Monthly Archives: August 2010

Free Will And The Fall Of Mother Eva

Eusebio A. Tanicala, Ph.D.

This time our study centers on the free will of our mother Eve. When talking about God’s sovereign will and predestination, we have to bring out how Eve committed sin. Determine whether or not there is individual predestination. Determine whether or not God’s sovereignty  forced Satan to seduce Eve and whether or not God’s sovereign will forced Eve to succumb to Satan’s seduction. We ask the following question so that you as a reader who wants to reflect on Satan’s seduction and Eve’s free will could make a sound conclusion.

  1. Did God put free will in Eve’s faculties?
  2. Did God program Eve’s free will to go against God’s sovereign will?
  3. Did God program Eve’s free will to always obey God’s sovereign will?
  4. When Eve, in the Garden of Eden, willed to disregard God’s prohibition was it the responsibility of Eve or of God?
  5. Was it God’s sovereign will that willed for Satan’s entrance into the Garden of Eden?
  6. Was it God’s sovereign will that willed for Satan’s will to encounter Eve’s free will?
  7. Was it God’s sovereign will that Satan willed to seduce Eve’s free will?
  8. Was it predetermined by God’s sovereign will that Eve would be seduced by Satan?
  9. Was it God’s sovereign will that Eve’s free will would be confused so as to lose her will to obey God’s sovereign will?
  10. Was it God’s sovereign will that prevailed when Eve’s will was confused by Satan?
  11. Did God harden the free will of Eve to continue in sin?

THINGS GOD CANNOT DO

In the study of God’s sovereign will and man’s free will, the following should be asked and clarified by the Bible student:

  1. God is holy; He cannot be unholy.
  2. God is righteous; He cannot be unrighteous.
  3. God is omnipotent; He cannot be impotent.
  4. God is omniscient; He cannot be mentally blank or partially ignorant but He can opt to hold back information from man when He wants to.
  5. God is omnipresent; He cannot be non-present.
  6. God is and He exists; He cannot be null and non-existent.
  7. God is God; He cannot be un-God.
  8. God is eternal; He cannot be destroyed.
  9. God is true; He cannot be false.
  10. God voluntarily gives man free will; He cannot over ride man’s free will and hold man answerable for what man does not freely will.

CONCLUSION

God gave mother Eve her free will. God gives the instructions on what and how to obey Him. When Eve disregarded God’s prohibition about the tree of knowledge of good and evil, it was Eve’s responsibility. She was held responsible for her disobedience. If God’s sovereign will pushed Eve to commit sin, it would be illogical to curse Eve for her action.

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Does 1 Peter 3:18b prove the Divinity of Christ?

DOES I PETER 3:18b PROVE THE DIVINITY OF CHRIST?

(Article #3)

I’ve heard Bible College teachers and many preachers using 1 Peter 3:18b to prove the divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ. That Christ although put to death in his humanity, he was alive in his divinity. Debaters of the INC-1914 emphasize the death of Jesus Christ in this verse with the presumption that God cannot not die. Since the verse says that Christ died, and God cannot die, therefore it is concluded that Christ is not God. As a counter proposition, I have heard brethren use the second part where it says that Jesus is alive pointing to 1 Peter 3:18b claiming that the divinity aspect of Christ did not die. They mean that the verse teaches that the “spirit that is alive” is the deity of Christ that didn’t die.  Is it true that the deity, the divinity of Jesus Christ is taught in this 1 Peter 3:18b? Is it true that the spirit who was made alive is the deity of Christ?

Let’s show the reading.

*KJV – “put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit.”

*NKJV – “put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit.”

*RSV – “put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit.”

*ASV- “put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit.”

*NLT – “He suffered physical death, but he was raised to life in the Spirit.”

*Mabuting Balita Biblia – “Siya’y namatay ayon sa laman, at muling nabuhay ayon sa Epiritu.”

*Baro Naimbag a Damag Biblia – “napapatay iti bagi ngem napagungar iti espiritu.”

Brethren, there are questions we should clarify. First, please note the voice of the verb in the second clause which is zoopoietheis. Please determine if it is in passive voice or not. It means that the verb tells that another entity acts on the subject. If you can’t even read your Greek New Testament, please don’t claim that you know all the pasikot-sikot ng Biblia. You are teaching false doctrines if you can’t even check up from the Greek Grammar Book or Greek-English Lexicon when your interpretation is questioned. INC ministers would only sneer at you when you don’t know what you are talking about.

