Responses to Bismikaallahuma

I AM WHAT I AM Response [Part 1]

Sam Shamoun

The team at Bismikaallahuma has tried to "respond" to my rebuttal of their "I AM WHAT I AM" article. Yet from what they have written they were quite incapable of doing so. Their "response" can be found here.

The TM team (TAM minus A) begins:

Observation of Answering-Islam's Response to "I AM WHAT I AM: A Bible Commentary"

Tera Tak Adamar & Mohd Elfie Nieshaem Juferi


The missionary Sam Shamoun under the banner of the infamous missionary website, Answering-Islam, have claimed in his series of articles [1] [2] [3] [4] that he has refuted our analysis of John 8:28 regarding the usage of the Greek 'ego eimi' (egw eimi). Unfortunately, to achieve that ambition, he had to resort to writing tons of text which is not only full of ad hominem against us, but also wholly unrelated to the issue of the Greek, thus committing the logical fallacies of strawman and red herring. We surmise that only 10% from his above presentation actually deals with the Greek and it is this portion that we shall seek to address extensively in our observation. Any other unrelated parts of his article shall either be ignored or addressed only in brief.


The team begins by accusing me of ad hominem, all the while committing their very own ad hominem. Note their words carefully:

"The missionary Sam Shamoun under the banner of the INFAMOUS missionary website ..."

The authors also falsely accuse me of red herring and straw man argumentation, yet as anyone reading my articles can see that no such fallacies have been committed. It seems that the authors are unaware of what these fallacies truly mean. Note the following definitions (taken from an atheist website):

Argumentum ad hominem

Argumentum ad hominem literally means "argument directed at the man"; there are two varieties.

The first is the abusive form. If you refuse to accept a statement, and justify your refusal by criticizing the person who made the statement, then you are guilty of abusive argumentum ad hominem. For example:

"You claim that atheists can be moral -- yet I happen to know that you abandoned your wife and children."

This is a fallacy because the truth of an assertion doesn't depend on the virtues of the person asserting it. A less blatant argumentum ad hominem is to reject a proposition based on the fact that it was also asserted by some other easily criticized person. For example:

"Therefore we should close down the church? Hitler and Stalin would have agreed with you."

A second form of argumentum ad hominem is to try and persuade someone to accept a statement you make, by referring to that person's particular circumstances. For example:

"Therefore it is perfectly acceptable to kill animals for food. I hope you won't argue otherwise, given that you're quite happy to wear leather shoes."

This is known as circumstantial argumentum ad hominem. The fallacy can also be used as an excuse to reject a particular conclusion. For example:

"Of course you'd argue that positive discrimination is a bad thing. You're white."

This particular form of Argumentum ad Hominem, when you allege that someone is rationalizing a conclusion for selfish reasons, is also known as "poisoning the well".

It's not always invalid to refer to the circumstances of an individual who is making a claim. If someone is a known perjurer or liar, that fact will reduce their credibility as a witness. It won't, however, prove that their testimony is false in this case. It also won't alter the soundness of any logical arguments they may make.

Red herring

This fallacy is committed when someone introduces irrelevant material to the issue being discussed, so that everyone's attention is diverted away from the points made, towards a different conclusion.

"You may claim that the death penalty is an ineffective deterrent against crime -- but what about the victims of crime? How do you think surviving family members feel when they see the man who murdered their son kept in prison at their expense? Is it right that they should pay for their son's murderer to be fed and housed?"

Straw man

The straw man fallacy is when you misrepresent someone else's position so that it can be attacked more easily, knock down that misrepresented position, then conclude that the original position has been demolished. It's a fallacy because it fails to deal with the actual arguments that have been made.

"To be an atheist, you have to believe with absolute certainty that there is no God. In order to convince yourself with absolute certainty, you must examine all the Universe and all the places where God could possibly be. Since you obviously haven't, your position is indefensible."

