Colossian 1:16 - "all OTHER things"

by aqwsed12345 136 Replies latest watchtower bible

  • aqwsed12345

    Instead of quote mining, try to do some own research, by reading whole works of early Christian literature yourself. It's not needed for you to seek the answer from these "very modern" skeptical-atheist authors as to what they really thought.

    If you agree with Ehrman, you can throw the Bible away:

  • slimboyfat

    I wonder what you make or scholars like James Dunn in that case. As far as I can make out he was a Trinitarian Christian and remained a Trinitarian Christian to the end of his life. Nevertheless his honest historical study of the NT led him to conclude that the conception of God as a Trinity was a later development, that only God was worshipped in the highest sense in the NT, and that Jesus was separate and subordinate to God. That’s not just a quote here or there, that’s a fair reflection of what he wrote as whole.

    Catholic scholars, such as Raymond Brown and Joseph Fitzmyer, can be very illuminating too because, unlike Protestants, Catholics can tolerate the fact that the Bible doesn’t necessarily present a fully Trinitarian view because they rely on tradition in addition to the scriptures. Raymond Brown and Joseph Fitzmyer seem to have had a degree of freedom to admit where the Bible says things that are inconvenient. For example Raymond Brown’s discussion about where Jesus is and is not called God is quite illuminating because he narrows it down to fewer passages and with narrower meaning than many Trinitarians would like.

    Paula Fredriksen is Jewish but her scholarship (it should hardly need to be said) ought to be judged on its merits. Any fair appraisal of the competing reconstructions of early Christology by Fredriksen and Hurtado, for example, would conclude that she makes better sense out of the available evidence.

  • aqwsed12345

    Now the topic was not the finished dogma of the Trinity, but a narrow question: according Nestle-Aland NT based on the best available manuscripts, is the Son begotten/born of the Father, and truly God, as the Council of Nicea established, or just a created beging, an angel, as the Arians and JWs claim? The conceptually and logically next question is how to proceed in this case. Anyway, stop parroting Jesus is "separate" from the Father, only the Sabellian Modalism maintains he was the same person as the Father. "Subordination" is still not an argument, since our theology gives a thorough answer to this (cf. the dual nature of Jesus), not to mention that it does not mean ontological inferiority here at all.

    Now you're doing the same thing as WTS do, for example in their "Should you believe in the Trinity?" brochure: the quote certain Christian lexicons like this way: "The doctrine of Trinity is not found in the Bible . . .", but the end of the sentence is omitted from the quote, which was like " the a strictly ontological terms" and that that all elements and building materials for the doctrine are found in Scripture, just not the theologically formulated doctrine itself.

    On the contrary, the NT does not state anywhere that the Son is a created angel, not just "not explicitly", but noway, no matter what opinion your sources state about it. And I maintain that if the word of these authors should be accepted as an authority, then it should also be accepted that Christianity is a fraud and the Bible should be discarded.

  • slimboyfat

    I defy you to identify any quotation above where I haven’t fairly represented the opinion of the scholar quoted. So your comparison with Watchtower quotes with half the sentence missing is misplaced.

    I referred to Paula Fredriksen as arguing that the phrase ‘in the form of God’ means that Jesus was a lesser divine being that God. That is what Fredriksen argues, in detail, and consistently, and the quotation I made fairly reflected that.

    Paul Holloway argues, on the basis of a huge amount of linguistic and historical data, that Jesus is presented in Philippians 2 as an angelic being who came to earth as a man. Again, that is his argument throughout his commentary, and my quotation fairly reflected that.

    Maurice Wiles argues that Arians have been misrepresented and that they based their theology primarily on the Bible. To the extent that they used Greek philosophy, their Trinitarian counterparts did the same. That is his argument throughout his book.

    James Dunn argues that the first Christians did not worship Jesus in the highest sense because they believed that only God should be worshipped, and Jesus was distinguished from God. How he managed to square this with Trinitarian practice I am not sure, but he seems to have struggled with it. His honest scholarship on this point is appreciated.

    These scholars are just pointing out what the Bible texts actually say about Jesus. That it happens to contradict Trinitarian dogma is a reasonable inference from their work, it is not the purpose of their work.

    I was reading an article earlier today about Origen’s use of the word ktisma (creature) to describe Jesus. The author states, as a passing observation, that, “it seems clear that Origen took Prov. viii 22 and Col. i 15 as meaning what they say.” - a succinct, no fuss, and accurate appraisal of the plain meaning of those scriptures.

