John 1:1

John 1:1 is a passage completely misinterpreted by the New World Translation (the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ translation), and by many other translations mentioned by Steve, which are not mainline translations, but are the work of individual anti-church Arians. Here is the Greek: Ἐν ἀρχῇ ἦν λόγος, καὶ λόγος ἦν πρὸς τὸν θεόν, καὶ θεὸς ἦν λόγος. The New World translation says this: “In [the] beginning the Word was, and the Word was with God, and the Word was a god.” Plainly, the New World translation says something quite different from most translations with which we are familiar. This translations seems to suggest that the Word (which we learn later is Jesus) is less than God. He is merely one of a pantheon of gods. This raises its own problems. But to kabosh this rendering, it is necessary to go into some Greek grammar. The phrase in question occurs after the second comma in the above Greek. Notice that “theos” (second word of the phrase) comes before ἦν, which is the verb meaning “was.” “Theos” (“God) is functioning as a predicate nominative. Stretch back to your grammar days and remember that a predicate nominative is the last word in the sentence “I am a pastor.” The subject is “I,” and the predicate nominative is “pastor.” In Greek, the predicate nominative can sometimes come before the verb, as it does here. When that happens, the word “the” does not occur with the predicate nominative. However, the noun should still be read as having the word “the” with it. This is the difference between “the God” (or just simply “God”) and “a god.” The New World Translation has twisted Greek grammar in order fit their preconceived notions about the non-deity of Christ. When you have two nouns connected by any form of the word “to be,” the definite article (“the”) tells you which noun is the subject, since word order doesn’t count in Greek. In other words, just because a noun doesn’t have “the” with it doesn’t mean that it should be interpreted as not having “the” with it, if that is clear. Clear as mud?

About these ads

86 Comments

  1. Josh said,

    October 28, 2006 at 12:20 pm

    Ἐν ἀρχῇ ἦν ὁ λόγος,
    En arche en o logos
    In was the word

    καὶ ὁ λόγος ἦν πρὸς τὸν
    ki o logos en pros ton
    and the word was

    θεόν, καὶ θεὸς ἦν ὁ λόγος.
    Theon ki Theos en o logos
    God and God was the word.

    Best I can do with 1 lesson in Greek. I think that is the most important opening for John 1. Especially in sermonic form. To many new Christians are tossed into turmoil when the JW’s come knocking. Excellent opening, as usual thanks for posting! I hope this blog gains a wide readership.

  2. Josh said,

    October 28, 2006 at 12:21 pm

    the above post didnt keep my spacing.

  3. greenbaggins said,

    October 28, 2006 at 12:28 pm

    Thanks for your encouragement. “en arche” means literally “in beginning.” “Pros ton theon” means “with God,” and the last phrase is reversed: “the Word was God,” (because of the grammar, “ho logos” is the subject, not “theos.”) Other than that, very good for one lesson in Greek! Keep it up.

  4. theologian said,

    October 28, 2006 at 12:57 pm

    John 20:28 shows the hypocrisy of the JW’s. They claim that anywhere the Greek says “ho Theos” it is referring to Jehovah.

    Jn 20:28 – apekrithe thomas kai eipen autoi ho kurios mou kai ho theos mou

    Since Thomas said that Jesus was “ho theos,” which is Jehovah in JW’s eyes, they have little defense here. They have to say that Thomas was blaspheming, and that Jesus never called him to task for his blaspheming.

  5. greenbaggins said,

    October 28, 2006 at 1:10 pm

    That is a great point, Larry. It should be noted that the New World Translation does not mistranslate there, but it reads like any other translation of the passage.

  6. Josh said,

    October 28, 2006 at 1:21 pm

    I forgot all about that Larry. It has been probably 12 years since I haggled with any JW’s. That is a good point. And, what Rabbi worth his salt didnt correct blasphemy on the spot?

  7. theologian said,

    October 28, 2006 at 1:52 pm

    “what Rabbi worth his salt didnt correct blasphemy on the spot?”
    – Amen, Josh.

  8. Steve said,

    October 28, 2006 at 8:23 pm

    Please consider the following non-JW translations of John 1:1. There are MANY translations that do not translate this as “the word was God”. Are all these non-JW sources also trying to “twist Greek grammar in order fit their preconceived notions about the non-deity of Christ”? No, of course not. Bashing JW’s on the translations of John 1:1 is not appropriate.

    “and was himself a divine person” (Edward Harwood, H KAINH DIAQHKH. London, 1776, 2 vols; 2nd ed. 1784, 2 vols. 1768)

    “and the word was a god” (Newcome, 1808)

    “the Word was God’s” (Crellius,as quoted in The New Testament in an Improved Version)

    “and the Word was a divine being.” (La Bible du Centenaire, L’Evangile selon Jean, by Maurice Goguel,1928)

    “the Logos was a god (John Samuel Thompson, The Montessoran; or The Gospel History According to the Four Evangelists, Baltimore; published by the translator, 1829)

    “the Word was divine” (Goodspeed’s An American Translation, 1939)

    “the word was a god.” (Revised Version-Improved and Corrected)

    “and god[-ly/-like] was the Word.” (Prof. Felix Just, S.J. – Loyola Marymount University)

    “the Logos was divine” (Moffatt’s The Bible, 1972)

    “the Word was God*[ftn. or Deity, Divine, which is a better translation, because the Greek definite article is not present before this Greek word] (International English Bible-Extreme New Testament, 2001)

    “and the Word was a god” (Reijnier Rooleeuw, M.D. -The New Testament of Our Lord Jesus Christ, translated from the Greek, 1694)

    “[A]s a god the Command was” (Hermann Heinfetter, A Literal Translation of the New Testament,1863)

    “The Word was a God” (Abner Kneeland-The New Testament in Greek and English, 1822)

    “[A]nd a God (i.e. a Divine Being) was the Word” (Robert Young, LL.D. (Concise Commentary on the Holy Bible [Grand Rapids: Baker, n.d.], 54). 1885)

    “the Word was a god” (Belsham N.T. 1809)

    “And the logos was a god” (Leicester Ambrose, The Final Theology, Volume 1, New York, New York; M.B. Sawyer and Company, 1879)
    “the Word was Deistic [=The Word was Godly] (Charles A.L. Totten, The Gospel of History, 1900)

    ”[A]nd was a god” (J.N. Jannaris, Zeitschrift fur die Newtestameutlich Wissencraft, (German periodical) 1901, International Bible Translators N.T. 1981)

    “[A] Divine Person.” (Samuel Clarke, M.A., D.D., rector of St. James, Westminster, A Paraphrase on the Gospel of John, London)

    “a God” (Joseph Priestley, LL.D., F.R.S. [Philadelphia: Thomas Dobson, 1794], 37).)

    “a God” (Lant Carpenter, LL.D (in Unitarianism in the Gospels [London: C. Stower, 1809], 156).)

    “a god” (Andrews Norton, D.D. [Cambridge: Brown, Shattuck, and Company, 1833], 74).)

    “a God” (Paul Wernle,(in The Beginnings of Christianity, vol. 1, The Rise of Religion [1903], 16).)

    “and the [Marshal] [Word] was a god.” (21st Century Literal)

    [A]nd (a) God was the word” (George William Horner, The Coptic Version of the New Testament, 1911)

    “[A]nd the Word was of divine nature” (Ernest Findlay Scott, The Literature of the New Testament, New York, Columbia University Press, 1932)

    [T]he Word was a God” (James L. Tomanec, The New Testament of our Lord and Savior Jesus Anointed, 1958)

    “The Word had the same nature as God” (Philip Harner, JBL, Vol. 92, 1974)

    “And a god (or, of a divine kind) was the Word” (Siegfried Schulz, Das Evangelium nach Johannes, 1975)

    “and godlike sort was the Logos” (Johannes Schneider, Das Evangelium nach Johannes, 1978)

    “the Word was a divine Being” (Scholar’s Version-The Five Gospels, 1993)
    “The Divine word and wisdom was there with God, and it was what God was” (J. Madsen, New Testament A Rendering , 1994)

    “a God/god was the Logos/logos” (Jurgen Becker, Das Evangelium nach Johannes, 1979)

    “The Word/word was itself a divine Being/being.” (Curt Stage, The New Testament, 1907)

    “the Word was of divine kind” (Lyder Brun (Norw. professor of NT theology), 1945)

    “was of divine Kind/kind” (Fredrich Pfaefflin, The New Testament, 1949)

    “godlike Being/being had the Word/word” (Albrecht, 1957)

    “the word of the world was a divine being” (Smit, 1960)

    “God(=godlike Being/being) was the Word/word” (Menge, 1961)

    “divine (of the category divinity)was the Logos” (Haenchen (tr. By R. Funk), 1984)

    “And the Word was divine.” (William Temple, Archbishop of York, Readings in St. John’s Gospel, London, Macmillan & Co.,1933)

    The Word of Speech was a God” (John Crellius, Latin form of German, The 2 Books of John Crellius Fancus, Touching One God the Father, 1631)

    “the word was with Allah[God] and the word was a god” (Greek Orthodox /Arabic Calendar, incorporating portions of the 4 Gospels, Greek Orthodox Patriarchy or Beirut, May, 1983)

    “And the Word was Divine” (Ervin Edward Stringfellow (Prof. of NT Language and Literature/Drake University, 1943)

    “and the Logos was divine (a divine being)” (Robert Harvey, D.D., Professor of New Testament Language and Literature, Westminster College, Cambridge, in The Historic Jesus in the New Testament, London, Student Movement Christian Press1931)

    ‘the word was a divine being.’ (Jesuit John L. McKenzie, 1965, wrote in his Dictionary of the Bible: “Jn 1:1 should rigorously be translated . . . ‘the word was a divine being.’)

    “In a beginning was the Word, and the Word was with the God, and a god was the Word.” (Interlineary Word for Word English Translation-Emphatic Diaglott)

  9. Josh said,

    October 28, 2006 at 9:57 pm

    Steve, welcome and thanks for commenting. You have presented an argument usually called “argument from authority”. What is important now is determining if the authorities you have listed are experts in Greek and known for their studies, and if they have been quoted accurately. I do not have time in this one post, or the resoures to answer each and everyone.

    Citing Newcome is perhaps the most disturbing. Newcomes transltation was actually in 1796 and revised in 1808 by a Heretical Unitarian. You can see the original titlepage and translation of John here http://www.forananswer.org/Top_JW/Newcome.htm

    Moffett was a stout Trinitarian by his own words ” “‘The Word was God…And the Word became flesh,’ simply means “The word was divine…And the Word became human.’ The Nicene faith, in the Chalcedon definition, was intended to conserve both of these truths against theories that failed to present Jesus as truly God and truly man…” Moffatt, Jesus Christ the Same, (Abingdon-Cokesbury), 1945, p.61.”

    Also a good chunk of those quotes while a bit ambiguous are not anti trinitarian. Divine person, divine being, was divine are abmiguous because the could go either for absolute diety or divine as in godlike. As seen my Moffet’s quote trinitarians take the terms as absolute diety, while non trinitarians will jump at them as support for the NWT.

    Two of your most important quotes have been misrepresented by the Watchtower. I wonder how many more will prove to be misrepresnted given the the time to research them?

  10. Steve said,

    October 28, 2006 at 10:38 pm

    HI Josh,

    How a passage is translated into English and what a person decides that means are two different things. Most Christian Bible students are not experts in Hebrew, Greek, or Aramaic… nor do I think God intends them to be.

    The author at the top of this page said: “Plainly, the New World translation says something quite different from most translations with which we are familiar. In order to help his familiarity, I simple gave 46 other translations that show the NWT choice of translation is not unique. And as far as I can see, most were prior to the NWT existance.

    The author’s other statement: “The New World Translation has twisted Greek grammar in order fit their preconceived notions about the non-deity of Christ” is also without support. If the author feels that JW’s are twisting grammar to fit their own preconceptions, then he will need to also feel that way about 46 other translators. Would that not show a certain preconception?

    If a Bible students real goal is to learn what is truth without preconception, a pause may be in order to reflect on the fact that one’s belief in a Trinitarian Doctrine shouldn’t simple rest on a “common” translation of John 1:1… ESPECIALLY, now that they have been made aware of so many other translators who see it differently than the standard King James translation we all know.

    The real point here is that 46 other translations have noticed something in the original text that has led them to translate it differently. In my quest for learning truth, I have to keep that in mind and not just dismiss them all as “twisters of grammer in order fit their preconceived notions about the non-deity of Christ”…

    But, I’m old and wise enough to know that others see things differently.

    So, I wish you the best on your studies…

    Steve

  11. theologian said,

    October 29, 2006 at 12:34 pm

    One can list many translations, that doesn’t mean that they are good translations, nor does it mean that they are our final authority in these matters. Our final authority has to be from the original languages. And the original language in this verse is quite clear, the Word was God.

    I think Green Baggins did a great job of explaining the grammar behind it when he said…

    “In Greek, the predicate nominative can sometimes come before the verb, as it does here. When that happens, the word “the” does not occur with the predicate nominative. However, the noun should still be read as having the word “the” with it. This is the difference between “the God” (or just simply “God”) and “a god.” “

  12. Steve said,

    October 29, 2006 at 2:33 pm

    Personally, I am not some Greek or Hebrew scholar. Nor are most Bible students endeavoring to learn the truth. If you are inclinded to make your conclusion that “the word was God”, without considering other translations, or other opinions on how to translate this Greek text, than I will leave that decision for you.

    In my quest for learning Bible truths, I am left with analysing the comments of those who are experts. What I have observed are differing opinions on how to translate John 1:1. Additionally, I see there are differences of opinion on how to translate the Greek grammer. Green Baggins has explained it one way. Here’s a different explanation from other experts:

    In his article “Qualitative Anarthrous Predicate Nouns: Mark 15:39 and John 1:1,” Philip B. Harner said that such clauses as the one in John 1:1, “with an anarthrous predicate preceding the verb, are primarily qualitative in meaning. They indicate that the logos has the nature of theos.” He suggests: “Perhaps the clause could be translated, ‘the Word had the same nature as God.’” (Journal of Biblical Literature, 1973, pp. 85, 87) Thus, in this text, the fact that the word the·os′ in its second occurrence is without the definite article (ho) and is placed before the verb in the sentence in Greek is significant. Interestingly, translators that insist on rendering John 1:1, “The Word was God,” do not hesitate to use the indefinite article (a, an) in their rendering of other passages where a singular anarthrous predicate noun occurs before the verb. Thus at John 6:70, JB and KJ both refer to Judas Iscariot as “a devil,” and at John 9:17 they describe Jesus as “a prophet.”

