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4169Re: [John_Lit] Jesus Logos or God Himself

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  • fmmccoy
    Feb 9, 2004
      ----- Original Message -----
      From: "Peter.Hofrichter" <Peter.Hofrichter@...>
      To: <johannine_literature@yahoogroups.com>
      Sent: Saturday, February 07, 2004 6:05 AM
      Subject: Re: [John_Lit] Jesus Logos or God Himself

      > Am 06.02.2004 um 03:42 schrieb fmmccoy:
      > > In this case, there is no exaltation of Jesus from the Logos to God
      > > Himself
      > > in Mark.
      > >
      > > Perhaps it's questionable whether this is the case in John either. Why
      > > would the Johannine community keep the Prologue in John, where Jesus
      > > is the
      > > Logos of God as a personified divine being, if they later exalted him
      > > from
      > > the Logos to God Himself?
      > >

      > The same happend once more in the 4th century. After the
      > Logos-christology was renewed be Justinus Martyr it was accepted by
      > almost all theologians (except certain modalists especially in Asia
      > Minor). But the Logos-Christology was and is incompatible with the full
      > godhead of Christ. The Logos is concieved as a being between God and
      > man, between God and his creature, mediator and word of creation.
      > Arius, who was a famous preacher in Alexandria and a consequent
      > montheist and platonist, claimed therefore that the Logos was
      > subordinate to God and that he was created by him before all other
      > creatures.

      That a Christological progression from Jesus as the Logos to Jesus as God
      occurred in mainstream Christianity in the 4th century doesn't necessarily
      mean that a similar Christological progression occurred in the Johannine
      community in the 1st century.

      In any event, the position of Arius appears to have been more sophisticated
      than indicated above, with him distinguishing between the Logos who is the
      Son (with this Logos being the Logos described above) and the true Logos of

      In Early Arianism-a View of Salvation (Fortress Press), Robert C. Gregg and
      Dennis E. Groh state (p. 103), "As the structures of reality are differently
      drawn by the early Arians, they argue that God's 'true' Reason and
      Wisdom--that is, the Logos and Sophia which belong to his nature alone--are
      his intrinsic attributes. Contrary to the charges leveled at them, the
      Arians did not teach that God was ever without *his own* Word and Wisdom.
      Athanasius knows this, for he preserved their doctrine of the one Wisdom
      which is God's own and exists in him (ten idian kai synyparchousan tw thew),
      distinguishable from the Son, and their parallel doctrine of the Word, other
      than the Son, which is in God. The accusation contained in Alexander's
      enclyclical is correct: the Arians say that the Son 'is neither similar to
      the father in essence, nor is he truly and by nature (alethinos kai physei)
      the Word of God, nor is he true (alethine) Wisdom...".

      >Other theologians claimed that the Son wass of the same
      > divine "substance" and eternal age as the Father. Also they referred
      > the Gospel of John: Me and the Father are one, who sees Me sees the
      > Father.

      Certainly, these phrases, in John, of, "Me and the Father are one", and "Who
      sees Me sees the Father", can be interpreted to mean that Jesus is God.

      However, they are also intepretable in terms of a Logos Christology

      See, for example, Fuga (101), where, regarding the Logos, Philo states,
      "Nay, He is Himself the Image of God, chiefest of all Beings intellectually
      perceived, placed nearest, with no intervening distance, to the Alone truly
      existent One. For we read, 'I will talk with thee from above the
      Mercy-seat, between the two Cherubim' (Ex. xxv. 21), words which shew that
      while the Logos is the charioteer of the Powers, He Who talks is seated in
      the chariot, giving directions to the charioteer for the right wielding of
      the reins of the Universe."

      Here, we see, the Logos is one with God, his Father, in two senses. First,
      there is "no intervening distance" between the Logos and God, so that, in
      some significant sense, they are a single entity. Second, the Logos is one
      in will with God, obediently obeying whatever God tells him to do.

      Here, we also see, the Logos is the Image of God, so that, in some
      significant sense, to see the Logos is to see God.


      > We are used to hear always again that
      > the Logos concept is the crown and peak of all Christology. This was
      > originally for ancient people definitely not at all the case.


      >The Logos
      > is clearly less than and subordinate to the one God of Israel and also
      > less than and beneeth the transcendent God of Plato There the Logos is
      > the soul of the cosmos. In Jewish or Christian terms he is the mediator
      > of creation and revelation. And he is necessary because in Platonism
      > the absolutely transcendent God himself has no relation whatsoever with
      > the material world except through a mediator. Therfore Philo shows not
      > God, but the Logos speaking in the burnig thorn bush, on the mount
      > Sinai, and so on.

