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In the Year of our LORD Jesus Christ
-- As of January 20, 2017
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Peace and Liberty. Semper Fidelis.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

2 Corinthians 4:4

In the Westcott-Hort Greek NT:
εν οις ο θεος του αιωνος τουτου ετυφλωσεν τα νοηματα των απιστων εις το μη αυγασαι τον φωτισμον του ευαγγελιου της δοξης του χριστου ος εστιν εικων του θεου

2 Corinthians 4:4 in the KJV reads:
In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of G-D, should shine unto them.

When examining the Greek, the Latin, and the Context of Paul's teachings, and especially those of Jesus, a red flag goes up on all 4 flag-poles. To read a little "god" here in the above...something's wrong, it is an anomaly that doesn't fit, nor should it.

Many are mistaken in regard to Paul's teaching in regard to Satan in 2 Corinthians 4:4.

In 2 Corinthians 4:4, ho Theos is "G-D", and not "god". It is to be taken in the same vein as "G-D who blinds sinners" in Romans Chapter 1.

Irenaeus clearly makes this exposition in Against Hereies, Book 3, Chapter 7, Section 1; declaring Paul to use a transposition of words and pointing it off, making a slight interval. That is, the first half of 2 Corinthians 4:4 reading...

εν οις ο θεος του αιωνος

en ois ho Theos tou aionos -- Wherein has G-D eternal {break},

τουτου ετυφλωσεν τα νοηματα των απιστων

toutou etufelose ta noemata ton apiston -- after this manner has blinded the thoughts of the unbelieving....

Cf. discourse of Romans 1:18-32.

18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;

19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.

20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:

21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.

22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,

23 And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.

24 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:

25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.

26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:

27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.

28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;

29 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,

30 Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,

31 Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:

32 Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.

(King James Version)

The Greek phrase which Irenaeus speaks of, in which Paul is pointing off in 2 Corinthians 4:4, so as to express G-D as the one who brings about blindness upon those who willingly reject His Son, is:

En ois ho Theos tou aionos toutou etufelose ta noemata ton apiston
Translated as:

"In whichever ones has G-D Eternal, at this time, blinded the thoughts of the unbelieving"

En ois
in whichever ones Also translated as "in whom"

Ho Theos
(the one and only) G-D

[In John 1:1, the Logos is pros ton Theon, "up alongside and with G-D", as well as being G-D. The definite article is missing
on Theos in John 1:1c, because in kai Theos een ho Logos, the highlight or
line of thought is on Logos being G-D alongside G-D, and NOT the
subsumation of G-D. Cf. Psalm 45:6,7; Hebrews chapter 1].

Tou aionos
"He who possesses the ages"

["The Eternal master / Master of eternity"...cf. "YHVeH" which subsumes all three tenses of the verb "to be" in Hebrew. Tou aionos is respective of such a similar statement of He who was, and is, and ever shall be. In other words, G-D...and NOT a created being.
Aionos is the synonym of the Hebraic "olam" in the LXX. The contrast is that while "olam" speaks of eternity being hidden and concealed; aionos speaks of a future where eternity is revealed (as it were).]

"a manner or attitude of permissiveness, of allowing something to occur"


[Note the active aorist tense of tuphloo: not just Blindness, or obscurity; but a Blindness that is actively and willing accepted. It is as if with pleasure in an outward expression of rebellion: i.e., an inward determination to disagree even before any conversation is exchanged is seen as a form of "blindness".]

Ta noemata
"Those being without a sure faith, double-minded ones, ever swaying and
changing values and precepts."

Ton apiston
"those who exercise and practice a willful choice to not believe."

[Pistos preceded by the alpha-privitive, negating belief into �unbelief�. (Cf.
Romans 1:21a, 24a)].

Irenaeus was the disciple of Polycarp, who was the disciple of the Apostle John, who was the disciple of Jesus. John knew Paul, and assumed the ministry of Asia and was possessor of numerous original transcripts by Paul's hand and first manuscript copies of Paul.

