Jehovah`s Witness/cont. of what you say

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Hi Brenton,

You say,

“I listed them because of the research into other authorities that that have done. They were not giving their opinions without stating why and providing relevant source material.”  

For whatever reason you might have “listed” them is up to you, the problem is listing someone who quotes someone else claiming something about what the early church said or did and in most cases it’s out of context.  

Me, for one, if I’m going to claim what the early church believed, then I’ll back it with a something from said church, as I have done, NOT go on what someone else claims, about what someone claims, that the church believed!

You say,

"First of all JWs are not Arians  (c. 260 – c. 336 AD) as he had a different view to what he have.  Second, Arius was not the originator of what is now known as the Arianism.  He was just more vocal and out spoken on the topic.  He took up on the ideas of Paul Of Samosata, (c. 201 - c. 300 AD)."


I’m sorry if this offended you, but what you guys believe is in a lot of ways similar to Arianism, right?. Please note that I did say “anything similar until” meaning the similarities you both share.

Interestingly though, a friend of mine showed me an article where the Watchtower once claimed that Arius, among others, “were part of God’s organization” (Watchtower, May 15 1925 p148-9). I guess that you can verify this.

Arius may have adopted some aspects of Paul of Samosata’s teachings through Arius’ mentor Lucian; but what we do know is that Paul of Samosata was an advocate of what is known as dynamic Monarchian which is different to what Arius went on to promote.

And frankly my original comments still stand. Here let me refresh your memory from part of what I said.

“This is a curious thing don’t you agree; you would expect to find these early “apostate church” writers of the second and third centuries, as you must now consider them, would have at least mentioned and condemn those who believed things contrary to what they believed, right? Your form of beliefs are definitely contrary to these “apostate” writers who, for one, considered the Holy Spirit to be a person…yet nothing!”

And I asked that you seriously consider this fact, if these early church writers of the second and third centuries were apostate as you make out then they certainly would have written about those who hold to your views.

Then you go on in your reply and make this claim,

"The so called Arian idea in  the post Christian era actually had its roots even earlier.  They can be seen in the writings of people such  Tertullian (c.155 – c.240 AD) and Origen (c.185- c.232 AD)."

I don’t know where you got this, but SHOW ME where this is “seen” in the writings of these early church writers!  

Please don’t just make the claim without backing it up!

You go on and say;

"Are you  suggesting that I have failed in my argument because I have played down the second, third and fourth century theological writers?"

You, first of all said, that it was AD 381,but then you were mistaken and instead claimed that the early church had “varying views” about the Holt Spirit but you are not able to verify this claim, so you resorted to claiming anything after the 1st century has no “credence” and that what the early church wrote “are not to be trusted”. As anyone can see this is what would be known as back peddling.

If now you want to be  “looking only at the authority of the Bible” why did you bring up that it was AD 381 when “pneuma hagion” was recognised as a person.”?

You bring up all this and then when shown how wrong your claims are you back peddle. I wonder why you bring it up in the first place?

You say;

"Your view seems to be that the true congregation of the Christ would always be, with no great apostasy.  To an extent there would always be some that would remain faithful to the truths taught by Jesus and the first century Bible writers."

Nowhere have I said that there would not be “no great apostasy”. And yes Christ’s true followers will always exist and they would be constantly refuting heresy which is apostate teaching just as the early church writing clearly have done!

All the heresies the early church refuted were apostate teaching.

Brenton, I do not place any preconceived ideas on what Jesus said in Matt 16:18, it is you who is doing this, the only thing I said is, which you seem to acknowledge in a roundabout way [you say, “So yes, in a certain way the congregation of Jesus will survive”], that Jesus’ church will always prevail and NOT cease; the idea that it ceased and then re-emerges centuries later is foreign to what the Scriptures say.

Again, I forge the question, where are the condemnations from the early church writers of the second and third centuries, who you claimed to be apostate, to your form of religion?

You say;

“…there would be a long period of time when true Christianity could not be discerned from the apostate teachings.”


This is a typical Watchtower propagated idea. The Scriptures show that apostates and their teaching will always be clearly recognised Matt. 7:16.

Brenton, you then go into a discussion on the letters of Ignatius; frankly you don’t have to accept any of the letters by Ignatius, but your reasons for not doing so is weak one at best. His letter to the Ephesians is recognised as authentic, both the long and the short version or what I like to call the abridged and unabridged versions.

You say;

“So we have a quote from a document that is rejected completely by a few Christian scholars, and we have two versions that are argued over with one general being accepted.   Not a very good reason to put confidence in what is said.  The words you quoted can not be found in the short recession, so I will reject them as being of any value to this discussion.”


The books that make up the Christian Scriptures were once argued over, some Christian scholars even rejected certain books, and certain section of books that now make up our Bible Cannon; so using the reasoning you employ, you then must also reject these books and sections of books in the Bible as unauthentic because of the exact same reason you reject Ignatius letter to the Ephesians!

In this class of disputed Biblical books were the Epistle to the Hebrews, James, Jude, 2 Peter, 2 and 3 John, and the Revelation of John. (see Eusebius in his Ecclesiastical History 2: 23: 25)

The evidence for the genuineness of the Epistle of Ignatius to the Ephesians, both version, is quite sound. I think maybe the reason behind why you won’t accept what Ignatius says is because it deeply conflicts with your ideas.

You say,

“Even modern Catholic writers acknowledge difficulties if what the “church fathers” had to say about the holy spirit.  This next quote appears to be from the NEW CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPAEDIA as put on line by http://www.encyclopedia.com/article-1G2-3407711248/trinity-holy.html

“The apologists spoke too haltingly of the Spirit; with a measure of anticipation, one might say too impersonally. The emerging-thought figure as employed by them to explain at once the unity and otherness of Father and Son was little more than suggestive. The device, in fact, closed only partially with the problem of otherness”   

Note that just before this quote, we read, “The Trinitarian problem may have been clear: the relation of the Son and (at least nebulously) Spirit to the Godhead. But a Trinitarian solution was still in the future.” All that the apologists were trying to do was understand how all three persons operated together but distinctly, it is not what you try to claim when read in context.

You go on and say,

“Now we all know that the Catholic church is very much in the mind set of the tree persons of the trinity. Notice please what is reported in “A Catholic Dictionary by by W.E. Addis and T. Arnold”

“Quote
2 The Spirit of God—On the whole, the New Testament, like the Old, speaks of the spirit as a divine energy or power particularity in the heart of man.... the authority of the Spirit is identified with that of God Himself.
End Quote”

“Here the writer is telling us that in both the OT and the NT the spirit is identified with God himself as his divine energy and power.”

I think that maybe you tend to read and see things in a way that ignores the context, nowhere does the writers claim that the Spirit “is identified with God himself as his divine energy and power”, this is something that you read into the passage.

Now please notice that in the same sentence right after the statement “On the whole, the New Testament, like the Old, speaks of the Spirit as a divine energy or power” the writers go on to qualify what they mean by saying “PARTICULARLY IN THE HEARTS OF MAN” (emphasis mine). And then they  list some New Testament Scriptures to explain the concept.

It is for this very reason that when the Watchtower quotes this sentence from this Catholic Dictionary in the varied publication they produce,  that they leave the last part of the sentence out. I’m wondering how you yourself didn’t see it…the only reason I can guess is maybe because you have been so indoctrinated in those so called “bible studies” you JWs attend and that you have seen the first part of the quote so many times that you automatically only see {mind set}  what you have been taught and think nothing of the rest.

