Thursday, April 02, 2009

Fallen & Flawed – Reader Dissent: Christ is not God response

I normally do not make posts like this, but the volume of information I was wanting to convey in a comment (and the necessary HTML coding to keep things readable) pretty much required this.

I have been involved in a debate regarding the standard orthodox Christian view of Christ versus the Jehovah’s Witnesses view of Christ over at the blog Fallen & Flawed. The debate can be followed in the Reader Dissent: Christ is not God post.

Below is what I have to say in the debate following Comment #100.

For those who do not know, NWT stands for the New World Translation of the Bible and WTS stands for the Watch Tower Society. All Greek NT quotes have been taken from the Wescott-Hort Greek New Testament, which is the Greek text used by the WTS to make the NWT.

I have to admit, I was extremely surprised to find after looking through almost 100 comments that I had managed to answer almost all questions directed towards me. I do have one series of questions in a comment that I need to address, and then I would like to leave off with just a few of my own. After this, unless Jehovah guides me to specific passages during my studies, I will not add any new questions, I will just post rebuttals to any comments raised.

First, a word of response to Shawn. I’m sorry that you felt that I was being arrogant and condescending. However, seeing that you were either confused with the question regarding Isaiah and John seen through the lens of your hermeneutic, or were not willing to look seriously at the question, I thought it best to break things down bit by bit to make my point. If you are offended by my response asking Kellie about her ignorance of Scripture, then please note that, as I said, her passages had nothing to do with the point I was debating. I was debating the Savior and redemption of man’s souls not the physical saviors of men.

The remaining unanswered comment is this:

Don’t you think the scripture here: Proverbs 8:30: Then I was beside Him, as a master workman; And I was daily His delight, Rejoicing always before Him would seem to correlate with this one: 1 Corinthians 8:6: for us there is only one God, the Father, from whom everything came into being and for whom we live. And there is only one Lord, Jesus the Messiah, through whom everything came into being …AND all the others that prove he was a tool, an agent that His God and father used in the creation of all (yes OTHER) things? The word “other” is absolutely implied in Col ch 1 because we know he didn’t create either Jehovah or other is an acceptable word to bracket there. Jesus was possessed by Jehovah,a servant OF Jehovah, an agent of Jehovah and a son of Jehovah. Can’t dance around it.

Actually the WTS society adds the [other] in the NT passages regarding the creation of things to emphasize their doctrine that Christ was a created being. A curious note: [other] is strangely absent in John 1:3 – which states almost exactly what Colossians 1:16 says (why is the implied other so important in Colossians, but not in John?).

I must say that it was a nice dodge (or dance around if you want to call it that) on the created argument of Jesus in your statement of:

we know he didn’t create either Jehovah or other is an acceptable word to bracket there. Jesus was possessed by Jehovah,a servant OF Jehovah, an agent of Jehovah and a son of Jehovah.

The WTS teaches that Jesus is a created being, created by Jehovah. The wording of John 1:3 and Colossians 1:16 states that all things that were created, were created by Jesus. Of course Jesus could not create Himself, because he was eternally present with Jehovah in the beginning. Do you believe that Jehovah was created? To use Paul’s emphatic, by no means!

John 1:1-5 mirrors the literary construction of Genesis 1. In the beginning, Elohim (plural word in the Hebrew) created the heavens and the earth (Genesis); In the beginning, the Word was with God, and all things came into existence through him, and apart from him not even one thing came into existence (John). Note the apart from him not even one thing came into existence (NWT) in the text. Not one thing that was created, was created outside of the work of the Word. This clearly proves that the Word was not created. If the Word was not created, then neither was Jesus, since He was the Word.

Now, as to Proverbs 8…

Wisdom throughout Proverbs is personified as a woman (see Proverbs 1:20). Is Jesus a woman? Again, by no means! Also, Proverbs 8 nowhere states that things were created through or by Wisdom. In fact, Proverbs 8 shows wisdom passively watching the creation, not taking part in it. Is Jesus wise? Of course! Is he the personification of Wisdom found in Proverbs? No, that is poor hermeneutics.

As to I Corinthians 8:6… Yes, there is only one Father, and only one Lord. In fact we have a Father seen in Isaiah 9:6, but you refuse to see the context correctly. Again, this begins to mirror the Savior argument. There is one Father like there is one Savior like there is one Lord.

I wish to address a few things Kellie brought up before asking my final question.

