Examination of Imputed Sin pt. 2

Today’s post will finish the brief examination on what is sin, what is imputed sin, and how does it fit into a representative model. What role did Adam have in this? How are we connected with Adam? These questions will be examined in this section. The first part of this discussion can be found here.


There are three main explanations on the word sin or “hēmarton” in this passage [Romans 5:12-19]:

(1) It is active in its meaning and denotes the first sin of Adam and his posterity as a unity: his posterity being one with him by natural union or else by representation or by both together; (2) it is active in its meaning and denotes the first sin of each individual after he is born; and (3) it is passive in its meaning, signifying, either “to be sinful” or “to be reckoned as having sinned.”[1]

Paul, unless he departed from the invariable Scripture us of the word hēmarton when he asserts that death as a just punishment, passed on to all men “because all sinned,” employs the word sinned actively.[2] But if he did depart from the usual meaning of hēmarton, he would be the only inspired writer to do so; and this would be the only instance in his writings in which he does.[3] Initially, man was created as enduring as the angels. Though some angels sinned, God did not impose the judgment of death upon them. Their judgment was of another form. The first angel to sin was not a federal head of the angels, nor is there among them any procreation with its problem of heredity.[4] Therefore, there could be no parallel experience with respect to judgments from God for sin set up between the human race and the angels. No other man, not even Abraham, stood first in the generations of humanity nor did any other receive a divine commission to this unique responsibility.[5] However, there is a perfect headship in the resurrected Christ over the New Creation. All typology in Adam respecting Christ is built on the fact of the two perfect headships. Nevertheless, the most illuminating passage (Heb 7:9-10) on the fact of federal headship concerns Abraham; which implies not only headship but that the offspring are seminally represented in the federal head and are divinely reckoned as having acted in the federal head.[6] No one would claim that Levi consciously or purposefully paid tithes to Melchizedek, yet God declares that he did pay tithes. Likewise, no one will claim that each individual in Adam’s race consciously or purposefully sinned in Adam; yet there can be no doubt that God reckons that each member of the race sinned in Adam’s transgression.[7] The same federal coaction asserted in the words “all sinned” is implied in 1 Corinthians 15:22, “For as in Adam all die.”[8] Therefore, God sees only two men and each member of the race is either in Adam (the unregenerate) or in Christ (the regenerate).[9]


 

[1] William G.T. Shedd, Dogmatic Theology, ed. A. W. Gomes, 3rd ed. (Phillipsburg, NJ: P & R Pub, 2003), 558.

[2] Ibid, 559.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Chafer, Systematic Theology, 313.

[5] Ibid, 302.

[6] Ibid.

[7] Ibid, 303.

[8] Ibid.

[9] Ibid.

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Cross Cultural Review: Spirit of the Rainforest

Continuing our series by looking at the book, “The Spirit of the Rainforest.” This post will take a brief look at the aspects of the tribal Yanomamo culture that is not necessarily better or worse than those in the West, but is something that Americans can relate to with that culture.


Neutral Aspects

The Yanomamo tribes and American’s view the spirits or God as a tool used to get their way, envisioning a “genie” to grant their wishes. Both cultures experience Satan’s lies that God does not exist or is an enemy as he masquerades as an angel of light (2 Cor 11:4). Americans struggle with many negative aspects found in the Yanomamo culture like vengeance, murder, and mistreatment of minorities. While the Yanomamo are much more aware of the spirit world including the good and bad spirits, a hierarchy to the spirits, and even inquiring of the spirits, the spirit world of the American culture has deceived many to move away from spiritual matters including to believe there is no God. Shoefoot even identified many signs and symbols of the spirit world while visiting America.[1]

Instead, many Americans are worshipping the counterfeit gods of money, sex, fame, and success without ever realizing what they are doing. Despite the differences between environment and culture, both suffer with sin and desiring more material possessions. Yanomamo men are more concerned about displaying courage and bravado[2], while in much the same way, Americans fall into the trap of displaying a false sense of success. Christians, like those of Honey, are often tempted to follow the surrounding culture and give in to its temptations. But as Christians, we are asked to stand apart and stand up for what is right, true, obedient, and to be faithful to God.

[1] Ibid, 251.

[2] Ibid, 44, 59.

