*Below is an excerpt from a lengthy exegetical rejoinder I’ve been (slowly) working on in response to the contentions of Edward Dalcour toward Oneness Pentecostal beliefs. Of course, I have repeatedly challenged Dalcour to a formal-public debate where his attacks can be openly scrutinized in the format of polemic platform. After initially accepting my debate invitation (almost 8 months ago now) Dalcour has subsequently refused to follow through in committing to any such arrangements – all the while agreeing to meet other Oneness defenders. The one-on-one debate offer to Mr. Dalcour is an open and standing challenge.
*In the meantime, below I have copied from Dalcour’s website and offered categorical rebuttals immediately following his assertions with regard to the prologue of Hebrews. Dalcour’s charges appear in *black – with my textual negations below in *blue (as here). In some instances I have *emboldened certain points for highlight purposes. Corroboration of Dalcour’s claims can be located HERE. Enjoy!
(Dalcour): Hebrews 1:2, 10: “In these last days [God the Father] has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world…And, ‘YOU, LORD, IN THE BEGINNING LAID THE FOUNDATION OF THE EARTH, AND THE HEAVENS ARE THE WORKS OF YOUR HANDS.’” The prologue of Hebrews annihilates the Oneness position regarding its rejection of the preexistence of the Person of the Son.
*Actually, the polar opposite is true as we shall demonstrate below. I am always perplexed when Trinitarians appeal to these powerful texts. I actually employ the same passages in teaching on the errors of Trinitarianism! The prologue of Hebrews annihilates the Trinitarian hypothesis that the Son of God is a “preexistent, co-eternal, divine person.” Not surprisingly, Dalcour omits the textual evidence in his partial quotation above that militates against his eisegesis (presented as “exegesis” of course).
(Dalcour): In this prologue the full deity and unipersonality of the Son is cogently expressed (esp. vv. 3, 8). Relative to the preexistence and creatorship of the Son, verses 2 and 10 more than adequately communicate both truths. As with John 1:3 and Colossians 1:16-17 (and 1 Cor. 8:6), verse 2 affirms that the Son was the Creator.
*First, neither Hebrews 1.2 nor v. 10 state one thing about “the preexistence and creatorship of the Son.” As we demonstrate below, such a construct is supplied exclusively by yet another overeager Trinitarian seeking to validate his predisposed theology—not by the actual exegesis of the text(s) itself (and certainly not “more than adequately”). We have already exposed Dalcour’s faulty (mis)handling of the Greek text above relative to Colossians 1.16, John 1.3, etc.—and he’s back at it again with the prologue of Hebrews!
(Dalcour): In this passage we find again the preposition dia, followed by the genitive: “In these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom [di’ hou] also He made the world” (emphasis added).
*Note that this text specifically states that God has spoken in His Son only in the “last days,” indicating that He has not spoken “in His Son” (ἐν υἱῷ + dative) prior to this same time-era. It would be incredible to imagine that God never spoke in His “coeternal” Son from all of eternity? Especially since Dalcour argues elsewhere that OT references to “the Angel of the LORD” is actually the Son of God speaking (even though the Hebrews prologue directly refutes this notion [cf. 1.5-6]).
(Dalcour): Contextually, the core line of evidence that the author presents, which promptly affirms the Son’s creatorship, is the well-defined contrast between created things (viz., angels and the heavens and the earth) and the eternality of the divine Son (cf. vv. 2-3, 8-10). In verses 10-12, the author (quoting the Father) applies Psalm 102:25-27 (101:25-27 in the LXX) to the Son.
*Contextually, the Son of God in this prologue is presented as:
(Vs. 1) Speaking only in the “last days.”
*This is obviously language that, if allowed to speak for itself, hardly leads the honest reader to “co-eternal preexistence”—unless Dalcour is suggesting that “God the Son” was entirely mute from all of eternity (which he cannot do since he suggests that the Angel of the Lord in the OT was actually Christ [of course, with no textual support])?
(Vs. 2) “Appointed heir of all things.”
