ORIGINAL SIN ACCORDING TO ST. PAUL
John S. Romanides
[ This article originally appeared in the St. Vladimir's Seminary Quarterly,
Vol. IV, Nos. 1 and 2, 1955-6. ]
TABLE OF CONTENTS
In regard to the doctrine of original sin as contained in the Old Testament and illumnated by the unique revelation of Christ in the New Testament, there continues to reign in the denominations of the West--especially since the development of scholastic presuppositions--a great confusion, which in the last few centuries seems to have gained much ground in the theological problematics of the Orthodox East. In some circles this problem has been dressed in a halo of mystifying vagueness to such an extent that even some Orthodox theologians seem to expect one to accept the doctrine of original sin simply as a great and profound mystery of faith (e.g., Androutsos, Dogmatike, pp. 161-162). This has certainly become a paradoxical attitude, especially since these Christians who cannot point their fingers at this enemy of mankind are the same people who illogically claim that in Christ there is remission of this unknown original sin. This is a far cry from the certitude of St. Paul, who, of the devil himself, claimed that "we are not ignorant of his thoughts" (noemata).[ 1 ]
If one is to vigorously and consistently maintain that Jesus Christ is the unique Savior Who has brought salvation to a world in need of salvation, one obviously must know what is the nature of the need which provoked this salvation.[ 2 ] It would, indeed, seem foolish to have medical doctors trained to heal sickness if there were no such thing as sickness in the world. Likewise, a savior who claims to save people in need of no salvation is a savior only unto himself.
Undoubtedly, one of the most important causes of heresy is the failure to understand the exact nature of the human situation described by the Old and New Testaments, to which the historical events of the birth, teachings, death, resurrection and second coming of Christ are the only remedy. The failure to understand this automatically implies a perverted understanding of what it is that Christ did and continues to do for us, and what our subsequent relation is to Christ and neighbor within the realm of salvation. The importance of a correct definition of original sin and its consequences can never be exaggerated. Any attempt to minimize its importance or alter its significance automatically entails either a weakening or even a complete misunderstanding of the nature of the Church, sacraments and human destiny.
The temptation facing every inquiry into the thought of St. Paul and the other Apostolic writers is to approach their writings with definite, although many times unconscious, presuppositions contrary to the Biblical witness. If one approaches the Biblical testimony to the work of Christ and the life of the primitive community with predetermined metaphysical notions concerning the moral structure of what most would call the natural world, and, by consequence, with fixed ideas concerning human destiny and the needs of hte individual and humanity in general, he will undoubtedly take from the faith and life of the ancient Church only such aspects as fit his own frame of reference. Then, if he wishes to be consistent in representing his own interpretation of the Scriptures as authentic, he will necessarily proceed to exaplain away everything extraneous to his concepts as secondary and superficial, or simply as the product of some misunderstanding on the part of certain Apostles or a group of Fathers, or even the whole primitive Church in general.
A proper approach to the New Testament teaching of St. Paul concerning original sin cannot be one-sided. It is incorrect, for example, to emphasize, in Romans 5:12, the phrase, eph'ho pantes hemarton, by trying to make it fit any certain system of thought concerning moral law and guilt without first establishing the importance of St. Paul's beliefs concerning the powers of Satan and the true situation not only of man, but of all creation. It is also wrong to deal with the problem of the transmission of original sin within the framework of dualistic anthropology while at the same time completely ignoring the Hebraic foundations of St. Paul's anthropology. Likewise, and attempt to interpret the Biblical doctrine of the fall in terms of a hedonistic philosophy of happiness is already doomed to failure because of its refusal to recognize not only the abnormality but, more important, the consequences of death and corruption.
A correct approach to the Pauline doctrine of original sin must take into consideration St. Paul's understanding of (1) the fallen state of creation, including the powers of Satan, death and corruption, (2) the justice of God and law, and (3) anthropology and the destiny of man and creation. These divisions are not meant to suggest that each topic is to be dealt with here in detail; rather, they shall be discussed only in the light of the main problem of original sin and its transmission according to St. Paul.
St. Paul strongly affirms the belief that all things created by God are good.[ 3 ] Yet, at the same time, he insists on the fact that not only man,[ 4 ] but also all of creation has fallen.[ 5 ] Both man and creation are awaiting the final redemption. [ 6 ] Thus, in spite of the fact that all things created by God are good, the devil has temporarily [ 7 ] become the "god of this age."[ 8 ] A basic presupposition of St. Paul's thought is that althought the world was created by God and as such is good, yet now there rules in it the power of Satan. The devil, however, is by no means absolute, since God has never abandoned His creation.[ 9 ]
Thus, according to St. Paul, creation as it is is not what God intended it to be--"For the creature was made subject to vanity...by reason of him who hath subjected the same."[ 10 ] Therefore, evil can exist, at least temporarily, as a parasitic element alongside and inside of that which God created originally good. A good example of this is one who would do the Good according to the "inner man," but finds it impossible because of the indwelling power of sin in the flesh.[ 11 ] Although created good and still maintained and governed by God, creation as it is is still far from being normal or natural, if by "normal" we understand nature according to the original and final destiny of creation. governing this age, in spite of the fact that God Himself is still sustaining creation and creating for Himself a remnant,[ 12 ] is the devil himself.[ 13 ]
To try to read into St. Paul's thought any type of philosophy of a naturally well balanced universe with inherent and fixed moral laws of reason, according to which men can live with peace of mind and be happy, is to do violence to the apostle's faith. For St. Paul, there is now no such thing as a natural world with an inherent system of moral laws, because all of creation has been subjected to the vanity and evil power of Satan, who is ruling by the powers of death and corruption.[ 14 ] For this reason all men have become sinners. [ 15 ] There is no such thing as a man who is sinless simply because he is living according to the rules of reason or the Mosaic law.[ 16 ] The possibility of living according to universal reason entails, also, the possibility of being without sin. But for Paul this is a myth, because Satan is no respecter of reasonable rules of good conduct [ 17 ] and has under his influence all men born under the power of death and corruption.[ 18 ]
