Archive for the ‘Ciatoris’ Category

Is Jesus’ Divinity Clearly Revealed in Scripture?

November 28, 2009

Over in the ever-growing comment box at Called to Communion (a Roman Catholic blog), there is at least one man, Mr. Ciatoris, who is trying to argue that the Scriptures do not clearly teach that Jesus is God. (link to the comment box in question)

John Cassian (lived about A.D. 360 – 435) thought differently:

As we have finished three books with the most certain and the most valuable witnesses, whose truth is substantiated not only by human but also by Divine evidences, they would abundantly suffice to prove our case by Divine authority, especially as the Divine authority of the case itself would be enough for this. But still as the whole mass of the sacred Scriptures is full of these evidences, and where there are so many witnesses, there are so many opinions to be urged— nay where Holy Scripture itself gives its witness so to speak with one Divine mouth— we have thought it well to add some others still, not from any need of confirmation, but because of the supply of material at our disposal; so that anything which might be unnecessary for purposes of defense, might be useful by way of ornamentation. Therefore since in the earlier books we proved the Divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ while He was in the flesh by the evidence not only of prophets and apostles, but of evangelists and angels as well, let us now show that He who was born in the flesh was God even before His Incarnation; that you may understand by the harmony and concord of the evidences from the sacred Scriptures, that you ought to believe that at His birth in the body He was both God and man, who before His birth was only God, and that He who after He had been brought forth by the Virgin in the body was God, was before His birth from the Virgin, God the Word.

– John Cassian, On the Incarnation, Book IV, Chapter 1

John Cassian goes on to give this as his first example:

Learn then first of all from the Apostle the teacher of the whole world, that He who is without beginning, God, the Son of God, became the Son of man at the end of the world, i.e., in the fullness of the times. For he says: “But when the fullness of the times had come, God sent His Son, made of a woman, made under the law.” [Galatians 4:4] Tell me then, before the Lord Jesus Christ was born of His mother Mary, had God a Son or had He not? You cannot deny that He had, for never yet was there either a son without a father, or a father without a son: because as a son is so called with reference to a father, so is a father so named with reference to a son.

– John Cassian, On the Incarnation, Book IV, Chapter 1

After some discussion of the text, John Cassian states:

And so as it is clear from the above testimony that God sent His own Son, and that He who was ever the Son of God became the Son of man, let us see whether the same Apostle gives any other testimony of the same sort elsewhere, that the truth which is already clear enough in itself, may be rendered still more clear by the light of a twofold testimony. So then the same Apostle says: “God sent His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh.” [Romans 8:3] You see that the Apostle certainly did not use these words by chance or at random, as he repeated what he had already said once— for indeed there could not be found in him chance or want of consideration as the fullness of Divine counsel and speech had taken up its abode in him.

– John Cassian, On the Incarnation, Book IV, Chapter 3

But even leaving aside the fact that Mr. Ciatoris has a different view of Scripture than the fathers did, one has to wonder how Mr. Ciatoris cannot clearly see the divinity of Christ in this verse:

John 20:28 And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God.

Or in the comparison of Jesus’ teachings here:

Matthew 4:10 Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.

Luke 4:8 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Get thee behind me, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.

With the practices here:

Mark 5:6 But when he saw Jesus afar off, he ran and worshipped him,

Matthew 28:9 And as they went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, All hail. And they came and held him by the feet, and worshipped him.

Matthew 14:33 Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God.

Scriptures do clearly teach the divinity of Christ, which is why they are sometimes accused of corruption by our Muslim opponents, who refuse to accept Jesus’ claim to be the “I AM.”

John 8:58 Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.

-TurretinFan

UPDATE: Mr. Ciatoris thinks I’m posting a “flimsy straw man” of his position. His own words, however, were: “I suppose I’m glad that Nicene orthodoxy is perspicuous to you. Without the Church’s authoritative guidance, it’s not to me.”

And later:

I was not giving examples of proof-texting, but taking examples of possible pro-Nicene proof-texts (one of which you’d used yourself in a pretty proof-text-y way in #290, the other of which, I admit, I tacked on gratis) and showing that an Arian could answer these. The possibility that an Arian could respond coherently and plausibly demonstrates the insufficiency of proof-texting. I was by no means endorsing the practice, though I can understand why you might have taken me to mean that proof-texting was a legitimate theater for theological battle—I didn’t mean that.

Another comment of his that seems relevant is this:

I’m having trouble seeing a principled difference between you and an Arian who might say, “Look, guys, we all agree that Jesus Christ is Lord and Savior of the world through His cross and resurrection. He’s the Son of God, the perfect image of the Father, indeed he is God – just not in the same way the Father is, you know, not consubstantial. You’re all obsessing about non-essentials when you insist on this silly homoousios language. It’s not biblical – we Arians stick with biblical language – and I’m not going to let these bishops try to tell me that their reading of Scripture is guided by the Holy Spirit.” What’s the difference, lojahw? Why draw the line in the fourth century? Why pick on all those poor Bible-reading Arians but give a free pass to the Bible-reading reformers of the 16th century?

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