Friday, January 29, 2016

Three-In-One Again

From the Errancy Discussion List, 9-29-95:

I am the father to my children, Brother to my siblings, child of my parents, lover to my spouse. How's that! Four in one.
Regards, nth

But you are still just ONE person. In your capacity as father to your children, you know everything that you know in your capacity as brother to your siblings, and in this capacity you know everything that you know as child of your parents and lover of your spouse. It would be absurd to say that as father to your children, you know X , but as brother to your siblings you don't know X.

So what's my point? In Matthew 24:36, Jesus presumably said of his second coming, "But of that day and hour knoweth no one, not even the angels of heaven, neither the son,* but the Father only" (ASV). If Jesus and the Father are the same God but just different "persons" in the sense that you are father to your children, brother to your siblings, etc., how could it possibly be that God as the Father would know something that God as the son would not know?

This problem was obviously recognized fairly early in the church, because a footnote by this passage will say that "some ancient authorities omit the expression 'neither the son,'" and some translations (including even the KJV) leave it out too. More and more, that's becoming the way to solve textual and doctrinal problems in the Bible--just translate them out of existence. However, since the oldest manuscripts have the expression "neither the son" in them, a principle of lower criticism states that this is more likely to be a statement that was in the original. The RSV, NRSV, NASV, NIV, REB, NEB, NAB, JB, and others have retained the statement in apparent recognition of this principle. Besides, the parallel passage in Mark 13:32 contains the expression "neither the son" and was also retained in other "ancient manuscripts" of Mark, so nothing has been gained by trying to eliminate the statement from Matthew. Furthermore, most critics recognize that Matthew used Mark as his source, so the fact that the expression "neither the son" is generally found in the manuscripts of Mark and was in the earliest copies of Matthew is a pretty sound indication that it was very likely in the original text too.

So now trinity believers must explain how it would have been possible for the Father to know something that the son did not know if they were both one and the same God. I must also ask if inerrantists ever get tired and frustrated from trying to defend untenable positions.

Farrell Till

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