UNITARIAN PROPOSITION

UNITARIAN: We begin by declaring that our use of the word "unitarian" is an affirmation of our belief that there is One Absolute God who we will henceforth designate The (Absolute) God.

We begin by declaring that we use the English word "god" as it is defined in dictionaries: 1. any of various beings conceived of as supernatural. ... 3. a person much loved. We use this word "god" with the Hebrew connotations in mind for it is generally understood that El [ Elohim or ha-Elohim ] carries the idea of strength or power. So, it is in this context we use the English word "god" for the Hebrew elohim and the Greek theos.

Another word may define our general comprehension of this word "god" --- henotheism (heis [one] + theos [god]). Websters has it: "belief in one god, without denying the existence of others." We confess the words "monotheism" and "polytheism" may be misunderstood in a Western world which essentially believes in one God. We believe ourselves "monotheistic" if this is understood in the contexts of certain limitations the Bible places on the idea.

Another word may need some clarification: the English "worship." The root of "worship" in English is derived from "worth" or "worthy" and thus "honorable", and so a magistrate may be addressed as "Your Worship." In Greek one of the words rendered "worship" means to bow or prostrate oneself and kiss the feet or fringe of the garment of someone particularly worthy.

Thus both the words "god" and "worship" have degrees. In the absolute sense as they pertain to The (Absolute) God they are without limitations. When "god" or "worship" is used of lesser persons it becomes limited or qualified. We may illustrate this with several words:

  1. "lord" (master) may be absolute, unqualified, unlimited, and thus pertain to The (Absolute) God; "lord" may be used in limited or qualified contexts of Christ, angels, kings, and husbands.
  2. "king" may be applied without limitation to The (Absolute) God; and in limited or qualified contexts of Christ and human kings;
  3. "savior" is also used in these senses of degrees to The (Absolute) God, Christ, and human judges or kings;
  4. "father" may applied without limitation to The (Absolute) God as the life-giver to all; it is limited to Messiah, human fathers, religious teachers;
  5. "judge" may apply without qualification to The (Absolute) God; it may be limited to Christ, kings, the Saints.

There are other designations and phrases which have these wide-ranging applications, such as first, last, good, and others.

With these definitions in mind we submit the following proposition in three parts:

THE BIBLE IS "HENOTHEISTIC"

A) THERE IS ONE ABSOLUTE GOD WHO IS NOT LIMITED NOR DEPENDENT ON ANYTHING

1. ETERNAL BEING WITHOUT BEGINNING -- UNBEGOTTEN

2. ALMIGHTY AND ABSOLUTE IN POWER AND AUTHORITY

The (Absolute) God is greater than all. There are none who may authorize Him. There are none who may send his as a messenger.

3. INFINITE AND ABSOLUTE KNOWLEDGE

The (Absolute) God cannot be taught anything from anyone, nor may any counsel Him, or reveal to Him anything He does not already know.

4. THE ORIGIN OR SOURCE OF ALL CREATION

The source of all being and existence find’s its origin in The (Absolute) God.

In Scripture this (Absolute) God bears the designation Yahweh (Jehovah).

The (Absolute) God is Perfect Mind. This "mind" or "spirit" He may project to accomplish His Will and Purpose directly or indirectly by means of spirit or human agents. This Force of Mind is called holy spirit in the Bible and is likened to His Breath or a Wind which exerts pressure on the object of His Will. This invisible force is personified on occasion and often indistinguishable from The (Absolute) God Who is its Source. The (Absolute) God made use this Mental Pressure through angelic or human agents.

B) There is another God (limited; and dependent) designated as the Word (Logos) or Wisdom who was in his pre-existence:

1. THE FIRST CREATED SON OF THE (ABSOLUTE) GOD IS A SECOND GOD

Proverbs 8:22, 27, 30 --- "Jehovah himself produced me [created me -- LXX] as the beginning of his way, the earliest of his achievements of long ago. ... When he prepared the heavens I was there. .... Then I came to be beside him as a master worker."

Micah 5:2 -- "From you [Bethlehem] there will come out to me [Yahweh] the one who is to become ruler in Israel, whose origin is from early times, from the days of time indefinite [NJB: the distant past; JPS: from ancient times]."

John 1:1-3 --- "In [the] beginning the Word was, and the Word was with [The] God, and the Word was a god [divine -- GDSP, MOF]. This one [god] was in [the] beginning with [The] God. All things came into existence through him, and apart from him not even one thing came into existence."

John 1:18 -- "No man has seen God at any time; the only-begotten god who is in the bosom [position] with the Father is the one that has explained him."

John 17:5 -- "So now you, Father, glorify me alongside yourself with the glory that I had alongside you before the world was."

Colossians 1:15-18 -- "[The Son] is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; because by means of him all things were created in the heavens and upon the earth, the things visible and the things invisible, ... All things have been created [by The God] through him and for him. Also, he is before all things and by means of him all things were made to exist, and he is the head of the body, the congregation. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that he might become the one who is first in all things."

