Reply to “The Word” (John 1:1)

Dear Biblical Unitarian,

I have to say this paper was quite confusing as it meandered all over the place. It made it difficult to follow any particular train of thought. There’s a rather long excursus in the middle which has nothing to do with “the Word” of John 1:1 which is, in and of itself, a topic of its own. So I’ll just get that out of the way first in order to concentrate on the more salient points.

Here’s a list of the verses brought up in the excursus (Gen 1:26-27; Mark 10:6,9; Col 1:16:17; Mark 13:19; Eph 3:9; Acts 17:24-25; Mal 2:10; Psa 33:6; Rev 4:11; Acts 4:24; Psa 50:10-12; Rom 8:17; Matt 4:8-10; Rev 3:21; Luke 1:35; Rom 1:4; Matt 28:18; Heb 1:3; Col 1:19). (more…)

Biblical Unitarian on The Word (John 1:1)

The Word

 1 In The beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being 4 in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.

…And the Word became flesh…

This passage is one of those really contested ones. I will start out with the most common Trinitarian interpretation and then give my rebuff. On average a person interprets it something like “Jesus is the Word, Jesus was in the beginning, Jesus was with God, and Jesus is God” “Then Jesus created all things”. Basically as Jesus=Word. Then we read the incarnation where Jesus takes on the human nature and becomes a man.

Let’s start with John 1:1 – So here is the first problem, everyone agrees that the “God” in the second clause is the Father, which I totally agree. All the arguing is about how “God” is used in the third clause. Now the standard Trinitarian argument is that it is qualitative. That part I agree with as well, I think it is qualitative. [I’m not going to go into explaining why right now] Meaning the qualities of the “word” = qualities of God. The departure I make here is that most people think of this as “divinity”. So a better way to say the standard argument is that Jesus is “divine”, as God is “divine”. This is where the famous “substance” in the Trinity comes from. My problem is that it turns the one God into a “substance” or “divine quality”. This is how the Trinity works though. Now each person can be fully God because they share this divine nature. I don’t think that John meant that, I think he just wanted to express that the Word is fully expressive of God, just as my words expresses myself. This is a much better interpretation since in order to view the Word as “divinity” it changes God into a quality, God fundamentally becomes one “it”. (more…)

The Imago Dei

Gen 1:27 “In the image of God He created them”

That’s in the opening chapter of the book of Genesis, a prominent location, stating the uniqueness of human beings in all of God’s creation. But what does it mean to be created in God’s image? In what ways does it make us different or unique from other animals? What exactly does the image consist of? (more…)

Love Wins, My Take on Rob Bell’s New Book

I chose not to make any comments on Rob Bell’s new book, “Love Wins” until after I had read it myself. So after reading it, let me state from the outset that Rob Bell is not a universalist; at least, not in the popular conception of what universalism entails: the salvation of all human beings everywhere regardless of whether they were an Adolf Hitler or a Mahatma Gandhi. Most people’s concept of universalism means that eventually everyone ends up in heaven. That’s not Rob Bell’s view.

Having said that, I don’t think this is Bell’s finest book. “Velvet Elvis” was a much better book. I think every Christian living in the 21st century should read that one! This book is more polemical, written to combat an extreme fundamentalist view of the afterlife. You know, you’ve seen those people carrying signs on the street corners proclaiming hell and eternal damnation. Frankly, they do more harm than good.

The book began when Bell’s Church had an art show regarding what it meant to be a peacemaker. Someone had included a Gandhi quote in her art piece to which someone else attached a piece of paper: “Reality check: He’s in Hell.” (more…)