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Ferdinand Christian Baur.

Paul, the apostle of Jesus Christ: his life and work, his epistles ..., Volume 2 online

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sin as well as death is imiversal, and that. they are inseparably
linked to each other. The universality of sin, however, is not so
immediately and clearly apparent as the universality of death, and
so it is inferred that sin is universal from the fact that death is uni-
versal, there being no death apart from sin, which is its cause. The
whole argument, therefore, shows distinctly that though he sees in sin
and death the operation of a principle reigning in humanity since
Adam, he yet conceives the death of man to be brought about only by
the imputation to each individual of his own actual sin. The passage
thus proves the very opposite of what has generally been drawn from
it as a locus dassicus for the doctrine of original sin. The only ques-
tion is whether e(f> ^ can be taken in the sense here alleged, and of
this there can hardly be a doubt. The ordinary meaning "because,"
is simply stated more distinctly in the phrase "proceeding on the
fact that," " it being presupposed that.*' The difference is simply
that what "because" expresses objectively, is by that other rendering
logically defined for the subjective consciousness. For the purpose
of a logical demonstration, cause and effect, the thing implied and
that which proceeds upon it, are held apart. *0 Odvaro^ BirjjkOev,
e<f> w TT. 7]iju means accordingly : Death came to all under the presup-
position that all sinned, ie. the coming of death is a thing which
involves, which cannot be explained except on the supposition
that, all sinned; the one always implies the other. If there



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186 LIFE AND fVORK OF PAUL. [Part III.

be a time in which it might be expected that there was no sin, it
is the time from Adam to Moses, and yet, as certainly as death
reigned during this period, so certainly it was not without sin.
That this logical explanation of cause and effect is the proper sense
of €<!>' ^, may be shown from the other two passages of the New
Testament in which the phrase occurs ; 2 Cor. v. 4 ; PhiL iii 1 2. In
these passages, also, the meaning I have indicated affords a much
better sense than the ordinary "because." In the first of these pas-
sages the apostle says ; as being in the body we groan under the bur-
den; now if he goes on, because we do not wish to be unclothed, but
to be clothed upon, this yields no clear sense. Here also we must
take €^' oS as marking the purpose of the argument In the body
we sigh under a burden ; yet this does not imply that we desire to
be unclothed, but only that we desire to be clothed upon; what is to
be inferred is not the wish to €icSu9.,but the wish to hrepS, The second
passage is commonly taken thus : but I follow after, if I may also
apprehend that for which I also have been apprehended. This, how-
ever, is neither accurate nor clear. The proper rendering of €<}> w
must be this : which presupposes that, etc.; I follow after, if I may
also apprehend it, which, of course, is only possible on the presup-
position that I have been apprehended by Christ. A comparison of
these three passages shows at once that &f>' ^ is inseparable, and is
to be taken as a conjunction. Thus that other interpretation, which
certainly adheres more closely to the ordinary meaning of the pre-
position €7rl, but makes ^ refer to Odvaro^ or to the sentence eU
iravra^ SirfkOev, cannot be defended. Death is said to be the estab-
lished consequence of sin, under the presupposition of which all
individuals sinned, or the pre-ordained result to accomplish which
they sinned. This, however, would require not i<l> ^, but eh ov.

It is thus explained in what sense Adam is a type of the future
or second Adam. These two, Adam and Christ, stand over against
each other as the dominion of sin and death, and the reign of
grace, in which the dominion of sin and death is done away. What
the apostle remarks, ver. 15, of the difference between the two,
is less essential and serves only to increase the contrast. It is



