Why The Claims Matter?

I’d like to give a little excursion before we get back into the Scriptural examination of the doctrine of the Trinity. I was at the ice cream parlor yesterday getting my usual. They have a question up of “Who wrote Candide?” with the correct answer resulting in free sprinkles. I told them it was Voltaire to which we began talking about philosophers. Since I’m a regular, it makes it much easier.

Now I don’t want to give any impression of hostility in this description of the account either. These were both nice girls and I did have a good conversation with the one I was talking with. As we discussed the philosophers, she told me that one area that she really hadn’t got to study in too much was religion and it was something that she didn’t know much about.

So I started first with asking about what it was. That got into a discussion about moral principles and rituals that were believed to come from a deity. She first said that they all had some sort of deity but caught herself in time as there are some religions that do not affirm a deity, such as some schools of Buddhistic thought.

She told me that she had grown up with parents who were Jehovah’s Witnesses. I had great sympathy at that point. I also told her that by and large, it seems that if you want to know what Jehovah’s Witnesses believe, just take a look at orthodox Christianity and Jehovah’s Witnesses believe the opposite.

I then asked her if she had ever really considered the claims of Jesus Christ. She told me that she hadn’t but wanted to stress that she wasn’t all anti-Jesus or anti-Christianity. I was pleased to hear that, but then had to come with what the Scriptures say and said “Well, you know, if the Bible is true in accurately recording the words of Jesus, and I believe I can tell you why I think it is, he said that you were either for him, or against him.”

It was at this point that I brought up the point about Jesus claiming to be Lord and God and that those who follow him must make an absolute surrender and I said “Now that’s a serious claim”, and she did wisely agree that it is a serious claim. I hope that those who don’t even believe Jesus said that would agree that it is.

I then told her about the resurrection and that I’d staked my eternity on it and said “Why not study this? Forget all about organized religion and everything else. If this claim is bogus, you don’t need to look any further. It’s true. If, on the other hand, this claim is true, then Christianity is true and you need to take the words of Jesus seriously.” I gave her the name of the book “The Case for Christ” and she said she’d get a copy. If she hadn’t, I had offered to get her one. I also told her to take any notes she wants while reading if she has any questions and I’ll be glad to answer them.

Now why did I bring this up? To remind us why we’re doing this study. What Christ said was serious. Those are the most revolutionary claims that anyone has ever uttered and we Christians who say we believe them need to take them seriously as well.

Are you?

Pray for this girl and for me also as I continue this kind of evangelism. These are the kinds of encounters I enjoy the most and I hope to have more of them.

A Review of “Adam”

Faithful readers of Deeper Waters know that when I go to a movie, I always write a review of it. Last night, I went to see the movie “Adam.” I’ve found when telling this to people that most of them don’t know about the movie at all. That is a shame and I do not know entirely why this movie wasn’t put in most theaters like others are. Maybe someone in the movie industry can explain that. The synopsis at imdb.com describes the movie this way:

Soon after moving in, Beth, a brainy, beautiful writer damaged from a past relationship encounters Adam, the handsome, but odd, fellow in the downstairs apartment whose awkwardness is perplexing. Beth and Adam’s ultimate connection leads to a tricky relationship that exemplifies something universal: truly reaching another person means bravely stretching into uncomfortable territory and the resulting shake-up can be liberating.

Upon hearing that, some readers might recall how during the presidential election, I chose to write about my story:


Naturally, Adam is the kind of movie I would want to see. I will also be warning my readers now that I am going to be giving spoilers so if you don’t want that, then come back and read this blog later. If you want to see where Adam is playing in your area, go to foxsearchlight.com

Adam is one of a kind, which is something that must be understood when interacting with those of us in the autistic community. When you’ve met one person with autism, you’ve met one person with autism, and you cannot extrapolate on to everyone. I happened to see this movie with a friend and I was able to notice many things that he did not which we discussed on our way back.

Adam is unaware of social cues around him. In fact, I was astounded at some of the things he did that I know I normally don’t do, like walking into the office in the morning and saying “good morning” to someone who says that to him. This is the kind of place where I become non-responsive. If I don’t greet someone, it’s not because of something personal.

Adam is also crazy about space. He loves to talk about it. We find him several times in the movie at his laptop looking up information on anything and if he gets into any conversation with anyone on that topic, stand back, he’s going to go into overdrive. I could find my own relation here as I can be normally quiet, but start me up about philosophy or apologetics or Christianity and I’m on fire. My roommate once spoke about how I was when we had Mormons visiting us and the doctrine of the Trinity came up and it was described as watching a rocket taking off.

