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Rationalizing "the Word" in John 1:1

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  • #16
    Originally posted by ACAinstructor View Post
    a Oneness theology which said "YHWH trifurcated into The Father + The Son + The Spirit, say, at the Incarnation."
    Speaking of this, what would one call the above type of Modalism?
    The Father who becomes The Son who becomes The Spirit has been called
    Consecutive Modalism or Sequential Modalism

    The Father and The Son and The Spirit as three eternal manifestations of the "one person" of God I would call
    Concurrent Modalism

    What would we call Yahweh trifurcated into The Father, The Son, and The Spirit at a certain point in time?
    Tridental Modalism? ("Tridental" meaning relating to a "trident." Google Image the term Trident if you don't know what the weapon looks like.
    Inactive, except to upload and bump.
    I wiped my slate clean and followed only biblical data to see if Unitarianism was true. After 40 weeks, I knew it couldn't be.
    After 5 years, very few could even interact with the exegeses, so I am moving on.

    Comment


    • #17
      Originally posted by ACAinstructor View Post

      For the record: what I describe as Concurrent Modalism, derived from statements by Oneness and former Oneness on CARM rather than however it may have been contended historically, is a de facto Trinitarianism which contends three eternal manifestations while rejecting only extrabiblical terminology such as "three persons" or "three hypostases." Very simply--without including Old Testament manifestations which many are unfamiliar with--it would look like this:
      YHWH Sabaoth -----> The Father
      The Word -------------> The Son
      Ruah YHWH ---------> The Holy Spirit
      That is, I was not identifying as Concurrent Modalism a Oneness theology which said "YHWH trifurcated into The Father + The Son + The Spirit, say, at the Incarnation." I do concede that I may be missing certain nuances of denotation concerning Oneness theology, with which I have little experience as of yet.

      I continue to be interested in hearing about explicit soteriological material from the NT which deals with Oneness theology of any stripe.
      Thank you.
      Hello ACA, I'm a Oneness believer. Thank you for your explanation of Concurrent Modalism.
      I would disagree with a couple of points. I would take Father and Son terminology out completely unless you are speaking anachronistically because Father and Son are not" eternal manifestations" of God, imo. They came about because of the incarnation. These two descriptive names of God, Father and Son, were not applicable for God until God became incarnate. Son applies to God incarnate ( Luke 1:35) and Father applies to the Spirit who caused the conception thus becoming a Father of the only begotten Son of God. You might read Adam Clarkes' commentary on Luke 1:35 for his take on "Son of God". I think many Oneness would agree that an eternal Son did not exist prior to the incarnation. Isaiah 9:6-7 prophesies of a son that will be born in the future who will be God in the flesh. So although Christ preexisted as God, he did not preexist as the Son of God.
      I've discussed my thoughts on the use of the word "Word" to describe God in this thread.

      I may be misunderstanding your display. Maybe you are saying the "OT name" ---> the "NT name" --if that is the case, then I'd like to know how you would describe YHWH.
      Last edited by mizpeh; 02-21-19, 06:31 AM.

      Comment


      • #18
        Originally posted by mizpeh View Post
        Hello ACA, I'm a Oneness believer. Thank you for your explanation of Concurrent Modalism.
        I would disagree with a couple of points. I would take Father and Son terminology out completely unless you are speaking anachronistically because Father and Son are not" eternal manifestations" of God, imo. They came about because of the incarnation. These two descriptive names of God, Father and Son, were not applicable for God until God became incarnate. Son applies to God incarnate ( Luke 1:35) and Father applies to the Spirit who caused the conception thus becoming a Father of the only begotten Son of God. You might read Adam Clarkes' commentary on Luke 1:35 for his take on "Son of God". I think many Oneness would agree that an eternal Son did not exist prior to the incarnation. Isaiah 9:6-7 prophesies of a son that will be born in the future who will be God in the flesh. So although Christ preexisted as God, he did not preexist as the Son of God.
        Hi Mizpeh, thanks for answering.
        I hold to the eternality of all three because all three are in the OT and NT. The ascriptions "Father" and "Son" are in fact in the Old Testament. Moreover, the pre-incarnate Jesus manifests in other ways in the Old Testament as well, on which I have written one major paper. Look at these:
        Isaiah 64:8
        Yet, Yahweh, you are our father. We are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the product of your labor.

