"In Acts...Paul is denied the title of Apostle." (Hengel & Schwemer, Paul between Damascus and Antioch (John Knox Press, 1997) at 321.)


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Romans 7: Email Critique

David Email of November 20, 2013

This is regarding your Romans 7 writing, which link I have attached.

This article left me almost incredulous to think someone who appears such a critic of Paul should be so ignorant of his actual meaning.
That Paul is not speaking of God's death is as plain as bringing the context of the prior chapter into this one, seeing chapter/verses were a later addition. The thing that died is the "old man," (Ro 6:6) also there called the "body of sin." Also called (Ro 7:5) "the flesh" that they were in. Which thing must be put to death, and die, because the enmity with God is in that flesh/old man/body of sin, also called in Ro 7:25 the "body of this death." Again, they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with its affections and lusts. (Ga 5:34)
And if Paul meant that God died, certainly 1 Timothy 3:16 would say so, plainly as it is stated.

My Reply 11/20/2013
While your solution has been discussed by leading commentators, no one has adopted it as viable, because these commentators admit it mismatches the husband-wife context of the death of the husband in Romans 7.
Regarding this solution you offer, Morris and Hodge write:

The main difficulty is that Paul's illustration refers to a wife who is bound to her husband, as long as he lives...[and] in the illustration it is not the wife but the husband who dies, not the husband but the wife who remarries. (Leon Morris, The Epistle to the Romans (1988) at 270.)

There is a...incongruity between the illustration and the form in which the principle is stated in the first verse....The illustration is that a wife is free not when she dies [but] when her husband dies.. (Charles Hodge, A commentary on the Epistle to the Romans (1875) at 216.)

Thus, if the Romans 6 concept that we die with Christ ("united with him in death") meant Jesus is the husband in Romans 7 in whom we are united, then who is the wife united to the husband prior to his death if not God's people (who your argument contends is identified instead with the husband who dies)? And since your argument means we are united in death with the husband of Romans 7 per Romans 6, who is the wife who remained alive during our death and is now free to remarry without committing adultery (Romans 7:3)? 
As you can see, there is no answer to those questions that fits your argument. 
The only possibility is that the wife represents God's people both before and after the death of the husband. When her husband died, Paul says she is released from the Law that bound the wife to the husband who died, allowing her to remarry another husband. (Romans 7:1-3.) Paul's lesson is clear in context, and is understood by virtually all commentators to be the following: we (God's people) can marry Jesus as our husband released from the Law that had bound God's people prior to the death of the husband of whom Paul speaks.
But no one addresses who is the husband with care, obviously because it is very problematical. However, when the Berean in us carefully examines this question, the only two solutions as to the identity of the husband are that the husband is either the God of Sinai (Yahweh) -- including Jesus indwelled by the Father (John 14:10) -- or the law itself. Because the latter is incongruous and illogical (i.e., the death of the husband-law supposedly caused the death of the law), only the former solution is viable and correct. And Paul clearly speaks of Christ's death brought about the end of the Law, thus fully matching the husband who died was Father-Yahweh dwelling in Christ, as Jesus said the Father dwelled in Himself (John 14:10) whom in the Original Testament is repeatedly referred to as the husband of Israel / God's people.
I trust that answers your first issue.

My Answer to Your Second Issue
Also, I don't see how 1 Timothy 3:16 is inconsistent with my interpretation of Romans 7. It supports exactly what I am saying.
I said that when Jesus died, Paul is saying the husband of God's people -- the God of Sinai /Yahweh died, but Paul omits mention that the God of Sinai resurrected, but instead only Jesus resurrected. Because Paul teaches Jesus is God in Titus 2:13 ASB (if you apply the Granville Sharpe rule, it reads "our Great God and Savior, Jesus Christ"), I say that Paul must necessarily imply in Romans 7 that Jesus represents a different-replacement God for the husband-God of Israel. Paul says this husband-God died at the cross, dissolving thereby the Law that bound Israel. This is Marcion's same interpretation of Paul in 144 AD -- a Paul defender. Thus, I commented in the linked article you reference:
Paul thus must mean Jesus represents, just as Marcion interpreted Paulinism in 144 A.D., a new and different God than the God who died on the cross.
Hence, 1 Timothy 3:16 (KJV) precisely fits what I am saying. It reads:
16 And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.

God was manifest in Jesus and received up into glory does not tell us what happened to the husband-God of Sinai during the crucifixion. The way Paul uses the husband-wife legal lesson, it dictates that when read with Titus 2:13 that Jesus could live as God after the death of the original Father - as if one replaced the other. 
Moreover, even if you imply from 1 Timothy 3:16 that it significantly omits mention of the death of the God of Sinai when it should say this if true, this silence at best constitutes a contradiction within Paul's thought. Or at least another "difficult to understand" passage. (2 Peter 3:17.) None of this vouches for the ability to use Paul's words as inspired. Either they are gross heresy or they are inherently self-contradictory, and hence dangerous for a follower of Christ to ingest.