My Lord and My God: The Word Was God

For an introduction, explanation and links to the entire work, click here.

Having set forth the positions of the Ante-Nicene Fathers on the subject of the deity of Christ, we need to turn to those “God-breathed” scriptures to see if our position has foundation in inspiration. It is our purpose here to show that the Bible teaches that Jesus Christ the Son of God is God and likewise the Holy Spirit is God. In doing this we want to say that this is the only thing we are trying to show; at this point we are not attempting to establish the hierarchical relationship (if there is one) of the Father with the Son or the Holy Spirit. This is a frequent point of confusion both with Arians and Trinitarians, because both feel an uncontrollable urge to lump the two questions together. If we establish that the Scriptures teach that Jesus Christ is God then we are obligated to take this as fact first and then proceed to the other question.[1]

We now proceed to examine the relevant passages of the Scriptures.

In beginning was the Word, and the Word was toward the God, and god was the Word. (John 1:1, KIT)

Since this is the most important passage dealing with this question, we need to consider it first.

The transliterated Greek for this verse is, “En arche en ho logos, kai ho logos en pros ton theon, kai theos en ho logos.” Since we are using the interlinear translation, each Greek word corresponds exactly with the verse in English as given above.

The key to understanding this verse lies in the term arche. It is the Greek word from which we get our word “architect.” Virtually all English translations render this “beginning” but this is inadequate because we first associate this in the context of the first point in time for something; the Greek word has a much fuller meaning. The word arche can be understood in one of six ways:[2]

  1. In space. It refers to the starting point of something in space, i.e., its starting location. When we map out a car trip, for instance, the beginning “in space” is the point from which we start, where we get in the car and leave from It can refer to a place in an area or on a object that can be considered a key point on the object, thus: “…and behold heaven opened and some sort of vessel descending like a great linen sheet being let down by its four extremities (archais) upon the earth” (Acts 10:11) It can also refer to the starting point of a method or procedure, such as the beginning of a recipe. For example, if we are making “Aggie Oxtail Soup,” our first step is “Take one ox.” (The second and third are, “Cut tail off,” and “Discard ox.”) This can also refer to the start of a book or other work; thus, at the start of Mark’s Gospel, “The beginning (arche) of the good news about Jesus Christ.”[3] (Mk. 1:1)
  2. In time or priority. This is the starting point in time. When we say that “The meeting starts at nine o’clock,” we mean that the meeting has its beginning at that time. It can also refer to those at the top of an authority structure, such as the government: “But when they bring you in before public assemblies and government officials (archas), do not become anxious about how or what you will speak in defense or what you will say.” (Lk. 12:11)
  3. Of Substance. This refers to the stuff out of which a thing comes. Returning to our hapless Aggie who is making oxtail soup, the ox’s tail is the substance (along with any other ingredients he might see fit to add, such as water) are the substance out of which the soup will come.
  4. Of Type and Copy. This is where the architect comes in; the arche is the model after which the final work or product is made. Thus, in designing a building, the architect (or engineer depending on the nature of the building, or both) prepares a set of plans and the building is then built, the plans are the arche of the building. Such a “type” is not restricted to something on paper; if, for instance, one wants to “reverse engineer” a product to copy and produce one just like it, the copied product becomes the arche.
  5. Of Elements. These refer to the elements out of which something is made. Thus, when one assembles something together, the parts are an arche. Such parts were referred to in the following: “For, indeed, although you to be teachers in view of the time, you again need someone to teach you from the beginning the elementary things of the sacred pronouncements (arches) of God; and you have become such as need milk, not solid food.” (Hebrews 5:12).
  6. Of Design And Execution. Since we have spoken of arche as pertaining to the original plans, it can also be applied to these plans as they are used in the execution of the work. It is used in this sense as follows: “…and you according to the beginnings, (archas) Lord, the earth you founded, and works of the hands of you are the heavens;” (Hebrews 1:10, KIT)

Now that we have set forth the various meanings of the word arche, we should proceed to ask the next question: the beginning of what? The verse itself provides the solution: “the Word was toward the God,” or with God. This concept of being next to the Father is repeated a little later: “No man has seen God at any time: the only-begotten god who in the bosom with the Father is the one that has explained him.” (John 1:18) Since “the beginning” is in reality that of God, and specifically God the Father, we need to see how the various uses of the word arche could be applied to the Word.

