In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God [TON THEON], and the Word was God [THEOS]. The same was in the beginning with God [TON THEON]. -- John 1:1,2, World English - transliterations from the Westcott & Hort Interlinear.
In order to get trinity out of John 1:1, the trinitarian has to assume and read into the verse several things: (1) that two persons of the trinity-god are being spoken of here, and (2) that God whom the Logos was with is their alleged "first person" of the trinity, and (3) that THEOS applied to the Logos is their alleged "second person" of the trinity. Then, (4) they have add to these assumptions that these two alleged persons of their trinity are both the same one true God. Rather than assuming and adding such to the scriptures, it is best to simply let the scriptures have their own say, applying spiritual revealing with spiritual revealing. -- 1 Corinthians 2:10,13.
The word THEOS is being applied to the LOGOS in John 1:1, but this does not mean that John was saying that Jesus was the only true God whom the LOGOS was with, as it should be apparent since twice John states that the LOGOS was with God. Jesus declares that One whom he was with before the world was made was the only true God (John 17:1,3,5), thus the scriptures make it plain that John is not saying that the Logos was the only true God whom the Logos was with. Therefore, the term THEOS as applied to the Logos should be applied with the general meaning of the Hebraic words for deity/divinity (form of EL, ELOHIM), that is, of strength, power, might.
While most translations render "kai theos een ho logos" as "the Word was God," Moffat renders this phrase as "the Word was divine." Julius Mantey declares that the phrase means "the Word was deity." We should have no objection to rendering theos as divine or deity, if one applies the terms divine and deity with the general meaning of strength, might, power, rather than as Supreme Being -- the Might of the Universe. James Parkinson, in his footnote of the American Revised Version Improved and Corrected, suggests "mighty was the Word." This would be the better rendering, or a rendering such as "the Word was mighty," both of which would distinguish the Word from the only true God whom the Logos was with. This would be in agreement with the rest of the scriptures, where the words for deity / divinity are applied to persons (and even things) who are not Yahweh in a general sense of might, power or strength.
The best point to begin with to show this usage is with John 10:34,35, where Jesus quotes/references Psalms 82:1,6, where both forms of the Hebrew word EL and ELOHIM are applied the sons of the Most High, the sons to whom the Logos came (as Jesus explained). In John 10:34,35, the word ELOHIM is rendered as THEOI, the plural of THEOS. According the King James Version, God [ELOHIM] standeth in the congregation of the mighty [EL]. (Psalm 82:1) In reference to the sons of the Most High, the KJV renders the term EL as "the mighty." I believe that the KJV is correct in this rendering. Applying this scriptural principle to THEOS in John 1:1, we would likewise have "the Logos was mighty."
Of course, this is not the only place that the KJV renders forms of the words EL (Strong's Hebrew #410) and ELOHIM (Strong's Hebrew #430) with terms showing mightiness or strength. Here are a few scriptures: Genesis 23:6 (mighty); Genesis 30:8 (mighty); Genesis 31:29 (power); Deuteronomy 28:32 (might); 1 Samuel 14:15 (great); Nehemiah 5:5 (power); Psalm 8:5 (angels); Psalm 36:6 (great); Proverbs 3:27 (power); Psalm 29:1 (mighty); Ezekiel 32:21 (strong); Jonah 3:3 (exceeding). The point is the King James translators, in all these verses, did not render the word for deity/divinity [EL] as "God" or as "god", but with terms of might, strength, great, power and might.
All of the spirit beings, by "nature" of the superior might given to them by the Almighty are scripturally designated as el or elohim, and thus can be spoken of as divine -- mighty -- in being. -- Psalm 8:5 (compare Hebrews 2:9; also Psalm 50:1 and 96:4 could be speaking of angels as elohim); 45:6,7; Isaiah 9:6,7; John 1:1,2; Acts 2:33; 5:31; Ephesians 1:20,22; Philippians 2:9-11; Hebrews 1:2-4,8; 1 Peter 1:21; 3:22.
Likewise, the firstborn creature (Colossians 1:15), who existed before all the creation that was created by means of him (Colossians 1:17), can certainly also have the term theos applied to him without meaning that he is the only true God who sent him. Indeed, before he became a man, he "was" a mighty spirit being, having a heavenly glory that he did not possess while he was a human. -- John 17:5; 1 Corinthians 15:40. See also:
Please note that I do not necessarily agree with all that is stated in these books. -- Ronald
When Jesus Became God -- Gives a lot of historical background.
The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture - The Effect of Early Christological Controversies
on the Text of the New Testament
on the Text of the New Testament
Concepts of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit - A Classification and Description of the Trinitarian and Non-Trinitarian Theologies Existent Within ChristendomJesus Was Not a Trinitarian
The Trinity's Weak Links Revealed A chain is only as strong as its weakest link.
Original post date: December 25, 2008