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Could Jesus sin?

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Could Jesus sin?
I know I am opening a 2000 year old debate which may not be resolved this side of eternity! However, I am prompted to do so by the previous thread in this forum, which seems to have stalled last August, and also this question "Could Jesus sin?" is very much on our minds (my wife Malvina and myself). We have bandied the question to a number of denominations and individuals, most responses are non-existent. Briefly, the ones we have had are an RC friend (now deceased) who felt that the temptations would have been a charade if He could not sin, Prof Headley SDA, also now deceased) smacked us on the wrist for asking such questions, Jim Sutton in alt.religion.christian.homechurch n.g. feels He could sin, as does our nephew at tonyproductions.com, who prefers to feel that Jesus could sin, but of course did not. Herb Drake at hccentral.com first cited Athanasius, but then in a second email to us somewhat changed his opinion to the one we do not agree with - that Jesus could sin.

Notably, Walter Martin in his book The Kingdom of the Cults said that he felt Jesus could not sin. Also a Close Brethren here in Barbados felt that the suggestion ( that Jesus could sin) was tantamount to blasphemy. For our faith to be strengthened, we hold that Jesus could not sin, the temptations were a charade, and what is wrong with that? The devil has always been duped by God, and always will. He has always been on a loser. Even if one concedes that Jesus could sin, we liken it to having friend whom one dearly loves, and if there was any defect in our friend's character we would always hotly deny it. In Jesus's case, we do not need to defend Him, for He is perfect, for He is God, and there lies the strength of our faith. We quite like A. Melville's analysis in SDA 27 Fundamental Doctrines, talking about the flesh of Jesus. It had the innocent infirmities of ours, but not the evil propensities. I could go on, but we will be interested in any responses. God bless, Barry AC.
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Re: Could Jesus sin? In reply to
Hebrews 2:18

Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.



One cannot be tempted if they cannot sin.





In Him,



Sean
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Re: Could Jesus sin? In reply to
Thank you Sean and God bless.

No-one else has joined in yet, I thought I would reply. As I have perhaps already intimated, as Christians we may have to beg to differ! Anyway, to continue the conversation, this may develop into a philosophical debate on semantics viz a viz Witgenstein. My question following from your scriptural reference is since it is the devil who is doing the tempting, which I accept, there is still no suggestion that Jesus Himself was tempted. Yes He suffered, yes He felt the pain of temptation, but being God there was no likelihood of Him succumbing, and He knew it. It was a charade. For us, my wife and myself, if we thought Jesus could have succumbed to the temptation, then this would not help us to resist the real temptations that we as mere mortals feel as we open our hearts to Jesus. We have just about removed ourselves from the SDA Church, on this, and other, doctrinal points. As Walter Martin pointed out in his book The Kingdom of the Cults, this is a very sensitive issue for Seventh Day Adventists, and we have found many of them trying to follow the teachings of the Church (be like Jesus!?) and nearly making themselves ill (E.G. White and company had this problem once during a retreat as they stuck rigidly to their vegetarianism.) Some SDA's even suggest Jesus had 'sinful flesh'!

In truth and in Jesus, Barry and Malvina AC.
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Re: Could Jesus sin? In reply to
Jesus Christ was a divine person and true God. God is not capable of sin so neither is His divine Son Jesus Christ. Jesus could not have sinned.



God bless,

Ryan
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Re: Could Jesus sin? In reply to
One cannot be tempted if they cannot sin.



Temptation does not necessitate the ability to succumb. To tempt can simply refer to the action of offering a temptation or of being offered a temptation. The inclination of him being tempted is not at issue one way or the other.



God bless

Ryan
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Re: Could Jesus sin? In reply to
Briefly, the ones we have had are an RC friend (now deceased) who felt that the temptations would have been a charade if He could not sin



I believe your friend (may he rest in peace) was not correct. According to Catholic Christology (as I understand it) it would be impossible for Jesus to sin.



