Lack of personal, social and cosmic integration: original sin from an eschatological perspective
Novello, Henry Leonard
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This essay critically examines traditional formulations of the doctrine of original sin in Western theology and the contemporary “situationist” and “personalist” reformulations of the doctrine in the search for an adequate understanding of original sin that acknowledges both the evolutionary view of the world and Jesus Christ risen as the new “emergent whole” in evolutionary history. The negative portrayal of original sin as a situational privation of sanctifying grace and the positive portrayal of original sin as rebellion against God are both held to be valid and complementary, but it is argued that only a thoroughly eschatological perspective can illuminate the state of the human condition which is destined for a supernatural end in the Risen One. The essay concludes with the proposition that original sin is best thought of in terms of the lack of personal, social and cosmic integration that humans invariably experience in this life, and that the person of the risen Christ saves us from this complex state of privation by elevating us to a “higher nature” that represents a “new creation”.