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John 1:1 (NIV):

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

John 1:14 (NIV):

14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

By connecting the dots, is it a valid conclusion that if the Word was God and the Word became flesh and was the Son, therefore the Son is God? I'm just using basic reasoning by transitivity (if A = B and A = C, then B = C).

Relevant readings:

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  • While I agree with you, your argument depends on answering this question: hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/questions/47593/…
    – Perry Webb
    Feb 7 at 14:07
  • 2
    @PerryWebb That question was answered (very competently) and the answer was up-voted 11 times (down-voted 2 times).
    – Nigel J
    Feb 7 at 14:28
  • 2
    This question has been debated for 2000 years and you expect to settle it here? I will provide an answer but I am sure that will not settle the matter.
    – Dottard
    Feb 7 at 21:07
  • 3
    If Jesus said that the Father is the only true God and you claim to believe Jesus, will you believe what he said? Sep 30 at 22:23
  • @AlexBalilo - interesting objection, feel free to expand on that in an answer ;) Sep 30 at 22:24

13 Answers 13

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The opening 18 verses of the John’s Gospel have been the subject of intense study and debate primarily because of their theological content. Let us examine the first few verses. Note the staircase parallelism of verse 1-5:

In the beginning was the Word

. And the Word was with [the] God

. . And god was the Word [This is the literal word order but for English it should be reversed]

. . .This one was in the beginning with [the] God

All things through him became [= came into being]

. And without him became not one thing

. . That which became in him was life

. . . And that life was the light of mankind

. . . . And the light in the darkness shines

. . . . . And the darkness it [did] not grasp.

This prologue lays out all the theological subjects that John’s Gospel explores. One of the most significant is the early statement that builds up to the final climax: John 1:1 - … the Word was god [a qualitative category statement. See Daniel B Wallace, “Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics”, p269.]

John 20:28 – Thomas answered Him, “The Lord of me and the God of me.” This latter statement (uncorrected by Jesus) declares Jesus to be “ho theos” – God in the fullest sense.

This, "the Word was god" is a category statement like saying "my car is a Ford". Later (John 20:28) in John, we see John's point, that the Word, Jesus was God in the absolute sense, "ho theos". We find a few similar statements with "ho theos" elsewhere such as:

  • Matt 1:23, "He shall be called Emmanuel ... "the God with us"
  • John 20:28, "the Lord of me and the God of me"
  • Titus 2:13, “…our great God and Saviour, Jesus Christ.” [This also has, “ho theos”.]
  • Heb 1:8, “About the Son he says, ‘Your throne, O God, will last forever’”. [ho theos]
  • Heb 1:9, “therefore O God, Your God, has anointed You above Your companions with the oil of joy.” [ … also, “ho theos”]
  • 2 Peter 1:1, “…righteousness of our God [= ὁ Θεός] and Saviour, Jesus Christ.”

UPDATE: The Greek Logic Question

As explained above, the entire Gospel of John appears to have been written to establish two facts: the complete and total humanity of Jesus and His complete and total divinity. John does not do this immediately and thus the opening statements cannot be pressed too far - that comes later in the Gospel as explained above.

In the opening verse, we have a qualitative category statement: "The Word was god"; which simply says that the Word has the quality of "god". This is not a convertible proposition, meaning, that we cannot say that "god was the Word". It simply says that the Word has the quality and characteristics of "god" or divinity without yet fully identifying who that person is.

The logic or "transitive" nature of the logic also does not necessarily follow as described by the OP. The transitive logic, while sound achieves less than the OP suggests:

A: The Word was god

B: The Son is the Word (a convertible proposition)

C: The Son is god (a qualitative category statement)

Thus, all that is achieved (which is still VERY significant) is that we have concluded that Jesus is god or divine. By reading further in John, we later discover that John makes Jesus out to be "ho theos" = "The God", the one and only true God, as described above. To modern monotheists, it is too easy to jump to the conclusion that John intended "Jesus is God" rather than "Jesus is god" (or divine). The Jews would have made a similar leap but polytheistic pagans would not.

Thus, the opening verses simply set the scene for what John (and the rest of the NT) develops later.

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    This is a showy and primitive answer reliant on a ‘proof-text’ methodology which completely and conveniently ignores context and a vital component - the logos was WITH God. Thus you have made another God.
    – steveowen
    Oct 1 at 21:43
  • @steveowen - there is only ONE God, not two or three. Now, instead of simply critiquing other, why not supply an answer of your own?
    – Dottard
    Oct 1 at 21:48
  • Surprising answer from you, regarding John 1:1c, one which I find truly refreshing coming from a self confessed Trinitarian, or at least Binitarian. As I've said myself on more than one occasion, a qualitative category statement is indeed reflected in John 1:1c. I mention same below in my answer, both indirectly and even directly if one includes my subsequent comment. Who knows for sure what Thomas meant in John 20:28, it's certainly debatable. As for your other "ho theos" statements, one could debate those also, in fact it was only recently that I debated Heb 1:8,9. As for rest of NT???? Oct 9 at 8:23
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As revealed in the comments below your question, you seem to have a mistaken impression of "θεος". This word is simply a countable noun that can be used as a title just like the word "king". Just like the king of Israel could be called "the king" by the Israelites, without implying that he is "the one true king" (the God of Israel), similarly what each occurrence of "θεος" means has to be determined from the context, and nothing excludes the simple possibility that John 1:1 states "the word was god" where "god" is used as a title.

It is precisely why each person can have their own god (Deut 32), just like they can choose their king. It is also precisely why there can be other gods (Deut 6:14).

