Shamar

Clearing up misconceptions about the Christian faith and defending it.


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Monotheism and the Concept of a Triune God – Part 1

Jews, in all probability, smirk at Christians when we refer to Yahshua as God. It’s not surprising because, as I said, Judaism is a strictly monotheistic faith.

So, when Christians speak of Yahshua as God, I am sure two problems arise in the mind of the Jew:

  1. He was a man, for God’s sake! How can a man be made into a God without the whole thing being heretical?
  2. If God is the Father then how can there be God the Son and then God the Holy Spirit also? What confusion and, hence, what balderdash!

When I lived in Bangalore, my room mate and I turned this puzzle over in our heads, talking about it, trying to figure out the concept of a triune God. The one thing that always got in the way of understanding it was our fixed way of understanding the world, based as it was, in this case, on physical reality. For me, my father will be a different physical entity and I will be a different one. We may share the same family name but we are not one.

Let’s check the reality of the Bible. God existing in three different forms is visible at the event of the baptism of Christ found in the New Testament in Matthew 3: 13-17. One was that of the Father Who spoke from heaven and said: This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased (Verse 17).  The second was that of the Son–Yahshua–who was being baptized (Verse 16); and the third was that of the Holy Spirit of God, which descended from heaven on Christ in the form of a dove (Verse 16). Clearly, three separate physical forms, in one place. So how do we reconcile that with One God? We turned that over and over in our heads.

And then someone explained the concept to us so simply that we felt a little foolish for not having have thought of it ourselves. In a simple analogy, the concept of a triune God can be understood by looking at a melting ice cube. The ice is solid. As it melts, the same ice turns into water. And as it turns liquid, it also gives off vapour. It’s the same arrangement of molecules H2O, visible in three different forms right in front of your eyes–solid, liquid and vapour. And though we see three forms, the water and the vapour issue forth out of the ice. That’s how triune would work in the physical world.

Here’s what I think. God took on three forms because each served a specific purpose that the others could not. The Father Yahowah cannot be destroyed (Job 36:26, Psalm 102: 12 and 90:2Isaiah 40:28, Hebrew 1: 11-12) or even approached by sinful people, so holy is He (Exodus 19:11-13, Exodus 33: 19-20.) Now, in order to demonstrate His love for humanity, even if He wanted to sacrifice Himself for our sins, it would be impossible in His eternal form, because no one can destroy Him. He is everlasting and too powerful. So, who then?

  • Someone who was not indestructible and could succumb to injuries.
  • Someone pure and sinless as required by the Passover and Atonement sacrifices.
  • Someone who had a mind, heart, a soul and, most importantly,  a will.

That last condition would rule out an animal, for though it is pure and sinless, it has no understanding of what it is doing. It lacks intelligence, analytical abilities and most importantly, a will to say: Yes, I know what is expected and involved, and I am willing to do this out of my own free will. Animals don’t have that. In fact, an animal will always try to pull away from being led anywhere because it will always try to save its life.

Hence, God the Son, who is the image of the invisible God (Colossians 1: 15).

  • His purpose was to be an intercessor (Romans 8:34) and to act as a bridge between judgment and mercy. Read: http://www.gotquestions.org/mercy-justice.html
  • His purpose was to fulfill the requirements of the law for the punishment of sin (Atonement) and, therefore, achieve forgiveness for all. (Romans 3:251 John 2:2, Romans 5:11) Read: https://bible.org/article/atonement-christ
  • His purpose was to shed the blood that would provide salvation from death (Passover). (1 Corinthians 5:7)
  • His purpose was to conquer death, which came in on the back of Adam and Eve’s sin, introduced by satan. (Romans 5:12-21, John 3:16, 1 Corinthians 15: 20, 55-57, 2 Timothy 1:10)

His purpose required Him to come in exactly the form of the people He wanted to save because He was going be dying in exchange for them. And so He came as a human being. 

