Thursday, March 17, 2005

Dialogue with a Jehovah's Witness on the Deity of Christ and Trinitarianism (Part Two)

Dave Armstrong (Catholic apologist)

PART TWO
GO TO PART ONE


TABLE OF CONTENTS

(Part Two)

11) JOHN 8:58: "Before Abraham was, I am"
12) JOHN 10:30-33 / JOHN 10:34: "I and the Father are one" | "You are gods"
13) JOHN 10:38
14) JOHN 12:44-45
15) JOHN 13:19
16) JOHN 14:7-10
17) JOHN 15:23
18) JOHN 16:15
19) JOHN 17:10-11
20) Jesus' Use of "Father" | Arche ("beginning")
21) Jesus' Use of the "Divine 'I' ": Sending Prophets | Gathering Under "Wings"
22) Conclusions
11) JOHN 8:58 Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.
EGW EIMI is without significances, as it was a common phrase in Greek. For example, the blind man stated such in John 9:9, while Peter used the very same words in Acts 10:21.

Of course the lack of the implied predicate is the real issue (but the fact that John 8:24, 28 do have an implied predicate invalidates them as any proof text.)

Context is supremely important, as always. The relevant point is not that no one else ever said "I am" in other contexts, but that eternal existence was being described by the peculiar phrase: not "before x was, I was," but rather, "before x was, I am." Thus Robertson writes:

Undoubtedly here Jesus claims eternal existence with the absolute phrase used of God. The contrast between genesthai (entrance into existence of Abraham) and eimi (timeless being) is complete . . .

(WPN, V, 158-159)

The Jews again immediately understood the import of the statement, which is why they tried to stone Jesus for blasphemy (8:59). Why would they do this if Jesus was merely saying something as innocuous as "I am Jesus"?! I don't know what an "implied predicate" means. The fact remains that no predicate exists in any of these passages (Jn 8:24,28,58).

You are here thinking in English, not Greek.

That would make perfect sense, since I don't know Greek. But Roberston, Vincent, and other Greek scholars do (which is exactly why I cite them).

Greek often drops the predicate because of implication, and so in John 8:24 and 28, while it is not in the text, this is normal Greek grammar as per the implication of such. There is no theological significance. Neither is there any eternal statement within EGW EIMI as Robertson falsely states.

You are here thinking in heretical Arian categories, not orthodox trinitarian ones. I accept what the Greek scholar Robertson says about it.

There is no temporal element in it other than that there is a present state of being. EIMI is the present tense of "to be," thus, taking the Greek construction into account; we find that Jesus was in a state of being before Abraham, though we are never told for how long before Abraham.

Just from a common-sense perspective, how is this coherent? You argue:

1. Only a present state is referred to.
2. But it also somehow refers to a time "before Abraham" (which contradicts #1).
3. So it is past and present simultaneously (????!!!!).
That's nonsense (in the literal meaning of that word). It is contradictory and incoherent, but "timeless existence" is perfectly sensible and non-contradictory. Given the manmy biblical indications of Jesus' eternal existence, that interpretation is the most reasonable one. The Bible doesn't contradict itself.

We can dismiss EGW EIMI as being a name by two simple points. First, by the fact that it was simply a standard part of the Greek language. This is evident by the fact that others used it.

They said "I am" in normal discourse, but so what? They didn't use it in the sense that Jesus did. He used it in the sense of Exodus 3:14, where God said to Moses:

I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.
As usual, Jesus was claiming to be God.

And when one translates Ex 3:14 so poorly, you can definitely get that idea. The Hebrew text here reads EHYEH ASHER EHYEH. Referencing Ex 3:12 in your KJV (or any other Bible), you will find the phrase "I will be." This is properly translated from the Hebrew word EHYEH. It is not, and should not be translated as I AM, but as I WILL BE. For example, The Interpreter's One-Volume Commentary on the Bible:

The meaning of is obscured by the conventional translation I am who I am., which implies that God is the ground of his own existence. The Hebrew verb denotes, not abstract being, but manifestation in a definite character, or name; and its form indicates habitual manifestation in past, present, or future. Since English requires a tense, the best rendering is 'I will be as I will be.'
Further, Rabbi Jordan D. Cohen writes:
Moses perceived that the people would want to know which attribute of God they can expect to encounter; that is, what their experience of God will be, and what is going to happen to them. God's answer, then, leaves things open-ended. Ehyeh-Asher-Ehyeh is based on the future tense conjugation of the Hebrew verb meaning "to be." Often translated as "I Am Who I Am," the phrase is more accurately translated as "I Will Be That Which I Will Be." The people will come to know God through their unfolding experiences together.
But what of the LXX? Here it reads EGW EIMI hO WN. In this rendering, God is not claiming to be the I AM, but he is claiming to be the hO WN (THE BEING). Thus, Brenton properly renders Ex 3:14 LXX as, "And God spoke to Moses, saying, I am THE BEING; and he said, Thus shall ye say to the children of Israel, THE BEING has sent me to you." Jesus never once identifies himself as "THE BEING," and we can thus be certain that John 8:58 is in no way a reference to Ex 3:14.

You quote a Jewish rabbi; I will quote the great convert from Judaism: Alfred Edersheim, from his Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah:

He had spoken of Abraham seeing His day; they took it of His seeing Abraham's day, and challenged its possibility. Whether or not they intended thus to elicit an avowal of His claim to eternal duration, and hence to Divinity, it was not time any longer to forbear the full statement, and, with Divine emphasis, He spake the words which could not be mistaken: 'Verily, verily, I say unto you, before Abraham was, I AM.'

It was as if they had only waited for this. Furiously they rushed from the Porch into the Court of the Gentiles, with symbolic significance, even in this, to pick up stones, and to cast them at Him . . . It had been the first plain disclosure and avowal of His Divinity . . .

(Vol. 2, Chapter 8: http://www.piney.com/EdLifeVol2Desc08.html )

Second, in 8:58, but the use as a proper name simply does not fit. Let us consider:

Before Abraham came into existence, Dave.
Before Abraham came into existence, Steve.

Do these make sense? No.

Those names do not denote pure existence. "Dave" (as I should know) means "beloved." So that sentence makes no sense. But if a timeless being calls Himself "I am," as God did in the burning bush (precisely using the phrase as a name) and as Jesus did, it makes perfect sense, because the logical and relational contrast is between "before a certain being began, I existed. I am (I always was and always will be; I was never not existing)."

There is nothing within the verb EIMI that denotes eternal existence though. There is no linguistic basis for such a statement, only theology. It simply is the present tense of "to be." Nothing more, nothing less. EGW EIMI does not state "I always was and always will be; I was never not existing." That is simply a priori assumption placed on the text.

If EGW EIMI is a proper name, it is functioning exactly as Dave and Steve do in these two accounts, and this is completely ungrammatical, so we know this perspective to be invalid.

Rather, your logic is invalid, because it would also rule out "Jehovah" (that is, YHWH, as the Jews referred to God) using "I am" as a name for Himself. We know that this happened; therefore it is possible.

Jehovah does not ever use "I am" as a name for himself though. Rather, he uses EHYEH ASHER EHYEH, or EGW EIMI hO WN. Never EGW EIMI. You are removing historical context of the tetragrammaton and the divine name usage of the Hebrew text all together in your above comment.

Does it somehow denote eternal existence though? Well taking EIMI to its root form, we simply get ES, which means "to be." In effect, EIMI is showing a state of being. In this case, a present state of being. Now, PRIN is an adverb showing him in a prior state, that is "before Abraham," and more specifically before his coming into existence. So, he is a state of being before Abraham. That is all that is stated by this. A specific time limit is not placed, it could be eternity or it could be one hour. It does not say.

Then Jesus should have said "I was" (which would denote existence prior to Abraham, but not necessarily eternal existence. Instead, He used "I am" -- which implies eternal existence since it is a present tense applied to a distant past, and because God the Father used it, and we both agree that He is eternal. Greek lexicons agree (as always) with the orthodox trinitarian interpretation:

. . . ego eimi as a self-designation of Jesus in Jn. 8:58 (cf. 8:24; 13:19) stands in contrast to the genesthai applied to Abraham. Jesus thus claims eternity. As he is equal to the Father (5:18 ff.), what is ascribed to the Father is attributed to him, too (cf. Is. 43:10 LXX). The context and the ego formulation are both Jewish. The point is not Jesus' self-identification as the Messiah ("I am he") but his supratemporal being.

(Kittel, TDNT, 207)

Likewise, Marvin Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1946; originally 1887; vol. 2 of 4, 181; hereafter "WSN") states:
Jesus' life was from and to eternity. Hence the formula for absolute, timeless existence, I am (ego eimi).
The Commentary on the Whole Bible, by Robert Jamieson, A.R. Fausset, and David Brown (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan: 1961; originally 1864; hereafter "JFB") states:
The words rendered "was" and "am" are quite different. The one clause means, 'Abraham was brought into being'; the other, 'I exist.' The statement therefore is not that Christ came into existence before Abraham did (as Arians affirm is the meaning), but that He never came into being at all, but existed before Abraham had a being; in other words, existed before creation, or eternally (as ch. 1:1).

(p. 1047)

Nobody is saying that the verse indicates Christ coming into being. Rather, the truth of the matter is that there is nothing implied for the amount of prior existence. It could be a month, a year, eternity. It does not say! You can quote these commentaries, but not one of these deal with the fact of the construction. John 8:58 is an established example of the Present of Past Action idiom (PPA). A number of Greek grammars can be referenced on this fact. As long as you continue to think of it as English, you will continue to make these errors because you ignore the Greek idiom. In this particular case, PRIN is setting the EGW EIMI in the past. That is, Jesus was in a state of being (EIMI) prior to Abraham. That is the only thing stated here. Nothing more.

Regarding this, there are a variety of alternative translations to this verse. For example, C.B. Williams renders this as "I existed before Abraham was born."

An eternal being would exist before Abraham; correct . . . but "am" and "existed" are not exactly synonyms.

Yes, in Greek they could be considered synonyms. The initial definition provided by Thayer is actually "to exist." Liddell-Scott and many other provide "to exist" as well, so lexically, they are very much synonyms. But that said, yes an eternal being would exist before Abraham, as would angels, who are not eternal.

On this verse, the Lockman foundation, the people behind the NASB, have stated regarding the footnote stating "I have been" as an alternate translation from the 1970 edition, that "The translation "I have been" was originally given simply as a smoother, more grammatically correct (in English) rendering…"

So that said, John 8:58 simply proves Jesus' prior existence, nothing more.

The fact remains that "I am" is the overwhelming choice of Greek scholars. I have found 30 translations which use it: KJV, RSV, NRSV, NASB, ASV, NIV, NEB, REB, NAB, TEV, MLB, NKJV, CEV, Phillips, Amplified, Jerusalem, Confraternity, Rotherham, Barclay, Weymouth, Wuest, Douay, Darby, Knox, Geneva, Montgomery, Norlie, Jay Green Interlinear, Bible in Basic English, Young's Literal Translation.

It is hardly the "overwhelming choice" that you make it out to be.

It certainly is among the most-used and most well-known Bible translations. Your list below contains scarcely any of those. And there is a reason for that. The "I am" rendering is indeed the best. It's relevant to see what the majority of scholars think about that point (that's why, after all, you and I have both been citing scholars all through this dialogue. Their opinions mean something).

You note the NASB as one translation that does it, but do not forget the 1970 ed. footnote renders it as "I have been." Further, here are just some of the translations with alternate renderings:

New American Standard Bible (NASB) (margin 1960-1973 editions): Or, "I have been."
The Living New Testament: "The absolute truth is that I was in existence before Abraham was ever born."
The 20th Century New Testament: "before Abraham existed I was."
The New Testament, An American Translation Goodspeed: "I tell you I existed before Abraham was born."
The Complete Bible, An American Translation Goodspeed: "I tell you I existed before Abraham was born."
New Believers Bible, New Living Translation: "I existed before Abraham was even born."
The New Testament, C. B. Williams: "I solemnly say to you, I existed before Abraham was born."
The Book, New Testament: The absolute truth is that I was in existence before Abraham was ever born."
The Living Bible: "I was in existence before Abraham was ever born."
The Four Gospels, Lattimore: "Truly, truly I tell you, I am from before Abraham was born."
The New Testament, From the Peshitta Text, Lamsa: "Before Abraham was born, I was."
An American Translation, In The Language of Today, Beck: "I was before Abraham."
New Testament Contemporary English Version: "I tell you.that even before Abraham was, I was, and I am."
The Living Scriptures (Messianic Version): "I was in existence before Abraham was ever born."
The Unvarnished New Testament: "Before Abraham was born, I have already been."
The New Testament, Klist & Lilly: "I am here-and I was before Abraham."
The New Testament in the Language of the People, Williams: "I existed before Abraham was born."
The New Testament, Noyes: "From before Abraham was, I have been."
A Translation of the Four Gospels, Lewis: "Before Abraham was, I have been."
The Syriac New Testament, Murdock: "Before Abraham existed I was."
The Curetonian Version of the Four Gospels, Burkitt: "Before Abraham came to be, I was."
The Old Georgian Version of the Gospel of John, Blake & Briere: "Before Abraham came to be, I was."
Nouvum Testamentum AEthiopice, Platt, Lepzip: "Before Abraham was born, I was."
The New Testament Or Rather the New Covenant, Sharpe: "I was before Abraham was born."
The 20th Century New Testament 1904: "Before Abraham existed I was already what I am."
The New Testament, Stage: "Before Abraham came to be, I was."
The Coptic Version the New Testament in the Southern Dialect, Horner: "Before Abraham became, I, I am being."
The Documents of the New Testament, Wade: "Before Abraham came into being, I have existed."
The New Testament in Hebrew, Delitzsh: Before Abraham was, I have been."
The New Testament in Hebrew, Salkinson & Ginsberg: "I have been when there had as yet been no Abraham."
The New Testament of Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, Swan: "I existed before Abraham was born."
The New Testament (in German) Pfaefflin: "Before there was an Abraham, I was already there."
The Authentic New Testament, Schonfield: "I existed before Abraham was born."
Biblia Sagdrada, Roman Catholic: "Before Abraham existed, I was existing."
The New Testament of Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, Noli: "I existed before Abraham was born."
The Concise Gospel and The acts, Christianson: "I existed even before Abraham was born."
A Translators Handbook to the Gospel of John, Nida: "Before Abraham existed, I existed, or.I have existed."
The Simple English Bible: "I was alive before Abraham was born."
The Original New Testament, Schonfield: "I tell you for a positive fact, I existed before Abraham was born."
The Complete Gospels Annotated Scholars Version, Miller: "I existed before there was an Abraham."
My attempt is not to see who can provide the most translations that agree with them, but rather I go into length in providing translations that agree with this rendering to show the errors of this line of proof. One or One Hundred Translations, the issue that needs to be addressed is the grammar. It's pure foolishness to reason that the most translations wins or establishes a point more than the other. Quoting someone when you aren’t fit to conclude if the information is accurate or not would not be a valid argument; you are disproving your witness, and not fit to quote them on any other grounds than your theological bias, and that’s circular reasoning in its purest form.

