The Book of Mormon: True or False?

At the request of our Mormon friends here at Mormon Coffee, today’s topic for discussion is, The Book of Mormon: True or False? Before the discussion starts, however, I need to lay down some ground rules.

  • It is understood by all here that Mormons ultimately believe the Book of Mormon is true due to personal revelation. For this discussion, possession of LDS testimonies will be assumed. Therefore, the bearing of these testimonies in the following comments is not permitted.
  • When making evidentiary statements of fact, please provide supporting source references.
  • Please dialog here in your own words; do not fill your comments with lengthy quotes from others.
  • Remember (and follow) the Mormon Coffee comment policy that calls for the summation of main points (in your own words) before linking to another source.

On a recent Mormon Coffee thread, after being asked about external evidence supporting the Book of Mormon, an LDS commenter wrote:

“[Y]ou said, ‘What is the most compelling piece if archeological evidence that proves to you that the Book of Mormon is true?’ I will responde with, ‘Oh you of little faith’. If we needed scientific/archeological proof to mandate and coincide our beliefs, we would be cast into the same category as the pharisees and saducees.”

That opinion notwithstanding, this discussion will focus on evidence outside of testimony for the Book of Mormon. Another Latter-day Saint who participates in the conversations at Mormon Coffee has made this argument (taken from a few different comments of his):

“[T]he question of the Book of Mormon is absolutely black and white- it is either what it claims to be, or it is not. If it is not what it claims, the whole religion falls. If it is true, the church stands as THE Church of Christ.”

“If it [the Book of Mormon] is true (an ancient record of scripture), JS was a prophet. If he was a prophet, the church is what it claims to be, etc., etc.”

“Your claim that there is no evidence for the BOM is certainly persistent. I await the thread that allows us to discuss the book straight up….the whole of the LDS church depends on the Book of Mormon being true- every claim depends on it, so I would think that would be a natural center of debate.”

Okay. To get us started, Michael Coe, Yale University’s renowned Professor of Anthropology emeritus, was interviewed for PBS’s Frontline program The Mormons. After describing some of the major problems facing Mormon archeologists who are seeking to find evidence that the Book of Mormon is true, Dr. Coe said,

“I don’t really know how my friends that are Mormon archaeologists cope with this non-evidence, the fact that the evidence really hasn’t shown up — how they make the jump from the data to faith or from faith back to the data, because the data and the faith are two different worlds. There’s simply no way to bring them together. …”

Apart from personal revelation, how do the readers of Mormon Coffee (both Mormons and non-Mormons) cope with the “non-evidence” spoken of by Dr. Coe?

For an interesting look at issues surrounding the historicity of the Book of Mormon see the Sunstone article, “Mapping Book of Mormon Historicity Debates – Part 1, A Guide for the Overwhelmed,” by John-Charles Duffy.

About Sharon Lindbloom

Sharon surrendered her life to the Lord Jesus Christ in 1979. Deeply passionate about Truth, Sharon loves serving as a full-time volunteer research associate with Mormonism Research Ministry. Sharon and her husband live in Minnesota.
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308 Responses to The Book of Mormon: True or False?

  1. Pingback: Caffeinated Thoughts - » Twenty Items of Interest (v.38)

  2. Vook says:

    One thing. A guy I know, Brant Gardner, has his MA in Meso American culture or some such thing, and has written extensively on the probability of a Meso-American setting for the Book of Mormon. The fact we don’t have a sign saying “Welcome to Zarahemla” should not be any more discouraging than guessing where the city of Ai, Capernum, Jesus’ tomb or any other speculated Biblical location. For each of those sites, you find people putting their best guess to history and archeology, and then speculating. So for a thoroughly scientific approach to harmonizing the internal geography of the BoM with known modern geographical references, see his writings at FAIR or FARMS, or better yet, buy his four volumes study on the subject. You may not believe any of it, but you will have to acknowledge he didn’t just kneel down and wait for indigestion to tell him something is true. I would start here:

    John Sorenson’s work is somewhat dated at this point, but still very scientific in its approach.

    There are examples of folks in the field interacting with everything thrown at the plausibility of the reality of the BoM, and yet they still find it believable. It would be worth a look.

  3. jackg says:


    Sorry that I have not responded to you sooner (you miss a day or two and it’s crazy getting back into the discussion). Anyway, sometime last week (or this week, can’t remember), you said to me: “Gentiles” means “The nations”. The tribes outside of Israel and Judah.”

    Now, I only went to my Hebrew-Greek Keynote rendition of the Bible because of time restraints, but it did indeed say that the word used for Gentiles was nations…but not the only meaning of the word. Because of this, I can’t understand why you only pointed out the meaning that suited your argument as if it was the only meaning around. One other meaning in particular referred to those people outside the faith community. If we look at this translation of the word, we can say that “Gentiles” refers to anyone who is not of the House of Israel. Also, there are no other tribes outside of Israel and Judah (which are kingdoms, northern and southern) as you state, because the entire House of Israel is encompassed in these two kingdoms.

    The final comment was that the word “Gentile” generally referred to anyone outside the Jewish nation. I take this to mean that the “fold” to which Jesus was referring is the entire House of Israel, both kingdoms, because He didn’t just come to Judah, and that the “other sheep” refer to the Gentiles. I am a Gentile, and I have heard the voice of Jesus. He is my Shepherd, and I know his voice. I am a part of that “other sheep” to which He was referring. For me, this renders the 3 Nephi 15 passage as nonsensical and out of tune with the totality of the Bible’s message of salvation history. The Gentiles have heard His voice!

    Grace and Peace!

  4. GB says:


    I seriously doubt that you have heard the actual voice of Jesus.

  5. jackg says:


    Ah, but you don’t know that, do you? You don’t know what I’ve experienced, GB. But, because of your question, I know you haven’t. I know my Shepherd’s voice, and it doesn’t sound like the voice of JS or the BOM. That much I know for certain. Still praying for you, GB.

    Grace and Peace!

  6. amanda says:

    “It has been my experience that Mormons say that they do not NEED to have archaeological evidence to believe the BoM is true. Personally, I don’t blame them for making that statement, as there is no (or very little) evidence for its veracity.”

    Lest we forget the “evidence” for its veracity is the Holy Ghost. [Snipped.]

    [Welcome back, Amanda. I’m sorry to have to do this when you’ve just returned to commenting on Mormon Coffee, but this thread is about Book of Mormon evidences outside of testimony; therefore I have trimmed your comment to conform to the ground rules laid out in the original post above. -Mod]

  7. Vook says:

    Gowy or Goy: OT Hebrew word
    Translations: Nation(s)-374 times; Heathen(s) -about 143 times; Gentiles -30 times; people -11 times. Yes, I can see where calling the meaning “nations” was really deceptive. 🙂 Especially in light of the 3 Nephi 15:21-24 context of those not of the fold of Jesus, meaning Jesus’ chosen people.

    By the way, from where did the woman hear of Jesus? From his preaching, or by word of mouth from others? Hmmm.

    Here is the entire 1828 entry from Webster:


    GEN’TILE, n. [L. gentilis; from L. gens, nation, race; applied to pagans.]

