Thursday, May 22, 2014

Trust in Jesus Is Apparently Trust in Jehovah



Anyone who knows the Old Testament know there are MANY, MANY passages in the Old Testament that teach we are to trust in the LORD/Jehovah/Yahweh. The most famous is probably Proverbs 3:5-6. In Phil. 2:19-24 Jesus seems to be trusted in by Paul in the way Prov. 3:5-6 reserves for Jehovah. Such trust is meant to "make one's paths smooth or straight."

5    Trust in the LORD with all your heart,
        and do not lean on your own understanding.
6    In all your ways acknowledge him,
        and he will make straight your paths.- Prov. 3:5-6

 For I will surely deliver thee, and thou shalt not fall by the sword, but thy life shall be for a prey unto thee: because thou hast put thy trust in me, saith the LORD.- Jer. 39:18

Compare the above passages (which are only two samples) with the following where Paul trusts Jesus to guide and arrange his and Timothy's journeyings.

19    I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon, so that I too may be cheered by news of you.20 For I have no one like him, who will be genuinely concerned for your welfare.21 For they all seek their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ.22 But you know Timothy's proven worth, how as a son with a father he has served with me in the gospel.23 I hope therefore to send him just as soon as I see how it will go with me,24 and I trust in the Lord that shortly I myself will come also.- Phil. 2:19-24 ESV

 19    But I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you shortly, so that I also may be encouraged when I learn of your condition.20 For I have no one else of kindred spirit who will genuinely be concerned for your welfare.21 For they all seek after their own interests, not those of Christ Jesus.22 But you know of his proven worth, that he served with me in the furtherance of the gospel like a child serving his father.23 Therefore I hope to send him immediately, as soon as I see how things go with me;24 and I trust in the Lord that I myself also will be coming shortly.- Phil. 2:19-24 NASB

19    But I trust in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you shortly, that I also may be encouraged when I know your state.20 For I have no one like-minded, who will sincerely care for your state.21 For all seek their own, not the things which are of Christ Jesus.22 But you know his proven character, that as a son with his father he served with me in the gospel.23 Therefore I hope to send him at once, as soon as I see how it goes with me.24 But I trust in the Lord that I myself shall also come shortly. - Phil. 2:19-24 NKJV

And again Isaiah says,
    "The root of Jesse will come,
        even he who arises to rule the Gentiles;
    in him will the Gentiles hope."- Rom. 15:12 [NKJV has "trust" for "hope"]

and in his name the Gentiles will hope."- Matt. 12:21 [NKJV has "trust" for "hope"]

 For I do not want to see you now just in passing. I hope to spend some time with you, if the Lord permits.- 1 Cor. 16:7 [KJV has "trust" for "hope"]
Compare also with

Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.- John 14:1
Here we have the author of John saying Jesus taught His disciples to place their trust in Him (apparently) in the SAME WAY they are to believe in and trust in the Father. This is in keeping with other passages in John which apparently teach the equality of the Father and Son.


From the Old Testament it would seem that hope, faith, trust and belief should be reserved for God alone. Nowhere else in the Old or New Testaments is it taught that such faith should be placed in any other than in Yahweh/Jehovah. Whether it be a human creature, angelic creature or whatever. Yet, the New Testament (and OT prophecies regarding the NT) teach that such faith in Christ is appropriate. This therefore is an indirect indication of Christ's full deity.

See also my blog:

Lord [Jesus Christ] Willing? God's Will and Christ's Will 

 

 

 

 

 

Rejoice in Jesus or in Jehovah?

originally posted 12/12/14

1 Finally, my brothers, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you is no trouble to me and is safe for you. 2 Look out for the dogs, look out for the evildoers, look out for those who mutilate the flesh. 3 For we are the circumcision, who worship by the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh---- Phil. 3:1-3
NET: "...exult in Christ Jesus..."
NKJV: "...rejoice in Christ Jesus..."
ESV and NASB have "...glory in Christ Jesus..."

4    Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice.5 Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand;- Phil. 4:4-5
These passages seem to be saying Christians are to rejoice in the Lord Jesus. If Jesus is the Lord in the context rather than the Father, then that would entail Paul exhorting Christians to rejoice in Jesus in a way similar or equal to the way the Old Testament teaches we are to rejoice in Jehovah/Yahweh the one true God. This would be consistent if Jesus is Jehovah (along with the Father). Phil. 4:5 states that "The Lord is at hand (or "is near")." This may be a reference to Jesus' Second Coming.

Comparing the above apparent exhortations to rejoice in Jesus with the following Old Testament exhortations to rejoice in Jehovah suggests that Jesus is Jehovah. How could anyone other than God receive or deserve the kind of worship that is only due to God? One can't, therefore Jesus is fully God.

yet I will rejoice in the LORD; I will take joy in the God of my salvation.- Hab. 3:18

"Be glad, O children of Zion,
        and rejoice in the LORD your God,
    for he has given the early rain for your vindication;
        he has poured down for you abundant rain,
        the early and the latter rain, as before.- Joel 2:23

Rejoice in the LORD, O you righteous,
        and give thanks to his holy name!- Ps. 97:12

But may all who seek you
        rejoice and be glad in you;
    may those who love your salvation
        say continually, "Great is the LORD!"- Ps. 40:16

I will greatly rejoice in the LORD;
        my soul shall exult in my God,
    for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation;
        he has covered me with the robe of righteousness,
    as a bridegroom decks himself like a priest with a beautiful headdress,
        and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.- Isa. 61:10 [cf. Phil. 3:3 in the NET]


you shall winnow them, and the wind shall carry them away,
        and the tempest shall scatter them.
    And you shall rejoice in the LORD;
        in the Holy One of Israel you shall glory.
- Isa. 41:16

The afflicted also will increase their gladness in the LORD,
    And the needy of mankind will rejoice in the Holy One of Israel.- Isa. 29:19 NASB




It will be said on that day,
        "Behold, this is our God; we have waited for him, that he might save us.
        This is the LORD; we have waited for him;
        let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation."- Isa. 25:9

Rejoice in the LORD, O ye righteous: for praise is comely for the upright.- Ps. 33:1 KJV





Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Matthew 1:23 and "ho theos"

 originally posted 12/8/14


The following is reproduced from another blogpost.

Some Unitarians hold to a position similar to Greg Stafford that rejects not only the full deity of Christ but also Christ's dual nature. If with Stafford they also reject the distinction between 1. person and 2. being (alternatively termed substance or essence), then that presents a dilemma for them with respect Matt. 1:23 which applies the prophecy of Isaiah 7:14 to Christ. The prophecy says the messiah would be called/considered "Immanuel" (which means "god/God with us"). If Jesus didn't have two natures immediately upon incarnation then Jesus ceased to have the nature (or being/essence/substance) of God (or "a god" as Unitarians would translate it) during the incarnation. In which case Jesus couldn't have been "Immanuel" since god/God WOULDN'T be "with us." On the other hand, one way Unitarians can affirm "(a) god with us" is to say that while Jesus ceased being a god during the incarnation, it was still nevertheless the same PERSON as the god who previously existed with a god-like nature and now has a human nature. The problem is that then they would be conceding a Trinitarian distinction between person and being. Which therefore opens up the possibility of the truth of Trinitarianism which teaches God is one in being and three in person. That is, One WHAT and Three WHOS. Moreover, Colossians 1:19 and [especially] Col. 2:9 teaches in some sense that "all the fullness of deity [or what makes one "divine" or "Divine"] resides in Christ bodily. Which again supports Christ's dual nature as opposed to a single nature both before [only "divine" small "d"] incarnation and after incarnation [only physical human nature] between conception and right before resurrection. Different Unitarians believe different things regarding Christ's nature at the resurrection. If I recall correctly, Jehovah's Witnesses for example believed at one time (still do believe it?) that Jesus' dead body eventually dissolved in the tomb. Also, that Jesus now lives only as spirit (without a physical body).

Back to Isa. 7:14 and Matt. 1:23. It must be understood that the original prophecy was probably not initially understood to mean that Almighty God Himself would take on human nature. Regardless of whether one applies the principle of dual fulfillment (immediate and long distance) regarding Isa. 7:14 or not, the original recipients of the prophecy would have interpreted the prophecy to mean that at some future date a mere human would be born who would (by his birth and possibly in conjunction with his deeds) represent (or signify) and inaugurate (in some sense) Almighty God being with "us" (i.e. His people),  in the sense of being on their side helping and delivering them. That is to say His benevolent presence which would bring victory and prosperity. The original audience would not have assumed that an elohim that was an inferior supernatural being to Almighty God (but submitted to Almighty God) would be incarnated. Yet, incarnation is what the New Testament teaches whether you take it to be the incarnation of "a god" or "Almighty God." Couple that with the fact that the original prophecy was talking about Almighty God being present, one must conclude that when Matt. 1:23 applies the prophecy to Christ as el or elohim in the flesh, the natural interpretation would be that Matthew intends to teach that the el or elohim who was "with us" wasn't a mere angelic being but Almighty God Himself. Moreover, it seems to me the Greek says "ho theos." That is in keeping with my interpretation of Matthew is telling and indicating to us that Almighty God (THE God) is with us in Christ's birth. The Greek phrase "ho theos" is usually (though not exclusively) reserved for Almighty God in the New Testament. Even the Jehovah's Witnesses Kingdom Interlinear (1969 and 1985) says, "With us the God" in Matt. 1:23.




John 20:28 And Its Proximity To John 20:30-31

originally posted 12/8/14


Most know the arguments for why John 20:28 teaches the full deity of Christ. Both Trinitarians and anti-Trinitarians (though, obviously the latter reject that interpretation). I'll quickly summarize the arguments later in this blogpost.

For now I want to point something out. What is often forgotten is John 20:28 and it's NEARNESS to John 28:30-31.

30    Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book;31 but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.- John 20:30-31
 Here in John 20:30-31 we have the author(s) of the Gospel of John tell us why he wrote the book. That is, the purpose and goal of its composition. With this fact in mind, combined with the fact that the statements right before (in John 20:28) are made the way they are, should tell us something important. The author would naturally be THAT MUCH MORE CAREFUL AND PRECISE in his statements right before 20:30-31. Yet what do we find? We find the author clearly approving Thomas calling Jesus "ho theos." These facts should therefore lend support to the idea that the author does see Jesus as fully God because he has no objection or aversion to calling Jesus "ho theos" (i.e. "the God" with the definite article).