At the start, Adam’s pantry has several boxes of the same food selection. I clicked with that immediately as that is also a common trait, something I was very pleased to find out the more I studied this as some who know me know I am incredibly unusual in my diet. Our church, for instance, had a picnic today after the service. My response? Get in the car. Go home. Do the dishes there and fix myself a small lunch at home. It’s just not a pleasant situation and my closest friends with me know that there’s only a small number of restaurants I will order something from.

Adam’s world is changed by a girl named Beth who comes to see him. He doesn’t really know too much how to respond to her and his Dad’s old friend Harlan who is his caretaker in this film as both of Adam’s parents are dead tell him he has to be the man. There are numerous times in the movie Adam interprets something Beth says in a way she doesn’t intend. The results are quite humorous.

One scene at the start has him sitting on the steps of his apartment building on his laptop while Beth comes and is carrying behind her on a rolling device some groceries and says something like “Well, I’m off to carry these heavy items up to my apartment.” Adam misses the cue entirely of the implicit message of “Are you going to help me?”

Beth decides she wants to try to break into his world however and offers to invite him out to join some friends that evening. She says she’ll knock on his door at 8. We see Adam then in the apartment and the clock says 8:11 and he’s all dressed up and ready to go. She hasn’t knocked yet. She does soon however, but Adam never opens the door and he’s crying inside later on. The next day, he tells her he was overwhelmed with something and just couldn’t come.

This was something I understood entirely. The problem was that she had said she would knock on his door at 8 and she didn’t. That threw Adam off entirely. I’ve been told at work that I’m the most exact person with the time clock. If I am to clock in at 8:30, well that is when I will clock in, even looking at my watch to make sure I’m down to the second.

One day, Adam shows her a planetarium of sorts he has in his apartment. What it was entirely, I’m not sure, but I’m thinking that he had computer generation set up in the room all around the ceiling somehow and he just talks to her about space. His friend Harlan is stunned that he did this and even more stunned that Beth likes it.

Adam slips up the next time Beth comes over and asks about the event and says “Were you sexually excited?” Now I consider myself blunt, but I’m thankful I’m not that blunt. When Beth decides she needs to leave then, Adam confesses to her his condition of Asperger’s and how it affects him.

The next day, Beth, at her job as a schoolteacher, asks another teacher about Asperger’s and is told about the book “Pretending To Be Normal” which I thought immediately was a great title. She asks if someone like that is prime relationship material. At this point, she seems to think he isn’t, but seems to change her mind.

Adam gets fired also from his job at a toy company. As he’s grieving from this, he takes Beth to Central Park, as the story is set in New York, and doesn’t tell her why. As he sits on a bench with her standing nearby, two raccoons start passing through the area in front of them leaving Beth amazed. She gives him a book for people with Asperger’s on how to find a job. At this, he kisses her. She doesn’t mind.

I noticed something about the raccoons and asked my friend on the way back if he knew why raccoons were used. He didn’t. So I asked him to tell me what he knew about raccoons. He said “They wear masks.” I didn’t let him go any further. That was all that needed to be said. Adam and the raccoons are similar. Both of them wear masks.

The kiss has changed their relationship and Beth decides she needs to set some boundaries and says she’s fine with kissing and with hugging but no sex. It’s amusing when she tells Adam that her last ex was sleeping with other women while they were together. Then seeing his confusion says “I mean, while we were in a relationship.”

Adam is taken to a party by Beth where nearly every social cue is broken. A mother begins talking about her baby and says “Would you like to see a video?” Adam says “No thank you. Where’s the restroom?” He starts talking to another lady there about the purchase of a telescope and doesn’t realize he’s boring her and is going over her head and she doesn’t know how to get away. Fortunately, Beth is there to help him out.

Later on, Beth and Adam are discussing various matters and Beth is talking about how she’d like to write a book about raccoons for children and she wants it to be talking raccoons. Adam asks why. Why not just have it be about nature. Wouldn’t that be better? She tells him that he’d think so. Adam is offended, until Beth just lets him know what she really means and how she feels about him, which is when she turns their relationship sexual. For those concerned, there is nothing seen here at this point in the movie in the area of nudity. It was quite clean in this regards.

