Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Was it possible for Jesus to sin?

I don't believe Jesus could have sinned. I believe the hypostatic union of human nature and divine nature made Christ impeccable. I believe that Christ certainly would have had a sinful nature if there was not a hypostatic union of divine nature. The perfected union elevated Christ's human nature such that it was not sinful. For those that disagree, I ask them if they believe Christ can sin now? Why or why not? I don't believe that any human that has been given a heavenly vision of God, what Catholics call the "beatific vision" of God can sin. That's why there's no sin and will be no sin in heaven.

There's more than just temptation from without, but also temptation from within (e.g., nobody tempted Satan from without). Jesus was in perfect union with God, from the moment of His incarnate existence. He is Himself God the Son. I disagree that being subject to temptation from without is equivalent to being tempted from within.

In Heb 2:18; 4:15, Jesus knows what it is like to be hungry, to suffer, and to desire intensely some temporal good. This does not convince me that His desire for temporal good could possibly have been a disordered desire against His Divine will. To be tempted is to be enticed to sin. Christ was indeed enticed by Satan to sin. Christ's desires were real. Satan's enticement was real. Christ's impeccability does not void the reality of the enticement he endured. I see nothing in Scripture that tells me that it was possible for Jesus to sin. On the contrary, I believe Scripture reveals that He is God the Son. Consequently, he could not go against His own will.

St. Thomas Aquinas commented on how Christ took on our infirmities:

"It was fitting for the body assumed by the Son of God to be subject to human infirmities and defects; and especially for three reasons.

First, because it was in order to satisfy for the sin of the human race that the Son of God, having taken flesh, came into the world. Now one satisfies for another's sin by taking on himself the punishment due to the sin of the other. But these bodily defects, to wit, death, hunger, thirst, and the like, are the punishment of sin, which was brought into the world by Adam, according to Rm. 5:12: "By one man sin entered into this world, and by sin death." Hence it was useful for the end of Incarnation that He should assume these penalties in our flesh and in our stead, according to Is. 53:4, "Surely He hath borne our infirmities."

Secondly, in order to cause belief in Incarnation. For since human nature is known to men only as it is subject to these defects, if the Son of God had assumed human nature without these defects, He would not have seemed to be true man, nor to have true, but imaginary, flesh, as the Manicheans held. And so, as is said, Phil. 2:7: "He . . . emptied Himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men, and in habit found as a man." Hence, Thomas, by the sight of His wounds, was recalled to the faith, as related John 20:26.

Thirdly, in order to show us an example of patience by valiantly bearing up against human passibility and defects. Hence it is said (Heb. 12:3) that He "endured such opposition from sinners against Himself, that you be not wearied. fainting in your minds." (Summa Theologica of St. Thomas Aquinas, IIIa, 14, 1)

14 Comments:

Blogger Wray Davis said...

I'm working my way through the Bible for the second time, so I was interested to see your post. I've never been a Catholic, though, so please excuse any sect-based ignorance.

If it was impossible for Christ to sin, how can he be an example to us? Without the sin nature from original sin, can Jesus really have been fully a man and fully God, or is he just fully God and partly man?

8:49 PM  
Blogger itsjustdave1988 said...

Wray,

Thanks for your comment and question. I think its great to talk about God and his plan for us, and what our response to Him ought to be. Prayerfully reading and studying Sacred Scripture is fundamental toward understanding God's will.

You asked:
"If it was impossible for Christ to sin, how can he be an example to us?"

I'm not certain I understand why Christ's ability or inability to sin has anything to do with his real incarnate example of deeds and words. Surely, one's human deeds and words are sufficient for either good example or bad example, depending upon how they either "on the mark" or "off the mark" with regard to God's will. Seem to me the theological notion of impeccability is rather irrelevant to either good or bad example.

You asked:
"Without the sin nature from original sin, can Jesus really have been fully a man ..."

In my view, yes. Adam was created as a man without a sin nature. Yet even before being tempted by Satan, he was fully a man, right? It seems that original sin is therefore an affliction upon what it means to be fully human, not a requirement for being fully human.

While the teaching that Jesus was free from the physical and moral possibility of sin is not a defined dogma of Catholicism, the Fifth General Council of Constantiople (553) condemend the teaching of Theodore of Mopsuestia, which asserted that Christ only became completely impeccable after the Resurrection (D 224). It follows from this that he was already impeccable.

God bless,

Dave

10:25 AM  
Blogger itsjustdave1988 said...

Wray,

Another thought I had ...

