Problems with Universalism, Part 2.2

I think this will probably be my last post on this subject. I’ve got several other things in mind that I want to write about.

Concerning the Greek words aion and aionios, the Concordant understanding “eonian” simply does not measure up to the actual usage of the terms in Scripture. The people at Concordant seem to be enslaved to a crass literalism that distorts the meaning of Scripture by a misunderstanding of how language works. Words and phrases are best understood according to the way they are used, not according to what we think they literally mean in every situation.

Read the following passage (an example from the English language) to see what I am talking about:

“I was walking in darkness, but in 1986 I turned over a new leaf and headed down a new path. Since then I have been a new person.”

Virtually every phrase in the above sentences should not be taken literally, or else absurdity would be the result. Wooden literalism distorts the meaning of language; it does not promote understanding. This is what Concordant has done with the Greek words aion and aionios.

Here are some examples that prove my point:

2 Corinthians 4:17-18: “For momentary [Greek parautika], light affliction is producing for us an eternal [Greek aionion] weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal [Greek proskaira], but the things which are not seen are eternal [Greek aionia].”

Note the contrasts:
-momentary affliction vs. eternal weight of glory
-things which are seen vs. things which are not seen
-temporal vs. eternal

Could the meaning of aionios be more clear? If it is explicitly contrasted with the words “momentary” and “temporal,” then it must be something other than temporal, namely, eternal. This is how Koine Greek speakers typically used the word aionios and its noun form aion.

Romans 11:36: “For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever [Greek eis tous aionas]. Amen.”

Jude 25: “to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time [Greek pro pantos tou aionos] and now and forever [Greek eis pantas aionas]. Amen.”

In both of these verses we see the relevant terms expressing the duration of time during which God will receive glory, according to the benedictions. Is God to be glorified only for a temporary age? At the end of the ages, will there no longer be any glory to give to God? We see here the absurdity of the Concordant interpretation.

But notice especially how Jude 25 divides up three segments of time:
-before all time
-now
-forever

The “before all time” is a reference to eternity past. “Now” is a reference to the present. The following phrase must refer to eternity future (using the Greek term aion) in order to maintain the kind of symmetry that Jude seems to be aiming for.

There are many more examples, but these will suffice to indicate that aion and aionios in the New Testament frequently refer to eternity, thus making it compelling that several verses explicitly teach that Hell involves eternal conscious punishment for unbelievers: Matthew 25:46, Revelation 14:11 (note especially: “they have no rest day and night“; how could anything be more clear?), and Revelation 20:10.

If aion and aionios cannot refer to eternity, then how could the Greek language even express the concept of eternity? That too is an important question that Concordant needs to answer. What evidence could possibly convince them otherwise?

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11 Responses to “Problems with Universalism, Part 2.2”

  1. Friend Says:

    Dear Aaron,

    < << The people at Concordant seem to be enslaved to a crass literalism that distorts the meaning of Scripture by a misunderstanding of how language works. >>>

    No, they were committed to the truth expressed in Psalm 12:6 and in 2Timothy 1:13. They were convinced that God was most accurate in choosing words to reveal His truth–not willy-nilly as the popular versions convey. Before the English meaning of each Greek word was determined, all its occurrences were carefully examined. To them, it was simply unthinkable that God would use “aion” and “aionios” to express the variety of ideas and concepts as the KJV translators said He did.

    Unfortunately, a very simple axiom lies hidden from many who claim to be skilled in Greek or Hebrew grammar, namely, that no term in the inspired Scriptures is capable of two meanings. The central meaning of each word is fixed.

    The Concordant Publishing Concern also made a Concordant Greek Text, designed to be used with the Concordant Literal New Testament, its Keyword Concordance and the Greek Elements.
    The Concordant Greek Text consists of a Greek Text restored from Uncial Manuscripts (Sinaiticus, Vaticanus, Alexandrinus) and their Ancient Editors with the Variant Readings in the Superlinear. In addition, it has an Ultraliteral English Translation in the Sublinear.
    The translation of the Old Testament from Hebrew into English is still in progress, although 90 % of it has been completed.

