Nature of Jesus and Time

(Erik Nelson) #21

thanks for your clear response!

Orthodox Christians affirm the “Monarchy of the Father”, as the Creed states, “we believe in one God, the Father

God the Father is the font, source, origin, root of the rest of the Godhead, all the rest of which “inherits” (my word) His Essence

not sure Eastern Orthodox would quite be willing to phrase it as you stated, though Western Christians might (?)

Insofar as “God” (“Deity”) = "God the Father"

then the Word & Spirit are not “God” (“Deity”), even though they are fully “Godlike” (“Divine”)

the way you phrased it sounds like you are equating “Deity”, “God” with the shared common Essence of the triune Godhead…

whereas Orthodox equate “Deity”, “God” = unitary Person of The Father

So I understand that view is much more similar to the unitary Muslim view of “Allah” (say), with the Orthodox preferring to use the language of “God” = “Deity” = “The Father” (who does “beget” His Word and “proceed” His Spirit which emanate from His transcendent realm into our created reality)

If you refocus on the one shared common Essence of the triune Godhead, then you would be able to phrase it as you did… which quickly starts to sound like triune Modalism (1 God with 3 faces or modes of expression)

If Islam is “unitary” (focuses entirely on “Allah”), then Orthodox Christianity’s Monarchy of the Father is “unitary Pro Plus” (focuses on “The Father” with His Word and His Spirit reaching into our created reality from His transcendent realm vaguely like “two hands” quoting Saint Irenaeus)

completely compatible, in theory

but only if we root the Godhead in the one unitary Person of The Father, "we believe in one God, the Father…"

some are apparently wont to try to root the Godhead in the one shared common Essence…

which would require that the Person of the Father derives from the Essence in a manner superficially similar to the Word & Spirit, which is fundamentally modalistic, incompatible with other Abrahamic religious views, and inconsistent with the Monarchy of the Father, which I understand the EOC and RCC to officially affirm

(Mitchell W McKain) #22

Sounds to me like a combination of Monarchianism and Arianism and certainly non-trinitarian. The agreement of the ecumenical councils was that Jesus was 100% God and 100% man and not merely a god-like man or a man-like god. The dispute with Modalism has always been that the Father, Jesus, and Holy Spirit are three whole and distinct persons, and not any kind of fragment like a mode, aspect, or facet of one person.

To be sure, part of the problem here for me is that some of the language of the original agreement calling them homoousious or same substance is somewhat mired in the antiquated metaphysics of Aristotle, where the word ousious had more to do with linguistic categories than what the word substance has come to mean in modern times. A metaphysics entangled with the artifacts of language is hard to support in the modern era where physics has discovered that so much of reality has very little to do with the common sense categories and thinking which human language is founded upon. The answer then seems to me is remain true to the root motivations of the ecumenical councils which is to affirm both monotheism and the 100% deity and 100% humanity of Jesus which they agreed upon.

So my way of thinking is to emphasize that God is not made in the image of man and thus lacking in our limitations. So whereas we are finite beings with a singularity of personhood, God is an infinite being and not limited to such a singularity of personhood. Thus we have only one God, because the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are three persons united in a singularity of being. Thus Jesus could say, “when you see me you see the Father.” Something which you seem to want to change to “when you see me, you see something just like the Father.” And that is not a change I will agree to.

I also very much doubt that your view is representative of all the Eastern Orthodox.

From here:

All Orthodox Christians believe that the Son, that is to say, Jesus Christ, is God. With a profound comprehension of soul, they repeat the words of the Creed, “I believe . . . . and in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the Only-begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all ages. Light of light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, one in essence with the Father, from Whom all things were made.”

The statement of the Orthodox Church in America does apparently avoid saying the words “Jesus is God” but it still sounds to me more like what I have said than what you have said.

(Wookin Panub) #23

Raphael??? Where are you getting your teaching from?

(Shawn T Murphy) #24

The seven Spirits of God (Rev 4:5) all have names but they are not listed in the official bible. There is much more information from the Spirit of Truth than was accepted into the Bible and much more has been delivered since then. The Menorah signifies them, but their names were not engraved into it.


Once we start getting into extra-biblical truth claims to discuss theology we fall into Gnosticism. We no longer have terms we can agree upon to forward the conversation. Raphael? Michael? Steve?? It’s getting a little weird now. :thinking:

(Shawn T Murphy) #26

What names do you have for the Seven Spirits (Flames) of God?

(Mervin Bitikofer) #27

We aren’t in the habit here of compiling and spinning fanciful scenarios from such extra-biblical details about the spirit world. I think that’s kind of the point E.L. is calling to your attention. And he’s right.

Now if there are thoughts on Jesus and the trinity … that’s more to the point of this thread, though even that should not have to be the focus of much debate on this forum.


Hi Shawn. But to answer the question, Revelation is a highly coded book in order to protect the church from any who might intercept the message, so care with literal meaning must be taken.

The angels άγγελοι doesn’t refer to spiritual entities as much as “messengers/sent ones” who are pastoral leaders of the churches in the seven regions. The names of those regions being Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatria, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea. The number 7 has significance as it is used throughout the book to mean “perfection”. It may mean simply God’s perfected church, or church being perfected, as a whole or in part wherever it appears.


(Shawn T Murphy) #29

This thread is about the nature of Jesus, who is spirit right? He is one of the seven Spirits of God described at the throne of God. I point out the menorah and revelations 4 to suggest that the concept of trinity does not exists in the spiritual world. This is why Christianity does not seem to want to talk about the spiritual world of God and its diversity.


Jesus is distinct from the seven spirits mentioned. The seven spoken of in Rev 4:5 are consistent with the churches mentioned in chapter 1 and here simply means that we the church on earth are present with the company of heaven. As to his nature we should note that he is not exclusively spirit but spirit and flesh. He is both God and Man eternally as one.

I don’t agree that Christianity is not willing to talk about the spiritual world and its diversity. It acknowledges them, but it does not accept them as legitimate. The concept of the Trinity however is throughout the continuum of scripture both old and new. Granted the explicit concept doesn’t exist outside of scripture if that’s what is meant, but that’s the nature of revealed truth verses what we know from nature.


PS - You know on second thought, there is what some might define as the concept of the tripartite nature of man. Defined as spirit, soul, and body. Others might quibble and say its more a simple duality than tripartite but it’s still interesting. We might also consider metaphors of water in the form of ice, liquid, and gas although that runs the risk of promoting the idea of “modalism” and that Jesus is just a mode of God rather than a co-eternal being. But you get the idea. Or perhaps the triangle? Take away one side or one angle and there is no longer the unity of one triangle. It’s a base analogy but still…

(Shawn T Murphy) #31

I am not sure what bible you are reading, but revelations 4 has nothing to with churches. John was given a vision of the throne of God and all those parsing God are around His throne.

After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter. And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne. And he that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone: and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald. And round about the throne were four and twenty seats: and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold. And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices: and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God. And before the throne there was a sea of glass like unto crystal: and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, were four beasts full of eyes before and behind. And the first beast was like a lion, and the second beast like a calf, and the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle. And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come. Rev 4:1-8

There are the following numbers in this vision: 1, 4, 7, and 24. All of those numbers are on the menorah. Not a single 3.


We don’t parse the word in bits and bytes. The context includes the whole book and the reference to the seven spirits of God is a recall from the first chapter. Just as much as the four beasts with six wings recalls other passages from Ezekiel and the like. We don’t read it in isolation. And we don’t interpret it through the menorah.


(Mitchell W McKain) #33

Nope and I can prove it using that book, “Revelation,” you like so much.

Rev 5:6 6 And between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders, I saw a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain, with seven horns and with seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth;

Jesus is the lamb who was slain and CLEARLY this passage not only distinguishes Him from the seven spirits of God but make Him the owner of all seven.

The seven churches? Yeah that is much more believable!

(Roger A. Sawtelle) #34

@ErikNelson and @mitchellmckain,

The Eastern Church and the Western Church both affirm God as Trinity, but conceptualize the relationships between the Three differently.

