Original Sin

Jacob Arminius and the Doctrine of Original Sin, Part 3

From DBSJ 21 (2016). Republished with permission. By John A. Aloisi. Read the series

Original Sin Itself

Adam’s first sin was a point of no return for the entire human race. Ever since that initial act of rebellion, all mankind has been born with the taint of original sin.33

The Transmission of Original Sin

Arminius said very little about the transmission of original sin from one generation to the next. The effects of Adam’s sin rest upon all his descendants because they were in his loins, but Arminius did not speculate about how original sin is actually transmitted. He wrote, “The discussion, whether original sin be propagated by the soul or by the body, appears to us to be useless; and therefore the other, whether or not the soul be through traduction, seems also scarcely to be necessary to this matter.”34 Although he did not propose a theory about how original sin is transmitted, Arminius did teach that it has been passed on to all mankind.35

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Jacob Arminius and the Doctrine of Original Sin, Part 2

From DBSJ 21 (2016). Republished with permission. By John A. Aloisi. Read Part 1.

Adam’s First Sin

Any discussion of original sin must begin with Adam’s first sin or what is often called “the Fall.” If, as the apostle Paul declared, sin was introduced into the human race through the sin of one man (Rom 5:12), then an examination of this first sin is preliminary to a consideration of original sin.

The Nature of Adam’s Sin

In the seventh of his Public Disputations, Arminius discussed the nature of man’s first sin.12 He believed that this sin is most accurately described by the words disobedience and offense. It is designated disobedience because

the law against which the sin was committed, was symbolical, having been given to testify that man was under a law to God, and to prove his obedience, and since the subsequent performance of it was to be a confession of devoted submission and due obedience; the transgression of it cannot, in fact, be denoted by a more commodious name than that of “disobedience,” which contains within itself the denial of subjection and the renunciation of obedience.13

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Jacob Arminius and the Doctrine of Original Sin, Part 1

From DBSJ 21 (2016). Republished with permission.

by John A. Aloisi1

As one writer has noted, most theologians regard Jacob Arminius (c. 1560–1609) either as a hero or a heretic.2 Arminius is generally either vilified as an enemy or embraced as a friend; few theologians seem to view him from a neutral posture.3 This tendency toward polarization is not without cause. Arminius stands among a limited number of figures in church history who have lent their names to a major theological school of thought. Furthermore, the debate between Arminianism and Calvinism has never wanted voices on either side. Yet, despite the familiarity of his name, Arminius’s thought is frequently misunderstood, or at very least, is little understood by many.4

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Theology Thursday - The Council of Trent on Original Sin

The Council of Trent

Following the deep division in the church which had resulted from the Protestant Reformation, there was a widespread desire, which grew stronger and was expressed in a variety of ways, for an ecumenical council. Its aim would be to reject errors against faith, add strength to the official teaching, restore the unity of the church, and reform the standards of the Roman curia and of church discipline.1

FIFTH SESSION, held June 17, 1546.

Decree Concerning Original Sin2

That our Catholic faith, without which it is impossible to please God, may, errors being purged away, continue in its own perfect and spotless integrity, and that the Christian people may not be carried about with every wind of doctrine; whereas that old serpent, the perpetual enemy of mankind, amongst the very many evils with which the Church of God is in these our times troubled, has also stirred up not only new, but even old, dissensions touching original sin, and the remedy thereof; the sacred and holy, œcumenical and general Synod of Trent,—lawfully assembled in the Holy Ghost, the three same legates of the Apostolic See presiding therein,—wishing now to come to the reclaiming of the erring, and the confirming of the wavering,—following the testimonies of the sacred Scriptures, of the holy Fathers, of the most approved councils, and the judgment and consent of the Church itself, ordains, confesses, and declares these things touching the said original sin:

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The Main Point of the Christian Doctrine of Sin: We Are All “Damaged Goods”

Sex, Money and Power: How We Confirm the Biblical-Christian Doctrine of “Original Sin”

Who is Your Proxy?

Two old friends bumped into one another on the street one day. One of them looked forlorn, almost on the verge of tears. His friend asked, “What has the world done to you, my old friend?”

The sad fellow said, “Let me tell you. Three weeks ago, my uncle died and left me forty thousand dollars.”

“That’s a lot of money.”

“And, two weeks ago, a cousin I never even knew died, and left me eighty-five thousand dollars.”

“Sounds like you’ve been blessed!”

“You don’t understand!” he interrupted. “Last week my great-aunt passed away. I inherited almost a quarter of a million.”

Now the friend was really confused. “Then, why do you look so sad?”

“This week…nothing!”

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