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Who is Christ?

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  • Gregory H
    I would like to explore some things that have been on my mind lately. Regarding the origin of Christ, we have three options: 1) He began to exist when he was
    Message 1 of 9 , May 13, 2011

      I would like to explore some things that have been on my mind lately.  Regarding the origin of Christ, we have three options: 

      1) He began to exist when he was miraculously conceived in his mother's womb. 

      2) He was the first of God's creations, a spirit being -- but not God -- who became a human being at the incarnation.

      3) He has existed for all eternity, fully God, and became a human being at the incarnation.

      The first category is comprised of Unitarians, the second of certain Unitarians such as Jehovah's Witnesses, and the third of Binitarians, Oneness believers, and Trinitarians.

      One of the cornerstones of Trinitarian theology is that Jesus had to be God in order for his sacrifice to be able to atone for humanity's sins.  A "mere man," they reason, is incapable of paying the price.

      Unitarians, on the other hand, argue that God required nothing more than a genuine, flesh-and-blood human being who was blameless, and he created Christ for that purpose.

      I see positive and negatives on both sides. 

      On the Trinitarian side...

      I can understand the reasoning that only God himself could truly pay for humanity's sins, but the problem with this is that God cannot die, he is immortal.  So Trinitarians must reason that it was Jesus (God) in his humanity who died; his divine nature did not die.  The problem with this is that it would seem to render null and void the argument that "only God could pay for humanity's sins," since God can't actually die.  Furthermore, saying that Jesus died in his humanity but continued to live in his divinity comes very close to splitting Jesus into two persons, something forbidden by the Trinitarian creed.

      On the positive side, the notion that God himself descended to the human level to experience what it's like to be human, and to go so far as to die an agonizing death on our behalf, is a powerful narrative.  In this view, sin's effect was so devastating that humanity was incapable of overcoming it without outside help.  God entered into humanity to do what humans could not do for themselves.  The depth of the love of God is made manifest.    

      On the Unitarian side...

      Jesus' miraculous conception aside, he was and is a genuine human being.  What I mean is that he began his existence in the womb of his mother, just like every other human being, and did not benefit from inherent deity, from existing eternally as the second person of the Trinity, God himself.  This seems incredibly powerful to me: this Jesus I can relate to, this Jesus was "made like me in every respect" and thus his accomplishment is greater (in my view) than if he were God in the flesh.  This Jesus seems a more appropriate role model, at least a more relevant one, since the pre-existent Jesus is truly an otherworldly being, since I personally don't benefit from having a unique pre-existence with God and an inherent divine nature that would not allow me to sin.

      On the other hand, this very notion that he is a "mere man" brings difficulties.  What this view seems to say, essentially, is that sin isn't really as big a problem as mainstream Christians think it is, since one who was a genuine human being was capable of living a sinless life (with God's help, of course).  It seems that if this view is true, all God needed to do in the first place was create human beings in the same way that he created Jesus, so that everyone would be capable of living a perfect life of obedience.  Rather than having one perfect man, God could have had billions of perfect people simply by replicating the process he began with Jesus.  He could have accomplished with Adam the same thing he accomplished with Jesus later on, and we would have avoided an existence of pain and suffering and disconnection from God.  And as one Trinitarian noted sarcastically, if this view is true, then that means that God loved us so much that he sent someone else to do the dirty work.  (That's not an exact quote, but is the gist of it.)  

      It's very difficult to weigh the positives and negatives of both of these views and reach a conclusion as to which is true.  The obvious answer is that whatever the Bible teaches is the truth.  But the problem with that is that the Bible can be read many different ways, as the existence of hundreds of denominations and sects testify.  Everyone thinks they're right, and they use the Bible to "prove" it. 

      I'll be honest, I'm experiencing a crisis of faith over this.  I feel myself being pulled back in the direction of skepticism and agnosticism from whence I came, which seem to be the only legitimate options in a world where it seems impossible to know for sure what the truth is.  I guess that's part of what faith is all about, but then again, it's very difficult to have faith in the first place when the object of that faith is open to a variety of interpretations.

      Please share your thoughts with me.

       

      Greg              

    • Fiona Fitzgerald
      Hi Greg You have set out your beliefs and understandings so well. It s easy to understand your dilemma. Forgive me if I stray from the subject a bit, but
      Message 2 of 9 , May 15, 2011
        Hi Greg
        You have set out your beliefs and understandings so well. It's easy to understand your dilemma. Forgive me if I stray from the subject a bit, but here's what I think. Firstly, why did God create us at all? After all, he already had a multitude of angelic beings, so he really had no need for more, did he? And yet, it seems that's why we were created too (see Isaiah 43 vs 7and 21).The important thing about Adam and Eve, beside the fact that they were created perfect, just as Jesus was, was that they had free will- JUST LIKE JESUS DID! So Jesus was well named as the second Adam. Adam also was the son of God, albeit in a different way. If this first sin was committed by a perfect son of God (plus wife), why could the atonement of this not be by a perfect son of God, Jesus. I agree, Jesus was helped by God to lead his perfect life, but Adam, too, could have lead that perfect life if he had stayed in a loving relationship with Yahweh. So why can't Jesus atone for our sins, if Adam was able to start them?

        A further stray thought, with regard to your crisis of faith. Hebrews 11:1 says "Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. 6 Anyone who wants to come to Him must believe that God exists and that He rewards those who sincerely seek Him". I'm sure you're familiar with this scripture. So, faith is about what we can't see. There are many, many points in the Bible that we will never know (except perhaps after the resurrection) The fact that we can't prove these things is sometimes infuriating, especially for those of us who like to have everything in neat little boxes. But, hey, this is what faith is about! The Bible is all we have. Knowing the origin of Jesus is certainly of great importance to us all, but regardless of the truth, the fact is that we love and worship his father Yahweh with all we have.

        I learned a good tip once at nursing college (I'm a nurse). A visiting professor once told us "If you hear the thundering of hooves, think horses, not Zebras". In other words, read and understand things as they are written. Get the most simple and easiest understanding first. This makes a huge difference. In the WT, they were so good at confusing everything with interpretations by the "faithful and discreet slave". The real truth is, the Bible was written for ordinary people. They didn't have people with diplomas, etc, to interpret it for them, they didn't need them!

        For this reason, I believe that Jesus was conceived in the womb of his mother Mary, by God's holy spirit, that he was a perfect man (who had free choice, and could have given in to the temptations of Satan, had he so chosen). That he died for us, as his father had sent him to do, and that he now reigns at the right hand of His Father, waiting to come back when his Father sends him.

        This is very lengthy, and off the point, but I hope your faith is encouraged by it, and through prayer you will be blessed.
        In Christ
        Fiona

        --- On Fri, 5/13/11, Gregory H <johannwilhelm1932@...> wrote:

        From: Gregory H <johannwilhelm1932@...>
        Subject: [Biblical_Unitarian] Who is Christ?
        To: Biblical_Unitarian@yahoogroups.com
        Date: Friday, May 13, 2011, 7:19 PM

         

        I would like to explore some things that have been on my mind lately.  Regarding the origin of Christ, we have three options: 

        1) He began to exist when he was miraculously conceived in his mother's womb. 

        2) He was the first of God's creations, a spirit being -- but not God -- who became a human being at the incarnation.

        3) He has existed for all eternity, fully God, and became a human being at the incarnation.

        The first category is comprised of Unitarians, the second of certain Unitarians such as Jehovah's Witnesses, and the third of Binitarians, Oneness believers, and Trinitarians.

        One of the cornerstones of Trinitarian theology is that Jesus had to be God in order for his sacrifice to be able to atone for humanity's sins.  A "mere man," they reason, is incapable of paying the price.

        Unitarians, on the other hand, argue that God required nothing more than a genuine, flesh-and-blood human being who was blameless, and he created Christ for that purpose.

        I see positive and negatives on both sides. 

        On the Trinitarian side...

        I can understand the reasoning that only God himself could truly pay for humanity's sins, but the problem with this is that God cannot die, he is immortal.  So Trinitarians must reason that it was Jesus (God) in his humanity who died; his divine nature did not die.  The problem with this is that it would seem to render null and void the argument that "only God could pay for humanity's sins," since God can't actually die.  Furthermore, saying that Jesus died in his humanity but continued to live in his divinity comes very close to splitting Jesus into two persons, something forbidden by the Trinitarian creed.

        On the positive side, the notion that God himself descended to the human level to experience what it's like to be human, and to go so far as to die an agonizing death on our behalf, is a powerful narrative.  In this view, sin's effect was so devastating that humanity was incapable of overcoming it without outside help.  God entered into humanity to do what humans could not do for themselves.  The depth of the love of God is made manifest.    

        On the Unitarian side...

        Jesus' miraculous conception aside, he was and is a genuine human being.  What I mean is that he began his existence in the womb of his mother, just like every other human being, and did not benefit from inherent deity, from existing eternally as the second person of the Trinity, God himself.  This seems incredibly powerful to me: this Jesus I can relate to, this Jesus was "made like me in every respect" and thus his accomplishment is greater (in my view) than if he were God in the flesh.  This Jesus seems a more appropriate role model, at least a more relevant one, since the pre-existent Jesus is truly an otherworldly being, since I personally don't benefit from having a unique pre-existence with God and an inherent divine nature that would not allow me to sin.

        On the other hand, this very notion that he is a "mere man" brings difficulties.  What this view seems to say, essentially, is that sin isn't really as big a problem as mainstream Christians think it is, since one who was a genuine human being was capable of living a sinless life (with God's help, of course).  It seems that if this view is true, all God needed to do in the first place was create human beings in the same way that he created Jesus, so that everyone would be capable of living a perfect life of obedience.  Rather than having one perfect man, God could have had billions of perfect people simply by replicating the process he began with Jesus.  He could have accomplished with Adam the same thing he accomplished with Jesus later on, and we would have avoided an existence of pain and suffering and disconnection from God.  And as one Trinitarian noted sarcastically, if this view is true, then that means that God loved us so much that he sent someone else to do the dirty work.  (That's not an exact quote, but is the gist of it.)  

        It's very difficult to weigh the positives and negatives of both of these views and reach a conclusion as to which is true.  The obvious answer is that whatever the Bible teaches is the truth.  But the problem with that is that the Bible can be read many different ways, as the existence of hundreds of denominations and sects testify.  Everyone thinks they're right, and they use the Bible to "prove" it. 

        I'll be honest, I'm experiencing a crisis of faith over this.  I feel myself being pulled back in the direction of skepticism and agnosticism from whence I came, which seem to be the only legitimate options in a world where it seems impossible to know for sure what the truth is.  I guess that's part of what faith is all about, but then again, it's very difficult to have faith in the first place when the object of that faith is open to a variety of interpretations.

        Please share your thoughts with me.

         

        Greg              

      • ResLight
        In all that was revealed by means of God s Holy Spirit through the apostles, there is nothing at all said about God s death would be needed to suffice for sin.
        Message 3 of 9 , May 15, 2011
          In all that was revealed by means of God's Holy Spirit through the apostles, there is nothing at all said about God's death would be needed to suffice for sin. God did not sin and bring death upon mankind, thus God's death is not required to offset sin.

          What did the apostle Paul state concerning this?

          1 Corinthians 15:21 For since death came by man, the resurrection of the dead also came by man.
          1 Corinthians 15:22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive. -- World English.