    < << "I was walking in darkness, but in 1986 I turned over a new leaf and headed down a new path. Since then I have been a new person." >>>

    < << Virtually every phrase in the above sentences should not be taken literally, or else absurdity would be the result. Wooden literalism distorts the meaning of language; it does not promote understanding. This is what Concordant has done with the Greek words "aion" and "aionios". >>>

    The issue is not between a lively figurative use of the words and a wooden literal use of them, but between the inherent central meaning of the word and the theological bias of the translators. The Concordant method of translation safeguarded Scripture from the bias of their translators.

    I for one (and many with me) do not want to read a subjectively and interpretively rendered version of God’s word from many disagreeing scholars, but we simply desire to know the words which God used to reveal His heart and mind as well as His plan and purpose.

    Here is one example in which the KJV has influenced millions the wrong way with Mat.24:3,

    Mat.24:3 (KJV) And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what [shall be] the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?

    Mat.24:3 (CLNT) Now at His sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be? And what is the sign of Thy presence and of the conclusion of the eon?”

    Since the translation of the KJV, whenever something very unusual happened, people wondered, “Is this the end of the world?” No one wondered if it is the end of the age or eon? The Greek word for “world” is “kosmos,” not “aion.” Nevertheless, “aion” is translated 35 times as “world” in the KJV. The translators must have considered God to be unable to express Himself accurately, and be in need of their help.

    Here is a list of how the KJV has translated the Hebrew word “nephesh.” It properly means “soul.” This Hebrew word is found 753 times in the Old Testament. The KJV translators have played havoc with that word so that no ordinary reader can distinguish anymore what is written and inspired by God, or what is somebody’s subjective, interpretive opinion. (The digits after each word indicate the number of times “nephesh” has been translated that way):
    Nephesh: soul 475, life 117, person 29, mind 15, heart 15, creature 9, body 8, himself 8, yourselves 6, dead 5, will 4, desire 4, man 3, themselves 3, any 3, appetite 2, misc 47; 753.
    It would be interesting to know how the 47 miscellaneous translations would read. The surprising thing is that there is a proper Hebrew word for most of the other words.

    In contrast, the Concordant Literal Old Testament has consistently translated “nephesh” as “soul.”

    You can say what you like, but these concrete examples tell me one thing, i.e., the KJV translators had the audacity to edit God.

    I repeat, when I read Scripture, I wish to read God’s pure words (Ps.12:6) – not the subjective words of translators. We have thousands of Bible scholars and theologians. If they agreed amongst themselves, we could feel a whole lot more confident as to what they claim is God’s truth. But as it is, I have personally experienced that nothing is as important than having God’s very words to know what He revealed.

    < << Here are some examples that prove my point: >>>
    < << 2 Corinthians 4:17-18: "For momentary [Greek parautika], light affliction is producing for us an eternal [Greek aionion] weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal [Greek proskaira], but the things which are not seen are eternal [Greek aionia].” >>>

    < << Note the contrasts:
    -momentary affliction vs. eternal weight of glory
    -things which are seen vs. things which are not seen
    -temporal vs. eternal >>>

    < << Could the meaning of aionios be more clear? If it is explicitly contrasted with the words “momentary” and “temporal,” then it must be something other than temporal, namely, eternal. This is how Koine Greek speakers typically used the word aionios and its noun form aion. >>>

    Here is the CLV rendering of this passage:
    2Cor.4:17-18 For the momentary lightness of our affliction is producing for us a transcendently transcendent eonian burden of glory, (18) at our not noting what is being observed, but what is not being observed, for what is being observed is temporary, yet what is not being observed is eonian.

    Once the central, basic meaning of the word has been discovered, it is to be used consistently. Translating it on the basis of what man thinks it should mean in different settings is tantamount to presenting God as being unable to express Himself properly.

    As I have said before, In His word, God is not revealing anything about the time beyond the eons. Man, being what he is, would focus too much on it and speculate. He would lose sight of the eonian lesson to be learned that God is to become ALL in all.

