The Nature of God – III

In the previous discussion, we concluded on the nature of God, except that there was the added need to explain what John 1:1 implies; in the proper context. That is the focus here. It is still against the backdrop that, the propriety (or otherwise) of everything we do in our worship life (and the passion/conviction with which we do them) depends on what we know about this God, and so it is very important to find the truth about who this God really is. Otherwise a lot of the things we may be doing in worship, and a lot of the things we may be doing and/or refusing to do in life, may be in vain; inadvertently. So, John 1:1 says: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” What does this really mean; in the light of all that we have previously discussed?

The Nature of God – III

Exposition:

First of all, we need to note that the English expression used for the original Greek term translated as ‘Word’ is ‘logos’ (log’-os), and the one translated as ‘God’ is ‘theos’ (theh’-os). The capitalisation of the initial ‘G’ in God and ‘W’ in Word to refer to the divine being(s) is a convention / annotation that was later adopted to differentiate reference to them from reference to the other / lesser gods. So, logos and theos did not have their initial letters originally capitalised, and they have the following generic meanings…

logos (log’-os) means: a word, speech, divine utterance, analogy.

theos (theh’-os) means: (a) God, (b) a god, generally.

The fact that the Word (logos) here refers to Jesus Christ is plain; so the focus will be on ‘God’ (theos).

Unlike the rich Hebrew language used for the OT that distinguished the singular Yhovah (Translated as ‘God’) from the plural ‘Elohiym (also translated as ‘God’), the Greek used for the NT did not readily make such distinction. However, it is interesting to note that when Jesus was making reference to ‘the Lord’ when he was handed the scroll of Isaiah to read (Luke 4:18-19), the original Greek term used was ‘kurios’ (koo’-ree-os; translated the Lord), not ‘theos.’ Interestingly, in Isaiah 61:1 where Jesus was reading from, the expression was “The spirit of the Lord (‘Adonay) GOD (Yhovih; essentially Yhovah) is upon me; because the Lord (Yhovah) hath anointed me…”

So reference to ‘theos’ must be carefully anaylsed in the proper context to determine whether Yhovah (God the Father) is being referenced, or ‘Elohiym (the God Team) is being referenced; or even whether lesser ‘gods’ are being referenced. Failure to acknowledge this, and/or failure to be meticulous at it may lead to misleading interpretations. To be safe, such contextual analysis must agree with similar contextual renditions in the OT; especially where such clear distinctions in the use of Yhovah and ‘Elohiym exist.

In any case, where necessary I will rather defer to Jesus who’s teachings and dealings showed clear distinction between the three divine beings, than to defer to his apostles.

So, in the light of the above, and the earlier discussions in ‘The Nature of God I & II,’ John 1:1 implies: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with the Father (or otherwise the team of divine beings / deities; the God-Team) and the Word was a divine being / deity.” Implying the Word was hitherto not a man, but a divine being (deity) that was with the Father (or otherwise the team of divine beings / deities; the God-Team) above from the very beginning, until He came down through virgin birth to take the form of man.

This is very much consistent with the nature of God as revealed in the OT.

It even becomes clearer when you consider that that original texts did not ever have any equivalent of the indefinite article ‘a’ as part of its lexis and structure. So the English translators conveniently followed suit even though they were careful to introduce it in other instances to make the English less ambiguous; I suspect the omission was so done to reflect the monotheistic movement of the time.

 

Postscript

Just for further education, articles are those little words in front of a noun. In English, there are two articles: “the” is the definite article, and “a” is the indefinite article.

There is no indefinite article in Hebrew. For example, the word davar means “word” or “a word,” depending on the context. And just like the Hebrew language, there is no indefinite article in the Greek language.

The Nature of God – III

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