There was a rap on the window of the back door. It was Bowden peering in like a beggar seeking a place to warm himself.
“Let him in,” Dad said to me. “he has forgotten something.”
“Let me guess,” Dad said as Bowden nearly tumble through the doorway, “You forgot to mention John 1 verse 1?”
Bowden squinted and looked suspiciously at Dad. “Mighty sure of yourself, aren’t you?”
“No discussion of the trinity would be complete without mention it,” Dad said. “Let’s go back into the living room.”
“This will do,” Bowden said.
“I don’t like guests to use the back door,” Dad said.
“I don’t mind,” Bowden said.
“So explain your point,” Dad said.
“The verse said ’the word was God,” Bowden said.
“So that means what?” Dad said.
“Jesus is the word and the word is God,” Bowden said. “You must follow the logic, if Jesus is the word and the word is God, Jesus and God are the same.”
“Do you read Greek?” Dad said.
“No,” Bowden said. “And neither do you.”
“As a matter of fact I do read Greek,” Dad said.
“I’ve seen him do it,” I blurted.
Dad frowned at me and I left the room. I made sounds on the stairs to make it seem I had gone to my room. I stood next to the doorway to the kitchen so I could capture every word.
“Where did you learn Greek,” Bowden said. “I studied on my own and Kappy’s Restaurant in town. The owner’s dad is Nick Kappasackos. If you don’t speak Greek in his house he shows you the door.”
“Fascinating,” Bowden said admiringly. “Why did you learn?”
“Curiosity,” Dad said. “And I knew this moment would come.”
“But you’re not a scholar,” Bowden said.
Dad let out a sigh.
“Didn’t mean to demean you,” Bowden said.
“Yes you did,” Dad said. “Nevertheless, in John 1:1 the two mentions of God are not the same. One employs a direct article and the other had none.”
“Yes,” Bowden said. “I’m familiar with the argument, but that simply makes the statement ’the word was with the God and the word was God.’ It further supports my view.”
“Not so fast,” Dad said. “Let’s be scholarly for a moment. In the Greek one has a predicate and the other does not. Don’t you agree that makes a big difference.”
“I don’t follow you,” Bowden said.
“Yes you do,” Dad said. “You merely want me to speak more so you can find a loophole or give you time to think. But that’s okay, I want you to think.”
“If I weren’t a pastor…” Bowden said.
“Go ahead and curse,”
“Damn,” Bowden said, “Not you, this insipid concept of one God.”
“Careful,” Dad said.
“You know what I mean,” Bowden said.
“Precisely,” Dad said, “simple farmers don’t have to go to clergy. Let me continue; Using a predicate when equating one word to another and using it only to modify the one makes all the difference in the world. An example is 1st John 4:8, ‘God is love’ In the Greek God has a predicate and love does not. They are not equal by virtue of the absence of the predicate for love. The Bible writer John could say ‘God is love’ but the converse cannot be logical, ‘love is God.’ Or John says in few chapters beyond John 1 verse 1 at John 4 ‘God is a spirit.’ It does not say ‘God is the spirit’ nor can we equate the two by reversing them and saying ‘the spirit is God.’ The grammatical structure of the statement of John 1 and John 4 are nearly identical.”
“Your reasoning is confusing,” Bowden said.
“And the concept of the trinity is not?” Dad said. “You have even said it is one of the mysteries of God
“How could so many scholars be so wrong for so many years?” Bowden said contemptuously.
“Who is about to bite the hand that feeds them?” Dad said.
“I should have kept driving,” Bowden said.
“I’m glad you returned,” Dad said.
I returned to the back porch seeing Dad stand dejectedly. “What’s wrong?” I asked.
“I hope he recovers,” Dad said.