Wednesday, April 27th, 2011
I've been having some extensive discussions on the nature of the Law and sanctification lately. One thing that has struck me is how easily I have taken up certain assumptions only to find out that a new text can always be troubling. I've decided to set forth my current conundrum in medieval fashion.
[Note: This was revised a little since first posting. I hadn't followed the format as I should have. It isn't always easy to see this inductively from a given argument in the Summa.]
Whether All Sins Are Against God or Neighbor
We proceed to the nature of the Law.
Objection 1. It would seem that every sin is only committed against the neighbor. For St. Paul says that he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law. (Romans 13:8)
Objection 2. And further that any commandment can be summed up as "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." (Romans 13:9)
So it appears that every sin is committed against the neighbor alone.
On the contrary, when he has sinned, King David says, "Against you only have I sinned," (Psalm 51:4).
So it appears on the contrary that every sin is committed against God alone.
I answer that, while Psalm 51 might suggest that David only sinned against God, Nathan, through a parable, gets David to admit that his action was done without pity (2 Samuel 12:6). This suggests that a lack of love for the neighbor is indeed a sin against God.
Further, the Psalm offers a reason that this is a sin against God alone, "So that You are justified when You speak. And blameless when You judge" (Psalm 51:4). That is, God is the one who avenges the wrong that we do to our neighbor. He keeps the account. If we kept the account, we are sinful, and our complicity in other wrongs might make it look like the wrong done to us was deserved. But if God keeps the account, he can still demand payment. God being the injured party does not lessen the neighbor's claim, but strengthens it.
Reply Obj. 1. It may be that every sin specific to the neighbor is in view, and St. Paul is saying that love of neighbor fulfills every duty to the neighbor.
Reply Obj. 2. It may also be that every sin specific to the neighbor can be summed up as Paul suggests. Only second table sins are cited here.
So it appears that the sins that get most attention are the sins against the neighbor. And further that the injured party is to be considered to be God himself. We err if we conclude that since God is the most important party, sins directed against Him are more serious than those that victimize our neighbors. We also err if we conclude that since the focus is on what is done to the neighbor, our sins are only grave if the neighbor appears angry.
10:08 am Pacific Standard Time
Friday, April 22nd, 2011
When you haven't posted for a while, it is difficult to know what to post about, but not for lack of ideas. I guess you just have to begin.
So here are some random notes from the week.
* I love the hymn "When You Woke That Thursday Morning" from the LSB. I had never seen it before. I was looking for Good Friday hymns and ran into it. I showed it to the pastor, and he put it into the service. We had two other congregations visiting our service, and people started singing on the first verse. Wonderful!
* I started reading three books this week: 1. Dinner at Mr. Jefferson's by Charles Cerami, 2. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, and 3. Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert Heinlein. I'm loving all three.
* I got the Cerami book because I want to know more about Alexander Hamilton. Jefferson is my man, but Hamilton is not the dolt they portrayed in the John Adams series. He learned a lot from Louis XIV. The man was a genius. I just wish he used it to different ends. Cerami looks promising for offering some insight here. I had this subject in mind and saw the book in the new book section of the library.
* I'm enjoying the Septuagint sections from my Koine Greek Reader. This week we're in Joshua, or as it would be transliterated from Greek, Jesus. Nice to find a book of Jesus in the Old Testament.
* Atlas Shrugged Part One was a great movie. Go see it. I want them to make piles of money off of it.
* It's funny to watch Absolute Power right after watching Atlas Shrugged Part One. Dagney Taggert is one kind of power woman. Gloria Russell in Absolute Power another. (Yuck.) Gloria should have read Atlas Shrugged.
3:37 pm Pacific Standard Time