A question for Trinitarians
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Paidion



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PostPosted: Sun Jun 29, 2008 5:35 am    Post subject: A question for Trinitarians Reply with quote

I have been wondering how a Trinitarian would understand the following words of Jesus in His prayer to the Father:

And this is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. John 17:3 NRSV

Is not Jesus "true God"? If not, how can He be part of the Trinity?

Also, by use of the conjunction "and", Jesus seems to indicate that He is something other than the only true God.

Please understand that I am not arguing against the concept of a Trinity. So please don't simply quote a bunch of verses which you believe to support the Trinitarian concept. Just explain how these words of Christ are consistent with the concept.
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STEVE7150



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PostPosted: Sun Jun 29, 2008 6:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

And this is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. John 17:3 NRSV

Is not Jesus "true God"? If not, how can He be part of the Trinity?

Also, by use of the conjunction "and", Jesus seems to indicate that He is something other than the only true God.



My understanding Paidion is that the pre-incarnate Christ was a part of God aka "the Word" and that when he came to earth he emptied himself of his divine power (kenosis) from Phil 2.7 , and became a man like us in every way. So Christ while he walked the earth was a flesh and blood man and all the miracles he did were not performed until after he was baptised and filled with the Holy Spirit. When he was resurrected he was glorified with the glory he had with the Father from the beginning.
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Paidion



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PostPosted: Sun Jun 29, 2008 9:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you, Steve, for sharing your understanding.

Now would you show how that understanding is consistent with Jesus calling the Father "the only true God"?

Or do you think you have shown that consistency? If so, would you please spell it out? Otherwise, I can only guess. Are you saying that Jesus once was "true God", but after He became born a human being, He was no longer "true God"?
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TK



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PostPosted: Sun Jun 29, 2008 12:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Paidion-

one quick point-- do you think the disciples were in Jesus' presence when he prayed this prayer? (i.e. do you think they heard him pray it?)

It might make a difference in the analysis.

TK
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SoaringEagle



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PostPosted: Sun Jun 29, 2008 12:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

One thing I have seen said, is that eternal life is predicated upon knowing both the One True God and Jesus Christ. Hence, Jesus Christ is on par with the One True God. Moreover, Jesus, being the mediator between God and man through the incarnation, is positionally under the One True God. This (John 17:3) is Christ humanity in focus.
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STEVE7150



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PostPosted: Sun Jun 29, 2008 1:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Now would you show how that understanding is consistent with Jesus calling the Father "the only true God"?

Or do you think you have shown that consistency? If so, would you please spell it out? Otherwise, I can only guess. Are you saying that Jesus once was "true God", but after He became born a human being, He was no longer "true God"?



Yes, When Jesus emptied himself, his divine power returned back to the Father IMHO although the text does'nt explicitly state this, the fact that the Father returned Jesus's glory back to him at his resurrection implies this.
Also the Father is the source of the divine power of the "Spirit" and the "Word" thus He is the one true God, everything comes from Him.
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Homer



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PostPosted: Sun Jun 29, 2008 2:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Paidion,

It must be recognized that Jesus utters the words "and this is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent" (John 17:3 NRSV) in a prayer, a prayer that his disciples were listening to. It could have been much like praying among a group of people worshipping God together, where Jesus is thinking of them as joint participants in the prayer.

Godet comments:

"While rendering homage to God, as the first source of eternal life, He has the consciousness of being Himself the sole intermediate agent through whom those who listen to Him can have access to this source; for it is in Him that God manifests and gives Himself. This possession of eternal life is identified in His view, for all that is called man, with the knowledge of Himself, Jesus, as well as with that of God."

Consider the following:

John 14:7-9 (New King James Version)

7. “If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; and from now on you know Him and have seen Him.
8. Philip said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us.”
9. Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?

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TK



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PostPosted: Sun Jun 29, 2008 3:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

thanks homer- you addressed what I was getting at in my post regarding whether the disciples were listening to the prayer.

TK
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Paidion



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PostPosted: Sun Jun 29, 2008 5:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

All these thoughts which have been posted may very well be true. But I can't see that any of them address the central question (except Steve 7150's comment which implied that as a human being, Jesus divested Himself of His divine attributes and thus was no longer "true God".

How about the rest of you? Was Jesus "true God" when He prayed this prayer, or wasn't He?

1. If the answer is "yes", then what did He mean by addressing His Father as "the only true God"?

2. If the answer is "no", then what was Jesus' divine status (if any) when He uttered the prayer?
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TK



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PostPosted: Mon Jun 30, 2008 4:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I want to say something along the lines of "jesus was God in reality at the time of speaking, but his glory as God was veiled by his humanity" but i am not sure if that is really what I mean to say.

TK
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STEVE7150



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PostPosted: Mon Jun 30, 2008 6:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If Jesus were God WHILE he was a man then how could he be dead for three days? God is immortal.
He is the Word of God but he humbled himself while he dwelt among us. He was just like us and he did his miracles through being filled with the Holy Spirit and possessing perfected faith.
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Paidion



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PostPosted: Mon Jun 30, 2008 11:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Steve, I think what you said is pretty close to the truth.

However, in divesting Himself of divine attributes, He did retain one essential thing, however, and that was His identity! He was the same Individual while He lived on earth as He was prior to His birth. But He was never God Himself (i.e. the Father) He was the Son of God, Another who was the exact expression of God's essence (or bore the very stamp of God's nature). Heb. 1:3

The above seems to be the Scriptural Christology. And I guess that's why it's always bothered me to hear people say, "God was born as a human being." Steve, just as you indicated that God couldn't be dead for three days, so God couldn't become Jesus during Jesus' life time on earth. If so, whom was Jesus addressing when He was praying?
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Murf



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PostPosted: Sun Jul 06, 2008 8:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

1. If the answer is "yes", then what did He mean by addressing His Father as "the only true God"?

2. If the answer is "no", then what was Jesus' divine status (if any) when He uttered the prayer?

You seem to be limiting God by human logic.

The answer is "yes" because Jesus is giving the Father of his earthly existence the glory He desires and the answer is “no” because He chose to become human as well as divine so His divine nature can correctly accept glory from His human nature.
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brody_in_ga



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PostPosted: Tue Jul 08, 2008 6:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So Pai, is Jesus God in your theology?
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Paidion



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PostPosted: Wed Jul 09, 2008 11:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

brody wrote:
So Pai, is Jesus God in your theology?


I think I answered that question in my last post:

"However, in divesting Himself of divine attributes, He did retain one essential thing, however, and that was His identity! He was the same Individual while He lived on earth as He was prior to His birth. But He was never God Himself (i.e. the Father) He was the Son of God, Another who was the exact expression of God's essence (or bore the very stamp of God's nature). Heb. 1:3"

I'll try to put it another way. If by the word "God" you mean the Father, the Creator of all things, then Jesus is not and never was God. Jesus was not the Creator in spite of the song, "The Great Creator became my Saviour." The Father was Creator, and He created all things through the Son.

But if by "God" you mean "Deity", then of course, Jesus was and is God.
Just as you and I are humanity, Jesus was Deity. Humanity and Deity are two different orders of being. Man begets man, and his offspring is man (humanity). God begets God and his offspring is God (Deity). You have been begotten as a human being. Jesus was begotten as a Divine Being, Another exactly like the Father in essence (bore the very stamp of God's nature). However, He was also begotten as a human being on earth in the womb of Mary, and was therefore a complete human being while on earth, and is now the first resurrected human being (first to receive a true resurrection. Lazarus and others were merely resuscitated. They died again.)

If the words above are still not clear, I just don't know how to clarify them further.
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