    < << Romans 11:36: "For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever [Greek eis tous aionas]. Amen.” >>>

    < << Jude 25: "to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time [Greek pro pantos tou aionos] and now and forever [Greek eis pantas aionas]. Amen.” >>>

    < << In both of these verses we see the relevant terms expressing the duration of time during which God will receive glory, according to the benedictions. Is God to be glorified only for a temporary age? At the end of the ages, will there no longer be any glory to give to God? We see here the absurdity of the Concordant interpretation.>>>

    Here are these texts as given in the CLV,

    Rom.11:36 (CLV) seeing that out of Him and through Him and for Him is all: to Him be the glory for the eons! Amen!
    Jude 25 (CLV) to the only God, our Saviour, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, might and authority before the entire eon, now, as well as for all the eons. Amen!

    There is nothing absurd about it, no more so than when Scripture speaks in Exodus 3:16 (and in other places) about the LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob. It would be very absurd to reason from this that He is limited to being the God of the fathers.

    Ex.3:16 (KJV) Go, and gather the elders of Israel together, and say unto them, The LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, appeared unto me,

    I repeat that concerning Romans 11:36 and Jude 25, it is not correct, at all, to reason that they limit God’s glory and honor to the eons. In these texts God’s glory and honor are in view with respect to what He will achieve during the eons, and should be receiving from all creation during the eons.

    < << But notice especially how Jude 25 divides up three segments of time:
    -before all time
    -now
    -forever >>>

    < << The "before all time" is a reference to eternity past. "Now" is a reference to the present. The following phrase must refer to eternity future (using the Greek term aion) in order to maintain the kind of symmetry that Jude seems to be aiming for. >>>

    Not necessarily so. See the following examples how “time before the eons” is spoken of in Scripture. I will show the KJV, also, for the sake of comparison:

    1Cor.2:7 (CLV) but we are speaking God’s wisdom in a secret, wisdom which has been concealed, which God designates before — before the eons, for our glory.

    1Cor.2:7 (KJV) But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, [even] the hidden [wisdom], which God ordained before the world unto our glory:

    2Tim.1:9 (CLV) Who saves us and calls us with a holy calling, not in accord with our acts, but in accord with His own purpose and the grace which is given to us in Christ Jesus before times eonian,

    2Tim.1:9 (KJV) Who hath saved us, and called [us] with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,

    Titus 1:2 (CLV) in expectation of life eonian, which God, Who does not lie, promises before times eonian,

    Titus 1:2 (KJV) In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began;

    If the Greek word “aion” truly conveyed the meaning of “eternity,” as you claim, the popular versions should have these texts read “before eternity” or “before times eternal,” which is inane.

    < << If aion and aionios cannot refer to eternity, then how could the Greek language even express the concept of eternity? That too is an important question that Concordant needs to answer. What evidence could possibly convince them otherwise?

    Here are two examples of limitless time could be expressed in Greek:

    In Luke 1:33 (CLV) and He shall reign over the house of Jacob for the eons. And of His kingdom there shall be no consummation.”

    1Timothy 1:4 nor yet to be heeding myths and endless genealogies, which are affording exactions rather than God’s administration which is in faith.

    Jeep

  2. Aaron Says:

    I’m going to continue this conversation just a little bit longer, but then I’ve got to move on to other things.

    First I would point out that you, using the Concordant interpretation, have completely undermined your own thesis by quoting Luke 1:33 as an expression of eternity:

    “Luke 1:33 (CLV) and He shall reign over the house of Jacob for the eons. And of His kingdom there shall be no consummation.”

    Reading this straightforward, literal translation, I see that to “reign over the house of Jacob for the eons” essentially means that “of His kingdom there shall be no consummation.” In other words, to reign for the eons is to reign forever. In this, a verse you cite that DOES communicate the concept of eternity in Greek, this communication is directly parallel to the statement that you claim DOES NOT communicate the concept of eternity. I find that highly ironic.

    This is something neither you nor Concordant have considered: “age” and “eternity” are not antithetical concepts. Eternity itself is an age. There is nothing in the word “age” that demands that it be of limited duration.

    With regard to your claim that every word has only one meaning, you are seriously mistaken. Language just does not work that way. God’s revelation is accomodated revelation: it comes to us in human language. Koine Greek, for example, has long been known to be have been the “street language” of the first century, as opposed to the classical Greek of Homer. God did not create a special language through which to inspire the Bible. He used ordinary, human language to express truth (through a variety of authors) in ways we can understand.

