John 20:28 - "my lord and my god"

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Homer
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Re: John 20:28 - "my lord and my god"

Post by Homer » Wed Apr 28, 2021 11:32 am

It seems to me best to understand Thomas' words as a confession rather than an expletive. It doesn't seem credible that He would speak so carelessly otherwise. After Thomas' confession John immediately informs us of why he wrote his book - so that we would believe.

We find people reacting in fear and worshiping Jesus when they see our risen Lord. He who declared that God alone should be worshiped accepted their worship without a word of rebuke.

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Homer
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Re: John 20:28 - "my lord and my god"

Post by Homer » Wed Apr 28, 2021 12:10 pm

Furthermore, the Greek construction Apekrithe ... kai eipen auto ("answered and said to him") is a common idiom in the New Testament. This idiom always precedes a statement directed to the referent of the dative auto ("to him"). In other words, the statement "answered and said" refers to the referent signified by the indirect object ("to him") which in this context would be Jesus Christ. There is no lexical support in any of the standard Greek references (BAGD, M&M, and Louw & Nida) where this idiom is to be taken as a relative address, as not addressing the object that the pronoun auto points to, but to someone else. There is no grammatical support in any of the standard grammars for claiming that such a construction is to be understood as referring to someone other than the addressee of the indirect object.

As one writer and apologist put it:

…There are 108 occurrences of a form of EIPON followed by AUTW(i) in the NT. 74 are EIPEN AUTW(i). 23 occur with a form of APOKRINOMAI. Ten of these are preceded by APEKRITHE. John uses EIPEN AUTW(i) 17 times. I checked all 108 occurrences. In every case, the words following AUTW(i) were addressed to the referent of AUTW(i). In addition, there are 127 examples of AUTW(i) preceded by a form of LEGW (20 combined with a form of APOKRINOMAI), and in every case I checked (about half), I did not find a single example where the person addressed was OTHER THAN the referent of AUTW(i). (Robert Hommel, Robert and MS on John 20:28; online source)

To help illustrate Hommel’s point we provide references where the words eipen auto, or their varying forms, are used in John:

They came to John and said to him (eipan auto), ‘Rabbi, that man who was with you on the other side of the Jordan—the one you testified about—well, he is baptizing, and everyone is going to him." John 3:26

"When he inquired as to the time when his son got better, they said to him (eipon oun auto), ‘The fever left him yesterday at the seventh hour.’ Then the father realized that this was the exact time at which Jesus had said to him (eipan auto), ‘Your son will live.’ So he and all his household believed." John 4:52-53

"Later Jesus found him at the temple and said to him (eipen auto), ‘See, you are well again. Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you.’" John 5:14

"Jesus’ brothers said to him (eipon oun pros auton), ‘You ought to leave here and go to Judea, so that your disciples may see the miracles you do.’" John 7:3

"‘You are not yet fifty years old,’ the Jews said to him (eipon oun hoi Ioudaioi pros auton), ‘and you have seen Abraham!’" John 8:57

"The third time he said to him, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me?’ Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him (eipen auto) the third time, ‘Do you love me?’ He said, ‘Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.’" John 21:17

"Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him (eipon legei auto), ‘Follow me!’" John 21:19

The above references show that eipen auto are addressed to the referent of the pronoun auto. This conclusively proves that Thomas’ confession was directed to Jesus, that John deliberately used the Greek words eipen auto in order to show that Thomas was directly addressing Jesus as his Lord and God.

From: https://answering-islam.org/Responses/O ... thomas.htm

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darinhouston
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Re: John 20:28 - "my lord and my god"

Post by darinhouston » Wed Apr 28, 2021 12:54 pm

Homer wrote:
Wed Apr 28, 2021 12:10 pm
After Thomas' confession John immediately informs us of why he wrote his book - so that we would believe.
Homer, I agree with you. John was explicit. What is it precisely that he said as to why wrote his book? Believe what exactly? He was quite explicit. Does he say "so that you would believe that Jesus is divine or God or part of the godhead or a person of God" or anything like that?

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darinhouston
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Re: John 20:28 - "my lord and my god"

Post by darinhouston » Wed Apr 28, 2021 1:21 pm

Homer wrote:
Wed Apr 28, 2021 11:32 am
We find people reacting in fear and worshiping Jesus when they see our risen Lord. He who declared that God alone should be worshiped accepted their worship without a word of rebuke.
We've talked a lot about the various types and instances of "worship" in Scripture. Again, context matters.

