Born or Fathered?

Discussion in 'Bible Versions/Translations' started by Van, Mar 9, 2014.

  1. Van

    Van
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    If someone is born, that primarily indicates the action of the female parent, but if someone is fathered, that indicates the action of the male parent.

    NET

    NASB

    Whoever is at the present believing in Christ, has been fathered by God in the past. Many times we will see grammatical arguments asserting the start or beginning point of belief is in view, and therefore we were fathered before we believed. However, if God is the one who decides whether we are "believing" or not, then the fathering would be contemporaneous with God deciding to accept the faith.

    However, all that is beside the point, the issue is should this verse be translated traditionally (born) or as does the NET (fathered.)

    The NET footnotes indicate by looking at 1 John 2:29 and 1 John 3:9 we see that John is using paternal imagery, and therefore "fathered" is indicated rather than born.

    Now to the nub of the issue, if "fathered" is in view rather than born, can the presentation of the gospel, having also believed, be referred to as "fathering."

    To make this even more unclear, when we look at 1 John 3:9 we see we have God's seed in us. Normally the "seed" is Christ, so this seems to be saying we have the Spirit of Christ in us. Thus to be "fathered" is to be sealed in Christ with the Holy Spirit. Or at least that would be one way of looking at it. :)
     
  2. Yeshua1

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    Since/due to.because the person has been born above by/from God, they placed faith in Jesus!
     
  3. Van

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    So you agree, to be fathered by God is to be sealed in Christ with the Spirit of Christ?
     
  4. Yeshua1

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    would not use that terminology, as Jesus is ONLY begotten/fathered by God, all of us were grafted in as adopted kids!
     
  5. Van

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    If we look at little closer at how the words translated either born or fathered are used in 1 John, we see some more distinctions.

    1) If we transliterate the Greek word found at 1 John 2:29, we get gegennEtia. The tense can be translated has "has been born or fathered" and is preceded by "out of Him" we can see that fathered fits better. Thus "has been fathered by God" seems to be the intended message.

    2) Similar, but not exactly the same construction can be found at 1 John 4:7 and 1 John 5:1 (in the first appearance of our word) and again could be translated as "has been fathered by God.

    3) In four other places, 1 John 3:9, 1 John 5:1 (in the last appearance of our word), 1 John 5:4, and 1 John 5:18, we get a slightly different form of our word (gegennEmenos) followed by "out of God." Here the closest translation would be "having been fathered by God."

    4) Finally, a little different form is found in the middle usage of our word in 1 John 5:1, with "being fathered" i.e. an ongoing fathering. So if we love the One fathering us (alluding to the ongoing nurturing of the Holy Spirit) we will love those others fathered by God.
     
  6. Van

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    "Everyone believing Jesus is the Christ has been fathered by God and everyone loving the One fathering is also loving the others fathered by Him."

    If anyone says, “I love God” and yet hates his fellow Christian, he is a liar, because the one who does not love his fellow Christian whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.
     
  7. Greektim

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    Van, you need to speak on the ancient mindset and if they would distinguish between being born and being fathered. My guess is no.

    I am also curious how far you would take this. Does this apply in every instance of gennao? Does it refer to Jn 3:3 & 5 "being fathered again" or "fathered from above"?

    How about Matt. 1:16 where it refers to "Mary from whom Jesus was fathered"? Does that work?

    Are we to apply a gender to God the Father as if he cannot fulfill both roles of mother and father?

    We know exactly what this is about. You are looking for a way to discredit the Calvinist interpretation. At least you are finally dealing with the text. I will give you that. I'm just not sure the argument will sustain. You are making some exegetical fallacies as far as semantics are concerned. For example, the etymology fallacy as if the history of what the word meant is what it still means. LSJ (http://stephanus.tlg.uci.edu/lsj/#eid=22602&context=lsj&action=from-search) does say that gennaw does refer "mostly of the father" in ancient Greek (Attic). However, and I think we can agree, this is not a physical thing but figural or almost metaphorical & this is not Attic Greek but Koine. Thus LSJ also renders the metaphorical meaning as "engender, produce, ... call into existence" and so on.
     
