Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Tillich: turning away from God

Wednesday, August 27, 2014
    Feast of Monica, Mother of Augustine of Hippo, 387
    As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient.
    —Ephesians 2:1-2 (NIV)
    Augustine shows clearly the religious character of sin. Sin for him is not a moral failure; it is not even disobedience. Disobedience is a consequence but not the cause of sin. The cause is turning away from God, from God as the highest good, as the love with which God loves Himself through us. For this reason, since sin has this character—if you say “sins,” it is easily dissolved into moral sins; but sin is first of all basically the power of turning away from God. For this very reason, no moral remedy is possible. Only one remedy is adequate—return to God. But this of course is possible only in the power of God, and this power is lost. This is the state of man under the conditions of existence.
    ... Paul Tillich (1886-1965), A History of Christian Thought, London: SCM, 1968, p. 126 (see the book)
    See also Eph. 2:1-2; 1 Sam. 15:11; 1 Kings 11:9; Ps. 53:3; Jer. 8:4-5; Amos 4:6-11; Rom. 3:12
Quiet time reflection:
    Lord, by Your power alone, Your people return to You.
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