>A Reply to Mr. Adam Pastor: A Vindication of the Deity of our Lord Jesus Christ

Under an old post on my blog, one Adam Pastor commented attacking the Christian doctrine of the Trinity, specifically in regard to the Deity of Jesus. I encourage you to read it here first if you want the full background to this reply, and here on CRM where the issue came up again prompting the late reply. Adam Pastor’s response contains 3 main points.

1) Jesus is god as in elohim (a given title like judge), not Yahweh (a matter of essence) so
the Father is the one God, the Son is the one Lord (merely judge)
2) Echad = one (?)
3) Propitiation can be accomplished by a mere man

First, I might point out that Mr. Pastor has conceded that Jesus is identified as God by Thomas (John 20:28), but has insisted that, in short, “God doesn’t always mean God,” in that, Jesus is not God in the sense that the Father is God (ultimately identified by Mr. Pastor in the Hebrew name Yahweh). The premise of this is stating that the Scriptures identify Jesus as “elohim,” but that is a title given to Judges and Moses as God’s “ultimate Judge and Representative.” Such an interpretation is given to John 10:34-35, where Jesus uses the plural of God (θεοι). I agree that Jesus is bestowed with titles of Judge and being Representitive. In fact, Jesus is also identified as an “apostle…of our confession.” (Heb 3:1) Jesus is indeed the Representative, Judge and Apostle of God.

But is this all that Jesus is?.

Mr. Pastor submits yes saying:

“There is ONE GOD, the Father.
The man Christ Jesus our Lord is in Heaven at the ONE GOD’s right hand.
The Lord Jesus is the ONE GOD’s right hand man so to speak!
ONE GOD and ONE man!

It’s that simple. It is not a difficult teaching at all.”

Or more simply in the earlier reply:

“ONE GOD, the Father; &
ONE Man, the man Messiah Jesus our Lord!!

I submit no, this is not all that Jesus is on three grounds beyond the explicit identification of Jesus as God:

A) Jesus is identified as God in the same way the Father is
B) Jesus possess Divine Attributes
C) Jesus is to be Worshipped as God

A) Jesus is identified as God in the same way the Father is.

Mr. Pastor has questioned the use of Theos applied to Jesus as being used in a different sense than when applied to the Father. Though I do not accept that as valid, the Scriptures are so clear as to the deity of Jesus that we can establish such a diety even beyond the explicit identification of Jesus as God in passages such as John 20:28, Titus 2:13, etc. I must point out, however, one wonders how exactly Mr. Pastor would expect the authors of Scripture to express Jesus as God in the same way as the Father explicitly if they do not do so even by the identification of Christ as both Lord and God in John 20:28.

Mr. Pastor, however, has set up a dichotomy between Lord and God, God as an singular existential state and Lord (or even God) as a title like Moses stated above, I.e. judge and magistrate. According to him, God is the Father, and the Lord is Jesus. Does the Scripture do this? It seems to in 1 Cor 8:6 in using the appellation of God for the Father and Lord for Jesus:

“there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist.”

But this begs a further question: What does it mean that Jesus is called Lord (Κύριος)?

Mr. Pastor has claimed that Jesus is only god in the sense of elohim. Yet, the additional title given to Jesus of Κύριος (Lord) is bestowed on the Hebrew names of Elohim, Adonai and Yahweh indiscriminately. One can see this in Psalms 16:2, where the text reads: “Yahweh, you are my adonai.” The Greek Septuagint (LXX) translates both of these as Lord (Κύριος): “Lord, you are my Lord.” Not only does the LXX do so, but the New Testament does as well, such as when Matthew 22:44 quotes Psalm 110:1. The Hebrew read: “Yahweh said to my adonai” and is translated into Greek in Matthew 22:44 as “The Lord (Κύριος) said to my Lord (κυριω, genitive of Κύριος).” Both uses contain the singular article.

Therefore, Mr Pastor’s statement of there being only “ONE GOD,[and] ONE Lord” as one God=Father, and one Lord=Son, is false then under his own method of reading, because the Father (identified by Mr. Pastor as Yahweh) is Lord and Jesus is Lord. There would then be two identified as Lord! This is important, because this affects one’s reading of 1 Cor 8:6 “there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ.” This is no proof text for Mr. Pastor when by Paul saying there is “one Lord Jesus Christ,” this is not to the exclusion of the Lordship of the Father (for the Father is called Lord too as displayed above). Within the same sentence, Paul cannot mean “there is one God the Father” to the exclusion of the diety of Christ. The two phrases of “one God the Father” and “one Lord Jesus Christ” are identifications, not theological statements of “Jesus only is Lord, and not the Father” or “The Father only is God and not Jesus.” One could just as easily say, there is one God the Father and one Lord Jesus Christ as there is one Lord the Father and one God Jesus Christ. The titles of God and Lord belong to both Jesus and the Father, without ceasing to be truly one God and one Lord in their shared Godhead. There is one God, and the Father is God and Jesus is God.

We see this identification not only of the Father as Lord, but of the Son with the same titles as the Father in Hebrews 1:10. There, the author says the Father speaks to the Son (Heb 1:8) words intended for Yahweh in Psalm 102. The preceding verses contains the title of Yahweh for God, then says the Father spoke to the Son the words directed to Yahweh. Jesus being called Lord in Heb 1:10 entails everything that the Father being called Lord entails, and addresses Jesus as Yahweh.

This also shows Mr. Pastor’s sarcastic statement “GOD is now in the presence of GOD for us!?! Pleassseee!” to be silly and childish, in that we may say “The Lord is in the presence of the Lord.” Such as is the reality we have seen in Matt 22:44 – “The Lord said to my Lord, Sit at my right hand.”

So we can see, the Scriptures do not share Mr. Pastor’s characterizations of the words God and Lord as exclusive to either the Father or the Son, but present them as applying to both the Father and the Son. And as said before, Thomas gives Jesus both titles unambiguously: “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:28) So should we.

B) Jesus possesses Divine attributes

Mr Pastor’s presentation of John 1:1-4 is brief, which is appropriate as it destroys his argument. When in John 1:14 we are told the “Word became flesh,” Pastor says, “Its in verse 14 that GOD’s [spoken] word became flesh resulting in Jesus Christ.” The Word is identified here, but it is not identified as spoken, he has read this in himself. The Word is identified as “God.” The “Word was God.” This time, singular as in the one God, not plural as in John 10’s exploration of elohim as applying to Moses. When God becomes flesh, when the Eternal takes on the temporal, yes, this results in Jesus in his full Person as God and as man.

Jesus is the Word of God, that is God. God became Flesh, and so is identified by John the Baptist in John 1:15. This shows us the shared divine attributes of Jesus and the Father since John the Baptist declares that Jesus pre-exists John the Baptist in John 1:15, 30, even though Jesus was born as man after John. This is the next point that leads us to acknowledge Jesus’ deity, namely that Jesus has the same divine attributes as the Father such, here eternality or such as Omnipotence and Authority (Matt 28:18), Omnipresence (Matt 28:20), and Omniscience (John 1:48, Matt 11:47). The teaching of Scripture is that Jesus was first in the morphe of God, before becoming in the morphe of man (Phil 2). Jesus was God taking on flesh, not flesh being bestowed a title.

C) Jesus is worshipped as God

The Scriptures make clear commands that no one is to be worshiped except God. (Ps 115:1, Isa 42:8, Luke 4:8) Yet, we also see that the author of Hebrews wants to attack the idea that Jesus is just a high figure like an angel. In Heb 1:5-6, the author writes that the Father says of the Son: “Let all God’s angels worship him.” This passage is very reminiscent of Psalms 97:7: “All worshipers of images are put to shame, who make their boast in worthless idols; worship him, all you gods (elohim)!” Such a passage also brings in our previous point, namely that Christ’s status of elohim is higher than the judges or Moses, for Jesus is to be worshipped. Worship is only allowed for God, yet worship is commanded of Jesus, the Son. This is because the Son is God.

2) Mr. Pastor’s reflections on “echad” (or one) do not clarify. Two Persons are refered to as one flesh in Gen 2:24. Two Persons can therefore make up one reality. Jesus makes a similar connection in John 10:30, when he says “The Father and I are one.” The question is “one what?” The what is God. Two persons in Genesis 2:24 make up one flesh. Two Persons (Jesus and the Father) make up one God, without using a different sense of echad, one.