If we attempt to locate the Word with the Father “in the beginning” with respect to time or space, we run into one serious problem: God has neither a beginning in time nor a specific location. We will discuss later the matter of time with God, but to locate a specific, finite time and location where God has his arche is simply not possible. This means that, since the Word was both “in the beginning” and “with God” then the Word is eternal and not constrained by space.

This point is underscored by the absolutely last usage of the word arche in the Christian Greek Scriptures: “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning (arche) and the end.” (Revelation 22:13) Here Jesus Christ, the Son and the Word, underscores his place as eternal both in the past and in the future. Jesus has already been identified as the Word earlier: “…and he is arrayed with an outer garment sprinkled with blood, and the name he is called is the Word of God.” (Revelation 19:13) The Son is also referred to as the arche in Colossians 1:18: “…and he is the head of the body, the congregation. He is the beginning, (arche) the firstborn from the dead, that he might become the one who is first in all things.” Furthermore the lack of a finite beginning is emphasised by the fact that the verb “to be” is used in this verse in the imperfect tense, indicating continuing action.

Moreover we should consider “…to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.” (1 Corinthians 1:24) Now God, in his eternity, has had both power and wisdom from eternity past; therefore, for Christ to be either or both, he would have to be co-eternal with the Father. This is what is meant by the verse “Jehovah himself produced me as the beginning of his way, the earliest of his achievements long ago.” (Proverbs 8:22) The beginning of Jehovah’s way is obviously eternity past, since God is eternal. And, if that weren’t enough, the Son as “the wisdom of God” also fits the use of the word arche with respect to both type and copy and design and execution very well, because without divine wisdom this creation would be impossible, especially if we consider its complexity combined with its harmony. It also can be shown that this wisdom was applied directly to the creative act by the Son himself: “…who (Christ) is image of the God the invisible, firstborn of all creation, because in him it was created the all (things) visible and the (things) invisible, whether thrones or lordships or governments (archai) or authorities; the all (things) through him and into him it has been created.” (Colossians 1:15-16, KIT)

So now we have established that this verse teaches the eternity of the Word. As we will see later, this sets him apart from the creation around him. But now we must turn our attention to the last part of the verse, “…and God was the Word.” There are two ways we can look at this matter, both of which involve a grammar lesson.

The first is to consider the nature of sentences and the verb to be. In our exposition on the word arche, we have transliterated all of the occurrences of this word in the passages cited. The reader will note that the ending of the word varies from one verse to the next. This is because Greek was an “inflected” language, which means that, instead of (or in addition to) sticking various prepositions in front of a word, a different ending would be placed at the end. Thus, if English were done this way, instead of saying “of something” we would change the ending of “something” and omit the “of.” Latin shares this same idea[4]; however, most of the Indo-European languages that exist today (such as English, French, Spanish, etc.) have gotten away from this; important exceptions are Russian and Ukrainian, which still are inflected.

Having said this, a complete sentence has at least two words: a subject and a verb.[5] The case of a noun (the inflected form) for a subject is the nominative case; the verb is in whatever tense it needs to be, but it agrees in number and gender with the subject. Many sentences have objects of the verb, either direct or indirect; but these are not in the nominative case. So if we have a sentence such as “the dog ate the newspaper,” the dog is the subject and thus in the nominative case, ate is the verb, and the newspaper is the direct object and thus would be in the accusative case.

An important exception to this pattern is a sentence with the verb “to be” in it. In such a sentence there is no direct object and both of the nouns directly relating to the verb are subjects; thus, in the sentence, “the dog is a newspaper-eater,” both the dog and the newspaper eater are essentially subjects, both in the nominative case, and both are equivalents to each other.

In the phrase “God was the Word,” this is exactly what we have. Both “God” and “the word” are subjects, in the nominative case, and made equivalents to each other by the verb “to be” (in this case was.) So on the face of it nothing could be simpler; the Word, the Son Jesus Christ, is God.

