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Thread: Greek Anaphora identifies God at Romans 9:5 as the Father

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    tWebber Georg Kaplin's Avatar
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    Greek Anaphora identifies God at Romans 9:5 as the Father

    I have strong grammatical evidence that decisively identifies "God" at Romans 9:5 as the Son. It is based on the anaphoric article. The Greek article developed from the pronoun, being a later addition to the language. Apollonius Dyscolus documented this in the second century.

    See Debrunner-Funk (BDF). In its introduction to the article, it says:

    Introduction. ὁ, ἡ, τό as article with appellatives has double meaning as in classical usage, individual and generic: ὁ ἄνθρωπος (1) ‘the known, particular, previously mentioned man’ ... (1) is also known as the ‘anaphoric’ use (since Apollonius Dyscolus ii AD) because there is reference back (ἀναφορά) to what is known or assumed to be known: (BDF §252) What this means is that when a noun is found in Greek and then is found again in a discourse, the article is inserted to signal that that it is being identified with the previous mention of that noun. It is a fact that most definite articles are anaphoric when they are individualizing articles like at Hebrews 1:8-9.
    Since the article with "God" in verse 9 is anaphoric, it identifies θεὸς in verse 8 as the God of the king. The objective grammar trumps a subjective contextual argument every time.

    Think of the definite article in the same way you think of a pronoun. If one finds a pronoun that matches a noun it directly follows in case, number and gender, the first interpretation is always that it refers to that noun, right? It is considered the antecedent. The definite article is like that but more specific. It modifies a noun in addition to matching in case number and gender. So it is definitive in disambiguating the antecedent.

    So, how can this help with Romans 9:5?

    RO95.jpg

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    The logic within the image/slide is unclear. I'm not sure why it might be thought that 'children of God' in verse 9 implies 'the father' in verse 5. After a second thought, it could. But a reasonable option would be to view 'God' as the non-incarnate aspect of Deity. This would contrast with Christ, as the incarnate one of the Trinity.

    An additional argument to support a distinction between Christ and God would be found be the distinctions made in Romans 1, especially verses 1 and 8.

    I think that my past idea about this was some disconnection between the Son and the Father ... but the better sense is that Jesus, as God incarnate and as the Message to us (Per John 1), gets treated distinctly from God in non-incarnate existence; this may be a focus on our ability to identify best with the humanity element to draw us to our justification -- and the focus of the ministry of Jesus for this purpose.

    Without looking at the grammar further, it would seem that Christ is blessed of God forever. I would be inclined to think such a blessing on Christ makes better sense of the mention of God in this passage -- more than a sudden declaration of Jesus as being God. This blessing of God, as a blessing distinguished from Christ as Deity, seems most consistent with Romans 1 distinctions.

    Therefore, we would have no reason to see the interpretation of this passage as being either for or against Christ Jesus as equal with God. (I have not assumed that you have said that Christ Jesus is not one with the Father.)

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    tWebber
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    Georg,

    I should note that if you are a unitarian, you are not permitted to post in the Christian theological topics ... except that maybe you would be permitted to post inasmuch as you are not challenging the orthodox doctrines. But you may post in the Unorthodox Theology 201 section.

    Do you accept the validity of the Trinity doctrine as understood and confirmed in the earliest centuries of Christianity?

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    tWebber tabibito's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikewhitney View Post
    Georg,

    I should note that if you are a unitarian, you are not permitted to post in the Christian theological topics ... except that maybe you would be permitted to post inasmuch as you are not challenging the orthodox doctrines. But you may post in the Unorthodox Theology 201 section.

    Do you accept the validity of the Trinity doctrine as understood and confirmed in the earliest third and fourth centuries of Christianity?
    The Trinity doctrines of the first two centuries were not completely in line with orthodox teachings - they often tended to subordinationism.
    1 Cor 15:34 εκνηψατε δικαιως και μη αμαρτανετε αγνωσιαν γαρ θεου τινες εχουσιν προς εντροπην υμιν λεγω

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    Quote Originally Posted by tabibito View Post
    The Trinity doctrines of the first two centuries were not completely in line with orthodox teachings - they often tended to subordinationism.
    Yes. I generalized the time of agreement on the concept of Trinity. As the options were debated, the first concern was about the nature of Christ Jesus, as the Son. Later, there came the discussions on Holy Spirit.

