Is Jesus the Father according to Thomas' expression of faith?


#1

Anyone here studying Greek? A non-Trinitarian claims that in the Greek of John 20:28, the article “the” is placed before “God,” meaning that Thomas is referring to the Father and not Jesus Christ. I see that he may be correct, as in the case of John 1:1c (and the Word was God) John didn’t place the article “ho” (the) before (theos) “God” to emphasize the point that the Word was God but not the Father. If I recall that’s how John differentiates the Father from the Word. “Ho theos” (the God) for the Father, and just “theos” (God) for the Word. In John 20:28 it is “ho theos” which could only mean Thomas is admitting Jesus is the Father.

Here’s the Greek.

John 20:28 apekrithē Thōmas kai eipen autō HO kyrios mou kai ho theos mou

John 1:1 EN ARCHĒ ēn ho logos kai ho logos ēn pros ton theon kai theos ēn ho logos


#2

Short answer: sort of.

Longer answer: in Greek, the article is primarily used either to specify that the noun is an individual instance rather than an abstract idea (much like “the chocolate” rather than “chocolate”), or to identify which noun is the subject (the topic of the sentence) as opposed to a predicate complement (something which identifies a characteristic of the subject).

In Jn 1:1, the latter is happening: θεος ην 'ο λογος says that the phrase is telling us about λογος, and that θεος is a characteristic of λογος - “The Word was God/divine”, not “God was the Word”.

In Jn 20:28, the article is being used the other way, in conjunction with a possessive: 'ο κυριος μου και ‘ο θεος μου specifies “My master and my God”. Since Thomas ειπεν αυτωι (said to him, i.e. to Jesus) these words, he is addressing the statement of divinity to the person in front of him, not just exclaiming generally. Such a statement could have seen him stoned to death for blasphemy, had anyone else overheard it, because it does very clearly identify Jesus as Thomas’ god.

This means that either a/ Thomas was identifying Jesus with the Father as God, or b/ Thomas was replacing the Father with Jesus. Considering that Thomas continues among the apostles (q.v. Jn 21:2), the former is far more likely.


#3

The person you are speaking with is incorrect.

While the rule is that every noun in Koine Greek should be preceded by a definite article, the author of John does not employ this rule universally in reference to he word “theos.” Persons unfamiliar with the fact that ancient writers were not sticklers for always observing grammatical rules are often surprised to learn this fact, but in reality some of the New Testament texts do NOT provide the most sterling example of how to properly use Greek.

To illustrate, though John uses the definite article “ho” for God the Father in John 1:1, he then doesn’t use it at 1:6, 12, 13 or 18 where he clearly is speaking of God the Father. This happens in the epistles of John too, such as at 1 John 4:6, where God the Father is spoken of three times but never has the definite article as the rules require.

The appearance of the definite article occurs in John 20:28 because that is how idiom in Greek announces a claim to something. There is no equivalent for the English word “my” here, so it reads instead: “The Lord of me and the God of me.” The use of the definite articles here is simply vernacular convention to show possession or connection with. Since the author provides no reliable pattern outside of such instances as to when one can expect the definite article to be included prior to the noun “theos,” one cannot make up a rule that the appearance of said article always and exclusively means one thing or another to the author or for the reader.


#4

Really? That sounds really strange to me, for two reasons:

(1) Attic Greek doesn’t have any such rule.

and

(2) I can’t imagine prepositional phrases in Greek like “to God” (eis theon) often including the article. Are they all breaking the rule?


#5

Simple…

First, the New Testament is written in KOINE Greek, not Attic. Koine came some time after Attic Greek.

Second, John 1:1 begins with the exact type of phrase you state you cannot imagine: “…and the Word was with God,” or “kai o logos ēn pros ton theon,” which is literally a preposition that comes before a noun with the definite article, namely: “and the word was toward the god.”

Because of this rule in Koine Greek there is actually a name for nouns that occur without an article, an “anarthrous noun.” So, yes, there is a lot of rule breaking but you have to understand that rules were not as closely followed in ancient tongues like they are now…and this is why it is often difficult to translate them.


closed #6

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