Correctly interpreting verses used to support Arianism and Jehovah's Witnesses


#1

The following three verses are used to support the Arian belief in Homoiousios (Jesus was like/similar to God, definition). Jehovah’s Witnesses use the same verses to support whatever it is they believe about Jesus.

Mark 10:18
Jesus answered him, "Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone.

John 14:28
You heard me tell you, ‘I am going away and I will come back to you.’ If you loved me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father; for the Father is greater than I.

Luke 22:42
saying, "Father, if you are willing, take this cup away from me; still, not my will but yours be done.

Now obviously, taken at face value, these verses do indeed support homoiousious and go against our Catholic understanding which is “One in being with the father”(homoousios, of the same nature, definition)

So what is the Catholic understanding of these verses? How are we to reconcile these verses with what we believe?


#2

Just using logic, the Mark 10:18 passage leaves no doubt that Jesus is speaking as “fully man.” Because he is also “fully God,” he must also be good, in his divinity.
A similar question could be asked about Jesus’ reply about the final coming. He says that no one knows the day or the hour but the Father, but the Son is also omniscient and knows what the Father knows, so he is again speaking as man. Additionally, for that one, he knew, but it was not for the Apostles to know.


#3

Jesus is basically asking the man: “by calling me good, are you (correctly) implying that I am God?” This makes sense considering other verses throughout the Gospels that have Jesus claiming to be God and accepting divine worship without hesitation.

John 14:28
You heard me tell you, ‘I am going away and I will come back to you.’ If you loved me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father; for the Father is greater than I.

The previous poster who noted Jesus speaking as man applies fully. Psalm 8 foreshadows Jesus temporarily being made less than angels (or less than a god; cf. Heb 2:7). As one fully man, Jesus indeed can truthfully claim to be less than the Father. But as full God, he is equal, and he claims this, at least implicitly, in other places.

Luke 22:42
saying, "Father, if you are willing, take this cup away from me; still, not my will but yours be done.

See how the ancient understandings reconcile the Scriptures nicely? Jesus, having two natures, also has two wills: the human and the divine, but they are never at odds. This passage only confirms that. Jesus human will may have freely chosen to reject his ordained task at hand, but submits freely to the divine will of himself and of the Father.

The problem with the JW’s is that they take these selected verses, apply their predefined understandings to them and push them to the exclusion of others that outright contradict their doctrine. Our understanding takes the Bible as a whole, and seeming contradictions ironed out with the proper understanding of divine Revelation.


#4

Hi:

You might find the following website helpful:

www.catholicxjw.com

Jeff Schwehm
Fellowship of Catholic Ex-Jehovah’s Witnesses


#5

Perhaps these two verses merely show Christ’s acknowledgement of the hierarchy within the Trinity. There would be not Father and Son if one did not have some sort of authority over the other, correct? They are of the same nature, but the different persons have different offices.


#6

I have to say I think that Porthos has hit on the heart of the matter–If you all ready have an idea that you want to prove, you can make your self believe it…

By the way, for those of you who have not been to Jeff’s site, I was on there today, & it has excellent info.:thumbsup:


#7

[quote=jschwehm]Hi:

You might find the following website helpful:

www.catholicxjw.com

Jeff Schwehm
Fellowship of Catholic Ex-Jehovah’s Witnesses
[/quote]

Nice website. I actually discovered it this morning as a link from the Catholic Exchange portal
catholicexchange.com/
I’m happy to add it to my personal apologetics resource list.


#8

another example of sola scriptura failing–SURE ALL OF THESE VERSES CAN BE EXPLAINED–but there are other verses like Titus 2:14–that say Jesus is God–"…appearance of our Great God and Savior Jesus Christ."—so if you interpret scriptur on your own without an infallible magisterium you are bound to make mistakes—


#9

John 14:28
You heard me tell you, ‘I am going away and I will come back to you.’ If you loved me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father; for the Father is greater than I.

Luke 22:42
saying, "Father, if you are willing, take this cup away from me; still, not my will but yours be done.

;------
Officially, I am not sure of the exact definitive interpretation of these passages, however I see them in the light of other scriptures.
;------

Phi2:6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:
Phi2:7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:

The father is greater, because the son emptied himself and took the form of a slave. The Incarnation is a mystery, in that the perfection took on transience, imperfection, infirmity.
There is a Person who walked the earth as God and Man.
He is subjegating all of imperfect creation in his body, to the Father in the Spirit.

