Thursday, March 06, 2014

Romans 5:12-19

Year A - First Sunday in Lent or Conviction [1]
March 9, 2014

Did anyone who received Paul’s letter bother to ask what evidence he had for asserting his “Therefore”? Not unsurprisingly, any such query is not recorded. The tape seems to have a several minute gap in it.

If it is revealed knowledge that says sin came into the world through one man, it is important to ask about the revealer and whether they have a vested interested in their revelation. In this case, yes, Paul loses his overall argument if he can’t defend this point. If it is not revealed, it would be important to hear some evidence, of which there is none. This is one of those wondrous dualistic/theological analogies based on rhetorical flourishes. Unfortunately its consequences echo on.

At least there is a tacit acknowledgment that Jesus is human with the repeated comparison to Adam and reference point of “one man”.

If you would like to read a short two-part critique of this section you can go to: Paul's Problem by Bill Long.

Here is a sample from that article:
In short, my contention is that Paul has proved "too much" by his Adam/Christ comparison in this passage. He is inclined to use language such as "all/every" because that is one of the ways he extricates himself from theological problems in his writings. He loves the contrasts, the polar opposites. It is the reason why his lines are so memorable. But, in this instance, his words get the better of him. If we grant the point that all people are condemned by Adam's sin, without more, we must also accept the point that all people are redeemed by Christ's sacrifice without more. The word of proclamation of the Gospel, then, is only to let people know that they are already saved.


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