36 replies

  1. A few points on this dialogue! Firstly, a big thanks to Jonathan for allowing the discussion and for livestreaming it. As for the discussion itself there are a couple of points concerning Muslim theology that were brought up for which you can find more information on:

    1. The Hadith of Allah creating Adam in the image is discussed in the following two links:
    http://seekershub.org/ans-blog/2009/08/16/what-does-the-narration-allah-created-adam-in-hishis-image-mean/

    https://islamqa.info/en/20652

    2. The term “Father” in the New Testament and the Islamic term “Rabb” is explained by Dr Ali Ataie here:

    Lastly, Tony Costa continually used the word “person” when talking about the Trinity idea but this is not a Biblical term nor is the concept distinguished in the Bible, see the first 3 mins in this short video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ia31q9VZUls&t=208s

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I just cannot understand how for God to worship his own God?!

    If you called someone as (your God) and believed in that one to be (your God), then it has to be requisites for that belief. One of them is that the one whom you believed to be (your God) is the one who CREATED you. If he didn’t, then in which base do you believe in him to be ( Your God)?!

    In which base did Jesus call the father ( My God)?!
    Did the father create Jesus?!

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  3. First persons are beings on the Aristotelian world view, a view that the Creeds use.

    Secondly, a person in the Catholic tradition is a being. I fail to see Costa’s clarification of Paul’s “misunderstanding”.

    Thirdly, and I think most importantly, God is a “he” and has personal properties in the Old Testament. On Costa’s understanding God can only be a nature and not a person. Are we to believe that the Old Testament was secretly speaking in metaphorical tongue that progressive revelation clarifies in the New Testament. After all, what is a secret metaphor but a metaphor without context(how would one know what a metaphor is then ?). The Jews then, would be rightly concerned about later “progressive revelation”

    Fourthly, the idea of “wills in necessary correlation ” raises the spectre of divine aseity. Surely, it is possible for the Father to have a different will, but at who’s expense? If the Father cannot have an independent will, can we really be talking about a maximally great being? This is where Swinburne comes in with the Eastern Orthodox concept of “Filioque”. There are attributes that the Father can only have. Now watch this! We can now reasonably talk about a “high christology” Subordinationism. If that is coherent then how are we to differentiate between verses that can equally talk about an “incarnation model” and a subordination model? For example, maybe the Father only knows of the hour in a necessary way while the other members of the trinity are subordinate to him(although divine). We could also read this as a”human” Jesus speaking . If both models are equal on every reading then do we really have a clear creed ?

    Finally, and I think, something I have less of a quibble about. Paul was right to say that Jesus is God. You have to say this because of the principle of Communicato Idiomatum. If we can only speak about Jesus with respect to a nature how can we speak of him simpliciter? We surely have to do this if we are to say he is one person!

    When Costa talked about a misunderstanding of the trinity in a patronising sense, he failed to see our criticism. We will always misunderstand the trinity because no analogy can make it coherent. At least this is my view

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  4. By far the most important question is with regards to this chicken dinner, can we please learn more?

    Liked by 4 people

    • Yes I agree, chicken breast with vegetables. Mmm

      Liked by 1 person

    • Sounds great i have just recently cooked up some chicken thighs with lemon and oregano alongside some crispy potatoes and steamed vegetables finished with some yorkshire puddings.

      Liked by 1 person

    • And i just had chickpeas with bread lol

      Liked by 1 person

    • Pffft showoff

      Liked by 1 person

    • Good to see that brother Paul and Costa finally come into terms with the juxtaposition of “chicken dinner” and the “trinity” that both stand in a highly antagonistic relationship with each other. 😉

      Liked by 4 people

    • The art of creating a scrumptious chicken dinner is that it is properly cooked and contains a proper balance between the meat and vegetables indeed the entire success of the meal depends upon this point.

      The trinity doctrine has been left too long in the oven and has now been over cooked to the point of being cremated because it was checked on a regular basis to ensure it was properly cooked through. Also there is far too much going on with the plate one does not need four wills as much as one does not need too many vegetables.

