I am curious about what my Bible study will reveal about current JW affairs. He tried to call me last week, but I did not get back to him. He claims JW life is much easier and freer now lol. I would say to the OP, that I think John 20:28 proves Jesus is either the one true God himself or fully indwelled by God as per 2 Corinthians 5:19. John 10:30 on the other hand is really not strong, Jesus prays the disciples will be one in John 17:21. In either case, and I say this as a liberal Christian, the basic problem for the JWs is that their religion picks scripture verses here and there but you can never find the JW story preached in the Bible. Trinitarians on the other hand, have a long tradition of claiming and pretending their doctrine is in the Bible. Sophisticated on the surface.
The Deity of Jesus Christ
Reciprocity : Earnest, do we have the same nature as God too? Or is Jesus special in this case?
As Fisherman wrote above, humans do not have the same nature as spirits. A physical body and a spiritual body are two different things. We know what the nature of a physical body is, but it is not so easy to say what a spiritual body is, or what it means that the Word has the same nature as God.
Edward Gibbon wrote (in Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Vol.2, chapter XXI, Part III) that "the profane of every age have derided the furious contests which the difference of a single diphthong excited between the Homoousians ["of the same substance"] and the Homoiousians ["of a similar substance"]."
Of course, neither term exists in scripture so it is a silly argument which I will not indulge in. John says that the only-begotten god who is at the Father's side is the one who has explained Him. So he is one of a kind. He is a special case. All the angels and everything else were created through him.
I am a JW!
First Thomas was praising God as well as Christ. He was taught by Christ himself who God is.
Second, he said that his followers ALSO were one with them.
Now, I ask YOU as question: who did Christ say was the ONLY true God? (John 17:3)
BTW- was John (at 1) claiming that Jesus was in the beginning with Jesus?
To introduce another perspective, from which to view this eternal debate and hopefully some will realise how this perspective allows this argument to be better understood,
What is this 'superior' perspective? - simply the social and intellectual thought in the Palestine of that era.
Something to Palestine around the 330's BCE. Quote: "Alexander the Great conquered Palestine in the late 330s BCE, beginning a long period of Hellenization. In the late 2nd century BCE, the semi-independent Hasmonean kingdom conquered most of Palestine but the kingdom gradually became a vassal of Rome, which annexed Palestine in 63 BCE." - Wikipedia, History of Palestine
That same reference also shows that the infiltration of Greek thinking was occurring long before the 339s BCE.
Quote: "Despite the devastating wars between Greece and Persia, Greek cultural influences rose steadily. Greek coins began to circulate in the late 6th and early 5th centuries. Greek traders established trading posts along the coast in the 6th century from which Greek ceramics, artworks, and other luxury items were imported. These items were popular and no well-to-do Palestinian household would have lacked Greek pottery. Local potters imitated the Greek merchandise, though the quality of their goods were inferior to the Greeks'."
And another extract notes: "In contrast to the Persians, who stayed out of the internal affairs of the conquered peoples, the Greeks introduced Greek language, culture, customs, religion and architecture to the regions that they controlled - a process called hellenization ("greekification"). Hellenization was pervasive in Palestine; speaking Greek and adopting Greek customs conferred many benefits for the upper classes. Hellenistic pottery absorbing Philistine traditions flourished. Hellenization took root first in the densely settled coastal and lowland areas, and only really began to impinge on more backward areas such as Judea in the early 2nd century.
The Greeks also founded many Greek cities, known as poleis, whose residents were granted tax exemptions and other privileges. The poleis had Greek style governments, Greek institutions and temples for the worship of Greek gods."
The result of that process of Hellenisation was that the Jewish thought patterns of the Palestinians. gradually took on a Hellenistic overlay.
Have you made allowance for that process of Hellenisation in your thinking about Jesus?
Finally, here's a comment by Harold W. Attridge (The Lillian Claus Professor of New Testament-Yale Divinity School). Attridge is a leading scholar of Jewish and Greek literature in relation to the New Testament and early Christianity.