Very well, then; I'll take up your challenge. I have allowed you to go on and on about this on my website. Now it is my turn. Since I know nothing about either Greek or Hebrew grammar and linguistics, I will cite more people who do (if what I have already cited is not enough), and I will add some relevant exegetical arguments also. Christian apologist Sam Shamoun, in a superb Internet article responding to Muslim arguments against Jesus and trinitarianism, writes:

First, in the book of Revelation Christ identifies himself as "the Being" who has eternally existed, i.e. Yahweh:
"Look! He is coming with the clouds; every eye will see him, even those who pierced him; and on his account all the tribes of the earth will wail. So it is to be. Amen. 'I am the Alpha and Omega', says the Lord God, 'The Being/The One (ho on) who is and who was and who is to come, the ALMIGHTY (pantokrator)’." Revelation 1:7-8
Jesus Christ, the coming pierced One, identifies himself as "The Being" (ho on) who eternally exists, the Almighty. The phrase "who is and who was" refers to the eternal nature of God, and hence implicitly affirms that Jesus is Yahweh:
"And the angels of the waters say, `You are just, O Holy One, who are and who were, for you have judged these things; because they shed the blood of saints and prophets, you have given them blood to drink. It is what they deserve!' And I heard the altar respond, 'Yes, O Lord, the ALMIGHTY (pantokrator), your judgements are true and just!'" Rev. 16:5-7 NRSV
Therefore, Jesus in Revelation 1:8 is claiming to be the eternal God Yahweh.

Second, Jesus' "I AM" statements tie in with the Hebrew Ani Hu references of Isaiah:

"Listen to me, O Jacob, and Israel, whom I called: I AM HE (ani hu); I am the First, and I am the Last." Isaiah 48:12 NRSV
That the phrase "I AM" in Isaiah implies Deity can be clearly seen in the following verses:
"Now then, listen, you wanton creature (i.e. Babylon), lounging in your security and saying to yourself, 'I AM (Greek Septuagint- ego eimi), and there is none besides me’… You have trusted in your wickedness and have said, 'No one sees me.’ Your wisdom and knowledge mislead you when you say to yourself, 'I AM, and there is none besides me.'" Isaiah 47:8, 10
God rebukes Babylon for claiming to be the "I AM", believing herself to be a God like Yahweh. Hence, the "I AM" is used to denote absolute Deity and sovereignty, being used as a synonym for Yahweh.

Compare Yahweh's words with Jesus:

"Then Jesus, knowing all that was to happen to him, came forward and asked them, 'Whom are you looking for?' They answered, 'Jesus of Nazareth.' Jesus replied, 'I AM HE' (ego eimi)… When Jesus said to them, 'I am he,' they stepped back and fell to ground." John 18:4-6 NRSV
The fact that the soldiers fell to the ground when Jesus uttered the words "I AM" affirms that the phrase served to identify Christ as Yahweh God. Otherwise, there would be no reason for the soldiers' falling down to the ground.

Finally, Jesus applies the very title of Yahweh in Isaiah 48:12, "First and Last," to himself in Revelation 1:17-18:

"When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he placed his right hand on me, saying, `Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last, and the living one. I was dead, and see I am alive forever and ever, and I have the keys of Death and Hades'." NRSV
Hence, from no matter what angle we look at it, there is no escaping the fact that Jesus does identify himself as Yahweh God.

("I am or I was?," http://answering-islam.org/Responses/Ghounem/iam.htm )

Shamoun writes: "Greek scholars such as Daniel B. Wallace explain why John 8:58 cannot be classified as a historical present":
The text reads: prin 'Abraam genesthai ego eimi ("before Abraham was, I am"). On this text, Dennis Light wrote an article in defense of the New World Translation in the Bible Collector (July-December, 1971). In his article he discusses ego eimi which the New Word Translation renders, "I have been." Light defends this translation by saying, "The Greek verb eimi, literally present tense, must be viewed as a historical present, because of being preceded by the aorist infinitive clause referring to Abraham's past" (p. 8). This argument has several flaws in it: (1) The fact that the present tense follows an aorist infinitive has nothing to do with how it should be rendered. In fact, historical presents are usually wedged in between aorist (or imperfect) indicatives, not infinitives. (2) If this is a historical present, it is apparently the only historical present in the NT that uses the equative verb eimi. The burden of proof, therefore, lies with the one who sees eimi as ever being used as a historical present. (3) If this is a historical present it is apparently the only historical present in the NT that is in other than the third person.

The translation of the New World Translation understand the implications of ego eimi here, for in their footnote to this text in the NWT, they reveal their motive for seeing this as a historical present: "It is not the same as… (ho ohn, meaning 'the Being' or 'The I Am') at Exodus 3:14, LXX." In effect, this is a negative admission that if ego eimi is not a historical present, then Jesus is here claiming to be the one who spoke to Moses at the burning bush, the I AM, the eternally existing one, Yahweh (cf. Exod. 3:14 in the LXX, ego eimi ho on).

(Daniel B. Wallace, Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics, Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1996, 530-531)

Christian apologist Robert M. Bowman Jr., comments on a 1957 Watchtower article which asserted that John 8:58 involved the "historical present,":
The article in question was unable to cite any scholarly writings of any kind in support of their claim that John 8:58 was an historical present. Instead, they simply quoted definitions and illustrations of the idiom from two textbooks in Greek Grammar, Hadley and Allen's Greek Grammar and A. T. Robertson's massive Grammar. Ironically, these two sources themselves disprove that John 8:58 is an historical present, sometimes in the very words quoted by the Watchtower! The following points prove beyond reasonable doubt that the historical present is irrelevant to John 8:58.

1. The historical present is an idiom in which past events are narrated, story-telling fashion, in the present tense, as a vivid, dramatic way of projecting the reader or listener into the narrative. In John 8:58, on the other hand, Jesus' words do not tell a story or describe a past event, but instead simply state a comparison between Abraham and Jesus.

All of the Greek grammars agree on this understanding of the historical present. Hadley and Allen are cited by the Watchtower itself as stating that the idiom is used 'in vivid narration.' Robertson agrees. Some Grammars distinguish between the historical present used in records (sometimes called 'annalistic' use) and that used in narratives (usually called the 'dramatic'); a few divide the dramatic between the historical narratives and reports of dreams and visions. According to Robertson, the New Testament uses the dramatic form of the historical present; but in any case, Christ's words n John 8:58 do not fit any of these categories of historical presents.

This idiom is common in all languages, including English; Funk and Wagnal's Standard Desk Dictionary defines it as 'the present tense used to narrate a past event.' In English it is most common in conversation, not writing. Robert Funk gives the following sentence as an example: 'Then these guys come in see, and I say to them, "Where do you think you're going?"' In both Greek and English, then, the historical present is defined and used the same way. There is simply no valid way to define historical presents to include John 8:58.

(Robert M. Bowman, Jr., Jehovah's Witnesses, Jesus Christ, & the Gospel of John, Grand Rapids, MI; Baker Book House, 1995, 100-101)

Bowman continues his analysis of John 8:58:
What is it about this contrast between genesthai and eimi that has led to such a solid consensus throughout the centuries among biblical scholars that the words contrast created origin with uncreated eternal existence? By itself, of course, the word eimi does not connote eternal preexistence. However, placed alongside genesthai and referring to a time anterior to that indicated by genesthai, the word eimi (or its related forms), because it denotes simple existence and is a durative form of the verb to be, stands in sharp contrast to the aorist genesthai which speaks of ‘coming into being.’ It is this sharp contrast between being and becoming which makes it clear that in a text like John 8:58 eimi connotes eternality, not merely temporal priority . . .

He (Jesus) chose the term that would most strongly contrast the created origin in time of Abraham with his own timeless eternality, the present tense verb eimi... Thus, had Jesus wished to say what JWs understand him to have said—that he merely existed for a long time before Abraham—he could have said so by saying, ‘Before Abraham came into existence, I was,’ using the imperfect tense emen instead of the present tense eimi. (This point was made by Chrysostom and Augustine, and reaffirmed by such Reformers as Calvin, and is also a standard observation found in most exegetical commentaries on John and never, to this author’s knowledge, disputed in such works.) Such a statement would have left open the question of whether or not Jesus had always existed, or whether (like the angels) he had existed from the earliest days of the universe’s history. Or, had he wished to make it clear that (as JWs believe) he had himself come into existence some time prior to Abraham, he could have said so by stating, ‘Before Abraham came into existence, I came into existence’ (by using the first person aorist egenomen instead of eimi), or perhaps more simply, ‘I came into existence before Abraham.’ Having said neither of these things, but rather, having chosen terms which went beyond these formulations to draw a contrast between the created and the uncreated, Jesus’ words must be interpreted as a claim to eternality.

(Bowman, ibid., 114-116)

Prominent biblical commentator D.A. Carson, writes about John 8:58 in his commentary on John (PNTC series):
Once more Jesus solemnly announces, I tell you the truth. If he had wanted to claim only that he existed before Abraham, it would have been simpler to say, 'before Abraham was, I was.' Instead, bringing forward the use of ego eimi found in vv. 24, 28, Jesus says, 'before Abraham was born, I am.' Whatever doubts may attach themselves to whether or not ego eimi should be taken absolutely in vv. 24, 28, here there can be none.
Kenneth S. Wuest, well-known Greek scholar and Bible translator himself, wrote in his article: "The Deity of Jesus in the Greek Texts of John and Paul," Bibliotheca Sacra, July 1962, 220-221:
The AV reports our Lord as saying to the Jews, "Before Abraham was, I am" (John 8:58 AV). "Was" is ginomai, the verb of "becoming," not eimi, the verb of being. It is ingressive aorist, signifying entrance into a new condition. Our Lord said, "Before Abraham came into existence, I am." He does not contrast Abraham's previous existence with His eternity of existence, but Abraham's coming into existence with His eternal being. There is a contrast between Abraham as a created being and our Lord as uncreated, the self-existent, eternal God.
The great Bible scholar C.H. Dodd concurs:
The implication is that Jesus does not stand within the temporal series of great men, beginning with Abraham and continuing through the succession of the prophets, so as to be compared with them. His claim is not that He is the greatest of the prophets, or even greater than Abraham himself. He belongs to a different order of being. The verb genesthai is not applicable to the Son of God at all. He stands outside the range of temporal relations.

(C. H. Dodd, The Interpretation of the Fourth Gospel, Cambridge: Cambridge University, 1985 [1953], 261)

The late Catholic scholar Raymond E. Brown wrote:
Against this background the absolute use of ‘I AM’ by the Johannine Jesus becomes quite intelligible; he was speaking in the same manner in which Yahweh speaks in Deutero-Isaiah. For instance, in John 8:28 Jesus promises that when the Son of Man is lifted up (in return to the Father), ‘then you will know ego eimi’; in Isaiah 43:10 Yahweh has chosen Israel, ‘that you may know and believe me and understand ego eimi.’ The absolute Johannine use of ‘I AM’ has the effect of portraying Jesus as divine with (pre)existence as his identity, even as the Greek Old Testament understood the God of Israel.

(Raymond E. Brown, Introduction to New Testament Christology, Paulist Press; Mahwah, NJ 1994, 139)

For an extremely in-depth further treatment of these grammatical issues concerning John 8:58, see the helpful and informative article by Sam Shamoun, cited above (I have linked it). Further excellent articles delving into John 8:58, the "I AM" passages of the Old Testament, and related issues, by this same writer can be found at:

http://answering-islam.org.uk/Shamoun/christology.htm
http://answering-islam.org.uk/Responses/Menj/tam1.htm

12) JOHN 10:30-33 I and {my} Father are one. (31) Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him. (32) Jesus answered them, Many good works have I shewed you from my Father; for which of those works do ye stone me? (33) 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.
I believe there is more to the surrounding context than what’s being presented within this verse. How can you just leave out Jesus' response to these very charges as if they are of no importance to the issue? I can only hope you may have done this in error, not by intentional dishonesty.

No need to become alarmed; I'm happy to deal with all your objections as you raise them. "I and my Father are one" is certainly a striking statement of equality with God the Father. One wonders what sort of language it takes if this is so easily dismissed as not meaning what it plainly means.

There are a few factors that must be examined from this context. First, we must take note of Jesus' reply.

Joh 10:34 Jesus answered them, Has it not been written in your Law, "I said, you are gods"? 35 If He called those gods with whom the Word of God was, and the Scripture cannot be broken, 36 do you say of Him whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, You blaspheme, because I said, I am Son of God?

