Here's a followup to my previous post:
Anti-Trinitarian apostate Dale Tuggy attempted to respond to this post:
The only problem with this argument is that it doesn't actually imply or even suggest the deity of Jesus.
Except that it does.
Of course, he *is* a prophet. (Deuteronomy 18:15)
Of course, that's equivocal. In typology, the antitype isn't just more of the same.
A prophet is a messenger. Jesus is the message.
We do "believe in" prophets - that is just to trust them. There's nothing idolatrous about such trust. We're trusting them to inform us about the God who (allegedly) sent them; we may thus entrust them with our very lives, our eternal destinies. It is trust in the man, and not only in what he says. Just so with Jesus. He too is a messenger from God. But it doesn't follow that he's "just" a messenger; he's the Messiah too, with all that implies.
i) Dale is disregarding a basic conceptual distinction. There's a difference between believing X and believing in X. That doesn't even depend on the preposition. In idiomatic English, that's a convent way of elucidating the distinction, but it doesn't require that verbal formula.
To believe a speaker simply means you grant the truth of what he said. To believe in someone shifts the emphasis from what was spoken to the speaker himself. From what was said to who said it.
ii) What the Messiahship of Jesus implies for a unitarian is very mundane.
Indeed, Jesus is a proper object of faith, and even of prayer in the NT ("calling upon the name of the Lord").
"Lord," where Kurios is a traditional rendering for Yahweh. Throughout the OT, moreover, the concept of calling on the name of the Lord means calling on Yahweh for deliverance.
He couldn't serve as the mediator between God and us, if we couldn't talk/pray to him. (1 Timothy 2:5)
John 14:1 - Yes, Jesus demands our absolute trust, like the trust we place in God. Of course, we trust God *by* trusting in the one he sent. Note his "also" there. If you trust in God, you haven't automatically trusted in Jesus - they're distinct. Some of his Jewish opponents thought they could do the first without doing the second; but since God sent, empowered, and confirmed the ministry of Jesus, rejecting Jesus was rejecting the one who sent him. (John 13:20)
i) I've been debating Dale since 2011, and he never updates his argument. He constantly recycles the same debunked arguments. He's the John Loftus of unitarians.
In NT usage, theos sometimes functions as a proper noun (i.e. a designation for a particular individual, the Father) and sometimes functions a common noun (denoting a member of a kind or class). Dale constantly treats NT references to the Father, where "God" is a proper name, as if that's equivalent to a common noun–distinguishing one kind of being from a different kind of being, as if "God" and "Jesus" belong to two different classes. But terminology alone doesn't justify his claim. Not to mention that the NT sometimes uses the same terminology for both.
How are we to account for Dale's persistent confusion? Is he too dimwitted to even absorb that distinction? Does he privately grasp the distinction, but is too unethical to acknowledge it in public because that would impede his efforts as a propagandist? Or does his bondage to diabolical falsehood create an intellectual impediment which prevents him from registering that distinction?
ii) Apropos (i), since Father and Son are different persons, NT writers naturally employ different designations for each, more so when discussing them together. In Johannine usage, this is typically "Father"/"Son" language. In Paul, this is typically "God"/"Lord" language. But all these designations are divine designations.
iii) Jesus isn't a prophet come from God. Rather, Jesus is the coming of God. Both events are revelatory of God. In that respect, both events are prophetic. A prophet reveals God indirectly, whereas Jesus reveals God directly. It's like the difference between meeting a king's emissary and meeting a king face-to-face.
iv) A prophet is essentially a figure of the past. He has a temporary and instrumental role to play. Once he delivers the message, he served his purpose.
Throughout the NT, by contrast, Jesus is a past, present, and future object of faith and devotion. A perpetual object of faith and devotion. It's not confined to something he said or did in the past. It's not even limited to something he has yet to do. Rather, it's about something he is, and always will be. Just like how we relate to God–because that's what he is.
Prophets and apostles don't have that future-oriented identity.
v) Throughout the Gospels, Jesus commands and demands faith in himself. And that feature continues throughout the NT.
You don't have anything comparable with respect to apostles. That's because the faith in view is faith in God.
vi) In Jn 14:1, "God" is shorthand for the Father. In the Fourth Gospel and 1 John, you have a Father God/Son of God relation. Sometimes the full titles are used, but sometimes abbreviated expressions are used, since the reader is expected to know by now who they denote. But all these variant designations are used to denote a deity or divinity.
vii) The NT treats the Father as God, as well as Jesus. At the same time, the NT distinguishes the two. The NT doesn't attempt to harmonize these classifications.
viii) The Trinity means God is one in one respect, but three in a different respect. At that level there is no contradiction, not even a prima facie contradiction, inasmuch as that formulation denies that God is one and three in the same respect.
Problems occur when we frame the issue more strictly than Scripture does. Using a more exacting category or definition of "one" than Scripture does.
It's sufficient for a Christian to say God is "one" is whatever respect Scripture intends by that. We don't need to begin with an a priori definition which we impose on Scripture.
If Scripture reveals that there is only one true God, even though the Father, Son, and Spirit are distinct, yet each is fully divine, then God is "one" in whatever sense is necessary to accommodate all the facts. There's no requirement that our formulation be more precise than the revealed truths which sum the Trinity.
As far as a philosophical definition goes, my preferred model symmetry. There are types of symmetries where you can put two (or more) distinct (abstract) objects in a relation of one-to-one correspondence.
One-to-one correspondence is a typical way of unpacking identity. Yet these are distinct objects. For instance, one may be right-handed while the other may be left-handed. You can pair each element, yet these aren't interchangeable.
And because these are abstract, they can be distinct objects without being separate objects. They aren't differentiated by time and space.
Dale himself fudges on numerical identity in relation to personal identity, for he makes allowance for diachronic identity and counterfactual identity in reference to human persons. How can I be the same individual through time if I change over the course of time?
Likewise, his strictures create problems for counterfactual identity. What I might have done. But is that the same "me"?
But he refuses to accommodate the Biblical revelation of the Trinity.
Both a monkey and a child can manipulate a Rubik's Cube. But what's incomprehensible to a monkey is comprehensible to a child. What's incomprehensible to a child may be comprehensible to an adult. What's incomprehensible to the average adult may be comprehensible to a genius. What's incomprehensible to a genius may be comprehensible to an angel.