    John J. McKenzie, S.J., in his Dictionary of the Bible, says: “Jn 1:1 should rigorously be translated ‘the word was with the God [= the Father], and the word was a divine being.’”—(Brackets are his. Published with nihil obstat and imprimatur.) (New York, 1965), p. 317.

    In harmony with the above, AT reads: “the Word was divine”; Mo, “the Logos was divine”; NTIV, “the word was a god.” In his German translation Ludwig Thimme expresses it in this way: “God of a sort the Word was.” Referring to the Word (who became Jesus Christ) as “a god” is consistent with the use of that term in the rest of the Scriptures. For example, at Psalm 82:1-6 human judges in Israel were referred to as “gods” (Hebrew, ’elo·him′; Greek, the·oi′, at John 10:34) because they were representatives of Jehovah and were to speak his law.

    Since this John 1:1 is the source of disagreement from the various Greek Scholars and translators, what is the since Bible student left to do?

    Check the context… compare against other scriptures, pray for truth to be revealed apart from preconceived conclusions.

    Which translation of John 1:1, 2 agrees with the context? John 1:18 says: “No one has ever seen God.” Verse 14 clearly says that “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us . . . we have beheld his glory.” Also, verses 1, 2 say that in the beginning he was “with God.” Can one be with someone and at the same time be that person? At John 17:3, Jesus addresses the Father as “the only true God”; so, Jesus as “a god” merely reflects his Father’s divine qualities.—Heb. 1:3.

    Best Regards,

    Steve

  13. Steve said,

    October 29, 2006 at 2:52 pm

    One other point… theologian said: “Our final authority has to be from the original languages. And the original language in this verse is quite clear, the Word was God.”

    I’m simply questioning whether the translation of the origional language is really “quite clear”. If it was absolutely 100% clear, I wouldn’t expect 46 other translators to translate it differently and I wouldn’t expect to see other Greek scholars write differing opinions about the common translation of it.

    If we really don’t want to have a preconcieved notion, wouldn’t we at least acknowledge that Greek scholars and translators differ on this verse?

    Thanks,

    Steve

  14. Josh said,

    October 29, 2006 at 3:15 pm

    On Harner: You can also read him in the original here: http://digilander.libero.it/domingo7/Harner2.htm

    Instead of pulling partial quotes.

    Harner states that John could have worded John 1:1c in these five clauses:

    A. ho logos en ho theos

    B. theos en ho logos (what John actually wrote)

    C. ho logos theos en

    D. ho logos en theos

    E. ho logos en theios

    * This quote completely devastates the Watchtower position and exposes the satanic quoting practice. JW’s will argue that Harner is merely giving his own personal opinion because he says, ”
    * as I understand it”. However the Watchtower deceptively deleted the beginning of the sentence they do quote where Harner says, “I think” Harner says, “perhaps the clause could be translated, ‘the same nature as God.’ This would be one way of representing John’s thought, which is, as I understand it, that ho logos ["the word"], no less than ho theos ["the God"], had the nature of theos.” (Philip B. Harner, “Qualitative Anarthrous Predicate Nouns: Mark 15:39 and John 1:1.” in The Journal of Biblical Literature) ”
    * In John 1:1, I think that the qualitative force of the predicate is so prominent that the noun cannot be regarded as definite.” Harner actually denies that “a God” is a proper translation of John 1:1. After quoting the Greek of what John actually wrote, “theos en ho logos”, Harner then shows how the Greek would have to read if it was to be translated, “a God”. Harner gives five different clauses A-E. He writes, ”
    * CLAUSE D, ho logos en theos, would probably mean that the logos was ‘a god’ or a divine being of some kind, belonging to the general category of theos, but as a distinct being from ho theos.” Harner’s Clause D is the precise definition used by Jehovah’s Witnesses, yet Harner rules this out as what John is actually saying! Harner then writes, “CLAUSE E “ho logos en theios” would mean that the logos was ‘divine’ without specifying further in what way or to what extent it was divine. It could also imply that the logos, being only theios, was subordinate to theos.” Again notice that Harner rules this interpretation out based upon what John actually wrote! Although CLAUSES D AND E are both exactly what Jehovah’s Witnesses claim John was saying, Harner rules both out as NOT POSSIBLE! (Philip B. Harner, “Qualitative Anarthrous Predicate Nouns: Mark 15:39 and John 1:1.” in The Journal of Biblical Literature) Bruce Vawter explains the meaning of the clause succinctly and lucidly: “The Word is divine, but he is not all of divinity, for he has already been distinguished from another divine Person.
    * (Philip B. Harner, “Qualitative Anarthrous Predicate Nouns: Mark 15:39 and John 1:1.” in The Journal of Biblical Literature) But in terms of our analysis it is important that we understand the phrase “the Word is divine”
    * as an attempt to represent the meaning of clause B rather than D or E. Undoubtedly Vawter means that the Word is “divine” in the same sense that ho theos is divine. (Philip B. Harner, “Qualitative Anarthrous Predicate Nouns: Mark 15:39 and John 1:1.” in The Journal of Biblical Literature) John evidently wished to say that the logos was no less than theos, just as ho theos (by implication) had the nature of theos
    * . (Philip B. Harner, “Qualitative Anarthrous Predicate Nouns: Mark 15:39 and John 1:1.” in The Journal of Biblical Literature) In terms of the analysis that we have proposed, a recognition of the qualitative significance of theos would remove some ambiguity in his interpretation by differentiating between theos, as the nature that the Logos shared with God, and ho theos as the “person” to whom the Logos stood in relation. Only when this distinction is clear can we say of the Logos that “he was God.”
    * (Philip B. Harner, “Qualitative Anarthrous Predicate Nouns: Mark 15:39 and John 1:1.” in The Journal of Biblical Literature) Perhaps the clause could be translated, “the Word had the same nature as God.” This would be one way of representing John’s thought, which is, as I understand it, that ho logos, no less than ho theos, had the nature of theos.
    * (Philip B. Harner, “Qualitative Anarthrous Predicate Nouns: Mark 15:39 and John 1:1.” in The Journal of Biblical Literature) If a writer simply wished to represent the subject as one of a class, he could use an anarthrous predicate noun after the verb
    . (Philip B. Harner, “Qualitative Anarthrous Predicate Nouns: Mark 15:39 and John 1:1.” in The Journal of Biblical Literature)

  15. Josh said,

    October 29, 2006 at 3:15 pm

    BTW the above quote was not mine it is from http://www.bible.ca/trinity/trinity-Harner.htm

  16. Josh said,

    October 29, 2006 at 3:17 pm

    Steve

    I already showed that at least 3 of your 46 are misquoted. The internet is an awsome thing. I am following your discussion almost verbatium from JW and Trinitarian sites.

  17. theologian said,

    October 29, 2006 at 3:25 pm

    Steve,

    “If you are inclinded [sic] to make your conclusion that “the word was God”, without considering other translations, or other opinions on how to translate this Greek text, than I will leave that decision for you.”

    One should not consider other translations or opinions without knowing why those other translations or opinions are occurring. To list differences in translations is quite meaningless unless one also lists why the differences occur.

    Your point about Philip B. Harner is a good one. I could be convinced that the proper translation is either one of these…

    the Word was God
    what God was, the Word was

  18. greenbaggins said,

    October 29, 2006 at 4:05 pm

    Thanks, Steve, for contributing and thereby sharpening our swords. The question of being with God and being God was dealt with during the early ecumenical councils. The Trinity has *no* direct analogies in human existence. Robert Letham has proved that conclusively by examining all the major analogies that have been used in history. He found them wanting. There is only one God, but that God exists in three eternally distinct persons.

    As to the number of translations you quoted, there is dispute over many things that are clear. For instance, imputation is at the very center of Paul’s doctrine of justification, and it is clear from many passages of Paul, and yet it is hotly disputed. Truth is not and can never be determined by the majority. Nevertheless, my statement still holds true, since the majority of ***known*** translations (translations that your average person would know about) still translate it in the traditional way.

    A couple of grammatical points: if John had wanted to say “divine,” he could have used the term “theios,” rather than “theos.” “Theos” was just used to mean God right in the same verse. It would be strange indeed if John all of a sudden switched meanings in mid-sentence, and indeed, from one clause to the very next clause. The only answer to this is the rationalistic one that Jesus could not be God and yet be with God. That the Logos is Jesus, no serious scholar would attempt to refute. Furthermore, as Larry pointed our earlier, John 20:28 has Thomas calling Jesus “theos,” and Jesus does not correct him. And does not the NT say that Jesus came from the Father? Jesus says that countless times. So He was with the Father, and yet also He was God. So the rest of the NT has no problem with your supposed rationalistic objection.

    Second point: John 6:70 and 9:17 are *not* parallel, since in those constructions, the verb is at the end of the sentence, whereas in John 1:1, the verb is located between one noun and another. In John 6:70 and 9:17, then, word order does count. 9:17 is even less parallel than 6:70, since 9:17 doesn’t even have two nouns which are being equated. It is simply ὅτι Προφήτης ἐστίν. I guess that’s all for now.

  19. Steve said,

    October 29, 2006 at 7:56 pm

    Hello again,

    I always enjoy good, respectful conversation that helps sharpen our swords, increase our understanding of the Bible, and helps our understanding of those who see things differently than us.

    Theologian said: “One should not consider other translations or opinions without knowing why those other translations or opinions are occurring. To list differences in translations is quite meaningless unless one also lists why the differences occur.”

    Then your question is this: Why do so many other translators see some reason to NOT translate this as “The Word was God”, but instead choose to translate this as “The Word was Divine, A Divine Being, Godly, Godlike, a god, etc.” Obviously, many translators think it’s a slam dunk to translate it as “The Word was God”, while others see it differently. Why?

    My conclusion is that there is something unusual about that Greek passage, that even translators aren’t 100% in agreement. Therefore, using John 1:1 as the ultimate proof that “Jesus is Almighty God” isn’t as solid as most people believe. Given the variation of translation, I have to take note of the uncertainty, and compare against other texts. In my quest for sorting fact from opinion, I have to put the “common” translation in the category of “unproven” or “uncertain” or “yet to be proven”…. This is in line with my desire to ensure I’m not jumping to some preconceived notion of what is truth.

    Josh said: “I already showed that at least 3 of your 46 are misquoted.” No, I disagree. The quotes are absolutely accurate. What each of those translators believed about the Trinity is a completely different discussion. That is what you are disputing… what they believed, and whether the quote was a full or partial quote.

    Here’s the real point: Many other translations exist that do not translate John 1:1 as “The Word was God”. That’s not an opinion, that’s not misquoteing, that is just a fact. The interpretation of what that means, or what that translator really believed about the nature of God and Jesus, etc. is another discussion…

    Is there not anyone here that will condede the point that there are MANY (i.e. at least 46 presented here) other translations that translate John 1:1 differently than “The Word was God”?

    This point seems so very straight forward. I’ll stop here for now. I really want to see some confirmation of this basic point by the participants in this discussion.

    -Steve

  20. Josh said,

    October 29, 2006 at 9:02 pm

    I can agree that there are translators that disagree on John 1:1. I think it would be blind to argue and assume there are not any disagreements. I dont mind being realed in if I rabbit trail. Even with the quoted sources some take divine as God and some as god-like. It is not just a matter of translation but interpetation as well. So, we still see differences in both. But I myself have to defer to Green Baggins, he has formal training in greek, where I do not.

  21. theologian said,

    October 29, 2006 at 9:10 pm

    Steve,
    I would like your opinion on Jn 20:28.

    Lane,
    I just wanted a slight correction to your reference of my Jn 20:28 post. Thomas did more than call Jesus “theos,” he called Him “ho theos,” and that’s what makes it hard for a JW to defend as they believe “ho theos” always refers to Jehovah.
    I’m sure it was just a typo, but as i am asking Steve his opinion i wanted to clarify it.

  22. Josh said,

    October 29, 2006 at 9:11 pm

    You think John made the type or Lane :-)

  23. Josh said,

    October 29, 2006 at 9:13 pm

    Larry, check you comments on your about page.

  24. Steve said,

    October 29, 2006 at 10:40 pm

    Theologian: I’ll be glad to write up my comments on John 20:28 for you. In the mean time, do you have a comment on my question to you….”Why do so many other translators see some reason to NOT translate this as “The Word was God”, but instead choose to translate this as “The Word was Divine, A Divine Being, Godly, Godlike, a god, etc.” Are they all just heretics trying to twist grammer? Or is there reason to note an honest difference of opinion among translators on whether using “The Word was God” is really 100%
    accurate and appropriate?

    -Steve

  25. Steve said,

    October 30, 2006 at 3:21 am

    On Theologians request, I’ve provided comments on John 20:28.

    On the occasion of Jesus’ appearance to Thomas and the other apostles, which had removed Thomas’ doubts of Jesus’ resurrection, the now-convinced Thomas exclaimed to Jesus: “My Lord and my God!

    Many believe this to be the ultimate proof text that Jesus is God in support of the Trinity Doctrine. After all, Jesus didn’t respond with anything like “Whoa, wait a second, why are you calling me God? I’m not God, I’m the Son of God!”.

    One well discussed line of reasoning is presented here by Theologian: If Jesus wasn’t God, then “Thomas was blaspheming, and that Jesus never called him to task for his blaspheming.” And Josh adds: “That is a good point. And, what Rabbi worth his salt didnt correct blasphemy on the spot?”

    Am I correctly summarizing your positions?

    At first glance, the fact that Jesus didn’t correct Thomas seems very compelling. How could he allow someone to say “My Lord and My God” to him, even if poor Thomas was so absolutely astonished at what he had just seen!

    But what if the evidence was even more compelling? What if Thomas specifically called Jesus by the name Jehovah and Jesus didn’t deny it? Or what if Jesus opened his mouth and specifically said “I am Jehovah who lead you out of the land of Egypt”….Wouldn’t that be absolute proof that Jesus is God?

    Wow, you would certainly think so… that is, if you didn’t compare this situation with several other accounts in the Bible:

    (Genesis 31:11-13) Then the angel of God said to me …. I am the God of Beth´el, where you anointed a pillar and where you vowed a vow to me. (Yes, an angel shows up and specifically identifies himself as God… Is he really God or is there another logical explanation?)

