Wednesday, May 21, 2014

John 20:28 And Its Proximity To John 20:30-31

originally posted 12/8/14

Most know the arguments for why John 20:28 teaches the full deity of Christ. Both Trinitarians and anti-Trinitarians (though, obviously the latter reject that interpretation). I'll quickly summarize the arguments later in this blogpost.

For now I want to point something out. What is often forgotten is John 20:28 and it's NEARNESS to John 28:30-31.

30    Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book;31 but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.- John 20:30-31
 Here in John 20:30-31 we have the author(s) of the Gospel of John tell us why he wrote the book. That is, the purpose and goal of its composition. With this fact in mind, combined with the fact that the statements right before (in John 20:28) are made the way they are, should tell us something important. The author would naturally be THAT MUCH MORE CAREFUL AND PRECISE in his statements right before 20:30-31. Yet what do we find? We find the author clearly approving Thomas calling Jesus "ho theos." These facts should therefore lend support to the idea that the author does see Jesus as fully God because he has no objection or aversion to calling Jesus "ho theos" (i.e. "the God" with the definite article).

If Jesus isn't really and truly God, then shouldn't we expect John not to call Jesus "ho theos"? Especially right before the reason for the writing of the book is given in verses 30-31?

If Jesus really isn't fully God, then the author of the Gospel of John did a very poor job in writing the book. Since, he gives a very misleading narrative and statement as the nearest incident recorded right before he explains his motive for authoring his Gospel.

The above assumed the reader knows the argument that can be made for Jesus' full deity based on John 20:28. I'll summarize the argument here.

28 Thomas answered him, "My Lord and my God!"- John 20:28

Some anti-Trinitarians argue that Thomas was making a statement of surprise similar to our common "Oh my God" (often abbreviated OMG in SMS language or textese when phone texting). However, that can't be the case since that would be an indirect violation of the 3rd commandment not to take the name of God in vain. Such a frivolous use of the word for the Supreme Deity would be blasphemous to a Jew at that time. Moreover, Jesus doesn't correct Thomas in his statement (or misstatement per this interpretation).

Other anti-Trinitarians argue that Thomas was referring to the Father as "My Lord and My God." Not to Jesus. That Thomas may have seen the resurrected Jesus and then in awe looked heavenward to God the Father and address Him as "My Lord and My God." However, the text specifically states that "Thomas answered and said to Him" (NASB), that is to Jesus. The text makes it clear that Thomas was addressing Jesus by using the word "him."

And what does Thomas actually say? In Greek (transliterated) it says, "ho kurios mou, kai ho theos mou." Which literally is, "The Lord of me, and the God of me." Anti-Trinitarians admit that the phrase "ho theos" ("the God" with the definite article "the") is most often (almost exclusively) used of the "one true God" (i.e. Almighty God). Yet, here we have Jesus being called "ho theos." As I asked above, If Jesus isn't really and truly God, then shouldn't we expect John not to call Jesus "ho theos"?

Interestingly, Matt. 1:23 has it's author quoting Isa. 7:14 and interpreting "Immanuel" as "God with us" with the Greek having "ho theos." Even the Even the (anti-Trinitarian) Jehovah's Witnesses Kingdom Interlinear (1969 and 1985) says, "With us the God."

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