Quote: "How Hellenized was the Jewish religious culture of the time? Jewish culture and civilization during the Hellenistic period was in intense dialogue with Hellenistic culture and civilization, beginning with the translation of Hebrew scriptures into Greek, a translation which survives and which we know as the Septuagint. That's certainly an example of the way in which Greek literary forms and Greek language impacted Jewish civilization and literary traditions. That impact extends far beyond scripture, and we see during the Hellenistic period Jews adopting literary forms of the Greek tradition, and writing plays, epic poems, lyric poems, all in the Greek language. Much of this activity would have centered in Alexandria, the capital of Egypt, but there was similar activity going on in Palestine, and some of these literary products that survive in some cases only in fragments, were probably written in Palestine, by Jews who were adopting these Hellenistic literary modes." - from an article for the American PBS web-site - https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/religion/portrait/hellenisticculture.html
So, have you made allowance for that process of Hellenisation in your thinking about Jesus?
who did Christ say was the ONLY true God?
“All authority has been given” to Jesus by God. Even prayer is in Jesus’s name because Jesus answers prayer because he is the Messiah having all authority. For example, when someone that is blind prays to God for sight, it is Jesus with God’s Holy Spirit as if having power of attorney sort of speak that restores the sight. It is a waste of time to show people that believe in the Trinity that Jesus and God are 2 separate entities. The evidence and argument and position are there. Take it or leave it. The case is at rest.
They ignore that, and STILL claim they are 'Christians'....
@Revealed an @Reciprocity:
Can you define the usage of "nature" here?
@Revealed - do angels share the same "nature" as God? Do elephants and humans share the same "nature"?
All living things on Earth are physical.
All living things in Heaven are spiritual.
More comments on the Hellenisation of Palestine.
These comments are from Geza Vermes’* “The Complete Dead Sea Scrolls in English” – ( the Penguin 2004 revised edition, for anyone that wants to check page references).
Commencing Page 52, of that book Vermes describes the increasing Hellenisation of Palestine. Hellenistic (i.e.Greek) cities were built along the coast-Gaza, Joppa, Dor and Acco. To the south of Lake Tiberias, Beth Shean-an old existing village was re-built as the Greek city of Scythopolis and others, with the result that Greek culture, thinking and civilization spread throughout the land.
As far back as 200 BCE there was evidence of Jewish culture succumbing to Greek culture but the strongest evidence of change came, when Antiochus IV Epiphanes set in motion a Hellenising program in Judea, that the Jewish elite eagerly accepted and embraced. Their leader was Jesus, the brother of the high priest Onias III, who changed his name to Jason. This Jason began to Hellenise Jerusalem, built a Greek style gymnasium there and persuaded young Jews to participate in athletic exercises there. Even young priests in the temple exercised there naked. Evidence? Yes! Read 2 Maccabees: (iv, 13-15, New Revised Standard Version)
Quote: “There was such an extreme of Hellenization and increase in the adoption of foreign ways because of the surpassing wickedness of Jason, who was ungodly and no true[e] high priest, 14 that the priests were no longer intent upon their service at the altar. Despising the sanctuary and neglecting the sacrifices, they hurried to take part in the unlawful proceedings in the wrestling arena after the signal for the discus-throwing, 15 disdaining the honors prized by their ancestors and putting the highest value upon Greek forms of prestige. 16 For this reason heavy disaster overtook them, and those whose ways of living they admired and wished to imitate completely became their enemies and punished them. 17 It is no light thing to show irreverence to the divine laws—a fact that later events will make clear.”
What did that writer mean when he wrote. “putting the highest value upon Greek forms of prestige?” He was referring to their acceptance of Greeks cultural standards, including the already mentioned matter of wrestling naked. And, that brought a big problem for young Jews, in ancient Greek culture, men could be naked, but it was shameful for them to expose the head of their penises. This led to these young men, circumcised when young, to try to reverse their circumcised state by lengthening the remains of their foreskins. (You can do your own research on that matter).
In169 BCE, Antiochus IV prohibited Judaism, mandating the death penalty for those who tried to practice it. For many Jews that was too much, and a rebellion commenced (the Maccabean rebellion). In 171 BCE High Priest Onias was murdered and the Zadokite family lost their centuries old hereditary right to the High Priest position. So the process of Hellenization was slowed for a while, but not stopped, and by the time of Jesus, Palestine under mainly Roman control, was again strongly influenced by foreign culture.
Which brings us to the matter of ‘God’ and ‘Gods’ – in my next post.
*Vermes was a British academic and Biblical scholar, born into a Hungarian family of Jewish descent that was forced to convert to Christianity. As a young man he became a Catholic priest and later became a scholar focusing on ancient Judaism and early Christianity.