However, the presence of the article with the first mention of God in this verse (the Word was toward the God) and the lack of it in the second (and God was the Word) has indicated to some that there is a distinction between the “two Gods” in this verse. This is a favourite point of Watchtower theology; they spend a lot of time on this verse and this distinction. They are not alone; Origen makes the same kind of distinction, even in the face of unpopularity:

We next notice John’s use of the article in these sentences. He does not write without care in this respect, nor is he unfamiliar with the niceties of the Greek tongue. In some cases he uses the article, and in some he omits it. He adds the article to the Logos, but to the name of God he adds it sometimes only. He uses the article, when the name of God refers to the uncreated cause of all things, and omits it when the Logos is named God. Does the same difference which we observe between God with the article and God without it prevail also between the Logos with it and without it? We must enquire into this. As the God who is over all is God with the article not without it, so “the Logos” is the source of that reason (Logos) which dwells in every reasonable creature; the reason which is in each creature is not, like the former called par excellence The Logos. Now there are many who are sincerely concerned about religion, and who fall here into great perplexity. They are afraid that they may be proclaiming two Gods, and their fear drives them into doctrines which are false and wicked. Either they deny that the Son has a distinct nature of His own besides that of the Father, and make Him whom they call the Son to be God all but the name, or they deny the divinity of the Son, giving Him a separate existence of His own, and making His sphere of essence fall outside that of the Father, so that they are separable from each other. To such persons we have to say that God on the one hand is Very God (Autotheos, God of Himself); and so the Saviour says in His prayer to the Father, “That they may know Thee the only true God; “but that all beyond the Very God is made God by participation in His divinity, and is not to be called simply God (with the article), but rather God (without article). And thus the first-born of all creation, who is the first to be with God, and to attract to Himself divinity, is a being of more exalted rank than the other gods beside Him, of whom God is the God, as it is written, “The God of gods, the Lord, hath spoken and called the earth.” It was by the offices of the first-born that they became gods, for He drew from God in generous measure that they should be made gods, and He communicated it to them according to His own bounty. The true God, then, is “The God,” and those who are formed after Him are gods, images, as it were, of Him the prototype. But the archetypal image, again, of all these images is the Word of God, who was in the beginning, and who by being with God is at all times God, not possessing that of Himself, but by His being with the Father, and not continuing to be God, if we should think of this, except by remaining always in uninterrupted contemplation of the depths of the Father.

Now it is possible that some may dislike what we have said representing the Father as the one true God, but admitting other beings besides the true God, who have become gods by having a share of God. They may fear that the glory of Him who surpasses all creation may be lowered to the level of those other beings called gods. We drew this distinction between Him and them that we showed God the Word to be to all the other gods the minister of their divinity. To this we must add, in order to obviate objections, that the reason which is in every reasonable creature occupied the same relation to the reason who was in the beginning with God, and is God the Word, as God the Word occupies to God. As the Father who is Very God and the True God is to His image and to the images of His image–men are said to be according to the image, not to be images of God–so He, the Word, is to the reason (word) in every man. Each fills the place of a fountain–the Father is the fountain of divinity, the Son of reason. As, then, there are many gods, but to us there is but one God the Father, and many Lords, but to us there is one Lord, Jesus Christ, so there are many logoi, but we, for our part, pray that that one logos may be with us who was in the beginning and was with God, God the Logos. For whoever does not receive this Logos who was in the beginning with God, or attach himself to Him as He appeared in flesh, or take part in some of those who had part in this Logos, or whoever having had part in Him falls away from Him again, he will have his portion in what is called most opposite to reason.[6]

Here we see an interesting situation. Both Origen and the Watchtower regard the Father as “the only true God.” (John 17:3) Both have recourse to the absence of the article in front of “God” in John 1:1 to help them demonstrate the point. But Origen believed not only that Jesus Christ is God, but that the Son has always been. How can this situation arise?

In a sense the answer to this is the object of this present work, and we will deal with the technicalities later, but the basic issue revolves around the nature of God. Now the Watchtower tells us that the Bible uses the term “god” to refer to beings other than the true God. This is illustrated in passages such as “Jesus answered them: “Is it not written in your Law, ‘I said: “You are gods”’?” (Jn 10:34) and “among whom the god of this system of things has blinded the minds of the unbelievers…” (2 Corinthinans 4:4) Their idea is that Jesus Christ the Son of God is god in this same sense, which means that he is not a real god, but a man, albeit a perfect one.

