The Instigator
daley
Pro (for)
Winning
17 Points
The Contender
ezs777
Con (against)
Losing
2 Points

The Trinity is Biblical

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/31/2011 Category: Religion
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 4,092 times Debate No: 15720
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (36)
Votes (4)

 

daley

Pro

I propose to you a debate on the trinity from a purely Biblical perspective. I can prove the trinity beyond doubt to be Biblical. You up for the challenge?
ezs777

Con

I appreciate the challenge of this debate, and I hope it will be edifying to all parties involved. I believe adhering to the following principles is integral to proper exegesis:

1. The Bible should be interpreted literally whenever possible, unless such an interpretation contradicts the clear interpretation of a passage in either the immediate or the remote context (i.e., the rest of the Bible); if a contradiction does occur, it should be ascertained as to whether a figure of speech is being used, or if one is dealing with two different types of writing (e.g., poetry, hymn, song, etc . . .). By “clear”, I mean the literal understanding of the passage based on the words and grammar of the original languages, because correct interpretations cannot be finally grounded in any English translation.

2. The unclear passages of scripture must be interpreted in light of the clear ones; clear passages must be given more interpretive weight than unclear ones. Ceteris paribus, a doctrine should be defined by the clearest passages on a a subject, not by the controversial or disputed ones[1].

3. Proper exegesis must be based on the historical use of language; words can only be defined in a way that both the Biblical and other historical sources from the period define them.

4. The context of a passage includes both the passage itself, but also the chapter, book, and other writings by the same author.

5. In order for a doctrine to be considered Biblical, it must either be clearly stated in the passage, or arrived at by sound logical reasoning (either deductive or inductive) based upon what is written in the text in question or a related text.

6. Exegesis is NOT defining a doctrine, then finding texts to support it, and finally reading an explanation consistent with it into texts that would otherwise contradict it (i.e., eisegesis). Rather, it is first reading a passage, interpreting it, and then defining doctrine based on its clear interpretation.

I would also like to define my terms:

- By the “Bible” I am referring to the Hebrew Bible (i.e., the Old Testament) and the writings of the Apostles (i.e., the New Testament)

- By the “Trinity”, I am referring to the traditional Christian teaching that "The Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God, yet there are not 3 Gods but 1 God" (taken from the Athanasian Creed)

According to Robert Bowman (a Trinitarian apologist), in order for the doctrine of the Trinity to be true, all of the following propositions must be true; if even one of these propositions can be shown to be false, then the Trinity is false [2]:

1. There is one God (i.e., one proper object of religious devotion)

2. The one God is a single divine being, the LORD (Jehovah, Yahweh)

3. The Father of our Lord Jesus Christ is God

4. The Son, Jesus Christ, is God

5. The Holy Spirit is God

6. The Father is not the Son

7. The Father is not the Holy Spirit

8. The Son is not the Holy Spirit

In this debate I will be arguing that the Trinity is an unbiblical doctrine for two main reasons: the first is because the Bible describes and portrays Yahweh as one single person (which would automatically falsify #4 and #5); the second is that the Trinity cannot be considered a Biblical doctrine when none of the words essential to describing it are even in the Bible.

In the first place, the Bible clearly describes Yahweh as a single person: firstly, he is specifically designated as a person; secondly, he is referred to, and refers to himself by thousands and thousands of singular personal pronouns; thirdly, he also declares that he ALONE created the heavens and the earth; fourthly, in every instance where prophets see the throne of Yahweh, he is always pictured as a single person; and finally, the anthropomorphic language of the Bible invariably portrays him as a single person.

In the second place, not only is the word “Trinity” unbiblical, but so are all of the words which are ESSENTIAL to describing it (e.g., persons, substance, three-in-one, one-in-three, hypostasis, eternally begotten, homoousios). Also, God is never said to be three in any sense, and, the Bible never defines God as “one substance”.

Now that I have stated my main arguments, I will endeavor to show the following concerning Pro’s arguments: firstly, that every proof text that Pro offers to support the Trinity involves reading into the text, as well as giving unbiblical definitions of words, and nterpreting the clear texts by the unclear; secondly, I will show that Pro cannot make a valid argument for the Trinity without equivocating the term “God”, and that in order to make his argument, he must commit the fallacy of equivocation, which necessarily invalidates his argument.

Lastly (for clarification), Pro must provide his own definitions of the following terms: Trinity, person, being, and God (in the sense of the phrase “There is one God”).

[1] A Latin phrase meaning "all other things being equal"
[2] http://www.irr.org...


Debate Round No. 1
daley

Pro

I accept your terms. Now, on to the evidence for the trinity:

The Scriptures proclaim that there is one, and only one God in all of existence. (Deu 4:35; Isa 43:10-11; 44:6, 8; 45:5-6, 14, 21-22; 46:9; Mal 2:10; Rom 3:30; 1 Cor 8:6; Eph 4:6; Jam 2:19) It also says that there is only one true God. (John 17:3; 1 John 5:20) This means that all other gods are false. Since there is only one God, then no other being can truely be a god. This is why they are false gods. Now, Scripture plainly identifies the Son as God in John 20:28. The term "my God" refers to the true God every single time it is used in the Bible outside of John 20:28, establishig the consistent linguistic use of the term. Thomas here calls Jesus in the Greek, ho kurious mou kai ho theos mou, literally, the Lord of me and the God of me. So John 20:28 calls Jesus the God of Thomas, and in verse 29 Jesus approves. Now since there is only one true God, either Jesus was the true God in John 20:28, or a false god. Which is it? I look forward to my opponents answer. But Jesus is also identified as God in Isaiah 9:6. So which is it: is he a true god, or a false god? If he is a true god, then he must be the Almighty, for there is only one true God, not two; if he is a false god, we are not saved, for no pretender could save us.

Isa 44:24 tells us that Yahweh made all things, streached out the heavens alone, spread out the earth by himself; yet Scripture reveals the Father as creator (Isa 64:8), and the Son (Col 1:16-17; Heb 1:2, 8-10), and the Holy Spirit (Ps 104:30; Job 26:13; 33:4) Combine this with the plural pronouns "us" and "our" in Genesis 1:16 and the trinitarian has an airtight case. If Jesus and the Holy Spirit are not one God with the Father, then God the Father had help and did not create all things alone, by himself, as he said in Isaiah 44:24. If the trinity is true, harmony comes to the texts.

At Isaiah 43:11 Yahweh declares, "I myself am Yahweh and besides me there is no Saviour." (WEB) Scripture tells us palinly that Jesus is the Saviour. (Matt 1:21; Lu 2:11; Acts 4:12; 2 Tim 1:10; Tit 1:4; 2 Pet 1:11, etc) So is Jesus Yahweh himself, or is he another Saviour besides Yahweh? Which is it? If he is Yahweh, then he must be one Yahweh with the Father. For there is only one Yahweh. (Deu 6:4) If he is not Yahweh, then he is another saviour besides Yahweh, and Yahweh was lying when he claimed to be the only Saviour. Which is it? Acts 4:12 says of Jesus, that "there is no salvation in anyone else." Now, if Jesus is not God, then there can be no salvation in God, for there is no salvation in anyone else but Jesus.

The fact that Jesus receives prayer proves he is God. John 14:14 says in the New American Standard Bible: "If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it." Not only does Jesus encourage believers to pray to Him by saying, "ask Me anything," but He is the One who answers the prayer when He promises, "I will do it." While this Scripture is a strong support of prayer being rendered to Jesus, it is complicated by the fact that some translations omits the "me" in the phrase "ask Me anything" in John 14:14. But the Greek text itself states: "If ever anything you should ask me in the name of me this I shall do."

The reason that certain Bible versions leave out the "me" is due to a textual variant in the manuscripts of the Greek text of this verse. The Majority text (most dating from around the 9th century) split on this issue with some containing the "me" and others dropping the "me." But in recent years, scholars have uncovered manuscripts of the Christian Greek Scriptures (New Testament) that date as far back as the second and third centuries. The oldest manuscripts we have available today of this verse in the Gospel of John are Papyrus 66, written in 125 A.D., and Papyrus 75, written sometime between 175-225 A.D. Both of these papyrus fragments contain the "me" in this passage. Not only do the oldest fragments of John that we possess today contain the "me," but two of the oldest ancient complete copies of the entire Bible in Greek, the Codex Sinaiticus and Codex Vaticanus written around the 4th century, both agree with the papyrus' renderings of "ask me" in John 14:14.

