Tuesday, March 27, 2012


In human self-understanding, what makes sense philosophically, religiously, or relationally, is always human-friendly. In fact, if it’s not, it’s probably a deception. By human-friendly, I mean in sync with our human nature as created by God. No matter how clever it sounds, any belief that conflicts with our basic humanness, or contradicts our corporate experience of being human, is never of divine origin. It might even be demonic.

Bottom-line, we are creatures of body and spirit. We are not bodies with a spirit or spirits in a body—not two separate dimensions of personal being somehow pasted together. We are body-spirit beings: an intrinsically interpenetrating amalgamation of both. It’s our human nature in this life (Genesis 2:7). It’s our future destiny in resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:51-53).

Some may exalt the materialistic view of humanity preached dogmatically by scientism, but no one really laughs or loves or lives that way. Our minds and souls are spiritual entities, not merely chemical processes of matter. Others may adopt a pantheistic monism, where “all is one,” and try to imagine that any perceived variation in personal choices, emotional feelings, and bodily experiences is nothing more than maya, an illusion. Again, none can conscientiously hold such a belief and at the same time act authentically in satisfying hunger, working a job, creating art, enjoying a friend, seeking comfort, fleeing pain, grieving loss, or crying for justice. Life as maya is definitely not human-friendly. Nor is Gnosticism, that ancient, but lately re-popularized philosophical system that divides body and spirit. Denigrating the material world as evil baggage, and positing ultimate value in spiritual existence alone, creates a Jekyll-Hyde split personality in human self-perception. Such dualistic thinking treats our physical embodiment as a nightmare. But in real life, if we listen to our heart of hearts, all of us feel quite at home in human flesh.

At root, all these beliefs are foreign to what we—as body-spirit beings—know personally. None are friendly to gut-level humanness. None arise from within natural human experience. All are foreign, imposed from without, philosophically, religiously, superstitiously, but often eloquently. To gain greater credibility, modern proponents of these creeds may offer alternative interpretations of the Bible to support their ideas. Don’t be fooled. From Genesis to Revelation, the Scriptures are incarnational.

Christ’s Incarnation is the reason I look to human-friendliness as the ultimate standard for evaluating any belief system about humanity. That our Maker became a true Human is central to the Christian faith. It’s the best news the human race could ever receive.

Let the many prospects of God’s Human Incarnation become your meditation. Contemplate deeply its significance for the fulfillment of humanity’s holiest dreams and highest destiny. One by one, you’ll abandon every human-unfriendly belief you ever held. You’ll find that Truth is a Person, as you embrace Jesus Christ, the resurrected God-Man. You’ll discover the ultimate condition for human self-acceptance, as our loving, personal Creator embraces you.

Thursday, March 1, 2012


A couple years out of Bible College, for a short time, I questioned the doctrine of the Trinity. My doubts led me into an intense study to see if Jesus and the Holy were ever called Yahweh (Jehovah) in the Bible. If so, then the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit would all three be the great “I AM” of Exodus 3:14, as well as the “US” of the Godhead Who said, “Let us make man in our image...” (Genesis 1:26). It could not logically be otherwise, if Yahweh is God.

My investigation was extremely complicated. Following Jewish tradition, most translations of the Old Testament (OT) substitute “LORD” for Yahweh, but spell it “Lord,” if the Hebrew word adonai, (a lord or ruler) is used as a name for God. However, when the New Testament (NT) quotes the OT, both Yahweh and adonai become only the Greek word kurios (a lord or ruler). To find if Jesus and the Holy Spirit are ever called Yahweh, the NT must attribute the name kurios to them in the context of a quote from the OT, AND the kurios referred to in the quote must, in the original Hebrew text, be God’s name Yahweh, not adonai, which could mean only a ruler.

There were no personal computers at this time, so my research depended on many hours of wading through the pages of Strong’s Concordance. But at last, in Romans 10:9-13, I had my first success! There, Jesus is called kurios (“Lord”), and the significance of that title is directly explained by a quote from Joel 2:32, where the NT translation kurios means Yahweh (“LORD”) in the original language. This proved the deity of Jesus. I was totally thrilled!

But what about the Holy Spirit? It took less time for a similar thrill! In 2 Corinthians 3:12-18, the Holy Spirit is called kurios (“Lord”) not once but twice (vs. 17-18). But which kurios is Paul talking about, Yahweh or adonai, a ruling lord? The passage refers to the OT story about Moses removing his veil upon entering the presence of “the LORD.” In 2 Corinthians, it's kurios; in Exodus 34:34 it's Yahweh. No adonai anywhere in the context. This completed my study and forever confirmed my faith in the Christian doctrine of the Trinitarian nature of God.

I admit, it was a complicated study, and perhaps hard to follow. But after doing this research, I realized I could have saved myself the trouble. In Matthew 28:19, where Jesus instructs the disciples to baptize converts, He says to do so “in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” All three have one name. The Father is fully Yahweh, the Son is fully Yahweh, the Spirit is fully Yahweh. God is a Trinity. I wrote up my findings into a tract called, “WATCH OUT! Are You Truly Jehovah’s Witness?” It was published by Gospel Outreach of Northern California, back in the heyday of the Jesus’ People Movement.

Many years later, I thought of another argument to support a Trinitarian theology. It’s based in logical reasoning, less complicated and easier to explain. In a later blog, I hope to share it and another very interesting one that I’ve thought about recently. I may even mention a third.