Is the Trinity dogma? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.
In this chapter, we’re again going to not bother dealing with the number of times Buzzard repeats the same Shema and Unitarian arguments ad nauseum. Of course, had he eliminated them, this book would be considerably shorter, thus part of my great regret he didn’t. At any rate, in this chapter, Buzzard wants to pit biblical fact against dogma. That’s fine, but I contend the dogma is only on one side.
So at one point, he cites Karen Armstrong on the Trinity saying the makers of the dogma did not intend for the doctrine to be subjected to reasoned analysis.
It’s hard to believe anyone claiming to be taken seriously on church history could think such a thing. I don’t know what got Armstrong to think such a thing if she is being represented accurately and I don’t know why Buzzard would even believe such a thing. These guys were analyzing every single bit of their theology, but their doctrine of God was one they were going to be careless about?
He also says Gregory of Nazianzus considered three men ought to be one since they shared a common humanity. Unfortunately, this is not quoted at all. It’s my understanding that Gregory was asking why that wouldn’t be the case and was responding to that.
He barely touches Matthew 28:19 and 2 Cor. 13:14 just saying that this doesn’t mean the three are one God. On their own? No. In connection with all the other data we have? They certainly help the case. Buzzard has nothing to say about the Matthew reference referring to the singular name of three different persons.
He also says the word God never refers to all three persons. In the Old Testament, I think this would be far more likely. However, with the New Testament, I think the term God is normally referred to the Father and Lord refers to Jesus. There are exceptions, of course, but this seems to be the general principle. If anything, that God has to be given the explanation of, the Father, regularly shows that some differentiation is going on.
Romans 9:5 and 1 John 5:20 are both mentioned, but they are not interacted with. Instead, right after that, lo and behold, Buzzard references the Shema. It’s getting to the point where Buzzard pointing to the Shema is like Mormons pointing to their testimony relentlessly.
He says that for Jesus to say He was God while presenting His Father as God would lead the people to think there were two Gods. I agree with this. Hence, I think if the Trinity is to be revealed correctly, it has to be done slowly and cautiously. Unfortunately, Buzzard never goes down this route.
Buzzard also says the same thing about if Jesus had said “I am God.” However, he says that Jesus’s dependence on God doesn’t make sense. What would He prefer Jesus to say? “I don’t need the Father for anything. I can do whatever I want!” We certainly wouldn’t have a Trinity then.
Buzzard says Christian Theology speaks of God as He and not it, but does the Trinity consider God to be a person? He references Lewis in Christian Reflections saying that Christianity does not believe God to be a person but a Trinity of persons. Lewis says this saying that it’s the same way a cube is not the same as a square. This does not mean that one cannot use singular pronouns when speaking of God though. Buzzard gives no reason to think we can’t.
He also says that the term Echad used in the Shema refers to a one. Yes, but the word echad also refers to a unity one, just as the man and woman become one flesh, even there are definitely two bodies. He also refers to N.T. Wright and the Christianization of the Shema in 1 Cor. 8:4-6. Buzzard doesn’t reply to the arguments but if anything, pits Paul against Jesus.
This is a quite strange path. Are we going to look at Scripture and say what Jesus says is more valid than Paul if we think all of it is God-breathed? If there is no contradiction, then Paul will fully agree with Jesus. Is this what it takes to avoid the Trinity?
He says something about Psalm 110:1, but that’s largely spoken of in a later chapter.
He returns to Wright and the Shema in 1 Cor. 8 but instead of dealing with Wright’s argument, goes to his talking point again and says that Paul sees God as one person in 1 Tim. 2:5 and in Gal. 3:20. Neither of these say God is one person and he even adds in the word person in Gal. 3:20.
He then returns to Wright and says God and Jesus are not Lord in the same sense. Amusingly, he accuses Wright of begging the question, despite how many times Buzzard trumpets the Shema. If we go with Buzzard, then if there is one Lord, then the Father cannot be Lord. Does Buzzard want to go that route? When he gets to Bauckham saying the same thing, Buzzard says this wouldn’t be done since it would violate the creed and adding a person to the Godhead was unthinkable.
But keep in mind, Wright is the one begging the question.
So once again, Buzzard has pretty much one argument consistently. It doesn’t work no matter how many times he repeats it.
(And I affirm the virgin birth)