Monday, May 17, 2010

The Usual Suspects: Original Sin, The Fall, and Concupiscence

So I guess I'm not ending my inquiry. Although of course we will be playing by Wesleyan (prison) rules I guess, Scripture, Tradition, Reason, and Experience, are all fair play.

The main issue of contention that has remained since the Reformation between Protestants and Catholics and is chronologically the first battleground, is nature (and thus grace).

What is Nature? Was it perfect without grace? Was Adam merely natural, or did he also have sanctifying grace? What is original sin? etc.

I'm going to try to keep posts shorter so that you don't have to read as much, with the sacrifice being extra prooftexts.

Pelagius argued that Nature was perfect in itself, and that Adam was not given any gift of grace, because nature itself is a gracious gift. Protestantism agrees with Pelagius in arguing that Nature was perfect and was without grace, it was "good", and man likewise "very good" ('no one is good but God alone' as Jesus said).

The Cappadocians and Augustine argued on the contrary that man was not without grace, and that the 'breath of life' implied more than life, but actually the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and/or Sanctifying Grace. God blessed them in the garden before the Fall, and this seems to me, to indicate a divine gift (grace). This is "Original Righteousness" in Thomas. It thus follows that Original Sin is merely "not having Original Righteousness/Sanctifying Grace".

Fr. Hardon (man I feel gross typing that name) has an article on it here:

Called to Communion also has good posts on it as well (here's just part 7 in the series:


  1. If grace simply means undeserved favor. I would argue that the act of creation ex nihilo was by definition gracious. Creation did not deserve to be created. Also God's condescending to enter into a covenant with Adam promising life on condition of perfect and personal obedience was gracious. Adam did not deserve to be covenanted with his God. But God's gracious works of creation and general providence are substantially different from God's gracious work of redemption (his special providence to save elect sinners unto eternal life). In the first case, he is offering life according to a principle of works and not grace (Gal 2:21). He is saying, "Do this and live." In the second case, he is offering life according to a principle of grace and not works (Gal. 2:16). He is saying, "Christ did this for you, so that you might live. Trust him."

  2. In the garden, Adam and Eve obeyed God, walked with God, conversed with God. After disobedience, they hid from God and were alienated from each other. The work of the garden was replaced by toil. They were cast out from the garden and didn't walk with God anymore. What's interesting about Genesis is that Adam and Eve were sinless and that sinless state was not changed without the meddling of an outside provocateur. It would seem that humanity's original state was a state of dependence on and communion with God. To be a creature is continually to need God. To be human is to be aware of this need - even if this awareness is anesthetized or almost completely forgotten.

  3. How does the person and work of Jesus fit into the equation Fred? Did Adam need Jesus to obey the law for him before the Fall? How about after the Fall?

  4. Jay - By law, I suppose you mean the natural law that Paul speaks of in Rm 1, so nobody has an excuse for sin: "Ever since God created the world his everlasting power and deity – however invisible – have been there for the mind to see in the things he has made." Not even Cain has an excuse because Abel's blood cries out for justice. So far as I know, Adam and Eve didn't know Jesus because Jesus had not been born yet. God was right with them however, Emmanuel (God among us). Their faith was to depend upon the One who was always there (before the fall, A&E were justified by faith, that is, not some personal sentiment of belief or act of the will, but rather dependence upon Someone present). Trusting like a child in his mother's arms.

    The law is an expression of God's love, as Jesus tells us the Sabbath was made for man. The law is given so that we repent and remember we need to depend upon God. But it's possible to substitute the law for God himself. Instead, Jesus came and said, I am the law, I am the new covenant. Jesus is God made visible, and through his death and resurrection he puts sin to death and brings us back into communion with the Father and the Holy Spirit. For the new creation, the new man, the law again is a reminder of God who is present. The new man is reborn in Jesus and the slavery of sin begins to break up. The Christian lives in tension because he is being saved and lives in hope of complete freedom.

  5. Yes, I mean natural law (Rom. 1:19-20; 2:14-15), which is written on th heart and restated in the decalogue, as well as the command not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. This natural law and positive law constituted the original covenant between God and Adam (and his posterity), "which while they kept, they were happy in their communion with God, and had dominion over the creatures" (WCF 5.2b). God promised Adam life on condition of perfect and personal obedience, threatening death for disobedience. Rather than obeying unto life (i.e. justification), Adam disobeyed therefore received the penalty of death (i.e. condemnation).

    So, after the Fall, after Adam enters a state of condemnation, how will he be justified before God? He can no longer be justified by the law. As the text says:

    "We know that we are not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified" (Gal. 2:16).

