Sunday, August 20, 2006

Sin: Excuse or Escape

A creation subject to futility and sin since the Fall has made up our minds for us. We face the travails of the calamitous in our lives and the task is to arrange it better. The guilt of sin is one such pain and man has either to brainwash himself into thinking it doesn't affect him that much or to flee from it outright. Of course the Christian view ought to be flight, escape, resistence through the grace of our Saviour but hidden in our philosophies are basic life defining principles that tempt us to excuse rather than escape.

The positions of determinism and free will each carry that virus. Determinism has the excuse ready made. While those that claim the view affirm that they alone are guilty of sin they have, hanging behind the scenes the strong affirmation that they are not the cause of anything. All excuses attempt to remove causality from the self because cause, to the degree causal, is responsibility. Even within that theology there is the admission that this principle is true. Just look at the means that are used to claim that we can not take credit for our faith. We all "seem" to exercise faith unto Life. The determinist says that those within the free will camp are trusting in a faith that, to their mind, is their own and hence a work. And, they say, we know we are not saved by works lest any man should boast. How do they make this "seeming" self originated faith not your own? God causes it and therefore only God should be credited. So you see, the determinist agrees that the truly causal (regardless of "Seeming") is responsible. The question naturally arises that, if God causes faith and sin (and He is 100% causal to both according to the determinist), why am I credited for sin and denied it for faith?

As an aside, if faith is freed from being a work by the causality of God, how then can even a bona fide work, claimed as a work by the individual performing it, be a work?

The free will position, while not in an of itself an excuse for sin holds temptations as well. It acknowledges the individual's autonomy. For the sinful agent, their sin was their autonomous wanting brought to life. The lordship of the self is easily seduced into being the only lord. God can be put at a distance from which the penalty of sin is less likely to occur. This can be a physical distance (like deism), a strength distance (like paganism), an informational distance (like process theology) , or an emotional distance (like agnosticism). Freedom of the will bears its own guilt but if the adherent of the position wants to dwell in the comfort of arranging his own conscience with more local justification, he just needs to cease seeing the God of the Bible as close, personal, concerned, involved, opinionated, and, without a doubt, powerful.

The oracle: Let us measure our lives less by the benefits of our philosophies for in them can hide excuses, our hiding places. Let us give ourselve more to the benefits of God's grace, for in it is our escape from the guilt of sin and the power of sin.


The Anti-Darwin said...
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Nuallain said...

Firstly: "The positions of determinism and free will each carry that virus." - Amen

Regarding the theological territory covered I have another thought.
Let us see what the Oracle shall make of the following idea.
The problem of faith as a work v. faith as a gift comes in a subtle problem in the definitions. Common Argument: We know that the natural man cannot please God. We know that salvific faith pleases God. Ergo, the salvific faith was inserted by God to change the natural man.
Sounds good and rational. The problem is in the nature of the definitions as they interact with the machinery of logic. The point of contention occurs at the point of salvific faith, at this infintesimal point, what is the man? He is natural prior to this, and he is sanctified after. But at this exact point is not well defined. And we were relying on this for the above theorem. Too many of the proofs are of this sort, indeed most (if not all) of the determinism proofs regarding salvation are of this sort. And I would posit that the free will position is equally problematical in some of the definitions that it posits and applies to ill defined points.

So Bish: Thoughts, comments, snide remarks?