Andrey Romanov, «Through One Lord Only: Theological Interpretation of the Meaning of 'dia', in 1 Cor 8,6», Vol. 96 (2015) 391-415
The present study attempts to clarify the theological meaning of dia, in 1 Cor 8,6. Traditionally the preposition is understood as an indication of a contrast between God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus' role is described as either instrumental or analogous to the role of Jewish Wisdom. The present study questions these interpretations on the basis of the analysis of the structure of the verse. In this author's opinion, dia, here indicates the unique functions of Jesus Christ which make him the co-worker of God the Father in both creation and salvation.
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mediation is, clearly, to focus on a function” 19. This seems to be a
key for the whole problem: understanding (and defining) the role
of Jesus Christ is possible through the analysis of what he is thought
to do and how it corresponds with what God is thought to do. In
my view, the analysis of the functions of God the Father and of the
Lord Jesus Christ in 1 Cor 8,6 can shed some light on their rela-
tionship as Paul understands it.
II. The Structure of 1 Cor 8,6
The structure of 1 Cor 8,6 seems to be a primary key for under-
standing both the meaning of the particular elements of the verse
and its meaning as a whole. In the few words of the verse Paul has
managed to present a picture of his cosmological beliefs within
which the idea of soteriology finds its proper place.
In v. 6a 20 Paul writes about God the Father in his relations with
ta. pa,nta and h`mei/j. In order to describe these relations Paul uses
the prepositions evk and eivj correspondingly. As P. Rainbow main-
tains, “the evk-phrase […] and the eivj-phrase mutually define one
another in such a way as to comprehend the course of history from
origin to goal” 21. Having started the verse with the indication of
the initial act of history, that is, creation, Paul logically completes
it with the indication of the final act, that is, eschatological salva-
tion. In other words, the prepositions point to God as the Creator
of “all things” and as the final goal for “us” 22.
LACEY, “Jesus as Mediator”, JSNT 29 (1987) 101-121; A.F. SEGAL, “The
Risen Christ and the Angelic Mediator Figure in Light of Qumran”, Jesus
and the Dead Sea Scrolls (ed. J.H. CHARLESWORTH) (New York 1993) 302-
328; P.G. DAVIS, “Divine Agents, Mediators, and New Testament Christo-
logy”, JTS 45.2 (1994) 479-503.
DE LACEY, “Jesus as Mediator”, 103.
For the text of the verse and its division into two lines see n. 1.
RAINBOW, Monotheism and Christology, 152.
That h`mei/j eivj auvto,n should be better interpreted as “our” move to-
wards God as the eschatological goal is acknowledged today by many schol-
ars. The translation of the phrase as “we exist for God” with the stress only
on the current state of being was strongly challenged by Sagnard; see F.Μ.M.
SAGNARD, “À propos de 1 Cor viii, 6”, ETL 26 (1950) 54-58. To understand
the phrase as merely “existing for God” means to question the salvific element
of the verse rooted in the act of creation.