I’ll leave it to Roger and others to engage with the second half of your post, @Ani99. Rather, I’d like to make a few comments about your translation of John 1:1-6 if that’s ok? I think you’ve shown a great deal of effort and I commend you for going back to the Greek text for your response to Roger. Even so, personally, I have a few concerns with your translation and would be interested to hear your thoughts on them.
Firstly, I think the translation of “θεὸς” as ‘highly revered’ in v1c, is very shaky, to be honest. θεὸς may be used for highly revered in Ancient and Modern Greek. But the New Testament is written in Kione, and t is a body of Greek words in itself. This means we can get an idea of how a word may be translated by examining other instances of that word. Of the over 1300+ uses of θεὸς in the New Testament there is not a single example of the word being translated highly exalted. Of those 1300+ instances 98% translate “θεὸς” as God. Moreover, the 82 instances of “θεὸς” in John’s gospel are exclusively translated as ‘God’. If you believe that “θεὸς” is an exception here, that is fine, but I think you need to do a lot more to justify that position.
Second, I am wondering why you decided to translate the pronoun ‘οὗτος’ without reference to the gender? For example, “οὗτος” in “οὗτος ἦν ἐν ἀρχῇ πρὸς τὸν θεόν” is better translated “He (the Word) was with God in the beginning” not ‘It’. If the author of the prologue wished to say “it (the word)” he could have used the neuter form “τοῦτο” rather than the masculine form “οὗτος”. Additionally, It becomes clear as one progresses through the Prologue that ‘The Word’ is a title for a person, namely, Jesus (v14), hence ‘he’ not ‘it’
Lastly, and perhaps, my biggest concern is your translation of v6 “It (The Word) became human sent by God and named John.” You seem to have taken “Ἐγένετο” in this instance to mean the same as it does in v14 (“became”). But this is not so, in v6, the verb is best translated as ‘came to be’ or even simply ‘There came’, ie. There came (Ἐγένετο) a man (ἄνθρωπος; sing. Nom. Masc.) sent from God, whose name was John. (NIV2011)" Furthermore, contextually, John and the Logos cannot be the same person as, per your translation, since in v7-8 the author makes an explicit separation between John and the Word/Light of v1-5:
7 He [John] came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all men might believe. 8 He himself [John] was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light. 9 The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world. (NIV2011).
7 οὗτος ἦλθεν εἰς μαρτυρίαν ἵνα μαρτυρήσῃ περὶ τοῦ φωτός, ἵνα πάντες πιστεύσωσιν διʼ αὐτοῦ. 8 οὐκ ἦν ἐκεῖνος τὸ φῶς, ἀλλʼ ἵνα μαρτυρήσῃ περὶ τοῦ φωτός.(NA27)
And again, v15
15 John testifies concerning him [the Word/Jesus]. He cries out, saying, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’" (NIV2011)
15 Ἰωάννης μαρτυρεῖ περὶ αὐτοῦ καὶ κέκραγεν λέγων· Οὗτος ἦν ὃν εἶπον· Ὁ ὀπίσω μου ἐρχόμενος ἔμπροσθέν μου γέγονεν, ὅτι πρῶτός μου ἦν. (NA27)
It is my understanding that the Word cannot be ‘named John’ because the author presents John as the witness to/herald of the Word and not the Word himself.
Hello Liam and thanks for your reply.
“θεὸς” as ‘highly revered’ is certainly in the Ancient Greek. I only did two years of Ancient Greek so I am not really good at it but this I did remember. Koine Greek is somewhere between Ancient Greek and Modern Greek. I studied Modern Greek for some years but that is a long time ago, about 45-50 years ago, so I might be a bit rusty. I didn’t study Koine Greek, but I can read and understand it. So the difference is not huge.
I would say the Greeks translated the Hebrew, who call God “holy and awesome” according to some sources, as “highly revered”, which is not surprising since from ancient times Zeus, the chief of the Greek pantheon, was highly revered and the word stems from there.
