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John 1:3 ESV

All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.

Or

All things were made because of him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.

John 1:10 ESV

He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him.

Or

He was in the world, and the world was made because of him, yet the world did not know him.

1 Corinthians 8:6 ESV

Yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist.

Or

Yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, because of whom are all things and because of whom we exist.

Colossians 1:16 ESV

For by him all things were created, 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.

Or

For because of him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created because of him and for him.

Hebrews 1:2 ESV

But in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.

Or

But in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, because of whom also he created the world.

Interestingly, despite the Greek word di/dia being translated "through" in all five instances above, this same word (di/dia) is very often translated elsewhere in scripture as "because of" or "for the sake of". In the Gospel of Matthew alone, there are over 21 instances of dia/di being translated as "because of", and these include:

Matthew 6:25, 9:11, 9:14, 10:22, 12:31, 13:5, 13:6, 13:13, 13:21, 13:58, 14:2, 14:3, 14:9, 21:43, 23:14, 23:34, 24:9, 24:22, 24:44, 27:18, and 27:19.

There are many more instances throughout the rest of the New Testament where "di/dia" is translated as "because of", "on account of", or "for the sake of", all of which perfectly convey their use in those passages and might properly convey their use in the initial five passages in question, which pertain to God creating all things for His Son Jesus Christ, not that Jesus was a co-creator alongside God who made all things on God's behalf, hence the translation choice of "through" instead of "because of".

"Because of" asserts that God made all things with his own hands for the sake of Christ or for Christ, whereas "through" asserts that God created all things via Christ's hands and not with his own hands.

(This controversy is directly correlated to the Hebrews 2:7 controversy)

In Hebrews 2:7, why is "and set Him over the works of Your hands" in brackets or even outright removed from most current translations?

Your thoughts?

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    Part of the research for this question should be to indicate when the accusative is being used, prepositionally, and when the genitive is being used. See Daniel B Wallace Beyond the Basics regarding dia meanings differing with accusative/genitive. With accusative, 'because of' is acceptable. But not with the genitive. As it stands, the question lacks necessary clarity and detail. I have answered only one of the texts, see below.
    – Nigel J
    Commented May 24 at 9:37
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    @NigelJ I'm bewildered by your criticism of the question. The site describes itself as "Q&A for professors, theologians, and those interested in exegetical analysis of biblical texts." -- Do you read this as meaning that only professors and theologians should ask questions? I don't mean to be snide, but I do wonder why you would expect the asked to know Greek grammar. Commented May 24 at 13:25
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    @DanFefferman My comment makes no such expectation. It is informative ; not, as you wish to imply, 'critical'.
    – Nigel J
    Commented May 24 at 17:49
  • This question is directly related to Hebrews 2:7 hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/q/95218/62615
    – Joshua B
    Commented Jun 2 at 18:28

4 Answers 4

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The situation is not so simplistic as the OP suggests. There are grammatical clues about the semantics of this word διά (dia). There are two cases to consider:

A: With the Genitive case

B: with the Accusative Case

Now, in all the quoted verse of the OP, the case is Genitive and so the meaning because, as well-documented by BDAG:

  1. marker of person, agency, through, by

The meaning of "something constituting cause, ie, the reason something happens", is only the meaning when the accusative case is involved. Therefore, this is NOT the case for the OP's verses which all involve the genitive!

Thus, we may conclude that the meaning in the OP's verse is that Jesus is the agency through whom the creation of all things was accomplished. This is further reinforced by the very first verse quoted by the OP, viz:

John 1:3 - All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.

Thus, we may be confident that the NT teaches that Jesus was, indeed, the creator of all things.

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παντα δι αυτου εγενετο John 1:3 (TR, undisputed).

Autou is the genitive. Therefore the accusative prepositional meanings do not apply.

Daniel B Wallace in his grammar 'Beyond the Basics' gives the following possible meanings of dia, p368:

  • Agency - by, through
  • Means - through
  • Spatial - through
  • Temporal - through(out), during

The verb is not poeio (make or do ; 'effect') but is ginomai and the Englishman's Greek New Testament translates as :

All things through him came into being

Young's Literal Translation renders the collocation as :

All things through him did happen

The English preposition 'because of' is usually associated with apo. Again see 'Beyond the Basics' p368. And dia with the accusative may also so be rendered.

The force of the text John 1:3 is diminished, in my view, by using the weaker causation concept rather than the direct agency concept.

God brought things into being through the one called Logos.

To say 'because of' weakens the relationship between 'God' and 'Logos' and also weakens the direction of the action.

One doing something because of another is a totally different concept from one effecting something through another.

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My Thoughts

“For the Law was given because of Moses, but grace and truth came because of Jesus Christ” (John 1:17).

“Because of” doesn’t make good sense here because the Law was given not because of Moses. But when you replace “because of” with “through” it makes good sense.

“For the Law was given (by God) through Moses, but grace and truth came (with God) through Jesus Christ” (who is God in flesh).

As Dottard and Nigel J have stated, both ‘Moses’ and ‘Jesus Christ’ are in the Genitive case here too.

Explanation

“Truly, truly, I say to you, The one not entering because of the door into the sheepfold, but going up by another way, that one is a thief and a plunderer” (John 10:1).

Which one makes proper sense here: “through” or “because of”?

Again:

“But the one entering “because of” the door is the shepherd of the sheep” (verse 2).

Again, “through” makes the proper sense here.

“I am the door” (verse 9). “I am the Good Shepherd!” (verse 11).

Jesus has an all-encompassing role here, both as the gate and as the good Shepherd! [This is for good reason: Jesus has 2 roles clubbed into one: He is an eternal High Priest according to the order of Melchizedek (the Shepherd) and yet He is the spotless Lamb of God (gate). So the High Priest sacrificed His own body and blood (Hebrews 9:11-12)]

Why is it so?

This is because “all things (including the entire humanity) came into being through (and not because of) Him” (John 1:3).

We reach God “through” Jesus and God reaches us “through” Jesus. God the Father deals with humanity not “because of” Jesus but “through” Jesus.

John 1:3

“All things came into being through Him, and without Him not even one thing came into being that has come into being”.

In the above verse, the phrase “without Him” shows that everything came into being “with Him”, that is, through Him.

If it was “because of Him”, the verse should read more like:

“All things came into being because of Him, and without because of Him not even one thing came into being that has come into being”.

But this is not what John wrote.

Conclusion

To deny Jesus is like “kicking against the goads” (Acts 9:5).

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John 1:3 Literal Standard Version

all things happened through Him, and without Him not even one thing happened that has happened.

John 1:3 NLT

God created everything through him, and nothing was created except through him.

John 1:3 NIV

Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.

Note the inconsistent translation of egeneto as "was made" in John 1:3 to imply was created in John 1:3. The same egeneto is translated as became in John 1:14 but was simply translated as "was" in John 1:6.

In John 1:6 translators did not translate egeneto as there "was made" a man or this "was made" in Bethany.. John 1:17.

If the word egeneto in John 1:3 does not mean create or make, then the translations that show that "all things were made by him" or "all things were created through him " appear to postulate an idea that is not present in the verse.

The word "through" conveys the idea of an intermediary or an agent. If the "Word" is the intermediary or agent, then the word is not the Creator. That is why Jesus attributed creation to his God and not to himself. Mark 10:6; 13:19.

Thus, Jesus himself and the rest of the bible does not teach that he is the Creator.

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