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Assuming that John 1:18 actually says theos instead of huios, and monogenes means one of a kind or unique, the Greek says:

θεὸν οὐδεὶς ἑώρακεν πώποτε· μονογενὴς θεὸς ὁ ὢν εἰς τὸν κόλπον τοῦ πατρὸς ἐκεῖνος ἐξηγήσατο.

god no one has seen at anytime a unique god the [one] being in the bosom of the father he has made known

"No one has ever seen God. The unique God, who is close to the Father's side, has revealed him." International Standard Version

Is there a reason why this translation cannot be framed differently? So that it says...

No one has seen God at any time- a unique deity. The one being in the bosom of the Father, he has made Him known

Could this also explain why John failed to include the article before monogenes?

5
  • I know you edited the question "so that it won't sound silly" but to me the question in the title as it stands asks whether the author (of the Greek text) "should" have done something different, which to me is, well, silly. ;-) I actually think it's a good question and you're asking whether it should be alternatively translated. Haven't voted yet but would be happy to UV if that were clarified. Thanks for your efforts on the question.
    – Susan
    Jan 29 '17 at 7:37
  • Thank you for the suggestion @Susan. I see what you're saying. Question has been edited. Does this look better?
    – Cannabijoy
    Jan 29 '17 at 9:36
  • Hi friend. I think it would be good if you pointed out that nowhere else in scripture do we find theos as the subject of a sentence without an article. logos.com/product/52579/… page 3 The reason for the missing article is that it is another botched Trinitarian manipulation.
    – Ruminator
    Nov 27 '18 at 12:40
  • Your question is controversial! 4 up votes and 3 down! It is bizarre to me how profound and irrational is the fear of even examining a different reading of a passage that is admittedly difficult because of the textual issues, etc. Wow. The Catholics did a fantastic job of brainwashing! Trinity is not in the scriptures ever but Protestants name so many of their churches after it!
    – Ruminator
    Nov 27 '18 at 12:47
  • Exactly what I wanted to know. And if it reads huios then why can’t it be framed as: No one has ever seen God. The one Son, who is close to the Father's side, has revealed Him."
    – user4762
    Oct 6 at 17:33
3

In your revised translation,

No one has seen God at any time- a unique God. The one being in the bosom of the Father, he has made Him known

the noun “God” and the following phrase “a unique God” are in apposition; the appositive, which further identifies the preceding noun, is “a unique God.” In Greek, nouns in apposition are declined in the same case. Therefore, since θεὸν is declined in the accusative case, we would not expect μονογενὴς θεός, which is declined in the nominative case, but rather, μονογενὴν θεόν, which is declined in the accusative case.

Also, it is highly improbable that the author would repeat the initial noun (i.e., θεὸν) as part of the following appositive.

Because it is declined in the nominative case, μονογενὴς θεὸς is properly understood as the subject of the following clause.

To answer your question regarding “two sentences”: yes, there are two sentences, but not in the way you framed them. The King James Version and most (if not all) other English translations translate it properly.

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  • I don't see any sources in your answer. Since you are appealing to your own authority perhaps you could supply some background on your Greek skills and education. (I myself have no formal education in Greek, nor am I a moderator here). So are you saying that this is a "double apposition" (a term I just coined, I believe) in that the first three highlighted phrases are all referring to the same person?: "No one has seen a god at any time- a unique God. The one being in the bosom of the Father, he has made Him known" IE: The highlights all refer to Jesus? IE:
    – Ruminator
    Nov 27 '18 at 13:00
  • If so, then whom did he make known? The Father? Or himself? If himself, then it is patently false because many have seen him. If the Father, then surely he is making know the same person that was not seen at any time?
    – Ruminator
    Nov 27 '18 at 13:06
  • Ah, I see the user has been deleted. Anyone else care to address the issues? Who made whom known?
    – Ruminator
    Nov 28 '18 at 0:04
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It is evident that two sentences could have been used. There is of course no need. The verse is self explanatory. It correlates with God's own words at Ex.33:30, which no man can see God and yet live.thats why at PS.84:11 Yahweh is a sun and a shield. Literally, morally and figiratively.

2
  • Actually, there are two clauses (sentences); they just don’t happen to be arranged the way the original poster proposed.
    – user862
    Jan 28 '17 at 22:50
  • Yeah I was looking at the KJV when I asked, and it uses a semicolon. I quickly skimmed other versions and they do the same, or just use a comma. So it's sort of a silly question, but it's mostly about where that semicolon/period should be placed. Thank you for the answer.
    – Cannabijoy
    Jan 29 '17 at 3:56
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Background
Marie-Émile Boismard says the literary structure of the Prologue "forms a sort of parabola:"1

(a) The Word  1-2      ●             ● 18  The Son in  (a')
    with God.                              the Father
(b) His role of 3       ●           ● 17   Role of re- (b')
    creation                               creation
(c) Gift to men  4-5     ●         ● 16    Gift to men (c')
(d) Witness of J-B 6-8    ●       ● 15  Witness of J-B (d')
(e) The coming of the  9-11 ●   ● 14  The Incarnation  (e')
    Word into the World
                              ●
                           (12-13)
  (f) By the Incarnate Word we become children of God

