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iam1me

Jesus is not God Almighty himself

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atpollard
8 hours ago, Just Mike said:

I ask my self why a person who holds such unorthodox views, say nothing about attacking the divinity of Jesus Christ would want to be here on CF.

Well, yanking the chain of a bunch of up tight, ultra-Orthodox Christians is sort of entertaining. 🙂

 

Edited by atpollard

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Faber

 Kinda like meeting a bunch of Jehovah's Witnesses and saying, "Isn't it great to worship Jesus" - stir the pot.

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rrobsr
On 8/19/2018 at 5:29 PM, Knotical said:

John 1:1  That is all.

John 1:1,

 

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

 

The words in the Greek texts do not always follow the same order as they do in our English translations. In particular, the last phrase in John 1:1, “and the Word was God” is written as “and God was the Word” (και θεος ην ο λογος) in the Greek texts. The reader should note that while the English translation of this phrase begins with the “Word,” the Greek original texts begins with the word “God.” Also noteworthy is the fact that both translations use the definite article associated with the word “Word” while there is no definite article used with the word “God.” With that in mind, I submit the following:

 

"...the fact that the word ‘God’ is used first in the sentence actually shows some emphasis that this Logos (Word) was in fact God in its nature.  However, since it does not have the definite article, it does indicate that this Word was not the same ‘person’ as the Father God, but has the same ‘essence’ and ‘nature’."

 

https://www.ntgreek.org/answers/answer-frame-john1_1.htm

 

I think that is accurate. I see no argument from the scriptures that would indicate that Jesus does not have the nature of God. Indeed, they say quite the opposite in many places. Jesus certainly does share the same essence or nature as his father. But is that unique to them? Not at all. A cat, a dog, or a human certainly has the nature of its father, yet none are there own father. In each case they are two entirely separate individuals, despite having identical essences or natures. Having the same nature does not make the two somehow one and the same.

 

One thing is clear, John 1:1 does not say, "In the beginning was Jesus, and Jesus was with God, and Jesus was God." Let's just stick with what it does actually say for now.

 

Fast forward to verse 14, a verse used by many to prove that the “word” of John 1:1 is synonymous with Jesus.

 

John 1:14,

 

And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

 

While tradition says that this verse proves that God became flesh, John 1:14 doesn’t really say that at all. It doesn't say God became flesh, it says the word became flesh. John further clarified this point in his first epistle.

 

1 John 1:1-2,

 

1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life;

2 (For the life was manifested, and we have seen [it], and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;)

 

It says that eternal life was with God, not Jesus.

 

As I pointed out, so far there is nothing that implicitly says the logos was God. True, it was God like in nature, but not God himself. So it is saying that this logos, which had a godly nature became flesh. By simply reading what is written without preconceived ideas, John 1:14 says it was the word that became flesh, not God.

 

This agrees perfectly with the first two verses in the book of Hebrews.

 

Heb 1:1-2,

 

1 God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,

2 Hath in these last days spoken unto us by [his] Son (i.e. when the word became flesh, John 1:14), whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom (dia + gen, Jesus was indirect agent) also he made the worlds (aionas, agrees with Col 1:16);

 

Jesus was another way that God communicated His Word to mankind. Before that Word was made flesh it was in the form of words spoken by the prophets to the Jews. But Jesus, who always did his Father's will, was such a perfect representation of God's Word that it could indeed be said that the Word manifested itself in the form of flesh. Still we are talking about the "Word" becoming flesh, not "God" becoming flesh.

 

Instead of simply substituting the word “Jesus” for the word “word,”  let's look at this word "logos" which is the Greek word translated as “word.” It is a word that simply cannot be translated or understood by a simple 5 or 6 word definition. We need to see what popped in the mind of the first century Greek reader when he or she came across this word “logos.” After all, the Bible was not written last year in New York or Los Angeles. We need to have some understanding of how they saw things 2,000 years ago in the Middle East.

 

Part of the definition of logos in Abbott-Smith's Manual Greek Lexicon of the New Testament is:

 

"a word, not in the grammatical sense of a mere name (ἔπος, ὄνομα, ῥῆμα), but a word as embodying a conception or idea:"

 

The Encyclopedia Britannica says the following:

 

“Logos, (Greek: “word,” “reason,” or “plan”) plural logoi, in Greek philosophy and theology, the divine reason implicit in the cosmos, ordering it and giving it form and meaning.”

