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Soteriology (Mirianism)

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Part of the series Mirianism
Chirin
‘Idtā d-Madniiḥā d-Miryin
1 Foundations of Faith
2 God
3 Sacraments
4 Monasticism
5 Holidays
6 Cosmology
7 Eschatology
8 Soteriology
9 Important Titles
10 Apostolic Succession
11 Sacred sites
* Discussion on Mirianism

Soteriology in Mirian thought deals mainly with the problem of liquidating human suffering in regard to the Fall of Adam. In light of restoration and indemnity, the problem of human suffering is explained in detail throughout this article.

Conditions for the "Death" in Eden (the Fall)

The Universe is governed by many laws which are believed to be enforced by the Heavenly Council and its messangers, the Mala’key (angels). Terrestrial planets, such as Earth, are governed by physical laws in accordance with the Anthropic Principle; cosmic law set from the beginning to ensure that the Universe will give rise to intelligent creatures, such as human beings. The forces behind physical laws are neither "good" nor "bad," but provide balance within the cosmos. Death is one of those balancing forces through natural means, but is also believed to be pre-natural force governed by an angel of death (Malak d-Mawtā). In scientific terms, natural selection propagates the phenomenon of death when necessary.

Mirianism does not teach, however, that physical death was cast upon all living beings because of Adam's sin. Rather, it was a spiritual death that took place within the "day" that Adam partook of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. The nature of this "fall" is believed to be sexual in a "Branhamian" sense; the "eating of the fruit" from the Tree of Knowledge is said to be a metaphor of fornication between the Serpent and Eve, and premature sex between Adam and Eve at the instigation of the Serpent.

The sin of Adam, or the "Fall of Man", has no grip on the true nature (ra‘yān d-rēyšīyt) of the human being. As a Wikipedia article state, "[t]he act of Adam is not the responsibility of all humanity, but the consequences of that act changed the condition of our relationship to God. Historically, Eastern Christians resisted the Western concept that Adam's sin compromises human freedom."[1]

"Original sin," or ḥiṭ’ qadmay (also known as consequential sin, or ḥiṭ’ d-pērā in Mirian Syriac), is the sin which Adam and Eve passed on to their descendants, as well as humanity as a whole. Consequential sin can turn into collective sin (ḥiṭ’ kanūwšyān) or individual sin (ḥiṭ’ qnawmay), all leading to a common source. However, the guilt of the consequential sin of Adam was not passed on to his descendants, but the consequences are inevitably suffered by them. When Genesis 2 speaks of dying at the time of the eating of the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge, Adam and Eve would "fall" out of direct relationship with God. Thereby disrupting the Providence of God through humanity, humanity was subjected to spiritual death in the Garden of Eden.

The Nature of Salvation

Salvation (Puwrqān) is coherent with the necessity of absolute harmony; that is, harmony with God and with everything that is, especially between Heaven (Šmayā) and Earth (’Ar‘ā). Salvation is available for all, especially for those who seek it and there is no coersion regarding salvation; it is a "gift", not a requirement (Luke 15:11-32).

The obtaining of salvation is not an easy course, but it requires timeless effort, fulfilment of moral obligations, spiritual transformation, and final entrance into Christ-hood (Secret James: Codex I, pages 3-5). Faith (haymenuw) is the spiritual fuel of salvation. Grace (ḥesād) is bestowed upon believers through their faith in the redemptive work of Yešwa Mašyaḥ's death on the cross.

Theory of Atonement (Kiypuwr)

The Mirian doctrine of atonement takes multiple perspectives in regard to how the death of Christ on the cross dealt with the remission of sins. The historical Christian views taken to be true include:

Substitutionary Theory

In Mirian soteriology, the substitution theory of atonement holds that Jesus Christ died on the cross as a substitute for the sins of humanity, but only in as much as spiritual bondage to sin is concerned. Since the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23), the perfect sacrificial death of Christ paid for the debt to God and quenched the wrath that sin incurred.

Ransom Theory

The Mirian version of ransom theory states that Christ's death on the cross was a ransom sacrifice paid to God according to the Law of Sin and Death on behalf of the Jewish nation for their unfaithfulness to God and their rejection of the Messiah. However, in the A.D. 70 destruction of the Jewish temple and Jerusalem by the Roman Empire, God spared only the Christians and a select number of Jews as a result of His and Christ's love for Israel (Matthew 20:28; Mark 10:45).

Governmental Theory
Satisfaction Theory

Moral Influence Theory

Recapitulation Theory

Continual Transformation

The Nature of Salvation can be very hard to comprehend since it requires "walking through the narrow path" (Matt. 7:13-14), but it also is an age-long process (continual transformation) that every human being must go through if he/she wants to experience the Kingdom of Heaven (Luke 9:23). The first step on this path is by way of faith, which is, by its very definition, surrendering the will of the self to the will of God the Father.

History of Salvation

The history of salvation corresponds with three Ages of Restoration: the Age of Foundation for Restoration, the Age of Restoration, and the Age of Prolongation of Restoration. The names of these ages were given by the United States branch of the Korean new religious movement called the Unification Church. The Mirian Church agrees with the concept of the three ages for the sake of restoration.

