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Posts Tagged ‘Deity and Eternality of Christ’

Paul1_001

For last week’s post, please see: Christology: Deity and Eternality, Part 7

In His providence (refers to the active implementation of God’s plan on earth so that his purposes would be realized).  His works of providence is holy, wise, and powerful in preserving and governing all His creatures and all their actions (John Frame, Systematic Theology, 141).

In His providence, we are able to see at least a few major areas that are flushed out: preservation/sustenance, concurrence, and His government.  I will also add God’s providence seen via His Word.  For a short recap, preservation/sustenance is the idea of God maintaining order.  Concurrence is the notion that God is involved in every action that takes place.  Concurrence has the focus of God’s presence with His creatures. As for government seen via providence, this points to the manner in which God directs creation to a purpose/end.  What is God’s purpose?  Well Scripture speaks in many occasions, that His purpose is to glorify Himself, defeat evil, and to redeem His people so that they may have eternal life (Frame, 173).  The governance of God presents to us the final consummation concerning God’s promise (Frame, 173).  A major thrust concerning the providence of God via His government can be seen through eschatology.  Eschatology will motivate Christians to live for His glory because we know that He will one day return for His people.  In God’s government, He has a way and manner in how the order of events is to take place.  And how He ordains it, is holy and wise.  His glory is grand in this area.

Questions arise: “How does God work His will in this world?”  “Is nature responsible for everything that happens?”  How is God’s providence to be understood in light of miracles, mundane things, disease, natural disasters, evil?  I hope that covering providence will help tackle some of these questions.  If not, I hope that will at least spark more interest for you in studying this important topic.

