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2.09.2020

Rauschenbusch, theology, the fall.

"It is important to realize that the story of the fall is incomparably more fundamental in later theology than it was in biblical thought. The conspicuous place given to Genesis in the arrangement of the Hebrew canon, itself concentrated the attention of later times on it. The story now embodied in Genesis iii was part of the Jahvist narrative, a document of Ephraimitic origin dating back to the ninth century B.C. The original purpose of the story was not to explain the origin of sin, but the origin of 40 A THEOLOGY FOR THE SOCIAL GOSPEL death and evil. There are scarcely any allusions to the story in the Old Testament. The prophets were deeply conscious of the sins of men, but they did not base their teachings on the doctrine of the fall. Not till we reach post-biblical Jewish theology is there any general interest in the story of Adam's fall. Even then the story of the fall of the angels in Genesis vi attracted more interest. In the synoptic sayings of Jesus there is not even a reference to the fall of Adam. In the fourth gospel there is one allusion, (John viii, 44). Jesus, of course, had the clearest consciousness of the chasm between the will of God and the actual condition of mankind. The universality of sin was a matter of course with him ; it was presupposed in all his teaching. But he was concerned only with those sources of sin which he saw in active work about him: first, the evil heart of man from which all evil words and actions proceed ; second, the social stumbling blocks of temptation which make the weak to fall ;.... 

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