Does 'the Son' mean 'the flesh' of Jesus of Nazareth?

'Oneness' Pentecostals (sometimes) define 'the Son' as 'the flesh' (humanity) of Jesus of Nazareth, and 'the Father' as the divine spirit who (sometimes) indwells him. But not only 'Oneness' Pentecostals:

  • "The Father is the one and only God of Abraham, beside whom there are no other Gods. . .
  • "The Son is none other than the historical person Jesus of Nazareth, who personally reveals the word and will of this one God: in him the one true God is really manifest, present and effective.
  • "The Spirit is the holy emanation, might and power of God and Jesus Christ who is exalted to him, which is effective in the believer and in the community of faith and which makes all human beings the sons and daughters of God. Thus the Spirit is not a third party between God and human beings but is none other than God himself, God's powerful spiritual presence and reality."
  • (Hans Kung, Islam, Past, Present and Future, pp. 312-315)

So they say. But is the 'Son'='flesh' theory Biblically viable?

Return to Answering 'Oneness' Pentecostalism...

'Oneness' Revised Fleshy Version

Confronted with the 'I-thou' relation of love between Father and Son depicted in the gospels, 'Oneness' Pentecostals define 'the Son' to mean 'the flesh' of the incarnation. 'Flesh,' by synecdoche: substituting the part for the whole,- means the humanity of Jesus of Nazareth. 'The Father' they understand to mean Jesus' divine Spirit.

It's easy enough to test a definition to see whether it's accurate; simply substitute the proposed definition for the term to be defined, and see if it 'fits'. So let's go:

The Bible: "But to the Son He says: 'Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; A scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your kingdom.'" (Hebrews 1:8).

Fleshy Revised Version: 'But to the Flesh He says, 'Your throne, O Flesh, is forever and ever...'

The Bible: "...that all should honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him." (John 5:23).

Fleshy Revised Version: '...that all should honor the Flesh just as they honor the Father.  He who does not honor the Flesh does not honor the Father who sent him.' Honor the Flesh? Not very consistent with saying, "It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing." (John 6:63), or "...that no flesh should glory in His presence." (1 Corinthians 1:29).

The Bible: "And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us an understanding, that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ.  This is the true God and eternal life." (1 John 5:20).  We learn here that "the Son of God" is eternal God.

Revised Fleshy Version: 'And we know that the Flesh of God has come and has given us an understanding, that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Flesh Jesus Christ.  Said Flesh is the true God and eternal life.'

So does it work? Well, no. Yet our test should have worked if this definition of 'the Son' were accurate. Encountering an unfamiliar term,- say 'myocardial infarction',-- one can test out a hypothesized definition,- say 'swimming pool',-- by substitution.  Let's try: 'The patient suffered a myocardial infarction and was pronounced dead at the hospital'.  Hmm...'The patient suffered a 'swimming pool' and was pronounced dead'? No good! Likewise, Bible readers must admit that 'the flesh' is not what the Bible means when it speaks of 'the Son', when substituting yields gibberish. The proposed definition fails in these instances.

Flight into Egypt

The First Commandment: Worship only God

The Bible is emphatic that only God is to be worshipped: "Jesus answered him, 'The first of all the commandments is: "Hear, O Israel, the LORD our God, the LORD is one. And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength."'" (Mark 12:29). Worshipping the creature is idolatry: "...who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen." (Romans 1:25).

But wait: Jesus explicitly commands that we worship the Son: "...that all should honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him." (John 5:23).

Even the angels are commanded to worship the Son: "But when He again brings the firstborn into the world, He says:' Let all the angels of God worship Him.'" (Hebrews 1:6).

