'Through Sin Nature has lost its Confidence in God' - Sin and Trust as Formative Elements of Luther’s Conception of Society

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This article explores how sin and trust as fundamental notions of Luther’s relational anthropology determine his understanding of social relations unfolding in the hierarchies of the earthly realm. Against scholastic works righteousness, Luther maintains that humans are absolute sinners incapable of justifying themselves through good works and receive faith as a gift of unconditional trust in God. This reformulation of the human relation to God has profound consequences for Luther’s understanding of interpersonal relations. Luther understands the justifying relation to God as a precondition for fruitful and trusting social relations in a world infused by sin. Moreover, Luther patterns his understanding of the hierarchic relations between subjects and their earthly authorities on the trusting relation between God and human beings. However, because of sin individuals need to subject themselves to superiors. In this way, Luther’s understanding of the human being as both righteous and sinful seems to be the reason behind the apparent paradox of hierarchy and equality permeating his conception of society.
TidsskriftJournal of Early Modern Christianity
Sider (fra-til)151-171
Antal sider21
StatusUdgivet - 30 nov. 2018

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