Author Topic: What the early Christians Believed about God  (Read 10386 times)

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Offline lionger

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What the early Christians Believed about God
« Reply #15 on: December 23, 2004, 04:13:50 PM »
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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.

No, he did not exist in the flesh at that period, however, he clearly claimed to have existed as God. He was God, and became flesh and lived among us for a time. So therefore, as God, he spoke to Moses and Abraham. From his words that I posted, you can see that he claimed to have seen and known Abraham. That is why the Jews rebuked him, wondering how anyone alive could claim to have known a man who died several centuries ago. Certainly, for a man, that is an impossible claim. But if he was God before he laid everything down and became human, then of course he knew Abraham.

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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.

Note that Jesus does not say "I was born before Abraham, or that 'before Abraham was born, I was born' he does not even say, 'before Abraham was born, I was', he says 'before Abraham was born, I AM!' Like I said before, this is significant because in God's first meeting with Moses, when Moses asks for his name, God replies "I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: 'I AM has sent me to you.'" (Exodus 3:14). No wonder the Jews wanted to stone Jesus; they thought he was commiting blasphemy. Claiming to have been born before Abraham was hardly a capital offense; Jesus was not saying that he was born before Abraham; he was saying that he was God before Abraham existed.
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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?

Good question. Firstly lets deal with the partially unasked question of who exactly raised Jesus, and you rightly say that it was God the Father. But here Jesus seems to say something strange:
John 2:19-21
"Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days."...but the temple he had spoken of was his body.

John 10:17,18
The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life - only to take it up again. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.

So in other words, Jesus raised himself from the dead. And there are other verses that tell us that it was the Holy Spirit that was the agent of Christ's ressurection. So who raised Jesus? God Almighty (This is another example of God acting as One). So where did Jesus go when he died? The Bible does not exactly say, so it is subject to debate. Let's look at the following verses:

I Peter 3:18
"For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, in order that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit; 19 in which also He went and made proclamation to the spirits now in prison, 20 who once were disobedient, when the patience of God kept waiting in the days of Noah, during the construction of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through the water."


Ephesians 4:8-9
When He ascended on high, He led captive a host of captives, and He gave gifts to men.  9 Now this expression, 'He ascended,' what does it mean except that He also had descended into the lower parts of the earth? 10 He who descended is Himself also He who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things...

Noting also that the Bible tells us that He ascended with the key to death and hell, it is probable that he descended to the abode of the souls of the dead, i.e. hell.

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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?  

This is a very broad question. But to put it simply, If God did not become man, we would all be lost. He became man to set an example for us , and more importantly, to pay the price for our sin. The price for sin was death, for as God says, the soul that sins will die (Ezekiel 18:4), and each man will die for his own sin. So no one of us could stand up and take the punishment of all; we would each be dying for our own sin. Therefore God had to come in human form, live the perfect sinless life; and take our punishment, so that we could be readmitted into His presence. Note that even in the action of the incarnation (God became flesh) we see God at work:
'John 3: 16
For God so loved the world, that He gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life."

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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.

Fair enough. However such criteria could very easily be attributed to the Quran, not so?

Offline Dave_McEwan_Hill

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Christmas
« Reply #16 on: December 24, 2004, 01:20:52 AM »
A Chrismas message to all of goodwill of any religion (or none).

Despite the very intemporate outbursts from some brothers from time to time on religious issues I much enjoy meeting everybody on Kano Online.

There are a couple of virtues and a couple of vices which I would ask the learned and erudite Waziri to contemplate. He spends too much time trying to find fault with Christianity when his energies would be better used contemplating how to improve things in Nigeria today.

The Virtues:
Charity (to all peoples)
Humility (in front of God in the full understanding that none us knows
everything)

The Vices:
Arrogance (pride that blinds us to our own frailties)
Intolerance (that sees no good in the opinions and practices of others and no weaknesses in ourselves)

A good New Year to all.
maigemu

Offline _Waziri_

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What the early Christians Believed about God
« Reply #17 on: December 24, 2004, 11:34:19 AM »
No, Lionger, not actually. The book you quoted was not Paul’s but John’s but yet you interpreted it as the Pauline Christians do. So the issue here is that of interpretation not of authenticity of the gospel. Even though we can see according the records of history that the book by John was included in the canon only after Nicea council at the temporary victory of Pauline Christians. Hence the interpretations they give to some verses in it passed as the “right” interpretation needless to mention the fact the Arians have always had different interpretation for them.

And again the Muslims pray like Jesus do and the modern Pauline Christians do not and the issue is about who do more like the master do and in that regard the Muslim can be said to have scored a mighty goal.

On the verse you picked from Qur’an to justify a one line thinking about the belief of the Muslims about Christians, I said it cannot hold water and cannot compare with the ones I take from Bible to make my case. Because yours was one verse out of context but mine were many verses taken in full contextual positions. This is just the argument.

And you quoted me saying:

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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?


Which was right but it was indeed a response to the part of your post which read:

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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'?


Don't you think I have said the right thing in response? That there was a clear reference to hypocricy in praying in public in your post. That also there was a clearcut reference to praying in private rooms in your post

Offline _Waziri_

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What the early Christians Believed about God
« Reply #18 on: December 24, 2004, 11:43:27 AM »
And for Mr. David,

You may call what I put up for you as outburst which is right. But remember how you first attributed ignorance to me without any attempt to prove it. Do you suppose I should be lavish and you hoard?

Yes Mr. David, I am both an embodiment of Virtues and Vices and that I have admitted many times in this forum. And I am sure you can remember clearly how you were able in years and months back to comment on my virtues and now, my vices. You really cannot expect everything pleasant from me anytime. But what I ask is for you try and not to allow little disagreements injure our friendship.

Mr. David can also remember the immense contributions we make to the development of our nation Nigeria on this board. It is only that life is multidimentional, so we cannot be one directional. We talk about religion today and tomorrow it is politics. Next tomorrow history and Next Next tomorrow poetry, science and technology and also little stories that will make us laugh. Variety is indeed a spice of life.

Offline Dave_McEwan_Hill

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What the early Christians Believed about God
« Reply #19 on: December 24, 2004, 12:35:12 PM »
Malam Waziri

Let me assure you you are not the one I refer to when I talk of outbursts. I'm sure Onliners know the brothers to whom I refer.
I agree very often with what you write but even when I disagree with you your points are always made in a polite and respectful way.
What I seek to establish is that "good actions" are not the prerogative of one religion alone. That goodness is what we do, not merely what we say or profess to believe. Similarly "badness" is not confined to the adherents of some religious groups only. It is present among all of us.

As a Christian (albeit not a fanatical one) as far as I'm concerned the most important aim to be achieved is respect for each other among all the world's major religions and an understanding that the moral codes which sustain all these religions is almost the same.
"Love thy neighbour" is what it is all about - and the world will be a much better place.
maigemu

Offline al_hamza

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What the early Christians Believed about God
« Reply #20 on: January 04, 2005, 07:56:09 PM »
the term kafir is used for people that have been preached Islam and refuse to follow it. Lionger Waziri has done a great job, and u refuse to let go the sinking ship. Waz.... tell me the day it'd be fit to call him "Kafir"
ABILUNAH? SABILUNAH? AL-JIHAD! AL-JIHAD!

Offline mallamt

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What the early Christians Believed about God
« Reply #21 on: January 25, 2005, 02:58:18 PM »
This thread started under the pretense that it is about the believes of early christians and not the believe of a section of early followers of Christ.  Now the first question one will have for _waziri_ is on what basis did he decide that this is what early christians believed in and this is the right belief?

With all due respect to the most intelligent and all knowing _waziri_, I am sorry to say that indeed you know very little of christianity and have made very sweeping statements and assumptions that have no biblical basis and it will be honorable and humble of you to accept that fact.

