Thoughts on Man and Sin by Piet Schoonenberg (1964) 1.2E1

Text (pages 10-12) [comments in square brackets]

[Paul argued that “sin” preceded “transgression of the Law”.

At the same time, the Law made “sin”, “the transgression of the Law”, possible by serving as a site for “sin” to fixate.

If “sin” is “disordination”, (where did Schoonenberg get that word?) then “sin misaligns with the Law”, resulting in an increase in certain types of transgressions.  The increase may steamroll as the other sins – other “ways of disordination” – join the prevailing disordination.

In short, sin misuses the Law in order to shape its transgressions.

One shape coordinates with other shapes.

A disordination “in the wind” becomes the Zeitgeist.

Then we cry to God for the grace to let the air out of the spirit of the times.]


Thoughts on Man and Sin by Piet Schoonenberg (1964) 1.2D3

[By the time that Jesus was born, the Pharisees’, Sadducees’, and Scribes’ sovereigninfra was as disempowering of the subject as the kings of the first Temple.

The disciples writing the NT did not see “sin” as “standing in opposition to the Law” as much as “opposition to God’s grace”.  This means more than the formula that God’s grace comes from accepting Christ [thinkdivine] and speaks to the heart [consciencefree = independent].  Grace is God’s answer to the public humiliation that comes from accusations from others [projections of thinkanti-object].


Thoughts on Man and Sin by Piet Schoonenberg (1964) 1.2D2

[“Idolatry” matches “thinkgroup“.  “Sinful attitudes” matches “consciencelacking“.  The prophets stood in the place of the suprasovereign religion.   They placed the sovereigninfra into context.  They criticized thinkpro-object and were accused of thinkanti-object.

However, the prophets of old turned out to be correct.  Their correct predictions were thus recorded, incorporated into the Torah, when the exiles returned.  On this slippery foundation, the Pharisees, Sadducees and Scribes stood.]


Thoughts on Man and Sin by Piet Schoonenberg (1964) 1.2D1

Text (pages 10-12) [comments in square brackets]

The OT prophets challenged an empowered cult.

[This means that an infrasovereign religion, a particular type of thinkgroup, had gained sovereign power and divided into thinkpro-object and thinkanti-object.  The sovereigninfra promoted thinkpro-object.]

The prophets identified “idolatry” as “the root of all sin” and “Yahweh” as “the foundation of the morally good attitude of man”.

The prophets made explicit the complementarity of idolatrous thinking and sinful attitudes.]


Thoughts on Man and Sin by Piet Schoonenberg (1964) 1.2C2

[The Pharisees, Sadducees and Scribes were as close to sovereign power as any non-Roman could get in the Roman Empire.

Their sovereigninfra focused on “knowing how to fulfill the letter of the covenant”, thus generating two (vertical intersecting) nested forms headed by thinklaw-filled3 and thinkunlawful3.

The normal context of thinkunlawful3 was projected onto almost everyone who was not a member or a supporter.  Political resistance was interpreted as disobedience to the Laws of Moses.  Political resistors were tagged as holding “unlawful views”; that is, thinkunlawful3; and having a “bad conscience”; that is, a conscienceunlawful1.

The accusers, the Pharisees, Sadducees and Scribes, could not be accused.  They were “golden calves” in contrast to the “scapegoated” prophets.  Sovereign power was used by the Pharisees to close the language, so that everything could be defined as either “lawful” or “unlawful”.  As soon as any debate was phrased in the language of the Pharisees, the debate was over.

The prophets had to step out of the established framework.  They had to withdraw.  They went into the desert.

Both John the Baptist and Jesus went into the desert.  John baptized in the wilderness.  Jesus taught in parables.  Both stepped out of the totalizing paradigm of the sovereigninfra religion of the Second Temple.]


Thoughts on Man and Sin by Piet Schoonenberg (1964) 1.2C1

Comments on page 7 is in brackets.

[Infrasovereign religions are often insistent because they (sometimes unconsciously, sometimes consciously) aim to impose their (infrasovereign) religion universally through the use of sovereign power.

When this happens, the infra-sovereign religious thinkgroup3 usurps the position of thinkdivine3 and projects a malign thinkantigroup3 nested form (complete with its own forms of “sinanti-group2” and consciencelacking_pro-object1) onto whoever opposes them – or – whoever even appears to oppose them.