Since Desiderius Erasmus complied and published the Greek text (Textus Receptus) of the King James Bible version in the 1500's, he did not have access to the older Greek manuscripts that we have today. Thus, the King James Bible version and other Bible versions based upon the Textus Receptus or the Majority text do not contain the "me" in John 14:14. Indeed, John 14:14 is a strong testimony to Jesus' approval of the early Christian practice of directing their prayers to Jesus Christ. Does not prayer only belong to God?

2 Corinthians 12:8-9 "In this behalf I three times entreated the Lord that it might depart from me; and yet he really said to me: ‘My undeserved kindness is sufficient for you; for [my] power is being made perfect in weakness.' Most gladly, therefore, will I rather boast as respects my weaknesses, that the power of the Christ may like a tent remain over me." Here Paul prayed to the "Lord" Jesus three times and Jesus answered his prayer by saying: "My... power is being make perfect in weakness." Paul concluded by admitting that he would "rather boast ...that the power of (who?)the Christ may like a tent remain over me." So, here again, we see an example of a Christian in the Bible praying to the Lord Jesus with Jesus responding to the prayer with His "underserved kindness" and "power." We are told about Jesus hearing our prayers again in 1 John 5:12-16 and Acts 7:59. This would not be so if Jesus were not God.

I must at this point mention the Granville Sharp rule of Greek grammar. This rule states that when there are 2 nouns that are both singular which describe a person, and these nouns are connected by the word "and," the first noun having the article, the second noun not having the article then they refer to the SAME PERSON. (*Note that the nouns cannot be personal names*) There is absolutely no exception to this rule in all of the Greek New Testament. Having stated this rule I find it necessary to present two verses of scripture that unequivocally qualify Jesus as both God and Savior.

Titus 2:13 - while we wait for the blessed hope—the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, (NIV)

2Peter 1:1 - Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ have received a faith as precious as ours: (NIV)

Notice in both verses the noun "God" (theou) has the article (tou) and is connected to the second noun "Savior" (soteros) which does not have an article, by the word "and" (kai). Thus "God and Savior" both refer to the Person of Jesus. Grammatically this is irrefutable. So not only is Jesus Savior, He is God! So I think I have made a good case that Jesus is definitely God, and since there is only one God, then the Father and the Son must be one God. Now, onto the Holy Spirit.

That the Holy Spirt is God and Lord is clearly stated in the Scriptures. (Acts 5:3-4; 2 Cor 3:17) The Holy Spirit has the same attributes of diety as the Father and the Son:
The Father is eternal (Ps 90:2), and the Son (Isa 9:6; Mic 5:2), and the Holy Spirit (Heb 9:14)
The Father is omniscient (1 John 3:20), and the Son (John 16:30; 21:17), and the Holy Spirit (1 Cor 2:10-11)
The Father is omnipresent (1 Kings 8:27; Ps 137:8-18), and the Son (Matt 18:20), and the Holy Spirit. (Ps 137:7)
The Father is omnipotent (Dan 4:35), and the Son (Matt 28:18; John 17:10)

Singular personal pronouns which usually refer to single persons, but the singular personal pronouns "he," "his," and "him" usually refer to males just as often as they refer to singulr persons. I as kmy opponent, is God a male? Does he have a penis? If not, we need not apply these nouns to God in the exactly how we apply them to man!
ezs777

Con

I would first like to remark that in order for me to properly respond to Pro's arguments, he must provide definitions for the terms I requested; they are as follows: Trinity, person, being, and God (in the sense of the phrase "There is one God"). It is essential that he defines these terms, because a debate cannot possibly be beneficial if the basic definitions behind essential concepts are not even clearly defined. Now I will flesh out the arguments for my belief that God is one person; I will deal with the arguments that Yahweh is NOT a Trinity, as well as the arguments raised by my opponent in the next round.

It is also noteworthy that unless Pro can show that my argument that Yahweh is one person is unsound, all of the verses in the world that he cites cannot possibly prove the Trinity; if the Old Testament clearly declares that Yahweh is only one person, then that either means that the New Testament contradicts the Old, or that all of the verses which seem to imply Yahweh is more than one person can be interpreted differently; and since Pro clearly believes that the Bible does not contradict itself, in order for his arguments to stand, he MUST show that my argument is unsound, and that the Hebrew Bible does not teach that Yahweh is only one person.

Also, it is a straw man argument to say that I think we should apply masculine singular pronouns to Yahweh in the EXACT same way that we apply them to men; I am not arguing that because masculine singular pronouns are used of Yahweh then he must be a male in the human sense, and therefore has all of the male body parts; that is ridiculous. I am simply arguing that since singular personal pronouns are only used of single persons, their usage concerning Yahweh indicates that he is a single person.

A "Person" in the Hebrew Language:

In the Hebrew Bible, the word soul (Hebrew: nephesh) is used as a metonym for a person. For example, David says that his soul is disquieted within him [1]; clearly this is just another way of saying that he (i.e., his whole person) is upset. Also, in every occasion where this word is used of or by someone, it is a reference to their/a person [2]. Furthermore, the fact that one could easily substitute the word person for the word nephesh strongly implies that when a person says "my soul" they mean "my person". And because Yahweh refers to himself with that same phrase on many occasions [3], the logical conclusion is that Yahweh is a single person.

Yahweh Created Alone:

More evidence that Yahweh is one person is found in passages which declare that Yahweh created alone (Isaiah 44:24), that he is one Yahweh (Deuteronomy 6:4), and that there are no Gods beside him (Isaiah 45:5). If Yahweh is being spoken of with the singular pronouns "you", "he", and "him", and speaks of himself in these passages with the singular pronouns "I" and "Me", then if the Trinity were true, it would follow that all three persons can be spoken of as "I" and "Me". It would have to be all 3 persons because if it was only 1 of the persons of the Trinity speaking, then that means that the other persons weren't involved in creation, which of course would contradict the Trinitarian idea that they were. So, since in Trinitarianism, "I", "Me", "him", and "he" must refer to multiple persons, and yet each person of the Trinity by himself is an "I", "Me", "him", and "he", then it follows that the Trinity teaches that 3 "HEs" are 1 "HE", which is a manifest contradiction. Therefore, in light of these verses, Trinitarians either have to admit that the Trinity teaches a contradiction, or that only one of the members of the Trinity created the world.

The only other option would be the ad hoc resort to incomprehensibility, where Trinitarians say that because God is infinite, he does not have to conform to logical standards, and that even though we don't understand how it can be possible, we must accept it on faith. The biggest problem with this line of reasoning is that it is nowhere taught in the Bible; the Bible never claims that God is somehow exempt from the standards he himself set for the universe. Another major problem is that if one is to argue that he does not have to conform to logical standards, then with the same argument, one can justify him not having to conform to moral standards as well:

ARGUMENT#1
Premise 1: God is infinite
Premise 2: The standards of logic only apply to finite objects
Conclusion: The standards of logic do not apply to God
ARGUMENT#2
Premise 1: God is infinite
Premise 2: The standards of logic only apply to finite objects
Conclusion: The standards of logic do not apply to God

In logic, a valid argument form is one in which the premises necessarily lead to the conclusion; it is also valid for any terms plugged into it. Therefore, since both arguments contain the same argument form, if Argument#1 is valid, then so is Argument#2. Since Trinitarians accept the conclusion of Argument#1, they must accept the conclusion of Argument#2; if they do not, then they must either admit that they are being completely inconsistent, or that both arguments are invalid. If Trinitarians want to maintain that God is not subject to logical standards, then to be consistent, they must maintain that he is not subject to moral standards either; and since no Trinitarian would argue that, it follows that either the Trinitarian will have to find a valid argument that shows why the standards of logic don't apply to God while other standards do, or admit that they do apply; and if they do apply (according to the aforementioned argument) then the Trinity is a manifest contradiction and cannot therefore be true.

