I'm going to respond to some comments that anti-Trinitarian apostate Dale Tuggy left on my post. I also listened to his Podcast (#71):
The case seems so strong, doesn't it, when you only hear one side! Some things being left out: the precedents in early writings…
1. The only precedent we need for the Prologue to John is the Pentateuch. We don't need to postulate any other source to explicate the text. In John 1, the specific literary allusions are to the creation account in Gen 1 and the Shekinah/tabernacle in Exodus.
The wording of Jn 1 echoes Gen 1 in several respects, viz.
i) The timemarker: "in the beginning"
ii) A divine Creator
iii) Creation by divine speech
iv) The opposition of light and darkness
v) Creation of life
2. However, that backdrop supplies a point of contrast as well as comparison:
i) It goes back a step from Gen 1 by describing what lies behind creation: the preexistent Father with the preexistent Son.
ii) In Jn 1, the Genesis terminology has acquires a double entendre. In Gen 1, light and life refer to the origins of physical light and physical life. That's included in Jn 1, but in the Prologue they acquire the additional significance of new life or eternal life. Spiritual illumination and spiritual renewal. Likewise, "darkness," and the contrast between light and darkness, take on metaphorical connotations.
…in the deuterocanonical books of parallel ideas to John 1:14, wherein something divine comes down from heaven to dwell in this physical realm - but it's not a self.
To the extent that there's a parallel in prior literature, that would be to the Shekinah coming down to fill the tabernacle, or the pillar of fire leading the Israelites at night. Just as Jn 1:1-3 is a deliberate allusion to Gen 1, Jn 1:14 is a studied allusion to the wilderness accounts.
You also leave out the allusion to Prov 8 ("with God"), which helps us to understand the significance of "god/divine was the logos" at the end of v1. He's saying that this wisdom/reason through which God made all is just him, or his. It's not someone else.
i) I can't leave out a nonexistent allusion. There is no allusion to Prov 8 in Jn 1. There are many problems with that alleged comparison:
ii) Jn 1 is a historical narrative, Prov 8 is a poetic allegory.
iii) Lady Wisdom in Prov 8 is a fictional character who parallels Lady Folly in Prov 9.
iv) As Bruce Waltke explains in his commentary, Lady Wisdom is a metaphor for Solomon's proverbial wisdom.
v) Lady Wisdom is an observer, not a creator–unlike the Logos in Jn 1.
vi) Lady Wisdom is God's first creature, whereas the Logos is the Creator. Lady Wisdom is on the creaturely side of the categorical divide whereas the Logos is on the divine side of the categorical divide.
vii) Jn 1 doesn't use wisdom terminology. It calls the filial Creator logos rather than sophia.
As the OT says in a few places, Yahweh (aka the Father) created the cosmos alone. You leave that out…
Since the OT never says Yahweh is the Father (in contrast to the Son, Spirit, or Trinity), I can't very well leave out that nonexistent identification. In fact, the NT often identifies Jesus as Yahweh.
...and also the fact that Jesus never takes credit for being the (direct) creator - which is quite surprising if it's true that he was.
i) Jesus doesn't have to take credit for that because the Prologue credits Jesus as the Creator.
ii) Moreover, John's Gospel is primarily about the history of the incarnate Son, and not the prehistory of the discarnate Son. It introduces Jesus as the Genesis Creator in an establishing shot. But it doesn't linger because, having made that point, it moves on to the redemptive work of the Son. The Creator is the Savior and Judge.
For him, the Father is the creator.
Not according to the Prologue.
I think that's true for Paul too, but this isn't the place to argue the matter.
Especially since you lost that argument in the past.
Also, that the pronouns in 2-3 can be translated as impersonal, although personal makes sense, if the author is personifying God's word.
That's inept. Needless to say, the gender of the pronouns depends on the gender of the nous. When the Prologue uses theological metaphors like "word," "light," and "life" for Jesus, the gender of the pronoun will match the gender of the titles.
For instance, "light" is literally an inanimate substance, but figuratively, it can characterize a personal agent–just as Scripture refers to God as "fire."