So, no, you cannot conclude that the word in John 1:1 is the only true God, which is what you denote by the capitalized "God" in English. (There are no capitals in the Greek/Hebrew/Aramaic texts.)

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  • Saw this yesterday but was on 'grand kids' watch with my wife and intended to respond after responding to another poster's response to my own answer which took some digging on my part. Your answer, while short, makes a good point. Upvoted + 1 Oct 9 at 6:58
  • @OldeEnglish: You may like to see this as well, where some people who don't know basic Greek noun declension are too busy criticizing my claims haha.. It's another example of faulty understanding due to failing to realize that the capitalized "God" in English does not correspond to a capitalized "θεος" in Greek.
    – David
    Oct 9 at 17:50
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I would say, that the question is not put entirely correctly, for it contains an implicit information, with which I (and anybody) may not agree from the outset; namely, the question implies that "Son" is, or can be, Logos' name only after the Incarnation (when the Logos was called also Jesus), but not prior to the Incarnation, so as to affirm that even in eternity, even before the world was created, the Logos of the Father was simultaneously the Son of the Father.

However, this is not even a moot point, for the eternal Logos is also the eternal Son, even before the Son's Incarnation. How otherwise indeed?! Is not God eternally the Father? Yes, He is! Even before creation of the universe? Surely, even before creation of the universe, for 'eternally Father' means that creation of the universe, which exists not in eternity, but in time, does not introduce fatherhood in Him. Now, if He is eternally the Father, then given that the universe does not yet exist, He must not be called Father with reference to anything created, must He? No, He mustn't. But to be father means to have son (or daughter, but let us forget for a while this political correctness nausea, for it adds nothing to argument), yes? Yes! And thus the eternal Father must have co-eternal Son, mustn't He? Yes, He must indeed and necessarily so. But is not it acme of absurdity to affirm that Father has co-eternal Logos and, besides, co-eternal Son also, and + Holy Ghost who proceeds From Him (John 15:26), so that we get not Trinity but Quaternity of Father the Son the Logos and the Holy Ghost. But let us send to the world of phantasy this idea and return to a sound theology which identifies Logos with the Son. For also Jesus calls the One with Whom He enjoyed Glory before even the creation of the universe "Father" (John 17:5), and since it is contrary to any sound reason to think that God became His Father only after He adopted created human nature, then we must necessarily assume that He was the Father's Son already in eternity before the creation of universe, to say nothing before the Incarnation. In fact, when He says "I came from the Father and entered the world" (John 16:28) does not this show without any taint of ambiguity that the Father was His Father even before the Incarnation, for the Incarnation means 'entering the world', while even before that He came out of Father, to the effect that the Incarnation has nothing to do with His and Father's eternal Fatherhood-Sonship.

Therefore, yes, it is a perfectly good logic that you bring: if eternal God's co-eternal Logos is God and if this Logos is also Son, then necessarily the Son is also God.

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    @Down-voter Hello, my down-voter! Your "-" looks ok, but it will look far better if you embellish it with your solid and irrefutable arguments substantiating your decision, o, my anonymous hero! Oct 8 at 6:26
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+25

Yes, transitive logic does work here because because John was logical and consistent in his description of who Jesus was. You just have to make sure you understand the Greek vocabulary and grammar. O θεός is not the same as θεός. All the scholars I have read agree on this including Henry Alford in "Commentary on John 1". Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary ( reprpoduced at https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/hac/john-1.html):

The omission of the article before θεός is not mere usage; it could not have been here expressed, whatever place the words might hold in the sentence. ὁ λόγος ἦν ὁ θεός would give a sense liable to the objections first stated, and destroy the idea of the λόγος altogether. θεός must then be taken as implying God, in substance and essence , not ὁ θεός , ‘the Father,’ in Person . It does not = θεῖος , nor is it to be rendered a God but, as in σὰρξ ἐγένετο , σάρξ expresses that state into which the Divine Word entered by a definite act, so in θεὸς ἦν , θεός expresses that essence which was His ἐν ἀρχῇ : that He was very God .

To translate the phrase as “The Word has the character and essence of God” is a little cumbersome though it would be a better and less misleading translation than “The Word was God”. Moffatt’s translation as the “The Logos was divine” is fine.

The transitive equation then would look like this. The Word is divine. The Word is the Son. The Son is divine. If you get the translation wrong, the equation doesn’t work. The Word is God (the one true God, the Father). The Word is the Son. The Son is the Father.

Congratulations, SRI! You are the first person I know who has used mathematics to enhance biblical hermeneutics!

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The question is really asking if Jesus is the word / logos / God?

I will not repeat what has already been said in some detailed answers already. It would not be reasonable to interpret Jesus as the word/logos.

John did not write Jesus otherwise it would read;

"and Jesus was with God and Jesus was God." – this defies logic.

The Greek term Logos' is derived from the root word Lego' meaning to speak'. The literal translation of Logos' is `something spoken or thought'.

So should read

In the beginning was the spoken word, command', and the spoken word, command' was with God, and the `spoken word, command' was Divine.

The LITERAL translation is not only logical but it coincides perfectly with the prologue of the Book of Genesis.

"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." "And the God said, Let there be light; and there was light." (Genesis 1:1 and 3)

Divine

"Divine" instead of "God" in the last line?. The answer is based upon the usage of Greek grammar. In the second line, the phrase used by John for "God" is ho theo', meaning the God'. In the last line it is simply theo', the definitive article the' is not used. Why? Because, it is a predicate of the subject `ho theo'. The predicate is used to denote the nature, quality, attribute or property of the subject. Here ‘the’ in this instance the nature of the God's spoken command was Divine.