The Father is also greater in that he is the source of the begotten. co-eternal, indistinguishable EXCEPT on the basis of their relationship. The Father is the adorable source from whom the Son comes. Hence the father is greater in this way too, not that any act differs between them, but they are related in this way.

;-------
; If I say, I cried, I cried, I cried, all day long, you might think me sad, but if I say “for joy” but once, you know I am glad.

also:

John5:19 Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.

hence:

Jesus is equal in action to the Father, but equal as Son.
He is busy doing everything the Father does, and is too busy to do anything else.

God is One - eternal - Unity.


#10

Thanks everybody, you were all very helpful. I’ll be using you’re explanations tonight at my Parish’s Apologetics group meeting. I’ll be sure to give you all credit also. I have a few quick follow up questions since I have a long ways to go before my Scripture reading and studying skills fully develop:

[quote=porthos11]Jesus is basically asking the man: “by calling me good, are you (correctly) implying that I am God?” This makes sense considering other verses throughout the Gospels that have Jesus claiming to be God and accepting divine worship without hesitation.
[/quote]

Can someone show me one or two places in the Bible where Jesus claims to be God and accepts divine worship? I know it’s in there somewhere, I just haven’t been able to find it.

The previous poster who noted Jesus speaking as man applies fully. Psalm 8 foreshadows Jesus temporarily being made less than angels (or less than a god; cf. Heb 2:7). As one fully man, Jesus indeed can truthfully claim to be less than the Father. But as full God, he is equal, and he claims this, at least implicitly, in other places.

same question as above, anybody know verses where Jesus claims or where Scripture at least implies that He is full God?

See how the ancient understandings reconcile the Scriptures nicely? Jesus, having two natures, also has two wills: the human and the divine, but they are never at odds. This passage only confirms that. Jesus human will may have freely chosen to reject his ordained task at hand, but submits freely to the divine will of himself and of the Father.

The problem with the JW’s is that they take these selected verses, apply their predefined understandings to them and push them to the exclusion of others that outright contradict their doctrine. Our understanding takes the Bible as a whole, and seeming contradictions ironed out with the proper understanding of divine Revelation.

Excellent point Porthos, thank you! I am learning that when I need to read something in context, it doesn’t necessarily mean that I just need to read the preceding or following few verses. As you showed with citing Psalm 8 and Hebrews 2:7, sometimes you need to search in completely different portions of the Bible to find the answers you are looking for.


#11

Hi Rich.

The best place to look is in the Gospel of St. John. First look at John 8:58. Here, Jesus makes a radical claim: “Before Abraham was, I AM.” To Jewish ears, Jesus is taking the Divine Name upon himself. Now Jews never pronounced the divine Name, much less claim it for oneself. This was blasphemy and the penalty was death by stoning. Hence, the next verse: “They picked up stones to throw at him.” You see, with Jesus making this claim, the Jews could only derive one of two conclusions: he was claiming to be pre-Abraham but as a creature (which would make him merely nuts), or God Almighty himself (which would make him a blasphemer). The Jews did not stone people for being nuts. This is easily the most powerful claim Jesus makes to divinity, so much so that the JW’s mistranslated this in their sorry excuse for a Bible: “Before Abraham was, I have been.” Unfortunately, everywhere else the Greek phrase “ego eimi” appears, they consistently translate it “I am”, clearly showing their bias.

The clincher comes later, after Jesus’ resurrection, when Thomas leaves behind his doubt and proclaims: “My Lord and my God.” Some neo-Arians actually declare that Thomas was flat-out wrong, but if that was the case, Jesus was morally obligated to correct him, much like Peter did to Cornelius, and Paul to the Lystrans. But no, Jesus did no such thing. He accepted Thomas’s worship and declaration as God.

So if anyone claims to believe in Jesus, we need to analyze what he did and said. Taking everything into consideration, he was either a mere man and a wacko, or exactly who he claimed to be: God.


#12

Hi:

See if the following link helps too:

catholicxjw.com/Trinity2.html

Jeff Schwehm
www.catholicxjw.com


#13

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