Author Topic: One God, Three Persons  (Read 12057 times)

Brian Stoffregen

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One God, Three Persons
« on: July 18, 2020, 05:20:01 PM »
Once again I was charged with heresy.


In a similar way, I dislike the language: "Jesus rose from the dead." That makes it sound like Jesus made himself rise. If he were truly dead, he could do nothing for himself. I prefer the passive, "Jesus was raised from the dead." The Father, the Creator, who gave life to dirt, was the power behind raising the corpse of Jesus.
The ole Stoffregen heresy gratuitously rears its ugly head again.   ::)


I chose my language very carefully. Our God is three persons: Father, Son/Jesus, Holy Spirit. Jesus is not the Father. Jesus is not the Holy Spirit. The Father is not the Holy Spirit. To mix up these terms for the distinct persons is heresy.


Did Jesus raise himself from the dead? I say, "No." If Jesus had even a minute ability to do something for himself, then he wasn't truly dead. A part of him was still able to function. Then the analogy would be that when we are dead in our trespasses and sins, we still have a smidgeon of ability to bring ourselves back to the new life. I believe that our theology says that we are helpless - as helpless as Lazarus or Jesus being dead in their tombs.
"The church … had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: One God, Three Persons
« Reply #1 on: July 18, 2020, 05:29:12 PM »

In a similar way, I dislike the language: "Jesus rose from the dead." That makes it sound like Jesus made himself rise. If he were truly dead, he could do nothing for himself. I prefer the passive, "Jesus was raised from the dead." The Father, the Creator, who gave life to dirt, was the power behind raising the corpse of Jesus.


"Jesus answered and said to them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up." John 2:19


ἐγείρω can simply mean, "to stand up" after lying down. Jesus did that.


John 2:22 uses the passive: "When therefore he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this, …." Also in John 21:14: "This was now the third time that Jesus was revealed to the disciples after he was raised from the dead."
"The church … had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

RDPreus

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Re: One God, Three Persons
« Reply #2 on: July 18, 2020, 05:43:38 PM »
The same word that is used in verse 19 is used in verse 22.  Does it make any sense that in verse 19 it means to stand up while in verse 22 it means to raise?  Jesus raised himself from the dead.  Jesus was raised from the dead.  Both statements are true. 

J. Thomas Shelley

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Re: One God, Three Persons
« Reply #3 on: July 18, 2020, 05:55:17 PM »
This discussion is curiously timed, as it coincides with the hour of Vespers in anticipation of the Sunday of the Holy Fathers of the Fourth Ecumenical Council, observed each year on the Sunday falling between July 13 and July 19.

Here are some germane gems from the hymnography:

Quote

Because of Your law, O Lord, I waited for You; my soul waited for Your word. My soul hopes in the Lord.

The ven’rable gathering * of the all-wise holy Fathers, * O Lover of humankind, * proclaimed you, the limitless, indescribable * Word who took human flesh * for the sake of mankind, * to be perfect God and perfect man, with two-fold essences, * and likewise with double the energies, * and even having two-fold wills; * yet one and the same by hypostasis; * therefore knowing you with the Father and the Spirit to be God, * we all now worship you, Christ our God, * as we call the Fathers blest.

From the morning watch until night; from the morning watch until night, let Israel hope in the Lord.

Glorious Fathers, you put down * the foolish Pyrrhus and Sergios, * along with Honorius, * Eftychés, Dióskoros and Nestórios, * saving Christ’s flock from both * the sheer cliffs of folly * by so radiantly proclaiming Christ One by hypostasis * and yet being double in essences, * revealed to us in history * only by his manifest energies; * as we also worship him: man and perfect God, together with * Father and Spirit in Trinity; * you we now all glorify.

Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles; praise Him, all you peoples.

With one voice and one accord, * the all-wise God-bearing Fathers * proclaimed that the godly will * and the divine energy of him who became * a poor beggar freely were both uncreated, * and allotted my humanity to his incarnate flesh, * and fled the createdness of the will * and energy, the mingling of * nature, and division of personhood. * As we faithful honor the Fathers with our festivals each year, * with one accord we now glorify * Christ who in turn glorified them.

For His mercy rules over us; and the truth of the Lord endures forever.