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Chap. V.J RELATION OF CHRISTIANITY TO JUDAISM, 187

not, he says, with the gift of grace as with the trespass. For if
by the trespass of one many died, much more (the more there were
who died) has the grace of God and the gift in grace of the One
Man, Jesus Christ, proved effectual in many. And it is not as it
happened there through one that sinned, with the gift of grace.
The judgment came from one man, as a judgment of condemnation ;
but the gift of grace from many trespasses, as a judgment of justi-
fication. If through the transgression of the one death reigned
through the one, much more shall they who receive the abundance
of the grace and the gift of righteousness reign in life through the
one Jesus Christ. (The contrast is thus not merely the quantita-
tive one of ef ez/09 and ix iroW&v, ver. 1 6, but also a qualitative one,
inasmuch as the reign of life through grace is infinitely better than
the reign of death through sin, ver. 17.) As, then, through one
transgression it came to a judgment of condemnation for all men,
so through one judgment of justification it came to justification for
all men. For as through the disobedience of the one man the
many were made sinners (those who are bound up in him, under
the principle he represents), so through the obedience of the one
the many shall be made righteoua The relations denoted in these
antitheses are, in fact, more outward than real ; but they serve to
bring into prominence the leading thought of the passage, that
Adam and Christ are each the representative of a world-historical
principle. The whole period before Christ was the period of the
reign of sin and death. Though each individual dies on account
of his own sin, and each man's sins are reckoned to him as trans-
gressions, just as Adam's sins to Adam, yet there was a principle
developed and realized in the first sin from the power of which
principle no man could afterwards be free. This principle is
identified with the person of Adam, and thus Adam has a deter-
mining influence over all his posterity, since the principle reached
actuality in him, and operates from him downwards. The question
of Adam's own relation to the principle which in him became as
it were a living personal power, whether the appearance of the
principle is to be regarded as the consequence of an act performed



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188 LIFE AND WOBK OF PAUL, [Paet III.

by him whfle yet in the state of freedom, or whether this act itseK
is to be accounted for by the operation of the principle, this
question lies outside of the apostle's sphere of vision. So far as
the development of his views allows us to judge, there can have
been no question in his mind on either of these two points : that
the principle does not operate without, but only in and through
freewiU, and that it is a power independent of, and standing above,
freewill. We cannot here discuss how the relation to each other
of the two principles represented by Adam and Christ is worked
out further in detail. It is time that we should turn to Judaism
and the relation it bears to Christianity.

The ante-Christian period was the period of the reign of sin ;
and in this description Judaism is included : in Judaism also sin
reigned. Now Judaism is distinguished from heathenism by its law ;
Judaism and the law are so identical to the apostle, that where the
Mosaic law is not in force, he sees nothing more than something
analogous to the law. How then is the reign of sin in Judaism
related to the law ? does the law restrict it or confirm it ? It might
appear hardly necessary to raise the question ; that it needs no
further answer than what the apostle says, Gal iii 19, that the
law was given because of transgressions, i,e. as a barrier against
them. But the apostle makes two seemingly contradictory asser-
tions : that the law conflicts with the reign of sin ; and that the
law has confirmed that reign. He says very clearly, Eom. v. 20,
that the law entered the reign of sin just on purpose to increase
the transgression ; to let sin, as it were, manifest all that it is and
can effect, and work out its reign to the utmost It can scarcely be
wondered at that a seeming paradox like this has frequently proved
a stumbling-block to the apostle's readers. If the law were given
for a certain definite purpose, surely that purpose must have been
the prevention, limitation, and subjection of sin, and not its in-
crease or furtherance. And yet from the apostle's standpoint the
difficulty is very easily solved. The explanation given by Elickert
and others cannot indeed be deemed satisfactory : that the apostle
does not recognise any such thing as chance, that with him every-



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Chap. V.] RELATION OF CHRISTIANITY TO JUDAISM. 189

thing that happens is willed and ordained by God, and especially
everything bearing on the great plan of redemption, so that whe^
he considered that the law had brought about not less sin but more,
and that by this means mankind grew riper and more prepared for
the acceptance of salvation, that grace might find at last her great
opportunity, he could come to no other conclusion than that this
result — the increase of sin through the law which lay before him as
a matter of observation — had been willed by God. But God can
never have willed the increase of sin through the law ; if the law
paved the way for grace through the increase of sin, then God
willed sin or the law only for the sake of grace, and the question
is not removed how, even on this hypothesis that the way to grace
is to be through sin, the increase of sin could be brought about
by the law ? If this be an essential characteristic of the law, then
God could not wiU the law without willing this as a condition
attached to it But how is it that the law, which is essentially
and necessanly the negative of sin, was a positive means for? the
furtherance of sin ?

