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The trinity

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The trinity

These are my findings can some one please explain to me ifand were i have gone wrong in my findings on the trinity.
Thankyou
God Bless

WHY DON’T I BELIEVE THE TRINITY

John 1v1 – 3 says
In the beginning was the WORD
The WORD was with God
And the WORD was God
V 14 tells us that the word is Jesus Christ

The new testament was written in the Greek, the original Greek word for the word “WORD” is logos which means mind or purpose, wisdom of thought an idea.
So if you read that section of scripture how it was written it would be
In the beginning was the “thought or idea”
And the “thought or idea was with God
And the “thought or idea was God
So you can see that in the beginning god had a thought or idea and that thought or idea was Christ, it was God because it was in his mind he thought about it constantly.

If you then look at verse 18 of that exact came chapter it says No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.
No one had seen God except Christ which means, that Christ couldn’t have been God because If he was then that verse would be a lie, because everyone who had seen Christ would have seen God.
Even the believers of the time of Christ believed he was the Son of God he wasn’t actually God v 49 Nathaniel answered and saith unto him, Rabbi, thou art the Son of God; thou art the King of Israel.

John 10v30 says I and my father are one
This verse would seem to prove the trinity in saying that Christ was God
BUT….Psalms 82 v 6 says that all who hears the word of God is a God, does this mean that if the trinity is correct then all of us who have heard the word of Gods are all God, so there would not be any need for salvation because we would all be God and seems as 1 Tim 1 v 17 says that God is immortals that means we would all be immortal.
No it doesn’t the Hebrew word there for god is God Elohim- which means mighty one, or the might or power of God has filled them.
So God and his son are one because Christ is full of Gods might or power.

A couple of questions
Can God die?
Answer no he cant God is immortal (1 Tim 1v17, and 1 Tim 6v16)
So how can God be Christ if Christ died, but God cannot die?
Can God be tempted?
No he is immortal can so cannot sin, and cannot be tempted
But Luke 4v2 says that Christ was tempted if Christ was tempted how can be God because God cannot be tempted.
More questions
If God and Christ is the same person who ran the World while Christ was one the earth In a MORTAL body, he didn’t have the power to rule the world, because he was mortal.
Who ran the world while Christ was in Mary’s stomach, Christ couldn’t have done it.

Quotes that show the trinity doesn’t quite add up
God
Christ

John 3v16 - For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
1 Tim 2v5 – One God One Mediator (mediator Christ) 2 people.
John 13v1 - Now before the feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end.
John 17 – Christ is praying to God…If God and Christ are the same person then Christ is talking to himself.
John 17v6- I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word.
John 20v17 –Christ not yet ascended to his father
Matt 19v16-17 – A man kept calling Christ good and “Good Master”, Christ replies with there is none Good but one that is GOD
Mark 14v36 And he said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt.
John 5v30 – I seek not mine own will, but the will of the father which hath sent me.
John5v19 Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.
Romans 3 v 24

Mark 13v32 - But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.
The day that Christ returns to set of his kingdom is known only to God even his son doesn’t no, so how can they be the same person.
 
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I believe you might be a bit confused here. GOD, known as the "GODHEAD" is the God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit in ONE aka "Godhead". The body of Christ is the Church (us believers)>
 
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Trinity ???

Chadi said:
I believe you might be a bit confused here. GOD, known as the "GODHEAD" is the God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit in ONE aka "Godhead". The body of Christ is the Church (us believers)>

Chadi , it sounds like to me that he has very valid reasons for what he is saying, and he gave plenty of scriptures to show why he believes that way,, The only thing that i see that is confusing is the trinity doctrine ! Trinity equals worshipping 3 gods, one of which don't even have a name > the holy spirit.

The Heavenly Father our Creator has a name in Hebrew the letters of His name = YHVH in english, and the Son our Saviour The Messiah in Hebrew the letters of His name = YHVS' in english,, some people pronounce YHVH > Yahweh ,, and YHVS' > Yahushua or Yahshua ,, YHVH sent His Son in His name, so the Son's name is not much different from that of His Father,, even though it seems that no one is positive how to pronounce the actual Hebrew names for them,, They do have names,,

But in all of my studies i have never found a name for the holy spirit,,
 
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Thankyou OneHeart4Jesus i agree with you there, people who believe the trinity always seem to come up with stuff about God the father and God the son and God the holy spirit, but as far as i can see those names areent even mentioned in the bible.

Here is a little bit more further study that i ahev done, read trough it and try to decide waht you think.

Sry it is so conjested and hard to read but im in a hurry i have to goto church.

The Trinity


The idea of the Trinity is not one that is found in the Bible. Far from being part of the same being, God and Christ are quite separate. Consider the following verse, 1 Timothy 2:5: "For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus". A mediator is a go-between. For Christ to mediate between God and men he must be separate from God, just as he is separate from the individual people he mediates for; if Christ was part of God then this verse would be nonsense.

1 Corinthians 8:6 also speaks plainly of God and Christ as separate: "But to us there is but one God, the Father, ... and one Lord Jesus Christ". If God the Father and Christ were part of the one being, why would these words have been written? If they were part of the Trinity, why is there no reference to the Holy Spirit here? The only reasonable answer is that God, the Father is a totally separate being from Jesus Christ.
There are two passages from the New Testament that are often used to prove the Trinity, John 1 and Luke 1:35. In reality, both of these show that the Trinity does not exist.

John 1:18 plainly states that "No man hath seen God at any time". It does not say " No man hath seen God the Father" at any time, but that no man has seen GOD at any time. It is obvious from the Gospels that people saw Jesus: therefore Jesus cannot be God, or any part of God. The verse goes on to say "the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him." Some other translations of this passage, which are based on other Greek manuscripts, have "the only begotten God" where the KJV has "only begotten Son". The Greek words for 'son' and 'god' in this context are very similar, and it seems likely that 'son' becoming 'god' was a simple slip of the pen when the early manuscripts were copied. The phrase 'only begotten God' is also at odds with the doctrine of the Trinity. Something that is begotten has a definite beginning and a cornerstone of the Trinity is that 'God the Son' has always existed.

"And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God." (Luke 1:35) Let us suppose that this passage does speak of the Trinity. It would seem then that the Holy Spirit is the Father of Christ, which would give a trinity of "God the Father & Holy Spirit, God the Son, and God the Redundant"! The more logical interpretation of this passage is that the Holy Spirit is simply the power of God.

Christ stands out in the Bible as being a sinless individual; this is a truly great achievement for a man. Sin is simply acting contrary to the will of God - therefore for Christ's sinlessness to be an achievement he must not be part of God
 
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You are both correct, the Trinity is not found in the Bible. What is found in the Bible (specifically the gopsels for that matter) is when Jesus speaks of the Father saying "I am in the Father and the Father is in me". Then, He also speaks of the Holy Spirit which is the spirit of GOD Himself. I believe in a way it is normal and understandable to be a little confused or say, mind boggled for that matter. After all, GOD is infinitely powerful and complex beyond our understanding. Of course, GOD gracefully has given us all the wisdom we can ask for while on this earth :)
 
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Yes chadi I agree with you that there are such quotes in the bible for example.

John 10v30 says I and my father are one
This verse would seem to prove the trinity in saying that Christ was God
BUT….Psalms 82 v 6 says that all who hears the word of God is a God, does this mean that if the trinity is correct then all of us who have heard the word of Gods are all God, so there would not be any need for salvation because we would all be God and seems as 1 Tim 1 v 17 says that God is immortals that means we would all be immortal.
No it doesn’t the Hebrew word there for god is God Elohim- which means mighty ones, or the might or power of God has filled them.
So God and his son are one because Christ is full of Gods might or power.

But as you can see this quote dosent really proove the trinity. There are simle explanations to many quotes like this one.
 
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John Chapter 17
1 These things spake Yahshua; and lifting up his eyes to heaven, he said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that the son may glorify thee:

2 even as thou gavest him authority over all flesh, that to all whom thou hast given him, he should give eternal life.

3 And this is life eternal, that they should know thee the only true Elohim, and him whom thou didst send, even Yahshua Ha Mashiyach.

4 I glorified thee on the earth, having accomplished the work which thou hast given me to do.

5 And now, Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.

6 I manifested thy name unto the men whom thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them to me; and they have kept thy word.

7 Now they know that all things whatsoever thou hast given me are from thee:

8 for the words which thou gavest me I have given unto them; and they received them, and knew of a truth that I came forth from thee, and they believed that thou didst send me.

9 I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for those whom thou hast given me; for they are thine:

10 and all things that are mine are thine, and thine are mine: and I am glorified in them.

11 And I am no more in the world, and these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep them in thy name which thou hast given me, that they may be one, even as we are.

12 While I was with them, I kept them in thy name which thou hast given me: and I guarded them, and not one of them perished, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled.

13 But now I come to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy made full in themselves.

14 I have given them thy word; and the world hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.

15 I pray not that thou shouldest take them from the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil one.

16 They are not of the world even as I am not of the world.

17 Sanctify them in the truth: thy word is truth.

18 As thou didst send me into the world, even so sent I them into the world.

19 And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they themselves also may be sanctified in truth.

20 Neither for these only do I pray, but for them also that believe on me through their word;

21 that they may all be one; even as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be in us: that the world may believe that thou didst send me.

22 And the glory which thou hast given me I have given unto them; that they may be one, even as we are one;

23 I in them, and thou in me, that they may be perfected into one; that the world may know that thou didst send me, and lovedst them, even as thou lovedst me.

24 Father, I desire that they also whom thou hast given me be with me where I am, that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.

25 O righteous Father, the world knew thee not, but I knew thee; and these knew that thou didst send me;

26 and I made known unto them thy name, and will make it known; that the love wherewith thou lovedst me may be in them, and I in them.

Notice in verse 11 it says 'that they may be one even as we are one' , One as in unity of mind purpose and will. Not one body Not one person Also notice that the holy spirit is not mentioned.
 
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If you are really interested in how the Doctine of the Trinity was developed read the following link ... it's too long to print here. There was a big controversy over the Trinity in the early church (as discussed in this article). The Trinity as understood today One God in 3 Persons was began at the Council of Bishops in Constantinople in AD 381. Here's their statement...

"We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, of all that is, seen and unseen. We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one Being with the Father. Through him all things were made. For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven: by the power of the Holy Spirit the became incarnate from the Virgin Mary, and was made man. For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate; he suffered death and was buried. On the third day he rose again in accordance with the Scriptures; he ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end. We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father [and the Son].57 With the Father and the Son he is worshipped and glorified. He has spoken through the Prophets. We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church. We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen."

The author of the Article does a good job of recapping the discussion about the Trinity in his Conclusion and the final section on Relevance for the Modern Believer

http://www.apostolic.net/biblicalstudies/trinhistory.htm
 
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`scuse me, I`m intersted too, sort of a newbie question, I have been studying voraciously for only a couple months :

WHY is the concept of the trinity within the New Testament only neccessary to describe the relationship between Jesus Christ and God, but unnecessary when describing the Messiah and God within the Old Testament?
The confusion doesn`t seem to come up until the NT authors (not Jesus) tell us so, and everyone knows Jews don`t believe in the Trinity, but apparently they don`t have to?

I only ask because the Trinity explanation appears to have come about a couple of hundred years after Jesus, and It seems in the OT they never actually described the coming Messiah as God but merely the son of. Also, apart from a few places where a "plurality" is hinted at, such as in Genesis with the line "Let us", they constantly Hammer us with a singular God. literally they must speak of God in the singular over a thousand times.

Heck, maybe I should be on a Jewish board for this one. :confused:
 
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Where Did The Idea Of The Trinity Come From ?

How the Theory Of the Trinity Got Started


"The Lord Our God is One Lord"

ORIGIN OF THE TRINITY
The original teachings of Christ shone forth with wonderful radiance into the darkness of the Roman world. The Gospel in the beginning was preached in plain terms by simple men, and it was received with gladness by the meek of the earth. The twelve apostles of Jesus Christ, as long
as they lived, were the guardians of faith, keeping it pure from human traditions and Pagan influence. Few Christians realize how rapidly corruption entered the church after their death.

We are told by historians that the church conquered the world, but in reality the world overcame the
church. As the Gospel message increased in popularity, hordes of Pagans entered the church, bringing with them Pagan ideas. Great catechetical schools were formed; ritualism took the place of Bible study; and costly buildings replaced the catacombs. The pastors of the flock, once noted for self-sacrifice and piety, became wealthy lords over the common people. The sacred heritage
of the Bible was buried in creeds, superstition, and forgotten languages; and the ruling powers eventually made it a capital crime to translate the Bible into the common tongue.

Sola Scriptura was the rallying cry of the great Reformation, when the Bible was exalted by Protestants as the sole guide of faith. The Catholic doctrine of tradition as an equal authority in religious matters was at that time firmly rejected. Evangelical Christians ever since have relied (theoretically) on the Bible alone as the source of revealed truth, but in practice they seldom
measured up to that high standard.

Thus “historic Christianity,” “historic Protestantism,” and various other euphemisms for tradition are frequently cited in the writings of Protestants as authority for doctrinal positions. We hear them saying that nothing more can be known about basic Christianity than is outlined in the conflicting creeds of established churches; and that to assert any really different opinion about
the Holy Scriptures now would be presumptuous, for so many generations of pious Christians could surely not be wrong.
This traditionalism is a serious error. The necessity for upholding the Bible as the only touchstone of truth is manifest throughout church history, particularly as we consider the various Christian teachings on the nature of the Deity—a subject which, though certainly of cardinal
importance, has been one of the most hotly debated issues in the history of the church.

