January 22, 2021

The Council

Proclaiming the truth to the world.

This is the continuing dialogue with Theophilus(Eastern Orthodox). Here are his questions in response to my article:



We can discuss it in however much detail you like, but I’m interested to know how you resolve the exegetical issue I mentioned about how in Isaiah 42:1, YHWH refers to the Messiah as “my servant,” and the speaker does not change at any point from Isaiah 42 to Isaiah 48.

If Isaiah 44-46 is the Trinity speaking, then the Trinity spoke in Isaiah 42:1. That means the Trinity (Father, Son, and Spirit) called the Messiah “my servant.” That would mean the Son called Himself His own servant.

That is the main reason I think all the monotheistic claims in Isaiah 42-48 are the Father speaking. If you can resolve that issue, then I don’t have any objection to saying the Trinity is speaking in Isaiah 44-46.

Before you say anything, Bahnsen, address my argument
you spineless coward
I’d actually be super interested to see what you have to say
Because it would make the Philippians 2:10 argument much stronger


I think it doesn’t deal with my objections, you insignificant communist coward. I’m glad we know that you are wrong, but who said Yahweh must always refer to all persons everytime? Seems unwarranted. But I wonder if it is possible if it could. It would be a bit weird. The Father/Son dynamic is common to that language so it’s hard to think it is used in the trinitarian sense. Jimmy might have some good things to say


I think that Paul applied Isaiah 45:23 to Christ in Philippians 2:10 to show that everything that verse signifies is applicable to the Son
My only point is just that the person who spoke those words in its historical context was God the Father
I just want to be cautious about how I use these texts when arguing with unitarians, because I know that if I say Paul was identifying Christ as the one speaking in Isaiah 45:23, a unitarian will bring up Isaiah 42:1 and call me a modalist
My concern is motivated by apologetics

Jimmy Stephens:

Two things, Theophilus:

1.) It does not follow from the Triune God speaking that the “servant” address applies to the three Persons. We can reason that because the Father is God and because the Son is servant of the Father (economically), the Son is servant of God. So the Triune God can say the Son is “my servant” in virtue of the fact that God inherits all the Father’s perfections without confusing those perfections with the other members.

(This, just as the Father inherits all God’s perfections without inheriting the Son’s or the Spirit’s.)

2.) I think your hermeneutic, if followed to its logical end, puts us in skepticism regarding the Trinity. You seem to presuppose that whenever God is speaking, it is a Person speaking on behalf of that one Person, to the exclusion of the other Persons. On the other hand, your theology maintains that God works as a unit in many (if not all) of his official acts, alongside perichoresis. Your theology maintains a unity of God’s deeds among the Trinity, yet your hermeneutic means we have no basis to infer that unity given God only ever predicates about one Person to the exclusion of others.


I think you may be able to argue that is the case Isaiah 45:23. I just doubt that is what is meant in John 8 and elsewhere. I think the point is like Richard Bauckham has argued that Jesus shared in the divine identity and therefore it seems reasonable that it merely isn’t that these passages are applicable to him after the fact, but has always spoken of him. I think is actually another occurrence with another passage:

Hebrews 1:8-12

But to the Son He says:

“Your throne, O God, is forever and ever;
A scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your kingdom.
You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness;
Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You
With the oil of gladness more than Your companions.”

10 And:

“You, Lord, in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth,
And the heavens are the work of Your hands.
11 They will perish, but You remain;
And they will all grow old like a garment;
12 Like a cloak You will fold them up,
And they will be changed.
But You are the same,
And Your years will not fail.”

As you already know this is a reference to Psalm 102:25-27

24 I said, “O my God,
Do not take me away in the midst of my days;
Your years are throughout all generations.
25 Of old You laid the foundation of the earth,
And the heavens are the work of Your hands.
26 They will perish, but You will [d]endure;
Yes, they will all grow old like a garment;
Like a cloak You will change them,
And they will be changed.
27 But You are the same,
And Your years will have no end.
28 The children of Your servants will continue,
And their descendants will be established before You.”

If you would notice that if this text is applicable to the Son because he shares in the Divine identity then it seems like this could be stating this weird language situation as well. Where the Son is God and is the servant of God as well. But it nonetheless is there waiting to be revealed:

The future of the godly is tied up with God himself and with his promises. The psalmist praises the Lord in that he will be true to “the children of your servants.” They and their descendants will “dwell” (šākan, GK 8905; NIV, “live”; cf. 15: 1; 23: 6) and be “established” (kûn, GK 3922) in the Lord’s presence (cf. 69: 35-36; Isa 65: 9; 66: 22). Such is the confidence in the covenantal care of the Lord. The Lord magnificently showed his fidelity to his promises when he restored the people from exile under Cyrus and when he sent Jesus the Messiah to restore humanity to himself. God the Father is able to bring “many sons to glory”; and to this end he sent Jesus, his Son, to be the author of our salvation. As the Savior is perfect (cf. Heb 2: 10-11), so is his salvation. What the psalmist longed for has been experienced in time, as the faithful servants of God have testified. But as long as God’s servants suffer, this psalm is appropriate for all who long for the fullness of salvation, whether they are Jews or Gentiles.

VanGemeren, Willem A.. Psalms (The Expositor’s Bible Commentary) (Kindle Locations 23247-23254). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.