Whether or not belief in the present, real and active power of Satan appeals to the Biblical theologian, he cannot ignore the importance that St. Paul attributes to the power of the devil. To do so is to completely misunderstand the problem of original sin and its transmission and so misinterpret the mind of the New Testament writers and the faith of the whole ancient Church. In regard to the power of Satan to introduce sin into the life of every man, St. Augustine in combating Pelagianism obviously misread St. Paul. by relegating the power of Satan, death, and corruption to the background and pushing to the foreground of controversy the problem of personal guilt in the transmission of original sin, St. Augustine introduced a false moralistic philosophical approach which is foreign to the thinking of St. Paul [ 19 ] and which was not accepted by the patristic tradition of the East. [ 20 ]
For St. Paul, Satan is not simply a negative power in the universe. He is personal with will, [ 21 ] with thoughts, [ 22 ] and with methods of deception, [ 23 ] against whom Christians must wage and intense battle [ 24 ] because they can still be tempted by him. [ 25 ] He is active in a dynamic manner, [ 26 ] fighting for the destruction of creation and not simply waiting passively in a restricted corner to accept those who happen to rationally decide not to follow God and the moral laws inherent in a natural universe. Satan is even capable of transforming himself into an angel of light [ 27 ]. He has at his disposal miraculous powers of perversion [ 28 ] and has as co-workers whole armies of invisible powers.[ 29 ] He is the "god of this age," [ 30 ] the one who deceived the first woman.[ 31 ] It is he who led man [ 32 ] and all of creation into the path of death and corruption. [ 33 ]
The power of death and corruption, according to Paul, is not negative, but on the contrary, positively active. "The sting of death is sin,"[ 34 ] which in turn reigns in death.[ 35 ] Not only man, but all creation has been yoked under its tyrannizing power [ 36 ] and is now awaiting redemption. Creation itself shall also be delivered from the slavery of corruption.[ 37 ] Along with the final destruction of all the enemies of God, death--the last and probably the greatest enemy--will be destroyed.[ 38 ] Then death will be swallowed up in victory.[ 39 ] For St. Paul, the destruction of death is parallel to the destruction of the devil and his forces. Salvation from the one is salvation from the other.[ 40 ]
It is obvious from St. Paul's expressions concerning fallen creation, Satan, and death, that there is no room in his thinking for any type of metaphysical dualism, of departmentalization which would make of this world and intermediary domain which for man is merely a stepping stone leading either into the presence of God or into the kingdom of Satan. The idea of a three story universe, whereby God and His company of saints and angels occupy the top floor, the devil the basement, and man in the flesh the middle, has no room in Pauline theology. For Paul, all three orders of existence interpenetrate. There is no such thing as a middle world of neutrality where man can live according to natural law and then be judged for a life of happiness in the presence of God or for a life of torment in the pits of outer darkness. On the contrary, all of creation is the domain of God, Who Himself cannot be tainted with evil. But in His domain there are other wills which He has created, which can choose either the kingdom of God or the kingdom of death and destruction.
In spite of the fact that creation is of God and essentially good, the devil at the same time has parasitically transformed this same creation of God into a temporary kingdom for himself.[ 41 ] The devil, death, and sin are reigning in this world and not in another. Both the kingdom of darkness and kingdom of light are battling hand to hand in the same place. For this reason, the only true victory possible over the devil is the resurrection of the dead.[ 42 ] There is no escape from the battlefield. The only choice possible for every man is either to fight the devil by actively sharing in the victory of Christ, or to accept the deceptions of the devil by wanting to believe that all goes well and everything is normal.[ 43 ]
It is obvious, according to what has been said about St. Paul's views concerning the non-dualistic nature of fallen creation, that for Paul there cannot exist any system of moral laws inherent in a natural and normal universe. Therefore, what man accepts as just and good according to his observations of human relationships within society and nature cannot be confused with the justice of God. The justice of God has been revealed uniquely and fully only in Christ.[ 44 ] No man has the right to substitute his own conception of justice for that of God.[ 45 ]
The justice of God as revealed in Christ does not operate according to objective rules of conduct,[ 46 ] but rather according to the personal relationships of faith and love.[ 47 ] "The law is not made for a just man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners..."[ 48 ] Yet the law is not evil, but good [ 49 ] and even spiritual.[ 50 ] However, it is not enough. It is of a temporary and pedagogical nature,[ 51 ] and in Christ must be fulfilled [ 52 ] and surpassed by personalistic love, according to the image of God's love as revealed in Christ.[ 53 ] Faith and love in Christ must be personal. for this reason, faith without love is empty. "Though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not love, I am nothing."[ 54 ] Likewise, acts of faith bereft of love are of no avail. "Though I bestow all my goods and though I give my body to be burned, and have not love, it profiteth me nothing."[ 55 ]
There is no life in the following of objective rules. If there were such a possibility of receiving life by living according to law, there would be no need of redemption in Christ. "Righteousness should have been by the law."[ 56 ] If a "law was given capable of giving life"[ 57 ] then salvation, and not a promise, was bestowed upon Abraham.[ 58 ] But life does not exist in the law. It is rather of essence of God, "Who alone hath immortality."[ 59 ] Only God can bestow life and this He does freely, according to his own will,[ 60 ] in His own way, and at the time of His own choosing.[ 61 ]
On the other hand, it is a grave mistake to make the justice of God responsible for death and corruption. Nowhere does Paul attribute the beginnings of death and corruption to God. On the contrary, nature was subjected to vanity and corruption by the devil,[ 62 ] who through the sin and death of the first man managed to lodge himself parasitically within creation, of which he was already a part but at first not yet its tyrant. For Paul, the transgression of the first man opened the way for the entrance of death into the world,[ 63 ] but this enemy [ 64 ] is certainly not the finished product of God. Neither can the death of Adam, or even of each man, be considered the outcome of any decision of God to punish.[ 65 ] St. Paul never suggests such an idea.
To get at the basic presuppositions of Biblical thinking, one must abandon any juridical scheme of human justice which demands punishment and rewards according to objective rules of morality. To approach the problem of original sin in such a naive manner as to say that tout lecteur sense concilura qu'une penalite commune implique une offense commune, and that thus all share in the guilt of Adam,[ 66 ] is to ignore the true nature of the justice of God and deny and real power to the devil.