Pope Leo XIII: "Thus it is that the infinitely perfect God, although supremely free, because of the supremacy of His intellect and of His essential goodness, nevertheless cannot choose evil; neither can the angels and saints, who enjoy the beatific vision. St. Augustine and others urged most admirably against the Pelagians that, if the possibility of deflection from good belonged to the essence or perfection of liberty, then God, Jesus Christ, and the angels and saints, who have not this power, would have no liberty at all, or would have less liberty than man has in his state of pilgrimage and imperfection. This subject is often discussed by the Angelic Doctor in his demonstration that the possibility of sinning is not freedom, but slavery." -Libertas Praestantissimum
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Re: Could Jesus sin? In reply to
I agree w/ Sean..

Hebrews 2:18

Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted

also see these verses..

Heb 4:

[15] For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.

[16] Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

2Cor 5:

[21] For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

1Pe2:

[21] For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:

[22] Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth:

[23] Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously:

[24] Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.



Lk 4:

[1] And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost returned from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness,

[2] Being forty days tempted of the devil. And in those days he did eat nothing: and when they were ended, he afterward hungered.

[3] And the devil said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, command this stone that it be made bread.

[4] And Jesus answered him, saying, It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.

[5] And the devil, taking him up into an high mountain, shewed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time.

[6] And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it.

[7] If thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine.

[8] And Jesus answered and said unto him, Get thee behind me, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.

[9] And he brought him to Jerusalem, and set him on a pinnacle of the temple, and said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down from hence:

[10] For it is written, He shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee:

[11] And in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.

[12] And Jesus answering said unto him, It is said, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.

[13] And when the devil had ended all the temptation, he departed from him for a season.



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Re: Could Jesus sin? In reply to
If Jesus could not sin, then how can He help those who are being tempted? The real question deals with Christ's humanity. Since Christ was fully human, the "Son of Man" He could indeed sin. Now, since He was also fully Divine, the "Son of God" He had more power to overcome sin than the common man. When we have the Trinity in us, we "share in the divine nature" as St. Peter says it. We then have the power to overcome sin, because, "with sin, no one will see God." We sin because we are human, and share in the sin nature of Adam and Eve. We can overcome sin, because we can share in the divine nature of Christ, who, being God, became man, to redeem us from our sins. If Christ could not have sin, He could not know what man goes through when we are tempted. Christ, who when He became man, then took on the flesh of man, which is capable of sin. To say that Christ could not sin, is, in effect, denying that He took on human flesh and blood, and as St. John says, "those who deny Jesus came in the flesh are antichrist." Christ came to redeem all of creation. St. Paul says that the whole creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. When Adam and Eve sinned, they not only messed things up for all of humankind, but also for the whole of God's creation. Like Isaias says, the "lamb will lay down with the lion." Christ's humanity allowed Him the possibility to sin, but His divinity gave Him the power to overcome it. Hope this helps. Peace, Grace and Love in Christ.

Matt
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Re: Could Jesus sin? In reply to
Matt:

The real question deals with Christ's humanity. Since Christ was fully human, the "Son of Man" He could indeed sin.



That supposes that sinning is trully proper to the human experience. As fallen men we do sin but this is not the plan of God. Jesus is true man and the Son of Man but this does not necessitate the ability to sin. As a perfect man it would be fitting of his human perfection to abstain from all sin.



Can God the Father sin? I would hope you would say no. Jesus Christ is one with the Father, co-eternal and consubstantial according to the ancient Creeds. If the Father cannot sin then neither can the Son.



Jesus Christ is the divine second person of the Blessed Trinity. He assumed a human nature, will, and soul. However, He remains ONE person as the Council of Ephesus proclaims. If Jesus were to commit sin then sin would enter into the whole person, human AND divine. One cannot seperate the human and divine natures and say that Christ could sin only in the human nature. This would be the same mistake that Nestorius made in claiming that Christ was a human person and a divine person.



To say that Christ could not sin, is, in effect, denying that He took on human flesh and blood, and as St. John says, "those who deny Jesus came in the flesh are antichrist."



