Orthodox Outlet for Dogmatic Enquiries Salvation and Watchtower topics

Was Adam created perfect? // The juridical mentality of the West annuls Christs sacrifice

The significance of the Antilytron [*]

When Papism distanced itself from the Orthodox faith of the Church, its understanding of important issues pertaining to salvation was lost.  Totally ignorant of how these issues can be misleading, Protestantism in its turn inherited the fallacious Papist positions and in fact, it quite often made them even hazier.

One such issue, which has been misconstrued to the point of blasphemy by the Westerners, is the issue of the Antilytron

Topics

* Antilytron, (Greek: anti (= in place of), lytron (= an offer for someones release/freedom)

In their pursuit of Thomas Aquinas erroneous theories, Westerners developed their own juridical system by which they explain the function of our Lord Jesus Christs sacrifice in the salvation of mankind.

Although there may be small differences between the various Western religions, they make the following, general assertions:

Adam sinned, therefore in his person, all of mankind after him partook of sin.  Everyone consequently had to undergo death, as they too were deemed guilty of the original sin.  However, no sinner was as worthy as the relatively sin-free Adam to pay for the sins of all mankind.  Thus, in order to satisfy His sense of justice, God sent the sinless Jesus Christ to suffer death in the place of mankind. This was the way that He paid for the release of mankind as Adams equal- and whomsoever believes in His sacrifice, is released from death.

But if we observe these assertions more carefully, we will realize that they are also irrational, and have nothing to do with the Christian faith, and especially with Gods justice and the incarnation of the Lord.

 

The problems with the juridical position

First of all, lets take a look at some of the initial problems that the above positions create:

a. If Adam was the one who sinned, why did God consider all of mankind guilty? Isnt that unfair?

b. If, however, God didnt consider all of mankind guilty, then what kind of justice was that which had to be satisfied, by demanding the death of someone who is not guilty?

c. Was Jesus Christ truly an equal to Adam, who was a mere creation?

d. What kind of judge is so unfair, as to consciously condemn someone innocent to death, in order to save someone guilty?  This act would have been the pinnacle of injustice! It would have been far easier and more generous, to grant absolution to the guilty party, rather than allow someone innocent to die unjustly.

e. If the offer for release (=the Lords self-sacrifice) was in fact the offering demanded for the freeing of mankind from death (as in cases of abduction and the ransom demanded), then to whom was this offering made?

f. If this offering was made to God, then God must be identified as the abductor who demands an offer for the release, and who would also be satisfied by ones condemnation to death

g. If the offering was made to the Devil, then it must have occurred, despite the will of the just Lord. So, how did the Devil compel God to deliver His innocent Son to death, as an offer for the release of mankind? That would mean the Devil has power over God!

 

The significance of the word Lytron (an offer for ones release/freedom)

The various misinterpreters of this topic say that Lytron implies the compulsory payment of a certain sum of money for the release of a captive.  But lets see what the word really means, in the Holy Bible:

When these things begin, you must rise up, and lift up your heads, for your final release is imminent (Luke 21: 28).

.we sigh, in anticipation of the adoption, of the release of our bodies. (Romans 8: 23).

Given that the above words are used in reference to the Second Coming of the lord, they cannot possibly imply a payment of any kind. It is therefore obvious, that the expression final release signifies a setting free, without any payment demanded.

Blessed is the Lord God of Israel, for He visited and implemented the release of His people.. (Luke 1: 68).

In this excerpt also, it indicates that the release has already taken place (text is expressed in the past tense), before the time of the Lords sacrifice.  We see therefore that nothing was actually paid, and that the word lytron is used in the sense of releasing or liberating.

 

Similarly, the word lytron when used in reference to the Lords sacrifice, doesnt necessarily imply the payment of a certain amount; it bears the meaning that this sacrifice released/liberated us, WITHOUT A PAYMENT being involved, to anyone.

 

Was Jesus Adams equal?

Heresies that do not admit the divinity of Jesus Christ are somewhat justified in making this mistake, hence, they are not able to comprehend the true meaning behind Jesus Christs sacrifice as analyzed below. Those however who are entirely inexcusable are the ones who although admitting Christs divinity- maintain that Adam was the Lord Jesus equal.

