I have been perusing a book here lately by John Behr entitled The
Way to Nicaea. Crestwood, NY: St. Vladimir's Seminary Press, 2001.
This monograph provides an interesting historical account of how the
Trinity dogma developed through time. Of course, the author is pro-
Trinitarian and concludes what one a priori thinks he will conclude.
But I found this passage in his work to be of interest:
"There are no applications of the term 'God' (hO QEOS) to Jesus
Christ in the Synoptics, while the Gospel according to John, on the
other hand, both categorically affirms and explicitly denies the
applicability of this term, so presenting, again, a heightened,
profound, antithetical tension. The most striking use of the
term 'God' occurs in Christ's own statement, 'this is eternal life,
that they might know you, the only true God (TON ALHQINON QEON), and
Jesus Christ, whom you have sent' (Jn 17:3). Despite associating the
knowledge of Jesus Christ with the knowledge of God in the
identification of eternal life, and how could it be otherwise when
John repeatedly affirms that there is no other way to the Father but
through the Son, nevertheless only the Father merits the title 'God'
(ho QEOS). The description of this only true God as 'Father' is
frequent in John" (page 60).
However, Behr goes on to contend that Jn 1:1c says that the Word is
fully God. But I think he makes this assumption on a faulty premise,
namely, Colwell's rule. He also appeals to Jn 1:18 which is riddled
with many textual issues as we have discussed on this list. But at
any rate, it does not appear that 1:18 is saying that the Son is
fully God in the same way that the Father is hO QEOS: he is the
unique or brought-forth god.
Finally Behr references Jn 20:28. He then writes: "This is the most
categorical and explicit affirmation of Jesus Christ as God, in the
fullest (articular) sense, in the pages of the New Testament. Yet it
must hold inseparably together with the affirmation that it is the
Father of Jesus who alone is the one true God; on this basis, it is
possible to affirm that Jesus is as divine as his Father is, and as
such can be addressed as himself God" (61).
Friday, September 18, 2015
John 17:3 and John Behr