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  1. Sin

  2. Biblical Theology of sin • Biblical Terminology • Missing the Mark • Transgression • Rebellion • Treachery • Perversion

  3. Basic Dimensions of Sin in the bible (Garrett, systematic theology, 455-62) • Sin as a violation of God’s law or disobedience • Sin as breaking the covenant • Eg. Hos. 6.7 • Sin as willful and prideful rebellion against God • Sin as idolatry • E.g. Rom. 1.22-25 • Sin as unbelief

  4. Approaches to sin and the fall: Augustine • Original Sin • We all bear Adam’s in; we participated in Adam’s sin and are subject to condemnation • We don not only inherit consequences of sin but Adam’s guilt • Beyond distortion of human nature • see. Rom. 5.12 • Each person participates in the corruption of sin by virtue of their birth • Total depravity

  5. Approaches: Eastern church • Ireneaus • Fall not a revolt as much as a miscalculation due to immaturity and weakness during the “childhood of humanity” • Generally positive anthropology • Fall not regarded as being as catastrophic compared to the West • Sin is more of a personal act • Fall damages human nature but does not result in a penalty • Theosis • Sin as lack of maturity • Reject Augustinian concept of original sin and inherited guilt • Human nature is “fallen” but not totally depraved

  6. Approaches: Roman Catholic • Influence of Augustine • Distinction between mortal and venial sins • Roman Catholic Catechism

  7. Protestant reformers • Luther • Humans totally incapable of doing the good that God requires • Root of sin is unbelief (of righteousness, faith) • Chief manifestation of sin is pride • Calvin • Similar to Luther, original sin in inherited and transmitted biologically • Follows Augustine and Luther in our total depravity and helplessness • Source of sin is faithlessness conjoined with pride • Original sin • Paid more attention to this than most others • Adam’s sin is the sin of all • Therefore, we all receive a corrupted nature and inherited tendency towards sin • All are guilty of Adam’s sin so all bear the penalty of death • We inherit both guilt and a corrupted nature

  8. Approaches: classical liberalism • Reconcile Christian faith with progressive world view of modernity • With its emphasis on human autonomy and good ness of human nature • Sin occurs as a preparation for grace rather than gracing repairing the damage of sin • Sin is not willful moral rebellion of God but arresting our God-consciousness • No hereditary transmission of sin, but spreading of sinful tendencies through social networks.

  9. Approaches: Grenz • Sin as failure: missing the mark • Sin as disruption of community • Sin as revealed in the Gospel • Result of Sin • Alienation from community and communion • Condemnation • Enslavement • Depravity is human inability without grace

  10. Sin in contemporary approaches • Current Climate • Does sin hold public meaning? • Banishment of sin-talk from public sphere

  11. A closer look at original sin in discourse with modern approaches • Two constitutive components of original sin: • The original sin • Inheritance of consequence of that first sin

  12. Cont. • Sin a four interrelated corollaries: • Sin is a contingent but not necessary consequence of human freedom • The hold of sin is radical • Sin infects us prior to our achievement of personhood • Sin is universal • Thus sin has the character of substance more than of doing

  13. Modern objections to original sin • Metaphysics of Freedom • Contrast with idea of bondage to sin • And the idea that sin preconditions freedom • Sin is a structural co-determinant of being and action • Two approaches • Doctrine of sin as irretrievable • Doctrine of sin reinterpreted in light of modern approaches • Both • Reject the idea of fundamental distortion of humanity • Freedom allows for possibility of sin, but not necessity • Reinterpretive approach moves from individual metaphysic to the social • Person is always construed as historically and socially situated • Very social processes, structures and institutions are pathologically distorted

  14. Providence & theodicy

  15. providence

  16. 27 “Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 28 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith! 29

  17. Introduction • Current situation • The reality of evil • Holocaust

  18. Calvin • Strong Augustinian influence • Emphasis on divine sovereignty • “…there is no random power, or agency, or motion in the creatures, who are so governed by the secret counsel of God, that nothing happens but what he has knowingly and willingly decreed.” Calvin, InstitutesI.16.3 • Predestination

  19. Calvin’s continued influence • From Calvinism emerges the classical (and still much used) three-fold typology: • Preservation • Concurrence • Governance

