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Title: Life in Christ : the function of union with Christ in the Unio-Duplex Gratia structure of Calvin's soteriology, with special reference to the relationship of justification and sanctification in sixteenth-century context
Author: Garcia, Mark A.
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2004
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It is common knowledge that Calvin grounds and describes the forensic and renovative aspects of salvation in terms of what he deemed the more basic soteriological reality of union with Christ. This thesis moves beyond this generally accepted description of Calvin’s framework to explore how the idea of saving union with Christ actually operates or functions in the emphases of his soteriology. Attention is focused throughout upon issues and questions that prevailed in the sixteenth-century climate of theological, exegetical, and polemical discourse. To facilitate this investigation, two introductory chapters serve (1) to introduce the interpretive problems posed by the large body of existing literature, and (2) to approach Calvin’s soteriological construct from an historical perspective, providing a taxonomy of union with Christ as it was understood in the spiritual and academic strands of late medieval theology, in Luther’s theology, and in the work of others in Calvin’s day. After these introductory chapters, three case studies explore the function of union with Christ in Calvin’s exposition of the duplex gratia. In the first case study, Calvin’s defense of the necessary presence of good works in the lives of those justified sola fide is examined. The focus in this case study is, textually, on Calvin’s Commentary on Romans in its 1540, 1551, and 1556 editions in relation to his Institutes. Theologically, the focus is upon Calvin’s handling of the problematic “conditional” passages in Romans, in which eternal life is promised as a result of good works. To clarify Calvin’s largely but not entirely distinctive perspective, his approach to the problem is compared with Melanchthon’s handling of the same, showing how two different soteriological frameworks are at work. Specifically, it is argued that union with Christ functions for Calvin in terms of a principle of “replication” which serves to defend both the uniquely meritorious nature of Christ’s work and the real necessity of Christian obedience for the reception of eternal life. In the second case study, the relationship between soteric and sacramental union with Christ is examined.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available