Tuesday, November 06, 2007

More queries on justification

I am responding in this post to the queries asked by Rhology here.

1) Why would a perfect human need to be justified? Do you mean b/c of the original sin?

You are correct that a perfect human does not. But to say that Jesus could save us through His perfect (human) obedience is an error of the same kind. It suggests that human works can save, which is impossible. Even the sacrifice of a perfectly innocent human being has no effect without grace; it is the Judaizing error to think that compliance with the Law (even Christ's perfect human obedience) can save. Both salvation and deification require grace.

2) If #1 is b/c of original sin, how could a perfect human exist at all?

I see the confusion, which was my fault. The point wasn't that a perfect human being needs to be justified, but that even a perfect human being cannot justify others (or even himself, if per impossibile, he needed to do so).

3) If #1 is b/c of original sin, that human wouldn't be perfect, right? He'd have sin, wouldn't he? And therefore not be perfect?

True. My point is that such a person couldn't even be perfected by someone else's human action.
4) Did Jesus have original sin?

No, he bore no guilt for original sin, although He voluntarily assumed the consequences of original sin (particularly death).

5) Why would Jesus need to be justified?

He doesn't. I was attempting to say (poorly, evidently) that His human powers have no power to justify for anyone.

6) If Jesus did not save us thru His perfect obedience, then why does the Scripture say this?

Hebrews 5
7In the days of His flesh, He offered up both prayers and supplications with loud crying and tears to the One able to save Him from death, and He was heard because of His piety. 8Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered. 9And having been made perfect, He became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation...


That's what I mean about Christ's life being the form of our salvation. Obviously, Christ is not in need of being made perfect in the sense of lacking anything or needing justification. "Perfection" in the context of Hebrews means "fit to appear before God," and even a sinless human being cannot demand to appear before God. But Christ walked the path of holiness (deification) for all humanity. It's the same thing taught about Christ's self-sanctification in John 17:19. It refers to the perfection of His role as Mediator

If you'll permit a short florilegia, here are some passages pertinent to Christ's perfection in this regard. 1 Tim. 2:5-6 "For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all, the testimony to which was borne at the proper time." Col. 1:22 "[H]e has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and irreproachable before him...." 1 Pet. 2:24 "He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed." Gal. 3:13-14 "Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us -- for it is written, "Cursed be every one who hangs on a tree" -- that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith." 2 Cor. 5:21 "For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God."

These passages are not about making Himself holy to appear before God (He already is), but becoming a perfect form of holiness for all the rest of us (likewise in Rom. 5). That is the same sense of Hebrews 10:14 "For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are sanctified." Christ's life is the form for receiving grace; that's where the Sacraments originate. And that's the point re: Pelagianism. Even a perfect and sinless human cannot claim the right to stand before God, but he also requires the perfection of grace to be fit to stand before God. That's why Adam had a trial in the Garden even though he was sinless; he had to walk the path of deification as well. Adam rejected God's grace, but Christ came to save us by making Himself the path to God (see espec. Rom. 5:18-20, Eph. 1:9-10, 1 Cor. 15:21-28).

7) Was it not, then, Jesus' actions that provided salvation for fallen humanity? If not, what?

Again, the question is HOW Jesus's actions provided salvation. They provided salvation by being the form of the reception of divine grace, all the way through His Crucifixion and Resurrection.

8) Related to #7, are not Christ's passion, crucifixion, and resurrection actions that were performed in obedience to the eternal plan of God?

True, but the fact that human actions are performed in obedience to the eternal plan of God doesn't make them salvific. What makes them salvific is that they realized the eternal plan of God for deification of humanity, the reception of God's grace. You seem to be saying that simply the bare fact of obeying God's plan is enough, but there is a reason and a purpose behind God's plan, without which the plan doesn't make sense. The plan is intelligible in the strong metaphysical sense; all of creation has the plan built into it. That's what "predestination" means in its most basic sense.

37 Comments:

At 10:50 AM, Blogger Rhology said...

Hi there,

1) You didn't mention Romans 5, but I'll just take it to be subsumed under another response.

2) More importantly, aren't you making an unnecessary separation between Christ's divine and human nature? Actions/obedience aren't performed by natures, they're performed by people.

 
At 10:50 AM, Blogger Rhology said...

Or, I should say, persons.

 
At 11:22 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rhology,

Nice to see you again, mate.

Therefore, as by the offence of one, unto all men to condemnation: so also by the justice of one, unto all men to justification of life. For as by the disobedience of one man, many were made sinners: so also by the obedience of one, many shall be made just. Now the law entered in that sin might abound. And where sin abounded, grace did more abound."

1) You didn't mention Romans 5, but I'll just take it to be subsumed under another response.

2) More importantly, aren't you making an unnecessary separation between Christ's divine and human nature? Actions/obedience aren't performed by natures, they're performed by persons.


Where did Mr. Prejean make said "unnecessary separation between Christ's divine and human natures?"

I think that it is precisely because of Who this Mediator, this Person Is (with both divine and human natures) that the actions and obedience (by divine grace) are able to effect the many "being made just."

Am I on the right track here, CC?

BC

 
At 12:42 PM, Blogger CrimsonCatholic said...

1) You didn't mention Romans 5, but I'll just take it to be subsumed under another response.

