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John 1:18

No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is [ho ōn, i.e., “the One who is/being always”] in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him (emphasis added).

Romans 9:5

Whose are the fathers, and from whom is the Christ according to the flesh, who is [ho ōn, i.e., “the One who is/being always”] over all, God blessed forever. Amen (emphasis added)

Note the defining context of both passages: the Son’s absolute deity. Both authors even call the Son theos, which further supports the affirmation of the Son’s deity and His preexistence.

Referring to John 1:18, Reymond (1998: 303) remarks on the significance of the articular participle: “The present participle ho ōn … indicates a continuing state of being: ‘who is continually in the bosom of the Father.’

How true is this exegete?

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    There is a textual (and conceptual) element to this question. The TR has ho monogenes uios whereas the W&H/N-A text has ho monogenes theos. It is Fatherhood and Sonship that are a matter of begetting. Thus, as with the Johannine comma, the relationship of Father and Son is diminished by copyist attempts to 'improve' the text.
    – Nigel J
    Dec 7, 2022 at 17:14
  • 1
    Even if the begotten "god" is what appears in the original texts, It still does not say that Jesus is God. It is the selective capitalization of the word "god" that creates variance to infuse a teaching that was not originally intended. Examples are John 10:33, if honestly translated, should be "you, a man, claim to be a god". Paul, who obviously is not the true God, was called a god in Acts 28:6. Dec 8, 2022 at 1:47
  • 1
    Remember, the deity of Christ and other beliefs related to the Trinity are not even systheo; they are “doctrines” mainly based on the first four ecumenical councils while leaders in the full Church debated how to respond to specific false teachings. Oneness was never among those things being debated. And, you will not find any simple, easy, literal Biblical theo to address those questions in exactly the way we ask them today. At the time of those councils, they did not use most of the literal Calvinian hermeneutics we often use here. Just remember what we are able to find where we are looking.
    – Jesse
    Dec 8, 2022 at 5:46
  • 1
    The use of theos is only one aspect of these texts which indicate the nature of God. In both passages, the writer composed a statement which includes ὁ ὢν, the Name the LXX uses when YHVH identifies Himself to Moses in Exodus 3:14. The "dual" reference which Paul composed in the letter to the Romans was repeated by John in the Prologue. Paul's is often dismissed as an oversight, but clearly John, who wrote 30-40 after Paul, is intentional. Dec 8, 2022 at 7:29
  • 2
    @OneGodtheFather Both the MT and the LXX state YHVH self-identified Himself using two expressions. One was for Moses alone and the other to the people. in the Greek, ἐγώ εἰμι was the first; ὁ ὢν was the second. John made sure the reader would understand both applied to Jesus. And mid 90's is well attested as the time of the Fourth Gospel. Dec 8, 2022 at 18:39

4 Answers 4

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John 1:18 is just bristling with controversy as is Rom 9:5. However, Rom 9:5 text is not in dispute, only its punctuation. Let me set these out as clearly and dispassionately as possible with my own literal translations.

John 1:18

The text of John 1:18 is undisputed except for the phrase in the middle of the verse. There are three main variants (see UBS5 for the complete list of MSS), to be set out below in the chronological order of their appearance in the MSS history:

  1. Θεὸν οὐδεὶς ἑώρακεν πώποτε· μονογενὴς Θεὸς ὁ ὢν εἰς τὸν κόλπον τοῦ Πατρὸς, ἐκεῖνος ἐξηγήσατο = God no-one has seen at any time; unique God, the one being/existing in the bosom of the Father, has revealed/declared [Him]. This variant is the earliest dating from about 200 AD. This is the text in UBS5/ NA28, W&H, NA4, etc.
  2. Θεὸν οὐδεὶς ἑώρακεν πώποτε· ὁ μονογενὴς Θεὸς ὁ ὢν εἰς τὸν κόλπον τοῦ Πατρὸς, ἐκεῖνος ἐξηγήσατο = God no-one has seen at any time; the unique God, the one being/existing in the bosom of the Father, has revealed/declared [Him]. This variant is dates from about 250 AD. This is a less significant and no published text supports it.
  3. Θεὸν οὐδεὶς ἑώρακεν πώποτε· ὁ μονογενὴς υἱός, ὁ ὢν εἰς τὸν κόλπον τοῦ πατρός, ἐκεῖνος ἐξηγήσατο = God no-one has seen at any time; the unique Son, the one being/existing in the bosom of the Father, has revealed/declared [Him]. This is the text contained in the Byzantine tradition (and the TR); but this variant can be traced to about 350 AD (ie, is older than the Byzantine & TR textual tradition.)

