Thursday, July 1, 2010

Islam and Christianity A Common Word: Phillipians 2:5-7 The Kenosis and the alleged deity of Christ Jesus

Often thegrandverbalizer posts really interesting articles on his blog from a Muslim perspective. Many times these articles seek to explain why Christians are wrong about the Trinity and Jesus' deity. He wrote:

The theological rift between Christians and Muslims exist because of thirty six Greek words in a New Testament epistle entitled Phillipians. I ask you sisters and brothers is it worth it? Do you want this seperation between us to continue because of thirty six Greek works in an epistle not written or approved of by Christ Jesus? An epistle that has ambiguous language that Christians themselves are in much dispute over? The Holy Qur'an has come to call the Christians back to pure monotheism. It is time to come back home.
He says that the words in question are from

Philippians 2:5-7 (New American Standard Bible)

5Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus,
6who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped,7but [a] emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.
  1. Philippians 2:7 I.e. laid aside His privileges
Then he writes something that really baffles me.

So what does it mean when we say that Christ Jesus 'emptied himself' ? Emptied himself of what? The term or word kenosis means 'emptying' or 'to empty'. If he emptied himself of his attributes than he is no longer God because God is not God without his attributes.

That would be like Clark Kent going into the crystal chamber and giving up his Super-man powers. Superman is not superman without his powers he is just Clark Kent.

I'm baffled because I'm not sure he read the footnote. Paul was not saying that Jesus laid aside that which makes Jesus God. What Jesus laid aside was those privileges that comes with that. He humbled himself to the point of death.

Further, thegrandverbalizer wrote:

"Do you have an instance of Jesus healing or forgiving people BEFORE he recieved the Holy Spirit?"
None of the Christians so far have attempted to interact with that question. You can see it here:

Christians don't interact with that question because we don't think that there was evedr a time where Jesus did not have the Holy Spirit, nor any time when He was not God. Paul wrote in Colossians 1:15-20

15He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. 17He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. 19For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.

Paul obviously believed that Jesus was God. And so did the Apostle John in John 1:1-18

1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2He was with God in the beginning.
3Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4In him was life, and that life was the light of men. 5The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.
6There came a man who was sent from God; his name was John. 7He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all men might believe. 8He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light. 9The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world.
10He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God.
14The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
15John testifies concerning him. He cries out, saying, "This was he of whom I said, 'He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.' " 16From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another. 17For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father's side, has made him known.

So did Isaiah...Read Isaiah 9:6

For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

I think the disconnect is that thegrandverbalizer does not understand what the Trinity is. I can't fault him for that because i don't think anyone fully understand it. Thegrandverbalizer wrote

This brings us to the argument from Rene Descartes (Cogito ergo Sum) I think, therefore I am)

Rene Descartes speaks of person as the subject of self-awareness and freedom-in brief, person as a conscious and autonomous self.

Is God aware of his own existence?
Does 'God the Father' think?
Does 'God the Son' think?
Does 'God the Holy Spirit' think?
If there is only one mind and one self existence than God is absolutely one and not tri-unity. IF there are three minds and three self existences than without doubt Christians have slipped into Tri-theism and worship three gods.

IS the Trinitarian God one in mind, will, and action? If so, how can this be so? If the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are one in mind, will and action, in what sense can they be three persons If the three act as one and so are one in nature, what room is left to distinguish three persons?

Again the problem is a fundamental misunderstanding on what we are talking about when we talk of the Trinity. Descartes proof for self awareness does not work for God.  God's existence is not causal. Rather everything that exists does so because of God. God exists...period. God's sustains God with God. "I think therefore I am" works for humans but not for God. The closest God can can truthfully say about His own existence is "I AM". (In Hebrew it's closer to say "I IS". The Trinity is not about three distinct beings. God is one being and three distinct persons. The Bible says that the Father is God. The Son is God.  The Holy Spirit is God.  And there is one God. God is self-existent. The divine name contains all of this and more.

Thegrandverbalizer insinuated that Jesus would never had agreed to the high place and standard that we give to Jesus. If that were the case then why did the Jews of His time understand that Jesus was claiming equality with God? Why did Jesus not refuse worship?

What did Jesus mean in the following passage: John 8:52-59

 52At this the Jews exclaimed, "Now we know that you are demon-possessed! Abraham died and so did the prophets, yet you say that if anyone keeps your word, he will never taste death. 53Are you greater than our father Abraham? He died, and so did the prophets. Who do you think you are?"
 54Jesus replied, "If I glorify myself, my glory means nothing. My Father, whom you claim as your God, is the one who glorifies me. 55Though you do not know him, I know him. If I said I did not, I would be a liar like you, but I do know him and keep his word. 56Your father Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day; he saw it and was glad."
 57"You are not yet fifty years old," the Jews said to him, "and you have seen Abraham!"
 58"I tell you the truth," Jesus answered, "before Abraham was born, I am!" 59At this, they picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus hid himself, slipping away from the temple grounds.

Jesus seemed pretty clear about who He is. Why do we doubt the things that He says?

Islam and Christianity A Common Word: Phillipians 2:5-7 The Kenosis and the alleged deity of Christ Jesus
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  1. Too many contradictions between Islam and Christianity, and the only people that can decide whether which side they should believe are the people themselves..

  2. In choosing to display Simon Dewey's painting "He Lives," shouldn't you at least acknowledge the painter?

    While you're at it, please acknowledge that this devout portrayal of the resurrected Lord Jesus Christ is by a Mormon!