Not Declining the Divine Name?

John writes some strange things in Revelation, aka The Apocalypse of Jesus Christ. An angel fills a golden censer with fire from the heavenly altar, and throws it to the earth. And there’s an angel standing in the sun, crying with a loud voice to birds flying mid-heaven, “Come and gather together for the great supper of God.”

More mundane perhaps is the case below. It appears John does not decline the Divine Name. Now why would that be strange?

The One Who Is

Before proceeding directly, some necessary background must be provided. The applicable verbiage in Revelation 1:4, our subject verse, comes not from the Hebrew but the Greek of Exodus 3:14.1 This portion of the Greek ‘Old Testament’ was translated from the Hebrew Bible (Tanakh) by Jews in the middle of the 3rd century BC.2 Exodus 3:13 is included, in order to provide necessary context:

3:13 Then Moses said to God, “Behold: I shall go to the sons of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of our fathers has sent me to you.’ They shall ask me, ‘What is His Name?’ What shall I tell them?” 14 God replied to Moses, “I AM THE ONE WHO IS [EGŌ EIMI HO ŌN].” Then He said, “So tell the sons of Israel, ‘THE ONE WHO IS [HO ŌN] has sent me to you.’”3

Moses is concerned that telling the Israelites “The God of our fathers has sent me to you” will be deficient. They may also want to know His Name. In response, God first provides what appears to be His Name:4I AM THE ONE WHO IS.” The pertinent portion is THE ONE WHO IS, for this forms part of God’s directive to Moses when He speaks again:  “So tell the sons of Israel, ‘THE ONE WHO IS [HO ŌN] has sent me to you.’”

It will prove beneficial to examine the (transliterated) Greek. We will begin with an overly literal word-for-word translation, and then proceed until we reach a more suitable rendering at the bottom. In the first part of verse 14 is God’s initial reply to Moses:

EGŌ EIMI HO ŌN
I I-am the being/existing5
I am the existing (one)
I am the-one existing
I am He-who exists/is
I am He Who Is
I am The One Who Is

EGŌ is simply the first person singular pronoun “I”. The second word, EIMI, is the first person singular finite verb “be” (“I-am”). Since person and number are encoded in all Greek finite verbs, each one has a built-in subject. In this instance, it is the first person singular “I”. Therefore, strictly speaking, the pronoun “I” (EGŌ) is not necessary and likely implies emphasis. So, the initial part of God’s response should be understood as the emphatic “I AM”.

The third word, HO, is the Greek article.6 It can be crudely translated simply “the”. In our context, the article functions to substantivize the participle following it. In other words, the Greek article + participle here form a noun, a nominative.

To further explain, a Greek participle is a non-finite verb, which means it can never be a complete sentence unto itself.7 Participles can function either as adverbs (modifying a verb) or adjectives (modifying a noun). When the article precedes it, as it does here (the article HO + participle ŌN), the participle is functioning as an adjective. And when the combination of article + participle stands alone,8 it is a substantival, taking the place of a noun. HO ŌN is in the nominative case, functioning here as the predicate nominative. ŌN is the masculine singular present participle of “be” (=“being”, “existing”, “is”), and taken together with the article yields: THE ONE WHO IS.

A Greek article also encodes grammatical gender (masculine, feminine, or neuter), matching that of its associated part of speech—in this case the participle. Hence, they are both masculine. Therefore, a valid translation is HE WHO IS. For our purposes, we will use THE ONE WHO IS.9

Thus, we translate the above I AM THE ONE WHO IS. The predicate nominative of this proclamation then becomes the subject nominative in God’s instructions to Moses to tell the sons of Israel: ‘THE ONE WHO IS has sent me to you.’

