Can God Sleep? A Brief Dyophysite Exploration of Christology, Neurobiology and Somnology

[Nota Bene: I hope (time permitting and God willing) to do a series of entries for this blog on the subject of the plausibility of Christian doctrine in light of “natural revelation” (i.e. what can be inferred from observing creation). This would be the first installment of that series.]

Three points worthy of note:

(A) Christians believe that Jesus is “God” (John 1:1, John 20:28, 2 Peter 1:1).

(B) The Bible states that Jesus slept while on earth (Mark 4:38, Matthew 8:24).

(C) The Bible gives the impression that God does not sleep (Psalm 121:3-4), and this would be the assumption of most theists.

Immediately, the above three propositions seem to constitute a contradiction. It is not the intention of this blog entry to deny any of those three points, which thus begs the question: can they be reconciled? The reader is invited to consider some subsequent points:

(D) The Christian understanding of the Bible is that Christ acquired a human form (Daniel 7:13, John 1:14, Philippians 2:7-8, 1 Timothy 3:16).

(E) A statement attributed to Christ by the Bible can be understood as alluding to how, when taking on a human body, secondary ranges of consciousness can come with that.

Elucidation: Pope Agatho, in a letter submitted at the Third Council of Constantinople, argued that Matthew 26:41 contained an allusion to Dyotheletism (the doctrine that Christ possessed two wills).[1] At the very least, one can say that, in Scripture itself, one finds Christ alluding to how, with the possession of human flesh, can come the possession of a secondary semblance of will. One could propose, further, that a will is intimately tied in with a range of consciousness, or a mental state. Therefore, if Christ proposed a model where one semblance of will was anchored to an embodied person’s immaterial aspect and another semblance of will was anchored to that person’s material aspect, He was indirectly alluding to multiple ranges of consciousness (or tiers where mental states occur).

(F) Scientific literature on neurobiology notes the possibility of an individual having multiple ranges of consciousness (or tiers where mental states occur).

Elucidation: one need only to turn to the copious amounts of writing on the subject of people who have undergone commissurotomies, in which their corpus callosum has been severed. A number of studies have demonstrated that such persons experience a sort of “split brain” phenomenon, where each hemisphere functions as a distinct tier for thought and mentation. Consider a couple excerpts to show that such is also possible in animals:

“[T]hese ‘split-brain’ studies, conducted mainly with cats and monkeys, showed that the neocortical commissures are necessary for the interhemispheric transfer of learning and memory and also for the interhemispheric integration of many sensory and motor functions that involved the left and right hands or paws, and the left and right halves of the visual field.”[2]

“R. E. Myers and R. W. Sperry introduced a technique for dealing with the two hemispheres separately. They sectioned the optic chiasma of cats, so that each eye sent direct information (information about the opposite half of the visual field) only to one side of the brain. It was then possible to train the cats in simple tasks using one eye, and to see what happened when one made them use the other eye instead. In cats whose callosum was intact, there was very good transfer of learning. But in some cats, they severed the corpus callosum as well as the optic chiasma; and in these cases nothing was transmitted from one side to the other. In fact the two severed sides could be taught conflicting discriminations simultaneously, by giving the two eyes opposite stimuli during a single course of reinforcement. Nevertheless this capacity for independent function did not result in serious deficits of behavior. Unless inputs to the two hemispheres were artificially segregated, the animal seemed normal; (though if a split-brain monkey gets hold of a peanut with both hands, the result is sometimes a tug of war.)”[3]

(G) Scientific literature on somnology has noted the possibility of organisms with multiple ranges of consciousness to have such aspects in asymmetrical sleep arrangements, where one such aspect experiences sleep while the other remains awake.

Elucidation: consider the following:

“The two main families of pinnipeds, Otariidae (sea lions and fur seals) and Phocidae (true seals), have evolved different solutions to the problem of sleeping and breathing in an aquatic environment. As in cetaceans, Otariidae seals utilize interhemispheric asymmetries in SWS and, to a lesser extent, USWS to maintain surfacing to breathing during sleep. For example, fur seals sleep floating on their side while the flipper connected to the awake (or more desynchronized) hemisphere paddles to keep the nostrils above the surface. In addition to facilitating breathing, the interhemispheric asymmetry in SWS also may allow fur seals to visually monitor their surroundings since, as in cetaceans, the eye contralateral to the awake hemisphere remains open.”[4]

“Another surprise is that one half of the dolphin brain may be asleep while the other half is awake! While both sides of dolphin brains may simultaneously show stage 2-like sleep (with the animal surfacing to breathe without awakening), such a situation has never been obserbed in SWS. That is, if one side of the brain is in SWS the other side is awake by EEG criteria. Such unihemispheric sleep can last for over 2 hours at a time. The hemispheres alternate sleeping in this way, with one hemisphere sleeping for about an hour, followed by wakefulness in both hemispheres, then the other hemisphere sleeping for an hour.”[5]

“Unihemispheric sleep (only one side of the brain asleep at a time) appears to be widespread in birds. One hemisphere can be unilaterally deprived of sleep by placing a patch over 1 eye and maintaining 24 hours of light to the other.”
[6]

Conclusion: there is nothing implausible about a model where Christ is a divine person who took on a secondary range of consciousness when He acquired a human form, and that secondary range of human consciousness experiencing sleep while the primary divine range remains fully alert. If, in God’s creation, we find individuals with multiple ranges of consciousness, and instances where one such aspect can experience sleep while another remains awake, it should therefore be considered likewise possible for a divine Person to acquire a secondary range of consciousness (tied in with a human form), and for a similar sort of asymmetrical sleep arrangement to be established between the two ranges.[7] Ergo, there need not be any contradiction between points (A), (B) and (C), listed at the start of this blog entry.

NOTES:

(1) Robert F. Lay, Readings in Historical Theology: Primary Sources of the Christian Faith, (Kregel, 2009), p. 148.

(2) R.W. Sperry, M.S. Gazzaniga, and J.E. Bogen, “Interhemispheric Relationships: The Neocortical Commissures; Syndromes of Hemisphere Disconnection,” in P.J. Vinken and G.W. Bruyn (eds.), Handbook of Clinical Neurology, (North-Holland, 1969), vol. 4, p. 273.

(3) Thomas Nagel, “Brain Bisection and the Unity of Consciousness,” Synthese, vol. 22 (1971), p. 399; this text can also be found reproduced in Thomas Nagel, Mortal Questions, (Cambridge University Press, 1979), pp. 150-151.

(4) Teofilo L. Lee-Chiong, Michael Sateia, and Mary A. Carskadon (eds.), Sleep Medicine, (Hanley & Belfus, 2002), p. 10.

(5) William H. Moorcrof, Sleep, Dreaming & Sleep Disorders: An Introduction, (University PRess of America, 1993), pp. 160-161.

(6) Moorcroft, opere citato, p. 163.

(7) That is not to say this is necessarily the case with Christ. The point of this blog entry is not to claim insight into the precise mechanics of the Incarnation; rather the point is only to point to an analogy in creation to see one way in which such can be possible.

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Categories: Bible, Catholicism, Christianity, God, Jesus, Science

130 replies

  1. sorry Denis would you mind removing this image? In Islam (as in Judaism) there is a prohibition on showing the faces of God’s prophets and messengers. Thanks.

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    • I deleted my comment, and I edited the blog entry such that it is no longer the featured photo. However, I still see it on the main page from my phone (perhaps I will need to attempt to edit it from a desktop, which I should be able to do in the next couple hours, when I get home).

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    • Addendum: I was able to delete the image from the media repository, so now it no longer appears on the main page. Hope that helps.

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  2. thank you 🙂

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  3. The difficulty of the Incarnation is not solved by partial quasi-naturalistic explanations. Whatever definition of the hypostatic union one confesses, all Christians (with exception of Nestorians) agree that Christ and the “divine” Son are one and the same person with either united or mixed natures.

    Divine and human properties are mutually exclusive. It follows then that Christ cannot be both omniscient and ignorant of the Hour. He cannot be both omnipotent and frail to the point of death on a cross.

    If Aristotelian logic and Platonic metaphysics cannot provided sufficient answers, I find it doubtful that partially naturalistic explanations will. It is understandable when christians disguise hard questions on the trinity, eucharist and incarnation as “mysteries”.

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    • Greetings Ibn Awad

      I would at least agree that we will never explain everything about God via naturalistic means, as God transcends our natural world.

      Regarding the assertion that “Christ cannot be both omniscient and ignorant of the Hour,” I may get into this in a future blog entry. For now I will share that I can appreciate the sentiment, but I think it is mistaken, or misses a certain nuance. I would ask these questions: is it possible for a single person to possess multiple ranges of knowledge, and for one such range to lack information which is possessed in another such range? Can such a person sincerely profess ignorance of a subject while speaking from a more limited range, while simultaneously possessing knowledge of the subject in another such range? I think from neurobiological literature, the answer to both questions is yes, and if the answer is yes, I think we can construct a rough model for how it might be possible for a presumably omniscient divine person to acquire a secondary range of limited knowledge, from which said person can express ignorance on a subject.

      Regarding the subject of mystery, to be fair, there are things in both our faiths which may be well beyond human comprehension or explanation.

      Having said that, I feel as though our exchange is at risk of moving away from the topic of this blog entry, so, in an attempt to bring us back on course, I wish to ask you a question: do you agree or disagree that it is possible for a single person to have multiple ranges of consciousness, and for those ranges to be in an asymmetrical sleep arrangement, in which one range is asleep while the other is alert?

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  4. Mr. Giron,
    I understand that this is a hypothetical exercise and not an actual argumentation, and I’m glad to participate with whatever I have.
    I do-not fully understand what you mean by ranges in knowledge.
    The types of Knowledge in Muslim epistemology are: Certainty (Yaqin), Near-Certainty (Dhann Rajih), and Doubt/Conjecture (Dhann). Christ not knowing the Hour is not a claim of any form of knowledge, not even conjecture, it is ignorance (Jahl) i.e: absence of knowledge in any form. But you may clarify what you mean by ranges in knowledge.

    As for consciousness, I agree there are levels/ranges. I’m not thoroughly informed in the philosophical concepts of consciousness. As for the scientific POV, it is better explained in terms of brain activity. There are different forms of brain activity during different stages of consciousness. A comatosed state has a baseline brain activity, beyond which is brain death. Likewise sleep, stupor and full arousal have different forms of brain activity.

    Severance of the corpus callosum (split-brain) is a pathology, not a natural phenomenon. Patients for example can read two separate pages of a book at the same time. “Uni-hemispheric sleep” however, even if present in humans hypothetically, I suppose can only produce a certain level of awareness, but not full arousal .

    I doubt this answer was informative, but I’ll be glad if you would clarify your question.

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    • Greetings again, Ibn Awad

      Basically, what I was attempting to refer to might be described as “minds” (though I wish to follow the lead of Thomas V. Morris, who, when exploring this subject in his book, The Logic of God Incarnate, was careful to describe a “mind” as something a person has rather than someting a person is). In the case of commissurotomy patients, we might think of the two hemispheres of their brain as two distinct “minds,” each with their own thoughts, desires, and levels of information. I was attempting to refer to different “locations” (a word potentially fraught with difficulty) within the person where mentation occurs. This was the case both when I referred to “ranges of knowledge” and when I referred to “ranges of consciousness”.

      Ibn Awad wrote:
      «Severance of the corpus callosum (split-brain) is a pathology, not a natural phenomenon.»

      Agreed. A person who is in such a state is not normal; rather we might describe them as damaged or even disordered. I only appeal to it because it shows something which is possible in creation: a single person with two “locations” (or ranges) where mentation is taking place. Now, while a commissurotomy patient might be suffering from a kind of disorder, the phenomenon’s existence shows that it would at least be possible for God to bring about an analogous situation deliberately, and thus in an ordered way.

      Ibn Awad wrote:
      «“Uni-hemispheric sleep” however, even if present in humans hypothetically, I suppose can only produce a certain level of awareness, but not full arousal»

      Similar to the appeal to split brain patients, the appeal to this phenomenon intended to establish what is possible: a single living organism having different “minds” (or “ranges of consciousness”; “locations where mentation occurs”), and for one to be asleep while the other is awake. From that I think we can infer the possibility of God establishing a system where a single person with different ranges of mentation can be conscious can have one in a state of full consciousness while the other is in a sleep state.

      For a Christian, one implication of Colossians 1:16-17 is that even when Christ was a baby, asleep in His mother’s arms, He was still creating and sustaining things throughout our universe. That’s initially mind boggling, but the natural phenomenon appealed to might help us better understand how such might be possible (within the context of a dyophysite framework).

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    • One problem: the analogy of split-brain you’re presenting fits more with Nestorian teachings than with the Chalcedonian doctrine.
      This is a common problem in Christian apologetics, it’s very easy to fall into grey areas when trying to explain the trinity or the incarnation.
      Just a friendly advice.

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    • Greetings Ibn Awad

      I would at least agree that the subject of “Nestorianism” can be a difficult one (there are people far more knowledgeable than myself who argue for or against the proposition that the schism may have been rooted in a misunderstanding). I won’t make any positive assertions about what the historical Nestorius believed, but I will share my impression that what the Council of Ephesus was trying to fight against was an idea, or at least implication of there being two persons between God the Son and Jesus Christ.

      Now, in the blog entry above, I appealed to Pope Agatho’s statement at the Third Council of Constantinople, which argued that Christ had multiple wills (and multiple modes of operation [ενέργειες]), and much of the language seems to allude to a situation in which Christ possesses multiple ranges of thought, or multiple “locations” where mentation takes place. Moreover, we can see that it is possible, even among mere humans, for a single person to have multiple such ranges. Ergo, because what I am proposing is not to posit multiple persons, and because it strikes me as harmonious with the language of Constantinople III, it need not necessarily endure a charge of “Nestorianism”.

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    • “Moreover, we can see that it is possible, even among mere humans, for a single person to have multiple such ranges.”

      The “ranges” in question are contradictory ones, one of them allegedly “assumed”. Mere single human persons cannot have an assumed range of consciousness of lets say a slug.

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    • Greetings Burhanuddin

      Burhanuddin wrote:
      «The “ranges” in question are contradictory ones»

      Sure, in commissurotomy patients, at least, the different ranges of mentation can be at odds with one another. I think that is actually helpful, as it seems to allow one to more clearly discern the existence of multiple ranges of mentation (or “minds”), even multiple wills, within a single person.

      Burhanuddin wrote:
      «one of them allegedly “assumed”»

      I’m sorry, but I am uncertain what you might mean, here, so, for clarity’s sake, could you clarify what you mean by “assumed”?

      Burhanuddin wrote:
      «Mere single human persons cannot have an assumed range of consciousness of lets say a slug.»

      Just to be clear, are you saying that it would be impossible for a human to acquire (whether via advanced science or an act of God) a secondary range of mentation like that of a slug (assuming slugs have some semblance of mental processes)? If so, on what grounds do you declare such?

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    • According to Catholic doctrine the human nature was assumed into the divine person.

      I cannot see how scientific results from Neurobiology and Somnology bear any resemblance to Christian Christology.

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    • Greetings Burhanuddin

      Certainly the Latin text of the Athanasian Creed refers to “assumptione humanitatis in Deum” (assumption of humanity into God), but the verb assumptio can mean to take on, receive, adopt, acquire. Perhaps there is something I have missed, but I am not sure what you feel that must entail.

      As for resemblances, note the seventh (and final) end note of the blog entry, above. I certainly do not claim that the “mechanics” of the Incarnation are identical to the phenomena being offered as analogies. The point is only to establish the possibility of multiple “minds” (or ranges of / locations for mentation) within a single person. Christ possessing two natures can be profoundly different, and yet there still be value in acknowledging the possibility just mentioned.

      Now, I have asked you a couple questions which I continue to sincerely be curious about your answers to, so please forgive this repetition, as I re-ask those questions:

      (1) Do you agree or disagree that it is possible for a single person to have multiple ranges of consciousness (or locations in which mentation occurs), and for those ranges to be in an asymmetrical sleep arrangement, in which one range is asleep while the other is alert?

      (2) As per your slug analogy, is it your position that it would be impossible for a human to acquire (whether via advanced science or an act of God) a secondary range of mentation like that of a slug (assuming slugs have some semblance of mental processes)? If so, on what grounds do you hold such?

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    • “(1) Do you agree or disagree that it is possible for a single person to have multiple ranges of consciousness (or locations in which mentation occurs), and for those ranges to be in an asymmetrical sleep arrangement, in which one range is asleep while the other is alert?”

      when the person of god is asleep , in the MODE of sleeping, is the MODE created or uncreated? do we have an “uncreated sleeper ” here or “created sleeper” ?
      these different ranges are INFINITE or finite and how is the “unsleeping” mind which is AWAKE experiencing them? is it a game of switch?
      also i note that jesus REQUIRED waking up?
      what was the “ALERT mode” doing? shouldn’t it have worked like an alarm bell?

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    • you know the “alert mode” is it disconnected while the person is in “sleep mode”?
      is it just like a computer disconnected within the person?
      i notice that jesus needed waking up while he was in “sleep mode”

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    • “The point is only to establish the possibility of multiple “minds” (or ranges of / locations for mentation) within a single person.”

      My point is via your scientific references you could try to establish at best the possibility of multiple “sections” within one mind of one person of one nature.

      I cannot see how this bears any resemblance to Christian Doctrines.

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    • Greetings Robster and Burhanuddin

      *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

      Robster asked:
      «when the person of god is asleep , in the MODE of sleeping, is the MODE created or uncreated?»

      Real quick, as a disclaimer, my question was not limited to divine persons (i.e. I was asking if it is possible in general, even for created persons who are not divine).

      To answer your question, whether we are referring to a created thing (e.g. a dolphin) or an uncreated Person (Christ), a range of consciousness (or location of mentation, or “mind”) which enters into a sleep state could (presumably would) be created. In the case of a dolphin, for example, it could be a portion of physical brain matter (e.g. a hemisphere of a cetacean brain). In the case of Christ it could be a created physical human brain.

      Robster asked:
      «do we have an “uncreated sleeper” here or “created sleeper” ?»

      Depends on what we’re referring to. Obviously, dolphins are created, while I hold that Christ specifically is uncreated. However, even in the case of Christ, while the Person is uncreated, I’m fine with the secondary range of consciousness which enters into a sleep state being created.

      Robster asked:
      «these different ranges are INFINITE or finite»

      A hemisphere of a cetacean brain, or a human brain, et cetera, would be finite.

      Robster asked:
      «how is the “unsleeping” mind which is AWAKE experiencing them? is it a game of switch?»

      I’m not sure what you mean. Nonetheles, in the case of say, for example, a dolphin or seal, yes, some switching would presumably occur (i.e. one hemisphere could be awake and another asleep, and then at a later point the reverse is the case). How the alert hemispher experiences such? I have no idea. In the case of Christ, presumably a human mind and divine mind would not be switching sleep states. As for how a divine mind experiences anything, I have no idea what the experience of a presumably omniscient brain would be like.

      Robster asked:
      «you know the “alert mode” is it disconnected while the person is in “sleep mode”?»

      Disconnected? In what sense? Please elaborate.

      Robster asked:
      «jesus needed waking up while he was in “sleep mode”»

      Not sure if He needed such, but yes, from the perspective of His human form, when He experienced sleep, it was possible for others to wake Him.

      *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

      Burhanuddin wrote:
      «your scientific references you could try to establish at best the possibility of multiple “sections” within one mind of one person of one nature.»

      Let’s explore this. So we agree a single-natured person can have multiple ranges or locations of mentation (even if within a single brain), correct? If so, then would multiple ranges/locations of mentation be all the more possible within the extraordinary case of a person who possessed two natures (or even two “forms”)?

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  5. Here we go again.

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    • if half a pigeons brain is active while it is flying and the other half is sleeping, does that mean half a pigeon is flying?

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    • Greetings Burhanuddin and Mr. Heathcliff

      Burhanuddin wrote:
      «Here we go again.»

      And perhaps more to come, as I may get more into dyophysitism and dyotheletism in a future blog entry in this (intended, or hoped for) series on the plausibility of Christian doctrine in light of natural revelation.

      Mr. Heathcliff
      «if half a pigeons brain is active while it is flying and the other half is sleeping, does that mean half a pigeon is flying?»

      Fun question! I would simply say the pigeon itself is flying. But permit me to offer a different (yet still mildly similar) scenario. Suppose modern science (or a miracle from God) enabled a pigeon to not only animate its own brain and body, but also a secondary pigeon brain and body, simultaneously (i.e. a single pigeon animating two pigeon forms; animating the second without ceasing to animate the first). If at one point the primary form is flying, while at the same time the secondary form is in a sleep state, would we say that pigeon was flying or asleep? Or might we, with a bit of throat clearing, respond “both, with an asterisk,” and proceed to offer a nuanced explanation?

      That aside, knowing from experience how threads can move further and further away from the blog entries they were under, permit me to attempt to bring us back to the subject of this entry, by asking both you gentlemen a question: do you agree or disagree that it is possible for a single person to have multiple ranges of consciousness (or locations in which mentation occurs), and for those ranges to be in an asymmetrical sleep arrangement, in which one range is asleep while the other is alert?

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  6. I sympathize with a Christians quest/struggle to bring “reason” into their theology…but I think that leaving it “a mystery” is more wise and honest?….Perhaps “Modernity” has created a phobia against intuitive/instinctive knowledge so that everything requires a reason—but should this be so?

    Trying to bring “reason” into Christian theology has not yet yielded the best results in 2000 years—the explanations have either fallen into heresy or not convinced….so why not just leave it as a mystery?…and perhaps move on to how your meta-narrative brings together a coherent and consistent ethico-moral universe which can serve as a guide to life……?….

    There are sleep disorders such as somnambulism (sleepwalking) that have altered states of consciousness…but is it not dangerous to “humanize” God to the extent to give it handicaps?…or perhaps because of the incarnation theory—Christians are ok with pantheism?—that the “created” is also divine?
    such a concept can lead to idol worship?—created things worshiped as divine….

    If, in your conception, God is a handicapped human-like being—how does that help you? does such a meta-narrative guide a Christian to become a better human being?….

    In attempts to explain the unexplainable, is it possible Christians do more harm to God and their faith?

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    • Greetings Anon

      There is still considerable room for mystery in my faith, as there is much that cannot be explained. And this is not true only of doctrines distinct to Christianity; rather it is also true of beliefs held in common with Islam (for example, both the Bible and the Qur’an allude to God somehow “speaking” things into existence, but the precise “mechanics” of such are unknown to me, and I can think of a number of questions which could only be met with speculation or declarations of “I don’t know”).

      I would note, however, the seventh (and final) end note of the blog entry, above, where I attempt to clarify that it was not my intention to assert that what was proposed necessarily reflects the reality with Christ; rather I am merely proposing an analogy which might offer a possible scenario in which the relevant concept could be plausible. For an analogy, suppose someone declared the Virgin Birth impossible. We might point to processes of parthenogenesis among certain non-human animals, or even more recent somatic cell nuclear transfers carried out by scientists, to at provide a model which might help show how such can be possible. Of course the conception of Christ in the womb of the Virgin Mary could well be profoundly different from the phenomena just mentioned, but the point would only be to explore the possibility of asexual conceptions. I encounter a lot of polemics declaring what is possible or impossible, and I feel sometimes it can be helpful to show that reality can be more complex and nuanced than some may have realized.

      Anon asked:
      «If, in your conception, God is a handicapped human-like being—how does that help you?»

      I’m not sure what you mean. While I await your clarification, I myself will clarify: I wasn’t saying Christ was a mere commissurotomy patient; rather I was merely exploring phenomena found in creation to explore the plausibility of a single person possessing multiple ranges of mentation.

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  7. “What can be inferred from observing creation.”

    We can infer that the Christian conception of the Divine is that of a mental patient suffering from dissociative identity disorder…

    😧

    Anyway… this seems to be yet more proof that the god Christians worship is merely possible rather than Necessary.

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    • Greetings Abu Talhah

      I would not say Christ suffers from any “disorder”; rather I would say the system taken on is “ordered,” insofar that it is deliberate, intentional, and by design (according to plan).

      As for what is possible and what is necessary, I am merely attempting to respond to those who would claim such concepts are impossible. Permit me to offer an analogy: as noted in another post in this thread, in both our faiths there is the concept of God “speaking” things into existence. If someone (e.g. an atheist?) declared such is “impossible,” Muslims and Christians alike might attempt to explore the claim, and even give reasons for how such could be possible. If they did, I’m not so sure it would be helpful for the critic to respond “I guess the Muslim and Christian god is possible rather than necessary”.

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    • I never meant to imply that only your conception of Christ (peace be upon him) suffers from a mental condition, rather the entire “Trinity” (I don’t believe an individual personality subsisting in a DID sufferer could be said to itself suffer from DID).

      But if the system is “ordered,” then who or what caused it to be so? As I said, your conception of the Divine is one which itself requires a Creator, rather than being the Necessary Existent we Muslims recognize God to be.