If Jesus isn't really and truly God, then shouldn't we expect John not to call Jesus "ho theos"? Especially right before the reason for the writing of the book is given in verses 30-31?

If Jesus really isn't fully God, then the author of the Gospel of John did a very poor job in writing the book. Since, he gives a very misleading narrative and statement as the nearest incident recorded right before he explains his motive for authoring his Gospel.






The above assumed the reader knows the argument that can be made for Jesus' full deity based on John 20:28. I'll summarize the argument here.

28 Thomas answered him, "My Lord and my God!"- John 20:28

Some anti-Trinitarians argue that Thomas was making a statement of surprise similar to our common "Oh my God" (often abbreviated OMG in SMS language or textese when phone texting). However, that can't be the case since that would be an indirect violation of the 3rd commandment not to take the name of God in vain. Such a frivolous use of the word for the Supreme Deity would be blasphemous to a Jew at that time. Moreover, Jesus doesn't correct Thomas in his statement (or misstatement per this interpretation).

Other anti-Trinitarians argue that Thomas was referring to the Father as "My Lord and My God." Not to Jesus. That Thomas may have seen the resurrected Jesus and then in awe looked heavenward to God the Father and address Him as "My Lord and My God." However, the text specifically states that "Thomas answered and said to Him" (NASB), that is to Jesus. The text makes it clear that Thomas was addressing Jesus by using the word "him."

And what does Thomas actually say? In Greek (transliterated) it says, "ho kurios mou, kai ho theos mou." Which literally is, "The Lord of me, and the God of me." Anti-Trinitarians admit that the phrase "ho theos" ("the God" with the definite article "the") is most often (almost exclusively) used of the "one true God" (i.e. Almighty God). Yet, here we have Jesus being called "ho theos." As I asked above, If Jesus isn't really and truly God, then shouldn't we expect John not to call Jesus "ho theos"?


Interestingly, Matt. 1:23 has it's author quoting Isa. 7:14 and interpreting "Immanuel" as "God with us" with the Greek having "ho theos." Even the Even the (anti-Trinitarian) Jehovah's Witnesses Kingdom Interlinear (1969 and 1985) says, "With us the God."





Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Jesus' "Breaking" the Sabbath as Evidence of His Equality with the Father

originally posted 12/8/14




This was why the Jews were seeking all the more to kill him, because not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.- John 5:18

This verse is often used by Trinitarians to try to show the equality of the Father and the Son. Unfortunately, they often don't address non-Trinitarian objections to using this verse for that purpose. I'll attempt to address those objections here.

Objection: This passage can't be teaching that Jesus is equal with the Father since it is merely describing the opinion of the Jesus' Jewish opposition. If you're going to say that this verse teaches the equality of the Father and the Son, then you're going to also have to say that the Jewish opinion that Jesus broke the sabbath is also true. But if Jesus broke the sabbath, that would be sin. Therefore, that cannot be the correct interpretation since Jesus never sinned.
 There is a sense in which Jesus did and didn't break the sabbath.

1. On the one hand Jesus didn't break the sabbath in the sense that Jesus was actually fulfilling part of the intent of the sabbath. That's why Jesus could condemn the Jews on other occasions when they protested His healing the sick on the sabbath. For example, the healing of the man with the withered hand (Mark 3:1-6; Matt. 12:9-14; Luke 6:6-11), the woman with the disabling spirit (Luke 13:10-17) and the man with dropsy (Luke 14:1-6).

12 He said to them, "Which one of you who has a sheep, if it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will not take hold of it and lift it out?12 Of how much more value is a man than a sheep! So it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath."13 Then he said to the man, "Stretch out your hand." And the man stretched it out, and it was restored, healthy like the other.- Matt. 12:11-13

 2. In another sense Jesus was "breaking" the sabbath. That is, as the Jews understood it in it's limited sense. Jesus was able to "break" the sabbath in that He was actually breaking their misunderstood interpretation of the sabbath. Also (and more importantly) because like the Father, who is exempt from the sabbath command, He as the Son can also work on the sabbath just like the Father can work on the sabbath.

But Jesus answered them, "My Father is working until now, and I am working."- John 5:17
 Notice that this verse (17) is JUST BEFORE verse 18. Therefore, Jesus is implying that just as God the Father can work on the sabbath because the Father is not a man, so the Son can work on the sabbath because He (i.e. Jesus) is not merely a man, but the Father's Son who is equal with the Father.

This is precisely why just a few verses later (verse 23) Jesus was able to say, we are to honor the Son just as we honor the Father.

 that all may honor the Son, just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him.- John 5:23
 Here Jesus and the author(s) of the Gospel of John take a stand on verse 18 which deals with whether the Son is equal with God the Father. Jesus and the authors side with Jesus being equal with the Father. Is it any wonder that this idea of equality with the Father comes up again in John 10:

Objection: Jesus said He was able to do the works of the Father by the empowering of the Father (John 14:10; John 5:19 etc.) just as Jesus said we would be able to do the works of God by God's empowerment. Therefore, the above argument proves too much. Since, if it proves the equality of the Son with the Father, it also proves the equality of the Apostles with the Father. Therefore, the Apostles are also God. Which is patently false.
Jesus was able to perform such miracles because of His inherent and unique connection with the Father as John 10:30, 38 and other verses point out (though, anti-Trinitarians have objections to citing verses like these which I will address in a future blogpost). It is not (and cannot be) said of the Apostles that we are to honor them in the same way we are to honor the Father. Yet, we are to honor the Son in the same way as the Father. Clearly, there is a major difference between how the Son performed miracles and how the Apostles did. The Apostles did so "in the name of Jesus." They prayed and asked the Father "in the name of Jesus." In fact, the critical text of John 14:14 has the word "me" in it contrary to the majority text with omits the word "me."

12    "Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father.13 Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.14 If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.- John 14:12-14


 In summary,

1. Contrary to the idea that Jesus couldn't be equal with God since it would make Him a breaker of the Sabbath; the fact that Jesus was able to work on the sabbath as God the Father does implies Jesus' equality with the Father. Hence, Jesus is God (as many other passages in this Gospel teach). To put it another way, Jesus was saying that as the Son of God, He like the Father was able to work on (and so "break") the Sabbath. So, rather than disproving Christ's divinity, this actually supports it. This ability of Jesus to supersede some Old Testament ceremonial laws is also why Jesus remained ritually pure even though the unclean woman with the issue of blood touched Him (Mark 5:25ff.). Also why Jesus could touch a leper (Mark 1:40ff.) and remain ritually clean. Moreover, Jesus appealed to how the Law has different priorities so that some laws take precedence over others (like the command to circumcise on the 8th day even if it is on the Sabbath; John 7:21-24) and how there are "weightier matters of the law" (Matt. 23:23). Moreover, the New Covenant laws and principles supersedes Old Covenant laws and principles when they conflict (as the book of Galatians teaches).

2. Contrary to the ideal that the Jews only wrongly interpreted Jesus' claim to be God's Son as a claim to equality with God the Father, we have Jesus and the author(s) of the Gospel of John teach we are to honor the Son as we honor the Father. Which best fits with an interpretation that Jesus is equal with God the Father. That is to say, verse 23 takes a stand on verse 18 in agreeing that Jesus is equal with the Father.

See also Steve Hays' blog: Was Jesus a Sabbath-breaker?

3. Finally, I want to point out that Jesus' claim to be God's Son implies full deity because of the Jewish understanding that like begets like. Kind begets kind. Species produce offspring with the same nature. Just as Genesis chapter one teaches both flora and fauna reproduce "according to their kinds."  I've gone into further depth on this third point in another post here:

Jesus the True and Proper SON of God




 Just as I made similar statements there which I made here. The following is a reproduction of what I wrote in that blog:


In this passage the Jews interpreted Jesus' teaching that He was the Son of God and that God was His Father as blasphemy because it was equivalent to "making himself equal with God." Thus showing how genuine sonship/progeny implied possessing the same nature as the parent. It is argued by non-Trinitarians that this passage cannot be teaching Jesus' equality with the Father because the Jews also thought Jesus broke the sabbath. They argue that either both are true or both are false. Since Jesus could not have broken the Sabbath, therefore Jesus couldn't be equal with God. However, Jesus could have "broken" the Sabbath not by violating it, but by superseding it precisely because Jesus is God. Jesus said He was able to perform miracles on the Sabbath because His Father was working on the Sabbath. "My Father is working until now, and I am working" (John 5:17). So, rather than disproving Christ's divinity, this actually supports it. This is also why Jesus remained ritually pure even though the unclean woman with the issue of blood touched Him (Mark 5:25ff.). Also why Jesus could touch a leper (Mark 1:40ff.) and remain ritually clean. Moreover, Jesus appealed to how the Law has different priorities so that some laws take precedence over others (like the command to circumcise on the 8th day even if it is on the Sabbath; John 7:21-24) and how there are "weightier matters of the law" (Matt. 23:23).





Monday, May 19, 2014

Jesus Lord of the Sabbath

originally posted 6/5/2015


27 And he said to them, "The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. 28 So the Son of Man is lord even of the Sabbath."- Mark 2:27-28 [cf. Matt. 12:8; Luke 6:5]
Since Jehovah/Yahweh/YHWH instituted the sabbath and Jesus claims to be "Lord of the Sabbath," Jesus is implicitly claiming to be YHWH. If not, then He's appropriating for Himself prerogatives which alone belong to YHWH. Something which no creature may do.
 So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation.- Gen. 2:3
 If Jesus was not claiming deity, in what sense can Jesus be called Lord of the sabbath? When did Jesus become Lord of the sabbath? After his birth? If so, how, and specifically when and why? If Jesus was merely a human messiah, or even the incarnation (in some sense) of an angelic being, why would that entitle him to be "Lord of the Sabbath"? If being Lord of the Sabbath merely means the infallible interpreter of God's Sabbath commandment, then even Moses could have been called that since he could have received revelation from God as to the proper observance of the sabbath during his lifetime.

