Sunday, June 20, 2010

Romans 5:18.

I think that my argument regarding the universality of atonement was an adequate answer to the challenge of universal justification.  Nevertheless, I believe that Romans 5:18 works as well.  For some strange reason it slipped my mind

In this verse we are told that "many" became sinners by Adam, but that "many" have been justified by Christ.

Granted, Paul does not use the word "pan" (meaning "all") rather he uses the word "polloi" which means "many."  Contextually though, he means "all."  If he doesn't then clearly he would be leaving open the possibility that some had successfully avoided original sin, which is absolutely not his intention.  

The same word is used in the Gospel also when Jesus said that his life will be a ransom for "polloi."  If we don't posit that meaning "all," then we automatically accept Calvinist limited atonement.

So, one's two option are as follows if one does not accept that "poloi" means contextually "all" in Romans 5:18.

1. Posit limited atonement.

2. Accept a limited spread of original sin.

3. Accept both?

None of these is of course acceptable in light of the analogia fidei.


  1. absolutely correct. In fact, I believe that deep in the comments of one of your previous posts (probably the really long set) you will see that I make this very point. Not so expansively as you did, but just the same. It was one of the many "scriptures" (proof-texts!) that Mr. Meyer and Dr. Lito completely ignored while claiming that you and I (and a few others) had no Scriptural support.


  2. On the surface it looks this way, but you have to put it in context. Perspective is everything! The first verse in Romans 5 clarifies the context. Paul is already talking to believers so he can say they are justified; "Therefore since we have been justified by faith..." You can not use this verse to prove UOJ. If you can tell me where Abraham was made righteous (justified) before faith, then we have a real discussion.

    There is no justification before faith. Is the debt of sin paid for? Yes! Can you say then that the debt is forgiven? Yes; All this in a general objective sense absolutely! But this only makes it possible for righteousness and justification on the other side of faith. Even the Concordia Study Bible notes say this under Romans 5:18 that Jesus' death and resurrection makes salvation available. Salvation comes through faith and it is that faith that justifies us and makes us righteous just as it did our father in faith, Abraham.

    Joe Krohn