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HAMARTIOLOGY - NOTES ON PHILOSOPHICAL THEOLOGY

HAMARTIOLOGY - NOTES ON PHILOSOPHICAL THEOLOGY

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Published by Domenic Marbaniang
DOMENIC MARBANIANG
MARBANIANG.COM
DOMENIC MARBANIANG
MARBANIANG.COM

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Published by: Domenic Marbaniang on Nov 21, 2011
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01/01/2013

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HAMARTIOLOGY

NOTES ON PHILOSOPHICAL THEOLOGY

DOMENIC MARBANIANG

© Domenic Marbaniang, 2006

ISBN: 978-1-105-31678-4

Cover Image: Return of the Prodigal Son by Bartolomé Esteban Murillo (1617–1682)

www.marbaniang.com

1. THE MEANING AND NATURE OF SIN
Why should something be called ‘sin’? Why should there be a punishment for sin? Why such kind of punishment? Sin can only be sin if it has an eternal dimension. Sin can only have an eternal dimension if there are eternal beings. Sin can be said to have an eternal dimension only if there is an eternal order that it violates so as to have eternal repercussions. In this sense, then, sin is the violation of an eternal order. ‘Where there is no law, there is no transgression.’ Sin exists as a disruptive factor among eternal beings. The eternal order is founded upon the nature of the Source (of all being): God the eternal Spirit. Consequentially, the eternal order is an order of love. Truth is the consistent characteristic of this eternal order; therefore, justice is the necessary antidote to the violation of the order. Therefore, sin is essentially the distortion of love and truth with eternal repercussions. In other words, it is a violation of the eternal order (definitive) of love and truth. A violation of the eternal order is directed against the Source & Ground of the eternal order – God. In this sense, then, sin is primarily always sin against God and then sin against others. Thus, sin cannot be defined in terms of temporal comfort and consent. In other words, no individual or group of people by reference to present comfort and mutual consent can redefine what sin is and what sin is not. Sin is never merely temporal; it is cosmic. 1.1. The Eternal Order The creation of God is a system of volitional and non-volitional beings. If creation were a machine, the order of the system would be free from disruption. The active participation of volitional beings in the cosmic system makes sin a possibility.

The eternal order is the ‘way things work together towards a specific goal’. It is the ‘way of heaven’. With reference to non-volitional beings the eternal order involves necessity (a must); with reference to volitional beings, obligation (an ought to). Lao-Tze referred to it as the Tao, meaning ‘the way’. According to Huai-Nan-Tzu,
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Tao is that which supports heavens, and covers the earth, it has no boundaries, no limits, its heights cannot be measured, nor its depths fathomed; it enfolds the entire universe in its embrace, and confers visibility upon that which of itself is formless. It is so tenuous and subtle that it pervades everything just as water pervades mine. It is by Tao that mountains are high, and abysses deep; that beasts walk and birds fly, that the sun and moon are bright, and the stars revolve in their courses. When the spring winds blow, the sweet rains fall and all things live and grow, the feathered ones brood and hatch, the furry ones breed and bear; plants and trees put forth all their glorious exuberance of foliage, birds lay eggs and animals produce their young. No action is visible outwardly, and yet the work is completed, shadowy and indistinct, it has no form. Indistinct and shadowy, its resources have no end. Hidden and obscure, it reinforces all things out of formlessness. Penetrating and permeating everything, it never acts in vain.[1]

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Heraclitus called it the Logos. He taught that change or becoming or flux was not wild but governed and ordered by the logos, meaning ‘law,’ ‘word,’ or ‘reason’ and identified the laws of nature with the speech of the divine mind. Following are the characteristics of logos that Heraclitus expounded: 1. The logos was fire-like. 2. The logos was a divine force.

3. The logos produces the order and pattern discernible in the flux of nature. 4. This divine force is similar to human reason.[2] The Vedas referred to it as Ṛta. Ṛta was the universal law of the universe supposed to be upheld by the one Supreme God.[3] It was the regulating force, supposed to be at the heart of the cosmos; “the regulating pulse which governed manifest existence, both at the microcosmic and the macrocosmic levels.”[4] Vedic philosophy saw sacrifices as necessary in order to uphold and sustain cosmic stability and natural order, Ṛta; though, this later tended towards magic.[5] The more qualified view is of dharma, the Law (or laws) that governs the universe. The Psalmist cried out, ‘Forever, O LORD, Thy word is settled in heaven.’ (Ps. 119: 89). It is by His word that the heavens were made (Ps. 33:6; 2 Pt. 3:5; Hb. 11:3). The universe is upheld (driven, sustained, borne) by the power of Christ’s word (Hb. 1: 3; 2Pt. 3:7). God’s word determines the way things are to be in the world. The word of God declares to sentient humans the way things ought to be in their lives. Knowing the will of God, therefore, is crucial to man. 1.1.1. Laws of Nature The laws of nature are how things of nature operate together. Science discovers laws of nature and attempts to explain them; the explanations may be functional, but the laws are real. 1.1.2. Moral Law The moral law is written in heart of every man (Ro. 2: 15). The moral law is grounded in the moral nature of God. The moral law is absolute, since it is grounded in God. 1.1.2.1. Nature of the Moral Law The moral law is dharma; acts are karma. The principle of action is: every action has consequences. Karma can either be dharmic or adharmic. Dharmic karma is a complete attunement

and conformity todharma. Manav Dharma is different from the dharma of others. For instance, the marital dharma is inapplicable to angelic beings. Manav Dharma is not arbitrary but divinely instituted. A violation of manav dharma is a violation of the eternal order. Divine purpose and desire is at the core of the eternal order. Manav Dharma is three-fold:

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