John 1:1 in Coptic Translation

by slimboyfat 78 Replies latest jw friends

  • NotFormer
    NotFormer

    "Jehovah's Vandals" has a nice ring to it. 👍

  • Rattigan350
    Rattigan350

    I asked a person why he believes Jesus is God and he said John 1:1 says Jesus was God.

    Oh. That was written 65 years after Jesus died. If the reason people believe that Jesus was God is that, what did they believe during those prior 65 years?

    Nowhere in Acts is there any trinity or that Jesus was God taught. The opposite. Stephen said that Jesus was at the right hand of God. Two people with a distinct rank and separation.

    Why do people care what John 1:1 says?

    John was just a man. He was simply writing a history of Jesus' life and John 1 was a prologue. He starts with the baptism and then the wedding and water to wine. John was showing that this guy was not just someone doing magic tricks, but he had a divine origin. That's all. It is not about a definite article or not. It was all about that he existed in heaven as a spirit before he became human. Apparently John's audience didn't understand that.

  • Phizzy
    Phizzy

    To argue about what a verse says and whether a definite Article is used, or not, or where a Comma should go perhaps, as in "I tell you today", is silly. We do not know what was written in the Autograph, and what was later altered. As Bart Ehrman shows in his Book "The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture" as time went on and Christology evolved, Scribes changed the MSS to suit the "New Light" LOL.

    Just an example John 1v18 : " 18 No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and[b] is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known."

    Now the Footnote :

    1. John 1:18 Some manuscripts but the only Son, who..

    2. We do not know when this was changed, and which fragment is older than the other etc.
  • aqwsed12345
    aqwsed12345

    I think that before we start with this linguistic categories (definite-indefinite, nominative and qualitative), we have to clarify whether in the theological framework of the NT, the term θεός is indeed a general concept that can be applied in a positive and affirmative sense to creatures: angels, prophets, agents of God, human leaders, or not.

    The main problem with the NWT translation of John 1:1c is that it assumes, without any evidence, that this is the default meaning of the word θεός, that is, that it is an existing category in the theological framework of the NT, and then quickly includes the Logos in it.

    This is the problem here, that we have not clarified this before we start to engage in various linguistic discussions. Because when we discuss the translation "a god", the criticism should start there, that this type of θεός category, that "a" (lesser) "god" (among many) does not even exist in the terminology of the NT.

    The New Testament nowhere calls angels, God's agents (e.g. the apostles), no one in a positive and affirmative sense, and this is relevant here. This is so true that even the OT verses where angels are named as "elohim" are not rendered as θεοί in the NT quotes, in my opinion precisely because these remnants of henotheism have been weeded out so far.

    The JW argument hinges on the translation of "elohim" and "theos." They cite Psalm 8:5 and Hebrews 2:7, interpreting "elohim" as angels. However, contextually, "elohim" in Psalm 8:5 should be understood as "God," reflecting man's creation in God's image (Genesis 1:26-27). The Septuagint (LXX) translated "elohim" as "angels," which Hebrews quotes, but this translation was not meant to be literal or accurate to the Hebrew text. It introduces a new understanding without contradicting the original.

    Psalm 8:5 speaks of man's exalted status, whereas Hebrews 2:7 refers to Christ’s temporary humbling. The original Hebrew "elohim" likely means "God," not angels. Hebrews 2:7 uses "angels" to reflect Christ's humanity, not to equate angels with gods.

    Actually nowhere in the New Testament are angels referred to as "gods" in a positive, affirming sense. Even when OT verses (e.g., Psalm 8:5) call angels "elohim," the NT does not translate this as "theoi." This is evident in Hebrews 2:7, where "elohim" becomes "angels," indicating a deliberate avoidance of calling angels "gods" in the NT.

    The Bible consistently uses "theoi" in a mocking or condemning sense for false gods (e.g., 2 Corinthians 4:4, 2 Thessalonians 2:4). The inspired author of Hebrews uses "aggeloi" (angels) instead of "theoi" to avoid any positive attribution of divinity to created beings.

    Christ is distinct from angels, being worshipped by them and identified as God's Son (Hebrews 1:4-5). He is not an angel but the Lord who created everything (Hebrews 1:10-13). Therefore, equating Jesus with angels or considering angels as gods undermines the biblical affirmation of Jesus's unique divinity.

    The arguments presented by the JW apologists fail to recognize the consistent biblical theme that angels are not referred to as "gods" in a positive sense. The NT avoids attributing divinity to created beings, affirming instead the unique divinity of Jesus Christ.

    So the NT, and John also uses θεός to refer to the one true God consistently, and “a god” would imply monolatristic henotheism, which contradicts John’s monotheistic context. John, a first-century Jewish-Christian monotheist, would not imply such monolatristic henotheism by suggesting that the Logos was "a god." Instead, John emphasizes the Logos sharing in the divine nature of the one true God. By not addressing these broader syntactical and contextual nuances, the JWs' argument remains superficial, and they neglect key interpretative elements that contribute to understanding John 1:1c.

