King, Priest, and Prophet: A Trinitarian Theology of Atonement

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At the same time, even the classic theory, centering on which they can be integrated, is not enough, for the reason that it does not see another alternative for the life of Christ in which he would have been able to continuously live, without being rebelled against and killed by the people of his day, to bring what the Divine Principle calls the full atonement. If so, unfortunately even the Divine Principle's four position foundation on the basis of the spiritual Trinity is not enough, either, as it is also not about the full atonement yet.

Again, the full atonement will be discussed below once these three areas of ambiguity are addressed. But it is safe to say at this juncture that the best elements in the objective, subjective, and classic theories are gathered up in the four position foundation on the basis of the spiritual Trinity. A best element of the objective theories satisfaction theory and penal substitution theory is their idea that God is affected by what Christ does on behalf of humans in accordance with the divine will, although what the divine will truly means may still be debatable; a best element of the subjective theory is its assertion that sinful humans are encouraged by Christ on behalf of God to repent and improve themselves; and a best element of the classic theory is its description of how the resurrected Christ and the Holy Spirit work together to bring about a new divine-human relationship under the spiritual dominion of God.

All these elements are gathered up in the God-centered four position foundation, because according to the Divine Principle the four positions of that foundation God, the resurrected Christ, the Holy Spirit, and humans relate to and affect one another. It should be noted that the Divine Principle teaches that even the omniscient and omnipotent God is so affected as to feel "joy" from what is done in accordance with "the purpose of creation," [38] and also that humans are always encouraged by God to fulfill "their own portion of responsibility. Our second area of ambiguity concerns the role of the resurrection of Christ for the atonement.

It is usually believed that Christ was resurrected with a glorified and imperishable "spiritual body" 1 Cor. Paul strongly believe the resurrection of Christ as well as his death to be important for the atonement, quite surprisingly the objective and subjective theories of the atonement do not appreciate the value of his resurrection. This causes ambiguity in our faith in Christ.

The satisfaction theory, as developed by Anselm, goes extreme, because his Cur Deus Homo, his major work on the atonement, has no reference whatsoever to the resurrection of Christ. This theory is so much preoccupied with describing how the death of Christ satisfies the offended honor of God that it forgets about his resurrection. Perhaps it does not even think that his resurrection is needed for the atonement. The Catholic theologian Thomas G. Weinandy is aware of this weakness of the satisfaction theory, when he says: "Anselm provided no account of the importance of the resurrection of Christ.

Because of his [i. Rather, the merit of Christ is that new resurrected life, which the believer shares in by being united to the risen Christ and so shares in the benefits of being a member of his body, the Church. Thus, the role of Holy Spirit, who is the fruit of the cross and the life of Christ's body, is completely absent within Anselm's soteriology. How about the penal substitution theory? This theory, too, is preoccupied with explaining how the death of Christ propitiates God for the atonement.

It asserts that only the death of Christ can handle retribution for sin that flows from the wrath of God against sinners. So, it fails to recognize the real importance of the resurrection of Christ. Even the American conservative Calvinist theologian Richard B. Gaffin, Jr. The overriding concern, especially since the Reformation, has been to keep clear that the Cross is not simply an ennobling and challenging example but a real atonement — a substitutionary, expiatory sacrifice that reconciles God to sinners and propitiates his judicial wrath.

My point is not to challenge the validity or even the necessity of this development, far less the conclusions reached. According to Calvin, who is the most well-known advocate of the penal substitution theory, the atonement is already completed through the death of Christ: "in his death we have an effectual completion of salvation, because by it we are reconciled to God, satisfaction is given to his justice, the curse is removed, and the penalty paid.

The moral influence theory does not appreciate the resurrection of Christ as much as his death, either. According to this theory, his death on the cross is already the supreme exhibition of God's love, to which his resurrection cannot be superior. This theory, of course, considers all events surrounding Christ including his resurrection to be exhibitions of God's love; but it still believes that the death of Christ is the ultimate exhibition of divine love.

The moral influence theory is advocated by liberal Christians, many of whom deny the historicity of supernatural phenomena such as the resurrection of Christ. Even though the resurrection of Christ is not a historical event for them, they still cherish its demythologized version, by saying that it means a rejuvenation of the tradition of love which was evident in his life and which therefore could be put to death. Thus the Episcopal theologian John Shelby Spong, who is well-known for his liberal stance, states that even though Easter "is not an event that takes place inside human history," it "becomes for us a timeless invitation to enter the meaning of God by living for others, expecting no reward, loving wastefully no matter what the cost.

Nevertheless, this does not mean that they reject the supremacy of the death of Christ in favor of what they mean by his resurrection; they rather uphold the former strongly by means of the latter. The general neglect of the resurrection of Christ in the objective and subjective theories, as seen above, is not in accordance with Paul's assertion that the resurrection of Christ as well as his death is "of first importance" 1 Cor.

According to Paul, the resurrection of Christ is essential to the atonement: "if you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved" Rom. Also, the Acts of the Apostles reports that the apostles enthusiastically testified to the resurrections of Christ Acts ; ; ; By reviewing all the major theories of the atonement, one can realize that only the classic theory seems to understand the value of the resurrection of Christ for the atonement because only this theory believes that his resurrection, with a glorified "spiritual body" 1 Cor.

The other theories do not treat the atonement in terms of Christ's victory over the reign of Satan but rather in terms of a vicarious debt-payment through his death or a demonstration of an example of love through his death; they assume that his death basically did everything for the atonement, thus not appreciating his resurrection as much. The Divine Principle again agrees with the classic theory that the resurrection of Christ finalized his spiritual victory over the dominion of Satan for the deliverance of humans.

But, while the classic theory appreciates both the death and resurrection of Christ equally, the Divine Principle seems to have a much stronger appreciation of his resurrection than of his death, as when it asserts that when Satan exercised "his maximum power in killing Jesus," God, as compensation for that, exercised "His maximum power and resurrected Jesus" for the spiritual rebirth of fallen humans.

In other words, it was not through his death, caused by Satan, but rather through his victorious resurrection, brought forth by God, that the atonement was able to occur. According to the Divine Principle, there was actually another element behind the reason why God was able to resurrect Jesus, and it was that even in face of the crucifixion caused by Satan and his cohorts, Jesus never complained nor vindicated himself but forgave and loved his opponents until the end, sticking to God's principle of love.

In the words of Rev. He did not complain or despair just because he had to die on the cross. Even when he entered the position of death, he did not speak in his own defense. As you all know, Jesus did not try to vindicate himself even while he was passing through the court of Pilate, even on the hill of Golgotha to be crucified on the cross. He was the champion of no self-vindication. He could feel that even the opposition that he received from the people was his own responsibility Jesus did not become a friend of life but a friend of death.

Although countless people walked the path of death in the course of history, Jesus is the only one who became the friend of death on behalf of the deaths of all people. He died on behalf of all people The classic theory, too, is aware of this great love of Christ for his opponents, but that theory usually explains about his resurrection, mainly by saying that it occurred because the ransom payment satisfied or even exceeded Satan's rights, or because the offering of Christ tricked Satan when he preyed on his flesh without knowing that the presence of God or the divinity of Christ was hidden under his humanity just like a fishhook is hidden under a bait.

For instance, the Mennonite thinker J. Denny Weaver's "Narrative Christus Victor" theory, a fairly recently developed version of the classic theory "Christus Victor" from the perspective of the nonviolent tradition of Mennonitism, states: "In this giving of himself [i. It displays the love of God for enemies, a making visible of the reign of God that is even willing to suffer rejection at the hands of its enemies. However, God raised Jesus from death, thereby revealing the reign of God as the ultimate power in the cosmos. Weaver's stronger appreciation of the resurrection of Christ than of his death echoes Rev.

Moon's statement that Christianity "came into existence not by the principle of the cross, but by the principle of the resurrection," and "Because Christianity began on the foundation of Jesus' resurrection, Christianity has been strictly spiritual. Was it, then, God who killed Christ? If so, did all those who helped to kill him help God to kill him? Or were they rather agents of Satan? This brings us to our third area of ambiguity. This third area of ambiguity exists in all the major theories of the atonement, because they believe that his death was in accordance with God's will from the beginning.