        Malachi 2:10
        Do we not all have one father? Did not one God create us?

        Proverbs 30:4
        Who has ascended into heaven, and then descended?
        Who has gathered up the winds in his fists?
        Who has bound up the waters in his cloak?
        Who has established all the ends of the earth?
        What is his name, and what is his son's name?--if you know!
        I have only indexed 18% of the NT, and I have already found 17 places where Jesus is described as pre-existent, including several which aren't referring to a mere office.
        So, this is one small snapshot of evidence that I have seen which informs my theology.


        Originally posted by mizpeh View Post
        I may be misunderstanding your display. Maybe you are saying the "OT name" ---> the "NT name" --if that is the case, then I'd like to know how you would describe YHWH.
        Yes, it is rudimentary. Yahweh means "He who is," or "He who causes to be" in the Hebrew. Before I started studying God's ontology many years ago, I assumed Yahweh referred only to The Father. Boy, was I wrong. Yahweh is the covenant name of God, and a blanket term for God. It often refers to The Father, but certainly does not always. There are ascriptions derived from Yahweh (like the Ruah Yahweh), and then at least two manifestations are baldly called "Yahweh," despite distinctions such as physicality, switching of referents, distance, etc.

        Anyhow, my primary interest here at the beginning of my time hearing about Oneness is in regards to soteriology. I created this thread, but I should have posted it here in this forum (which I didn't know existed). Maybe just read the first post of that thread, and answer it in this thread? I would summarize my main question thus: "Is there any verse which talks about soteriology and anathematizes Oneness?" Maybe I will start a thread on it in this forum if I get a chance in the next couple of days.
        Inactive, except to upload and bump.
        I wiped my slate clean and followed only biblical data to see if Unitarianism was true. After 40 weeks, I knew it couldn't be.
        After 5 years, very few could even interact with the exegeses, so I am moving on.

        Comment


        • #19
          Originally posted by ACAinstructor View Post
          Speaking of this, what would one call the above type of Modalism?
          The Father who becomes The Son who becomes The Spirit has been called
          Consecutive Modalism or Sequential Modalism

          The Father and The Son and The Spirit as three eternal manifestations of the "one person" of God I would call
          Concurrent Modalism

          What would we call Yahweh trifurcated into The Father, The Son, and The Spirit at a certain point in time?
          Tridental Modalism? ("Tridental" meaning relating to a "trident." Google Image the term Trident if you don't know what the weapon looks like.
          Hello ACA,

          I'm simply going to attempt to help you speak Oneness in this post. First you need to be careful with the word "manifestation," in fact it is a word I never use when describing Oneness. The reason being is that a "manifestation" in the context it is being used would mean a "temporal appearance." In Scripture in places like 1John it is being used as "revealing something that was hidden" but in the context of "modes and manifestations" it means, as I said, "appearing." In fact, Oneness like to use manifestations and modes as synonyms, so this will not help you with ontology.

          Trinitarians such as Karl Barth proposed "modes of existence" rather than "persons" but Barth when using the term "modes" meant that the "modes were essential," not "temporal." This is much like unitarians who attempt to argue against Phil 2.6 saying that the Son existed as God by comparing it to the use of morphe in Mk 16.12 and ignoring the difference in haparchOn (existing) and ephanerOthE (appeared) which I am sure you have had to explain many times in discussions. Anyway, you need to be careful to be specific about ontology and not mere appearance.

          You will note all the times Mizpeh has contradicted herself already. And she will say "the Son" existed before the incarnation but as God not as "the Son." That itself is contradictory but she will add that it is an anachronism, like saying President George W. Bush flew jets during the Vietnam war and saying Bush wasn't the President during the war. But you point out that the referent for "fighter pilot Bush" and "President Bush" are not numerically or personally distinct as there teachings regarding the Father and Son are they go quiet.

