Why I Believe Phil 2:5-8 is Not about Pre-existence

Discussion in 'General Discussions' started by Imabetterboy, Apr 4, 2018.

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    Joshuastone7

    Joshuastone7 Administrator Staff Member

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    How come you only respond to the parts of my posts you think you have an answer for? Why not systematically deal with every point I raise, just like I do with you?

    First off I never said Rev 19:13 describes Jesus as the beginning of Gods creation.

    And second, you just must have missed the Scriptures discussing Jesus as the first creation, so I'll help ya out:

    Rev 3:14 "To the angel of the congregation in La·o·di·ceʹa write: These are the things that the Amen says, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation by God:"

    And for you benefit, our Lords words before coming to earth:

    Prov 8:22-36 "Jehovah produced me as the beginning of his way, The earliest of his achievements of long ago. From ancient times I was installed, From the start, from times earlier than the earth. When there were no deep waters, I was brought forth, When there were no springs overflowing with water. Before the mountains were set in place, Before the hills, I was brought forth, When he had not yet made the earth and its fields Or the first clods of earth’s soil. When he prepared the heavens, I was there; When he marked out the horizon on the surface of the waters, When he established the clouds above, When he founded the fountains of the deep, When he set a decree for the sea That its waters should not pass beyond his order, When he established the foundations of the earth, Then I was beside him as a master worker. I was the one he was especially fond of day by day; I rejoiced before him all the time; I rejoiced over his habitable earth, And I was especially fond of the sons of men. And now, my sons, listen to me; Yes, happy are those who keep my ways. Listen to discipline and become wise, And never neglect it. Happy is the man who listens to me By coming early to my doors day by day, By waiting next to my doorposts; For the one finding me will find life, And he receives approval from Jehovah. But the one who ignores me harms himself, And those who hate me love death.”
     
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    Imabetterboy

    Imabetterboy Member

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    The word translated with is (pros = towards) It has the meaning of motion towards a goal or pertaining to God. If you were to mean that another person was with you you would use either the Greek para or Meta = with

    To Illustrate the difference let me quote a sentence where the the two prepositions are used in the same sentence. Perhaps you will see the difference.

    ** Jn 3:26 So they came to John and said to him: “Rabbi, the man who was with (Meta) you across the Jordan, about whom you bore witness see, this one is baptizing, and all are going to (Pros) him.

    The word (one) is normally put in parentheses () to show it was added. It is not necessary if the word is a non-person, the Greek word simply means THIS. By adding the (one) gives the impression someone else was there. But it was just Jehovah and his plans.

    ** Isa 44:24 I am Jehovah, who made everything. I stretched out the heavens by myself, And I spread out the earth. Who was with me?

    The personal pronouns says it was Jehovah alone who created all things BY HIMSELF.

    ** Isa 46:10 From the beginning I foretell the outcome, And from long ago the things that have not yet been done. I say, ‘My decision will stand, And I will do whatever I please.
     
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    Joshuastone7

    Joshuastone7 Administrator Staff Member

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    So his own word was in agreement with himself... Ok, glad you cleared that up. o_O
     
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    Imabetterboy

    Imabetterboy Member

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    Again Joshua this is an ambigious scripture, it is translated according to your bias. It can be translated as the ruler of God's creation. This is certianly a position Jesus is given after proving faithful and true.

    ** Rev 1:5 and from Jesus Christ, “the Faithful Witness,“the firstborn from the dead,”and “the Ruler of the kings of the earth.

    It could also mean he is the beginning of the new creation.
     
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    Imabetterboy

    Imabetterboy Member

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    I don't know how you determine these are the lords words. If these are the words of Jesus than he has a gender problem. For wisdom is a woman, a lady, a girl, not a SON. This is the personification of wisdom a non - person. Wisdom is not a personal name of anyone in the Bible.

    I have no problem that Jesus had "the spirit of wisdom" embodied in him during the time of his anointing. As he received the fullness of God's spirit.

    ** Isa 11:2 the spirit of Jehovah will settle upon him, The spirit of wisdom and of understanding, The spirit of counsel and of mightiness,The spirit of knowledge and of the fear of Jehovah.

    ** Col 2:9 because it is in him that all the fullness of the divine quality dwells bodily
     
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    Imabetterboy

    Imabetterboy Member

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    Just give me a list of those I miss and I will answer them one by one. Not a problem!
     
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    Joshuastone7

    Joshuastone7 Administrator Staff Member

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    Ok you two, I'm going to show you something, watch closely:

    I'm going to take the account of the angel coming to Mary, and then interpret it's meaning:

    Luke 1:30 "So the angel said to her: “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And look! you will become pregnant."