Especially the satisfaction theory and the penal substitution theory overemphasize the importance of the death of Christ, by isolating his death from all the other events that happened in his whole life. If, however, it was God's will from the beginning for Christ to die, then those who helped to kill him such as his faithless disciples, Jewish leaders, and Roman officials and soldiers should be praised for what they did in accordance with God's will.

In reality, however, they have been blamed and held responsible. For example, St. Stephen accused those Jews who killed Christ of "betraying and murdering" him Acts Paul criticized "the rulers of this age" for having "crucified the Lord of glory" because of their ignorance of a "hidden wisdom of God" 1 Cor. Even Jesus, when still alive, brokenheartedly blamed the people of Jerusalem for not accepting him, by saying: "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, killing the prophets and stoning those who are sent to you!

How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not" Matt. This discrepancy is pointed out by scholars such as the Swiss Jesuit theologian Raymund Schwager. According to Schwager, the discrepancy arises when one believes that while Christ stood in his mission with the divine will, his opponents also at the same time acted as "agents of divine will" to help to kill him.

To avoid this "contradictory opposition," one should conclude that "the will of his opponents was not similarly in agreement with that of the Father, for they acted By the way, Schwager is one of the so-called "Girardian theologians" who apply Girard's anthropological theory to theology. According to Girard, the single victim mechanism is the universal mechanism in any civilization or community through which a scapegoat is singled out to be victimized and murdered, being blamed for all social chaos and disorder, so that this scapegoating may bring peace and order to the chaotic and disorderly community.

Social chaos and disorder consists in violent rivalries which result from people's "mimetic desire," i. Although "we should not conclude that mimetic desire is bad in itself," it is "responsible for most of the violent acts that distress us," [56] and the resulting "single victim mechanism," through which scapegoating takes place for the purpose of peace, is the work of Satan.

To show that this universal mechanism killed Christ, Girard refers to the high priest Caiaphas' statement in John "It is better that one man die and that the whole nation not perish. Denny Weaver, who has developed Narrative Christus Victor, is not a Girardian theologian, but he, too, clearly says that the death of Christ was not the act of God but "the product of the forces of evil that oppose the reign of God," [58] whether these forces of evil are "understood as Satan, or in terms of earthly structures such as Rome, which is the symbolic representative of Satan in Revelation, or as the powers of death, sin, the law, and the flesh.


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The Divine Principle, noting that after the three temptations Satan departed from Jesus until an opportune time Luke , says that Satan now came back to kill him when his opponents betrayed him:. It is written that Satan, who was defeated in the three temptations, left Jesus' side "until an opportune time," indicating that Satan had not left Jesus for good but might confront him at a future date.

As a matter of fact, Satan did confront Jesus, working primarily through the Jewish leadership, the priests and scribes who disbelieved in Jesus. In particular, Satan confronted Jesus through Judas Iscariot, the disciple who betrayed him. Hence Rev. Moon states: "The crucifixion was not God's victory. Instead, it was Satan's victory. Interestingly, to prove that "the Cross and the mechanism of Satan are one and the same thing," Girard, too, refers to the same biblical passage and says: "This hour, the moment of the power of darkness, is the hour of Satan.

Sherman Robert J, Used

But, if it was not God but Satan who was behind the death of Christ, the question would naturally arise: What, then, was God's real purpose of sending Christ? Weaver answers that "God did not send Jesus to die, but to live, to make visible and present the reign of God. Weaver, however, has no further explanation of what would have happened if Christ had lived without being killed or opposed to at that time.

He simply says that the death of Christ was "inevitable. What is Girard's view of Christ's other possible alternative, which would be for him to live if God was not behind his death? It seems that Girard has no thought of the other alternative. His thought is that although the cycle of mimetic violence as the continuous pattern of society was used by Satan to kill Christ, nevertheless after his murder that cycle or pattern was abolished and the spell of Satan "violent contagion" broken through his resurrection: "The Resurrection is not only a miracle, a prodigious transgression of natural laws.

It is a spectacular sign of the entrance into the world of a power superior to violent contagion. As an apologist for traditional Christianity, therefore, he stops at this point without exploring Christ's other possibility of living without the cross. The Divine Principle acknowledges the value of the "spiritual" atonement brought by the resurrection of Christ, but the uniqueness of the Divine Principle is its assertion that the spiritual atonement is not a full atonement, no matter how great the victory of his resurrection may have been.

If the Jewish leaders and their nation had accepted him in accordance with the will of God and not with Satan's, the atonement through his work on the earth would have been a full atonement or "full salvation," both spiritual and physical: "Had the people believed in Jesus and so united with him in both spirit and flesh, they would have received salvation both spiritually and physically.

The Divine Principle, therefore, can draw on Weaver's general idea that God sent Jesus to live to make the reign of God visible and present, although unfortunately Weaver himself does not explore it further. This general idea of Weaver is actually echoed by other theologians who are not related to the Mennonite tradition nor to the Girardian school. It would have come in full bloom had the people accepted it.

But the people failed and lost the kingdom which in the new order of things should have been theirs. The same idea can be found among radical feminist and womanist theologians in America. The feminist theologians Joanne Carlson Brown and Rebecca Parker believe that the death of Jesus on the cross consists in "divine child abuse" because God the Father apparently killed the Son, and they complain that although the cross is thus a symbol of abuse which the forces of oppression too easily use to subjugate women, nevertheless all the historical theories of the atonement parade this abusive image of the cross as salvific.

So, Brown and Parker want to "do away with" all these atonement theories, simply asserting that Jesus "did not choose the cross" and lived "in opposition to unjust, oppressive cultures. The womanist theologian Delores Williams observes that African-American women, who have been suffering under males and white females alike, can relate to the exploited experience of Hagar as Sarah's surrogate in the house of Abraham, and she criticizes the satisfaction theory and the penal substitution theory for making Jesus "the ultimate surrogate figure," who on behalf of humans takes their sin upon himself and suffers to die on the cross.

According to Williams, this image of redemption through the ostensibly sacred surrogacy of Jesus is wrong because it expects African-American women to "passively accept the exploitation that surrogacy brings. It seems more intelligent and more biblical to understand that redemption had to do with God, through Jesus, giving humankind new vision to see the resources for positive, abundant relational life—a vision humankind did not have before. Hence the kingdom-of-God theme in the ministerial vision of Jesus does not point to death Rather, the kingdom of God is a metaphor of hope God gives those attempting to right the relationship between self and self, between self and others, between self and God as prescribed in the sermon on the mount, in the golden rule and in the commandment to show love above all else.

Because of her emphasis on the importance of the work of Jesus on the earth, Williams does not want to see any value of his death and resurrection, somewhat resembling Marxsen who so emphasizes the purpose of the earthly Jesus that he questions the historicity of the resurrection of Christ.

While the Divine Principle cannot agree with Marxsen and Williams when they completely neglect the importance of the resurrection of Christ, it appreciates them and, of course, others such as Weaver, Guardini, Brown, and Parker for their understanding of Jesus' other alternative course of life without the crucifixion, i. Especially Williams' notion of the atonement as the realization of "the relationship between self and self, between self and others, between self and God" is a very good point.

According to the Divine Principle, the full atonement, which is both spiritual and physical, is the restoration of the relationship between God and humans in accordance with God's original purpose of creation. Following God's original blessing of "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it" Gen. Two thousand years ago Jesus came in this position of the unfallen Adam to bring the full atonement, according to the Divine Principle.

If the Jewish leaders at that time had accepted him, not killing him on the cross, he would have been able to bring the full atonement, by realizing an ideal family to restore the lineage of God and the sovereignty of God based on the God-centered four position foundation. When Weaver, Guardini, Marxsen, Brown, Parker, and Williams talk about Jesus' other alternative course of life without the crucifixion, they all allude to this full atonement from the viewpoint of the Divine Principle.

