Re: John 3:18-19

From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Sat Aug 28 1999 - 10:51:26 EDT

At 5:54 AM -0700 8/28/99, Robert W Meyers wrote:
>Grammatically, what is the bottom line reason for
>the condemnation of the damned, in John 3:18-19?
>John 3:18 --- ... because he hath not believed
>John 3:19 --- ... because he loved the darkness
>John 3:19 --- ... because his deeds were evil
>(1) his not believing
>(2) his loving the darkness
>(3) his evil deeds

I would say, "All of the above."

BUT, quite frankly, I'm not so confident that this question can be
adequately answered in terms of what is indicated by grammar. I think one's
response to tis particular question about this particular Biblical book
requires a grasp of and determination to one's own satisfaction about the
inner cohesion and interrelationships of major Johannine propositions about
God, Jesus, belief and disbelief, to mention only a few of those
propositions That is a hermeneutical assertion and I state it only as my
own, although it is not original with me (you might want to look at the
section entitled "Johannine determinism" in Rudolf Bultmann's classic and
still-useful _Theology of the NT_). At any rate, I said that not to
initiate a discussion of Biblical hermeneutics in this forum, which I very
much would NOT like to see here, but only to make clear where I'm "coming
from" when I make the assertion that "all of the above" constitute the

To repeat, I don't think that the Greek grammatical constructions of this
passage are sufficient alone for exegesis; for that, I think, a cohesive
perspective on John's gospel as a whole is required--which carries the
discussion into the realm of Biblical theology, which is also not an
appropriate topic of discussion here in this forum.

And for that reason, I think I'll continue my response to this question in
a direct off-list message to Mr. Meyers. If someone wishes to defend a
response to this question on strictly grammatical grounds, the list is an
appropriate forum, but I think that, to the extent that one answers this
question on the basic of a theological perspective on John's gospel, one
really ought to respond to Mr. Meyers directly.

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics/Washington University
One Brookings Drive/St. Louis, MO, USA 63130/(314) 935-4018
Home: 7222 Colgate Ave./St. Louis, MO 63130/(314) 726-5649

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