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Acts 13:48

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Acts 13:48

Postby learner2010 » Mon Nov 01, 2010 2:27 pm

Greeting to you all !

I am a layman of Greek and seek verification of my understanding of the Biblical Greek. I do not know whether my suggestion violates the Greek grammar or not.

For Acts 13:48, Ἀκούοντα δὲ τὰ ἔθνη ἔχαιρον καὶ ἐδόξαζον τὸν λόγον τοῦ θεοῦ καὶ ἐπίστευσαν ὅσοι ἦσαν τεταγμένοι εἰς ζωὴν αἰώνιον·

In the latter part of the verse : “as many as were ordained to eternal life, believed”,
can we say that all who were ordained to eternal life does not necessarily cause their belief? Being ordained to eternal life is one thing. And belief is another thing. For example if the relative clause "as many as were granted a seat" is linked to a verb "speak", then the sentence becomes " as many as were granted a seat speak". The sentence discloses the information that the people who speak are the people who were granted a seat. But it does not necessarily mean that being granted a seat causes the people to speak. In the same way for the former part of the verse, gladness does not necessarily cause glorifying or vice versa. Can we say that gladness(ἔχαιρον), glorifying(ἐδόξαζον ), being ordained to eternal life (ἦσαν τεταγμένοι εἰς ζωὴν αἰώνιον)and belief (ἐπίστευσαν )were 4 descriptions to be juxtaposed in a lengthy sentence without necessarily a causal relationship among them?
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Re: Acts 13:48

Postby modus.irrealis » Tue Nov 02, 2010 1:52 pm

You're right. As far as I can tell, the grammar doesn't require that there be a causal relation -- it just states that all who were ordained to eternal life believed.
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Re: Acts 13:48

Postby learner2010 » Wed Nov 03, 2010 2:23 pm

The three verbs rejocing (ἔχαιρον), praising(ἐδόξαζον) and believed (ἐπίστευσαν) linked by the conjunction and (καὶ) described the three reactions of the gentiles. The aorist verb (ἐπίστευσαν) expresses a culminating event, whereas the preceding imperfect verbs (ἔχαιρον, ἐδόξαζον ) depict an action that is still in process.

Can we say that the relative clause “ὅσοι ἦσαν τεταγμένοι εἰς ζωὴν αἰώνιον·” actually relates to all the above three reactions of the gentiles (τὰ ἔθνη ) after hearing a message?

And does the verse of Acts 13:48 actually express the idea that after hearing a message, the gentiles who were ordained to eternal life were rejoicing, were praising the word of the Lord and committed in faith?
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Re: Acts 13:48

Postby modus.irrealis » Wed Nov 03, 2010 3:47 pm

Well, grammatically τὰ ἔθνη is the subject of ἔχαιρον and ἐδόξαζον, while the subject of ἐπίστευσαν is the relative clause ὅσοι ἦσαν τεταγμένοι εἰς ζωὴν αἰώνιον. I read it as two phrases, the first saying that the gentiles rejoiced and praised the speech, and the second saying those that were ordained believed. If there is a relation between the relative clause and the first two verbs, it's very different from its relation to ἐπίστευσαν, but I'm not really clear on what you're asking. I don't think, though, that the relative clause and τὰ ἔθνη refer to the exact same group of people (I mean that the former is a subset of the latter).

(Also, strictly speaking it's not after they heard the message -- the way the aspects work here suggests to me that the gentiles, as they listened [to the speech], were rejoicing and glorifying it, and those who were ordained believed.)
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Re: Acts 13:48

Postby learner2010 » Thu Nov 04, 2010 4:27 am

So, the relative clause “ ὅσοι ἦσαν τεταγμένοι εἰς ζωὴν αἰώνιον•” only referred to those who believed and was a subset of the gentiles(τὰ ἔθνη) who listened [to the speech]. Then can the whole clause “ἐπίστευσαν ὅσοι ἦσαν τεταγμένοι εἰς ζωὴν αἰώνιον•” mean “ Whosoever believed were those who were ordained to eternal life”.?
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Re: Acts 13:48

Postby modus.irrealis » Thu Nov 04, 2010 5:16 pm

The English is somewhat ambiguous. It's impossible for the Greek to mean that those who believed were (then) ordained to eternal life, if that's what you're asking. But if X = the people who were ordained to eternal life and Y = the people who believed (from among the gentiles at least), then explicitly the Greek means that everyone in X is also in Y, but the Greek could imply that everyone in Y is also in X. I mean, if you say "all who come early will get an extra slice of pizza", you usually imply that those who don't come early won't get an extra slice. So if you're asking whether it means that whoever wasn't ordained didn't believe, then that's a possible implication but that would depend on context and such.
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Re: Acts 13:48

Postby learner2010 » Fri Nov 05, 2010 12:35 am

Does it mean that “ Whosoever were ordained to eternal life were those who believed” is an explicit meaning and “ Whosoever believed were those who were ordained to eternal life” is only a possible implied meaning from the text? And the premise is being ordained precedes ones' believing as far as the tenses and the original position of Greek words "ἐπίστευσαν" and "τεταγμένοι" are concerned.
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Re: Acts 13:48

Postby jaihare » Sat Nov 06, 2010 11:29 am

modus.irrealis wrote:I don't think, though, that the relative clause and τὰ ἔθνη refer to the exact same group of people (I mean that the former is a subset of the latter).


Whereas I would see the opposite. I take the ὅσοι phrase to be a subgroup of τὰ ἔθνη. There were some who heard the speech, got an emotional rise from it (ἔχαιρον) and said, "Wow! What a speech!" (ἐδόξαζον), while they remained unbelievers (in the message). Only "those who were ordained for eternal life" believed (ἐπίστευσαν). I see the group-subgroup relation as reversed. What makes you see it the other way?
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Re: Acts 13:48

Postby modus.irrealis » Sat Nov 06, 2010 2:38 pm

jaihare wrote:Whereas I would see the opposite. I take the ὅσοι phrase to be a subgroup of τὰ ἔθνη. There were some who heard the speech, got an emotional rise from it (ἔχαιρον) and said, "Wow! What a speech!" (ἐδόξαζον), while they remained unbelievers (in the message). Only "those who were ordained for eternal life" believed (ἐπίστευσαν). I see the group-subgroup relation as reversed. What makes you see it the other way?

No, we agree. The relative clause refers to a subgroup of τὰ ἔθνη.

--

learner2010 wrote:Does it mean that “ Whosoever were ordained to eternal life were those who believed” is an explicit meaning and “ Whosoever believed were those who were ordained to eternal life” is only a possible implied meaning from the text? And the premise is being ordained precedes ones' believing as far as the tenses and the original position of Greek words "ἐπίστευσαν" and "τεταγμένοι" are concerned.

Again, your English rephrasing is ambiguous to me so I'm not entirely on clear which direction you mean with each phrase. The Greek says everyone who was ordained to eternal life believed -- whether everyone who believed had been ordained to eternal life is a possible implication but is not entailed by the Greek. And yes, the tenses make it clear that the being ordained had already taken place when the believing happened. Note that English "were ordained" is ambiguous between a state and an act. The Greek can only mean "who were in a state of having been ordained".
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Re: Acts 13:48

Postby jaihare » Sat Nov 06, 2010 3:17 pm

modus.irrealis wrote:No, we agree. The relative clause refers to a subgroup of τὰ ἔθνη.