When the Divine Principle claims that Jesus was supposed to create an ideal family, it means to say that he was supposed to be married. But it does not mean to say that he was actually married. Phipps' assertion in Was Jesus Married? The Divine Principle holds that Jesus' mission as the second Adam to be married was frustrated by his death on the cross due to the faithlessness of the Jewish leaders behind whom Satan stood. As was already discussed previously, however, his victorious resurrection in spite of his undesirable death on the cross brought the spiritual atonement, making the spiritual four position foundation: 1 God, 2 the resurrected Jesus as spiritual father, 3 the Holy Spirit as spiritual mother, [82] and 4 their spiritually reborn children i.

Thus the resurrected Jesus and the Holy Spirit "could fulfill only the mission of spiritual True Parents. Therefore, Christ must come back to the earth to bring the full atonement, which is both spiritual and physical, by creating an ideal family based on the God-centered four position foundation: 1 God, 2 the Christ of the Second Coming as father, 3 his Bride as mother, and 4 their own direct children and also all humankind as their children, the first three of whom form a "perfect" Trinity where the Christ of the Second Coming and his Bride are the True Parents of humankind who give rebirth both spiritually and physically for the removal of original sin: "Christ must return in the flesh and find his Bride.

They will form on the earth a perfect trinity with God and become True Parents both spiritually and physically. They will give fallen people rebirth both spiritually and physically, removing their original sin. The idea of the Divine Principle that the Christ of the Second Coming fulfills God's will here on the earth is truly biblical. To begin with, God gave Adam his blessing to be realized on the earth: "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it" Gen God also promised Abraham and his seed the inheritance of "the land" as a blessing Gen.

Abraham, however, never received the promise as he always stayed as a sojourner. So, according to Irenaeus, as the seed of Abraham "those who fear God and believe in him" in the Church will receive the inheritance of the land in the last days, if not now.

So, commenting on Jesus' statement at the last supper that "I shall not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom" Matt. In accordance with the biblical teaching on the inheritance of the land, Christian eschatology generally asserts that God's will is to be realized on the earth in the last days. According to premillennialism, adhered to by early Church Fathers in the first three centuries of the Christian era and also by evangelical Christians today, after earthly believers are literally raptured at the return of Christ 1 Thess.

Perhaps amillennialism, accepted by the Catholic Church and mainline Protestant denominations, may be less earthly than the other two schools because it denies a literal year earthly kingdom and holds that the millennial kingdom only means the church as it exists on the earth now, imperfectly pointing to God's kingdom in heaven; but it still does believe that Christ will return to the earth, after the age of the church, for the general resurrection and the final judgment, and that at least the second one of the two resurrections described in Rev.

From the God-given original task of Adam and Eve, through their failure to accomplish it due to Satan's invasion, to the spiritual atonement by the resurrected Jesus and the Holy Spirit, we find two basic metaphysical notions of the Divine Principle: the four position foundation and the Trinity. That these basic notions of the Divine Principle are related to the atonement is nothing new because theologians such as Robert Sherman have developed a theology of atonement grounded on the Trinity to integrate all the major atonement theories, as was seen in a previous section.

But, when we apply these basic metaphysical notions also to the task of the Christ of the Second Coming and his Bride to bring the full atonement, the story may sound somewhat mechanical and simplistic, without being able to convey the involvement of a difficult process through which the task is going to be accomplished. Therefore, the present paper will end with some words on this matter. To begin with, when the Christ of the Second Coming comes in the last days, he will be misunderstood and persecuted by the world: "But first he must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation" Luke This is exactly what happened also to the Christ of the First Coming two thousand years ago, and he ended up being killed on the cross by the forces of Satan.

But the Christ of the Second Coming as "the third Adam" [87] is expected to continuously live in order to defeat the reign of Satan. Of course, the Christ of the First Coming became spiritually victorious over Satan through his resurrection that was made possible by his unspeakable love and forgiveness even for his opponents at the time of the crucifixion; but the Christ of the Second Coming will become both spiritually and physically victorious by continuously living on the earth and making efforts in his entire life to show his utmost love for his enemies in spite of tremendous opposition from them.

This full victory by the Christ of the Second Coming can be understood, when Weaver's Narrative Christus Victor's understanding of the power of Christ's love at the time of the crucifixion is applied to the entire earthly life of the Christ of the Second Coming that lasts as he continues to live in face of opposition.

This full victory can also be understood well, when the perspective of feminist and womanist theology, according to which Jesus was supposed to live to resist the system of exploitation on the earth for the purpose of atoning between God and humans and amongst humans, is applied to the Christ of the Second Coming. Building the God-centered four position foundation substantially on the earth, which was once shattered into pieces and lost due to the fall of Adam and Eve, is not that easy.

Even the resurrected Christ and the Holy Spirit, after his noble sacrifice out of love, were able to build only the spiritual Trinity, forming the four position foundation only spiritually, with the result that the substantial four position foundation still stayed shattered and lost. This must be the reason why Christianity had to witness a variety of fragmented atonement theories called "subjective" or "objective" theories without being able to have any agreed-upon official atonement doctrine, although the classic theory as well as the Divine Principle view of the resurrected Christ, of course has the ability to integrate the objective and subjective theories at the spiritual level.

So, when the substantial four position foundation is built, involving the unity among God, the Christ of the Second Coming, his Bride, and all humankind, it should be able to reassemble those fragmented theories by lifting them up to the substantial level. This unity and reassembling can be done through love and sacrifice on the part of all parties involved in the new relationship of the lineage of God, which fully defeats the reign of Satan. Contributing to this full atonement, then, is not only what the Christ of the Second Coming as the Mediator does together with his Bride in his entire life, but also what God does and what humans do.

The Divine Principle teaches that God as the Creator has always been investing himself and still does so to realize the full atonement, that humans are also expected to fulfill their portion of responsibility to join this atonement by overcoming various challenges, and that God and humans relate to and affect each other in their relationship of love through the mediation of the Christ of the Second Coming and his Bride.

This is how the substantial four position foundation is formed, and in that four position foundation in which all the stakeholders are finally united, humans are fully atoned with God. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, , p. Kelly, Early Christian Doctrines , revised ed.

James W.

The Unification Doctrine of the Atonement

Williams Maryknoll, N. Williams, Robert G. Hamerton-Kelly, and Anthony W. James G. The text is henceforth abbreviated as EDP. Herbert New York: Macmillan, Cleveland Coxe, vol. Joseph M. Colleran Albany, N. Henry Beveridge, rev. Peabody, Mass. Ambrose, following Philo's psychological reading of the serpent, Eve, and Adam, proposes a sexual interpretation of the fall: "The serpent is a type of the pleasures of the body. The woman stands for our senses and the man, for our minds.

During the Council of Nicea, the modalist bishops of Rome and Alexandria aligned politically with Athanasius; whereas the bishops of Constantinople Nicomedia , Antioch, and Jerusalem sided with the subordinationists as middle ground between Arius and Athanasius. Theologians like Jurgen Moltmann and Walter Kasper have characterized Christologies as anthropological or cosmological. These are also termed 'Christology from below' and 'Christology from above' respectively.

An anthropological Christology starts with the human person of Jesus and works from his life and ministry toward what it means for him to be divine; whereas, a cosmological Christology works in the opposite direction. Starting from the eternal Logos, a cosmological Christology works toward his humanity. Theologians typically begin on one side or the other and their choice inevitably colors their resultant Christology. As a starting point these options represent "diverse yet complementary" approaches; each poses its own difficulties.

Both Christologies 'from above' and 'from below' must come to terms with the two natures of Christ: human and divine. Just as light can be perceived as a wave or as a particle, so Jesus must be thought in terms of both his divinity and humanity. You cannot talk about "either or" but must talk about "both and". Christologies from above start with the Logos, the second Person of the Trinity, establish his eternality, his agency in creation, and his economic Sonship.

Questions About the Atonement

Jesus' unity with God is established by the Incarnation as the divine Logos assumes a human nature. This approach was common in the early church—e. Paul and St. John in the Gospels. The attribution of full humanity to Jesus is resolved by stating that the two natures mutually share their properties a concept termed communicatio idiomatum. Christologies from below start with the human being Jesus as the representative of the new humanity, not with the pre-existent Logos.

Jesus lives an exemplary life, one to which we aspire in religious experience. This form of Christology lends itself to mysticism, and some of its roots go back to emergence of Christ mysticism in the 6th century East, but in the West it flourished between the 11th and 14th centuries. A recent theologian Wolfhart Pannenberg contends that the resurrected Jesus is the "eschatological fulfillment of human destiny to live in nearness to God.

The Christian faith is inherently political because allegiance to Jesus as risen Lord relativises all earthly rule and authority. Jesus is called "Lord" over times in Paul's epistles alone, and is thus the principal confession of faith in the Pauline epistles. Further, N. Wright argues that this Pauline confession is the core of the gospel of salvation. The Achilles' heel of this approach is the loss of eschatological tension between this present age and the future divine rule that is yet to come. This can happen when the state co-opts Christ's authority as was often the case in imperial Christology.

Modern political Christologies seek to overcome imperialist ideologies. The resurrection is perhaps the most controversial aspect of the life of Jesus Christ. Christianity hinges on this point of Christology, both as a response to a particular history and as a confessional response. After Jesus had died, and was buried, the New Testament states that he appeared to others in bodily form. Some skeptics say his appearances were only perceived by his followers in mind or spirit.

After seeing Jesus they boldly proclaimed the message of Jesus Christ despite tremendous risk. Eusebius of the early church worked out this threefold classification, which during the Reformation played a substantial role in scholastic Lutheran Christology and in John Calvin 's [65] and John Wesley 's Christology. Pneumatology is the study of the Holy Spirit. In Christian theology pneumatology refers to the study of the Holy Spirit. Within mainstream Trinitarian Christian beliefs he is the third person of the Trinity. The Christian theology of the Holy Spirit was the last piece of Trinitarian theology to be fully developed.

Within mainstream Trinitarian Christianity the Holy Spirit is one of the three persons of the Trinity who make up the single substance of God. Pneumatology would normally include study of the person of the Holy Spirit, and the works of the Holy Spirit. This latter category would normally include Christian teachings on new birth , spiritual gifts charismata , Spirit-baptism , sanctification , the inspiration of prophets , and the indwelling of the Holy Trinity which in itself covers many different aspects.

Different Christian denominations have different theological approaches. Christians believe that the Holy Spirit leads people to faith in Jesus and gives them the ability to live a Christian lifestyle. The Holy Spirit dwells inside every Christian, each one's body being his temple. The word is variously translated as Comforter, Counselor, Teacher, Advocate, [73] guiding people in the way of the truth. The Holy Spirit's action in one's life is believed to produce positive results, known as the Fruit of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit enables Christians, who still experience the effects of sin, to do things they never could do on their own.

These spiritual gifts are not innate abilities "unlocked" by the Holy Spirit, but entirely new abilities, such as the ability to cast out demons or simply bold speech. Through the influence of the Holy Spirit a person sees more clearly the world around him or her and can use his or her mind and body in ways that exceed his or her previous capacity. A list of gifts that may be bestowed include the charismatic gifts of prophecy , tongues , healing, and knowledge.

Christians holding a view known as cessationism believe these gifts were given only in New Testament times. Christians almost universally agree that certain " spiritual gifts " are still in effect today, including the gifts of ministry, teaching, giving, leadership, and mercy. After his resurrection , Christ told his disciples that they would be " baptized with the Holy Spirit" and would receive power from this event, [Ac —8] a promise that was fulfilled in the events recounted in the second chapter of Acts.

On the first Pentecost , Jesus' disciples were gathered in Jerusalem when a mighty wind was heard and tongues of fire appeared over their heads. A multilingual crowd heard the disciples speaking, and each of them heard them speaking in his or her native language. The Holy Spirit is believed to perform specific divine functions in the life of the Christian or the church. These include:. The Holy Spirit is also believed to be active especially in the life of Jesus Christ , enabling him to fulfil his work on earth.

Particular actions of the Holy Spirit include:. Christians believe the " Fruit of the Spirit " consists of virtuous characteristics engendered in the Christian by the action of the Holy Spirit. They are those listed in Galatians —23 : "But the fruit of the Spirit is love , joy , peace , patience , kindness , goodness , faithfulness , gentleness , and self-control. Christians believe that the Holy Spirit gives 'gifts' to Christians.

These gifts consist of specific abilities granted to the individual Christian. The New Testament provides three different lists of such gifts which range from the supernatural healing, prophecy, tongues through those associated with specific callings teaching to those expected of all Christians in some degree faith. Most consider these lists not to be exhaustive, and other have compiled their own lists. Spirit of Wisdom; 2. Spirit of Understanding; 3.

Spirit of Counsel; 4. Spirit of Strength; 5. Spirit of Knowledge; 6. Spirit of Godliness; 7. Spirit of Holy Fear. It is over the nature and occurrence of these gifts, particularly the supernatural gifts sometimes called charismatic gifts , that the greatest disagreement between Christians with regard to the Holy Spirit exists.

One view is that the supernatural gifts were a special dispensation for the apostolic ages, bestowed because of the unique conditions of the church at that time, and are extremely rarely bestowed in the present time. The alternate view, espoused mainly by Pentecostal denominations and the charismatic movement, is that the absence of the supernatural gifts was due to the neglect of the Holy Spirit and his work by the church. Although some small groups, such as the Montanists , practiced the supernatural gifts they were rare until the growth of the Pentecostal movement in the late 19th century.

Believers in the relevance of the supernatural gifts sometimes speak of a Baptism of the Holy Spirit or Filling of the Holy Spirit which the Christian needs to experience in order to receive those gifts. Many churches hold that the Baptism of the Holy Spirit is identical with conversion, and that all Christians are by definition baptized in the Holy Spirit.

The various authors of the Old and New Testament provide glimpses of their insight regarding cosmology. The cosmos was created by God by divine command, in the best-known and most complete account in the Bible, that of Genesis 1. Within this broad understanding, however, there are a number of views regarding exactly how this doctrine ought to be interpreted. It is a tenet of Christian faith Roman Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant that God is the creator of all things from nothing , and has made human beings in the Image of God , who by direct inference is also the source of the human soul.

In Chalcedonian Christology , Jesus is the Word of God , which was in the beginning and, thus, is uncreated, and hence is God , and consequently identical with the Creator of the world ex nihilo. Roman Catholicism uses the phrase special creation to refer to the doctrine of immediate or special creation of each human soul. In , the International Theological Commission, then under the presidency of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger , published a paper in which it accepts the current scientific accounts of the history of the universe commencing in the Big Bang about 15 billion years ago and of the evolution of all life on earth including humans from the micro organisms commencing about 4 billion years ago.

In him. Christian anthropology is the study of humanity , especially as it relates to the divine. This theological anthropology refers to the study of the human "anthropology" as it relates to God. It differs from the social science of anthropology , which primarily deals with the comparative study of the physical and social characteristics of humanity across times and places.

One aspect studies the innate nature or constitution of the human, known as the nature of mankind. It is concerned with the relationship between notions such as body , soul and spirit which together form a person, based on their descriptions in the Bible. There are three traditional views of the human constitution— trichotomism , dichotomism and monism in the sense of anthropology.

The semantic domain of Biblical soul is based on the Hebrew word nepes , which presumably means "breath" or "breathing being". The New Testament follows the terminology of the Septuagint , and thus uses the word psyche with the Hebrew semantic domain and not the Greek, [93] that is an invisible power or ever more, for Platonists , immortal and immaterial that gives life and motion to the body and is responsible for its attributes. In Patristic thought, towards the end of the 2nd century psyche was understood in more a Greek than a Hebrew way, and it was contrasted with the body.

