Christ received life from God at John 1:4 and 5:26 according to Robertson

Roger Thornhill

Well-known member
I just read this for the first time. It appears that AT Robertson endorses the NA28 punctuation of John 1:3-4. He also comments that he views estin in some textual variants would be needed to indicate timelessness. But we have ên.

Clearly if life came into being “in” the Logos it was not there before.

Interestingly Robertson also applies the Father giving life to the Son in John 5:26 as equivalent to what was stated in John 1:3.

In both passages he appeals to a timelessness to the Son receiving life from God.

And so it appears Robertson just restates the BDAG entry: β. of Christ, who received life fr. God J 5:26b (ἡ ζωὴ τῆς πίστεως ParJer 9:14). ἐν αὐτῷ ζ. ἦν 1:4a; cp. 1J 5:11b.

Robertson Word Pictures
Joh 1:4 - In him was life (en autôi zôê ên). That which has come into being (verse 3) in the Logos was life. The power that creates and sustains life in the universe is the Logos. This is what Paul means by the perfect passive verb ektistai (stands created) in Col 1:16. This is also the claim of Jesus to Martha (Joh 11:25). This is the idea in Heb 1:3 "bearing (upholding) the all things by the word of his power." Once this language might have been termed unscientific, but not so now after the spiritual interpretation of the physical world by Eddington and Jeans. Usually in John zôê means spiritual life, but here the term is unlimited and includes all life; only it is not bios (manner of life), but the very principle or essence of life. That is spiritual behind the physical and to this great scientists today agree. It is also personal intelligence and power. Some of the western documents have estin here instead of ên to bring out clearly the timelessness of this phrase of the work of the Logos. And the life was the light of men (kai hê zôê ên to phôs tôn anthrôpôn). Here the article with both zôê and phôs makes them interchangeable. "The light was the life of men" is also true. That statement is curiously like the view of some physicists who find in electricity (both light and power) the nearest equivalent to life in its ultimate physical form. Later Jesus will call himself the light of the world (Joh 8:12). John is fond of these words life and light in Gospel, Epistles, Revelation. He here combines them to picture his conception of the Pre-incarnate Logos in his relation to the race. He was and is the Life of men (tôn anthrôpon, generic use of the article) and the Light of men. John asserts this relation of the Logos to the race of men in particular before the Incarnation.

Robertson Word Pictures
Joh 5:26 - In himself (en heautôi). The Living God possesses life wholly in himself and so he has bestowed this power of life to the Son as already stated in the Prologue of the Logos (1:3). For "gave" (edôken, timeless aorist active indicative) see also 3:35; 17:2,24. The particles "as" (hôsper) and "so" (houtôs) mark here the fact, not the degree (Westcott).

@DoctrinesofGraceBapt
@John Milton
 

The Real John Milton

Well-known member
Robertson Word Pictures
Joh 1:4 - In him was life (en autôi zôê ên). That which has come into being (verse 3) in the Logos was life.

Any normal and honest person would have to conclude that the Logos is not God since he did not always have life but received it at a point in time. If this is the original.

Some of the western documents have estin here instead of ên to bring out clearly the timelessness of this phrase of the work of the Logos.

Interesting that he would say this because ἐστιν is precisely what we don't have in the prologue. Not only here, but I have always argued that had the apostle believed Jesus to be God, he would have used ἐστιν in John 1:1c as well and not ἦν: καὶ θεὸς ἦν ὁ λόγος.

Because in scripture whenever it is declared that the Lord is God, the present is always used . In other words you will never find the following type of statement, "In the beginning God created the Heavens and the Earth, and he was God." No, even if a past time frame is in view, the scripture always uses the present tense to denote that God is God. So for instance the following:

πρὸ τοῦ ὄρη γενηθῆναι καὶ πλασθῆναι τὴν γῆν καὶ τὴν οἰκουμένην καὶ ἀπὸ τοῦ αἰῶνος ἕως τοῦ αἰῶνος σὺ εἶ

LXX 89:2

Notice the present tense εἶ instead of ἦς

Good thread and nice warm up..
 

Roger Thornhill

Well-known member
So how then can it be argued that the Logos is God since he did not always have life but received it at a point in time.



