I'm enjoying our discussion, and hope to keep it cordial as it progresses. Let's remember at the back of our minds to not be disagreeable, even when we disagree. To be sure, these issues have a tendency to stir up strong passions , from both sides. I will confess that sometimes my abrasive style of writing fuels such fires , and when (not if
) that happens, please do not take it personally. I'm an equal opportunity offender , in this regard..
Isaac Newton wrote:We would not expect to find Θειος because the author needs a noun
Perhaps not, I've always understood from my grammar books that and adjective could be used substantively, not only this but the presence of ειμι often make a predicate explicit whether it is a noun or an adjective (I do not pretend to know everything
A noun with an adjective sense is not (and should not be confused for) an adjective.
What we have at John 1:1c is a subject and a predicate nominative. In such a sentence, the subject takes an equative verb like ἦν , and then another noun
(not an adjective) also appears in the nominative case. Here it is:
καὶ θεὸς ἦν ὁ λόγος
In English the subject is determined by word order, not so in Greek, since word order in Greek is quite flexible. One of the ways to extract the subject is to see if it has an article over the other noun. So in this sentence ὁ λόγος is the subject, θεὸς is the PN because the latter is anarthrous but the former isn't.
Maybe so, but I can see how this idea was taken from the John 1:1 construction. Daniel Wallace in his grammar (I understand you would see him with a trinitarian bias) prefers to see this passage with a qualitative force to it, (AT Robertson goes as far as to make it definite). We then make the qualities of Θεος, the qualities of the λογος. That is, if we see Θεος as a reference to the supreme being rather than a "general" quality, then we can say that the essence is the same, Obviously, a number of people in the early centuries felt the same way, how else did the creeds arise? But if we see Θεος in this passage as an impersonal quality, then the Nicene and Chalcedon trinitarian creeds would be unfounded on this passage.
Unitarians have always seen θεὸς at John 1:1c either as a qualitative noun or as an indefinite noun. Not so Trinitarians. Prior to the 1980's virtually all Trinitarian scholarship was inclined to the "definite" understanding of θεὸς at John 1:1c.
On this issue, what I find objectionable (and even deceptive) is the distorted definition of the grammatical category "qualitative" to coincide with a very specific, 4th century Nicene-Chalcedonian philosophical concept of "homoousious with." I agree with professor BeDuhn when he makes the following note to Hommel:
"What I find in in some of the studies you cite, is a leap from the general, linguistic meaning of "qualitative" to a very specific philosophical concept of "in every sense the same as x." This same leap is made by Wallace and Hartley. But this very elaborate and restrictive definition of "qualitative" cannot be derived from the language alone, but is read into the language as a desired interpretation. It is a leap that cannot be substantiated, as you can see if you try to apply it to every case where a "qualitative" semantic force appears."
Needless to say, I don't see this reference as impersonal, seeing as this verse makes it personal in the second phrase "προς τον θεον"
I don't see how προς τον θεον makes λογος "personal." Infact, all it (specifically προς) does is render impossible the notion that λογος is the same
θεὸς as ὁ Θεὸς of John 1:1b.
Verse 3 talks about all things coming into being. There is nothing to modify παντα, so, grammar alone would be hard pressed to make this less than what it says. There is nothing limiting παντα, even an examination of the immediate context shows nothing of a limited view of παντα. Pre-understanding of the trinity aside, I think it would be difficult to see this as anything other than the creation of παντα. Lets consider the use of the anartherous αρχῃ in verse 1 and 2. If John sees it as monadic, then there would be no need for an article, they are also objects of prepositions (ἐν), thereby further reducing the need for an article.
Although this point would be hard to assert as solid evidence, its very easy to see textual correlation between John 1:1 and Genesis 1:1. Especially considering the Septuagint starts off with the exact same prepositional phrase "έν αρχῃ", and all though this may hint (note my hindrance in using this as a solid point) at a possible connection in John's mind at the time of writing, one thing we do have is a clear spot where the phrase "εν αρχη" is used for the beginning of creation.
If words have meaning, something comes into literal existence when it is born, -- and the scriptures do clearly tell us that Jesus was born. We have to re-invent language to argue that "born" really just means a transition.
I don't see how that shows "eternity", since παντα could very well be a reference to "all [physical] things." Consider Psalm 8:5 (8:6 in the LXX), where "there is nothing to modify" παντα either. In anycase, as I said earlier, even if "eternity" is in view , it does nothing to assail the Unitarian hermeneutic. This sort of argument may be relevant involving discussions between a Trinitarian and a J.W. .
On another note, a proper reading of verse 3 (taking ὃ γέγονεν with what comes after) explicitly denies the "Deity" of pre-flesh λογος :
ὃ γέγονεν ἐν αὐτῷ ζωὴ ἦν, καὶ ἡ ζωὴ ἦν τὸ φῶς τῶν ἀνθρώπων.
We also can't assume that words mean the same thing everywhere and all the time. I've heard it said many times: "Words don't have meanings, meanings have words!"
I would say that to "conceive" brings someone into literal existence, being born is a simple(Im sure many wives would disagree!) movement of a living being from the womb to the open air of the world. This is just nitpicking though, as Matthew says "That which is conceived in her(Mary), is from the Holy Spirit" as far as transition, John 1:14 says "και ο λογος σαρξ εγενετο" which is very often used of transition.
back to conceive, which is γινομαι. As a trinitarian, we would see this as the "conception" of Jesus' human nature. We see in Philippians 2 that He, as preincarnate, made a decision to empty himself and become one of us. the participle "γενόμενος" being instrumental, which in essence shows a transition. I think we both agree that the conception of Jesus was very different from the way anyone ever, in all places, and in all times happened. There is a huge possibility that γινομαι was used because it was the closest word in greek to describe what had happened. I don't think we have a physical "sperm and egg" style conception, although this is only my opinion.
Anyway, I hope you see this as a friendly debate, I've certainly been challanged by our discussion
IMHO this is less than sensible , because human natures
don't come into existence, human beings / human persons do . Anhypostasis (or enhypostasis , the flip side of the anhypostasis conceptual coin) is the Achilles’ heel of the God-man doctrine.
IMHO, the "Deity" and "personality" of pre-flesh λογος is expeditiously eliminated by the apostle starting at John 1:1b. It culminates with John 1:14 when the inspired writer writes , καὶ ὁ λόγος σὰρξ ἐγένετο
. It means "and the logos became
a human being / a human person" (something explicitly denied by Chalcedonian orthodoxy). ἐγένετο does not mean "assumed" , so we cannot reasonably read this verse to be saying "and the λόγος assumed