Catholic view of Purgatory ... Is it real?

jroberts's picture

dave said: And, there is

dave said:
And, there is nothing I said that meant he cares for what we “pick up in the marketplace.” I said the word means to purchase “as if out of a marketplace.” A great example I heard once was thinking of going back to the 1800’s and paying the price for a slave and setting him free. It’s a very similar concept. You paid the price and can do with him whatever you wish, so you set him free. As with Christ, he purchased us, and that purchase was to pay the price for all of our sins to set us free

I reply:
Well, yeah, that's how it starts. But suppose the one who bought the slave wanted to make him or her an heir? We can, in fact, look at the actual history of freed slaves, who were only freed, and not made heirs. The result is going on 140 years of free poverty and alienation from the rest of Southern culture (I'm from South Carolina, I know). Yankees freed the slaves, but they didn't adopt them. Yankees declared the slaves free, but they only declared it, they didn't actually free them from poverty and alienation. You can drive through pretty much any town in South Carolina and see this for yourself.

And you definitely can pay too much attention to redemption if it's at the expense of talking about the rest of salvation.

Your first 1 John reference does you in. He gave us the right to become children of God. The second one is last clear, as the Bible is not always particularly clear about when it's talking in the already-but-not-yet sense.

As for what Scripture says specifically. First, look at creation. God creates us in His image. And how's he do that, through His Word. (it's through His Word by virtue of Him saying it). What happened in the fall? That image is tarnished. Rather than reflecting the Image of God, man now seeks to hide from God. Man no longer walks with him, man is expelled from the paradise God created for him. That is, after Adam, we stop being/becoming what it is God created us to be. (I don't like prooftexting, and I'm assuming you're familiar enough with it that I don't need to cite every verse).

Now, to connect that to the issue at hand. The idea behind satisfaction theory is that we owed God something that only Christ could pay. What did we owe? Look again at the account of creation - God created us in His Image, we owe Him reflecting His Image. That's what scripture says God created us for, that's what we owe Him.

Let's look at Christ's parables. First, the one about the prodigal son. Do I even need to explain that? The son came back looking for mere redemption and forgiveness and was instead restored to sonship. The parable of the mustard seed? In ancient philosophy, a seed contains in it the thing it is to become; in a sense, it really is the thing that it is to become. The kingdom of God is like a seed. It starts out small, and really becomes a big tree/shrub. Look at the sermon on the Mount or on the Plain. What sort of person will be produced by following that sermon? Someone who happens to be a lot like Jesus, a lot like the very Word of God through whom we were created.

As for muddying-up. Emphasizing scripture is hardly muddying up. Falling into certain interpretive traps does, for instance, seeing only satisfaction and imputed justification without seeing deification.

Your next two sections are really about imputed justification, so I'll deal with them together. If all God wanted to do was to call us righteous, though we are sinner, then why even bother with Christ? Why the crucifixion? Why the parables and the transfiguration and the Eucharist and the annointing by the (maybe) prostitute and the baptism and the star at the nativity, etc.? God is omnipotent, if God doesn't want our participation in Grace, then nothing stops Him from just zapping us with it anyway. I don't mean to say that it isn't grace that does it, but only that we have to actively participate in it. I understand the connection between Christ's Incarnation, Life, Crucifixion, and Resurrection and Deification, but I don't see how they relate to God just willy-nilly calling us righteous. Why do that to His Son if He's just going to declare us as righteous?

Mere imputation of righteousness? Again, what do you think Christ was doing with the sermon on the Mount? Why did he say "Be perfect as your Father is perfect"? Why did Paul beat his body and make it a slave to himself, or exhort us to pray for the gifts/fruits of the spirit, etc., if nothing we do or participate in contributes to what God is doing to us?

Perhaps we really just need a soteriology thread.




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