Original Sin Or the Lack of It? Is Original Sin an Augustinian Nightmare? / Robert Stevens

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Original Sin Or the Lack of It? Is Original Sin an Augustinian Nightmare?1 Robert Stevens2 17 August 2011
Introduction: The Purpose of the Paper and The Theological Ground-Rules
The purpose of this paper is not to pretend to be original, but to promote discussion with a view to seeking out sound theology. The writer believes that theology should be rooted in a good exegetical understanding of the scriptures, but also considers that theological learning can be gained from theologians of the past, particularly the early Church Fathers. This practice should be as much a part of the western evangelical traditions as that of the eastern Orthodox traditions. It is noteworthy that John Wesley commented the Church Fathers in his Advice to Clergy (1756).
‘Can any who spend several years in those seats of learning, be excused if they do not add to that reading of the Fathers? The most authentic commentators on Scripture, as being both nearest the fountain, eminently endued with that Spirit by whom all Scripture was given. It will be easily perceived, I speak chiefly of those who wrote before the council of Nicea. but who could not likewise desire to have some acquaintance with those that followed them? With St. Chrysostom, Basil, Austin, and above all, the man of a broken heart, Ephraim Syrus?’ (sic) 3 4
1 Adapting the words of Norman Powell Williams (p 417), ‘original guilt is an Augustinian nightmare’.
2 The writer begins by thanking Fr Gregory Hallam and acknowledges the assistance of his Ancestral Sin & Salvation and Abba Elia Khalife for informing him about the writing of John S. Romanides.
3 wesley.nnu.edu/john-wesley/an-address-to-the-clergy/ 4 Don Schofield issues a caveat: ‘I trust you will continue to bear in mind the Brethren’s caution about ‘inspiration of “Church Fathers’ anyone other than one who witnessed the events of the Gospels and Apostles are all second-hand accounts and opiinions’. The writer would add a rider: the early Church Fathers had both a wisdom and an understanding of the scriptures with which they continue to bless the church. Nevertheless, one should always read with critical care.Osborne (p 273) argues for a ‘community exegesis’ which involves a dialogue with the past community via commentaries etc and with present communities via constant interaction) to challenge our interpretation.
The doctrine of Original Sin was unknown in both the Eastern and Western Church until Augustine of Hippo (c. (354-430).5 It is in Augustine’s writings that for the first time in Christian thought there occurs the term originale peccatum6, a sinful quality inherent in man’s constitution that is involuntarily acquired and deserving of punishment ex poena originalis peccati. It involves guilt.7 Augustine thought that sin had become ingrained into human nature and was transmitted by physical heredity.8
Indeed, it is interesting to note that even Augustine considered more than one possible interpretation.9 The one doctrine he seems to have favoured and the one that has been associated with him is to be found in Contra duas epistolas Pelagianorum.10 Briefly stated, the Augustian idea of Original Sin is that all men since the Fall of Adam are seminally in Adam and as a direct result of this in Adam all have sinned and thus share in Adam’s guilt.