Trinitarianism a Gradual Development

The concept of a trinity was widespread throughout the Pagan world. In Japan there was a three-headed divinity called “San Pao Fuh”: in India the trinity was called, “Eko Deva Trimurtti,” “One God, three forms.” The Babylonians also had a trinity, as did the Pagans of Siberia, Persia, Egypt, and Scandinavia. Long after the apostles died, the teaching that God is a trinity began to be introduced into the Christian church. It was championed chiefly by the educated converts from Paganism and resisted by ordinary believers. “The victory of orthodoxy was a triumph of priests and theologians over the indeed deeply rooted faith of the people....”* That the Father and the Son are equal, however, was at first denied by all. Early church writers, such as Irenaeus, Clement of Alexandria, Tertullian, Origen, Novatian, Arnobius, and Lactantius. were very explicit in affirming that the Heavenly Father alone is the supreme God and that Jesus is
completely subordinate to his authority and will.
* * [ [A Adolf H Harnack, Outlines of the History of Dogma, trans. E. K. Mitchell (Starr King Press), l 957, p. 266. (A Trinitarian source.)]

During the early years of the fourth century, a heated controversy raged between the Arians (named after Arius, their leader and the Trinitarians, led by Athanasius. The Arians maintained that Jesus is a created being, pre-existent, though having a beginning in time, a son in the normal sense of the word, and subordinate to the Father. The Athanasian party argued that the Son is
fully God, co-equal and co-eternal with the Father.

Fearing that religious dissension might disrupt the political unity of the Empire, the Emperor Constantine summoned a general council of bishops to settle the dispute. Meeting at Nice in 325 A.D., the council upheld the teachings of Athanasius and formulated the Nicene Creed. Arius was excommunicated and banished, along with those of the bishops who held out against the decision of the majority and the threats of the Emperor.

The basic Trinitarian position was finally forged at the Council of Constantinople, A.D. 381, where the Holy Spirit was declared to be a divine person, although Harnack states that in the third century the majority of Christians believed it was merely a divine power.* At the Council of Ephesus, A.D. 431, and again at Chalcedon in 450 A.D., Jesus was asserted to be eternally both
human and divine, a unity of two natures. The Council of Ephesus, incidentally, added Mary as a supplement to the Trinity, declaring that she should be received and honored as Theotokos, “Mother of God.”
[* Ibid., p. 266.]

Thus the controversy on the nature of God was settled, or so orthodox historians would have us believe. And thus, we are told, the Holy Spirit guided the church into an understanding of the truth. In point of fact, however, these councils, settled very little. Other councils met as well and upheld Arianism! The fortunes of both sides seesawed according to the politics of the Empire.
Whenever the Arians were dominant, they persecuted the Trinitarians; and when their fortunes were reversed, the Trinitarians persecuted them. The eventual result was not so much the outcome of rational debate and pious scholarship as of power politics and shedding of blood. By
the start of the eighth century, Arianism was externally suppressed, for the Trinitarians, (* McClintock and Strong, Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological, and Ecclesiastical Literature Grand Rapids: Baker
Book House, Vol. 1, p. 392, 1895. A Trinitarian source.),
proved to be more efficient in killing the Arians than the latter were in killing them. Thus was orthodoxy established. And the most avid defender of holy tradition cannot deny that, had the Arians been militarily successful, their position would have become the standard of orthodoxy instead of that of their opponents.


The Trinitarian consensus, imposed by force of arms, related more to a formula than to the actual
substance of belief. The doctrine of the Trinity was simultaneously declared to be a deep mystery,
which nobody can understand, and a dogma which must be accepted to obtain salvation. Artists pictured their beliefs with varied representations. Some portrayed the Deity as three separate men, looking alike; others, as three men distinguished. Still others represented it as three heads on one body, or three faces on one head.

Evangelical Modifications

Since the latter part of the nineteenth century, the Trinitarian position has come under searching criticism throughout the world. To meet these attacks, evangelicals have been modifying their doctrinal formulations. Thus Dr. R. A. Torrey, recent Superintendent of the M oody Bible Institute, has advanced a subordinationist view, stating that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are three separate persons, co-eternal but not co-equal. The Father, according to Dr. Torrey, is superior to the Son, and the Holy Spirit is subordinate to both.*
[* R. A. Torrey, The Person and Work of the Holy Spirit (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House), 1910.]

Another area of modification by contemporary Trinitarians is relative to three gods in one or “three persons in one substance.” Walter R. Martin, of the Christian Research Institute, modifies this point with the following definition:
Within the unity of the one God, there are three persons—the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit; and these three share the same nature and attributes. In effect, then the three persons are the one God.
Similarly, in an essay entitled “The Triune God,” published by Christianity Today,* the term “substance” used in the Athanasian Creed is modified. This Creed was affirmed by Catholics and Protestants for many centuries. However, this essay concedes that the formula of the trinity often read “three persons in one substance (Greek, treis hypostaseis en mia ousia, and Latin, tres personae in una substantia )”
[* Samuel J. Mikolaski, “The Triune God” (Christianity Today), p. 5.]

There is, thus, no uniform Christian position on the nature of God. Reliance upon human tradition has been a great source of difficulty to many Christians who are earnestly seeking to understand God’s Word. The divinely inspired Scriptures are the only valid evidence for
Christian belief, and any objective appraisal of their teaching must include all scriptures pertinent to any subject, i.e., the earnest student of God’s Word must be willing to harmonize the Scriptures, not merely selecting those verses which seem to support his position while ignoring the rest. Only thus can a Christian be “a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing
the word of truth.”—2 Tim. 2:15

In summation, the following facts regarding the origin of the Trinity are irrefutable:
1. The word “Trinity” nowhere appears in the Bible.
2. The word “Trinity” does not even appear in Christian literature till the beginning of the third century. Even then, it meant something very different from the interpretation now given to the word. Tertullian, the first to use the word, believed that only the Father was without beginning.
The Son, according to him, had a beginning, and his pre-human existence was of the angelic nature. The oneness of the Father and the Son was a oneness of purpose and will.
3. Trinitarians themselves are forced to concede that the doctrine of the Trinity was not completely forged until the fourth century.
4. There is not even a hint of the Trinity in the Old Testament. The Jews, God’s chosen people
from old Testament times, have never held this belief. In all of the voluminous rabbinical writings (Talmud) which date from Old Testament times, neither the Trinity nor any similar concept is once mentioned.

THE FATHER OF GLORY
IS THE ONE SUPREME GOD

Whenever the Scriptures use the word “God” in the sense of Supreme Deity, they refer to the Father alone. Thus in prayer Jesus calls his Father “the only true God,” excluding himself (John 17:3). The Bible, in fact, refers to the Heavenly Father as Jesus’ God (John 20:17). The Apostle Paul, contrasting the Christian position with the heathen worship of many gods, states that “to us there is but one God, the Father,” although he attributes to Jesus a lesser position of Lordship (I Cor. 8:6). For despite his present high position of exaltation and divine favor, our Lord Jesus is inferior to the Father and eternally subject to him, as the Apostle expressly states:
But I would have you kno w, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.—1 Cor. 11:3
Then comes the end, when he [Christ] shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the
Father... But when he says all things are put under him [the Son] it is manifest that he [the Father] is excepted, which did put all things under him. And when all things shall be subdued to him [the Son], then shall the Son also himself be subject to him that put all things under him, that God [the Father] may be all in all.—I Cor. 15:24,27,28
We, of course, do not deny, but rejoice to affirm, that Jesus Christ is now a divine being, worthy of our worship and adoration.
The appellation “God” may be properly ascribed to him. But even while the Scriptures refer to Jesus as a “God,” they do so in contexts showing his distinct inferiority to the Father. And notice that it is not simply Jesus as a man, but Jesus as a “God” who is thus shown to be subordinate.—
Heb. 1:1-9

The beautiful oneness of the Father and the Son is declared by our Lord to be the same oneness
that shall exist between himself and his church, as he prayed:
"Holy Father, keep through your own name those whom you have given me, that they may be one, as we are... Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as you, Father are in me, and I in you, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that you have sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me, I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them and you in me...."—John 17:11, 20-23.

The only scriptural support for the idea of three divine persons mysteriously being one God is the dubious passage of I John 5:7,8:
"For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and
these three are one. And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and
the blood: and these three agree in one.
The words underlined above are not found in any of the oldest and most reliable manuscripts, nor in any of the ancient translations. That they are not a genuine part of the original text is the unanimous verdict of contemporary scholars, evangelicals included. Even as it stands, however, the forgery is a poor one, asserting that the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit are bearing
witness in heaven that Jesus is the Christ. Who in heaven would be ignorant of such a thing? The proposition is pointless. No wonder Trinitarian scholars readily concede these words are spurious.
The claim is often made by Trinitarians that, since there is only one God, and since Jesus is referred to in the Scriptures as God, then the Father and the Son are the same God. This argument totally ignores the usage of the Greek and Hebrew words from which the English word “God” is
translated.
The word “God” in the New Testament is most frequently a translation of the Greek word theos.
It is sufficient to state here that this word does not always apply to Supreme Deity. Satan, for instance, is called theos in 2 Corinthians 4:4, which reads, “In whom the god (theos) of this world has blinded the minds of them that believe not....” The same word is used of Herod in Acts 12:22, where the people of Sidon and Tyre shouted after his oration, “It is the voice of a god (theos), and not of a man.” They surely did not mean to say that Herod was the supreme God.
Whether the Father or the Son is meant by any particular use of theos in the New Testament is generally left to the reader’s judgment, the person referred to being indicated by context and sentence construction. An exception to this is John 1:1, where the Greek definite article i s used to
distinguish the Father as “the God” from the Son, who is called “a God.” The Greek language, it is true, contains no indefinite article corresponding to the English “a.” But the indefinite article is implied by the context and, therefore, must be included in the English translation. Benjamin Wilson gives the correct rendering in his Emphatic Diaglott:
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with the God, and a god was the Word.”
The unbiased reader should have no difficulty understanding these words.
True, a few Trinitarians stress Colwell’s idea that, whenever a definite noun in New Testament Greek precedes the verb, the definite article is usually omitted, but that when the noun follows the verb, the article is retained. This rule, though not valid, simply throws the whole question open.

According to Colwell’s rule, the English translation is to be made according to whatever preconception the translator brings with him to the text, for whether a noun is definite or not cannot be grammatically ascertained. Thus if one believes that the word theos in the clause, ”and
the Word was a god,” is definite (referring to the God), he will translate the words, ”and the word was God,” or,“and the Word was the God.” But if he believes the noun to be indefinite, he will translate the clause, “and the Word was a god.” The superiority of “and the Word was a god,” is that it makes the passage consistent. If one translates the verse in the Trinitarian manner, he is
involved in a contradiction, for how can the Word be “with God” if he is the God with whom he is? The context of John 1, consistent with the rest of the Bible, shows clearly that the Word was “a god,” not “the God.” For a more detailed examination of Colwell’s rule, see the Appendix.
In response to John 1:1, Trinitarians sometimes argue that John 20:28, where, according to the Greek text, Thomas calls Jesus, “the Lord of mine and the God of mine,” proves that Jesus is the supreme God, because he is there called “the God.” But even the devil is called “the God” in 2 Corinthians 4:4, which says that “...the God of this world has blinded the minds of them that
believe not....” The use of the article by itself proves nothing; what is significant about John 1:1 is the contrast between the Father, who is called “the God,” and the Word or Representative of the Most High God, who is himself Appellations of Deity in the Old Testament
The word “God” in the Old Testament is generally a translation either of elohim (with its variations eloah, elah, and el) or Jehovah, (the Anglicized form of Yahweh). Once it is a translation of Adonai (Hab. 3:19), properly rendered “Lord,” and once of tsur, a rock.—Isa. 44:8
The assertion by Trinitarians that, because Jesus and the Father are both called elohim, they are, therefore, the same Being, is a very poor argument, displaying only the weakness of the position they are trying to defend. Notice the usage of this word in Scripture:
ANGELS CALLED ELOHIM
You have: made him a little lower than the angels (elohim), and have crowned him with glory and honor.—Psa. 8:5
ABRAHAM CALLED ELOHIM
And the children of Heth answered Abraham, saying to him, Hear us, my lord: you are a mighty
(elohim) prince among us....—Gen. 23:5,6
MOSES CALLED ELOHIM
I have made you a god (elohim ) to Pharaoh.—Ex. 7:1
JUDGES CALLED ELOHIM
His master shall bring him to the judges ( elohim ).—Ex. 21:6
THE CHURCH CALLED ELOHIM
I have said, You are gods ( elohim ); and all of you are children of the most High.—Psa. 82:6. Elohim signifies a mighty one, prince, ruler, or judge; and since it is scripturally used to refer to men and angels, as well as to God, its use in referring to our Lord Jesus Christ does not in any way prove his equality with God.

