Posts filed under ‘Trinity’

Proof #33: Contemplate the Crucifixion

So far, this proof has the most hollow understanding of the Trinity and the Atonement of anything I’ve read so far from Marshall Brain’s site. It also uses human logic to attempt to explain the divine. All human attempts to understand God are doomed to failure.

Let’s look at the Trinity and the Atonement briefly to understand why Brain’s introductry paragraph is fallacious. Having a better understanding of the Trinity and the Atonement will show that what Christians actually believe isn’t even close to what Brain writes in his sarcastic summary.

At its most basic premise, the doctrine of the Trinity states that Jesus, the Father, and the Holy Spirit are one of essence (that is, ontologically equal to one another) while being three separate persons (that is, functionally different in the roles that they fulfill). This means that they are all the same God, but they have manifested in different ways.

The obvious objection here is that I’m saying that they are the same, yet different. In a sense, that is exactly what I’m saying. The doctrine of the Trinity almost boils down to the fact that Father, Son, and Spirit are the same but different. This isn’t really an objection; it is more of an observation. The Trinity is a tough concept to explain in only a few words–entire books have been written on it–but the best way to do that is with an earthly example: water.

We can see steam, ice, and water as one substance. It is very clear that each has the same chemical makeup, but has very different properties. Ice is solid, water is liquid, and steam is gaseous. Though it may be somewhat of a mystery to us why this bit of matter can (or for that matter, does) exist perfectly in each state, understanding that it is the same matter no matter its state is not a problem for us.

So it is with the Trinity.  For a lengthier discussion, look here.  For a defense of the Trinity using the Old Testament, see here.

Even with a better understanding of the Trinity, that isn’t the only reason that Brain’s statement that Jesus really said, “Myself, Myself, why have I forsaken me?” on the cross is just plain stupid. Jesus was attempting to call attention to Psalm 22, the first line of which reads, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken me?” The rest of the Psalm contains an excellent description of Christ’s crucifixion.

Brain’s introductory paragraph also contains a very faulty understanding of the Atonement. First, the Atonement was necessary because of God’s wrath; this much Brain seems to have correct. God’s wrath must be understood side-by-side with His love, not in opposition to it. With that in mind, look at what happened when Adam and Eve first sinned. God immediately kills an animal and uses it to cover the pair (Gen 3:21). In Exodus and Deuteronomy, a system of animal sacrifice is set up. Why? Because there can be no forgiveness of sins without the shedding of blood (Heb 9:22). This is God’s wrath.

What we need is a sacrifice for all time that will cover every iniquity, and we find that in Christ’s atoning death on the cross. Predicted in Isaiah 53:5, Jesus was the perfect sacrifice (Heb 7:26-28) for our sins:

. . . for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. (Rom 3:23-26)

Paul goes on in Romans to say “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom 5:1). That’s the Atonement right there: Jesus lived a perfect life so that we don’t have to. His death was unfortunately necessary because without blood, no sins can be forgiven. Thanks to Christ, we may now draw near to God with confidence. Not presumptuously, not by our works, but clothed in the righteousness of Christ–in His work.

With that understanding, we can now see that Brain’s article is flawed in all respects.


February 11, 2008 at 6:23 am 6 comments

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