OSAS and "eternal" (as in eternal life) is an adjective


#1

OK, I’ve been mulling something over in my mind for some time now and I finally had a moment of inspiration - and I want to throw these thoughts out for someone else to ponder over.

The verse used so often to “prove” OSAS is the famous John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.”

Whenever I prayed over this verse, my usual stumbling block for OSAS was the word ‘might’ (as compared to will).

However, my newest ‘revelation’ came when I realized the word eternal is an adjective which means it must modify a noun - such as life. So in my mind, eternal life must be contrasted with some other life (ie. earthly life that ends when we die).

If the word was "eternally’ (an adverb) it would modify a verb - such as have. If this were the case, then the arguement that this life spoken of is something we can not lose would be more grammatical.

Does any of that make sense to anyone else?

PS - I am not a hit and run poster. I am walking out the door to go to a Rams game. But these thoughts filled my mind last night and I wanted to get them down on paper and “hear” others responses. Besides, I’m not presenting an arguement that I really know if I can (or even should) defend as others point out flaws (or strengths?) in my musings.


#2

It is an interesting conclusion. On that issue, however, I think it really boils down to either we trust the Catholic Church, whose doctrine of justification pre-exists the closing of the canonization of the New Testament, and has remained coinsistent, or we don’t. As difficult as it may be, especially on an apologetics forum, 2 Timothy 2:14 is in my understanding (which may be wrong) the place where failure to adhere to it turns into two rams butting heads when it comes to apologetics. Then we’ll get into original languages and translations disputes, and basically it becomes a prideful battle of my comprehension skills vs. his. Does Ephesians 2:8-9 contradict James 2:14-26? Does Acts 2:21 contradict Matthew 7:21? Does Acts 16:31 contradict Matthew 19:17? This is why we need an authoritative Church to explain the Scriptures to us. When left to our own comprehension skills, the above three sets of verses seem blatantly contradictory. In reality, they aren’t, but to explain why they aren’t requires an authoritative Church. We can run around in circles with whim and speculation of what those verses REALLY mean when leaning on our own understanding. When the matter at hand is as significant as justification, it is not a matter for idle speculation. While the Catholic Church can use many Scriptures to show consistency with Her doctrine of justification, and can accurately explain why many seemingly contradictory Scriptures don’t actually mean what they appear to be saying, Protestants, although with fewer Scriptures to “support” their claim, also will try to claim that the numerous Scriptures that contradict “faith alone” don’t actually mean what they seem to be saying. The bottom line is that NO ONE, neither Catholic nor Protestant can arrive at a doctrine of justification by using the Bible ALONE, and to attempt to do such will be a battle, that, well, look at the thread regarding it, over 900 posts. Jesus didn’t want that type of confusion to exist, which is why He established an authoritative Church, not a book. We need to trust the Church founded by God, not our own understanding of Scripture.


#3

Just to clarify, I mean no offense to the OP, nor am I accusing the OP of not trusting the Church. I am just trying to make a point that on the doctrine of justification, we don’t get a CLEAR message using Scripture alone. It occurred to me that my words may get misconstrued as an attack on the OP, and that is not my intention, so I wanted to clarify that.


#4

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.