You would take that correctly. If you'd like a specific reference, I'll quote myself: "These passages are not about making Himself holy to appear before God (He already is), but becoming a perfect form of holiness for all the rest of us (likewise in Rom. 5)."

2) More importantly, aren't you making an unnecessary separation between Christ's divine and human nature? Actions/obedience aren't performed by natures, they're performed by people.

Quite the opposite, as BC said. The reason Christ can sanctify Himself is that He is a single person capable of operating according to two natures (contra monotheletism, i.e., the belief that Christ has a single mode of operation). Because He truly possesses both operations, He can both provide grace as a divine actor (along with the Father and the Holy Spirit) and receive it as a human actor. That is why He is the unique Mediator between God and man; that is why all salvation is in Christ. Perfection comes only through being united to His humanity in receiving the grace that comes through His divine action.

 
At 4:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think it would behoove Catholics to attack Lutherans, Calvinists, and Anglicans as well as confused Arminians on the subject of original sin and how they shield Jesus from it. They simply say "he was born of a virgin, so he didn't get it." But Psalm 51:5 (as used by them as a proof text for original sin) says "in sin my MOTHER conceived me" meaning that conception by a MOTHER passes on original sin. So, all Protestantism that accepts Augustine's doctrine of original sin, of necessity makes Jesus to be born with it. Their explaining away of it in Jesus' case is inadequate. At least the Catholics have the immaculate conception theory, although it can simply be dismissed as cheating and as not revealed in Scripture. Certainly the Eastern Orthodox and non-Calvinist-non-Arminians who reject the unscriptural (see Ezek 18:20, Rom 7:9) concept of original sin altogether are in much better shape than the Lutherans and Calvinists on this point.

 
At 5:59 PM, Blogger CrimsonCatholic said...

At least the Catholics have the immaculate conception theory, although it can simply be dismissed as cheating and as not revealed in Scripture.

It's not clear to me that you understand the doctrine. If you did, you would presumably appreciate that it necessarily takes as a premise that original sin is a condition, not a product of nature, and that it is guilt only analogously based on the condition of humanity, not anything in the nature. Otherwise, we would be affirming that the Virgin Mary would not have been human! I think you might be exaggerating both Augustine's claims regarding original sin and their influence in the Church. I've found that there is a great deal of misunderstanding regarding the Catholic position on original sin outside the Church, although the Protestant use of Augustine might well contribute to that misunderstanding.

 
At 8:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i understand that it is something added to nature after the fact. this doesn't get around the fact that removing it from one human being is cheating. if everyone's supposed to inherit it from Adam, then that's what would happen. in any case, i don't believe in manichean guilt inheritance. i'm only pointing out that the prots don't have a leg to stand on with this, since they don't have the immaculate conception theory and thus in their system Jesus would be born guilty

 
At 9:48 AM, Blogger Rhology said...

Anonymous,

How would the Immaculate Conception help matters?
Wouldn't it then be necessary for the BVMary's mother also to be immaculately conceived? And her mom? And her mom?
All the way back to Eve?

 
At 10:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rhology,

Hmmm...

Wouldn't it then be necessary for the BVMary's mother also to be immaculately conceived? And her mom? And her mom? All the way back to Eve?

Catholics don't seem to think so. :)

BC

 
At 10:55 AM, Blogger Rhology said...

OK, and why would it matter whether Catholics "don't think" that it's the case? Isn't whether that logically follows more important?

 
At 11:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rhology,

If you think that everyone all the way back to Eve must have been conceived immaculately in order for the Catholic understanding of the IC to flow logically... you don't understand the Catholic thinking on the matter. Or, maybe, you think that Catholics are idiots incapable of understanding simple logic? I have it... maybe we have darkened reprobate minds...

I don't see why it would do you any good to discuss these things with people who won't ever see how right you are about... well... everything.

BC

 
At 12:18 PM, Blogger Rhology said...

Yes, just b/c I disagree, clearly I just misunderstand.
Would you mind explaining it to me?

 
At 2:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rhology,

Ugh...

Yes, just b/c I disagree, clearly I just misunderstand.

Tell me what you think the Catholic understanding of the IC is as it relates to Mary's mother...

You are accusing all faithful Catholics of not being able to see this glaring error in simple logic... I submit that you think we are all either idiots, have reprobate minds that cannot understand the things of God, or both.

I would love to see how you understand the IC... and what other possible options besides Catholics being idiots, reprobate-minded, or both you have.

If you can't provide any other options then I can't see any reasonable reason for an bright, elect-vessel like yourself to continue to dialog with the likes of Catholics...

You want actual dialog... fine, first show me that it's even possible with you.

BC

 
At 5:45 AM, Blogger Rhology said...

BC,

No need to get personal, man. You went over 10 comments with me at the recent Beggars All combox, but you think dialogue with me is not possible? OK, whatever...

IC = the BVMary was conceived and born without the stain of original sin.
Why? B/c the Theotokos, to be a vessel "good enough" (so to speak) to carry the Christ child in her womb, could not have such stain of sin.
My guess is the implication is that, w/o the IC, Christ Himself would be tainted somehow by her sin.
So, what I don't get is why St. Anne wouldn't have had to be IC'd herself. And her mother. And hers. Etc.

Instead of bluster, could you just interact now with my question?

Peace,
Rhology

 
At 7:49 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rhology,

You totally missed me about the possibility of having a real dialog...

