Is there life "in the flesh" after "you have crucified the flesh"? Gal 5:24

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gryan
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Re: Is there life "in the flesh" after "you have crucified the flesh"? Gal 5:24

Post by gryan »

@ GakuseiDon

Thanks for these comments. I think you have expressed a point of view that is reflective of the modern consensus with respect to the notion of becoming participants in the "flesh of Christ" (a notion expressed in Jerome's commentary on Galatians).

What is your view of the arguably parallel notions that Paul proclaimed participation in the "faith of Christ" and the "body of Christ"?
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GakuseiDon
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Re: Is there life "in the flesh" after "you have crucified the flesh"? Gal 5:24

Post by GakuseiDon »

gryan wrote: Fri Sep 16, 2022 8:56 amI think you have expressed a point of view that is reflective of the modern consensus with respect to the notion of becoming participants in the "flesh of Christ" (a notion expressed in Jerome's commentary on Galatians).
This is a fuller listing of the passage about "Christ's flesh" in Jerome's commentary:

First of all, we should note that it is one thing to crucify, another to recrucify. Secondly, recrucifying the Son of God is not the same as crucifying the flesh of Christ with its vices and sinful desires. The “flesh of Christ” is not actually the Son of God himself. Rather, it is Christ Jesus who, although he was God the Word, who was with the Father in the beginning, became flesh and emptied himself, assuming the form of a servant so that he might crucify the flesh and disarm the principalities and powers and triumph over them by the Cross, thereby bringing to pass what the Apostle said: “The death he died, he died to sin once for all.” Thus, if our bodies are the members of Christ, then our flesh is the flesh of Christ. And while we are on earth we crucify it and through it we put to death impurity, lust, evil desire, and avarice. It becomes the reason why we are praised who have crucified the flesh of Christ Jesus with its vices and sinful desires and who always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that his life may be revealed in our flesh. But it takes no small effort to live in the present age in such a way that the life of Jesus is revealed in our flesh right now. For our mortal bodies will accordingly be made alive through the Spirit who dwells within us.

Where the Latin translator has “vices” (vitia), παθήματα, that is, “sufferings” (passiones), is found in the Greek. Since the word “suffering” (passio) can refer to pain and other hardships of the body, the Apostle has advisedly invoked the concept of desires (desideria) because he wants to come across as denying not the nature of the body in spiritually minded people but rather the presence of “vices” (vitia) in them. If we follow the common version and accept the reading “Those who belong to Christ have crucified the flesh with its vices and sinful desires,” we should bear in mind that we are saying that they have crucified not the flesh of Christ but their own flesh.

I almost forgot the second interpretation. I stated earlier that everything that follows must be taken as referring to the Law and circumcision. The sense is this: Those who have the fruits of the Spirit—love, joy, and so on—have crucified the literal interpretation of Scripture, called here the “flesh of Christ,” along with its passions and desires, which provide infants and suckling babes with incitements to vice. He who does not wage war in the way that the flesh of the literal meaning does, but follows the leading of the spirit of allegory, has crucified this very flesh of Christ.


Whether that reflects Paul's own thinking I don't know. Jerome wrote three centuries after Paul, at a time when Christ was thought to have been the preexisting Word incarnated. I don't think Paul had that view. But I think Paul is writing allegorically as does Jerome.
gryan wrote: Fri Sep 16, 2022 8:56 amWhat is your view of the arguably parallel notions that Paul proclaimed participation in the "faith of Christ" and the "body of Christ"?
I'm not sure what you mean here by "body of Christ". Paul believes the members of the church makes up the body of Christ, with each member playing a specific part, just as the body has specialised parts (head, hands, legs). But faith in Christ is the belief that Christ came as an offering for sin:

Gal 2:20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
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Re: Is there life "in the flesh" after "you have crucified the flesh"? Gal 5:24

Post by gryan »

GakuseiDon wrote: Sat Sep 17, 2022 4:08 am But faith in Christ is the belief that Christ came as an offering for sin:

Gal 2:20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
GakuseiDon,

Thanks for taking a look at Jerome's usage of becoming "Christ's flesh". It is a mixed bag, as you point out and one has to pick and choose. In my reading of Paul, I don't accept Jerome's alternative interpretation having to do with the literal vs allegorical readings of scripture Christ's flesh vs Christ's spirit.

I'm confused about what you are saying at the end of your post:

"...the faith of the Son of God" is a subjective genitive translation.

But your interpretation of it assumes Christ is the object of the believer's faith:

"But faith in Christ is the belief that Christ came as an offering for sin"

What's going on here? Please make a clear statement about which side you are taking with respect to the "faith of Christ" vs "faith in Christ" debate.