      The (Sunni) Muslim understanding of what we refer to as “God’s Speech” and “speaking” is highly nuanced, and I would posit that in reality it’s worlds apart from what you have in mind. But it’s a can of worms I’m not willing to open at the moment.

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    • Greetings Abu Talhah

      To be clear, in this thread I was discussing an approach to making sense of the Dyophysite model, not the Trinity (though the doctrine of the Trinity and Dyophysite doctrine are related in Christianity, I would nonetheless say they are different topics). So, to clarify, when I spoke of something being ordered, or by design, according to plan, I was not referring to the Trinity, but rather a specific Person within the Trinity acquiring a second nature. The Persons of the Trinity themselves would presumably be the ones who established the way the primary divine nature of the Son interacts with His secondary human nature. Ergo, a hypothetical creator external to the Trinity is not required by what I proposed.

      As for God’s “speech,” you are not required to get into the subject. The point was only this: if a critic of the concept said it was “impossible,” and Muslims and Christians sought to explain how, on the contrary, the relevant creative act is possible, it would be less than helpful for the aforementioned hypothetical critic to then declare “I guess your god is possible rather than necessary.”

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    • Denis Giron
      Intellect wrote:
      «God said He is One, Only and Alone.»
      Indeed, there is only one God, and that one God comprises multiple Persons.
      i say;
      Multiple person? Do you believe God is multiple persons? That is idol worship for anyone who believes God is multiple persons. You are not alone who has that believe. Most idol worshipers believe in God as multiple persons. Take Rastafarians who has Haile Selaissie as part of their multiple persons, Hindus Sai Baba incarnated God etc.
      And anyone who believes in incarnated God is in line with voodoo idol worshipers who believe God can somewhat incarnate into snake to be worshiped. Hindus believed God incarnated into cow, monkeys, elephants etc. I am afraid you are all worshiping incarnated beings and that is idolatry and is seriously against the God of Moses, Jesus, Abraham and all prophets of God.
      We see God is 1 all over the Bible but no single “God is 3 persons 1 God”.
      3 persons 1 God is something one must avoid and stick to the only true God of Moses as He describes Himself below.
      “there is no one like Yahweh our God.” Exodus 8:10
      “Yahweh, He is God; there is no other besides Him.” Deuteronomy 4:35
      “Yahweh, He is God in heaven above and on the earth below; there is no other.” Deuteronomy 4:39
      “See now that I, I am He, And there is no god besides Me” Deuteronomy 32:39
      “Hear, O Israel! Yahweh is our God, Yahweh is one [echad]!” Deuteronomy 6:4
      “For who is God, but Yahweh? And who is a rock, except our God” Psalm 18:31
      “You alone [bad], Lord, are God.” Isaiah 37:20
      “Before Me there was no God formed, And there will be none after Me.” Isaiah 43:10
      I as a Muslim worship the same God with most Jews and some Unitarian Christians because we believe God is 1 and full stop, period. That is who God clearly said He is.
      You believe God is multiple persons like most idol worshipers who believed so. We do not believe like idol worshipers and our God is not multiple persons like the idol Gods. Our God is the only true God of Jesus and Jesus the Son is not the Father and therefore Jesus is not the only true God, but the Father alone who said clearly He is alone.

      Liked by 1 person


    • You believe God is multiple persons like most idol worshipers who believed so. ”

      who is not to argue that “one person” in trinity doesn’t really mean “one person” existing as 4 persons ?

      who is not to say that “one creator” is not multiple creator existing as “one creator”

      people today say”one god” is existing as 3 different things WHICH ARE not each other.

      what “makes up” the father the son does not have this “make up”

      they worship PLURALITY of “internal echads” which “fully feel” and know what it is to be god. this is polytheism superglued together in “one company”

      yhwh = a company of beings.

      it is not god, it is an ORGANISATION .

      Like

    • An organization, or I call it a single genus comprised of three species.

      Like

  8. Mr. Giron,
    I still find it problematic to fit your analogy of split-brain as a hypothetical example of how a Christology of Constantinople III would work. Here’s why (disregarding the problem of analogizing the trancedent with the naturalistic) you’ll find dyophysitism a stumbling block:

    1) Christ is supposed to have emptied himself of divine attributes according to the Christian dogma of Kenosis.
    2) Your analogy is a far cry from a convincing -even if rudimentary- explanation of how the Baby Jesus would be breastfeeding and at the same time participating in acts of creation. .
    3) It is still does not explain the simultaneous presence of omniscience and ignorance in the person of Christ, but we may discuss that at a later time.
    4) Consciousness, biologically speaking, is a compound process. The activity of a single hemisphere while other is “sleeping” does not produce conciousness. I sincerely think the example of a split-brain or uni-hemispheric sleep does not fit with a model of Christ having two natures and two wills UNITED WITHOUT DIVISION OR SEPARATION as defined by Chalcedon and Constantinople III. Thus I hinted at the prospect of an analogy to Nestorianism.

    I appreciate your patience and good manners.

    Liked by 4 people

    • I merely want to point out that analogising the Incarnation is as problematic as analogising the trinity. Rationalising Christology is a good thinking but ultimately fruitless exercise.

      Liked by 2 people

    • One cannot rationalize the irrational.

      Like

    • Greetings again, Ibn Awad

      Ibn Awad wrote:
      «Christ is supposed to have emptied himself of divine attributes according to the Christian dogma of Kenosis.»

      There may be Christians who believe such, but I do not believe either the Bible, much less Catholic teaching, requires such. I’ve already noted the implications of Him creating and sustaining all things (this would presumably include things at the far reaches of the universe, even when He was a baby in His mother’s arms [which I will touch on again below]); but, that aside, consider a statement from a Greek Orthodox liturgy:

      Ibn Awad wrote:
      «Your analogy is a far cry from a convincing -even if rudimentary- explanation of how the Baby Jesus would be breastfeeding and at the same time participating in acts of creation.»

      I certainly agree the analogy does not explain that, though, to be fair, the goal of the analogy in the blog entry was not to explain all of Christian doctrine, but rather to explore an aspect of such.

      Nonetheless, regarding the question, I would say that perhaps one way to begin to understand such an admittedly mind boggling scenario would be to note that Christ would not be limited to His human form. Could a divine Person animate a human form without being limited or restricted to that form? For an admittedly soft analogy, could you put your hand inside a glove

      Ibn Awad wrote:
      «It is still does not explain the simultaneous presence of omniscience and ignorance in the person of Christ, but we may discuss that at a later time.»

      Indeed, you are correct: I have not addressed the subject in this blog entry (or the subsequent comments). I may do so in a future blog entry (and the approach I take will appeal to neurobiology). If you’re interested, I will share that, if I do address the subject in an entry on this blog, what I write will overlap considerably with the following (forgive the fact that the material is delivered in a comedic fashion, there; it’s all I have on the subject at the current moment):

      Ibn Awad wrote:
      «Consciousness, biologically speaking, is a compound process. The activity of a single hemisphere while other is “sleeping” does not produce conciousness.»

      First, I have a preliminary question: you believe in the possibility of consciousness existing separate from a material brain, correct?

      As for what you proposed, I disagree. I think that what we see in studies of commissurotomy patients is that consciousness can occur in each hemisphere of the brain, independently of one another (admittedly, when the two hemispheres are connected via the corpus callosum, one hemisphere might dominate the other, and, either way, the consciousness that occurs is a sort of collective affair, as you described).

      Ibn Awad wrote:
      «I sincerely think the example of a split-brain or uni-hemispheric sleep does not fit with a model of Christ having two natures and two wills UNITED WITHOUT DIVISION OR SEPARATION as defined by Chalcedon and Constantinople III.»

      I certainly agree that there can be profound differences. The point of the analogy is to establish the possibility of multiple ranges of consciousness (or locations of mentation) within a single person (even a single-natured person), as from that we can extrapolate that such would be all the more possible in the extraordinary case of a single person who possesses two natures (or two forms, et cetera).

      Ibn Awad wrote:
      «I appreciate your patience and good manners.»

      Thank you, sir. Likewise.

      Ibn Awad wrote:
      «I merely want to point out that analogising the Incarnation is as problematic as analogising the trinity.»

      I certainly agree that no analogy will capture such perfectly, as God is ultimately profoundly different from anything in creation. The more modest goal, on my part, is to provide different analogies which help show the plausibility of certain aspects of different doctrines.

      Like

    • Denis Giron

      Intellect wrote:
      «God said He is One, Only and Alone.»
      Indeed, there is only one God, and that one God comprises multiple Persons.

      I say;
      There is no “Three Persons 1 God” in the whole Bible but find the verses below that says God is one, only and alone.

      “there is no one like Yahweh our God.” Exodus 8:10
      “Yahweh, He is God; there is no other besides Him.” Deuteronomy 4:35
      “Yahweh, He is God in heaven above and on the earth below; there is no other.” Deuteronomy 4:39
      “See now that I, I am He, And there is no god besides Me” Deuteronomy 32:39
      “Hear, O Israel! Yahweh is our God, Yahweh is one [echad]!” Deuteronomy 6:4
      “You are great, O Lord God; for there is none like You, and there is no God besides You” 2 Samuel 7:22
      “For who is God, besides Yahweh? And who is a rock, besides our God?” 2 Samuel 22:32
      “Yahweh is God; there is no one else.” 1 Kings 8:60
      “You are the God, You alone [bad], of all the kingdoms of the earth.” 2 Kings 19:15
      “O Lord, there is none like You, nor is there any God besides You” 1 Chronicles 17:20
      “You alone [bad] are Yahweh.” Nehemiah 9:6
      “For who is God, but Yahweh? And who is a rock, except our God” Psalm 18:31
      “You alone [bad], Lord, are God.” Isaiah 37:20
      “Before Me there was no God formed, And there will be none after Me.” Isaiah 43:10

      The above clearly said God is one, only and alone. If there are other persons, God will not say He alone is God and there is no one else. If you are 4 persons as a whole, is it fair to say “I alone is God” and “no one else”? Unless the other persons are not persons. If they are persons, you cannot claim you are one and no one else. If the persons of Trinity nothing else? for one to claim he alone is God.

      Thanks.

      Like

    • Denis Giron
      Intellect wrote:
      «God said He is One, Only and Alone.»
      Indeed, there is only one God, and that one God comprises multiple Persons.
      i say;
      Multiple person? Do you believe God is multiple persons? That is idol worship for anyone who believes God is multiple persons. You are not alone who has that believe. Most idol worshipers believe in God as multiple persons. Take Rastafarians who has Haile Selaissie as part of their multiple persons, Hindus Sai Baba incarnated God etc.
      And anyone who believes in incarnated God is in line with voodoo idol worshipers who believe God can somewhat incarnate into snake to be worshiped. Hindus believed God incarnated into cow, monkeys, elephants etc. I am afraid you are all worshiping incarnated beings and that is idolatry and is seriously against the God of Moses, Jesus, Abraham and all prophets of God.
      We see God is 1 all over the Bible but no single “God is 3 persons 1 God”.
      3 persons 1 God is something one must avoid and stick to the only true God of Moses as He describes Himself below.
      “there is no one like Yahweh our God.” Exodus 8:10
      “Yahweh, He is God; there is no other besides Him.” Deuteronomy 4:35
      “Yahweh, He is God in heaven above and on the earth below; there is no other.” Deuteronomy 4:39
      “See now that I, I am He, And there is no god besides Me” Deuteronomy 32:39
      “Hear, O Israel! Yahweh is our God, Yahweh is one [echad]!” Deuteronomy 6:4
      “You are great, O Lord God; for there is none like You, and there is no God besides You” 2 Samuel 7:22
      “For who is God, besides Yahweh? And who is a rock, besides our God?” 2 Samuel 22:32
      “Yahweh is God; there is no one else.” 1 Kings 8:60
      “You are the God, You alone [bad], of all the kingdoms of the earth.” 2 Kings 19:15
      “O Lord, there is none like You, nor is there any God besides You” 1 Chronicles 17:20
      “You alone [bad] are Yahweh.” Nehemiah 9:6
      “For who is God, but Yahweh? And who is a rock, except our God” Psalm 18:31
      “You alone [bad], Lord, are God.” Isaiah 37:20
      “Before Me there was no God formed, And there will be none after Me.” Isaiah 43:10
      I as a Muslim worship the same God with most Jews and some Unitarian Christians because we believe God is 1 and full stop, period. That is who God clearly said He is.
      You believe God is multiple persons like most idol worshipers who believed so. We do not believe like idol worshipers and our God is not multiple persons like the idol Gods. Our God is the only true God of Jesus and Jesus the Son is not the Father and therefore Jesus is not the only true God, but the Father alone who said clearly He is alone.

      Like

  9. I think the question that christians should ask is can God be a created being? Any answer for this question means that their religion is a falsehood upon falsehood.

    “Christians believe that Jesus is “God” (John 1:1, John 20:28”
    John’s gospel is supposed to be read in light of 2 verses which are :
    1) Is not written in your law that some leaders called gods.
    2) The eternal life is to know the father as the (only) true God.

    It’s very clear that christians neglect the clearest statements made by Jesus and Jesus’ argument against jews in that gospel for the nonsene trinity they have in their mind.
    Moreover, I believe Dr. Ehrman’s question is very legitimate.
    How on the world could Q, M, L, Mark, Matthew, and Luke just forget to
    tell us about verses such as (John20:28)?

    Like

    • Greetings `Abdullah

      Abdullah asked:
      «I think the question that christians should ask is can God be a created being?»

      I would wonder why Christians need to ask such a question, since they are not proposing that God is created. My position would be that God is uncreated, and God has eternally comprised three Persons, and one of those Persons acquired and animated a secondary form, via which He moved through creation. The form itself can be created, but the Person is not. For an admittedly soft analogy, I am thirty-nine years old, and I can enclothe a part of myself (e.g. my hand) with a glove that is only a day old, without such negating my age of thirty-nine years. Somewhat analogously, an uncreated Person could animate a created form without such negating the fact that He Himself is uncreated.

      Abdullah noted:
      «Is not written in your law that some leaders called gods.»

      Yes, some mere humans can bear the title “god” in various contexts. If you really want to get into it, the case with Christ goes beyond that (e.g. He’s our Creator [John 1:3, Colossians 1:16, Hebrews 1:10, even 1 Corinthians 8:6]).

      Abdullah paraphrased:
      «The eternal life is to know the father as the (only) true God.»

      John 17:3 establishes that the Father bears the title “only true God,” but that need not be at the expense of the Son. If you’re interested, I discuss that subject, here:

      Abdullah asked:
      «How on the world could Q, M, L, Mark, Matthew, and Luke just forget to tell us about verses such as (John20:28)?»

      Q is a hypothetical source; we do not know what, precisely was in it (assuming it existed). Whatever the case, the initially intended uses for each text (or for the Synoptics vis a vis John) could have differed from one another, thus resulting in one corpus drawing out portions which do not appear in another. The Greek Orthodox priest John Romanides offered an explanation precisely along these lines:

        “[T]he Gospel of John has the mysteries as its basis and as its purpose the correlation of the historic life of Christ with the present mysterial life in Christ and experience of the community. When we take into account that the Christians carefully and systematically avoided all discussions of the deeper meaning of the mysteries, not only with the hostile outside world but even with the catechumens, then we are able to understand the use of the Gospels in the first Church, and many of the problems raised by biblical criticism are solved. Since the baptized Christians did not discuss the mysteries even with the catechumens, it is sufficiently clear that the fourth Gospel was used in the ancient Church for completing and finishing the catechism of the recently illumined, that is newly baptized. It was particularly suited to this purpose and distinguished from the other Gospels mainly because of its clear dogmatic, mysterial, and apologetical tone. We do not find in John the systematic preparation of catechumens for that is found in Matthew and Mark. This is why John does not begin with the baptism of Christ but with “In the beginning was the Logos…and the Logos was made flesh.”
        [SOURCE: John S. Romanides, The Ancestral Sin, (Zephyr, 2002), pp. 72-73.]

      Similarly, Joachim Jeremias argued (in his The Eucharistic Words of Jesus, (Oxford, 1955), pp. 73-86) that there is evidence within the New Testament itself that different authors deliberately abstained from including deeper traditions in certain texts, out of concern that such was not appropriate. Jeremias also argues that such carefulness was common among both Jews and non-Jews in the ancient near east. Such a practice is found among Christians, as, as late as the fourth century, bishops in Alexandria expressed alarm at the fact that the deeper mysteries of the faith were being exposed to catechumens and non-believers, when they wrote:

        “They are not ashamed to parade the sacred mysteries before Catechumens, and worse than that, even before heathens: whereas, they ought to attend to what is written, ‘It is good to keep close the secret of a king;’ and as the Lord has charged us, ‘Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast your pearls before swine.’ We ought not then to parade the holy mysteries before the uninitiated, lest the heathen in their ignorance deride them, and the Catechumens being over-curious be offended.”
        [SOURCE: The Encyclical Letter of the Council of Egypt, in Athanasius, Defence Against the Arians, part I, chapter 11, in Philip Schaff & Henry Wace (eds.), Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, (Cosimo, 2007), vol. IV, p. 106.]

      Therefore, it should not be any surprise that the aforementioned Father Romanides summed up the issue thusly:

        “The differences between the Synoptics and the Gospel of John, therefore, are not disagreements as many maintain. On the contrary, they clearly pertain to a difference in depth and fulfillment of the Synoptics by the fourth Gospel in accordance with the catechetical needs of the Church.”
        [SOURCE: Romanides, opere citato, p. 73, n. 18.]

      The simple point to be derived from all of the above is that the differences between the Synoptics and John need not necessitate that material distinct to the latter is fictional. It is entirely possible for different NT authors to have sufficient reason to not include a given tradition in a given text, even if you or I are unable to discern such reasons.

      Like

    • Denis Giron

      You said;
      Abdullah paraphrased:
      «The eternal life is to know the father as the (only) true God.»
      John 17:3 establishes that the Father bears the title “only true God,” but that need not be at the expense of the Son. If you’re interested, I discuss that subject, here

      I say;
      Is “only true God” a title or a phrase describing who God is?

      I have similar phrases from the Bible here. Do you consider them title or phrases describing the nature of God?

      “there is no one like Yahweh our God.” Exodus 8:10
      “Yahweh, He is God; there is no other besides Him.” Deuteronomy 4:35
      “Yahweh, He is God in heaven above and on the earth below; there is no other.” Deuteronomy 4:39
      “See now that I, I am He, And there is no god besides Me” Deuteronomy 32:39
      “Hear, O Israel! Yahweh is our God, Yahweh is one [echad]!” Deuteronomy 6:4
      “You are great, O Lord God; for there is none like You, and there is no God besides You” 2 Samuel 7:22
      “For who is God, besides Yahweh? And who is a rock, besides our God?” 2 Samuel 22:32
      “Yahweh is God; there is no one else.” 1 Kings 8:60
      “You are the God, You alone [bad], of all the kingdoms of the earth.” 2 Kings 19:15
      “O Lord, there is none like You, nor is there any God besides You” 1 Chronicles 17:20
      “You alone [bad] are Yahweh.” Nehemiah 9:6
      “For who is God, but Yahweh? And who is a rock, except our God” Psalm 18:31
      “You alone [bad], Lord, are God.” Isaiah 37:20
      “Before Me there was no God formed, And there will be none after Me.” Isaiah 43:10

      Yahweh said He is One, Only and Alone. Is it title or description of God? Yahweh said He is alone. He is only one. Where are the other 2 persons?

      Thanks.

      Like

    • “since they are not proposing that God is created”
      Indeed you do! You do in every discussion about Jesus and his deity, but you wrap the term ( created) by nonsense philosophical terms as if this would solve your problem.
      Quran has taken off that mask , and shown us how polytheist you’re.
      It’s like someone calling/understanding an apple as orange!
      Yow will never accept this nonsense understanding just because that one invented a term for this nonsense concept.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Greetings Intellect

      Intellect asked:
«Is “only true God” a title or a phrase describing who God is?»

      I would say titles provide descriptions of those who bear them, thus these need not be mutually exclusive options.

      But permit me to clarify that my position is that there is one God, and that one God comprises three Persons, Who each are able to bear the Name and titles of the one God. Ergo pointing to examples of one Person bearing a title of God does not strike me as necessarily excluding one of the other Persons from bearing that title as well.

      Regarding John 17:3, the Father bears the title μονος αληθινος θεος. I see the Son bearing nearly identical titles, such as μονογενης θεος in John 1:18, and αληθινος θεος, as per a perhaps hyper-literal reading of 1 John 5:20. Moreover, I propose that we see a tacit recognition of the ability of the Persons to bear the titles of the one God in the way the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed seemingly combines John 17:3 with a hyper-literal approach to 1 John 5:20, and refer to the Son’s relationship with the Father as Θεον αληθινον εκ Θεου αληθινου. Hence why I don’t see the Father as bearing that title exclusively.

      Regarding the verses you shared, they are all statements of monotheism, which I agree with. They would only be a problem for my position if they stated that the one God is limited only one Person. But permit me to comment on specifically Deuteronomy 32:39, as Tīqūney ha-Zohar (in the Zohar, vol. I, 23A, or parshat B’reshīt, para. 175, in the Sūlam) offers the following fascinating commentary on that verse:

        ‎ראו עתה כי אני אני הוא דא קב”ה ושכינתיה
        TRANSLATION: “see now that I, I am He” — that is the Holy One, blessed be He, and His Shekhīna.

      If even Jewish mystical sources posit that seemingly the most explicit of the verses you shared can be more complex than some realize, it should not be a surprise if certain Christians do not see said texts as necessitating a unitarian conception of God.

      Like

    • Thanks Denis.
      So, the title is is description. ok. Is Jesus “the only true God”? He does not seem to say that in the verse. Jesus said “the only true God” is the Father and Jesus who the Father has sent. In the verse, the “only true God” is the Father and “the sent” was Jesus Christ.

      The question is, if we follow your logic can the Father be sent by Jesus to die on the cross? Also “only” means the one who is referred and not anyone else. Jesus referred to the father as the “only” true God and Jesus who was not that true God but was instead sent by that true God who is not Jesus.

      Who are we to believe? You Denis or Jesus? Jesus said he is not the only true God but someone else, but you are saying Jesus can be the true God.

      Jesus should have removed the “only” if he is sure he can be that God. The “only” will prevent Jesus from being that true God.

      In the Bible God said to be the “only” immortal. Do you mean another person can be immortal?

      If you take your logic, can the Father be the Son? The Father is not the Son according to the Trinitarian concept. So the “only true God” who is the Father be the Son.

      Thanks.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Greetings to `Abdullah and Intellect
      [responses to both below]

      *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

      I (Denis) wrote:
      «are not proposing that God is created”»

      `Abdullah replied:
      «Indeed you do!»

      Can you point to an example where I have done so?

      `Abdullah added:
      «you wrap the term ( created) by nonsense philosophical terms as if this would solve your problem. Quran has taken off that mask , and shown us how polytheist you’re.»

      I’m honestly not sure what you’re referring to, though I look forward to your further elaboration. In the mean time, permit me to share my impression that we might not be getting off to the best start as far as charitable language is concerned…

      *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

      Intellect wrote:
      «Is Jesus “the only true God”?»

      As I shared in my previous reply to you, I see the Bible as describing Him as “only/unique God (μονογενης θεος, John 1:18) and “true God” (αληθινος θεος, 1 John 5:20). The titles Christ bears strike me as essentially the same as the title the Father bears.

      Intellect wrote:
      «He does not seem to say that in the verse.»

      There are lots of things He does not say in that verse (for example, He doesn’t say He was born of a virgin), but I don’t think a claim about Christ is false simply because He does not affirm it in a specific verse. In short, an appeal to silence does not suffice as a reason to think my view is mistaken.

      Intellect wrote:
      «Jesus said “the only true God” is the Father […] In the verse, the “only true God” is the Father »

      While this is perhaps a minor technical note, the verse does not explicitly employ a copula; i.e. it does not explicitly say “you are the only true God,” or “the Father is the only true God”. Now, mind you, I am fine with reading the text as having the Father bearing the title (so there is nothing egregious about employing such a copula in a paraphrase of the statement), but I would propose that the structure of the statement can also be understood as an allusion to how to know the Father is to know the only true God (i.e. if your knowledge “touches” the Father, it “touches” the only true God).

      Intellect wrote:
      «“the sent” was Jesus Christ.»

      Agreed. Though let us not simply assume that the one who is sent (i.e. Christ) cannot bear the title which the Father bears.

      Intellect wrote:
      «“only” means the one who is referred and not anyone else.»

      It alludes to how there is only one true God, and it has the Father bearing the title of that one true God. However, it does not preclude that one God from comprising other Persons (nor does it preclude those Persons from bearing the same title).

      Intellect wrote:
      «Who are we to believe? You Denis or Jesus?»

      You’re not required to choose only one, as we are not saying contradictory things. You can believe both.

      For an analogy, imagine the following:

      (1) Paul says Jesus was made of a woman in Galatians 4:4.
      (2) Another person says that woman was the Virgin Mary.
      (3) A third person asks, who are we to believe, Paul or that second person?

