Saturday, February 09, 2008

"We are by nature sinful and unclean": part 2

A few days back, I talked a bit about the problem with the liturgy's confession of sins (in several of the LSB orders) in which we confess that "we are by nature sinful and unclean," and how this is a Christological problem. That is, if the essence of humanity involves sin, then either Christ is a sinner, or He is not God. In continuing my reading of St. Anselm's Cur Deus Homo ("Why God Became Man") and I found this passage (from section 11 of the second book") to be helpful about this discussion:

"I do not think mortality inheres in the
essential nature of man, but only as corrupted. Since,
had man never sinned, and had his immortality been
unchangeably confirmed, he would have been as really
man ; and, when the dying rise again, incorruptible,
they will no less be really men. For, if mortality was
an essential attribute of human nature, then he who
was immortal could not be man. Wherefore, neither
corruption nor incorruption belong essentially to hu
man nature, for neither makes nor destroys a man ;
but happiness accrues to him from the one, and misery
from the other. But since all men die, mortality is
included in the definition of man, as given by philos
ophers, for they have never even believed in the pos
sibility of man s being immortal in all respects. And
so it is not enough to prove that that man ought to be
subject to death, for us to say that he will be in all
respects a man."

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