Of course, there is that problem that in movies, sex in a relationship is just seen as the next level. There are not any consequences. If you’re wondering the moral perspective, Beth seems to be more Christian in some way in that when Adam asks her about the Big Bang, she starts quoting Genesis 1:1. Adam simply starts going on at that about the Big Bang. She also tells her father that the rules he has for her in her relationships aren’t written in Scripture. Unfortunately, religious views aren’t expounded on this much.

Beth then takes Adam to a play and her parents happen to be there where they get to meet for the first time. Beth has beforehand found out that her father has been indicted on for something he’s done. What his job is, I don’t recall entirely, but his family is very well provided for. When she and Adam and her parents get together with just them to talk, Adam asks “Did you do it?” and “Could you go to jail?”

Beth doesn’t appreciate the questions later and tells him so. This is a part I still don’t understand as my thinking is “Those seem like perfectly legitimate questions. You want the information? You ask for it.” Rest assured, Beth does apologize after this first fight.

Beth also is teaching her class in the movie of probably Elementary school children and reading the story of the Emperor’s New Clothes. Once again, this is a story meant to remind the reader of the nature of Asperger’s. The boy in the story is the one who is blunt and points out that the emperor is naked. Important since Beth ends saying “I like the boy.”

Adam is meanwhile applying for new jobs and finds one he applies for and hears back that’d involve research on space. Beth offers to help him train for this with learning such features as eye contact, which is something I recognized immediately.

There are many times I talk to people and I realize that I am not looking at them as I talk to them. I seem to have my eyes fixated on some other point. What’s there? Well nothing that deserves my attention at that point, but that is where they are. Beth is a good teacher helping Adam learn how to socialize.

Adam needs the job after all as he doesn’t want to move. This comes to the forefront in a scene discussing his father’s estate and how he’ll have to move since he can’t pay the mortgage and he goes into a tantrum saying he doesn’t want to move. Harlan is the one who calms him down again.

What happens the day of the interview we don’t know immediately, but around that time Beth’s mother calls Adam and asks if she can track down her Beth. Her father has been found guilty. Later on, we learn he had an affair with someone involved in what he’s indicted of. Once again, this is the mask motif playing. Beth’s Dad does not have Asperger’s, but he had been wearing a mask.

Adam begins looking through and finds a note Beth had about “Take Adam to meet parents” which referred to the past event. Beth comes in then and sees Adam upset and when she confesses she just told him a little lie, he explodes, throws things around the room, and yells at Beth on how much he hates her and her Dad is guilty and he hopes she stays in jail. Beth uses some profanity (The strongest in the movie and nothing I will dare repeat here) and tells him he’s a child and leaves.

Always be honest to people with Asperger’s. (Actually, being honest with people generally is a good idea.) Not all of us react like Adam of course, but there is something lost. Many of us are often just looking for people we can trust. That could be something common for everyone, but maybe just harder for us.

When Beth’s Dad is charged and given his sentence, he is told he has ten days to put his affairs in order. Beth’s Mom calls Adam and tells him the address of the house which is where Beth will be. It’s a snowy time, but Adam knows that now he has to make things up to Beth so he gets some champagne and some roses and sets out in the snow. He can’t get to the terminal for the bus because of the stairs and he can’t take a taxi and he can’t drive, so what does he do? He walks the whole way.

Meanwhile, we see Beth at the house talking to her Dad and how her Dad says that Adam is not relationship material. He is in another world. Beth insists that people with Asperger’s do marry and have families and children, but her father is saying no. Shortly after this Beth hears Adam outside yelling trying to find her. Beth rushes outside and her Dad prepares to head out saying “I’ll take care of him.”

Adam tells Beth he didn’t get the job he wanted, but was told he’d be perfect for a job in California in an observatory. He tells Beth he wants her to come with him. Beth’s Dad comes out and says that Beth will not go with him. Beth is furious telling her Dad he can’t dare speak for her. An argument breaks out and Beth’s Dad grabs her which leads to Adam tackling her Dad and knocking him to the ground. When the mother comes out, Beth yells out that she’s going away with Adam to California and they drive off in Beth’s car together.

Beth later talks to her mother on the phone before the leave and says that Adam has never said he loves her. Adam hears this and tells her and then she asks why he wants her to come to California. Adam gives an answer of how he needs her to help him find a place to live, get settled in, fit in, and that she’s like a part of him now. When she hears this, Beth has to disappoint him and says she can’t go with him to California.

When I first saw this, I thought it was a sad point. Thinking back on it now, I think it was sad still, but also a good move on her part.

He is speaking at an observatory to a group of visitors about the telescope and what all can be seen and then says “But one of the best ways might be going out at night and looking up at the sky yourself.” After they leave, a lady comes carrying two heavy boxes, one on top of the other, with a small package on top telling Adam that that one is for him. Adam takes it and then says “Would you like some help with those Carol?” She smiles and says yes.

Adam has moved forward. He didn’t catch Beth’s cue at the beginning, but now he has, and apparently with another lady. I take this as a cue to Adam having a blossoming romance going on in California.

Adam opens up the package later on and finds a book in it from Beth called “Adam.” It’s a book about a family of raccoons in New York City. One was named Adam. He lived in Central Park. Although he didn’t really belong in that world, there he was. Adam closes the book and smiles.

My thoughts on this movie? I think it’s a very good one. It helps bring out the world of those of us with this condition. I have a caution that people keep in mind that if you go see Adam, that not everyone you meet with this is like Adam. Some are more outgoing. Some are not. Adam is actually more capable than many as some need constant care throughout their lives.

I think it would do a world of good to go see this one however and come to understand this world that more and more people by genetics are experiencing everyday. Is that person you meet not speaking to you? Don’t assume right off they’re rude, which is something that has happened to me often. Consider that they might be different.

Realize also there is a reason why we do the things we do. I’m very finicky about my hands for instance and don’t like anything on them. One time we had the Mormons up here and we were having friendly talk about little idiosyncracies on how my roommate and I take care of this place. I said I don’t replace the lid on the trash can because I don’t like touching a trash can lid. I want to wash my hands afterwards. Since then, our lid has remained perpetually off. We just dump everything directly. Now I do take out the trash at times, but always with washing my hands immediately afterwards.

The movie also stated that we’re frequently described as people with no imagination. I find that bizarre. If anything, I have an overactive imagination as my mind is always conjuring up strange scenarios and such. This does allow me to experience much wonder in life as I find it easier to see everyday as an adventure as a result of this condition.

Is the social interaction difficult? Of course. This is why I’m thankful for friends in my life who are my support. For instance, tonight is Sunday and I go bowling every Sunday night. I go with some friends here and their family has kind of taken me in as a third son it seems at times and their support is something excellent to have and I’m really grateful for it.

And now the final conclusion. Go see Adam if you haven’t. Of course, now you know everything that will happen pretty much if you’ve read this, but go see it anyway. Seeing it can be more revealing than hearing about it. If you have small children, you might want to go see it without them first. I’d say anyone of Junior High age could probably watch this film, but parents need to discuss certain matters afterwards.

And yes, I do plan to buy this when it comes on DVD.

Another Jesus

Hello everyone. Some of you might be seeing this and thinking that the new blog post is going up early for a Saturday. Well I’m going to be going to see the movie “Adam” with some friends tonight and so I would prefer to get in bed after the movie rather than have to write a blog post when I’m battling to stay awake. For those interested, my roommate and I had a good meeting today with the Jehovah’s Witnesses on the question of what happens when people die, so much so that they want to continue it with us next week. Pray for our wisdom and that God will remove the scales from their eyes and that they will see Jesus as God has revealed him.

Tonight, our study of the Trinity will continue, but we’re not going to study a Trinitarian text per se. We’re going to be studying a text that tells us why the doctrine of the Trinity is so important, especially in our understanding of who Jesus is. We’ll be looking at 2 Corinthians 11:1-6.

1I hope you will put up with a little of my foolishness; but you are already doing that. 2I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy. I promised you to one husband, to Christ, so that I might present you as a pure virgin to him. 3But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ. 4For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough. 5But I do not think I am in the least inferior to those “super-apostles.” 6I may not be a trained speaker, but I do have knowledge. We have made this perfectly clear to you in every way.

Paul is here countering the super-apostles that were at the Corinthian church and leading the people astray. By the way, he later describes them as servants of satan, which kind of eliminates the idea that Paul was entirely friendly and non-combative with his opponents. One point my roommate and I stressed with the Witnesses today is that we have an idea often of a God who is only love and would never hurt anyone. The apostles weren’t afraid to offend and saw themselves as doing the work of God in protecting the sheep from the wolves.

