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Saturday, June 18, 2011

Note (11.) to "DEFinite John 1:1c - DEF"

11.  Harris, for example, tells us about Jn 1:1c: "the presence of the article with both nouns identifies the proposition as convertible, true in both directions. If John had written this or ['the word was the God'], he would be either identifying the Logos with the [theos] of verse 1b ('the Word was this [theos], anaphoric [ho]), or affirming that no [theos] existed apart from the Logos." - Jesus as God, Murray J. Harris, Baker Book House, 1992.

So Harris, like a number of other trinitarians (mostly 'Qualitarians') insists that 'the god' (ho theos) could not grammatically be used as a predicate noun at Jn 1:1c to identify the Son because the article (ho) in such a case must mean that he, alone, is God in entirety or the only one who can be identified by the term. But we see in many places in the NT individuals identified with predicate nouns having the definite article, and they are not considered the only person who can be so identified (e.g., Jn 1:21; 5:35; 20:15).

Jn 1:21 - John was asked if he were the prophet. The people certainly weren't asking if he were the only person who could properly use the title "prophet" or if he were the entire "Prophethood" by himself! (They were asking, however, if he were the only person who could rightfully use the title "the Prophet" in its highest sense, the unique, ultimate prophet that Moses had prophesied.)

Jn 5:35 -  Jesus said that John is the shining lamp. He did not mean that no one else could be called a shining lamp. He did not mean that John alone is the entire “Lamphood”!

Jn 20:15 - Mary did not think this person she believed to be a total stranger was the only person who could use the title "gardener" and she certainly didn't think he was the entire "Gardenerhood" by himself!

It is true, however, that when we intend the unique, ultimate one in a category (whether the god, the prophet, the devil, etc.), we do use the definite article (see Moulton and Robertson quotes on pp. 15, 16 above). Therefore, "the god" is the unique, ultimate God (whether one person or three) and "the prophet" is the unique, ultimate Prophet (Jesus alone) and "the devil" is the unique, ultimate Devil (Satan alone), etc.

The Father alone is God! That is why the Father (alone) is frequently identified as ho theos, "the god" (e.g., Jn 3:16, 17; 6:27; Acts 2:32 [cf. Gal. 1:1]; Acts 3:26; 5:30, 31; 1 Cor. 11:3; etc.) and Jesus, Holy Spirit, etc. are not!

The Father (alone) is identified as the true God at Jn 17:3.

The Father (alone) is even identified as the true God by use of the predicate noun theos with the article at 1 John 5:20, in spite of the trinitarian argument by Harris (and many others) above! "This (one) is the true god." Trinitarians admit (see any commentary - e.g., NIVSB f.n.) that this refers to either the Son or the Father. (But if it were really the Son, it would be the only such use in the entire Bible of the god" for the Son!) Some trinitarian scholars will even (reluctantly) admit that it means the Father alone (see the MINOR study). And, of course, a proper study of context (and the parallel use of the term by John at Jn 17:1, 3) show that the Father is meant here. But in any case, whether the Son or the Father, it is still one person only being called the God by John by means of the predicate noun theos with the article!

The trinitarians are right when they say that "the god" is to be used only for the entire Godhead. However, that "Godhead" is the Father (Jehovah - Is. 63:16; 64:8), the head of the heaven-resurrected Jesus (1 Cor. 11:3) alone!

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