      While Philo's Logos is not Plato's soul of the cosmos, it is important to
      note that Philo's Logos does play the same role. In Philo (Vol. 1, Harvard
      University Press, pp. 327-28), Harry Austryn Wolfson states, "While the
      residence of the Logos in the corporeal world is conceived by him (i.e.,
      Philo), as we have said, after the analogy of the residence of Plato's
      preexistent mind or soul in the body of the world, still Philo never
      describes the immanent Logos as the mind or the soul of the world. His
      immanent Logos, while performing the same functions as Plato's or the
      Stoics' world-soul, is not a world-soul."

      Also, since Philo's Logos is the One through whom the Cosmos is created,
      Philo's Logos, even though not Plato's Demiurge, does play the same role as
      Plato's Demiurge.

      How does one explain why Philo's Logos plays the role of both Plato's
      Demiurge and world-soul, yet is neither?

      What I suspect is that Philo was influenced by the Middle Platonist, Eudorus
      of Alexandria.

      As respects the teachings of Eudorus, Jerry Dell Ehrlich states in Plato's
      Gift to Christianity (Academic Christian Press, p. 104) that "the ultimate
      transcendent God is even further exalted, which was in keeping with the
      general trend within Middle-Platonism that the First Principle of all was
      utterly transcendent, and the Creator of the World, the Demiurge, was a
      Second Principle of creation, and the final principle, the third element of
      deity, was the World-Soul or World-Spirit. While this is an interpretation
      of Plato's own thoughts, it can be understood as an attempt at systematizing
      Plato's Absolute One in the Republic with the Father and Maker of the
      Universe in the Timaeus and the Living Creature (Cosmos) or World-Soul in
      the Timaeus. While this view had tremendous influence on Philo of
      Alexandria and the forming of the doctrine of the Christian Trinity, it
      seems more likely that Plato himself would not have made a distinction
      between the God beyond being and the Demiurge, the Father and Maker of the

      The important point here is that Eudorus did not equate the transcendent God
      with the Demiurge, so that there are, in his thought, three divine beings,
      i.e., the transcendent God, the Demiurge, and the World-soul.

      In Philonic thought, the Logos apparently combines the roles of both
      Eudorus' Demiurge and World-Soul. The Cosmos was created through the Logos
      (so that he plays the same role as the Demiurge) and the Cosmos is ruled
      through the Logos, who suffuses himself through the Cosmos, bonding and
      knitting together all its parts (so that he plays the role of the

      Relevant to the discussion is Exodus (Book II, Sect. 68), where Philo
      states, "And from the divine Logos, as from a spring, there divide and break
      forth two powers. One is the creative (power), though which the Artificer
      placed and ordered all things; this is named 'God.' And (the other is) the
      royal (power), since through it the Creator rules over created things; this
      is called 'Lord.'"

      I suggest that, here, we have a clue as to how the roles of Eudorus'
      Demiurge and the World-soul came to be assigned to Philo's Logos.

      In particular, there appears to have been an intermediate step in which the
      role of Eudorus' Demiurge was assigned to an angelic power called the
      Creative Power and given the title of God and in which the role of Eudorus'
      World-soul was assigned to an angelic power called the Royal Power and given
      the title of Lord. This step was presumably taken by an Alexandrian Jew,
      possibly, but not necessarily, Philo.

      In the final step, these two angelic powers were taken to be a part of the
      very self of the Logos. As a result, they emanate from the Logos like two
      streams from a fountain. As these two angelic powers are of the very self
      of the Logos, their roles are also the roles of the Logos. This last step,
      presumably, was taken by Philo.

      This explains why Philo gives the Logos the titles of God and Lord. The
      Logos is God because he has the role of "God" (i.e., the Creative Power) and
      he is Lord because he has the role of "Lord" (i.e., the Royal Power).

      In this case, the exclamation of Thomas, "My Lord and my God!", can be
      interpreted to be a recognition, on the part of Thomas, that Jesus is the
      Logos: who combines, in one divine being, the Royal and Creative powers.

      To conclude, it certainly is the case that, in John, there are some
      statements which can be interpreted to mean that Jesus is God, e.g., Jesus'
      declarations that he and the Father are one and that to see him is to see
      the Father and Thomas' confession that Jesus is both Lord and God. However,
      these same statements are also interpretable in terms of a Logos
      Christology. In this case, there is a consistent Logos Christology in both
      the Prologue and the main body of John.

      Frank McCoy
      1809 N. English Apt. 15
      Maplewood, MN USA 55109
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