Monday, January 13, 2014

Justin and Trypho go on and on

It looks like the dialogue with Justin Martyr and Trypho goes on for about 150 chapters.  Yes I'm going to finish it.  I just might try to go through more of it at once.  It seems at this point that Justin has exhausted all his good arguments and now Trypho is just being argumentative for the sake of argument.  At this point, I think Justin should just go home and try to debate someone else.

But I applaud Justin for not giving up.  He sees something worth continuing the conversation for.  Just before section 50 and up to section 70, there is much circular argument and repetition, but the two bring up topics that I have noticed lately.

First, Justin points to John the Baptist as a concrete witness to Jesus being the Christ.  I read through the Gospels over Christmas season, and I noticed for the first time how much importance is placed on John the Baptist by all four writers.  Luke gives him a birth narrative.  Mark starts his gospel with John's ministry.  The other John starts his gospel with John the Baptist as a testimony to Jesus, showing that Jesus did not come on his own authority.  And of course, Matthew moves on to John's story shortly after Jesus's birth narrative.

It is wonderful to know that Jesus did not just come out of the woods one day with some message from golden tablets that no one could see.  He came from the nation of Israel based on the Word of God the Father and attested by many eyewitnesses, both believer and non-believer.  Peter himself says that they did not follow cleverly invented stories (2 Peter 1:16).  He really did see Jesus transfigured with James and John.  He really did see Jesus alive after he had been obviously killed.  In the same vein, this crazy guy in the desert who dresses in camel fur and never cuts his hair and eats bugs is some how attracting a crowd.  Jesus comes to him to be baptized, and John declares that he is God's Christ after he saw the Holy Spirit descend on Jesus like a dove.

The conversation moves on to some confusion.  I don't know if it is because English words change meaning throughout the years or if this is a bad translation provided by Philip Schaaf.  But the two guys get into a tiff about whether the Old Testament speaks of somebody other than God the Father who speaks to Moses and Abraham.  Justin affirms that he is another God.  Anyone who knows Jesus can say that Jesus is not a separate god from the Father.  They are the same Holy God.  He is however, a separate entity who has always ministered alongside the Father.  Justin or his translator simply use the wrong wording when describing this.  Jesus is not a separate god or demigod.  He is the full embodiment of Yahweh.  Yet, he and the Spirit are alongside the Father from eternity all carrying out God's will.

At the same time, Justin does cite the Angel of the Lord passages.  In Genesis 18 three angels come to Abraham to tell him and Sarah that they will bear a son the next year.  Soon, two angels walk off to investigate Sodom, but the third suddenly talks to Abraham and the text says, and God said.  This was not just an angel.  This was indeed Christ in the old testament taking on a human form to converse with Abraham.  Yes, the Angel of God in the Old Testament is Christ.  Christ is not an angel, but in a lose definition of "angel," he is this extra man who shows up and is clearly not just a man or an angel.  He is God.  He appears in Joshua 5 as the commander of the Lord's army.  He appears to Moses in the burning bush.  He appears to Hagar in the desert.  They all worship him, and he accepts that worship.  Angels in Revelation do not accept worship, but this guy does.  And these people are blessed.  He's Christ.

Justin also mentions the personification of Wisdom in Proverbs 8.  This is clearly describing Jesus who created the universe with the Father.  This is also a confusing passages as liberals cite it to say it is alright to refer to God in female terms.  Clearly wisdom is not to be personified as a woman named Sophia who held God's hand at creation.  But the description of her perfectly applies to Jesus who was the Word who created the heavens and earth.

Finally, Trypho brings up arguments that are popular today in 2014 but are certainly not new.  There has always been the controversy over whether Isaiah 7:14 refers to a virgin or a young woman.  I know Jesus and know that it refers to Mary who bore Jesus without having conceived him from a man.  She really was a virgin.  And the passage really can refer to a simple young woman regardless of her dating status.  Then he brings up myths such as Mithras, Bacchus, Hercules, etc.  They all claimed to be sons of god.  Their mothers claimed to be virgins.  They are completely different.  Mithras was formed from a rock and wasn't really born.  The women who bore Zeus's children were clearly inseminated by Zeus.  This was not the case with Mary.  God caused Jesus to grow from her egg without being conceived from a human father to show that he really was the Christ.  His mother bore him as a virgin, and that is how we know he is Jesus.

It just goes to show that New Age religion is never new.  Arguments that are scientifically laughable are still strong and have existed ever since Roman times.  They still do not change Christ and his verification by those signs or by the prophets.

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