Not at all. To affirm that Christ could not sin is to proclaim the perfection of the hypostatic union within Christ.
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Re: Could Jesus sin? In reply to
I belief that Jesus had to be able to sin and had the faith and relationship with His Father enough to not sin. If Jesus could not sin then what was the 'big deal" about Him living a perfect life?? If He couldn't sin then He wasn't really human. And how can we be like Him if He can't sin and we can. It would be impossible. So taking all those things in mind - I must believe that he had the ability to sin!

Good Luck
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Re: Could Jesus sin? In reply to
  I think the better question is, did Jesus sin? The answer is a resounding NO. That makes Him perfect and makes Him God, and He died for our sins. The bible says He did not sin, and that is that. To sit and speculate whether He was capable of sin is an endless rabbit chase. It does not matter at all, and it is a 'debate' you will never answer or win. Although I am sure you would feel comfortable taking it up with Him in eternity. How foolish would we be then!

And to even spend one's time pondering such a redundant question shows both how much your minds are off of Him really, and also that you would rather spend time chasing rabbits than spreading the gospel. At least that is my 2 cents worth.

He is God and we are not. We would better serve Him by getting off such dead-end topics and spread His gospel to a world that is sinning......



Bob (huperetes)



2 Cor 5:21 - For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin ; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

KJV

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Re: Could Jesus sin? In reply to
Huperetes,



This is a forum for Christological discussion. No one is tying you up and forcing you to contribute. I believe people grow in understanding by examining such questions rather than dismissing them as a waste of time.
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Re: Could Jesus sin? In reply to
Indeed, Ryan is right: This is a Christological discussion but we need to go back to the roots of what "sin" is. I will here present my view according to the Orthodox tradition which I believe has a better approach on the issue.



As pervasive as the term "original sin" has become, it may come as a surprise to some that it was unknown in both the Eastern and Western Church until Augustine (c. 354-430). The concept may have arisen in the writings of Tertullian, but the expression seems to have appeared first in Augustine’s works. Prior to this the theologians of the early church used different terminology indicating a contrasting way of thinking about the fall, its effects and God’s response to it. The phrase the Greek Fathers used to describe the tragedy in the Garden was ancestral sin.



"Ancestral sin" has a specific meaning. The Greek word for sin in this case, "amartema", refers to an individual act indicating that the Eastern Fathers assigned full responsibility for the sin in the Garden to Adam and Eve alone. The word "amartia", the more familiar term for sin which literally means “missing the mark”, is used to refer to the condition common to all humanity. The Eastern Church, unlike its Western counterpart, never speaks of guilt being passed from Adam and Eve to their progeny, as did Augustine. Instead, it is posited that each person bears the guilt of his or her own sin. The question becomes, “What then is the inheritance of humanity from Adam and Eve if it is not guilt?” The Orthodox Fathers answer as one: death. (I Corinthians 15:21) “Man is born with the parasitic power of death within him,” writes Fr. Romanides. Our nature, teaches Cyril of Alexandria, became “diseased through the sin of one” (Migne, 1857-1866a). It is not guilt that is passed on, for the Orthodox fathers; it is a condition, a disease.



In Orthodox thought Adam and Eve were created with a vocation: to become one with God gradually increasing in their capacity to share in His divine life—deification.“They needed to mature, to grow to awareness by willing detachment and faith, a loving trust in a personal God” (Clement, 1993, p. 84). Theophilus of Antioch (2nd Century) posits that Adam and Eve were created neither immortal nor mortal. They were created with the potential to become either through obedience or disobedience.



Adam and Eve failed to obey the commandment not to eat from the forbidden tree thus rejecting God and their vocation to manifest the fullness of human existence. Death and corruption began to reign over the creation. “Sin reigned through death.” (Romans 5:21) In this view death and corruption do not originate with God; he neither created nor intended them. God cannot be the Author of evil. Death is the natural result of turning aside from God.