      In reality, one can believe both (the latter is an explanation of the former, not a contradiction of the former).

      Intellect wrote:
      «Jesus said he is not the only true God»

      Actually, in all fairness, He did not say that.

      Intellect wrote:
      «you are saying Jesus can be the true God.»

      That can be inferred from a rather literal approach to 1 John 5:20 (and I noted previously how the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed seems to combine John 17:3 with 1 John 5:20 when referring to Christ and the Father as Θεον αληθινον εκ Θεου αληθινου).

      Intellect wrote:
      «Jesus should have removed the “only”»

      Not if (a) “only true God” is one of God’s titles, and (b) the Persons within God can bear the titles of God.

      Intellect wrote:
      «In the Bible God said to be the “only” immortal. Do you mean another person can be immortal?»

      I think the question seems to miss that, in my conception, the relevant Persons are not external to God. For an analogy, if my hand were the only hand to touch my computer, saying that a finger from my hand touched my computer would not be impossible. Or imagine a book says India is the only country where Hindi is an official language, and I say certain states within India, like Bihar or Rajasthan, have Hindi as their official language — it would seem to miss the nuance of my statement to ask “the book says India is the only country to have Hindi as an official language; do you mean another state has Hindi as an official language?”

      [Technical note: the Hindi analogy was hypothetical; in reality there is a country other than India which has Hindi as an official language, that being Fiji.]

      Intellect wrote:
      «can the Father be the Son?»

      I would say they are distinct Persons. Are you asking me if, in a vacuum, Modalism could be possible?

      Intellect wrote:
      «The Father is not the Son according to the Trinitarian concept.»

      Correct. So too, there are Trinitarians (such as myself) who would posit that the Persons within the Trinity can bear the Name and titles of the one God which comprises them.

      *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

      Before closing, permit me to share that I know from experience how threads can move further and further away from the original topic of the blog entries they were under. With that in mind, I would like to ask both of you (`Abdullah & Intellect) a question relevant to the blog entry above: do you agree or disagree that it is possible for a living entity to have multiple ranges of consciousness (or locations in which mentation occurs), and for those ranges to be in an asymmetrical sleep arrangement, in which one range is asleep while the other is alert?

      Like

    • Denis Giron

      You said;
      Intellect wrote:
      «Is Jesus “the only true God”?»

      As I shared in my previous reply to you, I see the Bible as describing Him as “only/unique God (μονογενης θεος, John 1:18) and “true God” (αληθινος θεος, 1 John 5:20). The titles Christ bears strike me as essentially the same as the title the Father bears

      I say;
      New International Version
      Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent
      New International Version
      No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known
      1 John 5:20
      New International Version
      We know also that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true. And we are in him who is true by being in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.

      The above verses never referred to the Son as the “only true God”. No where. I will be happy, if you can teach me on this one. Show me where the above verses referred to the Son as the “only true God”. If you are not able to do that, then your argument will not hold.

      If the Father is the only true God, then the Son is not true God. If the Son is also God as one of the verses states, then we have 2 Gods here, and that is polytheism and against the teachings of the God of Moses and all prophets. What ever the case the “only true God” is not Jesus and none of the verses said so.

      “The only true” God is a phrase describing God the Father and it has never and no where in the Bible used for the son.

      The “one and only Son” is different from “the only true God”
      1 John 5:20 is talking about that true God who sent Jesus. It never referred to Jesus as “the only true God”. I am open to the analysis of the verse with you. It does not say anything close to Jesus being “the only true God” but it referred to the God of Jesus who is the “only true God”. Please let me know the truth. I do not think what you said is true.

      Thanks.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Denis Giron
      You said;
      Intellect wrote:
      «Is Jesus “the only true God”?»
      As I shared in my previous reply to you, I see the Bible as describing Him as “only/unique God (μονογενης θεος, John 1:18) and “true God” (αληθινος θεος, 1 John 5:20). The titles Christ bears strike me as essentially the same as the title the Father bears
      I say;
      New International Version
      Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent
      New International Version
      No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known
      1 John 5:20
      New International Version
      We know also that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true. And we are in him who is true by being in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.
      The above verses never referred to the Son as the “only true God”. No where. I will be happy, if you can teach me on this one. Show me where the above verses referred to the Son as the “only true God”. If you are not able to do that, then your argument will not hold.
      If the Father is the only true God, then the Son is not true God. If the Son is also God as one of the verses states, then we have 2 Gods here, and that is polytheism and against the teachings of the God of Moses and all prophets. What ever the case the “only true God” is not Jesus and none of the verses said so.
      “The only true” God is a phrase describing God the Father and it has never and no where in the Bible used for the son.
      The “one and only Son” is different from “the only true God”
      1 John 5:20 is talking about that true God who sent Jesus. It never referred to Jesus as “the only true God”. I am open to the analysis of the verse with you. It does not say anything close to Jesus being “the only true God” but it referred to the God of Jesus who is the “only true God”. Please let me know the truth.

      Thanks.

      Like

    • Denis Giron

      Intellect wrote:
      «“the sent” was Jesus Christ.»
      Agreed. Though let us not simply assume that the one who is sent (i.e. Christ) cannot bear the title which the Father bears.

      I say;
      Can the Son bear the title “Father”? No. So the Son cannot bear some or the Father’s description. God as a title was used in the Bible to refer to other humans but it does not make them God. Jesus himself reminded the Jews that God was used as title to others. Does that make them Gods? or the “only true God”? No.

      Intellect wrote:
      «Jesus said “the only true God” is the Father […] In the verse, the “only true God” is the Father »

      While this is perhaps a minor technical note, the verse does not explicitly employ a copula; i.e. it does not explicitly say “you are the only true God,” or “the Father is the only true God”. Now, mind you, I am fine with reading the text as having the Father bearing the title (so there is nothing egregious about employing such a copula in a paraphrase of the statement), but I would propose that the structure of the statement can also be understood as an allusion to how to know the Father is to know the only true God (i.e. if your knowledge “touches” the Father, it “touches” the only true God).

      I say;
      Then who is the “only true God” in the verse? Please tell me. I am waiting for you. Everyone is waiting for you. Who is the “only true God” in the verse. Please, please let is know, who is the “only true God” in the verse.

      Thanks.

      Like

    • Denis Giron

      See below to confusion of John 1:18,
      Some translations says only Son, unique one, the only God, only begotten Son, etc. and none says “the only true God” so your argument fails.

      New International Version
      No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known.

      New Living Translation
      No one has ever seen God. But the unique One, who is himself God, is near to the Father’s heart. He has revealed God to us.

      English Standard Version
      No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.

      Berean Study Bible
      No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is Himself God and is at the Father’s side, has made Him known.

      Berean Literal Bible
      No one has ever yet seen God. The only begotten God, the One being in the bosom of the Father, He has made Him known.

      New American Standard Bible
      No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him.

      King James Bible
      No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.

      Holman Christian Standard Bible
      No one has ever seen God. The One and Only Son– the One who is at the Father’s side– He has revealed Him

      Source: http://biblehub.com/john/1-18.htm

      You cannot use a confused verse to prove your point.

      Thanks.

      Like

    • Denis Giron

      Intellect wrote:
      «In the Bible God said to be the “only” immortal. Do you mean another person can be immortal?»

      I think the question seems to miss that, in my conception, the relevant Persons are not external to God. For an analogy, if my hand were the only hand to touch my computer, saying that a finger from my hand touched my computer would not be impossible. Or imagine a book says India is the only country where Hindi is an official language, and I say certain states within India, like Bihar or Rajasthan, have Hindi as their official language — it would seem to miss the nuance of my statement to ask “the book says India is the only country to have Hindi as an official language; do you mean another state has Hindi as an official language?”

      [Technical note: the Hindi analogy was hypothetical; in reality there is a country other than India which has Hindi as an official language, that being Fiji.]

      I say;
      Your hands, fingers etc. can be more than one. Countries can be more than one, so more countries can speak Hindi and can have Hindi as their official language, because countries can be more than one. Your hands and fingers can be more than one. But God said He is One, Only and Alone. So there cannot be any God other than the one God of the Bible who is alone and only. Adding Jesus as God makes it 2 God’s. You can say Person but the persons are each God and so it is polytheism and/or idolatry which is against the God of Moses, Jesus and all the prophets of God.

      With regards to the split brain. Jesus is 100% God and 100% man, so he is a hybrid being. Comparing hybrid being and non hybrid being a single is comparing apples and oranges.

      Thanks.

      Like

    • You keep preaching to us that God became a man who sleeps, eats, and dies. In other words, you say to us that god became a (created being). Of course you have been trying desperately to explain how that works, yet you have been failing miserably .
      This long article about how god can sleep is really a good example.

      I’ve just shortened that by asking that question, and I’m glad to hear your answer.
      Can God be a created being ?

      Like

    • Greetings Intellect

      Regarding John 1:18 and 1 John 5:20…

      Intellect wrote:
      «The above verses never referred to the Son as the “only true God”.»

      As was previously noted, μονογενης θεος can be translated “only God” or “unique God,” while αληθινος θεος can be translated “true God”. These titles are essentially the same as the title in John 17:3. But I made the following graphic to help illustrate the extent to which their semantic ranges overlap:


      (if the image looks strange from your device, you can also view it directly, here)

      Intellect wrote:
      «1 John 5:20 is talking about that true God who sent Jesus.»

      The verse can be interpreted in different ways, but I was careful to note the result of a perhaps hyper-literal reading. The text declares “He is the true God”. He who? A hyper-literal approach would have that pronoun referring to the last Person mentioned: Jesus Christ. And I noted this is the apparent approach of the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed, tacitly combining John 17:3 and 1 John 5:20 when declaring Θεον αληθινον εκ Θεου αληθινου. I know any text can be interpreted a variety of ways, so I do see value in the guidance of Ecclesiastical and Conciliar approaches.

      On a side note, Jesus is rather explicitly referred to as “our God” in 2 Peter 1:1 (and a disciple addressed Him as “my God” in John 20:28). Combining that with John 1:18, we might say our God is the only God, which seems be essentially saying the same thing in John 17:3.

      Intellect wrote:
      «Can the Son bear the title “Father”? No. So the Son cannot bear some or the Father’s description.»

      Even assuming the first premise, let’s explore the problem. Pontius Pilate was the prefect of Judea. That was a title Pilate bore. He also could bear the title man. If we assume Christ could not bear the title “prefect of Judea,” would that mean He could not ever bear any other title which Pilate could bear? Would He cease to be male, or human, or mammal?

      Whatever the case, with all due respect, you seem to simply be presupposing that Christ cannot bear the titles which the Father bears in John 17:3, but such a position is not explicit anywhere in Scripture. On the contrary, consider Psalm 136:3, which has the title “Lord of lords”. Presumanbly that is a title the Father can bear, but, if so, 1 Corinthians 8:5-6 seems to make clear that it is also a title the Son can bear. So too other titles, like King of kings, or the First and the Last, et cetera. The idea –that if Christians, out of an aversion to Modalism, are reluctant to call the Son “the Father,” then the Son cannot share any title which the Father bears– is unjustified.

      Intellect wrote:
      «God as a title was used in the Bible to refer to other humans but it does not make them God.»

      There are certainly words which can mean god which are applied to mere humans in the Bible. But Christ is our God (2 Peter 1:1, John 20:28), our Creator (John 1:3, Colossians 1:16, Hebrews 1:10, 1 Corinthians 8:6), the Sustainer of the universe (Colossians 1:17), whom the disciples prayed to (Acts 7:59). It’s a bit different from the case of a mere human being addressed by a word which can mean god.

      Intellect wrote:
      «Then who is the “only true God” in the verse?»

      We have already agreed that in John 17:3, the title is being employed in reference to the Father. But note the nuanced point I made about the structure of the verse not employing a copula: it can be read as alluding how if our knowledge “touches” the Father, it “touches” (reaches) the only true God. Under such an understanding, this could easily be true of every Person in the Trinity.

      Intellect wrote:
      «confusion of John 1:18, Some translations says only Son, unique one, the only God, only begotten Son, etc.»

      The earliest reading is μονογενης θεος (hence this is the reading in the Nestle-Aland platform). Certain translations are based on later manuscripts, and traditional readings of those manuscripts, so the translations reflect an attempt to grapple with the tradition. But a fairly straight forward reading of μονογενης θεος is “only God”.

      Intellect wrote:
      «You cannot use a confused verse to prove your point.»

      I’m happy to side with the reading in the Nestle-Aland text. You are free to disregard whatever you wish, but my reading of the Bible will not change merely because of the skepticism of others.

      Intellect wrote:
      «Your hands, fingers etc. can be more than one. Countries can be more than one, so more countries can speak Hindi and can have Hindi as their official language, because countries can be more than one.»

      Yes, but I fear you may have missed the point of the analogies: even if only one hand, or one country, et cetera, falls into a given category, that would not preclude multiple aspects of such from also falling into that category.

      Intellect wrote:
      «God said He is One, Only and Alone.»

      Indeed, there is only one God, and that one God comprises multiple Persons.

      Intellect wrote:
      «Jesus is 100% God and 100% man»

      What does this even mean? How are you measuring the percentages, here? Percentages of what? Volume? Something else? While people on the internet like to throw around “100%,” that is not something I claimed, nor do I think the actual Chalcedonian language necessitate such a translation.

      ***

      Now, I previously wrote that I have seen how threads can move further and further away from the original topic of the blog entries they were under, and I fear such is happening here. Note that I have attempted to grapple with much of what you have written, and thus I ask that you consider the question I posed to you: do you agree or disagree that it is possible for a living entity to have multiple ranges of consciousness (or locations in which mentation occurs), and for those ranges to be in an asymmetrical sleep arrangement, in which one range is asleep while the other is alert? [Note, this is not a question about Jesus specifically; rather it is about the possibility of something more general.]

      Like

    • Denis Giron
      August 5, 2017 • 10:59 pm
      Greetings Intellect
      Regarding John 1:18 and 1 John 5:20…
      ntellect wrote:
      «The above verses never referred to the Son as the “only true God”.»
      As was previously noted, μονογενης θεος can be translated “only God” or “unique God,” while αληθινος θεος can be translated “true God”. These titles are essentially the same as the title in John 17:3. But I made the following graphic to help illustrate the extent to which their semantic

      I say;
      “only God” is not the same as “only true God”.
      “true God” is not the same as “the only true God”?

      In the first instance he is not a true God and in the second instance he is not the only God. That is what it means. He is not a true God in the first verse. We do not worship a God who is not the “the only true God”. In the second instance that true God is not the only God. There are other Gods mentioned in the Bible. He could be one of those Gods.

      So, Jesus is never referred to as “the only true God”.

      The only true God means God is one, only true God who is alone. No one else. If someone is called the only God somewhere, then that person is not the true God. If a person is called a true God somewhere, he is not the “only true God” as the “only true God” is 1 and He said He is 1 and no one else.

      Intellect wrote:
      «Can the Son bear the title “Father”? No. So the Son cannot bear some or the Father’s description.»
      Even assuming the first premise, let’s explore the problem. Pontius Pilate was the prefect of Judea. That was a title Pilate bore. He also could bear the title man. If we assume Christ could not bear the title “prefect of Judea,” would that mean He could not ever bear any other title which Pilate could bear? Would He cease to be male, or human, or mammal?
      Whatever the case, with all due respect, you seem to simply be presupposing that Christ cannot bear the titles which the Father bears in John 17:3, but such a position is not explicit anywhere in Scripture. On the contrary, consider Psalm 136:3, which has the title “Lord of lords”. Presumanbly that is a title the Father can bear, but, if so, 1 Corinthians 8:5-6 seems to make clear that it is also a title the Son can bear. So too other titles, like King of kings, or the First and the Last, et cetera. The idea –that if Christians, out of an aversion to Modalism, are reluctant to call the Son “the Father,” then the Son cannot share any title which the Father bears– is unjustified.

      I say;
      Christian creed says the Father is not the Son. So, it is a simple as that, the Son cannot bear some of the Fathers description, hence the Son cannot bear “the only true God” which was explicitly referred to the Father alone.

      Lords of Lords and King of Kings etc. were referred to human beings. We have Lords in the court system and they have their Lord in the court as well. We have King that is a King to other Kings. It does not make one God. God the Father cannot be God the Son. They are different hence different Gods and that is polytheism.

      Thanks.

      Like

    • Denis Giron
      Intellect wrote:
      «God as a title was used in the Bible to refer to other humans but it does not make them God.»
      There are certainly words which can mean god which are applied to mere humans in the Bible. But Christ is our God (2 Peter 1:1, John 20:28), our Creator (John 1:3, Colossians 1:16, Hebrews 1:10, 1 Corinthians 8:6), the Sustainer of the universe (Colossians 1:17), whom the disciples prayed to (Acts 7:59). It’s a bit different from the case of a mere human being addressed by a word which can mean god.

      I say;
      All this means nothing because Jesus has a God and that God “is the only true God” who is not Jesus according to the same Bible.

      Intellect wrote:
      «Then who is the “only true God” in the verse?»
      We have already agreed that in John 17:3, the title is being employed in reference to the Father. But note the nuanced point I made about the structure of the verse not employing a copula: it can be read as alluding how if our knowledge “touches” the Father, it “touches” (reaches) the only true God. Under such an understanding, this could easily be true of every Person in the Trinity

      I say;
      The verse did not say every person of the Trinity. So, do not put your words in the Bible. It says “only true God” is the Father. God is one, only and alone. Adding another person apart from the Father makes more than one God and that is polytheism.

      Intellect wrote:
      «confusion of John 1:18, Some translations says only Son, unique one, the only God, only begotten Son, etc.»
      The earliest reading is μονογενης θεος (hence this is the reading in the Nestle-Aland platform). Certain translations are based on later manuscripts, and traditional readings of those manuscripts, so the translations reflect an attempt to grapple with the tradition. But a fairly straight forward reading of μονογενης θεος is “only God”.

      I say;
      Intellect wrote:
      «confusion of John 1:18, Some translations says only Son, unique one, the only God, only begotten Son, etc.»
      The earliest reading is μονογενης θεος (hence this is the reading in the Nestle-Aland platform). Certain translations are based on later manuscripts, and traditional readings of those manuscripts, so the translations reflect an attempt to grapple with the tradition. But a fairly straight forward reading of μονογενης θεος is “only God”.

      I say;
      There are manuscript that says “only Son” and not “Only God” and Christians are using that. So, you cannot use such a confusing verse to define God, when God clearly said he is one, only and alone. We will take the more explicit commands that says God is one, only and alone.

      Use the clear verse below that says God is one, only and alone agreed to all of us, and not verse that is not clear to even the Christians and they differ from it.

      “there is no one like Yahweh our God.” Exodus 8:10
      “Yahweh, He is God; there is no other besides Him.” Deuteronomy 4:35
      “Yahweh, He is God in heaven above and on the earth below; there is no other.” Deuteronomy 4:39
      “See now that I, I am He, And there is no god besides Me” Deuteronomy 32:39
      “Hear, O Israel! Yahweh is our God, Yahweh is one [echad]!” Deuteronomy 6:4
      “You are great, O Lord God; for there is none like You, and there is no God besides You” 2 Samuel 7:22
      “For who is God, besides Yahweh? And who is a rock, besides our God?” 2 Samuel 22:32
      “Yahweh is God; there is no one else.” 1 Kings 8:60
      “You are the God, You alone [bad], of all the kingdoms of the earth.” 2 Kings 19:15
      “O Lord, there is none like You, nor is there any God besides You” 1 Chronicles 17:20
      “You alone [bad] are Yahweh.” Nehemiah 9:6
      “For who is God, but Yahweh? And who is a rock, except our God” Psalm 18:31
      “You alone [bad], Lord, are God.” Isaiah 37:20
      “Before Me there was no God formed, And there will be none after Me.” Isaiah 43:10

      Thanks.

      Like

    • Denis Giron

      Now, I previously wrote that I have seen how threads can move further and further away from the original topic of the blog entries they were under, and I fear such is happening here. Note that I have attempted to grapple with much of what you have written, and thus I ask that you consider the question I posed to you: do you agree or disagree that it is possible for a living entity to have multiple ranges of consciousness (or locations in which mentation occurs), and for those ranges to be in an asymmetrical sleep arrangement, in which one range is asleep while the other is alert? [Note, this is not a question about Jesus specifically; rather it is about the possibility of something more general.]

      I say;
      I do not agree a human being can “sleep” and “not sleep” at the same time. brain. Forgetfulness is different from “not knowing”. When I forget something or dysfunction brain forgets something, it means the person knew the thing but forgets. Not knowing means the person does not know what he said he does not know.

      Jesus said he does not know the hour. He did not say he forgot the hour. The Father does not forget and the Father knows. So, Jesus cannot have the title of “all knowing” which the Father alone has. So, Jesus is not God.

      Thanks.

      Like


    • Jesus said he does not know the hour. He did not say he forgot the hour”

      this would imply that forgetfulness took over the divine mind or that primary mind had to create reversal in his mind to let forgetfulness dominate him. in the state of not knowing god is not the all knowing one but the one who who let something more powerful than him forget. when the primary mind is reversing its mind, the primary mind lost control of knowing everything in the state of not knowing. god was not in control , forgetfulness was .

      Like

  10. mr giron ,

    can you tell me if the “person” in trinity EXPERIENCES a DEPOWERING in his PERSON ?
    i am not TALKING about the flesh, i am talking about a DEPOWERING of the person which is invisible.

    Like

    • Greetings Robster

      I would not say that Christ underwent a loss of power. He acquired a secondary form which was limited, but that did not entail corresponding limitations on His primary “form”.

      Like

    • did the limited form come from the primary form or did the primary form build something not from itself? if it came from the primary form, then primary form must have some kind of feeling of limited form since it is primary form doing a reversal on itself to produce another limited version.

      Like

  11. ” They would only be a problem for my position if they stated that the one God is limited only one Person.”
    Who invented this language? It’s really disturbing!
    So when God spoke to israelite prophets that he is one, they’re supposed to understand your language of what (one) means?
    For example: Exodus33:11 or Isaiah 6:1 !

    You worship 3 gods clearly as the sun, You don’t differ from those who worship many gods except by the language, which no one has agreed since human history with you . The lnaguge in your religion has lost its job so any thing can be true. When you pray to 3 persons, how can that differ in regard the consequences on your heart from those who whorship 3 gods?

    Like

    • Greetings `Abdullah

      `Abdullah asked:
      «Who invented this language?»

      I have no idea who the first person was to make an explicit claim about whether God’s ontology is unipersonal or multipersonal. Nonetheless, I would say that the implication of the Christian Bible seems to me to be a multipersonal conception of God.

      `Abdullah asked:
      «So when God spoke to israelite prophets that he is one, they’re supposed to understand your language of what (one) means?»

      Different Jews throughout history have understood Biblical texts in a variety of ways (note the excerpt from the Zohar I shared elsewhere in this comments section, on the meaning of Deuteronomy 32:39). Whatever the case, I don’t see why the meaning of a Biblical text would have to be apparent to every Jew. Rabbinic literature itself notes that it is possible for there to be meanings in the text which are not apparent to everyone at a given time, as I discuss here:

      Like

    • Once you claim that god is many persons, there’s no need to use the label of ( one god). Say it as it is! Say that you worship many gods since each person has its own mind and free will.
      Why do you have to invent a new meaing for ( one) or ( only) ?
      ” Oh people of the book, why do you confuse truth with falsehood and conceal the truth WHILE YOU KNOW IT? ” QT 3:71.

      I’m asking you as a truthful man what you get from Exodus 33:11, for example? Allah(sw) didn’t ask people to play with the language by using nonsense philosophical terms !

      If I said to you that God worships satan because I invented a philosophical concept called “Hfdfhj” in which the defention of God is still preserved, but he can worship satan in the same time, would you accept that from me?

      Liked by 1 person

    • Greetings `Abdullah

      `Abdullah wrote:
      «Once you claim that god is many persons, there’s no need to use the label of ( one god). Say it as it is! Say that you worship many gods»

      I’m not going to say that, as it is not true, as I the individual Persons are not individual gods. But I would ask you a question: your own belief (tacitly) implies that it is possible for there to be a single dimensionless yet infinite being which is eternally imbued with personhood; what precludes the possibility of a single dimensionless yet infinite being which is eternally imbued with personhood trice over?

      `Abdullah wrote:
      «I’m asking you as a truthful man what you get from Exodus 33:11, for example?»

      You previously asked me how Israelites were supposed to understand that verse. I linked to a piece by me which showed that even in Rabbinic literature it is recognized that the meanings of a text need not be apparent to everyone at a given time. Nonetheless, since you wish to discuss Exodus 33:11 specifically, consider the following piece which I posted a couple years ago, which shows a Rabbinic commentary which understands the text as tacitly having a plurality present:


      (if the above is akward on your device, you can also see it here)

      So there exist even Jews who would see the scope of that text as being more complex than you might realize.

