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Trinity again

Dear José

I did not show you ”my” God from the Scripture, because you did not ask me. I had just reacted to a video that presents some historical matter, about Kellogg’s involvement in the trinitarian-antitrinitarian controversy.

You ask if my Bible teaches me to pray to the Holy Spirit. No, the Bible does not explicitly command, nor forbids us praying to the Holy Spirit. Jesus used to receive worship and prayers and He is adored even by the universe above (cf. Revelation 5; Heb 1:6). However, He did not ask anyone to adore Him or pray to Him. He rather taught us to pray to our Father in His name, because the Father Himself loves us (Mt 6:9; In 16:23-27). Thus Christ, who has every right to be worshipped as God, rather directs us to worship the Father, which is humility, and passion for the Father’s glory, not evidence of some inferior deity.

The Holy Spirit also ”helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes with groanings too deep for words”  (Rom. 8:26). Thus any true prayer means to pray ”in the Holy Spirit” (Jude 1:20). The Spirit is God, since He is Creator (Gn 1:2; Iov 33:4) and Life-giver. Born of God means actually born of the Spirit (In 1:13; 3:6-8; 1Jn 5:1,4,18). Since Jesus was born not only from the flesh (Mary), yet also from the Holy Spirit, He is called the Son of God, because that Spirit was not an angel-spirit, but One of divine nature, which is Himself God, as much as Christ is God.

When Hanania lied to the Holy Spirit, he lied to God (AA 5:3-4). I know, some people say that He is not a distinct personality (individual) from God and Christ, but actually an ”it”, the „spirit of God” (His breath, or His mind, or His power). But in spite of this metaforical (poetical) name of THE SPIRIT, He must be a personal power, a distinct will, because He is so many times called distinctly the Spirit, the Holy Spirit and the author of so many actions in the Bible. I He were just an ”it”, the breath of God, or the mind of God, such personal language about Him in the Bible would be strange, like those Christians who treat distinctly and even adore ”the Sacred Heart of Jesus”.

We may have sometimes childish thoughts regarding the Trinity worship. Many Christians speak only of Jesus, pray Jesus and sing to Jesus. Others invoke the Spirit as often as they worship. While these attitude are usually childish, they are innocent in themselves. They only reflect a low knowledge of God. They treat the Trinity, just like any other group of three persons, or like three Catholic saints and they erroneously suppose that invoking one person, might do an injustice to the other two. The Spirit is sometimes invoked in singing, thus the Church confesses His divine personality and involvement in everything. Seldom is He invoked directly in prayer, and the Church has no instruction regarding how to pray the Holy Spirit. However, the Spirit is clearly of the same name and deity with the Father and the Son, because it is invoked distinctly, together with the Father and the Son (Matthew 28:19; 2Corinthians 13:14; 1Peter 1:2). These are clearly Trinitarian expressions of apostolic faith.

Yes, the Father is Greater than the Son, as always has been in the history of the universe, and such will be for ever and ever. This subordination or hierarchy is however only the manifestation of God towards the intelligent creatures, not a binding duty conditioned by a different nature, or a different degree of deity. God is God, anyone of the Three is God in Himself, in the absolute sense. But God had to give also the first example of joyful submission and prompt obedience, not only to require our submission and praise. God is spirit, He did not need human image or body for Himself. However, God shows Himself to the heavenly beings as a visible Person (Mat 5:8; 18:10; Rev 22:4), and the ”Word” became flesh as we are, in order to express the glory of God in our world and to the whole universe.

This change/adaptation within Godhead was not necessary for God Himself, but for us. The same is true about the subordination within the Trinity. Actually, when the Divine Persons manifest themselves to the intelligent creatures, only Father and Son are seen, only their relationship is manifest, and Father alone plays the role of God — Supreme Being. The Holy Spirit will never be seen. He is omnipresent in order to fulfill the will of God in sustaining the Creation, filling every loyal spirits and saving human beings by regeneration. Therefore, in visions or in any text based on visions, or about worship, the Holy Spirit is not mentioned. The same is true about the rebellion in heaven. Not the Spirit was envied by Lucifer, but the Christ, because the rebel wanted to be more visible and adored, not to be invisible in order to cause the universe to move on…

In Philippians 2:9-11 and Daniel 7:13-14 the Scriptures speaks about Christ as HUMAN BEING. Revelation 5:12-13 is of the same category. Christ is the only human being (Saint) who has a divine right to receive adoration. There is no need to worship the Holy Spirit in such way. The only way we can worship the Spirit is letting Him fill and control our lives. When you submit to a Supreme Authority, that is the highest manner of worship. And we have true freedom, only by having The Spirit as LORD (2Cor 3:17).

