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FIRST HEAD.

EVIL AS TO ITS NATURE.

A.— Biblical Doctrine.

I. —THE BIBLICAL DOCTRINE OF EMPIRICAL EVIL, AND ITS

PRESUPPOSITIONS.

$ 72.

Both Testaments concur in acknowledging the universal

reality of evil. The factors which combine to form the Biblical idea of the nature of evil are given in the fact of both Testaments implying that evil or sin has the law of God for the objective presupposition of its possibility, and religious-moral capacity for the sub

jective. LITERATURE.—Christ. Fr. Schmid, De Peccato, Partic. 1-3; Christliche Sittenlehre, herausgeg. von Heller, 1861; Bibl. Theol. des N. T., herausgeg. von C. Weizsäcker, 3d edit. 1864 (Bibl. Theol. of the N. Testament, T. & T. Clark, 1870). Messner, Die Lehre der Apostel, 1856. Kern, Ueber der Sünde, Tüb. Zeitschrift, 1832, 1, 3. Stirm, Anthropologische Untersuchungen, Tüb. Zeitschrift, 1834, 3. Krabbe, Die Lehre von der Sünde u. vom Tode, 1836 (with reference to the resurrection of Christ). Rothe, Neue Versuch einer Auslegung der Paulinischen Stelle, Rom. v. 12–21, 1836. J. Müller, The Christian Doctrine of Sin, 2 vols. (T. & T. Clark). H. Fr. Th. L. Ernesti, Vom Ursprung der Sünde nach Paulinischen Lehrgehalt in besonderer Berücksichtigung der einschlägigen modernen Theorien, 2 vols. 1862—vol. i.: Die Theorie vom Ursprung der Sünde aus der Sinnlichkeit, 1855; vol. ii. : Die Theorie vom Ursprung der Sünde aus vorzeitlicher Selbstentscheidung, 1862 (against Rothe and J. Müller). J. T. Beck, Umriss der biblischen Seelenlehre, 1843, 1871. Delitzsch, System of Biblical Psychology (T. & T. Clark). Von Hofmann, Schriftbeweis, 1857, 1, 444, 505. Philippi, Kirchliche Glaubenslehre, vol. iii. 1859. Thomasius, Christi Person und Werk, vol. i. 1853; Die Voraussetzungen der Christologie, 2d edit. 1856. F. C. Baur, Theol. N. T. 1864 ; Paulus, 1845. Holsten, Die Bedeutung des Wortes rápš im N. T. bei Paulus, 1853; enlarged in the work: Das Evangelium des Paulus und Petrus, Rost. 1868, p. 367 ff. Greatly influenced by him is Lüdemann, Anthropologie des Ap. Paulus, 1872. Schulz, Jahrb. für deutsche Theol. 1875, 2. Wendt, Die Begriffe Fleisch und Geist im biblischen Sprachgebrauch, 1878. Pfleiderer, Paulinismus, 1873. G. Heinrici, Die Sünde nach Wesen und Ursprung, 1878. B. Weiss, Lehrbuch der biblischen Theologie N. T., 3d edit. 1880, $$ 21, 46, 56, 66, 70, 100, 115, 148, 151, 157. Kähler, Das Gewissen, I. 1, 1878, p. 216 ff., 294 ff.

1. According to Holy Scripture, evil actually exists in all

Even the 0. T. expresses a profound consciousness of sin, of which no good man acquits himself, and this applies to the most distinguished among the 0. T. people. This truthfulness and uprightness, this humility and fidelity, forming an essential peculiarity in Israelitish piety, preserves in the people of the 0. T. a lofty consciousness of duty and antagonism to sin, whereas the final seal of sin's victory over men is seen in their obliviousness and blindness to their state of bondage. True, the 0. T. does not expressly say, that all belonging to the race fell in its first progenitors, or that the fall of the first pair at any rate decided the sinfulness of their posterity. According to Genesis, even the race only gradually sank deeper and deeper through the flesh obtaining increasing mastery over the Spirit of God, and preventing the latter constantly carrying on His office of inward rebuke. Doubtless, the presupposition underlying the punishment denounced against the first pair is, that their posterity also will be partakers with them in misery as well as in sin. But according to the 0. T. there is no such bare equality in sin in all men after Adam, as an abstract doctrine of original şin would assume, but two lines are always distinguished, one pious and good, another worldly and bad. Moreover, in

men.

1 John i. 47.

2 Gen. viii. 21, vi. 5 : “By reason of their going astray they are only flesh," i.e. without spirit.

3 Such are the Cainites and Sethites, then the Semites with the Hebrews and the other Noahites, who afterwards fell a prey to heathenism, finally within Israel 1 Here applies the saying from the earliest age, Gen. viii. 21 : “The imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth."

Israel limits were set to the extension and dominion of evil by the choice of Abraham and his race, by promise and law. Thus, even before Christ evil was unable to develope all its effects upon the whole of human life; its disorganizing, downward-leading tendency has its stages and halting-places. The bases of morals and society, such as marriage, family, property, are guarded by the commonwealth and its laws, which are not without power of resistance; and even in a religious respect mankind only sinks step by step from initial, although imperfect, monotheism down to polytheism, idolatry, nay Fetishism. Still, even the piety of the better line is not pictured as having been exempt from sin. If individuals, like Enoch, Noah, Abraham, are called righteous, this must only be understood relatively, and refers to the upright disposition of the heart that seeks and obeys God. On the contrary, it remains certain that 0. T. piety and righteousness are marked by that form of humility which rests upon the sense of sin.

