Monday, May 20, 2024

The Biblical Exegesis for the Absoluteness of God: And Speculation on Why Armstrongists Reject Divine Absoluteness

 


Quartz Polyhedral: The Absoluteness of Geometric Patterns 

(Fair Use)

 

The Biblical Exegesis for the Absoluteness of God

And Speculation on Why Armstrongists Reject Divine Absoluteness

By Scout


“Nowhere in the Bible is God described as "absolute". Nowhere does God say of Himself "I am absolute". I am absolutely certain of that. So where does that idea even come from? . . . God does not need or require us to rely on human philosophy to understand Him. Quite the opposite, He condemns human philosophy as idolatry.” – Comment from the “Banned by HWA” blog in response to the article “The Absoluteness of God” by Ranger.

One of the oddest characteristics of Armstrongism is its insistence on a limited God. If you observe to an Armstrongist that there are qualities of God that transcend the Armstrongist model, the reaction typically is anger. I am not certain of the source of this anger but I have a couple of speculations. First, anything that contravenes the word of Herbert W. Armstrong (HWA), no matter how reasonable, evokes anger among his followers. Second, the theory that HWA put forward that humans would become God-as-God-is-God portrays a limited God.

Biblical terminology describes God as relative. He is more powerful than anything we know in the human realm so he is therefore almighty. But this is a yardstick comparison. It just says that God is greater, by the yardstick, than anything that we know. He is not essentially different from us. He just happens to be the biggest kid on the block. This is an important supporting belief for the theory of God-as-God-is-God. It makes the condition and state of being God appear attainable. And if we do our exercises and eat right, maybe one day we will be just as big as the biggest kid.

But God is absolute. He is not relative. He transcends all relative measures. We are in the image of God and this makes God intelligible to us but we are not in his category. He is absolute and we are not and never will be. And we know that he is absolute because it states that he is in the Bible. Absoluteness is directly deduced from the fact that God is Creator. And he creates “ex nihilo” or out of nothing (Hebrews 11:3). He can call (we don’t have a verb for it) things into existence. He is the creator of existence itself. And existence is not relative. It is non-evolutionary. It is absolute. In the human realm, we are fabricators from pre-existing materials. We can make things that can get out of control. We make things out of stuff and forces that we don’t understand. God transcends that. He has complete ownership and mastery of what he creates at the very existential level.

God is the Creator and we are not. We belong to a different category. Our role is to rejoice in what God creates – forever. It says in Isaiah:

“For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind. But be ye glad and rejoice forever in that which I create:” (KJV, Isaiah 65:17-18)

This is not vain, human philosophy. It is not a Hellenistic view as one blog commenter asserted. It is simply understanding the ramifications of what the Bible states. Absoluteness is a direct deduction from creatio ex nihilo. The word “absolute” does not have to occur in scripture for its meaning to be present. God creates ex nihilo. Nowhere does the Bible ever suggest that humans will ever create ex nihilo. That I know of, HWA never claimed that resurrected humans would create ex nihilo. He typically spoke of humans terraforming already existing planets. Which means the sound bite concept of God-as-God-is-God collapses. Because God is uncreated and absolute. We are among the created. And in this we can duly rejoice. 


59 comments:

Anonymous said...

In my experience apostates are given to much anger. Joseph Tkach Snr was and so on.

Anonymous said...

An article about absolution without a definition being given. What crappy writing.

Anonymous said...

Isa 65:17 in context

Ge 1:1 In the beginning GOD CREATED THE HEAVEN AND THE EARTH.
2Ch 36:23 Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, All the kingdoms of the earth hath the LORD God of heaven given me; and he hath charged me to BUILD HIM AN HOUSE IN JERUSALEM, which is in Judah. Who is there among you of all his people? The LORD his God be with him, and let him go up.

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

“I am led to wonder whether "heaven and earth" in Isa 65:17 and elsewhere is not functioning as a name for Jerusalem... Perhaps it is not coincidence that the Hebrew Bible begins with an account of the creation of heaven and earth by the command of God (Gen. 1:1) and ends with the command of the God of heaven "to build him a Temple in Jerusalem" (2 Chron. 36:23). It goes from creation (temple) to Temple (creation) in twenty-four books" (Jon D. Levenson, The Temple and the World, p.295).

It is helpful to have an appreciation of ancient Near-Eastern cosmology to see what is implied by Isa 65:17:

“YHWH is building a new Temple, therefore creating a new world” (Jon D. Levenson, The Temple and the World, p.295).

Below is an explanation of “new heavens and earth = new Jerusalem = God’s new dwelling place”; (taken from "Ezekiel's Temple in the Plan of God - Order out of Chaos - from Genesis to Revelation"; and “Was Eden the new heaven and earth in Genesis?”)

The new heavens and earth of Isaiah 65:17 is the type for the new heavens and earth of Revelation 21:1, the antitype; or put another way, Ezekiel’s Temple is the type and Revelation City-Temple is the antitype. Looking firstly at the antitype to understand the type:

(Scriptures quoted work better in a table and with colored highlights).

Cosmos and Temple

Rev 21:1a And I saw
Rev 21:2a And I saw
Rev 21:31 And I heard

Rev 21:1b a new heaven and a new earth
Rev 21:2b the holy city, new Jerusalem
Rev 21:3b the tabernacle of God

Rev 21:1c for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.
Rev 21:2c coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
Rev 21:3c is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people ... and be their God

“Revelation 21:1-22:5 contains the well-known and much discussed final vision of the entire Bible. There is, however a major problem... Why does John see ‘a new heaven and a new earth’ in Revelation 21:1 and yet in 21:2-3, 10-22:3 he sees a city that is garden-like, in the shape of a temple? Why does not John see a full panorama of the new heavens and earth? Why does he not see the many forests, rivers, mountains, streams, valleys and the many other features of fertile worldwide creation?

Anonymous said...

Part 2

“... after initially saying that he saw ‘a new heaven and a new earth’, John focuses only on an arboreal city-temple in the remainder of the vision. THE DIMENSIONS AND ARCHITECTURAL FEATURES OF THE CITY IN THESE VERSE ARE DRAWN TO A SIGNIFICANT EXTENT FROM EZEKIEL 40-48, A PROPHECY OF THE DIMENSIONS AND ARCHITECTURAL FEATURES OF A FUTURE TEMPLE (so vv. 2, 10-12, 21:27 - 22:2). The precious stones forming the foundation in Revelation 21:18-21 reflect the description of Solomon’s temple which was also overlaid with gold and whose foundations was composed of precious stones: see respectively 1 Kings 6:20-22 (and 5:17) and 7:9-19, and note that the dimensions of Revelation 21:16 (‘its length and width and height are equal’) are based on the dimensions of the ‘holy of holies’ in 1 Kings 6:20 (where the ‘length ... and the breadth ... and the height’ of the holy of holies were equal in measurement)...

“This equation of the new world with the city-temple becomes clearer when one begins to reflect on Revelation 21:27, which declares that ‘nothing unclean ... shall ever come into’ the urban temple. In this respect, it is significant to remember that in the Old Testament any uncleanness was to be kept out of the temple precincts (e.g., 2 Chr. 23:19; 29:16; 30:1-20)... This observation probably means that no uncleanness will be allowed into the new world... the exclusion of the unclean from the new city in 22:15 ... means they will also be excluded from dwelling in the new creation, since they will be in the lake of fire for ever...

“Another observation points to the equation of the new cosmos with the city-temple. Revelation 21:1 commences, as we have seen, with John’s vision of ‘a new heaven and a new earth’, followed by his vision of the ‘new Jerusalem, coming down of heaven’ (v.2), after which he hears a ‘loud great voice’ proclaiming that ‘the tabernacle of God is among men, and he shall dwell among them’. It is likely that the second vision in verse 2 interprets the first vision of the new cosmos, and that what is heard about the tabernacle in verse 3 interprets both 1 and 2. If so, the new creation of verse 1 is identical to the ‘new Jerusalem’ of verse 2 and both represent the same reality as the ‘tabernacle’ of verse 3” (G. K. Beale, The Temple and the Church’s Mission, New Studies in Biblical Theology (NSBT) 17, Series Editor, D. A. Carson, (Downers Grove: Inter-Varsity Press, 2004), pp.23-24).

Rev 5:5 And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the LION of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof. (AV).

