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John 1, and Philippians 2:5-7.

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  • John 1, and Philippians 2:5-7.

    I was hoping that John Reece could answer this, but anyone with knowledge of the original languages would be appreciated too.

    First we have John 1.

    John 1 New International Version (NIV)

    The Word Became Flesh
    1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.

    Boxing Pythagoras says this.

    Originally posted by Boxing Pythagoras View Post
    I'd say that the definition of Arianism which you provided is somewhat inadequate. Arias did not deny the divinity of Jesus. He simply denied that Jesus and the Father were of one substance. I know quite a number of Christians who have held that view, ignorant of the complicated theology behind the Trinity.

    Incidentally, I'm not a fan of the usual translation of John 1:1, and prefer καὶ θεὸς ἦν ὁ λόγος be translated as "and the Word was divine."
    Then we have Phillipians.

    Philippians 2:5-7New International Version (NIV)

    5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:

    6 Who, being in very nature[a] God,
    did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
    7 rather, he made himself nothing
    by taking the very nature[b] of a servant,
    being made in human likeness.


    His answer to that is this.

    Originally posted by Boxing Pythagoras View Post
    The word which the NIV is translating as "nature" is μορφῇ which more usually means "form" or "shape" or "outward appearance." I don't think this verse really works against Arianism, either.
    So, what do the language experts here have to say on this subject.

  • #2
    Originally posted by Cerebrum123 View Post
    So, what do the language experts here have to say on this subject.
    I do not pretend to be a "language expert" [robrecht is our resident "language expert"]; however, my name was mentioned in the OP, so I will do the best that I can, which is to refer to a couple of excellent commentaries: D. A. Carson's 1991 Pillar commentary on John, and Peter T. O'Brien's 1991 NIGTC commentary on Philippians.

    First, The Gospel According to John (Pillar: Eerdmans, 1991), by D. A. Carson (via Accordance):
    Because this Word, this divine self-expression, existed in the beginning, one might suppose that it was either with God, or nothing less than God himself. John insists the Word was both. The Word, he says, was with God. The preposition translated ‘with’ is pros, which commonly means ‘to’ or ‘toward’. On that basis, many writers say John is trying to express a peculiar intimacy between the Word and God: the Word is oriented toward God, like lovers perpetually running toward each other in a beach scene from a sentimental film. That surely claims too much. In first–century Greek pros was encroaching on the territory normally occupied by other words for ‘with’. In the NIV, the following instances of ‘with’ all have pros behind them: ‘Aren’t his sisters here with us?’ (Mk. 6:3); ‘Every day I was with you’ (Mk. 14:49); ‘at home with the Lord’ (2 Cor. 5:8); ‘I would have liked to keep him with me’ (Phm. 13); ‘the eternal life, which was with the Father’ (1 Jn. 1:2). What we notice about all these examples, however, is that in all but one or two peculiar constructions (e.g. 1 Pet. 3:15), pros may mean ‘with’ only when a person is with a person, usually in some fairly intimate relationship. And that suggests that John may already be pointing out, rather subtly, that the ‘Word’ he is talking about is a person, with God and therefore distinguishable from God, and enjoying a personal relationship with him.

    More, the Word was God. That is the translation demanded by the Greek structure, theos ēn ho logos. A long string of writers has argued that because theos, ‘God’, here has no article, John is not referring to God as a specific being, but to mere qualities of ‘God-ness’. The Word, they say, was not God, but divine. This will not do. There is a perfectly serviceable word in Greek for ‘divine’ (namely theios). More importantly, there are many places in the New Testament where the predicate noun has no article, and yet is specific. Even in this chapter, ‘you are the King of Israel’ (1:49) has no article before ‘King’ in the original (cf. also Jn. 8:39; 17:17; Rom. 14:17; Gal. 4:25; Rev. 1:20). It has been shown that it is common for a definite predicate noun in this construction, placed before the verb, to be anarthrous (that is, to have no article; cf. Additional Note). Indeed, the effect of ordering the words this way is to emphasize ‘God’, as if John were saying, ‘and the word was God!’ In fact, if John had included the article, he would have been saying something quite untrue. He would have been so identifying the Word with God that no divine being could exist apart from the Word. In that case, it would be nonsense to say (in the words of the second clause of this verse) that the Word was with God. The ‘Word does not by Himself make up the entire Godhead; nevertheless the divinity that belongs to the rest of the Godhead belongs also to Him’ (Tasker, p. 45. ‘The Word was with God, God’s eternal Fellow; the Word was God, God’s own Self.’

    From The Epistle to the Philippians (NIGTC: Eerdmans, 1991), by Peter T. O'Brien (via Accordance):
    (f) ‘He became a slave to God and is the Lordly Example.’

    In accordance with his principle of interpreting the hymn, and especially the meaning of Jesus’ actions in 2:6–8, in the light of the use of the terminology of early Christianity (see above), L. W. Hurtado claims that the unseen and ineffable action of the preexistent, heavenly Christ, referred to in 2:6–7, is ‘described after the fashion of the observed, historical action’ since the former is directly linked with the action of the earthly Jesus in 2:8: μορφὴν δούλου λαβών is clearly intended to correspond to ἐταπείνωσεν ἑαυτόν and γενόμενος ὑπήκοος. When Paul (or the author of the hymn) describes Jesus as having taken the role of a δοῦλος in 2:7 he is using language with rich positive overtones for himself and his readers.111 G. F. Hawthorne, as noted above, suggested that this statement, μορφὴν δούλου λαβών, which speaks of a person without advantage, rights, or privileges of his own, may have been chosen as the author of the hymn meditated on one particular event from the life of Christ, namely Jesus’ washing his disciples’ feet (Jn. 13:3–17).