Do you not agree that people can talk and talk to one another without actually making headway, coming to an understanding, etc?

You are convinced that the IC is illogical. No matter what I say you will still be convinced of it.

I have asked you to show (and you have never ever addressed this) why you think it is that Catholic can't see how right you are. If you think they are idiots, reprobate-minded, or both... then would it be reasonable to discuss these things with them? Yes or no?

Now... you and I obviously don't see original sin in the same way. You seem to identify the "stain" very closely with original sin. But original sin isn't the "stain" itself... the stain of the effect of original sin.

What is original sin? What do you think it means in Catholic theology? That's where I think the disconnect is, at least in part.

I can tell you this... based on my understanding of these things it is not logically necessary that anyone before the BVM conceived and not have the "stain" of original sin. There is no contradiction.

BC

BC

 
At 7:55 AM, Blogger Rhology said...

I'd like to know, then, what the difference would be between

1) Christ born out of the BVMary's womb
2) The BVMary born out of Anne's womb
3) Anne born out of her mother's womb

And if you don't want to answer b/c you want to keep harping on how I somehow don't understand RC theology, fine. Maybe someone else feels a little more forthcoming.
Sometimes, it's nice to buck up a little and just answer a simple question.

 
At 8:22 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rhology,

*sigh*

1) Christ born out of the BVMary's womb
2) The BVMary born out of Anne's womb
3) Anne born out of her mother's womb"


I agree that they were all born out of the womb of another.

When have I ever said anything to make you think otherwise?

And if you don't want to answer b/c you want to keep harping on how I somehow don't understand RC theology, fine.

I am trying to determine if you do understand it.

There is NO REASON AT ALL to think that anyone before Mary would have to have been "IC'd" - not when you understand certain theological terms from a Catholic perspective.

You continue not to "buck up" by not answering some "simple questions" yourself...

You keep dodging my questions about idiots and reprobate minds and "logical flow." Buck up! :)

How about what you think Catholics understand Original Sin to be... hint: original sin is not the "Stain" or "sin nature" (some Protestants call it that)... THAT is one point where, I believe, you are not getting Catholic theology... because there is, again, NO LOGICAL REASON to think that every mother all the way back to Eve would have to have been "IC'd" for Mary to be.

BC

 
At 9:30 AM, Blogger Rhology said...

Very well.
What is the reason hypothesised by the RC Magisterium for which the BVMary was Immaculately Conceived, in relation to Jesus Christ?

Is it not b/c otherwise, Jesus would have been housed in the womb of a sinner?

 
At 10:16 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rhology,

What is the reason hypothesized by the RC Magisterium for which the BVMary was Immaculately Conceived, in relation to Jesus Christ?

Because that's how God decided to do it. :)

"We declare, pronounce and define that the doctrine which holds that the Blessed Virgin Mary, at the first instant of her conception, by a singular privilege and grace of the Omnipotent God, in virtue of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Savior of mankind, was preserved immaculate from all stain of original sin, has been revealed by God, and therefore should firmly and constantly be believed by all the faithful."

How about answering a couple of the questions that I have continually asked you...

BC

 
At 11:56 AM, Blogger Rhology said...

BC,

I don't know what RC dogma about original sin is; I'm not RC. I know the biblical doctrine, and the RC dogma may well correspond to it, but I don't know.
Tell you what - you're not a Scientologist. Go ahead and expound on the Scientology doctrine of _____.
See my point?


And I'll note sthg else b/c maybe I'm asking the wrong person here.
You said:
hint: original sin is not the "Stain"

Then the (presumably) Magisterial statement:
was preserved immaculate from all stain of original sin

Why the difference?

Peace,
Rhology

 
At 12:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rhology,

Are you ever going to address the questions I asked you??

I don't know what RC dogma about original sin is; I'm not RC.

Thanks for that. :)

I know the biblical doctrine, and the RC dogma may well correspond to it, but I don't know.

It seems as though you have been certain about both things (and how they absolutely don't line up) since I have been discussing things with you, but...

Tell you what - you're not a Scientologist. Go ahead and expound on the Scientology doctrine of _____. See my point?

No I don't, not really.

You were claiming a lack of "logical flow" to a "RC" doctrine you are now claiming you don't understand.

Where did I do this with Scientology? Cause I don't want to be hunted down by a TomKat with a kid in tow. :)

And I'll note sthg else b/c maybe I'm asking the wrong person here.
You said:
hint: original sin is not the "Stain"

Then the (presumably) Magisterial statement:
was preserved immaculate from all stain of original sin

Why the difference?


There is no difference. Original Sin is not the stain in what I said or what you quoted. The "stain" is the effect... the cause is Original Sin...

What do you understand Original Sin to mean?

BC

 
At 1:06 PM, Blogger Rhology said...

Very convenient that the 2 stains are different. Why are they different?

You want to know what *I* understand it to be?
The London Baptist Confession of 1689 said it well enough:

Section 6: Our first parents, by this sin, fell from their original righteousness and communion with God, and we in them. For from this, death came upon all: all becoming dead in sin and wholly defiled in all the faculties and parts of soul and body.

They being the root, and by God's appointment, standing in the room and stead of all mankind, the guilt of this sin was imputed, and their corrupted nature conveyed, to all their posterity descending from them by ordinary generation. Their descendants are therefore conceived in sin, and are by nature the children of wrath, the servants of sin, and the subjects of death and all other miseries, spiritual, temporal, and eternal, unless the Lord Jesus sets them free.