The use of the word can be seen as much the same as say in English saying about someone “Money is their god”, which means they value money.
This also gets to your second point. There is no gender as such here. This is a peculiarity with Greek and the articles used. For instance the Greek for “wall” ο τοίχος carries a male article. No one understand the wall to have any gender. The door η πόρτα has a female article. Again the door is not seen as female. And of course there are also neuter articles.
In English we say “the” as the definite article and “a” as the indefinite article. There is no female, male or neuter articles. You say “the man”, “the woman” and “the wall, door, table etc. The Greek article for “logos” is masculine, but it is clearly understood that the word is not masculine. This is the same for God. It carries a male article, but that doesn’t say we are talking about God as a male. God’s Divinity, carries a female article. So there is no good ground to translate “in the beginning he was the word” as I have seen done.
Some translations then go on to try and say “and the word he was with God”, giving the word / logos, gender. This is not how it reads in Greek. So finally it makes more sense to say “the logos/ word was highly revered” in the way as saying “money is their god”. “The logos is God”, for me at least, doesn’t make sense. And seeing it as male owing to the use of a male article doesn’t make it a person or a male person.
I don’t think that “Ἐγένετο” can be translated as “There came”, “came to be” is better. There is no one-to-one correspondence between Greek and English. In English the word order is everything. In Greek word order doesn’t matter a hoot because all nouns and verbs have case endings. Thus there is no confusion which is subject and which is object. In English you can’t do this. It is way different to say “the tiger hunted the man” and “the man hunted the tiger” because word order governs meaning. This is not so in Greek. In Greek there is enormous precision because of the noun and verb endings. There are vastly more than in English, so you can talk in incredible fine meaning and not be dependent on word order at all.
The Word/ O Logos is the source of everything, including life itself. So everything, John, Jesus, the land of Judea and so on is made from The Word or we can say The Word became John, Jesus, the land of Judea, you and me etc.
I don’t understand John to be The Word, but nor does it say Jesus is The Word either.
I also see that you seem to be equating The Word and The Light. I don’t see that these are the same. The Word is God’s Word from which God made everything, including John and Jesus.
The Light is Wisdom. John recognizes the Wisdom that Jesus has. Jesus had said “I and my Father are one”, this indicates he is deeply enlightened, a state in which the soul is in Union with the Divine/ God. John recognizes that the wisdom that Jesus has, which gives light to the world, is far greater than the wisdom he has. So he places Jesus before him. This metaphor may be particularly Greek. If someone is better than oneself in some area we say he or she is before me / in front of me.
It seems to me that that Jesus being the Word is appropriate, based on the text.
In the middle East and elsewhere, is not our Word the representation of ourselves? Thus, the Qur’an agrees, “The prophet Jesus, the son of Mary, the Word of God, the Spirit of God.”
This is a way to understand “son of”–it’s obviously not a true, genetic son, for God is Spirit. Jesus is His representative as His word, is He not? Thanks.
In the Holy Koran Jesus is referred to as kalimatin min Allah “which is translated as a Word from God .” Angels called out to Zachariah ( a Hebrew prophet) and said.:
“Allah gives you the good news of John, as a confirmer of a Word from God, eminent and chaste, a prophet, among the righteous.” (3:39)
This a far cry different from what John is talking about in his opening on The Logos or The Word.
a Word from God is a message from God, someone with knowledge from God. It is not the same thing.
Sorry! I think we’re maybe talking about something different. Also, maybe I should not have gotten in to this area–I don’t accept the Koran as over the Bible. I also don’t know much Arabic. You are certainly much better than I! Congratulations. My memory was a different word. I’ll PM you, to avoid the distraction from the OP.
Thanks for your response I very much enjoyed reading them - even though I do not agree with many of your conclusions. A couple of quick clarifying comments.
I would however, like to thank you for your comments about noun gender. You are old course correct that the gender of a noun in Greek does not necessarily impact how we translate the noun. The noun “ἀδελφοί” being a good example of this. Most often in the NT the noun is male, but is best translated “brothers and sisters” in most instances (especially in the epistles) e.g. 1 Thess 4:1.