    #7 Greektim, Mar 11, 2014
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  8. Yeshua1

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    Seems that God "fathered" us as His children smacks too much of the pagan greek idea of Zeus giving physical birth to hercules, but God more is our father due to adoption that happened by Him after we were reborn into/thru Christ!
     
  9. Van

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    Hi Greektim, thanks for actually addressing the topic of the thread.

    As I tried to indicate, translating gennaw as fathered has either "out of Him or out of God" before or after the word. We commonly see "born of God" for that construction in 1 John.

    As as Dr. Wallace indicated, the seed of 1 John 3:9 refers to the male contribution.

    Not sure what you are getting at when you assert I did not consider the first century culture, not something you would know. But I certainly did consider the context, and felt John was using paternal imagery.

    Our first order of business, in my view, is to agree on the few English words that need to be used to translate the various words in the "gennaw" lexiconal family.

    My concordance say there are 97 examples in the NT, with the NIV choosing father 40 times and born 37 times. That would leave about 20 examples of needless variation such as conceived, and produce.
     
    #9 Van, Mar 11, 2014
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  10. Van

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    Hi Greektim, take a look at Matthew 1:20 where one of the forms of "gennaw" is translated "conceived." But it would seem the idea is actually that which is in her is was fathered by the Holy Spirit. Again the construction includes "out of ... a form of God.

    OTOH, if we look at Matthew 2:1 we see "born" from the context (for Jesus was "fathered" someplace else) and the "out of ...God" is no where to be found.
     
    #10 Van, Mar 11, 2014
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  11. Greektim

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    So can we used "fathered" when it fits our theology? Or are you saying only when it gives the person which is doing the fathering? The problem is, the "of" is used of Mary in Matthew 1:16 like I pointed out (same word "of" as in 1:20 that you pointed out). So is Jesus fathered from Mary? Of course not.

    I still think there is very little difference in the ancient mind in the nuance you are wanting to make with gennao. What I am saying is that why the English nuance when the same Greek word is used. I am not sure the nuance is there every time its says "by" or "from". That is just stating the agent.
     
    #11 Greektim, Mar 11, 2014
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  12. Van

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    Luke 1:35 provides another example of how to decide whether born or fathered should be used. Here, instead of "out of ...God" we find "out of you" thus born fits. One nuance being missed is the difference between born = birth versus born = carrying to term. Many of these examples seem to refer to carrying rather than birth.
     
  13. Van

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    John 1:13 seems a case where it is actually difficult to determine if born or fathered should be used. We have the construction "out of God fathered" but not very many translations follow that nuance. (See YLT and Weymouth New Testament) which have "begotten."

    In John 8:41, since the action of being generated is directed at Mary, i.e. born of prostitution, born fits best.

    John 18:37 again presents a case where "fathered" fits better, to my eye at least, because come into the world is redundant to born but not to fathered.

    In Acts 13:33 we see begotten which is archaic and would be better translated "fathered."

    2 Timothy 2:23 could be translated ... they father quarrels.

    Philemon 1:10 could be translated "fathered."

    In Hebrews 1:5 and 5:5 begotten could be translated "fathered."

    I think that covers the full spectrum of translation choices where a change to "fathered" seems sound.
     
    #13 Van, Mar 11, 2014
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  14. Greektim

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    You still didn't address Matt. 1:16 where "from" or "by" was used of Mary. Doesn't that indicate that there is not so much nuance in that word?
     
  15. Deacon

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    Curious Van, thanks for bring this up!

    The TDNT has quite a write up about this word.

    Here's a short bit....

