"Nothing more impressive than an intellectual and spiritual approach to seeking truth and a willingness to embrace it unconditionally."
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
Equal With God
Philippians 2:6 KJV Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:
I submit this post at the risk of being thought a theological imbecile, but here it goes any way. Most of you know that I have been involved in a few public debates and have moderated a few others. The foremost subject that I enjoy hearing discussed is the Godhead. I also enjoy preaching and teaching it as well. So here are some thoughts on this verse.
I will not try to analyze the entire text as that would be entirely too time consuming for the purpose of this thread. I also understand that this is an incredibly tedious text with a lot of grammatical nuances.
One of the great grammatical nuances of this text is the word “form” translated from the Greek “morphe.” This is a topic of must discussion on all sides of the Christological debate. Does it mean nature as translated by the NIV , or does it means external appearance only? There is credible scholarship on both sides of this debate. While that would be an important and interesting discussion, that is not the intent of this post.
Then you have a great battle in theological circle as to how the phrase “equal with God” should be translated. In an attempt to explain this passage, depending on one’s Christological view, other translations are cited that give quite a different shad of meaning to this text than the KJV does.
Allow me, for the purpose of this thread, to assume that “equal with God” is the best and most accurate rendering of this passage and give some possibilities of this verse of scripture from a Oneness perspective.
I am making the following statement based on debate experience and not an official statement from official Trinitarian doctrine found in the Councils or elsewhere. The argument is frequently forwarded by Trinitarian debaters that the word “equal” necessarily infers two persons in the Godhead. They argue that, In order to determine equality you must have separate items for the purpose of comparison. You cannot have equality with only one thing. I think you understand the point without me having to belabor the point. So, the argument is, for Jesus to be “equal with God” he must be a separate person.
The Greek word for “equal” is “isos” . This is the same word that is used in Acts 11:17 as “like” gift. This like gift is the one that fell at the beginning (Pentecost) in Acts 11:15. So Peter is defending the conversion of the Gentiles in chapter 10 by say that the Holy Ghost that they, the Gentiles, received is the same Holy Ghost as the one he received on the day of Pentecost. He uses “isos”, not as a term of contrast, but a term of identity. The isos/like/equal gift indentifies the gift of Acts 10 as the gift of Acts 2.
ATTRIBUTE OF ESCLUSIVITY
God asked the question in the Old Testament, who is like me or my equal (Isaiah 40:25 & Isaiah 46:5). Then He answers his own question by saying that he has no equal and that none is like him I(Isaiah 46:9). God has no equal and there is none like him, so that if you find one who is equal with God you have found God and not another.
Let me illustrate it as follows. A fingerprint is an attribute of esclusivity. No one has a fingerprint that is equal to mine. If you find a finger print that is equal to mine, you have found my finger print. Because it is something that belongs only to me, equality in this way would be identity, not contrast.
To further illustrate this point: what if someone with a prior criminal record committed a murder and left his fingerprint somewhere at the scene of the crime for CSI to find? While they may not know at the scene of the crime who the perpetrator, once they get back to the crime lab and run the fingerprint the crime lab data base and they find a fingerprint in the database that EQUALS the one at the crime scene they have indentified the murder. So again equality is proof of identity in this case.
When you run the fingerprint of God through the data base of scripture you are going to come up with Jesus. Since only God is what God is and Jesus is equal with God he must be God. Jesus possessed and possess every essential attribute of deity. Truly He is EQUAL WITH GOD!
Pardon the elementary nature of this post and thread.