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John 20:28


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#1 Evangelion

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Posted 15 May 2005 - 07:27 PM

It is common for Trinitarians to employ Thomas' declaration as the "ultimate proof" that Jesus is God:
John 20:26-29
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.
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.
And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God.
Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.
Far less common is any attempt by Trinitarians to answer the question: "Why don't we read of people calling Jesus 'God' more often? Why don't they do it as a matter of course?"

Unlike the Son, the Father is addressed as "God" on countless occasions; thousands, even. And this is only natural, for the people who wrote of Him spoke in this way throughout their everyday lives. It was part of their customary address; it was a result of their profoundest beliefs concerning Him.

But "God" was not the customary address of the people who knew and followed Jesus. How is this to be explained if - as Trinitarians claim - they believed that he was truly God?

The most logical answer - and the one most consistent with Scripture - is that the earliest believers did not view Jesus in the same way that they viewed his Father.

In other words, they did not believe that he was God.
'Abba Antony said, "A time is coming when men will go mad, and when they see someone who is not mad, they will attack him saying, 'You are mad, you are not like us.'"'

Ward, Benedicta. The Sayings of the Desert Fathers (2006), Antony 25, p. 5.

Credo.

#2 Evangelion

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Posted 15 May 2005 - 07:27 PM

Many people make the mistake of reading Thomas' words without reference to Jesus' earlier statement:John 20:17.
Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.
Here we see that Jesus speaks of:
  • His own God.

  • The God of his disciples.
Who is that God to whom Jesus refers? Is it the Father, or Jesus himself?
'Abba Antony said, "A time is coming when men will go mad, and when they see someone who is not mad, they will attack him saying, 'You are mad, you are not like us.'"'

Ward, Benedicta. The Sayings of the Desert Fathers (2006), Antony 25, p. 5.

Credo.

#3 Evangelion

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Posted 15 May 2005 - 07:28 PM

Clearly, the God of the disciples was not the Son, but the Father. This is confirmed by the Son himself, who refers to the Father as "My God and your God" - a statement which echoes the confession of Ruth:
Ruth 1:16
And Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God:
Christ makes no attempt to convince his disciples that he is the God whom they worship; instead he affirms that he, too, worships that very same God.
'Abba Antony said, "A time is coming when men will go mad, and when they see someone who is not mad, they will attack him saying, 'You are mad, you are not like us.'"'

Ward, Benedicta. The Sayings of the Desert Fathers (2006), Antony 25, p. 5.

Credo.

#4 Evangelion

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Posted 15 May 2005 - 07:29 PM

This crucial point is reaffirmed as the narrative progresses:
John 20:18-29
Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that he had spoken these things unto her.
Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.
And when he had so said, he showed unto them his hands and his side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord.
Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.
And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost:
Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained.

But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came.
The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe.
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.
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.
And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God.
Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.
What was it that Thomas now believed? Did he suddenly believe in the deity of Christ? Or was there another issue which had given him cause for concern?

The context shows that his new-found belief was not in the deity of Christ, but the resurrection of Christ.

That is the belief for which he is justly praised.
'Abba Antony said, "A time is coming when men will go mad, and when they see someone who is not mad, they will attack him saying, 'You are mad, you are not like us.'"'

Ward, Benedicta. The Sayings of the Desert Fathers (2006), Antony 25, p. 5.

Credo.

#5 Evangelion

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Posted 15 May 2005 - 07:30 PM

But the honorific - "My Lord and my God" - what are we to make of that?

No more than we make of similar honorifics in the Messianic prophecies; of the popular use of such terms in Jesus' day (which were applied to kings, rulers, magistrates and heroes, whether real or mythological); and of similar honorifics in the Old Testament.

This is the very argument to which Jesus himself resorts when falsely accused of making himself God:
John 10:33-36
The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God.
Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods?
If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came
, and the scripture cannot be broken;
Say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God?
Trinitarians will variously argue...
  • That Jesus is the only man to whom "god" can be applied in an ontological sense - that is, to describe what he truly is by nature.

  • That "god" is applied to him because he is God; this in turn proves he is God.
The first is nothing more than the fallacy of special pleading: ie., claiming that "the usual rules do not apply" in this case, without any explanation as to why this is so. The second is nothing more than a circular argument.

