116o Baptism and Original Sin with Professor James Papandrea
Description: In today’s episode we are going to lay out the fundamentals and history of baptism in early Christianity. We will also take a look at how the earliest Christians understood sin and Original Sin.
About Today’s Guest:
Link to Professor Papandrea’s YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/JimPapandrea
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Steve Guerra: [00:00:00] Thank you for listening to the history of the papacy. I am your host, Steve, and we are a member of the Parthenon podcasts network. Are there members of the Parthenon podcast network includes scout ranks, history unplugged podcast, James Early’s key battles of American history. Look for some interesting things coming out of there and Richard limbs, this American president go to Parthenon podcast.com to learn more.
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So your name can be a higher on the list of the history of the papacy. Diptychs. Now [00:01:00] let us commemorate the Patrion patrons on the history of the papacy. Diptychs we have Roberto Goren, William, Brian, Jeffrey, Christina, John, and Sarah at the Alexandria. We have Dapo Paul, Justin, and Ilana, all of whom are magnificent at Constantinople and reaching that ultimate power and prestige that of the sea of Rome.
We have Peter, the great, I am very excited to be joined once again by professor James Papandrea. All things early Christianity, Dr. Papaandrea's, professor of church history and historical theology at Garrett evangelical theological seminary at Northwestern university. He has an excellent YouTube series on the early church call.
The original church, you can find it at youtube.com/JimPapandrea or in the show notes. You can also find many of Professor Papandrea’s lectures on YouTube, as well as you have heard and will hear today, he has a really entertaining style and [00:02:00] presents information. Anyone from the person with the casual interest in church history, all the way up to an academic expert can enjoy and great gig great information from, I may not be an academic or a scholar, but as a time teacher, I can tell you that's a tall order from any teacher teaching any topic.
In today's episode, we are going to lay out the fundamentals and history of baptism in early Christianity. I'll also take a look at. Earliest Christians understood the idea of sin. And now with that, here is our next piece of the mosaic of the history of the Pope's of Rome and Christian Church. So you've done this series on the original church, and there's a lot of issues that come out of the original church. And one of them is this issue of baptism. It's something that goes back to the very beginning [00:03:00] of. The it's right in the Bible. And there's also this idea that Springs out of original, original sin.
But before we go too far, what is baptism and what does it do?
Dr. James Papandrea: Well, Is the Christian sacrament of initiation. And so in that sense, it is kind of analogous to Jewish, uh, circumcision for men, obviously. Uh, but it combines in some ways, uh, Jewish circumcision as initiation with the Jewish purification baths. And so. Of course, we know that before Christian baptism, there were Jewish baptism.
So John, the Baptist was doing this, this thing, um, that was not quite Christian baptism, but was a, um, ritual of purification and commitment. Right? So all of this becomes becomes built into Christian [00:04:00] baptism, but. In the Christian context, baptism is a sacrament. It's one of several Chris, you know, in the west, we count seven sacraments and Protestants have, uh, usually have two or, but, but in, in the understanding of the early Christians and, and I would say the medieval Christians and probably most Christians to this day, a sacrament is not primarily something that, that people do.
A sacrament is primarily something that God does. In, in many contexts, especially in the United States. And if you see this in the Protestant world, in the evangelical world, baptism has become something that sort of is something that people do to commemorate a past event. Like as if to say, well, I made a commitment to Christ, uh, you know, a week ago, a month ago, a day ago, and now.
I'm going to do this thing to sort of, you know, ritualize it and commemorate it. Right. But that's never, [00:05:00] what baptism was meant to be. Baptism was meant to be something where you're entering into, um, what God is doing and receiving grace from that. So sacraments are always primarily something God does.
And in the sacrament of baptism, we receive grace. That we need to begin the journey that is the Christian life. And in the sense of, uh, that is an initiation, it also makes us a member of the body of Christ, the family of God, the church, which then allows us to participate in what is the culmination of church membership, which is the Eucharist.
So it basically gives us a place at the table of the Eucharist. Um, so that's what baptism is, I guess, in a nutshell,
Steve Guerra: Now in baptism and it says it in the, in the gospels that it's for the remission of sin and there's, there's sin that sin of something that somebody does, [00:06:00] but there's also the sin that. That they would say that we're born with, from the original, the sin that Adam and Eve did all the way, you know, way back in the beginning.
And that still carries through with that baptism kind of wipes, that one away at both of them. What is this concept of sin? Because they're sins that we can do, but their sins that we just get and whether we like it, or we don't.
Dr. James Papandrea: Right. Well, there are, you know, as, as you say, there, there is original sin, which is, uh, something that we're born with, something that we inherit as a sort of a legacy from our ancestors. Um, and there's, you know, there's a lot of different theories about how that might work, but essentially what the, you know, what the church fathers would say is that, you know, there was this moment when Adam and Eve sin and at that moment, Adam and Eve were 100% of the number of humans on the earth.
In other words, in [00:07:00] that moment, every human being alive sin, and that is somehow. Uh, effecting the rest of us through our common human nature. And so St. Paul will say in, uh, in his letters, uh, as in Adam, all sin. So somehow Adam's sin affects all of us. The other kind of sin of course, is our own personal sin.
It's things we do, as you said, and these are things that we do or even think about, or, or whatever. There are things that separate us from God. I mean, ultimately that's what sin is. Sin is something that. Is an act of our will that separates us from God on some level, you know, not necessarily permanently, but with some sins maybe.
But the point is, is that, that, you know, every little sin chips away at our, at our unity with God, our relationship with God, because in that moment, when we sin. On some level, we're choosing something else over God. [00:08:00] So we have this original sin that we're born with it that, that our human nature is affected, uh, from, from our ancestors.
And then we add to that every generation commits more and more sin. So sin as a concept is like this snowball rolling downhill, just getting bigger and bigger and bigger to the point where you and me. There's no way we're going to get through life without sinning. Right. And so, so we cannot, re-establish the relationship with God on our own power.
We cannot work out reconciliation with God. That's why we need a savior. That's why we need God's grace, which is God's forgiveness. And love and mercy and compassion and all of these things that come to us. So we get baptized. We receive God's grace, which is, which is that we, we are, uh, we get a clean slate.
Our slate is wiped clean of all that, ancestral, sin, all the stuff in our past, it's a clean slate. It's not a free ride because the minute [00:09:00] you sin again, now, you know, now you gotta deal with that, but at least the baptism gives you a fresh start as.
Steve Guerra: Now and the, the Jews of the second temple, they used baptism and kind of a different way where they were really concerned with this idea of ritual, pure ritual purity, where, you know, And different rules on that. You had to do this, this,