Nor is there any validity in the assertion that, because elohim is plural in form, its application to God in the Scriptures indicates that there is more than one person in God. Psalm 45:6, “Your throne, O God ( elohim ), is for ever and ever,” is explained by Paul as a statement addressed by the Father to the Son (Heb. 1:8) . If elohim referred always to more than one person, there would
be more than one person in the Son! In the verse quoted above (Ex. 7:1) Moses is called elohim by God. Was Moses plural? Certainly not, for the word elohim, like our English word “sheep,” can be either singular or plural, as the occasion demands.
Unlike elohim, however, the word Jehovah is applied only to the Father,* never to the Son. The translators of our common Bibles have done us a great disservice in leaving the word untranslated only four times, where the context would seem to permit nothing else. In the vast
majority of instances it is translated either LORD or GOD. In our common versions, nevertheless, it can be easily recognized, since it is always printed in small capitals (GOD, LORD), while regular print is used to designate translations from other words (God, Lord).
* Or an angel speaking in his name. (Ex. 3:2,4,14;Judges 6:12, 14; Zech. 3:1,2)

The argument presented by Trinitarians is that both the Father and the Son are called Jehovah; therefore, they are both the same God. But the scriptures they cite to prove that Christ Jesus is Jehovah do not sustain their claim.
We are told that in Jeremiah 23:5,6, our Lord Jesus is called Jehovah, for that prophecy respecting Messiah reads, “And this is the name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS ( Jehovah-Tsidkenu ).” They fail to point out, however, that in Jeremiah 33:16 the church, pictured by Jerusalem, is called by the same name: “...and this is his name wherewith she shall be called, The Lord our righteousness ( Jehovah-Tsidkenu).” Certainly the church is not a part of Jehovah. To bolster their prejudice, the translators had the words printed in capitals in the first instance, but tucked it away with small letters in the second. Jehovah-Tsidkenu could more properly be translated, “Our Righteousness of Jehovah” — a fitting title for our Lord Jesus, who in execution of the Father’s will has become the source of justification for believers in his name. The title is appropriate also for the church, to whom is committed the ministry of reconciliation, the great commission of bringing sinners back into harmony with God.—II Cor. 5:20; Rev. 22:17*
*For other examples of the use of Jehovah in a compound word, see Gen. 22:14; Ex. 17:15;Judges 6:23.24.
Another citation—used to prove that Jesus is Jehovah is Isaiah 40:3, which reads, “The voice of him that cries in the wilderness, Prepare you the way of the LORD ( Jehovah ), make straight in the desert a highway for our God.” This prophecy is quoted in the New Testament (Matt. 3: 3) and applied to John the Baptist’s work of preparing the Jews to receive Christ. But we remind the reader that Jesus came expressly to do the Father’s work, as he said, “My meat is to do the will of
him that sent me, and to finish his work” (John 4:34J. Jesus was the Father’s instrument in the
accomplishment of his gracious plan. Therefore, in preparing the Jews to receive Christ, John the
Baptist was preparing the way for the accomplishment of the Father’s work.

The prophecy of Isaiah 40:10 is regarded as sure proof that the Son is Jehovah: “Behold, the Lord GOD ( Jehovah ) will come with a strong hand, and his arm shall rule for him.” But notice here that the Father only is called Jehovah; Jesus is referred to as his “Arm.” Likewise, in Isaiah 53:1 Jesus is called the “arm of Jehovah.”
We are asked to believe that, since Jesus is our great teacher, he must be Jehovah, for Isaiah 54:13 reads, “And all your children shall be taught of the LORD ( Jehovah); and grea t shall be the peace of your children.” But Jesus himself merely claimed to be the Father’s representative,
saying: "My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me. If any man will do his will, he shall know of the
doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself."—John 7:16,17
"...whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Father said to me, so I speak."—John 12:50
"For I have given to them the words which you gave me....—John 17:8
"All things are of the Father and by the Son." (I Cor. 8:6). It is no difficulty to us that both the Son
and the Father are given credit for creation (John 1:3; Isaiah 40:28) ; for Paul explains that the Son, as always, was the Father’s honored agency: “God ...has in these last days spoken to us by his Son, whom he has appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds... “ (Heb.
1:1,2). Similarly, both the Father and the Son are called “Savior,” because the Father himself originated the work of atonement when he “gave his only begotten Son.—John 3:16

Those who insist on referring to Jesus as Jehovah, rather than the Son of Jehovah, are not able to make good sense out of many passages where Jesus and Jehovah are most clearly distinguished.
The Second Psalm (vss. 7,8) furnishes a good illustration:
I will declare the decree: the LORD ( Jehovah) has said to me, You are my Son; this day have I begotten you. Ask of me, and I shall give you the heathen for your inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for your possession.
If the Son is Jehovah, he received his inheritance as a gift from himself! The above citation clearly calls the Father Jehovah, in contradistinction to the Son. In Psalm 110:1, likewise, we read, “The LORD (Jehovah) said to my lord (Adon), Sit you at my right hand, until I make your
enemies your footstool.” That the Adon here referred to is Christ there can be no doubt, for he himself so states (Luke 20:4244). The Son, indeed, is a great Lord; but his authority and power come from Jehovah God, for the Scriptures plainly teach that Christ is Jehovah’s servant.—Isa. 42:1; 53:11

Another text chiefly relied upon by Trinitarians to prove that the name Jehovah belongs to Jesus is Zechariah 12:10, in which Jehovah says:
"And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn."

Since Jehovah refers to Messiah, the one who is pierced, as “me,” they simply cite Revelation 1:7
and consider their proof complete. The thoughtful reader, however, will at once notice a discrepancy: the speaker in this verse refers to Messiah as both “me” and “him” in the same sentence. An error, apparently, has crept into the text. A number of ancient manuscripts gave a more consistent reading; thus: “...they shall look to him whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him...“ The text, thus corrected, definitely does not teach that Messiah is Jehovah.

“Before Abraham Was, I Am”

John 8:58 is said to be another strong proof that Christ is Jehovah, for the name Jehovah is said by Trinitarians to mean “I Am” — “the Self-Existing One” — and Jesus in that verse says, “Before Abraham was I am.’ Jesus, however, does not apply “l am” to himself as a title; he uses the words as the subject and verb of an ordinary sentence, meaning simply that from before
Abraham’s time until the present he had had a continuous existence. To make “I am” a title in this sentence is grammatically absurd. For Jesus to have said, “Before Abraham was, I was,” might have been mistaken by his hearers to mean that he had existed at some time in the remote past, had ceased to exist for a time, and had come into existence again. To avoid this misund erstanding, Jesus used the words, “I am,” to imply a continuous existence. Jesus existed long before Abraham’s time: and he continued to exist after Abraham until, as the Word made
flesh he uttered those very words.
The word Jehovah, more correctly Yahweh, does not really mean “I Am” but “He Who Becomes,” as J. B. Rotherham, an authority widely recognized among Protestants, has shown.
Yahweh is the third person, masculine, singular, imperfect tense of the root hawah, the sole meaning of which is “become.” And so Jehovah, the Heavenly Father, is forever “He Who Becomes,” the unfolding one, eternally revealing himself in creative power.

THE ONLY BEGOTTEN SON

The Pre-human Existence of Christ

Another principal argument of Trinitarians is derived from Micah 5:2, which reads: But you, Bethlehem Ephratah, though you be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall he come forth to me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old,
from everlasting.
They assert that, since Jehovah is from everlasting to everlasting, Jesus must be Jehovah; for in the above verse he is said to be from everlasting. The weakness of this argument lies in the translation. There is no word in Hebrew that expresses the concept of eternity. The word olam here rendered “everlasting,” more properly signifies an indefinite or extended period of time. It is
translated “long” in Psalm 143:3, the context showing that it could not possibly refer there to infinite time: “...he has made me to dwell in darkness, as those that have been long dead.” Other translators have rendered olam. in Micah 5:2 as follows:
"...whose origin is from of old, from ancient days. —Revised Standard Version
...whose comings forth have been from of old, from the days of age-past time.—Rotherham
And his comings forth are of old, From the days of antiquity.—Young’s Literal Translation
...whose origin is from olden times, from most ancient days.—Leeser
The prophecy in this verse simply teaches Messiah’s pre-human existence. And to this interpretation the remainder of the passage agrees, for the fourth verse does not say that Messiah is Jehovah, but that he “will stand and feed in the strength of the LORD (Jehovah), in the majesty
of the name of the LORD ( Jehovah ) his God.”

The spiritual, pre-human life of Jesus was glorious, but not without beginning. He was the first
creation of God, and the only direct creation of God—the “only begotten” of the Father.
Everything else was made by the Father through his chosen instrument, the Son (Heb. 1:2). In proof that Jesus was a created being, we cite Colossians 1:15, where Paul calls him the ‘“firstborn of every creature” (Greek lit., “of all creation”). Trinitarians assert, the term
”firstborn’’ here indicates priority solely in position rather than in time. This does not harmonize
with the context. Verse 18 compares Christ with the church and calls him the “firstborn from the dead.” At his resurrection, Christ was the first in point of time to be born from the dead. The repetition of the word “firstborn” in verses 15 and 18 reveals that Paul is making a direct
parallelism between Christ’s relationship to all creation in verse 15 and to the church in verse 18.
If ”firstborn from the dead” denotes first to be born from the dead, as well as pre-eminence over all resurrected, then “firstborn of all creation” denotes the first to be created as well as preeminence over all creation. The attempt to explain away this verse as signifying “firstborn
before all creation” is an unwarranted tampering with the text. The word “before” simply is not there. They are changing the facts to fit the theory.

Jesus is the “beginning of the creation of God” (Rev. 3:14), and he is the end for which all things are made, the heir of the universe (Heb. 1:2). He is the first and la st direct creation of God. The title of “Only Begotten Son” (John 1:18) is his alone for all eternity. No other son of the Highest was, or ever will be, made directly by the Father.
The Trinitarian claim that Jesus was not begotten, but is being eternally generated by the Father, does violence to Bible language.
The very same Greek word (monogenes) translated “only begotten” in reference to our Lord in John 1:14 is in Hebrews 11:17,18, applied to Isaac, the son of Abraham:
"By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, of whom it was said, that in Isaac shall your seed be called...."
Clearly, Isaac was not being continuously generated by Abraham. And the words “only begotten” and “Son” when applied to Jesus Christ are to be interpreted in their straightforward sense.*
[* For detailed consideration of monogenes see Appendix.]

Jesus’ pre-human life (we believe he was the highest of all spirit beings, next to the Father) is referred to in Philippians 2:5-9, which we quote from the Revised Standard Version: Have this mind among yourselves, which you have in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the
form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form he humbled himself and became obedient to death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly
exalted him....
The above text, often cited in favor of the Trinitarian view because of its wretched translation in the King James Version, is here shown to clearly contradict that doctrine. Jesus did not, like Satan, attempt to usurp divine prerogatives (Isa. 14:13), but “emptied” (Greek, “divested”) himself of his high position and spirit nature, becoming “the man Christ Jesus” (1 Tim. 2:5). As a perfect man he suffered Adam’s penalty in his stead, thus releasing Adam and his posterity from
the curse of death.—1 Cor. 15:21 .22
The King James Version, which reads, “thought it not robbery to be equal with God,” controverts the passage’s true meaning, presenting as much a problem to Trinitarians as to their opponents.
For if Jesus were already God, there could be no thought of him robbing God by attempting to be equal with himself. In support of our interpretation of this verse we cite the following:
"...Not a thing to be seized accounted the being equal with God...."—Rotherham
"Yet he did not regard equality with God as something at which He should grasp".—Weymouth
"...did not violently strive..."—Dickenson
"...did not meditate a usurpation...."—Turnbull
"...did not meditate a usurpation...."—Wilson
The word harpagmos, variously translated above, is defined by Liddell and Scott’s Greek-English Lexicon as “robbery, anything that is seized, plunder.” Because Jesus did not arrogate to himself divine prerogatives, but,contrariwise, humbled himself as the Father’s servant, God gave to him at his resurrection “a name which is above every name: that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth....” (Phil. 2:9,10).

Jesus was not worshipped by the angels until he was thus exalted above them to the divine nature and glory.
“When he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high; being made so much better than the angels, as he has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.”—Heb. 1:3,4

“The Man Christ Jesus”

“And the Word was made flesh” (John 1:14). Jesus Christ set aside his spirit nature and became a mere man — a perfect man, to be sure, but a man, nevertheless. Nowhere do the Scriptures refer to Christ as a God incarnate in human flesh. Nowhere in the Bible is taught the extravagant
mystery of a Christ consisting of two natures combined into one person. The traditional doctrine of the incarnation is simply without scriptural support.