    John 10:34 does not establish at all that this is an existing category of θεός within the theological framework of the NT, and especially not that this is the default meaning. This is merely a quote that Christ uses here to argue "a forteriori", at the same time he distances himself from it, because he refers to it as "in *your* Law", and otherwise the original psalm is mostly mocking about these judges, at all it does not break the fundamental and strict monotheism of Second Temple Judaism, which is also John's own (Deuteronomy 6:4, Isaiah 44:6).

    Nowhere in the NT will you find a place that claims the exalted servants of God as θεοί in a actual, positive and affirmative sense. In all cases, it is consistently used in a condemning, mocking sense, for usurper, impostor "gods", like 2 Corinthians 4:4, 2 Thessalonians 2:4.

    It is no coincidence that for example in Hebrews 2:7, the inspired author translates what the original psalmist wrote as "elohim" to "aggeloi" (angels). Why? Because, on a principle level, in the NT, calling actual "theoi" to created beings is kept away.

    The JWs' translation implies a category of θεός that refers to a lesser deity or one among many. However, the NT does not support this usage. The NT consistently uses θεός to refer to the one true God and does not apply it to angels, apostles, or any other beings in a positive and affirmative sense.

    JWs often refer to Psalm 82 where judges are called "elohim," which means "gods." However, this term's use in Psalm 82 is unique and context-specific, referring to human judges who represent God's authority but are not divine beings. The term "elohim" here is used poetically and sarcastically, criticizing the judges for their failures. In the OT, calling someone "a god" did not mean they were divine in the sense of possessing the fullness of deity like Christ. The term was used in a specific, limited context, primarily to emphasize the judges' representative role and their failure to uphold justice.

    The use of "elohim" in Psalm 82 should be interpreted within the poetic and literary context of the Psalms, which often employ metaphorical language. This does not establish a general category of divinity applicable in a positive sense to humans or angels in the NT. The term "elohim" in Hebrew is much broader and can be translated as "mighty ones" or "judges," rather than "God" in the proper sense. This broader usage is not carried over into the NT at all, where θεός specifically refers to the one true God, in all cases where this is not stated mockingly or condemningly.

    The only NT example where a similar usage appears is in John 10:34, which quotes Psalm 82:6. Here, "gods" (elohim) refers to earthly judges mockingly called "gods" due to their role, but they are condemned for their corruption and mortality. Jesus uses this passage to argue from the lesser to the greater (a "kal va-chomer" argument) to defend his divinity but does not equate his divine nature with the flawed judges (cf. v36). He argues that if human judges could be called "gods" in a limited sense, how much more could he, the Son of God, be called God? Jesus does not equate his divinity with that of the judges in Psalm 82. Instead, he uses a "kal va-chomer" argument to assert a higher and superior sense of divinity.

    If representatives of God could be called "gods" in the theological framework of the NT, why are the apostles or angels never called "gods" in the NT? This absence indicates a significant shift in understanding from the OT to the NT. Acts 28:6, where Paul is mistaken for a god by the Maltese, is neither affirmative nor positive. It shows the misunderstanding of the pagans, not a biblical endorsement of calling God's representatives "gods."

    In the NT, the term θεός refers to the omnipotent, creator, infinite single God, not to any lesser beings. This is significant because it shows that the NT authors, including John, did not recognize a category of lesser deities within their monotheistic framework. The NT attributes to Jesus characteristics that affirm his divinity: omniscience, timelessness, the ability to hear prayers, and being worshipped. These attributes cannot apply to created beings, like angels or human judge, and firmly place Jesus within the identity of the one true God.

    This superior divinity is consistent with Jesus being truly God. The NT never calls angels or apostles "gods" in a positive and affirmative sense, indicating that the category of "lesser gods" does not exist within the theological framework of the NT.

    The NT consistently uses θεός to refer to the one true God. There is no category of lesser deities or "gods" in the NT. This usage underscores the monotheistic context of the NT, where only the one true God is recognized and worshipped. Designating Jesus as "a god" would imply a form of monolatristic henotheism, which contradicts the NT's monotheistic theology. John, as a Jewish-Christian monotheist, would not suggest such a concept by describing the Logos as "a god."

    The plural form "theoi" always refers to false, pagan gods. The Bible does not call angels "gods," but "sons of God" (b'nei Elohim), so Michael the archangel cannot be scripturally called "a god" or "the Son." Additionally, God mockingly refers to the corrupt judges of Israel as "the congregation of the gods" and individually as "gods," who could decide matters of life and death and might think of themselves as gods, but due to their wickedness, God's judgment is upon them, and they will die like ordinary men (Psalm 82:1-7). This is the spectrum of the term "GOD" in biblical meaning.

    For completeness, Hebrew also uses the word "god" in some possessive constructions as an adjective meaning "giant" or "mighty": for example, Nineveh is described as "the city of God," meaning "great city" (Jonah 3:3).

    Christ, the Son, obviously does not fall into the category of a corrupt judge, a deified human, or a false, pagan god. Thus, the only valid interpretation is that the Word was God, by nature and eternally.