The language for Jesus’ status as Son is that he is begotten. When mentioned in John 3:16, the word is actually a combination of one, or only and begotten (μονογενής). The distinction should then be made between sons of God in the sense of the saints, and this different category for Jesus. This is the Father begetting a Son, not merely adopting as with God and men. Tell me, what is your father? When a father begets, is it something different from himself? Do pigs beget dogs, or do humans beget bananas? No, human begets human. God begets God. God the Father begets God the Son.

3) On propitiation by man I will respond later when I have a little more time.


5 thoughts on “>A Reply to Mr. Adam Pastor: A Vindication of the Deity of our Lord Jesus Christ

  1. >And when one does more research, we find that yours is a pen name, the real Adam Pastor lived long ago & died a lonely, miserable man who was shunned by all of Christiandom due to his mistaken view that Jesus was only human and was not divine. Further, the Reformation Church (which still propogages Mr. Pastor's views) is viewed by everyone (but themselves) as a CULT.

    Posted by love4holiness | February 18, 2009, 6:43 pm
  2. >I apologize for the bad mis-types in what I just posted and for getting to this discussion later than I had intended. Looking forward to the follow-up discussion.

    Posted by Jeff Wright | September 29, 2008, 12:06 pm
  3. >Mr. Pastor,In Ps 110:1 we have the LORD God giving a decree to the psalmist’s Lord. If ledawid in the heading means indicates Davidic authorship then the Lord being addressed is David’s Lord, some other royal figure whom he is subordinate to. If ledawid means “for” or “pertaining to” David then David is the Lord here and author was maybe one of his subjects. Yahweh grants this Lord a position of privlege at his right hand. The psalmists speaks to the Lord in vv.2-3 reiterating the decree and refers to support from troops or his subjects. Verse 3 is not entirely clear. In v. 4 we have another divine decree where Yahweh elevates the status of this Lord to a king-priest after the pattern of Melchizedek. If the first part of v. 5 is addressed to God then perhaps 5-7 describe the victories of the king in battle. 5a could be anthropomorphic which would make 5-7 a description of the effects God produces on behalf of the king.Jesus understood this passage to be about David’s Lord, the Messiah, when he asked how the Messiah could be both David’s son and Lord (Matt. 22:41-45).Peter observed that David could not have been the one addressed in Ps 110 since he did not ascend into heaven to sit at God’s right hand. He believed that David wrote these words about the Messiah and said that Jesus is both Lord and Christ in Acts 2:34-36. The author of Hebrews in 1:13; 5:6-10; 6:20; 7:11-22 understands Jesus as the recipient of both decrees in Ps. 110. The New Testament assumes that Jesus is at the least the ultimate referent of “my Lord” if not the direct referent. Jesus and Peter understand David to be the speaker of the words of Ps. 110, if not the original author.Understanding the psalm as a direct prediction of Messiah’s reign is not the only option. This psalm could be an indirect prediction of the Messiah with Solomon’s coronation as the direct referent at the time. Or it could have authorized the succession from David to Solomon (David’s Lord being Solomon). But the ideal that is presented in Ps 110 never came about in Israel’s history. The historical kind foreshadowed the ultimate king. The ideal of Ps 110 is fulfilled in Jesus Christ. Jesus declares that this psalm was spoken of him and Peter and the author of Hebrews both understand Ps 110 as referring to Jesus. Even if this is indirectly messianic rather than directly messianic, David did not need to fully undestand the complete significance of what he was writing at the time. Prophets often did not understand the full significance of their prophecies or know how they would be fulfilled. The form of the word in v.1 is not the “gotcha” that you are making it out to be.

    Posted by Jeff Wright | September 29, 2008, 12:03 pm
  4. >Really? No one else responding? I’m a little disappointed as I thought this might be a big issue to Christians…Adam-Well, you paid attention to one of my several points, though my main point still stands that Scripture does not use the word Lord (Κύριος) in the manner in which you use it. A simple glance through a concordance also contradicts your portrayal of the word אדון. We can see your interest in playing with words and forcing narrow definitions while ignoring the concepts. Though the explicit identification of Jesus the Son with the words God and Lord are used in Scripture, this truth is not only communicated in those specific words that can be sophistically manipulated. I have pointed out above the broader concepts like words intended for Yahweh are directed to the Son in Heb 1:8-10, or the attributes of divinity attributed to Jesus or the worshipping of Jesus as God. I hope at some point you might step back from mere word-play to ask yourself: What if I’m wrong? What if the church got it right? What if it is proper to worship Christ as God and to call him “my Lord and my God” with Thomas? I pray you will come to worship God as he exists in his true Triune nature and as perfectly manifest in God the Son.