If we bifurcate Jesus into His two component parts of Deity and humanity, and then demand that the humanity as such be worshipped, how can we escape the charge of idolatry? Worshipping a mere man is explicitly condemned: "Do not put your trust in princes, nor in a son of man, in whom there is no help." (Psalm 146:3); "...'Because your heart is lifted up, And you say, "I am a god, I sit in the seat of gods, In the midst of the seas," Yet you are a man, and not a god, Though you set your heart as the heart of a god'...Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: 'Because you have set your heart as the heart of a god, Behold, therefore, I will bring strangers against you, The most terrible of the nations; And they shall draw their swords against the beauty of your wisdom, And defile your splendor.'" (Ezekiel 28:1-7).

'Oneness' Pentecostals loudly object to the term 'God the Son', yet the plain fact is, if the Son is not God, He cannot lawfully be worshipped...and the Bible demands that He be! Even the 'Oneness' Pentecostals seem to aware of the appalling implications of this lethal definition, which annihilates the eternal Deity of 'the Son'. This is why they resort to it only on an 'as needed' basis, even denying on other occasions that they so understand 'the Son'. They treat it as one would a radioactive substance like plutonium, carefully returning it to its box after each use. Yet they can't stop taking it out of its box on occasion, having no other way to get around the 'I-thou' fellowship of love presented in the gospels.

Secret Key to the Scriptures

The Bible nowhere supplies this unheard-of definition. Indeed, the overwhelming majority of diligent Bible students down through the centuries have never even guessed that 'the Son' was supposed to mean Jesus' 'flesh' and 'the Father' His Spirit.

Can it be found by looking in a dictionary? Is it, after all, common usage for our spirit to call our flesh 'My beloved Son', and our flesh to cry out to our spirit, 'O my Father'? Well, not exactly. Nor is it commended in etiquette books for us to introduce our flesh and our spirit under different names, as in 'How do you do, my spirit is named Ernestine, but my flesh is called Imelda.'

Nor is it self-evident that 'the Son' intends to refer to 'the humanity'...any more than 'the Father', a correlative term, intends to do so.  After all, fathers and sons are generally of the same stock, not of altogether different natures.  Nor did Jesus' hearers understand His calling Himself 'the Son' to imply subservience or inferiority, to the contrary: "Therefore the Jews sought all the more to kill Him, because He not only broke the Sabbath, but also said that God was His Father, making Himself equal with God." (John 5:18).

If one cannot find this definition in the Bible, nor in the dictionary, then where can it be found? Only by hearing it from a 'Oneness' Pentecostal...who heard it from another 'Oneness' Pentecostal, going back to the point of origin in 1913.  It is, in short, a 'secret key to the scripture'; a table of occult definitions for Biblical words, man-made doctrine in its purest form.

Manifest in the Flesh

When challenged to show where the Bible presents their patented definition, 'Oneness' Pentecostals present 1 Timothy 3:16: "And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifested in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen by angels, preached among the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up in glory." On the plus side, this stab at a Biblical definition does contain one of the terms they seek to unite, 'the flesh'.

But scripture makes it clear it was 'the Son' who was manifest, not that 'the Son' is the very flesh in which God was manifest: "...For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil." (1 John 3:8).

The Bible says that the Son came in the flesh: "For many deceivers have gone out into the world who do not confess Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist." (2 John 1:7).  Strange proof-texts to offer for the theory that 'the Son' means 'the flesh'! May I offer examples of their procedure:

'General Patton came in a tank'
equates to
'General Patton' means 'a tank'.

But if 'General Patton' means 'a tank', then who is it who came in the tank? 'General Patton' cannot both be the one who came in a tank, and the very tank he came in.

'Queen Elizabeth came in a red dress'
equates to
'Queen Elizabeth' means 'a red dress'.

But if 'Queen Elizabeth' means 'a red dress', then who is it who came in the red dress?

Since the One who came in the flesh cannot also be the very flesh in which He came, the Bible fact of the Son's advent in the flesh can scarcely help the cause.