    And again:

    "For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, 'Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them.' Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for 'The righteous shall live by faith.' But the law is not of faith, rather 'The one who does them shall live by them.' Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, 'Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree'—so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith."

    If Adam reaped death for one act of disobedience (Rom. 5:18) indicating that he would have been justified if he had obeyed (i.e. kept the law), and "the law is not of faith," how then can we say that Adam was justified by faith? Where does the text of Scripture ever give that indication?

  6. *Second Scripture quotation is Gal. 3:10-14.

  7. I'm sorry but my Bible doesn't have a book called WCF... ;)

    Also, Catholic teaching and reason both encourage me to read the Bible in its totality instead of pulling a couple of passages from Paul and then applying them as a template to everything else. You say that Adam was justified by the law before the fall, and I say that he and Eve were justified by faith.

  8. Was Adam justified by faith in the work of another?

  9. When Adam was sinless he was not justified by obedience to the law: because law is the description of a stable mechanism. That is, if you touch the fire you get burned. This is why the law was given as a remedy for sin: stop touching the fire. So how could the mechanics of sin be described before sin had happened?

    Before sinning, Adam's righteousness was not his own capacity or any self-sufficiency but his dependence upon God: he trusted in God (to say he trusted in God's work would be an abstraction at this point). It's astonishing that Adam and Eve existed for some time without sinning. How amazing!

    On a deeper level, sin is not merely transgressing a prohibition or breaking a law: at a deeper level, sin is for the human person to forget his dependent nature, cutting off the spring of life: and when the spring is cut off, death follows. Just as with me, if I sink to the bottom of the ocean - even once - I die.

  10. This is how I read the passage in Galatians:

    For as many as are of the works of the law [of Moses] are under a curse: for it is written [in the law of Moses], ‘Cursed is every one who does not continue in all things that are written in this book of the law, to do them.’ But because no man is justified before God by the [Mosaic] law, it is obvious that ‘the righteous shall live by faith;’ and the law [of Moses] is not from faith, rather, ‘whoever does the works [of this law] shall live by them.’ Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law [of Moses], having become a curse for us (for it is written, ‘Cursed is every one who hangs on a tree’), so that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.

    This reading helps to avoid anachronism in approaching the text, so that we do not ask questions it was never intended to answer, nor (as a consequence) obtain answers that aren't actually there. Adam is not mentioned in Galatians, and I think it's a mistake to seek for him in there.

  11. Gal. 3:12 But the law is not of faith, rather "The one who does them shall live by them."

    According to Scripture life either comes by obedience to the law or by faith. It came by obedience to the law in the covenant of works, the covenant by which the first Adam could have been and last Adam was justified unto life before God. It comes by faith in the works of Christ for condemned sinners (i.e. the covenant of grace, the gospel).

  12. But all life comes from God. Not from my act of faith or my act of obedience.

  13. Yes God is the origin of all created life. But he did not by nature grant Adam continuance in that life or eternal life. Instead he condescended entered into a covenant with Adam, promising continuance in life and eternal life as the reward for obedience. Rather than obeying unto life Adam disobeyed unto death, and so death spread to all men. But Christ has obeyed in my stead. He has done what I could not do, namely obeyed the law perfectly and satisfied its just penalty, on my behalf. Now my joy is simply to "be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith" (Phil. 3:9).

    Christ is my joy. He is my love. He is my only boast. Resting in the security of union with him, having been justified by faith in his finished work, "there is therefore now no condemnation" for me (Rom. 8:1a). There is only blessing, only life. "What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ" (Rom. 8:31-35a)?

    Having been born a child of wrath, I could never have truly loved God unless there was now no condemnation for me. Now having been loved by God in Christ, I am free to truly love God and others. As the Spirit says, "Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. We love because he first loved us" (1 Jn. 4:15-18).

    The transformative flows out of the declarative. Because we have been declared/counted righteous by faith in Christ (Rom. 4:3), we can begin to truly fulfill the law, growing in obedience to him, being transformed into his likeness (Rom. 12:2).

  14. Jay — Of course one of the great things about Christ is that he shows us what authentic humanity is. In John, Jesus tells us that he does what he sees the Father do. Jesus's obedience is to depend upon the Father for everything. Another great thing is that in Jesus I become a new creation here and now (Jesus restores my humanity!): I begin to mature, and I begin to learn the taste of freedom. If you have seen these things and tasted this freedom from sin, you and I do not need to argue...

  15. The "law" in Galatians 3:12 is that delivered to Israel by Moses. Paul is quoting Lev. 18: "Ye shall not do according to the devices of Egypt... [or] Chanaan... and ye shall not walk in their ordinances. So ye shall keep all my ordinances, and all my judgments, and do them; which if a man do, he shall live in them: I am the Lord your God." (LXX)

    Notice the contrast? These are specific, written laws, for a specific, ethnic group of people. They are not abstract moral or natural laws. This is not a promise (much less a covenant) that adherence to the moral law gives life.

    Gal. 3:12 "and the law [of Moses] is not from faith, rather, ‘the one who does them (the works prescribed in the law of Moses) shall live by them.’"

    Further, verse 10 doesn't say, "cursed is everyone who perfectly keeps the moral law," it says, "cursed is everyone who does not keep on doing everything written in the book of the law." This is a written law, the law of Moses. By seeking to add the law of Moses to their Christian faith, the Galatians were putting themselves under a curse to keep the whole Mosaic law. But since Christ fulfilled the law and its demands, including its sacrificial aspects, to return to it is to reject Christ. If the sacrifices are gone (book of Hebrews) it's all gone.

  16. Err, missed a couple words there. I meant to say "cursed is everyone who does not perfectly keep the moral law." Apparently I should have been sleeping.

  17. Fred- What disturbs me about your take on salvation is that the essential forensic element is missing.

    You speak of becoming more or less human, more or less alive. While I agree that sin defaces the image of God and therefore our humanness, it does not therefore follow that sin is essentially a defacing of the image. Scripture is clear on this. "Sin is lawlessness" (1 John 3:4b). It is disobedience to the command of God.

    Likewise, while sin leads to death, it does not therefore follow that sin is essentially death. Again, the text is clear. Death is the wages of sin (Rom. 6:23a).

    So, righteousness is not the restoration of humanness. It is our entrance into the restoration. Likewise, righteousness is not life. It is our entrance into life. Just as the wages of sin is death, so also life is the wages of obedience. And that obedience must be perfect, personal, and perpetual. "Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them" (Gal. 3:10b). This is why we need the perfect obedience of Jesus to be counted to us. Anything less than perfect obedience merits the curse of death. Only perfect obedience can merit life (which, again, is the reward for obedience, not obedience itself). Jesus didn't obey so that we might obey and therefore be justified. He obeyed so that we might be justified by faith in his obedience. This is why the Spirit says, "the law is not of faith" (Gal. 3:12a).

    In summary, the Bible teaches:

    Life is offered by God according to the principle of works (i.e. the covenant of works) which says, "The one who does them shall live by them" (Gal. 3:12b).

    After the covenant of works was broken, life is offered by God according to the principle of grace (i.e. the covenant of grace) which says, "Christ did the law that I might live through his obedience."

    As the Spirit says, "For if, because of one man's trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ. Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. For as by the one man's disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man's obedience the many will be made righteous" (Rom. 5:17-18).

    "Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for 'The righteous shall live by faith'" (Gal. 3:11).

  18. Other commenter, the moral law is republished and further elaborated through Moses. But it does not find its derivation there. Adam trespassed the same law in the garden. The works principle of the covenant of works remains after the fall and is emphasized during the Mosaic administration of the covenant of grace, functioning to restrain utter depravity, condemn sin (thereby driving sinners to recognize their need for the work of Christ), and to be a standard for righteous living for those justified by grace alone through faith alone.

  19. Jay - what's disturbing about your take is that it's entirely forensic and leaves out the Incarnation of Christ. I can do forensic if you like: as a Catholic, there are dozens of orthodox forensic theologies that I can choose from (I really like Anslem, for example).

    What is salvation in your view? It looks to me to be freedom from eternal damnation, and not communion with the Father through Jesus and the Holy Spirit. In Catholic terms, your contrition is imperfect. That is, you believe in order to avoid punishment. This to me is substituting one law for another law. Instead of needing to keep every iota of the Torah, the believer needs to make an act of faith in Jesus. It's still essentially a transactional act. I do this: therefore, God does that. This is why there are groups that teach about 'law & gospel' - teaching the law first so that their children will feel a need for being saved in a forensic way. This in to indoctrinate the feelings of guilt that Luther lived, so that the fear can be assuaged by a message of mercy.

    Jesus Christ is salvation, and nothing less will do. Eternal life without Jesus is, to be blunt, hell. This is why he instituted holy communion so that we would never be without him. He brings me life: the seeds of freedom from sin (and not merely freedom from fear of the penalty from sin!), the seeds of faith, hope & caritas - these seeds are evident in my life, and I will not be deceived by one who came lately and read the record of words which God addressed to his church.

