I was doing a study to write a outline of the foundational pillars of Adventism. Everyone seems to have a personal view of what they entail but limited support for it. What SOP or writings in church periodicals has everyone on this important issue as I have the following pillars.....
The investigative judgment
The sanctuary service
The perpetuity of the Law of God
The faith of Jesus
The Three Angels' Messages
The seventh-day Sabbath
The state of the dead
The special gift of prophecy (or the Testimony of Jesus).
You did not read my answer from the REV Commentary, reproduced here without other parts of John cgapter20 commentary. Please address the technical matters below only.
“my god.” Any good Greek-English lexicon will give examples of the Greek word theos, often translated “God,” also referring to a pagan “god” or “goddess” (Acts 19:37), the Devil or a demon (2 Cor. 4:4), or of people who represent God in some way (John 10:34). The fact that Thomas called Jesus “God” does not mean he thought Jesus was part of the Triune God, but he did think of him as God’s highest representative and worthy to be called “god.”
To understand what Thomas said there is some background information that we must understand. For one thing, Thomas was almost certainly speaking Hebrew or Aramaic, and thus the flexibility of the word “God” in those languages will be covered in some detail
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below. It is also important to know that the early manuscripts of the Bible were written in all capital letters. That means that technically, both Elohim in Hebrew and Theos in Greek should always be translated “GOD,” in all capital letters. Since the biblical languages used the word “GOD” to refer to God, lesser divinities such as the Devil, angels, and demons, and also to rulers, judges, and people who represented God in some way, Bible readers are forced to use the context and scope of Scripture to determine whether the modern English translation should be “God,” “god,” or “gods.” [For more information on this, see commentary on Hebrews 1:8].
The following few paragraphs are about the biblical, especially the Semitic, way of using the words for “God.” It is quite detailed, but in light of the huge Trinitarian bias to make Thomas say that Jesus is “God,” it seems necessary to quite fully show that in biblical language you could call someone Elohim or Theos without meaning they were the Most High God. It is helpful in understanding the Bible to know that the Hebrew word Elohim (“God”) is a plural form—Elohim is always plural. It is a uniplural noun like our English word “deer” or “fish,” and so it has to be translated according to the context and can mean “God,” “a god,” or “gods.” When we see the word “fish” we must determine from the context if it is singular or plural. In a sentence like, “Did you eat the fish” there may not be enough context to determine whether the person ate one fish or more than one. This problem can occur in the Hebrew text as well, although we sometimes get help in the Hebrew from the accompanying verb.
Elohim is not the only uniplural noun in Hebrew. Two others are “water” and “heaven” (cp. Gesenius’ Hebrew Grammar, 2nd edition by A. Cowley, pp. 244, 246). Trinitarians assert that the reason Elohim is plural is because it refers to the plurality in the Trinity, but even if there was a Trinity, and we do not believe there is, that would not be likely. For one thing, God gave the Hebrew language to the Jews, so they should be the experts in their own language, and they have never believed Elohim referred to any plurality in God. Just as “water” and “heaven” are plural in part because they are so vast, Elohim seems to be plural because of the vastness and greatness of God.
The majority of the times Elohim occurs in the Bible, it refers to the true God. However, even a brief glance through a Hebrew concordance will show that many times it refers to false gods. Dozens of verses could be cited as examples, but a few are: “have no other gods [Elohim] before me” (Exod. 20:3); “Do not bow down before their gods [Elohim]” (Exod. 23:24); “they chose new gods [Elohim]” (Judges 5:8); and, “[Solomon’s] wives turned his
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heart after other gods [Elohim]” (1 Kings 11:4).
There are times when Elohim is used to refer to a specific pagan god: for example, Dagon
(Judges 16:23; 1 Samuel 5:7), Chemosh (Judges 11:24), and Baal (1 Kings 18:24-27).
Elohim, “God,” can also refer to angels or other spirit beings. One example is Psalm 8:5, which says God made mankind a little lower than Elohim. Given the flexible meaning of Elohim, the verse could be saying that God made mankind a little lower than He Himself, or it could be saying that He made mankind a little lower than his representatives in the spirit world, i.e., angels. Thankfully, the interpretation is not in doubt because the verse is quoted in Hebrews 2:7, which says “angels,” letting us know that in Psalm 8:5, Elohim refers to God’s representatives, the angels. Thus Psalm 8:5 is an excellent example of how the New Testament clarifies our understanding of the Old Testament. Another example is Judges 13:22, where Manoah and his wife saw an angel, but exclaimed, “We have seen God [Elohim].” Their statement made perfect sense in the biblical culture because they saw God’s representative.
There are times when God’s representatives are called “God” (Elohim and even Yahweh!) when they represent God and speak on His behalf. This is referred to as “agency.” The essence of the principle of agency is: “a person’s agent is regarded as the person himself” (Werblowsky and Wigoder, The Encyclopedia of the Jewish Religion, p. 15). The principle of agency is well attested by scholars and occurs quite a few times in the Bible. For example, in Genesis 16:13, even though Hagar was speaking to an angel, she referred to him as Yahweh and El (God). In Genesis 31:11 an angel speaks to Jacob, but in verse 13 he says, “I am the God [El] of Bethel.” In Genesis 32:28, 30 it seems Jacob is wrestling with God [Elohim], but we learn from Hosea 12:3 that it was an angel representing God. Another example is that Exodus 13:21 says “Yahweh” went before Israel in the pillar of fire, but Exodus 14:19 and 23:20-23 let us know it was an angel, a representative of God. So “Yahweh” did go in front of Israel as represented by his angel protector. Similarly, if you read Judges 2:1-4, an angel speaks to the Israelites, but his speech is in first person as if he were God Himself.
Elohim, “God,” can also refer to human rulers, kings, prophets, and people who represent God in some way. Thus Exodus 21:6; 22:8-9, almost certainly refer to God’s representatives as Elohim, “God” (Exod. 22:27 likely does too. In those verses the accompanying verb is plural, not singular, so the traditional teaching of the Rabbis, that the meaning is “judges,”
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which is also in the KJV, is almost certainly correct). Psalm 82:1 is noteworthy because it uses Elohim twice; at the beginning of the verse to refer to the true God, and at the end of the verse to refer to rulers and people who represent him. The verse says, “Elohim [“God”] stands in the congregation of the mighty; he judges among the “Elohim” [“gods”].” Furthermore, verse 6 says, “You are Elohim [“gods”]; and all of you are sons of the Most High.” As sons of the Most High, these rulers are qualified to be called Elohim, [“gods”]. Psalm 97:7 also calls rulers Elohim.
There are times when specific individuals are called Elohim, “God.” One example is Moses. In Exodus 7:1, God is speaking to Moses and says, “See, I have made you God [Elohim] to Pharaoh” (Darby). Given the uniplural nature of Elohim, another translation is, “See, I have made you a god [Elohim] to Pharaoh” (BBE, KJV), but the fact is that Moses, who represents Elohim (“God”) can legitimately be called Elohim (“God”) in the biblical culture. Another example is when King Saul wanted to speak to the dead prophet Samuel and went to a woman who was a medium and necromancer (1 Sam. 28:7-15). When she conjured up “Samuel” (actually a demon impersonating Samuel), the woman said, “I see Elohim coming up from the ground” (1 Samuel 28:13). This is a good example of a person being called Elohim, and we could translate it “God” and understand the custom of God’s representatives being called “God,” or a more easily understood translation for the English reader is simply, “a god;” the woman saw “a god” coming up who she thought was Samuel.
Given the language of the time, and given that Jesus did represent the Father and have divine authority, for Thomas to refer to Jesus as “god” is certainly understandable. In contrast, to assert that Thomas said that Jesus was “God,” and thus 1/3 of a triune God, seems incredible. As was noted above, in biblical times it was common to call God’s representatives “God,” and the Old Testament contains quite a few examples, such as when Jacob wrestled with “God” and it is clear that he was actually wrestling with an angel (Hosea 12:4).
It is common to read commentaries that assert that Thomas shifted from the depths of unbelief to the height of faith and called Jesus his “God.” But on what basis would Thomas do that The commentators point out John 1:1, that the Gospel says “the Word was God.” First, there is solid evidence it does not actually say that (see commentary on John 1:1). More to the point, however, the Gospel of John was not written until decades after Thomas spoke, and there is no evidence that Jesus ever taught the Trinity or that he was “fully human and fully God.” Quite the opposite. He called God, “the true God” (John 17:3); he
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said the Father was greater than he was (John 14:28); and he referred to the Father as his God both before and after his resurrection (Matt. 27:46; John 20:17). Also, when he did have chances to “correct” people’s understanding about him or to teach the Trinity, such as with the woman at the well (John 4), or the Pharisee who asked him about the first and great commandment (Mark 12), he did not teach about the Trinity or say that he was man but also God. Very importantly, the few verses in the Gospels where Jesus said something that Trinitarians use to show Jesus is God can all be interpreted in a non-Trinitarian way. There is just no evidence that people at the time of Jesus knew about the Trinity or that Jesus was fully God and fully man—there was no teaching about it.
There are many Trinitarian authorities who admit that there was no knowledge of Trinitarian doctrine at the time Thomas spoke. For example, if the disciples believed that Jesus was “God” in the sense that many Christians do, they would not have “all fled” just a few days before when he was arrested. The confession of the two disciples walking along the road to Emmaus demonstrated the thoughts of Jesus’ followers at the time. Speaking to the resurrected Christ, whom they mistook as just a traveler, they talked about Jesus. They said Jesus “was a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God...and they crucified him; but we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel” (Luke 24:19-21). The disciples thought Jesus was the Messiah, a “prophet,” and the Son of God, but not God Himself.
Even in realizing that Jesus was the Christ, they knew that according to the Old Testament prophecies, the Christ, the anointed of God, was to be a man: he was to be an offspring of Eve (Gen. 3:15) and through the line of Abraham and David, and “God” did not fit that description. He was to be anointed with holy spirit by God as foretold in Isaiah 61:1, a verse Jesus quoted about himself (Luke 4:18); whereas God does not need to be anointed with holy spirit. The Messiah was to be “one of their own” (Jer. 30:21), not God. We know how hard Jesus worked to teach the disciples that he would die and be resurrected—how many different times he taught it—and the disciples never did “get it.” Are we to believe that somehow Jesus taught the Trinity, something that went against everything the disciples were taught and believed, but there is no mention of Jesus ever teaching it anywhere and yet the disciples somehow “got” that teaching That seems too incredible to believe. There is no evidence from the gospel accounts that Jesus’ disciples believed him to be God, and Thomas, upon seeing the resurrected Christ, was not birthing a new theology in a moment of surprise.
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Besides the biblical use of the words for “God” being used for God’s representatives, there is a contributing cultural reason Thomas may have used the word “god” to refer to Jesus when Jesus appeared to him. In the Greco-Roman culture it was becoming customary to refer to the emperor as “god,” but usually only after he was dead. So, for example, after Julius Caesar was murdered in 44 BC, the Roman senate voted that he was a god. Elevating great people into the ranks of the gods is a process scholars refer to as “deification.” If dead Roman emperors were “gods,” it is reasonable that Thomas, knowing Jesus had been dead but now seeing him alive, referred to him as “god.”
The context of the verse shows that its subject is the fact that Jesus was alive. Only three verses earlier, Thomas had ignored the eyewitness testimony of the other apostles when they told him they had seen the Lord. The resurrection of Christ was such a disputed doctrine that Thomas did not believe it (the other apostles had not either), and thus Jesus’ death would have caused Thomas to doubt that Jesus was who he said he was—the Messiah. Thomas believed Jesus was dead. Thus, he was shocked and astonished when he saw—and was confronted by— Jesus himself. Thomas, upon being confronted by the living Christ, instantly believed in the resurrection, i.e., that God had raised the man Jesus from the dead, and, given the standard use of “God” in the culture as one with God’s authority, it certainly makes sense that Thomas would proclaim, “My Lord and my god.” There is no mention of the Trinity in the context, and there is no reason to believe that the disciples would have even been aware of such a doctrine. Thomas spoke what he would have known: that the man Jesus who he thought was dead was alive and had divine authority. [For more information on this verse and further references, see Graeser, Lynn, Schoenheit, One God & One Lord: Reconsidering the Cornerstone of the Christian Faith].