Prophetic Witness:

Even more Biblical evidence that Yahweh is a single person is found in all of the recorded Biblical accounts of prophets speaking about the throne of God. There are several prophets who were given visions of Yahweh's throne room, and all of them portray Yahweh as a single person [4]. This is no problem for Unitarians, who believe God to be a single person; but it creates a major problem for Trinitarians. If Yahweh said that he was only one Yahweh, spoke of himself as one person, appeared to his prophets as one person, and inspired his prophets to write about him as one person; then to suddenly proclaim that he is three persons, and that they will be condemned to hell if they don't believe that would be extremely disingenuous. The fact that God would not intentionally mislead his people in such a blatant and pernicious way is proof positive that God never demanded such a change from his people, and he is what he always portrayed himself to be: one person.

Anthropomorphic Language:

The last piece of Biblical evidence that Yahweh is one person is found in the anthropomorphic language that is used to describe him. In the Hebrew Bible, Yahweh is spoken of as having fingers, taking walks in the garden, having white hair, having hands, having arms, and many other similar kinds of language [5]. Along the lines of the aforementioned argument, not only do these kinds of imagery point invariably toward a single person, but they would also be deceptive if Yahweh was really multiple persons. The fact that he inspired the Biblical writers to speak of him using all of these different ways that describe him as a single person is very powerful evidence that he meant them to understand that he was only one person; the only alternative is that he was intentionally misleading them.

[1] Psalm 42:11
[2] There are too many examples to list them all, but here are a few: Gen. 12:13; Lev. 26:30; Judges 5:21; 1 Sam. 1:15, 24:11, 26:21; 1 Kings 1:29; Psalm 3:2, 16:2, 17:13, 22:20.
[3] 1 Sam. 2:35; Psalm 11:5; Prov. 6:16; Isaiah 1:14; Jeremiah 5:9, 6:8, 12:7; Ezekiel 32:18; Amos 6:8
[5] Isaiah 6; Dan. 7; Rev. 7:10
[4] Gen. 3:8, 49:24; Exodus 8:19, 16:3, 31:18; Deut. 9:10, 5:15; Job 40:9; Dan. 7:9; Luke 11:20
Debate Round No. 2
daley

Pro

God: the nature of the divine being, the divine being itself. So in the statement "Yahweh is God," the word "God" is a reference to Yahweh's nature, which involves being omnipotent, omniscient, immutable, omnipresent, spirit.
Being: a living entity
Person: a centre of consciousness, intellect and will, a mind. There is a difference between person, and nature. The baby in her mother's womb has the same nature as its mother (human), but is another person from the mother. We can illustrate it with tornadoes. Each tornado is separate from the next, tornado is their identity (role), but they are all made of the one air (their nature) that is all around us. One air, three tornadoes, one God, three persons.
Trinity: One omnipresent being with 3 centres of sonciousness. Each consciousness (person) posesses the eternal nature we call God, like three minds in one body. .

There is NO VERSE in the whole Bible where Yahweh claims to be one person. He says he is one God, but never one person. It is not enough for him to claim to be one, but one what? You have not shown where he says "Yahweh your God is one PERSON." The singular pronouns "he" "his" and "him" mean "one single male human." Now, you reject that these pronouns imply that God is human, and you reject they imply that God is a male with male genital organs, and just as you reject these ideas so closely connected to these pronouns when applied to God, I also reject the other idea of singleness of person when applied to God. If you can reject these normal meanings of the pronouns when applied to God, I too can do similarly. Further, THE BIBLE DOES USE SINGULARE PERSONAL PRONOUNS TO MEAN MORE THAN ONE PERSON! Hosea 11:1 says "When Israel was a child (singular), then I love HIM (singular), and called my son (singular) out of Egypt." Here, the sngular personal pronoun "HIM" means a nation of people. Will you now argue that the Israel who came out of Egypt must be one single person because singular pronouns are applied to him? Similar references are Hosea 13:1 and Isa 40:2. In Luke 8:27-33 many demons were in one body, more than one mind existing in the same place, time, and body. This is similar to how three candle flames can be put together into one, or how the Father, Son and Holy Spirit exist as 3 in one. You are the one wh said, "I am simply arguing that since singular personal pronouns are ONLY used of single persons, their usage concerning Yahweh indicates that he is a single person." But I have given you examples where singular personal pronouns are used of grous, which proves they are not ONLY used of single persons as you claim. Argument Invalid.

You mention the use of the word "soul" which I see as irrelevant to this debate. I'm not arguing that every single time we see the words "Yahweh" or "God" that it means the trinity. I'm saying that these words can at times refer to the entire group, and at times to just person of the Godhead, just like the word "her" at times means all the people living in Jerusalem, and at other times to just one person. Many times in the OT the Father alone is speaking for himself alone, at other times he is seaking for the entire Godhead, Like in Isa 44:24 where God claims he created all things ALONE, and BY MYSEF. Hebrews 1:2, 8-10 has Jesus sharing in creation; so if Jesus is not included in the God mentioned in Isaiah 44:24, then God had help, and God was lying when he claimed to do it all by himself. This shows God the Father and Jesus are not separate beings. They are part of the same entity so that one can speak for the whole as in Acts 4:12

You went on to argue that "the Trinity teaches that 3 "HEs" are 1 "HE", which is a manifest contradiction." No, its not a contradiction. A contradiction is "two things that cannot be true at the same time." You ASSUME that 3 HEs cannot be one HE, but where does the Bible say this? Or is it just your opinion? The "SHE" at Isaiah 40:2 is many "SHEs" and "HEs" because "SHE" is an entire nation. Is this also a contradiction?

You go on to claim: "Another major problem is that if one is to argue that he does not have to conform to logical standards, then with the same argument, one can justify him not having to conform to moral standards as well." Does the fact that the trinity is not logical TO SOME PEOPLE prove that it is not true? A man walking on water doesn't seem logical to many scientists, Abraham's wife getting pregnant at 90 yrs old doesn't seem logical to many skeptics either, and Mary getting regnant without having sex seems most illogical of all to those people. Why? Because the miraculous often contradicts or shall I say, DEFIES man's LIMITED understanding of nature, science, physics, etc. My standard of truth is the word of God, not man's standard of logic. If God says it is so, then it is so. You should learn to use your reasoning in submission to God's word, but instead, you make your reasoing a standard even higher than the Bible, a man-made standard to which you want God to measure up; but that ain't gonna happen. The Bible says Jesus reads hearts (John 2:24-25; Mr 2:6-8), and I believe it; it also says that ONLY God can read the heart (1 Kings 8:9), and I believe that to! You have to reject one of these Bible truths because TO YOU it is a contradiction, but does it occur to you that God is a being that can occupy two tadically different positions at the same time? Jesus is both a lion and a lamb (Rev 5:5; John 1:29), son of David, yet David's Lord. (Matt 22:45) God can be 3 and also 1; no contradiction, excet in your mind.

Now as for this argument my opponent makes about if standards of logic don't apply to God then neither do standards of morality, let me just clarify this by saying that MAN-MADE standards of morality DO NOT apply to God and neither do MAN-MADE standards of logic. Men argue that gays should have the right to marry because scientific papers claim proof that they are born that way, that if 2 people love each other they shouldn't have to get married to have sex, and so on. So the question really is, from where do we get our standards? The logic of the Bible allows one HE (Israel) to be many HEs, yours does not. The same can be said for the trinity.

You raised the issue of Yahweh being seen in vision as only one person when in fact all this shows is that the Father is only one person. The Yahweh seen on the throne in some visions is the Father. But not always. A comparison of Isiah 6:1, 10 and John 12:36-43 shows that the Yahweh on the throne is the Son. Also, Jesus sits at Yahweh's right hand in Psalms 110:1, so who is the Yahweh who is at Jesus' right hand in verse 5? But sitting on a throne is not what makes him God. Are you gonna tell me that Jesus can't be God unless he sits down in a certain chair? Wasn't Yahweh God even BEFORE he created this THRONE of yours? (Ps 90:2)

You proceed to argue that "In the Hebrew Bible, Yahweh is spoken of as having fingers, taking walks in the garden, having white hair, having hands, having arms" and somehow this is supposed to mean that Yahweh is ONLY one person. So a group of persons cannot have fingers? Only one person can have fingers? A group of persons cannot take walks in a garden, or have white hair, or hands or arms? One would think that if you have persons, you would have these things even more so than if you only have one person. What is more, like I said, at times the Bible mentions Yahweh as the whole trinity, but other times as one member of the trinity; and one good comparson is in Hosea 12:2-3 where Jacob, Judah, and your favorite SINGULAR personal pronouns "HE" and "HIM" and "HIS" all refer SIMULATANEOUSLY to the ONE person, and to the entire TRIBE. So we have Judah the man, and Judah the tribe, all at once. Trinity unrefuted.

