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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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ὁ Λόγος

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  • ὁ Λόγος

    I was looking at this verse:

    Ἐν ἀρχῇ ἦν ὁ Λόγος, καὶ ὁ Λόγος ἦν πρὸς τὸν Θεόν, καὶ Θεὸς ἦν ὁ Λόγος.

    John 1:1

    Does ὁ Λόγος / Λόγος ever refer to a literally pre-existing non-human Spirit being in the bible ( OT & or NT), as Trinitarian Christians would have it ?

    I believe biblical words should be given biblical meanings. The word Λόγος Is used hundreds of times in the OT and the NT, around 400 times in the NT alone.

  • #2
    Λογος appears 334 times in 318 verses of the NT - quotations here: https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang...?strongs=G3056

    Short answer: No.

    The word “literally” is probably best avoided - “really” might convey your meaning better. Literality, and reality, are very different ideas.

    As for the theology of the Second Person of the Holy Trinity - it is based, in large part, not on explicit, systematic, declarations of Scripture, but on a combination of those, with what follows from them “by good and necessary consequence”. For instance, if Jesus Christ is shown by Scripture to be God in person, and not a mere creature, however noble, godly or exalted, then what is asserted as true of God must therefore be true of Jesus Christ. And many passages in the NT show Jesus Christ performing actions that Scripture shows God doing, such as forgiving sins, or receiving Divine worship.

    Comment


    • #3
      The following is adapted from The Oxford Classical Dictionary, Third Edition. Eds Simon Hornblower and Antony Spawforth


      Logos [[i]λόγος]/i] is one of the central terms of classical Greek culture, whose main range is covered by two different sets of terms in English: (a) 'speech', i.e. either the activity of speaking (k£ceim) or the thing said ; and (b) 'reason', either in a wide sense or in the sense of 'argument' [λογίζεσθαι].

      In role (a) the term comes to be used especially of prose speeches (as opposed to poetry), and of non-fictional accounts in general; but at this point it is already merging into role (b), for which, for example Protagoras' claim to be able 'to make the weaker logos the stronger', in those areas of ordinary life—particularly the law-courts—where argument mattered.

      Those ancient Greek philosophers who think of the world as having an ordered structure may express the idea by saying that it runs 'according to logos', i.e. is rational or intelligible. But they may also go on to suggest that the world is 'rational' in the sense of possessing reason; so, perhaps first, Plato [whose Timaeus makes the world a living, rational creature with a soul which moves itself through the heavens], and after him the Stoics, who see everything as interpenetrated, activated, and ordered by logos—also identified with creative fire, and with god/Zeus. According to some [including the Stoics themselves] a view like the last is already to be found in Heraclitus but Heraclitus is more likely to have had in mind the less extravagant idea of the world as accessible to human reason.

      In later Platonism, and then in early Christian thought logos often stands for an organising principle or force separate from, but vitally connected with, cosmic mind [nous] or God; in Neoplatonism, as in Stoicism, the coming-to-be of things in the world may be expressed in terms of the operation of a plurality of such principles or logoi.

      Such thinking seems to combine elements of both the notion of a cosmic logos or reason imposing order from the outside [in the philosophers, deriving especially from a literal reading of the figure of the Divine Craftsman in Plato's Timaeus] and that of an immanent divine logos. The idea in the gospel of John of the incarnation of logos in Christ is no doubt in part a similar reworking and recombination of such older ideas in a new context.

      C. H. Kahn, The Art and Thought of Heraclitus [1979]; G. Vlastos, Plato's Universe [1975]; M. L. Colish, The Stoic Tradition from Antiquity to the Early Middle Ages [1985]
      "Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful" Attrib. Seneca 4 BCE - 65 CE

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Rushing Jaws View Post
        Λογος appears 334 times in 318 verses of the NT - quotations here: https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang...?strongs=G3056

        Short answer: No.

        The word “literally” is probably best avoided - “really” might convey your meaning better. Literality, and reality, are very different ideas.