The relationships which exist among God, man and the devil are not according to rules and regulations, but according to personalistic freedom. The fact that there are laws forbidding one from killing his neighbor does not imply the impossibility of killing not only one, but hundreds of thousands of neighbors. If man can disregard rules and regulations of good conduct, certainly the devil cannot be expected to follow such rules if he can help it. St. Paul's version of the devil is certainly not that of one who is simply obeying general rules of nature and carrying out the will of God by punishing souls in hell. Quite on the contrary, he is fighting God dynamically by means of all possible deception, trying by all his cunning and power to destroy the works of God.[ 67 ] Thus salvation for man and creation cannot come by a simple act of forgiveness of any juridical imputation of sin, nor can it come by any payment of satisfaction to the devil (Origen) or to God (Rome). Salvation can come only by the destruction of the devil and his power.[ 68 ]
Thus, according to St. Paul, it is God Himself Who has destroyed "principalities and powers" by nailing the handwriting in ordinances, which was against us, to the cross of Christ.[ 69 ] "God was in Christ, reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing to them their offences."[ 70 ] although we were in sin, God did not hold this against us, but has declared His own justice to those who believe in Christ.[ 71 ] The justice of God is not according to that of men, which operates by the law of works.[ 72 ] For St. Paul, the justice of God and the love of God are not to be separated for the sake of any juridical doctrine of atonement. The justice of God and the love of God as revealed in Christ are the same thing. In Romans 3:21-26, for example, the expression, "love of God," could very easily be substituted for the "justice of God."
It is interesting to note that every time St. Paul speaks about the wrath of God it is always that which is revealed to those who have become hopelessly enslaved, by their own choosing, to the flesh and the devil.[ 73 ] Although creation is held captive in corruption, those without the law are without excuse in worshipping and living falsely, because "the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead[ 74 ]--"Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the desires of their own hearts to dishonor their own bodies between themselves..."[ 75 ] and again, "God gave them over to reprobate mind."[ 76 ] This does not mean that god caused them to become what they are, but rather that He gave them up as being completely lost to corruption and the power of the devil. One must also interpret other similar passages in like manner.[ 77 ]
This giving up by God of people who have already become hardened in their hearts against His works is not restricted to the gentiles, but extends, also, to Jews.[ 78 ] "For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified."[ 79 ] And, "For as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law."[ 80 ] The gentiles, however, even though they are not under the Mosaic law, are not excused from the responsibility of personal sin, for they, "having not the law, are a law unto themselves, who shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and amongst themselves accusing or else excusing their thoughts."[ 81 ] At the last judgment, all men, whether under the law or not, whether hearers of Christ or not, shall be judged by Christ according to the Gospel as preached by Paul,[ 82 ] and not according to any system of natural laws. Even though the invisible things of God "from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead," there is still no such thing as moral law inherent in the universe. The gentiles who "have not the law" but who "do by nature the things contained in the law" are not abiding by any natural system of moral laws in the universe. They rather "shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness." Here, again, one sees Paul's conception of personal relationships between God and man. "God hath shewed it unto them, [ 83 ] and it is God Who is still speaking to fallen man outside of the law, through the conscience and in the heart, which for Paul is the center of man's thoughts, [ 84 ] and for members of the body of Christ the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit [ 85 ] and Christ.[ 86 ]
Before making any attempt to determine the meaning of original sin according to what has been said thus far, it is necessary to examine St. Paul's conception of the destiny of man and his anthropology.
(a) The Destiny of Man
It would be nonsense to try to read into Paul's theology a conception of human destiny which accepts the aspirations and desires of what one would call "natural man" as normal. It is normal for natural man to seek security and happiness in the acquisition and possession of objective goods. The scholastic theologians of the West have often used these aspirations of natural man as proof that he is instinctively seeking after the Absolute, the possession of which is the only possible state of complete happiness, that is, a state wherein it is impossible to desire anything more because nothing better exists. This hedonistic type of approach to human destiny is, of course, possible only for those who accept death and corruption either as normal or, at most, as the outcome of a decision of God to punish. If those who accept God as the ultimate source of death were to really attribute sin to the powers of corruption, they would in effect be making God Himself the source of sin and evil.
For St. Paul, there is no such thing as normality for those who have not put on Christ. The destiny of man and creation cannot be deducted from observations of the life of fallen man and creation. Nowhere does Paul call on Christians to live a life of security and happiness according to the ways of this world. On the contrary, he calls on Christians to die to this world and the body of sin,[ 87 ] and even to suffer in the Gospel, according to the power of God.[ 88 ] Paul claims that "all who want to live godly lives in Christ Jesus shall be persecuted."[ 89 ] This is hardly the language of one who is seeking security and happiness.[ 90 ] Nor is it possible to suppose that for Paul such sufferings without love could be considered as the means to reach one's destiny. This would fall under the category of payment for works and not eh personal relationships of faith and love.[ 91 ]
St. Paul does not believe that human destiny consists simply in becoming conformed to the rules and regulations of nature, which supposedly remain unchanged from the beginning of time. The relationship of the Divine Will to human wills is not one of juridical or hedonistic submission of the one to the other (as St. Augustine and the scholastics thought), but rather one of personal love. St. Paul claims that "we are co-workers of God."[ 92 ] Our relationship of love with God is such that in Christ there is now no longer need for law. "If ye be led by the Spirit ye are not under the law."[ 93 ] The members of the body of Christ are not called on to live on the level of impersonal ordinances, but are now expected to live according to the love of God as revealed in Christ, which needs no laws because it seeks not its own,[ 94 ] but strives to empty itself for others in the image of the love of Christ.[ 95 ]
The love and justice of God have been revealed once and for all in Christ [ 96 ] by the destruction of the devil [ 97 ] and the deliverance of man from the body of death and sin,[ 98 ] so that man may actually become an imitator of God Himself, [ 99 ] Who has predestined His elect to become "conformed to the image of His Son,"[ 100 ] who did nothing to please Himself but suffered for others.[ 101 ] Christ died so that the living should no longer live unto themselves,[ 102 ] but should become perfect men, even "unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ."[ 103 ] Christians are no longer to live according to the rudiments of this world, as though living in this world,[ 104 ] but are to have the same mind as Christ,[ 105 ] so that in Christ they may become perfect.[ 106 ] Men are no longer to love their wives according to the world, but must love their wives exactly "as Christ loved the Church and gave Himself for it."[ 107 ] The destiny of man is not happiness and self-satisfaction,[ 108 ] but rather perfection in Christ. Man must become perfect, as God [ 109 ] and Christ are perfect.[ 110 ] such perfection can come only through the personalistic power of divine and selfless love,[ 111 ] "which is the bond of perfection."[ 112 ] This love is not to be confused with the love of fallen man who seeks his own.[ 113 ] Love in Christ does not seek its own, but that of the other.[ 114 ]
To become perfect according to the image of Christ is not restricted to the realm of love, but forms and inseparable part of the salvation of the total man and creation alike. Man's body of humility will be transformed to become "conformed" to Christ's "body of glory."[ 115 ] man is destined to become, like Christ, perfect according to the body also. "He Who raised Christ from the dead shall bring to life also your mortal bodies by His Spirit which dwells in you."[ 116 ]
St. Paul claims that death is the enemy [ 117 ] which came into the world and passed unto all men through the sin of one man.[ 118 ] not only many, but all of creation became subject to corruption.[ 119 ] The subjugation of man and creation to the power of the devil and death was obviously a temporary frustration of the original destiny of man and creation. It is false to read into Paul's statements about the first and second Adams the idea that Adam would have died even though he had not sinned, simply because the first Adam was made eis psychen zosan--which expression, according to St. Paul's usage within the context, clearly means mortal.[ 120 ] Adam could very well have been created not naturally immortal, but if he had not sinned there is no reason to believe that he would not have become immortal by nature.[ 121 ] This is certainly implied by the extraordinary powers St. Paul attributes to death and corruption.
