The Deity of Christ: From God’s Glory

In John 17, Jesus is praying to the Father the night before He voluntarily gave His life on the cross. In the prayer, Jesus says this:

“Now, Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.” (v.5)

This is especially interesting, since Jehovah God says in Isaiah

“I am the LORD, that is My name;
I will not give My glory to another,
Nor My praise to graven images. (Is. 42.8)

” My glory I will not give to another.” (Is. 48.11)

So God in Isaiah, as designated by the name LORD, tells us that He will not give His glory to another, then repeats the same statement later for emphasis. Yet Jesus tells the Father in John 17 that Jesus shared God’s glory before the universe was created. Jesus also prays that the Father and Jesus will return to this state of glory, so that both are glorified together.

Jesus also hints at this in Mark 8.38, where He tells us that upon His return, He will have the glory of the Father.

Thus Jesus has the glory of the Father, and the Father is not giving His glory to another, for the Son and the Father are the one God.

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About humblesmith

Christian Apologist & Philosopher
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6 Responses to The Deity of Christ: From God’s Glory

  1. TJ says:

    I suppose then that you must really feel that Jesus was being disingenuous, even actively trying to lead people in the wrong direction, when he counseled them, saying, “How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God?” (John 5:44; ESV)

    Or perhaps you are yet again disregarding the proper meaning of Isaiah. It’s interesting, when I point out that that same passage in Isaiah records the LORD saying, “besides me there is no saviour,” and then show you other ‘saviours’ that the LORD himself raises up (the judges Othniel and Ehud), you seem willing to be flexible with the meaning; ‘no need to identify those two with the LORD’. Yet when you think you can get Jesus into the mix, suddenly you’re as inflexible as ever; ‘Jesus *must* be the LORD’. You don’t think that could be because you are desperately trying to prove something from the Bible that you *already* believe, could it?

    • humblesmith says:

      Othiniel and Ehud are never held to be saviors of people from their sin, but only saviors of Israel. I am not saying there is never two applications of the same term, please do not paint me into a box I’m not saying. As I have already answered, the only way you can make that connection is to compare two different meanings of the same term with each other. Nowhere is someone held to be a savior from sin except God (which you kindly pointed out), indicating that Jesus is God.

      With glory in John 5.44, the verse is contrasting the glory that they are currently seeking, which is from each other, with the place they should be seeking, which is from God. The passage does not say that created beings can share God’s glory in the same sense as John 17. This is evident from the phrase that says Jesus had glory with the father “before the world was.” In the relationship between Father and Son before any other created beings existed, the only place glory could have been obtained is from the Father and Son. If the Son had glory with the Father at that point, then the Father was giving glory to the Son. God giving His glory to Jesus is quite different from the command to the Jews to seek God’s glory.

      Much of this latest comment is repeating something I have already answered. I do not have the time or interest to repeat myself, and do not find your accusatory tone edifying, especially accusing Jesus of being disingenuous. You are welcome to comment as long as you keep it respectful, but do not expect me to keep repeating myself. Too much more of this round-and-round and I’ll shut it all off. I’ve tried to give honest and respectful answers to your questions, I hope you will do the same. I do not question your honesty or sincerity, and do not allow such from others on my blog.

      However, I am interested in your opinions of other posts I’ve done in the past, namely:

      http://humblesmith.wordpress.com/2010/07/14/jehovahs-witnesses-and-the-trinity/

      http://humblesmith.wordpress.com/2011/08/20/was-jesus-begotten/

      Also on the next post, which I’m not sure I’ll get up tonight or tomorrow.

      • TJ says:

        “Othiniel and Ehud are never held to be saviors of people from their sin, but only saviors of Israel.”

        But now you are doing precisely what you *refuse* to do with the term “god”, which is understand that it can be used at times in a RELATIVE sense! Look again at what Isaiah says, “I, even I, am Jehovah; and besides me there is no saviour.” (Isaiah 43:11; ASV) If you were being consistent with your argument for the term “god”, you’d recognize that Isaiah says nothing here about ‘saviour from sin’ or ‘saviour of Israel’, he records God as saying that there is “NO saviour” except himself. Why aren’t you as black and white with this term as you are with the other?

