1 Corinthians 8:6, Paul and the Shema, part I of II
But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.
//These are the words of Paul. Scholars have long wondered if Paul was purposefully echoing the Shema of the Old Testament. That verse reads like this:
Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD –Deuteronomy 6:4
This echo, then, may be a subtle indication of Paul’s christology … meaning, Paul believed Jesus was divine, a part of the Godhead. The argument is that Paul, being a strict monotheist, was making an explicit claim that Jesus and God are One. But does that mean Paul is actually including Jesus in the divine entity? Scholars are divided.
For myself, I just can’t see it. I don’t think Paul thought of Jesus as anything like today’s concept of the second part of the Trinity. The verse before this one in Paul’s letter to Corinth reads like this:
For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many)
So Paul seems to me to be saying there are lots of gods, and lots of lords but we recognize only one god and we recognize only one lord. In separating “lord” from “god,” it is significant that Paul simply never calls God “Lord” the way he does Jesus. There is no “Lord God” in Paul’s writings; only “Lord Jesus,” but there are many, many references in Paul’s writings that treat “God” and the “Lord” as separate entities.
There is no christological claim in Paul’s Shema echo except to identify Jesus as the anointed one of God; the one God chose to be Lord. More tomorrow.