DFW Theology & Apologetics Meetup Message Board › What is the basis of faith?

What is the basis of faith?

A former member
Post #: 25
Diane, To simplify my response, "Is a sick person repellent to a physician"?

I don't think that people should be repelled by sin within another person. On the contrary, we should be attracted to it, in a healthy sense, as a physician is attracted to healing. In the proper context, obviously.
A former member
Post #: 26
Scripture is what I was referring to.
In Hebrew for Old Testament, and in Greek for New Testament.

Don't forget Chaldean..

We occasionally break out the Strong's and look up words original definitions during our discussions.

Hebrew-Greek
­

Steve, I really like the way BlueLetterBible.com utilizes the concordance. You can look up any verse, in many many English translations, and see a side-by-side, word-for-word comparison of each Greek or Hebrew word, matched with the English phrase intended to represent it. It's great for being able to locate where the translators have added words (often in order to satisfy their own doctrinal beliefs).

A good example is John 3:16 ( click here to view the example) monogenes actually means "one of a kind". If you click on the Strong number, you can see definitions and any root words. Unfortunately, as you can see, even the definitions have been slanted toward doctrine in many cases (Scribes are at it again), but on the bright side, it also includes the unadulterated version.

Todd, this is what I was referring to ... just wanting to make a point that it's important to look past the English translations, because there may be some ulterior motives at play. These points become hugely relevant when discussing these issues with a Muslim, for example. In the context of Greek, John 3:16 can be argued to be acceptable to an Islamic thinker, while the English translation will be instantly rejected, and with it, the entire Gospel.

Do you see that I'm not 'casting stones'?
I'm attempting to force us all to not take the 'wide road' of popular opinion and accepted doctrine, and consider the 'narrow road', which is much more difficult.
I'm making a stand, because I believe that it's possible to take a hard look at what's there, and at the result may end some wars.
A former member
Post #: 76
Forgive the hijack, but you've piqued my curiosity:


Todd, this is what I was referring to ... just wanting to make a point that it's important to look past the English translations, because there may be some ulterior motives at play. These points become hugely relevant when discussing these issues with a Muslim, for example. In the context of Greek, John 3:16 can be argued to be acceptable to an Islamic thinker, while the English translation will be instantly rejected, and with it, the entire Gospel.

Okay, to make sure I'm not misunderstanding you, let me reiterate. Are you saying that the phrase "one of a kind" would make the gospel more palatable to a muslim? I'm not a student of greek, and am only a brand-new student of Islam, so I'm curious as to what the implications of "one of a kind" would be to a Muslim.
Todd H.
Hedgcoth
Group Organizer
Bedford, TX
Post #: 45
Hey Matthew…

Several quick points…

1. I agree with your point about the original biblical languages being more important than the English translation of those words. I regularly look at the original Greek when exegeting the New Testament (and sometimes the Old Testament in the case of the Septuagint). However, I think you’ve gone too far when you say that the English translators are “slanted toward doctrine” and have “ulterior motives.” As long as the translators render translations that are reasonable, there is no reason to assume that they have impure motives. I think “only son” or “only begotten son” is reasonable (as I will illustrate in later points).

2. I agree with you that “monogenes” literally means “one of a kind.” However, usage of that word or any word is not necessarily limited to its literal meaning. For example, the word “incredible” literally means “lacking credibility” or “unable to be believed.” If you hear a Christian say, “John MacArthur gave an incredible presentation of the gospel,” they almost certainly would not mean that John MacArthur cannot be believed when he preaches. I’m pretty sure the Christian scholar D. A. Carson included this practice of constraining the use of a compound word to the literal meaning of its parts in his book Exegetical Fallacies.

3. To illustrate how “monogenes” can legitimately be translated “only child” or “only begotten,” look at Luke 7:12, which says, “12 As he drew near to the gate of the town, behold, a man who had died was being carried out, the only son (monogenes) of his mother, and she was a widow, and a considerable crowd from the town was with her.” I assume that Luke was drawing attention to the destitution of this widow who was left with no males in her family to take care of her. I would say that translating the passage where it describes the dead man as “the one-of-a-kind son of his mother,” would make no sense in this context. The point is not that the dead son was a really special person; but that the dead son was the only son of his mother.