One Throne in Heaven
Play the Race Card

Pluto and Antares

According to the scriptures, Jesus Christ has two natures, human and divine. He is both man and God:

Two Natures

Thus the Bible teaches. But the Bible does not teach that one of Christ's two natures is called 'the Father', and the other 'the Son'!  Nevertheless, when Bible-believing Christians question the novel definitions at the heart of 'Oneness' Pentecostalism, 'Oneness' Pentecostals accuse them of denying...that the Son has two natures! They would like to bundle the orthodox doctrine of 'two natures' together with their novel definitions and offer it to customers on a 'take-it-or-leave-it' basis.

As an example of this logic, let us envision an unorthodox astronomer who proposes: 'a.) the earth revolves around the sun, and b.) the sun is called 'Antares', and the earth is called 'Pluto'.' When the puzzled hearer responds, 'but the sun is not called 'Antares', nor the earth 'Pluto'', the theorist triumphantly shouts, 'Aha! So you deny that the earth revolves around the sun!' But surely one can reject the unheard-of and erroneous definitions of b.) without rejecting the accurate facts depicted in a.)!

Christians have traditionally affirmed, with the Bible, that Jesus Christ is both man and God. He is true God, before the ages with the Father: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. " (John 1:1) - and in the fulness of time, He took on our nature, becoming true man: "Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. " (Hebrews 2:14-15).  This is why Christians affirm that He has two natures, human and divine.  There is, of course, not one hint in the Bible that His human nature is called 'the Son', nor that His divine nature is called 'the Father'...any more than the sun is called 'Antares' or the earth 'Pluto'!  Just so:

a.) The earth revolves around the sun [true], and
b.) the sun is called 'Antares' and the earth is called 'Pluto' [false];
a.) Jesus Christ has two natures, human and divine [true], and
b.) the human nature is called 'the Son' and the divine nature is called 'the Father' [false].


Because it's so easy to produce Bible verses where 'the Son' cannot mean 'the flesh', yet the 'Oneness' Pentecostals have no other way to get out of the implications of the 'I-thou' relation between Father and Son presented in the gospels, 'Oneness' writers go into a blur of constant motion, hoping that no one can hit a moving target.  David Bernard, for one, whirls around a spinning merry-go-round where 'the Son' can mean 'the flesh'...or wait, maybe it means 'the Father'...or anything in between: "The title of Son sometimes focuses solely on the humanity of Christ, as in 'the death of His Son' (Romans 5:10).  Sometimes it encompasses both His deity and humanity, as in 'Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven' (Matthew 26:64)." (Oneness and Trinity A.D. 100-300, by David K. Bernard).  So the 'Oneness' Pentecostals make the meaning of scripture hinge upon an esoteric 'secret key to scripture', namely that 'the Son' means 'the flesh'...yet even they have to admit their secret key works only some of the time!

It's easy enough to disprove, by the Bible, each theory advanced thus far; Father, Son and Holy Spirit cannot be three 'titles, offices or manifestations,' because we learn in the Bible that these three love one another, and 'titles' or 'offices' do not love: "Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world." (John 17:24). It's easy enough to prove that 'the Son' cannot mean 'the flesh', because that makes gibberish out of passages like Hebrews 1:8-12 which ascribe eternal Deity "to the Son":

"But to the Son He says: 'Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; A scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your kingdom...And: 'You, LORD, in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth, And the heavens are the work of Your hands. They will perish, but You remain; and they will all grow old like a garment; like a cloak You will fold them up, and they will be changed. But You are the same, And Your years will not fail.'"

Nor can this latest stop-gap be defended against the Bible. The newest theory, that 'the Son' means 'the Father in the flesh', fails before scriptures like John 14:28: "You have heard Me say to you, "I am going away and coming back to you." If you loved Me, you would rejoice because I said, "I am going to the Father," for My Father is greater than I.'" (John 14:28).  How can 'the Father' be greater than 'the Father in the flesh', the part greater than the whole?  Not only can none of these three theories be reconciled with the Bible; they are not even compatible with one another.  If 'the Father' means 'the Spirit' and 'the Son' means 'the flesh', then 'Son' and 'Father' are not 'titles' or 'offices', but rather different natures.  So the 'Oneness' Pentecostals are obliged to remain in constant motion, hoping no one can hit a moving target, shuffling from one of these inadequate and unbiblical explanations to the next...and back again.

