Man and Sin by Piet Schoonenberg (1964) 1.7BX

[Thinkgroups do not always seek sovereign power.

When they do, thinkgroup fits this image of “idolatry”.

“The object that brings the person into organization” may become an “idol”.

Ambitious institutions, inspired by their own righteousness, will form alliances in order to attain sovereign power.

These alliances can turn deadly. Each organization wants sovereign power for its own organizational goals. Furthermore, the attainment of sovereign power incites competition for positional power within institutions.

The sovereign cannot contain the infighting “among (infra)sovereign religions” because “these fighting bands have taken over sovereign power”.

In this manner, idolatry eventually leads to sins of ‘man’ against ‘man’.]


Man and Sin by Piet Schoonenberg (1964) 1.7BW

Summary of text [comment] page 60

In both the Old and New Testaments, sins are ascribed to idolatry. “Idolatry” defines “a power in its own right”. The sinner is a slave to this power.

Sin breeds sin. “Sins against God” lead to “sins of ‘man’ against ‘man'”.

The reverse also holds.


Man and Sin by Piet Schoonenberg (1964) 1.7BV

Summary of text [comment] page 60

‘Man’ is punished by having to live with ‘his’ own sin. The sinner faces anxiety, engenders wrath, condemns ‘himself’, magnifies ‘his’ misfortunes, and suffers impurity. The sinner trusts in soulless idols. The sinner expects no harm from false oaths (Wisdom 14:23-9).


Man and Sin by Piet Schoonenberg (1964) 1.7BU

Summary of text [comment] pages 58 and 59

In the Scriptures, sin and death unite. Israel’s unfaithfulness to Yahweh joined military catastrophe.

Virtue and life unite. “The people’s devotion to Yahweh” inspired “the King of Persia to act as an instrument of God’s ordination”.

In the Scriptures, the image of “a God who punishes with death” was refined by a growing awareness that sin punishes itself. A man reaps what he sows (Hos 10:13, Job 2:8, Prov. 20:24 and 22:8). The retribution is contained within the sin itself. The books of Wisdom and Proverbs both express this. Sinners ally themselves with death.


Man and Sin by Piet Schoonenberg (1964) 1.7BT

Summary of text [comment] pages 57 and 58

The third question that Schoonenberg addressed is:

What do we mean when we say that God punishes sin?

In the Old Testament, God’s mercy comes after God’s punishment.

What was this punishment?

Sometimes, it was death. The sons of Levi killed the worshipers of the golden calf, for example.

There are many Old Testament examples of people who were suddenly struck dead for various transgressions. Sometimes, it was individuals. Sometimes, it was whole groups. Even in the New Testament, the death of Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5:1-11) reminds us of the connection between sin and death.

The connection between sin and death became a Scriptural theme.


Man and Sin by Piet Schoonenberg (1964) 1.7BR

Summary of text [comment] page 56

Why, if evil is an unavoidable byproduct of becoming, has God willed any creation at all? If God plans to wipe every tear away at the end, why not prevent the tears in the first place?

[This sounds like the utopianism of the Progressives, no?

If capitalism leads to an unavoidable byproduct (of some succeeding more than others), then why have a marketplace at all?

The answer has to be that there are no goods without a marketplace.

The marketplace is the site of exchange of both goods and information.

Does “the success of some” indicate “the failure of all others”?

Not in a spontaneous order.]


Man and Sin by Piet Schoonenberg (1964) 1.7BQ

Summary of text [comment] page 56

The answer posed by God in the Story of Job was provisional.

The answer was realized through Jesus.

Christ transforms evil into a greater good.

[But, many sinners will say, as Cain did in An Archaeology of the Fall, “not for me”.

If “not for me”, then what good is “the entire spontaneous order that is our Lebenswelt”?

The answer is that “the good is for you”, but “it is not what you want it to be”.

This answer gets supercharged through Girard’s mimetic mechanisms.]