Board index Paul the Apostle

Paul is such an important figure in Christianity. There are many questions about his life and writings and his place in Christian theology.

Paul vs. Jesus on human innocence

Postby Jack Off » Thu Nov 15, 2018 3:18 pm

Paul vs Jesus and the Hebrew bible on whether any humans are innocent.

It is common for christians to say when confronted with violent hebrew bible massacres that the babies drowned, burned and stabbed to death were not innocent, in fact they were sinners!

This view of original sin contaminating babies (apparently not while they're in the womb however) is derived from Paul's teachings but is that consistent throughout the bible?

Some have heard of the "7 deadly sins" and there is a proverb that actually lists 7 things yahweh hates.

Proverbs 6:16-19
There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him: 17 haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, 18 a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, 19 a false witness who pours out lies and a person who stirs up conflict in the community.

Notice it says "hands that shed innocent blood". Wait a sec, so some people are viewed as innocent? Now that's a problem for the babies = sinners crowd. In the new testament both Jesus and John the baptists father's are described as faithful law keepers, something most christians now say is impossible.

Matt 1:19 Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law,
and
Luke 1:6 Both of them were righteous in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commands and decrees blamelessly.

BLAMELESSLY!

Even Jesus said in Mark
2:17 On hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
Jesus indicates some people are righteous and don't need a doctor, he was targeting the sinners only.

Jesus told a man that asked him how to get to heaven to "keep the commandments"
Matt 19:16 Just then a man came up to Jesus and asked, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?” 17 “Why do you ask me about what is good?” Jesus replied. “There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, keep the commandments.”

So then we can see that in spite of Paul, the guy that showed up after Jesus was dead, saying all are sinners, we can see Jesus and others saw things differently.
Jack Off
 

Re: Paul vs. Jesus on human innocence

Postby jimwalton » Thu Nov 15, 2018 3:52 pm

Glad to talk. Your flaws are in two major areas:
1. You're falsely assuming that Jesus and Paul spoke on every biblical and theological topic. They did not. We take all of Scripture into account when we discuss something like human innocence.
2. You're falsely assuming that every word in the Bible is defined the same every time it's used. Not only is that not true in the Bible, it's not true in the way we use words, either. In the Bible, for instance, "faith" can mean one's loyalty, one's trust, or the body of dogma to which one subscribes. the context tells us which one to use. In common life, we may say someone has an accent (a speech differential), and we may also say that an accent belongs over a vowel (proper grammar). Context tells us what we mean by "accent."
You have made the mistake in your references to righteousness and innocence. Innocence in a court of law means something different than when we speak of the innocence of a baby. "Righteous" can mean a good person, or it can mean a perfect being.

"Innocent blood" in Proverbs 6.17 clearly refers to innocence of a crime. "Shedding innocent blood" is obviously a referral to someone taking the life of someone who did not commit a crime in contrast to someone who did. God in some contexts demanded the life of guilty persons, but taking the life of an innocent person is a detestable act.

In Matthew 1.19 and Luke 1.6, the concepts of "righteousness" and "blamelessness" pertain to the Law. What the text is saying is that these were good, law-abiding citizens who were moral people. It's not a claim to sinlessness.

In Mark 2.17, we have the same kind of meaning. And in this particular context, "righteous" is not even used in the sense of those devoted to the law, but of those who were self-satisfied with their own amazingness!! Jesus hasn't come to reward the self-righteous (but with no true relationship with God), but instead those who are aware of their sin and willing to repent (Lk. 18.9-14).

In Matthew 19.16, if you are at all paying attention to the context, the man was hoping that his own standards of goodness would earn points with God. If we read the whole story, it's quite clear that Jesus's point (as is often his point through the Gospels) is that being a good person is not the basis of a redeeming relationship with God. Instead, it's denying oneself, humbling oneself, and coming to God in repentance.

> So then we can see that inspite of Paul, the guy that showed up after Jesus was dead, saying all are sinners, we can see Jesus and others saw things differently.

