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Biblical Languages 301 Guidelines

This is where we come to delve into the biblical text. Theology is not our foremost thought, but we realize it is something that will be dealt with in nearly every conversation. Feel free to use the original languages to make your point (meaning Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic). This is an exegetical discussion area, so please limit topics to purely biblical ones.

This is not the section for debates between theists and atheists. While a theistic viewpoint is not required for discussion in this area, discussion does presuppose a respect for the integrity of the Biblical text (or the willingness to accept such a presupposition for discussion purposes) and a respect for the integrity of the faith of others and a lack of an agenda to undermine the faith of others.

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καὶ θεὸς ἦν ὁ λόγος.

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  • καὶ θεὸς ἦν ὁ λόγος.

    καὶ θεὸς ἦν ὁ λόγος.

    The imperfect or "past" tense ἦν is problematic if one wishes to argue that θεὸς here is a reference to God (as in the Almighty). In Scripture even when a past time frame is in view when it comes to God, he is declared to be God using the present tense. In other words, had the author of John 1:1 believed "the Word" to be the Almighty, he would have written the following instead:

    Ἐν ἀρχῇ ἦν ὁ λόγος, καὶ ὁ λόγος ἦν πρὸς τὸν θεόν, καὶ θεὸς ἐστὶν ὁ λόγος.
    "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word is God."

    Take a look at Psalm 90:2 (LXX 89:2) for instance:

    πρὸ τοῦ ὄρη γενηθῆναι καὶ πλασθῆναι τὴν γῆν καὶ τὴν οἰκουμένην καὶ ἀπὸ τοῦ αἰῶνος ἕως τοῦ αἰῶνος σὺ εἶ

    Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, you are God.
    Not "you were (ἦς) God."

  • #2
    But this is describing Jesus in the beginning, so the natural tense to use is "was", as in the other phrases.

    Blessings,
    Lee
    "What I pray of you is, to keep your eye upon Him, for that is everything. Do you say, 'How am I to keep my eye on Him?' I reply, keep your eye off everything else, and you will soon see Him. All depends on the eye of faith being kept on Him. How simple it is!" (J.B. Stoney)

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    • #3
      Originally posted by lee_merrill View Post
      But this is describing Jesus in the beginning, so the natural tense to use is "was", as in the other phrases.

      Blessings,
      Lee
      When “describing” the Lord as being God, the bible uses the present tense even if the frame of reference is the past ( eg. “tin the beginning,” “before the earth was,” etc.)

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      • #4
        "Before you had formed the earth, you are God" NOT "Before you had formed the earth (past), you were God." Similarly had the author of John 1:1 believed Jesus to be God, he would have written " ..The Word was with God (past) , and the Word is God."

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        • #5
          why just speak of verses here and there? Haven't you prepared a comprehensive presentation of your doctrine?

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Unitarian101 View Post
            "Before you had formed the earth, you are God" NOT "Before you had formed the earth (past), you were God." Similarly had the author of John 1:1 believed Jesus to be God, he would have written " ..The Word was with God (past) , and the Word is God."
            Maybe John didn't have you to advise him when he was writing this. You are trying to prescribe the correct verbiage for John to use when writing about a complex topic. Are you trying to say Jesus is a creature formed from the Word shedding his own deity and now just being human?

            My quick understanding here is that John is saying that Jesus, before incarnation, was in the form of God. But, having become incarnate, was in the form of mankind. So Jesus, loosely speaking, did not walk around in a fashion expressing the full powers of Deity. (Hopefully I have not done an injustice to the doctrine of the Trinity here.)
            Last edited by mikewhitney; 12-17-2019, 02:32 AM.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by mikewhitney View Post
              Maybe John didn't have you to advise him when he was writing this. You are trying to prescribe the correct verbiage for John to use when writing about a complex topic. Are you trying to say Jesus is a creature formed from the Word shedding his own deity and now just being human?

              My quick understanding here is that John is saying that Jesus, before incarnation, was in the form of God. But, having become incarnate, was in the form of mankind. So Jesus, loosely speaking, did not walk around in a fashion expressing the full powers of Deity. (Hopefully I have not done an injustice to the doctrine of the Trinity here.)
              For starters, John 1:1c is not "saying" that.

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