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darinhouston
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Re: John 20:28 - "my lord and my god"

Post by darinhouston » Wed Apr 28, 2021 1:44 pm

Homer wrote:
Wed Apr 28, 2021 12:10 pm
There is no grammatical support in any of the standard grammars for claiming that such a construction is to be understood as referring to someone other than the addressee of the indirect object.
I agree with you again, I think. I am not certain but I lean towards the direct reference to Jesus as you appear to do. That doesn't end the inquiry, of course. The question then is in what sense he meant that in the moment. By way of confession or exclamation, there is still a lot of room for the range of connotation with the word theos well short of the eternal Yahweh, the uncreated creator, unmoved mover, God of the universe, God of their Fathers, God of Abraham Isaac and Jacob.

Particularly in light of various usages applied to earthly kings and leaders, I find it much more believable that it was as I have presented. I find it inconceivable that if this was an overt confession of Jesus as literally being Yahweh that it would not have been addressed very directly as the message spread among the other apostles and beyond. Circumcision and food laws were the first controversies at the Jerusalem council and we really have no record of much more in the way of controversy, and nothing really about who Jesus was at all - once they accepted that he was their Messiah, there doesn't appear to have been any more apologetics as to who he was.

Do you REALLY believe that this dramatic a theological position would have been understood by them and simply left unaddressed as a conflict with their evangelism to Jews? They struggled with what the term "Israel" meant - there's simply no way they wouldn't have needed to write very compelling books to persuade monotheistic Jews that Jesus was not only the Messiah, not only that the sacrificial system had been fulfilled, and that the people of "Israel" had been misunderstood, but not addressed something as fundamental as this. This was what set them apart the most as a people - their belief in the one true God.

As an argument from silence, I think this is about as strong a situation as that form of argument could ever be used for.

On a more practical level, many apologists make good arguments by looking at the reactions of the apostles to confirm what they actually believed. Imagine if you will what sort of reaction they might have had if this man died who they thought was their Messiah/deliverer but also believed was actually God Himself? I think it would have been a much different reaction, and raises issues that we are discussing in a different thread, so I will leave it here for the moment and we can elaborate in other topics as you consider briefly the sort of shock they wild likely have had -- "either we were wrong, or God Himself just died! How is that possible? He holds the world in His hands and nothing exists that He doesn't sustain, yet He is dead.... (and so forth)."

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Paidion
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Re: John 20:28 - "my lord and my god"

Post by Paidion » Fri Apr 30, 2021 8:54 am

Here is how Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown regard those who, like myself, regard Thomas's words as an exclamation.

"The Socinian invasion of the supreme divinity of Christ here manifestly taught — as if it were a mere call upon God in a fit of astonishment — is beneath notice, save for the profanity it charges upon this disciple, and the straits to which it shows themselves reduced."

Does this make you happy, Dwight?
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dwight92070
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Re: John 20:28

Post by dwight92070 » Fri Apr 30, 2021 11:37 pm

darinhouston wrote:
Wed Apr 28, 2021 9:14 am
From Revised English Bible Translation Notes/Commentary

Thomas answered and said to him, “My Lord and my god.”

“my god.” Any good Greek-English lexicon will give examples of the Greek word theos, often translated “God,” also referring to a pagan “god” or “goddess” (Acts 19:37), the Devil or a demon (2 Cor. 4:4), or of people who represent God in some way (John 10:34). The fact that Thomas called Jesus “God” does not mean he thought Jesus was part of the Triune God, but he did think of him as God’s highest representative and worthy to be called “god.”

Dwight - Obviously Thomas was not referring to a pagan god or the devil or a demon. He knew Jesus was more than just a man who represented God. No other man had returned from the dead, much less with a body that could go through walls. Also, His body still had the holes in His hands, feet, and side. This was no mere man. Thomas was witnessing a supernatural being, who had just spent 3 1/2 years with them. No one is claiming that Thomas had any inkling of a Triune God - that is a straw man from non-Trinitarians. Apparently the disciples did not understand the triune nature of God until later. It's quite obvious that Thomas was literally referring to his Lord and his God, referring to Jesus standing before him. And Jesus did not rebuke or correct him. Jesus always received worship, except from demons. He told them to be quiet.

To understand what Thomas said there is some background information that we must understand.

Dwight - If such information changed anything, maybe. But since it doesn't, that is irrelevant.

The following few paragraphs are about the biblical, especially the Semitic, way of using the words for “God.” It is quite detailed, but in light of the huge Trinitarian bias to make Thomas say that Jesus is “God,” it seems necessary to quite fully show that in biblical language you could call someone Elohim or Theos without meaning they were the Most High God.

Dwight - And you non-Trinitarians do not have huge bias? That's a joke.

Given the language of the time, and given that Jesus did represent the Father and have divine authority, for Thomas to refer to Jesus as “god” is certainly understandable. In contrast, to assert that Thomas said that Jesus was “God,” and thus 1/3 of a triune God, seems incredible.

Dwight - Again, your worn out straw man. No one understood that there even was a Trinity at this time, as far as we know. Obviously, Thomas was not thinking of Jesus as 1/3 of God. That's ridiculous to even suggest that. He called Him God.