    • Psalm 8:5 - The translation of "elohim" here can indeed be interpreted as "God" or "divine beings," but contextually, it refers to human beings' exalted status, not equating them with divine nature.The argument here is that "Elohim" in Psalm 8:5 should be translated as "angels." However, it's important to note that "Elohim" is a term that can refer to God, gods, or divine beings, depending on the context. The Septuagint (LXX), an ancient Greek translation of the Hebrew Scriptures, translates "elohim" as "angels" (ἀγγέλους) in this passage. The New Testament author of Hebrews follows this translation. This does not imply that angels are being called gods in a polytheistic sense; rather, it reflects the flexible usage of the term "Elohim" to denote beings with divine qualities or roles.
    • Exodus 7:1 - Here, "god to Pharaoh" metaphorically indicates Moses’ authoritative role over Pharaoh, not literal divinity. This is clearly metaphorical, indicating the authority and power given to Moses by God. It does not imply that Moses is a deity in the same sense as God Himself. This use of "god" highlights the function or role rather than a literal divine nature.
    • Psalm 82:6 - The term "gods" (elohim) here refers to human judges or rulers who represent God's authority, not implying they are deities. In Psalm 82, God is addressing the judges of Israel, who are called "gods" (elohim) because they represent God's authority in executing justice. The subsequent verses clarify that these judges are mortal and will die like any other human (Psalm 82:7). The term "gods" here is used metaphorically to describe their role, not their nature.
    • 2 Chronicles 19:6 - The judges represent God's justice, not divine status. This verse emphasizes the responsibility of judges to act on behalf of God, reinforcing the idea that they represent divine authority in their judgments. Again, it does not suggest that these judges are deities but that they are appointed to execute God's justice.

    The cited sources, such as Brown-Driver-Briggs, acknowledge "elohim" can mean judges or rulers reflecting divine power, but not literal "gods". Therefore, the OT usage of "gods" symbolizes authority or representation rather than equating beings with God’s nature.

    The use of "elohim" to describe humans or angels in the Hebrew Bible is metaphorical and denotes roles of authority and representation, not literal divinity. This is consistent with monotheism, where there is only one true God, and any application of "god" to others is figurative.

    The biblical texts where creatures are called "gods" are using metaphorical language to describe roles of authority and representation. This usage does not conflict with the monotheistic belief in one true God. In the New Testament, angels are not called "gods" in a literal, affirmative sense. Instead, terms like "sons of God" or "angels" are used to denote their roles as divine messengers. The context and interpretation provided by the Church Fathers and biblical scholarship reinforce the understanding that these references do not imply polytheism but rather metaphorical descriptions of authority and function under the sovereignty of the one true God.

    The critical point remains: John 1:1 refers to "the Word was God" (theos), denoting Jesus' divine nature, not as a lesser or different deity.

    The Church Fathers often explained that terms like "gods" used for angels or humans in the Scriptures were honorific and figurative, not literal. They highlighted that such usage was meant to acknowledge the high status or divine commission of these beings rather than equate them with the one true God. They strongly affirmed that such descriptions did not imply polytheism or diminish the core monotheistic belief. Instead, these beings were seen as reflecting God's power or acting on His behalf.

    For example, Psalms 82:6, where it says, "I said, 'You are gods,'" was often interpreted as referring to human judges or leaders who were acting as God’s representatives on earth. The term "gods" indicated their role in executing divine justice, not that they were deities themselves. Similarly, in John 10:34, Jesus quotes this verse to demonstrate that calling someone "god" in a figurative sense was not blasphemous, thereby defending His claim of being the Son of God.

    The Church Fathers emphasized that while these beings could be called "gods" in a secondary, figurative sense, Jesus Christ, the Son, was uniquely divine. His divinity was intrinsic and essential, not merely honorific. This distinction was crucial in maintaining both the unique divinity of Christ and the monotheistic framework.
    They stressed the importance of understanding the context and the intended message behind these scriptural terms. The purpose was often to underscore the authority and responsibility given by God rather than to suggest actual divinity.

    The Church Fathers rejected any notion of henotheism (belief in one primary god among many). They clarified that references to "gods" in scripture were never meant to introduce a hierarchy of deities but to highlight God’s sovereign appointment of certain beings to specific roles.

