Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Death as Restriction of Sin

We live in a world where death is not talked about. We know it exists, but we prefer to stay silent on this topic. However, it is part of life. How does Christianity understand this? There are many Church Fathers who have given their own exegeses on death. Fr John Behr gives an interesting explanation, of how death is seen as a restriction of sin, basing it, of course, on Tradition and Scripture. He believes that

‘Death plays a further role in this education economy of God, as it is also the means of limiting the reign of sin. If death has come into the world as a result of sin (Rom 5.12), in reverse, death can also be seen as a restriction of sin: death cuts sin short, lest sin be immortal and as such unable to be healed. Viewed in this way, death can be seen not so much as an arbitrary penalty imposed for disobedience, nor as a consequence of human transgression – their turning away from the Source of life and so becoming mortal – but as a limitation on sin and death itself. As such, subjection to death can be seen as an act of mercy: it puts an end to sin through the resolution of man into the earth.’[1]

[1] Behr, John, The Mystery of Christ, Life in Death, (Crestwood, New York, St Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 2006), p.104.

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