “Destroy this temple and in three days, I will raise it up,” He was speaking as the Father. When He said, “I thirst,” He as speaking as the Son, but when He said, “Before Abraham was, I am,” He was speaking as God.

    Sincerely, with all respect, I think that you are letting your metaphysical doctrine of god dictate your understanding of the scriptures.

    Actually, I see no discord whatsoever between my metaphysics and the Scriptures. As I noted in my post about the Trinity, harmonization is necessary if we’re to understand the Scriptures and if our doctrine is to be consistent. Consistency is the shortfall of many theological systems, and that has spawned many doctrinal errors. So, while I happily acknowledge that there is mystery in the incarnation which prevents us from fully understanding the interaction between Spirit and flesh, which, in turn, leads to some obvious paradoxes, the price to be paid for temporary amnesia is way too steep. That would necessitate a direct affirmation that God’s essence is changeable which means that the label “God” is inapplicable and akin to idolatry because it exalts a contingent being to divinity. No contingent being can be God by definition. Thus, it is far better to leave the mystery in the incarnation rather than to adopt effective atheism.

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  106. Scalia Says:

    I have not a clue why it worked this time. I tried posting in parts previously to no avail. Anyway, Post 107 is the final part to my reply to your earlier post. Thanks for your patience.

    Liked by 1 person

  107. mizpeh1 Says:

    Hello Scalia, I’m going to post a response tomorrow. Sorry, I’ve been busy. Thank you for your patience.

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  108. mizpeh1 Says:

    Part 1,

    Hello Scalia,

    I hope all is well with you. Thank you again for your patience.

    You said: “For me, that means that we cannot automatically trust anything in the Bible that we haven’t verified as true.”

    The thing that led me to trust the Bible was inspired by God were the experiences I had with God. As a prior atheist, it was a real taste of God that convinced me in his existence. My trust in his word came first by my subjective, experiential evidence of God and then in his word. There were times that God would inspire his word in my heart as I read it (I would feel his presence) and more so as I thought/meditated on his word. If an Muslim or Hindu believer say similar things, there isn’t much I can say about their experiences. I can only attest to what I know and pray for God to reveal his true self to them like he did to me.

    “However, if we dispense with inspiration and infallibility, we have no biblical basis to differentiate between true and false doctrine. That is a bridge too far.”

    I’m not dispensing with inspiration, only infallibility. I have recently within the last 9 months come to realize that the Bible is not inerrant. There are inconsistencies and contradictions in it. Exodus has two sets of 10 commandments. The decalogue in Ex 20 and the one in Ex 34. In my opinion, there is a contradiction between Numbers and Deuteronomy regarding the timing of the establishment of the priesthood as well as the priesthood itself.
    I fear that I did a poor job of explaining it to you. So I will try again.

    In Deuteronomy 10:6-9 Aaron died as was buried–” AT THAT TIME [after Aaron died] the Lord SET APART the TRIBE OF LEVI to carry the ark, to stand before the LORD to minister to him, and to bless his name.”

    But in Numbers the timing of Aaron’s death and the setting up of the priesthood were different than in Deuteronomy. Also the type of priesthood was different. In Deut 10:8 the priesthood belonged to the tribe of Levi. In Ex/Nu, the priesthood was only for the sons of Aaron.

    Only priests are allowed to stand before the Lord to minister to him and to bless in his name. Nu 6:22-27

    Numbers 3: [Before Aaron died] The Lord sets up the priesthood, the priests (the sons of Aaron) form the rest of the Levites and spells out the duties of the Levites as helpers of the priests.

    Numbers 10: The Israelites leave the Sinai [the priesthood was established BEFORE Aaron died]

    Numbers 30- Aaron dies.

    According to Deuteronomy10, Aaron died and was buried BEFORE the tribe of Levi was set apart to carry the ark of the covenant of the Lord, to stand before the Lord to minister to him, and to bless in his name. In other words, Aaron died BEFORE the priesthood (composed of the tribe of Levi) was set up. But in Numbers Aaron died and was buried AFTER the Aaronic priesthood was set up.

    In Ex/Nu, only priests who were sons of Aaron were allowed to stand before him to minister offerings, perform the duties within the tabernacle and to bless the people in the name of the Lord..

    The two priestly traditions are called the Aaronic priesthood and the Levitical priesthood according to my debate partner. Although I prefer to think of it as a discussion and not a debate.

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  109. Scalia Says:

    Thanks for your message, mizpeh1. I will await your Part 2 (or however many parts there are) before I respond. All the best…

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  110. mizpeh1 Says:

    Part 2

    I tried to condense as much as I could.

    You wrote, “Most certainly, copies of the autographs can be corrupt (e.g., Codex Sinaiticus), but as Bahnsen and many others have pointed out, the science of textual criticism, given the abundance of Greek manuscripts from a wide geographical area, is able to piece together critical passages. And the textual discrepancies for the most part extremely minor given the overwhelming agreement of the general text. I see nothing in such objections to warrant abandoning the traditional approach to the Bible as God’s infallible word”

    I have to very respectfully and reluctantly disagree. How can we trust everything that is even a minor variant or inconsistency when Mt 5:18 if every jot and tittle will be fulfilled? You are broadening your scope as to what is acceptable but I don’t think it can put under the umbrella of inerrancy.

    Jesus’ approval of much of the OT as well as that of his followers give added weight to the reliability of the OT even if there may be contradictions. The contradictions in Deut 10:6-8, in my opinion, are not resolvable. By reading the Bible from Genesis to Revelation (the Canonical approach),I tend to come across what could be contradictions and unknowingly harmonize them what what I’ve previously read as is the case in reading Ex/Nu and then when I get to Deuteronomy, I harmonize the priesthood into the Aaronic tradition, not intentionally but somewhat subconsciously.

    I liked all of your rebuttals to my assertion that Deut 10:6-8 contains contradictions even though I’m about to disagree with a few of them. Your intelligent and knowledgeable responses in this blog is why I asked for your thoughts on this subject and Christology. You haven’t disappointed me. I also appreciate the time spent in responding to my thoughts and questions. This is a subject that is new to me and plan on spend more time learning about others and God has to say on this subject.

    You wrote, “When we have numerous specific statements about a thing and a handful of general statements about a thing, the general does not define the specific. [I agree with this statement generally and in particular to the Bible.] It is rather the other way around. What is needed to assert an inconsistency or a contradiction is the production of a text that clearly states that Levites other than Aaron’s progeny legitimately served as priests.”

    For more background the person I was discussing this with gave me 6-7 scriptures that included “levitical priests” to support his claim which were all found in Deuteronomy. Curiously, this term is not found in the books that precede Deuteronomy in the OT. I only gave you one, Deut 18:1, with an eye toward brevity.

    Your responded to my assertion that Deut 18:1 The Levitical priests, the whole tribe of Levi… and the meaning of the term “Levitical priests” that the priesthood is for all the son of Levi and not just the sons Aaron will some good counters. The first was of your discussion with a Jewish person who teaches Hebrew. (The person I am discussing this has advanced degrees in Hebrew but is not Jewish).

    You wrote, “First, Orthodox Jews, who should be assumed to be experts on their native tongue, have approved of at least two English Translation:
    Orthodox Jewish Bible- Deut 18:1 “The Kohanim [priests], who are Levi’im, and all of the tribe of Levi,…”

    There is a clear distinction between the priests and the entire tribe. This alleged “apposition” only qualifies the priest as Levites, but nonetheless, the entire tribe, due to their close association with the priesthood and the maintenance of the tabernacle, were to have no inheritance in Canaan. I see nothing here that forces the conclusion your debating partner is alleging.”

    There are many places in the OT which use the phrase “the priests and the Levites” which would mean what your friend is stating that Deut 18:1. True, orthodox Jews should be the ones should be the experts. Clearly your friend does not agree with the NET bible note writers who see Levitical priests as being in apposition to one another- “The Levitical priests, the whole tribe of Levi,” NRSV I would give this up as a toss up.

    You wrote, “Second, when I stated that the Jews never asserted an expansion of the priesthood, you said that you never noticed it either. I want to clarify, however, that I’m not referring to lay Jews; I’m referring to theologians whose job it is to analyze every passage of Scripture and you gave an analysis of the verse from the Hebrew teacher that you spoke of prior.

    He stated that “the comma in the translation, correctly separates the “Levitic kohanim” from the rest of the tribe of Levi. The reason is that the Hebrew words for “a priest”, “kohein”, and the pleural “kohanim”, are used in the Hebrew Bible to not only identify the Levitical priests, but also priests of foreign deities… So it does not follow from Deut 18:1 that those members of the tribe of Levi who are not priests could perform each and every function that the Levitical priests were to perform.”

    Thus this is not any measure an affirmation of an expansion of the priesthood.”

    Just to clarify, my debating partner was not stating an expansion of the priesthood. Instead he stated a second priesthood tradition in which all the Levites were priests. This second tradition is found in the book of Deuteronomy and some other after it, that refer to the Levitical priesthood distinct from the Aaronic priesthood. I apologize for any confusion by agreeing to the idea of an expansion. That certainly would not be what he would ever say or conclude. He believes the book of Deuteronomy was written by other authors than that of Exodus and Numbers. Like I said, he is a historical critical biblical scholar and has other thoughts as to when and who wrote the OT in opposition to the traditional view of Moses as the author.

    I wonder what your Hebrew teacher would say about these verses:

    Joshua 3:3 and commanded the people, “When you see the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God being carried by the Levitical priests, then you shall set out from your place. Follow it. NRSVUE

    Deut 21:5 Then the priests, the sons of Levi, shall come forward, for the Lord your God has chosen them to minister to him and to pronounce blessings in the name of the Lord, and by their decision all cases of dispute and assault shall be settled.

    You said, “Third, if everybody in Levi is, individually, a priest, then are women, Levites priests? Are those under 30-years-old priests?…” However, if this is truly a contradiction, then of course both cannot be true. One is true and the other is false, so which one is correct? On what basis do you determine the correct doctrinal position?”

