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Offline _Waziri_

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What the early Christians Believed about God
« on: December 10, 2004, 12:06:56 PM »
Ecclesiastics disputes of the Early Christians in regard to the nature of God

Assalamu Alaikum,

Brothers and sisters,

In my desire to understand and make others understand, I intervene here again, in the debate between our two brothers, Barde and Lionger on Christ and the nature of his substance, that is to say, whether he is of the same substance with God or not. As it is seen, the debate is always chunked with verses from Bible with different interpretations from both the two. I intend here to avoid that but give account of how early Christians themselves differed on the same subject matter as Lionger and Barde differ. In the end I hope the reader will come to grasp the fact that the subject is not as simplistic as it seems but rather a thing that requires both the sincere Christians and Muslims to embark on research to bring about the real truth of the things as they are.


“Down to the 4th century A.D. there existed a sect known as Hypisistarians who refused to worship God as Father. They revered Him as All Mighty Ruler of the world, He was the Highest of all and no one was equal to Him. Paul of Samasata was a Bishop of Antioch. He was of the view that Christ was not God but a man and a prophet. He differed only in degree from prophets who came before him and that God could not have become man substantially.Then, we come across another Bishop of Antioch known as Lucian. As a Bishop his reputation for sanctity was not less than his fame as a scholar. He deleted all mention of trinity from the Bible, as he believed it to be a later interpolation not found in the earlier Gospels. He was martyred in 312 A.D.   

Next we come to the famous disciple of Lucian known as Arius (250-336 A.D.). He was a Libyan by birth. Peter Bishop of Alexanderia ordained him a Deacon but later excommunicated him. Achilles the successor of Peter again ordained Arius as priest. Alexander the next Bishop of Alexandria once again excommunicated him. Arius however had gathered such a large following that he became a headache for the Church. If kept out of Church he could be a great danger to her but he could not be accommodated within the Church, as he wanted to establish the unity and simplicity of the Eternal God. He believed that how so ever much Christ might surpass other created beings he himself was not of the same substance as God. He was as human being as any other man. The preaching of Arius spread like wild fire and shook the very foundation of the Pauline Church. The controversy that was simmering for three hundred years suddenly became a conflagration. No man dared to oppose the organised Church but Arius did, and remained a headache for her whether he was ordained a priest or was excommunicated. During this time two events changed the history of Europe.

Emperor Constantine brought a greater part of Europe under his rule and secondly he began to support the Christians without accepting Christianity. To the soldier prince the different creeds within the Christian faith were very confusing. In the Imperial Palace itself the controversy was raging not less fiercely. It appears that perhaps the Queen Mother was inclined towards Pauline Christianity while his sister Princess Constantine was a disciple of Arius. The Emperor was wavering between the two faiths. As an administrator he was interested only in uniting all the Christians within one church. It was at this time that the conflict between Arius and Bishop Alexander became so widespread and so violent that it became a law and order problem. So the Emperor anxious to maintain peace in the newly unified Europe had to intervene.

In 325 A.D. a meeting of all denominations of Christianity was called at Nicea (Now Isnik, a village). Bishop Alexander was not able to attend the conference and he deputed his lieutenant Athanasius, who subsequently succeeded Alexander as Bishop of Alexandria.

The conference had many prolonged sessions. Emperor Constantine could not grasp the full implications of the ecclesiastical confrontation, but he was very clear in his mind that for maintaining peace in his realm the support and cooperation of the Church was necessary. Accordingly he threw his weight behind Athanasius and banished Arius from the realm. Thus the belief of Trinity became the official religion of the empire. Fearful massacre of Christian who did not believe in Trinity followed. It became a penal offence to possess a Bible not authorised by the Church and according to some estimates as many as 270 different versions of the Bible were burnt. Princess Constantina was not happy at the turn of events. The Emperor ultimately was persuaded to accept the faith of the men he killed. The result was that Arius was called back in 346. The day Arius was scheduled to visit the Cathedral of Constantinople in triumph he died suddenly. The Church called it a miracle. The Emperor knew it was a murder. He banished Athanasius and two other Bishops. The Emperor then formally accepted Christianity and was baptised by an Arian Bishop. Thus Monotheism became the official religion. Constantine died in 337. The next Emperor Constantanius also accepted the faith of Arius. Another Council held in Sirmium in 351 confirmed this view. As a result Arianism was accepted by an overwhelming majority of Christians. St. Jerome wrote in 359 that ‘the whole world groaned and marvelled to find itself Arian’.

In this context the next important figure is that of Pope Honorius. A contemporary of Prophet Mohammed (peace be on him) he saw the rising tied of Islam whose tenets very much resembled those of Arius. As the mutual killings of Christians were still fresh in his memory he perhaps thought of finding a via media between Islam and Christianity. In his letters he began to support the doctrine of ‘one mind’, because if God has three independent minds the result would be chaos. The logical conclusion pointed to the beliefs in existence of one God. This doctrine was not officially challenged for about half a century. Pope Honorius died in October 638. In 680, i.e. 42 years after his death, a council was held in Constantinople where Pope Honorius was anathematised. This event is unique in the history of Papacy when a succeeding Pope and the Church denounced a Pope.”

Roman Catholic Encycholopaedia is of the understanding that the faith as propagated by Arius is the same as what Muslims of today believe in. Other historians understand that most of those who believed in Arius became Muslims when Islam reached Europe.

In conclusion, I would like to believe that the issue or this faith should attract the objective analysis of modern day Christians for certainly when pursued with sincerity we will all come to understand the truth about whether Trinity and the divineship or devineship of Jesus is truly what the master himself tought.

Thank you once again,

I remain most grateful.

Waziri

Offline al_hamza

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What the early Christians Believed about God
« Reply #1 on: December 11, 2004, 12:22:36 PM »
THANKS ALOT MAN.
APPRECIATE IT
ABILUNAH? SABILUNAH? AL-JIHAD! AL-JIHAD!

Offline Indabawa

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What the early Christians Believed about God
« Reply #2 on: December 12, 2004, 09:36:04 PM »
Quote from: "al_hamza"
THANKS ALOT MAN.
APPRECIATE IT


That is vintage waziri.Always articulate,analytical.abjective and thought provoking.Keep it up,man.
e who kneels to Allah can stand up to anything.

Offline elgaazus

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What the early Christians Believed about God
« Reply #3 on: December 15, 2004, 07:23:09 PM »
Waziri,

This is a nice enligthening article you've written and i believe any clear minded and objective christian that reads it will learn from it. Though, todays christians, i am sorry to say are more in a state of confusion and will require a lot of this thought provoking well researched peice of write up. Which will be a guide to them if they drop there antagonistic approach to islam and any thing about it.

It is a good effort Waziri, may Allah reward you for it and may he guide our christian brothers and sisters to understandind Islam. However it is adviceable they pick interest in research on the topic.

Ma'assalam
orget about it

Offline lionger

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What the early Christians Believed about God
« Reply #4 on: December 15, 2004, 10:24:14 PM »
Interesting writeup Waziri. However, I think I should make some points clear.

'Heretical' doctrines have always been a problem in the church right from its inception after Christ's ascension, and the New testament of the Bible makes this obvious. In fact, it says that such things will continue to happen and even worsen. After all, why really were the Epistles written? In my discussion with Barde I pulled out verses from Paul's letters as proof of Jesus' Godly nature, which he objected to. However, we should wonder why Paul and the other apostles would even have to say such things to  people who were already Christians. Partly to reinforce the fundamentals which were being eroded due to the pervasion of falso doctrines, which were causing division and strife akin to some scenarios depicted in Waziri's article. Thus if the main objective of this article is to point out that the early professed 'christians' never always agreed on the fundamentals of their faith, then it is a bit moot. It certainly does highlight the perils of 'organized/politicized religion' - which I maintain true Christianity isn't, rather a relationship.

As such, in response to Waziris' final comments and those of elgaazus, I suggest that all who want to examine in sincerity the identity or 'origin' of Jesus should simply pick up the Bible and read the book of John for starters, and judge for themselves who Jesus says he is (i.e. does he speak just like a man/prophet/messenger?). May this be your guide to understanding  Christianity!  :D

lionger

Offline mallamt

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What the early Christians Believed about God
« Reply #5 on: December 17, 2004, 12:14:26 AM »
As Lionger put it heresys are not a new thing to organised religions, even in Islam there are groups who question the message of Mohammed (pbuh), there are those who question the validity of the quran as is today.  The thoughts of individuals can not be used to define a group, rather it is the collectively agreed believe that should be used to identify a group.  There is no way if you want to conduct a true and honest research into the nature of Christ to christains that you will not use the bible as your reference point.  Any study of the nature of Christ that ignores what is in the bible is no research but an attempt to carry out cheap shots at christianity.  How can anyone study or understand the Prophet (pbuh) whitout any reference to the quran? is it possible?  It must be remembered that the denial of Christs diety did not start after christ but even during His time and the bible is full of evidence to that fact.

I will like to highlight some factual inaccuracies contained in the write up which could be used to misled people about christianity or the bible.
The first is the suggestion that belief in trinity for christians is a religion
Quote
Thus the belief of Trinity became the official religion of the empire. Fearful massacre of Christian who did not believe in Trinity followed.
The qoute shows that the researcher was either biased or had very little knowledge or understanding of the history of it (trinity).  Trinity is not a belief or religion as the writer would like us to belief and it is not contained anywhere in the bible.  It is very important to get this fact right.  The concept of trinity is however taught throughout the pages of the bible.  The word originates from the latin 'trinitas,' being a combination of the words 'tri' for 'three' and 'unitas' for 'unity.'  The first time the term was used was at the end of the 2nd century after the birth of Christ (AD)  by an early church father, Tertullian.  The Church adopted it as an official doctrine at the council of Nizea in 325 and in its final form at the council of Constantinople in 381 to defend Christianity against false teachings.  The Trinitarian doctrine has been believed in and taught about by Christian writers living before the council of Nizea. They do not always reflect the general theological beliefs of common Christians of their day but nevertheless give some indication regarding doctrinal issues.  Some christian leaders of the time also commented on the concept of the trinity suc as Justin, martyred 165 AD: 'The Father of the Universe has a Son; who also, being the first-begotten Word of God, is even God.'
'Christians worship God the Father, the Son (who came forth from Him...), and the prophetic Spirit.'
Irenaeus, 130-200 AD: 'The Church has its faith in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things that are in them; and in one Christ Jesus, the Son of God, who became incarnate for our salvation; and in the Holy Spirit, who proclaimed through the prophets the dispensations of God...Christ Jesus, is our Lord and God and Saviour, and King.'
Clement of Alexandria, 200 AD: 'Christ is truly most manifest Deity, He that is made equal to the Lord of the universe; because He was His Son.'

Secondly the writer attempts to give the impression that the bible was rewritten and in a subtle manner tries to give the idea that the rewritten bible contained trinity as a belief
Quote
Fearful massacre of Christian who did not believe in Trinity followed. It became a penal offence to possess a Bible not authorised by the Church and according to some estimates as many as 270 different versions of the Bible were burnt
 First as indicated above there is no trinity as a word in the bible, except if the writter would direct us to were it is found in the bible.  From historical evidence, the bible has not changed from the time it was written.  The Quran makes it quite clear that the Bible, known as the Torah and the Injil, was found reliable in Muhammad's time, in the sixth century. A comparison between a twenty first century Bible and a copy from the sixth century proves that they are substantially the same. Like in the case of the Injil, the New Testament, the formation of an official list (canon) of the books that were part of it took a considerable time. When finally an official list was approved it was done so in defense against a growing number of heretical writings. The official list merely confirmed what had been accepted by the Jews centuries before. Then it was unnecessary because there was a common agreement as to which writings were part of the Torah. After giving nine solid reasons for an early formation of the canon of the Old Testament, the authors of 'An Introduction to the new Testament' (by D. Carson, D.J. Moo, L. Morris, Apollos, 1992, pages 491-92) conclude saying, 'It appears, then, that there is adequate evidence to support the view that there was a (closed) canon of Scripture to serve as a model in the formation of the New Testament canon. Even if this point be disputed, there is entirely convincing evidence that the Torah (here meaning the Pentateuch) and the Prophets were viewed as closed collections by the first century AD'.   Evidence of the consistence or intactness of todays bible can be found in sources such as the following:  

The Dead Sea Scrolls, written in Hebrew at about 100 BC, discovered in the late 1940's and early 1950's in Palestine. 'Among the fragments discovered are complete copies or parts of every Old Testament book except Esther, and the variations in the text after a thousand years of copying are minimal.'

The Septuagint, a translation of the Old Testament Hebrew Scriptures into Greek, at about 250 BC

The Syriac Peshitta, a translation of the whole Bible into the common language of certain parts of Syria, from either the first or second century AD

The Vulgate, the entire Bible translated into Latin at about 400 AD

The burning of writings was NOT burning of versions of the bible, and it must not be presented as such.  The writings were heretics and were not part of the bible, they had to be burnt because cults were developing around them.

Offline _Waziri_

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What the early Christians Believed about God
« Reply #6 on: December 17, 2004, 12:32:07 PM »
Salam All,

Al-Hamza, Indabawa, Elgazus, Lionger and Mallam, thank you all for the response. But I will like to  to respond to some points you raised .

First I avoided going right into the Bible as lionger suggested because of those reasons I highlighted from the onset. Most of the verses in the Bible can be interpreted in a different light as Barde has been doing over time. Thus a Muslim reading Bible can only produce people like Ahmed Deedat since as he goes differ he sees more a Muslim Jesus, not a founder of a new religion. For example, reading this verse which speaks abaut Jesus: "And he went a little farther  and fell on his face and prayed...." Matthew 26:39 will only affirm the conviction of a Muslim that he is even more Christian than the Christians since he prays like Jesus did while the Christians do not.

Also reading the gospel of John nay all the gospels we will see verses saying "Jesus wept", "Jesus groaned", "Jesus escaped", and in another place even saying: "I on my own can do nothing..." which are all not attributes of the omnicient, onmipotent and sufficient God. Therefore a reader of Bible can see nothing more than the truth that Jesus was human not God or anything "Trinity" in attribute. Perharps the translators of Bible did not believe Jesus to be God for the have not been capitalising those pronouns reflecting Jesus. Jesus is always a "he" and "his" not "He" or "His".

Now coming into the claim that what Arius and other clergies believed was truly a heresy as claimed by Pauline Christians. We will have to look at what the history of the church as I tried doing in the very beginning. Are the Arius and his group the heretical Christians or the Pauline Christians?

For Arius, Lucian and their precedessors in relation to what they believed, we can see that their doctrine was from Antioch(see Catholic Encyclopaedia). This is to say from the first Church established after Christ and ofcourse from the first city where early Christians were to reside after Christ(See Acts 11:22-30 and Also Qur'an, Suratul Yasin).   Okay, how can Pauline Christians claim that their own version of Christianity is more authentic than that of Lucious and Arius?

Espicially when we consider the fact that Jesus did not even in the record of the present Bible ever claim to have come with any new faith different from the faith of the Jews which commanded pure monotheism? Also add to the fact that the question of the nature of Christ was not a subject of discussion among the early Christians since they all believed him to be a humanbeing as even the chroniclers recorded in the Bible of today?  

This I believe should make the point where I suggest that more research is needed by our Christian brothers in order to understand and make others understand with a high convincing tone. The burden of prove really rests on them.

I remain most grateful,
I for your forgiveness,

Waziri.

Offline mallamt

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What the early Christians Believed about God
« Reply #7 on: December 19, 2004, 11:34:50 PM »
In any research, one basis his investigation on a specific problem and profers a possible answer (hypothesis).  Any investigation, research or discussion on the position of Christ and His diety can not avoid to commence from the bible, because the christian position with respect to christ is based on the bible.

On some of the qoutes, I do not think that we want to go into a theological discussion so I will not respond to them.  However, I believe myself and Lionger have gone to length in explaining some of these statements in some other thread, but I assure you that there is a proper biblical based explanation.

THE CHURCH OF JERUSALEM
The church in the Christian sense appeared first in Jerusalem after the ascension of Jesus. It was made up of the predominantly Galilean band of Jesus? disciples together with those who responded to the preaching of the apostles in Jerusalem. Its members saw themselves as the elect remnant of Israel destined to find salvation in Zion (Joel 2:32; Acts 2:17.) and as the restored tabernacle of David which Jesus himself had promised to build (Acts 15:16; Mt. 16:18). Jerusalem was thus the divinely-appointed locale for those who awaited the final fulfilment of all God?s promises (Acts 3:21). Externally, the group of baptized believers had the character of a sect within Judaism. It was called ?the sect of the Nazarenes? by a professional orator (Acts 24:5, 14; cf. 28:22), while its own adherents called their distinctive faith ?the Way?. It was more or less tolerated by Judaism throughout the 30-odd years of its life in Judaea, except when the Jewish authorities were disturbed by its fraternization with Gentile churches abroad. But the essentially Jewish character of the Jerusalem church should be noted. Its members accepted the obligations of the law and the worship of the Temple. Their distinctive belief was that Jesus of Nazareth was Israel?s Messiah, that God himself had vindicated this by raising him from the dead after he had suffered for Israel?s redemption, and that the ?great and manifest day? of the Lord was even now upon them and would culminate in a final appearance of Messiah in judgment and glory.
The first leadership of the church was by the twelve (Galilean) apostles, especially Peter and John, but soon gave way to that of elders in the regular Jewish manner, with James the brother of Jesus as president (Gal. 2:9; Acts 15:6.). The latter?s presidency extended through most of the life of the Jerusalem church, possibly from as early as the thirties (Gal. 1:19; cf. Acts 12:17) until his execution c. ad 62. It may well have been associated with the church?s Messianic conceptions.
The church became large (Acts 21:20) and included even priests and Pharisees in its membership (6:7; 15:5). At the outset it included also many Hellenists, Greek-speaking Jews of the Dispersion who came as pilgrims to feasts or for various reasons were staying in Jerusalem. It was apparently through this Hellenist element that the gospel overflowed the narrow limits of Judaistic Christianity and created fresh streams in alien territories. Stephen, one of the Seven, came into debate in a Hellenist synagogue in Jerusalem (of which Saul of Tarsus was possibly a member) and was charged before the Sanhedrin with blaspheming the Temple and the Mosaic law. His defence certainly shows a liberal attitude towards the inviolability of the Temple, and the persecution which followed his death may have been directed against this sort of tendency among Hellenist believers rather than against the law-abiding Christianity of the apostles who remained in Jerusalem when others were ?scattered?. Philip, another of the Seven, took the gospel to Samaria and, after baptizing a foreign eunuch near the old Philistine city of Gaza, went preaching up the coast till he came to the largely pagan Caesarea, where soon afterwards Peter found himself admitting uncircumcised Gentiles to baptism.
Significantly it was Hellenists who went from Jerusalem to Antioch and there preached to Gentiles without any stipulation about the Mosaic law. After Stephen, the Hellenistic element in the Jerusalem church seemed to disappear and its Judaic character to prevail. Some of its members disapproved of the gospel?s being offered to Gentiles without obligation to keep the law and went off to press their point of view in the new churches (Acts 15:1; Gal. 2:12; 6:12f.). Indeed, throughout the first generation it was ?the church? par excellence (see Acts 18:22, where the Jerusalem church is meant). This is noticeable in the attitude of Paul (Gal. 1:13; Phil. 3:6), who impressed it on his churches (Rom. 15:27). When the war with Rome broke out in ad 66 the church came to an end. Its members betook themselves, says Eusebius, to Pella in Transjordan. Thereafter they divided into two groups: the Nazarenes, who keeping the law themselves, had a tolerant attitude towards their Gentile fellow-believers, and the Ebionites, who inherited the Judaizing View of obligation to the law. Later Christians listed the Ebionites among the heretics.

THE CHURCH AT ANTIOCH
The mixed assemblage of Jewish and Gentile believers which was formed at Antioch on the Orontes was without ceremony also called ?the church? there (Acts 11:26; 13:1). Moreover Antioch, not Jerusalem, was the model of the ?new church? which was to appear all over the world. It was founded by Hellenist Jews. Here believers were first dubbed Christians, or ?Christites?, by their Gentile neighbours (Acts 11:26). Antioch became the springboard for the expansion of the gospel throughout the Levant. The key figure at first was Barnabas, himself perhaps a Hellenist but enjoying the full confidence of the Jerusalem leaders who sent him to investigate. He is first named among the ?prophets and teachers?, who are the only functionaries we know to have been in this church. He brought Saul the converted Pharisee from Tarsus. There were important links between Antioch and Jerusalem. Prophets from Jerusalem came up and ministered (Acts 11:27), as did Peter himself and delegates from James (Gal. 2:11-12), not to mention the Pharisaic visitors of Acts 15:1. In return, Antioch expressed its fellowship with Jerusalem by sending relief in time of famine (Acts 11:29) and later looked to the Jerusalem church to provide a solution to the legal controversy. The prophetic leadership of the church included an African called Symeon, Lucius of Cyrene and a member of Herod Antipas?s entourage.

PAULINE CHURCHES
While Paul and Barnabas were clearly not the only missionaries of the first generation, we know next to nothing about the labours of others, including the twelve apostles themselves. Paul, however, claimed to have preached the gospel ?from Jerusalem and as far round as Illyricum? (Rom. 15:19), and we know that he founded churches on the Antiochene pattern Other ?traditions? concerning Jesus? ministry and teaching were laid on every church (1 Cor. 11:2, 23-25;7:17; 11:16; 2 Thes. 2:15), with fixed patterns of ethical instruction in regard to social and political obligation. There was no organizational link between Paul?s churches, though there were natural affinities between churches in the same province (Col. 4:15-16; 1 Thes. 4:10). All were expected to submit to Paul?s authority in matters of the faith hence the role of Paul?s letters and of the visits of Timothy? but this authority was spiritual and admonitory, not coercive (2 Cor. 10:8; 13:10). Local administration and discipline were autonomous (2 Cor. 2:5-10). No church had superiority over any other, though all acknowledged Jerusalem as the source of ?spiritual blessings? (Rom. 15:27), and the collection for the saints there was a token of this acknowledgment.

Quote
Perharps the translators of Bible did not believe Jesus to be God for the have not been capitalising those pronouns reflecting Jesus. Jesus is always a "he" and "his" not "He" or "His".
 I am not sure which bible you are using what I know is that HE is what is used for Jesus, there are all sorts of books out there that claim to be bibles.

Quote
Now coming into the claim that what Arius and other clergies believed was truly a heresy as claimed by Pauline Christians. We will have to look at what the history of the church as I tried doing in the very beginning. Are the Arius and his group the heretical Christians or the Pauline Christians?

For Arius, Lucian and their precedessors in relation to what they believed, we can see that their doctrine was from Antioch(see Catholic Encyclopaedia). This is to say from the first Church established after Christ and ofcourse from the first city where early Christians were to reside after Christ(See Acts 11:22-30 and Also Qur'an, Suratul Yasin). Okay, how can Pauline Christians claim that their own version of Christianity is more authentic than that of Lucious and Arius?
 I hope the little write up above will help you position yourself on this issue qouted here.

Quote
Espicially when we consider the fact that Jesus did not even in the record of the present Bible ever claim to have come with any new faith different from the faith of the Jews which commanded pure monotheism?
 This christians have always said - there is ONLY ONE GOD and that is what is contained in the bible.

Quote
Also add to the fact that the question of the nature of Christ was not a subject of discussion among the early Christians since they all believed him to be a humanbeing as even the chroniclers recorded in the Bible of today?
 Christains have always said that Jesus was human in appearance and that is how it is said in the bible, so what is the point?

Offline Dave_McEwan_Hill

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« Reply #8 on: December 20, 2004, 01:33:37 AM »
There is much Waziri does not understand about Christianity as no doubt there is very much I do not understand about Islam. Debates about what early Christians believed almost 2000 years ago have no point as Christian doctrine has developed continuously and Christianity now has many different aspects all based on Biblical interpretation. Each different Chrisian sect believes it has the whole truth. In fact probably none of them has as God in his fullness is beyond our human understanding. What I do know is that Christianity derived directly from Judaism (as explained by Mallamt) as Islam derived directly from early Christianity. It should therefore be possible for these faiths to peacefully co-exist. They do not however which is an insult to God.
There is division in Islam also. I see today there has been savage atrocities committed between Shias and Sunnis in Iraq with many dead. I find arguments about things of 2000 years ago very pointless when the world today is drowning in blood.
maigemu

Offline lionger

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What the early Christians Believed about God
« Reply #9 on: December 20, 2004, 03:27:29 PM »
Waziri,

What would you think of me, if I read your thread 'For christians and Muslims Only', and ran away with the conclusion that Muslims are enemies of Christians SOLELY on this verse:

Quote
[9.30] And the Jews say: Uzair is the son of Allah; and the Christians say: The Messiah is the son of Allah; these are the words of their mouths; they imitate the saying of those who disbelieved before; may Allah destroy them; how they are turned away!


Not a very balanced conclusion, is it? I hope I can show that you have made a similar error here. It is a good thing that I brought focus back to the Scripture, for if our research of the scriptures is not solid, then can our research based on other sources be trusted? You are making the very same mistakes that Barde continuously made:
1) reading verses out of context,
2) basing a conclusion on ONE verse, and finally,
3) not reading the WHOLE Scripture.

For sure, Jesus did fall on his face when He prayed in the garden of Gethsemane; however, in John 11:41 and 17:1, Jesus "looked toward heaven and prayed.' His demeanor in Gethsemane  was probably a result of the anguish he was in, knowing what was ahead. Even when his disciples asked to teach them how to pray, he said nothing about 'physical position', but said, 'when you pray, say...'.  Jesus always taught that the disposition of the heart was FAR MORE important than any physical position. Didn't he say, in Matthew 6:5-7, not to pray like the hypocrites in public, but rather, to 'go to your room, close the door and pray to your Father'? Couldn't I come away from that verse with the exact opposite conclusion to yours?

Quote
Also reading the gospel of John nay all the gospels we will see verses saying "Jesus wept", "Jesus groaned", "Jesus escaped", and in another place even saying: "I on my own can do nothing..." which are all not attributes of the omnicient, onmipotent and sufficient God. Therefore a reader of Bible can see nothing more than the truth that Jesus was human not God or anything "Trinity" in attribute. Perharps the translators of Bible did not believe Jesus to be God for the have not been capitalising those pronouns reflecting Jesus. Jesus is always a "he" and "his" not "He" or "His".
Emphasis added.

Speaking of readers of the Bible, have you read the book of John? Did you actually read that book, and come away with the idea that Jesus was 'nothing more than a man'? Let's put the Pauline controversy aside; neither you nor Barde ever proved it. Jesus did all those thing u mentioned because he was man. Now let's see what the book of John says about Jesus' divine nature.

Chapter 1, Verse 1-4,10-11, 14-18
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all men..
He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognise him. He came to that which was his own, and his own did not receive him..
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. John testifies concerning him. He cries out, saying "This was he of whom I said, 'He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.'
No one has seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father's side, has made him known.
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Conclusion: He was with God in the beginning, and infact was God, became flesh and blood, and  lived among us. He was fully man and fully God.

Chapter 4: 13
Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.
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Who is this human that can give eternal life? Is this not the exclusive preserve of God? What other prophet ever claimed to do such a thing?

Chapter 5: 19-30
I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees hisFather doing, because whatever the Father does the Son does also
[/color]-here is your quote Waziri. Now read on -
Fot the Father loves the Son and shows him all he does. Yes, to your amazement he will show him even greater things than these. For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son gives life to whom he is pleased to give it. Moreover, the Father judges no-one, but has entrusted all judgement to the Son, that all may honor the Son just as the honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father, who sent him.  
I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life. I tell you the truth, the time is coming when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live. For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son to have life in himself. And he has given him authority to judge because he is the Son of Man.

First of all, he seems to have a very unique relationship with the Father that no-one else does, and no prophet ever claimed. He gives life as he sees fit, just as the Father does. And all will honor the Son just as they honor the Father! Is this truly fitting for a mere man?
However, as you noted, Waziri, this passage clearly shows that he is subject to the Father's will. Why? Because he became flesh, because he made himself nothing, a servant! Understand something here, Jesus functioned on earth as a man, not as God. Because he had laid everything down, he did not rely on his own power, but looked up to God for strength. Though he was God, he did not necessarily act as God whe he came to earth. However, he clearly knew who he was!

Chapter 6:35-58
Then Jesus declared, "I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty. But as I told you, you have seen me and still you do not believe. All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. For I have come down from heaven not to do my own will but the willl of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. For my Father's will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.
At this the Jews began to grumble about him because he said, "I am the bread of life that came down from heaven." They said,"Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How can he now say, 'I came down from heaven'?"
"Stop grumbling among yourselves," Jesus answered. "Noone can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day. It is written in the Prophets: 'They will all be taught by God'. Everyone who listens to the Father and learns from him comes to me. No one has seen the Father except the one who is from God, onle he has seen the Father. I tell you the truth, he who believes has everlasting life. I am the bread of life. Your forefathers ate the manna in the desert, yet they died. But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which a man may eat an not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world."
Then the Jews began to argue sharply among themselves,"How can this man give us his flesh to eat?"
Jesus said to them, "I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood will remain in me, and I in him. Just as the living Father has sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your forefathers ate manna and died, but he who feeds on this bread will live forever."
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Now here is a very tough passage to absorb. He claims he came down from heaven, that he is the only one who has seen God, that he is the living bread of life that supersedes the manna God gave the Israelites in the desert (thereby indirectly saying that he was greater than Moses), and that unless we at his flesh and drank his blood, we had no life in us! How can a man, even a prophet or an angel, say such a thing?

Chapter 8:23
But he continued, "You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world, I am not of this world. I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I am the one I claim to be, you will indeed die in your sins."

he claims that he is from above, unlike the others, and that they would die in their sins unless they believed in him. What kind of man says these things?

Chapter 9:54 - 59
Jesus replied, "If I glorify myself, my glory means nothing. My Father, whom you claim as your God, is the one who glorifies me. Though you do not know him, I know him. If I said I did not, I would be a liar like you, but I do know him and keep his word. Your father Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day; he saw it and was glad."
"You are not yet fifty years old," the Jews said to him, "and you have seen Abraham!"
"I tell you the truth," Jesus answered, "before Abraham was born, I am!" At this, they picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus hid himself, slipping away from the temple grounds.

He claims that God the Father glorifies him, the same God that says that 'my glory I will not share with another' in Isaiah 42:8! Yet here he seems to be sharing it with Jesus. He also now claims to have existed before Abraham! Note the word he uses here, the 'I am' is actually God's sacred name, the name he gives Moses to give to the Israelites. Is it any wonder the Jews picked up stones? To them, Jesus was clearly blaspheming!

Chapter 9:35-41
Jesus found that they had thrown him out, and when he found him, he said, "Do you believe in the Son of Man?"
"Who is he, sir?" the man asked. "Tell me, so that I may believe in him."
Jesus said, "You have now seen him; in fact he is the one speaking with you."
Then the man said, "Lord, I believe," and he worshiped him.
Jesus said,"For judgement I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind.
Some Pharisees who were with him heard him say this and asked, "What? Are we blind too?"
Jesus said, "If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now you claim you can see, your guilt remains."

Here are two very important concepts, at which I will call time on this writeup for now.
1)Why didn't Jesus rebuke the man for worshiping him? Instead, his words clearly indicate that he accepts it as a sign of belief! Mnay of you keep saying that Jesus never came down and demanded worship, i.e. "I am God, worship me." No he doesn't, but lets think about this for a bit. Why do we honor and respect our parents? Because we fear them, or because they demand it, or because they can give us good things, or because we love them? Would you be happy if you found out that your children respected you for any reason other than the last? So also God is not interested in any worship that is not out of sincere love and belief. We are all guilty at one point of worshipping God out of fear of Hell, or to receive something in return, rather than pure love. That is why Jesus did not come from heaven and demand worship; he didn't want people to worship him because he could destroy them with one swing of his finger, but because they loved  him and believed him. Moreover, Jesus said he came 'not to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." Why would Jesus demand worship if he did not come to be served? This is how much God loves us!
2) Jesus' words to the Pharisees are not to be taken lightly and should serve as a warning to us as to how we approach his word in the Bible. One of the tragedies of the quest for knowledge and this 'information age' we're in is that at some point we become full of ourselves and begin to think we know it all, and are self-sufficient. The need for true dependence on God is diminished. And it is for this reason that God has chosen 'foolishness' over man's wisdom. As such Jesus prays  in Matthew 11:25 "I praise you, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to the children." When we approach the Bible, we should do so realising our blindness and our need for God's teaching. However, if we think we know already, we will not get anything. As I've said time and time again, no Christian or muslim or anyone can ever claim to have a full understanding of God's nature; and there is no reason why we should. After all, we are yet to fully understand ourselves  and God's creation. The best we can do is to examine the Scriptures thoroughly and believe what He says, just as the man born blind did. I hope and pray that this will be the beginning of such an experience for all of us.=)

lionger

Offline _Waziri_

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« Reply #10 on: December 21, 2004, 01:40:57 PM »
That is great! Interesting input by lionger, but before I get to respond let me take on what Mr. DavidMacEwan Hill said. First Mr. David may not know much about Islam but that does not mean I do not know much about Christianity. Evidence of my "expertise" on Christianity lies in the much sense I have made in my earlier posts on this thread; an analysis on Christian doctrines, which he cannot do about Christianity not to mention Islam. But yet this is a challenge for him to come forth with anything logical akin to what I have done if he can.

 We do not win debates by just saying one is ignorant or copy- pasting as Mallamt does, but by substantiating our claims logically. Also the fact that people are being killed somewhere in Falluja does not stop Mr. David from smiling or partying and as such should not stop us from discussing a 2000 year old doctrine. After all what better human being is Mr. David, intellectually, socially and politically, better than those who developed those doctrines 2000 years ago? If they were not in the 2000 years how could he have become? If they did not develop the old thing how could he have developed the new thing? This really is worth discussing but however if he doesn’t have interest he can prefer keeping quite. Life always is full of alternatives.


For Mallamt, I did not respond to his first post cos he did not address my thesis which understands the existence of Christians who did not believe in Trinity, Devine-son-ship of Jesus or his Devine-ship with the conclusion that they are likely to be the ones holding the correct view hence the right belief about Jesus. But rather concentrated on issues at the periphery where he ended up agreeing that TRINITY was an INNOVATION by some clergies much later after Christ’s ascension. Now he is confessing further that the activities of the much of Jesus’s disciples after his ascension is not well known giving room to my earlier conclusion that they did not practice any faith different from the monotheism of the Jews and did not built a separate church different from the synagogues of the Jews.

I also made it clear that Paul and Barnabas started the first organized church of Christendom as recorded in the Acts of the Apostles since that was where there were non-Jewish believers. This of course he did not dispute but rather elaborated in his copy and pasting style.

But the central question remains. How can Pauline Christians prove to the world that their doctrines are the authentic ones not the ones upheld by the Arians? Yes, lionger earlier suggested the reading of Bible. But yet in it I made a case for the Arians hence the Muslims of today, which Mallamt avoided in the pretext of eluding theological disputations. Though lionger believe that to be unfair making reference to a single verse from Qur’an, which was clearly out of context. Let me submit here that all my arguments about the human attribute of Jesus follow not the text only but also the context of the records as enshrined in the scriptures. So lionger’s example with one Qur’anic verse cannot hold water. We will also be foolish enough to think that the Arians have not had an interpretation different from what lionger quoted to prove the divinity of Christ. Just like what he and BARDE have been doing before> Especially when we consider the fact that the gospel of John in entirety was something that was incorporated at Nicea council 325 After Christ.

Also Jesus fell on his face to pray which Muslims do and he rises up his hands to pray which we also do. Why is it that Christians even in frustration do not fall on their faces to pray? Yes, it is the Muslims that are the prototypes of Jesus not the Christians of today. Or do Christians today follow the advice given by the master as lionger quoted above by praying not in church and on Television screens but in their private rooms?

The Bibles that use he or his for Jesus are many. Including the King James Version and the RSV especially the New Testament, that small edition with blue cover that is common in the hands of people in the Northern part of Nigeria.

For Mr. David and all respondents, I will reiterate here that conflict is an attribute of nature. Even if we are of the same faith we are not likely to avoid it completely. But what is important is when we discuss as we are doing here. We will thus reduce the possibility of more crisis to ensue among us.

For lionger and Mallamt, I doubt much if you people have really made an argument worth considering against the claim of the Arians that they hold the correct view and their faith is the authentic and the Pauline Church aberrant. Let me here prove once again to Mr. David and Mallamt that I am not ignorant in this by quoting not only from the Bible, which I have read page to page, but also from those writings the Pauline Christians burnt after the Nicea council claiming they were heretical. This one survived in the name of Gospel of Barnabas. In the conclusion remarks by Barnabas he shockingly recorded:

"Dearly beloved, the great and wonderful God hath during these past days visited us by his prophet Jesus Christ in great mercy of teachings and miracles, by reason whereof many, being deceived by Satan, under pretense of piety, are preaching the most pious doctrine, calling Jesus the son of God, repudiating circumcision ordained of God forever and permitting every unclean meat: among whom also Paul hath been deceived...."
"...Others Preached, and yet Preach, that Jesus is the Son of God, among whom Paul is deceived."

   The Gospel of Barnabas. Edited and Translated from the Italian MS. In the Imperial library of Vienna. By LONDSDALE and LAURA RAGG.

Now shall we believe Apostle Barnabas the father of the Arians or Apostle Paul the father of the Pauline Christians?

Truly, Pauline Christians have a long way to come in these years cos the logic and finesse through which Muslims put forward their arguments are compelling. Today Islam is understood to be the fastest growing religion and it records this progress most in Europe. But whatever the case maybe, our goal is to achieve a place of felicity for us and those around us in this world and the world hereafter under the commanding bliss of our creator, God.


I remain most grateful,
I ask for your forgiveness.

Offline alhaji_aminu

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« Reply #11 on: December 21, 2004, 06:44:33 PM »
salam
I know very little about christianity, and the little I know puzzles me.  I gather that the christian view is that Jesus is God. And that the unity of God is not questioned being a monotheistic religion.
 
Now if I am to belive that it was God who inspired Moses to flee Egypt and also commanded Abraham to slaugter his offspring (Isaac or Ishmael depending on what you believe),  then am I right in saying it wasn't God (Jesus) who inspired and commanded Moses and Abraham, repectively, because Jesus, as a being, is not physically or otherwise comprehended at those times?

The logic is simple. If indeed there is One true God, then He or She or It must either be God the Almighty, the Lord of years past and after Jesus; or,  He or She or It, must be Christ...............
Now to argue for the latter will mean God is a creature, born, as witnessed by some, including Mary- his mother, and his dominion over the World is for a specified period of time (33 years). And like us humans, is sensitive to pain, hunger and nakedness (Jesus wore clothes). As for the former, none of these atributes characterise Its or His or Her existence. The evidence is clear.....

And like I said, I not very knowledgeable on the Christian doctrine of faith or divinity.

I cannot help but raise the issue of the DaVinci code, which even though a work of fiction, puts forth very important historical facts in question. Facts like the marriage of Jesus and Mary Magdalene and the metaphoric meaning of the Holy grail.......

I recommend this book to all who love mysterious novels, only now with a touch of intrigue, faith and........ of course sex.

Bissalam

Offline lionger

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« Reply #12 on: December 22, 2004, 12:01:31 AM »
Quote
But the central question remains. How can Pauline Christians prove to the world that their doctrines are the authentic ones not the ones upheld by the Arians? Yes, lionger earlier suggested the reading of Bible. But yet in it I made a case for the Arians hence the Muslims of today, which Mallamt avoided in the pretext of eluding theological disputations. Though lionger believe that to be unfair making reference to a single verse from Qur?an, which was clearly out of context. Let me submit here that all my arguments about the human attribute of Jesus follow not the text only but also the context of the records as enshrined in the scriptures. So lionger?s example with one Qur?anic verse cannot hold water. We will also be foolish enough to think that the Arians have not had an interpretation different from what lionger quoted to prove the divinity of Christ. Just like what he and BARDE have been doing before> Especially when we consider the fact that the gospel of John in entirety was something that was incorporated at Nicea council 325 After Christ.


Waziri, some of the things u say here make me wonder if we are understanding each other. First of all, I see no reason why the term 'Pauline' should even come up in this discussion, since all my quotations so far have been in the book of John - which Paul certainly did not write - and thus should be enough proof that this is a Christian doctrine. Therefore Arian theology is not acceptable if it does not measure up with the Gospels' account, or even the Old Testament for that matter - and no, you have not proved otherwise. Read again carefully what I said about Jesus and prayer, I don't know if you did. You are by no means more like Christ than we are, just because you supposedly pray like he does; that is a very weak argument. There are many things Jesus did that you Muslims do not do! And I really would like to know how Arius' or Barnabas (if indeed it was the same Apostle) 'Christ was just a human' thesis could have remotely accomodated any of the 'outlandish' claims of Jesus that I have posted here. Can you think of any reasonable explaination for all of this, apart for good old 'corruption'? Btw, John's gospel was already widely in use in the churches along with the other three gospels by the middle of the second century.
Lastly, as to my initial comments on your 'For Christians and Muslims' thread: I find it hard to understand what exactly you said  for which my use of those verses you posted 'does not hold water'. Once again it makes me wonder if we understand each other. My point was that I would not be doing very good research if I picked one seemingly contradictory verse in the midst of 13 other agreeable verses. Saying that example 'does not hold water' is saying that such a conclusion was infact correct (i.e. that Muslims and Christians were not friends).

