Friday, January 11, 2019

A challenge to Jesus as God apologists!

Here's an example of Dale Tuggy's confused thinking. In one respect, Tuggy is laboring to lay a trap for Christians, but in another respect this is the level at which his mind operates.  

1. Jesus and God are two beings (i.e. they are numerically distinct).   Premise
2. God is divine (has the essential quality of divinity).  Premise
3. Jesus is divine (has the essential quality of divinity). Premise
4. If something has the essential quality divinity, it is a god.  Premise
5. Therefore, Jesus is a god. (3,4)
6. Therefore, God is a god. (2, 4)
7. Therefore, there are at least two gods. (1, 5, 6)

Several land mines in his syllogism:

Premise #1:

A. In one sense, Jesus and God are distinct because Jesus is human as well as divine.

B. But if, as a simplifying device, we bracket the humanity of Christ, I'd reword #1 as follows:

i) The Father and the Son are distinct


ii) The Son and the Trinity are distinct

iii) Also, I'm not sure that "beings" makes a necessary contribution. It's sufficient to say they are distinct. Don't say more than you have to.

Premise #4. I'd reword that as follows:

If something is divine (or has the essential quality of divinity), it is included in the Deity.

5. Therefore, the Son is included in the Deity

6. Therefore, the Father is included in the Deity

7. Therefore, the Deity includes at least two persons

That reformulation is consistent with the Trinity, and it eludes Dale's trap.

The point, of course, is to have a formulation that's flexible enough to accommodate the entire witness of Scripture regarding the nature of God. 

For instance, if we didn't have the revelation of the Trinity, it might be plausible to say that if X is divine, then X is "a god". But because we have the revelation of the Trinity, we know that formulation is defective. 


  1. Unitarians may believe that they have good arguments, but I don't find them convincing. Many questions can be asked to expose the absurdity of their own logic. For example, I ask: If the Lord Jesus Christ is only a created being, and He is the wisdom and power of God (1 Corinthians 1:24), then would that also mean that God had no wisdom and power prior to Him creating His Son (which is absurd in the highest degree)? Good exposure of anti-Trinitarian nonsense, Steve.

  2. Yesterday Dale Tuggy debated Michael Brown. I haven't heard it yet, but from some Facebook comments, it seems even some Trinitarians believe Dale won the debate. But that shouldn't be too surprising because Dale Tuggy is a philosopher and Michael Brown doesn't have philosophical training. Though, I would suspect that Dr. Brown made a good Scriptural case for the Trinity based on his previous debate with James White against two Unitarians [Anthony Buzzard and Joseph Goode]. Linked below:

    Part One

    Part Two

  3. It seems to me that if a Trinitarian who has as much philosophical training as Dale does doesn't eventually debate Dale in an equally visible and public format, then this debate with Dr. Brown will be used by Unitarians to promote their error among Trinitarian Christians for years to come. Even someone like a James White doesn't have the philosophical training to expose the errors and mistakes Dale Tuggy does.

    I think our Triablogger Steve has done great work in exposing nearly all of those errors and mistakes, but few will take the time to read those blogposts. That's even assuming they are aware of them. Since, Triablogue isn't as well known as it DEFINITELY SHOULD BE. :´^(

    1. There's at least one person on facebook who recorded portions of the debate (with his cell phone?), and in the first segment where Dr. Brown and Dr. Tuggy interact during cross examination, it seems Dr. Brown was able to hold his own.

  4. Replies
    1. Unfortunately, the audio is low. I'll wait to see if it's uploaded onto YouTube with subtitles.

  5. It is best to distinguish between the unitarians who believe:

    1. Jesus was a "mere man", a great teacher and prophet, but no ontological superiority

    2. and those that hold that Jesus is essentially a demi-god being (or archangel), albeit a created being, like the ancient Arians or modern-day Jehovah's Witnesses.

    But if we take the NT teaching as normative, how is the former position anything but laugh-out-loud absurd? For all of the fatal errors of the Arians in early church history, they were never so bonkers as to believe that that view was even plausibly open to them. If Jesus was not divine, and one in substance with the Father, he was at least "a god" through whom the world was made, was the Savior of the world, who demanded the fealty and trust of Believers. The pre-existent Son of God who was coming in the clouds to judge the nations.