So we do. I misread your "former" and "latter". Sorry about that. :)
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Re: Acts 13:48

Postby learner2010 » Sun Nov 07, 2010 1:05 pm

modus.irrealis wrote: The Greek says everyone who was ordained to eternal life believed -- whether everyone who believed had been ordained to eternal life is a possible implication but is not entailed by the Greek. And yes, the tenses make it clear that the being ordained had already taken place when the believing happened. Note that English "were ordained" is ambiguous between a state and an act. The Greek can only mean "who were in a state of having been ordained".


But if the original Greek words do not entail the meaning that everyone who believed had been ordained to eternal life, then how can the meaning become a possible implication?

Also what is the difference in meaning between a state and an act for the perfect passive participle “having been ordained"?
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Re: Acts 13:48

Postby modus.irrealis » Sun Nov 07, 2010 1:59 pm

learner2010 wrote:But if the original Greek words do not entail the meaning that everyone who believed had been ordained to eternal life, then how can the meaning become a possible implication?

To take an extreme example if something says "I have three children", we usually take them to imply that they have exactly three children and no more, but what they say doesn't quite entail that, since they could have seven children and their statement is still literally true. Or more similar to the Greek, if you say "everyone who comes early gets an extra slice of pizza", you usually imply that everyone who doesn't come early won't get an extra slice, but you don't actually say that. If everyone who comes get an extra slice no matter what time they come, what you said was still true.

That's what I'm saying here. What the Greek says explicitly is that everyone who had been ordained to eternal life believed.

Also what is the difference in meaning between a state and an act for the perfect passive participle “having been ordained"?

The English "were ordained" is ambiguous between "had been ordained" and "got ordained". The Greek in this passage can only mean the former.
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Re: Acts 13:48

Postby learner2010 » Mon Nov 08, 2010 2:50 am

So, does it mean that “whoever wasn't ordained didn't believe” is a normal implication and “ whosoever believed were those who were ordained” is an extreme implication? Also, what is the difference between "had been ordained" and "got ordained"?
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Re: Acts 13:48

Postby calvinist » Sat Jan 22, 2011 9:39 pm

I know this has been inactive for some time but I wanted to chime in, so here's my two cents worth which is just my opinion.

The 'και's need to be looked at, as was mentioned earlier. 'Και' connects two units at the same level: words, phrases, or clauses. I understand it as two clauses. The 'και' before 'επιστευσαν' connects two separate clauses while the first 'και' connects the two verb phrases "εχαιρον" and "εδοξαζον".

As far as causality is concerned in the second clause, that cannot be determined by an analysis of syntax/grammar. I believe there is over-analysis here, as far as explicit/implicit etc. is concerned. What is clear from the text is this: Those that were (already) ordained to eternal life believed. Whether or not the 'ordaining' to eternal life was the cause of their believing is not said.

However, anyone who read that passage would have assumed that they believed because they were ordained to eternal life. That's just a natural interpretation of the wording, especially since 'οσοι' means "as many as". Basically, exactly as many as were ordained to eternal life believed, no more and no less. It suggests that none believed that hadn't already been ordained to eternal life, and likewise every single person that had been ordained to eternal life did believe. It doesn't say it's the cause of their belief, but then we can ask how we ever establish causality. If event B always occurs when event A does, and never occurs if event A hasn't, and we establish that event A happens prior in time to event B, then we would say event A is the cause of event B. I may be wrong, but I believe this is the way causes are always determined, even in science.

I realize that this verse has huge theological implications, and my username may hint at my theological leanings :lol: but I honestly can't see how this verse can be interpreted in any other way unless there is a desire to maintain a position that seems to go contrary to the verse.
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Re: Acts 13:48

Postby calvinist » Wed Jan 26, 2011 7:51 pm

I wanted to add one more thing to this. Nothing in the syntax/grammar of the verse suggests that the 'ordaining to eternal life' caused their 'believing'. However, the semantics of the verse do suggest this. Follow me for a moment. A certain number of people were ordained to eternal life, which suggests they were appointed by something/one outside of themselves. Luke makes a point to say that those (and only those) that were ordained believed, resulting in eternal life. Consider this phrase: 'As many as were ordained to death fell by the sword'. It does not explicitly say that the 'ordaining' caused the deaths, but semantically that is what is being suggested, and is the way anyone would naturally understand it. Of course there would be intermediate causes (ordaining doesn't kill people, swords do!), but that doesn't change the meaning at all. However, a phrase such as 'as many as were ordained to eternal life wrote long poems' does not suggest a cause/effect relationship. It comes down to semantics. If the second action results in the condition which was ordained then the suggestion is cause/effect, otherwise most would interpret it as a coincidence or something else. 'Believing' results in eternal life (by the theology of the author), so it results in the condition that was ordained, like the first example (death by sword) and unlike the second example (writing long poems). Looking at the semantic structure of the phrase like this is very helpful I think and is not over-analysis at all.
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Re: Acts 13:48

Postby IreneY » Fri Jan 28, 2011 10:36 am

Well, that's downright theological and I'm not willing to argue semantics really. Are we absolutely sure about the translation of "τεταγμένοι" though?
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Re: Acts 13:48

Postby calvinist » Tue Feb 01, 2011 4:16 am

IreneY wrote:Well, that's downright theological and I'm not willing to argue semantics really. Are we absolutely sure about the translation of "τεταγμένοι" though?

Technically ησαν τεταγμενοι, which makes it pluperfect passive. The verb is τασσω, which carries the meaning of 'appointing, arranging, putting in order', unless I'm mistaken. This verb forms compounds that generally carry the meaning 'to command, order': επιτασσω, διατασσω --> 'command' / υποτασσω --> 'subject'. I think the verb form conveys the meaning that 'they were in the state of being appointed/arranged at the time of the main verb επιστευσαν. I'm all ears to any other suggestions, that's just what I got.
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Re: Acts 13:48

Postby IreneY » Thu Feb 03, 2011 9:15 pm

Oh I am not really disagreeing with what you're saying (and my apologies for not including "ησαν"; that was just sloppiness). The thing is, the way I read it, it seems like it's talking about predestination. I know for a fact that not all agree on this matter (predestination that is) within Christianity. Since, being an atheist, I am, in a way, an outsider, I can't say I can see how this can be interpreted differently (no set of beliefs lead me another way; I see the text purely linguistically) . Plus, my interest is purely theoretical; from a linguistic point of view and from a general interest to know exactly what the prominent religion in all places I've lived really says about important things such as salvation etc.
However, I am pretty sure that there are scholarly works that interpret the word differently. I can't see those who believe otherwise overlooking this passage and there must be some logical explanation, some other interpretation that stands up to argument, making choosing the interpretation a non-linguistic matter. I will be more than surprised if that is not the case since this is a major point. That's what I was referring to (in a very clumsy way I must admit).
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Re: Acts 13:48

Postby calvinist » Fri Feb 04, 2011 3:56 am

Ok, yes I follow you. Actually, being that you don't have a complex theological system to maintain, your opinion is very weighty. My point was exactly yours: that the verse seems to describe the doctrine called 'predestination' very clearly. It's hard to read it any other way. Those are my theological beliefs though, and I bring those to the verse before even reading it, that's why I expressed my possible bias. So Irene, you verify what I've said, which is the 'normal' reading of this verse would give the idea of predestination, but since this is a hotly debated topic amongst christians, it's been widely discussed. I'm really interested to hear a good counter-argument that it doesn't describe 'predestination'. If anyone comes from that viewpoint (I know we have linguaphiles of all different stripes here) please speak up.
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Re: Acts 13:48

Postby ChristHaunted » Wed Feb 09, 2011 6:27 pm

I have been following this thread out of an interest in the theological aspect as well as the linguistic.

