Why do some people quote John 1:1 as supporting the Trinity Doctrine when the " Holy Spirit" is not mentioned?
What Say You?
- Anonymous1 decade agoFavorite Answer
People continue to quote Jn. 1:1 to support the Trinity because they are kept in ignorance by their teachers, because they don’t properly understand their own doctrine, and because they do not do proper research.
Every argument and "scriptural" evidence presented by Trinitarians demands ignorance from their hearers regarding Scriptural terms, context and Hebrew and Greek grammar and also must force a later meaning into Scripture (anachronism). By necessity Trinitarian arguments must encourage logical fallacies in order to be effective. As a result they cause Scripture to contradict itself. Trinitarians’ use of Jn.1:1 is a good example of this.
First, the basic Trinitarian logic on Jn. 1:1 is faulty because it claims that "because Jesus is called God, therefore he must be Almighty God." However, if this reasoning were correct then it would mean that Satan, Moses, the whole nation of Israel and angels were also Almighty God because the Bible applies the title "God" to angels, the Devil and men too (Ex.7:1, Ps.8:5; 82:1,6, Jn.10:34). Obviously, the very foundation of this Trinitarian interpretation is proven false.
Next, the original Greek at John 1:1 makes it clear that John was not identifying Jesus as Almighty God. It reads "...The word was *with* THE God (hO THEOS) and the word was god (THEOS)."
Notice, Jesus was *with* THE God. Now he cannot be the same God he was with. Any Trinitarian who still claims that the Word is *identified* as God here contradicts their own doctrine and makes themselves polytheistic because they would have two ‘big G’ "Gods," one WITH a second. To make this agree with the Trinity, instead of reading “with God” they have to mentally read "with the *father*", but that is not what it says. Grammatically, the distinction John is making is not between two "persons" (the Father and the Son) but between two beings, both who are referred to as God.
Trinitarians cannot use Jn.1:1 without resorting to this fallacy of equivocation and mentally replacing the word "God" with "Father," because while they can have the Father WITH Christ they cannot have two "God's" WITH each other.
When Jesus is called "god" in Jn.1:1 the grammar shows that it is a predicate nominative describing a quality about Jesus, not an identification of him as Almighty God. Therefore, the footnote in the NAB says: "’Was God’: lack of a definite article with 'God' in Greek signifies predication rather than identification." A predicate tells us something about the Word, not who he was. So the text is not saying that the Word was the same as The God who he was with but, rather, that the Word was godlike, divine, a god in comparison with humans. But NOT God equal with the one he was WITH (1 Cor.15:27,28).
In many other places this grammar occurs translators put an "a" in front of the predicate noun. This would make it "a god" here. Translators place an "a" in most other occurrences of this structure but not here because of theological bias (This is an anarthrous predicate noun preceding the copulative verb: Mk.6:49; 11:32, Jn.4:19; 6:70; 8:44 (2x's); 9:17; 10:1,13,32; 12:6).
Robert Young in his "Concise Commentary" said: "Literally 'and a God (i.e. a Divine being) was the Word."
Scholar William Loader says: "It could also be translated: 'the Word was a god' or 'the Word was divine'"--The Christology of the Fourth Gospel p. 155
"Jn. 1:1 should rigorously be translated...and the word was a divine being."—John L. Mckenzie, Dictionary of the Bible
Notice that Young admits that the most "literal" way to translate John 1:1c is to call the Word "a God", not "God".
So the rendering "was a god" is the most accurate and still very literal.
Many Greek Scholars recognize that Jn.1:1 does not identify Jesus as God, yet the poor lay people are kept in ignorance:
"It is not that Jesus is God. Time and time again the Fourth Gospel speaks of God sending Jesus into the world. Time and time again we see Jesus praying to God....Nowhere does the New Testament identify Jesus with God."—From "William Barclay; A Spiritual Autobiography," (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eerdmans), pp. 49, 50:
"Christ would not be equated absolutely with God, but only described as a being of divine nature."—The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology (Rom. 9:5).
So, logically and semantically, there was one individual classed as divine (a quality) who was with a second individual identified as The Almighty God. There are no other valid explanations.
