Date: Wed, 19 May 2004 14:03:46 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Re: Syntax Hidden or Denied (reviewed)
To: "Malcolm L. Lavender"
Dear Dr. Lavender,
I have just gotten through the first 5 pages of the essay you sent me today, and it appears to me that you are intent on doing what you are accusing James White of doing -- that is, denying or overlooking the syntax of John 3:16 and John 6:44. You make a lot of repetitive references to the generic use of the subjunctive in Greek but fail to account for both the use of subjunctive+hina and the case of third-class condition.
Mounce's Basics of Biblical Greek plainly says that hina+subjunctive indicates purpose -- either in an affirmative sense of purpose or in a prohibitive sense of purpose. I refer you to the examples on pg 287.
Wallace's Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics says this:
The single most common category of the subjunctive in the NT is after "hina", comprising about one-third of all subjunctive instances. There are seven basic uses included in this construction: purpose, result, purpose-result, substantival, epexegetical, complimentary, and command.Specifically, Wallace refers to John 3:16 as an example of "purpose-result" hina clause. Wallace states that this usage "indicates both the intention and its sure result". The other passage Wallace uses as an example of this is Phil 2:9-11, and you are welcome to draw your own conclusion about that.You may refer to pp. 471-477 in Wallace if you have questions about this issue.
Regarding John 6:44, you are right to say that the subjunctive used is a third-class condition -- but the condition is not the raising but the drawing! The raising -- which is the basis for White's exegetical assertion on John 6:44 -- is not subjunctive but future indicative. No man can come, says the verse, unless something happens: unless (ean me) God draws him. The subjunctive condition is that God's drawing is the only thing which allows a man to come. Wallace calls this the condition of "logical connection" (pg 696) in which B can only happen if condition A if fulfilled. Jn 6:44a says exactly this: Man can come if and only if God draws him. The balance of the verse -- "and I will raise him up at the last day" -- is not conditional: it is strictly affirmative, strictly what will be done by Christ. The question is only "to whom?" The "him" in 6:44b is the man whom God draws. Man can come if and only if God draws, and this man Christ will raise up at the last day. The raising, as future indicative, is certain, and it is based only on the drawing of the Father.
Your approach to John 3:16, John 6:44 and these issue indicates you are either not aware or are unwilling to admit that the two most common introductory texts to NT Greek both contradict you. In the worst case, if you are right and they are wrong, White is making an error taught to almost every English-speaking student of Greek through these two texts. But how likely is it, really, that the two most common texts for teaching introductory NT Greek are both wrong and you are right?
My suggestion to you, sir, is that you abandon your quest to prove that any Calvinist (let alone James White) is practicing grammatical voodoo with the NT. Even if the rest of your paper has any valid points, the type of bias demonstrated in the first argument you provide poisons the well.