      Like

    • “I’m not going to say that, as it is not true, as I the individual Persons are not individual gods”
      Again, as long as your language has lost its job, then any thing can be true. There’s no really any difference between those who worship 3 gods and you who worship 3 persons except by the name. However, the effect of this plurality on the heart is the same. The consequences of this shirk is very clear. When you pray, for example, to those 3 persons, there’s no really any difference from those who pray to 3 gods. Both cases are shirk and association with God someone else.

      Forget the Rabbanic writings. I’m asking your heart. Exodus 33:11 or Isaiah6:1? What do you get?
      Or let’s go to Mark 10:18 when Jesus said to that jewish guy ( no ONE is good ), do you really think Jesus wanted from that man to understand something else from that word( one)?

      “there exist even Jews who would see the scope of that text as being more complex than you might realize.”
      This has never been an excuse to invent new meanings for the language.
      When God was speaking to Israelites that He is one, It’s impossible that they got any thing else about his oneness, especially that God was speaking that He set on his throne or He doesn’t die, for example. The language was very clear. God could have easily used your language, but he never did.
      All those desperate attempts to invent new language came only with christians, and we know why. I cannot make the complexity of understanding God to be an excuse to say God worships satan.

      May Allah guide you to his light.

      Liked by 1 person

    • “I’m not going to say that, as it is not true, as I the individual Persons are not individual gods”

      but they each know the feeling of /have access to and ARE god. each, according to you is a being IN COMPANY with ANOTHER being.
      how does one explain to 4 year old that god EXISTS as 3 INDIVIDUAL things? and EACH individual thing DOES ACTION VERBS for the other individual thing?

      Like

    • Greetings `Abdullah and Robster

      `Abdullah wrote:
      «When you pray, for example, to those 3 persons, there’s no really any difference from those who pray to 3 gods.»

      I think the difference would remain in whether those three Persons constitute three distinct gods or not, or whether they ar united in a single God. But consider an analogy, employing two different scenarios:

      SCENARIO 1: There is a single wooden triangle. A person touches (with his hand) the left side of that wooden triangle. A second person touches the right side of that wooden triangle. A third person touches the bottom side of that wooden triangle. The people are touching different aspects of a single triangle.

      SCENARIO 2: There are three distinct wooden triangles. A person touches (with his hand) the left side of the first wooden triangle. A second person touches the right side of the second wooden triangle. A third person touches the bottom side of the third wooden triangle. The people are touching three distinct triangles.

      Here is a graphic depicting the two different scenarios:

      There can be similarities between the two scenarios, but the first scenario nonetheless involves a single triangle, while the second scenario involves multiple triangles.

      `Abdullah wrote:
      «Forget the Rabbanic writings.»

      Why? It was you who brought up how Jews would understand certain texts, and Rabbinic literature has relevance insofar that it captures the fact that there may be more diversity of thought among Jews than many non-Jews realize.

      `Abdullah wrote:
      «I’m asking your heart. Exodus 33:11 or Isaiah6:1? What do you get?»

      I read the Bible collectively as implying a multipersonal conception of God, and reading verses in a vacuum is not going to change that. Nonetheless, if you’d like an approach to those verses, one possibility is to read them in light of John 1:18 (which seems to allude to how no one saw the Father, yet the Son bears the title only God) or 1 Corinthians 10:4 (which alludes to how Christ was with the Israelites in the desert, during the time of Moses [Jude 1:5 may be relevant here as well]). Under such a view, it could easily be concluded that the LORD (the one being referred to by the Tetragrammaton) was Christ. Regarding the text in Isaiah 6:1, I am of the opinion that John 12:41 applies specifically that verse to Jesus (i.e. who Isaiah saw was Christ). So, within the context of the Bible as a whole, these verses do not work against a multipersonal conception of God; rather they can fit quite comfortably within such a conception of God.

      `Abdullah wrote:
      «let’s go to Mark 10:18 when Jesus said to that jewish guy ( no ONE is good ), do you really think Jesus wanted from that man to understand something else from that word( one)?»

      Permit me to first share, with all due respect, that I fear we are straying farther and farther away from the original subject of the blog entry. Nonetheless, I will share my thoughts on this passage.

      I see Mark 10 as putting forth a biconditional proposition: there is a universe of discourse, and within that universe of discourse, one is only good if, and only if, they are, in some sense, God. If one is not good, they are not God; and if they are not God, they are not good. Now perhaps it is a limited universe of discourse, but Jesus is most certainly included within it. But notice He does not actually, explicitly deny being either good or God; rather, He leaves the question open. As per that biconditional proposition, we can only affirm Christ’s goodness if we affirm His divinity (to deny His divinity is to tacitly deny His goodness), and He presented it as a challenge to a man who may not have fully accepted His authority. We Christians can affirm Christ’s goodness, because we affirm His divinity.

      [For an analogy, thoughout the Obama presidency, there were Americans who denied Obama was actually the President –they would claim he was illegitimate, disqualified. If, hypothetically speaking, during Obama’s presidency, one of those deniers wound up in prison, and, in a moment of desperation, reached out to Obama himself, to beg for a presidential pardon, Obama could have challenged them with this statement: “why do you ask me for such? only the President can provide a presidential pardon.” The statement would not constitute a denial on Obama’s part; rather it would be challenging a person who may not have fully accepted his presidency.]

      `Abdullah wrote:
      «When God was speaking to Israelites that He is one, It’s impossible that they got any thing else about his oneness»

      We agree that God is one. But there being one God does not preclude some sort of (perhaps mysterious) complexity to the one God (like a multipersonal ontology). You seem to wish to insinuate that no one could conclude anything other than a unipersonal conception of God, yet throughout history there have been people (not only Christians) who concluded otherwise. I would add this, however: there are verses which refer to God as singular, and there are verses which refer to God in the plural. While you are free to treat the former as literal and wave off the latter as merely metaphorical, we are no longer dealing with what is clear in the text, but rather the sorts of philosophical assumptions and interpretations you bring to the text.

      *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

      Robster asked:
      «how does one explain to 4 year old that god EXISTS as 3 INDIVIDUAL things?»

      First I would ask you, why should a four year old be expected to fully understand everything about the faith?

      Take for example modern physics, as taught in universities. Much of creation is incomprehensible to many adults, and is certainly beyond the full understanding of four year old children. Why should the Creator be more comprehensible than creation?

      Or, for another example, assuming you are a Muslim, in both our faiths, there is the concept of God “speaking” things into existence (God says it, and it is [“let there be X,” and X exists, et cetera]). But even a great many adults have no clue what, precisely, that means. Imagine a four year old in the room as adults begin asking questions like the following:

        “Well how does God say it? Does God have vocal chords and a mouth? Is it even an audible sound? If it is not audible, would it be more accurate to call it a thought rather than a spoken statement? And how does the statement originate from a Being which presumably has no location? And how, precisely, does the statement itself bring about creation? Via what process? And if the statement brings into existence a thing, what brings into existence the statement? Or is the statement itself eternal?” et cetera

      If Christian or Muslim adults actually tried to engage such questions, and a four year old was in the room for that discussion, how much do you think the four year old would understand? If your answer is simply to say to a child “God says ‘be,’ and it is,” and expect them to simply embrace that, without exploring the details, why can’t a Christian likewise simply say to a child “there is one God, and within the one God are three persons,” and expect them to simply embrace that, without exploring the details? Honestly, both the Muslim and Christian worlds are filled with all sorts of people –adults and children alike– who accept the truth of various statements within their faith, without quite understanding what those statements mean.

      Like

    • “[For an analogy, thoughout the Obama presidency, there were Americans who denied Obama was actually the President –they would claim he was illegitimate, disqualified. If, hypothetically speaking, during Obama’s presidency, one of those deniers wound up in prison, and, in a moment of desperation, reached out to Obama himself, to beg for a presidential pardon, Obama could have challenged them with this statement: “why do you ask me for such? only the President can provide a presidential pardon.” The statement would not constitute a denial on Obama’s part; rather it would be challenging a person who may not have fully accepted his presidency.]”

      the guy fully accepted jesus as “good teacher” but it is jesus who says that he is not part of the good god has . “only god is good”

      and there seems to be some good evidence that jesus did not see himself as god when parallel passages are examined

      quote :

      Yet in my first post, I questioned whether the two ‘sections’ of the Markan pericope necessarily have to be read in light of each other, as Gundry, Gregg, and others suggest. I didn’t elaborate on this much further at the time, but – while I used the text from Plutarch as a possible way of bridging these two – it’s also just as likely that when praised is received, the person can totally ascribe the praise to someone else (without using this to draw attention to themselves as well).

      For example, this seems to be precisely what’s going on in places like Luke 11.27-28:
      While Jesus was saying these things, one of the women in the crowd raised her voice and said to Him, “Blessed is the womb that bore you and the breasts at which you nursed.” But he said, “μενοῦν, blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it.”
      I’ve purposely left μενοῦν untranslated here (on the different senses of the word, cf. Fitzmyer 1985: 928); however, surely the relationship between the two statements in these verses is, at most, one of antithesis. Perhaps this is all hinting at a subversion of familial relations in favor of the new ‘family’ of Jesus’ disciples – similar to Luke 14:26 et al. – and thus we may be justified in translating μενοῦν in an adversative sense, as NASB/NET/ESV do (“On the contrary, blessed…” or “Blessed, rather…). More naturally, though, the praise is not really directed at Jesus’ mother, but simply Jesus himself – and this is simply another one of those occurrences where Jesus legitimately dissociates himself from a divine identity. One notes a contrast with other episodes in the gospels, e.g. the woman who anoints Jesus with expensive perfume. When the disciples protest about how the perfume could have been sold and the money given to the poor, Jesus responds that “She has done a beautiful thing to me,” and then that “you can help [the poor] any time you want; but you will not always have me.” Here Jesus seems to gladly embrace such veneration. (Interestingly, these words appear similarly in all three other gospels, but only in Luke is the woman explicitly identified as a ‘sinner’, but then ‘rewarded’ with her sins being forgiven – which prompts the onlookers’ response τίς οὗτός ἐστιν ὃς καὶ ἁμαρτίας ἀφίησιν. Again, cf. Mk 2.7.)

      Also of interest here are things like John 8.50, where Jesus says ἐγὼ δὲ οὐ ζητῶ τὴν δόξαν μου· ἔστιν ὁ ζητῶν καὶ κρίνων (“I am not trying to get praise for myself. There is one who demands it, and he also judges”). Again, refer to Plutarch and the ὁρμὴ πρὸς δόξαν, etc.

      Like

    • “First I would ask you, why should a four year old be expected to fully understand everything about the faith?”

      if he is told that one is one and two is two and one person in trinity is one thing, then why abuse his brains by telling him 3 things are 1 thing?

      Like

    • “I think the difference would remain in whether those three Persons constitute three distinct gods or not, or whether they ar united in a single God”
      I think you just affirmed what I had said before that there’s no a real difference except by name…except by how to phrase it, but in the depth they are the same. The oneness of God has lost its job on your heart.
      You say that you worship 3 persons , each of whom has its own mind and free will.
      Pagans say that they worship 3 gods.
      The consequences of that on the heart is the same. You have not provided any real difference.

      Also, your illustrations about the wooden triangle are amazing! I like it! However, I don’t think that a smart guy like you has forgotten that christians don’t choose neither of your 2 scenarios.
      If you did, then you would return to normal language of the human beings, but you deal/treat/believe that each side of one triangle as full triangle by itself!

      “Why? It was you who brought up how Jews would understand certain texts, and Rabbinic literature has relevance insofar that it captures the fact that there may be more diversity of thought among Jews than many non-Jews realize.”
      You reject Rabbinic writings about the texts that christians think They’re about Jesus.
      Jews got inspired by pagan culture with no doubt,and that has been affirmed in Quran.
      I was asking your heart, do you really think that Israelite prophets or the simple jews in time of Jesus understand this nonsense language that christians talk with today ?
      Also, I’ve no idea how the links you provided say otherwise! If some passages need more explanations, how can that imply that god is 3 persons from passages like Exodus 33:11 or Isaiah:1, especially the words of God have been described like this in Psalms
      “The teaching of your word gives light, so even the simple can understand” !

      “I read the Bible collectively as implying a multipersonal conception of God, and reading verses in a vacuum is not going to change that”
      سبحان الله !
      Which vacuum? Are those verses so confusing to say that? Or they just scratch your wounds that you already have?
      “And they rejected them, while their [inner] selves were convinced thereof, out of injustice and haughtiness. So see how was the end of the corrupters.” QT.

      “I see Mark 10 as putting forth a biconditional proposition: there is a universe of discourse, and within that universe of discourse, one is only good if, and only if, they are, in some sense, God. If one is not good, they are not God; and if they are not God, they are not good. Now perhaps it is a limited universe of discourse, but Jesus is most certainly included within it. But notice He does not actually, explicitly deny being either good or God; rather, He leaves the question open. As per that biconditional proposition, we can only affirm Christ’s goodness if we affirm His divinity (to deny His divinity is to tacitly deny His goodness), and He presented it as a challenge to a man who may not have fully accepted His authority. We Christians can affirm Christ’s goodness, because we affirm His divinity.”
      ????
      I was asking what you think that jewish guy got from Jesus’ answer when Jesus used the word (one)?

      Liked by 1 person

    • Denis,

      This is deviating from the topic  but I cant help to comment on this one,  wrt Rashi commentary on Exodus 33:11 I don’t see that the implications as such that God were “speaking” to the Shekhīna as another person of God “person”, That is not what Rashi implied.

      Rashi was saying that  literally God “talk to himself” Middabber beino levein atzmo and hadeyot shomea me ‘elav  “ordinary man heard from it”  This whole situation is one of the situation where the  שְּׁכִינָה was “present”. Nowhere Rashi suggest that the God talk to shekinah as another “person” of Him.  Pls refer to Rashi commentary on the subsequent verse 21. He comment  on  Midrashic explanation for this verse that the word Makom מקום it speaks of the place where the שְּׁכִינָה is present and that (God) therefore said, “The place is by Me” (Ve’omer hammakom itti) and He did not say, “I am in the place” (Ve’eyno omer ani vammakom) because “ה encompass the universe but the universe dont encompass him.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Greetings Eric

      Note that beyn literally means between. Yes, God is speaking with Himself (`etsmo), but the implication is that this is a conversation between two (hence beyno li-bheyn), and it is noted such is with respect to the Shekhīnah. Ergo, the clear implication seems to be that God is talking to the Shekhīnah (and, on a side note, the Shekhīnah can talk in RaSh”Y; cf. his commentary on NaHūm 1:13, where he says of the verse, Shekhīnah omeret ken la-nabī, “[the] Shekhīnah said such to the prophet”).

      At most you could say that it is not explicit within RaSh”Y that the Shekhīnah is a person (though I would wonder how such would look if we go beyond RaSh”Y to the larger spectrum of Rabbinic corpora, in particular to the Zohar, which says the Shekhīnah is God’s partner (in the creation of the soul) [cf. vol. III, 219B, or parshat PīnHas para. 126 in the Sūlam] and that she is exempt from the Torah’s prohibition on having other gods [vol. II, 86A or parashat Yitro, para. 404 in the Sūlam, which can be seen on page 103 of this PDF]). (And by the way, with that in mind, note who or what they prostrate to in Exodus 33:10, according to RaSh”Y.) But even if we were to remain strictly within RaSh”Y and speculate that maybe it just means a discussion between God and some impersonal force (which speaks and which people prostrate towards), I still have to smirk, as the point was only to show that Jewish views of these texts can be more complex than some people realize.

      As per your appeal to RaSh”Y’s commentary on Exodus 33:21, forgive me, but I don’t see the relevance. I am familiar with the text, as I wrote about it a couple years ago here, as I wondered then if it might constitute a hint of Jewish panentheism which predates Hasidūt. But I do not see what light it sheds on the idea of God speaking with this thing entity which is capable of speech and which people prostrate towards.

      ***

      [Note: I know others are awaiting responses from me. I will try to get to them when time permits.]

      Like

    • This is the problem if one try to understand the text through trinitarian lense, I wonder why don’t you add one  more addition to God’s personhood family:  God the mother or the shekinah,  So now you have quadrinity instead of trinity:  God the father, God the Son, God the spirit, God the mother (after all it got a feminine ending kamatz hey)

      Shekinah is simply the manifestation of God blessing/glory.  For your information in the place where I come from when people get married we traditionally we say to the couple a special greeting: “May the sakinah, mawaddah and rahmah always be present with you”. Those are God’s glory (سكينة), love (المودة) and compassion (ارهمة). But no muslims ever have even slight mental picture that that the sakinah , the mawaddah and rahmah are actually God’s distinct persons independent to each other and object worthy of worship. Sacred places like the Kaaba, two holy lands Al Haramain and Al Aqsa Mosque for example is where the Shekinah is very strong. There may be references that shekinah seems acting like independent entity but this should be understood as a created intermediary manifestation in a situation where the anthropomorphic expressions can no longer regarded as appropriate in mundane settings but not as a distinct Godhead.

      Like

    • Greetings Robster and `Abdullah. Responses to both, below…

      *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

      Robster wrote:
      «the guy fully accepted jesus as “good teacher”»

      He addresses Jesus as good teacher, but it is far from clear that He accepts the full implications of that. In fact, the text gives the impression that he may have been reluctant to follow Christ’s extra-Scriptural command to sell his possessions and give the money to the poor, ergo it seems reasonable to think he did not fully accept Christ’s authority.

      Robster wrote:
      «it is jesus who says that he is not part of the good god has»

      Jesus does not actually say that. Rather, that is an interpretation some apply to His biconditional proposition (hence my Obama analogy, which was meant to show that such statements need not be considered denials).

      As for the post you shared from Reddit/AcademicBiblical, I appreciate it, but I would note that a lot of it seems to hinge on the Lucan text. I would share with you that I am among those who do not treat μενουν as being in adversative sense in Luke 11:28 (that text actually comes up a lot in Catholic-Protestant debate, as some of our more polemically minded Protestant friends see it as contradicting praise for Mary; I’m among those who disagree, reading it as an affirmation, including Mary among those who keep God’s word rather than accusing her of not keeping such).

      Robster wrote:
      «if he is told that one is one and two is two and one person in trinity is one thing, then why abuse his brains by telling him 3 things are 1 thing?»

      With all due respect, you did not answer my question of whether you honestly expect a four year old to understand everything about God. In the mean time, I will address this by noting that, while of course the conversation can grow more complex still, the concept of one thing comprising multiple things is accessible to a four year old (I actually have a four year old, and she understands well that a triangle has three sides, a square has four sides, a pentagon has five sides, et cetera, and she’s also able to count individual triangles, or squares, et cetera).

      *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

      `Abdullah wrote:
      «there’s no a real difference except by name»

      There could also be a difference in the corresponding reality (e.g. there is a difference between one triangle comprise three distinct sides and three distinct triangles).

      `Abdullah wrote:
      «your illustrations about the wooden triangle are amazing! I like it! However, I don’t think that a smart guy like you has forgotten that christians don’t choose neither of your 2 scenarios.»

      What do you mean, while of course it was merely an analogy, not capturing every detail, I would say the first scenario more reflects Christian belief: one God, comprising three Persons (analogous to one triangle, comprising three sides) rather than three distinct gods (which would be analogous to three distinct triangles).

      `Abdullah wrote:
      «you deal/treat/believe that each side of one triangle as full triangle by itself!»

      Not necessarily (e.g. there are Christians who would fully affirm the divinity of each Person, as well as each Person’s worthiness to bear the Name and titles of God, yet distinguish between the overall Being –the Trinity– and the Persons therein (if I recall correctly, William Lane Craig has argued that the one God is tripersonal, while the individual Persons therein are not). Of course, on the flipside, if one wishes, contra Craig, to retain an identification of each Person with the one God, there are other approaches, which, if you’re interested, I discuss a bit here.

      However, I also have to wonder if the rules don’t break down a bit when dealing with a dimensionless infinite (assuming you recognize God as such). To interact with a part of a thing can be to interact with a whole (e.g. to touch a triangle’s side is to touch the triangle), but if one objects the “part” is not equal to the “whole,” one has to wonder if the same sort of objection applies when the “whole” is dimensionless yet somehow infinite. Hence why I previously posted this question to you: your own belief (tacitly) implies that it is possible for there to be a single dimensionless yet infinite being which is eternally imbued with personhood; what precludes the possibility of a single dimensionless yet infinite being which is eternally imbued with personhood thrice over?

      `Abdullah wrote:
      «Jews got inspired by pagan culture with no doubt,and that has been affirmed in Quran.»

      This begs the question, how do you determine which Jews are putting forth an authentic faith of Israel and which are merely “inspired by ‘pagans'”? If your solution is to simply use your own presuppositions as the measuring stick, where Jews who agree with you are right, and Jews who disagree with you are “pagan,” then appealing to “what Jews believe” is ultimately pointless, as what you’d really be appealing to is your own starting assumptions (and thus being at risk of moving in a cirlce).

      `Abdullah wrote:
      «do you really think that Israelite prophets or the simple jews in time of Jesus understand this nonsense language»

      As I have already told you, I see no reason to think that all Jews are required to have a full understanding of the Scripture (the recorded teachings of Jesus allude to Scripture referring to things other than what Jews might have thought they did; moreover, being that there is great diversity of thought among Jews, it is unlikely to be the case that “all Jews are right” [even you accuse some of “paganism”], ergo appeals to “the simple Jews” seem unhelpful, since it is possible for Jews to misunderstand these texts). But yes, I do think it is possible that the Biblical prophets had a more nuanced understanding of the Scriptures than common folk.

      `Abdullah wrote:
      «how can that imply that god is 3 persons from passages like Exodus 33:11 or Isaiah:1»

      I did not say the passages you cited imply “God is 3” if read in a vacuum. The point was if they are read against the backdrop of the Bible as a whole, they fit in fine with a multipersonal conception of God. I gave a rather straight forward argument for such.

      `Abdullah wrote:
      «the words of God have been described like this in Psalms
      “The teaching of your word gives light, so even the simple can understand” !»

      Scripture can certainly increase the understanding of people (moreso the explanation of Scripture [the LXX renders petaH δηλωσις, i.e. pointing out, explaining]), but that does not mean, therefore, anyone can understand everything (the cacophony of views which exist should make that clear).

      Regarding my thoughts on Mark 10:18…

      `Abdullah wrote:
      «???? I was asking what you think that jewish guy got from Jesus’ answer when Jesus used the word (one)?»

      To be fair, note that you referenced Mark 10:18. Nonetheless, presumably you meant Mark 10:28-32? If so, note that you just got through explaining to me that many Jews are “pagans”. So, as we now speculate about the understandings of the scribe in that exchange, shall we just presuppose he wasn’t one of the Jews you call “pagan”? There are monotheists who hold to a unipersonal conception of God and monotheists who hold to a multipersonal conception of God. I have no idea what the precise beliefs of that scribe were. But whatever one wishes to imagine his beliefs may have been, they do not set doctrine for Christians (i.e. even if it turned out he agreed with us, that would not mean we believe what we do because that scribe believed such). Perhaps the better question is: does Christ’s reference to the Sh’ma` contradict a multipersonal conception of God? The answer is no.

      Like

    • Greetings Eric

      Eric wrote:
      «This is the problem if one try to understand the text through trinitarian lense»

      In all fairness, I’m not trying to understand the text through a strictly Trinitarian lens. I don’t think RaSh”Y’s text is distinctly Trinitarian, nor did I claim otherwise. But I do think it implies something more complex than the person who originally invoked the verse in this thread anticipated.

      Eric wrote:
      «I wonder why don’t you add one more addition to God’s personhood family: God the mother or the shekinah, So now you have quadrinity»

      Or exclude the Son, and get a “Binity,” and various other approaches (maybe go full panentheist, and include billions of persons within God, et cetera). Again, I was not claiming RaSh”Y was Trinitarian, so, with all due respect, this sort of objection seems to be attacking a straw man, and, worse, I fear we have diverged from actually discussing RaSh”Y’s text.

      So for example, do you agree that beyn means between? That, while God was speaking with Himself, beyno li-bheyn implies two are conversing? That this discussion involves the Shekhīnah? That RaSh”Y has people prostrate to the Shekhīnah, and the Shekhīnah can speak? Any thoughts on the Zoharic references? Simply telling me RaSh”Y doesn’t fit perfectly with the Trinity does not address the actual points I raised.

      Eric wrote:
      «For your information in the place where I come from when people get married we traditionally we say to the couple a special greeting: “May the sakinah, mawaddah and rahmah always be present with you”. Those are God’s glory (سكينة), love (المودة) and compassion (ارهمة). But no muslims ever have even slight mental picture that that the sakinah»

      To be fair, how Muslims in your time and location understand the sakīnah need not dictate how Jews (like RaSh”Y, like the author(s) of the Zohar) understood the Shekhīnah. Do people in your location have the sakīnah speaking to prophets, enterting into discussions with God, having people prostrate to her, as RaSh”Y apparently does for the Shekhīnah? Do the Muslims in your area call the sakīnah God’s partner, or say she is exempt from a prohibition on having other gods, as the Zohar does for the Shekhīnah? Of course they don’t, and this would mean that, despite sakīnah and Shekhīnah being etymologically related (their spelling is essentially the same), it is nonetheless possible for different Jews and Muslims to have different conceptions of these terms.