Kellie, you referenced John 1:18 in an earlier comment, and I find it interesting that an inactive JW (who stated that they wish to return to active duty) would go to a translation other than the NWT for their argument. Are you embarrassed by the NWTs handling of this text?

No man has seen God at any time; the only-begotten god who is in the bosom [position] with the Father is the one that has explained him. (NWT)

There is a big problem with the teachings of the WTS and the Greek of this passage.

θεον ουδεις εωρακεν πωποτε μονογενης θεος ο ων εις τον κολπον του πατρος εκεινος εξηγησατο

Notice μονογενης θεος ο. We have a definitive article in this section which points to θεος. By the WTS methodology for translating ο θεος (and proper Greek methodology), this would be rendered “the God” (articles in Greek do not have to be before the word they reference, you have to check the gender, number, etc. to find the word the article references). We have “the” and we have “god” in the NWT, but what about μονογενης?

μονογενής, ές, Ep. and Ion. μουνογενής, (γένος) the only member of a kin or kind: hence, generally, only, single, παῖς Hes.Op.376, Hdt.7.221, cf. Ev.Jo.1.14, Ant.Lib.32.1; of Hecate, Hes.Th.426.

2. unique, of τὸ ὄν, Parm.8.4; εἷς ὅδε μ. οὐρανὸς γεγονώς Pl.Ti.31b, cf. Procl.Inst.22; θεὸς ὁ μ. Sammelb.4324.15.

3. μ. αἷμα one and same blood, dub.l. in E.Hel.1685.

4. Gramm., having one form for all genders, A.D.Adv.145.18.

Liddell, H. G., Scott, R., Jones, H. S., & McKenzie, R. (1996). A Greek-English lexicon. "With a revised supplement, 1996." (Rev. and augm. throughout) (1144). Oxford; New York: Clarendon Press; Oxford University Press.

We have μονογενης used in Luke 7:12, 8:42, 9:38; John 1:14, 1:18, 3:16, 3:18; Hebrews 11:17 and 1 John 4:9. The interesting things here are in the NWT translation notes. Every time this word is used for a normal person the following note is included (except for Hebrews 11:17, no note here): “Or, “only one.” Gr., mo·no·ge·nes′.

Note the root of the word μονογενης:

γένος, εος or ους, τό, race, stock, kin;

as opposed to:

γεννάω, fut. Med. γεννήσομαι in pass. sense, D.S.19.2 (but -ηθήσομαι Id.4.9): (γέννα):—casual of γίγνομαι (cf. γείνομαι), mostly of the father, beget, ὁ γεννήσας πατήρ S.El.1412; οἱ γεννήσαντές σε your parents, X.Mem.2.1.27; τὸ γεννώμενον ἔκ τινος Hdt.1.108, etc.; ὅθεν γεγενναμένοι sprung, Pi.P.5.74; of the mother, bring forth, bear, A.Supp.48, Arist.GA716a22, X.Lac.1.3, etc.:—Med., produce from oneself, create, Pl.Ti.34b, Mx.238a.

Liddell, H. G., Scott, R., Jones, H. S., & McKenzie, R. (1996). A Greek-English lexicon. "With a revised supplement, 1996." (Rev. and augm. throughout) (344). Oxford; New York: Clarendon Press; Oxford University Press.

However, the times the same word is used for Jesus, no note is included until you reach 1 John 4:9, where you see something interesting: “Only-begotten.” Gr., mo·no·ge·ne′; Lat., u·ni·ge′ni·tum. Now the Greek has a different translation than used before by the WTS. Setting a standard on translation and then changing it (in the notes) is dishonest. Yes context factors into translation, but what is the difference in context for these passages?

To summarize: we have the only member of a kin, a unique: the god… or, more appropriate… the unique God in John 1:18.

Shawn, you stated in your blog post on John 8:58:

Now why, someone may ask, would the Jews get so worked up over Jesus' claim of being older then Abraham?
The answer is found in the Jewish view of Abraham. Abraham was so important to them that he was the equivalent of Christ for us. Abraham was so important to the Jews because they claimed that being children of Abraham was a special title reserved for them. For Jesus to claim that he was older then Abraham was sacrilegious to the Jews. When someone is older, they have more power and authority. In short, they are better then a younger person. To any Jew, Abraham would have been better then Jesus mainly because Abraham was older. For Jesus to say that he was alive before Abraham was alive would mean that Jesus was better then Abraham.

