Thursday, May 17, 2018

Richard Dawkins comes to call


  1. I'm not sure where to comment this, but I have a few questions:

  2. Let me know if you've received the comment.

  3. Alex, the OT seems to teach that there are at least two persons with the name YHVH/Yaweh/Yehovah. There are so many passages that suggest this that the late Jewish scholar Alan F. Segal wrote a (now famous) book titled Two Power in Heaven that exposes the fact that for a time it was considered within Jewish orthodoxy to believe in two Yaweh's (a greater and lesser one). A well known OT example Genesis 19:24:

    "Then the LORD rained brimstone and fire on Sodom and Gomorrah, from the LORD out of the heavens."- Gen. 19:24

    In the passage there seems to be a YHVH on earth, and another one in heaven.

    The OT also uses plural nouns to refer to God. As Anthony Rogers points out in one of his articles: "Elohim is used thousands of times for “God”; Adonai is used hundreds of times for “Lord”; both of these words are plural nouns in Hebrew."

    As he pointed out in another article: "When all is said and done, the Old Testament uses plural nouns, pronouns, verbs, adverbs and adjectives for God." [Examples will be given later below]

    When it comes to the NT, it seems that the writers wanted to distinguish between the persons of the Trinity and so therefore primarily used "God" to refer to the Father and "Lord" to refer to the Son. While it's not surprising that the Father is sometimes called Lord, the Son is also called God in ways one wouldn't expect were Unitarianism true [see for example my blog on Rom. 9:5]. In the OT, the term "elohim" could refer to pagan gods both in the singular and plural [the word technically being plural], or to other supernatural beings that actually do exist [again singular or plural]. Interestingly, were Unitarianism true, one could reasonably expect the NT to only refer to the Son as "God" in a lower sense in keeping with OT usage. Yet, it appears that Jewish monotheism developed at that point that when communicating in Greek, Jews often reversed the usage so that the term God most often referred to the true God, and the term Lord as a more flexible term. The latter use of "Lord" in the NT for Jesus would be consistent with Unitarianism if it weren't for the fact that the NT also often connects the use of Lord/kurios for Jesus with OT passages referring to YHVH [translated kurios in the LXX]. I've listed many of those passages in my blog HERE.

    1. Earlier I said I'd post examples of plural nouns, plural pronouns, plural verbs, plural adverbs, and plural adjectives for God. Here's an excerpt from Nick Norelli in his book The Defense of an Essential: A Believer’s Handbook for Defending the Trinity: Nick wrote:

      1. Plural Verbs

      o Genesis 20:13
      English Translation: God caused me to wander
      Hebrew: ה התתְעוו ו אלתהים, א אלֹל ה היםם
      Literally: They caused me to wander

      o Genesis 35:7
      English Translation: God appeared
      Hebrew: נהגתְלֹו ו א אלֹלָיםו לָ ה א אלֹל ה היםם
      Literally: They appeared

      o 2Samuel 7:23
      English Translation: God went
      Hebrew: לָ הלֹתְכוו ו -א א אלֹל ה היםם
      Literally: They went

      o Psalms 58:12
      English Translation: God that judges
      Hebrew: א אלֹל ה היםם ששלפתְ ה טיםם
      Literally: Gods that judge

      2. Plural Adjectives

      o Deuteronomy 5:26
      English Translation: living God
      Hebrew: א אלֹל ה היםם ח חים ה יםום
      Literally: Living Gods8

      o Joshua 24:19
      English Translation: holy God
      Hebrew: א אלֹל ה היםם תְ קדֹלששהיםם
      Literally: Holy Gods

      3. Plural Nouns

      o Ecclesiastes 12:1
      English Translation: thy Creator
      Hebrew: בוולרתְ אֶ איםךלָ
      Literally: Creators

      o Isaiah 54:5
      English Translation: For thy Maker is thy husband
      Hebrew: בל ע עולֹחיִךתְ עולששחיִךתְ
      Literally: Makers, Husbands9

      o Malachi 1:6
      English Translation: Master
      Hebrew: ע אדֹולנהיםם
      Literally: Masters10

      o Daniel 7:18
      English Translation: Most High
      Hebrew: אֶ עולֹתְיםולנהיםן
      Literally: Most High Ones

      8 See also 1Samuel 17:26, 36 & Jeremiah 10:10, 23:36 for “living Gods”
      9 See also Psalm 149:2 for “Makers”
      10 Nearly every occurrence of the noun “Lord” ( ע אדֹולנהים ) in reference to God appears in the plural form.

      I'm not saying the NT never uses "God" to refer to all three persons of the Trinity. I just can't think of a clear case where it does. But the OT does suggest that it does do so given some of the evidence above and some I've listed in my blog HERE. That the NT doesn't clearly do so might [as I've alluded to above] be due to the ostensible fact that with the fuller revelation of the multi-personality of God, the NT church made it a practice to distinguish between the Father and Son so that there was a preference to usually distinguish between Father and Son, AND to do so using the term God primarily for the Father and the term Lord for the Son. In which case, we'd be hard pressed to find a clear example in the NT where God/theos refers more than one, or all three persons of the Trinity. It's interesting though that Matt. 28:19 seems to include in "The Name" [ha shem/Hashem/HaShem] all three persons. Note how Paul seems to include both the Father and Son in an allusion to the Shema in 1 Cor. 8:6. Note too how the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are many times mentioned together in various triadic passages in the NT [and OT].

    2. I'll check out your blog. I will have to think about the things that you said. I find it hard to believe that those those plural words, which I think can be used of a singular person too, were intended by God to refer to a collective group of persons if that way of speaking about him was not carried into the New Testament.