A New Testament Greek resource titled, "Robertson's Word Pictures" does suggest a subtle translation difference and offers a broader interpretation based on the contest rather than merely the words themselves.

As many as were ordained to eternal life (hosoi ēsan tetagmenoi eis zōēn aiōnion). Periphrastic past perfect passive indicative of tassō, a military term to place in orderly arrangement. The word “ordain” is not the best translation here. “Appointed,” as Hackett shows, is better. The Jews here had voluntarily rejected the word of God. On the other side were those Gentiles who gladly accepted what the Jews had rejected, not all the Gentiles. Why these Gentiles here ranged themselves on God’s side as opposed to the Jews Luke does not tell us. This verse does not solve the vexed problem of divine sovereignty and human free agency. There is no evidence that Luke had in mind an absolutum decretum of personal salvation. Paul had shown that God’s plan extended to and included Gentiles. Certainly the Spirit of God does move upon the human heart to which some respond, as here, while others push him away.


Not trying to argue here, just answering IreneY's question regarding alternative translations.
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Re: Acts 13:48

Postby calvinist » Thu Feb 10, 2011 1:28 am

The 21st-century-American-English gloss that is used is not really the important point, but the meaning of the greek word. 'appoint' and 'ordain' sound different and are spelled differently, but what is the semantic difference? It sounds like splitting hairs to me. Both describe some sort of previous arrangement that was done by another (the context implies God). What is the difference in meaning between "as many as were appointed to die were killed" and "as many as were ordained to die were killed"? Maybe I'm mistaken, but aren't both phrases understood exactly the same way? Both imply that the previous appointment/ordainment led to the killings, do they not?
Last edited by calvinist on Sat Feb 12, 2011 1:42 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Acts 13:48

Postby ChristHaunted » Thu Feb 10, 2011 7:59 pm

Calvinist asks:
calvinist wrote:What is the difference in meaning[u/] between "as many as were appointed to die were killed" and "as many as were ordained to die were killed"? Maybe I'm mistaken, but aren't both phrases understood [u]exactly the same way? Both imply that the previous appointment/ordainment led to the killings, do they not?


Not in my understanding.

One who knows an army may attack, and does not do anything to stop them, is not culpable of the same actions of the man leading that army. One may appoint a missile to strike a building in order to take out an enemy, without "ordaining" the collateral deaths of civilians in the building. He may even appoint it at a time when there is likely to be the least amount of civilian casualties. The death of the enemy is however "ordained".


I do not want to turn this into a debate. I am simply asserting that the idea expressed in 13:48 is open to a subtle difference in interpretation. It seems like Luke's point is simply that God's grace abounded towards the Gentiles who "heard". And the Jews were both jealous (44) and stirred up persecution (50). They are acting in a manner similar to the prodigal sons older brother, when they see the father bestow love on the sinner.


Ordain:
1. to invest with ministerial or sacerdotal functions; confer holy orders upon.
2. to enact or establish by law, edict, etc.: to ordain a new type of government.
3. to decree; give orders for: He ordained that the restrictions were to be lifted.
4. (of god, fate, etc.) to destine or predestine: Fate had ordained the meeting.

I can "appoint" an individual to guard my house or fetch my mail without any of the above being true.
I can even say something to my four children that I know will affect one of them quite differently than the other three. For instance, "When taking out the garbage, please remember to replace the trash can liner with a new one." So while my message is general, and applies to all the hearers, my appointment is specific, because in my mind, I know that my youngest son frequently forgets to do the right thing. This is, similarly, what we see in Acts 13:48. Not necessarily, in my opinion, a statement regarding divine predestination (ie. for-ordination).

"Hair splitting" in this case would make a significant difference in the hermeneutic.

Note definitions 5&6 for "Appoint" however:

1. to name or assign to a position, an office, or the like; designate: to appoint a new treasurer; to appoint a judge to the bench.
2. to determine by authority or agreement; fix; set: to appoint a time for the meeting.
3. Law . to designate (a person) to take the benefit of an estate created by a deed or will.
4. to provide with what is necessary; equip; furnish: They appointed the house with all the latest devices.
5. Archaic . to order or establish by decree or command; ordain; constitute: laws appointed by god.
6. Obsolete . to point at by way of censure.
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Re: Acts 13:48

Postby calvinist » Sat Feb 12, 2011 1:38 am

I appreciate this discussion, but again you're referring to the various nuances that are listed in a dictionary for two words in North American English in the 21st century. That really has no bearing on Acts 13:48 because it was written 2000 years ago in Koine Greek.

The meaning of the verse does not hinge upon the nuances of English 'synonyms'. I was simply stating that to me 'appointing' and 'ordaining' do not have significant semantic differences. In reality the most 'basic' meaning of the greek verb τασσω is reflected by the English words 'command/order/set up'.

As I said before, I admit that the verse does not say explicitly that God 'caused' their belief. That is a moot point though. Luke is saying that God did not 'appoint/ordain/' everyone. God's appointing was specific to a certain group, not general, and furthermore in this case all whom were appointed for something reached that goal. This is different from the cases you mentioned where the 'appointing' is general and not all who receive it respond to it. In this case the 'appointing' is specific and all that were appointed received eternal life, and only those who were appointed. No more, no less; that's the significance of οσοι (as many as).

The question is this: Why does Luke make a point of stressing the fact that God appointed only a specific group and only that specific group (as many as) received eternal life? We can chop up words all day long and cite lists of ranges of meaning in English words, but the verse sits in a specific context/situation with a specific meaning... What is Luke saying? Why does he stress that only the people that God appointed (if you like that word better) received eternal life?

Forgive my intensity, but I'm a linguistics major, and semantics is my passion. Here's a life-changing truth about language: Words don't have meanings, meanings have words assigned to them (by convention it may be added).
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Re: Acts 13:48

Postby ChristHaunted » Sat Feb 12, 2011 10:10 pm

calvinist wrote:I appreciate this discussion, but again you're referring to the various nuances that are listed in a dictionary for two words in North American English in the 21st century. That really has no bearing on Acts 13:48 because it was written 2000 years ago in Koine Greek.


???? I read the bible in English, and think that the English translation should best reflect the underlying Greek meaning. Therefore, if a subtle nuance in definition of one English word fits the context better than a similar English word, why would we not want to use it?

calvinist wrote:The meaning of the verse does not hinge upon the nuances of English 'synonyms'. I was simply stating that to me 'appointing' and 'ordaining' do not have significant semantic differences. In reality the most 'basic' meaning of the greek verb τασσω is reflected by the English words 'command/order/set up'.


