In What Sense Jesus Is and Is Not God: The Trinity

   A very difficult point of disagreement between the Christians and the non-Christian believers in the God of Abraham is the question of the Trinity, or, in what sense the scriptures teach that Jesus is and is not God. Even the Muslims believe that Mr. Yashua is the messiah, and is to return in the last day, and the Jews too believe that the reign of the messiah will come through the latter days. We like to say of the Jews that the advent for them will be the second coming for the Christians, and then all will agree. But if Jesus is the messiah that will return, as Islam teaches, then clearly he is now living, and is something quite different from every other man.

 The trinity is a very difficult question. It is an interpretation, and not scripture. But Jesus was killed because they understood what he said to be blasphemy. What he says he is is very difficult. John 10:30-39, in any translation: “I said you are gods, sons of the Most High” Isaiah, cf. 7:14 and 9:1-6). Men are superior to the gods, and surely to the idols they worshiped. To the astonishment of traditional theologians, men too are “begotten not made,” (John 1:12-17, 3:6; Romans 6 explains more). This means that there is something in us higher than the created reason. There is the begotten Nous, translated intellect, the eye of the soul (Plato, Republic VI, Aristotle, Ethics, X). But Jesus is son in a yet higher sense than the reborn are sons, as we are begotten through the only-begotten son. He said, “I and the Father are one,” and then they take up stones. We do not say this of the sons, but only of the Son, and the sons of course should not say that, as the new-agers sometimes do. But John is not to bow to the angel! (Rev. 22:8; 19:10). But God can do that-incarnate his word- if we wants to! (Annunciation in Matt, John 1:9, 14). Go figure-sons through the only-begotten son! In Luke (18:19), Jesus explicitly distinguishes (Italics) himself from the Father: “Why do you call me Good? No one is good but God alone.” Also, there are things known by the father that Jesus does not know (Matthew 24:36). But I checked, and they do worship him, beginning with Peter, and worship is indeed not proper for any man. The three men who came to visit Abraham Genesis 18:1-2), and the three, Father, Son and Spirit, are in the scripture (Revelation 1; John 1). That Jesus is “Lord”is said to be only say-able by the Spirit (I Cor. 12:3). Is, was and will be is a name only in the writing of John, contrasted with was, is not, and is to ascend…(Rev.17). “Before Abraham was, I am.” (We think we can demonstrate that John is the writer of both the Gospel of John and the Revelation, whatever our ingenious modern scholars say and think. The Gospel of John, unlike the other three, excludes but leads into an account of the end times.) We do not have three gods, like the gods of polytheism, when we say Holy Spirit, nor when we say His Word. Islam and Israel both distinguish between the Father, His Word, and His Spirit.  Do they then also have other gods before him? If Mohammed were simply right about the trinity, these would be their three gods, since they admit that the scripture both distinguishes and identifies the Father and His Spirit and His Word. And do they idolatrize Mohammed, when they forbid comedy and violently prosecute supposed blasphemies against the prophet, unlike all other mere mortal men? Yeah, “always look on the bright side of life.”But that, three gods, is neither what they, no what we, mean. Is He His spirit? Is He His Word? Well, yes and no. Melchizedek taught the name God Most High! The sacrament of the bread and wine at Salem enters with Melchizedek, and Jesus is a priest not after Aaron, but after the order of Melchizedek. He is also King and prophet, after the gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh brought by the thee wise guys, the only non-Jews in the whole manger scene. The end of human sacrifice is what occurred on Mount Moriah, when Abraham was to sacrifice the whole thing in sacrificing his son Isaac. We misunderstand this to mean total obedience, but that is not the primary meaning. Then the end of animal sacrifice! The wolf and Lamb will lie together, and perhaps the Lions east grass! Jesus replaces the bloody sacrifices at the Last Supper, when he fulfills the meaning of the bead and wine which Melchizedek brought to Abraham, of Abram.
   The Messiah is not a legislator, as is Moses and Mohammed, who are both very violent against the idolaters. It is not from Moses that we ceased killing of women and children in war! The Messiah is redeemer, savior! We do not get from him some nation separate from Israel or from Islam, and Christians who do not belong to either of these laws are quite on their own- hence we have British and American law, which take the legislators as a guide, but, like Jesus, are not bound, for example to sacrifice animals or stone adulteresses. Nor to legislate that we swear no oaths, never hate our brother, never look upon a woman lustfully, and other things that cannot be legislated, and yet are right for the soul. Right is the basis of the law, but is above the law in this sense, the eternal word o the Torah before Moses was. The law is a trellis, and these the roses. Paul, who writes of “New Law,” speaks metaphorically of that according to which Jesus teaches what is right for the soul, as in the sermon on the mount (Matthew 5-7), and as distinct from, above and beyond what can be legislated. Paul is the one to teach us about the limitations of law! (Romans 7-9). So Jesus is not the legislator of a people or nation called Christians separated from Moses and Israel. He is the savior, and so can say that not a jot or iota of the law will be removed.
   We do not know what he is! And that is why the doctrine of the trinity is not scripture but interpretation. Is the Spirit and word of God a separate “person” from God the father? And do we say the whole trinity is what was made flesh, or only the word? Like the question of how Jesus is the descendant of David if he is not the offspring of Joseph, a very old man, the theologians do not like to address these questions of what we mean by the teaching of the trinity, because we do not know what he is, and Socratic ignorance undermines the assumption of the Medieval world, unexamined, that Jesus is a legislator.
In him was life, and the life is the light of men!