Adam and Eve were overcome with the same temptation that afflicts all humanity: to be autonomous, to go their own way, to realize the fullness of human existence without God. According to the Orthodox fathers sin is not a violation of an impersonal law or code of behavior, but a rejection of the life offered by God. This is the mark, to which the word amartia refers. Fallen human life is above all else the failure to realize the God-given potential of human existence, which is, as St. Peter writes, to “become partakers of the divine nature” (II Peter 1:4). St. Basil writes: “Humanity is an animal who has received the vocation to become God” (Clement, 1993, p. 76).



In Orthodox thought God did not threaten Adam and Eve with punishment nor was He angered or offended by their sin; He was moved to compassion. The expulsion from the Garden and from the Tree of Life was an act of love and not vengeance so that humanity would not “become immortal in sin". Thus began the preparation for the Incarnation of the Son of God and the solution that alone could rectify the situation: the destruction of the enemies of humanity and God, death (I Corinthians 15:26, 56), sin, corruption and the devil.



It is important to note that salvation as deification is not pantheism because the Orthodox Fathers insist on the doctrine of creation ex nihilo (Athanasius, 1981). Human beings, along with all created things, have come into being from nothing. Created beings will always remain created and God will always remain Uncreated. The Son of God in the Incarnation crossed the unbridgeable chasm between them. Orthodox hymnography frequently speaks of the paradox of the Uncreated and created uniting without mixture or confusion in the wondrous hypostatic union. The Nativity of Christ, for example, is interpreted as “a secret re-creation, by which human nature was assumed and restored to its original state” (Clement, 1993, p. 41). God and human nature, separated by the Fall, are reunited in the Person of the Incarnate Christ and redeemed through His victory on the Cross and in the Resurrection by which death is destroyed (I Corinthians 15:54-55). In this way the Second Adam fulfills the original vocation and reverses the tragedy of the fallen First Adam opening the way of salvation for all.



The Fall could not destroy the image of God; the great gift given to humanity remained intact, but damaged. Origen speaks of the image buried as in a well choked with debris (Clement, 1993. While the work of salvation was accomplished by God through Jesus Christ the removal of the debris that hides the image in us calls for free and voluntary cooperation. St. Paul uses the word synergy, or “co-workers”, (I Corinthians 3:9) to describe the cooperation between Divine Grace and human freedom. For the Orthodox Fathers this means asceticism (prayer, fasting, charity and keeping vigil) relating to St. Paul’s image of the spiritual athlete (I Corinthians 9:24-27). This is the working out of salvation “with fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:12).Salvation is a process involving faith, freedom and personal effort to fulfill the commandment of Christ to “love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength and your neighbor as yourself”(Matthew 22:37-39).



The piety and devotion of Augustine is largely unquestioned by Orthodox theologians, but his conclusions on the Atonement are. Augustine, by his own admission, did not properly learn to read Greek and this was a liability for him. He seems to have relied mostly on Latin translations of Greek texts. His misinterpretation of a key scriptural reference, Romans 5:12, is a case in point (Meyendorff, 1979). In Latin the Greek idiom "eph ho" which means because of was translated as in whom. Saying that all have sinned in Adam is quite different than saying that all sinned because of him. Augustine believed and taught that all humanity has sinned in Adam (Meyendorff, 1979, p. 144). The result is that guilt replaces death as the ancestral inheritance (Augustine, 1956b) Therefore the term original sin conveys the belief that Adam and Eve’s sin is the first and universal transgression in which all humanity participates.



Augustine famously debated Pelagius (c. 354-418) over the place the human will could play in salvation. Augustine took the position against him that only grace is able to save, "sola gratis" (Augustine, On the Predestination of the Saints, 7. From this a doctrine of predestination developed (God gives grace to whom He will) which hardened in the 16th and 17th centuries into the doctrine of two-fold predestination (God in His sovereignty saves some and condemns others). The position of the Church of the first two centuries concerning the image and human freedom was abandoned.