Now, I have replied to your objections to the trinity, but you have not yet said a word in rebuttal to my evidence for the trinity, even though you took up round one laying out your terms.
ezs777

Con

First, Pro claims that Thomas calls Jesus "My God" in John 20:28. Firstly, he must keep in mind John's purpose for writing, which is to show that Jesus is "the Son of God" (John 20:31). Unless Pro can prove that the phrase "Son of God" means "God" he cannot argue that John is calling Jesus "God", because that would contradict John's purpose; also, since this verse was written only 3 verses after verse 28, it would be very unlikely that the author would contradict himself so blatantly; and since the clear meaning of "Son of God" is "one who is NOT God", then Pro would also have to give yet another unbiblical definition to "God", violating my 3rd principle of interpretation. In light of this, we can deduce that whatever Thomas is saying in this verse, he is NOT referring to Jesus as Yahweh. Grammatically, it is equally possible that he is referring to two people in this passage: Jesus (my Lord) and Yahweh (my God); there is nothing in the context that demands that both predicates are being spoken of the same person (it does not say "he called Jesus . . ." but that "he said to Jesus . . ."); and given John's stated purpose for his gospel, this explanation would be preferable to one that makes him God.

Pro also claims that Jesus is called "God" in Isaiah 9:6; the problem with this proposition is that the Hebrew phrase that is translated "God" in that passage is el gibbor, and it is also used of men in Ezekiel 32:21 (albeit in the plural), proving that it is NOT a divine title. Furthermore, Pro must understand that the word "God" had a much wider usage in the Hebrew and Greek speaking cultures; for Hebrews, a person could be referred to as "God" if they were representing God, or if they were considered to be a powerful king or person with great authority (Ezekiel 31:11; Exodus 21:6 [KJV]), so this passage is not referring to Jesus as God almighty.

Pro also uses Colossians 1:16-17 as proof that Jesus was the creator; however, there are at least one problem with this argument: no passage states that the world was created "ek" Jesus; every passage that associates Jesus with any act of creation either uses the Greek word "dia", or the Greek word "en", which both mean "through", and refer to instrumental causes [1]; no passage ever uses "ek" of Jesus; this word is only used of the Father and means "out of", referring to an originating cause [2]. Therefore, to call Jesus the originating cause of creation is not Biblical; the most any of these passages could prove is that Jesus was a preexistent being who was somehow involved in creation; it could not prove that he was God almighty and part of a Trinity.

Furthermore, Pro must understand that the phrase "all things" is almost never used absolutely, and always has a context. In this passage, the context is made clear by Paul's use of a figure of speech called inclusio, in which a passage begins and ends with the same phrase to signify a complete thought [3]. It is used in Colossians 1:16-17 with the phrase "all things"; Paul clearly defines the "all things" created "dia" Jesus as "thrones, dominions, principalities, and powers"; it does not say anything about the material world (e.g., rocks, trees, etc . . .); therefore, this passage does not put Jesus at Genesis 1, does not describe him as the creator of the heavens and the earth, and it provides no evidence that he is God.

In reference to the passages in Genesis, the "us" and "our" are either an example of the "plural of majesty", "plural of intensification", or "Yahweh speaking to his heavenly council". In fact, the scholarly consensus is that the "us" and "our" are not indicative of multiple divine persons, but Yahweh announcing his work of creation to his heavenly council; evidence of this is found in the fact that the NET Bible (which is translated by Trinitarians) does not cite this passage as evidence of the Trinity, and has a rather extensive footnote on this passage which details concerning why they oppose such an interpretation [4]. The fact that this is a Trinitarian's conclusion shows that my interpretation is not purely based on my non-Trinitarian position.

Pro also claims that since in Isaiah 43:11 Yahweh says that "besides me there is no savior", and Jesus is clearly called "savior", then Jesus is Yahweh. This has two problems: the first is that it commits the logical of the undistributed middle; this fallacy is committed when a person assumes that because 2 individuals share a particular attribute or title, then they are the same by identity; however, here is a similar, but equally fallacious argument:

Premise 1: Peter is called "Satan" (Matt. 16:23)
Premise 2: Lucifer is called "Satan" (Rev. 20:2)
Conclusion: Peter is Lucifer

Clearly, sharing a common attribute or title is not enough to make two persons identical; the law of logical identity states that "If A and B are identical, then whatever is true of A is true of B; one point of dissimilarity disproves identity". Therefore, in order for Pro to prove that Jesus is Yahweh, he would have to show more than Jesus just shares some of Yahweh's attributes and/or titles; he would have to show that he shares all of them (i.e., that whatever is true of Yahweh is true of Jesus). The second problem is that other people in the Bible are called "savior". The word translated "savior" in Isaiah 43:11 is "yasha", and it is used in Neh. 9:27 and Obad. 1:21 of men [5]; since clearly these men are not Yahweh, calling Jesus a "savior" does not make him Yahweh either.

For Pro's argument on the Holy Spirit to work, he would have to show to things: firstly, that the Holy Spirit is a person; secondly, he must be able to show that when either the phrase "Holy Spirit" or "Spirit" is used, it is NOT a reference to God the Father, Jesus, or the power and presence of God. God the Father is holy, and he is spirit (John 4:24); therefore Biblically, he can be justly called the Holy Spirit. Furthermore, Jesus IS called "the Spirit" in 2 Cor. 3:17, and it is clear that this is a reference to Jesus, because a few verses before, Paul talks about how in the Messiah the veil is taken away (verse 14; therefore, here is clear Biblical evidence that Jesus IS the Spirit. Also, there is a third category of "spirit", which is a reference to the power or active influence of God. For example, in Ezek. 37:9, Ezekiel was told to prophecy to the winds, that they may bring life to the dead bones. In verse 10, when it says that breath has come into them, it uses the word "ruach"; this is the same word that is translated spirit in "Holy Spirit" or "Spirit of God"[6]. The fact that the same word is used for both is good evidence that Biblically speaking, God's breath and God's spirit are synonymous. It is also clear that the breath that came into the bones was not a third person of the Trinity, because Ezekiel is telling the four winds to bring life into these bones, and unless there are 4 Holy Spirits, it cannot be a reference to the Trinity. The clear meaning from the context would be the breath of life; therefore, another definition of spirit, is God's animating power (or his power to make life). So, for Pro to prove that the Holy Spirit is a third coequal, coeternal member of a divine Trinity, he would have to show that in all of its usages, it is not a reference to either the Father, Jesus, or the life-giving power of God.

[1] http://www.blueletterbible.org...; http://www.blueletterbible.org...
[2] http://www.blueletterbible.org...
[3] E.W. Bullinger, Figures of Speech Used in the Bible, 245.
[4] http://bible.org...
[5] http://www.blueletterbible.org...
[6] http://www.blueletterbible.org...
Debate Round No. 3
daley

Pro

If Jesus can be both the Son of man (Matt 9:6) and man (1 Tim 2:5) at the same time, why can't he also be the Son of God, and God at the same time? Son of man means his human nature, Son of God his divine nature. No contradiction here. John 20:31 says it is the signs (miracles) of Jesus that are written to prove that he is the Son of God, not Thomas' confession at John 20:28. Also, you say Thomas could not have called Jesus "my God" because of some perceived contradiction in your mind, but I go by what the Bible says. It doesn't say "Thomas said to him, my Lord, and then looked up to heaven and said to God, my God;" no, it says Thomas said UNTO HIM, to Jesus, therefore, the whole sentence is addressed to him. No third party is mentioned in his address.