    In the scriptures, a pagan; a worshipper of false gods; any person not a Jew or a christian; a heathen. The Hebrews included in the term goim or nations, all the tribes of men who had not received the true faith,and were not circumcised. The christians translated goim by the L. gentes, and imitated the Jews in giving the name gentiles to all nations who were not Jews nor christians. In civil affairs, the denomination was given to all nations who were not Romans.”

    Let’s see, I believe I mentioned that she, being a Gentile, did not constitute THE GENTILES. I don’t think there is any kind of a stretch here on my part. Jesus did not preach to her, did not go to her, nor did he send the Apostles or disciples to go to the Gentiles until after he ascended into heaven.

    Is this seriously an issue which would prevent you from being a Mormon? If so, then I truly believe you are using unequal scales by being overly critical of LDS positions, and overly forgiving of the myopia and selectivity of non-LDS groups’ use of the Bible. I don’t mean to offend, it’s just the tenacity to this point seems out of proportion given the passes you give to structural issues of the Bible and Christianity at large.

  8. GB says:

    Since, in your last post, you didn’t claim to actually hear the actual voice of Jesus, I’ll take it that you haven’t actually heard the actual voice of Jesus. And so your argument fails by your own words. Thanks!

    And as Paul says “Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.”

  9. jackg says:

    Sorry, but you don’t prove anything with your use of the dictionary. Also, you didn’t address the fact that Israel and Judah are kingdoms, and there are no other tribes outside of the 12 represented by both kingdoms combined.

    It’s really sad if you haven’t heard the voice of Jesus Christ because He is the good shepherd, and His sheep know His voice. If one considers him/herself to be a follower of Jesus Christ, then they have heard the voice of the LORD. Because you haven’t experienced this does not mean others haven’t. But, I see you focus on the word “actual.” It seems that you think you have won some great argument with this position you are taking. Then, you make the claim that my argument fails by my own words. There is really no one can tell you because you are not ready for the reality that I have heard the actual voice of Jesus Christ. There are many Christians who have as they have come to Christ. I know that this seems inconceivable to you. The fact that you follow a false prophet seems inconceivable to you, so how can you understand things that are spiritual and part of relationship with Jesus Christ? I understand your deficit in this area, and I understand your need to cling to whatever you can so that you can justify the fact that you believe in a gospel message that is not comnpatible with the Bible. So, I pray for you. I know that pride rules over you, because I have been in your shoes and ruled by the same pride. Perhap, I will be judged harshly by the Mormons for my honesty, but you need to hear the truth. I pray that you will also hear the “actual” voice of the LORD as I have. You’ll know it when it happens, and then you will no longer be able to be a member of JS church. Jesus’ sheep know His voice, and to know it one has to have heard it.

    Grace and Peace!

  10. GB says:


    Do a little study on the New Testament usage of the word “voice”.

    Your claims to having heard the voice of Jesus without actually hearing the actual voice of Jesus run counter to its usage in the New Testament.

    But nice try.

    As John says “Grace be with you, mercy, and peace, from God the Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love.”

  11. Lautensack says:

    Vook and GB:
    I’m sorry it has taken too long for this response, I’ve been out of town since Thursday afternoon.

    Vook, you state that Trinitarians flop when it comes to John 1:1-18. You do understand that there are three clauses in John 1:1, The first being the eternalness of the Word, playing off of Genesis 1:1, the second being the relationship with God, and the third that He, Himself, is God, that is fully divine, or fully deity. My analysis only dealt with clauses two and three. Thus on clause two any Trinitarian will agree that the Word is in constant intimate relationship with God, concluding that they are in fact separate persons. However it is the third clause were we seem to disagree, and where you seem to disagree with scholarship in Greek language studies, as you yourself stated. Therefore I must ask what you would translate John 1:1?
    You bring up the προς, a Greek word that describes an intimate relationship, seen only in the second clause. This does show that there are two persons in relationship, namely the λόγος and θεόν. No Trinitarian will disagree with this at all, to think we will shows a lack of understanding when it comes to the Trinity, the Father is not the Son is not the Holy Spirit. Without the third clause your analysis that they were seperate beings would be correct however John did include the phrase καὶ θεὸς ἦν ὁ λόγος. Now you rightly assert that word order is only less important grammatically, which only mattered in my point that λόγος was the subject of the sentence. However since you brought word order up John is forcefully contrasting the word order of the proceeding clause, making the λόγος both Divine(θεὸς) and distinct from God (τὸν θεόν). In doing so John rejects modalistic monarchianism, which it seems LDS often confuse with Trinitarianism, and simple or monolithic monotheism.


  12. Lautensack says:

    Now as to verse 14 it first must be noted again that every time John spoke of the λόγος in his prologue he used the To Be verb ἦν except in John 1:14 where he switches to the word ἐγένετο. This is important because it denotes a temporal event. The λόγος took on flesh as part of His nature. Thus if we believe what Vook cited earlier, and I believe we should, this denotes a qualitative meaning, in a similar way that John 1:1c does. The distinct difference being as simple as the difference between ἦν and ἐγένετο. In John 1:1 ἦν is used, describing the nature, attribute, or quality the λόγος had from eternity, namely θεὸς. Juxtaposed to that is John 1:14 where ἐγένετο is used, describing the nature, attribute, or quality that the λόγος took upon Himself or became, namely σὰρξ (flesh). Thus the λόγος who is by nature(ἦν) God (θεὸς) took upon Himself or became(ἐγένετο) flesh(σὰρξ).

    GB this is why I can say that Mormonism contradicts 1 John 4:1 because John says that Christ is Fully God in the Flesh, Mormonism states that a Body is needed for Godhood thus before Christ became flesh He could not have been full God. Thus since they deny that Christ is eternally God they deny that He came in the flesh. As for your new conclusion Paul says “Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Rom 1:7, 1 Cor 1:3, 2 Cor 1:2, Gal 1:3, Eph 1:2, Philippians 1:2, Col 1:2, 1 Thes 1:1, 2 Thes 1:2, Philemon 1:3) It seems plain that you don’t understand what Paul is doing here. He is taking the most important creed of the Old Testament, Deuteronomy 6:4 “Hear O Israel, the LORD our God, the LORD is one” and applying it to both God the Father and Jesus Christ.


  13. jackg says:


    Your attempt to attack my experience was expected because you are very predictable. It seems as if you’re getting a bit frustrated and perhaps even desperate. Your bully tactics are tiresome and only reveal your lack of spiritual experience. You want to claim that God can do anything He wants, and for you, that means He visited a kid in New York and ushered in the last dispensation. YOu want to champion a book he wrote and denigrade the Bible to do so. You want to fight and defend everything JS ever taught because you believe he saw God the Father and Jesus Christ. Yet, when I merely say that I have heard the voice of Jesus Christ, and that you can as well, you mock me and try to belittle my knowledge, all the while revealing that you don’t know very much about how God operates in this world. You probably wouldn’t believe any of the stories coming from all parts of the world of people receiving dreams and visions, and hearing His voice as they are being led to Jesus Christ. You see, the voice of Jesus Christ told me to reconcile myself to Him. I was a sinner, but now I am saved by the grace of God. You, too, can be saved by the grace of God. You, too, can hear the voice of the Good Shepherd so that you can recognize it. He speaks through His word; He speaks through the Holy Spirit; He speaks through others; and, sometimes, He speaks for Himself in ways that are supernatural, unfathomable, and inexplicable. He is speaking, GB, and there’s nothing you can do or say to prevent it or to deny it. I pray that you will experience the real Jesus Christ in the way that I have. It’s the only way you will be able to fall to your knees in true humility and repentance and truly accept Him as Your King, and not JS.

