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Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Pelagius and Romans Chapter 5

Augustine’s argument against Pelagius was based on Romans 5. Read Romans 5 for yourself and construct your own understanding of salvation. Can you see the basis for Augustine’s argument? Can you think of passages in Scripture that might support Pelagius? How would you describe a theology of sin and salvation to a person who was exploring the Christian faith?


I wanted to illustrate two points: first, what my idea of salvation is in regards to Romans 5...and second, to bring this topic to current understanding within the whole Church...Protestant and Roman Catholic/Orthodox:

First, in regards to Romans 5, I agree that physical death entered into this world through Adam (Romans 5:17). It is a fact that all men and women physically die from Adam till now. Is this a physical or spiritual death? Or both? Sin is passed through the father's seed, hence another reason why the Holy Spirit conceived Jesus in Mary's womb and Joseph had to "adopt" Jesus. We all agree that Jesus was "sinless" and thus, the Original Sin problem is conquered through the conception of the Holy Spirit in Mary.

Before the Law, one must asked the question if sin was reconcilable. I believe that in the times before the Law, judgement was personal according to how one lived...listening to the Lord or choosing the word of Satan.
When the Law was received through Moses, it served as a means to reconcile, if followed correctly. Who followed this correctly? For all men and women have died? Paul states in Romans 5:12 that "all have sinned" and thus all will die. There is a question mark on the destination of the soul or where their soul goes...heaven or hell.

Forwarding through to the New Testament...the first sin is the sin that kills you...and there is a need for salvation. The Law serves as a mirror to realize the imperfection and need for salvation through Jesus....all men and women physically die...but NOT spiritually and this is the "fulfillment of the Law" through the act of Jesus conquering death of the body and soul by His crucifixion. Original sin exists for all of us, and thus is fulfilled through physical death...but there is still the concern of the soul...does this die with the body or lives eternally? This is the reason for why Christ had to die...in order for us to be justified through faith so that we do not die spiritually...Satan does not receive our body AND soul, Satan can keep the body, but the soul is Christ's ....because of the original sin of Adam...we must die physically until the "New Heaven and New Earth".

Now to the second point....
I have attended through the years, a Bible study where one of my friends attended Dallas Theological Seminary and Golden Gate Baptist Seminary. If you would like to confront the question of "original sin" and the differences in belief today in the Church between Augustine and Pelagius...all you need to ask is the following question...

If a baby who is 2 months old dies, and is not baptized, will it go to heaven or hell?

First, allow me to expound on Orthodox and Roman Catholic views...they would state that this is the reason for the belief in "Limbo" or Purgatory. Second, if the baby was baptized...it would go to heaven. Third, if the baby was not baptized, it would possibly go to Purgatory or hell depending on the sins of the father. (This was explained to me by a Christian Brother when I attended Catholic high-school).

My friend in this Bible Study explained his beliefs through the following statements...he refuses to believe in a "punishing" God and thus does not believe in "Original Sin". His beliefs are that the human will must become developed so that one can consciously choose to break the Law...until that happens...the baby goes to heaven. The question is when does a conscious human will develop? Five, six or seven years old, or before? Until one is aware of God's Law and is aware of choosing between the Commandments and sin...it is wrong to condemn a baby or child. Hence, if one is not aware of why they are being baptized by water...there is no point.

The differences in doctrine of Original Sin still exist today...some of the Protestant community do not believe in this doctrine and those of the Orthodox./Roman Catholic denomination adhere to the teaching of Augustine.

I personally do believe in both Original Sin and condemnation through the deliberate breaking of the Law requiring then faith in the Creator, who lived in a tent of flesh and was crucified for the promise of Salvation. The condemnation of Original Sin is fulfilled through the fact that all men and women physically die...and justification for the eternal life of the soul comes through Christ who will thus bring a New Heaven and New Earth just as it was supposed to be with Adam and Eve once again through the resurrection of the dead " physical bodies". Our soul is Christ's and not under Satan's ownership... however, Satan does take ownership of our physical bodies upon our death and Christ will fulfill the promise that we live eternally when the New Heaven and New Earth is fulfilled as in John 's Revelation.



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