Both are logically invalid and rationally unsound.

Both defy the inflexible principle of Scriptural consistency.
'Abba Antony said, "A time is coming when men will go mad, and when they see someone who is not mad, they will attack him saying, 'You are mad, you are not like us.'"'

Ward, Benedicta. The Sayings of the Desert Fathers (2006), Antony 25, p. 5.

Credo.

#6 Evangelion

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Posted 15 May 2005 - 07:30 PM

Observe the language that was used of Christ during his ministry:
  • Luke 24:19.
    And [Jesus] said unto them, What things? And they said unto him, Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, which was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people:

  • John 4:10.
    The woman saith unto him, Sir, I perceive that thou art a prophet.

  • John 6:14.
    Then those men, when they had seen the miracle that Jesus did, said, This is of a truth that prophet that should come into the world.

  • John 9:17.
    They say unto the blind man again, What sayest thou of him, that he hath opened thine eyes? He said, He is a prophet.
Clearly, Jesus was believed to be a prophet.
'Abba Antony said, "A time is coming when men will go mad, and when they see someone who is not mad, they will attack him saying, 'You are mad, you are not like us.'"'

Ward, Benedicta. The Sayings of the Desert Fathers (2006), Antony 25, p. 5.

Credo.

#7 Evangelion

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Posted 15 May 2005 - 07:31 PM

Consider also:
  • John 10:23-25.
    And Jesus walked in the temple in Solomon's porch.
    Then came the Jews round about him, and said unto him, How long dost thou make us to doubt? If thou be the Christ, tell us plainly.
    Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in my Father's name, they bear witness of me.

  • John 4:24-26.
    God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.
    The woman saith unto him, I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things.
    Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am he.

  • Matthew 14:32-33.
    And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased.
    Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God.

  • Matthew 16:15-17.
    He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?
    And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.
    And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.

  • Mark 14:60-62.
    And the high priest stood up in the midst, and asked Jesus, saying, Answerest thou nothing? what is it which these witness against thee?
    But he held his peace, and answered nothing. Again the high priest asked him, and said unto him, Art thou the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?
    And Jesus said, I am: and ye shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.

  • Mark 15:38-39.
    And the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom.
    And when the centurion, which stood over against him, saw that he so cried out, and gave up the ghost, he said, Truly this man was the Son of God.
Clearly, Jesus was believed to be the Messiah - the son of God.
'Abba Antony said, "A time is coming when men will go mad, and when they see someone who is not mad, they will attack him saying, 'You are mad, you are not like us.'"'

Ward, Benedicta. The Sayings of the Desert Fathers (2006), Antony 25, p. 5.

Credo.

#8 Evangelion

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Posted 15 May 2005 - 07:31 PM

Finally:
  • Matthew 21:8-9.
    And a very great multitude spread their garments in the way; others cut down branches from the trees, and strawed them in the way.
    And the multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna to the son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest.

  • John 12:12-13.
    On the next day much people that were come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem,
    Took branches of palm trees, and went forth to meet him, and cried, Hosanna: Blessed is the King of Israel that cometh in the name of the Lord.
Clearly, Jesus was believed to be the son of David, and King of the Jews.
'Abba Antony said, "A time is coming when men will go mad, and when they see someone who is not mad, they will attack him saying, 'You are mad, you are not like us.'"'

Ward, Benedicta. The Sayings of the Desert Fathers (2006), Antony 25, p. 5.

Credo.

#9 Evangelion

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Posted 15 May 2005 - 07:31 PM

Nowhere in the New Testament do we find people confessing their belief in Jesus as Almighty God.

Must we then ignore this powerful witness to the sheer humanity of Christ, and overturn it all on the basis of Thomas' earnest declaration? No theologian would ever be so rash as to commit such an error.

Thomas' declaration is definitely exceptional - but the exception proves the rule.
'Abba Antony said, "A time is coming when men will go mad, and when they see someone who is not mad, they will attack him saying, 'You are mad, you are not like us.'"'

Ward, Benedicta. The Sayings of the Desert Fathers (2006), Antony 25, p. 5.

Credo.




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