Irenaeus tells us in Against Heresies, Book 3, Chapter 7 (regarding 2 Corinthins 4:4)...in circa 178-181 A.D.:

1. "As to their affirming that Paul said plainly in the Second [Epistle] to the Corinthians, “In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them that believe not,” and maintaining that there is indeed one god of this world, but another who is beyond all principality, and beginning, and power, we are not to blame if they, who give out that they do themselves know mysteries beyond God, know not how to read Paul.

For if any one read the passage thus—according to Paul’s custom, as I show elsewhere, and by many examples, that he uses transposition of words —“In whom God,” then pointing it off, and making a slight interval, and at the same time read also the rest
[of the sentence] in one [clause], “hath blinded the minds of them of this world that believe not,” he shall find out the true [sense]; that it is contained in the expression, “God hath blinded the minds of the unbelievers of this world.” And this is shown by means of the little interval [between the clause].

For Paul does NOT say, “the God of this world,” as if recognising any other beyond Him; but he confessed God as indeed God. And he says, “the unbelievers of this world,” because they shall not inherit the future age of incorruption. I shall show from Paul himself, how it is that God has blinded the minds of them that believe not, [cf. Romans 1:18 ff. ] in the course of this work, that we may not just at present distract our mind from the matter in hand, [by wandering] at large.

2. ...So therefore, in such passages, the hyperbaton must be exhibited by the reading, and the apostle’s meaning following on, preserved; and thus we do NOT read in that passage, “the god of this world,” but, “God,” whom we do truly call God; and we hear
[it declared of] the unbelieving and the blinded of this world, that they shall not inherit the world of life which is to come."

In 2 Corinthians 4:4, ho Theos is "G-D", and not "god". It is "G-D who blinds sinners" in Romans 1:18-32. In Romans 1:21 "when they knew G-D, they glorified Him not as G-D" is responded to blindness in verse 24 where "G-D also gave them up to uncleaness" or sorts and variations of Spiritual Blindness. Cf. John 3:19-21.

Irenaeus clearly relates Paul's intent and one of the ways Paul taught (before that nuance was lost on later generations) in Against Hereies, Book 3, Chapter 7, Section 1; declaring Paul sometimes would use a transposition of words and pointing it off, making a slight interval. That is,

en ois ho Theos tou aionos -- Wherein has G-D eternal
toutou etufelose ta noemata ton apiston -- after this manner has blinded the thoughts of the unbelieving....

In fact, tou aionos as used in the Greek by Paul, means having in his possession an age or ages AND the outpourings (giving) of life.

Since Satan can only, steal, kill, destroy and accuse (John 10:10, Revelation 12:10), he cannot fit the designation of being a life giver, only a life destroyer or life taker.

But after the aid of Irenaeus also, we now can read this verse now to the expanded effect as something like:

"But, indeed, if our Gospel is being hidden, it is hidden to those [who are] being lost;
In whom G-D -- He who possesses the ages at this time -- has blinded the (willing) minds of the unbelieving (and without a sure faith who were eagerly willing to be made blind);
that the brightness of the Gospel of Christ's glory, who is the exact Image (and representation) of G-D, should dawn not on them."
(2 Corinthians 4:4).

But after the amplified Greek word study, we would perhaps read 2 Cor. 4:4 more as:

"In whichever ones or whom G-D, who possesses the ages, permissively allowed Blindness to occur upon those being without a sure faith, double-minded ones, ever swaying and changing values and precepts, who exercise and practice a willful choice to not believe, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the exact imprint image / reflection and representation of G-D, should shine unto them."

Compare this with Paul's theology in 2 Thessalonians 2:

8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the L-RD shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:

9 Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,

10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.

11 And for this cause G-D shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:

12 That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

In either case, clearly Satan is NOT implied by Paul as the "god of this world" in 2 Cor. 4:4. The one blinding the sinners is G-D, because the sinners took pleasure in being deceived and in acts of unrighteousness to NOT believe Christ Jesus.

