Monday, April 19, 2010

Challenge for Trinitarians

Christians tend to be behind the curve on different things. Yet as soon as Christian apologists figured out that the law of transitivity of identity and/or Leibniz’s Law of the Indiscernibility of Identicals proves what we all knew in our hearts to be true, many of these apologists came up with a quick answer.

*******

If A = C, and if B = C (where “=” signifies the relation of identity), then A = B. For example, if Samuel Clemens is the one man who invented Huck Finn, and if Mark Twain is the one man who invented Huck Finn, then Samuel Clemens is Mark Twain.

On a different yet related note, if A = B, then whatever is true of A is true of B. For example, if Y'shua is Jesus, and if Y'shua is the Messiah, then Jesus is the Messiah; and if Y'shua is Jesus and if Jesus is the Messiah, then Y'shua is the Messiah--no exceptions.

*******

Now, Christian apologists know this rule, and many of them have been confronted with the true (!) statement that if F = G and S = G, then F = S --or rather that if the Father is identical with the one god that exists and if the Son is identical with the one god that exists, then the Father is (identical with) the Son. One thing they have done in response is to take a sentence on the order of “The Word was God”--as in John, chapter one and as in common Christian parlance--and then have the boldness to treat the noun “God” as if it is a predicate noun both in Koine Greek John 1.1 and in common parlance. Translation: they take the noun “God” and they treat it like an adjective, all such that John’s sentence “The Word was God” may as well be rendered as the sentence “The Word was divine.”

And that’s supposed to be their solution to the problem: to boldly make a noun to be an adjective. Now, let’s assume for a moment that this analysis of “theos” is faithful to Greek grammar and that this analysis of Modern English “God” is faithful to English grammar and pragmatics. Okay, so John 1.1 may as well be rendered “...The Word was divine”--but so what? One could also aptly use the word “divine” in speaking of the attributes or properties that God has--God has divine properties of omniscience, omnipotence, etc. Those properties are divine, yet those properties’ being divine do not make them to be as great as the Father; so what follows is that Jesus’ being divine (in the sense of the word in question) do not necessarily make him to be equal with the Father or as great as the Father, despite the whole intention of Christian apologists in drawing attention to the idea of a predicate noun in the first place. What this means, in turn, is that the possibility that John expresses the proposition in John 1.4 that the Word is the one god that exists does remain; likewise, it follows that Christians perhaps unwittingly and unintentionally do contradict themselves with regard to the doctrine of the Trinity.

Yet there is another attempt at a solution to the problem raised by the nature of the identity relation. I have actually seen people equivocate and use four-term fallacies in order to save face for popular, contemporary emphases on the doctrine of the Trinity which revolve around sentences like “The Father is God, the Son is God...but the Father is not the Son.” I have actually seen people argue like this:

(1) I am human.
(2) Billy Graham is human.
(3) But I am not Billy Graham.
(4) So it is possible for two distinct objects to be human.
(5) So by analogy, it is possible for two distinct objects to be God.


The argument involves and depends on equivocation. It’s understood by rules of common parlance that “to be God” is a grammatical construction formed with the equative copula “be” and the noun “God.” Yet it is also understood that “to be human” involves the use of an adjective (not to mention the predicate “be”). (Compare: “To err is human.”) So the argument depends on a false analogy.

Yet there is a similar argument:

(1) I am a human.
(2) Billy Graham is a human.
(3) But I am not Billy Graham.
(4) So it is possible for two distinct objects to be a human.
(5) So by analogy, it is possible for two distinct objects to be God.


More or less of a four-term fallacy. One knows good and well for there to be an analogy, the contestant has to go all the way to say what he did not have the courage to say; if premise (4) is to stand, and if the argument is to be valid, then premise (5) must be changed as follows:

(5′) So by analogy, it is possible for two distinct objects to be a god.

So what the argument would end up suggesting, in a modified form, is that the Father is a god, the Son is a god, and that the Father is not the Son. Okay, so how many gods are there, anyway? Answer: one. But that means that the Father is the one god that exists, and that the Son is the one god that exists, and consequently that the Father is the Son, a proposition which Christian apologists try avoid.

Yeah, such are the pitfalls of trying to mix and dabble with all the different functions and meanings of the verb be (which are listed in any decent dictionary, though perhaps not the more recent usage which even makes “be” to mean cost in certain contexts). The attempts really do not seem to work.