Divine Providence (Ra‘yān ’Alāhān)

Creation is the blue print for Divine Providence; the universe was created as a result of this Providence. The causal reality of the universe is God, but the purpose for the creation of our universe has yet to be realized by human beings. The providence of "evolutionary change", to put it in scientific terms, is believed by the Mirian Church to be ordained to give rise to humanity, which would eventually give rise to Adam, then to Abraham, then to Jacob, and finally to Jesus for the Providence of Restoration. "Directed Evolutionary change" put into Mirian spiritual terms would be called Providential Succession of living forms. The distinguished physicist and biblical scholar, Dr. Gerald L. Schroeder summed up the compatibility of science and spirituality in his book, Genesis and the Big Bang:

"Whatever God's goal may be for the universe it does appear that there are certain ground rules that are used to reach it. One of those rules is that interactions in the physical world follow specific laws of physics and chemistry."[2]

It is a theistic evolutionary standpoint, viewing evolution as having a goal, unlike the Neo-Darwinian "randomness" of Natural Selection. The evolution of man, it is believed, was crucial to the survival of the Earth. Genesis 1:28 and 2:15 state that mankind was meant to rule and care for the Earth that would hold the Garden of Eden (Kingdom of God on Earth).

Renewal of All Things

The General Resurrection will occur at the "cosmic transfiguration" (Apocatastasis). Until then, however, humanity must strive to do the best that we can to build the Kingdom of God "on earth as it is in heaven" (Matthew 6:10). The Providence of Restoration cannot come without us establishing our efforts first. This is what the Eucharist prepares for us to do. It gives us a glimpse of what God's future will look like here and now.

Resurrection of the Dead

Resurrection of the Dead, or ḥāyītā d-mayteh in Mirian Syriac, is, as with most other Christian traditions, an important event within Mirian theology. Theodoros II, the Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria & all Africa, says, "The voluntary sacrific of the Word of God, receives meaning in His resurrection from the dead. Death is defeated." Mirianism agrees with this, in that death is not a "means to an end". Physical death is usually viewed as a horrible thing, but it doesn't have to be; it is a natural occurrence. Like most Christian traditions, Mirianism does not accept a literal theory of reincarnation (Mirian Syriac: Gelgowl), or transmigration of disembodied spirits, but believe that the providence of resurrection necessitates the return of a person's spirit to earth to complete his or her mission through "returning resurrection." As the Exposition of the Divine Principle of the Unification Church states,

"Spirits who could not complete their missions during their earthly life must return to people on earth who share the same type of mission as they had during their lifetime. When a spirit assists an earthly person to fulfill God’s Will, the person will fulfill not only his own mission, but also the mission of the spirit who has helped him. Hence, from the standpoint of mission, the physical self of the person concurrently serves as the physical self of the spirit. In a sense, he is the second coming of the spirit; hence he may sometimes be called by the spirit’s name and appear to be the reincarnation of that spirit. In the Bible, John the Baptist was to have fulfilled the mission which Elijah left unfinished during his earthly life, since he received Elijah’s assistance in carrying out his activities. Jesus called John 'Elijah' because John’s physical self concurrently served as the body of Elijah" (Moon, 2006, p. 149).

Resurrection also has a metaphorical meaning; "as referring metaphorically to baptism (a dying and rising with Christ) and to the "new life of strenuous ethical obedience, enabled by the Holy Spirit, to which the believer is committed."[3]

Resurrection of Yeshwa

The Resurrection of Yeshwa is one of the most important aspects of Christian theology as a whole, and in Mirian theology in particular. It was the prelude to the General Resurrection that will happen sometime in the future, at the renewal of all things (the "cosmic transfiguration" will occur at the end of time). However, belief in the Resurrection should not be taken as a belief that makes the believer say "Jesus is raised, therefore there is life after death," or "Jesus is raised, therefore we shall go to heaven when we die."[4] The real message is this: "Jesus is raised, so he is the Messiah, and therefore he is the world's true Lord; Jesus is raised, so God's new creation has begun - and we, his followers, have a job to do!"[5]

As with St. John the Baptist, so with us; we must "prepare the way" for the Lord's renewal. The Age of Prolongation of the Providence of Restoration, also called the Messianic Age, started at the birth of the Mishyah. Yeshwa's death, resurrection, and ascession anticipated the final Eighth Day of Creation, the renewal of all things. We still abide within the Seventh Day of Creation (from an earthly perspective, over 15 billion years of cosmic existance), and all creation still awaits the day of God's renewal. The Tree of Life (perfected humanity under the Law of Mishyah) will finally stand in place of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil (humanity under the Old Law). The Old Law was by no means unnecessary, but it was for a different age.

The whole Christian story did not end at the cross, the resurrection or ascession of Jesus, it had begun.

Harrowing of Sheol

Notes

  1. Wikipedia contributors. "Original sin." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 19 Jan. 2011. Web. 22 Jan. 2011. <http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Original_sin&oldid=287974322>.
  2. Schroeder 1990, pg. 85
  3. Wright 2008, pp. 46-47
  4. Ibid, pg. 56
  5. Ibid.

References

  • Moon, Sun Myung (2006). Exposition of the Divine Principle. New York: The Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of Christianity. ISBN 0-910621-80-2. 
  • Schroeder, Gerald (1990). Genesis and the Big Bang. New York: Bantam Books. ISBN 0-553-35413-2. 

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