TheTrinityDelusion for “Was God DEAD?”
Apparently, this guy has done “exhaustive research” on the Trinity and has come to the conclusion that the Trinity is some sort of lie created by the Devil to deceive people into believing Jesus was God-incarnate. He denies that Jesus pre-existed, he says Jesus was only a man, etc. What then does he do? He creates videos like these trying to show Trinitarians how their theology is actually Docetic or Nestorian. He’s read guys like Millard Erickson and James White but has very little acquaintance with the Church fathers it seems. This is quite problematic because much of what he assumes about Trinitarianism comes from their own errors regarding the Trinity which have absolutely nothing to do with classical Trinitarianism in and of itself!
Believe it or not, questions like these have been answered numerous times throughout the history of the Church. This video of his says to “define death however you like” so I am going to presume the orthodox view on death which asserts that upon his death, Christ ascended to Hades to save the souls departed in Hades. This is actually called the Harrowing of Hell and it is depicted quite a bit in Eastern Orthodox iconography. This Harrowing of Hell is only possible, by the way, if the one who died on the cross was actually God in the flesh. But to state that the “dead flesh” was Jesus or God the Son actually presumes an idea of death in which the soul is not unnaturally disconnected from the body. For the soul of course is meant to be connected and in union with the body. For that reason, we can state the dead flesh is in fact God-incarnate (or more specifically the body of God-incarnate). The scriptures state that Jesus “was already dead” (John 19:33) but for instance, even Christians who believe in the departing of the soul from the body upon death which is not the natural state and which is why there is a resurrection, often times speak of the dead bodies by the one who possessed whatever dead bodies. The same is true for all. So yes, the dead body on the cross was in fact God the Son. But this is just the starting point of Christian dualism which we can save for another topic since death can be defined however one likes. I presume though that what TheTrinityDelusion is taking issue with are the following texts:
Habakkuk 1:12 – You shall not die.
1 Timothy 6:16 – It is he alone who has immortality and dwells in unapproachable light
The error presumes a fallacy of equivocation as well as a mega misunderstanding of the incarnation of God. First off, in the incarnation, Jesus assumed humanity. Complete and perfect humanity. He was fully, 100% human. Many anti-Trinitarians, especially those who follow this guy and believe him to be an accurate source on “everything Trinity” have actually used texts which declare Jesus’s humanity to prove Trinitarians wrong. Jesus is both 100% God and 100% man. In the ancient church, a heresies crept up from controversies centering around the nature of Christ from both Nestorius who asserted Christ’s natures were split and in Apollinarius who asserted Christ had no human nature to which Gregory the Theologian is noted for proclaiming “the unassumed is unhealed” (in Orthodox Christianity, vol. 2, Alfeyev, 292). It was the Council of Ephesus that refuted Nestorius’s false teaching on the natures of Christ dividingthem into two natures and Chalcedon taught the neither of the natures weakened each other (295). In the teaching of St Gregory the Theologian, Christ is called “mortal” (288-289). Melito of Sardis states in unqualified terms “Godhas been murdered” (302). So yes, God died on the cross. But what about these other two verses?
In ancient patristic teaching, God has names which describe his qualities or energies. There are differentiated names and “undifferenced” names. Differentiated names describe only one member of the Trinity and undifferenced names refer to qualities belonging to all three (135). For instance, it would be heretical to say that the Father is the incarnated one. It would also be heretical to say the Son is the begetter or the proceeder for the title “begetter” can only refer to the Father and the title “proceeder” can only refer to the Holy Spirit. So likewise, “undying one” refers specifically to the Father and “mortal God” refers specifically to the Son. The Son of course, was immortal prior to the incarnation but the incarnation enabled him to assume mortality to his nature. So yes, God the Son died because he became a mortal being. And when he was resurrected, he was raised to immortal life in an immortal body.
The problem is that TheTrinityDelusion seems not to understand that Trinitarians believe that there are qualities belonging to specific members of the Trinity and thus presumes if a quality in classical theism is applied to God, then Trinitarians must assume the same thing about all three members. But only one member of the Trinity became incarnated. I remember asking Fr Kimel a while back why only a blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is considered unforgivable. What about the other two members? And he gave me quite a satisfactory answer–“I don’t know. How can only one of the members of the Trinity be incarnated as a man?” These are all mysteries of the Trinity which are unable to be grasped. If such questions could be easily answered, then we’d be heretics.
All of God died on the cross but the Trinity did not die on the cross for the Father and the Holy Spirit were clearly still alive while the Son was dead. This is because in the doctrine of the Trinity, the Son is wholly God, the Father is wholly God, the Holy Spirit is wholly God. They are not each other. This is why Mary is the Mother of God. She is not the Mother of the Trinity of course but because she is the Mother of God the Son, she is the Mother of all of God–just not the mother of the Father or the Holy Spirit. Only the Son can be said to be born of the Virgin, not the Father or the Holy Spirit.
TheTrinityDelusion likes reiterating how Trinitarians believe in “three who’s and one what”. This of course seems to be a distortion of classical Trinitarianism in favor of the bizarre misunderstandings of James White. The Trinity is of course a “who” and is “three who’s” at the same time. But to speak in such human terms of God is a blasphemy in and of itself. As St Augustine of Hippo claims,
But because with us the usage has already obtained, that by essence we understand the same thing which is understood by substance; we do not dare to say one essence, three substances, but one essence or substance and three persons: as many writers in Latin, who treat of these things, and are of authority, have said, in that they could not find any other more suitable way by which to enunciate in words that which they understood without words. For, in truth, as the Father is not the Son, and the Son is not the Father, and that Holy Spirit who is also called the gift of God is neither the Father nor the Son, certainly they are three. And so it is said plurally,I and my Father are one.For He has not said,is one,as the Sabellians say; but,are one.Yet, when the question is asked, What three? human language labors altogether under great poverty of speech. The answer, however, is given, threepersons,not that it might be [completely] spoken, but that it might not be left [wholly] unspoken. (On the Holy Trinity, Book 5, Ch. 9)