In fact, we can even look at where Paul cites Christ as being the "prototokos" of Creation in Colossians 1:15, the first-born who is "before the birth" of Creation.

Can't make the connection? Think in context of the time period the letter was writen. The First Citizen of Rome was Caesar in Paul's day. It was easy for the connection to be made that if Christ is the "prototokos", then HE is essentially the "G-D of this world" with the Father, being the exact imprint and representation of the Father in His person.

Where did modern Christianity get sidetracked?
The 1599 Geneva Bible, for example, was wrong to translate and comment that Satan was a god that blinded etc. in 2 Cor. 4:4 following the Latin Vulgate's example. Others have followed this reasoning.

Probably the translation to "a god" happened because of a single scribal choice to a master copy that headed a family of manuscripts, for whatever reason, did not capitalize a crucial letter D (as we would understand it), writing "deus" instead of "Deus", centuries before.

The Latin Vulgate when updated to both large and small lettering usage read: in quibus deus huius saeculi excaecavit mentes infidelium ut non fulgeat inluminatio evangelii gloriae Christi qui est imago Dei, and at that time, the scribe should have used a capitalized D to declare the Divine as Deus so as to avert later confusion.

In John 8:44, we see that Satan is a liar and has no truth in him. Hence, in Matthew 4:8-9 and Luke 4:5-7, Satan lied as to even possessing ownership over ALL the kingdoms of this world. Thus, he is not any sort of a "theos" but a "theoi", a disposer or one who runs back and forth, pretending to be as if a g-d, though of a flawed and created substance; and retaining a nature of a flawed and limited in power creature (even though at times an evil and hidden emperor over limited parts of the earth) who pretends deity upon himself.

In Paul's theology, if we were to apply any smallness of deity of him who blinds, then we should look first to Adam, as it regards Paul's teachings. For in Romans 5:12 he tells us to the effect - Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: That man was clearly Adam.

Hence, there was a reasoning and debate that infiltrated the Church since at least the Second Century that reasoned a misinterpretation on 2 Cor 4:4.

Again, I reiterate, that Irenaeus gives the true meaning of Paul's intent in regards to 2 Cor. 4:4, especially when G-D blinds man by removing His light from their hearts in Romans 1:18ff.

Paul wrote both these letters to members of the Corinth Churches (e.g. Romans 16:3,5, etc.). Paul also states in Ephesians 1:21, that Christ is Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come:

In I Corinthians 15:27 - Paul precedes 2 Cor. 4:4 with the first epistle to Corinth in which he says in regard to Christ: For He hath put all things under His feet. but clarifies that He has not yet taken possession or exercised His full authority to rule and reign what belongs to Him, as yet.

The Gospels state of Christ:
Mat. 11:27 - All things, including principalities, are delivered unto Him
Mat. 28:18 - All power on Earth is given to Christ
Luke 10:22, John 3:35 - The Father entrusts all power and dominion as part of the "all things" into Christ.
John 17:2 - Jesus has power over all flesh, hence He is THE G-D of this world.

It makes all the more sense in 2 Corinthians 4:4 then, that we follow the theology of the Bible left us in the greater context of the texts of the Bible, and of the teachings of the Bible from the Bible itself. What does Paul really teach in context? What does the L-RD Jesus really teach us in context? How does that relate to the passage? The answers are there, and sometimes it is dependant upon whether we have ears to hear, are willing to ask the L-RD for the answer, and truly be willing to listen, examine, and understand the answer. And the joy in discovering and finding is a privilege some of us just don't want to ever give up. But the joy in discovering passages, in G-D's Kingdom, is also in the sharing (as it were) of that which you have found in the L-RD. As a believer, it helps you enable and lift up others, while helping you to grow in a healthy and spiritual way. At least it seems so to me. Peace.

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