In part 1 of this theme, we examined the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament) to see what they revealed about God’s Son, Logos. In the remaining parts, we will examine the various truths revealed about Jesus in the Christian Scriptures.
As the writing of the Bible drew to its close, Jehovah inspired the aged Apostle John to reveal some important truths concerning Jesus’ prehuman existence. John revealed his name was “The Word” (Logos, for purposes of our study) in the opening verse of his gospel. It is doubtful you could find a passage of Scripture which has been more discussed, analyzed and debated than John 1:1,2. Here is a sampling of the various ways it has been translated:
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was a god. This one was in the beginning with God.” – New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures – NWT
“When the world began, the Word was already there. The Word was with God, and the nature of the Word was the same as the nature of God. The Word was there in the beginning with God.” – The New Testament by William Barclay
“Before the world was created, the Word already existed; he was with God, and he was the same as God. From the very beginning the Word was with God.” – Good News Bible in Today’s English Version – TEV
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God.” (John 1:1 American Standard Version – ASV )
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was fully God. The Word was with God in the beginning.” (John 1:1 NET Bible)
“In the beginning before all time] was the Word (Christ), and the Word was with God, and the Word was God Himself. He was present originally with God.” – The Amplified New Testament Bible – AB
The majority of popular Bible translations mirror the rendering of the American Standard Version giving the English reader to understand that Logos was God. A few, like the NET and AB Bibles, go beyond the original text in an attempt to remove all doubt that God and the Word are one and the same. On the other side of the equation—in a notable minority among current translations—is the NWT with its “…the Word was a God”.
The confusion that most renderings deliver to the first-time Bible reader is evident in the translation provided by the NET Bible, for it begs the question: “How could the Word be both fully God and still exist outside of God so as to be with God?”
The fact that this seems to defy human logic does not disqualify it as truth. All of us have difficulty with the truth that God is without beginning, because we cannot fully comprehend the infinite. Was God revealing a similarly mind-boggling concept through John? Or is this idea from men?
The question boils down to this: Is Logos God or not?
That Pesky Indefinite Article
Many criticize the New World Translation for its JW-centric bias, particularly in inserting the divine name in the NT since it is not found in any of the ancient manuscripts. Be that as it may, if we were to dismiss a Bible translation because of bias in some texts, we’d have to dismiss all of them. We do not want to succumb to bias ourselves. So let’s examine the NWT rendering of John 1:1 on its own merits.
It will likely surprise some readers to find that the rendering “…the Word was a god” is hardly unique to the NWT. In fact, some 70 different translations use it or some closely related equivalent. Here are some examples:
- 1935 “and the Word was divine” – The Bible—An American Translation, by John M. P. Smith and Edgar J. Goodspeed, Chicago.
- 1955 “so the Word was divine” – The Authentic New Testament, by Hugh J. Schonfield, Aberdeen.
- 1978 “and godlike sort was the Logos” – Das Evangelium nach Johannes, by Johannes Schneider, Berlin.
- 1822 “and the Word was a god.” – The New Testament in Greek and English (A. Kneeland, 1822.);
- 1863 “and the Word was a god.” – A Literal Translation Of The New Testament (Herman Heinfetter [Pseudonym of Frederick Parker], 1863);
- 1885 “and the Word was a god.” – Concise Commentary On The Holy Bible ( Young, 1885);
- 1879 “and the Word was a god.” – Das Evangelium nach Johannes (J. Becker, 1979);
- 1911 “and the Word was a god.” – The Coptic Version of the N.T. (G. W. Horner, 1911);
- 1958 “and the Word was a god.” – The New Testament of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Anointed” (J. L. Tomanec, 1958);
- 1829 “and the Word was a god.” – The Monotessaron; or, The Gospel History According to the Four Evangelists (J. S. Thompson, 1829);
- 1975 “and the Word was a god.” – Das Evangelium nach Johannes (S. Schulz, 1975);
- 1962, 1979 “‘the word was God.’ Or, more literally, ‘God was the word.'” The Four Gospels and the Revelation (R. Lattimore, 1979)
- 1975 “and a god (or, of a divine kind) was the Word” Das Evangelium nach Johnnes, by Siegfried Schulz, Göttingen, Germany
(Special thanks to Wikipedia for this list)
Proponents of the “the Word is God” rendering would charge bias against these translators stating that the indefinite article “a” is not there in the original. Here’s the interlinear rendering:
“In [the] beginning was the word and the word was with the god and god was the word. This (one) was in beginning toward the God.”
How could dozens of Bible scholars and translators miss that, you might ask? The answer is simple. They didn’t. There is no indefinite article in Greek. A translator has to insert it to conform to English grammar. This is hard to envision for the average English speaker. Consider this example:
“Week ago, John, friend of mine, got up, had shower, ate bowl of cereal, then got on bus to start work at job as teacher.”
Sounds very odd, doesn’t it? Still, you can get the meaning. However, there are times in English when we really do need to distinguish between definite and indefinite nouns.
A Brief Grammar Course
If this subtitle is causing your eyes to glaze over, I promise you that I’ll honor the meaning of “brief”.
There are three types of nouns we need to be aware of: indefinite, definite, proper.
- Indefinite noun: “a man”
- Definite noun: “the man”
- Proper noun: “John”
In English, unlike Greek, we have made God into a proper noun. Rendering 1 John 4:8 we say, “God is Love”. We have turned “God” into a proper noun, essentially, a name. This is not done in Greek, so this verse in the Greek interlinear shows up as “The God is love”.
So in English a proper noun is a definite noun. It means we definitely know to whom we are referring. Putting “a” in front of a noun means we are not definite. We are speaking generally. Saying, “A god is love” is indefinite. Essentially, we are saying, “any god is love”.
Okay? End of grammar lesson.
The role of a translator is to communicate what the author wrote as faithfully as is possible into another language no matter what his personal feelings and beliefs may be.
A Non-Interpretative Rendering of John 1:1
To demonstrate the importance of the indefinite article in English, let’s try a sentence without it.
“In the Bible book of Job, God is shown speaking to Satan who is god.”
If we did not possess an indefinite article in our language, how would we render this sentence so as not to give the reader the understanding that Satan is God? Taking our cue from the Greeks, we’d could do this:
“In the Bible book of Job, the God is shown speaking to Satan who is god.”
This is a binary approach to the problem. 1 or 0. On or off. So simple. If the definite article is used (1), the noun is definite. If not (0), then it’s indefinite.
Let’s look at John 1:1,2 again with this insight into the Greek mind.
“In [the] beginning was the word and the word was with the god and god was the word. This (one) was in beginning toward the God.”