          Romans 5:12 Therefore , just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned -
          Romans 5:13 for until the Law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law.
          Romans 5:14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam until Moses, even over those who had not sinned in the likeness of the offense of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come.
          Romans 5:15 But the free gift is not like the transgression. For if by the transgression of the one the many died, much more did the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abound to the many.
          Romans 5:16 The gift is not like that which came through the one who sinned ; for on the one hand the judgment arose from one transgression resulting in condemnation, but on the other hand the free gift arose from many transgressions resulting in justification.
          Romans 5:17 For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.
          Romans 5:18 So then as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men.
          Romans 5:19 For as through the one man's disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous. -- New American Standard

          1 Timothy 2:5 For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,
          1 Timothy 2:6 who gave Himself as a ransom for all, the testimony given at the proper time. -- New American Standard.

          God did not give himself as a ransom, an offsetting price, for sin, but it was the "man Christ Jesus" who gave himself.

          God, in his wisdom, condemned all of Adam's offspring in one man, so that only one righteous man would be needed to pay the price for sin. That one man was not God, but was the man Christ Jesus.

          Paul also wrote:

          For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh. -- Romans 8:3, NAS.

          Thus, if God died for our sins, what would that mean? It would mean that Christ did not condemn sin in the flesh, but rather that he justified sin in the flesh, proving that Adam would have needed to have been God in order to obey God. It is only because Jesus was indeed a human being, having the full crown of glory a little lower than the angels (Hebrews 2:9), sinless -- never having fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Hebrews 4:15; 1 Peter 2:22; 1 John 3:5) -- that Jesus' obedience condemned sin the flesh, and at the same by his sacrifice, made the way for God to remain just, while yet justifying the sinner. -- Romans 3:26.

          See the studies on Focus on the Atonement
          http://atonement.reslight.net

          God has revealed his truths by means of his holy spirit through the apostles. The unipersonal God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, by means of His holy spirit, especially led the apostles into all the truths concerning Christ and what he said, and thereby the faith was delivered to the saints in the first century. (John 14:26; 16:4-13; Galatians 1:12; Ephesians 3:5; 2 Timothy 2:2; Jude 1:3) The truths revealed to the apostles and made available to us are recorded in the Bible itself. (Ephesians 3:3-12; Colossians 1:25,26; 1 John 4:6) Of course, without the holy spirit, these things that are recorded will still be a mystery to us. — Mark 4:11; 1 Corinthians 2:7-10.

          The real truth is that the Bible was written in mysteries that can only be understood by those who have God's spirit, and then only as they subject to themselves to that spirit. It is written only to be understood by the common everyday sinner only in that the sinner may have a repentant heart and be called by God, and even then, his understanding is allowed only as God permits him to understand. Most of God's children remain "babes" in Christ all of their lives, producing very little growth either in the fruit of the spirit of of knowledge.

          See the study on "Understanding Kingdom Mysteries":
          http://studies.reslight.net/archives/14.html

          May Yahweh bless.


          --- In Biblical_Unitarian@yahoogroups.com, "Gregory H" <johannwilhelm1932@...> wrote:
          >
          >
          > I would like to explore some things that have been on my mind lately.
          > Regarding the origin of Christ, we have three options:
          >
          > 1) He began to exist when he was miraculously conceived in his mother's
          > womb.
          >
          > 2) He was the first of God's creations, a spirit being -- but not God --
          > who became a human being at the incarnation.
          >
          > 3) He has existed for all eternity, fully God, and became a human being
          > at the incarnation.
          >
          > The first category is comprised of Unitarians, the second of certain
          > Unitarians such as Jehovah's Witnesses, and the third of Binitarians,
          > Oneness believers, and Trinitarians.
          >
          > One of the cornerstones of Trinitarian theology is that Jesus had to be
          > God in order for his sacrifice to be able to atone for humanity's sins.
          > A "mere man," they reason, is incapable of paying the price.
          >
          > Unitarians, on the other hand, argue that God required nothing more than
          > a genuine, flesh-and-blood human being who was blameless, and he created
          > Christ for that purpose.
          >
          > I see positive and negatives on both sides.
          >
          > On the Trinitarian side...
          >
          > I can understand the reasoning that only God himself could truly pay for
          > humanity's sins, but the problem with this is that God cannot die, he is
          > immortal. So Trinitarians must reason that it was Jesus (God) in his
          > humanity who died; his divine nature did not die. The problem with this
          > is that it would seem to render null and void the argument that "only
          > God could pay for humanity's sins," since God can't actually die.
          > Furthermore, saying that Jesus died in his humanity but continued to
          > live in his divinity comes very close to splitting Jesus into two
          > persons, something forbidden by the Trinitarian creed.
          >
          > On the positive side, the notion that God himself descended to the human
          > level to experience what it's like to be human, and to go so far as to
          > die an agonizing death on our behalf, is a powerful narrative. In this
          > view, sin's effect was so devastating that humanity was incapable of
          > overcoming it without outside help. God entered into humanity to do
          > what humans could not do for themselves. The depth of the love of God
          > is made manifest.
          >
          > On the Unitarian side...
          >
          > Jesus' miraculous conception aside, he was and is a genuine human being.
          > What I mean is that he began his existence in the womb of his mother,
          > just like every other human being, and did not benefit from inherent
          > deity, from existing eternally as the second person of the Trinity, God
          > himself. This seems incredibly powerful to me: this Jesus I can relate
          > to, this Jesus was "made like me in every respect" and thus his
          > accomplishment is greater (in my view) than if he were God in the flesh.
          > This Jesus seems a more appropriate role model, at least a more relevant
          > one, since the pre-existent Jesus is truly an otherworldly being, since
          > I personally don't benefit from having a unique pre-existence with God
          > and an inherent divine nature that would not allow me to sin.
          >
          > On the other hand, this very notion that he is a "mere man" brings
          > difficulties. What this view seems to say, essentially, is that sin
          > isn't really as big a problem as mainstream Christians think it is,
          > since one who was a genuine human being was capable of living a sinless
          > life (with God's help, of course). It seems that if this view is true,
          > all God needed to do in the first place was create human beings in the
          > same way that he created Jesus, so that everyone would be capable of
          > living a perfect life of obedience. Rather than having one perfect man,
          > God could have had billions of perfect people simply by replicating the
          > process he began with Jesus. He could have accomplished with Adam the
          > same thing he accomplished with Jesus later on, and we would have
          > avoided an existence of pain and suffering and disconnection from God.
          > And as one Trinitarian noted sarcastically, if this view is true, then
          > that means that God loved us so much that he sent someone else to do the
          > dirty work. (That's not an exact quote, but is the gist of it.)
          >
          > It's very difficult to weigh the positives and negatives of both of
          > these views and reach a conclusion as to which is true. The obvious
          > answer is that whatever the Bible teaches is the truth. But the problem
          > with that is that the Bible can be read many different ways, as the
          > existence of hundreds of denominations and sects testify. Everyone
          > thinks they're right, and they use the Bible to "prove" it.
          >
          > I'll be honest, I'm experiencing a crisis of faith over this. I feel
          > myself being pulled back in the direction of skepticism and agnosticism
          > from whence I came, which seem to be the only legitimate options in a
          > world where it seems impossible to know for sure what the truth is. I
          > guess that's part of what faith is all about, but then again, it's very
          > difficult to have faith in the first place when the object of that faith
          > is open to a variety of interpretations.
          >
          > Please share your thoughts with me.
          >
          >
          >
          > Greg
          >
        • retrofit1965
          Hello Greg, Why not just believe what the Scriptures so plainly tell us about the Christ? THE GOD absolutely loves simple child-like faith in Him and in His
          Message 4 of 9 , May 23, 2011

            Hello Greg,

            Why not just believe what the Scriptures so plainly tell us about the Christ? THE GOD absolutely loves simple child-like faith in Him and in His Word………. Faith like the kind Abraham had.

            Here is what He has said:

            -That there is only one GOD, the Father, OUT OF Whom ALL is……….

            and,

            -That there is only one LORD, Jesus Christ, THROUGH Whom ALL is………

            Believe THE GOD that when He says ALL that exists has come OUT OF Him, He actually means ALL, as in EVERYTHING, and that includes the Lord Jesus Christ.

            Believe Him when He says that Jesus Christ was the BEGINNING, the START, the very FIRST creation THE GOD performed. That is why Jesus Christ refers to Himself as the ALPHA.

            Believe the Lord Jesus Christ when He tells us that He came forth OUT OF the Father.

            Believe THE GOD also when informs us that He created Jesus Christ in His IMAGE so that He may provide a VISIBLE representation of His INVISIBLE self to His creation.

            Believe Him when He says that after He created the Lord Jesus Christ, He brought forth the rest of creation THROUGH Him by giving the Lord Jesus Christ the Power and Authority, even His Name (YAHWEH), to do so.

            Believe Him when He reveals to us that there is not a single thing that exists, whether it is visible or invisible, that the Lord Jesus Christ did not create THROUGH the power and authority of THE GOD, the Father. It was Christ Who:

            -Created the Ages of time,

            -Created The other Sons of God,

            -Created the Angels,

            -Created the powers,

            -Created the Principalities,

            -Created the Authorities,

            -Created all other gods,

            -Created all other lords,

            -Created the heavens,

            -Created the earth,

            -Restored the disrupted earth,

            -Created the Garden of Eden

            -Created Adam,

            -Then created Eve.

            In addition, believe the Lord Jesus Christ when He tells us that He WAS in the FORM (that is image, likeness, appearance) of THE GOD the Father and that because of this, He did not consider it ROBBERY to claim equality with THE GOD the Father.

            Believe the Lord Jesus Christ also when He tells us that He EMPTIED Himself of ALL of those GLORIES He enjoyed with THE GOD His Father. That He totally divested Himself of all of the Power and Authority that THE GOD His Father had bestowed on Him, taking on flesh and becoming a human and humbled Himself by taking the FORM of a slave so that He could taste death for everyone.

            What an amazing and incredible act of love that was. The One THROUGH Whom ALL of creation came into existence, also died for it.

            But, unfortunately, the Scriptures also plainly tell us that not everyone is acquainted with the above knowledge.

            And now, you should be able to see the Parable in Matt. 21:33-40 in a new light.

            By the way, the Scriptures also reveal that a similar relationship exists between the man and the woman as exists between THE GOD, the Father and the Lord, Jesus Christ.

            Adam was not born, he was created. He was created in the IMAGE of THE GOD. It was OUT OF (or from) Adam that the Woman came forth. And then THROUGH the Woman Adam brings and is bringing forth ALL of humanity with the exception of the One Who created him and is Man's Head. Thus Eve is called the Mother of all living.

            Therefore, just as THE GOD is the Head of Christ so is the Man the Head of the Woman. And the "bridge between THE GOD and Man(kind) is Christ Who is the Head of Man(kind). Can you see why Jesus Christ is said to be the Head of Man?

