In Colossians 2:9
, the theotes
is used but the meaning remains the same. Both theios
share the same root word (theos
) and their varied use in different contexts appears to be an issue of preference rather than meaning, since they are demonstrably interchangeable.
Here follows the full range of meanings for theotes
, from the Liddell-Scott-Jones Greek Lexicon
- theios (A), a, on: late Ep. theeios Procl.H.2.16; theêïos Bion Fr.15.9; late Aeol. thêïos Epigr.Gr.989.4 (Balbilla); Lacon. seios (v. infr. 1.3): Comp. and Sup. theioteros, -otatos, freq. in Pl., Phdr.279a, Mx. 244d, al.: ( [theos] ):
1. of or from the gods, divine, genos Il.6.180 ; omphê 2.41 ; Oneiros ib.22; epipnoiais A.Supp.577 , cf. Pl.R.499c; mastix A. Pr.682 ; mania S.Aj.611 (lyr.); nosos ib.185 (lyr.) (but th. nosos, of a dust-storm, Id.Ant.421); kindunoi And.1.139 ; th. tini moirai by divine intervention, X.HG7.5.10; th. tuchêi gegonôs Hdt.1.126 ; th. tuchêi chreômenos Id.3.139 ; th. kaponôi tuchêi, of an easy death, S.OC1585; ek th. tuchês Id.Ph.1326 ; emathe hôs th. eiê to prêgma Hdt.6.69 ; ho th. nomos Th.3.82 ; phusis th. SIG1125.8 (Eleusis), cf. 2 Ep.Pet.1.4; appointed of God, basilêes Od.4.691 ; skêptron given by God, S.Ph.139 (lyr.); v. infr. 2.
2. belonging or sacred to a god, holy, agôn, choros, Il.7.298, Od. 8.264; under divine protection, purgos, domos, Il.21.526, Od.4.43; of heralds and bards, Il.4.192, Od.4.17, al.; so perh., of kings, ib. 691.
3. more than human, of heroes, Odusseus Il.2.335 , al., Cratin. 144.4 (lyr.); th. anêr Pi.P.6.38 , A.Ag.1548 (lyr.), Pl.R.331e, Men.99d (esp. at Sparta (Lacon. seios), Arist.EN1145a29; ô theie (in the mouth of a Spartan) Pl.Lg.626c); meta sou tês theias kephalês Id.Phdr.234d , cf. Them.Or.9.128a, Lib.Or.19.66.
b. of things, excellent, theion poton Od.2.341 , 9.205; halos theioio Il.9.214 ; th. prêgmata marvellous things, Hdt.2.66; en toisi theiotaton Id.7.137.
4. = Lat. divinus (or sacer), Imperial, diataxeis prob. in BGU473.5(200 A.D.), etc.; thêsauroi PLips.62ii14 (iv A.D.); th. horkos oath by the Emperor, POxy.83.6 (iv A.D.), etc.; theiotatos, of living Emperors, Inscr.Prien.105.22 (9 B.C.), etc.
b. = Lat.divus, of deified Emperors, th. Sebastos Edict.Claud. ap.J.AJ19.5.3, cf.Inscr.Perg.283 (iii A.D.), Lyd.Mag.2.3.
- II. as Subst., theion, to, the Divinity, Hdt.1.32,3.108, al., A.Ch.958 (lyr.); tou th. charin Th.5.70 ; hêmartêkota eis to th. Pl.Phdr.242c.
2. in an abstract sense, divinity, kekoinônêke . . tou th. ib.246d; ê monon metechei tou th . . . , ê malista [anthrôpos] Arist.PA656a8, etc.; kata theion or kata ti th., Aen.Gaz.Thphr.p.37 B., p.4 B.
3. theia, ta, the acts of the gods, course of providence, S.Ph.452, etc.; ta th. thnêtous ontas eupetôs pherein S.Fr.585 ; ta th. mê phaulôs pherein Ar.Av.961 .
b. matters of religion, errei ta th. religion is no more, S.OT910 (lyr.), cf. OC1537, X.Cyr.8.8.2, etc.
c. inquiries concerning the divine, Pl.Sph.232c; ta phanera tôn theiôn, i.e. the heavenly bodies, Arist.Metaph.1026a18, cf. GA731b24, Ph.196a33 (Sup.), EN1141b1.
- III. Adv. theiôs by divine providence, th. pôs X.Cyr.4.2.1 , etc.; theioterôs by special providence, Hdt.1.122; mallon ti kai -oteron ib.174.
2. divinely, excellently, eu ge kai th. Pl.Tht.154d; theiôs eirêsthai Arist.Metaph.1074b9.
Also:theiotês , êtos, hê, divine nature, divinity, LXX Wi.18.9,Ep.Rom.1.20, SIG867.31 (Ephesus, ii A.D.), Plu.2.665a, etc.
And finally:theotês , êtos, hê
, divinity, divine nature
, Ep.Col.2.9, Plu.2.359d, Luc. Icar.9, etc.; dia theotêta for religious reasons, Heliod. ap. Orib.50.7.1.
Hence the word does not necessarily refer to deity, but also to divine nature, and things which are greater than normal humanity. Thus it can be used of divine actions ("acts of the gods"), heroes (men who are "more than human"), emperors (representatives of the gods), matters of religion ("divine things"), or things devoted to a god ("sacred" things).
Notice that "Godhead" is not one of the many definitions listed here; it is simply not
what this word means. From this we can be sure that it does not mean "Godhead", as understood by Trinitarians. It certainly does not refer to a plurality of persons.
The resurrected Jesus was raised immortal, and now possesses divine nature; however, this does not mean that Jesus is God. This confirmed by the fact that the same word is applied to the faithful, who will receive theois
if they are accepted at the Judgement seat.Colossians 2:9
, therefore, merely tells us that Christ - as he exists now, at the right hand of God - is fully divine.
In the words of the Good News Bible
: "For the full content of divine nature lives in Christ, in his humanity".