Trinitar ians, in fact, are forced by their
doctrine to treat our Lord Jesus as though he were two separate persons, saying it was the human, not the divine, Christ who prayed in Gethsemane, “...take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what you will” (Mark 14:36). How, indeed, could God pray to himself and
have his own prayer refused? And when Christ was highly exalted by the Father at his resurrection, they say that his human body was somehow mysteriously “invested with divine attributes.” Christ as God, they say, was always divine and, therefore, could not be exalted. Yet
they claim that this deified body remains truly human! Sympathy with our Christian friends cannot prevent us from realizing that, when treating the humanity of Christ, Trinitarianism becomes a species of (well-intentioned) double talk. How much simpler and more scripturally harmonious is the Bible declaration that Christ was
“put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit” (I Peter 3:18, R.S.V.). The King James Version reads, “quickened by the Spirit,” but the word “by” simply is not contained in the Greek text.* Paul says of Christ that at his resurrection he was “made a quickening spirit” (1 Cor. 15:45). For though after his resurrection he appeared to his disciples in various human forms
assumed for those occasions, he is now a glorious divine being, “dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man has seen, nor can see ....”—l Tim. 6:16
[* The words “in the” and “by the” have no equivalent Greek words in this passage. Though the dative case of sarki (flesh) and pneumati (spirit) require a preposition in translating into English, the evident contrast between the words themselves indicates that the same preposition “in” should be used in both instances: “put to death in (the) flesh, but made alive in (the) spirit.”]
When difficulties with their teachings are pointed out,

Trinitarians often respond that their doctrine is the “historic” position of the church, that any inconsistency therewith is a “mystery” —a line of argument which could be used to support almost anything. Some even cite 1 Timothy 3:16 to prove their claim that the relationship between Christ and the Father need not make
sense:
"Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of our religion: He* was manifested in the flesh, vindicated in the Spirit, seen by angels, preached among the nations, believed on in the world, taken up in glory."
[* So reads the Revised Standard Version. The King James Bible says, ”God was manifested,” but that is incorrect.
The most ancient manuscripts read “who”—in English read, “He who....”]
The Greek word for “mystery” means “a secret,” and so the Gospel has ever been a mystery to unbelievers, though understood by those to whom Christ is revealed. The fallacy of their argument is that in this very verse, Paul explains the mystery or secret of which he is speaking.
Neither are we seeking to detract from the glory of the risen Christ, for in him “dwells all the fullness of the Godhead (theotes, “Deity”) bodily” (Col. 2:9). The fullness of divine glory (Col. 1:19) — the plenitude of wisdom, grace, and power— make him the able executor of the Father’s wonderful plans. All power in heaven and earth belongs to Jesus since his resurrection (Matt.
28:18) . The counsels of God, before kept secret (Mark 13:32), are now entrusted to his care (Rev. 5:1-5). We look forward with rejoicing to the day when all mankind will join the heavenly chorus, singing, “Blessing, and honor, and glory, and power, be to him that sits upon the throne, and to the Lamb for ever and ever.” —Rev. 5: l3

THE HOLY SPIRIT

We turn next in our consideration to the Holy Spirit of God—a subject which, despite its great prominence in Scripture and the emphasis placed upon it by Christian groups, has seldom been correctly understood. The cause of this misunderstanding is not the abstruseness of the subject itself, nor the difficulty of Bible language respecting it; but, rather, it results from the continual
failure of Bible students to consider the Scripture testimony as a whole. In this subject, as in all others, we must be willing to harmonize apparent contradictions, allowing one passage to shed light upon another and avoiding hasty conclusions. Only thus will we be “rightly dividing the word of truth.”—2 Tim. 2:15
The word “spirit” in the Old Testament is a translation of the Hebrew word ruach, the root-meaning of which is “wind.” In the New Testament, also, the word “spirit” comes from a root meaning “wind,” the Greek pneuma . Because wind is an invisible and powerful force, both
ruach and pneuma came to have a much broader significance, as the following examples indicate:
"And with the blast (ruach) of your nostrils the waters were gathered together...."—Ex. 15:8
"You did blow with your wind." (ruach) Ex. 15:10
"...all flesh, wherein is the breath (ruach) of life." —Gen. 7:15
"...which were a grief of mind (ruach) to Isaac and to Rebekah."—Gen. 26:35
"The wind (pneuma) blows where it pleases...." —John 3:8
"...foreasmuch as you are zealous of spiritual (pneuma) gifts...."—1 Cor. 14:12
And he had power to give life (pneuma) to the image of the beast....—Rev. 13:15
We call attention to the foregoing verses to show that ruach and pneuma do not signify personality (necessarily) but invisible power or influence. These words were incorrectly translated “Ghost” ninety-two times in our King James Bible, the translators seeking to give the
words a coloring of personality which they do not really possess. The translators of the English Revised Version changed the word “Ghost” to “Spirit” in twenty-one occurrences; and the American Revision Committee protested their use of the word “Ghost” the remaining seventy-one
times. Thus in the American Standard Revised, as in most modern translations, the term “Holy Ghost” does not appear. It should be noted also that whether or not the word “spirit” ought to be capitalized is not indicated by the original text. It is a matter of personal judgment and
preference.

The Holy Spirit is variously described in the Bible as “The Spirit of God,” “The Spirit of Truth,”
“The Spirit of Love,” “The Spirit of a Sound Mind,” “The Spirit of Power,” “The Spirit of Grace,” “The Spirit of Prophecy,” “The Spirit of Wisdom,” “The Spirit of Glory,” “The Spirit of Meekness,” “The Spirit of Christ,” “The Spirit of Holiness,” etc. These titles all refer to one aspect or another of the mind of God and of his Son, Christ Jesus. The Holy Spirit. therefore. is a
term which designates the mind of God, or any operation thereof, whether in miracle-working power or in sanctifying, enlightening influence. The following scriptures depict the Holy Spirit as—
THE MIND OF GOD:
And the LORD said, "My spirit shall not always strive with man...!"—Gen. 6:3
"But they rebelled, and vexed his [Jehovah’s] holy Spirit: Therefore he was turned to be their
enemy...." —Isa. 63:10
"Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain to it. Whither shall I go from your spirit?"—Psa. 139:6,7

THE POWER OF GOD:
"But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies
by his Spirit that dwells in you."—Rom. 8:11
"For I will not dare to speak of any of those things which Christ has not wrought by me, to make the Gentiles obedient, by word and deed, through mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God ...."—Rom. 15:18,19
"Then Samson went down...and, behold, a young lion roared against him. And the Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon him, and he rent him as he would have rent a kid...."—Judges 14:5,6

THE SANCTIFYING, ENLIGHTENING INFLUENCE OF GOD:
"...because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given to us."— Rom. 5: 5
"For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God."—Rom. 8:14
"That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by
his Spirit in the inner man...."—Eph. 3:16
"For God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind."—II Tim. 1:7

Our Lord Jesus received wisdom and power by an outpouring of the Holy Spirit at his baptism (Isa. 61:1;11:2,3; Matt. 3:16). Having received the Spirit without measure and conformed his life thereto, he is now able to send it forth to believers. We, receiving his Spirit, are said to have the Mind or Spirit of Christ:
"Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus...."—Phil. 2: 5
"For who has known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ." —1 Cor. 2:16
"Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his."—Rom. 8:9

The Holy Spirit Not a Person

Nothing in any of the various titles and descriptions of the Holy Spirit substantiates the popular conception of the Holy Spirit as a third God. The various designations, “Spirit of Truth,” “Spirit Page 15
of Love,” etc., are plainly used in contrast with the opposite spirit, “The Spirit of Fear,” “The Spirit of Bondage,” “The Spirit of the World,” “The Spirit of Divination,” “The Spirit of Error,”
“The Spirit of Slumber,” “The Spirit of Antichrist.” There is no more justification for saying that the Holy Spirit is a divine person than for saying that these descriptions of the wrong spirit or disposition represent one or more additional devils.
It is at least highly conspicuous that Paul omits to mention the Holy Spirit in his summary of divinity in 1 Corinthians 8:6; and in John 17:3, Jesus asserts that one must know only two persons to gain eternal life: “And this is life eternal, that they might know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.” Paul opens all of his epistles (except Hebrews) with greetings from the Father and the Son only. The Holy Spirit does not send greetings because it is not a person. Nowhere in the Bible, furthermore, is the Holy Spirit called God.
We cannot overemphasize how clearly the Scriptures teach that the Holy Spirit is not a person, but the Spirit of a person, whether of the Father of Glory or of his beloved Son.

2 Corinthians 11:4 contrasts the Spirit of Truth with “another spirit” —the Spirit of Error. In 2 Timothy 1:7, the “Spirit of Power” is shown to be the opposite of the “Spirit of Fear.” Paul in Romans 8:15,16, contrasts the “Spirit of Bondage” with the “Spirit of Adoption,” saying, “For you have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but you have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.” In 1 Corinthians 2:11, the Holy Spirit is explained by a comparison of the Spirit of God to the “spirit of a man.” The Holy Spirit is to God as the spirit or mind of a man is to man. Verse 12 of the same chapter proceeds to contrast God’s Spirit (mind or disposition) with the mentality of the world, the “spirit of the world.” The Apostle John in I John
4:2,3, shows the distinction between the Spirit of God and the Spirit of Antichrist, between the Spirit of Truth and the antichristian Spirit of Error. In these verses the Holy Spirit is contrasted with influences, not with persons. These contrasts would be meaningless if the Holy Spirit were a person.

Personal Pronouns Wrongly Applied
John 14:26 is often cited to prove that the Holy Spirit is a person, because this verse has been wrongly translated as follows: But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance,
whatsoever I have said to you.
T
he use of the personal pronoun “whom” in the above text is unwarranted, reflecting simply t he
translators’ prejudice. The word translated “whom” is in the neuter form and should have been
translated “which”; and the pronoun translated “he” (ekeinos ) in the passage is masculine to agree with the word rendered “comforter,” which is masculine even if the comforter is inanimate.
(For example, in French, a knife would be spoken of as “he,” a fork as “she.” It would be just as logical to insist that a fork is a person because the word fork is feminine in French, as to claim that the comforter is a person because the word is masculine in Greek.)

The Emphatic Diaglott gives a better rendering:
"But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, which the Father will send in my name, shall teach you all things,
and remind you of all things which I said to you."
A similarly incorrect use of personal pronouns occurs in John 14:17. The Diaglott, however,
renders it thus:
"...the Spirit of Truth, which the world cannot receive, because it beholds it not, nor knows it; but you know it; because it abides with you, and will be in you."

The use of the personal pronoun heautou,translated “himself” in John 16:13, does not at all
prove the personality of the Holy Spirit; for in this case the Greek pronoun simply follows its noun, Comforter, which is masculine. In Greek, as in many other languages, the pronoun agrees with the gender of its noun, regardless of sex or personality. One might just as well cite 1
Corinthians 13:4,5, “Charity...seeks not her (heautes) own,” to prove that charity is a person, as
to claim that the use of heautou proves the personality of the Holy Spirit.
As illustrations of the translation of the word heautou in the neuter form, in our Common Version, note the following:
"As the branch cannot bear fruit itself"—John 15:4
"The whole body...makes increase of the body to the edifying of itself in love."—Eph. 4:16
The same principle is true of the personal pronoun which is translated “he” in John 16 :13.

Sanctification by the Holy Spirit
All true Christians are sanctified by God through his Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 6:11; Rom. 8:11). The principal means by which ,,,,,,
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http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Acts17_11Knowledge/message/12
link to this message about the trinity , if you go there you will also find other messages about the trinity,
 
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What about in John where it says: In the begining was the word and the word was with God and the word was God.....And the word became flesh and dwelt among us.

Then in Genesis: In the begining God Created the heavens and the Earth... And God said...

So if God said something he spoke, and Jesus is the word of God, and the Word was God; does that not make Jesus God in the Flesh?
 
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jjkirk said:
What about in John where it says: In the begining was the word and the word was with God and the word was God.....And the word became flesh and dwelt among us.

Then in Genesis: In the begining God Created the heavens and the Earth... And God said...

So if God said something he spoke, and Jesus is the word of God, and the Word was God; does that not make Jesus God in the Flesh?
Hi JJ, sorry it has taken me so long to get back to you about this, i have so many things that i do that i sometimes forget about some of them.
Ok the answer is quite a lengthy post, so it may take a few posts to get it all up here for you, and it will take you some time to read and study.
Kay, :love:

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."


This is the most extensive work we have on John 1:1 ( the most common Trinitarian verse ). Part ONE of a two part teaching.

“But What About John 1:1?”

(Part One)

John 1:1-3 (KJV)

(1) In the beginning was the word [logos], and the word was with God, and the word was God.

(2) The same was in the beginning with God.

(3) All things were made by [dia] him, and without him was not anything made that was made.

Without a doubt, misunderstanding these verses at the beginning of the Gospel of John has done more to further the cause of Trinitarian orthodoxy than misunderstanding any other section of Scripture. Whenever we challenge the traditional understanding of God and Christ, the first three verses of John’s prologue are invariably and almost immediately brought to the forefront of the discussion. Thus, it behooves us as workmen of God’s Word to thoroughly consider them. We trust you will see that they harmonize beautifully with the rest of the Gospel of John and the whole of Scripture.

The first 18 verses of the Gospel of John are commonly called “the prologue,” and are a powerful introduction to the rest of the book. Just as the introduction of Matthew starts with a kingly genealogy, Mark very quickly shows Jesus in the service of the Lord and Luke starts with material about Jesus’ human relationships and his genealogy from the first man, Adam, so John introduces us to Jesus as the Plan and Wisdom of God, and His only begotten Son. The prologue introduces and supports the theme of the Gospel of John, that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. We addressed that in the previous chapter, but now need to look at it again:

John 20:30 and 31

(30) Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book.

(31) But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

The purpose of John’s Gospel is clearly stated, and therefore the prologue introducing this Gospel must also support the theme that Jesus is the Son of God, which it does magnificently. We will see that the prologue establishes right at the beginning of the Gospel the proleptic view of Christ that we examined in the last chapter. We will also look at both the Greek and Hebrew concepts of “word,” and see that John’s use of logos is a magnificent blend of Greek and Hebrew thought.

Truly this Gospel has universal appeal to humanity because it presents a view of Jesus Christ perfectly consistent with the body of Old Testament prophecies concerning the Messiah. Once understood, the prologue of the Gospel of John also harmonizes with the Synoptic Gospels and the testimony of the remainder of the New Testament. Finally, we will address the relationship of the Gospel of John to the developing Gnosticism of the late first century. In doing so, we will see that John uses some of the language and concepts of Gnosticism itself for the purpose of opposing it (See pages 335 and 336 for a definition of Gnosticism).