The problem with your argument is that the Jews were more than “worked up”, the Bible states: “they picked up stones to hurl [them] at him; but Jesus hid and went out of the temple.” (NWT)

Jesus was in the Temple, surrounded by not just your average Jews, but the scribes and Pharisees as well. The act of picking up stones to hurl at him was a statement that he had broken one of the Mosaic laws, where the penalty was death by stoning. Insulting or saying that you were greater than one of the patriarchs was not a breach of the Mosaic law, but blasphemy was.

If you do not see this in John 8:58, lets go to John 10:33, “The Jews answered him: “We are stoning you, not for a fine work, but for blasphemy, even because you, although being a man, make yourself a god” (NWT).

Again we have a problem with the Greek and the NWT.

απεκριθησαν αυτω οι ιουδαιοι περι καλου εργου ου λιθαζομεν σε αλλα περι βλασφημιας και οτι συ ανθρωπος ων ποιεις σεαυτον θεον

The translators of the NWT required the definite article (ὁ) to be present before they would render θεὸς as God (θεὸς was translated as “a god”, while ὁ θεὸς was translated as “God” [see the NWT rendering of John 1:1]). θεόν however, the translation committee translated as “God”. Except in a crucial place. They translated it as “a god” in a passage that spoke of blasphemy. Is blasphemy in the Mosaic law against “a god” or “the God”, Jehovah?

Leviticus 24:16 states: “So the abuser of Jehovah’s name should be put to death without fail. The entire assembly should without fail pelt him with stones. The alien resident the same as the native should be put to death for his abusing the Name.” (NWT).

A proper rendering by the NWT translating committee’s rules, and by handling the definition of blasphemy properly would be: “The Jews answered him, “It is not for a good work that we are going to stone you but for blasphemy, because you, being a man, make yourself God.” (ESV)

Now moving on to a rebuttal of Kellie’s comment:

As for what you said about Christ not being an angel, he is actually called an angel in the septuagint at Isaish 9:6 and I think he was the angel of Yahweh in the OT. (that would harmonize with his being the “word of God”,as chief messenger) When Jehovah said those words to him,he wasn’t an angel.. and he certainly wasn’t a God-man. He was a miraculously conceived human being who was about to be exalted above his partners! Now let’s think about this for a minute.. who would his partners be? And if Jesus was Almighty God would it really be appropriate to say he has partners that Almighty God will exalt him above ONLY BECAUSE of his obedience and faithfulness and conquering of the world and saving man? And if one Almighty God exalts another Almighty God above his partners how many almighty Gods is that exactly? I don’t think Jehovah has partners.. I think he has servants and sons and subordinates. I don’t think Jehovah can learn obedience and be exalted, but apparently you do.

Jesus was “the second Adam”.. Now if one perfect man had the power to cause the fall of all men then another perfect man, on Jehovah’s scales of absolute justice, had the power to buy back the lives that the other had lost. Remember, as Maribel poignantly pointed out earlier, God cannot die and you are robbing us of atonement.. because you don’t believe Jesus REALLY died do you?Just a human nature but Jesus was REALLY alive siomewhere right? If Jesus,all of him,wasn’t dead for three whole days in that tomb,not only are you preaching a different Jesus,but your atonement is null and void.

First and foremost, if Christ was only a “miraculously conceived human being” as you claim, then His death could have only redeemed one other person… in his place. You see, the weight of sin a single man has is incredible. The choosing of something over God (which we all do on a regular basis) is treason against a Holy and Almighty God, in which the penalty is death (Romans 6:23). One sin is enough to condemn us to death.

As Psalm 49:7-8 states: “Not one of them can by any means redeem even a brother, Nor give to God a ransom for him; (And the redemption price of their soul is so precious That it has ceased to time indefinite)” (NWT). If Jesus was just a “miraculously conceived human being”, the only redemption you could have is a Tale of Two Cities style switching of places. [editied for labeling Psalm 47:7-8 instead of Psalm 49:7-8]

The offence of sin against God for the entirety of mankind is near infinite. If it requires being perfect in all aspects of God’s law to stand before Him and survive (Ezra 9:15 “O Jehovah the God of Israel, you are righteous, because we have been left over as an escaped people as at this day. Here we are before you in our guiltiness, for it is impossible to stand before you on account of this.” [NWT]), then Jesus, being just a “miraculously conceived human being” would be able to stand before God because of his perfect adherence to the Law of God, but stand alone. His righteousness would “pay” his way to stand before God in His full Glory, but being human only, his death on the cross (or stake as the WTS prefers) would not redeem anyone else. How could a mere finite man pay the price of almost infinite sin? His perfection only covers himself.