    (Judges 2:1-5) Then Jehovah’s angel went up from Gil´gal to Bo´chim and said: “I proceeded to bring YOU up out of Egypt and to bring YOU into the land about which I swore to YOUR forefathers. Furthermore, I said, ‘Never shall I break my covenant with YOU. 2 And for YOUR part, YOU must not conclude a covenant with the inhabitants of this land. Their altars YOU should pull down.’ But YOU have not listened to my voice. Why have YOU done this? 3 So I, in turn, have said, ‘I shall not drive them away from before YOU, and they must become snares to YOU, and their gods will serve as a lure to YOU.’” 4 And it came about that as soon as Jehovah’s angel had spoken these words to all the sons of Israel, the people began to raise their voices and weep… (an angel shows up and starts speaking as Jehovah…..… Is he really God or is there another logical explanation?)

    Gen 19:1, 13, 18 Now the two angels arrived at Sod´om by evening, and Lot was sitting in the gate of Sod´om…. [saying]…For we are bringing this place to ruin, because the outcry against them has grown loud before Jehovah, so that Jehovah sent us to bring the city to ruin…..Then Lot said to them: ****“Not that, please, Jehovah!*** (Lot specifically addresses the two angels by the name Jehovah and they didn’t correct him. We’re they really Jehovah? Or is there another logical explanation?)

    As surprising as it may seem, the Bible clearly shows multiple examples of persons who obviously weren’t Jehovah, being addressed as such, speaking in the first person as Jehovah, and even saying they were Jehovah.. The logical explanation in all these accounts is that Almighty God, whom no one has ever seen, has on multiple occasions sent representatives and allowed them to speak for him… which is why Hebrews 1:1 says:

    “In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to use by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe.” NIV

    No one seems to blink when Lot’s speaks to an angel as “Jehovah” and the angel doesn’t correct him, but when Thomas says to Jesus, “My Lord and My God” in a moment of absolute astonishment, it becomes a Trinity proof text.

    Just three verses later, at John 20:31, the Bible states: “But these have been written down that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ the Son of God.” All doubt as to what Thomas may have meant is dispelled here. The Bible writer John clearly says that Jesus is the Son of God, not almighty God himself.

    Some scholars suggest that Thomas may simply have made an emotional exclamation of astonishment, spoken to Jesus but directed to God. In either case, Thomas did not think that Jesus was Almighty God, for he and all the other apostles knew that Jesus never claimed to be God but taught that Jehovah alone is “the only true God.”—John 17:3

    Again, the context helps us to understand this. A few days earlier the resurrected Jesus had told Mary Magdalene to tell the disciples: “I am ascending to my Father and your Father and to my God and your God.” (John 20:17) Even though Jesus was already resurrected as a mighty spirit, Jehovah was still his God. And Jesus continued to refer to Him as such even in the last book of the Bible, after he was glorified.—Revelation 1:5, 6; 3:2, 12.

    Jesus even quoted from the Psalms to show that powerful humans were addressed as “gods.” (Psalm 82:1-6; John 10:34, 35) The apostle Paul noted that there were “many ‘gods’ and many ‘lords.’” (1 Corinthians 8:5) Even Satan is called “the god of this system of things.”—2 Corinthians 4:4.

    Christ occupies a position far higher than imperfect men, or Satan. If such can be referred to as “gods,” surely Jesus can be, and was, referred to as a god. So there was nothing improper about Thomas’ referring to Jesus in that way. Thomas was saying that Jesus was a god to him, a divine, powerful one.

    So in summary, Thomas may have addressed Jesus as “my God” in the sense of Jesus’ being “a god” though not the Almighty God, not “the only true God,” to whom Thomas had often heard Jesus pray. (Joh 17:1-3) Or he may have addressed Jesus as “my God” in a way similar to expressions made by his forefathers, recorded in the Hebrew Scriptures, with which Thomas was familiar. On various occasions when individuals were visited or addressed by an angelic messenger of Jehovah, the individuals, or at times the Bible writer setting out the account, responded to or spoke of that angelic messenger as though he were Jehovah God. (Compare Ge 16:7-11, 13; 18:1-5, 22-33; 32:24-30; Jg 6:11-15; 13:20-22.) This was because the angelic messenger was acting for Jehovah as his representative, speaking in his name, perhaps using the first person singular pronoun, and even saying, “I am the true God.” (Ge 31:11-13; Jg 2:1-5) Thomas may therefore have spoken to Jesus as “my God” in this sense, acknowledging or confessing Jesus as the representative and spokesman of the true God. Whatever the case, it is certain that Thomas’ words do not contradict the clear statement he himself had heard Jesus make, namely, “The Father is greater than I am.”—Joh 14:28

  26. Josh said,

    October 30, 2006 at 9:12 am

    Dang!! I spent two hours on my reply and posted to fast after my post on Romans 12. I lost it all!

  27. theologian said,

    October 30, 2006 at 9:13 am

    Steve,

    ”Why do so many other translators see some reason to NOT translate this as “The Word was God”, but instead choose to translate this as “The Word was Divine, A Divine Being, Godly, Godlike, a god, etc.” Are they all just heretics trying to twist grammer? Or is there reason to note an honest difference of opinion among translators on whether using “The Word was God” is really 100%
    accurate and appropriate?

    I did mention the 2 ways i could be persuaded to translate the verse. But in the above question i would have to say that it seems to be a misunderstanding of the Greek grammar. I just don’t see it in the Greek. I would hope that it was nothing as sinister as willfully twisting the Scripture to support a doctrinal stance. But, i would have no way of knowing unless i spoke with the translators.

  28. theologian said,

    October 30, 2006 at 9:23 am

    Steve,

    As to your response to Jn 20:28…

    “As surprising as it may seem, the Bible clearly shows multiple examples of persons who obviously weren’t Jehovah, being addressed as such, speaking in the first person as Jehovah, and even saying they were Jehovah.”

    I do believe that the Angel of the LORD is Jehovah. I believe that it was the pre-incarnate Christ. So i believe the examples you stated prove my point. When the Bible calls someone Jehovah, he’s Jehovah.

    “All doubt as to what Thomas may have meant is dispelled here. The Bible writer John clearly says that Jesus is the Son of God, not almighty God himself.”

    The Son of God refers to His personhood, not to His Godhood. Remember, Trinitarians believe that there is one God in three persons.

    “Some scholars suggest that Thomas may simply have made an emotional exclamation of astonishment, spoken to Jesus but directed to God.”

    That would still be taking God’s name in vain, which is a sin.

    “Even though Jesus was already resurrected as a mighty spirit, Jehovah was still his God.”

    The understanding of the Trinitarian of the nature of Jesus is important here. Jesus was both fully man and fully God. So yes, as man His God is our God. Jesus has two natures in one person.

    “Jesus even quoted from the Psalms to show that powerful humans were addressed as “gods.” (Psalm 82:1-6; John 10:34, 35) The apostle Paul noted that there were “many ‘gods’ and many ‘lords.’” (1 Corinthians 8:5) Even Satan is called “the god of this system of things.”—2 Corinthians 4:4.”

    If i’m not mistaken none of these use the Greek “ho theos.”

  29. greenbaggins said,

    October 30, 2006 at 10:39 am

    To Josh, you have my deepest sympathies. I have done that many times. If I am going to post a thorough response like that, I will usually do it in my word processor, and then copy and paste. It’s at least a little more secure that way. Would love to see you work it up again, though (though I would perfectly understand if you chucked the whole thing!).

    To Steve, I echo Larry’s points, and would ask if you have read Murray Harris’s book _Jesus as God_. It is a deeply exegetical book examining all the explicit NT evidence for the divinity of Christ. Included is a 21-page discussion of John 1:1. My point with regard to your translations is that none of them except the RSV are really mainstream translations. More than half of the translations you quoted I haven’t even heard of (and I have heard of hundreds). Look at all the mainstream Christian translations, and you will find that most of them translate it the traditional way. I think that a question for you here is in order: do you believe that Jesus is God? To me, it seems that this discussion has been dancing around this question without actually asking it. Do you realize also that a mere discussion of the passages applying “theos” to Jesus is not enough. One also has to realize that the Septuagint translated YHWH with the word “kurios,” not typically with “theos.” Since the Septuagint was the Bible for the early Christians (the NT obviously quotes the LXX many times), then we have to add in the mix all the passages where “kurios” is applied to Jesus. All of a sudden, the burden of proof for those claiming that Jesus is not God becomes unbearably difficult. So, for instance, 1 Cor 8:6 with this understanding could be translated, “yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all thigns came and for whom we live; and there is but one Yahweh, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live.” Most commentators recognize the language here of the Shema of Deut 6:4. Paul reframes the Shema with Jesus right in the middle of it.

    Your quotation of John 14:28 is not to the point, since that refers to Jesus in his human nature, not to His divine nature. This is clear from John 17, where He constantly reiterates the oneness of the Father with the Son.

  30. Steve said,

    October 31, 2006 at 2:25 am

    Theologian said: “I did mention the 2 ways i could be persuaded to translate the verse. But in the above question i would have to say that it seems to be a misunderstanding of the Greek grammar. I just don’t see it in the Greek. I would hope that it was nothing as sinister as willfully twisting the Scripture to support a doctrinal stance. But, i would have no way of knowing unless i spoke with the translators.”

    That’s fair enough…. If you don’t see it in the Greek than that’s the best you can do for now… However, I hope that now knowing that 46 other translators DO see something there you don’t, will give you reason to perhaps be more understanding towards others who carefully and prayerfully review the text and decide they understand it differently. Perhaps the opening sentence of this thread should be changed from:

    “John 1:1 is a passage completely misinterpreted by the New World Translation (the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ translation).”

    to

    “John 1:1 is a passage that has been translated differently by 46 independent translators. We will discuss one way of translating this we think is best.”.

    -Steve

  31. Steve said,

    October 31, 2006 at 2:34 am

    Theologian wrote: “I do believe that the Angel of the LORD is Jehovah. I believe that it was the pre-incarnate Christ. So i believe the examples you stated prove my point. When the Bible calls someone Jehovah, he’s Jehovah.”

    You do know that God’s personal name YHWH has been removed and replaced with the capital letters LORD, right? So, when the text says “The angel of the LORD… the original text said “the angle of YHWH..” So, you do know that saying “the angel of YHWH is YHWH” is a bit illogical?

    The references provided specifially say they were angels. Also, the Bible says: “No man has seen God at any time.” (John 1:18)

    If no man has seen God at any time, and these visitors were specifically called angels…. why would you make the conclusion they were YHWH?

    Are you suggesting that Jesus is Jehovah?

    I have heard that from some folks… to them I ask the following questions:

    1) What was the name of the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob? (YHWH/Jehovah/Yahweh of course)

    2) The God of Abraham and of Isaac and of Jacob, the God of our forefathers, has glorified his Servant, Jesus, whom YOU, for YOUR part, delivered up and disowned before Pilate’s face, when he had decided to release him.(Acts 3:13)

    If Jesus is Jehovah, then how is Jehovah being spoken of in this sentence different than Jesus?

    -Steve

  32. Steve said,

    October 31, 2006 at 2:38 am

    Theologian responded to my comment:

    ““Some scholars suggest that Thomas may simply have made an emotional exclamation of astonishment, spoken to Jesus but directed to God.”

    That would still be taking God’s name in vain, which is a sin.

    Pursuing your reasoning.. are you suggesting that Thomas was without sin? Or that the Bible doesn’t ever record the behavior of someone sinning?
    Have you ever heard someone say “My God” as an exclamation of astonishment?”

    -Steve

  33. Steve said,

    October 31, 2006 at 2:42 am

    Theologian said:

    “The understanding of the Trinitarian of the nature of Jesus is important here. Jesus was both fully man and fully God. So yes, as man His God is our God. Jesus has two natures in one person.”

    Does the resurrected Jesus, 60 years after his resurrection have a God?
    How so?

    Revelation 3:12) “‘The one that conquers—I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God, and he will by no means go out [from it] anymore, and I will write upon him the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem which descends out of heaven from my God, and that new name of mine.

  34. Steve said,

    October 31, 2006 at 3:14 am

    greenbaggins asked:

    “To Steve, I echo Larry’s points, and would ask if you have read Murray Harris’s book _Jesus as God_. It is a deeply exegetical book examining all the explicit NT evidence for the divinity of Christ. Included is a 21-page discussion of John 1:1. My point with regard to your translations is that none of them except the RSV are really mainstream translations. More than half of the translations you quoted I haven’t even heard of (and I have heard of hundreds). Look at all the mainstream Christian translations, and you will find that most of them translate it the traditional way.”

    Dear Greenbaggins,

    As a Bible student, I now have about 28 years and 20,000 hours of intense study into the Bible. By intense, I mean studying with 50 different independant translations out on the floor, with Hebrew and Greek Interlinears, Lexicons, Word Dictionaries, and commentaries from scholars from all the different religions.

    I started this study without any preconceptions or prior teachings from the Bible. I knew nothing about the Bible. In fact, at that time I was an atheist and was a University student studying Physics.

    During these years, I had one simple, consistent, and sincere prayer to God: “All I want, is to know the absolute truth about who you are, your relationship to Jesus, and what you want out of me. I am not concerned if I find out the truth puts me outside the mainstream, or whether everyone will think I’m crazy or wrong. I don’t care if I find out you want me to shave my hair, chant or dance on the street corner. I simple must know the truth “.

    I was very sincere in that request and I am thoroughly convinced that it was answered for me.

    Although I haven’t read that particular Trinity book, I have read dozens of books explaining to me every nuance of the Trinity belief and how various texts are supposed to prove it. At this point, I have heard every possible argument for the Trinity…

    I had no preconceived conception about the Trinity doctrine. In fact, I hadn’t even heard of it before I started my studies.

    At this point, I’ve read and reread every possible argument for it and I have to say that in my opinion, it’s the situation of the Emperers New Clothes. Jesus is not Almighty God. Jesus is identified in the Bible as the Son of God.

    The Bible is so very clear about the identify of Almighty God and his personal name YHWH…. Now granted, the removal of his personal name YHWH, and replacing it with LORD, has created ambiguity and confusion in the minds of many.

    For example:

    (Psalm 110:1) The utterance of the LORD to my Lord is: “Sit at my right hand Until I place your enemies as a stool for your feet.”

    is so much more easily understood without the cover of the LORD substitution:

    (Psalm 110:1) The utterance of Jehovah to my Lord is: “Sit at my right hand Until I place your enemies as a stool for your feet.”

    I can honestly say that I have (and continue daily) to test and retest and retest my Bible understanding about whether Jesus is God, or as the Bible clearly says: “The Son of God”…

    And I would encourage each one of you to do the same. Ask yourself the question…. if Jesus really wasn’t Almighty God in the flesh, but really was the Son of God… Would I want to know that? Would I be able to endure having “the mainstream” think I’m nuts? Or, is knowing the truth more important?

    There are millions of people throughout time who’ve come to this conclusion… Even Isaac Newton. Don’t just assume because some ancient men in some counsels 1600 years ago decided the debate was done and concluded that they made the right decision. Read up on the major disagreements that remained after that decision was bullied on others.

    Jesus never gave any indication that “the mainstream” would have the correct understanding. In fact, he said:

    (Matthew 7:13-14) “Go in through the narrow gate; because broad and spacious is the road leading off into destruction, and many are the ones going in through it; 14 whereas narrow is the gate and cramped the road leading off into life, and few are the ones finding it.

    -Steve

  35. Steve said,

    October 31, 2006 at 3:22 am

    Greenbaggins wrote:

    “Since the Septuagint was the Bible for the early Christians (the NT obviously quotes the LXX many times), then we have to add in the mix all the passages where “kurios” is applied to Jesus. All of a sudden, the burden of proof for those claiming that Jesus is not God becomes unbearably difficult. So, for instance, 1 Cor 8:6 with this understanding could be translated, “yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all thigns came and for whom we live; and there is but one Yahweh, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live.” Most commentators recognize the language here of the Shema of Deut 6:4. Paul reframes the Shema with Jesus right in the middle of it. ”

    I’ve never seen someone just try to replace any-old occurance of “Lord” for YHWH to prove a Trinity concept. That is illogical and unfounded.

    The word “Lord” was an extremely popular title that was used for many people… When various translators decided to remove God’s personal name from the Bible, they choose to replace it with LORD (all capital letters)… There are many other correct occurances of the word Lord (lower case) that provide no rational for just substituting YHWH to prove they were Yahweh/Jehovah…. If you wanted to do this substituion here to prove Jesus was Jehovah, why not do it in all these other occurances and prove everyone else is Jehovah too?

    The Greek and Hebrew words rendered “lord” (or such related terms as “sir,” “owner,” “master”) are used with reference to Jehovah God (Eze 3:11), Jesus Christ (Mt 7:21), one of the elders seen by John in vision (Re 7:13, 14), angels (Ge 19:1, 2; Da 12:8), men (1Sa 25:24; Ac 16:16, 19, 30), and false deities (1Co 8:5). Often the designation “lord” denotes one who has ownership or authority and power over persons or things. (Ge 24:9; 42:30; 45:8, 9; 1Ki 16:24; Lu 19:33; Ac 25:26; Eph 6:5) This title was applied by Sarah to her husband (Ge 18:12), by children to their fathers (Ge 31:35; Mt 21:28, 29), and by a younger brother to his older brother (Ge 32:5, 6). It appears as a title of respect addressed to prominent persons, public officials, prophets, and kings. (Ge 23:6; 42:10; Nu 11:28; 2Sa 1:10; 2Ki 8:10-12; Mt 27:63) When used in addressing strangers, “lord,” or “sir,” served as a title of courtesy.—Joh 12:21; 20:15; Ac 16:30.

    -Steve

  36. Steve said,

    October 31, 2006 at 3:27 am

    Greenbaggins wrote:

    “Your quotation of John 14:28 is not to the point, since that refers to Jesus in his human nature, not to His divine nature. This is clear from John 17, where He constantly reiterates the oneness of the Father with the Son.”

    Even the resurrected Jesus, 60 years later referred to someone else as “my God”…

    (Revelation 3:12-13) “‘The one that conquers—I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God, and he will by no means go out [from it] anymore, and I will write upon him the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem which descends out of heaven from my God, and that new name of mine. 13 Let the one who has an ear hear what the spirit says to the congregations.’

    Jesus says, “my God”, “my God”, “my God”…..

    Or is Jesus not back to his “god nature” at this point? What was the date here? 90 something AD?

    The Bible is so clear about Jesus being the Son of God…. It’s this Trinity Doctrine that has confused the whole simple truth….

    -Steve

  37. Steve said,

    October 31, 2006 at 3:33 am

    OK, one more and I’ll take a break….

    Greenbaggins wrote:

    “Your quotation of John 14:28 is not to the point, since that refers to Jesus in his human nature, not to His divine nature. This is clear from John 17, where He constantly reiterates the oneness of the Father with the Son.”

    Yes, the “oneness” that the Father and Son had is described as the “oneness” that the disciples should have.

    (John 17:11) “Also, I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world and I am coming to you. Holy Father, watch over them on account of your own name which you have given me, in order that they may be one just as we are.

    If this oneness between the Father and Son is supposed to be some Trinity proof text, the same would need to apply to the disciples…

    The clear undestanding is that the disciples should be unified, working together, just as Jesus and Jehovah are.

    This is not any valid proof text of Jesus being God, any more than it proves that the disciples are God.

    -Steve

  38. theologian said,

    October 31, 2006 at 8:45 am

    Steve,

    I don’t have time to respond to all of your posts, but here are a few…

    “Pursuing your reasoning.. are you suggesting that Thomas was without sin? Or that the Bible doesn’t ever record the behavior of someone sinning?
    Have you ever heard someone say “My God” as an exclamation of astonishment?””

    Just as was discussed earlier, if Jesus saw Thomas sinning in such a grievous way and did not rebuke him, that would be strange indeed. It is not that Thomas is without sin, it is that Jesus would be complicate in that sin that is the problem.

    “Have you ever heard someone say “My God” as an exclamation of astonishment?””

    Yes, i have heard people sin.

    “Does the resurrected Jesus, 60 years after his resurrection have a God?
    How so?”

    Because He is still fully man and fully God. His human nature is still part of His person. That’s kind of a funny thing about JW apologetics. They are so intent on proving that Jesus was human – but Trinitarians already believe that.

    I fear that this discussion is turning into something that is more appropriate for a discussion board than for a blog.

  39. greenbaggins said,

    October 31, 2006 at 12:33 pm

    BOQ (John 17:11) “Also, I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world and I am coming to you. Holy Father, watch over them on account of your own name which you have given me, in order that they may be one just as we are.

    If this oneness between the Father and Son is supposed to be some Trinity proof text, the same would need to apply to the disciples…

    The clear undestanding is that the disciples should be unified, working together, just as Jesus and Jehovah are.

    This is not any valid proof text of Jesus being God, any more than it proves that the disciples are God. EOQ

    This reasoning is fallacious. First, it assumes that, in order for this to be some kind of proof-text for the Trinity, thenthe logic must work the same way for the disciples as it does for the Trinity. Obviously, Jesus means that there is an analogy between how the disciples have fellowship with one another, and how Jesus has fellowship with the Father. The unity of Jesus with the Father is defined as mutual indwelling in 14:10, which is language that cannot and never will be applied to believers, since the context indicates that Jesus uses these words as a decisive revealing *of the Father,* which is not something that anyone else can do. The language of 14:13 further illustrates this, since the Father is glorified *in the Son*. So, taking John 17:11 in the context of the rest of John, we can say that there are two unities of which He is speaking: the unity of the Son with the Father, and the analogous union of the disciples *with one another* (not with God).

    What do you do about the “name that is above every name” in Philippians 2? At the very least, Jesus has to be more than man, since *every* tongue will confess that He is Lord.

    Your argument about Kurios is also manifestly false, since my position does not have to assume that kurios means “Jehovah” every time it occurs. I argued instead that, in certain passages, Kurios is meant to be Jahweh of the OT applied to Jesus.

    As a matter of pastoral concern, why do you reject all the teaching of the church since the early days? If the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” then are you not obligated to submit to the government and discipline of the church in all its ages? How can you say, “I have no need of what the church has said?” This is hubris, my friend.

  40. theologian said,

    October 31, 2006 at 3:20 pm

    Steve,

    It appears that you have come to your knowledge of God by study…

    “As a Bible student, I now have about 28 years and 20,000 hours of intense study into the Bible. By intense, I mean studying with 50 different independant [sic] translations out on the floor, with Hebrew and Greek Interlinears, Lexicons, Word Dictionaries, and commentaries from scholars from all the different religions.”

    I was an atheist before i came to know Christ. Born in an atheist home and raised with an atheist philosophy and world-view. But I came to the knowledge of God through a personal experience with Him. He revealed Himself to me, i did not discover Him through much study. The study came later, but was not part of my actual conversion.

    I think Louis Berkhof makes the point that i am getting to very well…

    “In the study of all other sciences man places himself above the object of his investigation and actively elicits from it his knowledge…in theology he does not stand above but rather under the object of his knowledge…man can know God only in so far as the latter actively makes Himself known.” *

    Using your own knowledge to objectify God and think that you can find him out simply by your own studious effort may hint to the hubris that greenbaggins has observed.

    * from Berkhof’s Systematic Theology

  41. Josh said,

    October 31, 2006 at 3:33 pm

    My impression is that Steve is a JW and his objection to Greenbaggins statement on the NWT was the catalyst of his posts. The subject turned from translational issues to denying the Diety of Christ rather quickly. I noticed that it didn’t stay with textual issues.

    Plus, Steve, you are clinging awfully hard to 46ish obscure translations in light of thousands of years and hundreds of translations. Your posts appear more to preach than to discuss differences. It is anti-trinitarian assult in disguise of translational differences.

    I am interested in the conversation if it is really about translation, but if you are merely blog trolling, I am content to observe.

  42. Steve said,

    October 31, 2006 at 4:21 pm

    Dear Greenbaggins,

    I noticed you edited the opening comments to indicate your view that any translators that choose another wording than “The Word was God” are anti-church Arians:

    “John 1:1 is a passage completely misinterpreted by the New World Translation (the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ translation), and by many other translations mentioned by Steve, which are not mainline translations, but are the work of individual anti-church Arians.”

    I’m not so such that people who see things differently should automatically be called anti-church Arians… However, if you see it that way, I’ll respect your views…

    Now, I scanned the list of 46 translators that see it differently, and granted, many come from translations that most people don’t have on their bookshelf.

    But I have a question for discussion… Look at this subset of translators who were on the bigger list. Is it really accurate and fair to dismiss these guys as “anti-church Arians”?

    Goodspeed’s An American Translation,
    Prof. Felix Just, S.J. – Loyola Marymount University
    Moffatt’s The Bible, 1972
    William Temple, Archbishop of York,
    Ervin Edward Stringfellow (Prof. of NT Language and Literature/Drake University, 1943
    Robert Harvey, D.D., Professor of New Testament Language and Literature, Westminster College, Cambridge,
    Jesuit John L. McKenzie,
    Interlineary Word for Word English Translation-Emphatic Diaglott

    Would it also be appropriate to call these next guys “anti-church Arians”?

    Dr. Joseph Henry Thayer: “The Logos was divine, not the divine Being himself.” (Theologian and scholar who worked on the American Standard Version)

    John L. McKenzie: “The title ho theos [the God, or God], which now designates the Father as a personal reality, is not applied in the N[ew] T[estament] to Jesus Himself; Jesus is the Son of God (of ho theos). . . . Jn 1:1 should rigorously be translated ‘the word was with the God [=the Father], and the word was a divine being.’”

    Dr. Karl Rahner: “While theos is used in scriptures such as John 1:1 in reference to Christ, in none of these instances is ‘theos’ used in such a manner as to identify Jesus with him who elsewhere in the New Testament figures as ‘ho Theos,’ that is, the Supreme God…if the New Testament writers believed it vital that the faithful should confess Jesus as ‘God’, is the almost complete absence of just this form of confession in the New Testament explicable?”

    The New Encyclopædia Britannica: “Neither the word Trinity, nor the explicit doctrine as such, appears in the New Testament, nor did Jesus and his followers intend to contradict the Shema in the Old Testament: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord’ (Deut. 6:4). . . . The doctrine developed gradually over several centuries and through many controversies.”

    New Catholic Encyclopedia: “The formulation ‘one God in three Persons’ was not solidly established, certainly not fully assimilated into Christian life and its profession of faith, prior to the end of the 4th century. But it is precisely this formulation that has first claim to the title the Trinitarian dogma. Among the Apostolic Fathers, there had been nothing even remotely approaching such a mentality or perspective.”

    The Encyclopedia Americana: “Christianity derived from Judaism and Judaism was strictly Unitarian [believing that God is one person]. The road which led from Jerusalem to Nicea was scarcely a straight one. Fourth century Trinitarianism did not reflect accurately early Christian teaching regarding the nature of God; it was, on the contrary, a deviation from this teaching.”

    Nouveau Dictionnaire Universel: “The Platonic trinity [is] itself merely a rearrangement of older trinities dating back to earlier peoples.”

    -Steve

  43. theologian said,

    October 31, 2006 at 4:50 pm

    Steve,

    “John L. McKenzie: “The title ho theos [the God, or God], which now designates the Father as a personal reality, is not applied in the N[ew] T[estament] to Jesus Himself; Jesus is the Son of God (of ho theos). . . . Jn 1:1 should rigorously be translated ‘the word was with the God [=the Father], and the word was a divine being.’”

    Dr. Karl Rahner: “While theos is used in scriptures such as John 1:1 in reference to Christ, in none of these instances is ‘theos’ used in such a manner as to identify Jesus with him who elsewhere in the New Testament figures as ‘ho Theos,’ that is, the Supreme God…if the New Testament writers believed it vital that the faithful should confess Jesus as ‘God’, is the almost complete absence of just this form of confession in the New Testament explicable?””

    Except that “ho theos” is used to describe Christ in the other reference that we discussed earlier.

  44. Steve said,

    October 31, 2006 at 8:59 pm

    Theologian,

    I can tell that you are absolutely focussed on this single Greek word and what it means. I am not a Greek Scholar and so all I can do for you is to point to what other experts say about this verse. There is question and doubt in their mind about whether this verse means what many believe.

    It is very common for trinitarians to argue that Thomas’ expression “the God” spoken to Jesus proved that Jesus was the very God, a God of three Persons. However, notice this comment from a Professor at the University of Cambridge: Professor C. F. D. Moule says that the article the before the noun God may not be significant so as to mean such a thing.

    Specifically speaking about this Greek word “ho” he said that it “may…not be significant”, and that it was a matter of Semitic idiom. Notice:

    “In John 20:28 Ho kýrios mou kai ho theós mou [that is, My Lord and my God], it is to be noted that a substantive [like God] in the Nominative case used in a vocative sense [in address to Jesus] and followed by a possessive [of me] could not be anarthrous [that is, without the definite article the] . . . ; the article [the] before theós may, therefore, not be significant. . . . the use of the article [the] with a virtual Vocative (compare John 20:28 referred to above, and 1 Peter 2:18, Colossians 3:18ff.) may also be due to Semitic idiom.”—Pages 116, 117, of An Idiom-Book of New Testament Greek, by C. F. D. Moule, Professor of Divinity in the University of Cambridge, 1953 edition, England.