The two definite nouns nest the indefinite one. If John had wanted to show that Jesus was God and not simply a god, he would have written it this way.
“In [the] beginning was the word and the word was with the god and the god was the word. This (one) was in beginning toward the God.”
Now all three nouns are definite. There is no mystery here. It’s just basic Greek grammar.
Since we don’t take a binary approach to distinguishing between definite and indefinite nouns, we must prefix the appropriate article. Therefore, the correct non-biased grammatical rendering is “the Word was a God”.
One Reason for the Confusion
Bias causes many translators to go against Greek grammar and render John 1:1 with the proper noun God, as in “the Word was God”. Even if their belief that Jesus is God is true, it does not excuse rendering John 1:1 so as to break with the way it was originally written. The translators of the NWT, while critical of others for doing this, fall into the same trap themselves by substituting “Jehovah” for “Lord” hundreds of times in the NWT They contend that their belief overrides their duty to translate faithfully what is written. They presume to know more than is there. This is called conjectural emendation and as regards the inspired word of God, it is a particularly dangerous practice to engage in. (De 4:2; 12:32; Pr 30:6; Ga 1:8; Re 22:18, 19)
What leads to this belief-based bias? In part, the twice used phrase from John 1:1,2 “in the beginning”. What beginning? John doesn’t specify. Is he referring to the beginning of the universe or the beginning of Logos? Most believe that it is the former since John next speaks about the creation of all things in vs. 3.
This presents an intellectual dilemma for us. Time is a created thing. There is no time as we know it outside of the physical universe. John 1:3 makes it clear that Logos already existed when all things were created. The logic follows that if there was no time before the universe was created and Logos was there with God, then Logos is timeless, eternal, and without beginning. From there it is a short intellectual leap to the conclusion that Logos must be God in some manner or other.
What Is Being Overlooked
We would never wish to succumb to the trap of intellectual arrogance. Less than 100 years ago, we cracked the seal on a profound mystery of the universe: the theory of relativity. Among other things, we realized for the first time time was mutable. Armed with this knowledge we presume to think that the only time there can be is that which we know. The time component of the physical universe is the only one there can be. We believe therefore that the only type of beginning there can be is that which is defined by our space/time continuum. We are like the man born blind who has discovered with the help of sighted people that he can distinguish some colors by touch. (Red, for instance, will feel warmer than blue in sunlight.) Imagine if such a man, now armed with this newfound awareness, presumes to speak extensively on the true nature of color.
In my (humble, I hope) opinion, all we know from John’s words is that Logos existed before all other things that have been created. Did he have a beginning of his own prior to that, or has he always existed? I do not believe we can say for sure either way, but I would lean more toward the idea of a beginning. Here’s why.
The Firstborn of All Creation
If Jehovah had wanted us to understand that Logos had no beginning, he could have simply said so. There is no illustration he would use to help us understand that, because the concept of something without a start is beyond our experience. Some things we simply have to be told and have to accept on faith.
Yet Jehovah didn’t tell us any such thing about his Son. Instead he gave us a metaphor which is very much within our understanding.
“He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation;” (Col 1:15)
We all know what a firstborn is. There are certain universal characteristics that define it. A father exists. His firstborn doesn’t exist. The father produces the firstborn. The firstborn exists. Accepting that Jehovah as the Father is timeless, we must acknowledge in some frame of reference—even something beyond our imagination—that the Son is not, for he was produced by the Father. If we cannot draw that basic and obvious conclusion, then why would Jehovah have used this human relationship as a metaphor to help us understand a key truth about his Son’s nature?[i]
But it doesn’t stop there. Paul calls Jesus, “the firstborn of all creation”. That would lead his Colossian readers to the obvious conclusion that:
- More were to come because if the firstborn is the only born, then he cannot be the first. First is an ordinal number and as such presumes an order or sequence.
- The more that was to follow was the rest of creation.
This leads to the inevitable conclusion that Jesus is part of creation. Different yes. Unique? Absolutely. But still, a creation.
This is why Jesus uses the family metaphor throughout this ministry referring to God not as a co-existent equal, but as a superior father—his Father, the Father of all. (John 14:28; 20:17)
The Only Begotten God
While an unbiased translation of John 1:1 makes it clear that Jesus is a god, i.e., not the one true God, Jehovah. But, what does that mean?
Additionally, there is an apparent contradiction between Colossians 1:15 which calls him a firstborn and John 1:14 which calls him an only child.
Let’s reserve those questions for the next article.
[i] There are some who argue against this obvious conclusion by reasoning that the reference to firstborn here harkens back to the special status the firstborn had in Israel, for he received a double portion. If so then how odd that the Paul would use such an illustration when writing to the Gentile Colossians. Surely he would have explained this Jewish tradition to them, so that they wouldn’t jump to the more obvious conclusion the illustration calls for. Yet he didn’t, because his point was much simpler and obvious. It needed no explanation.
In the interests of fairness I would point out a couple of things: 1. Phillip Harner’s article in the Journal of Biblical Literature ) actually provides a comprehensive look at the possibilities before John in expressing the last clause of John 1:1. – it’s well worth a look. 2. Many of the 70 translations cited as agreeing with the NWT would actually take the position that Jesus was nothing short of God but recognize that the construction of the verse says something about his quality and hence render it as “The Word was divine” or similar. They don’t mean by… Read more »
I also have doubts about the true nature of Jesuchrist. “ and the word was god”, some say that the word “god” in that first position, before a Copulative verb( to be) , and without the definitive article “the” , makes that word “god” an adjective. So the translation would be “ and the word have the nature of God” , and not only “ divine” like the spiritual beings called angels who are also divine but we can’t say that the angels are of the same nature of YHWH ( or can we?), they conclude that the “word” as… Read more »
Interpretation of “firstborn” and “ your only son” not as the first son born of a person, but as the heir of properties of the Father, the son that have the preeminence over his other siblings, like Ismael and Isaac, Ismael being older than Isaac but the angel of the lord said “ now I know that you love me because you have not retain your only child from me”, and Isaac is called later “ the firstborn of Abraham “.
Amazing! Very Easy to understand now. Outstanding work Brother! I am sure our views have been adjusted since this article ….
Trailblazing for sure…. Beautiful piece.
Hi Jannai Col 1 15;16 Talks about Jesus the firstborn of all creation Verse 16 for by him all things were created in HEAVEN and on earth. So it seems in gen 1;26 Gods words were relating to Jesus, “let us make man in our image” Heb 1;2 – John 1;3 John 1 10 Col 1;16 Even before the angels were created Jesus was there and there is no scriptural reference to the angels having any active part in creation. But I agree it must have been a joyous occassion for the angels witnessing the foundations of the earth being… Read more »
Just a point about the angels – God could have invited his heavenly court, the angels, to participate in some way in the creation of humankind, perhaps in the role of offering praise (Job 38:7), but He Himself does the actual creative work. This then would harmonise with Isaiah 44:24.
