I have recently seen that another site has made an attempt to deal with what I had to say on Isaiah 9:6. I’ll say upfront that on this verse, to avoid blog ping pong back and forth, this is the only reply I’ll be making on the blog and I recommend that if the writer wishes to challenge me, he should come to TheologyWeb where I do debates.
For those wanting to make sure I am quoting right, the blogpost in question I am responding to can be found here:
I will put what they say into bold and my comments will be in regular print.
The claim is made that there is a difference between the child who is born and the son who is given. It is alleged that the child had a beginning in the incarnation, but the son, being fully of the nature of deity, does not have a beginning, but that he is given. In other words, the same old trinitarian dualism that trinitarians assume, add to, and read into, many scriptures is being also assumed, added to, and read into Isaiah 9:6, thus splitting upon this one sentence so as to have part of the sentence apply to the alleged Jesus the alleged God being, and another part of the sentence is supposed to apply to Jesus the human being.
Following the link on dualism, one can see that our reviewer does not understand orthodox Trinitarian thought as shown in the Chalcedonian Creed, but is instead inserting a Nestorian idea for what he believes Trinitarianism teaches. Our critic seems to think that a functional subordination within the Trinity distracts from the deity of the Son. This is a nice assumption, but is not backed. The debate is over the ontology of the Son and not the function. I, as a Trinitarian, have no problem with the Son submitting to being sent of the Father for instance.
Also, our writer assumes I am arguing for the Trinity from this passage. I am arguing instead for the foundations of Trinitarian thought to come to full revelation in the NT. If I was wanting to pick a passage all about the Trinity, I’d find one that included the Holy Spirit as well.
Our author notes that I have one sentence devoted to the humanity of Christ and one to the deity of Christ. I suspect somehow they think that this is a problem. I don’t. If the Scriptures speak of both, then we can expect both to be addressed. Would Christ having two natures be a problem for Arianism? Yes. It’s not one for Trinitarianism though.
I plan on addressing this more when we get to Col. 1:15 in the NT, but note some thnigs. First off, I have no problem with the Son being born. The problem comes when we apply a temporal notion to the term which is not necessary to its understanding. Note also that the text says Christ made all things. Question! Does this include time?
Also, all things exist by him. Thus, if the son were to cease to be, all other things would cease to be. So all creation rests on a being that is less than God?
The scriptures show that Jesus was begotten/born/brought forth three times.
(1) as the firstborn creature. — Colossians 1:15; Proverbs 8:22-25.
(2) of the holy spirit as a human. — Matthew 1:20.
(3) from the dead when raised from the dead. — Psalm 2:7; Acts 13:33; Colossians 1:18; Hebrews 1:5; 5:5.
Note interestingly the differences in usage of firstborn here even. Can we truly say Jesus was firstborn from the dead? Others came back from the dead before him. Jesus was first though in his pre-eminence in that he is the first one to come back in the glorious body that we will. For the first, we’ve already addressed. For the second one, I don’t see the point in saying he’s the firstborn of a virgin since technically, he’ll be the only one born that way as far as we know.
So not only was Jesus born when he was begotten of God’s spirit as a human being, he was born again when he was raised from the dead.
What they mean by born again when raised from the dead must be something different than what Christ means for biblically, this is something that happens in one’s lifetime and reaches full fruition in the after-death.
The son given by Yahweh (Isaiah 9:7) is the spoken of in Luke 1:32 as the “son of the Most High.” This son given by Yahweh to Israel (and to the world) is not the Most High Yahweh who has given this son. The son of the Most High is never spoken of as the Most High. Only Yahweh, the God and Father of Jesus, is spoken of as the Most High. —Genesis 14:22; Psalm 7:17; 83:18; 92:1; Luke 1:32; John 13:16.
I’d like my readers to think back. What did I say was the #1 error that is made by those who go against the Trinity? Answer! The one you’ve just seen done here. It is the assumption of Unipersonalism. Our writer has assumed God is one person and thinks by showing Jesus is the Son of God, he’s shown Jesus is not one who has the full nature of God. It does not follow. Every Trinitarian signs on the bottom line that Jesus is the Son of God. The question needs to be asked though of our opponents, what do you think “Son of God” means?
