how to tell the biblical story in a way that makes a difference

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Ed Dingess, I have no interest in competing with you in being immature and rude. I’ve engaged so many trinitarians, few of whom were rather intelligible and honorable. But most are sadly of your stripe, being fine emulators of your murderous messiah, John Calvin. So you are welcome to continue with your raving hysteria, I’ll try and glean from your posts – for the sake of others, mostly – whatever intelligible can be gained from it.

Trinitarians only have indirect means for proving Jesus to be “God,” employing much the same hermeneutic styles JWs do in identifying Jesus with Michael or Muslims trying to find Mohammed in the Bible. Exactly the same kind of inferences is used to prove the Trinity. The text in 1 John 5:20 is a classic example where something as ambiguous as a pronoun, and something as cognitively unintelligible, especially in an oral community, as grammatical distribution are used to prove what is actually already decided upon by the Trinity believer; while the overwhelming evidence is simply ignored. Just in this chapter we find the following:

From vs. 2: For this is the love of God….

Vs. 4: For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world…

Vs. 9: If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater

Vs. 10: …he that believeth not God hath made Him a liar

Vs. 11: …God hath given to us eternal life,

Vs. 15: …we know that we have the petitions that we desired of [God]

Vs. 18: We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not

Vs. 19: And we know that we are of God,…

The overwhelming theme of this chapter is God, his attributes, our relationship with him. Jesus is also placed in relation to God as the one born of God, that he is the son of God, that life belongs to him who confesses Jesus, that life is in his son and that we should believe in the name of God’s son. Even here Jesus is placed in relation to the dominant subject of the chapter, namely God.

Then we have the relational association, namely God and then His son. Jesus is of a distinct and different identity of God. There is no hint of “Godness” or shareable “divinity” associated with the identity of God. These concepts need to be imported to shoehorn the trinity into the text.

Then we have the regular designation of God as the “only true God” (John 17:3), that Jesus gives us an understanding of God, the One who is “true, and we are in him that is true and in his Son Jesus Christ.” Here again a distinction is drawn between the one true God and another identity, his son.

And then, after focusing mainly on the Father, God Almighty, in the chapter, after identifying Him as the One who is true, (the only True God) and articulating Jesus’ relation to this true God, the writer concludes:

“This [one] is the true God, and eternal life.”

Now, the trinitarian has to ignore the overwhelming and obvious, and has to resort to the indirect, flimsy and unintelligible. It is also obvious that the trinity is preferred and the text just used to gather support for it, however desperate.

Fortunately there are honest trinitarians (they are few and far between), and Henry Alford was one of them. It might strike some of our more fanatical Trinitarians as a surprise that not all trinitarians are oppressive. Henry Alford would therefore probably have engaged those disagreeing with him than oppressing them. Below are more admissions of the position I hold on the text in question:

‘[T]he most natural reference’ (Westcott) is to him that is true. In this way the three references to ‘the true’ are to the same Person, the Father, and the additional points made in the apparent final repetition are that is this One, namely the God made known by Jesus Christ, who is the true God, and that, besides this, He is eternal life. – The Epistles of John, An Introduction and Commentary by The Rev. J.R. W. Scott, pp. 195, 196.

Although it is certainly possible [acknowledging the ambiguity] that houtos refers back to Jesus Christ, several converging lines of evidence point to ‘the true one,’ God the Father, as the probable antecedent. This position, houtos = God, is held by many commentators, authors of general studies, and, significantly, by those grammarians who express an opinion on the matter. – Murray Harris, Jesus as God, p. 253.

You are more than welcome, Ed Dingess, to insult these scholars’ linguistic proficiency. Go right ahead…You accuse heretics of “playing with language and pointing out alternative uses, even if those uses represent the smallest possibility;” well, thus far I’ve only seen you doing it.

I think your second reply above has rather embarrassing consequences:

In Jn.1:1 and 1:2, the antecedent is clearly ὁ λόγος which is in juxtaposed with it. Then again in Jn. 1:6-7, οὗτος is juxtaposed with its antecedent, Ἰωάννης. We haven’t even scratched the surface at this point.

You don’t need to scratch any further. If the immediate antecedent determines the subject of the one referring to, then you have a major problem:

1 John 2:22 “Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He (οὗτος) is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son.”

Following your rule, the one immediately preceding the pronoun, οὗτος, is the antichrist. In the text above it is the Christ! I rest my case…