The whole idea of reducing Jesus to the level of Satan or the Pharisees should put a stop to this kind of thinking, but perhaps a more modern illustration will make this clear. A few years ago I made my first visit to what was then the Soviet Union; while there my business associates and I got into a discussion with our Russian host about the contribution of various figures in Russian history such as Peter the Great, Stalin, and others. When the conversation got to Lenin, our host ended it quickly by making the statement, “Lenin is God for us.” Now we – and when I say we I mean both those of us who believe in God and the atheistic Communists (the few that are left) – agree that Lenin cannot in a proper sense be called God, but he was made out to be same because of his enormous power and influence both while he was living and after he was gone. But the Watchtower would have us believe that Jesus Christ was God in the same sense that Lenin was.

It should be apparent by now that Jesus Christ the Son, who is here described as with the Father from the beginning (arche), who is shortly described as “the true light that gives light to every sort of man” (John 1:9) and whose glory is “such as belongs to an only-begotten son of a father” (John 1:14) is certainly above Lenin or Satan or the Pharisees, who are “gods” only by analogy, and not real gods. We will spend a lot of time on this subject later, but to eliminate the distinction between “God” and “the gods” the Watchtower’s only recourse is to posit that there are many beings that are “god” in the true sense, as the Mormons have done. This is not only patently unbiblical; it is their idea of debasing divinity so as to exalt humanity, and both end up the poorer for the bargain.

We should close this discussion by noting a Biblical distinction of “God” and “the gods.” In discussing the resurrection with the Sadducees, Jesus reminded them “‘I am the God of Abraham and the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.’ He is God, not of the dead, but of the living.” (Matthew 22:32) Paul made a distinction between the dead and the living: “Furthermore, you though you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you at one time walked according to the system of things of this world…But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love with which he loved us, made us alive together with the Christ, even when we were dead in trespasses…and he raised us up and seated us together in the heavenly places in union with Christ Jesus.” (Eph. 2:1-2,4-5,6) The true God is the God of the living; those who follow Satan or Lenin or the Pharisees are in reality dead already. This verse proclaims Jesus as God; as he gives life, so he is really God.

“On this account, indeed, the Jews began seeking all the more to kill him, because not only was he breaking the Sabbath but he was also calling God his own Father, making himself equal to God.” (John 5:18)

“Said to them Jesus, Amen amen I am saying to you, Before Abraham to become I am.” (John 8:58 KIT)

Sometimes when we approach the Scriptures, their meaning is difficult: “Philip ran alongside and heard him reading along Isaiah the prophet, and he said: ‘Do you actually know what you are reading?’ He said, ‘Really, how could I ever do so, unless someone guided me?’” (Acts 8:30-31)

In both of the verses we see clear cases of when the Bible “interprets itself.” In both cases the Jews interpret his words by seeking to kill him for what he said; in the first verse the reason is spelled out in the verse, in the second it follows shortly: “Therefore they picked up stones to hurl at him…” (John 8:59) This wouldn’t be the last time they would do this; we see this again: “Answered to him the Jews, About fine work not we are stoning you but about blasphemy, and because you man being you are making yourself god.” (John 10:33, KIT) The Jews were very clear about the distinction between God and man and calling oneself God when one was not was blasphemy. The Jews, in concert with the Watchtower, obviously believed (and still do, unless they are Messianic) that Jesus’ claims to divinity were false, thus they were blasphemy. Jesus’ claim to be God was abundantly clear to the Jews, if not to the Watchtower.