Our emphasis tonight is that Paul is telling about another Jesus. Today, it is not enough to say that one believes in Jesus. Consider some difficulties with that. Mormons believe in Jesus, but this Jesus is the spirit-brother of Lucifer. Jehovah’s Witnesses believe in Jesus, but this Jesus is God’s first creation and is the archangel Michael. Now the latter belief is not in itself heretical, but the first one is as it makes Jesus less than God in nature. Muslims believe in Jesus affirming that he was virgin-born, sinless, did miracles, will return again and slay the antichrist, and was the greatest prophet before Muhammad, but they reject his deity as well. Other religions respond differently but do not accept the biblical claims of Jesus.

When we speak about Jesus, we must be clear on who we mean. This is why God is so easy to talk about. So many people want to say that they believe in God, which is one of the most meaningless words today simply because everyone just puts in their own definition of what they mean by God without seeing what he is truly like. Different concepts of God result in different ways of viewing the world.

The same is the case with different views of Jesus. If you have a Jesus who is less than God, I can understand why you’d want to work for your salvation. I’d also understand why you have a simpler god as well. The Trinity definitely puts God beyond our comprehension and I am amazed with how many people I meet who seem to imply that because they cannot comprehend something, it is automatically false.

Jesus said unless we believe he is who he claimed to be, we will die in our sins. (John 8:24) Paul saw teaching another Jesus as dangerous to the witness of the gospel. So should we.

The Self-Lowering of Christ

Hello everyone. We’ve been going through a study of the doctrine of the Trinity in Scripture. We’re in the Pauline epistles right now and tonight, we’re going to be in the book of 2 Corinthians. We’ll be in chapter 8 and looking at verses 8-9.

8I am not commanding you, but I want to test the sincerity of your love by comparing it with the earnestness of others. 9For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.

First off, this passage should be very revealing to the prosperity preachers who think that Jesus was rich when he walked this Earth. I am no friend to such people. Christ never promised us riches on this Earth. If anything, he promised us suffering.

The problem with prosperity teaching is also that it expects too much too soon. I do believe in prosperity teaching in the sense that God wants his children to prosper. My problem is that the teachers of the prosperity gospel want it on their terms instead of on God’s terms. A lot of that prosperity won’t come until after the resurrection. We have much of it now however in the forgiveness of sins in Christ.

A great theme in the teaching of Paul however is that Christ is to be our example in everything including the way that we live morally. Paul bases this on the uniqueness of what Christ did and how for our sakes he became poor though he was rich. To what is it that Paul is referring here?

This will show up more when we get to the Philippians 2 passage that is known as the kenotic passage, but notice here that Paul is also not introducing teaching. In fact, all that he says at this point is based on prior teaching. Paul does not have to convince his readers that the Son existed in this state prior to the incarnation. It is assumed that Paul knows that they know that Christ came from a position of glory.

What was this position of glory? At the minimum, we would definitely have to say at least pre-existence. However, this is relevant for our purposes for if Jesus is fully God, then he must have certainly had pre-existence. (In fact, pre-existence of everything) It is difficult to even say God has existence when in reality his nature is existence.

Paul’s contrast to the Corinthians then in giving is that they ought to be like Christ. The incarnation was the supreme model for all living for Christians. We must walk as Jesus walked as John will say later on. The supreme willingness of Christ to go for those less fortunate than himself and to give of himself for their own good is to be the model of Christianity in giving, not the give-to-get idea that the prosperity teachers pilfer off.

What does this tell us? It tells us that we also ought to be generous with our money and give what we ought. A lot of churches today are struggling because many Christians aren’t giving of what they have to support the ministry of Christ. We are to be in the business of esteeming others as better than ourselves. It’s what Jesus did and he is the example.

Christ The Judge

Hello everyone. We’re going to be continuing tonight our study of the doctrine of the Trinity in the book of 2 Corinthians. The Pauline epistles are always fascinating places to go for doctrine and we haven’t been disappointed! Note also that the majority concensus by far will grant you that Paul wrote this book, its predecessor, Romans, Philippians, Galatians, 1 Thessalonians, and Philemon. We’re in good territory. Tonight, we’re going to be looking at 2 Cor. 5:6-10.

6Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. 7We live by faith, not by sight. 8We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. 9So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it. 10For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.

