Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Blasphemy Note

Here is what the Roman Catholic Church says in the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

1864 "Therefore I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven." There are no limits to the mercy of God, but anyone who deliberately refuses to accept his mercy by repenting, rejects the forgiveness of his sins and the salvation offered by the Holy Spirit. Such hardness of heart can lead to final impenitence and eternal loss.

In contrast, here is what Scripture says:

Matthew 12:22-32
22Then was brought unto him one possessed with a devil, blind, and dumb: and he healed him, insomuch that the blind and dumb both spake and saw. 23And all the people were amazed, and said, Is not this the son of David? 24But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, This fellow doth not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils. 25And Jesus knew their thoughts, and said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand: 26And if Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself; how shall then his kingdom stand? 27And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your children cast them out? therefore they shall be your judges. 28But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you. 29Or else how can one enter into a strong man's house, and spoil his goods, except he first bind the strong man? and then he will spoil his house. 30He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad. 31Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men. 32And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.

And again:

Mark 3:14-30
14And he ordained twelve, that they should be with him, and that he might send them forth to preach, 15And to have power to heal sicknesses, and to cast out devils: 16And Simon he surnamed Peter; 17And James the son of Zebedee, and John the brother of James; and he surnamed them Boanerges, which is, The sons of thunder: 18And Andrew, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus, and Simon the Canaanite, 19And Judas Iscariot, which also betrayed him: and they went into an house. 20And the multitude cometh together again, so that they could not so much as eat bread. 21And when his friends heard of it, they went out to lay hold on him: for they said, He is beside himself. 22And the scribes which came down from Jerusalem said, He hath Beelzebub, and by the prince of the devils casteth he out devils. 23And he called them unto him, and said unto them in parables, How can Satan cast out Satan? 24And if a kingdom be divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. 25And if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand. 26And if Satan rise up against himself, and be divided, he cannot stand, but hath an end. 27No man can enter into a strong man's house, and spoil his goods, except he will first bind the strong man; and then he will spoil his house. 28Verily I say unto you, All sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men, and blasphemies wherewith soever they shall blaspheme: 29But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation: 30Because they said, He hath an unclean spirit.

Luke 12:8-10
8Also I say unto you, Whosoever shall confess me before men, him shall the Son of man also confess before the angels of God: 9But he that denieth me before men shall be denied before the angels of God. 10And whosoever shall speak a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but unto him that blasphemeth against the Holy Ghost it shall not be forgiven.

I ask the reader, is the CCC's interpretation even remotely plausible in the context of Jesus' discussion in Matthew and Mark, and especially in view of the explanation provided in Mark 3:30. In other words, perhaps the CCC's interpretation would not contradict Scripture if only Luke's testimony were given, but against the three-fold testimony of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, can it hold its ground?

Surely not.



Anonymous said...

Are you trying to tell us what the unforgiveable sin is? If so....??

Turretinfan said...

Dear Godith,

I'm trying to ask the reader to determine whether the CCC's interpretation of blasphemy against the Holy Ghost as being "final impenitence" is a possible or reasonable explanation of the passage, viewing Christ's statement in context.

It is, of course, the answer a synergist would want it to be, but it is both clearly not based on exegesis of the text, and also clearly at odds with what the evangelist tells us.


TheoJunkie said...

I note that non-reformed protestants also would (and do) affirm the RCC interpretation of those passages.

Yes, it is willful disregard for the words of the text, in favor of preservation of one's pet doctrine... or, eisegesis, if one prefers.

I note also, that their CCC entry, in addition to not staying true to the scripture, also does not stay true to the RCC's own definitions of "blasphemy":


It appears that the RCC clearly understands "blasphemy" to be the attribution of things to God that do not belong to Him... specifically things that would have the effect of injuring his reputation. This, it would seem is also Jesus' understanding of the term, as revealed in the three passages you post.

But unless there is some bull that explains a gnostic connection, it does not seem possible that "deliberately refusing to accept his mercy by repenting" would be injurious to the character/reputation of God, nor that it would assign things to God that do not belong to him.

Turretinfan said...

While it is inconclusive, the only thing the the CCC cites (other than the three texts of Scripture already quoted in context in the post above) is:
137 Cf. John Paul II, DeV 46.

According to the CCC, DeV is short for "Dominum et Vivificanum [sic]" by which they apparently mean "Dominum et Vivificantem" Link

The relevant item (47) is reproduced below for your convenience:

47. The action of the Spirit of truth, which works toward salvific "convincing concerning sin," encounters in a person in this condition an interior resistance, as it were an impenetrability of conscience, a state of mind which could be described as fixed by reason of a free choice. This is what Sacred Scripture usually calls "hardness of heart."184 In our own time this attitude of mind and heart is perhaps reflected in the loss of the sense of sin, to which the Apostolic Exhortation Reconciliatio et Paenitentia devotes many pages.185 Pope Pius XII had already declared that "the sin of the century is the loss of the sense of sin,"186 and this loss goes hand in hand with the "loss of the sense of God." In the Exhortation just mentioned we read: "In fact, God is the origin and the supreme end of man, and man carries in himself a divine seed. Hence it is the reality of God that reveals and illustrates the mystery of man. It is therefore vain to hope that there will take root a sense of sin against man and against human values, if there is no sense of offense against God, namely the true sense of sin."187

Hence the Church constantly implores from God the grace that integrity of human consciences will not be lost, that their healthy sensitivity with regard to good and evil will not be blunted. This integrity and sensitivity are profoundly linked to the intimate action of the Spirit of truth. In this light the exhortations of St. Paul assume particular eloquence: "Do not quench the Spirit"; "Do not grieve the Holy Spirit."188 But above all the Church constantly implores with the greatest fervor that there will be no increase in the world of the sin that the Gospel calls "blasphemy against the Holy Spirit." Rather, she prays that it will decrease in human souls-and consequently in the forms and structures of society itself-and that it will make room for that openness of conscience necessary for the saving action of the Holy Spirit. The Church prays that the dangerous sin against the Spirit will give way to a holy readiness to accept his mission as the Counselor, when he comes to "convince the world concerning sin, and righteousness and judgment."

Obviously, JP2's own words provide greater wiggle room for interpretation ... but they would appear clearly to have nothing to do with gnosticism.


Turretinfan said...

Incidentally, the fact that other synergists besides RCs would believe the same thing on this point was exactly why I mentioned it.


TheoJunkie said...

I'm sorry... in my efforts to be clever, I muddled what I was trying to say. I meant to imply that there apparently must be some sort of "secret knowledge" within the RCC that would explain the disconnect between the definition of "blasphemy" (which they apparently understand), and their definition of "blasphemy against the Holy Spirit" (which they do not apparently understand).

Rejecting the gospel... even if it is the result of thwarting the Spirit's efforts (as the synergists claim)... is not "blasphemy" in any shape or form. That is, unless they want to say that thwarting the Spirit injures him or attributes something to him that he is not.

... speaking of which, it would appear that a doctrine that says the Spirit can be thwarted, is a doctrine that "attributes things to God that do not belong to him."

... interesting.