Now the fact that Jesus quotes from Psalms 82:6 with the plural "gods" in his defense is of significant interest. This shows us that the QEOS that they said Jesus was making himself was not the definite Almighty God, but something else. After all, were he claiming to be the Almighty God, quoting this verse would be of no value in defense. And thus we find significance in the fact that QEOS is John 10:33 that QEOS is anarthrous, and can validly be translated as "a god." This really goes to show us that contextually, Jesus' claim was not to be God.

First of all, this argument doesn't work within the Arian framework of polytheism, because it would prove too much. You believe Jesus is "a god." To my knowledge you don't believe that all men are gods (like the Mormons) and like Jesus in that respect, for we were not all "God's first and greatest creation" and primary ambassador to mankind. We didn't all die on behalf of men's sins, etc. Jesus is unique. So if all Jesus was saying that He was "a god" merely in the sense that everyone is "a god," then we have massive polytheism, rather than the monotheism and condemnation of polytheism which is established from many biblical passages (see the section on monotheism and polytheism in my paper on the Holy Trinity for these proofs). Jesus claims that He is "one" with the Father: quite different from the rest of us.

First of all, You may find yourself not knowing as much as you thought about the beliefs and understandings of that of Jehovah’s Witnesses, and your above comments reveal that as truth, and this is not the first time we note this within this discussion's framework. We are not Arian and we are not polytheists.

Arians believed that Jesus was not eternal but created by the Father in order to be an instrument to create the world. It is clear that Arianism is the historical precedent for Jehovah's Witness belief. You may think you are unique but you are not; it is just a recycling of a heresy which originated in the 4th century. There may be some minor differences (e.g., Arius believed that the Holy Spirit was a person), but in the essentials Arianism and Watchtower theology are the same.

We do not believe all men are gods (in the divine sense), nor do we believe that all become such.

And that is exactly why I wrote: "To my knowledge you don't believe that all men are gods (like the Mormons)."

But properly, God in Hebrew denotes one being mighty and strong, nothing more. Psalms 82:6 uses ELOHIYM in a sense of ones having authority, being mighty in their authority to pass judgment. These ones called gods are not worshipped or anything of the sort. They are mighty, and so ELOHIYM is applied to them. Mountains are even called EL, but they are certainly not alive. Yet, they are mighty in size. Your quoted comments also seem to validate our understanding.

You miss my point entirely. I suggest that you read it again, very carefully. You don't seem to grasp the implications of what you are arguing. Furst, you reduce Jesus from God to a mere man and creature (but still God's greatest creation). Now by the above incoherent argument, you make Him no different from the rest of us, by applying Ps 82:6 to Him in a way that applies to all men (as you argued earlier). That takes away any uniqueness that Jesus has even in Jehovah's Witness theology.

Since the Bible teaches monotheism, exactly what, then, did Jesus mean when He said "you are gods?" We must find a meaning which doesn't reduce to pantheism (everyone and everything is god), and which preserves Jesus' special, preeminent role and the utter uniqueness of God. Thus I will turn to the commentators and lexicons to provide a clear answer to our "dilemma". Robert M. Bowman, Jr., an expert on trinitarian theology, writes:

. . . there are a few passages in Scripture which seem to call men "god" or "gods" . . . In practice, the question of whether the Bible ever calls men "gods" in a positive sense focuses exclusively on Psalm 82:6 ("I said, 'you are gods'") and its citation by Jesus in John 10:34-35.

The usual view among biblical expositors for centuries is that Psalm 82 refers to Israelite judges by virtue of their position as judges representing God; it is, therefore, a figurative usage which applies only to those judges and does not apply to men or even believers in general . . .

As will be seen, Irenaeus applies this to believers.
An alternative interpretation agrees that the "gods" are Israelite judges, but sees the use of the term "gods" as an ironic figure of speech. Irony is a rhetorical device in which something is said to be the case in such a way as to make the assertion seem
ridiculous (compare Paul's ironic "you have become kings" in 1 Corinthians 4:8, where Paul's point is that they had not become kings). According to this interpretation, the parallel description of the "gods" as "sons of the Most High" (which, it is argued, is not in keeping with the Old Testament use of the term "sons" of God), the condemnation of the judges for their wicked judgment, and especially the statement, "Nevertheless, you will die as men," all point to the conclusion that the judges are called "gods" in irony.
This is amazing then, because this totally removes the historical usage of these verses, as will be seen.
If the former interpretation is correct, then in John 10:34-35 Jesus would be understood to mean that if God called wicked judges "gods" how much more appropriate is it for Him, Jesus, to be called God, or even the Son of God. If the ironic interpretation of Psalm 82:6 is correct, then in John 10:34-35 Jesus' point would still be basically the same. It is also possible that Jesus was implying that the Old Testament application of the term "gods" to wicked judges was fulfilled (taking "not to be broken" to mean "not to be unfulfilled," cf. John 7:23) in Himself as the true Judge (cf. John 5:22,27-30; 9:39). Those wicked men were, then, at best called "gods" and "sons of the Most High" in a special and figurative sense; and at worst they were pseudo-gods and pseudo-sons of God. Jesus, on the other hand, is truly God (cf. John 1:1,18; 20:28; 1 John 5:20) and the unique Son of God (John 10:36; 20:31; etc.)
If this were irony, as Rob argues, then it was no defense for Jesus. In that same line of thought, the Jews would have clearly identified Jesus, in their eyes, as continuing to be worthy of death. Robertson (RWP) accurately explains this though:
The judges of Israel abused their office and God is represented in Psa_82:6 as calling them “gods” (theoi, elohim) because they were God’s representatives. See the same use of elohim in Exo_21:6; Exo_22:9, Exo_22:28. Jesus meets the rabbis on their own ground in a thoroughly Jewish way.
Thus, in their representation they are called gods, not in irony.
Neither the representative nor the ironic interpretation of Psalm 82 allows it (or John 10:34-35) to be understood to teach that men were created or redeemed to be gods. Nor is there any other legitimate interpretation which would allow for such a
conclusion. The Israelite judges were wicked men condemned to death by the true God, and therefore were not by any definition of deification candidates for godhood.

If, then, the deification of man is to be found in Scripture, it will have to be on the basis of other biblical texts or themes, as Scripture gives men the title of "gods" only in a figurative or condemnatory sense.

("'Ye Are Gods?' Orthodox and Heretical Views on the Deification of Man," Christian Research Journal, Winter/Spring 1987, page 18)
The deification of man is not being argued for, but simply the fact that men are indeed called gods. That is the entire point.

Jimmy Williams, founder of Probe Ministries, offers a similar analysis:

The contexts in both John 10 and the Old Testament Psalm which Jesus quoted (Psalm 82:6) are very important in understanding our Lord's answer to the Jews which were about to stone Him . . .

. . . let us look at Psalm 82 to determine its context and the theme/purpose of the Psalm. The entire psalm is a scathing rebuke aimed at unjust judges in contrast to the just Judge of all the earth. In reality, Asaph, the author of the psalm, is crying out for God to do something about the corrupt judges of his day; they show partiality, they neglect caring for the downtrodden, the weak, the afflicted, etc. Then in verse 6, God Himself speaks, and says:

"I said, 'You are gods (Elohim),
And all of you are the sons of the Most High."
Some observations:

1. The words, "Elohim" (God)," and "Yahweh" (Lord), are the two major names of God in the Old Testament. It is Elohim that is used here in verse 6.

IF you think the divine name or YHWH means lord you are grossly in error. Have you confused the definition with adon. (Strong's H113) ? Men are called lord in the Hebrew scriptures; if what you assume is true, where is a example of YHWH being applied to man? ELOHIYM is not a name, but a title. It is used for men (Psa. 82), angels (Psa. 8:5), Moses (Ex. 7:1) and false gods such as Dagon (Jdg. 16:2), whereas YHWH is a personal name, only applied to the FATHER.
2. Its meaning in Psalm 82:6 does not imply that men are gods. It rather refers specifically to the fact that God has appointed judges to act in a dignified, God-like manner in the discharge of their God-appointed responsibilities.
Whatever the meaning, the point remains that these men are called gods, as are angels and others.
3. Actually, the word "Elohim" is also used in verse 1 of both God and men:
"Elohim (God) takes His stand in His own congregation; He (God) judges in the midst of the Elohim (corrupt judges who are acting like Gods--said in sarcasm)."
Notice in John 10 that Jesus reminds these accusers from the first half of Psalm 82:6 that God is the one who appoints the human judges with their awesome responsibility: "Ye are gods." He goes on in the second half of the verse to remind them that sons are supposed to resemble their Fathers: "And all of you are the sons of the Most High." Neither the judges in the psalm nor the Jewish leaders confront Him were reflecting this.

4. In jurisprudence there are two types of authority: de facto and de jure. The Most High God (Elohim Himself) has de facto authority. It is an un-derived authority. He has it because He is God. De jure authority, on the other hand, is derived, or delegated authority. And delegated authority makes one responsible to the one who did the delegating! The second half of verse 6 is a solemn reminder that these judges are called "Sons" of God, because they are to represent faithfully a justice which reflects their "Father," the Judge of all the earth.

5. Now the words of Jesus in John 10 make a lot more sense. If you or I had come to earth as the Messiah, we would probably have been moving about and taking every opportunity possible with people to verbally emphasize who we really were: Elohim. But Jesus didn't do that. He chose rather to imply His identity through the miracles, through the Parables, through His actions. It was as if He was careful that a person came to the conclusion that He was Elohim solely of their own accord, and with no pressure or persuasion on His part, though He was eager for them to come to this very conclusion.

6. Notice that in the dialogue in John 10 with these angry Jews, Jesus could have taken the "bait" and said, "I am Elohim!" But He doesn't. He claims identity with the second half of Psalm 82:6, the one that models a relationship to His Father exactly like what God is desiring from the judges in Psalm 82. Even though Christ is Elohim, He functions during the Incarnation in a de jure capacity to the Father and faithfully carries forth His responsibilities to His Father: accomplishing His mission to redeem the human race (John 3:16).

("What Did Jesus Mean When He Quoted the Scripture 'You Are Gods'?")

All this is filled with priori assumptions that Jesus is in fact God, importing this viewpoint unto this passage. Only by doing that can one’s conclusions even remotely begin to try match with what you would like to be found. Please see the above comments Circular Reasoning.

The arguments by Bowman and Williams are quite sufficient in themselves and require no additional comment from me. I am confident that the reader will see that you have not answered them, but basically have dismissed them without serious counter-reply. This will not do.

Jerome H. Neyrey, S.J., a learned Catholic Bible scholar, goes into extreme and fascinating depth in his treatment of this passage:

Unless Psalm 82 is used in a purely extrinsic manner in John 10:34-36, then we must investigate how it functions as an apology to a specific charge in the forensic dynamics of John 10. The starting place is 10:30, where Jesus claims "I and the Father are one (or equal)." The crowds correctly interpret this to mean that Jesus in some way claims "equality with God." His claim leads them to a judgment, "blasphemy, because you, being a man, make yourself God" (10:33). Several questions arise: In what respect are Jesus and God "one" (or equal)? Is it true that Jesus "makes himself" God? This means that we must examine both the earlier part of John 10 to see in what sense Jesus and God are "equal" and the subsequent apology in 10:34-38 to see how Psalm 82 relates to the claims of equality . . .
First, it nowhere states here that Jesus is equal with God, as Neyrey imports into the text. Further, he overlooks the possible translation of "making yourself a god."
In 10:28-30 Jesus makes newer and bolder claims Although formerly this Gospel claimed that believers by their own judgment come to life and pass beyond death (3:16-19; 5:24), now Jesus asserts that he himself is the giver of eternal life: "I give them eternal life and they never perish" (10:28a). He asserts that "no one shall snatch them out of my hand" (10:28b). Thus, Jesus now functions as the active agent of life, as giver of eternal life and as protector of his sheep even in death. Yet these claims would put him on a par with the all-powerful God.
But does this put him on par with God? No, because God gave him the ability to do this (John 3:35).
10:29 states two things about God. First, God is "greater than all" in virtue of God's ruling or executive power . . . Second, of God it is said, "My Father…has given them [the sheep] to me and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand" (10:29). Concerning the latter remark, then, Jesus and God are alike, even equal.
Jesus (10:28) The Father (10:29)

I give them eternal life My Father…has given
and they shall not perish them to me
forever,
and no one shall snatch and no one is able to snatch
them out of my hand. them out of the Fathers hand.

Again, this does not make them alike or equal. How so?
Joh 17:6 "I have made your name manifest to the men you gave me out of the world. They were yours, and you gave them to me, and they have observed your word.
So these ones are given to Christ by God. Christ did not have them, but now he does.
Joh 17:9 I make request concerning them; I make request, not concerning the world, but concerning those you have given me; because they are yours, 10 and all my things are yours and yours are mine, and I have been glorified among them.
Now while they are given to Jesus, we see that they are still God's as well. They now belonging to both, so truly they are in the hands of both. Does this make Jesus God though? Not even remotely, because God always had them, but he had to give them to Jesus.

I've already dealt at length with distinctions between the Persons of the Trinity and how this doesn't make them less than equal in essence and glory. You are again choosing not to seriously interact with the specific argument presented. You merely interject your own thoughts, which is what I call "mutual monologue", not "dialogue." So I need not spend time on it, given the already-excessive length of this exchange. When particular arguments are deliberately avoided, the weakness of one's case is shown.

I would only note in passing (again) that the attribute of "having all things that are God's" can only be an attribute of God. This is such an obvious and simple point that it can easily be overlooked (exactly what you seem to have done).

[Neyrey continues]

To underscore the boldness of Jesus' claims, the text emphasizes that "God is greater than all” (10:29b), thus raising God above all other creatures, be they of no power or great power. Yet Jesus claims that he is "equal to" God who is "greater than all," when he draws the conclusion in 10:30, "I and the Father are hen."

