Romans 7:5

New Testament

1 Or do you not know, brothers and sisters (for I am speaking to those who know the law), that the law is lord over a person as long as he lives? 2 For a married woman is bound by law to her husband as long as he lives, but if her husband dies, she is released from the law of the marriage. 3 So then, if she is joined to another man while her husband is alive, she will be called an adulteress. But if her husband dies, she is free from that law, and if she is joined to another man, she is not an adulteress. 4 So, my brothers and sisters, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you could be joined to another, to the one who was raised from the dead, to bear fruit to God. 5 For when we were in the flesh, the sinful desires, aroused by the law, were active in the members of our body to bear fruit for death. 6 But now we have been released from the law, because we have died to what controlled us, so that we may serve in the new life of the Spirit and not under the old written code.

Genesis Rabbah 9:7


7 Rabbi Nahman said in Rabbi Samuel's name: 'Behold, it was good' refers to the Good Desire; 'And behold, it was very good' refers to the Evil Desire. (It only says 'very good' after man was created with both the good and bad inclinations, in all other cases it only says 'and God saw that it was good') Can then the Evil Desire be very good? That would be extraordinary! But without the Evil Desire, however, no man would build a house, take a wife and beget children; and thus said Solomon: 'Again, I considered all labour and all excelling in work, that it is a man's rivalry with his neighbor.'.

 Notes and References

"... Can we relate this doctrine of the Two Impulses to the teaching of Paul? There are three passages in particular where the Apostle deals with the problem of Sin, all in the Epistle to the Romans, namely, Romans 1, 2, 5. 12, and Romans 7. In the latter of these passages, we are justified in tracing a direct connection with the doctrine of the Two Impulses. Paul’s description of his moral experience in that chapter is probably an account of his struggle against his evil yêtzer (inclination) ... As to the Rabbis sin was a power from without man which utilized the yêtzer hâra (evil inclination) to lead man to sinful acts, so also to Paul sin is equally an external power that comes to dwell in the flesh and utilizes the φρόνημα της σαρκός ('mind of the flesh') to work its havoc. We shall now point out that by the latter Paul meant what the Rabbis referred to as the yêtzer hâra: and we can assume at once from what has been written above that while the yêtzer hâra was not essentially evil so too for Paul the flesh was not evil of itself ..."

Davies, W. D. Paul and Rabbinic Judaism: Some Rabbinic Elements in Pauline Theology (pp. 17-35) Fortress Press, 1980

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