Hebrews 1:1-3 -- "[The} God, who long ago spoke on many occasions and in many ways to our forefathers by means of the prophets, has at the end of these days spoken to us by means of a Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the systems of things. [The Son] is the reflection of [The God’s] glory and the exact representation of [The God’s] very being, and he sustains all things by the word of his power."

Revelation 3:14 -- "The beginning of the creation by God."

2. THIS GOD IS SPOKESMAN OR THE WORD WHO SPEAKS FOR THE (ABSOLUTE) GOD

As the Spokesman, Mouthpiece [Ex 4.16], or Exegete [Jn 1.18] of The (Absolute) God learns everything from his Father. He never speaks of his own originality but only as he hears His Father speak.

John 5:19 -- "The Son cannot do a single thing of his own initiative, but only what he beholds the Father doing. For whatever things that One does, these things the Son also does in like manner."

John 5:30 -- "I cannot do a single thing of my own initiative; just as I hear, I judge; and the judgment that I render is righteous, because I seek, not my own will, but the will of [The God] that sent me."

John 7:16-18 -- "What I teach is not mine, but belongs to him that sent me. If anyone desires to do His will, he will know concerning the teaching whether it is from [The] God or I speak of my own originality. He that speaks of his own originality is seeking his own glory."

Revelation 1:1 -- "A revelation by Jesus Christ, which [The] God gave him."

3. THIS GOD IS THE AGENT OR MASTER WORKER OF CREATION THROUGH WHOM THE (ABSOLUTE) GOD CREATED

Proverbs 8:22, 27, 30 --- "Jehovah himself produced me [created me -- LXX] as the beginning of his way, the earliest of his achievements of long ago. ... When he prepared the heavens I was there. ... Then I came to be beside him as a master worker. [JPS: a confidant; NJB: master craftsman]"

John 1:1-3 --- "In [the] beginning the Word was, and the Word was with [The] God, and the Word was a god [divine -- GDSP, MOF]. This one [god] was in [the] beginning with [The] God. All things came into existence through him, and apart from him not even one thing came into existence."

John 1:18 -- "No man has seen God at any time; the only-begotten god who is in the bosom [position] with the Father is the one that has explained him."

John 17:5 -- "So now you, Father, glorify me alongside yourself with the glory that I had alongside you before the world was."

Colossians 1:15-18 -- "[The Son] is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; because by means of him all things were created in the heavens and upon the earth, the things visible and the things invisible, ... All things have been created [by The God] through him and for him. Also, he is before all things and by means of him all things were made to exist, and he is the head of the body, the congregation. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that he might become the one who is first in all things."

Hebrews 1:1-3 -- "[The} God, who long ago spoke on many occasions and in many ways to our forefathers by means of the prophets, has at the end of these days spoken to us by means of a Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the systems of things. [The Son] is the reflection of [The God’s] glory and the exact representation of [The God’s] very being, and he sustains all things by the word of his power."

Revelation 3:14 -- "The beginning of the creation by God."

 

4. THIS GOD WAS THE ANGEL OF YAHWEH, ANGEL OF GREAT COUNSEL, OR MICHAEL THE ARCHANGEL

[See notes elsewhere quoting ante-Nicene fathers who believed Christ to be a high angelic being.]

In the Hebrew Scriptures, particularly Moses, the Angel of Yahweh speaks for The (Absolute) God, often in the first person. Jewish and Christian theologians believe this high angelic being to be the Word of God or the Son of God.

Though one may consult a concordance or computer word search using "angel of the LORD" or "angel of Jehovah" here are few examples.

Genesis 16:10, 11 -- "Then Jehovah's angel said to her: "I shall greatly multiply your seed, so that it will not be numbered for multitude." ... Further Jehovah's angel added to her: "Here you are pregnant, and you shall give birth to a son and must call his name Ish'ma·el;

Genesis 22:11-17 -- "But Jehovah's angel began calling to him out of the heavens and saying: "Abraham, Abraham!" to which he answered: "Here I am!" And he went on to say: "Do not put out your hand against the boy and do not do anything at all to him, for now I do know that you are God-fearing in that you have not withheld your son, your only one, from me." ... And Jehovah's angel proceeded to call to Abraham the second time out of the heavens and to say: "'By myself I do swear,' is the utterance of Jehovah, 'that by reason of the fact that you have done this thing and you have not withheld your son, your only one, I shall surely bless you and I shall surely multiply your seed like the stars of the heavens and like the grains of sand that are on the seashore; and your seed will take possession of the gate of his enemies.

Exodus 3:2-6 -- "Then Jehovah's angel appeared to him in a flame of fire in the midst of a thornbush. As he kept looking, why, here the thornbush was burning with the fire and yet the thornbush was not consumed. At this Moses said: "Let me just turn aside that I may inspect this great phenomenon, as to why the thornbush is not burnt up." When Jehovah saw that he turned aside to inspect, God at once called to him out of the midst of the thornbush and said: "Moses! Moses!" to which he said: "Here I am." Then he said: "Do not come near here. Draw your sandals from off your feet, because the place where you are standing is holy ground." And he went on to say: "I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob."

