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Human Being: Creature, Person, Spirit, and Sinner [3/28/11]


Friends:

For the benefit of a group of interested folk meeting with me monthly and working through my Grammar book chapter by chapter, I have undertaken the task of writing notes on the various chapters. As we are preparing to meet soon, I have just posted the Notes on Ch. 6: Human Being as Created and Sinful on this web site, along with notes on the previous chapters.

I conclude that chapter with a section entitled "The Consequences of Sin and Jesus Christ" and I am posting here the notes on that section. I hope it is interesting to you and illuminating of my basic convictions that Jesus Christ does transform the consequences of our sin.

The Consequences of Sin and Jesus Christ  [362-64]

1. Sin corrupts human nature—the human essence—but does not destroy that nature, even though sin diminishes and thwarts the great potencies with which God endowed human beings.

a) sin corrupts, distorts, and fractures the being-in-act of human beings, whereby humans enact lives that are alienated from their own creaturely, personal and spiritual essence and nature.

b) sin corrupts the human heart and her personal linguistic, epistemic, emotive, and agential life, rendering her vulnerable to hardness of heart at the expense of her own true good—such corruption of the heart issues into entrenched habits that diminish and subvert human flourishing.

c) sin corrupts human social worlds and institutionalizes human fear, discord, enmity, and injustice—the great potencies and structures of human spiritual being are corrupted into instruments of pride, concupiscence, sloth, and falsehood, resulting in and perpetuating fear, mistrust, misery, oppression, rivalry, conflict and violence.

d) sin fuels the great power of the fear of death, whereby death is given the presumed finality and consuming judgment on human life—death becomes that destined end of life, the avoidance of which becomes the supreme and urgent goal of life individually and socially.

e) sin most drastically alienates persons and societies from the reality of the triune God, amidst their practical refusal to be God’s valuable creatures made in God’s image and thereby intend the eradication and death of God—God transformed into the Enemy, the Stranger, the Absent and Silent One, or even perhaps the ultimate Betrayer of the despairing and fearful—this is sin in its primal and practical reality as Unbelief.

In the depths of these consequences of sin, the human will is profoundly encumbered and enslaved by and in sin, and therefore without the power to overcome the past of sin and the future threat of sin. Left to their own devices—in sinning and being sinned against—human destiny is alienation, conflict, and death.

2. Jesus Christ affects the Consequences of Sin

a) From the perspective of the self-communicating life of God in Jesus Christ, it is possible to understand that sin seeks to enact what is finally impossible—that human decisions, institutions, and social arrangements are the final arbiters of the meaning of human life and the ultimate conferers of human identity and destiny—sin wills to be the ultimate determiner-of-destiny. [refer back to the discussion of Spiritual Being as Life in Destiny and the various construals of the various agents who are the real determiners of destiny. 328-31]

b) In Jesus’ death, God dies a human death at the hands of the principalities and powers of sin and therewith disarms them of their presumed power to crush, control, and determine human life before God—God takes the sins of the world upon and into God’s own Life.

c) In his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ is established as the Lord of the world and its creational history and sin is defeated as that imperious lord and presumptuous determiner of human life and destiny.

d) yet, sin—in its massive particularities of power and scope—may continue to dominate the individual and corporate historic destinies of persons but its power in history is limited and finally doomed.

e) it is also apparent that the church in its witness to the world is, in the power of the Holy Spirit, a testimony to the seductions of sin and to sin’s ultimate defeat; yet in the absence of an authentic and courageous witness to the world of the ultimacy of God’s grace, those miscellaneous empirical groups called ‘religions’ and ‘churches’ repeatedly fall into heresies in their futile and misleading discourses and practices.

f) hence we have the decisive reasons herein as to why sin is not yet fully understood if it is not understood through Jesus Christ.

Peace,

Joe

Responses welcomed to this blog and to the chapter being posted under Essays, Orienting Notes...


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