Paul is here speaking about the hope of the resurrection. Christians will go through trials and persecutions. However, we are not to be discouraged about what we’re going through. We are to instead look forward with hope for no matter what goes on, we are under the sovereign reign of Christ.

This brings up the issue of the judgment seat, which is called the Bema in Greek. Paul would have been familiar with such a scene being before Gallio earlier. This was in the 18th chapter of Acts and Gallio ruled around 52 A.D.

The Bema was not a simple little thing. It was a huge seat. Paul would have been small in comparison to what was going on and he would have been looked down on from where Gallio was sitting. It was no doubt an image that stuck in the mind of Paul and something that he brought over here when he wanted to talk about appearing before the judgment seat of Christ.

Wait! What was that? The judgment seat of Christ? Paul didn’t mention the judgment seat of YHWH? Isn’t YHWH the one who is the judge of all the Earth? (Genesis 18:25) Why is it that Paul is speaking about Christ instead of YHWH?

Keep in mind that this would be within 25 years most likely of the resurrection event and already, in a text that is accepted by the scholars as genuinely Pauline, Christ is being referred to in terms of judgment that are akin to what we would normally think of as YHWH’s position.

This is something we should keep in mind also as we often reduce Christ to making him our buddy and someone we can hang out with so casually. Yet here, Paul treats him as his judge. You don’t treat your judge lightly. You treat them with respect and awe. Yes. We are to love Christ, but we do not love him the same way that we love anyone else. He is different. He is Lord and God and we are to bow before him.

We shall continue our study tomorrow.

Jesus Is The Image

Hello everyone. We’re back here at Deeper Waters ready to dive into the ocean of Scripture and continue our study of the doctrine of the Trinity. We’re in the New Testament now and we’ve reached the book of 2 Corinthians. We’re going to be reading verse 1-6 of the fourth chapter tonight, with a special emphasis on verse 4:

1Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart. 2Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God. 3And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. 4The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 5For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. 6For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.

Paul is here speaking about his ministry and how he is straight-forward in what he is doing. He has no need of deceit as he does his evangelism. This is contrast to the false apostles that he is dealing with in this letter who are quite deceptive and seeking to directly cause division in the church.

He has been about the work of truth and if someone doesn’t understand the work, it is not because Paul is hiding what he’s teaching, but because of the hardness of their hearts. Part of this is attributed to the devil who is blinding the hearts of unbelievers and putting a veil over them to hide the true light, a possible reference to John 1:4?

Paul calls Jesus here the image of God. It could be Paul is having in mind the apocryphal work of the Wisdom of Solomon which says of Wisdom in 7:26:

26: For she is the brightness of the everlasting light, the unspotted mirror of the power of God, and the image of his goodness.

How long does one have an image with them? As long as someone is there, they have an image. The image of God is just as eternal as he is. Christ is that image in that he alone perfectly shows the nature of God, but yet, we are made in that image, which I think is important in understanding what it means for Christ to become human.

Wisdom is seen as the goodness of God and earlier in 1 Cor. 1:24, we saw Jesus was the power of God and the wisdom of God both. It is a constant thread that seems to play throughout the gospel in that Jesus is constantly seen as being the attribtues of God. He is the Truth, Wisdom, power, etc.

Can we understand the Trinity entirely? No. We should seek to study it as much as we can and learn as we can about the doctrine, but we also have to realize that some aspects will be beyond our understanding. Yet this shouldn’t surprise us. Who would want a God that was entirely understandable by finite minds?

Let us live with the dictum of Augustine. Credo Ut Intelligum. I believe that I may understand. For now, we see in the Scriptures that Christ is the image of God and that we are made in that image and one day, we will conform to the moral character of that image. We will never be that image as we will never have ontological equality, but we will reflect him as far as we can as finite humans. Isn’t that good news?

The Lord Is The Spirit

Hello everyone. We’re continuing our Bible Study and going through the book of 2 Corinthians. Our goal has been for all of us to end up having a deeper knowledge of the doctrine of the Trinity. We’ve gone all the way up to this point and we will continue until we finish the book of Revelation as well as some final pointers afterwards. Tonight, we’re going  to be in chapter 3 of 2 Corinthians. We will read verses 12-18, with an emphasis on verses 17-18:

12Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold. 13We are not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face to keep the Israelites from gazing at it while the radiance was fading away. 14But their minds were made dull, for to this day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read. It has not been removed, because only in Christ is it taken away. 15Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts. 16But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 17Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

Paul is in this passage contrasting the old covenant with the new covenant. The Old Testament system was Moses and the New Testament system is Christ. Christ is the one who takes away the veil, which could also be a reference in the Pauline writings to the destruction of the veil of the temple at the crucifixion of Christ. When that veil was removed, the way to God was opened for all in the new covenant. It is not Moses who is our mediator, but it is Christ.