With this background provided, we shall proceed to the applicable portion of Revelation 1:4:

1:4 John to the seven ekklēsiais in Asia: Grace to you, and peace from [apo] THE ONE WHO IS [HO ŌN], THE ONE WHO WAS [HO ĒN], and THE ONE WHO IS COMING [HO ERCHOMENOS]…

John the Revelator is using poor Greek grammar! In the first instance [HO ŌN], it appears John does not decline the Divine Name. To be more specific, in the prepositional phrase (PP) beginning with apo (“from”), THE ONE WHO IS should be grammatically declined to the genitive case [TOU ONTOS], not remain in the nominative case [HO ŌN]. R. H. Charles explains John’s apparent rationale:

We have here a title of God conceived in the terms of time. The Seer [John] has deliberately violated the rules of grammar in order to preserve the divine name inviolate from the change which it would necessarily have undergone if declined. Hence the divine name is here in the nominative [case].10

Mathewson provides further comment:

This PP [prepositional phrase] is one of the first clear examples of John’s numerous solecisms. Here the preposition apo is followed by the nominative case (ho) rather than the expected genitive (tou). There is broad agreement that the grammatical incongruity is intentional . . . The most likely explanation is that by grammatical incongruity the author wishes to draw attention to the titular nature of this expression and the OT text from which it comes: Exod 3:14.11

Of the three elements, the first [HO ŌN] and third [HO ERCHOMENOS] follow the same pattern. Each uses the nominative case in the form of the substantival Greek article + participle after their common preposition apo (“from”). So, both seem to follow the same logic and purpose, if grammatically odd.

The second element, however, is grammatically worse than the other two! It is not ‘merely’ a nominative where it should be in the genitive case. It is in the incongruous form of Greek article + finite verb. Recall that a finite verb encodes person and number; so, each has a built-in subject, and each can form a complete sentence. Thus, if we were to translate the second element word-for-word, it would be the nonsensical THE ONE WHO HE WAS, HE WHO HE WAS, THE HE WAS, or THE WAS. In other words, even when standing on its own—outside the apo (“from”) PP—this construction (article + finite verb) is nonsensical.

Yet this can be explained somewhat. The verb “be” in Greek (EIMI) lacks a past participle, and so the finite verb ĒN (WAS) is substituted as the closest compromise. The purpose of the article preceding it—though absolutely wrong grammatically—is to retain parallelism with the other elements in this PP to the extent possible.12

But one might contend (this writer would) that THE ONE WHO IS [HO ŌN] by itself sufficiently connotes eternality; that is, if God simply IS, then this implies He has no beginning and no end.13 Swete observes that “the [Jewish] Targums read into the words [the Hebrew of Exodus 3:14] a reference to the infinite past and future of God’s eternal ‘now’”.14 

In his Prepositions and Theology, Murray J. Harris refers to this text of Rev 1:4.15 After providing various explanations for the grammatical anomalies, he concludes, “The easiest and most common explanation is that this threefold title of Yahweh is an indeclinable noun that by its very form effectively highlights the unchangeable and eternal character of God.”16

Divine Name or Title?

The careful reader may have observed that HO ŌN is sometimes referred to as the Divine Name and other times as a title or part of a longer title, depending on the source. The larger context of Exodus 3 may provide clarity on this. Following is the same selection above but with the next two verses included:

3: 13 Then Moses said to God, “Behold: I shall go to the sons of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of our fathers has sent me to you.’ They shall ask me, ‘What is His Name?’ What shall I tell them?” 14 God replied to Moses, “I AM THE ONE WHO IS.” Then He said, “So tell the sons of Israel, ‘THE ONE WHO IS has sent me to you.’” 15 Then God spoke again to Moses, “So, say this to the sons of Israel: ‘The LORD [Hebrew: YHWH], the God of your fathers—God of Abraham, God of Isaac, and God of Jacob—has sent me to you.’ This is My Name forever and how I am to be remembered from generation to generation.16 Now go and gather together the elders of Israel and say to them, ‘The LORD [YHWH], the God of your fathers, appeared to me—God of Abraham, God of Isaac, and God of Jacob…’ ”

Observe that God specifically states His Name as “The LORD [YHWH]” in verse 15. The Greek ‘OT’ consistently translates the Tetragrammaton (YHWH) as KYRIOS. English versions usually render this the all caps LORD. The portion following His Name, “the God of your fathers”, should probably be understood such that it further describes/defines “The LORD [YHWH]”.

