Full Text for Dogmatics 4- Volume 5 - Is the two realms another example of dualities in Lutheranism? (Video)

No. 5. >> Okay. So isn't this really just another twist on the idea of distinguishing law and Gospel? Or perhaps, the two kinds of righteousness? >>DR. JOEL D. BIERMANN: Oh, I like when you're thinking in Lutheran dualities. This is good. This is good, Eric. So you have the law-Gospel thing going. You've learned about that. And you've mentioned the two kinds of righteousness. Which I personally think is the critical paradigm if we're going to unpack and understand our Lutheran responsibilities in this world. But I would say it's not the same thing. Luther and Lutheranism is just famous for its -- sometimes they will be called the paradoxes. I think that's pushing it too far. I don't think paradox is right. And I don't even think I would like to say dualisms because that kind of creates the idea of a black and white polarity. And I don't think we want to operate that way. But duality or two-fold nature, absolutely. There are a lot of those. So we have law and Gospel. And we have the two kinds of righteousness. And now we have to two realms. There are a lot of these kinds of distinctions that we have in Lutheran theology. And we should think about them as distinctions or as a two-foldness. But not as a stark, black and white over against each other. Now, what's helpful is to think about what are the dualities trying to accomplish. I've already told you that the two realms duality is trying to distinguish God's way of working in this world. So God works in the left hand realm and God works in the right hand realm. It's God working in both. But very different goals. Very different ways of operating. Sword in the left. Goal of justice in the left. And the Gospel in the right and the goal of righteousness before God in the right. So that's what we're doing here with the two realms. Law and Gospel is really kind of asking the question: What does God say to us? So that's the question we're asking there. What does God say? And he speaks a word a law. And he speaks a word of Gospel. Definitely there's some overlap. But there's really a different kind of kind of emphasis. What is God saying to me? He's speaking law. And he's speaking Gospel. God speaks both. And he speaks both in both realms. You see, that's the thing. That's why they are not quite exactly a neat division. Because God will speak law and Gospel in the left hand even as he speaks law and Gospel in the right hand. In fact, there's plenty of law in the right hand. The law that kills and makes me realize my need for the Gospel. And then the Gospel that gives me the forgiveness and the pass of righteousness. And in the left hand there's a place for Gospel there, too. Where you have a word of law gets spoken. And sometimes in left hand areas a word of forgiveness is spoken. Or a word of mercy. Or even an explicit declaration of Christ's activity. That belongs there, too. So it's not such a neat bifurcation. The two kinds of righteousness. My righteousness before God, coram deo. That's the fancy Latin phrase for in the face of God. And my righteousness in the horizontal realm, coram mundu or in the face of the world. Or coram hominis, if you want to do that, in the face of people. That's also an important aspect. And a nice division of my responsibilities in the world. My responsibilities before God. Which is passively received. And my responsibilities before other people. Which is my active area of righteousness. That again, is focusing on the question of what do I do in this world? So it's a different kind of question. So we have different dualities answering different questions. The duality of the two realms answers the question: How is God working? The duality of law and Gospel answers the question: How is God speaking? And the duality of the two kinds of righteousness answers the question: What is my responsibility as a person living in this world? My responsibility, am I standing before God, vertical righteousness, coram deo? My responsibility, am I standing before my neighbor, coram hominis, coram mundu, the horizontal righteousness? Different kinds of questions give different answers. Different dualities answer those things.