Re: Present tence copulative verbs

Date: Mon Aug 31 1998 - 14:21:01 EDT

In a message dated 8/31/98 10:37:00 AM Pacific Daylight Time, writes:

<< 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. >>

It is indeed different. EGW HMHN would not stress the fact that his existence
continues to the present moment of speaking the way the PPA does.

<< 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 may be able to help clarify this point. First, no one has mentioned any
particular theological position, until now. Rather, those involved in the
discussion have simply commented on what the text says. I think it is
unnecessary to put a label on a particular view that has merely been discussed
from the perspective of what the Bible says. Also, if you are going to mention
that some are arguing for a "Witness" position, I think it only fair to
mention that others are arguing for a trinitarian position.

Additionally, the Witnesses do believe Jesus is a THEOS under the authority of
his THEOS, the Father, whom he existed in the beginning with. (John 1:1; Rev.
3:12) The Witnesses do not believe that the term "God," in Scripture, ever
refers to a tri-personal being. They also believe that Jesus was the Father's
first and greatest creation, the only one who came into being as a direct
result of the Father's will, apart from a mediator. (John 1:18) I mention this
for clarification purposes only.

<<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. >>

They believe that Jesus existed prior to all the creation that he was
instrumental in bringing forth. That would include, of course, the heavens and
the earth, the heavenly hosts, etc.


I don't see any difficulty in following a thread that is intent on
understanding the grammar of a text. If a theological point is dropped in for
clarification or to tie one's position together, then that, too, should be
easy to follow, as long as the basis for the theological point is clearly

<< For instance, many of us would assume
 that existing before Abraham would also imply pre-existance.

Again, the Witnesses do believe in the preexistence of Jesus, as the Logos,
but at the same time they recognize the many temporal descriptions given to
him, which are descriptive of his relationship with the Father.--John 1:18;
6:57; Col. 1:15, 19; Heb. 1:2-3; etc.

Greg Stafford

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