There are apologists and preachers of those who study Greek and do not agree with the divinity of Christ insisting that the Third clause in John 1:1 especially “Theos” or “God” is not a noun but an adjective.
Here is the P66 Manuscript (Bodmer II 200 C.E.). You will see the encircled part “kai theos en ho logos” which is John 1:1 of the New Testament.
This is what is written in original greek text.
Ἐν ἀρχῇ ἦν ὁ λόγος, καὶ ὁ λόγος ἦν πρὸς τὸν θεόν, καὶ θεὸς ἦν ὁ λόγος. (John 1:1, Greek New Testament)
If we see a slight difference, it was mentioned in Greek like θεον (theon) and θεος (theos), the same is one meaning and it refers to GOD.
Theos (θεος) is in the nominative case and Theon ( θεον) is in the accusative case.
En archei ein ‘o logos, kai ‘o logos ein pros ton theon, kai theos ein ‘o logos.
Because this is the phrase THE WORD WAS WITH GOD ὁ λόγος ην προς τον θεον, with is the “pros” preposition. Because God here is the object of a preposition, it needs to become θεον or theon, not θεος or theos.
The greek, ton theon-the God, with the definite article implying that John has a specific person in mind.
John’s uses of the preposition pros ‘with’ is significant. It implies that the Father and the Son had an intimate as well as eternal relationship.
We believe it is Jesus being referred to as becoming flesh in John 1:14 because the context is very clear.
If we analyze what is written in John 1:1 and John 1:14, this is what we will understand:
The three clauses have the same subject (ὁ λόγος) and an identical verb (ἦν). Verse 2 puts together these three separate pronouncements and calls them as all true Ἐν ἀρχῇ: “The Logos who was θεὸς was in the beginning with God.” Even though Jesus Christ is not explicitly mentioned until verse 17, the evangelist without a doubt presumes in the Foreword that the Logos is none other than the “only Son” (μονογενὴς 1:14, 18) of the Father. The Logos who “Existed in the beginning (v. 1a),”came on the human scene (ἐγένετο)” in time (14a.) The one who was eternally “in communion with God” (v. 1b), temporarily “sojourned among us” (v. 14b).
Is it true that “theos” in the third clause of John 1:1 is an adjective?
Theos is a noun. While adjectives (like “good,” “bad,” etc) can function in a number of ways, nouns always function as nouns (substantives).
Liddell and Scott, An Intermediate Greek-English Lexicon, present no evidence of the use of θεὸς as an adjective, as follows: ὁ θεὸς, “God, in a general sense, θεὸς δώσει “God will give,” and in a particular sense, θεὸς τις “a god.”
Is it true that it is not a noun since there is no definite article?
The noun, θεὸς, thus does not require a definite article to function as a noun, as follows: πρὸς θεῶν “by the gods.”
C K Barrett writes in his commentary (p 156) θεὸς being without the article is predicative and describes the nature of the Word.
Is it true that it is a predicative adjective and it is not a predicative nominative?
This is a misunderstanding of what a “predicate adjective” is. A predicate adjective is an adjective acting substantially (like a noun) in the predicate position. This happens when nouns or adjectives are working with equative verbs (like “was” here).
The Third Clause of John 1:1 that the word was GOD is like “Time is GOLD”?
This is what they often said, “Time is GOLD” is not a noun. The use of “Gold” is an adjective since it describes the time. The period is important like gold but not exactly the time. It is gold in its original form when it comes to the statement that “THE WORD OR THE LOGOS WAS GOD”. The term GOD does not function as noun but as an Adjective.
What can we say about this?
Well, they do not understand the true context!
Gold here is not an adjective. It is a noun used metaphorically.
This Greek construction with the article with Word and no article on the word for God means God is either a predicate nominative or a predicate modifier. So either “The word was God” or “The word was fully deity”. The Notes on the NET Bible make the point. Here are those notes:
Or “and what God was the Word was.” Colwell’s Rule is often invoked to support the translation of qeo/ß (theos) as definite (“God”) rather than indefinite (“a god”) here. However, Colwell’s Rule merely permits, but does not demand, that a predicate nominative ahead of an equative verb be translated as definite rather than indefinite. Furthermore, Colwell’s Rule did not deal with a third possibility, that the anarthrous predicate noun may have more of a qualitative nuance when placed ahead of the verb. A definite meaning for the term is reflected in the traditional rendering “the word was God.” From a technical standpoint, though, it is preferable to see a qualitative aspect to anarthrous qeo/ß in John 1:1c (ExSyn 266–69). Translations like the NEB, REB, and Moffatt are helpful in capturing the sense in John 1:1c, that the Word was fully deity in essence (just as much God as God the Father). However, in contemporary English “the Word was divine” (Moffatt) does not quite catch the meaning since “divine” as a descriptive term is not used in contemporary English exclusively of God. The translation “what God was the Word was” is perhaps the most nuanced rendering, conveying that everything God was in essence, the Word was too. This points to unity of essence between the Father and the Son without equating the persons. However, in surveying a number of native speakers of English, some of whom had formal theological training and some of whom did not, the editors concluded that the fine distinctions indicated by “what God was the Word was” would not be understood by many contemporary readers. Thus the translation “the Word was fully God” was chosen because it is more likely to convey the meaning to the average English reader that the Logos (which “became flesh and took up residence among us” in John 1:14 and is thereafter identified in the Fourth Gospel as Jesus) is one in essence with God the Father. The previous phrase, “the Word was with God,” shows that the Logos is distinct in person from God the Father.”
What about the translation of James Moffatt in his John 1:1?
This is the John 1:1 version of James Mofftatt.
“The Logos existed in the very beginning, the Logos was with God, the Logos was divine.”(John 1:1, Moffatt Translation)
This version is often used by apologists and preachers who do not agree that Jesus is God. Worse, they use other books like the book of a reputable New Testament scholar, Dr. Daniel B. Wallace – Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics since he mentioned the version of James Mofatt in his book.
If we ask Dr. Wallace, what can he say about using the word, “divine” for John 1:1?
“Consequently, I have no problem translating it as ‘divine’ as long as we understand that only true deity is divine. “(Dr. Daniel B. Wallace, Author of Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics)
The question is: it is right to translate the Greek word, theos as “divine”?
Translating theos as “divine” is not good. Divine is an adjective, theos is a noun. Theos is translated as either God (in reference to the one true God), or a god. Lexically, it is not possible to translate “theos” as divine since the word, divine is “theois” and it does not agree with what Greek experts say.
What does James Moffatt mean in saying theos at the third clause of John 1:1 was translated “divine” instead of “God”?
This is the information about James Moffatt.
James Moffatt was an orthodox Trinitarian who supported the Nicene Creed and Chalcedon Confession:
“The Word was God…And the Word became flesh,’ simply means “The word was divine…And the Word became human.’ The Nicene faith, in the Chalcedon definition, was intended to conserve both of these truths against theories that failed to present Jesus as truly God and truly man…” Moffatt, Jesus Christ the Same, (Abingdon-Cokesbury), 1945, p.61.
Moffatt apparently did believe that “divine” signified that Jesus was “one and the same God” with ho theos.
It is clear that James Moffatt believes in the Trinity.