    Now the angel wasn't saying Mary would become pregnant literally, because in Rev 12 we see that Gods church would come from a women spiritually.

    Rev 12:4 "And the dragon kept standing before the woman who was about to give birth,"

    So unless you are prepared to say a dinosaur was standing in front of Mary, then she wasn't to be literally pregnant, but spiritually. And the angel was telling her she would be the mother of the church, not have a physical child.

    Let's read on:

    Luk 1:31 "and give birth to a son,"

    Now her giving birth to a son represents how the "son" is the life and the Way. Through that son we have eternal life as a new creation, when being born again, being born of the spiritual women that is Gods church. This being born of a women is a metaphor for being born spiritually, therefore Mary never actually had a physical child.

    Jhn 3:3 "Jesus replied, "Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again."

    Now let's continue to read:

    Luk 1:31 "and you are to name him Jesus."

    Now we know Mary didn't have a real child, I've shown that clearly, so what does this mean by naming our way to spiritual life "Jesus"? Jesus means "with us is God", therefore the angel tells Mary that when we are born again, that brings us into a new relationship with God, then he is with us personally. Then "God is with us" individually.

    Let's continue:

    Luk 1:32 "This one will be great and will be called Son of the Most High, and Jehovah"

    Now we know we must keep his love in mind, once we are "reborn", and have "God with us", for his "love" is the "greatest" of all his attributes:

    1Cor 13:13 "Now, however, these three remain: faith, hope, love; but the greatest of these is love."

    Let's read on:

    Luk 1:32 "God will give him the throne of David his father."

    Jehovah will tell us where Davids original throne is buried so we can dig it up, and once we all get a turn sitting on it, we will all be of the line of David, and we will all be Jews.

    (Disclosure: Nothing written in this post is what I actually believe!)

    Do you see the point I'm making?????????
     
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    Imabetterboy

    Imabetterboy Member

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    Of course God is true to himself! And his spoken word.

    ** Isa 46:10-11 From the beginning I foretell the outcome, And from long ago the things that have not yet been done. I say, ‘My decision will stand, And I will do whatever I please.’ 11 I am calling a bird of prey from the sunrise, From a distant land the man to carry out my decision. I have spoken, and I will bring it about. I have purposed it, and I will also carry it out.

     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2018
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    Earthbound

    Earthbound Guest

    As I think I've said in my previous responses, the theology of the writer of the Johannine gospel is very different from that of the earlier gospel writers, which is why so much of this discussion is coming from the Johannine gospel in contrast to us building on the synoptic gospels.

    Remove this late first-century collection of beliefs about Jesus and his disciples from the discussion, as if it never existed, and I am confident we wouldn't be having this discussion in the first place.

    Having said that, I'm not clear on what John 14:2-4 contributes toward the discussion about the pre-existence of Jesus Christ as a being prior to his birth to Mary and Joseph.

    Is the writer of John writing that Jesus said that earth isn't the only place where Jehovah can be said to dwell? Sure. We know very little about, for lack of a better term, other planes of existence beyond our own, although the apostle Paul wrote from his own understanding that there is at least three heavens. (See 2 Corinthians 12:2)

    Did Jesus, according to the writer of John, go his way and, through his death, prepare a place for his disciples (and us)? Of course, for we are eagerly awaiting the full realization of that place. We call it "Paradise Earth," for example.

    While the word "home" is an interpretational/doctrinal insertion, did Jesus come again to his disciples and receive them, that where Jesus was, his disciples also could be? We have gospel accounts of his various appearances to his followers, as well as his assurance that where two or three are gathered in his name, he himself is there with them. And, we have Jesus saying that he would be with them always. (See Matthew 28:20) Finally, we have the writings of the apostle Paul expressing the imminent expectation of the full realization of Jesus' words— although toward the end of his final letters he confessed his realization he would not remain alive before this would come to pass.

    In conclusion, I see no issues with John 14:2-4, really.

    --Timothy
     
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    Imabetterboy

    Imabetterboy Member

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    Let me Guess! This is how you normally interpret the scriptures, and you have just demonstrated this, to a greater scale, so we could get the point!?

    Or did you mean we all interpret it incorrectly?.And none of us know?

    Or are you saying that it is just us two (earthbound and IAGG) that get it wrong?

    And you get it correct???????? lols!!
     
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    Earthbound

    Earthbound Guest

    "Correctly" is the operative word here, isn't it? Men have, down through the centuries since the first century, been convinced that they and they alone had the "correct" understanding, always to the detriment of others.