20 thoughts on “In What Sense Jesus Is and Is Not God: The Trinity

  1. A very long report on a new book that looks very interesting and illuminating:

    Is the Torah a Work of Philosophy?
    Kenneth Seeskin, historian of Jewish philosophy at Northwestern University

    “As the latest attempt to draw universal ethical principles from the Bible shows, philosophical investigation of its text offers the prospect of great rewards—and grave dangers.”

    From Section 2 of 8 of very long examinations:

    “So, where, according to Seeskin, does this leave us? It leaves us with no certainty but, if we are open-minded, with an awareness of a range of competing possibilities. And it also leaves us with an appreciation of how Genesis “set in motion a debate that is still being waged” and, more practically, with guidance as to “how we should deal with the vastness of the universe and the mysteries it contains.” We should do so, he concludes, “with expressions of praise and feelings of gratitude, knowing that if things had taken a slightly different turn, we might not be here to do either one.”

    I just bought the Kindle edition of this book. I will give a copy to my son Michael, if he doesn’t already have it.

    • From study of the Greeks, Leo Strauss following Aristotle’s Metaphysics I, explains what philosophy is- how the study of nature emerged from those who talk rather of gods. There is no Hebrew word for nature. Socrates then turned to the human things, but sought not the poet’s account, but virtue according to nature. Strauss gradually returns, and his work on Genesis is one of his best. My work is to connect Socratic philosophy with Bible, show how they translate, and the ascent from the cave. It is indeed dangerous, but no one else knows why murder is wrong, no can even ask! So I choose this. The image of God in man is the cause and the connection (Genesis 9:3; 1:26), the basis of both the commandments regarding love and regarding anger.

      • My simplistic take on murder is this:

        I would not like to be murdered, i.e., killed in a context that lacked any element of justice. Even in some context that did involve some appropriate justice, I would prefer to not die. My feelings on this score are very strong.

        I will be so bold as to project that I am not alone.

        I would posit that we have established a convention about murder, so that we, in the words of the sage in Mars Attacks, “… all just get along!”

        I believe that we ARE capable of putting our shoes on one anothers’ feet, and visa-versa.

        Perhaps some absolute sense of the word murder is at issue, but there is no context for murder outside that of human life. Murder is wrong from the perspective of human life. To the living person there is no other perspective. To the not living person, there is no perspective.

        If I disclose my belief in where I go in the “next experience,” as our insurance salesman used to say, so be it.

      • …For God made man in his own image.” Otherwise, questioning destroys every explanation, though yours is very good. But it implies that it is ok to murder a suicidal person, where Noah’s assumes capital punishment for murder is not murder. “…that all men are created equal, that they are endowed with certain inalienable rights, among which are the right to life…” is based on the ational essance, othewise it would apply to animals. But why not to murderer’s? Have they no reason? They have put their own light out, and as an adulterer cannot love without serious repenting, they have roasted their own soul- o something like that. That is that Noahchite Law, for all men, not just the chosen people, to which our essay there refers. Nolan taught me Noah! But there is no Hebrew word for nature. The law against murder and against adultery are based on the same principle. Plato taught me that!

        Tell your Congress people: Indict Trump for election fraud, arrest him, and end this charade, or we will find out what Russia has planned for the U.S.- Urgent-we have only 12 days, and I am the only one saying Indict, arrest.” Everyone else is assuming it is over.

        Today is called the day of the baptism of Jesus!

      • I am not following, “it is ok to murder a suicidal person.”

        However, Hillel may cover that base:

        “Rabbi Shammai was an engineer, known for the strictness of his views. The Talmud tells that a gentile came to Shammai saying that he would convert to Judaism if Shammai could teach him the whole Torah in the time that he could stand on one foot. Shammai drove him away with a builder’s measuring stick!

        Hillel, on the other hand, converted the gentile by telling him,

        “That which is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbor.

        “That is the whole Torah; the rest is commentary. Go and study it.”

        Sages and Scholars
        Hillel and Shammai 

      • Yes, the imago dei is the basis of do onto othes and love your neighbor, but we do not means as you would have them do to you in the sense that a suicidal person wishes to die, but in the sense that he wishes we would take care of him. So we cannot say “He was suicidal anyway”, no even “he was a muderer anyway, it is still muder all the same. But then by law, the Noah teaching is “by man shall his blood be shed,” a judicial execution (I oppose capital punishment because of mistakes, not that it is in itself unjust.) Thanks for Hillel! So, what of the man to whom hateful things do not appear hateful? Measure for measure- what we do to others is done to us already. Unless we forgive, we will not be forgiven- same principle. But it is wrong to return harm for injustice. The just man harms no one-(Plato Crito, Republic Bk.I).

        I wrote to Mr. Morrell, Mr. Rogers, Ms Lynch the atty Gen, Barrack, and everyone I can think of: Indict and arrest Trump!

      • I was compelled by astonished wonderment to stop reading here: “I oppose capital punishment because of mistakes, not that it is in itself unjust.”

        You, MMcD sir, are the only person in my entire life, apart from myself when I stated the position in a high school English class debate, who has stood for this!

        My position then, considered in my distinction above between killing and murder, that some killing warranted redress in kind, was that the state never, never ever, had the right, to take the life, as my father – an attorney clarifying the concept of legal guilt for me – would have put it, of someone who DIDN’T DO IT! Never. EVER!!!

        Mistakes cannot be allowed!

        (I will get to more later.)

      • There is also the practical argument that we cannot count on, nor afford, to imprison murderers- whayt if they get out, say in an earthquake, economic crisis or some tyrant just lets them out. But we have to be sure, and David Protess of the Innocence project and others make a joke of our “beyond the shadow of a doubt.” How cool, your father was like the guy in to kill a Mockingbird, a just guy! To be falsely accused is horrifying. That is one reason that Plea bargaining is unconstitutional, probably. Our talk on scripture just helped my response to Michael Morrell, who I just saw on Charlie Rose from Jan 5- no T.V.!

      • I expect no argument that we should always be considering the best way things should be. Our society is not what it should be. At the moment, so far from it that getting back is at best problematic. To be able to look ourselves in the mirror and not flinch, we should be able and willing to take the risks entailed in doing the right thing.

        I believe a society is valued by the willingness of its people to do the right thing.

        It seems odd to say it, but at the moment it seems least likely that an earthquake will free those who “didn’t” do it along with those “did.”

        Thank you for comparing my father to Atticus Finch. I am very proud to be my father’s son!

      • The admonishion to NOT do something, no matter what that something was – what you would like for yourself or what you would rather not like – in the absence of admonishions TO do something, leaves nothing to be done. The rest, that is all, comes from studying Torah, or perhaps just studying, or discovering, however how, the reality of things.

        That is probably over clever, but in the absence of scholarship, that is where logic leads me.