    That’s a good question. I cannot find the restrictions on the Levitical priests that are found in Leviticus 21 on the Aaronic priests. The book of Deuteronomy as a whole does not have as much to say about the priests as does the books of Exodus, Leviticus or Numbers. How would I determine the correct doctrinal position? I’m not sure. In my Bible search about the priesthood in time of King David and the priesthood during the time of Nehemiah when reforms were being made, I came across a verse that said David’s sons were made priests.

    2 Sam 8:18 Benaiah son of Jehoiada was over the Cherethites and the Pelethites; and David’s sons were priests. NRSVUS

    When I read that I became extremely frustrated and didn’t want to discuss it (the priesthood) anymore with my debate partner. I needed a break from discussing it and time to get over my frustration. I’ve read it before but I don’t know why it never dawned on me to seriously question what and why that verse was there in the first place except maybe for nepotism.

    You wrote, “Fourth, you used the word, “expanded” to describe the inclusion of the entire tribe of Levi into the priesthood.” As I said, I’m sure my debate partner would not use the word, “expanded”. I haven’t talked to him about it but I know that is not what he meant and it was incorrect of me to use it that term for what he was describing as two traditions of the priesthood in the OT. I’m sorry again for the confusion. I wanted to make that point crystal clear.

    My next responses to you should be on posts 105-107. I hope to be able to respond this week but I likely won’t be able to get to them until the weekend.
    God bless you.

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  111. mizpeh1 Says:

    Hello Scalia, I realized I skipped post #101 by accident so I will start there. I’ve also finished a response on posts 105-107. Hopefully WordPress will cooperate with me today and I’ll only have to type my responses once.

    You wrote, “Respectfully, these statements are made without argument”.

    My argument is from Hebrews 2:14-18 which I had posted below. God had to become like us in every respect. (Heb 2:17). He did not become a superhuman. He became human. The NIV translates Heb 2:17 less literally but more clearly, imo, “For this reason he [Jesus] had to be made like them [his brethren], fully human in every way…” BTW, of the modern translations, I use the NRSVUE of the Bible for the most part.

    “The whirlwind was merely a visible respresentation of God which affected no change in God whatsoever. Although a human body is vastly more complex than the dust that composes a whirlwind, the principle is the same.”

    I respectfully disagree. God did not become the whirlwind. It was a temporary manifestation. God did become a man and has forever taken that form. There was a change in God in the process to the extent that he had to accommodate to being human. I’ll discuss more of this in my next post but part of that accommodation was to limit his attributes so that he could truly function as a real human in every way and not as a superhuman. This where a functional kenosis comes in.

    “As I mentioned in a previous post, we have a scriptural description of Jesus growing in wisdom and knowledge while previous to that description, he confounded the doctors of the Law. His omniscience was always in full operation.”

    Confounding the doctors of the Law does not entail his use of omniscience. The Spirit of the Father in Christ might have given him the wisdom and knowledge Jesus required at that moment when he was speaking to the doctors of the Law much like the spiritual gifts of knowledge and wisdom in 1 Cor 12 (Acts 10:38) or his Father may have taught Jesus those things in anticipation that Jesus would need to know them in order to converse with the doctors of the Law. (John 7:16-17)

    “We can agree that Jesus’ body was definitely human flesh, bone, and blood, but what does it mean to be like us “in every respect”? When we are tempted, we have the capacity to sin. We can fail, refuse to repent and be lost. Does that imply that Jesus had the same capacity to sin, to fall and be lost?”

    I responded to this in my next post to with more explanation. I will briefly say here that, yes, Jesus had that capacity. He had to have it in order to be like us and show us how to overcome that we might follow in his footsteps. If Jesus overcame sin and Satan using his own superhuman powers what hope is there for us? How is that an example that we can follow?

    “Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection were foreordained from the world’s foundation. It was thus impossible for Christ to have sinned and be disqualified from being the sacrifice for mankind’s salvation.”

    I agree that all things that God predetermined will come to pass without fail. That is the case with Jesus remaining sinless and dying on the cross for us. That does not mean that Jesus did not have the capacity to sin or the capacity to go against his Father’s will. Jesus had to make those choices. Since his mindset was to always do those things that pleased his Father, it was inevitable that he would not sin or rebel against his Father’s will. God predetermined these things in accordance with his foreknowledge of the choices that Jesus would make. (Romans 8:28-29) IOW, God’s foreknowledge informed his decision to predetermine.

    “Thus, when we say “like us” in every way, we are required to qualify the term based on the whole of Scripture and not what a passage may imply.”

    This passage, Heb 2:14-18, and others like it give reasons as to why Jesus had to be like us. By qualifying “Therefore he had to become like his brothers and sisters in every respect, so that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make a sacrifice of atonement for the sins of the people. Because he himself was tested by what he suffered, he is able to help those who are being tested ” you effectively negate the reasons why Jesus had to become like us in every respect.

    “So, the basis of your rejecting the argument is not on any inferential flaw in the argument (at least none that you state), it is rather what you consider its discord with biblical teaching.”

    Yes, that is correct.

    “However, nothing that the classical theists argue deny the incarnation, so it could hardly be unscriptural. There is nothing about the incarnation that compromises God’s aseity (His non-contingency). ”

    In becoming human, God became contingent. He was no longer omnipresent. He was restricted by a human body. As a baby, he (God) needed his mother to feed him. He needed to eat and sleep. Jesus had to pray and rely on his Father for his doctrine and his miracles. At the same time that God became human and became contingent on others and restricted by his human limitation, He also remained unrestricted and non-contingent in transcendence to his existence as a human.

    “As I state, the incarnation is God’s eternal decree and eternal act. Jesus was most certainly human, but He was not two persons. There was not one human consciousness and another divine consciousness. He is one person with two natures: human and divine. The humanity changes, but God remains the same. God did not need to find out how humans think and feel because he designed the human body. He knows exactly how the eyes see and how they are experienced due to his omniscience. He designed the nervous system, so He knows exactly how creatures feel what they do. Nothing was “discovered” in the incarnation. It was simply the temporal unfolding of God’s eternal plan.”

    God knew everything according to his existence as the eternal Spirit but not as a human. Experiential knowledge is much different than other types of knowledge. God could not possibly know what it is like to be human unless he became human himself. Then and only then could he truly empathize with us. He could be our merciful and faithful high priest because he was tempted as we are. In becoming human ” he himself likewise shared the same things [flesh and blood], so that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by the fear of death” (Heb 2:14-18) In becoming human, God experienced changes in his human body as he grew in stature, hormonal changes in puberty, hunger pangs, the temptation of Satan in the desert was genuine, etc. Jesus had to live by faith like we do. (Mt 27:46) Even though he designed the eye to see and the ear to hear, God didn’t need eyes to see or ears to hear until he became human. (Ps 94:9)

    “Well, i disagree with those statements, and I most certainly believe that Jesus is God.”

    In what way do you believe that Jesus is God?

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  112. mizpeh1 Says:

    Part 2

    “If everything that is predicated of Jesus is predicated of God, then what are we to do with: Heb 2:16 For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham. (?)”

    Jesus was born as a Hebrew male and a descendent of Abraham. Jesus is part of the lineage of Abraham. (Mt 1:1)

    “So, everything predicated of the seed of Abraham is predicated of God? Unless one is a pantheist, Abraham’s seed is not God.”

    I’m not a pantheist. God has no beginning or end. Jesus, the Son of God, had a beginning. (Luke 1:35) He was born of a virgin, born under the Law. (Gal 4:4) He was born of the lineage of Abraham. (Acts 3: 25-26/Gen 12:3).

    Because Jesus is God existing as a man, all of these things are predicated on God existing as a man. God ate, slept, drank wine, entered his temple with sandals on, and died. God in his existence transcendent to his human existence did not die. He cannot die as he is life itself. But in his existence as a man, God experienced death.

    “We thus have limited logical options. Either Christ’s body was the mere appearance of human flesh and it was 100% divine (the divine flesh doctrine), it was a mixture of human flesh and divine flesh, or the body was entirely flesh but the person in the flesh was God….There is really no other option.”

    I agree with option 3. Jesus is not only of the lineage of Abraham but also of David and all the prophecies that go with it. 🙂

    “Moreover, even if my account of Jesus knowledge, prayers, and description of his relationship with God are insufficient (or “untenable”) how does that undermine the claim that He is God when I nonetheless affirm that the person in that body is none other but God Almighty?”

    If you truly believe that the person (the self/ the “I”) of Jesus Christ is God Almighty incarnate then how do you explain the biblical claims that Jesus did not know some things, or his having to learn and grow in wisdom? God Almighty is the giver of wisdom. He is omniscient. What happened when God became a man? Did he lose these attributes? Did him limit/restrict these attributes (as I affirm)? There will be more on this in my next response.

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  113. mizpeh1 Says:

    part 3

    this is a continuation of the last post. Actually, it should have come before the last paragraph in the last post.

    You said ” Thus, it was the flesh that died, not God.”

    I not entirely sure what you mean by this as I was unable to follow your reasoning to this conclusion. How do you conclude that the flesh died and that the person did not die? Just like other humans, the person of Jesus (who is God existing as a man) should have been said to die when his human body (flesh) died. Human death is a separation of the inner immaterial aspect of a human from the material, physical body, the flesh. (James 2:26a, Luke 23: 46)

    “Moreover, this is again not my private opinion. This is standard Oneness theology. As well-known Oneness author Gordon Magee stated, “God did not die on the cross, but He who died was God.” It was rather the flesh that [sic] died, not the eternal Spirit. Even the statement that “God died in the flesh” is defensible from a logical perspective if we qualify our terms. Some definitions of death include a going out of existence (from a dissolution of one form to another). That can certainly happen to the body, but not the soul. Our souls do not go out of existence, so we don’t die in that sense. We can only die in the sense of separation from the body. Given that, then we may agree with may agree with the statement that God died in the flesh, but we would never say that the flesh is God.”

