« ÎnapoiContinuați »
in which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he hath ordained” (Acts xvii. 31 ), or, as it is elsewhere expressed, “the day in which he will judge the secrets of men, through Jesus Christ" (Rom. ii. 16, comp. ver. 5, 6); and that we shall all stand before the judgment seat of God” (Rom. xiv. 10). So the day referred to is not only called “the day of the Lord Jesus” (1 Cor. i. 8; v. 5; 2 Cor. i. 14), or “the day of Christ Jesus” (Phil. i. 6), or “the day of Christ” (Phil. i. 10; ii. 16), but “the day of God” (2 Pet. iii. 12).
Here, as throughout the economy of salvation, there is εις θεός, ο πατήρ, εξ ου τα πάντα, και εις κύριος, Ιησούς Χριστός, δι' ου τα πάντα (1 Cor. viii. 6).
It appears to me, then, that Bishop Ellicott's “palmary argument,' as he calls it, derives all its apparent force from a misstatement of the question; and when we consider the express language of Christ respecting his appearing in the glory of his Father; the express statement of Paul that this erudve.o. of Christ is one which God, the Father, will show (1 Tim. vi. 15), and the corresponding statement of the writer to the Hebrews (i. 6, “when he again bringeth," etc.); when we consider that in the concomitants of the second advent, the resurrection of the dead, and the judgment of men, in which the glory of Christ will be displayed, he is everywhere represented as acting, not independently of God, the Father, but in union with him, as his agent, so that “the Father is glorified in the Son," can we find the slightest difficulty in supposing that Paul here describes the second advent as an “appearing of the glory of the great God, and our Saviour Jesus Christ” ?
(6) Bishop Ellicott's second argument is, “that the immediate context so specially relates to our Lord.”—He can only refer to ver. 14, “who gave himself for us,” etc. The argument rests on the assumption, that when a writer speaks of two persons, A and B, there is something strange or unnatural in adding a predicate of B alone. If it is not instantly clear that such an assumption contradicts the most familiar facts of language, one may compare the mention of God and Christ together in Gal. i. 3, 4, and i Tim. ii. 5, 6, and the predicate that in each case follows the mention of the latter. The passage in Galatians reads: “Grace to you and peace from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us, that he might deliver us,” etc.
(c) The third point is, “that the following mention of Christ's giving Himself up for us, of His abasement, does fairly account for St. Paul's ascription of a title, otherwise unusual, that specially and antithetically marks His glory."-"Otherwise unusual" / Does Bishop Ellicott mean that “the great God” is simply an “unusual" title of Christ in the New Testament? But this is not an argument, but only an answer to an objection, which we shall consider by and by. It is obvious that what is said in ver. 14 can in itself afford no proof or presumption that Paul in what precedes has called Christ
the great God.” He uses similar language in many passages (e. g. those just cited under 6 from Gal. i. 3, 4 and 1 Tim. ii. 5, 6) in which Christ is clearly distinguished from God.
(d) The fourth argument is, " that period would seem uncalled for if applied to the Father.” It seems to me, on the contrary, to have a solemn impressiveness, suitable to the grandeur of the event referred to. It condenses into one word what is more fully expressed by the accumulation of high titles applied to God in connection with the same subject in 1 Tim. vi. 14-16, suggesting that the event is one in which the power and majesty of God will be conspicuously displayed. The expression “the great God” does not occur elsewhere in the New Testament, but it is not uncommon in the Old Testament and later Jewish writings as a designation of Jehovah. See Note C.
