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Please critique my theory of

Posted: June 6th, 2011, 7:17 pm
by Bill Ross 2
This, I believe, is fairly representative of how 2 Cor 5:21 is generally rendered:
2Co 5:21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
For more samples, see:http://bible.cc/2_corinthians/5-21.htm

My theory is that, rather than taking this as a double accusative construction, we see a question:

"Did the one who did not "know" sin about us commit an offense so that we could become the righteousness of God by his agency?"

I take this as referring to the previous verses where God "did not count sin".

Re: Please critique my theory of

Posted: June 6th, 2011, 7:25 pm
by Jonathan Robie
Hi Bill,

Could you please cite the Greek and say more about how you understand the Greek text, instead of just supplying a translation?

Re: Please critique my theory of

Posted: June 6th, 2011, 7:35 pm
by Bill Ross 2
Sure...

Actually, it is 1 Cor:

τὸν μὴ γνόντα ἁμαρτίαν ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν ἁμαρτίαν ἐποίησεν, ἵνα ἡμεῖς γενώμεθα δικαιοσύνη θεοῦ ἐν αὐτῷ.

Is ἐποίησεν describing an action by τὸν μὴ γνόντα ἁμαρτίαν ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν?

Or did τὸν μὴ γνόντα ἁμαρτίαν ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν commit (ἐποίησεν) ἁμαρτίαν?

As background, I point out a similar Pauline construction a few chapters later in the same letter:

Ἢ ἁμαρτίαν ἐποίησα ἐμαυτὸν ταπεινῶν ἵνα ὑμεῖς ὑψωθῆτε, ὅτι δωρεὰν τὸ τοῦ θεοῦ εὐαγγέλιον εὐηγγελισάμην ὑμῖν;

Re: Please critique my theory of

Posted: June 6th, 2011, 7:37 pm
by Barry Hofstetter
Bill Ross wrote:This, I believe, is fairly representative of how 2 Cor 5:21 is generally rendered:
2Co 5:21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
For more samples, see:http://bible.cc/2_corinthians/5-21.htm

My theory is that, rather than taking this as a double accusative construction, we see a question:

"Did the one who did not "know" sin about us commit an offense so that we could become the righteousness of God by his agency?"

I take this as referring to the previous verses where God "did not count sin".
Well, my first point of critique, Bill, is that you didn't quote the Greek text. You quoted the English. Here is the Greek:
21 τὸν μὴ γνόντα ἁμαρτίαν ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν ἁμαρτίαν ἐποίησεν, ἵνα ἡμεῖς γενώμεθα δικαιοσύνη θεοῦ ἐν αὐτῷ.
Even in the beginners' section, we talk about Greek first and foremost.

My second point of critique is that you don't really ask any question about Greek grammar. You mention something about a double accusative, whatever that means here, and then you offer a "translation" that seems to have nothing at all to do with the Greek text. Now, we are not about translation here, but understanding the Greek. I really would prefer not to see links to Bible translations and that sort of thing, but questions about the Greek. Now, the rendering you have given: there is nothing at all to indicate that it's a question. The first ἁμαρτίαν is clearly the direct object of the participle; the second ἁμαρτίαν only makes sense as standing in apposition to the substantive participle τὸν μὴ γνόντα. This is a fairly standard and certainly non-controversial construction. Render literally as "He made him not knowing sin sin on our behalf." Secondly, ἵνα is almost certainly purpose or result (hard to tell the difference sometimes, even in context. Render "that we might become the righteousness of God in him." There is no "could" about it.

Re: Please critique my theory of

Posted: June 6th, 2011, 8:34 pm
by Jonathan Robie
What Barry said.

Let's line this out by clause (I often do this first if a text is hard for me):

τὸν μὴ γνόντα ἁμαρτίαν
ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν ἁμαρτίαν ἐποίησεν,
ἵνα ἡμεῖς γενώμεθα
δικαιοσύνη θεοῦ ἐν αὐτῷ.

And correlate it with what Barry said:
Barry Hofstetter wrote:The first ἁμαρτίαν is clearly the direct object of the participle
This is in the first line - μὴ γνόντα ἁμαρτίαν - the direct object tells you what it is that he did not know.

τὸν μὴ γνόντα ἁμαρτίαν = "the one who did not know sin"
Barry Hofstetter wrote:the second ἁμαρτίαν only makes sense as standing in apposition to the substantive participle τὸν μὴ γνόντα.
So if you want to know who was made sin (ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν ἁμαρτίαν ἐποίησεν), you look at the first clause - the same person who "knew not sin".

ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν ἁμαρτίαν ἐποίησεν = "he made to be sin"

In context, God made Jesus to be sin.

ἵνα ἡμεῖς γενώμεθα - so that we might become. γενώμεθα - first person subjunctive plural "we might become".

δικαιοσύνη θεοῦ ἐν αὐτῷ - δικαιοσύνη righteousness, θεοῦ - genitive - "of God". ἐν αὐτῷ - "in him".

Robertson's Word Pictures is helpful here.
RWP wrote:Him who knew no sin (τον μη γνοντα αμαρτιαν). Definite claim by Paul that Jesus did not commit sin, had no personal acquaintance (μη γνοντα, second aorist active participle of γινωσκω) with it. Jesus made this claim for himself (Joh 8:46). This statement occurs also in 1Pe 2:22; Heb 4:15; 7:26; 1Jo 3:5. Christ was and is "a moral miracle" (Bernard) and so more than mere man.

He made to be sin (αμαρτιαν εποιησεν). The words "to be" are not in the Greek. "Sin" here is the substantive, not the verb. God "treated as sin" the one "who knew no sin." But he knew the contradiction of sinners (Heb 12:3). We may not dare to probe too far into the mystery of Christ's suffering on the Cross, but this fact throws some light on the tragic cry of Jesus just before he died: "My God, My God, why didst thou forsake me?" (Mt 27:46).

That we might become (ινα ημεις γενωμεθα). Note "become." This is God's purpose (ινα) in what he did and in what Christ did. Thus alone can we obtain God's righteousness (Ro 1:17).

Re: Please critique my theory of

Posted: June 7th, 2011, 8:58 am
by Bill Ross 2
I'm not sure if I was understood concerning what my theory is, so let me be more clear...

This is a question, not a statement:

τὸν μὴ γνόντα ἁμαρτίαν <-- the subject - God
ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν <-- "concerning us"
ἁμαρτίαν ἐποίησεν <-- the action... "commited an offense"
ἵνα ἡμεῖς γενώμεθα <--in order that we might become/make ourselves
δικαιοσύνη θεοῦ <-- God's righteousness (not the Christ's)
ἐν αὐτῷ. <-- by his agency

"Did the one not knowing sin [God] commit an offense in order that we might become God's righteousness by his agency?"

The normal way that this is taken, the main verb has a double accusative:
* τὸν μὴ γνόντα ἁμαρτίαν
* and ἁμαρτίαν

ie: " [God] made the not knowing sin [to be] sin"

The construct is similar to the question Paul poses a few chapters later:

Ἢ ἁμαρτίαν ἐποίησα ἐμαυτὸν ταπεινῶν ἵνα ὑμεῖς ὑψωθῆτε, ὅτι δωρεὰν τὸ τοῦ θεοῦ εὐαγγέλιον εὐηγγελισάμην ὑμῖν;

2 Cor 11:7
Have I committed an offence in abasing myself that ye might be exalted because I have preached to you the gospel of God freely

Re: Please critique my theory of

Posted: June 7th, 2011, 10:12 am
by Jonathan Robie
Bill Ross wrote:I'm not sure if I was understood concerning what my theory is, so let me be more clear...

This is a question, not a statement:

τὸν μὴ γνόντα ἁμαρτίαν <-- the subject - God
ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν <-- "concerning us"
ἁμαρτίαν ἐποίησεν <-- the action... "commited an offense"
ἵνα ἡμεῖς γενώμεθα <--in order that we might become/make ourselves
δικαιοσύνη θεοῦ <-- God's righteousness (not the Christ's)
ἐν αὐτῷ. <-- by his agency

"Did the one not knowing sin [God] commit an offense in order that we might become God's righteousness by his agency?"
This is very helpful - and would probably be a great format to use for this kind of question, since what we're discussing is really about the detailed structure of the text.