Compare Numbers 22.22-35.

"And what was a trial to you in my flesh, you did not treat with contempt or spit at in disgust; but you received me like an angel of God, like Christ Jesus." (Ga 4.14) Note Paul parallels his treatment like an angel or Christ. He does not say, "you received me like God Himself, like Christ."

"And his name is called the ANGEL OF GREAT COUNSEL." (Isa 9.6 LXX Bagster) This text is quoted by apostolic fathers (ante-Nicene fathers). It is the rendering from the Jewish Greek Septuagint. It was used to prove Christ was an angel.

1 Thessalonians 4:16 -- "The Lord himself will descend from heaven with a commanding call, with an archangel's voice." Paul does not have Jesus descending in God’s own voice, but in that of an "archangel" confirming Jesus was like an angelic being.

 

This "god" -- the Son [Jn 1.1 18] -- willingly emptied himself of his status [Ph 2.6, 7], became less than god [Ps 8.5; He 2.9] when he became a human-being [Ph 2.7; Jn 1.14], a full anthropoid [Ro 5.14; 1 Co 15.22; He 2.14]. During the days of his flesh [He 5.7] the Son was less than god [Ps 8.5] and lower than the angels [He 1.4; 2.9]. He was limited in strength [Jn 4.6; Mt 4.2; 21.18; 25.37; Mk 11.12; Lk 4.2] and knowledge [Mt 24.36; Mk 13.32; Re 1.1]. Though accused of making a god out of himself, he denied this [Jn 5.18, 19; 10.34, 35]. During his human existence he was called Prophet, King, Son of Man, Teacher, Man, Messiah, Lamb of God, Servant, Son of God, Lord.

After the Son of God died and was buried he was raised from death and became an immortal life-giving spirit enthroned in heaven as King appointed by The (Absolute) God. He will become Judge on Judgment Day. As Messianic King he is called Everlasting Father, Wonderful Counselor (or, Angel of Great Counsel - LXX), Prince of Peace, Mighty God. Though now exalted above the angels, the Son is Word and Servant of his own god [Ep 1.3, 17; Re 3.12], The (Absolute) God, his own Father.

C) The word "god" (and, "lord") may be used of angelic creatures.

Angels are called gods.

Psalm 8.5 -- "Thou madest [the Son of Man] a little less than angels [ ftn: Heb., me·´elo·him' ; JPS: less than divine; NJB: little less than a god]." (LXX) (Compare Heb 2.6-9)

Psalm 82:1 -- "God is stationing himself in the assembly of the Divine One [ftn: Heb., ´El ; LXX: the assembly of gods (theon, theous)]; In the middle of the gods [ Heb., ´elo·him' ; JPS: divine beings; NJB: surrounded by the gods] he judges."

Psalm 97:7 -- "Bow down to him, all you gods [ftn: Heb., ´elo·him' ; JNB: divine beings; NJB: all you gods; LXX: all ye his angels]." (Compare Heb 1.6)

D) The word "god" (and, "lord") may be used of human kings, judges or priests.

 

Regarding priests being called "gods" compare Acts 23.5 with Ex 22.26 (LXX): "Thou shalt not revile the gods [ftn: MSam(Heb.), ´Elo·him' ; Gr., the·ous', "gods"; Lat., di'is, "gods."], nor speak ill of the ruler of thy people."

Kings (and husbands) are called "god" ---

Psalm 45:1-11 -- "I am saying: ‘My works are concerning a king.’ [6 Your throne, O God ], is to time indefinite, even forever. That is why God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of exultation more than your partners. ... And the king will long for [his wife’s] prettiness, for he is your lord, so bow down to him [KJV: worship]. (Compare this with Heb 1.8, 9)

Human judges are called "gods" ---

Psalm 82:6 -- "I myself have said, 'You are gods [ Heb., ´elo·him'; Gr., the·oi'; Syr., da´·la·hin; Lat., di'i; T, "like angels." ], and all of you are sons of the Most High." (Compare Jesus’ own quote of this verse at John 10.34.) The verse proves "sons of God" may be called "gods."

SUMMARY OF UNITARIAN PROPOSITION:

We have affirmed a proposition in several parts. We have affirmed there are several unique attributes of The (Absolute) God:

The (Absolute) God is Infinite without beginning or origin and we have seen the Word (or, Son; Jesus Christ) is not without beginning as he has an origin and was created.

The (Absolute) God has absolute and unlimited power while the Son does not.

The (Absolute) God has unlimited knowledge while the Son is limited.

The (Absolute) God is the source of creation while the Son is only the agent or instrument by which creation occurred.

Though there is "only one true God" in the absolute and unlimited sense -- without qualifications -- Yahweh remains "God of gods and Lord of lords" (De 10.17). There are other gods in limited and qualified senses: the only-begotten god, the Son; the angels; priests of Israel; judges of Israel; and kings. The Bible is therefore henotheistic in its theology while remaining monotheistic in the absolute sense.


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