(e) Bishop Ellicott's last argument is, that "apparently two of the Ante-Nicene (Clem. Alexand. Protrept. 7 [ed. Pott. ] and Hippolytus, quoted by Words.) and the great bulk of post-Nicene writers concurred in this interpretation."--As to this, I would say that Clement of Alexandria does not cite the passage in proof of the deity of Christ, and there is nothing to show that he adopted the construction which refers the του μεγάλου θεού to him. * Hippolytus (De Antichristo c. 67), in an allusion to the passage, uses the expression επιφάνειας του θεού και σωτήρος ημών of Christ, which may seem to indicate that he adopted the construction just mentioned. But it is to be observed that he omits the ris dózis, and the reálov, and the
* Winstanley well remarks, in his valuable essay on the use of the Greek article in the New Testament, that " the observation of Whitby that Clem. Alex. quotes this text of St. Paul, when he is asserting the divinity of Christ, if it mean that he quotes it as an argument, or proof, is a mistake. Clemens is all along speaking of a past appearance only, and therefore he begins his quotation with a former verse, ý zopes tui 0an . . . etc., and then proceeds coûtó tot! To agua to zaerós [l'omit the quotation), etc., so that his authority inclines the other way: for he has not appealed to this text, though he had it before him, when he was expressly asserting the divinity of Christ, as 0£ús, and 6 0£o- júpus, but not as 6 évas 0:05.” (Vindication of certain Passages in the Common English Version of the N. T., p. 35 f., Amer. ed., Cambridge, 1819.)
The supposition of Wordsworth and Wace that Ignatius (Eph. c. 1) refers to this passage has, so far as I can see, no foundation.
"Ιησού Χριστού after σωτήρος ημών, so that it is not certain that if he had quoted the passage fully, instead of merely borrowing some of its language, he would have applied all the terms to one subject. My principal reason for doubt is, that he has nowhere in his writings spoken of Christ as ο μέγας θεός, with or without ημών, and that it would hardly have been consistent with his theology to do this, holding so strongly as he did the doctrine of the subordination of the Son.
It is true that many writers of the fourth century and later apply the passage to Christ. At that period, and earlier, when Osós had become a common appellation of Christ, and especially when he was very often called “our God” or “our God and Saviour,” the construction of Tit. ii. 13 which refers the Osoő to him would seem the most natural. But the New Testament use of language is widely different; and on that account a construction which would seem most natural in the fourth century, might not even suggest itself to a reader of the first century. That the orthodox Fathers should give to an ambiguous passage the construction which suited their theology and the use of language in their time, was almost a matter of course, and furnishes no evidence that their resolution of the ambiguity is the true one.
The cases are so numerous in which the Fathers, under the influence of a dogmatic bias, have done extreme violence to very plain language, that we can attach no weight to their preference in the case of a construction really ambiguous, like the present. For a notable example of such violence, see 2 Cor. iv. 4, dy os ó Ocos TOV αιώνος τούτου ετύφλωσεν τα νοήματα των απίστων, where, through fear of Gnosticism or Manichæism, Irenæus (Har. iii. 7. § 1; comp. iv. 29 (al. 48). $ 2), Tertullian (Adv. Marc. v. 11), Adamantius or Pseudo-Origen (De recta in Deum fide, sect. ii. Orig. Opp. i. 832), Chrysostom, Theodoret, Ecumenius, Theophylact, Augustine, Primasius, Sedulius Scotus, Haymo, and others make toð alwvos τούτου depend on απίστων instead of ο θεός,* a construction which we should hardly hesitate to call impossible.
I have now considered all the arguments of Bishop Ellicott, citing them in full in his own language. It seems to me that no one of them has any real weight; and that a consideration of his “palmary
* For many of these writers see Whitby, Diss. de Script. Interp. secundum Patrum Commentarios, p. 275 f. Alford's note on this passage has a number of false references, copied without acknowledgment from Meyer, and ascribes this interpretation (after Meyer) to Origen, who opposes it (Opp. iii. 497, ed. Delarue).
argument,” which is the one mainly urged by the advocates of his construction of the passage, really leads to the opposite view. "The same is true also, I conceive, of his reference to the expression “the
But there is a new argument which it may be worth while to notice. In the English translation of the second edition of his Biblico-Theological Lexicon of N. T. Greek, Cremer has added to the article 0cós a long note on Tit. ii. 13 which is not in the German original, and has made other alterations in the article. He here contends that toő μεγάλου θεού refers to Christ. . He gives up entirely the argument from the want of the article before owtipos, on which he had insisted in the German edition. Nor does he urge the argument from the use of Åreçáveld. His only arguments are founded on the assertion that ver. 14 “by its form already indicates that in ver. 13 only one subject is presented”—an argument which has already been answered (see p. 6, under b), and to which, it seems to me, one cannot reasonably attach the slightest weight-and the fact that ver. 14 contains the expression daos are provolos, “a peculiar people,” an expression used in the 0. T. to denote the Jewish nation as the chosen people, the peculiar possession of God. The argument rests on the assumption that because in ver. 14 the Apostle has transferred this expression to the church of Christ,“ the great God" in ver. 13 must be taken as a predicate of Christ.