Literally hen means "one." But the context suggests that this adjective be translated as "equal to" or "on a par with." Jesus claims far more than mere moral unity with God, which was the aim of every Israelite; such moral unity would never mean that mortals had become “god;” as Jesus' remark is understood in 10:31-33. The very argument in John, then, understands hen to mean more than moral unity, that is, "equality with God." By way of confirmation, 1 Cor 3:7 indicates that hen can mean "equality." In virtue of the comparison noted above, Jesus claims equality with God, who is "greater than all," because there is “no snatching out of their hands.” To what does this refer?

First of all, hEN cannot be translated as "equal to" or "on part with." hEN is a numeral, it means one. It does not mean "equal to" or anything of the sort. Rather, John 17 disproves this theory completely. Consider
John 17:21 that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me and I am in you. I pray that they may be in us, so that the world may believe that you sent me.
Here we see that we are to be one, as the Father is in Christ and Christ is in the Father. But the key here is that we are to be one in them! If hEN is denoting equality, or being one in them would mean that we in fact, as Christians, are equal to God! Would we ever claim such? No, not at all.
Rather, 1 Co 3:7 does not denote equality, but it denotes a unity of thought towards a single goal, here in the sense of growing seeds, bringing people to the truth.
In the context of 10:28, Jesus claims both the power to give eternal life so that his sheep do not perish and the power to guard them from being snatched. “Being snatched,” then, has to do with life and death, such that Death has no ultimate power over Jesus' sheep. Conversely, this implies that Jesus has such power from God so that he is the one who gives eternal life and rescues the dead from the snares of Death (see John 5:25, 28-29; 6:39, 44, 54; 8:51; 11:25). Since God alone holds the keys of life and death, Jesus claims an extraordinary power which belongs exclusively to God. There is substance, then, to the claim that Jesus and the Father are "equal" (10:30).
Again, where does scripture say that this is something that belongs exclusively to God? It does not, but rather the Bible clearly tells us that God gave Jesus the ability to do this (John 3:35).
I have shown at great length that the Fourth Gospel clearly and formally argues that Jesus is "equal to God" (5:18; 10:33) because God has given him full eschatological power (5:21-29). God gave him power (1) to give eternal life (5:21; 10:28), (2) to judge (5:22, 27; 8:21-30), (3) to be honored as Lawmaker and Judge (5:23), (4) to have life in himself (5:26; 10:17-18), and (5) to raise the dead and judge them (5:28-29). In fact, 5:21-29, a summary of Jesus' eschatological power, functions as a topic statement which the Gospel subsequently develops in chaps, 8, 10, and 11. The claims in 10:28-30, then, continue the exposition of Jesus' full eschatological power.
The key word in all of this is that "God gave him..." Jesus did not possess the power and ability in and of himself, as God always has.
. . . Our focus necessarily turns to the apology in 10:34-36. How does the Fourth Gospel understand and use Psalm 82, and does this usage have any relationship to the claims made in 10:28-30? As we begin, let us pay special attention to the form of the charge in 10:33. Jesus is accused of "making himself" equal to God, a charge that dominates the many forensic proceedings against him:
5:18 "…making himself God"
10:33 "you, a man, make yourself God"
19:7 "he made himself the son of God"
19:12 "who makes himself king…"
The evangelist distinguishes two elements of the judgment against Jesus: (1) Does Jesus make himself God or equal to God? (2) In what sense is Jesus equal to God or “god”? The distinction is important, for the Johannine Gospel denies the former half, that is, that Jesus makes himself anything, but carefully explains and defends the assertion of his equality with God.

In response to the charge of blasphemy, Jesus advances an argument from scripture using Psalm 82. When he cites Ps 82:6 in 10:34, he establishes the mode of argument by comparing two things: if scripture was not in error calling mortals "gods" (Ps 82:6), then neither is there error in calling the one whom God consecrated and sent into the world "the Son of God" (10:35-36).

Jesus' reference to "Son of God" in 10:36 does not weaken the argument by reducing the claim from “god” to “son of God,” because if one continues reading Ps 82:6, the two terms are considered parallel and equivalent there ("I said, 'You are gods, all of you, sons of the Most High'"). In claiming to be the consecrated "Son of God," he does not claim less than what is claimed by being "god" according to Ps 82:6. On the contrary, he claims more.

. . . The Fourth Gospel always criticizes people who take things literally, either Jesus' word or the scriptures. Regularly we find a pattern where Jesus makes a statement, which his hearers misunderstand because they take it on a literal level, which leads Jesus to issue a clarification which exposes the spiritual or inner meaning of his words . . .

In summary, John 10:34-36 can be said to understand Ps 82:6 and use it in specific ways.

(1) According to 10:34-35, Ps 82:6 (“I said, ‘You are gods’”) is understood to refer to Israel at Sinai when it received the Torah (“to whom the word of God came,” 10:35).

(2) Implied in this understanding is the intimate link between holiness :: deathlessness :: godlikeness. The Fourth Gospel cites only an abbreviated form of this, holiness :: godlikeness

(3) Ps 82:6b (“sons of the Most High”) is cited by Jesus when he calls himself “Son of God” (10:36), and it refers to his godlikeness in terms of holiness (see “consecrated and sent”).

(4) Ps 82:6 does not touch the substance of the claims made in 10:28-30 which precipitated the forensic process in 10:31-39. It functions as an adequate refutation of the erroneous judgment of Jesus’ judges, who charged that he, “a man, makes himself equal to God,” This judgment is false because God makes him “Son of God.”

(5) According to the apology in 10:34-36, holiness is linked with godlikeness in ways that are appropriate to human beings, first Adam, then Israel. Jesus would be a mere human being even if acclaimed “god/Son of God,” as was Israel. But the forensic argument in John 10 claims much more. No mere human being, Jesus is a heavenly figure who is “equal to God.” His equality rests not on holiness but on divine powers intrinsic to him, that is, full eschatological power.

(6) Jesus’ claims in regard to power over death always remain important in John 10. In this Gospel, his deathlessness does not formally derive from sinlessness/holiness as in the case of the midrash on Ps 82:6, but from full eschatological power which God gave him over death (5:21-29; 10:17-18). In 5:18 and 10:30, Jesus may be called “equal to God” for a much greater reason than ever justified calling Israel god, namely, because of powers intrinsic to him. Power over death is the specific content of “equal to God.”

(7) If we are correct that Ps 82:6 is understood in 10:34-36 in line with its basic midrashic interpretation, then the remark in 10:28-29 that “no one shall snatch them out of my hand” probably echoes what the midrash discusses in terms of the Angel of Death whose power over God’s people was restrained. The Angel of Death will not snatch Jesus’ followers/sheep either from his hand or God’s hand.

("I Said: You Are Gods": Psalm 82:6 And John 10," [much more in the article],
Journal of Biblical Literature 108 [1989]:647-63
http://www.nd.edu/~jneyrey1/Gods.html )

Clearly, all this commentary, while interesting to read, does not really provide any proof. These are the simply facts:
1) Men and others are called gods
2) Jesus was accused of making himself "a god" not hO QEOS (the Almighty God, Jehovah). "A god" is clearly the most accurate translation here, as Jesus uses the plural QEOI (gods).
3) Jesus defends himself in doing such, showing that men are called gods, so he can be called such too.
Further though, commenting on John 10:34, Albert Barnes clearly concurs with this, stating:
This was said of magistrates on account of the dignity and honor of their office, and it shows that the Hebrew word translated “god,” `elohiym, in that place might be applied to man. Such a use of the word is, however, rare. See instances in Exo_7:1; Exo_4:16.
John Gill further agrees with this as well:
which is spoken to civil magistrates, so called, because of their authority and power; and because they do, in some sort, represent the divine majesty, in the government of nations and kingdoms. Many of the Jewish writers, by "gods", understand "the angels". The Targum paraphrases the words thus:
"I said ye are accounted as angels, as the angels on high, all of you;''
Clearly, these commentaries understand these verses correctly and in that men with a God-given authority are called gods.

Further, note what Irenaeus writes:

And again: "God stood in the congregation of the gods, He judges among the gods." He [here] refers to the Father and the Son, and those who have received the adoption; but these are the Church. For she is the synagogue of God, which God-that is, the Son Himself-has gathered by Himself. Of whom He again speaks: "The God of gods, the Lord hath spoken, and hath called the earth." Who is meant by God? He of whom He has said, "God shall come openly, our God, and shall not keep silence; " that is, the Son, who came manifested to men who said, "I have openly appeared to those who seek Me not." But of what gods [does he speak]? [Of those] to whom He says, "I have said, Ye are gods, and all sons of the Most High." To those, no doubt, who have received the grace of the "adoption, by which we cry, Abba Father."
Again, you have chosen largely not to interact with the specific arguments given, so there is no need for me to further elaborate. As far as I am concerned, the arguments I have cited have triumphed.

The fact remains that the Hebrew Elohim can be used in the sense of judges. We see this, in, e.g., Exodus 21:6 and 22:9 (KJV: "judges"). William Gesenius' Hebrew and Chaldee Lexicon (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, reprinted 1979 from 1847edition, p. 49), differentiates its usages, which vary according to context:

1) "of the true God" (Dan 11:38, Hab 1:11, Deut 32:15, Ps 50:22; 40 times in Job)
2) "of any god" (Dan 11:37-39, 2 Chron 32:15, Neh 9:17)
3) "of gods or deities in general, whether true or false" (Ex 12:12, 18:11, 22:19, Gen 35:2,4. Deut 29:18, 32:17, Ps 86:8, Is 44:6, 45:5,14,21, 46:9, 2 Chron 13:9)
4) "once applied to kings" (Ps 82:1, especially verse 6)
5) "Not a few interpreters . . . have regarded Elohim as also denoting angels (see Ps 8:6, 82:1, 97:7, 138:1) and judges (Ex 21:6, 22:7-8) . . . Hebrews 1:6 and 2:7,9 show plainly that this word sometimes means angels, and the authority of the NT decides the matter"
6) "of an idol, a god of the Gentiles" (Ex 32:1, 1 Sam 5:7, 2 Kings 1:2-3,6,16, 1 King 11:5
This entirely supports the point being made. Men are called gods, angels are called gods, judges are called gods, kings are called gods, etc. So to call Jesus "a god" is not polytheism, it is not unscriptural. It is entirely accurate within the historical context of scripture and you have thus entirely proven our point by this reference.

Readers can determine who has made a better and more biblical, cogent, coherent case.

In dealing with "I and my Father are one," it is interesting to note that Christians are said to be "one" in the same way as the Father and Son.

Joh 17:22 And I have given them the glory which You have given Me, that they may be one, as We are One:
Further, Paul states that he and Apollos are one.
1Co 3:8 So he planting and he watering are one, and each one will receive his own reward according to his own labor.
Does this mean they are two persons in one being? No. It means they are united. Just as Jesus and his Father are united.

This again proves too much. If all Jesus meant by saying He was "one" with the Father was a sort of spiritual unity or agreement, such as might be attained on a baseball team, knitting club, or volunteer fire department, then He was not claiming much at all, and we would all be one with God. But as we have seen and will continue to see, over and over and over, that Jesus' status is unique. He is described as God repeatedly, and calls Himself God and does nothing to disabuse others of such notions. Every essential attribute of God the Father is applied to Him. This is simply not true of human beings. One has to interpret the Bible as a harmonious whole.

You seem to simply dismiss the point,

I haven't dismissed it; I have set it in its larger biblical context.

but you have no evidence. In fact, this does not "prove too much," but it fits the Biblical view perfectly. We are one in Jesus and God, in the same way that Jesus and God are one. You again import your priori assumptions into the text, overlooking what you just stated. You just demonstrated that many are termed ELOHIYM (God/Gods). Yet, when you apply the term to Jesus, you define it as the Almighty God. There is no basis for this, but again, it is a priori assumption on your part. When you remove these assumptions from John 10:30, and accept Jesus's clear statements in John 17, where Jesus says we are one in the same way they are one, The rational reader have no choice but to accept that it means unity.

I am happy to let the above arguments stand on their own.

13) JOHN 10:38 But if I do, though ye believe not me, believe the works: that ye may know, and believe, that the Father {is} in me, and I in him.
And Christians are also spoken of as being "in" the Father and the Son. Please take note:
Joh 17:21 that all may be one, as You are in Me, Father, and I in You, that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.
If we are thus in God and in Christ, does that too make us God? By the apparent logic presented, that would be true. However, we know this is not the case at all, and neither does John 10:38 make Jesus God.

The context (as explained at length, above, by Jerome H. Neyrey), makes it abundantly clear that Jesus is claiming much more than this humdrum "unity" you describe. He claims to be the sole repository of salvation (Jn 10:9) and giver of spiritual life (10:10). He is the "good shepherd" who "giveth his life for the sheep" (10:11,14-15), and He sacrifices Himself and has the power (which only God could possess) of raising Himself from the dead (10:17-18; cf. 2:19-21). Jesus gives "eternal life" and no one can prevent Him from doing so and "pluck" the saved away from His "hand" (10:28), thus making Himself equal to God the Father, since they can't be "plucked" out of the Father's "hand" (10:29).

As we have shown, there is no alternative but unity. Jesus was "given" all these things to the son, they are not his by nature (John 3:35). The fact that only God possesses these, but in fact gives these to the son, only goes to show that Jesus is not God by nature (or he would have already had these).

I have already dealt with this factor at length, especially in the treatment of Philippians 2.

Regarding Jesus raising himself from dead, Hebrews 5:7 clearly tells us that the Father is "the one" that was able to save him from, death, not he himself. John 10:17-18 does not mean that Christ raised himself, but simply that he had the authority to live again (nowhere in this passage does it speak of resurrection).

It didn't necessarily have to be mentioned in the context because Jesus had repeatedly referred to His resurrection in speaking to the disciples: Mt 12:40, 16:4, 17:23, 20:19, 26:32, Mk 10:34, 14:28, Lk 9:22, 18:33, 24:7, Jn 16:16,22 (cf. Mt 27:63: the hostile report of the Jews that He had said this). So this was nothing new.