Here's the first thing I wonder about:

τὸν μὴ γνόντα ἁμαρτίαν <-- the subject - God

The subject of what? Of the main verb, ἐποίησεν? The subject of ἐποίησεν would not be accusative, it would be nominative. But τὸν μὴ γνόντα ἁμαρτίαν has to be the object of something, and there's only one verb that will do the trick: ἐποίησεν.
Bill Ross wrote:The normal way that this is taken, the main verb has a double accusative:
* τὸν μὴ γνόντα ἁμαρτίαν
* and ἁμαρτίαν

ie: " [God] made the not knowing sin [to be] sin"
Right - so when you see something like this, turn to BDAG first to see if the verb ποιέω is used in "double accusative" constructions. I don't have a machine readable version of BDAG, so I can't paste it in here, but it is used in this way.

Here's one example:

Matthew 4:19 καὶ ποιήσω ὑμᾶς ἁλιεῖς ἀνθρώπων.- "I will make you fishers of men".

Both the object ὑμᾶς ("you") and the predicate ἁλιεῖς ("fishers") are accusative. Compare that to this slightly rewritten version of the 2 Corinthians verse we're looking at:

ἐποίησεν - τὸν μὴ γνόντα ἁμαρτίαν - ἁμαρτίαν
"he made - the one who did not know sin - sin"

ἐποίησεν - "He made"
τὸν μὴ γνόντα ἁμαρτίαν - object: the one who did not know sin
ἁμαρτίαν - predicate: sin

Incidentally, Funk has some interesting ideas on why this is accusative, he thinks there's an implied infinitive γενέσθαι at work here.

Code: Select all

(3)	ποιήσω / ὑμᾶς / ἁλιεῖς ἀνθρώπων	Mt 4:19	 
 	I shall make you fishers of men
 
(4)	ποιήσω / ὑμᾶς / γενέσθαι / ἁλιεῖς ἀνθρώπων	Mk 1:17
 	I shall make you (to become) fishers of men

Re: Please critique my theory of

Posted: June 7th, 2011, 10:27 am
by Jonathan Robie
Bill Ross wrote:As background, I point out a similar Pauline construction a few chapters later in the same letter:

Ἢ ἁμαρτίαν ἐποίησα ἐμαυτὸν ταπεινῶν ἵνα ὑμεῖς ὑψωθῆτε, ὅτι δωρεὰν τὸ τοῦ θεοῦ εὐαγγέλιον εὐηγγελισάμην ὑμῖν;
Could you line this out, as you did for the other text, and say how you interpret the structure of this sentence? In particular, why do you think ἐμαυτὸν is accusative?

Re: Please critique my theory of

Posted: June 7th, 2011, 11:06 am
by Jason Hare
Do we normally find ἁμαρτία with a verb like ποιέω? Does ποιεῖν ἁμαρτίαν mean "to commit sin"? Since we have the verb ἁμαρτάνω, which of the two is more common?

If Paul wanted to express the idea of the OP, would it not be better written as follows?

ὁ μὴ γνοὺς ἁμαρτίαν ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν ἡμάρτησεν ἵνα...

The fact that ὁ μὴ γνοὺς ἁμαρτίαν is in the accusative (τὸν μὴ γνόντα ἁμαρτίαν) is enough to rule out the question of the OP.

τὸν μὴ γνόντα ἁμαρτία (Jesus)
ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν (for our sakes)
ἁμαρτίαν ἐποίησε (he made sin) -- Subject is surely "God"

Shouldn't there be an implied "become" there? In the same way that the verse continues that ἵνα ἡμεῖς γενώμεθα δικαοσύνη θεοῦ ("we might become righteousness"), we should read it as:

"He (God) made him who had not known sin (Jesus) become sin for our sakes - so that we might become the righteousness of God in him."

The verse itself doesn't seem to strange. We just need to insert the "become" there, as it is implied from the purpose clause (after ἵνα).

Re: Please critique my theory of

Posted: June 7th, 2011, 11:10 am
by Jason Hare
Regarding 2 Cor 11:7
Ἢ ἁμαρτίαν ἐποίησα ἐμαυτὸν ταπεινῶν ἵνα ὑμεῖς ὑψωθῆτε, ὅτι δωρεὰν τὸ τοῦ θεοῦ εὐαγγέλιον εὐηγγελισάμην ὑμῖν;
This isn't the same as the above question. Here ἁμαρτίαν is the object of ἐποίησα (first-person) and ἐμαυτὸν is the object of ταπεινῶν. There are two different verbs with two different objects in the accusative. Above, we had only one verb (ἐποίησε) with two objects.