“Parents may not be put to death for their children nor children for their parents, but each must be put to death for his own crime” (Deut24:16)
The Torah is not man’s law but God’s and certain universal principles may be drawn from it. We have already considered the proportional and humanity-focused nature of final judgement; here we see that neither guilt nor righteousness can in its essence be transferred from one person (or Person) to another. That is more clearly and contextually affirmed in Christ’s own teaching on final judgement in Matthew 25. Contrary to the teaching of Augustine and the later Protestant Reformers neither was Adam’s guilt nor Christ’s righteousness imputed in that definitive passage, merely the actions of the individuals being judged (vv31-46). Many will struggle to reconcile that with their particular understanding of the teaching of Paul, a matter I deal with in detail in chapter three of my book**.
The above is not to say that Adam’s guilt and Christ’s perfection do not impact upon humanity; nothing could be further from the truth. The former has resulted in an inherent deprivation of spiritual life and physical mortality whilst the Latter provides the ultimate remedy for both, not as a direct result of the Life itself but through its expenditure. Likewise, Adam’s guilt was not imputed to mankind but it resulted in “original sin” by which each human invariably inherits what Paul refers to as “the body of this death” (Greek: somatos tou thanatou toutou) – this death being the current experience of the concupiscent “law within the bodily members” processed through the physical brain revolting against the law (and light) that God has implanted within the human psyche that we refer to as conscience (Rom2:15; 7:23). That in turn results in “dead works” of the flesh that prevent the natural man from fulfilling the ultimate purpose of human life: to know and serve the living God in spirit and truth (Heb9.14). Likewise again, the perfect life, selfless death and sacramental body and blood of the Righteous One enables His personal disciples to be forgiven, cleansed and renewed so as to become “free indeed” to participate in the divine life even whilst in mortal flesh (Jn8:36).
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