4. Personally, I would have no objection to translating “monogenes” in John 3:16 as “one of a kind” or “only begotten.” I think either would be accurate and not misleading. If I recall correctly, I think Abraham referred to Isaac as his “monogenes” son. Clearly, Isaac was not LITERALLY Abraham’s only son but the sense is that Isaac was unique and a gift from God. Again, “only begotten” would have to be a translation out of left field for us to conclude that English translators were trying to warp the meaning of the text for theological reasons.

5. I suspect I know where Leah is going in her point (and if I’m correct, I agree with her). You mentioned that it would be preferable to tell a Muslim that Jesus was the “one-of-a-kind” son of God. I agree with you that a Muslim might find this translation more palatable than hearing that Jesus is the “only begotten” son of God because that the “one-of-a-kind” translation can be interpreted in a way that is acceptable to the Muslim (i.e., that Jesus is not God the Son or God in human flesh). However, as the Muslim continues to read the New Testament, he will find that the Bible DOES teach that Jesus is God the Son (not just a special man). Therefore, your preferred translation of “monogenes” would only delay the inevitable confrontation between the New Testament theology and Muslim theology. The Muslim would reject the gospel sooner or later (unless he repents of his false beliefs about Jesus). If the Muslim did not reject the gospel because of the translation of this word, he would be doing so simply because the fact of Jesus’ divinity was obfuscated to some extent. Any way you slice it, the Muslim would be reacting to a false idea of the gospel that is acceptable to the Islamic thinker.

6. You’re not saying that Jesus is not God in human flesh, are you?

Just let me know if I’ve misunderstood or misstated your position on any of this stuff.

Thanks.

Todd
A former member
Post #: 27
Hey Matthew…

Several quick points…

1. I agree with your point about the original biblical languages being more important than the English translation of those words. I regularly look at the original Greek when exegeting the New Testament (and sometimes the Old Testament in the case of the Septuagint). However, I think you’ve gone too far when you say that the English translators are “slanted toward doctrine” and have “ulterior motives.” As long as the translators render translations that are reasonable, there is no reason to assume that they have impure motives. I think “only son” or “only begotten son” is reasonable (as I will illustrate in later points).

2. I agree with you that “monogenes” literally means “one of a kind.” However, usage of that word or any word is not necessarily limited to its literal meaning. For example, the word “incredible” literally means “lacking credibility” or “unable to be believed.” If you hear a Christian say, “John MacArthur gave an incredible presentation of the gospel,” they almost certainly would not mean that John MacArthur cannot be believed when he preaches. I’m pretty sure the Christian scholar D. A. Carson included this practice of constraining the use of a compound word to the literal meaning of its parts in his book Exegetical Fallacies.

3. To illustrate how “monogenes” can legitimately be translated “only child” or “only begotten,” look at Luke 7:12, which says, “12 As he drew near to the gate of the town, behold, a man who had died was being carried out, the only son (monogenes) of his mother, and she was a widow, and a considerable crowd from the town was with her.” I assume that Luke was drawing attention to the destitution of this widow who was left with no males in her family to take care of her. I would say that translating the passage where it describes the dead man as “the one-of-a-kind son of his mother,” would make no sense in this context. The point is not that the dead son was a really special person; but that the dead son was the only son of his mother.

4. Personally, I would have no objection to translating “monogenes” in John 3:16 as “one of a kind” or “only begotten.” I think either would be accurate and not misleading. If I recall correctly, I think Abraham referred to Isaac as his “monogenes” son. Clearly, Isaac was not LITERALLY Abraham’s only son but the sense is that Isaac was unique and a gift from God. Again, “only begotten” would have to be a translation out of left field for us to conclude that English translators were trying to warp the meaning of the text for theological reasons.

