I have responded to James White on the Trinity and his debate with Patrick Navas. The observer can well the judge the merits of each argument.
James White decided to take two hours responding to my video commenting on his debate with Patrick Navas on the Trinity. White repeatedly miss characterized my views and ignored my actual argument, so I will be responding soon. My notes are complete, I need only get before a camera, so you can anticipate an extensive response very soon…but I won’t take up two hours, I promise that.
Patrick Navas and James White recently completed a debate on the Trinity. It can be found in two parts at Theopologetics.
Additionally, I’ve made some comments on the debate in a video. I’m informed James White will be responding to these Tuesday on his show at AOMin.org. If his comments warrant response I’ll be certain to do as much.
Update: It was suggested that I might call into White’s show on Tuesday. An email offer for my participation has been extended to him.
Update 2: Dr. White has declined my offer. The reason he cited was a desire to not provide “free advertising,” which is rather ironic if he will be responding to my video, for he’ll be doing just that only without somebody immediately available to challenge his assertions if/when they are false.
Grassroots Apologetics has challenged Patrick Navas on the translation and meaning of monogenes theos in John 1:18.. Patrick is currently working on a response that will include (tentatively) some of my own unpublished research, which should prove to be a worthwhile read.
At the core of Grassroots’ argument is the claim that Daniel Wallace has “proven” Patrick wrong. This is a most ill-informed statement to make, and seems to come from a failure to carefully examine the evidence. On this, Greg Stafford has taken Dr. Wallace to task on some rather poor argumentation.
Patrick Navas has been interacting with Hiram Diaz from Grassroots Apologetics, a blog I recently became aware of, on the topic of John 12:41. Patrick provided a nice response to Diaz and Diaz has subsequently responded (a link to Diaz’s initial response is within Patrick’s response). Having observed the interaction thus far I wanted to provide several comments.
In both responses Diaz has displayed an apparent ignorance of Patrick’s theology, arguing as if Patrick denies Jesus preexisted. This, of course, is not the case, and Patrick has argued extensively in favor of this truth, though he has acknowledge some Socinian arguments he views having potential merit.
Diaz has twice ignored the arguments Patrick presents from the text itself, engaging only side points and not the exegesis of John 12 and Isaiah 52/53. This is extremely telling, for an actual exegesis of John 12:38-41 is most damaging to the Trinitarian interpretation, as I’ve detailed before and will highlight here again.
John quotes from both Isaiah 6 and Isaiah 53, with the latter presented first. John says, as accepted in the critical texts, “Isaiah said these things because he saw his glory and spoke about him.” Trinitarians must ignore this “because” as nothing quoted from Isaiah 6 was done because of seeing glory and speaking about him. They argue as if the text says “when,” a later variant that is well rejected. Isaiah said what he said from Isaiah 6 because of a command to do so, and while he did behold God’s glory, there is absolutely no evidence to support this sight serving as a basis for what he said.
Isaiah 53:1 presents two distinct questions, and serves as the focus of John’s argument. Isaiah 6 is cited to further expand upon this. Therefore, unless the text of Isaiah 6 found itself used by Isaiah in a tradition we no longer possess today, John 12:41 would refer back only to John’s primary argument from Isaiah 53:1.
Having said this, I do believe it was likely Jesus who was beheld at Isaiah 6, though it may have only been a vision. In Diaz’s latest response he argues from texts such as Genesis 19 that God is polypersonal, but he seems entirely ignorant of divine agency and how Second Temple Judaism had already accounted for these things by the time Jesus walked the earth. Examples such as in Numbers 12 when compared to Hebrews 3:3-5 make it unambiguously clear that the earliest Christians understood Old Testament theophanies in view of such agency.
I’ve put together a video response to Anthony Buzzard on this topic. Unfortunately I can’t seem to embed the video, but it can be found at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jJzd40rRWkw
D.A Carson is among those who argue that the Septuagint rendering of Psalm 102 serves as a basis for the application of it to Christ within Hebrews. Here are some of his remarks:
But here I shall focus attention on the final verses of the psalm. Regular Bible readers will recognize that verses 25-27 are quoted in Hebrews 1:10-12, with God addressing the Messiah, in effect giving him divine status. One may well ask how the writer of Hebrews construed the Old Testament in this way.
