Meaning of ἀπέθανον ([all] died) in 2 Cor. 5:14

Semantic Range, Lexicography, and other approaches to word meaning - in general, or for particular words.
Friedrich
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Meaning of ἀπέθανον ([all] died) in 2 Cor. 5:14

Post by Friedrich » April 9th, 2019, 9:25 am

Please contact a moderator so that we can have your first and last name as your screen name, per B-Greek policy. Another policy, please quote the entire Greek text for the passage under consideration (I've added that below). -- BH

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ἡ γὰρ ἀγάπη τοῦ Χριστοῦ συνέχει ἡμᾶς, κρίναντας τοῦτο, ὅτι εἷς ὑπὲρ πάντων ἀπέθανεν, ἄρα οἱ πάντες ἀπέθανον 15 καὶ ὑπὲρ πάντων ἀπέθανεν, ἵνα οἱ ζῶντες μηκέτι ἑαυτοῖς ζῶσιν ἀλλὰ τῷ ὑπὲρ αὐτῶν ἀποθανόντι καὶ ἐγερθέντι


Hi

I'm trying to figure out 2 Corinthians 5:14. It seems that in order to interpret the referent for πάντες and πάντων or the use of ὑπέρ + gen on an exegetical basis, you should first understand the relationship between ἀπέθανεν ([Jesus] died) and ἀπέθανον ([all] died). Commentaries can mainly be divided into two groups: those that interprets ἀπέθανον as that all died a possible death and the other group interprets it to mean all died a real death. They mostly understand the sense in which all died as that they died to their old way of life under law, condemnation, slaves to sin and to then start to live the new life in Christ, under grace, justified and slaves to righteousness. Now, if 'all' is understood to have died a real death in the terms above, the 'all' must be a limited group, because not everyone in this world did or will die in that manner (unless you are universalist). If, however, 'died' is understood as a possible death, then it can be possible that everyone in the world died this possible death or will die the possible death.

What confuses me is how someone can die a possible death? Any ideas?
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Barry Hofstetter
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Re: Meaning of ἀπέθανον ([all] died) in 2 Cor. 5:14

Post by Barry Hofstetter » April 9th, 2019, 10:32 am

This question is hermeneutical and theological, and I doubt that reference to the Greek is going to answer it.
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N.E. Barry Hofstetter
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Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy
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Friedrich de Wet
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Re: Meaning of ἀπέθανον ([all] died) in 2 Cor. 5:14

Post by Friedrich de Wet » April 11th, 2019, 9:06 am

Hi Barry

Thanks for the reply. The problem for me is that hermeneutics point me to go and investigate the word ἀπέθανον and my theology should ultimately be informed from the text. Everything, it seems, boils down to the meaning of ἀποθνήσκω in this text.

In BDAG there are basically four possible meanings for ἀποθνήσκω and I think can thus be summarized:
1. Physical death
2. Spiritual death
2.1 In a negative sense (punishment for sin)
2.2 In a positive sense (die to sin, law, condemnation etc.)
3. Almost died, close to death, realize mortality (i.e. they have the property of mortality)

I'm having trouble to identify where the interpretation "possible death" of some commentators fit in. I can't find it in Louw & Nida either. The only way I can try to make sense of it is under interpretation 3. However, it is not a physical property of mortality, but a spiritual property of mortality. This spiritual mortality is then the property that makes it possible for you to die in a positive sense, as in 2.2 of BDAG summarized above. It would mean that before Christ's death on the cross, there was not such a thing as spiritual mortality, but that Christ's death acquired it for all men. Now, because of Christ's death, they have the possibility to be free from the law, sin, condemnation etc. and live under grace, to God, righteousness etc. (I hope it makes sense).

However, I have never heard of it put that way before and I can't see that Paul uses it in this way elsewhere in an undisputed manner. Therefore I can't interpret ἀπέθανον as "[all] possibly died." It seems to me that to interpret it in that manner is to read theological presuppositions into the text. The burden of proof for people who want to interpret the text in that manner sits squarely on their shoulders to prove such a meaning as "spiritual mortality" from any undisputed text.

Is my train of thought correct?
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Paul-Nitz
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Re: Meaning of ἀπέθανον ([all] died) in 2 Cor. 5:14

Post by Paul-Nitz » April 15th, 2019, 2:19 pm

Yes, probably a matter of interpreting language, regardless of it being Koine.

I don't see any reason to take the two uses of ἀποθάνειν in different senses.

"He cooked for all, so that (it was as if) all cooked"
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Paul D. Nitz - Lilongwe Malawi

Friedrich de Wet
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Re: Meaning of ἀπέθανον ([all] died) in 2 Cor. 5:14

Post by Friedrich de Wet » April 16th, 2019, 9:49 am

Are there any studies on ἀποθνήσκω in Pauline literature which I can go read up on?


P.S.
I noticed that you use the infinitive ἀποθνήσκειν καὶ ἀποθάνειν, rather than the indicative 1st person to refer to words. Why is that?
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wcombs
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Re: Meaning of ἀπέθανον ([all] died) in 2 Cor. 5:14

Post by wcombs » April 16th, 2019, 1:04 pm

As was said, it is more of a theological issue related to the extent of the atonement.

Generally, commentators who expound on the meaning of “all died” in v. 14 understand it in the obvious sense of our death to sin (Barrett, p. 169; Belleville, p. 151; Hafemann, p. 241; Hughes, pp. 195–96; Martin, p. 131; Plummer, p. 174).