You then quote from this dictionary again and say

Despite what the Bible says about the word spirit, but, because it has some personification references, it is deemed to be a person.  The writer points to the fact that “....we must not forget that in the N.T. personifies mere attributes such as love... sin …. even abstract and lifeless things such as the law... the water and the blood...”


And the writers also go on and say straight afterwards;

“However, if we look well to the passage above quoted from St. Paul (I Cor. xii. 11) we find that the Spirit is distinguished from 'the gifts of the Spirit, AND THAT PERSONAL ACTION IS PREDICATED OF HIM: ‘All these things one and the same Spirit worketh, dividing to each separately, as He [the Spirit] will’. Poetical personification WOULD BE QUITE OUT OF PLACE HERE, and Meyer rightly treats the words as decisive. In the fourth Gospel, however, this personal existence is stated more fully and plainly (oh. xiv.). Even the author of the article on the Trinity in Sohenkel's "Dictionary of the Bible" (Bibel-Lexicon," art. Dreieinigkeit), though he writes to show that the doctrine of the Trinity is not Biblical, ADMITS that the-hypostatical existence of the Holy Spirit is taught here.” (A Catholic Dictionary, emphasis mine).

You say;

“And seeing that Clement is reiterating what the Bible writers had written, he is not saying that that the holy spirit actually spoke, but, that the words he was referring to had been inspired of God (2 Tim. 3:16).


I think that you will find that Clement does say that the Holy Spirit did actually speak, and he says the same again in chapter 16 in the same letter! It makes no sense for him to assert that a mindless active force would speak.

You say:   

While some actual Bible texts say that the spirit speaks, the question is, how did the spirit actually speak?  Other texts show that this was actually done through humans, or, angels.


Brenton I think that you know full well that in many texts of Scripture it also appears that God is talking where other passages clearly show that it was done through angels. Does this prove that God is not a person?

And when God always speaks it is through another person not a mindless active force.

On this subject, since the Holy Spirit speaks through people, then the speech going through a person which originates with the Holy Spirit further shows personality and intelligence.

It is common for one person to speak through another. In fact, when one person speaks through another, we naturally conclude both are persons and that the originator of the through is where the real intelligence lies. Speech can only originate with a self-conscious, intelligent being.

So then, is it God that is speaking through the Holy Spirit in the places in Scripture where it says that the Holy Spirit speaks?

John 16:13, “…what things he hears he will speak…” (NWT)

If the Holy Spirit is not a person this would make the Holy Spirit nothing more than a tape recorder that replays what is said. And as we have seen Jesus is seen relaying the message in exactly the same way (John 12:49)!

You move on into the discussion on what Justin Martyr wrote. The problem with your whole idea is that you ignore the fact that the letter is addressed to pagans.

Pagans would have a particular god that they would worshiped, even certain cities would have a patron god of that city, and even though they don’t worship every god they would acknowledge that there were other gods. RIGHT? That’s what polytheism is, RIGHT?

Who is Justin Marty addressing his letter to?

Now in this context where Justin denounce them for their many gods (chapter 9), even blasting them for consecrating their former emperors as gods when they die (chapter 53), and condemns those who preach other gods (chapter 58). Do you really imagine that he would  later declare, “the first-begotten Word of God, is in existence a god” (chapter 63)? Do you?

It would be inconsistent in this context, after condemning their polytheistic practices to then advocate what he just condemned… yet this is what you claim he is saying.

Now in you expedition on “anarthrous predicate nominate noun” you quote Philip Harner, Qualitative Anarthrous Predicate Nouns: Mark 15:39 and John 1:1." in The Journal of Biblical Literature, you say,

“.... is a singular  anarthrous predicate nominate noun that is followed by a verb... The word theos comes before the verb uparcei”…”

“Philip Harner notes that  ‘anarthrous predicate nominate nouns preceding the verb may function primarily to express the nature or character of the subject, and this qualitative significance may be more important than the question of whether the predicate noun itself should be regarded as definite or indefinite’

But that one quote does not help your case for Harner rules out “a god” rendering, he explains;

“If a writer simply wished to represent the subject AS ONE OF A CLASS, he could use an anarthrous predicate noun AFTER the verb.” (emphasis mine).

You JWs consider “a god” to be of “one of a class” right?.

Then you quote from Hand Book To The Grammar Of The New Testament” by Samuel Green, I don’t know if you just suddenly stopped reading after that quote, I guess you did because you would have noticed that straight after the part you quote

You quote:
“Hence arises the general rule, that in the simple sentence the Subject takes the article, the Predicate omits it. The subject is definitely before the mind, the predicate generally denotes the class to which the subject is referred, or from which it is excluded, but the notion of the class is itself indeterminate.”

The writer goes on and says, after listing Matt. 13:39; John 3:6; John 17:17; John 1:1 and 1 John 4:8 as examples,

“The Copula being frequently omitted, the presence or absence of the Article with a nominative adjective will often decide whether it is a predicate or an attribute of the subject…From an examination of these examples, it will appear that the use of the Article with the Subject, and its omission with the Predicate, is no grammatical expedient, but arises from their respective definiteness.” (Hand Book To The Grammar Of The New Testament, page 194)

The indefinite “a god” does not even come into the equation..

“…denotes the class to which the subject is referred” keeping this in mind the term “the first-begotten Word of God, is in existence God”  or  “the first-begotten Word of God, is even God” is appropriate.

You finish off by saying;

“If you really want to establish your understandings about the holy spirit, then the only authority we should be looking at is the Bible.”

Remembering that it was you who raised the AD 381 topic, all I’ve done is try to address your misconceptions on the matter. <><

Answer
EDIT 19 Sept
Hi Cos

Not ALL of the “church fathers” looked to Plato.  I do not recall ever saying or implying “that the early church writes advocated basic JW ideas.”   So far, I have not seen any of their writings that advocate basic JW ideas.  Some have said that Jesus was created, as per the various quotes.  That, we agree with, and that is about ALL that I can see that we have in common.  Even though some of them believed Jesus was created, they still elevated him to a position that was equal to God, and,  that, is where the Bible differs. Their ideas of the relationship between Jesus and His God and Father are varied and do not come in line with what the Bible teaches.

The only interest I have in the “church fathers” is from a historical perspective, including as to how the teachings outlined in the Bible were adulterated over time. I do not look to their writings as confirmation of Biblical truth. I look only to Gods word. Please, just stay with the Bible.

________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Hi Cos

Sorry for the delay, you will see that I have been doing a lot of searching through some of the so called “church fathers” which for me, is not conducive to learning the truth, as these writers engage in their own theories, and like Justin and Oregin often look toward the philosophies of the Greeks in particular Plato to explain the Bible.  The Catholic Encyclopaedia  tells us that many of the so called church fathers adopted platonic philosophical ideas.  It has this to  say  under the heading of Plato

QUOTE
“The emphatic affirmation of a supermundane, spiritual order of reality and the equally emphatic assertion of the caducity of things material fitted in with the essentially Christian contention that spiritual interests are supreme. To render the world of Ideas more acceptable to Christians, the Patristic Platonists from Justin Martyr to St. Augustine  maintained that the world exists in the  mind of God, and that this was what Plato meant . On the other  hand,  Aristotle  understood  Plato to refer to a world of Ideas self subsisting and separate. Instead, therefore, of picturing to ourselves the world of  Ideas  as  existing  in  God, we should represent God as existing in the world of Ideas. For, among the Ideas, the  hierarchical  supremacy  is attributed to the Idea of God, or absolute Goodness, which is said to be for the uper celestial  universe what the sun in the heavens is for this terrestrial world of ours.....

