The testimony of John

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John 1:1

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

The testimony of John

If your are going to testify its is about something that happen to you.


John writes the one of the gospels, he takes up his pen and begins to write.  He must have look back and reflected on stories that his father Zechariah had told him about his maraculs brith.  The story when he

Zechariah was in the sanctuary when an angel of the Lord appeared, standing to the right of the incense altar.  And Zechariah was overwhelmed with fear.  But the angel said, “Don’t be afraid, Zechariah! For God has heard your prayer, and your wife, Elizabeth, will bear you a son! And you are to name him John. You will have great joy and gladness, and many will rejoice with you at his birth, for he will be great in the eyes of the Lord. He must never touch wine or hard liquor, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even before his birth.  And he will persuade many Israelites to turn to the Lord their God.  He will be a man with the spirit and power of Elijah, the prophet of old. He will precede the coming of the Lord, preparing the people for his arrival. He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and he will change disobedient minds to accept godly wisdom.”

 Zechariah said to the angel, “How can I know this will happen? I’m an old man now, and my wife is also well along in years.”

 Then the angel said, “I am Gabriel! I stand in the very presence of God. It was he who sent me to bring you this good news!  And now, since you didn’t believe what I said, you won’t be able to speak until the child is born. For my words will certainly come true at the proper time.”

 Meanwhile, the people were waiting for Zechariah to come out, wondering why he was taking so long.  When he finally did come out, he couldn’t speak to them. Then they realized from his gestures that he must have seen a vision in the Temple sanctuary.

 He stayed at the Temple until his term of service was over, and then he returned home.  Soon afterward his wife, Elizabeth, became pregnant and went into seclusion for five months.  “How kind the Lord is!” she exclaimed. “He has taken away my disgrace of having no children!”

It’s is always good to look back on your life every now and then, you just don’t know what you will remember something might just cause you to think about where you’ve been and what God has brought you out of.  You might start looking at other people a little different.

John starts first by saying in the beginning

Where better place to start then where it all started

Genesis 1:1

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

Genesis 1:2-5

2 And 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.

3 And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. 4 And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.  5 And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day. 

the beginning

746  { ar-khay’}

from 756; TDNT - 1:479,81; n f

AV - beginning 40, principality 8, corner 2, first 2, misc 6; 58

GK - 794 { ajrchv }

1) beginning, origin

2) the person or thing that commences, the first person or thing in a series, the leader

3) that by which anything begins to be, the origin, the active cause

4) the extremity of a thing

4a) of the corners of a sail

5) the first place, principality, rule, magistracy

5a)    of angels and demons

756 { ar’-khom-ahee}

middle voice of 757 (through the implication of precedence); TDNT - 1:478,*; v

AV - begin 83, rehearse from the beginning 1; 84

GK - 806 { a[rcw }

1) to be the first to do (anything), to begin

2) to be chief, leader, ruler

3)                to begin, make a beginning

757  { ar’-kho}

a primary word; TDNT - 1:478,81; v

AV - rule over 1, reign over 1; 2

GK - 806 { a[rcw }

1)                to be chief, to lead, to rule

aŒrchoµ [to rule, begin],

archeµ [archaéŒos [old, ancient],

archeµgoŒs [founder, leader],

aŒrchoµn [ruler]

aŒrchoµ. Active a. “to rule,” b. “to begin”; middle “to begin.”

1. The active occurs in the NT only in

Mark 10:42

42 But Jesus called them to him, and saith unto them, Ye know that they which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and their great ones exercise authority upon them. 

Romans 15:12

12 And again, Esaias saith, There shall be a root of Jesse, and he that shall rise to reign over the Gentiles; in him shall the Gentiles trust.

and means “to rule.” Jesus relativizes all earthly rule, finding true power only in God.

2. The middle is more common, especially in Luke, usually as a kind of auxiliary verb signifying “indeed” or “moreover,” but sometimes in a more pregnant sense, as in

John 13:5; 2 Cor. 3:1 (the only instance in Paul); 1 Pet. 4:17.




3056 logos { log’-os}

from 3004; TDNT - 4:69,505; n m

AV - word 218, saying 50, account 8, speech 8, Word (Christ) 7, thing 5, not tr 2, misc 32; 330

GK - 3364 { lovgo" }

1)  of speech

1a) a word, uttered by a living voice, embodies a conception or idea

1b) what someone has said

1b1) a word

1b2) the sayings of God

1b3) decree, mandate or order

1b4) of the moral precepts given by God

1b5) Old Testament prophecy given by the prophets

1b6) what is declared, a thought, declaration, aphorism, a weighty saying, a dictum, a maxim

1c)  discourse

1c1) the act of speaking, speech

1c2) the faculty of speech, skill and practice in speaking

1c3) a kind or style of speaking

1c4) a continuous speaking discourse - instruction

1d) doctrine, teaching

1e) anything reported in speech; a narration, narrative

1f)  matter under discussion, thing spoken of, affair, a matter in dispute, case, suit at law