In the 3rd century, with the influence of Origen , there was the establishing of the doctrine of the inherent immortality of the soul and its divine nature. Inherent immortality of the soul was accepted among western and eastern theologians throughout the middle ages , and after the Reformation, as evidenced by the Westminster Confession. It is often used interchangeably with "soul", psyche , although trichotomists believe that the spirit is distinct from the soul. Christians have traditionally believed that the body will be resurrected at the end of the age. The apostle Paul contrasts flesh and spirit in Romans 7—8.

The Bible teaches in the book of Genesis the humans were created by God. Some Christians believe that this must have involved a miraculous creative act, while others are comfortable with the idea that God worked through the evolutionary process. The book of Genesis also teaches that human beings, male and female, were created in the image of God. The exact meaning of this has been debated throughout church history.

Christian anthropology has implications for beliefs about death and the afterlife. The Christian church has traditionally taught that the soul of each individual separates from the body at death, to be reunited at the resurrection. This is closely related to the doctrine of the immortality of the soul. The question then arises: where exactly does the disembodied soul "go" at death? Theologians refer to this subject as the intermediate state. The Old Testament speaks of a place called sheol where the spirits of the dead reside. In the New Testament , hades , the classical Greek realm of the dead, takes the place of sheol.

In particular, Jesus teaches in Luke —31 Lazarus and Dives that hades consists of two separate "sections", one for the righteous and one for the unrighteous. His teaching is consistent with intertestamental Jewish thought on the subject. Fully developed Christian theology goes a step further; on the basis of such texts as Luke and Philippians , it has traditionally been taught that the souls of the dead are received immediately either into heaven or hell, where they will experience a foretaste of their eternal destiny prior to the resurrection.

Roman Catholicism teaches a third possible location, Purgatory , though this is denied by Protestants and Eastern Orthodox. Some Christian groups which stress a monistic anthropology deny that the soul can exist consciously apart from the body. For example, the Seventh-day Adventist Church teaches that the intermediate state is an unconscious sleep; this teaching is informally known as " soul sleep ".

In Christian belief, both the righteous and the unrighteous will be resurrected at the last judgment. The righteous will receive incorruptible, immortal bodies 1 Corinthians 15 , while the unrighteous will be sent to hell. Traditionally, Christians have believed that hell will be a place of eternal physical and psychological punishment. In the last two centuries, annihilationism has become popular. The study of the Blessed Virgin Mary , doctrines about her, and how she relates to the Church, Christ, and the individual Christian is called Mariology.

Catholic Mariology is the Marian study specifically in the context of the Catholic Church. Most descriptions of angels in the Bible describe them in military terms. For example, in terms such as encampment Gen. Its specific hierarchy differs slightly from the Hierarchy of Angels as it surrounds more military services, whereas the Hierarchy of angels is a division of angels into non-military services to God. Cherubim are depicted as accompanying God's chariot-throne Ps.

Exodus —22 refers to two Cherub statues placed on top of the Ark of the Covenant, the two cherubim are usually interpreted as guarding the throne of God. Other guard-like duties include being posted in locations such as the gates of Eden Gen. Cherubim were mythological winged bulls or other beasts that were part of ancient Near Eastern traditions. This angelic designation might be given to angels of various ranks.

An example would be Raphael who is ranked variously as a Seraph, Cherub, and Archangel. It is not known how many angels there are but one figure given in Revelation for the number of "many angels in a circle around the throne, as well as the living creatures and the elders" was "ten thousand times ten thousand", which would be million. In most of Christianity , a fallen angel is an angel who has been exiled or banished from Heaven. Often such banishment is a punishment for disobeying or rebelling against God see War in Heaven.

The best-known fallen angel is Lucifer. Lucifer is a name frequently given to Satan in Christian belief. This usage stems from a particular interpretation, as a reference to a fallen angel, of a passage in the Bible Isaiah —20 that speaks of someone who is given the name of "Day Star" or "Morning Star" in Latin , Lucifer as fallen from heaven.

Allegedly, fallen angels are those which have committed one of the seven deadly sins. Therefore, are banished from heaven and suffer in hell for all eternity. Demons from hell would punish the fallen angel by ripping out their wings as a sign of insignificance and low rank. Christianity has taught Heaven as a place of eternal life , in that it is a shared plane to be attained by all the elect rather than an abstract experience related to individual concepts of the ideal.

The Christian Church has been divided over how people gain this eternal life. From the 16th to the late 19th century, Christendom was divided between the Roman Catholic view, the Orthodox view, the Coptic view, the Jacobite view, the Abyssinian view and Protestant views. See also Christian denominations. Heaven is the English name for a transcendental realm wherein human beings who have transcended human living live in an afterlife. Christianity maintains that entry into Heaven awaits such time as, "When the form of this world has passed away.

I Thess — Two related and often confused concepts of heaven in Christianity are better described as the "resurrection of the body" , which is exclusively of biblical origin, as contrasted with the " immortality of the soul ", which is also evident in the Greek tradition. In the first concept, the soul does not enter heaven until the last judgement or the "end of time" when it along with the body is resurrected and judged. In the second concept, the soul goes to a heaven on another plane such as the intermediate state immediately after death.

These two concepts are generally combined in the doctrine of the double judgement where the soul is judged once at death and goes to a temporary heaven, while awaiting a second and final physical judgement at the end of the world. One popular medieval view of Heaven was that it existed as a physical place above the clouds and that God and the Angels were physically above, watching over man. Heaven as a physical place survived in the concept that it was located far out into space, and that the stars were "lights shining through from heaven".

Many of today's biblical scholars, such as N. Wright , in tracing the concept of Heaven back to its Jewish roots, see Earth and Heaven as overlapping or interlocking. Heaven is known as God's space, his dimension, and is not a place that can be reached by human technology. This belief states that Heaven is where God lives and reigns whilst being active and working alongside people on Earth. Religions that teach about heaven differ on how and if one gets into it, typically in the afterlife. In most, entrance to Heaven is conditional on having lived a "good life" within the terms of the spiritual system.

A notable exception to this is the ' sola fide ' belief of many mainstream Protestants, which teaches that one does not have to live a perfectly "good life," but that one must accept Jesus Christ as one's saviour, and then Jesus Christ will assume the guilt of one's sins ; believers are believed to be forgiven regardless of any good or bad "works" one has participated in. Many religions state that those who do not go to heaven will go to a place "without the presence of God", Hell , which is eternal see annihilationism.

Some religions believe that other afterlives exist in addition to Heaven and Hell, such as Purgatory. One belief, universalism , believes that everyone will go to Heaven eventually, no matter what they have done or believed on earth. Some forms of Christianity believe Hell to be the termination of the soul. Various saints have had visions of heaven 2 Corinthians —4. The Orthodox concept of life in heaven is described in one of the prayers for the dead : " The Church bases its belief in Heaven on some main biblical passages in the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures Old and New Testaments and collected church wisdom.

Atonement, Some Basics

Heaven is the Realm of the Blessed Trinity , the angels [] and the saints. The essential joy of heaven is called the beatific vision , which is derived from the vision of God's essence. The soul rests perfectly in God, and does not, or cannot desire anything else than God.

After the Last Judgment , when the soul is reunited with its body, the body participates in the happiness of the soul. It becomes incorruptible, glorious and perfect. Any physical defects the body may have laboured under are erased. Heaven is also known as paradise in some cases.

The Great Gulf separates heaven from hell. Upon dying, each soul goes to what is called "the particular judgement " where its own afterlife is decided i. Heaven after Purgatory, straight to Heaven, or Hell. This is different from "the general judgement" also known as "the Last judgement " which will occur when Christ returns to judge all the living and the dead. The term Heaven which differs from "The Kingdom of Heaven " see note below is applied by the biblical authors to the realm in which God currently resides. Eternal life, by contrast, occurs in a renewed, unspoilt and perfect creation, which can be termed Heaven since God will choose to dwell there permanently with his people, as seen in Revelation There will no longer be any separation between God and man.