It makes most sense that Jesus was Lord of the Sabbath at its institution. For that to be the case, he would have to pre-exist his physical birth and be God Himself since it was God who instituted the sabbath (as Gen. 2:3 was already cited). Notice too that the Greek term "kurios" is used for "Lord." It's true that in Greek the term can refer to human lords as well. However, it is also the main word used in the Septuagint to translate the Hebrew tetragrammaton (i.e. the divine name). So, it's not impossible that the writer of Mark (and Matthew and Luke in their parallel passages) was implying or insinuating Jesus was Jehovah Himself in the flesh. Matthew, in his parallel, stating that Jesus said something Greater than the Temple was in their presence [viz. Himself].

Remember too that the Sabbath commandment is part of the Ten Commandments which Almighty God gave to the people of Israel. For Jesus to claim to be Lord of the Sabbath is implicitly to also claim to be Lord of the Ten Commandments. Which is an implicit (if not explicit) claim to full deity since He made this statement in a Jewish context. So, in terms of both 1. the Creation (Gen. 2:3) and 2. the Ten Commandments (Exo. 20; Deut. 5), Jesus appears to be claiming to be YHWH (at least in some sense) with respect to the Sabbath.


See also my blog:

Jesus' "Breaking" the Sabbath as Evidence of His Equality with the Father






Sunday, May 18, 2014

Lectures in Divinity by George Hill



Book 3 in Hill's Lectures deal with the Trinity


Like all older defenses of the doctrine of the Trinity, the following work by Hill has some deficiencies and problems which I point out in my blog:


Problematic Passages Used In Defense of the Trinity



Lectures in Divinity by George Hill (3rd edition)
http://books.google.com/books?id=wlkPAAAAIAAJ&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q&f=false


Other editions

http://books.google.com/books?id=UwNMAAAAYAAJ&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q&f=false

Or

http://books.google.com/books?id=UwNMAAAAYAAJ&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q&f=false

Or

http://books.google.com/books?id=BG4PAAAAIAAJ&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q&f=false





Vindication of the Trinity by Thomas Randolph



Vindication of the Trinity by Thomas Randolph
http://books.google.com/books?id=49lbAAAAQAAJ&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q&f=false

Like all older defenses of the doctrine of the Trinity, the following work by Randolph has some deficiencies and problems which I point out in my blog:

Problematic Passages Used In Defense of the Trinity

 

 

 

 

 

Daniel Waterland on Christ's Divinity



Daniel Waterland (14 February 1683 – 23 December 1740) was an English theologian who defended the the full divinity of Christ against the Arians, Semi-Arians and Socinians of his day. The following are links to some of his works on the subject. For many of the works there are multiple versions (of differing editions, dates, and scan quality) in Google Books.

Like all older defenses of the doctrine of the Trinity, the following works by Dr. Waterland have some deficiencies and problems which I point out in my blog:

Problematic Passages Used In Defense of the Trinity



The importance of the doctrine of the Holy Trinity asserted, inreply to some late pamphlets
https://archive.org/details/hasidicprayer00jacouoft


Vindication of Christ's Divinity by Dr. Waterland
http://books.google.com/books?id=G1UAAAAAMAAJ&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q&f=false

A Second Vindication of Christ's Divinity
http://books.google.com/books?id=OkEVAAAAQAAJ&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q&f=false

A Farther Vindication of Christ's Divinity
http://books.google.com/books?id=UkIVAAAAQAAJ&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q&f=false

Eight sermons preach'd at the Cathedral Church of St. Paul, in defense of the Divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ
https://archive.org/details/eightsermonsprea00wate

An Answer to Dr. Whitby's Reply : being a vindication of the charge of fallacies, misquotations, misconstructions, misrepresentations, etc., respecting his book intituled Disquisitiones modestae, in a letter to Dr. Whitby (1720)
https://archive.org/details/answertodrwhitby00wate





Jesus the True and Proper SON of God

This blogpost should be read in conjunction with my blogpost: The Meaning of the Term "Son of Man"

In this blogpost I argue that unless Jesus is fully God, then Jesus cannot truly be God's Son.

In Jewish understanding being the "son" of someone or some thing is to possess the same nature as that thing or person. This understanding and concept that kind begets kind and like begets like in the Jewish mind finds its partial yet primary origin in Genesis chapter one where each species produces offspring with its own nature.

11 And God said, "Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind, on the earth." And it was so. 12 The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed according to their own kinds, and trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.- Gen. 1:11-12

So God created the great sea creatures and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarm, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.- Gen. 1:21

24    And God said, "Let the earth bring forth living creatures according to their kinds---livestock and creeping things and beasts of the earth according to their kinds." And it was so.25 And God made the beasts of the earth according to their kinds and the livestock according to their kinds, and everything that creeps on the ground according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.- Gen. 1:24-25

Notice the Old Testament phrase "sons of the prophets" (e.g. 1 Kings 20:35; 2 Kings 2:3, 5, 7, 15; 4:1, 38; 5:22; 6:1; 9:1). It meant that such persons were considered to be prophets themselves. To be called a "son of man" in the Old Testament meant to be a man (i.e. a human being). Only after the revelation of Dan. 7:13ff. did the term "son of man" take on a new secondary eschatological meaning (as I explained in the comments of ANOTHER BLOGPOST where "Son of Man" applied to Christ actually implies Christ's full divinity).

It might be pointed out that the Old Testament also makes statements that contradict the above point. For example, it is true that in the Old Testament angels in general (or a specific loftier species of angels) are called "sons of God" without them being the actual sons and offspring of God by nature (i.e. possessing the same nature as Almighty God). It is also true that Israelite kings are sometimes called the sons of God. Even Luke refers to Adam as a son of God (Luke 3:38). However, it was an understood given that neither angels nor humans are sons of God by nature. But this is unlike many of the descriptions of Jesus in the New Testament. Not in every context, but in many contexts the New Testament over and over and repeatedly implies the true sonship of Christ. That when "sonship" is connected with Christ it is because Jesus is the true offspring of God the Father.


This is why the Jews were often offended by Christ's claim to be God's Son. This is also why many translations capitalize the word "son" as "Son" in reference to Christ. Because the translators understand that Jesus is the "son of God" in an unique and special way like no other. Notice how the Jews interpreted Jesus' claim to being God's Son as blasphemy.

This was why the Jews were seeking all the more to kill him, because not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.- John 5:18
In this passage the Jews interpreted Jesus' teaching that He was the Son of God and that God was His Father as blasphemy because it was equivalent to "making himself equal with God." Thus showing how genuine sonship/progeny implied possessing the same nature as the parent. It is argued by non-Trinitarians that this passage cannot be teaching Jesus' equality with the Father because the Jews also thought Jesus broke the sabbath. They argue that either both are true or both are false. Since Jesus could not have broken the Sabbath, therefore Jesus couldn't be equal with God. However, Jesus could have "broken" the Sabbath not by violating it, but by superseding it precisely because Jesus is God. Jesus said He was able to perform miracles on the Sabbath because His Father was working on the Sabbath. "My Father is working until now, and I am working" (John 5:17). Jesus was saying that as the Son of God, He like the Father was able to work on (and so "break") the Sabbath. So, rather than disproving Christ's divinity, this actually supports it. This ability of Jesus to supersede some Old Testament ceremonial laws is also why Jesus remained ritually pure even though the unclean woman with the issue of blood touched Him (Mark 5:25ff.). Also why Jesus could touch a leper (Mark 1:40ff.) and remain ritually clean. Moreover, Jesus appealed to how the Law has different priorities so that some laws take precedence over others (like the command to circumcise on the 8th day even if it is on the Sabbath; John 7:21-24) and how there are "weightier matters of the law" (Matt. 23:23).

I address John 5:18 in fuller depth in another blogpost:

Jesus' "Breaking" the Sabbath as Evidence of His Equality with the Father



60 And the high priest stood up in the midst and asked Jesus, "Have you no answer to make? What is it that these men testify against you?"61 But he remained silent and made no answer. Again the high priest asked him, "Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?"62 And Jesus said, "I am, and you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven."63 And the high priest tore his garments and said, "What further witnesses do we need?64 You have heard his blasphemy. What is your decision?" And they all condemned him as deserving death.- Mark 14:60-64

62 And the high priest stood up and said, "Have you no answer to make? What is it that these men testify against you?"63 But Jesus remained silent. And the high priest said to him, "I adjure you by the living God, tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God."64 Jesus said to him, "You have said so. But I tell you, from now on you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power and coming on the clouds of heaven."65 Then the high priest tore his robes and said, "He has uttered blasphemy. What further witnesses do we need? You have now heard his blasphemy.66 What is your judgment?" They answered, "He deserves death."- Matt. 26:62-66

67 "If you are the Christ, tell us." But he said to them, "If I tell you, you will not believe,68 and if I ask you, you will not answer.69 But from now on the Son of Man shall be seated at the right hand of the power of God."70 So they all said, "Are you the Son of God, then?" And he said to them, "You say that I am."71 Then they said, "What further testimony do we need? We have heard it ourselves from his own lips."- Luke 22:67-71

29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand.30 I and the Father are one."
31    The Jews picked up stones again to stone him.32 Jesus answered them, "I have shown you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you going to stone me?"33 The Jews answered him, "It is not for a good work that we are going to stone you but for blasphemy, because you, being a man, make yourself God."- John 10:29-33 [ Admittedly, some non-Trinitarians interpret this passage and the following verses in the opposite direction of Trinitarianism. See my blogpost titled: God, gods and Jesus in John 10:30-39]

This is also why the author of the book of Hebrews goes out of his way to distinguish Jesus from the angels and to deny Jesus' being an angel. Notice the CONTRASTS being made by the author when he compares the Sonship of Christ with the nature or status of angels.

4 having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.
5    For to which of the angels did God ever say,
    "You are my Son,
        today I have begotten you"?
    Or again,
    "I will be to him a father,
        and he shall be to me a son"?
6    And again, when he brings the firstborn into the world, he says,
    "Let all God's angels worship him."
7    Of the angels he says,
    "He makes his angels winds,
        and his ministers a flame of fire."
8    But of the Son he says,
    "Your throne, O God, is forever and ever,
        the scepter of uprightness is the scepter of your kingdom.- Heb. 1:4-8

13    And to which of the angels has he ever said,
    "Sit at my right hand
        until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet"?
14    Are they not all ministering spirits sent out to serve for the sake of those who are to inherit salvation?- Heb. 1:13-14
Clearly, the author wants to contrast Jesus to the angels, and so deny that Jesus is an angel. The author DOES NOT say to which of the "other angels..." Nor does the author say, let "most of God's angels worship Him." It says, "Let all God's angels worship him." Therefore, Jesus cannot be an incarnate angel.