    • Justin Martyr: Justin explained that the term "gods" when applied to angels or humans is not in the same sense as the true God. He emphasized that these beings are called "gods" due to their role and not because they possess the divine nature. This usage reflects their function or office rather than their essence.
    • Irenaeus: Irenaeus argued that although certain beings are referred to as "gods," it is always in a subordinate sense to the one true God. He highlighted that this figurative language is used to denote honor or authority granted by God, and it should not be confused with the worship due to the one true God.
    • Clement of Alexandria: Clement elaborated that the term "god" used for humans, especially judges or kings, signifies their role as representatives of God's justice and authority. He maintained that this did not imply polytheism but rather underscored their duty to uphold divine justice.
    • Origen: Origen focused on the interpretive aspect, noting that the term "gods" is metaphorical. He pointed out that such language is meant to teach about the delegated authority and honor bestowed by God to certain individuals or beings. This delegation does not elevate them to the status of the supreme God.
    • Augustine: Augustine discussed the term "gods" in a figurative sense to highlight that it reflects the honor and authority given by God to humans and angels. He stressed that while these beings are called "gods," it is because they act as instruments of God's will and not because they possess divinity themselves.
    • Athanasius: Athanasius made it clear that references to "gods" among angels or humans are figurative and should be understood as such. He emphasized the uniqueness of the true God and clarified that any other use of the term "god" is symbolic of the role or function endowed by the true God.
    • John Chrysostom: Chrysostom explained that the term "gods" in Scripture often refers to the office or role given by God to judges or leaders. He reinforced the idea that these titles are honorific and do not imply any form of divine nature.
    • Theophilus of Antioch: Theophilus interpreted the use of "gods" in a similar manner, noting that it denotes the authority given by God to certain individuals to act on His behalf. He clarified that this terminology is figurative and serves to illustrate their responsibility rather than any divine status.

    These Church Fathers consistently argued that the term "gods" when applied to creatures is metaphorical, used to signify their role or authority granted by the one true God. They reconciled this with monotheism by emphasizing the supremacy and uniqueness of the true God, ensuring that any figurative use of "god" did not contradict the fundamental belief in one God. They also affirmed the divinity of the Son within the framework of monotheism, distinguishing between the unique nature of the true God and the delegated authority represented by the term "gods."

  • Rattigan350
    Rattigan350

    "The critical point remains: John 1:1 refers to "the Word was God" (theos), denoting Jesus' divine nature, not as a lesser or different deity."

    John was stating that the Word, Jesus was a spirit being alongside God. He was not saying that the Word was Jehovah God. He was denoting Jesus' divine history and that he was a lesser spirit being different from God.

  • Riley
    Riley

    John is saying the word or angel of Yahweh in the Old Testament was Yahweh incarnate . The invisible omnipresent god becomes stationary and visible. The infinite becomes finite. The creator steps into the creation.

  • Wonderment
    Wonderment

    acqwsed12345,

    Your long posts just make it easier for us to spot wrong conclusions from your part. It has been said that the more we talk, the more we tend to introduce errors in our arguments. This can happen to anyone trying to outwork everyone else.

    You keep saying that JWs have John 1.1c wrong. It just so happens that other translators have rendered the text likewise. So by honing on the mistakes of *one* version as you tend to do, it begins to tell a story about your personality, and the heavy bias you may be carrying upon your shoulders.

    You keep saying that the term "God" applies to the true God, and to false gods, like Satan, in the main. But you fail to mention that other scholars acknowledge the term has various meanings, including one of strength and power. There can be more than one powerful person in the room. Your cursory mention of John 10.34 by Jesus gives you away.

    You quote 8 Church Fathers in your post above, and repeatedly make reference to these as some sort of proof that your conclusions are correct. Are you kidding? These Church Fathers lived historically in a time period noted for its ambiguity and confusion. Do you really think that by giving so much authority to these guys of the past is going to decidedly help people of our times who have inherited a notorious, unstable state of religious confusion of past millenniums?

    It seems that you want to have John 1.1 say that it supports a sort of Trinity. Without going back to Church Fathers, can you provide for us a text or two in the Gospel of John that clearly indicates a trinitarian dogma?

    For some reason, some people push aside simple doctrines, and prefer complex reasonings, like those found in the Trinity dogma.

    John 17.3 points to the Father [not the Son] as the true God, who we owe our lives to. This is simple. And Jesus even said, "The Father is greater than I am." Jesus thus said: 'Worship the Father.' (Jn 4.24) How simple! These words are basic language that can move anyone. But for ego-seekers, this may be way too simple. Greek philosophy disguised in complicated dogmas, like the Trinity, have taken over this world. (Jn 12.31)

  • aqwsed12345
    aqwsed12345

    @Rattigan350

    "John was stating that the Word, Jesus was a spirit being alongside God."

    In his prologue, John does not call him a "spirit being" (?), contrasting his being with the one he was with. John does not refer to Jesus as a "spirit being" but emphasizes that the Word was both with God and was God. The term "theos" without the article in Greek emphasizes the nature or essence of the Word being divine, not a lesser spirit.

    "He was not saying that the Word was Jehovah God."

    John nowhere speaks of any kind of "Jehovah", but since in a positive and affirmative sense in the theological framework of the NT, the term THEOS only refers to the true God, the almighty God of the Bible, this is only possible if the Son/Logos is just as much YHWH, like the Father, in addition to the fact that he is obviously not identical with the Father in person. The New Testament does not use the term "Jehovah." Instead, it uses "theos" to refer to the true God. John 1:1c clearly states, "the Word was God," which in the context of John's theology refers to the true God, not a lesser being. John 1:1 establishes the divinity of the Word while maintaining a personal distinction between the Word and God the Father.

    "...he was a lesser spirit..."