No doubt this becomes more evident the more the influence of the Law is felt, whereas a shimmer of childlike unconscious innocence is still spread over patriarchal days. Accordingly it is in the Psalms, in the Book of Job, and in the Prophets that specially strong testimonies to the consciousness of sin are first found. There the consciousness of the universality of sin finds expression even in Israel. Moreover, the thought of the guilt resting on the entire community lies at the basis of the purifyings and sacrifices for the whole nation. Without cessation the command peals forth to resist evil and seek righteousness. This certainly assumes the existence of a good power in order to resistance. But therewith the command to trust in God and His Spirit is not wanting Nowhere is it taught that, left purely to himself, man has the moral strength to maintain himself against sin. On the contrary, such self-confidence is counted sin.” It is said, indeed : 4 "Do this and thou shalt live;" but this the "holy remnant” and the body of the people in the maxims of the prophets. Cf. Kähler, ut supra, p. 322.

? Ps. vi. xiv. 3, xxxii. xxxvii. li. cii. cxliii. 2; Job iv. 17, ix. 2, xiv. 4, xxv. 4; Prov. xx. 9; 1 Kings viii. 46 f. ; Isa. lxiv. 5, 6; Zech. xiii. 1. 3 Hosea xiii, 9.

4 Lev, xviii. 5.

command of the law includes also the requirement of humble reliance on God and faith, and is not fruitless in case it keeps man in the acknowledgment of the holiness of the divine law and its claim, and consequently in consistency with his destiny. The law did a great work, if the willing of goodness and inner delight in the law led to the knowledge of distance from God and of the need of divine help, and issued in longing for such help. Thus prophecy declares : Jehovah is our righteousness, our own is as filthy rags.' Such language of humiliation is the last word of the 0. T.

It is also the first word of the N. T., in the case of Christ as in that of the Baptist. * Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." Such is the close relation between sin and Christ's appearance, that the coming of God's kingdom is above all the most powerful call to repentance, nay, completes the possibility of repentance of the right kind by the hope that it will be effectual. The N. T. works in the 0. T. spirit, implying and producing a still profounder knowledge

It is observable in the apostles, that only after they have entered the kingdom of light and life do they thoroughly understand the danger and depth of the night, from which they have been rescued ; : for whereas evil loves to hide and deny itself,4 it is the prerogative of the light to illumine both itself and its opposite. To look down into the abyss of evil is only tolerable to one who is acquainted with a power delivering from it.

The knowledge of the power of sin had followed in the 0. T. more as an accompaniment of the striving after legal righteousness, and as an unlooked-for, spontaneous result in virtue of God's secret counsel. But this effect of the law in giving the knowledge of sin assumes in the N. T. the following form : The confession is demanded, as the fruit of striving after righteousness before the law, that our own righteousness is inadequate, and that striving to fulfil the law by means of our own strength is of no avail. In this way the N. T. draws away the gaze from the circumference to the centre, from the fruits to the tree, from particular acts to the totality and the permanent incapacity of « the

1 Jer. xxxiii. 16, xxiii. 6 ; Isa. lxiv. 5, 6. ? Matt. üi. 2, iv, 17. 3 Rom. v. 12-21, xiii. 11 f. ; Col. i. 13; Titus ii. 11 f. • John iii. 20, ix. 39.

the personality. Hence expressions like “the old” or psychical man.” Finally, in the N. T. this way of looking at things argues from individuals to the totality of the race." Distinctions of degree in wickedness and guilt, indeed, are not denied.? But these distinctions vanish in presence of the redemption, which all equally need. This equality of all men is especially emphasized by Paul. This is the evil, negative comprehension into unity of the entire race, which before the days of Christianity was rent into fragments in every other respect. The universality of liability to condemnation or guilt is the presupposition underlying the allembracing significance of redemption, which addresses itself to universal receptiveness for it and for that restoration of the unity of mankind, which Christianity will effect. With this view John, Peter, and James agree. The law leads not directly to righteousness of life, but to Christ. It is true that in pre-Christian sin, according to the N. T., there is always an element of ignorance. Hence on the divine side the pre-Christian time is called a time of forbearance, of comparative overlooking, i.e. a time when, although humanity was not cast off, still sin was not forgiven. But this ignorance does not cancel sin and guilt;& the need of atonement remains a fact, and forgiveness is not a matter of course, as if before Christ there were nothing to forgive. By no means is it the teaching of Scripture that the sole punishable sin is the sin of definite unbelief in Christ. In this case there would be nothing to be forgiven, because what is punishable in real earnest could not be forgiven; on the other hand, what is not punishable needs no forgiveness. But

1 Rom. iii. 20 ff., v. 12–18.

2 Luke xii. 48. 3 Rom. i.-iii., iii. 23, xi. 32; Gal. iii. 22.

* John iii. 3 ff., 31, 13: Whoever would ascend to heaven must let himself be raised thither by Him who came down from heaven. 1 John i. 8, v. 19; 1 Pet. ii. 24 ; Jas. i. 13, iii. 2, i. 18.

5 Gal. iii. 24 ; John v. 39–45.
6 Luke xxiii. 34 ; Acts iii. 17, xvii. 30; Heb. v. 2, ix. 7 ; 1 Pet. i. 14.
7 Rom. iii. 25 f. : ανοχή, σάρεσις, still not άφεσις.
8 Luke xii. 48.

9 Intentionally or unintentionally, Ritschl's theory tends in this direction. According to that theory, all sin, about which we are able to affirm anything (whether the sin of definite unbelief will ever occur, we know not), is said to be sin through ignorance (ut supra, iï. § 43, p. 334), in spite of which God loves DORNER. -CHRIST. Doct. II.

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