With the advent of neo-Platonism founded by Ammonius and developed by Plotinus, Platonism definitely entered the cause of Paganism against Christianity. Nevertheless , the great majority of the Christian philosophers down to St. Augustine were Platonists . They appreciated the uplifting influence of Plato's psychology and metaphysics, and recognized in that influence a powerful ally of Christianity in the warfare against materialism and naturalism. These Christian Platonists underestimated Aristotle, whom they generally referred to as an "acute" logician whose philosophy favoured  the heretical opponents of orthodox Christianity. “

End Quote

The brief look that I have had and the portions that I have reproduced below show the differences in opinions as to how the “church fathers” understood matters.  What is important to note is that they stopped being in  agreement with the Bible.


I will start with 381.

I looked back on what I said, and I can I see that I made two mistakes.  Originally I said

<<< “The idea that the holy spirit was a person developed over several centuries and it was not until the council of Constantinople in 381 AD that  “pneuma hagion” was recognised as a person.  Neither Jesus or his disciples recognised (addressed) the holy spirit as a person. “>>>

I will rewrite it to what was on my mind when I wrote it. The difference is in bold.

 The idea that the holy spirit was a 3rd   person of the trinity developed over several centuries and it was not until the council of Constantinople in 381 AD that  “pneuma hagion” was  officially  recognised as the third   person of the trinity .  Neither Jesus or his disciples recognised (addressed) the holy spirit as a person.  


You asked

QUOTE
“If now you want to be  “looking only at the authority of the Bible” why did you bring up that it was AD 381 when “pneuma hagion” was recognised as a person.”? “>>>
End Quote

I did not bring it up because I am interested in the teachings of the second and third centuries etc. The reason why I brought that up is, because,  I understand you to be of the opinion that the spirit, as a person,  would make the holy spirit the third person of the trinity.  When I mentioned 381, it was to show that up up until the fourth  century, the idea of the trinity, as is taught by the majority of churches today, was not accepted .  Even at the council of Nicea  ( 325 ) only the Father and and the Son were linked together (dualism). It started of “ We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of all things visible and invisible...”  and there was a brief statement, almost like an after thought at the end  that says   “...And in the Holy Ghost” 

Between the two councils  the “church”  for a while, formally adopted “Arianism”.  A prominent “church father” was a driving force in having Arius and is idea reinstated into the church teaching for a short time.

The council of Constantinople includes these words that Nicea did not “And in the Holy Ghost,  the Lord and Giver of life, who proceedeth from the Father, who with the Father and the Son together is worshiped and glorified, who spake by the prophets .”

It took 4 centuries for the idea of the trinity to be formalised.  Even after the council of Constantinople the Eastern and Western “churches” had some differing ideas as to how to explain this “mystery”.


You said

QUOTE
The evidence for the genuineness of the Epistle of Ignatius to the Ephesians, both version, is quite sound. I think maybe the reason behind why you won’t accept what Ignatius says is because it deeply conflicts with your ideas.
End Quote

No the reason why his writings are of no real interest to me is because they are not consistent as I said with 3 versions having been found and they present information at odds with the Bible.

A very quick look at some of these “church fathers”

_________________________________TERTUILLAN ______________________________

In Against Hermogenes, we find  Hermogenes had argued that God created the heavens and the earth out of pre-existing matter .   He taught that  matter  was “equally unborn, equally unmade, equally eternal” as God was. The reason for that, is, that he could not accept that,  if matter did not already exist, that would mean that God created evil.

Tertullian argued that if matter  was eternal (always existed) then matter would be equal to God.  In Chapter 3  Tertullian proclaims that God existed alone and  that Matter was born or made    therefore  all things were created out of matter. He writes ...

QUOTE
Therefore, in as far as (Hermogenes) shall suppose that Matter was eternal, on the ground that the Lord was eternal, in so far will it be evident that nothing existed, because it is plain that the Lord as such did not always exist. Now I mean also, on my own part, to add a remark for the sake of ignorant persons, of whom Hermogenes is an extreme instance,  and actually to retort against him his own arguments.  For when he denies that Matter was born or made , I find that, even on these terms, the title Lord is unsuitable to God in respect of Matter, because it must have been free,  when by not having a beginning it had not an author. The fact of its past existence it owed to no one, so that it could be a subject to no one. Therefore ever since God exercised His power over it, by creating (all things ) out of Matter , although it had all along experienced God as its Lord, yet Matter does, after all, demonstrate that God did not exist in the relation of Lord to it,  although all the while He was really so.” 
End Quote  [  Bold and underline mine  ( ) from source material]

He uses language that shows he believed that Jesus did not always exist but came into being at some point.  This is made in relation to God being a judge.  He argues that God is the supreme Lord and Judge and Father, but those titles only become operative once there was creation, once there was evil, and once there was a son.   He writes

QUOTE
Because God is in like manner a Father, and He is also a Judge; but He has not always been Father and Judge, merely on the ground of His having always been God. For He could not have been the Father previous to the Son , nor a Judge previous to sin. There was , however, a time when neither sin existed with Him, nor the Son ; the former of which was to constitute the Lord a Judge, and the latter a Father. In this way He was not Lord previous to those things of which He was to be the Lord. But He was only to become Lord at some future time: just as He became the Father by the Son , and a Judge by sin, so also did He become Lord by means of those things which He had made, in order that they might serve Him
End Quote  

The important part of that to our discussion is that Tertullian, in arguing against the ideas of  Hermogenes supports is his own teachings by saying that all things were created out of matter and that there was a time when the Son did not exist , therefore, his argument is the Son must have been created in some way.

Tertullian in his writings also  argued against such things as modalism.  That seems to be the main topic of his writings to Praxeas.  Praxeas taught that Jesus and God were one and the same person.  In answering him, Tertullian teaches that Jesus was begotten  and that at one time the Father was alone with no one by his side except his own thoughts to keep him company. In chapter 5  of Against Praxeas, we read...

QUOTE
“For before all things God was alone —being in Himself and for Himself universe, and
space,  and  all things. Moreover, He was alone , because there was nothing external to Him but Himself. Yet even not then was He alone; for He had with Him that which He possessed in Himself, that is to say, His own Reason. For God is rational, and Reason was first in Him; and so all things were from Himself. This Reason is His own Thought (or Consciousness) which the Greeks call λόγος, by which term we also designate Word or Discourse  and therefore it is now usual with our people, owing to the mere simple interpretation of the term, to say that the Word  was in the beginning with God; although it would be more suitable to regard Reason as the more ancient; because God had not Word  from the beginning , but He had Reason  even before the beginning; because also Word itself consists of Reason, which it thus proves to have been the prior existence as being its own substance.  Not that this distinction is of any practical moment”   
End Quote  (Bold mine, words in italics as per the source copy)


In Chapter 8 of Against Praxeas, Tertullian understands that the God and the Son are two separate individuals. But he also feels that in some way they are connected. He tries  to show the unscripted connection between God, Jesus and the spirit by the following analogies.  Later so called theologians took what he says here and  expanded on them, and  turned it into the trinity as described in 381 CE

QUOTE
 “..just as the root puts forth the tree, and the fountain the river, and the sun the ray. For these are προβολαί, or emanations , of the substances from which they proceed. I should not hesitate, indeed, to call the tree the son or offspring of the root, and the river of the fountain, and the ray of the sun; because every original source is a parent, and everything which issues from the origin is an offspring. Much more is (this true of) the Word of God, who has actually received as His own peculiar designation the name of Son . But still the tree is not severed from the root, nor the river from the fountain, nor the ray from the sun; nor, indeed, is the Word separated from God. Following, therefore, the form of these analogies, I confess that I call God and His Word— the Father and His Son — two . For the root and the tree are distinctly two things, but correlatively joined; the fountain and the river are also two forms, but indivisible; so likewise the sun and the ray are two forms, but coherent ones. Everything which proceeds from something else must needs be second to that from which it proceeds, without being on that account separated. Where, however, there is a second, there must be two; and where there is a third, there must be three. Now the Spirit indeed is third from God and the Son; just as the fruit of the tree is third from the root, or as the stream out of the river is third from the fountain, or as the apex of the ray is third from the sun.”

