The Logos: God Or “A” God? -- By: Michael J. Caba
The Logos: God Or “A” God?
It was a pleasant evening in the Old City of Jerusalem as the ABR group sat in the courtyard of the Gloria Hotel. We talked about our adventures on the Temple Mount Sifting Project, and laughed at our experiences in a foreign culture. As we enjoyed the fellowship we noticed an elderly gentleman, attired in the priestly garb of the Greek Orthodox Church, sitting across the courtyard and chuckling along with our group. So began the adventure that eventually led to a friendly meeting with the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem, and the further clarification of a certain theological point.
After more laughter and discussion, our friendly priest, Michael, assured us that we would enjoy a meeting with the Greek Orthodox Patriarch. Accordingly, arrangements were made and about a week later we were politely ushered into the elegant but simple audience room of the Patriarch. The man himself, Theophilos III by name, is an elderly gentleman of rather modest stature, but possessing an acute and highly educated mind. He seated himself at floor level—away from his elevated presiding chair—and bid us to come close for the interview. What, he wanted to know, could he do for this bunch of foreign archaeologists?
Father Michael (left), a Greek Orthodox priest from Thessaloniki, Greece, made arrangements for the ABR sifters to meet the Jerusalem Patriarch of his church.
One thing of special importance was on our minds for this courtesy call, namely, what was his understanding of the Bible verse identified as John 1:1. In particular, was the Logos (i.e. the Word) fully God as is indicated in nearly all English translations, or simply “a” god as is the case in certain cult literature? It only seemed right to ask this of the Patriarch for several reasons. First of all, his church traces its roots to the time of the apostles in Jerusalem, and is even referred to by other Orthodox churches as the “mother” church of all Christendom. In addition, the very liturgy of the church is conducted in Koine, (common) Greek, the actual ancient language of the New Testament Scriptures. Further still, the Patriarch himself is Greek and is highly trained in theology and church history. Certainly there are Bible experts all over the world who can reliably translate this verse, but it also seemed to us that the Patriarch could be another important witness on this matter due to his unique credentials. We were very curious about his thoughts on the subject, and anxiously awaited his responses as the discussion started.
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