Others have called Boismard's structure a chiasm, but his term was "construction by envelopment"2 because it mirrored the actual events:

...it becomes possible to grasp the internal movement which animates the whole Prologue: the thought leaves God, as so to return to God, after touching the earth. The Word was in God, with God; then he comes towards us men...He seems to detach himself from God who sends him forth, progressively, as if he intends to accustom men, little by little to his presence. Once he has come upon earth he communicates to us that divine life which makes us children of God; that is the centre of the Prologue, the bond of the New Alliance that the Word has come to tighten between God and men, Then the Word, called henceforward the only-begotten Son, reascends to the bosom of the Father, drawing us in his wake to lead us to God...3

Therefore, at a minimum, the ending should fulfill three things:

  • be a fitting conclusion to the structure
  • be in harmony with the beginning (it's corresponding pair)
  • illuminate the central point.

To Expound and To Lead Out
The Prologue ends with ἐξηγέομαι:

No one has ever seen God; the only-born God, the One being in the bosom of the Father — that One expounded Him. (John 1:18) [DLNT]

θεὸν οὐδεὶς ἑώρακεν πώποτε μονογενὴς θεὸς ὁ ὢν εἰς τὸν κόλπον τοῦ πατρὸς ἐκεῖνος ἐξηγήσατο

This verb has two primary meanings: 1. to lead out, be leader, go before; 2. to draw out in narrative, unfold in teaching. Translators universally understand the use along the lines of the second and so it is rendered as "expounded" or similar. Thus, in John's Gospel the Father is "expounded" by Jesus. This is true in a number of ways. "Father" is used almost as often in John as Matthew, Mark, and Luke combined and John has many teachings not found elsewhere.

The other meaning also applies when ὁ ὢν is read as the name of God:

No one has ever seen God; the only God, THE ONE WHO IS, has himself led out into the bosom of the Father.4

This reading has two advantages over the first. It is uses the name to connect with the central point which is becoming children of God by believing in His name:

12 But all who did receive Him, He gave them — the ones believing in His name — the right to become children of God, 13 who were born not of bloods, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of a husband, but of God.

Also, it is what Jesus said of Himself:

Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. The one following Me will never walk in the darkness, but will have the light of [c] life” (John 8:12)

c. John 8:12 That is, proceeding from; or, leading to.

If one follows Jesus, the (true) light of the world, they will have the light of life; Jesus will lead the children of God, to the bosom of the Father because they believe in His name. Or to put this in terms of verse 18:

No one has ever seen God. Only-begotten God [some manuscripts have Son], THE ONE WHO IS, in the bosom of the Father, He is leader [into the light of life].

The lack of the article parallels the nominative use of God in the opening:

(1) θεὸς ἦν ὁ λόγος  (18) μονογενὴς θεὸς ὁ ὢν
    God was the Word      Only-begotten the ONE WHO IS

The Word was and the Only-Begotten God is.

Conclusion
Both readings can be justified. Jesus did expound and He was/is the leader: He did lead out. Yet only believers are led into the bosom of the Father.

His return to the Father which in turn resulted in the Holy Spirit being given to believers, serves as continuing evidence, an on going expounding (and leading), which may or may not produce followers of Christ (and so be led to the Father). Thus we might modify Boismard's structure to show the either/or affect of the Incarnation on creation:

(a) The Word  1-2      ●             ● 18  The Son in   (a')
    with God.                              the Father
(b) His role of 3       ●           ● 17   Role of re-  (b')
    creation                               creation
(c) Gift to men  4-5     ●         ● 16    Gift to men  (c')
(d) Witness of J-B 6-8    ●       ● 15  Witness of J-B  (d')
(e) The coming of the  9-10 ●   ● 14  The Incarnation   (e')
    Word into the World
                              ●
 (f) His own which reject  11 | 12-13 By the incarnate  (f')
     Him remain born of       |       Word we become    
     bloods or will of the    |       children of God
     flesh or  will of man    |

The Word was, and so is past. Yet by its very nature (God) becoming flesh created on-going light which still leads people to life, or not. So it may be better to include verse 11 with the central point which is divided into two parts:

(f) He came to His own things, and His own ones did not accept Him.

(f') But all who did receive Him, He gave them — the ones believing in His name — the right to become children of God, who were born not of bloods, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of a husband, but of God.

This allows for the central them to reflect the coexistent reality of the Incarnation. Just as believing in the name has a consequence, so does rejecting Him.


Notes:
1. M. E. Boismard, O.P. St. John's Prologue, translated by Carisbrooke Dominicans, Newman Press, 1957, p. 80
2. Ibid., p. 79.
3. Ibid.
4. Robert G Hall, "The Reader as Apocalyptist in the Gospel of John". John's Gospel and Intimations of Apocalyptic, edited by Catrin H Williams and Christopher Rowland, Bloomsbury, 2013, p. 268

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