    The proof of inspiration (now there is a loaded word!!) for me, as far as the Bible is concerned, is how it speaks to and touches us in so many different ways, on a personal level. But I am overstepping when I insist that someone else see a scriptural point exactly as I do, as though what I see is the correct understanding and theirs is not— which is why I use the apostle Paul's words found at 1 Corinthians 2:2 for my user signature here alongside the quote from Charles Taze Russell concerning sectarianism.

    This is how I see such approaches to scripture play out:

    Take two people. One of them holds up a coin, which represents a scripture, let's say. Each looks at their respective side of coin, describing what they are seeing from their vantage point to the other person. The problem begins when each insists that what they are looking at is the only way of looking at that coin, and this escalates until the discussion breaks down and eventually falls to personal attacks and ridiculing the other person's position.

    Keep in mind, that's just with a coin that only has two sides that can be examined. But the Bible is multi-faceted, a gem precious and dear, with every person looking at their particular facets, describing what they see.

    As the apostle Paul said, these situations arise so that what is in our heart is manifested. If we insist on rightness, then we can't cling to righteousness. If we grasp onto righteousness, we can't simultaneously hold onto rightness.

    And yes, I know that there are many who insist this gives way to relativism, where anyone can believe whatever they want and it doesn't matter, resorting to the "slippery slope" logical fallacy in order to bolster their point. As for myself, I have a bit more confidence in the outworking of holy spirit than that. And I believe that the apostle Paul would agree, for did he not write:

    So, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, instinctively do what the law demands, they are a law to themselves even though they do not have the law. —Romans 2:14-15 Holman Christian Standard Bible
    If this can be without the Bible, then how much more sure can this be said of those who do have and try to adhere to the principles of the Bible.

    Perhaps it would be helpful to those like me if I were to here paraphrase the writer of John?

    By this all will know that YOU are my disciples, if YOU have uniformity in beliefs." —John 13:35 New World Translation
    Submitted for your perusal and consideration,
    Timothy
     
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    Earthbound

    Earthbound Guest

    I may be misunderstanding you, then, as it was my impression that your position is that Jesus had some prior existence as a whole other being who then offered to be become a completely different being, being changed from a heavenly being to a corporeal/physical/carnal human being, and not merely a being who lived and then died and then was raised back to life (re-incarnated).

    I'll defer to the apostle Paul:

    Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. —2 Corinthians 5:17 English Standard Version


    Before I respond, would you provide a corresponding viewpoint or statement from a Biblical source apart from the Johannine theology? A second witness from another writer, if you will, not by inference that is open to interpretation, but explicitly shares this teaching. I'm only curious because it feels, to this point, as though you have been building your position entirely on proof-texts taken from the theology of the Johannine gospel, which I've already noted stands far apart from that of the theology found in the synoptics or the epistles of the apostle Paul. In other words, the Jesus written about in the Johannine gospel is unique from the Jesus we read about in the synoptics and Paul's letters, which pre-date it.

    This conclusion would be wholly contingent on whether one believes that Jesus was formerly one of the archangels, namely, Michael. I do not hold such a view, personally, based on my exploration of the subject both scripturally and extra-biblically, including historical evidence— which is not to say that my conclusions are the right understanding any more than yours. It's simply where I'm presently at on this particular subject.

    Among the various theological problems raised by such a view is that it argues it was impossible for Adam, in his perfection, to remain obedient— that it required a heavenly being to become a human and be obedient. To wit, that Jehovah created Adam with an inherent flaw that would require something more powerful than Adam, acting in Adam's stead, to be steadfast in respect to obedience.

    There's a certain irony in that those who scoff at followers of Jesus who hold that God became human to live as a second Adam that humans might be redeemed themselves hold that an angelic being did so. A distinction without a difference, from where I'm sitting. o_O

    Submitted for your perusal and consideration,
    Timothy
     
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    Earthbound

    Earthbound Guest

    I know I've been "out of the loop" for a long time, and haven't really been keeping up with changes in doctrinal views and such insofar as the Watchtower organization or its membership, but it comes as quite a surprise to see you write the above view. If memory serves, our being made in the "image" of our Creator was/is understood to mean that we have the capacity to have and exercise the various qualities of Jehovah God, such as Justice, Mercy, Love, and on the list goes— and nothing to do with the subject of authority.

    If I accept your interpretation here, then I must likewise accept that Satan is in God's image, since Satan exercises authority over his own dominion. I'll be candid here and say that is an interpretation I find abhorrent.