Rev 5:6 Then I saw between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders a LAMB standing as if it had been slaughtered, having seven head and seven eyes...(NRSV).

“The ‘seeing-hearing’ pattern elsewhere in Revelation suggests that verses 1-3 refer to the same reality... A good example is Revelation 5:5, where John HEARS ABOUT A ‘LION that is from the tribe of Judah’ who ‘conquered’. John SEES A SLAIN LAMB possessing sovereign authority in verse 6, which interprets how the messianic conquered: he won victory ironically by dying as a ‘slain lamb’” (G. K. Beale, The Temple and the Church’s Mission, NSBT 17, pp.24-25).

Anonymous said...

Part 3

Isa 65:17b and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind.
Isa 65:18a But be ye glad and rejoice for ever in that which I create:

Isa 65:17a For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth:
Isa 65:18b for, behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy

“That the ‘new heaven and new earth’ of 21:1 is defined by and equated with the paradisal city temple of 21:2 and 21:9-22:5 is also supported by J. D. Levenson’s observation that ‘heaven and earth’ in the Old Testament may sometimes be a way of referring to Jerusalem or its temple, for which ‘Jerusalem’ is a metonymy. [A metonymy is the substitution of what is meant with something associated with what is meant]. He quotes Isaiah 65:17-18 in support... These two new creation statements in these verses appear to be in a synonymously parallel relationship” (G. K. Beale, The Temple and the Church’s Mission, NSBT 17, p.25).

“... the nature of Hebrew poetry always involves some form of parallelism and the one common form is that called synonymous parallelism (where the second line repeats or reinforces the sense of the first line). In this type of parallelism, then, the two lines together express the poet’s meaning; and the second line is not trying to say some new or different thing” (Gordon D. Fee & Douglas Stuart, How to Read the Bible for all its Worth, Second Edition, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, No Date, p.189).

“Since Isaiah 65:17 is alluded to in Revelation 21:1, it is most natural to understand that the new Jerusalem in 21:2 is equated with the ‘new heaven and earth’ of 21:1... Consequently, the new creation and Jerusalem are none other than God’s tabernacle. This tabernacle is the true temple of God’s special presence portrayed throughout chapter 21” (G. K. Beale, The Temple and the Church’s Mission, NSBT 17, p.25).

Eze 41:16 The door posts, and the narrow windows, and the galleries round about on their three stories, over against the door, ceiled with WOOD round about, and from the ground up to the windows, and the windows were covered;

“Wood” will used in the creation of a new heaven and earth in Isa 65:17-18.

Ge 2:15 The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work [‘abad] it and take care of [shamer] it (NIV).

Nu 3:8 They are to take care of [shamar] all the furnishings of the Tent of Meeting, fulfilling the obligations of the Israelites by doing [‘abad] the work of the tabernacle (NIV).

"YHWH is building a new Temple, therefore creating a new world" (Jon D. Levenson, The Temple and the World, p.295).

It is suggested that what was created in Genesis 1 was Eden/Garden of Eden.

Rev 22:1 ... a pure river [potamos] ... proceeding [ekporeuomai] out of [ek] the throne of God and of the Lamb.
Rev 22:2a In the midst [mesos] of the street of it; and on either side of the river, was there the tree [xulon] of life [zoe],
Rev 22:3b and the Lamb is the light thereof.
Rev 21:14 the wall [teichos] of the city

Ge 2:10 a river [potamos] proceeds [ekporeuomai] out of [ek] Edem (Brenton, LXX).
Ge 2:9 the tree [xulon] of life [zoe] also in the midst [mesos] of the garden [paradeisos] (Brenton, LXX).
Ge 3:8 And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day.

Paradeisos "is of Persian origin (Old Pers. pairidaza, akin to Gk. peri around and teichos, a wall) whence it passed into Greek... first used by the historian Zenophen, denoting the parks of Persian kings and nobles" (Vine's Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words,, p.158).

Perhaps it is not coincidence that the Christian Bible begins with an implied Garden-like earthly divine dwelling place and ends with city that is garden-like, in the shape of a temple - Jesus was in and will be in a garden-like dwelling place.

Anonymous said...

Anon 10:56,
Yes, Armstrongism generally is characterized by apostasy and anger by any that embrace it. It takes time to lose that anger even when one moves from the apostasy. Armdtrong had fits of anger as did his lieutenants. The splinters have strongly exhibited it as they split and resplit.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 12:49

My article was not about absolution and that is why you find not definition for that word. It was about absoluteness and you will find a comparison between what is relative and what is absolute in the article. Please read it.

Scout

Anonymous said...

“An article about absolution without a definition being given. What crappy writing.”

Apparently reading comprehension is not one of your strong points . It’s no wonder Armstrongism is filled with so many weird people.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 2:33, “Isa 65:17 in context”

I gather from what you have written that you have interpreted the language in this verse of Isaiah as allegorical rather than literal. And that is your view of the corresponding scripture in Revelation. And I believe you are also suggesting, though not strongly, that the local contextual meaning is the actual meaning and the lofty meaning is just flowery bombast. In other words, God is not really going to create a new heavens and new earth. That is just grandiose language for other, more limited concepts. Your intent then is that humanity is not restricted from creatio ex nihilo by Isaiah’s statement and God-as-God-is-God is still plausible. Granted, I may have misread your intent.

This is similar to the issue of Christotelicity. This is the idea that certain Old Testament passages have been interpreted by the New Testament authors as references to the Messiah. When, in fact, the Old Testament authors really had no idea that their writing made such references. The references were all to local contextual events at original writing. Only later did the Holy Spirit make the lofty meaning accessible. So, the Christotelic scriptures had a local meaning and a lofty meaning. Maybe a reference to Israel locally is really a reference to Christ at the lofty level. I believe this hermeneutic has value and that such passages have a dual meaning.

Where you differ from the Christotelic argument is that you assert that there is only a local meaning and the lofty meaning is delusional and should be rejected. This variant hermeneutic needs to be exegeted and I do not see that in what you have written. I believe the Christotelic model works the best. It asserts dualism. It does not have God in the position of lying in order to tell the truth – using a bogus lofty meaning in order to convey a true local meaning – which seems to be in reverse, anyway.

The fact is, HWA declared a heretical theosis in which he believed that humans could become God without qualification. And this argument is based on a lese-majesty view of God. Your rejection of the lofty meaning is a more subtle variation on the lese-majesty approach.

Scout

Anonymous said...

"He..." And we absolutely know this? :)

Lebowski said...

Just as I expected, this has gone over some readers' heads. I'm kind of shocked that one of the comments wasn't "Oh, wow, Man! Like is he saying that God is a nihilist?"

BP8 said...

Scout writes, "one of the oddest characteristics of Armstrongism is its insistence on a limited God".

What is odd about it Scout? Tell me, WHO doesn't DO THIS?

Based on certain scriptures, Armstrong concludes we can become God as God is God. On the other hand, Walter Martin emphatically declared that the Trinity (acknowledged to be a mystery) is the test doctrine for Christian orthodoxy. Do not both ideas limit God?

I'm not condemning anybody for I am in no position to be dogmatic. Scripture contains many mysteries we can argue but never come to complete agreement. We are limited creatures who are limited to what God has chosen to reveal.

Denominations (all 41,000) formulate doctrines based on a desire to understand and explain spiritual things. For instance, what is Scripture revealing about both God and man when we read,

"Let US make man in our image, after our likeness", Gen.1:26? And

"as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly", 1 Cor.15:49. For we know

" when He shall appear, we shall be like Him", 1 John 3:2. Because we shall be

"heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, to be conformed to the image of the Son, the firstborn of many brethren", Romans 8:16,29.

From this it is easy to define God by anthropomorphic language, but before doing so we need to remember that the same Bible cautions that " eye has not seen . .ALL the deep things" yet, 1 Cor.2:9-16, and "we see through a glass darkly, for we know only in part", 1 Cor.13:9-12.

What is one of the BIG lessons of the book of Job? Is it not that God is God and we are not? That God is greater than man, he cannot be contained or put into a box?

Armstrong is not the only odd ball and guilty party here. God's rebuke to Job and his friends is universal. And just because something is labeled "orthodox" doesn't make it right or the truth.











Anonymous said...