        As for the theology of the Second Person of the Holy Trinity - it is based, in large part, not on explicit, systematic, declarations of Scripture, but on a combination of those, with what follows from them “by good and necessary consequence”. For instance, if Jesus Christ is shown by Scripture to be God in person, and not a mere creature, however noble, godly or exalted, then what is asserted as true of God must therefore be true of Jesus Christ. And many passages in the NT show Jesus Christ performing actions that Scripture shows God doing, such as forgiving sins, or receiving Divine worship.
        Red above,....Will do that.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Hypatia_Alexandria View Post
          The following is adapted from The Oxford Classical Dictionary, Third Edition. Eds Simon Hornblower and Antony Spawforth


          Logos [[i]λόγος]/i] is one of the central terms of classical Greek culture, whose main range is covered by two different sets of terms in English: (a) 'speech', i.e. either the activity of speaking (k£ceim) or the thing said ; and (b) 'reason', either in a wide sense or in the sense of 'argument' [λογίζεσθαι].

          In role (a) the term comes to be used especially of prose speeches (as opposed to poetry), and of non-fictional accounts in general; but at this point it is already merging into role (b), for which, for example Protagoras' claim to be able 'to make the weaker logos the stronger', in those areas of ordinary life—particularly the law-courts—where argument mattered.

          Those ancient Greek philosophers who think of the world as having an ordered structure may express the idea by saying that it runs 'according to logos', i.e. is rational or intelligible. But they may also go on to suggest that the world is 'rational' in the sense of possessing reason; so, perhaps first, Plato [whose Timaeus makes the world a living, rational creature with a soul which moves itself through the heavens], and after him the Stoics, who see everything as interpenetrated, activated, and ordered by logos—also identified with creative fire, and with god/Zeus. According to some [including the Stoics themselves] a view like the last is already to be found in Heraclitus but Heraclitus is more likely to have had in mind the less extravagant idea of the world as accessible to human reason.

          In later Platonism, and then in early Christian thought logos often stands for an organising principle or force separate from, but vitally connected with, cosmic mind [nous] or God; in Neoplatonism, as in Stoicism, the coming-to-be of things in the world may be expressed in terms of the operation of a plurality of such principles or logoi.

          Such thinking seems to combine elements of both the notion of a cosmic logos or reason imposing order from the outside [in the philosophers, deriving especially from a literal reading of the figure of the Divine Craftsman in Plato's Timaeus] and that of an immanent divine logos. The idea in the gospel of John of the incarnation of logos in Christ is no doubt in part a similar reworking and recombination of such older ideas in a new context.

          C. H. Kahn, The Art and Thought of Heraclitus [1979]; G. Vlastos, Plato's Universe [1975]; M. L. Colish, The Stoic Tradition from Antiquity to the Early Middle Ages [1985]
          Alternatively, the later interpretaters of Christian writers have placed too much emphasis on Platonic thinking when trying to understand scriptures and Christian writers. However, there are likely some Christian writers who improperly influenced by Platonism in their interpretation of scripture.

          The ties of John's gospel to Platonism seem tenuous ... maybe just barely perceptible (and therefore, mostly insignificant). All the ideas expressed about logos in this dictionary relating to reason seem unrelated to the usage of logos by John.

          Maybe there is some logic you have in mind here?
          Last edited by mikewhitney; 07-21-2020, 02:13 PM.

          Comment


          • #6
            Another weakness of the Oxford interpretation is that of assuming the word's meaning from other contexts more than from its use in the passage itself.

            This is sort of like talking about one's family tree. The audience then asks "is it an apple tree or a fir tree?" This over dependence on external definitions or usage (even usage within scriptures) happens in the scholarly world of exegesis. The challenging example is the use of flesh (sarx) in scripture. This can refer to bloodline relationship, to carnal behavior or to numerous other options. This is why we have to work hard on reading comprehension.

