Dale Tuggy

Dale Tuggy is Professor of Philosophy at the State University of New York at Fredonia, where he teaches courses in analytic theology, philosophy of religion, religious studies, and the history of philosophy.

56 Comments

  1. GregLogan25
    March 26, 2016 @ 3:49 pm

    I have continued to listen to this – and appreciate Dale’s efforts. However, I find certain strained efforts that are very unnecessary and created a loss of credibility. There is no reason to submerge standard reading and our basic readings – leave that approach to trinitarians.

  2. GregLogan25
    February 21, 2016 @ 1:55 pm

    Dale mentions that o wn in Ex3:14 (Sept) may be a mistranslation. I trust Dale is aware that John uses o wn in Rev1:4 (etc.) to refer to Jehovah…. John does not think it is a mistranslation.

    The notion that the man Jesus is not described as “my God” is silly – and very forced (as if someone is looking beyond the man and talking to God in the man…). The sense is clear – the man Christ Jesus is OUR GOD. This is the same sense that the Psalmist uses in Ps45 re Heb king – and legitimately applied to Jesus…. Not sure why anyone has a problem with this simple, clear reading of the Word of God.

  3. Evangelical Apologetics
    September 15, 2015 @ 10:56 am

    @Dale,

    I disagree with this evolutionary hypothesis about New Testament christology.

    There is no evolution but only revelation.

    It is not true that the synoptics only addressed Christ in his humanity.As a matter of fact, the synoptics equally record that Jesus is the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven. The Tanakh records that only God rides on the clouds (Deut. 32:26).

    God revealed that Jesus is both Lord and Christ (Acts 2:36).

    It was merely the public declaration. God “made”, that is, He publically declared that Jesus is both Lord (Adonai) and Christ. The word “made” can mean “declared” (Moulton’s Analytical Greek Lexicon).

    God ‘highly exalted’ Jesus and bestowed on ‘Him the name above every name’ (Philippians 2:9).

    …for you have exalted above all things your name… Psalm 138:2 (ESV)

    • Miguel de Servet
      September 15, 2015 @ 11:38 am

      E.A.

      … the synoptics … record that Jesus is the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven. The Tanakh records that only God rides on the clouds (Deut. 32:26).

      The verse you have in mind is certainly Deut 33:26

      In Matt 26:64, Jesus, pressed by Caiaphas, in his reply quotes from Daniel 7:13. But the “one like a son of man” is clearly distinct from the “Ancient of Days”, in front of whom he was brought.

      And Matt 24:23, where Jesus says that “they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven” (another allusion to Daniel 7:13) is clearly escatological, and therefore post-resurrectional.

      I also believe that there is no evolution, only revelation. But you should not project your interpretartion on revelation …

      God revealed that Jesus is both Lord and Christ (Acts 2:36).

      It was merely the public declaration. God “made”, that is, He publically declared that Jesus is both Lord (Adonai) and Christ. The word “made” can mean “declared” (Moulton’s Analytical Greek Lexicon).

      God ‘highly exalted’ Jesus and bestowed on ‘Him the name above every name’ (Philippians 2:9).

      Well-I-never! Well how convenient! I bet you are going to tell us next (under Moulton’s authority) not only that “[t]he word ‘made’ can mean ‘declared'”, but that that … er … happy circumstance applies also to ‘highly exalted’ and ‘bestowed’ … 😉

  4. GLOGAN1
    May 21, 2015 @ 2:14 pm

    Dale – Of course, us unitarians have seen this from, well, our primary example of Jesus in His prayer in Jn17:3 – Paul in ICor8:6 – and seem post Biblical in the Dynamic Monarchism of the very early church.

  5. Rose Brown
    March 19, 2015 @ 12:51 pm

    @Dale,

    Jesus as God in John’s Gospel

    Jesus is already addressed as ‘God’ in both John 1:1 and John 1:18. The entire Prologue of John’s gospel shows the whole theme of the entire Johannine Gospel record.

    Notice that Jesus as ‘God’ ( anarthrous theos) in the qualitative sense(nature) preceded the divine title ascribed to Him:

    theos ( John 1:1)
    theos ( John 1:18 )
    theos ( John 10:33)
    ho theos ( John 20:28)
    ho theos ( 1 John 5:20)

    Jesus is claiming to be ‘God’ in an ontological sense. Jesus himself is affirming and asserting con-substantiality with God the Father throughout the Johannine Corpus ( John 3:16,18;5:18-19,26;8:42;10:28-39, 1 John 5:20).

    It is sound to accept the texts per se in such a way that is not divorced from its context.

    • GLOGAN1
      May 21, 2015 @ 2:12 pm

      Huh? Not even close. Jn17:3 eliminates any such consideration in a formal manner – Jn8:40 close on its heels – but the entire sense of John speaks against such a horribly grotesque conception. Jesus clearly amplifies the use of “theos” in Jn10:31ff such that we know this appellation has a broad application (Moses was Elohim to Pharaoh, Jesus is our God, etc.).

  6. Rivers
    January 18, 2015 @ 8:48 pm

    Hi Talitha,

    Good idea. Maybe Dale could host something like that sometime.

  7. Talitha
    January 18, 2015 @ 8:37 pm

    Brothers,
    Have any of you ever tried to get together via video conferencing? Sorry Dale- not meaning to take away from commenting here on the blog, but I do think it would be very interesting (and efficient) to discuss a podcast/post topic as a group, live.

  8. Rivers
    January 16, 2015 @ 9:21 am

    Mario,

    Good summary of the different perspectives that have come up here.

    It’s interesting to see the different variations between full deity and eternal preexistence (#1) and no deity and no preexistence (#7). That’s what makes keeping a fresh perspective on the evidence worthwhile.

  9. Mario
    January 16, 2015 @ 5:35 am

    Let’s take stock, as we have already done previously, and as Dale himself has done in his thread “Who was born on the first Christmas?” (December 23, 2014). Here are (with a certain amount of simplification) the options on who (or what) the logos is, of whom (which) we read in John 1:1-18 (and also 1 John 1:1-4 and Revelation 19:13).

    1. God, pure and simple. This is the position of Modalist Monarchianism (or Sabellianism). It is even dubious if this position is compatible with the distinct notion of logos.

    2. The Second person of the Trinity, co-equal and co-eternal with the other two. This is the position of Trinitarians (of course).