"since the clear meaning of "Son of God" is "one who is NOT God",

False! You define a word by what it "MEANS," not by what it "DOES NOT MEAN." Someone reading your definition would still not know what Son of God means. Show me that definition in a dictionary, or a verse in the Bible saying "the Son of God is NOT God." Just as a son is no less human than his father, Jesus is no less God than his Father (Phil 2:6-7; John 14:9 & Isa 46:9), it means he has his Father' nature. (John 5:18)

My opponent goes on to claim that the term "el Gibbor" used at Isaiah 9:6 is also used of men at Ezekiel 32:21 and therefore it is not a divine title, but this is a false claim. Ezekiel 32:21 uses the word gibborim, not eley gibborim which is the plural form of El Gibbor. The two words el and Gibbor are not put together in this verse; but what is more, I have given my opponent numerous verses showing that that there is one, and only one God in all of existence. (Deu 4:35; Isa 43:10-11; 44:6, 8; 45:5-6, 14, 21-22; 46:9; Mal 2:10; Rom 3:30; 1 Cor 8:6; Eph 4:6; Jam 2:19) It also says that there is only one true God. (John 17:3; 1 John 5:20) This means that all other gods are false. So even if Ezekiel 32:21 called them gods, they would have to be false gods, because there cannot be more than one true God! So, his so-called gods are flase, but is Jesus? None can deny that Isaiah 9:6 is a reference to the Son, so I have asked before and am asking again, is Jesus a true god or a false god? My opponent is yet to answer this question.

He was the one who laid out in the terms of this debate that the unclear texts should be understood in light of the clear ones. "I am the first, and I am the last, and BESIDES ME THERE IS NO GOD." (Isa 44:6) It doesn't get clearer than that! "Before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me." (Isa 43:10) "Is there a God besides me? Yea, there is no God; I KNOW NOT ANY." (Isa 44:8) "I am the Lord, and there is none else, there is NO GOD BESIDE ME." (Isa 45:5) "There is NO GOD ELSE BESIDE ME; a just God and a Savior; THERE IS NONE BESIDE ME." (Isa 45:21) These passages are very clear that there is only ONE God , and in light of these "clearer passages," any other gods mentioned in scripture must be false! He flies in the face of these "clearer passages" when he claims there are other gods.

He also claims el Gibbor is not a divine title, but it is used as a divine title for Yahweh at Isaiah 10:20-21 and Jeremiah 32:18. He appeals then to Ezekiel 31:11 as proof that mere men can be gods, but this was talking about the "heathen" (unblievers), obvious false gods again. He turns to Exodus 21:6 where elohim is mistranslated "judges" but this is a reference to God, not men.

Then he claims no verse has Jesus as Creator. Hebrews 1:8-10 does. He also admits regarding Col 1:15 "the most any of these passages could prove is that Jesus was a preexistent being who was somehow involved in creation." But God declares he crfeated ALONE, BY HIMSELF (Isa 44:24), so Jesus could only be involved in creation if he was God, otherwise, God had help and was lying. Col 2:16 "For by him were all things created, THAT ARE IN HEAVEN, and THAT ARE IN EARTH," that would include the rocks and trees contrary to your claim.

You say the "us" and "our" (Gen 1:26) is God talking to angels? Where in the Bible are angels involved in creation? I have shown you where Scripture reveals the Father as creator (Isa 64:8), and the Son (Col 1:16-17; Heb 1:2, 8-10), and the Holy Spirit. (Ps 104:30; Job 26:13; 33:4) Only these 3 are said to take part in creating the world, not the angels. I know who the "us" is from Scripture, you get it from SPECULATION. If you knew who the "us" was, you wouldn't need the other possibility of "a plural of majesty." So God was speaking to "the plural of majesty"? Is that a person? And where does the Bible mention this plural of majesty? I'm getting who the "us" is from Scripture, not from the NET footnotes; I suggest you do the same.

Peter and the Devil both being called Satan doesn't make them the same being because Scripture does not say there is ONLY ONE Satan; but Yahweh does claim to be the ONLY Savior (Isa 43:11), so the two cases are not parallel. So if there is ONLY ONE Savior, and if Jesus is the Savior, then he has to be that one Savior (Acts 4:10), Yahweh. I never argued that just because the same thing is said about two people that makes them the same being, what I did claim is because Jesus does things that ONLY God can do, that he is God; like read hearts: "For thou (God), even thou ONLY, knowest the hearts of all the children of men." (1 Kings 8:39) Here it says God is the only one who can know or read the heart, which is the very thing Jesus does in Mark 2:6-8 and John 2:24-25. I also claim that certain things true of Jesus are true ONLY of God: "there is NO SALVATION IN ANYONE ELSE." (Acts 4:12)

Sometimes words have more than one meaning. "Yasha" does not mean "Savior" in Neh 9:27 or Obad 1:21; it refers to "deliverer" in times of war. Most if not all translations do not render the word as "Saviour" in these verses. These men had no power to truly bring us salvation! But Jesus is called Savior in the ULTIMATE sense on par with Yahweh. (Acts 4:12)

"Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord." (Zec 4:6) Here the Holy Spirit is distinguished from power, so no, the Holy Spirit is not God' power. "The Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them…So they, being sent forth by the Holy Spirit, departed unto Seleucia." (Acts 13:2-4) A non-living force could not verbally speak as the Holy Spirit does here, nor send them out, so the Holy Spirit is a person. Ananias "lied" to the Holy Spirit (Acts 5:3-4), you cannot lie to a force. The Holy Spirit can be grieved (Eph 5:30), vexed (Isa 63:10), and Jesus speaks of him as a person in John 16:7-15: "I will send him unto you," "he will reprove the world of sin," "he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak." Obvious references to a person.

The Holy Spirit is not Jesus because Jesus says "I will send him to you." (John 16:7) Jesus wasn't sending himself was he? "If I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you." This makes no sense if the Holy Spirit is Jesus. Neither is he the Father, otherwise Matthew 28:19 would mean to be "baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Father," a statement neither logical nor likely. The Father sends out the Holy Spirit (Ps 104:30), showing that the himself is not the Holy Spirit

The fact that ezs777 lists a number of possibilities for the identity of the Holy Spirit suggests that he is unsure of who or what the Holy Spirit is. This is a bad position to be in because it is the Holy Spirit who guides Christians into all the truth (John 16:13), and if he doesn't even know for sure who he is, how then can he submit to his guidance? If he were guiding ezs777 into all the truth, would he not at least know who he is? Don't waste my word space refuting possibilities you don't even believe in; unless, you don't even know the Holy Spirit at all.
ezs777

Con

Pro's argument that because Jesus receives and answers prayer, he must be God, is unsound. In the first place, there is no passage in scripture which teaches that only God can receive or answer prayer; so there is a problem with Pro's major premise. In the second place, the word often translated "prayer" is "proseuchomai", and it is not even used of Jesus, so there is no Biblical evidence that anyone "prayed" to Jesus anyway [1]; Pro may try to argue that in Acts 1:24, the disciples are "praying" to Jesus, but even in that passage it is unclear as to whether the "Lord" mentioned is actually Jesus. In the third place, the word that is translated "ask" in John 14:14 is "aiteo;", and the word used in 2 Corinthians 12:8-9 for "besought" is "parakaleto;"; both of these words mean "ask", but "parakaleto;" implies a more persistent kind of asking [2], but asking Jesus for something does not make him God. Lastly, the fact that Jesus was given "all authority in heaven and in earth" and "the name that is above every name" qualifies him to do things that ordinary humans can't do; he is also the head of the church; therefore, it makes sense that both Peter and Paul (who are both members of his church) would ask him for things; in fact, it would be strange for them NOT to ask him for anything.

Pro argues that there are no exceptions to the Granville-Sharp rule; however, this premise overlooks a couple of important considerations: firstly, the Granville Sharp rule is based on Sharp's analysis of the grammar found in the Greek New Testament; extra-Biblical Greek literature was not consulted, and no "rule" can truly be a rule of Greek Grammar if it does not apply in the entire Greek language. However, in Smyth's Grammar of the Greek language he does examine ALL Greek literature, and while Smyth recognizes no "Granville-Sharp rule", he does point out several explanations for the pattern Sharp thought he saw in the New Testament. Smyth states that when two nouns are referring to the same "notion" then the article may be omitted on the second noun [3]. Although this sounds a lot like Sharp's rule, the examples he gives prove otherwise; Smyth gives an example of "the generals and captains", and "the largest and smallest ships". Since no one would argue that "the generals and captains" are the same persons because there is no article on "captains", or that "the largest and smallest ships" are the same ships for the same reason, these examples shows that Smyth's rule is NOT the same as the Granville Sharp rule, and that the omission of the article does not demand that the two nouns are the same. The explanation as to why the article is omitted in these examples rests on the fact that "the generals and captain" and "the largest and smallest ships" are two distinct parts of a larger whole (i.e., the commanding officers and the whole fleet, respectively), and therefore shouldn't be referred to as completely separate things (which is what Smyth says that a repeated article signifies [4]); the same would of course apply to God and his only begotten son; they are not two completely different entities, but two parts of a larger whole (i.e., the architect and the instrument of salvation = the larger whole of the plan of salvation).

