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Re: [John_Lit] Still on a "god" - brief follow-up

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  • Peter Hofrichter
    Excuse my mistake: of course: Justin does NOT appreciate the Gospel of John... Peter Hofrichter
    Message 1 of 6 , Apr 2, 2001
      Excuse my mistake: of course: Justin does NOT appreciate the Gospel of John...

      Peter Hofrichter
    • Bob Wilson
      ... mentions ... attempted ... In the beginning was the Logos and the Logos... was ___ God The exclusion of the definite article to the Greeks did not infer
      Message 2 of 6 , Apr 3, 2001
        Susan Moore Wrote:
        > I am also taking into consideration that the historic Jesus
        mentions
        > his being "one" with YHWH (John 10). Hence, at least in his
        attempted
        > presentation, not promoting some polytheism. Granted, what kind of
        > monotheism allows for Jesus to say he is "one" with YHWH does not
        > readily come to mind, but that is the sense I get from his words.
        >

        "In the beginning was the Logos and the Logos... was ___ God"
        The exclusion of the definite article to the Greeks did not
        infer ">>any<< out of a group", but rather pointed to the essence of
        what made the noun uniquely that noun (as opposed to a "the" in front
        of the noun which indicated the uniqueness in number or specific
        nature of that noun (as in "the Word"). For example, Nicodemus
        was ">>the<< teacher of Israel" - a specific one above many). We use
        the phrase "she is a beauty" to describe someone who is
        quintessentially beautiful - i.e., the embodiment of beauty. This is
        the meaning used in John where the Word, is not "the God", but "is
        [of the essence of or the embodiment of] God". This meaning is
        confirmed just a few verses later when John says "the Word was made
        flesh."

        How can Christ be God and God the Father be God at the same time?
        This mystery, clearly taught in the scriptures, has defied human
        explanation from the beginning of time. It is a wonderful paradox,
        nevertheless it is true. A Jewish believer gave me an illustrative
        attempt as expressing his understanding of this truth over three
        decades ago and it has stuck with me ever since. He held up his
        Bible and said, "You can see this book because it is three-in-one: it
        has height, breadth, and depth. If you take away any one of the
        dimensions you will reduce the book to a shadow. If any two, to a
        line. Each dimension is distinct, recognizably separate, and
        measurable, but each is also essential for the existence of the
        whole." Any human words are limited by the finiteness of our ability
        to conceive and express the infinite: however, that can never be seen
        as proof that the Infinite cannot exist in ways we cannot understand.

        Because of HIM,
        Bob Wilson
      • James McGrath
        Susan Moore s question is an important one. I think the whole problem of interpreting John, Philo, Justin etc. is the fact that since the 3rd century and the
        Message 3 of 6 , Apr 3, 2001
          Susan Moore's question is an important one. I think
          the whole problem of interpreting John, Philo, Justin
          etc. is the fact that since the 3rd century and the
          development of a clear doctrine of creatio ex nihilo,
          we presume the existence of the dividing line in this
          form. However, all the evidence seems to suggest that
          in the period in which Philo, John and Justin wrote
          the Logos WAS the dividing line, merging into both
          sides and yet keeping them 'clearly' distinct. And so
          it is that Philo can describe the Logos as 'neither
          uncreated as God, nor created as you, but between the
          two extremes', while John puts it in terms of the Word
          being both 'God' and 'with God'. It is only once a
          clearer dividing line is drawn that the Logos must be
          firmly placed on one side or the other, and thus it
          was that the 'Arians' and the 'Nicenes' had so many
          debates, each convinced that they were being faithful
          to tradition. In a sense, they both were, and in a
          sense, neither was.

          First-century Jewish monotheism had room for this
          ambiguity. Present-day monotheism for the most part
          does not. I suppose the theological question boils
          down to how we answer questions that arose only after
          John came up with his portrait.

          [I think I've written enough. I will, however, direct
          anyone interested to my forthcoming book which looks
          at this topic: James F. McGrath, John's Apologetic
          Christology, SNTS Monograph Series, 111; Cambridge
          University Press, 2001. It should be out in September]

          Best wishes,

          James



          Dr. James F. McGrath
          jamesfrankmcgrath@...
          http://www.geocities.com/jamesfrankmcgrath/









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        • toioutous_zatei@yahoo.com
          James: You wrote ... Yes! I quite agree with your observation here. And the reason I wanted to asked if John presented Jesus as a YHWH (not a god) was based
          Message 4 of 6 , Apr 3, 2001
            James:

            You wrote

            > However, all the evidence seems to suggest that
            > in the period in which Philo, John and Justin wrote
            > the Logos WAS the dividing line, merging into both
            > sides and yet keeping them 'clearly' distinct. And so
            > it is that Philo can describe the Logos as 'neither
            > uncreated as God, nor created as you, but between the
            > two extremes', while John puts it in terms of the Word
            > being both 'God' and 'with God'.

            Yes! I quite agree with your observation here. And the reason
            I wanted to asked if John presented Jesus as "a YHWH" (not a god)
            was based on this dividing line that John traverses. A god would
            have clearly been (on or) "below" the Line, while YHWH was "above"
            it. And
            the only reason many have placed Jesus "below" this line it seems
            is because John is approached with a Philonic limitation to the
            LOGOS, one John essentially denies.

            The reason the LOGOS (not Philo's logos, but John's LOGOS) was
            PROS TON QEON (YHWH) is because John's LOGOS was "above" this line
            (EN ARCHi), a radical concept in comparison to Philo. And to
            distinguish himself from current thought on the logos, John
            has "this" LOGOS bringing into existence PANTA, which would include,
            at least possibly, Philo's subordinate logos.

            The rigid Jewish Monotheism of that day, and today, could not
            understand Jesus' claim to be "one" with YHWH (John 10). How John's
            LOGOS was "above" this dividing line IN THE BEGINNING may seem
            contradictory, unless we can understand in what sense Jesus says he
            was "one" with God. On the LOGOS, John's departure from Philo seems
            to me at least manifestly there, but more questions are raised than
            answers!

            Susan Moore
            Sugar Land, TX
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