Therefore your conclusion is misguided and wrong. Jesus wanted sinners to repent (Mt. 4.17; 11.20; 21.32; Lk. 5.32). Peter preached that sinners should repent (Acts 2.38; 3.19, and others). Paul wanted sinners to repent (Acts 17.30; 26.20, and others). Paul said that all humans were sinners (Rom. 3.23). The Old Testament teaches that all people are sinners (1 Ki. 8.46; Ps. 14; Ps. 53; Ps. 143.2; Eccl. 7.20). And we know that Jesus endorsed the entire Old Testament, regarding them as authoritative and from God (Lk. 4.16-22: 10.25-28; Mk. 10.19; 12.24-34):

    - Jesus observed the law's prescriptions of piety: giving alms, prayer, and fasting.
    - Jesus presupposed the validity of the Temple, the sacrifices, and Israel's holy days
    - Jesus read and quoted from the Scriptures and regarded them as authoritative.
    - Jesus accepted the authority of the Torah.

In other words, if the Old Testament said it, Jesus regarded it as authoritative. So also Paul, since Romans 3 speaks definitively from the Old Testament about the sinfulness of all humanity. Therefore, it's not "Paul vs. Jesus and the Hebrew Scriptures." Paul, Jesus, and the Hebrew Scriptures all say the same thing.
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Re: Paul vs. Jesus on human innocence

Postby Jack Off » Thu Nov 15, 2018 4:46 pm

> I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners

Here Jesus is contrasting being righteous i.e. non-sinners with sinners.

Your claims that Mark 2 and Matt 19 are Jesus being sarcastic need proof and not simply your say so. You only take that position because you are forced to because of your desire to not have Jesus conflict with Paul, the guy that never even met him.

Jews don’t believe in original sin or that humans couldn’t be righteous and keep the laws of Moses. That is Paul’s opinion that yours is tainted with. Thus my position is the default one and as I showed is in line with how people are described in bible.

You saying “well they said sinners should repent!” doesn’t help you because as I showed Jesus didn’t view everyone as a sinner. He contrasted the sinners with the righteous.

Paul said sin is transgression of the law so if Joseph and Zechariah kept the law blamelessly then they were not sinners. Simple. Noah was called righteous and blameless in contrast to the sinners of his day. Righteousness and blameless = not sinner.
Jack Off
 

Re: Paul vs. Jesus on human innocence

Postby jimwalton » Thu Nov 15, 2018 5:55 pm

> Here Jesus is contrasting being righteous i.e. non-sinners with sinners.

There are no non-sinners, so this is not true. We know this for certain because Jesus was addressing the Pharisees, whom he clearly regarded as sinners (Mt. 23; Jn. 9.41).

> Your claims that Mark 2 and Matt 19 are Jesus being sarcastic need proof and not simply your say so.

The proof is in the pudding. We know that the Pharisees saw themselves as righteous (especially Luke 18.9, but also Mt. 23.28; 5.20; 6.1-4). Jesus often, through the Gospels, castigated the Pharisees for their false self-righteousness and the hypocrisy of it all (Mt. 23.28).

Second, they are clearly distinguishing themselves from the tax collectors and "sinners". The Pharisees were particularly scrupulous about their special rules on eating, and their abhorrence at eating with less scrupulous people, for which they are faulting Jesus. "Pharisee" is derived from the Aramaic *perushim*, meaning "distinct and separate ones."

Jesus's first aphorism is "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick" (Mt. 9.13), explaining that Jesus was right to hang out with those in spiritual need. He follows that with a quote from Hosea 6.6 that mercy should take priority over ritual religion, a criticism of the Pharisees who have elevated ritual purity over meeting the spiritual needs of people. Any true follower of God is a person of mercy, not self-righteous separation. He ends with "For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners." You're right that his tongue is firmly in his cheek. Because these pompous religious hypocrites see themselves as righteous, they will hardly listen to the words of truth from Jesus. He will instead take his message to those who will listen to it.

> Jews don’t believe in original sin

The concept of sin is pervasive in the OT. They didn't necessarily believe in original sin, but they did recognize a universal sinful inclination, and I'm not sure the distinction is severe enough for your point to be valid. They consequently didn't believe in human innocence, which was your thesis. The OT view of sin is that it is a transgression of the Law, a breach of the covenant, and a violation of the righteous nature of God. Paul, in Romans 3, said that all Jews and Gentiles alike were sinners (Rom. 3.9) The ancients believed that all people were sinners, and that the Law was not a shield for them (Ps. 14.1, 3; Rom. 3.19).

