question for The Rooster

Hey Bro,

as usual I am reading the gospels. I came to a passage in John, that seemed very difficult to explain from your perspective, and was wondering how you reconcile it.

I am speaking of Jesus' prayer in the garden. And Jesus talks about those that will believe through the apostles testimony. There are two verses before and after that I think I can understand how you would explain it, but the one in the middle seems very difficult.

"and the glory which You gave Me, I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one" John 17:22

It would seem to me that if our oneness can be the same as God's oneness than that oneness is not the same as your understanding.

thanks,

the rev

Oh, I am sure you have an explanation, I can usually figure out what they will be, but this time I was at a loss

Hi Rev, thanks for asking...(searches in his handy dandy oneness handbook...j/k)

I don't know :-)

I need to study it more...how? yt starting with the propostion that there is one divine entity (God) who was incarnate in Christ (yet still in heaven, still everywhere). That is how I approach the text. However, this whole chapter is frankly one I haven't been challenged on before, or spent a lot of time studying, praying about, researching etc. So, let me take a look, read the who chapter, etc. and respond. Thanks for the inqiry!

Or you can call him John the Mikveh Man, since that is what he was doing anyway.

Ok Rev, let me take a stab at this. I am not representing the UPC or my church in this interpretation but rather this is my attempt to supply an interpretation that is consistent with monotheism and consistent with the revealed dual nature of the incarnation.

I will start first with the premise that Jesus at times revealed His divine nature (walking on water, raising the dead, forgiving sins) and at times revealed His common kinship with us as a real man (He slept, hungered, thirsted, did not know somethings etc.).

In any particular verse, I look to see if Jesus is peeling back the flesh and revealing the divine, or if He is walking hand and hand as our brother, a true man.

Please note, that He at times He actually reveals both natures in word or action. In John 17, I start by stating Jesus is revealing, or sharing His common humanity as man, advocate, kinsmen redeemer, Son of God. He starts by praying...a condition of man, not God. God does not need to pray. Man does. He starts by praying...

Jhn 17:1 These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee:

So, this is Jesus praying, as a man, as a brother for the Apostles. It's preceeded by specifically praying about their reception of the Holy Spirit (John 16) fulfilled in the book of Acts on the day of Pentecost and His leaving to be glorified.

When looking up the words "glory" used in the verse you have supplied, Stong's list the following:

doxa {dox'-ah}

1) opinion, judgment, view

2) opinion, estimate, whether good or bad concerning someone

a) in the NT always a good opinion concerning one, resulting
in praise, honour, and glory

3) splendour, brightness

a) of the moon, sun, stars

b) magnificence, excellence, preeminence, dignity, grace

c) majesty

1) a thing belonging to God

a) the kingly majesty which belongs to him as supreme ruler, majesty in the sense of the absolute perfection of the deity

2) a thing belonging to Christ

a) the kingly majesty of the Messiah

b) the absolutely perfect inward or personal excellency of Christ; the majesty

3) of the angels

a) as apparent in their exterior brightness

4) a most glorious condition, most exalted state

a) of that condition with God the Father in heaven to which Christ was raised after he had achieved his work on earth

b) the glorious condition of blessedness into which is appointed and promised that true Christians shall enter after their Saviour's return from heaven

AV - glory 145, glorious 10, honour 6, praise 4, dignity 2, worship 1; 168

Jhn 17:22 And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:

I think that no matter your persuasion (trinitarian, oneness, arian, mormon, tritheist etc.) there is some interpretation given to the text as reading it literally can be taken in different ways. I think the man Christ Jesus was praying and revealing prophetically that: 1) the glory is God's Spirit which Jesus has given them by word (followed up in Acts in "deed")and is also pointing prophetically towards the final glorification they would have in the next life (see point B of strongs definition) which will unify the body of belivers both by Spirit and by body as Jesus was unified and One with God both by body and Spirit. First stab...what say ye?

Well Mask, we all do that.