The above straw man argument appears at about once a week on the net. If you can't see what's wrong with it, read the "Introduction to Atheism" document. (Source)

In light of TM's comment regarding the Answering Islam web site, it turns out that they are guilty of committing the fallacy of ad hominem. They have tried to "poison the well" by their labeling the site as "infamous". Furthermore, in Muslim vocabulary there can hardly be a worse insult than calling somebody a missionary. A person labelled a missionary will automatically be dismissed and not be taken seriously by Muslim readers. It is used to create anger towards that person. That is exactly what TM wanted to achieve and why they used this word instead of just saying "Sam Shamoun, apologist of the Answering Islam web site", or using the adjective "Christian" which would have been more neutral. Understanding the Muslim use of language, it is the classical ad hominem. We shall see below that the authors have also committed the fallacy of red herring argumentation as well as introducing a straw man.

Thirdly, notice that the above link states that it is not always invalid to refer to a person's circumstances when critiquing a position. Unlike the authors, my rebuttal nowhere maligned the character or the integrity of the writers. Instead, I provided evidence that called into question the authors' ability to seriously interact with the facts. As such, no fallacy was committed. Again, lest the authors object to this, here are the comments of Shabir Ally regarding his ad hominem slurs against Robert Morey:

The REF reporter said that Dr. Badawi and Shabir had argued ad hominem, which means that instead of dealing with the ideas academically we attacked the character of the man who presented the ideas. Here the REF reporter echoes Dr. Morey himself, for he made the same claim in his debate with me. He and the REF reporter say that even if Dr. Morey is a liar his ideas may still be true.

As I have already pointed out, however, my approach has never been to attack the character of my opponent. I have dealt with his ideas in an academic fashion. I checked the sources of his information and his sources reveal his ideas to be false. The act of checking his references also revealed that he does not always make accurate quotations. Some of the comparisons between what he quoted and what his sources actually do say reveal discrepancies which throw doubt on his academic integrity. If he handled his references in such a manner as to raise questions of his honesty in dealing with the issue it is not for me to come up with the answers to such questions. It is for him and for the REF reporter to come up with answers. They have to show that the sources do actually say what Dr. Morey quoted them to say. This they have not done...

It may prove helpful at this point if I further explain what is an ad hominem fallacy and what is not. One commits the ad hominem fallacy when one attacks the person instead of refuting his ideas. It is not ad hominem if in addition to pointing out the errors in the ideas one also shows how the person arrived at those incorrect ideas in the first place. If this means exposing the deceptive tactics such as the use of misquotes, then this reflects not on the expositor, but on the deceiver. It is also useful and legitimate for a debater to show that whereas his opponent poses as a scholar on a given subject, he has in fact proved inadequate or incompetent in dealing with the subject; or, worse yet, that he has proved dishonest in dealing with the subject. This of course does not prove that everything he says is wrong, since even the devil speaks the truth sometimes. But it does establish the need for caution before accepting everything he says -- hook line and sinker. (Source; bold emphasis ours)

As they say, what is good for the goose is good for the gander.

The authors then falsely assert that I failed to interact with the Greek. Yet as anyone reading my articles can see, I specifically built my case on the Greek. The team claims that in this "rebuttal" they will be addressing the Greek section of my response. As we shall see, even here the authors have failed to refute my points. They have seemingly chosen to quote sources from Jehovah Witness literature, not realizing that these sources actually refute their case. More on this below.


Evaluating The Missionary's Writings

The missionary has made the following claim in the first part of his paper:

The main claim of the authors is, that since Exodus 3:14 refers to God and since the Greek translation there is Ho On, then John 8:58 doesn't prove that Jesus is Yahweh because of the slightly different wording in that verse.

It is not hard to see why it is so. Throughout the various English translations of the Bible, the translators have translated 'ego eimi' in several ways and has not stuck to merely translating it to "I am", as the missionary would like us to believe. This we have already shown in our original article. But our missionary seems to have a problem with the fact that 'ego eimi' does not neccessarily translate into "I am" and so he says that

First, the reason why different translations of John 8:58 have different renderings has nothing to do with the Septuagint's rendering of Exodus 3:14. Rather, it has to do with the context of John 8:58. Scholars have noted that the use of ego eimi in the context of John 8:58 is to highlight past existence that continues to the present moment. This is known as PPA, or present of past action still in progress, or simply as EP, extension of past idiom.