    Grace and Peace!

  14. GB says:

    Lautensack: Mormonism states that a Body is needed for Godhood thus before Christ became flesh He could not have been full God.

    GB: Chapter and verse please!

    You don’t seem to pay attention. We have told you over and over again. Jesus (the Word) was (“indefinite and qualitative”, your words) God in the beginning and Mormons believe it. What part of that don’t you understand?


    Nice ad hominem!

    The usage of the word “voice” in the New Testament (the way Jesus used it) is not compatible with your usage. Need I say more?

    And as Paul says “Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.”

  15. Vook says:

    I appreciate the response on John 1:1. WithoutYou appear to have fallen prey to believing Colwell’s rule “requires” a definite understanding of the pre-verbal Predicate Nominative, “theos”, in the third clause. As Daniel Wallace, in his “Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics”, notes on page 290, Colwell’s rule, describes an option for definiteness, but incorrectly is often used “as a trump card by Trinitarians in many theological debates, even though the rule really says nothing about the definiteness of theos. Indeed, an examination both of pre-verbal anarthrous predicate nominatives and of the Christology of the Fourth Gospel strongly suggests a qualitative force to theos (a view which affirms the deity of Christ just as strongly but for different reasons.”

    Wallace notes [snipped — personal attack]Walter Martin applies the inverse of Colwell’s rule, applying definiteness to John 1:1c theos, leading to Sabellianism by essentially stating the Father IS the Son. (page 258)

    Lastly, Wallace notes that if theos were to be assumed “definite”, then there were be no impact to adding the definite article to the construction of the sentence, as the Word and God would be covertible subjects, and theos would have had the article had it followed the verb (page 268). This would result in a direct equation of Ho Theos from John 1:1b to John 1:1c, and thus result in “the word was the Father” in meaning. (page 268).

    Wallace notes Harner looked at ALL pre-verbal PN, and 80% were qualitative. Frankly, I find the whole “qualitative” vs. “indefinite” argument a smokescreen, since the definition of an “indefinite article” is:

    1. in English grammar, either of the articles “a” and “an,” which do not restrict the nouns or noun equivalents that they modify, but serve to indicate the class to which such modified words belong. (Cf. definite article.)(Wordsmyth)

    Qualitative means: “1. of or concerning the nature or attributes of something, as opposed to its amount. (Cf. quantitative.)

  16. Vook says:

    This stuff is so off the BoM topic, so I apologize. I will wait to further elaborate when an appropriate topic opens up.

  17. Ralph says:

    I’ve decided to put this one in, though it’s controversial. The verses in the BoM that say Jesus will be born AT Jerusalem, I believe is a large piece of evidence of the truthfulness of the BoM.

    Many of you have said that this is a large error because it states that Jesus will be born in Jerusalem – BUT this is misquoting the verses as they all say AT, not in. As I have said and referenced in the past, the word “at” means “in OR near by”.

    Now why do I see this as an evidence? You all say that Joseph was very smart and cluey that he was able to copy a particular style of writing from the Bible without prior schooling, he was able to come up with some proper Hebrew names that were not found in the Bible by cutting and splicing, etc. You also state that he had a very good knowledge of the Bible. But then you turn around and say that he was dumb because he got Jesus’ birth place wrong. Now if he was so knowledgeable about the Bible, why did he write that Jesus was to be born AT Jerusalem?

    The people in the BoM at the times these verses were written would know of Jerusalem as both a city and state/land/county/kingdom/etc, but they would not have known too much about the geography including suburbs of Jerusalem or townships surrounding it. So in this respect, they were told Jesus would be born around that area, but not specifically where.

    I lived in the City of Parramatta a few years ago, but its 21 km outside of Sydney proper and this distance is so miniscule that Parramatta is classed as part of Sydney by the populace, although they are still regarded as separate cities. So I always said I lived in Sydney. Same with when I lived up north in Logan. Logan is a separate city to Brisbane, but since most don’t know where it is I said I lived in Brisbane.

    So I put this forward as an evidence because it was definitely not a mistake.

  18. Lautensack says:

    I think you are misunderstanding what I am saying, and not taking into account my previous statements namely the first and second post of November the 6th, where first I allude to Colwell’s rule, then quote Dr. Daniel Wallace on it specifically. Thus I absolutely agree with your inference that Colwell’s rule does not require a definite understanding of the third clause of John 1:1 as it would created the equation that ‘All of “The Word” = All of “God”‘ (November 6) My personal translation from the Greek would probably be something like: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was Deity.” Furthermore I cannot understand how you say I am espousing Sabellianism as I stated in my post (November 10) that John ruled out “modalistic monarchianism” which is another term for Sabellianism, I also stated that John rejects monolithic monotheism. I think we will agree that John here is either supporting Polytheism or Plural Monotheism. I would suggest that according to the rest of his writings, and all of scripture that it is the latter. (cf John 1:18; 20:28)

    My Comment was in regards to The LDS Church’s statements that we gained bodies to progress to godhood.(Gospel Principles (GP) Ch.3 & 47) Allow me to rephrase the argument. Since Mormonism denies that “In the beginning… the Word was God” (D&C 76:23-24; 93:29-30; GP Ch.2&3, King Follett Discourse, Times and Seasons, Vol. 5, pp. 613-614 [words of Joseph Smith Jr.])they deny that Jesus (who was God in the beginning) come in the flesh and thus deny 1 John 4:1-2.


  19. GB says:


    So you continue to push that falsehood. NOTHING in what you have referenced denies the deity of Jesus Christ in the beginning or ever. (I noticed that you didn’t provide actual quotes. The reason is because there is nothing there to support your strawman.)

    You continue to TRY this strawman argument. But that is all it is, just a strawman.

    For you to continue to push it when you have been told and you know it is false, calls into question your honesty.

    The fact of the matter is clear. According to 1 Jn 4:1-3, the Book of Mormon is of God. Period.

    Those that deny the fleshy nature of the risen Lord are antichrist. Period. The Word was made flesh. Period.

  20. Vook says:

    On John 1:1, it appears we agree. I think that is a huge problem for Trinitarians reading this, though, since the fact that Jesus is a separate deity, is the Same as God, is God-like all mean the same thing: There are two divine beings described in John 1:1. Thus di-theism, at least, which is obviously a form of polytheism, and at least represents henotheism, but since Christ also accepted worship, probably means something more than just henotheism.

    Sorry for not understanding what you were saying. I had supposed you were trying to defend Trinitarianism. My mistake.

  21. Lautensack says:

    As Per GB’s Request.

    “You have got to learn how to be Gods yourselves; to be kings and priests to God, the same as all Gods have done; by going from a small degree to another, from grace to grace, from exaltation to exaltation, . . . ” (Times and Seasons, Vol. 5, pp. 613-614 – Bold Emphasis Mine)

    If all Gods have become had to learn how to be Gods, thus were not by nature Gods.

    I am going to tell you how God came to be God. We have imagined and supposed that God was God from all eternity. I will refute that idea, and take away the veil, so that you may see. (History of the Church, Vol. 6, p. 302-317)

    This is from the King Follett Sermon which can be read at the LDS website below. All other cited sources can be taken from the official LDS website. Both of these deny that Jesus (or any God) has always been God thus are refuted by John 1:1 and 1 John 4:1-3.

    I am defending a form of Plural Monotheism known as Trinitarianism, which is utterly compatible with John 1:1, as I have noted above. Note that John never states the Word is a separate deity from the Father, simply that He is a separate person. To read into the text a multiplicity of deities is simply to take the text farther than it itself expresses. Also it seems you think Trinitarianism to be a form of Sabellianism, also not the case. While I would love to exchange on the topic of the historical Trinity, this thread is not the place, however if you are truly a student of Greek and Truth you must at least submit that John 1:1 leaves room for the possibility of Plural Monotheism, which is the Christian position.


    King Follett Sermon –

  22. GB says:


    Once again you have FAILED to show ANY denial that Jesus was deity IN THE BEGINNING as described by John 1:1-3 !!!!

    There is a big difference between “in the beginning” mentioned by John and “from all eternity” mentioned by JS.

    You must admit that the phrase “in the beginning” begs the question; “In the beginning of what?”

    And since it doesn’t specify, it is open to debate. (a separate topic to be sure).

    I will concede on the “or ever” portion of my above statement. (It is much to close to “from all eternity” for me not too).

    However, the rest of my statement still stands!!

    All this is really just a RED HERRING with regard to the Book of Mormon and 1 John 4:1-3.

    As I have stated before “In the beginning” Jesus was “a” God, with the Father. Mormons believe this Period!!

    Jesus, “a” God was made flesh as testified to by the Book of Mormon. Period!!

    Therefore, according to 1 John 4:1-3, the Book of Mormon is of God. Period!!!

    Therefore, according to the Bible, the Book of Mormon is of God. Period!!!

    And this is evidence for the Book of Mormon outside of the spiritual witness. Period!!!


    A separate person MEANS an individual person or a distinct, indivisible being and therefore a separate BEING!

    There is no such thing as plural monotheism.

    You either belief that the Father and the Son are separate persons/beings/individuals or you don’t.

    If you believe they are separate THEN you are NOT a monotheist!!!

    As John says “Grace be with you, mercy, and peace, from God the Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love.”

  23. Ralph says:


    We LDS believe that we were never created and that we have been in existence for ever just in different stages – namely intelligence then spirit now physical and spirit. We believe that we are the sons and daughters of God and because of this we have the potential to become like Him.

    Now look at what I have written – do you understand that?

    Now look at children on this earth. They have the potential to mature and become adults like their parents. While they are young they have the latent potential to reproduce, when they reach a certain age this becomes a reality. A child is also the same species as their parent and this character does not change at all through any stage of development from gametes through to adult.

    Now again look at us as children of God as I explained above. We have the latent potential to become like Him as we are His children. We are the same ‘species’ (for want of a better word) as Him. This characteristic will not change at any stage. The only difference is that we are not mature enough to realise this potential yet. That is why we are on this earth. So in saying all this, when we become exalted and achieve this potential we can say that we were like that from eternity to eternity as that characteristic never changed. We just did not have the capability until we matured. Jesus just matured earlier than we did and He was entrusted with more and thus achieved His potential earlier and He was the only one who did this.

  24. Vook says:

    Lautensack wrote:

    “Note that John never states the Word is a separate deity from the Father, simply that He is a separate person. To read into the text a multiplicity of deities is simply to take the text farther than it itself expresses.”

    This is just simply a false reading of John 1:1. John 1:1 never mentions a person. There is no usage of “person” mentioned anywhere in the Bible in the context of godhood. He does, however, specifically say God and the Word are two separate beings. Where? John 1:1b says, in Greek-lish, “and the Word was PROS the God”. “Pros” means two distinct things, beings or whatever in close communion with each other. PROS requires an understanding “expressing direction ‘on the side of’, ‘in the direction of’…by, at, near” (BDAG pages 873, 875, which is generally considered by scholars the best Biblical lexicon available).

    The Word and The God are two distinct beings.

    John 1:1c starts by noting divinity is also an attribute of the Word. It means the Word belongs to the class of beings which is characterized by the nature of The God. Thus “Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics” and “Translator’s Handbook to the Gospel of John” pages 8-9, as cited above, make it clear that theos in John 1:1c acts like an “adjective” modifying the Word. An adjective by its nature is not a thing, but a modifier of the the nature of a thing. In this case John uses ho Theos in John 1:1b to tell us the Word was with the ultimate God, but 1:1c CLEARLY teaches the Word also had a nature similar to the God’s. The English translation is very poor at that point, since knowledge of Greek grammar is necessary to understand the KJV correctly.

    I think I pointed it out, but John 1:14 has the identical construction as John 1:1c grammatically, and the word “Flesh” also lacks the definite article. Thus “the Word was flesh” does not equate the Word with flesh, or create a “flesh” person, but modifies our view of the nature of the Word: It also has flesh.

  25. Lautensack says:

    GB, it appears you are not understanding my argument nor the conversation that Vook and I have been having regarding John 1:1 where it seems we agree that the λόγος is by nature θεὸς though not θεόν. Allow me to express my rejection of your argument from the position of the devil’s advocate, that is I will assume your premise is true, that is 3 Nephi 11:13ff supports what John was saying in 1 John 4:1-3. If we accept this blanket statement that one must simply confess the Humanity of Christ to pass John’s test, we must also affirm that Hinduism, Islam, Jehovah’s Witness’, Kabbalah, “Christian Science”, Christadelphians, etc. are all from God and equally valid. Perhaps you will understand my previous arguments in light of this form.

    As for Plural Monotheism please express evidence from scripture or even reason that such a position is not possible. Here you seem to make the same mistake that most Muslim Apologist do in assuming that there can only be monolithic monotheism or polytheism (be it monolithic or plural). This simply is not the case.

    Ralph, I understand the Mormon view that our spirits were first arranged by God and Momma God from intelligences(D&C 93:29ff cf 131:1-4 & Gospel Principles Ch 38) . I am unsure how this view can be supported from the bible when texts such as John 1:3; 8:44, Rom 11:36, Eph 3:9, Col 1:16, Rev 1:8; 22:13 etc. are taken into view. This position becomes even more troubling when the Mormon Concept of the Hebrew word יהוה as Jesus is taken into account since this would make Jesus not only the formulator of man’s spirits (Jer 1:5; Zech 12:1) but also their father. (Deut 32:18 [God in this verse is not Elohim but the singular El]) I doubt Mormonism supports this position.