        “With glory in John 5.44 . . . the place they should be seeking . . . is from God.”

        …which clearly undermines your argument in your post above, that when God says, “I will not give My glory to another,” he means it even for his servants, not just the idols (which is what the context of the pertinent chapters in Isaiah suggest). You concluded, “Thus Jesus has the glory of the Father, and the Father is not giving His glory to another, for the Son and the Father are the one God.” But apparently now you recognize that the Father indeed IS giving his glory to others, Jesus encourages them to seek it from him. Since it is therefore possible for these ones to have the “glory of the Father”, why are they not also “the one God,” as you conclude for Jesus?

        “…do not expect me to keep repeating myself.”

        Humblesmith, the arguments and syllogisms you construct in an effort to *prove* that Jesus is God are flawed, both scripturally and logically. All I’m pointing out here is that in order to make these claims, you are forced to be inconsistent with how you interpret scripture. Whether it’s taking the exact same words said of both Solomon and Jesus and concluding that they prove Jesus to be God but not Solomon, or taking the insistence on their only being one God and one Savior in the same context in Isaiah and only allowing exceptions for one of the terms but not the other, you are lacking objectivity. Don’t get me wrong, I think your theology is so ingrained in you that you don’t even realize how it’s affecting the way you read scripture.

        “I am interested in your opinions of other posts I’ve done in the past.”

        In your first post, regarding John 1:1, you miss a key point in Wilson’s Diaglott. Notice in the right column the first occurrence of “God” is in small capitals, the second is not. This is a distinction you miss. Wilson maintains a difference between the two instances of “god” *because* the Greek itself has a distinction (one is anarthrous, the other isn’t). This is an important difference that most English translations clumsily cover over entirely.

        Furthermore, though Koine Greek had no indefinite article available for use, the book of John was translated very early to a language that did. The Coptic language of Egypt had both a definite and indefinite article, so when the ancient translators translated John 1:1, guess what they used? That’s right, the first instance of “god” has the definite article while the second instance has the indefinite article. So the NWT has support from one of the very earliest translations of scripture by people who would have actually spoken Koine Greek as a living language!

        As for your second post, it’s only recently come into vogue for Trinity supporters to define the Greek word ‘monogenes’ as meaning “unique”, effectively dropping the ‘genes’ part of the word. Before this, it was claimed that Jesus was begotten ‘outside of time’, in other words, they transformed an *event* into something that happens *eternally* (which is a logically absurd argument, hence the “mystery” of it). So really, it doesn’t matter how one defines monogenes when even the rules of logic don’t apply to the doctrine being propped up.

        Myself, I’d focus more on the term “firstborn of creation” attached to Jesus. (Colossians 1:15) The fact is, and this is provably true, whenever this term ‘firstborn’ is used of anyone or anything in the Bible, it’s always, always, always(!) the case that the firstborn is a PART of the group in which he is attached, in this case, creation. The firstborn is NEVER “above” or in anyway separate from that group. Thus, by necessity, this verse proves that Jesus is the first creature.

        Thanks for your time.

        • humblesmith says:

          A relative god, eh? One that is kinda-sorta god, but not fully? In a good sense? This is the point of the original post, that there are no relative gods. Jehovah makes this crystal clear in large sections of the OT, that He will accept no competition from created beings. And by making the distinction in “savior of Israel” from “savior from sin” I am doing exactly that: being consistent with the interpretation. Only by mixing the application of savior, and thus blurring the lines of what god means, can you come up with any connection of Jesus being a demi-god. My position is entirely consistent. There is no other savior of sin, just as there is no other God. Created beings can be saviors of Israel, and Moses can appear as God to Pharoah, but Moses cannot appear as God to be held in any higher esteem before Jehovah than a regular human. To suggest otherwise is to blur the definition of what God means.