      In fact, even Muslims can have different conceptions of what the word sakīnah can mean. For example, in the tafsīr of al-QurTubī, various views are given, like “the sakīnah is a spirit from God that speaks” (السكينة روح من الله تتكلم) or “she has a face like humans” (لها وجه كوجه الإنسان) or “she has two heads” (لها رأسان), or “an animal like a cat, she has two wings, a tail, and eyes which are rays/beams [of light]” (حيوان كالهر له جناحان وذنب ولعينيه شعاع). Now if you object “none of those texts say she is the third person of the Trinity,” you will have missed what I am getting at. The point is, when Muslims in your location say “may the the sakīnah be with you,” they might not be thinking “may a two headed spirit with a human face [or a winged cat with glowing eyes] be with you”. The simple point, here, is that if, historically, Muslims can have different understandings of the sakīnah, so too Jews can have an understanding of the Shekhīnah which differs from how Muslims in your area understand the sakīnah.

      In short, an appeal to what Muslims in your area believe does not set the limit on what RaSh”Y believed. It would be better to actually explore RaSh”Y’s text.

      Eric wrote:
      «There may be references that shekinah seems acting like independent entity but this should be understood as a created intermediary manifestation»

      A created intermediary whom God is speaking to (while speaking to Himself) in Exodus 33:9-11, and whom people prostrate to, correct? Is that your understanding of RaSh”Y’s text?

      Like

    • “not capturing every detail”
      But our discussion from beginning has been about this very detail. ( the language you use)
      I was asking why do you believe that each side of triangle to be a full triangle by itself since your belief is gonna be similar to those who touch 3 separate triangles unless you believe that each person is just a part (1/3of god)which one god consists from.

      My question is so simple, as ordinary/sincere person , what do you think israelite prophets got from Exodus 33:11 or Isaiah 6:1.
      Your heart what tells you ? When you read the passage when Jesus answered that Jewish guy, do you get by any sense the language that christians do use today which doesn’t make any sense?

      Till now, you have not provided any real dfference between you and those who worship 3 gods except that you keep telling me that you believe in one god. It’s just a saying, names, and terms you invented. Nothing else.

      Note :Sakinah in Islam came from Arabic term Sukoon. ( to rest/ feel comfortable, to take something with ease)’ and that why the prophet pbuh commanded people with Sakniah in Hajj ( i.e to walk with humble and gentleness) .
      Verse in surah Baqrah is an exception since it’s an object inside tha Taboot ( i.e it must be something which brings Sakinah) . Most sayings you stated in Tafsir alqurtbi are not authentic.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Greetings `Abdullah

      `Abdullah wrote:
      «I was asking why do you believe that each side of triangle to be a full triangle by itself»

      I do not believe the three Persons are each distinct gods. Let that be clear, it is not the case that each person is a god.

      Now, regarding the triangle analogy, on more than one occasion I have tried to engage you on whether you believe God is without dimensions, and whether you believe God is infinite. These are important points, in my view, because while, on the one hand, a triangle analogy is helpful for grasping the concept of one thing comprising multiple things, one the other hand, as I wrote to you previously, the rules dictating a finite shape may break down when dealing with a dimensionless infinite. As I noted previously, while to interact with a side of a triangle is to interact with the triangle itself, the side is nonetheless not equal to the shape as a whole, while, with something which is dimensionsless or infinite [more so something which is both?], it may be possible for a “part” to equal the “whole” in some sense [of course this begs the question of what we would be measuring; more on this below].

      `Abdullah wrote:
      «you believe that each person is just a part (1/3of god)»

      I certainly would not use precise fractions (or percentages). As I asked above, what would we be measuring? 1/3 of what, precisely? This is why I am curious if you agree that God is dimensionless, or infinite, or (perhaps mysteriously) both? Employing fractions could be a lot less clear under such conditions (wouldn’t a tenth of zero be equal to the whole of zero? might a half an infinite itself still be infinite, and thus equal the whole of the infinite of which it is a part?).

      `Abdullah wrote:
      «what do you think israelite prophets got from Exodus 33:11 or Isaiah 6:1.»

      I already presented a Jewish view of the verse from Exodus as well as a Christian view of both verses. I have no idea what the extent of the knowledge of prophets from the past might have been, so I cannot say for certain how they would read such texts, but what I have shown you shows that the possibilities run across a spectrum.

      `Abdullah wrote:
      «When you read the passage when Jesus answered that Jewish guy, do you get by any sense the language that christians do use today»

      I’d say that if we are reading the passage in a vacuum, then it leaves a number of questions open. However, when read together with the rest of the Bible, I get something in keeping with a multipersonal conception of God.

      `Abdullah wrote:
      «Sakinah in Islam came from Arabic term Sukoon»

      Words also have specific meanings (e.g. Qur’an relates to a verb from the QRA root meaning to read or recite, but if I recite aloud the Bhagavad Gita, while it would be a recitation, it would not be the Qur’an [as the term is used in a more specified sense]; or, for an English analogy, the word pterodactyl is a compound of Greek words meaning wing and finger, yet bats aren’t pterodactyls [at least not in the specific sense of the word], despite having fingers in their wings). But of course, what sakinah might mean for different Muslims may be ultimately irrelevant to what Eric and I were discussing, as Muslim beliefs about sakinah need not set limits on what RaSh”Y or the author(s) of the Zohar understood about the Shekhinah.

      `Abdullah wrote:
      «Verse in surah Baqrah is an exception since it’s an object inside tha Taboot»

      This seems like an ad hoc rule employed after the fact. If it can be used in such a sense once, it might be used in such a sense more than once. And those familiar with Jewish references to the Shekhinah and the Ark might have their own ideas about what such could mean… But again, this is somewhat off topic.

      `Abdullah wrote:
      «Most sayings you stated in Tafsir alqurtbi are not authentic.»

      I have no idea how you’re measuring “authenticity”. My point was only that just as Muslims can disagree amongst themselves about what sakinah means, so too this or that Jewish thinker can understand Shekhinah differently from how Muslims in Eric’s area understand sakinah.

      Like

    • “with something which is dimensionsless or infinite [more so something which is both?], it may be possible for a “part” to equal the “whole” in some sens”
      If a part is equal with the whole, which is a new langague human beings don’t speak with as you know, then you must end up with 3
      ” wholes” since you have 3 “parts”, which means 3 gods as you deal with the 3 persons in your trinity. You deal with them as 3 gods with not any real difference from those who worship 3 gods except that you don’t name them as 3 gods. However, in the deoth you’re equal, and as you see you couldn’t provide any real difference so far.
      Also, if we want to talk about ” some sense”, which doesn’t exist, Mormons have all the right to call themselves Monotheists.

      Jewish interpretation you prvided don’t support you at all.
      In each religion there’s a disagreement in an accepted level, yet that doesn’t give you the permission to go beyond the logic and the reality of how we understand the language by creating new logic and new language to justify your nonsense trinity by an mean. Otherwise, everything can be true as long as I invent my own language to justify my view.
      Still I try to ask your heart, but you keep avoiding the answer, and I think I know why.

      Sakinah in Quran is interpreted as its root, and as how the prophet pbuh and used it. AlQurtubiy in his tafsir stated first that meaning of the word.
      Regarding the authenticity, it’s a big knowledge/science in Islam. It’s related to Isand of each saying, and how we read books of Tafsir.

      Like

    • Greetings `Abdullah

      `Abdullah wrote:
      «which is a new langague human beings don’t speak with as you know»

      Actually, I don’t think discussion on the division of nothing or the division of infinity is something new. It’s older than you and I.

      But I still want to know (and I am beginning to find it a bit disconcerting that you keep passing over this in silence) whether you hold that God is dimensionless, whether you believe God is infinite, and whether you believe God is both dimensionless and infinite.

      `Abdullah wrote:
      «If a part is equal with the whole […] then you must end up with 3
      ” wholes” since you have 3 “parts”»

      Or simply a unique case where the “parts” are in some sense equal to the single “whole”.

      `Abdullah wrote:
      «which means 3 gods»

      I would still say one God, comprising three Persons, which brings us back to a question I asked before, and will slightly adapt, here, into a two part question: do you believe God is a dimensionless infinite? if so, why would it be possible for a dimensionless infinite to be eternally imbued with personhood yet not possible for such to be eternally imbued with such thrice over? Are there rules you know of which dictate the personhood (or personal ontologies) of dimensionless infinites?

      `Abdullah wrote:
      «you see you couldn’t provide any real difference»

      I’ve told you a very clear difference: saying one X comprises multiple Ys is different from saying multiple Xs exist (this is where the triangle analogy comes in). At that point you might want to object that the sides of a triangle are mere parts of the triangle, yet you seem to be unwilling to explain how we would measure the “parts” of a dimensionless infinite (or if you even acknowledge God as either infinite or dimensionless, much less both).

      `Abdullah wrote:
      «Jewish interpretation you prvided don’t support you at all.»

      The Jewish interpretation I appealed to showed that Jewish understandings of the verse you appealed to might be a great deal more complex than some anticipate. That was the point.

      `Abdullah wrote:
      «Sakinah in Quran is interpreted as its root»

      Perhaps by people who never met the author(s) of the verses employing the word? Or let me put it this way: it is possible for an author to intend a word one way, and for you to interpret it differently.

      `Abdullah wrote:
      «AlQurtubiy in his tafsir stated first that meaning of the word.»

      He gave multiple views on what the word can refer to. But here’s the point: Eric tried to limit the way Shekhinah is used in RaSh”Y to how Muslims in his own time and location use sakinah. I showed that Muslim opinions about sakinah have differed over time. Ergo, just as different Muslims can have different senses of what sakinah means, so too it is possible for RaSh”Y or the author(s) of the Zohar to have an understanding of Shekhinah which differs from how Muslims in Eric’s area understand sakinah. The simple point is this: what RaSh”Y or the author(s) of the Zohar meant by Shekhinah need not be limited by how Muslims in Eric’s area use sakinah (and that is obvious from the texts I pointed to).

      Like

    • “Or simply a unique case where the “parts” are in some sense equal to the single “whole”. ”
      New logic and new language.
      I can justify anything once I invent my own languag & logic.
      Again and again, you have not provided any real difference between you and those who worship 3 gods. If you hold an orange screaming that’s it’s an apple, that wouldn’t change that you hold an orange.
      The Inner self of yours and your heart can teach you once you free them from your Hawa. هوى

      Like

    • Eric wrote:
      «I wonder why don’t you add one more addition to God’s personhood family: God the mother or the shekinah, So now you have quadrinity»

      DG://Or exclude the Son, and get a “Binity,” and various other approaches (maybe go full panentheist, and include billions of persons within God, et cetera). Again, I was not claiming RaSh”Y was Trinitarian, so, with all due respect, this sort of objection seems to be attacking a straw man, and, worse, I fear we have diverged from actually discussing RaSh”Y’s text.//

      But naturally I can anticipate where your conclusion will arrive, assuming you don’t believe such doctrine untenable.

      DG://So for example, do you agree that beyn means between? That, while God was speaking with Himself, beyno li-bheyn implies two are conversing? That this discussion involves the Shekhīnah? That RaSh”Y has people prostrate to the Shekhīnah, and the Shekhīnah can speak? Any thoughts on the Zoharic references? Simply telling me RaSh”Y doesn’t fit perfectly with the Trinity does not address the actual points I raised.//

      In rabbinic term “בֵּינוֹ לְבֵין עַצְמוֹ” convey “privately, on one’s own” not “two are conversing among themselves”.  Yes, it involves the shekinah but it does not imply that the Shekinah is the actual God person who was the subject of the sentence. When Rashi wrote lehishetakhawott shekinah the word hishtachawott  need not to be understood as solely worships (God) , I can say ” ‘al kulam lehishetakhawott li o lamutt!” (all of you bow down to me or die), its semantic range also convey to bow down. The  more correct term is  lisgod (although its literal meaning is to prostate).  People may bow down as an act of veneration, Shekinah is the signs of God presence / in dwelling, to bow down to it does not mean  that Shekinah is the actual Hashem nor that it is the 2nd God person as in trinitarian understanding.

      Eric wrote:
      «For your information in the place where I come from when people get married we traditionally we say to the couple a special greeting: “May the sakinah, mawaddah and rahmah always be present with you”. Those are God’s glory (سكينة), love (المودة) and compassion (ارهمة). But no muslims ever have even slight mental picture that that the sakinah»

      DG://To be fair, how Muslims in your time and location understand the sakīnah need not dictate how Jews (like RaSh”Y, like the author(s) of the Zohar) understood the Shekhīnah. //

      What Im saying is muslims always consistent (since the time of the Prophet)  with the understanding of God Glory dwelling among them be it sakinah, mawaddah and rahmah our understanding it is not God who incarnate or assume (or whatever term you employ) finite form to interact to His creations.

      DG://In fact, even Muslims can have different conceptions of what the word sakīnah can mean. For example, in the tafsīr of al-QurTubī, various views are given, like “the sakīnah is a spirit from God that speaks” (السكينة روح من الله تتكلم) or “she has a face like humans” (لها وجه كوجه الإنسان) or “she has two heads” (لها رأسان), or “an animal like a cat, she has two wings, a tail, and eyes which are rays/beams [of light]” (حيوان كالهر له جناحان وذنب ولعينيه شعاع).//

      On Q 2:248 Qurthuby actually clipped several discussion and ideas on Tabut not Sakinah. He mentioned that some says Tabut is the cause of Sakinah, And wherever there is Tabut during battle/way they never run from it because of the Tabut, according to Qurtuby some like Ali ibn Abi Thalib, Mujahid and Ibn Abbas, Al Bara, Abu Sa’id al Khudri   have some opinion about the form” Sakinah of Tabut  but all those are based on the uniform understanding that sakinah is spirit  or something with soul (وفي هذا حجة لمن قال إن السكينة روح أو شيء له روح ) So muslims do not go too far to believe that Sakinah is another God who is partnering with the Allah to take care of His creation. In spite of that Imam Muhammad ash-Shawkani, in his Fath Al Qadir tafsir have analyzed Qurtuby tafsir on this one and dismissed this Israilliyat views as being  doubtful  because its often contradictory nature against normative teaching of Prophet Muhammad. He wrote:Screen Shot 2017-08-08 at 19.39.08

      This is the position of virtually all the Islamic scholars.

      Eric wrote:
      «There may be references that shekinah seems acting like independent entity but this should be understood as a created intermediary manifestation»

      DG://A created intermediary whom God is speaking to (while speaking to Himself) in Exodus 33:9-11, and whom people prostrate to, correct? Is that your understanding of RaSh”Y’s text?//

      Again reading the Rashi Text, nowhere it says that the Shekinah is the actual Hashem but signs of His presence,  those who bow down to , should be understood as pay homage to signs.

      Like

    • Greetings again, Eric

      Eric wrote:
      «I can anticipate where your conclusion will arrive»

      If you anticipated that I was going to arrive at the conclusion that RaSh”Y was a Trinitarian, you anticipated wrongly. With all due respect, attempting to go after where you thought I might go with the argument, rather than the argument itself, resulted in an attack on a straw man.

      Eric wrote:
      «In rabbinic term “בֵּינוֹ לְבֵין עַצְמוֹ” convey “privately, on one’s own” not “two are conversing among themselves”. Yes, it involves the shekinah but it does not imply that the Shekinah is the actual God person»

      Again, we have a leap, here. I do not claim RaSh”Y calls the Shekhinah God, so you are attacking a position I did not take. RaSh”Y’s position is that God is talking to Himself, or privately if you wish, and, as you said, this involves the Shekhinah. Even if you wish to say “but the Shekhinah’s not God” or declare, as you did before, that the Shekhinah is a created intermediary (which is also a position RaSh”Y does not take explicitly to my knowledge), the point was the passage can be more complex in the Jewish conception than the person who invoked it may have anticipated. God is speaking amongst “Himself,” and yet in a conversation which may evolve a “created intermediary” (which herself apparently is capable of speaking).

      Eric wrote:
      «When Rashi wrote lehishetakhawott shekinah the word hishtachawott need not to be understood as solely worships»

      Agreed (note that I did not say worship, but rather prostrates to), but again, the point is about the complexity of the possible Jewish conception of the verse: God speaks by “Himself” in a conversation which involves another –perhaps a created intermediary– who is herself capable of speech, and the people prostrate to her.

      Eric wrote:
      «Shekinah is the signs of God presence»

      More specifically an intermediary, who is also capable of speech, correct?

      Eric wrote:
      «muslims always consistent (since the time of the Prophet) with the understanding of God Glory dwelling among them be it sakinah, mawaddah and rahmah»

      They have not always been consistent with regard to what precisely the sakinah is. More importantly, the point was that Muslim beliefs about the sakinah need not set limits on Jewish beliefs about the Shekhinah (e.g. I doubt you believe RaSh”Y meant the people were prostrating to a two headed spirit with the face of a human, or a cat-like creature with glowing eyes). The Zoharic references should make clear that Jewish conceptions of the Shekhinah can differ considerably from Muslims conceptions of the sakinah. And you seem to concede that when you wrote that “Muhammad ash-Shawkani […] dismissed this Israilliyat views as being doubtful”. Think about what that obviously means: it is possible for Muslims concepts of the sakinah to differ from Jewish concepts of the Shekhinah (ergo Muslim beliefs about the sakinah do not set limits on Jewish beliefs about the Shekhinah).

      Now, in reference to al-QurTubi’s list of ideas about what the sakinah might be…

      I (Denis) wrote:
      «Now if you object “none of those texts say she is the third person of the Trinity,” you will have missed what I am getting at.»

      …and yet…

      Eric wrote:
      «muslims do not go too far to believe that Sakinah is another God who is partnering with the Allah»

      Nor did I claim any Muslims believed such. Were you under the impression that was my argument?

      I (Denis) asked:
      «A created intermediary whom God is speaking to (while speaking to Himself) in Exodus 33:9-11, and whom people prostrate to, correct? Is that your understanding of RaSh”Y’s text?»

      Eric replied:
      «reading the Rashi Text, nowhere it says that the Shekinah is the actual Hashem»

      To be fair, I didn’t ask you if RaSh”Y says the Shekhinah is God; rather, I asked you if you believe RaSh”y’s position is that God was involved in a conversation with Himself that involved a created intermediary, which herself is capable of speech, and whom people prostrate to?

      Like

  12. Person A sometimes has an alert “range of consciousness” as well as a sleeping “range of consciousness”.

    Is person A a being that sleeps?

    Like

    • Greetings Verdant Servant

      Perhaps it may depend on the nature of the relevant ranges (e.g. if we had a human who could engage in the sort of unihemispheric sleep like the way dolsphins, seals and certain birds can, some might find the question interesting and debatable). However, permit me to note that my motivation in offering the relevant natural phenomena as an analogy was to first establish that it is possible for a single living entity to possess multiple ranges of mentation, and for them to enter into asymmetrical sleep arrangements.

      Once that possibility is agreed on (or accepted, established), then I think it can become fruitful to explore a scenario in which we have the extraordinary case of a person with two distinct “forms” (and distinct ranges of mentation being “located” in those forms). So if a person has a primary form, and remains perpetually awake via that form, while via their secondary form they enter into sleep (e.g. the range of mentation associated with that form enters into a sleep state, and their physical form itself gets into a sleep position [e.g. laying down, eyes closed, perhaps certain body functions shutting down?]), we could say the person slept, even if we might need to attach an asterisk (to explain that such occurred from the perspective of one of their two forms).

      I am attaching below an image which attempts to symbolically depict this (a single person [not necessarily Jesus; it could be someone put into an extraordinary arrangement by advanced science or even an act of God], who animates two forms simultaneously, each form having its own range of mentation [but both ranges being possessed by the single person], with one form/range being awake, while the other is asleep). The blog entry originally had a more detailed image, attempting to depict specifically Christ simultaneously in a supracosmic form and a physical form as a baby asleep in His mother’s arms, but it was deemed inappropriate for display, here, hence why I display this simpler image, below:

      Like

    • Thanks for taking the time to reply.

      I understand that your aim is to highlight the possibility through which the logical propositions A, B and C woud not be mutually exclusive.

      However, this still does not work in my opinion. If we take for instance proposition C (God does not sleep), we find it is categorical and difficult to reconcile with the assumed scenario. God does not sleep means He does not engage in the act of sleeping; He doesn’t do sleeping.

      Hence my question: is a person who sleeps to the extent or likeness of an inactive “consciousness range” or brain hemisphere, a person who engages in sleep?
      The answer seems to be yes, because sometimes this person is not in a sleepless state. Why? Because he sleeps, though not fully. Consequently, this is not the person in C.

      Like

    • mr giron, you need to have the “unsleeping” person experience what VERSION 2 is experiencing, since version to is a REVERSAL of version 1. otherwise you have a god producing something from its naffs i.e making ANOTHER version of itself COMPLETELY disconnected to its self. you also must believe that while it is experiencing sleep it is experiencing in reality what it feels like to be created. within god exists weakness.

      Like

    • Greetings Verdant Servant

      Verdant Servant wrote:
      «If we take for instance proposition C (God does not sleep), we find it is categorical and difficult to reconcile with the assumed scenario. God does not sleep means He does not engage in the act of sleeping; He doesn’t do sleeping.»

      I’m not so sure that’s the case. I think many Christians would take it as meaning the divine being that is God will not fall into sleep –into unconsciousness– rather God is always alert and aware, yet without such precluding the possibility of God (or more specifically, an aspect or person within God) from acquiring a secondary form like a creature, and engaging in sleep via that form. Of course Scripture does not go into that level of explicit detail, but nor does it rule out that perhaps more nuanced possibility.

      But permit me to explain a rough chronology of how I reached the point of thinking about the subject discussed in the blog entry. There are Christians who will reconcile the issue of God not sleeping and Jesus sleeping by saying “He doesn’t sleep in His divine nature but He does sleep in His human nature.” When a critic objects “a person cannot be awake and sleeping at the same time,” some of those Christians might just declar, perhaps with widening eyes and a bit of hand waving, “God can do anything”. Witnessing those sorts of exchanges, it dawned on me that the Christian position could be stated perhaps a bit more carefully, and it could be noted that is possible for the sorts of sleep arrangements described to exist.

      Verdant Servant wrote:
      «Hence my question: is a person who sleeps to the extent or likeness of an inactive “consciousness range” or brain hemisphere, a person who engages in sleep? The answer seems to be yes»

      Agreed. On the Dyophysite model proposed, I would say Christ slept (though, admittedly, perhaps with an asterisk).

      For another analogy, suppose advanced science (or a decree of God) enabled you to animate a second brain and body, without rescinding your current brain and body (ergo, you wind up animating two forms, each with its own brain, simultaneously). Suppose, via your primary form, you stay up all night (e.g. working on a project), I and hang out with you during that time. Suppose further that via your secondary form, you walk to another location (away from where I am), and via that second form enter into a sleep state (which another person observes). I could honestly say “Verdant Servant stayed up all night (i.e. he did not go to sleep),” while the other person observing your second form could honestly say “I witnessed Verdant Servant sleep.” In the extraordinary case of a single person with two forms, we can make these sorts of parallel assertions, which would constitute a contradiction if only one form were involved, yet which do not contradict under the (admittedly extraordinary) actual circumstances. With that analogy in mind, we could likewise say that God never slept (though perhaps with an asterisk or two in light of the details about the Incarnation).

      Like

  13. Birth and other natural phenomenon—The Quran (2:255) says that God does not sleep or get drowsy—therefore all phenomenon “natural” or otherwise occur because of God’s will. There is no need of “clockwork” universe type thing….for Muslims. Therefore, conceptions that are sexual or asexual have the same “cause” which is “God’s will”. If God is the cause of all phenomenon equally—then one type of phenomenon is not more worthy/superior than the other—all are equally sacred…..
    Therefore, the study of “revelation”, both the Quran and nature, are important so that we can fulfill the obligation that was entrusted to us…..that of being stewards/trustees…

    So you can see that the Islamic meta-narrative has a purpose—it leads/guides one towards a goal….

    So what purpose does making sense of the incarnation and/or its mechanics, serve to you as a Christian?…suppose that this analogy of God sleepwalking as Jesus Christ satisfies as an explanation—what purpose does it serve to you?

    Like

    • Greetings Anon

      Anon wrote:
      «The Quran (2:255) says that God does not sleep or get drowsy»

      Permit one small quibble: the popular NOI minister Wesley Muhammad made an interesting observation in his 2011 lecture on philology: the relevant verse in surat al-Baqara does not literally say God does not sleep; rather it states that neither sleep nor slumber overtake God. In other words, the verse can be read as meaning God will never be forced to sleep against God’s will, but that in itself does not preclude the possibility of God freely choosing to engage in sleep.