Lets take a look at a few Scriptural excerpts on this topic, where the superiority of Jesus sacrifice as compared to Adams disobedience is made very evident.

Romans 5: 15 - 20

Scriptural text

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But, misbehaving is not the same as giving. Because, if through ones  (Adams) misbehavior the majority suffered death, by comparison the Grace of God and the gift in Grace of the one person, Jesus Christ, was made abundant to many.

And the gift was not as though from one who had sinned.  While the judgment that befitted the one (Adam) resulted in condemnation, the gift (Christs sacrifice) that sprang from the misbehavior of many, resulted in vindication. For, if with the misbehavior of one (Adam), death came to reign on his account, on the contrary, those who received the surplus of Grace and the gift of justice shall reign in life, through the one: Jesus Christ.

So therefore, just as through one misbehavior (Adams) all people were condemned, thus through one justice (Christs), all people were vindicated for life. Because, just as through the disobedience of one (Adam), many became sinners, thus through the obedience of one (Christ), many became just.

 

Therefore, wherever sin was abundant, there Grace was excessively abundant.  

What more can one say? It is clear here, that while Adams sin became the cause of sin for many, the Lords sacrifice was obviously far superior, in than it not only erased Adams sin, it erased all the accumulated sins of billions of sinners!

Woe betide, if the Lords sacrifice had only the same worth as the imperfect Adam! Because the Lord, apart from being God, was also a perfect person.  Adam on the other hand had not been created perfect, only very good.  And the expression very good is a far cry from perfect, just as the expression in his image is lacking by comparison to the expression in his likeness.  (Genesis 1: 31).

 

The recipient of the Lytron

If the Lords sacrifice was the price paid for the release of mankind from the bonds of death, it could not have been paid to God, because the one who reigns over death is the devil, and not God:

 .so that through death, He (Christ) may abolish the one who held the power over death - that is, the devil and release those who, through fear of death, were forever subject to bondage.  (Hebrews  2: 14 - 15).

But then, if God had to pay something to the devil, it would mean that God didnt have the power to impose His will for free.   That would have made the devil a victor. However, the devil and all of his crew were in actual fact defeated, when Jesus died on the Cross. (Colossians 2: 13 - 15). If Satan were to receive a release payment in order to set mankind free from the bonds of death, then Satan would have been victorious, and not Christ.

At any rate, the Holy Bible says that God is Love, not justice, so there is no chance that God would have wanted to sacrifice Love for the sake of a supposedly offended case of justice that required reciprocation. Not to mention that the death of an innocent person in the place of guilty persons would have signified injustice, and not justice.

God didnt harbor any hatred for mankind on account of their sins!  It was mankind that perceived God as a judge, on account of their own, unclean conscience: for, although we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son. (Romans 5: 10)

God always loved us as a father, and never demanded satisfaction for any supposedly offended justice of His. We see this, in John I, 4: 9. 10:

In this, was Gods love for us made evident: that He sent forth His only Son into the world, so that we might live, through Him. In this, is Love: it is not because we loved God, but because He loved us and sent forth His Son for the atonement of our sins.

 

The significance of the Lords sacrifice

For Christians however, the significance of the Lords sacrifice is already known. Christians do not equate the worthiness of the Lord with Adam; they do not equate God with an unjust and insane assassin; they do not become the devils advocates. 

The Church teaches that the Lord Jesus Christ became a perfect human so that - being one of our kind - He would defeat all those things that defeated and brought about sickness to human nature.

In His (Christs) person, human nature overcame sin, the devil and death. Because whoever allows himself to be defeated by someone, becomes that persons slave. (Peter II, 2:  19).

Therefore, in order for the Lord to rise from the dead and thus defeat death, He first had to die.  But now, through faith in Jesus Christ, and in communion with His Body the Church- every person can partake of this victory!

N.M.

Translation by A. N.

Greek text

Article published in English on: 15-9-2005.

Last update: 17-5-2007.

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