Krister Stendahl stated, ‘our vision is often more obstructed by what we think we know than by our lack of knowledge.’11 The doctrine of Original Sin is often based on Romans 5:1212, particularly Augustine’s understanding of that text. The crucial question is ‘in what sense does [Paul] mean that all men sinned’?13 Much turns on the Greek ’εφ ‘ω. Augustine, along with several of the Latin Fathers understood the words “in whom all have sinned”, to mean that all have sinned in Adam. This is based on an erroneous Latin
5 The concept may have arisen in the writings of Tertullian, but the expression seems to have appeared first in Augustine’ s works. 6 The concept of original sin may have arisen with Tertullian. 7 Williams, p 327
8 Williams (p 397) refers to Augustine’s de Diversis Quaestionibus ad Simplicianum. Simplicianus was Ambrose’s successor as bishop of Milan. 9 Earlier on, Augustine considered that God imputed Adam’s sin to the rest of mankind because Adam was head of mankind. Later, he considered that sin was passed on through genetic reproduction because a child was in the father’s own likeness. 10 Ziesler, p 146 11 Paul Among Jews & Gentiles & Other Essays. Philadelphia, Fortress Press, 1976, p 7 12 There has been controversy over the interpretation of Romans 5:12-21 since Origen (c 185-252) onwards. It contains ‘obscure and tangled sentences’ (Williams, p 124). Clement of Alexandria apparently did not hold the doctrine of Original Sin. (See Strom. 3:9:64, where he quoted Romans 5:12 and stated that death was produced by natural necessity (Williams, p 339). 13 Williams, p 127
translation.14 Modern exegesis, as well as that of the Greek Fathers, prefer to translate this as, “and so death passed upon all men because all have sinned. Witherington states that in relation to Romans 5 ‘we are dealing with some of the most difficult material in all of Romans in terms of grammar and interpretation’. He indicates that the Greek can be interpreted in a number of ways, but, after assessing the various different ways of interpreting ’εφ ‘ω states that the Pauline parallels support the translation ‘because’.15
Williams asserts that Ambrosiaster16 (‘the disaster’)17 made the blunder of misreading the Greek ’εφ ‘ω as ‘in whom (Adam)’. On the other hand, the Pelagians translated the Greek correctly as ‘propter quod’, but this was denounced by Augustine who had an imperfect understanding of Greek.
Romanides states that as a matter of Greek grammar it is impossible to interpret ’εφ ‘ω as a reference to any word other than θανατος (death).18
Ziesler also analyses ’εφ ‘ω. If this is to mean ‘in whom’ (as per the Latin text), there is the difficulty that if it refers to Adam it is uncomfortably back in the passage. If this were to be an analogy of Adam with Christ, one should expect to find not ’εφ ‘ω but ’εν ‘ω. And, like Witherington, Ziesler holds that in Pauline writing, ’εφ ‘ω usually means ‘because’. He drives this interpretation home by stating that in the light of contemporary and near contemporary Jewish thought, it is likely that ‘Adam’ is everyman, so that to state that Adam sinned is a way of saying that everybody sins. This means that the later sinner cannot put the blame on the historical Adam.19 What is inherited is death. Likewise, Alison is of the opinion that understanding ’εφ ‘ω to refer to Adam is the ‘least plausable’. He prefers to follow Photius who linked those words with θανατος (death). In terms of biblical theology, he sees this to be consistent with James 1:12-15 (the temptation leading to
14 Stephen Duffy and Norman Williams. The latter ( p 127) asserts that the Latin provided an inaccurate rendering of the Greek by translating it ‘in quo’. The modern Catholic Jerusalem Bible replaces it with ‘because’. 15 Witherington, pp 143-146
16 ? 4th century 17 The writer’s pun! 18 My thanks to Graham Hallam for drawing my attention to John Romanides’ article, Original Sin According to St Paul. 19 A point also made by my son, William, who, speaking as a psychologist, sees the Augustinian doctrine of Original Sin as an excuse for one’s own sinning!
sin is the work of an individual’s own desire).20 Williams also holds that ’εφ ‘ω means ‘because’.21
Augustine also relied upon Ps 51:5 as proof of Original Sin and that fallen man was free only to sin. The writer believes that this illustrates the danger of misinterpreting scripture and then proceeding to use misinterpreted texts to built a doctrine. This stance of Augustine has been challenged by two responses within the Nazarene Wesleyan camp. First, McGonigle states in a profound way that there is a difference between universal sinfulness and the origin of sin. The writer observes that the first can be accepted as experienced fact, the second is, at least a debatable theological issue of causation. McGonigle drives his point home by stating that the bible never uses the phrase ‘original sin’. Second, Swanson argues that Ps 51:5 has been misinterpreted because of a failure to take into account the ‘intense poetic imagery’ of that psalm. Psalm 51:5 is a hyperbole. He argues that if Ps 51:5 is to be taken literally, then one must also take Ps 51:7-8 literally, so purification is through hyssop! He concludes that the key to this poem is not the origin of sin, but assurance that God will not despise a contrite heart as per Ps 51:17. Swanson observes that Ps 139:13-14 is overlooked when original sin is under consideration!