Dear Armstrongist reader or splinter member,

You are not going to become God. You will not be a full fledged fully God member of the “God family.” You will not become a god-being. You can look forward to being a servant of the Most High, inheriting eternal life, dwelling as an adopted child in the house of God, but you will not become God. Please realize that you have been sold death as life, darkness as life, deception as understanding, falsehoods as truth. Let the Lord heal you of your blindness and turn to Him and be reconciled to Him and to your brothers and sisters in Christ. Real believers who live only to serve the Lord and love others.

““You are my witnesses,” declares the Lord, “and my servant whom I have chosen, that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he. Before me no god was formed, nor shall there be any after me. I, I am the Lord, and besides me there is no savior.”
‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭43‬:‭10‬-‭11‬ ‭ESV‬‬

“Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me. I, even I, am the LORD; and beside me there is no saviour.”
‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭43‬:‭10‬-‭11‬ ‭KJV‬‬

““You are My witnesses,” says the Lord, “And My servant whom I have chosen, That you may know and believe Me, And understand that I am He. Before Me there was no God formed, Nor shall there be after Me. I, even I, am the Lord, And besides Me there is no savior.”
‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭43‬:‭10‬-‭11‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

Anonymous said...

If god is abolute why do bible scholars keep changing their minds?

Anonymous said...

I found myself having to read the article a second time trying to find a definition of absoluteness. I should not have to mentally strain to find a definition of absoluteness in an article about absoluteness. Again, poor writing.

This is a good example of why God calls the "weak of the world." Their betters are often goose teachers who aren't aware of what the "peasants" are struggling to understand.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 8:22

My statement, if you add some careful thought, "He transcends all relative measures", is the foundation for absoluteness. You might consider there are people who are experienced with the topics of this blog that do not need much more than this. I intended to make this essay more compact than othes that I have written.

If you need more, have a look at this essay:

https://armstrongismlibrary.blogspot.com/2023/10/the-absoluteness-of-god-why.html

Scout

Anonymous said...

Have you read the bible at all ?

Anonymous said...

Scout. I do not believe that the man in the street can define "relative measures." A person should not have to pull out a dictionary to understand a article. Neither should "careful thought" be required either. The purpose of articles is for the author to have done the thinking for the readership, and express these findings.
I subscribed to Time magazine for decades, so don't tell me that I'm not experienced with topics. Perhaps you might try reading Time magazine articles yourself. They are easy to understand.

Anonymous said...

There is no wisdom nor understanding nor counsel against the Lord - Prov 21:30.  Want to debate God?  Don't.  You'll lose.

Great is our Lord, and of great power:  his understanding is infinite - Ps 147:5.  Definition of infinite:  not measureable.  He does "transcends all relative measures".

We will never be as God the Father or as Jesus the Christ but we will or can if so choosing become spirit beings.  What does all that involve?  I don't yet know.

Anonymous said...

If you’re looking to be understand the fullness with God, as a created being, you should be able to understand that you cannot comprehend the fullness of who God is… if you could completely understand and articulate all and who God is, that would make you above God. Which, you are not. Nor is anyone else…

Imagine the pride that would come from being able to boldly declare that you know all God things… you can’t. You don’t. You won’t. No one ever will. Only God existed before anything existed. And He exists in that He is who He is and I think He declared it perfectly when He just said “I AM.”

Anonymous said...

We will have a body.

Anonymous said...

"God is absolute" is a sound-bite.

Anonymous said...

If God is absolute, how could Jesus become flesh, then die, and then become spirit again?

Anonymous said...

BP8 7:45 wrote, "What is odd about it Scout? Tell me, WHO doesn't DO THIS?"

When you define God, you limit him and everyone has a definition of God. Most denominations have a Doctrine of God as a part of whatever systematic theology the denomination may follow.
So, you are correct. Everyone limits God. Even to describe him as absolute cannot be a full study of his ontology. God transcends our ability to understand him. We only know about him what he wants us to know about him. Although some Armstrongists assert they they do know God and know him fully, otherwise, what's the point.

But what I am referring to is a different species of limitation. There are consensus characteristics of God that nearly everyone in the Christian movement agree on. These characteristics are based on scripture. Armstrongism disregards these scriptures and posits a God that is much less capable than what is generally understood within Christianity. This is principally done by taking literally the metaphorical language of the Hebrew Bible. That is the issue.

Scout

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 1:22 wrote, "If God is absolute, how could Jesus become flesh, then die, and then become spirit again?"

If God is absolute, then nothing is withheld from him. There is nothing that he cannot do, if he so wills. So your question is illogical. One might logically ask the following question:

"If God is RELATIVE, how could Jesus become flesh, then die, and then become spirit again?"

This is a question we might ask of any non-absolute god.

Scout

Kolchak said...

I always heard the question in WCG : "can God build a stone too heavy for His own self to lift?"

Lots of answers on both sides of that, up the miiddle & 'round the back. And this post/question is interesting too, good comments. I'm stumped though, as I was on that old WCG stone/lift/God/heavy question.šŸ“

Anonymous said...

We will likely never fully understand how any of this is possible. Last I checked, there is only one God and His thoughts and ways are not our thoughts or ways. However, the Bible does say that God took on the form of a human and died on the cross. God Himself never ceased to exist. He didn’t destroy His own soul in the grave, but laid His life down and rose again on the third day. We all have bodies. We all have souls. Something definitely not taught in Armstrongism. But Jesus Christ was Immanuel, God in the Flesh, the Word of God made manifest among us, rejected by His own people and nailed to the cross to fulfill His promises that are repeated throughout scripture. The “how” does not matter. You either choose to believe this happened or you reject is because you don’t believe God. But God declared this to be what occurred.

“Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
‭‭Philippians‬ ‭2‬:‭5‬-‭11‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

Another passage to think about when considering that Christ is the Lord.

“God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become so much better than the angels, as He has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they. For to which of the angels did He ever say: “You are My Son, Today I have begotten You”? And again: “I will be to Him a Father, And He shall be to Me a Son”? But when He again brings the firstborn into the world, He says: “Let all the angels of God worship Him.” And of the angels He says: “Who makes His angels spirits And His ministers a flame of fire.” But to the Son He says: “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; A scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your kingdom. You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness; Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You With the oil of gladness more than Your companions.” And: “You, Lord, in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth, And the heavens are the work of Your hands. They will perish, but You remain; And they will all grow old like a garment; Like a cloak You will fold them up, And they will be changed. But You are the same, And Your years will not fail.” But to which of the angels has He ever said: “Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemies Your footstool”? Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation?”
‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭1‬:‭1‬-‭14‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

Agamemnon said...

I'm totally 'gasted by the helpless sometimes.

Scout referred to the earlier article by Ranger, "The Absoluteness of God", one of the blog features of Tuesday, Oct. 10, 2023. That article did an extraordinary job of defining "absoluteness", and today's entry by Scout provides additional commentary. There is a very nice feature here at Banned. It's a nice little search box in the upper right. Why I just bet that if a person were to type The Absoluteness of God in that little box, Ranger's article would come up.

Ronco said...

"Scout. I do not believe that the man in the street can define "relative measures.""

May 21, 2024 at 11:03:00 AM PDT

Let me help you with that. Faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, able to leap tall buildings in a single bound. You know, simple comparisons.

"A person should not have to pull out a dictionary to understand a article. Neither should "careful thought" be required either. The purpose of articles is for the author to have done the thinking for the readership, and express these findings."

Now the truth comes out- we want someone else to do the thinking for us. Perish the thought that we should think for ourselves. No wonder why HWA (and the JW's) has such a following with all their junk literature.

Anonymous said...

Kolchak at 3:09,

"can God build a stone too heavy for His own self to lift?"

My thinking is that whatever God creates/builds/makes/designs is inferior to Him. He has total control over it. Nothing is impossible to God. I guess He can build a stone too heavy for His own self to lift and he can nullify this built stone's weight by reason He is above the created heavier object. To understand this further, the spiritual is always superior to the physical. God's spiritual strength is far superior to this physical stronger stone. Perhaps, this is another up the middle and round the back answer!

Moron said...

I had no idea I would become so famous.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 12:15

God cannot create a stone that is too heavy for him to lift. The reason why is that this is a logical impossibility. A being that is absolute can be exceeded by nothing. So logically nothing can be created that exceeds absoluteness.

You wrote, "My thinking is that whatever God creates/builds/makes/designs is inferior to Him."