    Gordon Magee is not clear with his terms because it sounded like a contradiction to me. I agree with you for the most part. My understanding of the incarnation is that the eternal Spirit (God) became a man/flesh when Jesus was miraculously conceived in the womb of Mary by the Holy Spirit. So when Jesus died on the cross, just like any other human, his spirit/soul left his body and he died, (1 Thess 4:14)
    We don’t say (normally) “Grandma’s flesh died,” but we say, “Grandma died”, even though we know that Grandma, herself, went on to be with the Lord and her physical, fleshly body will decompose in the grave. The same can be said of the Jesus when he died although his body did not decompose. Given that Jesus is God existing as a man, we can say that God died on the cross and that God experienced death. The only way that God could have experienced death was by becoming a man. (Heb 2:14-15)

    The parts that I wasn’t in agreement were “It was rather the flesh that died, not the eternal Spirit” and “…but we would never say that the flesh is God.”

    What do you mean by “flesh”? Do you mean the man, Jesus Christ? or the physical body of Jesus? Is Jesus Christ someone other than God? I need clarity because I think we agree but I’m not sure.

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  114. mizpeh1 Says:

    One other thing that has me confused is when you write in the third person pleural…why?

    Please forgive the typos. 😦

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  115. Scalia Says:

    Thanks for your posts, mizpeh1. My normally hectic schedule has turned even more hectic, so I may or may not reply for some time. I do a lot of writing outside blog posts, and that is a priority. I wish you all the best in the meantime.

    Liked by 1 person

  116. mizpeh1 Says:

    Hello Scalia,

    I wasn’t sure where to start in my response. I appreciated reading your thoughts on sound arguments, logical contradictions, classical theism and the like but I decided to start here…

    You wrote,” But without time there is no past or future.”

    It must have been extremely boring being alone for eternity with everything always the same. Perhaps that was what motivated God to create. There may have not been time as we know it in eternity but certainly there must have been a sequence to things as God designed creation in his mind =.

    “If He [God] is infinite, there can be no change in Him, for if God could change, then He would be contingent, which is of course the opposite of our affirming His non-contingency.”

    Does God changing his mind in response to prayer or repentence or our reasoning with Him mean that God is changing in some way? I don’t think so since His essence stays the same even if his mind changes.

    Yes, classical theism is somewhat difficult to comprehend and I’m skeptical as to its Biblical value. I did some googling on Feser, found his blog, read an article on his recommendations of the best 5 books for the existence of God in which he discusses classical theism, and I purchased the book you recommended on Amazon. In the article, I found his discussion on Aquinas interesting. Aquinas reasoned the existence of God from a Natural theology perspective and eventually arrived at the attributes of the Uncaused causer.

    “God is always transcendent…”

    Why are you adverse to saying that God can be immanent? Do you think that God always needs an intermediary to interact between himself and the world he created. I believe God is transcendent and immanent. Transcendent because he created the universe but is not the universe. Immanent because he interacts with his creation. God walked with Adam and Eve in the garden in the cool of the day. God himself formed man from the dust of the ground and breathed into him the breath of life. God made clothes for Adam and Eve after they sinned. He spoke with Moses face to face. God can be transcendent and immanent at the same time. The most immanent thing God has done is when He entered time and space as a baby in Mary’s womb. This may sound strange and foreign to you because you are a classical theist, but it doesn’t sound that way to me. The incredible gift of his Spirit residing within us is as immanent as it gets. (1 Cor 6:17, Rom 8:9-11)

    As you said, “Jesus is one person with two natures, human and divine.”

    I agree with this statement, but I would add one thing more for clarity on my position regarding the term “person” which is similar but different from that of a Trinitarian. The difference has to do with their categories. I agree with them that a person is the “I”, “me”, or “self” but what exactly is the “I/self”? I’ve always found their concept of “person” to be vacuous. It is a convenient term that has no grounding in the reality of personal beings (God, angels, humans). From a Biblical perspective, if I were to try to explain what the I/Self is, I am limited to choosing from the soul, spirit, or body. (1 Thess 5:23) The trinitarian would place soul, spirit, and body in the nature category and not in the person category. The only thing in the trinitarian person category is the person which is not a choice that I can find in the Bible.
    From the Bible I would say that the person is the immaterial part of a human which includes the soul and the spirit. If I were to narrow it, the person would be the mind. The trinitarian includes the mind in the nature category. They say that a mind is something a person has (possesses) and is not the person itself. I understand their way of categorizing the “what” and the “who” of a personal being as a choice that supports their concept of God. If you leave person out of the nature category, then you can have 3 persons with one nature. Like I said, I find their concept of person vacuous.

    “Jesus never said, ” I don’t know the hour of my coming.” He specifically stated that ” the Son” doesn’t know. We are therefore left with limited logical options. If Jesus is God, then He most certainly knows the hour of His coming because that knowledge is in God’s eternal purpose and decree. the Son is the consequent of God’s decree; thus, that knowledge does not originate in nor is it known in that capacity.”

    What do you mean by “The Son is the consequent of God’s decree”? You are making your case based on that statement and I’m not sure what you mean by it. I think you are saying that the Son (Jesus) cannot know his second coming because he is only a man and not God (whom you understand to be the Father). Therefore, you do not believe that Jesus is God because if he were God, then he would know the time of his second coming

    I agree that Jesus, who is the Son, does not know His coming even though He is God existing as a man. You make it sound as though Jesus is not the son and neither is Jesus God but simply a human person when you wrote that Jesus said that “the Son” doesn’t know.
    .
    My understanding of the Son is that the divine person became incarnate as a male child, the Son of God. (Luke 1:35) There was no human person within the incarnation. You cannot take the person of God away from Jesus and have a complete functioning human being with a body, soul, and spirit. There was only one person within the incarnation and that person was God. Either Jesus had to know the time of his second coming since he is God incarnate or there was something that took place when God became flesh that prevented the Son (Jesus) from knowing his second coming. That something would be a functional kenosis that God initiated when Jesus was conceived.
    This functional kenosis is not a complete emptying of God’s supernatural attributes but a self-imposed restriction on their usage in order that Jesus would function like us as a human and not as a superhuman. You call it amnesia. I would not put it that way. Even though the Son is God existing as a man, he didn’t know the time of his second coming because he was not omniscient in his human form and his Father had not revealed it to him. This is the only option available that affirms the divinity of Jesus Christ and at the same time explains how God became like us in every respect even to the point of not knowing his return.

    Part 2 to follow

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  117. Scalia Says:

    Hello, mizpeh1! I have a smidgeon of time, so here goes a limited reply. I’ll post replies to your other posts as time permits (which isn’t very often lately). You write:

    The thing that led me to trust the Bible was inspired by God were the experiences I had with God.

    And for you, that certainly works, but it is hardly persuasive for those who’ve not had your experiences.

    If an Muslim or Hindu believer say similar things, there isn’t much I can say about their experiences. I can only attest to what I know and pray for God to reveal his true self to them like he did to me.

    And this is the point I’m driving at. Tough a Muslim or a Hindu may not convert, there are apologetic approaches which demonstrate the superiority of the biblical system over the Quran or the Rig Veda. If we argue upfront that our Bible is at least partly flawed, then it is incumbent upon us to identify which parts are infallible and which parts aren’t. And once we do that, we must defend why X is reliable and Y is not. If we cannot defend its objective dependability, then we end up pushing a subjective point of view.

    I’m not dispensing with inspiration, only infallibility.

    Then the Bible is nothing more than a book of suggestions. Since it could be mistaken on any point (as any other “inspired” song could be), the only basis for doctrine is our subjective beliefs which are equally fallible. Since everything in the Bible can be second-guessed, our apologetic is reduced to hand-waiving. The Bible is thus incapable of settling any doctrinal dispute.

    For example, we will later continue our discussion of the incarnation. You continually cite Scripture as if it were authoritative; however, since you’ve yet to establish which portions of the Bible are trustworthy and on what basis they are reliable, they cannot do the work that you intend them to do. It is possible that all the Scriptures which say that Jesus “learned” are historically incorrect or doctrinally mistaken. To what end, then, is my citation of a fallible text? It cannot prove anybody wrong; it can only prove what I personally believe.

    In Deuteronomy 10:6-9 Aaron died as was buried–“AT THAT TIME [after Aaron died] the Lord SEET APART the TRIBE OF LEVI to carry the ark, to stand before the LORD to minister to him, and to bless his name.”

    I addressed this previously, but since you cite it again, I’ll need to explain myself a little more clearly. If I am recounting my family’s easterly trip through Texas in 1960, I could narrate it as follows: “We stopped first in El Paso. After a couple of says, we drove to Abilene. Three days later, we drove to Dallas where President Kennedy was shot and killed. We then drove to Huntsville, and at that time, we started our oil business. We then went to Port Arthur which completed our trip through Texas.”

    Note, “at that time” refers to when we started our business (during our road trip), not to when President Kennedy was shot. My mentioning President Kennedy’s assassination, which happened three years after our road trip, is merely parenthetical in identifying where he died. It has no bearing on when we started our oil business. It would thus be mistaken to assume both that President Kennedy died in 1960, and that our oil business started after he died. Moreover, “at that time” is written in vs. 8 which is after Israel went to Jotbath (vs. 7). Aaron’s death is described in vs. 6. So, while I can certainly see why some people think that Aaron’s death is clearly out of place, upon closer inspection, this is not even a close call when it comes to a contradiction. To prove a contradiction, you must textually demonstrate why the statement about Aaron’s death isn’t parenthetical, and this you cannot do. So long as it is logically possible that the account of Aaron’s death is parenthetical, a contradiction does not exist, let alone an inconsistency.

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  118. Scalia Says:

    And here’s a follow-up:

    In reply to Post 112:

    I have to very respectfully and reluctantly disagree. How can we trust everything that is even a minor variant or inconsistency when Mt 5:18 if every jot and tittle will be fulfilled? You are broadening your scope as to what is acceptable but I don’t think it can put under the umbrella of inerrancy.

    Respectfully, I’m not following your argument at all. We can either trust the Bible or we cannot. If the entire Bible is suspect because a jot or tittle here or there may be inconsistent, then as I stated above, there is no point trying to argue anything from it (as if it could settle any dispute). Anybody who takes your position is obligated to announce ahead of time that everything you cite from the Bible is merely your subjective opinion because none of it is infallible (immune to error). And if it isn’t immune to error, then it is subject to a superior logical argument beyond its text. At best, then, the Bible is a supplement to a better argument.

