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Salvific Law: Salvific Character of Law, An Historical Overview

Salvific Law: Salvific Character of Law, An Historical Overview

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Salvific Character of Law, An Historical Overview
Salvific Character of Law, An Historical Overview

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Published by: Dr. Thomas Kuzhinapurath on Jan 27, 2008
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THE SALVIFIC CHARACTER OF LAW: AN HISTORICALOVERVIEW
Fr. Thomas Kuzhinapurath
1.0 Introduction
The Christian idea of God is that of infinite goodness and holiness. Heis conceived as the Creator of all reality other than Himself. Thus the origin of each and every existence is understood as by an act of creation by God. Thuswrites St. Ephraem of Nisibis, It is You, who fashioned the dust at the beginning in Your mercy, and it is You who have conferred upon it Your gift inlove. It is You, O Good One, who have created Adam, even though You knewthat he would be ungrateful and go astray: You fashioned him nevertheless, sothat You might make him victorious."
1
And the whole existence is positivelyconceived as meaningful and worthy of love. The Christian conception humanexistence, however, is that of a certain finite nature. Says Karl Rahner,“Moreover there is in man, and consequently in the world, the mystery of sinand guilt, and consequently of evil and the absurd.”
2
Here we can see a certainincompatibility between the conception of the ultimate Goodness of God, thecreator and the limitation of man, the crown of God's creation. And it leads usto a genuine conception of the salvific will of God. Here God gave thehumanity the commandments in order to lead it to its eternal destiny.
1
ST. EPHRAEM,
 Nisibene Hymns
, 69, 1-2.
2
RAHNER, “Salvation”, 405.
 
 5
Here we are attempting to examine the concept of law from a salvific point of view. First we consider the nature of salvation propounded by thecatholic teaching. And then we analyse the historical evolution of the conceptof law and its salvific significance.
1.1 Salvation: Reality and Realisation
Here we attempt to understand the idea of salvation taught by theCatholic Church. We will analyse the different terms used in the Bible tosignify the concept of salvation. Then we take in to consideration the differenttheological significance of the idea of salvation. And finally we try to look therealisation of salvation in human history.
1.1.1 The Concept of Salvation: A Terminological Analysis
The Hebrewword
 
 yš 
is used through out the OT to mean to save. Andthe noun form of this verb is
 yešûâ,
which means salvation or help. Alltogether this noun form occurs 78 times in the OT. And the majority of theoccurrences are in the Psalms. In many cases the term is designated to meanthe assistance in war (Josh. 10,6; Jdg. 12,2; 1Sam. 11,3; 2Sam. 10:11; 2Kg.16:7; 1Chron. 19,12).
3
The term has also an important meaning in legalmatters. Here it means that if one experiences injustice, one raises a cry for assistance, where upon those who hear it are obliged to render aid. The king isalso an authority to whom one can address such a claim. The function of theking is seen chiefly in his responsibility to “help” his people (1Sam. 10:27;
3
See, STOLZ, “
 yšhi”,
584-585.

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