Take careful note:

John 10:18 No one takes it away from me, but I lay it down of my own free will. I have the authority to lay it down, and I have the authority to take it back again. This commandment I received from my Father."
Now, if we assume that the statement "I have the authority to take it back" as meaning the he would resurrection himself, we have no choice by to take "I have the authority to lay it down" as denoting suicide. Of course we know that Jesus did not kill himself, and so we also know then that Jesus didn't raise himself.

This is ridiculous. It is not "suicide" to willingly die for the sake of the salvation of the human race. Jesus came to die for us (KJV: "I lay down my life", cf. Jn 10:15). He was murdered by the Jews and the Romans. He chose to do that and He had the power (having done it) to resurrect Himself from the dead, because death had no power over Him: Rev 1:17-18). The Bible teaches that all three Persons of the Trinity were involved in the Resurrection of Jesus (itself one of many excellent indications of trinitarianism):

GALATIANS 1:1 . . . God the Father, who raised him from the dead;

1 THESSALONIANS 1:10 . . . his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead . . . .

ROMANS 8:11 . . . the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, . . .

JOHN 2:19 Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.

JOHN 10:17-18 Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. (18) No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.

In regards to John 2:19, this is not about his resurrection, but about the body of Christ. How can we know this? Because of verse 22, which uses the passive verb HGERQH, which is a passive verb. If John 2:19 spoke of the resurrection, it would be a clear contradiction to verse 22, as verse 22 states that someone else resurrected Jesus, but verse 19 (based on your view) would mean that Jesus raised himself. That is a contradiction, and scripture does not contradict. How can we know this is the body of Christ though?

The Bible teaches that the Father raised Him, that the Holy Spirit raised Him, and that He raised Himself. That is not a contradiction because trinitarianism is true: they are all God (demonstrated by hundreds of biblical proofs). You wish to get into Greek grammar? Very well, then, I will cite A.T. Robertson's opinion of the meaning of John 2:22:

You have already stated the grammar is beyond you. Why continue trying to act as if its not?

The grammar may be beyond me, but it is not beyond Robertson, Vincent, and other scholars.

First aorist passive indicative of egeiro, to raise up . . . Probably Psa. 16:10 is meant (Acts 2:31, 13:35). And the word which Jesus had said (kai toi logoi hon eipen). Dative case logoi also, but hon (relative) is not attracted to the dative. Clearly then John interprets Jesus to have a parabolic reference to his death and resurrection by his language in 2:19.

(WPN, vol. 5, 41)

And Greek scholar Marvin Vincent:
The passage referred to here is probably Ps. 16:10. Compare Acts 2:27,31; 13:35.

(WSN, vol. 2, 86)

PSALM 16:10 For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.

Acts 2:27 directly quotes this passage, and then Acts 2:31 (Peter speaking) interprets it:
ACTS 2:31-32 He [David] seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption. This Jesus hath God raised up . . .
Acts 13:35 (Paul talking this time) also cites it. In context, it is clear that he, too, interprets Psalm 16:10 as referring to the resurrection of Jesus Christ, as seen in 13:30,33,34,37, which repeatedly states that the Father (cf. Gal 1:1, 1 Thess 1:10) raised Jesus. Therefore, both Peter and Paul interpret Psalm 16:10 authoritatively (as part of inspired Scripture), as referring to Jesus' resurrection. Robertson and Vine believe that John 2:22 is alluding to Psalms 16:10. Conclusion?: John 2:22 is undoubtedly referring to Jesus' resurrection, not about the Church, as you absurdly argue.

This sanctuary, or temple that is spoken of is made in reference to his body. Scripture often speaks of "the body of Christ."

Colossians 1:24 who now rejoice in my sufferings on your behalf and fill up in my flesh the things lacking of the afflictions of Christ on behalf of His body, which is the assembly,

Ephesians 4:12 with a view to the perfecting of the saints for the work of the ministry, for the building up of the body of Christ,

This is obviously speaking of Christians as this body. Christians are referred to as the stones that make this "temple of his body."
1 Peter 2:4 Coming to him as to a living stone, rejected, it is true, by men, but chosen, precious, with God, 5 YOU yourselves also as living stones are being built up a spiritual house for the purpose of a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ 6 For it is contained in Scripture: "Look! I am laying in Zion a stone, chosen, a foundation cornerstone, precious; and no one exercising faith in it will by any means come to disappointment." 7 It is to YOU, therefore, that he is precious, because YOU are believers; but to those not believing, "the identical stone that the builders rejected has become [the] head of [the] corner,"
Now, with this in mind we must remember that Christ is the cornerstone, and without the cornerstone, no structure can stand.
Matthew 21:42 Jesus said to them: "Did YOU never read in the Scriptures, 'The stone that the builders rejected is the one that has become the chief cornerstone. From Jehovah this has come to be, and it is marvelous in our eyes'?
When Christ died, the cornerstone was rejected and removed, and the "temple of his body," the disciples were scattered.
Mark 14:27 And Jesus said to them: "YOU will all be stumbled, because it is written, 'I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered about.'
This is all true and well and good (except for the supposed application to John 2), but unfortunately it has nothing to do with the subject. How "body" is used depends on context, because (you are right) it can mean different things in different places. You can't believe that this passage talks about Jesus' body because you don't believe He was raised bodily (according to JW belief). So you have to reinterpret it in this way that you have. Context, however (as well as grammar, per Robertson and Vincent, and the corresponding cross-exegesis), doesn't allow this:
1. The "three days" of Jn 2:19 could easily be seen to correspond to the "three days" in Jesus' many references to His resurrection (Mt 12:40, 17:23, 20:19, Mk 10:34, Lk 9:22, 18:33, 24:7).

2. John 2:21 states: "But he spake of the temple of his body." Now how does the immediate context view that statement? The very next verse definitively interprets it: "When therefore he was risen from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this unto them . . . " Obviously, they themselves applied the utterance to the resurrection of Jesus, not to some meaning concerning the Church. One disciple of Jesus (John) interprets the saying as referring to Jesus' "body" (2:21), then proceeds to interpret that the "body" is related to His resurrection (2:22), and that the other disciples believed the same thing (2:22). That settles the matter (unless someone decides beforehand that bodily resurrection is impossible, and forces Scripture to fit into that and to assert something which it does not teach).

3. The cross-reference to Jn 10:17-18 is obvious as well.

When Jesus was raised back to life,

He was raised bodily, not just "back to life" (Lk 24:39-43, Jn 20:27, 21:10,12,15, Acts 10:41 -- mere spirits cannot eat and drink -- Rom 8:11: "he . . . shall also quicken your mortal bodies", 1 Cor 15:12-57, Phil 3:10-11,21, etc.). He was never unconscious or not alive, because death is simply the separation of the soul from the body.

he reunited the disciples and instructed them to move forward and preach (Mat 28:19). Scripture tell us that it was only the Father that could actually resurrect Jesus, but Jesus was able to restore his body, the congregation.

As just demonstrated, this is untrue.

Hebrews 5:7 In the days of his flesh [Christ] offered up supplications and also petitions to the One who was able to save him out of death, with strong outcries and tears, and he was favorably heard for his godly fear.
The same book repeatedly teaches the deity of Jesus in its chapter one, as we have already examined.

Then He claims He is one with God (10:30) which prompted the Jews to try to stone Him. Why? Because they understood His claim of being God and didn't agree with it (10:33). But Jesus never corrects them. He doesn't say, "look guys, you are completely misunderstanding Me. I'm not claiming to be equal to God the Father. I'm only talking about a oneness of purpose and will with God, just like all of you can have." Neither He nor the apostles ever talk like that. Believers can have a oneness of purpose with God insofar as they seek to follow His will and accept His truth. But they are not described the way Jesus is described.

Ahh, but Jesus does correct them! They claim he is QEOS, and he says, "Hey wait, men are called QEOI, so there is nothing wrong with it."

Jesus is called "God" (Theos) in John 20:28 by the disciple Thomas, and He accepts this address. Scripture also calls Him God (Theos) in John 1:1, Acts 20:28 (God the Father has no "blood," only God the Son does, which He shed for us), Rom 9:5, Phil 2:6 (twice), 1 Tim 3:16 (an explicit declaration of the incarnation), Titus 2:13, Heb 1:8, 2 Pet 1:1, and 1 Jn 5:20. That's eleven times.

14) JOHN 12:44-45 Jesus cried and said, He that believeth on me, believeth not on me, but on him that sent me. (45) And he that seeth me seeth him that sent me.
Does this mean Jesus is God or that he represents God?

Both. He is God, and He is the express image of the invisible Father. See my section on the "invisible/visible" paradox and Jesus as the "image" of the Father, in my paper on the Holy Trinity, for extensive proof of this.

Col 1:15 speaks of Jesus as the "image of God," while Heb 1:3 refers to him as "the image of his person." If one is the image of another, if you see how one acts, you know how the other acts. So when one sees the actions of Jesus, they know too that the Father would do the same, as Christ is his image. And so this does not prove Jesus to be God either, but only "the image of God."

See the above proofs in the link given. Your theology cannot harmoniously explain all the relevant biblical data.

15) JOHN 13:19 Now I tell you before it come, that, when it is come to pass, ye may believe that I am {he}.
Please see the discussion on # 11.

And see my replies there.

16) JOHN 14:7-10 If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him. (8) Philip saith unto him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us. (9) Jesus saith unto him, have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou {then}, Shew us the Father? (10) Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.
First, I would suggest referencing the second portion of the discussion on # 12, and also # 13. As we say, Christians are said to be "in" the Father and the Son. Yet, Christians are not God. Neither does this make the Son God, but it speaks of a unity.

I appeal to my replies above.

17) JOHN 15:23 He that hateth me hateth my Father also.
Please reference (Matthew 25:40) and in reply the king will say to them, 'Truly I say to YOU, To the extent that YOU did it to one of the least of these my brothers, YOU did it to me.' Would this also make them God?

I'll pass on this as it is not compelling in and of itself; only as part of an overwhelming cumulative argument leading to only one conclusion: trinitarianism.

Can you in all honestly pass on the quotation and then logically think the reader can draw the same conclusion as you?

In light of the hundreds of other more compelling evidences I have presented, certainly. I've already discussed lesser and greater proofs, and the different nature and claims for various sorts of proofs or evidences or indications. I need not repeat myself. This paper is very long. I'm sure that by now the reader is jubilant when we quickly deal with any of the disputed passages.

Taken from Science and Skepticism:

* “Argument By Repetition (Argument Ad Nauseam):

if you say something often enough, some people will begin to believe it. “ as if drawing false conclusions and stating it numerous times will convince the reader of the same.

* “Argument By Laziness (Argument By Uninformed Opinion):

the arguer hasn't bothered to learn anything about the topic. He nevertheless has an opinion, and will be insulted if his opinion is not treated with respect.

Thanks for the refresher course in some of the aspects of logic. I pray that you may apply this wisdom and knowledge to your own arguments also.
18) JOHN 16:15 All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew {it} unto you.
John 3:35 states that the Father has given all things to the Son, so it is only because of this gift that the son has these things. This only disproves Jesus being God, as God as possessed everything from the time when they were created. The Son only had them after they were given to him.

It's a manner of speaking, in the sense of the Son being subject to the Son, while remaining equal. See my section on "Jesus' Subjection (as Messiah) to the Father," in my paper on the deity of Jesus.

19) JOHN 17:10-11 And all mine are thine, and thine are mine; and I am glorified in them. (11) And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we {are}.
Why are they Christ's? Let us look at the context:
Joh 17:6 I revealed Your name to the men whom You gave to Me out of the world. They were Yours, and You gave them to Me; and they have kept Your Word. 7 Now they have known that all things, whatever You gave to Me, are from You.
So we note that the Father gave them to the Son, and that all things are from the Father. So yes, John 17:10, 11 are true, but only because they are from God and given to Christ. This in no way makes Christ God, but it only does the opposite by the fact that they were actually given to Christ.

Yet Jesus was eternal and unchanging in His Divine Nature. The Father gives things to the Son in His role as the incarnate Messiah. That doesn't mean He was ever not God. The Bible is clear that He always was:

Are you implying that God was ever lacking something?

No. Jesus remained God; He became man in the incarnation. Thus He never lacked anything at any time in His Divine Nature, but He gave up things in His human nature. At times, we see indications of the two natures. For example:

MATTHEW 26:53-54 Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels? But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be?
Jesus (in His Divine Nature) could have easily defeated His enemies who were coming to take Him away and kill Him in this passage. But He didn't because His purpose was to die for us so that we could be saved. We see this theme again when Jesus replies to Pontius Pilate:
JOHN 19:11 . . . Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above . . .
And you cannot rightly conclude he’s God on the above stated proofs.

There is plenty of proof for anyone who is willing to see it and accept it and believe, by God's grace, which alone enables fallen human beings to accept spiritual and theological truth.

I would like to ask you: Is Jesus all of GOD?

Not in the sense that God subsists in Three Persons. God is Triune. The view that Jesus is "all of God" is the ancient heresy of modal monarchianism or Sabellianism (revived today in so-called "oneness" or "apostolic" groups and notably in the United Pentecostal Church).

And please clarify what you mean when you use that term God. Is it consistent with the use in the scriptures?

Yes, as explained at excruciating length by now.

Does your use of the word God fit into the understanding and use at both 1 Cor 8:4 and 1 Cor 8:6?

That passage teaches that there are no "gods"; there is only one Lord God (monotheism). That is one reason why we reject this notion you have that Jesus is "a god" -- and call it polytheism. You can call it whatever you like, but from our perspective it is an unbiblical denial of monotheism (as well as of Jesus' true nature, which -- in our opinion -- makes it a blasphemous point of view as well, in addition to being idolatrous by definition).

Or will the definition vary according to your need to fit the verses into your theological framework?