  • aqwsed12345

    Fredriksen claims without any basis that the Son is just a "lesser divine being", based on Philippians 2:6. If being "in the form of God" only means that he existed as a spirit and nothing more, then why does the Bible never claim that angels exist "in the form of God"? Furthermore, the second half of the verse makes it clear that His existence "in the form of God" also meant "equality with God", just he did not consider this a "harpagmos" (a booty, what he needs/wants to retain at all cost), so he did not cling to this glory arising from equality with God at all costs, etc. Holloway also speaks without any basis: where does Philippians 2 say that Jesus is an "angelic being"? Nowhere.

    "James Dunn argues that the first Christians did not worship Jesus in the highest sense because they believed that only God should be worshipped"

    False: according John 5:23 Jesus commanded his believers that "all may honor the Son, just as they honor the Father." This means that the Son deserves exactly the very same obeisance as the Father. And this is called worship, to worship a creature would be idolatry. The word "honor" (time) is a broader concept than worship, so all worship is also respect, but not all respect is worship. In other words, if we read that the Son must be honored just as the Father is, that includes all kinds of honor for the Father, including worship. On the other hand, all kinds of honor for the Father are adoring respect, since no respect can be imagined that is not addressed to him as God. After all, the Father is none other than God: he is not a man and not a state body to be respected in a civil sense. Therefore, since all this honor also belongs to Jesus, his worthiness of worship is immediately given, and thus also his divinity of the same essence as that of the Father. Having a lesser god is also forbidden by the commandment: “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.”

    Your sources may keep coming up with quoting out of context from Origen, it is true that he was an exotic theologian, he often used confusing formulations, but you can only understand what he really taught if you read his entire writings, not by abusing some one-liners. It is no coincidence that the Arians did not refer to the authority of Origen to justify their position, since Origen clearly taught that the Son is begotten of the Father in the sense of eternal generation, within the being of God. Check: De Principiis IV.27, I.6, II.2.2, II.4.3, etc.

    Your method is a typical WTS propaganda tactic, that just like the dung beetle collects pieces of feces and turns them into a ball, they also cherry pick the quotes from the hands of authors whose general teaching they would not even accept at all.

  • Vanderhoven7

    For God ... hath committed all judgment unto the Son:THAT ALL MEN SHOULD HONOR THE SON EVEN AS THEY HONOR THE FATHER. He that honoureth not the Son, honoureth not the Father which hath sent Him. Jn.5:22,23

    Witnesses argue that Jesus Christ is not entitled to the unqualified or unlimited worship due the Father. But by denying the Son reverent homage or service paid to God they can only ascribe to Him instead, recognition, honor, respect given to men.

    Relative honor to God through an angel was reproved in these words: "Be careful! Do not do that!...Worship God." Revelation 19:10; 22:8, 9, NWT) 'Let God Be True', 1952 edition p. 151

    The distinctions Witnesses make in worship due the Father and Son are totally extra-biblical and not in keeping with Apostolic teaching and practice.

    What is it that distinguishes that Christ is not to be genuinely worshiped as the Father is worshiped?


    Language of Scripture?

    "Proskyneo" is consistently translated as "worship" in the King James. "Proskyneo" is applied 21 times to the Father and 17 times to the Son. The only fair conclusion we can come to here is that the language of scripture does not distinguish that Christ is not to be genuinely worshiped as the Father is worshiped.

    Scriptural Example?

    There is not one example of the disciples or anyone else in scripture limiting their expression of worship of Christ. Jesus never rebuked the disciple for improper proskyneo of Himself. only the self proclaimed religious authorities objected to Jesus being honored as the Father was honored. They proclaimed vigorously, saying such things as, "You make yourself equal with God" and "Only God can forgive sins" etc. To them, no man should claim the attributes or prerogatives of God. So not only does scriptural language, but also scriptural example fails to distinguish that Christ is not to be genuinely worshiped.

    Scriptural Instruction?

    There are no proscriptive instructions defining relative proskyneo of Christ, nor are there restrictive commandments, limiting the proskyneo of the Son. So the alleged distinction in meaning of proskyneo of Father and Son is not clarified by a distinction in scriptural terminology or by scriptural example or by scriptural commandment either prescriptive or restrictive. All restrictions proposed by any religious authority are really extra-biblical (i.e. the commandments of men). The truth is that ALL MEN SHOULD HONOR THE SON EVEN AS THEY HONOR THE FATHER (Jn.5:22, 23). Christians can and the disciples could, never honor Jesus too highly.

    Witnesses argue that Matthew 4:10 excludes unqualified worship of the Son. "You shall worship the Lord your God and him ONLY shall you serve". (Matt 4:10) That is simply not true. The exclusive element of this instruction rests on the last phrase and yet we are called to be servants of Christ. If we substitute the word "Honor" for worship in Matthew 4:10, so that it read "You shall honor the Lord your God and him only shall you serve", would the verse inform Christians that they should not give identical honor to the Son?

    Form and Content?

    " worship Christ in any form cannot be wrong." (W.T. March 1880. p.83)

    Can the alleged distinction in meaning of 'proskyneo' when applied to the Son be established by the form or content of worship displayed by the disciples/apostles? Do not the following constitute elements of proskyneo in terms of form and content that can legitimately be a part of the proskyneo rendered to the Son:

    a. bowing the knee to Jesus while confessing Him as Lord? Phil.2:9-11

    b. prostrating oneself completely before Jesus? Rev.5:8

    c. fellowship or commune with Jesus, sharing our personal aspirations and hopes? I Jn.1:3

    d. coming to Jesus for relief of personal burdens and cares? Mat. 11:28

    e. calling on the name of Jesus, addressing Him personally as Lord? Acts 9:14, I Cor.1:2

    f. praying personally to Jesus, petitioning Him for self and others? Acts 7:59-60 Jn.14:14

    g. glorifying Jesus by praise? Ps.50:23 Jn.16:14, Mat.21:14-16

    h. honoring Jesus verbally by ascribing worth to Him?

    eg."To Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever. Rev.5:13 NIV.

    i. honoring Jesus by shouting or even singing His praises?

    e.g. In a loud voice they (angels) sang: Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain to receive power and wealth and Wisdom and strength and HONOR AND GLORY AND PRAISE. Rev.5:12 NIV.

    j. verbally ascribing to Jesus absolute worth?

    e.g. JESUS: Lord of Lords and King of Kings;

    Alpha and Omega, The First and the Last,

    The beginning and the end. Rev.20:12

    My Lord and my Ho Theos. Jn.20:28

    Your name is to be praised O Emmanuel,

    Ho Theos with us! Mat.1:23

    All power in heaven and earth is Yours;

    You created all things; and without you there was nothing made. Jn.1:3

    And Your throne Ho Theos is forever. Heb. 1:8

    May all angels and men worship you continually. Heb.1:6

    Even so come Lord Jesus: Rev.22:20 Amen.

    13 And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and underneath the earth and on the sea, and all the things in them, saying: “To the One sitting on the throne and to the Lamb be the blessing and the honor and the glory and the might forever and ever.” 14 The four living creatures were saying: “Amen!” and the elders fell down and worshiped. NWT


    Whether or not one acknowledges an ontological unity between Father and Son, it is clear that Jesus accepted the title God (Ho Theos) as part of worship of himself. (Jn 20:28) and we should feel free to address and worship Him as such. Anything less would be to reduce the honor due His name; the name above all names; the name to which angels must bow and to which the Father declares: Thy throne O God (Ho Theos) is forever. After all, Jesus Christ is our Creator. Why would we not worship our Creator as God?

  • slimboyfat

    aqwsed12345 you do seem to have plucked John 5.23 out of its context as if it implies Trinitarian dogma. Trinitarians believe that three divine persons are equally deserving of worship because they are all eternally supreme. What does the passage actually say?

    19 Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, the Son can do nothing on his own but only what he sees the Father doing, for whatever the Father does, the Son does likewise. 20 The Father loves the Son and shows him all that he himself is doing, and he will show him greater works than these, so that you will be astonished. 21 Indeed, just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whomever he wishes. 22 The Father judges no one but has given all judgment to the Son, 23 so that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. Anyone who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him. 24 Very truly, I tell you, anyone who hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and does not come under judgment but has passed from death to life. 25 “Very truly, I tell you, the hour is coming and is now here when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. 26 For just as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself, 27 and he has given him authority to execute judgment because he is the Son of Man. 28 Do not be astonished at this, for the hour is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice 29 and will come out: those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of condemnation.

    The point of honouring the Son is to honour the Father who sent him.

    The context provides a radically different picture than the selective quotation of half of verse 23 in isolation. Notice 1) the Son “can do nothing on his own” 2) the Son copies the Father 3) the Father shows the Son how things are done 4) the Father has “given” all judgement to the Son 5) the reason people should honour the Son is because they thereby honour the Father 6) if you fail to honour the Son you are not honouring the Father who sent him 7) the Father has granted the Son to have life in himself 8) God has given Jesus the authority to judge.