So what do we make of THE ONE WHO IS? Is it to be understood as yet another Name? A Title?

Prior to the transcription of the Targums, a section of the Jewish pseudepigraphic work Sibylline Oracles dated ca. 2nd century BC–20 BC17 describes God as existing eternally, by using present participles of “be” [accusative forms]:

3:15 But He, Himself eternal, has revealed Himself 16 as One Who Is/Exists [ONTA], and so even heretofore exists [prin EONTA], and yet even still hereafter.18

The way this is phrased, it seems that the first part of the sentence (“But He, Himself eternal, has revealed Himself as One Who Is/Exists”) is intended to state God’s eternality, while the rest of the phrase further describes it. He exists, meaning He has existed at all times past up to and including the present, and will continue to exist into the future. And this selection provides a clue to further define John’s likely intention.

There are contemporaneous secular works describing ‘gods’ as existing eternally. But they use Greek finite verbs instead of participles. “Zeus was, Zeus is, Zeus shall be” (Pausanias, Greciae descriptio, 10.12.10).19 Also, “Aion, the god of time, ‘is and was and will be’”.20

Comparatively, Aune notes, “The title [HO ŌN] was known to Jews in Asia Minor as attested by an inscription on an altar from Pergamon that reads THEOS KYRIOS HO ŌN EIS AEI.21 This could be rendered: “God, the LORD, the One who exists/is forever.”

Taken altogether, it is the opinion of this writer that the phrase I AM THE ONE WHO IS in Exodus 3:14 is God’s declaration of His eternal existence—His proclamation of His Divine attribute of eternality. Assuming so, THE ONE WHO IS, then, was used as a Divine Title, not a Divine Name. It seems possible it reflects (part of) a self-description inherent in His Divine Name YHWH, the Tetragrammaton.

Therefore, assuming the above, in apparent reverence, John the Revelator kept this Divine Title HO ŌN intact, instead of subjecting it to the usual grammatical declining. But what about the rest of John’s phrase?

Note that John’s full expression does not follow the pattern in any of the others above. Perhaps the most obvious difference is the third element, which does not reflect ‘infinite future’ but rather God’s coming (HO ERCHOMENOS) at the culmination of salvation-history—the eschaton, the end of all things from our earthly perspective.22 This fact more foundationally supports the position that HO ŌN by itself sufficiently expresses eternality.

Less clear is the time referent, temporal or eternal, for the grammatically incongruous second element (HO ĒN) in the three part phrase. It could be a corollary to “the beginning/originator of God’s creation” (HĒ ARCHĒ TĒ KTISEŌS TOU THEOU) in Revelation 3:14.23 If so, the second and third elements would reflect the entirety of salvation-history, from beginning to end.

If all this holds, John’s expression would reflect God’s intrinsic Self-existence in the Divine Title in the first element, while the second and third elements together would represent the termination points of salvation-history.

___________________________

1 The Hebrew of the first words of God in Exodus 3:14 is usually rendered I AM THAT I AM.

2 The Greek ‘OT’ is part of the larger Septuagint (LXX), which includes a body of works known as the Apocrypha, aka Deuterocanon (“second canon”) in some traditions.

3 We must also take note that in the next verse God continues the same line of thought, this time by explicitly explaining and stating His Name; however,  John the Revelator does not reference this portion directly. More on this below.

4 Or perhaps this is God’s way of proclaiming an ontological attribute, one exclusive to Him: His eternality. The LORD God simply IS. See note 13.

5 “I am THE BEING” is Brenton’s translation.

