Friday, August 12, 2016

The Word of Life

In Greek the first word of 1 John designates the Word of Life, who in verse 4 is identified as Jesus Christ. Since the Epistle and the Gospel have the same author, it is permissible to connect this Word of Life with the Word of John 1:1. And no one should object if we equate this Word with him whom Paul calls “the Power of God” and “the Wisdom of God.” This second person of the Trinity is the subject of John’s declaration. Can this eternal Wisdom be heard with the ears, seen with the eyes, and handled with the hands? Is the second person of the Trinity an object of sense? The word hearing comes first; seeing comes second. This discussion will take them in turn. 
– Gordon Clark

i) I've discussed this before, but now I'd like to make an addition observation. Where could the "Word of Life" destination come from? Here's a clue:

The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life (Jn 6:63) 
Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life (Jn 6:68).

Jesus told the disciples that his spoken words are life. And Peter echoed that statement when he said Jesus had the words of eternal life.

Therefore, it's easy to see why John would use "the Word of Life" as a title for Jesus. And note that this goes back to the Incarnate Son. So, yes, the Incarnate Son could be heard with ears, seen with eyes, and handled with hands. He was visible, audible, and tangible. Indeed, during the course of his ministry, he touched, or was touched by, many people. 

ii) In addition, Clark denies what the text explicitly affirms. The text (1 Jn 1:1-3) explicitly asserts the visible, audible, tangible nature of the subject, which Clark proceeds to flatly deny. The text uses the same type of terminology John's Gospel uses in reference to the Incarnate Son (1:14) and the Risen Son (20:24-29). Clark's anti-Incarnational interpretation is heretical. He dehistoricizes John's forceful affirmation, with its allusions to the Incarnation and Resurrection. Clark reduces this to an idea. 

iii) Clark doesn't begin with Scripture. Rather, he begins with philosophy. He begins with his rationalistic epistemology. No one who took a passage like 1 Jn 1:1-3 as his starting-point would deny the possibility of sense knowledge. Rather, Clark must deny that in spite of the passage. 


  1. What's your take on this?

    Its been confirmed that these are Licona's statements in context and nothing has been taking out of context.

  2. Yahya Snow took that video from a webinar that Mike Licona did. It's located in the original video HERE. Regarding the apparent contradiction, I looked up Luke 9:10; Mark 6:32, 45; and John 6:17 in (admittedly dated) commentaries like those of John Gill, Adam Clarke and Jamieson Fausset and Brown commentary.

    JFB says in John 6:17 "toward Capernaum — Mark says (Mar_6:45), “unto Bethsaida,” meaning “Bethsaida of Galilee” (Joh_12:21), on the west side of the lake. The place they left was of the same name (see on Mar_6:32)."

    John Gill in his commentary on John 12:21 also speculates on two "Bethsaida"s. One of which was distinguished by calling it "Bethsaida in Galiliee" (John 12:21).

    Gill writes:

    "which was of Bethsaida of Galilee; See Gill on Joh_1:44. This place may be interpreted, "the house of hunting", or "of fishing"; for it is not easy to say which it has its name from, since צידא, "saida", signifies both hunting and fishing: and seeing it was in or near the tribe of Naphtali, where was plenty of deer, and a wilderness was near it, where might be wild beasts, it might be so called from hunting: and as it was situated near the lake of Gennesaret, it might have its name from the fishing trade used in it; for Peter and Andrew, who were of it, were both fishermen: but it is yet more difficult to determine, whether this is the same with, or different from the Bethsaida Josephus (s) speaks of, as rebuilt by Philip, and called by him Julius, after the name of Caesar's daughter, as I have observed in See Gill on Luk_9:10, See Gill on Joh_1:44; since this was in Galilee, of which Herod Antipas was tetrarch, and where Philip could have no power to rebuild places, and change their names; and besides, the city, which he repaired, and called Julian, according to Josephus (t) was in lower Gaulonitis, and therefore must be different, unless that, or any part of it, can be thought to be the same with Galilee: wherefore the learned Reland (u) thinks, that there were two Bethsaidas, and which seems very probable; and it is likely, that this is here purposely called Bethsaida of Galilee, to distinguish it from the other, which, by some persons, might still be called Bethsaida, though it had got a new name. Moreover, this Bethsaida is mentioned in other places along with Capernaum and Chorazin, Mat_11:21, which were in Galilee. And Epiphanius says (w), that Bethsaida and Capernaum were not far distant one from another: and according to Jerom (x), Chorazin was but two miles from Capernaum; and who elsewhere says (y), that Capernaum, Tiberias, Bethsaida, and Chorazin, were situated on the shore of the lake of Gennesaret. It is said to be fifty six miles from Jerusalem: "

    John Gill commented on Luke 9:10:

    "into a desert place belonging to the city called Bethsaida; the city of Andrew and Peter, Joh_1:44, and which, as Josephus (r) says, was by the lake of Gennesaret, and by Philip called Julias; and this desert place was the desert of Bethsaida, a lonely, wild, uncultivated, and desolate place, not far from it. Hither Christ went with his disciples, that they might be retired and alone, and have some refreshment and rest from their labours, and where they might privately converse together; and he give them some fresh instructions, and directions, and comfort.

    (r) Antiqu. l. 18. c. 3."

    So, it may be possible that they left Bethsaida (or the area near it) to Bethsaida OF GALILEE (or the area near it).

  3. John 6:17 says they "got into a boat, and started across the sea to Capernaum." Mark 6:53 and Matt. 14:34 on the contrary says they arrived at Gennesaret. However, it's not clear whether they intended to get to Capernaum specifically, or whether it was to go in that general direction. Even the KJV and Webster translates it "toward Capernaum" rather than "to Capernaum". Capernaum may or may not have been their intended final stopping point.

    When Mark 6:53 and Matt. 14:34 say they arrived at Gennesaret it's not clear whether they mean the LAND of Gennesaret or that side of the lake of Galilee called Gennesaret (i.e. the LAKE of Gennesaret). It also must be remembered that they may have stopped by various points along the lake (even possibly walking on land temporarily) before they arrived at their final destination and stayed on land.

    Even in modern times when one is running errands getting from point A to point E you might stop by point B, C, and D. For example, taking context into consideration, it's no contradiction for someone to say in conversation 1. he arrived at O'Hare Airport, in conversation 2. he got to Office Depot, and in conversation 3. arrived at some hotel in Chicago. That's because he had to get there by plane and so landed at O'Hare. But also dropped by Office Depot to get materials to help him give his lecture at the hotel. His leaving home and FINALLY arriving at the hotel doesn't entail he didn't also arrive at O'Hare and Office Depot.