In the Old Testament system, the Law was the way God interacted with his people. In the New Testament system, it is the Spirit. In the new revelation then, when God interacts with us, he does so through his Spirit. In this way, the Lord is the Spirit.

Now we have to be careful in this case. After all, are we going to say that this is a one-to-one identification? Isn’t “Lord” the way that Paul usually speaks of Christ and is he here saying that Jesus is the Holy Spirit, which would be modalism?

As we have said with Paul referring to Christ as God, it is not his usual one, but that does not mean he must do so exclusively. Throughout this passage, the Lord has referred to the Father. Paul has simply used Christ to refer to Jesus.

However, in saying such, Paul is ascribing a high role to the Spirit. The Spirit can be seen as God making himself manifest to us. Now how this works out will be something for charismatics and non-charismatics to work out amongst themselves. God’s presence has often been seen in the Spirit, such as in the Shekinah glory in the temple.  Now, that presence has come to be with us in the Spirit. This doesn’t mean that the Father or the Son are the Spirit in a one-to-one way, but that since the Spirit bears the full nature of God, we can say that God is with us by the Holy Spirit.

We shall continue our study tomorrow.

His Promises Are Sure

Hello everyone. Tonight, we’re starting the book of 2 Corinthians in our study of the doctrine of the Trinity. We’ve been going through the Pauline epistles after all which is a fascinating part of Scripture to go through. We’re going to be looking at a passage that isn’t overtly Trinitarian, but is interesting for all three persons of the Trinity are mentioned. We’re looking at 2 Corinthians 1:18-22:

18But as surely as God is faithful, our message to you is not “Yes” and “No.” 19For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by me and Silas[b] and Timothy, was not “Yes” and “No,” but in him it has always been “Yes.” 20For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God. 21Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, 22set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.

Paul is talking about his change of plans in this passage and how they have been in a flux lately. However, he decides to use this opportunity to move into ministry. (Quite a move. I recall someone telling me I could start a philosophical conversation if they brought up dental floss, which when they did, well….) Paul is always on the eye for a chance to evangelize.

Paul tells the Corinthians however that God is always faithful and his plans never change for they are all fulfilled in Christ and Christ does not change. This should tell us about the nature of Christ in the mind of Paul, something that we will examine more when we get to a relevant passage in the book of Hebrews.

It’s also important that Christ is seen as the fulfillment of the promises of Israel. Are we to think that God put everything on a mere man? That all that he does relies on what one person did who was just a man? Especially due to all the glory that this one gets who would be just a man.

This Amen to what has been done is spoken to the glory of God. The acceptance of Christ in the life of the Christian is that which brings glory to God. It is because of God that we can rely on Christ and it is through God that we stand firmly secure.

Of course, Paul does bring in the Holy Spirit. The Spirit is the one through whom we are sealed. It is a Trinitarian relationship going on. We are to stand firm in Christ. Once we do that, God puts his authority behind that pledge. It is because of the vindication of Christ in the resurrection that the pledge is fulfilled.  Once that is done, we are sealed in the Holy Spirit. All three persons of the Trinity work when we come to the covenant and acknowledge our need for salvation.

This is another example of a Trinitarian passage. They show up in Paul often. We’re not hitting all of them, but I figured we should do this one tonight. We shall continue going through this book more tomorrow.

Coming and Ending

Hello everyone. We’re continuing our study through the Bible on the Trinity and tonight, we’re going to finish up the book of 1 Corinthians and note how Paul finishes up this book. In the last few verses, Paul refers to Christ several times in quite strong language. Rather than just merely type about it, let’s go to the text and then comment on it. Our text will be 1 Cor. 16:22-24.

22If anyone does not love the Lord—a curse be on him. Come, O Lord!

23The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you.

24My love to all of you in Christ Jesus. Amen.

Let’s begin with the first one. For Paul, all who are Christians are to love the Lord. If not, they will be anathema, which we will see is a play on words. When Paul speaks of a curse in Galatians, he is referring to the curse of death. Could he be saying the same thing here? Could he be stating that if one is not in the Lord then they are cut off from life itself? (And I mean it in a qualitative sense. I do not hold to the idea of annihiliation.)