The believers themselves will exist in incorruptible, resurrected and new bodies; there will be no sickness, no death and no tears. Some teach that death itself is not a natural part of life, but was allowed to happen after Adam and Eve disobeyed God see original sin so that mankind would not live forever in a state of sin and thus a state of separation from God. Many evangelicals understand this future life to be divided into two distinct periods: first, the Millennial Reign of Christ the one thousand years on this earth, referred to in Revelation —10 ; secondly, the New Heavens and New Earth , referred to in Revelation 21 and This millennialism or chiliasm is a revival of a strong tradition in the Early Church that was dismissed by Augustine of Hippo and the Roman Catholic Church after him.

Not only will the believers spend eternity with God, they will also spend it with each other. John's vision recorded in Revelation describes a New Jerusalem which comes from Heaven to the New Earth, which is seen to be a symbolic reference to the people of God living in community with one another. See also World to Come. Purgatory is the condition or temporary punishment [25] in which, it is believed, the souls of those who die in a state of grace are made ready for Heaven. This is a theological idea that has ancient roots and is well-attested in early Christian literature, while the poetic conception of purgatory as a geographically situated place is largely the creation of medieval Christian piety and imagination.

The notion of purgatory is associated particularly with the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church in the Eastern sui juris churches or rites it is a doctrine, though often without using the name "Purgatory" ; Anglicans of the Anglo-Catholic tradition generally also hold to the belief. John Wesley , the founder of Methodism , believed in an intermediate state between death and the final judgment and in the possibility of "continuing to grow in holiness there. Hell in Christian beliefs, is a place or a state in which the souls of the unsaved will suffer the consequences of sin. The Christian doctrine of Hell derives from the teaching of the New Testament , where Hell is typically described using the Greek words Gehenna or Tartarus.

Unlike Hades , Sheol , or Purgatory it is eternal, and those damned to Hell are without hope. In the New Testament , it is described as the place or state of punishment after death or last judgment for those who have rejected Jesus. Hell is generally defined as the eternal fate of unrepentant sinners after this life. Only in the King James Version of the bible is the word "Hell" used to translate certain words, such as sheol Hebrew and both hades and Gehenna Greek. All other translations reserve Hell only for use when Gehenna is mentioned. It is generally agreed that both sheol and hades do not typically refer to the place of eternal punishment, but to the underworld or temporary abode of the dead.

Traditionally, the majority of Protestants have held that Hell will be a place of unending conscious torment, both physical and spiritual, [] although some recent writers such as C. Lewis [] and J. Moreland [] have cast Hell in terms of "eternal separation" from God. Certain biblical texts have led some theologians to the conclusion that punishment in Hell, though eternal and irrevocable, will be proportional to the deeds of each soul e. Matthew , Luke — Another area of debate is the fate of the unevangelized i. Some Protestants agree with Augustine that people in these categories will be damned to Hell for original sin , while others believe that God will make an exception in these cases.

A "significant minority" believe in the doctrine of conditional immortality , [] which teaches that those sent to Hell will not experience eternal conscious punishment, but instead will be extinguished or annihilated after a period of "limited conscious punishment". Some Protestants such as George MacDonald , Karl Randall , Keith DeRose and Thomas Talbott , also, however, in a minority, believe that after serving their sentence in Gehenna , all souls are reconciled to God and admitted to heaven, or ways are found at the time of death of drawing all souls to repentance so that no "hellish" suffering is experienced.

This view is often called Christian universalism —its conservative branch is more specifically called 'Biblical or Trinitarian Universalism '—and is not to be confused with Unitarian Universalism. See universal reconciliation , apocatastasis and the problem of Hell. Theodicy can be said to be defense of God's goodness and omnipotence in view of the existence of evil. Specifically, Theodicy is a specific branch of theology and philosophy which attempts to reconcile belief in God with the perceived existence of evil.

Responses to the problem of evil have sometimes been classified as defenses or theodicies. However, authors disagree on the exact definitions. A defense need not argue that this is a probable or plausible explanation, only that the defense is logically possible. A defense attempts to answer the logical problem of evil. A theodicy, on the other hand, is a more ambitious attempt to provide a plausible justification for the existence of evil.

A theodicy attempts to answer the evidential problem of evil. As an example, some authors see arguments including demons or the fall of man as not logically impossible but not very plausible considering our knowledge about the world. Thus they are seen as defenses but not good theodicies. Lewis writes in his book The Problem of Pain :. We can, perhaps, conceive of a world in which God corrected the results of this abuse of free will by His creatures at every moment: so that a wooden beam became soft as grass when it was used as a weapon, and the air refused to obey me if I attempted to set up in it the sound waves that carry lies or insults.

But such a world would be one in which wrong actions were impossible, and in which, therefore, freedom of the will would be void; nay, if the principle were carried out to its logical conclusion, evil thoughts would be impossible, for the cerebral matter which we use in thinking would refuse its task when we attempted to frame them.

Another possible answer is that the world is corrupted due to the sin of mankind. Some answer that because of sin, the world has fallen from the grace of God, and is not perfect. Therefore, evils and imperfections persist because the world is fallen. Dembski argues that the effects of Adam's sin recorded in the Book of Genesis were 'back-dated' by God, and hence applied to the earlier history of the universe. Evil is sometimes seen as a test or trial for humans. Irenaeus of Lyons and more recently John Hick have argued that evil and suffering are necessary for spiritual growth.

This is often combined with the free will argument by arguing that such spiritual growth requires free will decisions. A problem with this is that many evils do not seem to cause any kind of spiritual growth, or even permit it, as when a child is abused from birth and becomes, seemingly inevitably, a brutal adult. The problem of evil is often phrased in the form: Why do bad things happen to good people?

Christianity teach that all people are inherently sinful due to the fall of man and original sin ; for example, Calvinist theology follows a doctrine called federal headship , which argues that the first man, Adam , was the legal representative of the entire human race. A counterargument to the basic version of this principle is that an omniscient God would have predicted this, when he created the world, and an omnipotent God could have prevented it.

The Book of Isaiah clearly claims that God is the source of at least some natural disasters, but Isaiah doesn't attempt to explain the motivation behind the creation of evil. In it, Satan challenges God regarding his servant Job, claiming that Job only serves God for the blessings and protection that he receives from him. God allows Satan to plague Job and his family in a number of ways, with the limitation that Satan may not take Job's life but his children are killed.


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  7. Job discusses this with three friends and questions God regarding his suffering which he finds to be unjust. God responds in a speech and then more than restores Job's prior health, wealth, and gives him new children. Bart D. Ehrman argues that different parts of the Bible give different answers. One example is evil as punishment for sin or as a consequence of sin. Ehrman writes that this seems to be based on some notion of free will although this argument is never explicitly mentioned in the Bible. Another argument is that suffering ultimately achieves a greater good, possibly for persons other than the sufferer, that would not have been possible otherwise.

    The Book of Job offers two different answers: suffering is a test, and you will be rewarded later for passing it; another that God in his might chooses not to reveal his reasons. Ecclesiastes sees suffering as beyond human abilities to comprehend. Apocalyptic parts, including the New Testament , see suffering as due to cosmic evil forces, that God for mysterious reasons has given power over the world, but which will soon be defeated and things will be set right.

    The Greek word in the New Testament that is translated in English as "sin" is hamartia , which literally means missing the target. Jesus clarified the law by defining its foundation: "Jesus replied: 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.

    Substantial branches of hamartiological understanding subscribe to the doctrine of original sin , which was taught by the Apostle Paul in Romans —19 and popularized by Saint Augustine. He taught that all the descendants of Adam and Eve are guilty of Adam's sin without their own personal choice []. In contrast, Pelagius argued that humans enter life as essentially tabulae rasae. The fall that occurred when Adam and Eve disobeyed God was held by his group to have affected humankind only minimally.

    But few theologians continue to hold this hamartiological viewpoint. A third branch of thinking takes an intermediate position, arguing that after the fall of Adam and Eve, humans are born impacted by sin such that they have very decided tendencies toward sinning which by personal choice all accountable humans but Jesus soon choose to indulge.

    The degree to which a Christian believes humanity is impacted by either a literal or metaphorical "fall" determines their understanding of related theological concepts like salvation , justification , and sanctification. Christian views on sin are mostly understood as legal infraction or contract violation, and so salvation tends to be viewed in legal terms, similar to Jewish thinking.