"The fact that Thomas called Jesus “God” does not mean he thought Jesus was part of the Triune God, but he did think of him as God’s highest representative and worthy to be called “god.” "
Yes, James, that is just speculation and you do not know what Thomas was thinking anyway. You neatly skip ower that Peter also called Jesus God and that was before the resurrection.
But what can you expect from a bible student who thinks the mark of the beast is a computer chip.
James said, "The fact that Thomas called Jesus “God” does not mean he thought Jesus was part of the Triune God, but he did think of him as God’s highest representative and worthy to be called “god.”"
This does not make any sense. What are you suggesting that Thomas thought Jesus was? "A" god? A demon? Or is it 'anything that doesn't mean *the* God'?
The phrase is very clear, "My Lord and my God" yet you now claim that when Thomas said "God" he didn't mean "God"? Of course, I realise that in order to promote your personal theology you have to take an unnatural meaning for the word. So when Christ refers to "my God and your God" in vs.17, using the same word, He is referring to something or someone other than God?
Likewise, in chapter 1 vs. 1 when John refers to the Word (Christ) being God are you now arguing, like the Jehovah's Witnesses, that that Christ was "a god", not THE God?
For SDAs there is no problem because we believe in the plain word of God and do not need to twist it to suit our personal theology.
How many gods do you believe in? If it really is only one then you must agree with John that Christ is that one God - or did John, Thomas (and presumably the other disciples) get it wrong?
John certainly claims that Christ is God in his Gospel and in Revelation:
"And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen." (Rev 1:6)
Here John refers to God "and his Father". If Christ is not God then who is John referring to - which God has a Father if it is not Christ?
Polycarp stated that he was taught the doctrines of the faith by the Apostle John and Polycarp, like John refers to Christ as God.
In turn Polycarp taught Ireneus, who testifies to that "Christ is God".
So, within the decades following the Apostles we have a clear teaching in regard to the Godhead which you claim did not exist - yet we have absolutely no record of anyone objecting to this teaching, no-one claiming that the Gospel as received in the Apostolic times has been perverted, no-one claiming that Christ is not God. How can that be if, as you suggest, no-one considered Christ to be God?
Even when you get to the Council of Nicaea no-one makes the claim that Christ is not God, not even Arius.
If you want to continue the discussion I suggest you go back to this thread, The Holy Spirit in current lesson 2017. In that thread I have challenged your claims in regard to the Council of Nicaea yet, a month and a half later, you still have not made any attempt to answer the challenge to your fake history.
It is rather typical that you claim that I am ignoring history when it is you who is denying simple historical facts.
I will point out again that this thread is for discussion of what were the foundational Pillars of Adventism, none of your replies have addressed the actual topic of the thread, so please take your response to the appropriate thread.
Did Bullinger believe the mark of the beast was a computer chip?
I guess that you would expect something like this from a bible student who thinks the mark of the beast is a computer chip!
James wrote: "Correct Leslie Ann!
Nowhere in scriptures did anyone do anything in these three names. I don't think the whole first-century body of Christ disobeyed by not using these three 'names' as used in Matthew 28:19!
Everything in the New Testament was done in the name of Jesus Christ or Christ Jesus. Period. "
First, you say nowhere in scripture did anyone do anything in these Three names, but it says baptize in the Name of The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
You know the Father and Son's Name don't you?
You believe they are two persons don't you?
If so, then just apply that thinking to the Holy Spirit. He is a person and He has a Name as well.
Matt. 28:19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
James wrote: "Trinitarian doctrine without foundation, as it crept into the church gradually; 325 AD Jesus declared to be God (2 gods) and in 381 AD the holy spirit declared to be God (3 gods). See the history of Catholic Councils in Wikipedia or any good history book on the subject."
I don't know all of what the trinitarian doctrine entails... I just know about the GODHEAD. Nowhere in the Bible or SOP does it use the word trinitarian/trinity.
What is your understanding of the GODHEAD?
Everybody who to seems to have a problem with SDA teaching on the GODHEAD can't answer this simple question.
