BEN: In discussing Rom. 5-8 you talk about Sin, Death, Flesh being causative agents in this world. What exactly does that mean? They are not personal entities, so are you saying that there are cosmic bad guys, fallen angels and such, who are plaguing humanity with these things, or are you simply saying that humanity is enmeshed in sin and it’s a downward spiral into death? Or both?SCOT: I was particulary impacted by the fine study of Agency through emergence theory in Matthew Croasmun’s dissertation (OUP now, The Emergence of Sin), and it ties in with systemic evil, like racisim or powermongering in some contexts. I think the individualistic emphasis of Bultmann and the mythological view of Käsemann has been dealt a death blow by Croasmun’s emergence theory showing how sins can become an Agent (Sin) and take on personal senses. It is so fascinating to see Paul speak of terms like Sin and Death and Flesh “doing” things. That’s an assignment for a class discussion and it brings to light much in Paul’s theology of the Christian life.
BEN: I very much like the way the books ends— showing that Paul’s rhetoric of concord and unity stands against all the divisive stuff in the American church. I could have wished for a few more paragraphs about that! Good book Scot. Thanks for writing it!