One thing that may need some explanation is the matter of the title “I am” being a claim to being God. This goes back to Moses’ encounter with God at the burning bush: “Nevertheless, Moses said to God, ‘Suppose I am now come to the sons of Israel and I do say to them, ‘The God of your forefathers has sent me to you’, and they do say to me, ‘What is his name?’ What shall I say to them?’ At this God said to Moses: ‘I shall prove to be whom I shall prove to be.’ And he added: ‘This is what you are to say to the sons of Israel, ‘I shall prove to be has sent me to you.’” (Ex. 3:13,14) Now “I shall prove to be” is the hard way to translate the Hebrew, which is more literally and simply rendered “I am,” and thus the first phrase is more naturally rendered, “I am who I am.” Jehovah God made it clear to Moses that other gods were identified by what they did or their personality, but the true God would be known just by his existence. This is another point for further discussion; suffice it to say now that existence is the most fundamental attribute anyone or anything can have; if they don’t exist, they just aren’t real. As a result of God’s proclamation from the burning bush, the Jews were clear on what “I am” really meant, especially in the context of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. This connect also puts a whole new meaning on the “titles of Christ” such as “I am the living bread that came down from heaven,” (John 6:51) “I am the resurrection and the life,” (John 11:25) “I am the light of the world,” (John 8:12) “I am the door,” (John 10:9) and of course “I am the way and the truth and the life.” (John 14:6)

“’I am the vine, and my Father is the cultivator. Every branch in me not bearing fruit he takes away, that it may bear more fruit.’” (John 15:1,2)

This verse has been used to show that the Father is in the business of correcting the Son; thus, the Son cannot be God. However, the “branches” are explained shortly: “I am the vine, you are the branches.” (John 15:5) Thus those that are being pruned are the disciples, and by extension us (ouch!)

“…in order that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in union with me and I am in union with you, that they may be in union with us, in order that the world may believe that you sent me forth.” (John 17:21)

This is not the only time Jesus proclaims that he and the Father are one (cf. John 10:30), but the Watchtower seizes on the fact that Jesus desires that his disciples – and in this case that includes us – should be one as the Father and the Son are one. They tell us that we cannot be one with the Father (and presumably the Son) in the same way as Jesus can if Jesus is God, since we are only human.

We have mentioned an idea where humanity is exalted through the debasement of divinity, and this is another example of this kind of thinking. The fact is that the only way in which we can be one with God is if God lives in us after the new birth; in our human state such unity is impossible. Paul talks about this in Ephesians 3:16-17 (KIT): “…in order that he might give to you according to the riches of the glory of him to power to be made mighty through the spirit of him into the inward man, the Christ to dwell through the faith in the hearts of you in love; having been rooted and having been founded…” Unless we participate in the divinity from God, we are neither in unity with him nor pleasing to him. Obviously the level of unity is vastly different between the Father and the Son on the one hand and our unity with the Father and the Son, but the kind is basically the same, which this verse proclaims.

In answer Thomas said to him: My Lord and My God! (John 20:28)

This, of course, is where this work gets its name; it is as clear a proclamation of Jesus’ state as God as one could want. It is noteworthy that this came from a sceptic. The usual reply to this is that Jesus was “god to Thomas” but we have examined the subject of relative gods already.

For there has been a child born to us, there has been a son given to us; and the princely rule will come to be upon his shoulder. And his name will be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6)

And it will certainly occur in that day that those remaining over Israel and those who have escaped of the house of Jacob will never again support themselves upon the one striking them, and they will certainly support themselves upon Jehovah, the Holy One of Israel, in trueness. A mere remnant will return, the remnant of Jacob, to the Mighty God. (Isaiah 10:20,21)

…the One exercising loving-kindness toward thousands, and repaying the error of the fathers into the bosom of their sons after them, the [true] God, the great One, the mighty One, Jehovah of armies bearing his name,… (Jeremiah 32:18)

These are all messianic prophecies that were fulfilled in Jesus Christ, and they all proclaim that the Messiah would be God. This is an important point, not only for the Watchtower, but for Jews as well.

“Jehovah himself produced me as the beginning of his way, the earliest of his achievements long ago.” (Proverbs 8:22)

No discussion of the deity of Christ with an Arian is complete without mention of this verse. We have mentioned it earlier in connection with John 1:1 but we need to expand on this.

As we have said before, the beginning of Jehovah’s way is eternity past; thus, this verse underscores the fact that Jesus Christ the Son has always been and always been with the Father. This also guarantees that the Son, who is Wisdom, is the “earliest of his achievements.” The usual problem with this verse is that it implies that the Son is merely created. But all other creation – the creation that was brought into being through the Son – came into being at a definite, finite time in the past. The Son’s eternity is an important distinguishing feature, one that cannot be overlooked.

