Tuesday, October 18, 2005

*Whew* ...

It has taken me roughly five days to write a response to this fellow about John 6:37-45. My previous letter was posted here.

In more ways than one, the process to complete my latest response in our dialogue has been good experience for me in the apologetic realm. I was forced to dive into Greek grammar and interact with the text of John 6 in a way I have never done before. I am also learning to better direct the conversation by utilizing questions and making succinct clear statements.

I hope this is beneficial to you:

Thanks again for the quick reply Steve,

For my third question, I had asked: (3) Is the giving by the Father dependent on anything in man (including their decisions)? If so, where do you find this in verse 37?

John 6:37: "All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out" (NASB).

You responded by comparing my question to tactics used by JWitnesses. Now, assuming that by the "context" of John 14:28 you meant verses 1-27, I find it curious that you would apply proper methods of interpretation in regards to John 14:28 but fail to apply those same methods to the discourse in John 6.

What distinguishes me from the Witness is that I am not reading my presuppositions or other verses back into verses 37 or 44. Exegesis is not done backwards. Even as you read my letter you are reading it top to bottom to properly understand my meaning. It is the same when you read a book of the Bible: you start at the beginning and work your way forward. So when we examine verse 37 - "pan" (All) is the subject and "erchomenon" (will come) is the verb, with a relative clause in between ("that the Father gives Me"). If the relative clause is removed we are left with the subject and the verb: "All will come to Me." This leaves us with universalism. However, once we add the relative clause back into verse 37 it is clear that the clause is a qualifying statement explaining why not all come to Christ: only those the Father gives to Christ will come to Christ. There is no doubt that the subject ("All") will come to Christ. What determines their coming? Is it the coming that determines the Father's giving, or does the giving determine the coming? Pay attention to the verbs- "didosin" (gives) is an indicative present active; "exei" (will come) is an indicative future active. Therefore the giving of the Father precedes the coming of those given. This leads to the conclusion that the Father's giving cannot be dependent on those being given because the giving precedes the coming.

For questions 4-6, I had asked: (4) What is the final result of the Father's drawing according to verse 44? (5) Do you believe that the Father draws every person who has ever lived or ever will live? If so, why do so many individuals not believe? (6) According to verse 44, is the Father's drawing dependent on anything in man (including his decisions)? If so, where do you find this in the verse 44?

John 6:44: "44 No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day" (NASB).

You responded to all three questions by referencing me to your previous answer to question #3, then by asserting that I was pretexting yet again. My approach to exegesis is different than yours, no doubt about it =). I am attempting to read through John's epistle in order, while you are reading verse 45 back into verses 37 and 44. Notice the sharp contrast: You are reading verse 45 back into previous verses while I am reading verse 45 in light of the preceding context. The reason I included question #4 was to bring out the fact that all who are drawn by the Father are raised up on the last day. There is no distinction in the text between those who are drawn and those who are raised up on the last day - they are the same group of individuals. All who are drawn = those raised up on the last day. This brings us to question #5. If God draws every individual who has ever lived or ever will live, why are not all raised up on the last day? The obvious problem with saying that the Father draws every individual who has ever lived or ever will live is that one is forced to split up the ones drawn from the ones raised up. The text does not allow for such a split. Finally we arrive at question #6. "No one can come to Me," Jesus said. The verb for "can" is dunatai, and deals with one's ability. The verse could be translated: "No one is able to come to Me." How then does anyone manage to come to Christ? Our Lord answers that question with the rest of his statement: "...unless the Father who sent Me draws him;" It is the Father's drawing that brings men to Christ! Men lack the ability to come to Christ until the Father draws them. I have previously mentioned the result of the Father's drawing: being raised up on the last day. Once more, there is no break between those drawn and those who are raised up. Therefore, as verse 37 informs us that only those given by the Father to the Son come to Christ, so also only those drawn by the Father come to Christ.

For question 7, I had asked: "Where do you find the choices of men in verse 45?"

John 6:45: "45 It is written in the prophets, 'AND THEY SHALL ALL BE TAUGHT OF GOD.' Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father, comes to Me."

You accurately pointed out that the verbs "heard" and "learned" are in the active voice. I also agree that everyone who has heard and learned from the Father come to Christ. Where we might disagree are on the meanings of "heard" and "learned." Is the hearing and learning in verse 45 spiritual or physical in nature? If the latter, is the "coming" discussed throughout this discourse physical or spiritual? I will argue that the "coming" of those given and drawn by the Father is spiritual in nature. This is why I will argue that the "hearing" and "learning" in this text is likewise spiritual in nature. The text seems to be pointing again and again to God's work in salvation: the Father's giving, the Father's drawing, and now in verse 45 ... the Father's spiritual communication and teaching. For to have heard from the Father, He must have spoken; and to have learned from the Father, He must have taught. God's divine work is clearly seen. What we have not seen from the text is the choices of men influencing the Father's giving, drawing, communicatng and teaching. Secondly, who is the "All" and the "Everone" in verse 45? The Lord previously defined this for us beginning in verse 37: "All that the Father gives Me will come to Me..." then in verse 44: "No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day," and finally in verse 45: "...Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father, comes to Me." One group is being discussed here. We know for sure that this one group will come to Christ. In verse 37, it is those the Father gives to the Son. In verse 44, it is those the Father draws. In verse 45, it is those the Father speaks to and instructs. So the "All" and the "Everyone" is verse 45 is limited to those given and drawn by the Father.

This leads me to the obvious question: are the ones who "hear" and "learn" (vs 45) different than the one who is given (vs 37), the one who will come (vs 37), the one not cast out (vs 37), the one who has been given (vs 39), the one who sees and who believes (vs 40), the ones not lost (vs 39), and the ones raised on the last day (vs 39, 40, 44)?

Next, you wrote: "Define what you mean by libertarian free will please. It is good to not assume we are talking about the same thing."

Libertarian free will is the belief that sinful man, dead in his sins, and with a fallen nature is free to choose or reject Christ.
I look forward to your reply Steve,

In Christ,
Casey Ryan
AOMin

2 Comments:

At 11:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Case,

I enjoyed your comments. Quick thought though. Libertarian free will could be more clearly described as the belief that 'a man's will is not free unless he has the power to do otherwise'.

-tom@tms

 
At 11:16 PM, Blogger Rusty said...

Hey, Tommy Boy! =)

True. I was trying to avoid the many philosophical discussions that arise from a "fuller" definition of Libertarianism by relating it to our discussion.

Always appreciate the help tho brotha

 

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