Two things confirm this: Grammar and context. Grammatically, the predicate noun and the immediate context. In the context (1:3) the Word is identified as the "agent" of creation, not the Creator; (PANTA DI AUTOU) "all things were made *THROUGH* him"-RSV. And he is differentiated in 1:18 as an "only-begotten god" (NASB) which classifies him on the level of "god" as less than the eternal, unbegotten, Almighty God.
Further, the immediate context as well as the rest of John refutes the interpretation that Jesus is equal to God.
The larger context of John states that Jesus is less than God (14:28) and that Jesus had a God over him. The Bible speaks of Jesus having a God over him at least 17 times. In John's writings it is Jesus himself who acknowledges that he has a God (Jn.20:17; Rev.1:6; 3:2,12). John states that Jesus had to receive his power (Jn. 5:22,25,26; 17:2; 3:35), it was not inherent in him. He could not do anything on his own (Jn. 5:19; 6:38). He was not eternal God but was "begotten" (Jn. 1:18). He took commands from The God (Jn.12:49). He was God's "begotten Son" (Jn. 3:16). No one has seen The God but they saw Jesus (Jn.1:18). Jesus identifies himself as the one "sent" by a superior, he did not come of his own accord (Jn.8:16,29,42,). This superior is identified as "Father" and "God" and is shown to be Jehovah (8:54). Is not the sender superior to the one sent? (Jn.13:16). Jesus does nothing of his "own accord" and he can only speak what he was "taught" by the Father (8:28). Jesus does not seek his own glory, but God's and even obeys God (8:50, 54). None of this could be said of Almighty God.
Therefore, using Jn.1:1 to argue that Jesus must be equal to Almighty God because he was called "God" is faulty because it demands and ignorance of the way the term "God" was used in Bible times and it contradicts every explicit scripture which shows that Jesus was less than Almighty God at every point of his existence (Jn. 14:28; 20:17; Mk.13:32; Rev.3:2,12). At the highest position he will ever attain, Jesus is still "subject" to *GOD* the same way we are "subject" to him (1Cor.15:27,28).
So the context of Scripture always contradicts Trinitarian interpretation.
BAR-ANERGESSource(s): God's Word and standard bible reference works.
- ♥ SJC ♥Lv 71 decade ago
A Greek scholar named E. C. Colwell discovered a rule which applied to certain uses of the Greek article (in English this is the word “the”). His rule stated that “definite predicate nouns which precede the verb usually lack the article.”1 The word theos (God) in John 1:1c is a predicate noun and it is anarthrous (it lacks the article). The question I would like to address is: “How does this rule apply to John 1:1 and how does this relate to a Oneness perspective of this passage?”
In the past, Trinitarians have argued that Colwell’s rule proves that the anarthrous theos in John 1:1c (the Word was God) must be taken as definite. However, as Daniel Wallace has pointed out simply appealing to Colwell’s rule alone does not prove that theos must be taken as definite. His rule would only say that if theos is definite then it would probably lack the article (and it does). But the reverse is not necessarily true. Simply lacking the article in this construction does not make the noun definite.
Wallace goes on to argue that theos should not be taken as definite but instead as qualitative, thus emphasizing “the nature of the Word, rather than his identity.” The glosses which he suggests bring out this idea are, “What God was, the Word was” (NEB), or “the Word was divine” (a modified Moffatt translation). He also states that a definite theos in this passage would imply Sabellianism or Modalism (making Jesus to be God the Father, i.e., a Oneness perspective). In a footnote he quotes several other Greek scholars which concur, some even more emphatically (Westcott, A. T. Robertson, Lange, Chemnitz, Alford and even Martin Luther).
My question to all of these grammarians is this: “Why does a definite theos have to refer to God the Father, since all three persons are co-equal in Trinitarian theology?” The Holy Spirit is identified as “God” with the article present in Acts 5:3-4. Jesus is identified as “God” with the article present in John 20:28, Titus 2:13 and 2 Peter 1:1. Wallace acknowledges these passages, but states that (in John 20:28) “there is nothing in that context that would identify [Jesus] with the Father.” But if God is a Trinity, I see nothing in John 1:1b (“the Word was with God”) that would require that this occurrence of theos be identified as God the Father either. It simply says that “the Word was with God (article present).” Why could this not be referring to God the Holy Spirit? Surely if God is an eternal Trinity then Jesus would have been with him (God the Holy Spirit) in the beginning as well.