Rooster, I didn't really understand how you reconciled it however. Our unity with each other, will be a unity of the Spirit of God, yet we remain seperate individuals. Therefore united by the Spirit, we still stay uniquely ourselves. If this unity, is the same unity that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit share, and it is unity enough to be called by God "oneness" why wouldn't the claims of the trinitarians, atleast be possible, if not probable?

the rev

mask: Sounds like your starting with your beliefs, then interpreting and bending the meaning of words to fit those beliefs.

me: not so Mask. I'm starting with the completely biblical belief that God is One Intellectual, Rationale, Divine, Supernatural Entity.

God
1) A being conceived as the perfect, omnipotent, omniscient originator and ruler of the universe, the principal object of faith and worship in monotheistic religions.
2) The force, effect, or a manifestation or aspect of this being.
3) A being of supernatural powers or attributes, believed in and worshiped by a people, especially a male deity thought to control some part of nature or reality.
4)An image of a supernatural being; an idol.
5)One that is worshiped, idealized, or followed: Money was their god.

NOTE that the definition of God is by definition singular (...a being, the force, one...etc.).

Further, I build upon the foundation of One God with the nature of the incarnation. The Incarnation was revealed as fully God and fully man. So, I interpret the verse, the chapter (and the preceeding and post) under that inspired starting point.

rev: Rooster, I didn't really understand how you reconciled it however. Our unity with each other, will be a unity of the Spirit of God, yet we remain seperate individuals. Therefore united by the Spirit, we still stay uniquely ourselves. If this unity, is the same unity that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit share, and it is unity enough to be called by God "oneness" why wouldn't the claims of the trinitarians, atleast be possible, if not probable?

me: hmmm...well, that verse or any verse in isolation can certainly bolster the claim that you have made. I wouldn't make my case for Oneness or for Trinity (or against) solely on this particular verse (and I know you are not).

Jhn 17:22 And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:

I would again say that the glory that the Son has, that believers have and that the Father has is the same Spirit...correct? That is God (Father) and Son (God in flesh) share the glory of the divine Spirit. With the advent of Pentecost, believers can now share in that same Spirit. There is a Oneness of Spirit. What makes us different from Jesus is that the bible declares that He had the Spirit "without measure".

Your explanation above mentions the Father, Son and Spirit and asks if they can be unified and One in Spirit yet distinct like individuals (believers) and retain their uniqueness. How then are "they" different. I see no distinction between God as Father (creator, originator, first cause) and the Holy Spirit. Both are Holy, both are Spirits, both are invisible, everywhere, know all things. The distinction is one of activity, not of distinction of unique divine minds. The distinction between the Father and the Son is more pronounced as the Father is God as Spirit, the Son as God begotten as a frail (human) man. However, this distinction has become erased by virtue of the glorification of Christ. He is no longer held to the self imposed limits of flesh. The Oneness of God is complete.

Make sense? Let's further discuss.

By the way Rev, thanks for being interested in what I've been pounding on this forum. My prayer (if I am right)is that someone cares enough to discuss and research.

Yes but we are also glorified when we die, and our resurection will be the same as Jesus, since we have the same glory, the same spirit, and the same resurection are we then God? According to your logic it would seem that way.

I would also suggest that I start with Jesus revealed through scripture and interpret the old testement accordingly. It seems to me you do the opposite, do you agree or disagree?

the rev

rev: Yes but we are also glorified when we die, and our resurection will be the same as Jesus, since we have the same glory, the same spirit, and the same resurection are we then God? According to your logic it would seem that way.

me: nope...there is one piece of the equation you left out. The scriptures clearly reveal Jesus to be God. Not just equal to God, but God. The scriptures reveal Jesus to be fully God prior to the incarnation, God at conception, God during His earthly life and God after His death. He always was God, is God and will be God. He was also fully man when He was begotten and His flesh is glorified flesh.

