Saturday, January 08, 2005


This is not a religious blog -- with the fact that I am an atheist being no small part of the reason for that. I generally confine my comments on religion to profound reverence for our Christian heritage and profound dislike of Islam and all its works. I did however let my old theological interests off the leash long enough recently to post a few derisive comments about the doctrine of the holy Trinity ("So the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Ghost is God. And yet they are not three Gods, but one God" in the Athanasian formulation). Naturally, I got a bit of return-fire over that. So for those who are interested, a few notes follow by way of a rejoinder:

Maverick Philosopher mentions the trinitarians' favourite text: John 1:1 "And the Word was God". Trinitarians say that John was clearly referring to Jesus in saying that but in so doing they overlook the very point John was making: That Jesus should be seen not only as a person but as a message of enlightenment from God. So it was the message or truth that was divine and eternal rather than the person. If John had meant to say "Christ", he would have. And it actually gets worse for the trinitarians if we concede that John was referring there simply to Christ. Because in the original Greek of the NT, the supreme being is always referred to as "ho Theos" (THE God). And in John 1:1, John specifically calls the Word "theos" (meaning "divine") rather than "ho Theos". So John is specifically saying that the Word was NOT the supreme being. So there is NO scriptural basis for the trinity doctrine.

{A detour here for Greek grammarians: It may be contended that John used the anarthrous form of "theos" purely because it was a predicate. It is true that there is some usage to that effect: Probably a lazy usage where the meaning is otherwise clear. But the question is: Was it John's usage? No. We see just a little later in the same text a predicative usage WITH the article: "kai ee zoe een to phos".}

The remaining point that a couple of people have made is that if Christ is not God what is he? I would have thought that was obvious -- one of the many people who have allegedly gone to Heaven.

And the comment on Northwestern Winds is just puzzling. He quotes Paul to say that you have to believe in the resurrection to be a Christian and seems to think that implies that you have to believe Christ is God. I would have thought it implied the exact opposite! Or was God dead for three days?

[Just a fun footnote: I have crazy interests for an atheist so I thought I might list the books I keep within arm's reach on my desk while I am blogging: Strong's Exhaustive Concordance to the Bible; The Penguin Australian encyclopaedia; The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge; The Macquarie [Australian] Dictionary; Brewer's Politics; The King James Bible; an Italian/English dictionary; a French/English dictionary; a Spanish/English dictionary; a German/English dictionary; The Koran; The American State papers including the Federalist; an American desk encyclopedia; Pears Cyclopaedia; a dictionary of American slang; the poems and songs of Robert Burns; Mein Kampf; a Greek New Testament and the Anglican Book of Common Prayer with Hymns Ancient and Modern. So now you know what I think I often need to know more about!]


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