What about John 20:28? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.
This chapter is handed off to a Ph.D. candidate named Clifford Hubert Durousseau. As I read that part, I thought it curious. I have nothing against PhD candidates as I plan to be one myself someday, but I was thinking that if this is really such a strong position with more and more people coming to it, why didn’t Buzzard get a PhD already to make the case here? Could he find no Greek experts to make such a case? One wonders.
So at the start, Durousseau says that John 20:28 is often seen as the strongest Trinitarian argument. I wouldn’t go that far. One could I think hold to it and be a Oneness Pentecostal. I base Trinitarianism not on one verse, but on a plethora of different verses. Durousseau also makes an interesting comment that saying “Jesus is God” constitutes monophysitism. Unfortunately, he leaves the readers, such as myself, confused as to show this is entirely. Again, if he wants to read the statement in the worst possible light just as Buzzard does, that’s his problem.
Unfortunately, throughout this chapter, Durousseau uses much of the same kind of argumentation that Buzzard does throughout. One would hope a different playbook would surface, but it does not. Durousseau does have some different questions at least. One is that when Jesus is called Lord in numerous times in John 20, it doesn’t mean YHWH. Why does it mean that in John 20:28?
Let me take a shot at this one. Maybe it has something to do with Thomas saying “My Lord and my God.” I realize that could be a stretch, but maybe when Lord is juxtaposed next to God, then we see it as a term of deity.
He also says that Thomas is not given a blessing for identifying who Jesus is as Peter did. Why should He? Peter had already identified who Jesus was and the resurrection was more than enough to certify His divine identity. Durousseau says that Thomas is instead rebuked. Right. He had spent years with these guys and knew the claims of Jesus and had more than enough evidence that Jesus was alive again without seeing Him and yet that was not enough.
He also says the author doesn’t comment on that, but the author doesn’t comment on many statements as well. He comments on some, but not all. Durousseau says the book was written to show Jesus was the Son of God, but Durousseau makes no attempt to show what this term means. My Mormon friends will say “Yes. Jesus is the Son of God. God the Father literally had sexual intercourse with Mary. Jesus is the Son of God.” Is that what it means? (And to any Mormons reading this, this is what your past prophets have said.)
He also says Jesus says He is returning to my God and your God. (Notice He never says our God like that.) Would this be contradicted verses later? Again, this just assumes the unipersonalism. I as a Trinitarian have no problem with Jesus referring to the Father as His Lord and His God.
Durousseau also points to statements of Jesus with the Father being in Him and of Paul saying that God was in Christ and that Trinitarians ignore these. How? We agree with them. They don’t go against us and that Durousseau thinks that they do shows that he doesn’t understand what he is arguing against.
One part is worth quoting in full:
Does this mean that Jesus was claiming to be God? No, it means exactly what it says: Jesus was claiming to represent his Father and God. The fourth Gospel (12:49; 14:9) expands the teaching of Paul in 2 Corinthians 4:4 that Jesus is “the image of God.” And in Colossians 1:15, Jesus is called “the image of the invisible God.” The author of Hebrews says of him, as the New Jerusalem Bible puts it, “He is the reflection of God’s glory  and bears the impress of God’s own being [hypostasis]” ( Heb. 1:3; compare Wisdom of Solomon 7:26: “For she [Wisdom] is a reflection of the eternal light, untarnished mirror of God’s active power, and image of his goodness.”)
It is mind-boggling that Durousseau looks at these statements and doesn’t really think about what they mean apparently. Jesus is not made in the image of God as we are. He IS the image of God. What God is invisibly, Jesus is visibly. He is theJesu reflection of God’s glory, the idea being that of taking a stamp and putting it on Jesus such that what God is, Jesus is. If Jesus is a reflection of eternal light, then He Himself is eternal.
Something else incredible in this is that Durousseau actually quotes the Qur’an to back his point. Why not just go to the Book of Mormon as well? I wish I was joking about this, but I’m not.
He also uses the Acts 2:36 argument we have dealt with in earlier posts here.
He then asks that if Jesus can be called God, why can’t Thomas or anyone else be called the brother of God? Frankly, if you wanted to refer to the actual brothers and sisters of Jesus as that, I really wouldn’t have a problem. Mary got the title she got in church history because of debates over her nature and her role in the incarnation. (Seeing as she kind of played a more pivotal role in it than any other human.)
He also references Julian saying that John was the first to call Jesus God. I have repeatedly shown on my blog that this is false, but it’s worth pointing out that Durousseau says nothing about Julian being an apostate, an enemy of Christianity, and wanting to return the Roman Empire to the pagan worldview. It’s okay to say anything bad about Constantine, but keep secret about who you yourself are quoting. The same applies when Durousseau later cites Ehrman.
He also asks why if Jesus is God He was given a revelation to give to John by God on the Isle of Patmos. Oh, I don’t know. Because the Son submits to the Father and gives a message to John that the Father wants Him to give? He references Rev. 5:14 but says nothing about how Revelation 5 ends with all creation worshipping Him who sits on the throne and the Lamb, which differentiates between the Lamb and creation.
Overall, there is really not much here to comment on.
And with that, I conclude my look at this book. I walk away sadly seeing the author as being more dishonest in his presentation than anything else. I take no delight in saying that, but I have made my case why. I leave it to the reader to decide if he thinks I have been wrong.
(And I affirm the virgin birth)
The post Book Plunge: Jesus Was Not A Trinitarian: Appendix on John 20:28 appeared first on Deeper Waters.