    In every single statement the superiority of God is maintained and the role of Jesus as subordinate and obedient to God is emphasised.

    James McGrath explains the significance of an agent representing a ruler in that culture (again, this quotation is representative of McGrath’s work as a whole):

    When someone sent an agent, the agent was given the full authority of the sender to speak and act on his behalf. If the agent made an agreement, it was completely binding, as if the person who sent him had made it in person. Conversely, if someone rejected an agent, he rejected the one who sent him. The agent was thus functionally equal or equivalent to the one who sent him, precisely because he was subordinate and obedient to, and submitted to the will of, him who sent him. James McGrath, The Only True God: Early Christian Monotheism in its Jewish Context (2009), 59.
  • aqwsed12345


    In this case, the context presented by you does not refute my pont. It's Jesus' commandment, that the Son must be honored in exactly the same way, just as the Father. This speaks for itself, if the Father must be worshiped, then the Son must be worshipped, and only God can be worshiped, therefore He is truly God. Do the JWs honor the Son just as they honor the Father? Nope, at least since 1954 they don't. The verses you highlighted also do not refute anything from my theology: the Nicene theology states that the Son received everything from the Father, including his existence and divinity. What did you refute with that? It's just your theological bias that only the unbegotten Father can be truly God, even though Jesus clearly taught that "everything" was given to him by the Father.

    By his very nature, the Son acts in union and agreement with the Father, and could not do otherwise. Christ did not question that He is equal to God, which He would have had to do if He was not, but only says that the divine works of the Son are also the works of the Father. The Son can only do what He observes in His divine essence, which He received from the Father; thus, everything that the Father does, the Son also does, as the Son operates with the same divine reality as the Father. They work in the same way, because they are entirely equal in nature; only where there is no equality of existence, there can be no equal mode of operation. It goes without saying that we are talking only about purely divine acts here, because those divine acts of the Son, which were also human, e.g. His sufferings, were only the acts of the Father insofar as they were in accord with His will, but not His own acts; because the Father did not become human along with the Son. To the extent that some difference in existence arose between the Father and Son through the incarnation, the divine-human actions could not be the Father's own actions. Due to the intimate relationship that exists between the Father and Son, in this divine reality shared with Him from the Father, He will observe and perform even greater deeds than the healing of the sick man. The honor of the Father and the Son are connected; indeed, only he who honors the Son, also honors the Father, because He sent the Son to reveal the true honor of God in the most perfect way; therefore, he who does not honor the orders of the Son, cannot honor the Father either.

    The Arians handle the Savior's statements in a completely abusive manner, such as "the Father is greater than me" (Jn 14:28.); only God is good (Mc 10,18; cf. Rom 1,3 Act 2,36 Heb 1,4 3,2.); He prays to the Father and contrasts Himself with Him (Jn 17:3). – Solution. a) Jesus Christ is also a real human; therefore, he could say and do all of this as a man. b) In terms of Trinitarian origin, the Son is in a (conceptual) dependency on the Father, and this provides a sufficient logical basis for the manner of speech that the Son follows and is subordinate to the Father; furthermore, the Father, as the source of the Trinity, is αὐτόθεος, and therefore the name of God can be attributed to him especially in contrast to the other two persons (This is how Jn 17,3 and 1 Cor 8,5–6 should be understood.).

    The testimony of the Church Fathers is surprisingly unanimous on this even before the Council of Nicaea. The Didache, with a clear reference to Mt 21:9, says of Christ: "Hosanna to the God of David!" Clement of Rome writes of him that he spoke in the Old Testament scriptures through the Holy Spirit and includes him in a doxology with the Father and the Holy Spirit. The oldest Christian preaching, called the Second Letter of Clement of Rome, begins: "Brothers, we must think of Jesus Christ as God, as the judge of the living and the dead." According to the Letter of Barnabas, Christ is the Son of God, who said to him at the beginning of the world: Let us make man in our image; if he had not appeared in flesh, we could not bear his glory, just as our eyes cannot bear sunlight. Ignatius, the disciple of Apostle John and a faithful interpreter of his theology, wants to "imitate in Rome the sufferings of his God", and gives a surprisingly accurate expression to the entire content of the mystery of incarnation: "There is one doctor, born and unborn, God living in body"; "Our God Jesus was carried by Mary in her womb." According to Polycarp, Christ is the Lord of heaven and earth, to whom every spirit serves, who himself judges the living and the dead; his martyrdom gives him equal homage to the Father. Similarly, the letter to Diognetus attributes to him immutability, eternity (Didache 10, 6. Clemens R. 21, 12; 50, 7; cf. 50, 4; 16, 2 etc. Ignat. Rom 6, 3; Eph 7, 2; 18, 2; cf. 19, 3; Polyc. 8, 3; Smyrn. 1, 1. Polycarp. 2, 1; Martyr. 14, 3. Diognet. 7, 2; 11, 3; 10, 2 etc.).