    γεννάω

    Like τίκτω, this term is used of the “begetting” of the father and the “bearing” of the mother, not only in Gk. generally,1 but also in the LXX and NT Figur. it is used of producing without birth, as at 2 Tm. 2:23 and also Joseph.: γεννᾶται ἐν αὐτῇ φοῖνιξ ὁ κάλλιστος (Ant., 9, 7, cf. Bell., 4, 469); in the religious sense of the old covenant (Gl. 4:24), of Paul in the self-protestations at 1 C. 4:15; Phlm. 10. γεννᾶν with God as subj., Prv. 8:25; Ps. 2:7 (quoted in Lk. 3:22 [west. reading]; Ac. 13:33; Hb. 1:5; 5:5). γεννᾶσθαι (pass.) in Jn. 1:13; 3:3, 5, 6, 8; 1 Jn. 2:29; 3:9; 4:7; 5:1, 4, 18.

    Kittel, G., Bromiley, G. W., & Friedrich, G. (Eds.). (1964–). Theological Dictionary of the New Testament. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans.
     
    #15 Deacon, Mar 11, 2014
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  16. Van

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    Lets run through this:

    1) I addressed 2 Timothy 2:23.
    2) The NASB has father rather than born at 1 Corinthians 4:15
    3) I addressed Philemon 1:10
    4) Luke 3:22 does have the "today I have begotten you" in the NASB
    5) In John 3:3, 5, 6, and 8, the NASB has born and that fits the context, i.e born anew, born of water and spirit, cannot re-enter the womb, etc.
    6) I addressed all six cases in 1 John as should be changed to fathered.
     
    #16 Van, Mar 11, 2014
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  17. Van

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    Hi Greektim, if the verse indicates "born or fathered" out of Mary, then born and not fathered is indicated. Thus at Matthew 1:16 Jesus was "out of Mary" therefore born.

    The one difficult verse is John 1:13 where "out of God" is present. The difficulty is in the "not of bloods" at the start of the verse. This points to joint contribution of a biological conception, thus John is comparing not human fathering to Godly fathering, but human caused conception with God caused conception. So, even though the NASB footnotes "begotten" for born, and as I said,the YLT and Weymouth NT, use begotten, I think John was presenting human effort, thus born addresses both humans as not party to the new birth. Thin perhaps, but here I stand.
     
  18. Greektim

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    I think that by your own admission of Matt. 1:16, that the nuance you are arguing for is really absent and forced. It fits your theology to say we were fathered by God but Jesus was born by Mary. But the idea is the same for both when applied theologically to salvation, thus the same word is used for both. I don't think you can force this one as much as you would like.

    That said, saying that God fathered us, does that mean there is a motherly birth involved in regeneration? If so, who did that? Or are you making the figure work harder than it was intended?

    In the end, I don't see a great difference in being fathered by God and being born by God. Especially if the root idea is coming from Jn 3:3 & 5 as well as Ezekiel 16, 36, & 37.
     
  19. Van

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    I think the difference between out of Mary and out of God is as plain as the nose on my face.

    You have said repeatedly, my view is the product of my theology, rather an presenting the same idea as presented by Dr. Wallace (NET footnotes) and as subsequently supported by the TDNT to a limited degree.

    My argument with your Calvinistic view of 1 John 5:1, did not in any way rely upon changing born to fathered, I was agreeing with Dr. Wallace. I presented why the Calvinistic interpretation was invalid, then moved quickly away to the subject matter of this thread.

    Now if "fathering" refers to when God puts the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, by which we cry Abba Father, then that is frosting on the cake, but that view, while seemingly possible has not been studied by me or anyone else I currently know of.

    God Bless
     
  20. Van

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    While the plural of "blood" appears many times in the OT (Septuagint)
    almost always referring to having blood on their hands, guilty of bloodshed, bloods only seems to appear here at John 1:13. Because the meaning is not clear, you can find a bunch of guesses, including mine (biological generation of life), but two other views appear quite frequently, guilty of bloodshed, or guilty of adultery thus saying not of sinful man, and a Jewish mistaken view that their blood line, i.e. the bloods back to Abraham, had some merit in and of itself, however, Jesus counters this with "you must be born anew." This second view, I find persuasive, and therefore continue to think "born" is the idea, but for a different reason.
     

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