    John did not call the Logos "lesser" "spirit" in his prologue, and if you refer to John 14:28, that does not prove the Son's createdness and ontological inferiority. In short: "greater" here does not mean "ontologically superior", and this is excellently justified by the fact that the Son is begotten of the Father (not vice versa), and also by the fact that the Son (unlike the Father) became man (incarnated), thus "greater" does not prove that he was a creature or an archangel, as asserted by the WTS. Nowhere in the prologue of John or elsewhere does John call the Logos "lesser" or a "spirit." John 1:14 states, "The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us," emphasizing the incarnation of the divine Word. John 14:28 ("The Father is greater than I") refers to the economic function within the Trinity and the incarnation, not to an ontological inferiority.

    "...being different from God."

    The Nicene theology does not claim that the Son/Logos is the same person as the one who is meant by the name "God" in John 1:1b, i.e. the Father. The text explicitly states that the Word was both with God and was God. The term "theos" without the article in the Greek emphasizes the nature or essence of the Word being divine. This does not imply a "lesser" divinity but rather affirms the Word's full divinity.The Nicene theology, as reflected in John 1:1, does not claim that the Son is the same person as the Father. The text says the Word was with God (indicating distinction of the persons) and was God (indicating unity of essence). This affirms the full divinity of the Word without implying that the Word is a different, lesser deity.

    Thomas addresses Jesus as "My Lord and my God!" (John 20:28) This clear confession acknowledges Jesus' full divinity, not as a lesser being, a creature but as truly God. If Jesus was a mere creature, Thomas's statement would be inappropriate. The clear acknowledgment by a disciple of Jesus' divine nature affirms the belief in Jesus as truly God.

    @Wonderment

    I'm not just criticizing the NWT, they're all mistranslations, but since this is a NWT forum, that's by definition the focus. While some translations have nuanced differences, the overwhelming majority of reputable translations (e.g., NIV, ESV, NASB, KJV) render John 1:1 as "the Word was God," emphasizing the Word's full divinity.

    In the New Testament, when referring to Jesus and the true God, "theos" consistently denotes full divinity. In the New Testament, "theos" consistently denotes full divinity when referring to Jesus and the true God. The context of passages like John 1:1 and John 20:28 affirms the divinity of Jesus in the same sense as the Father.
    " Your cursory mention of John 10.34 by Jesus gives you away."
    In John 10:34-36, Jesus quotes Psalm 82:6 to defend against the charge of blasphemy. The context shows that Jesus uses the term "gods" in a lesser, figurative sense for humans. However, this does not diminish his claim to divinity. Jesus distinguishes His unique relationship with the Father from the way "gods" is used for judges in the psalm, asserting His divine Sonship. Jesus' reference to Psalm 82 in John 10:34 illustrates a rhetorical strategy, not a denial of his unique divinity. The psalm's use of "gods" for judges was symbolic, and Jesus used it to demonstrate that his claim to be God's Son was even more justified.

    The issue is the context in which this was stated and why John NEEDED to render this as 'theoi' when writing his gospel in GREEK, whereas all other apostles did not translate OT passages where creatures are affirmatively called 'elohim' in this way. Therefore, the NT concept of 'theos' is not identical to the early OT books' concept of el-eloah-elohim because, in the NT theological context, there is no general sense of calling someone "god," which is no more than calling someone "cool" in modern English vernacular. This pericope does not claim that the divinity of Jesus is identical with this symbolic psalm terminology, on the contrary. he simple reason for this is that Christ's answer would not have been understandable otherwise, but you can't provide a single example where creatures are described as "theoi" in an affirmative and positive sense in the NT, so there is no NT precedent for this.

    The Son is God not only in the sense that "elohim" is used in the OT in a general sense (even ironically, e.g., in the case of judges), but in reality, the NT does not recognize this concept of "theos."

    In the NT, designating angels as THEOS does not occur, so this only appears in this OT quote, and moreover, "Elohim" in Hebrew is a much more general term, which in this case might be better translated as Mighty Ones, etc., rather than "God" in the proper sense. The word "GOD" in Greek, English, etc., always refers to the omnipotent, creator, infinite single God, and no one else. In the case of Jesus, we do not only rely on the application of the word "THEOS" not just once and without any diminutive additions but also on such attributes (omniscience, timelessness, hearing of prayers, to be worshipped (both proskuneo AND latreou, etc.) which cannot apply to the created angels.

    John 10:34-35 just proves that the divinity of the Son is superior compared to calling the judges "elohim" in Psalm 82, where Jesus uses this for a so-called "kal va-chomer" argument.

    The statement "you are gods" comes from Psalm 82, but it does not talk about "born gods", but about earthly judges who bore the name of God for this function only. They judge falsely, do not understand, walk in darkness, and ultimately die. So these are not gods, but people. When Jesus referred to this passage, he only claimed that it was not unprecedented men as elohim, so he could not even be stoned for this reason. But he did not claim that his divinity was the same as that of the judges poetically addressed as "gods" in the psalm. The Father and the Son are NOT just "one in intention and thought", but they have one and the same divine reality, nature.
    So, just because the judges were referred to as "gods" in a certain sense in one place in the OT, Jesus is not limited to such titular divinity, because in John 10:36 he forms a HIGHER right to divinity than theirs. Ps. 82 mocks the judges who were "gods" (mighty ones), but because they became unfaithful, they die as people. In John 10:34-36, Jesus refers back to Ps. 82: IF God mockingly called the judges "gods", how much more true is it for Him (who is truly so).