(b) Anthropology of St. Paul
as we have said, for St. Paul, the law is good [ 122 ] and even spiritual.[ 123 ] According to the "inner man" this is obvious.[ 124 ] But in spite of the fact that he can possess the will to do good according to the law he cannot find the power to do the good [ 125 ] because he is "carnal and sold under sin."[ 126 ] If he himself, according to the "inner man," wants to do good but cannot, it is no longer he who does the evil, but sin that dwelleth in him.[ 127 ] So he asks, "O wretched man that I am! who will deliver me from the body of this death?"[ 128 ] To be delivered from the "body of this death" is to be saved from the power of sin dwelling in the flesh. Thus, "the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus has liberated me from the law of sin and death."[ 129 ]
It is misleading to try to interpret this section [ 130 ] of Paul according to a dualistic anthropology, which would make the term, sarkikos, refer only to the lower appetites of the body--and especially of the sexual desires--to the exclusion of the soul. The word, sarkikos, is not used by Paul in such a context. Elsewhere, St. Paul reminds married people that they have not authority over their own bodies and so should not deprive one another, "unless it be with consent for a time that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer, and come together again that Satan may not tempt you for your incontinency.[ 131 ] [ 132 ] To the Corinthians he declare that they are an epistle written not with ink, "but with the spirit of the living God, not in tables of stone, but in fleshly tables of the heart--en plaxi kardias sarkinais."[ 133 ] Christ was known according to the flesh [ 134 ] and "God was manifested in the flesh."[ 135 ] St. Paul asks whether, if he has planted spiritual things amongst the Corinthians, it is such a great thing if he shall reap the sarkika [ 136 ]. Nowhere does he use the adjective, sarkikos, exclusively in reference to the sexual, or what is commonly called the desires of the flesh in contrast to those of the soul.
It seems that St. Paul attributes a positive power of sin to the sarx as such only in the epistle to the Galatians, who, having begun int he Spirit, now think that they are being perfected in the flesh.[ 137 ] The sarx here has a will which desires against the pneuma.[ 138 ] "The works of the flesh are manifest, which a re these; adultery, fornication, uncleanliness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings and such like."[ 139 ] Most of these works of the sarkos would require the very active, and even initiative, participation of the intellect, which here is an indication that the sarx, for Paul, is much more than what any dualistic anthropology would be ready to admit. The flesh as such, however, as a positive force of sin, found over-emphasized in Galatians, where Paul is infuriated over the foolishness of his readers,[ 140 ] cannot be isolated from other references, where sin parasitically dwells in the flesh [ 141 ] and where the flesh itself is not only not evil,[ 142 ] but that in which God Himself has been manifested.[ 143 ] The flesh as such is not evil, but has become very much weakened by sin and the enmity which dwells in it.[ 144 ]
To understand St. Paul's anthropology, it is necessary to refer not to the dualistic anthropology of the Greek,s who made a clear cut distinction between soul and body, but rather to the Hebraic frame of references, in which sarx and psyche (flesh and soul) both denote the whole living person and not any part of him.[ 145 ] Thus, in the Old Testament the expression, pasa sarx (all flesh), is employed for all living things,[ 146 ] as well as for man in particular.[ 147 ] The expression, pasa psyche (all souls), is used in the same manner.[ 148 ] In the New Testament, both expressions, pasa sarx [ 149 ] and pasa psyche, [ 150 ] are used in perfect accord with the Old Testament context.
Thus we find that, for St. Paul, to be sarkikos [ 151 ] and psychikos [ 152 ] means exactly the same thing. "Flesh and blood (sarx kai haima) cannot inherit the kingdom of God"[ 153 ] because corruption cannot inherit incorruption.[ 154 ] For this reason, a soma psychikon is "sown in corruption" and raised in incorruption; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power."[ 155 ] "A soma psychikon is sown, and a soma pneumatikon is raised. There is a soma psychikon and there is a soma pneumatikon!"[ 156 ] Both the sarkikon and the psychikon and dominated by death and corruption and so cannot inherit the kingdom of life. This only the pneumatikon can do. "However, the pneumatikon is not first, but the psychikon, and afterward the pneumatikon. The first man is from the earth; earthy; the second man, the Lord, from heaven."[ 157 ] That the first man became eis psychen zosan (a living soul), for Paul, means exactly that he became psychikon, and therefore subject to corruption,[ 158 ] because "from the earth, earthy..."[ 159 ] Such expressions do not admit of any dualistic anthropology. A soma psychikon "from the earth, earthy," or a psyche zosa "from the earth, earthy," would lead to impossible confusion if interpreted from the viewpoint of a dualism which distinguishes between the body and soul, the lower and the higher, the material and the purely spiritual. What, then, would a psyche zosa be, which came from the earth and is earthy? In speaking of death, a dualist could never say that a soma psychikon is sown in corruption. He would rather have to say that the soul leaves the body, which alone is sown in corruption.