Spirit of the Rainforest: A Summary

Continuing the series on “The Spirit of the Rainforest” that was introduced in the previous post, this post will give a brief summary about the book. Hopefully this summary will provide a foundation for what will be discussed in future posts as the Yanomamo culture is compared and contrasted to our own culture. Following that will be a post on an outsiders look on how to share the gospel with a community like this

This post will take us through the book from the opening raid, the barbaric results, and the consequential fear to new way of peace, love, and forgiveness that is introduced. As one village becomes an example and a light for others, Spirit of the Rainforestprovides a case study for tribal missions in a very difficult environment.


Summary of Spirit of the Rainforest

Told from the perspective of a shaman named Jungleman, Spirit of the Rainforest provides the reader with a glimpse into the life of a shaman, their dependence on the spirits of the jungle, and the role of a shaman in the village. Jungleman grew from a boy scared of these spirit encounters to one of the most powerful Yanomamo shamans. Eventually, he began to teach other shamans how to use the spirits for various purposes including healing, cursing, and sexual fantasies. Jungleman’s account of the Yanomamo tribe provides readers unprecedented access to a vastly different culture as he describes the Yanomamo customs that includes their reasons for fighting, wars, treatment of women and children, the effect of the nabas (term for foreigners), and the role of spirits.

The book begins by describing a conflict between two villages, Honey and Mouth that epitomizes the Yanomamo struggle between the old culture (Mouth) with the new culture (Honey) that is being introduced by some of the nabas. The old culture includes revenge, fighting, guilt and fear, is contrasted with this new way of life that is peace, love and respect. Honey has thrown away the old Yanomamo customs and spirits and has started following the great spirit Yai Pada’s new ways. Honey flourishes under the new ways and soon becomes the envy of the other villages that are experiencing difficulties.

The Yanomamo culture of vengeance and loyalty is introduced early on through the raid on Potato Village. This one story sums up the Yanomamo tradition. The extent of the raid can vary from two opposing warriors clubbing each other to more serious raids where every male is killed and the women are assaulted, raped, and carried off to become wives of the raiding village. Children in the raided village are often killed, or occasionally captured to become slaves. Many village raids were spurred on by the killing of a relative that was a result of a revenge killing; this became an endless cycle of raids and fighting that sparked more revenge. The assaults on the women and children were to stop future generations from exacting revenge on that tribe. Often this tradition would fail as different tribes retaliate for those relatives showing familial loyalty by raiding the attacking village.

The Yanomamo’s discovered that the great spirit they thought was evil and would kill their children was actually a good spirit named Yai Pada. Jungleman’s apprentice Shoefoot, threw away his spirits to follow Yai Pada, and soon Shoefoot and his village Honey, begin changing. Honey becomes the envy of the Yanomamo’s as they flourish under this new culture of peace, love, and respect. Every shaman that visits this village is met with the same response from their spirits pleading not to be thrown away. As the story concludes, many Yanomamo villages tired of dying and spiritual ineffectiveness, rebuke the old ways to follow Yai Pada.

Spirit of the Rainforest: The Good, Bad, and Ugly of Tribal Missions

Over the next few post, we will be looking at and reviewing the book, “Spirit of the Rainforest: A Yanomamo Shaman’s Story” by Mark Ritchie. This book tells the story of the Yanomamo tribe located in the Amazon Rainforest of South America. It tells the story of how this tribe has evolved over the last 30-40 years and that outsiders have had on them.  

Spirit of the Rainforest offers a glimpse into how tribal missions have played out for this one particular tribe. The book recounts some of the most brutal and barbaric stories of this culture. A group of individuals that was overwhelmed with the evils of this world. This included gang-rapes, dismemberment’s, torture, violent killing of babies, and many more atrocities. The book is at times hard to read because of these violent stories and how these people treat others. It is also a reminder of the effect evilness and demons can have on a culture. Throughout the book, there are stories of the shamans interacting with these spirits. It also shows how much these evil spirits try to keep the shaman’s and tribe away from healing power of God. They will go to great lengths to cloud the people’s mind. As one tribe flourishes because Christianity is introduced and practiced, their light and love and peace become infectous to the other tribes. However, as more of the tribes become converted, a sociological war breaks out between the missionaries and anthropologists. The missionaries try to help the tribes, while the anthropologists try to convince the Yanomamo people to stay true to their culture and tradition. It is amazing to hear how the people want to change and see the benefits of moving to the Christian faith.

While many of the the tribes seek out their own missionary, there are a number of stories of bad and fake missionaries that are taking advantage of the unsuspecting tribes. While these missionaries are supposed to be there to help and evangelize, they instead offer a horrible example. At times, they do just as many horrible atrocities to these people including taking advantage of them, raping men, women, and children, taking pornographic photos, and abusing them. The way some of these “missionaries” treated the tribes people, ruined much of the amazing work the God had done through these wonderful missionaries. It was so bad, that some of the tribes wanted nothing to do with these outsiders because of the pain that was associated with them.