            Faithfully in His Truth,

            Kevin

            ==================================================

            --- In Biblical_Unitarian@yahoogroups.com, "Gregory H" <johannwilhelm1932@...> wrote:
            >
            >
            > I would like to explore some things that have been on my mind lately.
            > Regarding the origin of Christ, we have three options:
            >
            > 1) He began to exist when he was miraculously conceived in his mother's
            > womb.
            >
            > 2) He was the first of God's creations, a spirit being -- but not God --
            > who became a human being at the incarnation.
            >
            > 3) He has existed for all eternity, fully God, and became a human being
            > at the incarnation.
            >
            > The first category is comprised of Unitarians, the second of certain
            > Unitarians such as Jehovah's Witnesses, and the third of Binitarians,
            > Oneness believers, and Trinitarians.
            >
            > One of the cornerstones of Trinitarian theology is that Jesus had to be
            > God in order for his sacrifice to be able to atone for humanity's sins.
            > A "mere man," they reason, is incapable of paying the price.
            >
            > Unitarians, on the other hand, argue that God required nothing more than
            > a genuine, flesh-and-blood human being who was blameless, and he created
            > Christ for that purpose.
            >
            > I see positive and negatives on both sides.
            >
            > On the Trinitarian side...
            >
            > I can understand the reasoning that only God himself could truly pay for
            > humanity's sins, but the problem with this is that God cannot die, he is
            > immortal. So Trinitarians must reason that it was Jesus (God) in his
            > humanity who died; his divine nature did not die. The problem with this
            > is that it would seem to render null and void the argument that "only
            > God could pay for humanity's sins," since God can't actually die.
            > Furthermore, saying that Jesus died in his humanity but continued to
            > live in his divinity comes very close to splitting Jesus into two
            > persons, something forbidden by the Trinitarian creed.
            >
            > On the positive side, the notion that God himself descended to the human
            > level to experience what it's like to be human, and to go so far as to
            > die an agonizing death on our behalf, is a powerful narrative. In this
            > view, sin's effect was so devastating that humanity was incapable of
            > overcoming it without outside help. God entered into humanity to do
            > what humans could not do for themselves. The depth of the love of God
            > is made manifest.
            >
            > On the Unitarian side...
            >
            > Jesus' miraculous conception aside, he was and is a genuine human being.
            > What I mean is that he began his existence in the womb of his mother,
            > just like every other human being, and did not benefit from inherent
            > deity, from existing eternally as the second person of the Trinity, God
            > himself. This seems incredibly powerful to me: this Jesus I can relate
            > to, this Jesus was "made like me in every respect" and thus his
            > accomplishment is greater (in my view) than if he were God in the flesh.
            > This Jesus seems a more appropriate role model, at least a more relevant
            > one, since the pre-existent Jesus is truly an otherworldly being, since
            > I personally don't benefit from having a unique pre-existence with God
            > and an inherent divine nature that would not allow me to sin.
            >
            > On the other hand, this very notion that he is a "mere man" brings
            > difficulties. What this view seems to say, essentially, is that sin
            > isn't really as big a problem as mainstream Christians think it is,
            > since one who was a genuine human being was capable of living a sinless
            > life (with God's help, of course). It seems that if this view is true,
            > all God needed to do in the first place was create human beings in the
            > same way that he created Jesus, so that everyone would be capable of
            > living a perfect life of obedience. Rather than having one perfect man,
            > God could have had billions of perfect people simply by replicating the
            > process he began with Jesus. He could have accomplished with Adam the
            > same thing he accomplished with Jesus later on, and we would have
            > avoided an existence of pain and suffering and disconnection from God.
            > And as one Trinitarian noted sarcastically, if this view is true, then
            > that means that God loved us so much that he sent someone else to do the
            > dirty work. (That's not an exact quote, but is the gist of it.)
            >
            > It's very difficult to weigh the positives and negatives of both of
            > these views and reach a conclusion as to which is true. The obvious
            > answer is that whatever the Bible teaches is the truth. But the problem
            > with that is that the Bible can be read many different ways, as the
            > existence of hundreds of denominations and sects testify. Everyone
            > thinks they're right, and they use the Bible to "prove" it.
            >
            > I'll be honest, I'm experiencing a crisis of faith over this. I feel
            > myself being pulled back in the direction of skepticism and agnosticism
            > from whence I came, which seem to be the only legitimate options in a
            > world where it seems impossible to know for sure what the truth is. I
            > guess that's part of what faith is all about, but then again, it's very
            > difficult to have faith in the first place when the object of that faith
            > is open to a variety of interpretations.
            >
            > Please share your thoughts with me.
            >
            >
            >
            > Greg
            >

          • Gregory H
            Hello Kevin, thanks for responding. You say, Why not just believe what the Scriptures so plainly tell us about the Christ? Here s the problem: every
            Message 5 of 9 , May 26, 2011
              Hello Kevin, thanks for responding. You say, "Why not just believe what the Scriptures so plainly tell us about the Christ?" Here's the problem: every individual or sect thinks it believes what the Scriptures "so plainly tell us" about the Christ. Trinitarians believe that the Bible is clearly trinitarian; unitarians believe that the Bible is clearly unitarian; those who believe Jesus pre-existed his human life think the Bible is very clear on this point; and those who believe Jesus began his existence in the womb of Mary think the Bible is very clear on this point.

              I have examined the Scriptures very extensively for a long time and with an open mind. I can honestly say that I can see the different perspectives. Obviously, they can't all be right, but at the same time those arguing the different positions can legitimately build a Biblical case for their particular points of view.

              So what's the solution to this dilemma. Some people say that the Holy Spirit will you into all truth. While I believe this, the problem is, people with contradictory beliefs all believe they are being led by the Holy Spirit. Some folks are obviously mistaken. How do you, Kevin, know that you are one of the ones being correctly led by the Holy Spirit? How do you know you are not deceived?

              Greg

              --- In Biblical_Unitarian@yahoogroups.com, "retrofit1965" <retrofit1965@...> wrote:
              >
              >
              > Hello Greg,
              >
              > Why not just believe what the Scriptures so plainly tell us about the
              > Christ? THE GOD absolutely loves simple child-like faith in Him and in
              > His Word………. Faith like the kind Abraham had.
              >
              > Here is what He has said:
              >
              > -That there is only one GOD, the Father, OUT OF Whom ALL is……….
              >
              > and,
              >
              > -That there is only one LORD, Jesus Christ, THROUGH Whom ALL is………
              >
              > Believe THE GOD that when He says ALL that exists has come OUT OF Him,
              > He actually means ALL, as in EVERYTHING, and that includes the Lord
              > Jesus Christ.
              >
              > Believe Him when He says that Jesus Christ was the BEGINNING, the START,
              > the very FIRST creation THE GOD performed. That is why Jesus Christ
              > refers to Himself as the ALPHA.
              >
              > Believe the Lord Jesus Christ when He tells us that He came forth OUT OF
              > the Father.
              >
              > Believe THE GOD also when informs us that He created Jesus Christ in His
              > IMAGE so that He may provide a VISIBLE representation of His INVISIBLE
              > self to His creation.
              >
              > Believe Him when He says that after He created the Lord Jesus Christ, He
              > brought forth the rest of creation THROUGH Him by giving the Lord Jesus
              > Christ the Power and Authority, even His Name (YAHWEH), to do so.
              >
              > Believe Him when He reveals to us that there is not a single thing that
              > exists, whether it is visible or invisible, that the Lord Jesus Christ
              > did not create THROUGH the power and authority of THE GOD, the Father.
              > It was Christ Who:
              >
              > -Created the Ages of time,
              >
              > -Created The other Sons of God,
              >
              > -Created the Angels,
              >
              > -Created the powers,
              >
              > -Created the Principalities,
              >
              > -Created the Authorities,
              >
              > -Created all other gods,
              >
              > -Created all other lords,
              >
              > -Created the heavens,
              >
              > -Created the earth,
              >
              > -Restored the disrupted earth,
              >
              > -Created the Garden of Eden
              >
              > -Created Adam,
              >
              > -Then created Eve.
              >
              > In addition, believe the Lord Jesus Christ when He tells us that He WAS
              > in the FORM (that is image, likeness, appearance) of THE GOD the Father
              > and that because of this, He did not consider it ROBBERY to claim
              > equality with THE GOD the Father.
              >
              > Believe the Lord Jesus Christ also when He tells us that He EMPTIED
              > Himself of ALL of those GLORIES He enjoyed with THE GOD His Father. That
              > He totally divested Himself of all of the Power and Authority that THE
              > GOD His Father had bestowed on Him, taking on flesh and becoming a human
              > and humbled Himself by taking the FORM of a slave so that He could taste
              > death for everyone.
              >
              > What an amazing and incredible act of love that was. The One THROUGH
              > Whom ALL of creation came into existence, also died for it.
              >
              > But, unfortunately, the Scriptures also plainly tell us that not
              > everyone is acquainted with the above knowledge.
              >
              > And now, you should be able to see the Parable in Matt. 21:33-40 in a
              > new light.
              >
              > By the way, the Scriptures also reveal that a similar relationship
              > exists between the man and the woman as exists between THE GOD, the
              > Father and the Lord, Jesus Christ.
              >
              > Adam was not born, he was created. He was created in the IMAGE of THE
              > GOD. It was OUT OF (or from) Adam that the Woman came forth. And then
              > THROUGH the Woman Adam brings and is bringing forth ALL of humanity with
              > the exception of the One Who created him and is Man's Head. Thus Eve
              > is called the Mother of all living.
              >
              > Therefore, just as THE GOD is the Head of Christ so is the Man the Head
              > of the Woman. And the "bridge between THE GOD and Man(kind) is
              > Christ Who is the Head of Man(kind). Can you see why Jesus Christ is
              > said to be the Head of Man?
              >
              > Faithfully in His Truth,
              >
              > Kevin
              >
              >
              > ==================================================
              > --- In Biblical_Unitarian@yahoogroups.com, "Gregory H"
              > <johannwilhelm1932@> wrote:
              > >
              > >
              > > I would like to explore some things that have been on my mind lately.
              > > Regarding the origin of Christ, we have three options:
              > >
              > > 1) He began to exist when he was miraculously conceived in his
              > mother's
              > > womb.
              > >
              > > 2) He was the first of God's creations, a spirit being -- but not God
              > --
              > > who became a human being at the incarnation.
              > >
              > > 3) He has existed for all eternity, fully God, and became a human
              > being
              > > at the incarnation.
              > >
              > > The first category is comprised of Unitarians, the second of certain
              > > Unitarians such as Jehovah's Witnesses, and the third of Binitarians,
              > > Oneness believers, and Trinitarians.
              > >
              > > One of the cornerstones of Trinitarian theology is that Jesus had to
              > be
              > > God in order for his sacrifice to be able to atone for humanity's
              > sins.
              > > A "mere man," they reason, is incapable of paying the price.
              > >
              > > Unitarians, on the other hand, argue that God required nothing more
              > than
              > > a genuine, flesh-and-blood human being who was blameless, and he
              > created
              > > Christ for that purpose.
              > >
              > > I see positive and negatives on both sides.
              > >
              > > On the Trinitarian side...
              > >
              > > I can understand the reasoning that only God himself could truly pay
              > for
              > > humanity's sins, but the problem with this is that God cannot die, he
              > is
              > > immortal. So Trinitarians must reason that it was Jesus (God) in his
              > > humanity who died; his divine nature did not die. The problem with
              > this
              > > is that it would seem to render null and void the argument that "only
              > > God could pay for humanity's sins," since God can't actually die.
              > > Furthermore, saying that Jesus died in his humanity but continued to
              > > live in his divinity comes very close to splitting Jesus into two
              > > persons, something forbidden by the Trinitarian creed.
              > >
              > > On the positive side, the notion that God himself descended to the
              > human
              > > level to experience what it's like to be human, and to go so far as to
              > > die an agonizing death on our behalf, is a powerful narrative. In this
              > > view, sin's effect was so devastating that humanity was incapable of
              > > overcoming it without outside help. God entered into humanity to do
              > > what humans could not do for themselves. The depth of the love of God
              > > is made manifest.
              > >
              > > On the Unitarian side...
              > >
              > > Jesus' miraculous conception aside, he was and is a genuine human
              > being.
              > > What I mean is that he began his existence in the womb of his mother,
              > > just like every other human being, and did not benefit from inherent
              > > deity, from existing eternally as the second person of the Trinity,
              > God
              > > himself. This seems incredibly powerful to me: this Jesus I can relate
              > > to, this Jesus was "made like me in every respect" and thus his
              > > accomplishment is greater (in my view) than if he were God in the
              > flesh.
              > > This Jesus seems a more appropriate role model, at least a more
              > relevant
              > > one, since the pre-existent Jesus is truly an otherworldly being,
              > since
              > > I personally don't benefit from having a unique pre-existence with God
              > > and an inherent divine nature that would not allow me to sin.
              > >
              > > On the other hand, this very notion that he is a "mere man" brings
              > > difficulties. What this view seems to say, essentially, is that sin
              > > isn't really as big a problem as mainstream Christians think it is,
              > > since one who was a genuine human being was capable of living a
              > sinless
              > > life (with God's help, of course). It seems that if this view is true,
              > > all God needed to do in the first place was create human beings in the
              > > same way that he created Jesus, so that everyone would be capable of
              > > living a perfect life of obedience. Rather than having one perfect
              > man,
              > > God could have had billions of perfect people simply by replicating
              > the
              > > process he began with Jesus. He could have accomplished with Adam the
              > > same thing he accomplished with Jesus later on, and we would have
              > > avoided an existence of pain and suffering and disconnection from God.
              > > And as one Trinitarian noted sarcastically, if this view is true, then
              > > that means that God loved us so much that he sent someone else to do
              > the
              > > dirty work. (That's not an exact quote, but is the gist of it.)
              > >
              > > It's very difficult to weigh the positives and negatives of both of
              > > these views and reach a conclusion as to which is true. The obvious
              > > answer is that whatever the Bible teaches is the truth. But the
              > problem
              > > with that is that the Bible can be read many different ways, as the
              > > existence of hundreds of denominations and sects testify. Everyone
              > > thinks they're right, and they use the Bible to "prove" it.
              > >
              > > I'll be honest, I'm experiencing a crisis of faith over this. I feel
              > > myself being pulled back in the direction of skepticism and
              > agnosticism
              > > from whence I came, which seem to be the only legitimate options in a
              > > world where it seems impossible to know for sure what the truth is. I
              > > guess that's part of what faith is all about, but then again, it's
              > very
              > > difficult to have faith in the first place when the object of that
              > faith
              > > is open to a variety of interpretations.
              > >
              > > Please share your thoughts with me.
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > > Greg
              > >
              >
            • retrofit1965
              Hi Greg, It is quite obvious from your last two posts that you have reached a critical juncture in your walk of faith. You seem to have become exasperated with
              Message 6 of 9 , May 28, 2011

                Hi Greg,

                It is quite obvious from your last two posts that you have reached a critical juncture in your walk of faith. You seem to have become exasperated with the knowledge that you have gained in your studies concerning this particular topic about who Christ Jesus is. Yes, each of those "isms" of men that you mentioned has some truth mixed in within their theology but how does one know for sure what is actual Truth and what is not?

                One does as the Bereans did. They searched the Scriptures daily to make sure that those things they were being told were so. They "sifted" the words they heard from those who had come to them through the "screen" of The Word because they knew His Word is Truth.

                But then you might wonder, how do I know that what I have "sifted" out is the Truth? You simply have FAITH (belief) that what He has revealed to you from His Word IS the Truth and not accept what the traditions of men say and think His Word "means" until they have passed that test.

                The Scriptures describe a fascinating exchange that took place between the Lord and His disciples on this very subject while they were on their way to Caesarea Philippi. As they approached their destination, Jesus asked them a question. He asked them who did men say that the Son of Man was. The replies He received varied from John the Baptist, to Elijah, Jeremiah, or even one of the other prophets.

                But that's not what Jesus was interested in. He then asked them who did THEY say that He was. It was then that Simon Peter said: "you are THE CHRIST, THE SON OF THE LIVING GOD". (Matt. 16:13-17).

                Now notice and understand what Jesus said to Simon in return: "Blessed are you Simon Bar-Jonah because this (knowledge) was not revealed to you by men but it was revealed to you by my Father Who is in heaven!"

                It is God the Father Who will give you the knowledge of Himself and His Son. Knowledge of the The Truth is a gift of God just as is His Spirit and just as is that FAITH (belief) also. But do not mingle God's Word with men's traditions.

                Pray to Him and ask Him to always lead you into the Truth and Knowledge concerning Himself and His Christ. You would not be at this crossroads if He was not stirring your spirit to long for what is The Truth.

                Ask Him for this in the name of His beloved Son, Christ Jesus. Our Father in Heaven just loves it when you pray to Him THROUGH His Christ.

                He will listen to your prayer because God the Father's greatest desire is to reveal Himself to His creatures, to be their Saviour and to be their ALL. And He knows what is in your heart.

                TRUST HIM. He will not mislead you.

                Faithfully in His Truth,

                Kevin

                =====================================================

                --- In Biblical_Unitarian@yahoogroups.com, "Gregory H" <johannwilhelm1932@...> wrote:
                >
                > Hello Kevin, thanks for responding. You say, "Why not just believe what the Scriptures so plainly tell us about the Christ?" Here's the problem: every individual or sect thinks it believes what the Scriptures "so plainly tell us" about the Christ. Trinitarians believe that the Bible is clearly trinitarian; unitarians believe that the Bible is clearly unitarian; those who believe Jesus pre-existed his human life think the Bible is very clear on this point; and those who believe Jesus began his existence in the womb of Mary think the Bible is very clear on this point.
                >
                > I have examined the Scriptures very extensively for a long time and with an open mind. I can honestly say that I can see the different perspectives. Obviously, they can't all be right, but at the same time those arguing the different positions can legitimately build a Biblical case for their particular points of view.
                >
                > So what's the solution to this dilemma. Some people say that the Holy Spirit will you into all truth. While I believe this, the problem is, people with contradictory beliefs all believe they are being led by the Holy Spirit. Some folks are obviously mistaken. How do you, Kevin, know that you are one of the ones being correctly led by the Holy Spirit? How do you know you are not deceived?
                >
                > Greg
                >
                > --- In Biblical_Unitarian@yahoogroups.com, "retrofit1965" retrofit1965@ wrote:
                > >
                > >
                > > Hello Greg,
                > >
                > > Why not just believe what the Scriptures so plainly tell us about the
                > > Christ? THE GOD absolutely loves simple child-like faith in Him and in
                > > His Word………. Faith like the kind Abraham had.
                > >
                > > Here is what He has said:
                > >
                > > -That there is only one GOD, the Father, OUT OF Whom ALL is……….
                > >
                > > and,
                > >
                > > -That there is only one LORD, Jesus Christ, THROUGH Whom ALL is………
                > >
                > > Believe THE GOD that when He says ALL that exists has come OUT OF Him,
                > > He actually means ALL, as in EVERYTHING, and that includes the Lord
                > > Jesus Christ.
                > >
                > > Believe Him when He says that Jesus Christ was the BEGINNING, the START,
                > > the very FIRST creation THE GOD performed. That is why Jesus Christ
                > > refers to Himself as the ALPHA.
                > >
                > > Believe the Lord Jesus Christ when He tells us that He came forth OUT OF
                > > the Father.
                > >
                > > Believe THE GOD also when informs us that He created Jesus Christ in His
                > > IMAGE so that He may provide a VISIBLE representation of His INVISIBLE
                > > self to His creation.
                > >
                > > Believe Him when He says that after He created the Lord Jesus Christ, He
                > > brought forth the rest of creation THROUGH Him by giving the Lord Jesus
                > > Christ the Power and Authority, even His Name (YAHWEH), to do so.
                > >
                > > Believe Him when He reveals to us that there is not a single thing that
                > > exists, whether it is visible or invisible, that the Lord Jesus Christ
                > > did not create THROUGH the power and authority of THE GOD, the Father.
                > > It was Christ Who:
                > >
                > > -Created the Ages of time,
                > >
                > > -Created The other Sons of God,
                > >
                > > -Created the Angels,
                > >
                > > -Created the powers,
                > >
                > > -Created the Principalities,
                > >
                > > -Created the Authorities,
                > >
                > > -Created all other gods,
                > >
                > > -Created all other lords,
                > >
                > > -Created the heavens,
                > >
                > > -Created the earth,
                > >
                > > -Restored the disrupted earth,
                > >
                > > -Created the Garden of Eden
                > >
                > > -Created Adam,
                > >
                > > -Then created Eve.
                > >
                > > In addition, believe the Lord Jesus Christ when He tells us that He WAS
                > > in the FORM (that is image, likeness, appearance) of THE GOD the Father
                > > and that because of this, He did not consider it ROBBERY to claim
                > > equality with THE GOD the Father.
                > >
                > > Believe the Lord Jesus Christ also when He tells us that He EMPTIED
                > > Himself of ALL of those GLORIES He enjoyed with THE GOD His Father. That
                > > He totally divested Himself of all of the Power and Authority that THE
                > > GOD His Father had bestowed on Him, taking on flesh and becoming a human
                > > and humbled Himself by taking the FORM of a slave so that He could taste
                > > death for everyone.
                > >
                > > What an amazing and incredible act of love that was. The One THROUGH
                > > Whom ALL of creation came into existence, also died for it.
                > >
                > > But, unfortunately, the Scriptures also plainly tell us that not
                > > everyone is acquainted with the above knowledge.
                > >
                > > And now, you should be able to see the Parable in Matt. 21:33-40 in a
                > > new light.
                > >
                > > By the way, the Scriptures also reveal that a similar relationship
                > > exists between the man and the woman as exists between THE GOD, the
                > > Father and the Lord, Jesus Christ.
                > >
                > > Adam was not born, he was created. He was created in the IMAGE of THE
                > > GOD. It was OUT OF (or from) Adam that the Woman came forth. And then
                > > THROUGH the Woman Adam brings and is bringing forth ALL of humanity with
                > > the exception of the One Who created him and is Man's Head. Thus Eve
                > > is called the Mother of all living.
                > >
                > > Therefore, just as THE GOD is the Head of Christ so is the Man the Head
                > > of the Woman. And the "bridge between THE GOD and Man(kind) is
                > > Christ Who is the Head of Man(kind). Can you see why Jesus Christ is
                > > said to be the Head of Man?
                > >
                > > Faithfully in His Truth,
                > >
                > > Kevin
                > >
                > >
                > > ==================================================
                > > --- In Biblical_Unitarian@yahoogroups.com, "Gregory H"
                > > <johannwilhelm1932@> wrote:
                > > >
                > > >
                > > > I would like to explore some things that have been on my mind lately.
                > > > Regarding the origin of Christ, we have three options:
                > > >
                > > > 1) He began to exist when he was miraculously conceived in his
                > > mother's
                > > > womb.
                > > >
                > > > 2) He was the first of God's creations, a spirit being -- but not God
                > > --
                > > > who became a human being at the incarnation.
                > > >
                > > > 3) He has existed for all eternity, fully God, and became a human
                > > being
                > > > at the incarnation.
                > > >
                > > > The first category is comprised of Unitarians, the second of certain
                > > > Unitarians such as Jehovah's Witnesses, and the third of Binitarians,
                > > > Oneness believers, and Trinitarians.
                > > >
                > > > One of the cornerstones of Trinitarian theology is that Jesus had to
                > > be
                > > > God in order for his sacrifice to be able to atone for humanity's
                > > sins.
                > > > A "mere man," they reason, is incapable of paying the price.
                > > >
                > > > Unitarians, on the other hand, argue that God required nothing more
                > > than
                > > > a genuine, flesh-and-blood human being who was blameless, and he
                > > created
                > > > Christ for that purpose.
                > > >
                > > > I see positive and negatives on both sides.
                > > >
                > > > On the Trinitarian side...
                > > >
                > > > I can understand the reasoning that only God himself could truly pay
                > > for
                > > > humanity's sins, but the problem with this is that God cannot die, he
                > > is
                > > > immortal. So Trinitarians must reason that it was Jesus (God) in his
                > > > humanity who died; his divine nature did not die. The problem with
                > > this
                > > > is that it would seem to render null and void the argument that "only
                > > > God could pay for humanity's sins," since God can't actually die.
                > > > Furthermore, saying that Jesus died in his humanity but continued to
                > > > live in his divinity comes very close to splitting Jesus into two
                > > > persons, something forbidden by the Trinitarian creed.
                > > >
                > > > On the positive side, the notion that God himself descended to the
                > > human
                > > > level to experience what it's like to be human, and to go so far as to
                > > > die an agonizing death on our behalf, is a powerful narrative. In this
                > > > view, sin's effect was so devastating that humanity was incapable of
                > > > overcoming it without outside help. God entered into humanity to do
                > > > what humans could not do for themselves. The depth of the love of God
                > > > is made manifest.
                > > >
                > > > On the Unitarian side...
                > > >
                > > > Jesus' miraculous conception aside, he was and is a genuine human
                > > being.
                > > > What I mean is that he began his existence in the womb of his mother,
                > > > just like every other human being, and did not benefit from inherent
                > > > deity, from existing eternally as the second person of the Trinity,
                > > God
                > > > himself. This seems incredibly powerful to me: this Jesus I can relate
                > > > to, this Jesus was "made like me in every respect" and thus his
                > > > accomplishment is greater (in my view) than if he were God in the
                > > flesh.
                > > > This Jesus seems a more appropriate role model, at least a more
                > > relevant
                > > > one, since the pre-existent Jesus is truly an otherworldly being,
                > > since
                > > > I personally don't benefit from having a unique pre-existence with God
                > > > and an inherent divine nature that would not allow me to sin.
                > > >
                > > > On the other hand, this very notion that he is a "mere man" brings
                > > > difficulties. What this view seems to say, essentially, is that sin
                > > > isn't really as big a problem as mainstream Christians think it is,
                > > > since one who was a genuine human being was capable of living a
                > > sinless
                > > > life (with God's help, of course). It seems that if this view is true,
                > > > all God needed to do in the first place was create human beings in the
                > > > same way that he created Jesus, so that everyone would be capable of
                > > > living a perfect life of obedience. Rather than having one perfect
                > > man,
                > > > God could have had billions of perfect people simply by replicating
                > > the
                > > > process he began with Jesus. He could have accomplished with Adam the
                > > > same thing he accomplished with Jesus later on, and we would have
                > > > avoided an existence of pain and suffering and disconnection from God.
                > > > And as one Trinitarian noted sarcastically, if this view is true, then
                > > > that means that God loved us so much that he sent someone else to do
                > > the
                > > > dirty work. (That's not an exact quote, but is the gist of it.)
                > > >
                > > > It's very difficult to weigh the positives and negatives of both of
                > > > these views and reach a conclusion as to which is true. The obvious
                > > > answer is that whatever the Bible teaches is the truth. But the
                > > problem
                > > > with that is that the Bible can be read many different ways, as the
                > > > existence of hundreds of denominations and sects testify. Everyone
                > > > thinks they're right, and they use the Bible to "prove" it.
                > > >
                > > > I'll be honest, I'm experiencing a crisis of faith over this. I feel
                > > > myself being pulled back in the direction of skepticism and
                > > agnosticism
                > > > from whence I came, which seem to be the only legitimate options in a
                > > > world where it seems impossible to know for sure what the truth is. I
                > > > guess that's part of what faith is all about, but then again, it's
                > > very
                > > > difficult to have faith in the first place when the object of that
                > > faith
                > > > is open to a variety of interpretations.
                > > >
                > > > Please share your thoughts with me.
                > > >
                > > >
                > > >
                > > > Greg
                > > >
                > >
                >