I think the problem is that you are looking at Genesis 1:26 with a view to Jesus being present, whilst I am looking at it with a view to him not being present.
Where to start !!! Brought up in “the truth” and 50 years later having had JW doctrines inculcated into my very being it’s still hard not to reflect those teachings into my comments. As a Jw I found that we over analyse, over interpret,over scrutinise, to the extent that as a consequence we lose sight of the basic message the scriptures have to offer. So keeping it simple. God (singular) said Let us (plural) make man in our (plural) image. Gen 1;26 Behold man has become like one of us (plural) – and this is the kicker “knowing good and… Read more »
Perhaps in Genesis 1:26 these words are being spoken to the angels who were observing at least parts of God’s creative activities. Job 38:4,7 “Where were you when I laid the earths foundation? Tell me, if you understand. v 7 While the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy.” (NIV)
To im just asking …mate your going way over my head here . Im just a simple construction worker . You must be reading books 24 7 or something .. cant you put it in simple terms like jesus did . .
Mark Christopher, I don’t think Buzzard means that Jesus is fully human in heaven. I think what it means is that when Jesus was resurrected he was changed from having a body of carbon-based substance into a “glorified human body”. That would be very different from our current human bodies, hence how Jesus was able to walk through walls etc.
Thanks Jannai40. Maybe I read Buzzard incorrectly.
Sorry meant to say “was given me”
All I can say for certain is Jesus Christ reveals the exact imprint of Gods Character in himself.And I should desire to be like him.The rest I have not made up my mind. I am still ruminating over the comments and the article you have written.I can see the sense in some of the reasonings more today than I did yesterday.I never want to say that I’ve committed to a belief until I hear all the arguments and fully understand. That takes time and a willingness to admit I,m wrong.. As a JW who just believed whatever Tom, Dick and… Read more »
Thanks for the clarification. Saying “I don’t know” is a perfectly acceptable response. Some might say, the beginning of wisdom. I am slowly learning to say that myself. I too am on a learning curve, and the many responses and comments have helped me refine my thinking on Scriptures. Each commenter has his or her on take on things, but most, I believe, are honestly seeking the end truth. Sometimes it is attainable. Sometimes, we will have to wait for the future revealing of truth from God. Some things may never be knowable.
We have been reconciled to God through knowing Jesus Christ because he is the image of the invisible God.For now thats what I understand.
Not a direct answer. Leaves me wondering what you really believe.
Something you said made me think “So you are saying that Logos couldn’t the “image” of God while in heaven, but only upon the earth?
Although I stand by my original statement that Firstborn is referring to rank not first created.Image is referring to all creation including angels.
From this I understand your belief is that Jesus has been, is, and will always be the image of the invisible God.
I don,t believe Jesus is still a man in heaven. I believe that because he dwelt amongst men, he shared in our humanity and suffering and takes that experience with him.I don,t subscribe to Anthony Buzzards idea that he is fully human in heavenActually, I am not sure how he arrives at that idea.He makes a lot of sense in other areas, but that one makes no sense to me.What kind of body Jesus has now can’t be human.For one thing he walked through walls.
When most Christians say that Jesus is a man in heaven, they don’t mean a man like we are men today. They mean a glorified man (man in a glorified body). The reason they stick with the idea that Jesus is a man as far as I know are scriptures like there is one mediator between men and God, a MAN, Jesus Christ. So they maintain that he is a man, while also having a glorified body. Another reason I have often heard is that Jesus he got resurrected in his same body, and that furnished proof of the resurrection.… Read more »
Yes.I agree Thanks for clarifying INOG.
Thanks for clarifying INOG. I’m sorry to have misrepresented your position MarkChristopher. I do believe that the scriptures ssupport that Jesus was physically resurrected . I personally have reasoned on this and I believe that he returned to the glory he had “before the world began. ” John seems to say that before the word became flesh (John 1:14) that he existed as the Word with Jehovah. (John 1:1-3).
I am not being dogmatic but I have no reason why we would conclude that he is still a man in the heavens… glorified flesh or not.
I agree with ilovejesus333.Christianity for the last 2000 years has struggled explaining Christ’s pre existence. I don,t think thats going to change anytime soon..I do sense a little tension in the discussion, so I will mull over the comments and maybe something will click later.
John 1:30New American Standard Bible (NASB)
30 This is He on behalf of whom I said, ‘After me comes a Man who [a]has a higher rank than I, for He existed before me.’
If Jesus didn’t have a pre human existence then how does this scripture fit?
I have enjoyed the article and the discussion has been very thought provoking. I have a much deeper view of the “word” as used in John 1:1 and it’s fulfillment in Jesus.
Billy the answer to your question is found in what is called the prophetic perfect.
Look it up.
This is an example of a dismissive reply. We discourage that on this site. See Commenting Etiquette for more information.
Meleti, I’ve just been reading about the prophetic perfect and found it very interesting – I hadn’t heard of it before and I think it would help sincere truth seekers in their research, so I am certainly grateful for the information. To be honest, I didn’t think the comment to be a dismissive reply. Just a thought with regard to the discussion board – have you noticed there is an exceedingly rude name of one of the members there and I must admit that I was extremely surprised that it had been allowed. I was concerned because I know someone… Read more »
I appreciate your opinion Jannai40, but the rules we try to abide by in our discussions are: 1. Lay a solid foundation of truth using the Scriptural record to support every facet of your argument. 2. Quote from Scripture when making an argument. 3. If referring to an outside reference such as a scholarly resource or Bible commentary, quote the words in the text of the comment and then provide a reference to the publication, page and paragraph to guide the reader to the actual source material. 4. Avoid reviling, and abusive or judgmental comments. (1 Pet. 2:23; 3:9; Jude… Read more »
What has that to do with the prophetic perfect .john clearly states that jesus existed before him . Isnt the prophetic perfect when a future prophetic event is spoken of as in the past or present in english .in words such as is or was . It seems theres a difficulty in hebrew to describe future events . So in english they are spoken of as already happening even though they are future . But in this verse is john really describing a future event or just a plain fact ..that jesus existed before him . .kev c
And the other thing is thats in hebrew arent we qouting the christian greek scriptures or am i just way off track .
Meleti just because we don’t agree with you, there is no need to label our position in such derogatory terms. There is no sophistry at play here. I understand your argument fully, since I used to hold the same views. But I’m entitled (as are others) to change ones views in light of more compelling evidence, which you have failed to provide (at least for me) without the suggestion that somehow I have been mislead or am misleading others.You and INOG are beginning to sound like our old ‘mother’ – please don’t go there.