We will now go through the prologue of John, and highlighting and commenting on the
key phrases. The Gospel of John begins with the phrase “In the beginning was the word
(Greek = logos),” which powerfully brings the reader’s mind back to Genesis 1:1: “In the beginning God...” Before we can examine the idea of the “beginning,” however, we must have an understanding of what the logos is, which was “in the beginning.”

The Meaning of Logos in Greek

It is a challenge for the modern translator to even translate the word logos into a single English word.1 Logos is derived from lego, “to say or speak,” and its root, leg, means “to gather or arrange.” For the Greeks, to speak is to utter the arrangement or gathering of one’s thoughts. This is reflected in English, as in “I gather that you are not coming this morning.” This meaning then developed into “speak, reckon, think” then into “word” and finally into “reason.”

The logos is God’s expression, His communication of Himself, just as a spoken word is the expression of the inner and unseen thoughts of a person. Thus, logos includes the idea of “plan,” “purpose,” “wisdom” and even “power.” Logos is the term that God uses to represent His purpose for this new creation, which was eventually realized in the person of Jesus. The translation of logos as “word” is a good one-word translation of its meaning, but it falls short of illuminating the richness of “logos” in its Greek usage, a richness that sheds light on both the purpose of God and the person of Jesus.

Logos expressed the essential unity of language and thought, both of which consist, in their most advanced forms, of words. When we think, we are talking to ourselves; when we talk, we are thinking out loud. English words such as “dialogue” and “monologue” signify the connection of logos with language, while words like “logic” and “logistics” signify its connection with thought. Logos, in its earliest usage, did not have to do with words per se, but rather with words that made sense out of and gave meaning to human existence and experience.

In addition to its connection to language and thought, logos was also associated with the reality of things. To think and speak, in other words, is to think and speak about something. To have and give a logos was, in ancient Greece, to have and give a rational account, a reasonable explanation, of something in the world of human experience, whether an object (of nature or human nature) or an event (an act of God or man). The English suffix “-ology” signifies the connection of logos with the world of things, things that have become the objects of human interest and study, e.g., biology, physiology, sociology, psychology and theology.

Another defining point of logos was its practical connection to human life. Every logos, or reasonable explanation of a human experience, was intended to lead to a wise course of action, a rational approach to handling similar experiences in the future. Logos, in other words, implied a purposefulness to life based on a reasonable explanation and a rational understanding of human existence.

Logos, then, in its original Greek usage, encompassed human language and thought in its relation to the things of human experience and the purpose of human existence. The biblical usage of logos runs parallel to this concept in that “the Word” is God’s purpose or plan, His reasonable explanation of, and His rationale for, His creation of all things before they became corrupted in human experience. His rationale constitutes wisdom, that is, a rational understanding of and approach to human life. Sir Anthony Buzzard waxes eloquent:

Recent commentaries on John admit that despite the long-standing tradition to the contrary, the term “word” in the famous prologue of John need not refer to the Son of God before he was born. Our translations imply belief in the traditional doctrine of incarnation by capitalizing “Word.” But what was it that became flesh in John 1:14? Was it a pre-existing person? Or was it the self-expressive activity of God, the Father, His eternal plan? A plan may take flesh, for example, when the design in the architect’s mind finally takes shape as a house. What pre-existed the visible bricks and mortar was the intention in the mind of the architect. Thus, it is quite in order to read John 1:1-3a: “In the beginning was the creative purpose of God. It was with God and was fully expressive of God [just as wisdom was with God before creation]. All things came into being through it.” This rendering suits the Old Testament use of “word” admirably: “So shall My word be that goes forth out of My mouth; it shall not return to Me empty, without accomplishing what I desire and without succeeding in the matter for which
I sent it.”
2

We are now in a better position to see why Jesus is known as “the word (logos)in the flesh.” Jesus was the ultimate expression of God. God’s plan, wisdom and purpose was the logos, and when we speak of the Bible, it is called “the Word” because it also is God’s expression of Himself. When we speak of a prophecy, we say, it is “the word of the Lord,” both because it is in the form of words and because it is God’s expression of Himself. Jesus was the logos in the most complete sense. He was the ultimate expression of God and the essence of His plan and purpose. Thus, it is quite correct to say that Jesus was the logos, but he was not all of the logos. “Jesus” does not equal “the logos,” he was part of and the ultimate expression of the logos. If we see Jesus, we see the Father, but it is also true that if we study the Bible, God’s Word, God’s expression of Himself in writing, we will see the Father. More dimly, to be sure, because the written Word is not the clear and ultimate expression of God that the Living Word is, but it is the logos just the same.

continued,,,

 
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OneHeart4Jesus said:
continued,,,
The Hebrew Word for “Word”

As is true with all genuine study of the Bible, the real question is not what we today think of these words in John’s prologue, but how the readers in the first century would have understood them, especially those who had a Semitic understanding.3 One scholar made the following insightful comment about the Hebrew view of “word” not emphasizing the rationale or the plan of God, but His power to bring His will to pass upon the earth:

All over the ancient Orient, in Assyria and Babylon as well as in Egypt, the word, especially the Word of God, was not only nor even primarily an expression of thought; it was a mighty and dynamic force. The Hebrew conception of “the divine word” had an express dynamic character and possessed a tremendous power.”4

The Hebrew conception of “word” (dabhar) was more dynamic than the Greek conception, which is characteristic of the language as a whole. One basic meaning of the root of dabhar is “to be behind” and thus be able to drive forward from behind. This is consistent with the Semitic idea expressed by Jesus in Luke 6:45 that “out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.” In other words, what is in the heart drives the mind, then the mouth and finally the actions. Thus, the meaning of dabhar developed along a line defined by three points: “speak,” “word” and finally “deed.”5 Boman shows that in the Hebrew mind, words were equivalent to deeds, and this fact is integrated into the very construction of the language itself:

Dabhar means not only “word,” but also “deed.” Abraham’s servant recounted to Isaac all the ‘words’ that he had done (Gen. 24:66) [seen in the literal Hebrew rendering of this verse]. The word is the highest and noblest function of man and is, for that reason, identical with his action. “Word” and “deed” are thus not two different meanings of dabhar, but the “deed” is the consequence of the basic meaning inhering in dabhar. Our term ‘word’ is thus a poor translation for the Hebrew dabhar, because for us, ‘word’ never includes the deed within it. The commentators understand as a contrived witticism Goethe’s translation of John 1:1… “In the beginning was the deed.”6 Actually, Goethe is on solid linguistic ground because he goes back to the Hebrew (Aramaic) original and translates its deepest meaning; for if dabhar forms a unity of word and deed, in our thinking the deed is the higher concept in the unity.7

F. F. Bruce is another scholar who recognizes that the key to understanding the significance of the concept of “logos” is by tracing its Old Testament roots:

The true background to John’s thought and language is found not in Greek philosophy but in Hebrew revelation. The “Word of God” in the Old Testament denotes God in action, especially in creation, revelation and deliverance.8

The Word of God is repeatedly portrayed in the Old Testament as the agent of God’s creative power, as the following verses show:

Psalm 33:6a (NASB)

By the word of the Lord the heavens were made.

Psalms 107:20 (KJV)

He sent his word, and healed them, and delivered them from their destruction.

In Isaiah, the “word” of God is spoken of as an agent independent of, but fully in the service of, God:

Isaiah 55:11 (NRSV)

So shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; It shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and succeed in the thing for which I sent it.

This is reminiscent of the personification of wisdom in Proverbs, where “she” is portrayed as God’s helper in creation:

Proverbs 8:22,23, and 30

(22) The Lord brought me [wisdom] forth as the first of his works, before his deeds of old;

(23) I was appointed from eternity, from the beginning, before the world began.

(30) Then I was his craftsman at his side. I was filled with delight day after day, rejoicing always in his presence.

Broughton and Southgate argue that “Word,” “Spirit” and “Wisdom” are all personified because they are intimately connected to how God has related to the world as its Creator, and that John’s use of logos is consistent with this biblical usage.

We can see how John draws on all the Old Testament teaching…Wisdom is personified in Proverbs 8 as saying that she was in the beginning, that she was with God, and that she was His instrument in creation. The Word of God created the heavens (Ps. 33:6), and so did the Spirit as described in Job 26:13 (KJV) [and Gen. 1:2]. The language clearly is of figure and metaphor, of personification, not actual personality. And John is saying exactly the same of the logos or Word. No Jewish reader brought up on the writings of the prophets would have deduced from John’s introduction that he was alluding to a person who had existed with God from all time. They would see it instead as a continuation of the imagery by which the Word or Wisdom or the Spirit—those manifestations of God which are inseparable from Him—are described as putting God’s intentions into effect.9

Barclay, a respected Greek scholar, also recognizes that the logos is intimately connected to both power and wisdom.

First, God’s Word is not only speech; it is power. Second, it is impossible to separate the ideas of Word and Wisdom; and it was God’s Wisdom, which created and permeated the world, which God made.10

There is still more evidence for connecting the Semitic understanding of logos with “power.” The Targums are Aramaic paraphrases of the Hebrew text, and they are well known for describing the wisdom and action of God as His “Word.” This is especially important to note because Aramaic was the spoken language of many Jews at the time of Christ, including Christ himself, and thus the people at the time of Christ would have been very familiar with them. Remembering that a Targum is usually a paraphrase of what the Hebrew text says, note how the following examples attribute action to the “word” of the Lord:

Genesis 39:2

And the word of the LORD was Joseph’s helper (Hebrew text: “The LORD was with Joseph”).

Exodus 19:17

And Moses brought the people “to meet the word of the LORD” (Hebrew text: “And Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet God”).

Job 42:9

And the word of the LORD accepted the face of Job (Hebrew text: “And the LORD accepted the face of Job”).

Psalm 2:4

And the word of the LORD shall laugh them to scorn (Hebrew text: “The LORD shall laugh at them”).11

The contrast between the Hebrew text and the Aramaic paraphrases in the verses above show that the Jews had no problem personifying the “Word” of God such that it could act on God’s behalf. They also prove that the Jews were familiar with the idea of the “Word” referring to His wisdom and action. This is especially important to note because these Jews were fiercely monotheistic, and did not in any way believe in a “Triune God.” They were familiar with the idioms of their own language, and understood that the wisdom and power of God were being personified and did not represent actual “persons” in any way.

Thus, “the Word” in John 1:1 represents an intersection of the two differing Hebrew and Greek lines of thought.12 Although there are similarities, the Hebrew and the Greek languages reflect profound differences in the way the world was perceived. Boman observes:

According to the Israelite conception, everything is in eternal movement: God and man, nature and the world. The totality of existence, olam, is time, history, life. The history of heaven and earth (Gen. 2:4) is of the same form as the history of Adam (5:1), Noah (6:9), and Shem (11:10); it is referred to in each case by the same word, toledhoth [generations]. The fact that God created the world and man once and for all implies that God makes history and brings forth life and that he continues them until they achieve their goal…As space was the given thought-form for the Greeks, so for the Hebrews it was time…For the Hebrew, the decisive reality of the world of experience was the word; for the Greek it was the thing. Yet the word had a great significance for the Greek on account of its meaning; on the whole, however, the meaning of the word is independent of the word as spoken or dynamic reality.13

As we read the Gospel of John with a true understanding of the concept of logos, the wonderful love of our heavenly Father is clearly shown. From the very beginning God had a purpose, a plan that He brought to pass in the world in a way that reveals His love and wisdom and clearly expresses Himself. It should be apparent, then, that the use of logos in the prologue of John reflects the richness of the biblical usage of the term “Word” when it is used in relation to God and His creative purpose and activity.

While in John 1:1 the logos is God’s self expression and His wisdom, plan and power, many times in the New Testament the logos is the message of the coming, the life, the death, the resurrection, the ascension, the exaltation, the lordship and the coming again of Jesus the Messiah. If the logos that was “in the beginning” is understood in these terms, then it becomes clear that God had this very series of events in mind when He created the cosmos. “The Word was God” (John 1:1) in that it is God’s self-revelation, the account that God chose to give of Himself and His will to all nations.14

The logos or message of God, as it has been revealed in Jesus, includes the following account of the meaning and purpose of creation: Jesus’ coming was prophesied throughout the Hebrew Scriptures; he was finally born a man, and by his free will lived a sinless life; Jesus died on the Cross to mark the beginning of the end of the present age of sin and death, revealing that it is only a matter of time until this age and fallen humanity as it now exists come to an end; Jesus was raised from the dead to reveal that death (the experience that all humans since Adam have held in common) is contrary to God’s will and will ultimately be abolished by resurrection; Jesus was exalted as Lord to the right hand of God where he presently exercises this authority; after he comes to gather together the Church, Jesus will come again at the end of this age in judgment, bringing destruction on the unbelieving world and salvation to the community of faith; he will rule for one thousand years on this earth; finally he will destroy Satan and all evil, end the heavens and earth of the present age and begin the new heavens and earth of the age to come, a “new creation.”

cont,,,
 
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OneHeart4Jesus said:
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“In the Beginning”

Once we understand that the logos is God’s self expression, His wisdom, plan and purposes, and that it can include His power and His actions, we are in a position to really understand the full meaning of the phrase, “In the beginning” in John 1:1.

