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Meeting the Contrarian’s Third Challenge to Believers

I’ve talked about the Contrarian (part 1 | part 2), and his strawman representation of the Christian gospel.  As it happens, this guy is a gold mine of article ideas for an apologetics blogger.  Sort of a one-stop shopping center for a writer who needs ideas.

Therefore, I couldn’t resist his first challenge to believers.  I have no idea why I answered it.  Along with the second and third challenges, he proves he is only interested in grandstanding for an atheist audience.

So far, #3 is the final challenge and I hope it mercifully stays that way, even though it is the only one remotely interesting: “unobfuscate the Trinity”:

Lucifer: The trinity has caused divisions amongst various christian denominations for centuries. There are those christians who bellieve that Jesus was god in the flesh and those who say he is the sun of god and an entity distinct from god almighty.

Contrarian: Jesus BLATANTLY said things on numerous occasions that points to the fact that he is a being distinct from god, and not god in human form. Before and after being crucified, Jesus prays to god to let this cup pass from his lips, and to forgive his persecutors because they know not what they do.

Furthermore, Jesus also said that neither the angels in heaven nor he (referring to himself) knows the day of his second coming. But he clearly states that God does and speaks of him as a separate entity.

There are various other cases where Jesus makes it plain as daylight that he is NOT GOD incarnate, such as when he claims to have observed the creation of the world, but was not the one doing the creating.

The Contrarian is actually on to something.  His problem is one of equivocation, though I don’t think he realizes that he is the one committing the error.

Let’s see if I can set this straight.

First, in general the doctrine of the Trinity (at it’s most basic) says that the Father, Son, and Spirit share an essence but remain distinct persons.  Something like I am simultaneously a husband to Jody,  father to Ashleigh, Gabe, and Kayti, and a manager to my staff at work.

Each role is different.

This isn’t a perfect analogy — but it’s a step in the right direction.  JP Holding, infamous Internet apologist, explains the Father-Son-Spirit relationship better in this video.

Second, we need to get some definitions straight.  “God” sometimes refers to the ontological category of what Jesus and the Father are — in other words, their shared essence.  Other times, “God” refers to the Father, the First Person of the Trinity.  For our purposes in this post, God always means the essence of deity and Father refers to the person.

With this in mind, let’s see how equivocation derails the Contrarian’s line of thought.

Jesus BLATANTLY said things on numerous occasions that points to the fact that he is a being distinct from god, and not god in human form. Before and after being crucified, Jesus prays to god to let this cup pass from his lips, and to forgive his persecutors because they know not what they do.

Wrong.

Jesus is God, distinct from the Father.  He is God in the flesh — not the Father in the flesh.  Jesus is praying not to his essence, but his Father.

Furthermore, Jesus also said that neither the angels in heaven nor he (referring to himself) knows the day of his second coming. But he clearly states that God does and speaks of him as a separate entity.

Again, he’s speaking of the Father, not of God in an ontological sense.

There are various other cases where Jesus makes it plain as daylight that he is NOT GOD incarnate, such as when he claims to have observed the creation of the world, but was not the one doing the creating.

Again, he’s observing the Father creating.

Critical reading and a little bit of thought should unobfuscate the Trinity.  I hope that I’ve helped.

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About Cory Tucholski

I'm a born-again Christian, amateur apologist and philosopher, father of 3. Want to know more? Check the "About" page!

Posted on June 15, 2012, in Apologetics, God, Religion and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. It’s odd how there is never a perfect analogy for this concept, and that never seems to add up to its incoherence.

    • No analogy is 100% perfect. That’s why it’s an analogy — a tool used to help explain a difficult concept by comparing it to something familiar. The problem with the Trinity is that any analogy usually explains a heresy better than the actual Trinity. The most frequent analogy, the three states of matter, is the modalist heresy in a nutshell.

      So stop chasing red herrings and go for what I said, instead of what I could have said better.

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