Conflicting Absolutes Revisited (Part I)

Thanks to Erich and Greg for their thoughtful conversation on conflicting absolutes. I missed the original conversation, so I hope you don’t mind if I reopen the bag of worms. (I’ll do it in three separate posts to try to keep the discussions organized and brief.)

As do most people, I struggle with the law of conflicting absolutes. I agree they are real. We are left at times with the choice between the lesser of two evils (both of which would be sin – no passes on God’s law).

Having said that, isn’t Greg’s point about mercy tempering the law similar to Erich’s point about relying on Christ? I know Greg was saying mercy provided a way out from sinning whereas Erich was saying Christ forgives sin (and I genuinely appreciate what Greg is saying). But Christ’s mercy provides the ultimate tempering of the law – it forgives the transgression of the law. So, when faced with a conflicting moral absolute, choose the lesser of two evils (i.e. sin) and rely on Christ for absolution and not a pass. Have I summarized this correctly?

More vexing to me is the fact Jesus never encountered a conflicting moral absolute. In my mind, this produces some potentially sticky problems. If Jesus became man and was “tempted in every way, just as we are-- yet was without sin” as Greg pointed out, how is it possible we all encounter conflicting moral absolutes and Jesus didn’t?

I know Erich discussed temptation as being given the OPTION to sin whereas conflicting absolutes isn’t temptation because no option exists, but aren’t conflicting moral absolutes a reality in a fallen world? As Erich wrote, “moral conflicts arise out of the fact that this is a fallen world.” If Jesus became flesh in a fallen world, wouldn’t he encounter this fact just like us or did God miraculously protect him and how does this influence our understanding of conflicting moral absolutes? I have no answers.

1 comment:

Erich Heidenreich, DDS said...

Thanks for your added comments. I believe they are complimentary to what I have written on the subject.

As for the question of Christ's life, I wrote above, "In holding to the principle of conflicting absolutes, I believe that somehow Christ was never put in that situation."

Conflicting absolutes are not situations EVERYONE must experience in life - certainly not with any great frequency. I believe true instances of conflicting absolutes are rare. Hence, the situation in which a Christian should contracept is rare.