Hay’s non-Exegesis of John 10:34–6, where is the Exegesis?

So I’m going to go a little bit backwards here in responding to Steve Hays latest response to me. I’m going to start with John 10:34–36, which was, originally, the entire point of this exchange, and in my view the point of dispute.  I’m going to ignore all the other distractions untill we can get out of Hays an actual coherent exegesis of the text in dispute. I have a straightforward reading of that passage and I’ll give it below.

Jesus answered, “Is it not written in your law, ‘I said, you are gods’?

Citing Psalms 82 where beings, which are not Yahweh, are called gods.

If those to whom the word of God came were called ‘gods’—and the scripture cannot be annulled— can you say that the one whom the Father has sanctified and sent into the world is blaspheming because I said, ‘I am God’s Son’?

Given that these beings are called gods, and they were called “god” by Yahweh, the word of God came (ἐγένετο—it’s the aorist tense, meaning this happened in the past) to them—how can we say that Jesus blasphemed since I call my self God’s Son and since I was sanctified and sent into the world.

He goes on to say that they should actually look at his works.

This is a fully straightforward reading that leaves the actual text coherent, explains the use of Psalms 82 in a way that logically flows with the argument, in a way that actually responds to the charge, and in a way that makes sense of the text and the argument.

So that’s my reading. What is Steven Hay’s reading? In his last post he didn’t give a reading … STILL, I’ve been asking him in multiple posts now to provide us with a reading. He hasn’t done it. The readers of our respective blogs are going to notice this; you can attack all you want, but if you don’t have a coherent reading of John 10:34–36 it says something about the Trinitarian position; it says that the Trinitarian position CANNOT account for that passage.

Now, I’ll deal with the whole Shema claim, however; this is secondary … the PRIMARY point of this entire discussion has been to discuss Jesus’s response in John 10:34–36, so if Steven Hay’s cannot give a reading, an exegesis—then everything else is really a waste of time and it demonstrates he cannot account for that text. About the Shema Steven Says:

i) Suppose Jesus said “The Father is one”. Even unitarians would recognize an allusion to the Shema. After all, they think the Father is Yahweh. So “the Father is one” would be equivalent to “Yahweh is one”. How could that fail to evoke the Shema? If so, what about “the Father and I are one”?

In “the father is one” … a phrase that doesn’t come up at all; anytime the Shema is invoked it uses the actual language of the Shema (God and Lord); so you’re speaking hypothetically about something which didn’t happen and thus can’t really be a frame of reference. However even so, the “one” in the phrase “the Father is one” would be the masculine εἷς, and refer not to “unity”, but rather to what it means in the Shema, a Unique personal identity, Yahweh is one, he alone is the God of Israel, that’s what it means. In John 10:30 “one” is the neuter ἕν and refers NOT to unique personal identity but to unity—thus the word doesn’t mean the same thing, it’s in a different form and has a different meaning. So no, it doesn’t evoke the Shema at all, because not one word is the same, and the one word that IS the same is in a different form and has a completely different meaning.

You have the reaction of the Jews, who prepare to stone Jesus (v31). What would provoke that reaction? If they sense that Jesus has made himself the Lord of the Shema, that would explain their indignation. That’s reinforced by v34: “we are going to stone you for blasphemy because you, being a man, make yourself God.” If they take his statement in v30 to reference the Shema, where he audaciously incorporates himself into the Shema, their reaction makes perfect sense–since they think he’s just a man. By contrast, the insipid unitarian interpretation would not provoke that reaction.

Why wouldn’t the Unitarian interpretation provoke that reaction? How many first/second century messianic pretenders died violent deaths? I have the answer, all of them.

You’re assuming by the way that they are saying he makes himself “God” and not “a god” …. There is nothing in the text to warrant that assumption.

They ended up killing him for claiming he was the “son of man” (never interpreted in Judaism as being Yahweh), so there are plenty of reasons. Also they were constantly looking for reasons to Kill Jesus and constantly miss-interpreting and miss-representing what Jesus said—So it’s not like these guys were simply disinterested honest judges of Blasphemy law … they WANTED to kill Jesus. Jesus could have said anything at this point and they would have tried to find a reason to kill him, they were trying all throughout John’s Gospel.

If Jesus said he was from the Father, the unique agent of the Father, and that he was the Christ—and then he was contradicting what the religious leaders said, is it a surprise they wanted to kill him? Is it a surprise that someone who they thought of as a heretic who claimed to be the messiah and speaking on behalf of God would be seen by his enemies as committing blasphemy? Not at all.

