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Thursday, August 29, 2002

Tragic freedom.

David N. wrote:

I can't see that we are 'totally depraved' or inherently good.'

Me too. I think there is wisdom in the concept of sin — in the sense of "radical discontinuity" between the real and the ideal, but also in the essentially contingent nature of real relationships. Our choices are tragic not just because we can't quite live up to the ideal, but because even our best choices have consequences that can't be controlled or foreseen, and because we always pursue multiple and conflicting goals. We're fated to be free. We are at odds with ourselves and with each other as well as with our ideals.

I do reject the notion of original sin as the willful defiance of divine intention, though — the inheritance of Adam's rebellion, as it were — if God's will for us is conceived in ideal terms. Perfection, I think, is not what God really asks, at least not perfection in the sense of the absence of faults and weaknesses. God's "will" for us may be our creative engagement with the concrete, historical circumstances of our lives — our fullest freedom — much more than the achievement of otherworldly perfection. In other words, what God seeks for us and offers us through grace is the freedom to forgive, repent, and persevere as limited creatures in time. There may be a more metaphysical or cosmic dimension to redemption, but I think of sin and salvation primarily in terms of tragic contingency and creative freedom.

(Originally posted to UUCF-L)

Copyright © 2002 by Philocrites | Posted 29 August 2002 at 3:52 PM

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