Today with a single mind, * the all-wise God-bearing Fathers * did proclaim the Trinity * Uncreated fittingly to be one Lord God; * and to all, showed the one * nature’s singularity, * the simplicity of energy, the common single will, * and making the Trinity known through all * as endless and beginningless * existing as one God eternally; * thus we sing our praise of them all as imitators of the Twelve, * and all as teachers throughout the world * for the Gospel of the Church.

Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit.

Today let us extol those God-bearing Fathers, whom we call the mystical trumpets of the Spirit, for when they declared theology, it was like they were playing harmonious music in the middle of the Church. They taught that the Trinity is one, unchanging essence and Godhead. They were the front-line defenders of the Orthodox, and they brought down the error of heresy. Now they always intercede with the Lord, that He have mercy on our souls. [SD]


Quote

Resurrectional Aposticha.

From Octoechos - - -

Mode pl. 1.

We lift up our voices in song to magnify you, Christ Savior, who became incarnate yet were never separated from heaven. For you, O Lord who love all, suffered the cross and death for our sake; and destroying the gates of Hades, you rose on the third day and saved our souls.

Verse: The Lord reigns; He clothed Himself with majesty; the Lord clothed and girded Himself with power.

Your pierced side, O Giver of life, poured streams of remission, life, and salvation upon us all. By accepting death in the flesh, you have granted us immortality; by taking up your abode in the tomb, you have set us free, and as God you have raised us up with you in glory. Therefore, we cry aloud: Glory to you, Lord and loving God.

Verse: And He established the world, which shall not be moved.

Your crucifixion and descent into Hades are strange, O loving God. For after despoiling Hades, you as God raised up in glory with yourself those held captive in times of old, and you opened paradise and permitted them to enjoy it. Cleanse us, therefore, from sin, who glorify your resurrection on the third day and make us worthy to dwell in paradise, for you alone are merciful.

Verse: Holiness is proper to Your house, O Lord, unto length of days.

For our sake you accepted suffering in the flesh and [you] rose from the dead on the third day. Heal the passions of our flesh and raise us from our grievous iniquities and save us, O loving God.


Greek Orthodox-Ecumenical Patriarchate

Baptized, Confirmed, and Ordained United Methodist.
Served as a Lutheran Pastor October 31, 1989 - October 31, 2014.
Charter member of the first chapter of the Society of the Holy Trinity.

Chrismated Antiochian Orthodox, eve of Mary of Egypt Sunday, A.D. 2015

Jeremy_Loesch

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Re: One God, Three Persons
« Reply #4 on: July 18, 2020, 06:10:37 PM »
"No one takes my life from me. I lay it down by my own authority and I pick it up by own authority." John 10

Jesus rose from the dead.

Jeremy

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: One God, Three Persons
« Reply #5 on: July 18, 2020, 06:45:36 PM »
A quick survey of ἐγείρω in regards to Jesus' resurrection


passive of ἐγείρω for Jesus’ resurrection
Matthew 16:21 passion prediction
Matthew 17:9 passion prediction
Matthew 17:23 passion prediction
Matthew 20:19 passion prediction
Matthew 26:32
Matthew 27:64
Matthew 28:6
Matthew 28:7
Mark 14:28
Mark 16:6
Mark 16:14
Luke 9:22 passion prediction
Luke 24:5
Luke 24:34
John 2:22
John 21:14
Romans 4:25
Romans 6:4
Romans 6:9
Romans 7:4
Romans 8:34
1 Cor 15:4
1 Cor 15:12
1 Cor 15:14
1 Cor 15:16
1 Cor 15:17
1 Cor 15:20
2 Cor 5:15
2 Timothy 2:8
 
active or middle of ἐγείρω for Jesus’ resurrection
Matthew 27:63 middle
John 2:19 – metaphor
John 2:20 - metaphor
 
God/Father raised Jesus
Acts 3:15
Acts 5:30
Acts 10:40
Acts 13:30
Acts 13:37
Romans 4:24
Romans 8:11 (Spirit raised Jesus)
Romans 8:11
Romans 10:9
1 Cor 6:14
1 Cor 15:15
2 Cor 4:14
Galatians 1:1
Ephesians 1:20
Colossians 2:12
1 Thess 1:10
1 Peter 1:21
« Last Edit: July 18, 2020, 07:58:32 PM by Brian Stoffregen »
"The church … had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: One God, Three Persons
« Reply #6 on: July 18, 2020, 07:26:50 PM »
"No one takes my life from me. I lay it down by my own authority and I pick it up by own authority." John 10

Jesus rose from the dead.