Communicatio Idiomatum

If the Bible authors had agreed with the 'Oneness' Pentecostals that Jesus' divine and human attributes inhere in different subjects ('the Father' and 'the Son'), we should expect to see them segregate divine attributes from human accordingly.  Do they?  No; they ascribe divine attributes like omnipresence to "the Son of man", a title which on its face speaks of Jesus' humanity:

  • “No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven, that is, the Son of Man who is in heaven.”
  • (John 3:13).

It was precisely in order to die that Jesus Christ became man: "Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage." (Hebrews 2:14-15).  So does the Bible carefully say that "the Son of man" died? No, the Bible says that "the Lord of glory", a divine title, was crucified:

"But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory, which none of the rulers of this age knew; for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory." (1 Corinthians 2:8).

How to account for the Bible's mixing up of divine and human traits...unless there is one person, Jesus Christ, to whom both united natures belong?

Another: forgiving sins is a divine prerogative - which the Bible ascribes to the "Son of man": "Why does this Man speak blasphemies like this? Who can forgive sins but God alone?" (Mark 2:7).

This is the Bible truth:

"I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake; and I will not remember your sins." (Isaiah 43:25).
"Who is a God like You,
Pardoning iniquity
And passing over the transgression of the remnant of His heritage?
He does not retain His anger forever,
Because He delights in mercy.
He will again have compassion on us,
And will subdue our iniquities.
You will cast all our sins
Into the depths of the sea." (Micah 7:18-19).
"Have mercy upon me, O God,
According to Your lovingkindness;
According to the multitude of Your tender mercies,
Blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
And cleanse me from my sin...
Against You, You only, have I sinned,
And done this evil in Your sight -
That You may be found just when You speak,
And blameless when You judge." (Psalm 51:1-4).
"So David said to Nathan, 'I have sinned against the LORD.' And Nathan said to David, 'The LORD also has put away your sin; you shall not die.'" (2 Samuel 12:13).
"Let the heavens declare His righteousness,
For God Himself is Judge." (Psalm 50:6).

But Jesus says explicitly it's the "Son of man" who forgives sins: "'But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins' - He said to the paralytic, 'I say to you, arise, take up your bed, and go to your house.'" (Mark 2:10-11).

Yet another: "But why is this granted to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?" (Luke 1:43).  Elizabeth, no 'Oneness' Pentecostal, was not careful to address Mary as 'the mother of the humanity of my Lord', like she should have according to some folks!  'Lord' is a divine title; Elizabeth knew that the child Mary was carrying was God incarnate.

So the Bible does not do as 'Oneness' Pentecostals expect it should; it does not segregate Jesus' divine attributes from His humanity, ascribing them to different subjects with divergent biographies.  There is only one Jesus known to the Bible, not two of 'em.

Came Down from Heaven

The Bible teaches that "the Son of Man" came down from heaven: "No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven, that is, the Son of Man who is in heaven." (John 3:13).

Hmmm...let's try the Revised Fleshy Version: 'No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven, that is, the Flesh which is in heaven.' How could it be that, while Jesus walked on earth, His 'Flesh' was in heaven?

The Bible teaches that "the Son of Man" was in heaven "before": "What then if you should see the Son of Man ascend where He was before?" (John 6:62).

Hmmm...let's try the Revised Fleshy Version: 'What then if you should see the Flesh ascend where it was before?'  Where was 'the Flesh' before the incarnation? Certainly not in heaven.

The One who came down from heaven is God, not 'the Flesh' or 'the humanity'. So we see again that the Bible does not segregate Jesus' divine attributes from His human attributes and ascribe them to another subject. Traditional theology disputes the 'Oneness' Pentecostal claim 'Son of God' is a description of the 'flesh' of the incarnation but concedes the title 'Son of man.' Given the Bible's insistence on ascribing divine attributes to the 'Son of man,' is this concession justified?