  • Preservation (Frame, 174-179):
    • [Explanation]:
      • Since God directed the creation towards his intended goal (government), He also preserves His creation’s existence.
      • Preservation is an aspect of God’s governance of the world; and His governance is an expression of His lordship.  Since we are dealing with Colossians, the eternal Son of God is not distant from creation.  He is involved.
      • There appears to be four aspects of God’s preservation:
        • Metaphysical: This is God’s act to keep the universe in being (Col. 1:17b).  Without God, there would be no world.  There would be no life.
        • Redemptive-historical: This is God’s temporary preservation of the world from His holy and final judgment.
          • Example: Adam and Eve should of died immediately, but they did not because of God’s grace Gen. 2:17).  He even preserved their descendants (Gen. 3:16)
          • Example of redemptive-historical preservation being cut-off: The Flood (Gen. 6-9)
          • Example of redemptive-historical preservation returning: God said He will be patient (Gen. 8:21-22)
          • Implication: Paul knew ultimately that God’s patience will run out soon.  As a result, he was eager to preach the Gospel at Lystra (Acts 14:17), Athens (Acts 17:25-28), and elsewhere.  We should be motivated like Paul, because God’s preservation of sinful humanity will end one day.
        • Covenant preservation: God will stand with His people.
          • Gen. 45:5; Ex. 20:12; Deut. 6:12, 24; Josh. 24:17; Ps 16:1; 31:23; 37:28; 66:9
          • God is our refuge (Deut. Deut. 33:27; Ps. 9:9; 14:6)
          • God’s preservation of His people does not always mean that tribulation or persecution is non-existent, but it does mean that our soul will not see decay (Ps. 16:10).  He will carry us through.
        • Eternal providence: Our soul is safe in Him
          • John 5:25,  “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.”
          • John 10:27-20, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; 28 and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.”
            • This passage is also used in support of perseverance of the saints.  It must be clear, that not all who profess God’s Word is saved (John 8:31-59).  Not all are genuine.
            • The Bible says that there will be apostates. Judas Iscariot is one prime example.  As an apostate, he also cast out demons and healed the sick.
            • There are also serious warnings concerning apostasy: Heb. 6:4-8; 10:26-30; 1 John 2:19.
    • [More Verses]:
      • Neh. 9:6, “You alone are the Lord.
        You have made the heavens,
        The heaven of heavens with all their host,
        The earth and all that is on it,
        The seas and all that is in them.
        You give life to all of them
        And the heavenly host bows down before You.”
      • Col. 1:17, “He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.”
      • Heb. 1:3, “And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.”
  • Concurrence (Frame, 180-182)
    • [Explanation]: Focuses on His presence with His creatures.  Concurrence also takes into account the divine primary and secondary causes of all events in this world–whether bad or good.  Yes, He is the cause of all things, but is not culpable for sin.  He has a grand purpose for good and evil.
      • In contrast, the Jesuits, Socinians, and Remonstransts, believe that God  determines all things, but not the specific actions that His creatures performs.  Their theory fits wells  with the libertarian view of free-will, which I believe is inadequate in explaining the topic of evil.
      • Please see Job 38-42, Romans 9, and Habakkuk to help one develop a biblically centered view on evil.
      • For more on this topic, please see SLIMJIM’s book review:https://veritasdomain.wordpress.com/2012/10/18/review-the-grand-demonstration-by-jay-adams/
  • Government (Frame, 173)
    • [Explanation]: This points to the manner in which God directs creation to a purpose/end.
      • In light of Christ’s return, we are motivated to fight sin by the grace of God:
        • Col. 3:1-4Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.
      • In light of His return, our priorities must be in order and different from the world:
        • 2 Peter 3:11, “Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness.”
        • Matthew 6:33, “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”
      • In light of Christ’s imminent return, we need to be eager now, not later.  We need to ready to meet Him:
        • 2 Peter 3:12, “Looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and the elements will melt with intense heat!”
        • 1 John 3:3, “And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.”
          • Be fixed on Him now!  Have undistracted devotion (cf. 1 Cor. 7:35, “This I say for your own benefit; not to put a restraint upon you, but to promote what is appropriate and to secure undistracted devotion to the Lord.”)
        • 1 Thess. 5:1-10
        • 1 Peter 1:7, “So that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ;
        • 2 Peter 3:14, “Therefore, beloved, since you look for these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace,spotless and blameless.”
      • In light of Christ’s return, we know that our labors are not in vain.
        • 1 Cor. 15:58, “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord.”
      • In light of Christ’s return, we know that the pains and affliction of this world is only temporary:
        • Luke 21:28, “But when these things begin to take place, straighten up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”
      • In light of Christ’s return, we should labor because God will reward His people.  Obviously, we know we do it primarily for God’s glory, but there is a myriad of verses that points to God rewarding His people.  This is part of His governance.  It is not unseemly to consider them.
        • Ps. 19:11, “Moreover, by them Your servant is warned; In keeping them there is great reward.”
        • Matt. 5:12, 46, “Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” 46 “For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?”
        • Matt. 6:1, “Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven.”
        • Matt. 10:41-42,He who receives a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward; and he who receives a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man’s reward.42 And whoever in the name of a disciple gives to one of these little ones even a cup of cold water to drink, truly I say to you, he shall not lose his reward.”
        • Rom. 14:10, “But you, why do you judge your brother? Or you again, why do you regard your brother with contempt? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God.”
        • 1 Cor. 3:8-15Now he who plants and he who waters are one; but each will receive his own reward according to his own labor. For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building.10 According to the grace of God which was given to me, like a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building on it. But each man must be careful how he builds on it. 11 For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if any man builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, 13 each man’s work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work. 14 If any man’s work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward. 15 If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.”
        • 1 Cor. 9:17-18, 25, “For if I do this voluntarily, I have a reward; but if against my will, I have a stewardship entrusted to me. 18 What then is my reward? That, when I preach the gospel, I may offer the gospel without charge, so as not to make full use of my right in the gospel.” 25  “Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.”
        • 2 Cor. 5:10, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.”
        • Col. 3:23-25, “Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve. 25 For he who does wrong will receive the consequences of the wrong which he has done, and that without partiality.”
        • 2 Tim. 4:8, “In the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing.”
        • James 1:12, “Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.”
        • 1 Peter 5:4, “And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.”
        • 2 John 8, “Watch yourselves, that you do not lose what we have accomplished, but that you may receive a full reward.”
  • Revelation (Frame, 173)
    • [Explanation]: The providence of God seen via His revelation demonstrates His authority.  This is seen in His Word.
      • Ps. 147:15-20, “He sends forth His command to the earth;
        His word runs very swiftly.
        16 He gives snow like wool;
        He scatters the frost like ashes.
        17 He casts forth His ice as fragments;
        Who can stand before His cold?
        18 He sends forth His word and melts them;
        He causes His wind to blow and the waters to flow.
        19 He declares His words to Jacob,
        His statutes and His ordinances to Israel.
        20 He has not dealt thus with any nation;
        And as for His ordinances, they have not known them.
        Praise the Lord!
      • Providence reveals the wisdom of God, which is closely related to Scripture (authority)
        • Ps. 104; Prov. 8:22, 36)
      • Providence via His revelation demonstrates His Lordship
      • His authority seen in His revelation shows His wrath against Sin (Rom. 1:18), reveals His eternal power and divine nature (v. 20),  His decree (v. 32), etc.
      • Because of His providence seen in His Scriptural authority, people should not worship men (Acts 14:14-17) or idols (Rom. 1:23), or engage in sexual immorality (Rom. 1:2427).
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Paul1_001