    Also, here is an interesting comment….

    John Martin Creed, as Professor of Divinity in the University of Cambridge, observed: “The adoring exclamation of St. Thomas ‘my Lord and my God’ (Joh. xx. 28) is still not quite the same as an address to Christ as being without qualification God, and it must be balanced by the words of the risen Christ himself to Mary Magdalene (v. 17): ‘Go unto my brethren and say to them, I ascend unto my Father and your Father, and my God and your God.’”3

    Since I am not a Greek Scholar by any means, I am left to use the knowledge I have gleen by MUCH reading and study of the scriptures to decide what to understand.

    Have you read the entire Bible? How many times?

    Here’s some ideas to consider:

    Less than two weeks previously Thomas had heard Jesus pray to his heavenly Father and say: “This is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent.” (John 17:3, AV) On the fourth day after that prayer, or on his day of resurrection, Jesus sent a special message to Thomas and the other disciples by means of Mary Magdalene. “Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not, for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God. Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that he had spoken these things unto her.” (John 20:17, 18, AV) So from Jesus’ prayer and from this message through Mary Magdalene, Thomas knew who his own God was. His God was not Jesus Christ, but his God was the God of Jesus Christ. Also his Father was the Father of Jesus Christ. Thus Thomas knew that Jesus had a God whom he worshiped, namely, his heavenly Father.

    How, then, could Thomas in an ecstasy of joy at seeing the resurrected Jesus for the first time burst out with an exclamation and speak to Jesus himself as being the one and only living, true God, the God whose name is Jehovah? How could Thomas, by what he spoke, mean that Jesus was himself “the only true God” or that Jesus was God in the Second Person of a Trinity? In view of what Thomas had heard from Jesus and had been told by Jesus, how can we read such a meaning into Thomas’ words: “My Lord and my God”?

    Jesus would have reproved Thomas *IF* Jesus had understood that Thomas meant that he, Jesus, was “the only true God” whom Jesus had called “my God” and “my Father.” Certainly Jesus would not take a title away from God his Father or take away the unique position from God his Father. Since Jesus did not reprove Thomas as if addressing him in a wrong way, Jesus knew how to understand Thomas’ words, Scripturally. And so did the apostle John.

    John was there and heard Thomas exclaim: “My Lord and my God.” Did John say that the only thing for us to conclude from Thomas’ words was that Jesus was God, “the only true God” whose name is Jehovah? (Ps. 35:23, 24) Here would have been an excellent place for John to explain John 1:1 and say that Jesus Christ, who was the Word made flesh, was God himself, that he was “God the Son, the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity.” But is that the conclusion that John reached? Is that the conclusion to which John brings his readers? Listen to the conclusion that John wants us to reach:

    “Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed. And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: but these are written, that ye might believe.” That we might believe what? “That Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.”—John 20:29-31, AV.

    In his life account of Jesus John wrote the things to persuade us to believe, not that Jesus is God, that Christ is God, or that Jesus is “God the Son,” but that “Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God.” The trinitarians confuse themselves and others by changing this to “God the Son.” But I take John’s explanation the way that he words it, namely, “Christ, the Son of God.” I follow John to the same conclusion that he reached, that Jesus is the Son of the One whom Jesus calls “my Father” and “my God,” in this same twentieth chapter of John. Hence Thomas was not worshiping “God the Father” and “God the Son” at one and the same time as equals in a “triune God.”

    Respectfully,

    -Steve

  45. Steve said,

    October 31, 2006 at 9:51 pm

    Dear Theologian,

    I really appreciate this comment of yours:

    “I was an atheist before i came to know Christ. Born in an atheist home and raised with an atheist philosophy and world-view. But I came to the knowledge of God through a personal experience with Him. He revealed Himself to me, i did not discover Him through much study. The study came later, but was not part of my actual conversion.”

    I can really relate to that because at the age of 21 years, I was an atheistic Physics Major at the local University. Personally, I thought religion was just a crutch for a weak mind. However, based on a challenge from some Christian evangelists, I took up a study of whether God really existed, based on looking at Physical Science and the complexity of design found throughout the Universe on a macro and micro level.

    I have to admit, that for about a year, I was pretty obstinent, finding fault with every possible argument for the existance of God. Then, in a moment of deep thought about what was required to design a human hand, with the ability to wiggle the fingers randomly, coupled with the complexity of the design of the eye and the brain… I KNEW, there had to be a creator behind all of this… Truly, it was a light bulb moment. I went from atheist to believer in an instant.

    And then, in another instant, I knew that if he existed, he would have communicated to us by means of one of the “holy” books…

    I through myself into a prayerful study of scripture and have learned so much about him, his qualities, and his purpose for the future.

    Thanks for the conversation,

    -Steve

  46. Steve said,

    October 31, 2006 at 10:02 pm

    Dear Greenbaggins,

    You are absolutely correct in saying:

    “Your argument about Kurios is also manifestly false, since my position does not have to assume that kurios means “Jehovah” every time it occurs. I argued instead that, in certain passages, Kurios is meant to be Jahweh of the OT applied to Jesus. ”

    I was trying to make a point by means of hyperbole….Changing a specific instance of Kurious back into the Tetragrammaton doesn’t require that all instances be changed. My question is this….based on what specific reason do you feel justified to change this specific occurance?

    You said:

    “So, for instance, 1 Cor 8:6 with this understanding could be translated, “yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all thigns came and for whom we live; and there is but one Yahweh, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live.” Most commentators recognize the language here of the Shema of Deut 6:4. Paul reframes the Shema with Jesus right in the middle of it. ”

    Here we have a very clear sentence that distinguishes Jesus from God (notice that it’s not Jesus vs. the Father) and you choose to randomly change this occurance of Kurios into Yahweh, and then declare that since you’ve done that it sounds like Deut 6:4, thus Jesus must be Jehovah.

    I’m not sure that’s a fair change.

    On what basis do you justify that change? Does it come from a preconceived notion or some specific rational basis?

    Curiously,

    -Steve

  47. Steve said,

    October 31, 2006 at 10:06 pm

    Dear Greenbaggins,

    You asked:

    “What do you do about the “name that is above every name” in Philippians 2? At the very least, Jesus has to be more than man, since *every* tongue will confess that He is Lord. ”

    Thanks for asking… Please comment back to me on what you agree with and what you disagree…

    In what sense was Jesus given a “name that is above every other name”?

    In the sense that he was entrusted by Jehovah with a position or authority higher than that granted to any other creature. Some may feel that only Almighty God himself can have a “name that is above every other name.” So they may reason that this scripture proves that Jesus is equal to, or even the same person as, Jehovah God. However, a close examination of the text does not support this reasoning.

    The context of Philippians 2:9 shows that Jesus received this “name” after his death and resurrection. Hence, before that time he did not have “the name that is above every other name.” His being given it indicated a change in his status. Is there any way that Jehovah’s status could ever be changed? No. He has always been supreme. Jesus’ being given a higher name thus proves that he is not the same as, or equal to, Jehovah.

    Notice, too, that the name was ‘kindly given’ to Jesus by Jehovah. Clearly, if God can choose to give such a name to his Son, Jesus, then the Father must be greater, and Jesus must be subordinate. (1 Corinthians 11:3) Thus it is that any honor going to Jesus because of this high privilege is “to the glory of God the Father.”—Philippians 2:11.

    Hence, Jesus was given a name that was higher than that given to any other of God’s creatures. But clearly his receiving this name did not make him equal to God. Compare 1 Corinthians 15:27, which says that God subjected all things under Jesus’ feet but was not himself subject to Jesus.

    What was the high name that was given to him? The prophet Isaiah helps us to answer. Speaking of Jesus, he says: “The princely rule will come to be upon his shoulder. And his name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6, 7) This scripture shows that the “name” represents the high power, position or authority—in all the aspects mentioned by Isaiah—given to Jesus so that he can fulfill Jehovah’s will.

    Jesus showed the extent of his executive authority when he told his disciples: “All authority has been given me in heaven and on the earth.” (Matthew 28:18) Mankind’s only hope for the future lies in the high position entrusted to Jesus, which is why the prophecy of Isaiah is applied to him. “In his name nations will hope.”—Matthew 12:21.

    The apostle Paul said that “in the name of Jesus every knee should bend.” (Philippians 2:10) This is not just a token thing. Jesus warned that many would claim to do mighty works in his “name,” but he would not recognize them. (Matthew 7:21-23) Truly to ‘bend the knee’ in Jesus’ name means recognizing his position and fully submitting oneself to his authority. Today, it means being subject to him as King, sharing in the work of declaring the good news of the Kingdom and staying neutral in the affairs of earthly kingdoms.—Matthew 24:14.

    This provokes opposition from worldly kings. Jesus warned: “You will be objects of hatred by all the nations on account of my name.” (Matthew 24:9) But for those who do thus ‘bend the knee,’ Jesus’ name has real power.

    The apostle Peter declared: “There is not another name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must get saved.” (Acts 4:12) Previously, Peter had said to a lame man: “In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, walk!” And the man walked. (Acts 3:6) Jesus told his followers that they should pray ‘in his name.’ (John 14:14) When we use Jesus’ name in our prayers, we are not reciting a mere formula. Rather, we are petitioning that the high power and authority of Jesus Christ be used on our behalf.

    By showing appropriate honor and respect for Jesus’ “name”—his high position or authority—we come to be among those of whom it is said: “Every tongue should openly acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.”—Philippians 2:11.

    Thanks again for asking….

    -Steve

  48. Steve said,

    November 1, 2006 at 1:35 am

    Dear Theologian,

    I just came across this interesting point. Can you please check the Greek for me? This is in regards to your focus on the word “ho” in “ho theos”… I believe that since the word “ho” was used by Thomas, you believe that proves that Jesus is God.

    What does this mean to you in this verse:

    In 2 Corinthians 4:4 says, “The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” (New International Version)

    The Greek for 2 Corinthians 4:4 says, “en hos ho theos ho aion toutou tuphloo ho noema ho apistos eis ho me augazo autos ho photismos ho euaggelion ho doxa ho Christos hos esti eikon ho theos.”

    According to the rules applied to John 1:1 then Satan the Devil “the god of this age” should actually be “God (ho theos) of this age”, making Satan the God Almighty, or part of Quadity! Yet, the translators understood that Satan the Devil was not God so they made the word “god” lower-case when it should be nothing less then upper-case (if you follow the same rules as John 1:1) because when “ho” (the) comes before a proper noun (theos) then it should be capitalized in English

    -Steve

  49. Steve said,

    November 1, 2006 at 2:41 am

    Dear friends,

    I’m passing on a link for a book I just stumbled across. It look fascinating. You might want to check it out also. It’s called:

    Truth in Translation: Accuracy and Bias in English Translations of the New Testament by Jason David BeDuhn

    Jason David BeDuhn is an associate professor of religious studies at Northern Arizona University, in Flagstaff. He holds a B.A. in Religious studies from the University of Illinois, Urbana, and M.T.S. in New Testament and Christian Origins from Harvard Divinity School, and a Ph.D. in the Comparative Study of Religions from Indiana University, Bloomington.

    Here is a link to a very detailed review of the book:

    http://www.tetragrammaton.org/truthintrans.htm

    Since this thread started based on Greenbaggins assertion that John 1:1 has been completely misinterpreted by the JW’s New World Translation, here’s was Dr. BeDuhn has to say on it:

    “It is true that the most formal, literal translation of the words in John 1:1c would be “and the Word was a god.” The grammatical rules involved in this passage weigh very heavily against the more commonly seen, traditional translation, “and the Word was God.” However, translation is not only about rendering a passage word-for-word. It involves also consideration of broader syntax and the meaning of a passage as a whole.

    “The grammatical construction used here can be called the qualitative or categorical use of the indefinite. Basically, that means x belongs to the category y, or “x is a y.” The examples I used in a letter now widely circulated are “Snoopy is a dog”; “The car is a Volkswagen”; and “John is a smart person.” The common translation “The Word was God” is as erroneous for this construction as it would be to say in English “Snoopy is dog”; “The car is Volkswagen”; or “John is smart person.” The indefinite article is mandatory because we are talking about a member of a class or category.

    “Sometimes in English we can accomplish the same syntactical function by using a predicate adjective in place of the indefinite noun phrase. In the examples I gave above, this only works with “John is a smart person,” which means the same thing as “John is smart.” What Harner calls the qualitative sense is the same as what I call the categorical sense. In the many examples throughout the New Testament of the same grammatical construct as found in John 1:1c, the indefinite noun used is always a class or category to which the subject is said to belong. But in several of these examples, the category is used to suggest the quality the subject has, as in the many “a son of x” expressions found in the New Testament.

    “Because of this evidence, we cannot rule out the possibility that for John quality was the center of focus rather than category”” Being honest to the original Greek, we cannot narrow the range of acceptable translation of John 1:1c any further than to say it is EITHER “And the Word was a god” OR “And the Word was divine.” I can, if pressed, explain at length why these two translations amount to the same thing FOR JOHN. But I also recognize that they leave open interpretation to a range of possible understandings. I am afraid I cannot do anything about that. If I were to say that the NWT translation is the only possible one, I would be committing the same offense as those who have said that “And the Word was God” is the only possible translation. The whole point of my work is to get us past these false assertions, and follow the original Greek, and follow it only as far as it takes us.

    “What I can say is that “And the Word was God” is extremely difficult to justify, because it goes against the plain grammar of the passage. Either of the other two translations are acceptable, because the Greek allows them, while it does not obviously allow the traditional translation. What your correspondent needs to understand, in dealing with others on this question, is that the wording “The Word was divine” agrees 100% in meaning with “The Word was a god” and only 50% with “And the Word was God.” What must be given up from the latter wording is the absolute identity between Word and God that the traditional translation tried to impose. John clearly did not intend to make such an absolute identification, and that is precisely why he very carefully manipulates his word in the passage to rule it out. But, yes, John is putting the Word into the “god” or “divine” category, and that is as true if the wording is “a god” or “divine.”

    “Remember, the Word is not a human person, and John does not use “god” for the Word to say he is talking about a prophet or a leader or an important person. The Word is a superhuman (hence “divine”) essence or being, very intimately connected to The God. How intimately? In what way connected? In what precise relationship? The answers to those questions are much more involved, and must be based on a reading of the Gospel of John as a whole, where John works very hard to make it all clear. And yes, there will be disagreements about how to understand this larger picture John is trying to convey.

