Monday, January 7, 2008

TurretinFan Answer to Question #1

PhatCatholic, you asked for proof that “unclean” is simply a figure of speech for the fact that the “unclean” spirit are evil. My understanding was that this was a generally understood fact, based on typology from the Old Testament ceremonial “cleanness” and “uncleanness.” Nevertheless, since you asked for demonstration, allow me to demonstrate.

We can see that “unclean” is simply a figure of speech from the facts:

1. That demons are interchangeably referred to as “evil spirits” and “unclean spirits.” For examples of “evil spirits,” see Luke 7:21, Luke 8:2, and Acts 19:12-13;
2. That sin is “spiritual uncleanness” in the historic Christian view, as evidenced even by such late medieval scholastics as Aquinas (Summa Theologica, Third Part, Question 80, Article 5, Objection 3);
3. That the ancients seem to concur in this matter with Aquinas
a) Origen seems to equate, “wicked and unclean spirits” (De Principiis, Book I, Chapter V, Paragraph 2),
b) Likewise, in Homily XLIII on Matthew 12:38-39, Chrysostom refers to the same spirits as “unclean” and “evil,” see especially, section 4; and
c) Similarly, we have the testimony of Cyprian: “But if any one is moved by this, that some of those who are baptized in sickness are still tempted by unclean spirits, let him know that the obstinate wickedness of the devil prevails even up to the saving water, but that in baptism it loses all the poison of his wickedness.” (Cyprian, Epistle LXXV, Paragraph 15); or
4. That common sense tell us so – after all, cleanness’ literal sense is physical, but spirits are not physical. Therefore, we understand that “unclean” as applied to spiritual things has a figurative (not literal) sense.

Obviously one could go further and provide an exegesis as to the typological relationship between sin and uncleanness, focusing on, for example, Leviticus 14:19 and Hebrews 9:13 (see, for example, Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary entry for Hebrews 9:13), but - of course - the 500 word limit for this response would not permit a full exegesis of those and the many related texts.


1 comment:

Turretinfan said...

I count about 300 words.

Back to you, PC, for Question Number 2.