End Quote   (Italics in the above as per the  source that I copied from)

Tertullian introduces the idea that Jesus and the spirit emanates from God.  He is writing in Latin but he used the Greek word   προβολαί  (Strongs 4261) which means “to throw forward, i.e. push to the front, germinate: —  put forward, shoot forth.”     Often in Greek it was used to refer to  “trees, to shoot forth, put out leaves”  In the NT it is used in just two texts, Luke 21:30 (referring to trees putting forward leaves).  and Acts 19:33 where it is used to drawing  a man out of a crown and putting him forward.  It is not used in connection to Jesus and his relationship with his God.

Now, no where do find that Jesus springs forward  from God,  but, we do get the idea that the spirit is put forward by,  springs forth, originates from God.   That we see in Ecclesiastes 12:7  where we are told the the spirit ( ruwach – breath, life force or even wind ) returns to God.  To return means that it came form him in the first place  “Then the dust returns to the earth, just as it was, and the spirit returns to the true God who gave it.”  ( see also Genesis 2:7; Job 27:3; Job 34:14, 15; Psalm 104:29; Isaiah 42:5 )

I am not sure which of his writings come first . In his “Apology”, chapter 21, he tries to explain the unbiblical  idea that Jesus emanates from, or is a part of the Father.  Tertullian here tells us that he has been taught that Jesus proceeds from God.  He writes “We have been taught that He proceeds forth from God, and in that procession He is generated; so that He is the Son of God, and is called God from unity of substance with God. For God, too, is a Spirit. Even when the ray is shot from the sun, it is still part of the parent mass; the sun will still be in the ray, because it is a ray of the sun— there is no division of substance, but merely an extension. Thus Christ is Spirit of Spirit, and God of God, as light of light is kindled “  

I have seen trinitarins use the above quote to say that Jesus was God.  That is not what he is teaching.  In light of all his writings (that I have so far read) he is actually saying that Jesus has the qualities of theo (God).  He said that the Son “is called God from unity of substance with God.”  what was the substance that joined the two? He continues   “For God, too, is a Spirit.”  The son has qualities like that of his Father. They are both “spirits”.  They can both be called god (dues in Latin). WHY?  Because of the original meaning of the Hebrew, Greek and Latin words.

In Hebrew, the word that is translated as “god” is “el” which  in English actually means “a mighty or strong one”

In Greek   the meaning of “theo” (god) is uncertain but is understood to have the same meaning as the Hebrew word “el”

The Latin word deus is derived from earlier words meaning "celestial" or "shining".  Both the Father and Jesus are mighty ones, both are shinning ones.  However, only the Father is Almighty.  

He is repeating what he has been .taught but in this analogy he gives no scriptural  evidence as to how that is arrived at.  When he look at his other writings as per the earlier quotes, we learn that Tertullian did not view Jesus as the modern day trinitarian theory teaches. The trinity as taught since 381 c.e. has Jesus being co eternal, but from Tertullian we see that he did not teach that in his writings. He taught the Jesus and the spirit  were part of “all things” that came from God at a later time.   That becomes evident in what he wrote to  Hermogenes.


In Against Hermogenes   Chapter 18, we find discussed the creation of the World and the Wisdom ( referred to as “that spirit”) that was involved.  He says that God   “...made all things, making them through It”  (the “it” is the spirit which he tells us is wisdom)  He also says that  the things created were generated from himself thus arguing with Hermogenes that matter was generated or created form God himself and that matter did not exist  out side of God  “..as soon as He [God] perceived It to be necessary for His creation of the world, He immediately creates It, and generates It in Himself”  

Here we are being told that all matter (all things) are generated in God Himself.   

Also in this  Chapter, Tertullian reasons with Hermogenes as to how can evil be unbegotten when the Son was begotten.    And while Hermgenes thinks that matter is equal to God, the Son patently awaits such a distinction

QUOTE
 “ ….  God had a far nobler and more suitable one in His own wisdom — one which was not to be gauged by the writings of philosophers, but to be learned from the words or prophets. This alone, indeed, knew the mind of the Lord. For who knows the things of God, and the things in God, but the Spirit, which is in Him?  Now His wisdom is that Spirit . This was His counsellor, the very way of His wisdom and knowledge.  Of this He made all things, making them through It, and making them with It. When He prepared the heavens, so says (the Scripture ), I was present with Him; and when He strengthened above the winds the lofty clouds, and when He secured the fountains which are under the heaven, I was present, compacting these things along with Him. I was He in whom He took delight; moreover, I daily rejoiced in His presence: for He rejoiced when He had finished the world, and among the sons of men did He show forth His pleasure.  Now, who would not rather approve of this as the fountain and origin of all things— of this as, in very deed, the Matter of all Matter, not liable to any end, not diverse in condition, not restless in motion, not ungraceful in form, but natural, and proper, and duly proportioned, and beautiful, such truly as even God might well have required, who requires His own and not another's? Indeed, as soon as He perceived It to be necessary for His creation of the world, He immediately creates It, and generates It in Himself . The Lord, says the  Scripture, possessed  me, the beginning of His ways for the creation of His works. Before the worlds He founded me; before He made the earth, before the mountains were settled in their places; moreover, before the hills He generated me, and prior to the depths was I begotten. Let  Hermogenes  then confess that the very Wisdom of God is declared to be born and created , for the special reason that we should not suppose that there is any other being than God alone who is unbegotten and uncreated. For if that, which from its being inherent in the Lord was of Him and in Him, was yet not without a beginning—I mean His wisdom, which was then born and created , when in the thought of God It began to assume motion for the arrangement of His creative works—how much more  impossible is it that anything should have been without a beginning which was extrinsic to the Lord! But if this same Wisdom is the Word of God, in the capacity of Wisdom , and without whom nothing was made, just as also  was set in order without Wisdom, how can it be that anything , except the Father, should be older , and on this account indeed nobler, than the Son of God, the only-begotten and first-begotten Word? Not to say that what is unbegotten is stronger than that which is born, and what is not made more powerful than that which is made. Because that which did not require a Maker to give it existence, will be much more elevated in rank than that which had an author to bring it into being. On this principle, then,  if  evil is indeed unbegotten, while the </u>Son of God is begotten</u> (for, says God, my heart has emitted my most  excellent Word ), I am not quite sure that evil may not be introduced by good, the stronger by the weak, in the same way as the unbegotten is by the begotten. Therefore on this ground  Hermogenes  puts  Matter  even before God, by putting it before the Son. Because the Son is the Word, and the Word is God,  and I and my Father are one.  But after all, perhaps, the Son will patiently enough submit to having that preferred before Him which (by Hermogenes), is made equal to the Father! “
End Quote (Bold mine)

The words in chapter 32 Tertullian shows that in his argument against matter being eternal, Tertullian tells us that, in his mind, the spirit  (my spirit) which he aligns with the wind that “wafted over the waters” (“And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.” Gen 1:2 [KJV] )  was also created