It is often simply assumed that “the beginning” referred to here is the origin of creation, identical to the creation described in Genesis 1:1 and 2 . However, that assumption is usually made because most Christians believe that in John 1:1, Jesus is the “word” and Jesus was “in the beginning.” We trust that by now the reader knows that Jesus did not pre-exist his birth and that he was not with God in Genesis 1:1. We also trust that the reader understands that the logos of John 1:1 is not identical to “Jesus.” What we will present in this section is that “the beginning” is actually a double entendre: it refers to the earliest time when God conceived of the plan of man’s salvation, but, like the rest of the Gospel of John, it has proleptic overtones, speaking of the future as if it were a reality.15 Thus, “the beginning” referred to in John 1:1 also refers to the new creation of which Jesus Christ is the prototype.

The meaning of “beginning” that immediately comes to mind when John 1:1 is read refers to the time before history when God first conceived of man, and foresaw the possibility that he would fall and need a Savior. This is because of the familiar phrase, “In the beginning God” in Genesis 1:1. John tells us that “in the beginning” God had wisdom and a plan, and was prepared to start acting that plan out so that the people He created and invested His love in could be rescued from death and live with Him eternally. The crowning piece of the plan of God was the creation of Jesus Christ, who was in a very real sense, “the last word.”

However, there was much groundwork to be done before he who would perfectly
represent God could come. That groundwork was laid in the time period covered by the Old Testament, and so in a very real sense, God’s plan was being expressed in wisdom and action all through the Old Testament. The logos was being expressed as Abraham set off to sacrifice Isaac, as Moses lifted the serpent up on the pole, as Solomon built the Temple, and as Isaiah penned the verses stating that the Servant of God would be pierced for our transgressions. It was expressed in pieces and parts in history, as people acted, and in prophecy, as people spoke. Then one day, probably in 3 BC, the types, foreshadowings and prophecies ceased, and the logos, the plan, purpose, wisdom and power of God, “became flesh” in the man Jesus Christ. Thus, the word “beginning” in John 1:1 does clearly represent the plan and power of God before our history.

As we have already pointed out, “the beginning” also has overtones of the new creation. We spent a lot of time in the last chapter developing the idea that John was written from the perspective that Jesus was already in glory. This is proleptic language, writing about the future as if it were an accomplished reality. At least two places in the first chapter of John show that it too was written from the perspective that the life of Christ had already been lived and he was now in glory with His father. John 1:14 says, “We have seen his glory,” and John 1:18 says that Jesus “is at the Father’s side.” We are not the only ones to consider this possibility that the “beginning” in John 1:1 can refer to the new creation also. Bruce argues for this interpretation:

It is not by accident that the Gospel begins with the same phrase as the Book of Genesis. In Genesis 1:1, ‘In the beginning’ introduces the story of the old creation; here it introduces the story of the new creation. In both works of creation the agent is the Word of God.16

The Racovian Catechism, one of the great doctrinal works of the Unitarian movement of the 16th and 17th centuries, states that the word “beginning” in John 1:1 refers to the beginning of the new dispensation and thus is similar to Mark 1:1, which starts, “The beginning of the Gospel about Jesus Christ.”

In the cited passage (John 1:1) wherein the Word is said to have been in the beginning, there is no reference to an antecedent eternity, without commencement; because mention is made here of a beginning, which is opposed to that eternity. But the word beginning, used absolutely, is to be understood of the subject matter under consideration. Thus, Daniel 8:1 (KJV), “In the third year of the reign of king Belshazzar a vision appeared unto me, even unto me Daniel, after that which appeared unto me at the first.” John 15:27 (KJV), “And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me FROM the beginning.” John 16:4b (KJV), “And these things I said not unto you at the beginning, because I was with you. And Acts 11:15 (KJV), “And as I began to speak the Holy Ghost fell on them, as on us at the beginning.”

As then the matter of which John is treating is the Gospel, or the things transacted under the Gospel, nothing else ought to be understood here besides the beginning of the Gospel; a matter clearly known to the Christians whom he addressed, namely, the advent and preaching of John the Baptist, according to the testimony of all the evangelists [i.e., Matthew, Mark, Luke and John], each of whom begins his history with the coming and preaching of the Baptist. Mark indeed (1:1) expressly states that this was the beginning of the Gospel. In like manner, John himself employs the word beginning, placed thus absolutely, in the introduction to his First Epistle, at which beginning he uses the same term (logos) Word, as if he meant to be his own interpreter [“That which is from the beginning…concerning the Word (logos) of life.” 1 John 1:1].17

In this context of the new creation, then, “the Word” is the plan or purpose according to which God is restoring His creation, as we saw in Chapter 3.18 As such, “the Word” was conceived in the mind of God even before this present creation, and was the center point determining the trajectory of “the diameter of the ages.” But “the Word,” or this plan, was not fully revealed to human understanding until it “became flesh” as the living Word, Jesus Christ, God’s perfect and ultimate communication to mankind. Thus, the purpose of God became the person of Jesus, whom the Bible calls “the Christ,” the Son of God, the “image” of the invisible God. As E. W. Bullinger notes on John 1:1 in the Companion Bible: “As the spoken word reveals the invisible thought, so the Living Word reveals the invisible God.”19 Paul communicates essentially this same truth, also in connection with the original creation:

2 Corinthians 4:6

For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.

In the ninth verse of the prologue of John, Jesus Christ is referred to as “the true light that gives light to every man,” reinforcing the idea that Christ is the true light that has shined in the spiritual darkness that has engulfed mankind.

So, the careful reader sees the beauty and depth of the phrase “in the beginning” in John 1:1. We believe the richness of the text is revealed when one sees that it hearkens back to Genesis and reminds us that God has been expressing Himself via His plan, purpose, wisdom and power all through the Old Testament. Yet it also includes the concept of the new creation and the “beginning” of the age when Christ will come and eventually bring everything back into an orderly subjection to God. This proleptic view of the beginning fits with the proleptic view of Christ that occurs throughout the entire Gospel of John, which we studied extensively in the last chapter. We believe that it misses the point to say that the word “beginning” refers only to the beginning of time, and not at all to the beginning of the new creation, or vice versa. We think that God worded it the way He did in order to include both perspectives.

“And the word was with [pros] God”

We will now continue with our tour through the prologue of John with the next phrase of the first verse, “and the word was with [pros] God.” E. W. Bullinger comments on pros when it is used with the accusative case, as in John 1:1:

“Implying intimate and closest inter-communion, together with distinct independence.”20

Pros, then, contains both the necessarily corresponding ideas of intimacy and independence, because a separation is required between two things in order for them to come together in intimacy. If they are already “one in essence,” as traditional Christian teaching asserts, then the need for, and value of, intimacy is virtually eliminated. The single Greek preposition pros marvelously encapsulates a precise thumbnail description of the essence of the Gospel of John, which revolves around the themes of the intimate yet independent and subordinate relationship of the Son to the Father. It is evident that one thing cannot be “with” another thing and be identical to it at the same time. Even Trinitarian scholars recognize this:

John always perceives a distinction between the divinity of the pre-existent Son and that of the Father. If he states “the Word is God,” he still speaks of the Word being directed toward God (pros ton theon).21

Logically, nothing can be both “identical to” and “with” anything else. Thus, the sense in which “the word” was “God” is limited by this statement that it was also “with God,” and points to a meaning closer to “represents,” “manifests,” or “reveals.” Hence, the Word was “divine” because it represented and manifested God. In the same way, Jesus, “the Word in the flesh,” represented and manifested God, and, in that limited way, was “divine.”

Although many use the phrase (“the Word was with God”) to attempt to establish the doctrine of the pre-existence of Christ, this idea is based upon a supposed identity between “the Word” and Jesus Christ. The argument goes: “The Word was with God in the beginning, and Jesus was the Word, therefore Jesus was there in the beginning.” The assumption that “the word” is the man, Jesus, is reflected in the fact that Bible translators assign the masculine gender to the pronouns referring to Word. The pronouns related to logos often get translated “he” when in fact the Greek word logos, though masculine in gender, is intrinsically neither male nor female.22 In 1525, the pronoun associated with logos was translated “it” and not “he” by William Tyndale, who provided the translation that formed the basis for the KJV. Although approximately 90 percent of Tyndale’s work was preserved in the KJV, his use of the neuter for logos was changed to “he.” The Wycliffe translation of 1380, the Cranmer Bible of 1539 and the Geneva Bible of 1557 also translated the pronoun associated with logos as “it.”

But even if the pronoun associated with logos could legitimately be translated “he,” this could be readily explained by the use of personification, and does not necessitate a literal person called “the logos.” As we have already seen, the use of personification of logos puts the logos concept squarely in what is called the wisdom literature of Judaism, wherein personificationof concepts is a common figure. Dunn comments on the use of personification in the prologue of John, wherein the usage of logos moves from “impersonal personification to actual person,” namely Jesus:

We are dealing with personifications rather than persons, personified actions of God rather than an individual divine being as such. The point is obscured by the fact that we have to translate the masculine logos “he” throughout the poem. But if we translated logos as ‘‘God’s utterance’’ [or “it”] instead, it would become clearer that the poem did not necessarily intend the logos in v. 1-13 to be thought of as a personal divine being.”23

The “word” was with God in the same sense that “wisdom” was with God. Proverbs 8:29b and 30a says, “When He [God] marked out the foundations of the earth, then I [wisdom] was the craftsman at His side.” No one we know of believes that there was a being called “Wisdom” who helped God make the heavens and the earth. Everyone knows that wisdom is personified to make the record interesting and easy to understand. So too, in John 1:1 when Scripture says that the logos was “with God,” it is a personification. God had His plan and power, and “when the time had fully come” (Gal. 4:4), Jesus was conceived in the womb of Mary. This means that the person called “Jesus” did not yet exist, as is the case with all human persons, until he was conceived in his mother’s womb. Prior to his conception, his existence was not personal, but prophetic, as foretold in the Old Testament Scriptures (the “Word”). Before Jesus’ conception in the womb of Mary, the logos was to Jesus what promise is to fulfillment. When “the logos became flesh,” the promise was fulfilled in the form of a person. While this understanding will be objectionable, perhaps anathema, to Trinitarian believers, it must be admitted that it is not a denial of Jesus’ divine Sonship or Messiahship but, rather, a compelling alternative interpretation of relevant scriptural texts.

All the texts in which Jesus spoke of his heavenly existence with the Father before his coming (which, interestingly, are all found in John’s Gospel) are best understood in a prophetic light.24 In other words, Jesus did not speak from experience about his “pre-existence” with the Father, but, rather, he spoke out of his faith in the logos, which he understood from the testimony of the prophets of Israel. Jesus was so sure of the future fulfillment of God’s purpose and promises regarding his resurrection from the dead and his exaltation to God’s right hand that he spoke of them as having already taken place. By speaking of God’s purpose and promises as if they had already been fulfilled (i.e., proleptically), and then carrying them out by obedience to God’s Word, Jesus distinguished himself as “the author and perfecter of our faith” (Heb. 12:2), the one whose faith is the model for all believers to follow.

The logos, then, as it relates to Jesus Christ, has existed in three stages: first as God’s purpose “in the beginning,” then as God’s promises to mankind, and finally as God’s person, Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God.

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Member
OneHeart4Jesus said:
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“And the Word was God,” i.e.,
“If you’ve seen me, you’ve seen the Father”


The words “and the Word was God” might seem to supply the premises for a logical syllogism with a necessary conclusion:

Jesus is the Word [logos].

The Word was God.

Therefore, Jesus is God.

According to standard Christian teaching, this is apparently an open-and-shut case. However, most scholars recognize that the issue is not as cut-and-dried as most Christians think. This is reflected in the various ways the verse is translated. The New English Bible superbly translates the verse as, “and what God was, the word was.” We also believe that James Moffatt has captured the sense better than most translations when he renders the phrase, “the logos was divine.” The whole of Scripture, the semantic range of the Greek word for “God,” theos, and the absence of the definite article before theos must each be considered.

" In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."


This is PART TWO of the most extensive work we have on John 1:1 ( the most common Trinitarian verse ).

We will quote two scholars who, after analyzing the precision of the Greek words employed in John 1:1, recognize the limitations of concluding from John’s prologue that the terms “Jesus” and “God” are in any way identical, equivalent, synonymous or interchangeable:

Because logos has the article [ho] preceding it, it is marked out as the subject. The fact that theos is the first word after the conjunction kai (“and”) shows that the main emphasis of the clause lies on it. Had the article preceded theos as well as logos, the meaning would have been that the Word was completely identical with God, which is impossible if the Word was also “with God.” What is meant is that the Word shared the nature and being of God, or, to use a piece of modern jargon, was an extension of the personality of God. The NEB paraphrase, “what God was, the Word was,” brings out the meaning of the clause as successfully as a paraphrase can. John intends that the whole of his gospel shall be read in the light of this verse. The deeds and words of Jesus are the deeds and words of God [i.e., “If you have seen me, you have seen the Father”]; if this be not true, the book [i.e., the Gospel of John] is blasphemous.25

What it does say is defined as succinctly and accurately as it can be in the opening verse of St. John’s Gospel. But we have to be equally careful about the translation. The Greek runs: kai theos en ho logos. The so-called Authorized Version has: “And the Word was God.” This would indeed suggest the view that “Jesus” and “God” were identical and interchangeable. But in Greek this would most naturally be represented by “God” with the article, not theos but ho theos. But, equally, St. John is not saying that Jesus is a “divine” man, in the sense with which the ancient world was familiar [the product of God and man] or in the sense in which the Liberals spoke of him [as a great man, teacher, prophet, etc.]. That would be theios. The Greek expression steers carefully between the two. It is impossible to represent it in a single English word, but the New English Bible, I believe, gets the sense pretty exactly with its rendering, “And what God was, the Word was.”