Another one of Smyth's rules is that if a word denoting class is used of a person, then such a word may omit the article [5]; it is clear that "savior" is definitely a class of being, so the fact that Jesus is called a "savior" in these passages could also explain why the author omitted the second article. Furthermore, "savior" is also an appellative treated as a proper name, and this kind of speech also fits into yet another of Smyth's rules [6], providing further reason for the omission of the article, without a resort to Sharp's so-called "rule". In light of the fact that Sharp's rule cannot even be called such in Koine Greek, as well as the rules cited by Smyth, Pro's claims that the Granville-Sharp rule has no exceptions, and that these passages are calling Jesus "God" ignores important counter-evidence that even some Trinitarians recognize (e.g., the KJV translates 2 Peter 1:1 as referring to two separate people).

Furthermore, apart from Smyth's rules, there are good reasons why these passages should not be interpreted as references to Jesus. Titus 1:4 reads "From God the Father and from our Savior Jesus Christ"; it would make very little sense for Paul to make such a clear distinction between God and Jesus in the 1st chapter, and then obliterate that distinction only one chapter later; if Paul was referring to God the Father in 1:4, it makes the most sense to say that he was referring to him in 2:13, considering the fact that he refers to God the Father as "the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ" in almost every one of his epistles, and only refers to Jesus as "God" 3 times (all of which are in disputed texts). In reference to 2 Peter 1:1, it is even more unlikely that Peter would call Jesus "God" in verse one, and in the very next verse, refer to God and Jesus as two separate persons, than it is that Paul would do similarly in Titus 2:13; again, the more likely explanation is that he is using both terms the same way in both verses, and since verse 2 clearly a reference to 2 different people, verse 1 should be as well.

Pro also claims that because the Bible does not say that God is one person, he is not one person; however, such an argument is fallacious, because the Bible ALSO does not say that Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, or even Jesus are persons, and yet we know that they are. The word "person" is an English word, so of course none of them would be called persons anyway; instead of following a red herring, we should look for what a Hebrew-speaking person would use to describe a single person, and that word is nephesh. Therefore, the Bible actually does refer to Yahweh as one person, because it uses the exact same word/phrase that is invariably used to describe a single person, and that single person is said to have created the world ALONE.

Pro also begs the question in assuming that the phrase "Yahweh is one" is an incomplete statement; he has no reason from the context to do so, because the phrase IS a complete thought in Hebrew grammar. He insists that "one" means "one substance", but where is the evidence? Unless there is evidence that Yahweh means "a divine substance", he has no basis for believing that two persons can be one Yahweh. The only definition of Yahweh that the Bible gives is that of a person: he speaks, he walks, he sits on a throne, he is a soul, etc . . . ; the Bible never defines God as a substance. For Pro's argument that both Jesus and the Father can both be Yahweh, but there is only one Yahweh to stand, Pro must show a passage in the Bible in which either the word "Yahweh" or any of the words translated "God" (e.g., "elohim", el, or "theos") are defined BY THE BIBLE as "substance" or "divine nature"; if he cannot do this, then he must admit that his definition is unbiblical, and since this definition is required for the Trinity to be true, the Trinity is unbiblical as well.

[1] http://www.blueletterbible.org...
[2] http://www.blueletterbible.org... ;http://www.blueletterbible.org...
[3] Smyth, Herbert W., Greek Grammar, (Cambridge: Harvard University Press), section 1143.
[4] Ibid., section 1144.
[5] Ibid., section 1129.
[6] Ibid., section 1140.
Debate Round No. 4
daley

Pro

"there is no passage in scripture which teaches that only God can receive or answer prayer."

Payer is a form of worship. All followers of God refuse worship (Acts 10:25-26; 14:13-14; Revelation 19:10; 22:9), but not Jesus. (Matt 14:33; 28:9, 17; Luke 24:52) Hebrews 1:6 says of Jesus "And let all the angels of God WORSHIP him." Paul is here quoting under inspiration from the Septuagint translation of Deuteronomy 32:43 which says of Yahweh "Be glad, O heavens, together with him, and let all the angels of God WORSHIP him." (Septuagint, with an English translation by Sir I Brenton, S. Bagster & Sons, 1851) Deuteronomy 32:43 was talking about Yahweh (Dec 32:36-39), so the Yahweh of Deuteronomy 32:43 is Jesus. He claims that asking Jesus (John 14:14; Acts 7:59-60; 1 John 5:12-15) is not prayer to him, which begs the question, how is talking to Jesus and "asking" him for something any different from "praying" to him?

"the fact that Jesus was given "all authority in heaven and in earth" and "the name that is above every name" qualifies him to do things that ordinary humans can't do."

If Jesus has ALL authority then he has equal authority to God, but since God says he has no equal (Isa 40:25; 46:5), Jesus must either be God, or God was lying. If Jesus was not Yahweh, Yahweh's name would be above his; but Jesus, having the name that is above EVERY name, must have the highest name imaginable, God's name.

Con uses Smith's work to show exceptions to Sharp's rule in the Greek as proof that Sharp was wrong. But Sharp delineated four requirements which he felt needed to be met if the two nouns were necessarily to be seen as having the same referent: both nouns must be (1) personal—i.e., they must refer to a person, not a thing; (2) common epithets—i.e., not proper names; (3) in the same case; and (4) singular in number. The significance of these requirements can hardly be overestimated, for those who have misunderstood Sharp's rule have done so almost without exception because they were unaware of the restrictions that Sharp set forth, and both my opponent and Herbert Smith are among them. "Smyth gives an example of "the generals and captains", and "the largest and smallest ships"." Both of which do not apply because they are not personal, and are in the plural. So my opponent has not shown any example in Greek that violates Smith's rule. I'm sure I pointed out in my opening defense that "This rule states that when there are 2 nouns that are both singular which describe A PERSON." Sharp's rule can only be refuted by finding a statement with two nouns in the Greek of that time connected by kai WHICH MEET THE 4 RESTRICTIONS ABOVE, and yet do not both refer to the same person. He has not done so, so Sharp's rule stands.

As for Sharp not including Greek writers outside the NT, the semantic function of the article-noun-kai-noun construction is confirmed in the Koine papyri by grammarians. (Non-Literary Papyri: Private Affairs, vol. 1 of Select Papyri, trans. A. S. Hunt and C. C. Edgar, Cambridge, MA: Harvard Press, 1932; and Non-Literary Papyri: Public Documents, vol. 2 of Select Papyri, trans A. S. Hunt and C. C. Edgar (Cambridge, MA: Harvard Press, 1934).
Scores of examples of the TSKS construction were discovered in these papyri, and no exceptions to Sharp's rule were discovered in over five hundred pages of Greek text. Middleton, in his Doctrine of the Greek Article, devotes fifteen pages (56-70) of proof demonstrating the validity of the rule in classical Greek, citing texts from such authors as Plutarch, Demosthenes, Plato, Aeschylus, Herodotus, and Aristophanes. He concludes "that Mr. Sharp's application of it to the New Testament is in strict conformity with the usage of Greek writers, and with the Syntax of the Greek Tongue;"

Con has chose an inferior translation of 2 Pet 1:1 on the basis of verse 2, which he says distinguishes between God and Christ. Such translation on the basis of theological prejudices is hardly commendable. 2 Peter contains five "Granville Sharp" constructions. They are 1:1, 1:11, 2:20, 3:2, and 3:18. No one would argue that the other four instances are exceptions to the rule. In 2:20, it is obvious that both "Lord" and "Savior" are in reference to Christ. Such is the case in 3:2, as well as 3:18. No problem there, for the proper translation does not step on anyone's theological toes. 1:11 is even more striking. The construction here is IDENTICLE to the construction found in 1:1, with only one word being different. Here are the passages as they are transliterated into English:

1:1: tou theou hemon kai sotaros Iesou Christou
1:11: tou kuriou hemon kai sotaros Iesou Christou

Notice the exact one-to-one correspondence between these passages! The only difference is the substitution of "kuriou" for "theou". No one questions the translation of "our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ" at 1:11; why question the translation of "our God and Savior, Jesus Christ" at 1:1? Consistency in translation demands that we not allow our personal prejudices to interfere with our rendering of God's Word

"Another one of Smyth's rules is that if a word denoting class is used of a person, then such a word may omit the article [5]; it is clear that "savior" is definitely a class of being, so the fact that Jesus is called a "savior" in these passages could also explain why the author omitted the second article."

