Hi, Claude —
I'd like to add to some further clarification
to what Eric has said. Romans 3 is
talking about personal sin, not original
sin, or sin nature as Evangelicals
may refer to it. Paul is specifically
using the word "all" in
the collective sense rather than
in the individual sense of the word.
Paul is saying that there is no difference
between Jews and non-Jews; both categories
of people have sinners.
We have to be careful about the way
we interpret text that seems to be
all inclusive in its use of language.
For example, Paul writes in 2 Thessalonians:
even when we were with you, we
commanded you this: If anyone
will not work, neither shall he
2 Thessalonians 3:10
- OK, so if an infant won't get
out of the crib and work, we should
let him starve to death?
- If a person is too old, sick,
or otherwise unable to work, they
should not eat either?
If we apply the same standard of
exegesis to this passage as Evangelicals
apply to the Romans 3 text in question,
then not a single person, that does
not work, should ever eat!
As I said before, context is the
- What is the overall point Paul
is making in Romans?
He is arguing against "works
of the Law", specifically circumcision.
Let me give you another example of
the collective or hyperbolic use
of the words.
see a Man who told me all things
that I ever did. Could this be
This is from the story of the woman
at the well. The Scriptures only
record that Jesus told her about
her previous husbands and her current
lover. We could really stretch the
idea and say that the text simply
does not mention all the
things Jesus told her.
But do you really think Jesus
mentioned all the
things that she ever did?
If so, the conversation would have
to include every single breath the
woman took, every meal she ate, every
bodily function, every glance, every
conversation, ever place she visited
etc., etc., etc. from the moment
she exited the birth canal to the
moment she met Jesus.
- No doubt Jesus could have done
that, but is that what the woman
is implying by her use of the
words "all' and "ever"?
Well, you can't have it both ways.
If you insist that Paul's use of
the word "all" in Romans 3 must include
every human, even if you exclude
Jesus, then you must apply the same
standard to the text in John and
it must have been a very long conversation
at the well.
Notice I emphasized must,
because Paul could,
in fact, mean just that, but it does
not mean that he must mean
that. As I said, the argument being
read by the Jews in Rome was Paul's
purpose, and it is not clear that
Paul meant every person. Thus the
Catholic Doctrine of the Immaculate
Conception cannot be disproved by
Now, there are many Scriptural arguments
that point to the Immaculate Conception.
If you are interested in continuing
to dialogue on the subject, I'd be
perfectly happy to discuss them with
Under His Blood,