Greek Subjunctive ??

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YLTYLT
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Greek Subjunctive ??

#1

Post by YLTYLT » Mon Apr 24, 2006 7:46 am

I was trying to understand the translation Greek subjunctive case. All I have read is that it means there is some degree of uncertainty. Is there a way to determine outside of context objectively or in comparison to something else how much uncertainty the subjunctive case would translate to. For instance is it more or less than 50 percent.

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Jac3510
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#2

Post by Jac3510 » Mon Apr 24, 2006 10:25 am

The subjective doens't really mean uncertainty. I can see how someone would say that, but it's not a probability thing. The subjunctive mood is in contrast to the indicitive mood. The latter states a catagorical fact about reality. It is raining. I am on the computer. I am at work. I want to go home.

The subjuntive, on the other hand, talks about things a step away from reality. They may or may not be true. For example, it might be raining. I may get on the computer. I might be at work. Another common way to use the subjunctive is with if/then statements. "if it starts raining, I will go home." Here, "if . . . raining" is in the subjunctive, whereas "I . . . home" is in the indicitive.

Lastly, there can be what is called a hordatory subjunctive, which actually states something of a command. "Let us pray," is an example. It uses the subjunctive form, but tells someone they actually are to do something.

The form of the subjuntive, in Greek, is to lengthen the connecting vowel. I don't have a Greek font on this computer, so I can't do it here, but it's unmistakable as it's in the actual spelling of the word. Context does play a role in determining subjuntives, but it is a very minor one.

Anyway, that's a long answer to your question. It isn't about degrees of certainty or uncertainty. It's just a way of speaking about reality or a possible reality.

God bless
Proinsias wrote:I don't think you are hearing me. Preference for ice cream is a moral issue
And that, brothers and sisters, is the kind of foolishness you get people who insist on denying biblical theism. A good illustration of any as the length people will go to avoid acknowledging basic truths.

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#3

Post by YLTYLT » Mon Apr 24, 2006 2:42 pm

Thank you,
That helps a lot.

I was wondering this in reference to John 3:17, because I see that the word saved is in the subjunctive.

17For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

I know that Calvinist claim that the use of the word "world" here is not talking about all of the world, but the saved world.

So if what they believe as far as irresistible Grace and Limited atonement were true, then the word save would not be in the subjunctive but the imperative. So it would translate as will be saved instead of might be saved.

Jac,

Did I do the exegesis on this correctly?

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#4

Post by B. W. » Tue Apr 25, 2006 4:26 pm

YLTYLT wrote:Thank you,
That helps a lot.

I was wondering this in reference to John 3:17, because I see that the word saved is in the subjunctive.

17For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

I know that Calvinist claim that the use of the word "world" here is not talking about all of the world, but the saved world.

So if what they believe as far as irresistible Grace and Limited atonement were true, then the word save would not be in the subjunctive but the imperative. So it would translate as will be saved instead of might be saved.

Jac,

Did I do the exegesis on this correctly?
I am grinning ear to ear on this one! Good point YLTYLT :lol:
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#5

Post by Jac3510 » Tue Apr 25, 2006 8:40 pm

YLT . . .

I can see where you would get that argument, but I don't really think it would hold all that well. The Calvinist will respond by pointing out that "[t]he subjunctive is frequently used in statements of purpose. The clause is often introduced with hina." (See Mounce, Greek for the Rest of Us, Zondervan, 2003, p.187). Since this is a purpose clause, it would have to be in the subjunctive. I don't see any reason why John couldn't have used an indicitive statement. It would have required a rewording, but that could have happened. But, as it stands, the present grammar doesn't necessarily mitigate against Calvinism's Limited Atonement.

I'm trying to think of some way to make the argument work, but I just don't see how it can right now. Bah, I'll think more about it later.

God bless
Proinsias wrote:I don't think you are hearing me. Preference for ice cream is a moral issue
And that, brothers and sisters, is the kind of foolishness you get people who insist on denying biblical theism. A good illustration of any as the length people will go to avoid acknowledging basic truths.

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#6

Post by YLTYLT » Tue Apr 25, 2006 9:57 pm

BW and Jac thank you both. for the compliment and the information

It good to know this, because the singles pastor at my church is a heavy Calvinist. I do not know if he would be considered hyper-calvinist though. He might be; I just don't know. Although I do know he believes in spreading the Gospel. Although I have never heard him or heard of him presenting it to anyone, though he very well may have.

Anyway I wouldn't want to bring this up to him, if it is not a strong valid point. I think his knowledge of Greek is pretty extensive.

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#7

Post by Jac3510 » Wed Apr 26, 2006 6:56 am

Np :)

I try to avoid arguments based on the Greek unless something is extremely clear and unequivocal. This is especially true with Calvinism, absolutely ever verse of the Bible has been commented on (though all of them not very well, imo) from an exegetical perspective. Besides, there's always someone who knows it better than you, so if it's your primary weapon, it won't be long before you are disarmed and totally helpless, lol.