In this case, maybe not. I am simply suggesting that the way we use the word "ordain" in English, may have made sense at one point in history, hence (KJV), but more modern scholars think "appoint" best fits the meaning (ESV, NASB, NKJV)

calvinist wrote: As I said before, I admit that the verse does not say explicitly that God 'caused' their belief. That is a moot point though. Luke is saying that God did not 'appoint/ordain/' everyone. God's appointing was specific to a certain group, not general, and furthermore in this case all whom were appointed for something reached that goal. This is different from the cases you mentioned where the 'appointing' is general and not all who receive it respond to it. In this case the 'appointing' is specific and all that were appointed received eternal life, and only those who were appointed. No more, no less; that's the significance of οσοι (as many as).


God might "ordain" a situation through providence, where, He foreknew the hard hearted Jews would reject the free message, and the Gentiles would not. That also does not mean God either prevented or caused either belief or disbelief. This is what I think the passage is implying.

calvinist wrote:The question is this: Why does Luke make a point of stressing the fact that God appointed only a specific group and only that specific group (as many as) received eternal life? We can chop up words all day long and cite lists of ranges of meaning in English words, but the verse sits in a specific context/situation with a specific meaning... What is Luke saying? Why does he stress that only the people that God appointed (if you like that word better) received eternal life?


Again I believe it is simply to highlight God's grace has been poured out towards all men, and not merely the Jews. Luke was a gentile.


calvinist wrote:Forgive my intensity, but I'm a linguistics major, and semantics is my passion. Here's a life-changing truth about language: Words don't have meanings, meanings have words assigned to them (by convention it may be added).


I took no offense at your intensity. Your statement regarding words and meanings to me seems like a Zen koan. I do not follow the logic. Al I can affirm is Ἐν ἀρχῇ ἦν ὁ λόγος, καὶ ὁ λόγος ἦν πρὸς τὸν θεόν, καὶ θεὸς ἦν ὁ λόγος.



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Re: Acts 13:48

Postby jaihare » Sat Feb 12, 2011 11:19 pm

ChristHaunted wrote:
calvinist wrote:I appreciate this discussion, but again you're referring to the various nuances that are listed in a dictionary for two words in North American English in the 21st century. That really has no bearing on Acts 13:48 because it was written 2000 years ago in Koine Greek.


???? I read the bible in English, and think that the English translation should best reflect the underlying Greek meaning. Therefore, if a subtle nuance in definition of one English word fits the context better than a similar English word, why would we not want to use it?

calvinist wrote:The meaning of the verse does not hinge upon the nuances of English 'synonyms'. I was simply stating that to me 'appointing' and 'ordaining' do not have significant semantic differences. In reality the most 'basic' meaning of the greek verb τασσω is reflected by the English words 'command/order/set up'.


In this case, maybe not. I am simply suggesting that the way we use the word "ordain" in English, may have made sense at one point in history, hence (KJV), but more modern scholars think "appoint" best fits the meaning (ESV, NASB, NKJV)

calvinist wrote: As I said before, I admit that the verse does not say explicitly that God 'caused' their belief. That is a moot point though. Luke is saying that God did not 'appoint/ordain/' everyone. God's appointing was specific to a certain group, not general, and furthermore in this case all whom were appointed for something reached that goal. This is different from the cases you mentioned where the 'appointing' is general and not all who receive it respond to it. In this case the 'appointing' is specific and all that were appointed received eternal life, and only those who were appointed. No more, no less; that's the significance of οσοι (as many as).


God might "ordain" a situation through providence, where, He foreknew the hard hearted Jews would reject the free message, and the Gentiles would not. That also does not mean God either prevented or caused either belief or disbelief. This is what I think the passage is implying.

calvinist wrote:The question is this: Why does Luke make a point of stressing the fact that God appointed only a specific group and only that specific group (as many as) received eternal life? We can chop up words all day long and cite lists of ranges of meaning in English words, but the verse sits in a specific context/situation with a specific meaning... What is Luke saying? Why does he stress that only the people that God appointed (if you like that word better) received eternal life?


Again I believe it is simply to highlight God's grace has been poured out towards all men, and not merely the Jews. Luke was a gentile.


calvinist wrote:Forgive my intensity, but I'm a linguistics major, and semantics is my passion. Here's a life-changing truth about language: Words don't have meanings, meanings have words assigned to them (by convention it may be added).


I took no offense at your intensity. Your statement regarding words and meanings to me seems like a Zen koan. I do not follow the logic. Al I can affirm is Ἐν ἀρχῇ ἦν ὁ λόγος, καὶ ὁ λόγος ἦν πρὸς τὸν θεόν, καὶ θεὸς ἦν ὁ λόγος.

Xάρις ὑμῖν καὶ εἰρήνη πληθυνθείη.


If you were gaining ground in the discussion before, I think post lost it. Obviously, we are not talking about the meaning of English words here. English word choices have no relevance when discussing the meaning of the Greek text itself. I was interested in seeing your interpretation of the verse, but it's not really relevant if you turn to English for your meanings instead of investigating the text in Greek and looking at how the Greek terms were used in various contexts and how they might affect how we view the meaning being conveyed in the verses. I'm not sure what a Zen koan is, but I understand where Calvinist is coming from in his position (the text says what it says, and we've got to understand what the message was) far more than I understand what you're attempting to bring out of the text here. Could you help us understand you better? Are you interested in what the Greek says or not? Just wondering.

Thanks
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Re: Acts 13:48

Postby calvinist » Sun Feb 13, 2011 12:33 am

ChristHaunted wrote:???? I read the bible in English, and think that the English translation should best reflect the underlying Greek meaning. Therefore, if a subtle nuance in definition of one English word fits the context better than a similar English word, why would we not want to use it?


I read the bible in Greek. I've read completely through all four gospels in Koine Greek half a dozen times or so. My point is that translation and interpretation are two different (although related) tasks.

I accept using 'appoint' as an English gloss for τασσω in this context. Yes, it's probably the better word to use since 'ordain' is somewhat archaic, but that is translation, and we are discussing interpretation. The question is not 'what can we make this verse mean?' but rather 'what is the author saying?'

Authors state things for a reason. Luke did not have to comment that 'επιστευσαν οσοι ησαν τεταγμενοι εις ζωην αιωνιον' --> 'as many as had been appointed into eternal life believed.' We must ask ourselves the question, "Why does Luke feel this is important to note?" No author includes every detail of a story, and the biblical writers are no exception. The things they chose to include and chose to leave out are significant.

I understand your point. The fact that God's grace was extended to Gentiles and not only Jews was a significant idea. However, Luke seems to be stressing more than just the fact that Gentiles believed. If that was his intention I would expect to read, 'when the Gentiles heard this they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord.' or 'when the Gentiles heard this they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord, and they believed.' or 'when the Gentiles heard this they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord, and being appointed unto eternal life, they believed.'

Luke wrote something quite different though, with quite a different ring and emphasis to it, 'when the Gentiles heard this they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord, and as many as were appointed unto eternal life believed.' The phrase rendered 'as many as' in modern English is the Greek word οσοι, which is a fairly common Greek word. This word conveys a limiting idea, which can be rendered into English differently depending upon the context. In this context it is clear that it refers to the quantity of people that believed, and it equates that quantity with the number of people that had been 'appointed unto eternal life.' I think the meaning of the phrase hinges upon that one word, and also the fact that ησαν τεταγμενοι is pluperfect passive, which means that the action of 'being appointed' preceded the action of believing, which implies a cause/effect relationship, especially when Luke adds that one word: 'as many as'.

