Alpha & Omega Ministries Apologetics Blog
A Channel Question
02/18/2005 - James WhiteSomeone came into channel last evening and posted a statement from a Ph.D. student at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School regarding the interaction between myself and Holding. Specifically, he was making a comment based upon John Piper's September 1979 JETS article that I cited as I began my response. Specifically, he asked about the following:
Heck, for that matter Piper and his take on the LXX is incorrect, since it is the OG and not the LXX. In addition, the translation of the Greek is incorrect since the a? particle shows it should be understood as subjunctive instead of as indicative, something which Piper (IIRC) misses. THEY ARE NOT ALL FUTURES, they are conditionals.I can see why such a statement from a TEDS doctoral student might cause some confusion. A quick response, as best I can understand what he seems to be trying to say. First, Piper used the LXX; each variant noted in his article is from the LXX; I guess this writer has some nomenclature issue between "Old Greek" and LXX for some reason, but such hardly seems like a reason to invest much in the way of bandwidth. Next, I see nothing in Piper saying that "they are all futures." Perhaps the writer is referring to something beyond the JETS article? He does not bother to say, but there is surely nothing in what I cited, or in the JETS article, that Piper "missed." Next, there is no question that the Greek phrase o]n a'n introduces a subjunctive. But that is because it is one way in which Greek expresses the idea of our word "whoever." Joined with the subjunctive verb it expresses that element of contingency we find in the phrase, "I will compassion whoever I compassion, I will mercy whoever I mercy." The mere presence of the phrase and the subjunctive means nothing, of course, outside of its context. The foundation of the contingency is expressed in the context: God's freedom. God chooses to engage in the action of "compassioning" and "mercying." The objects are chosen freely by Him (that is the contingency element expressed by o]n a'n). He compassions or mercies "whoever" He desires. That's the whole point.
How can election in a Calvinist sense be based on subjunctives with conditional particles?
Hence, it is very hard to follow the rhetorical question asked. Election can be based "on subjunctives with conditional particles" because the actual actions are future indicatives and the subjunctives are contingencies delineated by the freedom of God's will. What is so difficult to understand about that?