Friday, February 10, 2012

DIA in Colossians 1:15-17 Rather Than hUPO

One of my favorite books is Emil Brunner's Dogmatics (Volume I) entitled "The Christian Doctrine of God."
On page 308 of his work, Brunner writes concerning Colossians 1:15-17:

"In this connexion the truth which we have already seen acquires new significance, that the world, it is true, was created THROUGH--DIA--the Son, but not BY--hUPO--the Son, that it has been created IN Him and UNTO Him, but that He Himself is never called the Creator. It has pleased God the Creator to create the world in the Son, through the Son, and unto the Son. The fact that between the Creator and the Creation there stands the Mediator of creation means that the world is an act of the freedom of God, that it does not proceed from the Logos."

While Brunner thinks that the Son of God is "eternal," he does not reason that Christ is ever called "Creator" in Scripture. He argues that the LOGOS is the mediate agent of creation or the one through whom God brings forth the KOSMOS. But the Son is never referred to as Creator in Scripture. Furthermore, not only does the apostle Paul describe the role of the LOGOS in passive verbal terms at Col 1:15-17--he does not employ hUPO to delineate the LOGOS' office vis-à-vis creation.

Brunner insists the Greek preposition hUPO demonstrates that Christ is not being identified as the Creator in Col 1:15-17. I concur with his assessment and suggest that a comprehensive study of Greek literature will support this specific point. If Paul had wanted to identify Jesus as the Creator in Col 1:15-17, it seems that he would have employed hUPO instead of DIA.

19 comments:

Matt13weedhacker said...

Great point.

I like the way Kenneth Wuest brings the difference out in his Expanded NT between

* the ( intermediate ) agent

and

* the ( direct ) agent

1ST CORINTHINAS 8:6: “...yet to us there is one God, the Father, out from whom as a source are all things and we for Him, and one Lord Jesus Christ, [Gk., ( διὰ )] through whose intermediate agency all things exist and we [Gk., ( διὰ )] through Him...” - (Wuest, Kenneth S., The New Testament: An Expanded Translation, Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1997.)

JOHN 1:3: “...All things [Gk., ( διὰ )] through His intermediate agency came into being...” - (Wuest, Kenneth S., The New Testament: An Expanded Translation, Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1997.)

JOHN 1:10: “...the universe [Gk., ( διὰ )] through His intermediate agency came into existence...” - (Wuest, Kenneth S., The New Testament: An Expanded Translation, Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1997.)

COLOSSIANS 1:16: “...All things [Gk., ( διὰ )] through Him as intermediate agent and with a view to Him stand created...” - (Wuest, Kenneth S., The New Testament: An Expanded Translation, Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1997.)

HEBREWS 1:1–4: “...Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, [Gk., ( διὰ )] through whom also He constituted the ages...” - (Wuest, Kenneth S., The New Testament: An Expanded Translation, Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1997.)

Even though he is biased toward the trinity.

Matt13weedhacker said...

I once posted this comment along similar lines on the History Channel forum:

THE BIBLE NEVER CALLS JESUS: “...THE CREATOR...”

IN THE BIBLE CREATION JESUS IS NEVER: Gk., ( ἐκ οῦ ) “...out of whom as a source...”
IN THE BIBLE CREATION JESUS IS NEVER: Gk., ( ὑπὸ ) “...directly by...”
IN THE BIBLE CREATION JESUS IS NEVER: Gk., ( ἐκ ) “...out of...”
IN THE BIBLE CREATION JESUS IS NEVER: Gk., ( ἀπὸ ) “...from...”

OF JESUS IT IS ONLY EVER: Gk., ( ἐν ) “...in...”
OF JESUS IT IS ONLY EVER: Gk., ( διὰ ) “...through...”
OF JESUS IT IS ONLY EVER: Gk., ( εἰς ) “...into...” or “...for...”

THE BIBLE DOES SAY JESUS WAS: Gk., ( ἔκτισέν ) “...created...”

PROVERBS 8:22 LXX GREEK OT: “...ΚΎΡΙΟΣ ἔκτισέν με...”

