Jesus was just "a god" (John 1:1-3; 10:31-35)

Who is Jesus Christ? Who is God? Nickel for your thoughts?

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Jesus was just "a god" (John 1:1-3; 10:31-35)

Post by email » Mon Nov 22, 2004 9:41 pm

< This snippet was taken from correspondence generated by our online Bible correspondence course. >

... I did a little research on the scriptures you mentioned. I really enjoy digging into the deeper things-it seems to feed and incite my curiosity for additional info. ...

John 10:31-35. Very interesting verse. Some translations render verse 33 as god (lowercase) while others renders as God (uppercase). Curious..i pursued this. it turns out that the reason some translations render as 'god' or "a god" (The Emphatic Diaglott) is found principally in Jesus' own answer, in which he quoted Psalm 82:1-7. Here the text did not refer to persons as being called "God," but "gods" and "sons of the Most High". These "sons of the Most High" were Israelite judges who had been practicing injustice, requiring that God himself now judge 'in the middle of such gods. This is particularly interesting at this point - since God applied these terms to those men, Jesus was certainly not guilty of blasphemy in saying "I am God's Son". The problem those clerics had was that they forgot the simple fact that Jesus stated that he could not do a single thing without the authority of his Father. The clerics claimed he was God...Jesus did not.

To tell the truth, I was born, raised and taught to be a strict Trinitarian but the more research that I did the more difficult to accept the teachings of my Luthern upbringing. Even now, when researching your questions it enhances the accuracy of my thinking with the Bible. For example John 1:1-3. Once again i have found that many, many translations render this greek reading as "a god".I had the opportunity to talk with a Christian woman from Greece regarding this understanding and she stated that in Greece there is no issue with this verse like in the United States. The reason? because they obviously read Greek and have no difficulty in putting the article 'a' in front of the word 'god'. The concept of a Trinity is not as dominant as in this country. I found that very interesting.

Did the writer of John..(John himself) understand that Jesus and God were the same person? Nope. Toward the end of his Gospel John summarized matters, saying "these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God" (Modern Language)

It is because of this thinking and other points of differences in the upbringing that influenced my answering your questions as I did.
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Post by will » Tue Nov 23, 2004 6:49 pm

I haven't time to do this justice tonite, but, regarding your correspondent's response, I think he's either deceiving himself or trying to pull the wool over our eyes. After, mentioning various txlations, he seems to be injecting JW views of the text into the argument and not truly relying on reliable texts and their txlations. If you have time, check M Barnett mtl. Later I can do more on this . Emphatic Diaglott?

Bookmark this URL for reviewing sometime:
  1. The JW and their valuation of the E.D. - Interesting!! ... aglott.htm
  2. The Catholics on JN1:1 and the E.D. ... aglott.htm
  3. Contrary to the translations of The Emphatic Diaglott and the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures, the Greek grammatical construction leaves no doubt ...

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Post by m273p15c » Sun Nov 28, 2004 12:19 pm

Although I was mostly curious about your primary understanding of "ye are gods" in John 10:35, it was also important to notice how Jesus responded. In this text, as well as all the other such run-ins that are recorded in John, Jesus never refutes the rulers accusation that He claimed to be divine. He instead defends His claim. Why did He did not correct the misunderstanding of the Pharisees? He corrects them everywhere else on any other topic.

Regarding the usage of Jesus' self-title, "the Son of God", it should be noted that this construction is typical of a Hebrew figure of speech denoting equality and sharing of nature. For example, "sons of thunder", "sons of wrath", "son of comfort", or even "the son of man". Each of these expressions imply a similarity in nature. For example, "sons of thunder" meant that James and John had "thunderous" dispositions. They were not the offspring of thunder. Barnabas was one who "comforted", not one who proceeded from comfort. Likewise, Jesus was divine. He shared the same nature as God, while sharing the nature of humanity, answering Job's transcending mystery (Job 9:32-35). The context must be used to determine when the expression is used in the figurative sense, as opposed to the literal meaning of ancestry. Again, who could better interpret the language that Jesus spoke than the people of His day? How did they understand Him? Why is it recorded? And, without refutation? Do we claim to understand Hebrew and Greek better than the scholars of Jesus' day?

Looking at John 1:1-3, please allow me to tackle it from both directions? If the text is taken as all other translations render it, except the Emphatic Diaglott and the New World Translation, then the passage clearly states that Jesus was divine and existed since the beginning with the Father. But, if for argument's sake, I grant that an article "a" may be assumed in its absence, then I will want to know how that is harmonized with the witnesses' watchword (Isaiah 44:6)? How can Jesus be "a god from the beginning", but yet the Father said, "I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God."? (BTW, please notice how Jesus also used this title "first and the last" - "alpha and the omega")

Now tackling it the other way, what justification does one have to insert words that were not supplied? Granted translators do this all the time (italicized words); however, they do so based on grammatical rules, which they must follow consistently. Otherwise, they must answer to the charge of prejudice. It is suspicious that no reputable translation renders John 1:1-3 as does the Emphatic Diaglott and the New World Translation. It is more telling that even its translators did not use their own rule consistently on all other occurrences of this phrase (II Corinthians 5:19; John 1:6, 12-13, 18, 3:2, 21, 9:16, 33; Matthew 3:9, 6:30; Luke 1:35, 78, 2:40; Romans 1:7, 17-18; 1 Corinthians 1:30, 15:10, Philippians 2:11, 13; Titus 1:1). Why did they not translate all these other occurrences as "a god"?

No offense to your modern Greek friend's scholarship, but I doubt the presented case for justifying this seemingly arbitrary, but yet convenient insertion. The evidences for translating this one verse with "a god" are shaky at best, and suspicious at worst.

Truth is always consistent with itself.

May God bless us with eyes to see the truth and hearts to accept it,

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