I also owe you an apology for stupid typo. I was not thinking of nouns particularly in your translation above but rather pronouns. Particularly, “οὗτος" which would most usually be translated as “he” in the prologue, not “it”. I did not make this clear due to a typo on my part (now corrected). Hence my suggestion that, "“οὗτος ἦν ἐν ἀρχῇ πρὸς τὸν θεόν” should be translated “He (οὗτος) was with God in the beginning”. Hope that clarifies my original point.
I will attempt to reply in the next few days if I am able. We are on our 3rd national lockdown here in the UK and between my church work and home schooling I don’t have a huge amount of free time to post.
John does not say that Jesus is the Word / Logos? Not if you read the Greek. I already addressed this. In John 1:14 it certainly says “the Word became flesh” and a reference to a human full of Grace and Truth, which is a reference to Jesus no doubt, but that has to be taken in context. Of the Word was made everything that is made and nothing is made without the Word. So The Word is not simply something that became Jesus, but Jesus as well as everything else, the Universe and everything in it.
The reason for discussion here is because the earth and indeed the universe can be younger than the physicists are saying. I don’t think 6,000 years. I would say more than that but certainly it doesn’t need to be billions. God created it. It didn’t evolve. And if we are honest, there is no evidence that any species evolved into another. We certainly see layers of particular eras with unique species but that is not evidence that down through the ages the one species evolved into another. All we can say is that at certain times certain species appear and that’s all.
As it appears the DNA is a formula or sorts. If you plug in certain values you get particular results.
It all depends on the situation. A lie, intentional misleading can be the ethical /righteous thing to do. Consider this example. A child has strayed from its parent in a supermarket and is standing nearby looking at some toys on shelf it can reach. You see a man approach the child and the scene looks suspicious. The child’s attention may be captured but you see that obviously the child does not recognize the man. He could be a pedophile about to snatch the child and abuse it, maybe even kill it. What can be a solution here? You could say to the man, in a raised voice that everyone around can hear, “what do you want with my child?” This is enough to scare off the pedophile. The child is safe. It is not your child so you lied, mislead the criminal intentionally. But your actions would be in accordance with righteousness.
These are good steps. Thanks. Might I suggest "… that YECism is a man-made ideology?
Why? AiG are constantly deploying arguments of the form “God’s perfect word against sinful man’s ideas”. Implicit in their framing of this is “We are on God’s side; God directly wrote the Bible; therefore we speak for God [over and against sinful man’s concoction of Godless evolution]”. This gives the appearance, albeit false, of a solid, unbreakable chain. Dare I call this “dog-whistle virtue-signalling” to their own followers?
If we add “man-made” to our description of YECism, this breaks that chain, exposing that YECism ideology is not ipso facto God-given, inerrant, supposed ‘fact’, but rather just another “man-made way of thinking” (as they themselves describe their ‘evolution’ opposition). At the very least, they then need to defend the construction of that supposed unbreakable chain.
So I’d like to propose a slight emendation to "YECism is a man-made ideology .
The Bible itself was written by humans. Traditional Christian theology states that the Bible was inspired, not dictated as is found in some other religions. As far as I am aware, the infallibility of the Bible is not a universal tenet of Christianity, and there is certainly no requirement that the first part of Genesis be understood as a literal history.
Interestingly, YEC’s are banding together with some atheists in agreeing that an old Earth and evolution disprove the Bible.
John 1:1. Ἐν ἀρχῇ ἦν ὁ Λόγος, καὶ ὁ Λόγος ἦν πρὸς τὸν Θεόν, καὶ Θεὸς ἦν ὁ Λόγος.
John 1:1 In the beginning is the word. And the Word is of God. And highly revered is the Word. OR another way to translate the last part is “thus the word was “as God” meaning all powerful etc. There is no pronoun before it. The word “Θεὸς” (God) is descriptive.
John 1:2. οὑτος ἦν ἐν ἀρχῇ πρὸς τὸν θεόν.