      [Note: If one is tempted to try to inform me that the NOI is outside the scope of orthodoxy, such is unnecessary, as that’s actually the point of the lecture linked to above. Dr. Wesley Muhammad has long been part of a team of NOI/5prcntr counter-missionaries, attempting to resist the missionary work of Sunnis and Ahmadis alike, who have long made inroads into the African American community and strive to spread contempt for the interpretations of the NOI and the 5prcntNGE.]

      Anon wrote:
      «what purpose does making sense of the incarnation and/or its mechanics, serve to you as a Christian?»

      There are critics out there who will say a certain aspect of a Christian doctrine is actually impossible. I think in certain cases it can be shown that reality (and what is possible, thus logical space) is more complex than they realize. A richer understanding of what is possible has apologetic value insofar that others will see that their critics may have come to the table with an incomplete, or not sufficiently nuanced grasp of reality.

      Like

  14. May I add my few shekels Denis ?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Greetings Unitarian!

      Of course! Please do share your thoughts. I always appreciate your contributions.

      [However, I’m unsure what my ability to take part in this thread will look like this weekend (family duties), so please forgive me if I’m slow to respond.]

      Like

  15. “A richer understanding of what is possible has apologetic value insofar that others will see that their critics may have come to the table with an incomplete, or not sufficiently nuanced grasp of reality.”

    I would have thought that after 2000 years of attempts at nuance—within Christianity itself—that one might have accepted that there is no possibility of ever grasping the Christian puzzle of God? …and if Christians can’t figure it out—there is even less possibility of trying to convince others….in which case an honest admission that it is a mystery serves as better “apologetics” ?

    Perhaps the greater strength of Christianity may be to live (and struggle) with a God “whose reality cannot be known”? rather than to make God into something that fits into some “natural” (created) phenomenon simply to make it appear “reasonable” and certain?

    I have heard Christians trying to explain God by analogy to water or to an egg…etc…and I can sympathize with their struggle to “make sense” of God—but to me as a Muslim, such attempts simply, ridiculously, reduce
    God……the awe we can feel when we go out into the grandness of nature and realize it is God’s creation!….it gets lost in analogies of broken eggs and sleepwalking beings?!…..

    Nevertheless, our human nature compels us to make sense of things and your attempt was an interesting new perspective—not convincing…but thats ok, its the struggle that is important…..

    Liked by 1 person

    • Greetings again, Anon

      Anon wrote:
      «I would have thought that after 2000 years of attempts at nuance—within Christianity itself—that one might have accepted that there is no possibility of ever grasping the Christian puzzle of God?»

      I would say that in both our faiths God is not fully comprehensible. But to say that does not mean one cannot attempt to make sense of aspects of doctrines about God. In neither of our faiths is it an “all or nothing” deal, where either we understand absolutely everything about God or else we cannot know anything about God.

      Certainly within Catholicism there has been a sense of (a) the community’s body of knowledge and understanding growing, and (b) each individual’s understanding growing. I do not think there will ever be a point in my lifetime where I’ll conclude that Christians should stop thinking and stop conversing (I know you did not say such explicitly, but I fear such may have been implicit, even if unintentionally so).

      Anon wrote:
      «if Christians can’t figure it out—there is even less possibility of trying to convince others»

      Well, in my own experience in years past, some of the analogies employed by William Lane Craig were helpful in opening my heart up to the possibility of some of the Christian mysteries. I doubt any particular approach is going to persuade everyone, but certain approaches can appeal to some. And I know of others (Christians and non-Christians alike) who have found some of the ideas I work with to be helpful.

      Whatever the case, the point is not so much to win everyone over in one shot, but rather to move the conversation forward, in increments. I have found that many discussions have participants simply assuming multiple premises which theselves each could require long debate. Many of us see things differently, and I suspect that the more nuances I can get on the table, the better chance I might have of helping others get a sense of how I see things.

      Anon wrote:
      «an honest admission that it is a mystery serves as better “apologetics” ?»

      I’m not convinced these have to be mutually exclusive options. On the contrary, I think we can say that both (a) God is ultimately beyond human comprehension, and (b) believers are permitted to take part in discussions engaging polemics which claim aspects of their doctrine posit something “impossible”.

      Anon wrote:
      «rather than to make God into something that fits into some “natural” (created) phenomenon simply to make it appear “reasonable” and certain?»

      Well, mind you, I’m fine with saying that God ultimately is unlike anything in creation (cf. Exodus 8:10, Deuteronomy 33:26, 2 Samuel 7:22, 1 Chronicles 17:20, Isaiah 46:9), and I don’t think employing analogies from creation constitutes a denial of such. The point is more that there are a number of cases where certain polemicists will say “this is impossible,” yet which I think a Christian can respond “actually, we see something analogous even in creation…”

      Anon wrote:
      «I have heard Christians trying to explain God by analogy to water or to an egg…etc»

      Or even Cerberus! 🙂 I myself engage in such (not so much the egg, but certainly a triangle, and even Cerberus, though it may make other Christians frown). But I think it is obvious that is not to say God is a triangle (much less a three headed dog); rather these analogies help to explain concepts relevant to aspects of doctrine (for example, William Lane Craig popularized using the analogy of a cat in an attempt to help others get a sense of the concept of using a single word in different senses, e.g. alternatively as a noun and as a predicate, such as saying the cat is a feline, and different parts within that cat –its brain, its skeleton– are feline, yet they are not individual felines).

      Anon wrote:
      «to me as a Muslim, such attempts simply, ridiculously, reduce
      God»

      I would note, however, that the Qur’an refers to God’s yad, to God’s wajh, to God mounting a throne, et cetera. It seems to me there are at least possibilities:
      (a) those are metaphors, which would seem to hint that even your own scripture employs something akin to analogies when describing an aspect or action of God, or
      (b) they are referring to a supracosmic “hand,” “face,” and “throne mounting,” the modes of which are currently not within human comprehension, which would seem to entail considerable mystery.

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  16. I wonder what neurobiologists and somnologists would have to say about this.

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  17. The dogma that Christ possessed two different natures at the same time is a logical contradiction that cannot be reconciled with reason, let alone common sense and logic. Both natures are completely opposite to each other. This is a dangerous result of taking excessive human philosophy in the domain of theology to the absolute extreme, it consequently spawned the four-winged creature of the Church possessing two natures and two wills. According to the Church (decreed at the Third Council of Constantinople) the Nature and Will are connected together, they attributed to Christ Two Wills corresponding to the Two Natures. But nature doesn’t communicate or speak, the Will is generated by the Mind or intelligence. If the Nature proceeds from the Will (and vice-versa) then subsequently the Will must proceed from the Mind too. Yet the Christians would conveniently deny that Jesus possessed Two Minds but maintain he exercised “two natures” and “two wills”. The Will is essentially a product generated by the intelligence, so the Two Wills actually proves the existence of two minds! This means he comprised Two Persons (Nestorianism) because nature, will, and mind are interconnected. The Two Wills corresponds to the Two Natures, but obviously Will is a generated action of the Mind. How can there be Will without the Mind? If he possessed Two Wills that demonstrates Two Minds and hence Two Persons! Each person has a separate Mind, two persons would have two minds, leading to the heresy of Nestorianism. Just as the Third Council of Constantinople imagined there cannot be Nature without Will they cannot have Two Wills without corresponding Minds as well. This appeal to “naturalistic explanations” is not satisfying because it immensely differs from the speculative theology of the Church. The Christology is actually a product of mental gymnastics, sheer imagination, and speculative theology that took human philosophizing to the extreme.

    The human mind is capable of inventing conflicting versions of God, so the Christians had conflicting versions of the Trinity. Are the three persons intelligent and self-aware or merely three centers of consciousness? This would make them abstract. If one center is externally aware of the other center it points to the existence of multiple intelligences. The problem with the Trinity is the grave implications it raises. The Father knows he’s not the Son and the Son knows he’s not the Father and Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit knows he’s not the Father and Son. The Father commands the Son, the Son commands the Holy Spirit (immanent trinity), but the Holy Spirit has no power to command the Father and Son. How is that possible if they are completely God? Why cannot the Holy Spirit command the Father? Why does the Spirit proceed from the Father and Son if they are completely and coequally God? This consequently opens the door to tritheism. The Father generates the Son, the Son has no power to generate himself, the will to generate and the will to be generated make TWO WILLS but anything more than ONE WILL is polytheism–more than One God.How convenient for Christians to forge a distinction between Person and Being. One human person is one human being. If someone said he’s one being comprising three persons it would be insanity. It is obvious why Christians made a distinction between Person and Being, they don’t want to be accused of tritheism.

    The idea that God became a man is problematic. It is analogous to a squared circle. If the square became a circle it would no longer be square, so when God imaginatively changed and became Man he was no longer God. Yet the Christians claim he remained God, what happened to the Divine mind during kenosis? How could God relinquish his attributes? This would make him deformed, limited, and defective. If the square only just indwelled the circle (the human body) that would resemble Gnostic Valentinism. But the Christians don’t believe “God the Son” indwelled Jesus’ body like a cocoon, they believe the divine substance literally BECAME the human flesh itself. They say Jesus was “completely God” and “completely Man” at the same time. A square cannot adopt the characteristics of a circle and still remain a perfect complete square, a circular square is a deformed shape, not a perfect square. So the statement that Jesus was completely God and Man is a meaningless statement.

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    • Greetings “Infinity and One” (henceforth I&O)

      I&O wrote:
      «The dogma that Christ possessed two different natures at the same time is a logical contradiction»

      On what grounds? What precludes even the possibility of a single person of possessing two natures?

      I&O wrote:
      «Both natures are completely opposite to each other.»

      But that need not be a problem. For an analogy, let’s use physical form rather than nature. Suppose modern science (or decree of God) enabled a person to animate two forms simultaneously. It could easily be the case that they differed, e.g. one form could be all one color while the other form had none of that color; one form could be cubic in shape while other could be spherical in shape; one could be very large and the other very small, et cetera

      I&O wrote:
      «Christians would conveniently deny that Jesus possessed Two Minds»

      Actually, Thomas V. Morris proposed precisely that in his book, The Logic of God Incarnate (though he was careful to define a mind as something a person has, rather than something a person is).

      I&O wrote:
      «This means he comprised Two Persons (Nestorianism) because nature, will, and mind are interconnected.»

      It need not entail two persons, as there seems to be considerable literature on the possibility of a single person having two wills (and yes, even two minds, depending how such is defined). The most persuasive literature in this regard would be studies on commissurotomy patients.

      I&O wrote:
      «Are the three persons intelligent and self-aware or merely three centers of consciousness?»

      Are you taking the position that a “center of consciousness” cannot be intelligent and self-aware? Please elaborate.

      I&O wrote:
      «the Holy Spirit has no power to command the Father and Son. How is that possible if they are completely God? Why cannot the Holy Spirit command the Father?»

      Is it necessarily the case that the Holy Spirit has no power to do so? Or could it be the case that the arrangement was one agreed upon by the Persons? [Mind you, perhaps what you proposed is held in certain Christian circles; I have seen some Orthodox call the Father “the font of divinity” —though even that could conceivably be interpreted as via agreement? or even an eternal procession need not entail the impossibility of the converse?— but I personally am not aware of an official dogma obligating such a belief.]

      I&O wrote:
      «Why does the Spirit proceed from the Father and Son if they are completely and coequally God?»

      What would preclude one truly divine Person from proceeding forth from another truly divine Person?

      I&O wrote:
      «anything more than ONE WILL is polytheism–more than One God.»

      Based on what? If multiple wills can exist within a single creation, why could multiple wills not exist within a single God? And would it be three wills if those three wills were always in agreement? Could such be considered a common will?

      I&O wrote:
      «How convenient for Christians to forge a distinction between Person and Being.»

      I would think you would have to define “being” before insinuating that a single being cannot comprise multiple persons.

      I&O wrote:
      «The idea that God became a man is problematic. It is analogous to a squared circle. If the square became a circle it would no longer be square»

      This brings us back to the analogy of the person with two forms. Could a mind which animates a circular form not ever (neither by science nor God) be enabled to also animate a secondary form which is square shaped? On what grounds must we conclude such is impossible?

      I&O wrote:
      «How could God relinquish his attributes?»

      I don’t believe God ever relinquished any divine attributes.

      ***

      Now, like with several other posts, I fear we may be at risk of moving away from the subject of the blog entry, so I wish to ask you a question: do you agree or disagree that it is possible for a single living being two possess multiple ranges (or tiers, tracks, locations) of mentation (multiple minds, if you will), and for those ranges to be in an asymmetrical sleep arrangement (where one is awake and the other is in a sleep state)?

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  18. “I would say that in both our faiths God is not fully comprehensible. But to say that does not mean one cannot attempt to make sense of aspects of doctrines about God. In neither of our faiths is it an “all or nothing” deal, where either we understand absolutely everything about God or else we cannot know anything about God.”
    —————————
    I do not much like binary restrictions in thinking (all or nothing)—and I agree it is intrinsic human nature to attempt to “make sense”….yet, the idea that God is One—is an idea that instinctively “makes sense” even without any mental gymnastics, therefore, introduction of any uncertainty (non-absolute) is for the purpose of humility….

    WLC/apologetics—I do see some value in apologetics,….though some might argue that it simply recycles the essence of old arguments in new language…..but so what?, it is still fun….
    Perhaps some person might find it helpful to know the genetics/bio-engineering could explain how a form of human/elephant could be created and therefore “make sense” of the incarnation of “God” into the form of human/elephant—-but how convincing is that going to be to you or me?……

    Yet, if analogies can encourage people, either Hindu, Christian, or other, to love God, and thereby become better human beings…I suppose the effort is worth it, even if I, as a Muslim, cannot give assent to it….as the Quran says, God created diversity so that we can know one another…..

    so…would your analogy work for you in the context of the Eucharist? (transubstantiation/metousiosis)

    (from wiki:-
    The declaration of the 1672 Orthodox Synod of Jerusalem is quoted by J.M. Neale (History of Eastern Church, Parker, Oxford and London, 1858) as follows: “When we use the word metousiosis, we by no means think it explains the mode by which the bread and wine are converted into the Body and Blood of Christ, for this is altogether incomprehensible . . . but we mean that the bread and wine are changed into the Body and Blood of the Lord, not figuratively or symbolically, nor by any extraordinary grace attached to them . . . but . . . the bread becomes verily and indeed and essentially the very true Body of the Lord, and the wine the very Blood of the Lord.”
    The Catechism of the Catholic Church likewise states that the change is real, but that how it occurs is a mystery: “The signs of bread and wine become, in a way surpassing understanding, the Body and Blood of Christ)

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    • Greetings Anon

      Anon wrote:
      «I do not much like binary restrictions in thinking (all or nothing)»

      I assumed neither of us do. But do you agree that in both our faiths, there are things people purport to know about God and things which people concede to not knowing about God? Or do you think the dichotomy is “Christianity teaches absolutely nothing is known about God, while Islam teaches everything about God is known”? Presumably you agree that in both our faiths there is a mix of the knowable and the unknowable, yes?

      Anon wrote:
      «the idea that God is One—is an idea that instinctively “makes sense”»

      Sure, and Christians agree God is one. But that is not all either of our faiths claim about God. I’m under the impression that your faith attributes, in some sense, a yad and a wajh to God, alludes to God mounting a throne, refers to God “speaking” things into existence, perhaps even has God existing without a body, outside of time and space, perhaps dimensionless, and yet also infinite?, depicts God as interacting with a creation which is not any finite distance away from that God, et cetera. Are all these concepts simple and easy to understand? Do they require considerable discussion? Should some be waved off as metaphors and others waved off as unknowable? In short, can we agree that your faith, like mine, has a conception of God which is at times complex, difficult to understand, and perhaps even mysterious?

      Anon wrote:
      «Perhaps some person might find it helpful to know the genetics/bio-engineering could explain how a form of human/elephant could be created and therefore “make sense” of the incarnation of “God” into the form of human/elephant—-but how convincing is that going to be to you or me?»

      Would the only goal be to convince a specific Christian or Muslim that it is actually the case? What if someone said it is impossible? Could there be value in arguing for the possibility, even if one does not convince everyone of its actuality? And if I, personally, do not believe something is actual, do I therefore have to deny that it is even possible?

      But since you brought that up, let’s each put a card on the table. While I am not a Hindu, I do believe that it is possible for God to create a physical form which has the head of an elephant and the body of a human (of course one or the other might have to be scaled in size for a better fit). I, personally, do not believe such actually existed, but I do not see it as outside the realm of possibility. Can you say the same about yourself? Or do you, as a Muslim, deny even the possibility of such a form? I hope not, but if so, forgive me, I might wonder about Hinduphobia…

      Anon wrote:
      «would your analogy work for you in the context of the Eucharist?»

      I question whether the precise analogy I employed in this blog entry could have much relevance to discussions on the Eucharist, but, if someone said transubstantiation or the real presence was impossible, I suppose I could think up analogies which might help to show how it could be possible. Of course, similar to what is noted in the seventh/last end note of the blog entry above, I would not claim that what I proposed necessarily reflects the precise “mechanics” of the Eucharist.

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  19. DS wrote:

    On what grounds? What precludes even the possibility of a single person of possessing two natures?

    Response:

    The dual nature is a problem because it raises too many difficult questions. It is impossible to determine if the two natures were mixed together in the same body or remained distinct. Is the dual nature within Christ analogous to conjoined twins? They are inseparable from each other but distinguishable from the other, not mixed and confused. The word “union” is ambiguous and recondite. Is it meaning to signify a mixed union or unmixed union? if they aren’t mixed together why choose the word union? If they are united together as a substance what stops them from mixing? There was a fifth century Byzantine bishop called Eutyches who claimed the human and divine natures mixed together to produce a third nature—completely divine, he was accused of Monophysitism. The Christians believe the two natures are undivided and unmixed, they are inseparable and completely united. They function and behave together within one person. This is quite shocking because it implies that when Jesus (as a human being) used the bathroom that was divinity (or the “divine nature”) also participating in the action! We mean no offence here, only exposing the grave implications of the doctrine. When he stormed the Temple and displayed human emotion that was divinity also taking part too! One may possibly ask the question: How can something limited and finite (the human nature) participate in something divine like performing a miracle? The real problematic question is asking how could the divine nature participate in something extremely human? What about Jesus’ alleged death on the cross? Was that humanity experiencing death alongside the divinity? Christians would say the human part suffered death, not the divinity, meaning the “human nature” died, not the divine element. This is separating the natures from each other (Nestorianism) and dividing them. This is a dangerous heresy that most Christians commit, but according to the Hypostatic Union the humanity and divinity are united. This means when Jesus’ humanity died on the cross the divinity (“divine nature”) must’ve died too. If so, who governed the universe when the “God-Man” was completely dead? The universe would’ve been destroyed if God died.

    DS wrote:

    Based on what? If multiple wills can exist within a single creation, why could multiple wills not exist within a single God? And would it be three wills if those three wills were always in agreement? Could such be considered a common will?

    Response:

    The problem is that Three Wills depicts God as a schizophrenic being. A single person exercises One Will because he’s one human being, not a multiplicity of persons. The hands and arms are attributes, not persons, so the Holy Spirit is the attributive power, not a personal entity or hypostasis. The Three Wills signifies Three Essences because One Will denotes One Person and Being. Even if they are always in agreement it still counts as three wills. Three human beings would have three separate wills (possessing their own) because they are three essences, not One Being making up three persons. This cannot be applied to God without compromising monotheism. The majority of Trinitarians don’t believe the Godhead comprises of three wills, To say the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are in agreement is dangerous, it depicts God as a schizophrenic being communicating to himself. If the One God is three persons comprising one being, how can God be the son of himself? Is the Trinity analogous to a three-headed dog? The Trinity seems to depict God as a schizophrenic being who makes up three persons communicating to himself as himself.

    DS wrote:

    Is it necessarily the case that the Holy Spirit has no power to do so? Or could it be the case that the arrangement was one agreed upon by the Persons? [Mind you, perhaps what you proposed is held in certain Christian circles; I have seen some Orthodox call the Father “the font of divinity” —though even that could conceivably be interpreted as via agreement? or even an eternal procession need not entail the impossibility of the converse?— but I personally am not aware of an official dogma obligating such a belief.]

    Response:

    The superiority of the Father is clear, He alone is unbegotten and ungenerated, he doesn’t proceed from anyone. We cannot say God generated the Son (or another person) because that attaches a need to him, when God doesn’t have any needs. Therefore, he doesn’t need to generate another person of himself who is distinguished. The Holy Spirit cannot be God, otherwise it would mean God proceeded from God, it must be His presence, power, and purpose that emanates from Him, not a third person. The Eastern versions of the Nicene Creed says “The Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father”, the Roman Church added the clause “and the Son” (Filioque) to make it say the Spirit proceeds from the Son too, which wasn’t originally part of the creed. The Spirit and Logos are simply Attributes of God that Christians have transformed into persons, it is something that belongs to God as reflections of His Divine Essence. He is numerically One Person and Being. The hypostatization of the Attributes would allow endless persons into the Godhead! He doesn’t have needs, the Son and Spirit needed to derive from the Father, so they cannot be God. This would explain why Jesus said “The Father is greater than I” (Jhn. 14:28), “The Father is greater than all” (Jhn. 10:29), and the Father is the Only True God (Jhn. 17:3).

    The “center of consciousness” may be aware but that doesn’t mean it is a person. The majority of Christians say persons, making a distinction between Person and Being for obvious reasons. They know if both are synonymous (“being” and “person”) it would consequently mean Three Beings (Three Gods). With regards to the Kenosis, there are two views. One is functional kenosis, that God limited some attributes to become man (a limited God). The second view is ontological kenosis, that God (“the Son”) gave up some attributes to become human.(deformed God).

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    • Greetings I&O

      I&O wrote:
      «DS wrote»

      Wait, what does the ‘S’ stand for? Perhaps DG fits better? 😉

      I&O wrote:
      «The dual nature is a problem because it raises too many difficult questions.»

      A great many things have a seemingly endless list of potentially difficult questions awaiting them, depending on who asks. But note that you said that a single person possessing two natures at the same time is a “logical contradiction”. I’d like to know how you reached that conclusion. A concept can have many unanswered questions, but that in itself does not mean it constitutes a logical contradiction (for example, get into physics, and find many questions still unanswered –with perhaps the corpus of questions growing as cosmological theories develop– but the existence of those questions do not in themselves mean a particular stance taken by physicisists is therefore a contradiction).

      I&O wrote:
      «It is impossible to determine if the two natures were mixed together in the same body or remained distinct.»

      But even if so, this would not mean the concept constitutes a contradiction. Suppose I say there are two substances –two bits of “stuff”– (e.g. two powders, or two liquids, et cetera) in a container, somewhere. I don’t give you enough details to know whether those substances mixed, or remained separate. Does that mean the assertion “there are two powders/liquids in a container” therefore constitutes a contradiction?

      Take these two propositions:

      (1) A single Y comprises two Xs.

      (2) The person named I&O has no idea whether the two Xs remain separate or if they mix, nor has anyone adequately explained to him what sort of union they are in, and he has a number of other questions.

      Proposition (2) does not lead to the conclusion that proposition (1) is a contradiction. Or is it your position that unless every single possible question about the “mechanics” of a concept is answered, the concept itself is automatically a contradiction?

      I&O wrote:
      «when Jesus (as a human being) used the bathroom that was divinity (or the “divine nature”) also participating in the action! We mean no offence here»

      Honestly, I’ve known a great quite a few Muslims over the years who wanted to ask about Jesus going to the bathroom. I’ve also known quite a few atheists who like to ask theists if the all-seeing God watches them when they go to the bathroom, or engage in other private activities. I suspect both phenomena are rooted in a desire to reach for something shocking. But appeals to emotion (or attempts to generate gasps) aside, is it your position that a divine person would be incapable of animating a physical, biological form which engages in bodily functions typical of that form? Can what is logically possible extend beyond what some humans might find “icky”?

      I&O wrote:
      «One may possibly ask the question: How can something limited and finite (the human nature) participate in something divine like performing a miracle?»

      Do you believe God cannot perform a miracle via something finite? Are you a Muslim? If so, do you believe any past prophets performed miracles? If so, do you believe those prophets were divine and infinite?

      I&O wrote:
      «how could the divine nature participate in something extremely human?»

      What would preclude a divine Person from acquiring a secondary form morphologiocally typical of a given creature and engaging in something typical of that form (or typical of creatures the form is typically associated with)?

      I&O wrote:
      «What about Jesus’ alleged death on the cross? Was that humanity experiencing death alongside the divinity?»

      When a person suffers somatic termination, they die. I would not say somatic termination (where the physical body goes into failure and the person becomes disembodied) is the only form of death, but it is nonetheless an authentic form of death. Therefore, I would say the single Person, that is the Son, died. He did not cease to exist. But He did acquire a human form, and undergo somatic termination via that form, and thus He died.

      I&O wrote:
      «Christians would say the human part suffered death, not the divinity, meaning the “human nature” died, not the divine element.»

