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THE BIBLICAL CONCEPT
of
MAN, SIN AND SALVATION


Controversy over the concept of sin and slavation has been raging through history right from the begining of history.  I have tried to inidcate how various religions have tried to deal with the subject.  It is evidently related to the Problem of Suffering and also on the Problem of the Existence of Evil in creation.

Gnostics, Zorostriaism and Hinduism conceives God as neither Good nor Bad - a consiousness with no specifc nature. This is because properties are defined relationally. Properties come into existence when an element relate or react with another. This is why most theistic religion refuses to accept a monistic approach. In terms of our "existence", such a God cannot exist. It can exist as as a nonbeing with non-properties. Monism therefore cannot really explain a God as existing before creation. This is simply because human mind is simply incapable of even conceiving the nature beyond our realm.

This is what produced the Dvaitic aproach where Purusha and Prakriti are both coexistant. In this case God creates only from the existing prakriti. We have however no means of knowing the mysteries of God before the creation. As this neutral God changes things begin to happen.  As soon as change take place, time is established or created.  Time is the quantitative measure of the quality of change.  This is obvius because if nothing changes there is no possibility of knowing time.  We always measure time in terms of change in something - a movement of the pendulum, or an electric pulse or changes in an atom. In fact it could be a change in any dimension. Time is therefore irrecoverably related to the dimensional space and creation within

So we start with the beginning "In the begining God created the heavens and the earth." That is the only place where we can start. Any attempt at defining God before that point is absurd. The begining of time and 'space' is a singularity point.

Once time is established because of the changes within God creation can take place.  Some theologies assume that God is distinct from the creation, while others consider creation as an emanation or transformation of God in the process of time.  Christianity and all Semitic religions considered Brahman (God) created Prakriti (Nature) as well as Atman (consciousness) . To distinguish between Brahman and Atman they are designated as ParBrhaman or Paramatma and Atma.  God himself is an Atman but distinct from it.

Sat, Chit and Ananda are therefore defined by the nature of God.   What is the essential nature of God? This is something that cannot be understood by logic or analysis. If man is essentially God, as the some religions assert, then indeed we can arrive at the nature of God by knowing ourselves. Assuming this to be true, the human mind is so clouded by samsara that it can hardly be ascertained. Smrithi, what is remembered through history as a store of human experience will be able to give us some insight. If God has been active in history we can get to understand this. If God is the other, there is no other way we can understand God except by his own self revelation through history. What is revealed is again cannot be in absolute terms because it has to be progressive depending on human understanding. A failure to take this point clearly will be disastrous. That does not mean a later revelation is superior because it depends on the historical context where it is given and to whom it is given. Early in history God has been known as the God of Law. Not than Law is outside of God nor God bound by the law, but that God made the law. Laws are necessary only when constraints are necessary. It is therefore given for a specific purpose. To arrive at the true nature of God one has to go above the laws. This is found in Love. Everything that God does is to be explained in terms of Love. If God gave a law, it was out of love. If God is angry, it was out of love. If God punishes, it is because he loves us. God not only loved man, He loved the Cosmos. The reason for its creation itself is to be found in His Love. This is the gospel of Jesus Christ and the cross.

The next point is that God being Love and God being the Good cannot create evil. This is the stand of all theologians through the ages. Evil in fact was not created because evil has no physical existence. Satan is not an anti-God; the polarisation of God with powers akin to God. Satan nor Man was ever created with evil. The problem is how to explain the reality of evil. Evil is a moral reality. It is a character of the creature developed because of the nature of the creature. It is necessary to explain this process.

We also assume the real existence of the cosmos and consciousness within the cosmos. If these consciouness are not part of God himself it was created by God in the image of God in the material, mental and spiritual planes. We know that matter exists, we know that thought patterns exist and they are not material in essence, though they have correlations with it. We know that the spiritual plane exist. It is not material nor mental but are somehow related to them. One fundamental property of consciousness is its awareness of the external cosmos and its ability to react to them. So essentialy these can be represented as point objects in a multidimensional plane. The best and easy representation is in two dimensional plane not because they are two dimensional, but because it will at least be a projection of the multidimensional plane. It ought to be a multidimensional plane. But they will be unweildy to handle as a model.

