Sinless Guilt

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Augustine of Hippo — taught that Adam's sin [35] is transmitted by concupiscence , or "hurtful desire", [36] [37] resulting in humanity becoming a massa damnata mass of perdition, condemned crowd , with much enfeebled, though not destroyed, freedom of will. Adam and Eve, via sexual reproduction, recreated human nature.

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Their descendants now live in sin, in the form of concupiscence, a term Augustine used in a metaphysical , not a psychological sense. Original sin, according to Augustine, consists of the guilt of Adam which all humans inherit. Justo Gonzalez interprets Augustine's teaching that humans are utterly depraved in nature and grace is irresistible , results in conversion, and leads to perseverance.


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Augustine held the traditional view that free will was weakened but not destroyed by original sin until he converted in CE to the Stoic view that humanity had no free will except to sin as a result of his anti-Pelagian view of infant baptism. Augustine articulated his explanation in reaction to Pelagianism , which insisted that humans have of themselves, without the necessary help of God's grace, the ability to lead a morally good life, and thus denied both the importance of baptism and the teaching that God is the giver of all that is good.

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Pelagius claimed that the influence of Adam on other humans was merely that of bad example. Augustine held that the effects of Adam's sin are transmitted to his descendants not by example but by the very fact of generation from that ancestor. Augustine's view was that human procreation was the way the transmission was being effected.

He did not blame, however, the sexual passion itself, but the spiritual concupiscence present in human nature, soul and body, even after baptismal regeneration. Paul's doctrine of universal sin and redemption. In that view, also sexual desire itself as well as other bodily passions were consequence of the original sin, in which pure affections were wounded by vice and became disobedient to human reason and will. As long as they carry a threat to the dominion of reason over the soul they constitute moral evil, but since they do not presuppose consent, one cannot call them sins.

Humanity will be liberated from passions, and pure affections will be restored only when all sin has been washed away and ended, that is in the resurrection of the dead. Augustine believed that unbaptized infants go to hell as a consequence of original sin.

Starting around , unbaptized infants were often said to inhabit the " limbo of infants ". Indeed, the great mercy of God who desires that all men should be saved, and Jesus' tenderness toward children which caused him to say: 'Let the children come to me, do not hinder them', [51] allow us to hope that there is a way of salvation for children who have died without Baptism. All the more urgent is the Church's call not to prevent little children coming to Christ through the gift of holy Baptism.

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In the works of John Cassian c. In chapter 11, Cassian presents Chaeremon as speaking of the cases of Paul the persecutor and Matthew the publican as difficulties for those who say "the beginning of free will is in our own power", and the cases of Zaccheus and the good thief on the cross as difficulties for those who say "the beginning of our free will is always due to the inspiration of the grace of God", and as concluding: "These two then; viz. And again, if He finds that we are unwilling or have grown cold, He stirs our hearts with salutary exhortations, by which a good will is either renewed or formed in us.

Cassian did not accept the idea of total depravity , on which Martin Luther was to insist. Augustine Casiday states that, at the same time, Cassian "baldly asserts that God's grace, not human free will, is responsible for 'everything which pertains to salvation' — even faith". Opposition to Augustine's ideas about original sin, which he had developed in reaction to Pelagianism , arose rapidly.

In the 12th century the identification of original sin with concupiscence was supported by Peter Lombard and others, [2] but was rejected by the leading theologians in the next century, most notably by Thomas Aquinas. Aquinas distinguished the supernatural gifts of Adam before the Fall from what was merely natural, and said that it was the former that were lost, privileges that enabled man to keep his inferior powers in submission to reason and directed to his supernatural end.

Even after the fall, man thus kept his natural abilities of reason, will and passions. Rigorous Augustine-inspired views persisted among the Franciscans , though the most prominent Franciscan theologians, such as Duns Scotus and William of Ockham , eliminated the element of concupiscence and identified original sin with the loss of sanctifying grace. Eastern Orthodox theology has questioned Western Christianity's ideas on original sin from the outset and does not promote the idea of inherited guilt. Martin Luther — asserted that humans inherit Adamic guilt and are in a state of sin from the moment of conception.

The second article in Lutheranism 's Augsburg Confession presents its doctrine of original sin in summary form:. It is also taught among us that since the fall of Adam all men who are born according to the course of nature are conceived and born in sin. That is, all men are full of evil lust and inclinations from their mothers' wombs and are unable by nature to have true fear of God and true faith in God. Moreover, this inborn sickness and hereditary sin is truly sin and condemns to the eternal wrath of God all those who are not born again through Baptism and the Holy Spirit.

Rejected in this connection are the Pelagians and others who deny that original sin is sin, for they hold that natural man is made righteous by his own powers, thus disparaging the sufferings and merit of Christ.

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Luther, however, also agreed with the Roman Catholic doctrine of the Immaculate Conception that Mary was conceived free from original sin by saying:. God's grace fills her with everything good and makes her devoid of all evil. God is with her, meaning that all she did or left undone is divine and the action of God in her.

Moreover, God guarded and protected her from all that might be hurtful to her. Protestant Reformer John Calvin — developed a systematic theology of Augustinian Protestantism by interpretation of Augustine of Hippo 's notion of original sin. Calvin believed that humans inherit Adamic guilt and are in a state of sin from the moment of conception.

This inherently sinful nature the basis for the Calvinistic doctrine of " total depravity " results in a complete alienation from God and the total inability of humans to achieve reconciliation with God based on their own abilities. Not only do individuals inherit a sinful nature due to Adam's fall, but since he was the federal head and representative of the human race, all whom he represented inherit the guilt of his sin by imputation. Redemption by Jesus Christ is the only remedy. John Calvin defined original sin in his Institutes of the Christian Religion as follows:.

Original sin, therefore, seems to be a hereditary depravity and corruption of our nature, diffused into all parts of the soul, which first makes us liable to God's wrath, then also brings forth in us those works which Scripture calls "works of the flesh" Gal And that is properly what Paul often calls sin. The works that come forth from it — such as adulteries, fornications, thefts, hatreds, murders, carousings — he accordingly calls "fruits of sin" Gal —21 , although they are also commonly called "sins" in Scripture, and even by Paul himself. The Council of Trent — , while not pronouncing on points disputed among Catholic theologians, condemned the teaching that in baptism the whole of what belongs to the essence of sin is not taken away, but is only cancelled or not imputed, and declared the concupiscence that remains after baptism not truly and properly "sin" in the baptized, but only to be called sin in the sense that it is of sin and inclines to sin.

In , soon after the close of the Council of Trent, Pope Pius V went beyond Trent by sanctioning Aquinas's distinction between nature and supernature in Adam's state before the Fall, condemned the identification of original sin with concupiscence, and approved the view that the unbaptized could have right use of will. V, can. The Catechism of the Catholic Church says:. By his sin Adam, as the first man, lost the original holiness and justice he had received from God, not only for himself but for all humans. Adam and Eve transmitted to their descendants human nature wounded by their own first sin and hence deprived of original holiness and justice; this deprivation is called "original sin".

As a result of original sin, human nature is weakened in its powers, subject to ignorance, suffering and the domination of death, and inclined to sin this inclination is called "concupiscence". Anselm refers: "the sin of Adam was one thing but the sin of children at their birth is quite another, the former was the cause, the latter is the effect" [70] In a child original sin is distinct from the fault of Adam, it is one of its effects.

The effects of Adam's sin according to the Catholic Encyclopedia are:. The Catholic Church teaches that every human person born on this earth is made in the image of God. In this it differs from the Calvinist position that each person actually inherits Adam's guilt, and teaches instead that "original sin does not have the character of a personal fault in any of Adam's descendants The Church has always held baptism to be for the remission of sins including the original sin, and, as mentioned in Catechism of the Catholic Church , , infants too have traditionally been baptized, though not guilty of any actual personal sin.

The sin that through baptism is remitted for them could only be original sin. Baptism confers original sanctifying grace which erases original sin and any actual personal sin. The first comprehensive theological explanation of this practice of baptizing infants, guilty of no actual personal sin, was given by Saint Augustine of Hippo , not all of whose ideas on original sin have been adopted by the Catholic Church.

Indeed, the Church has condemned the interpretation of some of his ideas by certain leaders of the Protestant Reformation. The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains that in "yielding to the tempter, Adam and Eve committed a personal sin , but this sin affected the human nature that they would then transmit in a fallen state This "state of deprivation of the original holiness and justice Catechism of the Catholic Church , Personal responsibility and guilt were Adam's, who because of his sin, was unable to pass on to his descendants a human nature with the holiness with which it would otherwise have been endowed, in this way implicating them in his sin.

The doctrine of original sin thus does not impute the sin of the father to his children, but merely states that they inherit from him a "human nature deprived of original holiness and justice", which is "transmitted by propagation to all mankind". In the theology of the Catholic Church , original sin is the absence of original holiness and justice into which humans are born, distinct from the actual sins that a person commits.

The absence of sanctifying grace or holiness in the new-born child is an effect of the first sin, for Adam, having received holiness and justice from God, lost it not only for himself but also for us. The prevailing view, also held in Eastern Orthodoxy, is that human beings bear no guilt for the sin of Adam.

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The Catholic Church teaches: "By our first parents' sin, the devil has acquired a certain domination over man, even though man remains free. The Catholic doctrine of the Immaculate Conception of Mary is that Mary was conceived free from original sin: "the most Blessed Virgin Mary was, from the first moment of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege of almighty God and by virtue of the merits of Jesus Christ, Savior of the human race, preserved immune from all stain of original sin". For the Catholic doctrine, Jesus Christ also was born without the original sin, by virtue of the fact that He is God and was incarnated by the Holy Ghost in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

As the Blessed Virgin Mary was conceived without original sin, this statement opens to the fourth marian dogma of the Assumption of Mary to Heaven in body and soul, according to the unchangeable dogmatic definition publicly proclaimed by pope Pius XII. The Assumption to Heaven in body and soul was made possible by Mary's being lived without the original sin, while other persons need to wait the final resurrection of the flesh in order to get the sanctification of the whole human being, including the forgiveness of their birth singularly inherited original sin.

On one hand, God can't change His substance nor be stained anytime by any kind of sin, and contemporary Jesus Christ was true man and true God before his virgin birth, since the conception intended as the first instance of time of His incarnation and Mary's pregnancy; on the other hand, God can't deny, neither for Himself and His incarnation, the universal law of the inheritance of the original sin, established by Him at the time of the fall of man.

Referring to the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, "the soul at the moment of union with the body was prevented by the infusion of grace from contracting" the original sin, [79] so that there was "no preventive grace needed" for any original sin of Jesus which "contracted neither debt nor stain", as He is not redeemed, but the Redeemer. On the other hand, while supporting a continuity in the Bible about the absence of preternatural gifts Latin : dona praeternaturalia [81] with regard to the ophitic event , Haag never makes any reference to the discontinuity of the loss of access to the tree of life.


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  5. The Lutheran Churches teach that original sin "is a root and fountain-head of all actual sins. The Eastern Orthodox version of original sin is the view that sin originates with the Devil, "for the devil sins from the beginning 1 John iii. However, they never accepted Augustine of Hippo's notions of original sin and hereditary guilt. Orthodox Churches accept the teachings of John Cassian , as do Catholic Churches eastern and western, [54] in rejecting the doctrine of total depravity, by teaching that human nature is "fallen", that is, depraved, but not totally.

    Augustine Casiday states that Cassian "baldly asserts that God's grace, not human free will, is responsible for 'everything which pertains to salvation' — even faith". Eastern Orthodoxy accepts the doctrine of ancestral sin: "Original sin is hereditary.

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    It did not remain only Adam and Eve's. As life passes from them to all of their descendants, so does original sin. The Orthodox Church in America makes clear the distinction between "fallen nature" and "fallen man" and this is affirmed in the early teaching of the Church whose role it is to act as the catalyst that leads to true or inner redemption. Every human person born on this earth bears the image of God undistorted within themselves.

    Rather, they maintain that we inherit our fallen nature. While humanity does bear the consequences of the original, or first, sin, humanity does not bear the personal guilt associated with this sin. Adam and Eve are guilty of their willful action; we bear the consequences, chief of which is death.

    The view of the Eastern Orthodox Church varies on whether Mary is free of all actual sin or concupiscence. Some Patristic sources imply that she was cleansed from sin at the Annunciation , while the liturgical references are unanimous that she is all-holy from the time of her conception. The original formularies of the Church of England also continue in the Reformation understanding of original sin.

    Original Sin standeth not in the following of Adam, as the Pelagians do vainly talk ; but it is the fault and corruption of the Nature of every man, that naturally is ingendered of the offspring of Adam; whereby man is very far gone from original righteousness, and is of his own nature inclined to evil, so that the flesh lusteth always contrary to the spirit; and therefore in every person born into this world, it deserveth God's wrath and damnation.

    And although there is no condemnation for them that believe and are baptized, yet the Apostle doth confess, that concupiscence and lust hath of itself the nature of sin. Harwood agrees that everyone has a sinful nature—including infants Ps. This is different from Pelagianism, which holds that people are born without sin. Pelagius argued that people were not born with an inherited sin nature, and, therefore, could avoid committing sin. Harwood contends that inherited sin makes it impossible not to sin.