T. PIERCE BROWN
The King James Version reads in Romans 1:20, “For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead.” These question may be raised, “How does the created world reveal the Godhead? Does not the Godhead consist of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit? Can one tell that by looking at the world?”
The answer is suggested by the American Standard translation, though it does not explain it fully. It says, “His everlasting power and divinity.”
The word translated “Godhead” or “divinity” is “Theiotes,” is not the same as the word used in Colossians 2:9. It reads, “For in Him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.” The word here is “Theotes.” Each of these words is used only one time in the New Testament. What Paul is saying in Romans1:20is that some of the attributes of God, such as His eternal power and other qualities that show Him to be superhuman, divine, and worthy of our reverence and worship are evidenced by the creation. As many have put it in other contexts, logic demands that such effects as we see demands a Cause that is not mere chance or human contrivance. However, those things do not reveal the essence, personality, or the structure of the Godhead.
When Paul writes in Colossians 2:9, he affirms that in Christ dwells all the fulness of the Godhead. He is not affirming that the person of Christ simply shows the power, wisdom, holiness or love of God (although it does). He is stating that Christ was God in the flesh. He did not merely have some miraculous gifts of the Spirit. He had the Spirit without measure. He was not merely manifesting different aspects of Godliness. The heavens show different aspects of God’s power and might. Christ did that, but that is not his meaning here. Paul meant approximately what Jesus meant when He said to Philip in John 14:9, “He that hath seen me hath seen the Father.”
Perhaps the simplest way to put a most profound truth is that Romans 1:20 uses the word that shows THAT there is a God, a divine Being. Colossians 2:9 uses the word that refers to the essence of that Being, or WHAT that Being is. Of course the word “Theotes” does not, by itself, show that the Godhead consists of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. We learn that from a consideration of other passages. However, the word in Colossians (Theotes) signifies the personality of that Godhead, whereas the reference in Romans (Theiotes) only signifies the reality of divinity, without indicating anything about its personality or makeup.
T. Pierce Brown
1068 Mitchell Ave.
Cookeville, TN. 38501
Phone: (615) 528-3600