All actual transgressions proceed from this original corruption, by which we are utterly indisposed, disabled, and made opposite to all good, and wholly inclined to all evil.

During this life the corruption of nature remains in those who are regenerated, and although it is pardoned and mortified through Christ, yet this corrupt nature and all its motions are truly and properly sinful.

 
At 2:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rhology,

I have to admit that I don't understand your arguments, nor your comments, at times.

Very convenient that the 2 stains are different. Why are they different?

To which, pray tell, "2 stains" do you refer? I don't remember mentioning "2 stains" (or anything like it) anywhere.

All I am saying is that Original Sin is the cause the "stain" to which you refer is the effect (at least as I understand things as Catholic).

Of course your LBC quote only shows what Reformed types think "Original Sin" might be... not how Catholic theology understands it.

So you seem to find a lack of "logical flow" by "imputing" (pardon the pun) YOUR LBC influenced idea of Original Sin onto Catholic theology and then you find a contradiction.

Talk about "convenient."

To me original sin is not the addition of something, but, rather, the lack of something...

"Conceived in sin..."

That might be important to the discussion later.

I don't want to give you any answers you aren't willing to research (preferably in Catholic sources as opposed to the AOMin website) for yourself.

I haven't been accusing your Reformed tradition of things based on concepts I may not fully understand... why do you?

Now... PLEASE answer the questions I have been asking you...

BC

 
At 3:07 PM, Blogger Levi Sorenson said...

LBC seems to be real heavy on Original Guilt(which, contrary to popular belief, is not Catholic Dogma), not Original Sin.

And what it does say sounds more Manichean than Christian.

BC, why don't you just explain the difference to him?

 
At 3:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

LS,

I think what I just mentioned to him about my thinking on OS being more rooted in something not being present at conception rather than added.

I think that is enough to get him to read some CATHOLICS on the subject and not Reformed apologists who don't get that any better than he does (from what I have seen).

He will understand more about this (and, God willing, some other things) by reading some on his own.

BC

 
At 5:05 AM, Blogger Rhology said...

BC,

You are amazing. Amazing.

You said (check the last sentence):
What do you understand Original Sin to mean?

Why would I, w/o the specifier "to mean IN CATHOLIC THEOLOGY", think that you wanted me to explain what OS means in Catholic theology?
You asked me what ***I*** understand it to mean. So I quoted the LBCF. What do you want from me?


To which, pray tell, "2 stains" do you refer?

1) You said: original sin is not the "Stain" or "sin nature" (some Protestants call it that)... THAT is one point where, I believe, you are not getting Catholic theology
2) The (presumably, you didn't cite the source) Magisterial document you cited says: the Savior of mankind, was preserved immaculate from all stain of original sin

You say it's not a stain. The doc says it is. Please explain yourself.

The rest of your comment is malarkey based on my supposedly getting Catholic dogma from Reformed teachers.
1) Your question is to blame for my citing the LBCF.
2) I challenge you to show where I've done that.

Peace and better reading comprehension to you,
Rholoy

 
At 8:17 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rhology,

I can't comprehend what I read... interesting... I am so glad you continue to converse (in writing) with a person who can't comprehend very well what he reads.

I think it's lovely how the elect of God act. Simply lovely.

I am glad you think I am "amazing."

In the 9th post under CC's last post I asked you the following: "What is original sin? What do you think it means in Catholic theology? That's where I think the disconnect is, at least in part."

Please refrain from acting as if I haven't been pressing you for the Catholic understandings of these things the entire time... that, too, would be "amazing."

What do you want from me?

To deal with things fairly. Not just to be the person who can ask questions and not answer ones posed to him.

If the Reformed and the Catholic understandings of Original Sin and it's effects are different your imputation (pun intended) of a FOREIGN concept of OS into Catholic theology could PRODUCE the SILLY kinds contradictions that you have been trying to pin on us. On second thought, that's probably impossible... forget I mentioned such a silly thing... I can't even understand what I write.

Which brings me back to the questions about conversing with Catholics that you have completely ignored... above you have accused me of not being able to understand very well what I read. Aside from the sheer snideness of the comment (and an hint of possible arrogance that I see from many of the "elect"), I notice that it relates rather directly the the questions I have posed to you from almost the beginning of this dialog.
You have REPEATEDLY dodged my questions... go back and answer them or I will have more than ample proof that you are only here to ask ME questions, that you feel no obligation to answer any. I will not talk with someone who thinks they are interrogation cop... "I'll ask the questions here cause I am an elect vessel you reprobate scum!" That attitude won't work with me sir. Especially with you insulting me...

If you want to claim that my questions are off topic or some other "malarkey" ... the very topic we are discussing is not the topic of Prejean's post... so that would be ridiculous.

I still contend that the "stain" is the effect of Original Sin, not the definition of Original Sin, but... *sigh* I can't comprehend what I read very well so...

Let's look at the CCC...

416 By his sin Adam, as the first man, lost the original holiness and justice he had received from God, not only for himself but for all human beings.

417 Adam and Eve transmitted to their descendants human nature wounded by their own first sin and hence deprived of original holiness and justice; this deprivation is called "original sin".

418 As a result of original sin, human nature is weakened in its powers, subject to ignorance, suffering and the domination of death, and inclined to sin (this inclination is called "concupiscence").