QUOTE
“Of darkness, indeed, the Lord Himself by Isaiah says, I formed the light, and I created darkness. Of the wind also Amos says, He that strengthens the thunder , and creates the wind, and declares His Christ unto men;  thus showing that that wind was created which was reckoned with the formation of the earth, which was wafted over the waters  , balancing and refreshing and animating all things: not (as some suppose) meaning God Himself by the spirit, on the ground that God is a Spirit,  because the waters would not be able to bear up their Lord; but He speaks of that spirit of which the winds consist, as He says by Isaiah, Because my spirit [ ruwach – breath, or wind ] went forth from me, and I made every blast . In like manner the same Wisdom says of the waters, Also when He made the fountains strong, things which are under the sky, I was fashioning them along with Him.  Now, when we prove that these particular things were created by God, although they are only mentioned in Genesis, without any intimation of their having been made, we shall perhaps receive from the other side the reply, that these were made, it is true, but out of Matter, since the very statement of Moses, And darkness was on the face of the deep, and the spirit of God moved [that wind  {ruwach Hebrew pnuema Greek} was created which was reckoned with the formation of the earth, which was wafted over the waters  on the face of the waters” ],  refers to Matter, as indeed do all those other Scriptures here and there, which demonstrate that the separate parts were made out of Matter.

End Quote ( Bold mine,  words in [ ] inserted by me ( ) original)

________________________________________IRENAEUS _______________________

I found it interesting that Irenaeus  speaks out against the concept of a “trinity” as a heresy.  This is seen in his  Against Heresies (Book I, Chapter 23)  He is discussing Simon Magus and Menander .  Simon, he says  was the magic practician  Samaritan man who wanted the power of the apostles so that he could also perform healings.   In part we read

QUOTE

“...He, then, not putting faith in God a whit the more, set himself eagerly to contend against the apostles, in order that he himself might seem to be a wonderful being, and applied himself with still greater zeal to the study of the whole magic art, that he might the better bewilder and overpower multitudes of men. Such was his procedure in the reign of Claudius Cæsar, by whom also he is said to have been honoured with a statue, on account of his magical power. This man, then, was glorified by many as if he were a god; and he taught that it was himself who appeared among the Jews as the Son, but descended in Samaria as the Father while he came to other nations in the character of the Holy Spirit. He represented himself, in a word, as being the loftiest of all powers, that is, the Being who is the Father over all, and he allowed himself to be called by whatsoever title men were pleased to address him.

 Now this Simon of Samaria, from whom all sorts of heresies derive their origin , formed his sect …

….he had come to amend matters, and had descended, transfigured and assimilated to powers and principalities and angels, so that he might appear among men to be a man, while yet he was not a man; and that thus he was thought to have suffered in Judea, when he had not suffered
End Quote


We have associated here the heresy of the “idea” that later become the trinity.

___________________________________________OREGIN _______________________

In the Preface of Oregin's De Principiis  we find that he starts of teaching that Jesus was born of the Father and was subordinate to the Father as the servant.


QUOTE
...First, That there is one God, who created and arranged all things, and who, when nothing existed, called all things into being...

Secondly, That Jesus Christ Himself, who came (into the world), was born of the Father before all creatures ; that, after He had been the servant of the Father in the creation of all things
End Quote

Of the spirit, well Origen was unsure as to how it related to God and Jesus, he could not say if the spirit was “born or innate”  ( innate = 1a. Existing naturally or by heredity rather than being learned through experience: 1b. of or produced by then mind rather than learned  through 
experience:  2. Possessed  as  an  essential  characteristic;
 )


QUOTE
Then, Thirdly, the apostles related that the Holy Spirit was associated in honour and dignity with the Father and the Son. But in His case it is not clearly distinguished whether He is to be regarded as born or innate</b>, or also as a Son of God or not: for these are points which have to be inquired into out of sacred Scripture according to the best of our ability, and which demand careful investigation.”

End Quote

His views developed over time influenced by the philosophies of Plato. According to the Catholic Encyclopaedia  we read that “In view of the Neo-Platonism on which his doctrines were founded and of his spiritual-allegorical method of explaining the Holy Scripture, he could not side with the millenarians.”   http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/10307a.htm

That view of the way Oregin thought is backed up in a letter Oregin sent to one of his “students”, Gregory. We find this in the opening words

QUOTE
“..if I may so express myself, to the consummation of the art the which he desires to practise, and your natural aptitude is sufficient to make you a consummate Roman lawyer and a Greek philosopher too of the most famous schools. But my desire for you has been that you should direct the whole force of your intelligence to Christianity as your end, and that in the way of production. <b>And I would wish that you should take with you on the one hand <u>those parts of the philosophy of the Greeks which are fit
, as it were, to serve as general or preparatory studies for Christianity </b>, and on the other hand so much of Geometry and Astronomy as may be helpful for the interpretation of the Holy Scriptures. The children of the philosophers speak of geometry and music and grammar and rhetoric and astronomy as being  ancillary  to philosophy; and in the same way we might speak of philosophy itself as being  ancillary  to  Christianity .
End Quote

The Greek philosophers recognised the befit of Geometry and Astronomy, so, he suggests that a  Greek philosophy approach to scripture would also be of benefit.

In Oregins commentary of John book 2  we find that he teaches that there are many gods (polytheism see bellow) that these gods come form THE GOD. That the Son is called God only ”by participation in His divinity” , and because the Son was the first to be with God he  “ is a being of more exalted rank than the other gods beside Him, of whom God is the God”

QUOTE

Either they deny that the Son has a distinct nature of His own besides that of the Father, and make Him whom they call the Son to be God all but the name, or they deny the divinity of the Son, giving Him a separate existence of His own, and making His sphere of essence fall outside that of the Father, so that they are separable from each other. To such persons we have to say that God on the one hand is Very God (Autotheos, God of Himself); and so the Saviour says in His prayer to the Father,  That they may know You the only true God; but that all beyond the Very God is made God by participation in His divinity, and is not to be called simply God (with the article), but rather God (without article). And thus the first-born of all creation, who is the first to be with God , and to attract to Himself divinity, is a being of more exalted rank than the other gods beside Him, of whom God is the God , as it is written, The God of gods, the Lord, has spoken and called the earth. It was by the offices of the first-born that they became gods, for He drew from God in generous measure that they should be made gods , and He communicated it to them according to His own bounty. The true God, then, is The God, and those who are formed after Him are gods, images, as it were, of Him the prototype . But the archetypal image, again, of all these images is the Word of God, who was in the beginning, and who by being with God is at all times God, not possessing that of Himself, but by His being with the Father, and not continuing to be God, if we should think of this, except by remaining always in uninterrupted contemplation of the depths of the Father.

