CHIX - IX Sin and Salvation In dealing with salvation Systematic Theology generally begins with the theological category of human sin(hamartiology and

CHIX - IX Sin and Salvation In dealing with salvation...

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IX. Sin and Salvation: In dealing with salvation, Systematic Theology generally begins with the theological category of human sin (hamartiology) and moves from "sin" to the various aspects of salvation (soteriology), such as redemption, reconciliation and etc. But the methodology of Biblical Theology will not permit us the luxury of such logic, if we intend to follow the authentic patterns laid down for us by the biblical text. In the OT sin is not a matter of "ontology," sinfulness is not inherent in humanity's created, creaturely existence. Sin is not a matter of who we are as frail, finite, and dust-formed creatures; rather, sin is a matter of what has been and is being done with the human will. Sin, in the biblical narrative, is a rebellion against God or a transgression of God's Law ( Torah ). In this context, sin does not have an independent history, and it does not have an independent existence -- as though the God of Evil and the God of Good were waging war against one another in the arena of human history. If there were no God, if there were no relationship with God established through the covenant, and no Torah to stipulate the holy obligations of that relationship, one could not speak meaningfully about human "sin" -- in the OT sense of the term. The OT possesses a rich and variegated terminology for describing human sin. 1 There are many OT Hebrew terms which are translated as "sin" in our English versions, and often they are rendered without a clear and consistent pattern of correspondence. The fundamental principle underlying all OT usage is that sin involves a failure, an irregularity or a distortion of the proper, God-given order of things; that which is "righteous" ( sedek ) is (literally) "straight" and therefore conforms to the norm or standard, but when something is "sinful" ( hatah ) or "evil" ( rasha ) a certain perverseness or "crookedness" has been introduced into the God-given order. 1 S.J. De Vries, "Sin and Sinners," IDB , IV, pp. 361-376; Dufour, ed. Dictionary of Biblical Theology , pp. 550-557; Kenneth Grayson, "Sin," TWBB , pp. 226-229; cf. Jacob, Theology of the OT, pp. 281-297; 1
The most common OT word for describing sin is hatah . As a non-theological term it described the remarkable accuracy of the Benjaminites with their slings: "... everyone could sling a stone at a hair, and not miss " (Jdg. 20:16). 2 It corresponds rather directly to the most prominent NT term for describing sin as "missing the mark" (Grk. hamartano ). The "missing" described by hatah is a moral (Gen. 20:9) or spiritual failure (Lam. 5:7). While hatah makes a person liable to guilt and punishment (Gen. 43:9), its emphasis is not so much to describe the perverse attitude of the sinner as it is to point more directly to his or her utter failure. Sin as hatah takes the Torah or the will of God as the "mark" -- which is "missed." This is evident from the liturgy of the "sin-offering" sacrifice (Lev. 6:24-30) which is designated as being offered for purification from hatah 3 . Because of its implicit connection with the Torah or will of God (as being the norm or standard that has been "missed"), words of the hatah

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