  • Next verse that I will cover is Hebrews 1:8.  This verse is so enriching that I am compelled to give a introduction first before getting into the details.  To do that, covering a brief Christology of Hebrews would be helpful.
  • In the book of Hebrews, it appears that the author’s favorite title for Jesus is “Son.”  Please see 1:2, 5, 8; 3:6; 5:5, 8; 7:28.
    • 1:2, “In these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things,through whom also He made the world.”
    • 1:5, “For to which of the angels did He ever say, ‘You are My SonToday I have begotten You’?  And again, ‘I will be a Father to Him And He shall be a Son to Me'”?
    • 1:8, “But of the Son He says‘Your throne, O God, is forever and everAnd the righteous scepter is the scepter of  His kingdom.'”
    • 3:6, “But Christ was faithful as a Son over His house—whose house we are, if we hold fast our confidence and the boast of our hope firm until the end.”
    • 5:5, “So also Christ did not glorify Himself so as to become a high priest, but He who said to Him, ‘You are My SonToday I have begotten You.'”
    • 5:8, “Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered.”
    • 7:28, “For the Law appoints men as high priests who are weak, but the word of the oath, which came after the Law, appoints a Son, made perfect forever.”
  • The author also uses a more complete form: “Son of God.”  Please see 4:14; 6:6; 7:3; 10:29
    • 4:14, “Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.”
    • 6:6, “And then have fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance, since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame.”
    • 7:3, “Without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but made like the Son of God, he remains a priest perpetually.”
    • 10:29, “How much severer punishment do you think he will deserve who has trampled under foot the Son of God, and has regarded as unclean the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has insulted the Spirit of grace?”
  • As the “Son” and the “Son of God,” He is the climatic revelation to men and is greater than all the ambassadors of God (1:1-2) and even angels.
  • As the Son of God, He is:
    • Heir of all things
    • Co-agent in creation
    • Radiance of God’s glory
    • The image of God
    • The sustainer of all things
    • The holy purifier from the poison of sin
    • The one who sits at the right hand of God the Father
  • In our next installment, we will try to cover in details concerning Hebrews 1:8 because that will be our main verse of study.  We will try to cover the textual, syntactical, contextual, and apologetical areas.  Stay tuned.

 

 

 


Bibliography

Reymond, Robert L. A New Systematic Theology of the Christian Faith. Nashville: T. Nelson, 1998.


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Paul1_001

Jesus shares the name of God:

  • LORD (YHWH, Yahweh/Kyrios); Lord (Adonai [Heb. Transliteration]/Kyrios [Greek transliteration)
    • LORD GOD: Gen. 2:4; Exod. 3:15-18; Deut. 3:24 LXX [etc.]; 6:4; Pss. 34:8; 118:25; Isa. 8:12-13; 40:3, 13; 45:23; Joel 2:32
    • Lord Jesus: Matt. 3:3; 7:21-22; 8:25; 14:30; Mark 1:3; Luke 3:4; 6:46; Acts 1:24; 2:21, 36; 7:59-60; 8:25 [etc.]; Rom. 10:9-13; 1 Cor. 1:2, 8 [etc.], 31; 2:16; 4:4-5; 5:4; 6:11; 7:17, 32-35; 8:6; 10:21-22; 16:22-23; Phil. 2:9-11; 1 Peter  2:3; 3:13-15
  • Jesus is “Lord.”
    • See Acts 10:36; Romans 10:9; 1 Cor. 12:3; Phil. 2:11
    • Kyrios represents the name of Yahweh in the OT; it is the “I AM” of the Ex. 3:14.[1]  It not only means He is God, but He is Yahweh.[2]

Distinction concerning case: Yahweh/YHWH is translated “LORD” in your English Bibles while Adonai is spelled “Lord.”  To the Jewish leaders it was blasphemous for Jesus to say “I AM.”  As a result, they picked up stones to stone Him (cf. John 10:30-33).