I could discuss the places in the New Testament where Jesus is referred to as "the only begotten" to argue for Christ being the true offspring of God the Father. However, the meaning of the underlying Greek word "monogenes" is disputed by Greek scholars. Some interpret it to mean something like "only" or "unique" rather than the traditional understanding of "only begotten." Nevertheless, what I've written so far in this blogpost should be enough to demonstrate, at the very least, that Jesus is God's Son in a unique way.

But is Jesus really and truly Almighty God's offspring? If so, wouldn't that actually undermine the doctrine of the Trinity and the full deity of Christ? This is the conclusion of many non-Trinitarians. They argue that in human experience offspring have existence in a point in time after the existence of their parents. Therefore, (as Arius of old inferred) there was a time when Christ was not (i.e. didn't exist). By this point in this blogpost's exploration of the nature of God and of Christ we necessarily must deal with various options and alternatives. Where we have to admit (even if not explore) the distinctions between Arianism, Semi-Arianism, Nicene Monarchism and the various Trinitarian positions. Also, issues regarding the eternal generation or filiation of the Son, and the eternal procession or spiration of the Holy Spirit, the nature of the incarnation et cetera and whether such concepts are true.

 For myself, I'm convinced of some sort of Trinitarianism or possibly Nicene Monarchism.  There are various (sometimes conflicting) ways Trinitarians explain the doctrine of the Trinity. Some are more appealing to me than others.

As I continue studying the early church on the Christological controversies I've found many of the comments by (non-Trinitarian) David Waltz informative. He holds to what he has termed Nicene Monarchism and I find it appealing. Though, for the meantime I remain a Trinitarian. I do so while admitting the open secret that there are various types of Trinitarianisms (even among Evangelicals).

As David Waltz put it:


Now, when we look at “the” Evangelical doctrine of the Trinty, one is forced to conclude that it is “doctrines”, not “the doctrine”, for the following are but a few examples of the different forms of Trinitarianism held within Evangelicalism. 1.) The Son and the Spirit are generated from the Father’s essence, who is the source, fountain-head of the Trinity (Melanchthon, Jonathan Edwards). 2.) It is the person alone, not the essence which is generated from the Father (John Calvin, Francis Turrettin, and most Reformed theologians). 3.) There is no generation of persons within the Godhead; the Logos became the Son at the incarnation (Oliver Buswell, Walter Martin, early writings of John MacArthur). 4.) The Godhead is one person, and within the being of this one person there are three personal subsistences (Cornelius Van Til). 5.) The Trinity is not composed of persons in the modern sense (i.e. three distinct centers of conscious personal beings), but rather of three modes of existence (Donald Bloesch). 6.) Social Trinitarianism (Cornelius Plantinga, Jr., Millard Erickson, Edward Wierenga).
 I don't take a dogmatic stand on any one Trinitarian view. However, I find #2 (maybe in conjunction with #4) attractive. It's the default position I defend and tentatively/provisionally hold to for the sake of argument and because it seems better in 1. affirming the unity of God, 2. affirming the plurality of God, 3. affirming the full deity of the Son and Holy Spirit, 4. preserving the genuine and eternal generation/filiation of the Son and the procession/spiration of the Holy Spirit.

I argued for Option #2 in another blogpost. It was Argument Two at that blogpost. I've reproduced the argument below.





Argument Two

- Some Trinitarians like Jonathan Edwards have argued that God's eternal self-knowledge is so clear, so intense, so glorious and infinite that His mental self-conception or idea of Himself literally conceives, eternally, the person of the Son. Analogously, as a mirror reflects the one standing in front of it, so God's mental self-reflection eternally begets a second divine person, viz. the Son of God. Might it be that God's self-imagination is the Son who Scripture repeatedly states is the image of the invisible God? Furthermore, the love between the Father and the Son, the two divine persons, is itself so intense, so glorious and infinite that that love also eternally produces a third divine person, namely the Holy Spirit. And so, we have here a possible explanation of the eternal generation (or filiation) of the Son, along with the eternal procession (or spiration) of the Holy Spirit as historically understood by Trinitarians. And one that especially makes sense if the filioque clause is factored in. Since the Holy Spirit would proceed from the Father and the Son or the Father through the Son. This explanation would entail that each person of the Trinity is eternal (since the Father never began to have self-knowledge nor ever began to love that self-knowledge), while at the same time explain how the person of the Son is dependent on the person of the Father for His existence, along with the Holy Spirit depending on the Father and the Son for His existence (as the New Testament seems to imply). Yet, all three persons would be truly and fully God without subordination of ontology, even if there might be functional/complementarian subordination among the persons.

This argument is essentially that of Jonathan Edwards in his, An Unpublished Essay on the Trinity. Jonathan Edwards' argument may be an adaptation and modification of traditional arguments he inherited from the past history of Christian theology and philosophy (e.g. from Thomas Aquinas).

As an avid follower of Edwards, John Piper argues this in the first chapter of his book The Pleasures of God: Meditations on God's Delight in Being God. I believe (rightly or wrongly) that that first chapter has been posted online HERE.

Piper also explored this idea in a sermon he gave years before the publication of his book. The sermon is, The Pleasure of God In His Son (preached Jan. 25, 1987).

Piper states it this way in his sermon:


We are on the brink of the ineffable here, but perhaps we may dare to say this much: as long as God has been God, he has been conscious of himself, and the image that he has of himself is so perfect and so complete and full as to be the living, personal reproduction (or begetting) of himself. And this living, personal image or reflection or form of God is God, namely, God the Son. And therefore God the Son is co-eternal with God the Father and equal in essence and glory.

Thomas Aquinas argues similarly (though not exactly) in his Summa Theologica, Part 1, Treatise on The Most Holy Trinity, Question 27 (or look it up Here)

Consider what Tertullian wrote:

And that you may the more readily understand this, consider first of all, from your own self, who are made “in the image and likeness of God,” for what purpose it is that you also possess reason in yourself, who are a rational creature, as being not only made by a rational Artificer, but actually animated out of His substance. Observe, then, that when you are silently conversing with yourself, this very process is carried on within you by your reason, which meets you with a word at every movement of your thought, at every impulse of your conception. Whatever you think, there is a word; whatever you conceive, there is reason. You must needs speak it in your mind; and while you are speaking, you admit speech as an interlocutor with you, involved in which there is this very reason, whereby, while in thought you are holding converse with your word, you are (by reciprocal action) producing thought by means of that converse with your word. Thus, in a certain sense, the word is a second person within you, through which in thinking you utter speech, and through which also, (by reciprocity of process,) in uttering speech you generate thought. The word is itself a different thing from yourself. Now how much more fully is all this transacted in God, whose image and likeness even you are regarded as being, inasmuch as He has reason within Himself even while He is silent, and involved in that Reason His Word! I may therefore without rashness first lay this down (as a fixed principle) that even then before the creation of the universe God was not alone, since He had within Himself both Reason, and, inherent in Reason, His Word, which He made second to Himself by agitating it within Himself. - Tertullian in Against Praxeas [trans. by Dr. Holmes]
http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf03.v.ix.v.html


The two arguments above (#1 & #2) [referring to the other blogpost from which I've copied and pasted this. So, argument #1 isn't in this blogpost] could be seen as contradictory. Since, the first argument implies that a divine person can't exist apart from at least one other divine person. The second argument implies that the others (i.e. Son and Spirit) can't exist apart from the Father.

That's why I wrote, "If one doesn't like that argument, here's another...." Nevertheless, I don't think they are necessarily contradictory. Also, they are two different types of arguments. The first part of Argument One is a hypothetical thought experiment. The second part is pure speculation. As a whole, the first argument is an argument based on natural theology. That is, on what can be gleaned and inferred from general revelation using reason. While Argument Two attempts to explain Trinitarian theology by freely using Biblical data and so appeals to and depends on special revelation. The first argument moves from the many to the one. The second argument moves from the one to the many.


Here's a link to J.C. Philpot's classic work: The True, Proper, and Eternal Sonship of the Lord Jesus Christ The Only Begotten Son of God 









The Meaning of the Term "Son of Man"

originally posted 6/5/2015

This blogpost should be read in conjunction with my blogpost: Jesus the True and Proper SON of God 

The following is partly a rearranging and reworking of previous blogposts (e.g. HERE, HERE, HERE ).

In the Synoptic Gospels Jesus' favorite self-designation is "Son of Man."

 In Jewish understanding being the "son" of someone or some thing is to possess the same nature as that thing or person. This understanding and concept that kind begets kind and like begets like in the Jewish mind finds its partial yet primary origin in Genesis chapter one where each species produces offspring with its own nature.


11 And God said, "Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind, on the earth." And it was so. 12 The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed according to their own kinds, and trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.- Gen. 1:11-12

So God created the great sea creatures and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarm, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.- Gen. 1:21

24    And God said, "Let the earth bring forth living creatures according to their kinds---livestock and creeping things and beasts of the earth according to their kinds." And it was so.25 And God made the beasts of the earth according to their kinds and the livestock according to their kinds, and everything that creeps on the ground according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.- Gen. 1:24-25

Notice the Old Testament phrase "sons of the prophets" (e.g. 1 Kings 20:35; 2 Kings 2:3, 5, 7, 15; 4:1, 38; 5:22; 6:1; 9:1). It meant that such persons were considered to be prophets themselves. To be called a "son of man" in the Old Testament meant to be a man (i.e. a human being). See the following Old Testament passages: Num. 23:19; Job 25:6; 35:8; Ps. 8:4; 80:17; 144:3; 146:3; Isa. 51:12; 56:2; Jer. 49:18; 49:33; 50:40; 51:43. The prophet Ezekiel was called by God "son of man" around 90 times! However, after the revelation of Dan. 7:13ff. the term "son of man" took on a new secondary eschatological meaning.