*Would not a “co-eternal God the Son” already be “heir of all things?” That is, what sense would it make for the writer of Hebrews to assert that a pre-existent God the Son was “appointed” (note the aorist indicative ἔθηκεν) as heir of all things? And, which divine person did the “appointing?” Can the first or third divine person in the Trinity “appoint” the supposed second divine person in the Trinity in eternity-past? Such a construct is esp. problematic for Trinitarians since they teach that Christ “volunteered” in Heaven to become incarnate based upon a misunderstanding of Philippians 2.5-8 (i.e., The Carmen Christi).
*Of course, such a theological construct naturally demands independent thought processes by each divine person within the Godhead—the very definition of polytheism (which would’ve been rejected out of hand by Hebrew believers soaked in OT concepts).
(Vs. 3) The “exact imprint of his (i.e., the Father’s) nature.”
*Since when does an “imprint” (χαρακτὴρ) naturally carry the same time-continuum as the original from which the imprint derives? Such a construct is a gross perversion of the literal meaning of this Greek noun in an attempt to force-feed predisposed theology into the biblical data.
*Trinitarian apologists typically state that the Greek noun χαρακτὴρ means “nature” in this text. However, regarding this particular noun the highly exhaustive NIDNTTE (a defining work in exegetical lexicography) states:
In addition, we are told that the Son is ἀπαύγασμα τῆς δόξης καὶ χαρακτὴρ τῆς ὑποστάσεως αὐτοῦ, “the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being” (1:3a; see αὐγάζω G878; δόξα G1518). The same idea is expressed with different language when Paul describes Christ as εἰκὼν τοῦ θεοῦ, “the image of God” (2 Cor 4:4; Col 1:15; see εἰκών G1635), and when Jesus himself says, “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father” (John 14:9).
The context of Heb. 1 makes clear that the writer’s purpose was to stress the glory of the Son and the uniqueness of his revelation. The Son who controls the beginning and the end stands in a unique relationship (a) to God, whose effulgence and image he is; (b) to the universe, which he upholds; and (c) to the church, which he has purified from sins. F. F. Bruce writes: “Just as the image and superscription on a coin exactly correspond to the device on the die, so the Son of God ‘bears the very stamp of his nature’ (RSV). The Greek word charaktēr, occurring only here in the New Testament, expresses this truth even more emphatically than eikōn. . . . Just as the glory is really in the effulgence, so the substance (Gk. hypostasis) of God is really in Christ, who is its impress, its exact representation and embodiment. What God essentially is, is made manifest in Christ. To see Christ is to see what the Father is like” (Commentary on the Epistle to the Hebrews , 6).
*BDAG: 2 someth. produced as a representation, reproduction, representation, fig., of God ἄνθρωπον ἔπλασεν τῆς ἑαυτοῦ εἰκόνος χαρακτῆρα (God) formed a human being as reproduction of his own identity/reality (s. εἰκών 2) 1 Cl 33:4 (cp. OGI 383, 60 of a picture χ. μορφῆς ἐμῆς; 404, 25; Philo, Det. Pot. Ins. 83 calls the soul τύπον τινὰ καὶ χαρακτῆρα θείας δυνάμεως). Christ is χαρ. τῆς ὑποστάσεως αὐτοῦ an exact representation of (God’s) real being Hb 1:3 (ὑπόστασις 1a).
*Friberg’s Analytical Lexicon on the Greek NT: χαρακτήρ, ῆρος, ὁ. originally engraver or engraving tool; used figuratively in the NT of Christ in relation to God exact representation, precise reproduction, impress (HE 1.3).
*Louw-Nida’s Greek-English Lexicon Based upon Semantic Domain: 58.62 χαρακτήρ η̂ρος m: a representation as an exact reproduction of a particular form or structure – exact representation. ὅς ὢν ἀπαύγασμα τη̂ς δόξης καὶ χαρακτὴρ τη̂ς ὑποστάσεως αὐτου̂ who is the reflection of his glory and the exact representation of his being HEB. 1:3.
*Again, to seek an illegitimate transfer of the same time-age continuum to the “reproduction” or “stamp” as the original that initially caused the “impress” aborts all linguistic norms in a desperate attempt to protect a religious tradition (masquerading as “exegesis” of course). Are the “divine persons in the Trinity” so radically separated that they can be distinguished via “embodiment” (cf. Bruce above)? If so, what has suddenly happened to their “ontological equality?”
