Monday, November 19, 2012, 5:25 PM
Martin Schongauer‚ The Nativity (ca. 1480)
John’s Gospel speaks about the Incarnation of God’s Word (Logos) in/as the “man called Jesus” (John 9:11).
Where I disagree with the "trinitarians" (including Subordinationists) is that the Word has a personal subsistence (hypostasis), distinct from that of God, the Father Almighty, before the Incarnation. In fact the interlude about John the Baptist at verses 6-8, has the literary function of preparing a “change of scene” between the pre-incarnated Logos, eternal attribute of the Eternal God, and the incarnate Logos, viz. Jesus Christ.
Let’s look at the complete Prologue of John’s Gospel (John 1-18). I have adopted the ESV translation, but other translations, like the NET, are equally good. On the other hand, the NAB translation (which is the official translation of the USCCCB) is in difformity with all the others, in particular John 1:3-4.
1. In the beginning was the Word, [Grk. Logos] and the Word was with [The] God [Grk. ho theos], and the Word was God [Grk. theos].
The distinction between the first instance of “God”, with the article [ho theos], and the second, without the article [theos] is not accidental: in the first case the Evangelist is speaking of The God, in the second case God is a “substantive-adjective”, it indicates that the Word is (essentially) God. Nowhere does it say (or imply) here that we are talking of a different “person”. We can paraphrase John 1:1, in a language much more accessible to our understanding, as:
"In the beginning, [even before creation], the Word was [already in existence]. The Word was [intimately associated] with God. And [in fact] the Word was [as to the essence, fully] God."
2. He [Grk. outos, lit. "this"] was in the beginning with God.
In English translations, the masculine pronoun "he" is used by analogy with the Greek, in which the word Logos is of masculine (grammatical!) gender. This is pure coincidence, as can be easily seen form the fact that, for instance, in Greek the word Pneuma (“Spirit”), is of neuter gender.
In the following verses, till verse no.10, even if the word Logos is not used any more until verse no.14, the reference is to the Logos of God, which is an essential attribute of God. Only at verse no.11, John’s Prologue starts speaking of Jesus of Nazareth in/as whom the Logos of God became incarnated by means of the Holy Spirit of God and born of the Virgin Mary, as a person, the one person of Jesus Christ, true God and true man, one-begotten of the One God and Father, YHWH.
3. All things came to be through him [Grk. di'autou], and without him [Grk. chôris autou] was not any thing made that was made.
4. In him [Grk. en autô] was life, and the life was the light of men.
N.B. The NAB translation, with totally arbitrary punctuation, and with a distortion of sense, translates vv. 3-4 as
3 All things came to be through him, and without him nothing came to be. What came to be
4 through him was life, and this life was the light of the human race;
5. The light [Grk. phôs - neuter] shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. [Grk. autô - neuter]
The Greek verbal form for “overcome” (katelaben) is variously translated: “comprehend”, “admit”, “receive", “master”, even “put out”.
6. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.
7. He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him.
8. He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light.
9. The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.
10. He [the pronoun is NOT in the Greek text, but the verse still refers back to God's Logos] was in the world, and the world was made through him [Grk. di'autou], yet the world did not know him [Grk. auton].
11. He [the pronoun is NOT in the Greek text, but, from now on, the text clearly refers to Jesus, in/as whom the Logos of God became incarnated] came to his own, and his own people did not receive him.
12. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God,
13. who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
14. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son [or: the one-begotten Son – see note below #] from the Father, full of grace and truth.
15. [John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.’”]
16. And from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.
17. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
18. No one has ever seen God; the only [one, who is] God [or: the one-begotten Son – see note below #], who is at the Father's side, he has made him known.
# The Greek word, in both verses, is monogenês. See the ample discussion at NET Note 1 tc appended to John 1:18. In the Greek MSS there are two main variants of what appears here as “the only God”, based on whether the text has theos or yios.
Wednesday, May 9, 2012, 4:04 AM
Augustine of Hippo, portrait by Philippe de Champaigne (1645-1650)
This is what Augustine wrote, to his eternal shame ...
“And this,” He [Jesus, according to John 17:3] adds, “is eternal life, that they may know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom Thou hast sent.” The proper order [sic! LOL! the Augustinian chutzpah!] of the words is, “That they may know Thee and Jesus Christ, whom Thou hast sent, as the only true God.” -- Augustine of Hippo, Homilies on the Gospel of John etc., Ch. XVII, 1-5, Tractate CV, §3 (@ ccel.org)
That little squirmy thing, Augustine, dares to change the order of the words of the Gospel of John, for the simple reason that, otherwise they wouldn't jibe with his "trinitarianism".
Let's make it fool proof for the sake of the resident trinitarians.
This is what Jesus said, according to the Gospel of John:
“And this is eternal life,
 that they may know Thee,
 the only true God,
 and Jesus Christ,
 whom Thou hast sent.”
(John 17:3 KJV)
This is how that little squirmy thing, Augustine, abominably twists his words:
“[And this is eternal life,]
[1=>1] [t]hat they may know Thee
[3=>2] and Jesus Christ,
[4=>3] whom Thou hast sent,
[2=>4] as the only true God.”
