Re: OU DUNATAI hAMARTIAN in 1 John 3:9

From: Steven Craig Miller (
Date: Wed Oct 20 1999 - 20:05:08 EDT

<x-flowed>To: Kevin Smith,

<< Thus in our present text the focus is squarely upon the fact that
"whoever is born of God hAMARTIAN OU POIEI." The possibility of exceptions
to that truth is not denied, but it is incidental to the point. >>

If I understand you correctly, I would basically agree with the major
thrust of your post (which I didn't back-quote in full), although I would
suggest that the possibility of exceptions was indeed denied, since they
were deemed incidental to the point.

I would suggest the following comparison. The conservative justice, Robert
H. Bork, in his famous (or infamous) "The Tempting of America: The
Political Seduction of the Law" (1990:147), wrote:

<< The Constitution states its principles in majestic generalities that we
know cannot be taken as sweepingly as the words along might suggest. The
first amendment states that "Congress shall make no law ... abridging the
freedom of speech," but no one has ever supposed that Congress could not
make some speech unlawful or that it could not make all speech illegal in
certain places, at certain times, and under certain circumstances. >>

(A historical note. Just seven years after the First Amendment became part
of the Constitution, Congress passed a law, which by today's standards
would seem to be abridging the freedom of speech. This was the Sedition Act
of 1798. The Sedition Act made it a crime to say or write anything "false,
scandalous and malicious" against the government, Congress, or the
President. This Act was aimed directly at newspapers, especially those
presses owned by people who supported the Whig, or Jeffersonian Republican,

When the author of 1 John demands that Christians acknowledge sins and
petition for forgiveness (1 Jn 1:8; 2:1-2), he appears to be speaking on a
pastoral level. On the other hand, when he says that Christians do not or
cannot sin (3:6,9; 5:18), he appears to be making a majestic
generality. And so, I would suggest that there is no grammatical
justification for watering down this majestic generality.

-Steven Craig Miller
Alton, Illinois (USA)

 From Luther's Large Catechism: "Why, do you think, is the world now so
full of unfaithfulness, shame, misery, and murder? It is because everyone
wishes to be his or her own master, be free from all authority, care
nothing for anyone, and do whatever he or she pleases. So God punishes one
knave by means of another" (BoC 386.154).

B-Greek home page:
You are currently subscribed to b-greek as: []
To unsubscribe, forward this message to
To subscribe, send a message to


This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.4 : Sat Apr 20 2002 - 15:40:43 EDT