          If you ask if the Son as God existed in a personal relationship with someone else before creation (the Father) then the answer is no. Incidentally, historical modalism never taught that God could only appear in one particular manifestation at a time (which is what some Oneness have begun falsely saying about Sabellianism) and that they teach God can "appear" in many modes at the same time. This is the only difference in "consecutive/sequential modalism and concurrent modalism" as they have described it.

          Now, your trifurcated idea is interesting because this is exactly what some Oneness do, others bifurcate God. Few will admit this, although there are a number of Oneness which "seem" to be increasing in number (though my evidence is purely anecdota)l that are actually taking an adoptionist or Cerinthian type view of the Father and Son. If you look beyond their claims to their teachings many seem to be teaching a very mutable God. This encompasses at least two of those four basic categories I have broken Oneness into. For example, I referred to Jason Dulle as teaching a neo-Arian theology/Christology. It seemed he was taking a scoop of God stuff and mixing it with human stuff and Jesus ends up being a Tertium Quid and a demi-god. However, after reading some of Jason's comments over the years on his blog it appears that he may be bifurcating God in that God takes a scoop of human stuff (instead of the other way around) and adds it to himself and the nature of God changes with part of God becoming human and divine while another part of God remains divine only (yeah, I know, lots of problems with this on many levels but it seems to be what Dulle and some describe). You end up with a numerically distinct person who did not exist before existing in relationship to and with the divine person who has always existed.

          Anyway, as much as you can try to ask about the relational and ontological changes pre and post "incarnation." By the way, this always looks like a shell game that they are using to "trick" others, but I believe it is part and parcel to "cult think" and it is part of how they compartmentalize and rationalize the unending contradictions in their teachings.

          TheLayman

          Comment


          • #20
            Hi ACA,

            There are many scriptures in the OT that address God as Father but not as a Father of a begotten Son. Father of the nation of Israel is different. Jesus was conceived in the womb of Mary by the Holy Spirit. That type of fatherhood is why I believe Jesus speaks of God as his father. When we become "in Christ", God also becomes our father.
            There are many places in the NT that speak to the preexistence of Christ. Oneness believe that Jesus is God...that he preexisted the incarnation as God but not as the Son of God.

            You asked "
            "Is there any verse which talks about soteriology and anathematizes Oneness?"...not that I'm aware of. I don't consider my beliefs to be heretical.

            Comment


            • #21
              Originally posted by ACAinstructor View Post
              Speaking of this, what would one call the above type of Modalism?
              The Father who becomes The Son who becomes The Spirit has been called
              Consecutive Modalism or Sequential Modalism

              The Father and The Son and The Spirit as three eternal manifestations of the "one person" of God I would call
              Concurrent Modalism

              What would we call Yahweh trifurcated into The Father, The Son, and The Spirit at a certain point in time?
              Tridental Modalism? ("Tridental" meaning relating to a "trident." Google Image the term Trident if you don't know what the weapon looks like.
              I'm not aware of any Oneness who subscribe to Concurrent Modalism, for no informed Oneness adherent would ever affirm that the Father, Son, and the Spirit are three ETERNAL manifestations of the "one person'" of God.

              Comment


              • #22
                Originally posted by TheLayman View Post
                First you need to be careful with the word "manifestation," in fact it is a word I never use when describing Oneness. The reason being is that a "manifestation" in the context it is being used would mean a "temporal appearance." In Scripture in places like 1John it is being used as "revealing something that was hidden" but in the context of "modes and manifestations" it means, as I said, "appearing." In fact, Oneness like to use manifestations and modes as synonyms, so this will not help you with ontology. [...] Anyway, you need to be careful to be specific about ontology and not mere appearance.
                I got that word from the Bible, not from Oneness folks. ἐπιφάνεια. And that can mean both a revelation or a temporal manifestation.
                Actually, so far I have found it to be the best word to describe the various biblical accounts of Yahweh interacting with man. The Mal'ak Yahweh was a recurring, temporal manifestation. The Kabod Yahweh was a special, temporal manifestation. Jesus being "The Living God" [1 Tim 3:15] "who was manifest in flesh" [1 Tim 3:16] was a temporal manifestation. The Holy Spirit descending in fire at Pentecost was a temporal manifestation. Yes, as Trinitarians we contend that the three revealed NT ascriptions (e.g., Mt 28:19) constitute distinct, eternal, interpersonal, essential elements/aspects/"persons" of the one true God, but "manifestation" is a far more applicable word to much of what the Bible narrates.