Second, the old Iloco Bible reads, “sibibiag no maipapan iti espiritu” (1Peter 3:18b) which gives the meaning that Jesus remained alive in his spirit, divine, deity persona. This wording in Iloco was rendered in 1908 by translators who didn’t know how to read the Greek New Testament and were not familiar with English versions because they read the Spanish Bible, having been educated under the Spanish regime. This old Iloco Bible gave some of our debaters and Bible College teachers and preachers the idea that since God is spirit, that spirit in 1 Peter 3:18 is the pagka-Dios ni Cristo, ergo, the pagka-Dios ni Cristo ay hindi namatay. This kind of reasoning is not based on the context, it is not based on the grammar of 1 Peter 3:18b, it is not based on logic. The Old Iloco Bible is wrong. The Baro Naimbag a Damag Biblia is correct because it agrees with the English reading and Greek text as to the voice of the verb.

Third, KJV says, “quickened by the Spirit” and NKJV has “made alive by the Spirit” which means that Jesus was dead and was resurrected. This refers to his physical body and not to his deity. RSV and ASV read “made alive in the spirit” and this couldn’t refer to the deity of Christ. Deity never dies and therefore it is wrong to say “deity was made alive.” Deity is always alive because deity is life, the origin and source of life.

Fourth, this “made alive in the spirit” or “muling nabuhay” or “napagungar” refers to what Apostle Paul says in 2 Cor.5:16 that we should no longer refer to Christ as after the flesh but in the spirit. Christ now possesses a spiritual body says 1 Cor. 15:44-46.

The conclusion and suggestion here is: Don’t insist that 1 Peter 3:18b teaches the deity of Christ; don’t point to the term “spirit” in this section as having the same meaning in John 4:24; don’t teach that the “spirit” in this verse refers to the deity of Christ. Tatawanan lang kayo ng mga ministro ng INC kung ipagpatuloy ninyong gagamitin ang 1 Peter 3:18b sa inyong pagpapatunay na ang “espiritu” dyan ay siyang pagka-Diyos ni Cristo. Please stop your questionable interpretation.

Comments and observations are most welcomed. Anyone who disagrees with the point of view expressed herein may write an article with proper documentation. We would be glad to blog it.  © (E.Tanicala 8:11.10)

Who went preaching and when and where did he preach?

WHO WENT PREACHING AND WHEN & WHERE DID HE PREACH?

(Article #2)

In this article, we shall ask questions about the following items: (a) Who went preaching? (b) When did he go preaching? (c) Where did he go preaching? (d) In what state of being did Christ go preaching? and (e)What is the meaning of the term “preach”?

A. Different Translations

1. King James Version, “19-By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison; 20a- Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of  Noah, while the ark was a preparing, …”

2. New King James Version, “19-by whom also He went and preached to the spirits in prison, 20a- who formerly were disobedient, when once the Divine longsuffering waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared…”

3. American Standard Version, “19-in which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison, 20a– that aforetime were disobedient, when the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing,…”

4. Revised Standard Version, “19-in which he went and preached to the spirits in prison, 20a-who formerly did not obey, when God’s patience waited in the days of Noah, during the building of the ark,…”

5. New Living Translation, “19-So he went and preached to the spirits in prison – 20a-those who disobeyed God long ago when God waited patiently while Noah was building his boat.”

6. Harold Littrell (1994), “19-In which also he went and preached to the spirits in prison, 20a-Who once were disobedient when the longsuffering of God waited in the days when Noah was preparing the ark,…”

7. Mabuting Balita Biblia (1980), “19-Sa kalagayang ito, pinuntahan niya at inaralan ang mga espiritung nakabilanggo. 20a-Iyan ang mga espiritung ayaw sumunod nang sila’y matiyagang hinihintay ng Diyos noong panahon ni Noe, samantalang ginagawa nito ang daong.”

8. Baro Naimbag a Damag Biblia (1996), “19-ket iti daytoy a kasasaadna napan nangasaba kadagiti naibalud nga espiritu. 20a-Dagitoy ti espiritu dagiti saan a nagtulnog idi tiempo ni Noe idinto a siaanus ti Dios a nangur-uray kadakuada bayat ti pannakaaramid ti daong.