Here we have simply to remember what the apostle's conception
of sin was, that it is what it is only through the consciousness a
man has of it. The law has increased, intensified, and confirmed
sin, inasmuch as it was through the law, because the law was
there, that sin came into consciousness, and in consciousness sprang
into vital existence and reality. Ava yap vo/jlov, says the apostle.
Bom. iii 20, eiriyvaxn,^ dfjbapria^, and dfiaprla ovk iWoyelrac fitf
^ovTOf; vofiov. Here it might be said that the qualitative side of
sin cannot be all that the apostle has in view ; that he would have
expressed himself differently if all he meant to say was that actions
which are not sinful in themselves receive the character of sinful-
ness only through the law, since one becomes conscious of their
disagreement with the law when they are held up to it ; that he
would have spoken not merely of irapdirrcufia (Rom. v. 20), blit
of erriypaxr^^ dfjLapria^. But a correct analysis of the apostle's
proposition Bia po/iov hriyvcoai^ will show us that this qualitative
relation of the law to sin is not essentially different from the



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190 LIFE AND WORK OF PAUL. [Part ni.

quantitative relation, the irXeovd^eiv to irapdirrcofia ; that the one is
the subjective and the other is the objective expression for the
same quality and operation of the law. Of course the law is not
the immediate cause of sin; it does not itself produce those
actions which are to be regarded as sin ; it only brings out their
disagreement with the law, and shows them to be sinfuL Now,
the more the law becomes the universal and e;cclusive standard for
judging of men's actions, the more deeply it sinks into their con-
sciousness, the more does sin increase in quantity ; sin is heaped
on sin, because in the light of the law there is so much that must
be judged to be sin. In this way the law appears to serve no
other purpose but to multiply men's transgressions and fill up the
measure of their sins. What it produces, however, to this end, is
not sin itself, but the consciousness of sin, and thus if we confine
ourselves to the objective side of the matter, we may say that the
law was added to sin for the purpose of increasing it, or to cause
the process of sin to complete itself in its whole quantitative extent,
by the nf>sjeovdieiv to irapafrrayfia \ and this process is completed
just in this way, that what is already sin in essence becomes sin
to the consciousness. The law is given therefore for the realiza-
tion of sin, only in so far as sin is not sin without the conscious-
ness of it. Here we see in what way it is true that the law is for
sin as well as against it. It is for sin, because sin runs its course
through the law, and not without it ; because without the law
there is no sin, or without the consciousness of sin thete is no sin.
It is against sin because the consciousness of sin is in another aspect .
the necessary condition on which alone sin can be removed. Only
where there is a vivid apprehension of what sin is, is there a
possibility that it will be removed ; the stronger the consciousness
bf sin is, the more is the power of sin broken even in this very
fact Where, the apostle says, Eomr. v. 20, sin has reached its
utmost measure, there grace predominates all the ^more ; that, as
sin has reigned in death (in the element of death), so grace might
reign through righteousness to eternal life. The apostle's view
thus sees in the law only a stadium in the reign of sin, of which



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Chap. V.] RELATION OF CHRISTIANITY TO JUDAISM. 191

he is speaking in the section Eom. v. 12-21. The law must come
in order that the reign of sin may have full swing. Sin and death
are the reigning powers of this period ; but this is not to be taken
objectively : it is only in the subjective sense in which the apostle
says, 1 Cor. xv. 56, that 6 vofio^ is the Svvafii^ vfj^ dfiaprta^.