 

The New American Standard Greek Lexicon gives the following as the primary meaning of the word logos:

 

“a word, uttered by a living voice, embodies a conception or idea”

 

Clearly, to the 1st century Greeks, logos meant much more than simply a "word." It involved the thinking process behind the speaker when they spoke. It involved the reasoning behind that which they spoke. The logos can be thought of as a plan, or a blueprint. So John 1:1 is speaking of a plan that God had in the beginning. Why did God need a plan and what did that plan involve? The plan of redemption.

 

The first Adam screwed things up. Of that there is no doubt. Well, God wanted to make things right again so He came up with a plan. Have you ever wondered why God just didn't come down to earth right after Adam and Eve sinned, wave a magic wand and make everything right again? The answer is simple. He couldn't! When he made Adam He gave him dominion (Gen 1:26). One of the biggest lies too many Christians have fallen prey to is that God is in charge of worldly affairs. That is simply not true. Man was in charge. A man got us into the mess and a man would have to get us out of the mess. That is where Jesus enters the plan of redemption. When God clothed Adam and Eve with animal skins He was giving the first hint that to fix the problem somebody would have to shed blood and die. Jesus, being a man, could die. God can't die. That idea borders on blasphemy.

 

Adam was born sinless, but he had free will and he committed sin and therefore lost his innocence. That caused sin and death to enter the picture (Rom 5:12). We all inherited Adam's tainted blood so we all die. Here's the brilliance of God's plan, the logos of John 1:1:

 

He planted seed in Mary's womb. The result of that was the for the second time in all history, a man was born with innocent blood. That is why Jesus came into this world as a lamb from the flock (I.e. human beings) without blemish. But he had free will just like the first Adam. He could have disobeyed God at any point in his life in which case we would still be waiting for redemption. Not only was Jesus born without sin, but he remained so for his entire life. He started as the lamb without blemish and he kept it until the very end. Was he not tempted in all point like you and I? That what Hebrews 4:15 claims. When you are tempted, do you have any sense of being God? Of course not. Then if Jesus was tempted LIKE AS WE ARE, then neither did he think he was God.

 

Because he remained sinless by his own free will, death was not able to hold onto him. That is why he conquered death. The scriptures are clear that Christians, through believing (not works) are identified with Jesus' baptism, death, resurrection and ascension. Ephesians declares that at this very moment we are seating with Christ at the right of God (Eph 2:6).

 

At least do your own study on the word "logos." Don't believe a thing I've told you, but don't believe the tradition started by Pagans who infiltrated the early church with their Pagan ideas of a god becoming man. Figure it out on your own. Making Jesus God obliterates the truly fantastic story of redemption. It makes a Hi-Def colour movie into a grainy black and white debacle. One will never be able to understand the true greatness of God's plan  (the logos) nor the heroic effort of Jesus in loving both God and his fellow man as long as Jesus is made into God. It ruins the whole story.  Having believed the trinity for many years, I've seen it from both sides so I know the difference.

 

God bless...

 

 

 

Edited by rrobsr

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rrobsr
On 8/19/2018 at 5:43 PM, Knotical said:

Jesus is not being called God, He is God.  Period.  Scripture repeatedly points to this.  He is God the Son.  Within the hierarchy of the Godhead, He is at the right hand of God the Father.

1Cor 8:6,

But to us [there is but] one God, the Father, of whom [are] all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom [are] all things, and we by him.

 

Even if there was a so called "God the Son" mentioned in the scriptures (which of course there isn't), he still wouldn't be God.

 

Clearly, as you've stated, Jesus was the son of God. In the real world, someone would be considered insane for suggesting they were their own father. God is the author of knowledge, of wisdom, of logic. Trying to say that someone can be their own father is as far from logic as one can get. God is insane. He knows perfectly well the difference between a father and a son. How in the world the devil got so many Christians to abandon that simple truth is beyond my comprehension. Then again, I myself fell for the lie for many years. I just thank God someone came along and knocked some sense into  me. I can tell you this, the Bible story becomes alive in a way that it never could when one so mis-characterizes the leading character as to make a man into a god. That is a completely Pagan assertion. Don't believe me? Google Constantine and the Council of Nicaea. I think you will see that Constantine was the Pagan Roman emperor who, declaring himself a god, decided that Jesus should also be a god. He was the one who basically ran the Council of Nicaea from whence we got the damnable lie of the trinity.

 

God bless...

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rrobsr
On 8/21/2018 at 2:05 PM, atpollard said:

(In case the OP comes back, I have no problem addressing his points head on.)