Suddenly when it comes to this verse, Trinitarians forget the entire narrative of John.

i) Needless to say, Deut 6:4 doesn’t use εἷς. Deut 6:4 was written in Hebrew, not Greek. This is Montero’s predicament. He keeps leaning on a distinction that only exists in Greek, yet Deut 6:4 wasn’t written in Greek, and the conversation in Jn 10:22-39 wasn’t conducted in Greek.

ii) It’s hardly unusual for NT speakers and writers to paraphrase OT verses or offer interpretive summaries.

Right but John was written in Greek and it quoted the LXX when it quoted the Hebrew Bible. We don’t have their conversation, we have what john wrote. When NY writers paraphrase OT verses they make the OT verse recognizable.

ii) Of course, a unitarian will say, no, that just means Jesus is Yahweh’s But that strategy is self-defeating. If a mundane agent can assume all of the roles of Yahweh, then there’s no differential factor distinguishing the creature from Yahweh. Everything the OT says about Yahweh, to differentiate Yahweh from false gods, is take over by messiah.

Everything attributed to Jesus you claim necessitates him being Yahweh in the flesh was also attributed to figures in the OT. Hebrews talks about how Moses took Israel out of Egypt, countless passages in the OT say that it was only Yahweh who took them out of Egypt—does that mean Moses is Yahweh? No. The OT says salvation only comes from Yahweh, yet it calls various kings and judges saviors of Israel, are they Yahweh? Common now.

Jesus is distinguished from Yahweh, Yahweh acts THROUGH Jesus, not vice-versa, Jesus obeys Yahweh, not vice versa, he listens to his voice, not vice-verse, everything is given to Jesus by Yahweh, not vice-versa, Jesus rules on behalf of Yahweh, not vice versa and so on and so forth.

Now let’s get back to the main thrust of this entire debate which you have thus far been dodging, the reading of John 10:34–36.

If your reading of the verses leading up to John 10:34–36 is granted (we will all have to suspend our critical faculties to grant that, but we can try), then how is John 10:34–36 to be made sense of as a response? Exegete the text for us.

So those to “whom the word of God came” are called gods, does that mean that the readers of the prologue are called gods? Also in his referencing of Psalms 82, he highlights only that they are called gods … that seems to be his point—nothing of this has to do with the Shema by the way. Also the “distinction” between Yahweh and the other gods of Psalms 82 is that the other gods die … Jesus died, if that was Jesus’s point then that’s a very contradictory point.

But again, Exegete the text, show us what the text actually is saying, and why your reading is actually the correct reading, show us your exegesis. It’s put up or shut up time, as they say; if you’re not going to actually provide a reading of the text in question then what are you doing.

Hay’s non-Exegesis of John 10:34–6, where is the Exegesis?

4 thoughts on “Hay’s non-Exegesis of John 10:34–6, where is the Exegesis?

  1. Anonymous says:

    Jesus and the Jews clearly concur that per Pss 82 the word “gods” doesn’t mean Jehovah.

    Now, if Jesus were to insist on being a “Son of Jehovah” in ontological sense (that is, being one with Jehovah), he should have used the title “Son of the Lord” rather than “Son of God”.

    By using the word “Son of God” for himself shortly after using the word “gods” for those other than Jehovah, Jesus aligns himself in the category of gods instead of the Lord or Jehovah.

    Likewise, if Jesus were to further insist on being Jehovah himself, he should have used the title “Lord” rather than “Son of God”.


  2. Anonymous says:

    Beside the double title of “Lord God” of the Shema belongs to the Father only (Lk 1:32, Jude 1:4, Rev 21:22), the Trinitarians have troubled a lot by a fact of the Biblical differentiation between Jesus and the dual title “Lord God”.
    It means, Jesus is neither the Lord, nor God, of the Shema.
    Isa 61:1
    The Spirit of the *Lord GOD* is upon *me*; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;
    Acts 3:22
    For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A *prophet* shall the *Lord your God* raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you.


  3. Anonymous says:

    In a nutshell, the Unitarians have the Biblical proof texts of the Father alone being the compound unity “Lord God”, whereas Thomas’ exclamation in Jn 20:28 perfectly ruins all Trinitarian lame argument of the Shema having two distinct persons the Father and the Son.


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