          Further, if you take the orthodox view of God as primary cause (first mover) of all all that comes to be, in this sense besides Him there is NO savior, as you emphasized. Humans can then be secondary causes of saving of Israel. This would not work for deity, which once again, is indeed black and white, either god or not.

          Part of the reason your position is confused is that you fail to make the distinction of what God fully means. As infinite and uncreated, attributing attributes to created beings that belong to Him makes an uncreated created, or a finite infinite, which is absurd. Only by ignoring the uncreated and infinite parts of the word God can you make Jesus (or anyone else) into a demi-god.

          As to the giving of the glory, as I pointed out in the response, there is a distinction between God sharing his glory and Jesus command to the Pharisees to not seek their own glory but to seek god’s. We are to all seek God, but this does not mean He will share His glory with us. I explained that already.

          As to Wilson and his greek, we are back to god will a little g. But the greek has no distinction of capitals, nor does this answer deal with the basic problem of the Watchtower playing games with the references to prove their point. As I pointed out in the post, they must either accept or reject both, and either option contradicts their position. You again seem to be claiming that you are right, and every scholar on every English translation committee is wrong. Sorry, but I cannot accept this.

          As to the Copts, I would not be so quick to take their side if I were you. They too separated themselves from orthodox Christianity over the nature of Jesus, and took a heretical view by blending Jesus two natures into one. They took the heretics view after (Nicea or Chalcedon, I’m forgetting which at the moment…). Further, modern greek scholarship is as advanced as it has been at any point in history due to modern publishing and communication. The ancient Egyptians had no advantage over modern scholars.

          I assumed we’d get to anarthrous predicates sooner or later. To that I will merely refer you to Rob Bowman’s book on the Watchtower and the Trinity, where he goes over this in great detail. I will only say here that no published greek scholar agrees with Watchtwoer view. I define “greek scholar” as someone who has published a greek text or grammar that is in use in an accredited university anywhere. There are no greek scholars that agree with the watchtower, none, zero, zip. They tried to quote Julius Mantey in support of their view in one publication of the NWT, but Mantey sent a letter demanding his name be removed, and telling them they were mistaken.

          Still further, the NWT’s application of the definite article is inconsistent based around their theology, which I will show if I ever get time to post it.

          As to the use of firstborn, you are again shoe-horning the meaning into your theology. The use of firstborn sometimes means “first one born” but always means “preeminant one.” v.18 tells us this, by saying He will have first place in everything. So I flatly deny your statement that it “never means above”: quite the contrary, it always means above, first, preeminant. In this case, you are correct in the sense that Jesus is firstborn of creation, and is a part of humanity, for he is fully human. As fully human, he is indeed part of creation, for Jesus humanity had a beginning. But you are wrong in that Jesus deity was created, for deity, by definition, is uncreated. Orthodox Christianity has always taught that Jesus has two natures, a divine and human, in one person.

          As long as we’re in Colossians, note v.19 which tells us that all the fullness of deity to dwell in him. And note the NWT’s insertion of the word “other” to change the meaning of several of the verses.

          • TJ says:

            “A relative god, eh? One that is kinda-sorta god, but not fully?”

            Ironically, you then promptly go to lengths to explain why there are saviors in a more RELATIVE sense besides God, who the Bible *just as clearly* states is the ONLY savior. So why aren’t you sneering, “A relative savior, eh? One that is kind-sorta savior, but not fully?” Consistency, humblesmith. If you can qualify the term “savior”, you can also qualify the term “god”. But you have to be willing to allow the Bible to speak for itself (I don’t seeing you insisting on Othniel being “like” the savior to Israel). Psalm 8:5 is another instance where the NET Bible, which is evidently on your ‘approved’ list, acknowledges “gods” in the heavens (and which Paul refers to as angels). Have you bothered to check a lexicon yet?