    Hurtado argues that although it is not expressly stated in Phil. 2:7 that Jesus was δοῦλος to God there are good reasons for understanding it in this way: a. the δοῦλος word group is found in Paul more frequently with reference to the Christian life and service than in connection with the unredeemed conditions of humans and (against Käsemann) never means human existence as such. b. The immediate context of vv. 6–7 with its contrast suggests that service towards God, or for his sake, is meant. c. In the light of the striking διό of 2:9 and the fact that God is the actor in 2:9–11, the service of 2:7–8 should be seen as offered to God, with 2:9–11 describing the divine response. God’s act of exalting Christ is a consequence of Christ’s obedience.

    Finally, the expressions of Jesus’ redemptive work in vv. 6–8, including the term δοῦλος, are often used in connection with exhortations in the apostle’s letters and are intended at the same time to present that work as something of a pattern for those who call him Lord. He is indeed the ‘Lordly Example’.

    We conclude with a summary evaluation. Bearing in mind that the apostle is writing to Christian readers in Philippi with a pagan past, it seems best, on balance, to understand the expression μορφὴν δούλου λαβών against the background of slavery in contemporary society. Slavery pointed to the extreme deprivation of one’s rights, even those relating to one’s own life and person. When Jesus emptied himself by embracing the divine vocation and becoming incarnate he become a slave, without any rights whatever. He did not exchange the nature or form of God for that of a slave; instead, he displayed the nature or form of God in the nature or form of a slave, thereby showing clearly not only what his character was like, but also what it meant to be God. A particularly telling example of this, as Hawthorne and Bruce note, was Jesus’ washing the disciples’ feet and drying them with a towel he had tied around his waist (Jn. 13:3–5). Jesus’ extreme act of humble service became the pattern of true servanthood, and it is understandable how Christian vocabulary would then come to reflect this, as Hurtado points out. But the action of Jesus serves as the model and explains the servant language.
    Last edited by John Reece; 11-06-2014, 10:16 AM.

    Comment


    • #3
      As regards John 1:1c, Daniel Wallace argues in Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics, page 269, that the anarthrous θεὸς is best understood as being qualitative rather than definite. That is to say, given the syntax, the wording seems to suggest that ὁ λόγος is being ascribed the quality of God, rather than being identified with a specific being called God. Wallace suggests that "what God was, the Word was" or "the Word was divine" are translations which accurately represent the intention of the original text.

      In terms of Philippians 5:6, looking at the Liddell-Scott-Jones and the Autenrieth lexica, it seems that "form," "shape," or "outward appearance" are what is intended by use of the word μορφῇ. In fact, I can find no instance of μορφῇ in Greek literature in which the word refers to "nature" or the underlying essence, as opposed to the common denotation of outward appearance.

      Source: LSJ Lexicon, via Perseus Project

      μορφ-ή , ἡ,
      A.form, shape, twice in Hom. (not in Hes.), σοὶ δ᾽ ἔπι μὲν μορφὴ ἐπέων thou hast comeliness of words, Od.11.367 (cf. Eust. ad loc.); so prob. ἄλλος μὲν . . εἶδος ἀκιδνότερος πέλει ἀνήρ, ἀλλὰ θεὸς μορφὴν ἔπεσι στέφει God adds a crown of shapeliness to his words, Od.8.170: freq. later, “μορφὰς δύο ὀνομάζειν” Parm.8.53; “μορφὴν ἀλλάξαντα” Emp.137.1; “μορφὰν βραχύς” Pi.I.4(3).53; μορφῆς μέτρα shape and size, E.Alc.1063: periphr., “μορφῆς φύσις” A.Supp.496; μορφῆς σχῆμα, τύπωμα, E.Ion992, Ph.162; “τὴν αὐτὴν τοῦ σχήματος μορφήν” Arist.PA640b34; “καὶ Γαῖα, πολλῶν ὀνομάτων μ. μία” A.Pr.212; ὀνειράτων ἀλίγκιοι μορφαῖσιν ib.449; “νυκτέρων φαντασμάτων ἔχουσι μορφάς” Id.Fr.312; “προὔπεμψεν ἀντὶ φιλτάτης μ. σποδόν” S.El.1159; of plants, Thphr.HP1.1.12 (pl.); esp. with ref. to beauty of form, “ὑπέρφατον μορφᾷ” Pi.O.9.65; οἷς ποτιστάξῃ χάρις εὐκλέα μ. ib.6.76, cf. IG42 (1).121.119 (Epid., iv B. C.), LXX To.1.13, Vett.Val.1.6, etc.; “σῶμα μορφῆς ἐμῆς” OGI383.41 (Commagene, i B. C.); μορφῆς εἰκόνας ib.27; χαρακτῆρα μορφῆς ἐμῆς ib.60.
      2. generally, form, fashion, appearance, A.Pr.78, S.Tr.699, El.199 (lyr.); outward form, opp. “εἶδος, ἑκατέρω τῶ εἴδεος πολλαὶ μ.” Philol.5; “ἀλλάττοντα τὸ αὑτοῦ εἶδος εἰς πολλὰς μορφάς” Pl.R.380d; “μ. θεῶν” X.Mem.4.3.13, cf. Ep.Phil.2.6, Dam.Pr.304; “ἡρώων εἴδεα καὶ μορφάς” A.R.4.1193; κατά τε μορφὰς καὶ φωνάς gesticulations and cries, D.H.14.9; τὴν μ. μελάγχρους, τῇ μ. μελίχροας, in complexion, Ptol.Tetr.143, 144.
      3. kind, sort, E. Ion 382, 1068 (lyr.), Pl.R.397c, etc. (Possibly cogn. with Lat. forma for morg[uglide]hmā, with f by dissimilation, cf. μύρμηξ.)