What is done is a constant usage of the word trinity or trinitarian, which is certainly a hot button word, but again, it's a word not even used in the Bible or the writings of EGW. From what JohnB wrote, apparently there is a definition to the word trinitarian/trinity that is defined by the RCC that is not the same as the definition of The GODHEAD. What that is I don't know.
JohnB wrote: "So, when she refers to the Holy Spirit as the third Person of the Godhead she is giving a trinitarian [GODHEAD] statement. You appear to be using a different definition, possibly the Roman Catholic Church's definition, but is that really fair? " (brackets are mine)
So brother Dan, Rush, M.E, Gene, James etc..., and sister Leslie Ann hasn't shown anything that shows the SDA teaching in regards to the GODHEAD to be wrong.
Like I said years ago, the beef with y'all is the usage of the word trinitarian or trinity. Again, like JohnB said, the RCC definition of the word trinitarian or trinity could be different than the definition the Bible gives of The GODHEAD. There is no need to use the word trinitarian or trinity when it's not used in the The Bible or in the writings of EGW. So, if trinitarian/trinity continues to be used it's just a smoke screen to the clear facts of what Biblical SDA teachings really teach.
You obviously didn't read the document I included at the bottom of my last post that you are responding to.
It is simple, The Creator is God, there is only one God.
Jesus Christ is The Son of God, the only begotten. Jesus Christ is subordinate to The Father God. That is why Jesus said he could do nothing unless the Father has directed him (by written Word and walking by the spirit with seven manifestations of holy spirit available at that time. Later speaking in tongues and its interpretation was added at and after the Day of Pentecost.
The holy spirit is the gift of God; (lower case to denote the gift of God, as the Father is sometimes referred to as the Holy Spirit (Upper case should be used to distinguish from the gift of God holy spirit. Context denotes whether it is The Father or the gift of God that is being referred to in the text. In Original scriptures, everything was capitalized.
Great authority has been given to the Son of God because of his obedience, but he is still subservient to the Father God, the only God, as there is none other. That is monotheism, which set the Hebrews apart from paganism with its multiple gods.
Indeed this comes from the great bible student who thinks the mark of the beast is a computer chip, clearly nothing to take any note of.
James said, "The Creator is God, there is only one God."
Speaking of Jesus, the Apostle John writes, "All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made." (John 1:3)
and, "He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not." (John 1:10)
If the Creator is God and Jesus created everything then Jesus must be God.
Brother James, you are right, I didn't read the link... There are some things that you write that is true.
What I know is that we are to baptize in the Name of The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit... That's the GODHEAD. Your right, "it is simple"!
If you don't believe "He", the Holy Spirit is the Thrid person with the Father and the Son as the other Two, then we have to agree to disagree. Because if your going to get into the nature of the Holy Spirit to explain why "He" is not the Thrid Person of the GODHEAD, then it's an impossible discussion for me to have. Do you understand?
Thank you my brother. Blessings!
JohnB: you said I was “off topic” even though the 3 gods godhead is one of the pillars of SDA and the discussion was on this specific part by the participants, yet you singled me out and stopped the discussion. Therefore you lie and avoid answering the 34 reasons the holy spirit is not a personality and other documentation. You are a snake in the grass.
You will forever show your characteristics because that is your nature. You still refuse to confess that Jesus came in the flesh and is the Son of God. Nowhere in scripture is belief in the 3 in 1 doctrine a condition of salvation, because it was never a part of primitive Christianity.
James said, "JohnB: you said I was “off topic” even though the 3 gods godhead is one of the pillars of SDA..."
This thread is a discussion on what the foundational pillars of SDAism were. No-one has yet shown that "the 3 gods godhead" [sic] was a foundational pillar.
If you have evidence that it was, then please post it. The topic is to discuss what the pillars were, not to discuss each individual pillar. There are other threads already in existence that are for that purpose. You are invited to contribute into one of those threads.
You are not the only person that I have asked to not highjack this thread. You are simply being asked to respect the topic of the thread.
I assume that you will now post evidence for there having been a foundational pillar of "the 3 gods godhead". This would be particularly helpful.