The writer would suggest that Augustine may have been influenced in what he said about Original Sin and its impact on the inner nature of mankind by his making out a strong case against the very optimistic view of mankind by
the Pelagians. Romanides asserts that ‘In regard to the power of Satan to introduce sin into the life of every man, Augustine in combating Pelagianism obviously misread St. Paul. By relegating the power of Satan, death, and corruption to the background and pushing to the foreground of controversy the problem of personal guilt in the transmission of original sin, Augustine introduced a false moralistic philosophical approach which is foreign to the thinking of St. Paul and which was not accepted by the patristic tradition of the East.’22
Neither Eastern Orthodoxy nor Celtic Christianity accepted Augustine’s negative diagnosis of the human condition.23
20 Alison, p 154. 21 Williams, p 127 22 Example: St. Cyrill of Alexandria 23 Some attribute inter faeces et urinam nascimur to Augustine; others to Bernard of Clareveux.
A more biblical approach to sin might be found in James 1:13-14: man is drawn away by his own lust. James may reflect a Jewish-Christian retention of the Jewish teaching of (rh rcy (yetzer ha-ra), an inclination to evil.24
The presence of the story of Israel in Romans 5-8 means that these chapters are as concerned with the people of God as they are with the individual. The use of the first person should not reduce these chapters to a discussion of the implications of justification for the individual believer because the individual believer is situated within the wider community.25
Augustine had a weakness: an imperfect knowledge of Greek and this shut him off from a more reasonable doctrine of the Fall held by the primitive and Greek church.
Theodore of Mopsuestia (c 350-428) attacked the Augustinian doctrine of hereditary sin in his book Against Those Who Say That Man Falls By Nature and Not By Sentence. The book itself has perished: but Photius, who had read it, gives a summary of its contents. Theodore absolutely rejects such propositions that man, originally created good and immortal, became bad and mortal by Adam’s sin; that sin now has its origin in human nature, and not in the will of man; that newly born infants are tainted by sin, and must obtain forgiveness by baptism, and eating the Lord’s Supper; that marriage and generation are the evil results of an evil nature, etc. It will be seen that Theodore repudiated original sin. At a later date, Julian of Eclanum, and other Pelagians found refuge with him.26 Pelagius denied man’s innate depravity.
Clement of Alexandria relied on Job 1:21 to argue that a child enters this world free from sin.
The writer will develop his points by making a number of propositions and commenting upon them.
24 See Gen 6:5 & 8:21 and Williams, p 118. 25 Cf Is 61:10-11 where the prophet uses the first person singular to describe the restored community. Hays & Johnson, p 195 26 www.earlychurch.org.uk/theodore.php
Proposition 1: Adam and Eve were created neither mortal nor immortal.
Comment: Scripture seems to be neutral on OS27, and God rebukes Adam (and also speaks of Eve) in Gen 3:19 where He decrees that man shall return to the ground. The Fathers support the proposition: Theophilus of Antioch, Ephraim the Syrian, Hilary of Poitiers, Maximus the Confessor.
Hallam comments, ‘the Paradise account of Genesis reveals a certain latency toward immortality in humankind which has been spoiled by disobedience to God’.
Proposition 2: Until Adam disobedied, Adam was sinless but not perfect and able to sin. He was not immortal but capable of achieving immortality through obedience.