No, José, I did not say you are a heretic. Heresy is always more than a theological error. We may make theological errors, various shortcomings in understanding the Word of God. For example, our pioneers believed that the seven times of Daniel 7 symbolize 2520 years, that the number 666 of Revelation 13 means so many Protestant sects, that the “daily” in Daniel 8; 11; 12 means “paganism”, that the Armageddon in Revelation 16 is a Near Eastern war with universal implications, and many other sincere theological opinions, that no professional trained in the Bible studies holds any longer today. Heresy involves blasphemous teachings, rebellion against the basic truth, challenging the Church through a false Gospel/Mission, in spite of legitimate warnings from the Church (e.g. 1Tim 1:20; 2Tim 2:17-18; 2Th 2:2 NIV; 1Jn 2:2; 4:2-3; 2Jn 1:7, 9).

You wrote “Jesus is His Son BY BIRTH in the days of eternity” (Micah 5:2), according to E. J. Waggoner. I know that this was Waggoner’s opinion. In fact most of that SDA generation was thinking the same, except a few Arians who took part with Uriah Smith. Joseph Waggoner, for example (the father of E J), held that the Son was the first created Being. It seems to me that Smith also moved towards a better understanding of Christ’s divinity (as James White surely did, when he wrote in 1877 that Christ is equal with the Father), but none of them in those times could imagine the Son as having deity in Himself, FROM THE ETERNITY PAST. EGW was the first SDA author who stressed this truth in 1897 (”He is the Eternal Self Existing Son” (MS 101), in 1900 (”But Christ is equal with God, infinite and omnipotent…He is the eternal, self-existing Son.” YI June 12, 1900) and then in 1906:

«If Christ made all things, he existed before all things [John 1:3; Col 1:16-17]. The words spoken in regard to this are so decisive that no one need be left in doubt. Christ was God ESSENTIALLY, and IN THE HIGHEST SENSE. He was with God FROM ALL ETERNITY, GOD OVER ALL, blessed forevermore [Rom 9:5]. The Lord Jesus Christ, the divine Son of God, EXISTED FROM ETERNôITY, A DISTINCT PERSON, yet one with the Father.» (RH April 5, 1906, par. 6-7)

The first SDA theologian who discovered such unusual EGW statements was W W Prescott (1902). But he thought that the text must have been worked somehow by any editor. Therefor he paid a visit to EGW in 1909 in California, to convince himself of the authenticity of the text. Then he began to study the Bible for this topic.

Now if we take seriously the text of Micah 5:2, there is a little problem in it. The term mawtza’ah, that was commonly translated “origin”, is derived of the verb yatza’ (come out, come forth). It is not used elsewhere (except 2Ki 10:27, where it has a different meaning, not applicable here). Translators suppose that it must mean “origin”, and this is possible, though not certain. But whenever we speak about divine origins, the best logic is baffling. What means ”days of eternity”? In Hebrew, the term ‘olam used here means simply longtime (future or past), there is no Hebrew term for eternity (existence before and without time; without beginning and without end). They simply used the same term ‘olám (longtime, indefinite time).

From the physics we know that time is related only to matter and space = for the created things. There cannot be any “beginning” or “origin” before time began, that is before the creation of the universe. Moreover, in bearing such problems the human logic crashes down. Take for example the logic of Isaiah, when he speaks about God’s eternity. His sentence becomes clearly unfit: “before Me there was no God formed” (Is. 43:10). Did Isaiah mean that the true God was formed first? Surely not, he just says in the context that the other gods have been formed, and thus no such formed god preceded Him.

The term mawtza’ah in Mica 5:2, in the oldest translations (Old Greek, Old Aramaic, Latin Vulgate) is rendered as it follows : exodoi (OG: departures, as in Heb 11:22; military expeditions, solemn processions, voyages), egressus (LAT: departures); di-shmeh amir mi-l-qadmin (Aramaic Targum:  ”Whose name is said from the beginning…”).

Though I do not yet have a definitive solution for this text, I suspect on the basis of the oldest translations, that Mica does not speak here of the ontological beginning of Christ, but simply evokes His preexistence (existence before His birth in Bethlehem). No concern with philosophical origins, but calling mawtza’oth the multiple cases when He went out, traveled with His people in the wilderness, and throughout ages until His incarnation.

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