It is also noteworthy that the word translated here as “produced” or “created” here (qaanaaniy) is both usually translated as “possessed” or “acquired” and is different from the word used in Genesis 1:1 (“baaraa”, created.) Most of the panic created by this verse has come from the Septuagint, which translated both into Greek with the same word.

All this actually came about for that to be fulfilled which was spoken by Jehovah through his prophet, saying: Look! The virgin will become pregnant and will give birth to a son, and they will call his name Immanuel, which means, when translated, “With us is God.” (Matthew 1:22-23)

This relates the fulfilment of Isaiah 7:14; the name “Immanuel” is given to no one else in the Scriptures. This is a fairly clear indication that Mary’s son was also God’s Son, and God as well. One could object to this by saying that anyone who is sent from God brings God’s presence with them, but if we consider this in its totality – the giving and fulfilment of prophecy, the virgin birth, the name “With us is God” should make clear that Jesus was unique; taken in context with what we have said before, this should settle the real meaning of this verse.

“…because in him is dwelling down all the fullness of the divinity bodily” (Colossians 2:9 KIT)

This is a clear statement of the Incarnation; Jesus Christ, God in the flesh, where “all the fullness of the divinity” dwelt.

“..while we wait for the happy hope and glorious manifestation of the great God and…Savior of us, Christ Jesus.” (Titus 2:13)

“the righteousness of our God and…Savior Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 1:1)

“…of whom the fathers, and out of whom the Christ, the (thing) according to flesh, the one being upon all things, God blessed one into the ages; Amen.” (Romans 9:5 KIT)

In each of these passages Christ and God are identified as one by apposition, i.e., two words or groups of words in the same case put together as equivalents. The Watchtower translations attempt to both obscure this and explain it away, but their case is unconvincing.

…toward but the Son The throne of you the God into the age of the age, and the staff of the straightness staff of the kingdom of him. (Hebrews 1:8, KIT)

This identifies by apposition the Son with “the God.” This puts into a better perspective the whole business of God with and without the article.

“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says Jehovah God, “the one who is and who was and who is coming, the Almighty.” (Revelation 1:8)

And, look! I am coming quickly. Happy is anyone observing the words of the prophecy of this scroll.” … “Look! I am coming quickly, and the reward I give is with me, to render to each one as his work is. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.” … “’I, Jesus, send my angel to bear witness to you people of these things for the congregations. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright morning star.’“ (Revelation 22:7,12,13,16)

We have spent some time on the subject of the Son being the “Alpha and Omega,” but we see here also that this is applied to the Jehovah God as well. Such a connection at least precludes the lack of eternity of the Son.

“On this account I say to you, Every sort of sin and blasphemy against the spirit will not be forgiven. For example, whoever speaks a word against the Son of man, it will be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the holy spirit, it will not be forgiven him, no, not in this system of things or in that to come.” (Matthew 12:31,32)

We now turn to the demonstration that the Holy Spirit is likewise God. The verse above is our first evidence of this; the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit is meaningless unless a) the Holy Spirit is God and b) the Holy Spirit is an individual personality. As we have seen with the Son, blasphemy is directed against God; moreover the Son and the Spirit are separated as two distinct entities as well. The high penalty that Jesus ascribes to blasphemy against the Holy Spirit should give pause to those who would deny his divinity and personality.

But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan emboldened you to play false to the holy spirit and to hold back secretly some of the price of the field? (Acts 5:3)

This underscores the personality of the Holy Spirit; Ananias could not have lied to an inanimate something in a meaningful way.

As they were publicly ministering to Jehovah and fasting, the holy spirit said: “Of all persons set Barnabas and Saul apart for me for the work to which I have called them.” (Acts 13:2)

Another demonstration of the personality of the Spirit, who spoke to the believers.

Conclusion

In these passages we have demonstrated that the Bible teaches the following (the fact that the Father is God was implicitly agreed to at the start):

  • Jesus Christ is God
  • The Holy Spirit is God
  • Both are distinct personalities within the Godhead

It is now our task to investigate the relationship of these persons as it appears in the Scriptures.