You are, of course, entitled to change your views. You seem to be taking offense were none was intended. I was making a general statement. It was Jannai40 who inferred the specificity, which is why I asked her for clarification.
As for the alleged lack of compelling evidence, I thought I had provided that in my article. If you do not find it compelling, well, as you say, you are entitled to your view.
Meleti, In your last reply to INOG, am I to understand that when you say, “It is easy to get lost in the complex sophistry of men, but the truth of scripture is appealing because of its simplicity,” that you are referring to Buzzard and Unitarian, because some people might think you are. There are most probably those who hold to those beliefs who are listening here, and I certainly do not think they would appreciate your comments.
Are the arguments of Buzzard and Unitarian complex and sophistic, or simple and clear?
1Co 1:12 What I mean is this, that each one of YOU says: “I belong to Paul,” “But I to A·pol’los,” “But I to Ce’phas,” “But I to Christ.”
Who is Buzzard? Who are the Unitarians? Who are the JW’s? Who are the Christadelphians?
I belong to no man or group of men.
I’m trying to allow God’s word speak to me and it isn’t saying the same thing to me, as you are.
IJA, I made a comment earlier about listening, digesting other peoples thoughts on this site and in doing so begins the learning process. Here we can all discuss the deeper things of the scriptires. We are all searching for truth yet as someone commented earlier, we still find difficulty after 2,000 years as to the identity even relationship of God and Christ. So what really is the truth? Well it’s in the bible isn’t it? The scribes and Pharisees were obsessed with keeping every tiny detail of the law that they lost sight of its original purpose. Theydidn’t love God… Read more »
Not sure where that came from either!
Jannai40 – I’ll second your last comment. Well put. If we start making dogmatic statements on this subject, it moves from a discussion to assertion, to division, to persecution, to hate. We only have to look at the pain the Church has gone through for the last 2000 years on this very subject. And who gains as we persecute one another and slander one another, just because we think we have the truth. Let’s be careful on this subject and not give the Devil any room to lodge. I have in the last 6 months becomes friend with a staunch… Read more »
I think this platform is not capable of handling long posts ;/ I have typed out two elaborate posts with scriptures and each time it crashed. I have to get into the habit of saving it somewhere else, I should know better.
INOG, Do you think elaborate posts are necessary? Is it not best to keep it simple so that everyone can understand what is being said. No offence, it’s just a thought, after all Jesus was a man of few words, was he not, yet very easy to understand.
I could just assert my position without giving any explanation, but that would not be advantageous to the discussion. Further, being elaborate does not need to be complicated 😉 Basically it comes down to this. To me the overwhelming testimony of Paul and John leave no room for a non-pre-existing Jesus in the person of the Logos. Paul and John essentially say the same thing about the Logos. Paul said through the Son everything was created, John said through the Logos everything was created. There are so many verses that underline the pre-existence of the Son/Logos that yes I could… Read more »
INOG, I’m not sure what you mean by clever attempts by Buzzard and other Unitarian – perhaps you could explain that? It may just be, of course, that these ones are just as sincere as we are in reaching for the truth. What if Buzzard is right, or what if Meleti is right. We cannot say for sure if anyone has everything right – that is the trap we fell into as JWs. Now we listen and search and prayerfully make up our own minds in what we believe at this time to be in harmony with God’s Word.
Thank you, InNeedOfGrace. I agree with you on your observation of the weight of evidence that both Paul and John provide regarding the pre-existence of Jesus. It is easy to get lost in the complex sophistry of men, but the truth of scripture is appealing because of its simplicity.
>> Also I fear that the denial of this testimony leaves the door open for even more theories, like adoptionionism and other constructions.
My, my. Are you now saying that unless we agree with YOUR interpretation that we will be walking out the exit?
A Trinitarian would say the same thing to you. In his eyes the scriptures clearly teach the Trinity and you are the heretic and the lost soul. Truth seems to be in the mind of the beholder.
How divisive this topic is and look how quickly the mud starts flying!!
If we feel others are throwing mud—and I’m not suggesting they are—we can do little about it. What we can do however is not throw it back. The tone of some of the recent comments is beginning to sound argumentative. Why don’t we all take a deep breath, count to ten, and then if we wish to make a comment, read it over a couple of times before hitting the reply button?
imjustasking and markchristopher
I find your comments to be very interesting and encouraging, and I thank you.
Imjustasking, of course I am thinking like the Greeks because I studied Greek for 6 years in school 😉 All phun indented aside, I agree there will definitely be an influence from the WT Society, which in term took their inspiration somewhere else. That being said, I won’t automatically discard the position simply because the WT teaches it. I am not a conspiracy theorist either, to where I go by the idea that everything was corrupted and every current scholar is corrupted, I simply try to look as objectively as I can to each argument and then take a position… Read more »
I concur with your reasoning. You put it better than I would have.
The topic of Jesus and his nature has been one of primary concern for me for years and years. Judging from the intensity of debate here, a lot of friends here are as much engaged 😉 Speaking out of personal experience I feel like I really didn’t make headway on the topic for many of years because I only read and considered the sources that were apologetic in nature. In other words, I was sure I had it right and really barely had my ears open to anyone else’s opinion, and everything I read seemed to confirm how right I… Read more »
INOG – who is that? Sorry I meant GodsWordIsTruth
Hi IJA, I’m not thinking like a Greek I’m thinking like GWIT 🙂 I don’t read, study or research the Greek language. Unless you are stating that the current translations of the Bible has been wrongly translated with a Greek slant …then in that case God help us all. I have faith that God has given me what He needs me to know. So let me be open (you probably know this already IJA) I’m leery of this Jesus is just a man reasoning. For me discussion begins with at the very least acknowledging that Jesus [a] god or divine.… Read more »
Hi Meleti and INOG I think the reason why you find it so hard to even consider the feasibility of the arguments myself and others have presented against your respective take on Jesus is because you are thinking like Greeks. Until you realise this, a different viewpoint cannot make sense to your mind. I was were you are now. I was a pioneer and a MS and my brain was hard wired with the same arguments you are presenting. It took a lot to arrive at the viewpoint I currently hold, but I think I have a richer view of… Read more »
It always bothers me when others presume to know what I’m thinking.