    I would also disagree, using your choice of Bible translation here, that "further" is to be understood as "this means" instead of "in addition." If I walk a mile and then walk further, I have gone beyond the mile mark. As such, I accept that Adam and Eve were created in God's image (able to perfectly reflect the divine qualities of our Creator) and that further, Jehovah gave all things in subjection to them. He equipped them for the job at-hand, and then gave them their job.

    That "all authority... in heaven and on the earth" "has been given" to Jesus supports everything I believe as to the glorification of Jesus, who has been ruling over the Messianic Kingdom which governs his body of believers since then.

    I imagine that Satan did try to frame the Flood as an act by a capricious God. But the Flood wasn't just to wipe our wicked humankind... it was to punish the angels which transgressed their station, engaging in the offensive act of hybridization between human and spirit creature to give birth to the Nephilim. The Flood compelled these renegade angels to abandon their assumed forms of flesh and drive them into what the writer of Jude would later refer to as "Tartarus," forever cut-off from the heavenly realm. According to extra-biblical writings by Jews of the post-Babylonian period, the Nephilim likewise were able to abandon the human form, being hybrids of spirit and flesh— although they became the demons which roamed the earth afterwards, even in Jesus' day, having the ability to possess humans.

    See above, regarding "rule" being equated with "image of God."

    That's a bit of an oversimplification, but we've already digressed from the original topic herein, so I'll provisionally agree. :cool:

    Except that we are born into the period during with Creation has been subjected to futility as a result of what happened there in the Garden. We are born with the inclination to sin, right from the womb. Adam nor Eve were so handicapped.

    That is why I would disagree that Adam was "nothing more, nothing less" than you or me. Yes, as a result of his disobedience Adam became so much less than he was, losing the glory for himself and all who would be born from his now-imperfect seed. But such was not what he began from as the pinnacle of Jehovah's acts of Creation to that time.

    I think I mentioned this earlier in this topic, but whereas Adam was created from adamah, Jesus was created within the womb of Mary. Whether this means that Jehovah did this through a combining with Mary's egg and fertilizing it so that Jesus was conceived, I cannot say (but look forward to asking in the future). If Jehovah can create a human from red clay (adamah) without the miraculous conception that takes place when seed and egg become one flesh, I see no reason to think he couldn't do something similar, resulting in Mary becoming pregnant with Jesus.

    --Timothy
     
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    Earthbound

    Earthbound Guest

    That certainly puts us closer in our understanding than I previously saw as being the case. :cool:

    I do this, too, although I try not to— but, saying something clearly says such and such may need to be qualified with from our perspective or understanding. We could go back and forth all day insisting back and forth that something is clearly such-and-such, when we each see a scripture clearly, but differently.

    I agree that I could be misunderstanding the writer of John here. I don't believe that I am, but I also believe that the sky is blue... how do I know what blue is? We all seem to agree that the sky is blue, even though we each could very well be seeing different shades and hues of blues.

    If I were to try to explain why I think so, it goes back to my view of the theology of the writer of John, which works very hard to show Jesus in a specific theological light far removed from that of earlier Jewish Christian beliefs. But it would require years for me to go through the work and break everything down. Not that doing so would further this subject, concerning the pre-existence of Jesus, per se.

    But there are many excellent works which explain the same view of the Johannine gospel, and do so far more thoroughly and explicitly than I have the confidence (or time) to write here and now.

    I think this catches me up to... well, right where I need to catch up again, LOL!

    {Okay, reviewing the posts since #110, it looks like I still need to respond to Posts 116, 121, and 147; so, I'll proceed from thence.}

    --Timothy
     
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    Earthbound

    Earthbound Guest

    Perhaps I am giving them "too much credit." On the other hand, I know from the available research by historians and scholars that shedding blood in the Temple was anathema, and Rome used that to their advantage in managing the Jews.

    Thank you for the clarification. :)

    No, please don't misunderstand me: I can see how this approach works for you as you study the Bible— and it would be wrong of me to say "that's wrong," or what-have-you. It works for you and allows you to explain your beliefs to others, even as my approach allows me to explain the reasons for my faith and beliefs. I haven't spent a great deal of time on hermeneutics, but maybe someday I'll investigate it to the extent it may deserve.

    {I went ahead and re-inserted the scriptures you were referring to, as they did not get included when I clicked Reply.}

    Well, not just because we find the Greek word logos, but because in each of these cases I am seeing a reference to the power of Jehovah's Word, which can call things into being because He speaks it into existence. Words have power, which is maybe why the Bible encourages us to guard our tongue.