6 While English has both a definite article (the) and an indefinite article (a), Greek has only one article. 

7 This is in distinction from finite verbs (see EIMI above), which can and do sometimes form complete sentences unto themselves, since both person and number are appended morphologically. A great example is Jesus’ final word on the Cross in John 19:30: Tetelestai. It is a 3rd person singular perfect tense-form verb, in the middle voice, and in the indicative mood. It is best translated “It is finished”, or, perhaps better, “It has been finished.”

8 A Greek article + participle can also function as an attributive adjective, if it is modifying a noun, thus further describing that noun.

9 Masculine gender here is to correlate with THEOS, GOD, which is also masculine in grammatical gender. While HE WHO IS works, it is subject to possible misinterpretation in English—that God is male in a biological sense.

10 R.H. Charles, Revelation of John, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary; ed. Samuel Rolles Driver, Alfred Plummer, and Charles A. Briggs; Accordance electronic ed. (Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1920), para 41640. Charles adds: “It could have been preserved in classical Greek, i.e. apo tou ho ōn. But our author shows no knowledge of this construction” (para 41640; Greek transliterated, bold added for emphasis). Yet the Textus Receptus (the Greek text underlying the KJV) inserts tou here (see this site, e.g.); but, take notice of Charles’ comment that John “shows no knowledge of this construction”. The language/dialect of Classical Greek, from which tou would emanate in this instance, ended about 400 years before the Koine Greek of the NT era. As far as I can determine, the Textus Receptus sources only one manuscript for Revelation here, specifically GA 2814 (12th century), and this tou appears to be a singular reading. That is, it appears to be the only extant manuscript with this reading. Yet, quite a few manuscripts (including 𝔐 [Majority Text]) insert the genitive for “God” (theou) between apo and the nominative HO ŌN, in an attempt to smooth out the grammar.

11 David L. Mathewson, Revelation: A Handbook on the Greek Text, Baylor Handbook on the Greek New Testament (Waco, TX: Baylor University Press, 2016), p 4 (Greek transliterated).

12 Cf. Charles, Revelation, para 41641.

13 Craig R. Koester (Revelation, The Anchor Yale Bible [New Haven: Yale University Press, 2014]) comments that the neuter form of article + EIMI present participle [TO ON] had been used to imply eternality: “Greco-Roman sources sometimes used the form to on for God as “the existent one” or as “being” (Seneca the Younger, Ep. 58.7, 17; Plutarch, Mor. 393B–C)” (p 215).  See notes 4 and 5.

14 Henry B. Swete, The Apocalypse of John: The Greek Text with Introduction, Notes and Indices, 3rd ed. (London: MacMillan, 1917), p 5. This is in the public domain and available online here. And here the Targums understand the Hebrew of Exodus 3:14 as I SHALL BE WHO I SHALL BE [Gr. ESOMAI HOS ESOMAI].

15 Murray J. Harris, Prepositions and Theology in the Greek New Testament: An Essential Reference Resource for Exegesis (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2012), pp 66–67

16 Harris, Prepositions and Theology, p 67. Cf. Swete, Apocalypse: This construction “must be explained by regarding the whole phrase as an indeclinable noun” (p 5).

17 See J. J. Collins, “Sibylline Oracles” in James H. Charlesworth, Ed. The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha: Apocalyptic Literature & Testaments, Anchor Bible Reference Library (New York, NY: Doubleday, 1983): “[Verses 1–45] could have been composed at any time in the late Hellenistic period or early Roman periods. If we assume that they originally formed a unit with any part of 46–92, we can fix their date more precisely . . . Verses 46–62 must be dated shortly after the battle of Actium” (p 360).

18 The Greek (transliterated): all’ autos avedeixev aiōnios autos eauton onta te kai prin eonta, atar pali kai metepeita. Charles renders it: “But he, himself Eternal, hath revealed himself as One who is and was before, yea and shall be hereafter.”

19 The Greek here is Zeus ēn, Zeus estin, Zeus essetai (Ζεὺς ἦν, Ζεὺς ἔστιν, Ζεὺς ἔσσεται).

20 Koester, Revelation, p 215.

21 David Aune, Revelation: Revelation 1–5, Word Biblical Commentary 52A (Dallas, TX: Word Books, 1997) p 30, (Greek transliterated).

