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" was given and sent by God," was God's heir," " received a kingdom,” &c. 'Plainly these passages distinguish between the father and son, and prove that there is a sense in which they are not identical; but it is equally plain that they do not overthrow the position of their essential unity. This reasoning may be put into logical form thus: major premiss_equals in nature and attributes and of a common substance, cannot send each other, cannot come forth the one from the other, cannot receive authority from each other, cannot sustain to cach other the relation of official inferiority and superiority, cannot choose, annoint, appoint, and be with each other; minor premiss-Christ was sent, chosen, annointed, was inferior, &c.; therefore Christ was not equal with the Father in nature and attributes, nor of the same essence.
This reasoning, as soon as it is really understood, falls by the weight of its own absurdity. The major premiss has no truth in it. Every one of the statements which it contains can be quite as well explained, if Christ be the second person of the Trinity, as if He be not. How does 1st John 2: 1, prove that Christ is not God?" We have an 'advocate with the Father Jesus Christ, the righteous.” Cannot the second person of the Trinity be an advocate with the first? Indeed we can use such language in reference to our own minds, and much more could we do it, if we possessed all the attributes necessary to three moral agents. We have an advocate with our Will, Reason, the righteous. Reason and Conscience are literally advocating, before the bar of Will the claims of righteousness, and pleading the cause of our present and everlasting happiness. How also does John 1:1, disprove Christ's deity? "In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and the word was God.” On our theory, how natural, beautiful, and satisfactory is the meaning of this passage! On the other theory, which passes it into the service of Unitarianism, how difficult the solution of the passage. One clause in the text, “ he was with God," must be taken to disprove another clause," he was God.” One thing asserted in the passage must be flatly denied to prove another.
The declaration of Christ, that He came out from God," on our theory, means that the divine essence, by one set of attributes, revealed Himself in the flesh—that Christ came from heaven the promised Messiah. On the theory of our author, this coming out from God refers to a time prior to the world's creation, when the Father begot the Son of Himself-when Christ issued from the Father by a sort of birth, becoming
thus God's only begotten Son--a son without a mother and without generation! This idea he illustrates by comparing it to the act of lighting one torch by another. Christ commended the disciples for believing that He came out from God," and declared that God loved them because of this faith, Jno. 16: 27. But can it be that those simple, unsophisticated disciples ever believed such a proposition as our author attaches to this language, and obtained thereby the favor of God? Most assuredly not.
No such notion was ever presented to them as an object of faith. They simply believed what the mass refused to credit, that Jesus was the Messiah whom God had sent into the world. We cannot admire the exegesis of our author any more than we can his logic. When Christ says “my Father is greater than I,” and “my Father who gave them me is greater than all," that is, all the enemies of his disciples who would pluck them from his hand, it is manifest he is making no comparison between his nature and that of his Father. The subject of discourse is the bestowment of gospel blessedness; and the comparison between Himself and his father is obviously with reference to the spheres they occupy in ministering to a lost world. The Father is the originator of the scheme of redemption, and Christ is appointed to execute the scheme, and hence, officially, occupies a post subordinate to that of the Father. We cannot follow our author in an examination of all the passages he has brought together, nor is it necessary to do so. The interpretations are all
made upon the assumption that there is no sense in which the one God can be three, which is the very question involved in the discussion. A thousand quotations made upon an hypothesis which begs the question are of no avail.
We propose now a direct argument from the Bible, for the supreme divinity of the Lord Jesus Christ.
We design to show that the supreme, self-existent Jehovah and God of the Bible, and the Lord Jesus Christ, are, in substance, identically the same Being.
I. Gen. 1: 1. “In the beginning God (Eloheim) created the heavens and the earth.” That this Eloheim was the supreme self-existent God of the universe, few will venture to question. When we read the passage we think of nothing else. Jehovah often refers his people to the creation, to confirm, in their minds, the conviction of his divinity.
Who then was this Eloheim? We answer, the Lord Jesus ; Christ. Col. 1: 16. “For by Him (Christ) were all things
created that are in heaven and in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones or dominions, or principalities or powers, all things were created by Him and for Him." Jno. 1: 3. "All things were made by Him." Verse 10. “The world was made by him.” Rev. 4: 11. 66 Thou hast created all things.” The comparison of these passages, taken in their natural and obvious sense, absolutely identifies the Eloheim of Genesis and the Lord Jesus Christ of the New Testament as the same Being.