            So, the description of the word in other contexts may be fine for the purpose of their dictionary but the meaning does not carry forth to scripture in any coherent fashion.

            Comment


            • #7
              In Greek when one "person" is said to be "with" another (actual/real, not metaphorical "person") in a construction like John 1:1b, the preposition μετὰ, rather than πρὸς is used. So if apostle John wanted to say that a really existing person was "with" or "in the presence" of God in John 1:1b, he would have written the following: καὶ ὁ λόγος ἦν μετὰ τοῦ θεοῦ.

              But when the preposition πρὸς is used (with a stative "to be" verb) in a construction like above, one of the two is invariably a thing, and not a person. So we have the following examples:

              καὶ πᾶς ὁ ὄχλος πρὸς τὴν θάλασσαν ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς ἦσαν, "and the entire crowd was facing the sea upon the land.." "The sea" is not a person.

              Mark 4:1

              And again, Genesis 15:1 LXX,

              ἐγενήθη ῥῆμα κυρίου πρὸς Αβραμ, "The Word of God came to be in the presence of Abraham." Here "the Word of God" is not a person.

              And again in Genesis 15:4,

              καὶ εὐθὺς φωνὴ κυρίου ἐγένετο πρὸς αὐτὸν, "and immediately the Word of God was with him," where "the Word of God" once again is not a person.


              So the fact that the apostle used the preposition πρὸς in a construction like John 1:1b and not μετὰ strongly indicates to me that he did not view ὁ λόγος at this time to be an actual person.
              Last edited by Unitarian101; 07-21-2020, 03:29 PM.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by mikewhitney View Post
                Alternatively, the later interpretaters of Christian writers have placed too much emphasis on Platonic thinking when trying to understand scriptures and Christian writers. However, there are likely some Christian writers who improperly influenced by Platonism in their interpretation of scripture.

                The ties of John's gospel to Platonism seem tenuous ... maybe just barely perceptible (and therefore, mostly insignificant). All the ideas expressed about logos in this dictionary relating to reason seem unrelated to the usage of logos by John.

                Maybe there is some logic you have in mind here?
                I personally think the prologue is informed by Jewish ( rather than by Greek) paradigms because apostle John was a Jew and not a pagan. On this score, the Talmudim would be a good place to start. Here is the Jewish Encyclopedia under the heading of "preexistence":


                An ancient baraita handed down in different versions enumerates six or seven persons or things created before the world came into existence: (1) the Torah, which is called "the firstling of His way" (Prov. viii. 22, Hebr.); (2) the throne of glory, which is "established of old" (Ps. xciii. 2); (3) the sanctuary—"From the beginning is the place of our sanctuary" (Jer. xvii. 12); (4) the Patriarchs—"I saw your fathers as the first ripe in the fig-tree at her first time" (Hos. ix. 10); (5) Israel—"Thy congregation, which Thou hast created from the beginning" (Ps. lxxiv. 2, Hebr.); (6) the Messiah—"Before the sun his name sprouts forth as Yinnon, 'the Awakener'" (Ps. lxxii. 17, rabbinical interpretation); also, "His issue is from the beginning" (Micah v. 1; Pirḳe R. El. iii.); (7) repentance—"Before the mountains were brought forth, or even thou hadst formed the earth and the world," Thou saidst, "Return [to God] ye children of men" (Ps. xc. 2-3)....

                . In the New Testament. In the New Testament the same view is expressed regarding the preexistence of persons and things forming part of the divine salvation. When Jesus, in John viii. 58, says, "Before Abraham was, I am," allusion is made to the preexistence of the Messiah. So is the Kingdom—that is, the reward of paradise—"prepared for you [the righteous] from the foundation of the world" (Matt. xxv. 34; comp. Abot iii. 16). From Matt. xiii. 35 it appears that the "dark sayings of old" of Ps. lxxviii. 2 was understood to refer to Messianic secrets prepared from the foundation of the world. Similarly the names of the righteous are "written in the book of life from the foundation of the world" (Rev. xvii. 8). But the blood of the martyr prophets was also believed to have been "shed from the foundation of the world" (Luke xi. 50); hence, also, that of the "Lamb" (Rev. xiii. 8; Heb. ix. 26). The Apostles claimed to have been, with their master, "chosen from the foundation of the world" (Eph. i. 4; comp. John xvii. 24; I Peter i. 20; Heb. iv. 3).