22 Charles, Revelation, opines that the present participle of erchomai [“is coming”] is used here instead of the future form, “with a definite reference to the contents of the Book and especially to the coming of Christ, 1:7; 2:5, 16; 3:2; 22:7, 12, etc., in whose coming God Himself comes also [ED: in 1:8, e.g.]” (para 41641).

23 Note the first words of John’s Gospel: “In the beginning (ARCHĒ) was (ĒN) the Word”.

__________________________

Similarly themed posts:

An Eternal Christological Conundrum

Looking Past the Future

Jesus’ Kingly Appearance

Being Blessed

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18 Responses to Not Declining the Divine Name?

  1. Jim says:

    Love the grammatical detail, footnotes and sheer depth of research Craig. Hebrews 13:8 sums up your point well too, although you could argue that verse connotes consistency of being rather than eternality.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Craig says:

      Thanks Jim. This one took more work and time than I’d initially assumed–but all my posts seem to do that! Long story short, it grew out of an ongoing conversation with KJV-prioritists/onlyists. Part of the discussion involved a very over-the-top book in this vein, titled New Age Bible Versions. The author made all sorts of claims, some of which were outright lies when some of the sources were traced. She actually took two separate quotes of B. F. Westcott, spliced the two together as if one (her ‘footnote’ listed two different sources [with no page # refs], even though the quote looked as one!), taking both WAY out of context to make him state the OPPOSITE of what his initial statements conveyed. Absolutely horrendous. I was only able to find the originals because I have the material in my software, so that I could do a keyword search.

      Her intent was to demonize Westcott and Hort, since they were some of the first to cast aside the Textus Receptus–the Greek under the KJV–in favor of using earlier Greek manuscripts. In the specific case of Westcott/Hort, they preferred the Greek manuscripts from Alexandria, so she asserted (as others have) that these manuscripts are all corrupted by all sorts of heretical ideas. When I point out that a passage that is absent from the W/H as compared to the TR has yet the SAME content in a parallel passage (this is common in the Synoptic Gospels) in order to illustrate the fallacy of that argument, I’m met with apparent cognitive dissonance. “Yea, but the new versions take out passages from the KJV.”–as if the KJV is the starting point and not the Greek manuscripts! Never mind that there are instances of the newer versions containing texts that are absent in the KJV.

      One part of her ‘New Age’ claims was that new versions use “the One who is” instead of the KJV “he that” in some places, and that this “One” in “the One who is” was intended to mean the neuter “the One” of Hinduism/New Age. The claim is false on its face, because ALL texts use “the One/one who ___________” instead of “the One ____________”. So, in our case, it’s I AM THE ONE WHO IS and not I AM THE ONE. Huge difference!

      One other point brought up was the supposed ‘bad grammar’ resulting from ‘taking out’ a portion of 1 John 5:7-8 (the Johannine Comma). I had to explain the rationale for this ‘bad grammar’, and then I pointed part of this verse as an example of purposeful bad grammar.

      I thought about writing a blog post to refute this book, because, though it came out YEARS ago, it still has influence. Basically, people are using it to confirm their own bias. But the book has so many errors and bad argumentation that it would be impossible to refute the majority of them without writing an entire book to do so!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Craig says:

      An important point implied (not specified) in this post: We might question whether “I AM” is the Divine Name, as is the claim by some for NT usage of this phrase. For example, in John 8:58, when Jesus makes his claim “Amen, Amen, I tell you: Before [prin (see Sibylline Oracle selection)] Abraham came-to-be, I AM [EGŌ EIMI]!” I don’t think He is making a claim to a/the Divine Name. I think He is claiming to chronologically precede Abraham–in other words, implying His eternality.