The next verse speaks of the coming of the Lord with the word “maranatha.” Hence, we have “anathema maranatha.” Whereas some were to be cursed for not being in right relation to Jesus, others were blessed and were in fact looking forward to the coming of the Lord. The terminology used here is not to be ignored as the language itself speaks of deity, but could there be something more?

Yes! Now I’m not going to go into eschatology here as I don’t even go into my own eschatological stance, but the biblical writers of old were always looking for the day of YHWH. This was the day when YHWH would come and defeat his enemies. It was an act of deity in judging a nation that had gone against him.

Paul is using similar terminology here and is instead saying that he is looking forward to the coming of the Lord Jesus. The coming of Jesus in the New Testament is to be compared to the coming of YHWH in the Old Testament. When we go through the Old Testament and see passages where the coming of YHWH is taught, we need to consider that in the time of the New Testament, that early Christians used such terminology to speak of the coming of Jesus.

Paul closes with the love being in Christ Jesus. It is noteworthy that also in the Old Testament that believers were all joined together under the covenant of YHWH. In the New Testament, Paul doesn’t hesitate to apply the same sort of idea to Jesus. There is no mention of God here, which does not mean that Paul is disrespecting him, but rather showing the high view that Paul has of Jesus in that the love of Jesus is the love of God and being in right relation with Jesus is being in right relation with YHWH. In fact, Jesus is the last word that Paul writes in this epistle. Paul wanted to end on the best note and he did. He has spoken of a curse on those who deny the Lord, the looking for the coming of the Lord, the fellowship of believers in the Lord, and then the name of the Lord is his last word. Could Paul have been telling what the belief was about Jesus in the early church perchance?

Tomorrow, we shall begin the book of 2 Corinthians.

The Son Will Be Subject?

Hello everyone. I hope everyone has had a good Saturday night and if you’re reading this at another time, I hope things have gone well for you whatever day it was. We had a good visit with a Jehovah’s Witness today on the question of what happens when we die. Quite good. Do pray for him as I think the light is beginning to dawn and pray for us that we will have the right words of wisdom to say.

Tonight, we’re going to continue our Trinity study by going to 1 Cor. 15. This is going to be again looking at one of the supposed anti-Trinitarian passages. (No passage is anti-Trinitarian after all.) We’re going to go from verse 20-28, but we want to emphasize 28. I wish for all of you to see the surrounding context.

20But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. 22For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. 23But each in his own turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him. 24Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. 25For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. 26The last enemy to be destroyed is death. 27For he “has put everything under his feet.” Now when it says that “everything” has been put under him, it is clear that this does not include God himself, who put everything under Christ. 28When he has done this, then the Son himself will be made subject to him who put everything under him, so that God may be all in all.

Then Son himself will be made subject? Leon Morris’s commentary on 1 Corinthians says that this presents a difficulty, for it seems that one person of the Trinity is inferior to another. I have a great respect for Morris as a commentator and NT scholar, but I just think he’s wrong here. Perchance he means an apparent difficulty rather than an actual one. If so, then we have no problem.

First, we’ve noted several times that submission of person does not mean inferiority of nature. We’ve already had the Son submit in the act of the incarnation. Since that has happened, why should any other submission be a problem?

However, I note that there is a problem for the Arian from the text itself. Then the Son will be made subject. Then. What does that say about the Son now? Paul is speaking of this as something unsual in fact. If the thought was that the Son was always lower than the Father by nature, then we shouldn’t have any surprise at all at this passage. There would even be no need to mention it. It would be understood. Paul makes it a point.

What is his point? His point is that this is the kingdom of Christ we’re talking about and Christ is going to present that to the Father. Some theologians have said the creation was a gift from the Father to the Son. If that’s the case, we could say that this is the Son giving the new creation to the Father. It would be like the parable of the talents where one who had the gift came back with more. That’s speculation of course, but it’s something to think about.

And what would be the point of this? That God would be all in all. In other words, that the Father would be supreme. Mankind and the rest of creation fell away. This is going to be their restoration. This is going to be their glory. The Son will himself submit, but he will not lose his nature. This passage says nothing about the nature of the Son, only that he submits. We’ve already seen that that is not a problem.

We shall continue our study tomorrow.