On the topic of
See DVD catalog for
prices & more details.
JW's and the Real Jesus
JW's a Non-prophet Organization
Witnesses of Jehovah
The Witness at
The Witness Goes Out
(JW Child custody cases)
A RESPONSE TO THE WATCHTOWER SOCIETY'S
"Reasoning From The Scriptures"
BY PASTOR H. KOEHN,
LIVING GOSPEL CHURCH
Lake Odessa MI 48849
The book "REASONING FROM THE SCRIPTURES" (Hereafter referred to as RFTS.) published by the WATCHTOWER BIBLE AND TRACT SOCIETY. (copyright 1985. 1989) states the following about John 1:1 on page 212:
'The definite article.'("The') appears before the first occurrence of # 'Theos' (God) but not before the second. The articular (when the article appears) construction of the noun points to an identity, a personality, where as a singular anarthrous (without the article) predicate noun before the verb, (as the sentence is constructed in the Greek) points to a quality about someone. So the text is not saying that the Word (Jesus) was the same as the God with whom he was but, rather, that the Word was god-like, divine, a god.' (Note: The ^ and # are added to help you locate them in the text below.)
This is a misuse, misapplication and erroneous statement about the Greek language. Let me explain.
The Greek of John 1:1 is as follows:
In beginning was the Word and the word was with *the #God and #God was the word.
OUR FIRST RESPONSE HAS TO DO WITH GREEK GRAMMAR IN REGARD TO COMMON NOUNS.
'A GRAMMAR OF THE NEW TESTAMENT GREEK' by Moulton, states on pages 173-174 the following about COMMON NOUNS:
'The article will not normally be used when a person or object is first introduced. or when only an undefined part of a group or class is referred to, or when a person or object is thought of only predictively and therefore not individually and definitely....Since Theos (God) and Kurios (Lord) come so near to being proper nouns, it is not surprising that the article is so often omitted.' Moulton page 174.
Thus our first response to RFTS is that the absence of the article on the second instance of "God" ("Theos") which refers to "The Word" is not an indication that Jesus is only "god-like" but rather it is a mere characteristic of the Greek language, similar to the characteristic of English when we say that "i" usually comes before "e" except after "c".
OUR SECOND RESPONSE HAS TO DO WITH THE RULES IN REGARD TO PREDICATE NOUNS.
That the article is absent has nothing to do with the fact that Jesus is God or just 'a god" is further proven by the following rule of Greek Grammar.
Before we state the rule, note that the second 'Theos' in John. 1:1 is a predicate noun. That is, it is the object of the verb "to be."
Now note the following quote from the same grammar we have been quoting by Moulton.
"E.C. Colwell (JBL. 52. 1933. 12-21) formulates rules for the article with predicate nouns in New Testament sentences in which the verb occurs. He finds that [a] definite predicate nouns take the article, if (as usual) they follow the verb; but [b] otherwise they usually lack it; (emphasis mine) and [c] proper nouns (emphasis mine) lack it; [d] in relative clauses it does not apply since nouns always follow the verb anarthrous or not. MOULTON PAGE 183
In applying this to John 1:1 note that the second occurrence of 'Theos' which is a predicate noun does not follow the verb "was' but precedes it. Therefore it conforms to the rule [b] above.
Again, the fact that there is no article before 'Theos' does not detract from the fact that Jesus is fully God. The absence of the article merely conforms to the usual way Greek sentences are written when you have a predicate noun that precedes the verb.
For example in Matthew 5:13 the pronoun 'You' precedes the verb and thus there is no article preceding it. But in Matthew 13:37.'The Son of Man" follows the verb and thus has the article.
OUR THIRD RESPONSE IS THAT THE ARTICLE IS SOMETIMES MISSING WITH NO OBVIOUS THEOLOGICAL MEANING.
Take for example a verse Iike John 1:12. "Those who receive Jesus Christ are given authority to become the children of God.' This verse (John 1:12) in the Greek. is written as follows:
We can see that "God" lacks the article "" is merely the genitive of the word for God, (Theos). But according to the Bible we do not become children of someone who is god-like, but children of God!
Again in Mark 15:39 The centurion said of Jesus. while He was on the cross. "TRULY THIS MAN WAS THE SON OF GOD.' A look at the Greek shows that there is no article before the word "God." But Jesus was not the son of someone who was "god-like." Rather. He is the son of "God.' In this case the rule that applies is the rule that predicate nouns take the article if they follow the verb. And since "God' or 'Theos' precedes the verb, it has no article, just as in John 1:1 above.
There is just no way anyone can say that because an article is missing in John 1:1 that the author meant Jesus was not God or not fully equal to God in all ways. Take for example John 1:18 which is as follows:
In this verse there is no article with 'Theon' (the accusative of "Theos).' This does not mean that we have not seen god-like beings but that we have not seen God in all the fullness of His Glory.
A few other instances of this construction are found in the following: Luke 4:3, 4:9, John 10:36, John 3:3, 6:45, 9:33, 9:16, 10:33, 13:3, 20:17 and First John 3:2 and 5:20.
1 John 5:20 says that Jesus Christ is the true God and eternal life.
Hebrews 1:8 says that Jesus is God!
Hebrews 7:1-3 tells us that Melchizedek was a type or prophetic picture of Jesus Christ. How? In that the scriptures do not record Melchizedek as having a father or mother. Nor do the scriptures assign a genealogy to Melchizedek. Therefore Melchizedek is a fitting picture of the eternal Son of God.
