[B-Greek] 1 Cor 5:5 SWQHi: aorist subjunctive

Harold Holmyard hholmyard at ont.com
Sun Jun 11 07:10:33 EDT 2006

Dear Patrick,

>In corinthians 5:5 Paul refers to a man being handed over to satan  
>for the destruction of his flesh "so that his spirit may be saved".  
>The Greek has "spirit" but then immediately has the verb "to save" in  
>the subjunctive mood. Should we take that to mean that the man's  
>spirit may or may not be saved, that it's only a possibility? I  
>thought the subjunctive mood conveyed certainty in a purpose or  
>result clause, which seems to be the case in cor 5:5. does the aorist  
>aspect limit what we can say about the verse?

HH: Dan Wallace's textbook says that in general the subjunctive can be 
said to represent the verbal action (or state) as uncertain but probable.

With respect to hINA clauses, Wallace adds:

We must not suppose that this use of the subjunctive "necessarily 
implies any doubt about the fulfillment of the verbal action on the part 
of the speaker. This may or may not be so; each case must be judged on 
its own merits.

Wallace also says that when hINA can be used of "purpose-result, where 
it indicates both the intention and its sure accomplishment. . . . As in 
Jewish and pagan thought, purpose and result are identical in 
declarations of the divine will."

In this case, I find it difficult to treat the matter as certain, since 
it is not certain to me that the person is saved in the first place. The 
purpose of delivering the person to Satan is for the destruction of his 
flesh so that he may be saved. Whether the person is saved or not may 
depend on how he responds to the church discipline that he faces.

This does not seem a pure case of divine will, where the accomplishment 
can be viewed as sure. There is human will involved here, and the person 
must choose to repent.  The purpose of Paul's action is to bring about 
that repentance, but the person himself must make the correct choice.

Harold Holmyard

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