B. Who Went Preaching?

It is important that we determine who went to preach. Is it the Holy Spirit in person or Christ in person? The KJV and NKJV employ the preposition “by” which some would like to connect with the capitalized Spirit (the Holy Spirit) so the conclusion is that the Holy Spirit went to preach. But is there any reason that it should be the Holy Spirit and not Christ?

But if the preposition employed is “in” so that the prepositional phrase is “made alive in the spirit” then it becomes clear that the subject is the one who died in the flesh and was made alive in the spirit and that refers to our Lord Jesus. And notice that in v. 19 it is clear that in that state of being in the spirit the subject person went to preach. This undoubtedly refers to the Lord Jesus and not the Holy Spirit because the Holy Spirit was never made alive in the spirit.

C. When Did He Go Preaching?

It is also important that we determine the time frame of the preaching activity. Was it in ancient time during the 120 years period when the giant ark was being constructed by Noah and his sons or was it between the time that Christ was buried and the time of his resurrection (6pm of Friday and 6am of Sunday, Roman time)? Please note the state of being and the time frame from verse 18 to verse 19. In relation to the time of preaching, please note the expressions in v.20:  “sometime were disobedient” “formerly were disobedient” “aforetime were disobedient” “formerly did not obey””disobeyed God long ago” “once were disobedient” “sa kalagayang ito” “iti dayta a kasasaadna” should give you the time frame.

D. Where Did He Go Preaching?

Determine also the place of preaching: was it in the plains of Mesopotamia in the general area of Iran and Iraq today or was it in Hades, the abode of the disembodied spirits? If you notice the flow of the events you can determine the place of preaching. Note there is the state of being in the flesh, in that state of flesh he was put to death, but he was made alive in the spirit, in that state of being as alive in the spirit, he went to preach to those in prison. Those in prison are described as “formerly” “aforetime” “once were disobedient”. Is it correct grammar to use the terms formerly, aforetime, once were disobedient with its past tense if the preaching was in the time frame of Noah’s days? If the preaching was in the place of the ark construction in the days of Noah should not the description of the spirits in prison be in the present tense and not past tense? On the other hand, if the preaching was done by Christ in Hades while he was in Hades for a few days, is the description that the spirits in prison are “formerly disobedient” “once were disobedient”  “aforetime disobedient” correct?

E. In What State of Being Did He Go Preaching?

The Tagalog Bible is clear in saying, “Sa kalagayang ito” pointing to the “made alive in the spirit state of being,” he went to preach. That is also true in the Iloco, “iti dayta a kasasaadna” of being made alive in the spirit he went to preach. Is it right to use the expression “being made alive in the spirit” to refer to Christ’s state of being when Noah was building the ark? Was Christ made alive in the spirit in the days of Noah? I don’t think so. At the time of Noah, Christ was existing in the state of being as pure spirit. The RSV, ASV, NLT, Littrell’s, Tagalog, Iloco clearly refer to the state of being of Christ after Christ was “made alive in the spirit.” Not before he was made alive in the spirit.

F. Meaning of the verb “to preach”

We should also determine the meaning of “keruz” the herald, proclaimer, announcer, preacher. Also the verb “kerusso” which means to cry out, to proclaim, to announce, to preach. Does “preach” always mean orally proclaiming the gospel of Christ’s death, burial, resurrection with a view to persuasion and expectation of conversion? Does it get also the general meaning of simply making a proclamation since there is an absence of a direct object or what kind of message was given in 1 Peter 3:18-20? Could it mean a visual parade of a victorious king or military general concretely displaying his triumph now viewed by the innumerable host on the gallery or highway side? Just like victorious King Saul parading King Agag and the fatted animals?

What we find in our passage is poreutheis ekeruzen ( literally it reads, “having gone he preached”). The simple verb is kerusso which means “to preach.” Note that there is no direct object or there is no description of the kind of message delivered in 1 Peter 3:18-20. Kerusso does not always mean to evangelize with a purpose to convert. An announcement of the birth of a royal child was a good spell or a good news. The announcer of a decree to worship in Daniel 3:4 is called a keruz. Also in Daniel 5:29 we read, “and made a proclamation concerning him.” Daniel being made third ruler of the Kingdom is referred to with the term keraz but the message in Daniel is not the gospel of Christ or something with a view to conversion. King Solomon is also a preacher (Eccle. 1:1 & 12) but he didn’t preacher the gospel of Christ.

