Monday, May 28, 2012

Sin is deeply rooted hostility

Of the many excellent essays in The Glory of the Atonement, the one entitled Atonement in the Pauline Corpus by Westminster Theological Seminary professor Richard Gaffin was one of the more enjoyable and enriching to read. His rhythmic style-sentences with many pauses and transitional words-is one that I particularly like. But his plain, down to earth treatment of major theological concepts helped me easily connect with his points and clarified the concepts in question. In this excerpt, Gaffin emphasizes the overriding concern of sin; it is primarily against God. Consider,
Paul's treatment of sin and its consequences is extensive and multifaceted, particularly in Romans. Above all, sin is theocentric; it is primarily against God and then, derivatively, against human beings, including the self. As such, sin is both relational and judicial, and it is the one only as it is the other. Sin is relational in that it is essentially rebellion against God, the image bearing creature's effective renunciation against God as creator. It is willful rejection of fellowship with God by refusing to acknowledge him as Creator and to live out of thankful creaturely dependence on him. Inevitably, then, sin is idolatrous, the exchange of "the truth of God for a lie," which consists, in virtually numberless ways, in worshiping and serving "the creature rather than the Creator" (Rom 1:25 ESV). All told, sin is deeply rooted hostility, particularly toward God. Thus, inevitably, it is also against others and the self, as made in God's image, again, in nearly countless ways. (146)

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