    "you want to have John 1.1 say that it supports a sort of Trinity. "
    I wasn't talking about the Trinity, but the Nicean undrestanding of the nature of the Son. The focus is on the Nicene understanding of the nature of the Son, not the full Trinitarian doctrine. John 1:1 supports the divinity of the Son, consistent with the Nicene Creed's affirmation of the Son's consubstantiality with the Father.This is precisely why I don't like to debate "the Trinity" with Jehovah's Witnesses initially. Instead, we should approach this whole discourse chronologically as it emerged in church history, starting with the Council of Nicaea, not "the Trinity." The Trinity is just the final result, which can only be understood if you are familiar with the basics, just as you cannot jump to advanced mathematics without understanding the fundamental mathematics.
    "These Church Fathers lived historically in a time period noted for its ambiguity and confusion."

    Patristics and extrabiblical sources, even if they do not hold the same authority as the Bible, are still essential. The early Church Fathers provide crucial insights into the interpretation of Scripture and early Christian doctrine. They were closer to the apostolic tradition and provide valuable context for understanding the New Testament. The early Church Fathers provide crucial historical context, demonstrating the continuous understanding of Christ's divinity. They were closer to the apostolic teachings and their interpretations hold significant weight against later heterodox claims.

    Assuming that the NT was not misunderstood immediately after the death of the Apostle John, these sources show the beliefs of ancient Christians. Of course, one can play biblical ping-pong, but Christianity is also a historical phenomenon. Various Bible passages have been interpreted differently over time. For me, the interpretations of those almost contemporaneous with the apostles carry more weight than speculations made two thousand years later.

    The early Church Fathers provide valuable insights into the interpretation of Scripture and early Christian doctrine. Their proximity to the apostolic tradition offers a credible understanding of the New Testament. They consistently affirmed the divinity of Christ and countered early heresies.

    Many individuals have abandoned, are abandoning, and will abandon their faith, gathering followers around them, as the Scriptures testify (Acts 20:28-31; 1 John 2:18-19). According to every known secular and theological definition, "apostasy" refers to individuals abandoning their religion or belief system (1 John 2:19), not a collective heresy of an entire group. The Bible nowhere states that the entire Church established by Jesus would or could ever abandon Him. Such a departure is impossible, considering His promises (Mt 16:18; 18:15-20; 28:20; John 14:16-17, 23, 26; 16:7, 12-14; 17:9-23), along with the inspired apostolic doctrine that the Church is the "pillar and foundation of the truth" (1 Tim. 3:15), the command to "hold to the traditions you were taught by us, either by spoken word or by letter" (2 Thess. 2:15, referring to "oral tradition" AND "Scripture"), and the fact that "through the Church, the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places" (Eph. 3:10).

    In the writings of the Church Fathers, there is no mention of a great apostasy of the entire Church or of a significant struggle for the faith. They mention individual heretics and certain heretical movements that began and grew after Christ's ascension and Pentecost, but there is no mention of a complete apostasy. If the Church Fathers were part of the apostasy, they would likely have mentioned their new doctrines to condemn Christians adhering to older apostolic teachings! But there is no sign of such a debate, and no writings support the idea of a mass apostasy from the true faith. History is completely silent. History mentions other great schisms within the Church (such as the Ebionites, Arianism, the Great Schism in 1054, and the Protestant Reformation in 1517), but about this massive schism ("great apostasy"), there is complete silence.

    Orthodox Catholic theologians have not been silent about being condemned as heretical teachers of devilish doctrines. Every movement deemed heretical by Catholic orthodoxy in the first four centuries either died out or faded away. All of them strongly contradicted one or more NT teachings, and some even rejected protocanonical biblical books accepted by all Christians from the beginning of the Church. Collectively, they do not represent a unified Christian theology that could be called the original apostolic Christian gospel from which the Church apostatized. The various doctrines and groups rejected by Catholic orthodoxy even contradict each other. Their writings, which have survived and are accessible, show that none represent or resemble the teachings of JWs, Mormons, or fundamentalist Protestants. So they do not represent any writings from the first four centuries of Christianity. This historical silence is taken as evidence that the "Great Apostasy" from evangelical Reformation Christianity must have happened, which is circular reasoning.

    It is unreasonable to assume that the earliest Church Fathers—personally taught by the apostles—would teach heresies, and that the truly faithful followers of the apostles' doctrines, who had their writings and knew the older generation that personally heard them teach and preach, would have remained silent about such a massive paradigm shift in the Church's fundamental teachings.I did not claim that individual Church Fathers were "infallible" in their Christology, but the fact is that there is not a single early Christian source that states the Father "created" the Son or that the Son is Michael the Archangel, etc. On the contrary, there are countless sources affirming that the Son is God. Now, this is only possible if Christianity "collapsed" almost immediately after the Apostles, like a new car breaking down on its first turn out of the dealership. This implies that practically everyone "misunderstood" the Apostles' message.