As will be shown over the next few posts, it will be shown how God loves all people and how one spark can cause an amazing reaction. This one little spark caused such a stir that so many people left everything to follow this new way that brought peace to a people that never knew it. It removed fear and anger, and turned a culture of revenge into a community of forgiveness. This is a reminder of the spiritual warfare that we all face everyday, and while this book portrays how demons work, it also offers a glimpse into how God will use angels even to protect his people. This book will show many believers some of the best and worst tactics to use for evangelism, not only in tribal missions but in normal missional daily living.

The background and plot of the story will be given in the next post, but below is a brief introduction to the book and what to expect. This paper was meant to be short so many of the details were left out, but hopefully it will show a good summary level of the book and its application. For any interested, the book can be found here: Spirit of the Rainforest


 

Spirit of the Rainforest: A Critical Review

Spirit of the Rainforest, tells the story of the Yanomamo tribe and  lifestyle through the perspective of a powerful shaman named “Jungleman” over a 30 year time span. The book provides a glimpse into the Yanomamo culture that shows their reliance and interaction with various spirits, a revenge mentality, and views regarding women and children. Spirit of the Rainforest also details the positive and negative encounters and impacts of anthropologists and Christian missionaries on the Yanomamo villages. This review will provide a summary of Spirit of the Rainforest, compare the Yanomamo worldview and culture with my own, and finally describe how this author would communicate the concepts of the spirit world, humanity, and sin to the Yanomamo.

Compare and Contrast Angels and Humans: Part 3 Conclusion

A brief wrap-up post today on what the past few posts have been on in our short series of the differences and similarities of humans and angels. It is amazing how God created it all to be. In His infinite wisdom, He has done an incredible work. He offers all believers an amazing hope and promise of the future.


Concluding Thoughts

Angels demonstrate their unquestionable love for God by doing exactly what they were created to do. Humans can learn from their example. Both angels and humans are “spiritual beings” made for a harmonious relationship with the Father who is “spirit.”[1] “The creature – whether angel or human – is created to be God-centered. To become self-centered is a contradiction of the basic law of creature existence.”[2] Angels and humans have some of the same tasks – to reveal, worship and serve. Though there are various commonalities between angels and humans, there are many things that separate them. Unlike angels, humans have been made in the image of God, able to procreate, and can have familial relationships. Both angels (the fallen angels) and humans have sinned, but only humans can be forgiven. Believers and angels will rule and serve together, but while humans are presently lower than the angels, believers will eventually judge the angels and have a superior position to them in the future.

[1] Sherlock, “The Doctrine of Humanity,” 35-38.

[2] Chafer, Systematic Theology,  31.

Compare and Contrast Angels and Humans: Part 2

Continuing this brief series on the similarities and differences between angels and humans, this post will focus mainly on what makes up a human and how God created them. This section has a little bit of contrasting between angels and humans, please see the previous post on what makes up an angel. The next post will give a broader overview on the major differences between the two created beings.


 

Humans

Only humans were created in the “image of God” according to His purpose, plan, and good pleasure (Gen 1:26-27). With this privileged position, “humanity was the only part of creation addressed by God,” told to procreate and have dominion over it (Gen 1:28; Ps 8:4-8).[1] Genesis stresses that being made in the image of God is of fundamental importance to what it means to be human (Gen 1:26-28; 5:1-2; 9:6-7).[2] Mankind, created of both material and immaterial substances (Gen 2:7; Ezek 37:6, 8-10, 14), is so adapted to the purposes and functions of the immaterial man that he is not conscious of any separation between the body and the soul.[3]

Like the angels, mankind was also led into disobedience to God by Satan (Gen 3). As a consequence of sin, mankind became a “dying creature” and dead in sin (Eph 2:1)[4]; that spiritual death has been transmitted to all humanity (Rom 3:10-19, 23; 5:12), except Christ (1 John 3:8).[5] Whereas the angels who sinned are awaiting the judgment day (Matt 25:41), humanity is able to be forgiven (2 Cor 5:21). While man was made lower than the angels, the incarnated Christ took this lower place for a short time to conform the believer to His own image (Rom 8:29; Eph 1:3-4) and lift them up to His own sphere far above the angels (Heb 2:6-10).[6] Therefore, redeemed humans will eventually judge the angels (1 Cor 6:3).