                I understand that you are telling me to be careful in what I assume about the word when talking with Oneness. Thanks, noted.


                Originally posted by TheLayman View Post
                You will note all the times Mizpeh has contradicted herself already. And she will say "the Son" existed before the incarnation but as God not as "the Son." That itself is contradictory but she will add that it is an anachronism, like saying President George W. Bush flew jets during the Vietnam war and saying Bush wasn't the President during the war. But you point out that the referent for "fighter pilot Bush" and "President Bush" are not numerically or personally distinct as there teachings regarding the Father and Son are they go quiet.

                If you ask if the Son as God existed in a personal relationship with someone else before creation (the Father) then the answer is no. Incidentally, historical modalism never taught that God could only appear in one particular manifestation at a time (which is what some Oneness have begun falsely saying about Sabellianism) and that they teach God can "appear" in many modes at the same time. This is the only difference in "consecutive/sequential modalism and concurrent modalism" as they have described it.

                Now, your trifurcated idea is interesting because this is exactly what some Oneness do, others bifurcate God. Few will admit this, although there are a number of Oneness which "seem" to be increasing in number (though my evidence is purely anecdota)l that are actually taking an adoptionist or Cerinthian type view of the Father and Son. If you look beyond their claims to their teachings many seem to be teaching a very mutable God. This encompasses at least two of those four basic categories I have broken Oneness into. For example, I referred to Jason Dulle as teaching a neo-Arian theology/Christology. It seemed he was taking a scoop of God stuff and mixing it with human stuff and Jesus ends up being a Tertium Quid and a demi-god. However, after reading some of Jason's comments over the years on his blog it appears that he may be bifurcating God in that God takes a scoop of human stuff (instead of the other way around) and adds it to himself and the nature of God changes with part of God becoming human and divine while another part of God remains divine only (yeah, I know, lots of problems with this on many levels but it seems to be what Dulle and some describe). You end up with a numerically distinct person who did not exist before existing in relationship to and with the divine person who has always existed.

                Anyway, as much as you can try to ask about the relational and ontological changes pre and post "incarnation." By the way, this always looks like a shell game that they are using to "trick" others, but I believe it is part and parcel to "cult think" and it is part of how they compartmentalize and rationalize the unending contradictions in their teachings.

                TheLayman
                Acknowledged.
                Inactive, except to upload and bump.
                I wiped my slate clean and followed only biblical data to see if Unitarianism was true. After 40 weeks, I knew it couldn't be.
                After 5 years, very few could even interact with the exegeses, so I am moving on.

                Comment


                • #23
                  Originally posted by mizpeh View Post
                  Hi ACA,

                  There are many scriptures in the OT that address God as Father but not as a Father of a begotten Son. Father of the nation of Israel is different. Jesus was conceived in the womb of Mary by the Holy Spirit. That type of fatherhood is why I believe Jesus speaks of God as his father. When we become "in Christ", God also becomes our father.
                  There are many places in the NT that speak to the preexistence of Christ. Oneness believe that Jesus is God...that he preexisted the incarnation as God but not as the Son of God.

                  You asked "
                  "Is there any verse which talks about soteriology and anathematizes Oneness?"...not that I'm aware of. I don't consider my beliefs to be heretical.
                  I forgot to add that the title, Father, is also used in the OT when it refers to God as creator.

                  Comment


                  • #24
                    Not all biblical unitarians consider "the word" (LOGOS) to be referring to a "plan" or "thought in the mind of God."

                    My understanding is that "the word" in John 1:1 refers to the human being, Jesus Christ. He was "the word of life" (1 John 1:1-2) with whom the disciples had fellowship "from the beginning" of his public ministry (cf. John 15:27; John 16:4).

                    Comment

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