End Quote  [ bold, underline mine ( ) original)   http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/101502.htm
  see also
https://books.google.com.au/books?id=QET6KvmptE0C&pg=PA323&dq=%22but+that+all+beyond+the+Very+God++IS++MADE+GOD++by+participation+in+His+divinity%22&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0CCAQ6AEwAWoVChMI8PW2kOfFyAIVwhymCh2iDgtc#v=onepage&q=%22but%20that%20all%20beyond%20the%20Very%20God%20%20IS%20%20MADE%20GOD%20%20by%20participation%20in%20His%20divinity%22&f=false



_______________________________EUSEBIUS _____________________________________


Eusebius Of Caesarea, is often called the "father of Church history,"

You tell me that there were some disputed books  
QUOTE
In this class of disputed Biblical books were the Epistle to the Hebrews, James, Jude, 2 Peter, 2 and 3 John, and the Revelation of John. (see Eusebius in his Ecclesiastical History 2: 23: 25)  
End Quote

I went through  Eusebius's  Ecclesiastical History 2:23, 25 and 23 does not mention the books in question and 25 refers mainly to the book of James but includes Jude.  It reads in part  “But it is to be observed that it is disputed; at least, not many of the ancients have mentioned it, as is the case likewise with the epistle that bears the name of Jude,..”    He gives no reason why he feels that James and Jude are disputed except that  “ not many of the ancients have mentioned it (James)...”  He links James and Jude with what he classed as the Catholic ( a Latin term meaning universal or all embracing) epistles.  However he does tell us that at his time   “Nevertheless we know that these also, with the rest, have been read publicly in very many churches”  He tells us that in the “churches” at that time all the  “books” were read


Eusebius had a change of mind in regard to the idea that Jesus was equal to God.  He had been in favour of the the “Arian” view, bit in the end gave into the Nicean statement due to his alliance with Constantine. Like Constantine Eusebius wanted a politically united state so in the end to seems  he compromised his stand.   At http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf201.iii.v.html  we are told

“Eusebius of Cæsarea in Palestine, writing to Euphration the bishop, did not fear to say openly that Christ is not true God.”   (see also http://www.tertullian.org/fathers2/NPNF2-01/Npnf2-01-03.htm  

In a biography of Eusebius by VALESIUS   we read these words

QUOTE
“Many bishops, imposed on by these artifices, and powerfully excited by Eusebius of Nicomedia, who openly favoured the Arian party, wrote letters in defence of Arius to Alexander bishop of Alexandria, entreating him to restore Arius to his former rank in the church. Our Eusebius was one of their number, whose letter, written to Alexander,” 
End Quote  http://www.ecatholic2000.com/eusebius/untitled-05.shtml

A further discussion on that can be found at http://www.biblicalcyclopedia.com/E/eusebius-of-caesarea.html It May be of interest that he was a driving force behind having Arius reinstated into the “church”


I  also find it interesting that this  Euseibeius ( 260/265 – 339/340 ) “makes reference to all the works of Plato and to an extensive range of later philosophic works, largely from Middle Platonists  from  Philo to the late 2nd century “ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eusebius  so it seems that he to was in the  pagan Greek  philosophies.  Again not someone that I would look to for scriptural clarification.


_______________________________JUSTIN MARTYR _____________________________

Justin wrote to the pagans, especially Greeks. There are places where he disagrees with the Greek philosophers such as Plato and Socreties, and in other places he uses their teachings to find a common ground for what he understood the teachings of Christ were in order to try to convince his audience that Christianity was compatible with their own philosophies.

Justin shows how unsure he is of the identity of the holy spirit  For example in The First Apology Justin refers to the spirit of prophecy or the prophetic spirit (chapter 13) or divine spirit   (Chapter 32) even holy spirit  (Chapter 44)

In Chapter 33 we find this
QUOTE
It is wrong , therefore, to understand the Spirit and the power of God as anything else than the Word , who is also the first-born  of God, as the foresaid  prophet  Moses declared;  and it was this which, when it came upon the virgin and overshadowed her, caused her to conceive, not by intercourse, but by power. And the name Jesus in the Hebrew language means  Σωτήρ  (Saviour) in the Greek tongue
End Quote


_____________________________________IGNATIUS _______________________________

I had made a comment about  not trusting the translations of Justin. (More on that later) You said  that my “.. reasons for not doing so is weak one at best.”   You show your confidence in his letter to the Ephesians   “His letter to the Ephesians is recognised as authentic, both the long and the short version or what I like to call the abridged and unabridged versions.”   

I was very recently pointed to the following page by a pen-pal.  It is of interest to see why the  works of Ignatius are  suspect

http://matt13weedhacker.blogspot.ca/2010/10/ignatius-of-antioch-anachronisms-in.

That is part of a “blog” that has several pages of information on the “church fathers”


The bottom line is, that these so called church fathers were not inspired writers, they started to put in their own ideas and deviate from what Jesus and the Bible writers taught. They became heretics (apostates) themselves from the teachings of the first century

(looking through the various pages on that blog there are some discussions about Justin that I will have to look at, at some other time)
___________________________________________________________________

You ask
QUOTE
Brenton I think that you know full well that in many texts of Scripture it also appears that God is talking where other passages clearly show that it was done through angels. Does this prove that God is not a person?
End Quote

Of course God is a person.   How ever we must consider the complete context and examine how personification applies in different circumstances. When the following things do what a person can do, does it give them personality?

Grief and sighing are said to flee Isaiah 35:10
Wisdom cries out on the street and gives advice , asks people to listen Proverbs 1:20-33
Wisdom was proved to be righteous by its works  Romans 5:14
Death rules as king  <b>Romans 5:17

Sin rules as king  Romans 5:21; 6:12
Sin  receives an inducement, takes time to seduce and kill Romans 7:8-11


As I mentioned before the holy spirit is something that BELONGS  to God.  It is under his control. It is what he gives for us to have life.   When the holy spirit is said to speak of do something it is God using and directing  his ( ruwach, pnuema</i) breath, wind, force to accomplish the deed.


Genesis 1:2  And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.

Genesis 41:38  And Pharaoh said unto his servants, Can we find such a one as this is, a man in whom the Spirit of God is?

Exodus 31:3  And I have filled him with the Spirit of God , in wisdom, and in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship,

Exodus 35:31  And he hath filled him with the Spirit of God , in wisdom, in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship;

Numbers 24:2  And Balaam lifted up his eyes, and he saw Israel abiding in his tents according to their tribes; and the Spirit of God came upon him.

1 Samuel 10:10  And when they came thither to the hill, behold, a company of prophets met him; and the Spirit of God came upon him, and he prophesied among them.

1 Samuel 11:6  And the Spirit of God came upon Saul when he heard those tidings, and his anger was kindled greatly.

1 Samuel 19:20  And Saul sent messengers to take David: and when they saw the company of the prophets prophesying, and Samuel standing as appointed over them, the Spirit of God was upon the messengers of Saul, and they also prophesied.

1 Samuel 19:23  And he went thither to Naioth in Ramah: and the Spirit of God was upon him also, and he went on, and prophesied, until he came to Naioth in Ramah.

2 Chronicles 15:1  And the Spirit of God came upon Azariah the son of Oded:

2 Chronicles 24:20  And the Spirit of God came upon Zechariah the son of Jehoiada the priest, which stood above the people, and said unto them, Thus saith God, ..

Job 27:3  All the while my breath is in me, and the Spirit of God is in my nostrils;

Job 33:4 The Spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life.

Ezekiel 11:24  Afterwards the spirit took me up, and brought me in a vision by the Spirit of God into Chaldea, to them of the captivity. So the vision that I had seen went up from me.

Matthew 3:16  And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him:

Matthew 12:28  But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God , then the kingdom of God is come unto you.

Romans 8:9  But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.

Romans 8:14  For as many as are led by the Spirit of God , they are the sons of God.

Romans 15:19  Through mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God ; so that from Jerusalem, and round about unto Illyricum, I have fully preached the gospel of Christ.

1 Corinthians 2:11  For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God .

1 Corinthians 2:14  But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God : for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

1 Corinthians 3:16  Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?

1 Corinthians 7:40  But she is happier if she so abide, after my judgment: and I think also that I have the Spirit of God .