Let me start with you pronouncements on the position of your article, you have gone all over through some historical information and have decided on your own that the information you are presenting was the position of early christians on the diety of Christ.  How you came to this conclusion honestly baffles me.  You have refused to show or highlight the fact that the veiw as you have presented is that of a group of people and it is a question of interpretation of certain portions.  You have not even attempted to direct us to what portions of the bible led this group to their position.  We know it as historical fact that the bible came into being before the quran and the prophet (saw) found it reliable in the 6c.  So lets say you have a problem or issue with the present day bible or any portion of it, one will expect that comparison is made between the accepted bible and the present day one, that is except if you do not agree even with the 6c bible.  _Waziri_ made mention of burning of bibles not authorised by the church but again failed to tell us why they were not authorised as he put it.  It is a known fact that copies of the quran written by close companinons of the prophet (saw) were ordered burnt due to variant readings, so if there is something sinister about burning "bibles", surely there must be something sinister in burning of the qurans.

A lot of mention is made of logic when refering to some events in the bible or the position of christains with respect to Christ.  First what is logic? I hope that it is understood that religion is based on faith.  An atheist can easily say there is no God, and have a very logical argument for that, does the fact that the argument is logical then make it true?  The point that must be understood is that christians know and realise the fact that you can not put God in a box and prescribe how He must act or appear to man He is God he can chose how He appears to us, where He appears to us etc.  To consistently as for logic on matters of belief or religion is to simply say you do not even believe in your religion, because one of the requirements is to believe in a God you have never seen.  Consider the following and say if it is logical (1) Surah 16, An Nahl, verse 15 teaches that mountains prevent earth quakes (geology does not agree with this) (2) Surah 27, Al Naml, verses 18-19, Solomon overhears a conversation of ants (ants do not use sound but smell to communicate). (3) Dirhams, small silver coins, are mentioned in the Quran (Surah Yusuf, 12:20) where Joseph was sold into slavery by his own brothers about 1700 BC. Yet that currency was only introduced in about 600 BC.  Where is the logic?  All religions are based on faith and NOT logic and this is captured very well in Hebrew 11:1 which states Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

_Waziri_ in one of his posts suggested that my posting that outlines the history of the church was irrelevant to the discussion.  It appears that he did not read his own posting very well because one of the main thrust of his discourse was to accuse the pauline christians of tempering with the bible.  But it is very evident that _waziri_ himself had no clue of the origin of the pauline christains when he made his assertions.  That is why the posting was made to trace back where pauline christians came from we may go into discussing why they are refered to as pauline christians, but it is not for this thread.  It is impossible to be objective in discussing pauline christains without saying where they came from and what if any is the difference between them one the christians before them, except if there is a motif.  So it suprises my that an intelligent person like _waziri_ could not see the relationship between that post and his post.

_Waziri_ in his anxiety to show his lack of understanding of the christian faith went on in one of his postings to suggest that because early christians used synagouges therefore they had the same beliefs with muslims.  First he has failed to understand that church in christianity refers to the body of christ which is the collection of christians and NOT the building, this is a concept that is carried out all through the bible and any scholar of the christain faith understands.  _Waziri_ should look at the use of synagouges by christians in context. This was a time that there were no assemblying places, it is very niave of _waziri_ to suggest that the use of synagouges was an indication of same belief with muslims.  Part of the main struggle of the church from the begining has been to resist the importation of any one culture into the faith, but to leave it as Christ instructed that it should be, and this has lead to a number of break aways.  That is the main reason why the bible does not compel christains to study the original language the bible was written in nor are they compeled to adopted any culture or the culture of the jews, they are people each one made different by God and through their defference can love one another and leave in peace with one another through the unity Christ has shown to us.

What _waziri_ is presenting us is just historical information of different groups in christainity and not christianity itself, because that is what I was under the impression he was trying to pursue.  Groups exist in both christianity and islam that differ with central teachings of the religion, arising out of how members interpret holy books.  These groups have been in existence before Christ and the pages of the bible are full of these arguments and disagresments that happened even in the times of Christ and He was confronted with some of the issues raised.  So it is not a new thing nor must it be presented as if it is some new and great discovery, how does the disagreements and problems in interpretation differ from those recorded in the bible?

On the issue of the trinity one is not very clear about what the problem is.  Is the problem the use of the term or is it the concept it is communicating in christainity?  With respect to the term its origins and meaning is not a secret and no one hides it.  With respect to the concept it is communicating in christianity, that is found all over the bible from the old testament to the new testament, that is a topic of discussion on its own.

 


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