The Roman idea of justice found prominence in Augustinian and later Western theology. The idea that Adam and Eve offended God's infinite justice and honor made of death God’s method of retribution. But this idea of justice deviates from Biblical thought. Kalomiris (1980) explains the meaning of justice in the original Greek of the New Testament: The Greek word "diakosuni" 'justice', is a translation of the Hebrew word "tsedaka". The word means‘the divine energy which accomplishes man’s salvation. It is parallel and almost synonymous with the word "hesed" which means ‘mercy’, ‘compassion’, ‘love’, and to the word emeth which means ‘fidelity’, ‘truth’. This is entirely different from the juridical understanding of ‘justice’.



The juridical view of justice generates two problems for Augustine. One: how can one say that the attitude of the immutable God’s toward His creation changes from love to wrath? Two: how can God, who is good, be the author of such an evil as death (Romanides, 1992)? The only way to answer this is to say, as Augustine did to the young Bishop, Julian of Eclanum (d. 454), that God’s justice is inscrutable (Cahill, 1995, p. 65). Logically, then, justice provides proof of inherited guilt for Augustine, because since all humanity suffers the punishment of death and since God who is just cannot punish the innocent, then all must be guilty in Adam. Also, by similar reasoning, justice appears as a standard to which even God must adhere. Can God change or be subject to any kind of standard or necessity? By contrast the Orthodox father, Basil the Great, attributes the change in attitude to humanity rather than to God (Migne, 1857-1866b). Because of the theological foundation laid by Augustine and taken up by his heirs, the conclusion seems unavoidable that a significant change occurs in the West making the wrath of God and not death the problem facing humanity.



How then could God’s anger be assuaged? The position of the ancient Church had no answer because its proponents did not see wrath as the problem. The Satisfaction Theory proposed by Anselm of Canterbury (c. 1033-1109) in his work "Why the God-Man?" provides the most predominant answer in the West. The sin of Adam offended and angered God making the punishment of death upon all guilty humanity justified. The antidote to this situation is the crucifixion of the Incarnate Son of God because only the suffering and death of an equally eternal being could ever satisfy the infinite offense of the infinitely dishonored God and assuage His wrath.



God sacrifices His Son to restore His honor and pronounces the sacrifice sufficient. The idea of imputed righteousness rises from this. The Orthodox understanding that “the resurrection...through Christ, opens for humanity the way of love that is stronger than death” (Clement, 1993, p. 87) is replaced by a juridical theory of courtrooms and verdicts.



In Anselm's theory of the Atonement, there's no Devil. The whole transaction is between us, the Father, and Jesus (and when the Devil is ignored, he has a field day). But Orthodox know who our true enemy is, and we cling to the Lord Jesus as our deliverer. When we see evil in the world, we know immediately that "an enemy has done this" (Matthew 13:28). We're not surprised that life is unfair and that "good" people suffer; when we see innocent suffering, we know that our own sins helped cause it, by helping to unbalance the world and make a climate of injustice possible. The Evil One loves to see the innocent suffer, and the fact that such events grieve and trouble us delights him all the more. This is in fact one of the ways we bear the burden of our sins: that we must feel the wrenching pain of seeing innocence suffer, and know that we helped make it happen. Western Christians, on the other hand, who see sin as a private debt between an individual and God, and who forget the presence of the Evil One, can't figure out how God could let an innocent person suffer, and are left with the chilly thought of questioning the goodness of God.



The image of an angry, vengeful God haunts the West where a basic insecurity and guilt seem to exist. Many appear to hold that sickness, suffering and death are God’s will. Why? I suspect one reason is that down deep the belief persists that God is still angry and must be appeased. Yes, sickness, suffering and death come and when they do God’s grace is able to transform them into life-bearing trials, but are they God’s will? Does God punish us when the mood strikes, when our behavior displeases Him or for no reason at all? Are the ills that afflict creation on account of God? For example, could the loving Father really be said to enjoy the sufferings of His Son or of the damned in hell? Freud rebelled against these ideas calling the God inherent in them the sadistic Father. Kalomiris writes that there are no atheists, just people who hate the God in whom they have been taught to believe.



Orthodoxy agrees that grace is a gift, but one that is given to all not to a chosen few. For Grace is an uncreated energy of God sustaining all creation apart from which nothing can exist (Psalm 104:29). What is more, though grace sustains humanity, salvation cannot be forced upon us (or withheld) by divine decree. Clement points out that the “Greek fathers (and some of the Latin Fathers), according to whom the creation of humanity entailed a real risk on God’s part, laid the emphasis on salvation through love: ‘God can do anything except force a man to love him’. The gift of grace saves, but only in an encounter of love” (Clement, 1993, p. 81). Orthodox theology holds that divine grace must be joined with human volition.



For us, the question is not if Christ could brake "God's Law" or not. I believe that even in His mind there was not such a question. Yes, He did live as a human, He did suffer, but His mission was not to stay sinless...his mission was to stay within His father's will in order to liberate all of us who still keep our minds and lives far from God.



Christ, as the new Adam fulfills the "lost vocation": to become one with God gradually increasing in their capacity to share in God's divine life—deification.
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Re: Could Jesus sin? In reply to
Joseph:



The Eastern view of the Original Sin really makes a lot of sense to me. We were all made sinners because of Adam in that we are subject to concupiscence now asa result of his sin. I need to check the dogmatic statements of Trent to see exactly how much of the Augustinian philosophy is incoporated into the Church's definitions.



Augustine famously debated Pelagius (c. 354-418) over the place the human will could play in salvation. Augustine took the position against him that only grace is able to save, "sola gratis" (Augustine, On the Predestination of the Saints, 7. From this a doctrine of predestination developed (God gives grace to whom He will) which hardened in the 16th and 17th centuries into the doctrine of two-fold predestination (God in His sovereignty saves some and condemns others). The position of the Church of the first two centuries concerning the image and human freedom was abandoned.



I take issue with your characterizations here. I absolutely affirm the position of Augustine that salvation is possible only through grace. It seems to me that this position is not incompatible with what the Eastern Fathers said. Saint Athanasius taught that all Creation was held under the power of decay after the fall and that a new infusion of grace and creative activity by God was necessary to reverse the decay and glorify Man. St. Thomas Aquinas also speaks of the relationship of grace to the vocation and salvation of man in the Summa and what is possible for man with and without the intervention of grace.



To say that salvation is only possible by grace is not an abandonment of the Apostolic teaching. I think the problem here is that you want to pin the perverse teachings of John Calvin and Martin Luther on Augustine. In my opinion that is unfair. It is true that they were both Augustinian in philosophy (the entire Reformation would have probably been avoided if they had been familiar with Thomism) but they also twisted Augustine and went much further than St. Augustine ever did. According to St. Augustine, man does have free will and his will is exercised in cooperation with grace. This is nothing like Calvin's supralapsariasm in which God is an arbitrary dictator who damns whoever and saves whoever He feels like.



I do agree with you that in certain quarters of western Christianity the image of a vengeful God is predominant. More importantly, I would focus in on the idea of legalism. In the soteriology of Luther and Calvin, justification is a purely legal exchange. This is not the Catholic or Orthodox view.



I believe people have a psychological need as a result to believe that Jesus possessed the ability of sin but chose not so that they can feel like it is possible for them to fulfill the demands of God's law.



I am absolutely certain that Jesus could not sin. If Jesus could sin then it would mean that He could act contrary to His divine nature. Jesus came as the Creator-Word restoring the universe to grace and holiness under the Father.



Furthermore, the teaching that Jesus could sin is based on the assertion that sinning is intrinsic to what a human is. This is a concept which I wholeheartedly reject and I believe the Orthodox do as well. When man sins he acts contrary to nature and not in accordance with it. Concupiscence has the effect of subjecting man to unnatural impulses and sinful tendencies. Jesus Christ was not subject to concupiscence and thus sin had no internal source of temptation for Him.



Jesus was a perfect man and thus He would act according to a perfect human nature. This meant friendship with God as it was meant to be from the beginning.

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Nature of grace and sin In reply to
Joseph:



I thank you again for your thoughts. As always I find them enlightening and such conversation worthwhile.