These consciousness have life of their own because they are created that way. Every creature is a child of God in that sense and is an image in a greater or smaller extent. Man we will assume is the real image. This implies total freedom of movement in all the material, mental and spiritual dimensions. This is what we call freedom of will. This freedom is of course within their dimension of movement. For the same reason man himself can produce restraints within themselves individually and collectively through their material constructs (formation of societies, groups, communities, twonships, countries etc) and through mental constructs (philosophies, ideas taboos, orders, laws etc) and through spiritual constructs ( tapping of spiritual forces from cosmos). These external constraints are equivalent to an external force.

Now we define Sin in the most general sense. Usually sin is defined in the Bible as trangression to the law. That presumes the existence of law. Law came into existence for direction. So that creatures will move towards God and not away from him. Before it was enumerated the concept of sin was based on the character of God. Anything that moved away from God or anything that causes this drifting away from this attractive pull of God is sin. A better definition is found in most catechisms. Sin is missing the mark. What is this mark? There is only one reference point which is God. Anything that misses directing to God is sin. This can come into existence through the conscious or unconscious act of the free agents. This definition is universal in that almost all religions agree on it. In all Eastern religions, this is the only way sin can be defined. This is the most basic definition of Sin. Only in Semitic religions are these defined in terms of written laws. As mentioned earlier transgression of law was sinful. Law was simply a basic attempt to correct the path by perturbation technique. The corrected trajectory was called righteousness according to the law. Righteous before Law is not necessarily Right into God. This we refer as holiness or Total righteousness.

I.THREE SPIRIT ARMINISTIC VECTOR MODEL

Three forces are given in 1 Corinthians as below:

1Cor. 2:10-12 but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man's spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received not the spirit of this world, but the Spirit which is from God, that we might understand the gifts bestowed on us by God.

These verses in Paul's analysis of man in the world gives us three distinct spirits that exist in the spiritual universe of existence. We are now talking about the spiritual dimension where the real action is.

1. The Spirit who is from God, (Holy Spirit ,Spirit of God)

John 4:24 God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship him in spirit and in truth."

We have seen earlier that one of the Trinity is Holy spirit. God gives this Holy spirit into the hearts of those who believe in him.

2. The spirit of man

God created the spirit of man within him. It is a force that gives man his direction, purpose and and power. Spirit of man is the life giving spirit within man, it controls him.

Prov. 18:14 A man's spirit sustains him in sickness, but a crushed spirit who can bear?

Isa. 57:16 the spirit of man would grow faint before me-- the breath of man that I have created.

1Cor. 2:11 For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man's spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.

This spirit can be weak, strong or faint. It has variable strength depending on the growth of the person. Each person is a vector in with magnitude and direction in the plane of existence.

The fundamental immutable reality is God. Hence man must be compared and related with God. Sin and righteousness is definable only in terms of God. It has no other meaning possible. Evil was not created, because a good God cannot create evil. Evil is definable only in terms of a moral beings direction with respect to God. That is what we have done in this vector definition. This property we call Righteousness. Negative righteousness is then evil. In this universe each being is either righteous or evil in charge. The charge of the nonliving is zero because it doesn't have a spirit. A living being can have a charge zero if it does not have a component in the direction of God. He is neither good nor bad.

2Pet. 1:4 the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.

James 4:4 You adulterous people, don't you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.

1John 2:15 -16 Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world --the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does --comes not from the Father but from the world.

Fig. 5 Righteous Being or Positive Righteous Charge

 
Fig. 6 Devil or Unrighteous Being or Negative Righteous Charge


Fig. 7
This being has zero righteous component i.e Secular Being or Zero Righteousness Charge.

Though this vector has the same direction and magnitude as in figure 3, this vector do have a + ve component in the direction of + It is the position of the being with respect the God that makes the difference. This explains the principle of situational ethics. An act may be righteous or secular depending on the state of the person who performs it, where he is in relation to God. So here we have a situation where not only the magnitude, and direction but also the position matters.

3.. The spirit of the world

The world is filled with creatures with free will. Each being is a vector in the space. The direction of the vector may be defined in terms of the reference point which is unchangable- which is God's Spirit. The direction of the vectors can then be defined + or - depending on whether the vector has a positive component in the direction of God point or a negative component. the spirit which has a positive component towards God is called righteous and those that have negative component is called unrighteous or evil. Such a person is often called a devil.