Again, the verse clearly does not express a general grace of God appointing Gentiles to eternal life, but rather a specific appointment to a specific number of people. You can call this predestination, or ektantikwalupo, it doesn't really matter. The idea seems very clearly expressed here. An argument can be made that this was an isolated instance, and that in this instance God predestined certain ones to eternal life, but otherwise it is a general appointment, but I haven't heard a good reason to believe that Luke is talking about a general appointing here.

Some may argue that God appointed them unto eternal life because they believed. That's fine if that is your belief, but this verse cannot be used to support that idea, because it clearly states that the appointment happened prior to their believing, and there is no mention of God 'foreseeing' their belief as a reason for appointing them. In fact that goes completely contrary to the basic force of the phrase.

I do want to hear a good argument, but we must stick with the Greek and it's meaning, not English. Referring to English is as relevant to the original meaning as referring to the Mandarin version of Acts 13:48 --> 外 邦 人 听 见 这 话 , 就 欢 喜 了 , 赞 美 神 的 道 ; 凡 预 定 得 永 生 的 人 都 信 了 。
Actually the Chinese rendering is interesting, it reads: "all that were determined to obtain eternal life beforehand, they all believed." I'm not yet fluent in Chinese, but this is a pretty straightforward phrase. The Chinese verb 'determined' is stronger in force than 'appoint'. It conveys the idea of being 'settled/fixed'. I think it more closely reflects the idea conveyed by Greek τασσω, but my point is that we must focus on the Greek, since English is just one of thousands of languages that the NT has been translated into, and carries no special authority, and neither do the English words used.
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Re: Acts 13:48

Postby calvinist » Sun Feb 13, 2011 1:41 am

So I looked up what a zen koan is: Something that cannot be understοοd by normal reasoning, but by 'intuition'. My statement that 'words do not have meanings, rather meanings have words' is definitely not a zen koan. It is a basic principle of semantics within linguistics. It's a principle that has been well proven through many examples, but I don't want to go into a lecture about linguistics here. I will explain it briefly though, as I feel that it applies to our current discussion.

Words do not possess meanings, as if they somehow envelop them. Rather, certain relationships and ideas in reality (whether real or imaginary) have symbols assigned to them. We call these symbols 'words'. Words usually do not refer to one specific thing, but a range of ideas (usually closely related, but that is not necessarily true). Also, ideas usually have many different words that can be used to symbolize them. Some important things to keep in mind about words are: 1) they are entirely arbitrary (there is no systematic reason why English uses 'person' to refer to an idea that is expressed by 人 (ren) in Mandarin.) 2) they are constantly in fluctuation, with meanings shifting quickly or slowly. 3) Different languages have different symbol-meaning correlations.

The third point is very important, and one that many do not fully understand. It has huge implications. I think it is best to explain it through an example. The Greek word ξυλον has no direct equivalent in English. It cannot be said that ξυλον means ______. In the NT alone, it is used to describe things rendered into English as 'cross' 'club' 'tree' 'wood' 'stocks'. Furthermore, this phenomenon isn't isolated to certain words, but every word in each language. There are no Greek words that have a direct correspondence with an English word, and vice versa. Some may be very close, but never identical. When you look at a dictionary the 'meanings' are usually divided by a number scheme or possibly semicolons. That is exactly what you listed in your previous post for the English words 'appoint' and 'ordain'. The different numbers list different ways that the word is used in English. Just because the word 'appoint' can be used for the Greek word τασσω, that does not mean that the various meanings listed for 'appoint' correlate to the Greek word. In fact they don't.

Picture a Venn diagram with two spheres. One is the Greek word τασσω, and the other is the English word 'appoint'. They are different sizes reflecting the fact that one has a much broader range of uses than the other, and they overlap only partially. The point of intersection is those various instances where 'appoint' would be an appropriate translation for τασσω, in all other instances it would not.

This is why the idea of a 'literal' translation is somewhat fuzzy from a linguistic point of view. A 'literal' translation usually means that there is a word-word correspondence between the source language and the target language. This would mean using the English word 'appoint' in every instance where the Greek text uses τασσω. This is really just lazy translating, and can produce horrible readings. However, in highly debated texts such as the NT it can serve as a means of preventing translators from forcing their interpretations onto the text; so it is a useful technique, but it is by no means the 'best' way to translate a text. It's more appropriately called a 'gloss' and not a 'translation'.

I don't read the NT in English except at church where I use the ESV as the pastor does. My daily bible reading is done in the Greek or Latin, and all the verses I have memorized are in Greek. I have not found any translation to be good enough to dispense with the Greek text itself.

So, to ask "What does 'car' mean?" is backwards. In reality we see a 'car' and ask "What is this called?" and one may say "car" or "auto" or "automobile" or "my ride" or "mustang" or "a ford" or "a ford mustang", etc. Words do not have meanings... meanings have words assigned to them. In this case many different words and combinations of words can be used to refer to the same entity. If it took place in Mexico the answer might be "un carro", and if it took place in Ancient Greece the answer might be "ουκ οιδα".
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Re: Acts 13:48

Postby jaihare » Sun Feb 13, 2011 9:24 am

calvinist wrote:and if it took place in Ancient Greece the answer might be "ουκ οιδα".


:lol:
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Re: Acts 13:48

Postby Markos » Sun Feb 13, 2011 1:35 pm

ἔγραψεν ὁ Καλουινιστης

Words do not have meanings, rather meanings have words.


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I am writing in Ancient Greek not because I know Greek well, but because I hope that it will improve my fluency in reading. I got the idea for this from Adrianus over on the Latin forum here at Textkit.
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Re: Acts 13:48

Postby ChristHaunted » Mon Feb 14, 2011 4:19 pm

calvinist wrote: I accept using 'appoint' as an English gloss for τασσω in this context. Yes, it's probably the better word to use since 'ordain' is somewhat archaic, but that is translation, and we are discussing interpretation. The question is not 'what can we make this verse mean?' but rather 'what is the author saying?'


Then we agree.

And I think that addressed the initial question.

Everything else you mention has no relevance for me. I read the Bible in English, therefore learning Greek is merely an exercise in striving for the best English translation possible.

In my mind, translation is interpretation.

We can argue for eternity which came first, the meaning or the word. But we would be two clowns merely howling back and forth in an epistemic void. You can have the last word on that subject.

It was not my intent to derail this thread. Just trying to find the best, culturally relevant English word or words to translate tasso.

Romans 13:1 use of the word helps me understand. In Acts, it appears that God cast bread into a crowd of birds knowing full well which ones were hungry enough to partake of it. Not that He did not desire all the birds to eat. The limiting aspect is not the intent of the giver, but the hard hearted nature of the hearers.

