Saturday, December 5, 2015
We left off with last weeks article mentioning the apostle John's opening statement found in his Gospel. The truth of the deity of Christ was seen and felt by John as well as revealed to him by the Holy Spirit of Truth. (Jn.16:12-14)This first verse is stating, and making the claim that he absolutely accepted, and understood Jesus to be God in the flesh! He later in this chapter comes right out and says that the Word who is Jesus became flesh. (Jn.1:14) He wanted this to be clear for all his readers from the very start! It would be best for us to look at this scripture in three parts. We will label them parts A, B, & C for simplicity and look at it grammatically. We will be primarily be dealing with Part C which has come under many attacks. The whole verse reads as:
Ἐν ἀρχῇ ἦν ὁ λόγος καὶ ὁ λόγος ἦν πρὸς τὸν θεόν καὶ θεὸς ἦν ὁ λόγος.In beginning was the Word and the Word was with the God and God was the Word. So Part A as we break this verse down, will simply “In beginning was the Word”.Part B will be “and the Word was with the God”.and the last part which we will note as Part C shall be “and God was the Word.”
The Jehovah's Witnesses and the so-called Christian cults love to attack Part C. They translate this part of the verse as: “and a god was the Word.” Their rational is biased on the fact that there is no definite article before the word God (θεὸς ). Their contention therefore is that this is stating that Jesus is not “the God”! So what they do, is to make the word God in part C a lesser god. By changing the capital G and making it a small g, and placing the indefinite article “a” in front of it.
Firstly, I want to point out something that most don't share, nor even know about the definite article... the assumption made is that if there is no definite article, then it must have an indefinite meaning and be translated with the indefinite article "a" in front of it. The Greek language has a definite article “the” and even about 30 renderings of it depending on, case, mood, tense etc. ... but it does not have an indefinite article per say as we do in English. The indefinite articles ‘a’ or ‘an’ are often supplied in our Bibles
At times it could and should be supplied, but we cannot always assume that it is always appropriate. Greek doesn’t even operate with the same exact rules as English in regards to the use of the definite article ‘the’. In many instances in which English would not include the word ‘the’ the Greek text includes it. As an illustration, we would never say in English: The Peter walked upon the waters to come towards the Jesus. (Matt.14:29) Yet this is how they spoke and wrote in Koine Greek!
… ὁ Πέτρος περιεπάτησεν ἐπὶ τὰ
… The Peter walked upon the
ὕδατα ἐλθεῖν πρὸς τὸν Ἰησοῦν.
water to come towards the Jesus
Let me also point out that the truth of the matter is that if it actually did have the definite article (ὁ) before it, then the ‘Oneness” view would be correct! It would then emphatically state that ‘the God” was ‘the Word’ leaving no room for them to be two separate entities within the one God! As a side note the Jehovah's Witnesses fail to use their same rule for translating Jn.1:1 “a god” in Jn.1:6, 12, &13 all speaking of God the Father, and all without the definite article in the Greek in that same chapter! Below I will list them for you!
Jn.1:6 Ἐγένετο ἄνθρωπος ἀπεσταλμένος παρὰ θεοῦ ὄνομα αὐτῷ Notice how there is no article at all between the words Jπαρὰ and θεοῦ! According to what the Jehovah Witnesses state concerning Jn.1:1c. This verse should be rendered: came to be a man sent from “a god” ...
Now let's look at Jn.1:12 ὅσοι δὲ ἔλαβον αὐτόν ἔδωκεν αὐτοῖς ἐξουσίαν τέκνα θεοῦ γενέσθαι τοῖς πιστεύουσιν εἰς τὸ ὄνομα αὐτοῦ.
Again according to what the we have been told by the deity of Christ deniers, since there is no article between τέκνα and θεοῦ this verse should be rendered:
As many but received Him He gave them power to become sons “of a god” …then in the very next verse Jn.1:13 we read: οἳ οὐκ ἐξ αἱμάτων οὐδὲ ἐκ θελήματος σαρκὸς οὐδὲ ἐκ θελήματος ἀνδρὸς ἀλλ᾽ ἐκ θεοῦ ἐγεννήθησαν. Again let me point out to you that there is no article between the words ἐκ and θεοῦ! Yet no one renders this verse as “a god” or as “of a god” (θεοῦ would equate to “of God” in the Greek of this verse as well as the last verse we just looked at because they are in the Genitive case denoting possesion.) So you can see by their quoted rule this should be rendered “of a god”, Yet they don't do so. Why? Because that would collapse, and destroy their teachings on who Jesus is!
