Roger Perkins Responds to Alan Kurschner's Recent Blog Article on Hebrews 1:3

Comments by Kurschner in orange followed by Perkins' comments in black.

12/23/2011 - Alan Kurschner“He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature [kai charaktēr tēs hypostaseōs autou] and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,” (Heb 1:3 ESV)

First, a word about the spiral nature of hermeneutics that most Trinitarians overlook in their "Exegesis". Proper hermeneutics works from the macroscopic to the microscopic. That is, the avid Bible student begins with the overall genre of a book (Macro) and from there funnels down to specific passages (Micro), never forgetting the overall purpose of the book.

The book of Hebrews was addressed to Jewish Christians so wrapped up in OT Judaism that, evidently, some were wanting to return to their old tradition including animal sacrifices (E.G., 10:26). This is the very reason the writer repeatedly appeals to the OT in buttressing his doctrinal posture. Virtually all Trinitarian apologists state that the OT standing alone does not support the Trinity doctrine, and I would argue neither does the NT which was written by Jewish hands (save Luke, who was most likely a proselyte Jew). The overriding point is that if these Jewish-Christians were so wrapped up in OT prescriptions that they were wanting to revert back to animal sacrifices...do we honestly believe they were worshipping a "2nd of 3 divine individuals" never once presented in the same OT the writer appeals to? Me thinks not!

Secondly, who was "the Son" in the immediate context of Heb. 1? None other than the one through whom God spoke in "these last days," clearly referring to the Messiah who traversed this Earth as God manifest in the flesh. Yet, it would be incredible to think that God never spoke through a "second-divine-co-eternal-individual" for all of eternity, but reserved such communication until a mere 2,000 years ago? It is from this premise that the writer begins his entire work. The Son is identified in Hebrews as speaking only in these last days, the express image of God, inherited a superior name, begotten into the world "today," anointed by His "God," has companions, etc. ad nauseum. Clearly, a "Pre-existent 2nd divine individual" is entirely foreign to the writer's notion of "the Son".

Now to the phrase "express image". Moulton & Milligan, pg. 683, concludes this term as "an exact reproduction". Various lexicographers conclude the same general meaning with a few similar variables. More about this definition, as well as the tense used in this passage below.....

The author of Hebrews expands on describing the Son's radiance of the glory of God by ascribing to the Son, "the exact imprint of [God's] nature." The Greek expression used is highly significant: "charaktēr tēs hypostaseōs autou." This statement about the Son being the exact representation of the essence of God tells us two things about the Son: (1) He is divine,

The Son is the one OT Yahweh in flesh, so of course He's Divine in this sense. Problem is, He's NEVER identified in Holy Writ as a "2nd Divine-Individual, apart from 2 other Divine-Individuals, each with their own separate center of consciousness". Secondly, an imprint or reproduction is not the thing that it is a reproduction of...in this case the invisible God. The term translated "exact imprint" connotes that which is tangible and visible....not invisible. Hence, it is clear that some sort of body is in view here, which precisely our position relative to the Son of God and only advances the argument!

and (2) is distinguished from another person (the Father in this case) because he shares in—represents—the same nature as another person.

Ahhh yes, the presuppositions are coming through nicely now aren't they? Here, we have an indirect admission in belief in "distinguished" "divinity," with the modification (& invention) of "persons" in order to circumvent the glaringly obvious lean toward Tritheism. Thankfully, we Oneness folks don't have to add to the Scriptures like this in order to force our doctrine into a text that never acknowledges the same. Interestingly here, it is said that the supposed divine persons "share" the nature of God, which immediately raises questions as to exactly which "person" would be "the Almighty" or "the Supreme Deity" since they all "share" the same nature? Again, thankfully Oneness believers do not have to wrestle with such conundrums inherent within such unbiblical notions.

For if the Son were the Father, it would be strange, if not illogical, to speak of him as the representation of God's nature.

In the first place, I don't know a Oneness believer on Earth who confesses "the Son IS the Father". This is a complete straw-man tactic either ignorantly (at best) or dishonestly (at worst) used to attack the Biblical message of the Mighty God in Christ (2 Cor. 5:19; Jn. 14:10). I will give this writer the benefit of the doubt & assume the former. What is "strange" & "illogical" is the idea that, in His present heavenly state (note the present tense "IS the exact imprint") the supposed "2nd divine individual" is a "reproduction" of the supposed "1st divine individual"? Who is representing the "2nd & 3rd divine individuals" in Heaven?? If co-equal, wouldn't they need a representative as well, especially in light of the Trinitarian doctrine of "Perichoresis" (Intermingling)? Strange this is not at all the notion presented to us in the Revelation 22:3-4. Think I'll stick with the Bible.

There are two persons in view here, not one.

Assumption stated as fact. There are 2 states of existence: The One Yahweh in His Transcendent existence, outside of the Incarnation, and this self-same God within the self-imposed limitations of the Incarnation...as "the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of His BEING (NIV)". One God, 2 simultaneous offices of existence...not "2 divine-individuals, each with their own separate center of consciousness".

Moreover, the last statement in this verse, "he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high," demonstrates two co-existing persons.

The phrase "sat down" simply connotes the finished work of Christ, the Messiah, in contrast to those priests who "stood daily" (E.G., Heb. 10:11-12). The term "Right Hand" is simply a Jewish idiomatic expression (which the Hebrew believers would readily pick up on) denoting mediatorship, glory and the place of authority....all of which the Messiah occupies. The verse knows nothing of "divine individuals in the Trinity" and the text standing alone will never support such a notion despite the desperate attempts to force it into the Bible.

Therefore the Son cannot be identified as the Father.

Again, we do not confess this, but, whom the Son is equally never identified as is a "2nd of 3 divine-individuals, each with their own separate center of consciousness...entirely unknown throughout 4,000 years of Hebrew revelation". "Illogical" indeed!


Anonymous said...

Bro. Anderson:

Bro. Perkins says "In the first place, I don't know a Oneness believer on Earth who confesses 'the Son IS the Father'".

I, being Oneness, understand what Bro. Perkins is saying here, but I don't think it adequately addresses the assertion by the trinitarian that the Son is not the Father. The trinitarian would likely not grasp the simple statement "The Son is not the Father". It would probably cause more confusion than clarity.

I don't think Bro. Perkins is insinuating that Oneness adherents shy away from confessing Jesus Christ as their Father, but I hope he would clear up the statement "The Son is not the Father".

I do believe the Son is the Father - in Person, but not in function. He who was manifested in flesh is the Father. I would never tell a trinitarian any differently, but I would also make sure to clarify the issue.

John Sacker

Global Impact Ministries said...

I believe that brother Perkins is simply underlining the fact that Oneness Theology does not deny the distinction between the Father and the Son. While the Son is not God the Father as God the Father, the Son is God the Father with us as a true man. For our omnipresent Heavenly Father also became a true man in the incarnation through the virgin. I have posted free books, articles, and videos on the subject in great detail on my website at ApostolicChristianFaith.com

In His Love,
Brother Ritchie

Adversus Trinitas

"...unless you believe that I am he you will die in your sins." (John 8:24 ESV)