A soul of a man is worth the soul of a man, not more. For Jesus’ sacrifice to cover more than himself, he would have to be more than just a man.

Also, how could Jesus be just a “miraculously conceived human being” if he was the Word of John 1? The Word was in the beginning with God, yet the Word was born approximately 2000 years ago to a young woman in Bethlehem… Please explain how the Word could just be a “miraculously conceived human being”.

My final question is regarding a winepress. Remembering that Scripture cannot be broken… Who treads the winepress of God’s Wrath?

In Isaiah 63:1-6 we have this:

1 Who is this one coming from E´dom, the one with garments of glowing colors from Boz´rah, this one who is honorable in his clothing, marching in the abundance of his power? "I, the One speaking in righteousness, the One abounding [in power] to save." 2 Why is it that your clothing is red, and your garments are like those of one treading in the winepress? 3 "The wine trough I have trodden by myself, while there was no man with me from the peoples. And I kept treading them in my anger, and I kept trampling them down in my rage. And their spurting blood kept spattering upon my garments, and all my clothing I have polluted. 4 For the day of vengeance is in my heart, and the very year of my repurchased ones has come. 5 And I kept looking, but there was no helper; and I began to show myself astonished, but there was no one offering support. So my arm furnished me salvation, and my rage was what supported me.6 And I kept stamping down peoples in my anger, and I proceeded to make them drunk with my rage and to bring down to the earth their spurting blood." (NWT)

In Revelation 19:11-16 we have this:

11 And I saw the heaven opened, and, look! a white horse. And the one seated upon it is called Faithful and True, and he judges and carries on war in righteousness. 12 His eyes are a fiery flame, and upon his head are many diadems. He has a name written that no one knows but he himself, 13 and he is arrayed with an outer garment sprinkled with blood, and the name he is called is The Word of God. 14 Also, the armies that were in heaven were following him on white horses, and they were clothed in white, clean, fine linen. 15 And out of his mouth there protrudes a sharp long sword, that he may strike the nations with it, and he will shepherd them with a rod of iron. He treads too the winepress of the anger of the wrath of God the Almighty. 16 And upon his outer garment, even upon his thigh, he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords. (NWT)

Again, we have a problem with the NWT when we look at the Greek text for Revelation 19:11-16:

11 και ειδον τον ουρανον ηνεωγμενον και ιδου ιππος λευκος και ο καθημενος επ αυτον πιστος [καλουμενος] και αληθινος και εν δικαιοσυνη κρινει και πολεμει 12 οι δε οφθαλμοι αυτου φλοξ πυρος και επι την κεφαλην αυτου διαδηματα πολλα εχων ονομα γεγραμμενον ο ουδεις οιδεν ει μη αυτος 13 και περιβεβλημενος ιματιον ρεραντισμενον αιματι και κεκληται το ονομα αυτου ο λογος του θεου 14 και τα στρατευματα τα εν τω ουρανω ηκολουθει αυτω εφ ιπποις λευκοις ενδεδυμενοι βυσσινον λευκον καθαρον 15 και εκ του στοματος αυτου εκπορευεται ρομφαια οξεια ινα εν αυτη παταξη τα εθνη και αυτος ποιμανει αυτους εν ραβδω σιδηρα και αυτος πατει την ληνον του οινου του θυμου της οργης του θεου του παντοκρατορος 16 και εχει επι το ιματιον και επι τον μηρον αυτου ονομα γεγραμμενον βασιλευς βασιλεων και κυριος κυριων

Breaking down the Greek we have:

καί, Conj., copulative, joining words and sentences, and; also Adv., even, also, just, freq. expressing emphatic assertion or assent, corresponding as positive to the negative οὐ (μή) or οὐδέ (μηδέ).