 

What is Jesus if not God?

 

He is not an Angel:

[Hebrews 1:4-14 NIV]

4 So he became as much superior to the angels as the name he has inherited is superior to theirs. 5 For to which of the angels did God ever say, "You are my Son; today I have become your Father"? Or again, "I will be his Father, and he will be my Son"? 6 And again, when God brings his firstborn into the world, he says, "Let all God's angels worship him." 7 In speaking of the angels he says, "He makes his angels spirits, and his servants flames of fire." 8 But about the Son he says, "Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever; a scepter of justice will be the scepter of your kingdom. 9 You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions by anointing you with the oil of joy." 10 He also says, "In the beginning, Lord, you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. 11 They will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like a garment. 12 You will roll them up like a robe; like a garment they will be changed. But you remain the same, and your years will never end." 13 To which of the angels did God ever say, "Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet"? 14 Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?

 

To the ancient Jew the word "god" meant anybody with power and authority. Moses was called a god to Pharaoh (Ex 7:1), the judges were called god (Ex 22:28), Jesus called the Jews gods (John 10:34-35). The devil is even called a god (2 Cor 4:4). I certainly wouln't consider it a stretch to say Jesus had power and authority, thereby giving him the adjective of god. 

 

How do you explain verse 9 of Hebrews 1, which you yourself quoted,

 

You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions by anointing you with the oil of joy."

 

If Jesus were God almighty, then God almighty has a God! Who in the world (or in the heavens) would that be? Jesus was called the son of God about 50 times. Not once was he called God the Son. To make a son his own father requires one to completely abandon the meaning of simple words and concepts. If God did that in one place, how do you know He didn't do it an other places? You couldn't know that. That means the whole book becomes nothing less that a fairy tale, mythic, nonsensical, and otherwise book filled with insane ideas. That's not my Bible! Mine makes sense. Praise God for the simplicity of His wonderful, matchless word!

 

God bless.

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Guest William
36 minutes ago, rrobsr said:

One thing is clear, John 1:1 does not say, "In the beginning was Jesus, and Jesus was with God, and Jesus was God." Let's just stick with what it does actually say for now.

Clearly an allusion to Genesis 1 is being made.

 

Also, it is equally clear that In the beginning (allusion) the Word was distinct from God and the Word was God. 

 

John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

 

Lastly, @rrobsr to bring this to your attention we are a Nicene community board not open to those which reject the truths conveyed from Scripture through the Nicene Creed.

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Knotical
42 minutes ago, rrobsr said:

John 1:1,

 

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

 

The words in the Greek texts do not always follow the same order as they do in our English translations. In particular, the last phrase in John 1:1, “and the Word was God” is written as “and God was the Word” (και θεος ην ο λογος) in the Greek texts. The reader should note that while the English translation of this phrase begins with the “Word,” the Greek original texts begins with the word “God.” Also noteworthy is the fact that both translations use the definite article associated with the word “Word” while there is no definite article used with the word “God.” With that in mind, I submit the following:

 

"...the fact that the word ‘God’ is used first in the sentence actually shows some emphasis that this Logos (Word) was in fact God in its nature.  However, since it does not have the definite article, it does indicate that this Word was not the same ‘person’ as the Father God, but has the same ‘essence’ and ‘nature’."

 

https://www.ntgreek.org/answers/answer-frame-john1_1.htm

 

I think that is accurate. I see no argument from the scriptures that would indicate that Jesus does not have the nature of God. Indeed, they say quite the opposite in many places. Jesus certainly does share the same essence or nature as his father. But is that unique to them? Not at all. A cat, a dog, or a human certainly has the nature of its father, yet none are there own father. In each case they are two entirely separate individuals, despite having identical essences or natures. Having the same nature does not make the two somehow one and the same.

 

One thing is clear, John 1:1 does not say, "In the beginning was Jesus, and Jesus was with God, and Jesus was God." Let's just stick with what it does actually say for now.

 

Fast forward to verse 14, a verse used by many to prove that the “word” of John 1:1 is synonymous with Jesus.

 

John 1:14,

 

And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

 

While tradition says that this verse proves that God became flesh, John 1:14 doesn’t really say that at all. It doesn't say God became flesh, it says the word became flesh. John further clarified this point in his first epistle.

 

1 John 1:1-2,

 

1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life;

2 (For the life was manifested, and we have seen [it], and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;)

 

It says that eternal life was with God, not Jesus.

