Jn 1:1; Caird and Carson

From: Paul S. Dixon (dixonps@juno.com)
Date: Tue Apr 07 1998 - 14:37:55 EDT

On Tue, 7 Apr 1998 08:37:14 -0700 (PDT) Edgar Foster
<questioning1@yahoo.com> writes:
>In the excellent work _Exegetical Fallacies_ DA Carson discusses GB
>Caird's view of John 1:1c. Caird says that John 1:1c cannot be
>considered as a statement of identity. Conversely, Carson takes issue
>with this affirmation and says:
>"Caird simply affirms that the second clause of John 1:1 disallows the
>view that the third clause is an identity statement; but that
>affirmation is demanded by neither lexical semantics nor syntax"
>(Carson 60).
>Is this view correct? I thought that John 1:1c unequivocally could not
>be viewed as an identity statement. Is Carson mistaken here?
>E. Foster


While the third clause of Jn 1:1c is undoubtedly a qualitative statement
about the LOGOS, this does not mean it cannot also be a statement of
identity (by implication), as I read Carson.

He is in the chapter on word-study fallacies, particularly "12.
Unwarranted restriction of the semantic field." His point seems to be
this: to argue from the second clause and the meaning of TON QEON there
that QEON in the third clause cannot be an identity statement is
fallacious reasoning based upon an unwarranted restriction on the meaning
of QEOS.

Carson argues that if we take "the Word was God" as an attributive
statement (NEB: what God was, the Word was), and if (citing from Caird),
"... God is a class of one," and "whoever has all the attributes of God
is God," then "the attributive converts into a statement of identity."

He concludes, "The fourth evangelist certainly gives the impression that
although God is one, he is some kind of plural unity; for he does not
hesitate to have the incarnate Word as Lord and God (20:28)."

Paul Dixon

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