 13    "I saw in the night visions,
    and behold, with the clouds of heaven
        there came one like a son of man
,
    and he came to the Ancient of Days
        and was presented before him.
14    And to him was given dominion
        and glory and a kingdom,
    that all peoples, nations, and languages
        should serve him;
    his dominion is an everlasting dominion,
        which shall not pass away,
    and his kingdom one
        that shall not be destroyed. - Dan. 7:13-14

Compare that Old Testament passage with the following New Testament passage.


 And Jesus said, "I am, and you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven."- Mark 14:62


[The following is an excerpt from my blogpost titled Markan Christology]


Regarding Mark 14:62 and Mark 13:26 which allude to Dan. 7:13

This passage refers to the son of man "coming in the clouds." This is a clear reference to a divine being since in Semitic cultures only the gods (e.g.YHWH, Baal and other deities) rode on the clouds. They were the vehicles and chariots of the gods. According to Old Testament scholar Michael Heiser, Baal was the primary pagan God described and understood by pagans as the god who rode the clouds. [cued up at 1:29:32]. Everyone in the Semitic world knew about Baal. Baal was a major God. The cult of Baal was so pervasive and long lasting it endured till the time of the Romans. The Jews were in constant theological war against Baal worship. The Jews, in order to assert and make clear that YHWH (the God of Israel) was the true God rather than Baal, began describing YHWH in the Old Testament as the one who rode the clouds. Heiser goes on to say that in every instance of the Old Testament where a figure is riding the clouds it refers to YHWH (Deut. 33:26; Ps. 68:4, 33; Ps. 104:3; Isa. 19:1). With the one exception being Dan. 7:13 where the son of man is the one riding the clouds. This therefore strongly implies the divinity of the "Son of Man." Yet, Jesus applies that "Son of Man" passages to Himself. Jesus claimed to be the one who would be "coming with the clouds of heaven." The Septuagint in Dan. 7:14 states that people would "serve" the "son of man." According to James White (in his debate with Adnan Rashid) the underlying Greek word used in the LXX for "serve" refers to the highest kind of worship and service which only belongs to God. It's true that the Septuagint isn't an inspired translation of the Hebrew. Nevertheless, many of the 1st century Jews and Christians would have known this passage as it's found in a textual variant in the LXX and have known how Mark's claim that Jesus applied the passage to Himself is an indirect claim to full deity. This is why the High Priest and chief priests charged Jesus with blasphemy. He was claiming deity.
It should also be noted that in Mark 14:62 Jesus says "I am" (ego eimi in Greek). It's true that Jesus could merely be saying "I am [the Messiah]" without claiming to be deity. However, it's possible that the author of Mark is having Jesus use the Greek phrase "ego eimi" in order to have Jesus claim absolute deity, as the author of John in John 8:58 almost certainly did. Especially since Jesus uses the phrase in the context of claiming to be the Son of Man in Dan. 7:13. When Jesus responded in the way He did, the high priest charges Jesus with blasphemy.

What is blasphemy again? It is any reviling of God's name or person, or any affront to His majesty or authority. Or anything that takes away from the proper reverence and worship that God alone is rightly due. Therefore, one can blaspheme without claiming to be deity. One can also falsely claim to be deity and so commit blasphemy. In what way did the Council conclude that Jesus committed blasphemy?

Jesus doesn't seem to revile God's name or person. Apparently, the Jewish Council believed Jesus gave an affront to God's majesty and authority by 1. claiming to have or share God's authority OR possibly also 2. claiming to be deity. To commit the second includes the first but goes way beyond it.



In light of what was explained above, the term "Son of Man" as used by Jesus clearly implied more than merely being a human being. It was more than a term to Him, it was a title. A title suggesting a claim to full deity.

Notice how in Daniel's prophecy "one like a son of man" is described. Meaning, someone with the appearance or likeness of a human being rides on the clouds like the one true God. And so, we have here what appears to be a foreshadowing prophecy of the Messiah being a/the God-Man. God-like in one sense and Man-like in another sense. That nearly corresponds to the Christian doctrine of the incarnation whereby the 2nd person of the Trinity takes on a human nature without ceasing to be God or ceasing to possess His divine nature.

When one re-reads the Gospels and the instances where Jesus referred to Himself as the Son of Man, in many instances there seems to be a veiled claim to deity. For example:

The fact that Jesus forgave the sins of the paralytic man suggests both omniscience and full divinity (Mark 2:1-12; Matt. 9:1-8; Luke 5:17-26). It suggests omniscience on the part of Jesus because from all outward appearances Jesus was a mere human being. Who was he to forgive the sins of a person he knew nothing about. For all Jesus knew, the paralytic man was such a heinous sinner that that's why God punished him with paralysis. Who was he to reverse God's judgment? Or for all Jesus knew, the paralytic man was a relatively righteous person like Job who was suffering far beyond what he "deserved" relative to other human beings' just deserts and (incongruous) experience. Nevertheless, Jesus had the chutzpah (or nerve/guts/audacity) to forgive the paralytic of his sins.

Secondly, this incident suggests the full deity of Jesus because only God can forgive sins in that manner because ultimately all sin is an offense and an affront to God (directly, or indirectly because it's against humans who are made in God's image). The surrounding witnesses also knew and believed only God could forgive in that manner. There's a sense in which humans can forgive other humans for sins committed against them (i.e. the injured party). But the paralytic didn't sin against the human Jesus. They may have just met for the first time physically. The special sense in which Jesus forgave the paralytic was the kind of remission only God could rightfully dispense. That's why some in the crowd got angry at Jesus. It is true that later Jesus would grant the authority to remit sins to His disciples (John 20:23 [Possibly also Matt. 16:19; 18:18; 2 Cor. 2:6-10]). However, that was clearly a delegated authority which was only binding when it was consistent with the proclamation and reception of the gospel. The gospel of and about Jesus and His kingdom. The difference is that Jesus was the VERY FIRST human in a Jewish context to forgive sins. He did this contrary to all the cultural expectations of the orthodox Judaism(s) of the time. He did so as if it was His inherent prerogative rather than merely a delegated one. Moreover, Jesus did so by appeal to His being "the Son of Man" while on earth. Apparently in contrast to the Son of Man while in heaven.


Why was Jesus contrasting the Son of Man on earth with the Son of Man in heaven? Probably because He was alluding to Dan. 7:13. And so we've come full circle. The main point of this blogpost argues that Jesus' favorite self-designation - the Son of Man - was a subtle claim to deity. The forgiveness of the paralytic is just another example of a subtle (or not so subtle) claim to full deity. This is contrary to the popular claim by Unitarians and atheists that Jesus never claimed to be God (especially in the Synoptic Gospels).



 See also my blogposts:

Jesus the True and Proper SON of God

 Pre-Existence of Jesus in the Synoptic Gospels

Also my comments on the parallels between Jesus coming with the clouds of heaven and Satan's attempt to replace God by ascending above the clouds of heaven. Apparently, what Jesus had inherently, Satan tried to usurp.
 

 

 

 

 

Friday, May 16, 2014

The Wings of Christ Are God's Wings

(originally posted 11/30/14)


In this blogpost three New Testament passages are compared with each other and with other Old Testament passages to conclude that Christ is fully God.

46 And he said, "Woe to you lawyers also! For you load people with burdens hard to bear, and you yourselves do not touch the burdens with one of your fingers.47 Woe to you! For you build the tombs of the prophets whom your fathers killed.48 So you are witnesses and you consent to the deeds of your fathers, for they killed them, and you build their tombs.49 Therefore also the Wisdom of God said, 'I will send them prophets and apostles, some of whom they will kill and persecute,'50 so that the blood of all the prophets, shed from the foundation of the world, may be charged against this generation,51 from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who perished between the altar and the sanctuary. Yes, I tell you, it will be required of this generation.52 Woe to you lawyers! For you have taken away the key of knowledge. You did not enter yourselves, and you hindered those who were entering."- Luke 11:46-52

 34 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not!35 Behold, your house is forsaken. And I tell you, you will not see me until you say, 'Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!'"- Luke 13:34-35

29    "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you build the tombs of the prophets and decorate the monuments of the righteous,30 saying, 'If we had lived in the days of our fathers, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.'31 Thus you witness against yourselves that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets.32 Fill up, then, the measure of your fathers.33 You serpents, you brood of vipers, how are you to escape being sentenced to hell?34 Therefore I send you prophets and wise men and scribes, some of whom you will kill and crucify, and some you will flog in your synagogues and persecute from town to town,35 so that on you may come all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of innocent Abel to the blood of Zechariah the son of Barachiah, whom you murdered between the sanctuary and the altar.36 Truly, I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation.
Lament over Jerusalem
37    "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not!38 See, your house is left to you desolate.39 For I tell you, you will not see me again, until you say, 'Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.'"- Matt. 23:29-39

In these passages we have Christ being described as having the prerogatives and performing the activities of the one true God (Yahweh or Jehovah).

1. Notice that in Luke 11:49 it says "the Wisdom of God said, 'I will send...prophets" whereas in Matt. 23:34 Jesus says He HIMSELF sends prophets. This is something the Old Testament says God did and does (as the verses below will demonstrate). Christ didn't reserve the sending of prophets to God the Father. Jesus seems to be identifying Himself with the Wisdom personified in the Old Testament wisdom literature along with intertestamental apocryphal literature and the Aramaic targumim paraphrases of the Hebrew Scriptures. The targumim also seem to personify the Old Testament "Word of YHWH" by attributing to it (or him) characteristics of personhood like mind, will and actions. Additionally, in this passage of Luke 11:49, Jesus also seems to be implying His own personal (conscious) preexistence prior to His incarnation. Admittedly, this passage doesn't explicitly teach personal preexistence. Nevertheless, I think the passage is best made sense of with the assumption of preexistence.

2. Notice how Christ speaks like Jehovah in the Old Testament when He uses the imagery of a hen gathering her brood under her wings. Christ didn't reserve this imagery to the Father alone but includes Himself in it. There are also many passages in the Old Testament where God calls Israel to repentance that parallels Christ's statements above, but they are so numerous that I decided not to include them below. Anyone familiar with the Tanakh will instantly recall them on their own.


