John 1:1 ᾿Εν ἀρχῇ ἦν ὁ Λόγος, καὶ ὁ Λόγος ἦν πρὸς τὸν Θεόν, καὶ Θεὸς ἦν ὁ Λόγος.
I am not one given to commenting on trending issues. However, there is this teaching that has been going around for some months now, attempting to deny the deity of Jesus Christ based on a claim that, in the Koine Greek text of John 1:1, the word, Θεὸς (Theos) was used for “the Word” is different in meaning from Θεόν (Theon) used for God. This person has tried to build his theology on the divinity of Christ based on this premise. This claim has continued to persist and progressively transmuting to a disturbing level, and at this point, I am compelled to comment.
Considering the claim, the following question becomes germane. Is this claim that Θεὸς (Theos) and Θεόν (Theon) have different meanings and as such not the same, true? This is the premise, the basis of the assertion on the person of Jesus Christ, and as such needs to be scrutinize to either establish or debunk the assertion of that fellow.
It is common knowledge that the New Testament writings of the Bible from where the text under consideration is drawn from was originally written in Ελληνιστική Κοινή (Koine Greek). This implies that a knowledge of the grammar of that Koine Greek is necessary for anyone who appeals to the original language of the Bible (Septuagint and New Testament Koine Greek) to exegete the text.
Anyone that truly understands Koine Greek will know that in studying the language, the first thing you learn (after learning the basic building blocks of the grammar such as Greek alphabet, vowels, diphthongs, diaeresis, consonants clusters, accent, breathing marks, punctuation, and syllabification) is the Case system of Greek nouns.
Greek is a highly inflected language, and the morphology of most words change depending on their grammatical category or syntactic function. When this type of change occurs in the verbal system to indicate a change in tense, aspect, person, voice, mood, and number of the word, it is called conjugation.
Conversely, when such a change in morphology occurs in words within the noun system (nouns, pronouns, adjectives, adverbs, participles, and the definite article) as result of change in their case, number, and gender, it is known as declension.
Koine Greek has 5 Cases,
👉Nominative – used when the word is the subject of a sentence;
👉Genitive – when the noun is showing possession or source;
👉Dative when functioning as an indirect object;
👉Accusative when functioning as a direct object in the sentence; and
👉Vocative which is the addressing or calling case.
These functions of the cases stated here are basics since it will be out of scope to go into every detail of the complexity and application of the case system.
The change in the noun in John 1:1, from Θεόν (Theon) to Θεὸς (Theos) for God in Greek is not because of any difference in meaning, but simply because the word was playing two different functions in the sentence.
In the text under consideration, the word for God was spelt differently in the two instances because in the first instance, Θεόν (Theon), the word was functioning in the accusative case whereas in the second occurrence, Θεὸς (Theos), it was in the predicate nominative.
There are many other places in the New Testament where either form of the word is used for God without impinging on the force and reality of his divinity in any of those contexts. Therefore, to say that Theon is the Supreme God and Theos is the Son, and thus less than Theon, is crass ignorance!
In fact, in the Greek construction of the grammar of that text, the Word (ὁ Λόγος) was carefully placed in the statement to emphatically stress the essence and quality of the Word (Jesus) as the same with the person of God (the Father) – that the Word has all the divine attributes of the Father and as such is God.
Since the premise upon which the theology that seeks to impinge on the divinity of Christ is false, there is no point trying to further argue for or against the conclusion so reached, because the foundation of the supposition is faulty, or should I say, nonexistent.
It is shocking that someone can claim to be an expert in the biblical languages, and yet does not understand the elementary case system of the language he claims he knows. This does not even qualify to be categorized as an exegetical fallacy. The sad thing is that some, for whatever reasons, are falling for such half-baked exegesis, while urging the fellow on, in his linguistic nonsense and exegetical folly.
Some like playing too much to the gallery, intruding into things they do not understand, vainly puffed up by their fleshly mind. I conclude with the following:
Colossians 2:8 NLT Don’t let anyone capture you with empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking…
Written by Mark Agbawara