The authors have falsely accused me of having a problem with the way different translations translate ego eimi. Yet as anyone reading my rebuttal knows this is blatantly false. In my response, I provided a link to one of my articles where I ACTUALLY QUOTED FROM DIFFERENT TRANSLATIONS DOCUMENTING THE DIFFERENT WAYS JOHN 8:58 HAS BEEN TRANSLATED. We reproduce the relevant section for all to see:

Different Translations of John 8:58

We present a list of translations which translate John 8:58 in a variety of ways. We do this solely to demonstrate integrity in presenting evidence for the different renderings alluded throughout our article, allowing the readers to compare and come to their own conclusions.

American Standard Version - Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was born, I am.

New International Version - "I tell you the truth," Jesus answered, "before Abraham was born, I am!"

New American Standard - Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am."

Bible in Basic English - Jesus said to them, Truly I say to you, Before Abraham came into being, I am.

Wuest's Expanded Translation - Most assuredly I am saying to you, Before Abraham came into existence, I AM.

Young's Literal Translation - Jesus said to them, 'Verily, verily, I say to you, Before Abraham's coming -- I am;'

The New Testament Or Rather The New Covenant- S. Sharpe: "I was before Abraham".

A Bible, A New Translation- J. Moffatt: "I existed before Abraham was born"

The New Testament in the Language of the Day- W. G. Beck: "I was before Abraham"

The Simple English Bible: "I was alive before Abraham was born"

The Twentieth Century New Testament: "before Abraham existed I was"

The New Testament in the Language of the People- C. B.Williams: "I existed before Abraham was born"

The Bible-An American Translation- E. Goodspeed (NT): "I existed"

The Unvarnished New Testament- A. Gaus: "I have already been"

The Authentic New Testament- H. J. Schonfield: "I existed"

The Complete Gospels- R. J. Miller (Editor): "I existed"

New American Standard Bible 1963-1970 editions: "I have been"-alternative rendering

The Expository Times, 1996, p. 302- Kenneth McKay: 'I have been in existence since before Abraham was born'

The Bible in World English: Jesus answered, ‘I tell you the truth. I already was before Abraham was born.’ (source.)

Secondly, if the authors are asserting that I AM is not the LITERAL RENDERING of ego eimi then this is simply erroneous. There is no disagreement amongst Greek grammarians regarding the literal rendering of ego eimi. The disagreements arise over the proper way to translate ego eimi in light of the context of John 8:58.

The authors go on to make the following ad hominem slur:

The missionary then proceeds to cite a number of quotes from a couple of missionaries, not Greek scholars. He obviously wants to try to impress us with his knowledge of Greek grammar, but the truth is that he and his "scholars" have no idea of the Greek usage of 'ego eimi' in the above passage.

The authors commit the fallacy of circumstantial argumentum ad hominem. They attack the credibility of the authors cited in my article by appealing to their background, i.e. they are missionaries who are not Greek scholars. Yet if being a Greek scholar is a prerequisite for critiquing or examining a specific text, then the writers disqualify themselves from accurately analyzing John 8:58 since they themselves are not Greek scholars. This means that their entire article must not be taken seriously and needs to be rejected.

Furthermore, the individuals I cited are in fact scholars in their fields. Dr. James R. White is an Evangelical scholar who teaches Greek at the seminary level. See the following link for a list of his credentials.

Robert M. Bowman Jr. is also an Evangelical scholar who is a candidate for PH.D. in Apologetics at Westminster Theological Seminary. (Source)

It seems that the authors erroneously assume that one cannot be a missionary and a scholar at the same time.

Finally, here is a list of comments from Greek scholars regarding the meaning of eimi:

Louw-Nida, Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament: Semantic Domains, p. 157

13.69 eimi: to exist, in an absolute sense - 'to be, to exist.' Pisteusai ... hoti estin 'must have faith ... that (God) exists' He 11:6; pro tou tov kosmon eivai 'before the world existed' Jn 17:5; kalountos ta ma onta hos onta 'whose command brings into being what did not exist' Ro 4:17; en auto gar zomen kai kinometha kay esmen 'in whom we live and move about and have our existence' Ac 17:28

Friberg, Analytical Greek Lexicon

eimi I. as predicate to be, to denote what exists; (1) of God's existence (HE 11.6); ho wn the one who is, exists (RV 1.4); (2) of Christ's self-designation of himself ego eimi I am (John 8.58) ...

Perschbacher, The New Analytical Greek Lexicon, p. 119

Eimi a verb of existence, to be, to exist, John 1:1; 17:5; Matt 6:30; Luke 4:25, et al.

Mounce, Analytical Lexicon of the Greek NT, p. 164.

eimi to be, to exist, John 1:1; 17:5; Matt 6:30; Luke 4:25

Thayer, Greek-English Lexicon, pp. 175, 177.

I. eimi has the force of a predicate [i.e. is the substantive verb]: to be, i.e. 1. To exist; a. passages in which the idea of the verb preponderates, and some person or thing is said to exist by way of distinction from things non-existent. Estin ho Theos, Heb 11:6; ho on kai ho an [W. 68(66), cf.182(172); B.50(43)], Rev 1:4, [8; iv.8]; 11.17; 16:5; en arche an ho logos, Jn 1:1; prin Abraham genesthai, ego eimi, John 8:58 [so WH mrg in 24, 28; 13:19 (see II.5 below)]

II.5 The formula ego eimi (I am he), freq. In the Gospels, esp. in John, must have its predicate supplied mentally, inasmuch as it is evident from the context ... spec. I am the Messiah, Mk 13:6; 14:62; Luke 21:8; john 4:26; 8:24,28; 13:19 ...

Kittel, TDNT (1 vol. Abridgement), p. 207

ego eimi as a self-designation of Jesus in Jn 8:58 (cf. 8:24; 13:19) stands in contrast to the genesthai applied to Abraham. Jesus thus claims eternity. As he is equal to the Father (5:18ff.), what is ascribed to the Father is attributed to him too (cf. Is. 43:10 LXX). The context and the ego formulation are both Jewish. The point is not Jesus' self-identification as the Messiah ("I am he") but his supratemporal being.

Carson, Gospel of John (PNTC), John 8:58

Once more Jesus solemnly announces, I tell you the truth. If he had wanted to claim only that he existed before Abraham, it would have been simpler to say, 'before Abraham was, I was.' Instead, bringing forward the use of ego eimi found in vv. 24, 28, Jesus says, 'before Abraham was born, I am.' Whatever doubts may attach themselves to whether or not ego eimi should be taken absolutely in vv. 24, 28, here there can be none.

Note the following list of scholars regarding the meaning of ego eimi in John 8:58:

Hendriksen, John - NTC; pp. 66-67

p. 66 "Jesus, therefore, reaffirms his eternal, timeless, absolute existence."

p. 67 "Over against Abraham's fleeting span of life Jesus places his own timeless present. To emphasize this eternal present he sets over against the aorist infinitive, indicating Abraham's birth in time, the present indicative, with reference to himself; hence, not I was, but I am.

Morris, New Testament Theology; p.235-238 The "I Am" Sayings

p. 237 "Jesus also outrages his opponents by saying, "Before Abraham was, I am" (8:58). It is not easy to see this as anything less than the language of deity, for Jesus is affirming that he has timeless existence."

Wuest, The Deity of Jesus in the Greek Texts of John and Paul, Bibliotheca Sacra, Jul 62, pp. 220-221

The AV reports our Lord as saying to the Jews, "Before Abraham was, I am" (John 8:58 AV). "Was" is ginomai, the verb of "becoming," not eimi, the verb of being. It is ingressive aorist, signifying entrance into a new condition. Our Lord said, "Before Abraham came into existence, I am." He does not contrast Abraham's previous existence with His eternity of existence, but Abraham's coming into existence with His eternal being. There is a contrast between Abraham as a created being and our Lord as uncreated, the self-existent, eternal God.

Grudem: Systematic Theology, p. 169, "I am"

"It is also indicated in Jesus' bold use of a present tense verb that implies continuing present existence when he replied to his Jewish adversaries, "Before Abraham was, I am" (John 8:58)."