(Vs. 3d) (The Son of God) sat down at the right hand of God only “when he had accomplished cleansing for sins,” indicating that the Son of God was not in a position of power (i.e., the Jewish idiom right hand) from eternity. Was a “co-eternal God the Son” not in the position of authority and power in Heaven from all the days of eternity?
(Vs. 4) He (the Son of God) both “became” and “inherited a name” better than the angels? If, as Trinitarians demand in these texts, God the Son is being presented as “co-eternal”—why does this text explicitly state that the Son of God “became” (literally, “having become” [aorist participial tag γενόμενος]) better than the angels? Wouldn’t God the Son have already been better than angels from all of eternity?
*Similarly, if the Son “inherited” or “obtained” a name superior to the angels, how would this square with the Trinitarian notion that “the Son” has been His name from all of eternity (esp. since Trinitarians inform us that “the Son” is the name being described in Matthew 28.19)? A “co-equal, co-eternal, divine person” could not “inherit” a name that He already possessed from all of eternity!
(Vs. 5) The Son is said to be “fathered” (perfect active indicative γεγέννηκά) in a particular day and “I will be (future indicative ἔσομαι) his father and he will (future indicative verb) be my son” (Messianic prophecies from Psalm 2.7; 2 Samuel 7.14). Can you imagine the look on my son’s face if I told him that someday I “will be” his father? Does this even remotely sound like the normal rules of linguistics at this point (ironically, this is the same vehicle to which Dalcour appeals [i.e., normative linguistics])?
*That is, who, allowing such language to stand on its own strength, would naturally conclude that these texts present the Son of God as possessive of the same “eternality” as the One who is doing the “fathering?” No one who allows the inspired data to speak for itself—but it even gets worse for Trinitarians in this prologue!
(Vs. 6) The angels of God are commanded to worship the Son when the Father “brings his firstborn into the world.” This is but another textual demolition of the supposed “eternal God the Son” eisegesis. Clearly the angels were not worshiping the Son from all of eternity or else they would not have been commanded to do what they were already doing—there would have been a seamless transition!
*It will do no good for Trinitarians to appeal to John 12.41 in connection with Isaiah 6 to argue that angels were worshiping the Son in the OT since Hebrews 1.6 directly refutes this notion—not to mention how such an interpretation would teach bodily separation within the Godhead (something Dalcour unwittingly argues for).
*Isaiah saw a vision of Yahveh, whom John describes as Jesus. Since John presents Jesus as fully God in his gospel (cf. 1.1, 14; 20.28), it presents no problem for him to take words originally spoken by Isaiah of Yahveh Himself and apply them to Jesus. Indeed, Paul attributed Isaiah’s words to “the Holy Spirit” (Acts 28.25). Will Trinitarians now demand that Isaiah also saw the Holy Spirit in the OT? In keeping with the macro-witness of Isaiah’s corpus, to the extent that the prophet “saw” Jesus denotes a prophetical-prolepsis of the coming Messiah, who would be the very Yahveh of the OT. This is precisely the Oneness position!
(Vs. 8) The Son is called God who has a throne. Since Dalcour informs us that this is God the Father directly addressing “God the Son” (viz. the vocative case ὁ θεὸς) in distinction from Himself from all of eternity (below Dalcour says, “the Father is speaking to the Son differentiating Himself from the Son [esp. in light of vv. 8-9])”—we should expect to see multiple thrones in the biblical depictions of Heaven. Not only do we not see such imagery presented in Heaven—John saw one throne in heaven, with one person sitting on it—whom he explicitly identified as both God and His Son (Revelation 3.20-21; 4.2; 22.3-4)! Indeed, Jesus is explicitly worshiped as the one God of Heaven in Revelation (cf. 1.8; 3.20-21; 4.2). Think we’ll stick with the actual inspired eyewitnesses and leave later Trinitarian formulations to their own wild-eyed speculations.
*Further, if “God directly addresses God (the Son)” then Dalcour necessarily advocates such a pronounced separation within the Godhead that each divine person is possessive of divine centers of cognition, mental faculties or minds that they can address one another in identical fashion as human beings. I ask the honest-sincere reader, does such imagery denote “one God” in any practical or logical sense of the phrase? That is, how many divinity’s does such imagery naturally illuminate in your mind, one or two?