CONCLUSION - whether Jesus is here declared the unique God or the unique Son makes no difference to the doctrine of His pre-existence. All these variants clearly show Jesus' pre-existence. Further, the deity of Jesus does not depend on John 1:18 alone, although, variants #1 & #2 more strongly support it.

Rom 9:5

The Greek text of Rom 9:5 is scarcely disputed. However, its punctuation is disputed. There have been two ways to punctuate this verse:

  1. Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them proceeds the human descent of Christ, who is God over all, forever worthy of praise! Amen.
  2. whose are the fathers, and from whom is the Christ according to the flesh, who is over all, God blessed forever. Amen.

The difference can be a source of some saying that Paul did NOT declare Jesus to be God; ie, Paul is only saying that Jesus came according to the flesh and then appends a doxology to the statement in praise of the Father, not Jesus. Ellicott summs up the arguments well:

Who is over all, God blessed for ever.—These words are a well-known subject for controversy. Trinitarian and English interpreters, as a rule, take them with the punctuation of the Authorised version, as referring to Christ. Socinian interpreters, with some of the most eminent among the Germans, put a full stop after “came,” and make the remainder of the verse a doxology addressed to God, “Blessed for ever be God, who is over all.” Both ways are possible. The question is, Which is the most natural and probable? and this is to be considered, putting altogether on one side prepossessions of every kind. We are not to read meaning into Scripture, but to elicit meaning from it. The balance of the argument stands thus:—

  1. The order of the words is somewhat in favour of the application to Christ. If the clause had really been a formal doxology, the ascription of blessing would more naturally have come at the beginning in Greek as in English, “Blessed be God,” &c.
  2. The context is also somewhat in favour of this application. The break in the form of the sentence becomes rather abrupt on the other hypothesis, and is not to be quite paralleled. Intruded doxologies, caused by a sudden access of pious feeling, are not uncommon in the writings of St. Paul, but they are either worked into the regular order of the sentence, as in Romans 1:25, Galatians 1:5, or else they are formally introduced as in 2 Corinthians 11:31; 1 Timothy 1:17.
  3. But on the other hand, to set somewhat decidedly against this application, is the fact that the words used by the Apostle, “Who is over all,” and the ascription of blessing in all other places where they occur, are referred, not to Christ, but to God. (Comp. Romans 1:25; 2 Corinthians 1:3; 2 Corinthians 11:31; Ephesians 1:3; Ephesians 4:6.) There is, indeed, a doxology addressed to Christ in 2Timothy 4:18; it should, however, be remembered that the Pauline origin of that Epistle has been doubted by some, though it is also right to add that these doubts do not appear to have any real validity. The title “God” does not appear to be elsewhere applied to our Lord by St. Paul, though all the attributes of Godhead are ascribed to Him: e.g., in Philippians 2:6 et seq., Colossians 1:15 et seq. In 1 Timothy 3:16, which would be an apparent exception, the true reading is, * Who was manifested,” and not “God was manifested.” On the other hand, St. John certainly makes use of this title, not only in John 1:1; John 20:28, but also in the reading, adopted by many, of John 1:18, “God only begotten” for “Only begotten Son.”

Weighing the whole of the arguments against each other, the data do not seem to be sufficient to warrant a positive and dogmatic conclusion either way. The application to our Lord appears perhaps a little the more probable of the two. More than this cannot be said. Nor is a stronger affirmation warranted by any considerations resting on the division of authorities.

CONCLUSION: Again, the deity and pre-existence of Christ does not depend on Rom 9:5, and so neither is affected one way or the other.

