Re: OU DUNATAI hAMARTIAN in 1 John 3:9

From: Kevin Smith (
Date: Wed Oct 20 1999 - 19:24:16 EDT

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<DIV><FONT color=#000000><FONT size=3>On 20/10/99 Steven Craig Miller wrote:
</FONT></FONT><BR><FONT size=2></FONT></DIV>
<DIV><FONT size=2></FONT>&nbsp;</DIV>
<BLOCKQUOTE><FONT size=2>It is true that the present tense sometimes refers
    to habitual actions, but does that mean that a negative of a present tense
    can indicate that such<FONT color=#000000> </FONT>actions are not done
    habitually? For example, if someone says: &quot;Steven plays chess.&quot;
    What does &quot;plays chess&quot; mean? It doesn't mean that I play chess
    continuously day and night, yes? Now if someone says: &quot;Steven doesn't
    play chess,&quot; what does that mean? Could it possibly mean that I only
    occasionally play chess, but I don't do it on a regular bases? I think not.
<BLOCKQUOTE><FONT size=2>(There is the possibility that the phrase
    &quot;plays chess&quot; could mean &quot;plays [tournament] chess&quot; and
    so it is possible for one to occasionally play chess and yet not &quot;play
    chess&quot; in this specialized sense.)</FONT></BLOCKQUOTE>
<DIV><FONT size=2><FONT face="Times New Roman" size=3>Although I have no vested
interest in the theological conclusion we draw from 1 John 3:9, I find your
choice of illustration ironic. I used to play tournament chess but gave up
playing regularly some time ago. When asked, &quot;Do you still play
[tournament] chess?&quot; I answer, &quot;No.&quot; The reality is that once
every 2-3 years I do play a tournament. The general state of affairs is that I
do not play chess, but that general state allows for occasional exceptions.
Every once in a while I feel like playing some chess, but I am no longer truly a
chess-player.<BR></FONT></FONT><BR><FONT size=2></FONT></DIV>
<BLOCKQUOTE><FONT size=2>&quot;Now, let's look at the Greek text. If we had:
    hAMARTIAN POIEI (&quot;he/she does sin&quot;), surely it is possible to
    understand this as referring to habitual action. Now lets negate the
    sentence (as it appears in the Greek text): hAMARTIAN OU POIEI (&quot;he/she
    does not sin&quot;). Now, are we to understand this to mean that this person
    does indeed occasionally sin, but just doesn't do it habitually? Personally,
    I find such reasoning to be a real stretch.&quot; (Steven Craig
<DIV><FONT size=2></FONT><FONT color=#000000 face="Times New Roman">Could it be
that OU + present tense often expresses the general state of affairs while
allowing room for occasional exceptions, with the focus falling sqarely upon the
general truth? Perhaps the exceptions are not in view all, but the possibility
of their existence is not excluded. Thus in our present text the focus if
squarely upon the fact that &quot;whoever is born of God hAMARTIAN OU
POIEI.&quot; The possibility of exceptions to that truth is not denied, but it
is incidental to the point. </FONT></DIV>
<DIV><FONT color=#000000 face="Times New Roman"></FONT>&nbsp;</DIV>
<DIV><FONT face="Times New Roman">Consider, for example, Romans 7:16: ...hO OU
QELW TOUTO POIW. Regardless of whether it was before or after Paul's conversion,
his point is surely that, as a general rule he did not want to sin. However, the
very fact that he did what he didn't want to do indicates that there were
exceptions to that general state, that is, times when he did want to
<DIV><FONT face="Times New Roman"></FONT>&nbsp;</DIV>
<DIV><FONT face="Times New Roman">Kevin Smith</FONT></DIV>
<DIV><FONT face="Times New Roman">Port Elizabeth, SA</FONT></DIV>
<DIV><FONT face="Times New Roman"><A


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