Neither the psyche nor the pneuma is the intellectual part of man. To quote I Corinthians 2:11 (tis gar oiden anthropon ta tou anthropou ei me to pneuma tou anthropou to en auto?) or I Thessalonians 5:23 (Autos o Theos tea eirenes hagiasai hymas holoteleis, kai holokleron hymon to pneuma kai he psyche kai to soma amemptos en te parousia toy K.H.I.X. teretheie) does not prove otherwise. One cannot take these expressions in isolation from the rest of Paul's writings for the sake of trying to make him speak the language of even a Thomistic dualist, as is done, for example, by F. Prat in La Theologie de s.Paul, t.2, pp. 62-63. Elsewhere, in speaking against the practise of certain individuals' praying publicly in unknown tongues, St. Paul says, "If I pray in an unknown tongue my pnuema prays, but my mind is unfruitful. What is it then? I will pray with the pneuma and I will pray with the mind also."[ 160 ] Here a sharp distinction is made between the pneuma and the nous (mind). Therefore, for St. Paul, the realm of pneuma does not belong within the category of human understanding. It is of another dimension.
In order to express the idea of intellect or understanding all four evangelists use the word, kardia (heart).[ 161 ] The word, nous (mind), is used only once by St. Luke.[ 162 ] In contrast, St. Paul makes use of both kardia [ 163 ] and nous [ 164 ] to denote the faculty of intelligence. Nous, however, cannot be taken for any such thing as the intellectual faculties of an immaterial soul. Nous is rather synonymous with kardia, which in turn is synonymous with the eso anthropon.
The Holy Spirit is sent by God into the kardia, [ 165 ] or into the eso anthropon, [ 166 ] that Christ may dwell in the kardia.[ 167 ] The kardia and the eso anthropon are the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit. Man delights in the law of God according to the eso anthropon, but there is another law in his members which wars against he law of the nous.[ 168 ] Here the nous is clearly synonymous with the eso anthropon, which in turn is the kardia, the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit and Christ.[ 169 ]
To walk in the vanity of the nous, with the dianoia darkened, being alienated from the life of God through ignorance, is a result of the "hardening of the heart--dia ten perosin test kardias."[ 170 ] It is the heart which is the seat of man's free will, and it is here where man by his own choice either becomes blinded [ 171 ] and hardened,[ 172 ] or else enlightened in his understanding of the hope, glory, and power in Christ.[ 173 ] It is in the heart where the secrets of men are kept,[ 174 ] and it is Christ "Who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness and will make manifest the counsels of the heart."[ 175 ]
It would be absurd to interpret St. Paul's use of the expressions, eso anthropon and nous, according to a dualistic anthropology by ignoring his use of the word, kardia, which is in perfect accord with the New Testament and Old Testament writers. By using such words as nous and eso anthropon, Paul is certainly introducing new terminology, foreign to traditional Hebraic usage, but he is definitely not introducing any new anthropology based on Hellenistic dualism. St. Paul never refers to either psyche or pneuma as faculties of human intelligence. His anthropology is Hebraic and not Hellenistic.
In both the Old and New Testaments, one finds the expression, to pneuma tes zoes (the spirit of life), but never to pneuma zon (the living spirit).[ 176 ] Also, one finds psyche zosa (the living soul), but never psyche tes zoes (the soul of life).[ 177 ] This is due to the fact that the psyche, or sarx, lives only by participation, while the pneuma is itself the principle of life given to man as a gift from God,[ 178 ] "Who alone hath immortality."[ 179 ] God gives man of His Own uncreated life without destroying the freedom of human personality. Thus, man is not an intellectual form fashioned according to a predetermined essence or universal idea of man whose destiny is to become conformed to a state of mechanical contentment in the presence of God whereby his will become sterile and immobile in a state of complete self-satisfaction and happiness (e.g., according to the Neo-platonic teaching of St. Augustine and the Roman scholastics in general concerning human destiny). The personality of man does not consist of an immaterial intellectual soul which has life of itself and uses the body simply as a dwelling place. The sarx, or psyche, is the total man, and the kardia is the center of intelligence where the will has complete independence of choice to become either hardened to truth or receptive to divine enlightenment from without. The pneuma of man is not the center of human personality, nor is it that faculty which rules the actions of men, but rather it is the spark of divine life given to man as his principle of life. Thus, man can live according to the pneuma tes zoes or according to the law of the flesh, which is death and corruption. The very personality of man, therefore, although created by God Himself, remains outside of the essence of God,a nd therefore completely free either to reject the act of creation, for which he was not consulted, or to accept the creative love of God by living according to the pneuma, given to him for this purpose by God.
"The mind of the flesh is death, but the mind of the spirit is life and peace."[ 180 ] Those who live according to the flesh shall die.[ 181 ] Those who mortify the deeds of the flesh by the spirit shall live.[ 182 ] The spirit of man, however, deprived of union with the vivifying spirit of God, is hopelessly weak against the flesh dominated by death and corruption [ 183 ]--"Who shall deliver me from the body of this death."[ 184 ] And, "the law of the pneumatos tes zoes (spirit of life) in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death."[ 185 ] Only those whose spirit has been renewed [ 186 ] by union with the Spirit of God [ 187 ] can fight the desires of the flesh. Only those who are given the Spirit of God and hear Its voice in the life of the body of Christ are able to fight against sin. "The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit that we are the children of God."[ 188 ]
Although the spirit of man is the principle of life given to him by God, it can still partake of the filthiness of fleshly works. For this reason, it is necessary for Christians to guard against the corruption not only of the flesh, but of the spirit, also.[ 189 ] The union of man's spirit with the Spirit of God in baptism is no magical guarantee against the possibility of their separation. To become again enslaved tot he works of the flesh may very well lead to exclusion from the body of Christ.[ 190 ] The Spirit of God is given to man that Christ may dwell in the heart.[ 191 ] "Now if any an have not the Spirit of Christ he is none of His."[ 192 ] To have the Spirit of God dwelling in the body is to be, also, a member of the body of Christ. To be deprived of the one is to be cut off from the other. It is impossible to be in communion with only part of God. Communion with Christ through the Spirit is communion with the whole Godhead. Exclusion from the One Person is exclusion from all Three Persons.
