Man and Sin by Piet Schoonenberg (1964) 2.3 BL

[‘The Old Testament image of ‘the bones’, the scaffolding, always longing to stand before the Lord, like consciencefree’, had been emptied by the very religion that preached God’s Covenant.

When Paul decried the ‘sins of the flesh’, he could, just as well, have called them ‘sins of the bones’.

If the bones cannot stand before the Lord, then nothing, in humans, stands firm.]


Man and Sin by Piet Schoonenberg (1964) 2.3 BK

Summary of text [comment] page 81

[Allow me to recap the previous blogs.

Schoonenberg did not see that Paul’s parole ‘flesh’ veiled the corruption of the Old Testament term ‘flesh and bones’.

Once one sees this option, then the enumeration of spiritual sins as ‘carnal’ makes perfect sense.

In addition, Schoonenberg did not conceive of the idea that Paul wrote at a time when language was changing ordination. The entire system of differences was in flux. Such a concept simply had not impacted Holland in the early 1960s.

‘Paul’s use of the term ‘flesh’‘ and ‘Christianity’s plain interpretation of Paul’s words’, thus constituted a prophecy; a truth awaiting a moment of surprise, when the mythos opens and the logos is revealed.]


Man and Sin by Piet Schoonenberg (1964) 2.3 BJ

Summary of text [comment] page 81

[Schoonenberg was not engaged in a creative enterprise. He earnestly took Paul at his word, without suspecting that words can radically change over time.

Schoonenberg understood that Paul presented the ‘flesh’ and the ‘carnal’ as thoroughly evil, unable to understand God’s mysteries, and ruled by sin.

Schoonenberg next raised the topics of concupiscence and bondage.]


Man and Sin by Piet Schoonenberg (1964) 2.3 BI

Summary of text [comment] page 81

Schoonenberg noted that Paul wrote, “We know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin.”

He contrasted the I that agrees with the law with the I that is sold to sin.

Even though both ‘I’s refer to the same person, Paul rejects the latter as not I but the sin that dwells in me (Romans 7:20).

[This logic underlies the portrayal, in An Archaeology of the Fall, of the Genesis serpent acting as the projection of Eve’s own unconscious thoughts.]


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

[Paul was not a man given to over-indulgence of the appetites. He did not sell his flesh into bondage for material or sensual pleasure. He was a man given to righteousness.

So what did he do?

He sold his bones into bondage for an immaterial pleasure.

He sold his bones, which, in the Old Testament, long to stand before the Lord in righteousness, to a thinkgroup and consciencelacking that had already taken the metaphor and turned it into an instrument for propaganda.

The Pharisees and the Sadducees were all about ritual demands.

They were the “bones” that held Israel together. They were “bloody” servants of ‘the object that brings all subjects into organization’.]


Man and Sin by Piet Schoonenberg (1964) 2.3 BG

[Wilfred Cantwell Smith showed how the word ‘religion’ veils its history.

Smith wanted get rid of the word ‘religion’ in order to bury its history.


The diverse flows of the Progressive movement had secured sovereign power. They had become (infra)sovereign religions. Since each party within the movement defined itself as ‘not religious’, despite its cult status, the term ‘religion’ became a liability.

Smith’s book is a testimony. The Progressives established their sovereign religion in the 1960s. This marks the time when the Federal Government of America became a sovereign religion.]


Man and Sin by Piet Schoonenberg (1964) 2.3 BF-1

[Schoonenberg’s off-hand remark also places Schoonenberg as author into a historical context. His translated book, Man and Sin: A Theological View, was published by University of Notre Dame Press in 1965.

Writing in the 1960’s, Schoonenberg stood on the brink of postmodernism.

Wilfred Cantwell Smith’s book, The Meaning and End of ‘Religion’, was published by Macmillan Press in 1962. Smith’s book detailed how the word ‘religion’ changed meaning over the past several centuries. Smith’s book described the historic alteration of one element of a symbolic order (a system of differences). His work implies that the entire system of differences changes.]


Man and Sin by Piet Schoonenberg (1964) 2.3 BE

Summary of text [comment] page 81

[With the concept of the historic twisting of the language in mind, I can appreciate Paul’s list of spiritual sins as ‘sins of the flesh and bones’.

In other words, Paul’s list is not as some quaint mis-designation, where ‘sins of the bones’ are misidentified as ‘sins of the flesh’. It is a flash of intuitive brilliance.

Paul compressed the Old Testament image of ‘flesh versus bones’, as corrupted by the (infra)sovereign religions of the ruling elites of Israel, into a contrast between ‘flesh’ and ‘spirit’.

St. Paul struggled for expression in a language completely corrupted by the power-serving propaganda of (infra)sovereign religions.]