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John 1:1 Is Jesus Christ ‘a god’ or ‘God’?

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John 1:1 Is Jesus Christ ‘a god’ or ‘God’?

Watchtower Teaching: The NWT translates the first ‘θεος’ in John 1:1 as ‘God’, and the second ‘θεος’ as ‘a god’. In the Greek, there is a definite article ‘the’ (‘ό ’) before the first occurrence of God (ό θεος = the God). However, there is no definite article ‘the’ before the
second occurrence of ‘God’.

The Watchtower argues (falsely) that, when a noun has a definite article (like ‘ό θεος’), it points to an identity or personality, such as the person of Jehovah God. The WT claims (falsely) that the same phrase (‘ό θεος’) is never used of Jesus Christ in the NT (Watchtower, 1 July 86, p31).

(Note: ‘ό θεος’ is used of Christ in Matthew 1:23, John 20:28 and Hebrews 1:8).

The Watchtower claims (falsely) that when a singular predicate noun has no definite article, and it occurs before a verb (as theos in John 1:1c), then it points to a quality about someone, so that here it says that Jesus (the Word) has a divine quality, but is not God Almighty (KIT, p.1139).

They alone translate Jesus as ‘a god’.

To support this view they quote:

i) Johannes Greber NT (1937), a SPIRITIST who claimed that spirits helped him translate the NT (Watchtower, 15 September 62, p.554; 15 October 73, p.640). The WT KNEW he was a spiritist in 1956 (Watchtower, 15 February 1956, p 110, 111), yet they still quoted him.

ii) Dr Julius Mantey, who REFUTES their translation saying: ‘They have forgotten entirely what the (word) order of the sentence indicates that the “ λογος” (“logos” or “Word” in English) has the same substance, nature or essence as the Father. To indicate that Jesus
was “a god” would need a completely different construction in the Greek. They misquoted me in support of their translation. 99% of Greek scholars and Bible translators in the world DISAGREE with JWs.’

Bible Teaching: The NWT is wrong in translating John 1:1 as ‘a god’ for these reasons:

1. JWs claim that, because the second ‘θεος’ (theos) has no definite article, we should translate it as ‘a god’. (Kingdom Interlinear Translation, p 1139). Then why has the NWT JW version broken their rule four times in John 1:6, 12, 13, 18 by translating ‘θεος’ with no
article as ‘God’? They are inconsistent, as seen below:

Verse 1:
Verse 6:
Verse 12:
Verse 13:
Verse 18:

If the NWT was consistent, they should translate ‘θεος’ as ‘a god’ in these cases too:

v. 6 ‘There was a man sent from a god.’
v.12 ‘to them gave he power to become the children of a god.’
v.13 ‘nor of the will of man, but of a god.’
v.18 ‘no man hath seen a god at any time.’

This is clearly wrong and ridiculous. Why only in verse one do they refuse to translate ‘θεος’ as ‘God’? Because they don’t want Christ to be Jehovah God. The Watchtower’s mistranslation of John 1:1 is not supported by any Greek grammar textbook.

Many other verses have ‘θεος’ + no article, and yet are correctly translated as ‘God’, such as Matthew 5:9; 6:24; Luke 1:35, 78; 2:40; John 3:2, 21; 9:16, 33; I Corinthians 1:30; 15:10; Philippians 2:11,13; Titus 1:1; Romans 1:17, 18.

2. JWs say that by translating ‘θεος’ as ‘a god’, then Christ is a lesser god, a divine person.

Answer: If John had intended this adjectival sense (ie ‘the Word was divine’), he had an adjective θειος (theios=godlike2304) available to use as found in II Peter 1:3, 4 (‘divine power’ and ‘divine nature’), if Christ was just a divine lesser god.

Instead, John uses ‘θεος’ meaning ‘God’.

Spiros Zodhiates, in his book Was Christ God? ( p.102), states assertively: ‘It would, therefore, be totally wrong to translate the statement that John makes in John 1:1 as “the Word was divine”. The word which is used in the original Greek is θεος (theos) “God”, not θειος (theios) “divine”. Jesus Christ did not merely have divine
attributes, but He was God in His essence and nature. He was not a man who attained divinity, but God who humbled Himself to take upon Himself human nature in addition to His deity.’

3. Contrary to the Watchtower claim, ‘θεος’ (God) with the definite article (‘ό’) is used of Jesus Christ in the New Testament:

i) John 20:28.
ii) Matthew 1:23.
iii) Hebrews 1:8.

Hence, the same word ‘ό θεος’ (ho theos) used of the Father is also used of Christ.

4. JWs say that Jesus is ‘a god’. Jehovah disagrees with them in Isaiah 44:8 by saying: ‘Is there a God beside me? yea, there is no God; I know not any.’ (KJV and NWT).

Jehovah says that there is no ‘a God’ beside Him. This shows John 1:1 in the NWT to be wrong. Hence, Jesus cannot be ‘a God’, so He must be ‘the God’.

5. Ancient UNCIAL Greek manuscripts were all written in capital letters, so one could not distinguish between ‘God’ and ‘god’, except by the context, and whether the writer believed in one true God or in more than one god.

Ask: Did the Apostle John believe in one true God or more than one true God? Since John believed in one true God, we conclude that Jesus is the one true God in John 1:1.

6. JWs say that Jesus is ‘a god’ with Jehovah, as seen from ‘the Word was with God.’ They say that if Christ is ‘with’ God, He cannot be God.

Answer: ‘with’ (Greek ‘ προς’) means that Christ was so intimately connected with God, that He is God. ‘There are no gods together with me’. (Deuteronomy 32:39 NWT)

‘There is no god with me.’ (Deuteronomy 32:39 KJV)

Hence, Jehovah says that there are no gods with Jehovah, so Christ must be Jehovah God.

7. Every Greek scholar in the world is against the NWT translation of John 1:1 ‘the word was a god’. Examples include:

M.R.Vincent: ‘The λογος (logos) of John is the real personal God’.(Word Studies in Gk N,T ,p.383)

K.Wuest: ‘The Word was as to His essence absolute deity’.(Word Studies in Gk.NT p 209)

A.T.Robertson: ‘the Word was God, of Divine nature; not “a god”.’(Expositors Gk Testmnt, p.684)

Spiros Zodhiates: ‘In John 1:1, Jesus Christ in His pre-incarnate state is called the Word, presenting as the second person of the Godhead.’ (NT Word Study Dictionary, p 935)

W.E.Vine: ‘the λογος (logos), the Word, the personal manifestation, not of a part of the divine nature, but of the whole deity.’ (Complete Expository Dictionary of NT Words, p683)

8. All other gods are false gods.

Hence, Jesus Christ in John 1:1 must be either the only true God Jehovah or a false god. Which one?

9. Church Writers writing before 325 AD all agree that John 1:1 is ‘the Word was God’, and that it means that Jesus is fully God and man.

This verse was never disputed before the occultist Greber’s NT was published in 1937.

Notice 12 Church writers before 325 AD who all quote John 1:1 correctly as ‘the Word was God’. 

Question: Why do NONE of them quote it as ‘a god’?

• These early Church writers knew Greek as their mother tongue and first language,
• These men often were quoting from the original autographs.
1) Irenaeus, (120-202 AD) Vol 1, p 328,Vol 1, p 428,Vol 1, p 546
2) Theophilus of Antioch (115-181 AD)Vol 2, p 103,
3) Clement of Alexandria (153-217 AD) Vol 2, p 173,
4) Tertullian (145-220 AD), Vol 3 p 488, p 489, p 602, p 607
5) Origen (185-254 AD), Vol.4 p 262, Origen de Principiis p 291, 
p 553 Origen against Celsus p 603, p 642,
6) Cyprian (200-258 AD), Vol 5 p 516, p 518
7) Novatian (210-280 AD), Vol 5, p 624,p 624, p 642
😎 Hippolytus (170-236 AD), Vol 5, p.288.
9) Thaumaturgus (205 AD), Vol 6,p.69
10) Methodius (260-312 AD), Vol 6,p.381.
11) Alexander (273-326 AD),Vol 6,p.292
12) Tatian’s Diatessaron (150 AD), Vol 10, p 43

Note: Compare these quotes by Ante-Nicene Church fathers which contradict the Watchtower’s invented quotes of Church fathers on p7 of ‘Should you believe in the Trinity?’

10. TheWatchtower’s Kingdom Interlinear Translation (KIT, p.401) quote of John 1:1, in the left hand column has ‘god was the Word’, which CONTRADICTS the right hand column NWT translation which says ‘the word was a god’. Hence the Word (Christ who became flesh, v.14) is called ‘God’ on the LHS of the page, and ‘a god’ on the RHS of the page.

11. Greek grammar rules out ‘a god’.

JWs say that for Jesus to be Jehovah God here, there should be the definite article ‘the’ (Greek ‘ό’) before God (θεος). Because ‘θεος’ does not have the definite article ‘ό’ before it, JWs conclude that ‘the word’ was indefinite, and means ‘a god’.

Answer: A.T. Robertson Greek authority says (A Grammar of Greek NT, p.767): ‘Nouns in the Predicate: The article is not essential to speech....The word with the article (“ό”) is then the subject of the sentence, whatever the word order may be. So in John 1:1, “
ό λογος” , the subject is perfectly clear (“the word” = “ό λογος”, and it can only be “the word was God”.’

Key: Hence the article ‘the’ (ό) points out the subject (ό λογος) of the clause, and points out the predicate (θεος ) without the article.
If John had written ‘ό θεος ην ό λογος’ as the JWs would want, then John would be teaching false doctrine of Sabellianism (that Christ is all of God, that God and Christ are interchangeable, that the Father was the one who became incarnate, suffered and died).

Note: If the article is used with both the subject (ie. λογος ) and the predicate (ie. θεος), they would then be interchangeable as the subject nouns are in I John 3:4 (η αµαρτια εστιν η ανοµια) then both ‘sin is transgression’ and ‘transgression is sin’ are true’.

But in I John 4:16, ‘ ’ can only be ‘God is Love’, not ‘Love is God’ (because the article points out the subject). If the Greek language allowed us to say ‘Love is God’ just as readily as ‘God is Love’ in this verse, then God would not be a person, but just an abstract quality.
(see Was Christ God?, Spiros Zodhiates, p.98).

Conclusion: Hence, the absence of the definite artice ‘􀂆’ in John 1:1 is deliberate in order to identify ‘the Word’ as the subject of the sentence and to make it only to read as ‘the Word was God’. It has nothing to do with Christ being a lesser god as the JWs claim. Hence,
contrary to the NWT and The Emphatic Diaglott, the Greek grammatical construction leaves no doubt whatsoever that ‘the Word was God’ is the only possible rendering of the text.
 

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