    Thanks for adding better detail here.

    If anyone proposes an alternate view to the Trinity, it behooves him to overcome the details laid out in support of the Trinity. (Of course, this would be in the Unorthodox section).

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    tWebber tabibito's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikewhitney View Post
    The logic within the image/slide is unclear. I'm not sure why it might be thought that 'children of God' in verse 9 implies 'the father' in verse 5. After a second thought, it could. But a reasonable option would be to view 'God' as the non-incarnate aspect of Deity. This would contrast with Christ, as the incarnate one of the Trinity.
    Check my working on this - if "o" (definite article) is anaphoric and disambiguates its antecedent, matching it in case number and gender then, in verse 5, "the being over all God" (o ων επι παντων θεος) would necessarily have as its antecedent, Christ. no?
    1 Cor 15:34 εκνηψατε δικαιως και μη αμαρτανετε αγνωσιαν γαρ θεου τινες εχουσιν προς εντροπην υμιν λεγω

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    tWebber
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    Quote Originally Posted by tabibito View Post
    Check my working on this - if "o" (definite article) is anaphoric and disambiguates its antecedent, matching it in case number and gender then, in verse 5, "the being over all God" (o ων επι παντων θεος) would necessarily have as its antecedent, Christ. no?
    I can only roughly follow the general meaning within grammatical discussions on the Greek text.

    I was going to look again at the details from the analysis by Douglas Moo but this commentary is at home.

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    St Paul, like other NT writers, seems to have a Christology of “economic” subordinationism. This is suggested by his words in 1 Corinthians 15:

    24Then the end will come, when He hands over the kingdom to God the Father after He has destroyed all dominion, authority, and power. 25For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet. 26The last enemy to be destroyed is death. 27For “God has put everything under His feet.”b Now when it says that everything has been put under Him, this clearly does not include the One who put everything under Him. 28And when all things have been subjected to Him, then the Son Himself will be made subject to Him who put all things under Him, so that God may be all in all.”

    https://biblehub.com/bsb/1_corinthians/15.htm

    The Royal dignity of Christ is made very clear, but the subjection of all things to Christ is, for St. Paul, entirely consonant with the subjection of Christ to the Father. Rather strikingly, St Paul seems to think that the Kingship of Christ will have an end - unlike St Luke, for whom it will endure forever. And Daniel 7.14, speaking of the “Son of Man” - a passage applied to Christ in Rev 5.9 (and see v.13) - ascribes to the SoM a kingdom that will be universal and everlasting; like the universal kingdom of the son of David in Ps 72.

    This subordinationism in St Paul could suggest that it is God, not Christ, Who is “blest above all for ever” in Rom 9.5. The variety in the renderings of the passage is remarkable:
    https://biblehub.com/romans/9-5.htm

    Whether St Paul was interested in what a later theology would call the “ontological subordination” of Christ to the Father, is perhaps a separate question.m

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    tWebber
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    Quote Originally Posted by Georg Kaplin View Post
    I have strong grammatical evidence that decisively identifies "God" at Romans 9:5 as the Son. It is based on the anaphoric article. The Greek article developed from the pronoun, being a later addition to the language. Apollonius Dyscolus documented this in the second century.

    See Debrunner-Funk (BDF). In its introduction to the article, it says:

    Since the article with "God" in verse 9 is anaphoric, it identifies θεὸς in verse 8 as the God of the king. The objective grammar trumps a subjective contextual argument every time.

    Think of the definite article in the same way you think of a pronoun. If one finds a pronoun that matches a noun it directly follows in case, number and gender, the first interpretation is always that it refers to that noun, right? It is considered the antecedent. The definite article is like that but more specific. It modifies a noun in addition to matching in case number and gender. So it is definitive in disambiguating the antecedent.

    So, how can this help with Romans 9:5?

    RO95.jpg
    It is not wise to do that (red above). The definite article does not function in exactly the same way as the pronoun in Koine.

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    To be fair, the article was originally a demonstrative pronoun that got shortened to become the article, so it maintains many of the same functions. That is why the article in Greek is so different from the article in English.

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