Schreiner explains: “The love of Christ controls Paul, and he concludes that ‘one died for all, therefore, all died’ (2 Cor 5:14). The ‘all’ for whom Christ died are not all without exception but all without distinction, including both Jews and Gentiles. Such an interpretation would explain how ‘all died’ when Christ died for them. Once could understand this to say that all died ‘potentially’ when Christ died for them. But the wording of the text actually fits the interpretation proposed here better. All those for whom Christ died ‘actually’ died—they died in the death of Christ to the power of sin. Nothing is said in the text about their potentially dying. Instead, Paul asserts that those for whom Christ suffered actually died. Second Corinthians 5:15 seems to support this view as well: ‘he died for all so that those living should no longer live for themselves but for the one who died and has been raised for the.’ When Paul uses the phrase those living (hoi zōntes), he does not mean those that are physically alive. A reference to physical life would be superfluous and banal, so it is more likely that those living refers to those who are spiritually alive. Those who are spiritually alive are the ‘all’ for whom Christ died in 2 Corinthians 5:14. In dying to the power of sin in Christ, They also came to life in Christ” (Paul, Apostle of God’s Glory in Christ, p. 186).

Bill Combs
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Stirling Bartholomew
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Re: Meaning of ἀπέθανον ([all] died) in 2 Cor. 5:14

Post by Stirling Bartholomew » April 16th, 2019, 2:24 pm

ἡ γὰρ ἀγάπη τοῦ Χριστοῦ συνέχει ἡμᾶς, κρίναντας τοῦτο, ὅτι εἷς ὑπὲρ πάντων ἀπέθανεν, ἄρα οἱ πάντες ἀπέθανον 15 καὶ ὑπὲρ πάντων ἀπέθανεν, ἵνα οἱ ζῶντες μηκέτι ἑαυτοῖς ζῶσιν ἀλλὰ τῷ ὑπὲρ αὐτῶν ἀποθανόντι καὶ ἐγερθέντι

On the language side of the question, I recall a long time ago hearing someone in this forum arguing that πάντες πάντων necessarily refers to "every single one" which is very easy to refute. So easy that I will not bother to provide evidence.
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C. Stirling Bartholomew

Stirling Bartholomew
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Re: Meaning of ἀπέθανον ([all] died) in 2 Cor. 5:14

Post by Stirling Bartholomew » April 16th, 2019, 4:22 pm

Stirling Bartholomew wrote:
April 16th, 2019, 2:24 pm
ἡ γὰρ ἀγάπη τοῦ Χριστοῦ συνέχει ἡμᾶς, κρίναντας τοῦτο, ὅτι εἷς ὑπὲρ πάντων ἀπέθανεν, ἄρα οἱ πάντες ἀπέθανον 15 καὶ ὑπὲρ πάντων ἀπέθανεν, ἵνα οἱ ζῶντες μηκέτι ἑαυτοῖς ζῶσιν ἀλλὰ τῷ ὑπὲρ αὐτῶν ἀποθανόντι καὶ ἐγερθέντι

On the language side of the question, I recall a long time ago hearing someone in this forum arguing that πάντες πάντων necessarily refers to "every single one" which is very easy to refute. So easy that I will not bother to provide evidence.
OK, here is some evidence from today's reading in On the Incarnation. Notice similar themes addressed. Notice The final statement κἂν Ἰουδαῖοι μὴ πιστεύωσιν that would appear to indicate there are expectations. However there are exegetical issues with this passage as complex as 2Cor 5:14.
§ 37.7 Οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ σταυρωθεὶς ἐπὶ μάρτυρι τῷ ἡλίῳ καὶ τῇ κτίσει καὶ τοῖς αὐτῷ τὸν θάνατον προσαγαγοῦσι· καὶ τῷ τούτου θανάτῳ ἡ σωτηρία πᾶσι γέγονε, καὶ ἡ κτίσις πᾶσα λελύτρωται. Οὗτός ἐστιν ἡ πάντων ζωή, καὶ ὁ ὡς πρόβατον ὑπὲρ τῆς πάντων σωτηρίας ἀντίψυχον τὸ ἑαυτοῦ σῶμα εἰς θάνατον παραδούς, κἂν Ἰουδαῖοι μὴ πιστεύωσιν.

§ 37.7 7. He it is that was crucified before the sun and all creation as witnesses, and before those who put Him to death: and by His death has salvation come to all, and all creation been ransomed. He is the Life of all, and He it is that as a sheep yielded His body to death as a substitute, for the salvation of all, even though the Jews believe it not.
A. Robertson 1891.
I am Not trying to hijack this thread.
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C. Stirling Bartholomew

Friedrich de Wet
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Re: Meaning of ἀπέθανον ([all] died) in 2 Cor. 5:14

Post by Friedrich de Wet » April 17th, 2019, 3:57 am

Thanks for the feedback!

This text just is a hard nut to crack. Sometimes I want to despair and wonder why God made some parts of the Bible so difficult to understand.
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Friedrich de Wet
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Re: Meaning of ἀπέθανον ([all] died) in 2 Cor. 5:14

Post by Friedrich de Wet » April 18th, 2019, 8:01 am

I was wondering: So some people interpret ἀπέθανον as a potential death and others as an actual death (all are potentially saved or actually saved; @ Paul Nitz all have an actual meal or a potential meal)

Can one make an argument that since ἀπέθανον is in die indicative mood, that it is more plausible that Paul means an actual death; If he wanted to portray it as a potential death he could have used the subjuncive mood (ἵνα or ὥστε ἀποθάνωσι)?
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