 

As I pointed out, so far there is nothing that implicitly says the logos was God. True, it was God like in nature, but not God himself. So it is saying that this logos, which had a godly nature became flesh. By simply reading what is written without preconceived ideas, John 1:14 says it was the word that became flesh, not God.

 

This agrees perfectly with the first two verses in the book of Hebrews.

 

Heb 1:1-2,

 

1 God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,

2 Hath in these last days spoken unto us by [his] Son (i.e. when the word became flesh, John 1:14), whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom (dia + gen, Jesus was indirect agent) also he made the worlds (aionas, agrees with Col 1:16);

 

Jesus was another way that God communicated His Word to mankind. Before that Word was made flesh it was in the form of words spoken by the prophets to the Jews. But Jesus, who always did his Father's will, was such a perfect representation of God's Word that it could indeed be said that the Word manifested itself in the form of flesh. Still we are talking about the "Word" becoming flesh, not "God" becoming flesh.

 

Instead of simply substituting the word “Jesus” for the word “word,”  let's look at this word "logos" which is the Greek word translated as “word.” It is a word that simply cannot be translated or understood by a simple 5 or 6 word definition. We need to see what popped in the mind of the first century Greek reader when he or she came across this word “logos.” After all, the Bible was not written last year in New York or Los Angeles. We need to have some understanding of how they saw things 2,000 years ago in the Middle East.

 

Part of the definition of logos in Abbott-Smith's Manual Greek Lexicon of the New Testament is:

 

"a word, not in the grammatical sense of a mere name (ἔπος, ὄνομα, ῥῆμα), but a word as embodying a conception or idea:"

 

The Encyclopedia Britannica says the following:

 

“Logos, (Greek: “word,” “reason,” or “plan”) plural logoi, in Greek philosophy and theology, the divine reason implicit in the cosmos, ordering it and giving it form and meaning.”

 

The New American Standard Greek Lexicon gives the following as the primary meaning of the word logos:

 

“a word, uttered by a living voice, embodies a conception or idea”

 

Clearly, to the 1st century Greeks, logos meant much more than simply a "word." It involved the thinking process behind the speaker when they spoke. It involved the reasoning behind that which they spoke. The logos can be thought of as a plan, or a blueprint. So John 1:1 is speaking of a plan that God had in the beginning. Why did God need a plan and what did that plan involve? The plan of redemption.

 

The first Adam screwed things up. Of that there is no doubt. Well, God wanted to make things right again so He came up with a plan. Have you ever wondered why God just didn't come down to earth right after Adam and Eve sinned, wave a magic wand and make everything right again? The answer is simple. He couldn't! When he made Adam He gave him dominion (Gen 1:26). One of the biggest lies too many Christians have fallen prey to is that God is in charge of worldly affairs. That is simply not true. Man was in charge. A man got us into the mess and a man would have to get us out of the mess. That is where Jesus enters the plan of redemption. When God clothed Adam and Eve with animal skins He was giving the first hint that to fix the problem somebody would have to shed blood and die. Jesus, being a man, could die. God can't die. That idea borders on blasphemy.

 

Adam was born sinless, but he had free will and he committed sin and therefore lost his innocence. That caused sin and death to enter the picture (Rom 5:12). We all inherited Adam's tainted blood so we all die. Here's the brilliance of God's plan, the logos of John 1:1:

 

He planted seed in Mary's womb. The result of that was the for the second time in all history, a man was born with innocent blood. That is why Jesus came into this world as a lamb from the flock (I.e. human beings) without blemish. But he had free will just like the first Adam. He could have disobeyed God at any point in his life in which case we would still be waiting for redemption. Not only was Jesus born without sin, but he remained so for his entire life. He started as the lamb without blemish and he kept it until the very end. Was he not tempted in all point like you and I? That what Hebrews 4:15 claims. When you are tempted, do you have any sense of being God? Of course not. Then if Jesus was tempted LIKE AS WE ARE, then neither did he think he was God.

 

Because he remained sinless by his own free will, death was not able to hold onto him. That is why he conquered death. The scriptures are clear that Christians, through believing (not works) are identified with Jesus' baptism, death, resurrection and ascension. Ephesians declares that at this very moment we are seating with Christ at the right of God (Eph 2:6).

