Re: Greek Help?

From: Jonathan Robie (
Date: Tue Aug 26 1997 - 15:38:03 EDT

At 02:21 PM 8/26/97 -0400, Michael A. Ferrando wrote:
>I am a student of Greek, self taught.

Me too!

>My library is the for study is the Library of Congress shelves
>and some seminary friends. But I have a question
>that I can't seem to find a satisfactory answer. library is a bit smaller ;->

>My question is concerning the use of edoken
>in the Gospel of John 5.26.

For just as the father has life in himself, so also has he given the son to
have live in himself.

First let's look at the context: the hour is coming that the dead will hear
the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear shall live, for just as the
Father has life in himself, so also has he given the Son to have life in
himself, and he gave him the authority to judge, since he is the Son of Man.

The dead do not "have live in themselves" - otherwise, they wouldn't be
dead. God does "have life in himself". He did not obtain life from anyone,
does not depend on anyone for life, and his life can never be taken away.
God is the source of life, and he has also given Jesus the status of "having
life in himself", which apparently gives him the right to raise the dead to
life. I find it significant that he calls them to life as the Son of God,
and has authority to judge as the Son of Man. This reminds me of the
formulation "fully God and fully man", and that we have a judge who was
tempted in the same way we are tempted.

EDWKEN, of course, refers to the giving of this status.

Jesus received this status long before the incarnation. After all, "he was
in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and
without him nothing came into being that came into being. In him was life,
and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the
darkness did not grasp it."

>edoken is 3p. 1 aor. act. ind.
>Robertson's Word Pictures state "timeless aorist" concerning
>this verse.

I looked it up, and it does indeed, but I don't understand why. Presumably,
Jesus was given to have life in himself before the creation of the world,
since the the context of John 5:26 indicates that you have to "have life in
yourself" to call others to life, and John 1 indicates that all things were
created through Jesus. Then again, if he did have life in himself, how could
he be killed? This is one of many reasons that I don't claim to understand

>Calvin and Pink and Abbott (_Johannine Grammar_) state it
>refers to the incarnation (the Logos coming into the
>human being in Mary's womb).

I wonder what they think "have life in himself" means, since the incarnation
certainly wasn't the start of this state as I interpret the phrase.

>Augustine, Westcott, and others denote
>that it speaks of the "begotteness" of the Son,
>generated from the Father but not exculsive of the
>incarnation which is in sight as well.

In other words, God gave Jesus to have life in himself before the
incarnation? It works for me.

>And also concerning the verse, of what degree are the
>adverbs "hosper" and "houtos" giving the verbs "ekia"
>and "ekain" dominate force in this sentence?

Well, the sentence does revolve around "have life in himself". I don't know
if I like the term "dominant force", because the two main thoughts are: (1)
the father has life in himself, and (2) the father has given Jesus to have
life in himself. I don't know that the *has* is dominant in those two

>Please excuse my rude attempt to communicate this
>to you, but I am wondering how the aorist can be
>related to the "Just as the Father... has life in himself"?

He has given to Jesus the state of "having life in himself".

>Certainly, the Manner adverbs give some weight to the
>"timelessness" of the aorist in this case, yet it seems
>to me that what is being stressed is "how life is IN the Father"
>by the Adverbs "hosper" and "houtos". The emphasis from the
>many Greek commentaries I have read lies upon the Father
>"having life in himself".

But it does not speak of Jesus having life in the Father, it speaks of Jesus
having life in himself, just as the Father has life in himself.

>Am I right in thinking that only the aorist could give the
>proper sense of the completeness of the event without implying
>anything about its nature or duration?

Hmmmm...I wonder if a perfect would really be that different from the aorist
in this particular case. After all, the context makes it clear that Jesus is
in the state of "having been given" to "have life in himself"...


Jonathan Robie
POET Software, 3207 Gibson Road, Durham, N.C., 27703

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