    3. The Eternal Son of God, co-eternal but not co-equal with God Almighty. This is the position of Subordinationism.

    4. The ancient Son of God, neither co-eternal nor co-equal with God Almighty. This is the position of Arianism.

    5. An eternal, essential, “structural” attribute of God (word/logos/dabar, the other one being spirit/pneuma/ruwach), which became incarnated (sarx egeneto), viz. became a person in/as Jesus of Nazareth, the Messiah, the Son of God. This is the position of Michael Servetus (and, more modestly, mine).

    6. The predetermined “plan, purpose, or wisdom” of God, which became “incarnated” (viz. became a person) in/as Jesus. This is the position of Biblical Unitarians, for instance Anthony Buzzard and (probably) Dale Tuggy.

    7. The “name” of Jesus attributed to him in hindsight, after his resurrection, by the apostles and the Johannine author, because they saw in him the “embodiment the message about everlasting life that God sent him to proclaim”. This position is affirmed here by Rivers, and maybe elsewhere by others.

    I hope the above summary is sufficiently complete, accurate and objective. 🙂

    • GLOGAN1
      May 21, 2015 @ 7:48 pm

      Where is Dynamic Monarchianism?

  10. Rivers
    January 15, 2015 @ 2:40 pm

    Mario,

    I think Dale offered you the “several posts.” I think your should just write up your next one and send it to him. 🙂

  11. Rivers
    January 15, 2015 @ 2:39 pm

    Patrick,

    Oops … (from my previous comment to you) … I meant John 1:1-14 in the first scripture reference. Thus, I would take LOGOS in John 1:1-3 to also be referring to the man, Christ Jesus. I don’t think the writer of the 4th Gospel intended to convey any concept of preexistence or incarnation at all.

  12. Rivers
    January 15, 2015 @ 2:37 pm

    Patrick,

    I don’t believe that LOGOS was a “plan.” I think LOGOS in John 1:14 is referring to Jesus Christ himself (as in Revelation 19:13). I was referring to what I think Dale Tuggy believes.

    I would interpret the entire Prologue to be referring to the time of the public ministry of Jesus Christ, and therefore “the word” (LOGOS) is referring to him as the audible and tangible person “from the beginning” (1 John 1:1-2).

    What is your understanding of the Prologue?

    • GLOGAN1
      May 21, 2015 @ 2:16 pm

      LOGOS is NOT the plan (or wisdom or God knows what). Why people keep saying this is beyond me… LOGOS is exactly what it is – the WORD of God – Gen 1 capped in Ps 33:6

      God spoke (word) and there was creation

      God spoke (word) and there was a man – the Messiah.

      Why is this complex?

      • Rivers
        May 21, 2015 @ 7:12 pm

        Hi Glogan,

        I agree. There is no evidence that LOGOS was used by the writer of the 4th Gospel to mean a “plan” or “wisdom” or “purpose.” Moreover, there were other words in biblical Greek that the apostles used for those concepts.

        What I would also point out is that LOGOS is almost always used by the writer of the 4th Gospel to refer to things that were “spoken” by Jesus Christ during the time of his public ministry (and not to God speaking at Creation or at any other time in the past).

        Thus, Jesus Christ himself was probably called O LOGOS (“the word”) because he was the man from whom the apostles “heard” the message about eternal life and “saw” it accomplished through his resurrection (1 John 1:1-5).

  13. Rivers
    January 15, 2015 @ 2:28 pm

    Jonathan,

    I agree.

    To say the “expressed will of God” seems inadequate because it doesn’t distinguish Jesus Christ from anyone else to whom the word of God came (John 10:34-35). Moreover, it could simply be argued that somebody like Jeremiah preexisted just like Jesus in the predetermined plan and purpose of God (Jeremiah 1:4-5).

    Since the writer of the 4th Gospel always use LOGOS to refer to something spoken by a living person, it seems more likely that LOGOS should be understood within the historical context in which the disciples were actually “hearing” Jesus speaking (1 John 1:1-2). There’s no evidence that Jesus Christ was know as LOGOS until the disciples were reflecting on what he told them during the time he was with them.

  14. Patrick Jones
    January 15, 2015 @ 2:25 pm

    Rivers,

    If LOGOS is a plan, than how can the life of the LOGOS be the light of men ( v4) but somehow the world did not know the LOGOS (v10)?

  15. Rivers
    January 15, 2015 @ 1:19 pm

    Patrick,

    Excellent points.

    We’ve entertained the idea here that LOGOS refers to a “divine attribute”, but there isn’t any exegetical evidence to support that proposition at all. The term LOGOS simply doesn’t mean “attribute” when it is used by any of the New Testament writers.

    The apostles always used LOGOS to speak either of Jesus Christ himself, or a “saying” or “message” that was actually spoken by someone while they were living. In particular, the writer of the 4th Gospel almost always used LOGOS for the things that Jesus Christ spoke during his public ministry. I don’t think there’s any reason to make any exception in John 1:1-14. Thus, it’s likely that ‘O LOGOS was simply referring to Jesus Christ himself … the “name” (Revelation 19:13) used of him on account of the fact that he embodiment the message about everlasting life that God sent him to proclaim (1 John 1:1-5).

    My understanding is that Dale Tuggy seems to follow the thought that LOGOS meant the predetermined “plan, purpose, or wisdom” of God that was revealed in the Hebrew scriptures and then fulfilled in the appearing of Jesus Christ at a later time in history. Thus, I think he would argue that ‘O LOGOS does not become a “person” until John 1:14.

    • GLOGAN1
      May 21, 2015 @ 2:16 pm

      Logos means logos means word. Gen 1 with Ps 33:6. There is no issue or confusion.

      • Rivers
        May 21, 2015 @ 5:35 pm

        Hi Glogan,

        I agree that LOGOS means “word.” However, in the 4th Gospel, it almost always refers to the things specifically “spoken” by Jesus Christ himself during the time of his public ministry.

        There’s no reason to take it any differently in the Prologue because the writer summarized it with “the begotten … he has explained God” (John 1:18). Perhaps this is why Jesus Christ was named “the word” (Revelation 19:13).

        • GLOGAN1
          May 21, 2015 @ 6:48 pm

          Rivers

          This is good – as God’s Word made flesh – He is the one to perfectly exegete God – and bear the name the Word of God. Note: Not God – but the Word of God.
          The purpose in my “protest” is that we have those – inc. fellow unitarians – who make Logos – the wisdom or the purpose or the plan of God. All these realities have a word for them – but John chose Logos. Clearly this is a reference to Gen 1 and must be read in that light. God spoke (His word) and the creation was.

