Tuesday, October 21, 2008

R U Saved?

The question of salvation is the question of the Absolute: Must there be a salvation from Sin without which the human is damned? If there must be, then the question of salvation is absolute, and there can be only one source of that salvation (and only one way of accepting it).

If salvation is not an absolute, but merely a way to human wholeness, or some other mechanism or manner of making life more bearable, then the question of damnation is lost and the question of salvation is only one for me, if I choose it.

And what, then, of Jesus' complete lack of language about damnation? Or Paul's, for that matter? What of Jesus' offer of life "into the ages," or "abundant life" (two Greek terms usually translated as "eternal life," which took on uncomfortably Platonic overtones as the message traveled from its Hebraic roots into the Greek-influenced world of the Gentiles)? What of the historical and textual criticism which clearly divines a line between true Pauline documents and the pseudo-Pauline documents, the latter which tend toward judgment and distinction and the burdens of the Law which Paul (in opposition to Peter, in his letters and in Acts) clearly did not carry to the Gentiles? As Paul says, it is the Jews who know sin because they know the Law (the Torah). Gentiles who don't know the Law, and are not obligated to keep it (because they are not members of the Abrahamic covenant) are not subject to sin. This was the heart of Paul's argument as to why Christians did not have to subject themselves to male circumcision in order to be accepted as believers in Christ and the God of Abraham.

So without the Law, how is there sin? And yet without sin, how is there salvation? Or is salvation something other than salvation from sin? If we are apart from our Creator, what would communion with our Creator look like? Keeping the law? Keeping the faith?

Or loving one another, as the Creator loves us?

Don't blame me! Grandmère Mimi started it!

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