    In religion , sin is the concept of acts that violate a moral rule. The term sin may also refer to the state of having committed such a violation. Commonly, the moral code of conduct is decreed by a divine entity, i. Divine law. Sin is often used to mean an action that is prohibited or considered wrong; in some religions notably some sects of Christianity , sin can refer not only to physical actions taken, but also to thoughts and internalized motivations and feelings.

    Colloquially, any thought, word, or act considered immoral, shameful , harmful, or alienating might be termed "sinful". An elementary concept of "sin" regards such acts and elements of Earthly living that one cannot take with them into transcendental living. Food, for example is not of transcendental living and therefore its excessive savoring is considered a sin. A more developed concept of "sin" deals with a distinction between sins of death mortal sin and the sins of human living venial sin.

    In that context, mortal sins are said to have the dire consequence of mortal penalty , while sins of living food , casual or informal sexuality , play , inebriation may be regarded as essential spice for transcendental living, even though these may be destructive in the context of human living obesity, infidelity. In Western Christianity , "sin is lawlessness " 1 John and so salvation tends to be understood in legal terms, similar to Jewish law.


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    5. Sin alienates the sinner from God. It has damaged, and completely severed, the relationship of humanity to God. That relationship can only be restored through acceptance of Jesus Christ and his death on the cross as a sacrifice for mankind's sin see Salvation and Substitutionary atonement. In Eastern Christianity , sin is viewed in terms of its effects on relationships, both among people and between people and God. Sin is seen as the refusal to follow God's plan, and the desire to be like God and thus in direct opposition to him see the account of Adam and Eve in the Book of Genesis.

      To sin is to want control of one's destiny in opposition to the will of God, to do some rigid beliefs. In Russian variant of Eastern Christianity , sin sometimes is regarded as any mistake made by people in their life. From this point of view every person is sinful because every person makes mistakes during his life. When person accuses others in sins he always must remember that he is also sinner and so he must have mercy for others remembering that God is also merciful to him and to all humanity.

      The fall of man or simply the fall refers in Christian doctrine to the transition of the first humans from a state of innocent obedience to God , to a state of guilty disobedience to God. In the Book of Genesis chapter 2, Adam and Eve live at first with God in a paradise , but are then deceived or tempted by the serpent to eat fruit from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil , which had been forbidden to them by God. After doing so they become ashamed of their nakedness, and God consequently expelled them from paradise.

      The fall is not mentioned by name in the Bible , but the story of disobedience and expulsion is recounted in both Testaments in different ways. The Fall can refer to the wider theological inferences for all humankind as a consequence of Eve and Adam's original sin. Examples include the teachings of Paul in Romans —19 and 1 Cor. Some Christian denominations believe the fall corrupted the entire natural world, including human nature, causing people to be born into original sin , a state from which they cannot attain eternal life without the gracious intervention of God.

      Protestants hold that Jesus ' death was a "ransom" by which humanity was offered freedom from the sin acquired at the fall. In other religions, such as Judaism , Islam , and Gnosticism , the term "the fall" is not recognized and varying interpretations of the Eden narrative are presented. Christianity interprets the fall in a number of ways. The doctrine of original sin , as articulated by Augustine of Hippo's interpretation of Paul of Tarsus , provides that the fall caused a fundamental change in human nature, so that all descendants of Adam are born in sin , and can only be redeemed by divine grace.

      Sacrifice was the only means by which humanity could be redeemed after the fall. Jesus, who was without sin, died on the cross as the ultimate redemption for the sin of humankind. Thus, the moment Adam and Eve ate the fruit from the tree—which God had commanded them not to do—sinful death was born; it was an act of disobedience, thinking they could become like gods, that was the sin. Since Adam was the head of the human race, he is held responsible for the evil that took place, for which reason the fall of man is referred to as the " sin of Adam ".

      This sin caused Adam and his descendants to lose unrestricted access to God Himself. The years of life were limited.

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      In Christian theology, the death of Jesus on the cross is the atonement to the sin of Adam. As a result of that act of Christ, all who put their trust in Christ alone now have unrestricted access to God through prayer and in presence. Original sin, which Eastern Christians usually refer to as ancestral sin , [] is, according to a doctrine proposed in Christian theology, humanity's state of sin resulting from the fall of man.

      Those who uphold the doctrine look to the teaching of Paul the Apostle in Romans —21 and 1 Corinthians for its scriptural base, [30] and see it as perhaps implied in Old Testament passages such as Psalm and Psalm The Apostolic Fathers and the Apologists mostly dealt with topics other than original sin. He thought it was a most subtle job to discern what came first: self-centeredness or failure in seeing truth. The consequences of the fall were transmitted to their descendants in the form of concupiscence , which is a metaphysical term, and not a psychological one.

      Thomas Aquinas explained Augustine's doctrine pointing out that the libido concupiscence , which makes the original sin pass from parents to children, is not a libido actualis , i. In Augustine's view termed "Realism" , all of humanity was really present in Adam when he sinned, and therefore all have sinned.

      Original sin, according to Augustine, consists of the guilt of Adam which all humans inherit. As sinners, humans are utterly depraved in nature, lack the freedom to do good, and cannot respond to the will of God without divine grace. Grace is irresistible , results in conversion, and leads to perseverance.

      Augustine's formulation of original sin was popular among Protestant reformers, such as Martin Luther and John Calvin , and also, within Roman Catholicism, in the Jansenist movement, but this movement was declared heretical by the Roman Catholic Church. Calvin believed that humans inherit Adamic guilt and are in a state of sin from the moment of conception. This inherently sinful nature the basis for the Calvinistic doctrine of " total depravity " results in a complete alienation from God and the total inability of humans to achieve reconciliation with God based on their own abilities.

      Not only do individuals inherit a sinful nature due to Adam's fall, but since he was the federal head and representative of the human race, all whom he represented inherit the guilt of his sin by imputation. The scriptural basis for the doctrine is found in two New Testament books by Paul the Apostle , Romans —21 and 1 Corinthians , in which he identifies Adam as the one man through whom death came into the world.

      Total depravity also called absolute inability and total corruption is a theological doctrine that derives from the Augustinian concept of original sin. It is the teaching that, as a consequence of the fall of man , every person born into the world is enslaved to the service of sin and, apart from the efficacious or prevenient grace of God , is utterly unable to choose to follow God or choose to accept salvation as it is freely offered.

      It is also advocated to various degrees by many Protestant confessions of faith and catechisms, including those of Lutheranism , [] Arminianism , [] and Calvinism.

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      Total depravity is the fallen state of man as a result of original sin. The doctrine of total depravity asserts that people are by nature not inclined or even able to love God wholly with heart, mind, and strength, but rather all are inclined by nature to serve their own will and desires and to reject the rule of God. Even religion and philanthropy are wicked to God to the extent that these originate from a human imagination, passion, and will and are not done to the glory of God.

      Therefore, in Reformed theology , if God is to save anyone He must predestine , call, elect individuals to salvation since fallen man does not want to, indeed is incapable of choosing God. Total depravity does not mean, however, that people are as evil as possible. Rather, it means that even the good which a person may intend is faulty in its premise, false in its motive, and weak in its implementation; and there is no mere refinement of natural capacities that can correct this condition.

      Thus, even acts of generosity and altruism are in fact egoist acts in disguise. All good, consequently, is derived from God alone, and in no way through man.

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      Christian soteriology is the branch of Christian theology that deals with one's salvation. Atonement is a doctrine that describes how human beings can be reconciled to God. In Christian theology the atonement refers to the forgiving or pardoning of one's sin through the death of Jesus Christ by crucifixion , which made possible the reconciliation between God and creation.

      Within Christianity there are three main theories for how such atonement might work: the ransom theory , the satisfaction theory and the moral influence theory. Christian soteriology is unlike and not to be confused with collective salvation. Christian soteriology traditionally focuses on how God ends the separation people have from him due to sin by reconciling them with himself. Many Christians believe they receive the forgiveness of sins Acts , life Rom.