    "John 17.3 points to the Father [not the Son] as the true God, who we owe our lives to. "
    The fact that "not the Son" is already your forced eisegesis explanation, the text does not contrast this with the Son. John 17:3 does not exclude the Son from being the true God. The verse highlights the Father as the only true God to contrast with false gods, not to deny the divinity of the Son. Other passages, such as 1 John 5:20, also affirm the Son as the true God.Jehovah's Witnesses often refer to this scripture when disputing the deity of Jesus. In contrast, Christians who believe in the Trinity usually point out that the expression "the only true God" is not meant to contrast the Father with the Son, but rather to contrast the only true God with false gods (Jeremiah 10:10-11; 1 John 5:20). This verse merely states that "the Father is the only true God" (which corresponds to the Trinitarian Christian teaching), but it does not say "only the Father is the true God alone," which some would like to infer. There is a clear difference between the two statements. Not only this verse, but also the understanding of several other texts, requires us to recognize that the expression "and" (kai) can also mean "that is," "more precisely," or "as well as." For the use of the "kai" conjunction in this sense, see for example John 15:8 and 18:35.Based on these words, Jehovah's Witnesses believe that the Father is the only true God. However, the structure and meaning of the scripture suggest that "they may know you, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent, to be the only true God." The Bible here names the Father as the only true God, not to exclude the Son and the Holy Spirit (who are just as much the only true God together with the Father); but rather to exclude the false gods of the pagans. The Witnesses should consider that the Son of God, Jesus Christ, is expressly called the true God (1 John 5:20), with the definite article in Greek, which Jehovah's Witnesses usually emphasize heavily.

    The quickest way to demonstrate the flawed interpretation of John 17:3 by Jehovah's Witnesses is through examining Ephesians 4:4-6 ("one God and Father of all, and one Lord, Jesus"). If the title of "One God" for the Father excluded Jesus from divinity, then Jesus' title of "One Lord" would similarly exclude the Father from being Lord. Yet, we know that both are Lord. On the other hand, Jehovah is called not only the only true God (John 17:3) but also the "Only Savior" (Isaiah 43:11; 45:21; Hosea 13:4; Jude 25), "Only King" (Zechariah 14:9). If John 17:3 excluded Jesus from being the "True God," then Jesus would also be excluded from being Savior or King. In contrast, Jesus is called the "Only Teacher" (Matthew 23:8, 10; Matthew 10:24 and John 13:13), "Only Master" (Jude 4; 2 Peter 2:1), and "Only Lord" (Jude 4; Ephesians 4:4; 1 Corinthians 8:4,6; Matthew 6:24). If we were to exclude Jesus from being the true God based on John 17:3, then we would also have to exclude the Father from being our Teacher, Master, or Lord.

    Can the term "only" referring to exclusivity be applied to a person? Several scriptural passages use such language: "That they may know that you [i.e., the Father] are the only true God." (John 17:3); "No one knows the Son except the Father." (Matthew 11:27);

    These verses should be understood not to exclude the other persons of the Trinity but merely other natures. Thus, "no one else" means not another person, but rather not another nature. So, when the term "only" is applied to divine persons, it does not exclude the other persons – as they are all one through the unity of the single divine reality. This, of course, is true only for statements that can be made about the persons regarding their common divine essence. Thus, every Person of the Trinity knows the other, is almighty, holy, etc.

    This hyperbole do not exclude other persons from the Godhead, but exclude other deities. This is the answer of Thomas Aquinas (Summa Theologiae I, q.31, a.4) too, that it's to be understood in syncategorematical, and not in categorematical sense:

    http://www.newadvent.org/summa/1031.htm#article3

    Thomas Aquinas explains that all these verses must be understood as exclusive not of the other Persons of the Trinity but only of other natures. Thus, “no one” does not mean no other person, but rather no other nature. Thus, when the term only is applied to one of the divine Persons, the other Persons are not excluded – for all are united through the unity of the single divine Essence. However, this only holds true for those things which are predicated of the Persons by reason of the shared Essence. Thus, each and every Person of the Trinity is said to know the others, to be all powerful, to be most holy, etc.

    However, other attributes are not based on the common essence but on their relations. For example: only the Father is "unbegotten"; only the Son is "begotten"; only the Spirit "proceeds from the Father."

    Finally, we must point out that some attributes of the Son are not about His divinity but His humanity. Thus, only the Son became incarnate; only the Son died; only the Son will come again, and so on. For those who need further arguments against the Watchtower-Arian interpretation, I can recommend the following articles:

    "And Jesus even said, "The Father is greater than I am.""

    I touched on this primitive argument above. This refers to the economic roles within the Trinity and Jesus' incarnation, not to an ontological inferiority. The Father and the Son share the same divine essence, but the Son took on human nature and a subordinate role in the Incarnation.


    "Jesus thus said: 'Worship the Father.' (Jn 4.24)"

    Besides, he also said that: "all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father." (John 5:23) Jesus claims equal honor with the Father, which would be inappropriate if He were merely a lesser being, a creature.

    "But for ego-seekers, this may be way too simple."

    Unless you're not the examiner of hearts and kidneys, do yourself a favor and don't dig into other people's hearts, especially not in such a pseudo-psychological way. The context of the New Testament consistently maintains the distinction between the one true God and created beings, whether angels or humans, and affirms the unique divinity of Jesus Christ.

    "Greek philosophy disguised in complicated dogmas, like the Trinity..."

    Cf. Genetic fallacy

    The doctrine of the Trinity as a doctrine is merely an organization certain biblical facts into a system. So the doctrine of the Trinity is the interpretation and systematization of biblical facts published in a philosophical guise. the CONTENT of Catholic theology was not influenced by some kind of evil "philosophy", and you will not be able to attack it, based on the fact that the philosophical concepts used for the TERMINOLOGY for formulating the doctrines are also used. Read this:

    From the New Testament to the Council of Nicaea

    1. The theologians who in our time raise doubts about the divinity of Christ often argue that this dogma cannot have emerged from genuine biblical revelation; its origins are traceable to Hellenism. Deeper historical inquiries show, on the contrary, that the thought pattern of the Greeks was totally alien to this dogma and that they rejected it with the utmost vigor. To the faith of Christians who proclaimed the divinity of Christ, Hellenism opposed its own dogma of the divine transcendence, which it regarded as irreconcilable with the contingency inherent to the human history of Jesus of Nazareth. Greek philosophers experienced the particular difficulty entailed in accepting the notion of a divine incarnation. In the name of their teaching on the godhead, Platonist philosophers regarded this notion as unthinkable. The Stoics, in turn, could not manage to reconcile the Christological dogma with their cosmological doctrine.

    2. It was in order to respond to these difficulties that, more or less openly, many Christian theologians borrowed from Hellenism the notion of a secondary god (deuteros theos), or of an intermediate god, or even of a demiurge. Obviously, this was tantamount to clearing the way to the threat of subordinationism. This subordinationism was already latent in some of the Apologists and in Origen. Arius made a formal heresy of it. He maintained that the Son occupies an intermediate position between the Father and the creatures. The Arian heresy offers a good illustration of how the dogma of Christ’s divinity would have looked had it truly emerged from the philosophy of Hellenism and not from God’s own revelation. At the Council of Nicaea in a.d. 325, the Church defined that the Son is consubstantial (homoousios) with the Father. In so doing, the Church both repudiated the Arian compromise with Hellenism and deeply altered the shape of Greek, especially Platonist and neo-Platonist, metaphysics. In a manner of speaking, it demythicized Hellenism and effected a Christian purification of it. In the act of dismissing the notion of an intermediate being, the Church recognized only two modes of being: uncreated (nonmade) and created.

    To be sure, "homoousios", the term used by the Council of Nicaea, is a philosophical and nonbiblical term. It is evident all the same that, ultimately, the Fathers of the Council only intended to express the authentic meaning of the New Testament assertions concerning Christ, and to do this in a way that would be univocal and free from all ambiguity.

    In issuing this definition of Christ’s divinity, the Church found support also in the experience of salvation and in man’s divinization in Christ. In turn, the dogmatic definition impressed its own determination and mark on the experience of salvation. There was, then, an in-depth interaction between lived experience and the process whereby theological clarification was achieved.

    3. The theological reflections of the Fathers of the Church did not ignore the special problem connected with the divine preexistence of Christ. Note in particular Hippolytus of Rome, Marcellus of Ancyra, and Photinus. Their attempts are bent on presenting the preexistence of Christ not at the level of ontological reality but at that of intentionality: Christ had preexisted in the sense of having been foreseen (kata prognosin).

    These presentations of the preexistence of Christ were judged inadequate by the Catholic Church and condemned. Thus the Church gave expression to her own belief in an ontological preexistence of Christ, for which it found support in the Father s eternal generation of the Word. The Church also referred to the clear-cut New Testament affirmations concerning the active role played by the Word of God in the creation of the world. Obviously, someone who does not yet exist, or is only intended to exist, cannot play any such role.

    The arguments presented by the Jehovah’s Witnesses often overlook the full context of the scriptures and historical theological interpretations. The New Testament consistently upholds the full divinity of Jesus Christ, distinguishing him from created beings, whether angels or humans. The nuanced theological explanations by the Church Fathers further reinforce this understanding, demonstrating a coherent and consistent belief in the deity of Christ within the framework of early Christian doctrine. The New Testament consistently maintains the distinction between the one true God and created beings while affirming the unique divinity of Jesus Christ. The Church Fathers and reputable scholars provide robust support for the traditional understanding of John 1:1c, which affirms the full divinity of the Word. The arguments presented by Jehovah's Witness apologists do not hold up against the weight of biblical and historical evidence.

  • Blotty
    Blotty

    I think you are omitting some information here...

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