              • Gregory H
                Hi Fiona, Thanks for your response and I m sorry I m just now getting around to answering your post. I appreciate all your input and advice. I think you
                Message 7 of 9 , May 28, 2011
                  Hi Fiona,

                  Thanks for your response and I'm sorry I'm just now getting around to answering your post. I appreciate all your input and advice. I think you described me well when you mentioned those who like to have everything in "neat little boxes." The way my mind works, I like to have everything "worked out" in terms of my belief system. I realize that there are many things we will not or cannot know until the next life, but as much as can be known, I want to feel confident that I possess the truth. I feel like the question of Jesus' pre-existence and his status as man, angel, or God is an extremely important question, because it touches on so many other important issues such as the atonement and what kind of relationship we are supposed to have with him. I read passages that seem to indicate that he came into existence in the womb of Mary, and then I read others that seem to indicate that he pre-existed his human life. The fact that there are so many different denominations out there is proof that the text can be interpreted in several different ways. Think about all the different beliefs there are, and how adherents to each of them are convinced that they, and they alone, have the truth. But obviously they can't all be right.

                  I will continue to study God's word and pray for guidance. It's just that that's what all Christians do, and they have reached different conclusions. If the Holy Spirit is truly leading all Christians, as Christians claim, it/he is leading them in different directions.

                  Greg


                  --- In Biblical_Unitarian@yahoogroups.com, Fiona Fitzgerald <fiona1956@...> wrote:
                  >
                  > Hi Greg
                  > You have set out your beliefs and understandings so well. It's easy to understand your dilemma. Forgive me if I stray from the subject a bit, but here's what I think. Firstly, why did God create us at all? After all, he already had a multitude of angelic beings, so he really had no need for more, did he? And yet, it seems that's why we were created too (see Isaiah 43 vs 7and 21).The important thing about Adam and Eve, beside the fact that they were created perfect, just as Jesus was, was that they had free will- JUST LIKE JESUS DID! So Jesus was well named as the second Adam. Adam also was the son of God, albeit in a different way. If this first sin was committed by a perfect son of God (plus wife), why could the atonement of this not be by a perfect son of God, Jesus. I agree, Jesus was helped by God to lead his perfect life, but Adam, too, could have lead that perfect life if he had stayed in a loving relationship with Yahweh. So why can't Jesus atone
                  > for our sins, if Adam was able to start them?
                  >
                  > A further stray thought, with regard to your crisis of faith. Hebrews 11:1 says "Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. 6 Anyone who wants to come to Him must believe that God exists and that He rewards those who sincerely seek Him". I'm sure you're familiar with this scripture. So, faith is about what we can't see. There are many, many points in the Bible that we will never know (except perhaps after the resurrection) The fact that we can't prove these things is sometimes infuriating, especially for those of us who like to have everything in neat little boxes. But, hey, this is what faith is about! The Bible is all we have. Knowing the origin of Jesus is certainly of great importance to us all, but regardless of the truth, the fact is that we love and worship his father Yahweh with all we have.
                  >
                  > I learned a good tip once at nursing college (I'm a nurse). A visiting professor once told us "If you hear the thundering of hooves, think horses, not Zebras". In other words, read and understand things as they are written. Get the most simple and easiest understanding first. This makes a huge difference. In the WT, they were so good at confusing everything with interpretations by the "faithful and discreet slave". The real truth is, the Bible was written for ordinary people. They didn't have people with diplomas, etc, to interpret it for them, they didn't need them!
                  >
                  > For this reason, I believe that Jesus was conceived in the womb of his mother Mary, by God's holy spirit, that he was a perfect man (who had free choice, and could have given in to the temptations of Satan, had he so chosen). That he died for us, as his father had sent him to do, and that he now reigns at the right hand of His Father, waiting to come back when his Father sends him.
                  >
                  > This is very lengthy, and off the point, but I hope your faith is encouraged by it, and through prayer you will be blessed.
                  > In Christ
                  > Fiona
                  >
                  > --- On Fri, 5/13/11, Gregory H <johannwilhelm1932@...> wrote:
                  >
                  > From: Gregory H <johannwilhelm1932@...>
                  > Subject: [Biblical_Unitarian] Who is Christ?
                  > To: Biblical_Unitarian@yahoogroups.com
                  > Date: Friday, May 13, 2011, 7:19 PM
                  >
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                  >  
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                  >
                  > I would like to explore some things that have been on my mind lately.  Regarding the origin of Christ, we have three options: 
                  > 1) He began to exist when he was miraculously conceived in his mother's womb. 
                  > 2) He was the first of God's creations, a spirit being -- but not God -- who became a human being at the incarnation.
                  > 3) He has existed for all eternity, fully God, and became a human being at the incarnation.
                  > The first category is comprised of Unitarians, the second of certain Unitarians such as Jehovah's Witnesses, and the third of Binitarians, Oneness believers, and Trinitarians.
                  > One of the cornerstones of Trinitarian theology is that Jesus had to be God in order for his sacrifice to be able to atone for humanity's sins.  A "mere man," they reason, is incapable of paying the price.
                  > Unitarians, on the other hand, argue that God required nothing more than a genuine, flesh-and-blood human being who was blameless, and he created Christ for that purpose.
                  > I see positive and negatives on both sides. 
                  > On the Trinitarian side...
                  > I can understand the reasoning that only God himself could truly pay for humanity's sins, but the problem with this is that God cannot die, he is immortal.  So Trinitarians must reason that it was Jesus (God) in his humanity who died; his divine nature did not die.  The problem with this is that it would seem to render null and void the argument that "only God could pay for humanity's sins," since God can't actually die.  Furthermore, saying that Jesus died in his humanity but continued to live in his divinity comes very close to splitting Jesus into two persons, something forbidden by the Trinitarian creed.
                  > On the positive side, the notion that God himself descended to the human level to experience what it's like to be human, and to go so far as to die an agonizing death on our behalf, is a powerful narrative.  In this view, sin's effect was so devastating that humanity was incapable of overcoming it without outside help.  God entered into humanity to do what humans could not do for themselves.  The depth of the love of God is made manifest.    
                  > On the Unitarian side...
                  > Jesus' miraculous conception aside, he was and is a genuine human being.  What I mean is that he began his existence in the womb of his mother, just like every other human being, and did not benefit from inherent deity, from existing eternally as the second person of the Trinity, God himself.  This seems incredibly powerful to me: this Jesus I can relate to, this Jesus was "made like me in every respect" and thus his accomplishment is greater (in my view) than if he were God in the flesh.  This Jesus seems a more appropriate role model, at least a more relevant one, since the pre-existent Jesus is truly an otherworldly being, since I personally don't benefit from having a unique pre-existence with God and an inherent divine nature that would not allow me to sin.
                  > On the other hand, this very notion that he is a "mere man" brings difficulties.  What this view seems to say, essentially, is that sin isn't really as big a problem as mainstream Christians think it is, since one who was a genuine human being was capable of living a sinless life (with God's help, of course).  It seems that if this view is true, all God needed to do in the first place was create human beings in the same way that he created Jesus, so that everyone would be capable of living a perfect life of obedience.  Rather than having one perfect man, God could have had billions of perfect people simply by replicating the process he began with Jesus.  He could have accomplished with Adam the same thing he accomplished with Jesus later on, and we would have avoided an existence of pain and suffering and disconnection from God.  And as one Trinitarian noted sarcastically, if this view is true, then that means that God loved us so much that he sent
                  > someone else to do the dirty work.  (That's not an exact quote, but is the gist of it.)  
                  > It's very difficult to weigh the positives and negatives of both of these views and reach a conclusion as to which is true.  The obvious answer is that whatever the Bible teaches is the truth.  But the problem with that is that the Bible can be read many different ways, as the existence of hundreds of denominations and sects testify.  Everyone thinks they're right, and they use the Bible to "prove" it. 
                  > I'll be honest, I'm experiencing a crisis of faith over this.  I feel myself being pulled back in the direction of skepticism and agnosticism from whence I came, which seem to be the only legitimate options in a world where it seems impossible to know for sure what the truth is.  I guess that's part of what faith is all about, but then again, it's very difficult to have faith in the first place when the object of that faith is open to a variety of interpretations.
                  > Please share your thoughts with me.
                  >  
                  > Greg              
                  >
                • Gregory H
                  Hi Kevin, You wrote: Pray to Him and ask Him to always lead you into the Truth and Knowledge concerning Himself and His Christ. You would not be at this
                  Message 8 of 9 , May 28, 2011
                    Hi Kevin,

                    You wrote: "Pray to Him and ask Him to always lead you into the Truth and Knowledge concerning Himself and His Christ. You would not be at this crossroads if He was not stirring your spirit to long for what is The Truth."