Interesting that he would say this because ἐστιν is precisely what we don't have in the prologue. Not only here, but I have always argued that had the apostle believed Jesus to be God, he would have used ἐστιν in John 1:1c as well and not ἦν: καὶ θεὸς ἦν ὁ λόγος.

Because in scripture whenever it is declared that the Lord is God, the present is always used . In other words you will never find the following type of statement, "In the beginning God created the Heavens and the Earth, and he was God." No, even if a past time frame is in view, the scripture always uses the present tense to denote that God is God. So for instance the following:



LXX 89:2

Notice the present tense εἶ instead of ἦς
I read his comments earlier on John 1:1-4 and he does promote eternal generation. That's evidently why he emphasizes that the verb forms are "timeless."

He mentions Origen's view of Eternal Generation.

That's how Athanasius said he could agree with Arius so long as the Word was begotten before time began.
 

The Real John Milton

Well-known member
I read his comments earlier on John 1:1-4 and he does promote eternal generation. That's evidently why he emphasizes that the verb forms are "timeless."

He mentions Origen's view of Eternal Generation.

That's how Athanasius said he could agree with Arius so long as the Word was begotten before time began.

That’s nonsense, like “eternal pig.” 😀
 

The Real John Milton

Well-known member
I really don't see how this solves the problem: Let's say life was given to the Word "before time began." Point is life was still given to it, that is, it came into existence in the Word at some point (albeit "before time.") Using "time" as a crutch solves absolutely nothing, IMHO.
 

Roger Thornhill

Well-known member
I really don't see how this solves the problem: Let's say life was given to the Word "before time began." Point is life was still given to it, that is, it came into existence in the Word at some point (albeit "before time.") Using "time" as a crutch solves absolutely nothing, IMHO.
The best I can figure is a philosophical view that what existed before "the beginning" had no beginning and is therefore "eternal."

But worse than that it also requires an assumption that the Word being "in the beginning" is evidence he existed before the beginning.
 
Do you think that life existed when it was just God in eternity past? Just God. All by his lonesome self. Did life exist? Did God have life within himself from eternity past?

I really don’t understand how ὃ γέγονεν ἐν αὐτῷ ζωὴ ἦν would indicate anything like what you’re suggesting. If life came into existence in the Logos, that doesn’t mean that God gave life to the Logos. There is no logical connection here between these two things. If it had said that ὁ θεὸς τῷ λόγῳ ζωὴν ἔδωκεν or ὁ θεὸς τὸν λόγον ἐζωοποίησεν (both “God gave life to the Logos”), you would have a point. There’s nothing here that expresses the idea that the Logos was ever not living. It says that life came into existence in the Logos, not that the Logos came into existence.

Where do you see something like that in this passage?

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Roger Thornhill

Well-known member
Do you think that life existed when it was just God in eternity past? Just God. All by his lonesome self. Did life exist? Did God have life within himself from eternity past?

I really don’t understand how ὃ γέγονεν ἐν αὐτῷ ζωὴ ἦν would indicate anything like what you’re suggesting. If life came into existence in the Logos, that doesn’t mean that God gave life to the Logos. There is no logical connection here between these two things. If it had said that ὁ θεὸς τῷ λόγῳ ζωὴν ἔδωκεν or ὁ θεὸς τὸν λόγον ἐζωοποίησεν (both “God gave life to the Logos”), you would have a point. There’s nothing here that expresses the idea that the Logos was ever not living. It says that life came into existence in the Logos, not that the Logos came into existence.

Where do you see something like that in this passage?

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Those are good questions. Have you ever heard of AT Robertson? We can't ask him because he is dead. However Dan Wallace quotes him extensively. Have you heard of Dan Wallace?

To attempt to answer your questions requires a definition of life in Biblical Greek and a way to analyze the Greek text. Since you use lovely Greek fonts you must have had some training. What Greek lexicons do you use and what Greek grammar?

Do you have any idea what Robertson is talking about?
 
What Greek lexicons do you use and what Greek grammar?
I have BDAG, and I have Wallace’s GGBB for reference. My favorite study grammar is Hansen & Quinn’s Greek: An Intensive Course.

Do you have any idea what Robertson is talking about?
I don’t personally have a copy of his A Grammar of the Greek New Testament in the Light of Historical Research, so I haven’t read his comments on it. Did you post them directly above? I’ll go back up and look.
 