In other words, if one looked at Jesus, one saw God—for “he who has seen me has seen the Father (John 14:9 - NASB).” He was the complete expression, the Word, of God. Through him, as through no one else, God spoke and God acted: when one met him, one was met—and saved and judged—by God. And it was to this conviction that the Apostles bore their witness. In this man—in his life, death and resurrection—they had experienced God at work; and in the language of their day they confessed, like the centurion at the Cross, “Truly this man was the Son of God” (Mark 15:39 - NASB). Here was more than just a man: here was a window into God at work. For “God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself” (2 Cor. 5:19 - NASB).26

Dunn, another modern scholar, also sees the prologue and its use of logos as communicating the same truth—that the Word is the image of God or that which can be known of Him. He quotes Philo, a first-century Alexandrian Jew familiar with the sense of logos as debated and used in apostolic times:

To use Philo’s favorite sun-and-light symbolism, the logos is to God as the corona is to the sun, the sun’s halo which man can look upon when he cannot look directly on the sun itself. That is not to say that the logos is God as such, any more than the corona is the sun as such, but the logos is that alone which may be seen of God.

God is unknowable by man, except in a small degree by the creation, but the logos expresses God’s ideas to man. There is no idea of personality attached to the logos. The logos seems to be nothing more for Philo than God himself in his approach to man, God himself insofar as he may be known by man.27

Thus, even Trinitarian scholars acknowledge that to say “the word was God” is not synonymous with saying “Jesus is God.” Indeed, the phrase, “what God was, the Word was” communicates in a nutshell what is about to be developed in the body of the Gospel of John—that Jesus perfectly represents and reflects the Father’s glory. The phrase, like the Gospel itself, portrays him in his post-resurrection glorification in which he shines as the “image of God” (See Chapter 2).

C. H. Dodd is another scholar who sees in the logos the meeting of the divine, God’s communication of Himself, with the human, the man in whom God most clearly revealed Himself. The logos is the “final concentration of the whole creative and revealing thought of God” in “an individual who is what humanity was designed to be in the divine purpose.”28 In other words, Jesus Christ, the living Word of God, is what Man was intended to be, the perfect representative of God.

“Through [dia] him all things were made”

The pronoun “him” in John 1:3 (“through him all things were made”), can legitimately be translated as “it.” It does not have to be translated as “him,” and it does not have to refer to a “person” in any way. A primary reason why people get the idea that “the Word” is a person is that the pronoun “he” is used with it. The Greek text does, of course, have the masculine pronoun, because as we have already pointed out, the Greek language assigns a gender to all nouns, and the gender of the pronoun must agree with the gender of the noun. Because the noun controlling the pronouns in verse three is logos, the pronouns in Greek are all masculine, but they would only be translated into English as “he” if the noun were speaking of a person, not a thing. If the logos is not a literal person, then the pronoun should be translated as “it.”

Once we clearly understand that the gender of a pronoun is determined by the gender of the noun, we can see why one cannot build a doctrine on the gender of a noun and its agreeing pronoun. No student of the Bible should take the position that “the Word” is somehow a masculine person based on its pronoun any more than he would take the position that a book was a feminine person or a desk was a masculine person because that is the gender assigned to those nouns in the French language. Indeed, if one tried to build a theology based on the gender of the noun in the language, great confusion would result. In Hebrew, “spirit” is feminine and must have feminine pronouns, while in Greek, “spirit” is neuter and takes neuter pronouns. Thus, a person trying to build a theology on the basis of the gender of the noun and pronoun would find himself in an interesting situation trying to explain how it could be that “the spirit” of God somehow changed genders when the New Testament was written.

Because the translators of the Bible have almost always been Trinitarians, and because “the Word” has almost always been associated with Christ, the pronouns referring to the logos in verse three have almost always been translated as “him.” However, because the logos is the plan, purpose, wisdom and power of God, then the Greek pronoun should be translated into English as “it.” To demand that “the Word” is a masculine person and therefore a third part of a three-part Godhead because the pronouns used when referring to it are masculine is poor scholarship.

Viewed in light of the above translation, the opening of the Gospel of John reveals wonderful truth, and is also a powerful polemic against the primary heresies of the day. We paraphrase:

In the beginning there was God, who had a plan, purpose, wisdom and power (i.e., the logos) which was, by its very nature and origin, divine. It was through and on account of this reason, plan, purpose and power that everything was made. Nothing was made outside its scope. Later, this plan became flesh in the person of Jesus Christ and tabernacled among us.

Understanding the opening of John this way fits with the whole of Scripture. Just as the word “beginning” in John 1:1 is a double entendre referring to both the beginning before history and the beginning of the new creation, John 1:3 continues that mode. John 1:3 also contains overtones of Christ’s control over the new creation. God never created anything outside the confines of His wisdom, plan and power, so it surely is true that “without it (the logos) nothing was made that has been made.” However, it is also true that John 1:3 points toward the creation of the new order by Jesus Christ. Colossians refers to this when it says, “all things were created by him and for him” (Col. 1:16).29 Also, Ephesians 2:15 says that Christ created a “new man” out of Jew and Gentile.

The reader will recall that in Chapter 3 we saw that the Greek preposition dia is distinctly associated with Jesus Christ, and particularly his relationship to God’s creation—indicating that he is the one through whom (better understood as on whose behalf) God acted. Thus, he is spoken of as the agent or the means or the purpose of the ages and of creation itself. That this word dia occurs in the prologue of John used in this sense ties this passage to the other passages in the New Testament that describe the post-resurrection relationship between Christ and God, particularly 1 Corinthians 8:6 and Hebrews 1:2 and 3. Jesus Christ is once again being portrayed as “the purpose of the ages,” the one through whom we have life.

To assume that Christ is the Creator of the Genesis 1 creation is to introduce confusion into what is a clear New Testament theme: God is the creator of the heavens and the earth (as Scripture states):

Ephesians 3:9

And to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery, which for ages past was kept hidden in God, who created all things.30

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Member
OneHeart4Jesus said:
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“In him was life, and that life was the light of men”

John 1:4 continues the powerful introduction to the Gospel of John, and also continues with phrases that refer to both God and the original creation, and Christ and the new creation. There is no question that in God was life for mankind. The Father is life, and defined life. Christ said, “the Father has life in Himself” (John 5:26). This is so well known that there is no need to belabor the point. Once Christ was resurrected, however, God gave Christ the job of giving life. Christ even said, “He has granted the Son to have life in himself” (John 5:26), and because of that, one day the dead will hear Christ’s voice and live (John 5:25).

Anyone who has a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ will testify that there is more than just eternal life in the Son, and the same was true for the believers of the Old Testament. In both ancient times and in the new creation since the Age of Grace started, a relationship with God, or with God and Christ meant life and vitality on a day-by-day basis. Psalm 36:9 mentions both life and light, just as John 1:4 does:

Psalm 36:9

For with you [God] is the fountain of life; in your light we see light.

Today, in the Age of Grace, Christ is the one who gives life and is our life, even as Colossians says: “When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory”(Col. 3:4).

“The light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness did not overcome it”


John 1:5 (NRSV)can clearly be seen to make a reference to both the original creation and the new creation that is headed up by Jesus Christ. There is no question that when one reads, “and the light shines out of darkness,” that his mind is drawn back to the primal darkness of Genesis 1 and the time that God spoke the words, “Let there be light!” Furthermore, the light of God shown throughout the Old Testament. It is well known that the word “light” refers not just to physical light, but to knowledge and truth as well. And, all through the Old Testament, try as he might to obscure, blot out or discolor the light, the Serpent did not succeed. The darkness just did not overcome the light.

John 1:5 not only echoes the language of Genesis 1 but can refer to the new creation as well. It is well known that Christ is referred to as the light. For example, when Christ preached in the area of the Galilee, Matthew records:

Matthew 4:16

The people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.

John records Jesus saying, “I am the light of the world” (John 8:12). Thus, anyone who studies the life of Christ and the New Testament can see clearly that John 1:5 can also refer to Jesus Christ and the light that he was, and that shown forth from him. F. F. Bruce comments on John 1:5:

In the first creation, “darkness was upon the face of the deep” (Gen. 1:2 - KJV) until God called light into being, so the new creation (in which the Word is God’s agent as effectively as in the earlier one) involves the banishing of spiritual darkness by the light which shines in the Word. Apart from the light (as is emphasized repeatedly in the body of the Gospel) the world of mankind is shrouded in darkness…Light and darkness are to be understood ethically rather than metaphysically; “light” is a synonym of goodness and truth, while “darkness” is a synonym of evil and falsehood.31

This relationship between light and darkness in an ethical context is clearly seen elsewhere in the New Testament, notably in the following passage from Paul’s epistle to the Ephesians. The light of Christ shines in the hearts of believers and shows the way to righteous conduct:

Ephesians 5:8-15

(8) For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light

(9) (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth)

(10) and find out what pleases the Lord.

(11) Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.

(12) For it is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret.

(13) But everything exposed by the light becomes visible,

(14) for it is light that makes everything visible. This is why it is said: “Wake up,
O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”


(15) Be very careful, then, how you live - not as unwise, but as wise.

Christ is the means by which God is making His light shine and establishing a new and righteous creation, because the one spoken of in Genesis 1 has been stained by sin. The process will be completed only when Christ has finished his work of subduing all God’s enemies, as described in 1 Corinthians 15:24-28. So again in John 1:5 we see the intricate pattern that God is weaving, using words and phrases that powerfully remind us of His great work at the beginning of time and in the Old Testament, but also pointing at the great work of His Son and the time of the new creation.

“The word became flesh and dwelt
among us, full of grace and truth”


Of all the Gospel writers, John is most concerned with emphasizing that Jesus came in the flesh. This is an important theme in the Johannine epistles as well (1 John 4:2; 2 John 7). This will be explained later in this chapter in the discussion of John’s relationship to the Gnostics, who took a dim view of “flesh.”

It is at this point in the prologue, in John 1:14, that “the Word of God” becomes associated with a particular historical person, Jesus of Nazareth. Up until this verse, the prologue has been dealing with impersonal personification of a concept called the logos, but this verse is the transition from personification to actual person.32Dunn recognizes that to this point in the prologue there is nothing that would have particularly arrested the attention of a Hellenistic Jew.33

Again we will quote J.A.T. Robinson, who captures our sentiments about this verse:

The Word, which was theos, God in His self-revelation and expression, sarx egeneto [became flesh], was embodied totally in and as a human being, became a person, was personalized, not just personified. But that the logos came into existence or expression as a person does not mean that it was a person before. In terms of the later distinction, it was not that the logos was hypostatic [i.e., a person] and then assumed an impersonal human nature, but that the logos was anhypostatic until the Word of God finally came to self-expression, not merely in nature and in a people but in an individual historical person, and thus became hypostatic…Jesus is genuinely and utterly a man who so competely incarnates [in a figurative sense] God that the one is the human face of the other.34

Another scholar weighs in on this point:

For John, Jesus is really man, but in a unique, all surpassing relationship with God. Anyone who knows him knows the Father.35

Concerning the personality of the logos, another scholar, T. W. Manson, writes:

I very much doubt whether he [John] thought of the logos as a personality. The only personality on the scene is “Jesus the son of Joseph from Nazareth.” That personality embodies the logos so completely that Jesus becomes a complete revelation of God. But in what sense are we using the word “embodies”? I think in the old prophetic sense, but with the limitations that were attached to the prophets removed. The word that Isaiah speaks is the word of the Lord, but it is also Isaiah’s—it has become part of him. Not every word of Isaiah is a word of the Lord. For John, every word of Jesus is a word of the Lord.36

To us, it makes perfect sense that Jesus so internalized the standard of “It is written” that he was its very embodiment. This speaks highly of his love for the Word of God and his dependence upon it. In everything he said and did, he was looking to obey, properly explain or fulfill the Word of God, his Father. It was in this sense that it could be said of him that he was “the logos made flesh,” not that he was such by his mere birth. He had to learn to obey God and His Word (Heb. 5:8), which means that he first had to learn it inside and out.

The logos was not “made flesh” through a metaphysical or mystical process by which a pre-existent spirit being transmigrated his eternal consciousness into a temporal human zygote at the moment of conception. The logos was “made flesh” through a process that began when God fulfilled His Word to His people by creating the long awaited Seed of Promise, the seed of the woman, the one who would be just like his Dad, the “chip off the old Rock.” This man, by internalizing the standard of the Word of God that was to guide his life, walked in perfect obedience “in the flesh.”

In Chapter 18, we will develop in greater detail the historical development of the doctrine of the incarnation and its mythological overtones.

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Member
OneHeart4Jesus said:
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“The glory of the only begotten one”

This term “only begotten” in the phrase “only begotten Son” in John 1:18 (KJV) is traditionally understood to refer to his virgin birth, when he was first “begotten.”37 However, it is widely recognized in scholarly circles that “only begotten” is a mistranslation of the Greek word monogenes.38 “Unique” is a profoundly appropriate term to characterize Jesus Christ, the Son of God. His uniqueness begins with the voluminous prophetic utterances about his coming. No other human being has ever been so specifically described and anticipated. Then his virgin birth is indeed another aspect of his uniqueness. Adam was created directly by God, not through the agency of a woman. Others received a child by God’s promise, but through the normal process of sexual intercourse. No other human being, even Adam, was ever directly conceived by God Himself, yet carried in a woman’s body.