I think 418 points out nicely the "RESULT" of Original Sin... not what Original Sin IS (in 418) but what the RESULTS are.

It seems to me that the Catholic definition of OS (which I, most certainly DID, press you for before) seems to indicate that it is NOT the addition of something, but, rather, the deprivation of something... and said deprivation RESULTS in the things listed in paragraph 418.

I would really appreciate it if you began to answer my questions... if you don't I am done talking to you as I am more and more sickened by how the "elect" act.

BC

 
At 12:11 PM, Blogger Rhology said...

As regards OS, let's take a look at Rom 5.
CrimsonCatholic earlier disparaged the idea that OS is a "sin nature," but I don't really see why that's not a workable term, especially given what will follow here and Paul's words throughout Rom 6 and 7.

Rom 5:16 - The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification.

What kind of judgment is this, to follow one sin (that of Adam) and yet extend to all men? To bring death to all men?

Rom 5:13 - just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned

How did all men sin? In Adam; was he not our representative, our "federal head"?
Rom 5:14 - death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who was a pattern of the one to come.

Rom 5:17 - For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God's abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ.

How does death reign in ALL men thru the trespass of the one?

Rom 5:18 - just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men

Why? B/c of what the individual member of the set of "all men" DID? No, thru the sin of Adam himself, as the prefigure of Christ.

CrimsonCatholic seems fond of saying things like:
you think evil is a substance that can inhere in nature but not grace. If anything, it appears the case should be completely reversed

The main reason to say that evil is inherited thru nature is b/c Rom 5 expresses that, AND compares it to Christ. His propitiation is able to save all men from all their sin if they will repent. But somehow the prefiguring, Adam's death, which makes Christ's propitiation necessary, is NOT all-encompassing?

Rom 5:19 - For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners

Is this not an expression of OS? We are made into sinNERS thru Adam's sin. All of us - we love to sin, yes. Not only that, we are made sinNERS *AND* receive the condemnation thru His death.
Why?
Rom 5:19 - so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.

The bad news has to be bad so that the Good News can be so good.

CrimsonCatholic, I hope I have made some headway in satisfying you. I didn't realise I was putting forth the impression that I was blindly appealing to Augustine... I'm a Reformed Babdist, why would I do that?

And for the record, BC could stand to be a little clearer in what he wants me to answer. It's honestly hard for me to figure out, which is why I quoted the LBCF.
He has apparently asked me to define RC dogma on OS. My money is that there is no ONE dogma, but I could be proven wrong. But I figured an RC could define it far better than a Reformed Babdist. I'm not even going to take a stab at it b/c I am ignorant of RC dogma on that point. Hopefully that admission will satisfy your (I think, unreasonable) expectation, BC.

Given that, would you PLEASE show yourself to be that much more generous than me, the evil member of the "elect", and answer my question about the Immaculate Conception and why Mary's mother would not also have to be IC'd?

 
At 12:45 PM, Blogger CrimsonCatholic said...

BC and Rhology:
I think you both should make a better effort at answering each others' questions.

BC, you are correct to think that Rhology thinking of "stain" as "sin nature" is just flat out wrong and that it is a Reformed gloss on Catholic dogma rather than what Catholics mean by it. But I think you were overheated in your reaction, since your definition of "stain" as the effect of original sin is just plain wrong, at least as far as I can tell. "Stain" is not the effect of original sin; it is the deprivation itself.

What you should have said is that this deprivation is only analogously called "stain" or "guilt." A human born in a state of original sin is not actually guilty of anything; he is not damnable for this condition. An actually guilty person, an actual sinner, is in deprivation of something with respect to his own natural end; he has violated his own nature and rendered himself actually deprived that he, by right of nature, ought to actually have. The "guilt" of original sin is analogous, in that it is a deprivation, but it is a deprivation of something that is not due to his nature, but of a supernatural end that is beyond mere natural happiness. So it is like the deprivation of natural good that is produced by guilt, but it is not actual guilt, since what is being deprived is not nature's due. Such a person could still have natural happiness such as Adam had in the Garden of Eden (and that is what Limbo was understood to be), but he lacks the vision of God.

If infants were actually guilty as opposed to merely analogously guilty, it would be visiting the actual sins of the father on the son in contravention of Scripture. Instead, God has deprived man of something man is NOT due on account of Adam's sin, which He has the right to do, since man is not due His grace anyway. He has revealed that He wishes all to be saved, so we reason that He has provided sufficient grace to all, but He doesn't have to do so. There is nothing wrong in principle with Limbo, in which souls are given an eternal natural happiness proportional to their natural capacities without sharing God's own life. Given God's revelation of His universal mercy toward creation, we reason that He will instead give all creation the opportunity to live with Him in eternity forever in the form of sufficient grace. But in principle, He could refrain from doing so, effectively leaving souls in a kind of eternal holding pattern of natural happiness (though not damned; that was Augustine's dialetical error).

Rhology:
I hope it is clear that the "stain" of original sin is not literal, as you seem to have imagine in the sense of some damnable or evil taint in the soul, but simply refers to a deprivation of supernatural assistance. The purpose of the doctrine was not to immunize Jesus from that sort of "evil taint," but rather, to explain the sort of metaphysical assistance that God would and would not give to humanity.

