Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Does The Trinity Make Sense? My comments.

[Edit: the entire debate has been removed from its Part 1-2 format and is in one video, currently here.]

In this two-part debate between Trinitarian Dr. William Lane Craig and Rabbi Tovia Singer, moderated by Trinitarian Lee Strobel, Dr. Craig says that the holy spirit is "separate and distinct" as a person (in Part 2 at 3:48-50 [Edit: at 9:25]), something that some Trinitarians would disagree with and specify that it is only distinct as a person and not a separate person. He also said that the Old Testament does not teach the Trinity (at 3:25-33), but that it's important to Trinitarians because the Trinity it true (at 1:37). I'm sorry Dr. Craig but this is no place for circular reasoning. The rabbi was all over him for admitting that about the OT. How could Abraham and Daniel, God's friends, not know about the Trinity? How could mankind be ignorant of the Trinity for thousands of years until the church councils? And now people have to believe in it or they will burn in hell? While it is true that Jesus' ransom is retroactive, that is, it applies to people who died before the ransom, Rabbi Singer was not asking that. Dr. Craig did not address his actual question of how OT people could not know about the Trinity and still be God's friends. What kind of friend fails to tell you who he really is? Therefore the Trinity teaching dishonors God. The rabbi was right that it also dishonors Jesus. They could have learned from him.

Strobel concluded the debate by dismissively and confidently telling Rabbi Singer to go read his book on why he still believes in the Trinity. You can tell that Rabbi Singer had them both in the hot seat.

Concerning Dr. Craig's use of John 20:28-29, I would like to point out that he did not include verse 31, where John himself tells us what Thomas' famous expression "My Lord and my God!" meant, namely, "that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God." So, to repeat, Thomas' exclamation informs us that Jesus is the Son of God, not God himself. He functioned as "God" to Thomas, like Moses functioned as God to others, but Thomas still believed that Jesus was the agent representing God in God's behalf. If Thomas literally believed that Jesus is God in the Trinitarian sense, then he would have been more accurate to declare, "My Lord and my God as the second person of the Godhead with human and divine natures in hypostatic union!" Did Thomas believe that? Or did he believe that Jesus was God's agent with OT precedent? Not to mention the complete convoluted mess the Trinity makes with soteriology. (See Reasoning From the Scriptures page 213.)

Dr. William Lane Craig, to his credit, also said this in a debate with Christopher Hitchens on April 4, 2009: "I'm sure that there are views that I hold that are probably false. But I'm trying my best to get my theology straight, trying to do the best job..." (This statement was found in a full-length video posted on YouTube, seen on February 1, 2011, appearing at 1:31:57.) I can only hope that he truly applies his humble admission and rejects Trinitarianism like he rejects Reformed Theology as "false preaching," as he said in the debate. (This debate may be purchased here on DVD:

Link to Part 1
Link to Part 2

Related blog post:
Did Thomas Teach Trinitarianism at John 20:28?

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