αὐτός, (Cret. ἀϝτός GDI4976, al.), αὐτή, αὐτό (also αὐτόν Leg.Gort.3.4, al.), ἀτός PHal.1.130 (iii b.c.), PTeb.812.9 (ii b.c.), SEG29.771 (Thasos, ii b.c.), reflexive Pron., self:—in oblique cases used for the personal Pron., him, her, it:—with Art., ὁ αὐτός, ἡ αὐτή, τὸ αὐτό (also ταὐτόν), etc., the very one, the same. [edited for missed color highlight at him,her,it]

πᾰτέω, Delph. βᾰτέω Plu.2.292e; Aeol. μάτημι [ᾰ] Sapph.54: (πάτος):—tread, walk, π. ὁδοῖς σκολιαῖς Pi.P.2.85; πρὸς βωμόν A.Ag.1298; ὑψοῦ π. walk on high, of a king, Pi.O.1.115; π. ἐπάνω ὄφεων Ev.Luc.10.19:—Pass., οἱ ἔχεις πατηθέντες Porph.Abst.1.14.

την  lemma is: ὁ, ἡ, τό, the definite Article, the, to specify individuals

ληνον lemma is: ληνός, Dor. λᾱνός Theoc.7.25, IG14.150.5 (Syracuse): ἡ:—anything shaped like a tub or trough, Hp.Mochl.38; esp.

     1. wine-vat in which the grapes are pressed, IG13.422.189, 425.34, 426.148 (cf. Poll.10.130) PCair.Zen.300.15 (iii b.c.), Theoc.7.25, 25.28, D.S.3.63.

     b. storage vessel for wine, POxy.1569, PFlor.253 (iii a.d.).

Liddell, H. G., Scott, R., Jones, H. S., & McKenzie, R. (1996). A Greek-English lexicon. "With a revised supplement, 1996." (Rev. and augm. throughout) (282)(857)(1045)(1194). Oxford; New York: Clarendon Press; Oxford University Press.

Where is the too or also in the original text? It does not exist, it was added by the translators. The correct translation of this section of Revelation 19:15 should read as: He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty (ESV). Now, who is the he in this passage… the Word of God.

Maribel, contrary to your statement: “He can share his glory with whom ever he pleases”, Isaiah 48:11 clearly states, “For my own sake, for my own sake I shall act, for how could one let oneself be profaned? And to no one else shall I give my own glory” (NWT)

Isaiah 63:1-6 contradicts Revelation 19:11-16 as to who treads the winepress. In Isaiah, Jehovah states that He will be the one to tread the winepress by Himself, but in Revelation we have the Word treading the winepress.

Scripture cannot be broken.

The only way to solve this contradiction is to bring things back to John 1 and translate things properly.

In John 1:14-18 we have the Word, who is Jesus Christ, who is the unique God in the bosom with the Father. We have the Word as the unique God. Who is the unique God in Scripture?

The Word is God.

Twist your scriptures as much as you want, you are denying the Truth if you deny this.

To be fair in ending, I will give Shawn’s page to everyone as a rebuttal to what I have posted in the original comments at Fallen & Flawed and here. Here he has posted 115 Scripture passages he states refutes the orthodox Christian view of who Jesus Christ is. I have looked through these Scripture passages before and I honestly do not have the time to go verse by verse and answer all 115 here. God brought me to the Greek texts for study two years ago (as a non-Christian) to bring my wife out of the WTS. So yes, to those who may want to argue, I have a bias, but the JWs debating this subject are just as biased.

I thank Shawn for taking the time to post all of these Scriptures, and I sincerely think people should look at them and let the entirety of the Bible speak to them. However, “sound bite” Scripture reading must be taken in context. Not looking at what is being said in the entirety of a section of the Bible that is being quoted can quickly lead to distorted interpretations of the Bible.

So please, for the sake of others in this debate, continue the comment thread at Fallen & Flawed not here. If you wish to comment here, please mirror you comment as well at the original post that started this debate. Any responses of mine to comments posted here will be made over at Fallen & Flawed.

I am not a professional apologist nor am I a pastor, elder or deacon. I am but a follower of my Lord and Savior, Christ Jesus and I humbly pray that in my writings, I have not besmirched His Holy name.

Jeremiah 25:4-7  You have neither listened nor inclined your ears to hear, although the LORD persistently sent to you all his servants the prophets, saying, 'Turn now, every one of you, from his evil way and evil deeds, and dwell upon the land that the LORD has given to you and your fathers from of old and forever.  Do not go after other gods to serve and worship them, or provoke me to anger with the work of your hands. Then I will do you no harm.'  Yet you have not listened to me, declares the LORD, that you might provoke me to anger with the work of your hands to your own harm. (ESV)

Jeremiah 31:33-34  But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.'” (ESV)

John 10:27  My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. (ESV)

Mark 4:23   If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear. (ESV)


micheygirl66 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
micheygirl66 said...

I answered very briefly on my blog.