*******

Finally, one last problem with the attempt to render “God” as a predicate noun when Christians say “The Father is God, the Son is God...but the Father is not the Son.” Presumably, they base their believe that F and S = G on the Scriptures themselves. Well, guess the Scriptures have to say about this matter of predicate nouns: they suggest that the premise of the predicate noun cannot save the day. Consider the following:

26 And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: [then] came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace [be] unto you. 27 Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust [it] into my side: and be not faithless, but believing. 28 And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God. 29 Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed [are] they that have not seen, and [yet] have believed. (John 20.26-29, KJV)

Simon Peter, a bondservant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have obtained like precious faith with us by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ: (2 Peter 1.1, NKJV)
Apparently, Jesus is denoted by the word “God” in each passage. And the word “God” in these passages clearly are neither adjectives nor predicate nouns. To the contrary, this word is clearly used as a token of the identity relation in these passages.

So, score one for the Oneness Pentecostals or other naysayers in this case, because up to a certain point they are correct on this issue: contemporary expressions of the doctrine of the Trinity do have a problem. Of course, that is not to say that the problem cannot be explained away, but equivocation, four-term fallacies, and false analogies are no legitimate means of making the problem go away.

26 comments:

ElderChild said...

Quite simple really, there is Only ONE True Living G-D, Father(Creator) of ALL.......

It is as The Messiah testified concerning His Brethren, "My G-D is your G-D, and My Father is your Father".......

The Messiah, "The Beginning of The Creation of The ONE and Only True Living G-D, Father(Creator) of ALL.......

Kwame E. said...

Hello ElderChild.

I don’t know what your background is or rather what kind of worldview or beliefs you have concerning the Bible.

But wouldn’t you say that the deity of Jesus is something that is taught in the pages of the New Testament?

ElderChild said...

The Messiah was and is "The Son of The Living G-D, Father(Creator) of ALL".......

"And there was Light"

LIGHT begot Light.......

Adam Pastor said...

Greetings Kwame E.

I would suggest that
the deity of Jesus is nowhere taught in either Testaments.

For my reasons for saying this,
I recommend this video:
The Human Jesus

Take a couple of hours to watch it; and prayerfully it will aid you to reconsider "The Trinity"

Yours In Messiah
Adam Pastor

Kwame E. said...

Me: «But wouldn’t you say that the deity of Jesus is something that is taught in the pages of the New Testament?»

ElderChild: «The Messiah was and is "The Son of The Living G-D, Father(Creator) of ALL".......

"And there was Light"

LIGHT begot Light.......»

Unfortunately, this doesn’t answer my question.

Kwame E. said...

Adam Pastor wrote:

«For my reasons for saying this,
I recommend this video:
The Human Jesus

Take a couple of hours to watch it; and prayerfully it will aid you to reconsider "The Trinity"»

Not gonna happen, sir. I generally don’t do videos because of bandwith issues which I sadly have to deal with. On the other hand, written and typed texts would pose much less of a problem for me.

Kwame E. said...

«Not gonna happen, sir. I generally don’t do videos because of bandwith issues which I sadly have to deal with. On the other hand, written and typed texts would pose much less of a problem for me.»

Then again, I might know of a way to download it....

Adam Pastor said...

Yes,
click the
Download video - iPod/PSP
link, in order to download it. :-)

ElderChild said...

What you mean is "i did not answer the question the way you wanted me to answer".......

Seems the pharisee's had that same problem ;-(

Kwame E. said...

Adam Pastor wrote:

«Yes,
click the
Download video - iPod/PSP
link, in order to download it. :-)»

That’s what I was talking out. However, with a file that measures in at 380 MB I run up against download threshold issues from my ISP. So, you need to meet me halfway and at least give me an idea or sample of what is on the video.

Kwame E. said...

ElderChild wrote:

«What you mean is "i did not answer the question the way you wanted me to answer".......

Seems the pharisee's had that same problem ;-(»

Actually, that’s not what I meant. And I should know this too, since I am, after all, me. ;)

So what I had asked was this: “But wouldn’t you say that the deity of Jesus is something that is taught in the pages of the New Testament?” That means that I am asking you to either affirm or deny the proposition that the deity of Christ is something that is taught in the pages of the New Testament. Your response was this: “The Messiah was and is "The Son of The Living G-D, Father(Creator) of ALL".......

"And there was Light"

LIGHT begot Light.......”

