Creation, Conflict and Cosmos: Short Paper 1 (Douglas Campbell)

The afternoons of the conference have been largely made up of a choice of either workshops or short papers. Given the fact that these sessions were preceded by three plenary sessions, I chose just one of the short papers on each afternoon.

One of the great aspect of this conference for me has been the chance to talk at some length to Douglas Campbell about his work. His paper on 'The Deliverance of Justification in Romans 6:7­–8'. In this text Paul says the following:

Romans 6.7 ὁ γὰρ ἀποθανὼν δεδικαίωται ἀπὸ τῆς ἁμαρτίας.  8 εἰ δὲ ἀπεθάνομεν σὺν Χριστῷ, πιστεύομεν ὅτι καὶ συζήσομεν αὐτῷ,

Romans 6.7 For whoever has died is freed from sin.  8 But if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. (NRSV)

The basic claim of the paper was that the reference in 6.7 is actually christological. 'the one who has died' is Christ, δεδικαίωται refers to God's deliverance of Christ from the realm of sinful existence. This christological affirmation grounds the account of the believer's participation in the resurrection which is in turn the true reality now for believers (not just the nature of future eschatological hope – Campbell regards the future tenses in this section as referring to present, not future reality).

The paper received the inevitable push back from those (including me) who were not convinced of this reading of 6.7, not least in the light of the 'bodies of sin' in 6.6 cf 6.12 which seem clearly to have an anthropological referent. In later discussions with Doug and in the light of the ῇ ἁμαρτίᾳ ἀπέθανεν ἐφάπαξ of 6.10 and Paul's words in 2 Cor. 5.21 I am slightly more amenable, but the key will be to see whether the christological reading of 6.7 really does do better justice to the overall argument of 6.1–10.