Man, the believer, is a partaker and will also be transformed but we will never be God. We will be "like Him" and collectively, we will be HIs bride. In that sense there will be a oneness as a bride and groom (spiritually speaking).

rev: I would also suggest that I start with Jesus revealed through scripture and interpret the old testement accordingly. It seems to me you do the opposite, do you agree or disagree?

me:hmmmm, interesting question. I see Jesus revealed in the Old Testament (from the garden all the way through the Law and Prophets, the Ark, the Temple, in types and figures), so I'm not sure that one preceeds the other. Maybe you start with Jesus as you interpret the godhead? I start with the premise of One God as revealed from the beginning, and Jesus being that One God (writing in a hurry this a.m.)

I start with Jesus revealed in the gospels, and see Him in the Old testement because of this.

You still haven't made me understand how we can be one with each other in the same way the Father and the Son are one if they aren't seperate in some way.

the rev

Btw, I think the line I start with Jesus as I perceive the Godhead is very incorrect. If you start with Jesus in the gospels, having never looked at the old testement, you would obviously pick up a distinction between Father and Son. That doesn't mean we can't re examine things when more truth is added, but to act like I have a trinitarian perspective to start with, and go from there, isn't true.

Ofcourse you do that :)

the rev

rev: I start with Jesus revealed in the gospels, and see Him in the Old testement because of this.

me: agreed. But He is also revealed in the OT. In other words, before there was the gospels, the Apostles were preaching Jesus Christ from the OT (see Peter in Acts 2, Stephen, Paul etc.)

rev: You still haven't made me understand how we can be one with each other in the same way the Father and the Son are one if they aren't seperate in some way.

me: I have never proposed that they are not separate in some way. What I have stated is that the divine essence or nature we refer to as "God" is divided. In other words, the Spirit in Christ is the Spirit of God....all of God. Every attribute, characteristic, title, etc. God is not self confined to 3 titles (father, son or spirit) but those are one of an eternality of titles that describe His attributes. In Christ resides all the fullness of the godhead. It is all in Him.

So where the separatness? The distinction lies in how God revealed Himself...or God in activity. When God created all things, He was revealed as "Father". When He came in flesh, He was revealed as "Son". That is a huge distinction. As Father, God is the great potentate. As Son, He is both God and man. That means, we will see all the infirmities, weakenesses, subordinations, and limitations of the flesh juxtaposed with the great Divine. does that help?

The separateness, the distinction lies in flesh vs. Spirit, not Spirit vs. Spirit vs. Spirit (or person, vs. person, vs. person).

rev: Btw, I think the line I start with Jesus as I perceive the Godhead is very incorrect. If you start with Jesus in the gospels, having never looked at the old testement, you would obviously pick up a distinction between Father and Son. That doesn't mean we can't re examine things when more truth is added, but to act like I have a trinitarian perspective to start with, and go from there, isn't true.
Ofcourse you do that :)

me: well, I think you underestimate the impact of Greecian philsophy on orthodox theology...imho.

The Jews viewed God as one, indivisible being. They viewed Messiah as a man annointed with God. The great revelation of the NT Jews was that Jesus was God (unqualified with all the theological baggage of 1000 years of christian "explaining"), period.

I think the goal is to read the gospels through the eyes of Jews and those first century post apostolic believers who cringed at the idea of a trinity. Tertullian expresses the incredulity of the Roman believers (a generation after Paul has came, preached and died) at his introduction of "persons" as it was viewed as polytheism. One would have to believe that Paul preached the trinity, there was a great falling away (in one generation) and that Tertullian was reintroducing the truth. Now, you'd have to believe that someone would remember what Paul had preached and it's parallel to Tertullian's explanation. However, Tertullian (who rejects modalism) in a moment of honesty writes that believers reject his explanation of the godhead for being polytheistic (I can link if you'd like).

In fact, he quotes that neither Greek or Jewish believers in Rome accept his proposition. Frankly, he was probably a bit more modalistic then current theologians. His word for person in Latin was interpreted as "mask" and in some ways, you might argue that God (like an actor) "put on" a "mask" (or revealed Himself through a unique manifestation) in revealing His logos (known in the Greek as the script of a grand play).