Now compare those three New Testament passages with the following Old Testament passages.


Regarding the imagery of a bird and its use of its wings.

11    Like an eagle that stirs up its nest,
        that flutters over its young,
    spreading out its wings, catching them,
        bearing them on its pinions,

12    the LORD alone guided him,
        no foreign god was with him.- Deut. 32:11-12

 The LORD repay you for what you have done, and a full reward be given you by the LORD, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge!"- Ruth 2:12

7    Wondrously show your steadfast love,
        O Savior of those who seek refuge
        from their adversaries at your right hand.
8    Keep me as the apple of your eye;
        hide me in the shadow of your wings,
9    from the wicked who do me violence,
        my deadly enemies who surround me.- Ps. 17:7-9

7    How precious is your steadfast love, O God!
        The children of mankind take refuge in the shadow of your wings.- Ps. 36:7

Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me,
        for in you my soul takes refuge;
    in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge,
        till the storms of destruction pass by.- Ps. 57:1

Let me dwell in your tent forever!
        Let me take refuge under the shelter of your wings! Selah- Ps. 61:4


    for you have been my help,
        and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy.- Ps. 63:7

He will cover you with his pinions,
        and under his wings you will find refuge
;
        his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.- Ps. 91:4



Regarding the sending and/or rejection/killing of God's prophets.


 "Nevertheless, they were disobedient and rebelled against you and cast your law behind their back and killed your prophets, who had warned them in order to turn them back to you, and they committed great blasphemies.- Neh. 9:26

In vain have I struck your children;
        they took no correction;
    your own sword devoured your prophets
        like a ravening lion.- Jer. 2:30

15    The LORD, the God of their fathers, sent persistently to them by his messengers, because he had compassion on his people and on his dwelling place.16 But they kept mocking the messengers of God, despising his words and scoffing at his prophets, until the wrath of the LORD rose against his people, until there was no remedy.- 2 Chron. 36:15-16

3 "For twenty-three years, from the thirteenth year of Josiah the son of Amon, king of Judah, to this day, the word of the LORD has come to me, and I have spoken persistently to you, but you have not listened.4 You have neither listened nor inclined your ears to hear, although the LORD persistently sent to you all his servants the prophets,- Jer. 25:3-4

 I have sent to you all my servants the prophets, sending them persistently, saying, 'Turn now every one of you from his evil way, and amend your deeds, and do not go after other gods to serve them, and then you shall dwell in the land that I gave to you and your fathers.' But you did not incline your ear or listen to me.- Jer. 35:15



Yet I persistently sent to you all my servants the prophets, saying, 'Oh, do not do this abomination that I hate!'- Jer. 44:4

Do not be like your fathers, to whom the former prophets cried out, 'Thus says the LORD of hosts, Return from your evil ways and from your evil deeds.' But they did not hear or pay attention to me, declares the LORD.- Zech. 1:4


What mere human prophet, or even an exalted angel, could declare, imply and teach the things Christ says in these passages without committing blasphemy? Yet Christ does so without committing blasphemy. This is another example of how the Lord Jesus Christ hinted at His full divinity without explicitly saying so in so many words.





Thursday, May 15, 2014

C.S. Lewis and His Description of the Trinity in Mere Christianity

originally posted 6/8/2015


Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis is a classic book on Christian apologetics. There are a lot of things I disagree with in the book (including apologetical method), but I think the good outweighs the bad. Lewis includes a description of the Trinity in the book that is helpful in some respects. They helped me when I first became a Christian. Though, I realize now that the doctrine is much more nuanced than Lewis describes. Nevertheless, it can be helpful to those new to the doctrine. Because of that, and because Mere Christianity has been extremely influential in the 20th century, I've decided to post links to the section in his book that deals with the doctrine of the Trinity.



AUDIO



OR








TEXT

 HERE
(page 75)

OR

(page 75)

OR

HERE
(page 75)






Romans 9:5 and Christ's Full Deity

last revised 3/17/17


The "Blessed God" a common description of the one true God in the Old Testament (both in the original Hebrew, and in the famous Greek translation named the Septuagint). It's so well known as a description of the one true God that that's precisely why many Unitarians do their very best to argue against Jesus being referred to as "the Blessed God" in Romans 9:5. For myself, I do think Rom. 9:5 does present Jesus as the "Blessed God" and therefore as the one true God (i.e. full deity). James White, in his book The Forgotten Trinity (p.205 n. 14), states "[Bruce] Metzger mentions Irenaeus, Tertullian, Hippolytus, Cyprian, Athanasius, Epiphanius, Basil, Gregory of Nyssa, John Chrysostom, Theodoret, Augustine, Jerome, and Cyril of Alexandria, among others, as reading the passage in support of the deity of Christ." This show that this interpretation is not solely a modern one, but rather an ancient one which many notable church fathers agreed with.

See these links discussing Romans 9:5:

CHRIST IS GOD OVER ALL: ROMANS 9:5 IN THE CONTEXT OF ROMANS 9-11 by George Warrington Carraway (a dissertation)

Romans 9:5 Research By Gary F. Zeolla
Part ONE,  Part TWO

Jesus Christ – He who is over all, God blessed forever! by Sam Shamoun
Part ONE, Part TWO 

Christ's Divinity in Romans 9:5 by Jeremy Pierce

An Examination of Romans 9:5

http://www.forananswer.org/Romans/Rom9_5.htm

 http://www.christiandefense.org/Article_Rom%209.5.htm

Jesus as God: The New Testament Use of Theos in Reference to Jesus by Murray J. Harris (pages 143-172) On page 172 Harris states, "Of the fifty-six principle commentators consulted, thirteen favored a reference to God the Father and thirty-six a reference to Christ, while seven were reluctant to express a clear preference for either interpretation. The dominant view, found in commentators of widely divergent theological persuations, may now claim the support of the textual editors of NA26 and USB3 and the translators of the NRSV in their significant reversals of previous positions."

Here are some quotes that I copied from The Trinity: Evidence and Issues

Canon Liddon in his Bampton lectures at Oxford University said that a doxology to Christ as God "is the natural sense of the passage. If the passage occurred in a profane author and its essence and structure alone had to be considered, few critics would think of overlooking the antithesis between [Greek which I, AP, am guessing should be transliterated as 'ho Christos to kata sarka'] and [Greek: 'theos eulogetos']. Still less possible would it be to destroy this antithesis outright, and to impoverish the climax of the whole passage, by cutting off the doxology from the clause which precedes it, and so erecting it into an independent ascription of praise to God the Father."

Hendriksen wrote:
"This item serves as a fitting climax. From them, that is, from the Israelites (see verse 4) Christ derived his human nature. He was and is a Jew. What a source of intense satisfaction and rejoicing this should be for Jews! The apostle hastens to add that although Jesus is indeed a Jew, he is also much more than a Jew. Though he has a human nature, he also has a divine nature. He is God! It should be clear that when Paul says, 'Christ, who is over all God blest forever,' he confesses Christ's deity."

A.T Robertson wrote in his Word Studies
"A clear statement of the deity of christ following the remark about his humanity. This is the natural and the obvious way of punctuating the sentence. To make a full stop after sarka (or colon) and start a new sentence for the doxology is very abrupt and awkward. See Acts 20:28 and Titus 2:13 for Paul's use of theos applied to Jesus Christ."

Charles Hodge wrote:
"The relative who must agree with the nearest antecedent. There is no other subject in the context sufficiently prominent to make a departure from this ordinary rule, in this case, even plausible."

Dean Alford wrote:
"The rendering...is the only one admissible by the rules of grammar and arrangement."

Raymond Brown wrote:
"...This interpretation would mean that Paul calls Jesus God. From a grammatical viewpoint this is clearly the best reading, [sic] Also, the contextual sequence is excellent; for having spoken of Jesus' descent according to the flesh, Paul now emphasizes his position as God."

Lenski wrote:
"Christ is over all, i.e., the supreme Lord. This apposition is complete in itself. If no more were added, this apposition makes Christ God, for we have yet to hear of one who is 'over all' and is not God."

Robert Haldane wrote:
"The awful blindness and obstinacy of Arians and Socinians in their explanations, or rather perversions, of the Word of God, are in nothing more obvious than in their attempts to evade the meaning of this celebrated testimony to the Godhead of our Lord Jesus Christ. They often shelter themselves under various readings; but here they have no tenable ground for an evasion of this kind. Yet, strange to say, some of them have, without the authority of manuscripts, alter the original, in order that it may suit their purpose. there is no difficulty in the words - no intricacy in the construction; yet, by a forced construction and an unnatural punctuation, they have endeavored to turn away this testimony from its obvious import. Contrary to the genius and idiom of the Greek - contrary to all the usual rules of interpreting language, as had often been incontrovertibly shown - they substitute 'God be blessed'...Such tortuous explanations are not only rejected by a sound interpretation of the original, but manifest themselves to be unnatural, even to the most illiterate who exercises an unprejudiced judgment."

Quotes taken from pages 332-335 of Robert Morey's The Trinity: Evidence and Issues. I'm too lazy to type out all the sources. So, if you want the sources, get a copy of Morey's book.



Charles Hodge in his Systematic Theology states:
In the epistles of Paul, the same exalted exhibition is made of the person and work of Christ. In the Epistle to the Romans, Christ is declared to be the Son of God, the object of faith, the judge of the world, the God of providence, the giver of the Holy Spirit, and what in the Old Testament is said of Jehovah, the Apostle applies to Christ. In chapter ix. 5, He is expressly declared to be “over all, God blessed forever.” The text here is beyond dispute. The only method to avoid the force of the passage is by changing the punctuation. Erasmus, who has been followed by many modern interpreters, placed a full stop after κατὰ σάρκα, or after πάντων. In the former case the passage would read, “Of whom is Christ concerning the flesh. The God who is over all be blessed forever;” in the latter, “Of whom Christ came concerning the flesh, who is above all,” i.e., higher than the patriarchs. It is frankly admitted by the advocates of these interpretations that the reason for adopting them is to avoid making the Apostle assert that Christ is God over all. As they do not admit that doctrine, they are unwilling to admit that the Apostle teaches it. It was universally referred to Christ in the ancient Church, by all the Reformers, by all the older theologians, and by almost all of the modern interpreters who believe in the divinity of Christ. This uniformity of assent is itself a decisive proof that the common interpretation is the natural one. We are bound to take every passage of Scripture in its obvious and natural sense, unless the plainer declarations of the Word of God show that a less obvious meaning must be the true one. That the common interpretation of this passage is correct is plain, —

1. Because Christ is the subject of discourse; God is not mentioned in the context. The Apostle is mentioning the distinguishing blessings of the Jewish nation. To them were given the law, the glory, the covenant, and the promises, and above all, from them “as concerning the flesh (i.e., as far as his humanity is concerned), Christ came, who is over all, God blessed forever.” Here everything 512is natural and to the point. It shows how preeminent was the distinction of the Jews that from them the Messiah, God manifest in the flesh, should be born. Compared to this all the other prerogatives of their nation sink into insignificance.