Quote

Also Jesus fell on his face to pray which Muslims do and he rises up his hands to pray which we also do. Why is it that Christians even in frustration do not fall on their faces to pray? Yes, it is the Muslims that are the prototypes of Jesus not the Christians of today. Or do Christians today follow the advice given by the master as lionger quoted above by praying not in church and on Television screens but in their private rooms?
Emphasis added.

Please read what I said about Jesus and prayer carefully. There is not a word in the New Testament that affirms anything you said in the bolded part; on the other hand, it is a misunderstanding. There is a place for public worship/prayer; Jesus did not say 'do not pray in public', but, 'do not pray like the hypocrites do..'. Jesus was clearly speaking against the sort of prayer that was plainly attention-seeking. Jesus was recorded praying in public a few times; and the book of Acts records the disciples praying together and the fact that God honored their prayer. So there is nothing wrong with Christians  praying in public - as long as it is not eyeservice, and as long as they certainly pray a lot more at home!

Offline lionger

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« Reply #13 on: December 22, 2004, 03:11:34 PM »
MyAdudu

If I understand you correctly, you are saying that it could not have been Jesus (God) who spoke to Abraham and Moses in the Old Testament, since he as a being was not physically comprehended. In response I'll say that Jesus certainly claimed to have existed before Abraham did, as I have already shown here:

Quote
...your father Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day; he saw it and was glad."
"You are not yet fifty years old," the Jews said to him, "and you have seen Abraham!"
"I tell you the truth," Jesus answered, "before Abraham was born, I am!


1)The fact that he as a being was not necesarrily known does not mean he did not exist. In fact, Jesus said often that "no-one knows the Son except the Father, and no-one knows the Father except the Son.." How could he tell the Jews that no-one knew God except him? Didn't God have a relationship with the Israelites for centuries? Yes, but God progressively revealed himself to them over the years. In fact, no Christian today can tell you that he 'knows God' in the sense that Jesus does, but we do have a relationship with God.
In fact, from his words about Abraham you can see that he clearly claims to have had some sort of relationship with Abraham, which of course, for that time period, is not a claim that any human at that time could have made; only God. So the answer to your question is that God, who is the Father, Son and Spirit, had a relationship with Abraham and Moses. This leads me to my second point.
2) That the Father, Son and Spirit do not act independently of each other. They are not three separate gods, they are One, and Jesus said this often to the amazement of his listeners. In the Gospel of John He claims Oneness with the Father(John 10:30), and says that '...the Father is in me, and I in the Father' (10:38). How can two people co-inhabit each other? Jesus also said that words he spoke were not just his words, but the words the Father gave him; which some of us would take as a sign that he was not God; rather it is indeed a sign of his oneness with God.

Quote
Now to argue for the latter will mean God is a creature, born, as witnessed by some, including Mary- his mother, and his dominion over the World is for a specified period of time (33 years). And like us humans, is sensitive to pain, hunger and nakedness (Jesus wore clothes). As for the former, none of these atributes characterise Its or His or Her existence. The evidence is clear.....

For starters, please read the quotes I have made on the Gospel of John; it should help clear up a few things..most importantly, that he was God, added human nature to himself, and did not rely on his divine nature on earth (though he certainly did not deny it). Secondly, his human nature was like that of Adam, the first man before the fall. In other words, he inherited all our weaknesses except our sinful nature. Did Adam get hungry? Of course; if not, why would God tell him to eat any fruit from the trees in the garden except one? So why wasn't Jesus naked then, you may ask?  :lol: Remember that he came 'not to be served but to serve.." as I have quoted before. How could he have built a relationship with us if he walked around naked?

Offline alhaji_aminu

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« Reply #14 on: December 23, 2004, 03:02:08 AM »
salam

Lionger thanks for the reply. I must say, however,  that your explanation left me more confused than before. Of course this might not be un connected with my llimited understanding of the Christian belief.

Firstly, you misunderstood my comment of Jesus speaking to Abraham and Moses. What I said was a question structured in the form of an argument. That is, was Jesus the person who spoke to Moses on mount sinai? The argument section of the question was based on the premise that Jesus doesn't exist in flesh or otherwise at that period.

You said Jesus claimed, before Abraham was born, I am. Now is it me or does the defininition of being born relates the concept of starting something- Ie  bringing something to existence?  Now, even if one were to assume Jesus was born before abraham; then,  are we also to assume that his coming into existence (born) was at a certain defined point in time?  Surely someone born was born by someone or something more powerful than His/Her/It (self)- physically or in terms  of wisdom and divinity.

Secondly, you said, the father and the son do not act independently of each other.  I think this point is the one that puzzles me the most. My understanding of independence between 2 bodies is that none of the individual bodies will act without the input or consent of the other.
No problem here.
But how does one explain the supreme sovereignty of the Father's power between good friday (the day Jesus was killed) and the day he was resurected? Were all the acts of God taken in those three days with the consent of the Son who is, by all accounts, dead, at that time? Or alternatively, where was the Son- Jesus Christ, in between those 3 days?

Thirdly, I cannot understand for the life of me why or how Jesus (the Son) chooses to manifest himself in human form when, he has, by the christian take of things, being making decisions about the affairs of men in consultation with the Father and the Spirit?  


Finally, the fact that most of the documented evidences given by Lionger are from the books of Mathew, Paul, and John- who are human and capable of making mistakes or simply making stuff up, means we must view them critically and objectively in context of where and why they are written. I am not accusing John and paul and Mathew of publishing  falsehood. For all I know they are what they claim they are.

I hope Lionger will enlighten us more on the issues raise herein.

Peace!

 


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