Originally posted by vistesd
I said wasn’t going to bother going at this again, but (sigh)—
The Christian sin/salvation motif—at least in the West, and especially within Protestantism—seems to run generally like this:
(1) The first humans sinned (erred/failed, literally failed to hit the mark, hamartia).
—Basically, they were suckered by the serpent, in the Genesis acco ]soterias[/i], “salvation” is to make whole or make well; hence to save, to preserve, to heal.
I think what is needed here is a deeper appreciation of what it is to be a human being in God's
We are accustomed to seeing our selves and our world as being insignificant within the overwhelming expanse of the universe surrounding us. Modern science teaches us that we are merely puppets dancing on the strings of our genetic code, and, at bottom, that we are nothing more than a collection of atoms and molecules. But is this how God sees us? The answer is undoubtedly, no.
The subliminal devaluation of human beings, inflicted on everyone by the materialism of the modern age, is the cloud which keeps us ignorant of our true worth (i.e., from our true responsibility to God). Not overtly, but it works its way into one's world view regardless.
What happens to a child if you tell him that he is worthless over and over, throughout his entire life? Will he come to value his own decisions? Will he grow up to understand the weight of his own choices? Any psychology professor could tell you that depressed people generally regard their own choices as meaningless. Indeed, we are raised by our parents, but by and large we are raised by our culture, too, and as such, each and every person, at least in part, has been raised with the message, "you are worthless," pounded into their brains.
But God has a great deal more respect for us than we have for ourselves, and a great deal more love for us than we have for ourselves. He knows who we are. We were created in His image, truly rational and free creatures (minus the omni-nature of course), and our worth to Him is immeasurable. Yet, we do not know how to value ourselves as He values us; our valuation is dependent upon the world in which we find ourselves, not upon God's appraisal.
But God sent His Son into the world, in effect, to appraise us. Jesus talked with people, healed people, raised people from the dead, told everyone about the Father, and showed every person He met the love which God has for them -- revealing our true worth. Through Him, we know that we are far more valuable than a collection of molecules and each of us more significant than a trillion galaxies.
Does our ignorance of who we are change who we are? No. Whether we are aware of it or not, each of us is an eternal soul; each a truly rational and truly free creature. Whether we value the eternal significance of our choices or not, our choices nevertheless have eternal significance.
Is our ignorance entirely out of our control? No. It is essentially a choice to remain blind to our worth in God's eyes, because in order to gain the knowledge of our true worth in God's eyes we would have to first be responsible to God on some level. The devaluation of ourselves is one way to keep God at arm's length. A materialistic culture is a joint-stock company. We prefer it, despite its depressive aspects, because we get to go our own way (i.e., we don't have to be responsible to God).
My point is, in order to truly understand the significance of sin and salvation without resorting to shallow logic and flawed conclusions, we first would have to understand that we are truly rational and truly free creatures over whom God exercises no control, and, as you've pointed out vistesd, that there is no escape from the responsibility of who we choose to submit to, whether it is ourselves, other people, or God.
As soon as you truly understand the responsibility which we bear, then it will be easy to understand why God saves some and damns others. It is a flawed exegesis which automatically estimates God as being unreasonable for damning the disobedient to eternal torment, instead of seeing the weight of God's judgments as a clue to the true gravity of our situation. Has it occurred to anyone that the punishment might possibly fit the crime, regardless of any preconceived notions to the contrary?