Romans, resurrection, history, theodicy

Life and death are a big deal in Paul’s letter to the Romans, especially death and new life.

The most obvious interpretation of the data is that humanity deserves death for sin and is granted resurrection life through Jesus by faith alone.

But Paul not only speaks of death as what sinners deserves. He also speaks of death as a present state that manifests itself in ongoing sin. We sin because we are dead.

And then, there is another interpretation having to do with Jesus himself: death was embraced as the path to new life for himself and all who entrust themselves to him. Death becomes pathway to life and glory.

And there is also a historical scheme. All humanity was dead in sin and spiraling into judgment death, but now we have entered the age of life and glory. We are in a new and undeserved age.

But all this fits together in one more way. Not only was the death in history a problem that needed to be solved, but it, itself, was part of the path to the solution–a final death of sin in the body of Christ on the cross to bring about new life. God allowed death to abound in order that life might abound all the more.

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