      This is a poor meal indeed and would not satisfy a refined palate not even Hashim with his chickpeas and bread would be impressed!

      Liked by 3 people

    • I charge you guilty of culinarian heresy here Pat, the orthodox position is use extra yogurt, mints and couscous with the chicken, then serve with the tzatziki the way the greek does it.

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    • Eric i submit to you that my style of chicken is perhaps not quite how it has always been done and i respect such traditions deeply, however your rigidity to this ‘rational’ approach indeed people throughout the generations have affirmed that this chicken recipe is one and uniquely one, there is no plurality amongst the recipees.

      But you see this is ignoring the most fundamental principle of a chicken and that is how versatile it is and it would be a terrible thing to restrict others of enjoying a lemon and oregano chicken with yorkshire puds. I therefore beseech all of you who are reading this to consider my point of view, it was a bloody good chicken dinner.

      Upon this i stand

      Liked by 2 people

    • So it has come to this! I had always feared we would see sectarian conflict over diverse chicken recipes. A sad day on Blogging Theology.

      Liked by 1 person

    • There is a simple way to put an end to this sectarianism.

      We need a neutral judge to sample both recipes and decide.

      I volunteer.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Fawaz that is a very generous offer however i will have to charge you for the postage

      Like

  5. “Thirdly, and I think most importantly, God is a “he” and has personal properties in the Old Testament.

    “Are we to believe that the Old Testament was secretly speaking in metaphorical tongue that progressive revelation clarifies in the New Testament. ”

    He also speaks in the first person plural in the OT. Is that metaphorical? Who decides when and when not?

    “On Costa’s understanding God can only be a nature and not a person.”

    But I, as a trinitarian, have to relate to God in view of the full revelation that he has given to me. I can’t stay in the OT. Whether or not it is true that God is revealed as one person in the OT or not and I don’t believe so myself, in the clear light of the NT the form of his being can’t be equated to that of a normal human being, If God is unipersonal in some sense then it must be in a way that we cannot fully understand, given the fact that three persons are one and the same God, according to my understanding of the bible.

    “Fourthly, the idea of “wills in necessary correlation ” raises the spectre of divine aseity. Surely, it is possible for the Father to have a different will, but at who’s expense?”

    I believe the subordination of the Logos is a voluntary one between two equals agreed upon before the incarnation. It doesn’t reduce his status in any way and was necessary for our salvation.

    As Jesus is the Holy One of God he must “rebel” against being made sin and the alienation between himself and the Father which would result from it. This conversation in Gethsemene is just an expression of that but not an actual will to avoid the cross.

    ” We will always misunderstand the trinity because no analogy can make it coherent. At least this is my view”

    It depends what your criteria for coherence are.

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    • Madmanna says

      “He also speaks in the first person plural in the OT. Is that metaphorical? Who decides when and when not?”

      An excellent article on this is by Dale Tuggy in the Journal of Analytical Theology Vol2. May 2014. Divine Deception and Monotheism

      I love these quotes from Noah Worcester

      “Let it now be supposed, that instead of five or six plural pronouns of doubtful relation, [Jones] had found five or six thousand plural pronouns which obviously stand as substitutes for the names of God, Lord, or Jehovah; would not his argument have been at least a thousand times more forcible than it is on the ground that he has produced? Yea, let it be supposed that… he had found in the Bible only five or six pronouns for God of the singular number, and those, too, of doubtful import; and that, on the other hand, he had found ALL the pronouns for God, of the plural number, excepting the five or six doubtful instances; would not his argument have been invincible in favor of a plurality of Persons in the Godhead? …such an argument would have more weight in my mind that all the arguments I have seen or heard in favor of that doctrine.”

      and

      “If the doctrine of three self-existent Persons in one God were true, and of such infinite importance as seems to be supposed by our good brethren, how can it be accounted for, that God himself, and all the sacred writers, should so uniformly adopt such forms of speech as would naturally lead to the conclusion, that the one self-existent God is but one self-existent Person. ..”

      In other words, we have occasions where a first person plural can, at least, be plausibly accounted for by other mechanisms (i.e. grammatical construction, metaphors and so). This also occurs on far fewer occasions. Wouldn’t it be natural for the Jews to believe that God is one person? After all, the singular mode vastly outweighs the equivocal understanding of the first person plural in the old testament by the thousands upon thousands! It would be a really bizarre reading of the old testament to consider the sporadic equivocal reading of the first person plural as the literal understanding, while at the same time rule that the thousand upon thousand times God is addressed in the singular is metaphorical! On Social Trinitarianism God literally cannot be a person.

      It would certainly be natural for the Jews to understand God as one person. That would be divine deception on my account.

      Madmanna says

      “But I, as a trinitarian, have to relate to God in view of the full revelation that he has given to me. I can’t stay in the OT”

      Here lies the problem. If God, in the Old Testament tells you he is a person quite clearly (and he does on my account), a progressive revelation cannot come on later and say, that God is actually not a person. How would you then differentiate between true and false prophets? Truly consistency is key (at least a key).

      Madmanna says

      “I believe the subordination of the Logos is a voluntary one between two equals agreed upon before the incarnation. It doesn’t reduce his status in any way and was necessary for our salvation.”

      You have missed my points. The concepts surrounding the “Filioque” are necessary and not voluntary. You may drop this aspect of the creed if you wish. How about the Son being eternally begotten? Drop that too? Why is this an issue? Well lets go to your point at hand

      Can the Son ever choose not to be begotten by the Father? Can the Father proceed from the Son? That is why the Eastern Orthodox Church is accused of “crypto-Arianism”. These necessary relations between the persons of the trinity opens the door to a “coherent” concept of subordination where texts in the New Testament can be interpreted in equal light to the incarnation model (that has a dual human and Divine nature separate but united in one person). Jesus not knowing the hour can be interpreted in two senses then(well a significant number of other ways as well). Both of these ways are higher in Christology. In the first sense the Son of God eternally does not know the hour but is “semi divine” in the sense that he shares the divine nature. In the second sense we have the standard human/divine nature. This latter one, has plenty of concerns for me but that is another day

      Still, on the latter model we still have a problem of divine aseity. They may “volunteer” to work in a coordinated fashion but that begs the question. If the Father chose to override the will of the Son (the son of God and not the human Jesus) and the Son chose to override the Father’s will , who would “win the day”?

      Madmanna says

      “It depends what your criteria for coherence are.”

      I like maximally great beings and I don’t like contradictions. Good start?

      Liked by 3 people

    • Sorry, I though I may clarify something

      Model A- The wills of the Persons of the Trinity are in necessary correlation. In this case they cannot override each other and we have an issue relating to divine aseity. After all, one can envisage a more powerful creator (a maximally powerful one) that has a single will that isn’t limited by any person. A reasonable question arises about the cause of such a necessary correlation. Remember being “necessary” isn’t enough to prevent a trigger of at least a modified version of the principle of sufficient reason. Think of Leibnez’s analogy of an eternal book of geometry.

      Model B- The wills are in correlation in a “voluntary” sense. On this understanding, the question returns with a vengeance. Which will “trumps” the other if they did choose to override each other? If they cannot override each other because this leads to a logical contradiction (and it does) we are now back in the realm of Model A

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  6. So Tony accepts the Chalcedonian view that Jesus had two wills.

    Does Jonathan accept that Jesus had two wills?

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    • And God has 4 wills, which are not always wanting the same thing

      Liked by 2 people

    • You know Paul, I always wondered about the Athanasian Creed.

      i.e.

      “…the Father is Almighty; the Son Almighty; and the Holy Ghost Almighty. And yet they are not three Almighties; but one Almighty”

      The Creed does this for a number of attributes, yet when it comes to the attributed of “personhood” we have

      “…For there is one Person of the Father; another of the Son; and another of the Holy Ghost. But the Godhead of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, is all one”

      You would think it should say, The Father is a person, The Son is a person, and the Holy Ghost is a person but they are not three persons but one person.

      or the Father has a will, the Son has a will and the Holy Ghost has a will but they are not three wills but one will.

      The whole thing is a mess man!

      Liked by 3 people

    • thanks. I have sent you an invitation to be a writer on Blogging Theology. I hope you will accept.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Watch this video from 29:30

      Jonathan Mclatchie says Jesus has only one will. This is a heresy according to Tony. He then says that Mansur does not understand the doctrine.

      So, I was wondering if he has taken back his monothelite (“Jesus has one will”) belief?

      Liked by 3 people

    • Fawaz, thanks for pointing that out – I’ve put those clips together to highlight this difference. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tuY87FJMMTM&feature=youtu.be

      Liked by 2 people

  7. People tend to fall in the christians’ trap by debating the doctrine of the trinity on the basis of the bible. Even though there’s scholarly agreement that the doctrine of the trinity can’t be found in the bible, since the doctrine is complex and is contradictory, christians will always be able to find something that substantiates whatever aspect of the trinity that happens to be discussed. In this case it was whether jesus is YHWH. By discussing the doctrine this way we let the christians score points. They do this by pointing to passages that, however far fetched or convoluted, support whatever aspect of the trinity that is being discussed, be it the dual nature of jesus, the identification of jesus as YHWH etc.

    We should focus more on the unreliability of the bible and the fact that the doctrine of the trinity as we have today simply reflects the contradictory theology of mainly the NT. This jumbled theology originates among other things from the multiple authors, all with a slightly different christology and to some extent theology, and the fact that the message of the NT simultaneously was interpreted in the light of hellenistic thought and produced in a hellenistic context. Interwoven in this theological soup is of course both the basic jewish tawhid but also the elastic jewish concept of divinity which could be stretched to also include humans.

    Presto! We have the doctrine of the trinity. A contradictory doctrine based on a hornet’s nest of contradictions.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Is water H20? yes. Is gas H20? yes. Is ice H20? yes. Are there 3 H20s? No. There is only one H20. But water gas and ice are all different. Well yes but they are all the same. Three forms of the same substance.

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  9. Paul Williams thank you for exposing the trinitarian confusion again.

    Costa claims “3 Who’s” – the Persons, and “1 What – the Being”.

    All he does is listing 4! Who’s.

    37 min in Video, quote
    “There is one being WHO (1) is God, and there are 3 Persons, so 3 Who’s and 1 What.”

    1 Who plus 3 Who’s are 1 What and 3 Who’s ???

    38 min: “…who (3) are the one being WHO (1) is God.”

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Quote: ““If the doctrine of three self-existent Persons in one God were true, and of such infinite importance as seems to be supposed by our good brethren, how can it be accounted for, that God himself, and all the sacred writers, should so uniformly adopt such forms of speech as would naturally lead to the conclusion, that the one self-existent God is but one self-existent Person. ..”

    If personhood is a relational attribute then the God of the OT can only be one person because the Logos, Father and HS do not enter into separate relations with mankind until the incarnation.

    If the three persons, as I believe, are one and the same God then they all share the same personal relation to mankind up to the time of the NT. In this case it is quite natural for God to speak as one peson in the OT. It has nothing to do with deception.

    Quote: “You have missed my points. The concepts surrounding the “Filioque” are necessary and not voluntary. You may drop this aspect of the creed if you wish. How about the Son being eternally begotten? Drop that too? Why is this an issue? ”

    I don’t believe that the Son is eternally begotten.

    Quote: “The Creed does this for a number of attributes, yet when it comes to the attributed of “personhood” we have

    “…For there is one Person of the Father; another of the Son; and another of the Holy Ghost. But the Godhead of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, is all one”

    You would think it should say, The Father is a person, The Son is a person, and the Holy Ghost is a person but they are not three persons but one person.”

    But wouldn’t this logically require modalism if the word person has exactly the same meaning throughout the expression ? How would you define the distinction in the personhood if you defined the relation between the persons in this way?

    The creeds are useful, but not necessary. They cannot express the truth of the trinity better than the bible or more accurately. They are only formulations to counter heretical notions of God. They are not truth in the same way as the bible is.

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