What about Nicea? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.
In this chapter, Buzzard looks at questions surrounding the Council of Nicea and the sort of Da Vinci Code claims. Thankfully, I can’t think of any place in the book where Buzzard uses the pagan copycat idea. Give credit where credit is due, but it’s a small credit considering how bad the book is.
Unfortunately, he uses Bart Ehrman a lot (Not giving the uninformed any idea of who he is.) of usage. He says Ehrman asks how could Jesus and God be God without there being two Gods? This is still the assumption of unipersonalism and the problem is treating God as a nature in one sense and treating God as a unipersonal person in another. When we say Jesus is God, we are using theological shorthand saying that Jesus has the full nature of God.
He does use Mark 13:32 with Jesus not knowing the day and hour of His return (I think it’s His coming to His throne, but it doesn’t matter). This is at least a substantial argument. In my thinking, Jesus takes on the limitations of knowledge for His ministry where He didn’t need to know the time of His coming.
He brings up the claim later that the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God, and yet there is one God. He declares this problem insoluble when again, it is simple. There are three persons that each have the nature of God.
Later he says:
The great ecumenical councils that formulated the old theology were the scene of unchristian antagonisms, and bitter strife and fightings that were never rivaled in the history of any other religion, and no religion of which history has a record was ever guilty of such cruel persecutions as Christianity, whose founder was the meek and lowly Jesus of Nazareth…
Yep. Those were far fiercer than the constant raiding of the Muslims up until the time of Charles Martel and than the Crusades. Thank goodness those Muslims with suicide bombers and raiding parties were at least not as violent as the Christians. Seriously. He makes the above claim in the book and I just can’t help but think he knows NOTHING of world history on religion.
He again brings up the idea that Jesus never said “I am God.” Buzzard constantly speaks out of both sides of his mouth. At one time, he will point out the confusion that would be brought about if Jesus said this. Then in the next point, he will say that He never said this. Then he will make the same earlier point again.
He also brings up Isaiah 44:24 saying that God created all things by Himself. Who was with Him? Good question. This is especially so since we see Jesus is with Him in John 1, Hebrews 1, 1 Cor. 8, and Col. 1. I’d also include Proverbs 8.
At a later point, he says that he is not assuming that monotheism = unitarianism. He says that, but he never makes an argument to the effect to establish that. He looks in-depth at Luke 1:35 and Psalm 110:1, but he never does any in-depth exegesis of the Shema, the main passage he wants to use.
He does say that Jesus said He and the Father are one in John 10:30, but prays that the disciples be one as well. Context as always determines meaning. The Jews there seemed to understand Him and as I have said, He was pointing out that if wicked people sarcastically can be called gods, how much more a right does He, the righteous one, have the right to be called the Son of God, which they understood to be deity.
On Jesus being tempted which shows up, see here.
The next quote I want to bring up is:
The falsehood that Jesus being called “lord proves that he is the One Lord God needs to be challenged and dismissed. Yes, there are some Old Testament “Yahweh verses” fulfilled by Jesus as Yahweh’s unique representative in the New Testament, but this no more makes Jesus identical in person with Yahweh, than the angel of the Lord is identical with the Lord God. The angel could bear the divine name without actually being God. “An agent is as his master’s person” is the well – established principle known to Judaism and so obviously true of Jesus in relation to God. Jesus spoke of the persecution of Christians as the persecution of himself ( Acts 9:4 ; 22:7 ; 26:14). This does not make Jesus and the Church identical.
No prophet ever spoke as if he were God Himself, but the Angel of the Lord certainly did and those who saw Him thought they were seeing God at least. Also, Jesus is not identical with the church, but there is something about saying the church is His body. It is true an agent can act on behalf of the person, but he is never understood to be the agent himself.
He does go to 1 Cor. 15:24-28 referencing James Dunn with the Son being subject to the Father, but notice this. Paul treats it as a change. Then the Son HImself will be subject. That is what the text says. What does that say about the Son now?
Something to think about….until next time.
(And I affirm the virgin birth)