  • First: יהוה (YHWH) Comes from the Tetragrammaton
    • This is the highest and most sanctified of divine names to the Jews.
    • Modern scholars prefer JEHOVAH OR YAHWEH.  Some even debate that we do not even know for sure he is pronounced YAHWEH.
    • Yahweh is related to the verb to “to be” in Hebrew (ehyeh).[3]
    • What is this name associated with?
      • Answer: Covenant relationship to His people, eternal nature, and His presence.
        • God’s nature for example can be seen in His transcendence (Is. 66:1), omniscience (Prov. 15:3); and His almightiness to name just a few.
    • Who did God revealed this name to first?
      • Answer: Moses at the burning bush (See. Exodus 3:13-14 and Exodus 6:3)[4]
      • “The name I am who I am or I will be” declares God’s almightiness.  He is eternal.  He cannot be hindered from being who He is, and doing what He wills (See footnote).  He did not employ the exact spelling Yahweh (יהוה/YHWH), but he used a word that was very closely related to it: “I AM” (היה/ehyeh).  The only difference is that היה does not have the yod (י)
  • Second: God proclaimed this name of the LORD to Moses by describing his moral character, nature, and role.
    • Moral character: See Exodus 34:5-7.
    • What else does God’s name reveal about His nature and His role?
      •  Nature and role.
        • This is reverberated throughout the Bible (See Ex. 20:5ff.; Numbers 14:18; 2 Chronicles 30:9; Nehemiah 1:5; 9:17, 32; Psalm 86:5, 15; 103:8-18; 111:4-9; 112:4; 116:5; 145:8 ff.,  17, 20; Joel 2:13; Jonah 4:2; Romans 2:2-6).

Answer: Instead Jesus says, “Before Abraham was born, I am.”

  • Jesus was born in Bethlehem ,but He made a statement that indicated His existence before Abraham who lived two thousand years ago.

These men were ignorant of Abraham’s understanding.  If they understood him, they would not attempt to kill Jesus because Abraham was looking forward to the Messiah; the Logos was who in the beginning with the Father (Jn 1:1).[5]

  • Key word: “Truly, truly”
    • Repeated word is drawing out a timeless truth.
      • Repetitive word points out that nothing can limit God.[6]
  • Key word: “I AM”
    • Tense: ἐγὼ εἰμί (egō eimi; present, active, indicative)
      • This expression signifies that no one can help God be who He is because this is an expression of the unconditional self-existence of God.[7]
      • Present tense verb of εἰμί: Christ was continuously existing.[8]
      • Exodus 3:14, God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM”; and He said, “Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’”
      • Jesus is inherently saying that He shares the name of God.  See how the I AM is employed in the OT & NT.
        • LORD GOD: Deut. 32:29; Isa. 41:4; 43:2, 5, 10-11, 25; 46:4; 52:6; cf. Exod. 3:14
        • Lord Jesus: John 4:26; 6:20; 8:24, 28, 58; 13:18-19; 18:5-8
      •  Jesus is saying He is the I AM WHO I AM in Exodus
        • The second clause of Exodus 3:14 that repeats the first clause is found elsewhere in the OT.[9]
          • 1 Sam. 23:13, “they went wherever they went”
          • 2 Kings 8:1, “Sojourn wherever you can sojourn”
          • Ex. 16:23, “Bake what you will bake and boil what you will boil”
          • See Ex. 4:13 & 2 Sam. 15:20
        • The point of repeating the first clause is to convey the notion of the freedom of the person to do anything that deem to pose limitations according to man.[10]
          • God is self-sufficient.
          • Nothing in Heaven, on earth, and under the earth can limit or contain God.  He is transcendent.
          • God is the only being that has complete and independent free-will.[11]
          • There is an amazing contrast between God and man because the God-man because man can never say, I will be what I want to be.Of course man is the responsible agent for the decisions he makes, but since God decrees everything, man can never have complete independent free will.[12]
          • For man to say I will be who I will be is wicked and idolatrous.  That violates the Creator-creature distinction.
            • Isaiah 47:8, Now, then, hear this, you sensual one, Who dwells securely, Who says in your heart, ‘I am, and there is no one besides me.  I will not sit as a widow, Nor know loss of children.’
            • Man is not the I AM who is self-sufficient and free from any limitations.
          •  Everything and everyone is dependent upon the I AM.
          • Even when we speak about the 10 commandments, the I AM is not subject to it because He is not able to sin.  He is also above His law.  He is not bound to anyone or anything.  He can do what He desires without contradicting His holiness.

 

 


[1]John M. Frame, Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Christian Belief (Phillipsburg, NJ: Crossway, 2013), 881.

[2]Ibid., 881.

[3]Hebrew word for “I AM” is היה (Qal, imperfect, first person, singular).  It is similar to the Hebrew word יהוה, which means LORD (Yahweh).  In the ESV the term “Lord” represents Yahweh and adon in Hebrew and kyrios in Greek; John M. Frame, Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Christian Belief (Phillipsburg, NJ: Crossway, 2013), 15.

[4]Notes on Exodus 3:14 (“I AM WHO I AM”): Points to His existence and eternality.  Same God throughout the ages.  The consonants from the Hebrew word YHWH, combined with the vowels from the divine name Adonai (Master or Lord), gave rise to the name Jehovah in the English.  Since the name Yahweh was considered so sacred that it should not be pronounced, the Massoretes inserted the vowels from Adonai to remind themselves to not pronounce as Yahweh when reading.  Technically, this combination of consonants is known as the ‘tetragrammaton (MSB, 96).'”

