Notes On Soteriology

(An extension to my previous post on the soteriological postulates of Shaivism as propounded by Abhinavagupta)

The idea of salvation varies from doctrine to doctrine, not to mention from faith to faith. Our existence in this world is deemed by many to be burdensome and therefore consequential to a condemnation by some higher power. In the absence of purpose to our living, our life has no meaning; if the birth of religion followed the birth of man (by which I mean Gods do not exist except in our heads), then salvation is a deliberate addition to the chapters of the progression of one’s faith through time; if the Gods do exist, then salvation is a fundamental fact concerning the nature of this universe. In either case, the impartment of purpose seems to be the goal.

Soteriology is the study of the religious doctrines concerning salvation. The methods with which to attain salvation are very different even though the ultimate state of being has been associated with an all-pervading bliss. The following list shows the many soteriological conclusions in existence today.

Old Testament

  1. The Lord pointed to a man in Mesopotamia and called him “Abraham”, and bid him walk to an unknown land that would be his kingdom. Abraham trusted the Lord completely and that was faith.
  2. The Lord observed that even though there were temples and priesthoods everywhere, their practices were not correct and needed righting, and Abraham was his instrument.
  3. The Lord liberated the slaves from Egypt and presented before them the Mosaic Law, a covenant with which was instituted; it was important to the Lord for the people to follow his laws, and if he observed nonconformance, they would have to bring him sacrifices and gifts as a representation of their total dependence on him.

Judaism

  1. Israelites were expected to act according to the precepts of the Torah, and even though sacrifices could be made upon the commission of a sin, they would not be accepted if they were not accompanied with repentance of the heart.
  2. The Lord understood the nature of the pagan tribes that surrounded the Israelite, and therefore allowed sacrifices in consideration of the devotee’s psychological limitations.
  3. Maimonides held the view that God always held sacrifices inferior to prayers and philosophical meditation. Nachmanides held that animal sacrifices have been conducted since the times of Abraham and Isaac, and that they are necessary as sublime substitutions for human sacrifices.

Christianity

  1. Repentance in the New Testament acquired a new meaning: it was to be regretful of one’s past sins (including the rejection of Jesus Christ as one’s savior) and the subsequent change of mentality.

    crop of :File:MemlingJudgementOpen.jpg

  2. Salvation is a gift from God that signifies the establishment of a personal relationship with the almighty, and anyone may receive this by exercising faith in Christ and repenting for their sins.
  3. “The wages of sin is death”; since God put mankind on Earth, and since existence on Earth is given to suffering, the hope of liberation is in place to connote God’s love of humans, who he regards as his children.

Roman Catholicism

  1. By his death, Jesus is believed to have conquered death, and by his vindication, the Son of God is believe to have made possible the hope of salvation for all those who believed in him.
  2. Salvation is an eternal communion with God, wherein one lives for ever in peace with God.

Protestantism

Calvinism, The 5 points of (TULIP) (Determinism)

  1. Total depravity – As a consequence of man having fallen into sin, all those after him will be born into a life of sin.
  2. Unconditional election – God will not bring to himself those in whom he sees virtue, merit or faith, but will bring them by mercy alone.
  3. Limited atonement – God could have created a hundred sons and atoned for the sins of all of mankind; the issuance of only one Son meant that atonement was meant only for the elect (those who trusted in the Savior).
  4. Irresistible grace – When God proposes to save someone, that individual will certainly be saved.
  5. Perseverance of the saints – Since God’s will cannot be frustrated by the actions of humans or otherwise, and since God is sovereign in all matters of salvation, then one who is saved by the Lord’s grace shall remain so.

Lapsarianism

  1. Supralapsarianism (High Calvinism) – The Fall of mankind was planned with the intention of selecting some humans to save and some others to damn.
  2. Infralapsarianism (Low Calvinism) – The Fall of mankind was planned but not with reference to who was or was not to be saved.

Hyper-calvinism – It is the duty of every Christian to believe in Christ for his or her salvation.

Monergism – God works through the Holy Spirit to ensure that an individual is saved through spiritual regeneration without regard for the cooperation of the individual.

Arminianism (Free will)

A dove, symbolizing the Holy Spirit, who is be...

A dove symbolizing the Holy Spirit

  1. Humans have the option of accepting or rejecting salvation
  2. Salvation is only possible through God’s grace, and cannot be purchased in any other manner
  3. Humans cannot work towards salvation by themselves
  4. God’s grace can be rejected by those who freely resist Jesus Christ

Lutheran – Salvation by God’s grace can be achieved through faith alone

Hinduism

  1. Brahman is the source of all spiritual and phenomenal existence
  2. Mokṣa is the liberation from samsaram, or the continuous cycles of birth and death, by purification of the inner self.
  3. The individual soul, Atman, is identical with the Brahman and must, therefore, become pellucid and unalloyed before it can realize their unison.

Sikhism

  1. Maya is the universal pervasion of illusion, and adherence to its demands necessitates separation from God; in order to regain the path, one must practice strong and constant devotion.
  2. Guru is the voice of God, and is the source and guide of knowledge and salvation; Nām is the name of God.
  3. Inward personal observance of Nām is suggested in order to be totally exposed to the divine name and to signify conformance with the Divine Order
  4. By the persistence of such practices, one can grow into and towards God, and ultimately unite with him in the Realm of Truth

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