This is enough to show us that Judaism in the form of the law
does not stand in such a merely negative relation to Christianity as
the apostle's words seem at first sight to imply. Judaism, as law,
is opposed to the grace of Christianity, and thus admits of no other
religious position than that which the apostle describes as arising
out of the impossibility of any S^aiova-ffac cf epytov vofiov. But
Judaism is further the subjective mediation of this opposition ; for
the knowledge of sin is only possible through the law. And this
brings Judaism incomparably nearer Christianity than heathenism;
indeed, the way from heathenism to Christianity lies, properly
speaking, through Judaism, since that knowledge of sin, which is
the indispensable and only preparation for the reception of grace,
can only come fipom the law. But the relation of Judaism, or the
Old Testament dispensation, to Christianity is more than this : not
only is it in virtue of the law a preparatory mediating and neces-
sary stage : the Old Testament and the New are related to each
other as promise and fulfilment ; the Old Testament contains ideally
what is realized in Christianity. The most essential, the central
point in Christianity, justification by faith, as opposed to justification
by the works of the law, is prefigured in the Old Testament The
faith of Abraham is essentially the same thing as the justifying
faith of the Christian. Judaism, or the Old Testament, is not,
therefore, to be regarded in the narrower sense in which it is equally
with heathenism a particular form of religion, and stands in a
negative relation to Christianity. It is something more than this ;
it rests on a foundation from which it looks beyond everything par-
ticular, and contains the same universality that is characteristic of
Christianity. This is what the apostle means when he calls justi-
fication by faith a law, a vofio^ tt/otco)?. Here, from what is
specific in the law, he abstracts this as its essence, as the proper



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192 LIFE AND WORK OF PAUL. [Part III.

conception of it, that it is more than anything else a religious
norm for the determination of the relation subsisting between Grod
and man. Thus the law, as the law of works, is only the particular
of that universal which is present even in this instance, and which
is differentiated to one or other of two modes, the vofio^ epyoav or
the vofio^ 7rMrT6Q)9. And as the particular cannot be thought here
without the general, which it presupposes, so, as the apostle says
in the same connexion, the God of Judaism is not only the God of
the Jews, but also of the Gentiles ; he is God absolutely, and as
such, as the one Absolute, he must set up one universal norm of
justification, and both for circumcision and uncircumcision this
can be nothing else than justification by faith. How can it then
be said that the law is made void through faith, when justification
by faith simply realizes that which the law contains already as its
universal, as the conception breaking through the particular form ?
With this the apostle passes on to his discussion of the faith of
Abraham, Bom. iv, 1 sqq} ; and shows that in Abraham's faith in
the Divine promise there was that very imputation of faith as
righteousness which belongs to the Christian idea of justification.
Abraham's faith was imputed unto him, and that while he was
yet uncircumcised ; circumcision was by no means the reason of
this imputation, but only a consequence of it He received cir-
cumcision merely as a sign of that justification by faith which he
had received while yet uncircumcised ; so that he might be a father
of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised, and a
father of the circumcision to them who are not of the circumcision
only, but who also walk in the steps of that faith of our father
Abraham, which he had being yet uncircumcised, i,e, to those who,
although circumcised, yet do not find the essence and the ground
of justification in circumcision, but in faith, and so do not seek to

^ I take the passage, Horn. iv. 1, thus : If then the law itself consists essen-
tially of faith, and everything depends on faith, what shall we say that Abraham,
our father, gained by circomcision (jcarA <rdpKa can only refer to circumcision,
even though the expression is a general one) ? He gained nothing by it, as little
as by other works of this kind which belong to the same category with circum-
cision.



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Chap. V.] RELATION OF CHRiaTIANITY TO JUDAISM. 193

be justified by the law, but only by faitL The apostle now goes
on to show how little the law (that is, in its particular and specific
sense) has to do with the promise which was given to Abraham in
consequence of his faith. The promise given to Abraham or his
posterity was the possession of the world. This possession, how-
ever, was to be theirs not through the law, but through the right-
eousness of fiedtL Indeed, from the nature of the case it could
not be otherwise ; for if they had been to receive it in the way of
the law, through the keeping of the law, then faith would have
been void and the promise made of none effect. For the law
works wrath, ix. the opposite of that disposition from which the
promise comes — ^law and sin being correlative ideas, so that where
there is no law there is no transgression, but where there is law
there is also sin and punishment, and the punitive displeasure of
God. Since, then, the law had nothing to do with this matter, they
were to receive the possession not in the way of the law, but in
the way of faith, that they might receive it in accordance with grace,
in order that the promise might be valid for all posterity, not only
for the posterity from the law, but also for those from the faith of
Abraham, who is the father of us all (as it is written : I have made
thee the father of many nations) before God, in whom he believed,
as in him who makes the dead to live and calls into existence the
things that are not Thus faith showed itself even in Abraham to
be the principle through which alone man can arrive at a saving
relation towards God. As Abraham believed God, and his fiedth
was reckoned to him for righteousness, so do Christians now believe,
and as believers they are the children of Abraham, for it was in
respect that God justifies the nations by faith, that the Scripture
promised Abraham that all nations should be blessed in him,
Gal iii 6. So far then is the Christian justification by faith, as
opposed to the law, from being an encroachment on the religion of
the Old Testament, that on the contrary it merely carries out what
the Old Testament itself declares with regard to the law ; it fulfils
a prophecy which was given before the law, and the superiority of
which to the l&w cannot possibly be questioned. The apostle



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194 LIFE AND WORK OF PAUL. [Part III.

shows, GraL iii. 15, that this is the true position of the law, that
the place it occupied in the organism of the Old Testament religion
was only a subordinate one, and that it stands as far below Chris-
tianity as below the promise given to Abraham, which simply pre-
figured that which was to arrive at full maturity in Christianity.
To his argument in this passage he prefixes the following principle
as a truth universally recognised : — "A man's testament, when it is
legally executed and ratified, no one sets aside nor adds to it, nor
alters anything in it by subsequent modification. If then even a
man's testament, when properly confirmed, is beyond the power of
any one to set aside, or modify, still less can this take place in the
case of a divine testament*' This major, containing the universal,
is now followed in the apostle's argument by the particularizing
minor. " Now in the promise made to Abraham in respect of his
(Pirepfia there is a distinct divine disposition ; it is defined in such
a way that it can only point to Christ, can only be realized in him.
Thus (this is the conclusion) the disposition made by God, or the
promise given by him to Abraham, can by nothing be set aside or
made invalid ; it must be fulfilled in Christ to whom it refers."
Owing to the intervention of the explanation about the oTrepfia the
apostle intimates his conclusion somewhat loosely, with the phrase,
verse 17, tovto Be Xeyw, by this I mean, etc. If the divine dispo-
sition cannot be made void at all, then it cannot be made void by
the law. The discussion turns on the law ; what is to be proved
is that the law cannot interfere with the continued validity of the
Btad-qsen ^^ questioa A disposition having reference to Christ and
already confirmed by God cannot possibly be invalidated by the
law which was not given tiU 4S0 years afterwards, so that the
promise should become of none effect. For the promise would be
made of none effect : for though the law also promises a blessing,
so that those who keep the law may expect an inheritance (the
K\7)povofiUy blessedness, as the reward and fruit of the fulfilment
of the law : as even in the Pentateuch the possession and con-
tinuous inheritance of the land of Canaan is coupled with the con-
dition of keeping the law), yet this Kkrjpovofila or inheritance is



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Chap. V.] RELATION OF CHRISTIANITY TO JUDAISM. 195

in form a totally different one. If the kkrjpovofila comes from the
law, it is conditioned by the keeping of the law, and can only be
realized in proportion as the law is actually kept ; now as the law
is always kept so very imperfectly, the KKripovofila Ik vo/iov is as
good as none at all ; while, on the other hand, if salvation be the
result simply of the promise, then it is entirely free, bound to no
limit or condition : it is an affair of grace alone. And this was the
manner of the salvation which God promised to Abraham : Bt
eirayyeXuL^ Kexapurrcu, verse 18. And if this be so, if everything
depends on that BiaOi^Kfj, and on it alone, on the promise given to
Abraham, and if the law is to be left out of consideration altogether
by virtue of this promise, then what is to be said of the law, — ^what
importance attaches to it ? The apostle had to meet this question
here : he could not rest satisfied with the merely negative relation
of the law to the promise ; it was necessary for him to say some-
thing positive about it, if his utterances were not to lead to the
conclusion that the law had been without purpose or significance.
But the answer he returns to the question allows the law only a
very subordinate function. The significance ascribed to the law
is only intermediate, secondary, provisional : it was added, he says,
T&v irapa^aaewv xapiv. It was given after the promise had been



Online LibraryFerdinand Christian BaurPaul, the apostle of Jesus Christ: his life and work, his epistles ..., Volume 2 → online text (page 19 of 35)