You said:Of course, no question about this. The problem starts on the nature of grace itself. Augustine "founded" a new term that is very much in use among Roman Catholicism: "Created Grace". According to this, a perfect God can not directly come in touch with His fallen creation so he needs to "build bridges" between heaven and earth in order to supply grace. Its obvious that Augustine confused "generation" and "procession" and identified them with the divine energies.



In my theological training and Catechesis I have never heard the term "Created Grace". I understand grace to be an uncreated substance, the essence and imprint of the divine on created things. When I think of receiving grace I think of the Father infusing the divine life and holiness within us. Grace is not something contrary to nature but something which builds on nature. It is God continuing His creative work in His creatures. Pope Leo XIII said: "for grace works inwardly in man and in harmony with his natural inclinations, since it flows from the very Creator of his mind and will, by whom all things are moved in conformity with their nature. As the Angelic Doctor points out, it is because divine grace comes from the Author of nature that it is so admirably adapted to be the safeguard of all natures, and to maintain the character, efficiency, and operations of each." Wouldn't the Orthodox agree with such characterizations of grace?



This theological difference is what make the two Churches unable to communicate in issues like the Sacraments for example. For the West, God changes the substance, for the East, God enters the elements.



I am not sure exactly what you mean by this. Catholic theology maintains that the appearance of the accidents of the various Sacraments are not changed. When the bread and wine are consecrated, we still see bread and wine, yet now the divine life dwells there. They have become the body and blood of Jesus Christ.



In this sense I think of the Eucharist always in the context of the Incarnation of Jesus Christ. When men gazed upon the Blessed Redeemer they saw in appearance an ordinary man. In truth, He was both man and Son of God, yet no one could say He was Son of God simply by looking at Him. Only by faith can one discern spiritual realitites.



So to is it with the Eucharist. By faith we discern the spiritual reality of Christ's real presence. We cannot see the reality of the Incarnation but we believe it.



So what kind of grace are we talking about here? Eastern Christianity believes that God's grace is the moving force that sustains and transforms everything and everyone. The reason for this grace is for believers to become literally the image of Christ.



I believe exactly the same about grace. Either that makes me Orthodox or it means that what you present as the Eastern view is not opposed to the view taken by Western Catholicism.
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Re: Could Jesus sin? In reply to
how would u like to be jesus created in the honer of the heavens chased by satan since birth every day every hour driven mad by satan i wonder if he had to deal with poison in his food or drinks everything would be a blind eye i think everythought trying to be manipulated or turned to evil by a big black soul every day torture and thats just everyday for him crazy aiyee.heaven bless
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Re: Could Jesus sin? In reply to
Hi everybody,



I think that all of you, while some have good points, ignored one reality concerning Jesus in the flesh. You know in english, we have to words to express a potential of doing something. We have "may" (in the sense of possibility) and we have "can" (in the sense of capacity). But, we must keep an important thing in mind. The fact that we are dealing with Christ in regard of sin, we must be very precise in our question. Do we question his ability or the simple possibility? Let me give you two examples from the Scriptures. First,we read in John 8.55 that Jesus said to his opponents: "If I said, I do not know him, I should be a liar like you...". Here we see a Jesus saying something like this: "If I chose to be a liar, it could be possible for me to say that I don't know God". You see, in this instance, Jesus is saying that the capacity to be a liar would be accessible to him as a man, but because of who he is, it is not conceivable. Now, another example is in his temptations in the wilderness with Satan. The fact that he was tempted is not a sign that he could have been the loser in the debate with the enemy. It is totally false, according to some who posted their opinions, that to be tempted presupposes a capacity or possibility (depending on how they understand by that) to sin. If it were the case, the only logical conclusion would be that it was possible for Jesus to be a sinner, which is totally out of question here. Because the only other people on earth who are tempted are those who are not only able to sin, but those who are sinners as such. There is a huge difference between sin and to be a sinner. We were all born sinners, but we were not all born sinning. Paul is very clear in Rom. 5.12 and 1 Cor. 15.22. We are all brought in this world with the sinful nature, but not as a sinner in a practical way the moment we took our first breath. So, it is important to make this distinction concerning Jesus. In his case, he was born in this world without the sinful nature, but in a world of sin. In other words, he was born in a world where sin could have an effect of temptation on him, without overcoming him though, and all that because his holy nature was not defiled as ours. Let us be clear, dear friends, to sin does not entail to be subjected to a temptation, but it requires to be also clothed with a sinful nature. It was different in the case of Adam, but after Adam, it became impossible to argue otherwise. Somebody could tell me that Jesus is the last Adam and it is true (1 Cor. 15.45), and that we can thus say that if Adam was able to sin it thus is to say that Jesus could sin as well. But we forget that Jesus, contrary to Adam, was not created, but engendered. It is all the difference. Jesus thus could not experience the limitations of the sinful creature in the same we do. Yes, sin put on him certain limitations (anxiety, death). But still, it was not so much because he was like us as a sinful creature, but because he had chosen to live in a world inhabited by sin. So, having let some priviledges of his in his incarnation, life for him was like ours and not like ours at the same time. To summarize, let me put it that way. Jesus could have been able to sin if he had chosen as a man, but because of his divine nature (exempt of the original sin), it was an impossibility to submit himself to it. So, it is not really a true question that we ask here. And it is precisely for this reason the the answer is so complex, even impossible to give completely this side of heaven.
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Re: Could Jesus sin? In reply to
If Jesus could not sin, then how can He help those who are being tempted?