1g) the thing spoken of or talked about; event, deed

2)  its use as respect to the MIND alone

2a) reason, the mental faculty of thinking, meditating, reasoning, calculating

2b) account, i.e. regard, consideration

2c)  account, i.e. reckoning, score

2d) account, i.e. answer or explanation in reference to judgment

2e) relation, i.e. with whom as judge we stand in relation

2e1) reason would

2f)  reason, cause, ground

3)  In John, denotes the essential Word of God, Jesus Christ, the personal wisdom and power in union with God, his minister in creation and government of the universe, the cause of all the world’s life both physical and ethical, which for the procurement of man’s salvation put on human nature in the person of Jesus the Messiah, the second person in the Godhead, and shone forth conspicuously from His words and deeds.

A Greek philosopher named Heraclitus first used the term Logos around 600 B.C. to designate the divine reason or plan which coordinates a changing universe.  This word was well suited to John’s purpose in John 1.

3004 lego { leg’-o}

a root word; TDNT - 4:69,505; v

AV - say 1184, speak 61, call 48, tell 33, misc 17; 1343

GK - 3306 { levgw } & 1649 { ei[rw }*

1)  to say, to speak

1a) affirm over, maintain

1b) to teach

1c)  to exhort, advise, to command, direct

1d) to point out with words, intend, mean, mean to say

1e) to call by name, to call, name

1f) to speak out, speak of, mention


2316 theos { theh’-os}

of uncertain affinity, a deity, especially (with 3588) the supreme Divinity; TDNT - 3:65,322; n m

AV - God 1320, god 13, godly 3, God-ward + 4214 2, misc 5; 1343

GK - 2536 { qeov" }

1)  a god or goddess, a general name of deities or divinities

2)  the Godhead, trinity

2a) God the Father, the first person in the trinity

2b) Christ, the second person of the trinity

2c)  Holy Spirit, the third person in the trinity

3)  spoken of the only and true God

3a) refers to the things of God

3b) his counsels, interests, things due to him

4)  whatever can in any respect be likened unto God, or resemble him in any way

4a) God’s representative or viceregent

4a1)        of magistrates and judges

3588 ho { ho}  including the feminine he { hay} , and the neuter to { to}

in all their inflections, the definite article;; article

AV - which 413, who 79, the things 11, the son 8, misc 32; 543

GK - 3836 { oJ }

1)  this, that, these, etc.

Only significant renderings other than “the” counted

4214 posos { pos’-os}

from an absolute pos (who, what) and 3739;; pron

AV - how much 13, how many 9, how many things 2, what 1, how long 1, how great 1; 27

GK - 4531 { povso" }

1)  how great

2)  how much

2)                 how many

3739 hos { hos}  including feminine he { hay} , and neuter ho { ho}

probably a primary word (or perhaps a form of the article 3588);; pron

AV - which 395, whom 262, that 129, who 84, whose 53, what 42, that which 20, whereof 13, misc 430; 1393

GK - 4005 { o{" }

GK - together with 1065 4007 { o{sge }

1)  who, which, what, that

Wigram’s count is 1310 not 1393.

3588 ho { ho}  including the feminine he { hay} , and the neuter to { to}

in all their inflections, the definite article;; article

AV - which 413, who 79, the things 11, the son 8, misc 32; 543

GK - 3836 { oJ }

1)  this, that, these, etc.

Only significant renderings other than “the” counted

theoŒs [God, god], theoŒteµs [divinity], aŒtheos [without God], theodéŒdaktos [taught by God], theéŒos [divine], theioŒteµs [divinity]

theoŒs ® (kyŒrios, pateµr).

A. The Greek Concept of God.

1. theoŒs in the Usage of Secular Greek. The word theoŒs is used in both singular and plural, definite and indefinite, often with little distinction of sense between the gods, god, the god, and the godhead. The term does not denote a specific personality but the unity of the religious world in spite of its multiplicity. The Greek concept is essentially polytheistic in the sense of belief in an ordered totality of gods. Zeus as the father of gods and men brings this to expression. Since he has the first and last word, piety often associates him quite simply with god. Out of the plurality a hierarchy develops with families of gods and a pantheon. Zeus, Apollo, etc. are called gods, but so is the cosmos, and elemental forces may also be given the name. The deepest reality is god (the Greeks would have to reverse 1 Jn. 4:16 and say that love is God). But reality is manifold; hence the plural theoŒi. Heroes, unusual people, and outstanding rulers are also gods, so that in the emperor cult theoŒs is a designation of office. Finally, philosophers use the word for metaphysical forces, so that often they use as equivalents the divine, the good, the existent, and destiny. We see here a spiritualizing and moralizing of mythical figures which enhances their dignity but robs them of proximity. Through every change of form, however, the inner structure of the concept remains constant.