The answer turns in part on the fact that the original Hebrew of the Old Testament was composed with what today we call consonants. Vowels were not included. They were added much later—indeed, the most common vowel system was added to the Hebrew text about one thousand years into the Christian era. Usually this presents no problems. Once in a while, however, it is possible to read the Old Testament consonantal text with a slightly different vowel choice, yielding a different meaning. In this instance there is no question at all about the consonants. But the ancient Greek translation of the Old Testament, the Septuagint, shows how those translators understood the Hebrew—and in this passage they understood it exactly as the Epistle to the Hebrews takes it. The traditional vowel placement, preserved in our English versions, understands verses 23-24 much as in the NIV. The thought is parallel to verses 11-12. But the LXX and Hebrews read it as follows: “He answered him in the way of his strength, ‘Declare to me the fewness of my days. Do not bring me up [i.e., summon me to action] in the middle of my days; your years are for generations on end. In the beginning you, Lord, laid the foundation of the earth. . . .’” The implication of this rendering is that God is addressing the psalmist, whom God addresses as Lord and Creator. That is how Hebrews takes it. On this view, the entire psalm is messianic, an oracular psalm like Psalm 110 (see vol. 1, meditation on June 17). Try rereading Psalm 102 that way; it makes sense. Compare the use of Psalm 45 in Hebrews 1 (see meditation for September 4): the Davidic king is addressed as God, and this too is cited in Hebrews 1. But even if the traditional Hebrew vowel assignments are correct, the inferences drawn by Hebrews 1 are not far away, though they must be drawn on quite different grounds.
– D.A. Carson, For the Love of God: A Daily Companion for Discovering the Riches of God’s Word, Volume 2 (Wheaton, IL., Crossway Books, 1999), October 13.
It is of interest that early unitarian Jews could concieve of another whom God would identify as having been involved in creation. This speaks strongly against Trinitarian proof-texting of Isaiah 44:24, especially when not considered in parallel with passages such as Job 9:8 and Psalm 72:18.
If anyone has a copy they’re no longer using, I’m in need of Form of God, Form of a Servant: An examination of the Greek noun morphe in Philippians 2:6-7 by Daniel J. Fabricatore. Though I’ve been able to review it extensively, I do not have a copy and something I just became aware of (which, if it happens, I’ll comment on soon) may require the use of specific material therein. If you can part with a copy please reach me at dave at scripturaltruths.com
In God and Christ: Examining the Evidence for a Biblical Doctrine I provided exegetical reasons to reject the common interpretation of John 12:41 as a reference to Isaiah 6. John’s use of “because” to provide the basis for Isaiah having said what he said refutes the connection to Isaiah 6 and instead points directly to Isaiah 52-53.
Glory can refer to a visual manifestation, but also to one’s actions. In the aforementioned discussion I specifically noted God’s glory in John 11 as a reference to his miraculous works. So Isaiah’s prophetic foresight (on the use of eiden in this manner cf. John 8:56) of Jesus’ salvific work prompted him to say the words recorded at Isaiah 53:1.
One reference not included within the discussion was of John 1:14. John speaks of having beheld Jesus’ glory, yet as a man upon the earth this would not refer to some visible sight manifest to the eyes. Instead, it would have referred to his works, both in miraculous signs and, most importantly, in the redemption brought with his death. George Beasley-Murray sees the same:
The Evangelist will have had in mind the glory of the Christ which the witnesses saw in the signs he performed (e.g., 2:11), in his being lifted up on the cross (19:35), and in the Easter resurrection (20:24–29). It was a revelation of glory such as could proceed alone from the “μονογενής from the Father,” – Beasley-Murray, George R.: Word Biblical Commentary : John. Dallas : Word, Incorporated, 2002 (Word Biblical Commentary 36), S. 14
There is at a minimum overlap between the glory John claims he and others beheld and that which Isaiah saw when he was prompted to say the words at Isaiah 53:1.
I can’t say I’m familiar with the work of Dr. Edward Fudge as I’m not the most read on hell, though I’ve studied the biblical texts extensively. Yet after having listened to the interview with him at Theopologetics it is apparent I should have read him years ago!
Author of the book The Fire that Consumes, it is apparent from his description that he has quite the argument put together for the doctrine of conditional immortality (hell is not literal eternal torment). The first part is entitled Burn It Up, while the second is Eternal Fire. A few subsequent posts discussing some of the issues also make it worth visiting the blog.