Saturday, January 12, 2019

Unitarian reductio ad absurdam

By Christian apologist Vladimir Šušić, contributor to


  1. Makes as much sense as arguments I've seen *for* unitarianism. Which is, I gather, the point.

  2. I checked this verse out in the different Bible versions.

    In KJV it says "and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ." Was this before the Granville Sharps rule made it plain that the "Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ" was actually a single construction? A unitary definition--- applying to Jesus who is YHWH .

    The Unitarians would try to wiggle out by not trusting this scholarship.

    The bible version in the post seem to me to be the NIV which some fundamentalist do not trust.

    1. The KJV appears off here, disrupting the flow of the text, even reintroducing theos where it is unwarranted, ironically (given the KJV Only advocates' charge against modern translations) obscuring a clear testimony to the deity of Christ, whereas the Granville Sharp rule allows for the natural flow of the text.

      In his The King James Only Controversay, White says, 'However, the modern texts contain a very clear testimony to the deity of Christ, for the term translated *Master* by the NASB is also translated *Sovereign* by the NIV in the same passage. This is a very strong Greek term... It can be used of human masters but is also used of God as Master. Note Acts 4:24 (NIV)... Jude tells us there is only one "Sovereign Lord," Jesus Christ... But the KJV's rendering obscures this by following inferior manuscripts...' (pp. 260-261)

    2. *(emphases original)

    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. Here's an interesting excerpt from the NET Bible:

    "tc ‡ Some translations take ἅπαξ (hapax) with the following clause (thus, “[Jesus,] having saved the people once for all”). Such a translation presupposes that ἅπαξ is a part of the ὅτι (hoti) clause. The reading of NA, πάντα ὅτι [ὁ] κύριος ἅπαξ (panta hoti [ho] kurios hapax), suggests this interpretation (though with “Lord” instead of “Jesus”). This particle is found before λαόν (laon) in the ὅτι clause in א C* Ψ 630 1241 1243 1505 1739 1846 1881 pc co. But ἅπαξ is found before the ὅτι clause in most witnesses, including several important ones (P A B C 33 81 623 2344 M vg). What seems best able to explain the various placements of the adverb is that scribes were uncomfortable with ἅπαξ referring to the readers’ knowledge, feeling it was more appropriate to the theological significance of “saved” (σώσας, sōsas).

    sn The construction our Master and Lord, Jesus Christ in v. 4 follows Granville Sharp’s rule (see note on Lord). The construction strongly implies the deity of Christ. This is followed by a statement that Jesus was involved in the salvation (and later judgment) of the Hebrews. He is thus to be identified with the Lord God, Yahweh. Verse 5, then, simply fleshes out what is implicit in v. 4.

    tc ‡ The reading ᾿Ιησοῦς (Iēsous, “Jesus”) is deemed too hard by several scholars, since it involves the notion of Jesus acting in the early history of the nation Israel. However, not only does this reading enjoy the strongest support from a variety of early witnesses (e.g., A B 33 81 1241 1739 1881 2344 pc vg co Or), but the plethora of variants demonstrate that scribes were uncomfortable with it, for they seemed to exchange κύριος (kurios, “Lord”) or θεός (theos, “God”) for ᾿Ιησοῦς(though P has the intriguing reading θεὸς Χριστός [theos Christos, “God Christ”] for ᾿Ιησοῦς). In addition to the evidence supplied in NA for this reading, note also {88 322 323 424 665 915 2298 eth Cyr Hier Bede}. As difficult as the reading ᾿Ιησοῦςis, in light of v. 4 and in light of the progress of revelation (Jude being one of the last books in the NT to be composed), it is wholly appropriate."

  4. The objection to textual variants in Jude 4 makes no difference to the argument because that's about whether "God" is the original reading. But the reductio doesn't hang on the presence or absence of "God", but "only". Makes no difference to your reductio whether it's only Lord or only Lord God because it would be absurd to infer that if Jesus is the only Lord, then the Father isn't the Lord. So thereductio is independent of the textual variants. Moreover, your reductio is based on the superior reading. Only a KVJ-onlyist would take issue. Who cares? And the argument works just as well on the Textus Receptus reading. So it's a win/win for Vlad. Tuggy tried to deflect the argument with an off-the-cuff observation. He was winging it, and his observation does nothing to defuse the reductio.

    1. I agree that the reductio is sound given the superior reading. I do not agree that it is as tight on a TR reading. As you note, the reductio depends on the 'only' referring to Jesus. The KJV has the 'only' referring to the Father, differentiating 'the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.'

      Of course, Tuggy and the Unitarian crew would have to rely on inferior manuscripts to try to escape the reductio's force. And so there is no good escape. The Unitarian is trapped. Jesus is clearly the object in focus, and the Unitarian must either abandon Unitarianism or switch their worship to God the Son while simultaneously demoting the Father. What a turn of events!

    2. Actually it is super tight even in the TR. I explained why elsewhere:

      That’s not all. Jude even went as far as to expressly call Christ our only Sovereign God and Lord!

      “For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the ONLY Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ (ton monon despoten Theon kai Kyrion hemon ‘Iesoun Christon).” Jude 1:4

      The sentence in Greek is what is typically called a Granville Sharp construction, more specifically it fits within Sharp’s first rule of the use of the definite article (“the”) in New Testament Greek. According to this rule, when you have two or more personal nouns in the singular case, which are not proper names, and which happen to be connected by the Greek conjunction kai (“and”), with the definite article appearing only before the first noun, then they all refer to the same Person. This is precisely what we have here in Jude.

      Therefore, the Greek construction employed here essentially means that Jude described the risen Christ as our only Sovereign (despotes) God and Lord, which is why the following translations render the text the way do:

      “… and our only Master, God, and Lord — Jesus Christ — denying,” Young’s Literal Translation (YLT)

      “… our only Master, God, and Lord, Jesus Christ.” World English Bible (WEB)

    3. Thanks Sam. Where I see the TR obscuring the construction is its reintroducing of theos where it is not warranted by the superior readings (White, p.261 footnote, who on p.260 also acknowledges that most would feel 'Lord God' here refers to the Father, a view that is reflected in many relevant commentaries), and its use of 'Lord' (despotes - which certainly can be a legitimate rendering of despotes) and *not* 'Sovereign' or 'Master' if it is obviously referring to Jesus only, whom it happily renders 'Lord' (kyrios) immediately following. Why the double insertion of 'Lord' when it is not demanded by the Greek and if it's referring only to Christ?

      I'm not saying you're wrong, Sam. What I am saying is the TR at the very least obscures the passage.