    Moreover, there isn’t a reasonable doubt about jots and tittles. And since you read Bahnsen’s arguments, I won’t bother to repeat them here. Given the plethora of available copies, it’s not difficult to decipher the original reading from a corrupt one. For example, Mark 16:9-20 is missing in the oldest manuscript, Codex Vaticanus. However, the blank space in said codex is the exact size of the verses had they been present. Moreover, thousands of later copies of Mark from a wide geographical area contain said verses, “church fathers” predating said codex quote from said verses, and translations into other languages which predate Vaticanus also contain them. Thus, there is no reasonable doubt that Mark 16:9-20 is the genuine completion of the gospel of Mark. In all candor, mizpeh1, if I did not believe that the Bible is immune to error, then I’d never quote it as a means of resolving conflict. There is no rational counter to, “It’s possible that what you’re quoting is not what the original said or is flat out mistaken.” I’d have to rely on better arguments.

    Jesus’ approval of much of the OT as well as that of his followers give added weight to the reliability of the OT even if there may be contradictions.

    Who said Jesus gave His approval of the Old Testament? Whoever wrote that may have been mistaken about what Jesus approved of. He may have deliberately written a falsehood. Why should I believe what a gospel writer wrote about Jesus’ opinions? If the Old Testament has “unresolvable” contradictions, then why can’t the New Testament have unresolvable ones too? Contradictions are false, so it follows that the statement about Jesus’ view of the Old Testament can be false too.

    Joshua 3:3 and commanded the people, “When you see the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God being carried by the Levitical priests, then you shall set out from your place. Follow it.

    Deut 21:5 Then the priests, the sons of Levi, shall come forward, for the Lord your God has chosen them to minister to him and to pronounce blessings in the name of the Lord, and by their decision all cases of dispute and assault shall be settled.

    I’m not certain what argument you’re making from these verses. Since the priests are from the Tribe of Levi, it makes sense to call them Levitical priests. For example, when I say, “Irish Catholics,” I am not saying that all Catholics are Irish. If the only Catholics in the world were Irish, then though all Catholics are Irish, not all Irish are Catholics. Similarly, since the tabernacle priests were Aaron’s offspring from the tribe of Levi only, then all priests were Levites by definition. It does not follow that all Levites were priests. Thus, the priests were the sons of Levi and they were all “Levitical.” That does nothing to establish the priesthood of every Levite.

    In my Bible search about the priesthood in time of King David and the priesthood during the time of Nehemiah when reforms were being made, I came across a verse that said David’s sons were made priests.

    2 Sam 8:18 Benaiah son of Jehoiada was over the Cherethites and the Pelethites; and David’s sons were priests.

    Please note the wording of the companion verse out of 1 Chron. 18:17…

    And Benaiah the son of Jehoiada was over the Cherethites and the Pelethites, and the sons of David were first at the king’s hand.

    Moreover, the Jews understand 2 Sam. 8:18 to be “chief officers,” which is apparently the original meaning of the term “kohen” (priest). We read the same thing from 1 Kings 4:5,

    And Azariahu the son of Nathan (was) over the officers, and Zabud the son of Nathan (was) principal officer, (the Hebrew word used here is “kohen” (priest)) and the king’s friend.

    The mistake your friend made is due to his apparent ignorance of the multiple meanings of kohen. Like English, the same word can have different meanings in different contexts. I can say that I’m going to the bank, but do I mean a river bank or a money bank? The context determines the meaning of the word. There is thus no difficulty here whatsoever. If the Bible tells us who the priests are, then by definition anybody else isn’t a priest, even if that label is applied to them.

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  119. Scalia Says:

    The following is a response to Post 113:

    My argument is from Hebrews 2:14-18 which I had posted below. God had to become like us in every respect. (Heb 2:17). He did not become a superhuman. He became human.

    I addressed this above. Your reply does not engage my argument.

    I respectfully disagree. God did not become the whirlwind. It was a temporary manifestation. God did become a man and has forever taken that form.

    And on this point we fundamentally disagree. God no more “became” flesh than He “stretched out His hand” to Israel. God had no literal hand to stretch out. That’s an anthropomorphism to accommodate human understanding. God was definitely in the body of Jesus (to wit, God was in Christ—2 Cor. 5:19), but Christ’s body was not divine flesh; it was the seed of Abraham (Heb. 2:16) which by definition is not God in any way, shape or form.

    Moreover, since the Bible isn’t immune to error (according to you), any passage you quote in support of the idea that God “became” flesh could be mistaken. And since it could be mistaken (erroneous), it is not an authority to settle a dispute. Your hermeneutical approach undermines your argument because the platform upon which you build your argument lacks the capacity to justify your argument. Since any incarnational passage is subject to error, it is inconsistent at best to assert it.

    Confounding the doctors of the Law does not entail his use of omniscience. The Spirit of the Father in Christ might have given him the wisdom and knowledge Jesus required at that moment when he was speaking to the doctors of the Law much like the spiritual gifts of knowledge and wisdom in 1 Cor 12 (Acts 10:38) or his Father may have taught Jesus those things in anticipation that Jesus would need to know them in order to converse with the doctors of the Law. (John 7:16-17)

    But this creates the curious spectacle of God teaching Himself what He already knows. He subdivides His essence to enable an incarnation, gives Himself amnesia in the part He parceled out, and then provides the human self with data from the divine self. Moreover, Jesus definitely knew that He was God because He directly said so (e.g., Jn. 8:58; 10:30, 14:6). Did He ever wonder why He didn’t know everything since He was God? It never crossed His mind why He was limited in power (allegedly) if He were God? Limited people don’t think that they’re God unless they’re mentally deficient. But if God revealed to Him His deity, then He knew that He wasn’t speaking to “another”; He was actually speaking to Himself in some very odd arrangement. And this takes us back to your “acting” objection. For Christ is speaking of the Father as if He were another person even though Christ knew that He was the Father in flesh.

    Omniscience, by definition, cannot be limited because God, by definition, is infinite. No infinite thing can become finite, else it was not infinite to begin with. All finite existence is grounded in an infinite existence—existence which cannot not be. It’s not that God chooses to keep existing; He cannot go out of existence due to the necessity of His essence. That is also why God cannot sin or do anything contrary to His nature. To affirm otherwise is to ascribe finitude in God which is effective atheism. Such a being cannot be God. All finite assemblages are potential infinites and never true infinites because you can always add one more. A true infinite has no addition or subtraction. It is thus incoherent to affirm a finite infinite. It’s like affirming a square circle.

    If Jesus overcame sin and Satan using his own superhuman powers what hope is there for us? How is that an example that we can follow?

    What hope is there for us? His strength is our hope, and in Him we can overcome sin. The power to overcome sin is NOT in the flesh; it is in the Spirit. What Christ teaches us is that no man is capable of overcoming sin in himself (else we would not need God). We need Christ in our lives in order to be victorious over sin (via the Holy Ghost). Christianity isn’t some Schick Center where we learn to beat the habit of sin by conquering it in our own strength. We conquer it via the power of God.

    I agree that all things that God predetermined will come to pass without fail. That is the case with Jesus remaining sinless and dying on the cross for us. That does not mean that Jesus did not have the capacity to sin or the capacity to go against his Father’s will…God predetermined these things in accordance with his foreknowledge of the choices that Jesus would make. (Romans 8:28-29) IOW, God’s foreknowledge informed his decision to predetermine.

    And pursuant to my argument above, this is impossible if Christ is God. I will defer much of the explanation to your later metaphysical questions/arguments, but for now, if God could make part of Himself finite, then His essence is divisible as to potency/act and essence/existence. This would make God composite which means that He would be dependent on an actuating cause beyond Himself (all composites are caused beings) which would make Him finite in toto and not just the “part” incarnate. Since all composites depend on their parts for their existence, they are dependent by definition. And since the parts, individually, are not the whole, they are dependent on the other parts to form the whole. That means the whole enterprise is dependent. And since there is no perduring principle in any part (else it would be God), no assemblage of finite components can make something infinite.

    Thus far, you have not challenged my argument. You have rather countered by insisting that your interpretation of the Scriptures is superior to any argument I can offer outside the Scriptures. However, this appeal cannot work, as stated above, because you have neither established the legitimacy of the Scriptures you cite, nor have you demonstrated the superiority of your interpretation. It is not as if you’re on the side of the Bible and I am not. Indeed, I affirm a stronger biblical position (the Bible’s infallibility) and insist that my metaphysical argument is not discordant with the Scriptures. Thus, when something is impossible, even in principle, to be true, it must be discarded as false. And if the Bible is to be taken in any measure as a legitimate source for information, then the impossible must be eliminated in favor of an interpretation consistent with all the facts. That means that Christ cannot be God and have the capacity to sin or to fail.

    With respect to God’s foreknowledge informing His choices, you and I both believe in free will, but there’s a difference between God’s fitting our choices into His eternal plan and man’s determining or causing what God wills. But aside from that, your doctrine asserts that God could sin in the flesh which of course means that God could suffer the penalty for sin which is death. Thus, a part of God could sin and be excommunicated from God and go to hell. For if He could sin, then He could be lost. This clearly makes God divisible and a completely dependent creature who cannot be the ground of redemption for anybody, including Himself. And the possibility of God being condemned to hell by part of Himself is more akin to a Mormon conception of God than a biblical one.

    God could not possibly know what it is like to be human unless he became human himself.

    This is unsupported by argument. God created the eyes, the tastebuds, the ears, the nose, and the lungs. He created the nerve apparatuses and the informational systems, including the perceptive mind connected to a brain which experiences in detail those systems. He could hardly put those things together in such exquisite detail without knowing how they’re experienced. We know this because all creaturely perfections are in God eminently. Since He is not a creature, His perfection of being is not limited in any manner which means that there isn’t a univocal correspondence between human and divine perfection. We can only know analogically by reference to our limited being (because that’s all we can see) what God is infinitely. But pursuant to the principle of proportionate causality, one cannot give what one does not have, so God most definitely knows perfectly what every sentient being experiences. And He knows this in the knowledge of Himself.

