Thursday, December 2, 2010

CHRIST AS AN ANGEL BEFORE NICEA - PART (1)

(MARTIN WERNER): "...The pre-Arian discussion of the Angel-Christology did not turn simply on the question whether Christ was an angel, but on another issue, namely, in what sense could he, as an angel, rank as God. The explanation which was offered by the supporters of the Angel-Christology was that Christ, according to his nature, was a high angel, but that he was named 'God'; for the designation 'God' was ambiguous. The word 'God' did mean, in the first place, the absolute divine omnipotence but it was also used for the beings who served this deus verus [Latin, 'god true'= (the) true God]. That these were designated 'gods' implies reverence and recognition of Him who sent them and whom they thus represented. Consequently in the Scriptures (Exod. xxii, 28),  not only angels,  but even men could be called 'gods' [cf. Ps. 8:5; Heb. 2:7, 9; Ps. 82:6, 7; John 10:34, 35] without  according  them the status in the strict sense. Even Latantius [260-330 C.E.] had thought in this way2 ... 2 Latantius, inst. Epitome [The Epitome Of The Divine Institutes], 37." - (Martin Werner, The Formation Of Christian Dogma, Page 140).

(LACANTIUS circa 240 to 320): "...In fine, ( OF ) ALL THE ANGELS, whom THE SAME GOD (FORMED) from his own breath, ( HE ) alone was (ADMITTED INTO) a participation of his supreme power, ( HE ) alone was (called) God. (FOR) all things were (THROUGH) him, and nothing was without him...” (Epitome 42).

(LACANTIUS circa 240 to 320): "...God, therefore, the contriver and founder of all things, as we have said in the second book, before He commenced this excellent work of the world, begat a pure and incorruptible (SPIRIT), whom He (called) His Son. And although He had afterwards created by Himself (INUMERABLE OTHER BEINGS, WHOM WE CALL ANGELS), - (THIS) FIRST-BEGOTTEN, however, was (THE ONLY ONE) whom He considered worthy of being (called) by the divine name, as being powerful in His Father's excellence and majesty. ... Assuredly He is the very Son of God, who by that most wise King Solomon, full of divine inspiration, spake these things which we have added: [520] , "God founded ["CREATED" (LXX)] me in the beginning of His ways, in His work before the ages. He set me up in the beginning, before He made the earth, and before He established the depths, before the fountains of waters came forth: the Lord begat me before all the hills; He made the regions, and the uninhabitable [522] boundaries under the heaven. When He prepared the heaven, I was by Him: and when He separated His own seat, when He made the strong clouds above the winds, and when He strengthened the mountains, and placed them under heaven; when He laid the strong foundations of the earth, I was with Him arranging all things. I was He in whom He delighted: I was daily delighted, when He rejoiced, the world being completed." But on this account Trismegistus spoke of Him as "the artificer of God," and the Sibyl calls Him "Counsellor," because He is (ENDOWED BY GOD THE FATHER) with such wisdom and strength, (THAT GOD EMPLOYED) both His wisdom and hands in the creation of the world..." - (The Divine Institutes - Book IV: Chap. VI.--Almighty God Begat His Son; And the Testimonies of the Sibyls and of Trismegistus Concerning Him. Text edited by Rev. Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson and first published by T&T Clark in Edinburgh in 1867. Additional introductionary material and notes provided for the American edition by A. Cleveland Coxe, 1886.)

Compare Hebrews 1:4

(AUV-NT)  He had become as much superior  to the angels as the name He inherited   was superior to theirs 

(EMTV)  having become so much better than the angels, as He has inherited a more excellent name than they.

(ERRB) Being made so much better than the angels, inasmuch as he hath by inheritance obtained inherited a more excellent name than they.

(GSNT)  showing himself to be as much greater than the angels as his title is superior to theirs.

(IAV)  Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.

(ISV)  and became as much superior to the angels as the name he has inherited is better than theirs.

(Moffatt NT)  and thus he is superior to the angels, as he has inherited a Name superior to theirs.