  20. Arminian view • Arminian • Limited self-providence • God’s “self-limiting” • To allow for limited human autonomy • God is currently sovereign by right (de jure) but not in actuality (de facto) • With the fullness of the kingdom, God will be sovereign by right and in actuality • In other words, God has the ability to control but voluntarily limits (chooses), not to do so • A distinction between foreordination and permission • Nothing happens without God’s permission; however, God is not the primary cause of everything • So one could say only in an indirect way that God is the cause of suffering because he permits it to happen

  21. Contemporary interpretations of providence • Hans Schwarz • Principle of contingency • World is continuously under the threat of non-being • World as enveloped by God • Two-fold division (not limited to Schwarz) • General Providence • Preservation • God’s dependability • Special Providence • God’s direct intervention

  22. Stanley grenz • Focus on Community • Establishment of community as the highest purpose of God’s providence

  23. It is in the area of suffering and the presence of evil that the providence of God is most thoroughly tested.

  24. theodicy

  25. “How long, O Lord?” • Psalm 13.1 • “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Mark 15.34

  26. Introductory thoughts • How do we affirm the God’s providence and Christ’s lordship in the face of evil and suffering • David Hume: Is he (God) willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then is he impotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then is he malevolent. Is he both able and willing: whence then is evil • Evil as incompatible with God’ omnipotence and goodness/love. A negotiation of: • God’s Omnipotence • God’s Goodness • Presence of Evil • Two general types of evil • Moral evil • Natural evil

  27. Traditional Approaches to theodicy • Silence • We trust God though as limited beings we cannot explain why there is evil in the world • Divine Punishment • Certainly accounts for some suffering; but we must be careful here. Note Jesus’ admonishment when asked about the sin of the blind man (John 9.1-3) • Opportunity for Spiritual Growth • We are taught through our suffering • E.g. Calvin talked about God sending poverty, disease and so forth so that we would look away from the things of the present life and earth and turn our eyes towards heaven (Calvin, Institutes, 3.9.1) • Going back to what we said earlier in relation to God’s providence, “nothing happens except what is knowingly and willingly decreed by God.” Calvin, Institutes, 1.16.3

  28. irenaeus • The world as the “vale of soul-making” • Why does God tolerate evil? • Evil and good are means God uses for us to grow and mature, thus Irenaeus’ view of the world as the “vale of soul-making.” • We are constantly being perfected and formed by the Holy Spirit • Trials are an opportunity for us to grow and mature • John Hick (person -making theodicy) • Develops Irenaeus’ thinking

  29. Augustine • God is absolutely good • Evil as the lack of good • Evil as parasitic • Free will defense • Why is there evil? • Human beings exercise their free will and capacity for choice; we misuse that capacity • “An evil will is the cause of all evils” • Result is often suffering because we have misused our freedom • God permits evil but uses events to bring about his purposes • God’s sovereignty is exercised when he brings the good out of evil (cf. Romans 8.28)

  30. Response to theodicy • No definitive answer to the problem of evil • The biblical text does not really speculate on the origin of evil; rather it speaks of evil as resisted and overcome in the victory of the cross

  31. A trinitarian approach • God is present as co-suffer • Rejection of traditional idea of immutability • God creates space within himself to allow the world to be freely itself • Jeremy’s analogy • God does not overcome evil by raw power and divine will, but through divine love; God truly experiences the suffering of the world and overcomes it • This is consistent with the self-giving love of the Trinity • God’s creatures do not suffer alone • As Daniel Miglore writes, “The power of the triune God is not raw omnipotence but the power of suffering, liberating, reconciling love.” • God is faithful

  32. Concluding thoughts

  33. Sin and the fall • Taking the Fall seriously • Real consequences to the Fall that effect creation • Romans 8- all of creation is affected by sin of man and is bondage to decay • Exacerbating moral evil • Evil as the result of sin • Structural evil • Collective, societal • God does not create sin; but the options he has provided can result in sin

  34. Concluding thoughts • Evil was necessary in accompanying the creation of humankind • For human beings to be truly human, they need to have the capacity to do things that God would not want them to do. • Real freedom entails the possibility that the wrong choices will be made • Not all suffering is ‘evil’ • Part of creating the physical world was to humankind’s finitude • Creating a world with real moral choices meant the possibility of pain and warning signals to help us alter our behavior • Pain as a signal that something is wrong • Millard Erickson’s reevaluation of what constitutes good and evil

  35. Concluding thoughts • Different communities may have different responses to suffering • How do we develop a good theology of suffering so that we may better help others? • While intellectual pursuits are good, in this area especially we must be sensitive to the suffering of others • When dealing with specific situations, we need to move from the intellectual to the pastoral.