2. The Content of the Greek Concept of God. The gods are a given factor. Though eternal, they have come into being. They have not created the world but are its form or meaning. They are thus identified with human order, e.g., in the state. Their eternity includes eternal youth. They enjoy superior power and felicity, but lack moral seriousness. They are infinite beings, but of the same kind as ourselves. Unlike impersonal fate, which even they cannot alter, they represent meaningful plan and purpose. They have human form (their majesty being that of the highest living creature), and their emotions and customs are human.

3. The Development of the Greek Concept of God.

a. Two motifs in Homer govern the development of the concept, the natural and the ethical. These motifs lead to nature mysticism on the one side and rational ethics on,the other. The philosophers subject the Homeric gods to rational criticism, replacing anthropomorphism with cosmomorphism. The presence of divinity in the world is not denied, but its unity is stressed, and the idea of the unmoved mover is introduced. The regularity of being and the principle of compensation or cosmic justice represent the ethical aspect. Thus in tragedy divine justice rules inscrutably in the dialectic of human existence. Zeus is a redeeming power as he teaches us moderation through suffering. The Greek concept thus achieves a certain objectivity, but there is no direct relationship with the deity, for state and society stand between, and we know deity only from its works in nature and history.

b. Plato carries the ethicizing and spiritualizing further by attacking false religiosity, denying divine intervention in the form of physical relationship, and completing the separation between deity and humanity by postulating only a resemblance of being and no true unity. In Plato myth serves only to elucidate philosophical themes. Final reality is impersonal, and divinity means its actualization in space and time as a moving reflection of eternity. In this regard deity plays the role of architect, not creator. In Aristotle, too, deity is the necessary condition of a world order, the cause of each thing existing as it does. One cannot pray to this deity, nor does it will anything, and if there is love for it, this is simply the attraction which impels us to strive for a higher form of being.

c. Hellenism transforms the mythical gods into metaphysical and cosmic concepts. Thus Stoicism finds in Zeus the comprehensive law of the world which is operative in all things and to which one must adapt. An impersonal pantheistic view thus develops, stressing the providential aspect, though later Stoicism takes a more personal and ethical line with its father and provider who is the original of all virtues and who through the nouŒs may be in us too. In contrast, the atomism of Epicurus leaves no true place for deity except at the level of our views about it or consciousness of it. Over against constant increase in the number of gods, Hellenism attempts unification by equation on the principle that only names differ and realities are the same. Non-Greek deities are fused with Greek, and syncretistic trends lead to the worship of a chief or universal god, Zeus or Jupiter, though not in any truly monotheistic sense.

d. Philo tries to mediate between the OT concept and the Greek ideas of Platonism and Stoicism. God for him is transcendent, the unique, incomprehensible, and almighty Creator who first fashions the ideas and then makes of them the visible world. Alongside God is the loŒgos of whom the ideas are begotten. The loŒgos-concept depersonalizes God, yet, while the work of the Greek deity is simply the interrelating of idea and being, for Philo the idea itself is a creation and emanation from God.

e. In Neo-Platonism the concern is with an ultimate one from which and to which all things flow. The one is the first and fatherly deity from which nouŒs proceeds as architect and then psycheµ as the link between the worlds of ideas and experience. We thus have the one and all, but the one does not merge into the all. The one is the underlying force of all that is, and for it being and creating are all the same. The world timelessly evolves from it as its objectification, so that the deity becomes the world. On this view prayer is pointless except as self-reflection with a view to elevation to purer heights.

f. A mystical pantheism may be found in the Hermetic writings. The deity fills all things, and is bi-sexual, and self-creating, the one and all; mystics who reflect on the merging of cosmic unity into the unity of the spiritual ego are themselves theoéŒ. It is noteworthy that in none of these developments is there a place for a personal, monotheistic view of God as the Creator with whom there may be personal relationship. The basic orientation is to eternal being and law, with the deity as the power or essence that insures permanence. [H. Kleinknecht, III, 65-79]

B. El and Elohim in the OT.

l. The Usage of the LXX. theoŒs is the usual LXX equivalent for Õeµl and ÕƒãloµhéÆm; other words such as kyŒrios and ischyroŒs occur at times, but infrequently (kyŒrios being the usual word for the divine name Yahweh). theoŒs itself occurs only some 330 times.

2. The OT Belief in God in the Form of Faith in Yahweh. What the OT authors believe about God comes out in what they say about him and to him. Though individual experience and teaching vary, the underlying reality is the same. Simple expressions bring out its basic character, though these are complicated by the random use of such terms as El, Elohim, and Yahweh. God and Yahweh are obviously the same, but there is an initial tension between the divine person of Yahweh and the sum of cosmic forces; this is resolved only as the prophets promote confidence that Yahweh is the Creator and Ruler of the world in whom divine power is concentrated into an omnipotent will and beside whom there are no other deities. As the canon shows, the people move on only slowly to a recognition that the national God is the Lord of all things. The starting point is with faith in Yahweh as the covenant God. Moses takes this concept and gives it its uniquely impelling force by linking it with the God of the fathers (Ex. 3:15), the exclusive God (Ex. 20:5; 34:14, etc.).

