Re: Present tence copulative verbs

From: Jonathan Robie (
Date: Mon Aug 31 1998 - 13:36:33 EDT

At 12:15 AM 8/31/98 -0700, wrote:
>This has been an amazing thread. The grammar of John 8:58 does not
>tell us that Jesus existed before Abraham. [Or more correctly, before
>the birth of Abraham.] The grammar clearly tells us that Jesus *is
>[now] existing* prior to Abraham's birth. That grammatical fact, in
>and of itself, argues strongly for the omnitemporal present of Jesus'
>existence. Yet all parties want to translate the present [EIMI] as a
>past tense. If you don't like the enigma of the present tense of I AM
>in John, then you dont like enigma!! :-)

I agree with you that PRIN ABRAAM GENESQAI, EGW EIMI "Before Abraham came
into being, I am" is different from PRIN ABRAAM GENESQAI, EGO HMHN "I
existed before Abraham came into being", and this distinction is being
ignored by many here. However, I don't think it is accurate to say that the
present tense is omnitemporal.

This verse tells us that Jesus exists, and has existed since before
Abraham, but does not tell us when he began to exist. Many of the people in
this discussion seem to be arguing the Jehovah's Witnesses position. If I
understand it correctly, they teach that Jesus is not God, but a created
being who came into existence before humans did. I've never quite figured
out the details here, but that's why they have no problem with Jesus
existing before Abraham, but they object to the notion that he existed
before creation.

I mention this because there is a group of people on B-Greek who
participate mainly in discussions of texts that impinge on the deity of
Jesus, and these discussions are fairly hard to follow without knowing the
theological position they represent. For instance, many of us would assume
that existing before Abraham would also imply pre-existance.

Texcel Research

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