The problem with this argument when applied to 2 Peter 1:1 is that there is ONLY ONE BEING in the class "God" and "Savior." These terms cannot refer to any class of beings outside of God, because Scripture makes it EXPLICITLY clear that there is ONLY ONE God and ONLY ONE Savior in all of existence. "There is NO SALVATION IN ANYONE ELSE." (Acts 4:12) "I, even I, am the Lord, and BESIDE ME THERE IS NO SAVIOR." (Isa 43:11) "Thou believest that there is ONE God, thou doest well." (James 2:19) "I am the Lord, and there is none else, there is NO GOD BESIDE ME." (Isa 45:5) "There is NO GOD ELSE BESIDE ME; a just God and a Savior; THERE IS NONE BESIDE ME." (Isa 45:21) So while God and Savior are classes of being, only ONE BEING is in this class, which would require Jesus to be Yahweh to be in this class.

Con has given us no evidence from Scripture or from the Greek writers to support this empty claim that "savior" is treated as a proper name. Titus 2:13 uses the expression "Savior of us" (soteros hemon), showing that "Savior" is not being used of Christ as a name, but as a title, therefore not violating Sharp's rule.

"Titus 1:4 reads "From God the Father and from our Savior Jesus Christ"; it would make very little sense for Paul to make such a clear distinction between God and Jesus in the 1st chapter, and then obliterate that distinction only one chapter later"

It doesn't obliterate the distinction. Titus 2:13 shows that Jesus is God, not that he is God the Father; to call Jesus God is to say he has the same nature as the Father who is also God. You are the human ezs777; to call me human is not to say I am ezs777, it only means I am as human as you are. However, there are many humans, but only one God, making the Father and the Son part of the same Being. What makes sense to some doesn't make sense to others and vice versa, so we can't translate on the basis of what makes sense to ezs777. You say the text are in dispute, what isn't? Many don't even believe the holocaust happened or that Jesus existed.

There is ONLY ONE God (Deu 4:35; Isa 43:10-11; 44:6, 8; 45:5-6, 14, 21-22; 46:9; Mal 2:10; Rom 3:30; 1 Cor 8:6; Eph 4:6; Jam 2:19), and ONLY ONE true God (John 17:3; 1 John 5:20), suggesting that all other gods are false; so where Jesus is called God (Heb 1:8-10; Isa 9:6; John 20:28; 2 Pet 1:1; Tit 2:13) he must either be the true God, or a false god; Con has been AVOIDING THIS QUESTION THROUGHOUT THIS WHOLE DEBATE. How convenient for him that I won't get to rebut him after this. Sorry, but I'm out of space.
ezs777

Con

Pro's objection to my argument about singular pronouns only being used of singular persons has led me to strengthen my previous argument. Pro is right in saying that Israel, Ephraim, and Jerusalem are all referred to by singular personal pronouns, and that this invalidates my previous argument. However, one of the fundamental principles of Biblical interpretation is that all passages written using figurative language (e.g., personification, idioms, and figures of speech) are not to be interpreted the same way as passages written in literal language. Yahweh is clearly personifying these groups in these passages; therefore, they are exempt from the rule that singular pronouns only refer to single persons. My revised argument is that: singular personal pronouns are only used of single persons, EXCEPT in cases where figurative language is used; therefore, since the passages in which Yahweh speaks and is spoken of using singular personal pronouns do not contain figurative language, those passages are saying that Yahweh is a single person.

As far as Pro's use of Luke 8:27-33, that passage is not clearly stating that Legion was speaking of the whole group of demons with the singular pronoun "I"; in fact, the passage says that THE MAN who was possessed cried out to Jesus, and Jesus asked THE MAN what his name was, and HE responded "Legion: because many devils were entered into him" (verse 30 KJV); so THE MAN called himself "Legion" because many devils were in him, and it was not one demon speaking for multiple demons. After this, the demons begin to talk to Jesus, and THEY ask him to send THEM into a nearby heard of swine; there is a clear shift in subject in this passage from THE MAN who was healed by Jesus, to the DEVILS, who were being cast out. Although this passage could be used to prove Pro's claim (verses in the Bible can be used to prove many untrue things), there is nothing in the text that demands this interpretation. One verse is a flimsy basis for a doctrine anyway, especially when that verse has potential ambiguity. Therefore, Pro's objection to my previous argument is valid, but his use of Luke 8:27-33 to support his critique is weak.

Pro says that "Jesus is no less God than his Father . . . [which] means he has his Father's nature". Here Pro is defining "God" as "divine nature"; however in the passages he cites two paragraphs later as evidence that there is only one God, that definition wouldn't work. For example: "I am the first and I am the last, and beside me there is no DIVINE NATURE" (Isa. 44:6), or "There is no DIVINE NATURE else beside me; a just DIVINE NATURE and a Savior" (Isa. 45:21). If Pro defines "God" in these verses as "divine nature" he has a problem, because he will have to explain how a divine nature can be a "he", how a divine nature can be just, and how God's divine nature can be a separate person from him. The only way that Pro can define "God" in these verses and make them at least somewhat intelligible is if he defines "God" as "Trinity"; however, if he does this, then he has committed the fallacy of equivocation with the term "God" in his argument, by giving it two different definitions, thus making his argument invalid. This should illustrate Pro's fallacy clearly:

Premise 1: There is one God (Trinity)
Premise 2: The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are each God (Divine Nature)
Conclusion: The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are the one God (Trinity)

The definition of "God" in premise 1 must be "Trinity"; it cannot be "divine nature", because that would cause the verses above cited to make absurd claims. The second definition of "God" must be "divine nature", because otherwise it would have to say that the three persons were each the Trinity, and that is patently false (even in Pro's argument); therefore, Premises 1 and 2 must have those two different meanings, but if they do, then that means that this argument is automatically invalid, because it uses the fallacy of equivocation. So, Pro is caught on the horns of a dilemma; he either has to equivocate his definition of "God" in his argumentation process (which makes his argument invalid) or to make a valid argument, he has to define "God" in an unbiblical way (i.e., as "divine nature"), resulting in a false premise, and thus an unsound argument; so Pro has a choice between an invalid argument and an unsound argument, and since these are his only two possible ways of arguing for the Trinity, and neither kind of argument can prove anything, this doctrine must be false.

Pro's argument against my use of "yasha" is weak; he claims that the word SHOULD be translated "deliverers", but on whose authority? It is the exact same word in both passages, so there is no reason why it should not be translated the same in both instances; if you like, Isaiah 43:11 can read like this "besides me there is no Deliverer"; it has the same meaning. What exactly is the difference between a savior and a deliverer anyway? The fallacy in Pro's treatment of this verse is that he assumes that Yahweh must save in person to be a savior; the way in which both Yahweh and these men can be saviors is that all true salvation must originate with Yahweh; he can use different persons and means of accomplishing salvation, but the debt of salvation is ultimately owed to Yahweh. This is clearly illustrated in the passage I cited in which it reads "according to thy manifold mercies thou gavest them saviours" (Neh. 9:27); it is clear that the deliverers given unto Israel were sent BY YAHWEH; that is the sense in which Yahweh is the only savior; not because he comes in person every single time to save, but that salvation ultimately comes from him, no matter which form it takes.

Pro is also very hypocritical in his effort to prove that the Holy Spirit is a person; to prove his conclusion, he says that the Holy Spirit speaks, can be lied to, can be grieved, and is referred to with singular personal pronouns; however, this is the same line of reasoning that I used to prove that Yahweh was a single person, and Pro dismissed that argument as invalid. The sword cuts both ways; if that line of evidence is invalid for showing that Yahweh is a single person, then it is equally invalid for trying to show that the Holy Spirit is a person; otherwise, to be consistent, Pro should argue that the Holy Spirit can be more than one person as well. The fact that Pro employs such an obvious double-standard is evidence that his goal is not to be consistent or defend what the Bible clearly says, but to support the doctrine of the Trinity.