LXX(E): “...[the] Lord [Heb., ( JEHOVAH )] created me...”

Matt13weedhacker said...

I have a question.

I have always been curious about the meaning of the dative case in the phrase Gk., ( ἐν αὐτῷ ) in Colossians 1:16(a).

Which with my limited understanding of Greek is literally:

Gk., ( ἐν αὐτῷ ) "...in ( to ) him..."

The Dative, from my understanding, (so far), basically means the subject is the:

"...reciever of the action..."

Perhaps, (and only perhaps) the thought - might - be:

"...in [conection] to [or with] him..."

Perhaps reading like this:

( MODIFIED ) YOUNG'S LITERAL TRANSLATION:
"...because in [conection with] him were the all things created, those in the heavens, and those upon the earth, those visible, and those invisible, whether thrones, whether lordships, whether principalities, whether authorities; all things ( through ) him, and ( for ) him, have been created..."

But since (as is already pointed out in your post above) it is stated later in the same sentence:

Gk., ( εἰς αὐτὸν ) "...( into ) him..." or "...( for ) him..."

Perhaps it is a needless repetion of the same/similar idea.

I have always struggled on the understanding of this one small phrase.

Please dont get me wrong by asking this question.

I accept "...in him..." happily and am content with that.

But I was wondering if there is something I am missing in the subtle nuances of the grammar.

Are you able to help?

Marvin Vincent says of Gk., ( ἐν αὐτῷ )

VINCENT'S WORD STUDIES
“...By him ( ἐν αὐτῶ ) Rev., in Him. In is not instrumental but local; not denying the instrumentality...”
http://bible.cc/colossians/1-16.htm

Which is contridictory.

ROBINSONS WORD PICTURES
"...In him were created (en autōi ektisthē). Paul now gives the reason (hoti, for) for the primacy of Christ in the work of creation..."

Which is not much help either.

Matt13weedhacker said...

Basil of Caesarea in his De Spiritu Sancto, aware of this truth, (as poined out in your post), - attempts to - undermine and destroy this argument.

But thats all he does - attempts to!

In my mind he fails misserably.

He uses many weak and strained arguments as well contradicting the earlier Christian writers of the ANF.

Edgar Foster said...

Hi Matt13:

I think it would be fair to say that EN + the dative case would literally be rendered "in him." As for the dative case itself, I originally learned that it describes how action affects the indirect object: I also learned that it was the "to" or "for" case. but while none of these observations are incorrect, the matter becomes more complex with Greek prepositions and cases.

As you've suggested above, context is a factor that must be considered when translating the dative case. One must reflect on how the dative is being used in context. What is its particular usage in a determinate context?

For example, EN + dative could be locative (maybe locative of sphere) or it could be instrumental. The Old Vine's dictionary used to describe constructions like Colossians 1:16 that way. Compare 2 Cor 5:19.

But I prefer to say that Col 1:16 is probably a dative of agent while acknowledging that it could be understood differently. Cf. also Hebrews 1:1-3.

Matt13weedhacker said...

Thank you Edgar.

I have a very vague idea of what "...locative of sphere..." and "...instrumental..." mean in my mind, but what do they mean to you?

Locative = a location or sphere ( where ) activity takes place?

Instrumental = the instrument used to accomplish an act?

Agent = the person used to accomplish an act in behalf of?

Matt13weedhacker said...

In the seconds since I posted my last comment I glanced at your cross reference on Heb 1:1-3; and it made me think.

The ( Over-all ) Biblical context, such as the list of verses posted before, John 1:3,10; 1st Cor 8:6; Heb 1:3; etc., make it clear that "...IN HIM..." is really clarified by the overwhelming majority of references to "...( THROUGH ) HIM..." and "...( FOR ) HIM..." etc, which makes an understanding of his position and activity in the creation easier to understand.

Plus being the "...CREATED [...] Master Worker..." who according to the LXX brings "...harmony..." or "...order..." into his Fathers creative works, (of which he is one himself), makes it very obvious that he was not the creator himself.

