It's been a few days since I've blogged (posted or read). We're in the midst of Missions Conference and I'm running point for our pastoral staff here. Therefore, it's been absorbing most of my time. However, here's the my latest heresy from Senior Sem:
1. Peccability/Impeccability – It is necessary to clearly articulate that the discussion here revolves around Jesus ability to sin and not whether or not He actually sinned. All orthodox theologians maintain that Jesus never sinned - see 2 Corinthians 5:21 and Hebrews 4:15 cited above. The argument I have most frequently heard advanced is in favor of impeccability and normally proceeds along the following syllogistic lines: 1) Jesus is God 2) God cannot sin 3) Therefore, Jesus could not have sinned. Premise one is indisputable for all orthodox theologians. Premise two is as well, and is typically connected to James 1:13 Let no one say when he is tempted, "I am being tempted by God"; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone.” However, the problem with making such a connection is that this verse does not say that God is impeccable; it says that He can’t be tempted. If anything, this text only complicates matters, for Jesus clearly was tempted (cf. Matthew 4:1 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.) Besides this, this still fails to address the issue; for everyone agrees He was tempted, the question at hand is: Could He have yielded to the temptation (sinned)? While I am clearly in agreement with the second premise above (God cannot [is not able] to sin), I maintain that premise three is non-sequitar. There are multiple instances in which Jesus [by means of His human nature] did things that we would say God could not do. For example: Does God hunger? Does God thirst? Does God sleep? Is God able to die? We would answer no to all of these questions. However, they are all true of Christ. Jesus did hunger, thirst, sleep and die. So can God sin? NO! Could Jesus have? I am inclined to say “yes.” For me the issue hinges on Hebrews 4:15 “For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.” I fail to see how the logic of this verse can be maintained if Jesus was metaphysically unable to sin. To be sure, all things are determined by means of the eternal decree of God. Therefore, there is a sense in which I would agree Jesus couldn’t have sinned; namely, God decreed the plan of redemption. This plan could not have been accomplished if Jesus sinned and thus, at this level (viewed through the lens of foreordination) I concede He couldn’t have sinned. However, the peccability/impeccability debate normally centers on moral ability; that is, did He have the potential to sin. The issue is largely related to how one understands temptation. Though I have heard arguments to the contrary I remain unconvinced that temptation is genuine apart from the ability to yield to that temptation. I admit, this is purely a logical presupposition, but it seems inherent in the concept of temptation itself. When I say that I am tempted to do something, it presupposes that I can do it. Else where does the temptation reside? For example, it would be irrational for me to say that I am tempted to time travel; for time travel only exists in sci-fi fantasy. I cannot time travel; therefore it would be irrational to say that I am tempted to. Again, I appeal to Hebrews 4:15 and query how the logic of the verse can be maintained in the absence of His ability to sin.