Daniel's Vision I the Son of Man
Common Sense Rabbi Akiba
The Other Beloved Son
Psalm 80 Psalm 8

Son of Man

Son of Man

Jesus identified Himself both as Son of God and Son of man:

"When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, 'Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?'" (Matthew 16:13).
"When Jesus heard that, He said, 'This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it.'" (John 11:4).

He also called Himself 'the Son' without qualification: "Then Jesus answered and said to them, 'Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner.'" (John 5:19). Since in this latter usage 'Son' correlates with 'Father,' it belongs with 'Son of God.'

By rights, the 'Son of man' must be man, just as the 'Son of God' must be God. 'Son of' in Bible idiom can mean 'of the order of' or 'of the nature of'; the "sons of the prophets" are prophets: "Now a certain man of the sons of the prophets said to his neighbor by the word of the LORD, 'Strike me, please.'" (1 Kings 20:35). At times, without doubt, 'Son of man' is addressed to mortal men: "And He said to me, 'Son of man, stand on your feet, and I will speak to you.'" (Ezekiel 2:1).

But when we first encounter the Messianic 'Son of man' in the Bible, He's in heaven, not upon the earth:

"I was watching in the night visions,
And behold, One like the Son of Man,
Coming with the clouds of heaven!
He came to the Ancient of Days,
And they brought Him near before Him." (Daniel 7:13).

The 'Son of man' of Psalm 8 was understood by the apostles as the Messiah:

"What is man that You are mindful of him,
And the son of man that You visit him?
For You have made him a little lower than the angels,
And You have crowned him with glory and honor.
You have made him to have dominion over the works of Your hands;
You have put all things under his feet..." (Psalm 8:4-6).

Paul understands the "Son of man" of Psalm 8 as the Messiah: "For 'He has put all things under His feet.' But when He says 'all things are put under Him,' it is evident that He who put all things under Him is excepted. Now when all things are made subject to Him, then the Son Himself will also be subject to Him who put all things under Him, that God may be all in all." (1 Corinthians 15:26-28). Why?

Moses taught that man was made in the "image" of God: "Whoever sheds man’s blood, by man his blood shall be shed; for in the image of God He made man." (Genesis 9:6). In Bible philosophy, things below are images of things above: "...who serve the copy and shadow of the heavenly things, as Moses was divinely instructed when he was about to make the tabernacle. For He said, 'See that you make all things according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.'" (Hebrews 8:5).

Jesus is the Image of God the Father:

"...whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them." (2 Corinthians 4:4);
"Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high..." (Hebrews 1:3).
"He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation." (Colossians 1:15).

He is not, as we are, a created image, which must fall far short of the original, but the "express image", without deviation from the original, which is the person of God the Father. Thus, having being made in the image of God, but the image having become obscured and dirtied by sin, inasmuch as we were first made in Christ, we are also renewed after His image: "And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:..." (Colossians 3:10).

"Hence there is nothing to prevent there being one Image of the Father and of the Son, since they are one; for even man is one image of the whole Trinity...The image of a thing may be found in something in two ways. In one way it is found in something of the same specific nature, as the image of the king is found in his son. In another way it is found in something of a different nature, as the king's image on the coin. In the first sense the Son is the Image of the Father; in the second sense man is called the image of God..." (Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, First Part Question XXXV, Article 2.)

Modern Bible-readers may take comfort in realizing that even Jesus' hearers did not 'get' what He meant when He called Himself the 'Son of man': " can You say, 'The Son of Man must be lifted up'? Who is this Son of Man?" (John 12:34). It's possible that it refers to the archetypal man in whose image man was created. If that's the case it's a divine title.

As we've seen, 'Oneness' exegesis levels the titles 'Son of God' and 'Son of man', combining them into one. On the surface they are different, to just the extent that God is not man: "God is not a man, that He should lie, nor a son of man, that He should repent." (Numbers 23:19). It's possible they're right, but in the wrong direction; perhaps 'Son of man' is a divine title recalling the creation of man in the image of the Son.

Born at Bethlehem Pierced
O God His Bones
Cast Lots Born of a Virgin
Mother's Children Lifted Up
Stretched Out My Hands On a Donkey
Weeks The Grave
Thirty Pieces of Silver Light to the Gentiles
Out of Egypt House of David
House of My Friends With the Transgressors
Eyes of the Blind With the Rich
I thirst Darkness over the Land
Gall and Vinegar Shame and Spitting
Familiar Friend Son of Man
Den of Thieves Afar Off
E'er the Sun

Two Biographies

When pressed, 'Oneness' Pentecostals will agree that Jesus Christ, who is both man and God, is only one person. After all, what would be remarkable about one person who is a man praying to another person who is God? Happens all the time: "O You who hear prayer, to You all flesh will come." (Psalm 65:2). But if the incarnation is a reality rather than a myth, we do not see here one individual who is a man praying to another individual who is God!: "He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, 'O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.'" (Matthew 26:39).

Yet they segregate life episodes pertaining to the 'humanity' from those deemed appropriate to deity, assigning one set of life experiences to 'the Son,' the other to 'the Father.' They then recount two non-intersecting biographies, only one of which leads to Calvary. They tell of one subject: 'the Son,' who hungers, thirsts and dies, and of another, 'the Father,' who heals and walks on water.

'Oneness' Pentecostals are not the only ones who believe the title 'Son' addresses the Lord's humanity; devotees of Adam Clarke's Commentary do so as well. But these latter do not go on to report two biographies flying off at a tangent, one belonging to 'the Son,' the other to 'the Logos.' If the Son is one person, not two, then He has one biography, not two of 'em! A sentence like 'The mayor plays the flute,' need not be 'corrected' to, 'The flautist plays the flute, while the mayor does nothing but preside over town business,' because the self-same, one person who is mayor also plays the flute, not qua mayor but qua flautist. So long as we're talking about one person, although our descriptive titles mean different things, we cannot report differing biographies: 'The mayor went out to dinner on Tuesday, while the uncle stayed home.' If 'the mayor' and 'the uncle' are the same person, then what the mayor did, the uncle did.

Proponents of an 'incarnational Sonship' allege that the title 'Son,' given to the Logos in describing creation (Colossians 1:12-18), is ascribed 'prophetically.' It is as if a later biographer were to report (supposing Prince William to go on to become king), 'King William lost his mother at an early age,'-- not that he was already king when his mother died, but that he would later become king. This already strains credulity, because the references to be explained away are more like, 'King William was playing with marbles, King William caught a frog,'- there is no distancing mechanism like 'at an early age.' The best explanation for 'King William was playing with marbles' is that this would not be so phrased. Nor is 'Son' any more evocative of 'humanity' or 'subordination' than its correlative, 'Father.'

But in any case, whether or not the title 'Son' intends to point to the incarnation, the biography 'the Son' then goes on to experience cannot be the biography of a part of Christ Jesus: His 'humanity.' Natures do not experience biographies, any more than they love or carry on conversation!

Arm of Flesh

The Bible curses those who trust in an arm of flesh:

"Thus saith the LORD; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the LORD." (Jeremiah 17:5).

"With him is an arm of flesh; but with us is the LORD our God to help us, and to fight our battles. And the people rested themselves upon the words of Hezekiah king of Judah." (2 Chronicles 32:8).

Christians believe in 'the Son': "And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day." (John 6:40); "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him." (John 3:36).

Trusting in the Son, we trust in a faithful source of help, because Jesus Christ, the Son, is both man and God. In trusting in the Son, we are not trusting in mere 'flesh.' What futility that would be!:

"None of them can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him: (For the redemption of their soul is precious, and it ceaseth for ever:) That he should still live for ever, and not see corruption. For he seeth that wise men die, likewise the fool and the brutish person perish, and leave their wealth to others...But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave: for he shall receive me. Selah." (Psalm 49:7-15)
"O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself; but in me is thine help. I will be thy king: where is any other that may save thee in all thy cities? and thy judges of whom thou saidst, Give me a king and princes?...I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death: O death, I will be thy plagues; O grave, I will be thy destruction: repentance shall be hid from mine eyes." (Hosea 13:9-14).