"The works of the flesh are manifest..."[ 193 ] "The mind of the flesh is enmity against God, for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can it be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.[ 194 ] Such people are enslaved to the power of death and corruption in the flesh. They must be saved from the "Body of this death."[ 195 ] On the other hand, those who have been buried with Christ through baptism have died to the body of sin and are living unto Christ.[ 196 ] They are no longer living according to the desires of flesh, but of the spirit. "The fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance--against such there is no law. And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts."[ 197 ]
It is clear that, for St. Paul, the union of man's spirit with the Spirit of God in the life of love within the body of Christ is life and salvation. On the other hand, to live according tot he desires of the flesh, dominated by the powers of death and corruption, means death--"For the mind of the flesh is death."[ 198 ] St. Paul is dealing throughout his epistles with the categories of life and death. God is life. The devil holds the reins of death and corruption. Unity with God in the Spirit, through the body of Christ in the life of love, is life and brings salvation and perfection. Separation of man's spirit from the divine life in the body of Christ is slavery to the powers of death and corruption used by the devil to destroy the works of God. The life of the spirit is unity and love. The life according to the flesh is disunity and dissolution in death and corruption.
It is absolutely necessary to grasp the essential spirit of St. Paul's usage of the words, sarx, psyche, and pneuma, in order to avoid the widespread confusion that dominates the field of inquiry into Pauline theology. St. Paul is never speaking in terms of immaterial rational souls in contrast to material bodies. Sarx and psyche are synonymous and comprise, together with the pneuma, the total man. To live according to the pneuma is not to live a life according to the lower half of man. On the contrary, to live according to the sarx, or psyche, is to live according to the law of death. To live according to the spirit is to live according to the law of life and love.
Those who are sarkikoi cannot live according to their original destiny of selfless love for God and neighbor, because they are dominated by the power of death and corruption. "the sting of death is sin."[ 199 ] Sin reigned in death.[ 200 ] Death is the last enemy to be destroyed.[ 201 ] So long as man lives according tot he law of death, in the flesh, he cannot please God [ 202 ] because he does not live according to the law of life and love. "The mind of the flesh is enmity against God for it is not subject to the law of God, neither can it be."[ 203 ] In order to live according to his original destiny, man must be liberated from "the body of this death."[ 204 ] This liberation from the power of death and corruption has come from God, Who sent His own Son "in the likeness of sinful flesh" to deliver man "from the law of sin and death."[ 205 ] But, although the power of death and sin has thus been destroyed by the death and resurrection of Christ, participation in this victory can come only through dying to this world with Christ in the waters of baptism.[ 206 ] It is only by dying in baptism and then continuously dying to the rudiments and ways of the world that the members of the body of Christ can become perfect as God is perfect.
The importance that St. Paul attributes to dying to the rudiments of this world in order to live according to the "spirit of life" cannot be exaggerated. To try to pass off his insistence on complete self-denial for salvation as a product of eschatological enthusiasts is to miss completely the very basis of the New Testament message. If the destruction of the devil, death and corruption is salvation and the only condition for life according to man's original destiny, then the means of passing from the realm of death and its consequences to the realm of life, in the victory of Christ over death, must be taken very seriously. For Paul, the way from death to life is communion with the death and life of Christ in baptism and a continuous life of live within the body of Christ. This new life of love within the body of Christ, however, must be accompanied by a continuous death to the ways of this world, which is dominated by the law of death and corruption in the hands of the devil. Participation in the victory over death does not come simply by having a magical faith and a general sentiment of vague love for humanity (Luther). Full membership int he body of Christ can come only by dying in the waters of baptism with Christ, and living according to the law of the "spirit of life." Catechumens and penitents certainly had faith, but they either had not yet passed through death, in baptism, to the new life, or else, once having died to the flesh in baptism, they failed to remain steadfast and allowed the power of death and corruption to regain its dominance over the "spirit of life."
In regard to St. Paul's teaching concerning baptismal death to the rudiments of this world, it is interesting to note his usage of the word, soma, to designate the communion of those in Christ who constitute the Church. The word, soma, in both the Old and New Testaments, apart from Paul, is used predominantly to designate a dead person, or corpse.[ 207 ] At the Last Supper, our Lord used the word, soma, most likely to designate the fact that He was to pass through death, while his use of the word, haima, was to show his returning to life--since, for the Old Testament, blood is the element of life.[ 208 ] Thus, at the Last Supper as at every Eucharist, there is a proclamation and confession of the death and resurrection of Christ. According to the presuppositions set forth by St. Paul concerning baptismal death, it is very possible to describe the Church as the soma of Christ no only because of the indwelling of Christ and the Holy Spirit in the bodies of Christian, but also because all the members of Christ have died to the body of sin in the waters of baptism. Before sharing in the life of Christ, on must first become an actual soma by being liberated from the devil in passing through a death to the ways of this world and living according to the "spirit."[ 209 ]
St. Paul does not say anywhere that the whole human race has been accounted guilty of the sin of Adam and is therefore punished by God with death. Death is an evil force which made its way into the world through sin, lodged itself in the world, and, in the person of Satan, is reigning both in man and creation. For this reason, although man can know the good through the law written in his heart and may wish to do what is good, he cannot because of the sin which is dwelling in his flesh. Therefore, it is not he who does the evil, but sin that dwelleth in him. Because of this sin, he cannot find the means to do good. He must be saved from "the body of this death."[ 210 ] Only then can he do good. What can Paul mean by such statements? A proper answer is to be found only when St. Paul's doctrine of human destiny is taken into account.