    I guess I'm not clear on the connection you're making in contrast to the one I was making, or what "rule" is supposed to be applied. I am not speaking to logos in general, but to where logos is applied to Jehovah God. I can use words (logos) to explain what I intend to do next week, but plenty can happen between now and then to make my logos null and void. On the other hand, if Jehovah says something is going to happen, it's already set in stone, and nothing will deter or interfere with such-and-such coming to pass.

    That is where I see a huge difference between the logos of Jehovah and the logos of you or I.

    So, I agree there are dozens of appearances of the Greek word which have nothing to do with Jehovah or Jesus through our Bible.

    If, by my believing that when Jehovah says something it's a done deal, as though it's already come to pass, is figurative, then I guess I didn't realize that. I don't think of it as figurative at all— it's as good as done. In scholastic circles, this is called "prophetic perfect tense."

    Again, when I say something, it may or may not come to pass. When Jehovah says something, it already is.

    Where it becomes figurative, as I understanding figurative, is when someone interprets a scripture like John 1:1 as describing Jesus as a primordial, living, conscious spirit being, since the verse does not identify Jesus by name.

    As I've said previously, and on more than one occasion, the early Jewish Christians did not hold the view that Jesus pre-existed his life as a human until nearer to the time when the Johannine gospel arrived on the scene— and men have been arguing about the pre-existence and deity of Jesus ever since.

    Fortunately, I'm not so full of myself as to entertain the notion that we are going to settle the issue here, on this forum.

    All I can do is offer my thoughts, beliefs, and what scriptures I feel provide a basis for my beliefs, even as you are likewise doing. I'm certainly not here to proselytize, or convince anyone else of their errors in understanding.

    Unless we are able to read the original languages from which our Bibles are derived, we are, right from the start, dealing with interpretation. Someone needed to take the original language and convert it to a language you and I can understand. Some translations fare better than others, but regardless, we begin with interpretation. I see no way around it— unless we speak Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek, and Latin.

    Sometimes, the process of interpretation produces an equivalent modern-language match, and the result is a literal translation.

    But other times, this is not an option, and the interpretation of the original language requires a conceptual approach, where the interpreter must try to render the concepts found in the original language over to the modern-language reader. This is especially where things can, pardon the pun, get lost in the translation.

    Again, some Bible translations fare better than others, with the most obvious conceptual interpretations being found in the "paraphrased" Bibles.

    Hmm, if "each line meant only one thing," then why would Jesus have any need to elaborate on matters such as adultery, explaining that even if one obeys that commandment literally, they can still be in violation of it figuratively?

    For me, the commandment against adultery has both a literal AND a figurative (read: deeper) meaning, and not just one meaning, as you assert. The same can be seen with the commandment against murder. I haven't violated the commandment by murdering anyone (the literal meaning), but if I harbor malevolence so as to wish that person dead (for example), then I have transgressed the figurative nature of the commandment, which is tantamount to having murdered them.

    I covered this above, so I'll refer you to the preceding paragraphs.

    In some cases, yes, there was "misunderstanding," but in other cases, Jesus was attempting to draw attention to the reasoning behind, for example, the commandments. But I touched on this a moment ago, and won't repeat myself here.

    Sure, I can agree with that, which is why I do not suggest, recommend, or insist that those who have subjected themselves to the Watchtower organization leave if their circumstances allow them to remain. But then, I feel the same of those who are part of any other group of believers trying to follow the example left by Jesus. I'm confident that their hearts are being examined by someone far more qualified than myself, and that Jesus will handle their situation perfectly.

    Submitted for your perusal and consideration,
    Timothy
     
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    Earthbound

    Earthbound Guest

    When I would go out in the Watchtower's door-to-door ministry, once in a while I'd encounter someone at the door who would let me know that "We already have a religion" or something similar, indicating that they already had what they believed to be true.

    I'd thank them for their time and wish them a good day, and move on since it would be counterproductive to do otherwise.

    Since you're all set ("only one of us are right"), I'll move on to see if there's anything else I need to still respond to in the thread before I call it a "day."

    --Timothy
     
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    Earthbound

    Earthbound Guest

    Wow! I guess all I can do by way of response is explain that resorting to a logical fallacy doesn't really move the discussion forward:

    Logical Fallacy:

    Straw Man:
    This move oversimplifies an opponent's viewpoint and then attacks that hollow argument.

    People who don't support the proposed state minimum wage increase hate the poor.