          Of course any words that Jesus spoke would be His word – any words you speak are your word – they are who you are as a result. Your words in your immediate post are your logoi.

          We are on the same page – thanks for the v18 reminder that exegete is made in conjunction with logos – and Jesus name of Logos.

          What I MOST super impressed by is seeing God speaking – and a MAN walks into existence – essentially out of Heaven (sourced from God) – into reality – into our lives – as our mediator and Way back to God – our reconciler.

          BTW – a reading of Rom 5:15ff will show that Jesus must be a Man to be that very reconciler of men.

          Best,

          Greg

  16. Jonathan Jensen
    January 15, 2015 @ 1:19 pm

    Mario,

    I wouldn’t say that Jesus is “God’s expressed will” for the reason that it is too broad and leads to the imagination filling in gaps. For example, I can imagine one person considering Jesus in a gnostic sense, to where Jesus is an emanation of the “Godhead”.

  17. Mario
    January 15, 2015 @ 12:47 pm

    Patrick,

    Dale does not share my persuasion that the Word of God is an (essential, eternal, “structural”) attribute of God.

    If he allows me another guest post, I will provide my detailed exam of the Prologue to the Gospel of John (John 1:1-18).

  18. Jonathan Jensen
    January 15, 2015 @ 11:27 am

    Rivers,

    About the “all” in John 1, I think the immediate context overrides the broader usage, in that it goes like this:

    “All” were through the Word, and in Him was life, and the life was the light of men.
    Then it goes on later that John came as a witness that all might believe through him.

    I don’t think therefore that “all” is anything outside of the context, but that specifically which is within. It just seems to flow better to me, that’s all.

    Also, as far as people wasting their time, I know what you mean. The studies of others can certainly give clues, but I see far too many people that get that good feeling about something and they run with it – I also had to learn not to do that. For instance, I have come across those that believed the Jesus = hai Zeus (or whatever) thing, which makes no sense. For some reason, they confused Latin (yay-soos) with Spanish, and then acted as though a broken Spanish (hay-zoos instead of xay-soos) was the exact transliteration. I then pointed out many errors, and it’s like people you tell these things to are so sure of this ridiculousness that they don’t listen to the errors that you point out.

  19. Patrick Jones
    January 15, 2015 @ 11:25 am

    Dale,

    If John 1:1-5 and 1:9-13 are referring to the Word of God as an attribute of God “the Father”, how do the following verses make sense?

    – 1:9 “…yet the world did now know him”. How does the world not know the attribute of God called the Word?

    – 1:12 “…who believed in his name”. Most of the NT writers focus on believing/calling on the name of Jesus to become a child of God. If this verse is speaking of the Word as an attribute and not Jesus, would not people have already been believing in the name of YHWH?

  20. Mario
    January 14, 2015 @ 4:51 pm

    Rivers [January 14, 2015 at 9:19 am]

    Your … er … tripartite “relationship between John 1:1 and John 1:18” is a spectacular exercise in mystification. 🙁

  21. Rivers
    January 14, 2015 @ 9:24 am

    Mario,

    Your question is irrelevant to me. I don’t need to speak on the authority of other scholars.

    I can speak for myself, and every one can consider the biblical evidence on his own. Thus, I don’t make superficial appeals to scholarship in order to substantiate or bolster anything I offer as a plausible interpretation of scripture. If you have a question about anything, I’d rather answer you directly. 🙂

  22. Rivers
    January 14, 2015 @ 9:19 am

    Jon,

    Good point about John 1:17.

    The “grace and truth that were realized (Grk. EGENETO) through Jesus Christ” (John 1:17) certainly could be the “all things that came into being (Grk. EGENETO) through him” (John 1:4). That makes perfectly good sense with how the writer used “all things” to describe what Jesus himself was going to reveal to the people in his own words (John 4:26; John 5:20; John 14:26; John 16:4).

    I think “the beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ” (Mark 1:1) is referring to the same thing as “in the beginning of the word” (John 1:1). The term “beginning” was commonly used by the apostles to refer to the public ministry of Jesus Christ (Luke 1:2-3; John 6:64; John 8:25; John 15:27; John 16:4; Acts 1:21-22). As Dale noted in his podcast message, it’s also evident that the writer used “from the beginning” to refer to their relationship with Jesus Christ himself (1 John 1:1-2).

    Unfortunately, a lot of this linguistic evidence is overlooked (or disregarded) on account of presuppositions about preexistence and incarnation that effect the way most interpreters read the Prologue. Even many biblical unitarians waste their time trying to defend some kind of preexisting “plan, purpose, or wisdom” of God (that became incarnated as Jesus Christ) because they misconstrue the time of “the beginning” (John 1:1-3) and adopt a lexical definition of LOGOS that isn’t consistent with how the biblical writers always used the term.

    Another consideration I think should be taken is the relationship between John 1:1 and John 1:18 in the Prologue. Let me illustrate this:

    1. “In the beginning was the word” (John 1:1a) = “No man has seen God at any time” (John 1:18a). In other words, the writer understood that believing the words of Jesus Christ was the only way to “see” that Father (John 14:10).

    2. “and the word was with (toward) God” (John 1:1b) = “who is in the bosom of the Father” (John 1:18b). In other words, Jesus Christ went “toward God” (Grk. PROS TON THEON) through his resurrection (John 13:3) and came to be in the bosom of his Father.

    3. “and God was the word” (John 1:1c) = “he has explained God” (John 1:18c). In other words, Jesus exhibited the words and works of the unseen God so that the disciples could understand the truth (John 5:19-20, 36-37).

  23. Mario
    January 14, 2015 @ 8:21 am

    Jonathan,

    at the risk of oversimplifying what you say, could it be said that what you mean by “representation” and “essence” is very similar to “functional”? So Jesus is the Word of God because He fully represents God’s expresssed Will. Likewise Jesus is God because he fully represents God: “Who has seen me has seen the Father” (John 14:9)

  24. Jonathan Jensen
    January 14, 2015 @ 8:08 am

    Rivers,

    I’m not saying that John is trying to make a parallel with Genesis or that he is necessarily trying to get people to think of Genesis when saying “in the beginning”, and certainly not that John is saying that all of this is happening at Genesis time; but rather that the things pertaining to Jesus there can be compared to Genesis in that it’s a creation, and that Jesus considers Himself like that light for such a reason, and also for the other reasons that I mentioned earlier. About “in the beginning”, maybe it’s a dual thing, but for instance we see one Gospel account saying, “the beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God”, whereas John’s says, “in the beginning”.

