Eph 4:9 "Lower parts of the earth"

From: Eric Weiss (eweiss@acf.dhhs.gov)
Date: Mon Oct 23 1995 - 08:51:54 EDT

Ephesians 4:9b:

        eis ta katwtera [merh] ths ghs
        into the lower [parts] of the earth

Zerwick (BG by Examples) p. 46 ("Epexegetic Genitive") says:

        the sense seems to be not a descent into the underworld, the "lower
        parts of the earth," but of his coming into the world itself, called
        ta katwtera merh with respect to heaven.

Richard Young in his Intermediate Grammar p. 39-40 states:

        Although some take the genitive ghs as partitive (referring to

        Christ's descent into Hades), most take it as appositional (referring
        to the incarnation). The contrast seems to be between Christ's
        ascent to heaven and His descent to earth. Thus the lower regions
        refers to the earth itself, not to some subterranean cavity (NIV,
        REB). For discussion, see Lincoln (1990:244-47).

I'll try look at Lincoln's commentary on Ephesians (which is what Young is
referring to) if I can find it in the seminary library or bookstore, but in
case Lincoln doesn't provide a satisfactory answer, here are my questions, if
someone can help:

   If, as Young and Zerwick claim, it should be translated "into the lower
   parts, that is, the earth," rather than referring to Christ's descent into
   the underworld, 1) who or what are the captives Christ led (4:8), and 2)
   how is He to fill all things (4:10) if He doesn't also descend into the
   lower parts of the earth (cf. Phil. 2:10)?
Since I'm only on b-greek-digest, I would appreciate any responses to b-greek
to also be cc:'d to me at



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