      © Copyright Original Source

      "[Mathematics] is the revealer of every genuine truth, for it knows every hidden secret, and bears the key to every subtlety of letters; whoever, then, has the effrontery to pursue physics while neglecting mathematics should know from the start he will never make his entry through the portals of wisdom."
      --Thomas Bradwardine, De Continuo (c. 1325)

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Boxing Pythagoras View Post
        As regards John 1:1c, Daniel Wallace argues in Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics, page 269, that the anarthrous θεὸς is best understood as being qualitative rather than definite. That is to say, given the syntax, the wording seems to suggest that ὁ λόγος is being ascribed the quality of God, rather than being identified with a specific being called God. Wallace suggests that "what God was, the Word was" or "the Word was divine" are translations which accurately represent the intention of the original text.
        Selective quoting just won't do.

        From Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics (Zondervan, 1996), by Daniel B. Wallace (via Accordance):
        c. Is Θεός in John 1:1c Qualitative?

        The most likely candidate for θεός is qualitative. This is true both grammatically (for the largest proportion of pre-verbal anarthrous predicate nominatives fall into this category) and theologically (both the theology of the Fourth Gospel and of the NT as a whole). There is a balance between the Word’s deity, which was already present in the beginning (ἐν ἀρχῇ . . . θεὸς ἦν [1:1], and his humanity, which was added later (σὰρξ ἐγένετο [1:14]). The grammatical structure of these two statements mirrors each other; both emphasize the nature of the Word, rather than his identity. But θεός was his nature from eternity (hence, εἰμί is used), while σάρξ was added at the incarnation (hence, γίνομαι is used).

        Such an option does not at all impugn the deity of Christ. Rather, it stresses that, although the person of Christ is not the person of the Father, their essence is identical. Possible translations are as follows: “What God was, the Word was” (NEB), or “the Word was divine” (a modified Moffatt). In this second translation, “divine” is acceptable only if it is a term that can be applied only to true deity. However, in modern English, we use it with reference to angels, theologians, even a meal! Thus “divine” could be misleading in an English translation. The idea of a qualitative θεός here is that the Word had all the attributes and qualities that “the God” (of 1:1b) had. In other words, he shared the essence of the Father, though they differed in person. The construction the evangelist chose to express this idea was the most concise way he could have stated that the Word was God and yet was distinct from the Father.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by John Reece View Post
          Selective quoting just won't do.

          From Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics (Zondervan, 1996), by Daniel B. Wallace (via Accordance):
          c. Is Θεός in John 1:1c Qualitative?

          The most likely candidate for θεός is qualitative. This is true both grammatically (for the largest proportion of pre-verbal anarthrous predicate nominatives fall into this category) and theologically (both the theology of the Fourth Gospel and of the NT as a whole). There is a balance between the Word’s deity, which was already present in the beginning (ἐν ἀρχῇ . . . θεὸς ἦν [1:1], and his humanity, which was added later (σὰρξ ἐγένετο [1:14]). The grammatical structure of these two statements mirrors each other; both emphasize the nature of the Word, rather than his identity. But θεός was his nature from eternity (hence, εἰμί is used), while σάρξ was added at the incarnation (hence, γίνομαι is used).

          Such an option does not at all impugn the deity of Christ. Rather, it stresses that, although the person of Christ is not the person of the Father, their essence is identical. Possible translations are as follows: “What God was, the Word was” (NEB), or “the Word was divine” (a modified Moffatt). In this second translation, “divine” is acceptable only if it is a term that can be applied only to true deity. However, in modern English, we use it with reference to angels, theologians, even a meal! Thus “divine” could be misleading in an English translation. The idea of a qualitative θεός here is that the Word had all the attributes and qualities that “the God” (of 1:1b) had. In other words, he shared the essence of the Father, though they differed in person. The construction the evangelist chose to express this idea was the most concise way he could have stated that the Word was God and yet was distinct from the Father.
          My selective quotation wasn't meant as an attempt to obscure or misrepresent Wallace. My copy of GGBB is packed away, and I was going off some of my notes rather than attempting to dig it out.

          I actually agree with Wallace, for the most part, here. I think that it's a bit of an anachronistic stretch to maintain that the author specifically intended to differentiate the persons of God-the-Father and the Word; however, I completely agree that the author of John was attempting to ascribe the actual attributes and qualities of God to the Word. This is absolutely the sense I mean when I say that the phrase should be translated "and the Word was divine." I don't think one can say that the author necessarily thought that the Word was ὁμοούσιος with God-the-Father, but it seems fairly clear that the author was linking the Word with God's divinity.
          "[Mathematics] is the revealer of every genuine truth, for it knows every hidden secret, and bears the key to every subtlety of letters; whoever, then, has the effrontery to pursue physics while neglecting mathematics should know from the start he will never make his entry through the portals of wisdom."
          --Thomas Bradwardine, De Continuo (c. 1325)

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Boxing Pythagoras View Post
            In terms of Philippians 5:6, looking at the Liddell-Scott-Jones and the Autenrieth lexica, it seems that "form," "shape," or "outward appearance" are what is intended by use of the word μορφῇ. In fact, I can find no instance of μορφῇ in Greek literature in which the word refers to "nature" or the underlying essence, as opposed to the common denotation of outward appearance.
            From BDAG via Accordance:
            μορφή, ῆς, ἡ (Hom.+) form, outward appearance, shape gener. of bodily form 1 Cl 39:3; ApcPt 4:13 (Job 4:16; ApcEsdr 4:14 p. 28, 16 Tdf.; SJCh 78, 13). Of the shape or form of statues (Jos., Vi. 65; Iren. 1, 8, 1 [Harv. I 67, 11]) Dg 2:3. Of appearances in visions, etc., similar to persons (Callisthenes [IV BC]: 124 fgm. 13 p. 644, 32 Jac. [in Athen. 10, 75, 452b] Λιμὸς ἔχων γυναικὸς μορφήν; Diod. S. 3, 31, 4 ἐν μορφαῖς ἀνθρώπων; TestAbr A 16 p. 97, 11 [Stone p. 42] ἀρχαγγέλου μορφὴν περικείμενος; Jos., Ant. 5, 213 a messenger fr. heaven νεανίσκου μορφῇ): of God’s assembly, the church Hv 3, 10, 2; 9; 3, 11, 1; 3, 13, 1; s 9, 1, 1; of the angel of repentance ἡ μ. αὐτοῦ ἠλλοιώθη his appearance had changed m 12, 4, 1. Of Christ (ἐν μ. ἀνθρώπου TestBenj 10:7; Just., D. 61, 1; Tat. 2, 1; Hippol., Ref. 5, 16, 10. Cp. Did., Gen. 56, 18; of deities ἐν ἀνθρωπίνῃ μορφῇ: Iambl., Vi. Pyth. 6, 30; cp. Philo, Abr. 118) μορφὴν δούλου λαβών he took on the form of a slave=expression of servility Phil 2:7 (w. σχῆμα as Aristot., Cat. 10a, 11f, PA 640b, 30–36). This is in contrast to expression of divinity in the preëxistent Christ: ἐν μ. θεοῦ ὑπάρχων although he was in the form of God (cp. OGI 383, 40f: Antiochus’ body is the framework for his μορφή or essential identity as a descendant of divinities; similarly human fragility [Phil 2:7] becomes the supporting framework for Christ’s servility and therefore of his κένωσις [on the appearance one projects cp. the epitaph EpigrAnat 17, ’91, 156, no. 3, 5–8][/b]; on μορφὴ θεοῦ cp. Orig., C. Cels. 7, 66, 21; Pla., Rep. 2, 380d; 381bc; X., Mem. 4, 3, 13; Diog. L. 1, 10 the Egyptians say μὴ εἰδέναι τοῦ θεοῦ μορφήν; Philo, Leg. ad Gai. 80; 110; Jos., C. Ap. 2, 190; Just., A I, 9, 1; PGM 7, 563; 13, 272; 584.—Rtzst., Mysterienrel.3 357f) Phil 2:6. The risen Christ ἐφανερώθη ἐν ἑτέρᾳ μορφῇ appeared in a different form Mk 16:12 (of the transfiguration of Jesus: ἔδειξεν ἡμῖν τὴν ἔνδοξον μορφὴν ἑαυτοῦ Orig., C. Cels. 6, 68, 23). For lit. s. on ἁρπαγμός and κενόω 1b; RMartin, ET 70, ’59, 183f.—DSteenberg, The Case against the Synonymity of μορφή and εἰκών: JSNT 34, ’88, 77–86; GStroumsa, HTR 76, ’83, 269–88 (Semitic background).—DELG. Schmidt, Syn. IV 345–60. M-M. EDNT. TW. Spicq. Sv.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by John Reece View Post
              From BDAG via Accordance:
              μορφή, ῆς, ἡ (Hom.+) form, outward appearance, shape gener. of bodily form 1 Cl 39:3; ApcPt 4:13 (Job 4:16; ApcEsdr 4:14 p. 28, 16 Tdf.; SJCh 78, 13). Of the shape or form of statues (Jos., Vi. 65; Iren. 1, 8, 1 [Harv. I 67, 11]) Dg 2:3. Of appearances in visions, etc., similar to persons (Callisthenes [IV BC]: 124 fgm. 13 p. 644, 32 Jac. [in Athen. 10, 75, 452b] Λιμὸς ἔχων γυναικὸς μορφήν; Diod. S. 3, 31, 4 ἐν μορφαῖς ἀνθρώπων; TestAbr A 16 p. 97, 11 [Stone p. 42] ἀρχαγγέλου μορφὴν περικείμενος; Jos., Ant. 5, 213 a messenger fr. heaven νεανίσκου μορφῇ): of God’s assembly, the church Hv 3, 10, 2; 9; 3, 11, 1; 3, 13, 1; s 9, 1, 1; of the angel of repentance ἡ μ. αὐτοῦ ἠλλοιώθη his appearance had changed m 12, 4, 1. Of Christ (ἐν μ. ἀνθρώπου TestBenj 10:7; Just., D. 61, 1; Tat. 2, 1; Hippol., Ref. 5, 16, 10. Cp. Did., Gen. 56, 18; of deities ἐν ἀνθρωπίνῃ μορφῇ: Iambl., Vi. Pyth. 6, 30; cp. Philo, Abr. 118) μορφὴν δούλου λαβών he took on the form of a slave=expression of servility Phil 2:7 (w. σχῆμα as Aristot., Cat. 10a, 11f, PA 640b, 30–36). This is in contrast to expression of divinity in the preëxistent Christ: ἐν μ. θεοῦ ὑπάρχων although he was in the form of God (cp. OGI 383, 40f: Antiochus’ body is the framework for his μορφή or essential identity as a descendant of divinities; similarly human fragility [Phil 2:7] becomes the supporting framework for Christ’s servility and therefore of his κένωσις [on the appearance one projects cp. the epitaph EpigrAnat 17, ’91, 156, no. 3, 5–8][/b]; on μορφὴ θεοῦ cp. Orig., C. Cels. 7, 66, 21; Pla., Rep. 2, 380d; 381bc; X., Mem. 4, 3, 13; Diog. L. 1, 10 the Egyptians say μὴ εἰδέναι τοῦ θεοῦ μορφήν; Philo, Leg. ad Gai. 80; 110; Jos., C. Ap. 2, 190; Just., A I, 9, 1; PGM 7, 563; 13, 272; 584.—Rtzst., Mysterienrel.3 357f) Phil 2:6. The risen Christ ἐφανερώθη ἐν ἑτέρᾳ μορφῇ appeared in a different form Mk 16:12 (of the transfiguration of Jesus: ἔδειξεν ἡμῖν τὴν ἔνδοξον μορφὴν ἑαυτοῦ Orig., C. Cels. 6, 68, 23). For lit. s. on ἁρπαγμός and κενόω 1b; RMartin, ET 70, ’59, 183f.—DSteenberg, The Case against the Synonymity of μορφή and εἰκών: JSNT 34, ’88, 77–86; GStroumsa, HTR 76, ’83, 269–88 (Semitic background).—DELG. Schmidt, Syn. IV 345–60. M-M. EDNT. TW. Spicq. Sv.