  26. Lautensack says:

    Vook wrote: The Word and The God are two distinct beings.
    “This is just simply a false reading of John 1:1. John 1:1 never mentions a being.” Now I agree that there is distinction between the λόγος and θεόν, as I have stated before, they have an intimate face to face relationship. No Trinitarian denies this however we are not willing to read into the text a distinction of being, it is not assumed, if it were you would have quoted such from your reference. I also agree that John 1:1 c supports that the λόγος is by nature θεὸς, thus fully Divine. This is why so long ago I quoted the NET bible’s rendering “What God was, The Word Was.” I agree with Dr. Wallace that ” θεὸς in John 1:1c is qualitative, i think the simplest and most straightforward translation is, “and the Word was God.” It may be better to clearly affirm the NT teaching of the deity of Christ and then explain that he is not the Father, than to sound ambiguous on his deity and explain that he is God but is not the Father.” (GGBB 269)
    I also agreed that the same form is used in John 1:14 the only difference being the word used for “to be.” In John 1:1 the usage is by nature where in John 1:14 it is a temporal addition to his nature. Please seem my comments on the 10 November for more on this.
    Vook I think the difference in the ends we arrive at is that I refuse to read into the text a greater distinction than the word προς will allow, especially when viewed in the light of the Old Testament. You submit that because there is a intimate relationship (προς) between the λόγος and θεόν they must be radically separate beings something the text, take alone, does not support. As I stated prior, John 1:1 allows for two views, plural monotheism or polytheism. I again submit that John rejects the latter view based upon the rest of his writings. (eg John 1:18; 20:28)


  27. Vook says:

    I learned a long time ago that if I as a Mormon was going to engage in defensible exegesis of the NT, I had to have the best scholars in the world on my side.

    I do.

    “Pros” is in the accusative. According to BDAG, as quoted above, that means it is directional between two things.

    The well respected Catholic “A Grammatical Analysis of the Greek New Testament”, 5th ed, by Zerwick and Grosvenor, page 285 says “with accusative in HGK= PARA with dative[:]beside,with a person, but in John apparently connotes towards (a person).” They note John 1:1c “theos, the Word was divine”, predicate without article, insisting on the nature of the Word.”

    Rogers and Rogers'”The New Linguistic and Exegetical Key to the Greek New Testament” (c 1998), page 175: “Pros (#4639)toward, to. Here, “with,” showing accompaniment (“with God”) or “toward God”; i.e., relationship”.”

    Since you quoted Net Bible elsewhere, here is Wallace’s footnote to PROS in John 1:1 : “The preposition πρός (pros) implies not just proximity, but intimate personal relationship. M. Dods stated, “Πρός …means more than μετά or παρά, and is regularly employed in expressing the presence of one person with another” (“The Gospel of St. John,” The Expositor’s Greek Testament, 1:684).”

    The problem is still the two persons consist of “God” and the Word. God cannot be both a person and the ultimate Ousia at the same time. Significantly, John does not say the Word is with the Father. He is with God, a separate person.

    I was thinking where your analysis fully falls apart is on verse 2: “The same (meaning the divine Word) was with God.” The same has Jn 1:1c as its referent. John could not more clearly state there are two divine beings who are distinct than the way John 1:1-2 is composed. I don’t see how Jn 1:18 helps you, and the vocative John 20:28 has no help or precision to your point whatsoever, since Jesus is both a god and is Lord, and is in front of Thomas. You ignore Jn 10:30-38.

  28. germit says:

    Ralph: I may have mentioned it before, but I have a step-daughter who is now sending her daughter to an LDS church. I appreciate your Nov.11 entry above because , in simple english, it explains some key differences in our two faiths, so even tho I reject your view thoroughly, I have to thank you for putting into words a middle schooler could understand the LDS position. And that makes my job a little easier. Thanks, GERMIT

  29. Lautensack says:

    Please provide a scholarly source that states προς indicates a plurality of beings, all the scholarly sources you have quoted refuse to go this far. I agree that προς indicates relationship, and two distinct persons. Where I disagree however is that plurality of persons necessarily requires plurality of beings. I agree John 1:2 reinforces that there is a relationship between the λόγος (refered to as οὗτος) and θεόν, however this does not indicate a plurality of beings, simply persons. That is as far as you can take the text without eisogeting “Being” into it.

    Vook Wrote: The problem is still the two persons consist of “God” and the Word. God cannot be both a person and the ultimate Ousia at the same time. Significantly, John does not say the Word is with the Father. He is with God, a separate person.
    First we don’t see God being used as bot a person and an attribute at the same time, we see in clause b θεόν used as a person (or persons) and in clause c θεὸς being used as a qualitative property. What you have tried to set up is a false dichotomy. “John gave me some green on the green and he was green about it.” Please define the word green according to this standard in the previous sentence, remember since I used the word green multiple times in such proximity they must mean the same thing, this is essentially your argument.

    Allow me to restate plurality of persons does not indicate plurality of beings. As for John 20:28 John states that Thomas refers to Jesus as ὁ
    θεός, the same title he uses in John 1:1 for the person with whom the λόγος has relationship.

    I see that John 1:18 is not the best proof text since μονογενὴς θεὸς, only God, while a correct rendering of the text is not the classical English rendering. John 5:44 or 1 John 5:20 would be better passages to support my argument.


  30. Lautensack says:

    You mention John 10:30-38. If we don’t read our Old Testament this clearly looks as though Jesus is calling for a plurality of gods. However if we understand what Jesus was referring to we see that he is pronouncing a woe psalm against those who would stone him. (Psalm 82) They have been give the authority to judge the people by God (Psalm 82:2-4) and are in this sense like “gods” since they are representatives of God. To read into the text that Jesus is espousing them as true Gods is to twist the text.

    Thus to recap:
    A.) A difference in persons does not necessitate a difference in being.
    B.) If we assume that the root θεὸς must be either a person or an attribute we engage in what is known as the word count fallacy.
    C.) If we agree that clause B in John 1:1 is referring to a person and clause C is referring to a qualitative nature we do not break the law of non-contradiction.
    D.) Thomas, and then John, refer to Jesus as ὁ θεός either indicating that Jesus is not the λόγος or point C is true.
    E.) John 10:31-38 does not indicate a plurality of gods when read in the context of what Jesus is quoting.


  31. GB says:


    Perhaps I don’t fully understand what you and Vook are exchanging. Greek is not my area of expertise. However, it is apparent that he is on the side of both the experts and the correct understanding.

    3 Nephi 11:13 is just one of MANY in the Book of Mormon that testify of 1) the divinity of Jesus Christ (something that ‘Hinduism, Islam, Jehovah’s Witness’, Kabbalah, “Christian Science”, Christadelphians, etc.’ reject) and 2) that Jesus Christ took on the attribute of flesh. And you know this to be true.

    In that regard the Book of Mormon CLEARLY meets the Biblical standard for being “of God” as put forth by 1 John 4. Period!

    All of the game playing (although interesting) with John 1 doesn’t change that fact.

    As for plural monotheism. Is there such a thing as plural monogamy? Clearly if it is plural it isn’t monogamy, but polygamy! Plural and singular are mutually exclusive concepts.

    I suspect that if someone with plural wives were to try and argue that he was a monogamist, by saying he was simply a plural monogamist, you would laugh in his face. Am I right?