F. Suggestion

After having answered the suggested questions posed in series 1 and 2, you should now be able to make a good conclusion on 1 Peter 18-20. The questions are:

  1. What is the translation of pneumati? Is it Spirit or spirit?
  2. What is the translation of the phrase de tu pneumati or de pneumati? Is it by the Spirit, in the Spirit, or in the spirit?
  3. Who went to preach? Was it Christ in person or Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit or the Holy Spirit in person?
  4. When was the preaching done? Was it during the days of Noah or between Christ’s burial and before resurrection in 33 A.D. or between Christ’s burial and before ascension?
  5. Where was the preaching done? Was it in the plains of Mesopotamia in the general area of Iran and Iraq? Or in Hades, the abode of the disembodied spirits?
  6. What is the meaning of the verb kerusso “to preach” and keruz “the herald, announcer, proclaimer, preacher”? Is it to teach the death, burial and resurrection of Christ with a view to persuasion and conversion? Or does the preaching refer to Christ’s declaration of triumph among those doubting spirits, and could it be that the most stubborn doubters were those of Noah’s time? Since Christ went to Hades according to Acts 2:27, was it not automatic that Christ was seen in a triumphant parade like what happened with Christ on the Palm Sunday in Jerusalem when he was hailed as “King of the Jews”? Could it be that Patriarch Noah organized and served as marshal of the victory parade along the main avenue of Paradise? And the parade was viewed by the telescopic eyes of those in the place of the tortured Rich Man who saw Poor Lazarus in the company of Abraham in Luke 16?  If Abraham made a discourse in Luke 16 addressed to the Rich Man, is it not possible that Christ personally made a discourse addressed especially to the formerly stubbornly disobedient people of Noah’s generation who insulted the old man Noah even considering him crazy?
  7. Was there an expectation of giving a second chance to the audience for conversion in the meaning of “preach” in our current study passage?
  8. Was there actual conversion to Christ in this preaching of 1 Peter 3:18-20?

I am hopeful that our analysis has contributed to a deeper understanding of the passage. If the questions I have framed for our guidelines are faulty and flawed, please tell me.

Comments and observations are most welcomed. Well researched and well documented articles are appreciated. © Eusebio Tanicala (8.11.10)

WHAT IS THE PNEUMATI IN 1PETER 3:18b

August 11

This big question below keeps on popping in many places I visit. We have to give attention to this so that our brethren would enjoy reading this section of Apostle Peter’s epistle.

WHAT IS THE  PNEUMATI IN 1PETER 3:18b

(Article #1)

This question is based on the context of 1 Peter 3:18-20. In an earlier article I suggested that there are questions to settle first before the issues about when and where and who went to preach to the spirits in prison should be discussed.  The following are the steps to be clarified:

A. The Greek Text

Please notice that there are two readings in the Greek and therefore there are various translations that we find in the English language. This should be discussed because if one argues based on one Greek reading  which is rendered in English a certain way, and another sees it but his English version is another based on the second Greek reading, then the two don’t join the issues.

1.1Peter 3:18b reads, “thanatotheis men sarki, zoopoietheis de tu pneumati” (Textus Receptus, Greek to English Interlinear with a Greek-English Lexicon by Rick Berry, 1981, Baker Book House Company, Grand Rapids, Michigan)

1Peter 3:18b, “having been put to death in flesh but made alive by the Spirit” (Revised Version)

2.1Peter 3:18b, “thanatotheis men sarki, zoopoietheis de pneumati (The Greek New Testament Edited by Kurt Aland, Matthew Black, Carlo M. Martini, Bruce M. Metzger, and Allen Wikgren. 3rd Edition, United Bible Societies, 1983, Biblia-Druck GmbH Stuttgart) This is called the Nestle-United Bible Societies (NU) in the preface and footnotes of the New King James Version.

3. My Observation: At the end of the above section, Textus Receptus reads “de tu pneumati” while the NU reads “de pneumati.” This might give various reasons why there are different ideas on how the pneumati is translated. Some translate it as Spirit with capital S or spirit with small s; or pneumati may refer to the spirit of Christ or the spirit nature of the incorruptible Christ. Observe also the preposition: KJV and NKJV have “by the Spirit” while RSV and ASV have “in the spirit” but NLT has “in the Spirit.” Sa Tagalog ginamit ang katagang “ayon sa Espiritu” but the Iloco Bible has “iti espiritu.” There is variance. Tagalogs think of the Holy Spirit working while Ilocanos think of the spirit of Christ or alive in the spiritual state.