 

At least do your own study on the word "logos." Don't believe a thing I've told you, but don't believe the tradition started by Pagans who infiltrated the early church with their Pagan ideas of a god becoming man. Figure it out on your own. Making Jesus God obliterates the truly fantastic story of redemption. It makes a Hi-Def colour movie into a grainy black and white debacle. One will never be able to understand the true greatness of God's plan  (the logos) nor the heroic effort of Jesus in loving both God and his fellow man as long as Jesus is made into God. It ruins the whole story.  Having believed the trinity for many years, I've seen it from both sides so I know the difference.

 

God bless...

 

 

 

And another one rides the heretical bus, or at the very least apostate.  And this is interesting coming from someone who claims to be coming from a reformed background.  Although, I am aware how far the CRC has fallen from its original roots.  I actually grew up in that denomination, but have since left it and thankfully attend a church that is more faithful to the full counsel of God.

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rrobsr
1 minute ago, William said:

Clearly an allusion to Genesis 1 is being made.

 

Also, it is equally clear that the Word was distinct from God and the Word was God. 

 

John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

 

Lastly, @rrobsr to bring this to your attention we are Nicene board not open to those which reject the truths conveyed from Scripture through the Nicene Creed.

The word "beginning" is used 104 times in the KJV. Are you suggesting that every one of them refers to Genesis 1:1? But let's say that the one in John 1:1 does refer to Genesis 1:1. It still says nothing about Jesus being there. It says the "word" was with God. I'm not sure which of my posts you are replying to, but I think I covered what the "word" meant to the Jews of the first century. It is the Greek word "logos." if you study it even a little bit, you will see that the essence of the word is "a plan." God had a plan and that plan was with him and it was of course quite diving, exactly what John 1:1 declares. John 1:14 says that plan came into concretion in the person of Jesus. Jesus, unlike the first Adam, was a perfect representation of God's plan. He followed it to the letter, even unto death. He did it, not because he was God who would have not choice in the matter, but because he was the man who loved God and his fellow man so much that he obeyed God every moment of his life in order to give God the children (us, i.e. Christians) He so wanted. Making Jesus God at once nullifies the brilliance of the logos, the plan, God had to redeem mankind. It also diminishes the heroic work Jesus did on our behalf. Give the guy credit for ignoring his own wishes in favour of that which God requested of him!

 

OK, I won't  write any more if the truth is so offensive to those who wish to cling to tradition. I will continue to use whatever venue is available to continue holding forth the truth of God's word.

 

God bless and take care...

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48 minutes ago, rrobsr said:

OK, I won't  write any more if the truth is so offensive to those who wish to cling to tradition.

monday night raw lol GIF by WWE

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atpollard
1 hour ago, rrobsr said:

OK, I won't  write any more if the truth is so offensive to those who wish to cling to tradition. I will continue to use whatever venue is available to continue holding forth the truth of God's word.

 

God bless and take care...

“Rabbi, Rabbi.  Is there a blessing for the Tzar?”

“Of course there is!  May the Lord bless him and keep him ... far, far away from us.”

 

- Fiddler on the Roof

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Guest William
3 hours ago, Knotical said:

And another one rides the heretical bus, or at the very least apostate.  And this is interesting coming from someone who claims to be coming from a reformed background.  Although, I am aware how far the CRC has fallen from its original roots.  I actually grew up in that denomination, but have since left it and thankfully attend a church that is more faithful to the full counsel of God.

Which is worse? The PCUSA or CRC?

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Knotical
1 hour ago, William said:

Which is worse? The PCUSA or CRC?

I don't think the CRC has gotten quite as bad as the PCUSA, though they do allow women deacons.  Not sure if they have gotten any further than that (i.e., gay pastors, etc...).

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Faber
11 hours ago, rrobsr said:

Clearly, as you've stated, Jesus was the son of God. In the real world, someone would be considered insane for suggesting they were their own father

 Thanks for disproving Modalism but that doesn't mean you disproved Trinitarianism for the Son is not the Father.

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Faber
11 hours ago, rrobsr said:

To the ancient Jew the word "god" meant anybody with power and authority. Moses was called a god to Pharaoh (Ex 7:1), the judges were called god (Ex 22:28), Jesus called the Jews gods (John 10:34-35). The devil is even called a god (2 Cor 4:4). I certainly wouln't consider it a stretch to say Jesus had power and authority, thereby giving him the adjective of god. 

 

 The difference is that Jesus is properly referred to as "My God" (cf. John 20:28) which demonstrates He is God Almighty.

https://www.christforums.com/forums/topic/4283-the-use-of-quotmy-godquot-in-john-2028/?tab=comments#comment-64054

 

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Faber
11 hours ago, rrobsr said:

Jesus was called the son of God about 50 times. Not once was he called God the Son.

