The Darkness and the Clearness: Theological and Psychological Implications of Sin and Grace
Riedel, Jonathan David
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If we wish to understand life we must ask questions, questions that reflect an avoidance of easy answers or convenient moralizing, particularly if the questions have to do with the health and the disease of the human condition. These are questions that touch the heart of all serious students of human experience. As a student of both psychology and religion, two of these questions have bothered me and these questions will serve as the heart of this paper. "Why does humankind, whose considerable creative and adaptive abilities could potentially reconcile and solve both its personal and global fissures and attain some degree of peaceful wholeness, so often seem inextricably mired in processes that lead to the destruction of both the quality and the quantity of its creative life and sap its strength? Why does human smallness seem to overshadow human greatness)which comes with growth and creativity?" The second questions is, "Is humankind capable of solving this dilemma, or must it depend upon forces much more knowledgeable and powerful than itself?" These are existential questions because our answers to these questions determine how we lead our lives, these are questions of interest to both psychologists and theologians, and finally, these are questions that are religiously expressed in the Christian concepts of 'sin' and 'grace', two concepts which have both psychological and theological applications.