[5]D. A. Carson, The Gospel According to John, The Pillar New Testament Commentary, 358.

[6]G.K. Beale, The Morality of God in the Old Testament: Christian Answers to Hard Questions (Philadelphia, PA: P & R Publishing, 2013), 12.

[7]Ibid., 12.

[8]Paul Enns, The Moody Handbook of Theology: Revised and Expanded (Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers, 2014),  229.

[9]G.K. Beale, The Morality of God in the Old Testament: Christian Answers to Hard Questions, 12.

[10]Ibid., 13.

[11]G.K. Beale, The Morality of God in the Old Testament: Christian Answers to Hard Questions, 13.

[12]Ibid., 13.

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Paul1_001

  • Was God” (θεὸς ἦν ὁ λόγος; literal translation is “God was the Word”)
    • Recap of grammar background (predicate nominative, comes first before the subject nominative)
      • θεὸς (“God”).  The predicate is “God.”
      • ὁ λόγος appears in each of the three clauses (subject of this clause is “The Word”) is the subject (also in the nominative): the Word (3x).
      • Between the predicate nominative and the subject is a linking verb (“was”).
      • Predicate usually follows the linking verb.  You see that in the English translation.  In the Greek, the predicate comes first.  WHY?  Because…
      • There is special emphasis when the predicate nominative is first.  The fact that God is first in the sentence emphasizes that the Word is God in nature, essence, and attributes.
      • Also, since there is no definite article (“the”) before “God” it does show that the Word is not the same person as the Father, but the Word is equal in essenceattributes, quality, & nature to the Father.
      • Moreover, the structure of the third clause, “theos en ho logos” (θεὸς ἦν ὁ λόγος), demands that it is translated as “the Word was God.”
        • That is corroborated by the fact that “the Word” is preceded by an article; thereby making it a subject (that is why our English translations shows the Word being “the Word”…being translated first).  This prevents Sabellianism (Modalism) whereby God the Father is perceived to be the Word.  The Word (second person of the Trinity) is not the Father and the Father is not the Word.
        • Verses in the Book of John that describes Jesus Christ as being the same as God the Father in essence and nature, but different in person-hood (John 8:56-59 (cf. Exo. 3:13-14); 10:28-33; 14:6-11; 1 John 5:20; (also John 8:23; 3:12-13; 5:17-18).  This complements the third clause in John 1:1 (“The Word was God”). Jn 20:28, “Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!”
      • And ἦν (ēn), the imperfect ([stresses continual existence from the past time] of εἰμί), which is a linking verb, appears three times in verse 1.
        • In the beginning was the Word,
        • And the Word was with God,
        • And God was the Word [literal translation, but a good translation would be the other way around]
        • Saying that he was “a god” undermines the imperfect tense (“was”).  That fact that the tense of the verb is in the imperfect tense indicates that Jesus was not “a god” but was God who existed before time and the God that was never created.  The Word cannot be created because He is eternal.  That is why we believe in the pre-existence of Christ.
      • Secondly, λόγος is coordinated with God; thus it is distinguishable that the Son is a different person from the Father (see Heb. 1:8-9).  Three persons, but one God.
      • Although θεὸς is anarthrous (has no article), it does not mean one should translate θεὸς ἦν ὁ λόγος  (theos ēn ho logos) “the Word was a god,” as the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ New World Translation suggests.  It is evident in many occasions that when John uses θεὸς without an article (John 1:6, 12, 13, 18), it is in reference to God the Father (thus, still definite). If the Jehovah’s Witness want to translate as “a god” whenever they see θεὸς as anarthrous, then they should translate those verses that has to do with God in John 1:6, 12, 13, 18 as they would with John 1:1.
      •  You could still have a definite predicate noun in this construction, placed before the verb, to be anarthrous (that is, to have no article) (D.A. Carson, The Gospel According to John, 117).  Therefore, contextually, God is still definite.