 

 Since the Lord Jesus is the unique Son of God this means He is God the Son for the Son of God is worshiped (Matthew 14:33; John 20:28 cf. v. 31; Acts 9:20 cf. v. 21; Romans 1:3-4 cf. v. 1, 7; 1 John 5:13 cf. vv. 14-16).

 

 And worship is due unto God alone.

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Mjh29
18 hours ago, rrobsr said:

OK, I won't  write any more if the truth is so offensive to those who wish to cling to tradition. I will continue to use whatever venue is available to continue holding forth the truth of God's word.

 

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Follow The Truth
On 8/19/2018 at 6:28 PM, iam1me said:

Jesus' relationship to God has always been a highly controversial and complex topic, so much so that most just throw their hands up in the air and claim that it is beyond our ability to comprehend (while simultaneously insisting their unintelligible view is correct). I am of the mind that much of this confusion stems from an attempt to interpret those passages that call Jesus God, in some sense, in the most literal of ways. In fact, there is plenty of precedent in scripture for those who are clearly not God himself being addressed as God or as "gods." And they insist upon this literal interpretation despite the abundance of scriptures which clearly differentiate Jesus from God.

 

If we do not take the scriptures “literally”, then how are we to take them?

 

 

Jesus is not God the Father, but He is the only begotten Son of God, and is God Himself, which the scriptures clearly teach. 

 

 

For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, Titus 2:11-13

 

 

 

Simon Peter, a bondservant and apostle of Jesus Christ,
To those who have obtained like precious faith with us by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ: 2 Peter 1:1

 

 

 

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Antus67

Once again playing the devils advocate here is the definition of the Holy Trinity by the Catholic Church.

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In Catholic theology, we understand the persons of the Blessed Trinity subsisting within the inner life of God to be truly distinct relationally, but not as a matter of essence, or nature. Each of the three persons in the godhead possesses the same eternal and infinite divine nature; thus, they are the one, true God in essence or nature, not “three Gods.” Yet, they are truly distinct in their relations to each other.

In order to understand the concept of person in God, we have to understand its foundation in the processions and relations within the inner life of God. And the Council of Florence, AD 1338-1445, can help us in this regard.

The Council’s definitions concerning the Trinity are really as easy as one, two, three… four. It taught there is one nature in God, and that there are two processions, three persons, and four relations that constitute the Blessed Trinity. The Son “proceeds” from the Father, and the Holy Spirit “proceeds from the Father and the Son.” These are the two processions in God. And these are foundational to the four relations that constitute the three persons in God. These are those four eternal relations in God:

1. The Father actively and eternally generates the Son, constituting the person of God, the Father. 

2. The Son is passively generated of the Father, which constitutes the person of the Son.

3. The Father and the Son actively spirate the Holy Spirit in the one relation within the inner life of God that does not constitute a person. It does not do so because the Father and Son are already constituted as persons in relation to each other in the first two relations. This is why CCC 240 teaches, “[The Second Person of the Blessed Trinity] is Son only in relation to his Father.”

4. The Holy Spirit is passively spirated of the Father and the Son, constituting the person of the Holy Spirit.

We should take note of the distinction between the “generative” procession that consititutes the Son, and the “spirative” procession that constitutes the Holy Spirit. As St. Thomas Aquinas explains, and Scripture reveals, the Son is uniquely “begotten” of the Father (cf. John 3:16; 1:18). He is also said to proceed from the Father as “the Word” in John 1:1. This “generative” procession is one of “begetting,” but not in the same way a dog “begets” a dog, or a human being “begets” a human being. This is an intellectual “begetting,” and fittingly so, as a “word” proceeds from the knower while, at the same time remaining in the knower. Thus, this procession or begetting of the Son occurs within the inner life of God. There are not “two beings” involved; rather, two persons relationally distinct, while ever-remaining one in being.

The Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son, but not in a generative sense; rather, in a spiration. “Spiration” comes from the Latin word for “spirit” or “breath.” Jesus “breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit…” (John 20:22). Scripture reveals the Holy Spirit as pertaining to “God’s love [that] has been poured into our hearts” in Romans 5:5, and as flowing out of and identified with the reciprocating love of the Father for the Son and the Son for the Father (John 15:26; Rev. 22:1-2). Thus, the Holy Spirit’s procession is not intellecual and generative, but has its origin in God’s will and in the ultimate act of the will, which is love.

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