Grace and peace to all who read this.
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Re: Acts 13:48

Postby ChristHaunted » Mon Feb 14, 2011 5:23 pm

calvinist wrote:This is why the idea of a 'literal' translation is somewhat fuzzy from a linguistic point of view. A 'literal' translation usually means that there is a word-word correspondence between the source language and the target language. This would mean using the English word 'appoint' in every instance where the Greek text uses τασσω. This is really just lazy translating, and can produce horrible readings. However, in highly debated texts such as the NT it can serve as a means of preventing translators from forcing their interpretations onto the text; so it is a useful technique, but it is by no means the 'best' way to translate a text. It's more appropriately called a 'gloss' and not a 'translation'.


I would never say there is always a 1:1 correspondence between the source language and the target language. But yet for a few words there might be, like sun, moon, sky, etc. . . .
I think we tend to struggle more with abstracts like appoint/ordain.

The nature of God, will determine the author's intent. If God is love (agape), and love (agape) is by nature self giving through sacrifice, and not coercion of the will of the lover over and against the beloved (I Cor. 13), then the ordaining in Acts 13 is not causing belief against the will of the person, nor is it changing the will of the person as if pulling a puppet a string. It is providentially arranging events so the hungry will find food. (spiritually speaking)

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.
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Re: Acts 13:48

Postby calvinist » Mon Feb 14, 2011 6:57 pm

ChristHaunted wrote:Everything else you mention has no relevance for me. I read the Bible in English, therefore learning Greek is merely an exercise in striving for the best English translation possible.

This thread is not about the best translation, but the intended meaning of Acts 13:48. The ESV's translation is about as perfect as you can get as far as that goes. Modern translations are of very high quality. Greek should be learned to understand the Greek, not to translate into English, scholars have already done that for you.

ChristHaunted wrote:In my mind, translation is interpretation.

I affirmed that they are related, but they are not synonyms for the same thing. I would not say translation is interpretation, but rather translation involves interpretation. They are distinct things and should not be confused.

ChristHaunted wrote:We can argue for eternity which came first, the meaning or the word. But we would be two clowns merely howling back and forth in an epistemic void.

Not quite. This is not a debated topic at all amongst linguists. Clearly words are not primary, as if they just existed and then we looked for things to attach them to. Reality lies before us, physical, spiritual, emotional, abstract; and words are chosen to symbolize these things. The meanings behind the words are primary. This is why there can be different languages, different dialects within a language, and different words for the same thing.

ChristHaunted wrote:Romans 13:1 use of the word helps me understand.

What about Matthew 28:16 --> Οι δε ενδεκα μαθηται επορευθησαν εις την Γαλιλαιαν εις το ορος ου εταξατο αυτοις ο Ιησους -- The idea is not 'appoint' but rather 'order/command/direct'

Also Luke 7:8 --> και γαρ εγω ανθρωπος ειμι υπο εξουσιαν τασσομενος... Again the idea is not 'appoint' but rather 'being commanded/ordered', being used here to express military chain of command.

ChristHaunted wrote:In Acts, it appears that God cast bread into a crowd of birds knowing full well which ones were hungry enough to partake of it. Not that He did not desire all the birds to eat. The limiting aspect is not the intent of the giver, but the hard hearted nature of the hearers.

That's entirely speculation. Nothing in the text itself leads to any of those ideas. Those ideas were brought to the text and read into it. They may be right, they may be wrong; but the text of Acts 13:48 suggests nothing of the sort. Furthermore, the Greek word τασσω does convey the idea of imposing one's will upon another, that's integral to the idea of the word. The force can be softened or strengthened depending upon context, but essentially that is what the word symbolizes, 'impressing one's will onto another person/thing'.

ChristHaunted wrote:Grace and peace to all who read this.

And to you as well! I appreciate this discussion and would like it to continue, but I think you are venturing further and further into the realm of 'subjective opinions'. We both have strong views about the meaning of this verse, and they are contrary; I wear my bias on my sleeve as my username shows. However, I must still try to show that this verse does indeed reflect my interpretation of it, and I must try to be careful and thoughtful, letting the words speak for themselves as I try to uncover the 'message/meaning' of the words.

One more quick comment about words/meanings, as I think this is a critical point to grasp. We as readers start with the words and try to work our way backwards to the 'meaning/message'. The author started with a message, something that he wanted to convey. That message was then filtered and shaped by his individual background, situation, language, style, etc. to bring the words that we have on the page. Another would have expressed the exact same meaning with different words. Meaning is primary.... always! As readers we start at the endpoint (words), and hopefully we reach back to the original meaning, but that is not guaranteed. That is why we must be thoughtful and careful, especially when such a vast difference of time, language, and culture separates the audience (us) from the speaker (Luke).
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Re: Acts 13:48

Postby ChristHaunted » Mon Feb 14, 2011 7:20 pm

calvinist wrote:What about Matthew 28:16 --> Οι δε ενδεκα μαθηται επορευθησαν εις την Γαλιλαιαν εις το ορος ου εταξατο αυτοις ο Ιησους -- The idea is not 'appoint' but rather 'order/command/direct'

Also Luke 7:8 --> και γαρ εγω ανθρωπος ειμι υπο εξουσιαν τασσομενος... Again the idea is not 'appoint' but rather 'being commanded/ordered', being used here to express military chain of command.


Like you said before, the Greek word may not be best translated as "appoint" in those cases. Perhaps ordain would be better. My mention of Romans is simply to highlight that God may "ordain" a governing ruler like Stalin, or Hitler, or . . Pontius Pilate. He is not guilty of the crimes committed by that leader merely by appointing/ordaining them. If that were true He would be guilty of all the evil that has ever happened because he created the devil.

So, as to the point of the initial question in this thread, it is not necessary that the Greek sentence be translated that God "caused" their belief.

calvinist wrote:Furthermore, the Greek word τασσω does convey the idea of imposing one's will upon another, that's integral to the idea of the word. The force can be softened or strengthened depending upon context, but essentially that is what the word symbolizes, 'impressing one's will onto another person/thing'.


God is willing that all men should be saved, and come to repentance. If you mean "impress" like the image on a coin, God has stamped humanity, and the image is defaced. His work is now restorative, but not all metals are malleable. Are you saying the Greek explicitly states that God uses coercion to force repentance?

Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
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Re: Acts 13:48

Postby ChristHaunted » Mon Feb 14, 2011 7:23 pm

This thread is not about the best translation, but the intended meaning of Acts 13:48.


Am I completely insane? The best translation would convey the intended meaning in the target language.
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Re: Acts 13:48

Postby calvinist » Tue Feb 15, 2011 4:25 am

ChristHaunted, do you affirm the Trinity? God is three. God is one. Not one in three modes. Not one, but three perspectives. God is three. God is one. It's paradoxical. It's contradictory. Don't even attempt to explain it with your rational mind. Just accept what scripture teaches.

The same principle applies with God's sovereignty. God has sovereignly appointed all that will come to pass in history, including who will believe and who will not. At the same time, we are responsible for our decisions and actions. We are not robots. A christian's love for God is real.

You may say that if God sovereignly decides all that happens that we are just robots and our love for God isn't then real. However, where in the bible does it say that the rational mind of ChristHaunted or me or anyone else is to be the determiner of what can and can't be true?

Your mind can't rationalize the concepts, neither can mine. I can't rationalize the trinity, or any aspect of God or reality when I really dig deep.

I believe the trinity because scripture teaches it, not because it makes sense by human reasoning.