Another relevant fact: when the Philonic Logos theology was first propounded (c. 150-200) it was very controversial, and constantly drew the objection that it was positing two creators. Now why on earth would this be so widespread, if everyone was reading John in the way which seems so obvious to you? The answer is that it was not so obvious to them. It was the Logos theology winning out which really cemented the catholic reading. It seems that some of the "monarchians" and others read it more in the way I'm suggesting.
That's because the church fathers were gentiles rather than Jews, so they were more attuned to Hellenistic philosophy and less attuned to the Pentateuchal background for Jn 1.
On the face of it, one would not expect "the Word of God" to be a person.
Only if you artificially isolate Jn 1 from Gen 1. But in John's usage, the "Word of God" is a title for the Creator in Gen 1. That's because God in Gen 1 is a speaker. He makes the world by commanding the world into existence. Divine speech is the method of creation.
A God who speaks stands in contrast to the dumb idols of heathen. The say-nothing, do-nothing, know-nothing gods of Israel's pagan neighbors. In comparison, Yahweh is a God who speaks. And his words have creative power.
Of course, a person in whom God's word is uniquely and best expressed can thereby by called "the Word of God" as we see in Revelation.
That's not what the Prologue says. Rather, the Prologue says the preexistent Word who made the world long ago later came into the world (in John's time) he made. He properly exists outside the world.
Same point with "Life", "Light." Those wouldn't normally be terms for a self, but they can be, when God's word (which is life and light) is best expressed in that self, in the man Jesus.
i) They are personal terms when they function as theological metaphors.
ii) In John's Gospel, moreover, Jesus is the source of light and life–just as Yahweh is the source of light and life in Gen 1.
iii) Furthermore, the light motif trades on the Shekinah in the wilderness. The glorious radiance of God's visible presence.
iv) Finally, notice Dale's false dichotomy. If God becomes incarnate and dwells with his people, then God's light, life, and word will be embodied in the person of the Messiah. That's an implication of the hypostatic union.
About John 1, I don't see how that helps the catholic reading. John saw and touched God's eternal life and message as manifest in the real man Jesus, in his life, deeds, teaching.
Once again, the same false dichotomy. Eternal life is manifested in the person of God Incarnate.
In Jn 1:1, the "Word" is a title for Jesus, while "God" in the second clause is a designation for the Father, and "God" in the third clause functions adjectivally to denote the deity of the Son.
To paraphrase Jn 1:1: "In the beginning was the Son, and the Son was with the divine Father, and the Son was divine."
i) John uses the noun "God" (rather than the adjective "divine") in both clauses to strengthen the comparison.
ii) At this preliminary stage in the exposition, John withholds the identity of the two principals because his first order of business is to give the backstory for Incarnation. At the time of writing, the Son had returned to the Father. But before narrating the public ministry of Christ, John wants to take the reader back in time to the prehistory of the Son. He identifies the Son as the Creator in Gen 1. The God who spoke the world into existence. And in due time, that's the world which the Son comes into, to redeem the lost.
All in all, not super-obvious either way. I don't think, though, that your arguments do anything to refute the multiply well motivated reading I've outlined. Also relevant will be whether we think a real man can have always existed, independently of Adam or any other previous humans, only lately becoming a human.
That reference is very obscure. I take it that this is Dale's fallback when dealing with the preexistence passages. He will say that even if they do refer to a preexistent Son, this is a preexistent man. Although it's decidedly unclear how a "real man" who "always existed" "only lately become a human."
And, no, I don't think a real man can have always existed. For one thing, humans are social creatures. They require human companionship to maintain their sanity. A solitary man with an infinite past would be inhuman.
What does Dale even have in mind? A human in a stasis chamber until God injects him into the world? How would he be socialized? Moreover, he'd begin his entrance into the 1C as preformed adult. But unitarians must resort to desperate measures to salvage their position.
And: whether we're impressed at all with the idea that the synoptics assume or hint at the personal pre-existence of Jesus.
As expounded by scholars like Simon Gathercole and Sigurd Grindheim.
And whether we put any stock in the "two Yahweh" and other Jesus-in-the-OT arguments drawn from Philo and others, which made their way into catholic teaching in the latter 100s.
No, that isn't germane to my case for the deity of Christ. I don't need esoteric sources. OT prophecy and NT Christology are more than sufficient.