There are different senses of the word (but one overwhelmingly predominant one), as has been dealt with. Everyone ultimately interprets Scripture according to a framework of some sort. This is what systematic theology is, after all. The only question is: which framework is true, self-consistent, and harmonious with all of Scripture? Which best explains all the biblical data which can be brought to bear on any specific subject? I think that can only be trinitarianism, when it comes to the nature and attributes of God.

Thanks for not addressing the question. The one God according to the Bible is THE FATHER (1 Corinthians 8:6) there is actually to us one God the Father. Not the son, or god the son as you would like.

MICAH 5:2 But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, {though} thou be little among the thousands of Judah, {yet} out of thee shall he come forth unto me {that is} to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth {have been} from of old, from everlasting.
The Hebrew word for "everlasting" here is olam, and it is often used in the most explicit way to
describe God the Father's eternal existence (e.g., Ps 41:13, 90:2, 93:2, 106:48, Is 40:28). If this
word means "eternal and uncreated" when applied to God the Father (YHWH, or "Jehovah"), then it must mean the same thing when it is applied to Jesus.

Olam

BDB Definition:

1) long duration, antiquity, futurity, for ever, ever, everlasting, evermore, perpetual, old, ancient, world
1a) ancient time, long time (of past)
1b) (of future)
1b1) for ever, always
1b2) continuous existence, perpetual
1b3) everlasting, indefinite or unending future, eternity
Part of Speech: noun masculine
Words have a wide semantic range, to say it can only mean one thing shows your missing understanding, or lack of grasp of language.

Granted, the word olam has a range of meaning. My only Hebrew reference source is Gesenius' Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon to the Old Testament, and it does not comment specifically on Micah 5:2. You have not provided a direct comment in Brown-Driver-Briggs for the passage, either. So our readers are left with an incomplete exposition of olam in this verse (in terms of what the experts on Hebrew think). Failing that, however, we are not left with no recourse in determining if the verse teaches that Jesus is eternal or not. We still have translators, who have looked at olam in this context and who have chosen the best English word to render olam in this verse. The English meanings of the following words are pretty clear:

Eternal Having neither beginning nor end of existence; infinite duration; everlasting; having no end; independent of time or its conditions.

Eternity Infinite duration or existence; an endless or limitless time.

Everlasting Lasting forever; eternal; past or future endless duration.

(Funk and Wagnalls, Standard Dictionary of the English Language, International Edition)

Therefore, if we find Bible translations using these words, we can be reasonably assured that they thought Jesus was an eternal being. Here is what we find:
Translations suggesting eternal existence:

Beck: eternal past
Amplified: from ancient days -- eternity
NASB, Douay, Darby: from the days of eternity
Rotherham Emphasized Bible: from the days of age-past time
KJV, RV, NKJV, ASV, Dartmouth: from everlasting
Knox: from ages untold!
Living Bible: everlasting ages past
Lamsa: from eternity
Modern Language Bible: from days of eternity

Translations suggesting ancient existence:

Moffatt: of long descent
NIV, NAB, Confraternity: from ancient times
NEB: in days gone by
Jerusalem, New Jerusalem: to the days of old
REB: far back in the past, in ancient times
RSV, NRSV, Goodspeed/Smith: from ancient days
TEV, CEV: to ancient times
Young's Literal Translation: From the days of antiquity.

Translators are of a mixed opinion, with 14 on the first list, and 14 on the second. I have, therefore, modified my opinion of the strength of this proof text for the eternal existence of Jesus. I would point out, though, that if the first group of translators are correct, Jesus is eternal; therefore God, and your theology utterly collapses. If, on the other hand, the second are correct, it is still the case that an eternal being can also be spoken of as being "from ancient times" without necessarily ruling out the possibility that He is eternal. That is easily shown by passages which refer to God as "ancient" and suchlike:
JOB 12:12 With the ancient is wisdom; and in length of days understanding.

DANIEL 7:9 I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire. (cf. 7:13,22)

Sometimes, what seem to be eternal decrees of God (made in His omnipotence and omniscience and Providence and sovereignty) are described as "ancient":
2 KINGS 19:25 Hast thou not heard long ago how I have done it, and of ancient times that I have formed it? now have I brought it to pass, that thou shouldest be to lay waste fenced cities into ruinous heaps. (cf. Is 37:26)

ISAIAH 46:10 Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:

ISAIAH 48:3,5-6 I have declared the former things from the beginning; and they went forth out of my mouth, and I shewed them; I did {them} suddenly, and they came to pass. . . . (5) I have even from the beginning declared {it} to thee; before it came to pass I shewed {it} thee: . . . (6) Thou hast heard, see all this; and will not ye declare {it}? I have shewed thee new things from this time, even hidden things, and thou didst not know them.

You are so off topic, may I remind you what you're trying to show? The [argument] below is typical TANGENT. Let’s avoid the issues on equality, and tangent to make myself look better, its just sad. [sic] Why may I ask, do you continue to try and represent Jehovah’s Witnesses in your arguments when its clear you do not understand our beliefs? And the subject is upon EQUALITY. This is a poor attempt when the subject at hand can't be defended.

But alas, Jehovah's Witnesses even deny that "Jehovah" is omniscient:

. . . Would not limiting God's knowledge of the future undermine his almightiness?,
you might ask. Not at all.

(Watchtower, 15 July 1984, 4-5)

Is his exercise of foreknowledge infinite, without limit? . . . Or, . . . selective and
discretionary, so that whatever he chooses to foresee and foreknow, he does, but
what he does not choose to foresee or foreknow, he does not? . . . The argument that
God's not foreknowing all future events and circumstances in full detail would
evidence imperfection on his part is, in reality, an arbitrary view of perfection.

(Aid to Bible Understanding, 1971, "Foreknowledge," 595)

Certainly Jehovah God had not planned matters this way. He now had to adapt himself to the new set of circumstances.

(God's "Eternal Purpose" Now Triumphing For Man's Good, 1974, 97)

Further, it should be noted that “goings forth” is translated from the Hebrew word mowtsa'ah, which BDB literally defines as “origin.” Does God have an origin? No, he is truly eternal, but this one has a point of origin, which only created things possess.

As for the meaning and usage of mowtsa'ah, I refer the reader to a lengthy treatment on a web page called "Trinity Proof Texts: Micah 5:2-3" (http://www.bible.ca/trinity/trinity-texts-micah5-2.htm).

Lets continue reading Micah and see what it shows about the messiah. In (Micah 5:4) “And he will certainly stand and do shepherding in the strength of Jehovah, in the superiority of the name of Jehovah his God. And they will certainly keep dwelling, for now he will be great as far as the ends of the earth.” Now notice how this messiah has one that’s God over him? He cannot be God if he has one that’s God to him.

This is the same old miscomprehension of the relationship of the Father to the Son. To be subject to another does not imply being less than equal.

COLOSSIANS 1:17 And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.
This is obviously with exception to the Son himself, as the Son lives because of the Father.
John 6:57 Just as the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so the one who consumes me will live because of me.
And elsewhere the Bible says that He has life in Himself. One must harmonize all these Scriptures, as we agree that the Bible does not contradict itself.

But it says all, and it does not list an exception. Does that really mean there is no exception though? No. This can be demonstrated quite easily in scripture. Consider the following example:
Heb 2:8 You put all things under his control." For when he put all things under his control, he left nothing outside of his control. At present we do not yet see all things under his control. So by this verse, “all things” are under the control of Christ, and there is “nothing” that isn’t under his control. Yet is there exception? Yes.

1Co 15:27 For "He subjected all things under His feet;" but when He says that all things have been subjected, it is plain that it excepts Him who has subjected all things to Him.
Yes, thus the Father is an exception to the “all things.” So, in Col 1:15 where the Son is included in the group of creation (PASHS KTISEWS is grammatically a Partitive Genitive, and thus the one called firstborn is included in the realm of creation), he is shown to be the exception.

This has all been pretty much replied to in other contexts.

HEBREWS 13:8 Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.
This scripture is often used out of context, as it is here. Consider the context:
Heb 13:7 Remember your leaders who spoke the Word of God to you, considering the issue of their conduct, imitate their faith: 8 Jesus Christ, the same yesterday and today and forever. 9 Do not be carried away by various and strange doctrine; for it is good that the heart be confirmed by grace, not by food, in which those walking in them were not profited.
The context is about the word of God that they had received, they are told to remember it and not be carried away by false doctrine. Why? Because the doctrine that Christ provided is always the same. This is not about the person of Christ, but about his spoken word, doctrine.

I think you are special pleading. A.T. Robertson doesn't agree with you at all:

"Forever" (eis tous aionas) is eternity as well as the Greek can say it. Jesus Christ is eternally "the same" (1:12) and the revelation of God in him (1:1 f.) is final and never to be superseded or supplemented (Moffatt). Hence the peril of apostasy from the only hope of man.

(WPN, vol. 5, 447)

20) Use of "Father" + Arche ("beginning")

Jesus constantly referred to God as "My Father" and claimed to have a unique relationship with Him. In Mark 14:36 He called God Abba, Aramaic for "daddy," an absolutely unprecedented address of God {cf. Rom 8:15, Gal 4:6}. And He says "My Father and Your Father" (Jn 20:17), not "our Father." The Jews understood full well what Jesus was implying by repeatedly speaking of His singular relationship with God the Father, but thought this was blasphemy, since they didn't believe that He Himself was God the Son {cf. Jn 5:18, 10:33 above}.

Jesus had a special relationship with the Father, as the only begotten (John 1:18). He was the only directly born of the Father, where Christians are called sons by adoption (Rom 8:15). This does not make him "God the Son," it simply means that he is Son by birth, not by adoption. All are sons, but in a different sense.

As we proceed, we shall see (if we haven't already, by many proofs -- I maintain that we have already seen more than enough demonstration), that Jesus was not created at all (which view is blasphemy and a damnable lie), but the eternal God.

We agree God is eternal, but verses like Rev. 1:1; 3:14, RS: “The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him . . . ‘And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write:

“The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God’s creation.”’” (KJ, Dy, CC, and NW, as well as others, read similarly.)

the beginning [Greek, ar·khe'] of God’s creation

Liddell and Scott’s Greek-English Lexicon lists “beginning” as its first meaning of ar·khe'. (Oxford, 1968, p. 252) The logical conclusion is that the one being quoted at Revelation 3:14 is a creation, the first of God’s creations, that he had a beginning.

No, because you yourself have vigorously stated that words have varied meanings. In section 19 (just before this one), you wrote concerning the Hebrew olam: "Words have a wide semantic range, to say it can only mean one thing shows your missing understanding, or lack of grasp of language." So to cite one of Liddell and Scott’s meanings and apply an English word in a woodenly literal way, without considering how linguists view arche as particularly used in Rev 3:14, is not acceptable at all. Furthermore, you have grossly neglected context.

BDAG (Bauer Danker Arndt Gingrich Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature) cites ARCH here as most likely meaning “first-created” from a linguistic standpoint (BDAG, p. 138)

Also, Proverbs 8:22, where, as many Bible commentators agree, the Son is referred to as wisdom personified (1 Cor 1:24). According to RS, NE, and JB, the one there speaking is said to be “created.” Its very similar to saying I am the youngest employee at my job, so out of the people employed at my job I would be the youngest of age. So out of the things God created he was the beginning, in no way is he excluded from the things God created.

Proverbs chapter 8, about "wisdom," is thought by some to be a reference to Jesus, based on 1 Corinthians 1:24: ". . . Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God." You cite Proverbs 8:22:

The LORD possessed (RSV: created) me in the beginning of his way, before his works of old.
The only problem is that if Jesus was not eternal, then neither would God's power and wisdom be eternal. Proverbs 8 is an example of the poetic devise of personification of an abstract, non-personal concept (common in Hebrew poetry). This is easily shown by the common reference in many translations to wisdom as "she" in 8:1-3 (the NWT has "it"). In Proverbs 9:1-4 and 1:20-2:11 "it" is used in the same way. I assume that you do not deny the maleness of Jesus, so this "proof" is demolished. The Watchtower actually agrees with this notion of personification in Proverbs 1:20-33 and elsewhere:
. . . it is not unusual in the Scriptures for something that is not actually a person to be personalized or personified. Wisdom is personified in the book of Proverbs (1:20-33; 8:1-36); and the feminine pronominal forms are used of it in the original Hebrew, as also in many English translations . . . Wisdom is also personified at Matthew 11:19 and Luke 7:35.

(Insight on the Scriptures, 1988, vol. 2, 1019)

But back to our topic of Revelation 3:14 and its supposed (blasphemous) proof that Jesus was created:
REVELATION 3:14 . . . the beginning of the creation of God;

(NWT: ". . . creation by God")

If we trace the Greek word for beginning, arche (Strong's word #746), we find that in Revelation 1:8 and 21:6 God the Father ("Jehovah") calls Himself the "beginning [arche] and the end." So if Jesus is a created being because of arche, Jehovah must be, too, since the description (arche) is applied to both, in the exact same fashion (they both also call themselves the similar titles, Alpha and Omega and first and last -- see also Is 44:6, Rev 1:17-18, 2:8). All three descriptions are obviously (typically Hebraic) synonyms meaning eternal. They are all applied to both the Father and the Son:

You again are misapplying a partitive Genitive. Of REV 3:14 And you show your lack of understanding the more you continue to enter into grammar discussions, by trying to draw parallels in unlike conditions. If I am the beginning of something I am included within the whole of that thing. If I am the Beginning of the house of Juda, I am also a member of the house of Juda; it is that simple. The idea again that you can just transplant words as you see fit, will cause you to reject your own Bible as a mistranslation. Your below examples really show you have no clue what you're talking about, yet you continue to dove on and on as if you’re an authority on the grammar.