(JMNT[EXPANDED TRANSLATION])   Being born so much better (more excellent) than agents (messengers), He has inherited (acquired by lot) a so much different name beyond (alongside of) them.

(LONT) being exalted as far above the angels, as the name he has inherited, is more excellent than theirs.

(Sawyer) being made as much greater than the angels as he has inherited a more excellent name than they.

(TCNT) having shown himself as much greater than the angels as the Name that he has inherited surpasses theirs.

(Clarke's Commentary on the Bible): "...So much better than the angels - ... The Jews had the highest opinion of the transcendent excellence of angels, they even associate them with God in the creation of the world, and suppose them to be of the privy council of the Most High; and thus they understand Genesis 1:26 : Let us make man in our own image, in our own likeness; "And the Lord said to the ministering angels that stood before him, and who were created the second day, Let us make man," etc. See the Targum of Jonathan ben Uzziel. And they even allow them to be worshipped for the sake of their Creator, and as his representatives; though they will not allow them to be worshipped for their own sake..."

(Vincent's NT Word Studies): "...Being made so much better than the angels (τοσούτῳ κρείττων γενόμενος τῶν ἀγγέλων) ...Τοσούτῳ - ὅσῳ so much - as. Never used by Paul. Κρείττων better, superior, rare in Paul, and always neuter and adverbial. In Hebrews thirteen times. See also 1 Peter 3:17; 2 Peter 2:21. Often in lxx. It does not indicate here moral excellence, but dignity and power. He became superior to the angels, resuming his preincarnate dignity, as he had been, for a brief period, less or lower than the angels (Hebrews 2:7). The superiority of Messiah to the angels was affirmed in rabbinical writings. He hath by inheritance obtained (κεκληρονόμηκεν) More neatly, as Rev., hath inherited, as a son. See Hebrews 1:2, and comp. Romans 8:17. For the verb, see on Acts 13:19, and see on 1 Peter 1:4. More excellent (διαφορώτερον) Διάφορος only once outside of Hebrews, Romans 12:6. The comparative only in Hebrews. In the sense of more excellent, only in later writers. Its earlier sense is different. The idea of difference is that which radically distinguishes it from κρείττων better. Here it presents the comparative of a comparative conception. The Son's name differs from that of the angels, and is more different for good. Than they (παρ' αὐτοὺς) Lit. beside or in comparison with them. Παρα, indicating comparison, occurs a few times in Luke, as Luke 3:13; Luke 13:2; Luke 18:4. In Hebrews always to mark comparison, except Hebrews 11:11, Hebrews 11:12..."

(Robertsons Word Pictures In The NT): "...Having become (genomenos). Second aorist middle participle of ginomai. In contrast with on in Heb_1:3. By so much (tosoutōi). Instrumental case of tosoutos correlative with hosōi (as) with comparative in both clauses (kreittōn, better, comparative of kratus, diaphorōteron, more excellent, comparative of diaphoros). Than the angels (tōn aggelōn). Ablative of comparison after kreittōn, as often. Than they (par' autous). Instead of the ablative autōn here the preposition para (along, by the side of) with the accusative occurs, another common idiom as in Heb_3:3; Heb_9:23. Diaphoros only in Hebrews in N.T. except Rom_12:6. Hath inherited (keklēronomēken). Perfect active indicative of klēronomeō (from klēronomos, heir, Heb_1:2), and still inherits it, the name (onoma, oriental sense of rank) of “Son” which is superior to prophets as already shown (Heb_1:2) and also to angels (1:4-2:18) as he now proceeds to prove. Jesus is superior to angels as God’s Son..."

(Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary):  "...Being made . better-by His exaltation by the Father (Heb 1:3, 13): in contrast to His being "made lower than the angels" (Heb 2:9). ... He is "the Son of God" is a sense far exalted above that in which angels are called "sons of God" (Job 1:6; 38:7)..."

[NOTE]: Nearly all of the above argue for a trinitarian view in the surrounding context of these comments.