Pro's argument that the Holy Spirit is a person is also flawed for another reason; Pro assumes that Jesus is referring to a literal person in John 16, and does not seem to entertain the possibly that a figure of speech is being used. In verse 25 Jesus says that he HAS (past tense) been speaking to them in proverbs, but that a time will come (future tense) when he will speak to them plainly about the Father; this gives strong evidence to the idea that Jesus' language about the Holy Spirit was proverbial, and not meant to be taken literally; and if it was figurative language, that would also fit into the principle of interpretation that figurative language is to be interpreted differently than literal language, and thus the comforter should not be interpreted as if it was a literal person.
Debate Round No. 5
36 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Jay_Walk 6 years ago
Jay_Walk
"Daley, if the Bible said God both exists and doesn't exist at the same time and same sense would you believe it?"

Thats a good question. It would of course have to be so plain and impossible to interpret otherwise of course. I would still believe God with his word based on Deurtoronomy 29:29 - "The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of this law." We also could never have the same level of epistemology as God not knowning/understanding many things. I suppose theists would start using quantum mechanics as evidence of God. This would certainly destroy Presuppositionalism that I am so fond of.
Posted by daley 6 years ago
daley
Since the Bible has proven itself many times in many areas to be accurate and to be God's word, I have faith to believe God no matter what he says in his word. If God were to claim that he both exists and does not exist at the same time, as long as I know this is not some scribal error or interpolation, but God actually says this in his word, yes, I would believe it!

If God wants to create a parallel universe which is devoid of his existence so that he exists in this world and doesn't exist in the parallel to this world, I believe he can do it if that is what he wanted to do. I'm not saying this is how God would have to do it; I'm just speculating a possible way in which he could. God can know things about the nature of existence which I don't. Just because I can't fathom how something can both exist and not exist at once doesn't mean that it can't. All it means is that my knowlege of existence is limited. It would defy the laws of physics as we know it if a box were to be in a room and not in the room at the same time, but I beieve God can defy natural laws if he so chooses. He is the one who makes them.

The only option other than to believe God, is to reject his word; and I am not rejecting it just because I might not know how God can exist and not exist at the same time. Thankfully, the Bible does not say this, so I don't have to think about it. But if it did, I'd believe it because I have already tested it and proved it for myself to be God's word. I take the same approach with the trinity. The Bible says that God cannot lie. (Titus 1:1-2) So even if he says something that seems contradictory, I rather say "I don't understand that," than to say "this is a contradiction so I don't believe it." For example, Proverbs 26:4-5. These statements seem directly contradictoty to me like existing and not existing at the same time, but because it is in the word of God both statements have to be true; even if I don't fully understand how.
Posted by popculturepooka 6 years ago
popculturepooka
Daley, if the Bible said God both exists and doesn't exist at the same time and same sense would you believe it?
Posted by daley 6 years ago
daley
ok...i conceed your point
Posted by ReformedArsenal 6 years ago
ReformedArsenal
"The point of the illustration is not a parallell between the trinity and the square-circle, or is it that we have the same kind of evidence for the trinity as the square-circle (ie seeing it, or it being created), rather, the point is the futility of putting human logic above the word of God."

That may not have been the point... however you did draw a parallel between the two, that's the nature of an analogy.
Posted by daley 6 years ago
daley
The point of the illustration is not a parallell between the trinity and the square-circle, or is it that we have the same kind of evidence for the trinity as the square-circle (ie seeing it, or it being created), rather, the point is the futility of putting human logic above the word of God.

If the Bible says something and we can't figure out how that thing is possible, we need to just trust that the Bible is correct. The Bible explicitly says that Jesus is our God and Saviour. (Tit 2;13; 2 Pet 1:1) But it also says the Father is the only ture God. (John 17:3). It also differentiates between Jesus and the Father. (Mark 13:32) Now, we can either believe all three statements by pure faith, or reject one of them because of our human logic. My opponent rejects the portions of Scripture that do not make sense to him. The illustration shows that something doesn't have to make sense to us for us to trust God!

I don't have a clue how a circle could also be a square. I really don't. But if God were to say in the Bible that such a thing is real, I would believe him! I wouldn't reject it because it doesn't make sense to me. Lot's of God's work don't make sense to me. It doesn't seem logical to me for God to allow so much suffering in the world, and none of the reasons given for it so far make sense to me; but I trust that God has good reason even though I am ignorant of what they are.

So too with the trinity.
Posted by ReformedArsenal 6 years ago
ReformedArsenal
Daley,

You need to calm down. I fully affirm the doctrine of the Trinity, but it is NOT explicitly taught in Scripture. It is alluded to, and you can draw that doctrine systematically from the Scriptures, but it is not taught explicitly.

That is the nature of your debate. I haven't read through it entirely yet, but I'm sure you did a great job. The problem with your analogy goes beyond God creating the Trinity... no one has SEEN the Trinity the way you describe someone seeing the Square-Circle. No one can ever see the Trinity that way, so to act like someone has or could is tantamount to blaspheme (You're comparing God directly to the creation... even if this creation is only a hypothetical creation with a analogy you are still comparing God to the creation.)
Posted by daley 6 years ago
daley
Scripture explicitly teaches there is only one God, it explicitly teaches the Father is God, it explicitly teaches the Son is God, it explicitly teaches the Holy Spirit is God. The prolem is have with your argument, is that it seems to me you are saying that if the Bible teaches something, but doesn't teaches it explicitly, it should be rejected. Once the Bible teaches a doctrine, weather implicitly or explicitly, I believe it; case closed. The Bible only need something once for me to believe it. End even if it doen't teach something explicitly, doesn't mean it doesn't teach it at all. Rejection of the trinity leads to confusion and contradiction in the word of God. At Isa 44:24 Yahweh EXPLICITLY proclaims that created heaven and earth alone, by himself. Yet, Hebrew 1:2, 8-10 EXPLICITLY has the Son being involved in creating the world with the Father. So either Jesus is Yahweh, or Yahweh was lying when he claimed to do it alone, or Hebrews 1 is lying when it says that Jesus created or helped create the world.

As a trinitarian I can accept both Heb 1:2, 8-10 and Isa 44:24 in their plain EXPLICIT sense in which they are written. It is you who would have to reject one of these statements, or, interpret them figuratively even though the context of none of them mentions that it isbeing spoken in signs, visions, or parables. It is because I take God at his word in every case that I believe in the trinity. And I don't presume to tell God how to have his word written. Non-trinitarians assume that if the trinity were true it would be written in the Bible like this, "and these three persons are one God, coequal in substance, power, and positon," etc; but this is telling God how he should have written his word. The clay has no right to say such to the Potter. There is much God could have put more clearly is he wanted to, but I trust him that he has given us enough.
Posted by ReformedArsenal 6 years ago
ReformedArsenal
The problem, and the nature of your debate, is that the doctrine of the Trinity is not explicitly found in scripture.
Posted by daley 6 years ago
daley
of course he didn't create the trinity, no one can create themselves! it's just a way of illustrating the futility of doubting what the word of God says just because it appears to violate our limitedknowledge of reality
4 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Vote Placed by Dimmitri.C 5 years ago
Dimmitri.C
daleyezs777Tied
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Total points awarded:70 
Reasons for voting decision: You have 2,000 years worth of Biblical exegesis on your side, ha ha.
Vote Placed by kohai 6 years ago
kohai
daleyezs777Tied
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Reasons for voting decision: The debate is about whether or not the Trinity is biblical, that is, that it is harmony in with scripture. As Pro rightly pointed out, Con insists on rejecting anything that does not meet his standard of what OUGHT to be true, thereby making his argument extra-biblical.
Vote Placed by KRFournier 6 years ago
KRFournier
daleyezs777Tied
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Reasons for voting decision: The debate is about whether or not the Trinity is biblical, that is, that it is harmony in with scripture. As Pro rightly pointed out, Con insists on rejecting anything that does not meet his standard of what OUGHT to be true, thereby making his argument extra-biblical.
Vote Placed by IamZero 6 years ago
IamZero
daleyezs777Tied
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Reasons for voting decision: One thing cannot be three, but the entity that created the universe in six days doesn't follow physical laws..