    I will falsify your claim with one example. What does the Greek word “Theos” mean? It means “God.” Does this mean, therefore, that every use of “Theos” in the New Testament must refer to God? But that is manifestly not the case. See 2 Cor 4:4, which speaks of “the god of this age” blinding the minds of unbelievers, a reference to Satan. Words do not have one determinate meaning. They are shaped by context.

    By the way, I have no vested interest in defending the King James Version. I think it served a good purpose for many years, but I personally never use it.

  3. Friend Says:

    Dear Aaron,

    < << "Luke 1:33 (CLV) and He shall reign over the house of Jacob for the eons. And of His kingdom there shall be no consummation." >>>

    < << Reading this straightforward, literal translation, I see that to "reign over the house of Jacob for the eons" essentially means that "of His kingdom there shall be no consummation." In other words, to reign for the eons is to reign forever. In this, a verse you cite that DOES communicate the concept of eternity in Greek, this communication is directly parallel to the statement that you claim DOES NOT communicate the concept of eternity. I find that highly ironic. >>>

    Christ will reign over the house of Jacob for the last two eons — the eon of the Millennial Kingdom and the following eon of the new heaven and the new earth (Rev.21:1–Rev.22:5).

    In 1Cor.15:24, we read that at the consummation of the eons, Christ will hand over the Kingdom to His Father. This terminates Christ’s rule, but the kingdom continues. In verse 28, we read that even Christ is subjected to His Father, that God (the Father) may be ALL in all.

    1Cor.15:24 (NASB) then comes the end, when He hands over the kingdom to the God and Father, when He has abolished all rule and all authority and power.

    < << This is something neither you nor Concordant have considered: "age" and "eternity" are not antithetical concepts. Eternity itself is an age. There is nothing in the word "age" that demands that it be of limited duration. >>>

    I respectfully disagree that “age” (eon) can, basically, mean “eternity” (unlimited time). Checking with a number of dictionaries none of them gave “eternity” as a synonym for “age.”

    If you are correct, than man has to determine what God meant to express, every time the word “aion” or “aionios” is used in the New Testament. That, to me, is intuitively placing man in far too high a position, as if God could not manage to express Himself clearly.

    Here are a few facts revealed concerning the eons:
    They have a have a beginning (Heb.1:2; 1Cor. 2:7; 2Tim.1:9).
    The eons end, individually and collectively: (Heb.9:26; 1Cor.10:11; Mat.24:3).

    Furthermore, Scripture speaks of “this eon”(1Cor.2:8); “that eon” (Luke 20:35) and the eons to come (Eph.2:7). It would be absurd to use the word “eternity” in these and in many more places in Scripture.

    < << I will falsify your claim with one example. What does the Greek word "Theos" mean? It means "God." Does this mean, therefore, that every use of "Theos" in the New Testament must refer to God? But that is manifestly not the case. See 2 Cor 4:4, which speaks of "the god of this age" blinding the minds of unbelievers, a reference to Satan. Words do not have one determinate meaning. They are shaped by context. >>>

    I agree that the context shapes words, but it does not alter the basic meaning into something else, to the degree that it is referring to something altogether differently, as has been done with the word “aion.”

    Friend

  4. Aaron Says:

    With regard to Luke 1:33, you are fudging a bit. Notice what it says (literally):

    “and He shall reign over the house of Jacob for the eons. And of His kingdom there shall be no consummation.”

    Now you are arguing that his reign is limited, but his kingdom is not. How, then, can it be “his” kingdom that will have no consummation? If he gives up his rule, then it is no longer “his” kingdom. I am just reading the text literally. It seems that when the literal meaning does not match up to your theology, you have to back off from your rigid literalism a bit.

    Yes, Jesus will hand over the Kingdom to God the Father, but does that mean that he will cease to reign at all? I think we have more options here than just “Christ reigns” or “the Father reigns,” either one excluding the other. For example, I would say that right now Christ reigns over all things. And yet, I do not deny that God the Father also reigns over all things. This is not surprising, given the fact that Christ is fully God and the Father is fully God. So, just because Christ will hand over the Kingdom to the Father does not entail the absolute cessation of his rule.

    With regard to “age” and “eternity,” did you check English dictionaries or Greek dictionaries? What you are doing is importing an English idea of “age” into a Greek word and then using that imported idea to exclude what the Greek word actually means in context.