4.  Note: If anyone would like to comment, please tell me if you are using the Textus Receptus or the Nestle-United Bible Societies Text and please tell me the reason why you prefer which one. Please document your reason. Cite authorities to back up your opinion.

B. Various Translations of 1 Peter 3:18b

1. King James Version – “… being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:”

2. New King James Version – “… being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit,”

3. Revised Standard Version – “…being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit;”

4. American Standard Version – “…being put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit;”

5. New Living Translation – “…He suffered physical death, but he was raised to life in the Spirit.”*

6. English Study Bible (New Testament by Harold Littrell, 1994) – “…being put to death in the flesh but made alive in spirit;”

7. Mabuting Balita Biblia (1980) – “…Siya’y namatay ayon sa laman, at muling binuhay ayon sa Espiritu.”

8. Baro Naimbag a Damag Biblia (1996) – “…napapatay iti bagi ngem napagungar iti espiritu.”

C. Questions on the Variance of Translation

1. Why are translators divided on how to translate pneumati in this passage? There at least three ideas:

(a) On one side it is capital S so the idea is referring to the Holy Spirit, the third person in the Godhead, as acting; (b) On the other side the idea has lower case s or spirit which seems to suggest that Christ was resurrected and now he exists in the spirit realm; and (c) A third party seems to say that Christ is completely governed or led by spiritual principles.

2. Which of the three above seems to you is the correct rendition in light of the context?

3. Please observe the balance of what was put to death and what was alive in the first part of  v.18 and ask: Does the KJV and NKJV maintain the obvious balance between the flesh and the spirit? Is the balance found if one side is “in the flesh” while the other side is “by the Spirit”?

As suggested, no answer should be forthcoming unless the above questions are answered. In the next article in this series we shall analyze verses 19-20 to determine the following: (a) Who went preaching? (b) When did he go preaching? (c) Where did he go preaching? (d) What is the meaning of the term “preach”? (e) Was there an expectation of conversion in this preaching? and (f) Were there actual conversions in this preaching? These things should be settled before any final answers or conclusion be made about this text.   © (Eusebio Tanicala 8.11.10)

Disease, Pain, Suffering and Death

The Lord God placed Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. Based on Genesis 2 & 3, I would like to believe that Yahweh our God frequently visited and had fellowship with Adam and Eve in The Garden. God’s presence made everything good and delightful to our parents.

Food was plentiful just for the picking. There was peace of mind and security. No toil, no unhealthy tiredness of the physical body. No pain, no sickness, no death. Adam and Eve were told by the Lord to be master of the whole physical creation. See Genesis 1:28. They have to become master of all animals and plants including the microscopic ones: virus, germs, bacteria. I believe that all animals were good and behaved very well. Kung hindi sana naging suwail si Adan at si Eva, they could have slowly learned how to understand the viruses, germs and bacteria and not be affected by them.

There was only one prohibition. Only one thing to be avoided: Don’t eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. This tree, together with the tree of Life, was located at the middle of the Garden of Eden. That prohibited fruit was there to test the loyalty and respect of mankind to their Creator God, Yahweh.

Unfortunately, Eve succumbed to the delightful seduction of the sweet-talking Devil. Eve ate of the forbidden fruit and she gave a bite to her husband Adam. This lack of love, lack of faith, lack of respect, lack of obedience to their Creator God, the owner of the Garden, brought in the diseases, pain, suffering and death into this world.

This August 3-5, two of my very close relatives got dengue fever and were hospitalized: One at the Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center and the other at the Saint Louis University Hospital of the Sacred Heart. One child of a fellow preacher was likewise hospitalized about the same time due to dengue fever.

At the same SLU pediatric ward where my relative stayed came in a family who lives near the Mines View Park district with two children. One was 8 months old and the other was two years old. It was too late. The younger one’s blood supply has been severely attacked by the dengue virus and lowered the platelet count. He died. The older one survived.

I’ve also observed the Emergency Rooms of the two hospitals. People incessantly came in with their relatives with various sicknesses and medical problems. In one emergency room were two inscriptions conspicuously displayed at the wall:

“AN AVERAGE OF 229,000 GERMS PER SQUARE INCH ARE FOUND ON FREQUENTLY TOUCHED FAUCET HANDLES.”

“ON EACH SQUARE CENTIMETER OF YOUR SKIN THERE ARE ABOUT 1,500 BACTERIA.”

I recall reading in one article of a science magazine which made the estimate that the volume of these microscopic animals and plants if all were heaped together would be about 6 to 8 times the volume of the large animals.