I guess I should get out a grammar and do a bit of homework myself on the Locative and Instrumental etc.

Thank you for allowing me to post my coments and for answering my questions.

aservantofJehovah said...

Some suggest that the term "dia" in fact means that Christ is the initiator of the act of creation and point to
Hebrews2:10 where "dia" is used of God the father.What would your response be here.

Matt13weedhacker said...

Whoever you are A-SERVANT-OF-JEHOVAH - you have raised a good question.

After looking at the Greek in Heb 2:10 and the double Gk., ( διὰ ) - I have to admit this is not an easy question to answer straight away and will require more research.

Do you have any suggestions?

I still stand by Edgars information above and my earlier comments.

The Tri{3}nitarians will have to shut their eyes to the Elephant sitting in the corner of the room consisting of Prov 8:22 LXX and Col 1:15.

He is the first creature ever created by Jehovah.

aservantofJehovah said...

@Matt13weedhacker:I usually like to point out that the verb associated with "dia" here is not the verb "to create" but the verb "to exist" so the question arises is Jehovah the subject of this verb.

aservantofJehovah said...

@Weed13hacker:Acts17:28NIV"For in him we live and move and have our being.."
Who is the subject of the verbs in this sentence?

Matt13weedhacker said...

QUOTE: "...I usually like to point out that ( the verb ) associated with "dia" here is not the verb "to create" but ( the verb "to exist" ) so the question arises is Jehovah the subject of ( this verb )..." - (Emphasis Added)

Can you point out in the Greek which word is "...this verb "to exist"..." please?

ΠΡΟΣ ΕΒΡΑΙΟΥΣ 2:10 Greek NT: Westcott/Hort with Diacritics
Ἔπρεπεν γὰρ αὐτῷ, δι’ ὃν τὰ πάντα καὶ δι’ οὗ τὰ πάντα πολλοὺς υἱοὺς εἰς δόξαν ἀγαγόντα τὸν ἀρχηγὸν τῆς σωτηρίας αὐτῶν διὰ παθημάτων τελειῶσαι.

Kingdom Interlinear Literal Text: "...It-was-fitting for ( to )-him, through ( whom ) the all-things and through ( whom ) the all-things, many sons into glory having-led the Cheif-Leader of-the salavation of-them through sufferings to-perfect..." - (Emphasis Added)

"...to exist..." seems to be ( implied ) and therefore an adition to the text by the translator for ( sense ), but not actually in the Greek text.

Edgar Foster said...

Mt 13,

I agree with your remarks on what the instrumental, locative and agency usages mean.

aservantofJehovah said...

O.K let me try one more time.
Ephesians4:6NIV"one God and Father of all,who is over all and through(dia)all and in(en) all."
Did Jehovah cause all things or did all things cause Jehovah.

Matt13weedhacker said...

Not exactly sure where your coming from A-SERVANT-OF-JEHOVAH.

But, Edgar has answered my initial question sufficiently with his latest post, thank you.

Matt13weedhacker said...

CORNELIUS LAPIDE (circa. 1567-1637 C.E.): “...You will ask, - ( WHY THEN ) - does S. John use the preposition Gk., ( διὰ ) Ltn., ( per ), or “...through...” instead of Gk., ( ύπὸ ) “...by...” when he says that all things were made Gk., ( διὰ ) through Him?...” - (Notes on John 1:3, “SCRIPTURE COMMENTARY,” 1616.)

aservantofJehovah said...

I am simply stating that the one (dia) whom the verb is done,is never the subject of that verb.

Anonymous said...

Excellent point. Trinitarians would have us believe that this text means "Jesus is the uncreated creator of all things because all things were created through his intermediate agency." Apparently they cannot realize that this is a contradiction and a confusion between various forms of causation. They presume that because Christ is spoken of as the instrumental and final cause of all things he must be the ultimate cause of all things. But this is absurd; an instrumental or final cause of something can never be the same as its ultimate cause by definition.

Edgar Foster said...

Thanks for your input. I like how you show the difference between final and instrumental causation, and how both concepts affect Trinitarianism.