Thanks again for your willingness to engage in this discussion.
I would however appreciate it if you would directly address the issues that stand between us.
In the context of what we are discussing it is almost frivolous to discuss matters that do not bear on the central issue. I hope to address your errors about prophecy and sin only so that you don’t take my silence as agreement – but first I’d rather clear up the main issue.
We are discussing idolatry. You seem to be under the impression that I am opposed to the concept of the incarnation because it might LEAD TO idolatry.
No! That is not what disturbs me about the incarnation claim at all.
The incarnation claim IS idolatry. Claiming that a man is somehow divine and thus worthy of worship is idolatry itself.
You state that you have no desire to “compel” people to worship Jesus – “Suffice” it that they worship the Father “This pleases the son” – you say. You do however condone worship of the son. You consider worship of the Father “sufficient” – and you swallow it because it pleases the object of your adoration – namely “the son”.
This is idolatry.
In response to this charge you presented several statements
1) That if man could become like God than God reciprocated with the “counter reality of becoming like man”
2) Then you argue that if God could create man in His image why would He despise the qualities of man.
3) You state “While we know the concept is not an impossibility.”
There are two different tracks that I could utilize to demonstrate your error. I could demonstrate to you why saying that God “became man” is as impossible as saying that a square is a circle, that sin is righteousness, that up is down and that cruelty is kindness. In the context of worship; God and man are more contradictory than any of these. (In other words the concept IS an impossibility.)
But I will not choose that track now (I have written extensively on this subject on my blog). Instead I will approach the issue from the angle of Scripture.
The purpose of the Sinai revelation was to teach us who to worship and who not to worship (Deuteronomy 4:15). This is explicitly declared in Scripture.
So how can you condone a worship other than the one our ancestors were taught at Sinai? Is this not the most direct violation of the covenant that was sealed with the Jewish people at Sinai?
And on what basis do you want to condone this worship? On the basis of your own imaginative piecing together of some Scriptural concepts (none of which are introduced by the Author of Scripture as teachings on worship). How could you pit your own speculations against the explicit word of God?
Note: God did not say that He will become like man – it is you who decided to read that idea into Scripture. Note: When Scripture says that man has become like God it is not giving legitimacy to worship of man (– I hope you agree), so this whole comparison of God to man or vice versa is completely unrelated to worship – for you to decide that these concepts have a bearing on the matter of worship is again – your speculation.
I read your comments to Annelise on your blog explaining your position. Your argument about Jesus not being a prophet because he never claimed to be one – then using this as a loophole to thus bypass the duty of Israel to apply the Scriptural criterion for a prophet to his claims – is fallacious for several reasons. I will state one here.
The point of Deuteronomy 13:2 is not that when someone wants the specific title “prophet” then we are instructed to apply certain criteria to him or her. If that were the case then your argument that Jesus said (or implied over a long period of time): Aha! I am not claiming to be a prophet so Deuteronomy 13 doesn’t apply to me! – would perhaps be something to talk about. But you seem to have missed the point about Deuteronomy 13. It is not about the title “prophet”. It is about loving God. The point of the passage is that no miracle no matter how spectacular can move that love. God set us on a path at Sinai – and no miracle should budge us from that path. This is the point of Deuteronomy 13 and it is a directive to reject anyone who would condone worship of one that we did not encounter at Sinai.
Your argument that since the resurrection of Jesus was performed by Jesus himself so this sets it apart from any other miracle – is without Scriptural foundation. Deuteronomy 13 does not qualify the miracle that we are to disregard. It is your own reasoning that produced this distinction. The human mind is agile enough to produce such distinctions for any miracle – rendering the commandment meaningless.
(This aside from the fact that the argument itself is meaningless – if a false prophet can pull off the resurrection of someone other than himself so who said that Jesus wasn’t working with someone else who resurrected him? Furthermore; Matthew throws in a whole bunch of unaided resurrections at the time of Jesus’ death – were they all gods?)
The criteria that you are willing to apply to Jesus and Paul is that their message be aligned with the message of previous prophets. The mere fact that their message condones worship of a man tells us that their message does not align with the heart and core of the Jewish Scriptures – so they would have to be discounted even according to your own standard.
Even putting the issue of worship aside – their message conflicts with so much of Scripture – so even if you don’t understand how Jesus’ message contravenes the first two of the Ten Commandments – but don’t you see how it contravenes the general message of Scripture on the issues of atonement, observance of the Law and on the issue of the Messianic era?
In closing – I will again respectfully request that you stick to the central issue – idolatry. Again, to reiterate. God Himself taught our nation who it is that we are to worship and who it is that we are not to worship. This was done clearly and openly. This is by definition the core of our covenantal relationship with God. How then can you expect us to consider a teaching which condones a worship that God Himself instructed us to avoid?
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Yisroel C. Blumenthal