    About eternal life in His words, I do think that it’s along the same lines as you said. You’ve got to understand that of course when I’m speaking from John, I’m kind of speaking like him anyway (by default), and so the shorthand would just be to say that Jesus gives life by His words. This is actually from the Father, and this is only possible because He was resurrected. He could only be resurrected if He spilled His blood and pleased God by His obedience, etc. As such, I feel that Jesus Christ shedding blood for us also is shorthand for all of that, and that it’s not a literal shedding of blood that saves us, but it does indeed lead to that salvation being possible. If the case is that those who die in Him might live in Him, then certainly He must have died, and this is portrayed as a lamb from God, as though God were offering a sacrifice for someone’s sins, and yet Jesus says that we must offer our own selves in order to have a part with Him (take up our cross).

    As far as belief in Who Jesus was, I personally relate that to Him being that specific, awaited Messiah Who would be beloved by God. As such, they must be subservient to Him. “Kiss the Son” and like passages, such as Luke 19:27. Jesus relates the teachings of Himself to that “word” I was talking about in Matthew 7:24. The Gospel is the good news of the kingdom, which in Isaiah is “Zion, your God reigns!” This is what we pray for in the Lord’s prayer. However, if a person believes the Good News, then obviously they believe Jesus is the Christ. Believing Jesus is the Christ, they must understand that God gives Him all nations. Understanding that, they must be ruled by Him, and all those who don’t want to are like those in Psalm 2 whom God laughs at.

    With what you said about John 1:4 in that it’s all the things that He spoke, that could be. After all, it is that by which they have life. So to me, it could be either way. This also relates to John 1:17. Now, this could be specifically therefore the words, or it still could be the people by the words. Either way, it fits, so I’m not seeing it as 100% certain there. I could examine that some more.

    Thanks!
    -Jon

  25. Jonathan Jensen
    January 14, 2015 @ 7:51 am

    Mario,

    Maybe you feel that what I said about essence seemed like material constitution because of the words I used to describe it. Let me put it this way:
    The substance of God is AUTHORITY, which is why they constantly call Him “Lord”, “Most High”, “God” (which comes from the word for strong), “El” (mighty), etc. They went so far as to replace His name with “LORD”. So, we can see that substance or essence is somewhat of what that thing is, although I’m using it in a more constrained sense, which has nothing to do at all with anything physical — which is why I said “metaphysical” there.

    However, when I said “essential being”, I am using the word there like Trinitarians use “being” and “essence”. I do not necessarily mean it as Tertullian, but in the vague and nebulous way it is often used, in order to say what constitutes something that is necessary for it to be itself. For a human, that is their soul, which is basically their person — a person is that thing, and though there may be different persons with like substances (souls), it’s what is their substance, or the thing that makes them THEM. For Trinitarians, somehow the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are one God because they all have the one “God” substance. Whatever it is to them, it’s that thing that makes God just God Himself (or It- or Themself).

    So, I’m saying that Jesus is essentially God in certain ways, “God” there being the Father, yet “God” not being the essential being that makes Jesus identical to the Father in “substance” to where they are one “God”. To me, Jesus is essentially the Father (not that they are equal “as God” or something like that, since Jesus is LIKE the Father, and not the other way around) in that He is like the Father in some way. For instance, if Jesus is commanding the universe in God’s place, and God sends Him in His Own name to stand in for Him, then He’s as good as God in such a circumstance. This is all I meant.

    -Jon

  26. Mario
    January 13, 2015 @ 3:43 pm

    Rivers,

    I notice that you haven’t answered my question … 🙁

    (hint: the last paragraph, where there is a question mark)

    P.S. You say that the Gospel of John reflects “the simple message of the gospel that was preached by Jesus and the apostles”, “were speaking to ordinary people in the common language of the day”. You make me seriously doubt that you are aware of the complex Christology that the Prologue announces, of the misunderstandings that a superficial reading (some confuse it with “critical exegesis”) leads to, very much the same kind of misunderstanding in which Nicodemus and many others fall.

  27. Rivers
    January 13, 2015 @ 3:04 pm

    Mario,

    The bottom line is that the biblical writer used ‘O LOGOS as a “name” for Jesus Christ (Revelation 19:13). Thus, there is sufficient evidence to suggest that it was being used the same way in John 1:1-3, 14.

    On the other hand, you have no evidence whatsoever that ‘O LOGOS referred to an “eternal divine attribute” in any apostolic usage of the term. You are just parroting what you read somewhere else, and don’t seem to have anything else to offer of your own merit.

    When doing sound critical exegesis of scripture, it’s necessary to determine the meaning of the words based upon their usage by the writer, as well as the context in which he uses them. That is why it’s foolish to appeal to lexical definitions and other sources that cannot be corroborated with the apostolic writer.

    I appreciate that you take pride in your education (whatever it is) and that you take comfort in aligning yourself with the opinions of a few scholars that might agree with your viewpoint. However, I think it’s important to have humility and keep in mind that those things were never important to understanding the simple message of the gospel that was preached by Jesus and the apostles. They were speaking to ordinary people in the common language of the day.

  28. Mario
    January 13, 2015 @ 1:01 pm

    Rivers,

    the overwhelming majority of Christians are (at least nominally) “trinitarians”. They “read” “Word”, in those critical Johannine verses, as their churches dictate. Let’s not consider them, for the moment.

    Let’s consider “scholarly literate people”, who, beside being capable to read Bible Greek and having at least a smattering of Bible Hebrew, are also aware of ancient and modern exegesis and hermeneutics. Some knowledge of Christian history would be an added plus.

    Question: how many of those “scholarly literate people” do you thing share your understanding of the logos as a “name” that the Johannine author would have attributed to Jesus, beginning with when John the Baptist started witnessing about him? Just curious.

  29. Rivers
    January 13, 2015 @ 12:18 pm

    Mario,

    You seem to have a habit of offering various “classifications” of biblical passages, but no skill when it comes to doing sound exegesis or interpreting them. It doesn’t matter if the Prologue is “anticipatory” or not. My point is that both the Prologue and the ensuing verses in the wider context of John 1 reiterate some of the same information and refer to the same historical circumstances.