Our God told Adam and Eve and all of us to have dominion over all the creatures, to be masters of all created things. But we have been mostly ignorant of many things. Significantly ignorant of how virus, germs and bacteria affect us or attack us. These creatures are in our food, in fruits, in vegetables, on our skin, in our mouth, in our stomach, in our intestines, on the ground, in the soil, in just everywhere. In their proper places these creatures are beneficial. Put in the improper place, they cause sicknesses and diseases. So if we become sick because it is possible that we have misplaced the germs and viruses and bacteria. Or we didn’t clean our food or our surroundings. Perhaps we have invaded the natural habitats of malarial and dengue mosquitoes. We bring ourselves into their territory.

In sum, I would say that diseases, pain, suffering and death are the results of the following:

  1. Man failed to become master and have dominion over all the animals and plants. Mastery and dominion over creation could have been slowly learned from God in the Garden of Eden had not Adam and Eve committed sin.
  2. Man’s preference for the Devil as his master in this world to that of having Yahweh as his true God and master.
  3. God’s withdrawal of His presence and fellowship with humanity made the microscopic animals and plants go wild and became the enemy of mankind.
  4. God’s withdrawal of the Tree of Life from the reach of mankind eliminated the possible supply of chemicals that could have renewed aging human body cells and strengthen the human immune system to neutralize venom, toxins, poisons, viruses, bacteria and germs.
  5. God’s presence in The Garden of Eden made trees and herbs supply all mankind’s food, but God’s absence and the Devil’s reign in this world brought about the curse upon the soil and climate which create food shortage.
  6. God’s withdrawal of His presence and fellowship with man has removed a kind of heightened healthy wellbeing and good immune system for man as suggested in Genesis 2:9; 3:22 and Luke 24:32.
  7. Man’s activities like destroying the rain forests, mountainside denudation, burning of fossil fuels and coals cause global warming and climate change that cause destructive erosions and flooding and strong winds.
  8. Man has not mastered nature when we build houses on low lying plains, river banks and mountainsides and earthquake faults.
  9. Man’s greed in manufacturing chemicals and products that are toxic and poisonous that also alter human genes and cancers.
  10. Statistics show that more die on the highways and roads due to vehicular accidents than those who die in wars and armed conflicts. Accidents happen because we don’t observe traffic rules which are based on physics and medical science like over speeding and no drink while driving.
  11. Statistics show that more people die of malaria than those who die in armed conflicts. This shows that man has not mastered, not dominated the malaria mosquito.

CONCLUSION:

God had placed man in a beautiful Garden of Eden where God was the owner and manager, but man insulted Yahweh God by virtually accusing God of lying and welcoming the Devil into this world. This brought the curses that we now suffer. This first week of August afforded me another time for a deeper reflection on life. It is man that is to blame and not God the Creator.

Your comments and observations are most welcomed. #   (Eusebio Tanicala, 8.7.10)

Mysteries In Our Religion (Mga Hiwaga Sa Ating Pananampalataya)

There is a tendency for us to reject any idea unless our logic or common sense accepts as reasonable a certain proposition. But we should recognize that if an idea is expressed or declared in the Bible, it should be accepted by faith even if our mind could not reduce it into logic or could not grasp it. It is possible that our young mind could not comprehend it now but would comprehend it in later years. Or we could not grasp it in a lifetime but will understand it when we get to heaven. This is taught in 1 Cor 13:11-12.

Here are some mysteries or difficult doctrines (Mga mahiwagang doktrina):

1.God is – without beginning, without ending;  self existing.

The human brain is oriented to a beginning and ending. God has been existing in the past and that past extends backward without end. Our mind could not fathom an endless past although it is at ease thinking of an endless future.

2. Three persons in One God: Father, Son, Holy Spirit.

Again the human brain is oriented to particulars and these particulars are solid or concrete. These particulars are thought of as distinct and separate and are not congruent. But the more matured mind that is able to consider particularities in the psycho-mental-emotional level might be able to appreciate harmony, unity, oneness, complete congruence in the spiritual level. In this spiritual level where only God exists with congruent omnipresence, omnipotence, omniscience there’s no way except to say the three are one.

