Romans 11:36

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Mike Burke Deactivated
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Romans 11:36

Post by Mike Burke Deactivated » June 8th, 2013, 4:00 am

What is the distinction between "of Him" (ex autou) and "through Him" (di' autou) in Romans 11:36?
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David Lim
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Re: Romans 11:36

Post by David Lim » June 8th, 2013, 5:39 am

Mike Burke wrote:What is the distinction between "of Him" (ex autou) and "through Him" (di' autou) in Romans 11:36?
[Rom 11:36] οτι εξ αυτου και δι αυτου και εις αυτον τα παντα αυτω η δοξα εις τους αιωνας αμην
"because out of him and through him and for him [are] all things. To him [be] the glory for ever, amen."

In brief, here "εκ" denotes the source and "δια" denotes the channel and "εις" denotes the reason.
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Mike Burke Deactivated
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Re: Romans 11:36

Post by Mike Burke Deactivated » June 8th, 2013, 6:30 am

In brief, here "εκ" denotes the source and "δια" denotes the channel and "εις" denotes the reason.
But what is meant by "channel"?

If channel means instrumentality, wouldn't that imply something or someone using God as an instrument?
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David Lim
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Re: Romans 11:36

Post by David Lim » June 8th, 2013, 9:03 am

Mike Burke wrote:
In brief, here "εκ" denotes the source and "δια" denotes the channel and "εις" denotes the reason.
But what is meant by "channel"?

If channel means instrumentality, wouldn't that imply something or someone using God as an instrument?
It is natural for such directional prepositions to have figurative or abstract implications, and I think it is quite obvious that "δι αυτου" here implies "through his power". The English "through him" is more than clear enough, and I used "channel" only as a rough link the physical and the abstract meanings. For precise meanings, you need the examples of usage given in lexicons such as http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/mor ... ek#lexicon and http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/mor ... ek#lexicon.
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Mike Burke Deactivated
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Re: Romans 11:36

Post by Mike Burke Deactivated » June 8th, 2013, 4:38 pm

Thank you, but I still don't understand the distinction between dia and ek in Romans 11:36 (from an orthodox Christian point of view.)

Can anyone help?
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Eeli Kaikkonen
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Re: Romans 11:36

Post by Eeli Kaikkonen » June 8th, 2013, 5:03 pm

Mike Burke wrote: (from an orthodox Christian point of view.)
That's your problem. Maybe you are so eager to see the orthodox doctrine there that you can't see behind the language, both biblical language and grammatical jargon. "Instrumental" is a grammatical/linguistic expression, it says nothing about a referent of a word being inferior or inactive with regards to something else. It doesn't necessarily mean that someone is using something as an instrument like surgeon is using a scalpel or musician is using a piano.
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Stephen Carlson
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Re: Romans 11:36

Post by Stephen Carlson » June 8th, 2013, 5:20 pm

It is possible for διά to refer to an agent instead of a mere instrument.

I might read the doxology in terms of the Aristotelian causes, so ἐξ αὐτοῦ refers to God being the material cause, δι' αὐτοῦ to God being the efficient cause, and εἰς αὐτόν to God being the final cause.
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David Lim
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Re: Romans 11:36

Post by David Lim » June 9th, 2013, 12:47 am

Eeli Kaikkonen wrote:
Mike Burke wrote: (from an orthodox Christian point of view.)
That's your problem. Maybe you are so eager to see the orthodox doctrine there that you can't see behind the language, both biblical language and grammatical jargon. "Instrumental" is a grammatical/linguistic expression, it says nothing about a referent of a word being inferior or inactive with regards to something else. It doesn't necessarily mean that someone is using something as an instrument like surgeon is using a scalpel or musician is using a piano.
Eeli, thanks for expressing how I felt regarding the question. Mike, I want to just read things as it is written and not view them from a particular predetermined viewpoint. If however you really want philosophical explanation, Stephen has given you an answer from an Aristotelian perspective, but you might do well to look elsewhere as B-Greek wasn't meant for philosophical discussion. But perhaps I should try to further clarify what I mean. We can say in English "Do it by yourself!", meaning "Do it without others' help!", but in no way implying "Use yourself as an instrument to do it!". Likewise, we may say "It was out of love.", meaning that love was the (non-physical) source. Try to understand the Greek prepositions in a similarly way. We distinguish between "out of myself" and "by myself" and "for myself" in English, in much the same way that those prepositions in Rom 11:36 should I think be distinguished. I personally don't believe an Aristotelian reading of Rom 11:36 is the most accurate, but that is not for this forum.
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Mike Burke Deactivated
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Re: Romans 11:36

Post by Mike Burke Deactivated » June 9th, 2013, 5:24 pm

Try to understand the Greek prepositions in a similarly way. We distinguish between "out of myself" and "by myself" and "for myself" in English, in much the same way that those prepositions in Rom 11:36 should I think be distinguished.
I guess part of my problem is that I don't really see the distinction between those prepositions in English.

If I wrote a book, and I said the book was out of me, and thru me, and for me, what would that mean?

Surely I'm the author (out of me?), and I have a right to the profits (for me?), but what would "thru me" mean (and what would be the distinction between "out of" and "thru" me)?

When I think about Lincoln's Gettysburg address, I'm not even sure what distinction he intended between government "of the people" and government "by the people."

What do these prepositions mean?
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Greg Johnston
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Re: Romans 11:36

Post by Greg Johnston » June 9th, 2013, 10:23 pm

Mike Burke wrote:If I wrote a book, and I said the book was out of me, and thru me, and for me, what would that mean?

Surely I'm the author (out of me?), and I have a right to the profits (for me?), but what would "thru me" mean (and what would be the distinction between "out of" and "thru" me)?

When I think about Lincoln's Gettysburg address, I'm not even sure what distinction he intended between government "of the people" and government "by the people."

What do these prepositions mean?
Hi Mike,

Here's one way to look at these three cases.

a) A book "out of me, and through me, and for me"
* out of me: was conceived in my head, or originated with me
* through me: I was the one who wrote it; either the one who composed it, or literally set it to paper, or both
* for me: this could be copyright, I suppose; my gut reaction would have been "was written for my benefit."

So the Declaration of Independence was written out of the Anglo-American liberal tradition, through the words of Thomas Jefferson, for the American people.

b) Lincoln
* of the people: either in the sense of being drawn from the people (a loaf of bread is a loaf made up of bread), or in the sense of government ruling over people (the government of Iran governs the people of Iran)
* by the people: the governed, in some sense, do the governing

Note that in Lincoln's case especially, the distinction may be rhetorical rather than conceptual: there may well be no difference between "of the people" and "by the people," but it sounds better with both.

c) Romans
Here, then, we could say he both conceived of and created all things for himself. It would also be very (grammatically) possible to say that all things were εξ αυτου but δι του πατηρ αυτου or something, but that's not what the text happens to say.
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