Re: Contradictions in 1 John?

From: Jonathan Robie (
Date: Tue Sep 16 1997 - 15:02:42 EDT

At 05:20 PM 9/15/97 EDT, Paul S. Dixon wrote:

<most of the text deleted>

I carefully followed your argument, but there are two central points that
make it difficult for me to accept it - two points which have each been
raised at least once, but which I have not seen you address:

1. The omens speak against it

Paul Dixon wrote:
>But, there is no conflict here. EAN EIPWMEN hOTI hAMARTIAN OUK ECOMEN
>(1:8a) must be interpreted in light of the contrasting parallel in 1:9a,
>EAN hOMOLOGWMEN TAS hAMARTIAS hMWN. What is being contrasted here is an
>habitual denial of sin which is characteristic of nonbelievers, those who
>habitually deceive themselves and in whom the truth is not, versus those
>who habitually confess sins, who have the assurance that God is faithful
>and just to forgive them their sins.

EAN EIPWMEN, EAN hOMOLOGWMEN - these are some of the WMENs I am talking
about. John says "we", including both him and the "little children" (TEKNIA)
to whom he writes. How can this "we" refer to non-believers?

2. If we can't sin, how can we sin?

I think that 1 John 3:9 clearly says that we can not sin. As I said in my
previous message,

>There is a logical contradiction here. Paul wants
>to take the present POIEI as a habitual present,
>and argues that a child of God may sin, but can
>not dwell in sin. Dale disagrees, pointing out that
>verse 3:9 also says that that the child of God OU
>DUNATAI hAMARTANEIN. I think that some people missed
>the fact that DUNATAI is also present tense - at the
>raw, literal level, I think that this phrase really
>does say that a child of God can not sin. If I am wrong
>about this, I would appreciate it if someone would explain
>how it could be interpreted differently.

I would be interested in knowing how you would address this point.

Grace and peace,


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

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