      Much is made of “I AM/am” as predicate–called the “Divine Predicate” by some. However, this grammatical construction is not uncommon. For example, in the account of the man born blind then healed by Jesus–just a mere 10 verses later–the man also uses this predicate all by itself. Let me put it word-for-word:

      alloi elegon hoti houtos estin
      others kept-saying that this-one he-is

      alloi elegon ouchi all’ homoios autō estin
      others kept-saying not but like him he-is

      ekeinos elegen [hoti] egō eimi
      that-one kept-saying [that] I I-am
      that-one kept-saying, “I am.”

      Now we certainly wouldn’t think the formerly blind man was making a Divine “I AM” claim! He used the emphatic pronoun egō to stress that he indeed was the man Jesus had healed. Note also how estin, ‘he-is’ is also a form of EIMI, “be”, and that it is also used as a predicate–in parallel with the final statement by the blind man, necessarily in the first person since he is the one speaking about himself.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. This was a fascinating read, Craig. I appreciate the Greek lesson!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Craig says:

      Thanks Mandy!

      I have to admit that I first became aware of HO ŌN as Divine ‘Name’/Title in a discussion with a non-Trinitarian (unitarian?) on one of Dr. Wallace’s blog posts years ago. It was later that I became aware of the grammatical anomalies in that clause of Rev 1:4.

      How are studies going?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Greek is becoming more difficult by the day! My NT class is really great. Have you read Revising Canon by Kruger? I think you’d like it.

        For what it’s worth, I am not convinced Jesus’s I am statement in regards to Abraham is an appeal to the Divine Name.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Craig says:

          Greek is not easy! I have Kruger’s The Question of Canon, which I think is great. I haven’t read much new, as I have so much unread material. Some I’d almost forgotten about, and now I’m reading three different ones, all in various stages of read-ness.

          And I’m STILL working on the conclusion to the pharmakeia post! Though more off than on of late.

          Yes, if HO ŌN (“The One Who Is”) is a Divine Title–as I feel certain it is–then “I AM” is merely the necessary subject-verb combination to state it. Then EGŌ EIMI, “I AM”, on its own is merely a not uncommon way to claim “I am (the one)” (the formerly blind man), or “It is I” (Jesus walking on the water). Jesus’ statement in John 8:58 certainly implies eternality, which in turn implies Divinity/Deity–which is why His antagonists tried to stone Him in response.

          Like

  3. Jim says:

    I hate to be simplistic about this. There’s so much in the original language. But I just wonder whether the whole point of the NT writers is to declare the divine name as a key element of ‘deathlessness’.

    It seems that the argument being put forward from an I AM perspective is of a continued existence past, present and future that is free from death (but not necessarily birth, or a coming into existence). The entire rationale is that death has no hold on a being that continues to exist in perpetuity.

    Does that imply eternality though? Well, one could assume that, but it isn’t altogether a given conclusion regarding origins.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Craig says:

      Jim,

      See footnote 23. Given that the Logos/Word was already present “in the beginning”, i.e., pre-creation, then the Logos precedes creation. I don’t think we can assume a ‘coming into existence’.

      Like

  4. Jim says:

    Where can we assume, Craig, that ‘in the beginning’ means pre-creation? The Logos playing an active part in creating order from chaos would not require a pre-Gen 1:1 existence I suggest.

    Like

    • Craig says:

      Jim,

      The One on the Throne is claimed to have founded (ktizO) all things (Rev 4:11), while Paul claims that in/by Jesus all things were founded (ktizO) and that through and for Jesus all things have been founded (ktizO) (Col 1:16). And John writes that through the Logos all things came-to-be (John 1:3). This would presuppose the Logos‘ pre-creation existence.

      Like

  5. Jim says:

    Indeed Craig. And we also have to parse Rev 3:14 when it says, ‘…the Beginning of the creation of God…’ cf Prov 8:22 ‘Yahweh possessed me at the beginning of his way’.