    Even though he designed the eye to see and the ear to hear, God didn’t need eyes to see or ears to hear until he became human. (Ps 94:9)

    Well, actually, that’s not a prophecy. The tense is present in the original:

    He who planted the ear, does he not hear? He who formed the eye, does he not see?

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  120. Scalia Says:

    And here’s my next installment:

    If you truly believe that the person (the self/ the “I”) of Jesus Christ is God Almighty incarnate then how do you explain the biblical claims that Jesus did not know some things, or his having to learn and grow in wisdom? God Almighty is the giver of wisdom. He is omniscient. What happened when God became a man? Did he lose these attributes? Did him limit/restrict these attributes (as I affirm)?

    I’ve addressed all of this. And of course while you are certainly at liberty to disagree, it’s not as if I didn’t explain myself.

    We don’t say (normally) “Grandma’s flesh died,” but we say, “Grandma died”, even though we know that Grandma, herself, went on to be with the Lord and her physical, fleshly body will decompose in the grave. The same can be said of the Jesus when he died although his body did not decompose. Given that Jesus is God existing as a man, we can say that God died on the cross and that God experienced death. The only way that God could have experienced death was by becoming a man.

    And pursuant to what you quoted, I explained this as well. Jesus also explained that they who kill the body cannot kill the soul, and that whoever lives and believes in Him shall never die. So, in one sense, a person never dies, and in another sense, everybody dies in that the body will either eventually wear out or it will expire via disease, accident or criminal act.

    You seem to be arguing that Jesus’ experiencing food, sleep and wearing shoes means that God’s attributes are somehow suspended, eliminated or restricted, but that is an unargued conclusion. If God is transcendent, He cannot be “contained” in a spatial-temporal orbit, by definition. Thus, to “know” or “experience,” say, the taste of strawberries, involves no restriction whatsoever of His transcendence for if it did, He wouldn’t be transcendent. As contingent beings bound by dimension, we come to know things in linear progression. But since God is eternal, with no past or future, everything is now to God in the knowledge of Himself. There is no coming to know taste or sight. All that knowledge is eternally present with Him.

    It must have been extremely boring being alone for eternity with everything always the same. Perhaps that was what motivated God to create. There may have not been time as we know it in eternity but certainly there must have been a sequence to things as God designed creation in his mind

    God is incapable of getting bored. We get bored because of a deficiency in company or activity, but since God is infinite perfection, there is nothing lacking in Him; thus, there is nothing extrinsic to fulfill Him. If something extrinsic to God could fulfill Him, that would indicate an imperfection in God. His infiniteness guarantees self-sufficiency.

    Your projection of sequence into eternity is inconsistent. Recall that “eternal” isn’t “everlasting.” Eternity is without beginning and without ending. There is no start and finish in eternity. Asserting sequence in eternity is asserting a beginning and an ending for every sequential series which is inconsistent with eternity. Eternity is radically different from our experience, and that’s why it’s so easy to look at it in temporal terms. They simply do not apply to the eternal state.

    Does God changing his mind in response to prayer or repentence or our reasoning with Him mean that God is changing in some way? I don’t think so since His essence stays the same even if his mind changes.

    Well, your foot doesn’t move merely because your hand is moving, but that does not fully express what we mean by “change.” The fact that you move at all means that you have the capacity in your being to do something you weren’t doing previously (moving from one state of existence to another). In other words, in your being is the potential (potency) to be actualized (act) to exist in a particular way. That makes you an act/potency composite which necessitates an extrinsic cause. Since God has no extrinsic cause, He is entirely devoid of potency.

    The answer to prayer indicates no change in God whatsoever. We all know that no matter how much we pray and fast, there are some things that will never be given to us. Every Christian’s life is replete with “unanswered” prayers, and they cannot all be explained away as a defect of faith. They are not answered in our “favor” expressly because it isn’t God’s will to grant them. God from eternity knows every prayer, including every circumstance that would prompt our prayers and has decreed from eternity how His will unfolds in accordance with those prayers. And given that the future is present with God, there is no moving from non-act to act. God is Pure Act and in the eternal now, His eternal decree is always now. We index them temporally because we are bound by the dimension of time.

    Yes, classical theism is somewhat difficult to comprehend and I’m skeptical as to its Biblical value.

    It must be recalled that the Bible isn’t a metaphysical handbook, and classical theists have never claimed it to be. The Bible is a book about God’s glory in redemption. However, that doesn’t imply that metaphysics is discordant with biblical teaching. The oft-quoted verse from Romans 1:20 illustrates this:

    For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

    In other words, God tells us that to understand the mechanics of His nature or essence, we’re not to look to the Scriptures; we’re to look to His creation. God’s absolute oneness is understood via natural revelation. That is, man can, through unaided reason, conclude that there is only one God who is the ground of all contingent being. Man can understand by the things that are made that God is simple, eternal, unchanging, omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient and omnibenevolent. All of this is of course directly stated in the Scriptures, but the Bible doesn’t go into any detail. It merely declares it to be so while it unfolds God’s redemptive plan. God instead gives us the nuts and bolts by the witness of creation. Thus, it is perfectly valid to draw these conclusions through rational inquiry.

    Why are you adverse to saying that God can be immanent? Do you think that God always needs an intermediary to interact between himself and the world he created. I believe God is transcendent and immanent.

    That depends on what you mean by immanent. William Craig insists that if God “enters” time, He becomes temporal which means that change must be an intrinsic principle of God. This does not follow. Craig is presuppositionally equating “entering time” with “becoming contingent,” but that is question-begging at best. Pursuant to Rev. 13:8, the lamb was slain from the world’s foundation. We place the crucifixion around 30 AD, but it is present with God eternally. There is no reason to think that God’s eternal act (His being Pure Act) cannot be experienced by us lineally while God sees the same events eternally. The whirlwind, the pillar of cloud/fire and the incarnation are all simultaneously present before God, and His Spirit via eternal act operates therein simultaneously. We thus see the immanent/transcendent argument as a false dichotomy. We experience God temporally while He is always transcendent.

    What do you mean by “The Son is the consequent of God’s decree”? You are making your case based on that statement and I’m not sure what you mean by it. I think you are saying that the Son (Jesus) cannot know his second coming because he is only a man and not God (whom you understand to be the Father). Therefore, you do not believe that Jesus is God because if he were God, then he would know the time of his second coming

    Well, since I’ve stated on multiple occasions here and on many occasions in this blog that Jesus is God, I don’t know why you’d think that I deny Jesus’ deity. The “Son” is an office or a mode decreed by God to effect certain results. The mode is not God by definition. Rather, the person in the mode is God the Father, and Christ is not two persons. As the mode or the “Son” is the consequent of God’s eternal decree, so the second coming of the Son is the consequent of God’s eternal decree. It is not the mode’s decree or the mode’s knowledge qua mode (for no knowledge apart from God’s person is in the Son); it is solely in God.

    Please recall what I said to you initially. The doctrine of God in Christ comes via revelation. In many instances it is not clearly spelled out. Indeed, it is often intentionally obscured by language, and that is what drives most people to conclude that the Father and the Son have to be different persons. In fact, in order to make sense of certain statements of Jesus, you have adopted a functional personal pluralism between Jesus and the transcendent God. In other words, Jesus had to actually think that He was another person from God in order for Him to do and to say the things attributed to Him. But I don’t see it that way at all (obviously). Jesus often speaks of the Holy Spirit as another person (sometimes in unmistakable language), but the Bible also clearly refers to Him as the Holy Spirit, and He also explicitly identified Himself as that same Spirit. In the tabernacle, He is the sacrifice, He is the laver of washing, He is the lampstand, He is the shewbread, He is the incense, He is the veil, He is the mercy seat, etc. Regardless ones underlying template, harmonization must be performed. But the answer is not to multiply persons over our “knowledge” that a lion isn’t a lamb and a doorkeeper isn’t a door. The revelation of Jesus being God the Father manifest in flesh is deliberately written to “hide these things from the wise and the prudent,” so texts written that are difficult to decipher is to be expected. We’re just not authorized to offer interpretations that violate natural revelation.

    Even though the Son is God existing as a man, he didn’t know the time of his second coming because he was not omniscient in his human form and his Father had not revealed it to him. This is the only option available that affirms the divinity of Jesus Christ and at the same time explains how God became like us in every respect even to the point of not knowing his return.

    I addressed this. The terms “all” and “every” are not biblically absolute, and we can say that we know some things in one capacity that we didn’t know in another capacity. It is a feature of language to identify the source of knowledge and to acknowledge that such knowledge could not come from our other experiences or capacities.

    I can certainly acknowledge that amnesia (I am not using that term pejoratively) is a possible explanation, but that comes at the expense of natural revelation. As Sherlock Holmes said (now there’s a source), “When you have eliminated all which is impossible, then whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.” Now, I have tried to show why God’s becoming contingent is impossible. I’ll try to expand on this at this point in the next post, but space and time continue their constrictive ways. Moreover, since you are reading Aquinas, many of these issues will be explicated in greater detail.

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  121. Scalia Says:

    Final installment:

    mizpeh1, much of our disagreement revolves around the implications of the theological term immutability. All Christians affirm that principle to one degree or another pursuant to biblical passages like:

    Malachi 3
    6 For I am the Lord, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.

    James 1
    17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.

    Theistic personalists have argued that though God’s essence and promises are unchanging, He can clearly change in other respects like humans do, while classical theists counter that if God is that changeable, then He is merely a glorified human and could not, even in principle, be God at all. It thus appears evident that a thorough understanding of change is necessary in order to resolve the conflict.

    Recall that that change was a hotly debated topic in the ancient world. Like today, ancient philosophers argued various worldviews like nominalism and realism. Some argued that change was an illusion while others argued that permanence was an illusion. Aristotle identified principles of human thought in his logical treatises and applied them to reality. He described what is rationally permissible to say about reality and what is impermissible. And from that he was able to account for the change and permanence observed in the cosmos by identifying principles of being called act and potency. Potency is a range of possible effects inherent in a thing (its nature or essence) whereas the act of a thing is the existence resulting from the movement of potency to reality. It was this “movement” that was identified as “change.” Hence, when you read about movement or a mover in ancient philosophy, it helps to understand that philosophers are referring to change and not merely to local motion. Thus, anything that changes must both exist and have the capacity to exist in some measure other than what it currently is. In other words, everything that changes is a composite of act and potency.