Essentially, the Scholastic difficulty was over precisely how original sin was contracted by human generation (which was completely irrelevant for Jesus, since He was not generated in human fashion). To make a long story short, Blessed John Duns Scotus introduced a theory regarding the nature of the connection between human generation and original sin that explained how original sin could be taken away from the very moment of conception as opposed to immediately after. The point wasn't to protect Jesus, but to affirm what God could and could not do. This was the same sort of metaphysical conundrum regarding what was and was not a logical contradiction for purpose of God's omnipotence that took place all of the time during the Scholastic period; see, e.g., St. Peter Damian's position on the restoration of virginity. Once it was concluded that there was no contradiction in the very idea that Mary would be protected from sin, it was concluded in light of the Church teaching regarding Mary's protection from actual sin that she had been so protected (it could be done; it was fitting for it to be done; therefore, it was done). Effectively, the dogmatic import of the Immaculate Conception is that denying it appears to say that God cannot do something that is within His power to do. If one denies the Immaculate Conception, then it suggests that one does not believe that God can do what He logically has the power to do.

 
At 1:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rhology,

Ok...

...answer my question about the Immaculate Conception and why Mary's mother would not also have to be IC'd?

In the definition of the IC (in Ineffabilis Deus) we read:

We declare, pronounce, and define that the doctrine which holds that the most Blessed Virgin Mary, in the first instance of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege granted by Almighty God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the human race, was preserved free from all stain of original sin, is a doctrine revealed by God and therefore to be believed firmly and constantly by all the faithful.

Something that is usually withheld (grace) is not withheld in this (singular) case. This prevents the "staining."

You may not agree with it, but it is not contradictory within the context of Catholic theology.

You never ever even attempted to answer my questions about conversing with Catholics. You are not being very fair at all...

Your half quote of Romans 5:18 is interesting to me... to say the least.

I never called the "elect" (as all Reformed I know believe they are) evil...

BC

 
At 1:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

CC,

I admit I could have a better understanding of these things and that I could also be clearer about what I mean by my words.

I guess I had problems with how Rhology was using "stain" and I couldn't quite express (in a clear and consistent manner) why that was.

I got a bit upset because there were many questions of mine that he absolutely ignored... I at least attempted to answer his.

BC

 
At 1:27 PM, Blogger Rhology said...

CC,

it is clear that the "stain" of original sin is not literal

Why would it be clear?
I'm not denying you've definitely done your fair share of commenting here, but maybe I'd need to see some interaction with my prev comment to call it "clear".

but simply refers to a deprivation of supernatural assistance

Why then does Rom 5 refer to the condemnation, us as sinners, death having entered thru Adam, etc? The last comment deals explicitly with that.

to explain the sort of metaphysical assistance that God would and would not give to humanity.

Am I correct in thinking you only know what God "would and would not give" on the basis of what the RCC has proclaimed?
Is there any biblical evidence for that kind of thinking you could bring forth?

(it could be done; it was fitting for it to be done; therefore, it was done

It might be beyond the scope of this combox, but if you think it is not, then I'd like to know how, particularly, it would be "fitting" for Mary to be treated like this.
And why "fitting" would even be of any importance. Does it reduce to anything more than "She's Christ's mother! It's obvious!"?

denying it appears to say that God cannot do something that is within His power to do

No, it's denying THAT He DID it. Not that He *couldn't*. We object b/c there's no evidence that He did it.


BC,

Your half quote of Romans 5:18 is interesting to me... to say the least.

Why? What hurts my position in the other half?

You never ever even attempted to answer my questions about conversing with Catholics. You are not being very fair at all...

I have not answered some of your queries b/c I've found them either irrelevant or hard to distinguish as questions.
Fine, I'll answer if you'll repeat them. Please, make them easily recognisable.

Something that is usually withheld (grace) is not withheld in this (singular) case. This prevents the "staining."

This is what CC said, but I don't think it holds water given the positive descriptions given in Rom 5. We are condemned, we are in death, we are sinNERS b/c of Adam's one sin. Where is what is supposedly "removed" presented in the text?


Out this wknd, back Monday.

Peace,
Rhology

 
At 11:43 AM, Blogger CrimsonCatholic said...

This is what CC said, but I don't think it holds water given the positive descriptions given in Rom 5. We are condemned, we are in death, we are sinNERS b/c of Adam's one sin. Where is what is supposedly "removed" presented in the text?

I decided to spend some time with the family this weekend myself, so I didn't get time to respond. But "sin" is used analogously in that text to relate the human condition to Adam's sin in the same way that it is used analogously in 1 Pet. 2:24, Gal. 3:13-14, and 2 Cor. 5:21. Just as Jesus was not made an actual sinner in these passages, but only analogously, so are we only analogously "sinners" by original sin, though the effects of Adam's sin are assuredly real as is our salvation from them in Christ. You can't tell simply from the word "sin" whether it refers to actual sin or merely this analogous sense of sin, so one has to use some metaphysical reasoning in order to figure that out. Since the idea of "sin nature" is a metaphysical absurdity, we presume that the Biblical authors don't mean it in this way. Consequently, it refers to the situation in which we are subject and vulnerable to the effects of sin as if we were being punished for sin, even though we are not guilty in the strict sense. This same analogous usage prevails in the description of the condition of original sin as the "wrath" of the Father, just as the figure of "wrath" might be used to describe the relationship between the Father and the Son.