[1] This work assumes that most Trinitarians believe the Father, Son and Holy Spirit to be equal in all respects. (Most Jehovah’s Witnesses assume Trinitarians to be that way, too.)  The discussion of why this is so is contained in the main body of the work. There are a two important comments to be made about this:

  1. Many creeds and doctrinal statements do not strictly necessitate it. Neither the Apostles’ nor the Nicene Creed state this explicitly, and of course many doctrinal statements simply require that we believe that Father, Son and Holy Spirit are all God.
  2. The idea that the persons of the Trinity are equal is certainly preferable to denying the deity of any of them to make the argument more “Biblical.” This is the main mistake of the Watchtower but other organisations have done this in different ways. Our purpose is not to propound “new” doctrine (subordinationism is anything but new) but to provoke thought and understanding.

[2] For much of this I am indebted to Origen’s Commentary on John, I, 16-22, although his explanation is a lot more detailed.

[3] It is noteworthy that both “good news” and “Jesus Christ” are both in the genitive case and adjacent to each other. This implies that “good news” and “Jesus Christ” are equivalents of each other.

[4] A very readable (and hilarious) treatment of the subject of grammar from a Latin standpoint is given by Alexander Humez and Nicholas Humez, Latin for People (Boston: Little, Brown & Company, 1976)

[5] A very straightforward example of this is the much memorised John 11:35. Both the NWT (“Jesus gave way to tears”) and the KIT (“Shed tears the Jesus”) ruin the impact of the KJV (“Jesus wept) and thus the force of the example. However, the original Greek has a subject (o Iesous, the Jesus) and a verb (edakrusen, shed tears) and thus fulfils the example well.

[6] Origen, Commentary on John, II, 2, 3

5 thoughts on “My Lord and My God: The Word Was God”

  1. Don,

    The learning, the wry wit, and the love of the topic that you bring to your discussion are great fun to see. On the other hand, your main thesis, ” It is our purpose here to show that the Bible teaches that Jesus Christ the Son of God is God and likewise the Holy Spirit is God. ” is surely not that big a deal.

    If you’ll permit me to reword it, “The Christian Scriptures teach that Jesus of Nazareth was a son of God,” I think you’d achieve instant unanimity among Moslems, Hindus, and Jews. And I wouldn’t be surprised if there are Scientologists somewhere who believe the same sort of thing about L. Ron Hubbard.

    As for the triunity or simple oneness, or some other verbal formula, for God’s format, you can no doubt find hints in all directions both in the texts included in the Protestant or the Roman Catholic Bibles, or in other similar texts that were narrowly included out at the various very political conclaves over the centuries. Better minds than yours or mine — the sort of people who dash off the New York and London Times crosswords in pen — have been at it for centuries, and I think we can both be sure they are better at it than us. Meself, I’d be tempted by the idea of God occupying something a little more Hilbert-space-ish.

    But just imagine what a fine mind like yours could contribute to the city planning of Houston or solutions to the carbon problem!

    Best wishes,

    -dlj.

    1. “On the other hand, your main thesis, ” It is our purpose here to show that the Bible teaches that Jesus Christ the Son of God is God and likewise the Holy Spirit is God. ” is surely not that big a deal.”

      It is, and I will explain why as I go.

      “And I wouldn’t be surprised if there are Scientologists somewhere who believe the same sort of thing about L. Ron Hubbard.”

      Some of us know better.

      “Meself, I’d be tempted by the idea of God occupying something a little more Hilbert-space-ish.”

      The subject of Hilbert spaces came up in my Numerical Partial Differential Equations class recently. So you may be tempted soon enough.

      “But just imagine what a fine mind like yours could contribute to the city planning of Houston or solutions to the carbon problem!”

      Having worked in an earth science most of my career, I can assure you that the stickiest points to the problems you mention and many others are not technical but social and political. And sometimes those problems are internal to the science. But I have applied efforts in that science, both in the search for new knowledge and in the dissemination of existing.

      1. Don,

        I’m going to think about your good post — and all its footnotes and cross-clicks — for a couple of days.

        In the meantime, I hope you’ll enjoy the Jewish good wish for the end of the High Holidays: l’Tikatevu! “May you be written!” (in the book of eternal life…)

        Best,

        -dlj.

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