John 10:30

ἐγὼ καὶ ὁ πατὴρ ἕν ἐσμ

I and the Father are one (one in what sense?)

Question of our interest:

Does this text mean that in the set of God there is only one element?

Observations and interpretations:

Context – The Jews were questioning Jesus claim to be a god.

Greek words of interest to our question in John 10:30 and its immediate context:

Verse 30 en esm, en is a nominative neuter adjective and esm is a copulative verb in present tense, literally means one are.  It could be translated as are one in progress.  It did not state as “I and my father are one in progress” but “I and the Father are one in progress.” We need to consider the noun of the Greek definite article and a noun “ὁ πατὴρ” is a proper name or a common noun.  If it is a proper noun, then the translation would be “I and Pater are one in progress.”  That means Pater is an entity with a proper name Pater.  He was not necessary, only very likely, a father of at least one person.  If it is a common noun, then the translation would be “I and the father are one in progress.”  That means “I and a particular father are one in progress.”  The father has to be a father somehow.  

If John 10:30 means that Jesus and God the Father were one and the same God, then why Jesus did not say, “I am in progress the Father.”  Instead, in the context, verse 36, “Υἱὸς τοῦ θεοῦ εἰμι “ can be translated as “I am in progress a son of the God (a common noun)” or “I am in progress a son of Theos (a proper noun)” or (I am in progress Huios tou Theou (a title)”, where “I” refers to Jesus and the God or Theos is the Father of Jesus.  The first two options imply that the God or Theos could have more than one son.  The third option implies that Jesus has been given a title or has given himself a title.  Then Jesus is the Father of a son who is the same Jesus.  How can Jesus be both the Father and a Son of the Father?  How can Jesus being a Son of the Father and also the Father of the Son?  In other words, how can Jesus being both the Father and the Son of himself at the same time and space?

So we need to revisit in what sense Jesus and the Father are one.  The critical word is the Greek word “en”.  Its root meaning is numeral one.  Depending on the dictate of the context of the word, it can be translated as “united” like in New Living Bible Ephesians 2:14 “For Christ himself has brought peace to us. He united Jews and Gentiles into one people when, in his own body on the cross, he broke down the wall of hostility that separated us.”  For further reference, MAppold, The Oneness Motif (John), ’76.

Furthermore the gender of the Greek word for the Father is masculine, but the gender of the Greek word for one is neuter.  So the Greek word one does not refer to the Father but for an entity other than the Father, like the state of two united Gods.  The two Gods are "I and the Father" referring to God the Son and God the Father. 
Conclusion and Application:

By the dictate of the context of John 10:30, it should be translated as
 
“I and the Father are united in the past eternity and now and in progress still.”

Please note that the end of Chapter 10 of John mentioned about whatever John the Baptizer said was true in verse 41.  John the Baptizer said in John 1:32-34 

“Then John testified, “I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove and resting on Him. I myself did not know Him, but the One who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit descend and rest is He who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ I have seen and testified that this is the Sone of God.”  

Berean Study Bible with a note e “SBL the Chosen One”.  

Jesus was intimately related to God the Holy Spirit.
 
Therefore, I conclude that this verse do not support the position, “there is only one element in the set of God”, but the position that “there are three and only three elements in the set of God”. 

Version 2 on November 3, 2017
Comments