But my Unitarian friend quotes Heb. 1: 2, and one other like passage, in which it is said, God created the world by Jesus Christ, and makes these two modify the four, in which Christ is declared to be the Creator. On our theory of the divine existence, all the passages are harmonious; for what one person does they all do by Him. Our interpretation of the two passages quoted by our author is, that the Father gave Christ the authority to create, and in that sense created the world by Him. Our author's interpretation is, that the Father's power as well as authority was wielded by Christ in the creation, and in that sense God created by Christ. To this interpretation we reply, that it is inconceivable and absurd to suppose that the power wbich Christ exercised in the creation was not bis own power, or that it was the delegated power of the Father. The world was created by the Creator's rolition, or by a series of volitions. He said " Let light be, and light was.” In other words, He willed that the world should come into being from nothing, and that volition caused its existence. Now volition is the will's act. Volition originates with and belongs to the agent who wills. The volition or act of one will cannot be transferred to another will. One will may copy, may will over again the volitions of another will; but the acts of each will must be its own. Now, we ask, whose volition was it which brought the world into existence, Christ's or the Father's? The Father's, says our author. Then, we reply, the Father did not create by Christ, for in truth the volition was the act of creation. . The creativesenergy was in that volition. If the Father was the agent who originated the volition, it is absurd to ascribe the creation to Christ, even as a delegate of the Father. We say, on the other hand, that the creative volition was Christ's as the great er number of passages affirm. And if so, Christ was the Creator, the God who made
the world, and we are driven to conclude that the sense in which God created the world by Christ, was that Christ did it in accordance with autboritz
given Him by the Father. This is doubtless the true view of the matter. It is common for us to say that we do what we'authorize another to do, but never do we mean by such language that our agency, our volition has been concerned in the production of the thing, in any other way than in giving authority to another who is the real producer.
Our author admits that Christ was really the maker of heaven and earth, though wielding the Father's power. This is enough to establish from the creation the eternal power and God-head of the Creator. The greatness and skill of a specimen of workmanship can only testify to the greatness and skill of the being who produced it. If then Christ created the world, no matter by whose power, it is to his eternity and supreme divinity that the creation bears witness. In this application of Paul's expression, for which we are indebted to a friend, we think there is very great force. We see not how those who admit Christ to have been the creator, in any sense, can escape the conclusion that He is the eternal God.
II. In the history of the deliverance of the Israelites from Egypt, we have the self-existent JEHOVAH manifesting Himself to Moses. He says to him from the consumeless burning bush, (Ex. 3. 6) “I am the God of thy fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob." To this same Being who announces Himself to him, Moses puts this categorical question, (v. 3) “ Behold, when I come unto the Children of Israel, and shall say unto them, the God of your fathers hath sent me unto you, and they shall unto me, what is his name? What shall I say unto them?" To this question he receives this direct and unequivocal answer, (v. 14) "I AM THAT I Am:" and He said, " Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I am hath sent me unto you.” There is no passage in the Bible which so well establishes God's self-existence as this. But the divine speaker proceeds with his
answer, 66 Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, The Lord God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob hath sent me unto you: this is my name forever, and this is my memorial unto all generations.” Twice more does this same Being, in this interview with Moses, declare Himself to be the Lord God, the JEHOVAH, ELOHEIM, of their fathers. Moses is receiving á great commission, and feels a deep necessity of knowing who has appeared to him. The divine Being sees the necessity of confirming Moses for the work before him, and hence the
remarkable particularity and fulness with which God reveals Himself to his servant. He could " endure by seeing Him who is invisible” alone, in the mighty and difficult enterprise of Israel's emancipation. Still farther on, (chap. 6: 2) this same I am says to Moses again, lest doubt and fear should cripple his fuiure efforts, “ I am Jehovah: and I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac and unto Jacob, by the name of God Almighty; but by my name JEHOVAH was I not known unto them
Wherefore say unto the children of Israel, I am JEHOVAH, and I will bring you out from under the burden of the Egyptians, and I will rid you of their bondage:
and ye shall know that I am the Lord your God—your JEHOVAH and ELOHEIM—which bring. eth you out from under the burden of the Egyptians. And I will bring you into the land concerning the which I did swear to give it to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob; and I will give it to you for an heritage: I am JEHOVAH."
This same Being who has thus introduced Himself to Moses, conducts this whole enterprise, and leads the people out according to his promise already quoted. He accompanies them in a pillar of cloud by day and of fire by night. He was the being who made that covenant with Abraham which Paul calls God's covenant. Gal. 3: 17, 18. He was the same Being who, in Deut. 4: 35, is said to be JEHOVAH, God, beside whom there is none else. He was the same who is praised by the Psalmist, (89: 8), as the Lord God of hosts; and iu the 99th psalm, of the same Beingit is said, “The Lord reigneth. Exalt ye the Lord our God, and worship at his footstool; for He is holy. He spake unto them in the cloudy pillar."
Now we ask, does any one, save our author, doubt whether this being, ELOHEIM, JEHOVAH, God almighty, I am, and the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, beside whom there is none else, was the supreme God of the universe? It were folly and madness to deny it. There is no supreme God revealed in the Bible, if this be not that Being. The man who doubts here ought to be classed with the ancient Gnostics, who did not believe that the God of the Hebrews was the supreme God.
But who was this Being? Was He the very identical Being who afterwards became incarnate, and was known in the flesh as the Son of God, the Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ? That He was we have no doubt.
In the first place then, this same Being is called, (Ex. 3: 2)