  20. Fred, just to recap you, said:

    "You say that Adam was justified by the law before the fall, and I say that he and Eve were justified by faith."


    "When Adam was sinless he was not justified by obedience to the law."

    Could you demonstrate this thesis from Scripture. Where does the text ever teach, either explicitly or by good and necessary consequence, that Adam was justified by faith in the same way we are justified by faith? I have demonstrated that it says just the opposite.

    I would begin to define salvation along with the Spirit saying:

    "And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them (Eph. 2:1-10).

    According to the Spirit salvation is being transfered from a state of being "dead in our trespasses" to a state of being alive with Jesus. Salvation is by grace through faith in the works of God ("And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God), not by our on works, so that no one may boast before God. Salvation is granted to elect sinners out of the sheer love of God.

    I'm not sure where you get from Scripture that we should not fear the wrath of God against sin. Take a look for instance at the passage above. Should one take comfort in being a child of wrath? Should he not, if he were sane, earnestly desire to find relief from such wrath. If not, how do we understand the mercy of God?

  21. cont. . .

    I agree that salvation comes by union and communion with Christ. This is not a disputed point between historic Protestantism and Roman Catholicism. I confess the absolute necessity of the incarnation. Indeed to deny that Jesus came in the flesh to be a propitiation (wrath satisfier) for sinners is to confess the spirit of anti-Christ (cf. 1 John).

    Fred, I think your last comment reveals the truth behind your faith, and it is interesting that you connect this with the Roman Mass. The sinner wants to see what he believes in order to have certainty that what he believes is true. This is of the very nature of sin (cf. the second commandment). I struggle with it too. Roman Catholicism offers this, which is I think one of is biggest attractions.

    Where is the church? Its with the pope, over there, I can see it. Where is the truth? Again, it's with the pope, over there, I can see it. Where is my Lord and Savior? He's with the pope, over there, I can see him. This is why Roman Catholicism is riddled with images, from beads to blessed relics, to living men filling supposedly ancient offices. You trust what you see, and find certainty. "We walk by faith and not by sight" (2 Cor. 5:7). Nonetheless, we appreciate the work of the Spirit by the word of the Spirit among our Lord Jesus' spiritual kingdom throughout its history. Where would we be without God's good providence in helping his people understand his word more and more precisely?

    You say you will not be deceived by someone from the "outside." Don't forget the warning of the Spirit that false teachings will come from within: "Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared, who forbid marriage and require abstinence from foods that God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth" (1 Tim. 4:1-3).

  22. Correction:

    Where is the church? Its with the pope, over there, I can see it. Where is the truth? Again, it's with the pope, over there, I can see it. Where is my Lord and Savior? He's with the pope, over there, I can see him. This is why Roman Catholicism is riddled with images, from beads to blessed relics to living men filling supposedly ancient offices. You trust what you see, and find certainty.

    But as for Protestants, "we walk by faith and not by sight" (2 Cor. 5:7). Nonetheless, we appreciate the work of the Spirit by the word of the Spirit among our Lord Jesus' spiritual kingdom throughout its history. Where would we be without God's good providence in helping his people understand his word more and more precisely?

  23. Jay - it's true that I want to see salvation in my life, and not only when I die. Through history folks had to rely on prophets and other intermediaries to know God. But when Jesus comes, it is possible to proclaim: "Now, Master, you may let your servant go in peace, according to your word, for my eyes have seen your salvation, which you prepared in sight of all the peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and glory for your people Israel" (Luke 2:29-32 aka the 'Nunc dimittis' prayed nightly by some in the office of Compline). When Jesus comes, John the Baptist does not argue with anybody but simply says, "Behold, the Lamb of God." From the time of Jesus onward - discipleship is to follow Someone who is present, not to memorize a schema or to repeat things over and over that must be accepted on blind faith.

    Because texts never teach (being mute letters, dead letters and not living speech), I also trust what I hear. And what do I hear? I hear the Scriptures proclaimed in the assembly (scripture is proclaimed daily but I hear weekly). The liturgy ensures that Old Testament, New Testament, and Gospel are all proclaimed so that scripture may be heard as a totality over cycles of years. I also hear the homily preached by the priest ('which is an exhortation to accept this Word as what it truly is, the Word of God, and to put it into practice' CCC 1349). Does scripture receive the priority of proclamation in your congregation, or does the prophetic word of the preacher come first with scripture coming secondarily as a series of well-worn quotes cited to support the message of the preacher? I can't tell you the number of times when I read the readings before Mass but heard somthing astonishing and new when I listened to the proclamation minutes later! While I feel that I have grown in my understanding of Scripture over the years, I would not characterize my understanding as increasingly precise. Instead, I feel that these words of God are calling me ever "higher up and further in."