                Preexistence of the Messiah: This includes his existence before Creation; the existence of his name; his existence after the creation of the world. Two Biblical passages favor the view of the preexistence of the Messiah: Micah v. 1 (A. V. 2), speaking of the Bethlehemite ruler, says that his "goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting"; Dan. vii. 13 speaks of "one like the Son of man," who "came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days." In the Messianic similitudes of Enoch (xxxvii.-lxxi.) the three preexistences are spoken of: "The Messiah was chosen of God before the creation of the world, and he shall be before Him to eternity" (xlviii. 6). Before the sun and the signs of the zodiac were created, or ever the stars of heaven were formed his name was uttered in the presence of the Lord of Spirits (= God; xlviii. 3). Apart from these passages, there are only general statements that the Messiah was hidden and preserved by God (lxii. 6-7, xlvi. 1-3), without any declaration as to when he began to be. His preexistence is affirmed also in II Esdras (about 90 C.E.), according to which he has been preserved and hidden by God "a great season"; nor shall mankind see him save at the hour of his appointed day (xii. 32; xiii. 26, 52; xiv. 9), although no mention is made of the antemundane existence either of his person or of his name (comp. Syriac Apoc. Baruch, xxix. 3). Thus also the Rabbis. Of the seven things fashioned before the creation of the world, the last was the name of the Messiah (comp. Ps. lxxii. 17; Pes. 54a; Tan., Naso, ed. Buber, No. 19; and parallels); and the Targum regards the preexistence of the Messiah's name as implied in Micah v. 1 (A. V. 2), Zech. iv. 7, and Ps. lxxii. 17. The "Spirit of God" which "moved upon the face of the waters" (Gen. i. 2) is the spirit of the Messiah (Gen. R. viii. 1; comp. Pesiḳ. R. 152b, which reads as follows, alluding to Isa. xi. 2: "The Messiah was born [created] when the world was made, although his existence had been contemplated before the Creation"). Referring to Ps. xxxvi. 10 and Gen. i. 4, Pesiḳta Rabba declares (161b): "God beheld the Messiah and his deeds before the Creation, but He hid him and his generation under His throne of glory." Seeing him, Satan said, "That is the Messiah who will dethrone me." God said to the Messiah, "Ephraim, anointed of My righteousness, thou hast taken upon thee the sufferings of the six days of Creation" (162a; comp. Yalḳ., Isa. 499). The preexistence of the Messiah in heaven and his high station there are often mentioned. Akiba interprets Dan. vii. 9 as referring to two heavenly thrones—the one occupied by God and the other by the Messiah (Ḥag. 14a; comp. Enoch, lv. 4, lxix. 29), with whom God converses (Pes. 118b; Suk. 52a).

                When Jews think of "preexistence" they do not imagine actually preexisting Divine beings who "incarnate" in human form in order to help humanity, as the Greeks and Hindoos do, but the "preexistence" in view is understood to be an existence in the "mind" of God, in His "priority" in terms of his overall plan for the entire Kosmos spanning the ages.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Unitarian101 View Post
                  I personally think the prologue is informed by Jewish ( rather than by Greek) paradigms because apostle John was a Jew and not a pagan. On this score, the Talmudim would be a good place to start. Here is the Jewish Encyclopedia under the heading of "preexistence":


