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Working past IFs

FYI: Whenever I say things like, "IF Jesus rose from the dead...", please understand that's just a logical idiom. It's a way to consider an argument AND what it depends on. It's also a way to be open and fair with various conversation partners. It's also a way to keep ourselves on our toes... imho.

For comparison, try 1st John. IF those "If"s are true of some ones, THEN those ones can just strike out the IF parts, and focus on the THEN parts. IF they want to. It just takes a bit of working past, before you can get to [that side of] the point.

1st John 1:5b-10, as read by a good christian as read by a Christian:
"God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we sayWe have fellowship with him. while we We do not walk in darkness. We lie and do not practice the truth. But if we We walk in the light, as he is in the light, and therefore we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we We have no sin. We do not deceive ourselves, and because the truth is not in us. If we We confess our sins, and he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we We say we have notsinned. We make him a liar, and our Truth, because his word is not in in us."
The Elder John had some annoying compositional habits, but I guess for some reason, at the time, he felt those IFs were necessary. Sometimes they are.

Here's that passage rewritten. Same truth? Yes. Enjoy.
God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. We have fellowship with him. We do not walk in darkness. We practice the truth. We walk in the light, as he is in the light, and therefore we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. We have sin. We do not deceive ourselves, because the truth is in us. We confess our sins, and he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. We say we have sinned. We make him our Truth, because his word is in us.
Now it reads naturally. Not like a logic puzzle. But for some reason, John gave us the logic puzzle. Curious. By the way, did you catch that "we" after my "therefore"? "WE" have fellowship. That's a very Big "WE". (Cf. 1:1-3.) It's may also be (partly) the same "we" as the next sentence. We have this thing that WE have to deal with, this "sin". Who has sin? We do. Thus, WE do. But look, here's what WE are going to do. (By the way, that may be a corporate confession... but let's not get into that here.)

Get the point? It's often well worth it to work past a few "IF"s. Transforming logic into a Story takes time. So keep at it, with me. And stay tuned...

2 comments:

Charles said...

Are you aware of how conditional if-then statements work in Koine Greek (e.g., 1st, 2nd, 3rd class)? If so, how might this factor into the discussion here?

Bill said...

I confess, I am not. Thanks, Charles.

I'll add that to my research list, unless you'd be so kind as to enlighten...