(Vs. 9) The Son is said to have “loved righteousness and hated lawlessness. So God, your God, has anointed you over your companions with the oil of rejoicing.” When did the Son of God “love righteousness,” “hate lawlessness,” have “your God,” (was) “anointed,” and possess “companions?”
*When did all of this take place? In “pre-existent eternity” or during the Incarnation? Did “God the Son” need “anointing” by “God the Father” in eternity over His “companions?” Shouldn’t He have already been “anointed” as God-proper? That is, can one co-equal, co-eternal divine person literally “anoint” another God-person in eternity? If so, as stated above, how can Trinitarians such as Dalcour speak of “ontological co-equality?”
*The context and inspired grammar in these texts openly and rigorously militates against Dalcour’s wild-eyed interpolations. Though not surprising at this point, it’s mind-boggling how Dalcour can appeal to the “context” of the Hebrew prologue—when this is the very thing that refutes his “co-eternal Son” impositions upon the text!
(Dalcour): This is so heavily significant because (a) the Psalm is a reference to Yahweh and (b) the Father is speaking to the Son differentiating Himself from the Son (esp. in light of vv. 8-9).
*See above—this simply proves too much for Dalcour and the longer he is forced to chew on his dilemma the bigger it grows!
(Dalcour): The referent to the pronoun su, “You” at the beginning of verse 10 (kai su) is back in verse 8: pros de ton huion— “but of the Son He [the Father] says.” Irrefutably, it is God the Father directly addressing the Son. In verse 8, the nominative for the vocative of address is used, whereas in verse 10, the actual vocative of kurios (kurie) is used, which strengthens the author’s argument even more: “YOU, LORD [kurie], IN THE BEGINNING LAID THE FOUNDATION OF THE EARTH, AND THE HEAVENS ARE THE WORKS OF YOUR HANDS.”
*First, we are rather perplexed at what Dalcour thinks the vocative case demands in this text? The vocative is the case of direct address, but the texts being cited as addressing the Son of God here are respectively the LXX of Psalm 45.6 (v. 8) and Psalm 102.25-27 (v. 10). More importantly, “he says” in Hebrews 1.8 is in italics indicating a conjecture by translators not found in the Greek text itself. For this reason many exegetes have surmised that v. 8 has God “directly addressing” His Son through this Messianic prophecy of the Psalmist (cf. Acts 28.25-27, etc.).
*See here Oneness writer, Dr. Daniel Segraves (Note: It will do no good for Dalcour to object to my appeal to a Oneness academic since he appeals to Trinitarians at virtually every turn of his book—and we have equally marshaled Trinitarian scholars in this rejoinder.):
Hebrews 1.8: In this case, the words “he says” are not in the Greek text; they are supplied by the translators. An examination of Psalm 45:6, from which this verse is quoted, reveals immediately that the speaker is the human author of the psalm. He declares, by inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the Messiah’s deity. (Hebrews, Better Things; Vol. 1, p. 51; Dr. Daniel L. Segraves)
*After a lengthy textual address of Hebrews 1.10, Segraves concludes (ibid.; pp. 54-58): Since the immediate context of the quote from Psalm 102:25-27 does not suggest God is the speaker, and since the actual Hebrew text of Psalm 102 has the psalmist as the speaker throughout, it seems best to view the speaker in verses 10-12 as the psalmist. If the writer of Hebrews intended to suggest that God was the speaker, it seems he would have begun his quote from the Septuagint at Psalm 102:23 so as to remove any question.
The point of verse 10, then, is that the Son is better than the angels because He laid the foundation of the earth and the heavens are the work of His hands. It is interesting, though, that when the writer of Hebrews addressed the Creator, he identified Him—from the Septuagint—as Lord. The Jewish readers of Hebrews would have understood this as a reference to Yahweh (“Jehovah,” KJV). Why did the author not address Him as “Son,” as in verses 5 and 8?
It seems significant that, in speaking directly of creation, the writer of Hebrews did not use the term “Son,” but Lord”…Although the Son, as God manifest in flesh, is the Creator, when discussing the creation of all things, the author identified Himself as “Lord” (Yahweh). Creation preexisted the Incarnation, and the term “Son” can be used only in conjunction with the Incarnation. Every reference to the Son in Hebrews has to do with the Incarnation…the word “Son” is not used of preincarnate deity…The Son is better than the angels because He is Yahweh who created all things, including the angels.