              This lexicon entry would seem to agree with me. It explicitly notes that Phil 2:6-7 contrasts being in the form of God with taking on the form of a slave. Again, every single usage of μορφή which I have been able to find supports a translation of "form" or "shape" over against the NIV's "nature." The word "nature" inherently implies an invisible quality, while μορφή clearly denotes something visible.
              "[Mathematics] is the revealer of every genuine truth, for it knows every hidden secret, and bears the key to every subtlety of letters; whoever, then, has the effrontery to pursue physics while neglecting mathematics should know from the start he will never make his entry through the portals of wisdom."
              --Thomas Bradwardine, De Continuo (c. 1325)

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Boxing Pythagoras View Post
                This lexicon entry would seem to agree with me. It explicitly notes that Phil 2:6-7 contrasts being in the form of God with taking on the form of a slave. Again, every single usage of μορφή which I have been able to find supports a translation of "form" or "shape" over against the NIV's "nature." The word "nature" inherently implies an invisible quality, while μορφή clearly denotes something visible.
                In truth, the meaning of μορφή in the context of Philippians 2 is not that wooden.

                My original posting of the BDAG entry was at the very end of my day (last night) when I was even less alert than usual, so I will post it again to include what I failed to emphasize before.

                From BDAG via Accordance:
                μορφή, ῆς, ἡ (Hom.+) form, outward appearance, shape gener. of bodily form 1 Cl 39:3; ApcPt 4:13 (Job 4:16; ApcEsdr 4:14 p. 28, 16 Tdf.; SJCh 78, 13). Of the shape or form of statues (Jos., Vi. 65; Iren. 1, 8, 1 [Harv. I 67, 11]) Dg 2:3. Of appearances in visions, etc., similar to persons (Callisthenes [IV BC]: 124 fgm. 13 p. 644, 32 Jac. [in Athen. 10, 75, 452b] Λιμὸς ἔχων γυναικὸς μορφήν; Diod. S. 3, 31, 4 ἐν μορφαῖς ἀνθρώπων; TestAbr A 16 p. 97, 11 [Stone p. 42] ἀρχαγγέλου μορφὴν περικείμενος; Jos., Ant. 5, 213 a messenger fr. heaven νεανίσκου μορφῇ): of God’s assembly, the church Hv 3, 10, 2; 9; 3, 11, 1; 3, 13, 1; s 9, 1, 1; of the angel of repentance ἡ μ. αὐτοῦ ἠλλοιώθη his appearance had changed m 12, 4, 1. Of Christ (ἐν μ. ἀνθρώπου TestBenj 10:7; Just., D. 61, 1; Tat. 2, 1; Hippol., Ref. 5, 16, 10. Cp. Did., Gen. 56, 18; of deities ἐν ἀνθρωπίνῃ μορφῇ: Iambl., Vi. Pyth. 6, 30; cp. Philo, Abr. 118) μορφὴν δούλου λαβών he took on the form of a slave=expression of servility Phil 2:7 (w. σχῆμα as Aristot., Cat. 10a, 11f, PA 640b, 30–36). This is in contrast to expression of divinity in the preëxistent Christ: ἐν μορφῇ θεοῦ ὑπάρχων although he was in the form of God (cp. OGI 383, 40f: Antiochus’ body is the framework for his μορφή or essential identity as a descendant of divinities; similarly human fragility [Phil 2:7] becomes the supporting framework for Christ’s servility and therefore of his κένωσις [on the appearance one projects cp. the epitaph EpigrAnat 17, ’91, 156, no. 3, 5–8][/b]; on μορφὴ θεοῦ cp. Orig., C. Cels. 7, 66, 21; Pla., Rep. 2, 380d; 381bc; X., Mem. 4, 3, 13; Diog. L. 1, 10 the Egyptians say μὴ εἰδέναι τοῦ θεοῦ μορφήν; Philo, Leg. ad Gai. 80; 110; Jos., C. Ap. 2, 190; Just., A I, 9, 1; PGM 7, 563; 13, 272; 584.—Rtzst., Mysterienrel.3 357f) Phil 2:6. The risen Christ ἐφανερώθη ἐν ἑτέρᾳ μορφῇ appeared in a different form Mk 16:12 (of the transfiguration of Jesus: ἔδειξεν ἡμῖν τὴν ἔνδοξον μορφὴν ἑαυτοῦ Orig., C. Cels. 6, 68, 23). For lit. s. on ἁρπαγμός and κενόω 1b; RMartin, ET 70, ’59, 183f.—DSteenberg, The Case against the Synonymity of μορφή and εἰκών: JSNT 34, ’88, 77–86; GStroumsa, HTR 76, ’83, 269–88 (Semitic background).—DELG. Schmidt, Syn. IV 345–60. M-M. EDNT. TW. Spicq. Sv.

