Assumption: The world
and humankind are “fallen.” Humanity was created with the ability to obey or
disobey God’s will. We chose the path of disobedience and in so doing corrupted
or wounded our nature which was created in the image of God and was originally
| The Human Problem is
that human nature is wounded or corrupt. Roman Catholic theology teaches that
human nature is “wounded” so that we are susceptible to sin or disobedience.
Protestant theology followed the early theologian Saint Augustine who believed
that human nature has lost the freedom of will In other words, individuals can only choose disobedience
to God’s will. Sin is a prideful selfishness that is like a disease. It is so
pervasive that it can be described as “original” sin: prideful selfishness is
an inevitable human defect from which no one is immune. As a result of this permanent estrangement - human beings were condemned to
death and everlasting punishment after death. Moreover, Satan works to deceive Christians and lead them away from
It takes an act of God to free humanity from sin and its consequences.
Since according to Augustine, humans can only choose to sin, they cannot really
choose to free themselves from sin. Thus, it requires “God’s grace, freely
bestowed” to “redeem and liberate the self from sin.”
|The act of God that saves humanity is a two-fold event
centered in Jesus, who Christians believe to be the son of God. First, one
can be rescued from one's sinful nature by Jesus' sacrifice on the cross.
The death of Jesus Christ, God the Son, on the cross and his following
resurrection provides the means of salvation potentially available for all
people. If they will simply accept the results of that act (the manner of
"accepting" varies among the different forms of Christianity), they will
be saved, reckoned as righteous, and will join God in eternal life.
Second, the rule of Satan will be overcome by Christ's return and his
establishment of the Kingdom of God
The death and resurrection of Jesus is
understood in at least three different ways: First, it is a triumph over
Satan. Believers can join themselves to God and thus overcome Satan's
power. Second, in his death Jesus brought a means for atoning for original
sin. Third, Jesus' sacrifice is thought to have paid the penalty for
Type of Salvation:
Salvation in Christianity generally falls into the category of
individual salvation in the world to come. The idea of a final
judgment is also included in many Christian interpretations of
salvation. The thought is that Christ will return and all persons
will be judged by whether they accepted or rejected the path of
salvation that Christ offered. On the other hand, in its
understanding of the Kingdom of God, Christianity shares with Judaism
the idea of a this worldly group salvation.