In New translation of the Bible' (1922) by the famous Dr. James Moffatt, it reads; "the Logos was Divine." And, also in The Complete Bible - An American Translation' (Smith-Goodspeed) and `The Authentic New Testament' by Hugh J. Schonfield.

"it" stands for "Logos" (the divine command that was in the beginning with the God)

John 1:14 (NASB)

And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us; and we saw His glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

To explain the above we need to start with John 1:4 - 4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men.

& John 1:9 (NASB) This was the true Light that, coming into the world, enlightens every person. Based on the above LITERALLY means;

"And the Logos (the God's command, which was from the beginning with God, wherein was the life) became flesh, and dwelt among us,..."

The embodiment in flesh was of "Logos" - the God's command, and NOT of the God. The conception of Jesus within the womb of his mother, Virgin Mary, was in reality made possible by an act of God's command - the "Logos". Jesus was neither God nor the physical incarnation of God.

The entire text which reads; "and we be held his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father" is written within parentheses in the Kings James Version. Hence, it is considered as the editor's enhanced notes or addendum.

Some others that assist;

Matthew 19:4-6 (ASV) 4 And he answered and said, Have ye not read, that he who made them from the beginning made them male and female, 5 and said, For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and the two shall become one flesh? 6 So that they are no more two, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.

Isaiah 45:12 (ASV) 12 I have made the earth, and created man upon it: I, even my hands, have stretched out the heavens; and all their host have I commanded.

SOLOMON’S CLAIM: The Lord possessed me in the beginning of his ways, before his works of old. I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning or ever the earth was. When there were no depths. I was brought forth: When there were no fountains abounding with water. Before the mountains were settled; before the hills was brought forth; While as yet he had not made the earth. nor the fields, nor the highest part of the dust of the world. When he prepared the heavens, I was there, when he set a compass upon the face of the depths; When he established the clouds above; when he strengthened the fountains of the deep; When he gave the sea his decree, that the water should not pass his commandment; When he appointed the foundations of the earth: Then I was by him, as one brought up with him: And I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him. PROVERBS 8:22-30

MELCHISEDEC: For this Melchisedec, king of Salem, priest of the Most High God. Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life, but made like unto the son of God, abideth a priest continually. HEBREW 7.1 & 3.

Finally - 1 Timothy 1:17

17Now to the King eternal, immortal, and invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.

Was Jesus who dwelt amongst us - not visible!

There is also a problem with John's gospel https://hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/a/63568/33268

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The prologue identifies the Son as God in v. 18, just as it identifies the Word as God in v. 1. The prologue was not talking about two separate Gods here, one who is the Word and one who is the Son. The Word in verse 1 is the selfsame Word who was incarnated in verse 14 and was subsequently re-affirmed as God in verse 18. The pre-incarnate Word was God (John 1:1c). The incarnate Word (i.e. the only Son) was also God (John 1:18), showing that the Word remained God after he was incarnated.

John 1:1 (NIV):

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

John 1:14 (NIV):

14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

John 1:18 (NIV):

No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known.

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If the Word was God, and the Word was the Son, can we conclude that the Son is God?

Traditional theology presents this proposal as fact. If we read the bible carefully, we find it does not work. Fortunately, the logic and clarity of the scriptures need no additional imagination and we can show this premise to be false from the bible without making anything up or requiring leaps of assumption.

In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and the word was God. John 1:1

Simply because we see a capital ‘W’ or a ‘He’ in v2 ,3 etc. does not make the logos a person. Is wisdom a person? If the foot says, "I am not a part of the body..." 1Cor 12:15, is the foot a person because it speaks?

What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the word of life— 2and the life was revealed, and we have seen and testify and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was revealed to us 1John 1:1

We can readily see this (from the same John) is NOT referring to a person. The logos here is a ‘what’ or a ‘which’ depending on the translation. Jesus is the revelation, the manifestation of this logos which was with God. Jesus is the logos made manifest only since he was born! It is this critical aspect that negates the logic of, ‘If the logos is God then Jesus, who is the ‘logos became flesh’, is God.

and the life was manifested, and we have seen and testify and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was manifested to us v2

We now can progress past an assumption-based methodology and work with the reality that Jesus has come from the literal ‘word’ of God, and not a person of divine eternality at all. We must read what is provided - no assumption is necessary. There are no gaps in the bible's provision of how Jesus came to be.

Jesus' beginning

As explained here, the Gospel narratives of Jesus’ beginning clearly and ‘accurately’ provide all we need to know. There is NO mention of a ‘God the Son’, NO mention of a pre-existing Jesus. We ARE told of the baby boy born to Mary by the power of God. There is no, ‘the eternal Son of God became flesh’, as another answer provides – there is no verse for this idea.

…it seemed fitting to me as well, having investigated everything carefully from the beginning, to write it out for you in an orderly sequence, most excellent Theophilus; 4 so that you may know the exact truth about the things you have been taught Luke 1:3

the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favour with God. 31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and give birth to a son, and you shall name him Jesus Luke 1:30

He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David. v32

The record of the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah, the son of David, the son of Abraham: Matt 1:1

Now the birth of Jesus the Messiah was as follows: when his mother Mary… v18

We have the beginning of ‘Jesus’, the Christ. A descendant of David and Abraham. No one is talking about Jesus being God, no one speaks of his pre-existence as some eternal being – an ‘exact truth’, we’re told or ‘perfectly’, ‘diligently’, ‘accurately’. A baby boy born of Mary, named Jesus, the son of God.