      This Christian right here says that the one Person died (though it may be worth noting I acknowledge multiple senses of death).

      I&O wrote:
      «who governed the universe when the “God-Man” was completely dead?»

      Do you believe death is the cessation of existence? I do not, ergo I would say the Person, the Son, still existed, even between His death and resurrection (something explicitly affirmed by the Bible). So the Son could continue to sustain the universe. And this is not a new concept; consider the following, which I shared previously, elsewhere in the thread:


      (if this looks strange on one’s device, it can also be seen here)

      I (Denis) asked:
      «If multiple wills can exist within a single creation, why could multiple wills not exist within a single God? And would it be three wills if those three wills were always in agreement? Could such be considered a common will?»

      I&O replied:
      «The problem is that Three Wills depicts God as a schizophrenic being»

      With all due respect, this sort of answer seems more intent on reaching for a shocking statement than actually answering the question. But it seems you deny even the possibility of a single person possessing multiple wills? More on this immediately below…

      I&O wrote:
      «A single person exercises One Will»

      If you intend this as a denial of the possibility of a single person possessing multiple wills, the question remains: on what grounds do you assert such? While I await your answer, this seems an auspicious time to put forth a case for why “one person can only have one will” is far from a foregone conclusion. The existence of multiple wills within individuals has been argued for in scientific literature for quite some time. Roughly a century ago, Pierre Janet proposed that there could be multiple modes of operation within the human mind:

        «[Pierre] Janet formulated a view of human psychology that consisted of two basic elements. The first was the notion that we are dual beings. We exist and operate in two different spheres simultaneously: the conscious and the subconscious. The second element was a dynamic view of the subconscious as a region of multiple centers operating quite distinctly from each other and separately affecting conscious life. […] Janet proved to his satisfaction that hysterics can carry out actions and produce communcations demonstrating the operation of a consciousness completely unknown to their ordinary waking self. Janet coined the term “subconscious” to designate manifestations of the second consciousness. […] He said that these buried ideas draw related thoughts to themselves and coalesce into subconscious psychic centers that can attain a surprising degree of autonomy. […] Like the conscious part, the subconscious part is capable of independent mental acts and has its own responses to experience.»
        [SOURCE: Edwin R. Wallace, John Gach (eds.), History of Psychiatry and Medical Psychology: With an Epilogue on Psychiatry, (Springer, 2008), p. 575.]

      Similarly, Sigmund Freud had posited that available evidence pointed to the human brain having at least two layers of consciousness, each with its own semblance of will. Fritz Wittels summed up Freud’s position thusly:

        «We make mistakes, slips of the tongue, we pick up the wrong thing, we forget, because the unconscious has a will of its own which differs from our conscious will; and because the unconscious does what it pleases with us when our strictly logical attention lapses for a moment. This inner will, which is so often an opposing will, can be known by its works, by manifold trifles of everyday occurrence.»
        [SOURCE: Fritz Wittels, Sigmund Freud: His Personality, His Teaching, & His School, (Routledge, 1924), pp. 98-99.]

      Also, on page 99 of that same work, Wittels noted that “Freud had rightly pointed out […] a disturbance of the will through the operation of a counter-will.”

      Now, of course, the positions of Janet and Freud could be waved off as somewhat theoretical. The broad strokes of their concepts, however, seem to have since been corroborated by neuroscience, when scientists began to study commissurotomy (i.e. split brain) patients, who had their corpus callosum severed (a subject alluded to in the blog entry above). Here’s how Iain McGilchrist describes the situation with the two hemispheres of the brain:

        «If there are separate sensations, percepts, thoughts and memories, as well as separate ways of dealing with all of these, it would hardly be surprising if there were separate desires formed, separate wills, to each hemisphere — and we know from split-brain subjects’ experience that this is the case.»
        [SOURCE: Iain McGilchrist, The Master and His Emissary: The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World, (Yale University Press, 2009), p. 220.]

      Those studying subjects with a severed corpus callosum (whether in humans or animals) observed how, with the different (separated) hemispheres of the brain controlling different parts of the body, the differing wills of those hemispheres could play out physically. One humorous example is the following (which also came up in the blog entry):

        «if a split-brain monkey gets hold of a peanut with both hands, the result is sometimes a tug of war.»
        [SOURCE: Thomas Nagel, “Brain Bisection and the Unity of Consciousness,” Synthese, vol. 22 (1971), p. 399.]

      Scientists studying commissurotomy patients were able to converse with the different hemispheres of the patients’ brains, independently of one another, with interesting results, like, for example, the following from one case study:

        «Paul S. showed some interesting differences between his hemispheres. His right hemisphere said he wanted to be a racing driver whereas his left hemisphere wanted him to be a draughtsman!»
        [SOURCE: Michael Eysenck, Fundamentals of Psychology, (Psychology Press, 2009), p. 108.]

      The popular science writer Michio Kaku summed up the phenomenon thusly:

        Normally the hemispheres complement each other as thoughts move back and forth between the two. […] But the left brain is the dominant one and makes the final decisions. Commands pass from the left brain to the right brain via the corpus callosum. But if the connection is cut, it means that the right brain is now free from the dictatorship of the left brain. Perhaps the right brain can have a will of its own, contradicting the wishes of the dominant left brain. In short, there could be two wills acting within one skull, sometimes struggling for control of the body.>>
        [SOURCE: Michio Kaku, The Future of the Mind: The Scientific Quest to Understand, Enhance, and Empower the Mind, (Anchor Books, 2014), pp. 37-38.]

      Now, I realize I quoted quite a bit, above. But the point I was attempting to make is that I see no reason to consider the possibility of a single person possessing multiple wills impossible. And I would also note the concept of one struggling against one’s own nafs, a subject with a long history in Muslim literature, as that too seems to hint at the possibility of multiple wills within a person (I wonder what your position on that is?). And this brings us back to a still yet unanswered question:

      If multiple wills can exist within a single creation, why could multiple wills not exist within a single God?

      ***

      I&O wrote:
      «Is the Trinity analogous to a three-headed dog?»

      There are many Christians who balk at Cerberus analogies. I would prefer to say that, of course, there would be profound differences between God and Cerberus, but, like other analogies (e.g. triangles, cats), it could still be useful in explaining different concepts. If you’re interested, I discuss a bit of that here.

      I&O wrote:
      «The superiority of the Father is clear, He alone is unbegotten and ungenerated, he doesn’t proceed from anyone.»

      This may depend on what we mean by “beget” and “generate”. Suppose there is a body of water with two sentient centers of consciousness within it. Suppose the two agree that one will send forth the other (without separating). What in this scenario precludes a continual equality between the two “minds” within that single body of water?

      I&O wrote:
      «We cannot say God generated the Son (or another person) because that attaches a need to him, when God doesn’t have any needs.»

      This seems on par with saying “we cannot say God created the universe, because that attaches a need to God, and God doesn’t have any needs.” Can God (or a Person within God) freely engage in an action not necessarily dictated by need?
      [Nota Bene: if the above is taken as a concession that Christ is created, the point will have been missed.]

      I&O wrote:
      «The Holy Spirit cannot be God, otherwise it would mean God proceeded from God»

      And yet the the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed refers to the Son’s relationship with the Father as Θεον αληθινον εκ Θεου αληθινου. Of course, this need not mean the existence of two gods, but rather the existence of multiple divine Persons, within the one God (and each able to bear the title of the one God), and one being able to “proceed forth” from (or “send forth”) another.

      I&O wrote:
      «Jesus said “The Father is greater than I” (Jhn. 14:28)»

      He also affirmed His equality with the Father (John 5:18). Philippians 2:5-7 tells us that as He took on human likeness, He transitioned from equality with God to taking on the role of a servant, and Christ Himself said no servant is greater than his master (John 13:16). Ergo christians can take John 14:28 as from the perspective of His human nature, and a difference in rank which continues unto this day.

      I&O wrote:
      «the Father is the Only True God (Jhn. 17:3)»

      The Father bears that title, but there is no indication that He bears that title to the exclusion of the other two persons. As mentioned previously, I discuss that subject here.

      I&O wrote:
      «making a distinction between Person and Being»

      Are rocks beings? Are rocks persons? Are you sure person and being are identical terms? Mind you, I’m fine with saying a particular person is a being, but I see nothing incoherent about saying a being can be impersonal, unipersonal or even multipersonal. But I wonder what your definition of “being” is.

      Like

    • Infinity and One

      You have said it all. Thanks.

      Liked by 1 person

  20. i think the rich man did accept jesus as “good teacher”

    the only difference is that he did not see “good teacher” as the ALMIGHTY ALLAH.

    QUOTING ME :

    has the rich man fully accepted jesus as “good teacher” but rejected the commandment of god?
    has the rich man accepted jesus as teacher, but rejected what jesus thinks god wants?
    so in the story is jesus and god seen as two separate beings?

    jesus is said to have “loved him”
    and the man first says “good teacher”

    then he stops calling him “good”
    he says “teacher”
    so it is clear he has accepted jesus as teacher, right?

    the guy didn’t want to become homeless. can you still consider someone teacher if you don’t accept what they say?

    in the story the man seems to have more respect for jesus than god. so it clearly seems that god and jesus are two separate beings.

    jesus as a prophet reveals, “god wants you to give up all your riches and live a homeless life…”

    this instruction is rejected, but so far we see that the rich man says he is keeping the teachings from the torah.
    he goes away in sorrow, not in anger or disagreement.

    so is it true that this guy accepted jesus as a teacher , but not one to be followed in everything ?

    rich man story clarified :

    Well, I think that Mark’s point is that the rich man is too wealthy to follow his own principles, which have led him to a difficult place. He accepts Jesus as a good teacher, but winds up not being able to follow through on all of it. He is sorrowful because he knows in his gut that Jesus is probably right. I doubt he thinks that Jesus is wrong in this example, in which case anger and disagreement (as you note) would have been more appropriate. It may be kind of like me realizing that some of my habits of living (such as driving a car regularly) are not great for the planet, but to give them up would mean giving up visiting my daughters, and so on. So I am sad that I cannot do more, but it does not change my behavior.

    Like

  21. rich man in my opinion fully accepted jesus as “good teacher”

    quoting me :
    has the rich man fully accepted jesus as “good teacher” but rejected the commandment of god?
    has the rich man accepted jesus as teacher, but rejected what jesus thinks god wants?
    so in the story is jesus and god seen as two separate beings?

    jesus is said to have “loved him”
    and the man first says “good teacher”

    then he stops calling him “good”
    he says “teacher”
    so it is clear he has accepted jesus as teacher, right?

    the guy didn’t want to become homeless. can you still consider someone teacher if you don’t accept what they say?

    in the story the man seems to have more respect for jesus than god. so it clearly seems that god and jesus are two separate beings.

    jesus as a prophet reveals, “god wants you to give up all your riches and live a homeless life…”

    this instruction is rejected, but so far we see that the rich man says he is keeping the teachings from the torah.
    he goes away in sorrow, not in anger or disagreement.

    so is it true that this guy accepted jesus as a teacher , but not one to be followed in everything ?

    quoting clarification :

    Well, I think that Mark’s point is that the rich man is too wealthy to follow his own principles, which have led him to a difficult place. He accepts Jesus as a good teacher, but winds up not being able to follow through on all of it. He is sorrowful because he knows in his gut that Jesus is probably right. I doubt he thinks that Jesus is wrong in this example, in which case anger and disagreement (as you note) would have been more appropriate. It may be kind of like me realizing that some of my habits of living (such as driving a car regularly) are not great for the planet, but to give them up would mean giving up visiting my daughters, and so on. So I am sad that I cannot do more, but it does not change my behavior.

    Like

    • Greetings Robster

      Robster wrote:
      «rich man in my opinion fully accepted jesus as “good teacher”»

      But Christ clarified that one can only affirm His goodness if they affirm His divinity. One who rejects His divinity denies His goodness. Are you saying the rich man accepted Christ as divine? This takes us to this next point:

      Robster added:
      «has the rich man accepted jesus as teacher, but rejected what jesus thinks god wants? so in the story is jesus and god seen as two separate beings?»

      Therefore, if you are proposing the rich man did not believe Jesus was divine, then that would mean, as per Christ’s teachings, he also rejected Christ’s goodness (even if only unwittingly so).

      Robster proposed:
      «this guy accepted jesus as a teacher , but not one to be followed in everything»

      Which would mean he did not fully accept Christ’s authority (hence Christ’s subsequent declaration about the improbability of a rich man making it into the Kingdom). If the man did not fully accept Christ’s authority, then it seems easy to read the biconditional proposition as a challenge (refer back to my Obama Presidential pardon analogy).

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  22. i think the guy didn’t want to live a homeless life. he took jesus as a good teacher but he didn’t want to scavenge from fig trees and dustbins. living a homeless life would mean, “father into your hands i commend my spirit” full trust in the father, not jesus.
    jesus telling him to do the will of the father (john 6:38) does not mean that to follow jesus means accept jesus as “good god” this is a stretch which makes no sense. it is the father who the rich man rejected according to jesus’ interpretation, but the rich man still considered jesus a good teacher in the sense of teaching about god. it is quite obvious jesus being the humble jew did not want to have the good attributed to god to himself

    like someone goes to muhammad ali and says

    “hey great boxer”

    and ali says , “no one is great accept ALLAH lone”

    what do you think of the following quote, is this proof that the jewish jesus did not think that the good god has, he has no part of /does not belong to him?

    quote :
    Malina and Rohrbaugh bring this up in their book
    Social-Science Commentary on the Synoptic Gospels (pp. 190-191)

    Mark 10:17-22 The man coming to Jesus here is not a hostile questioner as were the Pharisees in 10:2. The type of question he asks is one dealing with the dimensions of a morally integral way of life. Such questions are about how to be a morally complete person, pleasing to God and one’s fellow human beings. However, the man opens his question with a compliment, calling Jesus “Good Teacher.” In a limited-good society, compliments indicate aggression; they implicitly accuse a person of rising above the rest of one’s fellows at their expense. Compliments conceal envy, not unlike the evil eye. Jesus must fend off the aggressive accusation by denying any special quality of the sort that might give offence to others. Such a a procedure is fully in line with the canons of the honor-shame interaction. The honorable person, when challenged, pushes away the challenge and diffuses any accusation that might fuel the position of his opponents. Here the counterquestion serves to ward off the unwitting challenge, while the proverb “No one is good but God alone” wards off the envy.

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    • Whatever reasons one wants to speculate about, for why the man might’ve been reluctant to fully follow Jesus’ commands, it comes back to this point: such a reluctance would imply there was not a full acceptance of Christ’s authority.

      You gave a Muhammad Ali analogy; I gave an Obama analogy. In one analogy the statement was not a challenge to a doubter of one’s authority, while in the other analogy, the statement was a challenge to a doubter of one’s authority. The point, therefore, is this: the statement need not be read as a denial of divinity; rather it can be read as a challenge to a person who did not accept His fully authority.

      Therefore, reading the statement together with the rest of the Bible, I see it as alluding to how only those of us who affirm Christ’s divinity can affirm His goodness. And perhaps this ties in somewhat with the statement by C.S. Lewis, which has been repeated by so many Christians over the years, and which I reproduce below…

        A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronising nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us.
        [SOURCE: C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, (Samizdat, 2014), p. 32]

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  23. “…Christians agree God is one. But that is not all either of our faiths claim about God. I’m under the impression that your faith attributes, in some sense, a yad and a wajh to God, alludes to God mounting a throne, refers to God “speaking” things into existence, perhaps even has God existing without a body, outside of time and space, …. Should some be waved off as metaphors and others waved off as unknowable? In short, can we agree that your faith, like mine, has a conception of God which is at times complex, difficult to understand, and perhaps even mysterious?”
    ——————
    Muslims begin with a simple, knowable, clear concept—that God is One—and explore layers of complexity and depth—but in BALANCE…for example, language may entail the use of anthropomorphic imagery for convenience—but this is balanced by the idea that God has no “image” (imago dei)…this balance in the conception of One God functions to provide for the human need “to know” of God at the same time to keep in check the error of arrogance and certainty that could lead to shirk (idolatry/polytheism….) Thus, simplicity and complexity work in harmony for the intellectual and spiritual benefit of humanity….

    My impression of Christianity is that it begins with a complex “mystery” and layers it with more mystery….for example, it begins with the Trinity, (God is One–but also not) then proceeds to other doctrines such as Imago Dei, (humans are the image of God–but not) Theotokos,(Mother of God—but not really) Homousias, (Incarnation—but it is complicated), Indwelling of the Holy Spirit (Incarnation—but not quite) metousiosis (Incarnation–sort of, but)…etc….do these doctrinal paradoxes have any benefit/purpose in Christianity?
    if they (paradox) do have a function, then apologetics that simplify and reduce the complex might be counterproductive?

    Hinduism—So you would consider it is possible for God to incarnate into the form of an elephant/human? or that God may have incarnated many times in the past and will do so in the future?

    Eucharist–the “Real” (but not really) body and blood of Jesus Christ is consumed? so as to make the person holy? divine? as in God (or a part of God) becomes “flesh” = partial incarnation?

    For Muslims, Incarnation (Hindu and Christian) is rejected not on the basis of possible/impossible but because it is a completely unnecessary concept in the Islamic paradigm/worldview….it holds no purpose or benefit…..
    rather, there is more possibility of falling into error (shirk) such as the worship of created things as God…..

    Like

    • Greetings again, Anon

      Anon wrote:
      «Muslims begin with a simple, knowable, clear concept—that God is One»

      I would say Christianity begins with this as well. I think this is reflected even in the more developed Ecumenical creeds (i.e. the Apostles Creed, the Athanasian Creed and the Nicene Creed even before its Constantinopolitan revision), where it opens with a seemingly simple statement about there being one God, and then quickly unfolds more complex concepts. That might be considered a rapid telescoping of the unfolding of the faith, which, when viewed through a Christian lens, might be seen as initially starting (well before Christ’s advent) with an undefined monotheism (without clear declarations about the ontology of the one God (despite hints here and there)), and growing more complex over time as it approaches the fuller unfolding of the Church.

      The difference between our faiths is that yours doesn’t affirm any sort of divine incarnation, and thus does not delve into precisely the complexity which goes along with that. Fine, but it nonetheless remains the case that, even without such, your faith is likewise filled with concepts about God that are quite difficult to comprehend (to the point that we could describe certain things as mysteries).

      Anon wrote:
      «language may entail the use of anthropomorphic imagery for convenience»

      While I realize what you’re referring to is not exactly the same as what I engaged in in the blog entry, above, I do think there is nonetheless somewhat of a parallel or analogy, insofar that concepts are explored via references from creation, without affirming that such is the precise fact of the matter. Now, I assume part of your aversion to my approach is that it is arguing for the plausibility of something you reject, but, that aside, it seems that using concepts from creation to attempt to bridge a certain cognitive gap need not be considered verboten if even your own Scripture might be engaging in something akin to that.

      Anon wrote:
      «do these doctrinal paradoxes have any benefit/purpose in Christianity?»

      I suspect doctrine is not merely set based on whether it benefits people, but rather based on the understanding that it reflects reality. Of course a declared dogma can potentially settle a dispute within a church by clarifying the official position of the church, but I suspect such is driven more by a desire to state the facts than to merely be helpful.

      Anon wrote:
      «So you would consider it is possible for God to incarnate into the form of an elephant/human? or that God may have incarnated many times in the past and will do so in the future?»

      I do not believe such actually happened, but I see nothing precluding the possibility in a vacuum. I do not believe what is possible is limited to only that which is actual (rather I think the former can extend beyond the latter). God can animate physical forms, including physical forms like those found in the depictions of other faiths. Should I, instead, deny even the mere possibility of such out of an aversion to faiths other than my own? If I did, I fear that I might be at risk of sinking to a level of intellectual dishonesty motivated by hatred.

      Now, note that I did not even ask you if you believe it is possible for God to incarnate in a form with human and elephant parts. I merely asked you if you acknowledge the possibility of God creating a form with a human body and elephant head (with sizes appropriately scaled), yet you did not answer. Why?

      Anon wrote:
      «For Muslims, Incarnation (Hindu and Christian) is rejected not on the basis of possible/impossible but because it is a completely unnecessary concept»

      I suspect that even in your own faith, God does not only act out of necessity (e.g. do you believe God needed to create humans, or that God freely chose to do so?). That aside, even if you don’t reject a concept on the basis of whether it’s possible, are you precluded from acknowledging the possibility of something you do not believe is actual?

      Anon wrote:
      «Eucharist–the “Real” (but not really) body and blood of Jesus Christ is consumed?»

      Yes. For real. Perhaps not in a way that is obvious to our senses and measurements, yet nonetheless real. But I’ll go a step further: as may come up in a future blog entry, I sincerely believe that there are at least mild parallels between the food chain and the Christian concept of Christ’s sacrifice for our sins (insofar that, in the biological realm, God has created a system where one organism preserves itself at the expense of the life of another (often innocent) organism, and, within a perhaps parallel spiritual plane of sin atonement, God has created a system where a person might preserve themself at the expense of the life of another, innocent Person). The Christian concept of vicarious atonement no doubt has roots in the Old Testament concepts of animal sacrifice and the lamb’s blood on the houses on the first Passover, both of which tie in with the food chain as well (as the flesh of those animals were consumed in part). Therefore it fascinates me that my faith tacitly proposes Christ our Creator first cast us into this confusing (and seemingly unnecessary?) system where organisms preserve themselves at each other’s expense, including by consuming part of them [and though we are currently at the very top of the food chain, we too are at risk of being consumed by others], and then Christ Himself entered into something akin to a parallel spiritual system, where we benefit from His death. While I cannot fully explain it (as it is beyond my full comprehension), the parallels between the food chain and Christ’s sacrifice become all the more interesting when it is noted that significant swaths of the Christian faith also have us consuming Christ’s flesh!

      Like

    • (with sizes appropriately scaled) lol

      Liked by 1 person

  24. simplicity/complexity—Islam is a “way of life” and its purpose/goal is to guide towards peace (both internal and external peace). Balance creates harmony and harmony leads to peace. Peace benefits humanity, both as individuals and as a whole and it also brings worldy as well as spiritual benefits. Tawheed is not simply an idea existing in the ether somewhere—it is wholistic Guidance that benefits humanity.

    Your approach—The struggle “to know” God across time and humanity is fascinating…God is One but our languages and paradigms/worldview are diverse and this creates a diversity of articulations/conceptions…..
    Your version of the incarnation is interesting and creative…but—we Muslims respect and honor Jesus Christ as a highly spiritual and learned Prophet/Wisdom Teacher. Therefore, to suppose that a group of people may have elevated him to such an extent that he was made Divine—is an explanation that could have some sympathy…..but to posit that God is “like” a sleepwalking being (possibly with mental health problems?!) is taking things in a very discomforting and disturbing direction…….for a Muslim…

    Creating/Incarnating into a form—obviously, God would have to create a from to incarnate into? In any case, my original question pertained to the aspect of incarnation—which you have now answered….

    Need—Obviously God has no needs—it is humans that need God, not the other way around. The Islamic paradigm has no need for Incarnation or Deicide (God dies–but is also eternal) and such other doctrines….
    not only that…not having them creates a benefit (prevent error/shirk)

    Eucharist—I will look forward to your post. This post was well organized and interesting though the theme was a bit disturbing. The idea of a Christian “spiritual system” (?!) is also interesting…perhaps a post on your thoughts there as well?….

    Like

    • Denis Giron

      You said;
      I do not believe such actually happened, but I see nothing precluding the possibility in a vacuum. I do not believe what is possible is limited to only that which is actual (rather I think the former can extend beyond the latter). God can animate physical forms, including physical forms like those found in the depictions of other faiths. Should I, instead, deny even the mere possibility of such out of an aversion to faiths other than my own? If I did, I fear that I might be at risk of sinking to a level of intellectual dishonesty motivated by hatred.

      I say;
      God said,
      Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am o jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of then that hate me; and shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me and keep my commandments.’ Exod 20: 4-6.

      The first and second commandment has condemned God becoming a form. That is idolatry whether it is Jesus, elephant, cow, monkey etc. forms.
      The first commandment said God is one, only and alone, so there is no possibility of God existing in any form including the form of Jesus Christ.

      If God will become in dwell in a form, He would not have clearly warned the people of Moses to stop worshiping the golden calf.Believing in the possibility of God in dwelling in forms is against the above verses and it is polytheism and/or idolatry. That is believing God can be more than one i.e. in persons, elephants, monkeys, cows, men, women etc. Mono means 1 and monotheism will of God will not accept anything whether Jesus, monkey, Haile Selaissie, Sai Baba, Buddha etc. as part of the one and the only true God of Jesus, Abraham and all the prophet of God who preach God is 1 and full stop, period, (.).

      God is 1 = correct and Biblical.
      God is 1……but…… = wrong and un Biblical.

      Thanks.