Comment: The writer believes that this proposition can be supported by scripture: see Rom 5:12. Christ in his ανακεφαλαιωσις (anakephalaiosis) of mankind reverses the first Adam’s disobedience by obedience in both his life and death on a cross. (Phil 2:828; Rom 5:1929) Hallam gives an excellent overview when he remarks, ‘…the Fathers speak of God saving us by recapitulating or regathering [ανακεφαλαιωσις ] the whole creation in Himself and redeeming it, [Ephesians 1:10 where a cognate of ανακεφαλαιωσις appears]. The beginning of this process was in the Incarnation, its climax, the death and resurrection of Christ, its fruition in the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon the Church, the Body of Christ glorified.’30
27 The writer is grateful to Hallam who, in an email observed, ‘I think you have a good point on the “neutrality” of Scripture in certain aspects although I would have preferred the description … “not fully worked out.” One thinks of “Trinity” and “homoousios” in this regard’. 28 In a sermon Butterworth of Pennington refers to a commentator (unnamed) on αρπαγμον and suggests that the teaching in Phil 2:6 is that Christ did not grasp upon equality with God as a trump card as a way out of death on a cross. A study of Bagster’s Analytical Greek Lexicon appears to confirm this understanding of αρπαγμον. 29 Romans 5:19 uses πολλοι (many) to refer to the impact of Adam and the final Adam (Christ). Unless one were to suggest that the impact of Adam was not all-embrasive in its impact on mankind, it is clear that an Arminian understanding of the impact of Christ must be correct. 30 “God the Son became Man in order to regather in Himself the ancient creation, so that He might slay sin and destroy the power of death, and give life to all men.” AH 3:19:6
Christ is τελιος (perfect) as the Father is τελιος (see Matt 5:48). The writer believes that whilst Jesus was τελιος, he was able to sin because the temptations by Satan was real. Also, the inherent temptation in Gethsemane was real. The crucial point is that he did not give in to temptation.
Proposition 3: Adam was like a child, fully capable of growing up in obedience to his Heavenly Father and achieving immortality. The fruit itself was not placed in Eden with a permanent exclusion zone around it which would leave humanity in state of infantile innocence. God’s intention was that Adam should grow up through obedience until he received the necessary spiritual maturity to handle such things. Like a child he had to be taught. The same applied to his helper, Eve. But like many children and adults she would not be taught. She wanted to be autonomous and she persuaded Adam to be likewise. They wanted to be God-like without God and so both, particularly Adam as the then head of mankind thereby brought death down upon their heads.
Comment: Scripture seems to be neutral on this. There is a danger in reading into scripture a permanent exclusion zone. However, again, on the issue of permanence scripture appears to be neutral. It tells the story of what happened, rather than what ought to have happened.
However, in terms of Adam’s childlike state, Irenaeos of Lyons is helpful: ‘Man was a little one, and his discretion still undeveloped, wherefore also he was easily misled by the deceiver.31 A good case can be made for studying Irenaeos. He is close in time to the final deposition of the Apostolic Tradition: Christ taught the Apostles, who educated Polycarp, who instructed Irenaeus. A case can be made for Irenaeos being an early witness to the Tradition of the Apostles.32
31 Epid., 12; see also AH 4.37.1; 4.38.3 (ANF, Vol. 1, 518-519, 521-522). 32 He writes to the Roman presbyter Florinus: For, when I was still a boy, I knew you (Florinus) in lower Asia, in Polycarp’s house…I remember the events of those days more clearly than those which happened recently…how he (Polycarp) sat and disputed,…how he reported his intercourse with John and with the others who had seen the Lord, how he remembered their
Proposition 4: Irenaeus and the Fathers generally do not understand death as a punishment for the disobedience of our first parents.
