Monday 10 May 2021

How sin causes damnation

The usual understanding of Christians is that sin is moral transgression against God's law; and that this leads to the just punishment of being excluded-from Heaven and sent instead to Hell. 

But a close reading of the Fourth Gospel paints a very different picture of what Jesus taught about sin. 

In the Fourth Gospel - sin means death, primarily. 

Death here means to die physically, biologically, death of the body - and thereby to lose our-selves - without a living body we would cease to be our-selves. 

This seems to have referred to the condition of sheol - in which, after death of the body, each Man's soul was reduced to the state of a demented ghost who did not know his own identity.  

Jesus came to take away the sin of the world, for those who would follow him; and this meant that after biological death, instead of every-Man going to sheol, those who followed Jesus would be resurrected to eternal life.  

Thus Jesus came to change Man's previous universal destiny of death/ sheol - and this applied to those who chose to follow Jesus to resurrected life eternal. 

So, after Jesus made 'salvation'/ resurrection a possibility for all Men; then the meaning of sin began to include not only death; but any-thing that would prevent a Man from choosing to follow Jesus

That is how moral transgressions' work' in causing damnation. They are those moral choices that need to be recognized as preventing us from following Jesus to life everlasting in Heaven. They are moral choices that are incompatible with Heaven. 

Repentance is the recognition that these moral choices are incompatible with Heaven - and our willingness to discard these moral choices when we are resurrected. 

This is necessary, because for resurrection to eternal life to be possible, we must each voluntarily choose to discard that in our nature which is incompatible with Heavenly life among resurrected men. 

The reason is that Heaven is a state of full alignment with God's creative purposes; and Heaven is the situation in which Men work-with-God on divine creation. (This is becoming fully sons and daughters of God). 

Sins are what prevent us from having full alignment with God's creative purposes; and thereby intrinsically prevent us from being resurrected into Heaven. 

We need to be able to recognize sins as sins, and to repudiate them: to be prepared to discard them forever when we are resurrected. 

We must be able to discard these aspects of our-selves at resurrection - or else we physically-cannot be resurrected - and this choice of discarding  sin at resurrection is repentance in action


Francis Berger said...

"We need to be able to recognize sins as sins, and to repudiate them: to be prepared to discard them forever when we are resurrected."

Yes, spot on. This puts a great deal of what we are experiencing in today's world into the proper context.

Real recognition and repudiation of sin can only occur if a person recognizes and accepts his or her own spiritual nature and the reality of God (and sincerely accepts Christ and chooses to be on the side of God and Creation). Without this frame of consciousness, people essentially forfeit the resources required to recognize and repudiate sin, both here and at the threshold of everlasting life.

I believe this is the process of objectification in a nutshell. When presented with the choice, people will actively wish to cling in the objectified world because they have become incapable of choosing to be free with God. Of course, clinging to the objectified world becomes difficult after death because by that point the objectified world that will have discarded them - leaving objectified people nothing to cling to and nothing to move toward.

Adolf Hirémy-Hirschl's painting Souls on the Banks of the Archeron provides a good representation of this (the demented souls). Though subject matter of the painting is mythic/classical, the underlying theme is clearly Christian.

Bruce Charlton said...

@Frank - What you say about objectification - and that "people essentially forfeit the resources required to recognize and repudiate sin" is vitally important but difficult to grasp.

The whole trend of discourse in the modern world seems to have this property. It is no merely that it opposes sin by subversion and inversion of The Good; but more fundamentally it actually makes people incapable of grasping sin within this world view.

And furthermore, they become incapable of grasping this incapability!

Hence we have a world where sin is everywhere and on a scale (and in a top-down fashion) never previously known - and yet many people believe themselves to be the most moral people in the history of the world: the only ones capable of grasping the recently-discovered core-virtues of (for example) feminism, antiracism, and environmentalism.

So much so; that it requires the 'Year Zero' movement claiming implicitly that we need deletion of 'the past' from all public reference, so that 'the past' will cease to corrupt the pure minds of modern people.

Doc said...

I had previously believed that in the resurrection, we would no longer be "capable" of sinning (close but not quite accurate).

Voluntarily discarding the desire to do it seems proper. Of course it should be this way.

We are likened to his bride. Maybe part of our vow is "Do you eternally forsake sin of your own free will?"

"I do."

Doc said...

Yes, well said