REVELATION 1:8 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning [arche] and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty. (God the Father)

REVELATION 21:6 And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning [arche] and the end . . . (God the Father)

REVELATION 22:13 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning [arche] and the end, the first and the last. (identified as Jesus in 22:16)

The Greek scholars are unanimous in their interpretation of arche and this verse.

THEN WHY DOES YOUR BIBLE ( KJV WHICH YOU STATED YOU ACCEPT ) READ BEGINNING NOT ORIGIN?. Your dogmatic rhetoric with words like unanimous show you to be either a fool or a liar, and [at] this point the reader can decide.

Abbot Smith's Manual Greek Lexicon (p. 62) defines the word as, "uncreated principle, the active cause of creation, Rev. 3:14." Joseph Thayer, in his Greek-English Lexicon of the NT (p. 77) gives as its meaning, "origin, active cause," as does Vine's Expository Dictionary of NT Words (under, "Beginning"), Liddell and Scott (p. 121), and Bauer, Arndt, & Gingrich (pp. 111-112). A.T. Robertson states:

Not the first of creatures as the Arians held . . . but the originating source of creation.

(Word Pictures in the NT, Nashville, TN: Broadman Press, 1932, vol. 6 of 6, 321)

We even get our word, architect from arche, which makes its meaning clear. At least 20 English translations use an unambiguous terminology which brings out the specific meaning of Rev 3:14:
Williams, Beck, Goodspeed, Moffatt, NRSV: origin of God's creation
Knox: the source from which God's creation began
NAB, REB, CEV: the source of God's creation
Wuest: the originating source of the creation of God
Living Bible: the primeval source of God's creation
Jerusalem: the ultimate source of God's creation
NEB: the prime source of all God's creation
Barclay: the moving cause of God's creation
Amplified: the Origin and Beginning and Author of God's creation
TEV: The origin of all that God has created
NIV: the ruler of God's creation
Weymouth: the Beginning and Lord of God's creation
Jay Green Interlinear: the Head of the creation of God
Basic English: the head of God's new order
MLB (in notes): he was the source of creation
Jesus, here as in other passages, is revealed as Creator in Scripture, not as a creature. See, e.g.:
JOHN 1:3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.

JOHN 1:10 . . . the world was made by him, . . .

(we've already seen Col 1:16 and Heb 1:10)

Kittel writes about the use of arche as applied to Jesus (and translated as "beginning") elsewhere:
1 John has the phrases "that which was from the beginning" (1:1) and "he who was from the beginning" (2:13-14) for the Logos who has become perceptible to the disciples but is eternally preexistent, since it is God himself who here gives himself to us.

"In the beginning" in Jn. 1:1 says this specifically of the Logos; the Logos is before all time, so that no temporal statements can be made about him. Eternal preexistence is plainly implied.

(TDNT, one-volume edition, 81)

Therefore, we can only conclude that your abominable exegesis of arche has been shown to be absolutely false and untrue to Scripture, once all the relevant data has been considered.
21) Divine "I"

Jesus teaches in His own authority ("I say to you") in the Sermon on the Mount (Mt 5:18,20,22,26,28,32,34, etc.), and many other passages. The prophets, in contrast, spoke as God's messengers in the second person ("The Lord says . . ."). He often talks in a way in which only God could speak. For instance, when He addresses the seven churches in the book of Revelation, He is clearly speaking to them as God (Rev 1:17-3:22). Perhaps the most striking example of this "Divine `I'" occurs in Matthew 23:34-39

MATTHEW 23:34-39 Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and {some} of them ye shall kill and crucify; and {some} of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute {them} from city to city: (35) That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar. (36) Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation. (37) O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, {thou} that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under {her} wings, and ye would not! (38) Behold, your house is left unto you desolate. (39) For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed {is} he that cometh in the name of the Lord.

JEREMIAH 22:5 But if ye will not hear these words, I swear by myself, saith the Lord, that this house shall become a desolation.

Another instance of Jesus' assumed divine prerogative is recorded in Matthew 7:21-22:

MATTHEW 7:21-22 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. (22) Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?

Actually, everything that Jesus spoke came from his Father. Take note:
Joh 17:8 For the Words which You gave to Me, I have given to them. And they received and truly knew that I came out from beside You, and they believed that You sent Me.
Further, Jesus speaks of how he speak as the Father has commanded him, and as he has learned from the Father.
Joh 8:28 Then Jesus said to them, When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am he; and from Myself I do nothing; but as My Father taught Me, these things I speak.

Joh 5:19 Then Jesus answered and said to them, Truly, truly, I say to you, The Son is not able to do anything from Himself, except what He may see the Father doing; for whatever that One does, these things also the Son does likewise.

Sure: Jesus does His Father's will, because they always agree. No argument there. But that doesn't somehow refute the fact that He is God.

This so-called divine "I" is no different than what Paul did.

1Co 5:9 I wrote to you in the letter not to associate with fornicators; 10 and not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or with plunderers, or with idolaters, since then you must go out of the world. 11 But now I wrote to you not to associate intimately; if anyone is called a brother and is either a fornicator, or a covetous one, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a plunderer, with such a one not to eat.
Paul does not say "God has said," but here he states "I." So really, there is no significance in the use of EGW in the text.

This is no analogy whatsoever. You miss the point entirely. Paul is simply giving moral teaching. The argument doesn't rest on the mere use of the word "I", but on use of it precisely as God speaks in the first person (i.e., the "Divine 'I'"). Paul doesn't speak in the first person, as God, with supreme divine authority. He doesn't say that he himself "sent the prophets" to Israel, as only God can do.

It fits perfectly, as Paul here is providing commands in the first person, so it is exactly the same.

No it's not. Paul doesn't say that he "sent the prophets" or other things that only God can do. He doesn't speak in the first person as God (and only God) would. But Jesus does this.

Another example is 1 Cor 11:1, where Paul lays out a direct command to imitate him.

That's beside the point as well. He is not speaking as God, but as an apostle.

But really, the point is that you can’t just pick and chose “So-Called” Rules as you see fit. We have already discussed how in Exodus chapter 3 there is an Angel in the bush, But when it speaks its in the First Person, Can one rightly conclude the angel is Jehovah? No, but the reader can conclude the use of the first person or “I” in the use of Agency.

When one sees in Scripture every single attribute of God attributed to Jesus: by others, and by His descriptions of Himself, then a pattern emerges and it occurs to one that the Bible may indeed be intending to teach that Jesus is God.

JEREMIAH 7:23-25 But this thing commanded I them, saying, Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and ye shall be my people: and walk ye in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well unto you.
24 But they hearkened not, nor inclined their ear, but walked in the counsels and in the imagination of their evil heart, and went backward, and not forward.
25 Since the day that your fathers came forth out of the land of Egypt unto this day I have even sent unto you all my servants the prophets,

2 CHRONICLES 24:18-19 And they left the house of the LORD God of their fathers, and served groves and idols: and wrath came upon Judah and Jerusalem for this their trespass. 19 Yet he sent prophets to them, to bring them again unto the LORD; and they testified against them: but they would not give ear.

JEREMIAH 25:4: And the LORD hath sent unto you all his servants the prophets ...

JEREMIAH 26:2, 5 Thus saith the LORD: . . . hearken to the words of my servants the prophets, whom I sent unto you, . . .

JEREMIAH 29:19 Because they have not hearkened to my words, saith the LORD, which I sent unto them by my servants the prophets, . . .

(cf. Jer 35:15, 44:4)

ZECHARIAH 7:12 Yea, they made their hearts as an adamant stone, lest they should hear the law, and the words which the LORD of hosts hath sent in his spirit by the former prophets: therefore came a great wrath from the LORD of hosts.

MARK 1:2 As it is written in the prophets, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee.

(citation of Malachi 3:1, where God is speaking through the prophet Malachi. The NT applies the prophecy to John the Baptist, who is called a "prophet" by Jesus in Lk 7:28)

Jesus speaks as God would speak. Paul doesn't speak of himself as "gathering" Israel together, as a hen gathers its chicks. Only God does that, too:
PSALM 50:5 Gather my saints together unto me; those that have made a covenant with me by sacrifice.

PSALM 102:22 When the people are gathered together, and the kingdoms, to serve the LORD.

PSALM 106:47 Save us, O LORD our God, and gather us from among the heathen, to give thanks unto thy holy name, and to triumph in thy praise.

PSALM 107:2-3 Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, whom he hath redeemed from the hand of the enemy; 3 And gathered them out of the lands, from the east, and from the west, from the north, and from the south.

PSALM 147:2 The LORD doth build up Jerusalem: he gathereth together the outcasts of Israel.

ISAIAH 40:11 He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.

ISAIAH 54:7 For a small moment have I forsaken thee; but with great mercies will I gather thee.

ISAIAH 56:8 The Lord GOD, which gathereth the outcasts of Israel . . .

JEREMIAH 23:3 And I will gather the remnant of my flock out of all countries whither I have driven them, and will bring them again to their folds.

JEREMIAH 29:14 I will turn away your captivity, and I will gather you from all the nations, and from all the places whither I have driven you, saith the LORD; . . .

(cf. Jer 31:8,10, 32:37, Ezek 11:17, 20:41, 28:25, 34:13, 36:34, 37:21, 39:27-28, Micah 2:12, 4:6)

But Jesus speaks this way. Likewise, the metaphor of "wings" is applied to God:
EXODUS 19:4 Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles' wings, and brought you unto myself.

DEUTERONOMY 32:8-12 When the Most High divided to the nations their inheritance, when he separated the sons of Adam, he set the bounds of the people according to the number of the children of Israel.
9 For the LORD's portion is his people; Jacob is the lot of his inheritance.
10 He found him in a desert land, and in the waste howling wilderness; he led him about, he instructed him, he kept him as the apple of his eye.
11 As an eagle stirreth up her nest, fluttereth over her young, spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh them, beareth them on her wings:
12 So the LORD alone did lead him, and there was no strange god with him.

RUTH 2:12 The LORD recompense thy work, and a full reward be given thee of the LORD God of Israel, under whose wings thou art come to trust.

PSALM 17:8 Keep me as the apple of the eye, hide me under the shadow of thy wings,

PSALM 36:7 How excellent is thy lovingkindness, O God! therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of thy wings.

PSALM 57:1 Be merciful unto me, O God, be merciful unto me: for my soul trusteth in thee: yea, in the shadow of thy wings will I make my refuge, until these calamities be overpast.

(Cf. Ps 61:4, 63:7, 91:4)

LUKE 13:34 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee; how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings, and ye would not!

Thus, Jesus is once again (as always) talking exactly like God: how God alone speaks. Paul does no such thing. He does this because (it is obvious) He is God.

All of the above is:

Fallacy Of The General Rule:

Assuming that something true in general is true in every possible case. For example, "All chairs have four legs." Except that rocking chairs don't have any legs, and what is a one-legged "shooting stick" if it isn't a chair?

I've expained the reasoning very carefully, and this is a twisting of what I have argued. I don't think you have even understood it. But I'm sure that many readers will. And I write to convince and persuade them; I don't expect to persuade you (although you can always pleasantly surprise me).

While I am glad to see Dave Armstrong owns a concordance, this so-called rule is nonsense. To think a reader should conclude equality with the use of wings or gather is almost demeaning to the reader. You would think by this point the deductive reasoning conclusions should hold no weight, and are more of looking through scripture trying to justify your own conclusions VS. Drawing your understanding from the provided text. Another critical error would be one in confusing the use of the divine name in the Old Testament texts with lord or kyrios of the Greek New Testament. If you are somehow trying to conclude Jesus is Jehovah, or Yahweh of the Old Testament you are violating your own doctrine. Holding to the assertion Jesus is Jehovah your own church would consider you a heretic. Please review your texts or clarify your self, Jesus isn’t considered the Father by your own camp, and this is where you really begin to tread the definition of Trinitarians.

I see. I have a sense that reply is pretty much futile by this point. I've covered most of this sort of reasoning, and this paper is long. So I desist.

In conclusion and regarding the two scriptures quoted in Question 4 [see above] . . . Let us take a close look at the wording and texts and what's said and how it's understood, and whose mind is clear from the above discussion. Can one possibly read words like TEMPT, RECIEVE, KNOWETH, LIFE, FROM, SENT, I AM, TAUGHT, HATE, ETC and in their mind perceive the words EQUALITY or EQUAL. If the Father Jehovah and Jesus are equal then so should the terms be all throughout the bible, and talking to a Trinitarian they aren't.

Indeed they are, as I have shown and will continue to demonstrate.

I personally have a problem with teachings that are not explicitly found within the accepted canon of the Christian scriptures.

Then you have a ton of explaining to do. I look forward to your replies, and I will continue to answer all of them.

and I think the verse in John 14:28 sums up the matter in a plain black and white fashion. Answering any possible challenge if the Father is equal to the Son, with Jesus' own words (John 14:28) YOU heard that I said to YOU, I am going away and I am coming [back] to YOU. If YOU loved me, YOU would rejoice that I am going my way to the Father, because the Father is greater than I am.."

I dealt with this in my treatment of Jesus' subjection to the Father.

Thank you. I am looking forward to your further questions and comments.

You're welcome, and likewise.

22) CONCLUSIONS

Final thoughts regarding this issue:

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Dave Armstrong for engaging me in this discussion, And at the very least to present the reader with something not 100% skewed, or one sided as most articles found on the internet are. I am sure Dave and I can go on and on regarding these issues, but this is presented as only as a starting point, and I feel at many times for simplicity sake and wanting to present something the average reader can understand much of the above depth had been left out as to not overwhelm the reader. All issues discussed are far from exhaustive. My goal here is that the reader will approach the scriptures with the proper heart condition and draw their own conclusions from the text presented there.

One more final point I would like to mention is an excerpt from 100 Scriptural Arguments for the Unitarian Faith:

“There are in the New Testament 17 passages wherein the Father is
styled ONE or ONLY God, while there is not a single passage in which
the Son is so styled.

There are 320 passages in which the Father is absolutely, and by way
of eminence, called God; while there is not one in which the Son is
thus called.

