Doesn’t John 1:1 show a close relationship between the persons of the trinity? I’ve heard the Greek word with is “pros” and shows clearly two things facing each other.
Well, no. This is simply about God and the Word, or plan of the Son, that would be made flesh. I will point out also there are not three persons or even three things represented here. There are two somethings. This fact demonstrates the only way to see a trinity here is by coming to the text with a preconceived notion to find a trinity. Further, the normal Greek word for spatial or literal “face to face” encounters is not “pros” but instead “para.” So even the language used points this out as well.
Further, one must remember that wisdom is personified as a woman “with” God helping in creation (Prov. 8). Does that mean there’s an eternal daughter? This is called personification and is a normal biblical literary device. The OT and NT writers personify many things. In Isaiah 55:12, as well as other places, Isaiah personifies creation which is just like Paul in Rom. 8:19ff. Too many cities to mention in the Bible are personified, as well as sin (Gen. 4:7; John 8:34; Rom. 5:21, 6:16), Abel’s blood crying out (Gen. 4:10), the Red Sea (Ps. 77:16), and, of course, God’s wisdom (Prov. 1 and 8). The point is John 1 is simply reflecting known normal OT and NT use of language. It is not meant to be speaking of literally facing another person.
The point is the above verses demonstrate personification is a common biblical literary device. The only way to see a trinity is to do the following things:
- Dismiss the OT and NT use of this type of language.
- Act like the NT writers were not Jewish and steeped in this understanding.
- Then try to “read in” a theology that didn’t come around until about 90 years after the Apostles.
- Then use this later development of man’s ideas to dismiss the total revelation of Scripture.
So, how should we interpret John 1 and other uses of personification language? Should we deny normal usage of Hebrew and Greek language? Require an interpretation that would be foreign to the OT as well as Jesus and the Apostles? Then demand as a statement of the “only orthodox” or correct position of interpreting these verses be based on a theology that wasn’t even around at the time of the NT church?
I’ll side with the OT, the Apostles, Jesus, and even the first century Church over traditions of men that resulted from mixing Greek philosophy with the Bible to come up with something that denies the truth of Scripture.