    John 1 clearly states Jesus and the Logos were the same ‘light’, yet the bible begins by describing only darkness and a chaotic watery globe initially. I posit that the light that darkness could not overcome (John 1:5) was begotten by the Father during day 1. The Light/Wisdom/Word then made all things (the habitable kosmos) through and for himself (Col 1:16).

    There are three ‘beginnings’ or ‘begettings’: The Logos, and then the incarnate Logos, Jesus (John 1:9-10), and thirdly the resurrected Christ (Acts 13:33). Trinitarian eternality rides roughshod over these truths.

    Like

    • Craig says:

      Jim,

      I fixed your comment @ 3:44 PM, so I deleted your subsequent correction.

      We’ve covered this ground previously in the John prologue series (which I need to return to–some day):

      Probing the Prologue in the Gospel According to John: John 1:3-5

      I don’t wish to get distracted here with another Trinitarian debate.

      ADDED/AMENDED: if the Word were ‘begotten’ on Day 1, then the Word is created being. That is, the Word would have been ‘begotten’ in time, and since time is a necessary aspect of creation, then the Word would be a created being. Thus, your position here doesn’t work.

      Like

  6. Jim says:

    Absolutely no trinitarian debate or distraction. Just to say that, even ignoring my Day 1 Light = Logos suggestion, the Logos being begotten FROM the Father would have initiated time, so the argument that an event in time equals ‘created’ therefore it couldn’t be the Logos is moot. Angels, man and animals were created, but the Logos was begotten, and the presence of time, to the Father’s perspective, doesn’t alter or diminish that first begetting and nature of the Logos.

    We have indeed hashed this out in the past, so no need for more I guess, but it is still apposite to your post, I believe.

    Like

    • Craig says:

      Jim,

      You wrote (snip): the Logos being begotten FROM the Father would have initiated time.

      I don’t see how this (a) necessarily follows and/or (b) is a viable construct.

      God lives in the eternal realm. We should not conceive any sort of temporal sequencing in eternity. I’ll quote Lewis Sperry Chafer’s statement on this, as it’s the best I’ve seen:

      …Whatever time may be and whatever its relation to eternity, it must be maintained that no cessation of eternity has occurred or will. God’s mode of existence remains unchanged. Time might be thought of as something superimposed upon eternity were it not that there is ground for question whether eternity consists of a succession of events, as is true of time. The consciousness of God is best conceived as being an all-inclusive comprehension at once, covering all that has been or will be. The attempt to bring time with its successions into a parallel with eternity is to misconceive the most essential characteristic of eternal things.

      Now, I don’t know if the above is exactly germane to your position, so let me add the following. Given that God is asserted to have created in Gen 1:1, and that the earth was ‘formless and void’ (NASB) in 1:2, this indicates, at minimum, some sort of (pre-)foundation upon/after which the earth was then formed/fashioned. Thus, time predates the Light of Day 1, because some sort of space was already present.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Jim says:

    This quote reminds me of Judges 13:18. If the name of the pre-incarnate Jesus is too wonderful or beyond understanding (depending on your translation), then what hope do I or Chafer have of comprehending and then articulating such concepts as the nature of God, Logos, his begetting, eternality and the forming of the universe. We try. I try, but I’ll settle for some mystery, although I do confess to wanting to pull some threads to their ‘logical’ conclusion 😊

    As an aside, I was watching an interview with a particular physicist who was being questioned on UFOs and how advanced a civilisation would have to be beyond ours to demonstrate this kind of supposed technology. He said about 100,000 years ahead you would be manipulating space time and galactic energy sources. What humans can’t conceive, they have regularly called ‘gods’. Operating outside the constraints of human time appears eternal, but that word may not describe the fullness of that state of being.

    Like

    • Craig says:

      I just came across this on YouTube.

      The title itself bugged me, so I looked to the comments, which did not disappoint. Here’s a good one:

      “It’s funny to see [a] scientist describe God without using the word ‘God’.”

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Jim says:

    Right. The one I saw was a 14 min JRE clip but with a Japanese physicist being interviewed. I’ll check this one out too.

    Like

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