“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” I know this is by far the most common translation of John 1:1 but recently I have had a lot of trouble with it.
As some of you may know, Jehovah Witnesses translate this in the NWT," In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was a god." This is done because the Word was God is lacking the definite article in the Greek.
JWs say Jesus is a god in the sense that he was given divine authority with god in a similar (but obviously much greater) sense that the judges in Psalm 82 (which Jesus defends himself with when accused of blasphemy, John 10:35), Moses in Exodus 7:1, and Satan in 2 Corinthians 4:4. So it would appear that if one is given or allowed to have divine authority/power/rulership by God, they can rightfully be called God without the definite article, which in English is often translated god (when it is not applied to the Father).
Apparently a god, God, or divine are all translations consistent with Greek grammar in John 1:1 where it says the Word was God. Then I stumbled upon some of this material, which I was wondering if somebody could explain.
As many of you also may know, Word in John 1 is Logos in Greek which was a philosophical term carrying a lot of meaning in biblical times. John and Paul both use the terminology of Philo (hellenized Jewish philosopher) to describe the Logos/Son in the Bible (firstborn of creation, the thing God created everything through, God revealing himself to his creation, the sustainer of all things).
Check out page 169 of this link… books.google.ca/books?id=uxdlq2iAU2AC&pg=PA169&lpg=PA169&dq=Ho+Theos+Philo&source=bl&ots=tdDHwIK8ZG&sig=rtprGoHG24-dqqIXhrpdWSo55go&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjuoKbB9IDPAhXBFh4KHYq-DZoQ6AEILjAE#v=onepage&q=Ho%20Theos%20Philo&f=false
Here, Philo says that the logos can be called God in the sense that divine authorities like angels and men can be called God, but he is inferior to the True God. He distinguishes them by calling the logos God (like angels and men) and calling the Father the God. Why would John use this culturally familiar concept to describe the Son without 100% clarifying that the Son is not inferior to the Father by using the definite article? Especially if people at the time described the logos as inferior to God by not using the definite article in the Greek…
I had no way to explain this, and then to make things worse I stumbled across this…
If you go to this link and scroll to the post, posted on Wednesday, December 23, 2009, it is called “In Coptic, the Choice of Article IS Significant”
Unlike the Greek, the Coptic language possessed an indefinite article. They translated it “a god.” This is a 3rd century translation and this translation was held by philosopher/early Christian writer Origen.
So if anybody could ease my mind in regards to John 1:1 by explaining to me how I should take all of the above info please help. I would greatly appreciate it as I was brought up with similar views to JW’s in regards to Jesus being God’s first creation and him being inferior to his Father but have been seriously considering converting to the Catholic faith. Please be patient with me and any help would be appreciated.