Comment: Hallam asserts that this distortion arose later in the West under the influence of Augustine. Instead, the Fathers interpret the consequences of the Fall as something Adam brought on himself when he distanced himself from God. ‘God still walks in the Garden. It is we who hide and shamefully cover our nakedness. Likewise, the expulsion of Adam and Eve from Paradise and the angel standing guard with the flaming sword is not an act of divine retribution but a compassionate and merciful provision lest we eat of the second tree, the Tree of Life, and die eternally. The fruit of this tree, if we had eaten it, would have condemned us forever.’33
Comment: Chrysostom teaches that by partaking of the tree, the man and woman became liable to death and subject to the future needs of the body. Adam was no longer permitted to remain in the Garden, and was bidden to leave, a move by which God showed His love for him34 … he had become mortal, and lest he presume to eat further from the tree which promised an endless life of continuous sinning, he was expelled from the Garden as a mark of divine solicitude, not of necessity.35
Comment: Zimmerman states that ‘Irenaeus and Augustine teach (in agreement) that Adam sinned and lost his initial endowment of friendship with God, and that all people die as a result of Adam’s sin. But whereas Augustine sees God’s pristine plans frustrated by original sin, Irenaeus sees the same sin as an almost necessary step for the education of mankind’. (The writer comments that this shows more of God’s foresight and is much more optimistic.) ‘Irenaeus sees God laying out His plans with original sin already
words, and what were the things concerning the Lord which he had heard from them, and how Polycarp had received them from the eye-witnesses of the Word of Life, and reported all things in agreement with the Scriptures. I listened eagerly even then to these things …and made notes of them, not on paper, but in my heart, and ever by the grace of God do I truly ruminate on them (Euseb. History of the Church 5:20,5-7; trans. by Johannes Quasten, Patrology I,287).
See www.lifeissues.net/writers/zim/ev/ev_01evolution_sin13.html 33 Gregory Hallam 34 This accords with a ‘hermeneutic of love’ and makes Genesis consistent with John 3:16. Hallam comments, ‘God did not cease to love and care for us in our fallen state’. 35 Hom. in Gen 18, 3 PG 53 151
foreseen from the beginning. He would create man free, He foresaw the sin, He then made provisions accordingly. He would help man to use that freedom properly, with original sin36 as a stepping stone to facilitate the learning process. Christ would come fully prepared to cope with the situation of the fallen race. He would recapitulate the fallen race and lead it to the Father.
Comment: Augustine, however, would project Christ as an afterthought – as a second plan after the first had failed. Christ is sent into the world as a repairman, to patch up the disaster caused by Adam. Even so, Augustine has us living in a world not completely repaired by Christ. It is a world, he maintains, in which God still punishes us for Adam’s misdeed. It is as though we live in the suburbs of Chernoble after the nuclear meltdown’.37
Comment: St. Paul claims that death is the enemy which came into the world and passed unto all men through the sin of one man.38
Proposition 5: The whole of mankind has inherited inwardly a form of corruption, namely death.
Cyril of Alexandria looks to the birth of the first children from Adam and Eve and notes that ‘he (Adam) produced children after falling into this state, we his descendents are corruptible coming from a corruptible source. Thus it is that we are heirs of Adam’s curse’.39 The curse is that man participates in the disobedience of the Adam and this is inherited through death, not sex. To avoid confusion with the western Augustinian notion of ‘original sin’, it may be helpful to adopt the Orthodox term, προγονικη ‘αμαρτια, or as Williams has it, ‘αμαρτια προπατορικη40 ‘ancestral sin’. Ancestral sin is not inherited guilt as per Augustine’s original sin neither is it imputed guilt (as per Protestant Reformed thinking). It is a state of being that has been redeemed by Christ.41
36 The writer detects that Zimmerman, a Roman Catholic, is here reading in the Catholic Augustinian doctrine of original sin.