    “Of course, if your correspondent is using what I have written in arguments with people who favor the traditional translation, they are likely to seize upon my acceptance of “The Word was divine” as somehow a defense of their view. That is also something that cannot be helped. The idea of a Trinity developed over the centuries after the Gospel of John was written precisely as one solution to the questions raised by John’s wording. The JWs have a different solution to those same questions. I am not in a position to arbitrate such historical interpretations of the text. I think John went as far as he felt inspired to go in his understanding of things, and I do not fault him for not going further and for not answering all of the additional questions people have been able to raise since his time.

    “The bottom line is that “The Word was a god” is exactly what the Greek says. “The Word was divine” is a possible meaning of this Greek phrasing. “The Word was God” is almost certainly ruled out by the phrasing John uses, and it is not equivalent to “The Word was divine” because without any justification in the original Greek it narrows the meaning from a quality or category (god/divine) to an individual (God).”

  50. Josh said,

    November 1, 2006 at 7:36 am

    Steve-

    How many keyboards do you go through in a year :-)

  51. theologian said,

    November 1, 2006 at 8:01 am

    Steve,

    The 2 Cor 4:4 “ho theos” is conditioned by “of this world.” That is why some take it to mean Satan. I am not convinced that it is Satan. God, Jehovah, is the one who blinds men. Consider that it is God who sends a strong delusion so that men may believe what is false (2 Thess 2:11).

    But i don’t keep bringing up “ho theos,” the only reason i mentioned it in the last post that i brought it up in was because you quoted from a couple of people that said that term was never used in reference to Christ. And you did that after we already talked about the reference to Christ.

    There are much clearer witnesses to the deity of Christ in the Scriptures, but it is my understanding that JW’s teach “ho theos” means Jehovah. That’s why i originally thought it was appropriate to bring up.

  52. greenbaggins said,

    November 1, 2006 at 10:54 am

    BOQ It is very common for trinitarians to argue that Thomas’ expression “the God” spoken to Jesus proved that Jesus was the very God, a God of three Persons. However, notice this comment from a Professor at the University of Cambridge: Professor C. F. D. Moule says that the article the before the noun God may not be significant so as to mean such a thing. EOQ

    If you are arguing this way, then you cannot argue that the absence of the article in John 1:1 implies that Jesus is not God. You cannot have it both ways, arguing that the article is significant by its absence in John 1:1, but not significant by its presence in John 20:28.

    BOQ Here we have a very clear sentence that distinguishes Jesus from God (notice that it’s not Jesus vs. the Father) and you choose to randomly change this occurance of Kurios into Yahweh, and then declare that since you’ve done that it sounds like Deut 6:4, thus Jesus must be Jehovah. EOQ

    This is in the context, by the way, of discussion about 1 Cor 8:6. In the context of 1 Cor 8:6, monotheism is paramount in Paul’s mind, as monotheism is the reason why food sacrificed to idols is not forbidden to the strong Christian. Paul emphasizes monotheism so much that it would be absolutely inexplicable for him to *add* in his discussion “And one Lord Jesus Christ,” if wanted to distinguish Jesus the Son from the Father. What the Father and the Son do is listed in parallel form: the Father is He from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and the Son is He through whom are all things and through whom we exist. These two qualifying clauses are so close together that if Paul was wanting to say that Jesus the Son was a totally separate being from God the Father, he chose perhaps the single most confusing way of saying it. It seems much clearer to say that verses 4-6 are epexegetical of verse 3, and that Paul means to say that Jesus is God, Yahweh. This is further demonstrated by verse 12, where the sin is against Christ when one is sinning against the brother. Sin can only ultimately be directed against God Himself. Paul is saying that the sin agains the brother is *ultimately* directed against Christ. Then, in chapter 9, Paul views his apostleship as being in the Lord (obviously speaking of Jesus here). So, I am not randomly taking the passage, translating “kurios” by “Yahweh,” and *then* saying that it sounds like the Shema. The context indicates that the flow of thought would be completely interrupted by saying that Jesus is not God. Why would Paul introduce such a statement in the middle of a fiercely monotheistic passage? If you are defending monotheism, you don’t bring up in a favorable light someone who is not God. At best, on your reading, Paul would be confusing, at worst, misleading.

    BOQ In 2 Corinthians 4:4 says, “The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” (New International Version) The Greek for 2 Corinthians 4:4 says, “en hos ho theos ho aion toutou tuphloo ho noema ho apistos eis ho me augazo autos ho photismos ho euaggelion ho doxa ho Christos hos esti eikon ho theos.” According to the rules applied to John 1:1 then Satan the Devil “the god of this age” should actually be “God (ho theos) of this age”, making Satan the God Almighty, or part of Quadity! Yet, the translators understood that Satan the Devil was not God so they made the word “god” lower-case when it should be nothing less then upper-case (if you follow the same rules as John 1:1) because when “ho” (the) comes before a proper noun (theos) then it should be capitalized in English. EOQ

    This argument fails utterly, since, in 2 Cor 4:4, the “ho theos” has a modifyer that makes it absolutely plain who is being talked about: “tou aionos toutou” (of this age). All the way through Paul, “this age” means the present evil age. Larry’s argument is sound, because the occurrences of which he is speaking do not have this qualifier on it. You seem to think that for Larry’s argument to work, “ho” being there, ***regardless of the context***, has to prove that the word means God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. That is known in logic as an extension of the argument.

    BOQ The context of Philippians 2:9 shows that Jesus received this “name” after his death and resurrection. Hence, before that time he did not have “the name that is above every other name.” EOQ

    This also fails utterly, since you have completely forgotten verse 6, which says, “being in the very form of God, He did not consider equality with God something to be grasped.” The word “form” there does not mean “sort of, but not quite,” because in the parallel statement about the servant “taking the form of a servant,” the very same word is used, and in that statement, we are not saying that He was “sort of a servant, but not quite.” So, Jesus was God before the Incarnation, and so God *re-gave* Jesus the name that is above every name. And your quotation from Isaiah just proves my point: He is Mighty God. You will probably say that “Mighty God” is different from “Almighty God.” This is a ridiculous argument, since the very next name that is given to Him is “Everlasting Father.” You say it refers to Jesus: that is very good. It proves way too much for you to handle. He is the everlasting Father. This means that He ***cannot*** have been created, since created beings all have a beginning! Furthermore, the only other time in the entire Hebrew Bible that that phrase “el gibbor” is used is in 10:21, where it most obviously refers Yahweh (see verse 20). So, if you argue that it does not mean Yahweh in 9:6, then you must also agree that it does not mean Yahweh in 10:21.

  53. Steve said,

    November 1, 2006 at 11:59 am

    Josh said: “How many keyboards do you go through in a year ”

    :-) You made me chuckle. Yes, I know it’s true. I have great interest in discussing Bible topics with others who understand things differently than me. Not simple to argue, but to learn. Please know that I read and re-read every point made to me by others very carefully. I find this helps me to really understand all the possible views around a text and so I truly appreciate the comments from you, greenbaggins, and theologian.

    Since this discussion has headed down a few different paths, let me refocus it back to what it was supposed to be…a discussion around the translation of John 1:1.

    Greenbaggins wrote: “John 1:1 is a passage completely misinterpreted by the New World Translation (the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ translation), and by many other translations mentioned by Steve, which are not mainline translations, but are the work of individual anti-church Arians.”

    Now, I’m specifically interested in your comments regarding Dr. Jason David BeDuhn. He is an associate professor of religious studies at Northern Arizona University, in Flagstaff. He holds a B.A. in Religious studies from the University of Illinois, Urbana, and M.T.S. in New Testament and Christian Origins from Harvard Divinity School, and a Ph.D. in the Comparative Study of Religions from Indiana University, Bloomington.

    His comments: “What I can say is that “And the Word was God” is extremely difficult to justify, because it goes against the plain grammar of the passage.”

    “The bottom line is that “The Word was a god” is exactly what the Greek says. “The Word was divine” is a possible meaning of this Greek phrasing. “The Word was God” is almost certainly ruled out by the phrasing John uses, and it is not equivalent to “The Word was divine” because without any justification in the original Greek it narrows the meaning from a quality or category (god/divine) to an individual (God).”

    I re-emphasize that there are many very rational, intelligent, and honest translators out there that see it differently than how the KJV has done this. We shouldn’t dismiss them as anti-church Arians or charge them with “twist[ing] Greek grammar in order fit their preconceived notions about the non-deity of Christ.”

    It’s simply not true. And I have support that statement with 46 other translations and these recent comments from Dr. BeDuhn.

    Therefore, we should all take off the blinders we have about John 1:1 saying “The Word was God” and admit this translation is not the slam-dunk most think it to be.

    -Steve

  54. greenbaggins said,

    November 1, 2006 at 12:11 pm

    Steve, your quotation only reveals the ignorance of your authority. “Goes against the plain grammar of the Greek” is simply ridiculous. Colwell’s rule states that when two nouns are joined by the verb “to be,” the only way you can tell which is the subject and which is the predicate nominative is the definite article. That is the *only* significance that the lack of the article can have. The other rule in place here is that when the predicate nominative occurs before the verb, as here, it almost never has the definite article. The point here is that the lack of a definite article in this situation does not say one way or the other whether “theos” is articular or not. So, grammatically speaking, DeBuhn is off his rocker. My point is that “God” means “God” in the other two occurrences immediately preceding and following. so, for your translation to be right, “theos” has to mean something totally different right in-between two other occurrences that obviously mean “God.” This is muting the context of John 1:1, and failing to allow the text to speak for itself.

  55. greenbaggins said,

    November 1, 2006 at 12:13 pm

    Furthermore, I would like you to seriously consider the arguments that are related to John 1:1 in the discussions of Is 9 and Philippians 2. I am the moderator of this blog. Rabbit-trails are quite acceptable and even encouraged.

  56. Steve said,

    November 2, 2006 at 2:31 am

    Dear Greenbaggins and others,

    I’m going to wrap up this discussion, wish you the best, and move on. One of my personal pet peeves is related to those who dismiss others with condescending name calling when they simply hold a different opinion on a topic.

    At the top of this thread you stated that JW’s and their New World Translation had misinterpreted John 1:1 and were twisting grammar to fit their preconceived ideas.

    I offered you 46 other translations that showed other intelligent, professional, Bible Translators saw John 1:1 should be translated differently. This list included translators from multiple religious backgrounds, Jesuits, multiple Professors, Catholic Theologians, and even the Archbishop of York. The list also included commonly known translations as Goodspeeds, Moffatts’, and Wilson’s Emphatic Diaglott. All of them were making a single point: John 1:1 should be translated differently.

    You dismissed this list of translators as “anti-church” Arians.

    I offered you information from Dr. Beduhn, an award winning professor who has written a well know book on Accuracy of Translation called “Truth in Translation: Accuracy and Bias in English Translations of the New Testament.

    You dismissed him calling him ignorant and off his rocker.

    Greenbaggins and others reading this thread… I invite you check out a little info on this guy. Here’s his resume (http://jan.ucc.nau.edu/~jdb8/jason-cv1.htm) and here is a fantastic debate between him and another scholar who likes the traditional translation of John 1:1 http://www.forananswer.org/Mars_Jw/JB-RH.Jn1_1.Index.htm Please note this includes an excellent discussion of Colwell’s Rule…. So, I hope you enjoy reading it.

    Read through that debate. This is not an ignorant fellow, nor are the other Professors, Theologians, Jesuits, and scholars I pointed you to. They deserve more respect than the names you have called them.

    My goal in joining this conversation was to help you understand that your absolute dogmatism regarding the translation of John 1:1 is unfounded. Even your church scholars know this. There are many, many experts I’ve referenced that prove the point. But if you dismiss them all with insults, then you have learned nothing… and it’s really not my job to force you out of your dogmatism.

    For those who want to actually learn more about accuracy in Translation, I’d recommend Dr. Beduhn’s book. http://www.amazon.com/Truth-Translation-Accuracy-Translations-Testament/dp/0761825568/ref=pd_ybh_a_2/102-5067361-1312939

    Or this detailed review: http://www.tetragrammaton.org/truthintrans.htm

    I wish you all the best in your quest for Bible truth. Don’t let your own preconceptions fool you.. keep your eyes and ears open, listen carefully, test everything.

    -Steve

    P.S. I’ll close with these words of Dr. Debuhn:
    Greek has only a definite article, like our the; it does not have an indefinite article, like our a or an. So, generally speaking, a Greek definite noun will have a form of the definite article (ho), which will become “the” in English. A Greek indefinite noun will appear without the definite article, and will be properly rendered in English with “a” or “an.” We are not “adding a word” when we translate Greek nouns that do not have the definite article as English nouns with the indefinite article. We are simply obeying the rules of English grammar that tell us that we cannot say “Snoopy is dog,” but may say “Snoopy is a dog.” For example, in John 1:1c, the clause we are investigating, ho logos is “the word,” as all translations accurately have it. If it was written simply logos, without the definite article ho, we would have to translate it as “a word.”
    Similarly, when we have a form of ho theos, as we do in John 1:1b and 1:2, we are dealing with a definite noun that we would initially (“lexically”) translate as “the god”; but if it is written simply theos, as it is in John 1:1c, it is an indefinite noun that would normally be translated as “a god.” To complete our translation into English, we need to take into consideration the fact that English has both a common noun “god” and a proper noun “God.” We use the proper noun “God” like a name, without either a definite or indefinite article, even though a name is a definite noun. As a definite noun, “God” corresponds to the Greek ho theos (lexically “the god”), which also is used often as the proper noun “God” in both the New Testament and other Greek literature from the same time. So in John 1:1b and 1:2 it is perfectly accurate to drop the “the” from “god” and say that the Word was “with God” (literally “with the god”). But what about the indefinite theos in John 1:1c? This does not correspond to the English definite proper noun “God,” but to the indefinite noun “a god.”
    In Greek, if you leave off the article from theos in a sentence like the one in John 1:1c, then your readers will assume you mean “a god.”
    . . . Having introduced “God” and “the Word,” John would use the definite article to help his readers keep track of the fact that he is still talking about the same God and the same Word. But having mentioned “God” once in 1:1b (“the word was with God”), John does not use the definite article again with theos until 1:2 (“this one was with God”), skipping right over the theos of 1:1c (“the word was a god”). This middle theos, we are left to conclude, is not exactly the same thing as the “God” of 1:1b and 1:2.
    If John had wanted to say “the Word was God,” as so many English translation have it, he could have very easily done so by simply adding the definite article “the” (ho) to the word “god” (theos), making it “the god” and therefore “God.” (pp. 114-116)
    This brings us back to John 1:1. [John Harner, in his article, "Qualitative Anarthrous Predicate Nouns: Mark 15:39 and John 1:1," 1973, pp. 85 and 87] suggests that John was not interested in definiteness or indefiniteness, but in character and quality.[*] . . . I think that the qualitative force of the predicate is so prominent that the noun cannot be regarded a definite. . . . So if the meaning of “the Word was a god,” or “the Word was a divine being” is that the Word belongs to the category of divine beings, then we could translate the phrase as “the Word was divine.” The meaning is the same in either case, and is summed up well by Harner as “ho logos…had the nature of theos” (Harner, page 87). (pp. 123-124)

  57. greenbaggins said,

    November 2, 2006 at 10:27 am

    I’ll just note in closing this argument that DeBuhn is wrong in saying that there is no indefinite article. There are in fact two ways of expressing indefiniteness in Greek: “eis” (the number 1), or “tis” (something or someone). In my opinion, “tis” would have been more conducive to expressing the idea that Jesus was not *the* God: “the Word was a certain god,” rather than “the Word was one god.”