    As a side note, “from all eternity” is without a beginning. “In the beginning” is not an expression of eternity but of a finite venture. Notice that the scripture in John 1 doesn’t express “before” the beginning or “from all eternity” but “in” the beginning, which clearly means that at some point very near the absolute beginning of some venture but not before it is the point that John is describing.

    The question then again becomes, “the beginning of what?”. Which is still a separate topic.

    And as Paul says “Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.”

  32. GB says:

    Another though on “plural montheism”

    Suppose our “friend” put forth the argument that he was a plural monogamist because he had only one wife who expressed herself as two separate persons, Kathy and Joan.

    Kathy and Joan have been seen together as separate persons, Kathy standing on the right hand of Joan.

    Kathy and Joan look alike. Kathy says that Joan is greater than her. They were both together “in the beginning” of the marriage. Kathy and Joan agree on everything.

    Is our “friend” a,
    1) polygamist?
    2) monogamist?
    3) plural monogamist?

  33. Lautensack says:

    You have avoided the issue 1 John 4, 3 Nephi 11:13ff testifies to a “divinity of Christ” something that the JW’s, Hindu’s, Zohar Kabbalists, etc all accept, until we define what that means. Thus at least these must of God according to your view on John 4:1-3.

    With respect to Plural Monotheism you are making a category mistake, interchanging person and being without regard to which is which. To use your example of marriage I would say that all monogamous marriages are plural, that is consisting of two people (Christianity). To push you analogy further simple monotheism would be celibacy (Islam), simple polytheism would be polygamy (Mormonism), and plural polytheism would be when two or more couples knowingly fornicate with one another while remaining a couple (certain deities in Hinduism). Of course as an analogy it will fall short when comparing it to the divine but I think it may shed some light.


  34. Lautensack says:

    Allow me to correct my analogy, simple polytheism would not be the equivalent to polygamy if I am staying true to the category I set up. Simple polytheism could be polygamy where the wives (or husbands) do not know of one another. An alternative view would be that simple polytheism is equated to the fornication of a single with multiple other singles.


  35. GB says:


    You are avoiding the issue.

    1 John 4:2 Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth (witness/testify) that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God:

    By this criteria the Book of Mormon is of God.

    If a Hindu also testifies that Jesus, the Son of God (deity) is come in the flesh, his testimony would be “of God”. And he likely really isn’t a Hindu at all but a closet Christian.

    In the case of plural monotheism, you are purposely ignoring the fit of the analogy I made.

    Monogamy is the practice of having only one spouse.

    Polygamy is the practice of having more than one spouse.

    Monotheism is the belief or worship of only one God.

    Polytheism is the belief or worship of more than one god or God.

    You are just playing word games now to avoid the facts of the issue.

    Clearly the ancient Apostles understood the separateness of being of the Father and the Son. No trinitarian mumbo jumbo from them.

    As John says “Grace be with you, mercy, and peace, from God the Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love.”

  36. Vook says:

    Ps 82 is now pretty much universally acknowledged to be about the Divine council in heaven, and therefore about real gods or divine beings.

    See Mark Smith “Origins of Biblical Monotheism”, considered among the best sources on the subject by scholars, or his “The memoirs of God”.

    A well respected Evangelical writer is Michael S. Heiser. His website is and filled with research and analysis on the issue of a plurality of divinities in ancient Israel. In his writings published last year in FARMS (Vol 19#1, page 221-266 & 315-323) he notes “The plural elohim of Psalm 82:1 and 6 are divine beings, not human judges or humans fulfilling any role.”

    Heiser also notes: “The term monotheism is inadequate to describe what it is Israel believed about God and the members of his council. As the text explicitly states, there are other elohim.” (Page 222)

    The highly esteemed Frank Moore Cross’ “Canaanite Myth and Hebrew Epic” is filled, cover to cover with discussion of the divine council and Elohim and Yahweh’s roles.

    Margaret Barker’s “The Great Angel” (page 7, 30, 41, 45)

    Becking,, in “Only One God” notes on pages 94-95 that Elohim presides in the council of the gods among the family of gods. Becking notes (pg 201) “I am of the opinion that unreflective talk about ‘monotheism’ will disappear.”

    Keel & Uehlinger’s “Gods, Goddesses, and Images of God” (pages 2-3) make it clear that polytheism is evident in Ps 82, and throughout Hebrew history, even after the post-exile sanitizing was attemped. Their work is lavishly documented. It is considered impressive. See John H. Walton of Moody Bible Institute’s review in Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society, Sep 2000.

    David Penchansky’s “Twilight of the Gods; Polytheism in the Hebrew Bible” is brief but covers the topic very well.

    These are what I have on hand. If needed, I will give some links too.

  37. Vook says:

    Lautensack wrote:

    “Please define the word green according to this standard in the previous sentence, remember since I used the word green multiple times in such proximity they must mean the same thing, this is essentially your argument.”

    We might be talking past each other now. It is not my argument in the least. My argument is IF, as you say, GOD in Jn 1:1b is a Person, and so is the Word, by definition that Person God is obviously also fully divine. Right?

    But John 1:1c plays a little word game to make sure we don’t misunderstand, and converts the name Ho Theos, to an adjective, theos. By doing so he establishes that all the qualities which Ho Theos had, which is godhood or divinity, are also the qualities of the nature of the Word.

    Now this is where we seem to miss each other:

    Because the Word is a separate Person with all of the qualities of Ho Theos, they cannot be the same divine stuff, or Ousia. John has established in John 1:1b and John 1:2 that the Word is its own person with Ho Theos, who is also a person or individual. But John 1:1c, as noted above, establishes that both have similar divine, individual natures.

    You seem to be projecting on the text that in addition to Ho Theos being a person, there is another Ousia, or gob of impersonal Theos out there from which Ho Theos and the Word ultimately share their divinity.

    Where does the text support such a supposition, if I have understood you correctly? I assert the text is clearly teaching there are two fully divine beings who are independent of each other, and the text makes no effort to explain further where that divinity derives from. To me, that leaves the text as written the authority, and not a philosophy thrust upon the text.

    The text teaches two divine beings.

    Where is the theos ousia implied, since it is not in the text?

  38. Vook says:

    Lautensack wrote:
    “Allow me to restate plurality of persons does not indicate plurality of beings.”

    With all due respect, this is a totally made up concept. Can you provide even a single Greek Grammar which supports a differentiation between persons and beings? Either provide a source for this, or acknowledge this is eisogesis invented to defend this theology. I remember reading on the bgreek board one rhetorical question along this line: If you read your theology into the scriptures, from whence came your theology?

    Lautensack wrote:
    “As for John 20:28 John states that Thomas refers to Jesus as ὁ θεός, the same title he uses in John 1:1 for the person with whom the λόγος has relationship.”

    Please, surely you know this is a vocative sentence form. It is an exclamation, and offers no definite support for “ho theos” in John 1:1. What it does offer is Thomas yelling “My God” and not “my divinity”. The article establishes specificity (he is crying out to God), but not identity (Christ can rightly be called God, but not in the Trinitarian sense). Jesus was standing right there. He is the Lord, and he is also a god. You assume “ho theos” has “ho theos” of John 1:1 in view, when in fact Jesus is perfectly comfortable being called “god”, even if he is a second god.