Excellent observation. This is one reason why God-as-God-is-God does not work. This is why when HWA writes that God is reproducing himself, the statement does not make any sense. God himself is uncreated. He exceeds everything in the created realm. His absoluteness is a direct consequence of the reality that he is the Uncreated Creator. God cannot create something that is uncreated like himself. That is why God-as-God-is-God is illogical if God is absolute - which he is by being the Creator. It can only make sense with a relative god - a god that can be matched and even exceeded.

That is the problem with sound-bite-ism. HWA can declare things but cannot tell you how they work. And nobody ever asked him. Including me. While such concepts are at the limit of our ability to understand, we can contemplate some of the more simple aspects of these concepts.

Scout

Byker Bob said...

I first heard that rock too heavy rhetorical question back in high school when students were just beginning to get into Nietzsche. It's a logical fallacy, just as a mock situation that was supposed to be the basis for an algebraic solution, put on a test as an extra credit problem by a math teacher with a sense of humor. (Crap! I can't remember how many times mine told his joke about a polygon being a dead parrot!)

BB

Anonymous said...

“... the Bible is an ancient book and makes sense if we look at it in ancient ways” (Peter Enns, The Bible tells me so, p.187). (See more from Peter Enns below).

Scout writes:

“This is similar to the issue of Christotelicity. This is the idea that certain Old Testament passages have been interpreted by the New Testament authors as references to the Messiah. When, in fact, the Old Testament authors really had no idea that their writing made such references. The references were all to local contextual events at original writing. Only later did the Holy Spirit make the lofty meaning accessible...

“And I believe you are also suggesting, though not strongly, that the local contextual meaning is the actual meaning and the lofty meaning is just flowery bombast. In other words, God is not really going to create a new heavens and new earth. That is just grandiose language for other, more limited concepts...”

“It does not have God in the position of lying in order to tell the truth – using a bogus lofty meaning in order to convey a true local meaning – which seems to be in reverse, anyway.”

Ge 7:19 And the waters prevailed exceedingly upon the earth; and all the high hills, that were under the whole heaven, were covered.

I suggest that there is a difference between Second Temple exegesis of the OT and exegesis of the OT informed from concepts shared by surrounding peoples of the time. The latter especially requires looking at the Bible in ancient ways.

When one suggests that the flood was local, one can be accused by a person unaware of ancient Near Eastern thoughforms, of putting God in a position of lying and using flowery bombast.

Heb 11:3 Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.

Ge 1:1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

It is suggested that Heb 11:3 and Scriptures like the Genesis 1:1 and Isaiah 65:17 are dealing with two different concepts;

Ge 1:6 And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.

with the latter dealing with ancient-Near Eastern cosmology and thought.

Isa 65:17a For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth

"In Hebrew this sentence [Genesis 1:1] consists of seven words, mirroring the seven days of creation" (John E. Hartley, Genesis, NIBC, p.42).

"The great promise, with its introductory call to special attention - "Behold, I will create a new heavens and a new earth" v.17; cf. Rev 21:1 - consists of only seven words in Hebrew; yet its implications are staggering..." (Geoffrey W. Grogan, Isaiah, EBC, Vol.6, p.351).

Ge 1:1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
Ge 2:1 Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them.

Ge 2:4 This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created. When the LORD God made the earth and the heavens—
Ge 2:5 and no shrub of the field had yet appeared on the earth and no plant of the field had yet sprung up, for the LORD God had not sent rain on the earth and there was no man to work the ground, (NIV).
Ge 2:7 And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

"If God created plants and animals within the same six day period as He created Adam and Eve, then He must have created the plants and animals in a fully grown state so that they could serve as a food source. In other words ... God must have created plants that had every appearance of having fully germinated, when in fact they had not. Also, in order to support plant and animal life the soil must be full of nutrients that normally take many years to form.

Anonymous said...

Part 2

“Therefore God must have created the Garden of Eden with an apparent but nonexistent history in order for it to support plant and animal life" (Scott Pfahler, Creationism and the Appearance of Age,
http://apps.usd.edu/esci/creation/age/content/creationism_and_young_earth/appearance_of_age.html

"It is misleading [but is it?] to call this a second creation account, for it hastens to localize the scene, passing from the world at large to ‘a garden ... in the east'; all that follows is played out on this narrow stage" (Derek Kidner, Genesis, TOTC, p.63). Cp Rev 21:1 with Rev 21:2.

"The point made by these verses, then, is that there is no food growing in uncultivated areas, and there is no cultivation for the arable land" (John H. Walton, Genesis, NIVAC, p.164).

"The text goes on to report how the situation was remedied... The garden is going to be the remedy," (John H. Walton, Genesis, NIVAC, p.180).

The second creation account in Genesis 2 suggests that the creation account of Genesis 1 is more nuanced than a casual reading would suggest. It is suggested that the new heavens and earth - that is Eden - was God’s response to the violence and chaos associated with the “Neolithic bottle-neck”; God intended to create a new world.

Da 2:35 and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth.

Eden was meant to be the microcosm that was to become the macrocosm - to fill the whole world. This concept is seen in the new beginning associated with the Tabernacle.

And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying ... let them make (‘asah) me a sanctuary (Exodus 25:1, 8, AV).

“Israel made the tabernacle, even as God made the world...” (James K. Bruckner, Exodus, NIBC, p.231).

“Commentators for centuries have noticed that the phrase “the LORD said to Moses” occurs seven times in chapters 25-31. The first six concern the building of the tabernacle and its furnishings (25:1; 30:11, 17, 22, 34; 31:1), while the final introduces the Sabbath command (31:12). It seems clear that the purpose of this arrangement is to aid the reader in making the connection between the building of the tabernacle and the seven days of creation, both involving six creative acts culminating in a seventh-day rest” (Peter Enns, Exodus, NIVAC, p.509).

“In the midst of a fallen world, in exile from the Garden of Eden - the original “heaven on earth” - God undertakes another act of creation, a building project that is nothing less than a return to pre-Fall splendor. The tabernacle, therefore, is laden with redemptive significance, not just because of the sacrifices and offerings within its walls, but simply because of what it is: a piece of holy ground amid a world that has lost its way. If this is a correct understanding of the tabernacle, we begin to see why the writer of Exodus devotes so much space to its description” (Peter Enns, Exodus, NIVAC, p.521).

Ge 2:10a And a river went out of Eden to water the garden...
Rev 22:1 And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb.

While Peter Ens regards the Garden of Eden as “the original heaven on earth” it is better to see Eden and its adjoining Garden as the original heaven on earth - the typology of Genesis suggests that Eden pictures the Holy of Holies and the Garden pictures the “holy place”.

Ex 40:33 And he reared up the court round about the tabernacle and the altar, and set up the hanging of the court gate. So Moses finished the work.

“There is also creation language here. In fact, this section ends (v.33) by repeating almost verbatim the language of Genesis 2:2. Compare the Hebrew transliteration of both verses:

Anonymous said...

Part 3

Exodus 40:33 waykal moseh 'et bammela'aka - So Moses finished the work

Genesis 2:2a waykal 'elohim bayyom bassebi'i mela'leto - So God on the seventh day
finished the work

“Only Genesis 2:2 has the clause “on the seventh day,” but both say that God/Moses finished (Heb. root klb (work) (Heb. ml’kh).

“Moses’ overseeing the construction of the tabernacle is like God building the universe...

“The deliverance of Israel from Egypt marked a new beginning for God’s people, a “new creation.” It is no surprise, therefore, that the tabernacle, itself a microcosm of creation ... It, too is a new creation...” (Peter Enns, Exodus, NIVAC, p.552).

“At this small, lonely place in the midst of the chaos of the wilderness, a new creation comes into being. In the midst of the disorder, there is order. The tabernacle is the world order as God intended writ small in Israel. The priests of the sanctuary going about their appointed courses is like everything in creation performing its liturgical service - the sun, the trees, human beings...” (Terence E. Fretheim, Exodus, IBCTP, p.271).

“The uncompromising attention to detail is another indication that the tabernacle is an act of creation. It reflects the order that God originally created in the universe. There is no room for human disorder or for chaos to invade this holy space. Everything must be exactly as God has commanded. The order of the tabernacle reflects God’s very nature, a nature that creation itself reflects.

“... the tabernacle was an earthly representation of heavenly reality. It was a microcosm of the created order - hence, a microcosm of the only spotless point in creation, Eden” (Peter Enns, Exodus, NIVAC, pp.552-553).

“... the microcosm of creation is the beginning of a macrocosmic effort on God’s part. In and through this people, God is on the move to a new creation for all...” (Terence E. Fretheim, Exodus, IBCTP, p.271)!!!

Isa 65:17a For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth:
Isa 65:18b for, behold, I create [a new] Jerusalem

Isa 65:17b and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind.
Isa 65:20 There shall be no more thence an infant of days, nor an old man that hath not filled his days; for the child shall die an hundred years old; but the sinner being an hundred years old shall be accursed

Eze 47:1a The man brought me back to the entrance of the temple, and I saw water coming out from under the threshold of the temple. (NIV),
Zec 14:8a And it shall be in that day, that living waters shall go out from Jerusalem

Isa 51:3 For the LORD shall comfort Zion: he will comfort all her waste places; and he will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the LORD;

During the second half of Jesus’ prophetic week He will ‘create’ Jerusalem and its Temple as the microsocosm of His new world.

“... moving out of the garden would appear a hardship since the land outside of the garden was not as hospitable as that inside the garden (otherwise the garden would not be distinguishable). Perhaps, then we should surmise that people were gradually supposed to extend the garden as they went about subduing and ruling" (John Walton, Genesis, NIVAC, p.186).

Isa 49:6 And he said, It is a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth.

Through Israel the microcosm will come the macrocosm - filling the whole earth (Da 2:35). Israel will be a blessing both physically and spiritually to the whole earth.

Anonymous said...

Byker Bob:

I think the logical fallacy about God is a variation on the question "What happens when an irresistible force collides with an immovable object?" If I understand Kolchak's question, he is saying that the idea that God is absolute is similar to this logical fallacy. Actually, it is quite dissimilar.

The fundamental question is “can God do anything he wants?” The answer, of course, is No. He cannot make a triangle that is square. He cannot make a negative number that is greater than zero. This all has to do with the a priori nature of our reality. God, in creating a logical, orderly universe, did not intend for any of these paradoxes to be possible.

On the other hand, to observe that God is absolute, does not engage logical paradox. If God created time, it is not illogical to assert that God has total, unqualified mastery of time. It exists and operates because he made it and sustains it. It is his property. It does not control him. Armstrongists worship a god who lives inside time. Time is something their god must conform to. Yet we know that time is a property of the physical universe and is modified by gravity. God transcends time.

If God has total, unqualified mastery of all that he creates, he is absolute. His properties cannot be measured as if they are relative. He is not just bigger than other things. Big and small don’t mean anything in regard to him. Those are relative ideas that belong to the human realm. God is of a different category than us and we will never be God-as-God-is-God. That is a logical error like wondering if there can be a triangle that is square. To say that we will one day be God-as-God-is-God is to say one day we will be a triangle that is square.

In short, God transcends all that we as human beings experience or can experience. Though we are made in his image in some limited respects, he is other.

Scout

C. Kolchak said...

What if the answer is yes, God can do all that odd stuff, on the other side of a black hole? Where they say a white hole spits out what a black hole swallows, & may even end up becoming "big bangs" back there where triangles might be square, & negative numbers might be more than zero in anti-matter etc.?

now that's just "if" the answer is yes He can, but I am as stumped as Job was over the chummy, chatty round table discussion God had with Ha-Satann over whether Job would simply be a fair-weather friend of God or not...


what if God also has little universes inside atom shells ⚛️☢️

Anonymous said...

Parts 1,2,3

I would not lay money on the idea that I understand the integrated argument that all three of your parts are supposed to make. So, let me first frame what I think you are saying and this will be the issue I respond to:

You are claiming that the Bible contains embellishment. And this is the hermeneutic we must use in interpreting Isaiah 65:17-18. These verses are an embellished statement, an ornament so to speak and we cannot regard the passage as being reflective of reality. Hence, God is not reserving in these verses the role of Creator to himself and may well pass that role down to resurrected Armstrongists and they will be God-as-God-is-God. Therefore, HWA’s picture of Theosis is correct. To support this, you invoke the idea of a local flood (an idea that you know I advocate). And all of the language that seems to regard the flood as global is embellishment or ornamentation. And since I have identified the global flood language as embellishment I should also accept Isaiah 65:17-18 as mere embellishment and admit that HWA is right.

My midsrash is that there is no overt assertion in the New Testament that resurrected humans will ever create ex nihilo but there is an assertion that God will create a new heavens and new earth (Rev 21::1 and Rev 21:5). There is also a statement (John 1) that clearly defines the Logos as the Creator of all things. The Cosmos, then, is a kind of theophany of the three-personed God with Jesus performing the economy of creation. We will be partakers of the define nature but we will not possess the divine nature exhaustively. (Exhaustive possession of the divine nature is what is required for HWA’s rendition of Theosis.)

The original cosmos was accomplished by the Logos. It is this Cosmos for which the Logos died in order that it might be redeemed and renewed in the eschaton. “For God so loved the Cosmos …” This model does not admit the augmentation of the renewed Cosmos, the final perfected theophany of God, by anyone other than the Logos, if that were possible. The Logos is the once and future creator. The sequence is the creation, the cross and then the re-creation. Jesus is the Alpha and the Omega. He said “I make all things new” not “we will make all things new.”

This could go on. There are other scriptures that argue against the God-as-God-is God slogan.

Scout



John said...

Anon, Tuesday, May 21, 2024 at 1:22:00 PM PDT, asked:

"...If God is absolute, how could Jesus become flesh, then die, and then become spirit again?..."
******
What is meant by the word "God?" The Word was not God, and Jesus did not just magically "become flesh," and neither was Jesus a God when that flesh existed. Later, Jesus became a Son of God, and is referred to as God, but Jesus was never "the God."

There is a difference between "God," and "The God," but "Jesus become flesh?" No.

"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." John 1:14

The Father is "The God" mentioned in verse 1 (will explain shortly). The Word did not "become flesh," but "was made flesh." Jesus Christ had a beginning with an ending at His murder. Only The God has neither.

What is the difference between "God" and "the God" in John 1:1?

I wish, at this point to "cut and paste" a portion of an article titled "Understanding John 1:1" posted by a Frank W Nelte in June 1995 to explain it. I apology, in advance, as this will be a little technical.
******
"...Understanding John 1:1

In the KJV this verse reads:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (John 1:1 AV)

The Greek text for John 1:1 reads as follows:
en arche en ho logos kai ho logos en pros ton theon kai theos en ho logos (John 1:1)

Let's break it down into the three phrases and translate them literally:

- en arche en ho logos = in beginning was the Word;
- kai ho logos en pros ton theon = and the Word was WITH the God;
- kai theos en ho logos = and God was the Word.

Notice that the word "God" is used once WITH THE DEFINITE ARTICLE and the next time WITHOUT THE DEFINITE ARTICLE. Notice also that in the English translations the last phrase is usually reversed, i.e. it is rendered as "and the Word was God" instead of "and God was the Word". Since both the nouns in that phrase (i.e. theos and logos) are in the nominative case linked by the verb "to be", both could be considered the subject.

This verse was easy to understand until the Worldwide Church of God changed its teachings about the nature of God, and claimed that this verse actually doesn't really mean what it seems to say; that it really means something else. Therefore, if my discussion of this verse now seems a bit on the technical side, it is not because we need a thorough knowledge of Greek in order to grasp what God is telling us here. The meaning is plain and easy to understand; it means EXACTLY what it says! The technicalities are only needed in order to dispel the confusion that has been created about this verse.

Notice also that the Greek text clearly says in the second phrase: "and the Word was WITH THE God", rather than just "and the Word was WITH God". The Greek text here includes the definite article!..."
******
John 1:1 speaks about some "beginning" and it is clear that 2 individuals are mentioned; however, it is appropriate to remember that Jesus' God, His Father, The God, without any beginning, had immortality:

To be continued…

John

John said...

Continuing…

I Tim 6:16 Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom [be] honour and power everlasting. Amen."

The Word did not have immortality, and when the Word was made flesh-Jesus (John 5:26 “For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself;”) did not have immortality inherent.

So, the Word is NOT The God, the Highest, the LORD of hosts, the Ancient of Days, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, who has NO beginning, etc.

So, "how could Jesus become flesh, then die, and then become spirit again?"

That was all accomplished by The God without beginning, through His Spirit, to fulfill His Plan of Salvation to save all Israel, all humanity, and subsequently destroy Satan and his angels later.