1 Corinthians 12:3  Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.

1 John 4:2  Hereby know ye the Spirit of God : Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God:

You mention a few words I missed out from a quote ““PARTICULARLY IN THE HEARTS OF MAN”.  Of course I saw them, I missed out more words that those, there were superfluous to the point I was making.  and that was that the Catholic church is very much in the mind set of the three persons of the trinity.  The portion of the quote was not out of context as it showed that  the writer is telling us that in both the OT and the NT the spirit is identified with God himself as his divine energy and power .   I gave more of the quote  to show the context and that I was not trying to hide anything I said

“Despite what the Bible says about the word spirit, but, because it has some personification references, it is deemed to be a person .  The writer points to the fact that “....we must not forget that in the N.T. personifies mere attributes such as love... sin …. even abstract and lifeless things such as the law... the water and the blood...” 

This time I will give different emphasis  and some foot notes marks of my own The quote was

2 The Spirit of God—On the whole , the New Testament, like the Old, speaks of the spirit as a divine energy or power (1) particularity in the heart of man. (2) The Spirit rests on Christ and is a power within Him distinct from Himself (3) (matt 3:10, 12:28: Luc. 4:1-14; John 1:32) having first caused his miraculous conception (Luc. i. &c) The Spirit is imparted to Christ disciples, the citizens of the Messianic Kingdom, and is their guide. (1 Pet. 1:12; Acts 2:4 seq., 15:58; cf 5:2)  This divine Spirit is clearly distinguished from the Spirit or conscience of man (Rom. 8:16), and the authority of the Spirit is identified with that of God Himself.</u> (4) (Matt.12:31; Acts 5:3, 9: 1 Cor. 3:16 but cf. Exod. 16:8; 1 Thess. 4:8.) But is a personal existence clearly attributed to the Spirit? No Doubt, all through the N.T. his action is clearly attributed as personal.  He speaks (Marc. 13:11; Acts 9:29)  bears witness (Rom. 8. 16; 1 John. 5. 6), searches (1 Cor. 2: 10), decides (Acts 15: 28), helps and intercedes (Rom. 8 26:), apportions the gifts of grace (1 Cor. 12:. 11). <b>Most of these places furnish no cogent proof of personality. The spirit of God and Christ (Gal 4:6) may be said to do what He operates through man; and again, we must not forget that in the N.T. personifies mere attributes such as love (1 Cor. 13:4), and sin (Rom. 7:11), nay, even abstract and lifeless things such as the law (Rom. 3:19), the water and the blood (1 John 5:8) However, if we look well to the last passage quoted from St Paul (1 Cor. 12:11), we find that the spirit is distinguished from the gifts of the Spirit, and that the personal action is predicted of Him.  “All these things are and the same Spirit worketh, dividing to each separately, as He (5) [the Spirit] wills” 


(1) The spirit is not seen here as a person but a power, a divine energy.  That is <i>basically
what we say.  The spirit is an invisible force  (which can be likened to electricity) that gives life to all living things when they are connected to it.  As it belongs to God, it does more than just give life.  God uses it in a variety of ways to help those that follow him

(2) Here the writer is saying that spirit is a power that rests in the heart of man

(3) The spirit we are just told is not a separate person but  rests on, and, is in Jesus

(4) Here the writer tells us that the authority of the spirit  originates with God. It does not have any authority or control oh its own. In the context of the first part of the paragraph the spirit  is identified by this writer as a divine energy or power .

(5) The masculine pronoun he is not used in the Greek text.  The Greek  here uses  a verb that has no gender at all.  The verb is βούλομαι (boulomai)  which basically means to be willing or be disposed, or ones own will.  Because it refers back to the word pnuema (spirit) which is neuter, it should read “its will”

Now after laying a foundation that the spirit is the power of God, with God having the authority over it, he then asks “ But is a personal existence clearly attributed to the Spirit? With the previous information it seems as if the idea of the trinity has gone out the window, that is why he said “But ”.  He gives an answer that is not a straight out affirmative. He says “No Doubt”, and then proceeds to give reason why by using some texts that, on the surface, may give evidence of personality.  He  then gives a warning though, when he says <b>Most of these places furnish no cogent proof of personality.   Yes he goes on to to try to show that the spirit has personality, and I never tried to hid that is what he was saying.

This is how I would summerise what this Catholic writer has told his audience.   He is teaching that the holy spirit exists as a person, although , the Bible is not real clear on the matter. When we look at the Bible from the OT and the NT the dominant feature of the holy spirit is that it is “a divine energy or power ” that appears to operate in man hearts.  But, by the use of personification texts, we seem to have evidence of a third person of the trinity so, lets go with that even though Most of these places furnish no cogent proof of personality.

His argument is really quite thin here. He really wants his readers to believe as he does in the trinity and so he deliberately glosses over  the facts that the texts he refers to “furnish no cogent proof of personality.”
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In regard to  to Matt 16:18 you said … <<<“Brenton, I do not place any preconceived ideas on what Jesus said in Matt 16:18, it is you who is doing this,...”>>>   It seems that neither of us explain ourselves very clearly.  I do not recall putting “ any preconceived ideas” on the text.  I did say that you did not explain what you meant by the text, so, I made an assumption as to what you were trying to get at.  We  (JWs) understand that there would always be some that would be considered “true Christians”.  That is why I went to  discuss the parable of  the wheat and the weeds.

In line with wheat and the weeds parable that Jesus gave, where the true  “congregation” (church) of God would be indistinguishable from the weeds, it is felt that since the death of the apostles that there has always been some representation of the true “congregation” on earth. But because the distinction was not clear, it can not be said with any certainty just who would have been considered as representing the true congregation.  Arius may well have been of that number  because of his outspokenness in  wanting to set matters straight, even though his ideas were slightly off.  We just do not know. However the distinction would be made very clear at the time of the harvest.   

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In regard to the quote I gave from  http://www.encyclopedia.com/article-1G2-3407711248/trinity-holy.html you said

QUOTE
Note that just before this quote, we read, “The Trinitarian problem may have been clear: the relation of the Son and (at least nebulously) Spirit to the Godhead. But a Trinitarian solution was still in the future.” All that the apologists were trying to do was understand how all three persons operated together but distinctly, it is not what you try to claim when read in context. 
End Quote

May I point out a couple of things here  “The Trinitarian problem may have been clear: the relation of the Son and (at least nebulously) Spirit to the Godhead. But a Trinitarian solution was still in the future.”

First please notice the uncertainly of the writer “may have been ”. Then the use of  “ nebulously” which means   “hazy, vague, indistinct, or confused: .”   (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/nebulous)  So of course the writer was  trying hard  “understand how all three persons operated together but distinctly.”  

No I do not believe I took the quote out of context.  The quote clearly tells us that there was uncertainly about the relationship of the Son and the holy spirit to to the Father.  It was vague and undefined?  Why was that so? Because the BIBLE does not teach this.  They are trying hard to read into Gods word something that is not clear.  Over time after slowly mixing in pagan ideas they came up with a solution that was then and still is a mystery as to just how to definitely define this trinity concept. That is why it is important to see what the Bible and only the Bible has to say on this topic and not the slowly changing ideas of the “church fathers”


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Polytheism includes the belief in more that one god as well as the religious worship of more that one god.  The Bible teaches that there are more than one god  (1 Corinthians 8:5 ) .  Satan is called the god of this world (2 Corinthians 4:3 )  see also Psalms 82:1 and  John 10:34, 35

Even though we acknowledge that there are many gods, to us there is only ALMIGHTY the  one source of all power, authority, and creativity that is to receive religious  (latreia) worship.