 

[1] Charles Sherlock, “The Doctrine of Humanity,” (Downers Grove, InterVarsity Press, 1996), 36.

[2] Ibid, 31.

[3] Lewis Sperry Chafer, Systematic Theology, vol. 2, (Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications, 1993), 146.

[4] Ibid, 149. Also see Dallas Theological Seminary, “Full Doctrinal Statement, Article IV, Man, Created and Fallen,” internet, 2015, accessed February 21, 2015, http://www.dts.edu/about/doctrinalstatement.

[5] Dallas Theological Seminary, “Full Doctrinal Statement, Article IV, Man, Created and Fallen.”

[6] Dallas Theological Seminary, “Full Doctrinal Statement, Article III, Angels, Fallen and Unfallen.”

Compare and Contrast Angels and Humans Part 1

Since we have concluded the study of looking at the Gospels, we are going to take a brief break from the Biblical Exposition of that topic and move into the theology of angels, demons, humans and sin.

This post will provide a brief introductory section on what the next few post will look at, what to expect, my thesis in the paper, and finish by looking at a brief look at what makes up an angel, including demons. As the purpose of this is to provide a concise, high-level overview of the differences between angels and humans, there is no doubt that many more pages and books could be written on this topic. Hopefully, this will serve as a primer into a bigger discussion that could happen later.


Introduction

Angels and humans have many of the same qualities in common: both were created by God, both originally created holy, and both created to worship to name a few. However, there are many differences as well including future position, procreation and man’s unique image. The origin, nature and purpose of each will be examined as well as comparing and contrasting the similarities and differences between angels and humans. God made both unique yet similar and with a common purpose: to love, serve and worship God.

Angels

God spoke and imparted life into an “innumerable company of sinless, spiritual beings, known as angels.”[1] A countless host (Heb 12:22; Rev 5:11) of angels were created (Neh 9:6; Col 1:16) simultaneously which proposes they are immortal (Luke 20:36) and do not procreate (Matt 22:30). All angels were originally created holy and without sin. One angel, Lucifer, sinned and a great company of angels followed his rebellion against God (Matt 25:41) becoming demons to be used by Satan for unholy purposes (Isa 14:12–17; Ezek 28:11–19; Jude 6).[2] There are many chosen angels (1 Tim 5:21) who remained obedient to God and remained holy (Mark 8:38). Scripture does not state the time of the angels creation but points to it being before the creation of the world (Col 1:16, Job 38:4-7).

The purpose of angels is threefold: to reveal, worship, and serve.[3] Angels reveal by bringing a message from God (Matt 1:20; Rev 14:6) or revealing God’s truth (Gal 3:19; Heb 2:2). The angels, who are before the throne worshipping God (Rev 4:8-11), are sent out as “ministering spirits” to serve those who will inherit salvation (Luke 15:10; Heb 1:14).[4]

Angels are personal beings displaying a consciousness (Rev 22:9), cognition (Matt 28:5; 1 Pet 1:12), affection (Job 38:7; Luke 15:10) and volition (Dan 10:21-22).[5] Unlike humans, angels are immaterial, non-sexual (Mark 12:25), immortal (Luke 20:36) and spiritual beings (Heb 1:13-14).[6] Angels reside in the Second Heaven, but appear to mankind in dreams (Gen 28:12), visions (Isa 6), and even human sight (Luke 2:9-14), taking the form of either men (Gen 19), man-like (Dan 10; Matt 28), living creatures (Rev 4), or as clothed and luminous (Rev 10).[7] Angels are great in power (Acts 5:19; 2 Pet 2:11) and wisdom (2 Sam 14:20), yet they are not divine, not to be worshipped (Rev 19:10; 22:9), and their power is restricted (Matt 24:36; 1 Pet 1:11-12) since they are subjected to God and His judgment (Matt 25:41; 1 Cor 6:3).


[1] Dallas Theological Seminary, “Full Doctrinal Statement, Article III, Angels, Fallen and Unfallen,” internet, 2015, accessed February 21, 2015, http://www.dts.edu/about/doctrinalstatement/.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Nathan Holsteen, “Session 2: The Nature and Classification of Angels,” unpublished class notes for ST 103 (Dallas Theological Seminary, Spring Semester, 2015), 3.

[4] Dallas Theological Seminary, “Full Doctrinal Statement, Article III , Angels, Fallen and Unfallen.”

[5] Holsteen, “Session 2: The Nature and Classification of Angels,” 5.

[6] Ibid.

[7] Ibid, 5-6.