3. God became flesh and tabernacled with man – John 1:14; Isaiah 9:6.

This is a new event in history so it is difficult to grasp. But Yahweh the true God had appeared as man to Abraham and Sarah. God in the form of man ate with Abraham and Sarah and spent at least one night in Abraham’s  tent. Read Genesis 18 & 19. In the wilderness wandering which was led by Moses, Christ the spirit persona took the form of a rock and provided water to Israel 40 years. Read 1 Cor. 10:4; Exodus 17:1-7; Numbers 20:10-11. If it is acceptable that Christ could take the form of a Rock for a period of 40 years, why is it incredible for the same Christ to take the form a man for 33 years? What is lower a human being or a rock?

4. Christ who is God became flesh is one person.

Again our human mathematics is at a loss here. Christ is one person in the God head.  He is one person in the Trinity. Christ during his tabernacling on earth was human. You bring together the two natures of deity and humanity that were in Christ and there you have one person, one Christ. Read 1 Tim. 3:16.

Some Bible students use the mathematical operations of multiplication or division to arrive at the number “ONE” but that is not an acceptable procedure. One person in the Godhead with a divine nature  took upon himself human nature: these are brought together and the unity is one person. That is our theology. That is the declaration we understand from the Bible. But it is difficult to explain and demonstrate with earthly illustrations. However, this could be explained when your mind is brought into the higher level of understanding.

Multiplication or division is not possible as an explanation because it would be “1 person with divine nature multiplied or divided by one person with human nature” is unacceptable because the rule says that the nature of the multiplicand or the nature of the dividend should be the nature of the answer.

One person divided by one God (1 person X 1 God) is not a good mathematical sentence. One person times one person times one person equals one person (1 person X 1 person X 1 person = 1 person) is not what we believe. One God times one God times one God (1 God X 1 God X 1 God) is not our belief. This shows that multiplying or dividing the number of persons or the number of God is a wrong concept.

Your comment or observation is welcomed.  (Eusebio A. Tanicala, Ph.D. – 7.15.10)

Two Natures Co-Existing In One Person?

By Eusebio Tanicala

A group of brethren in the Metro Manila area takes the position that from the time of conception and birth to the time of death at the cross (1 AD to 33 AD) our Lord Jesus Christ did not have deity in Himself. This group says that Jesus was one hundred percent human. No more no less. He had no deity in Himself, no Godhood in Him, no divine nature. This belief, the group says, is based on the Logos becoming flesh (Jn 1:14) and His emptying himself (Phil. 2:7) and his taking the nature of humanity so that he could be the ideal human which man could emulate (Heb. 2:14-17). Further, the belief is strengthened by the statement that the Father gave to the Lord Jesus Christ power and that God raised him from the dead.

Yes, Christ Jesus was human. But for a Bible teacher to close one’s eyes and heart and understanding to the many references and inferences that Christ had deity or was divine while on earth is to commit the fallacy of partial view. Only one aspect is being considered. It’s like the blind man who touched the leg of an elephant and he turned around and declared that an “elephant is like a Meralco electric post.”  Another blind man touched the dambuhalang elefante sa tagiliran and this blind man went forth and declared with authority that an “elephant is like concrete flat wall.”  A third blind man ventured into the circus area and touched the giant animal on the wagging right ear and with a smile he said, “ang elefante ay kagaya ng isang malaking abaniko.” Of course we know that one view is not the totality of the whole.  A taxonomist-zoologist would list down all the sections and sectional parts of an elephant and then declare the totality of the animal that comprise the big mammal. We should be the taxonomist and not one of the blind men.

I believe that Christ had both deity and humanity co-existing from his birth and continues on to the future. We shall prove this in the following discussion.

PRESUMPTIONS

I would like to encourage the reader to be careful in our presumptions about Deity, about Yahweh God. Firstly, we should not think that Deity or Yahweh God has to always display full glory, full majesty, full authority, full power and full dignity in His existence and manifestations.  Secondly, we have to be conscious about Yahweh God’s name which is “I AM WHO I AM” (NKJV) which suggests that God could become or could appear in varied forms as His name implies.  Thirdly, there are instances in the OT wherein spirit beings became or took physical appearances and they were not declared as laying aside or emptying of their essential nature. We have for example the angels being made into fire but didn’t stop being angels (Heb. 1:14) or the spirit Devil becoming a physical snake of flesh and bones seen by the naked eye of mother Eve inside the Garden of Eden but didn’t lay aside or empty himself of his devilness. And, fourthly, God’s glory-majesty-authority-power could be manifested in various degrees or different measures as much as we accept the four measures of the Holy Spirit’s presence-influence in the Christian life.