That leaves the Holy Spirit, whose task is to change us through the life-long process of sanctification after salvation. It’s an internal job, requiring a form that can permeate the boundaries of flesh and bones. (1 Corinthians 3:16-17, 1 Corinthians 6:192 Corinthians 3:3, Ephesians 5:18, Galatians 4:6, John 14:16-17.) Yahowah is too Holy and powerful to reside within a body of flesh, which is essentially weak and sinful. After resurrection and ascension, Yahshua is seated at the right hand of Yahowah, mediating for us. The next time He returns to earth, He will do so to save His people from the anti-christ and to judge. Till He returns, the Holy Spirit has been given to us to us as Comforter and Counselor to help us, guide us and keep us. (John 14:26, Romans 8:26, 1 Corinthians 2:13, John 16:7-15, Romans 5:3-5.) To know more and understand better, read:

https://carm.org/christianity/christian-doctrine/verses-showing-identity-ministry-and-personhood-holy-spirit

http://www.desiringgod.org/messages/how-the-spirit-sanctifies

https://www.tms.edu/m/msj21h.pdf

So, I understand the need for a triune God. But the original question on the Jewish mind still remains unanswered: Isn’t it all heresy? That’s something I will be taking up in the next post, Yahowah willing.

Shalome

 


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The Blindness of Faith.

I mentioned in the post on Easter that I would provide links and information that explained the crucifixion-resurrection confusion. To keep in with my word, I searched the Internet for all the necessary information and links. A strange thing happened. In the course of my search, I found that scholars were divided on the year of crucifixion. Though it is traditionally accepted as 33 AD, some dispute that year. I went on to search for the year of Christ’s birth and there is an even greater range there than the year of crucifixion–anything between 18 BC and 7 AD. Just to add extra fun to the whole unholy mess of dates, the way dates were calculated differed vastly circa Christ’s life. And between the conversion first to the Julian and then the Gregorian calendar, event dates have been pushed ahead or back by several years, so that there is no certainty about anything.

If we do not have the right year of Christ’s birth, how will we be able to calculate the right or even approximate year of Christ’s crucifixion? And if we do not have the right year of Christ’s crucifixion, how will we know the precise dates on which Passover fell in that year? And if we do not have that, how can we prove anything?

What does it leave us with? It leaves us with what the world calls blind faith, something I have been uncomfortable with, especially because of the way the world defines it.

Blind faith would involve choosing to believe a) without knowledge b) without experience c) in the absence of secular proof d) in the face of secular proof to the contrary and e) when everything around you seems to suggest otherwise.

And yet, the more I thought about it, the more I realized that this kind of “blind” believing has been a part of Judeo-Christian tradition.

What do I mean when I say blind faith? Does it mean believing without knowledge? No, it does not. Abraham, Moses and David knew God and of God from the accounts of their ancestors. So then, does it mean believing without questioning, in spite of circumstances and in spite of contrasting external evidence? Yes, that is what I mean in this post.

In Genesis, when Yahowah spoke to Abraham for the first time and asked him to leave his home, his country, a settled, secure life and go to a land that He would show him, Abraham blindly believed. He did not know where he was going (Hebrew 11: 8), but He trusted God to guide him.

When Yahowah asked Moses to lead His people out of Egypt, and take them into Canaan, it seemed close to impossible. The Hebrew people had been reduced to being slaves in Egypt and were not powerful enough to wage a war or create an uprising. Moses himself was wanted for murder and over the years, he had lost all confidence in his military skills. To challenge Pharaoh, Moses had to believe a promise, in spite of some troubling realities (Hebrews 11: 24-29).

It required that kind of blind faith on the part of David–who was told he would be king–to keep believing that promise when his life hung by a thread as Saul sought to kill him. He fought to believe in spite of Saul and in spite of his own discouragement. There are several Psalms that speak of his anguish.

And yet, Yahowah brought Abraham into Canaan, just as He had said. He led Israel out of Egypt, just as He had said. And David became king.

Broken down to its basic building blocks, what is to the world blind faith, is for us just total faith in God and His Word. It chooses to believe God over external evidence, circumstances or the words of the wisest men on earth. Because we know that Yahowah never lies, He fulfills His promises and His plans for us are good.

This kind of total faith is the starting point of Christian inquiry. It’s like Yahowah’s screening process. If you believe without seeing–just because it is God’s Word–then you’re in, and the things you seek to understand will be explained to you, factually and logically. (Hebrews 11: 6)

However, before everything else, here is a question you should answer. Do you believe with your eyes or do you believe with your heart? If all the proof and all the evidence in the world stands on one side, and Yahowah stands alone on the other, which side would you choose?

The answer to that question will determine the course of everything for your life.

As for the details of the crucifixion of Christ, the truth is out there, but currently, we are looking through cut glass that creates distortion. The glass will be removed some day, and we will see clearly.

Keep the faith and Shalome.

#crucifixion #blind faith #total faith