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Friday, November 26, 2010

What did Jesus Christ* create? part one

What did Jesus Christ create?

There is an ancient and ongoing controversy over the meaning of Genesis 1:1-2 MT (Masoretic Text) which I intend to avoid. My question is how the authors of the NT understand the object of  Jesus Christ’s creative agency in John 1:3, Col 1:15-17, Heb 1:3 and so forth. In this first post I will address some bad arguments. One should not jump to conclusions about my views in this early stage while we are sorting out the good from the bad. Starting with John’s prologue:

John 1:1 Ἐν ἀρχῇ ἦν ὁ λόγος, καὶ ὁ λόγος ἦν πρὸς τὸν θεόν, καὶ θεὸς ἦν ὁ λόγος.  2 οὗτος ἦν ἐν ἀρχῇ πρὸς τὸν θεόν.  3 πάντα δι᾿ αὐτοῦ ἐγένετο, καὶ χωρὶς αὐτοῦ ἐγένετο οὐδὲ ἕν. ὃ γέγονεν  4 ἐν αὐτῷ ζωὴ ἦν, καὶ ἡ ζωὴ ἦν τὸ φῶς τῶν ἀνθρώπων·

I have heard numerous times people argue that PANTA or PAS is always universal in scope. Anyone who has read a little Greek should know that this isn't true. PANTA/PAS may or may not be universal in scope. Quite often it functions like the English word "all" in statements like "we all went to the game". Here is one example which is typical enough; the disciples of John The Baptist are concerned because all (PANTES) are going to Jesus. This use of "all" cannot be universal in scope.

John 3:25 Ἐγένετο οὖν ζήτησις ἐκ τῶν μαθητῶν Ἰωάννου μετὰ Ἰουδαίου περὶ καθαρισμοῦ.  26 καὶ ἦλθον πρὸς τὸν Ἰωάννην καὶ εἶπαν αὐτῷ· ῥαββί, ὃς ἦν μετὰ σοῦ πέραν τοῦ Ἰορδάνου, ᾧ σὺ μεμαρτύρηκας, ἴδε οὗτος βαπτίζει καὶ πάντες ἔρχονται πρὸς αὐτόν.

While PANTA is not always universal in scope, John's statement in 1:3 is emphatically universal. He states it first in a positive form πάντα δι᾿ αὐτοῦ ἐγένετο and the repeats it in a negative from καὶ χωρὶς αὐτοῦ ἐγένετο οὐδὲ ἕν. This is mostly a feature of his rhetorical method but it also serves as evidence that John didn't consider PANTA alone adequate to express what he hand in mind.


*I realize that the title of this series might cause problems for some people, ο λογος was the agent in creation. But it was the man Jesus Christ that spoke the words in Jn 8:58: ειπεν ⸀αυτοις Ιησους· Αμην αμην λεγω υμιν, πριν Αβρααμ γενεσθαι εγω ειμι.

7 Comments:

Blogger Ronald said...

We have a similar usage in Hebrews 2:6-8, based on Psalm 8:4-6, discussing God's original purpose that "all" be made subject to man. Hebrews 2:8 likewise uses a similar positive form of pas and a similar negative form of oude; according to the reasoning being applied to John 1:3, to be consistent, one would have to say that that which was subjected to man is "universal in scope." And yet Psalm 8:7,8 limits whatever universality might be applied to the usage of Hebrews 2:8; the original dominion given to man pertains universally only to the things on the earth. -- Genesis 1:26,28.

To reiterate, in Hebrews 2:8, in speaking what has been subjected to man as spoken of in Psalm 8:6, we read: "For in that he subjected all things to him, he left nothing that is not subject to him. But now [due to the sin of Adam, man has been subjected to futility -- Romans 5:12-19; 8:20] we don’t see all things subjected to him, yet." Note that the scripture says that God left nothing that is not subject to him (man). Does this mean that God subjected absolutely everything in the entire universe to man? Absolutely not! Psalm 8:7,8 describes the "all things" that was subjected to man, which corresponds with Genesis 1:26,28. All that was subjected to man pertains to all the earth, not absolutely all in the universe.

Likewise, there is an indication of the same limitation of the scope of panta in John 1:3. John 1:10 speaks of the world (kosmos)that Logos came into as the world that was made through the Logos. That world did not recognize Jesus. It is this same "world" that Jesus spoke of as recorded in John 17:5. Matthew 24:21 and Mark 13:19 refer to the beginning of the world (kosmos); this world is described in John 1:10 as the world into which the Word came, but which world did not recognize the Word in their midst. Thus, it is speaking of the world of mankind, not the entire material universe, nor of the angels. This is the “world” that the Word came into, and that did not recognize him. (John 1:10) Thus, it can be seen that the NT writers in connection with “the beginning” of creation understood that this beginning was in reference to things upon the planet earth, not to the entire universe itself.

The Greek word "hen" -- one -- of John 1:3 refers back to "the beginning" spoken of in John 1:1, which is the beginning, not of the entire universe, but of the world (kosmos spoken of in John 1:10), the six days of creation of the land (earth) and the sky (heavens) and the things in them as seen from the surface of the planet. -- Genesis 1:1,3-31; Exodus 20:11; 31:17.

To illustrate further, another form of the Greek word "pas" is used in Romans 8:22: "For we know that all [pasa] creation groans and travails in pain together until now." The "all creation" that is being referred to in Romans 8:22 is not the angels, the stars, the sun, the moon, etc., but rather the world of mankind that has been subjected to vanity (Romans 8:20; Ecclesiastes 1:2,13-15) due to Adam’s sin. (Romans 5:12-19) Thus, absolutely "all creation" in the universe is not included in "all creation", neither in Romans 8:20, nor in what is said in John 1:3. Indeed, if one does a study of the usage of all forms of the word "pas" in the New Testament, one will see that this word rarely means absolutely everything in the universe, but that it is always understood in the context as well as common evidence. John 1:10 indicates that in John 1:3, the all that is being referred to the world of mankind, as it is in Romans 8:22. The only true God (John 17:1,3) is the Creator (Mark 10:6; 13:19); the prehuman Jesus is the instrument — the agent — that the Creator used to bring into being the creation that is being spoken of.

http://godandson.reslight.net/archives/524.html

9:30 AM  
Blogger Ronald said...

We have a similar usage in Hebrews 2:6-8, based on Psalm 8:4-6, discussing God's original purpose that "all" be made subject to man. Hebrews 2:8 likewise uses a similar positive form of pas and a similar negative form of oude; according to the reasoning being applied to John 1:3, to be consistent, one would have to say that that which was subjected to man is "universal in scope." And yet Psalm 8:7,8 limits whatever universal scope might be applied to the usage of Hebrews 2:8; the original dominion given to man pertains universally only to the things on the earth. -- Genesis 1:26,28.

To elaborate, in Hebrews 2:8, in speaking what has been subjected to man as spoken of in Psalm 8:6, we read: "For in that he subjected all things to him, he left nothing that is not subject to him. But now [due to the sin of Adam, man has been subjected to futility -- Romans 5:12-19; 8:20] we don’t see all things subjected to him, yet." Note that the scripture says that God left nothing that is not subject to him (man). Does this mean that God subjected absolutely everything in the entire universe to man? Absolutely not! Psalm 8:7,8 describes the "all things" that was subjected to man, which corresponds with Genesis 1:26,28. All that was subjected to man pertains to all the earth, not absolutely all in the universe.

Likewise, there is an indication of the same limitation of the scope of panta in John 1:3. John 1:10 speaks of the world (kosmos)that Logos came into as the world that was made through the Logos. That world did not recognize Jesus. It is this same "world" that Jesus spoke of as recorded in John 17:5. Matthew 24:21 and Mark 13:19 refer to the beginning of the world (kosmos); this world is described in John 1:10 as the world into which the Word came, but which world did not recognize the Word in their midst. Thus, it is speaking of the world of mankind, not the entire material universe, nor of the angels. This is the "world" that the Word came into, and that did not recognize him. (John 1:10) Thus, it can be seen that the NT writers in connection with "the beginning" of creation understood that this beginning was in reference to things upon the planet earth, not to the entire universe itself.

More to follow...

9:36 AM  
Blogger Ronald said...

The Greek word "hen" -- one -- of John 1:3 refers back to "the beginning" spoken of in John 1:1, which is the beginning, not of the entire universe, but of the world (kosmos spoken of in John 1:10), the six days of creation of the land (earth) and the sky (heavens) and the things in them as seen from the surface of the planet. -- Genesis 1:1,3-31; Exodus 20:11; 31:17.

To illustrate further, another form of the Greek word "pas" is used in Romans 8:22: "For we know that all [pasa] creation groans and travails in pain together until now." The "all creation" that is being referred to in Romans 8:22 is not the angels, the stars, the sun, the moon, etc., but rather the world of mankind that has been subjected to vanity (Romans 8:20; Ecclesiastes 1:2,13-15) due to Adam’s sin. (Romans 5:12-19) Thus, absolutely "all creation" in the universe is not included in "all creation", neither in Romans 8:20, nor in what is said in John 1:3. Indeed, if one does a study of the usage of all forms of the word "pas" in the New Testament, one will see that this word rarely means absolutely everything in the universe, but that it is always understood in the context as well as common evidence. John 1:10 indicates that in John 1:3, the all that is being referred to the world of mankind, as it is in Romans 8:22. The only true God (John 17:1,3) is the Creator (Mark 10:6; 13:19); the prehuman Jesus is the instrument — the agent — that the Creator used to bring into being the creation that is being spoken of.

http://godandson.reslight.net/archives/524.html

9:38 AM  
Blogger C. Stirling Bartholomew said...

Hello Ronald,

Good comment. Thinking about it.
I am not sure about the relationship between the referent of KOSMOS in Jn 1:9ff and the referent of PANTA in Jn 1:3. My first thought is that PANTA in 1:3 would have a much wider scope than KOSMOS in Jn 1:9ff. John uses KOSMOS with different referents in different places, sometimes it is neutral but often times it is the organized forces of evil. I am sure you are aware of this.

Thanks for the comment.

1:18 PM  
Blogger Ronald said...

I get an error message (URI too long) every time I submit; thinking the problem must be because my post was too long, I split my original post in two posts, and resubmitted, but was still getting the error message. The first part appeared, but not the second part. Evidently, only the first part went through? Anyway, I reworded and expanded my earlier response and posted it at:
http://jesusnotyhwh.blogspot.com/2010/11/is-jesus-creator.html

The kosmos that God made through Jesus was indeed corrupted through sin and, as such, has been subjected to the sun of vanity (Ecclesiastes 1:14; 2:14,17,19; 4:17; Romans 8:20), and, having grown old in its sin, it is to perish. (Hebrews 1:11) The world made through Jesus was not always corrupt and evil/bad (Genesis 1:31), but it was into this "world" (kosmos) that sin came, which brought forth the world's corrupted/bad/evil condition. (Romans 5:12) Peter speaks of the new creation as escaping the corruption that is in the world through lust, referring back to the corruption that began in Genesis, by which God subjected all to a bondage of corruption. -- 2 Peter 1:4; Genesis 3:6; Romans 1:19-2:1; 8:20,21.

Jesus was not born into this world as "of the world"; his body was specially prepared by God (Hebrews 5:5), a human creation separate from the condemned human creation, so that while he was born into this world, be was not born into the sin of this world. (Matthew 1:20; Hebrews 10:5 -- Not having the sin of Adam, he had a body that he could offer for sin. -- Hebrews 10:10) Likewise, the sons of God (John 1:12; 10:35), being begotten (born) of God (John 3:13; 1 John 3:9), new creatures (2 Corinthians 5;17), begotten of incorruptible seed (Jesus, by his obedience, proved himself incorruptible -- 2 Timothy 1:10; 1 Peter 1:23), are not of this condemned world (kosmos), the old creation now subjected to corruption. -- John 15:19; 17:14,16; Romans 8:15,16.

Jesus said he came to save this world (kosmos -- John 3:17; 12:46,17), which refers to the world already judged through Adam. (John 3:18; Romans 5:12-19 -- A world not already condemned would not need to be saved.) John wrote: "he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole [a form of "pas" is used here] world [kosmos]." (1 John 2:2) It should be evident that "pas" and "kosmos" here refers to mankind and that Jesus did not die for the sins of the spirit beings, but it was for the sins of mankind whose sins are all counted in Adam. (Romans 5:12-19; 1 Corinthians 15:21,22) Thus, kosmos again is referring to the world that was made througah Jesus, but which became corrupted through sin, and in need of redemption.

3:52 PM  
Blogger C. Stirling Bartholomew said...

Ronald,

I don't know much about blogger, use it mostly for photographs and now I do that on wordpress.

I'm reading all your comments. They all come to in box, even when the do not appear on the blog.

Your take on the incarnation is a little bit different than what I have read before on this and it has been several decades since I studied this stuff in school. I will give some thought rather than just shoot from the hip which makes for wasted words.

Thanks for your comments. I will reply in the next day or so.

5:53 PM  
Blogger C. Stirling Bartholomew said...

Ronald,

I have responded in a new post on Kosmos in John's writings.

12:55 AM  

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