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Complete Commentary

John 8:58. Before Abraham was, I am --The words rendered "was" and "am" are quite different. The one clause means, "Abraham was brought into being"; the other,, "I exist." The statement therefore is not that Christ came into existence before Abraham did (as Arians affirm is the meaning), but that He never came into being at all, but existed before Abraham had a being; in other words, existed before creation, or eternally (as # Joh 1:1). In that sense the Jews plainly understood Him, since "then took they up stones to cast at Him," just as they had before done when they saw that He made Himself equal with God (# Joh 5:18).

Witmer, Did Jesus Claim to be God, Bibliotheca Sacra, January 1961, pp.152-153

The most emphatic claim of Jesus to deity is the statement in His discussion with the Jews, "Before Abraham was born, I am" (John 8:58, A.S.V.) The Jews brought the name of Abraham, their physical and spiritual father, into the conversation (vss. 52-53). Jesus seized upon it to lead on to His final claim in the verse already quoted, startling the Jews by saying: "Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day; and he saw it, and was glad" (vs. 56). When the Jews responded with a question as to how a man as young as Jesus could have seen Abraham, "Jesus claims eternal existence with the absolute phrase used of God." [Archibald Thomas Robertson, Word Pictures in the New Testament, V, 158-59.]

Jesus did not claim mere pre-existence to Abraham, which would have been expressed by the imperfect tense of the verb used concerning Abraham, but eternal existence, the self-existence that belongs to God alone.

Young, Intermediate New Testament Greek, p. 166

In John 8:58 prin Abraham genesthai ego eimi (before Abraham came into existence, I am) the indeclinable Abraham functions as the accusative subject. With the divine ego eimi the idea is more than Christ's existing before Abraham; it means that He eternally exists (Barrett 1978:352).

Kittel, TDNT (1 vol. Abridgement), p. 207

ego eimi as a self-designation of Jesus in Jn 8:58 (cf. 8:24; 13:19) stands in contrast to the genesthai applied to Abraham. Jesus thus claims eternity. As he is equal to the Father (5:18ff.), what is ascribed to the Father is attributed to him too (cf. Is. 43:10 LXX). The context and the ego formulation are both Jewish. The point is not Jesus' self-identification as the Messiah ("I am he") but his supratemporal being.

Robertson's Word Pictures on John 8:58

{Before Abraham was} (prin abraam genesqai). Usual idiom with prin in positive sentence with infinitive (second aorist middle of ginomai) and the accusative of general reference, "before coming as to Abraham," "before Abraham came into existence or was born." {I am} (egw eimi). Undoubtedly here Jesus claims eternal existence with the absolute phrase used of God. The contrast between genesqai (entrance into existence of Abraham) and eimi (timeless being) is complete. See the same contrast between en in#1:1 and egeneto in#1:14. See the contrast also in # Ps 90:2 between God (ei, art) and the mountains (genhqhnai). See the same use of eimi in # Joh 6:20; 9:9; 8:24,28; 18:6

Warfield, International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, "Trinity"

"… He removes all doubt as to the essential nature of His oneness with the Father by explicitly asserting His eternity ('Before Abraham was born, I am,' Jn 8:58)…"

House, Doctrinal Issues in Colossians, Bibliotheca Sacra, April 1992, pp. 183-184

Christ Himself spoke of His preexistence in connection with His claims of deity, as in John 8:58, "Before Abraham was, I AM."

People's New Testament Commentary on John 8:58

"Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am. A solemn and official declaration, preceded by 'Verily, verily' [see PNT 'Joh 3:3']. The utterance is a remarkable one. It does not merely assert that he was before Abraham, but before Abraham was, I AM. It identifies with the I AM of the Old Testament. Divinity has no past tense, no future tense, but always the present." (Source)

This sufficiently puts to rest the authors' appeal to Greek scholarship for support of their erroneous claims.


The action expressed in John 8:58 started "before Abraham came into existence" and is still in progress. In such a situation, 'eimi' (eimi) which is the first-person singular present indicative, is properly translated by the perfect indicative. Examples of the same syntax can be found in Luke 2:28; 13:7; 15:29; John 5:6; 14:9; 15:27; Acts 15:21; 2 Corinthians 12:19; John 3:8.