                What is "the form or shape" of God? Can you draw a picture of it?

                The semantic range of μορφή in the context of Philippians 2 is indeed broad enough to include the NIV rendering ("nature"), as noted by Peter O'Brien.

                The semantic range of μορφή in the BDAG entry includes not only "form or shape" but also "expression", "essential identity".

                From the BDAG entry:
                • "the form of a slave=expression of servility Phil 2:7"
                • "his μορφή or essential identity as a descendant of divinities; similarly human fragility [Phil 2:7] becomes the supporting framework for Christ’s servility"


                What is the difference in "form or shape" between a human being who is a slave and a human being who is an emperor?

                What is the "form or shape" of Christ's servility and how does that "form or shape" differ from the "form or shape" of King Herod's arrogance?
                Last edited by John Reece; 11-06-2014, 11:23 AM.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by John Reece View Post


                  In truth, the meaning of μορφή in the context of Philippians 2 is not that wooden.

                  My original posting of the BDAG entry was at the very end of my day (last night) when I was even less alert than usual, so I will post it again to include what I failed to emphasize before.

                  From BDAG via Accordance:
                  μορφή, ῆς, ἡ (Hom.+) form, outward appearance, shape gener. of bodily form 1 Cl 39:3; ApcPt 4:13 (Job 4:16; ApcEsdr 4:14 p. 28, 16 Tdf.; SJCh 78, 13). Of the shape or form of statues (Jos., Vi. 65; Iren. 1, 8, 1 [Harv. I 67, 11]) Dg 2:3. Of appearances in visions, etc., similar to persons (Callisthenes [IV BC]: 124 fgm. 13 p. 644, 32 Jac. [in Athen. 10, 75, 452b] Λιμὸς ἔχων γυναικὸς μορφήν; Diod. S. 3, 31, 4 ἐν μορφαῖς ἀνθρώπων; TestAbr A 16 p. 97, 11 [Stone p. 42] ἀρχαγγέλου μορφὴν περικείμενος; Jos., Ant. 5, 213 a messenger fr. heaven νεανίσκου μορφῇ): of God’s assembly, the church Hv 3, 10, 2; 9; 3, 11, 1; 3, 13, 1; s 9, 1, 1; of the angel of repentance ἡ μ. αὐτοῦ ἠλλοιώθη his appearance had changed m 12, 4, 1. Of Christ (ἐν μ. ἀνθρώπου TestBenj 10:7; Just., D. 61, 1; Tat. 2, 1; Hippol., Ref. 5, 16, 10. Cp. Did., Gen. 56, 18; of deities ἐν ἀνθρωπίνῃ μορφῇ: Iambl., Vi. Pyth. 6, 30; cp. Philo, Abr. 118) μορφὴν δούλου λαβών he took on the form of a slave=expression of servility Phil 2:7 (w. σχῆμα as Aristot., Cat. 10a, 11f, PA 640b, 30–36). This is in contrast to expression of divinity in the preëxistent Christ: ἐν μορφῇ θεοῦ ὑπάρχων although he was in the form of God (cp. OGI 383, 40f: Antiochus’ body is the framework for his μορφή or essential identity as a descendant of divinities; similarly human fragility [Phil 2:7] becomes the supporting framework for Christ’s servility and therefore of his κένωσις [on the appearance one projects cp. the epitaph EpigrAnat 17, ’91, 156, no. 3, 5–8][/b]; on μορφὴ θεοῦ cp. Orig., C. Cels. 7, 66, 21; Pla., Rep. 2, 380d; 381bc; X., Mem. 4, 3, 13; Diog. L. 1, 10 the Egyptians say μὴ εἰδέναι τοῦ θεοῦ μορφήν; Philo, Leg. ad Gai. 80; 110; Jos., C. Ap. 2, 190; Just., A I, 9, 1; PGM 7, 563; 13, 272; 584.—Rtzst., Mysterienrel.3 357f) Phil 2:6. The risen Christ ἐφανερώθη ἐν ἑτέρᾳ μορφῇ appeared in a different form Mk 16:12 (of the transfiguration of Jesus: ἔδειξεν ἡμῖν τὴν ἔνδοξον μορφὴν ἑαυτοῦ Orig., C. Cels. 6, 68, 23). For lit. s. on ἁρπαγμός and κενόω 1b; RMartin, ET 70, ’59, 183f.—DSteenberg, The Case against the Synonymity of μορφή and εἰκών: JSNT 34, ’88, 77–86; GStroumsa, HTR 76, ’83, 269–88 (Semitic background).—DELG. Schmidt, Syn. IV 345–60. M-M. EDNT. TW. Spicq. Sv.

                  What is "the form or shape" of God? Can you draw a picture of it?

                  The semantic range of μορφή in the context of Philippians 2 is indeed broad enough to include the NIV rendering ("nature"), as noted by Peter O'Brien.

                  The semantic range of μορφή in the BDAG entry includes not only "form or shape" but also "expression", "essential identity".

                  From the BDAG entry:
                  • "the form of a slave=expression of servility Phil 2:7"
                  • "his μορφή or essential identity as a descendant of divinities; similarly human fragility [Phil 2:7] becomes the supporting framework for Christ’s servility"


                  What is the difference in "form or shape" between a human being who is a slave and a human being who is an emperor?

                  What is the "form or shape" of Christ's servility and how does that "form or shape" differ from the "form or shape" of King Herod's arrogance?
                  I agree with the BDAG entry when it links μορφή with "expression" or "essential identity," but I would contend that these are both still best understood as the outward presentation of that which is being described, rather than as an invisible nature which belies the outward appearance.

                  Again, every single other usage of μορφή in Greek literature denotes this sort of outward presentation of attributes, in stark contrast to the idea of an invisible or hidden nature.

                  Honestly, I don't think this is at all problematic for orthodox theology. The pre-existent Word of John's prologue was in the form of God. When the Word was incarnated, it took on the form of a slave. This says nothing at all about the nature or personhood of Christ, and one is still free to justify orthodox doctrines of the Trinity and the Hypostatic Union.
                  "[Mathematics] is the revealer of every genuine truth, for it knows every hidden secret, and bears the key to every subtlety of letters; whoever, then, has the effrontery to pursue physics while neglecting mathematics should know from the start he will never make his entry through the portals of wisdom."
                  --Thomas Bradwardine, De Continuo (c. 1325)

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Boxing Pythagoras View Post
                    I agree with the BDAG entry when it links μορφή with "expression" or "essential identity," but I would contend that these are both still best understood as the outward presentation of that which is being described, rather than as an invisible nature which belies the outward appearance.

                    Again, every single other usage of μορφή in Greek literature denotes this sort of outward presentation of attributes, in stark contrast to the idea of an invisible or hidden nature.
                    NRSV: 2:5 Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus,
                    6 who, though he was in the form [μορφή] of God,
                    did not regard equality with God
                    as something to be exploited,
                    7 but emptied himself,
                    taking the form [μορφή] of a slave,
                    being born in human likeness.
                    And being found in human form,
                    8 he humbled himself
                    and became obedient to the point of death—
                    even death on a cross.

                    What is the "outward presentation"/"outward appearance" ― i.e., your interpretation of μορφή ― of God in the context of Philippians 2?

                    What is "the outward presentation of the attributes" ― i.e., your interpretation of μορφή ― of God in the context of Philippians 2?

                    What is "the form [μορφή] of a slave" in the context of Philippians 2? How does that "form" differ from the "form" of a free person?

                    Originally posted by Boxing Pythagoras View Post
                    .... Again, every single usage of μορφή which I have been able to find supports a translation of "form" or "shape" over against the NIV's "nature." The word "nature" inherently implies an invisible quality, while μορφή clearly denotes something visible.
                    TNIV: Phil. 2:5 In your relationships with one another, have the same attitude of mind Christ Jesus had:
                    Phil. 2:6 Who, being in very nature [μορφή] God,
                    did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
                    7 rather, he made himself nothing
                    by taking the very nature [μορφή] of a servant,
                    being made in human likeness.

                    Phil. 2:8 And being found in appearance as a human being,
                    he humbled himself
                    by becoming obedient to death—
                    even death on a cross!