APPENDIX - Jesus' Pre-existence

The existence of Jesus before His earthly incarnation is established by the following verses:

  • John 1:1-3 - In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through Him all things were made, and without Him nothing was made that has been made.
  • John 1:14 - The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the one and only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.
  • John 1:15 - John testified concerning Him. He cried out, saying, “This is He of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me has surpassed me because He was before me.’ ”
  • John 3:13 - No one has ascended into heaven except the One who descended from heaven—the Son of Man.
  • John 3:16, 17 - For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that everyone who believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him. [NOTE - God cannot send someone who does not exist!]
  • John 3:31 - The One [= Jesus] who comes from above is above all. The one who is from the earth belongs to the earth and speaks as one from the earth. The One who comes from heaven is above all.
  • John 6:38 - For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but to do the will of Him who sent Me.
  • John 6:46 - not that anyone has seen the Father except the One who is from God; only He has seen the Father.
  • John 6:61, 62 - But Jesus, aware that his disciples were complaining about this, said to them, “Is this offensive to you? What then if you see the son of man ascending to where he was before?
  • John 8:38 - I speak of what I have seen in the presence of the Father
  • John 8:58 - “Truly, truly, I tell you,” Jesus declared, “before Abraham was [born], I am!”
  • John 13:1, 3 - It was now just before the Passover Feast, and Jesus knew that His hour had come to leave this world and return to the Father. Having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the very end. ... Jesus knew that the Father had delivered all things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was returning to God.
  • John 16:27, 28 - for the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God. I came from the Father and have come into the world, and now I am leaving the world and going to the Father.”
  • John 17:5 - And now, Father, glorify Me in Your presence with the glory I had with You before the world existed. See also V24.

The same idea is taught in other places as well.

  • Phil 2:5-8 - Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, existing in the form of God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to death— even death on a cross.
  • Col 1:16, 17 - For in Him all things were created, things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities. All things were created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.
  • Heb 1:2, 3 - But in these last days He has spoken to us by His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, and through whom He made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of His nature, upholding all things by His powerful word. After He had provided purification for sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.
  • 1 Peter 1:20 - He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake.
  • Rev 22:13 - I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.” We even find this same idea in Messianic prophecies of Jesus -
  • Micah 5:2 - But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come forth for Me One to be ruler over Israel— One whose origins are of old, from the days of eternity.

Thus, Jesus always existed, created the universe, was incarnated, died and rose to return to heaven. He certainly could not have been an angel before the incarnation because Heb 1:5 precludes this -

  • For to which of the angels did God ever say: “You are My Son; today I have become Your Father”? Or again: “I will be His Father, and He will be My Son”? Further, John 3:16 says that the Father gave the Son, suggesting that Jesus was the Son at the time that God gave Him - when He was sent.

Old Testament Epiphanies

We observe the clear statement several times in the NT that no human has ever seen God the Father:

  • John 1:18 - No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.
  • John 5:37 - You have never heard His voice nor seen His form
  • John 6:46 - No one has seen the Father except the one who is from God; only he has seen the Father. (See also Matt 18:10.)
  • 1 John 4:12 - No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God remains in us, and His love is perfected in us.
  • 1 Tim 1:17 - Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God …
  • 1 Tim 6:16 - He alone is immortal and dwells in unapproachable light. No one has ever seen Him, nor can anyone see Him.
  • Col 1:15 - … the invisible God …
  • Ex 33:20 - But He added, “You cannot see My face, for no one can see Me and live.”
  • Isa 45:15 - Truly You are a God who hides Himself, O God of Israel, the Saviour.

By contrast, we have many texts saying that people have seen God.

  • Isa 64:4 - From ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides You, who acts on behalf of those who wait for Him.
  • Job 42:5 - My ears had heard of You [= the LORD, V1], but now my eyes have seen You.
  • Gen 18:1, 10 - Then the LORD appeared to Abraham by the Oaks of Mamre in the heat of the day, while he was sitting at the entrance of his tent. ... Then the LORD said, “I will surely return to you at this time next year, and your wife Sarah will have a son!”
  • Gen 32:30 - So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, “It is because I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared.”
  • Ex 3:5, 6 - “Do not come any closer,” God said. “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.” Then He said, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.”
  • Josh 5:13 - 6:2 - And the LORD said to Joshua, “Behold, I have delivered Jericho into your hand, along with its king and its mighty men of valour.” (V2)
  • Judges 6:14 - The LORD turned to him and said, “Go in the strength you have and save Israel from the hand of Midian. Am I not sending you?” [See also V16]
  • Eze 1 - the prophet's vision of God; many elements of which are repeated in Rev 4 & 5. Further, we find in Eze 10:4, “the radiance of the glory of the LORD.” And in Heb 1:3, “The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being.”
  • See also instances of the “Angel of the LORD” clearly being the LORD - Gen 16:7-13, 22:11-17, 32:24-30, 48:16, Ex 3:2-6, 32:34, Num 22:22-35, Josh 5:13-15, Judg 2:1-4, 6:11-23, 13:3-23, Isa 63:9, Dan 3:25, 28, Hos 12:4, 5, Zech 3:1-7, Mal 3:1, Rev 8:3-5, 10:1-10, 18:1, 20:1-4.
  • A closely related phrase, “Angel of God” who is clearly God as in Gen 6:13, 8:15, 9:8, 17, 15:13, 17:3, 4, 21:12, 16-21, 35:1, 10, Ex 4:3-8, 6:2, 23:20, 21, Deut 1:6, 1 Kings 12:22, etc. See also Acts 10:3, 4, Gal 4:14.

The very fact that the NT so confidently asserts that no human has seen God the Father, but many people have seen God/YHWH in the OT means the inescapable conclusion is such epiphanies were of the pre-incarnate Jesus as per John 8:58 – “Truly, truly, I tell you,” Jesus declared, “before Abraham was born, I am!”

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    – Jesse
    Dec 8, 2022 at 5:54
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As Nigel's excellent comment points out, some of the Greek text used for our translations today has been tampered with. The word "son" was exchanged for "God" in the Greek, and this causes translations into English to become ridiculous. The ESV is a prime example. Let's put this in a table to better compare the translations in side-by-side format.

Textus Receptus (Majority Text) "Neutral Text" (Westcott & Hort edited)
θεὸν οὐδεὶς ἑώρακεν πώποτε μονογενὴς υἱός, ὁ ὢν εἰς τὸν κόλπον τοῦ πατρὸς ἐκεῖνος ἐξηγήσατο (TR) θεὸν οὐδεὶς ἑώρακεν πώποτε: μονογενὴς θεὸς ὁ ὢν εἰς τὸν κόλπον τοῦ πατρὸς ἐκεῖνος ἐξηγήσατο. (Westcott & Hort GNT)
No man hath seen God at any time, the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him. (KJV) No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father's side, he has made him known. (ESV)
God no one hath ever seen; the only begotten Son, who is on the bosom of the Father — he did declare. (YLT) No one has ever seen God. But the unique One, who is himself God, is near to the Father’s heart. He has revealed God to us. (NLT)
No one has seen God at any time; the only-begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him. (Darby) Nobody has ever seen God. The only-begotten God, who is intimately close to the father – he has brought him to light. (NTE)
No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him. (RV1881) No one has ever seen God; but the one and only God, in the Father’s embrace, has made Him known. (TLV)
No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him. (ASV 1901) No one has ever seen God. The uniquely existing God, who is close to the Father’s side, has revealed him. (ISV)

Not following EITHER Greek version (any Greek manuscript?):

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. (NIV)

No one has ever seen God. It is God the only Son, who is close to the Father’s heart, who has made him known. (NRSV, Anglicised Catholic Edition)

No one has ever seen God. It is the only Son, God, who is at the Father’s side, who has made him known. (NCB)

No one has seen God at any time; God the only Son, who is in the arms of the Father, He has explained Him. (NASB)

These versions are highly interpretive here, at best; downright heretical and specious, is a more candid assessment. I know of no Greek manuscript that uses BOTH "son" and "God" for the central expression of the verse as these versions demonstrate. Now, that last version, the NASB, was apparently updated in 1995 to the wording used in the question.

No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him. (NASB 1995)

That is more similar to the versions on the right in the table.

So, going back to the right-hand column in the table, one can quickly see that these versions state that there is only one God, and that this "God" is said to be "at the Father's side" or "near to the Father’s heart" or "close to the father," etc. In other words, the Father cannot be God, because the "only God" is not the Father, but someone else who is nearby!

This is patently false. It is the very definition of heresy and of blasphemy.

Romans 9:5

In the verse in Romans, the underlying Greek text does not appear to differ. It reads:

ὧν οἱ πατέρες καὶ ἐξ ὧν ὁ χριστὸς τὸ κατὰ σάρκα ὁ ὢν ἐπὶ πάντων θεὸς εὐλογητὸς εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας ἀμήν (Romans 9:5, Greek)

... which can be analyzed as follows.

Strong's Greek English Morphology
3739 ὧν
hōn
whose [are] RelPro-GMP
3588 οἱ
hoi
the Art-NMP
3962 πατέρες,
pateres
patriarchs; N-NMP
2532 καὶ
kai
and Conj
1537 ἐξ
ex
from Prep
3739 ὧν
hōn
whom [is] RelPro-GMP
3588
ho
- Art-NMS
5547 Χριστὸς
Christos
Christ N-NMS
3588 τὸ
to
- Art-ANS
2596 κατὰ
kata
according to Prep
4561 σάρκα,
sarka
the flesh, N-AFS
3588
ho
- Art-NMS
1510 ὢν
ōn
being V-PPA-NMS
1909 ἐπὶ
epi
over Prep
3956 πάντων
pantōn
all Adj-GNP
2316 Θεὸς
Theos
God N-NMS
2128 εὐλογητὸς
eulogētos
blessed Adj-NMS
1519 εἰς
eis
to Prep
3588 τοὺς
tous
the Art-AMP
165 αἰῶνας,
aiōnas
ages. N-AMP
281 ἀμήν.
amēn
Amen. Heb

The grammatical interpretation here is where the failure comes in. The original Greek did not have punctuation, and to place a comma after "God" and before "blessed" is incorrect. This can be proven because the word "blessed," as an adjective, must agree in gender and number with the noun it modifies. As the morphology in the table shows, the adjective is in masculine-singular form, agreeing with "Theos" (God), but not agreeing with the noun "ages" (which is plural) nor with the noun "flesh" (which is feminine). Therefore, the expression must be "God-blessed", and not "God, blessed" as if these were parts of separate phrases. Because "God-blessed" is a little awkward/uncommon in English, it might perhaps be translated as "blessed by God," though this does add a preposition that is not present in the Greek.

That one small translation adjustment makes a mountain of difference to the overall meaning of the text. It means that Christ is not being called "God."

The KJV renders the sense correctly. Notice where the KJV divides the expressions with its punctuation.

Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen. (Romans 9:5, KJV)

Conclusion

The rendering of the Greek text by the modern revisionists creates a contradiction in the Bible whereby the Father is excluded from being God. In the effort to deify the Son, they have demoted his Father.

It is always the case that when changes are made to the Biblical text to support one's preconceived notions or dogmas, contradictions must result, because truth and error can never agree.

The core text of this question is given from one of these self-contradictory versions. Jesus called the Father, to whom he was praying, "the only true God" in John 17:3. If the Father is the only true God, then these translations saying the son is the only true God are shown to be false.

Does Calling the Son "Theos" prove his Pre-existence and his Deity?

The answer is "No." It proves that the Bible translators who provided such a translation could not be trusted to faithfully and honestly handle the sacred writings.

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    – Jesse
    Dec 8, 2022 at 23:40
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Summary
I believe a writer begins with their message in mind and then composes that message from the top down, not the bottom up. This means individual phrases and the use of grammar are tools used to convey and support the message. Individual statements and the grammar employed must be approached in this light; when one encounters a statement which can be understood in more than one way, it should not be understood to contradict the message.

Paul makes a statement which can be understood as expressing the deity of Jesus:

To them belong the patriarchs, and from their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ, who is God over all, blessed forever. Amen. (ESV)

In addition to potential to understand the phrase as the ESV does, Paul's use of ὁ ὢν recalls the divine Name Moses is to give to the Israelites which the LXX renders as ὁ ὢν (cf. Exodus 3:14). Unless one believes Paul was careless, the rule of composition demands a statement of deity. Moreover, John's use of ὁ ὢν in the Prologue, written after Roman's must be seen in the same light. If John did not accept Paul's use, he would not have used it to introduce the Gospel.

Composition vs Grammar
The importance of composition and grammar is how the Fourth Gospel begins:

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

As if to thrown down the gauntlet, John opens with a statement involving the Word and theos. Does he intend to say "the Word was God" or "the Word was a god." Either is possible and the debate on the grammar centers on which is stronger. Yet, the best way to understand the writer's intention is to examine a grammatical question in the light of how the passage was composed.

If "a god" was intended there should not be anything to suggest the Word pre-existed God: in the beginning was the Word. Instead there should be no implication of pre-existence: in the beginning the Word was with God. In addition, if one did not intend to express deity, one would reverse the order placing God before the Word. Yet the actual verse reflects neither of these simple uses of composition which would resolve the grammatical question of God/a god.

Finally, if the actual composition implies pre-existence of the Word and follows with a second statement implying equality and possibly superiority of the Word to God, but did not intend the reader to make a wrong connection, then the writer should compose a statement which explicitly makes their point: but the Word was not God.

The fact the writer created the implied pre-existence and equality/superiority of the Word and finished the opening statement by failing to resolve the implication is an argument from composition for the Word was God. At that point the reader is left to consider, what type of God was the Word? Is He God of languages, or wisdom, or knowledge?

The writer soon composes another statement with both Word and God which the reader might understand as an OT reference to the Word of God:

6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7 He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. 8 He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light.

This is a typical historical statement about God sending a prophet to deliver a message. God and Word are present in the passage. God is explicit; word is implied. John received the word from God to deliver the word/message. There is no ambiguity or controversy in understanding the passage. However, in composing this statement the writer chose to write theos not ho theos. In other words, the writer omitted the article which would clearly identify theos as God and composed a statement which, once again, implies the Word is theos.

The grammatical conundrum of the first verse should be understood consistently with verse 6. If one believes the Word was a god based on the significance of the use of the article in verse 1, then one should continue with that understanding, there was a man sent from a god (i.e. the Word)... On the other hand, if one believes it was "God" who sent John, despite the purposeful omission of the article, then one should understand verse 1 consistently. Finally, from the point of composition, verse 6 is also ambiguous. One expects to learn it was ho theos who sent John, but instead encounters theos, which implies the Word. Yet after reading the entire Gospel, a reader is able to resolve both ambiguities from a single point of view. I and the Father are one...know and understand that the Father is in me and I am in the Father (John 10:30, 38).

ὁ ὢν in the Prologue
From the perspective of the historical Jesus, the Prologue is an unnecessary addition to the Gospel. From the perspective of the Christian Church, the Prologue is essential to understand the logical questions regarding God's plan of salvation. What was there a prior relationship between Jesus and God? If so, when did it begin and what was the nature? Is Paul's teaching which consistently and in creatively different ways imply the deity Jesus, in agreement with what Jesus Himself taught? In this regard, composing καὶ θεὸς ἦν ὁ λόγος virtually demands and the Word was God, for if John intended to refute those who misunderstood Paul, one expects an explicit answer: and the Word was not God.

Obviously, John never wrote to explicitly put an end to the question of the deity of Jesus Paul had created. In fact, those same implications are consistently found throughout the Fourth Gospel. From the perspective of composition, John picked up where Paul left off. Again, this argues for and the Word was God. Yet, the deniers may fall back to the more tenuous position that the Word is not Jesus. Here the composition of the Prologue refutes that position:1

A: The Word with God (1-2)  
 B: The Word's role in creation (3)  
  C: God's grace to mankind (4-5)  
   D: Witness of John the Baptist (6-8)  
    E: The Incarnation of the Word (9-11)  
     X: Saving faith in the Incarnate Word (12-13)  
    E': The Incarnation of the Word (14)  
   D': Witness of John the Baptist (15)  
  C': God's grace to mankind (16)  
 B': The Word's role in re-creation (17)  
A': The Word with God the Father (18) 

The main point of the Prologue is becoming children of God. It was composed to be in the center of the structure, surrounded with an equal number of points before and after. Again, composition conveys the message. The pre-existence of the Word and role in creation are of secondary importance. They are necessary to affirm the Word's ability to continually create all things. The reader knows they have the authority to become a child of God because the Word has the ability to create children of God regardless of their original ancestry. By His Name only does one obtain eternal life (cf. Acts 4:12).

Verses 1-2 and 18 were composed as complementary points in support of making children of God:

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God.

18 No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him.

First, God is connected with Father by composition and, once again, the Word is connected to God, μονογενὴς θεὸς. Second, the writer's use of ὁ ὢν recalls both Paul's use in Romans and the LXX in Exodus.2Third, the logical progression of composition works in harmony with the message of becoming children of God. It is only after the message of becoming children of God is the term "Father" used. As if to say, those who are children of God, know God as Father (cf. Romans 8:15, Galatians 4:6). The Prologue has taken Paul's ὁ ὢν to a higher level.

Conclusion
It is incomprehensible to consider these words and this structure were composed unintentionally and now mistakenly lead the reader to believe John resolved the questions Paul raised by denying the deity of Jesus. Rather, the consistent and intentional use of composition resolves every potential grammatical ambiguity in favor of "God."


1. This answer discusses the chiasmus of the Prologue.
2. There is a question of original text. One variant is ὁ μονογενὴς υἱός ὁ ὢν (TR and MT) the other is μονογενὴς θεὸς ὁ ὢν (CT). There is no question of the authenticity of ὁ ὢν. Additionally, if Son, υἱός was intended, the article ὁ μονογενὴς, the monogenēs, is redundant and appears to be an addition to distinguish Jesus from Luke's use of the term.

1

Does Calling the Son "Theos" prove his Preexistence and his Deity?

One of the two verses given as a basis for this question is John 1:18.

John 1:18 of the Berean Literal Bible.

No one has ever yet seen God. The only begotten God, the One being in the bosom of the Father, He has made Him known.

Granting that "monogenes theos" or "begotten god" is determined to be the original, John 1:18 still does not say that Jesus is God. It is the selective capitalization of the word "god" when it refers to Jesus that creates variances to inject a teaching that was not originally intended. Examples are John 10:33-34 if honestly translated, should be "you, a man, claim to be a god". Paul, who obviously is not the true God, was called a god in Acts 28:6.

John 10:33-34 ASV

The Jews answered him, For a good work we stone thee not, but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods?

Acts 28:6 ASV

But they expected that he would have swollen, or fallen down dead suddenly: but when they were long in expectation and beheld nothing amiss came to him, they changed their minds, and said that he was a god.

In addition, John 1:18 does not prove that Jesus eternally existed even if he preexisted. He was begotten or brought into existence. Which means Jesus' existence had a beginning. John 3:16. God, however, is from everlasting to everlasting, Psalm 90:2

John 3:16 ASV

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have eternal life.

Psalm 90:2 ASV

Before the mountains were brought forth, Or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, Even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God

On Romans 9:5 RSV

5 to them belong the patriarchs, and of their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ. God who is over all be blessed for ever. Amen

Let us examine if Paul identified Jesus as God in this verse. The context of Romans 9:4-5 show how God provided for his people. Included in these provisions is the Christ who descended out of Israel. If Jesus is included in these provisions, Who is giving the provisions? It is God who is giving the blessings/provisions. Romans 6:23. Does God have ancestors?

Romans 9:4 YLT

who are Israelites, whose is the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the lawgiving, and the service, and the promises whose are the fathers, and of whom is the Christ, according to the flesh, who is over all, God blessed to the ages. Amen.

Romans 6:23 ASV

For the wages of sin is death; but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord

The punctuation in this verse is disputed. Others contend that the order of the words favor the application of the doxology (blessed be/eulogetos) to Jesus. Let us check to see Paul's use of the word "blessed be/ eulogetos" if they refer to Jesus.

2 Corinthians 1:3, ASV

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort;

Ephesians 1:3 ASV

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ:

Romans 1:25 ASV

for that they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.

Romans 9:5 YLT

whose are the fathers, and of whom is the Christ, according to the flesh, who is over all, God blessed to the ages. Amen

No "blessed be" were applied to Jesus.

How about "who is over all"? 1 Corinthians 15:27-28 and Ephesians 4:6 tell us that it is the Father who is over all.

1 Corinthians 15:27-28 ASV

For, He put all things in subjection under his feet. But when he saith, All things are put in subjection, it is evident that he is excepted who did subject all things unto him. And when all things have been subjected unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subjected to him that did subject all things unto him, that God may be all in all

Ephesians 4:6 ASV

one God and Father of all, who is over all, and through all, and in all

John 1:18 and Romans 9:5 does not prove that Jesus is God.

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