Scripturally, Isaiah 9:6 is speaking of one singular “name”, not “names” (plural). But the tradition has been to ignore the singular name, and then to render and misquote the verse as though it was speaking of a series of “names” (plural), all of which are then applied individually to the son who is given by Yahweh.
This is an assumption, but just that. An assumption. Where has this been demonstrated? If he thinks titles would be a better term than name, so be it. The concept behind it is still the same.
Thus, we find, as in this case, many refer to many of the words that make up the singular name as each a “name” in itself, and that is the way we find Isaiah 9:6 in most translations. The page that we are responding to does this; it ignores that there is only one name given, and then goes on to speak of various words as each an individual name that is supposed to be applied to the Messiah. In other words, it refers to “Wonderful”, “Mighty God”, “Everlasting Father”, and “Prince of Peace” as names (plural), and not as the scripture reads, a singular name. As a singular name, it is: Pelejoezelgibborabiaadarshalom. As a singular name, it is given the meaning: “Wonderful in counsel is God the Mighty, the everlasting Father, the Ruler of peace.” This recognizes the name by which the Messiah is to be called as a description of the God and Father of the Messiah, and not as a series of “names” given to the Messiah.
This is simply an assertion though and it is one I do not see being used by Hebrew scholars. The writers wish us to think that this is a passage describing God, but the passage is speaking about the child and about the things the child shall be called. Why think Isaiah is talking about God instead of the Messiah?
We are told that the word “Wonderful” is the same “name” that is applied to the angel of Yahweh in Judges 13:18. This is misleading. The word translated *wonderful* in many translations at Judges 13:18 is Strong’s #6383. It is an adjective. There is no indication that the angel of Yahweh meant that this adjective was to supposed to be his “name”, but rather that angel is simply using this Strong says of this word: “remarkable:–secret, wonderful.” BDBG defines it: “wonderful, incomprehensible, extraordinary.”* This word, as such, appears in only one other place in the Scriptures,Psalm 139:6, where it is translated “too wonderful” in the King James Version. We believe that the angel was using the word to say why he was not revealing his name, not as claiming this adjective to be his name. As such, we should realize that the angel was stating that his name — whatever it was — would not be appreciated by Manoah, and thus he was not revealing his name. Indeed, the names of none of the angels of Yahweh are revealed in the scriptures except that of Gabriel. The Hebrew word — an adjective — for wonderful found in Judges 13:18 and Psalm 139:6 does not appear inIsaiah 9:6, although we do find the noun form that is rendered “wonderful”. Forms of this “noun” may be found at least 13 times in the Old Testament. In all except one (Daniel 12:6), it is directly used to describe the works of Yahweh, the God and Father of Jesus; likewise, we believe that as part of the singular name being attributed to Jesus in Isaiah 9:6, it is describing the God and Father of Jesus as “Wonderful in counsel”.
This is the kind of thing that sounds really impressive at first, but soon reveals itself to be smoke and mirrors. It’s the assertion of “We don’t think it means that so believe it.” The idea is given that Manoah would not appreciate the name of the angel given. Exactly why would that be so? Does the writer have any explanation also for why Manoah believed that he had seen God? The word Wonderful is used of the Lord of Hosts in Isaiah 28:29 and in Judges, it is followed by the wonderful thing that was done of ascending. Apparently, Wonderful does always apply to something of YHWH, except for those inconvenient parts where it’d go against Arianism.
While we believe that “wonderful” here is referring to the God and Father of Jesus, Jesus is , however, also “wonderful”, in that he did “wonderful things” through the power of the holy spirit of his God and Father. — Matthew 21:15.
And I believe that peanut butter cookie dough is the best kind of ice cream. Just saying it doesn’t make enough of an argument though. Again, why should I think this passage talking about Jesus, which Matthew by the way, quoted the first two verses of in Matthew 4 and likely had the whole section in mind, is instead talking about God the Father? Because it supports Arianism?
