Intro

This blog gains its name from the book Steele's Answers published in 1912. It began as an effort to blog through that book, posting each of the Questions and Answers in the book in the order in which they appeared. I began the project on Dec. 10, 2011. I completed it on July 11, 2015. Along the way, I began to also post snippets from Dr. Steele's other writings — and from some other holiness writers of his times. I still do that every once in a while.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

On the Temptation of Jesus

QUESTION: (1) Does temptation imply a desire on our part to do wrong? (2) If so, was Jesus tempted in that manner? (3) Had Jesus freedom of will, so that he could have fallen? 

ANSWER: Temptation is an appeal, not to any desire to do wrong, but to our wish for immediate happiness and for the avoidance of present suffering, as hunger in the case of Jesus in the wilderness. His desire for food was innocent and his gratification of it by miracle would not in itself have been sinful if it had not been in violation of his Father's purpose that his Son should exactly observe our human conditions of service and put forth no more power to shield himself from pain than we have. Hence he wrought no miracle for himself even on the cross, when he could have commanded to his rescue more angels than the Roman Emperor had soldiers. To deny perfect free agency  to Jesus would degrade him below the lowest man he came to save. It would divest him of all his moral attributes and make him a machine. His holiness while on the earth was certain, but not the result of necessity. He was holy not because he could not sin, but because he would not. God's holiness is the same. He is a free agent, always abstaining from wrongdoing. There is no risk to the universe in the perfect freedom of the Father and the Son to violate the moral law grounded not on the will of either, but in the very nature of things. When it is said, "god cannot lie," it is not a natural "cannot," but a moral one like that of Joseph when solicited by Mrs. Potiphar (Gen. 39:12). The distinction between a Calvinist and an Arminian lies in answer to this question, "Is a thing right becasue God does it, ot does he do it because it is right?"

Steele's Answers pp. 82, 83.