(John 17:3, after Augustine's "treatment")
Friday, April 13, 2012, 5:36 PM
Jesus NEVER refers to himself, purely and simply, as God. In fact, when the Jewish leaders accuse him of making himself equal to God ...
The Jewish leaders replied, “We are not going to stone you for a good deed but for blasphemy, because you, a man, are claiming to be God.” (John 10:33 - emphasis by MdS)
... he corrects their misconception ...
34 Jesus answered, “Is it not written in your law, ‘I said, you are gods’? 35 If those people to whom the word of God came were called ‘gods’ (and the scripture cannot be broken), 36 do you say about the one whom the Father set apart and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’?” (John 10:34-36 - emphasis by MdS)
... with unmistakable words, that only people with trinitarian glasses can mis-read as though it was written "I am god-the-son" ...
Friday, April 13, 2012, 9:56 AM
(ho theos mou)
(1) Jesus is referred to (by others, NEVER by himself) as "God"; as for "the God" (with the article, arthrous, in Greek ho theos), this rule applies:
In the Scriptures (NT and also LXX) the Greek expression ho theos, when used absolutely, without complements and/or qualifiers, is ONLY referred to God, the Father Almighty.
When it is referred to other than God the Father Almighty, it is invariably accompanied by a qualifier/complement. For instance, in John 20:28 (ο κυριος μου και ο θεος μου, ho kurios mou kai ho theos mou, "my Lord and my God") the qualifier/complement is the genitive μου, mou, "of me".
Let my provide two more examples which confirm the rule.
In Titus 2:13 (του μεγαλου θεου και σωτηρος ημων χριστου ιησου, tou megalou theou kai sôtêros êmôn christou iêsou, "of our great God and Savior Christ Jesus") the qualifier/complement is the genitive ημων, êmôn, "our" (lit. "of ours").
In 2 Peter 1:1 (εν δικαιοσυνη του θεου ημων και σωτηρος ιησου χριστου, en dikaiosunê tou theou êmôn kai sôtêros iêsou christou, "through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ") the qualifier/complement is, again, the genitive ημων, êmôn, "our" (lit. "of ours").
But there is another example that is, IMO, conclusive ...
3 But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled only to those who are perishing, 4 among whom the god of this age [ο θεος του αιωνος τουτου, ho theos tou aiônos toutou] has blinded the minds of those who do not believe so they would not see the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of [the] God [του θεου, tou theou]. (2 Cor 4:3-4)
... because it confirms, at the same time, that the qualified expression ο θεος (ho theos) is NOT necessarily referred to [the] God [του θεου, tou theou] —in fact it is referred, in this case, even to God's enemy, Satan!— BUT, when it is un-qualified, absolute, it certainly refers to [the] God [του θεου, tou theou]: THE One and Only God.
(2) God, whose Word and His Spirit are His Eternal Attributes, is the ONLY self-subsistent/self-existent.
(3) God's Word, inasmuch as it is an Eternal Attribute of God, "existed from eternity". Jesus the Incarnated Word of God, did NOT exist, as a distinct person, one single instant before he was incarnated in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Wednesday, April 11, 2012, 6:40 AM
That the clause "[begotten] before all ages" was craftily added to the original Nicene Creed of 325 AD is evident from the comparison between Creed of 325 and Creed of 381.
Let's now get to the bottom of this "before all ages" thingy.
First, that the "before all ages" infamous clause did NOT exist in the original Nicene Creed of 325, is a fact. It was ONLY added at Constantinople in 381 (if not even later ...) because the Conciliar Fathers needed to add it, so as to sanction, with a collective sleigh of hand, an "official" understanding of the godhead that had completely changed over the 4th century.
Second, it may come as a surprise to many that the "before all ages" infamous clause first appeared where one would never expect to see it, in Arius' own letter to Constantine in 327 (Arius' Letter to the Emperor Constantine, 327 CE, from Sozomen, Ecclesiastical History, 2, 27. NPNF, ser. 2, vol. 2, 277, @ ecole.evansville.edu], a "creed" hastily compiled by Arius and his crony, deacon and supporter Euzoïus, apparently along the lines of the Nicene Creed of 325, which easily procured for them the return from exile and the return in the favor of Emperor Constantine, which should prove how irrelevant was the Nicene Creed for the purpose for which it was officially defined: the definitive quashing of the Arian heresy.
Third, several "creeds" were written in the period between 325 and 381 (as A Chronology of the Arian Controversy, @ faculty.cua.edu, attests). By the time of the Synod of Alexandria (362), when the wind changed for the Arian party, there were as many as eleven (11!!!) Arian "confessions" (see The Eleven Arian Confessions, @ arian-catholic.org: the Eleventh Arian Confession is of 361 AD), most of which included the "before all ages" clause.
Of course by the time of the Council of Constantinople (381 AD), the "before all ages" had sunk in: either by persuasion, or by exhaustion, or by political compromise.