Sunday, April 29, 2007

Economics? From Me?

Well, not instigated by me, at least. I was just reading one of TS O'Rama' posts, this time contemplating the relationship between monetary and soteriological (I like big words) economies. He points out that CS Lewis prayed for relief for his wife's pain and experienced more pain just as hers was lessening. I've heard similar stories from others I know personally, and TS rightly notes how this can be confusing: if we say that pain seems to be zero-sum, is that an argument that God isn't all-powerful and able to simply take away pain without a 1:1 compensation?

At first I thought that perhaps this would imply that the penalty for literally every sin committed by mankind was borne by Christ, and that this seemed very implausible as each of us (probably) sins every day and there have been billions of people, while Jesus only had 33 years. As much as He suffered, there's still not a 1:1 payment of pain. However, the wages of sin isn't pain, but death, and thus it could be argued that Christ's one innocent death was worth billions of guilty deaths (although I'm sympathetic to Lewis's and Wesley's views of a more governmental nature of atonement). I feel as though I'm writing very densely and not really connecting the dots for anyone reading this; I'll try and do better.

It seems to me that at least some pain is transferable, at least indirectly. When Jesus cast out the "Legion" demons from the possessed man, they asked to be allowed a specific other place to dwell. While not all pain is due to demons, at least some seems to be. Perhaps some is also the payment (or consequence or due) for something, and simply must be suffered by someone. If this is the case, like the penalty for sin, then it would seem that it could be transferred, especially by request of someone sympathetic. As for other pain, which is simply the consequence of living in a fallen world, I don't know that there's any reason why it should be able to be transferred, although perhaps it could be removed.

No comments: