Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Did you know? (Romans 1 and the Book of Wisdom)

I was working on the devotional that goes along with my forthcoming Paul book on Romans (with Wesleyan Publishing) and was remembering how similar Romans 1 is to some themes in Wisdom 13 and 14.

Did you know?
... that Paul seems to be interacting with the book of Wisdom in Romans 1?  The "Wisdom of Solomon," as it is sometimes called, was written at about the same time as Paul--perhaps several decades earlier.  It was used extensively by the Christians of the earliest centuries and remains in the Roman Catholic and Greek Orthodox Old Testament.  Hebrews 1:3 alludes to Wisdom 7:26.

Wisdom 13 talks about how foolish Gentiles worshiped wood when they used the other half of the tree to make a boat.  It talks about how people should have realized the Creator behind the creation but worshiped created things instead.  Wisdom 14 then talks about how sexual immorality naturally followed idolatry.

It is exactly this same sequence of ideas we find in Romans 1.  Paul says that God's eternal power should have been evident, but instead Gentiles worshiped the creation and idols. God then left humanity to spiral out of control, manifesting itself not least in sexual immorality.

The similarity of themes and progression may be strong enough to conclude that Paul knew the book of Wisdom and was interacting with it.

Did you know?


Anonymous said...

No, I didn't know that! ;)

Angie Van De Merwe said...

Monotheism has to have its apologetic, doesn't it? And you are using Jewish texts to support Paul's apology for inclusion of "the Gentile", or the "non-religious".

All religions are man-made attempts to describe "God" and give an account for causation....of this world and all that is.

Science is also an attempt to describe "God" (Nature) and the causation of this world and all that is.

Don't you think that science is more rational? Science is man's attempt at understanding the causes in the world and all that is....instead of faith in some intervening "God", science understands nature as its own cause...and theisic evolutionists or Deists believe that "God" has "ordained" such causative "order"...the problem is understanding "order", when the world is so complex....

Angie Van De Merwe said...

One thing is for sure, our nation understood that MAN was the end of the "ideal" reality, as to his life, liberty and the purusuit of happiness. The individual was to make his own choices, decisions and formulate his own values apart from the State's demands of conformity to religious aspects of existence!

Formal religious claims did not hold value in our nation=state, as Americans were protected from a "State sanctioned religion". There was to be no claim upon individuals and their identification to or about "God".

Angie Van De Merwe said...

Fertility cults were useful ways of "understanding" how pregnancy "happened". Such cults used sacrifice to the "god" or "gods" to appease and make "favorable conditions" for reproduction."Nature religions" understand "god" in such ways.

Other religions use myth to describe thier ultimate values, or ways of sacralizing life...

Whenever anything is considered sacred, it is "personal identification" that correlates to personal values, as there is really no sacred or secular. These categories are man's attempt to promote his own values above and beyond another's....and it is competitive politics that makes for the 'winning' position!

Angie Van De Merwe said...

So, the question is, how does one affirm "personal values", that are sacralized, if one's personal values undermine another's life and liberty? One can't without undermining human rights.

Where we draw our lines and define our liberties are what political positions are about in a free society. Everyone is supposed to have a voice in a free society, otherwise, it is called authoritarianism/totaltalitarianism, which is tyranny.