As you say the East finds the unity of the Trinity in the Father. The Father begets the Son and the Spirit proceeds also from the Father. The Father is “on top”, but in terms of time, they are all eternal.

The West has an egalitarian concept of these relationships, after Augustine. He said that the Spirit proceeds from both the Father and the Son making it a joint venture and putting them on the same plane so to speak.

What is clear from solution to the Arian controversy is that there is no alternative for Christians but to maintain that Jesus Christ and God the Father, YHWH are equal or One. Arian and his friends tried every way to make Jesus almost God the Father, but Athanasius won that debate hands down. God the Father and God the Son are both co-eternal and that makes them co-equal.

It seems to me and I think this comes from Augustine that the unity of the Trinity comes precisely from the equality of the Persons of the Trinity. Love does not make one superior to another, but puts us all on the same plain, even if we are all different, as we are certainly different from God

It is the Trinity which makes Christianity radically different from Judaism, Islam, and all of the semi-Christian cults. God the Father so Loved (God the Holy Spirit) humanity that God the Father sent God the Son into our world to be one of us, so we might be saved through God the Holy Spirit.

(Shawn T Murphy) #35

Dear Mitchell,
Yes, 5:6 has an image of the lamb with 7 eyes and 7 horns to remind us that Jesus led the salvation, but was not alone. He sent all the prophets, including Raphael, Gabriel and Michael.

The point I was making to @EvolvingLutheran was that there is still no three in any image of the throne. This is confirmed in Exodus when God gives Moses the vision of the Kingdom of God and - the Menorah. It is the hierarchy of Heaven and has the same constellation as John was shown in Revelations. One God, Seven Flames of God and twenty four Elders. Again, no three.

The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches. Rev 1:20

It is the star which gives light and life that is the focus, not the material holding it.

(Mitchell W McKain) #36

The number 3 really has nothing to do with the original doctrine of the Trinity.

The doctrine of the Trinity is that God is One… not three.

We can say that, the Father, the Son, Holy Spirit are three distinct persons, and only one God. But the number three is there in that sentence only because we have a list of three persons. We can also say that, the Father and Holy Spirit are two distinct persons and only one God. We know of three persons which are one God, but nowhere in the Bible does it say that the persons of God are limited to those three alone, so in that regard I agree with you. There is indeed no number three involved except to say that we only know those three in the Bible. We have no concrete reason to believe there are more than three and no concrete reason to believe there are not more than three. It is just typical of human beings for them to make assumptions that they know more than they really do. But the idea that the Bible contains everything there is to know about God is downright absurd.

(Shawn T Murphy) #37

Yes, doctrine is a manmade interpretation and nothing to do with the actual Heaven as described by John. My main point is that there 24 Elders - distinct beings and seven spirits of God - disci beings and not one Holy Spirit.

(Mitchell W McKain) #38

Well, whatever YOU may think you are, I think you are a man and all your spoutings are just as man-made as those of any other.


That would be to try and disprove an argument that isn’t being made. The Revelation passage is not a Trinitarian proof text and nobody is or should use it as such. What the 29 verses referring to the Lamb throughout Revelation do show is that Jesus, the Alpha and Omega, is unique and distinct above all beings in heaven, receives worship from them, and that He shares co-regency with Him who sits on the throne. It demonstrates Jesus shares the same attributes with the Father of absolute authority and timelessness, which was the point of the thread question. The rest of the Raphael stuff is just esoteric apocryphal silliness. That’s my final answer on it. Blessings.

(Shawn T Murphy) #40

Yes, I agree that the topic is the nature of Jesus. You just said that Jesus and the Father are timeless, yet you say He is the beginning and the end. This is how Jesus is different from the Father. The Father is timeless, Jesus was born out of God at the beginning of God’s creation. God created no other beings and Jesus is unique. Together, the two created all the other beings in Heaven, starting with the six Archangels. Jesus created the spiritual bodies and the Father gave them eternal life. Only God can provide eternal life, not Jesus.

Jesus was before every created being, but not eternal was God. Jesus has the same creative ability that God has, but not life-giving. God remains the life-giving Father and Jesus is the King and ruler of the multitude of beings in Heaven.