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Not to derail the literal/liberal thread, but stemming out of it.

In  John 8:12, and again in Mark 14:62, Jesus comes close to identifying himself with God. But a literal reading of the words suggests he also explicitly distinguishes himself from God; eg he calls himself the 'Son of Man' and promises his disciples they will see him 'seated at the right hand of Power'.

How can a 'literalist' interpretation lead to the belief that Jesus was claiming to be God, and not 'merely' an especially important prophet?

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I'm not sure we can have this discussion until we come to terms about a literal hermeneutic.

That being said, Marv has replied on the other thread regarding the Son of Man.

I, too, have done the same.

Furthermore, if you understand that there exists Trinitarian theology, there is no reason not to believe in the deity of Christ.

He did say the He and the Father are one. John 10:30



Jason said:

I'm not sure we can have this discussion until we come to terms about a literal hermeneutic.

Yes. I have set this question apart from that thread because that thread is about some important questions  which I would not derail.

Furthermore, if you understand that there exists Trinitarian theology, there is no reason not to believe in the deity of Christ.

Yes. From my Catholic youth, I am familiar with the doctrine of the Trinity. It's just that I've never wondered before where this doctrine gets its Biblical authority.

He did say the He and the Father are one. John 10:30

But in John 10:34 - 38 he claims, in his defence against his accusers, historical precedent by drawing a clear parallel with earlier Prophets described in Scripture as 'gods'. These earlier prophets clearly were not supposed to be God Himself, but his representatives, in some very direct sense.

vs 38 in particular seems to have Jesus saying that he and the Father are intimately connected on a spiritual level, but not the same Being?

You're wrestling with several issues here.

One is the theological issue of the Trinity, which teaches that God is one being but three distinct persons.

Another is the theological issue of the Incarnation, which teaches that Jesus was truly God and at the same time truly human

A third is not exactly theological.  It is the issue of whether the human authors of Scripture were trustworthy.  It is generally accepted, for instance, that each the Evangelists compiled and edited their data to support certain emphases.  But the question is whether they went so far as to distort the truth or even dishonestly put words in the mouth of Jesus.

I'll come back and bloviate at greater length later.

I think that a person would only see verse 38 as you see it only if he brought that to the verse himself, or wasn't familiar with the doctrine of the Trinity.

Considering that I'm interacting with a former Catholic now about the Trinity, and he misunderstands, I prefer to be cautious and say that I'm not so sure that Catholics do any better job than anyone else when they teach the Trinity.

I think that you would do better to begin with the Trinity and then work your way toward the deity of Christ. To see the plurality of persons in God is the first thing that needs to be seen. Then you can work on the deity of Christ.

Here are a few articles that I wrote in the past that might be of help.

I'll try to get back here some time in the next few days to discuss this further.

The Necessity of The Trinity

The Relation of The Various Persons In The Trinity

The Eternal Sonship of Jesus Christ

Simple Thoughts On Christ The Word of God

The Incarnation of Christ

The Deity of The Holy Spirit



Jax Agnesson said:



Jason said:

I'm not sure we can have this discussion until we come to terms about a literal hermeneutic.

Yes. I have set this question apart from that thread because that thread is about some important questions  which I would not derail.

Furthermore, if you understand that there exists Trinitarian theology, there is no reason not to believe in the deity of Christ.

Yes. From my Catholic youth, I am familiar with the doctrine of the Trinity. It's just that I've never wondered before where this doctrine gets its Biblical authority.

He did say the He and the Father are one. John 10:30

But in John 10:34 - 38 he claims, in his defence against his accusers, historical precedent by drawing a clear parallel with earlier Prophets described in Scripture as 'gods'. These earlier prophets clearly were not supposed to be God Himself, but his representatives, in some very direct sense.

vs 38 in particular seems to have Jesus saying that he and the Father are intimately connected on a spiritual level, but not the same Being?

I think the context is easy to see in the results of the statements.  Whether WE think He claimed to be God or not, His audience surely did.  That is why He was charged with blasphemy.  

This, I think, I understand.

Jesus stood accused of blasphemy, and was under immediate threat of death by stoning.. The charge was 'that he claimed to be God'. He didn't respond by saying 'Yes. The reason I claim to be God is because in fact I am God.'

Instead of seizing this opportunity to bring his message explicitly to the nations (Jesus IS God) he prevaricates. (No disrespect intended here. I'm imagining what a literalist interpretation would be)

He cites earlier prophets who have been called 'gods' in Scripture, and compares himself to them.

Daniel said:

I think the context is easy to see in the results of the statements.  

Whether WE think He claimed to be God or not, His audience surely did.  That is why He was charged with blasphemy.  

The result of this testimony is that his accusers accepted that he had not claimed to be God. Hence they didn't stone him.