Roger Thornhill

Well-known member
I have BDAG, and I have Wallace’s GGBB for reference. My favorite study grammar is Hansen & Quinn’s Greek: An Intensive Course.


I don’t personally have a copy of his A Grammar of the Greek New Testament in the Light of Historical Research, so I haven’t read his comments on it. Did you post them directly above? I’ll go back up and look.
What I posted is from his Word Pictures which I also found online.

I also have Hansen and Quinn's. I went through it about 10 years ago. I forgot about it but recognize the cover.
 
Roger,

I see now that you’re not referring to his grammar but to Word Pictures and that the verse that he used was John 5:26 (τῷ υἱῷ ἔδωκεν ζωὴν ἔχειν ἐν ἑαυτῷ “[God] gave [his] son to have life in himself”), not John 1:4 (ὃ γέγονεν ἐν αὐτῷ ζωὴ ἦν “What has come into being in him was life”). That makes a bit of a difference to the discussion.

In a context such as this, δίδωμί τινι ποιῆσαί τι would mean “to allow someone to do something” or “to give someone the power/right to do something.” It doesn’t really mean “to give” or “to cause to have.” This use is covered by BDAG here:

to grant by formal action, grant, allow, freq. of God (cp. 7 above) ἐξουσίαν δ. (Hippol., Ref. 5, 26, 21 grant someone the power or authority, give someone the right, etc. (cp. TestJob 20:3; Jos., Ant. 2, 90, Vi. 71) Mt 9:8; 28:18; 2 Cor 13:10; Rv 9:3; 1 Cl 61:1; τοῦ πατεῖν ἐπάνω τινός tread on someth. Lk 10:19. τὴν σοφίαν τοῦ γράψαι τὴν ἱστορίαν ταύτην the ability to write this account GJs 25:1. ἔδωκεν αὐτοῖς δύναμιν καὶ ἐξουσίαν ἐπί Lk 9:1 (cp. Just., D. 30, 3 ἔδωκεν αὐτῷ δύναμιν). ταῦτά σοι πάντα δώσω i.e. put them under your control Mt 4:9 of the devil. Simple δ. w. inf. (Appian, Liby. 19 §78 ἢν [=ἐὰν] ὁ θεὸς δῷ ἐπικρατῆσαι 106 §499) δέδοται it is given, granted to someone γνῶναι τὰ μυστήρια to know the secrets Mt 13:11; cp. ἡ δοθεῖσα αὐτῷ γνῶσις B 9:8 (Just., D. 7, 3 εἰ μή τῳ θεός δῷ συνιέναι) ἔδωκεν ζωὴν ἔχειν he has granted (the privilege) of having life J 5:26. μετὰ παρρησίας λαλεῖν to speak courageously Ac 4:29 and oft. rather freq. the inf. is to be supplied fr. the context (Himerius, Or. 38 [4], 8 εἰ θεὸς διδοίη=if God permits) οἷς δέδοται sc. χωρεῖν Mt 19:11. ἦν δεδομένον σοι sc. ἐξουσίαν ἔχειν J 19:11. W. acc. and inf. foll. (Appian, Mithrid. 11, §37; Heliodorus 5, 12, 2 δώσεις με πιστεύειν) οὐδὲ δώσεις τὸν ὅσιόν σου ἰδεῖν διαφθοράν you will not permit your holy one to see corruption Ac 2:27; 13:35 (both Ps 15:10). ἔδωκεν αὐτὸν ἐμφανῆ γενέσθαι granted that he should be plainly seen 10:40. δὸς … ῥαγήναι τὰ δέσμα grant that our chains be broken AcPl Ha 3,11f. Pregnant constr.: grant, order (Diod S 9, 12, 2 διδ. λαβεῖν=permit to; 19, 85, 3 τὶ=someth.; Appian, Bell. Civ. 4, 125 §524 ὁ καιρὸς ἐδίδου=the opportunity permitted; Biogr. p. 130 ἐδίδου θάπτειν τ. ἄνδρα) ἐδόθη αὐτοῖς ἵνα μὴ ἀποκτείνωσιν orders were given them not to kill Rv 9:5; cp. 19:8.—Of an oath w. double inf. Lk 1:73f. S. also 17 below.