      Christ's death, resurrection, ascension, and sending of the Holy Spirit , is called The Paschal Mystery. Christ's human birth is called the Incarnation. Either or both are considered in different versions of soteriology. While not neglecting the Paschal Mystery , many Christians believe salvation is brought through the Incarnation itself, in which God took on human nature so that humans could partake in the divine nature 2 Peter 1.

      As St. Athanasius put it, God became human so that we might become divine St. Athanasius, De inc. This grace in Christ 1 Cor. This involves accepting Jesus Christ as the personal saviour and Lord over one's life. Protestant teaching, originating with Martin Luther , teaches that salvation is received by grace alone and that one's sole necessary response to this grace is faith alone. Older Christian teaching, as found in Catholic and Orthodox theology, is that salvation is received by grace alone , but that one's necessary response to this grace comprises both faith and works James , 26; Rom —7; Gal Human beings exists because God wanted to share His life with them.

      In this sense, every human being is God's child. In a fuller sense, to come to salvation is to be reconciled to God through Christ and to be united with His divine Essence via Theosis in the beatific vision of the Godhead. The graces of Christ's passion, death, and resurrection are found in the seven sacraments of the Catholic Church. Specific areas of concern include the church's role in salvation , its origin, its relationship to the historical Christ , its discipline, its destiny , and its leadership. Ecclesiology is, therefore, the study of the church as a thing in, and of, itself.

      Different ecclesiologies give shape to very different institutions. Thus, in addition to describing a broad discipline of theology, ecclesiology may be used in the specific sense of a particular church or denomination's character, self-described or otherwise. This is the sense of the word in such phrases as Roman Catholic ecclesiology , Lutheran ecclesiology , and ecumenical ecclesiology.

      Ecclesiastical polity is the operational and governance structure of a church or Christian denomination. It also denotes the ministerial structure of the church and the authority relationships between churches. Polity is closely related to Ecclesiology , the study of doctrine and theology relating to church organization. Issues of church governance appear in the first chapters of the Acts of the Apostles ; the first act recorded after the ascension is the election of Matthias to replace Judas Iscariot. Over the years a system of episcopal polity developed. During the Protestant Reformation , arguments were made that the New Testament prescribed structures quite different from that of the Roman Catholic Church of the day, and different Protestant bodies used different types of polity.

      Episcopal polity is used in several closely related senses. Most commonly it refers to the field of church governance in the abstract, but it also can refer to the governance of a particular Christian body. In this sense it is used as a term in civil law. Though each church or denomination has its own characteristic structure, there are three general types of polity. Churches having episcopal polity are governed by bishops. The title bishop comes from the Greek word episkopos , which literally translates into overseer. Bishops in this system may be subject to higher ranking bishops variously called archbishops , metropolitans or patriarchs , depending upon the tradition; see also Bishop for further explanation of the varieties of bishops.

      They also meet in councils or synods. These synods, subject to presidency by higher ranking bishops, may govern the dioceses which are represented in the council, though the synod may also be purely advisory. Note that the presence of the office of "bishop" within a church is not proof of episcopal polity. For example, in Mormonism , the "bishop" occupies the office that in an Anglican church would be occupied by a priest. Also, episcopal polity is not usually a simple chain of command.

      Instead, some authority may be held, not only by synods and colleges of bishops, but by lay and clerical councils. Further, patterns of authority are subject to a wide variety of historical rights and honors which may cut across simple lines of authority. It is also common in Methodist and Lutheran churches. Among churches with episcopal polity, different theories of autonomy are expressed.

      So in Roman Catholicism the church is viewed as a single polity headed by the pope , but in Eastern Orthodoxy the various churches retain formal autonomy but are held to be unified by shared doctrine and conciliarity —that is, the authority of councils, such as ecumenical councils , Holy Synods and the former standing council, the Endemusa Synod.

      Many Reformed churches, notably those in the Presbyterian and Continental Reformed traditions, are governed by a hierarchy of councils. The lowest level council governs a single local church and is called the session or consistory ; its members are called elders. The minister of the church sometimes referred to as a teaching elder is a member of and presides over the session; lay representatives ruling elders or, informally, just elders are elected by the congregation. The session sends representatives to the next level higher council, called the presbytery or classis.

      In some Presbyterian churches there are higher level councils synods or general assemblies. Each council has authority over its constituents, and the representatives at each level are expected to use their own judgment. Hence higher level councils act as courts of appeal for church trials and disputes, and it is not uncommon to see rulings and decisions overturned. Presbyterian polity is, of course, the characteristic governance of Presbyterian churches, and also of churches in the Continental Reformed tradition. Elements of presbyterian polity are also found in other churches. For example, in the Episcopal Church in the United States of America governance by bishops is paralleled by a system of deputies, who are lay and clerical representatives elected by parishes and, at the national level, by the dioceses.

      Legislation in the general convention requires the separate consent of the bishops and of the deputies. Note that, in episcopal polity, a presbyter refers to a priest. Congregationalist polity dispenses with titled positions such as bishop as a requirement of church structure. The local congregation rules itself, though local leaders and councils may be appointed. Members may be sent from the congregation to associations that are sometimes identified with the church bodies formed by Lutherans , Presbyterians , Anglicans , and other non-congregational Protestants.

      The similarity is deceptive, however, because the congregationalist associations do not exercise control over their members other than ending their membership in the association. Many congregationalist churches are completely independent in principle. One major exception is Ordination , where even congregationalist churches often invite members of the vicinage or association to ordain their called pastor. It is a principle of congregationalism that ministers do not govern congregations by themselves. They may preside over the congregation, but it is the congregation which exerts its authority in the end.

      Congregational polity is sometimes called "Baptist polity", as it is the characteristic polity of Baptist churches. A sacrament, as defined in Hexam's Concise Dictionary of Religion , is what Roman Catholics believe to be "a rite in which God is uniquely active. As defined above, an example would be baptism in water, representing and conveying the grace of the gift of the Holy Spirit , the Forgiveness of Sins , and membership into the Church. Anointing with holy anointing oil is another example which is often synonymous with receiving the Holy Spirit and salvation. Another way of looking at Sacraments is that they are an external and physical sign of the conferral of Sanctifying Grace.

      Throughout the Christian faith, views concerning which rites are sacramental, that is conferring sanctifying grace , and what it means for an external act to be sacramental vary widely. Other religious traditions also have what might be called "sacraments" in a sense, though not necessarily according to the Christian meaning of the term. In the majority of Western Christianity, the generally accepted definition of a sacrament is that it is an outward sign that conveys spiritual grace through Christ.

      Christian churches , denominations , and sects are divided regarding the number and operation of the sacraments. Sacraments are generally held to have been instituted by Jesus Christ , although in some cases this point is debated. They are usually administered by the clergy to a recipient or recipients, and are generally understood to involve visible and invisible components. The invisible component manifested inwardly is understood to be brought about by the action of the Holy Spirit, God 's grace working in the sacrament's participants, while the visible or outward component entails the use of such things as water, oil, and bread and wine that is blessed or consecrated ; the laying-on-of-hands; or a particularly significant covenant that is marked by a public benediction such as with marriage or absolution of sin in the reconciliation of a penitent.

      The Orthodox Churches Eastern and Oriental typically do not limit the number of sacraments, viewing all encounters with reality in life as sacramental in some sense, and their acknowledgement of the number of sacraments at seven as an innovation of convenience not found in the Church Fathers.

      It came into use, although infrequently, later on from later encounters with the West and its Sacramental Theology. Since some post-Reformation denominations do not regard clergy as having a classically sacerdotal or priestly function, they avoid the term "sacrament," preferring the terms "sacerdotal function," "ordinance," or "tradition. This view stems from a highly developed concept of the priesthood of all believers. In this sense, the believer himself or herself performs the sacerdotal role [ citation needed ]. Eucharist, also called Communion, or the Lord's Supper, and other names, is a Christian sacrament or ordinance , generally considered to be a re-enactment of the Last Supper , the final meal that Jesus Christ shared with his disciples before his arrest and eventual crucifixion.