Is Allos another of the same Heteros?

Posted Jul 06, 2014 by Torsten Maekler in The Spirit of God

Sometimes we encounter arguments which have no counter-argument. What do we do then? Ignore them? Try to get around? Well, sometimes it is good to pick up a dictionary and check if these things really are so... .


This happened to me when I encountered the "Allos-Argument" in Joh 14,16: "And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another comforter, that he may abide with you for ever". The word translated as "another" is rooted in the greek word "allos". And Trinitarians usually say: see, there are two greek words for "another": Allos and Heteros. Heteros means: Another of a different kind, and Allos means: Another of the same kind. And the logical conclusion is: Jesus is a divine being in his own right, so the Comforter must be a divine being in his own right. Another of the same kind.

When you look up the greek words you find these explanation:

Allos: "A primary word; “else”, that is, different (in many applications): - more, one (another), (an-, some an-) other (-s, -wise)."

Heteros: "Of uncertain affinity; (an-, the) other or different: - altered, else, next (day), one, (an-) other, some, strange."

Not really helpful to distinguish these two words.


Apart from the "logical trick" of presenting two words which in themselves are both describing "Another individual" but only present the choice of "same kind" or "different kind", so that our thinking of "Same Individual, just in a different form" would even not be possible if the chosen word had been "heteros", I basically ignored this argument for lack of explanation.


But things come back to us if we ignore them; so did this one. But what could this word really mean? So I started praying and studying about them and came to the following conclusion: What if allos does not mean "another of the same kind"? Think about it: if we want to express the thought of sexual orientation between the two sexes, we say, these people are Heterosexual. They love another individual of the other sex. But if we want to express the thought of sexual orientation between the same same, we say, these people are Allosexual... eh, no. We say, they are Homosexual. So Homos means: Another of the same kind - exactly what we are told Allos should mean... . Curious, isn't it?

So I thought about to find examples of where allos is used in our modern language and I found the word "Allegory" - to tell something about the same thing just in a different way. Meaning the word "Allos" has at its root the idea of "the same thing in a different way or form." Isn't that exactly what we think the Comforter is? Jesus (the same thing) just in a different form (not bodily but spiritually)?


Let's read the Bible text with this understanding Joh 14,16-18: "And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you the Comforter in a different form, that he may abide with you for ever; the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you [the Comforter, the Spirit of Christ, was at that time only in Jesus], and shall be in you [after Jesus was glorified he could spread abroad what he had worked out in humanity through then again being able to be omnipresent by the glory which he had with the Father before the world was]. I will not leave you comfortless, I will come to you.



Heteros: Anther one of a different kind

Homos: Another one of the same kind

Allos: The same of a different kind