Entry for δίδωμι in William Arndt et al., A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000), 243.

Notice the text in red above, along with the complete section of the entry.
 

Roger Thornhill

Well-known member
Roger,

I see now that you’re not referring to his grammar but to Word Pictures and that the verse that he used was John 5:26 (τῷ υἱῷ ἔδωκεν ζωὴν ἔχειν ἐν ἑαυτῷ “[God] gave [his] son to have life in himself”), not John 1:4 (ὃ γέγονεν ἐν αὐτῷ ζωὴ ἦν “What has come into being in him was life”). That makes a bit of a difference to the discussion.

In a context such as this, δίδωμί τινι ποιῆσαί τι would mean “to allow someone to do something” or “to give someone the power/right to do something.” It doesn’t really mean “to give” or “to cause to have.” This use is covered by BDAG here:

to grant by formal action, grant, allow, freq. of God (cp. 7 above) ἐξουσίαν δ. (Hippol., Ref. 5, 26, 21 grant someone the power or authority, give someone the right, etc. (cp. TestJob 20:3; Jos., Ant. 2, 90, Vi. 71) Mt 9:8; 28:18; 2 Cor 13:10; Rv 9:3; 1 Cl 61:1; τοῦ πατεῖν ἐπάνω τινός tread on someth. Lk 10:19. τὴν σοφίαν τοῦ γράψαι τὴν ἱστορίαν ταύτην the ability to write this account GJs 25:1. ἔδωκεν αὐτοῖς δύναμιν καὶ ἐξουσίαν ἐπί Lk 9:1 (cp. Just., D. 30, 3 ἔδωκεν αὐτῷ δύναμιν). ταῦτά σοι πάντα δώσω i.e. put them under your control Mt 4:9 of the devil. Simple δ. w. inf. (Appian, Liby. 19 §78 ἢν [=ἐὰν] ὁ θεὸς δῷ ἐπικρατῆσαι 106 §499) δέδοται it is given, granted to someone γνῶναι τὰ μυστήρια to know the secrets Mt 13:11; cp. ἡ δοθεῖσα αὐτῷ γνῶσις B 9:8 (Just., D. 7, 3 εἰ μή τῳ θεός δῷ συνιέναι) ἔδωκεν ζωὴν ἔχειν he has granted (the privilege) of having life J 5:26. μετὰ παρρησίας λαλεῖν to speak courageously Ac 4:29 and oft. rather freq. the inf. is to be supplied fr. the context (Himerius, Or. 38 [4], 8 εἰ θεὸς διδοίη=if God permits) οἷς δέδοται sc. χωρεῖν Mt 19:11. ἦν δεδομένον σοι sc. ἐξουσίαν ἔχειν J 19:11. W. acc. and inf. foll. (Appian, Mithrid. 11, §37; Heliodorus 5, 12, 2 δώσεις με πιστεύειν) οὐδὲ δώσεις τὸν ὅσιόν σου ἰδεῖν διαφθοράν you will not permit your holy one to see corruption Ac 2:27; 13:35 (both Ps 15:10). ἔδωκεν αὐτὸν ἐμφανῆ γενέσθαι granted that he should be plainly seen 10:40. δὸς … ῥαγήναι τὰ δέσμα grant that our chains be broken AcPl Ha 3,11f. Pregnant constr.: grant, order (Diod S 9, 12, 2 διδ. λαβεῖν=permit to; 19, 85, 3 τὶ=someth.; Appian, Bell. Civ. 4, 125 §524 ὁ καιρὸς ἐδίδου=the opportunity permitted; Biogr. p. 130 ἐδίδου θάπτειν τ. ἄνδρα) ἐδόθη αὐτοῖς ἵνα μὴ ἀποκτείνωσιν orders were given them not to kill Rv 9:5; cp. 19:8.—Of an oath w. double inf. Lk 1:73f. S. also 17 below.

Entry for δίδωμι in William Arndt et al., A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000), 243.

Notice the text in red above, along with the complete section of the entry.
And yet BDAG says:

β. of Christ, who received life fr. God J 5:26b (ἡ ζωὴ τῆς πίστεως ParJer 9:14). ἐν αὐτῷ ζ. ἦν 1:4a; cp. 1J 5:11b.