I believe in God's absolute sovereignty in all events, including salvation, because scripture teaches it, not because it makes sense by human reasoning. Let God be God, let's not dictate to him what he can and can't do.

Arguments based on human reasoning about people being robots or "love can't be coerced" are simply that, human arguments.

God determined that I would be born in 1982 in Michigan to two white parents. However, according to you, I'm not "really" 28 years old, American, and white because God "coerced" that upon me.

ChristHaunted wrote:Am I completely insane? The best translation would convey the intended meaning in the target language.

Not necessarily true. The best translation would represent the original text best. There is a difference between meaning and words, I've been trying so hard to make this point... :cry:

Anyway, I would like to discuss this text, but all you're saying is "it can't mean that, because according to my reasoning that can't be true". That's not a valid argument. You can disagree with the text. You can disagree with the idea that God chooses a particular people. You must then get angry with God choosing Israel in the OT, not because they sought him, but because he pursued them. God pursued no other nation in the OT. Was Israel more of a "God-seeking" nation? No. In fact time and time again Israel followed the idols of the nations around them. But God never completely rejected Israel, because they were a "chosen" people. God decided that they were his. No one comes to God, ever. God the Father picks a particular people for his own. God the Son dies for that particular people. God the Spirit brings that particular people to life by virtue of Christ's death for them. If Christ's death has paid all of mankinds sins, then all will go to Heaven, it's that simple. Repentance and trusting in God is the greatest work a man can do. We are not saved by our own works (repentance is the greatest work possible by man). We are saved by God's decree. You must get angry when you read that God intervened and blinded Saul in order to convert him and use him as a messenger to the Gentiles. Paul was not seeking God, in fact he was persecuting the church. Paul did not choose God, God chose him.

I do have a question though, that I would like your answer to. Doesn't Acts 13:48 state that God did not appoint all that were present?

I don't mean to sound harsh, but I am getting slightly irritated because you just cite your own opinions and feeling about things, which is fine, but we really need to discuss the text itself, not conclusions from our own reasoning. By the way, I have some good friends that reject the sovereignty (I call it the Godhood) of God. The difference is that when they come to verses like this they don't resort to philosophical ideas about love and free will and people-being-robots. They just say, "I don't know." I respect that. Please think about the question I posed and give an answer.
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Re: Acts 13:48

Postby jaihare » Tue Feb 15, 2011 12:39 pm

calvinist wrote:ChristHaunted, do you affirm the Trinity? God is three. God is one. Not one in three modes. Not one, but three perspectives. God is three. God is one. It's paradoxical. It's contradictory. Don't even attempt to explain it with your rational mind. Just accept what scripture teaches.


Is this relevant? I don't think a poster's religious views should be quizzed here. This isn't a religious forum. For example, I can accept that the New Testament position would lead one to believe that the writers had the Trinity in view. I am under no obligation, however, to believe in the Trinity myself or to accept that what the NT writers professed should also become my own faith. Let's keep the issues separate so as not to turn this into a religious forum. What do you think?

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ὁ μὲν Παῦλος τοὺς ἐν ταῖς ἐκκλησίαις μαθητὰς τὴν χωρὶς νόμου δικαιοσύνην τὴν ἐν Χριστῷ ἐδίδασκεν, οἱ δ᾿ ἄλλοι ἀπόστολοι τοὺς ἀνθρώπους ἐδίδασκον τηρεῖν τὸν θεῖον νόμον τὸν χειρὶ Μωϋσέως δοθέντα.
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jaihare
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Re: Acts 13:48

Postby ChristHaunted » Tue Feb 15, 2011 1:54 pm

calvinist wrote:Not necessarily true. The best translation would represent the original text best. There is a difference between meaning and words, I've been trying so hard to make this point... :cry:


Words have more than one meaning. I agree. I never said otherwise. But when I think of a "meaning" of a word in my mind, I am, in fact thinking of another word. I cannot think about anything in my head without words.

This is why i am completely at a loss as to how to understand your point on "meanings have words" not the opposite. To me that is just silly. They both occupy the same space. In the beginning was the Logos. Both the Word and the Meaning (reason of God).[/quote]

calvinist wrote:We are not saved by our own works (repentance is the greatest work possible by man).


This is way off topic. But I feel I owe you an answer. The Trinity is not a logical contradiction. The Chalcedonian doctrine does not assert that God is somehow God and not God at the same time.

However, to say that man is free to accept God's gracious offer, or he is totally incapable of such a choice, and must be fundamentally changed before he can accept it, are the opposite.

Then there is this: οὐ γὰρ οἱ ἀκροαταὶ νόμου δίκαιοι παρὰ τῷ θεῷ, ἀλλ' οἱ ποιηταὶ νόμου δικαιωθήσονται.
Romans 2:13

calvinist wrote:I do have a question though, that I would like your answer to. Doesn't Acts 13:48 state that God did not appoint all that were present?


My point is really not to debate Calvinism. I simply think that the Greek in Acts 13:48 does not imply that simply because all who were appointed (at that time) to inherit eternal life did believe, that therefore God does not desire that all people would believe.

One principle of hermeneutics is that the plain passages should inform the obscure ones. (If we accept that the bible is divinely inspired and therefore the revelation is internally consistent).

So my reason and opinions regarding Luke's intention or "meaning", are based on clearer texts.

II Peter 3:9
οὐ βραδύνει κύριος τῆς ἐπαγγελίας, ὥς τινες βραδύτητα ἡγοῦνται, ἀλλὰ μακροθυμεῖ εἰς' ὑμᾶς, μὴ βουλόμενός τινας ἀπολέσθαι ἀλλὰ πάντας εἰς μετάνοιαν χωρῆσαι

The point of the thread was whether or not the Greek forces a causal relation between appoint and believed. I do not think it does. Again, simply because God knew who would believe at that time, and led the preachers to proclaim it to them, does not also imply that He did not desire all who heard it to believe. That is a huge jump.

Grace & Peace
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Re: Acts 13:48

Postby calvinist » Tue Feb 15, 2011 5:26 pm

jaihare wrote:Is this relevant? I don't think a poster's religious views should be quizzed here. This isn't a religious forum. For example, I can accept that the New Testament position would lead one to believe that the writers had the Trinity in view. I am under no obligation, however, to believe in the Trinity myself or to accept that what the NT writers professed should also become my own faith. Let's keep the issues separate so as not to turn this into a religious forum. What do you think?

Regards,
Jai


Yes, I agree that the religious views are not relevant. I was making the assumption that ChristHaunted does accept the doctrine of the Trinity, and was using it as an example of a doctrine that cannot be understood by logic or reasoning. I was challenging the idea that we cannot allow an interpretation of the scripture that doesn't follow our "logic". At the same time, this whole thread is based upon religious motivations, so it's walking a thin line to completely avoid it.


ChristHaunted, I want to keep my posts brief and address just a few points.

First, this statement:
ChristHaunted wrote:I cannot think about anything in my head without words.


That is false. We can picture sunsets, hear music, visualize solutions to problems, visually organize a complex idea, and have entire stories in our mind (dreams). If you define "thinking" as only the "inner voice" and exclude the other things then it becomes a circular argument: You can't think without words because you define "thinking" as using words in your head. There have been cases of wild children who never learned a language and it has been proven that they can indeed think without language. This used to be a debated topic, not anymore. You probably have a preference for speaking in your "inner voice", but thinking does not require language, although it can involve language.