  39. Vook says:

    BTW, looking at the definitions, we find person and being are essentially synonyms (human beings, for example are persons), and are listed as such for some of the definitions, except in Trinitarian theology. The dictionary notes that.

    John 20:17 would seem to completely negate the position of Jesus as a person not being a being. He tells Mary to go to the brethren and tell them he is going “to my god and your god, and my father and your father.” He says he is going to our god. I can only imagine how this can be parsed to mean Jesus is “our god” when HE says he is going to our God.

    In John’s Gospel, Jesus is a divine being, a god, but he is not THE God, our even our God, at least according to Jesus’ own words.

  40. Lautensack says:

    Lots of Stuff okay…
    Hindu’s are religious pluralists they can believe Jesus is a god and also believe Krishna is a god, thus we must accept their religion as true also.
    As I stated before you have made a category mistake when it comes to marriage, your argument begins on a false premise and as such is invalid.

    Vook wrote: Ps 82 is now pretty much universally acknowledged to be about the Divine council in heaven, and therefore about real gods or divine beings.
    Perhaps in liberal protestantism, however this statement is filled with loaded language. You will you find certain people who say this, however such is not the universal consensus.
    Furthermore when citing Dr. Heiser you engage in cherry picking. Your citation from page 222 is in the context of a discussion of disagreements between common Evangelicals and LDS views on this passage. This would be akin to myself quoting him from just a few lines latter stating “The terms henotheism, polytheism, and monolatry are inadequate to describe what it is Israel believed about God and the members of his council… Jesus’s quotation of Psalm 82 in John 10 is not to be interpreted as though Jesus thought the <ĕlōhîm of Psalm 82 were humans, and so it provides no basis for a genus equation of God and humankind.”
    Given Dr. Heiser’s background with Judaism and his lectures on the Trinity it is safe to assume by monotheism he is referring to strict or monolithic monotheism, as he affirms plural Monotheism in the form of expressed in scripture and affirmed at Nicene. I disagree with His view but I think he does eventually draw a correct understanding of Christ vs the Pharisees and the charge of blasphemy from a faulty premise in this matter. Perhaps some other time we can dive into Psalm 82 deeper however it seems even the scholarship that does refer to the elohim of v. 1 and 6 as a divine council does not agree with your conclusion, rather they too state your conclusion is invalid.


  41. Lautensack says:

    I think I see where we are missing one another on John 1:1. It seems to be rooted in the philosophical materialism of Mormonism through equivocation. This often happens because of all the baggage we attach to words like “being” and “person.” We are speaking of God here and we must not project our finite limitations onto God’s limitless infinite nature.(Isaiah 40:25) First let me define the terms I am using, since it seems you are interchanging the “what” and the “who.”
    Being – this is the “what”
    persons – these are the “who”

    You bring up the term ousia, but you read into the text that the “what’s” must similar. However the text of John 1:1 does not state this rather it states in layman’s terms that the Logos has what makes God (of clause b) God, there is no distinction in their Being. To say that they are of differing “ousia”is not supported by the text, if it were then John would not have written John 1:1c since clauses a and b without c such an interpretation can be supported, simply put it is clause c that renders such a position invalid. The text teaches two “who’s” and one “what,” to use my layman’s definitions.

    Now you ask for a grammatical source for the distinction of being and person, I must inquire if it is your position that πρόσωπον(person) and εἰμί(to be) are in no way different. This comes back to our interchanging of the “who’s” and the “what”, something we mustn’t do.

    Yes, John 20:28 appears to be in the vocative form, (BBGG, 58) but it is probably between the vocative and predicate nominative forms. Either way if we look at who Thomas is speaking to (Jesus) and the response of Jesus (v.29) there is no reason for us to believe that Jesus is not the whom Thomas is speaking of, rather as the climax of John’s Christology such a rendering fits perfectly.


  42. Lautensack says:

    John 20:17 is interesting however in no way refutes the Trinitarian position rather it upholds it. As a true human, though fully God, Jesus was not an atheist as explained far to long ago Christians believe in a multiplicity of persons. All three of these persons are fully God thus Jesus is in the right as a human calling the Father God. Further he does not refer to God the Father as ὁ θεός in this passage but θεόν. which if you were going to be consistent about God the Father or whom ever is referred to as τὸν θεόν in John 1:1 would need to be the case. This passage is only a problem for the Sabellianist, not the Trinitarian. The Trinitarian position on the other hand has no problem calling the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, “the God.”

    It seems littered throughout your posts that I am mixing philosophy with theology, however it is the Trinitarian position that accepts all of scripture and the polytheist, sabellian, and strict monotheist views that only accept some of scripture due to their prior philosophical presuppositions.


  43. Vook says:

    Lautensack wrote:

    “…in layman’s terms that the Logos has what makes God (of clause b) God, there is no distinction in their Being.”

    No sir, that is not what the text is saying. The text is very clearly saying that the Word belongs to the class of beings to which The God belongs to. He does not share “what makes God (of clause b).” As a person, he is and has being.

    Your’s is a completely untenable position from the text and grammar. There is nothing in the text which remotely infers there is only one being. The exact opposite is true. The text is saying, and using a very clever bit of wordsmithing in the process, that The Word possesses the same kind of nature which The God has. By turning the person of clause b into the adjective of clause c, there can be no mistaking that the Word is full of the same nature as God, yet he is a separate being. Essence or ousia or any other attempt to say there is only one being in play is unsupportable. Ho Theos, The God, is a person. Ho Logos, the Word, is a person. Person means independence of existence, and has as a synonym “being”. If there are two persons present, there are two beings. To avoid this being just my opinion, I provided references.

    You are asserting things. You can do that, but you actually seem to be trying to set forth these opinions and assertions as if they were supported in the grammar or words of the text. So produce someone who supports that position. I have AT Robertson’s massive Evangelical grammar, and I have Wallace’s GGBB. Point out a page which supports this, from the text.


  44. GB says:


    So now your argument against the Biblical support of the Book of Mormon is down to “Hindu’s are religious pluralists they can believe Jesus is a god. . . “.

    That is surreal, but entertaining!

    I suppose that they also believe that Jesus permanently took upon Himself flesh (at His resurrection).

  45. Lautensack says:

    You seem to be adding qualifiers to 1 John 4:1 that simply are not there, and cannot be there if we are to see the BOM as prophesied by John.