                    I appreciate the way you articulated that. God knows that I indeed long for the truth, whatever it is, and I will of course continue to study and pray. But it's just so hard to accept as true what I think God is revealing to me because each and every Christian goes through the same process and yet there are so many fundamental disagreements. We could play a numbers game, and suggest that the majority is right. In that case, Jesus is fully God, the second person of the Trinity. But that doesn't seem like the right way to go about it. But the exercise of individual reason leads to different results, so that doesn't seem like the proper solution either.

                    In any case, thanks for the response.

                    Greg



                    --- In Biblical_Unitarian@yahoogroups.com, "retrofit1965" <retrofit1965@...> wrote:
                    >
                    >
                    > Hi Greg,
                    >
                    > It is quite obvious from your last two posts that you have reached a
                    > critical juncture in your walk of faith. You seem to have become
                    > exasperated with the knowledge that you have gained in your studies
                    > concerning this particular topic about who Christ Jesus is. Yes, each of
                    > those "isms" of men that you mentioned has some truth mixed in
                    > within their theology but how does one know for sure what is actual
                    > Truth and what is not?
                    >
                    > One does as the Bereans did. They searched the Scriptures daily to make
                    > sure that those things they were being told were so. They
                    > "sifted" the words they heard from those who had come to them
                    > through the "screen" of The Word because they knew His Word is
                    > Truth.
                    >
                    > But then you might wonder, how do I know that what I have
                    > "sifted" out is the Truth? You simply have FAITH (belief) that
                    > what He has revealed to you from His Word IS the Truth and not accept
                    > what the traditions of men say and think His Word "means" until
                    > they have passed that test.
                    >
                    > The Scriptures describe a fascinating exchange that took place between
                    > the Lord and His disciples on this very subject while they were on their
                    > way to Caesarea Philippi. As they approached their destination, Jesus
                    > asked them a question. He asked them who did men say that the Son of Man
                    > was. The replies He received varied from John the Baptist, to Elijah,
                    > Jeremiah, or even one of the other prophets.
                    >
                    > But that's not what Jesus was interested in. He then asked them who
                    > did THEY say that He was. It was then that Simon Peter said: "you
                    > are THE CHRIST, THE SON OF THE LIVING GOD". (Matt. 16:13-17).
                    >
                    > Now notice and understand what Jesus said to Simon in return:
                    > "Blessed are you Simon Bar-Jonah because this (knowledge) was not
                    > revealed to you by men but it was revealed to you by my Father Who is in
                    > heaven!"
                    >
                    > It is God the Father Who will give you the knowledge of Himself and His
                    > Son. Knowledge of the The Truth is a gift of God just as is His Spirit
                    > and just as is that FAITH (belief) also. But do not mingle God's
                    > Word with men's traditions.
                    >
                    > Pray to Him and ask Him to always lead you into the Truth and Knowledge
                    > concerning Himself and His Christ. You would not be at this crossroads
                    > if He was not stirring your spirit to long for what is The Truth.
                    >
                    > Ask Him for this in the name of His beloved Son, Christ Jesus. Our
                    > Father in Heaven just loves it when you pray to Him THROUGH His Christ.
                    >
                    > He will listen to your prayer because God the Father's greatest
                    > desire is to reveal Himself to His creatures, to be their Saviour and to
                    > be their ALL. And He knows what is in your heart.
                    >
                    > TRUST HIM. He will not mislead you.
                    >
                    > Faithfully in His Truth,
                    >
                    > Kevin
                    >
                    >
                    > =====================================================
                    > --- In Biblical_Unitarian@yahoogroups.com, "Gregory H"
                    > <johannwilhelm1932@> wrote:
                    > >
                    > > Hello Kevin, thanks for responding. You say, "Why not just believe
                    > what the Scriptures so plainly tell us about the Christ?" Here's the
                    > problem: every individual or sect thinks it believes what the Scriptures
                    > "so plainly tell us" about the Christ. Trinitarians believe that the
                    > Bible is clearly trinitarian; unitarians believe that the Bible is
                    > clearly unitarian; those who believe Jesus pre-existed his human life
                    > think the Bible is very clear on this point; and those who believe Jesus
                    > began his existence in the womb of Mary think the Bible is very clear on
                    > this point.
                    > >
                    > > I have examined the Scriptures very extensively for a long time and
                    > with an open mind. I can honestly say that I can see the different
                    > perspectives. Obviously, they can't all be right, but at the same time
                    > those arguing the different positions can legitimately build a Biblical
                    > case for their particular points of view.
                    > >
                    > > So what's the solution to this dilemma. Some people say that the Holy
                    > Spirit will you into all truth. While I believe this, the problem is,
                    > people with contradictory beliefs all believe they are being led by the
                    > Holy Spirit. Some folks are obviously mistaken. How do you, Kevin, know
                    > that you are one of the ones being correctly led by the Holy Spirit? How
                    > do you know you are not deceived?
                    > >
                    > > Greg
                    > >
                    > > --- In Biblical_Unitarian@yahoogroups.com, "retrofit1965"
                    > retrofit1965@ wrote:
                    > > >
                    > > >
                    > > > Hello Greg,
                    > > >
                    > > > Why not just believe what the Scriptures so plainly tell us about
                    > the
                    > > > Christ? THE GOD absolutely loves simple child-like faith in Him and
                    > in
                    > > > His Word………. Faith like the kind Abraham had.
                    > > >
                    > > > Here is what He has said:
                    > > >
                    > > > -That there is only one GOD, the Father, OUT OF Whom ALL
                    > is……….
                    > > >
                    > > > and,
                    > > >
                    > > > -That there is only one LORD, Jesus Christ, THROUGH Whom ALL
                    > is………
                    > > >
                    > > > Believe THE GOD that when He says ALL that exists has come OUT OF
                    > Him,
                    > > > He actually means ALL, as in EVERYTHING, and that includes the Lord
                    > > > Jesus Christ.
                    > > >
                    > > > Believe Him when He says that Jesus Christ was the BEGINNING, the
                    > START,
                    > > > the very FIRST creation THE GOD performed. That is why Jesus Christ
                    > > > refers to Himself as the ALPHA.
                    > > >
                    > > > Believe the Lord Jesus Christ when He tells us that He came forth
                    > OUT OF
                    > > > the Father.
                    > > >
                    > > > Believe THE GOD also when informs us that He created Jesus Christ in
                    > His
                    > > > IMAGE so that He may provide a VISIBLE representation of His
                    > INVISIBLE
                    > > > self to His creation.
                    > > >
                    > > > Believe Him when He says that after He created the Lord Jesus
                    > Christ, He
                    > > > brought forth the rest of creation THROUGH Him by giving the Lord
                    > Jesus
                    > > > Christ the Power and Authority, even His Name (YAHWEH), to do so.
                    > > >
                    > > > Believe Him when He reveals to us that there is not a single thing
                    > that
                    > > > exists, whether it is visible or invisible, that the Lord Jesus
                    > Christ
                    > > > did not create THROUGH the power and authority of THE GOD, the
                    > Father.
                    > > > It was Christ Who:
                    > > >
                    > > > -Created the Ages of time,
                    > > >
                    > > > -Created The other Sons of God,
                    > > >
                    > > > -Created the Angels,
                    > > >
                    > > > -Created the powers,
                    > > >
                    > > > -Created the Principalities,
                    > > >
                    > > > -Created the Authorities,
                    > > >
                    > > > -Created all other gods,
                    > > >
                    > > > -Created all other lords,
                    > > >
                    > > > -Created the heavens,
                    > > >
                    > > > -Created the earth,
                    > > >
                    > > > -Restored the disrupted earth,
                    > > >
                    > > > -Created the Garden of Eden
                    > > >
                    > > > -Created Adam,
                    > > >
                    > > > -Then created Eve.
                    > > >
                    > > > In addition, believe the Lord Jesus Christ when He tells us that He
                    > WAS
                    > > > in the FORM (that is image, likeness, appearance) of THE GOD the
                    > Father
                    > > > and that because of this, He did not consider it ROBBERY to claim
                    > > > equality with THE GOD the Father.
                    > > >
                    > > > Believe the Lord Jesus Christ also when He tells us that He EMPTIED
                    > > > Himself of ALL of those GLORIES He enjoyed with THE GOD His Father.
                    > That
                    > > > He totally divested Himself of all of the Power and Authority that
                    > THE
                    > > > GOD His Father had bestowed on Him, taking on flesh and becoming a
                    > human
                    > > > and humbled Himself by taking the FORM of a slave so that He could
                    > taste
                    > > > death for everyone.
                    > > >
                    > > > What an amazing and incredible act of love that was. The One THROUGH
                    > > > Whom ALL of creation came into existence, also died for it.
                    > > >
                    > > > But, unfortunately, the Scriptures also plainly tell us that not
                    > > > everyone is acquainted with the above knowledge.
                    > > >
                    > > > And now, you should be able to see the Parable in Matt. 21:33-40 in
                    > a
                    > > > new light.
                    > > >
                    > > > By the way, the Scriptures also reveal that a similar relationship
                    > > > exists between the man and the woman as exists between THE GOD, the
                    > > > Father and the Lord, Jesus Christ.
                    > > >
                    > > > Adam was not born, he was created. He was created in the IMAGE of
                    > THE
                    > > > GOD. It was OUT OF (or from) Adam that the Woman came forth. And
                    > then
                    > > > THROUGH the Woman Adam brings and is bringing forth ALL of humanity
                    > with
                    > > > the exception of the One Who created him and is Man's Head. Thus Eve
                    > > > is called the Mother of all living.
                    > > >
                    > > > Therefore, just as THE GOD is the Head of Christ so is the Man the
                    > Head
                    > > > of the Woman. And the "bridge between THE GOD and Man(kind) is
                    > > > Christ Who is the Head of Man(kind). Can you see why Jesus Christ is
                    > > > said to be the Head of Man?
                    > > >
                    > > > Faithfully in His Truth,
                    > > >
                    > > > Kevin
                    > > >
                    > > >
                    > > > ==================================================
                    > > > --- In Biblical_Unitarian@yahoogroups.com, "Gregory H"
                    > > > <johannwilhelm1932@> wrote:
                    > > > >
                    > > > >
                    > > > > I would like to explore some things that have been on my mind
                    > lately.
                    > > > > Regarding the origin of Christ, we have three options:
                    > > > >
                    > > > > 1) He began to exist when he was miraculously conceived in his
                    > > > mother's
                    > > > > womb.
                    > > > >
                    > > > > 2) He was the first of God's creations, a spirit being -- but not
                    > God
                    > > > --
                    > > > > who became a human being at the incarnation.
                    > > > >
                    > > > > 3) He has existed for all eternity, fully God, and became a human
                    > > > being
                    > > > > at the incarnation.
                    > > > >
                    > > > > The first category is comprised of Unitarians, the second of
                    > certain
                    > > > > Unitarians such as Jehovah's Witnesses, and the third of
                    > Binitarians,
                    > > > > Oneness believers, and Trinitarians.
                    > > > >
                    > > > > One of the cornerstones of Trinitarian theology is that Jesus had
                    > to
                    > > > be
                    > > > > God in order for his sacrifice to be able to atone for humanity's
                    > > > sins.
                    > > > > A "mere man," they reason, is incapable of paying the price.
                    > > > >
                    > > > > Unitarians, on the other hand, argue that God required nothing
                    > more
                    > > > than
                    > > > > a genuine, flesh-and-blood human being who was blameless, and he
                    > > > created
                    > > > > Christ for that purpose.
                    > > > >
                    > > > > I see positive and negatives on both sides.
                    > > > >
                    > > > > On the Trinitarian side...
                    > > > >
                    > > > > I can understand the reasoning that only God himself could truly
                    > pay
                    > > > for
                    > > > > humanity's sins, but the problem with this is that God cannot die,
                    > he
                    > > > is
                    > > > > immortal. So Trinitarians must reason that it was Jesus (God) in
                    > his
                    > > > > humanity who died; his divine nature did not die. The problem with
                    > > > this
                    > > > > is that it would seem to render null and void the argument that
                    > "only
                    > > > > God could pay for humanity's sins," since God can't actually die.
                    > > > > Furthermore, saying that Jesus died in his humanity but continued
                    > to
                    > > > > live in his divinity comes very close to splitting Jesus into two
                    > > > > persons, something forbidden by the Trinitarian creed.
                    > > > >
                    > > > > On the positive side, the notion that God himself descended to the
                    > > > human
                    > > > > level to experience what it's like to be human, and to go so far
                    > as to
                    > > > > die an agonizing death on our behalf, is a powerful narrative. In
                    > this
                    > > > > view, sin's effect was so devastating that humanity was incapable
                    > of
                    > > > > overcoming it without outside help. God entered into humanity to
                    > do
                    > > > > what humans could not do for themselves. The depth of the love of
                    > God
                    > > > > is made manifest.
                    > > > >
                    > > > > On the Unitarian side...
                    > > > >
                    > > > > Jesus' miraculous conception aside, he was and is a genuine human
                    > > > being.
                    > > > > What I mean is that he began his existence in the womb of his
                    > mother,
                    > > > > just like every other human being, and did not benefit from
                    > inherent
                    > > > > deity, from existing eternally as the second person of the
                    > Trinity,
                    > > > God
                    > > > > himself. This seems incredibly powerful to me: this Jesus I can
                    > relate
                    > > > > to, this Jesus was "made like me in every respect" and thus his
                    > > > > accomplishment is greater (in my view) than if he were God in the
                    > > > flesh.
                    > > > > This Jesus seems a more appropriate role model, at least a more
                    > > > relevant
                    > > > > one, since the pre-existent Jesus is truly an otherworldly being,
                    > > > since
                    > > > > I personally don't benefit from having a unique pre-existence with
                    > God
                    > > > > and an inherent divine nature that would not allow me to sin.
                    > > > >
                    > > > > On the other hand, this very notion that he is a "mere man" brings
                    > > > > difficulties. What this view seems to say, essentially, is that
                    > sin
                    > > > > isn't really as big a problem as mainstream Christians think it
                    > is,
                    > > > > since one who was a genuine human being was capable of living a
                    > > > sinless
                    > > > > life (with God's help, of course). It seems that if this view is
                    > true,
                    > > > > all God needed to do in the first place was create human beings in
                    > the
                    > > > > same way that he created Jesus, so that everyone would be capable
                    > of
                    > > > > living a perfect life of obedience. Rather than having one perfect
                    > > > man,
                    > > > > God could have had billions of perfect people simply by
                    > replicating
                    > > > the
                    > > > > process he began with Jesus. He could have accomplished with Adam
                    > the
                    > > > > same thing he accomplished with Jesus later on, and we would have
                    > > > > avoided an existence of pain and suffering and disconnection from
                    > God.
                    > > > > And as one Trinitarian noted sarcastically, if this view is true,
                    > then
                    > > > > that means that God loved us so much that he sent someone else to
                    > do
                    > > > the
                    > > > > dirty work. (That's not an exact quote, but is the gist of it.)
                    > > > >
                    > > > > It's very difficult to weigh the positives and negatives of both
                    > of
                    > > > > these views and reach a conclusion as to which is true. The
                    > obvious
                    > > > > answer is that whatever the Bible teaches is the truth. But the
                    > > > problem
                    > > > > with that is that the Bible can be read many different ways, as
                    > the
                    > > > > existence of hundreds of denominations and sects testify. Everyone
                    > > > > thinks they're right, and they use the Bible to "prove" it.
                    > > > >
                    > > > > I'll be honest, I'm experiencing a crisis of faith over this. I
                    > feel
                    > > > > myself being pulled back in the direction of skepticism and
                    > > > agnosticism
                    > > > > from whence I came, which seem to be the only legitimate options
                    > in a
                    > > > > world where it seems impossible to know for sure what the truth
                    > is. I
                    > > > > guess that's part of what faith is all about, but then again, it's
                    > > > very
                    > > > > difficult to have faith in the first place when the object of that
                    > > > faith
                    > > > > is open to a variety of interpretations.
                    > > > >
                    > > > > Please share your thoughts with me.
                    > > > >
                    > > > >
                    > > > >
                    > > > > Greg
                    > > > >
                    > > >
                    > >
                    >
                  • Kevin Donaldson
                    Hi Jerick Smith,   Thanks for your e-mail. You request that I provide you with a verse of Scripture for my suggestion to Greg that he: “Ask Him for this in
                    Message 9 of 9 , Aug 5, 2011

