Explain how Julian expresses contradiction between sin and salvation in A Book of Showings.

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First, Julian contrasts experiences which are painful but which lead ultimately to salvation with the pains of sin and hell. Although the former type of pain may be sharper than the pains of sin, it has a good effect, and the Christian should not try to avoid it. In chapter XVII, she describes the agony of meditating upon and feeling the torments of Christ:

Hell is another pain: for there is despair. But of all pains that lead to salvation this is the most pain, to see thy Love suffer. How might any pain be more to me than to see Him that is all my life, all my bliss, and all my joy, suffer?

Julian came to think about the pain that Christ endured through considering the sins that we commit but that Christ bore/bears on our behalf. There is clearly a contradiction here: that the one man entirely without sin should have to suffer for sin more than anyone else and that through this injustice we attain salvation.

The other important and related contradiction comes later in the text, when Julian remarks in chapter L:

I knew by the common teaching of Holy Church and by mine own feeling, that the blame of our sin continually hangeth upon us, from the first man unto the time that we come up unto heaven: then was this my marvel that I saw our Lord God showing to us no more blame than if we were as clean and as holy as Angels be in heaven.

This is a less familiar theological issue but an equally thorny one: The Church blames us for sin, but God, in arranging for our salvation, does not. Julian never altogether solves this dichotomy, beyond expressing the idea that the Church's position is one of justice, while God tempers justice with mercy by bestowing his grace on humanity. Therefore, we can attain salvation (through the sacrifice of Christ) even though our sins mean that we do not deserve it, and we should be aware of those sins even if God chooses not to blame us for them.

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