You probably aren't going to get this guy to change his mind. If he's got a good basis of Greek, then he's been studying for a while. And if he's been studying for awhile, his conclusions are probably set in stone. It may be useful to talk to him once or twice just to find out where he is on the issues, but "conversion" isn't all that likely. Imagine if he tried to get you into his camp! However, with that said, I do think it is extremely important to not let clearly Calvinistic statements go unquestioned. You may not change his mind, but you can make sure those he is teaching are getting both sides of the equation.

For example, suppose he is teaching and he makes a comment in reference to final perseverance of the saints. I don't know your view on that one, but I personally reject it. So, he says something about "real" Christians persevering until the end. That opens a good door for you. You ask may ask him if he sees a difference in preservation and perseverance. You force him to admit that the latter is dependent on the former, and that it is all God's work. After all, if a person must persevere in his faith by his own power, then clearly he believes in a works based salvation! No Calvinist believes that, so he clarifies that it is God who preserves our faithfulness. Fair enough, so then you may ask him what that does to the doctrine of assurance? Can we really know we are saved? After all, aren't there people then who think they have faith, but they really don't? They are continuing in their own power, and eventually they will fail, because God is not preserving them? This must be true, so we see that God only preserves the faith of His elect. So, you can ask the all important question: How can you really know that you are elect?

At this point you'll get some answers about the fruit of a persons life and the witness of the Spirit in you, blah, blah, blah. Now you can wrap up by, instead of arguing and starting a debate, simply saying something to the effect of, "Well, I see what you are saying. But, somehow, the idea that we have to look to our works to know if we are saved doesn't fit with the whole of Scripture to me. Jesus said that he who believes has everlasting life. John talked about knowing you are saved. It sounds to me like you really can't know, but that you can only be 'pretty sure.'"

He'll offer some weak defense, and you let it drop. Now, what has happened in this exchange is those in the room are seeing something very, very important. They are seeing the very basis of Calvinism. You have exposed what you perceive to be a weakness. You aren't arguing or making accusations. You are asking questions, and the other people in the room may stop and think, "Now, wait . . . this doesn't make as much sense as I thought it did!" All this, and when you go back to the original line of thought, when he picks back up with teaching a Scripture from a perseverance perspective, the audience will be aware that he is teaching from a certain bais that may or may not be right.

I wouldn't do this all the time, but when appropriate. I do it in my classes at school. So yeah . . . just keep studying, and listen closely to what he says, and ask him questions that reveal the presuppositions of his position. Then ask a question or two about the implications of that presupposition, and you've done the class a huge service by exposing them to both sides of the discussion.

God bless
Proinsias wrote:I don't think you are hearing me. Preference for ice cream is a moral issue
And that, brothers and sisters, is the kind of foolishness you get people who insist on denying biblical theism. A good illustration of any as the length people will go to avoid acknowledging basic truths.

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#8

Post by YLTYLT » Wed Apr 26, 2006 8:35 am

Jac thank you again. I will keep all that in mind.

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#9

Post by B. W. » Wed Apr 26, 2006 1:03 pm

Jac,

Have you read Norman Giesler's work 'Chosen But Free - second edition rewrite?'

If so, what do you think of it?

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#10

Post by Jac3510 » Thu Apr 27, 2006 3:55 pm

No, I've not read it yet. My list is really way too long, lol. I wasn't aware there was a re-write, though. Anyway, with that said (I actually have the book on my lap), I'm pretty familiar with Geisler's arguments and, while you certainly can't dismiss a guy like him, I just don't think his argument is all that decisive. He seems to spend a lot of time talking in paradoxes (after he has spent some forty pages defending them), and therefore, the reader should accept these as true. For instance, on page 53, he says:
  • God's election is neither based on His foreknowledge of man's free choices nor exercised independent of it. As the Scriptures declare, we are "elect according to the foreknowledge of God" (1 Pet 1:2 NKJV). That is to say, there is no chronological or logical priority of election and foreknowledge. As John Walvoord insightfully commented on 1 Peter 1:2, it "teaches not the logical order of of election in relation to foreknowledge but the fact that they are coextensive." In other words, all aspects of the eternal purpose of God are equally timeless."
He goes on to say things like, "both foreknowledge and predetermination are one in God Whatever God knows, He determines. And whatever He determines, He knows." (ibid) And again from the same page, "Whatever God forechooses cannot be based on what He foreknows. Nor can what He foreknows be based on what He forchose."

As I flip through the book, I don't see Geisler lay out HOW sovereignty works with free will. I have no problem with the concept, given my understanding of election. Perhaps in the myriads of verses he exegetes he explains it, but I would have expected him to have a chapter explaining and defending his view, as he has chapters critiquing the Arminian and "extreme Calvinism" views. Those critiques seem right on the money, what little I read. It definitely looks like the type of book I'd like to read in depth, and I would probably recommend it to others.

So, all in all, I can't honestly rate it as I haven't read it. On the surface, though, I would have liked to have seen him be very specific with explaining his understanding of HOW God elects. With the paradoxes he constantly uses, I wonder if he has a solid explanation . . .

Did I miss something in the book that would help me in that regard?
Proinsias wrote:I don't think you are hearing me. Preference for ice cream is a moral issue
And that, brothers and sisters, is the kind of foolishness you get people who insist on denying biblical theism. A good illustration of any as the length people will go to avoid acknowledging basic truths.

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