                    In Philippians 2, is the μορφή of God visible or invisible? If it is visible, can you draw a picture of it? If not, why not?

                    In the context of Philippians 2, is the μορφή of a slave visible or invisible? If it is visible, how does it differ from the μορφή of a free person? Can you draw a picture of the respective persons ― i.e., a picture of a slave and a picture of a free person ― to illustrate the difference in the visible appearance of one compared to the other?

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by John Reece View Post
                      NRSV: 2:5 Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus,
                      6 who, though he was in the form [μορφή] of God,
                      did not regard equality with God
                      as something to be exploited,
                      7 but emptied himself,
                      taking the form [μορφή] of a slave,
                      being born in human likeness.
                      And being found in human form,
                      8 he humbled himself
                      and became obedient to the point of death—
                      even death on a cross.

                      What is the "outward presentation"/"outward appearance" ― i.e., your interpretation of μορφή ― of God in the context of Philippians 2?

                      What is "the outward presentation of the attributes" ― i.e., your interpretation of μορφή ― of God in the context of Philippians 2?

                      What is "the form [μορφή] of a slave" in the context of Philippians 2? How does that "form" differ from the "form" of a free person?


                      TNIV: Phil. 2:5 In your relationships with one another, have the same attitude of mind Christ Jesus had:
                      Phil. 2:6 Who, being in very nature [μορφή] God,
                      did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
                      7 rather, he made himself nothing
                      by taking the very nature [μορφή] of a servant,
                      being made in human likeness.

                      Phil. 2:8 And being found in appearance as a human being,
                      he humbled himself
                      by becoming obedient to death—
                      even death on a cross!

                      In Philippians 2, is the μορφή of God visible or invisible? If it is visible, can you draw a picture of it? If not, why not?

                      In the context of Philippians 2, is the μορφή of a slave visible or invisible? If it is visible, how does it differ from the μορφή of a free person? Can you draw a picture of the respective persons ― i.e., a picture of a slave and a picture of a free person ― to illustrate the difference in the visible appearance of one compared to the other?
                      The outward presentation, or form, of God would be a reference to the glory and righteousness of God, but not necessarily a reference to the person of God (in the theological sense of the word).

                      Insofar as how the μορφή of God differs from the μορφή of a slave, I'll leave that to theologians to discuss. However, proper exegesis-- I'm sure you'll agree-- should make the theology fit the meaning of the words, and not vice versa. The fact that the passage is difficult doesn't give us license to simply pretend that the words used held a different meaning for Paul than for every other Greek writer. The word μορφή does not refer to the underlying nature of an entity. The Philippians 2 hymn is contrasting the μορφή of the pre-existent Jesus with the μορφή of the incarnated Jesus.

                      Though he had been in the form (μορφή) of God, he emptied himself to take on the form (μορφή) of a slave, born in the form (ὁμοίωμα) of a human. And being found in the form (σχῆμα) of a man, he humbled himself.

                      I don't know what Paul (or, possibly, the pre-Pauline originators of this hymn) specifically meant by ἐν μορφῇ θεοῦ; however, I do believe that the words were chosen intentionally. And all three of these Greek words (μορφή, ὁμοίωμα, σχῆμα) refer to the form, the outward expression, of that which was being described.
                      "[Mathematics] is the revealer of every genuine truth, for it knows every hidden secret, and bears the key to every subtlety of letters; whoever, then, has the effrontery to pursue physics while neglecting mathematics should know from the start he will never make his entry through the portals of wisdom."
                      --Thomas Bradwardine, De Continuo (c. 1325)

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Boxing Pythagoras View Post
                        The outward presentation, or form, of God would be a reference to the glory and righteousness of God...
                        Glory and righteousness = the "form" of God?

                        Christ Jesus divested himself of righteousness when he became a human being?

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by John Reece View Post

                          Christ Jesus divested himself of righteousness when he became a human being?

                          Nowhere is it written that "he became a human being", not in John 1:14 and also not in Philippians 2:7,

                          7ἀλλὰ ἑαυτὸν ἐκένωσεν μορφὴν δούλου λαβών, ἐν ὁμοιώματι ἀνθρώπων γενόμενος: καὶ σχήματι εὑρεθεὶς ὡς ἄνθρωπος

                          But he emptied himself taking the form of a slave, becoming in the likeness of men; and he was found in the appearance as of man.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Geert van den Bos View Post
                            Nowhere is it written that "he became a human being", not in John 1:14 and also not in Philippians 2:7,

                            7ἀλλὰ ἑαυτὸν ἐκένωσεν μορφὴν δούλου λαβών, ἐν ὁμοιώματι ἀνθρώπων γενόμενος: καὶ σχήματι εὑρεθεὶς ὡς ἄνθρωπος

                            But he emptied himself taking the form of a slave, becoming in the likeness of men; and he was found in the appearance as of man.
                            Are you saying that Christ Jesus was not a human being?

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by John Reece View Post
                              Glory and righteousness = the "form" of God?

                              Christ Jesus divested himself of righteousness when he became a human being?
                              Originally posted by John Reece View Post
                              Are you saying that Christ Jesus was not a human being?

                              Always a human being; not first God and later becoming man.

                              Comment

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