            Here, again, is the difference. The Almighty God, Jehovah, has delegated *real* power and authority to servants of his in the past. They are NOT the imaginary, man-made idols which God is being compared to in Isaiah. They are REAL persons with REAL power. They are “mighty ones”, which is what the term ‘elohim’ means. Because God invested real authority in Moses, he is said to be an ‘elohim’, i.e. a god. Because human judges in Israel, corrupt though they were, had real authority from God, they too were said to be ‘elohim’, i.e. gods. This is NOT opinion, this is what the text literally says!

            You’re just used to your English translations softening up the terminology for you; that’s the only reason you can only see the term “god” in terms of true and false. It’s akin to you standing outside some corporation with a picket sign claiming that all “false” president is inside.

            “Part of the reason your position is confused is that you fail to make the distinction of what God fully means.”

            You go on to state what YOU think the term “God” means. That’s all very well and nice, but again, that is neither the dictionary definition (in Hebrew or Greek) and that is NOT how the Bible actually uses the term.

            “We are to all seek God, but this does not mean He will share His glory with us. I explained that already.”

            But Jesus doesn’t say “seek God”, he says, “seek the glory that comes from the only God.” Apparently you think Jesus misspoke or was being disingenuous. Obviously your reasoning couldn’t be wrong.

            “As to Wilson and his greek, we are back to god will a little g.”

            Not at all. Did you see what you overlooked last time? He wrote “GOD” in the first instance and “God” in the second. This is akin to the difference between “LORD” and “Lord” in most Bibles.

            “As to the Copts…”

            Humblesmith, the Coptic Orthodox Church wasn’t formed when the Coptic translation was made in the Sahidic dialect. Even so, the liturgical Coptic translation used in the Orthodox churches today is written in the later Bohairic dialect and still contains the indefinite article at John 1:1c. But this has NOTHING to do with the Chalcedonian schism of the Oriential Orthodox Churches that occurred hundreds of years later.

            “The ancient Egyptians had no advantage over modern scholars.”

            Except that they actually spoke the living language in everyday life in ancient Hellenized Egypt. Coptic itself is a blend of the Egyptian language and Greek (if you can read the Greek NT, it’s not that difficult to recognize much of the Coptic), used by the common people there. I find it interesting that you right after you feel the need to hyperbolize, “You again seem to be claiming that . . . every scholar on every English translation committee is wrong”, you then turn right around and essentially claim that every Coptic translator (there’s several dialects) is wrong. All heretics, right? Frankly, I care more about the *quality* of the argument rather than who and how many are saying it.

            “There are no greek scholars that agree with the watchtower, none, zero, zip.”

            Well then you’ve certainly proved your position true, haven’t you? In fact, that type of appeal to authority has the same truth-value as it did in Jesus’ day: “The Pharisees answered them, ‘Have you also been deceived? Have any of the authorities or the Pharisees believed in [Jesus]? But this crowd that does not know the law is accursed.'” (John 7:47-49) I guess you just proved that Jesus isn’t the Messiah too. Well done!

            Even by your definition of “Greek scholar”, you are still incorrect. Robert Young LL.D., translator of Young’s Literal Translation, author of a lexicon, and a grammatical analysis of the Hebrew and Greek scriptures, wrote in his Concise Critical Comments of the New Testament, “AND THE WORD WAS GOD,] more lit. ‘and a God (i.e. a Divine Being) was the Word.'” There are many similar statements by respected Greek and Biblical scholars.

            “As to the use of firstborn, you are again shoe-horning the meaning into your theology. The use of firstborn sometimes means ‘first one born’ but always means ‘preeminant one.'”

            You haven’t said anything new here. I’m saying it’s always an INCLUSIVE term; he’s the “first” of creation, he’s the “foremost” of creation…he’s of creation. Your problem though is that just three verses later, Paul uses the very same word, echoing the term, by calling Jesus “the beginning, the FIRSTBORN from the dead.” Here, it clearly means the temporally first one of the group, does it not?

          • humblesmith says:

            I am replying to this in the next blog entry.

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