    From that, it is evident that no potency can raise itself to act because potency, by definition, has no actuality or being. To insist otherwise would commit one to affirming that something can come from nothing or that something can cause itself. However, one would have to be in order to cause oneself which is a direct contradiction. If you already exist, then you don’t need to be caused in that respect. Thus, potency can only be raised to act by something in act—which means that the existence of a changing thing is given to it by something else. This is also based on the understanding that no composite can compose itself (self-causality, as shown, is a contradiction). And if the parts are composite, they too require an explanation beyond themselves (their potency needs extrinsic actualization). Since every composite’s ground is in something else, the explanation or ground for a composition is in something not composite—a purely simple being. In other words, a being devoid of potency or the capacity for change—Pure Act (actuality).

    Let’s look at a composite (C) composed of Parts A and B. From this we can see that the absence of either A or B means the automatic non-existence of C. C’s existence is directly dependent on the existence of A and B. For purposes of illustration, I’ll focus on A and say that A is also composed of A1 and A2. This means that if either A1 or A2 cease to exist, A ceases to exist. And if A ceases to exist, then C ceases to exist. We thus have the formula: C–>A–>A1 (focusing on A1 but applicable to A2). If we assume that A1 is the ground, then the series ends, but if A1 is composite (Say of A3 and A4), then it cannot be the end of the series. That would give us a contradiction (the ground isn’t the ground). So, if A1 is simple, then the series is grounded or adequately explained. But if A1 is composite, then its existence is grounded in something else. So, we now have C–>A–>A1–>A3, but it should be evident here that we are faced with the same dilemma. So long as the last member is composite, the series is not grounded. Thus, the “ending” point must be in something non-composite. Composite entities lack intrinsic existence and derive their existence from their parts. Composites do not exist until their parts exist. And just as an infinite number of zeros is still zero (infinity times zero is zero), a composite which is nothing without its parts is still nothing if its parts are infinitely composite. Composites can only exist when a non-composite grounds them.

    Also, the described series is concurrent. C is always dependent on A and B, and A and B are always dependent on their components. Only a simple being is not conditioned on something else. Only a simple being can exist through itself or have intrinsic existence. If all of reality is composite, then nothing could exist because the very condition for a composite’s existence would be unfulfilled. This concurrent causality is what Aquinas calls a per se (essentially ordered) causal series. It is a here and now causal chain as opposed to a per accidens causal chain. The latter is a series that is not concurrent (e.g., your parents were the proximate cause of your being but they do not cause your continued existence). A per accidens series could conceivably proceed to infinity (at least for argument’s sake) but an essentially ordered series is impossible to proceed to infinity for the above reasons.

    Now, to bring this back to the act/potency distinction, C’s potency to exist is actualized by A and B. A’s potency to exist is actualized by A3, etc. A transitioning (changing) from possible (potential) existence to actual existence must be occasioned by something that exists, but if that something is also an actualized potency, then the efficient cause of the series isn’t located; it can only rest in something without the potency to exist—that is, Pure Existence. Pure Existence cannot become further actuality by definition; hence, it is impossible for change to occur in a simple being. It cannot exist in a different way because it already exists in every way eminently. Pure Existence is unrestricted existence which is another way of saying that it is infinite existence. There is no state of being which it does not have.

    Another way of illustrating this is Aquinas’ oft-cited analogy of a hand which holds a stick which moves a stone. The stone’s movement is caused by the stick, and the stick’s movement is caused by the hand. Aquinas uses this for illustration purposes only to roughly show what a concurrent (a se) series is like. The stone’s potency to move is actualized by the stick, and the stick’s potency to push the stone is actualized by the hand. And yet, the hand’s potency to grip the stick is actualized by the muscles in the hand, etc. We can thus see that this series has so far identified instrumental causes for the movement, but the efficient cause has not been identified. There must be a point of origination for the series else the effect would not occur. This leads us to identify a proximate first cause in the mind of the person who decides to pick up a stick and to push a stone with it. However, the mind itself is caused to be since it too is a composite of act and potency. Thus, the ultimate efficient cause is something lacking the capacity to be moved (changed)—the First Mover.

    This is partly why any diminution of being, any change or any contingency in God is absolutely impossible, even in principle. If God could be altered in any measure, passive potency would be a principle of His existence which would make Him a composite being grounded in another. The “things that are made” teach us that changeable beings exist in specified ways and potentially in other ways. The order we observe corresponds with the order of our rational faculties which leads us to identify the causal principles upon which change and permanence occur. And those same causal principles direct us to the One who is eternally permanent and who cannot change. Thus, immutability doesn’t apply to God in the theistic personalist sense. Immutability refers to God’s absolutely unchangeable essence which is identical with God’s existence. Since God is infinite and we are finite, no finite language can adequately capture the infinite God. We are thus given accommodating language in the Bible to enable our relatability to Him. When the Bible tells us that God will cover us with His feathers, we are not to suppose that God is a bird. I like how Clement of Alexandria put it: “[D]eity cannot be described as it really is, but only as human beings, themselves fettered to the flesh, are capable of hearing; the prophets therefore adopted the language of anthropomorphism as saving concession to the weakness of human understanding.” Consequently, the incarnation involves no change in God whatsoever.

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  122. Carol McLaughlin Says:

    Hello Scalia,

    Thank you for your responses. I still have a second response to one your previous posts that I haven’t posted yet. But before I respond to your current posts, I would like to apologize if you felt insulted or if I have been disrespectful to you. My opinion of you is very high. You reworded some of my more disrespectful replies, which were unintentionally harsh, and I felt convicted by it. You’ve been exceedingly kind in all of your responses to me. I thank you for your excellent example of modeling Christian behavior. I will tone down my responses accordingly.

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  123. Carol McLaughlin Says:

    My response to post 119.

    You wrote ” To what end, then, is my citation of a fallible text? It cannot prove anybody wrong; it can only prove what I personally believe.”

    All of your points in this section are well taken and have given me much to think about. I have always understood the scriptures to be authorative and still do. I agree with 2 Tim 3:15-17. I will consider prayerfully what you have written.

    You wrote ” “We stopped first in El Paso. After a couple of days, we drove to Abilene. Three days later, we drove to Dallas where President Kennedy was shot and killed. We then drove to Huntsville, and at that time, we started our oil business. We then went to Port Arthur which completed our trip through Texas.”

    I am still struggling to understand your example and how it relates to Deut 10: 6-9. Would there be a contradiction if the timing and place in Numbers of the death and place of Aaron’s death disagreed? And if the place and time of the setting up of the Levites as ministers were different?

    The sequence that is given in Deut 10: 6-9 (from the NRSV) is Beeroth bene Jaakan, Moserah (Aaron died), Gudgodah, then Jotbathah–at that time the Lord set apart the tribe of Levi…

    The Lord set apart the tribe of Levi and the sons of Aaron much earlier than Jotbathah in Nu 33:15 the Levites were set apart in the wilderness of Sinai and their encampment at Jotbathah (Nu 33:33) came much later.

    Aaron died in Nu 33:38 on Mt. Hor, but in Deut 10:6 he died at Moserah.

    Are you saying that “at that time” refers to when the Lord set up the Levis to minister to him and is not the same time as Aaron died since he died later at Mt Hor (Nu 33:38-39) after leaving Jotbathah. But Deut 10:6 has Aaron dying at Moserah before their arrival at Jotbathah?

    I feel totally lost in trying to understand how your example fits in with Deut 10: 6-9, except that I think you are trying to say that sometime during the trip, the Lord set up the Levites to minister, and it was not the time that Aaron died. Please don’t feel that you have to try to explain it to me again so that I will understand your point and see that there is no contradiction. I think it would be futile at the moment. Maybe I’ll see your point after I step away from this for a time.

    I would also add that I think the tense of the words should not be written in the past tense but in the future (the deaths of Moses and JFK) unless you believe the writer of Deut 10:6-19 to be from the future and is looking back at the journey of the Israelites as you did on your trip to Texas.

    I’m sorry to have to throw out more “inconsistencies” that look like contradictions to me.

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  124. Scalia Says:

    Hello again, Sis. Carol. No need to apologize, and thank you for your very kind words. Earnest advocacy doesn’t bother me at all. Two things really, really get under my skin: misrepresenting what I’m arguing and dishonesty (both of course are related). You’ve done none of those things. You intelligently present your views, and you argue in good faith. I have utmost respect for honest interlocutors regardless my level of disagreement with them, and that means I have the utmost respect for you.

    I regret to say that it will again be some time before I can respond. My window for replies is infrequent, and even when I get some time, I have to proceed at warp speed. I do pledge, however, to eventually reply as time permits.

    In Christian love,
    Scalia

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  125. mizpeh1 Says:

    Thank you for your gracious reply. Whenever you have some time to respond is fine by me. Absolutely no rush.

    Response to post 120

    You wrote “I have to very respectfully and reluctantly disagree. How can we trust everything that is even a minor variant or inconsistency when Mt 5:18 if every jot and tittle will be fulfilled? You are broadening your scope as to what is acceptable, but I don’t think it can put under the umbrella of inerrancy.

    Respectfully, I’m not following your argument at all. We can either trust the Bible or we cannot. If the entire Bible is suspect because a jot or tittle here or there may be inconsistent, then as I stated above, there is no point trying to argue anything from it (as if it could settle any dispute).”

    My point is where do you draw the line? If you don’t want to draw it with every jot and tittle that Jesus said would be fulfilled, then what is acceptable to you?

    “Anybody who takes your position is obligated to announce ahead of time that everything you cite from the Bible is merely your subjective opinion because none of it is infallible (immune to error).”

    Is Infallibility the same as inerrancy?