As I see it, Paul preaches participation in the faith of Christ through crucifixion of the flesh with its passions and desires, and then, in the flesh, through acts of love and service. "We walk in the flesh", Paul says in 2 Cor 10:3. He speaks to a former slave and master as "brothers in the flesh and in the Lord" (Philemon 1:16). Paul does not have a problem with "the flesh" as such. Rather, he has a problem with carrying out "fleshly desires". Desire is the problem. Belief in Christ as an atonement for sin is not central to Paul's thought, at least not in the Galatians flesh phrases I'm studying (eg. Gal 2:20). What is central is found oddly enough in a pseudo Pauline document that drew out the underlying emphasis of Galatians correctly:

Eph 2:1f ESV
And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2in 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— 3among 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.b 4But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— 6and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

11Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called “the uncircumcision” by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands— 12remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down (λύσας) in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility 15by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, 16and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility.

---------

As I see it, the flesh phrases of breaking down the walls of separation in Eph draw out Paul's breaking down language in Gal 2:17,

"If I rebuild what I broke down (κατέ-λυσα), then I really would be a lawbreaker."

Meaning, he would be breaking the law of Christ, the law of love, if he rebuilt the wall separating "Jews by birth" and "Gentile sinners" (Gal 2:15). The gospel of Paul was for "all flesh", not just for circumcised participants.
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Re: Is there life "in the flesh" after "you have crucified the flesh"? Gal 5:24

Post by gryan »

Re: Spirit vs spirit for interpretation of "desire" in Phil 1:23

"I am torn between the two:
I desire (ἐπιθυμίαν) to depart and be with Christ,
which is better by far;
but it is more necessary for you
that I remain in the flesh (τῇ σαρκὶ)."

I now am seeing "desire (ἐπιθυμίαν) to depart" as a desire of the small s human spirit. The capital S Spirit would inspire no such desire "to depart and be with the Lord", this is because the capital S Spirit is already in union with the Lord, now, in the flesh. That is why Paul can speak so favorably of being "brothers in the flesh and in the Lord" (Philemon 1:6).

The spirit that "desires" (against what the flesh "desires") is the small s spirit.
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GakuseiDon
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Re: Is there life "in the flesh" after "you have crucified the flesh"? Gal 5:24

Post by GakuseiDon »

gryan wrote: Sat Sep 17, 2022 5:10 amI'm confused about what you are saying at the end of your post:

"...the faith of the Son of God" is a subjective genitive translation.

But your interpretation of it assumes Christ is the object of the believer's faith:

"But faith in Christ is the belief that Christ came as an offering for sin"

What's going on here? Please make a clear statement about which side you are taking with respect to the "faith of Christ" vs "faith in Christ" debate.
You're right, I am assuming "faith in Christ" there. I have no skill in any ancient language so I may be reading that wrong and my input is meaningless on that side.
gryan
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Re: Is there life "in the flesh" after "you have crucified the flesh"? Gal 5:24

Post by gryan »

GakuseiDon wrote: Sat Sep 17, 2022 10:27 pm
gryan wrote: Sat Sep 17, 2022 5:10 amI'm confused about what you are saying at the end of your post:

"...the faith of the Son of God" is a subjective genitive translation.

But your interpretation of it assumes Christ is the object of the believer's faith:

"But faith in Christ is the belief that Christ came as an offering for sin"

What's going on here? Please make a clear statement about which side you are taking with respect to the "faith of Christ" vs "faith in Christ" debate.
You're right, I am assuming "faith in Christ" there. I have no skill in any ancient language so I may be reading that wrong and my input is meaningless on that side.
You're not alone. There has been a forty year rigorous scholarly debate on the topic of the meaning of "faith of Christ" among our brightest and best specialists in the field of scholarly exegesis of Paul's letters (e.g. Stanley Stowers, prof. at Brown, author, Rereading Romans, and Sam K. Williams, PhD Harvard, author, Abington Commentary on Galatians, and Louis Martyn, UTS, Anchor Commentary on Gal), and although the "faithfulness of Christ" reading of Paul's ambiguous grammar has been found to the the better reading of Paul's meaning--based not only on good grammar, but also on such contextual arguments as the parallel with "the faith of Abraham"-- the significance of this distinction has not filtered down to non-specialists, eg. even Bart Ehrman (a generalist NT scholar rather than a specialist in Paul's letters), dissents from this current, growing consensus among specialists, and opts instead for the outmoded "faith in Christ" argument.

Thus, I am persuaded that my argument for my thesis on the flesh phrases of Galatians needs to start with an argument for interpreting Paul's πίστις Χριστοῦ language in the context of participation in the "faithfulness of Christ". Only when that premise is accepted does participation in "Christ's flesh" become intelligible; notwithstanding the fact that Paul in fact speaks of the manifestation of the "life of Jesus in our mortal flesh" (2 Cor 4:11).
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