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Re: [John_Lit] A Grammatico-theological Question

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  • Horace Jeffery Hodges
    Thanks, Paul, for the grammatical clarifications. Now, on to other points. ... I suppose that I am more Western here, in the sense that you present it.
    Message 1 of 76 , Sep 11, 2000
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      Thanks, Paul, for the grammatical clarifications. Now,
      on to other points.

      I asked:

      > > Does the term Logos, on the other hand, suggest
      > > eternal existence? Or does it imply a coming into
      > > existence at the moment of creation, when God
      > 'spoke'?

      You replied:

      > That depends greatly upon a number of things.
      > First, what do you
      > understand the Logos of John 1:1ff to be? Second,
      > do you see the
      > preexistence theme to be a uniquely Hebrew view of
      > preexistence, which
      > refers to God's foreknowledge of things to come
      > rather than the
      > western understanding of literally existing before.

      I suppose that I am more Western here, in the sense
      that you present it. However, I wonder if "Western"
      and "Hebrew" can be split so definitively. It seems to
      me that the rabbinical view that God created the world
      through the Torah gives the Torah a more significant
      pre-existence than those things of which God had

      Also, the Judaism of the time of the writer of the
      fourth gospel was permeated by Hellenistic ideas, so I
      wonder how foreign a "Western" way of thinking was

      > Genesis says "In the beginning, God...". He,
      > therefore, predates
      > "existence". Anything God "thought", therefore,
      > would also predate
      > "existence". Certainly, He knew His plan for His
      > Son before the world
      > was created. In that sense, at least, Jesus Christ
      > preexisted the
      > world.

      I would prefer to say that God's existence was prior
      to the creation of the universe. God's thoughts would
      certainly also be prior to the creation, I agree. That
      still leaves open the question of whether the Son was
      prior to creation. I don't know that the answer to
      this is found in John's Gospel, however. It may be
      implicit, and I would be interested in hearing what
      people think on this.

      > > If the Hebrew-scripture background here is
      > speculation
      > > on the female figure Wisdom, then one would
      > suppose
      > > that the Logos came into existence at creation as
      > the
      > > first of God's creatures.
      > > This was certainly a view that became significant
      > > in the early church.
      > > In my view, it was a corruption of the Hebrew view
      > > of preexistence by
      > > the Greek influx into the church. To the Jews,
      > > Wisdom was a concept,
      > > a manifestation of God, if you will, but not a
      > > being separate from
      > > God. To the Greeks, Wisdom was a heavenly being,
      > > existing somewhere
      > > between the earth and the God of all, who could
      > > not bear to interact
      > > directly with the creation.

      Actually, I was referring to Proverbs 8 or 9 (I don't
      have a Bible handy), which explicitly personifies
      Wisdom as a female figure who is the first of God's
      creation. The Wisdom of Solomon also seems to
      personify Wisdom -- though there is probably a Greek
      influence here (though surely not in Proverbs).

      Thanks again.

      Jeffery Hodges

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    • Maluflen@aol.com
      In a message dated 9/18/2000 5:39:26 PM Eastern Daylight Time, antonio.jerez@privat.utfors.se writes: [Responding to Leonard, who wrote:] Antonio, no
      Message 76 of 76 , Sep 18, 2000
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        In a message dated 9/18/2000 5:39:26 PM Eastern Daylight Time,
        antonio.jerez@... writes:

        [Responding to Leonard, who wrote:]
        << > Antonio, no matter how highly elevated a creature is, no matter how
        > to God a creature comes, he is still infinitely -- yes, infinitely
        > to God. If this were the case for Jesus it would have been incumbent on
        > NT authors to make this point perfectly clear. Now there are texts in
        > they do not do so, and in fact many of them confound Jesus quite
        > and quite thoroughly with God. If it is true that Jesus is not God, either
        > these writers were terribly misled, or they are terribly misleading.

        The only problem is that Luke and the other synoptic writers did not
        have to contend with a 20th century highly orthodox chap from America
        who is so infatuated with trinitarianism that he has to force it on the texts
        at all price. Leonard, why don't you take a close look at Peter's speech
        in Acts 2:22-36 again and see if you find any support at all for your
        This is as close to Luke's and the early Jerusalem church's Christology as
        we will ever get, and Jesus is never called or likened to God. He is a MAN
        (v.22) SENT by God (v.22) to fullfill God's plan for humanity (v.23). God
        resurrected him (v24) and MADE him into LORD and MESSIAH (v. 36).

        How do you explain that somebody who is God (as you claim Jesus is) has
        to be made Lord and Messiah by God? >>

        Antonio, it seems you didn't read my post carefully enough (which makes me
        wonder how carefully you read the biblical texts that challenge your
        understanding). What I said was that "there are texts" in the NT in which
        Jesus is thoroughly confounded with God. This is quite compatible, logically,
        with the existence of other texts in which he is not (and was carefully
        formulated precisely so as to accommodate these). The Acts text you cite is
        clearly one such, and, in Chalcedonian terms, it could be said that it is
        simply talking about Jesus as man, under which formality he is of course
        thoroughly subordinated to, distinct from and inferior to God. My only point
        is that there are other texts in which the NT authors, or most of them,
        express a kind of fuzzy identity between Jesus and God. So the God-Man
        construct of the later patristic writers and church councils seems to me to
        do justice the whole of the biblical evidence about Jesus while you seem able
        to handle only one side of the paradox. Keep trying though! It is wonderful
        that you invest so much mental effort in the search.

        Leonard Maluf
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