That response is completely ambiguous; I don’t know if you adhere to orthodox Christology from that response or not.

After all, there are some people out there who might take the view that the phrase son of φ as spoken by Jews of this time period amounted to an affirmation of the proposition that the son in question belongs to the same basic genus as φ in question, which in this case would mean that Jesus is God.

By the same token, others would take a phrase such as “The Son of The Living G-D” to mean that Jesus is not God, with the assumption being that the sonship of Jesus is logically or ontologically incompatible with his being God.

At the same time, there are people out there who intentionally use ambiguous or vague language to play the fence or to have their cake and eat it too in certain situations. With that said, I cannot and do not know at this point whether you believe that the deity of Christ is taught by the New Testament. You see what I mean?

ElderChild said...

Once again, "What you mean is i did not answer the question the way
you wanted me to answer".

According to your understanding it seems The Messiah would be of those
"who intentionally use ambiguous or vague language to play the fence
or to have their cake and eat it too in certain situations".

Thankfully The Messiah spoke The Word Our Father gave Him to speak
without concern for what others might construe His responses to
be.......

"And there was Light"

LIGHT begot Light.......

The ONE and Only True G-D, Father(Creator) of ALL, HE IS LIGHT!

And HE begot Light.......

LIKE begot Like.......

The Messiah, The Son of The ONE and Only True Living G-D,
Father(Creator) of ALL and "the glory He had with Our Father before
the world was".......

The Messiah, "The Beginning of The Creation of The ONE and Only True
Living G-D, Father(Creator) of ALL"!

Peace, in spite of the dis-ease(religion) that is of this wicked
world, for "the WHOLE(not just a portion) world is under the control
of the evil one" indeed and Truth.......

Thankfully Truth IS, no matter that those of this world continually seek to crucify Truth, for Truth will always prevail and Rise Again.......

HalleluYAH!

Kwame E. said...

ElderChild, a simple “yes” or “no” would have been nice.

I’ll take the sum of your response as a no.

ElderChild said...

Simply sad for you ;-(

D.B. said...

Elder, I don't think it is unreasonable to ask that you give a straight answer, since, as Kwame rightly points out, there is some ambiguity to your response.

It is important in discussing things as important as the deity of Christ that we are clear in our writing. And asking for clarification is an important thing to do, as well.

I think the NT is clear, as a whole, that Christ claimed to be more than just a Messiah, more than just a man, just a teacher. He made claims of deity.

Whether He is or not is another part of the discussion, but THAT He claimed it seems pretty clear from the whole council of the text of Scripture.

ElderChild said...

Quite obvious that neither of you have received "a love of The Truth" and so it is that the "eye of your understanding" remains closed ;-(

Truth is "clear", for those who have received "a love of The Truth".......

Simply sad for you ;-(

Yet there is hope!

For Miracles do happen.......

Hope is you would experience The Miracle that is receiving "a love of The Truth" for only then will you "see" The Truth in that which i have received to share with you.

D.B. said...

What does "a love of the Truth" even mean?

To ask you to explain yourself means we don't have a "love of the Truth" does not even make sense.

Now is it helpful to this disccussion. Since you have this "love of the truth" that we, according to you, do not, it would seem that the good thing to do would be to enlighten us with the Truth, as you see it, no?

I do think miracles could happen and you may choose to explain why you do not seem to think that Jesus is God, as seen in the Bible.

Kwame E. said...

ElderChild wrote:

«Quite obvious that neither of you have received "a love of The Truth" and so it is that the "eye of your understanding" remains closed ;-(

Truth is "clear", for those who have received "a love of The Truth".......

Simply sad for you ;-(

Yet there is hope!

For Miracles do happen.......

Hope is you would experience The Miracle that is receiving "a love of The Truth" for only then will you "see" The Truth in that which i have received to share with you.»

Hmm. Now, suppose that I were to say to you, ElderChild, that I too have received a love of The Truth. Suppose I were to say to you also that I too have received The Truth from the same source from which you received The Truth. This source also told me that ElderChild is crackpot who is out of his mind.

Would you believe me if I were to say these things to you? Would you have good reason to believe me if I were to say these things to you?

ElderChild said...

Those who have received "a love of The Truth" need no explanation. And those who have not, will reject any explanation just as they rejected The Truth that was shared.......

And you but confirm The Truth that "the natural man does not receive the things that are of the Spirit of G-D, for they are foolishness unto the natural man, and he can not know them because they needs be spiritually discerned."