      • Also, suicide is wrong because it is murder. We do not quite own ourselves in relation to the cosmos, and it is still murder- to strike the image in ourselves. Those who will do suicide will also do murder, because they do not get that murder is wrong, let alone why. This argument is important in suicide counceling. Nor is it for ourselves that we desire to live through hardship, but for others. I always think, if I get plugged on the highway, who will open the cat food can!

      • More: “Self-evident,” that all men are created equal….it is a principle, the root of the law. But it is wrong, and murder, to murder a murderer, but right to execute a murderer- so my explanation is limited. Fun! Cain was marked, after the first murder (to protect him from what other men to the east?- a clue to “First man.”

        Also, Paul says of the O.T., “Every word of scripture is divinely inspired,” but N.T. was not yet written and collected, and we do not know which books he includes, but that is what the Christians cite (and it is medieval, if not Protestant to teach that “The Bible is the word of God,” then look for misspellings and contradictions- which do exist. The book says the word “was in the beginning,” so we idolatrize a text based on a medieval teaching, if we mean the book that came into being at a certain time. But at least people pay attention! And it contains (Ital.) the word of God: Strauss says, “the Bible identifies with exactness when God is speaking.”

    • Thanks! Not that he is wrong, but “pitfall” and “danger” depend upon common sense assumptions for which he, and we, have insufficient basis. Ask why (Italics), and he has no basis other than common sense. They always say things like Strauss: we must choose between Athens and Jerusalem, and there can be no putting them together. Why? Because Nietzsche said something like that, and he is ugly and harmful? Etc. Do the divided line with the cave in Plato’s Republic (Books VI-VII), watch “Image of God”(493? 501-503?) and consider the study of the soul that is the purpose of the making of a city in speech (II-III). Think of image in the allegory and divided line. As Strauss says, the human things are the key to understanding all things.” and in the Bible, there can be new things, and men can speak truth in the Holy Spirit. Now back to the essay…

    • There, see? He assumes the terms of the free will question are correct and that this is the fundamental question. Similarly, do we know or rather assume the nature of faith and the nature of reason when we say that is the question? Evol. and ceat’ism, vindicating the Creation, all assumptions without knowledge. Strauss beging by noting that we do not know who is speaking, and anothe, “Is the Pentateuch a book written by Moses about God, or a Book written by God about Moses”!

    • The Bible in fact does not make this medeival claim, nor does the N.T. Perhaps he is thinking of the Koran! The word revealed contrasts the things evealed, in Deut. (32:32? ) with the secret things, not revealed, but superior. That (Italics) is how the Bible uses the word “Revelation”! NT: apo-kalypse, of course, means uncovering, to sight (It) rather than hearing. (The Straussians are wrong or oversimplified about sight and hearing in the scriptures, because they want to assume that scripture is opinion (hearing) and philosophy, superior, is sight or seeing for oneself rather than knowing by hearsay). But Jesus: If your eye is sound…)

    • Nice to bring in the thinkers and what they say about Abe n Isaac, with two nice notes on the text-“never speak again,” “does not prophesy again.” But again, we assume a context that is not there. What is the context? Sacrife meant giving up the most valued posession, just as animals were then not souls and friends, but wealth. Everyone in the neighborhood was doing it, and the anomaly is rather that Abe would not (Ital.). But on Mount Moriah there, human sacrifice ends, and that is the primary meaning of the text. The Bible hides the extent and the abomination of Idolatry, just like “uncover the nakedness of…” hides…But in 607, the Northern 10 tribes are scattered for reverting to the practices of those who do not know the god of Abraham and Melchizedek, God Most High.

    • Jung is necessary to explain symbol and ritual, walking through a symbol, and awakening the “unconscious,” which according to Socrates and Plato, contains knowledge.

    • There, toward the end, the writer begins to restore the meaning of philosophy- the love or indeed friendship with wisdom. “Friend of God” is the phrase, from symposium and John 14. See? Wisdom belongs to God, she is his bride, as is the community, evident through the image shown by human marriage, with which our scripture, N.T., concludes. She will bestow a crown (Proverbs!), just like the crown of a husband is his wife.

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