    The Apologists were not always fortunate in their Logos speculations, but it is in these attempts that their conviction that Christ has existed from eternity and is of the same essence as the Father is clearly expressed. They sharply contrast this with the ideas of Stoic logos doctrine, but at the same time they make a remarkable attempt to spread and recommend the deeper content of the mystery of the incarnation among the cultured pagans using this popular concept. Justin expressly confesses Christ as God; Aristides testifies that Christians believe Christ is God, who descended from the highest heaven and became man from a Jewish virgin (Iustin. Apol. I 63, 10; II 6; Dial. 48–108. Aristid. Apol. II 6.).

    Irenaeus says: "The Father is Lord and the Son is Lord; the Father is God and the Son is God; for he who is born of God is God. And thus, in terms of the power of his nature and his existence, we confess one God." Against the Gnostics, the guiding thought of his theology is: Christ could only reconcile man with God if he was not only man, but also God. Tertullian expresses similar thoughts: "God came to live among men so that man might learn to act like God. God dealt with man as an equal, so that man might then deal with God as an equal. God humbled himself very much so that man might become very great. If you are ashamed of this God, I do not know how you can sincerely believe in the crucified God!" (Iren. Epid. II 1, 27; Haeres. III 16–24. Tertul. Marc. II 27; cf. Apol. 21.) Origen very accurately says, "He was incarnate when he was God; and when he became man, he remained what he was before: God." Probably the term God-man (θεάνθρωπος) comes from him (Origen. Princip. Praef. 4; cf. in Jn tr. 6.).

  • slimboyfat
    You are bending language beyond what it can bear.

    If a parent tells their child they have to obey their teacher just as they would obey their parent, the point is that the parent is telling the child that they have to do as the teacher says because the parent is giving the teacher that authority. It does not mean that the teacher now has equal parental rights. The very fact that the parent extends authority over the child to the teacher demonstrates that ultimate authority rests with the parent.

    To read into the phrase “honour the Son just as they honour the Father” as you do ignores the meaning of the statement in context and transports it into a foreign fourth century world of dogmatic distinctions between nature and substances and persons that the apostle John knew nothing about. Jesus says that every authority and honour he has is because his Father gave it to him. The lie that the Trinity teaches is that these honours belong to Jesus by his own right. Every statement in John 5 contradicts that notion.
  • aqwsed12345

    I am not distorting it: if the Son is to be given exactly the same degree of honor as the Father, it directly follows that if the Father is to be worshipped, then the Son is to be worshipped as well. That's logic. And since the First Commandment (“Thou shalt have no other gods before me.”) we must not worship anyone else than the True God, then Jesus is truly God.

    "The lie that the Trinity teaches is that these honours belong to Jesus by his own right."

    You clearly don't know what the Trinity doctrine is: the Nicene theology states that the Son received everything from the Father, including his existence and divinity. It's just your theological bias that only the unbegotten Father can be truly God, even though Jesus clearly taught that "everything" was given to him by the Father, even the fullness (pleroma) of the deity (theotes).

    The Bible verses that emphasize the humanity of Jesus do not refute anything from this theology. Nor those where it says that the Son received his being (through begetting, not creation) and divinity from the Father. There is not a single biblical statement that is contrary to this theology, but it was no coincidence that you had to distort plenty of Bible verses, embarrassing to WTS doctrine.

    The words of John 14:28 and 1 Corinthians 15:28 are to be understood of Christ's human nature, wherein He is less than the Father, and subject to Him; but in His divine nature He is equal to the Father. This is expressed by Athanasius, "Equal to the Father in His Godhead; less than the Father in humanity": and by Hilary: "By the fact of giving, the Father is greater; but He is not less to Whom the same being is given"; and: "The Son subjects Himself by His inborn piety"—that is, by His recognition of paternal authority; whereas "creatures are subject by their created weakness."

    The words, "the Son cannot of Himself do anything", do not withdraw from the Son any power possessed by the Father, since it is immediately added, "whatever the Father does, the Son does likewise"; but their meaning is to show that the Son derives His power from the Father, of Whom He receives His nature. Hence, Hilary says, "The unity of the divine nature implies that the Son so acts of Himself [per se], that He does not act by Himself [a se]."

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