                      Hi Jerick Smith,

                       

                      Thanks for your e-mail. You request that I provide you with a verse of Scripture for my suggestion to Greg that he: “Ask Him for this in the name of His beloved Son, Christ Jesus. Our Father in Heaven just loves it when you pray to Him THROUGH His Christ.”

                       

                      Why does that suggestion seem to trouble you? Do you not know and understand the Scriptures? What a silly request for a Christian to make. You are a Christian, aren’t you?

                       

                      By the way, you are missing the point I am making to Greg concerning the word THROUGH. You need to read the exchanges that have taken place between him and I concerning this subject. Perhaps it will aid you in asking questions in a more enlightened way.

                       

                      Incidentally, read the following verses of Scripture concerning the Father and His Christ.

                      John 16:26-27

                      John 14:21

                      John 5:20

                      John 3:35

                      John 14:13

                      Regarding your other questions and comments, you may want to read my last two posts to Greg.

                       

                      Faithfully in His Truth,

                      Kevin

                       
                      =====================================
                      --- On Mon, 8/1/11, jericksmith@... <jericksmith@...> wrote:

                      From: jericksmith@... <jericksmith@...>
                      Subject: [Biblical_Unitarian] Re: Who is Christ?
                      To: Biblical_Unitarian@yahoogroups.com
                      Date: Monday, August 1, 2011, 4:05 AM

                       
                      >>Ask Him for this in the name of His beloved Son, Christ Jesus. Our Father in Heaven just loves it when you pray to Him THROUGH His Christ.<<

                      Could you please give a verse for this? And what about all those that prayed to God before Jesus' birth? For centuries. Did they pray through Jesus? If not did God loved it too when they prayed?

                      Acomtha

                      --- In Biblical_Unitarian@yahoogroups.com, "retrofit1965" <retrofit1965@...> wrote:
                      >
                      >
                      > Hi Greg,
                      >
                      > It is quite obvious from your last two posts that you have reached a
                      > critical juncture in your walk of faith. You seem to have become
                      > exasperated with the knowledge that you have gained in your studies
                      > concerning this particular topic about who Christ Jesus is. Yes, each of
                      > those "isms" of men that you mentioned has some truth mixed in
                      > within their theology but how does one know for sure what is actual
                      > Truth and what is not?
                      >
                      > One does as the Bereans did. They searched the Scriptures daily to make
                      > sure that those things they were being told were so. They
                      > "sifted" the words they heard from those who had come to them
                      > through the "screen" of The Word because they knew His Word is
                      > Truth.
                      >
                      > But then you might wonder, how do I know that what I have
                      > "sifted" out is the Truth? You simply have FAITH (belief) that
                      > what He has revealed to you from His Word IS the Truth and not accept
                      > what the traditions of men say and think His Word "means" until
                      > they have passed that test.
                      >
                      > The Scriptures describe a fascinating exchange that took place between
                      > the Lord and His disciples on this very subject while they were on their
                      > way to Caesarea Philippi. As they approached their destination, Jesus
                      > asked them a question. He asked them who did men say that the Son of Man
                      > was. The replies He received varied from John the Baptist, to Elijah,
                      > Jeremiah, or even one of the other prophets.
                      >
                      > But that's not what Jesus was interested in. He then asked them who
                      > did THEY say that He was. It was then that Simon Peter said: "you
                      > are THE CHRIST, THE SON OF THE LIVING GOD". (Matt. 16:13-17).
                      >
                      > Now notice and understand what Jesus said to Simon in return:
                      > "Blessed are you Simon Bar-Jonah because this (knowledge) was not
                      > revealed to you by men but it was revealed to you by my Father Who is in
                      > heaven!"
                      >
                      > It is God the Father Who will give you the knowledge of Himself and His
                      > Son. Knowledge of the The Truth is a gift of God just as is His Spirit
                      > and just as is that FAITH (belief) also. But do not mingle God's
                      > Word with men's traditions.
                      >
                      > Pray to Him and ask Him to always lead you into the Truth and Knowledge
                      > concerning Himself and His Christ. You would not be at this crossroads
                      > if He was not stirring your spirit to long for what is The Truth.
                      >
                      > Ask Him for this in the name of His beloved Son, Christ Jesus. Our
                      > Father in Heaven just loves it when you pray to Him THROUGH His Christ.
                      >
                      > He will listen to your prayer because God the Father's greatest
                      > desire is to reveal Himself to His creatures, to be their Saviour and to
                      > be their ALL. And He knows what is in your heart.
                      >
                      > TRUST HIM. He will not mislead you.
                      >
                      > Faithfully in His Truth,
                      >
                      > Kevin
                      >
                      >
                      > =====================================================
                      > --- In Biblical_Unitarian@yahoogroups.com, "Gregory H"
                      > <johannwilhelm1932@> wrote:
                      > >
                      > > Hello Kevin, thanks for responding. You say, "Why not just believe
                      > what the Scriptures so plainly tell us about the Christ?" Here's the
                      > problem: every individual or sect thinks it believes what the Scriptures
                      > "so plainly tell us" about the Christ. Trinitarians believe that the
                      > Bible is clearly trinitarian; unitarians believe that the Bible is
                      > clearly unitarian; those who believe Jesus pre-existed his human life
                      > think the Bible is very clear on this point; and those who believe Jesus
                      > began his existence in the womb of Mary think the Bible is very clear on
                      > this point.
                      > >
                      > > I have examined the Scriptures very extensively for a long time and
                      > with an open mind. I can honestly say that I can see the different
                      > perspectives. Obviously, they can't all be right, but at the same time
                      > those arguing the different positions can legitimately build a Biblical
                      > case for their particular points of view.
                      > >
                      > > So what's the solution to this dilemma. Some people say that the Holy
                      > Spirit will you into all truth. While I believe this, the problem is,
                      > people with contradictory beliefs all believe they are being led by the
                      > Holy Spirit. Some folks are obviously mistaken. How do you, Kevin, know
                      > that you are one of the ones being correctly led by the Holy Spirit? How
                      > do you know you are not deceived?
                      > >
                      > > Greg
                      > >
                      > > --- In Biblical_Unitarian@yahoogroups.com, "retrofit1965"
                      > retrofit1965@ wrote:
                      > > >
                      > > >
                      > > > Hello Greg,
                      > > >
                      > > > Why not just believe what the Scriptures so plainly tell us about
                      > the
                      > > > Christ? THE GOD absolutely loves simple child-like faith in Him and
                      > in
                      > > > His Word………. Faith like the kind Abraham had.
                      > > >
                      > > > Here is what He has said:
                      > > >
                      > > > -That there is only one GOD, the Father, OUT OF Whom ALL
                      > is……….
                      > > >
                      > > > and,
                      > > >
                      > > > -That there is only one LORD, Jesus Christ, THROUGH Whom ALL
                      > is………
                      > > >
                      > > > Believe THE GOD that when He says ALL that exists has come OUT OF
                      > Him,
                      > > > He actually means ALL, as in EVERYTHING, and that includes the Lord
                      > > > Jesus Christ.
                      > > >
                      > > > Believe Him when He says that Jesus Christ was the BEGINNING, the
                      > START,
                      > > > the very FIRST creation THE GOD performed. That is why Jesus Christ
                      > > > refers to Himself as the ALPHA.
                      > > >
                      > > > Believe the Lord Jesus Christ when He tells us that He came forth
                      > OUT OF
                      > > > the Father.
                      > > >
                      > > > Believe THE GOD also when informs us that He created Jesus Christ in
                      > His
                      > > > IMAGE so that He may provide a VISIBLE representation of His
                      > INVISIBLE
                      > > > self to His creation.
                      > > >
                      > > > Believe Him when He says that after He created the Lord Jesus
                      > Christ, He
                      > > > brought forth the rest of creation THROUGH Him by giving the Lord
                      > Jesus
                      > > > Christ the Power and Authority, even His Name (YAHWEH), to do so.
                      > > >
                      > > > Believe Him when He reveals to us that there is not a single thing
                      > that
                      > > > exists, whether it is visible or invisible, that the Lord Jesus
                      > Christ
                      > > > did not create THROUGH the power and authority of THE GOD, the
                      > Father.
                      > > > It was Christ Who:
                      > > >
                      > > > -Created the Ages of time,
                      > > >
                      > > > -Created The other Sons of God,
                      > > >
                      > > > -Created the Angels,
                      > > >
                      > > > -Created the powers,
                      > > >
                      > > > -Created the Principalities,
                      > > >
                      > > > -Created the Authorities,
                      > > >
                      > > > -Created all other gods,
                      > > >
                      > > > -Created all other lords,
                      > > >
                      > > > -Created the heavens,
                      > > >
                      > > > -Created the earth,
                      > > >
                      > > > -Restored the disrupted earth,
                      > > >
                      > > > -Created the Garden of Eden
                      > > >
                      > > > -Created Adam,
                      > > >
                      > > > -Then created Eve.
                      > > >
                      > > > In addition, believe the Lord Jesus Christ when He tells us that He
                      > WAS
                      > > > in the FORM (that is image, likeness, appearance) of THE GOD the
                      > Father
                      > > > and that because of this, He did not consider it ROBBERY to claim
                      > > > equality with THE GOD the Father.
                      > > >
                      > > > Believe the Lord Jesus Christ also when He tells us that He EMPTIED
                      > > > Himself of ALL of those GLORIES He enjoyed with THE GOD His Father.
                      > That
                      > > > He totally divested Himself of all of the Power and Authority that
                      > THE
                      > > > GOD His Father had bestowed on Him, taking on flesh and becoming a
                      > human
                      > > > and humbled Himself by taking the FORM of a slave so that He could
                      > taste
                      > > > death for everyone.
                      > > >
                      > > > What an amazing and incredible act of love that was. The One THROUGH
                      > > > Whom ALL of creation came into existence, also died for it.
                      > > >
                      > > > But, unfortunately, the Scriptures also plainly tell us that not
                      > > > everyone is acquainted with the above knowledge.
                      > > >
                      > > > And now, you should be able to see the Parable in Matt. 21:33-40 in
                      > a
                      > > > new light.
                      > > >
                      > > > By the way, the Scriptures also reveal that a similar relationship
                      > > > exists between the man and the woman as exists between THE GOD, the
                      > > > Father and the Lord, Jesus Christ.
                      > > >
                      > > > Adam was not born, he was created. He was created in the IMAGE of
                      > THE
                      > > > GOD. It was OUT OF (or from) Adam that the Woman came forth. And
                      > then
                      > > > THROUGH the Woman Adam brings and is bringing forth ALL of humanity
                      > with
                      > > > the exception of the One Who created him and is Man's Head. Thus Eve
                      > > > is called the Mother of all living.
                      > > >
                      > > > Therefore, just as THE GOD is the Head of Christ so is the Man the
                      > Head
                      > > > of the Woman. And the "bridge between THE GOD and Man(kind) is
                      > > > Christ Who is the Head of Man(kind). Can you see why Jesus Christ is
                      > > > said to be the Head of Man?
                      > > >
                      > > > Faithfully in His Truth,
                      > > >
                      > > > Kevin
                      > > >
                      > > >
                      > > > ==================================================
                      > > > --- In Biblical_Unitarian@yahoogroups.com, "Gregory H"
                      > > > <johannwilhelm1932@> wrote:
                      > > > >
                      > > > >
                      > > > > I would like to explore some things that have been on my mind
                      > lately.
                      > > > > Regarding the origin of Christ, we have three options:
                      > > > >
                      > > > > 1) He began to exist when he was miraculously conceived in his
                      > > > mother's
                      > > > > womb.
                      > > > >
                      > > > > 2) He was the first of God's creations, a spirit being -- but not
                      > God
                      > > > --
                      > > > > who became a human being at the incarnation.
                      > > > >
                      > > > > 3) He has existed for all eternity, fully God, and became a human
                      > > > being
                      > > > > at the incarnation.
                      > > > >
                      > > > > The first category is comprised of Unitarians, the second of
                      > certain
                      > > > > Unitarians such as Jehovah's Witnesses, and the third of
                      > Binitarians,
                      > > > > Oneness believers, and Trinitarians.
                      > > > >
                      > > > > One of the cornerstones of Trinitarian theology is that Jesus had
                      > to
                      > > > be
                      > > > > God in order for his sacrifice to be able to atone for humanity's
                      > > > sins.
                      > > > > A "mere man," they reason, is incapable of paying the price.
                      > > > >
                      > > > > Unitarians, on the other hand, argue that God required nothing
                      > more
                      > > > than
                      > > > > a genuine, flesh-and-blood human being who was blameless, and he
                      > > > created
                      > > > > Christ for that purpose.
                      > > > >
                      > > > > I see positive and negatives on both sides.
                      > > > >
                      > > > > On the Trinitarian side...
                      > > > >
                      > > > > I can understand the reasoning that only God himself could truly
                      > pay
                      > > > for
                      > > > > humanity's sins, but the problem with this is that God cannot die,
                      > he
                      > > > is
                      > > > > immortal. So Trinitarians must reason that it was Jesus (God) in
                      > his
                      > > > > humanity who died; his divine nature did not die. The problem with
                      > > > this
                      > > > > is that it would seem to render null and void the argument that
                      > "only
                      > > > > God could pay for humanity's sins," since God can't actually die.
                      > > > > Furthermore, saying that Jesus died in his humanity but continued
                      > to
                      > > > > live in his divinity comes very close to splitting Jesus into two
                      > > > > persons, something forbidden by the Trinitarian creed.
                      > > > >
                      > > > > On the positive side, the notion that God himself descended to the
                      > > > human
                      > > > > level to experience what it's like to be human, and to go so far
                      > as to
                      > > > > die an agonizing death on our behalf, is a powerful narrative. In
                      > this
                      > > > > view, sin's effect was so devastating that humanity was incapable
                      > of
                      > > > > overcoming it without outside help. God entered into humanity to
                      > do
                      > > > > what humans could not do for themselves. The depth of the love of
                      > God
                      > > > > is made manifest.
                      > > > >
                      > > > > On the Unitarian side...
                      > > > >
                      > > > > Jesus' miraculous conception aside, he was and is a genuine human
                      > > > being.
                      > > > > What I mean is that he began his existence in the womb of his
                      > mother,
                      > > > > just like every other human being, and did not benefit from
                      > inherent
                      > > > > deity, from existing eternally as the second person of the
                      > Trinity,
                      > > > God
                      > > > > himself. This seems incredibly powerful to me: this Jesus I can
                      > relate
                      > > > > to, this Jesus was "made like me in every respect" and thus his
                      > > > > accomplishment is greater (in my view) than if he were God in the
                      > > > flesh.
                      > > > > This Jesus seems a more appropriate role model, at least a more
                      > > > relevant
                      > > > > one, since the pre-existent Jesus is truly an otherworldly being,
                      > > > since
                      > > > > I personally don't benefit from having a unique pre-existence with
                      > God
                      > > > > and an inherent divine nature that would not allow me to sin.
                      > > > >
                      > > > > On the other hand, this very notion that he is a "mere man" brings
                      > > > > difficulties. What this view seems to say, essentially, is that
                      > sin
                      > > > > isn't really as big a problem as mainstream Christians think it
                      > is,
                      > > > > since one who was a genuine human being was capable of living a
                      > > > sinless
                      > > > > life (with God's help, of course). It seems that if this view is
                      > true,
                      > > > > all God needed to do in the first place was create human beings in
                      > the
                      > > > > same way that he created Jesus, so that everyone would be capable
                      > of
                      > > > > living a perfect life of obedience. Rather than having one perfect
                      > > > man,
                      > > > > God could have had billions of perfect people simply by
                      > replicating
                      > > > the
                      > > > > process he began with Jesus. He could have accomplished with Adam
                      > the
                      > > > > same thing he accomplished with Jesus later on, and we would have
                      > > > > avoided an existence of pain and suffering and disconnection from
                      > God.
                      > > > > And as one Trinitarian noted sarcastically, if this view is true,
                      > then
                      > > > > that means that God loved us so much that he sent someone else to
                      > do
                      > > > the
                      > > > > dirty work. (That's not an exact quote, but is the gist of it.)
                      > > > >
                      > > > > It's very difficult to weigh the positives and negatives of both
                      > of
                      > > > > these views and reach a conclusion as to which is true. The
                      > obvious
                      > > > > answer is that whatever the Bible teaches is the truth. But the
                      > > > problem
                      > > > > with that is that the Bible can be read many different ways, as
                      > the
                      > > > > existence of hundreds of denominations and sects testify. Everyone
                      > > > > thinks they're right, and they use the Bible to "prove" it.
                      > > > >
                      > > > > I'll be honest, I'm experiencing a crisis of faith over this. I
                      > feel
                      > > > > myself being pulled back in the direction of skepticism and
                      > > > agnosticism
                      > > > > from whence I came, which seem to be the only legitimate options
                      > in a
                      > > > > world where it seems impossible to know for sure what the truth
                      > is. I
                      > > > > guess that's part of what faith is all about, but then again, it's
                      > > > very
                      > > > > difficult to have faith in the first place when the object of that
                      > > > faith
                      > > > > is open to a variety of interpretations.
                      > > > >
                      > > > > Please share your thoughts with me.
                      > > > >
                      > > > >
                      > > > >
                      > > > > Greg
                      > > > >
                      > > >
                      > >
                      >

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