Gal 4:4 But when the fullness of the time came, God sent His son, born of a woman, born under the Law.

We don't need to suppose here that because Jesus was 'sent' that he must be in heaven to begin with. Jesus was sent - into the wilderness for 40 days, he was sent to be tempted and die - all this from the womb of Mary. There is no need to invent anything else.

The Jesus of the bible

This is the simple truth - no incarnation or God becoming a man, no pre-existence. If the incarnation was truth from God, we would be reading about this most important beginning of His son sent to be Saviour of the world!!! Yet, we do not; there is not a peep of this idea! All these things, sadly, are made up to present another gospel about another Jesus who is not described in the bible at all - save a few 'proof-texts' that can be used to infer something accommodating a traditional theology. I've noted some below to show their misapplication.

The logos is with or ‘toward’ God. It cannot therefore BE God in any strict sense. Can the logos DO anything of itself? No. Is the logos a conscious entity with God? No, as if it was God, then we have two God’s. God is Creator, He creates through His logos - the logos does not create of itself.

1John 1:1-2 has soundly defeated that misunderstanding. The logos, as shown through the NT is often given as statement, story, message, reason, to say, report, speech, news, account. It is the expression and will of God – it carries the full weight of God’s presence and authority. It IS as God is, but only as God utters and pronounces – “let there be light”, etc.

Jesus, the human manifestation of the logos, is the living word, message, statement, reason etc. of God. He has one human nature so being able to be tempted and die is quite appropriate for a man - but never appropriate, or even possible, for God. Heb 2:17 says, Jesus 'is made like us in every way'. Being a God/man is not like us at all. Jesus having two-natures is not mentioned, let alone taught anywhere by God's messengers. So his, 'eternal nature' didn't die idea is not biblical, but made up!

Do we choose the bible or do we choose ideas of men formed 100’s of years after the Apostolic Church Fathers? None of these taught anything about God being made into a man or Jesus having two-natures.

Knowing that Jesus has his own will – differing from the Father, is evidence of the dramatic development God undertook in order to save His creation. His logos is now a human with another will - planned from the beginning Gen 3. A human will that MUST be subjected to God’s will – not remotely by force, coercion or authority. Not by God's decree as He utters His word to bring something into fruition, but by Jesus' willing love, trust and humble obedience as God's special son. If at any time this subjection did not occur, Jesus could not have been Saviour. John 5:30, John 6:38, Luke 22:42, Mark 14:36

The form of God

Jesus, the son of God, born holy, had the privilege of asking for anything from heaven. He emptied himself of this privileged status in order to be a servant to God’s purposes and not allow his own desires to come first. All the while retaining the form, the image, and being the representative of, God. Col 1:15, 2 Cor 4:4, Phil 2:6, Heb 1:3

Indeed, he was dedicated to being empty of himself (putting his own will aside) so that he would be all the more full of God and intent on His will – just as it is for all men who earnestly seek to put God first.

but emptied Himself by taking the form of a bond-servant and being born in the likeness of men. Phil 2:7

No wonder he said, ‘I of myself can do nothing’. This was not some pithy saying meant to feign humility – it was the absolute truth! Being ‘empty’ was without guile and only threatened by temptation. As the holy, sinless son of God, glorifying himself would be the exact opposite of what God wanted His son to express. But Jesus emptying himself of any tendency to ‘blow his own trumpet’ by submitting his will to God and point all toward God instead of himself – ‘no one is good except God alone’.

Jesus answered, “If I glorify Myself, My glory is nothing; it is My Father who glorifies Me, of whom you say, ‘He is our God’ John 8:54

When he said, ‘if you have seen me you have seen the Father’, obviously he still, (and always) is the form and image of God, as that is what they are seeing and coming to know and understand what God is like - through the life and example of Jesus. The strange idea that ‘being in the form of God’ was a time prior to his life on earth is shown to be pure supposition – it has no scriptural validity.

To stress this matter – Jesus was fully the form and image of God until his final breath. Now, his followers are being made in God’s image - in Christ. He still is the image and form of God – representing His will perfectly without hesitation or distraction from evil and temptation. Sitting at God’s right hand as His Judge, inheritor, giver of life, raiser of dead etc. etc.

Jesus knew who he was – ‘there is none good but God alone’, ‘be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect’, Matt 5:48 He stated who his God and Father was – the same as Mary’s and ours.

John 20:17 Jesus said to her, "Stop clinging to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brethren and say to them, 'I ascend to my Father and your Father, and my God and your God.'"

So, If the Word was God, and the Word was the Son, can we conclude that the Son is God? No. That Jesus still has a God should provoke serious analytical study of the whole ‘Jesus is God’ philosophy. Usually, when queried on this important matter, the answer is, 'It's a mystery' or, 'We have to believe by faith'. No there is no mystery when we read the bible just as God has provided.

The one who is victorious I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will they leave it. I will write on them the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from my God; and I will also write on them my new name. Rev 3:12

When we take care to examine the scriptures free of traditional interference we see the true Jesus, the man only who was tempted and died on the cross as the perfect sacrifice for all. God the Father DID give His only son!

+++++++++++++++++++

It may seem harsh to critique another answer. If it does not carefully represent the bible accurately and is misleading, this needs to be pointed out. Of course, these quoted verses are perfectly true, but not when they are used in isolation and stripped of context. Using them in this way is a sign of not having very good support at all and hoping no one will notice the obvious misappropriation.

Matt 1:23, "He shall be called Emmanuel ... "the God with us" - Isaiah 7:14-16 shows that this title is not sufficient to make Jesus God.

John 20:28, "the Lord of me and the God of me" – The context of this passage is ample evidence of what Thomas meant – based on what Jesus had taught his disciples.

Titus 2:13, “…our great God and Saviour, Jesus Christ.” [This also has, “ho theos”.] An honest reading shows this verse speaks of the appearing of the glory of God - Jesus is the one appearing.

Heb 1:8, “About the Son he says, ‘Your throne, O God, will last forever’”. [ho theos] Read with the next verse, Jesus has a God and he is appointed to his new status – BY God!

Heb 1:9, “therefore O God, Your God, has anointed You above Your companions with the oil of joy.” [ … also, “ho theos”]

2 Peter 1:1, “…righteousness of our God [= ὁ Θεός] and Saviour, Jesus Christ.” When compared to the many other examples of this phrasing, Jesus still has a God. While this one verse seems to provide a proof-text, only a flimsy case is built using this one alone and ignoring all the others.

This referenced answer also totally ignores, ‘the logos was WITH God’ – a critical aspect to understanding what logos is - not who as we have seen.

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  • It sounds like you are willing to concede on 2 Pe 1:1, but you should also concede Titus 2:13. Yes, Jesus is the One appearing, our great God (ὁ θεὸς) and Savior. As to Thomas’ declaration, Jesus could have corrected him on something that would otherwise be considered blasphemous but he didn’t which tips that verse in our favor. Heb 1:8 clearly refers to the Son as ὁ θεὸς and your own translation of Heb 1:9 would appear to give us that one too. “therefore O God (Jesus), Your God (Father) has anointed You above Your companions. Oct 6 at 8:49
  • I think that a key element you may be missing is that just because ὁ θεὸς refers also sometimes to Jesus, doesn’t mean that it implies he is equal to the Father. In other words, just because Jesus has a God doesn’t mean he can’t be a God (divine). In fact, he is a God because he has God as his Father. Oct 6 at 8:51
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If John believed that Jesus is the Creator God like what others infer from reading John 1:1-3 then that belief is not consistent with what John says in John 20:33 which says, but these are written, that ye may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye may have life in his name. John says Jesus in the Christ, the Son of God. Let us now examine the idea of a God called the "Word". If this God called the Word is the Creator, this God called the Word must have been made known to the prophets in the Old Testament and even to Jesus, however, there is no record of this God Word Creator in the bible at all but in Isaiah 44:24 ASV we have, Thus saith Jehovah, thy Redeemer, and he that formed thee from the womb: I am Jehovah, that maketh all things; that stretcheth forth the heavens alone; that spreadeth abroad the earth (who is with me?). Jehovah alone is the Creator.

God's word should be the standard by which the words of all others must be measured because God speaks the truth, Isaiah 45:19 I have not spoken in secret, in a place of the land of darkness; I said not unto the seed of Jacob, Seek ye me in vain: I, Jehovah, speak righteousness, I declare things that are right. John17:17 Father sanctify them in the truth, your word is truth., 2 Sam 7:28. And now, O Lord Jehovah, thou art God, and thy words are truth, and thou hast promised this good thing unto thy servant. Even if Jesus is the Word in John 1:1, Jesus himself ascribed creation to God, not himself. Mark 13:19; Matthew 19:4 Mark 10:6 Notice that in these verses Jesus spoke of the beginning and creation. In addition, Jehovah declared that He alone created and that there is no other God besides Him, Isaiah 45:18 ASV For thus saith Jehovah that created the heavens, the God that formed the earth and made it, that established it and created it not a waste, that formed it to be inhabited: I am Jehovah; and there is none else. So to make Jesus as the Creator based on John 1:1-3 is an assumption that is not true. If Jesus is not the creator, then he is not the only true God.

According to Jesus, the Father is the only true God, the Father is greater than all and the Father is greater than Jesus, John 17:3, John 10:29 and John 14:28. To say that Jesus is the Creator or that the God called the Word is the creator is like making Jesus statements in Mark 13:19, Matthew 19 :4 Mark 10:6 and Jehovah's declaration false. In the following verses we find, Isaiah 45:6 ASV "that they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none besides me: I am Jehovah, and there is none else." Isaiah 46:9 " Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me;" Isaiah 45:18 ASV "For thus saith Jehovah that created the heavens, the God that formed the earth and made it, that established it and created it not a waste, that formed it to be inhabited: I am Jehovah; and there is none else ". . It should be Jehovah's and Jesus' words by which the words of all others must be tested. If there are other persons who are God and Jehovah is not aware of this God, then Jehovah is incompetent. If there are others that are also God and Jehovah knows these other Gods, then He is lying or, Jehovah is the only one who is the only one who is the true God. If He lied and is incompetent, we should not serve Him. If we believe Him to be true, then those that say there are others who are also God are not being truthful with their assertion. Attributing creation to anyone other than the Father is robbing God. It gives honor to a suppossed God which is due to the Father alone as the Creator. That was why Jesus never attributed creation to himself, but to God, Mark 13:19.

Psalm 33:6 says By the word of Jehovah were the heavens made, And all the host of them by the breath of his mouth. It was God's spoken word by which He brought about creation. In Genesis 1:3 And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. Notice that God did not send a second God called the Word to cause light to be. In the New Testament, that same understanding is shown in 2 Peter 3:5 ASV For this they willfully forget, that there were heavens from of old, and an earth compacted out of water and amidst water, by the word of God. God's word is derived in His mind. God's word being in a person does not mean that person is God.

Our innermost reasoning can be expressed by words, that is why we sometimes say "keep your thoughts to yourself". Our words begin with us, goes out from us, and can have effects on those that listen, hear or read our words. God's word is not a separate God from Himself. The bible has no record of anyone talking to or praying to the Word as God. Even Jesus attested that it was God who created from the beginning, not himself. Mark 13:19; Matthew 19:4 Mark 10:6. If we let God's word to speak for itself, it will become evident that a multi person monotheism is not taught in the bible.

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    I just read this one quickly (just got up and haven't had breakfast yet) as I was thinking there might be another gem from Alex, worthy of my vote, for one, but that will have to go on hold, for the time being at least. I will take a harder look at it later. The way I see it is: that God was the Creator, yes, but only in an architectural sense. The Word (a god, not God) was His contractor. Besides Jehovah meaning "proved to be", it also means "causes to become" and while He caused the Creation to become, Jesus was the master worker, Proverbs 8:30, within the personification of Wisdom. Oct 4 at 14:47
  • I ran out of characters. Didn't you once believe the above? If so, what changed your mind? Oct 4 at 14:49
  • @Olde English. Yes. I do. But I have answered in the most objective way I can. Yes Jesus is the wisdom of God. His contractor himself did not ascribed creation to himself, but to the God he serves . I stuck with Jesus' and Jehovah's words about creation. That way, I hope it can stand the test. Oct 4 at 20:47
  • I will look at it again but I'm in a "chat room" right now, waiting for a response to my last statement and I don't know how long it will go on for. I just thought I would check in here in the meantime. Oct 4 at 21:29
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    OK, I see now where you were trying to go on this, but it's not easy to follow. I don't think you will get much response to this but at least you now have my vote. Oct 4 at 22:11
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If the Word was God, and the Word was the Son, can we conclude that the Son is God?

By the wording of the question, the OP is of the assumption that John 1:1c's Greek word ordering in English is:-

               ...and the Word was God...

When in actual fact the word order is:-

                ...and God was the Word...

One only has to look at the Interlinear. Also, the second theos (God, or god), of the whole first verse, is not preceded by the definite article, unlike the first theos, so the question should be: Is the second theos to be interpreted as definite, or indefinite. The jury is still, after time indefinite out on this one, so let's not deliberate further on that right now.

NB: For a more in depth exegesis on John 1:1, one can see my A., from last year to the following hermeneutical Q:- hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/questions/47593/... which can be readily accessed if one goes to the very first comment above, posted under the OP's Q.

The mathematical transitivity, shown within the OP's Q., only works if the OP's assumption is true, on the other hand, if it's not true, it cannot be relative.

"Word of God" after manifestation in the flesh

The Word. This name, having been initially found in John 1:1,14, is then found again in 1 John 1:1. Here John follows on, after his gospel account, after the prologue, and expounds to his Christian audience, there in Asia Minor, about the recently manifested Word, which came in the guise of Jesus. Witnessed by many and in using the 1st Person Plural, now accounts for the fact, that he and others of his ilk, had not only literally heard the Son of God, in his role as the Son of Man, but they had also seen up close with their own eyes and had even, in a reference to Luke 24:39, felt the now resurrected body of Jesus, who he now refers to as ...the Word of the Life. The use of the word "zo.e" (life), being a reference to not only the physical (present) but also the spiritual (particularly future) existence, as per 'Strong's' purported usage of the word. John goes on to say, in v.3, as per the NASB:-

"What we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, that you also may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ."

Revelation 19:11-13 -the Second Coming of Christ

In Chapter 19, we are made aware of Christ's final Word of God role, regarding the earth before his Millennial Reign, the role that leads into Armageddon. The NASB reintroduces him thus:-

11."and I saw heaven opened; and behold a white horse, and He who sat upon it is called Faithful and True; and in righteousness He judges and wages war. 12. And his eyes are a flame of fire, and upon His head are many diadems; and He has a name written upon Him which no one knows except Himself. 13. And he is clothed with a robe dipped in blood; and his name is called, The Word of God.

Conclusion

IMO, it is undeniable that the Word of God originated as a separate spiritual being, to that of the Almighty God Himself. In 'John's Prologue' we are firstly introduced to the only begotten Son of God, in his pre-existent earthly role as the Word of God, who is with God the Father, in the beginning. He, as the only begotten Son is himself the beginning of all creation, he having been the first act, as it were, of the Producer, the Architect, if you will, of the world, who then through the Word, His Contractor, created all other things. Who The Word (Logos) was before being manifested in the flesh, as the Son of Man, after the passing of eons of time, is a matter of speculation and therefore should be a subject of yet another story.

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  • Jesus plainly said that God, was the Creator, not himself. Mark 13:19. Even after his resurrection, he called the Father, his God. Revelation 3:12. Very good explanation why Jesus is not God with the capital G. Oct 7 at 13:32
  • Thank you Alex. I was not going to answer this Q., as I basically answered it last year but then realized that I may have something else to offer after seeing all the responses. Oct 7 at 16:19
  • There is no indefinite article in Greek grammar so it is inaccurate to refer to the article as the definite article. It is simply the article and making something definite is just one of many functions. Within the Prologue, the line of reasoning the article is intended to make theos definite runs aground when you arrive at verse 6 and again at verses 12, 13, and 18 all of which use theos without the article. IOW, theos in those verses is used the same as in 1:1c. Oct 7 at 19:36
  • @RevelationLad-I have an answer to this seeming quandary but right now I have to get ready to hit the road for about 4 hours, for an extended family visit, whereupon my wife and I will be looking after the grandkids (2 & 4) for an extended weekend, so not sure when I can get to respond, but I undoubtedly will get back to you. Oct 7 at 20:09
  • @RevelationLad-Have a little time here. Apart from the fact that "Koine" Greek drops the article in a prepositional phrase and verses 6,12,13 & 18 are all prepositional phrases, the correct word ordering now shows an:- anarthrous (no article), pre verbal , predicate nominative (noun)... which describes the class, or category, to which the subject (the Word) belongs, NOT what he supposedly was. See also: hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/questions/48224/… where we had our back and forth then. Oct 8 at 19:32
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If the Word was God, and the Word was the Son, can we conclude that the Son is God?

That's what John wanted you to conclude. That's John's logic. However, this logic is not supported by any mathematically formal system.

The question assumes that you can do the following:

the Word was God ⇔ W=G

There is no general formal system that allows you to replace the verb to be with the equal sign.

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In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (John 1:1, KJV)

ἐν ἀρχῇ ἦν ὁ λόγος καὶ ὁ λόγος ἦν πρὸς τὸν θεόν καὶ θεὸς ἦν ὁ λόγος (Greek)

This text is perplexing to many minds. Understanding the nature of God is important to a correct comprehension of this.

God is the Word.

What is "the Word"? In Greek, the word is "Logos," as many know. It can mean word, message, doctrine/teaching, account (e.g. a story), or simply speech.

In verse 14, we see that this "Word" becomes "flesh" and dwells among us.

And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. (John 1:14, KJV)

If the Word "was made" flesh, it is simple to deduce that 1) the Word previously existed, and 2) the Word did not previously have flesh.

The Greek word from which "was made" is translated is the word γίνομαι/ginomai, which means: to become, i.e. to come into existence, begin to be, receive being.

But the Word previously existed, apart from the new existence or being that was made here in verse 14.

Some light is shed on this in the Book of Hebrews.

Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me: (Hebrews 10:5, KJV)

That "body" was the humanity in which the Word was embodied. Was the Word a body? Was the Word human? No. The Word was God, and God is not a man.

God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good? (Numbers 23:19, KJV)

Could the Son of Man be God?

Insofar as one considers the human side of Christ, the answer is clearly "No." But when one understands just a little more about God, it is also clear that God, the Word, was dwelling IN Christ.

God is invisible.

Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen. (1 Timothy 1:17, KJV)

But Jesus came to manifest the invisible God to us.

Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: (Colossians 1:15, KJV)

The Word was in Christ.

To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. (2 Corinthians 5:19, KJV)

Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works. Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works' sake. (John 14:10-11, KJV)

Jesus seems to try very hard to explain to us that the Father is the Word which is speaking from within him. He knew this would be difficult for many to understand, as it still is to this day.

Conclusion

The Word was not the Son, but the Word was IN the Son. The invisible God spoke through the manifestation of the Son, even as Peter and John tell us.

Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, (1 Peter 1:20, KJV)

(For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;) (1 John 1:2, KJV)

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  • While you are on the right track, the answer is lessened by your, ‘the word is in Christ’. Which has no support and muddies the truth.
    – steveowen
    Oct 1 at 21:21
  • @steveowen There is scriptural support for it, and it is quoted within the answer above. It's not a great leap of logic to understand it, just two steps are required: "The word was God" (John 1:1) and "God was in Christ" (2 Cor. 5:19); therefore the Word was in Christ.
    – Polyhat
    Oct 1 at 21:32
  • Sorry, you have No verse saying the ‘word’ was in Christ. God was. You are deducing this yourself. This is akin to saying, Jesus is the logos, therefore Jesus is ‘in the beginning’ which he was not.
    – steveowen
    Oct 1 at 21:48
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    @steveowen If the Word was God, and God was in Christ, then the Word was in Christ. Why is that so hard for you to accept? Are you wishing to believe that Jesus was just a good man, like a prophet, with no divine presence in him at all? Regardless of what you wish to believe, God's Word is clear enough on Jesus' identity and nature.
    – Polyhat
    Oct 1 at 22:14
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Yes, Jesus is Jehovah/Yahweh.

  1. Rom. 10:9-13: Note the repeated "for," which links these verses closely together. The "Lord" of 10:13 must be the "Lord" of 10:9, 12.
  2. Phil. 2:9-11. In context, the "name that is above every name" is "Lord" (vs. 11), i.e., Jehovah.
  3. Heb. 1:10: Here God the Father addresses the Son as "Lord," in a quotation from Psa. 102:25 (cf. 102:24, where the person addressed is called "God"). Since here the Father addresses the Son as "Lord," this cannot be explained away as a text in which a creature addresses Christ as God/Lord in a merely representational sense.
  4. 1 Pet. 2:3-4: This verse is nearly an exact quotation of Psa. 34:8a, where "Lord" is Jehovah. From 1 Pet. 2:4-8 it is also clear that "the Lord" in v. 3 is Jesus.
  5. 1 Pet. 3:14-15: these verses are a clear reference to Isa. 8:12-13,

https://www.calvarychapelboston.com/Biblical%20Basis%20Trinity%20Bowman.pdf

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    Jesus is lord "adoni", used of earthly and sometimes angelic superiors. Jesus himself declared that the Father is the only true God John 17 :3. How many true God/s are there according to Jesus? Oct 5 at 11:53
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    @ Daniel - Lord does not = God. numerous examples a couple - Abraham is called Lord - Genesis 18:12 So Sarah laughed to herself, saying, “After I am worn out, and my lord is old, shall I have pleasure?” & Psalm 110:1 The LORD says to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool.” Lord = respect Oct 5 at 12:21
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Regardless of the potential for making an invalid argument in the reasoning, if A=B and A=C, then B=C, the use of ὁ λόγος, the Word, appears purposeful to lead the reader to understand the author has reached the conclusion, the Word was both God and Jesus.

Complex Premises

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. John 1:1-2 ESV)

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.’”) (John 1:14-15)

Since each statement is immediately followed with a statement of affirmation and identification, neither A, B, or C, are simple premises: all are complex.

Verse 1 is followed by He was in the beginning with God [οὗτος ἦν ἐν ἀρχῇ πρὸς τὸν θεόν] which summarizes the opening, except ὁ λόγος was replaced with οὗτος. So neither A and B are independent in verse 1 are independent of verse 2. Rather, the author has constructed the logical condition which can be written as A=B and A'=B' (using the OP's labels). The Word which was God is also οὗτος which was in the beginning with God.1

Similarly the Word which became flesh, is not simply that which was seen (by the author and others). He was that whom John bore witness as the one who ranked before him because He was before him. As with the opening statements, it is not only that the Word became flesh B=C: that which became flesh was also in existence and in rank before the Baptist. The author's logical premises are B=C and B'=C'.

Correctly Labeling Premise, "If" and Conclusion, "Then"
An "if-then" statement is one of conditional logic:

a premise: if that is true
a conclusion: then this is true.

The author opens with a narrative which recounts the history of the Word's existence:

The Word was with God --> The Word became flesh

However, the transitivity reasoning which the OP labels as B=C (and its partner B'=C') on which the premise is based, was placed in the middle of the narrative. Labeling these as B=C and B'=C' confuses the author's if/then reasoning:

If: the Word became flesh and pre-existed John the Baptist [B, C & B', C']
Then: in the beginning the Word was with God and was God [A, B & A', B']

The author's firsthand observations are given in verses 15 and 16, and the premise on which the conclusion is based has been constructed in accordance with the Mosaic Law (cf. Deuteronomy 17:6, 19:15):

  1. The Gospel writer and his companions saw His glory (His Resurrection).
  2. John the Baptist's testimony (Jesus pre-existed John).

It is undisputed that Jesus was conceived, born, and ministered after John the Baptist. Therefore, only when the author accepts both the Word became flesh and the Baptist's testimony are true, may they reach the conclusion the Word which in the beginning was with God, was God.

The Gospel's Additional "If" Premise in the Prologue
The Prologue ends with a statement similar to how it begins:

The Word was with God --> the only-begotten God is with His Father

Once all the author writes in the Gospel is taken into account, there is as an addition component which would function as the author's third witness to the conclusion given in verses 1 and 2.

The Gospel was written after the death and resurrection and to give the the reader the ability to have a personal experience with the truth of the statement μονογενὴς θεὸς is with His Father now in so far as the author believes:

On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified. (John 7:37-39)

“If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you. (John 14:15-17)

According to the author anyone who receives God's Spirit does so only because Jesus has has returned to, and is with His Father. For all such people, the premise of the Prologue within the context of the Gospel includes the fact μονογενὴς θεὸς is with His Father now:

If: the Word became flesh and pre-existed the Baptist and you have received the Spirit
Then: μονογενὴς θεὸς is with His Father

Therefore the complete logical presentation of the Word within the Gospel is:

If: the Word became flesh and if the Word pre-existed John the Baptist
    and if you have received the Spirit and if μονογενὴς θεὸς is with His Father
Then: in the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God

Conclusion
The Gospel ends with a statement explaining the Prologue:

these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. (John 20:31)

The Prologue has been constructed to engage the reader to reach the same logical conclusion as did the author. Namely, if the Word became flesh, and if the Baptist testified about Him and if you have received God's Spirit, then Jesus has returned to His Father and then the Word, who is Jesus, was in existence in the beginning and was with God and was God.

If "logos" suggests Greek philosophy, then it must also be acknowledged Greek philosophy was not distinct from Greek logic. Modern scholars recognize Aristotle was primarily concerned with inferential systems, not practical argumentation:

Aristotle shares with modern logicians a fundamental interest in metatheory: his primary goal is not to offer a practical guide to argumentation but to study the properties of inferential systems themselves.2

Effectively, the Prologue appears to employ incorrect argumentation: if A=B and B=C, then A=C. However, when one attempts to engage the author's "misuse" of logic, the inferential systems used throughout the Gospel leads one to conclude not only is Jesus is God, but the author has used different systems to construct an argument leading the reader to understand that is the logical conclusion the author reached.


1. Thus any argument one makes as to the significance of the absence of the article in καὶ θεὸς ἦν ὁ λόγος must how the author has omitted καὶ and included the article in affirming and identifying the Word: ἐν ἀρχῇ ἦν ὁ λόγος καὶ ὁ λόγος ἦν πρὸς τὸν θεόν καὶ θεὸς ἦν ὁ λόγος [καὶ, logically expected but omitted] οὗτος ἦν ἐν ἀρχῇ πρὸς τὸν θεόν
2. Jonathan Lear, Aristotle and Logical Theory, 1980, Cambridge University Press as cited in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Logic

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