Therefore, I don't just "take that position because you are forced to because of your desire to not have Jesus conflict with Paul." I take the position I do based on the teaching of all of the Bible and the extended positions of Jesus and Paul. Neither the Old Testament, Jesus, nor Paul subscribe to human innocence.

> humans couldn’t be righteous and keep the laws of Moses.

The Jews did believe, as you are saying that humans could keep the law and be righteous. That doesn't mean they believed in human innocence or sinlessness, but they believed that a person could be a good and godly person.

> because as I showed Jesus didn’t view everyone as a sinner.

You didn't show this. You quoted Mark 2.17, which is tongue-in-cheek, and you quoted Matthew 19.17, in which Jesus says that God is the only "good" being. He says "If you want to enter life, keep the commandments," but that's a far cry from saying that Jesus doesn't view everyone as a sinner. What follows in the text is a clarion cry that more is required than keeping the commandments. The man had kept the commandments, but something still was lacking (19.21). None of this, clearly, is a statement or claim by Jesus that not everyone was a sinner.

> Paul said sin is transgression of the law

You're right, but it's only a partial answer. Paul said a whole lot more than that. According to Paul, sin is...

    * ignorance (Rom. 1.13; 2 Cor. 6.9; Gal. 1.22; Eph. 4.1)
    * inattention (Rom. 5.19; 2 Cor. 10.6)
    * missing the mark (dozens of times)
    * irreligion (many times)
    * transgression, the one thing you said
    * rebellion
    * iniquity
    * treachery
    * evil
    * guilt
    * trouble
    * lacking fellowship with God
    * impurity
    * unbelief
> so if Joseph and Zechariah kept the law blamelessly then they were not sinners.

Therefore this claim is incorrect. Sin is far more than transgression of the law. "Blamelessness" for Joseph and Zechariah means they are good people (Lk. 1.6). It doesn't mean they were morally perfect. After all, Noah was called righteous and blameless (Gn. 6.9) but also a sinner (9.20ff.). Job also was a blameless and upright man (Job 1.1), but needed to repent (Job 42.3-6). But we know Zechariah was a sinner because he didn't believe the message of the angel (Lk. 1.20), and unbelief is a sin.

So, not so "simple," as you claim.
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Re: Paul vs. Jesus on human innocence

Postby Jack Off » Mon Nov 19, 2018 1:16 pm

> But we know Zechariah was a sinner because he didn't believe the message of the angel (Lk. 1.20), and unbelief is a sin.

Well we can either believe the bible that called him blameless or you that says he wasn't. Good luck convincing people you're right.
Jack Off
 

Re: Paul vs. Jesus on human innocence

Postby jimwalton » Sat Dec 01, 2018 8:01 am

> Well we can either believe the bible that called him blameless or you that says he wasn't.

Language has nuances, and contexts determine what the author intended. When I say I love pizza and I love my friend, you can't assume I mean the same thing because I have used the same term. We have to be be good interpreters of language.

By "we" do you mean you and me alone, or do you mean anyone?
By "believe" do you mean a general acceptance or a deep conviction?
By "blameless" do you mean perfect or blameless according to some particular standard such as the law?
By "you" do you mean me in particular or "you" anyone in general making this assertion?
By "luck" do you mean good fortune (beneficial) or a fortuitous event?
By "people" do you mean yourself in particular, the population in general, or skeptics as a specific group?

That's the nature of language. Just because the author uses "blameless" of Zechariah doesn't mean he intends us to think that Zechariah was sinless. "Blameless," when it is used of human beings in the Bible, sometimes means pertaining to the law (as with Joseph and Zechariah), but at other times means a good person (as it did with Job, since the law had not yet been given). Language is not so uniplanar as you are making it to be., and I'm confident you know that. As I mentioned, when we look at the story of Zechariah in particular, it is easy to see that Zechariah is not being portrayed as a sinless individual.


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