    The most likely candidate for θεος is qualitative. Thus is true both grammatically (for the largest proportion of pre-verbal anarthrous predicate nominatives fall into this category) and theologically (both the theology of the Fourth Gospel and of the NT as a whole). There is a balance between the Word’s deity, which was already present in the beginning (εν αρχη … θεος ην[1:1], and his humanity, which was added later (σαρξ εγενετο [1:14]). The grammatical structure of these two statements mirror each other; both emphasize the nature of the Word, rather than his identity. But θεος was his nature from eternity (hence, εἰμί is used), while σαρξ was added at the incarnation (hence γίνομαι is used).
    Such an option does not at all impugn the deity of Christ. Rather it stresses that, although the person of Christ is not the person of the Father, their essence is identical. Possible translations are as follows: “What God was, the Word was” (NEB), or “the Word was divine” (a modified Moffatt). In this second translation, “divine” is acceptable only if it is a term that can be applied only to true deity. However in modern English, we use it with reference to angels, theologians, even a meal! Thus “divine” could be misleading in an English translation. The idea of a qualitative θεος here is that the Word had all the attributes and qualities that “the God” (of 1:1b) had. In other words, the essence of the Father, though they differed in person. The construction the evangelist chose to express this idea was the most concise way he could have stated that the Word was God and yet distinct from the Father. (Wallace, BBGG 269, original emphases)

    Please note Dr. Wallace and I are using different terms for the same idea, “essence” and “Being” respectively.


  46. Vook says:

    Lautensack wrote, quoting Daniel Wallace:

    Thus “divine” could be misleading in an English translation. The idea of a qualitative θεος here is that the Word had all the attributes and qualities that “the God” (of 1:1b) had. In other words, the essence of the Father, though they differed in person. The construction the evangelist chose to express this idea was the most concise way he could have stated that the Word was God and yet distinct from the Father. (Wallace, BBGG 269, original emphases).

    You may want to re-read this more carefully. While I disagree with his re-designation of God in 1:1b as the Father in his commentary, as it introduces confusion by changing a name when not supported by the text, note that he says the Word “has all the attributes and qualities that “the God”” has.

    Wallace is a man of great integrity, and yet is in a very tough spot in life. He works at a Christian Seminary which affirms Trinitarianism (Dallas Theological Seminary). But his writing does not affirm Trinitarianism. I think he does the name change thing to Father from God because he is trying to find a way to appear theologically orthodox without saying something not true.

    There is nothing in this when closely examined which implies “being”. His use of the word “essence” is both correct and in context not supportive of your position. Substitute “being”, and you have gibberish. “In other words, the [being] of the Father, though they differed in person.” Being means person (according to the dictionary), so your substitution means “the Word is the person of the Father”.

    Wallace uses “the Father” as an equivalent statement for “the God”. By using it, a glossed reading will miss, as you have, what he is writing: “the Word was God and yet distinct from the [God].”

    Your reading of Wallace wascolored your theological perspective, and has caused you to miss his actual point. There is no support here for the Trinity or your concept of ‘being’.

  47. GB says:

    Lautensack wrote “You seem to be adding qualifiers to 1 John 4:1 that simply are not there, and cannot be there if we are to see the BOM as prophesied by John.”

    What are the “qualifiers” have I added that “cannot be there”?

    Especially since I have been including verses 2 & 3 in my discussion.

    Also, this discussion is about non-spiritual evidences for the Book of Mormon.

    The criteria for a witness to be “of God” are clearly set forth in 1 John 4:1-3. The Book of Mormon meets these criteria. Period.

    All of your word games don’t change that FACT.


    And as Paul says “Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.”

  48. Lautensack says:

    First on being.
    Page 80, The Oxford English Dictionary, Second Edition, Volume II of XX gives the following definitions of being:
    a. Existence, the fact of belonging to the universe of material or immaterial.
    b. in being: existing, extant, alive.
    c. Life, physical existence.
    d. Occurrence, happening.

    a. Existence in some relation of place or condition.
    b. Condition.
    c. Position, standing (in the world).
    d. Livelihood, living, subsistence.

    a. Existence viewed as a property possessed by anything, substance, constitution, nature.
    b. Essential substance, essence.

    a. That which exists or is conceived as existing; in philosophical language, the widest term applicable to all objects of sense or thought, material or immaterial.
    b. Applied with various qualifications, e.g. ‘the Supreme Being,’ to God.
    c. A human being, a person. (Sometimes contemptuous; sometimes idealistic.)
    d. Phrases in Philos., formed mainly to translate the corresponding Ger. and Fr. expressions, as being-for-(it)self, conscious being; being as actuality; being-in-(it)self, mere potentiality; being-itself, pure being, regarded as infinite and uncharacterizable; being-with, human existence, regarded as membership of the community of persons.

    According to Oxford my definition of Being is both valid and the older definition of the term. This is because the Oxford Dictionary arranges the senses of a word in order of their historicity, starting with the eldest and moving to the youngest term. It is not until the third sub-point of the fourth definition that your seemingly all inclusive rendering of “Being” is even acknowledged. The only latter addition comes from late 18th century philosophers, starting with Kant. The earliest usage in the way you suggest was not until 1751AD where as my usage is first recorded in 1340AD. While this does not prove my position it does show that my usage of the word “Being” is valid.


  49. Lautensack says:

    Now with that in mind we see that “the idea of a qualitative θεος here is that the Word had all the attributes and qualities that “the God” (of 1:1b) had. In other words, the essence [being] of the Father, though they differed in person.” Something anyone who is a Trinitarian will affirm. It is becoming more and more evident that you do not understand the orthodox doctrine of the Trinity. Are trying to argue against a doctrine that would say Jesus is the Father who is the Holy Spirit who is Jesus? That is not what Christianity has historically affirmed.

    You seem to be missing the point. If we take the Plain Jane text of 1 John 4:1-3, without any background on who Jesus is or the historical background to whom John is writing then all the groups I have mentioned are as valid as the Book of Mormon, Hinduism, Islam, Jehovah’s Witness’, Kabbalah, “Christian Science”, Christadelphians, etc. also meet that criteria. It is only when qualify John 1:1 by looking to the NT to see who Jesus actually is and what John is combating that these other groups, including Mormonism fails the test. Therefore if you are going to use 1 John 4:1-3 as a proof text for the BOM you must also include any group who says Jesus actually came in the flesh, without specifying who and what Jesus is.


  50. Vook says:


    What we find in John 1:1-2 is that the Word has the same nature as God. The Word is described as having the same characteristics as The God. There is no sharing of the nature. They are not different wells attached to the same aquifer. The Word is not described as having characteristics like the Father, a word John uses in verses 14 and 18. John understood who the Father was. He is pointedly NOT using the word “father” in John 1:1-2.

    The Word is in his nature exactly like, but completely separate from, the God.

    Lautensack wrote: “Note that John never states the Word is a separate deity from the Father, simply that He is a separate person.” This is categorically FALSE.

    The word “father” is never used in John 1:1.

    The separateness described is between the Word, and the person/being called “The God”. The word used to describe their similarity, “god” is an adjectival form of the name of “the God”, leaving no doubt of the absolute similarity of the TWO persons/beings described as individually existing in proximity and communion in John 1:1-2.

    Recapping the verse: John starts by describing the Word as eternally existing. He then said the Word existed in communion with the God. The Word and The God are completely separate persons or beings, who are nonetheless from the same class of beings, “god”.

    Thus, this text is devastating to Trinitarianism, as we have seen the repeated attempts to dilute or deflect the meaning of the text into a discussion of the Word and the Father (not in the text); or inserting a concept of “being” which relates the persons of the Word and The God into mere forms of a source “being”.

    Laut contends the Father and the Word are just Emanations from a root “god”, and not actual individual beings. The text refutes this idea. The Word was with God, and was himself fully divine.

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