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I'm interested in learning about how Biblical Unitarians arrive at the conclusion that Jesus is not God from a deductive reasoning standpoint (for examples of deductive arguments, see this question). I'm particularly interested in the validity and soundness of their arguments. Is the argument valid? Is the argument sound? Are the premises of the argument properly justified? Is the argument rigorous in its use of words or is it taking advantage of the ambiguity in certain definitions?

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There are a large number of arguments that can be made from a Biblical Unitarian standpoint that Jesus is not God. Although I am skeptical of deductive arguments such as you are looking for (and prefer multiple lines of probabilistic reasoning that point towards a conclusion, instead), here is one that is easily transferred to that format (taken from Jesus is the Son of God; not God the Son, a Biblical Unitarian site).

"Jesus and God have separate wills. Jesus prayed to God, “not my will, but yours, be done” (Luke 22:42 ESV; cp. John 5:30). If Jesus and the Father are the same “one God,” then they would have one will."

  1. God cannot have a will different from His own will.
  2. If two persons are both God, therefore those two persons will have the same will.
  3. Jesus and the Father's wills are at times different.
  4. Therefore, Jesus is not God.

Trinitarians of course can respond to this, by saying things like 'Jesus has two wills', one his divine nature and one his human nature. Only the human nature is in conflict. And so on, and so on (as the link referenced above goes on to note).

The question for me isn't whether any one argument is logically seal-proof (virtually no argument is, for anything), but how the arguments taken together weigh against the counter-arguments.

The major line of argument by Biblical Unitarians isn't that there are 100% deductive arguments in their favour (although I think some get pretty close, and requires a 'God is ultimately a mystery we cannot understand' response), but that the scriptural evidence strongly leans in favour of Jesus not being God.

Again, for argument after argument that Jesus is not God, you can see the page linked above. You could transform basically all these points into a more formal style.

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  • In your example, what is the justification for the first 3 premises? Are they defended abductively (or probabilistically, as you say)? How do you measure the probability? Mar 3 at 21:56
  • @SpiritRealmInvestigator This is the problem with pretending one is making 100% a priori true deductive arguments. Any premise is questionable. "A dog cannot be a cat." How do you know that? What is the justification for that premise? How do you measure the probability? At some point, you just throw up your hands and carry on. The better question is, why would anyone think otherwise? Mar 3 at 22:03
  • You could use an inductive argument based on DNA analysis to conclude that dogs always have DNA of dog when you check, and cats always have DNA of cat when you check, and since that's always the case, without exceptions, you could inductively conclude that that will always be the case. We would need to formalize what we mean by "DNA of dog", "DNA of cat", etc., but I think it's doable. Mar 3 at 22:07
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    @SpiritRealmInvestigator No, it's not. There's a mystery beyond our comprehension, where dogs can simultaneously have dog DNA and still be cats. It sounds odd, and the Veterinarian's Bible seems to say otherwise, but there you have it. I know because I developed an elaborate philosophical system, called Dogcatinarianism. Mar 3 at 22:12
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    Fair point. But I'm pretty sure no one would honestly defend Dogcatinarianism in all seriousness. I think all this struggle comes from the fact that we are dealing with the nature of God which is beyond space-time. We don't have examples of God to study in a laboratory, as opposed to dogs and cats which we can study. There is a lot of speculation in all these discussions. I'm each time becoming more convinced that without a direct one-on-one divine revelation, this matter will remain a mystery. Mar 3 at 22:21

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