Jeremy


Interesting text: John 10:17-18
It also contains a complex Greek word that can be translated with nearly contradictory English words, λαμβάνω. It occurs three times in the text - marked with blue.

Even the ESV translates it in two different ways in these verses. The first two times: "take up". The third time, "receive."

διὰ τοῦτό με ὁ πατὴρ ἀγαπᾷ
ὅτι ἐγὼ τίθημι τὴν ψυχήν μου, ἵνα πάλιν λάβω αὐτήν.
οὐδεὶς αἴρει αὐτὴν ἀπ’ ἐμοῦ,
ἀλλ’ ἐγὼ τίθημι αὐτὴν ἀπ’ ἐμαυτοῦ.
ἐξουσίαν ἔχω θεῖναι αὐτήν,
καὶ ἐξουσίαν ἔχω πάλιν λαβεῖν αὐτήν•
ταύτην τὴν ἐντολὴν ἔλαβον παρὰ τοῦ πατρός μου.


The verb has an active sense: "to take hold of, to grab, to take into one's possession."
It also has a passive sense: "to receive (what someone else has given)."


The contrast between τίθημι and λαμβάνω could be phrased: "giving up" his life and "taking back" his life.
Or, the contrast could be phrased: "to place" his life with others who will take it and "to receive" his life back from God.


Did Jesus raise himself?
Do you raise yourself when the Law kills you?
"The church … had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

readselerttoo

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Re: One God, Three Persons
« Reply #7 on: July 18, 2020, 07:31:10 PM »
A quick survey of ἐγείρω in regards to Jesus' resurrection


passive of ἐγείρω for Jesus’ resurrection
Matthew 16:21 passion prediction

Matthew 17:9 passion prediction
Matthew 17:23 passion prediction
Matthew 20:19 passion prediction
Matthew 26:32
Matthew 27:64
Matthew 28:6
Matthew 28:7
Mark 14:28
Mark 16:6
Mark 16:14
Luke 9:22 passion prediction
Luke 24:5
Luke 24:34
John 2:22
John 21:14
Romans 4:25
Romans 6:4
Romans 6:9
Romans 7:4
Romans 8:34
1 Cor 15:4
1 Cor 15:12
1 Cor 15:14
1 Cor 15:16
1 Cor 15:17
1 Cor 15:20
2 Cor 5:15
2 Timothy 2:8
 
active or middle of ἐγείρω for Jesus’ resurrection
Matthew 26:63 middle
Matthew 28:6 middle
John 2:19 – metaphor
John 2:20 - metaphor
 
God/Father raised Jesus
Acts 3:15
Acts 5:30
Acts 10:40
Acts 13:30
Acts 13:37
Romans 4:24
Romans 8:11 (Spirit raised Jesus)
Romans 8:11
Romans 10:9
1 Cor 6:14
1 Cor 15:15
2 Cor 4:14
Galatians 1:1
Ephesians 1:20
Colossians 2:12
1 Thess 1:10
1 Peter 1:21

For Matt. 26:63 I think you might mean vs.32, fyi

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: One God, Three Persons
« Reply #8 on: July 18, 2020, 07:59:51 PM »
For Matt. 26:63 I think you might mean vs.32, fyi


Oops. Actually, it's Matthew 27:63 that has the middle voice.
"The church … had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

David Garner

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Re: One God, Three Persons
« Reply #9 on: July 18, 2020, 08:12:28 PM »
Pastor Stoffregen, this seems to me to stem from a confusion of person and nature.  As evidence, I point to the word Θεοτόκος -- "God bearer" or "Mother of God."  Why did Nestorius object to this usage?  I would suggest along the very same lines you object that Jesus Himself rose from the dead -- it is not proper according to His human nature.  That is, if Jesus did not truly die -- dead beyond all acting, and beyond all ability to act -- then Jesus (your reasoning goes) has lost something of His humanity.  Yet Jesus descended into Hades.  Be mindful here -- nothing in the Scriptures says His Divine nature descended into Hades.  Rather, Jesus descended. Why?  Because natures do not act.  People do.  In the same way, the person Mary bore is God, Jesus Christ, the Second person of the Holy Trinity.  And the person Who rose is God, the Second person of the Holy Trinity.  This in no way destroys His humanity, because we are talking about a person rising, not a nature (for natures do not rise or die, they simply exist).