We are next presented with “Mighty God” as an alleged “name” of the Messiah. The Hebrew of this is usually transliterated as “EL GIBBOR”. “EL” here signifies “God, a god, strength, might, power.” Jesus, of course, is a mighty one of power. While we do not believe that “EL GIBBOR” is being applied to Jesus as a singular name here, but rather to the God and Father of Jesus, the phrase EL GIBBOR can certainly be applied to Jesus, if one takes into account the broader meaning of the various forms of the word EL as applied to other persons or things than to Yahweh, that is, in the sense of might, strength, power, etc., having received might and power from the only true source of that power, his God and Father. The plural form of this phrase is is applied to human rulers in Ezekiel 32:21, which is rendered in the King James Version there as ““The strong among the mighty.” All translations we have examined renders it similar to the King James Version. We do not know of any translation that renders the phrase with the word “Gods” in Ezekiel 32:21.
And here we have a case of if you give an alternate meaning, then that somehow refutes the case in this usage. Considering the proximity of Isaiah 9:6 and Isaiah 10:21, we have reason to believe Isaiah understood the phrase in this passage to refer to deity. There is not a question that it can mean other things. Keep in mind that the Messiah has both terms applied to him also in Psalm 45, a passage that speaks of him as God.
The next “name” examined is “everlasting father.” We are told that this is applied to Jesus since Jesus is paternal in nature. Again, we believe that as part of the singular name in Isaiah 9:6, “everlasting father” is speaking of the God and Father of Jesus, and not as a separate “name” applied to describe Jesus. However, we do realize however that the phrase “everlasting father” could be applied to Jesus since he has become the “last Adam”, “the life-giving spirit.” — 1 Corinthians 15:45.
And once again the, “We believe that” without any backing whatsoever. I don’t need to know what you believe. I need to know why you believe what you believe. Can you give me any reason or is it just going to be an assertion?
And, finally, we have the phrase “Prince of Peace.” As shown above, we believe that this is not a separate name, but rather a part of the singular name given to Messiah that describes the God and Father of Messiah. Nevertheless, as a separate title, this could also apply to the one who rules on the throne of Yahweh, eventually bringing peace to the whole earth.
And again, we have the same thing going on. We believe and that settles it. Okay. Let’s see how this works.
I believe the Trinity is true and all that deny it are heretics.
You may repent now.
Regardless, what we do not find in Isaiah 9:6 is any mention of three persons in Yahweh; we do not find any mention of two persons in Yahweh. Any idea of the trinity has to be assumed, added to, and read into, what is stated there, just as in all of the other scriptures presented to allegedly prove the trinity dogma.
With this I agree. I do not find two persons in YHWH in this passage nor three. I instead find one person addressed in terms that show his nature as deity. This passage is not used to prove the Trinity in and of itself. It’s a stepping stone. To think my whole argument for the Trinity rests on one verse is a huge misunderstanding and fails to note that the Trinity is a systematic doctrine. It comes from taking all the information as a whole. I find the one who asserts that all of this is one name and then accuses this writer of reading his ideas into the text needs to check again. I would say the only reason the doctrine of the Trinity came is not because it was presupposed, but because it naturally works itself out of Scripture. If anything was presupposed, it would be Arianism.
It is Yahweh who performs what is spoken of in Isaiah 9:6, as shown in the next verse,Isaiah 9:7. Jesus does, however, perform the works of Yahweh, as the agent of Yahweh; this does not mean that he is a person of his God.
I have no problem with the idea that this is the work of YHWH done in the Messiah as that doesn’t rule out the ontological nature of the Messiah. Because one does the work of God does not mean that that person has ontological equality with God. That is true. One could ask though that if God himself does his work, does that rule out him having the ontological nature of God? It doesn’t. The function does not determine the essence.
If our writers wish to continue, again, they may find me at TheologyWeb. They will need better arguments than this though and not just mere assertions.