Secondly, you didn't really answer the question I posed. Acts 13:48 says one of these 3 things: 1) God "appointed" everyone present to eternal life. 2) God "appointed" a certain number of those present to eternal life. 3) It's not clear from the text.
--Which do you think?

Third, "logic" is not a standard we must hold the bible to. That view makes "logic" more authoritative than the scripture itself. Scripture must then be filtered through man's "logic" instead of accepting what it simply says, no matter how contradictory it might seem. The doctrine of the Trinity is an example. It is contradictory according to human "logic". To say that there are 3 distinct and separate persons that are each God, and that at the same time there is only one God, cannot be defended by "logic". One can say that there is one God divided into 3 parts, but that isn't the doctrine of the Trinity. The doctrine teaches that the Father is God, Jesus is God, and the Holy Spirit is God, (completely distinct), and yet there is only one God. We can come up with illustrations from our experience to help us grasp this, but they are not true analogies, because nothing in reality can represent it, that's why our minds cannot understand it from a "logic" point of view. We must accept that at some point our finite minds hit a brick wall and we must just stand back in awe and proclaim, "Mystery!" If we could reduce everything about God down to logical principles he would not be the awe-inspiring God that he is. By "he" I'm referring to one person (I didn't say "they"), but wait, I can pray to Christ, I can pray to the Holy Spirit, I can pray to the Father, this is a mystery.
Speech is my hammer, bang the world into shape, now let it fall! -Mos Def
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Re: Acts 13:48

Postby ChristHaunted » Tue Feb 15, 2011 5:52 pm

calvinist wrote:
ChristHaunted wrote:I cannot think about anything in my head without words.


That is false. We can picture sunsets, hear music, visualize solutions to problems, visually organize a complex idea, and have entire stories in our mind (dreams). If you define "thinking" as only the "inner voice" and exclude the other things then it becomes a circular argument: You can't think without words because you define "thinking" as using words in your head. There have been cases of wild children who never learned a language and it has been proven that they can indeed think without language. This used to be a debated topic, not anymore. You probably have a preference for speaking in your "inner voice", but thinking does not require language, although it can involve language.


Empirical sense data without words is merely what the higher mammals have. My dog does not muse over the warmth of the sun, although physically it may bring him pleasure.
Words, linguistics, being meta-cognitive, and self-transcendence are what reveal the imago dei within us.
You simply cannot have meaning without words. Point me to a philosopher, not a modern day linguist, that says otherwise, and I will go read them.

calvinist wrote:Secondly, you didn't really answer the question I posed. Acts 13:48 says one of these 3 things:
1) God "appointed" everyone present to eternal life.
2) God "appointed" a certain number of those present to eternal life.
3) It's not clear from the text.

--Which do you think?


You are missing everything I have said. The appointment is not necessarily a causal decree from God, but might be, a condition of the hearers predisposition to believe.

1) God "appointed" everyone present to eternal life.
2) God "appointed" a certain number of those present to eternal life.
3) It's not clear from the text.
4) Those predisposed to the "good news", believed the word spoken, and "realized" their appointment to eternal life.

The key to the entire context is the previous verse: "'I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.'"

Can the verse be seen that way or not? I am not saying the Calvinist interpretation is wrong, just that I do not see it as the only way to read that Greek statement, given the context.

calvinist wrote:
Third, "logic" is not a standard we must hold the bible to. That view makes "logic" more authoritative than the scripture itself. Scripture must then be filtered through man's "logic" instead of accepting what it simply says, no matter how contradictory it might seem. The doctrine of the Trinity is an example. It is contradictory according to human "logic". To say that there are 3 distinct and separate persons that are each God, and that at the same time there is only one God, cannot be defended by "logic". One can say that there is one God divided into 3 parts, but that isn't the doctrine of the Trinity. The doctrine teaches that the Father is God, Jesus is God, and the Holy Spirit is God, (completely distinct), and yet there is only one God. We can come up with illustrations from our experience to help us grasp this, but they are not true analogies, because nothing in reality can represent it, that's why our minds cannot understand it from a "logic" point of view. We must accept that at some point our finite minds hit a brick wall and we must just stand back in awe and proclaim, "Mystery!" If we could reduce everything about God down to logical principles he would not be the awe-inspiring God that he is. By "he" I'm referring to one person (I didn't say "they"), but wait, I can pray to Christ, I can pray to the Holy Spirit, I can pray to the Father, this is a mystery.


God is logical. To use logic is to think clearly, in a non contradictory way. Like God. We think God thoughts after Him.

Dissociative Identity Disorder = more that one personality, and therefore, more than one person, and still one being.

Demon posession = one person, multiple beings.

The bible is written in a language. Language must be logical in order to be understood. It must have rational cohesion in order to convey truth.


P.S. We should open a new thread in the open forum if you want to further try to prove how illogical Christianity is as a religion.
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Re: Acts 13:48

Postby calvinist » Wed Feb 16, 2011 3:58 am

ChristHaunted wrote:Empirical sense data without words is merely what the higher mammals have. My dog does not muse over the warmth of the sun, although physically it may bring him pleasure.

Whoa dude!

When I solve Calculus problems, language is minimal, whether in my head or externally. I simply work out the problem, it is thinking that is beyond words. I compose music. I've written string quartets, piano pieces, piano/string duets, and I write modern music in various genres. There is a lot of thinking involved in writing a piece of music, whether you believe it or not, and my mind becomes totally quiet as far as language goes. Language uses only one part of the brain. I can actually notice the difference of how my mind works when I'm working out my Calculus homework or composing music. It's not linguistic thinking. You may call doing Calculus and composing music "merely what the higher mammals have", but I disagree with that. And yes, writing music is full of empirical sense data. I listen and respond to different melodies and harmonies and make adjustments as I go along. All of this is done without words. According to you, it's also done without thinking.... it just happens somehow.

I feel that we're just going in circles, so I'm going to exit this discussion. I've been hoping that others would chime in and express their views/interpretations, but the back-and-forth between me and you without any progress either way is not healthy.

I want to clarify my view about God and "logic" very quickly. You may mock me as believing that Christianity is "irrational", but that's not my view. God is not irrational, he is extra-rational... beyond "logic" and "reasoning". I don't know what chapter/verse in the bible says that we must subject God to "logic" because he's so "logical". The bible calls him "wise", and says that he can't lie. "Logic" is a convention of human reasoning, and serves us well, but it's not a silver bullet that subjects all things under it's power, including God.

Also, comparing the Trinity to demon-possession???? :shock: I honestly don't know what to say to that. As if the Trinity is a multiple personality disorder??? Again.... :shock:

ChristHaunted wrote:Dissociative Identity Disorder = more that one personality, and therefore, more than one person, and still one being.

Whoa, dude! Are you saying that a person with this disorder is really many individual people that will stand before God one day? It's really multiple people? So a person with such a disorder could rightly claim 4 or 5 votes in an election? non sequitur. It's one person, struggling with multiple identities. Claiming that it's really multiple people inside the one person is.... well.... :?

Anyway, I'm out. Peace! :wink:
Speech is my hammer, bang the world into shape, now let it fall! -Mos Def
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