    In this example, the author attributes the worst possible motive to an opponent's position. In reality, however, the opposition probably has more complex and sympathetic arguments to support their point. By not addressing those arguments, the author is not treating the opposition with respect or refuting their position.​

    It's been my experience that by the time a discussion reaches the point where all that's left are these types of responses, we've reached the productive end of the discussion.

    Unless there's anything someone would ask me to address that I missed on my way through the posts here in the topic, I'm going to allow my responses to this point stand on their own merits for anyone who has been following the discussion. I never set out to persuade or convert anyone from their current position on the subject of the pre-existence of Jesus, or to establish who was right and who was wrong, or win an argument.

    I am, however, thankful for the opportunity I was given to share my thoughts and beliefs on this.

    With Agape and Philia,
    Timothy
     
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    Imabetterboy

    Imabetterboy Member

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    Christian Greetings earthbound!

    Let me just say, I have enjoyed your responses. I wish at times, I had your talent to take the time to mould my responses in a way that shows humility and at the same time shows excellent scholarship and learning! That is a special skill you have, and I think, you would tell me it is something I can learn and I hope to! I tend to be blunt and to the point, and I need a lot of remoulding.

    I probably inherit my traits from a domineering (dogmatic) man who was by superior, but was strong in his belief. Though I admired the man, he left very little to tact. He was loyal to the WT, if they said the Bible was black and he had a red one in his hand you better believe it, it's black, because the WT says so. Lols

    There have been a number of points where I did not entirely agree with you, however, on considering them, I felt they were so minor, not to warrant a reply.

    Again it has been a joy to have read your view on this matter. I have learnt a lot by just reading your input. Thanks and I hope you continue in the work of spreading the truth of God's word!

    Warm Christian love!

    IABB.
     
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    Joshuastone7

    Joshuastone7 Administrator Staff Member

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    Tim,

    Let me assure you before I start my post of my love for you. For most of my life I did not have the privilege of understanding what love was, or meant. My childhood gave me a completely different impression of that word then what the Bible describes to us, and has been a subject that I have wished to understand more then any other over the years, as described by our Father and our Lord. With that said, I tend to be a little more matter of fact in my responses, and I hope you don't take them as emotional, because it would be my deepest regret to offend my brothers in The Way. I have added emotion to my life by the grace of God over the years, however my analytical nature still presents itself at times, hindering emotional sympathy.

    I beg that you continue to maintain your objectiveness and patience enough for both of us in our discussions. For as I've said, I fear you have more a portion from our Lord, then I have...

    In my response bellow I did things a little differently, I commented on your threads 157-154 working backwards.

    I assure you my comment was not to insinuate that I was "all set" or the correct party, but rather both scenarios cannot be right, therefore only one of them are correct. Jesus could not have had both a prehuman existence on one hand a not had one on the other.

    It was simply a general statement that although an issue such as this is nonsalvational, the truth is there within the pages of the Bible. So in my opinion one should be able to determine the correct answer. To me it's a bit like a math problem, we could all agree to disagree on the results of 2+2, but in the end, there is only one right answer...

    I didn't feel my example was a logical fallacy, I thought it was an example of showing how the text could not be literal by directly connecting concepts in Scripture. I directly showed concepts of "women" and "being born again" and "God with us" and how they connect to the so called birth of a son to a women was figurative. (Disclaimer: Again of course this is not what I believe.)

    My point was if I take every effort to indicate the text is not saying what it means, and do not take it at face value, but insist that it is figurative, I could interpret it in any fashion I so desire by connecting similar words throughout the text, and this has been my entire point all throughout this thread.

    What we are ultimately debating is literal vs figurative. I'll say it again, I do not believe the text is understood by applying concepts to it, but rather the text indicates concept. Meaning that the Bible establishes it's own rules in order to understand it, and it is my belief that every statement is literal unless it explains (in detail) that specific statement was to be taken figurative.

    Ultimately, the subject is irrelevant, just like my fictitious Mary scenario, because we would have this same debate of any subject in the Bible unless that Biblical rule of literal vs figurative is adhered to. All of our disagreements will come down to that fact, whether the text is literal or figurative. It's not the subject we are debating, it is the approach.

    Again, I would like to point out that although a cavalier attitude can allow for Christian unity, there is only one right answer. You and I discuss subjects like this on this platform because we have Christian fellowship, and the ability to speak openly without concern of discord. So, to an extent we feel free to speak openly, in respect for each other of course, but in the end, there quite frankly is only one right answer. I don't know about you, but although I know Jehovah and our Lord isn't concerned with you or I getting this subject right, I want to understand it. I want to understand this subject, and every other throughout the text and history, and will not stop till I do. Now that's just me, and my desires and wishes. I understand that desire within the confides of what I have to deal with, and within the perspective of what is required of me form our Lord, but nonetheless there it is...

