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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and to point to the single reality of the one who creates, intervenes
in the life of the world, and ultimately saves.
Similar ideas can be found in the 4 Ezra 6:6 which is very likely
a Jewish writing contemporary with Paul 56. There God represents
himself as “the one and only Creator” through whom the world is
made. The Latin text (which is the oldest extant text of the book)
renders the manner of creation using the preposition per 57; the same
preposition is used to describe the coming of the eschatological
events: “the end shall come through (per) me” 58. Thus according to
the author, it is appropriate to ascribe the action “through” to God.
Moreover, no one else can replace God in this action; in other words,
it is through God alone that all things come into being and come to
their end. The impressive picture of the eschatological events and
the reference to the group which will be saved (“whoever remains
after all that”) form, in my view, the strongest parallel with 1 Cor
8,6 in terms of content, except for the figure of the Lord Jesus Christ,
whose functions, however, do not contradict the functions of God
in Ezra. It is also worth noting that “Domine” (or “Dominator Do-
mine”) is the normal form by which Ezra addresses God.
Should we not consider these Jewish ideas (rather than preposi-
tional metaphysics) as a much more plausible source for Paul’s cos-
mological statements? Do not the prepositions which are used by
Paul both in Rom 11,36 and in 1 Cor 8,6 stress the uniqueness of
God and the Lord in a manner similar to Jewish thought, i.e. through
the description of their universal functions?
The analysis of the textual and theological issues of the text as well as
the English translation are made by B.M. METZGER, “The Fourth Book of Ezra”,
The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha (ed. J.H. CHARLESWORTH) (Peabody, MA
2009) I, 517-524 (the introduction) and 525-559 (the translation). According
to Metzger, traditionally chs. 1–2 and 15–16 are considered as a “Christian
framework” (517), whereas the remainder of the text should be attributed to
the Hebrew author and be dated around A.D. 100 (520).
“Facta sunt haec [these things ‒ in fact ‘all things’ as they are described
in 6,1-6; cf. ‘creaturam tuam’ 5,56] per me solum et non per alium, ut et finis
per me et non per alium” (the Latin text was consulted on the website of ‘The
Online Critical Pseudepigrapha” http://ocp.tyndale.ca/4-ezra#6-6 last access
07.06.2014); per is the preposition used in the Vulgata to render dia, both in
Rom 11,36 and 1 Cor 8,6.
According to Metzger, these words point to God as the “Judge at the
final judgment”; METZGER, “4th Ezra”, 521.