    Instead of blowing smoke and trying to draw attention to your own superior intelligence, why not contribute something substantial to the conversation as far as exegesis and interpretation is concerned. 🙂

  30. Rivers
    January 13, 2015 @ 12:11 pm

    Jonathan,

    … continued from the previous comment:

    1. Although I agree that “the word” in John 1:1-3, 14 and 1 John 1:1-2 is most likely referring to Jesus Christ himself, I think we have to be careful about taking the term “word” too literally. I don’t think that the actual “words” he spoke had any kind of inherent mysterious power of their own. The message itself was just a means of communication.

    For example, when the apostles understood that Jesus “had the words of eternal life” (John 6:63-68), I think it’s probably referring to the fact that Jesus was speaking the gospel message that would lead people in the way of receiving eternal life by resurrection on account of belief in who he was (John 11:25; 1 John 1:1-5).

    2. I definitely think you are on the right track with your understanding of John 1:4-12. The writer was referring to what the appearing of Jesus Christ himself accomplished for God’s people to whom he was sent (and has nothing to do with what happened during the Genesis creation). I think the Prologue is looking back on the resurrection of Jesus Christ (John 1:1-4; John 1:17-18) and not to anything that happened before the John manifested him to the world (John 1:6-9; John 1:30-31).

    Throughout the 4th Gospel, it’s evident that the “all things” (John 1:4) referred to what the people expected the Christ to explain to them when he arrived (John 4:26) and what Jesus himself was to receive from God the Father during that time (John 3:35; John 5:20; John 13:3; John 15:15; John 16:15; John 17:10) and what Jesus was going to reveal to his disciples (John 14:26). There’s no indication that the writer understood that any of this was referring to anything that happened during the time of the Genesis creation.

    3. I don’t think what you’re doing with John 1:10-12 is a “stretch” at all. I appreciate that you are trying to draw your explanation of the text from how the words are being used in the context. I think John 1:10-12 interprets itself. It seems that the apostles understood that Jesus Christ was given the authority over all the people to determine who received eternal life based upon whether or not they received and believed him.

  31. Mario
    January 13, 2015 @ 11:48 am

    Rivers [January 13, 2015 at 9:37 am]

    I tried to help you understand, I invited you to make an effort, to interpret the text beyond your dogmatic and ossified claims on grammar, text and context. Anybody having a grain of reading capability realizes that John 1:1-18 is, indeed, a prologue, to the chapter and to the whole Gospel. Anybody having a grain of reading sensitivity realizes that John 1:6-8,15 are anticipations on the Baptist’s testimony, that will be developed in the rest of the chapter and in the rest of the Gospel.

  32. Mario
    January 13, 2015 @ 11:27 am

    Jonathan

    Essence: the underlying reality or principal, or even the metaphysical constitution or the meaning of the thing. For instance, although a wooden club is not a table leg, they can essentially be the same in the way that you could beat someone with a table leg, and you could nail a wooden club to a table.

    It seems to me that you use the word “essence” in a sense very similar to that of “material constitution”. While I think I can understand how you apply your notion of essence to Jesus as “The Word of God”, it is less clear to me how Jesus would be “God” and the Word “God” in the a.m. sense of essence.

  33. Rivers
    January 13, 2015 @ 10:28 am

    Jonathan,

    I’ve had a few brief discussions with Anthony Buzzard (and have read all of his published material and heard all of his debates over the years). I think he has some good insights to offer, but has also limited himself somewhat by trying too hard to turn “scholarship” against itself instead of introducing more thorough independent research of his own into the conversation.

    I understand that Sir Anthony does this in order to try to get a “hearing” from modern scholars, but he fails to realize that they are not the ones who are listening. Buzzard’s approach would be like Jesus and the apostles trying to depend upon a bunch of rabbinic material in order to prove other rabbis wrong (which, of course, they didn’t bother doing). They always offered an authoritative

    I’ve always wished that Sir Anthony would have taken a more authoritative stance of his own (based upon better grammatical and contextual argumentation) rather than limiting himself to the long history of narrow and superficial interpretation that characterizes a lot of the scholarly material he is trying to both use, and repudiate, at the same time.

  34. Rivers
    January 13, 2015 @ 9:37 am

    Mario,

    I don’t think you are paying attention to context when you simply propose that there is a “thematic” distinction between the Prologue (John 1:1-18) and the rest of John 1:19-49). That is an arbitrary interpretation that you are forcing upon the structure of the passage. Someone else could argue that John 1:19-49 simply reiterates (and adds additional detail) to what was introduced in the Prologue.

    For example, John 1:6-9 speaks of the beginning of the testimony of John the baptizer, as does John 1:19-34. This testimony of John is also introduced in John 1:15 and reiterated in John 1:27-30, as well as the fact that Jesus began to dwell among his apostles (John 1:14; John 1:34-49).

    If there is any “theme” to the writer’s allusion to the Genesis language in John 1:1-18, then it should be consistent. That is why it makes no sense to take “in the beginning” (John 1:1-3) as referring to the time of Genesis 1:1 and then take “the light” and “the darkness” and “the world” to be referring to the time of John the baptizer and Jesus Christ.

    That fact that John the baptizer was “testifying about the light” during his own lifetime (John 1:6-9) should make it obvious that “the light” is only an allusion to Genesis 1:3 that the writer is applying to the time of Jesus (who was “the light of the world” only during his public ministry, John 9:5).

    As Dale noted in his podcast message, the writer also referred to “the beginning” as the time when the apostles began to follow Jesus (1 John 1:1-2). Thus, it seems more likely to me that “the beginning” (John 1:1-3) would be referring to the same period of time (and is only an allusion to the language in Genesis 1:1 being applied to what was beginning to happen through the ministries of John and Jesus).

  35. Jonathan Jensen
    January 13, 2015 @ 8:39 am

    Dear Mario, Rivers, and although not least, lastly Dale,

    Mario,
    When I say the difference between “essence” and “essential being”, I mean this:
    Essence: the underlying reality or principal, or even the metaphysical constitution or the meaning of the thing. For instance, although a wooden club is not a table leg, they can essentially be the same in the way that you could beat someone with a table leg, and you could nail a wooden club to a table. You could do this with things that are more dissimilar in appearance to give a better idea of what I mean.
    Essential being: That which is, or particularly that which exists. With the Trinity, for instance, it’s the idea of three persons with one existence, I guess you could say — they are somehow one entity. It is the essence of God, but being the “essential being”, I mean to use it like Trinitarians do, in that they feel that they share a “reality” AS God.