37 Anthony Zimmerman, Evolution and the Sin in Eden. www.lifeissues.net/writers/zim/ev/ev_01evolution_sin13.html 38 1 Cor 15:26 39 Doctrinal Questions and Answers, IX, 6 in Cyril of Alexandria, Selected Letters 40 Williams, p 388 41 Galatians 3:13
Comment: Hallam acknowledges that those who advocate the western notion of Original sin may rely upon MT Ps 50(otherwise 51): 5, but he comments that this is capable of being understood either in an Augustinian or Orthodox sense. The writer, with Hallam, would assert that the MT can be understood in the light of the equally authoritative LXX text which, when translated, reads: “Behold I was brought forth in iniquities, and in sins (plural) did my mother conceive me.” Hence, sin is endemic to the human condition from birth to death. It says nothing about transmission, let alone transmission by sex.
Comment: Hallam observes that there is significant difference between the belief that mankind shares in Adam’s curse through the corruption of death and the view (common in the West since Augustine) that we are punished by death for an original sin in Eden. The Augustinian West started to believe that this original sin was transmitted to subsequent generations through sexual reproduction42 and that man inherits the guilt of Adam.43 Orthodox teaching is clear than mankind does not inherit Adam’s guilt.44
Proposition 6: (This is closely related to proposition 5.) Although mankind became corrupted at the Fall, God preserved his free will (as a part of his Inner constitution) so that according to that free will he might choose to do good and turn away from evil.45
The danger of Augustine’s teaching is that Augustine taught that fallen man did not have any independent freedom to do any good, unless he is assisted by grace46 and in this respect his teaching is unnecessarily pessimistic. Christ, truly man as well as truly God, choose to do good by fulfilling the law and the Father’s will and was without sin.
Proposition 7: The resurrection of Christ is a contingent part of soteriology (the teaching on salvation) beginning with the loving removal of man from
42 This is graphically described by a knowledge of female anatomy and the statement, some ascribe to Augustine, inter faeces et urinam nascimur! (We are born between faeces and urine.) 43 See Augustine, Treatise against Julian the Pelagian 44 This is not to suggest that Christ did not also redeem Adam and those living before him in sin: see Matthew 27:52-53. For further exposition on Matt 27:52-53 and an educationally instructive icon, see a separate paper by the writer.
45 Pomazansky, Orthodox Dogmatic Theology, p 162 46 Pomazansky, p 162
Eden, the birth, life and death of Christ and the resurrection of Christ provides the opportunity of, and the operative capability for, the resurrection of believers who accept Christ as their saviour.
Comment: The writer considers that this proposition can be supported by John 11:25. If there is an Aramaic background to John 11:25 in an oral teaching, then, there is further force in the point. The Syriac Peshitta has aye which carries the double meaning of both ζωη (life) and salvation.47
To the writer it is significant that Christ says that He is the resurrection and the life in that order.
This proposition appears to be supported by Hallam. ‘We should not be surprised then if death, itself the wages of sin, in bringing yet more sin upon the generations of humankind, must needs be destroyed in order that the gates of Paradise might be opened once more to the whole48 of Creation.. This is precisely what we believe about the resurrection. Death has been destroyed by death and Christ, our God, has emerged victorious by contesting that ancient serpent on his own ground: death and hell. The voluntary obedience of a Virgin-Mother bruised the serpent’s head in the Incarnation, [Genesis 3:15]49 and the voluntary obedience of her Son unto death on a cross finally granted unto us the victory in the resurrection.’ ‘The resurrection has become our portal into the very life of God himself, our [θεοσις].’50
Comment: The writer would not overlook a hermeneutic of love when considering God’s sense of justice.51 Kalomiros writes that the Greek word δικαιοσυνη (usually translated ‘righteousness’) is a translation of the Hebraic word hqdc (tsedaka) meaning ‘the divine energy which accomplishes man’s salvation’. It is parallel and almost synonymous to dsx
47 Jennings lexicon. See www.dukhrana.com for Peshitta text and lexicons. 48 Italicised by the writer because this contradicts Calvinist teaching. 49 Without detracting from the accomplishment of Christ, one might note the obedience of Mary. The writer believes that this is borne out by 1 Tim 2:15a. A more detailed interpretation of that text can be found in the writer’s paper, Καλασαντος which Don Schofield helpfully critiqued. 50 It is encouraging that in the Lord’s Prayer for believers in John 17, Jesus prays for an aspect of our θεοσις when in John 17: 21 he asks that [believers] may be εν ‘ημιν (in us). 51 It has been asserted that love is the heart and soul of the theology of the early Fathers and of the Orthodox church.