    From the internet- “Biblical infallibility is the belief that what the Bible says regarding matters of faith and Christian practice is wholly useful and true. It is the “belief that the Bible is completely trustworthy as a guide to salvation and the life of faith and will not fail to accomplish its purpose.”

    I agree with this statement from the internet when I googled ‘is the Bible infallible’. I agree that the Bible is inspired by God as well. 2 Tim 3:16 I’m not so sure about inerrancy. Yet I don’t believe that the entire Bible is inerrant.

    “Moreover, there isn’t a reasonable doubt about jots and tittles. And since you read Bahnsen’s arguments, I won’t bother to repeat them here. Given the plethora of available copies, it’s not difficult to decipher the original reading from a corrupt one.”

    If GNT scholars can decipher the original reading and translate it into English, which one is it? I will only read that version.

    “For example, Mark 16:9-20 is missing in the oldest manuscript, Codex Vaticanus. However, the blank space in said codex is the exact size of the verses had they been present. Moreover, thousands of later copies of Mark from a wide geographical area contain said verses, “church fathers” predating said codex quote from said verses, and translations into other languages which predate Vaticanus also contain them. Thus, there is no reasonable doubt that Mark 16:9-20 is the genuine completion of the gospel of Mark.”

    Thanks for this on Mark 16.

    “In all candor, mizpeh1, if I did not believe that the Bible is immune to error, then I’d never quote it as a means of resolving conflict. There is no rational counter to, “It’s possible that what you’re quoting is not what the original said or is flat out mistaken.” I’d have to rely on better arguments.”

    I’m truly not going out looking for errors in the Bible. I want to finish Boyd’s book, Inspired Imperfection” and continue to seek God about these things and get back to you on this subject later.

    “Joshua 3:3 and commanded the people, “When you see the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God being carried by the Levitical priests, then you shall set out from your place. Follow it.”

    This verse states that the priests carry the ark of the covenant when Joshua led the Israelites. Numbers 4:5-15 states that specifically the sons of Kohath are to carry the ark.

    “Deut 21:5 Then the priests, the sons of Levi, shall come forward, for the Lord your God has chosen them to minister to him and to pronounce blessings in the name of the Lord, and by their decision all cases of dispute and assault shall be settled.”

    . “Since the priests are from the Tribe of Levi, it makes sense to call them Levitical priests. For example, when I say, “Irish Catholics,” I am not saying that all Catholics are Irish. If the only Catholics in the world were Irish, then though all Catholics are Irish, not all Irish are Catholics. Similarly, since the tabernacle priests were Aaron’s offspring from the tribe of Levi only, then all priests were Levites by definition. It does not follow that all Levites were priests. Thus, the priests were the sons of Levi and they were all “Levitical.” That does nothing to establish the priesthood of every Levite.”

    This was my argument as well when the person I was discussing this first brought it up to me. It was the first time I had ever heard of two priestly traditions, Aaronic vs the Levitical, priests. We were discussing Malache 2-3:1. One thing led to another. He convinced me otherwise.

    You wrote- “2 Sam 8:18 Benaiah son of Jehoiada was over the Cherethites and the Pelethites; and David’s sons were priests.
    Please note the wording of the companion verse out of 1 Chron. 18:17…
    And Benaiah the son of Jehoiada was over the Cherethites and the Pelethites, and the sons of David were first at the king’s hand.
    Moreover, the Jews understand 2 Sam. 8:18 to be “chief officers,” which is apparently the original meaning of the term “kohen” (priest). We read the same thing from 1 Kings 4:5,
    And Azariahu the son of Nathan (was) over the officers, and Zabud the son of Nathan (was) principal officer, (the Hebrew word used here is “kohen” (priest)) and the king’s friend.”

    I agree. I didn’t realize there was more than one meaning to “kohen”. Thank you.

    You wrote: “The mistake your friend made is due to his apparent ignorance of the multiple meanings of kohen.” No, I’m sure he didn’t make a mistake. He didn’t say anything about it when I mentioned it. He has advanced degrees in Hebrew and Greek. He works as a researcher at a seminary and an editor. He could have explained what you just did when I expressed my dismay that David had made his sons priests. I have no doubt that he could have done so.

    I’m going to drop discussing conflicting, contradicting things in the Bible for now, if you don’t mind.

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  126. mizpeh1 Says:

    My response to post 121

    You quoted this: “My argument is from Hebrews 2:14-18 which I had posted below. God had to become like us in every respect. (Heb 2:17). He did not become a superhuman. He became human.

    I addressed this above. Your reply does not engage my argument.”

    Which post has your response to the above?

    “And on this point we fundamentally disagree. God no more “became” flesh than He “stretched out His hand” to Israel. God had no literal hand to stretch out. That’s an anthropomorphism to accommodate human understanding”

    I think we agree.

    You wrote-“God was definitely in the body of Jesus (to wit, God was in Christ—2 Cor. 5:19), but Christ’s body was not divine flesh; it was the seed of Abraham (Heb. 2:16) which by definition is not God in any way, shape or form.”

    I never stated that Christ’s body was divine flesh. I don’t even know what that would mean. It certainly isn’t what Heb 2:14-18 is saying, either. Jesus is the Word, God, become flesh. John 1:14. God became flesh as a baby in the womb of Mary. Jesus was indwelled by the Father (John 14:11) and the person of Jesus is God as well.
    Jesus is God existing as a man.

    You wrote: “Moreover, since the Bible isn’t immune to error (according to you), any passage you quote in support of the idea that God “became” flesh could be mistaken. And since it could be mistaken (erroneous), it is not an authority to settle a dispute. Your hermeneutical approach undermines your argument because the platform upon which you build your argument lacks the capacity to justify your argument. Since any incarnational passage is subject to error, it is inconsistent at best to assert it.”

    I am treating the Bible as authorative despite my claims that there are errors. (at least in the OT). Not everything in the Bible is an error.

    You wrote-“But this creates the curious spectacle of God teaching Himself what He already knows. He subdivides His essence to enable an incarnation, gives Himself amnesia in the part He parceled out, and then provides the human self with data from the divine self”

    I wouldn’t call it amnesia but a functional kenosis. It helps to explain how God existing as a man can truly become like us in every way which includes a self- imposed restriction on his omni attributes and prior memories. It definitely is a curiosity or biblically, it would be called a mystery.

    I also wouldn’t say that he is dividing his essence or his “self” in the incarnation, either, although it looks that way to us.

    You wrote- “Moreover, Jesus definitely knew that He was God because He directly said so (e.g., Jn. 8:58; 10:30, 14:6). Did He ever wonder why He didn’t know everything since He was God? It never crossed His mind why He was limited in power (allegedly) if He were God? Limited people don’t think that they’re God unless they’re mentally deficient. But if God revealed to Him His deity, then He knew that He wasn’t speaking to “another”; He was actually speaking to Himself in some very odd arrangement.”

    Jesus knew that he was God because his Father revealed it to him, not because he experientially knew it since he didn’t have access to his prior memories before his incarnation nor did he have access to his omni powers. He became like us. He did not pretend to be like us. He grew up as a human would. Jesus knew he was speaking to another and not himself when he prayed because of his limitations in his existence as a man. Yes, it is an odd arrangement. It is difficult to relate to because we cannot exist in two distinct ways at the same time. But God can and does exist in in two distinct forms.

    You wrote-“And this takes us back to your “acting” objection. For Christ is speaking of the Father as if He were another person even though Christ knew that He was the Father in flesh”

    Christ knowing that his identity is the same as the Father is different from him experientially knowing himself as the Father.

    You wrote-“Omniscience, by definition, cannot be limited because God, by definition, is infinite. No infinite thing can become finite, else it was not infinite to begin with. All finite existence is grounded in an infinite existence—existence which cannot not be. It’s not that God chooses to keep existing; He cannot go out of existence due to the necessity of His essence. That is also why God cannot sin or do anything contrary to His nature. To affirm otherwise is to ascribe finitude in God which is effective atheism. Such a being cannot be God. All finite assemblages are potential infinites and never true infinites because you can always add one more. A true infinite has no addition or subtraction. It is thus incoherent to affirm a finite infinite. It’s like affirming a square circle.”

    Classical theism—let it go when it doesn’t agree with what the scriptures say about Jesus. God is infinite and finite at the same time when he became flesh (human). God became omniscient and not omniscient at the same time when he became human. Maybe you should change your view on what God can be by harmonizing it with the scriptures. God is not an oxymoron.

    You wrote -“What hope is there for us? His strength is our hope, and in Him we can overcome sin. The power to overcome sin is NOT in the flesh; it is in the Spirit. What Christ teaches us is that no man is capable of overcoming sin in himself (else we would not need God). We need Christ in our lives in order to be victorious over sin (via the Holy Ghost). Christianity isn’t some Schick Center where we learn to beat the habit of sin by conquering it in our own strength. We conquer it via the power of God.”

    Exactly!!! Jesus is our example because he is human like we are. We are his disciples who follow his teachings and his example. Jesus lived a truly human life and did exactly what you just described in your paragraph above. His sufficiency, his ability to overcome, his reliance… all came from his Father who was dwelling in him. We need to follow that example.
    I’ve never heard of a “Schick Center”.

    It will have to finish answering post 121 in part 2.

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  127. mizpeh1 Says:

    Part 2 to post 121

    Hello Scalia,

    I have to ask a bunch of questions to ask in order to understand what you are saying…

    You wrote-“And pursuant to my argument above, this is impossible if Christ is God. I will defer much of the explanation to your later metaphysical questions/arguments, but for now, if God could make part of Himself finite…”

    Maybe your start is incorrect in that you state God could make “part of himself finite”. What would that look like? Do you think God took a portion his essence to make finite. Or it could mean some of his person became finite but not his essence. Do you make a distinction between essence and person as trinitarians do?

    I would not say that God took a “part” of himself. I’m not sure how the incarnation happened. But an egg from Mary was certainly involved as was the “self or person” of God. What came from God was all of his fulness or everything that makes God to be God. I don’t know how to put that in classical theistic terms.