    For me, when I say that Jesus was in essence God, I mean it like in this figure of speech:
    “War is hell”. War is not literally hell, but it is like it; it is essentially the same thing as hell inasmuch as it can be, although they are not related at all. Hell is agonizing and tormenting (in popular understanding), and so since war is the same thing, therefore it’s essentially the same. I am saying that the Word is essentially God, or that Jesus is essentially God, in that He is representing God. I don’t think that Jesus is literally God, but I am saying that I believe that John is saying this in the same way (and with the same manner of speaking) as He does elsewhere:
    1 John 1:5, This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.

    Notice how first he says that God IS light, but then says that IN Him there is no darkness at all. God is not literally light, but that which is understood as light is that which is essentially God.
    Here’s another:
    1 John 4:16, And we have known and believed the love that God has to us. God is love; and he that dwells in love dwells in God, and God in him.
    Here, John calls God “love”, but of course he doesn’t mean that God is literally 1-to-1 love itself. Rather, God is to us love, because God loves us. In other words, if we know God, then we know what love is.

    So, I believe John is saying to know Jesus is to know God. More on this in the replies to the others:

    Rivers,
    I also think that the Word there is Jesus specifically, although it could be used interchangeably with the actual words, as elsewhere. For instance, it says “in Him was life”, right? Well, we know that in the words of God are life (John 12:50; Matthew 4:4; Leviticus 18:5), and in Jesus also is life. We know, from what Jesus says, that the reason that life is in Him is because of His words. This is why I said that Jesus as “The Word” and the actual words of God can be used interchangeably. Jesus is essentially the words of God, and so is essentially God (but is not shown as Him literally, nor according to His “being”).

    I also feel as you do about most of that, contrary to most Unitarians (and also Anthony Buzzard, who I had a short message or two back and forth with), although I am thinking more that the beginning there is not the beginning of the Gospel, but the beginning of the new creation. I don’t think that the context is having to do with time at all, but is more poetic in the way that the verses relate to each other. As such, I feel that the first point relates to John 1:18 — the way that Jesus is with God is that He has been taken up. This sounds really weird, I know, but it’s the way I have understood it.

    As far as the new creation, I must by all means believe that based on the context. For instance, have you looked at the Greek for John 1:3? It’s ambiguous as to WHAT “all” was by Him, and it says this literally as far as I can tell:
    “All through Him were, and without Him was not even one that was.” One what? I believe that the next verse answers that:
    “In Him was LIFE, and the life was the light of MEN.”
    I am very certain that, according to the context, the “all things” created by Him are the sons of God, the “men” here, and that this verse is an amplification of the previous one. To me, it’s also 100% consistent with what we know about Jesus being the Word, and about Him being, to us, God in image.
    It goes on in verse 10 to say that “in the world He was, and the world through Him was”. The world here is without a doubt people, since it talks about the world not knowing Him. I believe that, since it’s talking about creating the “world” by the words of God (as we can derive from John’s account of the Gospel), then here also the world which was made through Him is specifically the people who believed, whereas the rest are darkness. This is a picture of Genesis, as you also pointed out, where God the Father said “let there be light”, and gave us knowledge of His glory in the person of Jesus. Through Him we are God’s creations unto good works, etc. By the light of day everything was created for the day, and “then it was evening and morning, the such-and-such day.” When Jesus spoke of being the light of the world WHILE in the world, He also said elsewhere that “we must do the works of Him Who sent me while it is day; night is coming when no man can work.” In addition to that, when the Father’s work was completed in Him, Jesus also rested in death on the Sabbath, and was raised again on the first day, newly created and come into the world again as the light.

    A lot of that may seem a stretch, but maybe you could tell me what you think. Perhaps we should e-mail and not take up too much of the page space — if Dale prefers it that way. It’s his website, after all! 😉

    Dale,
    Certainly Jesus being called “The Word of God” elsewhere isn’t the only thing, though. Remember, this is John’s way of speaking. In addition to what I mentioned to Rivers, please consider how John 1 is also able to be compared with 1 John 1. It could be just God’s word, the Gospel, in general there in 1 John 1, if indeed the way in which they “handled” the word of life is in that they felt the result of it when handling Jesus when He was resurrected; yet, I am going with the interpretation that John is speaking of Jesus as the One Who was anticipated, rather than something that was, and then was a Person later.

    In short, it’s just the sense I get from John, but the way that I feel about it, it doesn’t really matter if it’s literally Jesus or not, since the message is the same.

    All the best to all,
    -Jon

  36. Mario
    January 13, 2015 @ 4:40 am

    John the baptizer could not be “testifying about the light” (John 1:7-8) back in the time of the Genesis creation

    Rivers,
    try to make an effort. 🙂

    A text is not only made of grammar (morphology and syntax), but, if it is meant to convey any message at all, the author provides it with a structure and with themes. In Chapter 1 of the Gospel of John, we can easily recognize various parts. Let’s concentrate on the first two: The Prologue to the Gospel (John 1:1-18) and The Testimony of John the Baptist (John 1:19-39). Try to see the Prologue as some sort of “overture”. Like all “overtures”, the Prologue provides an anticipation of the themes that will play out in the course of the “opera”. In particular the theme of The Testimony of John the Baptist (see the key words martyria – John 1:19; emartyrêsen – John 1:32; memartyrêka – John 1:34) is anticipated in the Prologue (martyrian, martyrêsê – John 1:7; martyrêsê – John 1:8).

  37. Kalvin
    January 13, 2015 @ 4:15 am

    Your interpretation of John 20:28 is probably the most likely meaning of the text. That Thomas was actually referring to two persons (Jesus and God the Father) in his epiphanic statement, “My Lord and My God,” is obvious from the general context of John’s gospel. This was also TheTrinityDelusion’s (http://www.angelfire.com/space/thegospeltruth/trinity/verses/Jn20_28.html) conclusion, and I agree that this is the most correct interpretation.

    All in all, I though this was a great episode, and I completely agree with your exegesis, Dr. Tuggy.