Also if you read Word Pictures Robertson applies this to eternal generation and quotes Origen.
 

Roger Thornhill

Well-known member
Roger,

I see now that you’re not referring to his grammar but to Word Pictures and that the verse that he used was John 5:26 (τῷ υἱῷ ἔδωκεν ζωὴν ἔχειν ἐν ἑαυτῷ “[God] gave [his] son to have life in himself”), not John 1:4 (ὃ γέγονεν ἐν αὐτῷ ζωὴ ἦν “What has come into being in him was life”). That makes a bit of a difference to the discussion.

In a context such as this, δίδωμί τινι ποιῆσαί τι would mean “to allow someone to do something” or “to give someone the power/right to do something.” It doesn’t really mean “to give” or “to cause to have.” This use is covered by BDAG here:

to grant by formal action, grant, allow, freq. of God (cp. 7 above) ἐξουσίαν δ. (Hippol., Ref. 5, 26, 21 grant someone the power or authority, give someone the right, etc. (cp. TestJob 20:3; Jos., Ant. 2, 90, Vi. 71) Mt 9:8; 28:18; 2 Cor 13:10; Rv 9:3; 1 Cl 61:1; τοῦ πατεῖν ἐπάνω τινός tread on someth. Lk 10:19. τὴν σοφίαν τοῦ γράψαι τὴν ἱστορίαν ταύτην the ability to write this account GJs 25:1. ἔδωκεν αὐτοῖς δύναμιν καὶ ἐξουσίαν ἐπί Lk 9:1 (cp. Just., D. 30, 3 ἔδωκεν αὐτῷ δύναμιν). ταῦτά σοι πάντα δώσω i.e. put them under your control Mt 4:9 of the devil. Simple δ. w. inf. (Appian, Liby. 19 §78 ἢν [=ἐὰν] ὁ θεὸς δῷ ἐπικρατῆσαι 106 §499) δέδοται it is given, granted to someone γνῶναι τὰ μυστήρια to know the secrets Mt 13:11; cp. ἡ δοθεῖσα αὐτῷ γνῶσις B 9:8 (Just., D. 7, 3 εἰ μή τῳ θεός δῷ συνιέναι) ἔδωκεν ζωὴν ἔχειν he has granted (the privilege) of having life J 5:26. μετὰ παρρησίας λαλεῖν to speak courageously Ac 4:29 and oft. rather freq. the inf. is to be supplied fr. the context (Himerius, Or. 38 [4], 8 εἰ θεὸς διδοίη=if God permits) οἷς δέδοται sc. χωρεῖν Mt 19:11. ἦν δεδομένον σοι sc. ἐξουσίαν ἔχειν J 19:11. W. acc. and inf. foll. (Appian, Mithrid. 11, §37; Heliodorus 5, 12, 2 δώσεις με πιστεύειν) οὐδὲ δώσεις τὸν ὅσιόν σου ἰδεῖν διαφθοράν you will not permit your holy one to see corruption Ac 2:27; 13:35 (both Ps 15:10). ἔδωκεν αὐτὸν ἐμφανῆ γενέσθαι granted that he should be plainly seen 10:40. δὸς … ῥαγήναι τὰ δέσμα grant that our chains be broken AcPl Ha 3,11f. Pregnant constr.: grant, order (Diod S 9, 12, 2 διδ. λαβεῖν=permit to; 19, 85, 3 τὶ=someth.; Appian, Bell. Civ. 4, 125 §524 ὁ καιρὸς ἐδίδου=the opportunity permitted; Biogr. p. 130 ἐδίδου θάπτειν τ. ἄνδρα) ἐδόθη αὐτοῖς ἵνα μὴ ἀποκτείνωσιν orders were given them not to kill Rv 9:5; cp. 19:8.—Of an oath w. double inf. Lk 1:73f. S. also 17 below.

Entry for δίδωμι in William Arndt et al., A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000), 243.

Notice the text in red above, along with the complete section of the entry.
That's interesting in BGAG on δίδωμι. I see your point.
 
That's interesting in BGAG on δίδωμι. I see your point.
That said, I don’t think I majorly disagree with you. I see the Logos as a type of angelic being (θεός = “divine being”), not as Eternal God (ὁ θεός = “the divine being”).