    Posted by Jared Nelson | September 29, 2008, 2:20 am
  5. >Jared, thanks for watching the video, thanks for your time, & thanks for your comments.In conclusion, I must simply point out that where you say …"when Matthew 22:44 quotes Psalm 110:1. The Hebrew read: “Yahweh said to my adonai”” …the Hebrew you present is blatantly incorrect.I’m surprised you even rendered like this, after watching the video.Let me explain:the Hebrew of Psalm 110:1 is in fact,”YAHWEH said to adoni””My lord” in this verse is NOT the Hebrew word, Adonai;rather it is the Hebrew “adoni”!Big difference! Why?”adoni” in all its 195 occurrences in the OT, is never used in ref. to Almighty GOD;rather, it is used to denote someone who is NOT GOD, NOT Deity!It is solely used to denote beings/lords who are NOT GOD i.e. humans and occasionally angels.(Please check a Hebrew bible; or confer with someone who reads Hebrew to verify that the word in Psalm 110.1 is in fact “adoni” NOT Adonai! )Thus, from the Hebrew language of Psalm 110.1, it can be shown that the “lord” who was ordained to be at YAHWEH’s right hand, had to be someone who is NOT GOD, NOT Deity.Thus, some English translations have dropped the capital ‘L’ when realizing the 2nd word “lord” is not Adonai e.g.NRSV: The LORD says to my lordBTW, even in the LXX including Psalm 110.1, this distinction between YAHWEH and l’adoni, to my lord (to kurio mou) is maintained!Let me close with this quote by James D.G. Dunn in regards to 1 Cor 8.6 & the title "Lord" :-Unity & Diversity in the New Testament, SCM Press Ltd, 1977, page 53:“Should we then say that Jesus was confessed as God from the earliest days in Hellenistic Christianity? That would be to claim too much. (1) The emergence of a confession of Jesus in terms of divinity was largely facilitated by the emergence of Psalm 110:1 from very early on (most clearly in Mark 12:36; Acts 2:34f.; I Cor. 15:25; Heb. 1:13). The Lord says to my lord:‘Sit at my right hand,till I make your enemies your footstool’.Its importance here lies in the double use of kyrios. The one is clearly Yahweh, but who is the other? Clearly not Yahweh, but an exalted being whom the Psalmist calls kyrios.(2) Paul calls Jesus kyrios, but he seems to have marked reservations about actually calling him ‘God.’ …Similarly he refrains from praying to Jesus. More typical of his attitude is that he prays to God through Christ(Rom. 1:8; 7:25; II Cor. 1:20; Col. 3:17). (3) ‘Jesus is Lord’ is only part of a fuller confession for Paul. For at the same time as he affirms ‘Jesus is Lord’, he also affirms ‘God is one’ (I Cor. 8:5-6; Eph. 4:5-6). Here Christianity shows itself as a developed form of Judaism, with its monotheistic confession as one of the most important parts of its Jewish inheritance; for in Judaism the most fundamental confession is ‘God is one.’ ‘There is only one God’ (Deut. 6:4). Hence also Rom. 3:30; Gal. 3:20, I Tim. 2:5 (cf. James 2:19). Within Palestine and the Jewish mission such an affirmation would have been unnecessary — Jews and Christians shared a belief in God’s oneness. But in the Gentile mission this Jewish presupposition within Christianity would have emerged into prominence, in face of the wider belief in ‘gods many.’The point for us to note is that Paul can hail Jesus as Lord not in order to identify him with God, but rather, if anything, to distinguish him from the One God (cf. particularly I Cor. 15:24-28; …).”Yours In MessiahAdam PastorThe Human Jesus

    Posted by Adam Pastor | September 28, 2008, 12:49 am

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