Dwight - No one is claiming that Jesus taught about the Trinity, so you can get that out of your head. You seem to be stuck on that. John 16:12 says, "I have many more things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth;" The truth about the Trinity came later. Nobody here is refuting that.

Dwight - All the endless comments from endless commentaries are simply just another opinion, as if a new person added a post here. Obviously, if the commentary is pro-Trinitarian, then they will present that side; If it is anti-Trinitarian, then they will present that side. Of course, you will usually quote the anti-Trinitarian side. There is nothing new here, especially no convincing evidence that Thomas did not mean what he said, and said what he meant.

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dwight92070
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Re: John 20:28 - "my lord and my god"

Post by dwight92070 » Sat May 01, 2021 8:56 am

Paidion wrote:
Fri Apr 30, 2021 8:54 am
Here is how Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown regard those who, like myself, regard Thomas's words as an exclamation.

"The Socinian invasion of the supreme divinity of Christ here manifestly taught — as if it were a mere call upon God in a fit of astonishment — is beneath notice, save for the profanity it charges upon this disciple, and the straits to which it shows themselves reduced."

Does this make you happy, Dwight?
Dwight - You know, Paidon and Darin, I am thankful that the authors of the Bible did not talk the way you two do. They spoke in "plain English", not using big words or quoting obscure "scholars" to make their points. I had to look up Socinian to just begin to understand your post. He was a man who denied the divinity of Christ and the Trinity. 1645 A.D. I am just as happy now as I was before reading your post.

Dwight - Another opinion by someone who denies that Jesus is God - what, is that supposed to prove anything? Hardly.

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Paidion
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Re: John 20:28 - "my lord and my god"

Post by Paidion » Sat May 01, 2021 11:32 am

Okay Dwight, you've convinced me that you don't understand.

Earlier, you wrote:
So Thomas used the Lord's name in vain? In front of the Lord Himself? Highly unlikely! The Jews were very careful about using the Lord's name in a reverential way.

The quote from Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown supports your statement! They write that Thomas saying "My Lord and MY God!" was NOT a cry in a fit of astonishment. They believed that Thomas really was calling Jesus his God. That's why I thought the quote would make you happy. Please look at their quote again and think about it. They say that the idea that it was merely profanity (what you called "using the Lord's name in vain") is beneath notice that is, not worth considering. They fully agreed with you that the exclamation was NOT a cry of astonishment, but were actually an acknowledgement that Jesus is God. That's why I thought the quote would make you happy.

"The Socinian invasion of the supreme divinity of Christ here manifestly taught — as if it were a mere call upon God in a fit of astonishment — is beneath notice, save for the profanity it charges upon this disciple, and the straits to which it shows themselves reduced."
Paidion

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dwight92070
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Re: John 20:28 - "my lord and my god"

Post by dwight92070 » Sat May 01, 2021 10:58 pm

Thomas' confession obviously was not the first time that the apostles were confronted with the reality that Jesus was God. Remember their astonishment that even the wind and the sea obeyed Him? What about the transfiguration? How could a human make that happen - the appearance of Moses and Elijah? John himself said that the Word was God and that the Word became flesh. It's very likely that they were quite convinced that he was God for some time. How could He change hundreds of gallons of water into wine? Remember when He forgave the paralytic's sins? Who can forgive sins but God alone? He knew things about Heaven and hell that no human could possibly know. How did He know that there is no marriage in the afterlife? How could He know the details of the resurrection of all men? How did He know that He could call 12 legions of angels to rescue Him? How did He know that when Peter went fishing, there would be a coin in the first fish's mouth, that was the exact amount for their taxes? How could He feed 5000 people with just a few loaves and a few fish? How could He know that Moses' allowed divorce, because of the hardness of their heart? How did He know who would betray Him, when even the other apostles didn't know? How could He direct 153 fish to immediately relocate to the place where Peter was throwing his net in? How could He walk on water? How could He predict the method with which He would be killed? He even predicted the time of His death - He told His apostles that there were going to Jerusalem, where He would be killed. How could He predict the exact number of days before His resurrection? - 3 days. How could He raise Himself from the dead? How could He accurately predict end time events? How did He know that Jerusalem would be destroyed before that generation passed? When He cast out a demon, how did He know that it was a deaf and dumb spirit? How could their boat get instantly transported from the middle of the Sea of Galilee to the land - with them in it?? How could He raise people from the dead? How could He open blind eyes? How could He open deaf ears? When He heard that Lazarus was sick, how did He know to wait a few days before going to him? Obviously this is just a small sampling of all the things that Jesus did.
Why would there be a debate about His deity? There was nothing to debate - His deity was on display for 3 1/2 years. One either acknowledged it, or blindly denied it. Sort of like today!

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