        • Please see New World Translation on the following verses:
          • John 1:6, “There came a man who was sent as a representative of God; his name was John.”
          • John 1:12, “However, to all who did receive him, he gave authority to become God’s children.”
          • John 1:13, “And they were born, not from blood or from a fleshly will or from man’s will, but from God.”
          • John 1:18, “No man has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is at the Father’s side is the one who has explained Him.”
        • Please see the UBS (4th edition) Greek translation of the above verses and pay attention θεοῦ which is anarthrous (without a definite article before θεοῦ).  The JW is not consistent because they did not translate θεοῦ (God) as “a god” as they did with John 1:1 (“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was a god.”).  They are applying bad translation principles.
          • John 1:6, Ἐγένετο ἄνθρωπος, ἀπεσταλμένος παρὰ θεοῦ, ὄνομα αὐτῷ Ἰωάννης·
          • John 1:12, ὅσοι δὲ ἔλαβον αὐτόν, ἔδωκεν αὐτοῖς ἐξουσίαν τέκνα θεοῦ γενέσθαι, τοῖς πιστεύουσιν εἰς τὸ ὄνομα αὐτοῦ,
          • John 1:13, οἳ οὐκ ἐξ αἱμάτων οὐδὲ ἐκ θελήματος σαρκὸς οὐδὲ ἐκ θελήματος ἀνδρὸς ἀλλʼ ἐκ θεοῦ ἐγεννήθησαν.
          • John 1:18, θεὸν οὐδεὶς ἑώρακεν πώποτε· μονογενὴς θεὸς ὁ ὢν εἰς τὸν κόλπον τοῦ πατρὸς ἐκεῖνος ἐξηγήσατο
        • Implications
          • Clearly you see the inconsistencies and contradictions of the New World Translation regarding the word θεὸς (Theos) when it is anarthrous.  Context can not be ignored  here.  Clearly John is referring to more than one person.  The other person who is the Word is not a god, but God.
          • In John 1:1, the Apostle John wants to distinguish the Father from the Son.  He is not separating them ontologically in the area of deity because we see the Trinity as one God (Deuteronomy 6:4; cf. 1 Corinthians 8:5-6).  But he is separating them ontologically in terms of persons (three different persons, but one God).
          • And clearly John is not saying that Jesus is a god because that would violate Scripture’s understanding of the role of God as creator and the One who is our only object of worship.  No one can be worshipped, but God alone.  We are monotheists (Trinity).
  • In other words, if Jesus was a god, then He cannot be worshipped nor can He be the agent of creation.  The main role of worship and creation is limited only to God.  No angel nor “a god” (which does not exist) can be worshipped or have the power to create.
    • Glory:
      • Isaiah 42:8, “I am the Lord, that is My name; I will not give My glory to another, Nor My praise to graven images.”
    • Worship:
      • Acts 10:25-26, “When Peter entered, Cornelius met him, and fell at his feet and worshiped him. 26 But Peter raised him up, saying, “Stand up; I too am just a man.”
      • Revelation 19:9-10, “Then he *said to me, “Write, ‘Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.’” And he *said to me, “These are true words of God.” 10 Then I fell at his feet to worship him. But he *said to me, “Do not do that; I am a fellow servant of yours and your brethren who hold the testimony of Jesus; worship God. For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.”
      • Revelation 5
      • Matthew 2:2; John 9:38; John 8:24; Luke 5:12 (‘worship’ is proskuneo)
      • Luke 5:8, But when Simon Peter saw that, he fell down at Jesus’ feet, saying, “Go away from me Lord, for I am a sinful man!”
      • Hebrews 1:6, “And when He again brings the firstborn into the world, He says, “AND LET ALL THE  ANGELS OF GOD WORSHIP HIM.”
    • Even in His incarnation, He did not cease to be God
      • Even though He emptied Himself  (Philippians 2:7; Mark 13:32) by becoming the suffering Servant, the bond-servant (slave); and choosing not to exercise some of His independent attributes, He was still fully God.
      • (Philippians 2:7; Mark 13:32) by becoming the suffering Servant, the bond-servant (slave); and choosing not to exercise some of His independent attributes, He was still fully God.
      • Amazing Grace!
  • Quote: Benjamin B. Warfield said:

