This course is fundamentally a course in theological anthropology the study of humanity in its relation to God. The concern of this course lies with the anthropological question of how God deals concretely with human beings who are in history, in the world, in time and space. The first part of the course deals with the First Sin, starting with an effort to understand Augustine far-reaching understanding of original sin and secondly, to re-appropriate and re-interpret his often confusing and now anthropologically tenuous understanding of the matter. A discussion on original sin will flow over to an examination of patterns of personal as well as communal sinfulness and see how the Spirit of the Father and Son constantly labors to liberate humanity from such patterns. The second part is the heart of the course: Grace. This will entail a creative, experiential, and appropriated survey of the experience and understanding of grace from Scripture to Rahner. The course is taught with conscious and deliberate effort at appropriating and contextualizing the matter of sin and grace within today experiences of God’s unconditional goodness to humanity as humanity continually struggles towards freedom from sinfulness and for goodness and that the Triune God has everything to do with that theological-anthropological evolution. Divine grace which the Catechism of the Catholic Church describes as participation in the life of God (#1997) can be best appreciated when contrasted with dis-grace, that is, sin. Just as light becomes apparent when one has emerged from darkness; just as the good news of salvation becomes truly wonderful news when one has recognized salvation absence. As St. Paul puts it: Where sin increased, grace abounded all the more (Romans 5:20).
This course first discusses the mystery of sin and evil in scripture and in the tradition. However, more class time will be devoted to grace: the mystery of our new life in Christ and the pastoral implications arising from this graced reality. The course touches on some major controversies such as Pelagianism and Semipelagianism, the questions raised by the Reformers, and the response of Trent. Special attention is given to the patristic doctrine of deification (theosis). In attempting a contemporary and contextualized theology of grace, the course considers the question of the presence and action of divine grace in other (especially Asian) religions