It seems Protestantism so emphasizes the necessity of the Incarnation that many presume that the Incarnation was absolutely necessary for our redemption. Yet, this was not the teaching of Christianity prior to the opinions of the Reformation.

Catholics do indeed teach that the Incarnation was necessary, but not in an absolute sense, but in the sense that it was "most fitting."

Before Protestantism, Christanity held the following understanding of the necessity of the Incarnation, expressed by St. Thomas Aquinas:

"... it was necessary for man's salvation that God should become incarnate.... A thing is said to be necessary for a certain end in two ways. First, when the end cannot be without it; as food is necessary for the preservation of human life. Secondly, when the end is attained better and more conveniently, as a horse is necessary for a journey. In the first way it was not necessary that God should become incarnate for the restoration of human nature. For God with His omnipotent power could have restored human nature in many other ways. But in the second way it was necessary that God should become incarnate for the restoration of human nature. Hence Augustine says (De Trin. xii, 10): 'We shall also show that other ways were not wanting to God, to Whose power all things are equally subject; but that there was not a more fitting way of healing our misery.'" (St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, III, 1, 2)

11:25 AM  
Anonymous Michael Jensen said...

Dave, Thanks for the link to your Blog...

You stated "there's no sin and will be no sin in heaven"

Is this heaven the New Heaven God is creating and is this new Heaven already created or is it still in the process... for Scripture shows sin was in heaven with Satan and his fallen Angels...

I agree that Jesus could not sin... for Jesus is God and God cannot go against his own nature... God cannot change and is perfection...

5:20 PM  
Blogger itsjustdave1988 said...

Mike,

You said:
"Scripture shows sin was in heaven with Satan and his fallen Angels..."

Scripture is very ambiguous with regard to the fall of angels. We know that they had fallen from a more elevated existence, having sinned (2 Pet 2,4). Yet, I don't know of any Scripture that gives much clear details of the fall.

The Church teaches that in the beginning, all the angels were created good and were in a state of pilgrimage (none were in the heavenly presence of God). They were immediately subjected to a moral testing. The angels who passed the test entered the blessedness of heaven. The bad angels who did not pass the test fell under the ban of eternal damnation. Yet, the fallen angels were never in the heavenly presence of God.

According to Tobit 13:15, it seems that in OT times, only seven angels entered and served "before the Glory of the Lord." This seems to suggest that not all angels were in "heaven," even after the fall, as understood in the sense of being in the presence of God.

One passage that is often understood to be implying Lucifer's fall is that of Isaiah 14:12-15:

Isaiah 14:12-15 (Douay-Rhiems):

"12 How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, who didst rise in the morning? how art thou fallen to the earth, that didst wound the nations? 13 And thou saidst in thy heart: I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God, I will sit in the mountain of the covenant, in the sides of the north. 14 I will ascend above the height of the clouds, I will be like the most High. 15 But yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, into the depth of the pit."

The Douay-Rheims Commentary on verse 12 explains:

"12 "O Lucifer"... O day star. All this, according to the letter, is spoken of the king of Babylon. It may also be applied, in a spiritual sense, to Lucifer the prince of devils, who was created a bright angel, but fell by pride and rebellion against God."

The literal sense of this Scripture passage, from which all other senses are built (cf. CCC 116, citing St. Thomas Aquinas, ST I, 1, 10), is that the above is referring to the Day Star (translated Lucifer), literally referring to the King of Babylon. Obviously, the King of Babylon was not literally in the heavenly presence of God, but was highly exalted on earth as though he was as high as the heavens, once elevated, then fallen. We ought not to presume, then, that according to the spiritual sense, Lucifer ought to be literally understood to have been in the heavenly presence of God when he sinned. It is more figurative of his once elevated status before having fallen, much like the status and literal fall of the King of Babylon.

Rev 5:11 shows that after the resurrection at least, there are "countless angels" before the the throne in heaven where Christ and the Father sit together.

Jude 6 seems to imply the angels deserted their proper dwelling, but does not indicate that they shared the Beatific Vision before the fall.

The Church teaches that Luke 10:18 and Rev 12:7 "do not refer to the fall of angels but to the detrhonement of Satan through the efficacy of Christ's redemption as is evident from the context. Cf. John 12:31" (Dr. Ludwig Ott, Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, pg. 119)

The early fathers disagreed as to what the angelic sin actually was. Some early fathers asserted that Gen 6:2 was their sin, a sin of the flesh where they came to earth and fornicated with the "daughters of man." If this was their sin, it doesn't seem this sin was in the heavenly presence of God. The fall was anterior in time to Gen 6:2, so this interpretaiton is unlikely. St. Augustine and St. Gregory the Great's view prevailed, which asserted the angelic sin was that of pride, a sin of spirit, not a sin of the flesh. This is based upon Ecclus 10:15 "Pride is the beginning of all sin."