Obviously, the notion that the Father might actually have wrath that is poured out on the Son or that the Son would literally drink from the cup of the Father's wrath or those sorts of things is absurd; it would absolutely contradict the doctrine of the Trinity. On the contrary, it's the same metaphorical use of "wrath" that we find in the Old Testament, where the condition of being subject to evil forces or suffering is equated to a judgment by the will of God. One speaks metaphorically about God "willing" the action of evil men, as if He directly caused it, but it is only indirect and accidental causation. Likewise, the "wrath" and "plan" of God for the Crucifixion is not directly intended, but only conditionally and accidentally. The only literal wrath (albeit a transcendent and incomprehensible sort of wrath compared to human emotion) that God has is against actual sin, not original sin. In all other cases, such as the ones described above, "wrath" is being described not literally but metaphorically.

But one has to carefully perceive the nature of the relationship between the Father and the Son to recognize that He could not possibly have literal wrath against the Son in order to recognize when the description of "sin" and "wrath" is and is not literal. It is not literal when used to refer to the inherited condition of all human beings; it is literal only when referring to actual sin. This simply follows Augustine's own rule, where one does not take the literal reading when the consequences are absurd. But he had not carefully thought through the question of whether original sin alone could be damnable in detail, so he did not carefully consider whether his allegorical use of the term "lump" to suggest a massa damnata could be justified.

The Scholastics DID think through that question in detail, including the numerous collateral issues of how exactly the soul originated in human generation that were still unclear in Augustine's time, so they rejected that speculation. We have no doubt that Augustine himself would have done the same by his own principles, since he said to reject the literal interpretation where it would result in absurdities because it would make the Christian faith appear ridiculous. Unfortunately, the absurdity of the "sin nature" and the concomitant literal interpretation of "sin" and "wrath" has not been weeded out as it should have been.

 
At 11:49 AM, Blogger CrimsonCatholic said...

P.S., for similar analogous usage of divine causation behind evil, see Acts 2:23, Acts 4:24-30, Isaiah 53:3-12.

 
At 6:36 AM, Blogger Rhology said...

hi CC,

Yes, I was with family this wknd too.
I'm not one to press any blogger for slowness to respond. God knows we all need more time.

But "sin" is used analogously in that text to relate the human condition to Adam's sin

What is your evidence for that?

Just as Jesus was not made an actual sinner in these passages

1 Pet 2:24 - it says He "bore our sins", so that is far different than Rom 5.
Gal 3 - He "became a curse for us" - OK, I can see how that would fit with what you're saying, though it is qualified with the OT reference "cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree", thus instructing HOW He became a curse. He SUBSTITUTED for us on the tree whereas we would have had to pay for our own sins on a tree, as it were, if He had not suffered in our place.
2 Cor 5:21 - Christ became a sin OFFERING, not "sin".

we only analogously "sinners" by original sin

Why then does it say "condemnation for all men" (v 18), "as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners" (v 19), "because all sinned" (v. 13)?

the idea of "sin nature" is a metaphysical absurdity

1) How so?
2) Why would it matter what we might "figure out" thru philosophical reasoning when that's what the text says? What is our authority?

even though we are not guilty in the strict sense

That is a conclusion that you'd need to come to thru dealing with the Rom 5 text.

This same analogous usage prevails in the description of the condition of original sin as the "wrath" of the Father, just as the figure of "wrath" might be used to describe the relationship between the Father and the Son.

1) If you refer to "wrath" against sinners, I see no reason why we'd assume that God *wouldn't* punish guilty rebels.
2) If you refer to His wrath against His Son, it's b/c the Son is the substitute for said guilty rebels.
The bonus is that we realise the fullest depths of how bad sin really is and elevate God's grace yet higher in this way.

it would absolutely contradict the doctrine of the Trinity

Why?

the "wrath" and "plan" of God for the Crucifixion is not directly intended

Does not Acts 4:27-28 speak to that directly?
27"For truly in this city there were gathered together against Your holy servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, 28to do whatever Your hand and (E)Your purpose predestined to occur. "

Was the Cross God's Plan B?

The only literal wrath that God has is against actual sin, not original sin.

What is your evidence for that?

since he said to reject the literal interpretation where it would result in absurdities because it would make the Christian faith appear ridiculous

This is a very minor point, but I'll offer a brief perspective.
1) "Literal" is so misunderstood as to be worthless in this context. Let's use "correctly exegeted according to the grammatico-historical method".
2) If a psg is correctly exegeted via GHM, is that not the final word?
3) Why would I care if God's Word makes me or my belief appear foolish to others? 1 Cor 1-3, remember?

Peace,
Rhology

 
At 3:56 PM, Blogger CrimsonCatholic said...

JP>But "sin" is used analogously in that text to relate the human condition to Adam's sin

Rho>What is your evidence for that?


I'm not sure what you mean by "evidence." I don't see any authority elsewhere in Scripture for the proposition that someone who has not committed actual sin was punished by damnation, so it seems to be a matter of speculative reasoning. I am convinced by the argument that it is impossible for an omnibenevolent God.