Hi Meleti, As you may already know our view regarding the nature of Christ differs. It seems that we agree on more than I originally realized and so I really appreciate and respect this strong article. I’ve learned so much… I’ll be bookmarking this one. That being said I am more of the same mind of INOG that this scripture alone does not disprove or prove the divinity of Jesus . The focus on this scripture is our unique rendering of it . I’m surprised to learn over the last few months that there are some Christians that deny the… Read more »
Hi GodsWordIsTruth. I too was surprised the first time I learned that there are those who do not believe Jesus existed prior to his birth on earth. Thank you for that link by the way. I’ll use it in my research. There have been many comments and varying arguments on Christ’s nature and this is only the second in the series. Obviously, this is one of the more important topics for most. I concur with that, of course. I personally feel that Jesus had a beginning in a sense we cannot comprehend. I’ll try to argue that point in the… Read more »
Meleti – “Let’s assume he had a beginning. What does that affect in our Christology? Now let’s say he has always been. How does that affect our Christology? To be forthright, I can’t see how it affects anything either way. Perhaps someone else out there has a thought on that.” I agree that it doesn’t affect anything either. It probably doesn’t affect the Christology for most except for those who are trying to prove that Jesus is a man ( Muslims for instance ) or that he is a created being e.g Michael or an Angel ( JW’s ) or… Read more »
If, as I suspect, we cannot know for sure whether or not Logos had a beginning, I wonder why so much effort is put into establishing which it is. I have been thinking about this and think it worthy of a post. I’ll withhold commenting further until I have got all my ducks in a row, but you have given me much food for thought. Thank you fellow iron. 😉
GodsWordIsTruth I just picked up on something you said “That being said I am more of the same mind of INOG that this scripture alone does not disprove or prove the divinity of Jesus” Understanding or proving Christ’s pre existence I would say is not about his divinity What does divinity mean? That Jesus pre existed as God?No.The bible never says Jesus is God because God is not a man.God is spirit.If God is the perfect personification of things like Love Wisdom Patience etc. And Jesus is the image of the invisible God and the exact representation of his very… Read more »
I’m confused… I don’t mean to offend but I must ask so that I can go back and read your comment:
1.Do you at least believe that Jesus is [a] god ?
2. Do you believe that he is presently a man in the heavens?
Simply put Jesus is Jehovah in the form of a man.That man is now a mediator in heaven for all mankind.
MarkChirstopher Not to derail the discussion even further but I believe that Jesus had to shed his humanity upon ascension. Otherwise it invalidates his sacrifice. We may disagree with how or when that happened ( bodily resurrection vs. Resurrection as spirit. ) Perhaps the points being made in the “Jesus is still a Man ” argument is going over my head. I see no reason why we would conclude that Jesus is still a Man no more than we would conclude he is an actual lamb that was slain or an actual lion of Judah . Especially when these arguments… Read more »
Iron does indeed sharpen iron! In order to receive the fact that we might be in error, we actually have to believe we might be in error and actually be willing to accept the truth of the matter. We all have doctrinal blind spots and/or errors in our thinking. Acting on the belief that we are one of the few who has the Truth of the Scriptures is all too familiar. We should be careful not embrace an attitude that we are delivering a word of correction. When a person embraces such an air I think it is safe to… Read more »
Meleti, may I make a suggestion – rather than going to the discussion board perhaps it would be more appropriate and beneficial if we could be allowed to continue this discussion with you and others here on BP. The very fact that there are over 24 pages on the topic about the Pre human existence of Jesus on the discussion board might indicate that we wouldn’t get very far tackling it that way. For all of us, our desire is to reach the truth of God’s Word and to help our brothers. Thank you.
Jehovah brought things into existence by means of his Word.
Psalm 33:6 By The Word of Lord Jehovah the Heavens were made, and all his hosts by The Breath of his mouth.
So Jehovah alone created all things through his own Word.No one else’s. His own Word became flesh to save mankind from sin and death by means of a new creation
Col 1:16 because by means of him all [other] things were created in the heavens and upon the earth, the things visible and the things invisible, no matter whether they are thrones or lordships or governments or authorities. All [other] things have been created through him and for him. Col 1:17 Also, he is before all [other] things and by means of him all [other] things were made to exist, Col 1:18 and he is the head of the body, the congregation. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that he might become the one who is first… Read more »
I was taught by the Watchtower that “firstborn” in Colossians has a literal meaning.I was letting them set the translation rule.However I believe its safe to let the bible do the interpretation. Meaning you look at what it meant previously in the old testament. Then you can see what it means in the new testament. Regarding King David Jehovah says. Psalm 89:27 “And I will appoint him to be my firstborn, the most exalted of the kings of the earth”. Jesus Christ is only referred to as the Son from the time he was on earth, before that he was… Read more »
“Its my humble and infallible opinion”??? A bit of wry humor perchance?
So you are saying that Logos couldn’t the “image” of God while in heaven, but only upon the earth?
The surrounding context suggests its from a human perspective. Angels are also invisible, why would the Word entity be the image of an invisible God to them?
“Its my humble and infallible opinion”??? A bit of wry humor perchance?
I was being sincere, If I am wrong about how I presently see things I hope I have the capacity to admit I ‘m wrong
You sincerely feel your opinion is infallible?
Also, following ImJustAsking’s reasoning on the user of “is” vs. “was” in verse 16, if “firstborn” cannot apply to the past because of the present tense verb “is”, then he must have been the image of the invisible God then. Since at the time of that writing he was also invisible, we cannot limit “image” to his visible state only.
Mark Christopher – ” Colossians is not teaching us that Jesus was the first created being ,but rather. He is the first in line of a new creation, but it also reminds us that through him “the Word” originally all things where created.” On this I totally agree. I’ve look at Colossians at many different angles and it’s my personal conclusion is the WT’s explanation is at the root of the understandings that Jesus is a created being. The scriptures teach that Firstborn can be also title that can be transferred to another. Take David for instance… he was the… Read more »
BeDuhn’s book claims that the grammatical construction of ‘firstborn of creation’ clearly indicates that Jesus is, indeed, ‘of creation’. Do you have a good reason to doubt him on that?
I don’t doubt him because I have no idea who he is. I’m interested in why I should know who is and why his words should carry any weight…
Sorry. His name’s been mentioned so often in this forum I thought everyone on here knew who he was. Anyway, Jason BeDuhn wrote a book “Truth in Translation: Accuracy and Bias in English Translations of the New Testament” that analyzes several NT translations and how they deal, primarily, with classic Trinitarian proof texts, among them, Col. 1.15-20. He points out that the NIV’s “firstborn over creation” is entirely unjustified and that the phrase “of creation” indicates Jesus was part of creation. It’s a fascinating read, though quite pricey.
Colossians 1:16 Taking the scripture in context, it could be said that it is referring to the new creation – the Kingdom of God. (Colossians 1:13-18)
Except that verse 16 doesn’t relate to the new creation. 17 says he is before all things.