You ask <<<”You JWs consider “a god” to be of “one of a class” right”?>>> Yes you are correct.  The Hebrew and Greek words that are translated as god refer to “mighty” or “strong ones”

So yes Jesus is “a god” in the class of a  mighty or strong one.  Part of the name that Isaiah writes at Isaiah 9:6 “Mighty God”. He is not being  identified here as “THE GOD”   

Your comment was <<<” It would be inconsistent in this context, after condemning their polytheistic practices to then advocate what he just condemned”>>>

No I do not believe it to be inconsistent.   Justine discusses the many gods that the people worshipped but that these gods were no where comparable to the God of the Bible.  Jesus is a god even as you have suggested

The following web site explores just one passage by Justin in some detail as to the way it has been translated.  It looks at variations in the way a couple of people have done the translation and shows that they for some reason did not translate it passage properly.  When the translation is done according the the actual Greek text of Justin  

http://matt13weedhacker.blogspot.ca/2010/10/justin-martyrs-interesting-variant-o




That brings me to the quote from Justin

“OS  LOGOS  KAI  PRWTOTOKOS  WN  TOU  QEOU  KAI  QEOS  UPARXEI”.

In discussing that I mentioned that it was a theologically biased rendering for the translator to say “the Son was even God”.  By using the capital “G” a reader would take that as a quasi proper noun.  Here it is not.  It is a predicate noun telling the reader a  something about the quality of the subject, not identity.

I mentioned  Philip Harner and you add,

<<< “But that one quote does not help your case for Harner rules out “a god” rendering, he explains; 

“If a writer simply wished to represent the subject AS ONE OF A CLASS, he could use an anarthrous predicate noun AFTER the verb.” (emphasis mine).  “>>>

Now, nowhere did Harner give clear examples of where a singular Anarthrous  predicate  noun AFTER the verb   would represent that the subject was  “AS ONE OF A CLASS

However when one looks through the book of John there are about 20 examples of where a singular anarthrous predicate count noun (as theos is in the quote by Justine above and in John 1:1) are used.  The Greek writers knew and understood the significance of that sort of construction .

(for any reader who wants to know what a count noun is see http://www.englishforeveryone.org/Topics/Count-and-Non-Count.htm)

The exercise I did  in looking for pre and post verbal singular anarthrous predicate nominate nouns was by using the Greek text of the Scriveners Textus Receptus 1894  that was Prepared and edited by Dr. Maurice A. Robinson. I do not know what Greek text Harner used.  There are some differences in word order between some Greek texts.


I tried to find a  complete readable copy of his woks but could only, as yet,  find  what is  a poor quality scanned photocopy of his work  http://digilander.libero.it/domingo7/Harner2.htm  I have examined some of the texts that I could make out and there is a problem with the ones I looked at.  His article is no a very broad topic.  His article starts of

QUOTE
QUALITATIVE ANARTHROUS PREDICATE NOUNS 

MARK 15:39 AND JOHN 1:1 

The purpose of this study is to examine the type of clause in which an anarthrous predicate noun precedes the copulative verb. Two examples of this word-order are especially important in NT interpretation. In Mark 15:39 the centurion standing before Jesus’ cross says,   alhqw" outo" oJ anqrwpo" uiJo" qeou hn.  And John writes in his prologue, qeo" hn oJ logo"  (1:1).   

End Quote

There is a difference between the construction of Mark and John that means, for the purpose of his conclutions regarding John 1:1, that he is NOT comparing the same grammatiacl constuction.

Look at Harners rendering Mark.  The verb comes after a genative noun ( qeou = God)  not the prediacte noun    uiJo" (= son)

I have done a study on the verses used in Harners article using   software I have  of the Scriveners Textus Receptus 1894   (STR) that was Prepared and edited by Dr. Maurice A. Robinson.  I have  discovered that Harner used a different Greek text that appears to have variations in word order.  For example in Mark 15:39 the text  that I used  reads  “ alhqw"  outo" oJ anqrwpo" uiJo" hn qeou ”   where as the text he uses reads “qeou hn ”  The STR uses the same sentence construction as John 1:1.  But .... Harner did not use that Greek text. I do not know what text he used

I also have another piece of software that compares 10 different  “master” Greek texts.  5 of them are as per the STR and 5 are as per the one used by Harner.

The other 4 that agree with the STR at Mark 15 are
Tischedorof's 8th edition greek text (1859)
Stephanus Textus Redceptus (1550)
Byzantine Majority Text
Trgelelles Greek text (1854)

The 5 Greek texts that read the same as the one that Harner used are

United Bible societies 4th version Greek
Nestle alands 27th Greek text
Westcott and Horts Greek text (1881)
Codex Sinaiticus Greek text (4th cenutry)
Codex Vaticanus  (4th cenutry )

Basically the  Greek  of Mark in the STR  reads in English  “truly the human (man) this son was (uiJo" hn)  of-god”    The  word ”son” is the nominative predicate noun and the verb is was.   In the Greek text  of the STR The noun “son” (uiJo") comes  before the verb was (hn)  In the Greek text used by Haner the verb comes after the genitive noun the (God)

Ok so here are some of the texts in John that are of the same grammatical construction as John 1:1c where we find a singular, count, anarthrous predicate noun preceding the copulative verb.

From the KJV
John 1:6  “a man”
3:4      “a man”
3:27     “a man”
4:19   “a prophet”
6:70  “a devil”
8:44 “a murderer”
8:44  “a liar”
8:48  “a Samaritan”
9:17 “a prophet”
10:1 “a thief”
18: 37 “a king”
18 :37 “a king”
 
That construction is not unusual and just was understand that the indefinite article is implied and thus inserted, the Greek speaking people who read Justin's works would understand the same thing.

The “church fathers” even though they did speak out against some heresies still deviated from the inspired words.  Therefore are interested in them should be for historical reasons and not spiritual enlightenment.  It is JUST the Word of God, the Bible that we need to look to for an explanation of what he wants us to do and believe.  

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Brenton Hepburn

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I AM one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, and I am always learning. I am NOT an expert in the full sense of the word but I can answer questions on the reliability of the NWT - the so called mind control problems-so called prophecies - how being a JW affects the individual and relatives and general practices and history of Jehovah’s Witnesses. >>WARNING<< Please be aware that there are people here who ARE NOT practicing JWs. By all means ask these ones questions. Depending on the question you will get an honest answer, but, generally the answer you get, will mislead you as to what we believe, often because, they do not give ALL the relevant details. These ones will, have an agenda against JWs., and will at times give answers that are not correct in regard to JW teachings and practices. If you are after a answer from one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, please read some of the answers that the various experts have published before choosing someone. If you want to ask one of the NON JWs a question, that is fine, BUT if you want a balancing view after asking one of the NON JWs, ask a JW the same question. PLEASE ALSO NOTE: There(have been)and are, some "experts" here who are NOT always the most courteous and polite, at times are actually quite rude, that applies to both JW's and non JW's and their answers may offend, especially when they get personal and attack the character of the person and not the message. Unfortunately some here that have done that. So it IS IMPORTANT to chose an "expert" that YOU feel will best suit YOU by reading some of their past answers . . . . .

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I have been a publisher since 1964. When I first went on the internet I found a lot of negative information dealing with Jehovah’s Witnesses covering prophecy, mind control and what many said was a very bad translation of the Bible known as the NWT. It shook my faith. After may hours researching these topics I could see why some felt that way, but, I was also able to explain why there were these misleading views. I can now set matters straight for anyone that has negative information about Jehovah’s Witness to show them that such information is at best misleading and at worst dangerous lies.

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I have been a student of the Bible for many years, am trying to teach myself Biblical Greek. Was a public tax accountant for many years untill SEP 2009 when I gave it up due to health problems.

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