Tuesday, April 16, 2019

The beginning

Where it [arche] is used in the temporal sense of the point at which something begins, this point can be thought of as included in the temporal process or as prior, external to, and unaffected by it, i.e., as the origin or principium. In the former case the arche corresponds to the telos (Heb 3:14; 7:3); in the latter case, arche carries the sense of pre-temporality and eternity

This leads us to a series of primarily Johannine texts in which arche is used with reference to the essence and existence of Jesus in the sense of before all time and creation, first of all John 1:1,2 (en arche); 1 John 1:1)…The context formed by the chronological hymn of Col 1:15-20 clearly shows that ho esetin (he) arche (v18) does not intend to incorporate Christ into the cosmos and the creation, but rather to designate him as the principle standing outside all time, as the origin of the cosmos and creation. The same is true of the self designation of Jesus as he arch kai to telos in Rev 22:13 with the parallel statement to Alpha kai to Omega, ho protos kai ho eschatos (cf. 2:8). These epithets apply equally to God (1:8; 21:6) and signify not a temporal and worldly being, but rather the One existing before all time and into eternity. (On this formula [he arch kai to telos], which has a prehistory in Deutero-Isaiah, the Greeks, Philo, and the rabbis. Exegetical Dictionary of the New Testament (T&T Clark 1990), 1:161-162.

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