    The NET Bible also takes the anarthrous noun as qualitative. But that doesn’t help Steve’s position one iota, since their translation says this, “The Word was fully God”. The problem with “The Word was divine,” is that the qualitative meaning of our word “divine” does not match up all the time with what the Greek word would mean. We might say, “This chocolate was divine,” but that doesn’t exactly mean that the chocolate was God. The NET Bible’s position on this is perfectly defensible. Indeed, they cite Moffatt as trying to say this though poorly (one of the translations that Steve quotes).

    With regard to the translation of John 1:1, it doesn’t really matter what denomination they come from, if they translate John 1:1 the way that the NWT does, it is evidence of Arian influence. That can happen even in the Roman Catholic Church. But even Moffatt doesn’t say what Steve thinks he says. Neither do any of the translations that use the word “divine,” rather than “a god.” The word “divine” even in English can certainly mean “partaking of the divine nature.”

    Furthermore, even granting the translation (for the sake of argument) “the Word was a god,” that still leaves the problem of polytheism for the Jehovah’s Witnesses, who claim up one side and down the other that there is only one God. If there is only one God, then why would Jesus be called “a god” here?

    The argument from Isaiah 9 is absolutely crucial here as well, an argument that I note Steve did not answer. There is no answer to it. Isaiah 9, which refers to Jesus Christ, as even the JW’s admit, cannot mean anything less than that Jesus was God. Note also that Steve never answered my question about whether Jesus was, in fact, God, though I think his position is evident. He also did not answer my argument regarding Philippians 2.

    With regard to tone, what I said is quite mild compared to what the Reformers would have said. They usually referred to the Roman Catholics as “dogs.” Luther would commonly write things such as “I can’t believe you wrote such dirt” (substitute a stronger word for “dirt”). What I am saying is that the NWT, and any which also translate it that way are Arian in their translation. But argument about tone is not substantive whatsoever. Steve should not think that he somehow scored a point against me by his trying to assume the moral high ground. He has accused us of “absolute dogmatism,” which was hardly meant kindly, I deem. Steve fails to understand that what the church has said for centuries carries weight, not the weight of Scripture, but the weight of long disputes with Arianism and other such heresies.

  58. Steve said,

    November 2, 2006 at 1:50 pm

    Although, Greenbaggins will likely dismiss these other translations and discussion points as ignorant, I’ll post this comments on Phil 2 for those who are included to be interested in reasoning on the scriptures.

    “Equal With God”?

    AT PHILIPPIANS 2:6 the Catholic Douay Version (Dy) of 1609 says of Jesus: “Who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God.” The King James Version (KJ) of 1611 reads much the same. A number of such versions are still used by some to support the idea that Jesus was equal to God. But note how other translations render this verse:

    1869: “who, being in the form of God, did not regard it as a thing to be grasped at to be on an equality with God.” The New Testament, by G. R. Noyes.

    1965: “He—truly of divine nature!—never self-confidently made himself equal to God.” Das Neue Testament, revised edition, by Friedrich Pfäfflin.

    1968: “who, although being in the form of God, did not consider being equal to God a thing to greedily make his own.” La Bibbia Concordata.

    1976: “He always had the nature of God, but he did not think that by force he should try to become equal with God.” Today’s English Version.

    1984: “who, although he was existing in God’s form, gave no consideration to a seizure, namely, that he should be equal to God.” New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures.

    1985: “Who, being in the form of God, did not count equality with God something to be grasped.” The New Jerusalem Bible.

    Some claim, however, that even these more accurate renderings imply that (1) Jesus already had equality but did not want to hold on to it or that (2) he did not need to grasp at equality because he already had it.

    In this regard, Ralph Martin, in The Epistle of Paul to the Philippians, says of the original Greek: “It is questionable, however, whether the sense of the verb can glide from its real meaning of ‘to seize’, ‘to snatch violently’ to that of ‘to hold fast.’” The Expositor’s Greek Testament also says: “We cannot find any passage where αρπάζω [har·pa′zo] or any of its derivatives has the sense of ‘holding in possession,’ ‘retaining’. It seems invariably to mean ‘seize,’ ‘snatch violently’. Thus it is not permissible to glide from the true sense ‘grasp at’ into one which is totally different, ‘hold fast.’”

    From the foregoing it is apparent that the translators of versions such as the Douay and the King James are bending the rules to support Trinitarian ends. Far from saying that Jesus thought it was appropriate to be equal to God, the Greek of Philippians 2:6, when read objectively, shows just the opposite, that Jesus did not think it was appropriate.

    The context of the surrounding verses (3-5, 7, 8, Dy) makes it clear how verse 6 is to be understood. The Philippians were urged: “In humility, let each esteem others better than themselves.” Then Paul uses Christ as the outstanding example of this attitude: “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.” What “mind”? To ‘think it not robbery to be equal with God’? No, that would be just the opposite of the point being made! Rather, Jesus, who ‘esteemed God as better than himself,’ would never ‘grasp for equality with God,’ but instead he “humbled himself, becoming obedient unto death.”

    Surely, that cannot be talking about any part of Almighty God. It was talking about Jesus Christ, who perfectly illustrated Paul’s point here—namely the importance of humility and obedience to one’s Superior and Creator, Jehovah God.

    -Steve

  59. greenbaggins said,

    November 2, 2006 at 2:46 pm

    The issue of what “harpazo” means is of little moment to this whole discussion.

    All of the translations that you quoted have as the first clause something which cannot be reconcilable with your position. “Morphe” simply does not mean “almost, but not quite,” otherwise His servanthood (“morphe doulou”) is illusory. So, the first phrase of the verse makes your position untenable. Secondly, Jesus, *in becoming man* (which He was *not* before: that is a clear implication of the verse), did not do what Adam did in trying to grasp after deity, but rather humbled Himself. Take away all notion of “holding onto” in the verb “harpazo.” It doesn’t matter, because the point is that Jesus did better than Adam. Adam grasped after deity in the Garden. Jesus did not, even though He *was in very nature God.* It is this contrast between Adam and Christ (supported by other passages such as Romans 5:12-21 and 1 Corinthians 15) that is in view here. Adam, though he was not God grasped after being God. Jesus, though *being* God, did not grasp after it. Your assumption is that if it were even hypothetically possible for Jesus to grasp after deity, then one must assume that he never had deity. This is false. One can have something, but not grasp after it. A ruler can have power, and yet not grasp after power. This is by no means a contradiction. Jesus as preincarnate deity humbled Himself by taking the form of a servant. It was in that very taking on the form of a servant where Christ showed that He was not grasping after deity. He continued that non-grasping by becoming obedient even unto death.

    If Jesus is not God, then we cannot be saved, Steve. There is no salvation unless Jesus was fully God, fully man in one person. If Jesus was not fully man, then He could not be a perfect lamb. If He was not God, then His sacrifice would not atone, since it could not have infinite worth. In short, Steve, you need to repent of your sin, come to faith in the Lord Jesus, and believe in Him for salvation. That will mean believing in Him as Kurios, as Yahweh. That is the message of the entire Bible.

  60. Josh said,

    November 2, 2006 at 10:05 pm

    Steve,

    Why do you refuse to do what you ask us to do? You constantly refer to obsure translations, varient translations, non-mainstream translations. Not just that but the number of those translations against the number that translate “trinitarian” are minisule. You are stain at a nat and swallow a camel.

    I am not name calling or coming at you in a hostile fashion. I am asking you to step back and look from outside your own perspective of the entire conversation. You are like the guy that won’t let go of the rope to save his life.

    I can find translations that accept the apocrapha (NT and OT) that does not mean I now have to accept them as inspired. But, someone that wants to prove to me that they are inspired will no doubt appeal to bibles and traditions that do accept them. You are doing the same thing with the Trinity.

  61. Steve said,

    November 3, 2006 at 11:10 am

    Hi Josh,

    The reason so many translations currently exist with “The Word was God” is because of the combination of multiple factors that have produced confusion and fear in the minds of scholars and translators. Here is a brief summary of these factors.

    http://www.galilean-library.org/snobelen.html

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Athanasianism

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arianism

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jehovah

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tetragrammaton

    1) The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob’s personal name YHWH (Jehovah/Yahweh) was originally in the Old Testament about 7,000 times. However, around the time of Christ, a Jewish superstition arose that the name was so holy it shouldn’t be pronounced. Jehovah’s name was removed from his Bible about 7,000 times and replaced with the words LORD or GOD( in all capital letters)… his true identity was beginning to be hidden and thus confused.

    2) Although the concept of the Trinity was not part of the early Christian Church (at the time of the apostles through the 3rd century), thereafter, violent disagreement arose in the 4th, 5th, and 6th centuries over whether Jesus was the Son of God or “God the Son”. Early Church Fathers were swayed by Greek Philosophy regarding other Trinitarian gods. Athanasian used violence, persecution, and excommunication to impose his will over others who knew that Jehovah was Almighty God and Jesus was his Son. The Trinity was stamped as “truth” and anyone that disagreed was violently persecuted.

    3) From 325 to 1813, any scholar or translator that chose to disagree with the Churches view of the Trinity, to translate any hard to understand scriptures unfavorably to the Trinity was threatened with death… many were killed being burned at the stake. If you were a scholar or translator, would you have chosen anything differently than “The Word was God”?

    4) In 1670, Isaac Newton realizes the truth that the Trinity doctrine is false, writes papers showing how Bibles clear message was corrupted by 4th century pagan influences. Like other scholars, he chooses to keep his mouth shut and not be burned at the stake like others who know the Trinity is false.

    5) 1813, questioning or denying the Trinity is no longer illegal and subject to the death penalty. Scholars are now free to translate John 1:1 and other so-called Trinity proof texts more accurately without fear of death.

    7) 1813 to the present, dozens of translations are published around the truthful understanding that John 1:1 was not intending to identify Jesus as Jehovah, but that the apostle John was describing a quality of Jesus.. that he was “godly, god-like, powerful and might (i.e. a god)

    8) However, The momentum of the Churches position continues but without the death penalty. The concept of the Trinity is described as “settled”, “indisputable”, and any who question are bad mouthed as heretics, Arian’s, etc.

    9) Generations of Priests, and Bible students have been raised around the Churches dogmatic and incorrect position about the Trinity, so they don’t know the difference. They are generally oblivious to the huge confusion created by removing Jehovah’s name from the Bible, and the corrupting influence Greek Philosophy had on the 4th century Church. All they ever know is that John 1:1 say the Word is God, so Jesus must be Jehovah… end of story

    Question to contemplate: Let’s say a person was not preconditioned by their religious upbringing and indoctrination that the Trinity was indisputable and they were handed a copy of the Old Testament with God’s personal name YHWH/Jehovah/Yahweh intact. If they read that through over and over again, reading 7,000 times that God is “one” and his name is Jehovah, would they ever come up with a 3 in 1 Trinity concept on their own?
    The Encyclopedia of Religion says: “Theologians today are in agreement that the Hebrew Bible does not contain a doctrine of the Trinity.” And the New Catholic Encyclopedia also says: “The doctrine of the Holy Trinity is not taught in the O[ld] T[estament].”

    Similarly, in his book The Triune God, Jesuit Edmund Fortman says: “The Old Testament . . . tells us nothing explicitly or by necessary implication of a Triune God who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit. . . . There is no evidence that any sacred writer even suspected the existence of a [Trinity] within the Godhead. . . . Even to see in [the “Old Testament”] suggestions or foreshadowings or ‘veiled signs’ of the trinity of persons, is to go beyond the words and intent of the sacred writers.”

    Now, imagine you are a good hearted, 1st century Jew, who listens carefully to Jesus, becomes a Christian, and spend time reading the writings of the apostles…. Would be thinking that Jesus was part of a Trinity god?

    Note these quotes:

    The Encyclopedia of Religion says: “Theologians agree that the New Testament also does not contain an explicit doctrine of the Trinity.”
    Jesuit Fortman states: “The New Testament writers . . . give us no formal or formulated doctrine of the Trinity, no explicit teaching that in one God there are three co-equal divine persons. . . . Nowhere do we find any trinitarian doctrine of three distinct subjects of divine life and activity in the same Godhead.”
    The New Encyclopædia Britannica observes: “Neither the word Trinity nor the explicit doctrine appears in the New Testament.”
    Bernhard Lohse says in A Short History of Christian Doctrine: “As far as the New Testament is concerned, one does not find in it an actual doctrine of the Trinity.”
    The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology similarly states: “The N[ew] T[estament] does not contain the developed doctrine of the Trinity. ‘The Bible lacks the express declaration that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are of equal essence’ [said Protestant theologian Karl Barth].”
    Yale University professor E. Washburn Hopkins affirmed: “To Jesus and Paul the doctrine of the trinity was apparently unknown; . . . they say nothing about it.”—Origin and Evolution of Religion.

    Finally, note when the idea of the Trinity finally arrived:

    Historian Arthur Weigall notes: “Jesus Christ never mentioned such a phenomenon, and nowhere in the New Testament does the word ‘Trinity’ appear. The idea was only adopted by the Church three hundred years after the death of our Lord.”—The Paganism in Our Christianity.

  62. Steve said,

    November 3, 2006 at 12:18 pm

    Here’s one other quote that shows how the Church dealt with those holding differing opinion.