Only Savior

The Bible knows of only one Savior who truly can save:

"Yet I am the LORD your God
Ever since the land of Egypt,
And you shall know no God but Me;
For there is no savior besides Me." (Hosea 13:4).

Is the only Savior who avails the 'flesh'? No, the Son:

"And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son as Savior of the world." (1 John 4:14).

Creator Flesh?

"God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds..." (Hebrews 1:1-2).

Fleshy Revised Version: 'God...has in these last days spoken to us by the Flesh...through whom also He made the worlds...'  Wait a minute -- how could the 'flesh' of the incarnation even have been present at creation, much less have been instrumental?  It was not until "the fullness of the time" - 4 B.C. or thereabouts - that the Son took on flesh: "But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons." (Galatians 4:4-5).

The failure of the 'Son' = 'flesh' theory is especially glaring with these passages which ascribe creation to the "Son": " thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light. He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love...For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers.  All things were created through Him and for Him.  And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist." (Colossians 1:12-18).

Fleshy Revised Version: 'He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Flesh of His love...For by said Flesh all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth...'  Strange indeed!

According to the Bible, there was a "first" man: "And so it is written, 'The first man Adam became a living being.'" (1 Corinthians 15:45). Man was created: "So God created man..." (Genesis 1:27). Is "the Son" who created "all things" a 'man'...or God?

God spoke the worlds into being:

The First PageThe Last Page

Before My Father

As noted, 'Oneness' Pentecostals are obliged to shuttle between two very different definitions of 'the Son': a.) the flesh, b.) Father in the flesh. It's common enough for words and phrases to have differing meanings. For instance 'arche', in the Bible, is applied to Jesus as the 'source' and 'origin' of creation...and also to a bedsheet!: "And saw heaven opened, and a certain vessel descending unto him, as it had been a great sheet knit at the four corners ['arche'], and let down to the earth:..." (Acts 10:11). The differing meanings of a word have been likened to a family portrait,-- not a line-up of identical twins, but with perceptible resemblances running throughout. Perhaps the 'corners' of a sail are called 'archai' because the weavers 'began' at a corner, thus making the corner the 'beginning' of the sheet. It's pushing it a bit, though, to base an entire theology upon an estoeric definition ('Son'='flesh')...then cavalierly to admit the definition can't consistently be applied! The proposed definition can be found neither in the dictionary nor in the Bible, nor can it be applied consistently. Why, then, should it be adopted?

How it is that, some of the time, 'the Son' means 'the Father', while at other times 'the Son' is 'the flesh?' Is there a rule of thumb as to which definition to apply? In practice, 'Oneness' Pentecostals need 'the Son' to mean 'the flesh' in those scriptures which display a distinction between Father and Son, then allow 'Son' to mean 'God' (to them, as to the Unitarians, 'Father-only') in those scriptures which explicitly ascribe deity to the Son. So the best scriptures to overturn this man-made system are those which are two-fers: which both display a relation between Father and Son and explicitly ascribe deity to the Son.

Paradoxical as it may seem, the Bible books most rich in anti-'Oneness' Pentecostal verses are the same books which most openly teach the deity of Jesus Christ. Hebrews is one, Revelation is another:

"To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne." (Revelation 3:21).
"He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels." (Revelation 3:5).

Who is the Speaker? "One like the Son of Man"...who is God: the "first and and the last": 'Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last. I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen." (Revelation 1:17-18). And the Speaker promises to confess our names before His Father. So how can 'the Son' can be 'the flesh,' when we realize the "first and last" promises to confess our names before "My Father?" The theory fails.