Man and Sin by Piet Schoonenberg (1964) 2.3 A-2

[How does the term, our powerlessness for the good, summarize the previous discussion on the sequels to sin?

Our inability to love is a sequel to sin. Its main effect is to generate a feedback loop where sinful acts are contextualized by narrow mindedness and denial. Sinful acts situate feelings of arrogance and self-indulgence, self-centeredness and selfishness.

We are powerless to stop the feedback loop once it starts, simply because we have no contradicting contexts. We are powerless to do good.

Also, punishment is a sequel to sin. Even though one denies the consequences, consequences occur. This aspect of the feedback loop reinforces the idea that ‘sin itself becomes its punishment’.]


Man and Sin by Piet Schoonenberg (1964) 2.2 EM

Summary of text [comment] pages 78 and 79

[So let me return to that quote. “By his nature, man is for himself a chaotic datum in need of integration through love.”

For the intersecting nested forms, the divine call to love invokes an openness to thinkdivine, an honesty that admits lawessential, an integrity to consciencefree and an awareness of one’s dispositions.]


Man and Sin by Piet Schoonenberg (1964) 2.2 EL

Summary of text [comment] pages 78 and 79

[What are some consequences for the social system?

The inability to love produces failure through a feedback mechanism that dissipates potential energy rather than coupling it to constructive purpose.

In effect, the ‘inability to love’ is parasitic. Like all parasitic structures, the energy that it uses to sustain itself reduces the energy available to others in the system.

The entire spontaneous order becomes impoverished.]


Man and Sin by Piet Schoonenberg (1964) 2.2 EK

Summary of text [comment] pages 78 and 79

[At the end of section 2.2 ( The Inability to Love), Schoonenberg described a failure to integrate, to achieve harmony, to order ourselves, and to find goodness.

Schoonenberg did not describe a positive feedback loop where sinful acts are contextualized through perverse justifications (thinkgroup) and the denial of consequences (lawdenial). Nor did he describe sinful acts situating a narrowing band of attitudes (consciencelacking) and fixations (dispositions).

In sin, the individual’s potential, the range of possibilities inherent in conscience and dispositions, shrinks. Human recognition, the openness of one’s morality and the honest assessment of outcomes, constricts.

The sinner exhibits narrow-mindedness and arrogance, the foundations of bigotry and hubris. The sinner acts like an elitist.]


Man and Sin by Piet Schoonenberg (1964) 2.2 EJ

[In the pursuit of partial goods, denying the consequences becomes part of the game of establishing harmonyapparent.

Lawessential falls under the spell of lawdenial, a network of excuses that brings sinful actions into relation with a narrowing range of attitudes and emotional needs.

Lawdenial characterizes sovereign religions.

So ironically, some sort of harmony is achieved by sin.

However, harmonyapparent includes deception as an essential part of its functioning.

Harmonyapparent integrates lawdenial.

Harmonyapparent comes at the expense of harmonyfull.]


Man and Sin by Piet Schoonenberg (1964) 2.2 EI-1

Summary of text [comment] page 79

[Does integration also happen when think is qualified by group and conscience is qualified by lacking (freedom)?

The inability to love associated with thinkgroup and consciencelacking may achieve an apparent harmony (in contrast to the fullness of true harmony).

The lack of freedom of conscience is compensated by a gain of pleasure or lack of pain. Pleasure and comfort plus consciencelacking are situated by sinful acts. The sinful acts are then contextualized by thinkgroup. They are labeled as “good”.]


Man and Sin by Piet Schoonenberg (1964) 2.2 EH

[This raises a question: What happens to an intersection when the contradictions that sustain it are resolved?

As long as contradictions between the two actualities are not resolved, the intersection exists. The single actuality of ‘what is virtue and what is sin’ exists as long as human thought and human action contains contradictions that undermine an interscope.

As these contradictions are resolved ‘what is good and what is bad’ no longer stands as a single actuality composed of a pair of contradictory actualities.

The intersection resolves, turning back into an interscope.

But now, the person is either totally good or totally evil.]