    You wrote: “then His essence is divisible as to potency/act and essence/existence.” Could you explain this to me? Are you saying that to become finite, God’s essence and existence (are these two different things?) and his potency and actuality (are these two different things?) would both be divided? Which would be similar to taking a piece of apple pie away from the whole pie?

    You wrote: “This would make God composite which means that He would be dependent on an actuating cause beyond Himself (all composites are caused beings) which would make Him finite in toto and not just the “part” incarnate.”

    Why would becoming a man affect God in his natural existence? It definitely affects him in his existence as a man but not in his natural existence as God. His existence as a man was something that was caused and not the other way around.

    You wrote: “Since all composites depend on their parts for their existence, they are dependent by definition.”

    Are you that God’s qualities are all the same? Why are qualities dependent? Does that mean that without a certain quality God would not be God? What would someone consider to be a part of God? Would that be like facets of a diamond? Or properties of a element like Iron? I have to understand what you mean before I can give a meaningful response.

    You wrote: “And since the parts, individually, are not the whole, they are dependent on the other parts to form the whole. That means the whole enterprise is dependent.”

    Oh. Please describe the parts to me. Are these parts, his mind, will, and other qualities? If these qualities weren’t parts before God became incarnate, why are they after he became incarnate and remained transcendent?

    You wrote: “And since there is no perduring principle in any part (else it would be God), no assemblage of finite components can make something infinite.”

    What are you saying? By “assemblage of finite components” are you speaking of the man, Jesus Christ, who is the incarnation of God?

    You wrote: “Thus far, you have not challenged my argument. You have rather countered by insisting that your interpretation of the Scriptures is superior to any argument I can offer outside the Scriptures.”

    The lack of scriptural support of your argument from a classical theist POV is the best argument I can give you, imo.

    “However, this appeal cannot work, as stated above, because you have neither established the legitimacy of the Scriptures you cite, nor have you demonstrated the superiority of your interpretation.”

    My interpretation is that God became human in every respect becoming like us. Jesus’ words about his reliance and dependence on God for his doctrine and works (miracles, healings, delivering from demon possession) and his growth in knowledge and wisdom in the gospel of John attest to the fact that he became like us. His having to pray to the Father as other than himself concur as well. Despite my struggle with what I see as contradictory passages in the OT, these do not affect my belief that God inspired the scriptures. See this article for a better defense:
    https://thinkingtobelieve.com/2011/12/22/resurrection-and-inerrancy/

    You wrote: “It is not as if you’re on the side of the Bible and I am not. Indeed, I affirm a stronger biblical position (the Bible’s infallibility) and insist that my metaphysical argument is not discordant with the Scriptures. Thus, when something is impossible, even in principle, to be true, it must be discarded as false. And if the Bible is to be taken in any measure as a legitimate source for information, then the impossible must be eliminated in favor of an interpretation consistent with all the facts.”

    YOU say it is impossible. I think you are constrained by the classical theistic box you have put yourself in.

    You wrote, “That means that Christ cannot be God and have the capacity to sin or to fail.”

    Christ is God. Christ cannot be human if he does not have the capacity to sin. The temptation was just an act.

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  128. mizpeh1 Says:

    I would also add that his example given for us of overcoming temptation with the sword of the Spirit (scripture) would be a farce. If Jesus didn’t have the capacity to sin, like we do, then what is the purpose of his temptation?

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  129. mizpeh1 Says:

    Response to post 121
    part 3

    You wrote, “With respect to God’s foreknowledge informing His choices, you and I both believe in free will, but there’s a difference between God’s fitting our choices into His eternal plan and man’s determining or causing what God wills. But aside from that, your doctrine asserts that God could sin in the flesh which of course means that God could suffer the penalty for sin which is death. Thus, a part of God could sin and be excommunicated from God and go to hell. For if He could sin, then He could be lost. This clearly makes God divisible and a completely dependent creature who cannot be the ground of redemption for anybody, including Himself. And the possibility of God being condemned to hell by part of Himself is more akin to a Mormon conception of God than a biblical one.”

    This is a moot point because Jesus never sinned.

    You wrote, “This is unsupported by argument. God created the eyes, the tastebuds, the ears, the nose, and the lungs. He created the nerve apparatuses and the informational systems, including the perceptive mind connected to a brain which experiences in detail those systems. He could hardly put those things together in such exquisite detail without knowing how they’re experienced. We know this because all creaturely perfections are in God eminently. Since He is not a creature, His perfection of being is not limited in any manner which means that there isn’t a univocal correspondence between human and divine perfection. We can only know analogically by reference to our limited being (because that’s all we can see) what God is infinitely. But pursuant to the principle of proportionate causality, one cannot give what one does not have, so God most definitely knows perfectly what every sentient being experiences. And He knows this in the knowledge of Himself.

    Even though he designed the eye to see and the ear to hear, God didn’t need eyes to see or ears to hear until he became human. (Ps 94:9)”

    Once again, God does not have experiential knowledge of seeing through human eyes, hearing with human ears, feeling pain when injured, or eating/drinking with human taste buds, or touching with human hands, or death prior to his incarnation. It is not the same experience. God understands it in principle but not in practice (experience).

    Just as we cannot know what it is like to be God, God cannot know what it is like to be human unless he experiences it. Since we are at an impasse, we will have to agree to disagree.

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  130. mizpeh1 Says:

    Sorry, I mistakenly included something I wrote within quotes for your response.

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  131. mizpeh1 Says:

    Response to post 122
    Part 1

    You wrote: “You seem to be arguing that Jesus’ experiencing food, sleep and wearing shoes means that God’s attributes are somehow suspended, eliminated or restricted, but that is an unargued conclusion. If God is transcendent, He cannot be “contained” in a spatial-temporal orbit, by definition. Thus, to “know” or “experience,” say, the taste of strawberries, involves no restriction whatsoever of His transcendence for if it did, He wouldn’t be transcendent.”

    I agree that God is transcendent to his incarnation.

    “As contingent beings bound by dimension, we come to know things in linear progression. But since God is eternal, with no past or future, everything is now to God in the knowledge of Himself. ”

    This is from Jason Dulle’s artilce, “Does God Know When Now Is?: Revisiting God’s Relationship to Time” Does God Know When Now Is?: Revisiting God’s Relationship to Time

    “The implications of divine timelessness are abundant. Among other things it means God is within the same flow of time you and I are: He understands and experiences chronology and succession, and knows that this moment is “now” as opposed to “then.” This does not limit His knowledge to the present and past (as in openness theology), but it does show that His knowledge of temporal relations is not incommensurate to our own.

    God’s relationship to time may be best summarized by Jude’s doxology: “To the only God our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, power, and authority, before all time, and now, and for all eternity.” (Jude 25, NET Bible)”

    I agree with all of this except the “(as in openness theology)”.
    Do you agree with Jason’ s statement? It doesn’t sound like you would.

    You wrote, “There is no coming to know taste or sight. All that knowledge is eternally present with Him.”

    I still disagree. 🙂

    You wrote: “Eternity is radically different from our experience, and that’s why it’s so easy to look at it in temporal terms. They simply do not apply to the eternal state.”

    I admit I have trouble understanding that there is no sequence to God’s thoughts. I would think he would know there was a point in which he started thinking about creating thus, there was a before and after that point.
    God sees the whole panorama of time, past, present, future, before him currently and he also sees the sequence of events. He knows the events that have happened, the events that are happening, and those events that will happen. Is this what you mean?

    Does God changing his mind in response to prayer or repentence or our reasoning with Him mean that God is changing in some way? I don’t think so since His essence stays the same even if his mind changes.

    You wrote, “The fact that you move at all means that you have the capacity in your being to do something you weren’t doing previously (moving from one state of existence to another). In other words, in your being is the potential (potency) to be actualized (act) to exist in a particular way. That makes you an act/potency composite which necessitates an extrinsic cause. Since God has no extrinsic cause, He is entirely devoid of potency.”

    If this is so, then it would be impossible for God to become a man (scratch out John 1:14 in your Bible). Even though God has no extrinsic cause, he had the potenial/potency to become a man. God is the extrinsic cause of himself becoming a man. Does this disagree with what you believe?

    “The answer to prayer indicates no change in God whatsoever. We all know that no matter how much we pray and fast, there are some things that will never be given to us. Every Christian’s life is replete with “unanswered” prayers, and they cannot all be explained away as a defect of faith. They are not answered in our “favor” expressly because it isn’t God’s will to grant them. God from eternity knows every prayer, including every circumstance that would prompt our prayers and has decreed from eternity how His will unfolds in accordance with those prayers. And given that the future is present with God, there is no moving from non-act to act. God is Pure Act and in the eternal now, His eternal decree is always now. We index them temporally because we are bound by the dimension of time.”

    Then it is impossible to change God’s mind because everything is settled, right now even though the future hasn’t actually happened. Why pray? and why does the Bible depict God as changing his mind by prayer?

    You wrote: “In other words, God tells us that to understand the mechanics of His nature or essence, we’re not to look to the Scriptures; we’re to look to His creation. God’s absolute oneness is understood via natural revelation. That is, man can, through unaided reason, conclude that there is only one God who is the ground of all contingent being. Man can understand by the things that are made that God is simple, eternal, unchanging, omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient and omnibenevolent. All of this is of course directly stated in the Scriptures, but the Bible doesn’t go into any detail. It merely declares it to be so while it unfolds God’s redemptive plan. God instead gives us the nuts and bolts by the witness of creation. Thus, it is perfectly valid to draw these conclusions through rational inquiry.”

    When an aspect of natural theism is contrary to scripture, then it must be discarded or reworked.

    You wrote, “We experience God temporally while He is always transcendent.”

    Didn’t God become immanent during the incarnation and remains so even now as a resurrected human in heaven?

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  132. mizpeh1 Says:

    In post 133 I quoted part of the conclusion from Jason’s article on his Oneness Pentecostal website, Does God Know When Now Is?: Revisiting God’s Relationship to Time.

    The implications of divine timelessness are abundant. Among other things it means God is within the same flow of time you and I are: He understands and experiences chronology and succession, and knows that this moment is “now” as opposed to “then.”

    I think he might have meant to say “the implications of divine omnitemporality” and not “divine timelessness”.

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