Chapter # 5 Paragraph # 2 Study # 2
Thesis: Man's individuality is real, but relative.
Introduction: In Paul's theology, men are only relatively "individual". There is a unity of essence in humanity that no man can escape. The "individuality" is subservient to the "unity". Paul's argument in Romans 5:12-21 hinges upon one clear fact: individual men are not fundamentally individuals. By the actions of Adam all of humanity was plunged into sin and death. By the same token, only by the recreation of a new humanity can Christ bring any of Adam's progeny back into a harmonious relationship with God. The terminology of the Gospel, which includes "new birth", "if any man be in Christ he is a new creation", "he that is born of God cannot sin", "Christ is the Last Adam", the "old man/new man" designations of the roots of action, and the "children of God/children of the devil" -- all of these expressions indicate that Adamic humanity and Christian humanity are fundamentally distinct "humanities" and they have their fundamental identity and abilities in their "Adams".
Therefore, in Romans 5:12-21, Paul set out to clearly establish the "origins" and "impact" of the two "Adams" before Romans 6 where he sets forth the principles of Life for the new humanity of which Christ is the Head for the interim period between "new birth" and the end of the process which will bring all of Creation into the Final State. Interestingly, there is not one exhortation to his readers in Paul's words from Romans 1:1-5:21 (unless I have overlooked something). This is important: until the foundations have been properly laid, action cannot be properly taken.
So, as we study Romans 5:12-21 in the weeks to come, we are going to be studying the final "issue" that is involved in preparing us for the process of living as "Christians". Now, tonight, we are going to look into the opening declaration: sin and death are the experience of all people who have, at any time, lived in this present "world" for one reason -- Adam's action.
April 18, 2006
- I. The Prior "T"heology.
- A. In Romans 5:1 and 11 Paul insists that there are "human beings" who actually possess a reconciled relationship with God.
- 1. He claims the reconciliation is fundamentally real.
- 2. He claims the reconciliation is "through" Jesus Christ.
- 3. He claims the reconciliation is "by" faith.
- B. Inherent within the "T"heology of reconciliation is the fact of the Trinity.
- 1. He claims that we have peace with "God" through our "Lord".
- 2. He claims that the love of God is poured out within us by the "Holy Spirit" Who was given to us.
- C. Fundamental to the 5:12-21 paragraph is this reality: because God is a "trinity" in which the issues of individuality of personality are secondary to the unity of essence, man cannot escape the complementary reality that his "individuality" is not "primary".
- 1. It is no accident that the vast majority of humanity distorts the glory of God in one of two directions...
- a. The "poly" theists distort "personality" into "multiple deities" because they worship the notion of "individuality".
- b. The Jews and Muslims reject "multiplicity of personality" because they worship the notion of "lock-step unity" -- murderous legalism is the automatic down-line result of the rejection of trinitarianism.
- 2. Nor is it any accident that the vast majority of "trinitarians" camp in the heresy of "free will individualism" and strongly resist any real sense of divine predeterminism in salvation.
- D. For truth to triumph, we must embrace the reality of individuality as a secondary issue to the primary reality of the unity of humanity.
- II. The Declaration by Paul.
- A. Is set within the context of this present "kosmos".
- 1. Everywhere in the Bible, this present "world" is an "intervening necessity" between the pre-creation existence of the Living Trinity and the new-creation existence of a harmonious "kosmos" which will contain millions of "individuals" who are all "unified" in both of the fundamental realms of "love" and "faith".
- 2. As an "intervening necessity", this present world is the "learning center" in which all who are to be heirs of the new creation are "put through their paces" in order to come to grips with the final principles which will be "set in concrete" at the resurrection.
- B. Is a statement about the origins of the present experience of all men.
- 1. The first declaration is that "Adam" fundamentally opened the door to the present conflict.
- a. The "one Man" was the entire human race in one person.
- 1) There is an integrated unity to humanity that is both declared and illustrated in several biblical texts (Levi paid tithes to Melchizedek and the human body is the illustration of the 'many parts make one whole').
- 2) The "problem" for most "men" is that they think it unfair that the individuality of humanity was not "dominant" at the point of the test (I wasn't there to object to Adam's choice and action). This thinking is, however, individualistic (sinful elevation of individuality over unity) and proudly ignorant (as if "I" would have made a better choice).
- b. It was "through" the one Man (a plurality in unity) that "Sin" entered into this creation.
- 1) The "entrance" was not a matter of "proximity" or "geographical access". The serpent had access, but not "entrance".
- 2) The "entrance" was a matter of becoming an integrated aspect of the reality of this present world...a dominating and determining reality.
- 3) The "thing" that entered is called "Sin".
- a) At its very roots, "Sin" is the wedding of "individuality over unity" to the "ignorance of Truth" so that false values and beliefs are tenaciously held by those who refuse to submit their individuality to the Unit.
- b) This "wedding" is a determined self-exaltation in which nothing is allowed to rise above the wedded unit. When Mr. Individuality marries Miss Ignorance, the children are rebels at heart.
- c. It was "through" the "Sin" that "Death" entered into this creation.
- 1) The immediate response to the coronation of "Sin" by the Creator was the imposition of "Death".
- 2) This imposition was, like Sin, an integrated aspect of the reality of this present world.
- 3) This thing called "Death"...
- a) At its roots, it is a breakdown of the Power of Life.
- i. Life is in the world, but it cannot rise above "Death".
- ii. The power of "Life" has been crippled so that it cannot dominate for any significant length of time.
- b) As a breakdown, it is a withdrawal by God Himself from the power which He has granted to all created personalities in this world.
- i. He grants "power" to every created person as a "stewardship" which they have to exercise.
- ii. Originally He stood alongside of that stewardship grant to provide the omniscience that both "love" and "faith" require.
- iii. But, at the point of temptation, He, having already extended to Adam an omniscience-based statement to guide his use of his stewardship of power, stood aside to permit Adam his "individuality" (this is how Unity and Individuality function).
- 2. The second declaration is that "all sinned".
- a. This is the declaration that the unity of humanity is both real and responsible: no one is exempted by reason of their "individuality" because individuality is subject to Unity.
- b. There are differences in how the responsibility works out in history (each sinner does his "own" sinning), but the root is that all are sinners.