From: Jonathan Robie (email@example.com)
Date: Thu May 07 1998 - 11:30:06 EDT
At 01:38 AM 5/5/98 EDT, GregStffrd wrote:
>There are two very significant observations to keep in mind when
>John 5:20, and for some reason Wallace does not consider either one of them.
>The first has to do with the immediate context. In the first part of 1 John
>5:20, we are told that the Son of God has come and given us the ability to
>know TON ALHTHINON. This creates a distinction between the two, for one gives
>us a knowledge of the other, but TON ALHTHINON also provides what I perceive
>as that most natural antecedent for hO ALHTHINOS THEOS, who is distinguished
>from Jesus (ZWH AIWNIOS [?]-cf. 1 John 1:2) hO hUIOS AUTOU.
Here's the verse:
John 5:20 OIDAMEN hOTI hO hUIOS TOU QEOU hHKEI, KAI DEDWKEN hHMIN DIANOIAN
hINA GINWSKWMEN TON ALHQINON; KAI ESMEN EN TWi ALHQINWi, EN TWi hUIWi AUTOU
IHSOU CRISTWi. hOUTOS ESTIN hO ALHQINOS QEOS KAI ZWH AIWNIOS.
For the sake of clarity, let me number some critical referents in the passage:
GINWSKWMEN (1) TON ALHQINON; KAI ESMEN EN (2) TWi ALHQINWi, EN (3) TWi
hUIWi (4) AUTOU IHSOU CRISTWi. (5) hOUTOS ESTIN hO ALHQINOS QEOS KAI ZWH
To me, the most important questions involve the antecedents of (4) AUTOU
and (5) hOUTOS.
John seems to use hOUTOS and EKEINOS with great care. In John, when either
hOUTOS or EKEINOS does not have a clear referent from the context, it
generally refers to Jesus. But often what John does is precisely what we
see here: he brings a subject into near view, then refers to it with
hOUTOS, which generally refers backward to what is being discussed, in this
case IHSOU CRISTWi. I find it difficult to believe that it would refer to
(1) TON ALHQINON because the predominant subject at this point is Jesus,
not God the Father: Jesus has come, Jesus has given us to know the one who
is true (the father), we are in Jesus, and hOUTOS - Jesus - is the true God
and eternal life. If it referred to (1) TON ALHQINON, then it would be a
sloppy use of hOUTOS, which is not typical for John.
The thing that makes this a little hard to read is John's playing with (1)
TON ALHQINON, referring to God, the one who is true, and (2) EN TWi
ALHQINWi "in him who is true". At first blush, this looks like it refers to
God, not to Jesus, but to me, the repeated EN in (2) and (3) strongly imply
that they refer to the same thing: "we are in him who is true, in his son
Jesus Christ". As I read it, (1) TON ALHQINON refers to God - "the Son of
God has come and given us understanding so that we may know (1) him who is
true (God the father)". So this verse takes a description of God and
transfers it to Jesus.
Obviously, AUTOU refers to (1) TON ALHQINON if you read the passage the
way I do.
Jonathan Robie firstname.lastname@example.org
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