    You connect Scriptures using "logos" in order to indicate that is how Jesus is "The Word", by fulfilling Jehovah's will, but as I've pointed out, many other men fulfilled Jehovah's will. Many men throughout history fulfilled Gods will, and are not named "The Word". Did they fulfill the promise of saving mankind from sin? No, but where does the "word" indicate one must accomplish that in order to be called by it?

    Rather if instead the text means what it says at face value (including the books of John) then Jesus was the beginning of creation, and was brought about by Gods "Word", when he himself became Gods will for all things through him and for him, as well as accomplishing his will on earth.

    Jhn 1 clearly indicates the "Word" is a "him" separate from the "Theon" of verse 1. Rather "Theos" was the "Word", not the "Theon", the "Words" superior.

    My point with using "logos" as a word to connect concepts in Scripture was, you could use your very same approach to apply it to sinful humans as well. If your only choosing Jehovah's "word" in the text to connect your concepts to Jesus being the "Word", you leave out all the other times men did Jehovah's will. Your approach relies on a very narrow avenue of interpretation in order to describe a very definite, and finite subject. You are determining how Jesus is the "Word' by saying only he fulfilled Jehovah's will, by way of his become the Messiah, when the text never indicates this is a requirement for being "The Word". If accomplishing his will is the measuring line, many men could be called "The Word", therefore applying this statement to Jesus becomes frivolous.

    John the Baptist after all complies with all of your requirements for being "The Word". He was prophesied about, came to do his Fathers will, accomplished it, and died a martyr. Jesus even indicated he was the greatest man born of women. So how is John the Baptist disqualified from being the "The Word" in your approach, given the fact that being the Messiah has never been connected in the text as qualifying one to be "The Word"?

    I, as I'm sure you, endeavor to read the original langues, and not allow bias of translation to dictate our understandings. To me, to say that all translations are bias, therefore there is no right answer is a throwing of ones hands in the air. Not that I'm indicating you are saying so, but I'm speaking in general terms.

    It has always been my observation that our Father Jehovah has allowed the truth to remain for those who wish to find it, especially in our day of the information age.

    Again, I believe you mistake my meaning. As stated above, I don't find the connections of the word "logos" to be a valid approach to disprove Jesus had a prehuman existence. I've never said he did not fulfill his Fathers will, and have never said he did not accomplish his Word, for this is exactly what I believe, but that in no way invalidates a prehuman existence.

    Saying he fulfilled Jehovah's "logos" has nothing to do with existing prehuman. Of course I believe he fulfilled his Fathers "will".

    Each sentence does have only one meaning. Firstly we are told fornication is a sin, then we are told even looking upon a women as to imagine such things is fornication within our hearts. Two separate sentences only having one meaning. You could not then say that he meant looking upon the Muslim church with a longing heart then causes you to commit spiritual fornication within your heart. If someone believed that the text was saying that, they could connect Scriptures to indicate how this is so, and then there would be two conflicting views, and this is in step with our entire discussion here. (IMHO)

    As I've tried to explain to IABB, we agree on everything you have stated about how Jesus fulfills Jehovah's "logos" or word. I agree and believe he was simply human, not an angel in any way, not having any prehuman memories, and was what Adam was before sinning. Everything about Jesus you two have stated is everything I believe, but what we find here in fact is you two disagree with an aspect of this subject that I believe, that his life force had a prehuman existence. Going on about how Jesus fulfilled Jehovah's will is wasting your time typing, because I believe that as well 100%.

    Just as your two sides of a coin illustration, one might consider as I do, that we are both right.

    This goes back to my statement of only one right answer. Yes we could both have differing views of the outcome of 2+2, but in the end either we are both wrong, or only one right. While in a scenario that there are only two possible answers, and each hold a differing view, only one can be right. Again, this is not a matter of rightness, but that of deduction...

    As I've mentioned before, I felt that the books of John could have been a contradictory subject within our discussions given your view of them. That may be a subject that invalidates the possibility to come to any consensus in this thread, especially if you agree (as you've said before) that those books indicate a prehuman Jesus. For if they do, one would have to discount the authors heavenly inspiration in order to invalidate them.

    I will cut this post off here, and pick up with other points you make later...

    All love in The Way...

    AJ
     
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    Earthbound

    Earthbound Guest

    Thank you for your kind and candid words, brother.

