Answering the Unitarians
Biblicalunitarian.com’s homepage features a link to a page titled “Is Jesus God? – Logical Questions That Need Answers.” The page lists ten questions concerning the logical coherence of the doctrine of the the deity of Christ in light of certain passages of Scripture. The questions are really premises in an incomplete informal argument, one in which the conclusion “Therefore, Jesus is not God” is left up to the reader to deduce. A more than superficial analysis of these question-arguments reveals that they are not “logical” (i.e. deductively valid), but are guilty of committing various logical fallacies. In what follows, I will summarize these question-arguments. Then I will proceed to refute them in order.
Summary & Refutation
1. Summary: God Cannot Die: This argument takes its two premises from Scripture. The first premise is: “God cannot die.” The second premise is: “Jesus died.” The expected conclusion is: “Therefore, Jesus is not God.”
Refutation: In the first argument, the author assumes that God could not unite himself to a human body and spirit, the separation of which (i.e. the body and the spirit) constitutes human death. Yet there is no biblical reason for believing this assumption. God in se cannot die; God incarnate, however, can die, and did. The argument can be reformulated, then, as follows:
a. God [in se] cannot undergo the separation of his spirit from his body [for he is bodiless].
b. Jesus [i.e. God incarnate, God-enfleshed] underwent the separation of his spirit from his body.
c. Therefore, Jesus is not God.
Upon reformulation, it becomes evident that the expected conclusion of the argument does not follow from its stated premises. This argument does not demonstrate that Jesus is not God.
2. Summary: The Most High God Cannot Submit to the Most High God: This argument’s premises are: 1. One cannot be the Most High God and be in submission to the Most High God at the same time; and, 2. Jesus is in submission to the Most High God. The expected conclusions is: “Therefore, Jesus is not God.”
Refutation: The second argument falls apart when its first premise is examined. God’s attributes and existence are identical. This means that the title “Most High” is firstly an ontological description, and only a governmental description secondarily, i.e. as God relates as Sovereign King to his creation. In other words, the Most High God can indeed submit to the Most High God if the doctrine of the incarnation is true. Christ can be the Most High God (ontologically), in other words, and submit to the Most High God (ontologically and governmentally, i.e. as a man). As with the first argument, this argument fails because it assumes from the onset that the doctrine of the incarnation is not true. Reformulating the argument demonstrates its failures.
a. The [ontologically] Most High God cannot be in submission to the [governmentally] Most High God.
b. Jesus [ontologically Most High] is in submission to the Most High God [governmentally].
c. Therefore, Jesus is not God.
Clearly, the expected conclusion does not follow from the stated premises of the argument. The argument, moreover, commits the fallacy of equivocation by utilizing the phrase “Most High God” in two different senses (i.e. ontologically and governmentally).