The point we should note here is that when a Trinitarian reads the word “God,” he (rightly) assumes that it refers to God the Father, unless there is reason to believe otherwise. Somehow, the Father is more ‘God’ than the other two people. So if a definite theos in this passage would make Jesus God the Father (as Wallace and the other grammarians above have stated) then I see no reason why a definite theos applied to Jesus anywhere else in the New Testament would not also make Jesus God the Father! (such as in the passages noted above).
So what other options were open to John? He could have easily left theos anarthrous and still put it after the verb, thus retaining the qualitative sense that Wallace argues for. So it was not necessary to place it before the verb merely for that reason. The fact that he chose to put it before the verb and to the beginning of the phrase would seem to indicate emphasis (The Word was God!). As mentioned before, Colwell’s rule states that “definite predicate nouns which precede the verb usually lack the article.” So if John intended a definite theos and wanted to emphasize the word “God,” then he would have said it exactly how he did! Now, I am in agreement with Wallace, that Colwell’s rule does not prove a definite theos, but it most definitely supports it. Even he admits that a definite theos is “certainly possible grammatically.”
Furthermore, you could only derive a Trinitarian interpretation from John 1:1 if you come to this passage with an already developed Trinitarian theology. If you approached it with a strict Monotheism (which is what I believe John held to) then this passage would definitely support such a view. If John had wanted to emphasize the word theos then he would have moved it to the beginning of the phrase before the verb and thus, (according to Colwell’s rule) it would be anarthrous (as it is).Source(s): http://onenesspentecostal.com/colwell.htm
- mobiledj_1Lv 51 decade ago
And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit.
The "word" produces the Holy Spirit.
God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth."
This verse is usually used to show the Son was always with the Father.
Christianity itself has been perceived at times as a form of paganism by followers of the other Abrahamic religions because of, for example, the Christian doctrine of the Trinity, the celebration of pagan feast days, and other practices through a process described as "baptising" or "christianization".
- lengLv 41 decade ago
How Come the word was with God and the word was God ? This is a set. The holy spirit is the third. It is a set of three. They can not be separated although one or two of them is mentioned.
The Holy Spirit is God.
The Father is God.
Jesus is God.
There is only one God ( not three God).
Genesis 1: God said, Let there be light.
The word "Let" that more more than one was present at the begining of creation.
they were at the baptism.
Spirit of God= Holy Spirit =Dove ;
God the father = the voice;
beloved son= Jesus;
- How do you think about the answers? You can sign in to vote the answer.
- 1 decade ago
It is a fact that supports the doctrine of the Trinity because it equates Jesus with God.
It never claims to uphold the whole doctrine. There are a plethora of other verses that this doctrine is drawn from.
I can say "Jesus is God". That certainly supports the doctrine of the Trinity. I don't have to spew forth a comprehensive doctrinal document anytime I say something ;P
- Anonymous1 decade ago
Jesus had a holy ghost, or so he claimed. As for the trinity doctrine that actually comes from pagan beliefs.
As for John 1:1, I was never aware anybody had tried to use it to support that doctrine.
- ~♥Anna♥~Lv 51 decade ago
Why do you assume that it all has to be in ONE verse?
Well lets see that verse starts
In the beginning...
so does Genesis 1:1
In Gen 1:2 we see the Holy Spirit was there, plus we know the Word was there, and the Father was there.
In Gen 1:3, when God SPOKE.. that was the Word... God created with His Word.
John 1:3 reiterates this because nothing that was created was created without the Word.... the Word is not created
- LisetteLv 71 decade ago
Because although Jesus took upon himself full humanity and lived as a man, he never ceased to be the eternal God who has always existed, the Creator and Sustainer of all things, and the source of eternal life. This is the basic truth. When Jesus ascended into heaven he left his Holy Spirit as our Comforter. It does not have to be mentioned if you believe the basic truth.
- Averell ALv 71 decade ago
It does not support the doctrine of the Trinity but the divinity of Jesus the Christ.
- sego lilyLv 71 decade ago
Gen 1:1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
2And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
26And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
John 1: 1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
2The same was in the beginning with God.
3All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
- wefmeisterLv 71 decade ago
It supports the Divinity of Jesus Christ, who was "with God" (Father and Spirit), and "was God".
It is not intended to show forth the Tri-Unity of God, but the Divinity of the Word of God, who became flesh in the Person of Jesus Christ.