Sunday, August 16, 2009

Jesus as the Son of God: clarification

This post is especially for Damilola, who asked a good question over on Nashida's Facebook page. I will add to this post (clearly delineating where additions have been made) as I gather more information or better explanations. On Jesus' deity, see this page.

The question:

I think where many Christians go wrong is by taking Paul's view of Christianity! A pity! Where did all this talk of Jesus being the Son of God come from? Have you heard of the Council of Nicea and what happened there? Are you aware that a majority of the early Christians did not believe Jesus was the 'Son' of God but just a prophet?

Many people, especially Muslims, have asked these questions before. Many Christians do not know very well how to answer them, however. An extremely good resource on what exactly "Son of God" means can be found here. The gist of that article's explanation is that the meaning of the phrase is quite different than the concept of a biological son, which is of course heresy. Rather, Jesus Christ, being one and the same with the Father (again, not biological), is of the closest possible relationship to God the Father.

This is a very confusing topic, I admit. But to lessen confusion, it is important to remember the concept of the Trinity - a tri-unity - to which an analogy may be in order. Think of a candle burning. You see its light, taking up the entirety of the flame. It is not one-third light, but all light. In addition, you see its form, taking up the entirety. 100% form. Thirdly, you feel its heat, emanating from 100% of the flame. In the same way, each Person of the Trinity is fully God, and God is fully the Trinity.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

interesting argument--but simplistic and inaccurate---heat IS NOT the flame, light IS NOT the flame. A flame may have the properties of light, shape, color and tempreature----But these properties ARE NOT the "flame"---that is, they exist on their own and are part of many material things. likewise, God may have the attributes of compassion, mercy, power etc---but these ATTRIBUTES ARE NOT GOD--Nor does having these attributes make a person a GOD.

Hannah said...

Granted. Any analogy fails at some points when attempting to describe something no one can understand, such as the Trinity. But my goal is not to explain God perfectly - if we could explain Him, then He wouldn't be God; we would be. Approximations are the best anyone can do.

Tunde said...

Assalamalaykum
sis Nashida i read this from your blog about the theory of trinity, though u claim to have disagree with trinity but u agree in principle with the analogy below as a concept of unity between God head and the Son God, and Holy Spirit God.
"This is a very confusing topic, I admit. But to lessen confusion, it is important to remember the concept of the Trinity - a tri-unity - to which an analogy may be in order. Think of a candle burning. You see its light, taking up the entirety of the flame. It is not one-third light, but all light. In addition, you see its form, taking up the entirety. 100% form. Thirdly, you feel its heat, emanating from 100% of the flame. In the same way, each Person of the Trinity is fully God, and God is fully the Trinity".
From this analogy candle is a subject from which light, flame and heat emanated. Each entity that emanated from candle itself is not candle e.g light,flame and heat is not candle but a product of or from candle each entity has no similarity, physical, chemical or Mechanical properties of candle despite they all emanated from it. As the emanation of light, flame and light from candle can not turn them to them to candle so also emanation of son and holy spirit from God can not turn then to God.
It is obvious that not Son and holy spirit only emanated from God. Islam believe all creature came from God and we are all His spirit and command when He wish a thing He just command be and it will. So we ar all His "be" and we are existing so also Son and holy spirit. So nothing special than could turn them to God either in character or in form.
So the analogy above is faulty and unacceptable because it lack substance this is just a common sense we can analyze.
God is supreme that anything u can think of and share no similarity or authority with any of His creature in any form.
I want you to look perfectly to my argument and give ur comment
I appreciate your yawning for knowledge and i want you to be more objective and dynamic.
I am expecting to read from you soon
salamalaykum

Nashida Hakim said...

Tunde,

Your analysis of the analogy is good. You are correct in saying that all things came from God when He spoke; on this point the analogy fails.

God is not a being we can understand - if we were able to understand the infinite, then we would be all-knowing ourselves and therefore He would not be God; we would be. But I will do my best to explain an answer anyway.

I find interesting your use of the term "emanating." Christianity does not teach that the Son and the Holy Spirit "emanate" from God in the same way that humans and the rest of creation do. Instead, it teaches that the Son "proceeds" from the Father, that is, He and the Father are one and the same substance, existing together both eternally. Also, it teaches that the Holy Spirit "proceeds" in the same sense from the Father and the Son, making the three Persons of the Trinity equal in divinity, yet not three gods, but one. While the Son subjects Himself to the Father because of His unique work, Christianity teaches that the three Persons are still each fully divine.

Does that answer at least part of your question?

*gfinch* said...

I am afraid that whoever said this about the Coucil of Nicea has a Davinci Code or Dan Brown understanding of what the council was all about. The council was called in order to deal with, among other things, the Arian heresy which was the belief that Jesus was more or less a created being, and not God. And for anyone to say that most early Christians didn't believe that Jesus was the Son of God, have not only failed to look at the biblical evidence but also the early Church Fathers and even some Roman historians who attestested to the fact that Christians were worshipping Jesus as God.