    There was no offense, rest assured.

    My feeling is that I'm not clear how much more we each could say on the subject, and I have no interest in seeing the discussion descend into an argument as the natural urge to prove one's position the right one... comes out to play, shall we say. We'll set off on a course of trying to top one another with whatever we can. Sometimes it happens overtly, and other times it begins to happen so gradually and subtly that it's too late when we finally realize it: the hard feelings or other impacts are felt. I say that as someone who has been guilty of it in years now behind me.

    I've lived long enough now to experience the wisdom of the apostle Paul's counsel to Timothy:

    And with God as your witness, you must warn them not to argue about words. These arguments don't help anyone. In fact, they ruin everyone who listens to them. —2 Timothy 2:14b Contemporary English Version
    We both, admittedly, disagree on the subject. I have no reason to believe that if we talk about it long enough, one of us will come around to the other person's view.

    We both have expressed our understanding of a variety of scriptures and passages, and had a wonderful time exploring the weaknesses in one another's positions in a progressive fashion without resorting to trench warfare. Well, *I* have enjoyed the opportunity, at least. ^_^ And I'm confident you have, because you have said as much at various times during the course of the discussion. Likewise with IABB.

    But the apostle Paul mentions those who have been reading and following the discussion, as well. They aren't just focused on the points and counterpoints we raise, but our conduct as well. Can these types of discussions take place without descending into posturing and the other nasty things that arise as a discussion becomes a disagreement, which becomes, then, an argument, and finally, a rift between believers.

    I already mentioned that you and I aren't going to change our beliefs, so what I have tried to do is simply state my position alongside my scriptural and thinking as we've moved across the various Bible statements. I believe you have done this, as well. And IABB, too, I might add.

    The rest is up to the readers of the discussion— those who have been watching and reading with interest. Some, to see who wins the debate; some, because they find the subject as fascinating as we do; and others, because they never gave the subject much more thought than what they've been told to believe.

    I'm just not sure what more I could say or add— not from a lack of additional facets which could be brought into the discussion— but rather, because of my overriding concern about what would be of benefit to those listening to us.

    The saddest thing someone can witness is two followers of Jesus trying to establish who is the "greatest" among them (read: rightest).

    If I am faced with the option to win the (debate) or keep a brother, I will gladly keep the brother by giving way to peace between us. Every time. This just isn't a big enough (deal) for me to allow a place for Satan to avail himself of an opening or wedge between brothers. He already has enough ammo, as it is.

    Brother, I love, appreciate, and respect the zeal you have for the Bible. And likewise, I feel the same now of IABB. IABB clearly (hah, there's that word again!) has the zeal I've seen in those who discover a new truth. It's a beautiful thing to witness, at least to me, even in such a raw state.

    In time, he'll be an old-hand at these types of discussions, just as you and I are— the rough edges smoothed out. Or, perhaps not— for he does remind me of another brother we know, who has also been dear to me yet can sometimes be... a tad abrasive and intolerant of opposing positions. ;) That IABB has himself admitted and recognized that he could be more (diplomatic) is also commendable, as far as I'm concerned. It behooves us, then, to temper such a brother by serving as examples by which he may grow into his new-found faith.

    In all fairness to the readers of this discussion, if there's anything we haven't addressed or covered, I can try to do so, as I have to this point, and I'm confident you'd be willing to, as well. But what I don't want to do is argue or aim for a win. I don't feel it would be beneficial to those following the discussion (except those hoping one of us wins, of course). Let the readers decide what they will.

    Finally, and for the record, you are correct that in the matter of Jesus having a pre-existence, either he did or he did not— there is only one right answer. I'm just not willing to place the undue stress or risk on our philia to find out.

    "Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples." — John 13:35 New LIving Translation
    Notice that it doesn't read that our rightness over one another will prove we are disciples of our Exemplar, but our love for one another.

    If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing ... For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. —1 Corinthians 13:1-2, 9-10 English Standard Version
    Speaking for myself, I look SO forward to when the partial is done away with, because too often we forget that as on-point and right we think we are on this subject or that, we only know in part. I'm not exactly looking forward to all the (crow) I'll be eating when I am finally seeing how far off I was on this subject or that— the rafter that's been in my the whole time I'm trying to pluck a speck from a brother's eye. Think about the level of blindness it requires to not see a RAFTER in our own eye! In preparation for that inevitability, I'm learning more and more to laugh at myself. :p

    There! Did I digress from the topic enough? ;)

    Submitted with an abundance of Philia and Agape,
    Tim
     

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