I don't believe that 'two beings' exist at the same time. I believe that a single being, identified as 'Yahweh', in some way exists simultaneously as 'God' (the Father) and 'man' (the Son of God, Jesus), and that the latter (the Son) is the utmost self-expression of the former (the Father).You agree that two beings literally existed at the same time
Do you see my confusion? It certainly sounds like two "things" or "beings." Can you explain how a single being can exist as two and not be considered existing as two?
Only when Yahweh's self-expression became flesh, per John 1. (I'm trying to be clear that I don't believe Jesus 'pre-existed' the time when the 'word of God' became flesh.)
It's specifically the combination of the words 'two beings' that I object to, since left alone it remains far too ambiguous, and can support anything from oneness-modalism to polytheism. Similar to how PneumaPsucheSoma objects to the use of the word 'persons', since left alone it can range from trinitarianism to triadism to tritheism.
The Father and the Son are one (not two). The Father is Yahweh as 'God', and the Son is Yahweh as 'man'. God alone is eternal and immortal, while man must receive eternal life and immortality. As such, the Father alone is eternal and immortal, but the Son received eternal life and immortality. (In other words, God the Father has always existed, while the man Jesus our Lord, who is the Son of God, had his beginning at the time when the Word of God became flesh.)
Do you see my confusion of your view on this point?
edit to add: That's why I word it by saying that One God existed in two ways at the same time.
If One God can exist in two ways simultaneously after the incarnation, then One God can exist in two ways before the incarnation.
Sure, but I don't know how else I could communicate it without departing from my understanding of Scripture.Do you see my confusion of your view on this point?
'Two beings' is simply a phrase I'm uncomfortable with using, as the use of the word 'beings' suggests, to me, bitheism. I think my uncomfortably with 'two beings' comes from two reasons: (1) that 'being' can be used as a synonym for 'person', so that 'two beings' means 'two persons', which is unacceptable with what Scripture teaches about Yahweh, and (2) the name 'Yahweh' effectively translates into English as 'The Being' ('I Am That I Am' or 'I Will Be That I Will Be', sure, but all this means is that he is 'The Being', which was how the Jews chose to interpret the name when translating it into Greek), so to say that 'The Being' (singular) is actually two beings leads right into binitarianism or dyadism or bitheism, which again is unacceptable to what I see Scripture proclaiming about Yahweh.
The best I can put it into words, without resorting to the type of language I'm uncomfortable using, is that Yahweh exists as both divinity (the Father) and humanity (the Son), and that Yahweh as divinity has always been, and that Yahweh as humanity had a beginning.
Oh, sure. I'm not saying that's impossible... all I'm saying is that I don't think that is consistent with the revelation of Yahweh that we have in Scripture.If One God can exist in two ways simultaneously after the incarnation, then One God can exist in two ways before the incarnation.
Thought you might like this quote:
"You're pretty much correct about אהיה אשׁר אהיה. The forms ehyeh can mean 'I am' but it's much more frequently used to mean 'I will be.' I believe this expression of God indicates that He is dynamic rather than static, perpetually realizing Himself. It's odd to me that most Christians think of God in static terms. There's no such thing as a human being who never changes; change is part of being alive. Yet God, the author of all life, is static?"
It's not really any specific one thing that can be pointed out, but rather the whole idea that I find inconsistent with Scripture. Beyond the man Jesus being identified as the physical manifestation of the 'word of God' (i.e. the physical manifestation of Yahweh's person and mind and character, his will and plan and self-expression), he is not identified as anything / anyone else.What's not consistent about it?
For the man Jesus to literally pre-exist his birth doesn't make sense to me in light of passages like, say, Hebrews 1.1-4, where God speaking through his Son is regarded by the author as something completely new in his recent time; this statement could not stand if God had spoken through his Son even before he was born as 'Jesus'. Although Hebrews 1.1-4 does not refer to the 'word of God' directly, if we stop and think about what the author is saying, it becomes clear that he has the 'word of God' in mind.
'Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets...' -- How did Yahweh speak 'by the prophets'? He sent his word to them (e.g. Jeremiah 1.1-2: 'The words of Jeremiah ... to whom the word of Yahweh came'), but 'the word of Yahweh' was not a personal thing, it was simply Yahweh's self-revelation.
'... but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son' -- Now God has revealed himself through his Son; now 'the word of Yahweh' (that is, 'the word of God') has been become flesh, the man Jesus.
Many do see implications of Jesus’ preexistence (esp. in John), and I’m sure you have other ways you’re interpreting those verses (like you do with John 1:1 & John 17:5). It’s not that your interpretations are unreasonable, but it seems we have to take an awful lot of what Jesus says about himself as figures of speech.
All things were created through him (John 1:3, 10 cf. Heb. 1:2 & Col. 1:16); he existed before John, his older cousin (John 1:15, 30); he descended from heaven (John 3:13; 6:33, 38, 50, 51. 58); he came from above (John 3:31; 8:23); he has seen the Father (John 6:46; cf. 1:18); he was in heaven before (John 6:62); he proceeded forth and came from God (John 16:28; 8:42); he was born before Abraham (John 8:56-58).