Who is the person Who rose on the third day?  Jesus.  Jesus rose.  He willed it Himself.  Because He is God.  Jesus also died.  He truly died.  Because He is man.  We cannot mix or confuse these two natures, and yet Jesus remains one person, not two.  Thinking otherwise was the error of Nestorius.  I will not call your confusion heresy, because I don't think you are willfully erring.  But I do think it has roots in Nestorianism, and I do think you err nonetheless.
Orthodox Reader and former Lutheran (LCMS and WELS).

readselerttoo

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Re: One God, Three Persons
« Reply #10 on: July 18, 2020, 08:23:39 PM »
Interesting thought:  the divine passive is about outside (of self) intervention by another, ie. God.  Except Jesus is God as witnessed in Colossians 2:9.  The unique only-begotten Son has no equal among humans and yet is fully human.  God raised Jesus doesn't take anything away from the fulness of God in Him issue...as Jesus is 100% divine and 100% human all at the same time. 

readselerttoo

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Re: One God, Three Persons
« Reply #11 on: July 18, 2020, 08:37:44 PM »
Grammatically the middle voice doesn't capture the fullest quality of self-containment in terms of action.  The middle also possesses the quality of otherness which acts along with the self in the action.  Similar to Galatians 3:27 at which being clothed and clothing oneself have a different meaning and force from mere passive or mere active action.

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: One God, Three Persons
« Reply #12 on: July 18, 2020, 08:43:20 PM »
Interesting thought:  the divine passive is about outside (of self) intervention by another, ie. God.  Except Jesus is God as witnessed in Colossians 2:9.  The unique only-begotten Son has no equal among humans and yet is fully human.  God raised Jesus doesn't take anything away from the fulness of God in Him issue...as Jesus is 100% divine and 100% human all at the same time.


Yes, but with the limit of our language, we keep Jesus (or the Son,) the Father, and the Holy Spirit as distinct persons of the Trinity. We wouldn't talk about the Father or the Holy Spirit being raised from the dead; only the Son, Jesus. While we can say that God died on the cross; we don't talk about the Father or Holy Spirit dying (or being born).


I can accept the language of "God raised God." There is one God. I question the language: "Jesus raised Jesus." 
"The church … had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

Richard Johnson

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Re: One God, Three Persons
« Reply #13 on: July 18, 2020, 08:50:33 PM »
Just for the record, "Jesus" and "the Son" are not interchangeable terms in discussing (however feebly) Trinitarian theology.
The Rev. Richard O. Johnson, STS

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: One God, Three Persons
« Reply #14 on: July 18, 2020, 08:52:42 PM »
Pastor Stoffregen, this seems to me to stem from a confusion of person and nature.  As evidence, I point to the word Θεοτόκος -- "God bearer" or "Mother of God."  Why did Nestorius object to this usage?  I would suggest along the very same lines you object that Jesus Himself rose from the dead -- it is not proper according to His human nature.  That is, if Jesus did not truly die -- dead beyond all acting, and beyond all ability to act -- then Jesus (your reasoning goes) has lost something of His humanity.  Yet Jesus descended into Hades.  Be mindful here -- nothing in the Scriptures says His Divine nature descended into Hades.  Rather, Jesus descended. Why?  Because natures do not act.  People do.  In the same way, the person Mary bore is God, Jesus Christ, the Second person of the Holy Trinity.  And the person Who rose is God, the Second person of the Holy Trinity.  This in no way destroys His humanity, because we are talking about a person rising, not a nature (for natures do not rise or die, they simply exist).

Who is the person Who rose on the third day?  Jesus.  Jesus rose.  He willed it Himself.  Because He is God.  Jesus also died.  He truly died.  Because He is man.  We cannot mix or confuse these two natures, and yet Jesus remains one person, not two.  Thinking otherwise was the error of Nestorius.  I will not call your confusion heresy, because I don't think you are willfully erring.  But I do think it has roots in Nestorianism, and I do think you err nonetheless.


I have no problems with Θεοτόκος. However, orthodoxy never used the language of Πατηρτόκος or Πνευματὀκος. Mary was not the mother of the Father or of the Spirit. They were not born. It's not the natures of Christ I'm looking at, but the language of the Trinity in regards to the resurrection. The human and divine natures of Christ died and were raised.


My concern is if we grant Jesus any element in causing his own resurrection, that leads to Pelagianism. We then look to ourselves to raise ourselves from the death of our trespasses and sins.
"The church … had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]