John 1:1
ἐν ἀρχῇ ἦν ὁ λόγος, καὶ ὁ λόγος ἦν πρὸς τὸν θεόν, καὶ θεὸς ἦν ὁ λόγος.
In the beginning was the Logos, and the Logos was with the Divine One, and the Logos was a divine one.

That’s essentially how I understand it.
 

Roger Thornhill

Well-known member
That said, I don’t think I majorly disagree with you. I see the Logos as a type of angelic being (θεός = “divine being”), not as Eternal God (ὁ θεός = “the divine being”).

John 1:1
ἐν ἀρχῇ ἦν ὁ λόγος, καὶ ὁ λόγος ἦν πρὸς τὸν θεόν, καὶ θεὸς ἦν ὁ λόγος.
In the beginning was the Logos, and the Logos was with the Divine One, and the Logos was a divine one.

That’s essentially how I understand it.
I've been having some fun with my Expository Rendering of John 1:1-4 if you are interested.
 

The Real John Milton

Well-known member
The best I can figure is a philosophical view that what existed before "the beginning" had no beginning and is therefore "eternal."

But worse than that it also requires an assumption that the Word being "in the beginning" is evidence he existed before the beginning.
Ha, ha, good point. Which seems to fly against the apostle's assertion that the Word was in the beginning, not "before" the beginning. Had the author meant the latter, he would have penned something as follows in John 1:1a:

πρὸ τῆς ἀρχῆς ἦν ὁ Λόγος
 

The Real John Milton

Well-known member
There is no logical connection here between these two things. If it had said that ὁ θεὸς τῷ λόγῳ ζωὴν ἔδωκεν or ὁ θεὸς τὸν λόγον ἐζωοποίησεν (both “God gave life to the Logos”), you would have a point. There’s nothing here that expresses the idea that the Logos was ever not living. It says that life came into existence in the Logos, not that the Logos came into existence.
Lol, foot in mouth...John 5:26

ὥσπερ γὰρ ὁ Πατὴρ ἔχει ζωὴν ἐν ἑαυτῷ, οὕτως καὶ τῷ Υἱῷ ἔδωκεν ζωὴν ἔχειν ἐν ἑαυτῷ.


What's the excuse now ?
 

The Real John Milton

Well-known member
Roger,



In a context such as this, δίδωμί τινι ποιῆσαί τι would mean “to allow someone to do something” or “to give someone the power/right to do something.” It doesn’t really mean “to give” or “to cause to have.” This use is covered by BDAG here:


Ah, that’s the (lame) excuse. But it doesnt work because it adds words into the text, and betrays this poster’s less than satisfactory grasp of biblical Koine . If Jesus meant to say “so he has granted the Son the power also to have life in himself,” he would have said so. That is not what the Greek of John 5:26 says , hence why no (decent) translation has such a read.

If this poster was right, the Greek would have looked as follows:

οὕτως καὶ τῷ Υἱῷ ἔδωκεν τὴν δύναμιν ἔχειν ζωὴν ἐν ἑαυτῷ

Readers , don’t fall for the smoke & mirrors confidence trickery. The Greek doesn’t allow for his imagined read.

When Scripture wants to say “gave him the power / authority “ to do something, it says so. On this score Rev 13:4 came to my remembrance: καὶ προσεκύνησαν ὅτι ἔδωκεν τὴν ἐξουσίαν τῷ θηρίῳ

ἔδωκεν without the helping words τὴν δύναμιν or τὴν ἐξουσίαν etc. does NOT mean “gave power/authority to..”
 

Gryllus Maior

Active member
That said, I don’t think I majorly disagree with you. I see the Logos as a type of angelic being (θεός = “divine being”), not as Eternal God (ὁ θεός = “the divine being”).

John 1:1
ἐν ἀρχῇ ἦν ὁ λόγος, καὶ ὁ λόγος ἦν πρὸς τὸν θεόν, καὶ θεὸς ἦν ὁ λόγος.
In the beginning was the Logos, and the Logos was with the Divine One, and the Logos was a divine one.

That’s essentially how I understand it.
You realize that the first θεός is anarthrous because it's the predicate, right, and has nothing to do with being definite? This "translation" is just wrong.
 
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