5. I suspect I know where Leah is going in her point (and if I’m correct, I agree with her). You mentioned that it would be preferable to tell a Muslim that Jesus was the “one-of-a-kind” son of God. I agree with you that a Muslim might find this translation more palatable than hearing that Jesus is the “only begotten” son of God because that the “one-of-a-kind” translation can be interpreted in a way that is acceptable to the Muslim (i.e., that Jesus is not God the Son or God in human flesh). However, as the Muslim continues to read the New Testament, he will find that the Bible DOES teach that Jesus is God the Son (not just a special man). Therefore, your preferred translation of “monogenes” would only delay the inevitable confrontation between the New Testament theology and Muslim theology. The Muslim would reject the gospel sooner or later (unless he repents of his false beliefs about Jesus). If the Muslim did not reject the gospel because of the translation of this word, he would be doing so simply because the fact of Jesus’ divinity was obfuscated to some extent. Any way you slice it, the Muslim would be reacting to a false idea of the gospel that is acceptable to the Islamic thinker.

6. You’re not saying that Jesus is not God in human flesh, are you?

Just let me know if I’ve misunderstood or misstated your position on any of this stuff.

Thanks.

Todd

First, the comparison of Greek to English is not accurate. English is an amalgamation of various languages, and has no defined structure for root words. The concept of roots and prefixes applies only in isolated cases.

I respect your point, but I don't see any direct correlation between 'begotten' and 'only'. The logic you presented would be the same as if I said that because Tom has only a blue car, and Jerry has only a blue car, that if Sam has only one car, presently, then it must be blue, because the previous two cases were blue. It just doesn't mean that at all. In fact, the word 'son' is also used for devoted disciples, pupils and apostles, as well as for sons, and none of them necessarily are begotten by their teachers (though they might be).

If huios (son) implies begotten, then in Luke 3:23-38, it says that Adam is the son of God.
Also, someone can have a single (monogenes) disciple/apostle (huios).
Like the word huios in Greek, in English, the word love has several meanings.
It's like if I say I love you, does it mean that I'm romantically attracted to you, just because I also would say that to my girlfriend or wife? Of course not, because the word has different connotations.

It's a good argument, but not conclusive. It would not stand up in a court, and would be considered circumstantial evidence.

Check out this lineage, if you think that translators don't alter words depending on what they want to have portrayed.

In the first fifteen lines, the same word is translated as 'begat'. Strong number G1080. Then when it comes to Jesus, the same word is used, but different translation 'was born'. Why on earth would the book begin by establishing the lineage *through his 'father' Joseph* ....begat, begat, begat, begat, begat, not begat? huh?

Matthew 1:16 (click here)

Also see here, that Jesus said that all must be born a second time, first of mother, and second of God.
(click here). This childhood of God is described as of water and spirit. Jesus also was baptized, and the Holy Spirit (also can be translated as Divine Decree) descended upon him at that time (click here), at which point, he was the Son of God.




A former member
Post #: 28
Todd, do you mean that God has a DNA strand that combined with Mary's DNA strand to form Jesus' DNA strand? This is what is Muslims (and Jews) find to be unfathomable. What's just as possible (if not more so) from the text is that God, through a miracle, interceded to cause Jesus to be born of Joseph and Mary's DNA before they had yet touched. This is why Jesus is still listed in Joseph's lineage, but in a very unique way...instead of saying that Joseph begat Jesus, it's said that of Joseph, Jesus was begotten, because God was the one causing the event, but Joseph was the source of the material. That explanation causes it to make sense to me.

To your point number 6, I feel that it's an incorrect characterization, yes. In the sense that God in spirit was permeating a flesh body, sure, but not a duplicate God, or a fragmented God...but that God existed throughout him and beyond him (after the point of baptism...otherwise, what was the point of baptism, and what descended to him as a dove, if already he was God?).

In John, chapter 1, for example, it says that the word became flesh (I'm sure someone would mention it at some point anyway :) ). This again is an example of divine decree. The phrase can be interpreted as "and the eternally written divine decree became manifest in flesh"...in the same way that if I say "My first born son will be named Isaiah"....then before my first born son is born, the decree exists. That doesn't mean that my son will be as old as me. Also true about when Jesus said "before Abraham was, I am"...he didn't say "before Abraham was, I was", because it was the decree for him to exist which existed, not himself...so his future self existed as absolute potential (because of the decision of God) in the past....just as Adam's future potential existed on days 1-5.