*As pointed out above, the entire context of this prologue is irrefutably describing the Incarnation—and does absolutely nothing to advance Trinitarian theology.
*However, if Dalcour stubbornly persists in forcing his “God-speaking-to-God” eisegesis, will he equally claim that the Son of God has “hands” (v. 10) and a “throne” (v. 8) apart from God the Father? That is, since Dalcour asserts that these texts teach “distinct co-eternal divine persons,” will he correspondingly demand bodily separation within the Godhead—each with independent “hands” and “thrones” in Heaven? How far is he willing to push his interpolations contra allowing the context to define the text? Or, will he now limit his applications to conform to his predisposed theology? We await with great anxiety!
*Simply put, it is hardly “irrefutable” that one Yahveh was addressing another Yahveh in eternity past, each with separate (or “distinct” as Dalcour likes to modify) divine centers of consciousness. Such a tritheistic interpretation of the Hebrew prologue is especially problematic since the “most important commandment” is to confess that God is “one Lord [LXX, Yahveh]” (Mark 12.29) where Christ carefully employed the 3-3 masculine singular adjective “heis” (εἷς). Since Dalcour is fond of appealing to consistent Greek usage, this adjective is used over 100 times in the NT and in no instance does it denote more than “one person”—and certainly not multiple Yahveh’s as Dalcour repeatedly postulates.
*Or, as the NIDNTTE states of the neuter form of this adjective: From a different perspective, this truth is expressed clearly in Jesus’ claim, “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30). We should not interpret these words to mean that the oneness of Jesus with the Father consists of the joining of two persons or beings who were formerly separated. We must understand it rather in the light of John 14:9: “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.” In a Christian sense no one can speak of God without speaking concretely of Jesus.
(Dalcour): Conclusively, the prologue of Hebrews is one of the most theologically devastating prologues in all of the New Testament for Oneness defenders. Not only does the prologue affirm the deity and eternality of the Son as well as the distinction between the Father and the Son, but also it clearly presents the Son as the actual Agent of creation, the Creator Himself.
*Actually, as demonstrated above, the diametrical opposite is true. In fact, I would turn Dalcour’s assertion here completely around: The prologue of Hebrews is one of the most theologically devastating prologues in all of the New Testament for Trinitarian defenders. Unless, Trinitarian scholars wish to inform us that a “co-eternal God the Son person” had the following done to Him in eternity-past:
*Spoke only in “these last days” (v. 2, [this will not do for Dalcour since he suggests that “the Angel of the Lord” was the supposed “preincarnate Son”]), “appointed” heir of all things (v. 2), “became” better than angels (v. 4), inherited a name superior to the angels (v. 4), was told by God the Father that one “day” He would be His “Father” and He would be His “Son” (v. 5), angels had to be commanded to “worship” God the Son (v. 6), possesses a “throne” apart from the Father and the Holy Spirit (v. 8), has a “God” (v. 9), was “anointed” by another divine, co-equal God-person (v. 9), and had “companions” in eternity-past?
*Clearly the Hebrew prologue describes the Incarnation and does not switch midstream of this ancient hymn in supposedly presenting more than one “God-person”—to the embarrassment of Trinitarian apologists like Dalcour. In sum, as we have demonstrated above, Dalcour’s “devastating” arguments against biblical Christianity and monotheism destroys nothing other than the biblical data itself.
*Interestingly, it is noteworthy that the passages used by Trinitarians to teach Christ as a “distinct pre-existent God the Son person” appear in a celebratory psalm context (cf. http://1024project.com/2013/10/25/the-hymns-of-the-bible/). That is, segments of the NT such as Philippians 2.5-11, Colossians 1.15-20, Hebrews 1, John 1, I Corinthians 8.6, et al. were used in context to laud the Messiah’s coming as God enfleshed and to commemorate His efficacious cross-work, which was foreordained before the creation of the ages (e.g., Revelation 13.8, John 1.1-14; 17.1-6).
*In this biblical context, let us join in with the inspired writers of Scripture in glorifying Christ as the “only God” (I Timothy 1.17) revealed in the flesh—predestined prior to very creation itself!
*Thank you for reading!