Sunday, December 29, 2013

Logos or wisdom?

Dale Tuggy has taken issue with Bnonn's post on the deity of Christ. A few quick observations are in order:

There are many crippling problems which beset Dale's appeal to Prov 8 as the background for Jn 1:

i) There's the question of wisdom's identity in Prov 8. This is a personification of divine wisdom. But in Jn 1, the Logos is not a personification, but a real person. Not a literary device, but a personal agent.

ii) Jn 1 uses logos rather than sophia.

iii) The primary background for Jn 1 is Gen 1. That's clear from pervasive parallels: (a) the "in the beginning" preface; (b) the creation context; (c) creation by means of God's spoken word; (d) the repetition of other leitworte (e.g. life, light, darkness), as well as other Pentateuchal allusions from Exodus (e.g. the tabernacle, the invisible God, the giving of the Law).   So the predominate usage comes from the Pentateuch rather than Wisdom literature.

iv) Dale is resorting to the Arian interpretation and application of Prov 8. But that's at odds with Dale's humanitarian universalism. If Jesus was just a man, then he came into existence in the 1C. By contrast, if we identify the Logos in Jn 1 with Wisdom in Prov 8, then even if Wisdom is the first creature, it came into existence at the time of creation, not 1C Palestine. 

v) There's also the problem of pressing the poetic imagery. Taken literately, this would mean God lacked wisdom before he made wisdom. Wisdom would be the product of an initially unwise God. 

vi) As Waltke points out, this is just a metaphor for the wisdom of Solomon. His divine inspiration participates in God's primordial, creative wisdom. 

His appeal to Heb 1:1-2 is off the Mark. In that passage, the point of contrast lies, not between OT Christophanies and the Incarnation, but between OT prophetic writings and the Incarnation.

Likewise, Hebrews 1 doesn't distinguish "God" from "Jesus." Rather, it distinguishes the Father from the Son. Dale constantly equivocates. 

Regarding Christophanies, I did a post on that last year:

Since Mike Gantt is a fellow unitarian (just a different toxic flavor), he naturally rushes to the defense of Dale. 

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