7:46 PM  
Anonymous Michael Jensen said...

In Job it is clear Satan "came...before the Lord" How does this fall into your understanding?
-----------------

Job 1:6-7

6 One day, when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, Satan also came among them.

7 And the LORD said to Satan, "Whence do you come?" Then Satan answered the LORD and said, "From roaming the earth and patrolling it."

9:54 PM  
Blogger itsjustdave1988 said...

Mike,

The Book of Job is a long poem, not history, strictly so-called. One must take this into consideration when attempting to interpret the text. "Catholic commentators, however, almost without exception, hold Job to have actually existed and his personality to have been preserved by popular tradition... The Book of Job, therefore, has a kernel of fact, with which have been united many imaginative additions that are not strictly historical." (Catholic Encyclopedia - "Job").

For that particular passage, the Douay-Rheims Bible commentary states that the passage is figurative, "accomodated to the ways and understanding of men." I don't believe it was meant to be taken literally:

Douay-Rhiems Bible Commentary on Job 1:6:
http://www.drbo.org/chapter/20001.htm

"'The sons of God'... The angels.-- Ibid. Satan also, etc. This passage represents to us in a figure, accommodated to the ways and understandings of men, 1. The restless endeavours of Satan against the servants of God; 2. That he can do nothing without God's permission; 3. That God doth not permit him to tempt them above their strength: but assists them by his divine grace in such manner, that the vain efforts of the enemy only serve to illustrate their virtue and increase their merit."

Job 1:6 states the angels and Satan "stood before the Lord." What did that mean? In Hebrew, the word is "yatsab," which means to "present oneself." We present ourselve before the Lord often when we pray, but that doesn't mean that we are in heaven while doing so. Adam and Eve, and even Cain hid themselves from the "presence of the Lord God" (cf. Gen 3:8, Gen 4:16), but that didn't mean they were in heaven. Cain was not even in paradise when he hid himself from God's presence. In several areas of Scripture, God is said to be present in his theophanies. A theophany is "direct communication or appearance by God," a "temporary manifestation" (Hardon, J., Catholic Pocket Dictionary). Theophanies appeared before Adam and Eve, before Abraham, and before Moses.

Although it's doubtful that Job 1:6 was intended literally, being literally present before the Lord could simply mean present before a theophany, not literally in heaven, where one enjoys the Beatific Vision of God. The Book of Job presents Satan obviously after the fall. That he would be allowed to enjoy the Beatific Vision after the fall is rather doubtful. Nothing unholy can enter heaven. (cf. Rev 21:27)

10:01 AM  
Blogger Wray Davis said...

Hello again, Dave!

Thanks for your reply to my comments!

While Thomas Aquinas was a great thinker, I think his semantics might be a bit shaky there. When one says "a horse is necessary for a journey", it is only because they are exaggerating or using verbal shorthand. No-one actually means that one must have a horse, as one must breathe to live; they mean that a horse is best or most expedient, or that the journey would be uncomfortable without it. Due to the special importance of detail and semantics in theology, I'd think if "necessary" was meant as an exaggeration or shorthand, it would have been replaced with the more accurate term.

You are right that Christ is similar to Adam before the fall and thus a man. His deeds and acts are certainly an example to be followed. I'd been taught, however, that Christ was an example that it was possible to live without sinning, thus putting us all to fault for the fact that we do sin, even if we all do it, without exception. Without the possibility of not sinning, can we really be fully responsible for sinning? If there was no possibility of not sinning, is Jesus temptation valid? That's like tempting me to fly. It sound great, but I can't pull it off. If Jesus could not sin, is he really proof that it's possible not to sin?

Perhaps this is just a Protestant thing, though.

On a different note, and on the topic you brought up on Mike's question, what is it to say that the Bible is infallible, but not literal. How can we decide which parts are literal and which parts are not? In cases where there might be an apparent contradiction, (Job and Revelations, in this example), how do we decide which passage takes precedance?

8:40 PM  
Blogger itsjustdave1988 said...

Wray,

You said:
"While Thomas Aquinas was a great thinker, I think his semantics might be a bit shaky there."

I think you might be trying to project your modern understanding of proper English semantics onto a 13th century scholar, who wrote in Latin. Latin connotations are often misunderstood when translated to English. For example "meat" in Latin means the flesh of warm blooded animals. So, in the Latin understanding, fish is not meat. Thus, Catholics can abstain from meat on Fridays while still eating fish. Yet, in English, meat connotes fish as well. The English usage is no more "proper" than the Latin. Just different.

Nevertheless, St. Thomas is teaching nothing more than the teaching that was passed onto him, quoting from the 4th century Church father, St. Augustine of Hippo. Semantics aside, what both Aquinas and Augustine assert is true. The Incarnation was "most fitting," but given the omnipotency of God, other ways of redeeming mankind were possible for the Almighty Father.

You said:
"Perhaps this is just a Protestant thing, though."

I think it might be just a Protestant thing. I also think this takes the notion of "example" a bit too far. Jesus was certainly our example in many ways, the ways St. Thomas stated above for example. Yet, I am not hypostatically united to a Divine nature, so Jesus is not like me, nor is he like any other person in history. This certainly gives Jesus a distinction apart from all humanity, an advantage other humans lack in their struggle to avoid sin.

Yet, as Catholic theology insists, nothing is impossible given the help of God's grace. So, we ought to have no doubt that we can, with the help of God's grace, sin no more. Jesus told the harlot to "Go, and sin no more." Difficult that it may be, that would have been a peculiar command if there was no possible way of keeping it. God told Cain that sin was lurking at his door and that he must master sin. Again, it is kind of doubtful that God said this to Cain knowing it was an impossibility for Cain.

As regarding the Bible, you asked:
"How can we decide which parts are literal and which parts are not?"

All parts of any literature have a literal sense. The literal sense is that sense which the author intended, given the literary genre they used. If the sacred author intended to be poetic, then misinterpreting his intended literary genre will certainly produce wildly variant results far removed from his authorial intent. Yet how do we know what the sacred author affirms? That's the tough question. The answer differs depending upon the epistemology one holds to. If you are looking at Christianity from a Protestant perspective, as if the "Bible alone" was the sole rule of faith, then your epistemology differs from mine. Christianity is not defined by a "just me and my Bible" epistemology. Christ established a Church, not a home study program. Of the authority of the Church he established, Jesus said, "He who hears you, hears me." (Luke 10:16)

So, I try to hold fast to the epistemology that the Church held to since apostolic times to decide heterodoxy from orthodoxy. Did the apostles in Jerusalem, for example, decide against circumcision because that's what it said in the Bible? Not at all. The Bible of their day said that circumcision was an "eternal sign" established by God. Jesus was circumcised, as were all the apostles. The decision of the apostles that circumcision was no longer binding was very much contrary to that which a "Bible alone" person would conclude. Why did they think they could change God's command to circumcise as an "eternal sign" of the covenant? Because they knew that they had the power to "bind and loose" as was given to them by God.

Consider also the ancient Arian heresy. The Arians were adamantly for a "Bible alone" epistemology. They would have nothing of the Council of Nicea's use of an unscriptural word to describe how Jesus was "eternally begotten of the Father." Yet, this is what Christianity taught well before the novel teachings of Arius. St. Athanasius was simply upholding the Tradition of the Church against those who would assert a novel interpretation using "Scripture alone."

St. Athanasius asserted that the Arians would not have even been charged with heresy if they could show that their teachings were congruent with the teachings of the apostolical men of the Church. Consequently, it was by comparing doctrines to the authentic teaching of apostolical men that ancient Church measured the orthodoxy of their teaching. St. Athanasius asserted that the Church was the final arbiter of doctrinal disputes, stating that the decision of the Council of Nicea was sufficient to refute Arianism.

Furthermore, St. Athanasius understood the Bishop of Rome to be the "head" of the Church. St. Athanasius, together with many other bishops from the east and west who convened at the Synod of Sardica (343), wrote the following to Pope Julius I, "...for this will appear best and fittest, that the priests of the Lord from all the provinces should report to the head, that is to the see of Peter the apostle." (Giles, E., Documents, 105, citing In Hilary, Frag 2, PL 10:639)

According to the Catholic Church, the Bible is inspired and inerrant in all that the sacred writer affirms. Now, attempting to understand what the inspired author affirms, that's the tough question. The rule of faith since apostolic times, the one used by such orthodox champions as St. Athanasius, was to always interpret Scripture in accord with the common teaching of the Church, and never contrary to it. The Catholic Church of his day was the one with the See of Peter, the Bishop of Rome as the "head," who the "priests of the Lord from all the provinces" submitted to as their universal pastor.

