Justin & Justin: First Apology XLI-L
Chapters 41-50 of the First Apology continue on the same topics that have permeated the apology so far. Justin continues to show how the Old Testament predicted details of Christ life. In these chapters, he mentions Christ reign from heaven, his work on the earth, his rejection by the Jews, and many details of his passion.
In the midst of all of this, I want to point out a few things that he says that are noteworthy. First, Justin quickly, in chapter 43, distinguishes the Christian notion of prophecy and sovereignty from the pagan notion of fatalism. Fatalism says that everything that is going to happen is already fated and their is no point in activity. This is a bleak worldview. It is the ultimate resignation. Many people look at the Christian doctrines of sovereignty and take something like this away. Justin’s argument is the proper and biblical one: Though God is sovereign, man is still responsible for his actions. What we do matters. We Re determinist, not fatalist.
The second thing that Justin says is that all those who acted reasonably before the coming of Christ were in fact Christians despite the fact that they may not have claimed his name. Justin does not expound this a great deal, but in chapter 46 he teeters dangerously close to an odd form of inclusivism. It is something akin to CS Lewis’s implication that if you served a false God out of a pure heart, you were actually serving the true God. This can be a bit problematic, when we compare it to then light of scripture. Those who lived before Christ wee saved my faith that the messiah would come, not reasonable living. Here Justin seemed to have allowed his philosophical bias to get the best of him.