If man was created for a life of complete selfless love, whereby his actions would always be directed outward, toward God and neighbor, and never toward himself--whereby he would be the perfect image and likeness of God--then it is obvious that the power of death and corruption has now made it impossible to live such a life of perfection. The power of death in the universe has brought with it the will for self-preservation, fear, and anxiety,[ 211 ] which in turn are the root causes of self-assertion, egoism, hatred, envy and the like. Because man is afraid of becoming meaningless, he is constantly endeavoring to prove, to himself and others, that he is worth something. He thirsts after compliments and is afraid of insults. He seeks his own and is jealous of the successes of others. He likes those who like him, and hates those who hate him. He either seeks security and happiness in wealth, glory and bodily pleasures, or imagines that this destiny is to be happy in the possession of the presence of God by an introverted and individualistic and inclined to mistake his desires for self-satisfaction and happiness for his normal destiny. On the other hand, he can become zealous over vague ideological principles of love for humanity and yet hate his closest neighbors. These are the works of the flesh of which St. Paul speaks.[ 212 ] Underlying every movement of what the world has come to regard as normal man, is the quest for security and happiness. But such desires are not normal. They are the consequences of perversion by death and corruption, though which the devil pervades all of creation, dividing and destroying. This power is so great that even if man wishes to live according to his original destiny it is impossible because of the sin which is dwelling in the flesh [ 213 ]--"Who will deliver me from the body of this death?"[ 214 ]
To share in the love of God, without any concern for one's self, is also to share in the life and truth of God. Love, life and truth in God are one and can be found only in God. The turning away of love from God and neighbor toward the self is breaking of communion with the life and truth of God, which cannot be separated from His love. The breaking of this communion with God can be consummated only in death, because nothing created can continue indefinitely to exist of itself.[ 215 ] Thus, by the transgression of the first man, the principle of "sin (the devil) entered into the world and through sin death, and so death passed upon all men..."[ 216 ] Not only humanity, but all of creation has become subjected to death and corruption by the devil.[ 217 ] Because man is inseparably a part of, and in constant communion with, creation and is linked through procreation to the whole historical process of humanity, the fall of creation through on man automatically involves the fall and corruption of all men. It is through death and corruption that all of humanity and creation is held captive to the devil and involved in sin, because it is by death that man falls short of his original destiny, which was to love God and neighbor without concern for the self. Man does not die because he is guilty for the sin of Adam.[ 218 ] He becomes a sinner because he is yoked to the power of the devil through death and its consequences.[ 219 ]
St. Paul clearly says that "the sting of death is sin,"[ 220 ] that "sin reigned in death,"[ 221 ] and that death is "the last enemy that shall be destroyed."[ 222 ] In his epistles, he is especially inspired when he is speaking about the victory of Christ over death and corruption. It would be highly illogical to try to interpret Pauline thought with the presuppositions (1) that death is normal or (2) that at most, it is the outcome of a juridical decision of God to punish the whole human race for one sin, (3) that happiness is the ultimate destiny of man, and (4) that the soul is immaterial, naturally immortal and directly created by God at conception and is therefore normal and pure of defects (Roman scholasticism). The Pauline doctrine of man's inability to do the good which he is capable of acknowledging according to the "inner man" can be understood only if one takes seriously the power of death and corruption in the flesh, which makes it impossible for man to live according to his original destiny.
The moralistic problem raised by St. Augustine concerning the transmission of death to the descendants of Adam as punishment for the one original transgression is foreign to Paul's thoughts. The death of each man cannot be considered the outcome of personal guilt. St. Paul is not thinking as a philosophical moralist looking for the cause of the fall of humanity and creation in the breaking of objective rules of good behavior, which demands punishment from a God whose justice is in the image of the justice of this world. Paul is clearly thinking of the fall in terms of a personalistic warfare between God and Satan, in which Satan is not obliged to follow any sort of moral rules if he can help it. It is for this reason that St. Paul can say that the serpent "deceived Eve"[ 223 ] and that "Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression."[ 224 ] Man was not punished by God, but taken captive by the devil.
this interpretation is further made clear by the fact that Paul is insisting that "until the law sin was int he world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Nevertheless, death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression."[ 225 ] It is clear that Paul here is denying anything like a general personal guilt for the sin of Adam. Sin was, however, in the world, since death reigned even over them who had not sinned as Adam sinned. Sin here is obviously the person of Satan, who ruled the world through death even before the coming of the law. This is the only possible interpretation of this statement, because it is clearly supported elsewhere by Paul's teachings concerning the extraordinary powers of the devil, especially in Romans 8:19-21. St. Paul's statements should be taken very literally when he says that the last enemy to be destroyed is death [ 226 ] and that "the sting of death is sin."[ 227 ]
From what has been observed, the famous expression, eph'ho pantes hemarton,[ 228 ] can be safely interpreted as modifying the word, thanatos, which preceeds it, and which grammatically is the only word which fits the context. Eph'ho as a reference to Adam is both grammatically and exegetically impossible. Such an interpretation was first introduced by Origen, who obviously used it with a purpose in mind, because he believed in the pre-existence of all souls whereby he could easily say that all sinned in Adam. The interpretation of eph'ho as "because" was first introduced into the East by Photius,[ 229 ] who claims that there are two interpretations prevalent--Adam and thanatos--but he would interpret it dioti (because). He bases his argument on a false interpretation of II Corinthians 5:4 by interpreting eph'ho, here again, as dioti. But here it is quite clear that eph'ho refers to skensi (eph'ho skenei ou thelomen ekdysasthai). Photius is interpreting Paul within the framework of natural moral law and is seeking to justify the death of all men by personal guilt. He claims that all men die because they sin by following in the footsteps of Adam.[ 230 ] However, neither he nor any of the Eastern Fathers accepts the teaching that all men are made guilty for the sin of Adam.
From purely grammatical considerations it is impossible to interpret eph'ho as a reference to any word other than thanatos. Each time the grammatical construction of the preposition epi with the dative is used by Paul, it is always used as a relative pronoun which modifies a preceding noun [ 231 ] or phrase.[ 232 ] To make an exception in Romans 5:12 by making St. Paul use the wrong Greek expression to express the idea, "because," is to beg the issue. The correct interpretation of this passage, both grammatically and exegetically, can be supplied only when eph'ho is understood to modify thanatos--kai houtos eis pantas anthropous ho thanatos dielthen eph'ho (thanato) pantes hemarton--"because of which" (death), or "on the basis of which" (death), or "for which (death) all have sinned." Satan, being himself the principle of sin, through death and corruption involves all of humanity and creation in sin and death. Thus, to be under the power of death according to Paul is to be a slave to the devil and a sinner, because of the inability of the flesh to live according to the law of God, which is selfless love.
The theory of the transmission of original sin and guilt is certainly not found in St. Paul, who can be interpreted neither in terms of juridicism nor in terms of any dualism which distinguishes between the material and the allegedly pure, spiritual, and intellectual parts of man. It is no wonder that some Biblical scholars are at a loss when they cannot find in the Old testament any clear-cut support for what they take to be the Pauline doctrine of original sin in terms of moral guilt and punishment.[ 233 ] The same perplexity is met by many moralistic Western scholars when they study the Eastern Fathers.[ 234 ] Consequently, St. Augustine is popularly supposed to be the first and only of the early Fathers who understood the theology of St. Paul. This is clearly a myth, from which both Protestants and Romans need liberation.