Sadly, pagan catholicism and her harlot christian daughters but carry on the legacy of the pharisee's, and because they are so perverse "The Way of Truth is evil spoken of" and the multitudes, just as prophesied, believe their lies ;-(

Yet there is hope that there would yet be those who would receive "a love of The Truth".

For all who have received "the love of The Truth" have, or will, take heed unto The Call of The ONE and Only True Living G-D, Father(Creator) of ALL to "Come Out of her, MY people".......

They will "Come Out" of this world(babylon) and it's systems of religion for they "see" that "the WHOLE(not just a portion) world is under the control of the evil one" indeed and Truth.......

Truth IS, a lie is not.......

ElderChild said...

"Now, suppose that I were to say to you, ElderChild, that I too have received a love of The Truth."

That would but offer further confirmation of The Truth that you are a liar ;-(

So it is that i am simply sad for you ;-(

Quite obvious that religion has had it's way with you ;-(

D.B. said...

So, if I understand you right, Elder...

You won't explain because if we are like you, we already think the way you do and need no explanation.

AND you won't explain because if we are not like you, we're just going to reject it.

So, either way, you don't explain and we're the liars.

That is a pretty good deal you have there.

If you are unwilling to give any explanation or simply engage in a dialogue with anyone on here, feel free to find another blog to post on.

If you are willing to dialogue in a respectful manner it would be helpful to explain some of your views, because, frankly, they are a bit vague and and/or ambiguous.

We would be more willing to listen to your thoughts and share some of our own.

I do not think that is unreasonable, nor does it make us liars, nor does it have anything to do with "religion having its way with" us.I don't see how that is relevant. Particularly since you don't know either of us from Adam.

I say this with sincerity.

Kwame E. said...

ElderChild wrote:

«"Now, suppose that I were to say to you, ElderChild, that I too have received a love of The Truth."

That would but offer further confirmation of The Truth that you are a liar ;-(

So it is that i am simply sad for you ;-(

Quite obvious that religion has had [its] way with you ;-(»

I see that you’ve once again steered clear of offering a “yes” or “no” as a response. But you’re an intelligent person, so I think that on some level you know good and well what I was getting at in asking “Would you believe me if I were to say these things to you? Would you have good reason to believe me if I were to say these things to you?”

Sir, you are not the only eccentric personality on the Internet or in the world at large who is steeped in subjectivism and who refuses to allow for objective verification or clarification of one’s own beliefs or truth claims. You say that those who have the truth need no explanation. Fine, but so what? There are a thousand other people out there who would say the same thing, and the sum of these people (including you) also hold divergent and conflicting beliefs. Okay, so what makes your brand of subjectivism any more believable than theirs? Or vice versa?

And when you say “Simply sad for you ;-(” this is not edifying or helping either me, DB, or anyone one else here with the possible exception of yourself. I mean, why else would you bother to type “Simply sad for you ;-(” unless you were trying to make some sort of effort at persuasion? But then, I’m sure you’ve seen by now that this weak attempt at persuasion is of no effect. So, if you really are interested in having other people see the truth as you see it, then it behooves you to stop playing games and start explaining and answering questions in a forthright and informative manner.

Then again, if your interest here is only to prophesy against people, as it were, then frankly I think the JW, Oneness Pentecostal, and Islamic apologists do a far better job of that when they bother to offer accessible, understandable (and albeit wrong) reasons for rejecting the doctrine of the Trinity.

ElderChild said...

i have shared with you that which i have received and you have shared that which you have thought.

Truth that Really(and all that is Real is Forever) matters must be received, and is not arrived at in discussion, debate or endless study.

simply sad for you and all who have fallen victim to the promised "strong delusion" ;-(

yet there is Hope!

for Miracles do happen.......

D.B. said...

Simply sad for this guy. He has no intention of actual discussion.

Not even sure what strong delusion we have since you have not explained that either and I suppose we were supposed to get that from thin air since no explanation was given or apparently needed.

My suggestion, Kwame, is that you don't waste your time with this fellow until he is willing to offer more than this. He seems to have simply cut and pasted from his blog the same types of comments. Whether or not they have any relevance.

I'm done with you, for now, Elder.

ElderChild said...

Simply sad for you both ;-(

Yet there is hope!

For Miracles do happen.......

D.B. said...

LOL. Simply...waiting for my miracle.