(hesed) which means ‘mercy’, ‘compassion’, ‘love’ (the writer would add ‘steadfast love’), and to tm) (emet) which means ‘fidelity’, ‘truth’. This understanding gives a completely different dimension to what is usually conceived as justice. This is how the Church understood God’s justice. This is what the Fathers of the Church taught of it. Saint Isaac the Syrian wrote, ‘How can you call God just, when you read the passage on the wage given to the workers? “Friend, I do you no wrong; I will give to this last even as unto you who worked for me from the first hour. Is your eye evil, because I am good?” ’
Christianity is not a wholesale repudiation of Jewish theology, but a deeper understanding of it in the light of Christ’s teaching, the teaching of the New Testament with the aid of the Church Fathers. Therefore, it is significant that Judaism, working from the Old Testament, teaches that men are born morally pure. This teaching appears to be founded on a basic understanding of the creation story. Men were created in the image of God with the free will to obey or disobey God. Judaism has no concept analogous to original sin but rather affirms that men are born with bw+h rcy (yetzer hatov) (a tendency to do good) and with a (rh rcy (yetzer hara) (a tendency to do evil). Men have the free will to act upon bw+h rcy or (rh rcy. There is within mankind an inherent conflict between good and evil orientations.52
A careful study of the Hebrew in Genesis 2 and 3 reveals a play on words and much more. In Gen 2:25 Adam and Eve are described as ,
naked (plural). In Gen 3:1 the serpent is described as more , naked (singular) than all of the animals. After Adam and Eve had eaten the fruit
they realised that they were , naked (plural). Swanson53 develops this point of this in some detail, but look at how Adam and Evil were deceived and note their revelation! The Hebrew root seems to convey the idea of revealing, something that is common to being naked, having knowledge, prudence and cunning! Adam and Eve had gained knowledge
52 See DeFrancisco, James J. Original Sin and Ancestral Sin – Comparative Doctrines. 53 Swanson, Primeval Narratives.
before it was intended for them to have that knowledge. Their banashment was now for their own protection!
Whatever might be the condition of man before accepting Christ, the same passage in Romans 5 points out clearly the impact on the believer of the work of Christ. One should read on! The result of death for all in Romans 5:21a is remedied by the gift of life through Christ in Romans 5:21b.54 This is a theologically encouraging Gospel.
It seems to the writer that if the Augustinian doctrine of Original Sin is discarded, then the Calvinist doctrine of election also falls, for if all have not sinned in Adam, then the case for pre-birth election to damnation on the basis of sin falls.
McGonigle writes, ‘the influence of Augustine’s teaching on both Roman Catholic and protestant theology has resulted in a pessimistic over-emphasis on original sin and not enough attention given to the glorious possibilities of the new life in Christ through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit’.
The initial draft of this paper was written during Pascha-tide and the writer cannot improve upon Hallam: ‘it is Christ our God who in the icon of Pascha storms into hell and liberates the captives from the grip of death and sin. A new way has thereby been opened up for us to regain Paradise, Christ the first fruits of all those who have fallen asleep’. The focus shifts from a questionable doctrine of original sin to the offer to all of salvation in Christ and, through Christ’s ανακεφαλαιωσις, the θεοσις of all believers. In this way believers can say ‘amen’ to, and are on the soteriological road to, resurrection and life/salvation. Aνακεφαλαιωσις (inclusive of death on a cross), αναστασις (anastasis – resurrection) lead to believers’ θεοσις (theosis) and αναστασις (anastasis).
54 Frank Thielman in Hay & Johnson, p 181 13
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