It is only when one understands the meaning of death and its consequences that one can understand the life of the ancient Church, and especially its attitude toward martyrdom. Being already dead to the world in baptism, and having their life hidden with Christ in God,[ 235 ] Christians could not falter in the face of death. They were already dead, and yet living in Christ. To be afraid of death was to be still under the power of the devil--II Timothy 1:7: "For God hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of sound mind." In trying to convince the Roman Christians not to hinder his martyrdom, St. Ignatius wrote: "The prince of this world would fain carry me away, and corrupt my disposition toward God. Let none of you therefore, who are in Rome, help him."[ 236 ] The Cyprianic controversy over the fallen during times of persecution was violent, because the Church understood that it was a contradiction to die in baptism and then to deny Christ for fear of death and torture. The canons of the Church, although today generally ignored as an aid to understanding the inner faith of the ancient Church, still remain very severe for those who would reject their faith for fear of death.[ 237 ] Such an attitude towards death is not the product of eschatological frenzy and enthusiasm, but rather of a clear recognition of who the devil is, what his thoughts are,[ 238 ] what his powers over humanity and creation are, how he is destroyed through baptism and the mystagogical life within the body of Christ, which is the Church. Oscar Cullman is seriously mistaken in trying to make the New Testament writers say that Satan and the evil demons have been deprived of their power, and that now leur puissance n'est qu'apparente.[ 239 ] The greatest power of the devil is death, which is destroyed only within the body of Christ, where the faithful are continuously engaged in the struggle against Satan by striving for selfless love. This combat against the devil and striving for selfless love is centered in the corporate Eucharistic life of the local community--"For when you assemble frequently epi to auto (in the same place) the powers of Satan are destroyed and the destruction at which he aims is prevented by the unity of your faith."[ 240 ] Anyone, therefore, who does not hear the Spirit within him calling him tothe Eucharistic assembly for the corporate life of selfless love is obviously under the sway of the devil. "He, therefore, who does not assemble with the Church, has even by this manifested his pride and condemned himself..."[ 241 ] The world outside of the corporate life of love, in the sacraments, is still under the power of the consequences of death and therefore a slave to the devil. The devil is already defeated only because his power has been destroyed by the birth, life, death and resurrection of Christ; and this defeat is perpetuated only in the remnant of those saved before Christ and after Christ. Both those saved before Christ and after Him are saved by His death and resurrection, and make up the New Jerusalem. Against this Church the devil cannot prevail, and by this fact he is already defeated. But his power outside of those who are saved remains the same.[ 242 ] Satan is still "the god of this world,"[ 243 ] and it is for this reason that Christians must live as if not living in this world.[ 244 ]
The modern Biblical scholar cannot claim to be objective if his examination of Biblical theology is one-sided, or governed by certain philosophical prejudices. The modern school of Biblical criticism is clearly making a false attempt to get at the essential form of the original kyregma, while remaining quite ignorant and blind to the very essence of the Old and New Testament analysis of the fallen state of humanity and creation, especially in regard to its teachings concerning the natures of God and Satan. Thus, one sees the anti-liberal tendencies of modern Protestantism, accepting the method of Biblical criticism and at the same time trying to salvage what it takes to be the essential message of the Gospel writers. yet, in all their pseudo-scientific method of research, writers of this school fail to come to any definite conclusions because they stubbornly refuse to take seriously the Biblical doctrine of Satan, death and corruption. For this reason, such a question as whether or not the body of Christ was really resurrected is not regarded as important--e.g., Emil Brunner, The Mediator. What is important is the faith that Christ is the unique Savior in history, even though very possibly not resurrected in history. How he saves and what he saves men from is presumably a secondary question.
It is clear that for St. Paul the bodily resurrection of Christ is the destruction of the devil, death, and corruption. Christ is the first fruits from the dead.[ 245 ] If there is no resurrection there can be no salvation.[ 246 ] Since death is a consequence of the discontinuation of communion with the life and love of God, and thereby a captivity of man and creation by the devil, then only a real resurrection can destroy the power of the devil. It is inaccurate and shallow thinking to try to pass off as Biblical the idea that the question of a real bodily resurrection is of secondary importance. At the center of Biblical and patristic thought there is clearly a Christology of real union, which is conditioned by the Biblical doctrine of Satan, death and corruption, and human destiny. Satan is governing through death, materially and physically. His defeat must be also material and physical. Restoration of communion must be not only in the realm of mental attitude, but, more important, through creation, of which man is an inseparable part. Without a clear understanding of the Biblical doctrine of Satan and his power, it is impossible to understand the sacramental life of the body of Christ, and, by consequence, the doctrine of the Fathers concerning Christology and Trinity becomes a meaningless diversion of scholastic specialists. Both Roman scholastics and Protestants are undeniably heretical in their doctrines of grace and ecclesiology simply because they do not see any longer that salvation is only the union of man with the life of God in the body of Christ, where the devil is being ontologically and really destroyed in the life of love. Outside of the life of unity with each other and Christ in the sacramental life of corporate love there is no salvation, because the devil is still ruling the world through the consequences of death and corruption. Extra-sacramental organizations, such as the papacy, cannot be fostered off as the essence of Christianity because they are clearly under the influence of worldly considerations and do not have as their sole aim the life of selfless love. In Western Christianity, the dogmas of the Church have become the object of logical gymnastics in the classrooms of philosophy. What is usually taken as natural human reason is set up as the exponent of revealed theology. The teachings of the Church concerning the Holy Trinity, Christology, and Grace, are no longer the accepted expressions of the continuous and existential experience of the body of Christ, living within the very life of the Holy Trinity through the human nature of Christ, in whose flesh the devil has been destroyed and against whose body (the Church) the gates of death (hades) cannot prevail.
It is the mission of Orthodox theology today to bring an awakening to Western Christianity, but in order to do this the Orthodox themselves must rediscover their own traditions and cease, once and for all, accepting the corroding infiltration of Western theological confusion into Orthodox theology. It is only by returning to the Biblical understanding of Satan and human destiny that the sacraments of the Church can once again become the source and strength of Orthodox theology. The enemy of life and love can be destroyed only when Christians can confidently say, "we are not ignorant of his thoughts."[ 247 ] Any theology which cannot define with exactitude the methods and deceptions of the devil is clearly heretical, because such a theology is already deceived by the devil. It is for this reason that the Fathers could assert that heresy is the work of the devil.