    If you check the standard Greek dictionaries, I think you will find that “aion” and “aionios” do refer to eternity.

  5. Friend Says:

    Dear Aaron,

    < << Luke 1:33, you are fudging a bit. Notice what it says (literally): "and He shall reign over the house of Jacob for the eons. And of His kingdom there shall be no consummation." >>>

    < << Yes, Jesus will hand over the Kingdom to God the Father, but does that mean that he will cease to reign at all? >>>

    No, I do not believe I am fudging at all. Nothing about conditions after the consummation of the eons has been revealed. What has been revealed concerning the consummation of the eons, is given in 1Corinrthians 15:24-28

    1Cor.15:24-28 thereafter the consummation, whenever He may be giving up the kingdom to His God and Father, whenever He should be nullifying all sovereignty and all authority and power. (:25) For He must be reigning until He should be placing all His enemies under His feet. (:26) The last enemy is being abolished: death. (:27) For He subjects all under His feet. Now whenever He may be saying that all is subject, it is evident that it is outside of Him Who subjects all to Him. (:28) Now, whenever all may be subjected to Him, then the Son Himself also shall be subjected to Him Who subjects all to Him, that God may be All in all.

    In verse 25, it is straightforwardly revealed that Christ is to reign until a certain time and event, clearly mentioned in this passage.

    < << I think we have more options here than just "Christ reigns" or "the Father reigns," either one excluding the other. For example, I would say that right now Christ reigns over all things. And yet, I do not deny that God the Father also reigns over all things. >>>

    Verse 27 tells us that it is the Father Who reigns supreme. He subjected all under the feet of Christ.

    Are you sure that Christ, right now, reigns over all things, as you say? Although in Matthew 28:18 it says that all authority, in heaven and on earth, was given to Him, I believe that He will not actually take that great power and authority until He will return to earth (cp Rev.11:17).

    < << This is not surprising, given the fact that Christ is fully God and the Father is fully God. So, just because Christ will hand over the Kingdom to the Father does not entail the absolute cessation of his rule. >>>

    As you already know, I do not agree that Christ is fully God. I believe that He is the firstborn of creation (Col.1:15; Rev.3:14). And as I already pointed out from 1Corinthians 15:25, Christ is said to reign until the time of the consummation of the eons, when He will hand over the kingdom to His God and Father.

    < << If you check the standard Greek dictionaries, I think you will find that "aion" and "aionios" do refer to eternity. >>>

    I am not a learned man, but I know that the purified vocabulary of God’s word (Ps12:6) is not using one word for a great variety of varying concepts. I do not believe that God leaves it up to us to figure out what His words mean.

    Comparing the great variety of translations shows me that even Bible Scholars do not agree amongst themselves, when they interpretively translate Scripture.

    My mother tongue is Dutch and the Dutch Bible Scholars do not agree amongst themselves, either. Why should I believe that Greek Bible Scholars would agree amongst themselves?

    That is why I am very happy to have the Concordant Literal Translation. I will gladly leave it up to each individual to interpret Scripture as he believes he must do. Personally, I do not like to have any ordinary human being between God and myself. I humbly, but thankfully believe in only One go-between, namely, the Man Christ Jesus (1Tim.2:5).

    Friend

  6. Aaron Says:

    If you think that all Bible translations are mere “interpretations” and the Concordant version is the pure, unadulterated, non-biased truth, then I am afraid you are captive to naivete.

    One final point I want to make, which really gets us to the heart of this whole issue. I quote:

    “Nothing about conditions after the consummation of the eons has been revealed.”

    If this is the case, then how can you even be a universalist in the first place? If nothing about eternity has been revealed, how do you so confidently proclaim that all will be saved in eternity?

    Honestly, ask yourself that question. Doesn’t it strike you as contradictory to hold that nothing has been revealed about eternity, and yet the Concordant people know pretty much what eternity will be like for everybody? That sounds a bit presumptuous to me, that they can claim to know something that has not been revealed.

  7. Aaron Says:

    Well, I just can’t resist one more point. With regard to Christology, you make reference to the fact that Christ is the firstborn over all creation (Col 1:15). If you take this to mean that he is not divine but is a created being who came into existence at a point in time, then you have misunderstood the significance of “firstborn.” In context, it simply means “preeminent one over all creation.”

