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Saturday, June 18, 2011

Note (18.) to "DEFinite John 1:1c - DEF"

18.  Since Jn 1:1c is the only place in all the NT where an anarthrous theos as a predicate noun comes before its verb, some trinitarians feel free to claim that there is no parallel with Jn 1:1c anywhere in scripture and, presumably, we may feel free to make up our own (trinitarian) rules about it. As we have seen, however, there are grammatical parallels in NT grammar (e.g., Jn 4:19), but it is true that none of the NT parallels actually use theos. So for the benefit of those who use this feeble approach, I have found some parallel constructions to Jn 1:1c in the ancient Greek translation of the OT, the Septuagint.

This has some danger, however, since it is well known that the many translators of the Septuagint had greatly varying degrees of knowledge of the Greek language (and apparently varying degrees of respect for accuracy).

Yes, some of the Septuagint translators were (because of poor knowledge of the Greek itself and/or because of excessive devotion to the exact literal wording of the Hebrew original) guilty of rendering the Greek into a virtual word-for-word transfer from the Hebrew text. This, of course, prevents us from discovering any knowledge of the Greek grammar itself in the works of such translators.

The Septuagint, too, uses the definite article to identify the only true God. For example, in Genesis the "non-prepositional" nominative case theos (as found at Jn 1:1c) is used 177 times and 175 of them use the definite article to denote the Most High God. The only 2 apparent exceptions I have found are Gen. 21:33 and 31:50. But Gen. 21:33 may have an understood verb (e.g., "[who is] God eternal"). If this is so, then this may well be a "shorthand" or abbreviated form which some Bible writers used. This "shorthand" was used at times (especially when using "customary" phrases), and when it was used, it frequently left out verbs and definite articles that are then "understood" to be there ("Paul's Use of the Anarthrous Theos"). However, "God eternal" in this scripture is obviously an appositive. Appositives often have irregular article usage and frequently drop the article even when the noun is definite.[10]

Gen. 31:50, the only other apparent exception to the rule that the article with theos identifies the only true God in Genesis, is clearly an instance of the abbreviated "shorthand" discussed above. The verb ("is") is missing and must be understood: "God [is] witness between me and you." This is also a well known customary phrase that is often abbreviated in NT and OT. Therefore, the article is to be understood.

So there are really no unexplained exceptions in all 175 instances in Genesis to the rule that "the god" (ho theos) identifies the Most High God! Obviously the Septuagint translator of Genesis used the article with the non-prepositional, nominative case theos to identify God! However, unfortunately, the writer of Genesis in the Septuagint did not use the anarthrous theos as a predicate noun preceding its verb. I did find such usages in Judges and 3 Kings (1 Kings in most English Bibles).

Now, since I wish to examine scriptures in Judges and 3 Kings which are comparable to Jn 1:1c, let's see if the Septuagint translators of those books also used the article, "the" (ho), with theos to identify the only true God (as did the writer of Genesis).

Here are all the uses of the non-prepositional nominative case theos found in:


1:7 ho theos (subject)
3:28 kurios [Jehovah] ho theos (subj.)
4:23 ho theos (subj.)
6:31 theos (an. p.n. precedes verb)
6:40 ho theos (subj.)
7:14 ho theos (subj.)
9:7 ho theos (subj.)
9:23 ho theos (subj.)
9:56 ho theos (subj.)
9:57 ho theos (subj.)
15:19 ho theos (subj.)
16:23 ho theos (subj.)
18:10 ho theos (subj.)

3 Kings
1:47 ho theos (subj.)
2:23 ho theos (subj.)
5:5 ho theos (subj.)
5:7 ho theos (subj.)
8:23 theos (anarthrous subj.)
8:27 ho theos (subj.
8:60 (a) ho theos (subj.)
8:60 (b) theos (an. p.n./n.v.)
11:10 ho theos (subj.)
18:21 ho theos (p.n.)
18:24 (a) ho theos (subj.)
18:24 (b)theos (an. p.n./n.v.)
18:27 theos (an. p.n.) precedes verb
18:37 ho theos (p.n.)
18:39 (a) ho theos (p.n./n.v.)
18:39 (b) ho theos (p.n./n.v.)
19:2 ho theos (subj.)
21:10 ho theos (subj.)

The only uses of theos without the article are Judges 6:31; 3 Kings 8:23, 60(b); 18:24(b), and 27. All the others (26 out of 31) use the definite article and are used to denote the only true God!

The only use of theos without the article in Judges is used to denote "a god" (Judges 6:31) as translated by trinitarian scholars and translators themselves! - see The Septuagint Version , Zondervan, 1970. (And every one of the 16 trinitarian Bibles I have examined, including KJV, ASV, NIV, RSV, NRSV, NASB, etc. agrees with this rendering.) So the Septuagint translator of Judges clearly used the definite article with theos to denote the Most High God (and "a god" was indicated, according to all trinitarian renderings, by the OMISSION of the article)!

3 Kings 8:23 can (and probably does) intend "god" - see 1 Kings 8:23 in NJB, Mo, Beck, LB, GNB, NEB, and Tanakh (JPS). 3 Kings 8:60(b) and 18:24(b) both refer to the only true God, all right, but both are without a verb and are probably, therefore, in the "shorthand" mentioned above which often causes the article to be understood. (They both have the article in the original Hebrew.) And 3 Kings 18:27 very plainly denotes "a god" as most (if not all) Bible translations make clear (and it is without the article in the original Hebrew).

So, again, the Septuagint writers of Judges and 3 Kings always used the article with the non-prepositional nominative case theos (sometimes, rarely, with an understood article: "shorthand" or appositives) when referring to "God" and did not use the article with theos when referring to "a god"! This is exactly the case with the writer of John 1:1 in his Gospel, Letters, and Revelation.

So for those who say there are no parallels to John 1:1c (in spite of John 4:19) to be found in the scriptures: Judges 6:31 (by a Septuagint writer who always uses the article for "God" and not for "a god") says literally "if theos ('god') he is..." This is an instance of the predicate noun theos without an article coming before its verb just as in Jn 1:1c! And it is universally understood to mean "a god" by trinitarian scholars and translators themselves!!! And, obviously, so is Jn 1:1c!

And, for those who say Jesus cannot be called ho theos because using the definite article (ho) with theos that way would make him the entire Godhead, notice that Jehovah, the Father alone is called ho theos as a predicate noun in 3 Kings 18:21 - "If is [Jehovah] ho theos, follow him." This is translated, "If Jehovah is God [ho theos], follow him."

Also notice 3 Kings 18:39 - "truly [Jehovah] ho theos; he ho theos." This means "Truly Jehovah IS God; he IS God!" - see ASV, KJIIV, LB, JB, NJB. (Of course we see the same thing in the NT. E.g., Jn 6:27 - "The Father, God himself, has set his seal" - JB, where the Father alone is called God, ho theos in the actual NT Greek.) Not only is Jehovah being called ho theos as a predicate noun here, but, notice, there are no verbs. IF there were truly any validity to the trinitarian assertion that the meaning for the predicate noun which precedes its verb is greatly different from the one which follows its verb, the writer of 3 Kings would never have left the verb out in this verse! Since there really is no such differentiation in the Bible Greek, it was not necessary to use the verbs. Whether before or after the understood verb, we see the predicate noun ho theos applied to the Father alone here. This can be done simply because the Father (Jehovah) alone IS the entire "Godhead"! He, alone, is the God (ho theos)! Jesus (or kings or judges or angels, etc.) are not ho theos even though they may be called theos ("a god") in their own right (see the BOWGOD study).

Especially note the constructions of 3 Kings 18:27 and Judges 6:31. 3 Kings 18:27 has a predicate noun (theos) which is without the article and which precedes its verb (as in John 1:1c). And it clearly means "he is a god"! The trinitarian-devised grammatical "rules" to make "a god" mean "God" ("the god") are absolutely wrong as far as the writer of 3 Kings is concerned! The writer of Judges also confirms that judgment. At Judges 6:31 he has written "if theos he is." This is translated "if he is a god" by trinitarian translators and scholars! Again, this is a predicate noun without the article which precedes its verb (as in John 1:1c). The trinitarian-concocted grammatical "rules" to make "a god" mean "God" ("the god") are clearly wrong as far as the writer of Judges is concerned as verified by most trinitarian translators themselves!

One possible problem with the grammar and syntax of the Septuagint is the claim that its writers were sometimes so literal in translating the Hebrew into Greek that they would merely change the Hebrew words into Greek and retain the original Hebrew word order, article usage, etc. of the original Hebrew. And, of course, any grammatical rules applied to NT Greek would probably not also apply to OT Hebrew. Therefore, an anarthrous OT Hebrew predicate noun before its verb would not be significant. And a literal translation into Greek which retained that Hebrew word order would not have the same significance as something that had been originally written in the Greek, following Greek grammar and syntax rules! However, this does not seem to be the case with the use of the article with "God" in Judges and 3 Kings.

There were a number of translators who wrote the Septuagint (tradition claims that at least 70 expert Jewish scholars were involved). It is not surprising, therefore, to find (as in the NT itself) that there are a number of different styles found in the various books of the Septuagint. Some books are much more literally translated than others.

So when I noticed the significance of the Greek grammar of Judges 6:31 and 3 Kings 18:21-37, I had to determine if the word order and article usage of these scriptures had been affected by a too literal translation of the original Hebrew by the Septuagint writers of Judges and 3 Kings.

First I examined the use of the article with the non-prepositional nominative case theos (as also found in Jn 1:1c) in these two Bible books. I found that the Septuagint translators (of Judges and 3 Kings) had not been influenced by the use (or non-use) of the article with "God" in the original Hebrew. In more than half of the verses listed above for Judges and 3 Kings the use or non-use of the article was different in the Greek Septuagint from the original Hebrew.

Then, looking at word order, I found that Judges 6:31 in the Hebrew was "if god he" with NO verb. So the Septuagint writer was free to put the verb wherever he wanted or leave it out entirely. And he chose to put that verb after the predicate noun ("If theos he is") to mean "a god" according to trinitarian scholars! They obviously do not believe it means "if he is God" or "if he is completely filled with the qualities" of God or any other trinitarian interpretation frequently misapplied to the parallel Jn 1:1!

And also at 3 Kings 18:27 we can see that the Hebrew was "for god he" with no verb. So this Septuagint writer was also free to put the verb wherever he wanted. And he, too, chose to put that verb after the predicate noun ("for theos he is") to mean "a god"! It does not mean "for he is God" or "for he possesses all the qualities" of God (nor does it verify any other trinitarian-concocted "rule" for the parallel Jn 1:1c)! Here, then we have two clear examples of the anarthrous theos coming before its verb and plainly meaning (even according to trinitarian scholars) "a god"! The rules invented by some modern trinitarians to "explain" that Jn 1:1c means "the Word was God" are completely false!

We know that Jehovah is the only personal name of the Father (Is. 63:16; Is. 64:8; Deut. 32:6; Ps. 89:26, 27 [cf. Heb. 1:5 and Ps. 2:7] in ASV, KJIIV, Young's, and other Bibles which properly use "Jehovah").

Jehovah is never called "the Son;" "the Messiah;" "the Firstborn;" "the Only Begotten;" etc. because he is an entirely different person (the Father).

We never see the Father WITH Jehovah (nor the Father WITH God) simply because the Father IS Jehovah. However we frequently see the Son, the Messiah, WITH Jehovah (and WITH God), because the Son is NOT Jehovah (nor God) but a different person (Ps. 110:1 [compare Acts 2:33-36 and Eph. 1:17, 20]; Micah 5:4; Ps. 2:1, 2 [compare Acts 4:25-27]; Ps. 2:7 [compare Acts 13:33; Heb. 5:5]; Is. 53:10 [Christian scholars recognize that all of Is. 53 refers to the Messiah]).

Therefore, knowing that Jehovah is the Father only, we must (if we are to know God at all) carefully examine a number of significant scriptures:

2 Kings 19:15, 19 “O Jehovah, the God of Israel,... thou art the God, even thou alone .... that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that thou Jehovah art God alone.” - ASV. “God” is ho theos (“the god”) here in 4 Kings 19:15,19 of the Septuagint.

Ps. 86:1, 10 “...O Jehovah,...You alone are God.” - KJIIV. “God” is ho theos in the Septuagint (Ps. 85:10).

Is. 37:16, 20 - “O Jehovah, ... thou art the God, even thou alone” - ASV. The Septuagint reads: “O Lord [Jehovah] of Hosts, ...thou alone art the God [ho theos] of every kingdom of the world .... thou art God [ho theos] alone.”

Is. 45:18, 21 - “For thus says Jehovah .... I am God, and none else (is).” - KJIIV. “I am the god [ho theos]” in the Septuagint - Is. 45:21, 22.

Jer. 10:10 - “But Jehovah is the True God; he is the living God” - ASV

John 17:1, 3 - “Father, ... this is everlasting life, that they may know you, the only true God” - KJIIV

1 Thess. 1:9, 10 - “to serve the living and true God; and to wait for his Son from heaven” - KJV.

We find, then, that Jehovah alone, who is the Father alone is God alone!

Jehovah is called (and calls himself) the God. This is written as "I am ho theos." Even many trinitarian Bible scholars (the 'Qualitarians' at least) admit this statement in Bible Greek would mean this person alone is the entire "Godhead"! (That is why they insist that Jn 1:1c cannot mean 'the Word is the god'! The definite article with theos, they say, would mean that the Word is the entire "Godhead" by himself!)

So when we find Jehovah, the Father only, consistently and repeatedly described as 'he is the god (ho theos)'[Note below] and we find grammatical constructions parallel to Jn 1:1c ('god was the word') with the anarthrous ('without the article') predicate noun (theos) coming before its verb and clearly meaning 'a god', then we can understand the identification of the only true God (Jehovah) and the one he sent forth, Jesus Christ. "Father, .... This is eternal life that they may know you, the ONLY true God, and Jesus Christ whom you sent forth." - John 17:1, 3.

Yes, the entire "Godhead" is the Father (Jehovah) alone! It does not include the Son (1 Cor. 11:3; John 17:1, 3; 1 Cor. 8:6) in some mysterious "trinity"!

And even in the NT we find the definite article used with the non-prepositional nominative case 'God' (theos) to describe the Father! - E.g., John 3:16, 17; 6:27; Acts 2:32; 3:26; 5:30, 31; 13:30, 33; Ro. 1:9; 1 Cor. 1:9; 11:3.

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