    Note: Whether or not Granville Sharp’s sixth “rule” can be applied to the Greek “? ?????? ??? ??? ? ???? ???” in John 20:28, I still have my doubts about his “rules” overall. Whether a Koine Greek speaker is referring to one person or two persons in a sentence like Thomas’s, it really depends on the context (be it an immediate or a general one), rather than on sentence structure.

  38. Mario
    January 13, 2015 @ 3:45 am

    @ Dale [January 12, 2015 at 6:43 pm]

    I am not aware that Augustine “comes back to John 17:3 several times”. Where would that be? (That he abominably twisted Jesus’ words once, was more than enough, BTW …)

    He certainly twisted Jesus’ words because he was perfectly aware that they were incompatible with his “trinitarianism”, and that ONLY with his “treatment”, Jesus’ words would have become compatible with the “trinity”. On the other hand, you are way too kind, assuming that he messed up John 17:3 because he was persuaded that the Arians “must have changed it” (and so he thought he was “restoring” it). Do you have evidence for that, or is it just a mere guess of yours?

    Oh, BTW, it is a real pity that (if he ever did), Augustine did not formulate the incompatibility this way:

    1r. If this passage is uncorrupted, then my theology is wrong.
    😉

  39. Mario
    January 13, 2015 @ 3:17 am

    … it should also be obvious that Jesus is “God” and the Word is “God” in the sense of representation and essence also (again, not in “essential being” as in one Being).

    Jonathan,

    can you explain what is, for you, the difference between “essence” and “essential being”? Thanks

  40. Thomas Maeder
    January 13, 2015 @ 1:10 am

    Never ever did Jesus claim to be God.

  41. Rivers
    January 12, 2015 @ 8:41 pm

    Jonathan,

    I like many of the things you said in your lengthy comment, and I will respond to them later (when I have more time). However, unlike many biblical unitarians, I think that LOGOS (“the word”) certainly refers to Jesus Christ himself throughout the Prologue.

    Here is how I think John 1:1-3 should be interpreted (without dehumanizing the meaning of LOGOS). The [brackets] are for clarification without disputing the word order or the usual translation of the text:

    “In the beginning [of the gospel] was the word [Jesus Christ], and the word [Jesus Christ] was the way to God [the Father], and the word [Jesus Christ] was God [explained]”

  42. Rivers
    January 12, 2015 @ 8:32 pm

    Dale,

    A particular mistake I think you made in your presentation here is when you made the claim that “in the beginning” in John 1:1-3 must refer to the Genesis creation. Instead of developing that theory from anything in the context of the Prologue, you deferred to a couple of texts from the Hebrew scriptures (Psalms 33:6; Proverbs 8) and made the unsubstantiated assertion that “the early readers of John’s Gospel would had had these passages in mind when they read John 1.”

    In keeping with your logical argument that the writer would probably be consistent in how he was expressing his ideas, it seems more reasonable that he would have used “in the beginning” (John 1:1-3) to refer to the time of the public ministry of Jesus Christ since he used “the light” and “the darkness” and “the world” (also from the Genesis creation language) to refer to things that were happening during that time.

    On what contextual basis should “in the beginning” be disconnected from “the light” and “the darkness” and “the world” when the writer is using the latter figures to refer to Jesus Christ himself (“the light”, John 1:4, 5, 7-8), the people to whom he came (“the world”, John 1:10-13), and those who didn’t recognize him (“the darkness”, John 1:5, 11). Moreover, John the baptizer could not be “testifying about the light” (John 1:7-8) back in the time of the Genesis creation.

    Moreover, Jesus Christ called himself “the light of the world” (John 8:12; John 1:4, 7-9) and his own flesh “the life if the world” (John 6:51; John 1:4), just like John called him “the word” (Revelation 19:13; John 1:1-3). These appellations are referring to a human being (and not “a personfied divine property or action”.

  43. Dale
    January 12, 2015 @ 6:46 pm

    Hi Jonathan,

    Thanks for your long comment. Just one in reply: yes, it is easy to see why Jesus – the last and greatest messenger of God and unique Son and Messiah – would be called “the Word of God” in Revelation. No one brought God’s word better than he did.

    And that he’s called “Word of God” in Revelation is by itself not a reason to think that the Logos in John 1 is supposed to be personally identical to the man Jesus.

  44. Dale
    January 12, 2015 @ 6:43 pm

    Mario,

    I agree that that is one of the worst things I’ve read in Augustine. He comes back to John 17:3 several times, from what I remember.

    The best I can say about it is this: at least to realizes that John 17:1-3 conflicts with his trinitarian theology. He holds that the one true God is the three of them together. But the passage says about as clearly as can be said that the one true God is the Father.

    IT MUST BE THOSE “ARIANS – THEY MUST HAVE CHANGED IT!” That’s what he thought! This is what philosophers call a classic modus ponens / modus tollens case.

    modus ponens
    1. If my theology is correct, then this passage must be corrupted.
    2. My theology is correct.
    3. Therefore, this passage is corrupted.

    modus tollens
    1. If my theology is correct, then this passage must be corrupted.
    2. This passage is not corrupted.
    3. Therefore, my theology is not correct.

    Feeling a bit too sure of himself as holding mainstream (so, obviously correct) views, Augustine reasoned in the first way. But I think that textual criticism, and just careful reading of the gospel shows that the second argument is sound, not the first.

    At least he was right about premise 1!

  45. Mario
    January 12, 2015 @ 5:53 pm

    Both patristic theologians and recent evangelical apologists have, in their zeal, misread this book …

    Dale,

    the epitome of the (NOT “zeal” BUT) dishonesty of “patristic theologians” is here.

    This is what Augustine wrote, to his eternal shame

    “And this,” He [Jesus, according to John 17:3] adds, “is eternal life, that they may know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom Thou hast sent.” The proper order [sic! LOL! the Augustinian chutzpah!] of the words is, “That they may know Thee and Jesus Christ, whom Thou hast sent, as the only true God.” — Augustine of Hippo, Homilies on the Gospel of John etc., Ch. XVII, 1-5, Tractate CV, §3 (@ ccel.org)

    That little squirmy thing, Augustine, dares to change the order of the words of the Gospel of John, for the simple reason that, otherwise they wouldn’t jibe with his “trinitarianism”.

    Let’s make it fool proof for the sake of “trinitarians”.

