When Jesus said he lives because [1] of the living Father what do because(δια) and living Father mean at John 6:57?

57 As the living Father (ὁ ζῶν πατὴρ) sent me, and I live because of the Father (τὸν πατέρα); so he that eateth me, he also shall live because of me (American Standard Version)

In Greek the anaphoric article "τὸν" is inserted and serves to identify the second instance of "Father" as "the living Father." My question is not intended as a quotation of John 6:57 and emphasizes that the Son lives because of the living Father.

BDAG gives δια the sense of cause at J 6:57 and "an expression of divine action."

[1] BDAG δια w. acc

2. marker of someth. constituting cause

β. w. acc. of pers. and freq. as expr. of favorable divine action (Aristoph., Plut. 468; Dionys. Hal. 8, 33, 3, 1579 μέγας διὰ τ. θεούς ἐγενόμην; Ael. Aristid. 24, 1 K.=44 p. 824 D.: δι᾿ οὓς [= θεούς] ἐσώθην; SIG 1122; OGI 458, 40; PGM 13, 579 διῳκονομήθη τ. πάντα διὰ σέ; EpArist 292; Sir 15:11; 3 Macc 6:36: other exx. in SEitrem and AFridrichsen, E. christl. Amulett auf Pap. 1921, 24). ζῶ διὰ τὸν πατέρα J 6:57 (cp. PKöln VI, 245, 16 of Isis σὺ κυρεῖς τὰ πάντα, διὰ σὲ δ᾿ εἰσορῶ φαός ‘you are responsible for everything and thanks to you I can see light’). διὰ τὸν ὑποτάξαντα by the one who subjected it Ro 8:20.—DELG. M-M. TW

  • Will you indicate the translation used or reword the question? Every one I checked have Jesus saying it was the living Father who sent Him, and He lives because of the Father. While I think it is fair to say "living Father" is implied in the "because of..." portion, adding living disrupts the parallelism Jesus used: (a) As the living Father sent Me/so whoever feeds on Me and (b) I live because of the Father/will live because of Me. – Revelation Lad 2 days ago
  • @RevelationLad I have clarified my question in the text. – Thomas Pearne 2 days ago
  • Not much of a clarification. Jesus never said "I live because of the living Father." If you are going to ask a question which essentially deals with the specific text, you shouldn't embellish that text. – Revelation Lad 2 days ago
  • @RevelationLad I provided the Greek grammar to support my question. Do you argue that Jesus does not live because of the living Father? I'd like to see that hermeneutic! – Thomas Pearne 2 days ago
  • I said it is accurate to say it is implied. IMO if you ask a technical question, your question should be presented with the same technical precision you expect from an answer. – Revelation Lad 2 days ago

The Greek δια means "by means of," or "through the mode of," as in God making all creation through the Son (John 1:1). Jesus lives because He receives His being Who He is, directly from the Father with Whom He is one (John 10:30). "Living Father" indicates a kind of finality or source of life in this precise context, as in, "As the Source of all life is Himself alive, and I myself am alive through Him..." It doesn't mean "in the exact same manner as I live by the Father" any more than "as" in 'As God worked 6 days and rested the 7th, so he asks us to hold a holy day of rest also' would mean 'Create the world ex nihilo and then sustain it in existence without creating anything new.' That is, the similarity drawn is not the precise manner (John 17:21), but that Christians will live by partaking of Christ's sacrificial body and blood (1 Corinthians 10:16) as leaves need the vine for life (John 15:5), just as the Son lives from the Father like a necessary leaf on the eternal Vine.

  • In what Greek text does it say that God made all creation through the Son? I use Nestle Aland currently at version 28. I don't see the word "creation." You make it seem as if the Word could not have been created the way you paraphrase. – Thomas Pearne Jan 15 at 0:43
  • John begins his Gospel going to lengths to tell us Who Christ truly is: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God: and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God: all things were made through him, and without him was made nothing that has been made." It's clearly about creation, and the Word is that through which all creation comes in this passage. Also, that He's God proves that He is not a creature; the way the Greek is written means the Word is by nature God, as St. Paul also taught: "being fundamentally in the form of God, humbled himself, taking the form..." – Sola Gratia Jan 15 at 15:22
  • Thanks for your opinion. As a matter of fact there are two agencies in John 1:3-4, instrumental with εν and intermediate with δια. The Greek text says ο γεγονεν εν αυτω ζωή ην, or what came to be in him was life. John 5:26 tells us that God gave his Son life in himself. So the λόγος received life from the Father, his own life. That is instrumental agency. The Father used his Son as intermediate agent for the τα πάντα (all things). – Thomas Pearne Jan 15 at 15:29


The living Father sent me, and because of him I live also. In the same way whoever eats me will live because of me. [GNT]

καθὼς ἀπέστειλέν με ὁ ζῶν πατὴρ κἀγὼ ζῶ διὰ τὸν πατέρα καὶ ὁ τρώγων με κἀκεῖνος ζήσει δι᾽ ἐμέ [mGNT]

All English translations treat the verb ζῶν ("to live") as an adjective describing a characteristic of the noun ("living Father"). However, if it is treated as a verb, we have ...the Father who lives...

The Father who lives sent me, and "because of" (διὰ) him I live also.

Of διὰ Thayer's states:

b. used, with the accusative of any noun, of the mental affection by which one is impelled to some act [English for; cf. Winer's Grammar, 399 (372)] διὰ φθόνον, because prompted by envy, for envy, Matthew 27:18

There are times where διὰ means "for." In this case the accusative which follows is τὸν πατέρα, "the Father." Thus Jesus is impelled to live "for" the Father:

As the Father who lives sent me I also live for the Father...

The Bread Who Lives
The Father could have come, but did not. He sent the Son, whose life on earth is for the Father. As a result, seeing Jesus (who lives), is the same as seeing the Father (who lives):

8 Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father; that is all we need.” 9 Jesus answered, “For a long time I have been with you all; yet you do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. Why, then, do you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Do you not believe, Philip, that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I have spoken to you,” Jesus said to his disciples, “do not come from me. The Father, who remains in me, does his own work. 11 Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me. If not, believe because of the things I do.
(John 14)

At the end of the Bread of Life Discourse, Jesus uses parallelism to make His point:

the Father who lives sent me  |  I also live for the Father
whoever feeds on me           |  will live because of me

The "Father who lives sent Me" parallels "whoever feeds on Me" which is Jesus, ὁ ἄρτος ὁ ζῶν (6:51), "the Bread which lives." The complete saying can be understood as:

the Father who lives sent me            | I also live διὰ "for" the Father [who lives]
whoever feeds on me [Bread which lives] | will live δι "because of" me [Bread which lives]

As elsewhere in the Fourth Gospel, the unity between Jesus (who is living) and the Father (who is living) is described. The same type of unity is available for those who feed on Bread (which is living).

  • I added BDAG on δια here. They say "cause" and a result of "divine action." – Thomas Pearne yesterday

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