      Like

    • Denis Giron
      You said;
      I do not believe such actually happened, but I see nothing precluding the possibility in a vacuum. I do not believe what is possible is limited to only that which is actual (rather I think the former can extend beyond the latter). God can animate physical forms, including physical forms like those found in the depictions of other faiths. Should I, instead, deny even the mere possibility of such out of an aversion to faiths other than my own? If I did, I fear that I might be at risk of sinking to a level of intellectual dishonesty motivated by hatred.
      I say;
      God said,
      Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am o jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of then that hate me; and shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me and keep my commandments.’ Exod 20: 4-6.

      The first and second commandment has condemned God becoming a form. That is idolatry whether it is Jesus, elephant, cow, monkey etc. forms.
      The first commandment said God is one, only and alone, so there is no possibility of God existing in any form including the form of Jesus Christ.

      If God will become in dwell in a form, He would not have clearly warned the people of Moses to stop worshiping the golden calf.Believing in the possibility of God in dwelling in forms is against the above verses and it is polytheism and/or idolatry. That is believing God can be more than one i.e. in persons, elephants, monkeys, cows, men, women etc. Mono means 1 and monotheism will of God will not accept anything whether Jesus, monkey, Haile Selaissie, Sai Baba, Buddha etc. as part of the one and the only true God of Jesus, Abraham and all the prophet of God who preach God is 1 and full stop, period, (.).

      God is 1 = correct and Biblical.
      God is 1……but…… = wrong and un Biblical.

      Thanks.

      Like

    • Denis Giron

      You said;
      I do not believe such actually happened, but I see nothing precluding the possibility in a vacuum. I do not believe what is possible is limited to only that which is actual (rather I think the former can extend beyond the latter). God can animate physical forms, including physical forms like those found in the depictions of other faiths. Should I, instead, deny even the mere possibility of such out of an aversion to faiths other than my own? If I did, I fear that I might be at risk of sinking to a level of intellectual dishonesty motivated by hatred.

      I say;
      God said,
      Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am o jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of then that hate me; and shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me and keep my commandments.’ Exod 20: 4-6.

      Like

    • … continued

      The first and second commandment has condemned God becoming a form. That is idolatry whether it is Jesus, elephant, cow, monkey etc. forms.
      The first commandment said God is one, only and alone, so there is no possibility of God existing in any form including the form of Jesus Christ.

      If God will become in dwell in a form, He would not have clearly warned the people of Moses to stop worshiping the golden calf.Believing in the possibility of God in dwelling in forms is against the above verses and it is polytheism and/or idolatry. That is believing God can be more than one i.e. in persons, elephants, monkeys, cows, men, women etc. Mono means 1 and monotheism will of God will not accept anything whether Jesus, monkey, Haile Selaissie, Sai Baba, Buddha etc. as part of the one and the only true God of Jesus, Abraham and all the prophet of God who preach God is 1 and full stop, period, (.).

      God is 1 = correct and Biblical.
      God is 1……but…… = wrong and un Biblical.

      Thanks.

      Like

    • Greetings Anon

      When we first began our correspondence in the comments section of this blog entry, I understood your approach as depicting Christianity as positing a God which is wholly mysterious and unknowable (with Islam tacitly doing the opposite?). Since then I have sought to get you to agree that, while of course there is considerable difference between our conceptions of God, there is nonetheless elements of mystery in both, though neither depicts God as wholly unknowable.

      Since then we have transitioned into this notion of balance, and how such brings harmony and peace. While I can appreciate the concept, I’m unsure how, precisely, we measure to what degree peace and harmony in a society depends on an absence of conceptions of God you personally might find disagreeable. For example, Japan may still have quite a few people who blur a proposed line between Creator and creation (so too, perhaps, South Korea in various ways?), and yet such a place seems relatively harmonious and peaceful compared to most of the rest of the world. But either way, this still seems to me like a different subject from the question explored in the first paragraph, above.

      ***

      Anon wrote:
      «obviously, God would have to create a from to incarnate into?»

      It seems so (I guess we might be able to conceive of a philosophical model where there is a physical form which is also eternal, but, that aside, yes, I would say the form acquired in an incarnation would itself be created). But note that the question I asked you need not entail divine incarnation. I’m just talking about God’s ability to create the relevant form (i.e. one which resembles a human body from the neck down yet has the head of an elephant). I asked you if you accept it is possible for God to create such a form, and you have not answered. I must confess, I wonder why.

      Anon wrote:
      «my original question […] which you have now answered»

      Might I request that you return the favor and answer a question or two from me?

      Anon wrote:
      «Obviously God has no needs—it is humans that need God, not the other way around. The Islamic paradigm has no need for Incarnation or Deicide (God dies–but is also eternal) and such other doctrines»

      But do we really measure doctrine only based on the perceived needs of people? For example, both our faiths positively assert that Jesus was born of a virgin. I seriously doubt humans need to be told such (i.e. I suspect it is possible to have a harmonious society in which no one has heard that Jesus was born of a virgin), but I would propose that our faiths teach such because the claim is understood to be true. If that is the case, it would seem to mean doctrines are put forth on the understanding that they are true, not merely based on whether their proponents think they benefit society.

      Like

    • Greetings Intellect

      Let’s note the following recounting of the chronology of our interaction in this subthread:

      1. There are various religions which depict God (or various gods) in various forms.
      2. I am willing to say it is possible for God to take on the forms which appear in those depictions. I do not believe such has actually happened, but I do not consider such outside the realm of possibility.
      3. You invoked Exodus 20:4-6 in response.

      I really am not sure how the passage relates to what was being said. You go on to argue the following:

      Intellect wrote:
      «The first and second commandment has condemned God becoming a form»

      I see nothing in the text of Exodus 20:4-6 precluding the possibility of God taking on a physical form. Nonetheless, I would note that how precisely we divide up the Ten Commandments can be open to question. It is interesting that even within Judaism, Exodus 20:3-6 is considered a single commandment (the Catholic church includes the verse prior as well). Therefore, rather than take bits and pieces in isolation, we can read the entire passage as pertaining to the worship of other gods (i.e. we cannot create images to be worshiped as other gods, or to be employed in the worship of other gods), and that in itself does not preclude the possibility of God taking on a form. Moreover, the rest of the Bible seems to make clear that God can appear in visible forms (in the very same Torah, Genesis 18 has God appearing to Abraham).

      Intellect wrote:
      «The first commandment said God is one, only and alone, so there is no possibility of God existing in any form»

      I don’t see how that follows? I see no logical implication between (a) there being only one God and (b) that one God necessarily being incapable of taking on a form visible to humans.

      Intellect wrote:
      «God is 1 = correct and Biblical.
      God is 1……but…… = wrong and un Biblical.»

      Well, there are those curious plurals (as well as the implication that multiple persons take part in creation yet God acts alone in creation). You can declare the plurals mere metaphors (“plurals of majesty!”), but then we’re no longer dealing with what is explicit in the Bible, but rather the interpretive framework you, personally, bring to the Bible.

      Like

    • Denis Giron

      You said;
      Therefore, rather than take bits and pieces in isolation, we can read the entire passage as pertaining to the worship of other gods (i.e. we cannot create images to be worshiped as other gods, or to be employed in the worship of other gods), and that in itself does not preclude the possibility of God taking on a form. Moreover, the rest of the Bible seems to make clear that God can appear in visible forms (in the very same Torah, Genesis 18 has God appearing to Abraham).

      I say;
      The Bible said, God is invincible. I did not say that. Therefore all the forms you are worshiping including Jesus Christ are idols. According to Bible not me. Those worshiping cows, monkeys, Haile Salaissie, Sai Baba, Jesus Christ, Ali etc. did not create them.
      Do you mean the verse is only against those who create statue like the statue of Jesus, Buddha or Krisna to worship? God said He is a jealous God in the verse. Don’t you think he is jealous when Sai Baba, Haile Selassie, Buddha, Jesus, cows are worshiped? Even thou those worshiping these forms/image did not create them.

      Thanks.

      Like

    • Denis Giron

      Intellect wrote:
      «The first commandment said God is one, only and alone, so there is no possibility of God existing in any form»

      I don’t see how that follows? I see no logical implication between (a) there being only one God and (b) that one God necessarily being incapable of taking on a form visible to humans.

      I say;
      This is exactly the position of all idol worshipers. The believe like you do, that God can take forms and in the form of their idols and so since God is in their forms/idols, Haile Selaissie, Sai Baba, cow, monkey, voodoo snakes, so they deserve worship.

      If God will take a form why will He cursed the people of Moses of worshiping the golden calf, if He will be in form? He did not say “worship my form only”. God said to the people of Moses, they must not worship any idol/form/image etc.

      Every person is a being. A person that is not a being is not a person. Your Trinity has 3 persons and each person is a being and so you are worshiping 3 beings and that is polytheism.

      Thanks.

      Like

    • Denis Giron

      Intellect wrote:
      «God is 1 = correct and Biblical.
      God is 1……but…… = wrong and un Biblical.»

      Well, there are those curious plurals (as well as the implication that multiple persons take part in creation yet God acts alone in creation). You can declare the plurals mere metaphors (“plurals of majesty!”), but then we’re no longer dealing with what is explicit in the Bible, but rather the interpretive framework you, personally, bring to the Bible.

      I say
      Yes, there are metaphors in the Bible but when it comes to salvation and who God is, and how He want us to believe and know Him, there is no metaphor. It is crystal clear. If God is 3 persons 1 God, who does he fear to say so. He clearly says who is is below.
      “there is no one like Yahweh our God.” Exodus 8:10
      “Yahweh, He is God; there is no other besides Him.” Deuteronomy 4:35
      “Yahweh, He is God in heaven above and on the earth below; there is no other.” Deuteronomy 4:39
      “See now that I, I am He, And there is no god besides Me” Deuteronomy 32:39
      “Hear, O Israel! Yahweh is our God, Yahweh is one [echad]!” Deuteronomy 6:4
      “You are great, O Lord God; for there is none like You, and there is no God besides You” 2 Samuel 7:22
      “For who is God, besides Yahweh? And who is a rock, besides our God?” 2 Samuel 22:32
      “Yahweh is God; there is no one else.” 1 Kings 8:60
      “You are the God, You alone [bad], of all the kingdoms of the earth.” 2 Kings 19:15
      “O Lord, there is none like You, nor is there any God besides You” 1 Chronicles 17:20
      “You alone [bad] are Yahweh.” Nehemiah 9:6

      Thanks.

      Like

    • Greetings Intellect

      Intellect wrote:
      «The Bible said, God is invi[s]ible.»

      Of course. Even without the Biblical affirmation of such, it would seem to me that we could assume a God that trascends time and space ultimately cannot be grasped with human eyes. But that does not preclude God from animating forms visible to human eyes, and the Torah itself seems to clearly affirm this (again, cf. the story of God appearing to Abraham).

      I (Denis) wrote:
      «I see no logical implication between (a) there being only one God and (b) that one God necessarily being incapable of taking on a form visible to humans.»

      Intellect responded:
      «This is exactly the position of all idol worshipers.»

      With all due respect, that doesn’t actually demonstrate the alleged logical implication between the two propositions mentioned above. So I want to try to focus on this point. Here are again are two propositions:

        (a) There is only one God.

        (b) The one God is incapable of taking on a form visible to humans.

      How does proposition (a) imply proposition (b)? In other words, why would a person who affirms the first proposition be forced to also affirm the second? On what grounds? Calling people idol worshipers, or invoking Hinduism, et cetera, does not answer this question.

      Intellect asked:
      «If God will take a form why will He cursed the people of Moses of worshiping the golden calf»

      In the very post you were responding to, it was proposed that Exodus 20:3-6 is a prohibition on (a) the worship of images as other gods, or the making of images for employment in the worship of other gods. Presumably the Golden Calf could fall under that, could it not?

      [On a side note, separate from the above, the subject of the Golden Calf within the Rabbinic corpora can be a very interesting one. If you’re interested in something a bit more complex and nuanced, consider this video or this post.]

      Intellect declared:
      «Every person is a being.»

      Perhaps, though I suppose that depends on how we define “being”. Could you share how you define the term?

      Intellect wrote:
      «Yes, there are metaphors in the Bible»

      How do you know what is a metaphor and what is not? Do you have some particular insight into the intentions of the author of any particular Biblical text? For example, if a text uses a plural in reference to God, how do you determine whether that is literal or not?

      You went on to post a number of verses affirming that there is only one God. I agree. But notice none of those verses assert that the one God is unipersonal.

      [On a side note, being that you cited specifically Deuteronomy 6:4 and Deuteronomy 32:29, perhaps it is worth noting how complex those verses might be according to certain Rabbinic texts (see the links).]

      Like

    • Denis Giron
      August 12, 2017 • 8:39 pm
      Greetings Intellect
      Intellect wrote:
      «The Bible said, God is invi[s]ible.»
      Of course. Even without the Biblical affirmation of such, it would seem to me that we could assume a God that trascends time and space ultimately cannot be grasped with human eyes. But that does not preclude God from animating forms visible to human eyes, and the Torah itself seems to clearly affirm this (again, cf. the story of God appearing to Abraham).
      I say;
      We see form and the form is visible. God is invisible. So the form is not God. Therefore, any form that is seen i.e. Jesus Christ is not God, because God is invincible. If that form is God, then all the idols that are forms and images are God because God is animating forms visible to humans.
      Hindus cows are God because God is animating in their forms visible to humans. God trancends time and space ultimately cannot be grasped with human eyes-Denis Giron.
      The forms we see can be grasped by human eye so the are not God. Jesus is form and can be grasped by human eye so he is not God. All the forms that can be grasped by human eye including Jesus Christ, cows, monkeys etc. are not God.
      If you carefully read your reply and I cut and paste above, you exactly meant what I mean. Ponder about it very well and you will realize it.

      Thanks.

      Like

    • “You went on to post a number of verses affirming that there is only one God. I agree. But notice none of those verses assert that the one God is unipersonal”

      The use of singular personal pronouns certainly asserts that the One God is unipersonal.

      Like

    • Denis Giron
      August 12, 2017 • 8:39 pm
      Greetings Intellect
      Intellect wrote:
      «The Bible said, God is invi[s]ible.»

      Of course. Even without the Biblical affirmation of such, it would seem to me that we could assume a God that trascends time and space ultimately cannot be grasped with human eyes. But that does not preclude God from animating forms visible to human eyes, and the Torah itself seems to clearly affirm this (again, cf. the story of God appearing to Abraham).

      I say;
      Contradiction. You cannot eat your cake and have it at the same time. If God is invincible, agreed. Then Abraham did not see the one who is invincible-God. Abraham saw something else. What trancends time and space cannot be in time and space. God animating forms? Do you mean God physically living in a form? That is not possible since God trancends time and space. If God lives in form, then He does not trancends time and space. You are contradicting yourself and we will point it out to you.

      Thanks.

      Like

    • I (Denis) wrote:
      «I see no logical implication between (a) there being only one God and (b) that one God necessarily being incapable of taking on a form visible to humans.»
      Intellect responded:
      «This is exactly the position of all idol worshipers.»
      With all due respect, that doesn’t actually demonstrate the alleged logical implication between the two propositions mentioned above. So I want to try to focus on this point. Here are again are two propositions:
      (a) There is only one God.

      (b) The one God is incapable of taking on a form visible to humans.
      How does proposition (a) imply proposition (b)? In other words, why would a person who affirms the first proposition be forced to also affirm the second? On what grounds? Calling people idol worshipers, or invoking Hinduism, et cetera, does not answer this question

      I say;
      If that one God takes a form. That form is still a form and not God. Jesus casts demons from human beings. Are the demons human beings? No. Even if God enters into a form, that form is still a form and not God. If God enters into Jesus Christ- a form, that form Jesus Christ is still a form and God said;

      “Before Me there was no God formed, And there will be none after Me.” Isaiah 43:10

      Another God cannot be formed. It is impossible, says God. The verse clearly said God cannot enter into a form and form a God.
      Most idol worshipers believe God is one but also believe God can enter into forms, hence their idol worship like how some Christians are worshiping Jesus Christ believing God is in Jesus Christs form. When you worship the form of Jesus Christ like any idol worshiper worships a form like cow, elephant, Haile Selassie, Sai Baba etc. believing God is in them, then you worship idol by forming anothe God.

      Thanks.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Intellect asked:
      «If God will take a form why will He cursed the people of Moses of worshiping the golden calf»
      In the very post you were responding to, it was proposed that Exodus 20:3-6 is a prohibition on (a) the worship of images as other gods, or the making of images for employment in the worship of other gods. Presumably the Golden Calf could fall under that, could it not?
      [On a side note, separate from the above, the subject of the Golden Calf within the Rabbinic corpora can be a very interesting one. If you’re interested in something a bit more complex and nuanced, consider this video or this post.]

      I say;
      Is Jesus not an image? Is cow not an image?

      im·age
      ˈimij/Submit
      noun
      1.
      a representation of the external form of a person or thing in art.
      synonyms: likeness, resemblance; depiction, portrayal, representation; statue, statuette, sculpture, bust, effigy; painting, picture, portrait, drawing, sketch
      “an image of St. Bartholomew

      Source: https://www.google.ca/search?rlz=1C1AVFC_enCA749CA757&q=what+is+image&oq=what+is+image&gs_l=psy-ab.3..0i67k1l3j0.19338.19775.0.21143.2.2.0.0.0.0.101.195.1j1.2.0….0…1.1.64.psy-ab..0.2.194.Y8cY78Tufjg

      God is invincible, so no image including Jesus Christ can be God.

      Thanks.

      Like

    • Intellect declared:
      «Every person is a being.»
      Perhaps, though I suppose that depends on how we define “being”. Could you share how you define the term?

      I say;
      This is what I said;
      Every person is a being. A person that is not a being is not a person.

      You have to prove what I said is wrong. If you can’t, then you are worshiping 3 persons. A person cannot be a person without being a being. Every person is a being, so worshiping a person is worshiping a being. worshiping 3 persons is worshiping 3 beings. You have to prove why a person cannot be a being.

      You said;
      You went on to post a number of verses affirming that there is only one God. I agree. But notice none of those verses assert that the one God is unipersonal.

      I say;
      “See now that I, I am He, And there is no god besides Me” Deuteronomy 32:39
      “Hear, O Israel! Yahweh is our God, Yahweh is one [echad]!” Deuteronomy 6:4
      “The foremost is, ‘Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is one [hen] Lord; ” Mark 12:29
      “you do not seek the glory that is from the one and only [monos] God?” John 5:44
      “This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only [monos] true God” John 17:3
      “there is no God but one [hen]” 1 Corinthians 8:4
      “Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only [monos] God” 1 Timothy 1:17
      “Yahweh is God; there is no one else.” 1 Kings 8:60
      “I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is no one like Me” Isaiah 46:9
      “I am Yahweh, and there is no other; Besides Me there is no God.” Isaiah 45:5

      I have more of these verses. The verses clearly said God is a single person, single being.

      Why will God say I alone, only and there is no one else if there are other persons? God said “I, no one else” Why will God say that if there are other persons? We don’t have a single “God is 3 persons in 1” in the whole Bible but we have many “God is 1, only and alone” in the Bible. Why do you want us to believe a salvation i.e. who God is, that is not in the Bible?

      Thanks.

      Like

    • Denis Giron

      Intellect wrote:
      «Yes, there are metaphors in the Bible»
      How do you know what is a metaphor and what is not? Do you have some particular insight into the intentions of the author of any particular Biblical text? For example, if a text uses a plural in reference to God, how do you determine whether that is literal or not?

      I say;
      There are so many “I” referring to God than “We” in the Bible. So, we should throw all the “I” and stick with the “We”? when there is no single “God is 3 persons 1 God” in the whole bible. The important command said 1 and not “3 persons 1 God”.

      If the “we” is literal, then God is not one, like the idol worshipers believed God incarnates. But the Bible said God is 1 and the is the important command.

      “Hear, O Israel! Yahweh is our God, Yahweh is one [echad]!” Deuteronomy 6:4

      Thanks.

      Like

    • Denis Giron

      Even if God enter into a form, that form is not God
      1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GYY7M5DkrX4

      2. God cannot exist enter into a form and cannot die for anyone’s sin.

      Thanks.

      Like

  25. Christianity/Islam—I don’t know much about Christianity. My question with regards to “mystery” was not an oppositional comparison—though obviously I think Islam is the best—but the logic behind the setup of the doctrines. I wondered if the piling up of “mystery” in Christianity might have some function, such as the struggle of Job, or something like that….?….An Islamic scholar explained that Atheists were people who were constantly reflecting, discussing, and struggling with God…more so than Theists who already think they “know” of God…..it is an interesting point….A Jewish Rabbi held the same sentiment when he explained that the disturbing parts of the Torah were an invitation to a struggle……..
    My discomfort with Christian apologetics is not about the “mystery” and paradox within Christianity–(even if they are confusing)—rather, its about honesty…not you in particular, but in a general way….

    The Quran is not a large text—it is concise and so the superfluous and unnecessary is not included….the themes and stories are not merely for entertainment only—but serve as Guidance and point to important concepts, themes, and principles that make up the Islamic paradigm.
    Guidance is the theme of the first Surah of the Quran—The opening—and also throughout the Quran beginning with the promise to Prophet Adam…..and this is also the case for the stories about Prophet Jesus, including stories about his Mother….
    Guidance fulfills a human need and thus is of benefit to humanity….but, as you mentioned, this is a different topic…so lets keep this on hold until we have a more appropriate opportunity to discuss it….?….I am also willing to discuss/compare Eastern concepts/paradigm with Islamic/Quranic concepts/paradigm….if the subject comes up…?….The Quran says it corrects and completes previous revelations—and IMO, the sentiment applies to Eastern religio-philosophies as well…..

    Creation of form—This is a complex question. Genetic engineering can create bizarre forms….as can human evil….when the U.S. used depleted uranium ammunition in Iraq, they radiated the people and this caused birth defects in babies…..as did atomic bomb for the population of Hiroshima and Nagasaki….so, I would have to agree with the Islamic scholar Sayyed Hossein Nasr when he said God creates in beauty and goodness. (a sentiment that the OT also agrees with) it is human effort that turns the beautiful into ugliness?….but this is a question I will need to reflect on some more…….that is the reason I am avoiding a yes/no answer.

    Like

  26. Denis Giron
    You said;
    Therefore, rather than take bits and pieces in isolation, we can read the entire passage as pertaining to the worship of other gods (i.e. we cannot create images to be worshiped as other gods, or to be employed in the worship of other gods), and that in itself does not preclude the possibility of God taking on a form. Moreover, the rest of the Bible seems to make clear that God can appear in visible forms (in the very same Torah, Genesis 18 has God appearing to Abraham).
    I say;
    The Bible said, God is invincible. I did not say that. Therefore all the forms you are worshiping including Jesus Christ are idols. According to Bible not me. Those worshiping cows, monkeys, Haile Salaissie, Sai Baba, Jesus Christ, Ali etc. did not create them.
    Do you mean the verse is only against those who create statue like the statue of Jesus, Buddha or Krisna to worship? God said He is a jealous God in the verse. Don’t you think he is jealous when Sai Baba, Haile Selassie, Buddha, Jesus, cows are worshiped? Even thou those worshiping these forms/image did not create them.

    Thanks.

    Like

  27. Denis Giron

    Therefore, rather than take bits and pieces in isolation, we can read the entire passage as pertaining to the worship of other gods (i.e. we cannot create images to be worshiped as other gods, or to be employed in the worship of other gods), and that in itself does not preclude the possibility of God taking on a form. Moreover, the rest of the Bible seems to make clear that God can appear in visible forms (in the very same Torah, Genesis 18 has God appearing to Abraham).

    I say;
    Those worshiping cows, monkeys, Haile Selassie, Buddha, Elephants etc. did not create what they worship. Is that o.k. to do that according to the Bible? The Biblical God said He is one, only and alone and He is jealous. Don’t you think He will be jealous when you worship those creatures? I know He will be jealous but you don;t think so that is why you are worshiping Jesus Christ who is a form.

    The Bible says God is invincible and so all the forms, you see including Jesus Christ are images/forms and Jesus was seen, so all images like Jesus whether you create them or not are idols to worship and God is jealous about that.

    Thanks.

    Like

  28. Denis Giron
    August 10, 2017 • 1:54 pm
    Greetings Intellect
    Let’s note the following recounting of the chronology of our interaction in this subthread:
    There are various religions which depict God (or various gods) in various forms.
    I am willing to sayI it is possible for God to take on the forms which appear in those depictions. I do not believe such has actually happened, but I do not consider such outside the realm of possibility.
    You invoked Exodus 20:4-6 in response

    Like

    • I say;
      When the people of prophet Moses were worshiping the golden calf( a form/image), the God of the Bible and His prophet Moses where angry and cursed the Jews for worshiping a form/image. Why would the God of the Bible and His prophet be angry, when you believed that God comes in forms/images to be worshiped?
      If it is possible for God to become a form/image(golden calf) to be worshiped, then why will God be angry when the Jews were worshiping the golden calf? The Jews in your thinking Denis, believed since God can incarnate into anything, then He incarnated in to their golden calf form. God says no, no likeness of anything including Jesus should be worshiped.

      Thanks.

      Like

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