The thing is,.. I order to save the human race Jesus did not need to be able to sin. What was needed is that God bridges tha gap sin has hewn between Him and mankind. The Incarnation of God the Word into the (one) Person of Jesus Christ solved that problem.



The real question deals with Christ's humanity.




Sin is an act of a person. Natures, be they human or divine cannot sin. Only Persons can. So, we need to ask the question: Who is Jesus? The Scriptures answer the "Incarnate Word of God" (Ch. of St. John's Gospel). The "I" to whom Jesus refers when He speaks of Himself is "the co-eternal Word of God". And it has been established that God cannot sin.



Since Christ was fully human, the "Son of Man" He could indeed sin.




However, Christ's humanity is part of His one Person which is Divine. He could therefore not sin. The humanity of Christ is in fact God's very own humanity, and the "I" acting (humanly) in the human nature is God the Word.



Now, since He was also fully Divine, the "Son of God" He had more power to overcome sin than the common man.




Human nature, by virtue of it being created, is mutable and susceptible to sin. The human person, the human "I" (spirit if you will) is also created and susceptible to sin. A human person can therefore sin. Now the humanity of God the Word is susceptible to sin, the Divine Person of God the Word, however, is not susceptible to sin. Jesus could therefore not sin. The Person of God the Word could not commit sinful acts in His humanity.



If Christ could not have sin, He could not know what man goes through when we are tempted.




Christ in fact does know what it is like to be tempted. He was tempted. But the tempter undertook a futile act cos Jesus could not sin. Jesus knows what temptation is, but He doesn't know what it is like to sin.



Christ, who when He became man, then took on the flesh of man, which is capable of sin. To say that Christ could not sin, is, in effect, denying that He took on human flesh and blood, and as St. John says, "those who deny Jesus came in the flesh are antichrist."




Flesh is in fact the corruption of the human nature. And yes, Jesus did take on that corrupted nature. But He still could not have sinned for reasons stated earlier above. This does not deny His humanity, for to commit sin is not a defining characteristic for human nature. The possibility is, however a characteristic of human nature. However, the idea that Jesus could sin either divides Him into two persons (a human person who could sin, alongside a Divine Person who could not) or it implies that God the Word Himself is mutable, approaching Arianism.



IC XC



Grigorii
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Re: Could Jesus sin? In reply to
I would like to acknowledge and thank those of you who have posted. Coming away from the Adventist Church has left us (my wife and myself) a little out in the wilderness, so to speak! All of your contributions give us food for thought, and it is especially helpful to read those posts which support our position, because in our own conversations, our prayers, and our Bible study we do not find anything to shake our faith in Jesus, the Son of God. God bless you all.