‘And the Word was with God.’  The language is pregnant. It is not merely coexistence with God that is asserted, as of two beings standing side by side, united in local relation, or even in a common conception. What is suggested is an active relation of intercourse. The distinct personality of the Word is therefore not obscurely intimated. From all eternity the Word has been with God as a fellow: He who in the very beginning already ‘was,’ ‘was’ also in communion with God. Though He was thus in some sense a second along with God, He was nevertheless not a separate being from God: ‘And the Word was’ –still the eternal ‘was’ –‘God.’ In some sense distinguishable from God, He was in an equally true sense identical with God. There is but one eternal God; this eternal God, the Word is; in whatever sense we may distinguish Him from the God whom He is ‘with,’ He is yet not another than this God, but Himself is this God. The predicate ‘God’ occupies the position of emphasis in this great declaration, and is so placed in the sentence as to be thrown up in sharp contrast with the phrase ‘with God,’ as if to prevent inadequate inferences as to the nature of the Word being drawn even momentarily from that phrase. John would have us realize that what the Word was in eternity was not merely God’s coeternal fellow, but the eternal God’s self” (Benjamin Breckenridge Warfield, The Person and Work of Christ, 53).

  • Quote: James White said:

The Beloved Apostle walks a tight line here. By the simple ommission of the article (“the”, or in Greek, ho) before the word for God in the last phrase, John avoids teaching Sabellianism[1], while by placing the word where it is in the clause, he defeats another heresy, Arianism, which denies the true Deity of the Lord Jesus. A person who accepts the inspiration of the Scriptures can not help but be thrilled at this passage” (http://vintage.aomin.org/JOHN1_1.html).

  • Quote:  The bonafide Greek scholar AT Robertson says this about the last clause in John 1:1:

And the Word was God (kai theos en ho logos). By exact and careful language John denied Sabellianism by not saying ho theos en ho logos. That would mean that all of God was expressed in ho logos and the terms would be interchangeable, each having the article. The subject is made plain by the article (ho logos) and the predicate without it (theos) just as in John 4:24 pneuma ho theos can only mean “God is spirit,” not ‘spirit is God.’  So in 1 John 4:16 ho theos agape estin can only mean ‘God is love,’ not ‘love is God’ as a so-called Christian scientist would confusedly say. For the article with the predicate see Robertson, Grammar, pp. 767f. So in John 1:14 ho Logos sarx egeneto, ‘the Word became flesh,’ not ‘the flesh became Word.’  Luther argues that here John disposes of Arianism also because the Logos was eternally God, fellowship of the Father and Son, what Origen called the Eternal Generation of the Son (each necessary to the other). Thus in the Trinity we see personal fellowship on an equality” ( A. T. Robertson, Word Pictures in the New Testament, vol. 5, 4-5).

  • Quote: F.F. Bruce on NWT:

It is nowhere more sadly true than in the acquisition of Greek that ‘a little learning is a dangerous thing.’ The uses of the Greek article, the functions of Greek prepositions, and the fine distinctions between Greek tenses are confidently expounded in public at times by men who find considerable difficulty in using these parts of speech accurately in their native tongue….Those people who emphasize that the true rendering of the last clause of John 1:1 is ‘the word was a god,’  prove nothing thereby save their ignorance of Greek grammar” ( F. F. Bruce, The Books and the Parchments, 60-61).

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Paul1_001

Some areas I plan to cover in our future meetings:

  • Life, Virgin birth, Baptism, Messianic Secret, Miracles, Teachings, Parables, Ipsissima vox, Temptation, Resurrection, Ascension, Pre-existence, Eternal Sonship, Eternal generation, Deity, Two natures, Incarnation, Humanity, Offices, Jewishness, Suffering Servant, Second Adam, Sinlessness, Impeccability, Emotions, Atonement, Historicity, Genealogy, Messianic prophecy, Jesus and the Law

“Now the Christian meaning of the term “deity of Christ” is fairly clear. The Christian believes that there is a personal God, Creator and Ruler of the universe, a God who is infinite, eternal and unchangeable. So when the Christian says that Jesus Christ is God, or when he says that he believes in the “deity of Christ,” he means that that same person who is known to history as Jesus of Nazareth existed, before He became man, from all eternity as infinite, eternal and unchangeable God, the second person of the holy Trinity.”—J. Gresham Machen, What is the Deity of Christ?

“Possibly we do not always fully realize the nature of the issue here brought before us. Here is a young man scarcely thirty-three years of age, emerged from obscurity only for the brief space of three years, living during those years under the scorn of the world, which grew steadily in intensity and finally passed into hatred, and dying at the end the death of a malefactor: but leaving behind Him the germs of a world-wide community, the spring of whose vitality is the firm conviction that He was God manifest in the flesh. If anything human is obvious it is obvious that this conviction was not formed and fixed without evidence for it of the most convincing kind. The account His followers themselves gave of the matter is that their faith was grounded not merely in His assertions, nor merely in the impression His personality made upon them in conjunction with His claims, but specifically in a series of divine deeds, culminating in His rising from the dead, setting its seal upon His claims and the impression made by His personality.”—B. B. Warfield, The Lord of Glory: A Classic Defense of the Deity of Jesus Christ, p. 301