I think you would say something like, well, sure he is God’s word, so God created through him/His word, God’s word existed before John and Abraham, God’s word proceeded forth from God and descended and God’s word returned to the Father. Saying that is not totally unreasonable, but...there's more.
I’m guessing you’d say John 6:62 is about the resurrection, but Jesus just got through saying he came down from heaven similar to the heavenly manna.
And how does a “word” see God (John 1:18; John 6:46)?
Hebrews 1:3 (cf. Col. 1:17) says that Jesus upholds all things by his word. If it’s Jesus’ word that upholds things, then it’s not the Father’s word. And if it’s by the power of the word of Jesus that upholds things, he’s had to have been upholding all things since the beginning of creation or all things would not have been upheld.
Paul says Jesus is the firstborn of all creation (Col. 1:15) and then goes onto compare this reality with how Jesus is also the firstborn of the body (Col. 1:18). We know how he became firstborn of a body that was not yet formed—he entered the realm of the living that he was outside of, he entered the realm of death that he was outside of, and became firstborn from the dead thus becoming firstborn of a body that was yet to be formed. Paul compares this to him being firstborn of all creation. How could he be firstborn of a creation that he Himself formed? He/Yahweh entered creation that He was outside of by taking on “the divine form” (Phil. 2:6) thus becoming the firstborn (or beginning) of creation and through that “divine form” created all things. John says that Jesus is the “beginning of the creation of God” or first cause (Rev. 3:14). Paul says he emptied himself (of the divine form) taking on the form of a bond servant and being made in the likeness of men (Phil. 2).
These kinds of passages lead me to believe that it’s more than just a possibility of the preexistence of Jesus. And it’s not going against Scripture any more than saying that Yahweh is One being who exists as the Father and as the Son. It seems possible that during OT days, Yahweh is One being who existed as the Father and as the “angel of the LORD” or “word of the LORD” that came to saints and made Himself (who can’t be seen) known (& this would be the "many portions and many ways" He spoke long ago).
Just that different prophets revealed 'the word of God' in different ways. Jeremiah shouted in the temple, and carried an ox's yoke; Ezekiel laid on his side for several days, and burned a pile of hair; Hosea married a prostitute; etc.Originally Posted by LookingUp
In my understanding (which I am entirely open to changing, if shown to be wrong) the Greek word translated as 'through' can also mean something like 'for the sake of'.All things were created through him (John 1:3, 10 cf. Heb. 1:2 & Col. 1:16);
In addition to the above verses, I should point out that because Jesus is Yahweh, it still makes sense to say that he was 'before' John or Abraham. That seems to be the context in which Jesus speaks regarding being 'before' Abraham (the 'I am' statement, that is), and I've come to see it difficult to interpret that any other way. But this is not talking about 'the Son of God'... it's talking about, simply, 'Yahweh'.he existed before John, his older cousin (John 1:15, 30); // he was born before Abraham (John 8:56-58).
In Deuteronomy, Moses was telling Israel (in essence), 'You do not have to ascend to the heights or heaven or to descend to the depths of the sea to find the Law of God, because he has given it to you'. Moses was talking about having understanding, and the context of Jesus' and Nicodemus' conversation was about having understanding. In Proverbs, the speaker says, 'I have not the understanding of a man. I have not learned wisdom, nor have I knowledge of the Holy One. Who has ascended to heaven and come down?'he descended from heaven (John 3:13; 6:33, 38, 50, 51. 58);
Moses says that no one needs to ascend to heaven to find understanding, because God is meeting his people where they are (and where they were, Jesus informs us, was still short of where they needed to be; a great lesson on God's mercy and patience with us). But then the speaker in Proverbs says that to have real wisdom and understanding of God, one would need to 'ascend to heaven and come down'.
In reference to both of these, Jesus that he has ascended to heaven and come down; he has true wisdom and understanding of God. He isn't talking about pre-existing his birth, he's talking about knowing God and his will.
For the other verses you cite, from chapter 6, see the comment just below.
These statements make sense even if the man Jesus did not pre-exist his birth. In the epistle of James it is written that 'every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father'. Being 'from above' or 'coming down from the Father' does not mean God physically handed me the computer I'm typing on right now, or that the chair I'm sitting on pre-existed in heaven. In the same way, being 'sent' by the Father does not mean Jesus pre-existed; the Apostles are 'sent' by the Father in the same way Jesus was. Being 'sent' refers to Jesus' mission and purpose, not to when he existed or to his origins.he came from above (John 3:31; 8:23); // he proceeded forth and came from God (John 16:28; 8:42);
To 'see' here is a euphemism for to 'know', not to physically see with one's eyes. Jesus is 'the radiance of the glory, and the impression of his person'. To see Jesus is to see the Father... in other words, to truly know Jesus is to truly know the Father. Paul says, even long after Jesus had spoken what we find in the gospel of John, that the Father is 'unseen'. To 'see' the Father is to know the Father. Jesus is the one and only person who has 'seen' (fully known) the Father, because he is the Father's Son, 'the impression of his person'.he has seen the Father (John 6:46; cf. 1:18);
Just verses prior to this, Jesus said that he was 'the living bread that came down from heaven' and that 'the bread ... is my flesh'. Jesus flesh 'came down from heaven'? His human body came from heaven? Well, yes, in the same sense that 'every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father'. The coming of Jesus certainly is the greatest, most perfect gift God could give, but like before, that doesn't require that he was literally there.he was in heaven before (John 6:62);
These verses tell us that the Son saw God. The Son is the word made flesh. The word (God's self-revelation) is not doing the seeing, the Son is doing the seeing.And how does a “word” see God (John 1:18; John 6:46)?
Why not? Jesus specifically states that what he speaks is what the Father commands him to speak (John 12.49-50). Jesus' word is the Father's word. For Jesus to be the physical embodiment of his Father's self-revelation (his word) would inherently mean that whatever Jesus speaks is the Father's self-revelation (his word).Hebrews 1:3 (cf. Col. 1:17) says that Jesus upholds all things by his word. If it’s Jesus’ word that upholds things, then it’s not the Father’s word.
Isaac was Abraham's firstborn even though Ishmael was born first. Jacob was Isaac's firstborn even though Esau was born first. 'Firstborn' is a title of rank in terms of inheritance, not of the order in which a person came to exist before others.Paul says Jesus is the firstborn of all creation (Col. 1:15) and then goes onto compare this reality with how Jesus is also the firstborn of the body (Col. 1:18). We know how he became firstborn of a body that was not yet formed
“Paul is pretty good about using δια with the accusative for 'on behalf of, because of, on account of' and δια with the genitive meaning 'through the agency of' -- so I'd really need a compelling (read: not theologically driven) case for taking δια with the genitive here in the sense of 'on account of'. With respect to the context, the agency of Christ in creation is not central to Paul's point, but I think it's entirely compatible with the manifestation of the wisdom of God's eternal purpose.”
Or being that he’s the “firstborn of creation” and “beginning of creation,” he’s talking about himself.In addition to the above verses, I should point out that because Jesus is Yahweh, it still makes sense to say that he was 'before' John or Abraham. That seems to be the context in which Jesus speaks regarding being 'before' Abraham (the 'I am' statement, that is), and I've come to see it difficult to interpret that any other way. But this is not talking about 'the Son of God'... it's talking about, simply, 'Yahweh'.
Jesus is also the beginning of the creation of God (Rev. 3:13), just as he is the beginning of the body (Col. 1:18). Col. 1:18 defines what is meant by “firstborn”; it means “the beginning” as in the very first one. Paul says Jesus is the head (first in rank) and he is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead (first one to experience it).Isaac was Abraham's firstborn even though Ishmael was born first. Jacob was Isaac's firstborn even though Esau was born first. 'Firstborn' is a title of rank in terms of inheritance, not of the order in which a person came to exist before others.
Thanks, I'll have to take this and study it out.Originally Posted by LookingUp
I'm not disagreeing that Jesus is talking about himself in terms of being Yahweh. I disagree that Jesus is talking about himself in terms of being the man Jesus, the Son of God, who did not pre-exist his birth. Luke 1 makes it very clear that the title of 'the Son of God' explicitly refers to the birth of the man Jesus. Again, I'm not saying Jesus did not pre-exist at all (or even that God did not create 'through' him, which you have provided a valid reason for understanding that Greek word), but that his pre-existence is not the typical perspective of 'second person of multi-person Yahweh' or 'eternal Son' or whatever.Or being that he’s the “firstborn of creation” and “beginning of creation,” he’s talking about himself.
His pre-existence consisted of the 'word of God', which was not a distinct 'person' from (or within) Yahweh, it was Yahweh ('and the word was God') and his self-revelation ('and the word was with God'). My whole point is that Yahweh was never and is not two, but that he is one.
Even still, the 'firstborn of creation' applies to Jesus in terms of rank, not chronology. The whole poem in Colossians is about Jesus' order of superiority, not his order of chronology. He is: the image of God, the firstborn, the creator, before all, the head, the beginning, the firstborn, he is preeminent, the fullness [of God] dwells in him. (Note: this understanding I have of this verse is one I held even while I was a typical trinitarian.) As to the passage from Revelation, my understanding of that is that the 'beginning of the creation of God' is specifically referring to the new creation. I should say that this is not an understanding I pulled out of thin air, but rather is based on my exegesis of the whole of Revelation 1-3, especially as held in parallel to chapters 21-22. I'm only saying that these verses are not convincing to me about Jesus pre-existing his birth as 'second person' of or within God.
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