Looking at Part C καὶ θεὸς ἦν ὁ λόγος we should note that the subject here is “the Word” (ὁ λόγος) the article ὁ (the) in front of it is just a marker to designate which noun is the subject, so we emphatically know that the Word is the subject. Both words θεὸς and λόγος are Nominative case with endings in “ος” and therefore can both qualify as the subject. So the way to qualify the Subject is to see which has the article in front of it. Without the article it would be a predicate. The predicate serves to assert or deny something pertaining to the subject. In this case the word θεὸς would be the predicate (Since it doesn't have the article.) Therefore the predicate is asserting something about the subject which is “The Word”. It's assertion is that the Word is God! Plain and simple. It shows that the Word is deity! It/ He “The Word” was towards the God (Part B) and obviously a separate entity from the Father, yet possessing the attribute of being God!
So to be literal in English we have the subject coming first in the sentence structure and the predicate comes after... this is why you’re Bibles read in the reverse order of the actual Greek. The Greek reads “And God was the Word”, but our English bibles read: “And the Word was God.”
Throughout this entire verse in all three parts we see the Word (Jesus) being the subject. In part a we see ὁ λόγος as having the article as well as being in the nominative case. So we see that He existed in the beginning. What beginning? Well, I think it's easy to see and understand that when we read the Septuagint rendering of Gen.1:1 it sates:“In the beginning God created ...” Gen.1:1 (LXX) For those who have read my articles in Allyn Morton's TFC Magazine where I dealt with and shared many Targums, I have already noted in article six that the targum Neofiti stated that Gen.1:1 is rendered as: From the beginning, THE WORD [Memra] of the Lord created and perfected the heavens and the earth with wisdom."
No wonder the apostle John while inspired by the Holy Spirit was to pen this opening statement to his gospel. He had understood that Jesus was not only God, or part of the Godhead, but that He was none other than the Memra (Aramaic for the word, Word!) of whom he listened to from his youth as they spoke of the Memra or Word of God!
In Part B of this sentence, we again see the the Word is in the in the nominative case which make it the subject, whereas the God τὸν θεόν is in the Accusative case – the direct object. We are made aware that the Word was with The God. (The Father.) The Word doesn't replace God, but rather is always πρὸς which means towards, with, beside or even face to face with Him.
I want to also point out and expose a complete fallacy that has been erroneously spread throughout Christianity about Jesus and John's termλόγος. Many contend that the apostle John penned the first chapter of his gospel, as if he spoke of Jesus as the Logos (Gr. λόγος ) From a totally Greek mythical perspective, and not as a Hebrew using Hebraic theological commonly known as truth from the Targums that were read after a passage in the synagogue each Sabbath. The cults and the deity of Christ naysayer’s love to take this proverbial, “ball” and run with it! They falsely assert that the doctrine of the Trinity is a teaching which originated out of fourth century paganism! The study of the tar gums on the other hand show us something completely different from that hypothesis and its false perspective! I emphatically say No to that idea!
The “WORD” was not a Greek philosophical idea, such as “wisdom” “logic” or anything else you want to insert! By the time of Christ, Jews of higher learning were already understanding that the “WORD” throughout their Old Testament was referring to a divine entity within God Himself, yet separate from the Father. They even had a concept where they considered the “Word” as God to the “Second Power”, but united with YHWH! The ancients of Israel completely understood this concept of two literal powers in heaven, both being part of the “echad” (one) God of Israel.
We certainly see this in the first chapter of the gospel of John. The evangelist presents Jesus as – the WORD OF GOD! He presents this understanding that the Word was united with the Father yet separate, and yet also God! The Apostle John never borrowed any of his terminology like “The Word” from Greek paganism, Greek thought, mythology, or philosophy! He used a term found right in his own Bible and Targums! He then did something amazing!!!! He said in a nutshell, Jesus was that Logos we have studied and learned about all our life! Jesus is the God who appeared to our forefathers, and we have seen Him, heard Him, beheld Him, our hands touched Him, and I am bearing witness and proclaim this to you that you may believe and have complete joy! (Jn.1:1,14; 1 Jn. 1-3) Until next week, God bless you and take care!