LUCIFER/SATAN ANALYZED

To get deeper into our reflection in this study, let’s analyze the different characteristics and manifestations of the archangel Lucifer.

First, define the essence of Lucifer as belonging to the angelic host. Angels exist with a certain substance or essence, a heavenly one, but lower than the substance of Yahweh God. Lucifer was an angel.

Second, Lucifer was created a cherub (Eze 28:14-15) and he used to abode in the presence of the good angels (Job 1:6-12; 2:1-7) in the heavenly realm where with the Most High God’s permission Satan could sometimes make a visit.

Third, Lucifer was a seal of perfection, full of wisdom, perfect in beauty (Eze 27:3; 28:12).

Fourth, Lucifer was given free will as all angels are, but his heart grew ambitious and envious and thought of equality with Yahweh God (Eze 28:2) and wanted to sit in equality with God (Isa 14:13-14).

Fifth, Lucifer’s envy and ambition to be equal with Yahweh God made him leave his habitation and so he was expelled from his abode together with his followers (Jude 6) and he became Satan, the Devil.

Sixth, when Lucifer became Satan the Devil, he didn’t stop being what he essentially was, an angel. He was created with the essence of an angel, he remains within that level or substance.  What he emptied himself of was his free will. After that rebellion and hardening of his envious, ambitious heart, he has become an irreversible liar and accuser and fault finder and evil doer. Also he was defrocked of the mantle of glorious light like what good angels possess when needed (Please read Matt. 28:3; Mark 16:5).

Seventh, Satan can also fake himself and appear as an angel of light (2Cor 11:14; Gal. 1:8). Satan or any of his rebel angels could enter and possess a person and control the faculties of a person like what happened in Mark 5:1-20. Even in the time that evil spirits dwell in the bodies of humans, these evil spirits retain their original likas na kalagayan.

In our folklore, evil spirits could turn into a dog or cat or horse or bird. Evil spirits could turn into kapre or dwende.  Evil spirits could turn into jumping balls of fire. Evil spirits could appear as white lady or a good looking young man. But essentially these spirits retain their essential being even when directly turning into a physical item or possessing a person.

LUCIFER AND CHRIST COMPARED

First, Lucifer was a created archangel, included among those created by Christ (see Col. 1:15-16). On the other hand, Christ is uncreated but the creator of all things visible and invisible, of powers and authorities and dominions and thrones.

Second, Lucifer possesses from the time of his creation the essence of the angelic host. On the other hand, Christ possesses the essence of Godhood or divine nature.

Third, Lucifer who was created lower than Yahweh God, envied and exerted effort to attain equality with Yahweh God. On the other hand, Christ is Yahweh God, but did not cling to his rightful equality with Yahweh God.

Fourth, the spirit Lucifer who turned Satan the Devil took the form of a physical snake entered and entered into the world, seduced Eve and Adam to disobey God, not to love God, and not to fear God. On the other hand, the divine spirit Christ took the form of a physical human being  entered into the world, induced the children of Eve and Adam to obey God, to love God and to fear-worship God.

Fifth, the spirit Devil, the Destroyer, when he became a snake of flesh and bones, this Devil Destroyer did not lose his essential nature of spirit Satanhood/devilhood. Similarly, the spirit Christ, the Savior, when he became flesh, this Savior did not lose his essential nature of spirit Godhood.

Sixth, in the Garden of Eden, in that form of a snake there co-existed in Satan two natures: (1) snakehood or animalhood and (2) spirit devilhood. Similarly, from birth (1 AD) to the cross (33 AD), there co-existed in that one persona  of Christ the two natures: (1) manhood, and (2) Godhood or Divinity.

Seventh, the spirit Devil who took the form of a physical snake of flesh and bones worked hard in the Garden of Eden in seducing  Eve and Adam  to spurn God which resulted to the destruction of mankind. In a parallel move, the spirit Christ who is God, took the form of a physical flesh and bones worked hard in persuading the children of Adam and Eve to return to God which now results to the regeneration and sanctification of mankind.

Eighth, the spirit Devil in the form of a snake aimed at elevating himself and thus became the God  of this world (2Cor. 4:4). On the other hand, the spirit Christ in the form of man made Himself of no reputation and thus became a slave and even allowed Himself to be killed to save the world. (See John 3:16-18; Philippians 2:5-11; Heb. 2:14-18).

Any comments or observation are welcomed.   (6.20.10)