Re: Romans 8:30-Future?

From: Edgar Foster (
Date: Thu Apr 23 1998 - 12:15:26 EDT

Hello George,

Let's try this again. 8-) wrote:
> Edgar Foster wrote:
> > Dear Carl,
> > I would translate Rom. 8:30 offhand: "those he also glorified."
> >
> > The event happened in the past, is happening in the present (first
> > century) and will happen in the future. Therefore, it is a
> > transcendent "event," not per se "futuristic."
> Dear Ed ~

> I know this is an old saw, but this translates so easily in the simple
> idiomatic English [timeless] present...

Earlier, I strongly disagreed with you here, George. But then I went
back and reflected on a few examples and I personally can't say that
you're totally in error with regard to the aorist and English present,
but I don't think that Rom. 8:30 is an example of a literary aorist
which should be translated using the English present. As mentioned
hitherto, some grammarians favor viewing Rom. 8:30 as a "futuristic
aorist" and THEN rendering it with the English present tense ( this
seems to differ from what you're saying though). Our approach will
depend on whether we view Rom. 8:30 as gnomic or "futuristic."
> "...these He also glorifies." ... As do all the 'gnomic' aorists in
> this passage.
> To put it in the English past tense quite simply does not translate
> the Greek. This passage does not select an event, but describes the
> process of ANY occurrence of that kind of event... Even
> 'predestinates' ~ For can one say that God does not predestinate now
> and in the future, as well as in the past?

I think your last question is more of a theological/philosophical
consideration than a grammatical one. Let me address the "event" issue

I see no reason why we should view Paul's words as a process. The
context simply does not demand such a rendering. Note these citations
from the RSV:

Rom. 8:24-"in hope we WERE saved" (past occurrence).

vs. 28-"all things work together for good for those who love God, who
are called according to his purpose" (universally applicable).

vs. 29-"those whom he FOREKNEW he also PREDESTINED to be conformed to
the image of his Son" (past occurrence).

vs. 30-"And those whom he predestined he also called; and those whom
he called he also justified; and those whom he justified he also

Read in context, Rom. 8:30 seems to describe a past event which is
universally applicable.

> If we translate it as a past tense, there is no hope for the present
> and future of this process of predestination, calling and glorifying.

Ah, but there is. :-) Even if God's predestinating activities is
viewed as occurring in the past.
> Inventing a bunch of names for the various occurrences of the aorist
> [where it is a preconceived 'past' tense designation (via its
> augment)] chops off the wings of this magnificent verb form, and has
> it flopping around on the ground in the past, in the present, in the
> future... alternately... and only contextual wizardry can sort it all
> out. In the timeless idiomatic English present, it can be translated
> effortlessly, simply, consistently and clearly, with vision, every
> time it is seen in use.

If you're suggesting that we translate the aorist everytime in the
English present, this simply will not do.

If that's the case, what about when the aorist describes past events?
(1 Cor. 15:3) What about Rom. 3:23? Would you translate it with the
English present?


E. Foster

L-R College
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