No man ever walked the earth with such commanding presence and authority, nor did as many miracles. No man walked in such moral perfection nor was treated so unjustly. No man showed so much compassion for his fellow man, nor risked his own life and reputation more for the sake of helping those who were downcast and troubled. No man ever represented God so perfectly, and yet died in a manner that seemed to say that he had been cursed of God. Men have been miraculously raised from the dead, but only one has died and been raised with an entirely new and immortal body. And, finally, no man has ever sat where he sits, presiding over the angels at the right hand of God Himself.

Jesus Christ was the only begotten Son of God, and, as we have already seen, that sonship was clearly declared when he was “born” from the dead. That monogenes also reflects the post-resurrection glory of Jesus Christ is evident from the qualifying phrase of John 1:18—“who is at the Father’s side.” In other words, Jesus is pictured as being at the Father’s side, providing a capstone to the prologue and sealing it with the stamp of his exalted glory. This leads us to the conclusion that from the very first verse the prologue of John has overtones of Christ’s present state of being at the right hand of God. Thus, the prologue of John fits with the remainder of the New Testament, including those passages that describe Christ in his post-resurrection glory.

To show the relationship of the language of John, and especially the prologue, to other passages in the New Testament that define the post-resurrection identity of Jesus Christ, we have created the following table. In it we have attempted to correlate the appropriate phrases that address a similar idea. Though it may be incomplete, the general affinity of the themes of these passages can be easily seen, and helps us to harmonize some of the language which, taken by itself, might lead to the erroneous conclusion that Jesus Christ is God, an eternal being, “essential deity,” etc., as Trinitarians propose.

Prolepsis and Logos

If Jesus is not identical to the logos, what exactly is the relationship between them? The relationship of Jesus to the logos of God can best be described as intimate and prophetic, two important characteristics of the entire Gospel of John. Jesus was conceived in the mind of God “in the beginning,” and was in view when God created the present heavens and earth.39 God knew His plan, and throughout the Old Testament communicated it through a body of prophetic language that pointed toward Christ’s coming. Jesus refers to this plan in his prayer on the eve of his death:

John 17:24

Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before [pro] the creation of the world.

Peter communicates this same truth in his first epistle:

1 Peter 1:20 (NASB)

For he was foreknown before [pro] the foundation of the world, but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you.

John and the Gnostics

We will be handling the subject of Gnosticism in greater depth in Chapter 17 on the beginnings of heresy, but the Gnostics deserve some mention with respect to the prologue of the Gospel of John. As we have noted, the Gnostics seized upon the Gospel of John and borrowed much of its language and many of its themes for their diverse speculations.40 This fact led many Christians of the time to doubt the credibility of the Fourth Gospel.41 By the end of the second century, the Gospel of John was accepted as one of the four canonical Gospels. Irenaeus was the first of the “Church fathers” to fully accept it and begin to comment on it.

But we ought to ask why the Gnostics gravitated to this Gospel and if the Gospel of John addresses Gnostic teaching in any way. John is clearly not a polemical book specifically addressing competing Gnostic teaching, but we believe that part of its inspired genius is the way it subtly corrects the incipient Gnosticism of its day.42 Though primarily addressed to those who would believe, it was also written to maintain belief in the midst of a world full of idolatrous and anti-biblical philosophical systems. One scholar, representing the opinion of many, has noted, upon studying the relationship of John to Gnosticism: “At every crucial point the Gospel is in tension with the Gnostic point of view, indeed repudiates it.”43 Thus, the Gospel of John is like all Scripture—profitable for doctrine, reproof and correction (2 Tim. 3:16 - KJV). The essence of the teaching of the Gospel of John that corrects Gnostic error is contained in the prologue. But before we discuss this, we will first point out earlier scriptural evidence of incipient Gnosticism and why it is very likely that there was a well-established Gnostic version of Christianity that had developed by the time John wrote his Gospel.

Because Paul was fighting doctrinal battles with the proto-Gnostics at various points in his epistles, we know that the germs of Gnostic thought had already infected the Christian Church well before John wrote his Gospel. In particular, the epistles to the Corinthians, Colossians, Timothy and Titus address teachings of Paul’s time that would later develop into full-blown Gnostic religious systems. 2 Peter also addresses some issues. For instance, Paul spoke of the “super apostles” in Corinth who thought that they had been initiated into a deeper awareness of wisdom and truth than he had, and were therefore more qualified to lead others into a truly spiritual life (2 Cor. 11:5). Paul responded that he was not a trained speaker like those men were, but had the marks of a true apostle nevertheless (1 Cor. 12:6). Earlier, in 1 Corinthians 2:4, Paul had compared his approach with those who use “wise and persuasive words,” as opposed to the demonstration of the spirit.

What would later become fully developed Gnosticism had its roots in vain speculation that was divorced from both the accuracy of Scripture and the reality of the power of God activated by faith. What would mark the Gnostic system of thought more than anything was their dualistic view of the world: spirit is entirely good and matter is entirely evil. “Spirituality,” therefore, involved becoming as far removed from the shackles of matter as possible. Because they held the material world to be sinful and debased, they believed that the true God could have had nothing whatever to do with its creation. Therefore they invented various intermediary deities called “demiurges,” who were responsible for the creation of this world, but these were actually evil beings who were responsible for the corruption, degradation and deceit of the material world. Thus, for John to pose the logos as intermediary to both God and creation would have corrected this growing Gnostic error. It also provided a way of looking at the relationship between God and creation that appealed to others beside Gnostics who had a problem with too closely associating a transcendent God with an imperfect creation. Unfortunately, some people took that idea too far and tried to show that God did not really wish to come into contact with His creation:

The logos theory was all too warmly welcomed by thinkers strongly imbued with Greek metaphysics, because the logos performed the cosmological function of relieving the Father, the supreme God, of the painful necessity of coming in close contact with the world.44

For the logos, an immaterial reality, to become “flesh,” integrates and connects the “spiritual” realm with the “physical” realm in a way that corrects the error of the Gnostic teaching and the tendencies of Greek philosophy. It even explains the quasi-mystical connotation of the phrase “the logos became flesh,” because John employs a poetic image to show the intimacy of God with His creation, and the extent of His involvement with it. We know from Scripture that He personally conceived Jesus in the womb of Mary. That act of creation marked the beginning of putting His Plan for the Man into action. When modern theologians and Bible teachers make the logos refer to a pre-incarnate Jesus, and then take the phrase “the logos became flesh” to mean that God became a man, they miss the precise point it is making. John is not propounding a mystical process by which a pre-existent spirit being became clothed in flesh. Rather, it is asserting that the prophetic plan and purpose of God has become a true man, “in the flesh,” and that as the “purpose of the ages,” even creation itself is organized around him.

In John 6:54, Jesus challenges and offends many of his followers by way of figuratively suggesting that they eat his flesh and drink his blood. This apparent exhortation to cannibalism would have horrified the proto-Gnostic readers who did not even want to believe that Jesus had “come in the flesh” at all, much less “eat” his flesh. These proto-Gnostics, the forerunners of the Docetists, were teaching that Jesus was not a true flesh-and-blood human being, because that would necessarily make him evil. They viewed him as essentially a spirit being who took on only the appearance of flesh. This teaching is also known as “Docetism.”45 John addresses the issue in a direct and stern way in his first epistle. Though he obviously spoke in a figurative manner, Jesus’ words in John 6:54 are a subtle but devastating jab at Gnostic aversion to the flesh. This is a classic example of the way God employs figurative language to confound those who are taken in idolatry.

“Pre-existence” of human beings was also a feature of Gnostic thought.46 So it is worth considering the possibility that since this doctrine cannot be supported elsewhere in the New Testament, there is a dual purpose served by employing such language in John. We know from elsewhere in the Gospels that Jesus spoke in parables, a particular kind of figure of speech, to reveal those who had a firm desire to understand spiritual things. Such language served to separate out the believers from the unbelievers. The language of the Gospel of John has the same deliberate quality as the parables, where the casually interested person or one who has already been deceived by mythology and philosophy could easily become misled by a loose interpretation of the language on a literal level and go off into error.47 It is highly likely that the language of pre-existence used in John relates to the Gnostic belief in pre-existence and contributed to their early adoption of the Gospel.

At this point, it is useful to know some of the details of the Gnostic Redeemer myth, which involved a figure of light. Dart takes excerpts of Bultmann’s version of the myth to show its main features:

The Gnostic myth tells the fate of the soul, humanity’s true inner self represented as “a spark of a heavenly figure of light, the original man.” In primordial times, demonic powers of darkness conquer this figure of light, tearing it into shreds.

The sparks of light are used by the demons to “create a world out of the chaos of darkness as a counterpart of the world of light, of which they were jealous.” The demons closely guarded the elements of light enclosed in humans. “The demons endeavor to stupefy them and make them drunk, sending them to sleep and making them forget their heavenly home.” Some people nevertheless become conscious of their heavenly origin and of the alien nature of the world. They yearn for deliverance.

The supreme deity takes pity on the imprisoned sparks of light, and sends down the heavenly figure of light, His Son, to redeem them. This Son arrays himself in the garment of the earthly body, lest the demons should recognize him. He invites his own to join him, awakens them from their sleep, reminds them of their heavenly home, and teaches them about the way to return.

The redeemer teaches them sacred and secret passwords, for the souls will have to pass the different spheres of the planets, watchposts of the demonic cosmic powers. “After accomplishing his work, he ascends and returns to heaven again to prepare a way for his own to follow him. This they will do when they die.” The redeemer’s work will be completed when he is able to reassemble all the sparks of light in heaven. That done, the world will come to an end, returning to its original chaos. “The darkness is left to itself, and that is the judgment.”48

We believe that these Gnostic writings came later and used the prologue as the springboard for their speculations.But if they were contemporaneously written, then it is easy to see how John would be presenting the truth of which the Gnostic writings are the spiritual counterfeit.If somehow the Gnostic writings did come first, John would be addressing their errors in his gospel by employing similar imagery with an entirely different purpose and effect.In any event, we think it is important to recognize that one of the purposes of the Gospel of John is to correct Gnostic teaching by setting forth Christian truth that is grounded in the historical reality of the resurrection and exaltation of Jesus, the Christ, the unique Son of God.

The prologue also pierces the elitist program of special enlightenment, subjective experience, spiritual initiation and esoteric knowledge, that was developed by the Gnostics. To all who receive him, Jesus Christ gives “the right to become children of God” (1:12) without any initiation or special knowledge. In John, Jesus is clearly rejected by the Jews, who should have been the “initiated ones,” and so God sent him to “the world” instead. He is the Savior for all mankind, not just the elite and enlightened ones.49 We trust that as more is learned from Gnostic sources, we will gain even more insight into the precise usage of biblical terms and concepts employed by John. We will have more to say about Gnosticism in the historical section of this book, particularly Chapters 17-19.

Conclusion

And so we have seen how marvelously the prologue introduces the content of the Gospel of John. It introduces God’s plan, power and wisdom in bringing forth His only begotten Son. It introduces the intimate but distinct relationship between the Father and the Son. It introduces the conflict between light and darkness and how darkness is not able to win that conflict. And it introduces the plan-of-God-become-flesh, whom we know as the Lord Jesus Christ. We have also seen how its language harmonizes with the other passages in the New Testament that describe his post-resurrection identity, as well as subtly introduces its readers to important truths that correct the doctrinal errors of the Gnostics. That it could accomplish all this and more in a few verses is powerful testimony to its divine inspiration. We find it ironic that the Gnostics embraced this Gospel despite its repudiation of many of their doctrines, and we find it equally ironic that Trinitarians have embraced John as their favorite section of the New Testament when in fact it not only falls far short of validating “orthodox” Christian teaching, but in fact contradicts it.

Once understood, the Gospel of John, including its prologue, presents a clear and compelling portrait of the One who came in fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecies, lived a life of profound submission to his Father (the one true God) and was highly exalted because of his perfect obedience. This post-resurrection glory of the risen Lord is so intimately associated with his earthly ministry that it provides wide literary license for a proleptic portrait of the unique One, the Lord Jesus Christ. Rather than being confused by the language of John, we must work (as “workmen of the Word”—2 Tim. 2:15) to see its profound harmony with the rest of the New Testament. By so doing, we cannot help but stand in humble awe at the majesty of our God, the glory of our risen Lord and the wondrous perfection of the Word, the logos, that so eloquently and profoundly provides the words that give faith, hope, life and light to those who believe them.

 
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Talk about putting good hard effort to help others learn :) Thank you one heart
 
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Oneheart,
You were not kidding that it was long. That is a very compelling argument. I however have a couple other verses for you.

John 20:28 Thomas answered and said to Him, "My Lord and my God!"
Why did Jesus not rebuke him for calling him God?

Is 9:6 For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.

This Messianic Prophecy says the Messiah will be called the Mighty God, Eternal Father.

Plus one other:
Gen 1:26 Then God said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth."

Who was God talking to?

Peace be with you,
John
 
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jjkirk...If you are asking about Gen 1:26 when God says "let us" It is the three persons communicating with each other as far as I know.
 

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