Did The God, in accordance with His own Will, accomplish all of that?

Time will tell...

John

Anonymous said...

It's wayyyy too difficult to trust Frank Nelte after he re-worded Jesus in Matt. 11:30.

https://www.franknelte.net/article.php?article_id=464

Mr. Nelte hornswaggled Strong's Concordance use of G1645 elaphros/lightweight and G1643 elauno/driven as an oar rowing, he willy nilly claims the 2 terms can be freely interchanged even in Jesus' statement, while Strong's says elauno is only "akin" to elaphros, but not the same. And F. Nelte says they are the same.

Nelte claims Jesus meant to say, "my yoke is good, and my burden is "driven with effort, as an oar rowing". (but not easy anymore)!

It is hardly advisable to trust lessons from Mr. Frank Nelte, who was once likely a WCG person long ago. He presumed way too much onto himself with sharing so called "new truths".

John said...

Anon, Thursday, May 23, 2024 at 3:33:00 PM PDT, said:

"...It's wayyyy too difficult to trust Frank Nelte after he re-worded Jesus in Matt. 11:30.

https://www.franknelte.net/article.php?article_id=464

Mr. Nelte hornswaggled Strong's Concordance use of G1645 elaphros/lightweight and G1643 elauno/driven as an oar rowing, he willy nilly claims the 2 terms can be freely interchanged even in Jesus' statement, while Strong's says elauno is only "akin" to elaphros, but not the same. And F. Nelte says they are the same.

Nelte claims Jesus meant to say, "my yoke is good, and my burden is "driven with effort, as an oar rowing". (but not easy anymore)!

It is hardly advisable to trust lessons from Mr. Frank Nelte, who was once likely a WCG person long ago. He presumed way too much onto himself with sharing so called "new truths".
******
Anon, I am not familiar with the article you cited; however, Frank has written numerous articles since those days of when he wrote Contra Stavrinides ("Stab u need less ly").

I understand you saying: "...It's wayyyy too difficult to trust Frank Nelte...," who, once upon a time, was employed by the former WCG as one of their ministers until he was forced to become part of the scattering of that organization.

Initially, I found his earlier writings to be somewhat trustworthy; however, over the more recent years since, Frank has offered a lot more speculation.

You wrote: "He presumed way too much onto himself with sharing so called "new truths".

Yes, some of those "new truths" have speculation and FWN asks us to: "See what you think."

What matters what we think, especially when we disagree with Frank and then bring something to Frank's attention?

Over two decades ago, I strived to explain to Frank that Jesus Christ had a "second coming" after He was murdered, dead 3 days/nights, was resurrected, visited with His God, His Father, and then returned to earth a second time/coming: that other comings existed beyond that time, but to no avail. Why?

Frank has the mind of God. He said so. So, it's his wayyyy, or the highway.

I rarely communicate with him anymore, and I'll occasionally will skim some of his articles; however, I did find his article on "Understanding John 1:1" very informative, and worthwhile.

FWIIW, in a book titled "Beyond Newton" by Dr. Chuck Missler, on page 55 he states: "The most certain barrier to truth is the conviction that we already have it. It's a problem that pervades in certain professional fields.

As historian Daniel J Boorstin said so well, 'The greatest obstacle to discovery is not ignorance - it is the illusion of knowledge.'"

Don't we all have the opportunities to grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ?

I'm looking forward to a day when there will be a "pure language" that all will understand, and we possess a Bible without the bias of satanic translators (Eph 6:12) inserting their numerous mis-translations and the writings of FWN will no longer be necessary, but...

Time will tell...

John

Anonymous said...

John 2:33 2:34


You are making an Arianist presentation of Jesus although I am not sufficiently conversant with Arianism to know if you have the full package. Arianism was at one time widely believed in the Adventist Movement. As I understand, many ministers in the Church of God Seventh Day are yet Arianists. The central point of Arianism is that Jesus is not God-as-God-is-God. Armstrongists depart radically from Arianism in proclaiming that not only is Jesus God-as-God-is-God but one day all saved humans will be God-as-God-is-God. Where Arianism persists among Armstrongists is in their belief that Jesus is secondary to God the Father in ontology not just economy. I believe this leads to a depreciation of Jesus in their praxis. There are many issues with the Armstrongist doctrine of God but I do not intend to review all of that here.

There is a difference between “God” and “The God”. The former is the inarticular form and the latter is the articular form. Arianists seek to find traction in this distinctionn for their belief in Jesus as a kind of secondary or even created being. The inarticular form is Theos and can be used of any divine being. The articular form is O Theos, “The God”, is a reference to the fully transcendent God. So far, this agrees with what you have written. It looks like this:

theos – a divine being
o theos – the absolute God

Now for the point of divergence. Jesus never explicitly refers to himself as “o theos” anywhere in the Gospels and this reticence lends support to Arianist themes. But the reference is there. In John 20:28, Thomas says to Jesus, “My lord and my God.” Jesus gives him a receptive and acknowledging response of “You have faith because you have seen me.” Thomas’ words in koine, “o kyrios mou kai o theos mou.” David Bentley Hart states of this in his New Testament translation, “Thomas addresses Jesus as “o theos”, which unambiguously means “God” in the absolute sense.” Jesus does not correct Thomas and point out a blasphemous fault in his form of address. Jesus accepts Thomas’ words of worship. This the same as Jesus making an explicit statement that he is The God.

I also take exception for something else you wrote, “Time will tell.” No - no need to wait. We know that Jesus is The God now.

Scout

Moron said...

If you try to argue with Frank Nelte you may get your feelings hurt. Proceed only with great caution.

Moron said...

Frank makes some good points. He also makes some crazy points.

John said...

Anon/Scout, Friday, May 24, 2024 at 7:16:00 AM PDT, wrote:

"...I also take exception for something else you wrote, “Time will tell.” No - no need to wait. We know that Jesus is The God now..."
******
Well, time will tell for others than you and I, because you "know that Jesus is The God now..."

While, to the best of my knowledge, I know that God the Father is The God now, in the past and in the future.

We need to agree to disagree.

Also, like you, "...I am not sufficiently conversant with Arianism...", nor do I care to look into it. Jesus' God/Father was and still is His Father: The God.

The God, in whom only immortality exists, is the One who gave Jesus Christ eternal life.

John 5:26 "For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself;"

HWA taught us that Jesus Christ was "The God of the Old Testament," which is not true, but HWA was unaware. Here's one scripture to prove that point:

"The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our fathers, hath glorified his Son Jesus;..." Acts 3:13

That God of Abraham was "The God," and there was only one of Him.

Some believe there were 2 eternals forever, without beginning, but there is no proof of that. Might as well believe in 3 eternals forever, and include the Holy Spirit; what's the difference? People are welcome to their beliefs. Time will tell.

If Jesus were "The God," wouldn't He have had eternal life, too? Jesus didn't have it until The God gave it to Him.

The God does not die. The God has that immortality inherently...and from before any beginnings.

That was not true of Jesus Christ, who had a beginning and an ending, although lasting only a few days.

Anyway, Scout, we'll agree to disagree, for now. Thanks for your comments. Have a delightful Sabbath.

John

John said...

Moron, Friday, May 24, 2024 at 1:03:00/1:06:00 PM PDT said:

"...If you try to argue with Frank Nelte you may get your feelings hurt. Proceed only with great caution...

...Frank makes some good points. He also makes some crazy points.
******

Amen to all of that; Frank, right or wrong, continues to do the best he can with what he has/knows.

John

Anonymous said...

John 6:24 you wrote, “I Tim 6:16 Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom [be] honour and power everlasting. Amen." The Word did not have immortality, and when the Word was made flesh-Jesus (John 5:26 “For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself;”) did not have immortality inherent.”

Your interpretation of the data seems very odd to me. If you are not conversant with the heresy of Arianism, you seem to have rediscovered it. I have pondered 1 Tim 6:13-16 and it seems that “He who alone has immortality” is a reference to Jesus Christ. Jesus, alone among all humans, is immortal. The context makes a direct reference to a title that is used of Jesus in Revelation: King of Kings and Lord of Lords (1 Tim 6:15 and Rev 19:16). And when Jesus underwent Kenosis, we do not know what he may have emptied himself of. Jesus refers to it as his glory but we do not know what that entails. Though he was fully man and fully God, he was, in fact, mortal. He could die. Hence, God would have to grant him life (John 5:26). Here we cannot speak of these things with any detailed knowledge of the means available to God.