Protestant historian Ellen Flessman-van Leer affirms how the early Church epistemology included Scripture and Tradition:

"tradition and scripture ... stand independently side by side, both absolutely authoritative, both unconditionally true, trustworthy, and convincing." (Ellen Flessman-van Leer, Tradition and Scripture in the Early Church, Van Gorcum, 1953, 139)

Prostestant historian J.N.D. Kelly likewise affirmed:

"But where in practice was this apostolic testimony or tradition to be found? . . . The most obvious answer was that the apostles had committed it orally to the Church, where it had been handed down from generation to generation. ... a living tradition which was, in principle, independent of written documents; and he pointed [Ib. 3,4,1 f.] to barbarian tribes which 'received this faith without letters'. ... By this he meant ... a condensed summary, fluid in its wording but fixed in content, setting out the key-points of the Christian revelation in the form of a rule. ... the identity of oral tradition with the original revelation is guaranteed by the unbroken succession of bishops in the great sees going back lineally to the apostles [Cf. haer. 3,2,2; 3,3,3; 3,4,1]. Secondly, an additional safeguard is supplied by the Holy Spirit, for the message was committed to the Church, and the Church is the home of the Spirit [E.g. ib. 3,24,1]. Indeed, the Church's bishops are on his view Spirit-endowed men who have been vouchsafed 'an infallible charism of truth' (charisma veritatis certum [Ib. 4,26,2; cf. 4,26,5] ). " (Early Christian Doctrines, HarperSanFrancisco, revised 1978 edition, 37-39)

Protestant historian Jaroslav Pelikan likewise affirmed:

"The catholic response to [the Gnostic] claim, formulated more fully by Irenaeus than by any other Christian writer, was to appeal to "that tradition which is derived from the apostles." [Haer. 3,2,2] Unlike the Gnostic tradition, however, this apostolic tradition had been preserved publicly in the churches that stood in succession with the apostles . . . Together with the proper interpretation of the Old Testament and the proper canon of the New, this tradition of the church was a decisive criterion of apostolic continuity for the determination of doctrine in the church catholic." (The Christian Tradition: A History of the Development of Doctrine: Vol. 1 of 5: The Emergence of the Catholic Tradition (100-600), Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press, 1971, 115-119)

Protestant historian Philip Schaff likewise states:

"Besides appealing to the Scriptures, the fathers... refer with equal confidence to the "rule of faith;" that is, the common faith of the church, as orally handed down in the unbroken succession of bishops from Christ and his apostles to their day, and above all as still living in the original apostolic churches.... Tradition is thus intimately connected with the primitive episcopate. The latter was the vehicle of the former, and both were looked upon as bulwarks against heresy." (History of the Christian Church, Vol. II: Ante-Nicene Christianity: A.D. 100-325, Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1970; reproduction of 5th revised edition of 1910, Chapter XII, section 139, "Catholic Tradition," pp. 525-526)

So, how do we know how to interpret Scritpure? We use the same rule of faith that has been used since apostolic times. We interpret Scripture in accord with the common teaching of the Church, and never contrary to it.

God bless,

Dave

11:57 PM  
Blogger Wray Davis said...

Hmm. I suppose the interpretation of the gospel must remain largely, then, a matter of faith. I don't know that I'm too comfortable with the concept of apostolic consensus within the early church - external sources (at least from my amateur and academic research) and even the Gospels, the Acts, and many of the epistles seem to suggest that the apostles had many arguments, and that the Catholic church is pretty much a synthesis of Pauline and Petric Christianity - the two apostles that ended up in Rome. Thomasine and Johannian Christianity seem much more in line with the theology of the Gnostics, especially in light of the Nag Hammadi library and other recently uncovered sources. Our previous understanding of the Gnostics through the view of the contra-heretics appears to be rather distorted now (of course, it's common even now for partisans to distort their opponents views to exaggerate the faults in their arguments).

If there wasn't an apostolic consensus, the tradition of the early church is in some doubt. The fact that Paul's epistles largely take the form of admonitions to the churches to adjust their theology might support the lack of consensus.

If we believe that God has remained extensively involved in the development of the Church through the ongoing ministrations of the Holy Spirit, the institution of the Catholic Church makes perfect sense.

