Archive for the ‘paul’ Tag

Can I Just Sin All I want?

 

Shortly after I was confronted with Trinitarian thought in 2006 (thanks to my good friend Timothy J. Brassell) I began to wrestle with many issues peripheral to the Gospel. One question that came up over and over was, “Well, If I am saved in Jesus and always will be, why can’t I just sin all I want? God will still love me right?”

Well yes of course, if you sin all you want God will still love you and (here’s the kicker) he will still like you too! But it doesn’t mean we should just sin all we want. In fact Paul’s answer to this question in Romans 6:1-2 is “certainly not!”

Let me explain by using one particular behavior that drives me nuts.pinocchio

It seems that in today’s heated political climate the practice of slandering and denigrating others has been taken to new lows. Every day we hear about some politician who said this about some other politician and then in turn that politician retorts with an equally derogatory statement.

Well what is “Bearing False Witness”? Simply put it is just that, telling a tale about another that is untrue. It isn’t just your basic lie or fairy tale; it is much more mean-spirited than that.

An example of telling a lie would be me telling you that I once caught a ten-pound Largemouth bass- no wait… that one is true. Let’s make it a 30-pound Largemouth bass… that would definitely be a lie.

An example of bearing false witness would be to intentionally, for some nefarious reason, make an accusation against another that is untrue. At its core, bearing false witness has the intention to do harm.

So what’s the big deal? Why not bear false witness and get ahead as a result? Why not spread rumors and make false claims against someone in the office in order to get that promotion instead of them?

Well here’s why.

The Father, Son, and Spirit have created us to share in their very life of love and community. Participating in the Triune Life of God is the specific and foremost reason you and I were created.

So when we read of some behavior that the Lord tells us to avoid, it is always because that behavior is eternally absent from the Godhead. There is never a time when Jesus bears false witness against the Father or the Spirit. The Spirit always bears truth about the Father/ Son relationship in the Life of the Trinity. Likewise there is never any betrayal, stealing, gossiping, cheating, etc…

Do you see? We are created for… and to share the very life of God!

So instead of asking “Why can’t I just sin all I want?” My question gradually became, “Why on earth do I want to sin at all?” And with this new question came a prayer: “Lord please help me remember who I am, whose I am, and teach me how to participate more fully in your divine Life of Love.”

~Bill Winn

I don’t believe in Adam, and I’m OK

Many of us are comfortable with a literal reading of Genesis, finding its account of human origins more plausible than anything else we’ve heard.  If that’s you, this post will either bore or offend you.  But if you’re like me—unable to swallow a literal reading of Genesis—this post’s for you.

I’ve believed in evolution for a couple decades now, and I spent much of that time in the closet, afraid to talk to anyone about it.  I spent a couple of those years not believing in God, because I’d grown convinced that my science and my religion were incompatible. It’s been a long and fruitful journey for me, and today I can’t imagine doing theology without evolutionary science by my side. My science provides my theology with fantastic depth, fruitfulness, and beauty that it couldn’t have any other way. I love where I’m at with it.

But a friend recently brought up a question about this, and it’s relevant to our theological project here in the Trinity and Humanity blog community, so I thought I’d post about it here.

Many Christian evolutionists believe in a historical pair of Homo Sapiens named Adam & Eve.  I do not, for a variety of reasons.  Does this fundamentally conflict with Saint Paul’s “Adam Theology” (expressed in Romans 5 and 1 Corinthians 15), which is a really important piece of the Trinity-and-Humanity vision of God?

In these passages, Paul uses Adam to illustrate the universality of Jesus’ saving work.  The basic idea is expressed succinctly in Romans 5.18:

Just as [Adam’s] one trespass resulted in condemnation for all people, so also [Jesus’s] one righteous act resulted in justification and life for all people.

Here are two quick reasons why my belief in Paul’s theology doesn’t conflict with my non-belief in a historical Adam:

1.  Divinely-inspired ancient people don’t know quantum mechanics.
Or Newton’s laws of motion. Or that the Earth orbits the Sun.  Or that all life on Earth is related by birth.  As far as I can tell, Paul believes in an Earth-centered cosmos and a historical Adam & Eve, and that’s okay by me.  My trust in Paul as a divinely-inspired messenger of the Gospel does not compel me to agree with his notions about the natural world.

2.  Paul’s argument rests on Jesus, not Adam.
In these passages, Paul wants us to know that Jesus affects all of humankind, and he uses his understanding of human origins to illustrate how that can happen.  Similarly, Hosea says that God is as trustworthy as the sun’s movement around the earth (Hosea 6.3). The truth of his theology does not rest on the accuracy of his science.  New Testament scholar N.T. Wright backs me up on this:

If you’re interested in learning more about the interface between biblical Christian faith and evolutionary science, Peter Enn’s Biologos is a pretty good place to start.

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I understand that some of my friends might not like what I have said here.  If that’s the case for you, please know:  I don’t need you to agree with me, but I do hope I can continue being welcome at your table.  I think our theological project here is big enough for us to continue working side-by-side.

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