I also believe that Paul’s language in 1 Tim 6:16 is worshipful and liturgical rather than being a tight analysis of divine ontology. The idea that Paul is saying only God the Father has immortality does not fly. To say that God only possesses immortality in his essence and imparts it to others is a novel interpretation that goes well beyond the language that Paul uses. If we are to assume that Paul is stating that only God the Father was immortal at the time that Paul wrote 1 Tim 6:16, we have a conundrum. At the time of writing, Jesus was already a resurrected, immortal being. The angelic host was immortal. Some would say that even the human pneuma was immortal but that is another issue. So, in effect, if Paul was talking divine ontology, he was wrong. Paul, in this same passage, states that God dwells in inapproachable light. Are we to take that highly poetic statement and apply physics to it? Seriously? God who is spirit lives in a realm of photons which are physical (and that he created)? God is invisible (1 Tim 1:17) so what is the light supposed to illuminate? This is the poetry of exaltation.

So, Paul made a liturgical statement. It seems very much like it is a reference to Jesus Christ rather than God the Father. I believe there is reasonable doubt about the Arianist interpretation of this statement. Certainly, nobody should base a doctrine on a statement that is so controvertible.

Scout


Kolchak said...

Shouldn't Frank have known that even in Matt. 11:30. "my yoke is easy & my burden is light", that Strong's G1645 elaphros/light, lightweight is ONLY AKIN to (& not EQUAL to), Strong's G1643 elauno/driven with effort as an oar rowing?

https://www.franknelte.net/article.php?article_id=464

No one, not even the high-&-mighty "you could get your feelings hurt" super-pillar Frank Nelte, can freely interchange elaphros with elauno if the 2 greek words are only "akin" to each other (& not the same).

Such puffed so called "new truths" of his made it's way into the late Richard Close speaking it plagiaristically on behalf of Bob's "hierarchy" in CCOG. Not pleasant to see someone bamboozling Jesus's own words around, mate.


https://youtu.be/WRFQlAv4f4o?feature=shared

Anonymous said...

Jesus’ God

1Ti 6:13b I charge you
1Ti 6:14 to keep this command without spot or blame until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ,
1Ti 6:15 which God will bring about in his own time—God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords,
1Ti 6:16 who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see. To him be honor and might forever. Amen.

From the context of 1 Tim 6 God is the Father; the nearest antecedent to “God” in 6:15b is “God” in 6:15a, which is the Father.

“The doxology in verse 15-16 employs rich, lofty vocabulary to exalt God...

“Another unique characteristic of God celebrated in this doxology is his immortality. The adjective monos here emphasizes that only God is not subject to death” (Walter L. Liefeld, 1 & 2 Timothy, Titus, NIVAC, pp.213-14).

1Ti 1:17 Now unto the King eternal, IMMORTAL, INVISIBLE, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen. (AV).

Col 1:15a Who is the image of the INVISIBLE God,
2 Co 4:4 Christ, who is the image of God

"Already in 1:17 immortality (athanasia) is ascribed to God, although the adjective aphthartos is used. Both words are found in parallel clauses in 1 Cor 15:53,54 with apparently no difference of meaning. The expression who only hath immortality does not deny it to another, but brings out the uniqueness of the divine immortality in that God alone inherently posses it, being Himself the source of all life. Linked with this characteristic of eternity are two qualities which equally distinguished God from others, His transcendence (dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto) and His invisibility (whom no man hath seen, nor can see)" (Donald Guthrie, The Pastoral Epistles, TOTC, p.117).

Jn 5:26 For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself;

John 17:3 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.

(1 John 1:3b and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ).

Jude 1:21 Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.
Jude 1:25 To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen. (AV).
Jude 1:25 to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen. (NIV).

Ro 16:27 To God only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ for ever. Amen.

Rev 1:8 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.

"God himself speaks and, with his own signature, vouches for the faithfulness of the coming of Christ... Only the Book of Revelation refers to God as the "Alpha and the Omega". God is the absolute source of all creation and history..." (Alan F. Johnson, Revelation, EBC, Vol.12, p.423, note on Rev 1:8).

Jn 20:17b I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to MY GOD, and your God.

Rom 15:6 glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ (NIV)
2 Cor 1.3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ (NIV).
2 Cor 11:31 The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
Eph 1:17 That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ,
Eph 1:17 That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ,
1Pe 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ

Rev 3:12 Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of MY GOD, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of MY GOD, and the name of the city of MY GOD, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from MY GOD:...

Ro 1:8a First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ

Deut 6:4 Hear, O Israel, The Lord [Kyrios] our God (Theos) is one Lord (Kyrios). (Brenton, LXX)
1Co 8:6 But to us there is but one God [Theos], the Father... and one Lord [Kyrios] Jesus Christ...

John said...

Anon/Scout, Saturday, May 25, 2024 at 7:08:00 AM PDT, said:

"...John 6:24 [[Actually 2:34]] you wrote, “I Tim 6:16 Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom [be] honour and power everlasting. Amen." The Word did not have immortality, and when the Word was made flesh-Jesus (John 5:26 “For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself;”) did not have immortality inherent.”

Your interpretation of the data seems very odd to me. If you are not conversant with the heresy of Arianism, you seem to have rediscovered it. I have pondered 1 Tim 6:13-16 and it seems that “He who alone has immortality” is a reference to Jesus Christ. Jesus, alone among all humans, is immortal. The context makes a direct reference to a title that is used of Jesus in Revelation: King of Kings and Lord of Lords (1 Tim 6:15 and Rev 19:16). And when Jesus underwent Kenosis, we do not know what he may have emptied himself of. Jesus refers to it as his glory but we do not know what that entails. Though he was fully man and fully God, he was, in fact, mortal. He could die. Hence, God would have to grant him life (John 5:26). Here we cannot speak of these things with any detailed knowledge of the means available to God..."
******
You say that: "...Though he was fully man and fully God..."

No, that is an assumption on your part, and it is belief in the "spirit of antichrist." Yes, Jesus was fully man like we are: a human being. Yes, like Abraham was: a human being, but to add that "God" part makes Jesus out to be weird, like a freak, because it makes Jesus out to be more than He was. The Word was made flesh. How? We don't understand how The God accomplished all of that, but He is perfect; we aren't perfect.

"And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that [spirit] of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world." 1 John 4:3

And there were many antichrists existing about 2,000 years ago, and many exist today.

Jesus Christ came in the flesh; however, you added something else to flesh when you say He was "and fully God," which is anti-Christ. It is against Christ, and makes Him out to be more than He actually was. The God, Jesus' God and Father by the power of His Spirit gets all of the glory for making Jesus who He was, including doing works in His life, and Jesus Christ knew it and took no glory to self. There was no such thing as: "Two Eternals forever" in existence, as HWA taught us.

Think about it. Can The fully God die? Would a God die?

Would a God, fully or not, say things like as follows?

"...I do nothing of myself..." John 8:28

"I can of mine own self do nothing:..." John 5:30

Jesus had a beginning and an ending, although it was short-lived: 3 days/nights.

The Word had a beginning and an ending, when it (or part of it---difficult to explain exactly how the perfect God does these things, as you also admit.) was made flesh. The God, the Father, has no beginning. The Word, in a beginning, was the first person, or thing, in a series that God, The God, created.

This is all I have time to write at this time, so I'm just sharing some thoughts with you.

You believe what you like, but...

Time will tell...

John

John said...

Scout, one other comment you made was: "...The angelic host was immortal...."

That is not wholly true, because The God only had immortality, and He gave it to Jesus Christ. The Word did not have it. Immortality is to whoever God gives it, because He is its source. God's Plan already calls for the death of Satan and his angels, so they don't have immortality; I mentioned in some comments above within this thread.

Who told us that a spirit being can't die? A human being told us that, but the Bible does not back that thought up. God eventually will slay the dragon; that is not fiction. It will happen or God, The God, would prove to be a liar. Other verses back up Isaiah 27:1, Ezekiel 28:19, Hebrews 2:14, etc.

Again, you believe what you like, but...

Time will tell...

John

Anonymous said...

John (the Arian)

Time has already told. The heresy of Arianism has been around since the Fourth Century. It has different forms but they all share the common idea that Jesus had a beginning and God the Father did not. Then the implications cascade from that. Arianism has never amounted to anything. It has apparently found a small, latter day lodgement among certain apocalyptic Millerites - denominations that give shelter to all manner of unorthodox religious ideas. Apprently, someone nominated them to be a kind of zoo for exotic religious fantasies.