Christianity rejects the idea of a negative God i.e Satan as the antithesis of God. The Zoroastrian (Parsee) religion and most of the religions of the Middle East at the time of Israel believed in a polarized, equal and fighting good and bad gods. God is a good God - if the term can be applied to God. He did not create evil. Evil is not a physical reality. It is a moral reality arising out of the actions of a free moral agent. Man and other creatures of God created with a free will generates evil because they move away from God and follow other interests contrary to the purposes of God. This is the source of evil. Such an agent whether man or spirit, terrestrial or alien may be called the devil. There are many devils and many Antichrists in this world. The moral agent moving towards God and acting as a free agent is righteous. They are saints. But they need not necessarily be in consonance with God nor targeted directly on Him. These spirit beings form a cloud of righteous beings, unrighteous beings and secular beings. This cloud is similar in distribution as electrostatic distribution of charges. In the presence of God the righteous will move towards God and the unrighteous away from God. Hence at any instant there will be distribution of these with concentration of the righteous around and near God and concentration of unrighteous away from God. A polarisation has taken place.We can replace this hazy field of distributed + and - by two centers of masses; + which is God and - which we may designate as - and call Satan.

1John 5:19 We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one.

Thus Satan is an apparent personality- not real. It is really of title. It is the title of a being who becomes the center of mass or center of attraction of the evil beings. It is a power source of all evil. A better definition can be made in the terminology of dynamics as the sink. Where God is the source and the generator of righteousness, Satan is the sink of righteousness. He is the source of evil but not the only generator of it. In practice the evillest may be termed as such. This apparent negative charge cloud provided by the negative charges by polarization is called the spirit of the world.


The Spirits that are in this World
Polarisation of Righteous and Unrighteous Spirits Fig. 9  

Eph. 6:12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

Notice the plural used in these - rulers, authorities, powers etc. The power of these lie in hollow and deceptive philosophy, and human traditions:

Col. 2:8 See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.

Col. 2:20 Since you died with Christ to the basic principles of this world,

1John 4:3 but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.

1John 4:4-5 You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them. (Plural indicates who is a plurality personified as he in the previous sentence.)

2John 7 Many deceivers, who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, have gone out into the world. Any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist.

If we now consider a being placed in this field three vectors will be acting acting. These are:

1. Attraction to God (Spirit of God because of the induced Spirit within him.)

2. Attraction to Evil (Spirit that is in the world. This is because he is part of the field)

3. Self - Ego or self will (Spirit of Man)

The human spirit's force may be weak or strong and may direct in any direction. It is these that make the position of the particular person. The ultimate aim of every man is to be like Jesus.

Eph. 4:13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

In our model it means that man should reach ultimately the +. It is the trajectory of man that is determined by the three forces in this space. The dynamics of the motion is totally controlled by the spirit of the man concerned. The freedom and the responsibility is totally his. To steer himself through to reach the ultimate source he need to change directions, he needs to change the magnitude of his force depending on the position he finds. Human realization is a dynamic process and not static. That is what makes life interesting.

Fig 10
Three Forces on man

These three spirits are related to the three offices ordained by God, viz. Prophet, Priest and King. These offices were ordained in a fallen world as a method of redemption process.

The function of the Priest is

1. to act as a conservative force and

2. to act as judge in the society to impose justice,

3. to propitiate for the sins of the world, and

4. to act as a healers.

Leviticus provides detailed functions of the Priests. Basically we consider Priests as those who offer regular ceremonial services and provide a stable system. As such they offer atonement and sacrfices for the sins and pronounce pardon. But Priests judged between people, and acted as medicine men. The conservative function provided by the secular component of the spirit of Man and the execution of judgement, healing, and atonement are provided by the somponents that are along the spirit opposing the spirit of the World and those along the direction of the Spirit from God. Thus Man's spirit represents the Priest. We should note that since man is a free agent the spirit can act as an anti-Priest in unrighteous spirits. In an unrighteous spirit the conservative component is still there. But it will judge against Godly principles and introduce injustice, nullify atonement and introduce sickness, faster decay and death.

The function of the Prophet on the other hand is :

1. to reveal the nature of God through history as it is unfolded. He is the voice of God, the declarer and the announcer for God.

2. to interpret the principles of righteousness in the context of the state of man and society- a watchman one who shows the trangressions and sins.He is the interpreter and expositor of the Law.

3. to bring Man nearer to God - an exhorter

4. to reveal the future. This arises only as a natural consequence of the actions. But the prophet is not really a fortune teller.

Evidently this is done by the Spirit from God. In the Old Testament Period, the Holy Spirit came on the prophets and they prophecied. In the New Testament, the Holy Spirit abides within man once he is saved by the cross.

Kingship relies on Power and Lordship. Thus the Spirit of this world is described by Paul as Principalities and Powers. This is what is represented in the Spirit of this world. Human Kingship is a perversion or reversion of the Kingship concept of God. Power and authority in the Kingdom of God is directly related to Servanthood. In Jesus' concept the greatest in the Kingdom of God is to be the servant of all. When Father gave all power into his hands Jesus took water and began to wash the feet of his disciples. Earthly kingship is the negation of the Kingship of God. That is what God told Samuel when Israel asked for a King like other nations.

As long as the Spirit of Man vector is in the side towards God , he i.e. a righteous man will perform three functions: The component opposing the Spirit of World will provide:

1. Opposition to the Spirit of the World - i.e. Kingship of the World

2. Atonement for the sins of the world

The Secular component will provide

3. The conservation so that he may not change too fast under any force making it impossible to adjust for the variations.

However when the vector component opposing the Spirit of this world is more than what is required for the atonement of sins he will miss the target of God. This case is shown in fig.11 This is because he will be then acting as God. For this reason, every High Priest was required to make an atonement for himself before he took the sin offering for others.

The model offers several interesting features:

1. In this case for example


 

    Fig 11  

 

This is the picture of a righteous man. The net resultant is away from the - but directed not at +. He will therefore miss the target. He is still a sinner, because sin is missing the target. 

 

 

2. One important result is that the best way to reach God is by

1. Neutralise the spirit in the world with human spirit. Oppose the devil. Stronger reaction will make you to miss the target. Weaker self will make you move away.

2. Yield to the Spirit of God completely them.

James 4:7 Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

Eph. 4:27 and do not give the devil a foothold.

1Pet. 5:8 Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour

The following vector diagram illustrates this fact.


 

 


 

  Fig. 12

 

Totally controlled by the Holy Spirit. 

 

Resist the devil- Spirit of man opposes and destroys the evil tendencies. The consequent total submission to the Holy Spirit leads him on target to God.

 

 

If the spirit pulls against the spirit of the world more than neutralisation it will be as in fig. 11 leading to miss the mark i.e to sin. That is why Paul warns against the excessive puritanism.

Col. 2:21-23 "Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!"? These are all destined to perish with use, because they are based on human commands and teachings. Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence.

Here again notice that as he moves, he need to readjust both the direction and magnitude of his spirit force, and this is a continuous process.

3. A person may be far away from God, living in the midst of sinners, yet he may be counted righteous. If he persevere he will find Christ.


 

  Fig 13  

 

Here is a man far away from God, surrounded by evil, but he moves away from the evil towards +, though not directly. Missiologically speaking most of the people who have never heard of Jesus fall into this category. they can be reached for Christ and must be. 

 

4. Similarly a man may be very near to God and may be unrighteous. He will eventually fall away from Christ.
 


 

    Fig. 14  

 

This is the opposite case. Here is a man close to God, but his ego pulls him away from God. There are many great Christians, who are led away by their vanities and worldly attractions to fall away. According to Hebrews they cannot be reclaimed. 

 

I I. CALVINISTIC MODEL

Most Anthropological models are simply two dimensional scalar models.  Here everything is black or white, towards or away from God.  There is no freedom beyond that.  The Calvinistic model is a one dimensional model.  Before the fall Adam had freedom of will and he could freely choose.  The Calvinistic model of Adam before fall was therefore in two dimesional representation as follows:

Adam and Eve Before Fall

After the fall he lost his freedom of will as it became enslaved to sin and every man is fixed in sin and move away from God.  Human will therefore is in the same direction as the evil.  

Adam and Eve After fall

In Adam all mankind sinned and are therefore given over to death and  eternal damnation damnation

Only the addition of God's Soveregn Grace could produce the quantum jump in the direction of motion of Man from going away from God to going towards God.  This Grace is given to only those who are predestined by God.  There is no reason for this selection.  It is imparted without regard to their good works or any other condition,  Salvation is only by grace. There is no rhyme of reason for this choice.
This is the sovereign privilege of God.  Who are you to question God?

 This sovereign grace is imparted through the atonement of Jesus on the cross   We have  no reason why God had to suffer on the cross to impart this sovereign grace while it was all the time His Sovereign choice and decision - probably God enjoyed doing it.  In either case whether you are an elect or non-elect you are bound by the choice of God.  You have the choice to wish otherwise.