2. The words κατὰ σάρκα demand an antithesis. There would be no reason for saying that Christ, as far as He was a man, was descended from the Jews, if He was not more than man, and if there were not a sense in which He was not descended from them. As in Rom. i. 3, 4, it is said that κατὰ σάρκα He was the Son of David, but κατὰ πνεῦμα the Son of God; so here it is said, that κατὰ σάρκα He was descended from the patriarchs, but that in his higher nature He is God over all, blessed forever.

3. The usage of the language demands the common interpretation. In all exclamations and benedictions, in distinction from mere narration, the predicate uniformly stands before the subject, if the copula εἶναι omitted. This usage is strictly observed in the Septuagint, in the Apocrypha, and in the New Testament. We therefore always read in such doxologies εὐλογητὸς ὁ θεός, and never ὁ θεὸς εὐλογητός. In the Hebrew Scriptures, בָרוּךְ occurs forty times in doxologies and formulas of praise before the subject. It is always “Blessed be God,” and never “God be blessed.” In the Septuagint, Psalm lxviii. 20 (19), κύριος ὁ θεὸς εὐλογητός is the only apparent exception to this rule. And there the Hebrew adheres to the common form, and the Greek version is a rhetorical paraphrase of the original. The Hebrew is simply בָרוּךְ אֲדׁנָי אֲדֹנָי for which the LXX. have, Κύριος ὁ θεὸς εὐλογητός, cὐλογητὸς κύριος. Every consideration, therefore, is in favour of the interpretation which has been accepted by the Church as giving the true meaning of this passage. Christ is God over all, blessed forever.



Henry Alford in his The New Testament for English Readers vol. II (p. 80-81) states
—and of whom is Christ, so far as regards the flesh (the expression implies that He was not entirely sprung from them, but had another nature; 'on His human side,"—"as far as pertains to His human body"), who is God over all (this word all is of uncertain gender in the original, but must be probably taken as neuter: all things, not "all persons " compare ch. xi. 36), blessed for ever. Amen. — The punctuation and application of this doxology have been much disputed. By the early Church it was generally rendered as above, and applied to Christ. Passages, it is true, have been collected from the fathers to show that they applied the words "God over all" to the FATHER alone, and protested against their application to the SON; but these passages themselves protest only against the erroneous Noetian or Sabellian view of the identity of the Father and the Son, whereas in Eph. iv. 5, 6, "one Lord," "one God and Father of all, who is over all," are plainly distinguished. That our Lord is not, in the strict exclusive sense, "the God who is over all," every Christian will admit, that title being reserved for the Father : but that He is God over all" none of the above-mentioned passages goes to deny. — The first trace of a different interpretation, if it be one, is found in an assertion of the Emperor Julian, who says that our Lord is never called God by St. Paul, nor by St. Matthew, or St. Mark, but by St. John only. The next is in the punctuation of two of our later manuscripts of the eleventh and twelfth centuries, which arrange the sentence thus : "of whom as concerning the flesh is Christ. God over all [be] blessed for ever." This is followed by several among the moderns, and generally by Socinians. The objections to this rendering are, (1) ingenuously suggested by Socinus himself, and never yet obviated,—that without one exception in Hebrew or Greek, wherever an ascription of the blessing is found, the predicate blessed precedes the name of God. (2) That the words who is on this rendering, would be superfluous altogether (see below). (3) That the doxology would be unmeaning and frigid in the extreme. It is not the habit of the Apostle to break out into irrelevant ascriptions of praise; and certainly there is here nothing in the immediate context requiring one. If it be said that the survey of all these privileges bestowed on his people prompts the doxology,—surely such a view is most unnatural : for the sad subject of the Apostle's sympathy, to which he immediately recurs again, is the apparent inanity of all these privileges in the exclusion from life of those who were dignified with them. If it be said that the incarnation of Christ is the exciting cause, the words according to the flesh" come in most strangely, depreciating, as it would on that supposition, the greatness of the event, which then becomes a source of so lofty a thanksgiving. (4) That the expression "blessed for ever" is twice besides used by St. Paul, and each time unquestionably not in an ascription of praise, but in an assertion regarding the subject of the sentence. The places are, ch. i. 25, and 2 Cor. xi. 31 : whereas he uses the phrase "Blessed be God" as an ascription of praise, without joining "for ever." See the rest of the discussion in my Greek Test. I have shewn there, that the rendering given in the text is not only that most agreeable to the usage of the Apostle, but the only one admissible by the rules of grammar and arrangement. It also admirably suits the context : for, having enumerated the historic advantages of the Jewish people, he concludes by stating one which ranks far higher than all,—that from them sprung, according to the flesh, He who is God over all, blessed for ever.—Amen is the accustomed ending of such solemn declarations of the divine Majesty : compare ch. i. 25



James White summarizes the reasons he believes Rom. 9:5 does refer to Christ as God.

The arguments in favor of seeing this passage as a reference to the deity of Christ are many. I will summarize them here.8

(1) It is the natural reading of the text to see the entire verse as referring to Christ. Breaking the sentence up into two parts leads to difficulties in translation and interpretation. Some words become superfluous,9 and the balance of the sentence is thrown off.10

(2) The phrase "who is" is used by Paul elsewhere to modify a word in the preceding context ( as in 2 Corinthians 11:31, a very close parallel), and would naturally do so here as well.

(3) The form of the doxology simply will not allow for it to be separated from the preceding context, Paul's consistent usage connects the doxology to the discussion of Christ. In his other doxologies11 he follows this pattern.

(4) In the Greek New Testament, and in the Greek translation of the Old Testament (the Septuagint), the word "blessed" always12 comes before the word "God," but here in Romans 9:5 it follows, which would indicate that the "blessing" is tied to what came before (i.e., the discussion of Christ). So strong is this last point that Metzger said it is "altogether incredible that Paul, whose ear must have been perfectly familiar with this constantly recurring formula of praise, should in this solitary instance have departed from established usage."13

Add to these weighty considerations the testimony of many of the early [Church] Fathers as well,14 and the conclusion is inescapable: Paul breaks into praise at the majesty of the person of the Messiah who has come into the world through the Jewish race. The very God who is over all has entered into flesh, and for this, Paul gives glory and honor.

-James White, The Forgotten Trinity, pp. 73-74

Note # 8. For discussions of this passage and the various translational issues involved, see. C. E. B. Cranfield, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Epistle to the Romans in The International Critical Commentary (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1979), II:464–470; Henry Alford, The New Testament for English Readers (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983), II:920–921; Douglas Moo, The Epistle to the Romans in The New International Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1996), 565–568.

Note # 9. Specifically, there is no reason to include ὁ ὢν [this is the best I could reproduce the Greek - AP] in the final phrase if there is no direct connection to what has gone before.

Note # 10. Paul has spoken of the fleshly nature of the Messiah, and now speaks of the Messiah's spiritual nature as God. Breaking up the sentence leaves Paul speaking only of the Messiah "according to the flesh."

Note # 11. Romans 1:25; 11:36; 2 Corinthians 11:31; Galatians1:5; 2 Timothy 4:18.

Note # 12. There is one possible exception at Psalm 67:19, though the text seems questionable at that point.

Note # 13. B.M. Metzger, "The Punctuation of Rom. 9:5" in Christ and Spirit in the New Testament: In Honour of Charles Francis Digby Moule, ed. B. Lindars and S. Smalley (Cambridge: Cambridge University, 1973), 107.

Note # 14. Metzger mentions Irenaeus, Tertullian, Hippolytus, Cyprian, Athanasius, Epiphanius, Basil, Gregory of Nyssa, John Chrysostom, Theodoret, Augustine, Jerome, and Cyril of Alexandria, among others, as reading the passage in support of the deity of Christ.

-Notes found on page 205 in The Forgotten Trinity by James White



The NET Bible has a textual note on Romans 9:5 that states:

tn Or “the Christ, who is over all, God blessed forever,” or “the Messiah. God who is over all be blessed forever!” or “the Messiah who is over all. God be blessed forever!” The translational difficulty here is not text-critical in nature, but is a problem of punctuation. Since the genre of these opening verses of Romans 9 is a lament, it is probably best to take this as an affirmation of Christ’s deity (as the text renders it). Although the other renderings are possible, to see a note of praise to God at the end of this section seems strangely out of place. But for Paul to bring his lament to a crescendo (that is to say, his kinsmen had rejected God come in the flesh), thereby deepening his anguish, is wholly appropriate. This is also supported grammatically and stylistically: The phrase ὁ ὢν (Jo wn, “the one who is”) is most naturally taken as a phrase which modifies something in the preceding context, and Paul’s doxologies are always closely tied to the preceding context. For a detailed examination of this verse, see B. M. Metzger, “The Punctuation of Rom. 9:5,” Christ and the Spirit in the New Testament, 95-112; and M. J. Harris, Jesus as God, 144-72.



Bart Ehrman in his book How Jesus Became God in chapter 7 changes his mind and now leans toward the interpretation that Roman 9:5 DOES have Paul referring to Jesus as God (in some sense).
So too Jesus in Paul. One of the most debated verses in the Pauline letters is Romans 9:5. Scholars dispute how the verse is to be translated. What is clear is that Paul is talking about the advantages given to the Israelites, and he indicates that the “fathers” (that is, the Jewish patriarchs) belong to the Israelites, and “from them is the Christ according to the flesh, the one who is God over all, blessed forever, amen.” Here, Christ is “God over all.” This is a very exalted view.