None of this changes whether Jesus is Messiah. None of it changes whether he is the first-born son of God. It's about details of the conception. Remember, he also called himself son of man. My explanation qualifies him to be literally son of man (in the flesh, but formed by God), and son of God (in the spirit).

By the way, I appreciate you going over this. I've seen the topic from some new and unique perspectives.
Todd H.
Hedgcoth
Group Organizer
Bedford, TX
Post #: 46
Hey Matt,

I'm losing track of what exactly you're arguing and what exactly we disagree on.

The gist of your argument seems to be that Jesus is not truly God the Son. That conclusion does not stand or fall on the correct interpretation of "monogenes." We both agree that this word can be correctly translated "one of a kind" or "unique." In fact, many English translations render "monogenes" this way. I said in my earlier comments that I thought "only begotten" was a legitimate translation but even if it's not, it does not affect the conclusion that Jesus is God the Son.

Regarding your concern for Muslims who may hear John 3:16 and reject the gospel as a result, they would be more offended by thinking of Jesus as the "Son" of God. While you are correct that "son" could be used in a figurative manner, Jesus (elsewhere) claims a unique relationship with God that was beyond that of a devoted disciple. A Jew at that time did not refer to God as "my Father" but rather "our Father." This was not lost on the Jews that interacted with Jesus. In one instance (John 10), Jesus referred to "My Father" and the Jews took up stones to stone him because they concluded that Jesus was "making himself God" (John 10:36). Even if "son" has different legitimate interpretations and "monogenes" has different legitimate interpretations, those possibilities do not change the ultimate conclusion that the Jews (and honest readers of the New Testament) make about Jesus claiming to be God the Son.

Regarding Matthew 1:16, I see absolutely no mischief with the translators. Would you have preferred a translation that said, "And Jacob begat Joseph, the husband of Mary, who begat Jesus, who is called Christ"? The meaning is exactly the same. For you to have a valid case of translator mischief, you would have to demonstrate that the meaning was materially changed. By the way, the "King James Only" people would agree with your accusation of translator mischief (although they target all translators except those for the KJV). Aren't you glad we can validate their translations with the original language so we can ensure that we are getting the true meaning of the text?

Regarding your last paragraph (if I understand your point correctly), the account of Jesus' baptism does not indicate that he became the Son of God at that moment. Nor does it indicate that Jesus was "born again" upon his baptism. Jesus had no need to be "born again" or "regenerated" since he was not born with a sin nature as everyone after Adam was. Jesus' baptism and the Holy Spirit descending upon him was the inaugural event for his public ministry. It did not change his essential nature or relationship to God the Father.

Again, let me know if I've missed your point in the last paragraph.

Thanks.

Todd
A former member
Post #: 29
Hey Matt,

I'm losing track of what exactly you're arguing and what exactly we disagree on.

The gist of your argument seems to be that Jesus is not truly God the Son. That conclusion does not stand or fall on the correct interpretation of "monogenes." We both agree that this word can be correctly translated "one of a kind" or "unique." In fact, many English translations render "monogenes" this way. I said in my earlier comments that I thought "only begotten" was a legitimate translation but even if it's not, it does not affect the conclusion that Jesus is God the Son.

Regarding your concern for Muslims who may hear John 3:16 and reject the gospel as a result, they would be more offended by thinking of Jesus as the "Son" of God. While you are correct that "son" could be used in a figurative manner, Jesus (elsewhere) claims a unique relationship with God that was beyond that of a devoted disciple. A Jew at that time did not refer to God as "my Father" but rather "our Father." This was not lost on the Jews that interacted with Jesus. In one instance (John 10), Jesus referred to "My Father" and the Jews took up stones to stone him because they concluded that Jesus was "making himself God" (John 10:36). Even if "son" has different legitimate interpretations and "monogenes" has different legitimate interpretations, those possibilities do not change the ultimate conclusion that the Jews (and honest readers of the New Testament) make about Jesus claiming to be God the Son.