Wouldn't a 'literalist' interpretation be forced to confront this apparent denial of his divinity?

Jax --

On the matter of where the concept of the Trinity is found in Scripture -- Of course that specific word does not occur, nor is it directly stated in Scripture in the same precise way it is defined in creeds and theology texts.  It is derived from studying the whole of Scripture.  However, there *are* a few places where one can see the idea at least implied in a very concise space.  The two examples that most readily occur to me are 1 Cor. 12:4-6 and Eph. 4:4-6; in both cases, God (the Father), Lord (Jesus) and Spirit are placed in parallel.  Of course by themselves those passages are only interesting, not particularly probative.

There are numerous places in Paul's works where he speaks about the humanity of Jesus, or in some other way indicates a distinction between "God" and "Jesus."  In the latter cases, when such an apparent distinction occurs, it is usually because Paul is using "God" as a reference to the Father.  There are other cases where Paul teaches that Jesus Himself is God.  An explicit one is Tit. 2:13.  One not as immediately obvious is Rom. 10:9-13; v.13 is a citation from the OT which shows that *at least* in that particular context, calling Jesus "Lord" is the same as acknowledging Him as "I AM."

That's obviously just a small start, but it does provide basis for understanding Paul regarded Jesus as God, and yet as distinct from the Father (e.g. Rom. 15:6).  This is an important early step for recognizing the Trinity doctrine in Scripture.

You also wondered about whether Jesus Himself ever really claimed to be God.  I opined that the answer to this depends on whether you regard his biographers as trustworthy.  John provides most of the most explicit teachings on the deity of Jesus.  (He also is very explicit about His humanity, and His dependence on the Father during His time on earth.)  In Revelation, John recounts a vision in which Jesus appears to him and refers to Himself as "the First and the Last" -- an expression God used repeatedly in Isaiah to refer to Himself.  John opens his Gospel with the famous quote, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God"; in context, "the Word" clearly refers to Jesus.  Near the end of John's Gospel, Jesus breathes on His disciples and says, "Receive the Holy Spirit," reenacting God's animating of Adam.  And I noted in one of my prior posts John 8, where John records Jesus directly claiming to be "I AM."  So it's clear that *John* believed Jesus to be God.  The question of whether Jesus Himself made the claim depends on whether you believe John's testimony (I do), or whether you believe he put those words in Jesus' mouth.

I would add that I don't happen to find John 10:30 ("I and the Father are one.") a useful proof of the deity of Christ, because to treat it so would pretty much require believing that 17:11 and 17:21 of the same book place believers in the godhead.

For the translation on the word 'gods' used in that verse, check this out.


Jax Agnesson said:

But in John 10:34 - 38 he claims, in his defence against his accusers, historical precedent by drawing a clear parallel with earlier Prophets described in Scripture as 'gods'. These earlier prophets clearly were not supposed to be God Himself, but his representatives, in some very direct sense.

vs 38 in particular seems to have Jesus saying that he and the Father are intimately connected on a spiritual level, but not the same Being?

One problem with the term literal is that it isn’t as cut and dried as it appears. For example, hypothetically, if I were to say to you something like, “I have a planter’s wart on my index finger that is smarter than you are,” what am I literally saying? Very little, actually.

But is there any doubt that my intention is for you to know that I do not think you are very smart? Of course, if you have no context for understanding “planter’s wart” or “index finger,” you may take away something completely different than my clearly intended meaning. Like, you might think I’m talking about a very smart wart.

Generally, people who do not think Jesus claimed to be God (he was convicted and executed for claiming to be God, and offered no defense…give me a break) lack the context or cultural or literary understanding to get His actual meaning.

Interesting that the Gospels give very little attention to this question. They give some, but not a lot. Must be that THEY assume you think He claims to be God. You may not believe Him, but you get what he is claiming.

James said: Interesting that the Gospels give very little attention to this question. They give some, but not a lot. Must be that THEY assume you think He claims to be God. You may not believe Him, but you get what he is claiming.

That's right. The Regula Fidei precedes scripture.

Not smart enough to know what that means, PJ. You’re speaking in tongues again.

But if you buy a new washing machine, it is fair to assume that the booklet that comes with it is an owners manual about washing machines in general, and your new washing machine in particular. So, to ask whether the machine in this booklet claims to clean clothes is sort of a silly question in that context.

To the human writers of the Gospels, the question was not whether Jesus claimed to be God. It was more or less a given that He did. The urgent question for those writers was whether you (I…the reader) believe Him.

Bod Owens- PJ said:

James said: Interesting that the Gospels give very little attention to this question. They give some, but not a lot. Must be that THEY assume you think He claims to be God. You may not believe Him, but you get what he is claiming.

That's right. The Regula Fidei precedes scripture.

Is John 14:8 - 11 any good?

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