With respect to 1 Pet. 2, Gal. 3, and 2 Cor. 5, it isn't clear how the interpretation you are offering actually answers the question. You say that Jesus suffers by substitution or by being a sin offering, and that is my entire point. The entire idea of a substitution or a sin offering is a metaphor; it is not literal, because the person who actually committed the sin is not being punished. What literally happened is that He underwent real suffering and that through His real suffering He enabled the escape of men from their condition of both original and actual sin. If one took these in a strictly literal sense, they would entail Jesus being punished for actual sin, which is clearly absurd by both reason and Scripture, since He never actually sinned (Hebr. 4:15). Hence, the passages cannot be literal and must be figurative.

Why then does it say "condemnation for all men" (v 18), "as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners" (v 19), "because all sinned" (v. 13)?

Same thing. Condemnation is metaphorical, referring to being subject to the condition analogous to the judgment on sin, as described above. None of this is literal.

JP>the idea of "sin nature" is a metaphysical absurdity

Rho> 1) How so?
2) Why would it matter what we might "figure out" thru philosophical reasoning when that's what the text says? What is our authority?


1) Natures are divine ideas realized concretely. To put any sort of actual evil within the nature would make God its author, which is impossible.
2) One needs no authority for reason other than God having created it. Clearly, reason is intended to function, as one would have no idea what the text says without reason. To affirm the authority of the text is to affirm that reason is a true and accurate way of forming judgments about reality.

That is a conclusion that you'd need to come to thru dealing with the Rom 5 text.

One has to assume the truth of reason in order to "deal[] with the Rom 5 text" in the first place. If I didn't trust reason, I would have no basis for thinking that I knew anything about the text. Textual interpretation presupposes the entirety of natural reason, so it would be backward to accept something that reason tells you is absurd on the basis of an authority that reason is necessary to justify.

1) If you refer to "wrath" against sinners, I see no reason why we'd assume that God *wouldn't* punish guilty rebels.

I wouldn't assume that either. My point is that the condition of original sin is only described in language of "punishment" or "guilt" by analogy. The only places in the Scripture which describe men as "guilty" or "sinful" or "condemned" are clearly analogical and not literal.

2) If you refer to His wrath against His Son, it's b/c the Son is the substitute for said guilty rebels. The bonus is that we realise the fullest depths of how bad sin really is and elevate God's grace yet higher in this way.

But "substitute" is clearly analogous and not literal. Jesus doesn't literally become sinful, He doesn't literally suffer punishment, and He is not literally judged. If you're suggesting that sin is so serious that it can cause the Father to be wrathful against the Son in our place, then that doesn't give God glory; it simply denies the eternal relationship between the Father and the Son, as the next question illustrates.

JP>it would absolutely contradict the doctrine of the Trinity

Rho> Why?


I suppose I should have recognized that this wouldn't be obvious, else no one would commit the error. The problem is that the personal relationship between the Persons qua divine is both eternal and fixed, so there cannot be any changes in the relationship between them (the Son is eternally begotten by the Father, eternally loved by the Father, etc.). Sin is a matter of person, so the Father judging the Son as a sinner would involve a change in personal relationship between the Father and the Son, which is impossible. This means it is impossible for the Father ever to judge the Son, which is why it never happens and all references to such a concept must be figurative. As St. Anselm explains, the Crucifixion is an act of love by both Father and Son; the Son lovingly offers Himself as sacrifice and the Father lovingly accepts His sacrifice as payment to Him on behalf of sinners. There is no question of wrath or judgment of the Son, as either would be impossible.

Does not Acts 4:27-28 speak to that directly?
27"For truly in this city there were gathered together against Your holy servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, 28to do whatever Your hand and (E)Your purpose predestined to occur. "

Was the Cross God's Plan B?


Certainly, in the sense that evil is never intended directly but only accidentally and conditionally. In that sense, anything that pertains to evil is Plan B. Supralapsarian Calvinists deny this, of course, but that simply puts the interpretation of revelation in conflict with the same reason used to interpret revelation, because it is absolutely evident as a matter of natural theology that God cannot will evil directly.

JP>The only literal wrath that God has is against actual sin, not original sin.

Rho>What is your evidence for that?


There is no evidence to the contrary, and I see no reason to dispute the Scholastic conclusion on the subject.

This is a very minor point, but I'll offer a brief perspective.
1) "Literal" is so misunderstood as to be worthless in this context. Let's use "correctly exegeted according to the grammatico-historical method".
2) If a psg is correctly exegeted via GHM, is that not the final word?
3) Why would I care if God's Word makes me or my belief appear foolish to others? 1 Cor 1-3, remember?


In (1) and (2), "correctly" begs the question. The GHM derives its validity from the truths of natural reason, so using any conclusion of the GHM to deny natural reason is irrational. To put it another way, it's impossible for any interpretation of any passage to conflict with natural reason and to be judged true, since true judgments about reality are the only way that the GHM could deliver meaning.

Re: (3), there's foolish, and then there is contrary to God-given natural reason. One can appear foolish in terms of deviating from the things that concern them, such as the desire for money, power, sex, and the like. But it's an insult to God to say that He is asking you to deny what is known by the same natural reason that He gave you. One's reason might be corrigible, but one can never deny what one honestly believes to be rational. That would be fideistic nonsense. To put it another way, you don't need the Bible to do what God gave you a brain today. If you make reason dependent on the Bible, then you spurn God's greatest gift to man, the one on which the Bible itself depends.

 
At 6:56 AM, Blogger Rhology said...

Hi CC,

Thought it'd be more fun to make a post on this, so here it is.

Peace,
Rhology

 

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