                  When Jews think of "preexistence" they do not imagine actually preexisting Divine beings who "incarnate" in human form in order to help humanity, as the Greeks and Hindoos do, but the "preexistence" in view is understood to be an existence in the "mind" of God, in His "priority" in terms of his overall plan for the entire Kosmos spanning the ages.
                  The OT scriptures did not seek to inform the Before-Christ readers of the deity of Christ in any explicit ways. Many people here have placed an artificial preference as their requirement as to how God should reveal himself and his Messiah. However, we do already know in the OT that God was one but was also a plurality. It was not until the later first century writings that we find a rejection of this plurality within the Godhead.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by mikewhitney View Post
                    The OT scriptures did not seek to inform the Before-Christ readers of the deity of Christ in any explicit ways. Many people here have placed an artificial preference as their requirement as to how God should reveal himself and his Messiah. However, we do already know in the OT that God was one but was also a plurality. It was not until the later first century writings that we find a rejection of this plurality within the Godhead.
                    Are you arguing that the Jews of Jesus's day (including Caiaphas / Καϊάφας [יוֹסֵף בַּר קַיָּפָא, Joseph son of Caiaphas]), the High Priest of Israel at that time, believed in the "plurality within the Godhead ?"

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Unitarian101 View Post
                      And again, Genesis 15:1 LXX,

                      ἐγενήθη ῥῆμα κυρίου πρὸς Αβραμ, "The Word of God came to be in the presence of Abraham." Here "the Word of God" is not a person.

                      So the fact that the apostle used the preposition πρὸς in a construction like John 1:1b and not μετὰ strongly indicates to me that he did not view ὁ λόγος at this time to be an actual person.
                      Source: Expositor's Bible Commentary

                      The preposition “with” in the phrase “the Word was with God” indicates both equality and distinction of identity along with association. The phrase can be rendered “face to face with.” It may, therefore, imply personality, coexistence with the Creator, and yet be an expression of his creative being.

                      © Copyright Original Source


                      So "πρὸς" does not always refer to a thing rather than a person.

                      As far as John thinking "λόγος" meant a thing instead of a person, farther down we read:

                      "And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth." (John 1:14)

                      So John did think of the Word as a person.

                      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)

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by lee_merrill View Post
                        Source: Expositor's Bible Commentary

                        The preposition “with” in the phrase “the Word was with God” indicates both equality and distinction of identity along with association. The phrase can be rendered “face to face with.” It may, therefore, imply personality, coexistence with the Creator, and yet be an expression of his creative being.

                        © Copyright Original Source


                        So "πρὸς" does not always refer to a thing rather than a person.

                        As far as John thinking "λόγος" meant a thing instead of a person, farther down we read:

                        "And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth." (John 1:14)

                        So John did think of the Word as a person.

                        Blessings,
                        Lee
                        Didn't say that. Would you please re-read my post and address the grammar ? On this score, could you show us a verse where the preposition πρὸς is used to connote that a "person" is "with" another "person" in a construction like John 1:1b ( preposition πρὸς + a stative "to be" verb, like ἦν) ?

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Unitarian101 View Post
                          Are you arguing that the Jews of Jesus's day (including Caiaphas / Καϊάφας [יוֹסֵף בַּר קַיָּפָא, Joseph son of Caiaphas]), the High Priest of Israel at that time, believed in the "plurality within the Godhead ?"
                          I have no details about beliefs of many specific people concerning this. We just are aware that the plurality of the Godhead within Bible passages had been considered back then. I have not finished reading the Two Powers in Heaven book yet to have more of the details.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by mikewhitney View Post
                            I have no details about beliefs of many specific people concerning this. We just are aware that the plurality of the Godhead within Bible passages had been considered back then. I have not finished reading the Two Powers in Heaven book yet to have more of the details.
                            This is a very different assertion. Could you show us which OT biblical passage asserts the "plurality of the Godhead" ?

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Here is another:

                              πρὸς σὲ [ἐστιν] ἡ ἀποστροφὴ αὐτοῦ καὶ σὺ ἄρξεις αὐτοῦ

                              Genesis 4:7

                              "It's desire is towards / for you, but you must master it."

                              Speaking of "sin" desiring Cain.

                              Comment

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