John 1:2 It (the Word) is from the beginning of God.
there is an emphasis that there word was in the beginning and that the word was of God. Some people want to translate this as “the Word was with God”. This makes it two entities God and the Word. This is not what the Greek conveys.
Furthermore it would make John 1:3 nonsensical
It is clearly understood that God made everything with the Word. It is not that a he made everything. That is why I translate it as follows.
(πάντα δι’ αὐτοῦ ἐγένετο, καὶ χωρὶς αὐτοῦ ἐγένετο οὐδὲ ἕν ὃ γέγονεν.)
John 1:3 Everything of it (The Word) was made (came into being) and without it (The Word) nothing came into being/ was made.
The pronoun “αὐτοῦ” does not refer to a male. It refers to the Word. There is no doubt in the Greek that John is continuing to talk about the Word and not some other person of God, i.e., Jesus Christ.
The translation I have seen take this as:
“All things were made by him and without him was not any thing made that was made” Hence they conclude that “him” is Jesus. This is not a good translation.
YEC is designed to justify the literal reading the Bible. It is bad theology because it takes one aspect of faith, Genesis 1 - a portion of the OT at that - and tries to build a whole theology around it, it instead of building Christianity around the Person of Jesus Christ.
The result is a legalistic faith that is Christian in name only.
@Ani99 is now taking this a step farther. The suggestion is that the universe is a simulation manufactured by God, so that none of it is real. The God of Truth becomes the god of Make Believe, the “Alternative Reality.”
Based off of the other comments, and different from yours, I’m also someone that does not believe Jesus was the word. I don’t think Jesus existed until he was born. I think the word became flesh and that the flesh means Jesus. But to me the word becoming jesus is very different from Jesus having always been the word.
When reading through scripture the word is referred to as the sword of the spirit and many times the Holy Spirit seems to be linked to a power of god. Even the apostles were said to receive the power of the Holy Spirit.
So I see it all as saying there is one God. This one God has always existed and so has his power. He did not get stronger overtime, or weaker, but is and always has been all powerful. Through his power he created the universe and set in law all the laws that govern earth. Through his power he has sent prophets and apostles who gets endowed with his power. It’s not a separate entity that whispers in their ears but instead it’s them being given some of his power and authority.
Eventually God uses that power, the Holy Spirit, to conceive a child in marry. That power, the holy spirit which was the word, be some s flesh and is Jesus. Jesus is a man , not a god, filled with the power of his father and chooses to do his fathers will. After he conquers death, he is given all power and all authority as god. Then in revelation, it says that eventually after destroying all of his fathers enemies Jesus gives all power and authority back to his father which to me means he is no longer full of the power.
Sort of like with the woman that reached out and touched him and Jesus said I felt my power go out of me. Surely it does not mean that a holy spirit being divided up among every believer had a little piece pulled away. It makes way more sense to me that it’s power, not a being, and that power is what waxes and wanes and is limited by God in humanity.
While Jesus was very critical of the High Priests in Judaism, he never disputed the Torah, which is the first 5 books of the OT.
What is reality?
Reality, in strictest terms is the spiritual realm, which is eternal.
We experience this physical realm as “our reality” or even reality itself, but we have to accept that God created it and if God wants to God can extinguish it in an instant.
You can call it a creation or a simulation or make believe, but that doesn’t change anything.
You can look at the quantum level and see particles that can also be waves. See this article Quantum experiment in space confirms that reality is what you make it | Science | AAAS (sciencemag.org)
Indeed at the most fundamental level physicists are talking about relationships, not even particles or waves. And they readily admit that a vacuum, empty space, is full of virtual particles that continually pop into and out of existence.
Even more than that here: Quantum physics and consciousness - YouTube
At the end of this video a world famous physicist Michio Kaku is an American theoretical physicist, says
“, . consciousness is an inextricable part of reality that nothing really happens in the physical world unless a conscious mind observes it.”
Without God upholding the Word this physical reality ceases to exist.