A Jagged Contention: The Simul


“Part of the problem in grasping the Simul is the hangover of the Old Aeon’s ontology (the legal scheme).  Aristotle taught that the basis for logic was the law that two contradictory things cannot be in one ‘thing’ at the same time.  Yet, the baptized ‘person’ is two separate people—the dead and the alive, sinner and just.  When the law accuses of sin, it accuses the old, dead Adam, and is doing its job correctly.  But the baptized Christian says, ‘But I am free of your accusation, because that person is dead.’  The law does not believe this since it is spiritual and knows nothing of faith.  Nevertheless, the great freedom of the Christian is to distinguish between an old ‘self’—unto death and law, and the new being—unto Christ.  ‘You’ are now both the dead husband and the free wife: two persons [cf. Romans 7:1-6].  The problem is that the old person is the one you feel and see; the new is only ear and so lives by the hearing of the external promise.  Paul says this death in baptism was ‘so you may belong to another, to him who has been raised from the dead that we may bear fruit unto God.’ (Romans 7:4 translation altered).”

-Steven D. Paulson, Lutheran Theology, pg. 177.


After a week of thinking about the phrase simul iustus et peccator, how has your view of this teaching changed? How has it grown?  What do you think of Paulson’s statement that we are, at the same time, two separate people? And what about the assertion that the new man (iustus guy or gal) is “only ear?”  Does Paulson undercut the Christian life with such statements?

Share your thoughts in the comments below

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