Tuesday, 21 July 2015
Errore Hominum Providentia Divina
Canon & Community: A Guide to Canonical Criticism,
James A. Sanders, Wipf and Stock, 2000, page 53
Sanders translates this as: G-d's grace in and through human sinfulness. While ackowledging that this is not an absolute maxim, as it doesn't seem to apply - for example - to the pure wisdom or legislative passages, neverthless Sanders believes that much of the Bible celebrates this axiom.
Abraham and Sarah may lie to save their skins (Genesis 12:11-13) and even laugh at G-d (17:7 and 18:12-15), but these weaknesses d not stump G-d's purposes ... The disciples may appear stupid, lethargic, self-centred, foolish and may even lie (Luke 22:1-62), but it is precisely in and through such earthen vessels that we have this treasure of truth called canon.
Pointing to such examples as Isaiah's years of nudity in Jerusalem, Hosea's marital traumas, Jeremiah's celibacy and Ezekiel not mourning his wife's death, Sanders suggests that the personal medium was sometimes itself the message. He concludes:
Nonetheless, the Bible frequently celebrates the theologem that human sinfulness is the stuff with which G-d works to effect His plan and do His work.
I'd want to be careful that we don't step over Paul's line and try sinning so that G-d's grace may abound, but I think that Sanders does have a point.