18 calls him the firstborn from the dead. So he is both firstborn of all creation (not just some creation. The new creation is some not all) He is firstborn of the dead. A separate firstborn status.
To show they are two distinct firstborn statuses, Paul says, “so that he might become the one who is first in all things.”
Jesus is “before all things” Colossians 1:17 – the word “before” indicating, as it often does, supremacy of rank rather than priority in time. Jesus is chronologically prior to all others in the “new” creation. He is chronologically prior to the world in God’s plan to grant him the inheritance of all things. He is the first to gain immortality by resurrection, thus in verse 18 Jesus is the “firstborn from the dead”. It was his resurrection from the dead which established him as supreme under God over the whole new creation and all authorities in it. Verse 18 is… Read more »
Hi Meleti first of all thank you for allowing me to be a guest on your site and to allow me to comment. I really do appreciate your graciousness, especially since I hold an opposing view and think that you may not be considering all the facts. Unlike our ‘human masters’ you have dignity and love to allow those who disagree with you to say their piece and for that I am grateful. Now to my points Time Meleti your premise is based on a remarkable statement that Time is a created construct. Really? Can you be so sure, when… Read more »
Hi ImJustAsking, To answer some of your question, for time does not permit me to answer all that this point. Re: Time as a creation. Science has proven though experimentation that the speed at which time flows differs based on the speed of the object experience it. So if you travel very close to the speed of light, you would age very slowly. Since time is part of the fabric of space, it is part of the physical universe. So for there to be time as we know it, there must be matter in motion. The faster the matter moves,… Read more »
Time – hmm. You are a brave man to speculate on something we understand so little of (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Time) much less how it relates to beings in another dimension. I get your point you made but it is still speculative since it cannot be confirmed either through the Bible or scientifically. Phil 2:16 – Sorry I meant your reference to Colossians 1:15. So I’ll repeat the point I made earlier again: The sentence says ‘is’ not ‘was’. The use of ‘is’ indicates the present not past. Therefore the most that we can take from this statement is about Jesus’ CURRENT nature.So… Read more »
Re: Time. It isn’t speculation. It’s proven scientific fact. However, if we accept your view, then God exists in time. That would make God subject to time. Can you see Jehovah caught in the stream of time as we are? And then who invented time if not God, or do you think that time always existed? Is so then it is a quality of God. If so, then why do the scriptures not teach this. Re: Col. 1:5 I happen to be the firstborn of my family. Using your logic, I must say “I was the firstborn”. Yet that is… Read more »
“If MarkChristopher will provide me with Scriptural proof for this theory, then I’ll happily spend time considering it.”
I should of put it another way. Are you saying that the Word exisited along side God as a seperate being without a beginning.No.
No, I’m not saying that.
Great series, Meleti! I think the problem is this: On one extreme end of the spectrum, you have christians who treat Jesus as if he is Almighty God himself. And on the opposite extreme end you have Jehovah’s Witnesses who treat Jesus as if he’s little more than an angel – a “spirit creature” (Don’t you just love how they de-personify him with that expression?). It is my view that the truth lies in the middle. Jesus has the same nature as God Almighty. Hebrews says he’s the exact representation of God’s very being. This would explain why he’s called… Read more »
Just an interesting point that I came across – If you had a copy of an English Bible in any of the eight English versions available prior to 1582, you would gain a very different sense from the opening verses of John:
“In the beginning was the word and the word was with God and the word was God. All things came into being through it and without it nothing was made that was made.”
Good find, Jannai40!
This is a very important point. The capital W was added there at some point, there were no capital letters in the original Greek. If the word is an “it” instead of a “he”, it changes the meaning of the whole passage.
We determine whether it is “it” or “he” based on the context. There is no basis contextually for the idea that the Word is an “it”.
If I am not mistaken, in Greek there was not use of capitals or non-capitals, all letters were the same. The use of capitals comes in much later and it is up to the translator to apply or not to apply a capital.
I think Jannai40 has some very thoughtful ideas.I think when the bible uses the term “the Word” its literally an expression from God himself.Its not a separate entity apart from God.Not a literal “he” In proverbs 8, wisdom and prudence are described as a he or even she.But actually I see that God is Wisdom and proverbs just uses poetic expressions to illustrate how God uses his wisdom.When God sends forth his wisdom he is not sending an entity who is literally his son. Prov 1″Does not wisdom call out? Does not understanding raise her voice.” Prov 1:12I,” wisdom, dwell… Read more »
Meleti, when reading the comments, I get the impression that in order to help people understand John 1:1, it would be helpful if we could bring in some thoughts with regard to the pre-existence/non pre-existence of Jesus Christ. I know that we have the discussion board which is very helpful to people, but I think I am right in saying that many prefer the calm of BP. No offence intended, of course – we are very grateful for the discussion board, but I don’t think it is for everyone, but of course it does serve a valuable purpose for many.
I take your point, Jannai40 and agree that each forum has its role. I plan to develop the theme you mention in upcoming articles in this series on The Word.
I would have to agree with Jannai. To be honest I only discovered this site less than a month ago but have learned so much from the articles but also from all the posts and comments too. As timothy tells us – Ponder over these (Spiritual) things. And this site allows us to do just that, being able to digest other people’s thoughts is all part of the learning process. And this is the best format for doing that.
So thanks to everyone for the articles and comments I know we all appreciate the work you put into this Meliti.
After reading your article. I was left with the impression that Jesus Christ pre existed as a a god separate from the Father God but both exist outside time and space. But creation, including angels came from the Father and the Son?Is that correct?
God exists outside of the space/time continuum of the physical universe. As for Jesus and the angels, I don’t really know. Obviously they can interact with our continuum. The Father of all is the creator of all, but he used his son as his word made manifest in creating all things. That is my understanding at present.
“In the beginning was the word” does not mean “In the beginning was the Son”. “As a man thinks in his heart (and speaks) so “is” he. (Proverbs 23:7). In the beginning there was the word, that is the word of God. John did not say that the word was a spokesperson. However, the word can “become” a spokesperson, and that is what happened when God expressed Himself in a Son by bringing Jesus onto the scene of history. Jesus was born of the virgin Mary and prior to that Jesus did not exist. When we learn the truth about… Read more »
For all following this discussion, there is a topic on “The Pre-Human Existence of Jesus” on the Discuss the Truth forum. The various arguments pro and con have been debated there quite extensively–24 pages worth and counting. 🙂
Which ‘beginning’ – I would be intrigued as to which ‘beginning’ the Bible is referring to. So far we have only been presented with a speculative beginning about a period of time the Bible does not even refer to. The FIRST BEGINNING in the Bible begins with Genesis. To talk with about any other beginning is mere speculation. On the other hand the hand, starting from Genesis, the Bible talks of many other Beginnings. Do a word search. Also, how many creative acts are there in the Bible? Is it just Genesis? So which creation is John or Paul (ie… Read more »
In the context of John 1 we have the Word named as the one through whom and by whom all things came into existence. (vs. 3) In the previous verse, he is spoken of as being in the beginning with God. So the context would lead us to conclude that the beginning spoken of here is the same of Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”
Rather than being a sentient person “the word” in John 1:1 was the complete index of God’s mind in action. Therefore, when John 1:1 speaks of “THE WORD” it was not at that time “the Son” until John 1:14 when “the word BECAME flesh.”