3. The Tradition concerning Belief in God prior to the Rise of the Community of Yahweh. Due to the nature of the material, it is hard to say with certainty what was the precise form of the pre-Mosaic concept. The name Yahweh is brought into the material, but Ex. 6:3 displays an awareness of distinction. Nevertheless, the combination “Yahweh God” in Gen. 2:4 identifies Yahweh as the God who created all things and whom the patriarchs knew and worshipped. The fuller apposition in Ps. 50:1 has the evident nature of a confession of faith.

4. El and Elohim as Appellatives. Neither Õeµl nor ÕƒãloµhéÆm has originally the same meaning as Yahweh. They both denote God generically rather than personally, are of polytheistic derivation, and need qualification to denote God individually. Õeµl as a name outside Israel is secondary and does not help us to understand biblical usage. When used alone for Yahweh (Is. 40:18 etc.), or as a parallel to Yahweh (Num. 23:8), the point is that Yahweh alone is Õeµl, though not necessarily with a polemic against other gods.

5. The Content of the OT Belief in God. The thesis that God is Israel’s God is fundamental. This God is God in the absolute (cf. 1 Kgs. 18:21), so that as the name merges into the appellatives, the words Õeµl and ÕƒãloµhéÆm come to contain the vital heritage of faith. a. Õeµl, of course, is not peculiar to Israel. Ishmael has Õeµl in his name, and Balaam and Job both speak of Õeµl. Parallels may be found among many peoples. In the OT Õeµl is the simplest form for the divine as distinct from the human (Ezek. 28:2; Hos. 11:9). Õeµl is holy (Hos. 11:9), spirit (Is. 31:3), ethically superior (Num. 23:19), and thus worthy of trust. Through every nuance Õ eµl is a personal object of religious awe and knowledge even if the concept of God is introduced only by the usage and is not the original meaning. As may be seen from the expression “It is in my power” (Gen. 31:29), the root idea may be one of power, but in the ultimate religious sense of power that is superhuman. Parallel terms for God, e.g., Owner, Lord, and King, support the connection with power. b. The etymology, of course, raises several difficulties (see TDNT, III, 84-85 for details). c. Nor can the linguistic data be explained in terms of ÕƒãloµhéÆm and ÕƒãloÆ (a)h, even if we have a plural and related singular (which some contest). Certainly one need not suppose that these terms have a different basic sense, i.e., “he who is to be feared.” d. But if they are related and carry the sense of power, the use of the singular and plural raises a question. Since ÕƒãloÆ (a)h is mainly later, and is common only in Job, its significance is fixed by the other two terms. ÕƒãloµhéÆm is clearly a numerical plural only in a very few instances (cf. Ex. 15:11). Even a single pagan god can be meant by the word (e.g., 1 Kgs. 11:5). In the main, then, we have a plural of majesty. There is no sense of treating God as one among many gods. The point is that God has all that belongs to deity.

6. The Historical Continuation of the OT Belief in God. If Yahweh is called Õeµl or ÕƒãloµhéÆm, this implies that he is a concrete manifestation of divine reality. The concept does not have the dynamism of the name, but forms a basis for its development as a basic religious experience. This experience differs for Israel inasmuch as Israel’s God is truly God, i.e., sovereign, creative, and self-revealing as distinct from the natural forces that pagans symbolize in images or cultic actions. Such forces are inactive; they can neither help nor impel, and are therefore vain (Is. 44:9; 1 Sam. 12:21). If they can be explained rationally as cosmic or sexual, only faith in Yahweh and obedience to his commands can break their numinous power. God made us in his own image (Gen. 1:26); we cannot make God. Hence God’s word comes as a reality that transcends and shapes human will and action. This reality may be partial or inadequate (cf. 1 Sam. 28:13). It can be properly filled out only as God himself commands and acts and guides. But one cannot count on this, for God hides himself (Is. 25:1; 45:15), and confusion is caused by experience of other cults, whose gods may be puny (Ps. 31:6; 1 Chr. 16:26), but can point to great triumphs and prodigality (Jer. 7:18; Am. 5:26; Dt. 12:2), so that the people yields allegiance (Jer. 5:7) and is conscious of their power (cf. 2 Kgs. 3:27). That there are real divine powers is admitted in Dt. 6:12. The exclusivism of Yahweh (Ex. 20:5) is finally directed, not against those who turn to other gods, but to the gods themselves. Whether in her own fellowship or in external dealings, Israel is conscious of the reality of a territorial pantheon. Only belief that God is the Mighty One (Josh. 22:22), supreme over the whole pantheon, can prevent relapse into idol worship. Yet a monarchical monotheism is seen to imply (Jer. 2:11) that for all the sincerity of paganism, the gods of pagans have no true reality; and if Israel looks to them she is guilty of infidelity and falls victim to inner discord (Jer. 2:13ff.). Later writings can thus make a clear distinction between the one God and foreign gods (cf. Dan. 11:36; Mal. 2:10-11; Ps. 82), but these distinctions rest on the recognition of God’s deity in his help or faithfulness or comfort, as in the Psalms with their personal motif “my God.” God is known as the living God who is active on his people’s behalf (Hos. 2:1). As Is. 40-41 shows, he manifests himself as God by doing what is worthy of God in his works of creation and redemption.           [G. Quell, III, 79-89]

C. The Primitive Christian Fact of God and Its Conflict with the Concept of God in Judaism.

1. The Usage. a. In the LXX theoŒs is the usual term for ÕƒãloµhéÆm. ho theoŒs is the God of Israel, while theoŒs is mostly appellative. toŒ theéŒon does not occur. Judaism prefers not to speak of God, adopting instead such expressions as the Lord, the Almighty, the Most High. Hellenistic Judaism, adopting philosophical style, refers to the deity, providence, etc. Philo uses the adjective theéŒos, ho theoŒs for the God of Israel (or ho kyŒrios to denote his power), theoŒs for the loŒgos, and theoéŒ at times for humans, but his favorite term is toŒ theéŒon. Josephus has ho theoŒs and theoŒs without distinction, but likes toŒ theéŒon and hoi ouranoéŒ, and seldom uses kyŒrios. Apocryphal and pseudepigraphal works, adopting older styles, use kyŒrios (for Yahweh) along with many other expressions, e.g., Most High, Most Merciful, Almighty, Holy One, Creator, Unbegotten, etc. Jesus uses theoŒs freely and more rarely has kyŒrios, ouranoŒs, dyŒnamis (cf. Mk. 14:61-62), or sophéŒa (Lk. 7:35). pateµr, however, is his true name for God. Elsewhere in the NT theoŒs is the normal word. From Paul onward kyŒrios is more often used for Jesus, as theoŒs is in, e.g., Jn. 1:1. theoŒs usually has the article in the nominative, but in other cases may be with or without article with no distinction. theoŒs may also denote pagan deities (cf. Acts 19:37; 1 Cor. 8:5) and even humans (Jn. 10:34-35 quoting Ps. 82:6).            [E. Stauffer, III, 90-92]

b. The Rabbinic Terms for God. Later rabbinic Judaism avoids the divine name and adopts formal substitutes. It distinguishes between the proper name (Yahweh), generic names (Õeµl, Õ ƒúloÆ (a)h, Õ ƒúloµhéÆm), and descriptive names (the Most High, the King, etc.). Since the divine name must not be taken in vain, its use is restricted to the cultus, and eventually it comes to exist only as a written symbol and not a living word. The substitutes vary according to whether the usage is religious or secular, and as these take on the full concept of God, they in turn tend to become too holy for secular use and give way to others. ÕƒúloÆ (a)h and ÕƒúloµhéÆm cause no initial difficulty and become taboo only in medieval times. Terms or nouns expressing qualities and the like are freely used, and an abstract group (holiness, power, etc.) also becomes popular. (See TDNT III, pp. 92-94 for details.)          [K. G. Kuhn, III, 92-94]

2. The Uniqueness of God.

a. Prophetic Monotheism as the Starting Point of True Monotheism. True monotheism is not a product of polytheism but its negation. Its God is not a new idea of unity but ultimate and true reality. The one God is the decisive reality for Moses and as such claims sole validity (Ex. 20:2-3). This God is the only God of the whole world. He is revealed and worshipped, however, only in Israel. Hence his uniqueness must be asserted against both false gods and the other forces that dominate the people (Is. 26:13). The later triumph of monotheism in Islam owes much to biblical concepts. Elsewhere monotheistic formulas have little impact. Zoroaster expounds a dualistic philosophy of history with a monotheistic orientation (in view of the final triumph of light).

b. Dynamic Monotheism in Later Judaism.

(a) Judaism may sometimes use theoéŒ for humans or for pagan gods. The OT basis for the description of humans as gods is slight, and in passages like Ps. 82:1; Ex. 21:6 the reference is to judges as God’s representatives. The rabbis resist strongly the pagan pretensions of humans to deity (cf. Dan. 11:36-37). Where the OT calls heavenly beings ÕƒãloµhéŒm, the LXX usually has angels or sons of God. This is part of the great polemic against the idea that the idols of paganism are gods in any true sense, as in Bel and the Dragon, Wis. 13:1ff., Josephus, and the attacks of the rabbis on star worship, animal worship, and the emperor cult. Sometimes demonic forces are seen behind idols, sometimes they are dismissed as things of nought. But there is a united front against polytheism.

(b) Judaism gives a primary place to the confession of one God, whether in faith, formulas, or practice. The formulas vary and may take confessional or polemical form. The original meaning is best preserved in the Shema (Dt. 6:4). To the uniqueness of God corresponds the uniqueness of the people, for while the one God will one day be God of the whole world, he is now the only God only for Israel, which is ready to suffer and die in confession of his uniqueness.

(c) God works, of course, through intermediaries, i.e., angels or hypostases (word, spirit, truth, etc.), but these are not independent or of the same rank. They serve God as his deputies. Their numbers increase from Daniel on. Angels subject their own wills wholly to God’s will, daily receiving and executing orders, proclaiming God’s will in the first person, but only as God’s representatives, so that they cannot accept human worship. In extreme emergencies, only God’s direct help avails.

(d) The one God is in conflict with demonic forces. Satan has rebelled against God and commands a host of demons. But Satan is God’s creature, has fallen from heaven, and, while still powerful, is held in check by God, who overrules the evil acts of demons to his own purposes of good and to their destruction. Thus a dynamic monotheism overcomes both automatic monotheism and static dualism.

(e) In this conflict, apocalyptic finds a role for the Savior King, the Messiah, the Son of Man, who, whether heavenly or earthly, is God’s representative, not himself God, but armed with a divine power to which all enemies must submit. This Savior King is God’s decisive representative, not replacing God, but effecting a universal acknowledgment of God’s glory and uniqueness.

c. theoéŒ in the NT. Acts vividly depicts the polytheism that the apostles encountered in Ephesus (19:27), Athens (17:23), Malta (28:6), and Lystra (14:11ff.); cf. also Herod in Caesarea (Acts 12:22). The monotheistic answer is always the same (Acts 19:26; 17:23-24; 14:15; 12:23). Idols are nothing (1 Cor. 8:4), but idolatry is a sin (10:7), for it is a failure to worship the true God and involves subjection to demonic forces; the theoéŒ polloéŒ are not true gods but they impose terrible bondage.

d. heéŒs theoŒs in the Confession and Practice of Primitive Christianity. Jesus himself quotes the Shema in Mk. 12:29-30, and the scribe can only endorse this (12:32-33). Similar monotheistic formulas occur in, e.g., Rom. 3:29-30; 1 Tim. 1:17. We believe (Jms. 2:19) or know (1 Cor. 8:4) that there is only one God. As yet not all peoples perceive this; hence the NT refers to the God of the fathers, of Israel, of Abraham, etc., or to our God or my God in true OT fashion. As the church has inherited the promises, the God of Israel is now the God of the church (cf. Acts 15:14). Yet the church must not only believe that God is one; it must believe in God (Rom. 4:3) and hope in him (1 Pet. 1:21). Zeal must accompany knowledge (Rom. 3:11). Recognition of his sovereignty means that he is not to be tempted (Mt. 4:7). The first commandment takes on new seriousness in its exclusion not only of idols but of mammon, belly, cosmic forces, state authorities, or even the emperor. The confession of one God imposes the constant task of trusting and obeying this one God alone.

e. God and His Angels in the NT. Angels play no big role in the NT. They come from God (Acts 12:11) and he acts through them (Acts 7:35). They are nothing without God and everything with him. They will not accept worship (Rev. 19:10).

f. Monotheism and Christology in the NT. Christ confirms monotheism by depriving the prince of this world of his power. He himself sharpens the monotheistic confession (Mk. 10:18), is consumed by zeal for God’s house (Jn. 2:17), prays constantly to God, and calls him exclusively “my Father” (Jn. 20:17). As the Son he has power to forgive sins, will sit on God’s throne and judge the world, bears the name Logos, mediates creation (Jn. 1:3) and salvation (1 Cor. 10:4), and precedes angels (Heb. 1). He battles the devil (Lk. 22:28; 1 Jn. 3:8), resisting his temptations, driving out demons, binding the strong man, turning the apparent defeat of the cross into victory, and establishing the dominion of the one God (1 Cor. 15:28). God has sent, instituted, accredited, confirmed, anointed, and exalted him. God is with him, empowers him, and works with and through him, reconciling the world to himself (2 Cor. 5:19). He comes from God and returns to him. Faith in him and faith in God are the same (cf. Jn. 14:1, 9; 10:30; 17:11). The forerunner of God in Mal. 3:1 is the forerunner of Jesus in Mk. 1:2. Jesus uses the divine egoµ eimi. He is first Judge and then God in 1 Cor. 4:4-5. All things are by and to him as well as God (Rom. 11:36; 1 Cor. 8:6; Col. 1:16). He is the First and the Last (Rev. 1:17; cf. v. 8). Yet God is his God and Head and Father (Eph. 1:17; 1 Cor. 11:3; Jn. 5:18). He, too, is “of” God (1 Cor. 3:23). His titles, with the article, express his uniqueness (the holy one, elect, anointed, son, etc.), but the genitive “of theoŒs ” shows his derivation from God. The exception is kyŒrios.

g. Christ as theoŒs in Primitive Christianity. In Jn. 10:30ff. Jesus proves that the use of theoéŒ for humans is not unbiblical, though he himself claims only to be God’s Son. In Heb. 1:8-9 the designation of the OT king as theoŒs is transferred to Jesus. In Rom. 9:4-5 Christ is called theoŒs directly unless we have in the last clause an independent doxology. In Jn. 1:1 “the Logos was God” (and cf. some readings of 1:18). Thomas recognizes Jesus as his God in Jn. 20:28 (cf. the blind man in 9:38). Cf. also Tit. 2:13 and outside the NT Did. 10.6, Ignatius Ephesians 18.2 etc., and Pliny Letters 10.96.7. Christ as the representative of God is himself the bearer of the divine nature and office.

h. The Threefold Relation of God, Christ, and Spirit. The relation between God and Christ finds expression in formulas that state both their unity and God’s primacy (1 Cor. 8:6; 1 Tim. 2:5; Mt. 23:8ff.). Triadic formulas occur which include angels (Lk. 9:26), and cf. the spirits of Rev. 1:4-5. But the usual triad is God, Christ, and the Spirit, who stands in a special relation to both God (Jn. 4:24) and Christ (Mk. 3:29-30; Lk. 1:35. Jn. 3:34; Rom. 8:27, 34; Jn. 16:14), but who also continues Christ’s work (Jn. 14:26; Gal. 4:4ff.). We thus find triadic formulas embracing God, Christ, and Spirit in 1 Cor. 12:4ff.; 2 Cor. 13:13; Mt. 28:19. These formulas express the indissoluble threefold relationship but do not actually speak of triunity. The clear-cut statement of 1 Jn. 5 is brought into the text only in the sixth century.

3. The Personal Being of God.

a. The Conflict with Anthropomorphism in the Jewish World. The LXX tries to purify the concept of God by minor alterations, e.g., bringing in a divine messenger in Ex. 4:24, or putting “power” for “hand” in Josh. 4:24, or speaking of seeing God’s place instead of God in Ex. 24:10, or saying that God becomes gracious for his repenting in Gen. 6:6-7. Later Hellenists go further by allegorizing the OT, finding abstract content in anthropomorphisms, and substituting philosophical concepts. Yet faith in the personal God remains. Thus Josephus uses alien terms but is still speaking of the living God of his fathers. The rabbis avoid allegorizing but explain anthropomorphisms as divine accommodation to human frailty, though they themselves in prayer call God Father, speak of his ear and hand for their needs, and think of him as weeping over Jerusalem. Stressing God’s will, they do not equate him with his attributes but bring out his personal character. Thus, while both Greeks and Jews eliminate anthropomorphism, the former regard personality as itself anthropomorphic but the latter distinguish between anthropomorphism and faith in the personal God. God is not as we are, but he wills, speaks, and hears.

b. The Personal God of the NT. Anthropomorphism is a dead issue in the NT. God’s personal nature is here a living reality disclosed in Christ and the Spirit (2 Cor. 4:6; Rom. 8:27; cf. the prayer “Abba” in Rom. 8:15). We respond to God’s Thou to us with our Thou to God. God is the living God of will and purpose to whom we may come with prayers and cries for aid. He is known to be faithful and true (Rom. 11:29; Jn. 3:33; Tit. 1:2), gracious (Rom. 2:4), righteous (Rom. 1:18), holy, and perfect (Mt. 5:48). These are not abstract descriptions but historical attestations. They are expressed by attributive or predicative adjectives (Rom. 16:27 etc.), by a genitive of theoŒs with noun (Rom. 3:3) or theoŒs with genitive (Rom. 15:5 etc.), by bold equation (1 Jn. 4:8, which makes God the origin and norm of love), by predications referring to his nature (Rom. 16:26; 1 Tim. 1:11), and by equation with neutral predication (Jn. 4:24; 1 Jn. 1:5).

4. The Transcendence of God.

a. The Power of God as Ruler in Semitic Religion. (1) In the Semitic world deities are defined by their power and thus bear titles of rule. In relation to people they are masters, protectors, judges, fathers, kings. In relation to the world they are rulers who control its destiny. (2) Magical ideas, fertility cults, and astral mythologies dissolve this concept in syncretism, but in Israel the prophets deepen it. Israel’s God is the absolute Creator and Ruler of all things. The LXX expresses this by stressing the term kyŒrios and such related words as despoŒteµs and basileuŒs.

b. God and the World in Later Judaism. God is above the world and uses intermediaries to execute his commands. He is immortal, but dynamically so as Ruler. He is not outside the world but above it, and hence omnipresent rather than distant. He is the all, but as its Creator and not in any pantheistic sense. We are not “in” God by natural or ecstatic union, but we come “from” him. He is “with” us in virtue of his covenant, so that in every need we may pray to him, knowing that the Ruler of all things will extend his powerful protection. Apocalyptic descries an opposition of will that distorts the form of this world but God can omnipotently bend all things to his own purpose, so that one may confidently expect his final triumph and dominion.

c. The Transcendent God of the NT. In the NT, too, God is kyŒrios etc. He is not outside the world but above it. Heaven and earth are together God’s creation, though heaven is superior as God’s throne (Mt. 5:34-35), and earthly forces oppose God’s lordship in heaven (cf. Mt. 6:10). The Christ event is the decisive encounter between heaven and earth that apocalyptic awaited (Lk. 17:20, which means that the kingdom is present in Jesus). In Jesus God is with us—Immanuel (Mt. 1:23; cf. Is. 7:14). His heavenly form and nature find earthly manifestation in servanthood and crucifixion (Phil. 2:6ff.). The Word became flesh (Jn. 1:14). The encounter does not mean human enlightenment or divinization, nor a divine-human marriage, but a heightening and overcoming of the tension by Christ’s death and resurrection. The tension is not that of infinite and finite or eternity and time, as in Hellenistic philosophy. God is not restricted by metaphysical relations (cf. Lk. 3:8). No natural or historical power can thwart God (Rom. 11:23-24). His word is life and death (Lk. 12:20). All life’s changes and chances are from him. God is with his people as its Ruler and Protector, but with a new certainty in Christ that Paul expresses with his hypeŒr in Rom. 8:31-32. In virtue of this “God for us” the cosmic anxiety of antiquity is resolved. Words like moéŒra do not occur in the NT. Along with this transcendence, there is, of course, a certain immanence as well. Believers are the house in which God dwells. God is among them (cf. 1 Cor. 14:25: en hyméŒn). He is the Father who is in all, though this “in all” is to be understood in terms of the preceding “above and through all” (Eph. 4:6; cf. 1 Cor. 12:6; Col. 1:17). 1 Jn. 4:16 refers to a mutual abiding, though more in the sense of faithfulness than metaphysical union. This accords with the important role of prayer in the Johannine writings. Prayer has no place when immanentism dissolves the I-Thou relation. Prayer presupposes a God who is above the world and to whom we may turn with confidence in time of need. Various terms for prayer occur in the NT. It is addressed to God. Made in the name of Jesus, it has purpose as well as assurance. Its climax is petition for the definitive actualizing of God’s rule whose victory the Christ event has already decided (Lk. 11:2). Even after the Christ event, this actualizing is still an object of faith, not sight. The first encounter will come to completion when all conflict is removed (Rev. 21:3-4) and God is all in all (1 Cor. 15:28).

theoŒteµstheioŒteµs). This word, meaning “divinity,” occurs in the NT only in Col. 2:9 (cf. 1:19-20). The one God, to whom all deity belongs, has given this fullness of deity to the incarnate Christ.

aŒtheos. There were seven basic forms of atheism in antiquity: 1. the practical atheism of the ignorant, careless, and hedonistic (cf. Is. 22:13; Rom. 1:30); 2. the secularized religion of the state-cult (Ezek. 28:2; Dan. 11:36; Rev. 13); 3. belief in fate (cf. Col. 1); 4. metaphysical reinterpretation of beliefs; 5. religious doubt (cf. Ps. 73); 6. defiance of the omnipotent God (cf. Moses in Ex. 32:32; Jeremiah; Job); 7. any denial of God or the gods (Jews and Christians are accused of atheism by polytheists, whose gods they reject, while Eph. 2:11-12 calls pagans aŒtheoi, and cf. Mart. Pol. 9.2).

theodéŒdaktos. Unlike theoŒpneustos, which is used for canonical Scripture (2 Tim. 3:16), theodéŒdaktos (“taught by God”) is used in 1 Th. 4:9 for Christians as members of the new community (cf. Jer. 31:34; Is. 54:13; Jn. 6:45).  [E. Stauffer, III, 94-121]

theéŒos. a. Adjective of theoŒs, this means “divine” relative to all that bears the stamp of deity, e.g., as predominant power, final reality, supreme meaning, or philosophical conception. The educated like the term and often use the impersonal theéŒa phyŒsis for God. Humans may also be theéŒos, e.g., seers, priests, singers, saviors, and rulers. b. The noun toŒ theéŒon is a common term for “deity.” The NT uses theéŒos only in passages under Hellenistic influence (2 Pet. 1:3-4; Acts 17:29), but with no surrender of faith in the personal God.

theéŒoteµs. Formed from theéŒos, this, too, means “divinity” in the sense that something is divine, whether a god or imperial majesty. The only NT instance is in Rom. 1:20: God’s deity may be perceived in creation.      [H. Kleinknecht, III, 122-23]

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