    The Trinity doctrine was debated and adopted by the early church at the church council of Nicaea in 325 AD. It was not taught or preached or known by the apostles, who lived 3 centuries before. The debate was between Arius who opposed it and Athanasius who proposed it. Arius lost the debate and then Emperor Constantine enforced the Trinity doctrine ruthlessly as was explained by Archdeacon of Westminster Frederick Farrar, Chaplain to the Queen Victoria. He wrote:

    Constantine heartily accepted the [Athansian] Creed. He presumably retained the opinion which he had so forcibly expressed, that the dispute was verbal and superfluous, and he would have probably preferred the creed proposed by Eusebius of Caesaria had there been and chance of its acceptance…..The one desire of the Emporer was for peace and unity, and he determined that henceforth the Arians, or Porphyrians should be put down. The books of Arius were to be burnt. No one was to read them under penalty of death. He [Arius] was banished, as were also Theonas and Secundas, the only Bishops who would not forsake his cause (p489, Lives of the Fathers Volume 1, Adam and Charles Black, 1907).

  63. Steve said,

    November 3, 2006 at 1:08 pm

    P.S. And in this environment of “it’s my way or the Highway” regarding the translation issues… there were even attempts to insert new scriptures into the mouth of John and to change words in the book of 1 Timothy to support the Trinity idea.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/An_Historical_Account_of_Two_Notable_Corruptions_of_Scripture

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comma_Johanneum

    Regarding 1 John 5: 7, 8

    “The words “in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one” (KJ) found in older translations at 1 John 5:7 are actually spurious additions to the original text. A footnote in The Jerusalem Bible, a Catholic translation, says that these words are “not in any of the early Greek MSS [manuscripts], or any of the early translations, or in the best MSS of the Vulg[ate] itself.” A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament, by Bruce Metzger (1975, pp. 716-718), traces in detail the history of the spurious passage. It states that the passage is first found in a treatise entitled Liber Apologeticus, of the fourth century, and that it appears in Old Latin and Vulgate manuscripts of the Scriptures, beginning in the sixth century. Modern translations as a whole, both Catholic and Protestant, do not include them in the main body of the text, because of recognizing their spurious nature.—RS, NE, NAB.

    Regarding the corruption at 1Tim 3:16

    One of the oldest known complete copy of the Christian Greek Scriptures was discovered in a monastery at the base of Mount Sinai. It is known as the Codex Sinaiticus and was probably produced about 50 years before Jerome completed the Latin Vulgate.

    Because Sinaiticus was among the oldest original-language manuscripts, it helps scholars to uncover errors that had crept into later manuscripts. For example, the reference to Jesus at 1 Timothy 3:16 in Sinaiticus reads: “He was made manifest in the flesh.” In place of “he,” the majority of then-known manuscripts showed an abbreviation for “God,” made by a small alteration of the Greek word for “he.” However, Sinaiticus was made many years before any Greek manuscript reading “God.” Thus, it revealed that there had been a later corruption of the text, evidently introduced to support the Trinity doctrine.

  64. theologian said,

    November 3, 2006 at 7:25 pm

    It’s interesting to me that much of the debate here is being focused on Bible versions. I understand that to a point. However, it appears to me that Jesus gives us a different example to follow. The Saduccees only believed in the first 5 books of the OT, the books of Moses. When Jesus wanted to teach them of the resurrection He didn’t first try to convince them that they were not reading the complete Scripture so that He could choose the more obvious references to the resurrection. Instead, Jesus taught them from the Scripture that they held to. He kept His statements within the books of Moses…

    And as for the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was said to you by God: ‘I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not God of the dead, but of the living.” (Mat 22:31-32, ESV)

  65. particle said,

    November 8, 2006 at 7:04 pm

    http://copticjohn.com/

    Steve wins!

  66. Josh said,

    November 8, 2006 at 7:09 pm

    You cant be a copy cat :-)

  67. greenbaggins said,

    November 8, 2006 at 7:16 pm

    It’s interesting, I think to note the logical fallacy involved in Particle’s argument. Steve has posted more voluminous comments: therefore he must be correct. Being correct has nothing to do with saying more, and everything to do with saying better. Not quantity but quality. Steve has shown a remarkable penchant for block-quoting from JW websites, which is something that I almost never do from corresponding Christian sites. I selectively quote from my own library only what makes my point.

  68. particle said,

    November 8, 2006 at 7:38 pm

    I think it would be nice if you read the site I gave you first
    and then comment Intelligently

    And May Yahweh Bless you!

  69. Steve said,

    November 8, 2006 at 7:48 pm

    :-)

    rofl…. that really made me laugh…

    btw, although greenbaggins doesn’t want to continue this discussion, if anyone wants to contact me for further discussions, please do.

    Steve
    BibleStudentSteve@yahoo.com

  70. Steve said,

    November 8, 2006 at 7:51 pm

    P.S. I did make a very concerted effort to quote multitudes of scholars and translators from multiple religious backgrounds other than JW’s.
    Greenbaggins was just prone to declare himself the winner on each and every point.

  71. particle said,

    November 8, 2006 at 7:56 pm

    He is forgiven.

  72. Josh said,

    November 8, 2006 at 9:25 pm

    No, you misquoted a few of them, and GB is right, I saw you block quoting at the beginning of the conversation. You were not discussing anything as an exchange of ideas. Your thin veiled politness is a cover for blog trolling. You didnt discuss anything, you asserted your assumed postion from quoting eveything under the sun you could find, then did not quote the same “authorities” in areas they disagreed with you.

    GB gave his OWN thoughts and disertations, you did a good job of cut and paste.

  73. Josh said,

    November 8, 2006 at 9:31 pm

    I did some cut and paste for you:

    Blog Troll
    2.(n) -A individual who sits in front of a computer all day and posts flames of a pseudo-intellectual nature on public forums and private websites. Many of these people actually become emotional about what is said on the afore-said mediums and feel it is their duty to punish those who disagree with them. They too may pursue this object in an obsessive-compulsive manner.

  74. particle said,

    November 8, 2006 at 10:19 pm

    Every coffin has his last and single finishing nail!
    Maybe if we tackle a different subject. When it comes
    to the NWT in the NT , Koine Greek translation; is one of the
    best out there. Now the OT ,Old Hebrew; I’ll give it a B+.
    That should get you started.

  75. Steve said,

    November 8, 2006 at 10:51 pm

    Josh,

    If you think my attempt to have a detailed discussion about the Bible is “Blog Trolling” (which frankly, I hadn’t even heard the term before), then you are mistaken. I would point out that you don’t know me and you’re reading far too much into my interest in participating.

    I personally enjoy having discussions with others who understand things differently than me. Unfortunately, others don’t…or feel the competitive need to win by calling the other person’s position “lame”, “utterly failing”, “ignorant”, etc.

    Frankly, this is the first blog I’ve ever visited and made a comment to. I put in many hours attempting to provide deep and useful content to support my discussion points. Content that came from a variety of sources.

    When Greenbaggins provide his commentary and quotes, I carefully read through each and every one to understand and test my understanding against them.

    When I was long and detailed in my answers, Greenbaggins complained and asked for shorter, more to the point answers.

    When I was short and to the point, he complained that I hadn’t addressed his comments he had put lots of efforts into.

    When I paraphrased his point before responding to it, he felt I was twisting his position.

    When I quoted his position word for word, he complained that I was wasting space on his blog quoting him.

    My conclusion is this blog is a place for people who only want to talk with others who think just like them.

    My personal library is filled with books from multiple sources: Catholic, Protestant, Lutheran, Methodist, Mormon, Zorasteran, Buddist, Reference books, etc. I’ve read them all. I never shy away from reading materials from multiple opposing sources. I have a voracious appetite to learn and understand others positions. I want to find a place where people of different understandings can compare notes, and diligently debate opposing positions.. without insulting the energies and efforts of the other person.

    Evidently, this is not the place.

    Greenbaggins: You said: “Steve has shown a remarkable penchant for block-quoting from JW websites, which is something that I almost never do from corresponding Christian sites. I selectively quote from my own library only what makes my point.”

    FYI, I didn’t take a single word off of any JW site. I did post several links to Wikipedia, and I posted one link to http://www.watchtower.org for a brochure that would add further detail to any who was interested. Every other quote came from my own personal library with is HUGE and includes hundreds of books, magazines, and reference CD’s. When I made a point, I provided multiple quotes from prominent authorities. Even for doing this, I got complaints.

    For those who may want to discuss anything about the Bible… please contact me. I love discussion.

    Clearly, this is not the place for this type of open discussion.

    Steve
    BibleStudentSteve@yahoo.com

  76. Josh said,

    November 9, 2006 at 1:01 am

    You always close with a jab. Makes me smile hahaha. I see you do what you accuse others of. If anything maybe there would be less misunderstanding if we all were sitting and drinking coffee somewhere.

    My main point is and has been that you are not openly discussing. You have not even entertained a single shred of evidence offered to you. I am sure you have already ready your own comments more than once. But, try to read them from anothers eyes. Maybe you will see what I am saying.

  77. particle said,

    November 9, 2006 at 7:34 pm

    KJV
    1 Cor 10:23 All things are lawful for me, but all things are
    not expedient: all things are lawful for me,
    but all things edify not.
    1 Cor 10:24 Let no man seek his own, but every man
    another’s [wealth].

    NWT
    1Co 10:23 All things are lawful; but not all things are
    advantageous. All things are lawful; but not
    all things build up.
    1Co 10:24 Let each one keep seeking, not his own
    [advantage], but that of the other person.

    How true Christians should behave?

    The Scripture
    Jam 1:19 So then, my beloved brothers, let every man be
    swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath,
    Jam 1:20 for the wrath of man does not work the
    righteousness of Elohim.

    And last but not least:
    Which part of “there is no Trinity” that you do not
    understand?

    NWT
    1 Cor 15:27 For [Yahweh] “subjected all things under his
    feet.” But when he says that ‘all things have
    been subjected,’ it is evident that it is with
    the exception of the one who subjected all
    things to him.

  78. Josh said,

    November 9, 2006 at 10:56 pm

    Particle, your a tad late for the conversation. Be a good JW and go troll the next blog.

  79. particle said,

    November 10, 2006 at 4:15 pm

    Josh:

    You flatter me! Do I sound that good? I am not a JW.
    I hope you know, they are not the only ones; that know
    the trinity is just a doctrine. I do not use the term Jehovah.
    I call my Heavenly Father by his proper name: Yahweh.

    Duae tabulae rasae in quibus nihil scriptum est.

  80. greenbaggins said,

    November 10, 2006 at 4:43 pm

    “Duae tabulae rasae in quibus nihil scriptum est.” Not even the image of God?

  81. Steve said,

    November 10, 2006 at 8:58 pm

    Dear particle,

    Will you please send me an email at BibleStudentSteve@yahoo.com

    Thank you,

    -Steve

  82. Mike said,

    November 11, 2006 at 12:49 pm

    I just got thru talking to a JW. I seem to attract them. I really have a desire to communicate with them. They all want to give me information, but they will not take any from me. John 1:1 says it all. Either someone has added to thier book or someone has takening away from our bible. I believe God has led me to the web site. Regardless to how you feel about these people, you have to admire the way they put legs to thier faith. I told “Russell” this morning that someone is sharing and spreading “false doctrine”. Hopfully, he will come back. I ask him to go all the way back to the beginning and focus on John 1:1. Jesus was either God or a god. I ask Russell if he discovered he was wrong, “What would he do”?. He told me , he would turn from the JW. (Amen) Pray for Russell

  83. greenbaggins said,

    November 11, 2006 at 12:59 pm

    Yes, 2 Corinthians 4:3-6 certainly applies to them.

  84. Josh said,

    November 11, 2006 at 5:42 pm

    Mike,

    Thanks for your post. I think more highly of JW’s than I do of most unbelievers. I do admire their conviction and strength. If anything, I am fustrated by the usual hypocrasy of acting to want to discuss theological issues, when the only thing they want is to make new converts to heresy. Sad to say, JW’s are usually more informed of their own doctrines than most Christians I meet.

    Everyone is created in the image of God. All deserve respect. I praise and thank our Savior, that men like you stand up for the truth and have a heart to witness and spend time with seekers that are in error. I will be praying for you and Russell.

    Preach on brother.

  85. bren said,

    February 11, 2007 at 6:37 pm

    Hey there, skimmed through most of this post. Steve did quite an impressive and in depth research on different ideas for John 1:1

    I have a slightly off topic question, but still related to the trinity. Why does the bible say that people can be FILLED with holy spirit? Is not the Holy Spirit a person according to the trinity?

    Also, on many instances, didn’t Jesus claim that the father was greater than he was (John 14:28, 1 Cor 11:3, 1 Cor 15:28)? According to the trinity, all are equal?

    Further on 1 Cor 11:3, did not John state that the head of the wife is the husband, the head of the earthly congregations/church is himself Jesus, and the head of Jesus is God the Father(HO THEOS)?

    Again, concerning the marriage arrangement, doesn’t the bible say that man and woman would become ONE flesh? Surely people do not mutate into each other in a physical sense when they are given in marriage. But as is common in the bible, it is symbolic; just has Jesus and the Father are unified as ONE.

    Finally, as we were created in the image of God (Gen 1:26) and those in the heavenly realm, we inherited their qualities. More importantly, we inherited their arrangement of father and son. We know our fathers are not one flesh with us, but we are unified in the sense of coming from our fathers.

    These are questions that I had to figure out on my own. It started with one and lead to the rest. They’re really easy to answer with the bible (as I did with each).

    [[My point:]]
    I can conclude that Jesus, the Son, is not equal to the Father and that the Holy Spirit is not a person. That in itself should answer the validity of the trinity.

  86. Alan said,

    March 25, 2007 at 2:41 am

    Many who take issue with Jehovah’s Witnesses’ “New World Translation” of John 1:1 (as, “a god”) often miss the point that the Grammatical construction there is that this is “a singular anarthrous predicate noun preceding the verb, and subject noun (implied or stated)”; again, not just that the noun theos (in the third clause) lacks the Greek definite article.

    For other examples of a similar Greek construction, please examine the few following verses within your own prefered translation of the Bible and see whether your own translators had inserted either an “a” or “an” there:

    Mark 6:49
    Mark 11:32
    John 4:19
    John 6:70
    John 8:44a
    John 8:44b
    John 9:17
    John 10:1
    John 10:13
    John 10:33
    John 12:6

    At each of those verses, identity of the one discussed was not at issue; no, but rather, the class and/or quality* of the individual was.

    Agape.
    john1one@earthlink.net

    http://www.goodcompanionbooks.com

    *[On the issue of whether "quality" is even being discussed, this is still an open-ended subject for debate among some.]


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 351 other followers

%d bloggers like this: