Friday, August 15, 2014

Pieper, 1968. "On Sin in General"

(B) Man After the Fall

Some view the entry into sin as important to the complete maturity of man. This is not the biblical view. Sin is always a bad thing. Pieper discusses sin under three headings - a) sin in general, b) original sin, and c) actual sin.

a. On Sin in General

Chapter 1, “Definition of Sin”

Pieper begins by defining sin as failure to conform to God’s law. He further explains that God expects perfect obedience all the time, a standard we cannot meet. Pieper also talks about the idea of neutrality, saying it is impossible for people with will and intellect to be neutral. We serve God or we reject him.

Chapter 2, “The Divine Law and Sin”

If sin is a rejection of the Law of God we must identify God’s Law. All of God’s revealed will is his Law. We are bound in conscience by the Scripture but not by the rules of the Church. Yet the Law of God in the Bible is sufficient to condemn all men.

Chapter 3, “How the Divine Law is (sic) Made Known to Men”

We have both a natural knowledge of God’s Law, through our conscience, and a knowledge through Scripture. Our fallen nature has a conscience which goes astray. The Scripture never fails.

Chapter 4, “The Cause of Sin”

Pieper points out that we all have a desire to blame someone else for our wrongs. In one way this is appropriate. The first cause of sin is the devil, who has a strong influence on our world. Yet we are also entirely responsible for our sin, even if we are enticed by another. Pieper also reminds us that sin comes from within us, not consisting only of actions but also the attitudes which lead to those actions.

Chapter 5, “The Consequences of Sin”

Sin, as presented in Scripture, leads to death, which Pieper identifies as threefold, consisting of death of the soul, spiritual death, and eternal death. Without divine intervention there is nothing to free us from death.

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