Did God Die on the Cross? Part II by guest blogger Joe Lamay
|November 27, 2007||Posted by Rick Hogaboam under Theology|
A response was issued Pastor Joe LaMay, as pasted below. Joe responds in blue italics below that. For more information on part 1 of the dialog, check this link: http://endued.wordpress.com/2007/11/27/did-god-die-on-the-cross-by-guest-blogger-joe-lamay/
Dear Joe, Thanks for your answer and the time you took to write it.
You answer below appears to have been truncated but here’s my feedback on what I read below.
When a theological concept gets anything less than crystal clear, I prefer to go straight back to the infallible bible, bypassing ultimately fallible theologians who appear to have lined two or more sides of a given argument over the last 2000 years.
There are “reasoned” truths about the bible. And there are “stated” truths in the bible. Reasoned truths are those that theologians have pieced together or boiled down over time from various bible verses. An example of reasoned truth is the position that the divine essence of Christ could not have died on the cross since doing so would have messed up the eternal oneness of the holy trinity, which in itself is a reasoned truth.
While I have nothing against reasoned truths, the question arises, “What should we do when reasoned truths run up against ‘stated’ truth in the bible?” Let’s start with the following ten passages:
“This is now the third time Jesus showed Himself to His disciples after He was raised from the dead.” (John 21:14)
“let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole.” (Acts 4:10)
“Then Paul, as his custom was, went in to them, and for three Sabbaths reasoned with them from the Scriptures, explaining and demonstrating that the Christ had to suffer and rise again from the dead, and saying, ‘This Jesus whom I preach to you is the Christ.” (Acts 17:2-3)
“It shall be imputed to us who believe in Him who raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead, who was delivered up because of our offenses, and was raised because of our justification.” (Romans 4:24-25)
“But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.” (Romans 8:11)
“Paul, an apostle (not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father who raised Him from the dead)” (Galatians 1:1)
“Remember that Jesus Christ, of the seed of David, was raised from the dead according to my gospel,” (2 Timothy 2:8)
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,” (1 Peter 1:3)“For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 4:14)
“and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth. To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood (Revelation 1:5)
In all 10 passages above, the entity identified as having been “died” or “dead” or raised from the dead is Jesus. There’s nothing in the text to suggest that the dead and resurrected entity is confined to Jesus only in his human essence.
Now consider these four passages in turn:
Now as they came down from the mountain, Jesus commanded them, saying, ‘Tell the vision to no one until the Son of Man is risen from the dead.’ (Matthew 17:9)
‘Son of Man’ is how Daniel refers to Jesus in His deity in Daniel chapter 7, and Son of Man is Whom Jesus says will rise from the dead.
“For Moses writes about the righteousness which is of the law, ‘The man who does those things shall live by them.’ But the righteousness of faith speaks in this way, ‘Do not say in your heart, Who will ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down from above) or, Who will descend into the abyss? (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead).” (Romans 10:5-7)
In this passage, the entity who will ascend into heaven is the one who is brought up from the dead. If we say that Christ in both his divine and human essences ascended into heaven, this passage does not allow only his human nature being brought up from the dead.“For they themselves declare concerning us what manner of entry we had to you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.” (1 Thessalonians 1:9-10)
Again, the one raised from the dead is identified as the Son from heaven. Since Jesus is in heaven in both his human and divine essences, the one raised from the dead is the same.“Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.” (Hebrews 13:20-21)
This passage identifies the one who was brought up from the dead as the one to Whom be glory forever and ever. Since forever and ever connotes no beginning or end, the one who receives this glory cannot be just the human essence, which did have a defined beginning.To get back to the original question of what do we do when a reasoned truth runs up against a stated truth, in my opinion, the former has to submit to the latter because the former embodies human reasoning, which is ultimately fallible. The Word of God is infallible. Therefore when it says something that my brain has a problem piecing in with the rest of the bible jigsaw puzzle, I accept it on faith that the stated truth does belong in the puzzle.
I just love these kinds of stuff. If only we had more time, or be granted a way to graze while plowing through His Word…
You or I or Luther or MacArthur or Paul Washer are trying our best to be faithful to the revealed word of God. I could teach a parrot to quote a scripture, but that doesn’t mean that the parrot understands the meaning of the text. Whether you recognize it or not you are playing the theologian as much as anybody in the history of the church. It is a cop-out to play the “I just quote the bible” card, because it is not true. I know that that is not true because you (Peter) are saying “Joe, I don’t think your interpretation is being faithful to the meaning of the text of scripture. How do I (Peter) know? I know because I draw a different conclusion from yours.” That is, you (as a theologian…who is theologizing by definition) have come to the point of saying that the scriptures mean “this” and “not that.” This is what we all do…Rightly or wrongly. This is why discussions like this among believers is healthy.
Iron sharpens iron.
So I whole heartedly agree with your statement about going to the infallible bible.
In fact I thought that was exactly what I was doing in my sermon on Sunday and my email response…rightly or wrongly. And like every Christian who ever lived (I hope this is true of us all) I have understood the bible to mean something which later I came to realize was wrong. It wasn’t because I didn’t believe in the bible as the only infallible statement of belief and practice, but I had misconstrued it’s meaning. By the way, I’m certain that I’m wrong, at the present, on certain aspects of what I understand the bible to be teaching…….I just don’t know what they are at the moment.
Every text that you stated in your recent email I fully agree with and they make perfect sense to me. And your assumption seems to be that my position doesn’t jive with those texts. This reaffirms to me that you have not “come to terms” with me yet.
Every comment you make on the above texts shows me that your disagreement is not with me nor with my position. You must be understanding me to be saying something that I’m not meaning. As with a monotheistic Jew or Muslim who says I’m not a monotheist but a tritheist, “What Do I Do?”
What a joy it is for brothers in the Lord to love Jesus so much that we can have such discussions.
God bless, Joe
© 2007, Rick Hogaboam. All rights reserved.