Let’s agree to disagree on that. 🙂
Meleti – I’m intrigued why you would disagree. Is there a rationale or is it just the way you ‘feel’ about the scripture?
I’m assuming that Jannai40 doesn’t mean person in the limited sense of human, but rather in the fuller sense of being. Of course, Jesus in his prehuman existence was a sentient being. Nothing else would fit with the revelations concerning him in Scripture.
Jannai scripture teaches that God sent his only begotten Son. He therefore must have been his Son prior to the sending of him. Scripture also says that the Word was IN the beginning. And that this Word created all things.
I agree with everything but the last sentence. John 1 clearly states that all things were made “through” him. He had a role in creation, but was not the Creator.
Where does the scripture teach us that Jesus merely had a “role” in creation? Colossians 1:16-17
“for through him God created everything in the heavenly realms and on earth. He made the things we can see and the things we can’t see–such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world. Everything was created through him and for him.” Col. 1.16 NLT
It’s still through him. Granted, his role in creation could only have been greater had he been the Creator himself.
I think your on to something there.
“Word” had appeared some 1,450 times (plus verb “to speak” 1,140 times) in the Hebrew Bible. The standard meaning of “word” is utterance, promise, command etc. It never meant a personal being – never “the Son of God”; nor a spokesman. Word generally signifies the index of the mind – an expression, a word. There is a wide range of meanings for “word” and “person” is not among these meanings. John 1:1 “In the beginning God had a plan and that plan was within God’s heart and was itself ‘God'” – that is God in his self-revelation. The plan was… Read more »
>>It never meant a personal being
I would respectfully have to disagree.
if LOGOS would not be represented in the bible translations with a capital W, I guess most readers would not think is represents a person or creature but merely “the message, the though or idea” etc.
If logos does not stand for Jesus, which is possible, it does not exclude that Jesus is god. Because the word became flesh would then mean that the father decided to sent his son into the world, in the flesh, to represent and proclaim his word(s).
In simple terms what i believe is that god divided himself and a lesser part of him became the son . Then that son used other energy from god and created everything else ..
If the Son was a lesser part of his, then he could not be the EXACT imprint. For the rest I would think of the Logos along similar lines, as having proceeded from the Father and being in every aspect the same as his Father (attributes, nature wise), but holding a different function and position.
The reason why i say that is because jesus himself said that the father was greater than he was .also 1 corinthians speaks of the son subjecting himself to the father at the end of the thousand years .and while the bible says he is the exact representation .while it says exact it it also says a REPRESENTATION . .To my mind a representation is not the original .
You’re reading too much into the term exact. The original idea stemmed from a ring impressed into wax. God has impressed his characteristics into Christ.
In a sense, are we not all split off from God? The energy bound into packets of matter that make up my body, did it not originally come from God, the source of all energy?
I wish I could put this as eloquently as the rest of you. . on top of that I am tired and have a headache. . . .I’ve tired to do research on this. .but can’t remember any details. . .and lot of the grammar stuff went right over my head.. but still . . I too, was left with the feeling. .understanding. . conclusion. . . that the Son was (hadn’t thought of it as ‘divided’ form God) but came out of The Father. I think that there is a Father/Son relationship about them that we. . well at… Read more »
You make some excellent points, Bjfox1. From your thoughts and those of everyone else who has commented thus far, it appears that there are a number of differing ideas concerning whether Jesus was made vs. created vs. born. Man’s body was made from preexisting elements, but then created when God breathed the breath of life into his nostrils. Another metaphor I presume since pumping air into a lifeless body doesn’t case it to live. (Genesis 2:7) The angels were created. How? We do not know. Did God take of his energy and form them? Or did he make their spiritual… Read more »
As a positive, what I take away from John 1:1 are two important things that add to the discussion of who Jesus really is (or the Logos) Ἐν ἀρχῇ ἦν ὁ Λόγος, καὶ ὁ Λόγος ἦν πρὸς τὸν Θεόν, καὶ Θεὸς ἦν ὁ Λόγος Firstly: Ἐν ἀρχῇ ἦν ὁ Λόγος Jesus (The Logos) is eternal. I deducted this as follows: 1. An eternal (beginning less) being must be existing before the beginning of things 2. The Logos was already in existence “en arche”, in the beginning. 3. Therefore, the Logos is eternal 2. The Logos is theos, Devine in his… Read more »
I support this view. Jesus is a divine person. If Satan is considered a god, then for sure Jesus. I understand the confusion. It is not only because of the use of the articles or absence thereof but also the use of capital letters. God versus god. Biblical Greek was all in capitals. So, John 1:1 could also be translated as follows: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was god. 2 The Word was with God in the beginning. The change is the word god not in capital. It still shows… Read more »
In comparison to our time Origen and Tertullian are certainly early Christians. They read the Bible in Greek without the distortions introduced by translations and used John 1:1 to show that the Lagos was God.
I’m not really familiar with the arguments and reasoning of Origen and Tertullian.
Tertullian I believe used Latin. Origen said all who are called gods but the Father are done in a way derived from the Father.
I cannot fully agree with the logic presented above. “If John had wanted to show that Jesus was God and not simply a god, he would have written it this way. “In [the] beginning was the word and the word was with the god and the god was the word. This (one) was in beginning toward the God.” Now all three nouns are definite. There is no mystery here. It’s just basic Greek grammar.” While many Trinitiarians make the mistake to USE this verse to proof that Jesus is THE GOD, I believe it’s equally wrong to say that this… Read more »
What we have in John 1:18 is an example of an anarthrous (article-less) theos. It is true in Greek that a dative or genitive case of theos does not require the definite article, but this is not so for the nominative case which is what is used in John 1:1. Jason Debuhn writes: “The nominative case is much more dependent than other Greek cases on the definite article to mark definiteness. There is a very limited range of definitizing elements that may make an anarthrous nominative theos definite. These include the presence of an attached possessive pronoun (John 8:54; 2… Read more »
I am very familiar with BeDuhn’s work. He was I read Beduhn’s work. I definitely agree with the above. He said himself that he would translate it as “the word is divine”. (I stated above that there was GOOD reason to translate it as qualitative) (“”The Jehovah’s Witness editors, in explaining this verse, say that they are trying to convey that the word has qualitative sense- that is, that the word belongs to the class of divine beings. This is correct. In fact, it seems clear to me that the word theos is in this verse a predicate adjective. I… Read more »
To add to the discussion, I find the research that Don Hartley did really interesting.