PURPOSE: Eternality and deity of Christ

But the first aspect we see in this study…

  1.  Point 1: John 1:1, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with   God, and the Word was God.”  Ἐν ἀρχῇ ἦν ὁ λόγος, καὶ ὁ λόγος ἦν πρὸς τὸν θεόν, καὶ θεὸς ἦν ὁ λόγος.[1]  En arche en ho logos, kai ho logos en pros ton theon, kai theos en ho logos.
    1. Proof:
      1. In the beginning” (Ἐν ἀρχῇ) is in reference to creation (Gen. 1:1).  John refers to creation too in John 1:3-4).
        • ἀρχῇ(archē): Means origin.  The Word is the originator of all things.
          • John is referring to the beginning of all things (Gen. 1:1; Jn 1:3-4)—the beginning of the universe.[2]
        • This phrase, “In the beginning” is different from 1 Jn 1:1, whereby John is referring to the starting point of Jesus’ ministry and Gospel preaching.  Here in the Gospel of John, the starting point is related to creation, the beginning of the universe.
          • John is basically saying that at the time of the creation of the world, Jesus was already there; and Jesus continuously existed.  In other words, this refers to His pre-existence.  It does not mean that when the world was created, Jesus came into existence.  For example, SEE (ἦν; ēn).  He antedates the beginning of creation.
      2. The word “was” (ἦν; ēn) in the phrase “In the beginning was the Word” is the Greek.
        • ἦν (IAI3S) came from εἰμί (to be)
          • Stresses continual existence in the past time.  Stresses the pre-existence of the Word (Jesus Christ).
          • Good translation would be, “In the beginning the Word was continually existing.”[3]
        • Implication:  The Word goes back before the origin of the universe.  You go back as far as you can and the Word was always there.
        • John does not use the genealogy like Matthew and Luke.
          • Jesus’ humanity=genealogy
          • Jesus’ deity=no genealogy
            • Without the genealogy, John is pointing out the PRE-EXISTENCE & ETERNALITY of Christ.  Before He became the God-man, he had no genealogy (John 1:14).  Whenever genealogy is used in both OT & NT, it is in reference to His humanity.
        • (ἦν; ēn) is different from the verb “to become” (egeneto) that is used in Jn 1:6, 10, 12.  You see the verb “to become” flushing out more clearly with its purpose verse 14; whereby the starting point is in reference to the incarnation. In other words “the Word became flesh” (Jn 1:14).
        • The eternal Word became flesh.
        • The eternal Word that is equal in essence and nature made contact with polluted sinners.
      3. The Word (λόγος); Hebrew=dāḇār
        • Vocabulary is borrowed not only from the OT, but also from Gr. philosophy.
        • Jews saw it as the Word expressing itself in creation, revelation, and deliverance; while the Greeks saw the Word as a rational principle of divine reason, intellect, wisdom, and knowledge.”[4]
        • But it is important to note that the Greek understanding is not the exclusive background here, but the OT understanding of the Word is at play.
        • Word definitely has connection and alludes to the OT meaning (Ge. 1:3; Pss 33:6; 107:20; Pr. 8:27); and it is made in reference to a person, Jesus Christ.  The Greek philosophical background is not the exclusive content.
          • Creation: Gen. 1:3, “Then God said, ‘Let there be light’ and there was light;” Ps 33:6, “By the word of the LORD the heavens were made, And by the breath of His mouth all their host.”
          • Revelation: Je. 1:4, “Now the word of the Lord came to me saying”; Isa. 9:8, “The Lord sends a message against Jacob, And it falls on Israel”; Ezk. 33:7; Am 3:1,8
          • Deliverance: Ps. 107:20, “He sent His word  and healed them, And He delivered them from their destructions; Is. 55:11, “So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; It will not return to Me empty, Without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.”
        • However, the “Word” is used by John because he wanted to reach out to both groups.  Both groups understood this term
      4. The Word was with God” (ὁ λόγος ἦν πρὸς [pros] τὸν θεόν)
        • The Word is with (πρὸς [pros]) God.  Clearly John is making a distinction that there are two separate persons involved.  This goes against the teaching of the heresy called Sabellianism/ Modalism (they teach that there is one God who takes on different modes).  They deny the distinction of personhood.
        • He had intimate timeless fellowship with His Father throughout all eternity (Is 6:1-13; 12:41; 17:5), but He willingly left His royal chamber by taking on a form of a man.  The sacrifice is eternal because He will always be the God-man.  Even in the future he is still God incarnate (Revelation 5:6).
        • It is amazing that the eternal Son of God would take on flesh.

 

 


[1]Kurt Aland et al., The Greek New Testament, Fourth Revised Edition (with Morphology) (Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 1993; 2006), Jn 1:1.

[2]D. A. Carson, The Gospel According to John, The Pillar New Testament Commentary (Leicester, England; Grand Rapids, MI: Inter-Varsity Press; W.B. Eerdmans, 1991), 113.

[3]Enns, Paul P. The Moody Handbook of Theology: Revised and Expanded  (Chicago, Ill: Moody Press, 2014), 229.

[4]John MacArthur.  The MacArthur Study BibleNew American Standard Bible (Nashville: Nelson Bibles, 2006), 1539.

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