Monday, March 09, 2015

The Apostle John's Use of HN ("was") in the Gospel's Prologue

Pretend that I make the following utterance: "I WAS at the store last night, when shots rang out of nowhere" (CAPS for emphasis). I guess that one could interpret the statement as "Edgar started and continued to be at the store last night," but that's probably not what I meant nor would hardly any English speaker interpret my utterance in that fashion.

Jehovah's Witnesses believe that the LOGOS is the beginning of creation (Rev. 3:14); however, I'm not so sure one can conclude the Apostle John is delineating the LOGOS' creaturely inception in Jn 1:1a when he refers to the "beginning." John may be saying that the LOGOS was the beginning, etc., but HN could simply just tell us the LOGOS "was" EN ARXHi without meaning that he came into existence then, or conversely, that he already existed when all things began and he now continued to exist. Whichever perspective is true, my concern is the role that HN plays in shaping theology and translation.

The LXX version of Gn 1:1 indicates that John may have the "beginning" mentioned by Moses in mind as opposed to referencing the creation of the LOGOS. In other words, I'm just not confident that HN can adjudicate whether Christ is God and uncreated or God's created Son, who started to exist at some point.

See John 1:9-13 for how the writer uses HN in the Prologue.

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