Paul, Rome and Ben

I know I should probably not brag too much, but the following is part of a paper my son in-law Ben will be presenting in Rome this summer.


Righteousness and Glory: New Creation as Immortality in Romans  by Ben Blackwell

In the search for the meaning of righteousness language in Romans, studies rightfully focus upon the relationship of this language to other key concepts in the letter: faith, works, Law, and covenant, to name a few. However, one important terminological companion of righteousness has been neglected–that of glory (δόξα and its cognates).  Accordingly, this paper, after a brief exploration of the glory motif, will analyze how Paul intertwines these two concepts in the letter.  I argue that Paul presents justification as the means to immortal life, signified by glory.  My argument consists of three points.  First, although Paul uses glory language sociologically in his honour discourse, he frequently uses it ontologically in reference to the experience of immortal life.  Thus, when humans lack glory, they experience mortality, and when they later experience glory, they experience the resurrection life of Christ.  Second, throughout the letter Paul presents righteousness as the means to new life.  Third, Paul similarly presents righteousness as the means to glory.  Thus, the righteousness-glory association provides further evidence that Paul understands justification as the means for rectifying human mortality arising from sin.  Accordingly, we can conclude that in Romans 1) justification, among other things, is God’s act of new creation and therefore fits within God’s larger plan of cosmic restoration and 2) Paul does not separate participationist and forensic categories but unites them in the act of justification which brings new life.


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