There are 105 passages in which the Father is denominated God, with
peculiarly high titles and epithets; whereas the Son is not once
denominated.

This is simply untrue. Here are a dozen passages where Jesus is directly called God:
1) JOHN 1:1-4,14 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (2) The same was in the beginning with God. (3) All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. (4) In him was life; and the life was the light of men . . . And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

2) JOHN 20:28 And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God.

3) ACTS 20:28 Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.

4) ROMANS 9:5 Whose {are} the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ {came}, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen.

(RSV, NIV: "Christ, who is God over all")

5) PHILIPPIANS 2:5-6 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: (6) Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:

6) COLOSSIANS 1:15-19 Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: (16) For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether {they be} thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: (17) And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. (18) And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all {things} he might have the preeminence. (19) For it pleased {the Father} that in him should all fulness dwell.

7) COLOSSIANS 2:9-10 For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. (10) And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:

8) 1 TIMOTHY 3:16 And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.

9) TITUS 2:13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;

(RSV, NIV: "our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ")

10) HEBREWS 1:8 But unto the Son {he saith}, Thy throne, O God, {is} for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness {is} the sceptre of thy kingdom.

(God the Father calls the Son God -- a citation of Ps 45:6-7)

11) 2 PETER 1:1 Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ:

(RSV, NIV: "our God and Saviour Jesus Christ")

12) 1 JOHN 5:20 And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, {even} in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.

(NIV: "He is the true God")

There are 90 passages wherein it is declared that all prayers and
praises ought to be offered to Him, and that everything ought to be
ultimately directed to his honor and glory; while of the Son no such
declaration is ever made.

This is blatantly false as well (apparently Unitarians have never heard of a Concordance):
1) HEBREWS 1:3 Who being the brightness of {his} glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;

2) JOHN 5:23 That all {men} should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him.

3) REVELATION 5:12-14 Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, honour, and glory, and blessing. (13) And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, {be} unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever. (14) And the four beasts said, Amen. And the four {and} twenty elders fell down and worshipped him that liveth for ever and ever.

4) JOHN 17:5 And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.

5) PHILIPPIANS 2:9-11 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: (10) That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of {things} in heaven, and {things} in earth, and {things} under the earth; (11) And {that} every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ {is} Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

6) HEBREWS 1:6 And again, when he bringeth in the firstbegotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him.

7) LUKE 24:26 Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his
glory?

8) JOHN 14:13-14 And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. (14) If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do {it}.

9) JOHN 16:23-24,26 . . . Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give {it} you. (24) Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full . . . (26) At that day ye shall ask in my name: . . .

10) ACTS 7:59 And they stoned Stephen, calling upon {God}, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. (cf. Lk 23:46, Ecc 12:7)

11) 1 CORINTHIANS 1:2 . . . with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, . . . (cf. Joel 2:32 -- quoted in Acts 2:21, Rom 10:12-14, using the same word for "call," epikaleo, as that in 1 Cor 1:2 --, Jer 33:3, 2 Tim 2:22)

12) EPHESIANS 5:20 Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;

13) COLOSSIANS 3:17 And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, {do} all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.

14) HEBREWS 13:15 By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of {our} lips giving thanks to his name. (see 13:12)

15) REVELATION 5:8 And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four {and} twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints.

(cf. Mt 25:31, Lk 2:32, Jn 1:14, 16:14, 17:1, 1 Cor 2:8)

See also the comparison of terms used in worshiping both God the Father and Jesus, in Revelation -- from section 6.
There are 1300 passages in the NT wherein the word God is
mentioned, not one necessarily implies the existence of more than
one person in the Godhead, or that this one is any other than the
Father.
These guys wrote the book on grossly-exaggerated overstatement! See Jn 1:1-4,14, Phil 2:5-6, Col 1:15-19 w/ 2:9-10, and 1 Jn 5:20 above.
There are 300 passages wherein the Son is declared, positively, or
by clearest implication, to be subordinate to the Father, deriving
his being from Him, receiving from Him his divine power, and acting
in all things wholly according to His will.”
Dealt with repeatedly . . . The clearest refutation is found in Philippians 2:5-8. The Son-as-Suffering-Messiah is subjuect to the Father, but He is not therefore lesser than or inferior to the Father, as many passages above show.
"Argument By Selective Observation:

Also called cherry picking, the enumeration of favorable
circumstances, or as the philosopher Francis Bacon described it,
counting the hits and forgetting the misses. (Now,
there's something with hits and misses.) A parallel example of this would be a modern day casino. Casinos encourage this human tendency. There are bells and whistles to announce slot machine jackpots, but losing happens silently. This
makes it much easier to think that the odds of winning are good."

How about "Argument by citing fallacies but fallaciously and wrongheadedly applying them to legitimate arguments that are scarcely comprehended in the first place . . . "

Concluding scriptures are to meditate upon regarding this issue of equality, taken from Reasoning from the Scriptures. Consider their meaning and understanding and see how much work it takes to fit them into your theological framework:

" Matt. 26:39, RS: “Going a little farther he [Jesus Christ] fell on his face and prayed, ‘My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt.’” (If the Father and the Son were not distinct individuals, such a prayer would have been meaningless. Jesus would have been praying to himself, and his will would of necessity have been the Father’s will.)

John 8:17, 18, RS: “[Jesus answered the Jewish Pharisees:] In your law it is written that the testimony of two men is true; I bear witness to myself, and the Father who sent me bears witness to me.” (So, Jesus definitely spoke of himself as being an individual separate and distinct from the Father.)

They are distinct Persons indeed. The Godhead consiste of three Persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The Sabellians are the ones who have a problem with the Son praying to the Father, not trinitarians.

Prophetically, with reference to the Messiah, Micah 5:2 (KJ) says his “goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.” Dy reads: “his going forth is from the beginning, from the days of eternity.” Does that make him the same as God? It is noteworthy that, instead of saying “days of eternity,” RS renders the Hebrew as “ancient days”; JB, “days of old”; NW, “days of time indefinite.” Viewed in the light of Revelation 3:14, discussed above, Micah 5:2 does not prove that Jesus was without a beginning.

I've dealt with Micah 5:2, and also Revelation 3:14, which is a strong proof for the eternality and deity of Jesus.

Mark 13:32, RS: “Of that day or that hour no ones knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” (Of course, that would not be the case if Father, Son, and Holy Spirit were coequal, comprising one Godhead. And if, as some suggest, the Son was limited by his human nature from knowing, the question remains, Why did the Holy Spirit not know?)

The suggestion that the Holy Spirit did not know something would contradict Scripture elsewhere, where it is taught that the Holy Spirit knows all the thoughts of God; so therefore (by definition and logical necessity), is omniscient (a trait possessed only by God):

1 CORINTHIANS 2:10-11 . . . for the Spirit searcheth all things, ye, the deep things of God . . . the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. (cf. Jer 17:10, Rev 2:23)
Compare NSV:
. . . no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.
Since Scripture does not contradict itself, an interpretation must exist which harmonizes all of Scripture. We interpret the less clear passages by the clearer and plainer ones. Moreover, in many places the Bible teaches that the Holy Spirit is God. See my paper: The Holy Trinity: Biblical Proofs for dozens of examples.

Matt. 20:20-23, RS: “The mother of the sons of Zebedee . . . said to him [Jesus], ‘Command that these two sons of mine may sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your kingdom.’ But Jesus answered, . . . ‘You will drink my cup, but to sit at my right hand and at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father.’” (How strange, if, as claimed, Jesus is God! Was Jesus here merely answering according to his “human nature”? If, as Trinitarians say, Jesus was truly “God-man”—both God and man, not one or the other—would it truly be consistent to resort to such an explanation? Does not Matthew 20:23 rather show that the Son is not equal to the Father, that the Father has reserved some prerogatives for himself?)

The Father and the Son have different roles in some respects, but it doesn't follow that this implies any inequality.

Matt. 12:31, 32, RS: “Every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. And whoever says a word against the Son of man will be forgiven; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.” (If the Holy Spirit were a person and were God, this text would flatly contradict the Trinity doctrine, because it would mean that in some way the Holy Spirit was greater than the Son. Instead, what Jesus said shows that the Father, to whom the “Spirit” belonged, is greater than Jesus, the Son of man.)

If the argument is against trinitarianism, then it is strange to use this passage, which proves the deity of the Holy Spirit, since only God can be blasphemed. An "active force" (as JW's define and denigrate the Holy Spirit), certainly cannot be.

John 14:28, RS: “[Jesus said:] If you loved me, you would have rejoiced, because I go to the Father; for the Father is greater than I.”

1 Cor. 11:3, RS: “I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a woman is her husband, and the head of Christ is God.” (Clearly, then, Christ is not God, and God is of superior rank to Christ. It should be noted that this was written about 55 C.E., some 22 years after Jesus returned to heaven. So the truth here stated applies to the relationship between God and Christ in heaven.)

Jesus' subjection to the Father is seen in such verses as John 14:28: ". . . for my Father is greater
than I," 1 Corinthians 11:3: ". . .the head of Christ {is} God," and 1 Corinthians 15:28: "And when
all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put
all things under him, that God may be all in all."

John 14:28 is to be understood in light of passages such as Philippians 2:6-8, which show us that
Christ in John 14:28 was speaking strictly in terms of his office as Messiah, which entailed a
giving up, not of the Divine Nature, but of certain prerogatives of glory and Deity which are
enjoyed by the Father. Christ subjected Himself to the Father in order to undertake His role as
the Incarnate Son and Mediator between God and man (1 Tim 2:5). Similarly, one might say that
"the President of the United States is a greater man than I am," but this would not mean he was
necessarily a better man. In any event, he is still a man like us. Since Jesus is still God, even while
"humbling" Himself (Phil 2:8), Scripture also indicates that the Father is, in a sense, "subject" to
the Son:

JOHN 16:15 All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew {it} unto you.

JOHN 16:23 And in that day ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give {it} you.

When the Father is called the "head" of the Son (1 Cor 11:3), this also does not entail any
lessening of the equality between the Son and the Father. The Bible also talks about wives being
subject to their husbands (1 Pet 3:1,5), even while the two are equals (Gal 3:28, Eph 5:21-22), and
indeed, "one flesh" (Mt 19:5-6). Likewise, one Person of the Godhead can be in subjection to
another Person and remain God in essence and substance (Phil 2:6-8). Luke 2:51 says that Jesus
was "subject" to Mary and Joseph. Yet no orthodox Christian of any stripe would hold that Jesus
was lesser in essence than His earthly parents! The same Greek word for "subject" in Luke 2:51
(hupotasso) is used in 1 Cor 15:28, and in 1 Pet 2:18 below. Besides, submissiveness and
servanthood is not presented as a sign of weakness in Scripture. Quite the contrary:
1 PETER 2:18 Servants, {be} subject to {your} masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward.

MATTHEW 23:11 But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant.

The word for "greatest" here is meizon, the same word used in John 14:28. Thus, any notion that
submissiveness is a lessening of equality is absolutely unscriptural.

Likewise, in 1 Cor 15:28, the subjection spoken of is that of the Son as incarnate, not the Son as
Son in essence. While this verse tells us that God will be "all in all," Colossians 3:11 tells us that ".
. . Christ {is} all, and in all." Thus, Jesus' office as Messiah and Mediator will cease in time, but
not His Godhood, since Scripture teaches that He will be "all in all" just as His Father is.

The Hebrew word Shad·dai' and the Greek word Pan·to·kra'tor are both translated “Almighty.” Both original-language words are repeatedly applied to Jehovah, the Father. (Ex. 6:3; Rev. 19:6) Neither expression is ever applied to either the Son or the Holy Spirit.

That may be, yet the Son is often described (and described Himself) as being omnipotent. See the section on omnipotence in my paper, Jesus is God.

Thank you again. John 17:3: “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” (KJV)

One last final thought which I would like to mention would be the fact that people hold tightly to their religious convictions. Some have inherited them from previous generations, yet others just go with the flow without questioning the why, be it emotional reasons or otherwise, but we need to seek out TRUTH and biblical understanding, never allowing our senses of reason to dull. Acts 17:11 (kjv) reads" These were the more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so." If we can truly reason from the scriptures there should be no reason why two intelligent people can't sit down and look at a specific matter and draw a conclusion. This is something we wanted the reader to be able to do on his own.

At times the dialogue may seem heated and rightly so (the subject material is something we both hold dear), but one thing I hope Dave and I can agree upon is that the reader should open his Bible and see if these things are so, and avoid the danger stated in Matthew 15:9 "And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men."

Thank you also for the vigorous argument and the generally congenial tone. I would like to end with a brief presentation of the Christian gospel of salvation. We are saved and attain eternal life by the blood of Jesus, shed on our behalf when He died on the cross and took our sins upon Himself. And we have the promise that all three Persons of the Trinity: God the Father, God the son, and God the Holy Spirit, will come and dwell within us and help us to be Jesus' disciples and to live holy lives, devoted to God, and in service to others, with great peace and joy, if we are regenerated and have thus entered into communion with the Triune God.

Catholics believe that baptism, the Eucharist, and other sacraments play very important roles in the Christian life and aid in ultimate attainment of salvation (which is always by Grace Alone, in the final analysis), and that God left us an authoritative Church, which preserved His apostolic doctrine. Concerning the doctrine of Jesus, all three branches of Christianity (Catholicism, Protestantism, Orthodoxy) completely agree. I pray that readers who do not yet believe that Jesus is God, will be able to accept and grasp that glorious truth after reading all of this biblical evidence which cries out to Jesus, like the disciple Thomas, "My Lord and my God!" (John 20:28).

END OF PART TWO AND ENTIRE PAPER
GO TO PART ONE

Uploaded on 30 October 2003 by Dave Armstrong, with the express permission and editorial consent of his dialogical partner. Minor revisions added on 3 November 2003.

No comments: