The root idea of holiness is that of “separation” or “withdrawal.” It is a divine quality, part of the intrinsic nature of God, but absent from a fallen world, perhaps best described as “alienness” in a religious or divine sense. The basic theological problem is that this holy God desires to have fellowship with sinful humans living in a fallen world. Since God cannot become less holy in order to fellowship with humans, they must become more holy (“sanctified”); once gained, holiness may be lessened or contaminated by contact with various proscribed substances (“uncleanness”) and by feeling, thinking, or acting in ways that God has forbidden (“sinfulness”). (Jenney, T. P. (2000). Holiness, Holy. In D. N. Freedman, A. C. Myers, & A. B. Beck (Eds.), Eerdmans dictionary of the Bible (p. 598). Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans).
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