    This is what Jesus said, according to the Gospel of John:

    “And this is eternal life,
    [1] that they may know Thee,
    [2] the only true God,
    [3] and Jesus Christ,
    [4] whom Thou hast sent.”
    (John 17:3 KJV)

    This is how that little squirmy thing, Augustine, abominably twists Jesus’ words:

    “[And this is eternal life,]
    [1=>1] [t]hat they may know Thee
    [3=>2] and Jesus Christ,
    [4=>3] whom Thou hast sent,
    [2=>4] as the only true God.”
    (John 17:3, after Augustine’s “treatment”)

    Triple yuck!

  46. Jonathan Jensen
    January 12, 2015 @ 5:00 pm

    Rivers,

    I’ll go one step further and assert that the Word is Jesus as a Person, and that it’s used interchangeably with the words of God, and assert also that this is the reason that Jesus is called the Word. For instance, we have in Revelation Jesus having the name “The Word of God” written on Him. I don’t think that Jesus would be revealing things from Philo, but in Revelation 19, here is the section that pinpoints it contextually:

    I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and wages war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. Coming out of his mouth is a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. “He will rule them with an iron scepter.” He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written:

    KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.

    Remember all of the relevant Old Testament passages referred to here? There are at least three or four, and if you look at this paragraph as a whole and read it for what it is, it’s saying:
    1) He’s called “faithful and true” because He speaks faithfully and truly
    2) He’s called “the Word of God” because He speaks the words of God
    3) He judges with justice and righteousness — by speaking the words of God
    4) He slays the wicked — by speaking the words of God

    All-in-all, He’s called “The Word of God” because He is, for all intents and purposes, the ACTUAL words of God, by representation or in essence (and not in “essential being”). Furthermore, it should also be obvious that Jesus is “God” and the Word is “God” in the sense of representation and essence also (again, not in “essential being” as in one Being).

    What do I mean here? Well, Jesus plainly states that the way in which they see the Father by Him is because of all He speaks from the Father. His whole purpose is to speak the Word of God (Deuteronomy 18:17,18; John 18:37), and for that reason, it should be now obvious that He’s named “The Word of God”.

    Furthermore, we have to remember that John spoke from Jesus, and not the other way around; and certainly, he didn’t speak from philosophy during that time! Jesus plainly states that His flesh is the words of God — yes, the literal words of God. Do you know how I found this out?
    I prayed to God.

    Here’s what He showed me that moment that I prayed:
    John 6:35, “I am the bread of life”
    John 6:51, “this bread is My flesh”
    John 6:54: “whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life”

    (related passage) Matthew/Luke 4:4, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.”
    (Now Jesus speaks to His disciples specifically — see John 6:60)
    John 6:63: “The SPIRIT gives life; the flesh COUNTS FOR NOTHING. The WORDS that I speak to you are Spirit and they are life.”

    In other words, the “flesh” that He was talking about the whole time was figurative, and the eating of His flesh was actually believing in His words, as He goes on to say in verse 64.

    This was not lost on the disciples, and this is why the ones in verse 66 walked away also; see verses 26-31, where these unbelieving “disciples” shamelessly keep trying to get Him to feed them with bread. As such, the believers also understood, including Peter, and presumably John who wrote this:
    John 6:68, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.”

    As such, I believe John 1:14 has more to do with the word (or Jesus) becoming flesh TO EAT, and that, having done so, then they saw His glory as an only-begotten child. I am relating this to John 17:24, where Jesus prays that they would (someday later than then) see His glory as beloved by the Father. This is by the Spirit, as He also says elsewhere, when He said that the one who believed HIS WORDS, Jesus and the Father would come to them and Jesus would reveal Himself to them (that He is God’s beloved Son). When we take these things plainly, they make more sense — in other words, Jesus is revealing that He’s beloved by God, and not “God the Son” and other mystical stuff.

    Furthermore, the “word became flesh and dwelt among us”, I believe should be rendered a little differently. For instance, certain Trinitarian apologists have (rightly) said that the word there is tabernacled for “dwelt”. They, however, reckon that this is like God entering the temple, when in reality, the Spirit is entering Jesus as a temple. Also, the tabernacling in this case would be Jesus entering us in that we are the temple, and Jesus is to us the Spirit (for both the Father and Son come to us by way of the Spirit — as Paul said, “the Lord is the Spirit”). As such, the word translated “among” is literally just “in”. The way it’s rendered is dependent on the context, the way it is used. For instance, is Jesus “in” the crowd i.e. among them, or is Jesus “in” the believers, i.e. tabernacled within their hearts? Those who have believed His words have had the Holy Spirit come into them and have received the Spirit, and since Jesus relates the words to the Spirit, and giving eternal life, then I think that this is very consistent not only with what John is saying that Jesus said, but with reality itself. Even Athanasius, if I remember correctly, claimed that the Holy Spirit is the bread of life. So, despite his theology, even he understood this, at least in part (as we all see Him in part, but will someday see Him face-to-face).

    There’s more to this in John 1, but I hope that you and also Dale might see this as consistent and worth investigating. For me, it’s a done deal, because not only is it consistent, but it was in answer to my prayers. There, however, is no wrong in seeking something out in order to authenticate it.

    Love in Him,
    -Jon

  47. Bogumi?
    January 12, 2015 @ 3:11 pm

    Hello,
    Dale i think you should read socinian commentary to John Gospel if you know latin you can found this commentary here.

    http://books.google.pl/books?id=YDBPAAAAYAAJ&printsec=frontcover&hl=pl&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q&f=false

    God Bless

  48. Rivers
    January 12, 2015 @ 12:04 pm

    Dale,

    I think what has happened over the centuries is that some of the controversial passages (e.g. John 1:1-3; John 1:15; John 1:27-30; John 8:58) in the 4th Gospel have been misconstrued as “preexistence” texts rather than correctly interpreted as resurrection texts. John 1:14a is also taken out of the immediate context of the public ministry of John the baptizer and Jesus (John 1:6-13, 14b-15) and forced to support the “incarnation” doctrine.

    Regardless of when each of the Gospel accounts was written (and the 4th Gospel certainly could have been the first one), they all essentially put “the beginning of the gospel” (Mark 1:1) at the time when John the baptizer appeared in the wilderness and identified Jesus Christ as the son of God (Matthew 3; Mark 1; Luke 3; John 1). Thus, I agree that the fundamental agreement between the Gospels is consistent (and interpreting the Prologue and other controversial passages in the 4th Gospel should be able to account for this).