I don't want to argue Arianism with you. That ship has sailed. Let me just make a few last comments and then I will say bye. Jesus is clearly referred to among his disciples as "ho theos" in the Gospel of John. This identifies Jesus among his disciples and this event is preserved in a principal part of scripture. I cannot imagine any credentialing that would be more convincing. This pivots the meaning of the entire inventory of scriptures that the Arianists recruit to support their claims. It pivots the meaning from the Arian view to the Homoousian view.

If Jesus had a beginning (requires a sequence of moments) then he was created within time. But we know from John 1 that nothing was made that Jesus did not make (unless the Bible is lying at this point). This includes time. We know that time is a property of the physical universe and responds to gravity, for instance. It is not something transcendental or mystical. It is just another created artifact. So, the Bible and physics say that Jesus created time, had no beginning and Arianism in all its instantiations, including yours, is false.

Scout

John said...

Anon/Scout said:

"...I don't want to argue Arianism with you. That ship has sailed. Let me just make a few last comments and then I will say bye...If Jesus had a beginning (requires a sequence of moments) then he was created within time. But we know from John 1 that nothing was made that Jesus did not make (unless the Bible is lying at this point). This includes time. We know that time is a property of the physical universe and responds to gravity, for instance. It is not something transcendental or mystical. It is just another created artifact. So, the Bible and physics say that Jesus created time, had no beginning..."
******
So, Scout, are you saying there were 2 divine Beings with no beginnings? If yes, that's not much different than saying there were 3 divine Beings with no beginnings.

You apparently didn't believe Jesus' words where He told us of Himself He could do nothing. Did Jesus lie? How did Jesus create time?

Might it be possible that the One Being (not 2) who only has immortality created time? How could Jesus do it? Did Jesus have His own power, or something?

It makes more sense to me that the Word was the beginning of the creation of God, as it says in the following verse:

"And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God;" Revelation 3:14

A creation of God had a beginning, something The God does not have: any beginning. That Word was first created before anything else was created. That Word was going to be doing a lot of learning, being trained, in preparation for whatever part of the creation The God was going to later accomplish through Him.

Was the Word the first person or thing created in some process?

Where elsewhere in the Bible do we find 2 Beings in existence interacting with each other, and One is educating the other? The God is a Creator, and without that Creator there would have been no Word, and subsequently no Jesus...no plan of salvation, etc.

Just to cite a couple of verses here beginning in Proverbs 22:22-31.

:22 "The LORD possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his works of old."

Who might the word "me" refer to? Reading the rest of the verses it is not about wisdom. It is another being. The LORD has His works,too.

:23 "I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was."

Who was set up from that beginning? etc. It surely wasn't the LORD, who has no beginning. And it appears that "time," as we know it via the sun, moon, heavenly bodies, gravity, etc., still may not have been established by The God...through the Word, which/who had to be taught, educated, by the LORD. the LORD, The God, that God of Abraham Isaac Jacob is.

You may or may not be interested in any of those verses, and I know virtually nothing about (the Arian) you labeled me with, except for things you have said about the heresy of Arianism and yes, that isn't worth arguing over. I do value the scriptures (such as for e.g. Rev 3:14; Proverbs 8; Isaiah 43:1, 10-11, etc.), though.

Obviously, based upon the scriptures in Proverbs 8:22-31, I do not conclude that: "...the Bible and physics say that Jesus created time..."

Some today now want to say that Jesus Christ led the ancient Israelites out of Egypt during the Exodus, but where do they prove/read that? The LORD, elsewhere referred to as the Rock (Deut 32:3-4,18,30-31; Psalm 78:35, etc.), led them out.

And yes some verse in Corinthians mentions some rock that followed the Israelites, but was that the Rock, the LORD? No, but that's another story...about another rock.

Well, you made your last few comments, but you did not say bye. It's been interesting.

I made some comments too, and it is okay with me to agree to disagree, and simply just say bye, and know that:

Time will tell...

John

Anonymous said...

John (the Arian)

Chapters 1 and 20 of the Gospel of John, taken together, demonstrate that Jesus is The God and the Arianist themes are overtly wrong. Jesus is The God along with The Father and The Holy Spirit.

Although I have not bothered myself to look at a bunch of the Arianist material, I believe that most of it will yield to more extensive analysis. Such as Rev 3:14. It is simplistic to read the Greek word "archē" as the "first in order" as you have done and to infer Arianism. The word has more meanings that are non-Arianist and comport with orthodox Christianity. It can also mean: origin, first principle, sovereign and foremost. The first eight verses of John 1 indicate that Jesus was the origin and first principle of creation. He created the Cosmos and everthing else, whatever that might be.

These words are not looked up in a dictionary. There is no Dictionary of First Century Koine that is contemporaneous. These words are developed by scholars from Greek usage across many ancient documents. This forces us to read and translate contextually. Rev 3:14 must be understood in light of John 1 and 20. Rev 3:14 cannot stand in isolation as an incontrovertible strut for Arianist philosphy.

In brief. Jesus equated himself with YHWH in John 8:58-59. In John 10:30-31, Jesus states his unity with God the Father. A pitfall into which Arianists stumble is the conflation of Jesus speaking from the perspective of his kenotic incarnate state with his glorious pre-existent state.

Under these circumstances, the statement "Time will tell..." is profoundly naive. These issues have been worked over by Christians for centuries. It would be better to conclude with this ending: "I just missed the bus ..."

In any event, we may agree to disagree but what is clear is that your view is Arianist and mine is Christian.

Bye.

Scout

John said...

Anon/Scout, Monday, May 27, 2024 at 7:28:00 AM PDT, said:

"...Chapters 1 and 20 of the Gospel of John, taken together, demonstrate that Jesus is The God...Jesus is The God along with The Father and The Holy Spirit...

...In any event, we may agree to disagree but what is clear is that your view is Arianist and mine is Christian. Bye...."
******
Scout,

So, Scout, is your view trinitarian? Three Eternals?

Gerald Waterhouse used to talk about the: "Two eternal beings forever" theory, they both were supposedly equal. Who was going to come to earth to be sacrificed. Who was going to remain in Heaven? Gerald used to joke around and assume that they may have flipped a coin to see who was going to do what? Were they both really equal? Was one smarter than the other? The theory sounds like a big whopper. Now, a "Three eternal beings forever" theory sounds even more ridiculous.

Scout, you say your view is Christian, but is it?

1 John 4:3 tells us: "And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that [spirit] of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.

You call Jesus Christ The God. What's that? Someone who was 100% flesh plus some "God" part. Jesus knew that what is born of flesh is flesh, and He knew He was 100% flesh when He walked this earth.

There were/are many antichrists, and I believe your view is one that is of that "spirit of antichrist," because you slip that "God" part into your Jesus.

A couple more verses come to my mind at this time:

"Thou madest him a little lower than the angels; thou crownedst him with glory and honour, and didst set him over the works of thy hands:" Heb 2:7

If The God, that God of Abraham Isaac and Jacob, made Jesus lower than angels, then how could Jesus have been God. Would a God be lower than angels?

Why did The God make Jesus lower? Here's an answer.

:9 "But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man."

God does not die. You say Jesus was man and God, but He died. A God doesn't die. Jesus was 100% flesh!

Well, one more verse: "Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;" Heb 2:14

Paul is saying that Jesus took part of the same. Same as what? Same as those who were "partakers of flesh and blood." Jesus was 100% flesh. Angels are spirit; Jesus was lower than angels: flesh and blood.

The Bible speaks of another gospel, another Jesus.

Arianism? I don't know, but your view is plainly that of another Jesus that what the Apostle Paul mentioned, and that view is one of the spirit of antichrist:

"For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist." 2 John 1:7

Time will tell, but for now:

Bye

John

Moron said...

If the absoluteness of God means that God absolutely exists then yes God is absolutely absolute. If it means something beyond that then I have no idea where that goes.

Moron said...

God describes Himself as having a body, with body parts and even inward body parts. He says he has feelings and emotions. If that contradicts what is meant by "God is Absolute" then God is not "absolute" in that sense. If God does not actually have those things and is only using anthropomorphic language to describe Himself then He is a liar and you cannot believe anything He says.