Hartley’s results demonstrate that in John’s Gospel, a preverbal PN is usually qualitative (56%), as opposed to definite (11%), indefinite (17%), or qualitative-indefinite (17%). He concludes that from the standpoint of pure statistical analysis, THEOS in John 1:1c is most likely qualitative.
Agreed. Harner’s understanding was that “a god” is said more in a qualitative sense, as one of a group of divine beings. It’s like saying, “John is a smart person.” or “John is smart.” In each case you’ve said essentially the same thing, one with a predicate noun and the other with a predicate adjective.
I do believe that Jesus is a god or is divine. From John 1:1 you cannot prove much more than that. It requires the whole of the inspired record to arrive at a more definitive conclusion.
INOG, you said “this definitely leaves the door open for debate whether Jesus is God or just a devine [sic] creature”. I don’t think so, because there’s more to this verse than just John 1:1c. What about ‘the Word was with God’? If the word was ‘divine’ and was with God, it seems quite obvious that he ‘belongs to the class of divine beings’ but is NOT the God who he was “with”. That, coupled with Jesus repeatedly calling God “my God”, even after returning to heaven (as at Rev. 3:12) would appear to make it clear that, while every… Read more »
God is Devine in quality or nature. If the Logos is said to be Devine too, that very much leaves the question open. There is no question who this The God is, its the Father. No one contests that. All I said is that this verse on its own cannot count as proof for or against exclusively. There are arguments for: him being eternal and Devine, there are arguments which could be used again: isn’t it a bit cryptically put to be with God and be God at the same time. I think the issue is very much deeper then… Read more »
What we should find in John 1 is the lack of the article before God in reference you the father. That we don’t reveals a distinction
The word was with the god and the word was god . Dead right meleti .we have recognised this for a long time ..there is a definate distinction between the first theos and the second in the verse its just not consistant to render them as the same . I remember many years ago the deep study i did on these verses led me to the conclusion that the second theos could be describing a quality . Divine .Godly ect .perhaps describing nature .. Its this word God where we seem to get confused . When we say the word… Read more »
Meleti, I agree with most what you write, however there are a few points I’d like to bring up. “JESUS WAS CREATED” 1) What kind of Father calls his firstborn his “creation”? Something that you create, say, a robot, is never equal to it’s creator. Yet Jesus is the living image of his Father. 2) John 1:3 “Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.” If he was created, he would have been made. Does John 1:3 imply that he made himself? I believe the conclusion is that he is outside creation. 3)… Read more »
To the argument that “first-born” implies that there will be others:
Also another way to think of “firstborn of creation” is to imply that he is the first who is born in the divine image of God, and that the born-again saints will follow as born in the divine nature upon their resurrection.
Hi Alex, I’ll answer briefly because a deeper discussion will benefit from a new topic on http://www.discussthetruth.com. 1) As I explained, firstborn is a metaphor to help us comprehend something of the relationship between God and Logos. Granted that being a creation makes Jesus less than that one who created him, which is in line with what Jesus teaches us at John 14:28. Likewise, being the image of someone doesn’t require equality. 2) Paul shows that an apparent all-inclusive statement can have an implied exception when he says, ““. . .For [God] “subjected all things under his feet.” But when he says… Read more »
“Created, made, produced, are all terms that carry connotations that diminish the true and glorious nature of Logos.”
I agree with this. I prefer the term “fathered” over those words, because it doesn’t carry the connotation.
firstborn can also mean “most important or most prominent”, first rights like the first born in a family. Jacob became the firstborn and received the rights of a firstborn, although biologically he was not the firstborn. Being the firstborn was always very special. Same with the passover. They had to sprinkle the blood in order to protect their FIRSTBORNS from the destroyer. That is how I read it when Jesus is referred to as firstborn. He is the most prominent of all things created or in existence. In particular the NT writers often had to emphasize the importance of Jesus.… Read more »
My thoughts on that alternative understanding of firstborn are summed up in the end notes.
I also made the point in the article that firstborn is a metaphor or illustration God used to help us understand that his son was created by him. Adam, Eve, and the Angels were all created by God through his Son, Logos. Logos was also created. However that doesn’t remove his unique character, role and nature.
“John 1:3 “Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.” If he was created, he would have been made. Does John 1:3 imply that he made himself? I believe the conclusion is that he is outside creation.”
I’m not following you here. Since it says “Through him all things were made”, it’s obvious that “all things” doesn’t include the one through whom “all things” were made, right?
Colossians 1:15 with the genitive includes Jesus within creation.
Hebrews 2:8 uses language similar to John 1:3 yet we would never argue that the father was subject to Christ.
“Week ago, John, friend of mine, got up, had shower, ate bowl of cereal, then got on bus to start work at job as teacher.”
This sounds like Russian 😛
Hi Meleti , I will state firstly that I don’t subscribe to the Trinity doctrine. Have you ever considered that the early Christians read the Bible in Greek (maybe some latin) and thus the debate about the correctness of inserting the indefinite article before god did not exist. Yet they used the Greek versions available to them to develop the Trinity doctrine. They used John 1:1 to show in Greek that the Lagos was God…
I am not refuting what you written above, I merely seek your perspective on the point I have raised
I’m not aware that the first century Christians developed the trinity doctrine. To my knowledge, the first mention of the idea was by Origen (185-254) and Tertullian (160-220) meaning that it only began to be considered by some about a century after John died.
In the beginning was Eve, and Eve was with Adam, and Eve was Adam.
She was in the beginning with Adam.
All things came into being through Her, and apart from Her nothing came into being that has come into being.
I like it. 🙂
Hi Meleti, I believe the Gospel of John is inspired. I believe Jesus spoke plainly about himself and his relationship to his Father. I believe in allowing Christ’s words to define him. I believe that what I may not understand at present our Father will make plain in His good time. I believe the confusion of Christian beliefs is not from God but men. Thanks for the two articles on the Logos Meleti. By comparison the rest of this thread is a merry-go-round of confusion. Too many sign posts, too many authorities, from Buzzard to Stafford, not enough just relying… Read more »
Thank you for this thought provoking viewpoint.