Concerning the construction, A Grammar of the Idiom of the New Testament by G.B. Winer, 7th ed., Andover, 1897, p. 267 says:

Sometimes the Present includes also a past tense (Mdv. 108), viz. when the verb expresses a state which commenced at an earlier period but still continues - a state in its duration; as Jno. xv 27 ap archrV met emou este (ap' ar-khes met e-mou e-ste), vii. 58 prin Abraam genesai egw eimi [prin A-bra-am ge-nesthai ego eimi]

Likewise, A Grammar of New Testament Greek by J.H. Moulton, Vol III by Nigel Turner, Edinburgh, 1963, p. 62 says

The present which indicates the continuance of an action during the past and up to the moment of speaking is virually the same as Perfective, the only difference being that the action is conceived as still in progress...It is frequent in the N[ew]T[estament]: Luke 2:48; 13:7...15:29....John 5:6; 8:58...

In short, one can easily get the impression that the usage of 'ego eimi' is certainly not uncommon throughout the Greek New Testament, and thus cannot be used as evidence for the claim that Jesus is God.


Interestingly, the above section and quotations also appear in the 1984 Reference Edition of the NWT translation of the Jehovah's Witnesses as well as the 1985 revision of the Watchtower Society's Kingdom Interlinear Translation. Not surprisingly, the authors have not understood the meaning of these citations.

This can be due to their relying upon the JWs for their information. If this is the case, then the authors should have at least checked these references to see if the JW's claims are correct. If TM did not get their citations from the JWs, then they need to explain why a first-person singular present indicative in a PPA construction is properly rendered as a perfect indicative. They need to also explain how this refutes the fact that John 8:58 teaches Christ's eternal existence. That they provided no comments expounding the meaning of their citations implies that they have not understood the relevance their sources have on this issue.

For instance, the claim that a PPA is properly rendered as a perfect indicative is blatantly false. It can be translated as such, but need not be. As Robert M. Bowman notes in response to the JW assertion:

"Two begin with, two of these texts [SAM- texts that are classified as examples of PPA] are usually rendered in English as present tenses. First John 2:9 reads, ‘He that says that he is in the light and yet hates his brother is [estin] in the darkness up to right now’ (NWT; cf. KJV, NIV, NEB, and others). Second Peter 3:4, quotes scoffers as saying, ‘... Why, from the day our forefathers fell asleep [in death], all things are continuing [diamenei] exactly from creation's beginning’ (NWT; cf. KJV, NIV, NEB, and others). In both of these texts, the present tense verbs could have been rendered by the English perfect, but they need not have been, as the NWT itself demonstrates. It is simply untrue, therefore, that the PPA must be rendered in a past tense; it may be but need not be..." (Bowman, Jehovah's Witnesses Jesus Christ &The Gospel of John [Baker Book House; Grand Rapids, MI, 1995], pp. 105-106; bold emphasis ours)

Furthermore, had the authors done their research carefully they would have noted that a PPA construction usually has an adverbial expression denoting the duration of time, something not found in John 8:58. Again, here is Bowman:

"The first point of importance to note is that Winer and Turner, the only two Greek Grammarians known to include John 8:58 as an instance of the PPA, omit one very important fact about this particular idiom. Most grammars specifically state that accompanying the present tense verb is some adverbial expression indicating the extent of the duration of the time indicated by the verb. Thus Burton says that it is ‘accompanied by an adverbial expression denoting duration and referring to past time’; Goodwin notes that it occurs ‘with palai or any other expression of past time’; and Dana and Mantey say that it ‘is generally associated with an adverb of time’; and Robertson states, ‘Usually an adverb of time (or adjunct) accompanies the verb’." (Bowman, p. 105)


"The second point has not before been specifically stated by grammarians with reference to John 8:58, but is based on the usual definition of the PPA as given by such grammarians as Robertson, Burton, Dana and Mantey, and others. As has been noted, ‘an adverbial expression denoting duration and referring to past time’ (as Burton puts it) usually accompanies the PPA-indeed, it always does in the genuine examples found in the New Testament. In each case, the relevant adverbial expression defines (whether in a vague, general manner or very specifically and exactly) the period and extent of the duration of the verb. These adverbial clauses make it explicit that the action or condition described by the present tense verb is a temporal one that began at some point in the past.

