Monday, January 15, 2007

Sin and Deification

While the deification view may at first glance appear to take sin and evil less seriously than the atonement view, it actually takes them more seriously. It views them not simply as individual failings for which human beings need forgiveness, but rather as all the forces - individual, systematic, institutional - that thwart the flourishing of God's creation. "Sin" is not mainly or only a personal problem, the solution for which is divine forgiveness. Rather, sin is living a lie, living contrary to the way the christic lens tells us is God's desire for all of us. "Evil", in this understanding, is to collective term for the ancient, intricate and pervasive networks of false living that have accumulated during human history.
Sallie McFague, Life Abundant, p. 185-186.

I think this understanding of sin and its relation to salvation has a lot of potential. McFague is here not actually dealing with sin in particular, and maybe it should be worked out a bit more. But I think a reading of the eastern fathers, for whom deification was the obvious way to understand salvation, would prove that McFague's interpretation is sound. They tend to use the tricky term "nature" to describe what is corrupted, but it would certainly be wrong to reduce this term to biology as we perhaps tend to do. History certainly place a great part in creating human nature.

No comments: