Purpose of Salvation?

Salvation is meaningless unless there is some benefit to it. Right? What if there was no benefit? Would it still be salvation?


Michael said…
I think the concern about meaningless-ness has to be asked on a larger level: what would it mean for anything to be meaningless? Are you worried about meaningful-ness in relation to a particular theological concept as it has been formulated in history, or about the capactity for "salvation" to retain meaning in any context?

In other words, if salvation is understood to be the reception of some reward (which benefits a human) who otherwise did not deserve it, then questioning that definition would leave "salvation" unstable. However, salvation might not NEED to mean that, in which "salvation" might be concieved differently, and is still meaningful.

Here is what is at stake: if salvation MUST mean that a human recieves some benefit, then to question whether humans recieve some benefit in salvation would render it "without that meaning." If one thinks this is THE ONLY meaning it could have, then it is now a meaning-less concept.

So, to combat such an argument, one would have to show that salvation CAN ONLY mean the reception of "some benefit." Which, of course, entails the larger question: can words, concepts, ideas ONLY MEAN one thing.

Finally, to answer your question, as best I see how, salvation can be meaningful (even CHRISTIAN) and not be conceived in terms of human benefit. Yet, as far as I can see, the notion of "human benefit" is so ambiguous, that one could find a way to interpret benefit to connect it with salvation (even if it is no longer in a traditional way).

For instance, the "benefit" to a particular individual or community of salvation may be the very realization that we do not get any material or spiritual benefit (as we once thought) from salvation--here we have the paradox of benefitting from no benefit. So, we would have to be more specific about how we are using the terms we employ, or, at the very least, admit paradox.

What do you think? Is this related to your salvation class?

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