The world closes as these two ways of thought (thinkpro-object and projected thinkanti-object) come to dominate every discourse.  At this point, the infrasovereign religion becomes a sovereigninfra (or an (infra)sovereign) religion.]


Thoughts on Man and Sin by Piet Schoonenberg (1964) 1.2B2

[The latest development, God in relation to a sovereign, points to another criteria that defines “religion” (in addition to “having the structure of a relation between thinkgroup3 and thinkdivine3 along the moral religious axis of the intersecting nested forms”): All religions relate to sovereign power.

Religions relate to sovereign power as a nested form:

normal context3(actuality or situation2(potential or possibility1).

Let me start with the sovereign.  The sovereign claims the exclusive use of “power”, that is, “violence”.   “Violence” belongs to the realm of actuality2.

What about religion?  The nested form predicts two types of religion, suprasovereign3 and infrasovereign1.  That is:

religionsuprasovereign3( sovereign2( religioninfrasovereign1)

Suprasovereign religions put the exercise of sovereign power into context.  In a sense, any particular sovereign is either justified or not justified by the Other: thinkdivine.  This stance matches the ancient prophets of Israel.

“Religionsuprasovereign3” brings “sovereign2” into relation with “the possibilities inherent in religionsinfrasovereign1“.

Through “religionsuprasovereign3“,”sovereign2” emerges from “the possibilities inherent in religionsinfrasovereign1“.

Infrasovereign religions are situated through the exercise and control of sovereign power.   In a sense, any particular “sovereign2” is always being either subverted or supported by “infrasovereign Others: thinkgroups”.

Even more, some infrasovereign religions seeks to attain sovereign power in order to establish its “object” as “law”.  This stance matches the Sadducees at the time of Christ.]


Thoughts on Man and Sin by Piet Schoonenberg (1964) 1.2B1

Comments on page 7 is in brackets.

[In many ways, the change from a legal perspective (obey these commandments) to a personal perspective (circumcise your heart), fleshes out awareness of the complexity of religion.

Thinkdivine3 developed, in the traditions of Abraham, then Moses, then David, from an almost personal promise, to a God in a world filled with gods, to a God in relation to a sovereign.

Conscience, too, developed from a personal belief in the “One Who Promised”, to the dedicated fulfillment of the Laws of Moses, to a battle between sovereign and subject on the meaning of the Law.]


Thoughts on Man and Sin by Piet Schoonenberg (1964) 1.2A

I look at the text (page 7 on).

Section 2 of Chapter 1 is titled “Sin is against God Himself”.

The Old Testament says as much.  The OT emphasizes the Law given to the children of Abraham.  The OT idea of “sin” is “going against [thinkdivine3]”.  The Greek idea of “sin” as “going against the essential laws of nature [or lawessential3] is not apparent.

At first, the OT view of the Law did not entail a personal relation between human and God.  The Law was coupled to the covenant.  The covenant was with the people of Israel.

For the prophets, disobedience to the Law was treated as if the sinner abused her, I mean, ‘his’ relation to God.  God’s laws could be twisted and rejected.  God’s own people could call the evil, “good”, and the good, “evil”.  Some did not bow to Yahweh.  Some rejected the yoke of Yahweh’s commandments, displaying a hardened heart.

For the prophets, the Law entailed a relation between person and God.


Thoughts on Man and Sin by Piet Schoonenberg (1964) 1.1J2

[Jesus pulled the rug out from under the Temple.

The Temple could be described as “the object that brought individuals into organization”.  That object was “fulfilling God’s covenant”.  That object defined the difference between thinklawful and (projections of) thinkunlawful.

The scribes and the Pharisees knew how to fulfill the covenant.  Everyone else did not.  Of course, the latter were pathetic morons, fearing accusation, even though they strove to be lawful.  These fools may have known, at some level, that they would be accused of thinkunlawful even though they were innocent.  The “golden calves” accused them of “intentionally not fulfilling the letter of the law”.  In actuality, they were “unintentionally not fulfilling thinklawful’s convoluted interpretation of the law”.

If you understand that, then you can see why these common folk recognized Jesus, the Son of Man, as the Christ.  Like Jesus, they stood condemned even while trying to conform to the Law.

This is the structure of all (infra)sovereign religions.

Christ speaks to every one under the rule of sovereigninfra.  So did the prophets before him.]