But some translators prefer not to take the passage as indicating that Christ is God and do so by claiming that it should be translated differently, to say first something about Christ and then, second, to give a blessing to God. They translate the verse like this: “from them is the Christ according to the flesh. May the God who is over all be blessed forever, amen.” The issues of translation are highly complex, and different scholars have different opinions. The matter is crucial. If the first version is correct, then it is the one place in all of Paul’s letters where he explicitly calls Jesus God.

But is it correct? My view for many years was that the second translation was the right one and that the passage does not call Jesus God. My main reason for thinking so, though, was that I did not think that Paul ever called Jesus God anywhere else, so he probably wouldn’t do so here. But that, of course, is circular reasoning, and I think the first translation makes the best sense of the Greek, as other scholars have vigorously argued.13 It is worth stressing that Paul does indeed speak about Jesus as God, as we have seen. This does not mean that Christ is God the Father Almighty. Paul clearly thought Jesus was God in a certain sense—but he does not think that he was the Father. He was an angelic, divine being before coming into the world; he was the Angel of the Lord; he was eventually exalted to be equal with God and worthy of all of God’s honor and worship. And so I now have no trouble recognizing that in fact Paul could indeed flat-out call Jesus God, as he appears to do in Romans 9:5.

If someone as early in the Christian tradition as Paul can see Christ as an incarnate divine being, it is no surprise that the same view emerges later in the tradition. Nowhere does it emerge more clearly or forcefully than in the Gospel of John.
Endnote:
13.See the fuller discussions in Robert Jewett, Romans: A Commentary (Minneapolis: Fortress, 2007), and Joseph Fitzmyer, Romans: A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary (New Haven, CT: Anchor Bible, 1997).

[Red highlighting and bolding above is by me, Annoyed Pinoy]
By the way, Ehrman has also stated publicly that he believes all authors of the 4 canonical Gospels personally believed that Jesus was "God" (in some sense and in different ways). See this video here at 18 minutes and 48 seconds:
https://youtu.be/K5v4Se83Sr0?t=18m48s

Ehrman has also said in numerous debates that he interprets John 8:58 as the author of the gospel having Jesus claim to be "God" (in some sense).
Ehrman agrees that in Phil. 2:6-11 Jesus is presented as a pre-existent "divine" (in some sense) figure who became a human being.
Ehrman agrees that the author of the Gospel of John clearly taught in the Gospel that Jesus existed before creation as someone who was distinct from God the Father, and yet was "God" and was equal to God (the Father). Furthermore, that the author of John didn't originate  this view. For example, the prologue derives from pre-Johannine source.
[https://youtu.be/olN438NUZAw?t=24m36s]




F.F. Bruce wrote:
5. To them belong the patriarchs. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and his twelve sons, the primary recipients of the promises just mentioned.
Of their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ. Compare the affirmation of Christ’s Davidic descent in 1:3, and the later statement that ‘Christ became a servant to the circumcised to show God’s truthfulness, in order to confirm the promises given to the patriarchs’ (15:8). In him all God’s promises to Israel reach their consummation.
God who is over all be blessed for ever. The relation of these words to those which precede is disputed, RSV takes them as an independent ascription of praise to God, prompted by the mention of God’s crowning his many blessings on Israel by sending them the Messiah (similarly NEB, GNB). They may be taken, on the other hand, as in apposition to ‘the Christ’; so RSV margin: ‘who is God over all, blessed for ever’ (similarly AV, RV, NIV).
The latter construction is more in keeping with the general structure of the sentence (cf. 1:25, where the words ‘who is blessed for ever! Amen’ are not an independent ascription of praise but the integral peroration of the sentence, standing in apposition to ‘the Creator’). It is further supported by the consideration that something is required to balance the phrase ‘according to the flesh’ (as in 1:3–4, where the same phrase is balanced by ‘according to the Spirit of holiness’). Here the Messiah is said, with regard to his human descent, to have come of a long line of Israelite ancestors; but as regards his eternal being, he is ‘God over all, blessed for ever’.
It is true that Paul is not in the habit of calling Christ ‘God’; he reserves for him the title ‘Lord’: ‘for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist’ (1 Cor. 8:6). Yet for Paul Christ is the one in whom, through whom and for whom all things were created (Col. 1:16), in whom ‘the whole fulness of deity dwells bodily’ (Col. 2:9). ‘The judgment seat of God’ (14:10) is called in 2 Corinthians 5:10 ‘the judgment seat of Christ’. Moreover, when Paul gives Jesus the title ‘Lord’, he does so because God the Father has bestowed this title on him as ‘the name which is above every name’ (Phil. 2:9). This title ‘Lord’ is given to Jesus by Paul as the equivalent of Yahweh; his application of Isaiah 45:23 (cf. Rom. 14:11) to Jesus in Philippians 2:10–11 indicates that to him the confession ‘Jesus Christ is Lord’ is equivalent to ‘Jesus Christ is Yahweh’.
It is, on the other hand, impermissible to charge those who prefer to treat the words as an independent doxology with Christological unorthodoxy. The words can indeed be so treated, and the decision about their construction involves a delicate assessment of the balance of probability this way and that.2[See Below For Note]
Amen
.
A proper conclusion to doxological language (cf. 1:25; 11:36; Gal. 1:5; Eph. 3:21; Phil. 4:20; 1 Tim. 1:17; 6:16; 2 Tim. 4:18). In addition, it forms a fitting conclusion here to the very positive catalogue of Israel’s ancestral blessings (including, be it noted, ‘the giving of the law’)—a fuller answer to the question ‘what advantage has the Jew?’ (Rom. 3:1) than it received in its immediate context. Such a positive catalogue (which may also have been called for by the Jewish-Gentile situation in the Roman church) emphasizes the seriousness of the problem which Paul is about to propound.
The following is note #2:
For the construction preferred here see O. Cullmann, The Christology of the New Testament, E. T. (1959), pp. 312f.: J. Munck, Christ and Israel, E. T. (1967), pp. 32f.; B. M. Metzger, New Testament Studies (1980), pp. 57–74. For the other see V. Taylor, The Person of Christ in New Testament Teaching (1958), pp. 55–57; E. Käsemann, ad loc.
-Romans: An Introduction and Commentary by F.F. Bruce [volume 6 in the Tyndale New Testament Commentaries series with Leon Morris as General Editor] 

[Red highlighting and bolding above is by me, Annoyed Pinoy]


Douglas Moo wrote:

The greatest blessing promised to Israel was the Messiah, that is, the Christ. From a strictly human point of view (“according to the flesh” here again; NIV “the human ancestry”), the Messiah was to arise from the people of Israel. But from the divine point of view, he is more; indeed, he is God. At least, this is the reading found in several English translations (NIV; KJV; NASB; JB; NRSV). Note, for instance, the NRSV: “From them, according to the flesh, comes the Messiah, who is over all, God blessed forever. Amen.” Here the Messiah is identified as “God.”
Other English translations do not make this identification. Note, for instance, the RSV: “Of their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ. God who is over all be blessed for ever. Amen” (see also NEB; TEV). As may be obvious from these conflicting renderings, the issue is how to punctuate the verse. Since most ancient manuscripts do not have punctuation, modern interpreters have to decide whether to put a comma or a period after “Messiah.” The issue is complicated, but both the syntax and the context favor the comma.6 [see below for Note] This verse, therefore, deserves to be numbered among those few in the New Testament that explicitly call Jesus “God.”
Note #6:
6. See esp. Bruce M. Metzger, “The Punctuation of Rom. 9:5,” in Christ and Spirit in the New Testament: In Honour of Charles Francis Digby Moule (ed. B. Lindars and S. Smalley; Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1973), 95–112; Murray J. Harris, Jesus as “God”: Theos as a Christological Title in the New Testament (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1992), 144–72.
-Romans: the NIV Application Commentary by Douglas Moo [in The NIV Application Commentary Series with Terry Muck as General Editor]

[Red highlighting and bolding above is by me, Annoyed Pinoy]



E.W. Bullinger wrote:
To account for various readings, the R.V. sometimes appeals in the margin to ancient authorities, meaning Greek MSS., &c., but here, and here only, modern interpreters are allowed to introduce, by varying punctuation, devices for destroying this emphatic testimony to the Deity of the Lord.
- footnote for Rom. 9:5 in The Companion Bible








Of course, there are arguments against Rom. 9:5 teaching Jesus is the Blessed God. For example:

http://jehovah.to/exe/translation/romans95.htm
http://www.postost.net/2012/10/does-paul-say-jesus-god-romans-95

However, I believe the preponderance of the evidence is that it does teach Jesus is the Blessed God. Besides, it's consistent with all the other evidences for Christ's full deity and incarnation. Some of which I've provided in the various blogposts in this blog.

On the assumption that Jesus isn't being called "the Blessed God" in Roman 9:5, there's another verse in the Bible that's interesting, John 3:31.

He who comes from above is above all. He who is of the earth belongs to the earth and speaks in an earthly way. He who comes from heaven is above all.- John 3:31
In this verse Jesus describes Himself as the one who came down from heaven and then refers to Himself as "above all." This seems to parallel Rom. 9:5 which states that the Blessed God is "over all" (cf. Rom. 10:12; Acts 10:36). Therefore suggesting Jesus is either claiming (or hinting at) His full deity in John 3:31. Notice too that immediately after Rom. 10:12, which seems to refer to Jesus as "Lord of all," Paul quotes Joel 2:32 in verse 13 and applies it to Jesus even though the original context refers to Jehovah/Yahweh, the one true God.

John Gill in his commentary states regarding John 3:31 and the phrase "above all":
above John, before whom he was preferred, for he was before him; above the prophets of the Old Testament, and even above Moses, the chief of them; yea, above all the angels in heaven, being God over all, blessed for ever: wherefore all glory is to be given him; no honour is to be envied him, or detracted from him.

I address verses related to John 3:31 in other blogposts including:

Miscellaneous Speculative and/or Suggestive Arguments In Defense of the Trinity


see also:

Concerning 1 John 5:20 ( from The Trinity: Evidences and Issues)


More commentaries on this verse at StudyLight.Org:
https://www.studylight.org/commentary/romans/9-5.html