The case seems to me to present no difficulty, and to afford no ground for such an inference. The relation of Christians to God and Christ is such that, from its very nature, the servants of Christ are and are called the servants of God, the church of Christ the church of God, the kingdom of Christ the kingdom of God. So Christians are and are represented as the peculiar people and possession of Christ, and at the same time the peculiar people and possession of God (1 Pet. ii. 9, 10).* If Christians belong to Christ, they must belong also to God, the Father, to whom Christ himself belongs (1 Cor. iii. 23, "ye are Christ's, and Christ is God's”). To infer, then, that because in ver. 14 Christians are spoken of as Christ's peculiar people, the title "great God" must necessarily be understood as applied to him in ver. 13, is a very extraordinary kind of reasoning.
Comp. Clement of Rome, 1 Ep. ad Cor. c. 64 (formerly 58): May the All-seeing God and Master of Spirits and Lord of all Aesh, who chose the Lord Jesus Christ and us through him for a peculiar people (eis lajv teplovorov), grant," etc.
Such are the arguments which have been urged for the translation, "the appearing of the glory of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ.” Let us now consider what is to be said for the construction which makes του μεγάλου θεού and 'Ιησού Χριστού distinct subjects.
In the case of a grammatical ambiguity of this kind in any classical author, the first inquiry would be, What is the usage of the writer respecting the application of the title in question ? Now this consideration, which certainly is a most reasonable one, seems to me here absolutely decisive. While the word Osós occurs more than five hundred times in the Epistles of Paul, not including the Epistle to the Hebrews, there is not a single instance in which it is clearly applied to Christ. †
In the case then of a question between two constructions, either of which is grammatically possible, should we not adopt that which accords with a usage of which we have 500 examples, without one clear exception, rather than that which is in opposition to it? The case is made still stronger by the fact that we have here not only fož, but μεγάλου θεού. .
† The passages in the writings of Paul in which the title 0£ós has ever been supposed to be given to Christ are very few, and are all cases of very doubtful construction or doubtful reading. Alford finds it given to him only in Rom. ix. 5; but here, as is well known, many of the most eminent modern scholars make the last part of the verse a doxology to God, the Father. So, for example, Winer, Fritzsche, Meyer, De Wette, Ewald; Tischendorf, Kuenen and Cobet, Buttmann, Hahn (ed. 1861); Prof. Jowett, Prof. I. H. Godwin, Prof. Lewis Campbell of the University of St. Andrews, the Rev. Dr. B. H. Kennedy, Regius Professor of Greek in the University of Cambridge, and Dr. Hort. of the other passages, Eph. v. 5 and 2 Thess. i. 12 have already been considered. In i Tim. iii. 16 there is now a general agreement among critical scholars that ş èçuvepcóir and not Oavs šçuyspon is the true reading. In Col. ii. 2, the only remaining passage, the text is uncertain; but if we adopt the reading tui) 2071 piou suis levis Ipootori, the most probable construction is that which regards persuj as in apposition with PugTypo), which is confirmed by Col. i. 27. This is the view of Bishop Ellicott, Bishop Lightfoot, Wieseler (on Gal. i. 1), and Westcott and Hort. Others, as Meyer and Huther, translate “the mystery of the God of Christ' (comp. Eph. i. 3, 17, etc.) Steiger takes \p.otoù as in apposition with coij vevū, and thus finds Christ here called God; but to justify his interpretation the Greek should rather be Ipozov toisinsvis (comp. De Wette).
The habitual, and I believe uniform, usage of Paul corresponds with his language i Cor. viii. 6.
Here and elsewhere I intentionally pass by the question whether Paul's view of the nature of Christ and his relation to the Father would have allowed him to designate Christ as ο μέγας θεός και σωτήρ ημών. This would lead to a long discussion of many passages. My argument rests on the undisputed facts respecting his habitual use of language.