Originally posted by masscat
Early rabbinic interpretation says the plural pronoun refers to God and his angels. There are other possibilities of course for the use of the plural pronoun. Around the time this passage was written, it was common to address kings with plural pronouns. There is a chance this is the case here.
Taken in context, who knew good and evil at the time this was spoken? God did. The angels did because they had seen the corruption of Lucifer and the fall of a third of the angels in their own ranks, so they also “knew good and evil.” Early rabbinic interpretation says the plural pronoun refers to God and his angels. There are other possibilities of course f ...[text shortened]... as good enough to pay for sin, God, in effect, said, “I’ll put on flesh, and pay for it myself.”
Yes. Another rabbinical view is that Elohim and YHVH refer to different attributes of God, or God operating in different ways. “Elohim” can also refer to other gods, so context can be important. (For example, in the Abraham/Isaac story, it is the voice of ha elohim
telling Abraham to sacrifice Isaac, and an angel of YHVH who stays his hand. There are many different rabbinical readings of this story.
There is only one God. A study of the trinity doctrine shows it developed over several centuries after the New Testament was written. The early post-apostolic fathers did not believe in the Trinity. They emphasized Old Testament monotheism, The doctrine has its roots in polytheism, pagan religion, and pagan philosophy. The first official recognition came at the Council of Nicea in 325 but didn’t become fully established until the Council of Constantinople in 381.
But the fact that the doctrine of the trinity (or, more accurately, as josephw noted, tri-unity) developed over time does not entail that it is incorrect. After all, orthodox Christology was not finally “nailed down” until the Council of Chalcedon in 451. (Note: Church doctrinal historian Jaroslav Pelikan notes that there those among the early fathers who held more or less “binitarian” views as well.)
Given the fact of our subject-predicate (subject-verb-object) way of speaking and thinking, trinitarian language should not, I think, be a priori dismissed even when speaking of the ultimate “One-without-a-second.” (My friend lucifershammer finally convinced me of this.) Protestant theologian Paul Tillich spoke of a “pre-trinitarian” formula of God as ground-of-being, power-of-being, and being-itself. These three became hypostasized as three persona
Father, Spirit and Son.*
The real question, it seems to me, is that formulation of three hypsostases
with a single ousia
. The patristic fathers certainly borrowed terms from Greek (pagan) philosophy, but they also often reinterpreted them in the light of their Christian understanding.
* The Latin persona
was used top translate the Greek hypostasis