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Metzger on the Divinity of Christ

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Back in 2005, I found a page authored by Bruce Metzger entitled “On the Deity of Christ.” But then I forgot about it until a few days ago when I was going through my old Bible Notes and found an entry that linked to the article. It is such a precious page that not only did I download a copy of it, but I now make a proper presentation of it here at the Mystical Geek.

Bruce Metzger was the Dean of New Testament textual critics. Textual criticism is that discipline which ascertains the originality of a biblical text. He is responsible for the Greek text now used by the United Bible Societies in translations of the New Testament. In the internet, one would find that his name is associated with an alleged controversy — that of the primacy of the Greek New Testament against the Aramaic New Testament. For those who think rightly there is no such controversy: the New Testament was originally written in Greek.

The article that is the real purpose of this blog is something on the deity of Christ. Bruce Metzger wrote it with the Jehovah’s Witnesses in mind and their Bible translation, the New World Translation. It is also a translation that our local Iglesya ni Manalo use since the Christ they profess is based on the one that the Jehovah’s witnesses proclaim. Both subscribe to the Arian teaching that Christ is a creature of God.

Below is an outline of the article:

  1. The Deity of Christ in Scriptures
    • the confession of Thomas
    • Stephen prayed to Jesus
    • In Paul
    • the claim of Jesus (I and the Father are one)
  2. the doctrine of the Trinity
    1. What is said of God in the OT is applied to Christ in the NT
    2. Mistranslations of the New World Translation
      • John 1,1
      • Col. 1:15-17
      • Philippians 2:6
      • Titus 2:13
      • 2 Peter 1:1
      • Revelations 3:14
    3. The Subordination of the Son
      • John 14:28
      • “Modes of Operation”
      • God is Love
    4. The Unity of the Triune God
  3. “In Christ”
    • Only God can redeem man
    • Partakers of the Divine Nature (2 Peter 1:4)

The article, as you can see, not only deals with the Divine Nature of Christ but also of the Trinity which sects like the Jehovah’s witness and the Iglesya ni Manalo do not subscribe to.

Apart from the biblical texts adduced by Metzger, he also points out the mistranslations in the New World Translation and shows how these are erroneous based on the principles of Greek grammar and syntax. More importantly however is the theological argument: if Christ is not God but a creature dying on the cross, then humanity was never redeemed. The argument he uses here is the one even Catholics are familiar with — the one formulated by Anselm Canterbury in Cur Deus Homo? (Why a God-Man?).

Only God could die to redeem the human race from the natural result of sin–eternal death. An angel would not do–neither would you or me or anyone else–NOBODY COULD REDEEM MAN EXCEPT THE CREATOR. The reason for this is simple. It was God’s law and government that were attacked by Lucifer before the creation of the world. It was God’s law that had been broken. Only the death of Someone equal to or greater than the law could ransom those lost in sin.

This is BASIC to a correct understanding of the atonement. The Bible says that sin is the transgression of the law (1 John 3:4). None but the Son of God could accomplish our redemption; for only He who was in the bosom of the Father could declare Him. Only He who knew the height and depth of the love of God could make it manifest. Nothing less than the infinite sacrifice made by Christ in behalf of fallen man could express the Father’s love to lost humanity. Only the LAMB OF GOD could take away the sin of the world.

Metzger’s article can be found at Digilander

About Bruce Metzger

Originally posted 2011-01-29 20:10:34. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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