  24. Fred the question isn't do we see God's work in our lives. Historic Protestantism and Roman Catholicism confess this precious truth. God has certainly made himself visible in the fruit of his church and in his church and in the sacraments. These are blessed gifts of God to his people.

    But this is very different from needing to see in order to have certainty that what we believe is true. This is the problem I see both in my discussions with those attracted to Roman Catholicism and in my study of it. It always comes back to needing to see (the Apostolic office, the Mass, the Rosary beads, statues, etc.) in order to be certain of the truth.

    But in the time between the ascension of the Lord Jesus to the right hand of the Father and his Second Coming, no one will see in that way. Instead we "see" by faith, a faith born in us by the Spirit through the hearing of the Word. As the Spirit says after the ascension, "Faith comes by hearing" (Rom. 10:17a). And as our Lord said to the one who refused to believe lest he saw with his own eyes, "Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed (John 20:29b). The desire to see now is rooted in idolatry, which I believe is aptly demonstrated in Roman Catholicism's focus on images (the seen), particularly in the doctrine of transubstantiation, rather than the living (God-breathed) word of Holy Scripture (the unseen).

    I agree that true discipleship is to follow someone who is present, namely the Lord Jesus. But the presence of Christ with his people does not require their seeing him. Jesus has sent the Spirit (invisible) to be present with his people until his Second Coming.

    The ideal for every Protestant congregation is that the Scripture is ultimately authoritative. Therefore, a preacher's sermon is only authoritative insofar as it accords with Scripture.

    Again, as I asked earlier:

    Could you demonstrate from Scripture your thesis re: Adam's being justified by faith in the same way we are justified by faith? Where does the text ever teach this, either explicitly or by good and necessary consequence? I have demonstrated that it says just the opposite.

  25. Jay - I will tell you that I didn't come to maturity in faith through study, and all this argument is striving after wind.

    When I was in college, the Protestants had a good crack at me. I went to a magic show sponsored by evangelicals and a couple of them met me the next week to tell me that I was like Timothy and they were like Paul (I must say, that was a real 'who are you?' moment!). Over a period of months I hung out with them and never stopped asking questions — until they asked me to leave. After that I found the Catholic Newman Center and hung out there (not finding answers to my questions either but also not being run off for asking them). Eventually I left college on academic suspension because I had never learned the discipline needed for school.

    I knew that I could not attain discipline by my own efforts but I intuited that if others depended upon me I could learn it (see, for example, the novel Emma). So I spent a year living with l'Arche in Washington, DC. L'Arche is a federation of Christian communities where mentally handicapped people and others live together. During that year I had a week-long retreat with Jean Vanier, who is a lay Catholic. Vanier preached on the Beatitudes twice a day, and so I came to understand the good news of Jesus as an adult. It was a year full of graces: through a friend I also discovered Catholic literary and intellectual traditions. About 7 years ago, my wife and I met Communion and Liberation and the friends of Fr. Luigi Giussani. Where do I see the works of Christ? At Mass or in the Liturgy of the Hours. At home with the kids. At work in my daily challenges and in my friendships with my bosses and peers. As the liturgy of the Eastern Christians proclaims: 'Christ is among us. He is and He will be!'

  26. Fred- Thanks for sharing your story with me. I appreciate it.

    If you would like to demonstrate why my understanding of Scripture regarding the gospel of Jesus Christ is wrong, I would be happy to read it anytime.

    I do not see rigorous thinking about Christ according to his word and heartfelt affection for Christ as being opposed to one another. As the incarnate Son prayed to the Father, "Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth." And likewise the Spirit says, "All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work" (2 Tim. 3:16-17).

  27. Here's the problem: the very existence of the so-called "covenant of works" depends upon your reading of Galatians, but that concept is necessary to your conclusion as well. To appeal to republication and a "works principle" is entirely circular: you have to assume that that is the correct outcome of reading Galatians before you can read Galatians. It is a logical fallacy to assume your conclusion.

    By the standards of Occam's Razor, my reading wins. There are no circularities, no anachronisms (i.e. centuries-later anti-Pelagian or Law/Gospel-Dialectician arguments), no added complexities, no supra-scriptural covenants framed according to post-medieval philosophical imperatives. That doesn't make it the correct one, obviously, but it should not be dismissed so easily.