Who Owes Me Three Dollars?

June 23, 2008

Why I’m a Bi

Filed under: Uncategorized — ineedsheetmusic @ 8:34 pm

The tri-partite option hails from Greek philosophy. Oddly, Greek philosophers saw man quite naturally as a body and a spirit but felt compelled to introduce the soul as an intermediary element or agent to make possible a mutual or vital relationship between body and spirit. This trichotomy (another name for the tri-partite view) slipped into Christian theology like a trojan horse. Origen, Clement of Alexandria and Gregory of Nyssa all held to the tri-partite view. Though their implementations of trichotomy weren’t identical to each other or to that of the Greek philosophers, trichotomy was a fairly widespread view in the early church i.e. the third and fourth centuries A.D. Thanks to Apollinarius who employed this view and with it derived a seriously flawed Christology, the Christological debates which dominated this era resulted in the trichotomy position being abandoned. As well, Augustine among others challenged that view and gradually dichotomy held sway in the church pretty much without exception all the way well past the Reformation and even into the modern church.

The chair passage for the dichotomy position – and one that should settle the matter for any believer – is Gen 2:7: “And the Lord God formed man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul” (nephesh chayyah). This explicitly states the dichotomist position. There is no possible room for a third element. These words of Jesus himself offer more evidence, as if any was needed, for the dichotomist position. Matthew 10:28 “Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell“.

Again, consider this: Luke 1:46-47 “And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.” Agreeably, a virtual carbon of this verse, albeit with different context, is found in Isaiah 26:9 My soul yearns for you in the night; my spirit within me earnestly seeks you. For when your judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world learn righteousness. The side-by-side placement of the soul and spirit in these two instances clearly point out that scripture uses soul and spirit interchangeably. The soul and the spirit thus are two aspects – amongst several other aspects – of the immaterial portion of man.

Trichotomists resort to 1 Thessalonians 5:23 “Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.“and Hebrews 4:12 “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” Sadly, they ignore the rest of scripture and conclude that man is a tri-partite being. My own observation about the seemingly more difficult Hebrews passage is that this verse actually supports the dichotomist position. Why would it require a living, active and sharp sword to divide what ostensibly are already two parts of man’s being? Rather, this verse suggests the difficulty man has in sorting out the various aspects of the non-material portion of man’s makeup.

Enough of this for now. My next post will detail some of the bad things that result when the trichotomist position is held.

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June 16, 2008

Are you Bi ? Or are you Tri ?

Filed under: Uncategorized — ineedsheetmusic @ 6:03 pm

Or maybe you’re mono. What am I talking about, you ask? I am talking about a seemingly minor point of doctrine that in the case of a few of my readers (a quick check of my blog stats indicates that I do indeed have few readers) is so trivial and inconsequential that it really isn’t worth the time of day. But for me, having been fully indoctrinated into a teaching that [on further review] turns out to be very suspect, discovering the reformed teaching on this point has elevated this minor point into a cause celebre, if you will.

The doctrine of man, among other things, addresses the question: Is man a bi-partite being or a tri-partite being? Before diving in, I guess it is only fair to consider the mono option. You may be a mono in either of two ways. Atheists are mono in that they maintain that man, in fact everything in the universe, is physical. There is no immaterial thing whatever. On the other hand, the Hindoos (don’t you like the way they formerly spelled that word) maintain that man, indeed the entire universe, is entirely immaterial and the physical world is an illusion. [I could be corrected on that point, but it doesn’t matter – pun intended.]

But for the rest of us, the question comes down to this: Is man a bi-partite being or a tri-partite being? As you might guess, all the while I was in the pentecostal non-denomination world, I was told that man is a tri-partite being. Man consists of a body, a soul and a spirit. The Reformed position on this doctrine is that man consists of exactly two parts, the material and the immaterial. I will weigh in with a subsequent post. Meanwhile, comments are open for your thoughts.

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June 13, 2008

Movie Night

Filed under: Uncategorized — ineedsheetmusic @ 8:00 pm

As I reported a long while back, we hosted movie nights for seminarian friends from our church on alternate Sunday nights over the last 12 months. These are the movies we watched in no particular order:

Last of the Mohicans
3:10 to Yuma
Batman Returns
World’s Fastest Indian
Ground Hog Day
North By Northwest
Witness for the Prosecution
Quiet Man
Hot Rock
Billy Budd
The Rundown
Martin Luther
The Drunken Master
Harry Potter 1-4
Brother Wherefore Art Thou There Will Be Blood
Two Steven Spielberg Stories – The Mummy and The Train

Here’s my top five from the above list (in order)

  1. Billy Budd
  2. Witness for the Prosecution
  3. Brother Wherefore Art Thou
  4. World’s Fastest Indian
  5. Groundhog Day

Honorable mention: Tombstone, There Will Be Blood

Disappointments were the Harry Potter series, Last of the Mohicans, Gladiator

These are Deborah’s top five:

  1. Quiet Man
  2. Witness for the Prosecution
  3. Hot Rock
  4. Stardust
  5. Groundhog Day

Honorable mention: Brother Wherefore Art Thou

Disappointing was: Last of the Mohicans, There Will Be Blood

How could I not like the great bluegrass music in “Brother” and featured song “I Am a Man of Constant Sorrow” sorta resonates, ya know.

One thing to note is that of all these movies, only one appears on the so-called top 100 movies of all time. So it’s not like we are going to run out of material any time soon.

We are resuming movie nights again, but one thing that happened along the way was three pregnancies. So with all the little ones, it gets harder and harder for all to want to drag the babies out for a late night of fun and food.

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