Re: Present tence copulative verbs

Date: Tue Sep 01 1998 - 12:52:30 EDT

Jonathan Robie wrote:

> I think that there is widespread agreement, regardless of theological
> perspective, that this verse says Jesus existed before Abraham and has
> continued to exist up until the current time.

Agreed. That is the implication of the sentence in our human terms.
The tricky part is that it is Jesus who is speaking, and speaking
truely [AMHN AMHN], in the present tense [EIMI], in a grammatic
construction that is confounding to our human linear understanding of
time. From the Christ perspective, the time prior to Abraham's birth
is as much the present as is the present as is the future [say of
Peter's death in John 21]. And if past, present and future are all in
the present of Jesus, then the omnipresent omnipresence of Jesus is a
hard inference to avoid. To do so requires us to re-write the text,
making EIMI a past tense.

I am wondering, however, if the EGW EIMI's reference to Exodus may
have been what triggered the stoning.

> Please remember in these discussions that the characteristics of the PPA
> refer to someone's conclusions about the grammar - if we are discussing
> whether a grammatical construct has a particular property, it may be useful
> to cite the evidence that someone else found to support a given view, but
> citing their conclusions as some kind of final law is rather silly, since
> (1) this is the very point that is under discussion, (2) other grammars
> will disagree, and (3) there are people here (not me!) who are just as
> authoritative as the grammars, but they claim no special authority either.
> If we can all agree on the One True Grammar or some other way to determine
> which grammatical points may be quoted as holy law, then we can do this,
> but until that unlikely day, I'm afraid we have to rely on primary evidence
> rather than secondary authority.


And Greg writes:

> > The use of EIMI brings Jesus' existence from a period prior to the birth
> > of Abraham, to the present. That is all this text says, and THAT is a very
> > powerful theological statement!

I like to think of it as a very small and shining clue as to the scope
of the present in Jesus, and thus the reason for the predominance of
the present tense usage in John.
Lisa Messmer..................ICQ# 5666415
George Blaisdell

Have you seen Dulcie? Look for her Heart!

Last Chance for Animals...Fight Pet Theft!

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