In Luke 13:7, for example, where the NWT reads, ‘Here it is three years that I have come looking ...,’ ‘it is three years’ translates tria ete aph ou, ‘three years from which.’ This clause clearly sets the action of the PPA verb erchomai (‘I am coming’) in the temporal past beginning roughly three years prior to the time of speaking. All of the other examples of the PPA in the New Testament have similar clauses delimiting the time reference of the verb: ‘so many years’ (tosauta ete, Luke 15:29); ‘a long time’ (polun ede chronon, John 5:6); ‘so long a time (tosouto chrono, John 14:9); ‘from [the] beginning’ (ap’ arches, John 15:27 [NWT, ‘from when I began’]; 1 John 3:8); ‘from ancient times’ (ek geneon archaion, Acts 15:21); ‘all this while’ (palai, 2 Cor. 12:19); ‘from infancy’ (apo brephous, 2 Tim. 3:15); ‘from creation’s beginning’ (ap’ arche ktiseos, 2 Peter 3:4); and ‘up to right now’(heos arti, 1 John 2:9). All these expressions refer to a period of time beginning at some point (whether specified or not) in the past and continuing up to the time of the speaker.

Not only is this not the case in John 8:58, the situation is the precise opposite. There Jesus' existence is said to be ‘before Abraham came into existence,’ so that the expression does not refer to a period of time beginning at Abraham's birth, but rather ending then. In other words, prin Abraam genesthai does not point forward from Abraham's birth up to the time of Jesus' speaking, but instead points backward from Abraham's birth to the more distant past. To put it yet another way (since this point is critical and somewhat new), a clause beginning with prin cannot specify ‘duration’ up to the present, since it refers to a period prior to the past event specified in the clause. Had John wished to construct a clause that did indicate duration, he could have said something like, ‘since (apo) Abraham came into existence’; but as it stands, prin Abraam genesthai does not fit the requirements of a clause indicating the duration of PPA verb." (Ibid., pp. 109-110; bold emphasis ours)

Eminent NT Greek Scholar and Grammarian, Dr. Daniel B. Wallace concurs with Bowman:

A. Extending-from-Past Present Action (Present of Past Action Still in Progress)

1. Definition

The present tense may be used to describe an action which, begun in the past, continues in the present. The emphasis is on the present time.

Note that this is different from the perfect tense in that the perfect speaks only about the results existing in the present time. It is different from the progressive present in that it reaches back in time and usually has some sort of temporal indicator, such as an adverbial phrase, to show this past-referring element. Depending on how tightly one defines this category, it is either relatively rare or fairly common. (Wallace, Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics - An Exegetical Syntax of the New Testament With Scripture, Subject and Greek Word Indexes [Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1996], p. 519; bold emphasis ours)

In the next page, Wallace presents the following passages as examples of PPA: Luke 13:7, 15:29; John 5:6; Acts 15:21, 27:33; 1 Corinthians 15:6 (possible); 2 Peter 3:4; 1 John 3:8.

Finally, that John 8:58 can be classified as a PPA doesn't rule out its affirmation of Christ's eternal existence, something that I clearly demonstrated in my original rebuttal. Rob Bowman concurs:

That John 8:58 may be seen as a PPA yet also an affirmation of eternal existence is demonstrated by Sanders and Mastin's commentary on John, which is apparently the only twentieth-century commentary which identifies John 8:58 as a PPA:

... the aorist genesthai ‘came into being,’ used of Abraham, is contrasted with the present eimi, which can express duration up to the present, ‘I have been <and still am>’ as well as the simple present, ‘I am.’ Jesus claims that his mode of existence transcends time, like God's, and his I am is understood by the Jews as a claim to equality with God ... (Ibid., pp. 111-112; bold emphasis ours)

This concludes Part 1. Continue with Part 2.

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