    Let me give another example from Psalm 89:27, where the Lord says, “I shall also make him [David] my firstborn, the highest of the kings of the earth.” Here “firstborn” cannot denote “one who was born first,” because David was in no sense born first, either to God or to his own father Jesse (he was the youngest son). And yet, God says, “I will make him the firstborn.” The idea communicated is not temporality but preeminence, as evidenced by the Hebrew parallel structure. It is well-known that Hebrew poetry consists of a parallel structure, whereby the second line often restates the thought of the first line in different form. In this case, “the highest of the kings of the earth” tells us essentially what it means for David to be “the firstborn.”

    The same idea is in view in Colossians 1:15, where Christ is called the “firstborn.” In fact, I wouldn’t doubt that Paul had Psalm 89 in mind, seeing that Christ is the descendant of David par excellence, the one who truly fulfills the covenant God made with David and that is celebrated in that Psalm. So, what Paul is saying is not, “Christ was the first being created,” but rather, “Christ is the preeminent one, the highest of all kings.”

  8. Friend Says:

    Dear Aaron,

    < << If you think that all Bible translations are mere
    “interpretations” and the Concordant version is the pure, unadulterated, non-biased truth, then I am afraid you are captive to naivete. >>>

    No, I am not naive. To my knowledge, I have never said, nor ever thought, that all Bible translations are mere interpretations. What I do say is that in each of the more popular versions there is found far too much interpretative rendering of key words.

    For many years already, with the computer, I am able to use a variety of versions to verify the Concordant Version. It continues to be quite an eye opener for me. I must say that the CV wins out, every time, because I want to know what God actually said – not what scholars think He said.

    If you will check the Concordant method of translation, you will discover that it safeguarded, as much as possible, the Version from the biases of the translators.

    Here is a link to the Concordant method of translating Scripture:
    http://www.concordant.org/version/intclv1.html#concordant

    < << One final point I want to make, which really gets us to the heart of this whole issue. I quote: >>>

    < << "Nothing about conditions after the consummation of the eons has been revealed." >>>

    < << If this is the case, then how can you even be a universalist in the first place? If nothing about eternity has been revealed, how do you so confidently proclaim that all will be saved in eternity? >>>

    At the time of the consummation of the eons, death will be abolished and God will become all in all (1Cor.15;22,26,28). What more do we need to know, right now?

    < << Doesn't it strike you as contradictory to hold that nothing has been revealed about eternity, and yet the Concordant people know pretty much what eternity will be like for everybody? That sounds a bit presumptuous to me, that they can claim to know something that has not been revealed. >>>

    Going by what God has revealed concerning Him becoming All in all, is not presumptuous. In my opinion, it would reflect negatively on God, if anything were committed to paper concerning conditions after He has become ALL in all.

    May I suggest you read an article called, “The Appreciation of God”?
    http://www.concordant.org/expohtml/TheProblemOfEvil/evil030.html

    Friend

  9. Friend Says:

    Dear Aaron,

    < << Well, I just can't resist one more point. With regard to Christology, you make reference to the fact that Christ is the firstborn over all creation (Col 1:15). If you take this to mean that he is not divine but is a created being who came into existence at a point in time, then you have misunderstood the significance of "firstborn." In context, it simply means "preeminent one over all creation." >>>

    I do not at all deny that Christ is the preeminent one over all creation. However, if Christ is God, would that not be a very redundant statement?

    Friend

  10. Aaron Says:

    No, that wouldn’t be redundant. It wouldn’t be any more redundant than saying, for example, “The Lord is King.” See, for example, Psalm 24.

    Plus, Paul is writing about Christ not only as God, but as God-man. He is drawing on the theology of Psalm 89, 2 Samuel 7, and other passages about the Davidic king to show that the Davidic king is not only the highest of all human kings, but is, in fact, God himself. Colossians affirms the deity of Christ almost as strongly as does the Gospel of John. It has one of the highest Christologies in the New Testament. This is why I find it odd that Jehovah’s Witnesses and others in the Arian stream appeal to it to deny the deity of Christ.

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