Makes Sense to Me

Here is a hypothesis or suspicion, not a conclusion, much less a conviction:

The notion that God rewards what we do with what we have, and the notion that we are purely passive in salvation are not, as they appear, extreme opposites, but are two positions within the same framework.

From one end: The notion that we can do something of our own clearly implies that we have some powers of action that are not given, that are not already the result of God’s work in us. The notion that we can do something of our own rests on a faulty doctrine of creation.

But, on the other hand, so does the opposite notion, that we are wholly passive; or rather the whole notion of a sharp dichotomy of active and passive rests on a faulty doctrine of creation. At least, this is the subtle argument of Michael Hanby in his treatment of the Pelagian controversy (in Augustine and Modernity). Hanby characterizes the conflict between Augustine and the Pelagians as cosmological and Trinitarian, not merely soteriological, and argues that “Pelagianism institutes a rupture in [Augustine’s] christological and trinitarian economy, and, insofar as it determines the direction of subsequent Christian thought, creates possibilities for human nature ‘outside’ the Trinity and the mediation of Christ.”

Read the whole post here. This is something that I have thought about before, but I would like to ponder it a bit more to explore its implications.

About Alastair Roberts

Alastair Roberts (PhD, Durham University) writes in the areas of biblical theology and ethics, but frequently trespasses beyond these bounds. He participates in the weekly Mere Fidelity podcast, blogs at Alastair’s Adversaria, and tweets at @zugzwanged.
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