Regarding Matthew 1:16, I see absolutely no mischief with the translators. Would you have preferred a translation that said, "And Jacob begat Joseph, the husband of Mary, who begat Jesus, who is called Christ"? The meaning is exactly the same. For you to have a valid case of translator mischief, you would have to demonstrate that the meaning was materially changed. By the way, the "King James Only" people would agree with your accusation of translator mischief (although they target all translators except those for the KJV). Aren't you glad we can validate their translations with the original language so we can ensure that we are getting the true meaning of the text?

Regarding your last paragraph (if I understand your point correctly), the account of Jesus' baptism does not indicate that he became the Son of God at that moment. Nor does it indicate that Jesus was "born again" upon his baptism. Jesus had no need to be "born again" or "regenerated" since he was not born with a sin nature as everyone after Adam was. Jesus' baptism and the Holy Spirit descending upon him was the inaugural event for his public ministry. It did not change his essential nature or relationship to God the Father.

Again, let me know if I've missed your point in the last paragraph.

Thanks.

Todd

My point is that the son of God does not mean God incarnate. We are all intended to be children of God, as Jesus is called the first-born of God (meaning of course that there will be others).

Well, the difference is that when people start saying that Jesus is begotten OF God...not begotten by God...the difference being what DNA strand was the other half besides Mary's?
People say it was God's DNA, then say since it was God's DNA, then the result is God, according to that school. To say things like "God the Son", which is written nowhere in the scriptures.

Jesus' baptism, according to this doctrine, was merely ceremonial. Yet he received the holy spirit.

That argument is clouded in conjecture, and amplified by great emotion and echo. I don't expect that any amount of logic or presenting verses contrary to that notion will convince those who have set their minds, and they will likely continue to reinforce each other.

This is probably where the debate will end, because what you've stated is based on belief (those things were established by councils like the Council of Nicea, etc...the concept of trinity, as God the Father, God the Son, and God The Holy Spirit...even though in the book of Mark, Jesus clearly states that the number 1 commandment...

...let's just pause with that for a moment...

...the ... number ....one....commandment....


the very first part of which is "The Lord OUR God is one Lord"). (reference: Mark 12:29)

Notice, he does not say that the Lord *your* God is one Lord...he says *our* God.
How could it be more straightforward?

Likewise, in (Matthew 4:10), Jesus says to satan "Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and *him* only shalt thou serve." (notice he does not say *us*)

Again, to me, "son of God"...does not equate to "God who is also his own Son, yet simultaneously three parts and simultaneously one part"...that's all Nicene Creed talking.

Nicene Creed reference




A former member
Post #: 30
Forgive the hijack, but you've piqued my curiosity:


Todd, this is what I was referring to ... just wanting to make a point that it's important to look past the English translations, because there may be some ulterior motives at play. These points become hugely relevant when discussing these issues with a Muslim, for example. In the context of Greek, John 3:16 can be argued to be acceptable to an Islamic thinker, while the English translation will be instantly rejected, and with it, the entire Gospel.

Okay, to make sure I'm not misunderstanding you, let me reiterate. Are you saying that the phrase "one of a kind" would make the gospel more palatable to a muslim? I'm not a student of greek, and am only a brand-new student of Islam, so I'm curious as to what the implications of "one of a kind" would be to a Muslim.

Leah, the answer to your question, to the best of my understanding, is this:

Muslims and Jews believe that it's sacrilege to say that there is either:

1. more than one God
2. spawn/offspring of God

Since the phrase "sons/children of God" has long been used to refer to the followers of God, it would not be viewed as an affront in the same way as saying a child "begotten of God" would.

Here's a document which may be helpful (click here)
A former member
Post #: 31
This is turning into a very good discussion. I would like to interject some thoughts into the thread but I would hate to disturb the flow. Matt any chance you can come out to IHOP later tonight? You seem to have some deep knowledge of Monotheism of which has been around for thousands of years, only to be recently tainted by the Council of Nicaea in 325AD...smile
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