Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

Paul, however, confines the term Kúplos to Christ, and reserves éos for the Father God. With him Kúpios is not strictly identical with the Old Testament Jehovah. “Kúplos, applied to Christ, answers to the Hebrew Adonai, never to Jehovah. While Christ is often termed Kúplos Tivos fuow, ņuôv, Jehovah as proper name has no suffix. A frequent Divine name in the Old Testament is also Jehovah Elohim, which the LXX. translate by Kúplos ó cós. But this expression is never used in the New Testament of Christ, a surprising fact if Jehovah in the eye of the apostle was a name suitable to be applied to the Son of Man." So far Cremer.

At the same time, the fact remains that Paul applies to Christ the term Kúplos, which was so freely applied to God in the Old Testament, and this plainly points to the belief that He whom he called Lord was in some sense God as well as He who was termed Θεός. The designation Κύριος implied divinity. It is strictly descriptive of His mediatorial office in glory, for Christ was not Kúplos till He was exalted. At the same time, the kupiórns is a form of the activity of one who in nature is Divine. He possessed in Himself the conditions that must be found in one who is to occupy so central a relation to mankind. This seems to have been the motive at work in the application to Him of a term which in the religious consciousness of the time was equivalent to that of God.

LECTURE V

NOTE A, p. 166.—THE ANGELOLOGY OF ST. PAUL A STUDY of Paul's angelology would make plain to how great an extent he shared the conceptions of the age in which he lived, and what noble service he did in freeing men's minds from the tyranny of these conceptions. For while he believed with all the world at that time in the existence of angels, he succeeded in exposing the baselessness of their right to the religious regards of men, a right that had been accorded to them in the popular belief. The apocryphal and pseudepigraphic writings, and especially the Book of Enoch, which is full of the angels, must be studied in connection with, and for the understanding of, the allusions to angels in the New Testament. Everling, in his suggestive little work, Die Paulinische Angelologie u. Daemonologie, 1888, has thrown much light on such difficult passages as I Cor. xi. 1o, viii. 4-6; 2 Cor. xi. 2, 3, etc., by quotations from these books that illustrate the notions commonly entertained at that time on this subject. Much instructive matter bearing on Paul's doctrine will be found scattered throughout Klöpper's great Commentary on the Epistle to the Colossians, especially pp. 227–236.

Paul shared the general view, set forth in the Epistle to Hebrews as well, that angelic agency was a distinguishing feature of God's government of the world under the Old Testament Dispensation, and that it had ceased with the abolition of the latter. The world of Judaism and heathendom, the old world as distinguished from the new that had come with Christ, the aiwv uéadwv, was under the angels. They were the intermediaries in its administration and government, and in the communication of God's will to men. Through their instrumentality the law was given (Gal. iii. 19); and this is mentioned by the apostle in the course of an argument meant to prove the temporary character of the law, as a mark of the inferiority of the legal system, compared with the Dispensation of promise, which had come direct from God to men. The “elements ” of this world, which he represents the Galatians as having been subject to before they became Christians (Gal. iv. 3, 9), and whose functions, as regards their religious training, he compares to the office of tutors and governors to the son under age, are understood by many to refer to angelic agencies; for these were associated in the common mind with the phenomena of the material universe, and were supposed to animate the world, and to guide the movements of its forces. The heathen religions were ceremonial, and abounded in festivals and rites that were fixed by the movements of the heavenly bodies; and through these the will and activity of the angels were thought to be communicated. The stars moving across the heavens were identified with the heavenly host; many hold that the apostle, sharing this belief, viewed the stars as bodies animated by spiritual beings (1 Cor. xv. 40). The dependence of pre-Christian religions on the movements of sun, moon, and stars, regulating the observance of their rites, might well be regarded as equivalent to the subjection of men to the angels under that old world. But the abolition of legal ceremonial systems by Christianity, meant for the apostle the displacement, once for all, of the angels from the position they had formerly held in relation to man under God's government. In the economy of the spirit, which had succeeded to that of law, men had direct access to God as “sons," and the function and religious significance of angels ceased. Not to angels has He subjected the “world to come” which has already entered, but to Christ and to Mankind in Christ (Heb. ii. 5).

This, in brief, is Paul's view in the earlier Epistles. Angels, for him, exist even under Christ. They are also sources of temptation to men, if we are to take what he says in i Cor. xi. 1o as in earnest, and more than a pleasantry. But their power is broken, their office is ended, and they have no influence of one sort or another on the religious life.

It was not till the necessity arose for dealing with the Colossian heresy that he had occasion to speak of the bearing of the work of Christ on the angels, and their altered relation to men in consequence of the Cross. The legalism of the Colossians had its real root in their angelworship; for, sharing the belief that the angels had given the law and were its guardians, and had power to inflict punishment on those who transgressed it, these false teachers represented obedience to its commandments as being a direct service to the angels, and an acknowledgment of their rights over men; and they aimed, through the outward discipline of the law, at effecting a likeness to angelic intelligences. Accordingly, while formerly he had taught that Christ had delivered men from the law, he now changed his voice, and presented Christ to their faith as having, in the act of setting men free from the law, freed them at the same time from the angelic powers which had tyrannised over them through the law. The question arises, How did Paul conceive of these angelic powers, as evil? or as good? or as neither the one nor the other ? Much may be said in favour of the first view. For their hold of men through the law, that is, through the occasion that the transgression of the law had given to them, amounted practically to a power that was exercised by them in inciting men to sin.

The matter was thus looked at. Sin, having through man's own act entered into humanity, has become in conscious experience a power that would naturally appear to the religious imagination as a power wielded by personal evil agency behind consciousness; and it was equally natural to conceive of this personal agency of angels, or demons, as clothed with a certain legal right, as the instrument of God's justice, thus to rule men, making fresh sin necessary and holiness impossible.

Many find, in his early Epistles, indications of the apostle's belief that there is the personal working of unseen powers behind all the manifestations of evil in the human race, and that it is the real cause of these manifestations. So they explain i Cor. ii. 6-8, where the princes of this world are spoken of as the authors of the Deed on Calvary, and their wisdom is declared to have been brought to nought there,—as really referring to evil intelligences representing the powers of the unseen world. And similarly, the personal language used by the apostle (Rom. vii. 17) in reference to "sin in the flesh” of human nature is explained by the idea that the á papria of the flesh is “not properly the sin of man, but a personal power of sin to be distinguished from man's sin, the kingdom of demons that is hostile to man, and would subject man to itself” (See Die Psych. des Paulus von Simon, pp. 54-60). If there is truth in this view of the connection, in the apostle's mind, between sin and the law on the one hand, and the power of demons on the other, man's deliverance from sin would be conceived of as really a deliverance from the power of evil agencies, and their being deprived of the right to have dominion over human souls. And Christ would be viewed as the Agent in this deliverance, and effecting it either by having given Himself as, in a manner, the ransom by which their right was acknowledged and satisfied, as in the old view of Irenæus and Origines, who founded on the passage in Col. ii. 18 their doctrine that the purchase of souls from sin by God was accomplished by the surrender of Christ as a compensation to the devil; or, the death of Christ might be regarded as having stripped these powers of their rights over humanity, inasmuch as His being slain of them was a gross abuse of these rights, He being without sin, and therefore not amenable to the death which they had power to inflict upon sinners. By their violence toward the Champion of Humanity they may be viewed as having outwitted themselves, and deprived themselves of their former rights over the race he represented. This opinion has also been held. But it is plain, I think, that till we know more of the demonology upon which these Epistles proceed, certain aspects of the soteriology of the apostle will remain a problem to us.

« AnteriorContinuar »