Thus we conclude that Jesus is the eternal God. For more on this See Isaiah 43:10-11 where we are told that "There is only one God and that Jehovah is that God, and that Jehovah is the Savior. We know of course that Jesus is the Savior.
OUR FOURTH RESPONSE IS THAT GREEK GRAMMAR IS SO DESIGNED THAT IT LITERALLY LEAVES NO DOUBT ABOUT THE FULL DEITY OF CHRIST.
What I am speaking of is the rule of the Greek language that has to do with the repetition of the article with several nouns which are connected by the conjunction 'and' or (kai). An understanding of this rule and a look at the Greek N.T. will confirm again that Jesus is God of very God!
THE RULE ABOUT NOUNS CONNECTED BY "KAI". (AND)
"The article may be carried over from the first noun to the other(s). especially if they are regarded as a unified whole and the gender and number are the same." Moulfon. 181.
For example: in Colossians 1:2 we have. "To the Saints and faithful brethren in Christ.' In the Greek there is an article before 'Saints' but none before 'faithful brethren." because the article is carried over because they are a unity. that is they are one and the same.
This rule does not mean that the repetition of the article is always needed to insure that items be considered separately. For example if the Bible speaks of The Pharisees and the Sadducees, there is no need to repeat the article when it is obvious that we have two separate groups with different identities. (Matthew 3:7).
Let's look at some examples where nouns which are connected by "kai" both having the article:
Luke 11:51--'Between the altar and the temple. Here each noun has the article because they are separate identities.
1 Corinthians 3:8--'He who plants and he who waters are two different individuals. (see 3:6). These men have one purpose. (the salvation of souls) yet because they are two separate persons they each have the article in the Greek.
Let's apply this rule to what the Bible says about Jesus.
In Titus 2:13 we read.'Looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.'
In the Greek there is an article before "great' but no article before 'Savior' or "Jesus Christ." Why? Because the Divine author of the Scriptures, the Holy Spirit, and the human writer, Paul are revealing to us, (as is revealed all over the Bible in other places), that Jesus is God and God is Jesus! (See Isaiah 43:3)
In 2 Peter 1:1 we read.'To those who have obtained like precious faith with us by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ.'
Again there is an article before 'God." but no article before 'Savior' or 'Jesus Christ.' The writer sees them as one in essence! In fact the Bible is yelling at us from the Greek Grammar that Jesus and God are one entity; one in essence; equally divine!
If you have trouble with a plurality of persons in the oneness of God. remember that in the beginning "God said let US make man in OUR image.' (Genesis 1:26). This is a plural 'God." ('elohim') who is referred to by plural pronouns.'us' and "our."
Or think about Deuteronomy 6:4. 'The LORD our God is one LORD. Here the word from the Hebrew translated 'LORD' is Jehovah or Yahweh.
Yet the word 'God" is the plural. "elohim".
Further the Hebrew word for "one'.'echad" is a word that communicates a plurality. For example, you would use it to say there is one bunch of grapes. There is a plurality in God as there is a plurality in a bunch of grapes. except that in the case of God. the Bible reveals that the plurality is limited to three equal persons of the Godhead who all share the exact same divine characteristics or essence.
Other scriptures that follow this same pattern include: 2 Peter 1:2. 3:2. 3:18: 2 Thessalonians 1:12. Ephesians 5:5 and so on.
SO WHAT? WHY IS ALL THIS SO IMPORTANT
THE IMPORTANCE OF THE FULL DElTY OF CHRIST IS SEEN IN THE FACT THAT ONLY AS GOD COULD HE ACCOMPLISH OUR SALVATION.
Jesus Christ who is God, while remaining God, took on human nature through the virgin birth, (Philippians 2:5-8) thus becoming the only unique Son of God. and as God/Man interceded between God and man. and offered the sacrifice of Himself for our sins. Jesus offered his own blood on the cross to pay the just penalty for our sin. Thus. Acts 20:28 says that God purchased the Church with His own blood. See also Hebrews 9:11-12.
THE POINT is that God loves us so much He would not let us go, even though our sins made us unprofitable to Him, in that as sinners we do not glorify Him. (see Rom. 3:10-12. and 3:23). Therefore He took on human nature and paid the just penalty for sin which is death. (Romans 6:23)
Because Jesus had not sinned. he could JUSTLY die in our place. (Hebrews 9;14). And because He is God. His payment was of infinite worth. Therefore His death in our place could JUSTLY pay the penalty for all the sins of all mankind. Further, He need never die again for our sin. since being God. His death in our place (1 Peter 3:18) was an infinitely and eternally valuable sacrifice. See Hebrews 10:10-14. Thus. the justice of God was fully satisfied on the cross once for all. (Romans 3:19-26).
The Bible is clear that Jesus is God. The Bible is further clear that Jesus as the Son of God is the only way to eternity with God. (John 14:6) The Bible is clear that we are given the gift of eternal life. and that we become God's children the moment we begin to believe what God says in the Bible about Jesus. The moment we place our trust in Jesus Christ. depending on Him. and Him alone for the salvation (deliverance from our just condemnation) of our soul and the forgiveness of our sins. (John 6:47. Acts. 16:31. Romans 3:19-28, and 4:1-8).
The grammar cited in this paper is "A Grammer of New Testament Greek" by James Hope Moulton M.A.. D.LIT., D.D., D.C.L. D. Theol. (Berlin and Groningen) Vol lll SYNTAX by Nigel Turner PH.D, M.Th. B.D. 38 George Street, T.& T. CLARK. Edinburgh 1963.