I agree that the distinction between the Father and Son is not like the distinction between you and I. However, I see a bodily ascencion of Jesus in scripture, so I cannot imagine that the Father is still clothed in flesh. I think we are not far off in understanding, probably a bit off in our conception of the incarnation, and the rest is language.

But, I am right and you are wrong, of that I am confident :)

the rev

rev:
I agree that the distinction between the Father and Son is not like the distinction between you and I.

me: whew! I have argued with many a person who truly view them as 2 beings.

rev: However, I see a bodily ascencion of Jesus in scripture, so I cannot imagine that the Father is still clothed in flesh.

me: Glorified flesh. He is still clothed in glorified flesh. Yet that flesh (and no temple) can contain His Spirit. So while it's in Christ, He's still everywhere...picture a cup on the bottom of the ocean floor. The cup is the body, the water, the Spirit.

However, the self imposed limitations of the flesh are gone (need for sleep, death, hunger etc.) That is why He now has "all power" where before He didn't.

rev: I think we are not far off in understanding, probably a bit off in our conception of the incarnation, and the rest is language.

me: language is a female dog!

rev: But, I am right and you are wrong, of that I am confident :)

me: boy, a dollar for everyone who ever said that! :-)

I wish I could go along with everyone. I'm really someone who likes to get along and blend into the crowd. I just can't. I honestly can't buy it (3 persons). But I love talking about this!

Although I've been more of a lurker as of late I'd like to add my 1 and 1/2 cents worth of comments to this discussion. 


The verse in question John 17:22 "that they may be one, just as We are one."  is IMHO a reference to a unity of mind/purpose brought about by a sharing of the same Spirit.  This Spirit is received via the New Birth and this Spirit also entails "eternal life" thus making the resurrection, like Jesus, our future too.  However, THIS "oneness" is a oneness of unity and not of a numerical nature or an absolute single object or person obviously. 

 

Trinitarians and Oneness alike recognize a distinction between the Father and the Son, yet Trinitarians take this distinction beyond and b/f the incarnation into the very eternal makeup of God.  Whilst Oneness folk understand this distinction to arise out of and solely through the incarnation.  So that Oneness folk view this distinction between God (Father) and Jesus (God/man=Son).  God added humanity to himself, thus creating a distinct but not separate identity (i.e. Jesus).  The use of the balloon analogy helps some (it's not perfect, every analogy breaks down at some point).  A baloon is filled with air.  The air is no different than the air outside the baloon yet it's distinct because it's encapsulated by the skin of the balloon.  We view the humanity of Christ as being a vessel which had God's Spirit inside of Him.  But it's different than a believer having God's Spirit inside of him, as we do, b/c our genetic makeup is that of a Father and Mother (both human) whilst Jesus' genetic makeup was that of a human mother and a divine Father.  So that His actual flesh and blood was the direct product and combination of God and human.  This made him an anomaly among the rest of us, yet still human so He could be our Kinsman redeemer.  

 

So... Jesus was man... Jesus was God.  A man shed his blood for us, God shed His blood for us.  

 

Is Jesus still distinct from the Father?  I don't think so, God simply added the human/God identity into His eternal Spiritual makeup.  So that's why in Heaven we'll see Jesus on the throne (John calls this throne the "throne of God and of the Lamb") and realize that He is God. 

 

So, yes there's a NT distinction/dialogue/interaction between the Father and Son.  But this distinction IMHO is not eternal but only actual through the incarnation.  

 

I probably just made this whole thing complicated.  If so, I apologize. 

 

 

God Bless,

Thats why they call me Puzzled     

 

 

 

Thanks bro!

Yeah great post, I have missed you. Hope things are well, drop me an email and let me know what you are up to pinnedagain2001@yahoo.com

the rev

Cool post puzzled! Hope all is going well!