If we believe that God's involvement in the Church is similar to his involvement with the Jews before Christ's incarnation - a sporadic withdrawal that led to schisming and theological lawyering (i.e. the Pharisees), than the Catholic Church may be only the strongest interpretation of Christ, the one that gained through prominance through the social and economic dominance of Rome (at least over the likes of Syria, Asia Minor, and Egypt) and Constantine's insistance on uniformity.

That's not really meant to be a baiting comment; I hope you'll take it in the light of general discussion in which it's meant.

I apologize for hijacking your excellent blog with my questions - your knowledge and thoroughness is a great resource!

Thanks!

9:05 PM  
Blogger itsjustdave1988 said...

Wray,

You said:
"I suppose the interpretation of the gospel must remain largely, then, a matter of faith."

Since this is precisely what the Church has constantly asserted for the past 2000 years, I have to agree with you.

St. Augustine affirmed: "For my part, I should not believe the gospel except as moved by the authority of the Catholic Church" (Against the Fundamental Epistle of Manichaeus, AD 397).

You said:
"the apostles had many arguments, and that the Catholic church is pretty much a synthesis of Pauline and Petric Christianity - the two apostles that ended up in Rome."

Yes. I've read of a similar thesis, first put forth by a guy named Ferdinand Christian Baur, b. 1792, d. 1860. He was a German theologian who founded the Tubingen school of New Testament interpretation. To support his rather novel theory, Bauer asserted that the Paul of the Book of Acts was not the same as the "real" Paul who wrote the Pauline epistles. I didn't find his claims to be very convincing, as they seemed entirely unsupported by the evidence of history. Instead it seemed more like the reconstructionist effort that C.S. Lewis found rather unreliable as methodologies go.

You said:
"The fact that Paul's epistles largely take the form of admonitions to the churches to adjust their theology might support the lack of consensus."

I think it's more likely proof that there was much chaff in the Church, along with the wheat. They weren't being asked to adjust their theologies, but to hold fast to the theology taught to them initially.

You said:
"That's not really meant to be a baiting comment; I hope you'll take it in the light of general discussion in which it's meant.

I apologize for hijacking your excellent blog with my questions - your knowledge and thoroughness is a great resource!"

No problem. My blogger is placed here to be commented upon and to share opinions. A quote attributed to St. Augustine is: "A question of an adversary is an occasion for learning."

Gnosticism seems to be making a bit of a comeback in the history of Christianity, especially with the popularity of Dan Brown's "Da Vinci Code." Actually, it seems every ancient heresy is bound to resurface now and again. As for why Gnosticism is unconvincing to me, I will post a separate blog.

God bless,

Dave

6:13 PM  
Blogger Wray Davis said...

Dave,

When I said:
"the Catholic church is pretty much a synthesis of Pauline and Petric Christianity:What I meant was:

Of the gospels in the Canon, two are written by disciples of Peter and Paul, while Matthew is probably the least quoted of gospels and John is the most dissimilar to the rest of the New Testament. Of the remaining 23 books, 17 are attributed to Paul, Peter, or Luke. The Book of Revelations, like the Gospel of John, is peculiar in the New Testament.

When it comes to serious, complex and thorough theology, the Roman and Corinthian epistles are at the core (though of course the other books do have things to add) - Rome was the see of Peter and the final mission of Paul, Corinth was one of Paul's major missions.

It's certainly possible that the other apostles left nothing written behind - the level of written record left by Christians was relatively unique in their time, so it would not be a surprise if all of the disciples were not as verbose as Peter and Paul. But what happened to Thaddeus, Simon the Zealot, Thomas, Philip and Bartholomew, Andrew, and James?

In the Acts of the Apostles, Peter and Paul are the starts. Granted, John is mentioned as an attendant of Peter for the first few chapters, Stephen and Philip both get about a chapter, and James has a few "cameos".

I don't think one has to resort to two different Pauls to argue the Pauline/Petric slant effectively. I would agree from your synopsis that Baur's theology sounds flimsy at best - it smacks of someone who doesn't like Paul's theology but doesn't want to call the Acts non-canonical.

10:03 PM  
Blogger itsjustdave1988 said...

Wray,

"But what happened to Thaddeus, Simon the Zealot, Thomas, Philip and Bartholomew, Andrew, and James?"

The apostles continued on, historically speaking, past the pages of Scripture. St. Thomas went to India as a missionary, I believe. A community of "Mar Thoma" Christians trace their roots to St. Thomas and continue their liturgy in Aramaic. The other apostles had similar histories. You can read more about them at the Catholic Encyclopedia (http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/).

11:48 AM  
Blogger itsjustdave1988 said...

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11:48 AM  

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